​The fair on the Red Square - Palm Sunday (1906)

It is Palm Sunday, and the customary fair is being held on the Red Place in front of the Kremlin, and as it has been a lovely day the crowd of strollers was immense. This fair is one of the most amusing sights to be seen in Russia. Two lines of booths occupy the space which stretches opposite the walls of the Kremlin. At the booths you can buy almost anything: birds, tortoises, goldfish, grass snakes, linoleum, carpets, toys, knives, musical instruments, books, music, cakes, lace, ikons, Easter eggs, carved woodwork, etc. There are besides these a number of semi-official stalls where kwass is sold to drink, and a great quantity of itinerant vendors sell balloons, things that squeak, penny whistles, trumpets and chenille monkeys. 

The trade in goldfish was brisk (people often buying one goldfish in a small tumbler), but that in a special kind of whetstone which cut glass and sharpened knives and cost twenty kopecks was briskest of all. The crowd round this stall, at which the vendor gave a continual exhibition of the practical excellence of his wares by cutting up bits of glass, was dense, and he sold any quantity of them. At the bookstall the selection was varied in the extreme. I bought two cheap copies of Paradise Lost in Russian with wonderful illustrations; but there were also back numbers of Punch to be got, some fragments of the Cornhill Magazine, and the Irish State Papers from 1584 to 1588. One man was selling silvered Caucasian whips which, he said, had just missed being silver. One man sold little sailors made of chenille, which, he said, represented the crew of the Potemkin without the captain. There was one fascinating booth called an American bazaar, where everything cost five kopecks, and where you could buy almost anything.

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