The Two Great Zones--The Zone of Forests and the Woodless Zone--Sub-
divisions of the Latter--The Black Mould Zone--The Steppe
Region--Accidental Steppes--Primeval Steppes.
RUSSIA'S chief characteristic is unity in immensity. At the first glance, while comparing the ice-bound tundras of the North to the scorched wastes that skirt the Caspian, the lakes that sleep within their granite banks in Finland, to the warm terraced slopes of the Crimean shore, one is struck with the grandeur of these contrasts. The impression conveyed is that between these boundaries-- between Lapland, the reindeer's domain, and the Caspian steppes, where the camel is at home--lies a space so vast as to need many widely differing regions to fill it up. Nothing of the kind. Russia at all her extremities, even where she touches on Europe, yields specimens of all the climates. Vet the territories that bear the most marked aspects--Finland, Caucasus, Crimea--are merely annexations, natural appendages, though greatly differing from Russia proper. In the interval, between the projecting spurs of the Karpathian Mountains and the Ural chain, there spreads a region unmatched, on any like area, for similarity of climate and sameness of nature's aspects. From the huge Caucasian bulwark to the Baltic, this empire, surpassing in size the rest of Europe put together, really offers less variety than western countries, owning an area ten or twelve times smaller. This comes from the uniformity of the plain-structure. The west of the empire is more temperate, more European; the east more barren, more Asiatic; the north is colder, the south warmer. Yet, the south, being un-