The perils of greatness

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
The perils of greatness the story of Alexander Menschikoff
Uniform Title:
Alexander Menzikoff, oder, Die Gefahren des Reichthums
Physical Description:
4, 124, 8 p., 1 leaf of plates : col. ill. ; 17 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Nieritz, Gustav, 1795-1876
Nimmo, William Philip, 1831-1883 ( Publisher )
Crane, Walter, 1845-1915 ( Illustrator )
James Ballantyne and Co ( Printer )
Publisher:
William P. Nimmo
Place of Publication:
Edinburgh
Manufacturer:
Ballantyne and Company
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Generals -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Exiles -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile fiction -- Russia -- Peter I, 1689-1725   ( lcsh )
Biographical fiction -- 1871   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1871   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1871
Genre:
Biographical fiction   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
Edinburgh -- Scotland
England -- London

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
translated from the German.
General Note:
Date from inscription.
General Note:
Color frontispiece signed W.C. (i.e. Walter Crane)
General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002234966
notis - ALH5405
oclc - 57624119
System ID:
UF00026003:00001

Related Items

Related Items:
Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Full Text
iNy


The Baldwin Librarynivcrityq~ ofPlxida


This page contains no text.


L 7y-uP J Q _^"i- --*:i ii^u!i Lf


THE PERILS OF GREATNESS.


PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANYEDINBURGH AND LONDON


I.a~I)a-"-I-~pTHE PERILS OF GREATNESS.


L1S OF REATN ESS.,,A STORY opOV.ADER M ENZIA,,oL.----;ED NBURGH "I WILLIAM P.NIMMO


THEPERILS OF GREATNESS:OFALEXANDER MENZIKOFF.TRANSLATED FROM THE GERIAN.EDINBURGH:.WILLIAM P. NIMMO.


THE PERILS OF GREATNESS.CHAPTER I." BuY! buy! fine pastry! warm pastry! buy the newParisian pastry! Who will buy ?-who will buy, whileit is hot ?"Thus cried, with a loud and pleasant voice, a boy ofabout fifteen years of age, in the streets of Moscow, then thecapital of Russia; at the same time he glanced around,with inquiring eyes, towards the windows of the statelypalaces, as if he expected a buyer to beckon him from oneof these. It was not therefore surprising that he shouldstumble against some Life-Guards, who were coming froman opposite direction, and who had been indulging so freelyin brandy that they had linked themselves together armin arm to hide their staggering walk."Oho, boy !" they shouted. "Pray see who are beforeyou! Why do you drive against us with your basketCome, let us see what good things you have in it !"Immediately the basket was seized by three or four, whoendeavoured to remove the cover which was spread overits contents; but this the pastry boy opposed with all hisstrength. He knew well that, chould they do so, hisA


2 The Perils of Greatness.pastry would find its way, unpaid for, into the stomachsof the drunken soldiers."Let it alone !" he cried; "it cannot be yours. It ispastry for the Czar. It is Peter's pastry, I tell you, andevery piece costs a rouble."" Be it pastry for the Princess Sophia, the Czars Ivan orPeter, for my part," laughed one of the Guards, "it shallcause me no trouble on that account; and we wish toknow how such wares taste."The boy continued to defend his basket with great skillagainst the staggering soldiers, at the same time shoutingwithout intermission that it was Peter's pastry, and thatthe Czar only dare eat it; but finally he would have beenoverpowered by numbers, had not his cry brought a passingofficer of high rank to his assistance. " What is the matterhere ?" demanded he sharply of the soldiers, who, at thesight of his glittering uniform, started back, and got outof the way as quickly as possible." Well, what kind of trade have you had with the sol-diera V" the officer now asked the youth, who, heated andpanting, lifted the cover to see if his pastry had suffered inthe struggle.He was so intent in doing this that he did not look upto the officer, but only on his wares, as he answered, "Theywished to rob me of my pastry.""But why did you mix up the Czar Peter with yourcombat, and always exclaim that it was Peter's pastry "asked the officer."That was only a little stratagem," replied the youth,lifting his sparkling eye to his deliverer. "'I only wishedto induce them to respect my pastry; but, besides, theCzar Peter is really my favourite, and has bought severaltimes from me."


The Perils of Greatness. 3"But do not be so rash as to tell every one," said theofficer, advisingly; "the Princess Sophia might misunder-stand you, and fancy that you love the Czar Peter betterthan her or the Czar Ivan. In such affairs the Princessallows no jesting; so take heed.""Ah!" said the youth, "whose bread I eat, his songI'll sing. If the Princess also bought from me, and spokeas kindly to a poor boy like me as the good Czar Peter, Iwould love her dearly too.""Well," said the officer, "remain always of the sameopinion; truly loving the Czar Peter, perhaps he may buyof you again. He dines to-day with the Prince Lolopin;but the Prince's cook may not understand so well how tobake such excellent pastry as your French master. Youcan inquire and see." And with this the officer left him.This hint was sufficient for the boy. He went straight-way towards the Prince's palace, under the windows ofwhich he loudly cried his wares, in the hope of receiving agracious sign of encouragement. His exertions were, how-ever, without success; and he therefore bethought himselfof going up to the large kitchen of the Prince. He did so,and pushing his head half in at the open door, gentlyasked, "Will you buy any pastry for the Czar Peter-pastry that he likes so well ?"The cook, surrounded by his assistants, answered angrily," No; we can bake some ourselves."But the Prince's valet, who had just entered the kitchen,and heard the boy's question, asked him, "Whose is it ?and how do you know that the Czar Peter likes it sowell "" The pastry," answered the youth, "is from the famousParisian pastry baker, Legrain, and the Czar has bought itfrom me on several occasions."


4 The Perils of Greatness."Wait a little, then," returned the valet, "and I willmention it to my mastei. Take a seat, meanwhile, on thatstool, until I bring an answer."He went away, and the boy sat down on the offered seat.The valet returned shortly, and said to the boy-"You must be patient; my master is just now in con-versation with the Czar, and I dare not disturb him."He went away again. The boy had great patience. Thegrateful odour of the rich meats which they were preparingin the kitchen was very agreeable to him. He had wan-dered about the streets the whole forenoon, after which,and the fight with the soldiers, he felt himself very tired;and the little place in the corner of the kitchen was sotemptingly convenient that he fell into a quiet sleep-hiseyelids closed; his arms, which grasped the basket, sankdown, and it rested on his knees, supported only by thebelt upon his shoulder. In this position he was found bythe valet on his return, who immediately made a secretsign to the cook, and, turning to all those who were work-ing there, exclaimed-" Haste, and help to carry up three hundred bottles ofwine out of the cellar. The other servants cannot do itthemselves."The kitchen was immediately deserted, and the valetwhispered something in the ear of the cook, who noddedapprovingly, and said softly-" But were it not better to take the basket from the boy,and do our business in the next room '""Certainly not," replied the valet; "that would taketoo much time; besides, you might rouse him."" Yet there is no necessity for bestrewing all the pastry,"the master cook again said." All, certainly !" the valet eagerly answered; " we might


The Perts of Grealness. 5otherwise be betrayed, if only the pastry intended for theCzar were poisoned, and the remainder found to be harm-less. The suspicion must fall on the boy and his master,and we must see that the boy does not leave this untilshortly before the time when the Czar will use the pastry,and prevent the affair getting known too soon."Thereupon both gently approached the sleeper, cautiouslylifted the wax-cloth cover from the pastry, and strewed awhite powder over it. After they had fulfilled their crimi-nal object, the valet left the kitchen, and the cook, in hisfeigned industry, allowed one of the empty copper vesselsto fall on the floor; so that when the assistants returned,they found the youth fully awake. They now began toserve up the innumerable dishes for the table of the Prince.The kitchen was filled with people, as the valet again re-turned, and in a very loud tone said-"Now, boy, shew us your wares; the cook will takesome of your pastry, lest the Czar might wish to havesome."The youth willingly complied; and having handed thedesired quantity out of his basket, and having received pay-ment, he went on his way. But at the very next corner of thestreet he made a halt, set down his basket on a curbstone,and began well pleased to count his money. "One rouble,two, three, four roubles, five copecks, ten copecks, twenty-- Ha, you scoundrel! get off! oh, my pastry!" Withthese exclamations the youth interrupted his reckoning,and sprang up after a large dog which, enticed by thesweet smell of the pastry, had managed, unnoticed by him,to steal some out of his basket. The dog had dropped thepastry, and in falling it had broken into two or threepieces, while it stood over it growling fiercely, and shewingits teeth, awaiting the attack of the boy, who, when the


"6 The Perils of Greatness.mischief was done, took his basket under his arm, and satdown sorrowfully to think over his misfortune."I must replace the pastry to my master," he said, sadly,"and so the whole gain of my late sale is lost. What willmy poor mother say when I return home empty handed IYou naughty brute, was not bread good enough for you,that you must fill yourself with pastry, which I have noteven yet tasted myself And there the animal stands, asif it would laugh at me, or rather as if it expected to carryoff more of such dainties. You shall wait long, however;I wish the last had choked you."The unchristian-like wish of the excited youth seemedabout to be fufilled. The butcher's dog, which had notmoved from the spot, began to choke, writhe its body, andhowl piteously, that even the robbed youth had reallysympathy for him. The howling, whining, and convulsionsof the dog became more and more frightful, attracting theattention and concern of the passengers. No one under-stood what could have happened to it, while its sufferingsappeared to become more dreadful still." You see, poor dog," said the pastry boy, with tears inhis eyes, "that 'ill-gotten gain does not prosper.' Mypastry agrees badly with you.""The dog has taken poison," said one of the on-lookers,who appeared to understand the affair better than theothers.A fearful thought now took possession of the boy. Hehad indeed slept vry soundly in the Prince's kitchen, butnot so soundly as not to have observed the sudden stillnesswhich followed when the cook's assistants had left it tocarry the wine from the cellar. He had heard, but only asin a dream, the whispering of the valet and the master otthe kitchen; and although he did not yet understand all


The Perils of Greatness. 7that they had said, still a word or two had come to hiscar which, after consideration, now made him suspect somecrime. Besides, he was aware that the Princess Sophiacould not endure her half-brother, the young Czar Peter,because she feared a restriction of her authority from hisnoble spirit, and therefore would rather have seen hisweaker brother Ivan alone Czar of Russia. Many of thenobility thought so too, and therefore it was not improbablethat some one might attempt, through poison, to get quitof the young Czar-a circumstance not altogether unknownin the barbarous times of which we write. These thoughtsnow filled the boy's soul with fear, and he trembled for thelife of his favourite Czar; as the dog was already com-pletely dead, and shewed in the deformation which hadbeen wrought upon his form the tortures it had suffered.With trembling lips the boy related to the surroundingcrowd how this frightful accident had happened to the dogafter he had eaten some of the pastry out of his basket;also, that before his going into the kitchen of PrinceLolopin his pastry was good, and must have been poisonedthere; that it also was intended to set some of it beforethe Czar Peter, who might before this be already dead.With tears he conjured them to warn the Czar, and helpto save him, if it were yet possible.At once a tremendous tumult arose. Like an avalanche,the multitude increased in size as it rolled onward with thespeed of the wind towards the palace of the Prince. Twostrong Russians, seizing the pastry boy, lifted him alongwith his basket on their shoulders, and in this manner ledthe way. The others, arming themselves with stones andall kinds of instruments, swore they would not leave onestone upon another, nor spare a single person, if their be.loved Peter had been sacrificed. But the hand of God had


8 The Perds of Greatness.watched over him. Contrary to his usual custom, he hadentered into an absorbing conversation with the person whosat next him at table. The plate containing the poisonedpastry had stood long before him. His designing host hadseveral times reminded him that the pastry would bentirely cold; as often had the Czar reached out his hand,when some new turn in the conversation had caused himto withdraw it again. At length, to the great but secretdelight of the Prince, the Czar took up some of the pastry,and was in the act of carrying it to his lips, when thestormy crowd arrived under the windows of the palace."Czar Peter !" roared many hundreds of rough voices," where are you ? Shew yourself that we may see you, ifyou are yet living Come out here Come out here, be-loved Czar! Death to the traitors!" Lolopin becamepale as death. The Czar sprang up and went to the win-dow, followed by all the guests. An overpowering shoutof joy arose as the Russians saw their beloved Czar openthe window."Hurrah hurrah Czar Peter Hurrah Death anddestruction to the poisoners."The Czar waved his hand, entreating silence, and im.mediately the crowd was calm."What is the matter? What do you wish " he crieddown.All screamed, related, and threatened at once; so thatthe Czar wks no wiser by the uproar. At the same timeall hands were Ninted to the boy with the basket, whounited his voice with the others. Smiling, the Czar turnedhimself to his adjutant." Lefort," he said, "pray go down and learn the causeof this commotion. It is as certainly a confusion of lan-guages as that which took place at the building of Babel


The Perils of Greatness. 9One cries Hurrah !' a second, 'Pastry !' a third, Poison !'a fourth, Destruction !' It might well make one anxiousand afraid."The officer, who was the same who had previounly re-leased the pastry boy from the assault of the drunken sol-diers, went out, and was immediately surrounded by thethronging multitude on the broad stairs of the palace, withthe boy, in their midst. He informed himself accurately ofall the particulars, assured the people that the Czar hadnot yet tasted the pastry, and advised the crowd to dis-perse itself quietly. This they refused to do until theCzar himself passed through their midst on his way to hisown dwelling, and gave them the assurance that he wouldmake strict inquiries into the affair, and bring the guiltypersons to punishment.CHAPTER II.FOR many reasons this whole occurrence was suppressed.The people were given to understand that possibly it wasan error, caused by the rashness of the pastry boy. Thecook and the valet of the Prince disappeared. The Princehimself was sent out of the country as ambassador, thathe might escape the arbitrary vengeance of the people,who murmured loudly, and clung to the idea of poison-ing more than before. The guilty parties really had onlythe Princess Sophia to thank for her indulgence in notpunishing their guilt, as the young Czar Peter was not ina position to strive against her powerful influence, and


10 The Perils of Greatness.therefore was obliged to allow things to take their course.The fortune of the pastry boy, however, seemed to be made.He called himself Alexander Menzikoff; he was the sonof a peasant in the neighbourhood of Moscow. Lefort, theCzar's adjutant, and his bosom friend, had discovered nomean talents in the boy; and on that account took himinto his service, where everything went well with him.After this had happened, Alexander hastened, overpoweredwith joy, out into the country to his mother-his fatherwas already dead-in order to surprise her with the im-portant change in his profession." 0 mother !" he cried, "only think of my good fortune;just look at this fine coat which I now wear, how the goldlace glances upon it, and these flashing new buttons. YetI receive much more handsome coats, vests, and trousersto brush and dust; and what a delightful perfume theydo give out, almost better than the pastry of my formermaster, even when it was fresh from the oven. I have,too, far better food and drink than I had. Your poorcabbage soup is nothing to it; but the best is yet to come.I meet the most gracious Czar every day, not to mentionmany great noblemen. With these all is of silver andgold,-the plates and other dishes, candlesticks, snuffers,knives, forks, spoons, even-only think of it !-the fire-ironsand wash-hand basin!"Struck with this relation, the good peasant woman heldup her hands." But I am not finished yet," continued her son. " Ourgood Czar is very gracious to me, because I warned himagainst the poisoned pastry. He lately entrusted me tofetch his robe of state, when none of his own servants wereat hand. I actually trembled with rapture when I wasallowed to carry the splendid garment with the glittering


The Perils of Greatness. Istars in my mean hands. What would you think if I toldyou that a single stone out of such a star is of greatervalue than this whole village, with all its houses, fields,and crops! How happy must he be who is able to wearsuch a star upon his breast! But since that affair of thepastry, the Czar has become more cautious. He does noteat now, as he did formerly, everything that is set beforehim. His half-sister, the Princess Sophia, sent him somesplendid pastry lately, and a quantity of tarts; but do youthink he ate them, or even touched them ? Never. Weservants received the whole present; and at that time I ateso much that I felt the worse of it. The Czar sent me tothe chief baker in the city to buy a loaf, which he usedinstead of the pastry and tarts. Ah, the nobility lead avery strange life. When you are rising in the morning tocommence your labour, they are only thinking of going tosleep. They take breakfast when you dine; at eveningthey sit down to table, and remain sitting late into thenight, eating and drinking so much, that any one wouldsuppose they would hurt themselves. Then they play atcards until daylight. Such is the order in high life; butneither my master nor the Czar really like it, and onlyconform because they cannot avoid doing so. I am notintended to remain always a servant, and so my goodmaster has engaged a number of teachers to instruct me inreading, writing, arithmetic, and the French language, be-sides many other things with which you are unacquainted.These are much more difficult for me than the pastry busi-ness; but I perform my part willingly, because it pleasesmy master, and because they will be very useful to meafterwards." Here Alexander threw down a number ofgold coins, for which he had to thank the gracious Czar,his master, and his distinguished guests. "Dear mother,"


12 The Perzfs of Greatness.said he, "I will repay a small part of my great debt to you.The patience and love which you have shewn me until nowit is impossible for me to repay; but I will always try tomake your happiness as great as I am able."The delighted peasant mother wept, she was so happyover her grateful son. She gave him her best blessingand prayed inwardly to God for his future welfare; andher prayer was heard. He continued to strengthen himselfin the favour of his master and of the Czar, and indeedshewed an uncommon industry, the greatest zeal in theirservice, an invincible faithfulness towards both; and,through these virtues, he rose gradually higher in officesand honours. When he had attained the age of manhood,and acquired the office of secretary, he married a prettymodest maiden, who, although the daughter of a peasantof his own rank, yet had a soul of the very highest order.He thought himself very happy when he brought his youngbride into the small wooden house in Moscow which hehad purchased out of the savings of his income. He con-sidered himself richer than a king, and his mother waseven more delighted. He had brought her to live withthem, and the greatest attention to her wants was shewnby the newly-married pair. In this way some years ofunclouded happiness were passed. Matinka, the carefulhousewife, presented her husband with two children, ofwhom the eldest was a boy, and the youngest a girl, afford-ing thus a new source of joy to the fortunate AlexanderMenzikoff. In the morning when he arose, at mid-day be-fore sitting down to dinner, in the evening on returningfrom his labours, his first act was to fondle his children.He took them up in his arms, danced round the littlechamber with them, and led them by the hand, while theywere yet unable to walk by themselves. All trouble with


The Perils of Greatness. 13them was a pleasure to him. Scarcely a day passed with-out bringing them home sweetmeats, a doll, or other play-thing; and, therefore, the little ones loved him dearly.If his little daughter happened to be in her mother's armsas her father entered, she would stretch out both her littlehands towards him and crow. Florin, the elder, wouldclimb up, seize him round the neck, and cover his facewith kisses; while close by stood the good Matinka, herface radiant with joy, and beside her the smiling grand-mother-making altogether a touching picture of humblehappiness. If it happened that one of the children wasindisposed, or really ill, how alarmed he became! He wouldIeave his bed many times during a night to see if the littlesick one had uncovered itself, or whether there were anyimprovement, or the reverse. He even watched wholenights by their bedside, giving them their medicine, andsoothing them to sleep. On holidays their highest plea-sure was to take a trip into the country to visit the dearfriends there-Matinka carrying the little Helene, Menzi-koff leading Florin, while their old grandmother broughtup the rear. It never occurred to them to envy thewealthy nobility who rolled past them in their handsomecarriages.CHAPTER III.THIS happiness continued for several years, until the Czarappointed Menzikoff one of his ministers. This, to allappearance, fortunate elevation, brought with it a large


14 The Perils of Greatness.addition to his income, but was the cause of many sorrow-ful hours to the good Matinka. As Menzikoff returnedhome for the first time, dressed in his robe of office, fromthe Czar, Florin sprang forward to meet him as usual, andattempted to climb up on his father; but he pushed thepoor boy rudely away from him."Awkward boy !" he said, displeased "would you de-stroy my expensive dress at once with your dirty boots?"" I cannot take you," a little more mildly, he next saidto Helene, who stretched her little hands beseechingly to-wards him; "you would crush my shirt frills, and sullythe bright buttons."" Then I am afraid I need not think of giving you a kisseither ?" Matinka sorrowfully asked her husband."At least," answered he, "not while I have on this finearticle. Be patient until I get on my usual dress."But after this had taken place the children remainedstanding frightened at a distance, and even their mothercould not embrace her husband with the same heartfeltpleasure as formerly, when her love was of more value tohim than a fine garment. Alexander remarked nothing ofthis; his mind was filled with other thoughts. He gazedsilently around his dwelling."Here all must be otherwise,"sraid he, at length. "Thesemiserable chairs, that old sofa, these slender wooden draw-ers, that cupboard, and that paltry mirror-all these worm-eaten lumber-boxes must go, and be replaced by new fur-nishings; henceforth, too, we cannot eat out of earthendishes, or drink out of earthen mugs. They do not becomeour station. Maple, china, and silver are more suitable forone of the Czar's ministers.""And yet we have been so very happy in the possessionof these things," returned Matinka, in a slightly reproachful


The Perils of Greatness. 5manner. "Shall we be more so when pomp and splendoursurround us ?""Be that as it will," said Menzikoff; "just now wemust not inquire as to our happiness, but what fashionrequires in our new position."Lost in thought, he gazed fixedly before him, At lasthe appeared to have formed some strong resolution. Helifted the window hastily, and shouted to a Jew who waspassing."Ho, Jew here !-come here for a little !"The Jew, however, paid no attention to his call, but pro-ceeded quietly on his way."Look at the fellow !" said the angry minister. "Hewill not listen to my call. And certainly he would soonersuppose this wooden booth to be the dwelling of a cheese-monger than of one of the Emperor's ministers, or hewould not dare to pass so insolently. Things cannot re-main so. What person of consequence would think ofclambering up these narrow steps, or of entering this hum-Sble closet, where one is afraid of breaking one's head onthe ceiling ? We cannot bring any chandeliers here, norcan we curtain these windows, which look more like thoseof a cabin. Yes; we must seek out some other dwell-ing.""My dear son," said his mother, "listen to me, andremain where you have been so happy. Happiness doesnot always dwell in palaces, but more frequently treacheryand death, as you might have learned from the affair ofthe pastry. I felt myself most happy in my peasant hut,and only forsook it to stay in this handsome house out oflove for you; and now that I have become accustomed toit, through years of residence, and feel myself at home,must I again leave it ? Exchange it for the large and cold


x6 The Perils of Greatness.chambers of a palace I It would be my death, the endof all the happiness of my life."" And how dear all these things are to, me," said Ma-tinka, pursuing the same strain; "these dumb witnessesof our happiness! Do you not remember, dear husband,how, at our wedding-feast, we drank to one another out ofthat blue earthen mug ? How that kitchen-rack, with itsplates, its dishes, and wooden spoons, was a wedding-pre-sent from my playmates? How that quaintly paintedchest, wreathed with flowers, was generously presented byyour friends ?"Alexander had been walking meditatively up and downthe little room. He turned now to his old mother, andsaid-"You are right, dear mother. It would be cruel tothink of removing you from this dwelling, which has be-come so dear to you; therefore you may remain here.Henceforth this little house belongs to you; and, dearMatinka, these old things will also remind us of the joyfuldays bygone when we visit our old grandmother. Not astick of them shall be sold.""And so you really intend to leave me I" asked the oldgrandmother, in a grieved one. "Will you forsake methus in my old age ? Shall I no more see my little grand-children around me ? Oh dear Yet surely you will notbe utterly ashamed of me in your now exalted position I"" How can you speak in that strange manner," returnedher son. "It was only out of love to you that I madethe proposition. If it does not please you, well; be com-forted, and go with us. We may expect that at first thelarge rooms, with their polished floors and grand furniture,will not be familiar to you; but we may be able to remedythat too. A quiet private little room can be provided, into


The Perils of Greatness. 17S.whieh you could retire, if our family circle should be brokenin upon by anything like distinguished visitors. I leaveit to your own choice. If you prefer to remain here, the"children can easily visit you daily; and I could engage aservant for you to the bargain, who would attend you, sothat you would have nothing to disturb you."The hot tears streamed over the cheeks of the oldwoman. "Ah!" said she, sobbing, "hired hands will neverfeel so soft as those of a child. I would not have entrustedyou, while a baby, to a strange nurse, for any price theworld could have offered me, but day and night these nowtrembling arms bore you; and therefore I hoped that myown son's hand would close my weak eyes in death, butso"--Sorrow made her speechless. All were silent; even Men-ikoff was overcome." But so," continued the grandmother, after collectingherself a little, "my trembling lips will call in vain on myson in the death-struggle-in vain will I stretch out mypalsied hands towards him-no tender hand will do methat last service.""Hold, dearest mother!" exclaimed Menzikoff, almostbeside himself; "you break my heart. Miserable is thegreatness which has caused tears to my beloved mother.SAway with it! Be comforted, dear mother. I shall entreatthe Emperor to take bac), this new honour, so that I mayremain, as formerly, your fond son. Alas and I at firstbelieved you would be so delighted with the news of myadvancement!"His mother wiped away her tears. "No," said she, "Ido not wish-I do not require that. Obey your goodCar. Receive thankfully whatever he graciously presentsto you. It is God's will. If it cannot be otherwise, I1B


18 The Perils of Greatness.will suit myself to my lot. Death may not surprise me soquickly as to prevent me from bestowing my last farewellon you and yours, and from giving you my last maternalblessing. Obey, my son."Undecided, Menzikoff sat wringing his hands."It is impossible!" he exclaimed. "If I remain minister,I must have a dwelling in the neighbourhood of the Czar'spalace, in which I could have apartments for myself, whereI might work without being disturbed; therefore it werebetter that I refuse the honour.""No, no !" exclaimed his mother, eagerly; "I was toohasty, too alarmed. Think no more of it, my son. Forgetmy complainings; do all that your office requires.""As you will, good mother," said he, well pleased"You see you looked only on the dark side of things. Benot grieved. We will indeed be much happier, and spendour days most joyfully. Here is gold, Matinka. Procuresome wine of the best, that it may cheer your hearts.Long live the gracious Czar We must drink his healthto-day."It was procured. But there was to Matinka a newsource of sorrow at the dinner-table. She had preparedher husband's food in the h6pe of seeing him enjoy it, andgaining his praise. Instead of this, he stirred among thegood things with his fork, and appeared to expect some.thing additional."Is it not to your taste ?" asked his anxicus wife; "orare you not well that you have no appetite 1""Not that! not that !" said Menzikoff, confusedly."Take it not ill of me, dear wife. Our food has alwaystasted well to me; only just now it seems too plain, too--country-like. I wish something now in accordance withour new position. Henceforth we must have a greater


The Perils of Greatness. 19variety-four or five dishes daily. Of course, it is not suit-able for the wife of a minister to stand burning before thefire in the kitchen, shoving pots here and there. I willengage a cook, that you may have more leisure."This speech was like a clap of thunder to the goodMatinka. She considered it to be one of the greatest virtuesof a good housewife to be skilful in that most importantduty, the preparatiofi of food. Matinka could no longerprepare her husband's meals to his satisfaction He de-spised her attempt, and preferred that of hirelings. Shesat quietly drinking the wine, which ought to have cheeredher spirits, while she mingled with it her hot scaldingtears, and felt in great discomfort. From this day thequiet homely happiness disappeared more and more fromMenzikoffs family, followed by.a vain ostentation, whichserved only to dazzle the eyes of the foolish for a shorttime. The following week saw Menzikoff the owner of asuit of splendidly-furnished apartments in the neighbour-hood of the Czar's palace, to which he removed his wifeand children; upon which, however, his mother lookedwith an air of indifference, and preferred rather to remainin her wooden cottage. Two men-servants, a coachman, acook, a kitchen and chamber maid, were taken into service;horses were procured. If Matinka had been deeply dis-pleased with the childish naughtiness of her children, shenmust now daily vex herself with the laziness and faithless-ness of her servants, who thoughtlessly wasted whateverwas entrusted to their care; who stole money, food, ale,and other things; gossiped, and taught the children viciousShabits. At first Menzikoff visited his mother regularly,every day, but these visits became gradually rarer,-hoxcusing himself on account of numerous engagements.it length they ceased entirely; Matinka only and her


20 The Perils of Greatness.children kept their promise, and sought to compensate thelonely grandmother for the heavy loss. The joyful hourswhen Menzikoff lived only for his family-when he dancedabout the room with them, and related anecdotes for theiramusement, became shorter and shorter, until they dimin-ished to moments. Often he returned home in very fret-ful humours; for the Czar was hot and passionate, andsometimes scolded his minister severely. That which theservant, the clerk, and even the secretary had hitherto bornewith willing patience, now filled the minister with fury,but which he was obliged to hide in his own breast, or topour out at home on his servants and family. When heentered the house in such angry moods, the children crepttremblingly out of his way. Matinka would anxiouslycome forward to meet him, in vain exerting herself withcheerful words and caresses to prevent the outbreak of thestorm. For half a day, however, he would often shuthimself up in his room, where no one, not even his wife,dared to disturb him, however urgent the occasion. Hespent many of his evenings at parties given by the nobility,from which it was always long past midnight before hereturned home, generally intoxicated. Such was the casealso when any of his new ac4uaintances assembled in hisdwelling, where large sums were lost in gambling, and thenoise of the confusion resounded even into Matinka's quietbed-chamber, who, with hot tears moistening her lonely pil-low, gazed sleepless with anxiety on her sleeping children.The country trips to the residence of Matinka's parents hadwholly ceased, and only by stealth she dared see them whenMenzikoff happened to be civil A formal round of visit-ing, where she met none but hollow-hearted fashionables,was the penalty.


The Perils of Greatness. 21CHAPTER IV.THE anniversary day of one's baptism is extensively cele-brated among the Russians. Such too had always been thecase with Menzikoff. Matinka had yearly prepared somepleasure for her husband on this day. But with what couldshe astonish him this year, since his mind was estrangedfrom the former quiet happiness, and bent only on am-bitious pursuits ? He himself directed her in her uncer-tainty. A fortnight previous to the event, he spoke aboutit to his wife."Dear Matinka," said he, in a flattering tone, "youmight prepare me a very great pleasure for my christening-day.""Dear husband," returned Matinka, eagerly, "you.know I will do anything to please you."" Well," said Menzikoff, " we cannot delay the entertain-ment of a numerous company any longer. They alreadycall us miserly. I have dreaded it long. But a beginningmust at last be made. What I would like you to do isthis, that you make all necessary preparations for the en-tertainment on my name-day; also, for my sake, you mustattire yourself as becomes a lady of your rank. I shallprovide everything that is required, and then"-"What more, dear husband ?""You are an excellent wife, so beautiful, so good."-Matinka blushed and looked down. " You are," he con-tinued, "a faithful, fond mother, a careful hostess. Only-only"-"What, dear husband ?" said Matinka, anxiously." Nothing is wanting in you," answered Menzikoff, " butthose accomplishments, and that high breeding, without


22 The Perils of Greatness.which you may possess the noblest heart and clearest un-derstanding, and yet be ridiculed and despised. Smoothwords and false flatteries pass better with the nobility thangood morals and unvarnished truth. You are a costlyjewel, but in your unassuming modesty you appear only asan unpolished pebble. It cuts me to the very soul to beforced to see others mistake you so, but a little practicewill make all right."" Only tell me, husband, what I must do to please you,"said Matinka."Listen," answered Menzikoff; "I will engage theFrench dancing-master, Genou, to practise our Florin inbowing, and to attend to the carriage of his body, as alsothe usual method of expressing himself, and other proprie-ties. You will be in attendance, and note all, and practiseit afterwards in your chamber. Some days before the feastwe will have a little rehearsal among ourselves, in order tosee how we progress."Matinka sighed and promised to obey, and the suppledancing-master soon appeared to give his instructions.Poor Florin was obliged to allow himself to be sorelyrestrained by him. He had to walk up and down the roomas stiff as a stick a hundred times, a thousand times to bowon all sides, and waste compliments on the vacant chairs;while Genou commanded:-"Keep in your stomach! Throw out your breast!Hold up your head! Oh, fie !--do not stretch out yourleg behind you so Do not turn your foot inwards! Donot allow your arms to dangle like clubs! Now, oncemore, make a little obeisance. Not so deep! Do notstrike the floor with your nose."At first these efforts were pleasant to the little one, butdispleasure and weariness followed, and at length he began


The Perils of Greatness. 23to cry bitterly; but it was of no avail-his sufferings cor-tinued.Next time the dancing-master brought a small boardwith him, on which two channels were formed, whereinFlorin must place his feet, that they might be inclinedproperly outwards. This was a real trial to him. In thispainful position, the poor boy lost his balance and severaltimes tumbled on the floor.But yet still more severe were these practisings to thegood Matinka, to whom her husband supplied the place ofdancing-master, and roundly blamed and scolded when shadid not perform her part well How eagerly did she longfor former times, when a hearty greeting and kiss wer6dearer to her husband than all this empty bowing and com-plimenting !Milliners and dressmakers now came with their fashion-able wares. They covered all the tables and chairs withsilken stuffs, veils, laces, feathers, and innumerable otherarticles of finery, from among which Matinka had to select.Tailors and shoemakers took measures. Jewellers displayedtheir brilliant ornaments. Matinka was utterly bewildered.A sum of gold, which would have been sufficient for awhole year's expenses before, was hardly sufficient for thesupply of one day now."Must I shew myself in this graceless attire i" Matinkaasked her husband, when they had fitted on her new gar-ment, and a deep crimson overspread her countenance."You will soon be accustomed to it," he said. " Fashionwill have it so."Matinka was silent, and in great discomfort; but whenthe newly-engaged lady's-maid put on the bodice with steelribs, and began to press her body without mercy, she criedout in anguish,-


24 The Perils of Greatness."Ah I suffocate I cannot draw breath! All the ribsare hurting me !""This is affectation," said Menzikoff, harshly; "other-wise thousands of ladies must have been suffocated."Matinka patiently allowed her body to be squeezed to-gether. They next girded her slender waist with a hugehooped petticoat, which looked like two inverted kettle-drums, one over the other."Would you transform me into a monster 1" asked she."I shall certainly not be able to pass through the widefolding doors.""You can go sideways, then," said Menzikoff, who hadan answer always ready.Lastly, her feet were squeezed into a pair of tight shoes,with uncommonly high tapered heels, id which she couldscarcely make one secure step. Menzikoff noticed howmuch it cost his wife to suppress her complaints over thisnew oppression, and comforted her with the words,-" Exercise your patience. This is only an experiment,and when the feast is past, you may lay aside these uncom-fortable things for ever.""I would like to know," said Matinka, "what senselessperson invented all this foolery, which looks as if only in-tended for deforming and mocking the works of God ""That I will willingly tell," said Menzikoff, laughing."One short dame, who would yet appear tall, invented thehigh-heeled shoes, and the tower-like head-dress; another,too lean or too stout, pressed her body together by meansof the bodice, to make the fulness across the chest norevisible; a third concealed her deformed legs under thehooped petticoat; a fourth, her gray hairs with whitepowder; a fifth, her pale face by means of rouge.""But why must I imitate this foolishness ? I am neither


The Perils of Greatness. 25little, nor crooked; neither too lean, nor too stout; haveneither.gray hairs nor pale cheeks.""Fashion will have it so, as I have told you," said he."Then who or what is fashion that it can issue suchcruel commands ?" asked Matinka.Menzikoff was silent and embarrassed. He himself didnot know what fashion was-that blind rage of imitationamong mankind.At length, all was in readiness for the feast. The guestswere invited, the rooms adorned, the cellar, the kitchen,and store-rooms replenished. The evening before it wasset apart for Matinka's final rehearsal of her newly-acquiredaccomplishments. Could any one believe that a man likeMenzikoff, at one time so prudent, could ever enter intosuch childish nonsense ? And yet he did so. He who pre-viously had scarcely a moment to spare for his wife andchildren, could now daily amuse himself several hours withinstructing his wife in courtly compliments and expressionswhich were wholly worthless."Just imagine," said he to Matinka, "that I am a noblelady who has been invited to the banquet. I enter thedoor, and approach to pay my respects to you. You returnthe same, rejoice to make my acquaintance-have longedexceedingly for this happiness"-"But all this is untrue," interrupted Matinka; "if I sayso I will lie.""That you must certainly do," said Menzikoff. "It everis so in parties given by the nobility. One must expresshimself happy to see another whom he wishes might be athousand miles away. There one overwhelms another withflatteries, whose eyes he could scratch out at the same time.Therein consists high breeding."Matinka's honest heart was unable to understand this.


26 The Perils of Greatness.The rehearsal began. Menzikoff found much to blame.Matinka would make her bows too deep or too slight; hervoice sounded sometimes too frightenedly, sometimes tooloudly, and sometimes too heartily. She stood as if on burn-ing coals, and Menzikoff ended the farce ill at ease. Previ-ously Matinka had looked forward with great pleasure tothe name-day of her husband; but now in what a state ofanxiety had she spent the whole of the previous night IIn the morning the hairdresser came, who burned, frizzled,and cut unmercifully among her beautiful hair, and thencombed,-oh, how long Matinka thought. He then stucka whole mountain of horse hair, swine's bristles, hair pins,and pomade on her head, so that it was half an ell higherthan usual. Lastly, he covered the whole fabric with acloud of white powder. Her beautiful natural complexionhe glossed with white and red paint: and thus was thewhole person perfect. In addition to the severe headache,caused by the unnatural treatment which she had enduredfor several hours, came the frightful squeezing of the bodice,and the painful tightness of the shoes. Nevertheless, thepoor creature must stand with cheerful smiling mien, whilethe carriages with their guests came to the door. The fold-ing doors were now thrown open, and Menzikoff, likewisefestively attired, cast an anxious look of meaning on hiswife, whose deadly paleness was unnoticed on account ofher rouge.The exchange of greetings on both sides began, and wenteven better than Menzikoff had hoped. Matinka's unmis-takable heartiness and natural sagacity compensated forthe want of many an empty compliment; but Merzikoff,nevertheless, overheard one of their guests remark in Frenchto her neighbour, "The hostess seems to me to be a littlegoose." which caused Menzikoff to cast a withering glance,


The Perils of Greatness. 27not on the impertinent woman who had said so, but on hisinnocent wife, that made her tremble. But fortunately theentrance of both their children interrupted the disagreeableconversation. Florin was dressed exactly like his father.He seemed to be the childish image of a full-grown man.How droll his little form appeared in the curled peruke andhair-bag, with a richly-laced blue velvet coat, white vest,knee breeches, silk stockings, and shoes with silver buckles !he had even a small sword, with a gold hilt and white lac-quered sheath; while the dress of the four-year-old Helenewas also after the same fashion as her mother's. All theguests surrounded the tiny pair, and vied with each otherin their praises and flatteries, which soothed the irritationof Menzikoff. In his vanity he overlooked that all thesespeeches and caresses were quite as hypocritical as he hadlately described them to Matinka. They now seated them-selves at the lordly table. Innumerable dishes were de-spatched, healths drunk, and the company became ever moreuproarious. In the midst of the continued din the dooropened, and Menzikoff s mother, simply but cleanly dressed,entered, and stood abashed before the company, whose eyeswere all turned towards her."I seek my son," she said with feeble voice, at length."Pardon my boldness. Does my Alexander no longerdwell here 1 I may have mistaken the house."Her eyes wandered anxiously round the company insearch of her son. Menzikoff had become very pale on herentrance, but having recovered a little from his fright, hesprang up from his seat."My good woman," said he, advancing towards hismother with forced cheerfulness, "I am here, and am veryglad, dear mother, that you have again visited me. Comeand have a quiet chat together."


28 The Perils of Greatness.Speaking so he urged his mother, who several timesattempted to speak, towards the door of a side chamber;before leaving the room, however, he turned to the com-pany and said,-"Excuse my absence; the good old woman is worthy ofthe attention," and disappeared after her." It yet has failed," he muttered bitterly, as he led theold woman to a seat. He could not entirely banish his dis-pleasure as he said, " Welcome, dear mother; it is kind ofyou to give me the pleasure of seeing you."" My dear son," returned his mother, "my legs willhardly bear me any longer; but I have succeeded to-day,as it is your name-day, and have come to wish you joy andto give you my maternal blessing. I indeed come empty-handed, but my heart is all the fuller. My son, it is long,very long, since I saw you last. Who knows whether itmay happen again? However, had I known you had somany visitors"-" Good mother," said Menzikoff, " I thank you for yourlove. I would indeed have been glad to have invited youto this little entertainment, but I knew so well your disliketo such assemblies. But have my servants not brought youthe wine and dishes correctly ? if not, they ought"--"Dear Alexander," said his mother, interrupting him," I came not here on that account. My old stomach cannotbear all these dainties : I came only to see you, and enjoyyour society.""But I must leave you soon," said he, embarrassed; "myduties as host, you know, require my immediate return tothem; however, I will send Matinka and the children toyou, and take care that you have refreshments.""But perhaps your guests have been here a considerabletime ?" asked his mother.


The Perils of Greatness. 29*' Oh, yes; about four hours," said he."And kind old acquaintances, of course, to whom you areunder deep obligations " his mother inquired further."I have known most of them," he replied, " for aboutsix months, and have possibly been invited by them tentimes to their assemblies. From that you will see that Iowe them many obligations.""If you have already spent four hours with acquaint-ances of six months' standing, who have ten times invitedyou to their tables, you may well spare one quarter of anhour upon your old mother, who for two-and-thirty yearshas been your best friend, and who for twelve years caredfor you daily," said his mother, earnestly.SMenzikoff felt his ingratitude, but instead of confess-ing his fault at once, he appeared hurt, and answeredpeevishly,-"Mother, you wrong me. You do not know my inten-tions. I will send my wife and children, they will be betterable to chat with you. I hope, however, to speak withyou again before you leave."He departed quickly. The old woman remained intears; but soon the door opened again, and a strangeand richly-dressed lady entered as quickly as her high-heeled shoes permitted her, accompanied by two unknownchildren. Menzikoffs mother rose respectfully from herseat, and Matinka, weeping violently, flung herself on herbreast, and covered her reverent face with caresses."0 grandmother! grandmother!" shouted Florin andHelene, climbing up upon her.Matinka had observed the entrance of Menzikoft'smother into the dining-room, and was ,oing to spring upand fly to her, but a peculiar look from Menzikoff hadprevented her. Since then she had sat as if on needles,


30 The Perils of Greatness.till he had returned and requested her to spend a fewmoments with his mother. He was immediately stormedwith the question,-"Is the old woman really yourmother ?""Most certainly not," answered Menzikoff, with the great-est composure, as he laughingly surveyed their inquiringfaces. " My mother is dead long ago; but this good oldwoman was my nurse, and considers me always as herfoster son, acting towards me as such. And why should Igrudge her this little pleasure? I am certain you agreewith me that I ought not.""Oh, yes," cried the guests, truly or assumed, as theywere convinced or not. His old mother was soon forgot-ten, but Menzikoff had been ashamed of his own mother,without whose tender care while a little child he wouldhave been lost. All the more hearty seemed the rejoicingof Matinka and her grandchildren over her visit; she for-got the presence of the guests and the warning of her hus-band to return quickly. The good old woman shook herhead as she gazed on her daughter-in-law."I certainly did not recognise you," she said; "butthe old Matinka was dearer to me in her homely dress thanthe minister's grand lady. I can scarcely dare come nearyou to press your hand, far less to kiss you.""To me, too," replied Matinka, sobbing, "my old cloth-ing is dearer than this whalebone dress, which I'see Ihave entirely destroyed by my rapid entrance. What aburden do I bear on my head how the tight shoes pinchme! what frightful pain this bodice causes me! how Iloathe myself with my painted face !"The poor children broke out with similar complaints." Only see," said Florin, with comic sorrow, " the sack Icarry, tossina on my back." Saying this he shook the


The Perils of Greatness. 3hair-bag rapidly, and dashed hither and thither a wholecloud of white powder over his blue velvet coat." How did you come into possession of so many curls I"asked his grandmother."Oh, they are all false," said Florin, lifting the perukeand hair-bag from his head, and presenting them to hisastonished grandmother on the point of his sword."I would be content," said he, "if the sword was real;but it is a mere sheath and handle, with which I canneither fight nor cut."He threw the peruke upon the floor and ran fencingafter his little sister, whose wide whalebone skirts hebelaboured stoutly with his sword. To avoid this, shescoured round the room with Florin at her heels, but slip-ping on the glassy boards, she fell, and Florin tumbledover her, so that the destruction of their dresses was com-pleted.Menzikoff entered just then to ascertain the reason of hiswife's long absence. He found the children struggling onthe floor, one of his wife's whalebone hoops broken, theother hanging down; a part of her rouge clinging to hismother's cheeks, and part of it running down with her tearson her own lace frills. This sight roused his anger so muchthat he could only with difficulty restrain its complete out-burst in the presence of his mother. But the children didnot escape so easily: he flung them without mercy hereand there, dealing them several cuffs as they ran about.Then, trembling with passion, he said to his wife,-" It is a true proverb, That which has been coined intoa penny will never become a shilling.' So is it with you,who will ever remain a peasant. Stay now in this chamber,and on no account present yourself again before the com-pany, for your appearance in that state would shew too


32 The Perils of Greatness.plainly the mistake which I made, when I took you for awife."He ran out without taking leave of his mother, who en-deavoured to appease him, and returned to his guests. Notrace of anger could be found on his face, as he said,-"My wife begs a thousand times to be excused, she canno longer enjoy the pleasure of your company. A severeheadache, to which she is sometimes liable, has attackedher suddenly, and robbed her of the happiness she knowshow to value here."The nobility employ such untruths only too frequently,to escape a troublesome visitor or an unwelcome suppliant,not considering them sinful in the least. They spoke a fewwords in condolence over the indisposition of the hostess,and immediately the gentlemen returned to their wine, andthe ladies to their gossip.But Menzikoff had left his wife in the deepest distress.Such hard words, such relentless rebukes as these, he hadnever used towards her before. So this was her reward asa noble lady, to compensate for the loss of her former in-nocent enjoyments She felt that the band which she haddrawn around her Alexander was loosened. So he regrettedhaving married her-dreadful! His old mother, herselfrequiring comfort, offered all her motherly consolation tocompose her afflicted daughter. They wept and lamentedtogether over their sorrows, while the children cried underthe smarting blows they had received. At length Matinkalaid aside her finery, and dressing herself in her usual gar-ments, conducted the old grandmother home, and thensought her own chamber, to which peace would be for along time a stranger.


The Perils of Greatness. 33CHAPTER V.AN event which has often restored the tender sympathythat is sometimes interrupted between married couples,seemed likely to be the means of again uniting Menzikoffmore securely than ever to his Matinka. He was about toenter on a journey with the Czar, which was to extend overa long period. The young and noble prince felt, as Solo-mon had done, that he was deficient as yet in many quali-fications required for wise and successful government; hedetermined therefore, with praiseworthy zeal, to undertakea journey through Europe, that, by familiar intercoursewith good and wise rulers, he might cultivate the needfulvirtues of a father of his people,-to investigate, at thesame time, by what means the arts and sciences, the tradeand commerce of his country, could be improved, by per-sonal observation. The Czar Peter fulfilled this happy de-sign with the most steadfast perseverance, and merited fairlyhis surname of The Great. He who was the ruler of thelargest kingdom in Europe, did not consider it below hisdignity to wield the heavy axe as a carpenter, forge iron asa blacksmith, or stand sentry as a common soldier, in orderto set an example to his subjects. He laid the foundationof Russia's greatness and prosperity, and generations tocome will mention his name with the highest veneration.Menzikoff, formerly the pastry-boy, had gained his favouron account of certain worthy qualities he possessed. Hehad therefore been appointed one of his ministers, andchosen as one of the numerous suite which was destined toaccompany him. This impending separation made allthe members of his family dear to him. He again treatedhis mother, wife, and children with his former tenderness.0


34 The Perils of Greatness.IUe took the greatest care, that they should be provideiwith all worldly comforts during his absence, and the leave.taking between the weeping mother, wife, and children, andthe affectionate son, husband, and father was extremelytouching. He promised not to forget them, and to sendthem intelligence very often. He kept faith with them atfirst; they regularly rejoiced over a letter from him. Butwas it on account of the increasing distance, or dissipationwhich robbed him of his time, that his letters came lessfrequently, and at length ceased entirely 1 Matinka, afterthe departure of her husband, had forsaken her showydwelling, and returned again to the humble house of hermother-in-law, on whom she waited with the greatest ten-derness; at the same time, she gave both her children agood education, found teachers for them, and accustomedthem to all useful activity."How your father will rejoice when he returns," sheoften said to them, " if you have learned much during hisabsence."The children obeyed, and guarded carefully againstgiving displeasure. Their grandmother felt her strengthdeclining daily."I shall not see my son Alexander again," she said, an-ticipating the near approach of death. "This thoughtwould leave me comfortless, were I not certain that I shallbe reunited to him hereafter. I have lived long enough.God has allowed me to enjoy great happiness. I would beungrateful did I not acknowledge it; but mankind is neverindeed satisfied. My latest wish was that my son mightclose my eyes, but God's will be done."Menzikoff was scarcely gone three months when sheentered her everlasting rest. She died fully conscious,"after that she had called her daughter-in-law and grand-


The Perils of Greatness. 35children to her bedside, and given them, as well as her absent son, her dying blessing. As the old grandmother layin her coffin, and her relatives according to the Russiancustom kissed the body before it was committed to thegrave, Matinka said to her children,-" From what reproaches would you now have suffered, ifyou had occasioned your blessed grandmother's. death, oreven had offended her while living. All the tears of themost bitter repentance could not now awaken her."They felt how right their mother was, and solemnly pro-mised to give her no occasion for displeasure, that theymight never be pained by remorse at the side of her death.bed.After their grandmother had been committed to thedust, and the mourning family had returned from thefuneral, and were sitting sorrowfully thinking of their ab-sent father, the door of their dwelling was opened suddenly,and a non-commissioned officer of the Guards hurriedlyentered. Astonished at this unexpected visit, Matinka rose,and was not a little amazed when the bearded soldierclasped her in his arms." I do believe Matinka," he said, when he saw how he hadfrightened her, " that you do not know your own brotheragain. Look well at me-I am he."Matinka flung her arms joyfully round his neck, andanswered,-" Ah, dear Simonow, you have indeed become strange tome; but tell me, how does it come that I see you here 1I thought I would never have seen you again. What hap-piness !""I am glad I have been enrolled among the NationalGuards," returned Simonow, "because, dear Matinka, Iwill now be near you ; but where is your husband 1"


36 The Perils of Greatness.Matinka told him the cause of his absence. During therelation Simonow's face darkened, and he nodded doubt-fully as he said,-" Dear Matinka, you are not the only one who has causeto complain of the Czar's delay; but rather the wholepeople, from the highest down to the lowest. Instead ofpromoting the prosperity of his country, he leaves the go-vernment in the hands of faithless ministers, and travelsabroad for his own pleasure. His faithful subjects areworth nothing in his eyes, while the foreigners who sur-round him on all sides are everything. What they desirehe does; in the end he will even become apostate fromour holy faith, and adopt that which the foreign hereticsbring here and seek secretly to spread. Yet this shall notcontinue long, while a single Guard can lift an arm."As he said this, he clashed his weapons together soloudly that the children crept more closely together at thesound."Brother, brother," exclaimed Matinka, anxiously, "youhave scarcely joined the Guards before their revolutionaryspitit has taken possession of you. Will you never be-come wise T Of what use has the frequent disturbancesof your comrades been ? They have been brought to thegibbet and to banishment through them. You will neverrest until you have been wholly destroyed. Dear brother,by all that is holy, I beg you lend not so ready an ear tothe counsels of evil men, but rather leave the welfare ofthe people in the hands of a just God. If the Czar doesnot reign after His will, He will quickly depose him, but youought to render to 'Caesar the things which are Caesar's.'""You do not understand this," said Simonow. "Youwomen are doromed to suffer, but we men to act; so youmust wait patiently for the issue."


The Perzts of Greatness. 37But Matinka could not quiet herself; her brother's out-spoken thoughts caused her the greatest anxiety, and itproved indeed to be only too well founded.CHAPTER VI.ONE evening as Matinka and her children were at prayersin her quiet dwelling, her worship was disturbed by an up-roar in the street, which increased. Many persons wererunning hastily along the streets, doors were opened andshut, and a wild outcry re-echoed from a distance. Ma-tinka's disquiet had become the greatest anxiety, just asthe loud thundering noise fell upon her ear." Oh, God, the Guards," she cried, forbodingly; and shehad good reason for her fears.The National Guards, who were above seven thousandstrong, had revolted, had disowned Peter's government,and desired to raise the Princess Sophia to the throne.The uproar soon raged through all the streets of the greatcity-shots resounded more and more frequently, and thecry of anguish from the wounded fugitives became evermore frightful. Like wild tigers the Guards, for the mostpart intoxicated, sought in their madness to butcher all thesupporters of Peter. Matinka trembled, not so much forher own life, as for her children's-for her husband wasgenerally known as the Czar's favourite, and they mightrevenge it on his wife and children, as Menzikoff himselfwas not at hand. In deep anguish Matinka threw herselfon the floor of her little chamber, and implored her


38 The Perils of Greatness.Heavenly Father to grant them His gracious protection.She had the presence of mind to extinguish the light, butthe lurid flames of the blazing houses glared all the morefearfully into the little chamber, and threw the shadows ofthe praying family on the lighted wall. It was well thatshe had exchanged her pompous dwelling for this humblelittle house. Of the former nothing now remained-allwas entirely destroyed or dispersed, and she herself wouldnot have been spared, had they found her there. Even-here her last hour seemed at hand, for a little troop ofraging soldiers, led, probably, by some vindictive traitor,approached Matinka's dwelling, shouting as they neared it,"Down with Menzikoffs brood."Matinka could do nothing but barricade the door assecurely and quickly as possible, which she did with greatprecision, although with trembling hands. She then hidher sobbing children in a corer under some old rubbish,while she herself went cautiously to one of the windows towatch the further proceedings of the soldiers, and shapeher measures accordingly.The Guards now thundered at the door with the buttsof their muskets, and on the closed shutters of the ground-floor; but as these resisted their efforts, several musketballs were fired through the window of the upper room, inwhich poor Matinka was, who thought she would have diedwith agony. The tumult reached its height, however,when some rough voices roared-" Burn down the woodennest;" and the space around the little house was quicklyilluminated by the materials brought together for that pur-pose.Matinka had commended herself and her poor children tothe all-merciful God, and prayed only for a quick and pain-less death, when a deliverer appeared in her dire necessity.,


The Perils of Greatness. 39A single Guard came running with the greatest speed,and sternly addressing the crowd of incendiaries, said,-"What do you here 1 Have you nothing better to dothan to plunder a miserable hut which scarcely contains thevalue of a rouble?'" We know better than that, sergeant," shouted the sol-diers. " Menzikoff, the favourite's, family dwells here, andwe must root them out."" It is nonsense," replied Simonow, who had hastened tohis sister's deliverance. " My own sister has rented thishouse since Menzikoff's mother died in it. We have al-ready cleaned out Menzikoffs real quarters. Sister," heshouted; "where are you ?""Here," said Matinka, opening the window. "Manythanks for your assistance."" Are you satisfied now 7" said Simonow to his comrades."Come, let us go where there is more to be found."The Guards followed him willingly, and left Matinka andher children rescued. How she praised God's mercifulprovidence, which had brought her brother to Moscow justat that time. But the danger was not wholly over, forsoon the tumult grew even worse than before;-renewed-and repeated cannonading was heard,--the-war-cry andtumult of battle resounded horribly through the streets,and made this the most frightful night on record.Those regiments which had remained faithful had arrivedat the scene of war, and under the leadership of GeneralGordon compelled the rebellious Guards to return to theirbarracks. These did not willingly obey, and much bloodwas therefore shed on both sides. The struggle was notover,.when Matinka heard a gentle knocking on the yetbolted door of her house. She slipped gently down, andiprudently inquired what was wanted.


40 Thie Perils of Greatness." Open quickly, Matinka," said a faint voice, which she,with fear, recognised to be her brother's.She quickly unloosed the bolts, but on opening the door,the lamp nearly fell from her hands, when she saw herbeloved brother, her deliverer, totter feebly into the apart-ment covered over with blood, and deadly pale."Let me die in peace with you," he said in faintingaccents, and clung to his sister with both his hands, sothat the blood gushed out of his wounds, over her garments."All is lost. A ball or the gallows is my fate, if I amdiscovered."Matinka's prediction was correct. The wounded manwas hardly able to mount the stairs even with the assistanceof his sister, so that Matinka was reduced to the extremity-(as she durst not call in a physician,)-of examining hiswounds, washing them, and bandaging them herself-always a difficult task to an inexperienced woman, whodislikes the sight of blood : the tender love of a sister alonecould give her the needful courage.After she had done this, she put the children to bed andwatched through the remainder of this fearful night by thesuffering bed of her brother, who fevered by his wounds,was bereft entirely of his reason, and required her unin-terrupted attention.On the morning following, Matinka instructed both herchildren to preserve the strictest silence about their sickuncle, making them understand how they might be themeans of bringing him to a shameful death by gossiping,and shewing them with what fearful remorse they wouldthen suffer. They promised to maintain the most profoundsilence; and they kept their word, which was the morenecessary as, on the following day, an order was issued toall the inhabitants of Moscow to discover and deliver up


The Perils of Greatness. 4to the authorities, all Guards to whom they had givenshelter, under the threat of banishment to Siberia. OughtMatinka to obey this command? To hand over herbrother, her own and her children's preserver, to certaindeath I No, that she could never do. She would rely onher husband's mighty influence, and not betray her brother.He improved from day to day, and both had alreadydiscussed how he might be placed beyond the reachof danger, and how they might for that purpose contrivea secret flight, when that was made impracticable by the un-expected arrival of the Czar, who issued the strictest ordersto search out those Guards who were yet missing. Peterhad been on the point of proceeding from England to Italy,when the intelligence of this renewed uprising of the Guardsreached him. It transfixed him with indescribable anger,and he at once gave up the intended journey, hastenedback to Moscow, with the determination of exercising theseverest punishment upon the rebels. Houses in all partsof the city were searched, and as Matinka's neighbours hadoften seen her brother going out and in, they would notfail to search her's also, and might discover the unfortunateSimonow. He already fancied himself taken prisoner anddragged away; his sister, also, who had acted unlawfully,ran the risk of sharing the same fate, if they did not spareher for her husband's sake. Matinka was beside herselfwhen she heard the fate which awaited the rebels. Withreal anguish she saw a gallows erected on all the battlementsof the kremlin, destined for those who had been mostprominent. Most probably Simonow would also be sen-tenced to die, as he was a non-commissioned officer, andthe wounds he had received would prove that he had beenmost active in the revolt. Matinka knew not how toadvise or help. She wished to learn whether her husband


42 The Perils of Greatness.had returned along with the Czar, and, to do so, hastenedto her late dwelling, where she found only the blackenedwalls remaining. She hastily retraced her steps, but,while hurrying home, she met a troop of soldiers with anumber of guards handcuffed in their midst, amongstwhom her searching eye discovered poor Simonow, whowas scarcely able to stagger along under his heavy irons.He looked pale indeed, but very collected."Simonow, my dearest brother," she screamed, stretch.ing her arms towards him. His chains clanked terribly asif he would have embraced her."Back," cried the soldiers, levelling their muskets atMatinka, who now ran into the midst of the crowd, be-wailing her brother's fate.Suddenly the Czar appeared on horseback, accompaniedby a numerous suite, which, to poor Matinka, seemed tobe a signal from God, encouraging her to attempt therescue of her brother. With outstretched arms she threwherself on the ground before the Czar."Great Czar," cried she. "Mercy, mercy upon myunfortunate brother."The Czar looked on her uplifted face, which shewed herheartfelt anguish, and said mildly-" Who is your brother,and what is his crime, that he requires my mercy I "Encouraged by the gentle tone in which these wordswere spoken, Matinka pointed towards the prisoners andsaid,-"There they lead him to death. He is a Guardsmau,and the best and tenderest of brothers.""And the worst subject," Peter added, passionately, ashis countenance suddenly darkened. "They are all villains,who would have destroyed me, they are unworthy of mymercy, and must take their merited reward."


The Perils of Greatness. 43He reined his horse aside to pass the place where shelay, and then only did Matinka perceive her husband closeto the person of the Czar. Her hopes, which had beendashed to the ground, again quickly revived."Husband," she cried, with joyful surprise; "dearhusband, supplicate for your unhappy brother-in-law. Heis innocent. He saved my life, and that of your children,therefore add your entreaties to mine."" How " cried the Czar, turning to his favourite. " Isthe sister of a rebel your wife "Menzikoff quickly comprehended that he might lose theroyal favour if he acknowledged the truth, and that losshe would on no account incur. With him the fear of manwas stronger than the fear of God; and therefore, as Peterhad denied his Lord and Saviour, so he denied his braveand faithful wife."My lord," he replied, with a confident look; "thewoman must be mad, or have lost the use of her senses,through anxiety on her brother's account. I see her nowfor the first time in my life. Lift the unfortunate womanaside," he said to the servants who were in attendance.He rode on with the Czar, without even casting a lookon Matinka, who was carried away entirely senseless. Onrecovering a little, she believed herself sometimes to belying in a distressing dream, at other times, that she wasreally insane. What a meeting after such a long separa-tion What pain to see her husband, for whom she wouldwillingly have sacrificed her life, acting thus towards her !In utter misery she crept back to her dwelling, where shecontinued brooding despondingly over the past, and ren-dering herself unfit for any further undertaking. Deathhad taken away her good mother-in-law; her brother wason his way to the scaffold, if not already executed ; her


44 The Perils of Greatness.husband-dreadful fact-lost to her. The happiness ofher peaceful life, blasted by a poisonous breath, hadwithered away. Only the children and her heavenlyFather were now left to her. But poorer still did Menzi-koff feel He had sacrificed his conscience, his wife andchildren, and the favour of an infinitely rich and AlmightyGod to the favour of a weak and changing human being.He had cast all behind him for the sake of a shadow, andalready the messenger of vengeance, the secret but everactive reprover, had gone forth to torment him.It was this disturbed state which drove him up anddown his chamber with rapid steps. Ought he to pursuethe path he had now entered, and repudiate his wife, or"forsake the splendid career of fortune and sink back intohis former nothingness ? He wavered; but at last, as isonly too often the case, evil prevailed; and he resolved tobreak the band of wedlock which threatened to destroy thefavour of the Czar, or at least hinder his speedy promotion.But he did not feel himself strong enough to execute thisbusiness personally. He feared the prayers of Matinka andthe children might possibly shake his resolution, and stirup his former love. He therefore sent his valet, a clever,crafty fellow, to negotiate between him and Matinka. Shewas sitting in the deepest distress in her room, while thechildren were studying their tasks quietly by the light of asmall lamp, often looking up to their weeping mother withtearful eyes, when a knock came to the door and a manentered. The belief in her husband's faithfulness was notentirely extinguished in Matinka's breast; she yet hopedmomently to see him stepping into their midst; she there-fore could scarcely suppress a scream on the entrance of thestranger; but she found herself bitterly deceived. It wasnot her loved Alexander, but only his valet.


The Perils of Greatness. 45CHAPTER VILAFTER a brief greeting, Menzikoff's ambassador addressedMatinka--"My gracious master might with justice bitterly reproachyou for the foolish step which you took to-day, and whichexposed him to the most imminent danger; but he excusesyou, as you have without doubt been sufficiently punishedfor it already. Through having concealed your rebelliousbrother you have incurred the punishment of transportationto Siberia. It would not, indeed, have been difficult foryour husband, to have saved you from this, and even yourbrother's life, had you not brought the whole affair beforethe enraged Emperor himself. By that step you boundyour husband's hands. Yea, further, if the Czar learns thatyou are really his wife, and that your husband deceivedhim when he denied you, then his vengeance will fall alsoupon him. Thus, misfortune will overtake you all, andyour children will indeed be orphans."The valet then stopped, while Matinka wrung her handsin agony." There is one expedient only," continued he again, "bywhich you may all be saved, and to which only, from loveto you and to the children, he would resort.""Oh, tell me !" Matinka hastily exclaimed."It pains my master to be obliged to make this pro-posal, but the most pressing necessity, the greatest dangercompels him.""Speak, for God's sake," Matinka cried in the greatestdistress."If you consent to this proposal," he said, impressively,"you will save your husband from the just anger of the


46 The Perils of Greatness.Czar; free your brother from death, and yourself frombanishment. If you really love your husband, your brother,your children, and yourself, then you will surely seize.seize eagerly, the only remedy which presents itself 1""Yes, yes," she eagerly cried. "But what is thatremedy ""It is," the valet said slowly, "the dissolution of yourmarriage with Menzikoff."Matinka staggered, and pressed both her hands upon herbrow." Now choose, Matinka," he urged.But she was unable to give him an answer directly. Shesaid at length, with trembling lips,-" How can the parting of a peaceful, happy wedlock bethe only means of deliverance V"" That is easily explained," replied the valet. " Becauseyour husband will then retain all his powerful influencewith the Czar, and without incurring the charge of par-tiality, he can work in secret for you."" I will do anything but this," Matinka said, " you cantell my husband.""Nothing else will do," replied the valet. "the separa-tion must be arranged just now.""Then I will withdraw myself and children into thefarthest corner of the empire," she said in tears, "tell noone who my husband is, and forbid my children from evermentioning their father's name, that my husband may notwholly cast me off."" All will avail not," said the valet. "Do you agree tothe separation or not ?""Though it cost me my life, I cannot," Matinkaanswered."Very well," said the valet. "Your husband leaves it


The Perils of Greatness. 47entirely to you. Then go out, proclaim loudly through allthe city, My husband has told lies to his Emperor. I amreally Menzikoff's wife.' And you will indeed see whatyour rashness will do.""O God !" exclaimed Matinka. "Then tell my husbandhe may do whatever he will I submit myself entirely tohim.""But he does not wish this. He leaves rather the willto you, that you may never be able to reproach him with it.If you desire it, he will allow himself to be separated fromyou ; if you do not, he will just surrender himself patiently.to the anger of the Czar.""Must I drive the knife into my own heart " saidMatinka, sobbing. " Must I urge on the separation, whichwill be my death 1"" Yes," replied the valet "Yours must the decision be.Menzikoffs love for you leaves your joint fate in yourhands."She bowed her head and folded her hands. She prayedsilently. In a little she said gently to the waitingvalet,-"Menzikoffs love shall not be greater than mine, forlove of him I would willingly die; but more than this willI do out of love to him. I will allow myself to be separ-ated from him. Let him remain noble and happy-mepoor and forsaken-only let him save my brother's life."" Good," said the go-between, well pleased with his suc-cess."One word further," cried Matinka, pointing to thechildren. "Will Menzikoff leave to me my only comfort 1"" He has not told me his will on that point," the valetanswered. "A division might perhaps suit, which is veryeasy with two children."


/48 The Perils of Greatness."No, no," she cried, passionately. "No division, youwould then tear my heart asunder, and make life unbear-able.""That can be arranged," said he, as he departed.One evening in the month of November 1697, Matinka,accompanied by both her little children, moved slowlyalong towards St Andrew's Church in Moscow. She foundthe little side door open, and passed into the large church,which was dimly lighted up by a single lamp, nigh thealtar. Matinka looked pale and wasted, and felt veryfatigued by her short walk; she therefore seated herselfand her two children in one of the nearest pews. Thereshe sat, so sad that the children dared not disturb theirpoor mother, even by a gentle word. After a little timethe priest approached the altar, and knelt in silent prayer,until at length the ninth hour sounded in loud strokes fromthe church tower. Matinka became now very uneasy, andthrew a melancholy look around her. Shortly, the soundof a rapidly approaching carriage, however, was heard with-out, which stopped at the church door. A tremblingseized Matinka, and she grasped the hands of her children,as if she needed something to support her. Loud footstepssounded on the stone flags of the church, and a tall man,wrapped from head to foot in a large cloak, came andplaced himself before the steps of the altar. It was Menzi-koff. Poor Matinka rose, but sank powerlessly back intoher seat, when the aged priest, pitying her, came and ledher on his arm to her husband's side. Menzikoff remainedstudiously silent, and Matinka could not speak, she was sowretched. Bowed and submissive she stood by the side ofher yet, oh how warmly beloved husband and dared notin her timidity touch even the hem of his garment.The priest now commenced the service in a grave, im-


The Perils of Greatness. 49pressive tone-" What God hath joined together, let noman put asunder. But on account of the hardness ofyour hearts-as our Lord hath said-Moses commanded togive a writing of divorcement, in order that greater miserybetween married people who are at variance may be guardedagainst. Alexander Menzikoff, and you, Matinka Natusch-kin, are you willing that the tie of marriage into which youentered in the presence of God, should be dissolved I"Menzikoff's "Yes" sounded clearly, but Matinka's waslike the last breath from a deathbed." Then," said the priest, "join hands."Matinka's cold, death-like hand was now laid in Menzi-koff's warm, healthy grasp, while she trembled so iolentlythat Menzikoff seized the other also.As Matinka knew this was the last time their handswould be united, need we wonder that she trembled ?"Ten years ago," continued the priest, "I joined yourhands together at this same holy altar. Now I separatethem, absolve you from the oaths which you then took;from the duties which you pledged yourselves to fulfil toone another, and divorce you in the name of the triuneGod. May you never regret this step. Depart in peace."Menzikoff left, but Matinka broke down under her weightof sorrows. The noise caused by the sobbing children at-tracted Menzikoff's attention, and when he saw Helene'slittle white hood and Florin's golden locks glancing overthe church pew he stopped. "Will you come and livewith me ?" he said, in a gentle tone." No, no," both cried at once, hurrying to their mother,whom they embraced, and endeavoured to raise up, whileMenzikoff glanced irresolutely towards the group. He leftat length, and nothing further was heard of the unhappyMatinka and her -hildren.DI


50 The Perils of Greatness.CHAPTER VIII.NOTHING now prevented the ambitious Menzikoff frommounting ever upwards on the ladder of earthly fortune.[n a few years he was made Count, Prince, Prime Minister,and Field-Marshal. The Emperor had given him largeestates, on which were nearly a hundred thousand serfs;created him Duke of Inkerman, and covered his breastwith the stars of various orders; as also did the Emperorof Austria, the King of Prussia, and other sovereigns, inorder to gain the favour of the powerful favourite. Thegreat riches, for which he had to thank the favour of hisEmperor, he yet sought to enlarge through unjust means-for avarice is the origin of all evil. He embezzled largesums intended for the country's good, sold lucrative situa-tions for money, and suffered himself to be bribed by fo-reign princes to work in opposition to the designs of hisCzar. His wealth, in money, amounted to three milliondollars. He also made a fresh marriage with the daughterof a distinguished Russian Prince, by whom he had a sonand two daughters. All honoured, all feared the powerfulMenzikoff. The most noble families courted his favour, ex-hausted their means of flattery in order to please him;and when, decked with orders, he drove out of his magni-ficent palace, in his gilded carriage of state, drawn by sixbeautiful horses, all the sentries presented arms, and thehighest general, as well as the meanest soldier, reverentlybared his head. Who could have imagined him to havebeen once a poor pastry baker's boy, wandering through thestreets shouting his wares 1Young reader, do not envy his happiness, for "all isnot gold that glitters." There hung above him a pointed


The Perils of Greatness. 51sword, suspended by a single thread, threatening everymoment to fall upon his head. No one could imagine,furthermore, the cares, the anxieties, and the remorse whichsecretly filled his heart. Consider now with me his dailycourse of life, and then say if he is worthy of envy. Hesought his bed-chamber late in the night, or rather early inthe morning. Formerly he had need of none to assist himto undress, but now a valet gently and silently brought outhis white night-clothes and helped to put them on, whilehe allowed himself to be treated like a lifeless doll Whenhe had no further orders, his servant retired with a lowbow, after he had folded down the silken bed-cover.Menzikoff then generally paced up and down his bedroomwith long steps, thinking how he had spent the day.whether his exertions after the enlargement of his powerand riches had been successful, whether he had accom-plished the ruin of any of his numerous foes, or whether hestill retained the favour of the Czar. Be brooded overnew plans for holding and increasing his authority, overexpedients by which he might conceal his base actionsfrom the knowledge of the Emperor, and render his ene-mies innoxious. He resolved to deprive this one ot hisoffice, and to banish that one to Siberia. A thousandschemes passed through his brain, heavy with spirituousliquors; and when at length he composed himself to sleep,no prayer of gratitude sprung up from his heart, no thoughtof the good providence of God crossed his mind. He didnot now enjoy the sweet repose of refreshing slumber, asdid the laborious peasant. The body, indeed, lay to alappearance sunk in deep sleep; but the mind wrought indisorderly and unpleasant dreams. At one time his enemies:triumphed, at the other he had fallen into disfavour, thenbanishment, and death threatened him. Again he struggled


5 2 The Perils of Grealness.with his hands to extricate himself from the depths of somepit into which he had been thrown, and he then groanedwith anguish. But his unresting fancy also painted plea-sant images before him. He saw himself on the longeagerly-desired summit of power, his enemies ironed at hisfeet, expecting their sentence of death from him. Thenwould he laugh with a wild, mischievous joy, so loud as to beoverheard by the servant, who watched in the ante-chamber.He awoke late in the day, little refreshed; no happy chil-dren, no cheerful wife received him with a hearty greetingas he left his bedroom. A servant brought him his break-fast on a silver service, and he took it by himself. Oftenwhile occupied with unpleasant business, he would go tothe other wing of the castle, where the apartments of hislady and his children were, the latter would timidly kisshis hand, and the former he would salute with cold for-mality. No trace of the good-natured tenderness, as for-merly, when Matinka and her children joyfully receivedhim on his return home.The affairs of the state next claimed his earnest atten-tion. What perplexities awaited him-what abuses didlie encounter-what dangerous laws had he to master. Hedined either with the Emperor, or at home, or with someof the great ones of the country, but always with a largecompany; yet nowhere were the dishes seasoned with thetrue Ilavour of a happy mind. Flatteries, the city news,gossipping, and slanders were the common topics of dis-course. Menzikoff saw himself over-run the whole day bysuppliants for situations, pensions, and other assistance,who annoyed him even while in church with their impor-tunity. He was obliged with much painful exactness tosuit himself also to the humours of the Emperor, and learnto know his weaknesses, in order to preserve his favour;


The Perils of Greatness. 53though he did not always succeed in this, as his enemieslaboured unceasingly to destroy him in the favour of theCzar, to whom all his base conduct was whispered with themost hateful exaggerations. Menzikoff in vain let themfeel his vengeance by banishment to Siberia. New enemiesalways arose. He seemed to stand on the edge of a vol-cano, which might destroy him at any moment. Thricehis fall appeared to-be certain; when he had been accusedof the most wicked practices, for which he required to sub-mit himself to the most trying examihations, out of whichhe in nowise escaped guiltless, but on the contrary coveredwith infamy. What mortifications 'e had to submit to!What unworthy expedients he had to adopt! to regain thefavour of his angry Emperor. Who can tell the sleeplessnights through which he watched, or the days of despair inwhich he tasted no food? He remained indeed on thepinnacle of power, but the bitter and painful hours whichfell to his lot were many.Peter the Great was building a city on the banks of theNeva, where he fixed his future residence to be. Thou-sands of busy hands laboured constantly in transformingthe marshy land around St Petersburg into dry and fruitfulsoil: earth for that purpose being conveyed from places fardistant, in bags, while Peter animated them without inter-mission with his presence. Once it happened that Menzi-koff drove out by the Emperor's side, along the newly-laidstreets of that city. Everywhere the people, noble andpeasant, deeply humbled themselves in the presence of theCzar and his favourite. The carriage of the Czar shortlyreached a wooden bridge which led over a marshy pool, andwhich was not in the best condition. It had plenty ofrotten beams and dangerous holes, and as Peter's sharp eyetook in every defect at a glance, he roared a thundering


54 The Perils of Greatness."Halt" to the coachman. Immediately the horses stoodas if chained to the spot." Fellow," said he, furiously turning himself to Menzikoff,"have I not appointed you general inspector of all thebridges of the empire 7 Do you not as inspector draw asalary of several thousand roubles yearly I and is this theway you fulfil your duties ? Step out, knave."The Czar sprang out of the carriage, while the tremblingMenzikoff crept after him; and as he stood on the ground,Peter seized his walking stick and energetically belabouredthe back of the Prince. What a strange scene for the on-lookers There stood a nobleman, covered with orders,cringing, and as quiet as a mouse, patiently suffering him-self to be cudgelled by a man in simple clothing. AfteiPeter's chastening arm had tired itself out, and his passionhad expended itself, addressing him then in a cheerful tonehe said,-"Now, my dear Menzikoff, let us proceed." Menzikoffhumbly obeyed, and the Czar spoke to him in as pleasanta manner, as if nothing had taken place, while Menzikofldared not so much as rub his smarting back, nor shew bya look the pain he was suffering; and was obliged even tojoin in the laugh and jest with the Czar.Another time, when a new case of treachery on the partof Menzikoff had come to the Czar's knowledge, Menzikoflimmediately received intelligence of it through his spies,and had already planned in what way he might be able toweaken the accusation, when he received an invitation fromthe Czar to dine with him. A ghastly paleness overspreadhis face, and only with difficulty could he prevent a severefit of trembling from seizing him, as his valet arrayed himin his robe of state, in which he was to proceed to court.He sighed inwardly as he glanced down upon the glittering0


The Perils of Greatness. 55stars which lay on his breast, and which just then he wouldwillingly have exchanged for a good conscience. With aheavy heart he passed through the crowd of courtiers,officers, counsellors, ministers, and ambassadors, who allcringed before him; but in their hearts deeply hated orenvied the powerful favourite. Forboding his cominghumiliation, after submissively saluting the Emperor andEmpress, he sat down to the long princely table right overagainst his monarch. The latter looked grave, but notangry. Trumpets and drums sounded and the meal began;yet Menzikoff tasted nothing. From time to time he threwa pleading look toward the monarch and his partner, butPeter's countenance remained unaltered. Suddenly themusic ceased, and all eyes were turned toward the Czar,who had just turned himself to the chamberlain who stoodbehind him and said,-" Be good enough to bring me out of my desk, the foldedpaper which you will find on the little marble table underthe mirror."The chamberlain obeyed quickly. Menzikoff now feltoverpowered with terror. His throat was parched. Thechair on which he sat glowed like burning coals, and hislegs shook fearfully. The chamberlain soon returned withthe paper, and the Czar commanded him to read it loudlyand distinctly. All colour disappeared from Menzikoff scountenance. Peter looked at him sternly, raised his fore-finger, and Menzikoff silently rose from his seat the pitiableimage of a convicted sinner. The chamberlain gave Menzi-koff a look which seemed to entreat his pardon, makinghim at the same time a silent obeisance, then, in embarras-ment, cleared his throat, and began in a somewhat unsteadytone,--"Alexander Menzikoff, the son of a common peasant,


56 The Perils of Greai ess.was raised, by the favour of his Czar, from the station of apastry baker's boy to the highest honours of the Empire.Praiseworthy qualities which his Emperor had marked inhim, an intellect of high order, and an untiring activity,gained him the good will of his sovereign, who overloadedhim with riches. Yet his deeds did not always rise to theCzar's just expectations; rather the reverse. He oftenabused his master's goodness most ungratefully; wholevolumes might be filled with the relation of the unjusttransactions of which he has already been guilty. He stilltrifles with the forbearance of his monarch, who has alreadychastised him, and repeatedly warned him against his dar-ing offences on several occasions, and punished him bypublishing his misdeeds, yet he has again increased thenumber of them by putting into his own pocket, for thespace of two years, the pay of a whole regiment, the regi-ment in question only having its existence on paper."The chamberlain ceased, folded the paper, and waited thefurther commands of the Czar.During the reading of this crushing accusation Menzi-koff had looked stealthily round his companions at tableto see if he could catch a satisfied look or a mischievoussmile amongst them; but these guarded themselves mostcarefully from drawing down upon them the fierce ven-geance of the disgraced favourite. They gazed withlowered eyelids on their plates, as did the Imperial pair;however they had left off eating, because they dared notdisturb the reading with the clatter of knives and forks.Peter's ster eye was now fixed upon Prince Menzikoffas he said with emphasis,-" You have drawn down this humiliation upon yourself.You have long known the punishment which you woulddraw upon yourself by your base acts. I shall keep the


The Perils of Greatness. 57promise which I gave you, not to punish you by death;take heed, however, that no new infamy recall the scene ofto-day, else my cane may come into unpleasant contactwith your back."The affair thereupon ended, the meal was finished, cardtables took its place, and Menzikoff played at cards withthe Empress and two of the court ladies, as if nothing hadoccurred; but the reader may imagine what was passing inhis heart. He was, however, punished in another mannerfor his unfaithfulness, by being made to pay a fine ofseveral thousand roubles-for Peter the Great was a justmonarch.At length Peter's death freed Menzikoff of his severejudge, and Catherine, Peter's Empress, being specially in-debted to Menzikoff's exertions for her seat on the throne,confided the government entirely to him after her husband'sdeath. As administrator of the empire he could do whathe pleased, and therefore his accusers atoned for their bold-ness in Siberia's icy plains-nothing stood in his way.Two years after the Empress died also, leaving the throneto hei grandson, Peter the Second, who was then thirteenyears of age, and Menzikoff took the place cf the youngCzar in governing Russia. He had not yet reached theheight of his ambition. He would become the Emperor'sfather-in-law, and, thus strengthen himself for ever in hisauthority. To further these designs, he affianced his eldestdaughter with the young Czar, and the marriage ceremonywas intended to take place shortly afterwards; but God,who had long borne with the Prince's ambitious exertions,said, "Thus far shalt thou come, but no further."


58 Tite Perils of Greatness.CHAPTER IX.ONE night, a few years before the last-mentioned importantevent, Menzikoff remembered, as he was on the point offalling asleep, that he had omitted to send off an imperialorder, the execution of which was of absolute importance.He immediately pulled the bell-rope by his bedside, tocall the servant who watched in the antechamber. Herang several times, but no one appeared. Enraged at thiscarelessness, the Prince rose from his bed and gently openedthe door into the antechamber. There he saw the servantwho had the night watch, sitting at a little table writing,with his back towards him He may have fallen asleepover this employment, and have been awakened by thesound of the bell, although from drowsiness he could notperceive the real cause of his awakening. Only in this waywas his non-appearance explainable. Suspicion was, how-ever, aroused in Menzikoff's evil-thinking soul."What things of such importance can he have to writethat he pays no attention to my repeated call ? Perhaps atraitor, who reports all that takes place in my house to myenemies ?"He crept on tiptoe behind his servant's back, who 'con-tinued busily writing." Ha what is this? " he cried, suddenly, as looking overthe young man's shoulder he saw his own name just thenwritten.The servant sprang from his seat, terribly frightened.So terrified was he, he did not at the moment knowwhether to fall down at his master's feet, or to run fromhis anger; meanwhile his trembling lips strove in vain tostammer an excuse.


The Perils of Greatness. 59"So I have caught you in the act, villain !" said Menzi-koff, taking possession of the writing, from which he hopedto discover the whole treachery. He ran over the paperwith eager eyes.As he read, however, his face brightened, while the ser-vant so far recovered from his fear as to wait with greatercomposure his master's pleasure. Here is the letter:-"MY DEAR MOTHER,-You will hape long expected tohear from me; but do not believe that I have forgottenyou because I have not written sooner. I found it impos-sible to do it; but to make up, I am now able to impartall the more agreeable information to you, which is, thatI have been so fortunate as to have been engaged as one ofthe servants of the great Prince Menzikoff, of whom youhave always told us so much. Oh, with what feelings Ientered the house of this nobleman, who is so rich andhighly honoured People frightened me not a little athim by telling me that he was so very proud, passionate,and base. Now, if he is not quite an angel from heaven,yet he certainly has some good qualities. For myself, Icannot yet accuse him of anything. I believe, too, whenwe execute his business quietly and orderly, and are faith-ful and honourable, that he has no objection against any ofus. But really there are so many men, noble as well ashumble, who molest and annoy him, and who will everhave from him, that it comes to be truly annoying; there-fore, is it a wonder that my master's patience is at lengthexhausted, and that he gives reins to his fury among them,even as the strong Samson did amongst the wicked Philis-tines ? But, dear mother, my princely master has two littledaughters, who are gentle, beautiful, and good as angels;also, my young master, his son, who already looks so brave


60 The Perils of Greatness.that he must become as distinguished as he who once en-tirely by himself burst through a whole company of Swedishhussars. I can also praise my lady, the Princess. She hasalready twice called me dear Michaelow,' and given me arouble when I fetched her something. Dear mother, Iherewith send you thirty silver roubles, which I have saved-for my master gives excellent wages, and we now andthen receive small sums in addition; besides, the nightwatching by Menzikoff, which I undertake in the place ofmy lazy fellows, brings me many a rouble. This night isthe third that I have not slept "-Here the Prince had interrupted the writer. He felt innowise offended, however, by the portrait which his ser-vant had drawn of him. He rather found himself in amanner flattered by the youth's description, which had cer-tainly come from the heart. He could be really magnani-mous; he took the young man into his chamber, andhanded him the forgotten order, to deliver it to the officerof the watch below for instant despatch. He then thrusthis hand into a purse filled with glittering gold pieces,brought out a full handful, and presented them to his dis-concerted servant, who did not understand what had hap-pened to him."These," said the Prince, "are intended for yourmother, because she has brought up her son so well. Sucha son will also, I hope, continue to be a faithful servant tohis master. Do not suffer yourself to be led astray, and Iwill not give reins to my fury towards you, as Samson didamongst the Philistines, or as the Czar Peter amongst theSwedes near Pultowa. I have great need of some one onwhose fidelity I can rely, for I know well that I have manyserpents among my attendants. These you can discover


The Perils of Greatness. 61and render harmless, by telling me in secret whatever fallsfrom your comrades that seems to be suspicious; then youshall have in me a grateful master. But should I at anytime scold you without cause before your companions,then you will mark that I am not in earnest. Now go."Michaelow thanked his gracious master with deep feel-ing and pleasure, and continued to be a faithful servant tohim, but in doing so he in nowise acted the part of spy,who betrays every thoughtless word aind chance mistake ofhis fellows. Menzikoff, meanwhile, did not seem to payany regard to him, but rather acted towards him with morethan ordinary contempt-yet only in presence of others.When they were alone, he spoke all the more kindly tohim.Some time after, however, Menzikoff did the faithfulMichaelow a most grievous injustice. Wholly on pretence,he found occasion for quarrel. He threatened the poorboy with the knout, to throw him into the Guard-house,or send him to Siberia. He would not listen to any proofof Michaelow's obvious innocence, but left the poor boystanding completely crushed in the midst of the other ser-vants, when he at length retired to his chamber.Oh, how this treatment hurt the feelings of the wrongedyouth! Menzikoff's anger seemed so natural, that dissimu-lation in this case was not to be thought of. The faithfulyouth, deeply grieved, seated himself in a corner of theservants' room with his sorrowful head supported by hisright hand, while the pearly tears trickled down his cheeks.He would have given up the whole handful of gold whichthe prince had lately presented to him to be able to correctthe mistake which had occurred. In his sorrow he did notobserve that all his comrades but one had left the room.The name of this one was Karpakan.


62 The Perils of Greatness." Come, Michaelow," said he, " let us have a bottle ofwine to drive the thoughts of this fright out of yourhead."He brought the wine, and drank to Michaelow with oneglass after another." Our master is a strange fellow," said Karpakan. " Onecan do nothing to please him. I too have learned to singa little song of his injustice. Too often one cannot ad-vance himself in the world by means of a virtuous life.The hypocrite and flatterer have the best of it. What canwe do ? We must whine with the whelps if we will notcrawl at the stirrup. True, all masters are not so incon-sistent as Menzikoff. There, for example, is young PrinceDolgorucki His servants are much better treated by him,although he is not so rich as our master. They say thatfor a very small favour, even an insignificant piece of newsout of Menzikoff's palace, he would give handfuls of gold.If I only knew anything to speak of I would not hesitateto earn a pretty little sum. You require only to give theyoung Dolgorucki indistinctly to understand that you willsatisfy his curiosity when, hush I he lets a goodly sum ofearnest money slip into your hand, saying, 'I give youthis, purely out of friendship. Keep it to yourself, other-wise you might have far too many competitors.'"Michaelow gave but little heed to this chattering; but,when several days afterwards, on receiving a letter from thePrince, with instructions to give it only to the Chancellor,Karpakan stopped him by inquiring to whom the letterhe had in his hand was addressed. Michaelow wasstartled. Karpakan's behaviour appeared extraordinary tohim, and he became yet more doubtful when he offered todeliver the letter for him."That would never do," answered Michaelow; "my


The Perils of Greatness. 63master might with justice scold me if I did so, directlycontrary to his express instructions.""Listen," said Karpakan, confidentially; "if you willentrust me with the letter, only for ten minutes, I ventureto say that for every minute you shall receive a rouble; alsoyou shall have it again, without damage, to carry it yourselfto its destination."" Do not hinder me," returned Mic.aelow, angrily, "youonly wish to prove whether I be faithful or not to mymaster.""Brave Michaelow !" cried Karpakan; "you have for-tunately withstood the temptation. Know that our mastertests every one of his servants in this way, and the trial is'always entrusted to one of his most approved servants.Yours was appointed for me, and I now go to carry thenews of your unimpeachable faithfulness to him. Believeme, your fortune is made, honest Michaelow."Karpakan spoke these words with flattering friendliness,but looked after the departing youth with gnashing teeth."Mischief take him that I should waste a bottle of wineupon the blockhead. Well! your faithfulness shall cer-tainly be rewarded," said he, laughing scornfully.But after all, Michaelow believed that he dared not con.ceal Karpakan's temptation from the Prince." It is well, my son," answered Menzikoff, after hearingMichaelow's story. " For the rest keep your own counsel,and do not trouble yourself."A few weeks afterwards, however, he was very muchdisturbed. Four silver candlesticks were missing, havingdisappeared immediately after a large banquet given by thePrince. Menzikoff's steward raised a terrible outcry aboutthem. They searched everywhere, from the cellar to thegarret of the meanest domestic, and they were folind care-


64 The Perits of Greatness.fully concealed amongst the straw in Michaelow's bed.What a fright for the poor youth, when they shewed himthe lost candlesticks and took him prisoner !They could not conceal this affair from the Prince, whoassembled all his domestics, in the midst of whom wasMichaelow, to whom all eyes were directed, and particularlymalicious was Karpakan's gaze. After all were assembled,Menzikoff entered the circle ; his eye sought of all othersKarpakan, on whom he passionately broke forth,-" Scoundrel! " cried he, in a terrible voice, "you stolethe candlesticks, and hid them under Michaelow's bed, inorder to destroy the poor youth, who would not do yourevil pleasure. For this purpose you availed yourself of afalse key to Michaelow's chamber, which you ordered fromthe locksmith Troszkoff, and which you keep in your breast,tied in a bag. Miserable wretch, I know all that happensin my house, and know that you are in compact with myenemies ; but they shall as surely receive their reward asyou shall now receive yours. Search him," he commanded.Karpakan, pale as death, standing trembling and annihi.lated, was unable to utter a word in his own defence.They found on him the false key, exactly as Menzikoff haddescribed it, and the villain, unable to deny his guilt, wasled away for banishment to Siberia."Take heed," said Menzikoff, turning himself to hisastonished servants, in a threatening tone, "how you at-tempt to betray or deceive me. I know you all mostintimately, and if the traitor who is yet hidden amongstyou has hitherto escaped my vengeance, -let him be con-vinced that it only thus happens until he has filled up themeasure of his iniquity; but as for you, Michaelow, hereis the value of the four candlesticks, as a recompense for the


The Perils of Greatness. 65fright which you have sustained. Thus do fidelity andhonesty steadily receive from me their reward."It was quite a natural thing for Menzikoff to knowaccurately all the circumstances of the theft which hadbeen committed. Michaelow's relation had attracted hisattention to Karpakan, and through his spies, who hadwatched his every step and proceeding, he learnt the pro-gress of the affair. He very wisely, as men of the worldwould judge, took the opportunity to make his peoplebelieve that he was acquainted with everything that tookplace, and the event really made a deep impression. Mich-aelow was the gainer. A goodly number of gold piecesfound their way into his pocket by the business, and itmade him even more precious to his generous master thanbefore." People accuse Menzikoff of evil actions," thoughtMichaelow to himself, " and it may be that all that he doesis not quite right; yet it is. not my duty to act as hisjudge, but rather to be a faithful servant to him, and thisI'll be."He had just received the value of the stolen candle-sticks, when a boy entered the servants' room and askedfor the servant Michaelow." A woman," said he, " and maiden, wish to speak withhim, and await him before the palace of the Prince."He hastened down and found as he had been told, awoman, simply dressed, along with a grown-up maiden inlike apparel."My mother," exclaimed Michaelow, transported withjoy, after he had beheld her more attentively, clasping bothher and his sister to his heart. " What a wonder it is tosee you here," said he."That wonder you have been the means of bringingE


60 The Perils of Greatness.about," returned his mother, after their greeting. "Wethought we could not turn the many roubles which you sentas to better account than by visiting you, and seeing likewise the new city St Petersburgh." In that you did well, dear mother," said her overjoyedson. "But I must bear the expenses of your journey.Here," he said, striking his pocket which swelled withgold, "'is more than enough.""I am really afraid," returned his mother, " that justactions do not accompany so much money. Your mastermust have gold like chaff, if he pays every one of hisnumerous servants as well as he pays you."Thereupon Michaelow told the affair of the candlestickswith great energy, and the good woman, apparently touchedwith the Prince's kindness, wiped a tear from her eye, asshe said,-"Ah, is he so kind toward his meanest servant, and yetcould he be so naughty towards"-She stopped."You would say towards others who are often distin-guished people," continued her son. "But let all thatalone; it does not concern us."" You know not what I mean, my son," said his mother."Yet tell me, how does he conduct himself towards hiswife, or rather his lady and children "" Very well, I assure you," Michaelow answered. "Ifthey but express their wish by a look, he complies with it."Bis mother sighed, and tried to hide her tearful eyes bylooking down." How could we get to see him I" she asked; "but onlyfrom a distance, so that he might not observe us."" Most easily," returned Michaelow. " The ante-chamberis daily full of people, who wait on the prince to present


The Perits of Greatness. 67their petitions; but generally he passes through their midstwithout taking any notice of them, so that you may havean opportunity of seeing him distinctly.""Dear Florin," said his sister, impulsively---Her mother started, and gave her a gentle push, lookingtimidly around." Oh," said her daughter laughing,,' I had forgot, thatyou are called Michaelow here, and yet Florin is not anugly name. But as our mother desires it so, I will takecare to call you Michaelow. In short, dear brother, mightwe not be permitted to see the Prince's apartments? Iwould like so much to have an idea how such a great manlives, and how he disposes of himself."" That you easily may do," answered her brother. " Ifmy master dines out, I am certain that I have only to askthe steward and he will allow you.""Yes, do," said mother and sister in one breath.Michaelow nodded and had opened his mouth to answer,when a showy carriage flew past, while Michaelow baredhis head with lightning speed." That was my master, the Prince," he hurriedly said,replacing his hat, "so I must away. I am his atten-dant to-day; but at four o'clock I shall be at liberty. Tellme where you are staying, and I will then be able to findyou."His mother did not hear these words. She had grownpale, and stood fixedly gazing after the departing carriage,until it disappeared within the palace gate. Her daughter,however, answered her brother's question, who then quicklytook leave of them, and ran off.The Prince must either have received some new promo-tion that day, or some other agreeable news, for he was inexcellent spirits, while Michaelow assisted him to undress.


68 The Perils of Greatness." Michaelow," he began, " you were so wrapt in conver-sation with that handsome maiden a minute ago, that youhad almost entirely forgotten me.""Oh, no, most gracious Prince," returned Michaelow,"though I was indeed beside myself with joy. It was mygood mother and sister, who have unexpectedly come tovisit me."" Ah, I see," said the Prince. " Then I can fully sym-pathise with your joy. Does your mother live far fromhere ?""Yes, in the neighbourhood of Moscow, in the villageof Semenowsky," returned Michaelow.The Prince changed colour a little, became thoughtfuland absent, but he at length said,-"And how do you intend to increase the pleasure oftheir visit ?"" My mother and sister wish nothing better," Michaelowquickly answered, "than to see my most gracious master,and-and-if it were the pleasure of your highness-theinside of your palace.""Truly a cheap enjoyment," returned the flatteredPrince, " and one which even to-day they may experience,for I and my family intend to drive out, and then youmay shew them through the rooms, as they may wish;only do not forget to request the master cook, in my name,to prepare a little meal for you, that your mother and sisterat least may not leave my house fasting."Moved by the Prince's generosity, Michaelow gratefullykissed the edge of his robe, and some hours afterwardshastened as host to conduct his visitors to the palace of thePrince. His sister was astonished at the splendour of therooms, and their furnishings; but his mother seemed to bemore engaged with herself than with surrounding objects.


The Perils of Greatness. 69" Oh," exclaimed the former, "how smooth and brightthe floor is, just like polished walnut.""Yes," said her mother gloomily; "as smooth as thetongues of the nobility.""It cost me some trouble," replied the son, "before Igot accustomed to it. I trembled the first time I broughta whole tray full of dishes to the table. If I slip, thoughtI. But now, I can laugh at my former fears."" So do the great at the dangers which surround themon all sides," remarked his mother." Oh, mother, see the large, large mirror," cried Helene,placing herself before it, and with quiet gratification, view-ing her person, reflected from head to foot in the mirror,which reached the ceiling." If only mankind would allow themselves to see theirown faults and failings thus," her mother said." Oh, mother," exclaimed her son, "you see things in avery dark light. Instead of the sight of these beautifulthings filling you with pleasure, it rather makes you mol-ancholy.""You are right, my son," replied his mother. "It is inshort, a fit of envy which makes me speak so, and fromwhich, I ought to pray God to keep me.""Just look here a minute," said her son. " Here is ashandsome a time-piece as any king has. This man, withthe scythe and hour-glass, is the god of time. He is saidto have devoured his own children, because it was prophe-sied that his own son would cast him from the throne, andthe prophecy was in reality fulfilled, for, when his wifeagain bare him a son, she hid the child, took a stone, rolledit in a goatskin, and gave it, instead of the new-born in.fant, to her blind husband, who, without noticing the de-ceit, immediately swallowed it. But when this son, who


70 The Perils of Greatness.had been reared in seclusion, reached manhood, he deposedhis father from the throne of heaven, and placed himselfthereon. So says the fable. The wings which you see onthe old man's shoulders betoken that time flies quickly,mowing mankind down as with a scythe, and the placewhich knew them, knows them no more."" A fine company of gods," said his mother, half angrily."A father who devours his children. Faugh What abad example I do not now wonder that a human fathershould cast off wife and children who stand in the way ofhis ambition and covetousness. A mother could not dothis. And what a wicked son who could thus abuse his oldblind father. It is rightly said of the heathen gods, lWhere-with men sin, therewith are they punished.' And blindwas he-a god and blind No, out upon such a detestablestory. How good is our God in comparison, who isneither blind, nor can He be deceived, although hypocritesthink it possible. And how good also is the beloved Sonof God, who, instead of dethroning His father, left thethrone of heaven, took upon Him our nature, and died inobedience to God, and out of love to men."The old woman had spoken very warmly, and completelyexhausted herself. She now remained for some time sil-ent, quietly and very attentively watching the golden godwith the scythe and hour glass."I only wonder," she began again, "that the nobilitysuffer such an image, which must always remind them ofdeath, to remain in their houses. As a rule they will nototherwise hear of the man with the scythe, for the angel ofdeath, though rather a comfort to us common people, isalways a bugbear to them.""Mother," said Michaelow, "you are bent upon beingmelancholy to-day. Come, speaking of images, I will shew


The Perils of Greatness. 71you another." He opened the door of a splendid apartment,on entering which the full-length portrait of Menzikoffstreamed full in their view."Ha," cried Michaelow's mother, hastening up to theportrait, "Yes, that is him. He certainly looks a littleolder than formerly, but it is so like him.""Do you then know the Prince already so well, mother?"asked her son, astonished. " I thought you had not yetseen him.""Child," said his mother, while her voice trembled,"you do not understand me, Helene Michaelow Justso looked your father, only you must fancy him withoutthe stars on his coat, and with a more cheerful and friendlysmile. What a likeness. Helene, do you not see thatMichaelow resembles him ? "" I did indeed think so," answered her daughter, laugh-ing, but their mother continued to gaze with brighteningeyes, first on the portrait, and then on her son, comparingthe one with the other. Then she gently touched thehand of the portrait with her's, and a tear escaped her eyeas she said very sadly,-" Good husband, good father. Oh, it is many, manyyears since you forsook us. Are you then happy now "" Certainly," returned both her children at once. " Howcan you doubt it, when our father is in heaven, where itis much better with him than it could possibly be here onearth."Their mother sighed deeply, and was unable to withdrawher eyes from the portrait, turning round again and againto look, as Michaelow led them away."Here is the Prince's study," exclaimed Michaelow,"this is his writing-table-that is his arm-chair.""Children," said their mother, with a faint smile, "you


72 The Perils of Greatness.will chide me, when I tell you that I would really liksmuch to know how one would feel while sitting in such achair, belonging to a prince. Michaelow, dare I rest myselfon it for a little; I am really pretty well tired out afterseeing so much ; I will take very great care nOt to injureanything."" Surely, mother, sit down," said Michaelow. "ThePrince cannot know of it. He has other things to thinkof when he seats himself here."His good mother sat down, laid her head comfortablyback on the cushion, and closed her eyes. When her sonsaw her sitting thus he asked anxiously-" Mother, is there anything the matter with you, thatyou appear so extremely pale ?"" Oh, no," returned his mother, looking up with a plea.sant smile. " I am, on the contrary, quite well I feelat this moment so happy that I would even like to-diehere."She laid her right hand on the arm of the chair, andsmoothing the cushion, said-"Most likely your master's hand has often lain here.What an honour for me to have touched it! Now I havebut one great wish. I would like much to carry awaywith me some little thing as a remembrancer out of thischamber ; but it must be something that the Prince him-self has used."Her son glanced inquiringly around to fulfil his mother'swish. He took up an old worn out quill pen from the ink-stand beside him."Here," said he, "is something which the Prince hashad many times in his hand, and which I might venture togive away. True, he often prizes useless things morehighly than valuable. His diamond stars, for instance, his


The Perils of Greatness. 73boxes, rings, and other ornaments, he entrusts to me; butthen he has a plain little ring which he only takes out of asealskin case on special occasions to gaze at, and then shutsit up again. That he never allows any one to touch, and Ihave only once by chance seen it, when I was obliged tocall him away abruptly without his having time to put itaway.""A little ring-a sealskin case, said you ?" his motherexclaimed, confusedly, looking down to her finger." Yes," continued her son, without constraint, althoughhe observed how his mother was engaged. "Just such aring as that which you have on your finger."His mother withdrew to one of the windows to hide thestrong agitation which her son's speech had caused her.She pressed both her hands in ecstacy to her bosom, andsaid to herself very softly,-" So my Alexander has not yet been able to forget hispoor Matinka!"" Lastly, here is my master's bedroom," said Michaelow,opening a door. "Look at the splendid carpet on thefloor, the silver water ewer and basin, and crystal nightlamp."" But I see only one bed," remarked his astonishedmother. "Where are those of his lady and children ?"" Yes," said her son. "With the nobility it is entirelyotherwise than with poor people-the princess has herseparate apartments; the two princesses have each theirseparate rooms, and the young prince dwells also by him.self. I would willingly shew you through them also, onlythey lie so near to that wing of the palace in which theyoung Emperor dwells, and there are always so manypeople in that quarter, that you would feel yourself uncom-fortable-for you must know that the young Czar lives


74 The Perzls of Greatness.with his future father-in-law, in order to be very near hisaffianced bride, and likewise that he may not undertakeanything without the Prince's knowledge. And now, dearmother and sister, I have shewn you all; however, thebest is yet to come. The Prince has given orders to pre-pare a noble repast for you, so we will now drink hishealth in champagne, and to-morrow forenoon you will bein the ante-chamber, where you will get a distinct view ofmy kind master."" No," said his mother, uneasily. "I would not likethat; the Prince might address us.""Well, what although he did," replied her son."No, on no account," said his mother quickly. "Comelet us leave the palace, the Prince may surprise us."" There is no occasion for this anxiety," said her son.But she was no more to be detained, and she wouldscarcely enjoy a very little of the nice meal which had beenprepared for them, and did not recover from her uneasinessuntil she had reached her humble lodging.After a four days' visit in St Petersburgh, she and herdaughter departed to see her brother, who had beenbanished to a little town in Siberia. Painful was the leave-taking with her son, whom she commanded to be evermost faithful to his master, and Michaelow gazed after thereceding forms of his mother and sister with moistened eyes.CHAPTER X.MENZIKOFF had run his course. The time for his punish-ment had come : his enemies, and those who envied him,


The Perils of Greatness. 75had never rested, but were secretly preparing his destruc-tion. One of these-a prince Dolgorucki, chamberlain tothe young monarch-had insinuated himself into the favourof the Czar, and rendered himself absolutely necessary tohim. He had, at the same time, very cunningly under-mined Menzikoffs reputation tthooughly; and a fresh actof treachery of this grasping prince gave Dolgorucki theopportunity of entirely destroying him. The young Czarhad assigned a large sum of money for the benefit of hissister, and Menzikoff was appointed to pay it over to her;but he intercepted the money, and kept it for his own pur-poses. The crafty Dolgorucki was immediately instructedof this villany by his agents, and informed the Czar of it;at the same time fanning his rage to the utmost by themost bitter instigations.Forboding nothing of the approaching storm, Menzikoffwent one morning, as usual, to the apartments of the Czarto pay his respects to him. He found them, to his greatterror, deserted and empty, and not even a servant to beseen. He sent some of his people to make inquiries as tothe whereabouts of the Czar. With what consternationdid he learn, on their return, that the Czar had secretly leftthe house of his princely host without a word of adieu, andhad returned to his own palace.The confounded Menzikoff saw plainly that this act wasthe work of his enemies, but to extradt the venom fromtheir calumnies, and win back the favour of his monarch,he quickly seated himself in his carriage, and hastened tocourt; after a short time, however, the carriage was seenslowly returning, and Menzikoff, stepping out deadly pale,ascended the spacious stairs of the palace. The Czarwould on no account grant him an audience-him, hisfuture father-in-law, the Father of his affianced bride. His


76 The Perils of Greatness.lady and children surrounded him anxiously and inquir-ingly, but he only stared at them with an unmeaning look,and fastened his hand convulsively in the hair of his head,which was already grey with age and care."Oh, my poor daughter !" he at length sobbed, lookingtenderly on his eldest child. "What a bridegroom youhave! Go, my children; go, dear wife. Leave me alone.I require time for the consideration of our position."They obeyed, and Menzikoff now strode up and downhis chamber with hasty steps. Whilst so engaged, he re-ceived an imperial writing, and quickly mastering himselfof its contents, the paper escaped his trembling hands, ashe slid, half-fainting, on the nearest seat. He had not ex-pected this message. It made known to him the with-drawal of all his high offices and honours, and com-inanded him to leave the city in which the Emperor re-sided that same day, and to betake himself to the Castleof Oranienbaum, as his place of banishment. Menzikoffwas annihilated-completely bereft of strength; with diffi-culty he again collected his scattered faculties, sprang upand trode the Imperial document under foot."Ha," cried he, "therefore the rabble of courtiers andflatterers did not bend their cat-like backs to-day as Ipassed amongst them. Therefore did they look upon mewith crafty, malicious smiles. And that I should havebeen so blind as not to interpret this weather-glass of courtfavour! How 9 I could rule to please a Peter the Great,or an Empress Catherine; but not to suit a boy of four-teen years. Therefore I have been openly humiliated.Therefore I have wasted thirty years of my life- havecrawled, have allowed vexation to gnaw my very, soul-have laboured, sorrowed, watched, trembled, and out-raged my God. Therefore have I, 0 heavens cast off a


The Perils of Greatness. i 7faithful wife and loving children, that I might see the fruitof all my efforts demolished by the stroke of a mere boy'spen. Never." He rang the bell sharply. "Commandthe presence of all the officers of my faithful regiment," hepassionately shouted to the servant who entered.His lady, having apprehended this order, now burst intothe room."For God's sake," cried she, to her husband, "whatwould you do ?"" Preserve and defend my daughter's rights," returnedMenzikoff, vehemently.- " The Imperial boy shall not dareto insult the daughter of a Prince, as he would a peasantgirl."" My dear husband," besought the princess, "desist fromyour intention. You will utterly ruin us all by your pas-sion.""How ?" said Menzikoff. "Am I not commander-in-chief of all the troops in Russia ? Three hundred thousandmen are under my command, and with these I will bid de-fiance to the anger of this boyish Emperor."" You were commander-in-chief, dear husband," said thePrincess ; "but that same voice which appointed you hasalso deprived you of the office; and if you still persist inyour opposition, you will not only bring yourself, but usalso, to the scaffold."The Prince listened to her with attention, and was con-sidering it as the servant opened the door to report theexecution of the Prince's order, when a strange mixed,tumultuous noise was heard without."Your Highness," he said. " All the officers of the In-kerman regiment wait the pleasure of your Highness."" Shed no innocent blood," the Princess pled, wringingher hands, as her husband took up his sword, and went to-


78 The Perils of Greatness.wards the room where the officers were waiting forhim.The Prince strode into their midst with a sorrowful butcollected demeanour." Dear, faithful followers," said he, gently, " you willhave already learned the fate which has befallen me; thatI have been deprived of all my offices and honours; butbefore I ake my departure to the place of banishmentwhich has been assigned me, I wish once more to see you,who were so dearly and faithfully devoted to me. Receive,along with my last farewell, the assurance that your me-mory shall never be forgotten by my grateful heart. Thissword, a precious gift of my deceased Emperor, cannot bebetter preserved than in your valiant hands; therefore re-ceive it as a faint token of my lively gratitude."He delivered the weapon, which was ornamented withglittering diamonds set in gold, to the senior officer of theregiment, and, deeply moved, clasped him to his breast.All the officers were terribly affected. TAey unsheathedtheir swords, swore to remain faithful to him, and assuredhim that they were ready to defend his rights with theirlives."Place yourself at our head, General," they cried. " Wewill follow you wherever you may lead us."" No," returned Menzikoff. " How could I ever justifymyself for risking the lives of so many noble men, and thatonly for the sake of an old man, of whom the world hasbecome weary 7 Farewell Honour your Czar with thatfidelity which you owe him, and forget Alexander Menzi-koff, who at length retires from his splendid career coveredwith disgrace."The officers unwillingly obeyed; the bearded men weptlike children, in taking their leave of the Prince, shaking


The Perils of Greatness. 79him by the hand and kissing his offered cheek. When allhad departed, Menzikoff, exhausted by the scene, flung him-self on a seat." Have I acted right now ?" he asked of his lady, whojust then entered the room." Oh, my husband," she answered, "now are you trulygreat. You have won your greatest battle-for you haveconquered yourself. Now you belong wholly to your wifeand children. Now you are free from all outwardly op-pressing circumstances, and now only will we be trulyhappy. Your large estates, immense fortune, and yourchildren, are still yours. You have made Russia great;you have advanced its prosperity; and you can nowhonourably retire, after long, praiseworthy service, fromthe theatre of your fame."The Princess sought thus to comfort her husband, whohad after all only outwardly composed himself. In hisheart mortified ambition yet raged with terrible violence.But how could these help him ? He must decide quicklyupon his departure. They packed up only that which wasmost necessary for their wants; but every male as well asfemale servant had their hands full of work. What aquantity of bales, chests, trunks, boxes, and bags, full ofgoods, were dispatched in the long train of carriages whichwere to accompany the Prince and his family.An immense multitude of people looked on as they droveoff, waiting with impatience to see the humbled Menzikoffand the forsaken Imperial bride depart; at the same time,they murmured insultingly that such a scoundrel of aminister, who had robbed the country, should dare to carryaway so much wealth with him."He ought to be stoned out of the land," they said." Nothing ought to be left him of all his stolen riches,


80 The Perils of Greatness.except the basket in which he formerly carried hispastry."But when Menzikoff, dressed in a simple coat, withoutstar or cross, entered the carriage with downcast eyes, astill more tremendous shower of insult and abuse was hurledat him. His lady followed composedly after her the twoyoung Princesses, who covered their faces with theirhandkerchiefs, and the young Prince, who threw a scorn-ful glance around on the malicious rabble, brought up therear." Would one not rather think some king was going on ajourney," cried some one loudly to his companions, "thanthat such a thorough rascal was taking his departure?"All approved the speaker, and broke out in a threateningmurmur, while Menzikoff pressed himself into a corner ofthe carriage, saying bitterly to his wife,-"Are not these the same people to whom, a few daysago, I gave food and fire, and who blessed me loudly formy liberality ?"" Yes, my husband," she replied. " They are like untothose who, on the entrance of our Redeemer to Jerusalem,brought branches of palm-trees, and even spread theirclothes on the way, while they sang Hosannah; but who,a few days after, cried out 'crucify him! crucify him!'You do not deserve to be better treated than Christ, inwhose face they spat, and whom they smote on the checkwith their hands."The Princess strove to calm her husband in this way,but Menzikoff was not thus to be comforted; for, hethought, " I have merited this treatment by my misdeeds ;not so our Saviour, who therefore was able to be of goodcourage."Their carriage was now approaching the main guard


The Perils of Greantess. 81Yesterday, and even early that same morning, how quicklyhad the officers and soldiers of the watch presented arms,in order to shew proper respect to their superior officer;but what a change had a couple of hours, and the word ofa mere boy, been able to make. The officers leisurelywalked to and fro with folded arms, and carefully turnedtheir backs to the Prince as he drove past, and the sentriesdid not change the careless position of their firelocks oneinch, and rather gazed sullenly in at the windows of thecarriage; but the rest of the soldiers broke out into amocking laugh, which embittered still more the departureof the mortified Prince. Many more such humiliationsbefel him ere he at length left the city.When we consider how great an effect the word of aweak mortal can produce on this earth, and how immeasur-ably greater the effect of the Word of God must be, mightit not teach the despisers of His Word to pause, reflect,and lay it to heart. The abused family breathed a littlemore freely when it found itself in the open country andreleased from its tormentors."Take courage," said the Princess, addressing her hus-band again, who sat buried in his own thoughts. " Orani-enbaum is not a bad place to reside at-not so barren,marshy, and raw as this northern St Petersburgh; but es-pecially, when we walk out together, shall we enjoy naturein all its blooming loveliness, and we shall soon learn tospend the long winter pleasantly, with reading, music, andconversation."" Yes, father," broke in one of the Princesses; "' Alex-ander plays the flute, I play the pianoforte, and sister Ninasings. We shall surely be able to pass away the time."" Before we dine, father," said the son, " we shall fencetogether; after dinner we can play at billiards. In the


82 The Perils of Greatness.evenings, you will tell us of your travels and battles withthe Great Czar Peter."" On the castle pond," said the forsaken Imperial bride," we can skate and drive in sledges; we might even erectan iceberg.""We will have blooming winter flowers in all the win-dows," the Princess added.CHAPTER XLAFTER having gone some distance, the Prince's carriagecame to a halt, and on making inquiries as to the cause ofstoppage, they heard the loud resounding call- of " Halt !halt !" An officer was seen hastily advancing towardsthem, holding a paper, meanwhile continuing the cry of" Halt."What did this new appearance mean Possibly theCzar had repented of his severity! Did that paper con-tain the pardon of the Prince ? Was he to return that hemight again be re-instated in his former honourable position ? How quickly do the feelings of a child undergoa change With what other purpose could this messengerhave been sent after them 7 Hope again revived in thehearts of the dejected family. True, they dared not suf-fer their thoughts to take the form of words; but thebrighter glance of the eyes, and hopeful throbbing of thebreast, revealed the favourable change which this event hadcaused in the mind of each. The officer had now reached"Menzikoffs carriage, and opening the paper, prepared to


The Perils of Greatness. 83read its contents to the Prince, whose family listened withthe most intense attention. He first read a long list ofmisdeeds, by which Menzikoff had rendered himself un-worthy of the Emperor's clemency; but as the end was yetto come, and as the Prince's family were quietly assuringthemselves that the Czar, notwithstanding all this, would ex-ercise mercy rather than justice, and remit the punishmentof his old minister, came these closing words of thunder:-"In consequence of all these unpardonable offences, ourjust Emperor hereby orders the confiscation of all theestates and wealth belonging to the Prince, and banishesboth him and his whole family to Siberia during the termof their natural lives."Dear reader, suppose the case. of a beloved child, onwhom severe sickness has laid its withering touch, ravingwildly with uncertain breath, in intense fever-the des-pairing parents kneeling beside their darling, watching withinexpressible anguish for its last sob-the sympathisingphysician, shaking his head, informs them that his skill canbe of no avail, and that the little sick one is the child ofdeath, when the child once more brightly opens its littleeyes. "Father! mother!" it cheerfully pronounces, stretch-ing out its little hands to them. In unutterable ecstacythe mother flings herself upon her husband's breast."Husband," she cries, her voice trembling with joy,"our child lives. We have received it anew from God !"Both turn themselves in loving haste to their preciousgift, which has so been restored to them; but, alas, its eyes,a minute ago glancing so brightly, are dim; its lips, whichhad just pronounced its loved ones' names, are silent; thepaleness and coldness of death are upon the little lovedone; the bloom, so shortly before upon its cheeks, has fadedentirely. It was only the last fluttering of the expiring


84 Th/e Perils of Greatness.lamp which had deceived the hopeful hearts of the fondparents.Such was the position in which Menzikoff and his familyfound themselves, after the messenger of misfortune hadfulfilled his commission. Covering his face, the Princesank back speechless into the corer of the carriage; thePrincess strove to bear up against a state of faintnesswhich she felt was creeping over her; the young Prince,pale as death, stared after the officer with flashing eyes, ashe quickly departed; and the two young Princesses burstinto a flood of tears which, with them, did not fail to havea soothing effect. On the reception of this sad intelligence,all the servants sprang down from the carriages, and withloud lamentations surrounded the family of the Prince;but the latter, having no comfort to give them, only re-mained silent; and shortly, they all betook themselvesagain to their places, looking on one another disconcertedly.The line of carriages was now turned about, and leaving thesouthern began to make its way towards the raw northernregions." Will you go with them to Siberia 1" said one servantto another."I have not the least intention of doing so," answeredhe. "They tell me that the wind blows there ten timescolder than in St Petersburgh; and that there is not somuch as one place of amusement, but only bears, wolves,and sable, which make the neighbourhood dangerous.Dinners and balls where plenty abounds are over, andpoverty must exist henceforth in the Prince's family.""You are quite right there," interposed a third; "forour master is now as poor as a church mouse ; only thatwhat is most necessary will be left him, therefore I donot see of what use so many servants can be to him,


The Perils of Greatness. 85since he cannot pay them, and therefore I take my leaveof him."" And I do the same,"' said a fourth, "which will spareboth myself and him the pain of separation."" Well said," cried a fifth. " I too will do likewise."When therefore the extra carriages were sent back by theofficer who was to accompany the Prince, all the male andfemale servants returned in a body to St Petersburgh, andforsook in this way their master, who had often treatedthem most liberally. Under such circumstances does in-gratitude shew itself. Only Michaelow remained behindon the Prince's carriage. His fellows strove in vain toinduce him to follow their example; but he gave no answerto the selfish people, but gazed straight before him. Theythen insulted him, called him a blockhead and ass, whostood in his own light. This, however, did not harm him;but it moved his very soul to think how painful this newdisplay of ingratitude must be to his master and mistress.And he was right, for when the Prince's carriage stoppedat a small hamlet, that the horses might be changed, Men-zikoff who, until then, had not spoken a word, called his'valet by name, and Michaelow appearing in his stead, andasking what his pleasure might be, he ordered him to callall his servants, adding,-" They cannot be expected to share my hard fate andaccompany me to Siberia. I will therefore dismiss them,and only retain the few who are most necessary."Michaelow stood embarassed." Most gracious Prince," he began, seeking an excusefor their ingratitude, " the servants have just seen that itwould come to this, and have, to avoid reminding your High-ness of your misfortune, already returned to St Peters-burgh."


86 The Perils of Greatness.But Menzikoff could not believe his ears or Michaelow'sword. He looked back out of the carriage, to see the restof the carriages, which had all, as well as his servants, dis-appeared. With a bitter smile he turned to his lady andsaid,-" Just think how faithful and feeling-hearted our peopleare They have secretly left us in a body to spare us thepain of separation. What do you want here ?" said he,addressing Michaelow. " Follow your comrades."" I will never forsake your Highness," answered Michaelow." Go," cried Menzikoff, passionately. " I wish to havenothing more to do with any of you. You are a parcel ofhypocrites, eye-servants, who only court my money-bag.[ possess nothing more now worth getting. Go to Dol-gorucki; he is now rich, while I am poor."" I remain with your Highness," returned Michaelow,firmly." Ha," shouted the Prince. "How deeply indeed am Isunk, when my meanest servant pays no attention to myorders. Will you not instantly leave my sight, scoundrel?"The Princess and her children gave Michaelow a beseech-ing look, and he obeyed; but only to go and take his oldseat behind the carriage; and thus the journey continuedwhile the country became more lonely, and the north windcolder, the Prince and his family sitting mutely in thecarriage thinking over their misfortune, which Michaelowalso felt deeply.The howling of hungry wolves sounded in the distance,and as it became ever colder as they proceeded, the Princessand her children covered themselves more closely with theirmantles when attempting to sleep, but in vain. Oh, howslowly the time passed, ere morning dawned. With the


The Perils of Greatness. 87rising sun the wind blew more fiercely; the leaves of thetrees trembled at its breath, as did also the Prince's family,who had tasted nothing since their departure. A halt wasmade at the tavern of a little village for breakfast, wherethe Prince required to open the door of the carriage him-self, and to step out without the accustomed help of hisservant How difficult this trifle seemed, and how veryhelplessly he reached out his arm to assist his wife. Theyoung Prince sprang out briskly, but fell, as both his legshad become benumbed by the continued journey. The caseof the two young Princesses was not much better, as boththey and their mother were seized with a severe fit ofshivering-their trembling limbs being scarcely able tocarry them from the spot. Michaelow had disappeared,for whose presence the Princess and her daughters had insilence hoped. The Prince and his family walked towardsthe peasant's house, where an oppressive heat, togetherwith a disagreeable smell, met them on entering the com-mon room. They would willingly have left it, but theirnecessity for warmth was too pressing; therefore, sighing,they took seats on the hard wooden bench, and looked onone another in silent sadness. Menzikoff alone kept hiseyes fixed gloomily on the floor. The general wish wasfor something warm. But what I The bearded host hadindeed brought a kind of soup, made of rye meal, in alarge wooden dish; but host, dishes, and spoons looked sounpleasantly dirty that those present, only accustomed toeat out of silver and porcelain, turned away in disgust."We must have both chocolate and tea amongst ourluggage," remarked the Princess; "but who knows wherethey are to be found, as they who packed it have gone IThe young Prince immediately ran out to the carriage,and sought long amongst the trunks and boxes, until luckily


88 The Perils of Greatness.he found the articles required. But now a fresh difficultypresented itself. Who was to prepare the tea or chocolatelThey would not entrust them to the hostess, as much onaccount of her revolting appearance, as because she hadmost likely never heard of such things as tea and chocolate,far less understood their preparation. The two youngPrincesses, therefore, resolved to undertake the duty, andthe young Prince offered his assistance. Certainly, if thePrince's family had not deserved pity, on account of theirmisfortune, an onlooker must have laughed heartily at theirawkward efforts. The Princesses had never in their life-time imagined that they would ever be obliged to busythemselves in preparing any kind of food, and so had re-mained entirely ignorant of the art of cookery.They knew neither how to use the tea nor the chocolate;and then how awkwardly they handled everything; howthey burnt their tender little fingers. A burning coalstarted out of the fire, and singed several large holes in thecostly dress of the eldest, while the youngest had traces ofher unusual toil in the shape of large sooty marks over herpretty little face. They had trembled before from cold, butthey now glowed with heat and anxiety to gain some littlehonour by their cookery. At length they believed thechocolate ready to be removed from the fire. On examin-ation, however, it did not seem to the present cooks to bethick enough; the Princesses then informed their hostessof their wants, who, with silent laughter, had looked onduring the whole proceedings. She brought meal and a twirling stick, and gave them to her noble guests. They puthalf a handful into the thin chocolate, and the young Princeprepared to give it the last finishing touch with the twirlingstick. He stirred it with all his might, when- plash.The vessel had been overturned by the violent movement.


The Perils of Greatness. 89and all the chocolate was streaming down on the hearthand over the floor; and, adding to their mortification, theparcel with the remainder was also immersed in the flood.Nothing now remained but the vessel of green tea, whichtasted barbarously, terribly smoked, and discoloured by thecoals which had fallen amongst it. The maidens wept withvexation, but could make no better. How much bettercould they have sung an Italian air, performed a difficultpiece on the pianoforte, drawn a bouquet of flowers, orstitched in satin and gold; and they would certainly havegained more honour by so doing than by this awkwardmess.People will maintain that there are even now-a-days suchlike ladies and maidens, who understand everything elsemuch better than how to make soup, or prepare meat. Atthe same moment as the Princesses, their eyes red withweeping, left the kitchen and entered the room, takingwith them the discoloured tea, the other door opened andMichaelow, whom they had believed-lost to them, entered,carrying a handsome tea tray, on which stood a large potof steaming chocolate, another of tea, and several cups,and a plate of tempting newly-baked bread. How cleanand bright the dishes were, in comparison with those oftheir hostess How fragrant was the smell of this beverageto the exhausted family, and how quickly did the sorrowfulfaces of Menzikoffs children light up A weight, a verygreat one, was removed from their hearts. Yes, faithfulservants are truly very precious, and people are never moreready to acknowledge their value than when, in a positionrequiring their services, they find that they must servethemselves. Masters and mistresses ought therefore to treattheir male and female servants more kindly than they fre-quently do. People cannot believe that everything may


90 The Perils of Greatness.be bought with gold, for had Menzikoff offered fifty roublesfor chocolate well prepared, without the intervention ofMichaelow he must have gone without it.Michaelow could see no better way to regain the favourof the enraged Prince than by the preparation of this break-fast, which was certain to be welcome, and for which hehad himself carefully packed up all the ingredients. Withthese he had gone to a house which lay right opposite,where he had executed his business more cleverly than thePrincesses, and at the same time attained the object he hadaimed at."Oh, good, faithful Michaelow," the ladies exclaimed;and though the Prince did not join in this outburst ofpraise, the grateful glance of his eye shewed at once hisfeelings towards Michaelow, who was blushing for joy.How welcome was that warm refreshing beverage, andthat delicious food to the famished travellers but commonnecessity humbles pride and makes the noble morewilling to draw nearer the lowly, and to acknowledge inthem their neighbours; so here the grateful Princess wouldnot rest until she had obliged Michaelow, although thebashful youth tried to excuse himself from receiving theunexpected favour, to drink a cup of tea and chocolatewhich the youngest Princess herself handed to him; andthe young Prince, who had always lorded it pretty stronglyover his father's dependants, strove now to assume akindlier tone towards their faithful servant.After a short delay they were obliged to proceed ontheir journey, which was and continued monotonous andsorrowful enough. Menzikoff relapsed quickly into hisformer melancholy and silence, and the others also thoughtwith distress of their former exalted position, as well as ontheir present sorrowful fate, the dreadfulness of which was


The Perils of Greatness. 91ever increasing. The hardships of their journey were be-coming more unbearable, even although their carriagerested on springs and had its windows protected withglass; but after the travelling had continued withoutinterruption for several days and nights at a rapid rate,the weary family were permitted to enjoy their first long-wished-for night's lodging in a little town. How manyconveniences they had been accustomed to did they herefeel the want of-no beds of down, no silken bed-covers,no night-lamps-everything coarse, filthy, and unaired.Michaelow, lulled by an approving conscience, slept wellin a yet more miserable lodging. Menzikoff, loading him-self with silent but severe reproaches for having been thecause of this misfortune to his innocent family, couldnot close his eyes; his children, however, slept soundly-their mother, very little. Next morning she felt in no-wise refreshed, looked very pale, and had deep blue linesround her weary eyes. She had caught a severe cold,which repeatedly made her shiver all over. Formerly,when far less indisposed, the family physician was im-mediately in attendance, exercising all his skill for herrecovery; but now everything was wanting. Their phy-sician had disappeared with the medicine chest, alongwith the other attendants, and not one was to be foundin the whole place. If the brave Michaelow had notprepared a strong cup of tea and brought two warmbottles for the poor Princess, she must have remainedentirely without help. At break of day they had againto enter the carriage and commence anew the seeminglyendless journey.At length they approached the eastern boundary of EuropeSiberia, in all its immensity, lay before them, in extent"larger than the whole of Europe with its many kingdoms,


Full Text

PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 21 'Matinka has forgiven you!' but fool that I was to be so blinded, and deprive myself of the happiness of embracing my noble wife and my beloved Helene." Father," Florin again answered, this is not yet impossible. My mother and sister are here. If you wish it, they will be with you immediately." Menzikoff rose up hastily. Where are they he cried impatiently. I will go and meet them, I will seek them out, and beg on my knees your mother's forgiveness." He tottered towards the door, but Florin had slipped out before him, and returned leading Matinka and Helene by the hand. The re-union of the long separated husband and wife was truly affecting. Menzikoff held Matinka's right hand long in his grasp, gazing silently in her loving eyes; but when he saw how strongly the old love shone forth upon him, he sank joyfully into her opening arms. Yes, you have indeed forgiven me, dear wife," he sobbed. 0 God, thou hast deprived me of an angel, and in her room thou hast presented me, unworthy mortal, with two." And Menzikoffs children-the Princess's and Matinka's children-kissed and embraced each other and the old couple. After the first pleasure of meeting was a little abated, Menzikoff led Matinka away to the church. None-accompanied them, for they wished, unseen by human eye, to return thanks unto the Lord of lords, who had brought them together again. The sheltering roof of the little church was not yet completed; but, the eternal sun, instead, looked down from his high heavenly dome, sending down his rays of blessings upon the kneeling husband and wife.



PAGE 1

The Baldwin Library nivcrity q~ of Plxida



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 13 them was a pleasure to him. Scarcely a day passed without bringing them home sweetmeats, a doll, or other plaything; and, therefore, the little ones loved him dearly. If his little daughter happened to be in her mother's arms as her father entered, she would stretch out both her little hands towards him and crow. Florin, the elder, would climb up, seize him round the neck, and cover his face with kisses; while close by stood the good Matinka, her face radiant with joy, and beside her the smiling grandmother-making altogether a touching picture of humble happiness. If it happened that one of the children was indisposed, or really ill, how alarmed he became! He would Ieave his bed many times during a night to see if the little sick one had uncovered itself, or whether there were any improvement, or the reverse. He even watched whole nights by their bedside, giving them their medicine, and soothing them to sleep. On holidays their highest pleasure was to take a trip into the country to visit the dear friends there-Matinka carrying the little Helene, Menzikoff leading Florin, while their old grandmother brought up the rear. It never occurred to them to envy the wealthy nobility who rolled past them in their handsome carriages. CHAPTER III. THIS happiness continued for several years, until the Czar appointed Menzikoff one of his ministers. This, to all appearance, fortunate elevation, brought with it a large



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 61 and render harmless, by telling me in secret whatever falls from your comrades that seems to be suspicious; then you shall have in me a grateful master. But should I at any time scold you without cause before your companions, then you will mark that I am not in earnest. Now go." Michaelow thanked his gracious master with deep feeling and pleasure, and continued to be a faithful servant to him, but in doing so he in nowise acted the part of spy, who betrays every thoughtless word aind chance mistake of his fellows. Menzikoff, meanwhile, did not seem to pay any regard to him, but rather acted towards him with more than ordinary contempt-yet only in presence of others. When they were alone, he spoke all the more kindly to him. Some time after, however, Menzikoff did the faithful Michaelow a most grievous injustice. Wholly on pretence, he found occasion for quarrel. He threatened the poor boy with the knout, to throw him into the Guard-house, or send him to Siberia. He would not listen to any proof of Michaelow's obvious innocence, but left the poor boy standing completely crushed in the midst of the other servants, when he at length retired to his chamber. Oh, how this treatment hurt the feelings of the wronged youth! Menzikoff's anger seemed so natural, that dissimulation in this case was not to be thought of. The faithful youth, deeply grieved, seated himself in a corner of the servants' room with his sorrowful head supported by his right hand, while the pearly tears trickled down his cheeks. He would have given up the whole handful of gold which the prince had lately presented to him to be able to correct the mistake which had occurred. In his sorrow he did not observe that all his comrades but one had left the room. The name of this one was Karpakan.



PAGE 1

14 The Perils of Greatness. addition to his income, but was the cause of many sorrowful hours to the good Matinka. As Menzikoff returned home for the first time, dressed in his robe of office, from the Czar, Florin sprang forward to meet him as usual, and attempted to climb up on his father; but he pushed the poor boy rudely away from him. "Awkward boy !" he said, displeased "would you destroy my expensive dress at once with your dirty boots?" I cannot take you," a little more mildly, he next said to Helene, who stretched her little hands beseechingly towards him; "you would crush my shirt frills, and sully the bright buttons." Then I am afraid I need not think of giving you a kiss either ?" Matinka sorrowfully asked her husband. "At least," answered he, "not while I have on this fine article. Be patient until I get on my usual dress." But after this had taken place the children remained standing frightened at a distance, and even their mother could not embrace her husband with the same heartfelt pleasure as formerly, when her love was of more value to him than a fine garment. Alexander remarked nothing of this; his mind was filled with other thoughts. He gazed silently around his dwelling. "Here all must be otherwise,"sraid he, at length. "These miserable chairs, that old sofa, these slender wooden drawers, that cupboard, and that paltry mirror-all these wormeaten lumber-boxes must go, and be replaced by new furnishings; henceforth, too, we cannot eat out of earthen dishes, or drink out of earthen mugs. They do not become our station. Maple, china, and silver are more suitable for one of the Czar's ministers." "And yet we have been so very happy in the possession of these things," returned Matinka, in a slightly reproachful



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 57 promise which I gave you, not to punish you by death; take heed, however, that no new infamy recall the scene of to-day, else my cane may come into unpleasant contact with your back." The affair thereupon ended, the meal was finished, card tables took its place, and Menzikoff played at cards with the Empress and two of the court ladies, as if nothing had occurred; but the reader may imagine what was passing in his heart. He was, however, punished in another manner for his unfaithfulness, by being made to pay a fine of several thousand roubles-for Peter the Great was a just monarch. At length Peter's death freed Menzikoff of his severe judge, and Catherine, Peter's Empress, being specially indebted to Menzikoff's exertions for her seat on the throne, confided the government entirely to him after her husband's death. As administrator of the empire he could do what he pleased, and therefore his accusers atoned for their boldness in Siberia's icy plains-nothing stood in his way. Two years after the Empress died also, leaving the throne to hei grandson, Peter the Second, who was then thirteen years of age, and Menzikoff took the place cf the young Czar in governing Russia. He had not yet reached the height of his ambition. He would become the Emperor's father-in-law, and, thus strengthen himself for ever in his authority. To further these designs, he affianced his eldest daughter with the young Czar, and the marriage ceremony was intended to take place shortly afterwards; but God, who had long borne with the Prince's ambitious exertions, said, "Thus far shalt thou come, but no further."



PAGE 1

Hjcrrlte gZ1bZZ hg 8Biuin || Ximmcri. 3 NIMMO'S UNIVERSAL GIFT BOOKS. A Series of excellent Works, profusely Illustrated with original Engravings by the first Artists, choicely printed on superfine paper, and elegantly bound in cloth and gold, and gilt edges, crown 8vo, price 3s. 6d. each. I. Rupert Rochester, the Banker's Son, A Tale. By Winifred TAYLOR, Author of Story of Two Lives,' etc. II. The Story of Two Lives; or, The Trials of Wealth and Poverty. By WINIFRED TAYLOR, Author of 'Rupert Rochester,' etc. III. The Lost Father; or, Cecilia's Triumph. A Story of our own Day. By DARYL HOLMIE. IV. Christian Osborne's Friends. By Mrs. Harriet Miller DavidsoN, Author of 'Isobel Jardine's History,' and Daughter of the late Hugh Miller. v. Tales of Old English Life; or, Pictures of the Periods. By WILLIAM FRANCIs COLLIER, LL.D., Author of History of English Literature,' etc. VI. The Young Mountaineer; or, Frank Miller's Lot in Life. The Story of a Swiss Boy. By DARYL HOLME. VII. Mungo Park's Life and Travels, With a Supplementary Chapter, detailing the results of recent Discovery in Africa. "VIII. The Spanish Inquisition: Its Heroes and Martyrs. By JANET GORDON, Author of Champions of the Reformation,' etc. IX. "Wisdom, Wit, and Allegory. Selected from 'The Spectator.' X. Benjamin Franklin: A Biography, XI. Wallace, the Hero of Scotland: A Biography. By James PATERSON.



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. I stars in my mean hands. What would you think if I told you that a single stone out of such a star is of greater value than this whole village, with all its houses, fields, and crops! How happy must he be who is able to wear such a star upon his breast! But since that affair of the pastry, the Czar has become more cautious. He does not eat now, as he did formerly, everything that is set before him. His half-sister, the Princess Sophia, sent him some splendid pastry lately, and a quantity of tarts; but do you think he ate them, or even touched them ? Never. We servants received the whole present; and at that time I ate so much that I felt the worse of it. The Czar sent me to the chief baker in the city to buy a loaf, which he used instead of the pastry and tarts. Ah, the nobility lead a very strange life. When you are rising in the morning to commence your labour, they are only thinking of going to sleep. They take breakfast when you dine; at evening they sit down to table, and remain sitting late into the night, eating and drinking so much, that any one would suppose they would hurt themselves. Then they play at cards until daylight. Such is the order in high life; but neither my master nor the Czar really like it, and only conform because they cannot avoid doing so. I am not intended to remain always a servant, and so my good master has engaged a number of teachers to instruct me in reading, writing, arithmetic, and the French language, besides many other things with which you are unacquainted. These are much more difficult for me than the pastry business; but I perform my part willingly, because it pleases my master, and because they will be very useful to me afterwards." Here Alexander threw down a number of gold coins, for which he had to thank the gracious Czar, his master, and his distinguished guests. "Dear mother,"



PAGE 1

x6 The Perils of Greatness. chambers of a palace I It would be my death, the end of all the happiness of my life." And how dear all these things are to, me," said Matinka, pursuing the same strain; "these dumb witnesses of our happiness! Do you not remember, dear husband, how, at our wedding-feast, we drank to one another out of that blue earthen mug ? How that kitchen-rack, with its plates, its dishes, and wooden spoons, was a wedding-present from my playmates? How that quaintly painted chest, wreathed with flowers, was generously presented by your friends ?" Alexander had been walking meditatively up and down the little room. He turned now to his old mother, and said"You are right, dear mother. It would be cruel to think of removing you from this dwelling, which has become so dear to you; therefore you may remain here. Henceforth this little house belongs to you; and, dear Matinka, these old things will also remind us of the joyful days bygone when we visit our old grandmother. Not a stick of them shall be sold." "And so you really intend to leave me I" asked the old grandmother, in a grieved one. "Will you forsake me thus in my old age ? Shall I no more see my little grandchildren around me ? Oh dear Yet surely you will not be utterly ashamed of me in your now exalted position I" How can you speak in that strange manner," returned her son. "It was only out of love to you that I made the proposition. If it does not please you, well; be comforted, and go with us. We may expect that at first the large rooms, with their polished floors and grand furniture, will not be familiar to you; but we may be able to remedy that too. A quiet private little room can be provided, into



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 45 CHAPTER VIL AFTER a brief greeting, Menzikoff's ambassador addressed Matinka-"My gracious master might with justice bitterly reproach you for the foolish step which you took to-day, and which exposed him to the most imminent danger; but he excuses you, as you have without doubt been sufficiently punished for it already. Through having concealed your rebellious brother you have incurred the punishment of transportation to Siberia. It would not, indeed, have been difficult for your husband, to have saved you from this, and even your brother's life, had you not brought the whole affair before the enraged Emperor himself. By that step you bound your husband's hands. Yea, further, if the Czar learns that you are really his wife, and that your husband deceived him when he denied you, then his vengeance will fall also upon him. Thus, misfortune will overtake you all, and your children will indeed be orphans." The valet then stopped, while Matinka wrung her hands in agony. There is one expedient only," continued he again, "by which you may all be saved, and to which only, from love to you and to the children, he would resort." "Oh, tell me !" Matinka hastily exclaimed. "It pains my master to be obliged to make this proposal, but the most pressing necessity, the greatest danger compels him." "Speak, for God's sake," Matinka cried in the greatest distress. "If you consent to this proposal," he said, impressively, "you will save your husband from the just anger of the



PAGE 1

4 The Perils of Greatness. "Wait a little, then," returned the valet, "and I will mention it to my mastei. Take a seat, meanwhile, on that stool, until I bring an answer." He went away, and the boy sat down on the offered seat. The valet returned shortly, and said to the boy"You must be patient; my master is just now in conversation with the Czar, and I dare not disturb him." He went away again. The boy had great patience. The grateful odour of the rich meats which they were preparing in the kitchen was very agreeable to him. He had wandered about the streets the whole forenoon, after which, and the fight with the soldiers, he felt himself very tired; and the little place in the corner of the kitchen was so temptingly convenient that he fell into a quiet sleep-his eyelids closed; his arms, which grasped the basket, sank down, and it rested on his knees, supported only by the belt upon his shoulder. In this position he was found by the valet on his return, who immediately made a secret sign to the cook, and, turning to all those who were working there, exclaimed" Haste, and help to carry up three hundred bottles of wine out of the cellar. The other servants cannot do it themselves." The kitchen was immediately deserted, and the valet whispered something in the ear of the cook, who nodded approvingly, and said softly" But were it not better to take the basket from the boy, and do our business in the next room '" "Certainly not," replied the valet; "that would take too much time; besides, you might rouse him." Yet there is no necessity for bestrewing all the pastry," the master cook again said. All, certainly !" the valet eagerly answered; we might



PAGE 1

THE PERILS OF GREATNESS: OF ALEXANDER MENZIKOFF. TRANSLATED FROM THE GERIAN. EDINBURGH: .WILLIAM P. NIMMO.



PAGE 1

122 The Perils of Greathess. Henceforth nothing more was said of separation; but the whole scene had much affected the old Prince. He felt himself extremely weak, but unspeakably happy. He only cherished one wish, and this was also to be granted him. The roof of the little church was finished before the beginning of winter, and a priest found to conduct the worship of God. When the last stroke of the axe and hammer, the last sound of the implements used in its erection, had scarcely died away, the little bell in its turret called the inhabitants of Beresow to engage in the solemn consecration of the house of God. Those employed among the wood laid aside their axes, and joined themselves to the hastily united assembly of the faithful The lights burned in the now darkened church, beaming upon the beautifully painted picture of the Saviour, with a golden halo round the head, and the richly embroidered hangings of the altar, prepared by Menzikoff's daughters. The song of praise rose devoutly as the service of God began; and after the consecration was concluded, the crowd of believers separated themselves into two rows, between which a festively attired elderly couple walked up to the altar, followed closely by three maidens, beautiful as angels, and these by two young men. They were Menzikoff and Matinka, and their children. The priest blessed anew the tie of wedlock which ambition and covetousness previously destroyed; and, as before, in the solemn hour of separation, three times three strokes of the clock resounded from the turret, but on this occasion, not as a token of separation, but of blessing. As the plate of steel, which newly from the forge glows so brilliantly in pure vital air, but quickly dims as it cools, so was it with Menzikoff's strength in his present happy condition. He saw himself reconciled to God, to his fate.



PAGE 1

10 The Perils of Greatness. therefore was obliged to allow things to take their course. The fortune of the pastry boy, however, seemed to be made. He called himself Alexander Menzikoff; he was the son of a peasant in the neighbourhood of Moscow. Lefort, the Czar's adjutant, and his bosom friend, had discovered no mean talents in the boy; and on that account took him into his service, where everything went well with him. After this had happened, Alexander hastened, overpowered with joy, out into the country to his mother-his father was already dead-in order to surprise her with the important change in his profession. 0 mother !" he cried, "only think of my good fortune; just look at this fine coat which I now wear, how the gold lace glances upon it, and these flashing new buttons. Yet I receive much more handsome coats, vests, and trousers to brush and dust; and what a delightful perfume they do give out, almost better than the pastry of my former master, even when it was fresh from the oven. I have, too, far better food and drink than I had. Your poor cabbage soup is nothing to it; but the best is yet to come. I meet the most gracious Czar every day, not to mention many great noblemen. With these all is of silver and gold,-the plates and other dishes, candlesticks, snuffers, knives, forks, spoons, even-only think of it !-the fire-irons and wash-hand basin!" Struck with this relation, the good peasant woman held up her hands. But I am not finished yet," continued her son. Our good Czar is very gracious to me, because I warned him against the poisoned pastry. He lately entrusted me to fetch his robe of state, when none of his own servants were at hand. I actually trembled with rapture when I was allowed to carry the splendid garment with the glittering



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 25 little, nor crooked; neither too lean, nor too stout; have neither.gray hairs nor pale cheeks." "Fashion will have it so, as I have told you," said he. "Then who or what is fashion that it can issue such cruel commands ?" asked Matinka. Menzikoff was silent and embarrassed. He himself did not know what fashion was-that blind rage of imitation among mankind. At length, all was in readiness for the feast. The guests were invited, the rooms adorned, the cellar, the kitchen, and store-rooms replenished. The evening before it was set apart for Matinka's final rehearsal of her newly-acquired accomplishments. Could any one believe that a man like Menzikoff, at one time so prudent, could ever enter into such childish nonsense ? And yet he did so. He who previously had scarcely a moment to spare for his wife and children, could now daily amuse himself several hours with instructing his wife in courtly compliments and expressions which were wholly worthless. "Just imagine," said he to Matinka, "that I am a noble lady who has been invited to the banquet. I enter the door, and approach to pay my respects to you. You return the same, rejoice to make my acquaintance-have longed exceedingly for this happiness""But all this is untrue," interrupted Matinka; "if I say so I will lie." "That you must certainly do," said Menzikoff. "It ever is so in parties given by the nobility. One must express himself happy to see another whom he wishes might be a thousand miles away. There one overwhelms another with flatteries, whose eyes he could scratch out at the same time. Therein consists high breeding." Matinka's honest heart was unable to understand this.



PAGE 1

64 The Perits of Greatness. fully concealed amongst the straw in Michaelow's bed. What a fright for the poor youth, when they shewed him the lost candlesticks and took him prisoner They could not conceal this affair from the Prince, who assembled all his domestics, in the midst of whom was Michaelow, to whom all eyes were directed, and particularly malicious was Karpakan's gaze. After all were assembled, Menzikoff entered the circle ; his eye sought of all others Karpakan, on whom he passionately broke forth," Scoundrel! cried he, in a terrible voice, "you stole the candlesticks, and hid them under Michaelow's bed, in order to destroy the poor youth, who would not do your evil pleasure. For this purpose you availed yourself of a false key to Michaelow's chamber, which you ordered from the locksmith Troszkoff, and which you keep in your breast, tied in a bag. Miserable wretch, I know all that happens in my house, and know that you are in compact with my enemies ; but they shall as surely receive their reward as you shall now receive yours. Search him," he com manded. Karpakan, pale as death, standing trembling and annihi. lated, was unable to utter a word in his own defence. They found on him the false key, exactly as Menzikoff had described it, and the villain, unable to deny his guilt, was led away for banishment to Siberia. "Take heed," said Menzikoff, turning himself to his astonished servants, in a threatening tone, "how you attempt to betray or deceive me. I know you all most intimately, and if the traitor who is yet hidden amongst you has hitherto escaped my vengeance, -let him be convinced that it only thus happens until he has filled up the measure of his iniquity; but as for you, Michaelow, here is the value of the four candlesticks, as a recompense for the



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 17 S.whieh you could retire, if our family circle should be broken in upon by anything like distinguished visitors. I leave it to your own choice. If you prefer to remain here, the "children can easily visit you daily; and I could engage a servant for you to the bargain, who would attend you, so that you would have nothing to disturb you." The hot tears streamed over the cheeks of the old woman. "Ah!" said she, sobbing, "hired hands will never feel so soft as those of a child. I would not have entrusted you, while a baby, to a strange nurse, for any price the world could have offered me, but day and night these now trembling arms bore you; and therefore I hoped that my own son's hand would close my weak eyes in death, but so"-Sorrow made her speechless. All were silent; even Menikoff was overcome. But so," continued the grandmother, after collecting herself a little, "my trembling lips will call in vain on my son in the death-struggle-in vain will I stretch out my palsied hands towards him-no tender hand will do me that last service." "Hold, dearest mother!" exclaimed Menzikoff, almost beside himself; "you break my heart. Miserable is the greatness which has caused tears to my beloved mother. SAway with it! Be comforted, dear mother. I shall entreat the Emperor to take bac), this new honour, so that I may remain, as formerly, your fond son. Alas and I at first believed you would be so delighted with the news of my advancement!" His mother wiped away her tears. "No," said she, "I do not wish-I do not require that. Obey your good Car. Receive thankfully whatever he graciously presents to you. It is God's will. If it cannot be otherwise, I 1B



PAGE 1

40 Thie Perils of Greatness. Open quickly, Matinka," said a faint voice, which she, with fear, recognised to be her brother's. She quickly unloosed the bolts, but on opening the door, the lamp nearly fell from her hands, when she saw her beloved brother, her deliverer, totter feebly into the apartment covered over with blood, and deadly pale. "Let me die in peace with you," he said in fainting accents, and clung to his sister with both his hands, so that the blood gushed out of his wounds, over her garments. "All is lost. A ball or the gallows is my fate, if I am discovered." Matinka's prediction was correct. The wounded man was hardly able to mount the stairs even with the assistance of his sister, so that Matinka was reduced to the extremity -(as she durst not call in a physician,)-of examining his wounds, washing them, and bandaging them herselfalways a difficult task to an inexperienced woman, who dislikes the sight of blood : the tender love of a sister alone could give her the needful courage. After she had done this, she put the children to bed and watched through the remainder of this fearful night by the suffering bed of her brother, who fevered by his wounds, was bereft entirely of his reason, and required her uninterrupted attention. On the morning following, Matinka instructed both her children to preserve the strictest silence about their sick uncle, making them understand how they might be the means of bringing him to a shameful death by gossiping, and shewing them with what fearful remorse they would then suffer. They promised to maintain the most profound silence; and they kept their word, which was the more necessary as, on the following day, an order was issued to all the inhabitants of Moscow to discover and deliver up



PAGE 1

68 The Perils of Greatness. Michaelow," he began, you were so wrapt in conversation with that handsome maiden a minute ago, that you had almost entirely forgotten me." "Oh, no, most gracious Prince," returned Michaelow, "though I was indeed beside myself with joy. It was my good mother and sister, who have unexpectedly come to visit me." Ah, I see," said the Prince. Then I can fully sympathise with your joy. Does your mother live far from here ?" "Yes, in the neighbourhood of Moscow, in the village of Semenowsky," returned Michaelow. The Prince changed colour a little, became thoughtful and absent, but he at length said,"And how do you intend to increase the pleasure of their visit ?" My mother and sister wish nothing better," Michaelow quickly answered, "than to see my most gracious master, and-and-if it were the pleasure of your highness-the inside of your palace." "Truly a cheap enjoyment," returned the flattered Prince, and one which even to-day they may experience, for I and my family intend to drive out, and then you may shew them through the rooms, as they may wish; only do not forget to request the master cook, in my name, to prepare a little meal for you, that your mother and sister at least may not leave my house fasting." Moved by the Prince's generosity, Michaelow gratefully kissed the edge of his robe, and some hours afterwards hastened as host to conduct his visitors to the palace of the Prince. His sister was astonished at the splendour of the rooms, and their furnishings; but his mother seemed to be more engaged with herself than with surrounding objects.



PAGE 1

"6 The Perils of Greatness. mischief was done, took his basket under his arm, and sat down sorrowfully to think over his misfortune. "I must replace the pastry to my master," he said, sadly, "and so the whole gain of my late sale is lost. What will my poor mother say when I return home empty handed I You naughty brute, was not bread good enough for you, that you must fill yourself with pastry, which I have not even yet tasted myself And there the animal stands, as if it would laugh at me, or rather as if it expected to carry off more of such dainties. You shall wait long, however; I wish the last had choked you." The unchristian-like wish of the excited youth seemed about to be fufilled. The butcher's dog, which had not moved from the spot, began to choke, writhe its body, and howl piteously, that even the robbed youth had really sympathy for him. The howling, whining, and convulsions of the dog became more and more frightful, attracting the attention and concern of the passengers. No one understood what could have happened to it, while its sufferings appeared to become more dreadful still. You see, poor dog," said the pastry boy, with tears in his eyes, "that 'ill-gotten gain does not prosper.' My pastry agrees badly with you." "The dog has taken poison," said one of the on-lookers, who appeared to understand the affair better than the others. A fearful thought now took possession of the boy. He had indeed slept vry soundly in the Prince's kitchen, but not so soundly as not to have observed the sudden stillness which followed when the cook's assistants had left it to carry the wine from the cellar. He had heard, but only as in a dream, the whispering of the valet and the master ot the kitchen; and although he did not yet understand all



PAGE 1

L1S OF REATN ESS .,,A STORY op OV.ADER M ENZIA,,o L.----; ED NBURGH "I WILLIAM P.NIMMO



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 107 gazing fixedly. The physician who had been called declared her condition to be very doubtful They washed her icy cold skin, according to his instructions, with vinegar, rubbed her marble members, and surrounded her on all sides with warm stones and bottles; but their united efforts remained long without success. Menzikoff, meanwhile, watched his suffering wife with inexpressible anxiety, and the weeping children assisted in nursing the sick one. Oh," sobbed Matinka, as she untiringly exerted herself to lend a helping hand, "how much he loves his lady! he has not one look for his poor Matinka." Her tearful eyes often rested on the Prince, when she believed herself unnoticed, and then she would unwill ingly turn her eyes away. The night set in. A rosecoloured red-the first sign of returning consciousnessoverspread the temples of the Princess. True, the deadly paleness of the face continued the same, contrasting all the more deeply with the well-defined redness of the temples Even there a symptom of improvement became visible, and the whole countenance shone as a heavy sweat broke out, running down over the brow in large drops. This gradually spread over her whole body; the bed steamed with it, and seemed as if it had been dipped in water. Menzikoff, the children, and the others present, remarked this change with rising satisfaction. God be praised," he cried joyfully to the physician, who entered. "A favourable crisis has taken place. My lady has fallen into a violent sweat." The physician followed him to the sick bed, where he eagerly scrutinized the white face of the Princess; laid his hand inquiringly on her damp brow; took her hand and held it long, counting the beatings of the pulse. All



PAGE 1

28 The Perils of Greatness. Speaking so he urged his mother, who several times attempted to speak, towards the door of a side chamber; before leaving the room, however, he turned to the company and said,"Excuse my absence; the good old woman is worthy of the attention," and disappeared after her. It yet has failed," he muttered bitterly, as he led the old woman to a seat. He could not entirely banish his displeasure as he said, Welcome, dear mother; it is kind of you to give me the pleasure of seeing you." My dear son," returned his mother, "my legs will hardly bear me any longer; but I have succeeded to-day, as it is your name-day, and have come to wish you joy and to give you my maternal blessing. I indeed come emptyhanded, but my heart is all the fuller. My son, it is long, very long, since I saw you last. Who knows whether it may happen again? However, had I known you had so many visitors"" Good mother," said Menzikoff, I thank you for your love. I would indeed have been glad to have invited you to this little entertainment, but I knew so well your dislike to such assemblies. But have my servants not brought you the wine and dishes correctly ? if not, they ought"-"Dear Alexander," said his mother, interrupting him, I came not here on that account. My old stomach cannot bear all these dainties : I came only to see you, and enjoy your society." "But I must leave you soon," said he, embarrassed; "my duties as host, you know, require my immediate return to them; however, I will send Matinka and the children to you, and take care that you have refreshments." "But perhaps your guests have been here a considerable time ?" asked his mother.



PAGE 1

THE PERILS OF GREATNESS. CHAPTER I. BuY! buy! fine pastry! warm pastry! buy the new Parisian pastry! Who will buy ?-who will buy, while it is hot ?" Thus cried, with a loud and pleasant voice, a boy of about fifteen years of age, in the streets of Moscow, then the capital of Russia; at the same time he glanced around, with inquiring eyes, towards the windows of the stately palaces, as if he expected a buyer to beckon him from one of these. It was not therefore surprising that he should stumble against some Life-Guards, who were coming from an opposite direction, and who had been indulging so freely in brandy that they had linked themselves together arm in arm to hide their staggering walk. "Oho, boy !" they shouted. "Pray see who are before you! Why do you drive against us with your basket Come, let us see what good things you have in it !" Immediately the basket was seized by three or four, who endeavoured to remove the cover which was spread over its contents; but this the pastry boy opposed with all his strength. He knew well that, chould they do so, his A



PAGE 1

2 The Perils of Greatness. pastry would find its way, unpaid for, into the stomachs of the drunken soldiers. "Let it alone !" he cried; "it cannot be yours. It is pastry for the Czar. It is Peter's pastry, I tell you, and every piece costs a rouble." Be it pastry for the Princess Sophia, the Czars Ivan or Peter, for my part," laughed one of the Guards, "it shall cause me no trouble on that account; and we wish to know how such wares taste." The boy continued to defend his basket with great skill against the staggering soldiers, at the same time shouting without intermission that it was Peter's pastry, and that the Czar only dare eat it; but finally he would have been overpowered by numbers, had not his cry brought a passing officer of high rank to his assistance. What is the matter here ?" demanded he sharply of the soldiers, who, at the sight of his glittering uniform, started back, and got out of the way as quickly as possible. Well, what kind of trade have you had with the soldiera V" the officer now asked the youth, who, heated and panting, lifted the cover to see if his pastry had suffered in the struggle. He was so intent in doing this that he did not look up to the officer, but only on his wares, as he answered, "They wished to rob me of my pastry." "But why did you mix up the Czar Peter with your combat, and always exclaim that it was Peter's pastry asked the officer. "That was only a little stratagem," replied the youth, lifting his sparkling eye to his deliverer. "'I only wished to induce them to respect my pastry; but, besides, the Czar Peter is really my favourite, and has bought several times from me."



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 29 *' Oh, yes; about four hours," said he. "And kind old acquaintances, of course, to whom you are under deep obligations his mother inquired further. "I have known most of them," he replied, for about six months, and have possibly been invited by them ten times to their assemblies. From that you will see that I owe them many obligations." "If you have already spent four hours with acquaintances of six months' standing, who have ten times invited you to their tables, you may well spare one quarter of an hour upon your old mother, who for two-and-thirty years has been your best friend, and who for twelve years cared for you daily," said his mother, earnestly. SMenzikoff felt his ingratitude, but instead of confessing his fault at once, he appeared hurt, and answered peevishly,"Mother, you wrong me. You do not know my intentions. I will send my wife and children, they will be better able to chat with you. I hope, however, to speak with you again before you leave." He departed quickly. The old woman remained in tears; but soon the door opened again, and a strange and richly-dressed lady entered as quickly as her highheeled shoes permitted her, accompanied by two unknown children. Menzikoffs mother rose respectfully from her seat, and Matinka, weeping violently, flung herself on her breast, and covered her reverent face with caresses. "0 grandmother! grandmother!" shouted Florin and Helene, climbing up upon her. Matinka had observed the entrance of Menzikoft's mother into the dining-room, and was ,oing to spring up and fly to her, but a peculiar look from Menzikoff had prevented her. Since then she had sat as if on needles,



PAGE 1

60 The Perils of Greatness. that he must become as distinguished as he who once entirely by himself burst through a whole company of Swedish hussars. I can also praise my lady, the Princess. She has already twice called me dear Michaelow,' and given me a rouble when I fetched her something. Dear mother, I herewith send you thirty silver roubles, which I have saved -for my master gives excellent wages, and we now and then receive small sums in addition; besides, the night watching by Menzikoff, which I undertake in the place of my lazy fellows, brings me many a rouble. This night is the third that I have not slept "Here the Prince had interrupted the writer. He felt in nowise offended, however, by the portrait which his servant had drawn of him. He rather found himself in a manner flattered by the youth's description, which had certainly come from the heart. He could be really magnanimous; he took the young man into his chamber, and handed him the forgotten order, to deliver it to the officer of the watch below for instant despatch. He then thrust his hand into a purse filled with glittering gold pieces, brought out a full handful, and presented them to his disconcerted servant, who did not understand what had happened to him. "These," said the Prince, "are intended for your mother, because she has brought up her son so well. Such a son will also, I hope, continue to be a faithful servant to his master. Do not suffer yourself to be led astray, and I will not give reins to my fury towards you, as Samson did amongst the Philistines, or as the Czar Peter amongst the Swedes near Pultowa. I have great need of some one on whose fidelity I can rely, for I know well that I have many serpents among my attendants. These you can discover



PAGE 1

The Perzts of Greatness. 37 But Matinka could not quiet herself; her brother's outspoken thoughts caused her the greatest anxiety, and it proved indeed to be only too well founded. CHAPTER VI. ONE evening as Matinka and her children were at prayers in her quiet dwelling, her worship was disturbed by an uproar in the street, which increased. Many persons were running hastily along the streets, doors were opened and shut, and a wild outcry re-echoed from a distance. Matinka's disquiet had become the greatest anxiety, just as the loud thundering noise fell upon her ear. Oh, God, the Guards," she cried, forbodingly; and she had good reason for her fears. The National Guards, who were above seven thousand strong, had revolted, had disowned Peter's government, and desired to raise the Princess Sophia to the throne. The uproar soon raged through all the streets of the great city-shots resounded more and more frequently, and the cry of anguish from the wounded fugitives became ever more frightful. Like wild tigers the Guards, for the most part intoxicated, sought in their madness to butcher all the supporters of Peter. Matinka trembled, not so much for her own life, as for her children's-for her husband was generally known as the Czar's favourite, and they might revenge it on his wife and children, as Menzikoff himself was not at hand. In deep anguish Matinka threw herself on the floor of her little chamber, and implored her



PAGE 1

96 The Perils of Greatness. The Princess had pity on Michaelow's embarrassment. Call my husband father," she said softly; me mother, and my children brother and sisters. For have you not earned the right by your unwavering faithfulness 1" Deeply moved, Michaelow would as formerly have kissed the hem of her coarse garment, which she, however, resisted with all her might. A hand now knocked violently on the little window of the lowly chamber, and a rude voice cried," Will you never stir out of that ? must we be frozen to death for the sake of your chattering ?" The unfortunate family quickly prepared to set out on their journey, but when they reached the door they found :the travelling carriage had disappeared, and in its stead were six small wooden sledges, called there Kibiks. They were open, with only one horse to each, with hardly room for a single person to sit, besides the driver, and entirely wanting in convenience. No cushion made the hard seat more comfortable, neither was there any cover to protect the traveller from the severity of the atmosphere. At this sight Menzikoff stood as if petrified; he could not believe his eyes. Must my sick wife make the journey in such a miserable box 1" asked he at length. Certainly," returned the commandant, laughing. "Did you really think, Menzikoff, that something better would be provided for you than for the other convicts ? Did you trouble yourself about procuring comfortable conveyances for those distinguished people who were sent here by your cruelty I" These words came to Menzikoff like a clap of thunderYes, there is compensation. He had in cold blood banished hundreds to Siberia by the stroke of his pen ; he



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 71 you another." He opened the door of a splendid apartment, on entering which the full-length portrait of Menzikoff streamed full in their view. "Ha," cried Michaelow's mother, hastening up to the portrait, "Yes, that is him. He certainly looks a little older than formerly, but it is so like him." "Do you then know the Prince already so well, mother?" asked her son, astonished. I thought you had not yet seen him." "Child," said his mother, while her voice trembled, "you do not understand me, Helene Michaelow Just so looked your father, only you must fancy him without the stars on his coat, and with a more cheerful and friendly smile. What a likeness. Helene, do you not see that Michaelow resembles him ? " I did indeed think so," answered her daughter, laughing, but their mother continued to gaze with brightening eyes, first on the portrait, and then on her son, comparing the one with the other. Then she gently touched the hand of the portrait with her's, and a tear escaped her eye as she said very sadly," Good husband, good father. Oh, it is many, many years since you forsook us. Are you then happy now " Certainly," returned both her children at once. How can you doubt it, when our father is in heaven, where it is much better with him than it could possibly be here on earth." Their mother sighed deeply, and was unable to withdraw her eyes from the portrait, turning round again and again to look, as Michaelow led them away. "Here is the Prince's study," exclaimed Michaelow, "this is his writing-table-that is his arm-chair." "Children," said their mother, with a faint smile, "you



PAGE 1

86 The Perils of Greatness. But Menzikoff could not believe his ears or Michaelow's word. He looked back out of the carriage, to see the rest of the carriages, which had all, as well as his servants, disappeared. With a bitter smile he turned to his lady and said," Just think how faithful and feeling-hearted our people are They have secretly left us in a body to spare us the pain of separation. What do you want here ?" said he, addressing Michaelow. Follow your comrades." I will never forsake your Highness," answered Michae low. Go," cried Menzikoff, passionately. I wish to have nothing more to do with any of you. You are a parcel of hypocrites, eye-servants, who only court my money-bag. [ possess nothing more now worth getting. Go to Dolgorucki; he is now rich, while I am poor." I remain with your Highness," returned Michaelow, firmly. Ha," shouted the Prince. "How deeply indeed am I sunk, when my meanest servant pays no attention to my orders. Will you not instantly leave my sight, scoundrel?" The Princess and her children gave Michaelow a beseeching look, and he obeyed; but only to go and take his old seat behind the carriage; and thus the journey continued while the country became more lonely, and the north wind colder, the Prince and his family sitting mutely in the carriage thinking over their misfortune, which Michaelow also felt deeply. The howling of hungry wolves sounded in the distance, and as it became ever colder as they proceeded, the Princess and her children covered themselves more closely with their mantles when attempting to sleep, but in vain. Oh, how slowly the time passed, ere morning dawned. With the



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 103 fits of discontent and envy, she had concealed their parentage from her children, and had adopted on this account the name of her father Natuschkin. She never allowed them to know that the exalted and absolute ruler of the Russian Empire, Prince Menzikoff, was their father; but gave them to understand that her husband had gone out into the wide world and had died (to them) in a far country. But she was utterly unable to root out her love for her husband; and ever, even when furthest removed from him, she took the most lively interest in his welfare, catching with the greatest eagerness at all intelligence of the Prince which reached her. When her children were grown up, and when she was embarrassed about the choice of a trade for her son, a happy thought struck her. She determined to get her son engaged as a servant in the Prince's household, that he might be able immediately to give his father warning of any treacherous snare which Menzikoff's numerous enemies might lay for him. With this object in view, she often told her children stories about Prince Menzikoff, doing ample justice to his merits in the prosperity of Russia, and lamenting that such masters seldom had a single faithful servant. Florin with pleasure obeyed, when his mother asked him to seek Menzikoffs service, to change at the same time his name to Michaelow, and promise never to make known to any one in the vicinity of the Prince anything regarding the circumstances of his family. In this way she hoped to be able constantly to receive an account of all that happened to her husband. At length, after more than twenty years, she could no longer deny herself the pleasure of seeing him again, and therefore she undertook the journey, already related, together with her daughter, to St Petersburgh. We have seen





PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 87 rising sun the wind blew more fiercely; the leaves of the trees trembled at its breath, as did also the Prince's family, who had tasted nothing since their departure. A halt was made at the tavern of a little village for breakfast, where the Prince required to open the door of the carriage himself, and to step out without the accustomed help of his servant How difficult this trifle seemed, and how very helplessly he reached out his arm to assist his wife. The young Prince sprang out briskly, but fell, as both his legs had become benumbed by the continued journey. The case of the two young Princesses was not much better, as both they and their mother were seized with a severe fit of shivering-their trembling limbs being scarcely able to carry them from the spot. Michaelow had disappeared, for whose presence the Princess and her daughters had in silence hoped. The Prince and his family walked towards the peasant's house, where an oppressive heat, together with a disagreeable smell, met them on entering the common room. They would willingly have left it, but their necessity for warmth was too pressing; therefore, sighing, they took seats on the hard wooden bench, and looked on one another in silent sadness. Menzikoff alone kept his eyes fixed gloomily on the floor. The general wish was for something warm. But what I The bearded host had indeed brought a kind of soup, made of rye meal, in a large wooden dish; but host, dishes, and spoons looked so unpleasantly dirty that those present, only accustomed to eat out of silver and porcelain, turned away in disgust. "We must have both chocolate and tea amongst our luggage," remarked the Princess; "but who knows where they are to be found, as they who packed it have gone I The young Prince immediately ran out to the carriage, and sought long amongst the trunks and boxes, until luckily



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 89 and all the chocolate was streaming down on the hearth and over the floor; and, adding to their mortification, the parcel with the remainder was also immersed in the flood. Nothing now remained but the vessel of green tea, which tasted barbarously, terribly smoked, and discoloured by the coals which had fallen amongst it. The maidens wept with vexation, but could make no better. How much better could they have sung an Italian air, performed a difficult piece on the pianoforte, drawn a bouquet of flowers, or stitched in satin and gold; and they would certainly have gained more honour by so doing than by this awkward mess. People will maintain that there are even now-a-days such like ladies and maidens, who understand everything else much better than how to make soup, or prepare meat. At the same moment as the Princesses, their eyes red with weeping, left the kitchen and entered the room, taking with them the discoloured tea, the other door opened and Michaelow, whom they had believed-lost to them, entered, carrying a handsome tea tray, on which stood a large pot of steaming chocolate, another of tea, and several cups, and a plate of tempting newly-baked bread. How clean and bright the dishes were, in comparison with those of their hostess How fragrant was the smell of this beverage to the exhausted family, and how quickly did the sorrowful faces of Menzikoffs children light up A weight, a very great one, was removed from their hearts. Yes, faithful servants are truly very precious, and people are never more ready to acknowledge their value than when, in a position requiring their services, they find that they must serve themselves. Masters and mistresses ought therefore to treat their male and female servants more kindly than they frequently do. People cannot believe that everything may



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 79 him by the hand and kissing his offered cheek. When all had departed, Menzikoff, exhausted by the scene, flung himself on a seat. Have I acted right now ?" he asked of his lady, who just then entered the room. Oh, my husband," she answered, "now are you truly great. You have won your greatest battle-for you have conquered yourself. Now you belong wholly to your wife and children. Now you are free from all outwardly oppressing circumstances, and now only will we be truly happy. Your large estates, immense fortune, and your children, are still yours. You have made Russia great; you have advanced its prosperity; and you can now honourably retire, after long, praiseworthy service, from the theatre of your fame." The Princess sought thus to comfort her husband, who had after all only outwardly composed himself. In his heart mortified ambition yet raged with terrible violence. But how could these help him ? He must decide quickly upon his departure. They packed up only that which was most necessary for their wants; but every male as well as female servant had their hands full of work. What a quantity of bales, chests, trunks, boxes, and bags, full of goods, were dispatched in the long train of carriages which were to accompany the Prince and his family. An immense multitude of people looked on as they drove off, waiting with impatience to see the humbled Menzikoff and the forsaken Imperial bride depart; at the same time, they murmured insultingly that such a scoundrel of a minister, who had robbed the country, should dare to carry away so much wealth with him. "He ought to be stoned out of the land," they said. Nothing ought to be left him of all his stolen riches,



PAGE 1

T/e Perils of Greatness. 119 when Michaelow informed him, in reply to this oft-repeated question, that he had received intelligence from his mother. He did this with downcast looks and a sorrowful air, but the Prince urged his departure immediately. While tears flowed freely, Michaelow, with the help of his sobbing sisters, packed up his few possessions; and when he had finished this, Menzikoff, deeply moved, addressed him thus,"Go, my son, make use of what still remains of the summer for your life, and may the Lord be pleased to prosper you." My father," said Michaelow, with faltering voice, kneeling before the Prince. "Be pleased to bless me. I am Florin, your son and Matinka's." The Prince could not believe his ears. His upraised hands remained outstretched as in blessing. His eyes sought with evident anxiety to read confirmation of what he heard in Florin's features. "How ?" stammered he at length. "You are "" I am Florin, your son and Matinka's. If I must leave you, I would at least carry away with me your blessing, as my only paternal inheritance." Florin's voice became fainter as he uttered these words. You break my old heart," returned Menzikoff. Your only paternal inheritance Truly you are right, my poor son. You have had a false father. Oh, wretch that I am!" His legs shook beneath him; and he was so exhausted that his children were obliged to carry him to a seat. My father," Florin again began, with unspeakable anguish, "have you no friendly word for your son 1 Will you not even embrace me, that I may once feel your heart beat against mine "Dare I do so, my dear afflicted son ? Can, then, a



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 39 A single Guard came running with the greatest speed, and sternly addressing the crowd of incendiaries, said,"What do you here 1 Have you nothing better to do than to plunder a miserable hut which scarcely contains the value of a rouble?' We know better than that, sergeant," shouted the soldiers. Menzikoff, the favourite's, family dwells here, and we must root them out." It is nonsense," replied Simonow, who had hastened to his sister's deliverance. My own sister has rented this house since Menzikoff's mother died in it. We have already cleaned out Menzikoffs real quarters. Sister," he shouted; "where are you ?" "Here," said Matinka, opening the window. "Many thanks for your assistance." Are you satisfied now 7" said Simonow to his comrades. "Come, let us go where there is more to be found." The Guards followed him willingly, and left Matinka and her children rescued. How she praised God's merciful providence, which had brought her brother to Moscow just at that time. But the danger was not wholly over, for soon the tumult grew even worse than before;-renewed -and repeated cannonading was heard,--the-war-cry and tumult of battle resounded horribly through the streets, and made this the most frightful night on record. Those regiments which had remained faithful had arrived at the scene of war, and under the leadership of General Gordon compelled the rebellious Guards to return to their barracks. These did not willingly obey, and much blood was therefore shed on both sides. The struggle was not over,.when Matinka heard a gentle knocking on the yet bolted door of her house. She slipped gently down, and iprudently inquired what was wanted.



PAGE 1

18 The Perils of Greatness. will suit myself to my lot. Death may not surprise me so quickly as to prevent me from bestowing my last farewell on you and yours, and from giving you my last maternal blessing. Obey, my son." Undecided, Menzikoff sat wringing his hands. "It is impossible!" he exclaimed. "If I remain minister, I must have a dwelling in the neighbourhood of the Czar's palace, in which I could have apartments for myself, where I might work without being disturbed; therefore it were better that I refuse the honour." "No, no !" exclaimed his mother, eagerly; "I was too hasty, too alarmed. Think no more of it, my son. Forget my complainings; do all that your office requires." "As you will, good mother," said he, well pleased "You see you looked only on the dark side of things. Be not grieved. We will indeed be much happier, and spend our days most joyfully. Here is gold, Matinka. Procure some wine of the best, that it may cheer your hearts. Long live the gracious Czar We must drink his health to-day." It was procured. But there was to Matinka a new source of sorrow at the dinner-table. She had prepared her husband's food in the h6pe of seeing him enjoy it, and gaining his praise. Instead of this, he stirred among the good things with his fork, and appeared to expect some. thing additional. "Is it not to your taste ?" asked his anxicus wife; "or are you not well that you have no appetite 1" "Not that! not that !" said Menzikoff, confusedly. "Take it not ill of me, dear wife. Our food has always tasted well to me; only just now it seems too plain, too-country-like. I wish something now in accordance with our new position. Henceforth we must have a greater



PAGE 1

50 The Perils of Greatness. CHAPTER VIII. NOTHING now prevented the ambitious Menzikoff from mounting ever upwards on the ladder of earthly fortune. [n a few years he was made Count, Prince, Prime Minister, and Field-Marshal. The Emperor had given him large estates, on which were nearly a hundred thousand serfs; created him Duke of Inkerman, and covered his breast with the stars of various orders; as also did the Emperor of Austria, the King of Prussia, and other sovereigns, in order to gain the favour of the powerful favourite. The great riches, for which he had to thank the favour of his Emperor, he yet sought to enlarge through unjust means -for avarice is the origin of all evil. He embezzled large sums intended for the country's good, sold lucrative situations for money, and suffered himself to be bribed by foreign princes to work in opposition to the designs of his Czar. His wealth, in money, amounted to three million dollars. He also made a fresh marriage with the daughter of a distinguished Russian Prince, by whom he had a son and two daughters. All honoured, all feared the powerful Menzikoff. The most noble families courted his favour, exhausted their means of flattery in order to please him; and when, decked with orders, he drove out of his magnificent palace, in his gilded carriage of state, drawn by six beautiful horses, all the sentries presented arms, and the highest general, as well as the meanest soldier, reverently bared his head. Who could have imagined him to have been once a poor pastry baker's boy, wandering through the streets shouting his wares 1 Young reader, do not envy his happiness, for "all is not gold that glitters." There hung above him a pointed



PAGE 1

120 The Perils of Greatness. barbarian like me be worthy of possessing a child so good ?" He opened his trembling arms, and Florin flung himself on his heaving breast. The two men became like children. They held each other in a mutual embrace, their eyes streamed with tears, and the other children mingled their gentle weeping with their impetuous sobs. Hold, my children," Menzikoff besought, "my poor heart breaks with rapture and sorrow. Excuse a feeble old man." He laid his aged head exhausted on Florin's shoulder; but suddenly lifting it,"And Matinka," he exclaimed, "and my daughter Helene. Where are they ? Now it strikes me as if I had seen them both in Tobolsk." "You are right, my dear father," returned Florin. "And yet they did not make themselves known to me," continued the Prince, sorrowfully. Could they allow me to go comfortless into banishment 1 But truly I deserved it from them. Yet it would have been balm to my suffering mind." Willingly would my mother and sister have accompanied you here, my father 1" returned Michaelow, "have shared your lot, and tried also to enliven it; but they dared not, doing violence, therefore, to their hearts by their silence, because they knew not your mind towards them." "They were right," said Menzikoff. "I have, indeed, been cruel towards them; but I had neither forgotten you nor them. Often I thought of you, even while I stood by the side of the Czar, and more frequently, and more longingly, in solitude. Oh, now, I remember well your mother's voice, when she exclaimed to me in Tobolsk,



PAGE 1

eocks putbliott bg mEEUianim V|. gi oma. 7 T I M M O's Ot $4ilfing yfIestfraf6 ItUfjmi .azks. Foolscap 8vo, Coloured Frontispiece, handsomely bound in cloth, Illuminated, price Is. each. I. VII. Four Little People and their The Perils of Greatness. Friends. m. n. Little Crowns, and How to Elizabeth; or, The Exiles of win Them. Siberia. Ix. -n. Great Riches. Paul and Virginia. x. Iv. The Right Way, and the Little Threads. Contrast. v. XI. Benjamin Franklin. The Daisy's First Winter. vr. xn. Barton Todd. The Man of the Mountain. NEW VOLUMES. XIII. XIX. Better than Rubies. Stories Simple Stories, to Amuse for the Young, Illustrative of and Instruct Young Readers. Familiar Proverbs. With 62 With Illustrations. Illustrations. xx. xiv. The Three Friends, and other Experience Teaches, and Stories for the Young. With other Stories for the Young, Illustrations. Illustrative of Familiar Proverbs. With 39 Illustrations. xxI. xv. Sybil's Sacrifice, and other The Happy Recovery, and Stories for the Young. With other Stories for the Young. 12 Illustrations. With 26 Illustrations. xxu. xvr. The Old Shepherd, and other Gratitude and Probity, and Stories for the Young. With other Stories for the Young. Illustrations. With 21 Illustrations. XXXIII. The Two Brothers, and other The Young Officer, and other Stories for the Young. With Stories for the Young. With 13 Illustrations. Illustrations. XVIII. XXIV. The Young Orator, and other The False Heir, and other Stories for the Young. With Stories for the Young. With 9 Illustrations. Illustrations.



PAGE 1

94 The Perils of Greatness. merited kindness. When the Princess-as having been Princess born--entered, dressed in her miserable clothing, wearing a death-like smile on her pale face, and accompanied by his children, once the ornaments of the youthful nobility of St. Petersburgh, his long pent-up sorrow broke forth irresistibly. He threw himself on his knees before his lady, unable to utter one word-he could only sob bitterly; and when the Princess and her children saw the violently heartbreaking sorrow of the Prince, they could no longer refrain from tears, but sympathetically wept and sobbed in company. Their faithful servant Michaelow, who was a witness of this touching scene, which might have moved the heart of a stone, wept also like a child. "Oh, Emperor !" the young Prince exclaimed, with hot shining tears in his eyes, "if you could witness just now the misery which your anger has occasioned, you would surely permit your favour again to visit us But the Princess made answer in tears," It is well to put our trust in the Lord, and not rely upon men. It is well to put our trust in the Lord, and not rely upon princes. Formerly we only did the latter. Let us now repair our neglect and turn to our all-merciful God." "Alas," cried Menzikoff, recovering his speech, "I have plunged my noble wife into misery through my unbounded covetousness and ambition." "Calm yourself, my husband," the Princess said. Let us bear the blame in common, so that the burden may not press too hard on any one, for if by our misfortune we are led nearer to God, we shall have gained by the exchange; for what else is our life on earth than a short dream-a drama which only lasts for a few hours, in which sometimes we are princes, sometimes beggars. But I feel this," added she, with heavenly composure, that my course



PAGE 1

54 The Perils of Greatness. "Halt" to the coachman. Immediately the horses stood as if chained to the spot. Fellow," said he, furiously turning himself to Menzikoff, "have I not appointed you general inspector of all the bridges of the empire 7 Do you not as inspector draw a salary of several thousand roubles yearly I and is this the way you fulfil your duties ? Step out, knave." The Czar sprang out of the carriage, while the trembling Menzikoff crept after him; and as he stood on the ground, Peter seized his walking stick and energetically belaboured the back of the Prince. What a strange scene for the onlookers There stood a nobleman, covered with orders, cringing, and as quiet as a mouse, patiently suffering himself to be cudgelled by a man in simple clothing. Aftei Peter's chastening arm had tired itself out, and his passion had expended itself, addressing him then in a cheerful tone he said,"Now, my dear Menzikoff, let us proceed." Menzikoff humbly obeyed, and the Czar spoke to him in as pleasant a manner, as if nothing had taken place, while Menzikofl dared not so much as rub his smarting back, nor shew by a look the pain he was suffering; and was obliged even to join in the laugh and jest with the Czar. Another time, when a new case of treachery on the part of Menzikoff had come to the Czar's knowledge, Menzikofl immediately received intelligence of it through his spies, and had already planned in what way he might be able to weaken the accusation, when he received an invitation from the Czar to dine with him. A ghastly paleness overspread his face, and only with difficulty could he prevent a severe fit of trembling from seizing him, as his valet arrayed him in his robe of state, in which he was to proceed to court. He sighed inwardly as he glanced down upon the glittering 0



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 35 children to her bedside, and given them, as well as her ab sent son, her dying blessing. As the old grandmother lay in her coffin, and her relatives according to the Russian custom kissed the body before it was committed to the grave, Matinka said to her children," From what reproaches would you now have suffered, if you had occasioned your blessed grandmother's. death, or even had offended her while living. All the tears of the most bitter repentance could not now awaken her." They felt how right their mother was, and solemnly promised to give her no occasion for displeasure, that they might never be pained by remorse at the side of her death. bed. After their grandmother had been committed to the dust, and the mourning family had returned from the funeral, and were sitting sorrowfully thinking of their absent father, the door of their dwelling was opened suddenly, and a non-commissioned officer of the Guards hurriedly entered. Astonished at this unexpected visit, Matinka rose, and was not a little amazed when the bearded soldier clasped her in his arms. I do believe Matinka," he said, when he saw how he had frightened her, that you do not know your own brother again. Look well at me-I am he." Matinka flung her arms joyfully round his neck, and answered," Ah, dear Simonow, you have indeed become strange to me; but tell me, how does it come that I see you here 1 I thought I would never have seen you again. What happiness !" "I am glad I have been enrolled among the National Guards," returned Simonow, "because, dear Matinka, I will now be near you ; but where is your husband 1"



PAGE 1

44 The Perils of Greatness. husband-dreadful fact-lost to her. The happiness of her peaceful life, blasted by a poisonous breath, had withered away. Only the children and her heavenly Father were now left to her. But poorer still did Menzikoff feel He had sacrificed his conscience, his wife and children, and the favour of an infinitely rich and Almighty God to the favour of a weak and changing human being. He had cast all behind him for the sake of a shadow, and already the messenger of vengeance, the secret but ever active reprover, had gone forth to torment him. It was this disturbed state which drove him up and down his chamber with rapid steps. Ought he to pursue the path he had now entered, and repudiate his wife, or "forsake the splendid career of fortune and sink back into his former nothingness ? He wavered; but at last, as is only too often the case, evil prevailed; and he resolved to break the band of wedlock which threatened to destroy the favour of the Czar, or at least hinder his speedy promotion. But he did not feel himself strong enough to execute this business personally. He feared the prayers of Matinka and the children might possibly shake his resolution, and stir up his former love. He therefore sent his valet, a clever, crafty fellow, to negotiate between him and Matinka. She was sitting in the deepest distress in her room, while the children were studying their tasks quietly by the light of a small lamp, often looking up to their weeping mother with tearful eyes, when a knock came to the door and a man entered. The belief in her husband's faithfulness was not entirely extinguished in Matinka's breast; she yet hoped momently to see him stepping into their midst; she therefore could scarcely suppress a scream on the entrance of the stranger; but she found herself bitterly deceived. It was not her loved Alexander, but only his valet.



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 4 to the authorities, all Guards to whom they had given shelter, under the threat of banishment to Siberia. Ought Matinka to obey this command? To hand over her brother, her own and her children's preserver, to certain death I No, that she could never do. She would rely on her husband's mighty influence, and not betray her brother. He improved from day to day, and both had already discussed how he might be placed beyond the reach of danger, and how they might for that purpose contrive a secret flight, when that was made impracticable by the unexpected arrival of the Czar, who issued the strictest orders to search out those Guards who were yet missing. Peter had been on the point of proceeding from England to Italy, when the intelligence of this renewed uprising of the Guards reached him. It transfixed him with indescribable anger, and he at once gave up the intended journey, hastened back to Moscow, with the determination of exercising the severest punishment upon the rebels. Houses in all parts of the city were searched, and as Matinka's neighbours had often seen her brother going out and in, they would not fail to search her's also, and might discover the unfortunate Simonow. He already fancied himself taken prisoner and dragged away; his sister, also, who had acted unlawfully, ran the risk of sharing the same fate, if they did not spare her for her husband's sake. Matinka was beside herself when she heard the fate which awaited the rebels. With real anguish she saw a gallows erected on all the battlements of the kremlin, destined for those who had been most prominent. Most probably Simonow would also be sentenced to die, as he was a non-commissioned officer, and the wounds he had received would prove that he had been most active in the revolt. Matinka knew not how to advise or help. She wished to learn whether her husband



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. in dren when they came to thank her and to say farewell. For were they not also her children ? She had entrusted Florin with the secret of his birth before he left for Beresow with his father, whom he all the more gladly and willingly attended, pronouncing now far more tenderly the word Father," which he had used ever since the deceased Princess had requested him, when addressing Menzikoff. The latter did not notice the change in Michaelow's behaviour, or, if he did observe the evident affection which his conduct betrayed, he believed it arose from the interest which Michaelow took in his mournful fate. The young Prince had also become more familiar with Michaelow. Misfortune had made him more mildly disposed, and completely broken his pride, while the two Princesses considered and treated the faithful servant as a member of their family. The bounty of Simonow and his sister had supplied the poor banished ones with many conveniences and necessaries, which proved most useful, partly on their journey, and partly at their place of destination. The journey continued without intermission, while the air became ever colder, and the days shorter, as they proceeded farther and farther north. All natural life appeared to have died, and rarely did they meet a traveller galloping past in his sledge drawn by dogs or reindeer. The sun seemed to have lost all its brightness, for without dazzling their eyes they could gaze intently on its red disc, and was visible a few hours only above the horizon, while sometimes several suns could be seen beside one another. Such false suns and false moons frequently are formed by the air becoming so condensed by cold that it receives and reflects like a mirror the image of the real sun or moon. This is one of the most fearfully beautiful spectacles that can be seen in nature.



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 99 tongues which would have willingly spoken. At every stoppage the husband and children surrounded the sledge of the Princess, who remained as silent as during the previous day, desiring neither to eat nor drink. Several times she appeared to sleep, and not to hear the words which they addressed to her. On such occasions the inquirers would always retire, pained, however, with tormenting conjectures. In this way the second night of this journey set in; a journey for which none but Russian horses are capable. A faint brightness now began to light up the dark heavens, which by degrees spread itself farther and farther, assuming a fearfully beautiful aspect of a blood red colour. The sky seemed to be on fire, while dazzling rays shot up out of what appeared like a dark flaming furnace, towards the immeasurable expanse of heaven, as if a terrific battle was being fought by the powers above, or as if a thousand throats of flame belched forth their lightnings, and set the western universe in a blaze. Thus did this unexplainable event of nature appear; and more horrible, more spectral did the fight seem to them all on account of the profound silence which prevailed. No thunder, no clash of weapons, no battle cry, no death shriek was to be heard, for spirits alone appeared to fight against spirits. Such is the impression generally made upon the mind of the astonished onlooker by the northern lights, or Aurora Borealis. Even the horses had become restive, so much so as to make a halt necessary, and all eyes were turned to this appearance of the heavens, which is so often to be seen in the far north. It had also awakened the Princess, who, sitting upright in her Kibik, her mantle having fallen from her shoulders, and the ghastly hue of her wasted face glancing in the red reflection of the northern lights, gazed fixedly upon the blazing sky. She would not



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 5 manner. "Shall we be more so when pomp and splendour surround us ?" "Be that as it will," said Menzikoff; "just now we must not inquire as to our happiness, but what fashion requires in our new position." Lost in thought, he gazed fixedly before him, At last he appeared to have formed some strong resolution. He lifted the window hastily, and shouted to a Jew who was passing. "Ho, Jew here !-come here for a little !" The Jew, however, paid no attention to his call, but proceeded quietly on his way. "Look at the fellow !" said the angry minister. "He will not listen to my call. And certainly he would sooner suppose this wooden booth to be the dwelling of a cheesemonger than of one of the Emperor's ministers, or he would not dare to pass so insolently. Things cannot remain so. What person of consequence would think of clambering up these narrow steps, or of entering this humSble closet, where one is afraid of breaking one's head on the ceiling ? We cannot bring any chandeliers here, nor can we curtain these windows, which look more like those of a cabin. Yes; we must seek out some other dwelling." "My dear son," said his mother, "listen to me, and remain where you have been so happy. Happiness does not always dwell in palaces, but more frequently treachery and death, as you might have learned from the affair of the pastry. I felt myself most happy in my peasant hut, and only forsook it to stay in this handsome house out of love for you; and now that I have become accustomed to it, through years of residence, and feel myself at home, must I again leave it ? Exchange it for the large and cold



PAGE 1

22 The Perils of Greatness. which you may possess the noblest heart and clearest understanding, and yet be ridiculed and despised. Smooth words and false flatteries pass better with the nobility than good morals and unvarnished truth. You are a costly jewel, but in your unassuming modesty you appear only as an unpolished pebble. It cuts me to the very soul to be forced to see others mistake you so, but a little practice will make all right." Only tell me, husband, what I must do to please you," said Matinka. "Listen," answered Menzikoff; "I will engage the French dancing-master, Genou, to practise our Florin in bowing, and to attend to the carriage of his body, as also the usual method of expressing himself, and other proprieties. You will be in attendance, and note all, and practise it afterwards in your chamber. Some days before the feast we will have a little rehearsal among ourselves, in order to see how we progress." Matinka sighed and promised to obey, and the supple dancing-master soon appeared to give his instructions. Poor Florin was obliged to allow himself to be sorely restrained by him. He had to walk up and down the room as stiff as a stick a hundred times, a thousand times to bow on all sides, and waste compliments on the vacant chairs; while Genou commanded:"Keep in your stomach! Throw out your breast! Hold up your head! Oh, fie !--do not stretch out your leg behind you so Do not turn your foot inwards! Do not allow your arms to dangle like clubs! Now, once more, make a little obeisance. Not so deep! Do not strike the floor with your nose." At first these efforts were pleasant to the little one, but displeasure and weariness followed, and at length he began



PAGE 1

32 The Perils of Greatness. plainly the mistake which I made, when I took you for a wife." He ran out without taking leave of his mother, who endeavoured to appease him, and returned to his guests. No trace of anger could be found on his face, as he said,"My wife begs a thousand times to be excused, she can no longer enjoy the pleasure of your company. A severe headache, to which she is sometimes liable, has attacked her suddenly, and robbed her of the happiness she knows how to value here." The nobility employ such untruths only too frequently, to escape a troublesome visitor or an unwelcome suppliant, not considering them sinful in the least. They spoke a few words in condolence over the indisposition of the hostess, and immediately the gentlemen returned to their wine, and the ladies to their gossip. But Menzikoff had left his wife in the deepest distress. Such hard words, such relentless rebukes as these, he had never used towards her before. So this was her reward as a noble lady, to compensate for the loss of her former innocent enjoyments She felt that the band which she had drawn around her Alexander was loosened. So he regretted having married her-dreadful! His old mother, herself requiring comfort, offered all her motherly consolation to compose her afflicted daughter. They wept and lamented together over their sorrows, while the children cried under the smarting blows they had received. At length Matinka laid aside her finery, and dressing herself in her usual garments, conducted the old grandmother home, and then sought her own chamber, to which peace would be for a long time a stranger.



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 73 boxes, rings, and other ornaments, he entrusts to me; but then he has a plain little ring which he only takes out of a sealskin case on special occasions to gaze at, and then shuts it up again. That he never allows any one to touch, and I have only once by chance seen it, when I was obliged to call him away abruptly without his having time to put it away." "A little ring-a sealskin case, said you ?" his mother exclaimed, confusedly, looking down to her finger. Yes," continued her son, without constraint, although he observed how his mother was engaged. "Just such a ring as that which you have on your finger." His mother withdrew to one of the windows to hide the strong agitation which her son's speech had caused her. She pressed both her hands in ecstacy to her bosom, and said to herself very softly," So my Alexander has not yet been able to forget his poor Matinka!" Lastly, here is my master's bedroom," said Michaelow, opening a door. "Look at the splendid carpet on the floor, the silver water ewer and basin, and crystal night lamp." But I see only one bed," remarked his astonished mother. "Where are those of his lady and children ?" Yes," said her son. "With the nobility it is entirely otherwise than with poor people-the princess has her separate apartments; the two princesses have each their separate rooms, and the young prince dwells also by him. self. I would willingly shew you through them also, only they lie so near to that wing of the palace in which the young Emperor dwells, and there are always so many people in that quarter, that you would feel yourself uncomfortable-for you must know that the young Czar lives



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 3 hair-bag rapidly, and dashed hither and thither a whole cloud of white powder over his blue velvet coat. How did you come into possession of so many curls I" asked his grandmother. "Oh, they are all false," said Florin, lifting the peruke and hair-bag from his head, and presenting them to his astonished grandmother on the point of his sword. "I would be content," said he, "if the sword was real; but it is a mere sheath and handle, with which I can neither fight nor cut." He threw the peruke upon the floor and ran fencing after his little sister, whose wide whalebone skirts he belaboured stoutly with his sword. To avoid this, she scoured round the room with Florin at her heels, but slipping on the glassy boards, she fell, and Florin tumbled over her, so that the destruction of their dresses was completed. Menzikoff entered just then to ascertain the reason of his wife's long absence. He found the children struggling on the floor, one of his wife's whalebone hoops broken, the other hanging down; a part of her rouge clinging to his mother's cheeks, and part of it running down with her tears on her own lace frills. This sight roused his anger so much that he could only with difficulty restrain its complete outburst in the presence of his mother. But the children did not escape so easily: he flung them without mercy here and there, dealing them several cuffs as they ran about. Then, trembling with passion, he said to his wife," It is a true proverb, That which has been coined into a penny will never become a shilling.' So is it with you, who will ever remain a peasant. Stay now in this chamber, and on no account present yourself again before the company, for your appearance in that state would shew too



PAGE 1

12 The Perzfs of Greatness. said he, "I will repay a small part of my great debt to you. The patience and love which you have shewn me until now it is impossible for me to repay; but I will always try to make your happiness as great as I am able." The delighted peasant mother wept, she was so happy over her grateful son. She gave him her best blessing and prayed inwardly to God for his future welfare; and her prayer was heard. He continued to strengthen himself in the favour of his master and of the Czar, and indeed shewed an uncommon industry, the greatest zeal in their service, an invincible faithfulness towards both; and, through these virtues, he rose gradually higher in offices and honours. When he had attained the age of manhood, and acquired the office of secretary, he married a pretty modest maiden, who, although the daughter of a peasant of his own rank, yet had a soul of the very highest order. He thought himself very happy when he brought his young bride into the small wooden house in Moscow which he had purchased out of the savings of his income. He considered himself richer than a king, and his mother was even more delighted. He had brought her to live with them, and the greatest attention to her wants was shewn by the newly-married pair. In this way some years of unclouded happiness were passed. Matinka, the careful housewife, presented her husband with two children, of whom the eldest was a boy, and the youngest a girl, affording thus a new source of joy to the fortunate Alexander Menzikoff. In the morning when he arose, at mid-day before sitting down to dinner, in the evening on returning from his labours, his first act was to fondle his children. He took them up in his arms, danced round the little chamber with them, and led them by the hand, while they were yet unable to walk by themselves. All trouble with



PAGE 1

The Perits of Greatness. 67 their petitions; but generally he passes through their midst without taking any notice of them, so that you may have an opportunity of seeing him distinctly." "Dear Florin," said his sister, impulsively--Her mother started, and gave her a gentle push, looking timidly around. Oh," said her daughter laughing,,' I had forgot, that you are called Michaelow here, and yet Florin is not an ugly name. But as our mother desires it so, I will take care to call you Michaelow. In short, dear brother, might we not be permitted to see the Prince's apartments? I would like so much to have an idea how such a great man lives, and how he disposes of himself." That you easily may do," answered her brother. If my master dines out, I am certain that I have only to ask the steward and he will allow you." "Yes, do," said mother and sister in one breath. Michaelow nodded and had opened his mouth to answer, when a showy carriage flew past, while Michaelow bared his head with lightning speed. That was my master, the Prince," he hurriedly said, replacing his hat, "so I must away. I am his attendant to-day; but at four o'clock I shall be at liberty. Tell me where you are staying, and I will then be able to find you." His mother did not hear these words. She had grown pale, and stood fixedly gazing after the departing carriage, until it disappeared within the palace gate. Her daughter, however, answered her brother's question, who then quickly took leave of them, and ran off. The Prince must either have received some new promotion that day, or some other agreeable news, for he was in excellent spirits, while Michaelow assisted him to undress.



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 65 fright which you have sustained. Thus do fidelity and honesty steadily receive from me their reward." It was quite a natural thing for Menzikoff to know accurately all the circumstances of the theft which had been committed. Michaelow's relation had attracted his attention to Karpakan, and through his spies, who had watched his every step and proceeding, he learnt the progress of the affair. He very wisely, as men of the world would judge, took the opportunity to make his people believe that he was acquainted with everything that took place, and the event really made a deep impression. Michaelow was the gainer. A goodly number of gold pieces found their way into his pocket by the business, and it made him even more precious to his generous master than before. People accuse Menzikoff of evil actions," thought Michaelow to himself, and it may be that all that he does is not quite right; yet it is. not my duty to act as his judge, but rather to be a faithful servant to him, and this I'll be." He had just received the value of the stolen candlesticks, when a boy entered the servants' room and asked for the servant Michaelow. A woman," said he, and maiden, wish to speak with him, and await him before the palace of the Prince." He hastened down and found as he had been told, a woman, simply dressed, along with a grown-up maiden in like apparel. "My mother," exclaimed Michaelow, transported with joy, after he had beheld her more attentively, clasping both her and his sister to his heart. What a wonder it is to see you here," said he. "That wonder you have been the means of bringing E



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. o09 words could find their way to the pale lips. The weeping children, with loud lamentations, threw themselves over the cold corpse and kissed its benumbed lips. But no refreshing tears filled the eyes of the Prince. He raised himself, and tremblingly lifting his right hand, said, pointing to the body," See there. That is the second wife whom I have inhumanly destroyed. Matinka," he shouted, beside himself, casting his bloodshot eyes to heaven, "I have deserved this on your account. You have been fearfully avenged. If I had not cast you off, all these sufferings would not have befallen me, and my poor family." Matinka nearly sank to the ground on hearing these words; but, with a voice almost choked with anguish, she exclaimed," Matinka has forgiven you. She forgives you now." "Has she truly, my good woman ?" answered Menzikoff, half unconsciously, turning himself immediately to his deceased lady. Poor Matinka was also silent, now abandoning her fondest hopes. Her belief had been strong that Menzikoff would acknowledge and draw her to his heart, would allow her to return to her old place, and grant again her former rights. And besides, had she not two loving children to present to him as a comfort for the loss which he had just sustained. No," she said to herself. He loves you no more. It was only a passing thought which recalled to him the remembrance of his forsaken Matinka." Persevering, notwithstanding, in her kind activity, she, together with her brother, assisted in providing everything necessary for the funeral of the Princess, which was doleful enough. They required first to thaw the frozen soil of the churchyard with fire before the silent chamber of death



PAGE 1

60 The Perils of Greatness. about," returned his mother, after their greeting. "We thought we could not turn the many roubles which you sent as to better account than by visiting you, and seeing like wise the new city St Petersburgh. In that you did well, dear mother," said her overjoyed son. "But I must bear the expenses of your journey. Here," he said, striking his pocket which swelled with gold, "'is more than enough." "I am really afraid," returned his mother, that just actions do not accompany so much money. Your master must have gold like chaff, if he pays every one of his numerous servants as well as he pays you." Thereupon Michaelow told the affair of the candlesticks with great energy, and the good woman, apparently touched with the Prince's kindness, wiped a tear from her eye, as she said,"Ah, is he so kind toward his meanest servant, and yet could he be so naughty towards"She stopped. "You would say towards others who are often distinguished people," continued her son. "But let all that alone; it does not concern us." You know not what I mean, my son," said his mother. "Yet tell me, how does he conduct himself towards his wife, or rather his lady and children " Very well, I assure you," Michaelow answered. "If they but express their wish by a look, he complies with it." Bis mother sighed, and tried to hide her tearful eyes by looking down. How could we get to see him I" she asked; "but only from a distance, so that he might not observe us." Most easily," returned Michaelow. The ante-chamber is daily full of people, who wait on the prince to present



PAGE 1

4 poDks puhfisebt g h ailliam immn. NIMMO'S UNIVERSAL GIFT-BOOKS-contiued. XII. Epoch Men, and the Results of their Lives. By Samuel Neil. XIII. The Mirror of Character. Selected from the Writings of OVERBURY, EARLE, and BUTLER. XIV. Men of History. By Eminent Writers. XV. Old World Worthies; or, Classical Biography, Selected from PLUTARCH'S LIVES. XVI. Women of History. By Eminent Writers. XVII. The World's Way. Lays of Life and Labour. XVIII. The Improvement of the Mind. By Isaac Watts. XIX. The Man of Business considered in Six Aspects. A Book for Young Men. "*,* This elegant and useful Series of Books has been specially prepared for School and College Prizes: they are, however, equally suitable for General Presentation. In selecting the works for this Series, the aim of the Publisher has been to produce books of a permanent value, interesting in manner and instructive in matter-books that youth will read eagerly and with profit, and which will be found equally attractive in after life. Second Edition, crown 8vo, cloth extra, price 3s. 6d., FAMILY PRAYERS FOR FIVE WEEKS, WITH PRAYERS FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS, AN) A TABLE FOR BEADING THE HOLY SCRIPTURES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. BY WILLIAM WILSON, MINISTER OF KIPPEN, 'This is an excellent compendium of family prayers. It will be found invaluable to parents and heads of-families. The prayers are short, well expressed, and the book, as a whole, does the author great credit.'-Perth Advertiser.



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 97 had remained deaf to the tearful entreaties of the women and children who were being left behind. Yes, and they themselves, though innocent, had often been forced to share the fate of their husbands and fathers. The same clothing and the same Kibiks had awaited them, however noble or distinguished they might have been. His turn was come now. "You are right, sir," he answered gently, asking forgiveness of his innocent lady for having involved her in his sorrowful, but merited fate, by a silent pressure of the hand, while his heart bled under nameless torments, when he saw his children, accustomed to revel in luxury, take their places with resignation in the miserable conveyances. He sought anxiously to find a softer seat at least for his lady, and Michaelow willingly gave him his mantle to cover the trembling Princess from the piercing cold; a grateful pressure of Menzikoffs hand was his reward for this service of love. At the request of Menzikoff, his children took the lead, he himself followed, behind him came the Princess, and Michaelow brought up the rear. In this way, under their light burdens, the horses went smartly over the frozen snow, which covered the endless plains of Siberia. When at length the Kibiks halted to allow the horses to feed, Menzikoff sprung out, and approached his lady, from whom he had never removed his eyes. "How are you 1" he asked anxiously. "Well," she answered from under her wrapper. "Will you eat or drink anything ?" he again said. "Thank you," she replied, "I am neither hungry nor thirsty." "Will you not step out and warm yourself by a little exercise ?" he then proposed. G



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 43 He reined his horse aside to pass the place where she lay, and then only did Matinka perceive her husband close to the person of the Czar. Her hopes, which had been dashed to the ground, again quickly revived. "Husband," she cried, with joyful surprise; "dear husband, supplicate for your unhappy brother-in-law. He is innocent. He saved my life, and that of your children, therefore add your entreaties to mine." How cried the Czar, turning to his favourite. Is the sister of a rebel your wife Menzikoff quickly comprehended that he might lose the royal favour if he acknowledged the truth, and that loss he would on no account incur. With him the fear of man was stronger than the fear of God; and therefore, as Peter had denied his Lord and Saviour, so he denied his brave and faithful wife. "My lord," he replied, with a confident look; "the woman must be mad, or have lost the use of her senses, through anxiety on her brother's account. I see her now for the first time in my life. Lift the unfortunate woman aside," he said to the servants who were in attendance. He rode on with the Czar, without even casting a look on Matinka, who was carried away entirely senseless. On recovering a little, she believed herself sometimes to be lying in a distressing dream, at other times, that she was really insane. What a meeting after such a long separation What pain to see her husband, for whom she would willingly have sacrificed her life, acting thus towards her In utter misery she crept back to her dwelling, where she continued brooding despondingly over the past, and rendering herself unfit for any further undertaking. Death had taken away her good mother-in-law; her brother was on his way to the scaffold, if not already executed ; her



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 33 CHAPTER V. AN event which has often restored the tender sympathy that is sometimes interrupted between married couples, seemed likely to be the means of again uniting Menzikoff more securely than ever to his Matinka. He was about to enter on a journey with the Czar, which was to extend over a long period. The young and noble prince felt, as Solomon had done, that he was deficient as yet in many qualifications required for wise and successful government; he determined therefore, with praiseworthy zeal, to undertake a journey through Europe, that, by familiar intercourse with good and wise rulers, he might cultivate the needful virtues of a father of his people,-to investigate, at the same time, by what means the arts and sciences, the trade and commerce of his country, could be improved, by personal observation. The Czar Peter fulfilled this happy design with the most steadfast perseverance, and merited fairly his surname of The Great. He who was the ruler of the largest kingdom in Europe, did not consider it below his dignity to wield the heavy axe as a carpenter, forge iron as a blacksmith, or stand sentry as a common soldier, in order to set an example to his subjects. He laid the foundation of Russia's greatness and prosperity, and generations to come will mention his name with the highest veneration. Menzikoff, formerly the pastry-boy, had gained his favour on account of certain worthy qualities he possessed. He had therefore been appointed one of his ministers, and chosen as one of the numerous suite which was destined to accompany him. This impending separation made all the members of his family dear to him. He again treated his mother, wife, and children with his former tenderness. 0



PAGE 1

I 12 The Perils of Greatness. CHAPTER XIII. THE convicts reached the little town of Beresow in the very depth of winter. It was wonderful that some of their members at least were not frostbitten on the long journey, from the intense cold. There stood the low wooden houses, on the extensive plain, lonely and still as death; at long intervals a person, wrapped in the skins of wild beasts, was seen moving quickly over the snow. The Prince and his family were received roughly by the commandant of the place, and were assigned a wooden hut, in which on entering they found nothing but a small slab for the fire-place, representing the kitchen. There was only one room, where a large stove, built of clay and bricks, but which might at the same time serve as a comfortable bed, took up a great part of the space. This, and a few wooden forms, a roughly made table and bare wooden walls, were all that' they met with in theix little house. A few small windows with panes of isinglass, through which only half the daylight could pierce, shed a dim twilight at full noonday, and made the light of a miserable tallow candle or pine torch always needful Here, of course, no tapestry, mirrors, chandeliers, curtains, easy chairs, or sofas were to be found. No handsome and comfortable carpet covered the dirty floor. Here each member of the family had not a separate apartment, but one room served the whole, both for eating and sleeping. Instead of pleasant beds of down, they found a few woollen bed-covers and shaggy bear-skins only. Even *the most necessary utensils, as plates, spoons, pots, and like needful house-furnishings, were wanting. The Prince, indeed, received ten roubles daily for his own



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 1 7 water-house, which threatened destruction to men; and shall I, a poor convict, be ashamed to lift the axe to provide a church for my companions in misfortune, wherein they may be able, with the assistance of a devoted pastor to attain that peace which in misery they require so much i My whole past life has been a chain of wicked deeds. May my future, at least, be a good one." His children willingly assented to his scheme. They hoped by means of this projected labour to rescue him from his melancholy, and infuse new life into him. This newly-formed resolution was carried into execution witiz energy. The Prince bought the wood required for the building early next morning, and gave up even some of the necessaries of life in saving the purchase money. Provided with leathern apron and axe he commenced his labours, assisted by Alexander and Michaelow. While the great trunks resounded under the rapid strokes of their instruments, the Princesses shaped the costly materials for the hangings of the altar, and interwove gold and silver embroidery with them. Menzikoff never rested for refreshment, and scarcely allowed himself a few hours' sleep; and this too hasty change from complete inactivity to unceasing exertion was far from being healthy,-in fact, was consuming his strength more and more. He continued his labours, however, in spite of his children's entreaties, and the little church rose rapidly, and as it rose Menzikoff's zeal became intense; but before the building was completed winter again returned, the wood required to finish it failed, and Menzikoff was forced to discontinue his labours. He then sank more deeply than ever into melancholy, delighted only in intercourse with God, and but seldom spoke to his children. The second summer, which had been eagerly longed for, at length approached, and brought with it the



PAGE 1

24 The Perils of Greatness. "Ah I suffocate I cannot draw breath! All the ribs are hurting me !" "This is affectation," said Menzikoff, harshly; "otherwise thousands of ladies must have been suffocated." Matinka patiently allowed her body to be squeezed together. They next girded her slender waist with a huge hooped petticoat, which looked like two inverted kettledrums, one over the other. "Would you transform me into a monster 1" asked she. "I shall certainly not be able to pass through the wide folding doors." "You can go sideways, then," said Menzikoff, who had an answer always ready. Lastly, her feet were squeezed into a pair of tight shoes, with uncommonly high tapered heels, id which she could scarcely make one secure step. Menzikoff noticed how much it cost his wife to suppress her complaints over this new oppression, and comforted her with the words," Exercise your patience. This is only an experiment, and when the feast is past, you may lay aside these uncomfortable things for ever." "I would like to know," said Matinka, "what senseless person invented all this foolery, which looks as if only intended for deforming and mocking the works of God "That I will willingly tell," said Menzikoff, laughing. "One short dame, who would yet appear tall, invented the high-heeled shoes, and the tower-like head-dress; another, too lean or too stout, pressed her body together by means of the bodice, to make the fulness across the chest nore visible; a third concealed her deformed legs under the hooped petticoat; a fourth, her gray hairs with white powder; a fifth, her pale face by means of rouge." "But why must I imitate this foolishness ? I am neither



PAGE 1

I.a~ I)a -"-I-~p THE PERILS OF GREATNESS.



PAGE 1

/ 48 The Perils of Greatness. "No, no," she cried, passionately. "No division, you would then tear my heart asunder, and make life unbearable." "That can be arranged," said he, as he departed. One evening in the month of November 1697, Matinka, accompanied by both her little children, moved slowly along towards St Andrew's Church in Moscow. She found the little side door open, and passed into the large church, which was dimly lighted up by a single lamp, nigh the altar. Matinka looked pale and wasted, and felt very fatigued by her short walk; she therefore seated herself and her two children in one of the nearest pews. There she sat, so sad that the children dared not disturb their poor mother, even by a gentle word. After a little time the priest approached the altar, and knelt in silent prayer, until at length the ninth hour sounded in loud strokes from the church tower. Matinka became now very uneasy, and threw a melancholy look around her. Shortly, the sound of a rapidly approaching carriage, however, was heard without, which stopped at the church door. A trembling seized Matinka, and she grasped the hands of her children, as if she needed something to support her. Loud footsteps sounded on the stone flags of the church, and a tall man, wrapped from head to foot in a large cloak, came and placed himself before the steps of the altar. It was Menzikoff. Poor Matinka rose, but sank powerlessly back into her seat, when the aged priest, pitying her, came and led her on his arm to her husband's side. Menzikoff remained studiously silent, and Matinka could not speak, she was so wretched. Bowed and submissive she stood by the side of her yet, oh how warmly beloved husband and dared not in her timidity touch even the hem of his garment. The priest now commenced the service in a grave, im-



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 55 stars which lay on his breast, and which just then he would willingly have exchanged for a good conscience. With a heavy heart he passed through the crowd of courtiers, officers, counsellors, ministers, and ambassadors, who all cringed before him; but in their hearts deeply hated or envied the powerful favourite. Forboding his coming humiliation, after submissively saluting the Emperor and Empress, he sat down to the long princely table right over against his monarch. The latter looked grave, but not angry. Trumpets and drums sounded and the meal began; yet Menzikoff tasted nothing. From time to time he threw a pleading look toward the monarch and his partner, but Peter's countenance remained unaltered. Suddenly the music ceased, and all eyes were turned toward the Czar, who had just turned himself to the chamberlain who stood behind him and said," Be good enough to bring me out of my desk, the folded paper which you will find on the little marble table under the mirror." The chamberlain obeyed quickly. Menzikoff now felt overpowered with terror. His throat was parched. The chair on which he sat glowed like burning coals, and his legs shook fearfully. The chamberlain soon returned with the paper, and the Czar commanded him to read it loudly and distinctly. All colour disappeared from Menzikoff s countenance. Peter looked at him sternly, raised his forefinger, and Menzikoff silently rose from his seat the pitiable image of a convicted sinner. The chamberlain gave Menzikoff a look which seemed to entreat his pardon, making him at the same time a silent obeisance, then, in embarrasment, cleared his throat, and began in a somewhat unsteady tone,-"Alexander Menzikoff, the son of a common peasant,



PAGE 1

72 The Perils of Greatness. will chide me, when I tell you that I would really liks much to know how one would feel while sitting in such a chair, belonging to a prince. Michaelow, dare I rest myself on it for a little; I am really pretty well tired out after seeing so much ; I will take very great care nOt to injure anything." Surely, mother, sit down," said Michaelow. "The Prince cannot know of it. He has other things to think of when he seats himself here." His good mother sat down, laid her head comfortably back on the cushion, and closed her eyes. When her son saw her sitting thus he asked anxiously" Mother, is there anything the matter with you, that you appear so extremely pale ?" Oh, no," returned his mother, looking up with a plea. sant smile. I am, on the contrary, quite well I feel at this moment so happy that I would even like to-die here." She laid her right hand on the arm of the chair, and smoothing the cushion, said"Most likely your master's hand has often lain here. What an honour for me to have touched it! Now I have but one great wish. I would like much to carry away with me some little thing as a remembrancer out of this chamber ; but it must be something that the Prince himself has used." Her son glanced inquiringly around to fulfil his mother's wish. He took up an old worn out quill pen from the inkstand beside him. "Here," said he, "is something which the Prince has had many times in his hand, and which I might venture to give away. True, he often prizes useless things more highly than valuable. His diamond stars, for instance, his



PAGE 1

THE PERILS OF GREATNESS.



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 23 to cry bitterly; but it was of no avail-his sufferings cortinued. Next time the dancing-master brought a small board with him, on which two channels were formed, wherein Florin must place his feet, that they might be inclined properly outwards. This was a real trial to him. In this painful position, the poor boy lost his balance and several times tumbled on the floor. But yet still more severe were these practisings to the good Matinka, to whom her husband supplied the place of dancing-master, and roundly blamed and scolded when sha did not perform her part well How eagerly did she long for former times, when a hearty greeting and kiss wer6 dearer to her husband than all this empty bowing and complimenting Milliners and dressmakers now came with their fashionable wares. They covered all the tables and chairs with silken stuffs, veils, laces, feathers, and innumerable other articles of finery, from among which Matinka had to select. Tailors and shoemakers took measures. Jewellers displayed their brilliant ornaments. Matinka was utterly bewildered. A sum of gold, which would have been sufficient for a whole year's expenses before, was hardly sufficient for the supply of one day now. "Must I shew myself in this graceless attire i" Matinka asked her husband, when they had fitted on her new garment, and a deep crimson overspread her countenance. "You will soon be accustomed to it," he said. Fashion will have it so." Matinka was silent, and in great discomfort; but when the newly-engaged lady's-maid put on the bodice with steel ribs, and began to press her body without mercy, she cried out in anguish,-



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 75 had never rested, but were secretly preparing his destruction. One of these-a prince Dolgorucki, chamberlain to the young monarch-had insinuated himself into the favour of the Czar, and rendered himself absolutely necessary to him. He had, at the same time, very cunningly undermined Menzikoffs reputation tthooughly; and a fresh act of treachery of this grasping prince gave Dolgorucki the opportunity of entirely destroying him. The young Czar had assigned a large sum of money for the benefit of his sister, and Menzikoff was appointed to pay it over to her; but he intercepted the money, and kept it for his own purposes. The crafty Dolgorucki was immediately instructed of this villany by his agents, and informed the Czar of it; at the same time fanning his rage to the utmost by the most bitter instigations. Forboding nothing of the approaching storm, Menzikoff went one morning, as usual, to the apartments of the Czar to pay his respects to him. He found them, to his great terror, deserted and empty, and not even a servant to be seen. He sent some of his people to make inquiries as to the whereabouts of the Czar. With what consternation did he learn, on their return, that the Czar had secretly left the house of his princely host without a word of adieu, and had returned to his own palace. The confounded Menzikoff saw plainly that this act was the work of his enemies, but to extradt the venom from their calumnies, and win back the favour of his monarch, he quickly seated himself in his carriage, and hastened to court; after a short time, however, the carriage was seen slowly returning, and Menzikoff, stepping out deadly pale, ascended the spacious stairs of the palace. The Czar would on no account grant him an audience-him, his future father-in-law, the Father of his affianced bride. His



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 7 that they had said, still a word or two had come to his car which, after consideration, now made him suspect some crime. Besides, he was aware that the Princess Sophia could not endure her half-brother, the young Czar Peter, because she feared a restriction of her authority from his noble spirit, and therefore would rather have seen his weaker brother Ivan alone Czar of Russia. Many of the nobility thought so too, and therefore it was not improbable that some one might attempt, through poison, to get quit of the young Czar-a circumstance not altogether unknown in the barbarous times of which we write. These thoughts now filled the boy's soul with fear, and he trembled for the life of his favourite Czar; as the dog was already completely dead, and shewed in the deformation which had been wrought upon his form the tortures it had suffered. With trembling lips the boy related to the surrounding crowd how this frightful accident had happened to the dog after he had eaten some of the pastry out of his basket; also, that before his going into the kitchen of Prince Lolopin his pastry was good, and must have been poisoned there; that it also was intended to set some of it before the Czar Peter, who might before this be already dead. With tears he conjured them to warn the Czar, and help to save him, if it were yet possible. At once a tremendous tumult arose. Like an avalanche, the multitude increased in size as it rolled onward with the speed of the wind towards the palace of the Prince. Two strong Russians, seizing the pastry boy, lifted him along with his basket on their shoulders, and in this manner led the way. The others, arming themselves with stones and all kinds of instruments, swore they would not leave one stone upon another, nor spare a single person, if their be. loved Peter had been sacrificed. But the hand of God had



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 91 ever increasing. The hardships of their journey were becoming more unbearable, even although their carriage rested on springs and had its windows protected with glass; but after the travelling had continued without interruption for several days and nights at a rapid rate, the weary family were permitted to enjoy their first longwished-for night's lodging in a little town. How many conveniences they had been accustomed to did they here feel the want of-no beds of down, no silken bed-covers, no night-lamps-everything coarse, filthy, and unaired. Michaelow, lulled by an approving conscience, slept well in a yet more miserable lodging. Menzikoff, loading himself with silent but severe reproaches for having been the cause of this misfortune to his innocent family, could not close his eyes; his children, however, slept soundlytheir mother, very little. Next morning she felt in nowise refreshed, looked very pale, and had deep blue lines round her weary eyes. She had caught a severe cold, which repeatedly made her shiver all over. Formerly, when far less indisposed, the family physician was immediately in attendance, exercising all his skill for her recovery; but now everything was wanting. Their physician had disappeared with the medicine chest, along with the other attendants, and not one was to be found in the whole place. If the brave Michaelow had not prepared a strong cup of tea and brought two warm bottles for the poor Princess, she must have remained entirely without help. At break of day they had again to enter the carriage and commence anew the seemingly endless journey. At length they approached the eastern boundary of Europe Siberia, in all its immensity, lay before them, in extent "larger than the whole of Europe with its many kingdoms,



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness 93 So spoke the man to this princely family, whose favour had been courted by the most powerful of the Enpire. Menzikoff silently took the new garment and held it out spread before him, as if to measure its width, but in reality only to conceal the bitter tears of sorrow from his family. The Princess and her daughters, without murmuring, betook themselves into a little neighbouring chamber, and after a short time, on the door again opening, a little elderly peasant woman came out, supported by two young damsels. The dainty feet of the females were encased in clumsy but warm shoes of untanned leather, and looked like shaggy bears' paws, while out of the long sleeves of the coarse garments the delicate little fingers of the Princess and her daughters peeped. Their heads were covered with thick unshapely hoods, by which scarcely one-half of their faces could be seen, while fastened to their shoulders by a cord hung large rough fox-skin gloves. Only after earnest entreaty had the poor banished ones obtained the favour of being allowed to wash themselves; otherwise the coarse material would certainly have torn their delicate skin. On their appearance they were received by a young and an old peasant, dressed like themselves. These were the Prince and his son. "My husband, do I please you asked the noble .sufferer, trying to laugh, while the Princesses also concealed their true feelings, that they might not wound their unfortunate father, and said with assumed gaiety," Father, we are going to a masquerade. Have we not chosen our dresses well, that we may not be known I" Menzikoff, on seeing and hearing his family, almost broke his heart. If his wife and children had loaded him with reproaches, and abused him as being the author of their misfortune, he would have borne it better than this un-



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 15 many-and grievous sins, supplicating only for the welfare of his children, while bathed in tears and sobbing so violently that the sound, penetrating through the thin partition, filled the listeners with inward sadness. This continued grief, unbroken by any pleasure, threatened to extinguish the spark of life, for his strength, from his neglecting to preserve-it by exercise in the bracing air, was visibly declining. When his son Alexander, seeking to infuse other reflections into his mind, asked him in the long winter evenings to relate some of his travels or campaigns, he always shook his head unwillingly. My son, excuse me," he would answer, "from recalling the foolishness of which I have been guilty. If I could bring back the time, I would most certainly use it better for my real welfare." Of nothing had he more desire to converse than of the grave, death, eternal life, and a blessed re-union with his lost dear ones. In this manner the winter passed away, with its gloomy days, long nights, fiery northern lights, false suns, and false moons. Higher did the sun ascend, and brighter did it shine, and larger became the arch which it made in the blue heavens. The warm wind melted the snow on the plain, and caused the icy covering of the river to burst. The little green grass looked up cheerily out of the black soil, and overspread it as with a wonderful robe of emerald velvet. The brown limbs of the birch trees budded gaily, quickly wrapping themselves up in tender leaves. The swollen waters of the Ob, Irtisch, and Soswa came thundering down, bearing towards the ocean the icy coverings by which they had been so long shut up. A joyful vivacity awoke among the inhabitants. They exultingly left their smoky huts to enliven the newly re-animated land by their industry. Even Menzikoff could no



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 47 entirely to you. Then go out, proclaim loudly through all the city, My husband has told lies to his Emperor. I am really Menzikoff's wife.' And you will indeed see what your rashness will do." "O God !" exclaimed Matinka. "Then tell my husband he may do whatever he will I submit myself entirely to him." "But he does not wish this. He leaves rather the will to you, that you may never be able to reproach him with it. If you desire it, he will allow himself to be separated from you ; if you do not, he will just surrender himself patiently. to the anger of the Czar." "Must I drive the knife into my own heart said Matinka, sobbing. Must I urge on the separation, which will be my death 1" Yes," replied the valet "Yours must the decision be. Menzikoffs love for you leaves your joint fate in your hands." She bowed her head and folded her hands. She prayed silently. In a little she said gently to the waiting valet,"Menzikoffs love shall not be greater than mine, for love of him I would willingly die; but more than this will I do out of love to him. I will allow myself to be separated from him. Let him remain noble and happy-me poor and forsaken-only let him save my brother's life." Good," said the go-between, well pleased with his success. "One word further," cried Matinka, pointing to the children. "Will Menzikoff leave to me my only comfort 1" He has not told me his will on that point," the valet answered. "A division might perhaps suit, which is very easy with two children."



PAGE 1

1I6 The Perils of Greatness. longer withstand the calls of re-awakened nature and the entreaties of his children. One fine evening he wandered down to the banks of the Soswa with them, when, to improve as much as possible the long summer day, during which the sun seldom disappeared entirely from the nocturnal heavens, all bestirred themselves with cheerful diligence in providing the necessaries of life for the whole year. Numerous ships came sailing up the blue river, the eagerly-desired cargoes of which were brought ashore with exultation, amidst the joyous shouting of the sailors. Long rafts, composed of large trunks of trees bound together, and laden with firewood and boards, were arriving from the woody regions of the empire, and quickly found willing buyers. To the latter Menzikoff particularly turned his eyes; he seemed so entirely engrossed with some object, that he remained deaf to all who spoke. Whole flocks of returning birds of passage flew screaming over his head, lighting on the newly blooming bushes, and the now open water. The young people amused themselves with the feathered wanderers, and tried to attract their father's attention to them; but he heard as if he heard not. He had remained standing in the open space of the little town, but, with unusual energy, he now turned himself to his children, and said," Here, in this place, will I build a house to the Lord of lords. My soul longs for the holy peace of the house of God, wherein I hope to find repose for my poor soul. Have I not laboured these many years to acquire only perishable riches and empty greatness 1 Wherefore, then, should not I employ the few remaining days of my life in erecting a faint memorial of my adoration to the eternal and all-merciful Jehovah I My Emperor once wielded tbn heavy axe, for many months, in building a frail ship, a



PAGE 1

30 The Perils of Greatness. till he had returned and requested her to spend a few moments with his mother. He was immediately stormed with the question,-"Is the old woman really your mother ?" "Most certainly not," answered Menzikoff, with the greatest composure, as he laughingly surveyed their inquiring faces. My mother is dead long ago; but this good old woman was my nurse, and considers me always as her foster son, acting towards me as such. And why should I grudge her this little pleasure? I am certain you agree with me that I ought not." "Oh, yes," cried the guests, truly or assumed, as they were convinced or not. His old mother was soon forgotten, but Menzikoff had been ashamed of his own mother, without whose tender care while a little child he would have been lost. All the more hearty seemed the rejoicing of Matinka and her grandchildren over her visit; she forgot the presence of the guests and the warning of her husband to return quickly. The good old woman shook her head as she gazed on her daughter-in-law. "I certainly did not recognise you," she said; "but the old Matinka was dearer to me in her homely dress than the minister's grand lady. I can scarcely dare come near you to press your hand, far less to kiss you." "To me, too," replied Matinka, sobbing, "my old clothing is dearer than this whalebone dress, which I'see I have entirely destroyed by my rapid entrance. What a burden do I bear on my head how the tight shoes pinch me! what frightful pain this bodice causes me! how I loathe myself with my painted face !" The poor children broke out with similar complaints. Only see," said Florin, with comic sorrow, the sack I carry, tossina on my back." Saying this he shook the



PAGE 1

8 The Perds of Greatness. watched over him. Contrary to his usual custom, he had entered into an absorbing conversation with the person who sat next him at table. The plate containing the poisoned pastry had stood long before him. His designing host had several times reminded him that the pastry would be ntirely cold; as often had the Czar reached out his hand, when some new turn in the conversation had caused him to withdraw it again. At length, to the great but secret delight of the Prince, the Czar took up some of the pastry, and was in the act of carrying it to his lips, when the stormy crowd arrived under the windows of the palace. "Czar Peter !" roared many hundreds of rough voices, where are you ? Shew yourself that we may see you, if you are yet living Come out here Come out here, beloved Czar! Death to the traitors!" Lolopin became pale as death. The Czar sprang up and went to the window, followed by all the guests. An overpowering shout of joy arose as the Russians saw their beloved Czar open the window. "Hurrah hurrah Czar Peter Hurrah Death and destruction to the poisoners." The Czar waved his hand, entreating silence, and im. mediately the crowd was calm. "What is the matter? What do you wish he cried down. All screamed, related, and threatened at once; so that the Czar wks no wiser by the uproar. At the same time all hands were Ninted to the boy with the basket, who united his voice with the others. Smiling, the Czar turned himself to his adjutant. Lefort," he said, "pray go down and learn the cause of this commotion. It is as certainly a confusion of languages as that which took place at the building of Babel



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 27 not on the impertinent woman who had said so, but on his innocent wife, that made her tremble. But fortunately the entrance of both their children interrupted the disagreeable conversation. Florin was dressed exactly like his father. He seemed to be the childish image of a full-grown man. How droll his little form appeared in the curled peruke and hair-bag, with a richly-laced blue velvet coat, white vest, knee breeches, silk stockings, and shoes with silver buckles he had even a small sword, with a gold hilt and white lacquered sheath; while the dress of the four-year-old Helene was also after the same fashion as her mother's. All the guests surrounded the tiny pair, and vied with each other in their praises and flatteries, which soothed the irritation of Menzikoff. In his vanity he overlooked that all these speeches and caresses were quite as hypocritical as he had lately described them to Matinka. They now seated themselves at the lordly table. Innumerable dishes were despatched, healths drunk, and the company became ever more uproarious. In the midst of the continued din the door opened, and Menzikoff s mother, simply but cleanly dressed, entered, and stood abashed before the company, whose eyes were all turned towards her. "I seek my son," she said with feeble voice, at length. "Pardon my boldness. Does my Alexander no longer dwell here 1 I may have mistaken the house." Her eyes wandered anxiously round the company in search of her son. Menzikoff had become very pale on her entrance, but having recovered a little from his fright, he sprang up from his seat. "My good woman," said he, advancing towards his mother with forced cheerfulness, "I am here, and am very glad, dear mother, that you have again visited me. Come and have a quiet chat together."



PAGE 1

90 The Perils of Greatness. be bought with gold, for had Menzikoff offered fifty roubles for chocolate well prepared, without the intervention of Michaelow he must have gone without it. Michaelow could see no better way to regain the favour of the enraged Prince than by the preparation of this breakfast, which was certain to be welcome, and for which he had himself carefully packed up all the ingredients. With these he had gone to a house which lay right opposite, where he had executed his business more cleverly than the Princesses, and at the same time attained the object he had aimed at. "Oh, good, faithful Michaelow," the ladies exclaimed; and though the Prince did not join in this outburst of praise, the grateful glance of his eye shewed at once his feelings towards Michaelow, who was blushing for joy. How welcome was that warm refreshing beverage, and that delicious food to the famished travellers but common necessity humbles pride and makes the noble more willing to draw nearer the lowly, and to acknowledge in them their neighbours; so here the grateful Princess would not rest until she had obliged Michaelow, although the bashful youth tried to excuse himself from receiving the unexpected favour, to drink a cup of tea and chocolate which the youngest Princess herself handed to him; and the young Prince, who had always lorded it pretty strongly over his father's dependants, strove now to assume a kindlier tone towards their faithful servant. After a short delay they were obliged to proceed on their journey, which was and continued monotonous and sorrowful enough. Menzikoff relapsed quickly into his former melancholy and silence, and the others also thought with distress of their former exalted position, as well as on their present sorrowful fate, the dreadfulness of which was



PAGE 1

84 Th/e Perils of Greatness. lamp which had deceived the hopeful hearts of the fond parents. Such was the position in which Menzikoff and his family found themselves, after the messenger of misfortune had fulfilled his commission. Covering his face, the Prince sank back speechless into the corer of the carriage; the Princess strove to bear up against a state of faintness which she felt was creeping over her; the young Prince, pale as death, stared after the officer with flashing eyes, as he quickly departed; and the two young Princesses burst into a flood of tears which, with them, did not fail to have a soothing effect. On the reception of this sad intelligence, all the servants sprang down from the carriages, and with loud lamentations surrounded the family of the Prince; but the latter, having no comfort to give them, only remained silent; and shortly, they all betook themselves again to their places, looking on one another disconcertedly. The line of carriages was now turned about, and leaving the southern began to make its way towards the raw northern regions. Will you go with them to Siberia 1" said one servant to another. "I have not the least intention of doing so," answered he. "They tell me that the wind blows there ten times colder than in St Petersburgh; and that there is not so much as one place of amusement, but only bears, wolves, and sable, which make the neighbourhood dangerous. Dinners and balls where plenty abounds are over, and poverty must exist henceforth in the Prince's family." "You are quite right there," interposed a third; "for our master is now as poor as a church mouse ; only that what is most necessary will be left him, therefore I do not see of what use so many servants can be to him,



PAGE 1

iNy



PAGE 1

0o6 The Perils of Greatness. sorrowful faces of both of Menzikoffs daughters. The Prince had followed with his eye the movements of this madman, and had almost allowed his sick wife's head to fall, when he saw this disgusting conduct. He was beside himself, as if a thousand daggers had pierced his heart. His hands were occupied, for they bore his dying lady, and therefore he could only use his voice to protect his trembling and beloved daughters. In a most heartrending tone of anguish he shouted to the vindictive scoundrel,"Hold, barbarian! On me,-vent your rage on me; but not on these innocent ones," while a torrent of bitter tears streamed over his pale countenance. Impelled by the maddening sorrow of the unfortunate father, the other onlookers prevented a repetition of the shameful abuse, which the villain would have done had he not been forcibly removed, while Simonow silently thought within himself, Matinka was right. How hateful is vindictiveness. No, a revengeful person can please neither God nor man; and stepping up to the Prince he addressed him, in a gentle tone," My friend, you are welcome to my house-consider it as your own; and, turning to the Princesses, he added, "My children, recover fronm your fright. Only one among all the inhabitants of Tobolsk is capable of acting so disgracefully. Be welcome This speech sounded pleasantly to the humiliated family. The repentant Menzikoff gratefully lifted his eyes, which were filled with tears, to Simonow. God's blessing on yo,, noble man," his pale lips feebly said, and he again turned his attention to his sick wife, who was just then laid on a well-warmed bed. Except a gentle shivering which pervaded her whole body, the Princess lay without motion, her half-opened eyes



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 53 though he did not always succeed in this, as his enemies laboured unceasingly to destroy him in the favour of the Czar, to whom all his base conduct was whispered with the most hateful exaggerations. Menzikoff in vain let them feel his vengeance by banishment to Siberia. New enemies always arose. He seemed to stand on the edge of a volcano, which might destroy him at any moment. Thrice his fall appeared to-be certain; when he had been accused of the most wicked practices, for which he required to submit himself to the most trying examihations, out of which he in nowise escaped guiltless, but on the contrary covered with infamy. What mortifications 'e had to submit to! What unworthy expedients he had to adopt! to regain the favour of his angry Emperor. Who can tell the sleepless nights through which he watched, or the days of despair in which he tasted no food? He remained indeed on the pinnacle of power, but the bitter and painful hours which fell to his lot were many. Peter the Great was building a city on the banks of the Neva, where he fixed his future residence to be. Thousands of busy hands laboured constantly in transforming the marshy land around St Petersburg into dry and fruitful soil: earth for that purpose being conveyed from places far distant, in bags, while Peter animated them without intermission with his presence. Once it happened that Menzikoff drove out by the Emperor's side, along the newly-laid streets of that city. Everywhere the people, noble and peasant, deeply humbled themselves in the presence of the Czar and his favourite. The carriage of the Czar shortly reached a wooden bridge which led over a marshy pool, and which was not in the best condition. It had plenty of rotten beams and dangerous holes, and as Peter's sharp eye took in every defect at a glance, he roared a thundering



PAGE 1

34 The Perils of Greatness. IUe took the greatest care, that they should be providei with all worldly comforts during his absence, and the leave. taking between the weeping mother, wife, and children, and the affectionate son, husband, and father was extremely touching. He promised not to forget them, and to send them intelligence very often. He kept faith with them at first; they regularly rejoiced over a letter from him. But was it on account of the increasing distance, or dissipation which robbed him of his time, that his letters came less frequently, and at length ceased entirely 1 Matinka, after the departure of her husband, had forsaken her showy dwelling, and returned again to the humble house of her mother-in-law, on whom she waited with the greatest tenderness; at the same time, she gave both her children a good education, found teachers for them, and accustomed them to all useful activity. "How your father will rejoice when he returns," she often said to them, if you have learned much during his absence." The children obeyed, and guarded carefully against giving displeasure. Their grandmother felt her strength declining daily. "I shall not see my son Alexander again," she said, anticipating the near approach of death. "This thought would leave me comfortless, were I not certain that I shall be reunited to him hereafter. I have lived long enough. God has allowed me to enjoy great happiness. I would be ungrateful did I not acknowledge it; but mankind is never indeed satisfied. My latest wish was that my son might close my eyes, but God's will be done." Menzikoff was scarcely gone three months when she entered her everlasting rest. She died fully conscious, "after that she had called her daughter-in-law and grand-



PAGE 1

o00 The Perils of Greatness. utter a word to her husband or children, but at length, as if speaking to herself in a low voice, she began,"Sun and moon are darkened, the stars fall from the sky, the powers of the heavens are shaken. Do you not hear," she continued, more loudly, how all the tribes of the earth howl because they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory 1" They now heard without doubt a howling, but only that of frightened wolves, which sought to fly from the dazzling brightness. Do you not hear the pealing of the trumpets, whereby the angel assembles God's elected ones I" she again exclaimed. Menzikoff listened uneasily to what his lady uttered. Did she dream, or did she rave I "Dear wife," said he, trembling, "collect yourself. It is only the northern lights you see, and it has no further meaning." The Princess gazed unsteadily round the circle o her family. "Do you not see," she said, pointing to heaven, "Christ sitting there, to hold judgment, and like a shepherd is placing the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left ? Oh, my Saviour." she exclaimed, raising her hand beseechingly, I pray thee, take me too into thy beautiful warm heaven. Have pity, for I freeze on this cold earth. Cast me not into uttermost darkness, where there is only weeping and gnashing of teeth." The misery of the unhappy family was now beyond description. They could not conceal from themselves the danger which threatened their dear mother. Menzikoff cast his tearful eyes over the immense waste, seeking vainly for help. Nowhere did a shelter offer itself, where the sick one might find a peaceful death-bed.



PAGE 1

5 2 The Perils of Grealness. with his hands to extricate himself from the depths of some pit into which he had been thrown, and he then groaned with anguish. But his unresting fancy also painted pleasant images before him. He saw himself on the long eagerly-desired summit of power, his enemies ironed at his feet, expecting their sentence of death from him. Then would he laugh with a wild, mischievous joy, so loud as to be overheard by the servant, who watched in the ante-chamber. He awoke late in the day, little refreshed; no happy children, no cheerful wife received him with a hearty greeting as he left his bedroom. A servant brought him his breakfast on a silver service, and he took it by himself. Often while occupied with unpleasant business, he would go to the other wing of the castle, where the apartments of his lady and his children were, the latter would timidly kiss his hand, and the former he would salute with cold formality. No trace of the good-natured tenderness, as formerly, when Matinka and her children joyfully received him on his return home. The affairs of the state next claimed his earnest attention. What perplexities awaited him-what abuses did lie encounter-what dangerous laws had he to master. He dined either with the Emperor, or at home, or with some of the great ones of the country, but always with a large company; yet nowhere were the dishes seasoned with the true Ilavour of a happy mind. Flatteries, the city news, gossipping, and slanders were the common topics of discourse. Menzikoff saw himself over-run the whole day by suppliants for situations, pensions, and other assistance, who annoyed him even while in church with their importunity. He was obliged with much painful exactness to suit himself also to the humours of the Emperor, and learn to know his weaknesses, in order to preserve his favour;



PAGE 1

36 The Perils of Greatness. Matinka told him the cause of his absence. During the relation Simonow's face darkened, and he nodded doubtfully as he said," Dear Matinka, you are not the only one who has cause to complain of the Czar's delay; but rather the whole people, from the highest down to the lowest. Instead of promoting the prosperity of his country, he leaves the government in the hands of faithless ministers, and travels abroad for his own pleasure. His faithful subjects are worth nothing in his eyes, while the foreigners who surround him on all sides are everything. What they desire he does; in the end he will even become apostate from our holy faith, and adopt that which the foreign heretics bring here and seek secretly to spread. Yet this shall not continue long, while a single Guard can lift an arm." As he said this, he clashed his weapons together so loudly that the children crept more closely together at the sound. "Brother, brother," exclaimed Matinka, anxiously, "you have scarcely joined the Guards before their revolutionary spitit has taken possession of you. Will you never become wise T Of what use has the frequent disturbances of your comrades been ? They have been brought to the gibbet and to banishment through them. You will never rest until you have been wholly destroyed. Dear brother, by all that is holy, I beg you lend not so ready an ear to the counsels of evil men, but rather leave the welfare of the people in the hands of a just God. If the Czar does not reign after His will, He will quickly depose him, but you ought to render to 'Caesar the things which are Caesar's.'" "You do not understand this," said Simonow. "You women are doromed to suffer, but we men to act; so you must wait patiently for the issue."



PAGE 1

76 The Perils of Greatness. lady and children surrounded him anxiously and inquiringly, but he only stared at them with an unmeaning look, and fastened his hand convulsively in the hair of his head, which was already grey with age and care. "Oh, my poor daughter !" he at length sobbed, looking tenderly on his eldest child. "What a bridegroom you have! Go, my children; go, dear wife. Leave me alone. I require time for the consideration of our position." They obeyed, and Menzikoff now strode up and down his chamber with hasty steps. Whilst so engaged, he received an imperial writing, and quickly mastering himself of its contents, the paper escaped his trembling hands, as he slid, half-fainting, on the nearest seat. He had not expected this message. It made known to him the withdrawal of all his high offices and honours, and cominanded him to leave the city in which the Emperor resided that same day, and to betake himself to the Castle of Oranienbaum, as his place of banishment. Menzikoff was annihilated-completely bereft of strength; with difficulty he again collected his scattered faculties, sprang up and trode the Imperial document under foot. "Ha," cried he, "therefore the rabble of courtiers and flatterers did not bend their cat-like backs to-day as I passed amongst them. Therefore did they look upon me with crafty, malicious smiles. And that I should have been so blind as not to interpret this weather-glass of court favour! How 9 I could rule to please a Peter the Great, or an Empress Catherine; but not to suit a boy of fourteen years. Therefore I have been openly humiliated. Therefore I have wasted thirty years of my lifehave crawled, have allowed vexation to gnaw my very, soul -have laboured, sorrowed, watched, trembled, and outraged my God. Therefore have I, 0 heavens cast off a



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 105 pray for them who despitefully use us and persecute us. We are to heap coals of fire on their heads, to be like our Saviour, who, even while on the cross, prayed for His murderers. And do we not pray to God daily to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us No, dear brother, you are not in earnest; let us make the best preparations for receiving the poor sufferer, but do not betray me by any unheedful word. God will lend me strength to bear this new trial." Simonow was ashamed of his harsh expressions, and said, in a softened tone," But I do not understand what brings the Princess to Tobolsk at this rough season. The tables are surely not turned already, and the high and mighty ruler served in like manner as he has done to others? I must inquire about the matter." He went out and reached the place where the Prince and his family were, in time to witness a scene as revolting as scandalous. The Kibiks had halted near his house door. Menzikoff, by the assistance of the young Prince and Michaelow, had lifted the sick Princess and was carefully bearing her towards the house, while the two Princesses followed this group, weeping, when a fellow, clothed in the usual coarse convict dress, pushed himself through the crowd, and gazing impudently into the face of the Prince, broke out into a scornful laugh. Ho ho !" cried he, with malicious joy. "Great Prince Menzikoff! base villain! bloodhound! so you have at length received your reward 1 Do you now come with your brood to share the fate which you procured for us Welcome, my beautiful Princesses; welcome to Siberia." With these words the miserable wretch spat in the



PAGE 1

88 The Perils of Greatness. he found the articles required. But now a fresh difficulty presented itself. Who was to prepare the tea or chocolatel They would not entrust them to the hostess, as much on account of her revolting appearance, as because she had most likely never heard of such things as tea and chocolate, far less understood their preparation. The two young Princesses, therefore, resolved to undertake the duty, and the young Prince offered his assistance. Certainly, if the Prince's family had not deserved pity, on account of their misfortune, an onlooker must have laughed heartily at their awkward efforts. The Princesses had never in their lifetime imagined that they would ever be obliged to busy themselves in preparing any kind of food, and so had remained entirely ignorant of the art of cookery. They knew neither how to use the tea nor the chocolate; and then how awkwardly they handled everything; how they burnt their tender little fingers. A burning coal started out of the fire, and singed several large holes in the costly dress of the eldest, while the youngest had traces of her unusual toil in the shape of large sooty marks over her pretty little face. They had trembled before from cold, but they now glowed with heat and anxiety to gain some little honour by their cookery. At length they believed the chocolate ready to be removed from the fire. On examination, however, it did not seem to the present cooks to be thick enough; the Princesses then informed their hostess of their wants, who, with silent laughter, had looked on during the whole proceedings. She brought meal and a twirl ing stick, and gave them to her noble guests. They put half a handful into the thin chocolate, and the young Prince prepared to give it the last finishing touch with the twirling stick. He stirred it with all his might, whenplash. The vessel had been overturned by the violent movement.



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. i 7 faithful wife and loving children, that I might see the fruit of all my efforts demolished by the stroke of a mere boy's pen. Never." He rang the bell sharply. "Command the presence of all the officers of my faithful regiment," he passionately shouted to the servant who entered. His lady, having apprehended this order, now burst into the room. "For God's sake," cried she, to her husband, "what would you do ?" Preserve and defend my daughter's rights," returned Menzikoff, vehemently." The Imperial boy shall not dare to insult the daughter of a Prince, as he would a peasant girl." My dear husband," besought the princess, "desist from your intention. You will utterly ruin us all by your passion." "How ?" said Menzikoff. "Am I not commander-inchief of all the troops in Russia ? Three hundred thousand men are under my command, and with these I will bid defiance to the anger of this boyish Emperor." You were commander-in-chief, dear husband," said the Princess ; "but that same voice which appointed you has also deprived you of the office; and if you still persist in your opposition, you will not only bring yourself, but us also, to the scaffold." The Prince listened to her with attention, and was considering it as the servant opened the door to report the execution of the Prince's order, when a strange mixed, tumultuous noise was heard without. "Your Highness," he said. All the officers of the Inkerman regiment wait the pleasure of your Highness." Shed no innocent blood," the Princess pled, wringing her hands, as her husband took up his sword, and went to-



PAGE 1

82 The Perils of Greatness. evenings, you will tell us of your travels and battles with the Great Czar Peter." On the castle pond," said the forsaken Imperial bride, we can skate and drive in sledges; we might even erect an iceberg." "We will have blooming winter flowers in all the windows," the Princess added. CHAPTER XL AFTER having gone some distance, the Prince's carriage came to a halt, and on making inquiries as to the cause of stoppage, they heard the loud resounding callof Halt halt !" An officer was seen hastily advancing towards them, holding a paper, meanwhile continuing the cry of Halt." What did this new appearance mean Possibly the Czar had repented of his severity! Did that paper contain the pardon of the Prince ? Was he to return that he might again be re-instated in his former honourable po sition ? How quickly do the feelings of a child undergo a change With what other purpose could this messenger have been sent after them 7 Hope again revived in the hearts of the dejected family. True, they dared not suffer their thoughts to take the form of words; but the brighter glance of the eyes, and hopeful throbbing of the breast, revealed the favourable change which this event had caused in the mind of each. The officer had now reached "Menzikoffs carriage, and opening the paper, prepared to



PAGE 1

92 The Perils of Greatness. but possessing very few inhabitants. One seldom meets with a human dwelling on its boundless deserted plains; and as the little town of Beresow, which had been appointed as the place of Menzikoft's residence, lay deep in this wilderness, they had a long journey yet to accomplish. The state of the suffering Princess had in nowise improve& when they reached the boundaries of Europe. Although they had been allowed several times to rest by the way, she had derived not the least refreshment from it. The children surrounded their loved mother with tender care, forgetting on her account their own condition, on which, especially that of the young Princesses, a great change had taken place. Having no maid-servant, or any kind of female assistance, their attire had fallen into considerable disorder; their hair, formerly so smooth and so neatly arranged, hung in tangled masses upon their shoulders, while their dresses were crumpled and partly in rags. The Princesses would willingly have repaired these disasters, but they were entirely unaccustomed to the duty, and therefore did not know how to go about it, but they were soon to be spared this trouble. The commandant of the little frontier town-a rude, unfeeling man,-harshly informed the banished familythatthey must now exchange their costly dress for that worn by convicts. He brought a Russian along with him, bearing a whole arm-full of clothing, made of coarse brown woolsey, which he threw down on the floor. The commandant tumbled them over, seized hold of a pair of trousers, as also a kind of smock-frock or coat, and held them out to the Prince with the words,"There, Menzikoff, take these; they are whole, keep them so. Here, woman. There, girls. What is left is for the boy."



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 95 will soon be at an end, therefore my soul longs after the true fatherland, where no pain, only eternal joy, is to be found." Her eyes were turned prayerfully towards heaven, and her children saw with fear, from their mother's suffering face, that she had perhaps spoken the truth. On this account they sacredly strove not to disturb, even in the slightest degree, the last days of their good mother; and they also. resolved rot to hurt their afflicted father by any murmurings at their cheerless position; but rather to appear very cheerful, and prove by the most attentive obedience to him that they in nowise despised him. And Michaelow, who had wept silently, vowed to himself, although he was now wealthier and better clothed than his master, to serve him with redoubled respect, and in all things to be obedient to the seeming peasant. A rough voice from without had already called twice for the Prince and his family to proceed on their journey; in their distress, however, they had not heard the call. Michaelow, therefore, seized the first pause in the discourse, and turning himself to his master, said,"Pardon me, your Highness, the commandant" At the word Highness" the Prince awakened as if from a dream. Whom do you mean, fellow he demanded sharply. "There is no more any 'highness' here-but merely a family of unfortunates. You only mock us ; you are now the most important personage amongst us." Master," Michaelow now stammered; but this too was not well chosen. You alone are master here," the Prince again exclaimed, "for you can go wherever you will; but we are prisoners, undergoing debasing correction."



PAGE 1

70 The Perils of Greatness. had been reared in seclusion, reached manhood, he deposed his father from the throne of heaven, and placed himself thereon. So says the fable. The wings which you see on the old man's shoulders betoken that time flies quickly, mowing mankind down as with a scythe, and the place which knew them, knows them no more." A fine company of gods," said his mother, half angrily. "A father who devours his children. Faugh What a bad example I do not now wonder that a human father should cast off wife and children who stand in the way of his ambition and covetousness. A mother could not do this. And what a wicked son who could thus abuse his old blind father. It is rightly said of the heathen gods, lWherewith men sin, therewith are they punished.' And blind was he-a god and blind No, out upon such a detestable story. How good is our God in comparison, who is neither blind, nor can He be deceived, although hypocrites think it possible. And how good also is the beloved Son of God, who, instead of dethroning His father, left the throne of heaven, took upon Him our nature, and died in obedience to God, and out of love to men." The old woman had spoken very warmly, and completely exhausted herself. She now remained for some time silent, quietly and very attentively watching the golden god with the scythe and hour glass. "I only wonder," she began again, "that the nobility suffer such an image, which must always remind them of death, to remain in their houses. As a rule they will not otherwise hear of the man with the scythe, for the angel of death, though rather a comfort to us common people, is always a bugbear to them." "Mother," said Michaelow, "you are bent upon being melancholy to-day. Come, speaking of images, I will shew



PAGE 1

62 The Perils of Greatness. Come, Michaelow," said he, let us have a bottle of wine to drive the thoughts of this fright out of your head." He brought the wine, and drank to Michaelow with one glass after another. Our master is a strange fellow," said Karpakan. One can do nothing to please him. I too have learned to sing a little song of his injustice. Too often one cannot advance himself in the world by means of a virtuous life. The hypocrite and flatterer have the best of it. What can we do ? We must whine with the whelps if we will not crawl at the stirrup. True, all masters are not so inconsistent as Menzikoff. There, for example, is young Prince Dolgorucki His servants are much better treated by him, although he is not so rich as our master. They say that for a very small favour, even an insignificant piece of news out of Menzikoff's palace, he would give handfuls of gold. If I only knew anything to speak of I would not hesitate to earn a pretty little sum. You require only to give the young Dolgorucki indistinctly to understand that you will satisfy his curiosity when, hush I he lets a goodly sum of earnest money slip into your hand, saying, 'I give you this, purely out of friendship. Keep it to yourself, otherwise you might have far too many competitors.'" Michaelow gave but little heed to this chattering; but, when several days afterwards, on receiving a letter from the Prince, with instructions to give it only to the Chancellor, Karpakan stopped him by inquiring to whom the letter he had in his hand was addressed. Michaelow was startled. Karpakan's behaviour appeared extraordinary to him, and he became yet more doubtful when he offered to deliver the letter for him. "That would never do," answered Michaelow; "my





PAGE 1

Fhe Perils of Greatness. 113 and his family's sustenance; but of what use was the money to him in a place where there was no tradesmen, not even a baker. The land, on account of the shortness of summer, not being capable of producing grain, meal and flour required to be conveyed from immense distances; every family therefore provided themselves with the necessary supplies before winter set in, and then baked their own bread. Here was neither beer nor wine, as both would have been congealed into ice, even in the casks. If they wished to drink water, or cook soup, they had first to fill a pot with snow or ice, and melt it over the fire. With money they could purchase spirits, and smoked, dried, or frozen fish; but delicate groceries and nourishing herbs were troublesome to acquire-for the Jew who dealt in them demanded the very highest price, as they could be obtained only from him. In summer the inhabitants were able to supply themselves much more easily with such things, from the ships that plied on the river running between Tobolsk and Beresow, and because everything is to be procured much more easily and quickly then than during winter, when the frightful cold nearly cuts off communication between the two places. It was a great blessing, therefore, that the banished family had been so generously and abundantly supplied with these necessaries by Michaelow's mother and uncle, and it was pleasant to observe with what zeal the good Michaelow attended to their humble housekeeping. He was always the first out of bed-one which he had erected for himself in the farthest corer of the room. His first act was to kindle the kitchen fire, he having purchased firewood on the first day of their arrival, which, with the help of the young Prince, he had split and built inside the house. If the fire burned brightly, he lifted a large pot filled with pieces of ice thereon, in preparation for breakH



PAGE 1

6 eoCs phblistrb bg Tilliam j. wgi mmo. NIMMO'S EIGHTEENPENNY REWARD BOOKS. Demy 18mo, Illustrated, cloth extra, gilt edges, price Is. 6d. each. I. VI. The Vicar of Wakefield, The Boy's Own Workshop, Poems and Essays. BY JACOB ABBOTr. BY OLIVER GOLDSMITH. In The Life and Adventures of esop's Fables, Robinson Crusoe, With Instructive Applications. BY DR. CROXALL. VIII. In. The History of Sandford Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and Merton, IV. IX. The Young Man-of-War's Evenings at Home; Man : Or, The Juvenile Budget Opened. A Boy's Voyage round the World. x. v. Unexpected Pleasures, The Treasury of Anecdote By MRS. GEORGE CUpPLES, Author Moral and Religious. of The Little Captain,' etc. ,* The above Series of elegant and useful books is specially prepared for the entertainment and instruction of young persons. NIMMO'S SUNDAY SCHOOL REWARD BOOKS.. Fcap. 8vo, cloth extra, gilt edges, Illustrated, price Is. 6d. each. I. VI. Bible Blessings. Great and Good Women, BY REV. RICHARD NEWTON. BY LYDIA H. SIGOURNEY. II. One Hour a Week: VII. ifrtg-tic Nibe -twasfo f t t At Home and Abroad, acn. VIII. S m. The Kind Governess. The Best Things, BY REV. RICHARD NEWTON. IX. Christmas at the Beacon: Grace Harvey and her tle fnre js ng. Cousins. x. v. The Sculptor of Bruges, Lessons from Rose Hill, BY MRS. W. G. HALL.



PAGE 1

38 The Perils of Greatness. Heavenly Father to grant them His gracious protection. She had the presence of mind to extinguish the light, but the lurid flames of the blazing houses glared all the more fearfully into the little chamber, and threw the shadows of the praying family on the lighted wall. It was well that she had exchanged her pompous dwelling for this humble little house. Of the former nothing now remained-all was entirely destroyed or dispersed, and she herself would not have been spared, had they found her there. Even -here her last hour seemed at hand, for a little troop of raging soldiers, led, probably, by some vindictive traitor, approached Matinka's dwelling, shouting as they neared it, "Down with Menzikoffs brood." Matinka could do nothing but barricade the door as securely and quickly as possible, which she did with great precision, although with trembling hands. She then hid her sobbing children in a corer under some old rubbish, while she herself went cautiously to one of the windows to watch the further proceedings of the soldiers, and shape her measures accordingly. The Guards now thundered at the door with the butts of their muskets, and on the closed shutters of the groundfloor; but as these resisted their efforts, several musket balls were fired through the window of the upper room, in which poor Matinka was, who thought she would have died with agony. The tumult reached its height, however, when some rough voices roared-" Burn down the wooden nest;" and the space around the little house was quickly illuminated by the materials brought together for that purpose. Matinka had commended herself and her poor children to the all-merciful God, and prayed only for a quick and painless death, when a deliverer appeared in her dire necessity.,



PAGE 1

98 The Perils of Greatness. "No, leave me so," she returned. "I have wrapped myself up so nicely." "Well, at least give me your hand, dear wife," he said tenderly. The Princess stretched her right hand out of the Kibik, complaining that she could not draw off the glove. "Let it remain," said Menzikoff, tenderly pressing her hand through the thick fox-skin. "Your hand is as hard as a stone," said he, gazing with fear on the enshrouded countenance of the Princess, which struck him as resembling that of a corpse. She tried to smile as she answered," It only seems to you, dear husband; do not trouble yourself." But Menzikoff anxiously sought to restore the torpid member by friction, until the driver called upon him to resume his seat. The Prince passed the day under a thousand pining apprehensions, and the long night set in with a sharp cutting wind which blew right in the face of the travellers. Menzikoff suffered two or rather fivefold. A fine drift pricked the cheeks as with needle points, while the cold became ever more intense, making itself felt first in the feet, until it pervaded and thoroughly shook the whole body. What might not the delicate Princess and her children, accustomed to luxurious habits, feel, when the Prince's limbs, hardened by travels and campaigns, had already suffered so greatly. The night, dimily lit up by the snow, wore away under constant travelling, and with morning a cold mist came on, and after it the blood-red sun, which sent its enlightening rays down upon the poor travellers, yet not its warmth. As silent as a funeral procession they continued their journey, the cold killing all pleasure, and stiffening the



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 59 "So I have caught you in the act, villain !" said Menzikoff, taking possession of the writing, from which he hoped to discover the whole treachery. He ran over the paper with eager eyes. As he read, however, his face brightened, while the servant so far recovered from his fear as to wait with greater composure his master's pleasure. Here is the letter:"MY DEAR MOTHER,-You will hape long expected to hear from me; but do not believe that I have forgotten you because I have not written sooner. I found it impossible to do it; but to make up, I am now able to impart all the more agreeable information to you, which is, that I have been so fortunate as to have been engaged as one of the servants of the great Prince Menzikoff, of whom you have always told us so much. Oh, with what feelings I entered the house of this nobleman, who is so rich and highly honoured People frightened me not a little at him by telling me that he was so very proud, passionate, and base. Now, if he is not quite an angel from heaven, yet he certainly has some good qualities. For myself, I cannot yet accuse him of anything. I believe, too, when we execute his business quietly and orderly, and are faithful and honourable, that he has no objection against any of us. But really there are so many men, noble as well as humble, who molest and annoy him, and who will ever have from him, that it comes to be truly annoying; therefore, is it a wonder that my master's patience is at length exhausted, and that he gives reins to his fury among them, even as the strong Samson did amongst the wicked Philistines ? But, dear mother, my princely master has two little daughters, who are gentle, beautiful, and good as angels; also, my young master, his son, who already looks so brave



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. Ior How far are we from Tobolsk V" he asked of the officer. "We shall reach it by sunrise," the latter answered, deeply moved by the suffering condition of the Princess. "Well," urged Menzikoff, "let us hasten, before it be too late." The Princess quietly permitted herself to be wrapped up in her mantle, and, proceeding quickly on their journey, by day-break Tobolsk, the capital of Siberia, long anxiously looked for, lay in reality before them. At that time the place was small and of no importance, but with Menzikoff it had become the eagerly desired haven of repose. As soon as they reached the first houses, Menzikoff sprang out of his Kibik and begged the officer to permit the sufferer to be removed immediately into a warm room. On receiving permission, and when they were looking around for a suitable house, Michaelow, approaching the Prince, gratified him with the information that he had an uncle in the place with whom he hoped to meet his mother and sister. With them," he added, the Princess will be lodged in the best manner, and will receive the utmost attention." Seek out then your kinsfolks as quickly as possible," besought Menzikoff; every moment's delay may be of the deadliest consequence." The arrival of the Kibiks had aroused the curiosity of the inhabitants. Indeed the slightest unusual occurrence made an impression in a place so remote from the bustle of the busy world. A crowd of people had therefore gathered around them already, examining them with an offensive stare. Michaelow now turned himself to one of these, and asked to be shewn the house of the commissary, Simonow Natuschkin. There it is," they answered, pointing to the next corner, and one said,-



PAGE 1

78 The Perils of Greatness. wards the room where the officers were waiting for him. The Prince strode into their midst with a sorrowful but collected demeanour. Dear, faithful followers," said he, gently, you will have already learned the fate which has befallen me; that I have been deprived of all my offices and honours; but before I ake my departure to the place of banishment which has been assigned me, I wish once more to see you, who were so dearly and faithfully devoted to me. Receive, along with my last farewell, the assurance that your memory shall never be forgotten by my grateful heart. This sword, a precious gift of my deceased Emperor, cannot be better preserved than in your valiant hands; therefore receive it as a faint token of my lively gratitude." He delivered the weapon, which was ornamented with glittering diamonds set in gold, to the senior officer of the regiment, and, deeply moved, clasped him to his breast. All the officers were terribly affected. TAey unsheathed their swords, swore to remain faithful to him, and assured him that they were ready to defend his rights with their lives. "Place yourself at our head, General," they cried. We will follow you wherever you may lead us." No," returned Menzikoff. How could I ever justify myself for risking the lives of so many noble men, and that only for the sake of an old man, of whom the world has become weary 7 Farewell Honour your Czar with that fidelity which you owe him, and forget Alexander Menzikoff, who at length retires from his splendid career covered with disgrace." The officers unwillingly obeyed; the bearded men wept like children, in taking their leave of the Prince, shaking



PAGE 1

110 The Perils of Greatness. could be prepared, and only after great exertions did the hard clods yield to the repeated strokes of the pickaxe. Then the Princess, who only a month previously had been mistress over a hundred thousand serfs and of millions of gold, was carried out, wrapped in her coarse convict dress, and enclosed in a miserable coffin. The Prince and his children, in like manner meanly clad, followed, accompanied by a single devoted servant and his relatives. The numerous spectators sincerely acknowledged the frailty of earthly happiness and splendour, and the hearts of the mourners sobbed heavily as the frozen lumps of earth thundered down upon the silent tomb of the Princess. An unhewn rock only marks her simple grave, placed there by the united efforts of the men who attended her funeral. The countless tears shed thereon form the sole inscription of her tombstone, legib'e to the sympathising reader only. Early next morning after the funeral, Menzikoff took leave of the hospitable Simonow and his sister. He did this with few words and downcast looks. Matinka would willingly have thrown herself on his breast, and made herself known to him, as Simonow had spoken to her of doing. No," she had answered him; "now is not the proper time to do so; his heart has only room for the one spouse just deceased. A man cannot momentarily comfort himself for the loss of a loving wife, who has been his faithful partner in happiness and misfortune for a period of twenty years. He cannot immediately transfer his love from her to me, even although I may have previous claims upon him; and his indifference would wound me more severely, pain me more deeply, make me far more unhappy than I am now, when he is not aware of my presence. Just now it is my lot to suffer and be silent." But Matinka very lovingly embraced Menzikoff's chil-



PAGE 1

56 The Perils of Greaiess. was raised, by the favour of his Czar, from the station of a pastry baker's boy to the highest honours of the Empire. Praiseworthy qualities which his Emperor had marked in him, an intellect of high order, and an untiring activity, gained him the good will of his sovereign, who overloaded him with riches. Yet his deeds did not always rise to the Czar's just expectations; rather the reverse. He often abused his master's goodness most ungratefully; whole volumes might be filled with the relation of the unjust transactions of which he has already been guilty. He still trifles with the forbearance of his monarch, who has already chastised him, and repeatedly warned him against his daring offences on several occasions, and punished him by publishing his misdeeds, yet he has again increased the number of them by putting into his own pocket, for the space of two years, the pay of a whole regiment, the regiment in question only having its existence on paper." The chamberlain ceased, folded the paper, and waited the further commands of the Czar. During the reading of this crushing accusation Menzikoff had looked stealthily round his companions at table to see if he could catch a satisfied look or a mischievous smile amongst them; but these guarded themselves most carefully from drawing down upon them the fierce vengeance of the disgraced favourite. They gazed with lowered eyelids on their plates, as did the Imperial pair; however they had left off eating, because they dared not disturb the reading with the clatter of knives and forks. Peter's ster eye was now fixed upon Prince Menzikoff as he said with emphasis," You have drawn down this humiliation upon yourself. You have long known the punishment which you would draw upon yourself by your base acts. I shall keep the



PAGE 1

Sgnooks puhfioig. ig wO aw F. gfitroo. NIMMO'S FIVE SHILLING ILLUSTRATED GIFT BOOKS. SCrown 8vo, beautifully printed on superfine paper, profusely illustrated by eminent Artists, and richly bound in cloth and gold and gilt edges, price 5s. each. I. SWORD AND PEN; or, English Worthies in the Reign of Elizabeth. By WALTER CLINTON. II. NORRIE SETON; or, Driven to Sea, By Mrs. George CUPPLES, Author of Unexpected Pleasures,' etc. "III. THE CIRCLE OF THE YEAR; or, Studies of Nature aad Pictures of the Seasons. By W. H. DAVENPORT ADAMS. IV. THE WEALTH OF NATURE: Our Food Supplies from the Vegetable Kingdom. By the Rev. JOHN MONTGOMERY, A.M. V. STORIES OF SCHOOL LIFE, By Ascott R. Hope. VI. THE BATTLE HISTORY OF SCOTLAND, Tales of Chivalry and Adventure. By CHARLESn ALFRED MAXWELL. VII. THE SEA KINGS OF ORKNEY. And other Historical Tales. By the same Author. VIII. "ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH CHIVALRY. Tales from Authentic Chronicles and Histories. By the same Author. IX. THE WARS OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND, Historical Tales of Bravery and Heroism. By the same Author.



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 123 to his repudiated wife, and to his conscience. What could he wish for more He was happy. Yet happier far in the contemplation of eternity, whose entrance his Saviour had so kindly revealed to him. Henceforth he divided his time solely between God and those he loved. His whole life had been a series of storms and battles, its decline was therefore all the more peaceful. Feeling his faculties failing, with great composure and pleasant resignation he laid himself down on his deathbed, from which he was never again to rise; while with his wife and children, he always talked of a joyful re-union in eternity. He died in this happy belief without struggle or pain. Death was unable to efface the pleasant smile which constantly rested on his countenance; the intense cold held it fast, and with it was he laid in his cold grave. Those whom he had left behind spent the winter in mourning for the lost, and before the heralds of spring returned, intelligence of the sudden death of the Czar reached Beresow. The small-pox had put an end to his life and power. Elizabeth, a granddaughter of Peter the Great, was placed on the Russian throne, one of whose first acts was to pardon the unfortunate Menzikoff, and return to him the treasures of which he had been deprived. But he had no more need of mercy from man; infinite mercy had already been sufficient for him. Yet the goodness of the Empress was of use to his children. They were again suddenly rich, and distinguished; Matinka's, on the other hand, again poor and humble. Misfortune, however, had made all wiser. "My brother," said Prince Alexander to Florin, embracing him, "that which is mine belongs also to you; let us ever continue faithfully united as brothers." He also spoke in like manner to Matinka and Helene, as





PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 63 master might with justice scold me if I did so, directly contrary to his express instructions." "Listen," said Karpakan, confidentially; "if you will entrust me with the letter, only for ten minutes, I venture to say that for every minute you shall receive a rouble; also you shall have it again, without damage, to carry it yourself to its destination." Do not hinder me," returned Mic.aelow, angrily, "you only wish to prove whether I be faithful or not to my master." "Brave Michaelow !" cried Karpakan; "you have fortunately withstood the temptation. Know that our master tests every one of his servants in this way, and the trial is' always entrusted to one of his most approved servants. Yours was appointed for me, and I now go to carry the news of your unimpeachable faithfulness to him. Believe me, your fortune is made, honest Michaelow." Karpakan spoke these words with flattering friendliness, but looked after the departing youth with gnashing teeth. "Mischief take him that I should waste a bottle of wine upon the blockhead. Well! your faithfulness shall certainly be rewarded," said he, laughing scornfully. But after all, Michaelow believed that he dared not con. ceal Karpakan's temptation from the Prince. It is well, my son," answered Menzikoff, after hearing Michaelow's story. For the rest keep your own counsel, and do not trouble yourself." A few weeks afterwards, however, he was very much disturbed. Four silver candlesticks were missing, having disappeared immediately after a large banquet given by the Prince. Menzikoff's steward raised a terrible outcry about them. They searched everywhere, from the cellar to the garret of the meanest domestic, and they were folind care-



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 21 CHAPTER IV. THE anniversary day of one's baptism is extensively celebrated among the Russians. Such too had always been the case with Menzikoff. Matinka had yearly prepared some pleasure for her husband on this day. But with what could she astonish him this year, since his mind was estranged from the former quiet happiness, and bent only on ambitious pursuits ? He himself directed her in her uncertainty. A fortnight previous to the event, he spoke about it to his wife. "Dear Matinka," said he, in a flattering tone, "you might prepare me a very great pleasure for my christeningday." "Dear husband," returned Matinka, eagerly, "you .know I will do anything to please you." Well," said Menzikoff, we cannot delay the entertainment of a numerous company any longer. They already call us miserly. I have dreaded it long. But a beginning must at last be made. What I would like you to do is this, that you make all necessary preparations for the entertainment on my name-day; also, for my sake, you must attire yourself as becomes a lady of your rank. I shall provide everything that is required, and then""What more, dear husband ?" "You are an excellent wife, so beautiful, so good."Matinka blushed and looked down. You are," he continued, "a faithful, fond mother, a careful hostess. Onlyonly""What, dear husband ?" said Matinka, anxiously. Nothing is wanting in you," answered Menzikoff, but those accomplishments, and that high breeding, without



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 3 "But do not be so rash as to tell every one," said the officer, advisingly; "the Princess Sophia might misunderstand you, and fancy that you love the Czar Peter better than her or the Czar Ivan. In such affairs the Princess allows no jesting; so take heed." "Ah!" said the youth, "whose bread I eat, his song I'll sing. If the Princess also bought from me, and spoke as kindly to a poor boy like me as the good Czar Peter, I would love her dearly too." "Well," said the officer, "remain always of the same opinion; truly loving the Czar Peter, perhaps he may buy of you again. He dines to-day with the Prince Lolopin; but the Prince's cook may not understand so well how to bake such excellent pastry as your French master. You can inquire and see." And with this the officer left him. This hint was sufficient for the boy. He went straightway towards the Prince's palace, under the windows of which he loudly cried his wares, in the hope of receiving a gracious sign of encouragement. His exertions were, however, without success; and he therefore bethought himself of going up to the large kitchen of the Prince. He did so, and pushing his head half in at the open door, gently asked, "Will you buy any pastry for the Czar Peterpastry that he likes so well ?" The cook, surrounded by his assistants, answered angrily, No; we can bake some ourselves." But the Prince's valet, who had just entered the kitchen, and heard the boy's question, asked him, "Whose is it ? and how do you know that the Czar Peter likes it so well " The pastry," answered the youth, "is from the famous Parisian pastry baker, Legrain, and the Czar has bought it from me on several occasions."



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greantess. 81 Yesterday, and even early that same morning, how quickly had the officers and soldiers of the watch presented arms, in order to shew proper respect to their superior officer; but what a change had a couple of hours, and the word of a mere boy, been able to make. The officers leisurely walked to and fro with folded arms, and carefully turned their backs to the Prince as he drove past, and the sentries did not change the careless position of their firelocks one inch, and rather gazed sullenly in at the windows of the carriage; but the rest of the soldiers broke out into a mocking laugh, which embittered still more the departure of the mortified Prince. Many more such humiliations befel him ere he at length left the city. When we consider how great an effect the word of a weak mortal can produce on this earth, and how immeasurably greater the effect of the Word of God must be, might it not teach the despisers of His Word to pause, reflect, and lay it to heart. The abused family breathed a little more freely when it found itself in the open country and released from its tormentors. "Take courage," said the Princess, addressing her husband again, who sat buried in his own thoughts. Oranienbaum is not a bad place to reside at-not so barren, marshy, and raw as this northern St Petersburgh; but especially, when we walk out together, shall we enjoy nature in all its blooming loveliness, and we shall soon learn to spend the long winter pleasantly, with reading, music, and conversation." Yes, father," broke in one of the Princesses; "' Alexander plays the flute, I play the pianoforte, and sister Nina sings. We shall surely be able to pass away the time." Before we dine, father," said the son, we shall fence together; after dinner we can play at billiards. In the



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 9 One cries Hurrah !' a second, 'Pastry !' a third, Poison !' a fourth, Destruction !' It might well make one anxious and afraid." The officer, who was the same who had previounly released the pastry boy from the assault of the drunken soldiers, went out, and was immediately surrounded by the thronging multitude on the broad stairs of the palace, with the boy, in their midst. He informed himself accurately of all the particulars, assured the people that the Czar had not yet tasted the pastry, and advised the crowd to disperse itself quietly. This they refused to do until the Czar himself passed through their midst on his way to his own dwelling, and gave them the assurance that he would make strict inquiries into the affair, and bring the guilty persons to punishment. CHAPTER II. FOR many reasons this whole occurrence was suppressed. The people were given to understand that possibly it was an error, caused by the rashness of the pastry boy. The cook and the valet of the Prince disappeared. The Prince himself was sent out of the country as ambassador, that he might escape the arbitrary vengeance of the people, who murmured loudly, and clung to the idea of poisoning more than before. The guilty parties really had only the Princess Sophia to thank for her indulgence in not punishing their guilt, as the young Czar Peter was not in a position to strive against her powerful influence, and



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 83 read its contents to the Prince, whose family listened with the most intense attention. He first read a long list of misdeeds, by which Menzikoff had rendered himself unworthy of the Emperor's clemency; but as the end was yet to come, and as the Prince's family were quietly assuring themselves that the Czar, notwithstanding all this, would exercise mercy rather than justice, and remit the punishment of his old minister, came these closing words of thunder:"In consequence of all these unpardonable offences, our just Emperor hereby orders the confiscation of all the estates and wealth belonging to the Prince, and banishes both him and his whole family to Siberia during the term of their natural lives." Dear reader, suppose the case. of a beloved child, on whom severe sickness has laid its withering touch, raving wildly with uncertain breath, in intense fever-the despairing parents kneeling beside their darling, watching with inexpressible anguish for its last sob-the sympathising physician, shaking his head, informs them that his skill can be of no avail, and that the little sick one is the child of death, when the child once more brightly opens its little eyes. "Father! mother!" it cheerfully pronounces, stretching out its little hands to them. In unutterable ecstacy the mother flings herself upon her husband's breast. "Husband," she cries, her voice trembling with joy, "our child lives. We have received it anew from God !" Both turn themselves in loving haste to their precious gift, which has so been restored to them; but, alas, its eyes, a minute ago glancing so brightly, are dim; its lips, which had just pronounced its loved ones' names, are silent; the paleness and coldness of death are upon the little loved one; the bloom, so shortly before upon its cheeks, has faded entirely. It was only the last fluttering of the expiring



PAGE 1

58 Tite Perils of Greatness. CHAPTER IX. ONE night, a few years before the last-mentioned important event, Menzikoff remembered, as he was on the point of falling asleep, that he had omitted to send off an imperial order, the execution of which was of absolute importance. He immediately pulled the bell-rope by his bedside, to call the servant who watched in the antechamber. He rang several times, but no one appeared. Enraged at this carelessness, the Prince rose from his bed and gently opened the door into the antechamber. There he saw the servant who had the night watch, sitting at a little table writing, with his back towards him He may have fallen asleep over this employment, and have been awakened by the sound of the bell, although from drowsiness he could not perceive the real cause of his awakening. Only in this way was his non-appearance explainable. Suspicion was, however, aroused in Menzikoff's evil-thinking soul. "What things of such importance can he have to write that he pays no attention to my repeated call ? Perhaps a traitor, who reports all that takes place in my house to my enemies ?" He crept on tiptoe behind his servant's back, who 'continued busily writing. Ha what is this? he cried, suddenly, as looking over the young man's shoulder he saw his own name just then written. The servant sprang from his seat, terribly frightened. So terrified was he, he did not at the moment know whether to fall down at his master's feet, or to run from his anger; meanwhile his trembling lips strove in vain to stammer an excuse.



PAGE 1

oakcs pnblisleb h& William V. Iinmmn. 5 NIMMO'S HALF-CROWN REWARD BOOKS. Extra foolscap 8vo, cloth elegant, gilt edges, Illustrated, price 2s. 6d. each. L VI. Memorable Wars of Scotland. Lessons from Women's Lives. BY BY JAii J. HALE. PATrICa FASER TYTLER, F.R.S.E., Author of 'History of Scotland,' etc. VI. S. The Roseville Family: Seeing the World: A Historical Tale. A Young Sailor's own Story. BY MRS. A. S. ORB. BY CARLs NonDHoFF. VIII. vI. The Martyr Missionary: A Ta Leahncient Palestine. Five Years in China. A Taleof A ent alestine. By Rv. COHARLES P. BUS, .A. Ms. A.S. O IV. IX. My New Home: Champions oftheReformation. A Woman's Diary. The Stories of their Lives. V. I. Home Heroines: The History of Two Tales for Girls. Wanderers; BT T. S. ARTHUR, Wanderers Author of Life's Crosses. Or, Cast Adrift. NIMMO'S TWO SHILLING REWARD BOOKS, Foolscap 8vo, Illustrated, elegantly bound in cloth extra, bevelled boards, gilt back and side, gilt edges, price 2s. each. I VI. The Far North, A Father's Legacy to his U. Daughters; etc. The Young Men of the Bible. vi. GreatMenofEuropeanHistory. III. The Blade and the Ear, .' Mountain Patriots : A Book for Young Men. M ain Patri IX. "TV. Labours of Love: Monarchs of Ocean, A Tale for the Young. v. x. Life's Crosses, and How to Mossdale: Meet them, A Tale for the Young.



PAGE 1

2 gfohs ptli&~bh bg BKiUltm |. ;ammon, Just ready. ENTIRELY NEW BINDING, IN CLOTH EXTRA, GOLD AND COL6URS. ENTIRELY NEW BINDING, IN MOROCCO EXTRA ILLUMINATED. NIMMO'8 POPULAR EDITION OF THE WORKS OF THE POETS. -o0----In fcap. 8vo, printed on toned paper, elegantly bound in cloth extra, gold and colours, price 8s. 6d. each; or in morocco extra, illuminated, price 6s. 6d. each; or morocco extra, novel prismatic effect with silk centre, entirely new design, price 7s. 6d. each. Each Volume contains a Memoir, and is illustrated with a Portrait of the Author, engraved on steel, and numerous full-page Illustrations on Wood, from designs by eminent Artists. I. XII. Longfellow's Poetical Works. The Oasquet of Gems. II. XIII. Scott's Poetical Works. The Book of Humorous m. Poetry. Byron's Poetical Works, xv. iv. Ballads: Scottish and Moore's Poetical Works, English. V. Xv. "Wordsworth's PoeticalWorks. The Complete Works of vo. Shakespeare. 2 vols. Cowper's Poetical Works, xvi. vii. The Arabian Nights' Milton's Poetical Works, Entertainments. 2 vols. VIII. XVII. Thomson's Poetical Works. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress ix. and Holy War. Beattie and Goldsmith's VII. Poetyal Works. Lives of the British x. Poets. Pope's Poetical Works, xix. xI. The Prose Works of Burns's Poetical Works. Robert Burns,



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 69 Oh," exclaimed the former, "how smooth and bright the floor is, just like polished walnut." "Yes," said her mother gloomily; "as smooth as the tongues of the nobility." "It cost me some trouble," replied the son, "before I got accustomed to it. I trembled the first time I brought a whole tray full of dishes to the table. If I slip, thought I. But now, I can laugh at my former fears." So do the great at the dangers which surround them on all sides," remarked his mother. Oh, mother, see the large, large mirror," cried Helene, placing herself before it, and with quiet gratification, viewing her person, reflected from head to foot in the mirror, which reached the ceiling. If only mankind would allow themselves to see their own faults and failings thus," her mother said. Oh, mother," exclaimed her son, "you see things in a very dark light. Instead of the sight of these beautiful things filling you with pleasure, it rather makes you molancholy." "You are right, my son," replied his mother. "It is in short, a fit of envy which makes me speak so, and from which, I ought to pray God to keep me." "Just look here a minute," said her son. Here is as handsome a time-piece as any king has. This man, with the scythe and hour-glass, is the god of time. He is said to have devoured his own children, because it was prophesied that his own son would cast him from the throne, and the prophecy was in reality fulfilled, for, when his wife again bare him a son, she hid the child, took a stone, rolled it in a goatskin, and gave it, instead of the new-born in. fant, to her blind husband, who, without noticing the deceit, immediately swallowed it. But when this son, who



PAGE 1

20 The Perils of Greatness. children kept their promise, and sought to compensate the lonely grandmother for the heavy loss. The joyful hours when Menzikoff lived only for his family-when he danced about the room with them, and related anecdotes for their amusement, became shorter and shorter, until they diminished to moments. Often he returned home in very fretful humours; for the Czar was hot and passionate, and sometimes scolded his minister severely. That which the servant, the clerk, and even the secretary had hitherto borne with willing patience, now filled the minister with fury, but which he was obliged to hide in his own breast, or to pour out at home on his servants and family. When he entered the house in such angry moods, the children crept tremblingly out of his way. Matinka would anxiously come forward to meet him, in vain exerting herself with cheerful words and caresses to prevent the outbreak of the storm. For half a day, however, he would often shut himself up in his room, where no one, not even his wife, dared to disturb him, however urgent the occasion. He spent many of his evenings at parties given by the nobility, from which it was always long past midnight before he returned home, generally intoxicated. Such was the case also when any of his new ac4uaintances assembled in his dwelling, where large sums were lost in gambling, and the noise of the confusion resounded even into Matinka's quiet bed-chamber, who, with hot tears moistening her lonely pillow, gazed sleepless with anxiety on her sleeping children. The country trips to the residence of Matinka's parents had wholly ceased, and only by stealth she dared see them when Menzikoff happened to be civil A formal round of visiting, where she met none but hollow-hearted fashionables, was the penalty.



PAGE 1

S14 The Perils of Greatness. fast. While he was doing this, the Princesses, his sisters, rose and sliced bread into a dish, and when the soup was prepared, they sat down together, after family prayers, and ate their simple meal On Sundays only, they allowed themselves the luxury of tea or chocolate instead of the bread soup. After breakfast, both the young men made excursions into the surrounding country, to hunt wild animals for the sake of their skins or to provide flesh for dinner: while the maidens put their little apartment in order, and then either washed and repaired, or made new clothing for some of their number. Menzikoff, however, remained despondingly on his wooden bench, and gazed gloomily before him. At times his eyes would fill with bitter tears when he turned them towards his industrious daughters, as they stitched among the coarse shaggy materials with their delicate fingers, straining their eyes in the continual twilight. After several hours' absence, the youths would return, their breath frozen and hanging in icicles round their hair and fur caps, their hands, which held the hunting weapons or fish which they had bought, thrust into large gloves, while their backs were frequently laden with booty, generally composed of foxes, sables, or ermines. They were joyfully welcpmed by the sisters, to whom they cheerfully told their adventures; but theirfather did not mingle in the conversation. He obeyed patiently as a child when invited to meals, but in general he remained silent. After dinner, at their father's request, the maidens also went out to have an airing in company with the young men; and when they returned home with blooming cheeks, they always found their father on his knees engaged in most earnest prayer. They could overhear his voice on entering the kitchen as he cried to God, and humbled himself before Him for the forgiveness of his



PAGE 1

74 The Perzls of Greatness. with his future father-in-law, in order to be very near his affianced bride, and likewise that he may not undertake anything without the Prince's knowledge. And now, dear mother and sister, I have shewn you all; however, the best is yet to come. The Prince has given orders to prepare a noble repast for you, so we will now drink his health in champagne, and to-morrow forenoon you will be in the ante-chamber, where you will get a distinct view of my kind master." No," said his mother, uneasily. "I would not like that; the Prince might address us." "Well, what although he did," replied her son. "No, on no account," said his mother quickly. "Come let us leave the palace, the Prince may surprise us." There is no occasion for this anxiety," said her son. But she was no more to be detained, and she would scarcely enjoy a very little of the nice meal which had been prepared for them, and did not recover from her uneasiness until she had reached her humble lodging. After a four days' visit in St Petersburgh, she and her daughter departed to see her brother, who had been banished to a little town in Siberia. Painful was the leavetaking with her son, whom she commanded to be ever most faithful to his master, and Michaelow gazed after the receding forms of his mother and sister with moistened eyes. CHAPTER X. MENZIKOFF had run his course. The time for his punishment had come : his enemies, and those who envied him,



PAGE 1

I04 The Perils of Greatness. what a struggle it cost her to conceal her feelings before her children. They afterwards travelled to her beloved brother Simonow, whose life his sister's self-imposed sacrifice had indeed saved; but Siberia was nevertheless appointed to him as his future residence. Here, however, he by no means lived the life of a convict, but executed his ordinary duties as a non-commissioned officer in the garrison of Tobolsk. Gradually he rose in office, and, after more than twenty years, had advanced step by step to his present lucrative post. He received his sister and her daughter with the greatest tenderness, but always spoke very bitterly of Menzikoff, who had been so unfeeling as to leave his faithful wife. Matinka, on this account, had concealed from him that Florin was in the Prince's service; but now she was obliged to reveal the truth, because she required his permission to receive the sick Princess into his house. "What ?" he exclaimed, with the most lively astonishment. "You would receive the arch enemy who displaced you, who robbed you of a husband, and nurse her On your account I dare not permit it. For my part, I will take no further notice that Menzikoff was the means of my being thrust into Siberia, for excepting a little cold I do not find myself so badly off here; but you-you who have been more injured by him than you can ever forgive !" Dear brother," Matinka answered, how can you speak so strangely? How is the Princess my arch enemy? How can that be possible ? I am entirely unknown to her. She has never seen me. Think .f the beautiful traits of her character, which Florin has described to me. If all people were as good as she. Yes, and even suppose that she had wronged, injured, and persecuted me. You know that Christ has commanded us to love our enemies, to bless them who curse us, and do good to those who hate us and



PAGE 1

8 aooks publistb bg illiam F. immno. NIMMO'8 SIXPENNY JUVENILE BOOKS. Demy 18mo, Illustrated, handsomely bound in cloth, gilt side, gilt edges, price 6d. each. Pearls for Little People. Story Pictures from the Bible, Great Lessons for The Tables of Stone, Little People, ix n in R m. Ways of Doing Good, Reason in Rhyme. x. Esop's Little Fable Book. Stories about our Dogs. V. XI. Grapes from the Great Vine. The Red-Winged Goose. VI. XII. The Pot of Gold, The Hermit of the Hills, NIMMO'8 FOURPENNY JUVENILE BOOKS. The above Series of Books is also kept in Paper Covers, elegantly printed in Colours, price 4d. each. *** The distinctive features of the New Series of Sixpenny and One Shilling Juvenile Books are: The Subjects of each Volume have been selected with a due regard to Instruction and Entertainment; they are well printed on fine paper, in a superior manner; the Shilling Series is Illustrated with Frontispieces printed in Colours; the Sixpenny Series has beautiful Engravings; and they are elegantly bound. NIMMO'8 INSTRUCTIVE AND ENTERTAINING ANECDOTE BOOKS. Foolscap 8vo, elegantly printed on superfine paper, bound in boards, and printed in colours, price Is. each. '. BOOKS AND AUTHORS. CURIous FACTS AND CHARACTERISTIC SKETCHES. 2. LAW AND LAWYERS. CURIOus FACTS AND CHARACTERISTIC SKETCHES. 3. ART AND ARTISTS. CURIous FACTS AND CHARACTERISTIC SKETCHES. 4. INVENTION AND DISCOVERY. CURIOUS FACTS AND CHARACTRISTIC SKETCHES. 5. OMENS AND SUPERSTITIONS. CURIOUS FACTS AND ILLUSTRATIVE SKETCHES. 6. CLERGYMEN AND DOCTORS. CURIoUS FACTS AND CHARACTERISTIC SKETCHES.



PAGE 1

102 The Perils of Greatness. "There goes Natuschkin's niece. Do you not see her?" Ha, my sister," Michaelow joyfully exclaimed, bounding up to Helene, who, frightened at the unexpected appearance of her brother, had almost fallen, and to whom after tenderly embracing her, he said, hasten to our mother, and tell her to get a well-warmed bed ready for one who is seriously ill." But, dear brother," exclaimed Helene, how came you so suddenly here, and that too with one who is sick I Are you no longer with the Prince ?" "Do not ask me just now, dear affectionate sister," Michaelow besought her. "You shall learn all afterwards. The sick one is my mistress, the Princess. But hasten you and carry out my instructions." CHAPTER XII. PUZZLED with the intelligence, the possibility of which she could not comprehend, Helene hastened home and surprised her mother not a little by its relation; but even greater was the astonishment of her uncle Simonow. "Which of my young readers will not have had a pre. sentiment that Michaelow and Helene's mother was no other than the poor injured Matinka, the first spouse of Menzikoff And so it really was. Her only pleasure after the loss of her husband had been in the possession of her children, whom she had brought up in retirement, but in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. To spare herself and them many bitter recollections, and also possible





PAGE 1

124 The Perils of Greatness. did likewise both the Princesses; and they kept their word. Together they all entered upon the return journey. United they remained during their lives. Good uncle Simonow also entered their mournful family circle. Although the Princesses were subsequently married to nobles of the empire, and Alexander gradually rose step by,step, yet the bond of friendship remained ever as firm, as when misfortune and fidelity had newly bound it around them. But Matinka and her children enjoyed the most unmixed happiness, for they remained in their humble position, and accepted no more of Menzikoffs offered wealth than what with industry and frugality they required for their subsistence. When Alexander or his sisters visited their relatives and former companions in misfortune, and witnessed their homely happiness, they never left them without expressing this lively conviction,"You are happier than we, for you are contented, but we are only rich." Far in the north of Siberia lies Menzikoffs grave; removed a long way from it lies that of his second'lady, and yet farther removed by Moscow rests Matinka and her children, but the great day of the Lord will reunite them all, for WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. THE END. PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY EDINBURGH AND LONDON



PAGE 1

PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY EDINBURGH AND LONDON



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 85 since he cannot pay them, and therefore I take my leave of him." And I do the same,"' said a fourth, "which will spare both myself and him the pain of separation." Well said," cried a fifth. I too will do likewise." When therefore the extra carriages were sent back by the officer who was to accompany the Prince, all the male and female servants returned in a body to St Petersburgh, and forsook in this way their master, who had often treated them most liberally. Under such circumstances does ingratitude shew itself. Only Michaelow remained behind on the Prince's carriage. His fellows strove in vain to induce him to follow their example; but he gave no answer to the selfish people, but gazed straight before him. They then insulted him, called him a blockhead and ass, who stood in his own light. This, however, did not harm him; but it moved his very soul to think how painful this new display of ingratitude must be to his master and mistress. And he was right, for when the Prince's carriage stopped at a small hamlet, that the horses might be changed, Menzikoff who, until then, had not spoken a word, called his' valet by name, and Michaelow appearing in his stead, and asking what his pleasure might be, he ordered him to call all his servants, adding," They cannot be expected to share my hard fate and accompany me to Siberia. I will therefore dismiss them, and only retain the few who are most necessary." Michaelow stood embarassed. Most gracious Prince," he began, seeking an excuse for their ingratitude, the servants have just seen that it would come to this, and have, to avoid reminding your Highness of your misfortune, already returned to St Petersburgh."



PAGE 1

The Perts of Grealness. 5 otherwise be betrayed, if only the pastry intended for the Czar were poisoned, and the remainder found to be harmless. The suspicion must fall on the boy and his master, and we must see that the boy does not leave this until shortly before the time when the Czar will use the pastry, and prevent the affair getting known too soon." Thereupon both gently approached the sleeper, cautiously lifted the wax-cloth cover from the pastry, and strewed a white powder over it. After they had fulfilled their criminal object, the valet left the kitchen, and the cook, in his feigned industry, allowed one of the empty copper vessels to fall on the floor; so that when the assistants returned, they found the youth fully awake. They now began to serve up the innumerable dishes for the table of the Prince. The kitchen was filled with people, as the valet again returned, and in a very loud tone said"Now, boy, shew us your wares; the cook will take some of your pastry, lest the Czar might wish to have some." The youth willingly complied; and having handed the desired quantity out of his basket, and having received payment, he went on his way. But at the very next corner of the street he made a halt, set down his basket on a curbstone, and began well pleased to count his money. "One rouble, two, three, four roubles, five copecks, ten copecks, twenty -Ha, you scoundrel! get off! oh, my pastry!" With these exclamations the youth interrupted his reckoning, and sprang up after a large dog which, enticed by the sweet smell of the pastry, had managed, unnoticed by him, to steal some out of his basket. The dog had dropped the pastry, and in falling it had broken into two or three pieces, while it stood over it growling fiercely, and shewing its teeth, awaiting the attack of the boy, who, when the



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 51 sword, suspended by a single thread, threatening every moment to fall upon his head. No one could imagine, furthermore, the cares, the anxieties, and the remorse which secretly filled his heart. Consider now with me his daily course of life, and then say if he is worthy of envy. He sought his bed-chamber late in the night, or rather early in the morning. Formerly he had need of none to assist him to undress, but now a valet gently and silently brought out his white night-clothes and helped to put them on, while he allowed himself to be treated like a lifeless doll When he had no further orders, his servant retired with a low bow, after he had folded down the silken bed-cover. Menzikoff then generally paced up and down his bedroom with long steps, thinking how he had spent the day. whether his exertions after the enlargement of his power and riches had been successful, whether he had accomplished the ruin of any of his numerous foes, or whether he still retained the favour of the Czar. Be brooded over new plans for holding and increasing his authority, over expedients by which he might conceal his base actions from the knowledge of the Emperor, and render his enemies innoxious. He resolved to deprive this one ot his office, and to banish that one to Siberia. A thousand schemes passed through his brain, heavy with spirituous liquors; and when at length he composed himself to sleep, no prayer of gratitude sprung up from his heart, no thought of the good providence of God crossed his mind. He did not now enjoy the sweet repose of refreshing slumber, as did the laborious peasant. The body, indeed, lay to al appearance sunk in deep sleep; but the mind wrought in disorderly and unpleasant dreams. At one time his enemies :triumphed, at the other he had fallen into disfavour, then banishment, and death threatened him. Again he struggled



PAGE 1

42 The Perils of Greatness. had returned along with the Czar, and, to do so, hastened to her late dwelling, where she found only the blackened walls remaining. She hastily retraced her steps, but, while hurrying home, she met a troop of soldiers with a number of guards handcuffed in their midst, amongst whom her searching eye discovered poor Simonow, who was scarcely able to stagger along under his heavy irons. He looked pale indeed, but very collected. "Simonow, my dearest brother," she screamed, stretch. ing her arms towards him. His chains clanked terribly as if he would have embraced her. "Back," cried the soldiers, levelling their muskets at Matinka, who now ran into the midst of the crowd, bewailing her brother's fate. Suddenly the Czar appeared on horseback, accompanied by a numerous suite, which, to poor Matinka, seemed to be a signal from God, encouraging her to attempt the rescue of her brother. With outstretched arms she threw herself on the ground before the Czar. "Great Czar," cried she. "Mercy, mercy upon my unfortunate brother." The Czar looked on her uplifted face, which shewed her heartfelt anguish, and said mildly-" Who is your brother, and what is his crime, that he requires my mercy I Encouraged by the gentle tone in which these words were spoken, Matinka pointed towards the prisoners and said,"There they lead him to death. He is a Guardsmau, and the best and tenderest of brothers." "And the worst subject," Peter added, passionately, as his countenance suddenly darkened. "They are all villains, who would have destroyed me, they are unworthy of my mercy, and must take their merited reward."



PAGE 1

L 7 y-uP J Q _^ "i--*:i ii^ u!i Lf



PAGE 1

o08 The Perils of Greainess. eyes rested on the physician, impatiently expecting from him the confirmation of their hopes. Speaking at length with great deliberation, he said," The present condition of the sufferer can by no means be considered a favourable crisis. This sweat is nothing more than the breaking out of the juices of the body, when the skin can no longer perform its office. It is too unnaturally strong, and also accompanied by a remarkable coldness. It is, in short, the sweat of rapidly approaching death." This unexpected decision suddenly transformed the budding hope of the family of the Princess into unbounded sorrow. A universal sobbing ensued. Menzikoff mournfully covered his head, and knelt beside the bed of his sick lady, whose features began to work very nervously. The halfshut eyelids moved, the mouth writhed backwards and forwards, the lips opened and shut again. At length she softly gasped the scarcely perceptible words," My Alexander; my husband." Her outstretched hand appeared to seek that of the Prince. How terrified was he when his wife laid her hand deadly cold within his warm, healthy grasp. Was not this the same cold hand which Matinka reached him for the last time at their divorce ? The spirits of vengeance and recompense pierced his very soul My children," again more faintly uttered the dying one. They threw themselves sobbing on their knees beside their father, each seeking to press the dear hand once more. A happy smile now lit up the countenance of the Princess. She attempted once more to speak. Deep down in her chest the sound seemed seeking to work its way upward, but death surprised it by the way. The inexorable angel Qfdeath touched the sufferer with his bony fingers, ere the





PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 19 variety-four or five dishes daily. Of course, it is not suitable for the wife of a minister to stand burning before the fire in the kitchen, shoving pots here and there. I will engage a cook, that you may have more leisure." This speech was like a clap of thunder to the good Matinka. She considered it to be one of the greatest virtues of a good housewife to be skilful in that most important duty, the preparatiofi of food. Matinka could no longer prepare her husband's meals to his satisfaction He despised her attempt, and preferred that of hirelings. She sat quietly drinking the wine, which ought to have cheered her spirits, while she mingled with it her hot scalding tears, and felt in great discomfort. From this day the quiet homely happiness disappeared more and more from Menzikoffs family, followed by.a vain ostentation, which served only to dazzle the eyes of the foolish for a short time. The following week saw Menzikoff the owner of a suit of splendidly-furnished apartments in the neighbourhood of the Czar's palace, to which he removed his wife and children; upon which, however, his mother looked with an air of indifference, and preferred rather to remain in her wooden cottage. Two men-servants, a coachman, a cook, a kitchen and chamber maid, were taken into service; horses were procured. If Matinka had been deeply displeased with the childish naughtiness of her children, she nmust now daily vex herself with the laziness and faithlessness of her servants, who thoughtlessly wasted whatever was entrusted to their care; who stole money, food, ale, and other things; gossiped, and taught the children vicious Shabits. At first Menzikoff visited his mother regularly ,every day, but these visits became gradually rarer,-ho xcusing himself on account of numerous engagements. it length they ceased entirely; Matinka only and her



PAGE 1

26 The Perils of Greatness. The rehearsal began. Menzikoff found much to blame. Matinka would make her bows too deep or too slight; her voice sounded sometimes too frightenedly, sometimes too loudly, and sometimes too heartily. She stood as if on burning coals, and Menzikoff ended the farce ill at ease. Previously Matinka had looked forward with great pleasure to the name-day of her husband; but now in what a state of anxiety had she spent the whole of the previous night I In the morning the hairdresser came, who burned, frizzled, and cut unmercifully among her beautiful hair, and then combed,-oh, how long Matinka thought. He then stuck a whole mountain of horse hair, swine's bristles, hair pins, and pomade on her head, so that it was half an ell higher than usual. Lastly, he covered the whole fabric with a cloud of white powder. Her beautiful natural complexion he glossed with white and red paint: and thus was the whole person perfect. In addition to the severe headache, caused by the unnatural treatment which she had endured for several hours, came the frightful squeezing of the bodice, and the painful tightness of the shoes. Nevertheless, the poor creature must stand with cheerful smiling mien, while the carriages with their guests came to the door. The folding doors were now thrown open, and Menzikoff, likewise festively attired, cast an anxious look of meaning on his wife, whose deadly paleness was unnoticed on account of her rouge. The exchange of greetings on both sides began, and went even better than Menzikoff had hoped. Matinka's unmistakable heartiness and natural sagacity compensated for the want of many an empty compliment; but Merzikoff, nevertheless, overheard one of their guests remark in French to her neighbour, "The hostess seems to me to be a little goose." which caused Menzikoff to cast a withering glance,



PAGE 1

46 The Perils of Greatness. Czar; free your brother from death, and yourself from banishment. If you really love your husband, your brother, your children, and yourself, then you will surely seize. seize eagerly, the only remedy which presents itself 1" "Yes, yes," she eagerly cried. "But what is that remedy "It is," the valet said slowly, "the dissolution of your marriage with Menzikoff." Matinka staggered, and pressed both her hands upon her brow. Now choose, Matinka," he urged. But she was unable to give him an answer directly. She said at length, with trembling lips," How can the parting of a peaceful, happy wedlock be the only means of deliverance V" That is easily explained," replied the valet. Because your husband will then retain all his powerful influence with the Czar, and without incurring the charge of partiality, he can work in secret for you." I will do anything but this," Matinka said, you can tell my husband." "Nothing else will do," replied the valet. "the separation must be arranged just now." "Then I will withdraw myself and children into the farthest corner of the empire," she said in tears, "tell no one who my husband is, and forbid my children from ever mentioning their father's name, that my husband may not wholly cast me off." All will avail not," said the valet. "Do you agree to the separation or not ?" "Though it cost me my life, I cannot," Matinka answered. "Very well," said the valet. "Your husband leaves it



PAGE 1

S118 The Perils of Greatness. completion of their holy labours. He then called Michaelow to him. "My son," he said, addressing him gently but earnestly, "among much drifting sand, you have been the only grain of gold. I know the great sacrifice which you have made, but I have not deserved it. It would be the most bitter ingratitude if I or my children should wish to deprive you longer of your life's enjoyment, to which you can lay so just claims. Therefore leave us to our fate in this place of punishment. Thanks to your love and faithfulness, my children are now accustomed to labour and privations of all kinds, and have learned to suit themselves to their changed fate. On this account, your loss will be less felt by us than it might have been at the commencement of our residence here. But you have yet a dear mother and sister, and it is your duty in this life to devote yourself to them. Return, therefore, and enjoy with them the sweet reward which a pure conscience never fails to give." Michaelow sought to object, and repeated his former promise never to forsake the Prince, but the latter would not receive it. I can by no means involve you further in my unhappy fate," said he. Is it not bad enough that my poor children must bear a share of their father's guilt ?" The Prince was inflexible in his resolution, and his language was likewise so earnest, that Michaelow was outwardly obliged to submit; he only begged the Prince's permission to remain until he had informed his mother of the Prince's pleasure and had received her answer, which was granted him. Menzikoffs children could only think with sorrow of a separation from their faithful Michaelow, but Menzikoff asked him almost daily if he had received any answer from his mother. Four weeks had nearly elapsed



PAGE 1

The Perils of Greatness. 49 pressive tone-" What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. But on account of the hardness of your hearts-as our Lord hath said-Moses commanded to give a writing of divorcement, in order that greater misery between married people who are at variance may be guarded against. Alexander Menzikoff, and you, Matinka Natuschkin, are you willing that the tie of marriage into which you entered in the presence of God, should be dissolved I" Menzikoff's "Yes" sounded clearly, but Matinka's was like the last breath from a deathbed. Then," said the priest, "join hands." Matinka's cold, death-like hand was now laid in Menzikoff's warm, healthy grasp, while she trembled so iolently that Menzikoff seized the other also. As Matinka knew this was the last time their hands would be united, need we wonder that she trembled ? "Ten years ago," continued the priest, "I joined your hands together at this same holy altar. Now I separate them, absolve you from the oaths which you then took; from the duties which you pledged yourselves to fulfil to one another, and divorce you in the name of the triune God. May you never regret this step. Depart in peace." Menzikoff left, but Matinka broke down under her weight of sorrows. The noise caused by the sobbing children attracted Menzikoff's attention, and when he saw Helene's little white hood and Florin's golden locks glancing over the church pew he stopped. "Will you come and live with me ?" he said, in a gentle tone. No, no," both cried at once, hurrying to their mother, whom they embraced, and endeavoured to raise up, while Menzikoff glanced irresolutely towards the group. He left at length, and nothing further was heard of the unhappy Matinka and her -hildren. DI



PAGE 1

80 The Perils of Greatness. except the basket in which he formerly carried his pastry." But when Menzikoff, dressed in a simple coat, without star or cross, entered the carriage with downcast eyes, a still more tremendous shower of insult and abuse was hurled at him. His lady followed composedly after her the two young Princesses, who covered their faces with their handkerchiefs, and the young Prince, who threw a scornful glance around on the malicious rabble, brought up the rear. Would one not rather think some king was going on a journey," cried some one loudly to his companions, "than that such a thorough rascal was taking his departure?" All approved the speaker, and broke out in a threatening murmur, while Menzikoff pressed himself into a corner of the carriage, saying bitterly to his wife,"Are not these the same people to whom, a few days ago, I gave food and fire, and who blessed me loudly for my liberality ?" Yes, my husband," she replied. They are like unto those who, on the entrance of our Redeemer to Jerusalem, brought branches of palm-trees, and even spread their clothes on the way, while they sang Hosannah; but who, a few days after, cried out 'crucify him! crucify him!' You do not deserve to be better treated than Christ, in whose face they spat, and whom they smote on the check with their hands." The Princess strove to calm her husband in this way, but Menzikoff was not thus to be comforted; for, he thought, I have merited this treatment by my misdeeds ; not so our Saviour, who therefore was able to be of good courage." Their carriage was now approaching the main guard