Citation
The perils of greatness

Material Information

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

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
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

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).
Statement of Responsibility:
translated from the German.

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:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026891799 ( ALEPH )
ALH5405 ( NOTIS )
57624119 ( OCLC )

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ME PERILS OF GREATNESS.







































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THE PERILS OF GREATNESS.


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ILS OFGREATNESS
,A STORY OF O.,ADER MENZ/KOA
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EDINBURGH , WILLIAM P. NIMMO







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PERILS OF GREATNESS:








OF


ALEXANDER MENZIKOFF.


TRANSLATED FRO3M THE GERMAN.







EDINBURGH:
WILLIAM P. NIMMO.














THlE 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 1" they shouted. " Pray see who are before you! Why do you drive against us with your basket l Come, let us sce 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, should they do so, his





2 The Perils of Grealuess.

pastry would find its way, unpaid for, into the stomachs of the drunken soldiers.
11 Let it alone 1 " 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."
11 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. 11 What is the matter here?" demanded he sharply of the soldiers, who, at the siglit 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 soldiers?" the officer now asked the youth, who, heated and panting, lifted the cover to see if his pastry had suffered in the iAmggle.
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?" Rsked the officer.
The. was only a little stratagem," replied the youth, lifting his sparkling eye to his deliverer. 11 1 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."






The Perils of Greaftzess.


"1But do not be so rash as tGi 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."
"1Well," 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, w ithout 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 wellI"
"1The pastry," answered the youth, "is from the famous Parisian pastry baker, Legrain, and the Czar has bought it from me on several occasions."~






4 The Peris of Greatness.

"Wait a little, then," returned the valet, "and I will mention it to my master. Take a seat, meanwhile, on that stool, until I bring an answer."
He went away, and the boy sat down on the offered scat. 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. lHe 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 hemptingy convenient that hie fell into a quiet sleep-his Pyelids closed; his arms, which grasped the basket, sank down, and it rested on his knees, supported only by the belt upon his shoulder. tIn 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 wvho 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?1"
"Certain]-% not," replied the valet; "that would take too much time; besides, you might rouse him."
"1Yet there is no necessity for bestrewing all the pastry," the master cook again said.
All, certainly!I" the valet eagerly answered;j " we might






The Perzs of Grealness.


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 3naster, 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 bad 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 sorlie."
The youth willingly complied; and having banded 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. 11 One rouble, two, three, four roubles, five copecks, ten copecks, twenty
- Ha, you scoundrel! get off ! oh, my pastry 1 " With these exclamations the youth interrupted his reckoning, and sprang up after a large dog which, enticed by the sweet smell of the pastry, bad managed, unnoticed by him, to steal some out of his basket. The dou had dropped the pastry, and in falling it bad broken into two or three pieces, while it stood over it growling fiercely, and showing its teetb, awaiting the attack of the boy, who, when the






.6 The Perils of Greatness.

mischief was done, took his basket under his arm, and sat down sorrowfully to think over his misfortune.
11 1 must replace the pastry to my master," he said, sadly, CC 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 7 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 Iong, 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 I 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 VS7 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






The Perils of Greatness. 7

that they had said, still a word or two bad come to hia Par 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. Thpse tbouahts 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 showed 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 do, after he had eaten some of the pastry out of his basket; also, that before his goiD- 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 bad been sacrificed. But the hand of God bad






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 Bntirely 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!I" roared many hundreds of roughi voices, "where are you 7 Shew yourself that we may see you, if you are yet living! Come out here!1 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.
"1What, is the matter ? What do you wish ~"he cried down.
All screamed, related, and threatened at once ; so that the Czar wits no wiser by the uproar. At the same timue till hands were pointed to the boy with the basket, who united his voice with the others. Smiling, the Czar turned himself to his adjutant.
" Lefort," he said, prayy 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






The Perils of Greatness. 9

One cries 'Hurrah !' a second, I Pastry 1' a third, I Poison !' a fourth, I Destruction 1' It might well make one anxious and afraid."
The officer, who was the same who had previo-u-1y 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 dis. perse 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
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 Meazikoff ; 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.
"10 mother 1" 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, eveni-only think of it -the fire-irons and wash-hand basin!"
Struck with this relation, the good peasant woman held up her hands.,
I"But I am not finished yet," continued her son. "1Our good Czar is very gracious to me, because I warned him against the poisoned pastry. H~e lately entrusted nme 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






The Perils of Greahzess. I 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 1 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, tnd 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 be 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 mucli, 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, Ui master, and his distinguished guests. "Dear mother,"






12 The Perus of Grealness.

said he, " I will repay a small part of my great debt to you. The patience and love which you have shewn mie 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 hionours. 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 Meuzikoff. In the morning when he arose, at mid-day befre 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





The Perils of Greatness.


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 "over his face with kisses; while close by stood the good Mfatinka, 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 leave 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.

Tiiis 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





The Perils of Grealness.


addition to his income, but was the cause of many sorrowful hours to the good Matinka. As Nenzikoff 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.
11 Awkward boy!" he said, displeased; " would you destroy my expensive dress at nnee with your dirty boots?"
11 1 cannot take you," a little more mildly, be next said to Helene, who stretched her little hands beseechingly towards him; "you would crush my shirt frills, and sully the bright buttons."
11 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; Ris mind was filled with other thoughts. He gazed silently around his dwelling.
"Here all must be otherwise," said 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





The Perils of Greatness. 15

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.
11 Ho, Jew! here!-come here for a little!"
The Jew, however, paid no attention to his call, but pro3eeded quietly on his way.
"Look at the fellow!" said the angry minister. 11 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 humble closet, where one is affair 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 tile 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






The Perils of Greaduess.


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 I How that kitchen-rack, with its plates, its dishes, and wooden spoons, was a n eddiiig-present from my playmatesI 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 dwvelling, 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 remnid 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 7 " asked the old grandmother, in a grieved "tone. "Will you forsake me thus in my old age 7 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 positionI"
"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





The Perils of Greatness.


which 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. "1Ah 1" said she, sobbing, hiredd 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 Mentikoff was overcome.
"1But so," continued the grandmother, after collecting herself a little, "1my 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 mne 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. Away with it! Be comforted, dear mother. I shall entreat the Emperor to take back, 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, 1 do not wish-I do not require that. Obey your good Czar. Receive thankfully whatever he graciously presents to you. It is God's will. If it cannot be other-wise, I
F' B






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 materna 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 ipend our days most joyfully. Here is gold, Matinka, Procure some wine of the best, that it may cbeer your hearts. Long live the gracious Czar ! We must drink his healt] 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 ht )e 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 I"
"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 lhave a greatEr






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 preparation 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 tIhe quiet homely happiness disappeared more and more from Menzikoff's 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 must now daily vex herself with the laziness and faithless.
-ness of her servants, who thoughtlessly wasted whatever was entrusted to their care; who stole money, food, ale, and other things; gossiped, and taught th e children vicious habits. At first Menzikoff visited his mother regularly every day, but these visits became gradually rarer,-lie excusing himself on account of numerous engagements. At length they ceased entirely; Matinka only and her






20 The Peris of Greatness.

children kept their promise, and sought to compensated 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.






The Perils of Greatness.


CHAPTER IV.

TiE 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 I"
"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






The Perils of Grealness.


which you may possess the noblest heart and clearest utiderstanding, 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."
"1Only tell me, husband, what I must do to please you," said Mfatinka.
"1Listen," answered MNenzikoff; I will engage the French dancing-master, Genon, 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 teo 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 Genon commanded:
" Keep in your stomach! Throw out your breast!1
Hold up your head! Oh, fie !--do not stretch out your leg behind you so!1 Do not turn your foot inwards! Do not allow your arms to dangle like clubs!1 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






The Peris or Greauness.


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 ,imes 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 she 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 complimentlng!
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 ?" 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,-






24 The Perils of Greah'ness.

"1Ah ! I suffocate! I cannot draw breath!1 All the ribs are hurting me 1 "
"This is affectation," said Menzikoff, harshly; "otherwise thousands of ladies must have been suffocated."
Mlatinka 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.
"1Would you transform me into a monster 7 " 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, fi which she could scarcely make one secure step. Mlenzikoff 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 uncom. fortable 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 ? "
"1That 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 more 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."
"1But why must I imitate this foolishness 7 1Tam neither





Te Perils of Greatness.


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 MNenzikoff. "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.





26 The Perils of Greatness.

The rehearsal began. Menzik-off 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 nowv 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 cornbed,-oh, how long!1 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, east an anxious look of meaning on his wife, whose deadly paleniess was unnoticed on account of her roug e.
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 Mcu2zikoff to east a withering glance,





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. iFlorin 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 perulke and hair-bag, with a richly -laced blue velvet coat, white -cest, knee breeches, silk stockings, and shoes with silver buckles!I he had even a small sword, with a gold hilt and white lacquered sheath; while the dress of the four-year-old llelenc 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 themiselves 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 hereI 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.
"1My 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."






The Perils of Greatness.


Speaking so he urged his mother, who several times attempted to speak, towards the door of a side chamber ; bef ore 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.
"1It yet has failed," hie 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."
"1My 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?7 However, had I known you had so many visitors"" Good mother," said Meuzikoff, " 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."
"1But 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."
"1But perhaps your guests have been here a considerable time V" asked his mother.





The Perils of Greahzess.


"' Oh, yes; about four hours," said he.
"And kind old acquaintances, of course, to whom you are under deep obligations 1" 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.
Menzikoff 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 highleled 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 I" shouted Florin and Helene, climbing up upon her.
Matinka had observed the entrance of Menzikofl'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 needle.






The Perils of Greatness.


till lie 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 I"
"1Most certainly not," answered MLenzikoff, with the greatest composure, as he -laughingly surveyed their inquiring faces. "1My mother is dead long, ago ; hut 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."I
"1Oh, 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 bead ais 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 Matirika, 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!I how I loathe myself with my painted face!I"
The poor children broke out with similar complaints.
"1Only see," said Florin, with comic sorrow, " the sack I car, tossingy on mny back." Saying this he shook the






The Perils of Greatness. 31

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.
"1Oh, 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, "1if 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 a-void this, she scoured round the room with Florin at her heels, but slip. ping on the glassy boards, she fell, and Florin tumbled over her, so that the destruction of their dresses was completed.
Mlenzikoff 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 outhurst in the presence of his mother. But the children did not escape so easily : he flung them without mercy here aind there, dealing them several cuff's as they ran about. TIhen, 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 comnpany. for your appearance in that state would shew too






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 Nlatinka laid aside her finery, and dressing herself in her usual garments, conducted the old grandmother Dome, and then sought her own chamber, to which peape w9uld be for a long time a stranger.






The Perils of Greahzess.


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 Merizikoff 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, bad 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.






The Perils of Greatness.


Ile took the greatest care, that they should be provideA with aU 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? INIatinka, after t. e 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.
11 How your father will rejoice when be 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.
11 1 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 daugbter-in-law and grand-







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 blescd 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 thce 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, thatt 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 I1 I thought I would never have seen you again. What happiness I"
"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 V"






36 The Perils of Greatness.

Matilika 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 area 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.
"1Brother, brother," exclaimed Matinka, anxiously, "1you have scarcely joined the Guards before their revolutionary spitit has taken possession of you. Will you never become wise ? Of what use has the frequent disturbances of your comrades beenI 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 'Coesar the things which are Caesar's."'
" You do not understand this," said Simonow. "1You women are doomed to suffer, hut we men to act; so you must wait patiently for the issue. "






The Perzts oj 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 anxietyjust 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 aud 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






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 fc-arfully 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 Mlatinka's dwelling, shouting as they neared it, "Down with Meuzikoff's 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 corner 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 diedi with agony. The tumult reached its height, however, when some rough voices roared-" Bumn down the wooden nest ;" and the space around the little house was quickly illuminated by the materials brought together for that pur. pose.
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.






Tze Perils of Grealess. 39

A single Guard came inning with the greatest speed,
and sternly addressing the crowd of incendiaries, said,"What do you here I 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 Menzikoff's real quarters. Sister," he shouted; "where are you "
"Here," said Matinka, opening the window. "Many thanks for your assistance."
"Are you satisfied now " 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 hcard,-: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 ,prudently inquired what was wanted.






40 The Perils of Greatness.
11 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. 11 All is lost. A ball or the gallows is my fate, if I am discovered."
MatinWs 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 showing 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 morenecessary as, on the following day, an order was issued to all the inhabitants of Moscow to discover and deliver up





The Perils of Greatness.


to the authorities, all Guards to whom they had given shelter, under the threat of banishment to Siberia. Ought Matinka to obey tbis command? To hand over her
brother, her own and her children's preserver, to certain death?1 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. Matiuka knew not how to advise or help. She wished to learn whether her husband






42 YTe Perils of Greatlzess.

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, stretching 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 showed her heartfelt anguish, and said mildly-" Who is your brother, and what is his crime, that he requires my mercy 7 "
Encouraged by the gentle tone in which these words 'were spoken, Matinka pointed towards the prisoners and said,"1There they lead him to death. He is a Guardsiaui, 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."'





The Perils of Greatness.


Ile reined his horse aside to pass the place where she lay, and then only did Alatinka 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 ! Mat 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 j hcr






44 The Perils of Greatness.
husband-dreadful fact-lost to her. The happiness of
her peaceful Efe, 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 7 He wavered; but at last, as is only too often the case, evil prevailed ; and he resolved tor break the band of wedlock which threatened to destroy the favour of the Czar, or at least binder 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 3mall lamp, often looking tip to their weeping mother with tearful eyes, when a knock came to the door and a man entered. The belief in her husbands faithfulness was not entirely extinguished in MatinWs 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.






The Perils of Greatness.


CHAPTER VII.

AFTER a brief greeting, Menzikoff's ambassador addressed Matinka"M Ay 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."
"1Oh, tell me 1" Matinka. hastily exclaimed.
"It pains my master to be obliged to make this proposal, but the most pressing necessity, the greatest danger compels him."
"1Speak, for God's sake," Matinka cried in the greatest distress.
"1If you consent to this proposal," he said, impressively, "cyou will save your husband from the just au ger of the






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 I"
"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 ?"
"That is easily explained," replied the valet. "Becauso 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 1"
"Though it cost me my life, I cannot," Matinka answered.
" Very well," said the valet. "Your husband leaves it






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."
"10 God! " exclaimed Matinka. " Then tell my husband he may do whatever he will. I submit myself entirely to him."
"1But 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?1" said Mvatinka, sobbing. "Must I urge on the separlion, which will be my death l
"1Yes," replied the valet. "1Yours must the decision be. .Kenzikoff's 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 w.~aiting 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."
"1Good," said the go-between, well pleased with his sue, cess.
" 1One word further," cried Matinka, pointing to the children. "1Will Menzikoff leave to me my only comfort I "
"1He has not told me his will on that point," the valet answered. "A division might perhaps suit, which is very easy with two children."






Is The Perils of Greatness.

"No, no," she cried, passionately. "No division, you would then tear my heart asunder, and make life unbearable."
"1That 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 hemn of his garment.
The priest now commenced the service in a grave, im-





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 Mlatinka's was like the last breath from a deathbed.
"Then," said the priest, "join hands."
Matinka'e cold, death-like hand was now laid in Menzi-' koff's warm, healthy grasp, while she trembled so Violently that Menzikoff seized the other also.
As Mfatinka knew this was the last time their hands would be united, need we wonder that she trembled I
"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 Alatinka and her -hildren.






The Perils of Greatness.


,CHAPTER WIT.

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 himn 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 gums 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 I
Young reader, do not envy his happiness, for 't all is not gold that glitters." There hung above bin a pointed






The Perils of Greatness.


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 Is white night-clothes and helped to put them on, while~ he allowed himself to be treated like a lifeless dol When he had no further orders, his servant retired witl 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. He 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 of 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 ial 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 be struggled






32 The Perils of Greatness.

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 hie encounter-what dangerous laws had be 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 flavour of a happy mind. Flatteries, the city news, gossipping, and slanders were the common topics of discourse. Meuzikoff saw himself over-run the whole day by suppliants for situations, pensions, and other assistance, who annoyed him even while in church with their imnportunity. 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;





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, lHe seemed to stand on the edge of a volcano, which might destroy him at any moment. Thrice his fall appeared to be certain; when lhe had been accused of the most wicked practices, for which he required to submit himself to the most trying examihations, out of which lie in nowise escaped guiltless, but on the contrary covered with infamy. What mortifications 1,e bad to submit to! What unworthy expedients he bad to adopt! to regain the favour of his angry Emperor. Who can tell the sleepless nights through w hich 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 oif 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-lad 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






54 The Perils of Greatness.

"1Halt" 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 ? Do you not as inspector draw a salary of several thousand roubles yearly? and is this the way you fulfil your dutiesT 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 hack of the Prince. What a strange scene for the onlookers 1 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 Menzihkoff, let us proceed." Mlenzikoff 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 Menziikoff had come to the Czar's knowledge, Meuzikofi 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





The Perils of Greatness. 55

stars which lay on his breast, and which just then lie would willingly have exchanged for a good conscience. With a heavy heart he passed through the crowd of courtiers, officers, counsellors, ministers, and ambassadors, Wh1o 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. IFrom time to time he threw at 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 Meuzikoff 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 Meuzikoff 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 Mfenzikoff, the son of a common peasant,





56 The Perils of Greatness.

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 unjnst 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 darin g 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 Mlenzikoff 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 iowered eyelids onl 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 stern 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






The Perils of Greatness.


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 hack."
The affair thereupon ended, the meal was finished, card tables took- its place, and Menzikoff play ed 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 Meuzikoff of his severe judge, and Catherine, Peters 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 bei 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 affaneed 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, "1Thus far shalt thou come, but no further."






The Perils of Greahzess.


CHAPTER IX.

ON E 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 ni( ght watch, sitting at a little table writing, with his back towards him He may have fallen asleep
Dver 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 be 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 1 what is this? " he cried, suddenly, as looking over the young man s shoulder he saw his own name just then written.
I 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.






The Perils of Grect/ness. 59

"So I have caught you in the act, villain !1" said Meuzikoff, 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 DEA R MOTHE R,-YOU will hale 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 Mlenzikoff, 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 hie 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 T 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






6o 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 tbe 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 attenclants. These you can discover






Th~e Perils of Greatness. 6 r

and render harmless, by telling me in secret whatever falls3 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."
Michaclow 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 ai~d 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, hie 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 niot listen to any proof of Micliselow'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!1 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.






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 I 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 newt out of Menzikofif'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 Dolgorcki indistinctly to understand that you will satisfy his curiosity when, hush ! 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 Miehaelow; "my






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 Mictaelow, angrily, "you only wish to prove whether I be faithful or not to my master."
"Brave Michaelow 1 " 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 1 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.
"1It Is well, my son," answered Meuzikoff, after hearing Michaelow's story. "1For 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. Meuzikoff's steward raised a terrible outcry about them. They searched everywhere, from the cellar to the garret of the meanest domestic, and they were found care.






64 The Peris of Urealness.

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, Mlenzikoff 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 corn mnded.
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 Meuzikoff, 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





The Perils of Grca/ness. 6

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 Jo make his people believe that he was acquainted with everything that took place, and the evcnt 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. no~t my duty to act as his judge, but rather to be a faithful servant to him, and this I '11 he."
He had just received the value of the stolen candlesticks, when a boy entered the servants' room and asked for the servant Michaelow.
"1A woman," said he, "1and 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.
"M Ay 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 lie.
" That wonder you I-ave been the meins of bringling1






The Perils of GCrealness.


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 overjoye. 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 Michaclow 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 "
"Yery well, I assure you," Michaelow answered. "If they but express their wish by a look, he complies with it." "
flis 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."
"1Most easily," returned Michaelow. "The ante-chamber is daily full of people, who wait on the prince to present






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, imnpulsivelyHer 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 he 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."
"1That you easily may do," answered her brother. "1If my master dines out, I am certain that I have only to ask the steward and he will allows you."
"1Yes, 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.
"1That 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 Lyrown 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.






68 The Perils of Grealness.

"Miehaelow," 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 1"
"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--i 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.






The Perils of Greatness. 69

Oh," exclaimed the former, 11 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 f Lill of dishes to the table. If I slip, thought
1. 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.
11 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.
11 If only mankind would allow themselves to see their own faults and failings thus," her mother said.
11 Oh, mother," exclaimed her son, "you see things in a very dark light. Instead of the sight of these beautiful things filliDg YOU with pleasure, it rather makes you molancholy."
11 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."
11 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 infant, to her blind husband, who, without noticing the deceit, immediately swallowed it. But when this son, who






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."
"1A 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 hMs 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, 'fWherewith 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 silcnt, quietly and very attentively watching the golden god with the scythe and hour glass.
"I only wonder," she began a,(gain, " 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






The Perils of Greatness. 7 I

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 1 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"
"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 oue 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-char."
"Children," said their mother, with a faint smile, "you






72 7'/te Perils of Greatnzess.

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 onl 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."
6Surely, mother, sit down," said Michaclow. " 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 hey sitting thus he asked anxiously" Mother, is there anything the matter with you, that you appear so extremely pale l "
"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 anl honour for me to have touched it!1 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 ; hut it must be something that the Prince himself has used."
Her son glanced inquiringly around to fulfil his mother's wish, le took up an old worn out quill pen from the inkstand beside him.
" Here," said he, "1is 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






The Perils Vj Greatness.


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 ease 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 rin-a sealskin case, said you!"U his mother exclaimed, confusedly, looking down to her finger.
"Yes," continued her son, without constraint, although hie 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! "
"1Lastly, 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 lamnp."
"1But I see only one bed," remarked his astonished mother. "1Where are those of his lady and childrenI"
"1Yes," said her son. "1With 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 himself. 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 uncom-. fortable-for you must know that the young Czar lives






74 Thze Perils of Greahzess.

w ith 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, nd to-morrow forenoon you will be in the ante-chamber, w ere you will get a distinct view of any kind master."
1No," said his mother, uneasily. " I would not like that ; the Prince might address us."
"Well, what although he did," replied her son.
"1No, on no account," said his mother quickly. "1Come let us leave the palace, the Prince may surprise us."
"1There 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 lais master, and Michaclow 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,






The Perils of Grealness. 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 Menzikoff's reputation thoroughly; 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 extract the venom from their calunmies, and win back the favour of his monarch, le 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 s'ther of his affianced bride. His






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 I"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 uip 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 hie 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 coininanded 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. Meazikoff was annihilated-completely bereft of strength; with diffictilty he again collected his scattered faculties, sprang up and trode the Imperial document under foot.
" Ila," 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 '7 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 life- have 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





Tuze Perils of Greahzess. 7 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-






78 The Perils of Grealuess.
wards the room where the officers were waiting for him.
The Prince strode into their midst with a sorrowful but collected demeanour.
11 Dear, faithful followers," said he, gently, 11 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 thke 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. Aey unsheathed their swords, swore to remain faithful to him, and assured him that they were ready to defend his rights with their lives.
11 Place yourself at our head, General," they cried. 11 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? Farewell 1 Honour your Czar with that fidelity which you owe him, and forget Alexander Alenzikoff, 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






The Peri~ls of Greahzess. 79

him by the hand and kissing his offered cheek. When all had departed, Mleuzikoff, exhausted by the scene, flung himself on a seat.
"1Have I acted right now? " he asked of his lady, who just then entered the room.
"1Oh, my husband," she answered, "1now 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.
"1He ought to be stoned out of the land," they said.
Nothing ought to be left him of all his stolen riches,






So The Perils of Grecdness.

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, w ho 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 liberalityl"
"1Yes, 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 Hosannali; 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, 11I 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.






The Perils o* Greatness.


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 hacks 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.
"1Take courage," said the Princess, addressing her husband again, who sat buried in his own thoughts. "1Oranienhaum 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."
"1Yes, 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 a-way the time."
" Before we dine, father," said the son, "1we shall fence together; after dinner we can play at billiards. In the






82 Thke Perils of Grealness.

evenings, you will tell us of your travels and battles with the Great Czar Peter."
".1On the castle pond," said the forsaken Imperial bride, "twe can skate and drive in sledges; we might even erect an iceberg."
"1We 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 call- of "1Halt! halt!1" An officer was seen hastily advancing towards them, holding a paper, meanwhile continuing the cry of "Halt."
What did this new appearance meanI Possibly the Czar had repented of his severity!1 Did that paper contain the pardon of the Prince 7 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? 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 Menzikoff's carriage, and opening the paper, prepared to






The Perils of Greatness.

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 bad 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 ecstasy the mother flings herself upon her husband's breast.
11 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 expiringa






84 The Perils oj'Greahtess.
latup 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 comer 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 apin 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.
11 Will you go with them to Siberia? " said one seivaut to another.
11 1 have not the least intention of doing so," answered he. 11 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."
11 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,






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, whichh 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 Michaclow remained behind on the Prince's carriage. His fellows strove in vain to induce him to follow their example; but hie 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 his7 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.
"1Most 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 Peters-. burgh."






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 7" said he, addressing Michaelow. "Follow your comrades."
"I will never forsake your Highness," answered Micha@ 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





The Perils of Grealness. 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 peasants 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. MeDzikoff alone kept his eyes fixed gloomily on the floor. The general wish was forsomething warm. But what? 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.
11 We must have both chocolate and tea amongst our luggage," remarked the Princess; 11 but who knows where they are to be found, as they who packed it have gone 7
The young Prince immediately ran out to the carriage, and sought long amongst the trunks and boxes, until luckily






88 The Perils of Grealness.

he found the articles required. But now a fresh difficulty. presented itself. Who was to prepare the tea or chocolate? 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 bad 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, when-plash. The vessel had been overturned by the violent movement.






The Perils of Grealness. 89

and all the chocolate was streaming down on the earth 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 Nfiebaelow, 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 1 How fragrant was the smell of this beverage to the exhausted family, and how quickly did the sorrowful faces of Menzikoff's 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






90 Thef 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.
"1Oh, 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 Michaclow, who was blushing for joy.
How welcome was that warm refreshing beverage, and that delicious food to the famished travellers!1 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 dependauts, 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 waa






The Perils of Greatness.


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 himiself 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,




Full Text

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The Baldwin Library rv 1 m Uni:tity ..t.~m.JJ Aaida

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THE PERILS OF GREATNESS.

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PRI N TED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY EDINBURGH AND LONDON

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T H E P ERIL S OF G REATNESS.

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EDINBURGH WILLIAM p _ NIMMO

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THE PERILS OF GREATNESS: O F ALEXANDER MENZIKOFF. '.l'RANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN, EDINBURGH: , WILLIAM P. NIMMO.

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THE PERILS O:F GREATNESS. CHAPTER I. '' BUY ! buy ! fine pastry ! warm pastry ! buy the uew , Parisian pastry ! Who will buy 7-who will buy, while it is hot 7" 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 sam(I time he g lanced around, with inquiring eyes, towards the windows of the stately palaces, as if h~ exp _ ected a buyer to beckon him from one of these. It was not therefore surprising that he sho uld stumb l e against some Life-Guard s, who were coming from an oppo s ite direction, and who had be e n indulging so freely in brandy that they had linked themselves togP.ther arm in arm to bide their staggering walk. "Oho, boy!" they shouted. "Pray see who a r e before you ! Why do you drive against us with your basket' I Corne, l et us see what good things you have in it!" Immedi ate ly the basket was seized by three or fo!-!-r, who endeavoured to remove the cover which was spread over ., its cont s mts ; but this the pastry hoy opposed with all his strength. He }mew well that, ohou ld they do so, hil! A

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2 The Penis 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 I van or Peter, for my part," l aughed one of the Guards, "it shall cause me no trouble on that account; and we wish to know how such wares taste." The boy continu e d to defend his basket with great skill against the staggering soldiers, at the same time sho uting 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 1'' d e manded he sharply of the soldiers, who, at the si g ht of his glitt e ring uniform , s t a rt e d back, and got out of the way as quickly as possible. "Well, what kind of trade have you had with the sol dier:. 1" the officer now asked the youth, who, heated and panting, lifted the cover to see if his pastry had suffered in the ,;truggle. He w a s 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 comb a t, and alw a y s exclaim that it was Peter's pastry 1" nsked the officer. "That was only a little stratagem," replied the youth, lif ting his sparkling eye to hi~ deliverer. " ' I only wished ~,0 induce them to respect my pastry ; but, besides, the Czar Peter is really my favourite, and has bought several tim e s fr0m me."

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The Perz"ls of Greatness. 3 "But do not be so rash as to tell every one," said the officer, advisingly; "the Princess Sophia might m.isunder• stand you, and fancy that you love the Czar Peter better than her or the Czar I van. 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 l ove 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 pa.~try 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 straight way 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, how ever, 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 Peter pastry that he lik es so wcll 1" 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 1 and how do you know that the Czar Peter likes it so well 1" "The pastry," answered the youth, "is from the famous Parisian pastry baker, Legrain, and the Czar has bought it from me on s e veral occasions."

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4 The Perils of Greatness . " Wait a little, then," returned the valet, "and I will mention it to my mast e 1 . Take a seat, meanwhile, on that stool, until I bring an answer." He went away, and the boy sat down on the offered scat. The valet returned shortly, and said to the boy" You mu st 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. The gratefu l odour of the rich meats which they were preparing in the kitchen was v e ry agreeaqle to him. He had wan dered about the streets the whole forenoon, after which, i;ind the fight with the soldiers, he felt himself very tired; and the little place in the C'orner of the kitchen was so !.emptin gly convenient that h e fell into a quiet s le ep -his eyelids closed; his arms, which grasped the basket, sank down, and it rested on his knees, s•.tpported only by the belt upon his sho uld er. In this position he was found by the valet on his r eturn, who imm e diat e ly made a secret sign to the cook, and, turning to :i,11 those who were work ing there, exclaimed" Haste, and help to carry up tliree hundred bottles of wine out of the cellar. The other servants cannot do it th emse lv es.'' The kitchen was immediately deserted, and the valet whispered something in the ear of the cook, who nodd ed approvingly, and said softly" But were it not better to take the basket from the boy, and do our business in the next room 1 " " CertainlJ not," replied the valet; "that would t11,ke 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 eager ly answered; "we might

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The Perils of Greatness. 5 otherwise be betrayed, if only the pastry int e nded for the Czar were poisoned, and the remainder found to be harrr: less. 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 h a d fulfilled their crimi nal object, the valet left the kitchen, and the cook, in his feigned industry, allowed one of the empty c oppe r vessels to fall on th e floor; so that when the as s istant s 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 re turned, 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 soni.e." The youth willingly complied; and having handed the desired quantity out of his basket, and having received pay ment, 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 cop e cks, ten copecks, twenty -Ha, you scoundrel! get off! oh, my pa st ry!" With these exclamations the youth int e rrupt ed his reckoning, and sprang up after a l arge dog which, enticed by the sweet smell of the pastry, h ad managed, unnoticed by him, to steal some out of his basket. The dog had dropped the pastry, and _ in falling it h ad broken into two or three pieces, while it stood over it growling fi erce ly, and shewing it s teeth, awaiting the attack of the boy, who, when the

PAGE 15

T!te 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 pa s try 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 1 Ybu naughty brute, was not bread good enough for yon, that you must fill yourself with pastry, which I have not even yet tasted myself1 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. Yon 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 piteou s ly, that even the robhed youth had really sympathy for him. 'I'he howling, whining, and convulsions of the dog became more and more frightful, attracting the i\ttention and concern of the passengers. No one under stood 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 vtry 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

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The Perils of Greatness. 7 that they had said, still a word or two had come to his r.ar ,Yhich, aft e r consideration, now made him su s pect some crime. B es ides, he was aware that the Prin c e s s Sophia could not endure her half-brother, the young Cz a r Peter, because she feared a restriction of h e r authority from his noble spirit, and therefore would rather have seen his weaker brother I van a l one Czar of Rus s ia. Many of th e nobility thought so too, and therefore i t was not im probable th at some one might attempt, through poison, to get quit of the young Czar-a circnm ::} tauce not altogether unknown in the barbarous times of which we write . Th es e thought;_, now filled the boy's sou l with fear, and he tr e mbled for the _ life of his favo urite Czar; as the dog was alr e ady com pletely dead, and shewed in the d e formati o n which had been wrought up on his form the t o rtures it had suffered. With tr embling lip s the boy related to the surrounding crowd how this fri ghtfu l accident had happened to the dog after he had ea t en some of the pastry out of his basket ; also, that b e fore his going into the kitchen of Prince Lolopin hi s pastry was good, and must have been poisoned there; that it also was int ended to set some of it before the Czar Peter, who might before this be alr e ady d ead. With tears he conjured th em to warn the Czar, and help to save him, if it were yet pos s ible. At once a tr emendous tumult arose . Like an avalanche, the multitude increased in size as it roll e d onward with the speed of the wind tow ards 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 kind s of instruments, swore they would not l eave one stone upon another, nor spare a sing l e person, if th eir be l o v e d Peter h ad been sacrificed. But the hand of God had

PAGE 17

8 The Perils of Gr ea tness. watched over him. Contrary to hi s u s ual cmilom, he had entered into an absorbing conversn.tion witli the person who sat next him at table. The plate containing the poisoned pastry had stood l ong before him . His designing host had several times reminded him that the pastry would be mtirely cold ; as often had the Czar re ac hed out his hand, , when some n e w turn in the conver;:;ation bad caused him to withdraw it again . At l ength, to the grea t but secret delight of the Prince, the Czar took up some of the pastry, and was in the act of carrying it to his lip s, when the stormy crowd arrived und e r the windows of the palace. "Czar Peter!" r oare d many hundreds of rou gh voices, "where are you 1 Shew yourself that we may see you, if you are yet, livin g ! Come out her e ! Come out here, be loved Czar ! Death to the traitors ! " Lolopin became pale as death. The Czar sp ran g up and went to the win• dow, followed by all the guests. An overpowering shout of joy arose as the Russians saw their bel oved Czar open the window. "Hurrah ! hurrah ! Czar Peter ! Hurrah ! Den.th and :iestruction to the poisoners.'' The Czar waved hi s hand, entreating silence, and im, medi a t e ly the crowd was calm. "What . is the matter 1 What do you wish 1" he cried down. All screamed, related, and thr eatened at once ; so that the Czar was no wiser by the uproar. At the sa1ne time all hands were ].lQ inted to the boy with the ba sket , who united his voice with the others. Smiling, the Czar turned himself to his adjutant. " Lefort," he said, "pray go clown and learn the cause of this commotion. It is a~ certainly a confusion of lan guages as th at which took place at the building of Babel

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The P e rils of Gr ea tn e ss. 9 One cries 'Hurrah ! ' a second, ' Pa st ry ! ' a third, 'P o i so n ! ' a fourth, ' Destruction ! ' It mi g ht well make one anxious and afra id." The office r, who was the same who h a d pre v io us ly re l e a se d the pastry boy fr o m the assault of the drunken sol diers, w ent o ut, an d was immedi a t e ly surrounded by th e thronging mu l titude on the broad stairs o f the pa l ace, with the bo y in th e ir mid s t. He in formed him se lf accurate ly of a ll th e particulars, assured th e people th a t the Czar h ad not yet ta ste d th e past ry, and a d v i se d the crowd to di perse it self quietly. Thi s they refu sed t o do until the (;zar him se lf pa sse d through th ei r midst o n his way to hi s own dw ell in g, and gave them th e ass ur ance that h e would m ak e strict inqu ir i es into the affair, and b r ing the guilty p e r so n s to puni s hment. CHAPTER II. FoR many rea so n s this whole occmTence w as s uppre ssed. Th e people were g i ve n to under s tand th a t p oss ibly it was an error, ca u sed by the r as hn ess of the pastry boy. The cook and th e valet o f th e Prince di sappea r ed . The Princ e him self was sent out of the country as am ba ssa dor, that he might escape th e a rbitr a ry vengeance of th e people, who murmured loudly, and c l ung to the id ea of poison ing more than before. Th e g uilty parti es really h ad only the Prin cess Sophia to th a nk for her indulgence in not pun ishing their g uilt, as the youn g Czar Pet e r was not in a position t o st r ive again s t h e r powerful influ e nce, and

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10 The Per il s of Greatness . . therefore was obliged to allow things to t ake their course. The fortune of the p as try boy, however, ,seeme d to be made. He called him se lf Alexander Menzikoff; he was the son of a peas a nt in the nei g hbourhood of Moscow. L e fort, the Czar's adjutant, and his bosom friend, h a d discovered no mean talents in the boy; and on that account to ok him into bis service, where everything went we ll with him. After this h a d happened, Al e x ander h aste ned, overpowered with joy, out int o the country to his m othe r-his fath e r was a lr eady dead-in order to suq , rise h e r with the im portant change in his profession. "0 mother!" he cri e d, "only think of my good fortune; ju st look at this fine coat which I now wear, how the gold l ace glances upon it, and the se fla s hing new buttons. Yet I receiYe much more hand some co a t s, ve s ts, and trousers to brush and dust; and what a delightfu l perfume they do give out, almost b e tter than the pastry of my former m as ter, even when it was fresh from the oven. I have, too, far better food and drink than I had. Your poor cabbage soup is n othing to it; but the best is yet to come. I meet the most gracious Cz a r every day, not to mention many great noblem en. With these a ll is of silver and go ld,-the plates and oth e r di s hes, candlesticks, snuffers, knives, fork s , spoons, even -only think of it ! -th e 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 poi s oned pa st ry. He l ate ly entru s ted 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 glitte ring

PAGE 20

The Perils of Greatn e ss. I I stars in my mean h a nds. What would you think if I t o ld 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 h ap py must he be who is able to wear such a star upon his breast ! But since that affair of the pa s try, the C za r 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, d,nd a quantity of tarts; but do you think he ate them, or even touched them 1 Never. We servan _ ts 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 lo af, which he u sed in stea d of the pastry and tarts. Ah, the nobility lead a v e ry strange life. When you are rising in the morning to commence your labour, they are only thinking b f going to sleep. They take bre akfas t when you dine; a t evening they sit down to table, a nd remain sitting late into the night, eating and drinking so much, th at any one would suppose they would hurt themselves. Then they play at cards until dayli g ht. Such is the order in high life; but neither my mast e r nor the Czar really like it, and only conform because th e y cannot avoid doing so. I am not intended to remain always a servant, and so my good master has engaged a number of t eac hers to instruct me in reading, writing, arithmetic, and the French language, be sides many other things with which you are unacqu a inted. These are much more difficult for me than the pastry bu si ness; but I perform my part willingly, becau se it pleases my master, and becau se they will be very u se ful to me afterwards." Here Alexander threw down a number of gold coins, for which he had to thank the gracious Czar, bis master, and his distinguish e d guests. "Dear mother,"

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12 The Pents of Greabiess. said he, " I will r epay a small part of my grea t debt to you. The patience and love which you have , shewn me until now it is impossibl e for me to r epay; but I will always try to make your happin ess as great as I am able . " The delighted pea sa nt mother wept, she was so happy over her grateful son. She gave him her b es t blessing and prayed inwardly to God for his fnture welfare; and her prayer was heard. He continued to st r engt hen himself in the favour of hi s ma ste r and of the Cz a r, an d ind ee d shewed an uncommon industry, the greatest zeal in their service, an invincible faithfuln ess tow :a rds both ; and, through the s e virtue s, he ro se gradually hi g h e r in offices and honours. When he bad attair.ed the age of manhood, and acquired the office of secretary, he married a pretty modest maiden, who, although the d a ughter of a p easa nt of his own rank, yet had a soul of the very highest order. He thought himself very h appy when he brought his young bride into the small wooden house in Moscow which he h ad purcha se d out of the savings of bis income. He con sidered himself rich e r than a king, and his mother was even more d e lighted. He had brought her to live with them, and the greatest attention to h e r wanrs was shewn by the newly-marri e d pair. In this way some ye-'.lrs of unclouded h a ppiness were p e:s sed. Matinka, the carefu l housewife, pre se nted her hu s band with two childr e n, of whom the eldest w as a boy, and the youngest a girl, afford ing thus a new source of joy to the fortunate Alexander :Menzikoff. In the morning when he arose, at mid-day be fore sitting down to dinner, in the evening on returning from his l abou rs, his first act was to fondle bis children . He took them up in bis arms, danced round the little clmmber with them, and led them by the hand, while thP.y , were yet unabl e to walk by th e ms e lves. All trohble with

PAGE 22

Tlte Perils of Gr ea tness. 13 them was a pleasure to him. Scarcely a day pa s sed with out bringing them home sweetmeats, a doll, or other play thing ; and, therefore, the li ttle ones l oved him dearly. If his little daughter happened to be in her mother's arms as her father entered, she w o uld stretch out both her little hands towards him an\l crow. Florin, the elder, would climb up, seize him r ound the neck, a nd "over his face with kis ses ; while c lose by stood the good Matinka , her face radiant with joy, and beside her the smiling grand mother-making alto ge ther a touching picture of humble happiness. If it happened that one of the children was indi sposed, or really ill, how alarmed he b e came! He would leave his bed many times during a night to see if the little sick one had uncover ed its elf , or whether there were any impr ovement , , or the r eve r se . He ev e n watched whole nights by th e ir bedside, giving them their medicine, and soothing them to sleep. On holidays their highest pl ea sure was to take a trip into the country to visit the dear fri e nds there-Matinka carrying the little He l ene, Menzi koff leading Florin, while their old grandmother brought up the r ear. It never occurred to them to envy the weal thy nobility who r olled past them in their handsome carriages. CHAPTER III. Tms happiness continued for s evera l years, until the Czar a ppointed Menzilcoff one of his mini tcrs . 'l 'his, to all appearance, fortunate elevation, brought with it a. large

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14 The Perils of Gr ea tn e ss. addition to his income, but was the cause of many sorrow ful hours to the goo d :Matinlrn.. .As Menzikoff returned home for the first time, dre ssed in his robe of office, from the Czar, Fl o rin sprang forward to meet him a.s usual, and attempted to climb up on his father ; but he pushed the poor boy rud e ly aw a y from him. "Awkward boy!" he said, displea se d; "would you de stroy my e xp e nsive dress at .:>nee with your dirty boots f' "I cannot take you," a little more mildly, he next said to Helene, who stretched her littl e h an ds beseechingly to wards him ; "you would crush my shirt frills, and sully the bright buttons." "Then I am afraid I need not think o f giving you a kiss eithe r f' Matinka sorrowfully asked her hu sban d. "At l east," answe r ed he, "not while I have on this fine article. Be patient until I get on my usual dr ess. " But afte r this had tak en place the children remained standing frightened at a di sta nc e , 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. Alex ande r remarked nothing of this ; his mind was filled with other thoughts. He gazed silently around his dwelling. "H ere all must be othe rwise," .said he, at len gth. "These miserable chairs, that old sofa, these slende r wooden draw ers, that cupboard, and that paltry mirror-all these worm eaten lumber-boxes must go, and be replaced by new fur nishin gs ; henc efo rth, too, we c anno t ea t out of earthen dish es, or drink out of earthen mugs . They do not become our station . Maple, china, and silver are more suitab l e fo r one of the Cz a r's ministers." "And yet we have been so v ery happy in the possession of the s e things," r eturned Matinka, in a slight ly reproachful

PAGE 24

The Perils of Greatness. 15 manner. " Shall we be more so when pomp and splendour surround us 1" " 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 lutstily, 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 pro Jeeded qui e tly on his way. "Look at the fellow !" said the angry mini s ter. "He will not listen to my call. And c e rtainly he would sooner suppose this wooden booth to be the dwelling of a cheese monger than of one of the Emperor's ministers, or h~ would not dare to pass so insolently. Things cannot re main so . What person of consequence would think of clambering up these n _ arrow steps, or of entering this hum ble closet, where one is afraid of breaking one's head on the ceiling 1 We cannot bring any chandeliers here, nor can we curtain the s e windows, which look more like those of a cabin. Y cs; we must seek out some other dwell ing." "My d e ar son," said his mother, "li s t e n to me, and remain where you have been so happy. Happiness does not always dwell in palaces, but more frequently treachery and death, as y o u might have learned from the affair of tl1e pastry. I felt myself most happy in my peasant hut, _ and only forsook it to stay in this handsome house out of l ove for you ; and now that I have become accustomed to it, through years of residence, and feel myself at home, must I again lc:.we it 1 Exchange it for the large and cold

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16 The Perils o.f Greatness. cham hers o f a palace 1 It would be my death, the end of all the happiness of my life." "And how dear . all these thing s are tom e ," said Ma• tinka, pursuing the same strain ; "th e se dumb witnesses of our happiness ! Do you not remember, dear husband, how, at our wedding-feast, we drank to one anothe r out of that blue earthen mug 1 How that kitchen-rack, with its plates, its dishes, and wooden spoons, was a wedding-pre sent from my playmates i How that qu a intly painted chest, wreathed with flowers, was generously presented by your friends 1" Alexander had been walking meditatively up and down the little r oom. 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 be come so dear to you ; therefore you may remain here, Henceforth this little house b e lon g s to you ; and, dear Matinka, these old things will also remind us of the joyful days bygone when we vi s it our o ld grandmother. Not . a stick of them shall be sold." "And so you really int e nd to leave me f' a s k e d the old gra ndm other, in a grieved J one. "Will you forsake me thus in my old age i Shall I no more see my little grand childr e n around me 1 Oh dear ! Yet surely you will not be utterly ashamed of me in your now exn1ted po s ition 1" "How can you sp e ak 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 com forted, 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 ab l e to remedy that too. A qui e t private little ro o m c a n be provided, into

PAGE 26

The Perils of Greatness . 17 which you could retire, if our family circle should be broken in upon by anything like distinguished visitors. I l eave it to your own choice. If you prefer to remain here, the children can easily visit you daily ; and I could engage a i;erva.nt 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 Men zik.off was overcome. "But so," continued the grandmother, after collecting herself a little, "my trembling lip s will call in vain on my son in the death-stru gg le-in vain will I stretch out my palsi ed hands towards him-no tender hand will do me that la st service ." "Hold, dearest mother !" exclaimed Menzikoff, ahuost beside himself; "you break my heart. Mis e rable is the greatness which has caused tears to my beloved mother . Away 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 d elighted with the news of my 11.i.vancem ent !" His moth e r wiped away her tears. "No," said she, "l do not wish-I do not require that. Obey your good Czar. Receive thankfully whatever he graciously presents to you. It is God ' s will. If it cannot be otherwise, ] B

PAGE 27

18 The Perils of Greatness. will suit myself to my lot. Death may not surprise me so quickJy as to prevent me from bestowing my last farewell on you and yours, and from giving you my last maternai 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'a 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. Bt> not grieved. We will indeed be much happier, and spei1ci our days most joyfully. Here is gold, Matinlm. Pracqre some wine of the best, that it may chtier your hearts. Long live the gracious Czar ! We must drink his healtl 1 to-day." It was procured. But there was to Matinka a neTv source of sorrow at the dinner-table. She had prepared her husband's food in the h6iie of seeing him enjoy it, . anrl 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 1" a s ked his anxir.us wife; "or are you not well that you have no appet ite f' "Not that! not that!" said Menzikoff, confusedly. "Take it not ill of me, dear wife. Our food has alway!! tasted well to me; only just now it seems too plain, toocountry-like. I wish something now in accordance wifh our new po s ition. Henceforth we must have a greatu

PAGE 28

The Perils of Greatness. 19 vari e ty-four o r five dishes daily. Of course, it is not suit able 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 ~fotinka. She considered it to be one of the greatest virtues of a good housewife to be skilful in that most important duty, the preparation of food. Matinka could no long e r prepare her husband's meals to his satisfaction ! He de spised her attempt, and preferred that of hirelings. She sat qu _ ietly drinking the wine, which ought to have cheered her spirits, while she mingled with it her hot scalding tears, itnd felt in great discomfort. From this day the quiet homely happiness disappeared more and more from Menzikoff's family, followed by . a vain ostentation, which served only to dazzle the eyes of the foolish for a short time. 'l'he following week saw Menzikoff the owner of _ a sn it of splendidly-furnished apartments in the neighbour hood of the Czar's palace, to whicl]. he removed his wife and children; upon which, howev e r, his mother looked witli an air of indifference, and preferred rather to remain in her wooden cottage. Two men-servants, a coachman, a rook, a kitchen and chamber m ai d, were taken into s e rvice; horses were procured. If Matinka had been deeply dis pleased with the childish naughtiness of her children, she must now daily v e x herself with the laziness and faithless ness of her servants, who thoughtle ss ly wasted whatever was entrusted to their care; who stole money, food, ale, and other things; gossiped, and taught the children vicious habits. At first Menzikoff visited his mother r eg ularly every day, but these visits became gradually rarer,-hc excusing himself on account of num e r ous engagements. At length they c e a se d entirely; Matinka o nly and her

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20 The Pents 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 dimin ished to moments. Often he returned home in very fret ful 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 witL 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 ac,.:J_uaintances 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 pil low, gazed sleepless with a=iety 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 visit ing, where she met none but hollow-hearted ' fashionables, was the penalty.

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The Perils of Greatness. 21 CHAPTER IV. THE :mnivP.rsary d ay of one's baptism is extensively cele brated amoug the Russians. Su c h too had al w ays been the case with 1f e nzikoff. :M:atinka h ad yearly prepared some pleasure for h e r husband on this day. But with what could she astonish him this year, since his mind was est ranged from the former quiet happiness, and bent only on am bitious pursuits 1 He himself directed her in h e r uncer tainty. A fortnight previous to the event, he spoke about it to his wife. "D ea r Matinka," said he, in a flatt e ring tone, "JOU mi g ht pr e pare me a very great pleasure for my christening day.'' " Dear hu sba nd," returned Matinlm, eagerly, "y o u . know I will do anything to plea se you." "W ell," said Menzikoff, "we cannot d e lay the ente rt ai ment of a num erous company any l onger . Th ey aheady call us miserly. I have dread ed it lon g. But a b egi nning must at last be mad e . What I would like you to do is this, that you make all n ecessary preparations for the en tertainment on my nam e -day ; also, for my sake, you must attire yourself as becom e s a lady of your rank. I shall provide everything that is r equired, and then" -" What more, dear husband 'I' ' "You are an excellent wife, so beautiful, so good. Matinka blushed and l ooked down. '' You are," he con tiuued, " a faithful, fond mother, a carefu l hostess. Only only"-" What, dear husband 1" said Matinka, anxiously. " -othing is wanting i.::i you," a n swere d 1\fonzikoff, "but thuse accompli s hments, and that high bre e ding, wi th o nt

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22 The Perils of Gr eatne ss. which you may po sses s the noblest heart and clearest un derstanding, and yet be ridiculed and despised. Smooth words aud fal se fl at teriE-s pass better with the nobility than good morals and unvarnished truth. Y o u are a costly j ewel, but in your unassuming mode s ty you appear only as _ an unpolished p e bble. 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 pl e ase you," said Matinka. " Listen," answered 1fenzikoff; " I will en gag e 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 proprie ties. 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 r ehearsal among ours e lves, in orde r to see h ow we progre ss ." l\fatinka sighed and promisE.d to obey, and the supple d ancing-maste r soon appea r ed to give his in structions. Poor Florin was obliged to allow himself to be sorely restrained by him. He had to walk up and down the r oom as stiff as a stick a hundred times, a thou san d 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 n ot turn your foot inwards ! Do n o t allow your arms to d ang le like clubs! Now, once more, make a little obeisance. Not so deep! Do not strike the floor with your nos e ." At first these efforts were pleasant to the little one, but displeasure and weariness followed, and at length he began

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The Perils of Greamess. to cry bitterly; but it was of no avail -his sufferings cor tinued. 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 inclin ed vroperly outwards. This was a real trial to him. In this painful position, the poor boy lo st his balance and several ~imes tumbled on the floor. But yet still more severe were these practisings to the good Matinka, to whom her husband supplied the place of diincing-master, and roundly blam1
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The Perils of Gr eatness . "Ah ! I suffoc a te ! I cannot draw breath ! All the ribs are hurting me ! " "This is affectation," s a id M e nzikoff, har s hly ; "oth e wi se th o usand s of lad ies must h ave b ee n suffoc a t e d." M at inka pati en tly a llowed h e r b od y to be squeezed to gether. Th e y n ex t g irded her s l e nder waist with a huge hoop e d p e tticoat, whi c h l ooked like two invert ed kettle drum s , one over the other. " would you tr a n sfo rm me into a m o n s t e r 1" asked s he. "I s h a ll certainly not be able to p ass throu g h the wide folding d oors ." "Y o u ca n go sideways, then," s a id Menzikoff, who h a d a n answ e r always r eady . La st ly, her feet w e re squeezed into a pair of ti g ht s ho es, wit h unc o mmonly hi g h t ape red h eels , irl which s he could scarce ly m a ke one secure step . Menzikoff n ot ic e d how much it c os t his wife to suppress h e r complaints over this . n e w oppression, and comforted her with the word s ," Exercise your patience. Thi s is only an experiment, and when ' the feast is past, you may l ay aside these un corn fortable thin gs for ever . " "I wonld like to know," said Matinka, "what senseless person invented all this foolery, which lo oks as if only in tend e d for d e forming and mo c kin g the works of God 1" "That I will willingly t e ll," sa id M enziko ff, lau g hing. "One short d a me, who wonld yet appear tall, inv e nt e d the hi g h h ee l e d shoes, and the tower-like he a d-dre ss ; another , too lean or too stout, pressed her body together by means of the bodic e, to make the fulne ss across th e ch es t mor e visible ; a third concealed her d e formed l egs under the hooped p e ttico a t; a fourth, h e r gra y h a irs with white p o wd e r; a fifth, h e r pale face by m eans o f rou ge. " "Bnt why mu s t I imitate thfa fo olis hn ess 1 I am n ei ther

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Th e P er z'ls of Gr ea tn e ss . 25 little, nor crooked; n e ith e r too l ea n, n o r too s t o ut ; h a ve neith e r .gra y h airs nor pale cheeks." "Fashion will h ave it so, as I have told you," sa id h e. " Then who or what is fa s hi o n that it can is s u e such cru e l commands i " asked Matinka. Men z ik o ff was s il en t and embarrassed . He him se lf did not know w h a t fa sh i o n was th a t blind rag e of imit a tion amon g m a nkind. At l e n g th, all w as in r ea dine ss for the feast. The g u es ts were invit ed , the r ooms a d orne d, th e cellar , the kitchen, aud sto r e -r ooms r eplenished . The evening b efore i t was set apar t fo r Matinka's fina l r e h earsa l of h e r n ew l y-acq uir e d accomplishments. Could any one b e li eve th a t a ma n like Menzikoff, at one time so prud en t, cou ld ever ente r into such childis h non sense 1 And yet h e did so . H e who pre viou s ly had sca r ce ly a mom e nt t o spare for his w ife and childr e n, could now daily a mu se him self severa l hours with in s truc t ing his wife in courtly compliments an d expressions which we re wholly worthless. "Just ima gine," sa id he to Matinka, "th at I a m a n ob le lad y who h as b ee n in vited t o the banquet . I e nt e r th e d oo r , and approach to p ay my r espects t o you . You r etu rn th e same, r e joi ce to m a ke my acquaintance have l onged exceedin g ly for thi s happiness"-" But all this is untru e ," int e rrupt e d Mat inka; "if I say so I will li e." "Th a t you mu s t certainly d o ,'' said :\ fonziko ff . "It ever is so in parties given by the n ob ility. On e must express him se lf h appy to see a noth e r whom h e w i s h es mi g ht b e a th o u san d mil es awa y. There one overwhelms another wit h flatt e ri es, whose ey es he could sc r atch out at the same tim e . Th erein cons i sts hi g h breeding . " Matink a's h o n est h ea rt wa s unabl e t o understand this.

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26 The Perils of Greatness. The reh earsal began. Menzikoff found much to blame. Matinka would make her bows too d ee p or too slight ; her voice sounded sometimes too frightenedly, sometimes too loudly, and sometimes too he a rtily. She stood as if on burn• ing coals, and Menzikoff ended the farce ill at ease. Previ ously Matinka had looked forward with great pl eas ure to the n ame -day of her hu sba nd; but n ow in what a state of anxiety had she spent the whole of the previous night I In the morning the h a irdre sse r came, who burned, friz z l e d, and cut unmercifully among her beautiful hair, and then combed,-oh, how long ! Matinka thought. He then stuck a whole mountain oi horse h a ir, swine's bristle s, hair pin s , a nd pomade on h e r h ea d, so that it was half an ell hi g h e r than usual. La s tly, he covered the whole fabric with a cloud of white powd er . H e r beautiful natural complexion he glossed with white an d r e d p a i~1t : and thus was the whole p erso n p erfect. In addition to the seve r e head ac he, ca used by the unnatural tr ea tment which she h a d endured for several hours, c a m e the fri g htful sq u eez in g of the bodice, an d the painful tightness of th e shoes. Neverthel ess, the poor creature must stand with cheerful smil ing mien, while the carriages with their guests came to the door. The fold ing doors w e re now thrown open, and :M enzi koff, likewise festively attired, ca s t a n anxious look of meanin g on his wife, wh ose de a dly paleness was unnoticed on account of h er roug e . The exchange of greetings on both sides began, and went even better tha n Menzikoff had hop e d. M a tinka's unmis takable heartiness and n a tural s agaci ty compensated for the want of many an empty compliment; but Mer.zikoff, nev e rthel ess , overheard one of their g u es ts rem a rk in French to her neighb o ur, " The host ess seems to me to be a little goo s e." which caused Menzikoff to en.st a witherin g glance,

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The Perils of Greatness. 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 dis ag reeable c o nversation. Fl orin was dressed exactly like his father. He seemed to be the childish image of a full-grown man. How droll his little form appeare d in the curled peruke and hair -bag, with a richly laced blue velv e t coat , white ,est, knee _ breeches , silk stockings, and shoes with s il ver buck l es ! he had even a small sword, with a gold hilt and white lac quered sheath; while the dress of th e four-yCT.r-old Helene was also after the same fashion as her mother's. All the guests sw-rotmded the tiny pair, and vied with each othe r in their praises and flatt e ries, whi c h soothed the irritation of M:enzik otf . In his vanity he overlooked that all th ese sp eec h es and cares s e s were quite as hypocritical as he had lately de sc ribed them to Matinka. Th e y now seated them selves at the l o rdly table . Innum erab le dishes were de spatched , healths drunk, and the company became ever more upr oarious. In the midst of the continued din the door opened, and M enzikofI s mother, simply but cleanly clr ess ed, entered, and stood abashed before the company, wh ose eyes were all turned towards her. "I seek my s o n," she said with feeble voi ce , at length. "Pardon my boldness. Does my Al exa nder no l onge r dwell here 1 I may have mistaken the house." Her eyes wand e red anxiously round the company in search of her son. M:enzikotf had b ecom e very pale o n her entrance, but hav.ng recovered a little from his fri g ht, he sprang up from his seat . ":My good woman," said he, advancing t o wards his mother with forced cheerfulness, " I am h ere , and am very glad, dear moth e r, that you have again visited me. Come and have a quiet chat t oget her . "

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20 The P erils of Gr ea tness. Speaking so he ur ged his mother, who severa l times attempted to speak, towards t he door of a side chamber; . before l eaving the room, however, he turn ed to the com pany and said, " Excuse my absence; the good o ld woman is worthy of the attent i on," and disappeared after h er. " It yet has failed," he muttered bitterly, as he led the old woman to a seat. He could not entirely banish his dis pleasure as h e sa id , "vVelcome, clear mqther; it i s kind of you to give me the pleasure of seeing you." "My clear son," returned his mother, " my l egs will hardly bear me any l onge r; but I h ave s u cceeded to-clay, as it is your name-clay, and have come to wish you joy and to give you my maternal blessing. I inde ed come empty hancled, but my heart is all the fuller. My son, it is lon g, very lon g, since I saw you last. vVho knows whether it may happen again 1 However, had I known you h ad so many visitors"-" Good mother," sa id Menzikoff, " I thank you for your love. I would ind eed h ave been g lad to h ave invited you to this little entertainment, but I knew so well your dislike to such assemblies. But have my servants not bron ght you the wine and d ishes correctly 1 if not, they ought"-" Dear Alexander," said his mother, i nter rupting him, "I came not h ere on that acco unt. My old stomach cannot bear all these dainties : I came only to see you, and enjoy your society." "But I must l eave you soon," said he, embarrassed; "my duties as ho st, you know, require my immediate return to th em; howev e r, I will send Matinka and the children to you, and t ake care that you have refreshments." "But perhaps your guests have been here a consid erable time 1" asked his mother.

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The Perils of Gr ea tn e ss. ' Oh, yes; about four hour s ," said he. "And kind old acquaintances, of course, to whom you are und er deep obligati,ms i" his mother inquired further. "l have known most of them,'' he r ep lied, "for about six months, and h ave possibly been invited by th e m t e n times to their assemblies. From that you will see that I owe them many obligations.'' "If you have already spent four hours with acquaint ances of six months' standing, who h ave ten time s invit ed you to their tabl e s, you m a y well spare one quarter of an hour upon your old moth e r, who for two-and -t hirty y ears has been your be st fri en d, and who for twelve years cared for you daily," said his mother, earnestly. . Menzikoff felt hi s ingr a titude, but in st'"a d of confess in g his fault at once, he appeared hurt, and answered peevishly,"Motber, you wrong me. You do not know my inten tions. I will send my wife and children, they will be bett e r able to chat with you. I hope, however, to speak ~vith you again before you l eave." He departed quickly . The old woman remain e d in tears ; but soon the door opened again, and a strange and richly-dre sse d lady entered as quickly as h e r hi g heeled shoes permitt e d h e r, accomp a ni e d by two unknown children. Menzikoff's mother ro se re spec tfully from hl:'r seat, and Matinka, weeping viol e ntly , flung hers e lf on her breast, and cover e d h e r r eve rent face with cares se s. "0 graudmother . ! grandm0ther ! " sho uted Florin and Helene, climbing up upon h e r. Matinka had observed the entrance o f Menzikoft's moth er into the dinin g -room, and was 1.,o ing to spring up nnd fly to her, but a peculiar look from Menzik o ff had prevented her . Since th e n she had s n, t as if on n ee dle s,

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The Perils of Greatness. till he had returned and requ ested her to spend a few moments with his mother. He was immediately stormed with the question,-" I s the old woman really your mother 1" "Most certainly not,'' answered Menzikoff, with the gre;it est 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 1 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 forgot• ten, but Menzikoff had been ashamed of his own mothei:, without whose tender care while a little child he would have been l ost. All the more hearty seemed the rejoicing of 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 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 hdy. I can scarce ly dare come near you to press your hand, far less to kiss you." "To me, too," replied 11'1:atinka, sobbing, "my old cloth. iug is dearer than this whalebone dress, which I see I have entirely destroyed Ly my rapid entrance. Wbat 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, tossing on my back." Saying this he shook the

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Tlte Perils of Gr eatness. 3t 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 1" s.sked his grandmother. ' "Oh, they are all false," said Florin, lifting the peruke and hair-bag from his head, and pre&enting 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 neith e r fight nor cut." Ile threw the peruke upon tl1e floor and ran fencing after his little s i ste r, whose wide whaleb o ne 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 b oa rd s , she fell, and Florin tumbl e d over her, so th a t the destruction of th e ir dre sse s was com pl e t e d. M e nzikoff entered ju s t then to asc e rtain the reason of his wife's long abs e nce. He found the c hildren struggling on the fl oo r, oue of hi s wife ' s whalebone hoops broken, the other han ging d own ; a part of her r o u ge cEnging to his mother's che eks, and p a rt of it running down with her tear:; on h e r own lace frills. This sight roused his anger so much th a t he could only with difficulty restr a in its compl e te out burst in th e pr ese nce of his mother. But the children did not escape so easily : he flun g th e m withou t m e rcy here mid th e re , de a ling th e m several cuffs as th e y ran about. Then, tr e mbling with pa ss i o n, he s a id to his wife," It is a true pro ve rb, ' Th a t which has been coined into :1, p e nny 'will nev e r become a shilling.' So is it with you, who will ever remain a p e asant . St a y now in this chamber, and on no account present yourself again before the com pany, for your app e arance in that state would s h e w too

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32 The Perils of Gr ea tn ess. plainly the mistake which I made, when I took you for a wife." He r an out without taking leave of his mother, who en deavoured to app ease him, and returned to his guests. No trace of anger could be found on his face, as he said," My wife beg s a thou sa nd times to be excused, she can no l onger enjoy the plea s ure of your company. A severe heada c he, to whi c h she is sometimes liable, has attacke d her suddenly, and robbed her of the h app iness she knows how to value here." The nobility emp loy such untruths only too frequently, to escape a trouble so me vi s itor or an unwelcome suppliant, not considering them sinful in the least. They spoke a few words in condolence over the indi s position of the host ess , and imm e diately the gent l emen returned to their wine, and the ladi es to their goss ip. But Menzikoff h a d left his wife in the deepe s t distress. Such bard words, such relentless rebuk es as th ese , he had never used towards her before. So this was her r e ward as a noble lady, to compensate for the loss of her former in nocent enjoyments! She felt th a t the band which she had drawn around her A l exande r was lo osened. So he regretted having married h e r-dre a dful ! His old mother, herself r e quirin g comfort, offered all her motherly conso l ation to compose h e r afflicted daughter. Th e y wept and l a ment e d togeth e r over their sorrows, while th e children cri e d under the smarting blows they bad r ece iv ed. At len g th Matinka laid asi de her finery, and dr essing h e rself in her usu a l gar ments, conducted the old gr : mdmother liom e , and then sou g ht h e r own chamber, to which pea()t' w , mld be for a long time a stranger.

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The Perz.'ls of Gr e atn e ss. 33 CHAPTER V. AN event which has often restored the tender sympathy that is sometimes interrupted between married coupfos, 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 Solo mon had done, that he was deficient as yet in many quali fications required for wise and succes sf ul government; h11 determined therefore, with praiseworthy ze a l, to undertake a journ e y throu g h Europe, that, by familiar interc o ur se with good and wise rul ers , he might cultivate the needful rirtues of a father of his people,-to inve st i gate, at the same time, by what means the arts and sciences, the trade and 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 merit e d fairly his surname of The Great. He who was the rul e r of the lar gest kingdom in Eur o pe, did not consider it below his dignity to wield the he a vy axe as a carpenter, forge iron as a bla cksm ith, or s tand sentry as a common s o ldi e r, in order to set an example to his subjects. He l a id the foundation of Russia's greatness and pr ospe rity, and generation _ s to come will mention his name with the hi ghes t veneration . M en zik o ff, formerly the pastry-boy , h ad ga in e d his favour on account of cer tain worthy qu alities h e p ossessed. He had therefore b ee n appointed one of his mini s ters, and chosen as one of the numerous suite which was destined to Accompany him . This impending separation made all the mem hers of his family dear to him. He again . treated his moth e r, wife, and children with bis former tenderness. 0

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. . 34 The P e rils of Gr ea tn ess. U e t oo k the greatest __ care, th a t th e y sh o uld be providetl with all worldly comforts durin g his absence , and the leava. hi.king betw ee n the wE)eping moth e r, wife, an _ ~ children, and the affectionate son, husband, and father was extremely t o uching . He promised not to forget them, and to send them intelli ge nce very often. He kept faith with them at first ; they regularly rejoiced over a l e tter from him . But was it on account of the increasing di stance, or dissipation which robbed him of his tim e , that his l ette r s came less fr eq uently, an d at l engt h ceased entirely 1 Matinka, after t.i:ie departure of her husb a nd, had forsaken her showy dwellin g, and returned aga in to the humble hou se of her mother in l a w, on whom she waited with the greatest ten d e rness; at the same time, she gave both h e r children a good education, found teachers for th e m, and accu sto med th em to a ll us e ful act ivity. "How your father will r e j oice when lie return s ,'' shu often said to th e m, " if you have learned much during his absence." The childr e n obeyed, and guarded carefully against giving di sp l eas ure. Their grandmother felt her strength declining daily. " I s hall not see my son Alexand e r again," she said; an ticipating the near approach of death. " This th o ught would l eave me comfortless, were I n o t certain that I shall be reunit e d to him hereafter. I have lived long enough. God h as allowed me to enjoy great h appi n ess. I w o uld be ungrateful did I n o t acknowledge it ; but mankind is never indeed satisfied. My latest wi s h was that my son might close my eyes, but God's will be don e. " M e nzikoff was scarcely gone three months when she entered her ev e rl ast ing r est . She died fully conscious, ' after that she had called her d aughte r in law and grand

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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 l ay 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 r ep r oaches would you now have suffered, if you h a d occasioned your bles.s i) d 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 pro mised to give her no occasion for di s pleasure, 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 th<; funeral, 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 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 jo yfully 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 hap pin e ss!" "I am glad I have been enrolled among the National Guards," r e turned Simonow, "because, dear Matinka, I will now be n e ar y o u; but where is your husband 1"

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The Perils of Greatness. Matinka told him the cause of his absence. Dur:ing the relation Simonow's face darkened, and he nodded doubt fully 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 go vernment 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 sur round 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 be come wise 1 Of what use has the frequent disturbances of your comrades been 1 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 'C::esar the things which are C::esar's.'" " You do not understand this," said Simonow. " You women are di:-,omed to suffer, but we men to act; so you must wait patiently for tiLe issue."

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The Penis oj Gr ea tn e ss. 37 But Matinka cou ld not quiet h e rself; h e r broth e r's out spoken thoughts caused her the greatest anxiety, and it proved indeed to be only too well founded, --------CHAPTER VI. ONE evening as Matinka and her childr e n were a t prayers in her quiet dwelling, her wor s hip was disturbed by an up roar in the street, which increased. Many persons wera running hastily along the streets, doors were opened and shut, and a wild outcry r e echoed from a distance. Ma tinka's disqui e t had become the greatest anxiety, just as the loud thundering noi se fell upon her ear . " Oh, God, the Guards," she cried, forbodingly; and she h ad good reason for her fears. The National Guards, who were above seven thousand strong, had revolt e d, had disowned Peter's government, and desired to r aise the Princess Sophia to the throne. The upr oa r soon raged through all the streets of the grea t city-shots re sounded more aJJ.d more frequently, and the cry of anguish fr om the wounded fugitives became ever more frightful. Lik e 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 lif e, as for h0r children's for her husband was ge n erally known as the Czar's favourite, and they might revenge it on his wife and children, as ~Ienzikoff himself was not at hand. In deep anguish Matinka threw hers e lf on the floor o f her little chamber, and im plored her

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The Perils of G1,.eatnes1. Heavenly Father to grant them His gracious protection . She had the presence of mind to extinguish the light, but the lurid flames of the b laz ing houses glared all the more f Pa rfully into the littl e chamber, and threw the shadows of the praying family on the li ghted 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 littl e troop of raging soldiers, l ed, probably, by some vindictive traitor, app roa ched Matinka's dwelling, s h outing as they neared it, " Down with Menzikoff's brood." Matinka could do nothing but barricade the door &S securely and quickly as possible, which she did with great precision, although with trembling hands. She then hid her sobbing children in a comer under some old rubbish, while she herself went cautiously to one of the windows to watch tb fl further proceedings of the soldiers, and shape her measures accordingly. The Gu a rds now thundered at the door with the butta of their muskets, and on the closed shutters of the ground floor ; but as th ese r esisted their efforts, several musket balls were fired through the window of the upper room, in which poor Matinka was, who thought she would have die1l with agony. The tumult r eached 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 pur pose. Matinka had commended her self and her poor children to the all-merciful God, and prayed only for a quick and pain le ss de ath, when a deliverer appeared in her dire necessity. ,

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T!te Perils of Greatness. 39 A single Guard came nmning with the greatest speed, and sternly addressing the crowd of incendfa.ries, said," What do you here i Have you nothing better to do than to plunder a miserable hut which scarcely contains the v alue of a rouble1'' "We know b e tter than tliat, sergeant," shouted the s ol
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The Perils o/ 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 apart ment 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 herself always 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 unin terrupted 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 mor6necessary as, on the following day, an order was issued to all t , he inhabitants of Moscow to discover and deliver up

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Th e Perils of Gr eatmss. to the authorities, all Guards to whom th e y had given shelter, under the threat of banishm e nt to Siberia. Ought ~fa tinka to obey this command 1 To hand over her brother, her own and her children's preserver, to certain d eath 1 No, that she could never do . She would r ely on . h e r husband's mighty influence, and not betray h er br oth er. He in1prov e d fr om d a y to d ay , and both had ~lready discu sse d how h e might be plac e d beyond the reach of danger, and how they might for that purpose contrive a secret flight, when that was made im practicable by the un expected arrival of the Cz a r, who issued the stricte s t orde rs to search out those Guards who were yet missing. P ete r had b ee n o n the point o f proceeding from England to It aly , wh en the intelligence of this renew ed u pri s ing o f the Guards r eache d him. It transfixed him with indescribable a n ge r, and he at once gave up the int ende d j o urn ey , hastened ba c k to Moscow, with the determina tio n of exercising the sever es t puni s hm e nt upon the reb e l s . Houses in all parts of the city were searched, and as Matinka's n e i g hbours had often s ee n h e r br ot h e r going out and in, th ey would not fail to sea r ch her's also, and mi ght discover the unfortun a te Simon o w. He already fancied himself taken prisoner a nd drag ge d away ; his sister, also, who had acted unlawfully , ran the risk of sharing th e same fate, if they did not spar e her for her hu s b a nd 's sake. M atinka was b es ide her s e lf when she heard the fate which awaited the r ebels . With r ea l anguish she saw a gallows erected on all the battlements of the kr emlin , d e stine d for th ose who h ad b ee n m os t prominent. Mo s t prob a bly Simon o w would a lso be s e tenced to die, as h e was a non-commi ss ioned offi ce r, and the wounds he had received would prove th a t h e had be e n m os t active in the revolt. Matinka knew not how t o advise or h e lp . She wished to learn whether her husband

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The Perils of Greatness. had returned along with the Czar, and, to do so, hastene~ 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, be wailing 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 1 " 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 Guard _ smau, and the best and tenderest of brothers." "And the worst subject," Peter added, passionately, as bis countenance suddenly darkened. "They are all villains, who would have destroyed me, they are unworthy of my )11crcy, and mu s t take their merited reward."

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The Perils tJJ Greatness. 43 He reined his horse aside to pass the pklce where she lay, and then only did i\fatinka perceive her husband close to the person of the Czar. Her hope s , which had been daBhed to the ground, again quickly revived. " Husband," she cried, with joyful surprise ; "d ea r husband, supplicate for your unhap py hr . other-in-law. He is innocent. He saved my life, and that of your childr e n, therefore add your entreaties to min e ." " How 1 '' cried th e Cz a r, turning to his favourite. " Is the siste r of a r ebe l your wife 1 " Menzikoff quickly comprehended that he might lo se the royal favour if he acknowledged the truth, and that l oss he would on no account incur . With him the fea r of man was stronger than the fear of God ; and therefore, as Peter had denied his L ord and Saviour, so he denied his brave and faithful wife. " My l o rd," he replied, with a confident l ook ; "the ivoman must be mad, or have l os t the u se 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 sen se l ess. On recovering a little, she believ ed herself sometimes to be lying in a distressing dream, at other times, that she was r ea lly insane. What a meeting after such a l ong separa tion ! What pain to see her husband, for whom she would willingly have sacrificed her lif e, acting thus towards her ! In utter misery she crept back to h er dwelling, where she continued brooding despondingly over the past, and ren dering herself unfit for any furth er und ertaking. Death had taken away her good mother-in-law ; her brother was on hi s w ay to the sca ff o ld, if not already execut e d ; hfr

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44 Th e Per-ls 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 h eavenl y Father were now left to her. But poorer still did Menzi koff 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, ~nd 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 r ep udiate his wife, or forsake the splendid career of fortune and sink back into his former nothingness 1 H e wavered ; but at last, as is only too often the case, evil prevailed ; and he resolved t1r 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 child ren were studying their tasks quietly by the light of a '3mall 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 br east ; she yet hoped momently to see him stepping into their midst ; she there fore 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.

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The Perils of Greatness. 45 CHAPTER VII. AFTER . a brief greeting, Menzikoff's ambassador addressed Matinka" My gracious master might with justice bitterly reproach yo u for the foolish step which you took to-d a y, and which exposed him to the most immin ent 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 l earns that you are really . his wife, and that your hu sband deceived him when he denied you, then his vengeance will fall also upon him. Thu s, 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 pro posal, but the most pre ss ing neces s ity, 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

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The Pen'ts pf Greatness. Czar; free your brother from d ea th, and your se lf from banishment . If you re a lly love your husband, your brother, your children, and yours e lf, then you will surely seize. seize eagerly, the only remedy whi c h pr ese nts itself1" "Ye s, yes," she eagerly cried. "But what is that rem e dy1" "It is," the valet said slowly, "the dissolution of your marriage with Menziko:ff." Matinka stag ge red, and pr esse d both h e r hands upon her brow. " Now choose, Matinka," he ur ge d. But she was unable to give him an answer directly. She said at length, with trembling lip s ," How can the parting of a peac e ful, happy wedlock be the only m ea ns of deliverance 1 ' ' " That is easily e xplained," replied the valet. " Because your husb an d will then r etai n all his powerful influence with the Czar, and without incurring the charge of par ti ality, he can work in sec r et for you." " I will do anything but this," Matinka said, "you ca u t e ll my husband." " Nothin g else will do," r ep li e d the valet. "the separa ti on must be arran ge d just now." " Then I will withdraw myself and childr e n into the farthest corner of the empire," she said in tears, "tell no one who my hu s band is, and forbid my children from ever mentioning th e ir father's name, that my husband may not wholly cast me off." " All will avail not," said the valet. " Do you agree to the separat i o n or not 1 '' "Though it cost me my lif e, I cannot," Matiuka 1mswer ed. "Very w e ll," said the v a let . "Ycur huRhand leav es it

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The P eri ls of Greatness. 47 entirely to you. Then go out, proclaim loucUy through all the city, 'My husband has told lies to his Emperor. Iain really Menzikoff's wife.' And you will ind ee d see what your rashness will do.'' " 0 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 l eaves rather the will to you, that you may never be able to r ep roach him with it. If you de s ire it, he will allow himself to be separated from you ; if you do not, he will just surrender hims e lf patiently to the anger of th e Czar." " Must I drive the knife into my own heart 1" said Matinka, sobbing. "Must I urge on the separa\-.ion, whi c h will be my death 1" "Y e s," replied the valet. "Yours must the deci s i o n be. Menzikoff's love for you le aves 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 v a l et, " l\fonzik off's l ove shall not be greater than mine, for lo ve of him I would willingly die : but more than this will I do out of love t o him. I will allow myself to be separ ated from him . Let him r emain noble and happy-me poor and forsaken-only let him save my brother's life." "G ood ," said the go-between, well pleased with his suc r.ess . "One word further," cri e d l\fatinka, pointing to the children. " Will Menzikoff le ave to me my only comfort 1" " He has not told me his will on that point," the val e t answered. "A division might perh a ps suit, which is very easy with two cl1ildren.''

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/ The Perils of Gr ea tn e ss. "No, no," she cried, passionately. " No division, you would then tear my h ea rt asunder, and make life unbear• able." "That can be arranged," said he, as he d e parted. On e evening in the m ont h of Novemb e r 1697, Matinka, accompanied by both her littl e children, moved slowly along towards St Andrew's Church in Moscow. She found the little side door open, and p asse d 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 childr e n d a red not di st urb their poor mother, even by a gentle word. After a little time the priest approached the altar, and knelt in s il e nt prayer, until at length the ninth hour so und e d in l o ud strokes from the church tow e r. Matinka b ecame now very unea sy, and threw a melan c holy look around h e r. Shortly, the sound of a rapidly approaching carria ge , however, was heard with out, which stopped at the church d oo r. A trembling seized Matinka, and she grasped the h an ds of her children, as if she needed some thing to support h e r. Loud footsteps sound e d on the stone flags of the church, and a tall man, wrapped from head to foot in a l a rge clo ak, came and pl aced hi mself before the steps of the altar. It was Menzi koff. Poor Matinka rose, but sank powerlessly back into her seat, when the aged priest, pitying h er , came and led her on his arm to her hu s band's side. Menzikoff remained studiou s ly silent, and Matinka could not speak, she was so -wretched. Bowed and submissive she stood by the side of her yet, oh how warmly bel ove d hu sband ! and dared not in h e r timidity touch even the h em of his ga rm ent. Th e pri es t now commenced the service in a grnve, im•

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The Pel'ils of Greatness. 49 pressive tone-" What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. But on aceount 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 Menzikoft~ and you, Matinka Natusch kin, are you willing that the tie of marriage into which you entered in the presence of God, should be dissolved 1" 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 h a nd was now laid in Menzi koff'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 1 "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 pled ge d 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 . " Menzik o ff l ef t, but Matinka broke down under her weight of sorrows. The noise caused by the sobbing children at tracted 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 1" he sai d, in a gentle tone. " No, no," both cried at once, hurr y ing to their mother, whom they embraced, and endeavoured to raise up, while Menzikoff glanced irresolut e ly towards the group. He left at length, and nothing further was heard of the unhappy llfatinka and her ~hildren.

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50 The Perils of Greatness. CHAP'l'ER 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 snms 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 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' M:enzikoff. The most noble families courted his favour, ex hausted their means of flattery in order to please him ; and when, d ec ked with orders, he drove out of his magni ficent palace, in his gilded carriage of state, drawn by six beautiful horses, all the sentries presented arms, and the highest general, as w e ll 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 l

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The Perils of Greatness. BWorcl, suspended by a single thread, threatening every moment to fall upon his head : No one could imagine, furthermore, the cares, the anxieties, and the remor se which secretly filled his heart. Con s ider now with me his daily course of life, and then say if he is worthy of envy. He sou gh t his bed-chamber l ate in the ni ght, or rath e r early in the morning. Form erly he h a d need of none to assist him to undr ess, but now a valet gently and silently brought out his white night-clothes and helped to . put them on, while. he allowed him se lf to be treat e d like a lifele ss doll,_ When he had no further orders, his servant retir ed with a low bow, af ter he had folded down the silken bed-cover. Menzikoff then ge nerally paced up and down his b edroom with long steps, thinking how he h ad spent the d ay. wheth e r his exertions after the enlargement of his power ap.d riches had been suP.cessful, wh e ther he had accom plished the ruin of any of his numerous foes, or whether he still ret a ined the favour of the Czar. He brooded over n ew plans for holding and in creasing his authority, over expedients by which he might conceal his base actions from the knowledge of the Emperor, and render . hi3 ene mies innoxi ous . He resolved to d ep rive this one ot his office, and to banish that one to Siberia. A thousand :,c hemes passed throu g h his brain, h eavy with spirituous liquors ; a nd when at l engt h he composed him se lf to sleep, no pr aye r of gratitude sprung up from his h eart, no th ougl1 t of the good providence of God crossed his mind. H e did not now enj oy the swee t r epose of refr eshing slumber, as did the laborious peasant. The body, ind eed, lay to uil appearance sunk in deep sleep ; but the mind wrought in disord e rly and unpl easant dre ams. At one time his enemies triumphed, a t the other he had falJen into disfavour, then banishment, and death threatened him. Again he struggled

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52 The Pen:ts of G1'eatness: with his hands to extricate himseif from the depths of some pit into which he had been thrown, and he then groaned with anguish. But his unresting fancy also painted plea, sant 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 chil dren, no cheerful wife received him with a hearty greeting as he left his bedroom. A servant brought him his break fast 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 ki ss his hand, and th e former he would salute with cold for mality. No tra ce of the good-natured t e nderness, as for merly, when Matinka and her children joyfully received him on his return home. The affairs of the state next claimed his earnest atten tion. What perplexities awaited him-what abuses did he encount e r-what dangerous laws bad be to master. He di11e
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Th e P er ils of G re atn e ss. 53 thou gh h e did n o t always succeed in this, as his enem ie11 l abo ur ed unceasin g ly to destroy him in the favou r o f the C zar, to whom all his base condu c t w as whisp e red with the mo st hateful exng ge rati o ns. M enz ikoff iu vain l e t them feel his vengeance by banishment to Siberia . N e w ene mies alway s arose. He seemed t o stand on the edge of a v o c.1. no , which mi g ht d est r o y him at any moment. Thrice hi s fall appeared to be certain; wl rn n h e had been accused of th e mo s t wi cke d practices, for which h e r eq uir ed to sub mit him se lf to the most trying exam ihn tions, out of whic h he in nowi se escaped guiltless, but o n the contr ary covere cl with infamy . What mortificatiollif 1>e h a d t o submit to ! Wh a t unw orthy expedients h e had tu adopt ! to r ega in the favour o f his angry Emp e ror. Who c a n t e ll the sleepless ni ghts throu g h which he watched, or the days of d espair in whi ch he tast e d no food 1 H e r emaine d ind eed on the pinnacle of powe r, but the bitter an d painful h o urs which fe ll to l 1is l o t were m a ny. P e ter the Gr ea t w as bui ldin g a city on the banks of the N eva , wh e r e h e fix e d his futur e re s id e nce to be. Th o sands of bu sy hands l abo ur e d constantly in tr ansforming th e marshy l and around St P etersburg into dry and fruitful s o il : earth for th at purpose b eing conveyed from p l aces fa r di stan t, in b ags, while P e ter anim ated them without int e mis s ion with h is pr ese n ce . On ce it happened th a t M e nzi k off drove out by the Emperor's s id e, along the newly-laid s treets o f that city. Everywhere the people, noble and peasant, d ee ply humbled them se lv es in the pr esence of the Czar and his favo uri te. The ca rri age of th e Cza r s h or tly r e ached a wood e n bridge whi ch l e d ove r a m a r s hy poo l, a nd whi c h was not in th e bes t condition . It had plenty o f rott e n beams and d a ngerous h o l es , an d as P e t e r's sharp ey e took in every defect at a glance, h e r oa red a thundering

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The Perils o.f 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 1 Do you not as inspector draw a salary of several thousand roubles yearly 1 and is this the way you fulfil your duties 1 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 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. Afte1 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 Menzikoft 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 Cz a r'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 facQ, 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

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The Perils of Gr ea tness. 55 stars which lay on his breast, and which ju s t then he would williugly have exchanged for a good conscience. With a heavy heart he passed through the crowd of courtiers, officers, counsellors, miuisters, and ambassadors, who all cringed b e fore him ; but in their hearts deeply h a ted or envied the powerful favourite. Forboding his coming humiliation, after submissively saluting the Emperor and Empress, he sat down to the lon g princely table right over against his monarch. The l atter l ooked grave, but not angry . Trumpets and drums sound8'l and the m ea l began; yet Menzik o ff tasted nothing. From time to time he threw a pleading look toward the monarch and his partn e r, but Peter's countenance remained un a ltered. Sudd en ly the music ceased, and a ll eyes were turned toward the Cz a r, who had ju st turned himself to the chamberlain who stood behind him and said, " Be good enough to bring me out of my de s k, the folded paper which you will find on the little marble table under th e mirror." The chamberlain obeyed qui ck ly. Menzikoff now felt ov e rpowered with terror. His throat w as p a rched. The ch a ir on which h e sat g l owed like burning coals, and his l egs shook fearfully. The chamberlain soon returned with the paper, and the Cza r comm a nd e d him to read it loudly and distinctly. All colour disappeared from Menzikoff s countenance. Peter looked at him sternly, raised his fore finger, and Menzikoff sil e ntly ro se from his seat the pitiable image of a convicted sinner. The chamberlain gave Menzi koff a l ook which seemed to entreat bis p a rdon, making J1im at the same time a silent obeisance, then, in embarras ment, cleared his throat, and began in a somewhat unsteady tone,"Alexand e r Menzikoff, the srn of a common peasant,

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The Perils of Grea , btess. w~ rai se d, by the favour of his Czar, from the station r ,f a pastry baker's boy to the hi ghest h onou r s of th e Empire• Praiseworthy qualities which his Emperor h a d marked in him, an int e ll ec t of high order, and an untiring act iv ity , gained him the good will of his sovereign, who overloaded him with ri c h es . Y e t his deeds did not always rise to the Czar's ju s t expectations; rather the reverse. He often abus e d hi s m as ter's goodness most un g rat e fully; whole v o lumes might be filled with the rel a tion of the unjust tran sac tions of which he has already been guilty . He still trifles with the forbearance of his monarch, who has already cha st i se d him, and r e peatedly w a rned him against his dar ing offences on sev er al o c casions, and punished him by pnbli s hing his misdeeds, yet he has again increased the numb er of th e m by putting into his own pocket, for the space of two years, the pay of a whole regiment, the regi m ent in question only having its exis tence on paper." The chamberlain ceased, folded the paper, and waited the further commands of the Czar. During the reading of this crushing accusation M:enzi koff h ad looked stealthily round his companions at table to see if he cou ld catch a satisfied lo ok or a mischievous smile amongst them ; but these guarded themselves most ca r efully from drawing down upon th e m the fierce ven geance of the di sgrace d favourite. Th e y gazed ,vith 10wered eyelids on th e ir plates, as did the Imperial pair ; however th e y had l e ft off eating, because they dared not disturb the r eading with the clatter of knives and forks. Peter's stern eye was now fixed upon Prince Menzikoff as he said with emphasis," You have dr awn down this humiliation upon yourself. You have l ong known the punishment which you would draw upon yourself by your base acts. I shall ke e p the

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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 sce1rn of to-day, else my cane may come into unpleasant ::ontac t with your back ." Th e affair thereupon ended, the m ea l was finished, card tables took it s place, and Menzi!rnff played at cards with the E!'npre ss and two of the court ladi es, as if nothing had occurred; but the reader may imagine what was passing in his heart. He was, however, pun i shed in another manner for his unfaithfuln ess, by being ml)Qe to pay a fine of severn l thousand roubles-for Peter the Great was a just monarch. At l ength P e ter 's death fre e d Menzik o ff of his severe jud ge, and Catherine, Peter's Empre ss , being spec i ally in debted to Menzikoff's exertio ns for her seat on the throne, confided the government entire ly to him after her husband's death. As administrator of the empire he could do what he pleased, and th e refore hi s ace.users atoned for their bold ness in Siberia's i cy plains-nothing stood in his way. Two years after the Empress died also, leaving the throne to he1 grandson, Peter the Second, who was th e n thirteen years of age, and Menzikoff took the place rf the young Czar in governing Ru ss ia. He had not yet reached the height of his ambition . He would become the Emperor's father-in-law, and . thus strengthen him self for ever in his authority. To furth er these de signs, he affianced his eldest daughter with the young Czar, and the marriage ceremony was int e nd ed to take place shortly afterwards ; but God, who had l ong borne with the Prince's ambitious exert ion s, said , "Thus far sha lt thou come, but no furth e r."

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The P erz "ts of Gr ea tn e ss. CHAPTER IX. ON K night, a few years before the last menti oned imp ortan t event, Menzikoff remembered, as he was on the point of falling asleep, that he h ad omitted to send off an imperial order, the execution of which was of absolute importanc e. He imm edia t e ly pulled the bell-rope by his bedside, to c a ll thtl servant who watcj:ied in the antechamber. He rang several times, but no one appeared. Enraged at thi s carelessness, the Prince rose from his bed and gently opened the door into the antec h ambe r . There he s a w the servant who had the night watch, sitting at a little t ab le writing, with his b ac k towards him H e may have fallen asleep over this employment, and h ave . been awakened by the sound of the bell, although from drowsiness he could not perceive the real cause of his awakening. Only in thi1;1 way was his non-appearance explain a ble. Suspicion was, how ever, a roused in Menzikoff's evil-thinking soul. "What things of such importance can he have to write that he pays no attention to my rep eated call 1 Perhaps a traitor, who reports all that takes place in my house to my enemies 1" He crept on tiptoe behind his servant's back, who ' con tinu e d bu sily writing. " Ha ! what is thi s 1 " 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 ma s t e r's feet, or to run from his anger ; meanwhile his trembling lips strove in vain to stammer an excuse.

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The Perils of Greatness. 59 " So I have caught you in the act, villain ! '' said 11:lenzi• koff, taking possession of the writing, from whi c h he hoped to disco,er the , w h ole treachery. He ran over the paper with eager eyes . As he read, however, his face brightened, while the ser vant so far recovered fr o m his fear as to wait with greater composure his master's pleasure. Here is the letter:" :MY DE.AR MoTHER,-You will ha)t'e long expected to hear from me ; but do not believe that I have forgotten you because I h av e not written sooner . I found it impos :;;ib l e 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 b ee n engaged as one of the servants of the great Prince :M enzikoff , of whom you have always told us so much. Oh, with what fe e lin gs 1 entered the hou se of this nobl ema n, who i s so rich an
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60 The Perils of Greatness. th a t he must become as distinguished as he who once en tirely by himself burst througli a whole company of Swedish hus sa rs. I can also praise my l a dy, the Princess. She ha-s already twice call e d me ' dear Michaelow,' and given me a rouble when I fetched h e r something. Dear mother, I herewith send you thirty silver roubles, which I have saved -for my ma s ter g ive s excellent wages, and we now anc! then receive small sums in addition; besides, the night watching by Menzikoff, which I undertake in the place of my l az y fellows, brin gs 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 offend ed , however, by the portrait which his ser• vant had drawn of him. He rath e r found himself in a m a nn e r fl a ttered by the youth's de sc ription, which had cer. tainly come from the heart. He could be r e ally magnani mous ; he took the youn g man into his chamber, and handed him the forgott e n order, to deliver it to the offic e r of the w a tch below for in s tant despatch. He ' then thru s t his hand into a purse filled with glittering gold pieces, brought out a full handfol, and present e d them to his di s concerted servant, who did not understand what had hap pened to him. "Thes e ," said th e Prince, "ar e int e nded for your mother, becau se she has brought up her son so well. Such a son will also, I hope, continue to be a faithful servant to his ma s ter. Do not suffer yourself to be led astray, and I will not give reins to my fury towards you, as Samson did amongst the Philistine s , or as the Czar Peter amongst the Swedes near Pultowa. I have great need of some one on who se fidelity I can r e ly, for I know well that I have many serpents among my attrncl,mt s . The se you can discover

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The Perils of Greatness. 6r and render harmless, by telling me in secret whatever falls from your comrad e s 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 ea rnest. Now go." Michaelow thanked his gracious master with d eep feel ing 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 aIJ,a chance mistake of his fellows. Menzikoff, meanwhile, did not seem to pay any regard to him, but rather acted to1'ards 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 list en to any proof of Michaelow's obvious inn oce n ce, but left the poor boy standing completely crushed in the midst of the other ser vants, when he at l engt h retired to his chamber. Oh, how this treatment hurt the feelings of the wronged youth ! Menzikoff's anger seemed so n at ural, that dissimu lation in this case was not to be thought of. The faithful youth, deeply grieved, seated himself in a corner of the s e rvants' room with his so~owful head supported by his ri ght hand, while the pearly tears trickled down his cheeks. He would have given up the whole handful of go ld which the prince had l ately present e d to him to be able to correct the rqistake 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 Karp aka n.

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The Perils of Greati-iess. " Come, Michaelow," s a id h e, "let us have a b o ttle of wine to drive the thoughts of this fright out of your head." He brought the wine, and drank to M:ichaelow with oue glass after another. "Our master is a strange fellow," said Karpakan. "One c an do nothing to plea se him. I too have learned to sing a little song of his injustice . Too often one cannot ad vance hims e lf in the world by m eans of a virtuous life. The hypocrite and fl a tterer have the best of it. What can we do 1 We must whine with the whelps if w e will not crawl at the stirrup. True, a ll m as ters are not so incon sistent as :Menzikoff. There, for example, is young Prince Dolgoru ck i. His servants are much better treated by him, although h e is not so rich as our master. They say that for a very sma ll favour, even a n in s i g nific a nt pi ec e of new:, out of Menzikoff's pala ce, he would give h a ndfuls of gold . If I only kn ew any thing to speak of I would not hesitate to earn a pr ett y little sum. You require only to give the young Dol go rucki indi st inctly to understaad th a t you will satisfy his curiosity when, hu s h I he l ets a goodly sum of earnest money slip into your hand, saying, 'I give you this, purely out of friendship. Ke e p it to yourself, other wi se you might h ave far too many competitors.'" ::\iich ae low gave but little h eed to this chattering; but, when several days afterwards, on receiving a l etter from the Prince, with instructions to give it only to the Chanc e llor, Karpakan stopped him by inquiring to whom the letter he had in his hand was addressed. Micha e low was startled. Karp aka n'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," ;iriswered Michaelow ; "my

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The Perz'ls of Greatness. 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 1.licr,aelow, angrily, "you only wish to prove whether I be faithful or not to my master." '' Brave Michaelow !" cried Karpakan; "you have for tunately 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. " Mischi e f take him that I should waste a bottle of wine upon the blockhead. Well l 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 hearing :M:ichaelow'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 found care

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The Perits of Greatness. fully con cea led amongst the straw in Michaelow's bed What a fri g ht 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 ent~red the circle ; his eye sought of all oth e rs Karpakan, on whom he passionately broke forth," Scoundrel ! " cri e d he, in a terrible voice, "you stola the candlesticks, and hid th em und e r Micbaelow's bed, in ord e r to destroy the poor youth, who would not do your evil pleasure. J;'or this purpose you availed yourself of a false key to Michaelow's chamber, which you ordered from the locksmith Troszk o ff, and which you ke e p in your breast, tied in a bag. Mis e rable wret c h, I know all that happens in my hous e, and know that you are in compact with my enemies ; but they shall as surely receive th e ir reward a& you shall now r ece ive yours. Search him," he com mantled. K a rpakan, pale as death, standing trembling and annihi lated, was unable to utt e r a word in his own defence. They found on him the false k ey , exactly as Menzikoff had de scr ibed it, and the villain, un ab l e to deny his guilt, was led away for banishment to Siberia. " 'fake heed," said Menzikoff, turning him se lf to his astonished servants, in a threat e nin g tone, " how you at tempt to betray or dec e ive me. I know you all niost intim a tely, and if the traitor who is yet hidden amon g& t you _ has hith erto escaped my ven ge anc e, l e t him be con vinced that it only thus h a pp e ns until h e has filled up th e measure of hi s iniquity ; but as for you, Michaelow, h ere is the value of the four candl e sticks, as a r ec ompense for th e

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The Perils of Greatness. 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 pro gress of the affair. He very wisely, as men of the worlr1. would judge, took the opportunity ~o make his people believe that he was acquainted with everything that took plac . e, and the event really made a deep impres s ion. Mich aelow was the gainer. A goodly mnuber of gold pieces found their way into his pocket by the business, and it made him even more precious to his generous ma s ter than before . "People accuse M enzikoff of evil a c t . ions," thought . Michaelow io himself, "and it may be t hat all that he do es is not quite right; yet it is. no . t my duty to act as his judge, but rather to be a faithful servant to him, and this I '11 be." He had just r e c e ived the value of the stolen candle sticks, 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 oft . he Prince." He hastened down and fou . nd as .he had been told, a woman, simply dressed, along with a grown-up maiden in like apparel. " My mother," exclaimed Michaelow, t.ranspor.ted with joy, after he had beh e ld h e r more attentively, cla sping both her and his sister to hi s h ea , rt. "What a wonder it is to see you here," said he. "Tli.at wonder you rave been the me1,n s o L bringing E

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60 The Perils o/ Greatne:;s. about," returned his mother, after their greeting. "1.Ve thought we could not turn the many roubles which you sent 1,1s 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 govd woman, apparently touched with the Prince's kindness, wiped a tear from her eye, as she said," Ah, is he so kind toward hi s meanest servant, and yet ~ould he be so naughty towards"-She stopped. " You would say towards others who are often distin. guished 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 1" " Very well, I assure you," :Michaelow answered. " If they but express their wi s h 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 1" she asked ; "but only from a distance, so that he might not observe u s ." " Most easily," returned Michaelow . "The ante-chamber is daily full of 1 ico ple, who wait on the p r ince to present

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The Pents of Greatness. their petitions; but generally he pas se s throug!l their miclst without taking any notice of them, so that you may have an opportunity of seeing him distinctly." " Dear Florin," said his sister, impulsivelyHer mother started, and gave her a gentle push, l ooking timidly around. " Oh," s a id her dau g hter 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 Micha e l o w. In sh o rt, de a r brother, might we not be permitted to see the Prince's apartments 1 I would like so much to have an idea how such a great m a n lives, and how he disposes of him se lf.'' " That you ea si ly may do," a nswer e d her brother. " If my ma s t e r dines out, I am certain that I have only to ask the steward a nd he will allo'w you." "Yes, do," said mother and sister in one breath. Michaelow nodded and had o pe ned his mouth to answer, when a showy carriage flew past, while Michaelow bared his head with lightning s pe e d. " That was my master, the Prince," he hurri e dly said, r e pla ~ ing his h at , " so I must away. I am his atten dant to-day; but at four o'clock I shal l be at lib er ty. T e ll me where you are st(lying, and I will then be able to find you ." His mother did not he a r th ese word s . She had grown pale, and stood fix e dly gazing a fter the departing carriage, until it disapp ea r e d within the palace gate. Her daughter, however, answered h e r brother's question, who then quickly took leave of th e m, and ran off. The Prince must e ith e r have rec eive d some n e w promo tion that d a y, or so me other agreeable new s , for he was in exce ll e nt s pirits, wh i l e Mich aclow a ss i s te d him to undr e ss .

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The Perils of Greatness. '' Michaelow," he began, " ynu were so wrapt in conver• sation with that handsome maiden a minute ago, that you had almost entirely forgotten me . " " Oh, no, mo s t gracious Prince," r et urned 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 Prin ce . " Then I can fully sym pathise with your joy . D oes your moth e r live far from here 1" "Yes, in the neighbourhood of Moscow, in the village of S eme nowsky," returned :M:icha e low. 'fhe Prince changed colour a little, became thoughtful and absent, but he at length said, " And how do you int e nd to increase the pleasure of th ei r visit 1" " My moth er and si s ter wish nothing better," Michaelow quickly answered, " th a n to see my most gracious master, and-and-if it were the pleasure of your highne ss -the in side of your pa l ace." . "Truly a cheap enjoyment," r etu rned the flatt ere d Prince, "and one whi c h even to-day th e y may experience, for I and my family intend to drive out, and then you may shew them throu g h th e rooms, as they may wish ; only do not forget to r eq ue s t the m aster cook, in my name, to prepare a little meal for you, that your mother and sister at l eas t may not le ave my house fasting.'' Moved by the Prince's ge nerosity, Michae low gratefully kissed the edge of hi s robe, and some hours a ft e rwards hastened as ho s t to conduct hi s visitors to _the palace of the Prince. His sister was astonished at the splendour of the rooms, and th ei r furni s hings j but his mother seemed to be more engaged with h erse lf than with s urrounding objects.

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Th e P eri ls of G reatness . 69 " Oh," r.xclaimed the former, " how smo ot h and bright the floor i s, just lik e polished walnut." " Yes," said her mother gloomily ; " as smooth as the t ongues of the nobility." "It cost me some trouble," r eplied the son, "before I got accustomed to it. I tr emb l ed th e first tim e I brought 11, whol e tray full of di s hes to the t1tble. If I s lip, th ought I. But now, I can lltug h at my form e r fears." " So do the great at the d angers which sur round them on all sides," remarked his mother. " Oh, moth e r, see the lar ge, l a rge mirro r," cried Helene, 1 , lacing hers e lf before it, and with quiet gratification, view ing h er person, reflect e d from h ead to foot in the mirror, which reached the ceiling. "If only mankind wollid 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 th ese beautiful thin gs filling you with pleasure, it rather mnk cs you msl ancholy.'' " You are right, my son," repli ed his muther. "It is in sh ort, a fit of envy which makes me speak so, and fr o m which, I ought to pray God to keep me.'' "Just look here a minute," said h e r son . "Here is as h andsome a time -piece as any king has. This man, with the scythe and hour -glass, is the go d of time . He is said to have devoured his own childr e n, be ca u se it was prophe sied th a t his own son would cast him from the throne, and the proJ_Jh ec y was in reality fulfill e d, for, when his wife a ga in bare him a son, she hid the child, t oo k a stone, rolled it in a goatskin, and gave it, in stea d of the new-b orn in_ fant, to her b lin d husband, who, without noticing the de c e it, imm e diat el y swallowed it. But wh e n this son, who

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The _ Perils of Grea!Jtess. had been reared in seclus ion, reached manhood, he deposed his father f1 : om the throne of heaven, and placed himself thereon. So says the fable. The wings which you see on the old man's s houlders betok e n 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 examp l e ! I do not now wonder that a hum a n father should cast off wife and childreu who stand in the way of h\S 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 h eathen gods, 'I Wherewith 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 n e ither blind, nor can He be d ece ived, 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 h eaven, took upon Him our nature, and died in obedience to God, and out of l ove to men." The old woman had spoken very warmly, and completely exhausted hers e lf. She now remained for some time sil ent, quietly arid very attentively watching the golden god with the scythe and hour g la ss. "I only wonder," she began again, "that the nobility suffer such an image, whic h must always remind them of death, to remain i.n their houses. As a rule they will not othenvise h e:,,r of the man with the scythe, for the angel of death, though rather a comfort to u s common people, is always a bugbear to them." '' Mother," said Mi c haelow, "you are bent upon being melancholy to-day. Come, speking of ima g es, I will shew

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The Perils of Greatness. 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 Michaclow'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; mother1'' asked her son, astonished. " I thought you had not yet seen him." "Child," said his mother, while her voice trembled, 11 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 likene ss . Hel e ne, do you not see that Michaelow resembles him 1" " I did indeed think so," answered her daughter, laugh ing, but their mother continued to gaze with brightening eyes, first on the portrait, and then on her son, comparing the one with the oth e r. 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 1 " " 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 1-fichaelow, "this is his writing-table-that is his arm-chair.'.' " Children," said their mother, with a faint smile, "you

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Tlze P eri ls of Greatness . will chide m e, when I tell you th a t 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 fo r a lit . tle; I am really pretty well tired out after seeing . so much ; I will take very grea t 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 th e cushion, and closed her eyes. When her son saw h e,r sitting thus he asked a nxiou s ly" Mother, is there anythillg the matter with you, that you appear so extremely pale 1" "Oh, no," returned his motl1er, looking up with a plea. sant smile. " I am, on th e contrary, quite well. I fed rtt this moment so happy that I would even like to-di e here." She laid her right hand on the arm of the chair, and smo othing the cushion, said" Most likely your ma ster 's hand has often l a in h ere . What an h onour 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 p e n from the ink stand b e s ide him. "Here," said he, "is something which the Prince has h ad many times in his hand, and which I might venture to give away. Tme, he often prizes u se less things more highly than valuable. His diamond stars, for instance, his

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Tlz e Perils of Gr ea tness. 73 box es , rin gs, and other ornaments, he entrusts to me ; but th e n h e has a p l ain littl e ring which he only takes out of a s ea l skin case on special occasions to gaze at, an d then sh uts it up again. That he n eve r allows any one t o touch, a nd I h ave only once by chance seen it, when I was obliged to call him away abruptly without bis having time to put it away." "A littl e rin g -a sea l s kin case, said you i" his mother exc laimed, confu se dly, looking down to her finger . " Yes," continued her son, without c o n strain t, although h e obse rv e d h o w hi s mother was engaged. "Just such a rin g as that whi c h yo u h a ve on your fin ge r." His mother withdrew to one o f the windows t o hide the strong agitat i o n whic:h h e r son's speec h b ad caused h e r. S h e pr esse d both h e r ha nd s in ecstacy to h e r bosom, and si1i d to h e r se lf v e ry softly, " So my Alexander h as not y e t be e n abl e to for ge t his poor Matinka ! " "Lastly, h e re is my m a ster's b e dro o m,'' said Michae low, openin g a do o r. " Look at th e splendid carpe t o n the fl oo r, the silv e r wat e r ewe r and basin, and c r ysta l ni g ht l amp." " But I see only one b e d," r ema rk e d hi s ast o n is hed moth e r. " Wh e re are tho s e of his l ad y a nd c hil d r en 1 " "Y cs, " s a id h e r son. "With the n ob ility it is entirely oth e rwi se _ th a n with poor pe o ple-the princ ess h as h e r s epa r a t e apartments ; the two princ esse s have each their s e parate ro oms, a nd the young prince dw e lls a l so by him• self. I would willingly shew yon throu g h th e m a l so, only they lie so n e ar to that wing of the palace in which the young Em pe r o r dwells, and th e re are a lways so many peop l e in that qu a rt e r, th a t you would feel yours e lf uncom fo rt ab l e-fo r you mu s t know th a t tl1e young Cz a r li ve s

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74 The PerilJ of Greatness. with his future father-in-law, in order to be very near h\s affianced bride, and likewi se th at he may not undertake anything without the Prince's knowl edge . And now, dear mother and sister , I h ave shewn you a ll ; however, the best is yet to come. The Prince has given orders to pre pare a noble repast for you, so we will now drink his h ea lth in champ~gne, ~nd to-morrow for e noon 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," repli e d her son. "No, on no account," said his mother quickly. "Come l et us l eave the palace, the Prince m ay surprise us . " "There i s no occasion for this anx iety," said her s-on. But she was no more to be detained, and she would scarcely enjoy a very little of the nice meal which had been prep a r e d for them, and did not r eco ver from her unea s iness until she had reached her humble lodging. After a four d ays' visit in St Peter sburg h, she and her daughter d e parted to see her broth e r, who had , been b a nished to a little town in Siberia. Painf'ul was the leave taking with her son, whom she commanded to be ever most faithful to hi s mast e r, and .Michaelow gazed after the re ce ding forms of his moth e r and sister with moistened eyes. CHAPTER X. MENZIKOFF had run his course. The time for his punish ment had come : his enemies, and th os e who envied him,

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The Perils of Greatness. 75 had never rested, but were secretly preparing his destruc tion. One of these-a prince Dolgorucki, chamberlain to the young monarch-had insinuated him se lf into the favour of the Czar, and r en dered himself absolutely necessary to him. He had, at the same time, very cunningly under mined Menzikoff ' s reputation thoi:oughly ; anJ 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 Menzikuff 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 imm e di a tely instructed of this villany by his agents, and inform e d 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, ag 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 ev e n a servant to be seen. He sent some of his p eo ple to make inquiri e s 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 extract the venom from their calumnies, and win back the favour of his monarch, he quickly seated him se lf in his carriage, and ha s tened to court ; aft e r a short time, however, the carriage was seen slowly returning, and Menzikoff, stepping out deadly pale, ascended the spacious stairs of the palaci: . The Czar would on no account gr a nt him an audience-him, his future father-in-law, th r fat.her of his affianced bride. His

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The Perils of Greatn ess . 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 h ead, which was already grey with age and care . "Oh, my poor daughter ! " he at l ength sobbed, looking tenderly on his e ld es t child. "What a bridegroom you hav e ! Go, my children; go, dear wife. L eave me alone. I r eq uir e time for th~consideration of our position . " They obeyed, and :Menzikoff now strode up an d down h is chamber with hasty steps. Whilst so engage d, he re ceived an imperial writing, and quickly mastering himself of it s contents, the paper escaped his trembling Lands, as he slid, half-fainting, on the neare s t seat . He Lad not ex pected this message. It made known to him the with drawal of all his high offices and honours, and com manded him to l eave the city in which the Emperor re sided that same day, and to betake him self to the Castle of Orani e nbaum, as his place of bani shme nt. Menzikoff was annihilated-completely bereft of strength; with diffi CLtlty he again collected his scattered faculties, spratig up and trade the Imperi a l docum en t under foot. " Ha," cried he, " therefore the rabbl e of courtiers and . flatt e r ers did n o t bend their cat-like backs to-day as I passed amongst them. Th e r efore did they look upon me with crafty, malicious smiles. And that I . should have b ee n so blind as not to interpret this weather-glass of court favour ! How 1 I could rule to ple ase a Peter the Great, or an Empress Catherine; but not to suit a boy of four t ee n 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 h ave l abo ured, sorrowed, watched, tr emb l ed, and out r aged my God. . Ther efo re have I, 0 heavens ! cast off a

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The Perils o/ Greatn e ss. ,.,,.. II faithful wife and loving children, that I might see the fruit of all my effvrts 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 n-1iprehended this order, now burst into the room. " For God's sake," cried she, to her husband, " what would you do 1" " Preserve and defend my daughter's rights," returned M e nzikoff, 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 prince ss , "desist from your intention. You will utterly ruin us all by your pas sion." "How f' said Menzikoff. "Am I not commander-iii, chief of all the troops in Russia 1 Three hundred thousand men are under my command, and with these I will bid de fianc e to the anger of this boyi s h Emperor." "You were commander-in-chief, dear husband," said the .Princess; "but th a t same voice which appointed you has also deprived you of the office ; and if you still persi s t in sour opposition, you will not only bring yourself, but us also, to the scaffold." The Princ e listened to her with attention, and was con~ sidering it as the serva nt open e d the door to r epo rt the execution of the Prince's order, when a strange mixed, tumultuous noi se was h ea rd without. "Your Highne ss ," he said. "All the officers of the In kerman regim e nt wait the pleasure of your Highness." " Shed no innocent blood," the Princess pl e d, wringing her hand s , as her hu sba nd took up hi s swo rd , and went to

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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 dem eanour . " D ea r, faithful followers,'' said he, gently, " you will have already l earned th e fate which has b efa llen me ; that I h ave been d ep riv e d of all my offices a nd hon o urs; but before I Vlke my departure to the place of banishment which has b een assigned me, I wish once more to see you, who were so dearly a nd faithfully devoted to me. Receive, along with my l a s t farewell, the assurance that your me mory shall never be forgotten by my grateful h ea rt. This sword, a precious gift of my deceased Emperor, cannot be better pre served than in your valiant hands ; th e r efo re re ceive it as a faint token of my liv e ly gratitude." He delivered the weapon, which was ornamented with glittering di amond s s e t in gold , to the se ui or officer of the r e gim ent, and, deeply moved, clasped him to his brea s t. All the officers were _ terribly affected. Th e y un shea th e d their swords, swore to remain . faithful to him, and assured him that they were r eady to defend his r ig hts with their lives. " Place yourself at our head, General," th ey cried. "vVe will follow you wherever you m ay l ead us." " No," r eturned :M:enzikoff. "How cou ld I ever justify myself for ris king the lives of so many noble men, and that only for the sake of an old man, of whom the world has b ecome weary F a r ewe ll ! Honour your Czar with that fid e li ty which you owe him, and forget Alexander :M:enzi koff, who at l e n gth r et ires fr o m his splendid career covered with disgrace." The officers unwillingly obeyed ; the be arded men wept like children , in taking th e ir l e ave of the Prince, shaking

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T!te Penis of Greatness . . 79 him by the hand and kissing his offered cheek. v\ 7 hen all had departed, Menzikoff, exhau s ted by the scene, flung him se lf on a scat. " Have I acted ri g ht now i " 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 op pressing circum~tancc s , and now only will we be truly h appy . Your l arge 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 so ught thus to comfort her husband, who had after all only outwardly composed himself. In his heart mortified ambit ion yet raged with terrible violence. l3nt how could these help him i He must decide quickly upon his departure. They pack e d up only that which was most necessary for their wants; but every male as well as female serv a nt had their hands full of work. What a quantity of bales, chests, trunks, boxes, and bag s, full of goods, were dispatch~d in the long train of carriages which were to accompany the Prince and hi s family. An immense multitude of people looked on as they drove off, waiting with impatience to see the humbled M:enzikoff, and the forsaken Imperial bride depart; at the same time, they murmured insultingly that such a scoundtel of a minister, who had robb ed 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 l e ft him of all hi s stolen riches,

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80 The Perils of Greatness. except the b aske t in whi c h he form e rly carried Lis p as try." But wh e n Menzikoff, dr esse d in a simple coat, without ;;tar or cro ss , en t e r e d the c a rri age with downcast e yes, a gtill more tremendous shower of in s ult and ab use was hurled at him. Hi s lady followed com posedly; after her the two young Princ esses, who covered their faces with their h a ndkerchiefs, and the youn g Prince, who thr e w a i,corn ful glance around on the malici o us rabble, br o u g ht up the r ea r. " Would one not rath e r think some l ung was go ing on a j o urney," cried so me one loudly to his companions, " than th a t such a th o rough ra sca l was taking his d e parture 1" All approved the speaker, an d broke out in a thr ea t e nin g murmur, while Menzikoff pr esse d him se lf into a corner of tlie carriage, saying bitterly to hi s wife , " Ar e not these th e same peop l e to wh o m, a few d ays ago , I gave foo d an d fire, and who ble sse d me l o udly for my liber a lity 1" "Y es , my hu s band," s he r e pli e d. " Th ey are like unto tho se who, o n t he ent rance of our Red eeme r to J e ru sa l e m, brou gh t branches of palm-trees, and eve n sp r ead th e ir clothes on th e way, while th ey sang Ho sauna h ; but who, a few d ays after, cried out ' cruc ify him ! c ru cif y him ! ' You do n o t d ese rve to be better tr ea t e d th a n Christ, in whose face they spat, and whom th ey smote on the c h ec k wi th th eir han ds . " The Prin cess strove to calm h e r hu sba nd in this way, out Menzikoff was n o t thus to be c omfo rt e d ; for, be thou g ht, " I h ave meriteci th is tr eat m e nt by my mi s d eeds ; not so our Saviour, who therefore was able t o be of good courage.'' Th e ir carriage wa s now app r oachin~ the main gua rd.

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The P erils o f G reatne ss. 8I Y esterday, and even early that same morning, h ow quickly h a d th e officers and so ldi e rs of the watch presented arms, in order to s hew proper re spec t to their sup e rior officer ; but what a. change had a. couple of hours, and th e word of a mere boy, been able to make. The officers l e isurely walk ed to and fro with folded arms, and carefully turned their backs to the Prince as he drove p as t, and th e se ntries did not change the careless position of their firelocks one inch, and rath e r gazed sullenly in a t the windows of the carriage ; but the re s t of the s oldie rs broke out into a mocking lau g h, which embittered still more th e departure of the mortifi e d P rince. :Many more such humili at ions befel him ere he at l e ngth left the city. When we consider how great an effect the word of a weak mortal can p r od uce on this ear th , and how immeasur ably greater the effect of the W o rd of God must be, might it not t eac h the de sp i se rs of His Word to pau s e, r e fle ct, and l ay it to h ear t . The abused family breathed a little more fre e ly when it found its e lf in th e open country and released from it s tormentors. " T a ke c ou r age , " sa id the Prin cess , addressing her hus band again, who sat burie d in his own thoughts. "Orani enbaum is not a bad place to r esi de at-not so barren, m a r s hy, and raw as this northern St Peter s bur g h ; but es pecially, when we walk out together, shall we e nj o y nature in all its blooming lov eliness, and we shall soo n learn to spend the long wi nte r pleasantly, with r eading , music, and conversati o n .' ' "Yes, father," broke in one of the Princ esses ; f ' Alex ander plays the flute, I play the pianoforte, and sister Nina sings. We shall s urely be able to-pass away the time." "Before we din e, father," sa id the so n, "we shall fence t oget her; after dinner we c.1.n play at billiard s . In the F

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Tli.e Pe.rits of Greatn ess_ . evenings, you will tell us of your travels and battles with the Great Czar Peter." ' ' On the castle pond," said the forsaken Imp e rial bride, "we can skate and drive in sledges; we might even erect an iceberg." "We will have blooming winter flowers in all the win dows," 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 res o unding call of " Halt ! halt !'' .An officer was seen h as tily advancing towards them~ holding a paper, meanwhile continuing the cry of "Halt." Wl 1 at did this new appe a rance mean 1 Po ssib ly the Czar h a d r epente d of his severity! Did that paper con t ain the pardon of the Prince 7 W as he to r et urn that he might again be re-instated in his former h o nourable po sition 1 How quickly do the feelings of a child undergo a change ! With what other purpose could this messenger have been sent after them 1 Hope again r ev ived in the hearts of the dejected family. True, they dared not suf; fer their thoughts : to talrn the _ form of words; but the , brighter glance of the _ eyes, and hop e ful throbbing of the breast, revealed the favourable change which this event had caused in the mind of each. Th e officer had now reached M e nzikoff's carriage, and o p ening the pnper, prepar ed to

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The Perils of Greatness. 83 read its ~ontents to the Prince, whose family li s tened with the most intense attention. He first read a long list of misdeeds, by which Menzikoff had rendered hin1self . un worthy 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 ex ercise 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 tenn 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 des pairing 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, stretch ing 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, ha.s faded entirely . It was only the last fluttering of the expiring

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The Perils of Greatn es s. lamp which had deceived the hopeful heart ~ 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 corner 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 re mained silent; and shortly, they all betook themselves again to their places, l ook in g . 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 r eg ions . " Will you go with them to Siberia 1 " said one se rvant to another. "I h av e 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 mou s e ; only that what is most necessary will be left him, therefore I do not se e of what u s e so many servants can be to hi1i1,

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The P e rils of Greatness. 8.5 since he cannot pay them, and therefore I take my l eave of him." "And I do the same," said a fourth, "whi c h will spare both myself and him the pain of separation." "Well said," cried a fifth. "I too will do likewise . " When therefore the extra carr . iag e s were sent back by the officer who was to accompany the Prince, a ll the male and fomale servants returned in a body to St Petersburgh, and forsook in this way their ma s ter, who h ad often treated them most liberally. Under such circumstances does in gratitude shew itself. Only Michaelow remain e d b e~i nd_ on the Prince's can-iage. Hi s fellows strove in vain to induce him to follow their example; but he gave no an s wer to the se lfish people, but gazed strai g ht before him. Th e y then in sulted him, called him a bl oc khead and ass, who stood in his own light. This, howeve r, did not harm him; but it moved his very soul to think how p a inful this new di s play of ingratitude must be to his m as ter and mistress . And he was right, for when the Princ e 's carriage stopped at a small h a ml e t, that the hor s es might be changed, Men zikoff who, until th e n, 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 hi s servants, adding," They cannot be expec t ed to share my hard fate and accompany me to Sib e ria. I will th e refore dismiss them, and only ret ain the few who are most necessary." Michaelow stood embarassed. "Most gracious Prince," he began, seeking an excuse for their ingratitud e, " the servants have just seen that it would come to this, and have, to avoid reminding your High ne ss of your misfortune, already returned to St Peters burgh . "

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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 res~ of the carriages, which had all, as well as his servants, dis appeared. 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 1" 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 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 I sunk, when my meanest servant pays no attention to my orders. Will you not instantly leave my sight, scoundrel 1" The Princess and her children gave Michaelow a beseech ing look, and he obeyed; but only to go and take his old seat behind the carriage; and thu s the journey continued, while the country became mo.re 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 distan _ ce, 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 m o rning dawned. With the

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The P eri ls of Greatness. rising sun the wind blew more fier cely; the l eaves of the trees trembled at its breath, as did also the Prince's family, who had t aste d nothing since th ei r departure. A halt was made at the tavern of a little village for breakfast, where the Prince required to open the door of ~he carriage him self, 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 th e m from the spot. Mi chae low had di sappeare d, for whose presence the Princess and her d a u g ht e rs h ad in silence hoped. The Prince and his family walked . tow ar ds the peasant's house, where an oppres s ive he a t, together with a disagreeable smell, met them on entering the com mon room. They would willingly have left it, but their necessity for warmth was too pr ess ing ; ther efo re, sighing, they took seats on the hard wooden bench, and look e d . on one another in silent sadness. Men zi koff alone kept his eyes fixed gloomily on the floor. The general wish was for something warm. But what 1 The bearded ho s t had indeed brought a kind of soup, made of rye meal ~ in a lnrge 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 1 The young Prince immediately ran out to the carriage, 11nd sought long amongst the trunks and boxes, until luckily

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88 The Perils of Greatness. he found the articles required. But now a fresh difficulty : presented itself. Who was to prepare the tea or chocolate1 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 lifes time imagined that they would ever be obliged to busy themselves 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; how they burnt their tender little fingers. A burning coal started out of the fire, and sin g ed several large ho]es 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 examin ation, however, it did not seem to the present cooks to be thick enough ; the Princesses then informed their hoste s s 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, when--plash. The vessel had been overturned by the violent movem1mt.

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The Perils of Greatness. 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 immexsed in the flood. Nothing now remained but the vessel of 5 reen tea, which tasted barbarou s ly, terribly smoked, and di sco loured by the coals whi c h had fallen amongst it. The maidens wept with vex a tion, but could make no bett e r. How much better could they have sung an _ Itali an air, performed a difficult pi ece on the pianoforte, drawn a bouquet of flowers, or stitched in satin and gold; and they would certainly have gained m o r e honour by so doing than by this awkward mess. People will maintain that there are even now -adays such like ladies and maidens, who underst a nd everything eL~e much better than how to make soup, or prep a re meat. At the same moment as the Princesses, their eyes red with we e ping, left the kitchen and entered the ro om, taking with them the discoloured tea, the other door opened and Michaelow, whom they had believed lost to them, entered, carrying a h an d so me t ea tray, on whi c h stood a l a r ge pot of steaming choc o lat e , another of tea, and several c11p s , and a pl a te of tem p ting newly-baked bread. How clean and bright the dishes were, in c om parison with those of their hostess ! How fragrant was the smell of this beverage t o the exhausted family, and how quickly did the sonowfnl faces of Menzikoff's children li ght up ! A weight, a very gre a t one, was removed from their h e arts. Yes, faithful servants are truly very precious, and people are never more ready to acknowledge their value than when, in a position requiring th e ir services, they find that they must serve themselves. Mast e rs and mistresses ought therefore to treat their male and female servants more kindly than they fre quently do. People cannot believe that everything may

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The ' Perls of Greatness. be bought with gold, for had Menzikoff offered fifty roubles for chocolate well prepared, without the intervention of Michaelow he must h ave gone without it. Michaelow could see no better way to regain the favour of the enraged Prince than by the preparation of this break fast, 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 Michaelowt 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 r e fre shing beverage, and that delicious food to the famished travellers ! but common necessity humbles pride and makes the noble more willing to dr aw 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 h erse lf h a nded 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 other~ al~o thought with distress of their former exalted position, as well as on their presel!t sorrowfuLfate, the dreadfulne ss of which was

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The P e rils of Gr e atn e ss. 91 ever increasing. The hardships of their j o urn e y were be coming 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 ni g hts at a r a pid rate, the weary family were permitted to enjoy their first long wished-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 ni g ht-lamps-everything coarse, filthy, and unaired. Mich a elow, lulled by an approving con s cience, slept well in a yet more mis e rable lodging. Menzikoff, l oa ding him sdf with silent but severe repro a ches for h av in g b ee n the cause of this misfortune to his innoc e nt family, c o uld not close his eyes; his children, however, slept sound.Jy their moth e r, very little. Next morning she felt in no wise refr es hed, looked very pale, and had d ee p blue lines round her weary eyes. She had cau g ht a severe cold, which repeated.Jy made her shiver all over. Formerly, when far less indisposed, the family phy s i c ian w a s im mediately in att e nd a nce, ex e r c ising all his skill for her recovery; but now everything was wanting. Th e ir phy sician had disappeared with the m e di c ine ch e st, along with the other attendants, and not one was to be found in the whole pl a ce. If the brave Mi c ha e low had not prepared a strong cup of tea and br o u g ht two warm bottles for the poor Princess, she must have remained entirely without help. At break of d a y 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 ext e nt 'larger than the whole of Eur o pe wi t h its many kingdoms,

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T!te 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 ap pointed as the place of M:enzikoft's residence, lay deep in this wilderness, they had a long journey yet to accomplish. The state of the suffering Princess had in nowise im prove6. 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 )oved 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, un feeling man,-harshly informed the banished family that they must now exchange their costly dress for that worn by con victs. 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, :M:enzikuff, take these ; they are whole, keep them so. Here, won,an. There, girls. What is left is for the boy."

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T!t e Perils of G reatness 93 So spoke the man to this princely family, whose favou r bad b ee n courted by the m os t powerful of the E JJpire. M en zik o ff silently took the n e w garment and h e ld it out spread before him, as if t o measure its width, but in r ealit y only to conceal the bitte r tears of sorrow from his family. Th e Princ ess an d her daughters, without murmuring, betook thems e lves into a little neighb o urin g chamber, and after a short time, on th e door again openin g, a littl e elderly peasant woman came out, supported by two young damsels. The dainty feet of the females were encased in clumsy but warm shoes of untann ed leath e r, a nd l ooke d like shaggy bears' paws, while out of the l o ng sle1 , wes of the coarse garments the delicate little fing e rs of the Princess and h e r daught e rs peeped. Th e ir head s vere covered with thick unshapely hoods, by which scarcely one-half of their faces coul d he see n, while fastened to their should e r s by a cord hung l.ir ge rough fox-skin gloves. Only after ea rnest ent r eat y had the poor banished ones obtained the favour of b e ir. g allowed t o w as h themselv es; oth e rwis e the coar s e mat erial would certainly have torn th e ir d e li cate skin. On th ei r appea r a nce th ey w ere r ece iv ed by a young and an old p easant, dr esse d like them se lv es. Th ese were the Prin ce and his son. "My husband, do I please yo u 1" asked the noble suff e r e r , trying to l augh , while the Princes ses also concealed th eir true fe e lin gs, that they might no t wound their un fortunate father, an d sa id with as s umed gaiety," Fath e r, we are going to a ma sq uerade. Have we n o t ch o s en o ur dress e s w e ll, th a t we may n o t be kn o wn 1" :M:enzikoff, 011 seeing and hearing hi s family, a lmo s t br oke his he a rt. If his wife and childr en had loaded him with r ep roa ches, an d abus e d him as being the author of their misfo r tune , he would have b orne it bette r than thi s un

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9+ The Perils of Greatness. merited kindness. When the . Princess-as having been Princess born-entered, dr essed in her miserable clothing, wearing a death-like smile on h e r pale face, and accompanied by his children, once the ornaments of the youthful nobility of St. Peter sburgh, his lon g 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 heart breaking sorrow of the Prince, they could no longer refrain from tears, but sympathetically wept and sobbed in comp any. 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 s urely permit your favour again to visit us 1" But the Princess made answer in t ears, " It is well to put our trust in the L ord, and not rely upon men. It is well to put our trust in the Lord, and not rely upon princes. F ormerly we only did the latter. L et us now repair our neglect and turn to our all-merciful God." "Alas," cried Menzikoff, recovering his speech, "I have plunged my n ob le 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 burd e n 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 ex change; 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

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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, lh at 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 riot 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, s e ized the first pause in the di s course, nnd turning himself to his mast e r, s a id," Pardon me, your Hi g hness, the c o mmandant--" At the word" Highn e ss" the Prince awakened as if from a dream. " '\Vhom do you mean, fellow 1 " he demand e d sharply. "There is no more any 'highness' here-but merely a family of unfortunates. You only m o ck us : you are now the most import a nt person a ge amongst us." "Master," Mich a elow now . stammered; but this too was not well chosen. '' You alone are master here," the Prince again ex claimed, "for you can go wherever you will; but we are pri s oners, und e rgoing d e basing corr e c t i o n."

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The Perds 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 7" 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 1 must we be frozen to death for the sake of your chattering 1 " The unfortunate family quickly prepared to set out :m 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. Tb.ey were open, with only one horse to each, with hardly room for a single person to sit, besides the driver, and entirely want ing in convenience. No cu s hion 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 miser able box 7" asked he at length. '' Certainly," returned the commandant, laughing. "Did you really think, Menzikoff, that something better would be provided fm; you than for the other convicts 1 Did you trouble yourself about procuring comfortable conveyancei, for those distinguished people who were sent here by your cruelty 7" These words came to Menzikoff like a clap of thunder y es, there is compensation. He had . in cold blood ban i shed hundreds to Siberia by the stroke of his pen ; b~

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The Perils of Grcat1tess. 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, h owever noble or distinguished they might have been. His turn was come n ow . "You are ri ght, sir," he answered gently , asking for giveness of his inno cent lady for h aYing invol:ved her in his so rrowful, but merited fate, by a silent pressure of the hand, while his heart bled und e r nameless torments, when he saw his children, accustomed to revel in lxury, take their places with resignation in the miseral)le convey ances. He sought anxiously to find a softer sea t 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 .Menzikoff's hand was his reward fo r this service of love. At the r eq ue s t of Menzikoff, hi s children took the l ead, he himself followed, behind him came the Princess, and Michaelow brought up the r ea r. In this way, under th e ir li ght burdens, the h orses went smartly over the frozen snow, which covered the endl ess plains of Siberia . When at l e ngth the Kibiks halted to allow the horses to fe e d, :Menzikoff sprung out, and approached his lady, from whom he had never removed his eye11. "How are you 1" he a s ked anxiously . " Well," she an s wered from und e r h e r wrapper. "Will you ea.t or drink anything r' he again said. "Thank you,1' she replied, " I am n e ith e r huugry n o r thirsty ." " Will you not step out and warm y o ur se lf by a littl e exerc i se 1" he then proposed. G

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The Perils of Greatness. "No, le11.ve me so," she returned. "I have wrappe
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The Pen'ls of Greatness. 99 tongues which would have willingly spoken. At every stoppage the husband and children surrounded the sledge of the Prir)cess, 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 in 'luirers would always retire, pained, however, with torm e nt ing conjectures. In this way the second night of this journey set in; a journey for which none but Rus sia n horses are capable. A faint brightness now began to light up the dark heavens, which by degrees spread it se lf 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 belch e d 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 fi gh t seem to th em all on acco unt of the profound silence which prevailed. No thund e r, no cl as h of weapons, no battle cry, no d ea th shriek was to be heard, for spirits alone appeared to fi g ht against spirits. Such is the impres s ion 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 m ake a halt necessary, and all eyes were turned to this appearance of the heavens, which i s so often to be seen in the far north. It had also awakened the Princess, who, sitting upri g ht in her Kibik, her mantle having fallen from h e r shoulders, an d the ghastly hue of , her wasted face glancing in the r e d r eflection of the northern lights, gazed fixedly upon the blazing sky . She would not

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100 The Perz"ls 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 1" she again exclaimed. Menzikoff listened uneasily to what his lady uttered. Did she dream, or did she rave 1 "Dear wife," s a id he, trembling, "collect your se lf. It is only the northern lights you see, and it has no further meaning." The Princess gazed unsteadily round the circle o'f her family. "Do you not see," she said, pointing to heaven, "Chri s t s itting there, to hold jud gme nt, and lik e a shepherd i s placing the sheep on his ri g ht hand, and the goats on his left 1 Ob, my Saviour," she exclaimed, raising h e r hand beseechingly, "I pray thee, take me too into thy beautiful warm h eave n. Have pity, for I freeze on this c6ld earth. Cast me not into uttermo s t darknes s , wh e re there is only weeping and gnas hing of t ee th." The mi se ry of the unhappy family was now beyond cle:;cription. They could not conceal from them se lv es the danger which threatened th e ir dear mot , her. Menzikoff cast his t earfu l eyes over the immense waste, seeking vainly for help . Nowhere did a she lter offer it self , where the sick one might find a peaceful cl~athbe cl.

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The Perils o/ Greatness. IOI "How far are we from Tobolski" he asked of the officer. "We shall reach it by sunrise," the l atte r answered, deeply moved by the suffering condition of the Princess. " well," urged Menzikoff, "let us hasten, before it be too l ate." 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 l ooked for, lay in reality before them. At that time th e place was small and of no import ance, but with Menzikoff it had become the eagerly desired haven of repo se. As soon as they r eached the first houses, Menzikoff sprang out of his IGbik and begged the officer to p e rmit the sufferer to be removed immediately into a warm room. On r eceiving permission, and when they were lo oking around for a su it ab le 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 lod ged in the b est manner, and will re ceive the utmost attent ion . " " Seek out then your kinsfolks :is quickly as po ss ible," besought Menzikoff; ' ' every moment's delay may be of the deadliest consequence . " The arrival of the Kibiks had aroused the curiosity of the inhabit ants. Indeed the slightest unusual occurrence made an impres s i on in a place so r emote 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 N atuschkin . . "There it is," they answered, pointing to the next comer, and one said,

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I 02 The Perils of Greatness. " 'I.'here goes N atuschkin' s niece. Do you not see her 1" "H a , my sister," Mi c haelow joyfully exclaimed, bounding up to Helene, who, frightened at the unexpected appearance of her brother, had almost fallen, and to whom after ten derly embracing her, he said, " hasten to our mother, and tell her to get a well-warmed bed re ad y 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 1 Are you no longer with the Prince ? " "Do not ask me just now, _ dear affectionate sister," Michaelow be s ought her. " You shall learn all afterwards. The sick one is my mistress, the Princess . But hasten you and carry out my instructions.''. CHAPTER XII. Puzzum with the intelligence, the possibility of which she could not comprehend, Helene hasten e d home and surprised h e r 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 th a t Michaelow and Helene's mother was no other than the poor injured Matinka, the first spouse of Menzikoff1 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 her s e lf and them many bitter recollections, and also possible

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Tlie Perils of Greatness. 103 fits o( discontent and envy, she had concealed their parent age from her children, and ha~ adopted on this account the name o( h e r 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 haa gone out into the wide world and had died (to them) in a far coun try. But she was utterly unable to root out her love for her hu s band; and ever, even when furthest removed from him, she took the most lively interest in his welfare, catch ing with the gre a test eagerness at all intelligence of the Prince which reached her. Wh e n her children were grown up, and when she was embarrass e d about the choice of a trade for her son, a happy thought struck her. She deter mined 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 Men zikoff, doing ample justice to his merits in the pro spe rity of Russia, and l ame nting that such masters seldom h a d a single faithful servant. Florin with pleasure obeyed, when his mother asked him to seek Menzikoff's 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 reg a rding the circumstances of his family. In this way she hoped to be able constantly to receive an account of all that hap pened to her husband. At length, after more than tw e nty years, she could no longer deny herself the pleasure of seeing him again, and therefore she undertook the journey, already related, toge th e r with her daughter, tc St Petersburgh. We have seen

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104 The Perils of G1 c eatn e ss : wlrnt a struggle it cost her to conceal h e r feelings before her children, They afterwards travelled to her beloved brother Simonow, whose life his sister's self-imposed sac rifice bad indeed saved; but Siberia was nevertheless ap pointed to him as his f11ture residence. Here, however, he by no means lived the life of a convict, but executed his nrdinary duties as a non -commission e d officer in the garri son of Tobolsk. Gradually he rose in office, and, after more than twenty years, bad advanced step by step to his present lucrative post. He received his si s ter 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, bad 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 bis house. " What 1" he exclaimed, with the most lively astonish ment. "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 p a rt, I will take no further notice that nfenzikoff 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," Yfatinka answered, "how can you speak so strangely 1 How is the Princess my arch enemy 1 How can that be possible 1 I am entirely unknown to her. She has never seen me. Think _g f the beautiful traits of her character, which Florin has described to me. If all people w e re 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 tbem who curse us, and do good to thos e who hate us, and

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Th e Perils o.f Greatness. ro5 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 mur derers. And do we not pray to God daily to forgive us our trespasses as we for g ive those that trespass against us? No, dear brother, you are not in earnest ; let us make the be s t preparations for receiving the poor sufferer, but do not b e tr a y me by any unheedful word. G o d will lend me strength to be a r this new trial." Simonow was ashamed of his harsh expressions, and said, in a softened tone," But I do not und e rst a nd what brin gs the Prince ss to Tobol s k at this rough season. The tables are sur e ly not turned already, and the high and mighty ruler ser ve d in like manner as he has don e to others 1 I must inquire about the matter." He went out and reached th e place where th e Prince and his family were, in time to witness a scene as revolting as scandalous. The Kibiks had h a lt e d near his house door. Menzikoff, by the a ss istance of the young Prince and Mich ae low, had lift e d the sick Princ ess a nd was carefully b e aring her towards the house, while th e two Princ esse s followed this group, weeping, when a fellow, clothed in the usual coarse convict dress, pu s hed hims e lf throu g h the crowd, and gazing impudently into the face of the Princ e , broke out into a scornful laugh. "Ho ! ho ! " cried he, with malicious joy. "Gre a t Prince Menzikoff ! b ase . vill a in ! bloodhound ! so you have at len g th received your rew a rd 1 Do you now come with your brood to share the fate which you procured for us 1 Welcome, my beautiful Prince sses ; welcome to Siberia." With th ese w or ds th e miserable wretch spat in th e

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ro6 The Perils of Greatness : s01Towfu l faces of both of Menzikoff's 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 there fore 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 to1Tent of bitter t ea rs streamed over bls p a l e countenance. Impelled by the madd en ing sorrow of the unfortu m.te father, the other onlo o k e rs prevented a repetition of the sham e ful abuse, which the villain would have done had he not been forcibly removed, while Simonow sil e ntly thought within himself, Matinka was ri g ht. How hateful is vindic tiveness. No, a reven ge ful person can please neither God nor man ; and stepping up to the Prince he addressed him, in a gentle tone," My friend, you are wekome to my house-con s id e r it as your own; ' " and, turning to the Princesses, he added, " My child ren, recover fro ry, your fright. Only one among all the inhabitan:ts of Tobolsk i s capable of acting so di s gracefully. 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 bl ess ing on yo u, noble man," his pale lips feebly said, and he again turned his attention to his sick wife, }v ho was just th e n l aid on a well-w a rmed bed. Except a gentle shiv e ring wh ic h pervaded her whole body, the Princess l ay without motion, her half-op e ned eyes

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The Perils of Greatness. 107 gazing fixedly. The iihyslcian who had be e n called de clared her condition to be very doubtful. They wa s hed her icy cold s kin, according to his instructions, with vine gar, rubbed her marble members, and surrounded her on all sides with warm stones and bottles ; but their united efforts remained long without success. Menzikoff, mean while, watched his suff e ring wife with in expressible anxiety, and the weeping children assisted in nur s ing the sick one. " Oh," sobbed M:atinka, as she untiringly exerted herself to lend a helping hand, "how much he loves his lady ! he has not one l ook for his poor Matinka." Her tearful eyes often rested on the Prin ce , when she believed hers e lf unnoticed, and th e n she would unwill in gly turn her eyes away. The night set in. A ros e coloured red-the first sign of returning consciousnes s overspread the templ es of the Princ ess . True, the deadly paleness of the face continued the same, contrasting all the more deeply with the well-defined redness of the templ es Even there a symptom of improvement became vi s ible, and the whole countenance shone as a heavy sweat br oke out, running down over the brow in large drops. This gradually spread over her whole body; the b e d steamed with it, and seemed as if it had been dipped in water. Menzik off, the children, and the others present, rem arked this chan _;e with rising satisfaction. " God be praised," he cried j oyfully to the physician, who entered. "A favourable crisis has taken pl a ce. My lady has fallen into a violent sweat." The physician followed him to the sick bed, where be 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 heatings of the pulse. All

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ro8 Th e Perils of Grea "tne ss. eyes r es t ed on the physici a n, impati en tly e xp e cting fr o m him the confirm at ion of th e ir h o p es . Sp eak ing at len gt h with great d e lib erat ion, he said," The pres e nt condition of th e sufferer c a n by no means be c o n s ider e d a favourable cri s is. Thi s sweat i s n ot hing n10re than . the breaking out of th e jui ce s of th e b ody , when the sk in can no l onge r p e rf o rm it s office. It is too un n a turally stron g , and al s o a cco mpani e d by a r ema rkable co ldn ess . It i s , in short, the sweat of rapidly approaching d eat h." This un ex p ec ted d ecis ion suddenly tr ansformed the bud ding h o pe of the family of th e Princ ess into un bou nded so rrow. A univ e r sa l sobbing e n s ued. M e nzik o ff mourn fully c o ver e d his h ea d, and kn e lt beside the b ed of his sick lady, whose feat ur es began to work very n ervo u s ly. Th e haif shu t eyelids moved, th e mouth writhed b ackwards a nd for w a rd s , the lips ope n ed and shut aga in. At l ength she softly gasped th e scarcely p e rc ept ibl e words," My Al exan d e r; my hu s b and." Her out s tr e tch e d h an d appeared to seek th a t of the Prince. How terrified was h e when his wife l aid h e r h an d d ea dly cold within his warm, healthy gras p. Was not this th e same cold h a nd which Matinka r eache d him for th e last time at their divor ce 1 Th e spirits of vengeance and r ec om p ense pierc e d hi s v e ry soul. "My childr e n," again mor e faintly utter e d the dying one. Th e y thr e w th e ms e lves sobbin g o n th ei r kn ees be si d e their father, e ac h se e king to pr ess the d ea r h a nd once more. A h a ppy smile now lit up the countenance of the Princess. She attempted once more to sp ea k. D ee p down in her ch es t the sound seemed s eeking to work it s w n.y upward, but d eat h s urpri sed it by the way . The inexorable a n ge l Q. death touch ed the suff e r er with his bony fingers, ere the

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The Perz'l s of Gr eatness . 109 w or
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1 ro The Perrs of &reatness. co uld be pr e pared, and only after great exertioM frailty of earthly happin ess and sp l e nd o ur, an d the h ea rts of th e mourn e rs sobbed h eav ily as the fr o z e n lumps of ea rth thun dered do w n upon the silent tomb of the Princess. An unhewn rock only marks h e r simple grave, placed th e re by the united efforts of the men who attended her funeral. The countless tears shed th e r eo n form the sole in sc ription of h e,r tombstone, l egib '. e to th e sympathising reader only. Early next mornin g after the fune ra l, Menzikoff to o k l eave of the ho sp it a bl e Simonow and his siste r. He did this with few words an d downc as t look s. M a tinka wonlci willingly have thr o wn herself on hi s breast, and m a de her self known to him, as Simonow had s p o ken t o her of d oing. " No," she h a d answere d him ; " now is not the prop e r time to do so ; his h eart has on ly room for the on e spo u se i u s t dec e as e d. A man cannot momentarily comfort him self for the l oss of a l oving wife, who h as been h is fa ithful partner in h app in ess and misfortun e for a period of twenty years. H e canno t immediately tr ansfe r his love fr o m her to me, even although I may h a ve previous claims up o n him ; a nd his indiffer e nce would wound me more s eve r e ly, pain me more deeply, make me far more unh a ppy than I am now, wh e n he is not aware of my pr e se nce . Ju st now it i s my l ot to suff e r and be s il e nt." But j\fatinka very l ov in g l y e mbracc cl Menzikoff's chil

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The Perils of Greatn e ss. I 11 tlren when they came to th ank h e r and to say farewell For were they not also her childr e n 1 Sh e had entmsted Florin with the secret of his birth b efo re he l eft for Beresow with his father, whom he a ll the more g ladly and willin g ly attended, pronouncmg now far more tenderly the w o rd " Father," whi c h he had u sed eve r since the deceased Princess had reque s t e d him, when ad dr ess in g :Menzikoff. The latter did n o t n ot ice the cha n ge in :M ichaelnw's be h avio ur, o r, if he did observe the evi d e nt affect ion which his co ndu ct b etra yed, he beli eve d it ar ose from the int e r e st which Mi c hacl o w took in his mournful fate. Th e you ng Prince had al so become more familiar with l\fi c ha e low. Mi sfo rtun e h a d made him mor e mildly di spose d, and com pletely br o k e n his pride, while the two Princess e s con3idered and tr ea ted the faithful se rvant as a member of their family. The bounty of Simonow and his sister h ad supplied the poor banished on es with many conveniences and nece ssaries , whi c h proved most u sefu l, partly on th e ir joL1rney, and partly at their place of de s tinati o n. The j ourney continued with o ut i ntermission, while the air bec ame ever colder, and the day s s h o rt e r, as th e y pro ceeded farth e r a nd farther nor th . All n a tur a l lif e appea red to have died, and rarely did th e y meet a travell e r g a ll op ing p as t in his s l e dge drawn by dogs or r e inde e r. The s un s eeme d t o h a ve l ost all its brightne ss , fo r witho ut dazzling th ei r eyes th e y co uld gaze intently OD its r ed d is c, and was visible a few hours only above the h o riz o n , while sometime s several s un s c o uld be see n oeside one anot h e r. Such fal se 3uns and false moons frequ ently are formed by the air becoming so cond e n sed by cold th a t it r ece iv es and r e fl ect s like a mirror the im age of the r ea l sun o r moon. This is one of the mo s t fearfully b eaut iful s p ect a c les that can be se e n in n at ure.

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112 The P eril s of G reatness . CHAPTER XIII. THE convicts reached the lit t le town of Beresow iu the very d ept h of winter. It was wonderful that some of their members at l eas t were not fr ostbitte n on the long journey, from the inten se cold. Th e re stood th e low wooden hous es, on the extensive plain, lon e ly and still as death ; at long int ervals a person, wrapped in th e skins of wild beasts, was seen moving qui c kly over the s n ow . ThE Prince and his family )Ve re receiv e d r ough ly by the com mandant of th e place, and were a ss i gned a wood e n hut, in which on entering they found nothing but a small slab for the fire-place, r e presenting the kit c h e n. There was only one ro om, wh e re a lar ge stove, built of clay and bricks, but which might at the same time serve as a comfort ab le b e d, took up a great part o f the space. This, and a few wooden form s , a r o u ghly made table and bare wooden walls, were all tha f they met with in thei.J little house . A few small windows with panes of isinglass, through which only half th e d a yli g ht could pi e rce, shed a dim twili g ht a t full noonday, and made the li g ht of a mioer a ble t a llow candle or pine t o rch a lways n ee dful Here, o f course, no tape s try, mirrors, chan e li ers , curtains, easy chairs, or sofas were to be found. No hand some and comfortable carpet covered the dirty fl oor . Here each memb e r of the family h a d not a sepa r a te apartment, but one room served the whole, both for eating aud slee ping . Instead of pleasant beds of down, they found a few wool l e n bed-covers and shaggy bear-skins only. Ev e n he most n e ce ss ary ut ens ils, as plates, spoons, pot s , and like needful h o u se -furni s hings, w e re wanting. " Th e Prince, ind ee d, r ece i ve d ten r ou ble s daily for his own

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Fhe Perz'ls o/ Crreatness. 113 and his fam ily '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 immen se distances; every family therefore provided themselves with the necessary sup plies before winter set in, and then baked their own bread. Here was neither beer nor wine, as both would have been congealed into ic e, even in the casks. If they wished to drink water, or cook soup, they had first to fill a pot with snow or i ce, and melt it over the fire. With money they could purchase spirits, and smoked, dried, or frozen fish ; but delicate groceries and nourishing h erbs were trouble some to acquire-for the J ew who dealt in them demanded the very highest price, as they could be obtained only from him. In summer the inh ab it ants were able to supply themselyes 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 c uts off communication between the two places. It was a great blessing, therefore, that the banished family had been so generously and abundantly supplied w ith these necessaries by Michaelow's mother and uncle, and it was pleai.ant to observe with what zeal the good Michaelow attended to their humble housekeeping. He was a l ways the first out of bed-one which he had erected for himself in the farthest corner of the room. His first act was to kindle the kitchen fire, he having purchased firewood on the first day of their arriva l, which, with the help of the young Prince, he had sp lit and built inside the house. If the fire burned brightly, he lifted a large pot . filled with pieces of i ce thereon, in preparation for break H

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114 The Perz'lsof 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 in s tead of the bread soup. After breakfast, both the young men made excur s ions into the surrounding country, to hunt wild animals for the sake of their skins or to provide fl es h for dinner : while the maidens put their little apartment in order, and then either wash e d and repaired, or made new clothing for some of their number. Menzikoff, however, remained despondingly on his wooden bench, and gaz e d 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 th e ir delicate fingers, straining their ey es in the continual twilight. After sever a l hours' absence, the youths would return, their breath frozen and h ~ nging 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 ermin e s. They were joyfully welc'Jmed by the sisters, to whom they ch~erfully told their ad ve ntures; but their ~ father did not min g le in the convers a tion. He obeyed patiently as a child when invited to meals, but in general he remained silent. After dinner, at their father's r e quest, the maidens also went out to have an airing in company with the young men ; and when th e y returned home with blooming cheeks, they always found their father on hls knees engaged in most earn es t prayer. They could over hear his voice on entering the kitchen ~s he cried to God, and humbled himself bri1Jre Him for the forgivene ss of his _,.

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The Perils of' Greatness. 1 I 5 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 par tition, filled the listeners with inward sadness. This con tinued grief, unbroken by any pleasure, threatened to extinguish the spark of life, for his strength, from his ne glecting 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 b n ck 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 a\vay, with its gloomy days, long nights, fiery northern lights, false suns, ::md 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 joy ful vivacity awoke among the inhabitants. They exult ingly left their smoky huts to enli-ren the newly re-ani mated land by their indu s try. Ev e n Menzikoff could no

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I 16 The Perils o.f Greatness. longer withstand the calls of re-awakened nature and the @treaties of his children. One fine evening he wandered down to the banks of the Soswa with them, when, to im prove as much as possible the long summer day, during which the sun seldom disappeared entirely from the noc turnal heavens, all bestirred themselves with cheerful dili gence 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 ~xultation, amidst the joyous shouting of the sailors. Long rafts, composed of large trunks of trees bound to gether, 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 at tention 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 1 My Emperor once wielded thn heavy axe, for many months, in building a frail shi1,, a

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The Perils o/ Greatness. water-house, which threatened destruction to men ; and shall I, a poor convict, be ashamed to lift the axe to pro vide 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 wit~-i 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 llfichaelow. While the great trunks resounded under the rapid strokes of their in s tru ments, the Princesses shaped the costly materials for the hangings of the altar, and interwove gold and silver em broidery with them. Menzikoff never rested for refre s ment, and scarcely allowed himself a few hours' sleep ; and this too hasty change from complete inactivity to unceas ing exertion was far from being healthy,-in fact, was con suming his str e ngth 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

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1 18 T!te Ped!s of Greatness. completion of their holy labours. He then called l\Iichae l ow 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 mad e, but I have not de serve d it. It would be the most bitter ingr a titude if I or my children should wish to deprive you longer of your life's enjoyment, to which you can lay so just cl a ims. Ther efo re le a ve us to our fate in this place of punishment. Thanks to your love and faithful ness, my children are n ow accustomed to labour and priva tions of all kinds, and have l ea rned to suit them se lves to their changed fate. On this account, your loss will be less felt by us than it might h ave been at the commencement of our re si d e nce h e re. But you have yet a dear mother and sister, and it is your duty in this life to devote your self to them. Return, th erefo re, and enjoy with them the sweet reward which a pure conscience n eve r fails to give." Mich ae low sought to object, and r epeate d his form e r promise never to forsake the Prince, but the latter would not receive it. " I can by no means inv o lv e you further in my unhappy fate,'' said he. " Is it not b ad enough that my poor chil dren mu s t bear a share of th e ir father's guilt r' The Prince was inflexible in his resolution, and his lan guage was likewise so earnest, that Michaelow was out wardly obliged to submit ; he only b egged the Prince's per m'i.ssion to remain until he had inform e d his mother of the Prince's pleasure and had rec e ived her answel', which wa,S granted him. Menzikoff's children could only think with sorrow of a separation from th e ir faithful l\fichaelow, but :.:\fonzikoff asked him almost daily if he had rec e ived any answer from his mother. Four weeks had nearly elapsed

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The Perils of Gr ea tn es s. 1 I 9 when :Michaclow informed him , in r ep ly to this oftrepeated question, that he had received intelli gence from bis mother . He did this with downcast looks and a sorrowful air, but the Prince urged his departure immedi ate ly. While t ea n flowed freely, Micbaelow, with the help of his sobbing sisters, packed up his few posses s i o ns; and when he bad finished this, :M:enzikoff, d eeply moved, addressed him thus," Go, my son, make use of w bat still r e mains of the summer for your life, and may the Lord be pleased to 11ros per you." "My father," said Micbaelow, with faltering voice, kneel i ng before the Prince. " Be pleased to bless me. I am Florin, your son and Matinka's." The Prince could not believe his ears. His uprais ed bands remained outstretched as in blessing. His eyes sought with evident anxiety to re ad confirmation of wh a t he beard in Florin's feat ures. " How 1 " stammered he at l ength. " 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 be uttered these words . " You break my old heart," return ed Menzikoff. " Yonr only paternal inh eritance ! Truly you are ri gh t, my poor son. You have had a false father. Ob, wretch that I am!" His le gs shook beneath him ; and be was so exhausted that his children were obliged to carry him to a seat . " My father," Florin again began, with unspeakable an guish, " have you no friendly word for your son 1 Will you not even embrace me, that I may once fee l your h eart b ea t against mine 1 " "D a re I do so, my dear a fflicted son 1 Can, then, a

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I 20 The Perils of Greatness. barbarian like me be worthy of pos sess ing a child so good 1" He opened his tr em bling arms, and Florin flung himself o n his he a ving breast. The two men b e came like children. Th e y held each other in a mutual embrace, th e ir eyes streamed with tears, a nd the other children mingled their ge ntl e weeping with th e ir impetuous sobs. "If old, my children," Menzik o ff b eso u g ht, "my poor h ea rt br eaks 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 th ey 1 Now it strikes me as if I had seen them both in Tobol s k.'' " You are right, my dear father," returned Florin. "And yet they did not make thems e lves 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 suffer ing mind." " Willin g ly would my mother and s ister have accom panied you here, my father!" r et urned 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, beP.n cruel towards them; but I had neither forgotten you nor them. Often I thou gh t of you, even while I stood by the side of the Czar, and more frequently, and more long ingly, in solitude. Oh, now, I remember well your mother's voi ce, when she exclaimed to me in Tobolsk,

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The Perils of Greatness. I 2 1 ':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 im possible. My mother and sister are here. If you wi s h it, they will be with you immediately." Menzikoff rose up hastily. " Where are they 1" 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 ont before him, and returned leading Matiuka and Helene by the hand. The re-union of the lon g separated hu sba nd and wife was truly affecting. Menzikoff held Matinka's right h a nd 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. "Y es, you have indeed forgiven me, d ea r wife," he sobbed. "0 God, thou hast deprived me of an angel, and in her r oom thou hast pres e nted me, unworthy mortal, with two." And Menzikoffs children -the Princ ess 's and Matiuka's children-kissed and embraced each oth e r and the old couple. After the first pleasure of meeting was a little abated, Menzikoff led Matinka away to the church. None accom panied them, for they wished, unseen by human eye, to re turn thanks unto the L ord of lord s , who had brought them together again. The sheltering roof of the little church was not yet completed ; but, the eternal sun, instead, looked down fr o m his high heavenly d ome , sending down his rays of blessings up o n the kn ee ling hu s band and wife.

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r 2 2 The Perils of Greatness. Henceforth nothing more was said of sepa ration ; but the whole scene h a d much affected the old Prince. He felt himself extremely weak, but un spea k ab ly happy. He only ch er i shed one wish, and thi s wa.s a l so to be granted him. The roof of the little church was fini s hed before the beginning of winter, and a priest found to conduct the wor• ship of God. When the last s troke of the axe and ham mer, the last sound of the impl e m e nts u se d in its erec tion, had scarcely died away, the little bell in its turret called the inhabitants of B e re s ow to engage in the solemn consecration of the house of God. Those employed among the wood laid a s ide their axes, and j o in e d them se lves to the ha st ily united as se mbly of tl10 faithful The lights burn e d in the now darkened church, beaming upon the b ea utifully painted pi ct ure of the Saviour, with a golden halo round the he a d, and the richly embroidered h a ngings of the altar, prepar e d by M:enzikoff's dau ghte rs. The song of praise rose devoutly as the service of God began; and after the consecration was conclud ed , th e crowd of believers separated themselves into two rows, between which a fes tively attired elderly couple walk e d up to the altar, fol lowed clos e ly by three m ai d e ns, beautiful as angels, and th ese by two young men. They were :M:enzikoff and M:a t inka, and their children. Th e priest bles se d anew the tie of wedlock which ambition an d covetousness previously destroyed ; and, as before, in the solemn hour of separation, thr ee times three strokes of the clock resounded from the turret, but on this occasion, not as a token of separation, but of bles s ing. As the plate of steel, which newly from the forge glows l!O brilliantly in pure vital air, but quickly dims as it cools, so was it with M:enzikoff's strength in his present ha p py condition. H e saw him se lf recon c iled t o Goel , to his fate.

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The Perils of Greatness. 123 to his repudiated wife, and to his conscience. What could he wish for more 1 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 fail. ing, with great composure and pleasant resignation he laid himself down on bis 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 pl easa nt smile which constantly rest e d on his countenance ; the intense cold held it fast, and with it was he laid in his cold g rave. Those whom he had left behind spent the winte r in mourning for the lost, and before the h e ralds of spring r e turned, intelligence of the sudden death of the Czar reached Beresow. Th e small-pox had put an en d to his life and power. Elizabeth, a granddaughter of Peter the Gr~at, was placed on the Russian throne, one of whose first acts was to pard o n the unfortunate l\fenzikoff, 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 al r ead y be e n sufficient for him. Yet the goodness of the Empress was of us e to his children. They were again sud denly rich, and distinguished; Matinka's, on the other hand, again poor and humble . Misfortune, however, had made all wis e r. "My brother," said P rince Alexander to Florin, embrac ing him, " that whi c h is mine belongs also to you; l et us ever continue faithfully united as brothers ." He al s o spoke in like manner to Matinkn. and Hel e ne, a s

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r 24 The Perils_ of Gr~atness. did likewise both the Princess es ; and they kept their word. Together they all entered upon the return journey. United they remain e d during their lives. Good uncle Simonow also entered th e ir mournful family circle. Al though the Princ esses were sub se quently marri e d to r:obles of the empire, and Alexander gradually rose step by . step, yet the bond of fri e ndship r e mained ever as firm, as when misfortune and fidelity had newly bound it around them. But Matinka and h e r children enjoyed the mo s t unmixed happiness, for th e y r e mained in th e ir humble position, and acc e pted no more of Menzik off' s offer e d wealth than what with indu s try and frugality th e y required for th e ir sub s is tence. When Alexander or his si.">ters visited their relatives and former companions in misfortune, and witnessed their homely h a ppin ess, they never l e ft them without expressing this lively conviction, " You are happier than we, for you are contented, but we are only ri ch." Far in the north of Siberia lies Menzikoff's grave ; re moved a long way from it li es that of his s eco nd.lady, and yet farther removed by Mo s cow re s ts Matinka and h er children, but the great day of the L ord will r e unite th e m all, for WITH Gon ALL THIN GS ARE PO SSIB LE. THE ENn . PR I NTED nv BALLANTYNE A r-.D COMPANY EDINBURG H AND LO:-:OON

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