Elizabeth, or, The exiles of Siberia

Material Information

Elizabeth, or, The exiles of Siberia a tale
Added title page title:
Exiles of Siberia
Cottin ( Sophie ), 1770-1807
Nimmo, William Philip, 1831-1883 ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
William P. Nimmo
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
125 p., [1] leaf of plates : col. ill. ; 17 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Exiles -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Exiles -- Juvenile fiction -- Siberia (Russia) ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1878
fiction ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


General Note:
Imprint also notes publisher's location in Edinburgh.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
from the French of Madame Cottin.

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 ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
022621188 ( ALEPH )
22651182 ( OCLC )
AHH6735 ( NOTIS )


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ON the banks of the Irtish, which rises in Calmuck Tar-
tary and falls into the Oby, is situated Tobolsk, the capital
of Siberia; bounded on the north by forests of eleven
hundred versts in length, extending to the borders of the
Frozen Ocean, and interspersed with rocky mountains
covered with perpetual snows, around it are sterile plains,
whose frozen sands have seldom received an impression
from the human foot, and numerous frigid lakes, or rather
stagnant marshes, whose icy streams never watered a
meadow, nor opened to the sunbeam the beauties of
a flower. On approaching nearer to the pole, these stately
productions of nature, whose sheltering foliage are so grate-
ful to the weary traveller, totally disappear: brambles,
dwarf birches, and shrubs alone ornament this desolate
spot; but even these, further on, vanish, leaving nothing
but awampo covered with a useless moss, and present, as

Elizabeth; or,

it were, the last efforts of expiring nature. But still,
amidst the horror and gloom of an eternal winter, Nature
displays some of her grandest spectacles-the aurora bore-
alis, inclosing the horizon like a resplendent arch, emits
columns of quivering light, and frequently offers to view
sights which are unknown in a more southern hemisphere.
South of Tobolsk is the province called Ischim,-plains
strewed with the repositories of the dead, and divided by
lakes of stagnant and unwholesome water, separate it from
the Kerquis, an idolatrous and wandering people. It is
bounded on the left by the river Irtish, and on the right
by the Tobol, the naked and barren banks of which present
to the eye fragments of rocks promiscuously heaped together,
with here and there a solitary fir-tree rearing its head;
beneath them, in a space formed by an angle of the river,
is the small village of Saimka, about six hundred versts
from Tobolsk; situated in the furthest extremity of the
circle, in the midst of a desert, its environs are as gloomy
as the sombre light which illuminates their hemisphere,
and as dreary as the climate.
The province of Ischim is nevertheless entitled the Italy
of Siberia, since it enjoys nearly four months of summer,
though the winter is rigorous to an excess. The north
winds which blow during that period are so incessant, and
render the cold so piercing, that even in September the
Tobol is paved with ice; a heavy snow falls upon the
earth, and disappears not before the end of May; but from
the time that it begins to dissolve, the celerity with which
the trees shoot forth their leaves and the fields display


The Exiles of Siberia. 3

their verdure, is almost incredible; three days is the short
period that nature requires to bring her plants to maturity.
The blossoms of the birch-tree exhale an odoriferous scent,
and the wild flowers of the field decorate the ground; flocks
of various kinds of fowl play upon the surface of the lakes;
the white crane plunges among the rushes of the solitary
'marsh to build her nest, which she plaits with reeds, whilst
the flying squirrels in the woods, cutting the air with their
bushy tails, hop from tree to tree, and nibble the buds of
the pines, and the tender leaves of the birch. Thus the
natives of these dreary regions experience a season of
pleasure; but the unhappy exiles who inhabit it-alas!
Of these miserable beings the greater part reside in the
villages situated on the borders of the river, between
Tobolsk and the extremest boundary of Ischim; others are
dispersed in cottages about the country. The government
provides for some, but many are abandoned to the scanty
subsistence they can procure from the chase during the
winter season, and all are objects of general commiseration.
Indeed, the name they give the exiles seems to have been
dictated by the tenderest sympathy, as well as a strong
conviction of their innocence,-they call them "Unfortu-
A few versts from Saimka, in the centre of a marshy
forest, ipon the border of a deep circular lake, surrounded
with black poplars, resided one of these banished families,
consisting of three persons-a man about five-and-forty,
his wife, and a beautiful daughter in the bloom of youth.

Elizabetl ; or,

Secluded in the desert, this little family were strangers
to the intercourse with society; the father went alone to
the chase; but neither had he, his wife, or daughter been
ever seen at Saimka, and except one poor Tartar peasant,
who waited on them, no human being entered their dwell-
ing. The governor of Tobolsk only was informed of their
birth, their country, and the cause of their banishment;
the secret he had not even confided to the lieutenant of
his jurisdiction, who was established in Saimka. In com-
mitting these exiles to his care, he had merely given orders
that they might be provided with a comfortable lodging,
a garden, food, and raiment, accompanied with a positive
charge to restrict them from all communication with any
one, and particularly to intercept any letter they might
attempt to convey to the court of Russia
So much consideration, such mystery and strict precau-
tion, excited a suspicion that, under the simple name of
Peter Springer, the father of this family concealed one
more illustrious, and misfortunes of no common nature;
the effect, perhaps, of some great crime, or possibly a
victim to the hatred and injustice of the Russian ministers.
But every endeavour to discover the truth of these con-
jectures having proved ineffectual, curiosity was soon ex-
tinguished, and all interest in the fate of the new exiles
died with it; indeed, they were so seldom seen that they
were soon forgotten; and if, in pursuit of the chase, some
straggling sportsman rambled towards the lake of the forest,
and inquired the name of the inhabitants of the hut upon
its border, the only answer to be obtained was, that they


The Exiles of Siberia.


were unfortunate exiles;" and on quitting the spot, a
secret prayer that the Almighty might one day restore
them to their country, was the tribute of compassion gene-
rally bestowed.
Peter Springer had built their little cottage himself;
it was of the wood of fir-trees, thatched with straw; de-
tached masses of rocks defended it from the sweeping
blasts of the north wind, and from the inundations of the
lake. These rocks, formed of a soft peeling granite, in
their exfoliation reflected the rays of the sun; mush-
rooms sprung from their crevices, some of a pale pink,
others of a saffron colour, or of a grayish blue, like those
of the lake Baikal, announced the earliest days of spring
and in those cavities, where hurricanes had scattered loose
earth, pines and service-trees buried their roots, and raised
their tender foliage.
On the southern side of the lake the forest consisted
only of underwood, thinly scattered, and leaving open to
view the uncultivated plains beyond, covered with burying-
places and monuments of the dead: many had been pil-
laged, and the bones strewed upon the earth,--the only
remains of a nation that had been consigned to eternal
oblivion, had not the gold and jewels, buried with its
people in the bowels of the earth, revealed to avarice its
To the east of this extensive plain, a little wooden chapel
had been erected by the primitive Christians; on that side
the tombs had been respected; under the cross which
adorned it, (the honoured memorial of every virtue,) no

Elizabeth ; or,

one had dared to profane the ashes of the dead. In these
plains, or steppes, (the name they bear in Siberia,) Peter
Springer, during the long and severe winter of the northern
climate, spent his days in hunting: he killed elks, which
feed on the leaves of the willow and poplar; sometimes
he caught sables, but more frequently ermines, which are
very numerous in that spot; with the price he obtained
for their fur, he procured from Tobolsk different articles
which greatly contributed to the comfort of his wife and
the education of his daughter. The long winter evenings
were devoted to the instruction of the young Elizabeth;
who, seated between her parents, would read aloud some
passage of history, while Springer directed her attention
to those parts which could elevate and expand' her mind,
and Phedora, her mother, to all that could make it tender
and compassionate;-one pointed out to her the beauties
of heroism and glory, the other all the charms of piety and
benevolence;-her father reminded her of the dignity and
sublimity of virtue, her mother of the support and consola-
tion it affords;-the first taught how highly to revere, the
latter how carefully to cherish it. From these united
instructions Elizabeth acquired a disposition at once heroie
and gentle, uniting the courage and energy of the father
to the angelic mildness of the mother; at once ardent and
enterprising as the exalted ideas of honour could render
her, docile and submissive as the blindest votary of love.
But as soon as the snow began to yield to the power of
the sun, and a slight shade of verdure appeared upon the
earth, the whole family was busily engaged in the culture


The Exiles of Siberia.


of their garden; Springer turned up the earth, while Eliza-
beth sowed the seeds prepared by the industrious hand of
Phedora. Their little enclosure was surrounded by plan-
tations of alder, of white cornel, and a species of birch
much esteemed in Siberia, its blossom being the only one
that affords a fragrant smell. On the southern side of
this plantation Springer had built a sort of hot-house, in
which he cultivated with the greatest assiduity and care
various flowers unknown in that climate; when they were
in full bloom he would gather them, and pressing them to
his lips, ornament the brow of his daughter, saying,-" Eliza-
beth, adorn yourself with the flowers of your native coun-
try, their fate resembles yours; like you they flourish in
a foreign land. Oh may your end be more fortunate than
theirs !"
Except during these moments of emotion, he was calm
and silent upon the subject of his misfortunes. For hours
together he would remain absorbed in the deepest thought,
his eyes fixed upon the same object, seated in the same
spot. The caresses of his wife, and more especially those
of his daughter, at these times seemed rather to increase
than alleviate his misery. He would sometimes take her
in his arms, and pressing her to his bosom, exclaim, pre-
senting her to her mother, "Take her, Phedora! take our
child her fate and yours rend my heart Ah why did
you follow me ? Had you abandoned me to my own suffer-
ings, had you not insisted upon partaking of them, it seems
to me that even in this desert I could have been content,
knowing you and my child were living happy and respected


Elizabeth; or,

in our native land !" The gentle Phedora seldom answered
him but with tears; her looks, her words, her actions, all
bore testimony to the tender and sincere affection by which
she was attached to her husband. Separated from him,
she could have known no happiness; nor did she regret
so forcibly their exile from their country, or their fall from
grandeur, when she reflected that high dignities, places of
trust and danger, might have detained him at a distance
from her; in exile he never quitted her; and therefore she
could have almost rejoiced in Siberia, but for the grief
she endured at seeing the affliction with which his soul
was rent.
Although Phedora had passed the first season of youth,
she was still beautiful; devoted to her Creator, her husband,
and her child, time was unable to efface the charms that
innocence and virtue had imprinted on her countenance.
She seemed to have been created for love in its greatest
purity; and if such were her destiny, it had been fulfilled.
Attentive to all the wishes of her husband, she watched his
looks to discover what could contribute to his comfort or
pleasure, that she might anticipate his wish before he had
expressed it. She prepared their repasts herself. Order,
neatness, and comfort was the characteristic of their little
abode. The largest apartment served as a sleeping-room for
herself and Springer; it was warmed by a stove; the walls
were decorated with the drawings and work of Phedora and
her daughter, and the windows were glazed-a luxury sel-
dom to be met with in this country, and for which they
were indebted to the profit Springer derived from the chase.

The Exiles of Siberia.


Two small rooms completed their habitation; one was oc-
cupied by Elizabeth; in the other, where the garden and
kitchen utensils were kept, slept the Tartarian peasant,
their only attendant.
Their days were spent in superintending domestic con-
cerns; in making different articles of clothing out of the
skins of the reindeer, which they dyed with a preparation
from the bark of the birch, and lined with thick furs; but
when Sunday arrived, Phedora secretly lamented that she
.was deprived from attending divine service, and spent great
part of the day in prayer. Prostrate before the God of all
consolation, she invoked Him in behalf of the objects of her
tenderness; and if her piety daily increased, one of the
principal causes was, that her ideas and her expressions be-
came more eloquent, and better adapted to bestow that
consolation her husband so much required, in proportion as
her soul became elevated by devotion.
The young Elizabeth, who knew no other country than
the desolate one which she had inhabited from the age of
four years, discovered beauties which nature bestows even
upon those inhospitable climes; and innocence finding
pleasure everywhere, she amused herself with climbing the
rocks which bordered the lake, in search of the eggs of
hawks and white vultures, who build their nests there during
summer. Sometimes she caught wood-pigeons to fill a little
aviary, and at others angled for the corrasines, which move
in shoals, whose purple shells, lying against one another,
appear through the water like a sheet of fire covered with
liquid silver. It never occurred to the happy days of her

Elizabeth ; or,

childhood that there could be a lot more fortunate than her
own. Her health was established by the keen air she
breathed; and exercise in her light figure united agility
and strength; while her countenance, beaming with inno-
cence and peace, each day seemed to disclose some new
charm. Thus, far removed from the busy world and man-
kind, did this lovely girl improve in beauty-for the eyes
only of her parents, to charm no heart but theirs; like the
flower of the desert, which blooms before the sun, and ar-
rays itself in not less brilliant colours because it is destined
to shine only in the presence of that luminary to which it
is indebted for its existence.
The most fervent affections are those which are least
divided :thus Elizabeth, who knew no one besides her
parents, (consequently could love none but them,) loved
them with a fervour that scarcely admitted of comparison:
they were the protectors of her childhood, the partakers of
her amusements, her only society; she knew nothing but
what they had taught her; to them was she indebted for
her talents, her knowledge, her studies, her recreations, and
everything; and feeling that without them she could do
nothing, enjoy nothing, she delighted in a dependence that
was felt only through the medium of the benefits resulting
from it. When reason and reflection, however, succeeded to
the carelessness of childhood, Elizabeth observed the tears
of her mother, and perceived that her father was unhappy.
She often pressed them to be told the cause, but could obtain
no other answer than that they regretted at being such a
distance from their country ; but with the name of that

The Exiles of Siberia.


country, or the rank they held in it, they had never trusted
her, fearing to excite a vain regret by informing her of the
elevated rank from which they had been precipitated into
banishment. From the time that Elizabeth discovered the
affliction of her parents, her thoughts no longer flowed in
the same channel, and the whole tenor of her life altered.
The innocent amusements she had so much enjoyed, lost
all their attractions: her birds were neglected, and her flowers
were forgotten; when she went down to the lake, it was no
longer to cast the bait, or to navigate her little canoe, but
to meditate profoundly upon a scheme which had become
the sole occupation of her mind. Sometimes seated upon
a projecting rock, her eyes fixed upon the waters of the lake,
she reflected upon the griefs of her parents, and on the
means of alleviating them. They wept for their country;
Elizabeth knew not where this country was situated, but
that they were unhappy out of it was sufficient; all her
thoughts were directed to devise some plan for restoring
them to it. She would then raise her eyes to heaven to
implore that assistance she could alone expect from thence,
and would remain buried in a reverie so profound, that the
snow, falling in large flakes, and driven with violence against
her by the wind, could not disturb it: but if her parents
called, in an instant she would descend from the tops of the
rocks, to receive the lessons of her father, or to assist her
mother in her domestic avocations. But with them or
alone, whether engaged in reading or occupied with her
needle, one idea only pursued her, one project held constant
possession of her mind; this project she kept profoundly

1 2 Elizabeth; or,

secret, resolved not to mention it till the moment of her
departure should arrive.
Yes : she resolved to tear herself from the embraces of
her parents-to proceed alone, on foot, to Petersburg, and
to implore pardon of the emperor for her father. Such was
the bold design which had presented itself to her imagina-
tion, such was the daring enterprise the dangers of which
could not daunt the heroic courage of a young and timid
female. She beheld in their strongest light many of the
impediments she must surmount; but her confidence in the
Creator, and the ardour of her wishes, encouraged her; and
she felt convinced that she should overcome them all. As
her scheme, however, began to unfold itself, and she re-
flected upon the means of carrying it into execution, her
ignorance could not fail to alarm her : she had never passed
the boundaries of the forest she inhabited; how then was
she to find her way to Petersburg ? how could she travel
through countries inhabited by people who spoke a language
unknown to her ? She must subsist upon charity: to sub-
mit to this, she recalled to her aid those precepts of humility
her mother had so carefully inculcated; but her father had
so often spoken of the inflexibility of mankind, that she
dreaded being reduced to implore their compassion. Eliza-
beth was too well acquainted with the tenderness of her
parents to indulge the hope that they would facilitate her
journey. It was not to them she could in this instance have
recourse. To whom, then, could she apply in a desert, where
she lived secluded from the rest of the world? to whom
address herself in a dwelling, the entrance to which was


The Exiles of Siberia. r 3

forbidden to every human being Still, she did not de-
spair : the remembrance of an accident, to which her father
had nearly fallen a victim, had engraven upon her mind
the conviction, that there is no place so desolate in which
Providence cannot hear the prayers of the unfortunate and
afford to them assistance.
Some years before, Springer had been delivered from
imminent peril, upon one of the high rocks which form
a boundary to the Tobol, by the intrepidity of a young
stranger. This brave youth was the son of M. de Smoloff,
the governor of Tobolsk; he came every winter to the plains
of Ischim to hunt elks and sables, and sometimes bears,
which are frequently seen in the environs of Saimka. In
this dangerous chase he had met Springer, and was the means
of saving his life. From that period the name of Smoloff,
had never been mentioned in the abode of the exiles but
with reverence and gratitude; Elizabeth and her mother
felt the most lively regret at not knowing their benefactor,
that they might offer him their acknowledgments and bene-
dictions; to heaven they daily offered them for him; and
indulged the hope, at each return of the hunting season,
that chance might lead him to their hut. But they hoped
in vain; its entrance had been forbidden to him, as well as
to every one else; and he lamented not the restriction, as
he was yet ignorant of the treasure this humble habitation
Nevertheless, since Elizabeth had been thoroughly con-
vinced of the difficulty of leaving the desert without some
buman aid, her thoughts had frequently rested upon young


Elizabeth: or,

Smoloff. Such a protector would have dissipated all her
terrors, and might have vanquished all the obstacles that
opposed her design. Who was better calculated than he to
give all the information she required respecting her journey
from Saimka to Petersburg? to instruct her in what method
to get her petition delivered to the emperor ? and should
her flight irritate the governor, who was better calculated
than a son to soften his resentment, move his compassion,
and save her parents from being made responsible for her
transgression ?
Thus did she reflect on all the advantages which were
likely to result from such a support; and as winter drew
near, she resolved not to let the hunting season pass away
without taking some steps to inform herself whether young
Smoloff was in the country; and, if so, of seeking an oppor.
tunity to speak to him.
Springer had been so much affected by the terror of his
wife and daughter at the mere recital of the danger he had
incurred, that -he promised never again to engage in the
bear-hunt, nor to extend his walks beyond the plain but in
pursuit of squirrels or ermines. Notwithstanding this pro-
mise, Phedora could not see him depart for a distance with-
out terror; and she continued till his return in a state of
agitation and anxiety, as if his absence was the presage of
some calamity.
A heavy fall of snow, congealed into a solid mass by an
intense frost, had completely covered the surface of the
earth, when, on a fine morning in the month of December,
Springer took his gun, and prepared for the chase. Before

The Exiles of Siberia. 15

his departure he embraced his wife and daughter, and pro-
mised to return before the close of the day; but the hour
had passed, night approached, and Springer arrived not.
Since the adventure which threatened his life, this was the
first time he had failed in the strictest punctuality, and the
terror of Phedora was indescribable. Elizabeth, while she
partook of it, sought every means to tranquillise her; she
would have flown to seek and succour her father, but she
had not resolution to leave her mother in the agony in
which she beheld her.
At length, however, the delicate and timid Phedora,
who had never ventured beyond the banks of the lake,
roused to exertion by the violence of her agitation, re-
solved to accompany her daughter, and, could she find her
husband, to incur any danger in offering him assistance.
They proceeded together through the underwood of the
forest towards the plain; the cold was severe in the ex-
treme; the firs appeared like trees of ice, their branches
being hid under a thick covering of hoar ?rost; a mist
obscured the horizon; night's near approach gave to each
object a still gloomier shade; and the ground, smooth as
glass, refused to support the steps of the trembling Phe-
dora. Elizabeth, reared in this climate, and accustomed
to brave the extremes severity of the weather, assisted
her mother, and led her on. Thus, a tree transplanted
from its native soil languishes in a foreign land; while the
young sapling that springs from its root, habituated to
the new climate, acquires strength, flourishes, and in a
few years sustains the branches of the trunk that nour-

Elizabeth; or,

ished it, protecting by its friendly shade the tree to which
it is indebted for existence. Before Phedora had reached
the plain, her strength totally failed. Rest here, my
dear mother," said Elizabeth, "and let me go alone to the
edge of the forest; if we stay longer, the darkness of the
night will prevent me from distinguishing my father in
the plain." Phedora supported herself against a tree, while
her daughter hastened forward, and in a few seconds
reached the plain: some of the monuments with which it
is interspersed are very high; Elizabeth climbed upon the
most elevated-her heart full of grief, her eyes dim with
tears-and gazed around in vain for her father; but all
was still and lonely: the obscurity of night began to ren-
der the search useless : terror almost suspended her facul-
ties, when the report of a gun revived her hopes. She
had never heard this sound but from the hand of her
father, and to her it appeared a certain sign that he was
near; she rushed towards the spot from whence the noise
proceeded, and behind a pile of rocks discovered a man in
a bending posture, apparently seeking something on the
ground. My father my father is it you V" she ex-
claimed. He turned hastily; it was not Springer; his
countenance was youthful, and his air noble ; at the sight
of Elizabeth he stood amazed. Oh, it is not my father !"
resumed she with anguish; but perhaps you may have
seen him on the plain ? Oh, can you tell me where to
find him "I know nothing of your father," answered
the stranger; "but surely you ought not to be here alone
at this unseasonable hour; you run great hazard, and

The Exiles of Siberia.


should not venture." "Oh !" interrupted she, "I fear
nothing but losing my father." As she spoke she raised
her eyes to heaven; their expression revealed at once
firmness in affliction, dignity united with softness; they
expressed the feelings of her soul, and seemed to foretell
her future destiny. The stranger had never seen a person,
nor had his imagination ever painted a vision, like Eliza-
beth; he almost believed himself in a dream. When the
first emotion of surprise had subsided, he inquired the
name of her father. "Peter Springer," she replied. "How !"
he exclaimed; "you are the daughter of the exile residing
in a cottage on the lake side Be comforted; I have seen
your father; it is not an hour since he left me; he was to
nake a circuit, and must be at home ere this."
Elizabeth listened no longer, but flew towards the spot
where she had left her mother, on whom she called with
the voice of joy, that the sound might reanimate her before
she could explain the cause; but Phedora was gone. The
terrified Elizabeth made the forest resound with the names
of her parents : a well-known voice answered her from the
lake-side; she redoubled her speed, arrived at the hut, and
found her father and mother at the door, their arms held
forth to receive her. Mutual embraces were followed by
mutual explanations; each of them had returned home by
a different road, but all were now united and happy. Not
till then did Elizabeth perceive that the stranger had fol-
lowed her. Springer immediately recognized him, and
said with profound regret, M. de Smoloff, it is very late;
but, alas you know I am not permitted to offer you an

Elizabeth; or,

asylum even for a single night." "M. de Smoloff!" ex-
claimed Elizabeth and her mother, our deliverer! is it
indeed he whom we behold ?" They fell at his feet, and
while Phedora, unable to express her acknowledgments,
bathed them with her tears, Elizabeth addressed him thus:
-" M. de Smoloff, three years have now elapsed since
you saved my father's life; during that period not a day
has passed on which our fervent prayers have not been
offered up to the Almighty to beseech Him to reward and
bless you." Your prayers, then, have been heard," an-
swered Smoloff, with the most lively emotion, since He
has deigned to guide my footsteps to this blessed abode.
The little good I did deserved not such a reward."
It was now night, profound darkness covered the forest;
a return to Saimka at this hour would be attended with
danger, and Springer knew not how to refuse the rights of
hospitality to his deliverer; but he had pledged his honour
to the governor of Tobolsk not to receive any one under
his roof; and to fail in his word solemnly given was a
dreadful alternative. He proposed, therefore, to the youth
to accompany him to Saimka. I will take a torch," said
he; I am well acquainted with every turn of the forest
and all those places we must avoid, and fear not to con-
duct you safely." The terrified Phedora rushed forward to
prevent him; and Smoloff, addressing him respectfully,
"Permit me, sir," said he, to solicit a shelter in your
cottage till break of day. I know what are my father's
injunctions,.-and the motives which compel him to shew
you so much severity; but I am certain that he would

The Exiles of Siberia.


allow me on this occasion to release you from your pro-
mise, and I will engage to return shortly to thank you
in his name for the asylum you will have granted me."
Springer conquered his scruples; he took the young man
by the hand, conducted him into his cottage, and placing
him near the stove, seated himself by his side, while Phe-
dora and her daughter prepared their repast.
Elizabeth was dressed according to the costume of the
peasants of Tartary, in trowsers made of the skin of the
reindeer, and a short petticoat of crimson stuff, looped up;
while her hair in graceful ringlets almost reached the
ground; a close vest, buttoned at the side, displayed to
advantage the elegance of her form; and her sleeves turned
back above the elbow, discovered her beautifully-shaped
arm. The simplicity of her dress seemed to enhance the mild
dignity of her manners; and all her gestures were accom-
panied with a grace which did not escape the observation
of Smoloff, who, as he watched her, experienced an emotion
to which he had been before a stranger. Elizabeth beheld
him with equal delight,-but it was a delight pure as her
mind, founded on the gratitude she owed him, and on the
hope of his assistance in the project she had so long in-
dulged. That Power, who dives into the inmost recesses
of the heart, beheld not in that of Elizabeth a single thought
which had not for its object the happiness of her parents;
for to them it was devoted, to the exclusion of every other
earthly attachment.
During supper young Smoloff informed his companions
that he had been three days at Saimka, where he had learnt

Elizabeth; or,

that a great number of ravenous wolves infested the neigh-
bourhood, and it was in contemplation to commence a
general chase, in the course of a few days, for the purpose
of destroying them. At this intelligence Phedora changed
colour; "I hope," said she, addressing her husband, "you
will not join in this dangerous diversion. Oh, do not
expose your life, the greatest of my blessings."-" Alas,
Phedora what is it you say ?" exclaimed Springer, with
a sensation of grief he could not repress. Of what value
is my life Were I gone, would it be any longer your
destiny to remain in this desolate place? Do you not
know what would restore liberty to yourself and to our
child Do you not know"--- Phedora interrupted him
with an exclamation expressive of the anguish of her soul.
Elizabeth rose from her seat, and drawing near her father,
took one of his hands: "My dear father," said she, "you
know that, reared in this forest, I am ignorant of every
other country; with you, my mother and I are happy,
in losing you, our happiness would be lost. I answer for
her, as for myself, without you we could not be happy in
any situation of the globe; no, not even in that country
you so much regret." Possibly, M. de Smoloff," resumed
Springer, after a short pause, you may think these words
should bring me comfort; on the contrary, they plunge the
poniard of grief still deeper in my bosom; that virtue,
which should be my delight, creates new pangs, when I
reflect that it will for ever be concealed in this desert, a
sacrifice to me; my Elizabeth will never be known, never
meet with the admiration and the love so justly her due."

The Exiles of Siberia.


Elizabeth hastily interrupted him : 0 my father placed
between my mother and you, can you tell me I am not
loved Springer, unable to moderate his affliction, con-
tinued thus :-" Never will you enjoy that happiness I
received from you; never will you hear the voice of a
beloved child addressing you in angelic words of consola-
tion; your life will be spent without a companion; with-
out any of the tender, the endearing ties of life, like a bird
wandering in a desert. Innocent victim you know not
the blessings from which you are debarred; but I, who
no longer possess the power of bestowing them upon you,
I know and feel, how deeply feel, their value !"
During this scene young Smoloff had in vain endeavoured
to repress his tears; they had fallen more than once : he
had attempted to speak, but his voice refused utterance:
at last, after a pause of some minutes, "Sir," said he,
"from the melancholy office which my father holds, you
must be well aware I am not a stranger to the sight of
distress: often have I travelled through the different
districts under his extensive jurisdiction. What lamenta-
tions have I heard! What solitary wretchedness have
I witnessed In the deserts of Berisow, upon the borders
of the Frozen Sea, I have seen men who possessed not in
the wide world a single friend, who never received a caress,
nor heard the soothing language of consolation; insulated
and separated from all mankind, they were not merely
banished, their misery admitted of no alleviation." "And
when Heaven has spared you and my child," interrupted
Phedora, addressing her husband in an accent of tender


Elizabeth; or,

reproach, "should you complain so bitterly? Had she
been taken from you, what would you have done?"
Springer shuddered at the idea; he seized his daughter's
hand, and pressing it to his heart with that of his wife,
he said, regarding them both tenderly,-" Ah Heaven be
my witness, how strongly I feel that I am not deprived of
every blessing."
As soon as the morning dawned, young Smoloff took
leave of the exiles. Elizabeth saw him depart with regret;
for she was impatient to reveal her project to him, and to
implore his assistance: not a moment's opportunity had
presented itself for her to speak to him in private : her
parents had never quitted the apartment, and she could
not address him unobserved in their presence: she hoped,
however, should she see him often, to be more fortunate;
and therefore, as he took leave, said in the most anxious
manner,-"Will you not come again, M. de Smoloff? Ah!
promise me that this is not to be the last time I am to see
the deliverer of my father."
Springer was surprised at the earnestness of her address,
and felt rather uneasy. He reflected upon the orders of
the governor, with a resolution not to disobey them a
second time. Smoloff replied to Elizabeth's request, that
he was certain of obtaining from his father an exception
in his favour, and should go that very day to solicit it.
" But, sir," said he to Springer, "when I am asking this
favour for myself, can I not deliver any message from you
Is there any favour you may also require at his hands ?'

The Exiles of Siberia.


"No, sir," answer Springer, with unusual gravity, "I have
no request to trouble you with." His guest looked down
dejected ; then, addressing himself to Phedora, repeated his
question in nearly the same terms. "Sir," she replied, "I
should be glad if he would allow me and my daughter to
go to Saimka on Sundays, to hear mass." Smoloff under-
took to obtain this permission; and departed with the
benedictions of the whole family, and the secret wishes of
Elizabeth for his speedy return.
During his walk back to Saimka, Smoloff could think
only of her. His imagination had been forcibly struck at
her first appearance in the desert; his heart had been
deeply interested in the scene which he had witnessed
afterwards between her and her parents ; he recalled to his
memory every word she had uttered-her looks, her man-
ner; and his mind dwelt particularly upon the last words
he heard her utter. Without this last address, a sort of
respect, approaching to veneration, would perhaps have
deterred him from presuming to love her; but the eager-
ness with which Elizabeth had expressed a desire of seeing
him again, the tender sentiment by which her request had
been accompanied, could not fail to excite a suspicion in
his mind that she had been actuated by feelings similar to
his own. His ardent and youthful imagination dwelt upon
the thought, and persuaded him that fate, not chance, had
brought about the adventure of the preceding evening, and
that a mutual sympathy now existed between them; he
was impatient to read, in the innocent heart of Elizabeth,


Elizabeth ; or,

the confirmation of all his hopes. How far was he from
imagining the sentiments he was destined on a future day
to discover there !
Since Smoloffs visit to the hut, Springer's melancholy
seemed to have increased. He reflected upon the gener-
osity, the intrepidity, the gentleness of character this young
man appeared to possess; and it was ever present to his
mind that such was the companion he would have chosen
for his daughter; but her situation prevented him from
dwelling on the idea: and far from being desirous of see-
ing Smoloff again, he dreaded his return; for it would have
been a far more insupportable affliction than any he had
yet experienced to see his child the pining victim of hope-
less love.
One evening, while plunged in deep dejection, his head
supported by his hand, his elbow resting on his knee, he
heaved a deep sigh. Phedora dropped her needle, and
fixing her eyes upon her husband, with an expression of
the most heartfelt commiseration, she implored Heaven to
enable her to banish his vain regret, and pour the balm of
consolation into his wounded soul.
Elizabeth, from a further corner of the room, observed
them both, and felt a secret joy as she reflected that a day
might possibly come when she should be able to restore
them to their former happiness, not doubting that Smo-
loff would encourage and facilitate her enterprise : a secret
instinct assured her that he would be moved by it, and
would assist her; but she feared the refusal of her parents,
and particularly that of her mother. Nevertheless, to de

The Exiles of Siberia. 25

part without their knowledge would be repugnant to her
feelings, nay, would be impossible, as she knew not the
name of their country, nor the nature of the offence for
which she was to supplicate forgiveness of the emperor. It
was necessary, then, to discover to them her intention, and
the present seemed to be a fit moment for the disclosure;
therefore, bending one knee to the ground, she fervently im-
plored aid from the Almighty, and that He would incline
her parents to grant her suit; then, approaching her father,
she stood behind him, leaning upon the back of the chair
on which he was seated, and remained silent for some
moments, in the hope that he would perceive and speak to
her; but he continued in the same dejected attitude; and
she broke the silence thus-" Will you permit me, my
father, to ask you a question?" He raised his head, and
made a sign that she might proceed. When M. de Smo-
loff inquired the other day if you wished for anything, you
answered, No. Is it true that there is nothing you wish
for ?" "Nothing that he could procure me." And who,
then, could grant your wish V" The hand of justice."
" My father, where is it to be found In heaven, my
child; but if you mean upon earth-nowhere." As he
ceased speaking, a deeper gloom overcast his brow, and he
resumed his melancholy position.
After a short pause, Elizabeth again broke silence thus
-" My dear father and mother," said she, in a tone of
animation, hear me; I have this day completed my
seventeenth year; this was the day on wiich I received
from you a being which will be valuable in my estimation,


Elizabeth; or,

if to you I am allowed to devote it; to you whom my
soul reveres and cherishes as the living images of my
Creator. From the time of my birth not a day has passed
away unmarked by your benefits, unendeared by tokens of
your love; hitherto the only return in my power to make
has been gratitude and tenderness; but what avails grati-
tude if it be not shewn ? what avails tenderness if I cannot
prove it? 0 my beloved parents, forgive the presump-
tion of your child; once in her life she would do for you
what, from the hour of her birth, you have so unceasingly
done for her. Condescend, then, to intrust her with the
secret of your misfortunes." My child, what wouldst
thou ask?" interrupted her father. "That you would in-
form me of as much as it is needful for me to know, to be
able to prove the extent of my regard for you. Heaven
bear testimony to the motive which induces me to make
this request." As she uttered these last words she fell on
her knees before her father, and raised her eyes towards
him with a look of the most moving supplication. An
expression so noble shone through the tears that overflowed
her countenance, and the heroism of her soul reflected an
air so angelic over the humility of her attitude, that a
suspicion of her intention instantaneously darted across
the mind of Springer. Unable to shed a tear or breathe a
sigh, he remained silent, motionless, struck with a sort of
awe, like that which the presence of an angel might have
inspired: no circumstance attending his misfortunes had
ever had power to move his soul to such a degree as the
words Elizabeth had uttered; and his firm spirit, that

The Exiles of Siberia.

even majesty could not intimidate, was subdued by the
voice of his child, and attempted in vain to strive against
the emotions that overpowered it.
While Springer remained silent, Elizabeth continued
kneeling before him : her mother approached to raise her:
seated behind her daughter, Phedora had not seen the
motion or the look which had revealed her secret to her
father: and was still far from imagining the trial her ten-
derness was threatened with. Why," said she-" Why do
you hesitate to confide to your child the history of our
misfortunes? Is it her youth that prevents you? Can
you fear that the soul of our Elizabeth will suffer itself to
be weakly depressed by the knowledge of our reverse of
fortune 7"
No," replied Springer, looking steadfastly on his
daughter; "no, it is not weakness I apprehend from her."
From these words, and the expressive look which accom-
panied them, Elizabeth saw that her father had understood
her : she pressed his hand in silence, that he alone might
comprehend her meaning; for she knew the heart of her
mother, and was'glad to retard the moment in which it
must be afflicted. 0 Heaven !" exclaimed Springer,
" forgive me that I dared to repine : I regretted the bless-
ings of which I was deprived, but knew not those you had
in store for me. Elizabeth, in this one happy day you
have made me ample amends for twelve years of suffering."
" My father !" she replied, say not again there is no real
happiness on earth, when the child of such a parent can be
blessed with hearing words like these. But, speak--tell



=rlizabeth; or,

me, I conjure you, your name, that of your country, and
the cause of your unhappiness." Unhappiness! I am
unhappy no longer: my country is wherever I can live
with my daughter; the name in which I place my greatest
glory is, that of the father of Elizabeth." 0 my child !"
interrupted Phedora, "I did not think the tenderness I
bore you could admit of increase; but you have afforded
consolation to your father."
At these words Springer's firmness was entirely sub-
dued : he burst into tears, and, pressing his wife and
daughter to his heart, repeated in a voice broken with
sobs, "Pardon, 0 Most High! pardon an ingrate, who
presumed to murmur at Thy decrees; and withhold the
chastisements his temerity has deserved."
When these violent emotions had subsided, Springer
said to his daughter, My child, I give you my word that
I will inform you of every particular you wish to know;
but you must wait some days: I cannot speak of my
sufferings at the moment you have taught me to forget
The obedient Elizabeth ventured not to press him
further, determining to wait with deference till he should
feel inclined to give the information he had promised: but
she waited for that moment in vain : Springer appeared to
dread it, and to avoid her; he had guessed her intention;
and though no language could express the gratitude and
admiration of this fond parent, his tenderness would not
allow him to grant the consent he knew she would entreat;
nor did he consider himself absolutely authorised to refuse

The Exiles of Siberia. 29

it. This was indeed the only recourse from which he might
hope to be re-established in his rights, and to replace Eliza-
beth in the rank to which she was born: but when he
reflected upon the fatigues she must undergo, the dangers
she must incur, the idea was insupportable. Willingly
would he have sacrificed his own life to reinstate his
family in their rank and possessions; but to risk that of
his daughter in such an attempt, was a trial to which he
felt his courage was unequal.
The silence of her father taught Elizabeth the line of
conduct she ought to pursue : she was certain that he had
penetrated into her design, and was more deeply affected
by it than she had ever seen him: which, if it had met his
approbation, he would not with so much precaution have
avoided speaking to her upon the subject. Indeed, when
she considered her scheme, it seemed so impracticable, that
she feared her parents would only regard it as the effusion
of filial enthusiasm. In order, therefore, to place her pro-
ject in a point of view more favourable to its execution, she
must represent it divested of some of the greater obstacles
by which it was opposed, and to this end must solicit the
advice and assistance of Smoloff. With a determination,
therefore, to maintain silence upon the subject, and not to
disclose the secret entirely to her parents till she had con-
versed with him, she waited impatiently for his return.
Elizabeth foresaw that one of the strongest reasons that
would withhold her parents' consent, would be the diffi-
culty of undertaking to travel eight hundred miles on foot,
in the severest climate of the earth. To lessen this diffi-

ElZzaBeth; or,

culty as much as possible, and to prepare herself for hard-
ship and fatigue, she exercised her strength daily in the
plains of Ischim. Whether the snow drifted by the wind,
beat against her with a violence that opposed her passage,
or a thick mist concealed almost the path before her, she
relinquished not her resolution; sometimes, in contradic-
tion even to the wishes of her parents, accustoming herself
by degrees to endure the inclemency of weather, and their
Siberia is subject to sudden storms; frequently during
the winter season, when the sky appears the most serene,
dreadful hurricanes arise instantaneously, and obscure the
atmosphere. They are impelled from the opposite sides of
the horizon; and when they meet, the strongest trees in
vain oppose their violence : in vain the pliant birch bends
to the ground; its flexible branches with their trembling
leaves are broken and dispersed; the snow rolls from the
tops of the mountains, carrying with it enormous masses of
ice, which break against the points of the rocks : they break
in their turn; and the wind, carrying away the fragments,
together with those of the falling huts, in which the terri-
fied animals have in vain sought shelter, raises them high
in the air, and dashing them back to the earth, strews the
ground with the ruins of every production of nature.
One morning in the month of January, Elizabeth was
overtaken by one of these terrible storms : she was in the
plain near the little chapel: and as soon as the sudden
darkness of the sky announced the approaching tempest,
sought shelter under its venerable roof : the furious wind

The Exiles of Siberia.


soon attacked this feeble edifice; and, shaking it to its
foundation, threatened every instant to level it with the
ground. Elizabeth, prostrate before the altar, was insen-
sible to fear: the storm she had heard destroying all
around her, created no sensation in her breast but that of
a reverential awe, caused by a natural reflection on the
Omnipotent Being, from whose hand it came. As her life
might be serviceable to her parents, she felt assured that
Heaven would for their sake watch over and guard it, till
she had delivered them from suffering. This sentiment,
approaching almost to superstition, created by the fervour of
her filial piety, inspired Elizabeth with a tranquillity so per-
fect, that in the midst of warring elements, with the thun-
der-bolts of heaven falling around her, she yielded calmly
to the heaviness which oppressed .her; and lying down at
the foot of the altar, before which she had been offering up
her prayers, fell into a slumber, secure and peaceful as that
of innocence reposing on the bosom of a father.
On this very day Smoloff had returned from Tobolsk.
On arriving at Saimka, he hastily proceeded to the cottage
of the exiles. He brought the permission Phedora had so-
licited; her daughter and herself were at liberty to attend
divine service at Saimka every Sunday: but so far from
extending his indulgence to Springer, the orders of the
court regarding him were more strict than ever; that in
allowing young Smoloff to see him once more, the governor
of Tobolsk had consulted his feelings rather than his duty;
but this visit was to be the last : of this his father had ex-
acted a solemn promise. Smoloff was grieved to the soul


Elizabkth; or.

at so much severity; but an he drew near the dwelling of
Elizabeth, his melancholy dispersed : he thought less of the
pain of taking leave under the cruel restriction imposed
upon him by his father, than of the delight he should ex-
perience in seeing her again.
In the first ardent pursuit that occupies the youthful
mind, the enjoyment of the present felicity is so animated,
so complete, that it obliterates all idea of futurity, and
engrosses the soul so entirely, that no room is left for the
anticipation of future distress : happiness is a sensation too
ardently felt by youth, to suffer them to waste a thought up-
on the instability of its duration. But when, upon enter-
ing the cottage, Smoloff looked around for Elizabeth in
vain, and reflected that he might not be able to prolong
his visit till her return,.his disappointment was too ap-
parent to escape the most superficial observation. In vain
did Phedora address him in the most affecting terms of
gratitude, blessing the hand that had re-opened for her
the house of God, as well as preserved the life of her
beloved husband. In vain did Springer call him the pro-
tector, the comforter of the afflicted; he appeared almost
insensible to their discourse, and in the little he spoke, the
name of Elizabeth every instant escaped his lips. His evi-
dent embarrassment partly betrayed the situation of his
heart, and the disclosure rendered him dearer to that of
Phedora : his love for her daughter flattered her pride, the
indulgence of which yields the highest gratification; and
surely no mother had more reason to be proud of a child.
Springer, though no less sensible of the merit of his

The Exiles of Siberia.


daughter, and fearing that she would discover the visible
partiality of the young man, which might disturb her peace,
reminded Smoloff of the obedience due to his father, with
the hope of putting an end to a visit which, by divers pre-
tences, the youth sought to prolong. It was at this
period that the storm arose; the parents trembled for the
safety of their child. "Elizabeth 0 Elizabeth! What
will become of my Elizabeth ?" cried the agonised mother.
Springer took his stick in silence, and went to seek his
daughter ; Smoloff rushed after him.
The tempest raged with the most terrific violence on
every side; the trees were torn up by the roots, and an
attempt to cross the forest was attended by the most im-
minent danger. Springer remonstrated with Smoloff, and
endeavoured to deter him from following, but in vain;
Smoloff saw all the danger, and rejoiced that an opportunity
should offer for him to encounter such for the sake of
Elizabeth: he would give a proof of an affection he could
scarcely have declared to her by any other means.
They had now reached the middle of the forest. "To
which side shall we turn asked Smoloff. Let us pro-
ceed towards the plain, Springer replied; "she walks
there every day, and has probably taken shelter in the
chapel." They said no more; their anxiety was equal;
stooping to shelter their heads from the blows of the
broken boughs, and from the fragments of rock which
the wind scattered about, they walked forward as fast as
the snow, which beat in their faces, would permit.
On reaching the plain, the danger with which they had


Elizabeth; or,

been menaced from the falling of trees ceased ; but in this
exposed situation they were sometimes driven backwards,
and at others thrown down, by the violence of the tempest.
At last they reached the little chapel, in which they hoped
Elizabeth had sought a refuge; but when they beheld this
dangerous shelter, the walls of which consisted only of
slightly-joined planks, that seemed ready every instant to
fall, and become a pile of ruins, they began to shudder at the
idea that she might be within them. Animated with more
than parental fears, Smoloff, leaving Springer behind, was
the first to enter the tottering edifice, where to his inex-
pressible astonishment he sees Elizabeth, not terrified, pale,
and trembling, but in a peaceful sleep before the altar.
Struck with unutterable surprise, he stops,-points out to
Springer the cause of his amazement; and both, impelled
by similar sentiments of veneration, fall on their knees by
the side of the angel sleeping under the special protection
of Heaven. The father bent over his child, while Smoloff,
casting down his eyes, retired some steps, not presuming
to approach too near to such supreme innocence.
Elizabeth awoke, beheld her father, and throwing herself
into his arms, exclaimed, "Ah I knew you watched over
me." Springer pressed her to his heart with indescribable
emotion. "My child !" said he, "into what agonies have
you thrown your mother and me "-" 0 my father!
pardon me for causing those tears," answered Elizabeth;
"and let us hasten to relieve the terrors of my mother."
In rising, she perceived Smoloff. "Ah !" said she, in gen-
tle accents of pleasure and surprise, "all my protectors

The Exiles of Siberia.

have, then, been watching over me : Heaven, my father,
and you." With extreme difficulty did her delighted
lover repress the emotions of his heart.
Springer resumed. My dear child," said he, "you talk
of rejoining your mother; but do you know whether it will
be possible ? whether you will be able to resist the violence
of a tempest that M. de Smoloff and I seem to have escaped
from but by a miracle ? "-" I will try," answered she;
"my strength is greater than you think; and I rejoice in
an opportunity which enables me to shew you how much
it is capable of performing, when the consolation of my
mother calls forth its exertion."
As she spoke, unwonted courage beamed in her eyes
and Springer perceived that her enterprise was far from
being relinquished: she walked between her father and
Smoloff, who supported her together, and sheltered her
head with their wide mantles. How much did Smoloff
rejoice in that boisterous wind which obliged Elizabeth to
trust to him for support He thought not of his own life,
which he would gladly have exposed a thousand times to
prolong those moments; he feared not even for that of
Elizabeth, which, in the ecstasy that possessed him, he
would have defied the elements combined to hinder him
from preserving.
The sky now began to resume its serenity, the clouds
dispersed, and the wind ceased by degrees. Springer re-
covered his spirits, but those of Smoloff were depressed.
Elizabeth withdrew her arm, and chose to walk on un-
assisted; for she was desirous of braving before her father



Elizabeth; or,

the remainder of the storm : she was proud of her strength,
and eager to display before him a proof of it; with the
hope of convincing him that it would not fail when she
should undertake to obtain his pardon from the emperor,
were it necessary to go to the remotest extremity of the
earth to seek it.
Phedora received them all with transports of joy and
tenderness, thanking Heaven that had restored them to
her: she comforted her daughter, who grieved for the
tears she had caused, dried her dripping garments, and,
taking off her fur bonnet, smoothed her long hair. For
these maternal cares, so tender, though trivial, which Eliza-
beth received daily from the hands of her mother, her
affectionate heart became each day more grateful. Young
Smoloff was affected at witnessing them, and felt that the
happiness he would experience in becoming the husband
of Elizabeth would be much increased by being also the
son of the amiable Phedora.
The storm had now entirely subsided, and night began
to spread its dark shade over the cloudless sky. Springer
pressed the hand of his guest, and with a mixed sensation
of sorrow and tenderness, reminded him it was time to
depart. Elizabeth then learned for the first time that he
was come to take a farewell. The colour forsook her cheeks
at the intelligence, and her embarrassment became visible.
" What !" said she to him, shall I never see you again ?"
"Oh yes !" replied he eagerly; "as long as you inhabit
these deserts, and I am free, I shall stay at Saimka. I
shall see you at church whenever you come, and I shall

The Exiles of Siberza.


see you on the plain, upon the banks of the lake, when
ever this happiness is allowed me." He stopped suddenly,
astonished himself at his feelings, and at what he had
uttered; but Elizabeth did not understand him; in all he
had said she only remarked the certainty of their meeting
again, and that she should be able to consult with him
"upon their enterprise. Comforted by these hopes, she took
leave of him with less regret.
When Sunday arrived, Elizabeth and her mother, after
an early breakfast, set out for Saimka. Springer bade
them adieu with a feeling of regret, as this was the first
time since his exile that he had remained alone in the
cottage; but he concealed this sensation, and blessed them
with composure, recommending them to the protection of
the Supreme Being they were going to invoke. The
weather was fine; the Tartarian peasant served them as a
guide through the forest of Saimka; its distance appeared
short. On entering the church every eye was turned to-
wards them; but theirs were reverently cast down, while
their hearts were fixed upon God alone. They advanced
to the altar, and bending before it, offered up their sincere
supplications for the same object; and if those of Eliza-
beth were more comprehensive than Phedora's, the benefi-
cent Being who beheld their intentions heard them with
equal indulgence.
During the time the ceremony lasted, Elizabeth did not
remove the veil which concealed her face ; her thoughts
were so entirely engrossed by her Creator and her parents,
that they did not extend even to him from whom she

Elizabeth; or,

hoped for protection. The pious concert of voices which
chanted the sacred hymns made an impression on her
senses approaching to ecstasy; her imagination painted the
heavens opening, and the Almighty himself presenting an
angel to conduct her on her journey. This imaginary
vision lasted as long as the music vibrated upon her de-
lighted ear; when that ceased, she raised her head, and
the first object that presented itself was young Smoloff
leaning against one of the pillars, at a little distance, with
his eyes fixed intently upon her; he appeared to her to be
the angel God had presented, the guardian angel who was
to assist her in the deliverance of her father. Her eyes
beamed confidence and gratitude. Smoloff was moved by
their expression; it seemed to be in union with what
passed in his mind; for he also felt grateful for the happi-
ness he enjoyed in seeing her, and in believing himself
Upon leaving the church he offered Phedora to conduct
her in his sledge to the entrance of the forest; she con-
sented with pleasure, as it would be the means of sooner
rejoining her beloved Springer; but Elizabeth was dis-
appointed by this arrangement; she had flattered herself
that, in the course of a walk, some opportunity would
have occurred of speaking to Smoloff in private; in a
carriage she knew it would be impossible; and could she
speak before her mother, who, yet in perfect ignorance of
her design, would, on its first disclosure, reject it with
terror, and forbid him to afford her any assistance ? Yet
she ought not to lose such an opportunity of mentioning

The Exiles of Siberia. 39

her scheme to him, as possibly none equally favourable
might ever occur again. Thus was her mind agitated and
perplexed when the sledge had already passed the border
of the forest, which Smoloff had declared he could not go
beyond; but wanting resolution to leave Elizabeth, he went
on till they reached the banks of the lake; there, however,
he was obliged to stop; Phedora descended first, and tak-
ing his hand, said, Will you not sometimes walk this
way Elizabeth, who followed her mother, whispered in
a hurried voice, No, not this way, but in the little chapel
on the plain to-morrow." Thus did she innocently ap-
point a meeting without thinking of the interpretation
Smoloff might give to her words : she fancied that she had
spoken only of her father; and on seeing in his countenance
that her request had been heard, and would be granted,
hers brightened with joy. While Phedora and her daughter
walked towards their dwelling, Smoloff returned alone across
the forest, plunged in a reverie of the most delightful
nature. After what he had heard, how could he doubt
that Elizabeth loved him? And with the knowledge he
had of her, how could this certainty fail to create the most
lively emotions of joy ? He had never beheld beauty equal
to hers; he had lately seen her in the presence of her
Maker, the image of piety and innocence; he had also seen
repeated proofs of the tenderness of her heart, in her con-
duct towards her parents; how, indeed, could a heart so
tender fail of being moved to love the man to whom a
father's life was owing? Ingenuous and candid as the
pupil of Nature, how should she have acquired the art of


Elizabeth; or,

concealing her sentiments? Yet he felt astonished at hel
wishing to see him unknown to her parents; but he easily
found excuses for an indiscretion which he dared to attri-
bute to excess of love.
It was not with the embarrassment generally attending
upon stolen meetings of this nature, but with all the
security of unsuspecting innocence, that Elizabeth repaired
on the following morning to the chapel. Her steps were
lighter, and her pace swifter than usual, as she considered
what she was doing as the first movement she had made
towards the liberation of her father. The sun shone with
splendour on the snowy plains, and thousands of icicles,
hanging suspended from the branches of the trees, reflected
its bright image in various forms of beauty and grandeur;
but this lustre, so brilliant and clear, was less pure, less
noble, than the soul of Elizabeth. She entered the chapel;
Smoloff was not there; this delay disturbed her; a slight
gloom overspread her countenance. It was not caused by
disappointed vanity, nor even by neglected love: no pas-
sion, no foible could at this moment find a place in her
heart; but she dreaded some accident or unforeseen cir-
cumstance might prevent the arrival of him she so anxiously
expected. With fervency she implored the Almighty not
to prolong the perplexity she had for such a length of
time endured. During her supplication, Smoloff came:
he was astonished to find her there before him, who had
hastened upon the wings of love.
The passions of the human heart are raised in the search
of their gratification; but Elizabeth afforded a proof this

The Exiles of Siberia.


day, that virtue in the performance of its duty is swifter
On seeing Smoloff, she raised her hands to Heaven in
token of gratitude; then turning towards him with a grace-
ful and expressive motion, "Ah, M. de Smoloff," said she,
" how impatiently have I waited for you !" These words,
the expression of her countenance, the preciseness with
which she had kept the rendezvous, all confirmed the de-
lighted youth in the belief that he was beloved; he was
on the point of declaring all the fervour by which that
love was returned, but had not time to answer. "Listen
to me," said she; "I have sought this opportunity of seeing
you, M. de Smoloff, that I might implore your assistance
in an attempt to restore liberty to my father. Will you
promise me your aid and counsel?" These few words
completely overturned all the ideas of happiness Smoloff
had formed. Distressed, embarrassed, he perceived his
error; but it did not lessen the love he bore Elizabeth.
He knelt-she imagined before God; but it was to her
this mark of veneration was paid, and swore to perform
everything she required.
She resumed her discourse thus:-" Since the dawn of
reason enlightened my soul, my parents have been the sole
objects of my thoughts; their love my greatest blessing;
and to contribute to their happiness my only wish. They
are miserable. Heaven calls me to their relief, and has led
you to this spot to help me in fulfilling my destiny. My
design is to proceed to Petersburg, to solicit my father's
pardon." Smoloff made a sign of astonishment. expressive

42 Elizabeth; or,

of the idea he conceived of the impossibility of the under-
taking. But she hastily continued, "I cannot tell you
how long this design has held possession of my mind : it
seems to me that I received it with my existence; it is the
first that I remember, and has never quitted me : in my
sleeping, as in my waking moments, it pursues me ; it is
that idea that has always occupied me when with you;
and it induced me to request to see you here, as it has
inspired courage sufficient to dread neither fatigue, nor
poverty, nor opposition, nor death : indeed, so bent am I
upon leaving Siberia, that I should feel inclined to disobey
my parents, were they to refuse their consent. You see,
M. de Smoloff, that it would be in vain to remonstrate
with me; a resolution like this is not to be shaken."
All the flattering hopes of her lover had, during this
address, completely vanished; but his admiration soared
far beyond the powers of description: such heroism, in
one of Elizabeth's age and sex, was so greatly above any-
thing he had ever imagined, that his tears, which flowed
unrestrained, were caused by a sensation scarcely less de-
lightful than the transports of requitted love. Happy,"
said he, "happy, far beyond desert, do I esteem myself, in
being thus your chosen guide and counsellor; but you are
not aware of the various obstacles." "Two only have
discouraged me," interrupted she; "and perhaps no one
could remove them so effectually as you." "Speak!" said
he, impatient to obey. What is there you could ask,
which would not be less than I would perform ?" The
obstacles are these," answered Elizabeth: "I am a stranger

.The Exiles of Siberia. 43

to the road, and my flight might injure my father; this
last weighs upon my mind infinitely more than any other;
on you, then, I rely for instruction in everything that re-
gards my journey-the towns I am to pass through, the
houses founded for the relief of indigent travellers, on the
hospitality of which I may depend for relief ; and on the
surest method of getting my petition presented to the em-
peror. But first of all, you must promise me, that your
father will not punish mine for the offence of his child."
Smoloff pledged his word on this. But, Elizabeth,"
added he, "do you know to what excess the emperor is
prepossessed against your father? Do you know that he
regards him as his most inveterate enemy ?" "I am
ignorant," she replied, of what crime they accuse him : I
know not even his real name, nor that of his country; but
I am convinced of his innocence." How !" said Smoloff.
" You know not the rank your father held, nor the name
by which you must speak of him?" "Neither," answered
she.-" Astonishing !" he exclaimed, "that neither pride
nor ambition should have had any share in suggesting an
enterprise to which your whole soul is devoted you know
not the honours you would regain; you think only of your
parents. But what is grandeur of birth to a soul like
thine ? What, to the sentiments which inspire it, is the
lofty name of "- "Hold," interrupted she "the secret
you are going to reveal belongs to my father, and from him
only I must learn it." "True," replied Smoloff, in a tone
of enthusiastic admiration; "there is no principle of honour,
no point of delicacy. which is not an inmate in thy soul."

Elizabeit; or,

Elizabeth resumed the conversation, to ask when he
would give her the information necessary for her expe-
dition. "I must take time to consider it," answered he;
"but, Elizabeth, do you think it is possible for you to
traverse the 3500 versts which divide Ischim from the
province of Ingrai, alone, on foot, and unprovided with
money I" "Ah!" exclaimed Elizabeth, "He who sends
me to the succour of my parents, will not abandon me."
After a short pause, Smoloff resumed-" It is impossible,
at least," said he, "to think of such an undertaking till the
long days of summer; now it would indeed be impractica-
ble; even the sledges would be stopped, and the marshy
forests of Siberia would infallibly swallow up the traveller
who should be rash enough to attempt to cross them : I
will see you again in a few days, Elizabeth; then I will
inform you of my real opinion concerning this project,
which has affected me so much, that I feel at present in-
capable of forming a discriminate judgment upon it. I
will return to Tobolsk, and consult my father-he is the
best of men: for, believe me, the situation of the exiles
would be much more miserable, were he not governor of
this district; and no one is more capable of appreciating
a noble action: he cannot, however, assist you; duty for-
bids it; but I pledge you my honour, that, so far from
punishing your father for having given existence to a
daughter so virtuous, it would be his greatest glory to call
you his: Elizabeth! pardon me! my heart declares itself
in defiance of opposition; I know that yours can hold no
other sentiment than the glorious one that has so long


The Exiles of Siberia. 45

engrossed it, and expect not a return : but should there
come a day wherein your parents, happy and secure in
their native land, no longer require exertions, remember
that in this desert, Smoloff saw you, loved you, and would
have preferred a life of obscurity and poverty with Eliza-
beth in exile, to all the glory that the world could offer."
He would have said more, but tears interrupted his utter-
ance : he was amazed at the extraordinary emotion which
agitated him; till then he had never felt such weakness,
but till then he had never loved.
Elizabeth had remained motionless during this unex-
pected declaration : the idea of any but filial love was to
her so new that she scarcely comprehended it: it might
have appeared less strange had her heart been free to
receive it; had her parents been happy, Smoloff might
have been loved; he might still be loved, should that event,
at a future period, happen; but while they are in affliction,
she will remain constant to her first passion; and to con-
tain two, the human heart, comprehensive as it is, is not
Elizabeth had never lived in society: a stranger to its
customs and rules, she had nevertheless a sort of decorum,
the attendant of virtue, which taught her that, after a
declaration of love, she ought not to remain alone with
a man who had presumed to make it: she was therefore
preparing to leave the chapel when Smoloff, who saw her
design, said, "Elizabeth, have I offended you? I call to
witness Him who sees the inmost recesses of the heart,
that in mine there is not less of respect than love; He


Elizabeth; or,

knows, that were you to command it, I would die in
silence: how then, Elizabeth, can I have offended you?"
"You have not offended me," answered she, gently; "but
I came here merely to inform you what I have in contem-
plation to do for the relief of my parents; now that I
have done, I have nothing else to say, and am going to
rejoin them." "Well, then, return to your duty; in asso-
ciating me with it, you have rendered me worthy of you;
and far from ever wishing in the most secret thought to
turn you from its paths, I will devote my time solely to
your service, in helping you to fulfil it."
He then promised to give her, on the following Sunday,
at Saimka, all the instructions and observations which
might be useful in the execution of her enterprise; and
they parted, each looking forward with eager expectation
to their next meeting.
"When the Sunday arrived, Elizabeth accompanied her
mother joyfully to Saimka : she was anxious to see Smoloff
again, and receive the information which might accelerate
her departure : but the service ended, and Smoloff appeared
not. Elizabeth was uneasy. While her mother still con-
tinued praying, she inquired of an old woman, if M. de
Smoloff was in the church. The answer she received dis-
mayed her. "No," replied the aged matron; "'he has
departed two days since for Tobolsk." The object of her
most ardent wishes seemed thus to fly always before her
at the moment she thought herself on the point of obtain-
ing it. A thousand different terrors now presented them-
selves to her imagination. Since Smoloff had left Saimka

The Exiles of Siberia.


without remembering his promise, what reason had she
to suppose that he would remember it at Tobolsk And,
if he did, how could he perform it These thoughts
haunted her all day; and at night, oppressed by the
chagrin of disappointment, (which weighed more heavily,
as there was no one to whom she could communicate it:
on the contrary, all her energy had been exerted to conceal
it from the observation of her parents,) she retired early
to her little apartment, to indulge, unrestrained, the grief
which overwhelmed her.
As soon as she quitted the room, Phedora, addressing
her husband, said, "I must disclose to you the solicitude
which disturbs my peace. Have you not marked the
change in our Elizabeth? In our society she is absent;
the name of Smoloff makes her colour; his absence makes
her unhappy. This morning, in the church, her eyes
wandered on all sides, and I heard her ask if Smoloff was
at Saimka: she became pale as death when informed that
he had departed for Tobolsk. O Stanislaus I remember
in those days which preceded my union with you, it was
thus I changed colour when your name was pronounced:
it was thus my eyes sought you in every place, and filled
with tears when the search was vain. Alas! these are
symptoms of no transient attachment. How can I observe
them in my child without dread She is not destined
to be happy, like her mother." "Happy!" exclaimed
Springer, with a sensation of poignant regret. "Happy in
a desert, and in exile!" "Yes, in a desert, in exile, in
every place, blessed with the society of him I love."

Elizabeth; or,

She pressed his hand to her lips. Returning soon, how.
ever, to the first subject of her discourse, she said, I fear,
my Elizabeth loves young Smoloff; and, charming as she
is, he will only behold in her the daughter of a poor exile;
he will scorn her affection; and my child, my only child,
will die with grief at seeing her love disdained!" Tears
suppressed her utterance; and the presence of Stanislaus,
which had consoled her under all her afflictions, could not
remove the fears she entertained for her daughter's future
Stanislaus reflected for a few moments, and answered,
'Phedora, my beloved, be comforted: I have likewise
studied our Elizabeth, and perhaps I have seen further
than you into what passes in her soul. Another idea, and
not that of Smoloff, engrosses it entirely; yes, I am certain
of it. I am certain also, that if we were to offer her to
Smoloff, he would not contemn the gift, even in this desert;
and this sentiment will render him deserving of her, if
ever- Yes, it will be so : Elizabeth will not always live
secluded in this desert; her virtue will not always remain
buried in obscurity; she was not born to be unhappy-
it is impossible; so much goodness upon earth announces
justice from heaven; and sooner or later it will be shewn."
This was the first time since his banishment that Stanis-
laus appeared not to despair. From this circumstance
Phedora augured the most pleasing presages; and, re-
assured by his words, lay down composedly to rest.
For two months Elizabeth went every Sunday to Saimka,
with the hope of seeing Smoloff; but in vain: he appeared


The Exiles of Siberia.


not; and at last she was informed that he had left Tobolsk.
All her hopes then vanished, as she no longer doubted his
having entirely forgotten her, and she frequently shed tears
of the bitterest sorrow at the thought, but for which the
purest innocence could not have reproached her, since they
were not a tribute to unregarded love.
It was now towards the end of April; the snow began
to melt, and a verdant shade to diffuse itself over the
sandy banks of the lake; the white blossoms of the thorn
thickly covered its boughs, resembling flakes of new-fallen
snow, while the blue-budded campanella, the downy moth-
wort, and the iris, whose pointed leaves rise perpendicularly,
enamelled the ground around its roots; the blackbirds
descended in flocks on the naked trees, and were the first
to interrupt the mournful silence of winter. Already upon
the banks of the river, and sometimes on its surface, sported
the beautiful mallard of Persia, of a bright flame-colour,
with a tufted head and ebony beak, that utters the most
piercing cries when shot at by the sportsman, although
he misses his aim, and woodcocks of various species, (some
black with yellow beaks, others speckled with feathery
ruffs round their necks,) ran swiftly on the marshy grounds,
or hid themselves among the rushes. Every symptom, in
fine, announced an early spring; and Elizabeth, foreseeing
all she should lose if a year so favourable for her expedition
was suffered to pass by, formed the desperate resolution
of undertaking it unaided, trusting for its success to Heaven
and her own firmness.
One morning Stanislaus was employed in digging in

Elizabeth: or,

garden. Seated at a littlee distance, Elizabeth regarded
him in silence. He had not yet confided to her the secret
of his misfortunes-it was a confidence she no longer
sought; a kind of delicate pride had arisen in her soul,
which made her desirous of remaining in ignorance of the
rank her parents held till the moment of her departure, and
to defer her request of knowing what they had lost till she
could answer, I go to solicit that pardon which will restore
all." Until now she had depended upon the promises of
Smoloff, and on them had founded reasonable hopes of suc-
cess; but when those failed, her sanguine imagination sug.
gested others upon which she resolved to speak. Before she
ventured to begin, she reflected upon all the objections that
would be advanced, all the obstacles that would be repre-
sented in opposition to her scheme. That they were im-
portant was certain-Smoloff had told her so; and she
was convinced that the tenderness of her parents would
even exaggerate them. What answer could be made to
their remonstrances, their entreaties, their commands, when
they should tell her that the blessing of revisiting their
country would not be worth the terror they should suffer
during the temporary loss of their child ? She forgot that
her father was near, and, bursting into tears, fell upon her
knees to implore from Heaven that eloquence which could
prevail against their arguments.
Stanislaus, who heard her sobs, turned hastily, and, run-
ning to her, raised her from the ground, saying, Elizabeth,
what is the matter? What has happened to thee? If
thou art afflicted, weep at least on the bosom of thy father."


The Exiles of Siberia.


O my Father!" she replied, "detain me no longer here;
you know my wish; oh, grant it I feel that Heaven it-
self calls me."
She was interrupted by the young peasant, their attend-
ant, who, running towards them, cried, M. de Smoloff-
M. de Smoloff is here !"
Elizabeth uttered a scream of joy; she took her father's
hand, and pressing it to her heart, exclaimed-" It is so;
the Omnipotent himself calls me; He has sent him who
will open the road for me, and remove every obstacle.
O my father! your daughter will yet be able to break
the chain which holds you a prisoner."
Without waiting for an answer, she flew to see Smoloff,
and in the way met her mother, whom she seized by the
arm; and, embracing her, cried-" Come with me; he
is returned : M. de Smoloff is returned !"
Upon entering the cottage they perceived a gentleman,
apparently about fifty years of age, in a military dress,
accompanied by several officers. The mother and daugh-
ter, amazed, started back. "This is M. de Smoloff," said
the young Tartar. At these words all the hopes that had
arisen in Elizabeth were a second time destroyed: her
colour fled; her eyes were filled with tears. Phedora,
shocked at the excess of her emotion, placed herself before
her, to conceal it from general observation. Happy would
the afflicted mother have esteemed herself, if, by the sacri-
fice of her life, her daughter could have been released from
the fatal passion which she no longer doubted held posses-
sion of her soul

52 Elizabeth; or,

The Governor of Tobolsk dismissed his suite; and turn
ing to Stanislaus, said, "Sir, since the court of Russia
deemed it prudent to condemn you to banishment, this
is the first time I have visited this remote spot; and it is
a duty now pleasing to me, since it affords me the oppor-
tunity of testifying to an exile so illustrious, how sincerely
I feel for his misfortunes, and how deeply I regret that
duty forbids me to offer the assistance and protection I
would so gladly bestow." "I expect nothing from men,
Sir," answered Stanislaus coldly. "I wish not for their
commiseration, as I hope nothing from their justice; and
since my misfortunes have placed me at a distance from
them, I shall pass my days contented in this desert."
"O Sir !" interrupted the governor with emotion, "for
a man like you to live an exile from his country is a des-
tiny to be lamented !" "There is one, Sir, more lament-
able still," replied Stanislaus; "to die an exile." He
said no more: for had he added another word, he might
have shed a tear; and the illustrious sufferer wished to
appear above his misfortunes. Elizabeth, concealed behind
her mother, observed with timidity whether the air and
countenance of the governor announced a character which
would encourage her to disclose her project to him. Thus
the fearful dove, before it ventures to leave the nest,
watches from among the leaves whether the appearance
of the sky promises a serene day.
The governor remarked, and knew her; his son had
often spoken of her ; and the portrait he had drawn could

The Exiles of Siberia.

resemble none but Elizabeth. "Madam," said he, address-
ing himself to her, "my son has mentioned you to me ; you
have made an impression upon his mind time will never
efface." "Did he tell you, Sir, that she is indebted to him
for the life of a father ? hastily interrupted Phedora.
No, Madam," answered the governor; but he told me
how ready she was to devote hers to that father and to
you." She is," said Springer; and her affectionate re-
gard is the only blessing we have now left-the only one
of which mankind has not been able to deprive us." The
governor turned aside to conceal his emotion. After a
pause, addressing himself to Elizabeth, Madam," resumed
he, "it is two months since my son, then at Saimka, re-
ceived an order from the emperor to set off immediately to
rejoin the army then assembling in Livonia; he was obliged
to obey without delay. Before his departure, he conjured
me to convey a letter to you : but it was impossible; I
could not, without the most imminent danger, send a
messenger with it; I could only deliver it myself, and now
his commission shall be executed." Elizabeth, blushing,
took the letter which he presented to her. The governor,
observing the surprise of Stanislaus and Phedora, ex-
claimed, Blessed are the parents from whom a daughter
conceals such secrets only!" He then recalled his at-
tendants, and in their presence said to Stanislaus, Sir, the
commands of my sovereign still prevent me from allowing
you to receive any one here; nevertheless, if any poor
missionaries, who, I am informed, must cross these deserts,



Elizabeth; or,

Cn their return from the frontiers of China, should come to
your dwelling to beg a night's lodging, you are permitted
to receive them."
After the governor had taken leave, Elizabeth still kept
her eyes fixed upon the letter she held in her hand, not
daring to open it. "My child," said Stanislaus, "if you
are waiting for permission from your mother and me
to read your letter, you have it." With a trembling
hand Elizabeth then broke the seal; and as she read
the contents to herself, made frequent exclamations of
gratitude and joy. When she had finished it, throwing
herself into the arms of her parents, "The moment is
arrived," she said; "every circumstance contributes to
favour my enterprise; Heaven approves and blesses my
intention: O my parents! will you not likewise bless
it ? Stanislaus shuddered at the words she uttered; he
knew the intention to which she alluded; but Phedora, who
had not an idea of it, exclaimed, Elizabeth, what means
this mystery ? what does that paper contain ?" She made
a motion as if to take it, which Elizabeth presumed to
detain: "0 my mother! pardon me," she said; "I
tremble to speak before you ; you have not yet guessed what
I would say, and the idea of your terror disheartens me; it
is now the only remaining impediment. I know not how
to obviate it. Oh, permit me to explain myself now
before my father only; you are not prepared as he is"--
" No, my child," interrupted Stanislaus, "do not separate
us, do not that which exile and misfortune have never yet
compassed. Come to my heart, my Phedora; and if your

The Exzles of Siberia. 55

courage fail you at the words you are to hear, may mine
sustain your drooping spirits." Phedora, terrified, dismayed,
seeing herself menaced by some dreadful calamity, but
knowing not from whence the stroke was to come, answered
in a tone of alarm, Stanislaus, what meanest thou? Have
I not endured with fortitude every reverse of fortune ?
Nor will that fortitude forsake me now," added she, press-
ing to her heart her husband and her child: "between you
it will sustain me against the worst that fate can do"-
Elizabeth attempted to answer, but her mother would not
hear her : "My child," exclaimed she with anguish, "ask
my life; but do not ask me to consent to our separation."
These words proved that she had penetrated into the
secret; the pain of telling it to her then was spared; but
to induce her to consent seemed an undertaking so arduous,
that the sanguine hopes of Elizabeth were daunted. Bathed
in tears, trembling at the sight of her mother's agitation,
Elizabeth, in broken accents, uttered only these words:
" 0 my mother if for the happiness of my father I asked
of you some days only Oh, no, not one," exclaimed
her mother in an agony, "what happiness could be worth
such a price No, not one day! 0 Heaven! do not
permit her to ask me." These words entirely subdued the
courage of Elizabeth: unable to utter what could, to such
an excess, afflict her mother, she presented the letter she
had received from the Governor of Tobolsk to her father,
and made a sign for him to read it. He took it, and in a
faltering voice read aloud the following lines, written by
young Smoloff, at Tobolsk, dated two months before .

Elizabeth; or,

"The greatest concern I experience on leaving Saimka,
Elizabeth, proceeds from the impossibility of informing
you that an indispensable obligation forces me to an ab-
sence from you: I can neither see you, write to you, nor
send you the information you have asked of me, without
acting in opposition to the commands of my father, with-
out endangering his safety: perhaps my wish to oblige you
might have induced me to have failed in my duty towards
him, had it not been for the example you have shewn me;
but after I had so lately learnt what is due to a parent,
I could not expose the life of mine. To you, however, I
will confess, that my duty was not, like yours, performed
with delight. I returned to Tobolsk with a broken heart
My father informed me that a mandate from the em-
peror must transport me a thousand miles from hence, and
that it must be obeyed immediately. I depart, Elizabeth,
and you know not what I suffer. Ah! I do not ask of
Heaven that you should ever know my feelings:-that
Elizabeth should know unhappiness would be a derogation
from its justice.
"I have opened my heart to my father: I have made
you known to him, and his ears have flowed at the recital
of your project : I believe he will visit the district of Ischim
this year, and that it will be expressly to see you : in the
interim, he will, if it be possible, convey to you this letter.
I depart with greater tranquillity, Elizabeth, since I leave
you under the protection of my father; but do not, I con-
jure you, do not think of setting out on your expedition
until my return! I expect it will be in less than a year;

The Exiles of Siberia. 57

I will be your conductor, your guard to Petersburgh, and
will present you to the emperor. Do not fear that I
will address you again on the subject of my love; no, I
will be but as a friend, a brother : and if I serve you with
all the fervour of passion, I swear never to address you but
in a language pure as innocence, as that of angels, or yourself."
Underneath, the following postscript was written by the
governor himself:-
"No, Elizabeth, it is not my son that must conduct you:
I doubt not his honour, but yours must be placed beyond the
reach of suspicion. When at the court of Russia you ex-
hibit instances of virtue too heroic not to be crowned with
success, the breath of envy must not whisper that you
were conducted thither by a lover, and thus tarnish the
noblest instance of filial piety the world can boast of. In
your present situation there are no protectors worthy to
guide your innocence, but Heaven and your father. Your
father cannot accompany you: but Heaven will not forsake
you; Religion will lend you her aid; shield yourself, there-
fore, under her guidance. You know to whom I have given
permission to enter your dwelling. In instructing you
with these directions, I render you the depositary of my
fate ; were this letter to be made public, were it to be
known that I had favoured your departure, my ruin would
be the inevitable result: but I have no fear; I know in
whom I confide, and what may be expected from the hero-
ism and honour of a daughter willing to sacrifice her life
for a father."
As he finished the letter, Stanislaus' voice became firmer

Elizabeth; or,

and more animated; he gloried in the virtues of his
daughter, and in the admiration they excited ; but the ten-
der mother thought only of losing her: pale, motionless,
unable to weep, she regarded her child in silence, and raised
her eyes to heaven. Elizabeth threw herself on her knees
before them both : "0 my parents !" said she, "allow me
to speak to you in this posture. In an humble attitude
should the greatest of all blessings be solicited. I presume
to aspire to that of restoring you to liberty, to happiness,
and to your country; for more than a year has this been
the object of my fondest hopes: the season for it ap-
proaches, and you would forbid me to attempt it. If there
is a blessing greater than that which I entreat, refuse me
this, I will consent ; but if there is not"- Agitated,
trembling, the accents she would utter died unfinished on
her lips, and by looks and motions of the most earnest sup-
plication only could she finish her prayer. Stanislaus laid
his hand upon his daughter's head without speaking; her
mother exclaimed, "Alone, on foot, without help Oh, no,
I cannot! I cannot !" "My mother," answered Eliza
beth eagerly, "do not, I beseech you, do not oppose my
wish; you would not, if you knew how long I have in-
dulged it, and all the consolation I have derived from it.
As soon as my reason allowed me to comprehend the cause
of your unhappiness I resolved to dedicate my life to the
removal of it. Blessed was the day on which I conceived
the design of liberating my father Blessed the hope
which supported me when I saw you weep! How long
ago, witness of your silent sorrow, the affliction would have

The Exiles of Siberia.

overwhelmed me, had I not reflected,-It is I who may re-
store what they lament the loss of. If you deprive me of
this hope, in which all my thoughts centre, I shall no
longer attach a value to my existence, and my days will
linger away in despondence. Oh, pardon me for grieving
you No, if you forbid my departure, I shall not die, since
my death would be an additional source of affliction to you;
but I trust you will not oppose my happiness. Tell me not
that my enterprise is impracticable. My heart answers that
it is not : it will supply strength to sustain me when I go to
claim justice, and eloquence to obtain my demand; nothing
will daunt me; neither sufferings, nor contempt; neither
the dazzling splendour of a court, nor the awful brow of
majesty; nothing but your refusal. Cease, Elizabeth, oh,
cease !" interrupted Stanislaus; "my ideas are confused:
my soul till now never sunk before a noble action; till
now had never heard of virtue too heroic for its strength to
bear. I did not think myself weak; 0 my child you now
teach me that I am. No, I cannot consent." Encouraged
by his refusal, Phedora, taking her daughter's hands be-
tween hers, said, "Hear me, Elizabeth : If your father
betrays weakness, you may well excuse it in your mother;
pardon her that she has not resolution to give you permis-
sion to display your virtue. Strange that a mother must
ask her child to be less excellent; but your mother asks it
only, she does not command; possessed of such greatness
of soul as you are, you ought to receive no command but
from the dictates of your own heart." My dear mother,"
replied Elizabeth, "yours shall ever be held sacred: if you


60 Elizabeth; or,

desire me to remain here, I hope I shall have resolution
enough to obey without repining; but suffer me to hope
that my scheme will yet receive your assent; it is not the
result of a moment's enthusiasm, but of the reflection of
many years; it is established upon solid reason as well as
affection. Does there exist any other means of rescuing
my father from exile? During the twelve years that he
has languished here, what friend has undertaken his justi-
fication And were there one who dared to do it, would
he dare to say as much as I should? Would he be insti-
gated by motives similar to mine ?-Oh, no! let me in-
dulge the thought that Heaven has reserved for your child
only the blessing of restoring you to happiness, and do not
oppose the glorious undertaking which Heaven has de-
signed to charge her with. Tell me, what is it you con-
sider so alarming in the enterprise ? Is it my temporary
absence ? Have I not often heard you lament that exile
that forbids you the hope of bestowing me in marriage 1
And would not a husband have separated me from you
entirely ? Is it danger ? There exists none; the winters
of this climate have inured me to the utmost severity of
the weather, and the daily exercise I have taken in these
plains to the fatigue of long travelling. Are you alarmed
on account of my youth It will be my support; the
weak meet with general assistance. Or, do you fear my
inexperience I shall not be alone;-do you remember
the words of the governor's letter? he permits the poor
missionary to take shelter under our roof, but to give me
a guide and a protector. You see every danger, every

The Exiles of Siberia. 61

obstacle, is removed; nothing is wanting but your consent
and your benediction." And you must beg your bread,"
exclaimed Stanislaus, in a tone of poignant distress. The
ancestors of your mother, who formerly reigned in these
territories, and mine, who were seated on the throne of
Poland, will look down and see the heiress of their name
begging her daily bread in that Russia which has made of
their kingdoms provinces to her empire." "If such is the
royal blood that flows in my veins," replied Elizabeth, in
accents of modest surprise, "if I am a descendant of
monarchs, and that two diadems have graced the brows
of my forefathers, I hope to prove myself worthy both of
them and you, and never to dishonour the illustrious name
they have transmitted to me: but poverty will not dis-
honour it. Why should not the daughter of Seids* and
of Sobieski have recourse to the charity of her fellow-
creatures ? How many great men, precipitated from the
height of human grandeur, have implored it for themselves?
Happier than they, I shall implore it only in the service of
my father."
The noble firmness of this young heroine, the degree of
pious pride which sparkled in her eyes at the thought of
humbling herself for her father's sake, gave to her discourse
such animation, and such strength and authority, that
Stanislaus was unable to resist: he felt that he had no
right to prevent his daughter from displaying her heroic
virtue; that he should be culpable in detaining her in the
Noble Tartars, who were descended from the ancient princes
of Siberia.


Elizabeth; or,

obscurity of a desert. Oh, my beloved !" he cried, ten-
derly pressing the hand of his Phedora, shall we condemn
her to end her days here unknown ? Shall we deprive her
of the prospect of being the happy mother of children
resembling herself ? Take courage, my Phedora this will
be the only possible means of restoring her to a world of
which she will be the ornament: let us grant the permis-
sion she solicits."-At this moment the feelings of her
mother triumphed over those of the wife; and for the first
time Phedora presumed to resist the most sacred of human
authorities:-" No, never, never will I grant this permis-
sion: even you, Stanislaus, will entreat in vain; I shall
have courage to resist. What shall I expose the life of
my child ? shall I consent to see my Elizabeth depart, to
hear on some future day that she had perished with cold
and famine in a frightful desert, and live to deplore her
loss ? Can such a request be made to a mother? 0
Stanislaus is it possible that there is a sacrifice I cannot
make to you, and a grief in which all your endeavours to
console me would be vain !" She ceased to speak; her
tears no longer flowed; the anguish of her mind was un-
utterable. Stanislaus, unable to endure the sight of her
distress, cried, "My child, if your mother cannot consent,
you must not go." No, my mother, if you desire it, I
will stay," said Elizabeth, embracing her with the utmost
tenderness; "never will I disobey you; but perhaps the
Almighty will obtain from you what you have refused even
to my father; join with me in entreaties, my mother; let
us ask of Him the conduct we must pursue; it is His

The Exiles of Siberia. 63

wisdom that must enlighten, His support that must sustain
us: from Him proceeds all truth, and from Him only can
we learn submission to His decrees."
While Phedora prayed, tears again came to her relief:
that piety, which calms and softens human affliction, and
possesses itself of the heart, to chase thence the agonies of
sorrow; that divine piety, which never prescribes a duty
without pointing out its recompence, and never fails to
pour the balm of consolation into the souls of those who
humbly invoke it, touched that of Phedora. The approba-
tion of men can obtain from the ambitious character, which
places all its happiness in glory, a sacrifice of the tenderest
affections; but religion alone can obtain such a sacrifice
from hearts like that of Phedora, whose happiness centred
solely in those she loved.
On the following day, Stanislaus being alone with his
daughter, gave her a narration of his misfortunes; he in-
formed her of the dreadful wars which had afflicted the
kingdom of Poland, and in what manner that unfortunate
nation had been at last subverted.-" My only crime, my
child," said he, "was too strong an attachment to my coun-
try to endure the sight of its slavery. The blood of some
of its greatest monarchs flowed in my veins; its throne
might have fallen to my lot, and my services and my life
were due to the country from which all my glory was de-
rived. I defended it as I ought; at the head of a handful
of noble Poles, I fought to the last extremity against the
three great Powers which combined to destroy it; and
when, overpowered by the number of our enemies, we were


Elizabeth; or,

forced to yield under the walls of Warsaw, in sight of that
great city, delivered up to flames and pillage; though
forced to submit to tyranny, at the bottom of my heart
I resisted still. Ashamed to remain in my native country,
which was no longer in the possession of my countrymen,
I sought arms, I sought allies to assist me in restoring to
Poland its existence and its name. Vain effort ineffectual
attempt! each day riveted faster those chains my feeble
endeavours were unable to break. The lands of my ances-
tors lay in that part of the country which had fallen under
the dominion of Russia : I lived upon them with Phedora,
and should have lived with felicity unequalled, but that
the yoke of the stranger weighed upon my mind. My
open murmurs, and still more the numbers of mal-contents
who resorted to my house, disturbed an arbitrary and sus-
picious monarch. One morning I was torn from the arms
of my wife, from yours, my child, from my home: you
were then only four years old, and your tears flowed not
for your own misfortunes, but because you saw your mother
weep. I was dragged to the prisons of Petersburgh:
Phedora followed me thither; where the only favour she
could obtain was permission to share my confinement.
We lived nearly a year in those dreadful dungeons, deprived
of air, nearly of the light of heaven; but not of hope. I
could not persuade myself but that a just monarch would
forgive a private citizen for having endeavoured to maintain
the rights of his country, and that he would trust to the
promise I gave of future submission. I judged mankind
too favourably: I was condemned unheard, and banished

The Exiles of Siberia. 65

for life to the deserts of Siberia. My faithful companion
would not abandon me: and in accompanying me she
seemed to follow the dictates of her heart rather than
those of her duty. Yes, had I been condemned to linger
out my existence in the frightful darkness of the terrific
Beresow, or amidst the undisturbed solitudes of the lake
Baikal, or of Kamptschatka, she would not have forsaken
me. In short, had my destiny been rendered even ten
times more miserable, my Phedora would still have proved
my consoling angel: to her goodness, to her piety, to her
generous sacrifice, I shall ever believe I am indebted for
my milder doom. 0 my child I all the solace of my life
I owe to her; while in return I have associated her in
my misfortunes." "Misfortunes! my father," said Eliza-
beth; "when you have loved her so tenderly, so con-
stantly In these words Stanislaus recognized the heart
of Phedora; and perceived that Elizabeth, like her mother,
could live contented with the man she loved. My child,"
resumed he, returning young Smoloff's letter, which he had
kept since the preceding evening, "if I one day owe to
your zeal and courage the restoration of that rank and
wealth which I no longer desire, but to place you in the
bosom of prosperity, this letter will remind you of our
benefactor; your heart, Elizabeth, is grateful, and the
alliance of virtue can never disgrace the blood of royalty."
Elizabeth coloured as she received the letter from her
father; and placing it in her bosom, answered, "The re-
membrance of him who pitied, who loved, and served you,
shall ever be cherished by me."

66 Elizafeth; or,

For some days the departure of Elizabeth was not men-
tioned; her mother had not yet consented; but in the
melancholy of her air, in the deep dejection of her counte-
nance, were visible that the solicited consent was in her
heart, and that all hope from resistance had forsaken her.
One Sunday evening, the family was assembled in prayer,
when a gentle tapping at the door disturbed them. Stanis-
laus opened it; and a venerable stranger presented him-
self. Phedora started up, exclaiming, "0 Heaven! this
is he who has been announced to us; he who comes to
deprive me of my child." She hid her face, bathed in
tears, with her hands; her piety could not even induce
her to welcome the servant of God. The missionary
entered. A long white beard descended to his breast;
he was bent more by long labours than by age; the hard-
ships of his life had worn his body and strengthened his
soul : there was an expression of sorrow in his countenance,
as of a man who had suffered much; but likewise some-
thing consolatory, as of a man who feels that he has not
suffered in vain : the whole of his appearance inspired the
beholder with veneration.
Sir," said he, addressing himself to Stanislaus, I enter
your dwelling with a joyful heart; the blessing of God is
upon this cottage, for it contains a treasure more precious
than gold and pearls; I come to solicit a night's lodging."
Elizabeth hastened to fetch him a seat. "Young maiden,"
said he to her, "you have early trod the paths of virtue,
and in the spring-time of human life have left us far be-
hind." He was preparing to seat himself, when the sighs

The Exiles of Siberia.


of Phedora arrested his attention; and addressing himself
to her, "Why do you weep?" said he, "is not your child
favoured from the Most High ? Heaven itself conducts
her steps, and you should consider yourself blest far beyond
the common lot of parents; if you grieve so bitterly
because the call of virtue separates your child from you
for a short time, what must become of those mothers who
see their offspring torn from them by the ways of vice, and
lost to them for eternity?" "0 father! if I am to see
her no more!" exclaimed the afflicted mother. "You
would see her again," he answered with animation, "in
that celestial Paradise which will be her inheritance. But
you will see her again on earth; the difficulties of her un-
dertaking are great and various, but the all-powerful Being
will protect her : he tempers the wind to the clothing of
the lamb."
Phedora bowed her head in token of resignation. Stan-
islaus had not yet spoken; his heart was oppressed; he
could not utter a word. Elizabeth herself, who had never
before felt her courage relax, began to experience sensa-
tions of weakness. The animated hope of rendering service
to her parents had hitherto absorbed every idea of the
grief of leaving them; but now, when that moment was
arrived that she could say to herself, "To-morrow I shall
not hear the voice of my father, I shall not receive the fond
caresses of my mother; perhaps a year may pass away ere
such happiness be mine again," she now felt that the
success of her enterprise could hardly make her amends for
so distressing a separation. Her eyes became dim, her


68 Elizabeth; or,

whole frame was agitated, and she sunk weeping upon the
bosom of her father. Ah, timid orphan, if already you
extend your arms to your protector, and on the first ap-
proach of thy undertaking bendest to the ground as a vine
without support, where wilt thou find that courage requi-
site to traverse nearly half the globe without guide or
assistant !
Before they retired to rest, the missionary supped with
the exiles. Freedom and hospitality presided at the board,
but gaiety was banished; and it was only by the utmost
effort that each of the family suppressed their tears. The
good religious regarded them with tender concern: in the
course of his long travels he had witnessed much affliction,
and the art of bestowing consolation had been the principal
study of his life : for different kinds of sorrow he pursued
different methods; for every situation, for every character
he had words of comfort, and seldom failed to afford relief;
he knew that if it be possible to withdraw the mind from
the contemplation of its own sorrows by presenting the
image of some calamity still greater than the one lamented,
the tears that flow through pity will soften the agony of
woe. Thus, by relating the long history of his own crosses,
and of the various distressing scenes he had witnessed, he
by degrees attracted the attention of the exiles, moved with
compassion for the sufferings of their fellow-creatures, and
led them to reflect that their own lot had been mild com-
pared with that of many. What had not this venerable
old man seen ? What could he not relate ? who, for sixty
years, at a distance of two thousand miles from his country,

The Exiles of Siberia.


in a foreign climate, in the midst of persecutions, had
laboured incessantly at the conversion of savages, whom
he entitled "Brethren," and who were not unfrequently his
most inveterate persecutors ? He had visited the court of
Pekin, and had excited the astonishment of the Mandarins
by the extent of his learning, and still more by his rigid
virtue and austere self-denial; he had assembled together
tribes of wandering savages and taught them the principles
of agriculture. Thus, barren wastes changed into fertile
lands, savages became mild and humane; families, to whom
the fond titles of father, husband, and of son were no longer
unknown, raised their hearts to Heaven in tributes of
thanksgiving; all these blessings were the result of the
pious labours of one man. These people did not condemn
the missions of piety; they presumed not to say that the
religion which dictates them is severe and arbitrary; and
still further were they from affirming, that men who practise
that religion with such excess of charity and love towards
their fellow-creatures, are useless and ambitious. But why
not pronounce them to be ambitious ? In devoting their
lives to the service of their fellow-creatures do they not
aspire to the highest rewards ? Do they not seek to please
their Maker, and to gain heaven ? None of the most cele-
brated conquerors of the earth ever raised their aspiring
thoughts so high; they were satisfied with the esteem of
men, and with the dominion of the universe.
The good father then informed his hosts that, recalled
by his superior, he was now returning on foot to Spain,
his native country. On his road thither he was to pass

70 Elizabeth; or,

through Russia, Germany, and France. But he seemed to
think little of the journey: the man who had travelled
through vast deserts, which yielded no shelter from the
inclemency of the weather but a den; no pillow to rest
the weary head but what a stone afforded; and whose only
food had been a little rice-flour moistened with water,
might well consider himself at the period of his labours on
approaching to civilised nations; and Father Paul fancied
himself in his own country, when he found himself once
more among a Christian people. He repeated accounts
of dreadful sufferings he had endured, and of difficulties
which he had overcome, when, after passing the wall of
China, he had entered into the extensive territories of the
Tartars. He recounted that, at the entrance of the vast
deserts of Songria, which appertain to China, and serve it
as a boundary on the side of Siberia, he had discovered a
country abounding in rich and valuable furs, and through
this commodity able to maintain an extensive commerce
with European nations; but no traces of their industry
had as yet reached that distant spot; no merchant had
dared to carry his gold, or attempt a lucrative traffic, where
the missionary had ventured to plant the cross, and had
distributed blessings :-so true it is, that charity will stimu-
late to enterprises from which even avarice recedes.
A bed was prepared for Father Paul in the little cham-
ber belonging to the Tartar peasant, who slept, wrapt up in a
bearskin, near the stove. As soon as day began to dawn,
Elizabeth rose. She approached softly to Father Paul's
door. and, hearing that he was already risen and at prayers,

The Exiles qf Siberia. 7 I

she asked permission to enter and converse with him in
private, as she felt that she dare not speak to him before
her parents, much less to express her wish that they might
set out the following morning on their journey. She re-
lated to him the history of her life,-a simple but affecting
story, which consisted chiefly of anecdotes of mutual ten-
derness between her parents and herself. In the long re-
cital of her doubts and hopes, she had occasion more than
once to pronounce the name of Smoloff; but it seemed as
if this name occurred only to heighten the picture of her
innocence, and to shew that it was not wholly through the
absence of temptation she had preserved so entire the
purity of her heart. Father Paul was deeply affected at
the narration. He had made the tour of the globe, and
seen almost all that it contained; but a heart like that
which Elizabeth discovered was new to him.
Stanislaus and Phedora knew not that it was their
daughter's intention to leave them on the morrow; but
when they embraced her in the morning, they felt that
sensation of involuntary terror which all animated beings
experience on the eve of the storm that threatens them.
Whenever Elizabeth moved, Phedora followed her with her
eyes, and often seized her suddenly by the arm, without
daring to ask her the question that hovered on her lips; but
speaking continually of employment she had for her on the
following day, and giving orders for different works to be
done several days hence. Thus did she endeavour to re-assure
herself by her own words; but her heart was not at ease,
and the silence of her daughter spoke most feelingly to it


Elizabeth; or,

of her departure. During dinner she said to her, Eliza-
beth, if the weather is fine to-morrow, you shall go in your
little canoe with your father to fish in the lake." Her
daughter looked at her in silence, while the tears involun-
tarily fell from her eyes. Stanislaus, agitated by the same
anxiety as Phedora, addressed himself to her hastily. "My
child," said he, did you hear your mother's desire ? you
are to come with me to-morrow." Elizabeth reclined her
head on her father's shoulder, saying in a whisper, "To-
morrow you must console my mother." Stanislaus changed
colour. It was enough for Phedora-she asked no more.
She was certain the departure of her child had been men-
tioned; it was a subject she wished not to hear, for the
moment that it was spoken of before her must be that of
giving her consent; and she indulged the hope that, till it
was granted, her daughter would not dare to leave home.
Stanislaus collected all his firmness, for he saw that on the
morrow he must sustain the loss of his child, and the sight
of his wife's anguish. He knew not whether he could
survive the sacrifice he was going to make-a sacrifice to
which he never could have submitted but from the excess
of love he bore his daughter; and, concealing his emotion,
he received the intelligence with composure and feigned
content, in order to bestow upon his Elizabeth the only
recompense worthy of her virtue.
How many secret emotions, how many afflicting unob-
served sensations, agitated the minds of parents and child
on this day of trial I Sometimes they exchanged the most
tender caresses; at others they appeared a prey to the

7he Exiles of Siberia.


most heartfelt grief. The missionary sought to rouse their
spirits by reciting all the histories in the sacred writings
in which Providence rewarded in a special manner the sac-
rifices of filial piety and paternal resignation; he gave
hints likewise that the difficulties of the journey would not
be so great, as a man of high consequence, whom he would
not name, but who they easily guessed, had provided him
with the means of rendering it easier and more pleasant.
Thus passed the day; and, when night arrived, Elizabeth,
on her knees, in broken accents entreated her parents'
blessing. Her father approached her, the tears streamed
down his manly cheeks. His daughter held out her arms
to him. He beheld in her motion the sign of a farewell.
His heart became too much oppressed to allow him to
weep. His tears stopped while he laid his hands upon
her head, recommending her in silence to the protection of
the Almighty, as he had not courage to utter a word.
Elizabeth, then, turning round to her mother, said "And
you, my mother, will you not likewise bestow your bene-
diction upon your child? "To-morrow," replied she, in
a voice almost stifled with the agony of grief. "To-mor-
row And why not to-day, my mother ? Oh, yes i" an-
swered Phedora, running to her; "to-day, to-morrow, every
day." Elizabeth bowed down her head, while her parents,
their hands joined, their eyes raised, with trembling voices
pronounced a solemn benediction that was heard on high.
The missionary, with a cross in his hand, stood at a
little distance praying for them. It was the picture of
Virtue praying for Innocence. If such invocations ascend


Elizabeth; or,

not to the throne of the Most High, what can those be
which have a right to attain it!
It was now the end of the month of May-that season
of the year when, between the deepening shades of twi-
light and the glimmering dawn of the day, there is scarcely
two hours of night. Elizabeth employed this time in
making preparations for her departure; she had provided
herself with a travelling dress, and a change of shoes and
stockings, in a bag of reindeer skin. It had been her con-
stant practice for nearly a year to work at night after she
had retired to her chamber, that she might get these things
in readiness, unknown to Phedora. During the same
period of time she had reserved from each of her collations
some dried fruits and a little flour, in order to defer as
long as possible that moment when she must have recourse
to the charity of strangers; but she was determined not to
take anything from the dwelling of her parents, where little
was to be found but what necessity required. The whole
amount of her treasure was eight or ten kopecks; it was
all the money she possessed, all the riches with which she
undertook to traverse a space of more than eight hundred
"Father," said she to the missionary, knocking softly
at his door, "let us depart now, while my parents are
asleep; do not let us awake them; they will grieve soon
enough. They sleep tranquilly, thinking we cannot go out
without passing through their chamber; but the window
of this room is not high, I can easily jump out, and will
then assist you in getting down." The missionary agreed


The Exiles of Siberia. 75

to this stratagem of filial tenderness, which was to spare
the parents and child the agonies of such a parting. As
soon as they were in the forest, Elizabeth, having thrown
her little packet on her shoulder, walked a few steps hastily
forwards; but, turning her head once again towards the
dwelling she had abandoned, her sobs almost stifled her.
Bathed in tears, she rushed back to the door of the apart-
ment in which her parents slept. 0 Heaven !" cried
she, "watch over them, guard them, preserve them; and
grant that I may never pass this threshold again if I am
destined to behold them no more !" She then rose; and
turning, beheld her father standing behind her. "0 my
father you are here : why did you come ?" "To see you,
to embrace you, to bless you once more; to say to you,
My Elizabeth, if during the days of your childhood I have
let one escape without shewing convincing proofs of my
tenderness; if once I have made your tears flow; if a look,
an expression of harshness, has afflicted your heart, before
you go, pardon me for it; pardon your father, that, if he
is not doomed to have the happiness of seeing you again,
he may die in peace." "Oh! do not talk thus," inter-
rupted Elizabeth. "And your poor mother!" continued
he, "when she awakes, what shall I say to her ? what shall
I answer, when she asks me for her child ? She will seek
you in the forests, on the borders of the lake, everywhere;
and I shall follow weeping with her, and calling despond-
ingly for our child, who will no longer hear us." At these
words, Elizabeth, overpowered, almost fainting, supported
herself against the walls of the hut: her father seeing that

Elizabeth; or,

he had affected her beyond her strength, reproached him-
self bitterly for his own want of fortitude. "My child,"
said he, in a more composed voice, "take courage; I will
promise, if not to comfort your mother, at least to encour-
age her to support your absence with fortitude, and will
restore her to you when you return hither. Yes, my child,
whether the enterprise of your filial piety be crowned with
success or not, your parents will not die till they have
embraced you again." He then addressed the missionary,
who with his eyes cast down, stood deeply affected at a
little distance from this scene of affliction : Father," said
he, "I entrust to your care a jewel which is invaluable;
it is more precious than my heart's blood; far, far more
precious than my life; nevertheless, with full confidence I
entrust it to you: depart then together; and may choirs
of angels watch over both; to guard her, celestial powers
will arm themselves, and that dust which formed the
mortal part of her ancestors will be reanimated; the all-
powerful Being, the Father and Protector of my Elizabeth,
will not suffer her to perish."
Elizabeth, without venturing to look at her father again,
placed one hand across her eyes, and giving the other to
the missionary, departed with him. The morning's dawn
now began to illuminate the summits of the mountains,
?.nd gild the tops of the dark firs ; but all nature was still
wrapped in profound silence. No breath of wind ruffled
the smooth surface of the lake, nor agitated with its breezes
the leaves of the trees; the birds had not begun to sing,
nor did a sound escape even from the smallest insect; it



The Exiles of Siberia. 77

seemed as if Nature preserved a respectful silence, that
the voice of a father, calling down benedictions on his
child, might penetrate through the forests which now
divided them.
I have attempted to convey an idea of the grief of the
father, but my powers are inadequate to describe that of
the mother. How could I delineate her sensations, when
awakened by the cries of her husband she runs to him,
and reading in his desponding attitude that she had lost
her child, falls to the ground in a state of unutterable
anguish, that seems to threaten her existence! In vain
does Stanislaus, by recalling to her mind all the miseries
attendant upon a life of banishment, endeavour to calm
her grief; she attends not to his voice; love itself has lost
its influence, and can no longer reach her heart; the sor-
rows of a mother are beyond all human consolation, and
can receive it from no earthly source: Heaven reserves to
itself alone the power of soothing them; and if these
agonising sorrows are given to the weaker sex, it is
formed gentle and submissive, to bow beneath the hand
that chastises it, and have recourse to the only comfort
that remains.
It was about the middle of May that Elizabeth and her
guide set out upon their journey. They were a full month
in crossing the marshy forests of Siberia, which is subject
at this season of the year to terrible inundations. Some-
times the peasants whom they overtook permitted them
for a trifling compensation to mount their sledges; at night
they took shelter in cabins so miserable, that had not Eliza-


Elizabeth; or,

beth been long inured to hardships and privation, she
would scarcely have been able to take any repose.
She lay in her clothes upon a wretched mattress, in a
room scented with the fumes of tobacco and .spirits, into
which the wind penetrated through the broken windows,
ill-repaired with paper, and to complete its uncomfortable
state, the whole family, and sometimes even a part of their
cattle, reposed in the same miserable apartment.
Forty versts from Tinoen, a town in the frontiers of
Siberia, is a wood, in which a row of posts mark the
boundary of the division of Tobolsk. Elizabeth observed
them; and to her it appeared like a second parting, to
leave the territory which her parents inhabited. "Alas !i
said she, "what a distance separates us now !" When she
entered Europe, again this melancholy reflection recurred
to her. To be in a different quarter of the world, pre-
sented to her imagination the idea of a distance more
immense than the vast extent of country she had crossed:
in Asia she had left the only beings of the universe upon
which she had a claim, and upon whose affection she could
rely; and what could she expect to find in that Europe
so celebrated for its enlightened inhabitants? What in
that imperial court, where riches and talents flowed in
such abundance? Would she find in it one heart moved
by her suffering, softened by her afflictions, or from whose
commiseration she might hope for protection? At this
thought, one name presented itself to her mind. Ah!
might she have dared to indulge the hope of meeting him
at Petersburg-but there was no chance. The mandate

The Exiles of Siberia.


of the emperor had sent him to join the army in Livonia;
there was not then the remotest probability of finding him
ir. Turope, which seemed to her to be inhabited by him
only, because he was the only person whom she knew.
All her dependence then was upon Father Paul; and in
Elizabeth's ideas, the man who had passed sixty years in
rendering services to his fellow-creatures, must have great
influence at the court of monarchs.
Perma is nearly nine hundred versts from Tobolsk; the
roads are good, the lands fertile and well cultivated; young
woods of birch are frequently intermixed with fine exten-
sive fields; and opulent ill.i. -, belonging to the Russians
and Tartars, are scattered about, whose inhabitants appear
so contented and happy, that it can hardly be conceived
they breathe the air of Siberia. This tract of country
contains even elegant inns, abounding in luxuries hitherto
unknown to Elizabeth, and which excited her astonishment.
The city of Perma, although the handsomest she had yet
seen, shocked her, from the narrowness and dirtiness of
the streets, the height of its buildings, the confused inter-
mixture of fine houses and miserable huts, and the close-
ness of the air. The town is surrounded by fens, and the
country, as far as Cassan, (interspersed with barren heaths
and forests of firs,) exhibits the most gloomy aspect: in
stormy seasons the thunder frequently falls upon these
aged trees, which burn with rapidity, and appear like
columns of the brightest red, surmounted by crowns of
flames. Elizabeth and her guide, often witnesses of these
flaming spectacles, were obliged to cross woods burning


Elizabeth; or,

on each side of them; sometimes they saw trees consumed
at the roots, while their tops, which the fire had not reached,
were supported only by the bark, or, half thrown down,
formed an arch across the road; others falling with a tre-
mendous crash one upon another, made a pyramid of flames
like the piles of the ancients, on which pagan piety con-
sumed the ashes of its heroes.
Amidst these dangers, and the still more imminent ones
they encountered in the passage of rivers which overflowed
their banks, Elizabeth was never disheartened; she even
thought that the difficulties of her undertaking had been
exaggerated. The weather, it is true, was uncommonly
fine, and she often travelled in the cars, or kibitkis, which
were returning from Siberia, whither they had conveyed
new exiles: for a few kopecks our travellers easily obtained
permission of their drivers to ride as far as they went.
Elizabeth accepted, without feeling hurt, the assistance ol
her guide; for what she received from him, was considered
by her as the gift of Heaven.

The Exiles of Siberia. 81


ELIZABETH and her guide arrived upon the banks of the
Thama about the beginning of September, which is but
two hundred versts from Cassan, having nearly accom-
plished half their journey. Had it been the will of
Heaven that Elizabeth should complete her enterprise as
easily as she had hitherto proceeded, she would have con-
sidered the happiness of her parents cheaply purchased;
but it was her destiny to experience a sad reverse: and,
along with the winter season, that period approached which
was to put her steadfastness to the severest trial, and call
forth all the exertions of her filial piety to gain for its
reward a crown of immortal glory.
The health of the missionary had for several days visibly
declined. It was with difficulty that he could walk, even
with the assistance of Elizabeth, and supported by his
staff; he was obliged to rest continually; and when a
conveyance could be obtained in one of the kibitkis, the
violent shocks he received from the roughness of the road,
which was made of the trunks of large trees carelessly
thrown across the marshes, exhausted his little remains of
strength, though the firm composure of his soul continued
unmoved. On his arrival, however, at Sarapol, (a con-
siderable village on the northern banks of the Thama,) the
good missionary found himself so extremely weak, that it
was impossible for him to think of proceeding on his jour-
ney. He was lodged in a miserable inn adjoining to the

Elizabeth; or,

house of the superintendent of the district. The only
room he could be accommodated with was a sort of loft or
garret, the floor of which shook under every step. The
windows were unglazed, and the furniture of this wretched
apartment consisted of a wooden table and a bedstead, over
which was strewed a few trusses of straw; upon this the
missionary reposed his feeble limbs. The wind, which
entered freely the broken casements, must have banished
sleep from his relief, had the pain he unremittingly en-
dured allowed him to enjoy any repose. The most de-
sponding reflections now presented themselves to the ter-
rified imagination of Elizabeth. She had inquired for a
physician. There was none to be had at Sarapol; and, as
she perceived that the people of the house took no interest
in the state of the dying sufferer, she was obliged to de-
pend solely upon her own efforts for procuring him relief
After fastening some pieces of the old tapestry, which
lined the sides of the apartment, across the windows, she
went out into the fields in search of certain wild herbs, of
which she made a salutary beverage for the suffering mis-
sionary, according to a recipe she had seen of her mother's.
As night approached, the symptoms of his malady grew
every instant more alarming, and the unfortunate Elizabeth
could no longer restrain her tears. She withdrew to a
distance, that her sobs might not disturb his dying mo-
ments; but the good father heard them, and grieved for an
affliction he knew not how to remove,-for he felt well
assured that he should rise no more, and that the period of
his mortal career was fast approaching. To the pious phil


The Exiles of Siberia.


anthropist, who had dedicated a long life to the service of
his God and of his fellow-creatures, death could present no
terrors; though he could not help regretting at the pros-
pect of being called away while there remained so much
for him to do. "0 Most High !" he inwardly exclaimed,
"' I presume not to murmur at Thy decrees; but, had it
been Thy will to spare me till I had conducted this unpro-
tected orphan to the end of her journey, my death would
have been more easy."
When it grew dark Elizabeth lighted a rosin taper, and
remained seated all night at the foot of the bed to attend
her patient. A little before daybreak she approached to
give him some drink. The missionary, feeling that the
moment of his dissolution was near at hand, lifted himself
up a little while in the bed, and, taking from her hand the
cup she presented to him, raised it towards heaven, saying,
"0 my God! I recommend her to Thy care, who hast
promised that a cup of cold water bestowed in Thy name
shall not go unrewarded." These words carried with them
the conviction of that misfortune Elizabeth had till this
moment affected to disbelieve. She discovered that the
missionary felt his end approaching, and that she should
soon be left destitute and unprotected. Her courage
failed; she fell upon her knees by the side of the bed,
while her eyes became dim, her respiration difficult, and a
cold dew stood upon her forehead. "My God look down
with pity on her; look down with pity on her, O my God!"
repeated the missionary, while he regarded her with the
tenderest commiseration. But as he perceived that the


Elizabeth; or,

violence of her anguish seemed to increase, he said, I
the name of God, and of your father, compose yourself,
daughter, and listen to what I have to say." The trem-
bling Elizabeth stifled her sobs; and, wiping away the
tears that impeded her sight, raised her eyes to her vener-
able guide in token of attention. He supported himself
against the board placed across the back of the bedstead,
and, exerting all his remaining strength, addressed her
thus : "My child, in travelling at your age, alone, unpro-
tected, and during the severe season that approaches, you
will have to endure great hardships; but there are dangers
more alarming still which must fall to your lot. An ordi-
nary courage that might stand firm against fatigues and
suffering would be unable to resist the enticements of
seduction; but yours, Elizabeth, is not an ordinary
courage, and the allurements of a court will not have
power to change your heart. You will meet with many
who, presuming upon your unprotected situation and
distress, will seek to turn you from the paths of virtue;
but you will neither put faith in their promises, nor be
dazzled by the splendour which may surround them. The
fear of God, the love of your parents, will place you be-
yond all their attempts. To whatever extremity you may
be reduced, never lose sight of these sacred claims, never
forget that a single false step will precipitate to the grave
those to whom you owe your existence." "O father!"
interrupted she, "fear not." "I do not fear," said he;
" your piety, your noble resolution, have merited implicit
confidence, and I am well convinced you will not sink

The Exiles of Siberia. 85

under the trials to which Heaven ordains you. You will
find, my child, in my cloak the purse which the generous
governor of Tobolsk gave to me when he recommended
you to my care. Preserve this secret with the strictest
caution-his life depends upon your circumspection. The
money this purse contains will defray your expenses to
Petersburg. When you arrive there, go to the patriarch,
mention Father Paul to him; perhaps the name may not
have escaped his memory; he will procure an asylum for
you in some convent, and will, I doubt not, present your
petition to the emperor-he cannot reject it, it is impossible.
In my expiring moments I repeat it to you, my child, that
a proof of filial piety like that you will display, has no pre-
cedent. The admiring world will bestow the applause it
merits, and your virtue will be rewarded upon earth be-
fore it receives the glorious recompense which awaits it in
heaven "-
He ceased; his breath began to fail, and the chilly
damps of death already stood upon his brow. Elizabeth,
reclining her head against the bed-post, wept unconstrained.
After a long interval of silence, the missionary, untying
a little ebony crucifix, which hung suspended from his
neck, presented it to her, saying, in feeble accents, "Take
this, my child; it is the only treasure I have to bestow,
the only one I possess on earth; and possessed of that,
I wanted not." She pressed it to her lips with the most
lively transports of grief; for the renunciation of such a
treasure proved that the missionary was certain the moment
of his dissolution was at hand. Fear nothing," added he,


Elizabeth; or,

with the tenderest compassion; "the good Pastor, who
abandons not one of His flock, will watch over and protect
you; and if He deprive you of your present support, He
will not fail to bestow more than He takes from you; con-
fide securely in His goodness. He who feeds the sparrows,
and knows the number of the sands of the sea-shore, will
not forget Elizabeth." "Father, O father !" she exclaimed,
seizing the hand he held out to her, I cannot resign my-
self to lose thee." Child," replied he, Heaven ordains
it; submit with patience to its decrees; in a few moments
I shall be on high, when I will pray for you and your
parents"- He could not finish; his lips moved, but the
sounds he tried to utter died away; he fell back upon his
straw bed; and raising his eyes to heaven, exerted his last
efforts to recommend to its protection the destitute orphan,
for whom he still seemed to supplicate when life had fled.
So deeply was the force of benevolence implanted in his
soul, so habitually, during the course of his long life, had
he neglected his own interest to devote himself to those of
others, that at the moment he was to enter into the awful
abyss of eternity, and to appear before the throne of his
sovereign Judge, to receive the irrevocable doom-he
thought not of himself.
The cries of Elizabeth attracted the people of the house;
they demanded their cause; and she pointed to her pro-
tector extended lifeless on the straw. The rumour of this
event immediately gathered a crowd around the corpse.-
Some who were attracted b3 idle curiosity, regarded the
youthful mourner with astonishment, as she stood weeping

The Exiles of Siberia. 87

near the deceased; others compassioned her distIus; but
the people of the inn, anxious to receive payment for the
miserable accommodation they had afforded, discovered
with delight the contents of the missionary's cloak, which,
in her grief, Elizabeth had not thought of securing; they
took possession of the purse, and told her they would
restore the rest when they had taken enough to reimburse
themselves, and to pay the expenses of the funeral.
The people employed at interments in Russia, styled
Popes, soon arrived, followed by attendants with torches:
they threw a pall over the deceased; and the unfortunate
Elizabeth, obliged to let go the cold hand of her lifeless
protector, which she had not till then relinquished, gave a
scream of anguish as she took a last view of that venerable
countenance, still retaining its expression of serenity and
benevolence. She retired to the furthest corner of the
apartment, and there, bathed in tears, fell upon her knees,
and covering her face with a handkerchief, as if to shut out
from her sight that desolate world in which she was now
to wander alone, exclaimed in a voice of stifled agony,
" 0 thou blessed spirit, who art now reaping the reward
of thy virtue in realms of happiness, abandon not the des-
titute being who still looks up to thee for succour! O
my father O my mother where are you at this moment,
that your child is bereft of all human aid 2"
They now began to chant the funeral hymns, and placed
the body on the bier. When the instant arrived for its
removal, Elizabeth, though weak, agitated, and trembling,
determined to attend to their last asylum the remains of


Elizabeth; or,

him who had guided and protected her, and who, when
expiring, prayed for her welfare.
At the foot of an eminence on the northern side of the
Thama (on which are situated the ruins of a fortress,
erected during the remote period of the commotions of the
Baschkirs) is a piece of ground used as a burying-place by
the inhabitants of Sarapol. This spot is at a little distance
from the town; it is enclosed by a low hedge, and in the
centre is a small wooden building that serves as an oratory,
around which heaps of earth, surmounted by a cross, mark
the different receptacles of the dead: here and there a few
straggling firs extend their gloomy shade; and from be-
neath the sepulchral stones large clusters of thistles with
wide-spreading leaves and blue flowers; and another weed,
whose bare and bending stem is divided into numerous
slender branches, bearing flowers of a livid yellow, make
their appearance as only fit to bloom among tombs.
The train that followed the coffin of the missionary was
very numerous. It consisted of people of various nations
Persians, Turkomans, and Arabians, who had made their
escape from the Kirguis, and had been received into the
colleges founded by Catherine the Second. They accom-
panied the funeral procession with tapers in their hands,
blending their voices with those of the mourners; while
Elizabeth, following slowly and in silence, her face covered
with a veil, appeared as chief mourner, feeling no con-
nexion, in the midst of this tumultuous crowd, but with
him who was no more.
When the coffin was let down into the grave, the pope

The Exiles of Siberia.


who officiated, according to the rites of the Greek Church,
put a small piece of money into the hand of the deceased
to pay his passage; and after having thrown in a few
shovelfuls of earth, he departed. And thus was consigned
to oblivion the man who had never suffered a day to elapse
without rendering services to some of his fellow-creatures:
like the beneficent wind, which scatters wide the grains of
the earth, producing plenty all around; he had travelled
over more than half the world, sowing the seeds of wisdom
and truth, and by that world he died forgotten;-so
little is fame attached to modest merit; so little of it do
men bestow, except on those who dazzle them, or on those
conquerors who glory in destroying the human race to
gratify their ambition. Vain worldly glory! fruitless
honours! Heaven would not permit you to be thus the
reward of human grandeur only, had it not reserved its own
celestial glory for the recompense of virtue.
Elizabeth remained in the burying-ground until the close
of the day: she wept in solitude, and offered up her sup-
plications to the Almighty, which greatly relieved her
bursting heart. In afflictions like hers, a meditation be-
tween heaven and the grave is salutary: a reflection on
death will rouse our drooping spirits : a contemplation on
the joys of heaven will create hope and consolation : where
a misfortune is beheld in its extent, the horror we have
conceived of it decreases; and where such a compensation
is presented, the evil annexed to it loses its weight.
Elizabeth wept, but she did not repine; she thanked
God for the blessings with which the hardships of half her


Elizabeth; or,

journey had been lessened, and did not feel that she was
now entitled to complain because it was the will of Heaven
to withdraw them. Bereft of her guide, of every human
succour, her courage still sustained her, and the undaunted
heroism of her soul was proof against despair. My dear
father, my tender mother," she exclaimed, "fear not; your
child will not sink under the trials that await her." Thus
did she address her parents in the language of encourage-
ment, as if they could behold her destitute situation: and
when secret terror, in spite of herself, stole in upon her
soul, she would again invoke their names, and in repeating
them her fears were dispelled. "0 holy and now happy
spirit," said she, bending her head to the newly-removed
earth, art thou then lost to us before my beloved parents
could express their gratitude, could invoke blessings on the
kind protector of their child ?"
When night began to obscure the horizon, and Elizabeth
was obliged to quit this melancholy spot, desirous to leave
some memorial behind her, she picked up a sharp stone,
and inscribed these words upon the cross which was over
the grave: The just perisheth, and no man layeth it to
heart;"* then bidding a final adieu to the remains of the
poor missionary, she left the burying-ground, and returned
sorrowfully to her lonely apartment in the inn at Sarapol,
in which she had so dismally spent the preceding night.
Next morning, when she was ready to set forward on
her journey, the host gave her three rubles, assuring her,
at the same time, that it was all that remained of the mis.
Isaiab Ivii. 1.

The Exiles of Siberia. 91

sionary's purse. Elizabeth received them with emotions of
gratitude and veneration; as if these riches, which she
owed to her protector, were sent from that heaven of which
he was now an inhabitant. "Yes," exclaimed she, "my
guide, my support, your charity survives you; and though
you are taken from me, that supports me still."
During her solitary route, Elizabeth's tears frequently
flowed : every object recalled the bitter recollection of the
friend she had lost: if a peasant or an inquisitive traveller
regarded her with impertinent curiosity, or interrogated
her in accents of rudeness, she missed the venerable pro-
tector who had insured respect: if, oppressed by weari-
ness, she was obliged to seat herself on the roadside to
rest, she dared not stop the empty sledge that passed, fear-
ing a refusal, accompanied perhaps by insult; besides, as
she possessed but three rubles, she preserved that pittance
carefully to delay the period when she must have recourse
to accidental charity, and denied herself every superfluity.
Thus was she debarred from various little indulgences the
good missionary often procured her: she always selected
out the meanest habitation to demand a shelter, contenting
herself with the most wretched accommodations and the
coarsest food.
Travelling by such slow degrees, she could not reach
Cassan till the beginning of October. A strong wind blow-
ing from the north-west had prevailed for several days, and
had collected a quantity of ice upon the Wolga, which ren-
dered the passage of that river almost impracticable: it
could only be crossed by going partly in a boat and partly


Elizabeth; or,

on foot, leaping from one piece of ice to another. Even
the boatmen, who were accustomed to this dangerous navi-
gation, would not undertake it but in consideration of a
high reward; and no passenger ventured to expose his life
with them in the attempt. Elizabeth, without thinking of
the danger, was going to enter one of their boats, when
they roughly pushed her away, declaring she could not be
allowed to cross till the river was entirely frozen over.
She inquired the probable lapse of time before that event
would take place. On receiving the answer, a fortnight
at least," she determined to attempt the passage at present.
"In the name of Heaven, I conjure you," said she, in a
tone of the most earnest entreaty, to assist me in crossing
the river. I come from beyond Tobolsk, and am going to
Petersburg, to petition the emperor in behalf of my father,
now an exile in Siberia; and I have so little money, that
if I am obliged to remain a fortnight at Cassan, I shall not
have a kopeck left wherewith to continue my journey."
This affecting appeal softened the heart of one of the
boatmen, who taking Elizabeth by the hand, Come," said
he, "you are a good girl; I will endeavour to ferry you
over: the fear of God, and the love of your parents, guide
your steps, and Heaven will protect you." He then helped
her into his boat, which he rowed half way over. Not
being able to work it further, he took Elizabeth on his
back; and walking and leaping alternately over the masses
of ice, attained, by the assistance of an oar, the opposite
side of the Wolga, where he set her down in safety. Eliza-
beth expressed her acknowledgments in the most animated

The Exiles of Siberia. 93

terms her grateful heart could dictate; and taking out her
purse, which contained now but two rubles and a few
smaller coins, offered a trifling reward for his services.
" Poor child!" said the boatman, looking at the contents of
her purse, "is that all the money you have to defray the
expenses of your journey from hence to Petersburg?
Then, believe me, that Nicholas Sokoloff will not deprive
you of a single obol! No, rather will I add something to
your store; it will bring down a blessing upon me and my
six little ones." So saying, he threw her a small piece of
money, and called to her, as he returned to the boat, May
God watch over and protect you, my child."
Elizabeth took up the little piece of money, and regard-
ing it with her eyes filled with tears, said, I will preserve
you for my father; thou wilt afford a proof that his
prayers have been heard, and that a paternal protection
has been extended to me everywhere."
The atmosphere was clear, and the sky serene, but the
keen breezes of a northerly wind chilled the air. After
having walked for four hours without stopping, Elizabeth's
strength began to fail: no human habitation presented it-
self to her; and she sought shelter at the foot of a hill, the
rocky summit of which jutting over defended her from the
wind. Near to this hill was an extensive forest of oaks;
trees which are not to be seen on the Asiatic side of the
Wolga. Elizabeth knew not what they were; though they
had lost some of their foliage, yet their beauty was not
much diminished, and might still have excited admiration;
but, noble as they were, Elizabeth could not view these

94 Elizabeth; or,

European productions with pleasure, they recalled too
forcibly to her mind the immense distance which separated
her from her parents; she rather preferred the fir, which
solaced that spot where she had been reared-which had
so frequently yielded shade to the days of her childhood,
and under which, perhaps, her beloved parents at that in-
stant reposed.
These reflections always brought tears into her eyes.
" Oh, when shall I be blessed again with beholding them !"
she exclaimed; "when shall I hear the sound of their
voices? when return to their fond embraces ?" As she
spoke, she stretched out her arms towards Cassan, the
buildings of which were still distinguishable in the distant
prospect; and raised above them, upon the summit of high
rocks, the ancient fortress of the Chams of Tartary, pre-
senting a view grand and picturesque.
In the course of her journey Elizabeth often met with
objects which affected her compassionate heart in a scarcely
inferior degree to her own distress. Sometimes she en-
countered wretches chained together, who were condemned
to work for life in the mines of Nerozinsh, or to inhabit
the dreary coasts of Angara; at others, troops of emigrants,
destined to people the new city building by the emperor's
order on the confines of China; some on foot, others on
the cars which conveyed the animals, poultry, and baggage.
Notwithstanding these were criminals, sentenced to a milder
doom for offences which might have been elsewhere punished
with death, they did not fail to excite compassion in Eliza-
beth but when she met exiles escorted by an officer of

The Exiles of Siberia. 95

state, whose noble mien traced to her remembrance that
of her father, she could not forbear shedding tears over
their fate; and would sometimes approach respectfully to
offer soothing consolation, which often relieves the woes
of the unhappy. Pity, alas! was the only gift Elizabeth
had to bestow : with that she soothed the sorrows of those
she overtook, and by a return of pity must she now depend
for subsistence; for, on her arrival at Voldomir, she was
forced to change her last ruble. She had been nearly three
months on her journey from Serapol to Voldomir; but
through the kind hospitality of the Russian peasants, who
never take any payment for milk and bread, her little
treasure had not been yet exhausted: but now all began
to fail; her feet were almost bare, and her ragged dress
ill defended her from a frigidity of atmosphere which had
already sunk the thermometer thirty degrees below the
freezing point, and which increased daily. The ground
was covered with snow more than two feet deep: some-
times it congealed while falling, and appeared like a showed
of ice, so thick, that earth and sky were equally concealed
from the view; at other times torrents of rain rendered
the roads almost impassable, or gusts of wind arose so
violent, that Elizabeth, to defend herself from the rude
assaults, was obliged to dig a hole in the snow, covering
her head with large pieces of the bark of pine-trees, which
she dexterously stripped off, as she had seen done by the
inhabitants of Siberia.
One of these tempestuous hurricanes had raised the
snow in thick clouds and created an obscurity so impene-