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CHAPTER XVIII


Monsieur Radzianko, as is known, was elected President of the third Duma, and again of the fourth, that is to say, he was President at the moment of the Revolution. He married a Princess Galitzine, and was formerly in the Chevaliers-Gardes, considered the first Russian regiment. Adored by the peasants on his great estates, he was much in touch with the Zemstvo Party, the friend of the peasants. A great friend of Sir George Buchanan, our late Ambassador, his dream for his country was to have a ministry appointed by the Tzar, though outside the Duma, responsible to and dependent upon possessing and retaining its confidence.

The Empress, in the Palace, breathlessly awaited the result, devoured with anxiety as to the issue which none of them had known how to prevent.

The "Saint," seriously alarmed by the revelations of Miliukoff—the only topic of conversation in the capital—thought it prudent to make himself scarce again, and departed on a so-called "pilgrimage."

The Empress was in a terrible state, not only on account of the interpellation, but because since the departure of the scoundrel the condition of her precious child seemed to have become worse every day; hence a desperate summons to return. Madame Vyruboff had evidently received orders to drug the poor boy to such an extent that his condition should be sufficiently serious to madden the poor anxious mother.

The result of the denunciation was the fall of Sturmer; but he received a post at the Palace. He was replaced by Trepoff, an honest man, who at once announced his plan of action: "No separate peace, and war on German influence."

Nicholas II. had not the least idea that Rasputin was the creature of the Kaiser, and though his instinct did not allow him to regard him with any favour, he bore with him, as I have already said, for the sake of the Empress and to avoid family scenes; as he admitted on one occasion: "I would rather put up with this man than have to endure five attacks of hysterics a day."

It is certain that Alexandra Feodorovna was ill, and that her nerves were more than shaken; action should have been taken and on this pretext she should have been sent away. One must admit that there was enough to make her ill. Almost ever since her marriage, in any case since the year before the first Revolution, she lived in constant anguish, asking herself continually what was going to happen to her husband and children; as regards that one cannot blame her—on the contrary. It is said that the Empress has sent her magnificent jewels to Darmstadt, her native country, to help the Germans continue the war.

Another dangerous spy of the Kaiser's at Petrograd was Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, on the best of terms naturally with Rasputin, and also exercising a great influence at the Palace and over the Empress. He had naturalized himself Russian in 1914; but who is more to be mistrusted than one who has been "naturalized"?

It was then—at the end of November 1916—that Rasputin was more especially warned that a plot had been made against him. The Grand Duke Nicholas tried again to instil sense into the Emperor, but in vain. And the scoundrel paraded the so-called visions which he had never had, alarming the Empress more and more on the subject of her son, and continuing his work of threatening his approaching death if the famous separate peace were not signed. The Empress had come to believe that if this peace did not immediately become an accomplished fact the Romanoffs were doomed; and this she wished to prevent.

Germany naturally wished much for this peace; but to-day has to use the greatest circumspection before accepting the proposals of Lenin, whose government is recognized neither by the Ambassadors of the Allied powers nor by the Russian Ambassadors in Allied countries.

The dark forces did their best to spread cholera amongst the troops at the front, an epidemic that was luckily stamped out almost at once, to the great disappointment of those who had instigated it. They then tried to poison the Grand Duke Dmitri; but that also failed.

On the 16th of December 1916, Rasputin was invited by Prince Felix Yousoupoff to spend the evening in his father's mansion, under the pretext of meeting a young woman who ardently desired to become a "sister disciple." What I do not understand is, why he should have accepted the invitation, for he had been so often warned against his would-be host. He therefore arrived at the Prince's luxurious house, and was received by him, but after a gay supper was left tête-à-tête with one of the Prince's friends on the pretext of inspecting some objets d'art which had attracted his notice previously.

The friend in question did the honours of the princely house with affability, and offered Rasputin wine—into which a strong admixture of poison had been introduced!

The mock-monk sipped a few drops in the manner of a connoisseur, which indeed he had become, having accustomed himself to the taste of the famous vintages of the Winter Palace, and then addressing himself to his interlocutor he appeared to be interested in some special work of art on one of the tables in the room, which the latter felt obliged to show him for closer inspection. On returning to Rasputin's side he noticed the monk had become paler as he passed his hand across his face as if desirous of concealing a strong pang of pain.

The Prince's friend positively held his breath, keeping his eyes fixed on his prey as he noticed the glass standing empty beside him; he imagined the inevitable was bound to follow quickly, as the dose was a very strong one.

Upstairs, anxiety grew apace, many hearts were palpitating, every one counting the seconds which seemed eternal. Prince Felix Yousoupoff was there with a few friends who had all sworn to purge Russia, once and for all, of her evil genius.

But, as it happened, at the end of a few minutes the momentary sensation of discomfort seemed to disappear and the rascal became quite himself again to the Prince's friend's amazement, who began to wonder whether after all this extraordinary man opposite him was in reality entirely like other men, and not, as some people affirmed, a demon or a sorcerer, gifted with some wonderful and unknown power of resistance. This man who had the power to heal had also the facility to kill, so it was generally believed. And there, in that room, the silent witness of so many festivities of the past, was about to be enacted the last scene of one of the greatest dramas which had ever taken place in the world's history.

Driven at last almost to despair, the hero of the plot, anxious to conclude his task, drew out his revolver and shot the "Saint" as he gloated over the beautiful antiques; but, although wounded, Rasputin still had sufficient strength to stagger into the hall and was on the point of making his way to the street door as, pale with pain and foaming with rage, he yelled out: "For you have tried to kill me, I will revenge myself." Upon which the hearer renewed his attack, emptying the contents of his revolver into the "Saint's" head—and breathed again freely once more, as this time the "monk" was indeed dead. Then was uttered one general shout of joy from the little group of the Prince's friends assembled not far off, although in concealment during the tragedy. Rasputin had fired several times, but, as he was very drunk, I was told he only killed a dog.

Prince Felix Yousoupoff, on hearing the first shot, had rushed down the stairs and discharged his revolver; but it is said that owing to nervousness his hand shook and missed proper aim, and it was his friend who gave the coup de grâce.

It was afterwards discovered that Rasputin, profiting by his companion's momentary absence, had emptied the contents of his glass into a vase on one of the pieces of furniture which stood close by; this, either from distrust or because he had already indulged in too numerous libations.

It has been said that Rasputin was only killed in order to make clear whether it was really he who was guilty of all that had happened, or whether things would go on the same after his death. But it seems to me that his death came too late, and his evil work had been so well started that with or without him matters could no longer move up against the stream—they could only follow the current on which they had been started.

And there, in the great Neva, all black in the dark night, they threw beneath the ice the body, at last reduced to impotence, of him who had been the bane of the great Empire, cold in death as the deep icy water that engulfed it.

During a whole week every one wondered what could have become of Rasputin and why he had disappeared so suddenly and mysteriously; the Court camarilla, his friends and the pro-German coterie were at their wits' ends concerning him.

When the body at last was found, the Empress came to prostrate herself before the remains, showing the most violent sorrow, going afterwards each day to pray at his tomb and invoking the most terrible vengeance on his murderers.

These had been traced; and Nicholas II. left her free to inflict on them whatever punishment she chose.

The Grand Duke Dmitri was sent to the Persian front, and Prince Yousoupoff and his son were exiled to their estates, for it was not at that time easy to inflict a heavier sentence on such important people as the Grand Duke and his accomplices.

The Empress could not indeed by punishment slake the thirst of her soul for vengeance, and the unhappy mother was maddened by dread, only increased with the passing hours, of the realization of the sinister words of the dead man: "If disaster happens to me and I die, the Tzarevitch will die forty days, hour for hour, after me!"

The hour of the Revolution of March 10, 1917, struck; the Emperor being at the time at the Front, the moment had been well chosen, or rather arranged. The red rag of revolt was carried in triumph above the heads of a delirious crowd; ensigns on monuments and everything that could recall an Empire were burned in the great fires lighted in the streets. The Emperor started to return precipitately to the Empress and his children at the Palace of Tsarkoe-Celo, where all the Imperial children were suffering from measles. His first thought was of resistance, and to send his troops against the rebels of Petrograd.

The Grand Duke Nicholas, then Commander-in-Chief in the Caucasus, and General Alexieff, Chief of the General Staff, siding with the Duma, insisted on the abdication of Nicholas II., seeing in that act the only chance of salvation for Russia, and accordingly telegraphed their decision to Miliukoff who had just been appointed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The nation knew little or nothing of the course that events had taken, and the abdication was only the desire of a few scores of men; now, many deem it a great mistake.

Generals Russky and Brusiloff also telegraphed to Miliukoff, stating the adhesion of the armies to the new regime, and declaring that all was well.

Grand Duke Michael-Alexandrovitch, brother of Nicholas II., was nominated Regent, but without delay made it known that he would only accept the Regency with the approval of the people. This never came; of course the people did not have a chance of expressing an opinion; Kerensky seized the reins of government and what followed is only too well known.

At first every one was contented with the Revolution; it was hailed as a saviour by those who thought themselves free from the pro-German clique. Matters went well, everything seemed new-born, but when once anarchy broke through its bounds faces began to lengthen, and a feeling of despair arose—which feeling has gone on increasing ever since.

To-day in the depths of her exile, and in her invalid's chair, Alexandra Feodorovna wears mourning for happier days, in the depths of that Siberia to which she never dreamt she herself would be deported one day, that Siberia that she at least has so well deserved by her ignoble treachery, and where she has been sent as a precautionary measure in case of a reactionary movement. And there near the birthplace of her hero now dead, she still mourns more than all else the disappearance of the "Saint." "All this was bound to happen," she says. "It is the just vengeance for the 'Holy Father,' the Romanoffs must end and perish." The Russian people accused the
 
Ploughing in the Caucasus.jpg

PLOUGHING IN THE CAUCASUS

 
 
The Imperial palace of Tsarskoë-Celo.jpg

THE IMPERIAL PALACE OF TSARSKOË-CELO

 
Empress of bringing bad luck to everyone; but even at Darmstadt she was considered a bird of ill-omen.

As for Nicholas II. he has become completely imbecile, if rumour is correct, and will never recover his reason; the best thing that could have happened, perhaps, as far as he is concerned.

During his imprisonment at Tsarkoe-Celo, the revolutionary party was obliged often to change the soldiers who guarded him in order to be sure of their fidelity to the new regime, so great was known to be the ascendancy of the "Little Father" over his soldiers.

When he left the Palace for exile, many people knelt and piously crossed themselves as he passed, just as they would had they been shown a holy picture with miraculous powers. That which had been the religion of these humble people, they retained still for their Emperor who was losing his throne through his family affections, obstinacy and weakness.

The outcome of the first Revolution had for result the creation of the Duma, which was intended to be the Saviour and Regenerator of the Empire—it has witnessed its end. Gapon, the idol of the masses, the precursor of Rasputin, appears no more but as a shadow pale, and fugitive.

The outcome of the second Revolution has been the fall of the Romanoffs and the institution of a self-styled Republic, which it was said would bring glory in the field of battle and happy liberty to a great people. I never believed it.

May the damaged walls of the Kremlin express to this great people—whose passions were being let loose at the same time that they were being deceived—the shame felt by them at the sight of the blood spilt around them, blood shed among brothers by a Revolution which has brought them only a civil war and mortal struggles, and will soon have produced more victims than all the Romanoffs together have done with their sentences of exile to Siberia—many but too well deserved, though accounted to them as a crime.

May a Romanoff worthy of the name that he bears rally the real Russia—she who endures and is silent, not being able to do more for the moment—and so make of her again a great power worthy of respect and gaining it, the terror of her ignoble neighbour, Germany—and not her vassal.

That is my most heart-felt wish, and also my most sincere prayer for that great country which is a little mine, and which from the bottom of my heart I love as my second country.

Inquire of an anti-Semite the meaning of the Russian Revolution, and he will expose to you the whole of the Jewish drama which unfolds itself in all its force before you. It is a fact that ever since the Revolution of March all the various Governments which have succeeded each other so rapidly have in every instance been profitable to the Jews only and have done their utmost to upset all the opposing barriers which the ancien régime had deemed good for Russia—by setting these up as a rampart against their invading greed. Now that General Allenby has accomplished what Richard Cœur de Lion and the whole of Christendom failed to do—namely, the conquest of Jerusalem from the Turk—it makes one hope that the time has come about for them all to s'en aller caravaner back whence they came so many centuries ago.

"Lorsque la grande guerre ou le grand soir révolutionnaire auront passé sur le monde, il ne restera plus dominant toutes ces ruines que la Banque juive."

The above is a quotation from the great Russian author Dostoievsky, which my father, Monsieur Gaudin de Villaine, Sénateur de la Manche, and one of the most valiant leaders of the Right in the French Senate, has made use of on more than one occasion in his interpellations when addressing that body and in an article which was of course boycotted by the Press. It seems to justify itself more forcibly every day.

With the exception of Lenin, who is not a Jew and whose real name is Ullianoff—others say Lehrann and that he is a German—all the members of the Direction of the Soviets are Jews sailing under assumed Russian names. Thus, Trotsky's real name is Braunstein and that of the miserable wretch Zenovieff, who is one of the most active German agents, is really Apfelbaum—and so on!

Lenin comes from a revolutionary stock, his brother having been hung in 1887 for conspiring against the Tzar Alexander III.

I have some Russian cousins living in Italy, where they have been for a great many years, and I hear that according to Lenin's laws they are considered as emigrants, consequently their property in Russia has been confiscated, and should they return they would be imprisoned.

Krylenko, appointed by Lenin as generalissimo of the Russian Army, is a man of very mediocre intelligence; he was up to a few months ago residing near Montreux in Switzerland and was merely a lieutenant of the reserve of the Russian Army. He is not a Jew, but he is known by his friends as Father Abraham, a sobriquet of which he is very proud.

The great Russian people appear to me like a huge ball sent helter-skelter, rolling down a slide from an eminence—the slide is the Revolution.

One Government will continue to replace another until the abyss of anarchy is reached. Germany's plan and interest are therefore to help all the smaller separatist non-Russian people, Finland, etc., to stand on their own feet as free political entities and autonomies.

May this revolutionary night not delay much longer to envelop the country of the German Kaiser, whose greatest pleasure seems to be in shaking and overturning the various thrones of the earth in order to consolidate on their ruins his own—a dangerous game to play, for the revolutionary mirage develops into a very virulent germ once spread amongst a discontented populace.

This Emperor of whom a German diplomat before the war once said jokingly: "If he goes to a christening he wants to be the child; if to a marriage he wants to be the bridegroom; and if to a funeral he wants to be the corpse!"

To-day this Emperor has been nick-named the "Red Kaiser," the War Kaiser, the Kaiser of the Ruins, the Kaiser of the Massacres, and of all the horrors which have been committed.

But, vengeance will come, and justice will make itself felt. Sooner or later, vengeance must come.

That which is not generally known, but what I know authoritatively, is that France might have obtained for herself and her Allies a separate peace with Austria. The brothers of the Empress of Austria were educated in France and are very French at heart, they had gone so far as to open peace negotiations through the intermediary of the Vatican, and all would have gone well had it not been for the regrettable pride of the Italians and the Masonic Lodges!

And to-day, December 1917, before closing these pages, I look back once more in the direction of the dear great Russia and I salute her; there, towards the great Steppe beneath its almost perpetual whiteness, where the silence makes itself felt; towards the luminous and pure atmosphere of the beautiful country of the Don Cossacks, where there seems still to be a ray of hope, perhaps, if only it could assert itself and render back to the moujik his religion venerated in his izba during centuries past, not only his sacred pictures, but afar, in a dream of purple and gold his God, his All—a Tzar!