Obrazy na stronie

sign of the cross upon his forehead and breast with uncommon dexterity. Every time he awoke, every time he espied a church at a distance, the point of a steeple, or the image of a saint ; every time he ate or drank, (which was very often), every time it thundered, or when we passed by a church-yard, my counsellor took off his hat and crossed himself in every direction.

He did not however treat all churches alike: if they were constructed of wood, he paid them but little attention; but if they were built of stone his respect considerably increased, and it became much more profound at the sight of a town with large domes and lofty steeples. This was, perhaps, to express his thanks to God that he had been enabled to bring his victim so far on his way. I do not, however, recollect that I ever saw him pray, either with his lips or eyes, but of signs of the cross he was extremely lavish. Though he had very little reason for it, yet he entertained a very high opinion of him. self. He would never listen to any kind of explanation, or admit any sort of reasoning, let the subject of conversation be ever so important. He always persisted in his own opinion, ornamenting his countenance at the same time with the two deep wrinkles already mentioned. If a man may be called beneficent for throwing farthings, right or wrong, out o. the window, our counsellor was of that description. No beggar solicited in vain; and although he perceived his purse to grow lighter, that was no reason with him for withholding his bounty.

From the hurry he was always in to get rid of his small coin, it appeared that he considered this alms-giving in detail as a most sacred duty. Not unfrequently would he throw a copeck* out of the carriage, passed a baggar; and it was indifferent to him whether the poor wretch had any eyes or not ; whether he was maimed or lame, able or unable to see and pick up the money. He was devoid of all moral feeling; innocence and guilt were the same to him. I shall unfortunately have but too many occasions to finish his picture; at present this sketch must suffice.

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* A Russian coin about the value of a halfpenny.

Such was the worthy man into whose hands I was entrusted. I must confess that at first I was much astonished that so benevolent a character as M. de Drieser should have made choice of this counsellor; but I can have nothing more to say on that head, as I have learned that the emperor himself, when he wrote to the minister to grant me a passport to enter unmolested into Russia, had at the same time given orders that a counsellor of the court, and a courier from the senate, should be dispatched to meet and take me into custody. As it was the end of January when I had requested the passport, and as I did not set off, as I have already stated, before the 10th of April following, my counsellor had been waiting for me from the end of March till my arrival, which was nearly seven weeks. He often complained to me of the money he had spent, and the ennui he had felt during this period. The first part of his complaint I was ready enough to credit ; but how is it probable that a man like him should be liable to ennui? I thought, and I still think, that fools, for one reason, are as free from that malady as wise men are for another. Having been informed that he was sent by the emperor, have nothing more to say, but that, doubtless, he was not known to his majesty; for that monarch was a well-informed man, and had he been aware what sort of person the counsellor was, he would, on more than one account, have selected another.

“ Endeavour to accommodate yourself with a convenient carriage," said the governor, set off immediately." I begged a respite till the next day, not having closed my eyes for three nights, and having besides been one month on the road, and in

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fact so much agitated for the last three days, that I stood in need of twenty-four hours' rest; but my prayer was not to be granted. The governor asked me to dine with him ; but this invitation I declined, on which I was accompanied to the inn by one of his secretaries. This young man, whose name was Weitbrecht, in spite of the forbidden coldness of his countenance, seemed to partake in my distress. He condoled with me, and assured me that the governor, with the best inclinations in the world, could not have done more for me: “For,” said he, shrugging up his shoulders, we are at present nothing more than machines.” I was struck with this expression, which I afterwards heard repeatedly from others, and I have since thought that those who made use of it did but little justice to the emperor. In fact, how is it possible to conceive that a man could wish to be served by mere machines ? What confidence could he have in a creature that degraded himself so far as to become one ?

I returned to my chamber, where my dear wife had been passing a painful hour ; she flew to meet me, and the utmost disquietude was visible in her countenance. J strove to calm her, and with all the discretion I was master of, hinted that I must go to Petersburgh, and without her. This information I communicated with all the consolations and hopes of a favourable issue, which in that trying moment I was able to offer. The secretary added, that the business would scarcely take up a fortnight. Our attempts to console the unhappy woman were of no avail; she strove to suppress ber emotions, and threw herself on the bed in the most violent agony of mind. She determined at all events to follow me, and leave our children here; to bear me company at least as far as my house at Friedenthal, thirty German miles from Petersburgh: this favour however was refused her. It will appear in the sequel, that such measures were of necessity adopted; as no report relative to her had yet heen made at Petersburgh, no order had been received to molest her person.

It was expedient, I find, to make enquiry, whether a free woman, and of noble birth, could be allowed to return home to visit her relations; and during the time necessary for the arrival of an answer (about a fortnight), she was thus to remain in a place where she had no acquaintance, at an inn remarkable for its extravagant charges, torn from her husband, and herself a solitary prey to grief. It was not, however, doubted but that the answer would allow her to proceed wherever she pleased.

Ah why have I yet to finish the picture of the heart-rending scene which preceded my departure ! My disconsolate wife had sunk from my arms upon her bed, when she fell into a state of insensibility. My daughter Emma, a child of five years old, came every moment, and threw her little arms around my neck; my second, ignorant of what was going forward, began to cry, solely because her mother no longer noticed her; my youngest, an infant of eleven months, smiled unconcerned in the arms of its nurse, a happy stranger to the horrors of the scene. My servants ran confusedly about the room, and knew not what they were doing; all embarrassment and dismay.

The counsellor arrived, the courier placed himself in a corner, the secretary ordered the seals which had been put on my baggage to be broken, and everything it contained was examined with great care.

As for myself, though absorbed in the horrors of my situation, I now and then broke out into violent exclamations, arising from the heavy oppression under which I laboured. Paying but little attention to what was going on, I threw myself by the side of my wife ; I pressed her in my arms, strove to console her, bade her be calm, and have proper confidence in the justice of the emperor, and in my innocence." We have,”


continued I, “enjoyed many happy moments together, let us bear with courage a moment of affliction ; it will be of short duration ; the governor tells me, that having once justified myself (which will take place in à fortnight) I shall again be restored to my family. Shew me, my dearest life, that you are not a woman of ordinary stamp; tears are unavailing ; courage and resolution alone can serve us : move heaven and earth, if you will, to save your husband-such is the part, my love, you have to act, a part that well becomes a tender and faithful wife.”

I mentioned to my wife some people at Petersburgh to whom she might write ; and not being allowed to inform my mother of what had befallen me, I begged she would take that task upon herself, and impart the melancholy news with all suitable preparation, though Mr Weitbrecht had already undertaken the same office. *

My affectionate discourse was not lost upon her; she grew calm, arose, saluted the counsellor, gave him her hand, and begged him, with tears in her eyes, to take care of my health upon the way; for 'shé had been told that neither of my servants would be allowed to attend me. O that a thousand witnesses had beheld that charming woman in this agonizing moment! What grace in her intreaties! What loveliness in her sorrow! Precious tears ! ye would have softened the most flinty heart! The counsellor only smiled. His nasal wrinkles played their accustomed part, and he promised her to pay due attention to what she requested. The secretary then asked me if I had much gold about me. I had a hundred Frederic d'ors, about fifty ducats, and two hundred dollars in silver.

me to change this money for Russian notes. This appeared a very extraordinary measure,

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for I did not want that sum to carry me to Petersburgh, and, when arrived there, I should find

* Je never performed his promise.

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