Obrazy na stronie

larity in level necessarily becomes throng the Gardens; from it one more noticeable. The highest gets a charming view of the surknoll has been secured in the in- rounding country. The University terests of the town: from it rises consists of but a single facultythe watch-tower that surmounts medicine-and of its 400 students the fire-station. Pacing round the only some 30 per cent are Sibesummit of the tower a fireman rians. The others come from the keeps ceaseless watch, and warns outlying districts of European the inhabitants of the time of day Russia, and even, it is said, from by sounding out the hours on a the Caucasus. But its pièce de harsh-toned bell. Here also one résistance is the Library, which is used to find a hotel, where the second only to that of St Peterslodger who took a room had to burg. Its nucleus consists of the content himself with an iron bed- private collection of Count Stroganstead, mattress, table, and chair. off, which contains amongst other But better days have dawned, and rarities a very early illustrated a new establishment opened last edition of Luther's Bible, bearing summer will satisfy the despond- the date 1565, a first edition of ing traveller who imagines that Daphnis and Chloe,' and a valuhe has left all comfort west of able assortment of painted designs the Urals.

of exquisite workmanship from Tomsk has a certain charm. It the private collection of Louis is not the dull sleepy place that XVI., which show evidence of one could well imagine it to be. having come originally from the Its noblest edifices command at- Vatican at Rome. There is also tention; it is the centre of a pretty a very fair Archæological Museum, considerable local trade-e.g., as it with a startling array of antiquiis the starting point of the great ties that he must first explain post-road across Siberia, thousands away who would deny that Siberia of tarantasses and other vehicles too has had her Stone, her Bronze, are built there yearly; and it has and her Iron Age. Moreover, it "sights” of a very varied order. was only in March of last year Be the traveller a physician, he that Professor Kastchenko discovwill not regret a visit to the ered near the town some split hospital. Be he interested in mammoth bones. As he also penology, Tomsk boasts of three found close at band fragments prisons. If educational matters of charred wood, he almost seems attract him, he will find some to be justified in asserting that thirty schools, illustrating a great this is not the work of natural diversity of principles. These, forces, but of man desirous to with the magnificent university obtain the marrow. Thus he inopened in 1888, bid fair to make terestingly suggests the probable Tomsk the intellectual centre of contemporaneity of man with EleSiberia. The University lies on phas primigenius in these norththe outskirts of the town. The erly latitudes. noble structure stands off the road If the visitor has yet failed to in a garden, through which run discover anything that will arrest avenues and footpaths. Beside it his attention, he can at least drive is the Arboretum, where most of about a town where the isvostchiks the labour is performed by women. take fourpence for a course, even if The Observatory peers above the it be over what are nothing more multitude of shrubs and trees that than badly kept country roads.



Perhaps he will notice how, in the “ Alexander's House,” the prospect construction of a house, women of his modest fare of twenty kobring up the carts laden with pecks tends to shake his once bricks, and transfer them thence firm resolution that he at least on broad four-handled trays to the will conduct no stranger to gaze men, who do the building proper. with unhallowed eyes on Tomsk's Or maybe, if it is towards even- most holy memory, and, although ing, he will pass a gang of convicts somewhat reluctantly, he finally returning to the local prison after yields the point. Quickly our a day's work in the town, chatting driver sought out the Monasterspleasantly with the two or three kaya, and stopped at the courtwarders, who, armed merely with yard entrance of what was revolvers, have been in charge of imposing house. We got out and them. But woe to the traveller if entered the yard, which was he venture out to walk by night, scene of great activity. Some for the uncertain gleam from the men were carrying boxes and bales electric lamps does little to reveal from the house to carts in which the insecure and dangerous wooden stood sturdy draught-horses, while pavement, whose planks have been others were lading them. Numsurreptitiously removed at many erous store-houses and small sheds points to serve an infinity of pur- were built irregularly round the poses, from use as firewood to yard, and the house of the merrepairing crippled roofs.

chant Khromoff still seemed to be Nor will the environment of the centre of some form of busiTomsk allure the stranger much. ness. The court extended to the The landing-stage on the river is back of the house, where the outat a distance of three versts from houses partook more of the nature the town, and the road thither of stables and cart-sheds. When (which is on a par with everything once you have reached the rear of that description in the dis- of the main building, you observe trict) strikes across an arid plain. on its other side a square plot of There also the new railway-station ground corresponding to the courtis built, on a piece of ground yard. This probably once formed granted by a majority of the town a pleasure garden, but is now like councillors, to the great incon- unto the garden of the sluggard. venience of themselves and their At least from what one can see fellow.citizens.

through the tall black paling that But it will only be a chance if now surrounds this sacred spot, you now learn that you have not one would imagine that no tidying seen everything. For Tomsk has hand had touched it for many years. still one other choice possession, The grass grows rankly on what and her populace regard it with was once a lawn. The paths are reverent eyes.

Indeed they do buried under a wild waste of weeds. not care to include it among the Some dark dejected spruces serve “sights” of their town; they to increase the gloom. love it, treasure it, almost conceal A woman soon appeared from a it. If, however, you ask some backdoor of the house, and, openpensive droshky driver who has ing a padlocked gate in the paling, drawn up by the side of the road allowed us to enter the enclosure. (for there are no stands, and the She led the way to a corner of ispostchiks take up a position the square, where in the shade of a where they choose) to bear you to brooding conifer stood what seemed

to be a very open wooden hut. den by numerous portraits of the Closer inspection disclosed, how- great monarch Alexander I., whom ever, that what had appeared to one imagines to have been, perbe " Alexander's House” was not haps, the special hero of the late so in reality, but was merely a occupant of this room, or, as is protecting shed : the real thing more likely, the reigning monlay inside. The outward covering arch of his time. But these pichad not struck one as being of tures differ from those in any any size ; but this quaint domicile ordinary Russian house in this, beneath, this maisonette, how in- that they represent the Emperor significant, how humble !

at different periods of his life. Our guide entered, devoutly The apparent design of this herocrossing herself. The door was worshipper has been to collect as apparently left open without fear, complete a series as possible of -no one could enter but by that the object of his adoration. One padlocked gate, and the hut was sketch supposed to represent the well protected by its ample case. monarch in death is particularly One stooped in crossing the thres- striking, and you wonder why hold, which lay on the left of the there is placed alongside of it front exposure as you face the the picture of an older man also house, and thereafter became aware in his last long sleep; and as you of a short passage that ended to gaze at the two, you almost fancy all appearance in a recess. But that you see a resemblance.

But off the right there opened the this is absurd. single chamber of this house, The wall opposite the door is the home of him whose memory

now a mass of ikons and sacred is still revered.

pictures, but these are later accreA window not two feet square tions. An altar stands against the admits through its dull glass what wall, and serves as the depository rays of light can penetrate the for another group of ikons, amongst thick branches of the surrounding which are dispersed candlesticks trees and bend under the eaves of with dimly burning tapers, while the protecting edifice. In the a lamp faintly but steadily illucorner immediately to the left of mines the regular ikon in one of the door is the whitewashed brick the far corners of the room. In the stove, along a wing of which is opposite corner by the window a placed a plank-bed with pillow to censer hangs, and the musty odour match. This is so arranged that of incense pervades the cheerless the head is next the wall, and is chamber. On the fourth wall, beof such a breadth that it takes up tween the window and the door, almost all the spare room between are disposed prints and lithographs the stove proper and the door. of a white haired and bearded old From the free end of the stove to man, dressed in a loose single the opposite wall extends a shelf, garment to which the modern now crowded with relics of the dressing - gown best corresponds. former resident. On it you may He holds one hand across his

some sacred literature, the narrow chest, and has shoved the cowl and garments of an anchorite, other carelessly into the hempen cooking utensils of the simplest belt that gathers his mantle about quality-china cups, a metal tea- him. Beneath one of the portraits pot curiously enough, and a spoon. is the inscription, “The BondserThe wall above the bench is hid- vant of God, the old man Theodore


Kuzmitch, who passed a hermit ing the simplicity of his life and life in Tomsk, and died in 1864 speech, it was evident that he in the cell of Khromoff.”

was not a man of common origin. Such is the little house that the Amongst his fellow - villagers Tomsk people consider to be one was a convict who had reached of their chiefest possessions. For the stage of a “free-command," the history of the mysterious being and was employed in Governfor whose sake they venerate it ment works there. Old Theowe are most indebted to his patron dore took an interest in him, and, the merchant Khromoff, who built desiring company, shared his hut the cell for him, and to whom alone with this fierce creature. The was at first revealed the secret of following year the peasantry roused his life. In the following account, themselves and built a log cabin which is largely drawn from an for him, in which he lived for abstract of Khromoff's memoirs, over eleven years a life of selfsome of the leading features in effacement, with a bare subsistthis extraordinary story are briefly ence on bread and water. He stated.

would, however, make occasional

excursions to the neighbouring Somewhere in the "thirties " an villages, where it was his peculiar old man appeared in the town pleasure to gather the children of Tomsk. He had come from round him and teach them their European Russia with a prisoner letters. Latterly, on the invitation band, having been sentenced to of a peasant named Latisheff, he exile in Siberia for vagrancy by left Zertzal and took up residence the court of a small town in the in Krasnorjetchinsk, the village Government of Perm. After a of his host, who erected a special short stay in the Forwarding hut for him, which he occupied Prison at Tomsk, he was in winter, while in summer he ducted to the village of Zertzal, passed his time in the woods bein the Government of Tomsk, as side the wood-cutters. His private his place of residence. On settle- property merely included the ment he gave very little satisfac- clothes on his back and a few tion to all eager inquiries about sacred books. his past, merely stating that he It was in the year 1858 that, had received twenty strokes with at the invitation of the merchant the plet for vagrancy, and giving Khromoff, Kuzmitch passed a winas name the commonplace appel- ter op his farm, about four versts lation of Theodore Kuzmitch. In out of Tomsk. Ultimately Khromoutward appearance he was of high off built for him the little domain stature, while his years might bave described above in a corner of his been put down at sixty. Add to garden, where his guest spent the this that he had a noble carriage, greater part of the last years of could with all truthfulness be his life in prayer and fasting. styled good-looking, and ever spoke The kind-hearted merchant had in a quiet sedate manner, so that first made the acquaintance of from the first his peasant neigh- Kuzmitch in 1852. His curiosity bours felt bound to treat him had been aroused by the tales with marked respect. His gen- which a friend recounted to him eral bearing and manner of con- about the aged hermit, and having versation proclaimed him to be an occasion to pass through the vileducated man, and notwithstand- lage of Krasnorjetchinsk, he re


solved to seek him out. This was suade him to take anything beyond in the summer-time, and Kuzmitch his accustomed bread and water. was as usual with the wood-fellers, Khromoff remarks how during this sharing a modest little home with time he observed that the knees of his peasant host. Their dwelling the anchorite were covered with was situated at a distance of two excrescences, the result of persistversts from the village that formed ence in a kneeling posture during the centre of operations for those prayer, and it was difficult to know who were at work, and it lay on to what extent he suffered, as he the bank of a rivulet. Khromoff kept so very much to himself. He relates how he arrived at the cell, exercised great care in the selecmade the sign of the cross, and tion of his visitors, and when entered, as the door stood open. later he was restored to some He saluted the white - haired in measure of health, he never left mate, who, in true Russian style, his cell except to enter a church. demanded of him whence he had If he ever referred to his vagrant come and whither he was bound. life or journey to Siberia, it was “I come from Tomsk, and go to only to speak in the kindest terms Yeneseisk on matters connected of his fellow - prisoners, as also with gold - mining,” answered the to eulogise the treatment that he merchant. To his surprise his had received at the hands of the interrogator would not let the convoy soldiers, and in short from subject drop, but talked long on all who had had anything to do the gold industry, finally exclaim- with him. It seems that he now ing, “Vainly you are occupied removed for a change to a Cossack with the gold industry, for with- village not far off, and lived in out it God will sustain you.” the house of one of the inhabiKhromoff was fascinated by his tants. He had, however, a new acquaintance, and used to pay newal of his old trouble, and not him a short visit each time he being perfectly happy in his new passed that way. But on what- quarters, was quite ready, even in ever themes they discoursed—and his weak state of health, to acthey were varied — the old man cept an invitation from Khromoff always returned to this maxim, to stay with him in Tomsk. Know“Do not endeavour to discovering how matters stood, the worthy the mines; thou hast enough, and merchant went himself to bring Another will provide."

his friend to town: this was in In 1859, while resident 1863. Kuzmitch, fearing that Khromoff's country estate, Kuz- there might be some well - intenmitch took seriously ill, and his tioned effort made to keep him in host, thinking that it was high the Cossack village, resolved not time he learned something about to disclose his plan of leaving till his mysterious guest, asked him the last moment, when he engaged on several occasions if he would in quiet conversation with his host, not disclose his identity. But the and explained to him very shortly reply, if continually the same, was the reasons for his sudden deparat least decided : “No; that can ture. This device was successful, not be revealed-never."

and during the time spent in His illness was of a somewhat arranging him and Khromoff comserious nature, and it was with fortably in the latter's tarantass, great difficulty that those who the whole village came out to were anxious about him could per- see him off. In return Kuzmitch



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