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Alexander contented himself with and this old vagabond, as they addressing a few harmless notes adorn the walls of his humble to the Porte, as he considered dwelling in Khromoff's garden. the rising to be an insurrection. Coming home across the Urals, In 1824 there was a terrible inun- we had as travelling companion dation at St Petersburg, which the for a portion of the journey an Russian people openly affirmed to old Cossack officer who had not be a judgment on the unavenged heard about Kuzmitch. He lismassacre of the Greek population tened quietly to my fellow-travin Constantinople (1821). But, eller's narration of the story, and far more than this, the death of then added that he was a boy his daughter whom he adored, and in St Petersburg at the time the rumours of a Russo-Polish con- when the remains of the deceased spiracy against the house of Ro- Emperor were brought up from manoff, wholly unnerved the once the south, and that he remembered brilliant man. He was in ad- distinctly how it was quite openly vance of his day, and his noblest res- remarked that the body that had olutions to promote the good of his thus been transported home was and other countries had been coldly not that of Alexander. “ And and suspiciously regarded, and he also," he said, "it was a cause of became like unto those around comment at the time that people him. In September 1825 he set were not allowed to pass by and out on a journey to the Crimea for look on the face of their late Emthe sake of his health, but died at peror, as he lay in state, according Taganrog on December 1. And to custom.” I also asked one of the horrified Russian people like- the professors in Tomsk University wise referred to the wrath of God for his opinion on the whole mat"the premature and mysterious ter, thinking that he at least would death of Alexander.” So far re- be above all popular fancies. He ceived history.
rather surprised me by saying, To return to Khromoff, who died “Well, if the old man was not only a few years ago. Relying Alexander, he was at any rate on the papers that he received some one very highly connected at from Theodore Kuzmitch, he held Court.” Such, then, is this little to the end that Alexander I. of episode, it may be in Russian hisRussia, like Charles V. of Ger- tory, it certainly is in the history many and Christina of Sweden, of Tomsk. abdicated the throne through dis- It is needless to remark that the appointment, desirous to be quit best Russian historians do not of the reins of government and at credit the theory that was to peace from the strife of tongues. Khromoff more than fact, while Alexander “died ” in 1825, aged others relegate it to the number of forty eight. Theodore Kuzmitch those questions that can never now appeared in Tomsk somewhere be solved. This at least is beyond all in the "thirties," after having led doubt, that it will be many years a vagrant life for several years, before the belief is eradicated from and died in 1864, at which date the mind of the Tomsk populace, Alexander would have been eighty- that for a season they had their seven, if Khromoff is correct. In Emperor dwelling amongst them support of his theory there is also in all humility, and knew him to be adduced the resemblance in not. the portraits between Alexander
J. Y. SIMPSON.
THE ALL-BRITISH TRANS-PACIFIC CABLE.
Now that a Commission has view to the realisation of the probeen appointed, not to consider ject. the advisability of a cable across About this time Mr Sandford the Pacific, but to determine the Fleming, O.M.G., who has worked best means of carrying out the harder than any one in connection project, a long-delayed scheme is with the scheme, and may at last evidently at last on the point of hope to see it carried out, was busy, realisation. In these days, when as Engineer-in-Chief, constructing no mercantile business can be con- the Canadian - Pacific Railway. ducted on a large scale without a Seeing that this line, in conjunccheap and efficient means of tele- tion with a Pacific cable, would graphic communication, it seems form a valuable alternative telealmost incredible that two large graphic route to Asia, he requested English - speaking communities, Mr Gisborne to report on the such as Canada and Australasia, matter. Mr Gisborne separated by only 90° of longitude, mended a line to Japan via the should still be obliged to send their Aleutian Islands, which he estimessages round the other 270° mated would cost £800,000 for through various foreign nationali- the two sections of 1650 miles ties, instead of being in direct each. No private company, howcommunication by a British cable ever, came forward with the capiacross the Pacific. A glance at tal to lay either this or the United the history of the project explains States cable via Honolulu and why its realisation has been so Bonin, and the scheme fell through. long deferred.
Two or three years later, the The originator of the scheme for frequent interruption of telegraphthe first Atlantic cable was also ic communication with the East the first to propose a trans-Pacific by the existing lines once more cable. Mr F. N. Gisborne, Super- brought the Pacific cable project intendent of the Telegraphs of to the front. During the bomCanada, who died in 1892, project- bardment of Alexandria in 1882 ed in the early “seventies” a cable the land-lines connecting the Medito Japan viã Honolulu and the terranean cables with the Red Sea Bonin Islands. This line was were cut, and from other causes chosen as being shorter than the between the years 1872 and 1883 line diagonally across the Pacific there were no less than 540 days, to Australia. In 1874 the Tus- or eighteen months, during which carora of the United States Navy some portion of the cable route to surveyed the route. The bottom Australia was unavailable for serwas found to be uniform and not vice. Canada accordingly renewed too deep, and the late Cyrus W. her efforts to obtain a cable along Field, whose name is so prominently the alternative route, and in 1884 connected with the first Atlantic petitioned the Home Government cable, having obtained a landing to send a ship to make the necesconcession from the Government sary survey. On being told that of the Sandwich Islands, paid a the Admiralty had no ship to spare visit to England in 1879 with a for the purpose, a Canadian vessel 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 see 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.
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 Latîsheff, 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 on 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 bim eral bearing and manner of con- about the aged hermit, and having versation proclaimed him to be an occasion to pass through the vil. educated 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 formedence 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