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Chap. pray; but on this occasion he directed the metropolitan V1IL bishop in secret to have the service for the dead chaunted 1825. £or when he returned on the following morning at four o'clock. He arrived there, accordingly, next day at that early hour, when it was still dark, and was met by the priests in full costume as for the burial service, the service of which was chaunted as he approached. He drove up to the cathedral by the magnificent street of Perspective Newski in a simple caleche drawn by three horses abreast, without a single servant, and reached the gate as the first streaks of light were beginning to appear in the eastern sky. Wrapped in his military cloak, without his sword, and bareheaded, the emperor alighted, kissed the cross which the archbishop presented to him, and entered the cathedral alone, the gates of which were immediately closed after him. The prayer appointed for travellers was then chaunted; the Czar knelt at the gate of the rail which surrounded the altar, and received the benediction of the prelate, who placed the sacred volume on his head, and, receiving with pious care a consecrated cross and some relic of the Derates sam*1 'n n's bosom, he again kissed the emblem of salvad-AiM t'on' "w*"ch gives life," * and departed alone and unatMdre, 54, tended, save by the priests, who continued to sing till he i. i'o5C, ilo! was beyond the gates of the cathedral the chaunt, " God save thy People."1
The archbishop, called in the Greek Church "the His depar- Seraphim," requested the emperor, while his travelling thee«tiiTM carriage was drawing up, to honour his cell with a visit, dra1, which he at once agreed to do. Arrived at this retreat, the conversation turned on the Schimnik, an order of peculiarly austere monks, who had their cells in the vicinity. The emperor expressed a wish to see one of them, and immediately the archbishop accompanied him to their chief. The emperor there found only a
* A term consecrated in the Russian Church.
small apartment furnished with deal boards, covered c,hap. with black cloth, and hung with the same funeral garb.
I see no bed," said the emperor. "Here it is," said 1826' the monk, and, drawing aside a curtain, revealed an alcove, in which was a coffin covered with black cloth, and surrounded with all the lugubrious habiliments of the dead. "This," he added, "is my bed; it will ere long be yours, and that of all, for their long sleep." The emperor was silent, and mused long. Then suddenly starting from his reverie, as if recalled to the affairs of this world, he bade them all adieu with the words, "Pray for me and for my wife." He ascended his open caleche, the horses of which bore him towards the south with their accustomed rapidity, and was soon out of sight: but he i?"^1-.60'
.„ , , , . i.i 64;Schnitz.
was still uncovered when the carriage disappeared in the i. no, 114. obscure grey of the morning.1
Alexander made the journey in twelve days; and as the distance was above fifteen hundred miles, and he was His arrival obliged to stop at many places, he must have gone from atTaganrog' a hundred and fifty to two hundred miles a-day. He was fully impressed with the idea of his approaching death the whole way, and often asked the coachman "if he had seen the wandering star?" "Yes, your majesty," he replied. "Do you know what it presages? Misfortune and death: but God's will be done." Arrived at Taganrog, he devoted several days to preparing everything for the empress, which he did with the utmost solicitude and care. She arrived ten days after, and they remained together for some weeks, walking and driving out in the forenoon, and conversing alone in the evening with the utmost affection, more like newly-married persons than those who had so long been severed. The cares of empire, however, ere long tore the emperor from this charming retreat; and on the urgent entreaty of Count Woronzoff, governor of the Crimea, he undertook a journey in that province. He set out on the 1st Novem
Chap. ber; and during seventeen days that the expedition lasted, ^IU' alternately admired the romantic mountain scenery and
N ( beautiful sea views, rivalling those of the Corniche between Nice and Genoa, which the route presented. At Ghirai, Nov. 10. however, on the 10th, after dinner, when conversing with Sir James Wylie, his long-tried and faithful medical attendant, on his anxiety about the empress, who had just heard of the death of the King of Bavaria, her brother-in-law, he mentioned, as if accidentally, that he felt his stomach deranged, and that for several nights his sleep had been disturbed. Sir James felt his pulse, which indicated fever, and earnestly counselled the adoption of immediate remedies. "I have no need of you," replied the emperor, smiling, "nor of your Latin pharmacopoeia iscbnitzier,—I know how to treat myself. Besides, my trust is in Ara^Hilt . God, and in the strength of my constitution." Notwith374-3sjr standing all that could be said, he persisted in his refusal wylie 37 to ta^e medicine, and even continued his journey, and *i- ' 'exposed himself to his wonted fatigue on horseback when returning along the pestilential shores of the Putrid Sea.1 m He returned to Taganrog on the 17th, being the exact ins last m- day fixed for that event before his departure ; but already Nov'. 17. shivering fits, succeeded by cold ones, the well-known symptoms of intermittent fever, had shown themselves. The empress, with whom he shared every instant that could be spared from the cares of empire, showed him the most unremitting attention, and by the earnest entreaties of his physician he was at length prevailed on to take some of the usual remedies prescribed for such cases. For a brief space they had the desired effect; and the advices sent to St Petersburg of the august patient's »Wyiie, convalescence threw the people, who had been seriously H-rtfin"n' alarmed by the accounts of his illness, into a delirium of sch'nftzter 3°Jm But these hopes proved fallacious. On the 25th i. 132, 134. the symptoms suddenly became more threatening.2 Extreme weakness confined him to his couch, and alarming despatches from General Diebitch and Count Woronzoff Chap. .
. . VIII.
augmented his anxiety, by revealing the existence and —
magnitude of the vast conspiracy in the army, which 1825' had for its object to deprive him of his throne and life. "My-friend," said he to Sir James Wylie, "what a frightful design! The monsters—the ungrateful! when I had no thought but for their happiness." *
The symptoms now daily became more alarming, and Jofi the fever assumed the form of the bilious or gastric, as it And death.
is now called, and at last showed the worst features of the typhus. His physicians then, despairing of his life, got Prince Volkonsky to suggest the last duties of a Christian. "They have spoken to me, Wylie," said the emperor, "of the communion; has it really come to that 1" "Yes," said that faithful counsellor, with tears in his eyes; "I speak to you no longer as a physician, but as a friend. Your Majesty has not a moment to lose." Next day the emperor confessed, and with the empress, who never for an instant, day or night, left his bedside, received the last communion. "Forget the emperor," said he to the confessor; "speak to me simply as a dying Christian." After this lie became perfectly docile. "Never," said he to the empress, " have I felt such a glow of inward satisfaction as at this moment; I thank you from the bottom of my heart." The symptoms of erisypelas in his leg now returned. "I will die," said he, "like my sister," alluding to the Grand-duchess of Oldenburg, who had refused Napoleon at Erfurth, and after
* "Lo monarquo dit un jour a M. Wylie,' Laisscz-moi, jo sais moi-meroe co qu'il mo faut: du repos, de la solitude, de la tranquillite.' Un autre jour, il lui dit; 'Mon ami, ce sont mcs ncrfs qu'il faut Boigncr; ils sont dans un desordre epouvantable.' 'Cest un mal,' lui rc'pliqua Wylie, 'dont les roU sont plus souvent attaints que les particulars.' 'Surtout dans les temps acluels,' ropliqua vivenient Alexandre !' Ah ! j'ai bieu sujet d'etre malado.' En fin, etant en apparenco sans aucune fidvre, l'Empereur so tourna brusqucment vers lo doctour, qui (itait seul present. 'Mon ami,' s'ecria-t-il,' quellca actions, quclles (Spouvantables actions:' ct il fiia sur le medecin un regard terrible et incomprehensible."—Annuairc Bistoriqus, viii. 37, note.
Chap, wards died of that complaint. He then fell into a deep YIIt' sleep, and wakened when it was near mid-day, and the 1826- sun was shining brightly. Causing the windows to be opened, he said, looking at the blue vault, "What a beautiful day !" * and feeling the arms of the empress around him, he said tenderly, pressing her hand. " My love, you must be very fatigued." These were his last words. He soon after fell into a lethargic sleep, which lasted several hours, from which he only wakened a few Dec. i. minutes before he breathed his last. The power of speech was gone; but he made a sign to the empress to approach, and imprinted a last and fervent kiss on her ischnitzier hand. The rattle was soon heard in his throat. She W^wp' c^ose(^ n's eves a few mmutes after, and, placing the cross 82; Anu.' on his bosom, embraced his lifeless remains for the last 374,37s.' time. "Lord!" said she, "pardon my sins; it has pleased thy omnipotent power to take him from me."11 The body of the emperor, after being embalmed, was And fane- brought to the Church of St Alexander Newski at Tagr'a' anrog, where it remained for some days in a chapeUe ardente, surrounded by his mourning subjects, and was thence transferred, accompanied by a splendid cortege of cavalry, Cossacks, and artillery, after a long interval, to the cathedral of St Peter and St Paul, in the citadel of St Petersburg, where bis ancestors were laid. The long journey occupied several weeks, and every night, when his remains were deposited in the church of the place
* "Light—more light!" tho well-known last words of Goethe, as noticed by Bulwer in his beautiful romance, "My Novel." Those who have witnessed the last moments of the dying, know how often a request for, or expressions of satisfaction for light, are among their last words.
+ The empress addressed the following beautiful letter to her mother-inlaw on this sad bereavement: "Maman, votre ange est au ciel, et moi, je vegete encore sur la terre. Qui aurait pense" que moi, faible malade, je pourrais lui survivro? Maman, ne m'abandonnez pas, car je suis absolument seule dans ce monde de douleurs. Notre cher dfifuut a repris son air de bienvcillance, son sourire me prouve qu'il est heuroux, et qu'il voit des choses plus belles qu' ici-bas. Ma seule consolation dans cette perte irreparable est, que je ne lui survivrai pas ; j'ai l'esperance de m'unir bieutdt a lui."—L'imperaTbice d Marie Foedohovna, 2 Dec., 1825.