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so took a coarser woollen article. To her surprise, when making the presentation, she was minded by the aged recipient that her husband's wish had been that she should provide for him a shirt of fine linen, and that therefore she ought to have accomplished his desire. "But," he added, "for me, who am now a vagrant, what you have given is more than meet."

Again, in the year 1867, Khromoff happened to call on a brother merchant in Moscow, and in the course of conversation began to talk about this strange individual. The man whom he was visiting said that when he was in business in Krasnoyarsk, he had called on Kuzmitch, who confronted him with these extraordinary words, "Why didst thou take that copper money? it was not for thee." "And," confessed the Siberian trader, "I did verily on one occasion lay hands on money that was not mine, but you may be sure that no one knew about it!"

One of the many visitors to the cell in Khromoff's garden was a highly respected lady member of the community in Tomsk. According to her own account, she once omitted to make the sign of the cross on entering Kuzmitch's cell, when he addressed her thus: "And tell me, lady, which Tzar honourest thou the more, the worldly or the heavenly?" Taken much aback, she replied, "Dear father, the heavenly." Upon this he answered, "How is it that thou didst not do honour to the heavenly Tzar; thou camest and didst not pray." And much more he spoke to her in a similar strain. Another time she took her young daughter to see him, and the aged hermit turning to the mother said, "See, beloved, this little bird will ultimately grow to feed and shelter thee." Later the girl was

sent to the Irkutsk Institute to be educated, which she only left to be married to a naval officer serving in the Amur province.

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And," says the chronicler, "in 1871 there arrived in Tomsk this young damsel and her husband, and she took her mother back to live with her, and so was fulfilled the prophecy of the old man Theodore Kuzmitch."

Two other sayings of his may be recorded. He showed intimate knowledge of all matters connected with the State, and frequently discussed political questions.

He was once heard to remark, "But the beloved imperial service is not without its needs;" and once again, more significantly, "The house of Romanoff is firmly rooted, and deep are its roots."

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Who was this mysterious saint, this reader of men's thoughts, this prophet, this unknown personage without beginning of days? There are some people who know or think that they know everything, and the Tomsk populace will tell you without any hesitation that he was none other than Alexander I. This is the creed of all Siberia as to that strange individual. And so the people call his cell "Alexander's House," have covered its walls with portraits of the Emperor (and now you do not wonder that you see a resemblance between him and Theodore Kuzmitch), and venerate the relics of the departed great in the manner that only Russians can. Khromoff himself is mainly responsible for this belief, for he has declared that shortly before death the selfnamed Theodore Kuzmitch gave him papers showing clearly that he was none other than his Emperor: these papers Khromoff took back to St Petersburg with him. has been the lot of almost every Russian Emperor to have it said

of him that he did not die according to official bulletin; but for those who love this sort of mystery a better case can hardly be made out than in the instance of Alexander I.

Born in the year 1777, a son of Paul by his marriage with Maria of Wurtemburg, he soon showed himself to be possessed of a mind of his own. He received a liberal education at the hands of his grandmother, the Empress Catherine, with the assistance of foreign tutors. In the year 1793 he married Elizabeth of Baden, and was called to succeed his father on the throne in 1801. At first everything augured well. The charitable young ruler commenced his reign by a series of generous reforms, that were especially welcome after the somewhat austere rule of his father. The country was again opened up to foreigners, and permission to travel abroad was granted in turn to Russians. The strict press censorship was relaxed, and the secret police service was in part allowed to fall into abeyance. But there were even further-reaching schemes. The question of the emancipation of the serfs was mooted, and, if not a fait accompli until 1861, it now first assumed the air of probability, and much was done to alleviate their lot. Very lenient also was his attitude towards Sectarians and Dissenters. "Reason and experience," says one of his edicts, "have for a long while proved that the spiritual errors of the people, which official sermons only cause to take deeper root, cannot be cured and dispelled except by forgiveness, good examples, and tolerance. Does it become a Government to employ violence and cruelty to bring back these wandering sheep to the fold of the

Church?"1 Surrounding himself with a body of young Ministers, Alexander pushed his reforms into every department of the State. Political and educational institutions were remodelled, and the council of the Empire was formed, which, including the chief dignitaries of the State, became the legislative power in the country.

But even more in foreign affairs was it felt that with Alexander's accession there had begun a new régime. In July 1801 he put an end to hostilities with England, and being desirous to remain at least outwardly on good terms with France, commenced negotiations respecting the indemnification of Bavaria, Wurtemburg, and Baden in Germany, and Naples in Italy. Napoleon showed very little sincerity in the matter, and Alexander joined the Coalition of 1805; but at the Battle of Austerlitz the combined Austrian and Russian forces were routed by the First Consul. The following year, Alexander, who, feeling that Napoleon must be crushed, still inclined to war, allied himself with Prussia, only to be again defeated at Eylau and Friedland. The Treaty of Tilsit (1807) was the outcome, on which occasion Alexander and Napoleon talked together for two hours on a raft. Its articles decreed the fall of Prussia, a few States being left to Frederic William III. out of Napoleon's deference to Alexander's wish. The Tzar soon after declared war on England, and thus reversed his previous policy, in order to fall into line with that of France. This change in external politics involved a change in his home advisers. He also attacked Sweden, the ally of England, and it was at this time that Finland came into the possession of Russia (1809).

1 Rambaud's History of Russia, tr. by L. B. Lang, ii. 312.

While letting Napoleon bear the brunt of a contest with Austria, Alexander entered into conflict with Turkey, and this war continued until the Peace of Bucharest (1812).

Not for long was it possible that France and Russia should thus remain in league. Many causes led to an open rupture. Mutual mistrust and jealousy, together with the more personal incident of the abandonment of Napoleon's projected marriage with the sister of Alexander, had mainly served to bring this about. The "Patriotic War" followed, with the burning of Moscow, and the destruction of the Grand Army (1813). Thereafter Alexander made an offensive and defensive alliance with Frederic William of Prussia, and the struggle with the conqueror was renewed. During a short armistice the allies had time to repair their once more shattered forces (Lützen, 1813): it was the lull before the final tempest, which soon broke ominously on Bonaparte. Spain had now been lost to him, the Prince of Sweden had joined the Coalition, Austria had again become restive. This time fortune favoured the Coalition, and the occupation of Paris and downfall of Napoleon quickly succeeded one another. Round Alexander centred the consequent diplomatic and political arrangements. By the Congress of Vienna he rested content with only a portion of Poland, and in the end carried out more loyally than the other two co-partitioners (Prussia and Austria) the terms of that Treaty which bore on the ill-fated land. In 1815 men saw the restoration of Poland under Alexander as king, who presented the country with a new constitution.

Through his influence Russia had become the leading Power on the Continent. This was the supreme moment of his authority: soon after a great change came over the liberal-minded Tzar. The Congresses of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818) and Troppau (1820) had served to show the influence of the man as a factor in European politics; but on the other hand such demonstrations as attended the reaction in Germany in favour of constitutional government were little tasteful to this champion of divine right. "He grew gloomy and suspicious. His last illusions had flown, his last liberal ideas were dissipated. After the Congresses of Aix-la-Chapelle and Troppau he was no longer the same man. It was at Troppau that Metternich announced to him, with calculated exaggeration, the mutiny of the Semenovski, his favourite regiment of Guards. From that time he considered himself the dupe of his generous ideas, and the victim of universal ingratitude. He had wished to liberate Germany, and German opinion had turned against him. ... He had sought the sympathy of vanquished France, and at Aixla-Chapelle a French plot had been discovered against him. He had longed to restore Poland, and Poland only desired to free herself completely."1 The result was that the Emperor, who had moved too fast for his slow-stepping country, faced round, and completely reversed his youthful home - policy of toleration. The revolt in Greece unconsciously served to bring him into complete opposition with the feeling of his people. They were strongly in sympathy with the weaker party in this infamous struggle, whereas

1 Op. cit., ii. 320.



Alexander contented himself with addressing a few harmless notes to the Porte, as he considered the rising to be an insurrection. In 1824 there was a terrible inundation at St Petersburg, which the Russian people openly affirmed to be a judgment on the unavenged massacre of the Greek population in Constantinople (1821). But, far more than this, the death of his daughter whom he adored, and the rumours of a Russo-Polish conspiracy against the house of Romanoff, wholly unnerved the once brilliant man. He was in advance of his day, and his noblest resolutions to promote the good of his and other countries had been coldly and suspiciously regarded, and he became like unto those around him. In September 1825 he set out on a journey to the Crimea for the sake of his health, but died at Taganrog on December 1. And the horrified Russian people like wise referred to the wrath of God "the premature and mysterious death of Alexander." So far received history.

and this old vagabond, as they
adorn the walls of his humble
dwelling in Khromoff's garden.
Coming home across the Urals,
we had as travelling companion
for a portion of the journey an
old Cossack officer who had not
heard about Kuzmitch. He lis-
tened quietly to my fellow-trav-
eller's narration of the story, and
then added that he was a boy
in St Petersburg at the time
when the remains of the deceased
Emperor were brought up from
the south, and that he remembered
distinctly how it was quite openly
remarked that the body that had
thus been transported home was
not that of Alexander.
also," he said, "it was a cause of
comment at the time that people
were not allowed to pass by and
look on the face of their late Em-
peror, as he lay in state, according
to custom." I also asked one of
the professors in Tomsk University
for his opinion on the whole mat-
ter, thinking that he at least would
be above all popular fancies. He
rather surprised me by saying,
"Well, if the old man was not
Alexander, he was at any rate
some one very highly connected at
Court." Such, then, is this little
episode, it may be in Russian his-
tory, it certainly is in the history
of Tomsk.

To return to Khromoff, who died only a few years ago. Relying on the papers that he received from Theodore Kuzmitch, he held to the end that Alexander I. of Russia, like Charles V. of Germany and Christina of Sweden, 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


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Now that a Commission has been appointed, not to consider the advisability of a cable across the Pacific, but to determine the best means of carrying out the project, a long-delayed scheme is evidently at last on the point of realisation. In these days, when no mercantile business can be conducted on a large scale without a cheap and efficient means of telegraphic communication, it seems almost incredible that two large English speaking communities, such as Canada and Australasia, separated by only 90° of longitude, should still be obliged to send their messages round the other 270° through various foreign nationalities, instead of being in direct communication by a British cable across the Pacific. A glance at the history of the project explains why its realisation has been so long deferred.

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The originator of the scheme for the first Atlantic cable was also the first to propose a trans-Pacific cable. Mr F. N. Gisborne, Superintendent of the Telegraphs of Canada, who died in 1892, projected in the early "seventies" a cable to Japan vid Honolulu and the Bonin Islands. This line was chosen as being shorter than the line diagonally across the Pacific to Australia. In 1874 the Tuscarora of the United States Navy surveyed the route. The bottom was found to be uniform and not too deep, and the late Cyrus W. Field, whose name is so prominently connected with the first Atlantic cable, having obtained a landing concession from the Government of the Sandwich Islands, paid a visit to England in 1879 with a


view to the realisation of the project.

About this time Mr Sandford Fleming, C.M.G., who has worked harder than any one in connection with the scheme, and may at last hope to see it carried out, was busy, as Engineer-in-Chief, constructing the Canadian - Pacific Railway. Seeing that this line, in conjunction with a Pacific cable, would form a valuable alternative telegraphic route to Asia, he requested Mr Gisborne to report on the matter. Mr Gisborne recommended a line to Japan via the Aleutian Islands, which he estimated would cost £800,000 for the two sections of 1650 miles each. No private company, however, came forward with the capital to lay either this or the United States cable via Honolulu and Bonin, and the scheme fell through.

Two or three years later, the frequent interruption of telegraphic communication with the East by the existing lines once more brought the Pacific cable project to the front. During the bombardment of Alexandria in 1882 the land-lines connecting the Mediterranean cables with the Red Sea were cut, and from other causes between the years 1872 and 1883 there were no less than 540 days, or eighteen months, during which some portion of the cable route to Australia was unavailable for service. Canada accordingly renewed her efforts to obtain a cable along the alternative route, and in 1884 petitioned the Home Government to send a ship to make the necessary survey. On being told that the Admiralty had no ship to spare for the purpose, a Canadian vessel

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