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ficulty in getting an introduction to her. In the depth of retirement, taken up only with her salvation, during her latter days, she received no visitors; the Czar, however, was admitted; he found her in bed, from which she seldom rose; he lifted aside the curtain, sat down at the foot of the bed, contemplated her, and addressed to her good and sensible conversation, suitable to the moment. The visit was very short; Kourakin serving him as an interpreter, for Peter did not speak French; he knew only Dutch and his own language. The Czar was remarkably tall, six feet four inches; when the Regent presented Louis XV. to him, then a child of seven years old, Peter, to consider him nearer, took him up in his arms and brought him close to his face; he then embraced him and said :-" May your Majesty grow up happily, and reign with all prosperity! Perhaps, in time to come, we may much want the assistance of each other."
1 Peter's ordinary mode of living.
At four every morning, Peter awoke; his Ministers then brought in their reports, and presented their different documents; he saw, he investigated, and passed judgment himself, gave his orders, and made notes; heard all objections, answered them, softened, changed, or corrected them, according to the dictates of his righteous and enlightened mind. A slight breakfast was thenbrought him; he dressed himself and went to the Admirality, and was present at the Senate. He dined regularly at eleven o'clock; the dishes which were generally served up, and which he was most fond of, were cabbage soup, either made salt, or sour crout, gruel, a cold sucking pig, basted with sour cream, cold roast meat, and cucumber, salt meat, roast lamb, ham, and old cheese. After dinner, he slept for two hours in his night gown. When he awoke, he received the reports of such business as had been expedited in the morning; he took no supper, and retired early to rest. In his regular way of living, setting aside what he gave up to drinking, and those orgies where he appeared to abandon himself, he took no other beverage than kisleschtchi quasse, and sometimes a little brandy. At length he quitted this kind of drink to accustom himself to wine; at first he drank none other than that of Medoe; but latterly he preferred Hermitage wine.
When he held Court festivals, or gave them himself to more small and select society, he wished every one to be gay and jovial; he rightly judged that wine was a proper stimulus to produce this effect, and he was not displeased to see his company rather inebriated, provided that decency was observed; when they swerved from that in the least degree, his method was to deprive them from continuing it, by plunging them, by repeated draughts, into the most stupid intoxication.
Peter the Great, and a Dutch master of a vessel.
Peter had a clerk of his kitchen, named John Velten; he was a German, and his master loved him for his fidelity. It is well known, and for what reason, Peter was so very sparing of his money; he did not, therefore, shower pecuniary benefits upon Velten; but his manner of recompensing him was indirect: I find it admirable, and I must confess I should feel an ill opinion of any one who could discover any thing in it either little or deserving of ridicule.
It often happened that the monarch went, accompanied by his Generals and very particular friends, to dine in pic nic at John Velten's; at a ducat a head. He found in this a three-fold pleasure; he amused himself, enjoyed in these pic nics that true freedom of conversation which is the charm of life; he spared the treasures of the state, and he improved the fortune of one who had served him well, by the means of the man's situation in life. He loved, honoured, encouraged by his presence and his familarity, every condition, every profession: he despised no one; but he loved to mix among his subjects, and observe every station of life he made every body feel at their ease; they might speak to him and converse with him free from all restraint, while he knew how to render to himself what was his due; and he could always easily distinguish insolence and blame-worthy boldness, from untaught vulgarity, or a defective education. As it was of the utmost importance to him to give the greatest encouragement to maritime affairs, which increased under his dominion, like every thing else he undertook, he was particularly gratified when he was in company with merchants or dealers, whom he animated to industry; he loved to improve himself, through their means, and very often he was their instructor; for his vast genius, prompt at conception, had already acquired the most enlarged and well connected ideas on navigation and commerce: he often went to dine with these merchants of Petersburgh, at whose houses he knew he should meet sea-faring men, sailors, or masters of vessels.
He chanced one day to meet at the house of one of those merchants, a Captain of a trading vessel, a true Dutchman, of the name of Schipper,* who was there, with some of his crew. Peter had just dined; he desired that the Captain might sit down to table, and that his people should also remain in the apartment and enjoy his presence: he had them served with drink, and he
May we not presume to believe that the appellation of Skipper, given to masters of trading vessels, is derived from this circumstance?-Note by the English Translator.
amused himself with their sea-phrases, as coarse as they were artless.
One of these sailors, emboldened by the indulgence of the monarch, thought proper to drink the health of the Empress, with all the zeal of gratitude. After a moment's pause, he took up the jug, bent his head in advance, scraped his feet awkwardly behind him, and said, "My Lord, the Great Peter, long live your wife, Madam, the Empress." Captain Schipper turned himself round, looked at the sailor, shrugged his shoulders, and to shew the Czar that he, for his part, understood the usages, politeness, and style of the Court, rose up, jogged the sailor with his elbow, took the jug, advanced towards Peter, bent his body very low, and thus correcting the phrase of the mariner ;-" Sir, the Great Peter, long live her Excellenty, Madam, the Empress, your spouse." The Czar smiling, replied, "Schipper, that is very well, indeed; I thank you."
Miraculous Image of the Virgin Mary.
Peter the Great being once at a town in Poland, heard much of a wonderful image of the Holy Virgin, which had been seen to shed tears during the celebration of mass, and he resolved to examine this extraordinary miracle. The image being highly elevated, he asked for a ladder, ascended it, and approached close to the image: he discovered two little holes near the eyes: he put his hand to the head-dress, and lifted up with the hair a portion of the skull. The monks, who stood at the foot of the ladder, quietly regarded the Czar, for they did not imagine he could so soon discover the fraud; but when he even put his finger upon it, they shuddered to behold their miraculous Virgin thus dishonoured. The Emperor discovered, within the head, a basin, whose bottom was even with the eyes; it contained a few very small fish, the motions of which agitated the water, and caused it to issue slowly, and by small quantities, from the two overtures at the corner of each eye. He descended the ladder, without seeking to undeceive the devotees, or any one; but addressing himself to the monks, he said coldly to them, "That is a very curious image, indeed!"
Peter's grief for the death of his Son.
Peter, after the death of his first son, had another son by Catharine, Peter Petrowitch; without any hopes of having more. On him all his hopes now rested; and if he perished, no one remained to perpetuate his memory. He lost him at the age of one year and an half: this was a terrible stroke to him, he could not
support it, his great soul was sunk, he fell into a profound melancholy, lost sight of his projects, his affairs, and the care of his empire; he shut himself up, would see no one, and obstinately refused admittance to any body. Alone, in his apartment, he abandoned himself to grief, and even Catharine herself, durst not approach him. This situation lasted several days; Catharine was in the most trying inquietude, for she had not only to support her own sorrow, but also the terrible state to which she saw the Czar reduced: she addressed herself to the senator Dolgowrouki, a steady, sensible, and worthy man, of great abilities, and much attached to the Czar and his country, and who possessed a wellmerited influence over the mind of his Prince.
Dolgowrouki promised to put every thing in practice to draw the Czar out of this solitary grief, and he meditated the following plan-He assembled the Senate, put himself at their head, made them follow him, and went to the door of the Czar's chamber: they knocked, no answer; they knocked again, repeated it, and cried out, with evident terror.-Peter, struck by these cries, and feeling uneasy, presented himself, asked who dared trouble his repose, and infringe upon the order he had given of being left alone? Dolgowrouki cried out, that his empire was lost if he did not shew himself; that all business was at a stand, and that of the utmost importance; every thing was in an unsettled state, and if he did not come and regulate his affairs, they were proceeding to to the election of a new sovereign, since the state could not stand without a head.
The Czar, struck with the firmness of Dolgowrouki, and with a language so new to him, conquered his obstinacy, and suffered himself to be dragged from the abode of grief; he followed Dolgowrouki to the Senate, and soon the multiplicity of business, and the affairs he had to examine and regulate, made him forget his grievous loss, and he thought only of occupying himself in the cares of government.
Origin of Czarko-Celo; or, the Borough of Sarka, in Russia.
Peter lived a long time at a distance from his empire, either on account of the wars he had to sustain, or by his travels into different countries. It was in one of these absences that Catharine employed herself with the pleasure of giving him an agreeable surprise.
At fifteen or sixteen Russian miles south of Petersburgh, she had remarked at a distance from the high road, an elevated situation, which would, she thought, be very appropriate to the erecting on it a small summer residence, making it commodious, simple, commanding a fine prospect, and surrounded with smiling
objects, such as Peter was fond of. She had it constructed privately; it was built of wood, and she herself presided over the work she drew the plans, and ordered the laying out of the gardens, disposing every thing with that promptitude, that all was finished on the arrival of her husband.
Peter, on his return to Petersburgh, ever active, was continually in motion; he dug canals, he formed quays, and forwarded the works of his new city. Catharine told him she had made a discovery of a charming situation, of which he was yet ignorant, where he had never been, though very near to Petersburgh.
Peter suffered himself to be conducted there by Catharine: they soon went out of the high road, and arrived at a height, where stood a house, concealed by a wood, so that Peter could not see it ; but there a rural festival was in preparation for him; he could not, however, help admiring the place, and its situation. Catharine informed him, she had made herself happy by building on this spot an habitation according to his taste; Peter applauded the idea, and still conversing, they walked on; they approach it, and he sees, at length, before his eyes, a pleasant garden, a charming house, the chimnies smoking, and several persons in readiness to receive him: and he enters, and experiences all the pleasure of surprise; while he caused Catharine to enjoy one more infinitely exquisite, by the extreme satisfaction he evinced at all he beheld; he praised every thing, found all in the most perfect order, embraced the lovely architect, who had so ingeniously employed herself in promoting his pleasures; took her by the hand, led her to the table, and never did Peter make so agreeable and cheerful a respast.
Elizabeth afterwards built the spacious Castle of Czarko-Celo; which is constructed of brick, and is yet in fine preservation.
The Empress, wife of Peter the Great, had a maid of honour named Hamilton; she was young, pretty, and of great tenderness. Reputation and pleasure are not always compatible with female decorum. Twice already had she extinguished every maternal sentiment in her bosom, and had, by murder, deprived the fruit of her imprudence from being brought to light: two innocent victims had received from this beauteous Hamilton life by love, and death from a sense of reputation. The third pregnancy was visible, and she was closely watched, and it was proved that Miss Hamilton had, for the third time, destroyed her offspring. The law condemned herto lose her head, and the sentence was executed accordingly.
Peter had not beheld so many attractions unmoved; he had loved her, and she had made him happy. Miss Hamilton, in her