The last lover of the Empress – Іван Корсак

And Nikolay Voronoy would express his vision of Lev Makarovich in such a way, “Matsievich’s fame spread throughout the world, but Ukraine has the honor that one of its sons wrote his name down in scrolls of human progress.”


Stepan Ivanovich Sheshkovskiy was entering the empress’s hall so as if he were walking with bare heels on a red-hot floor, he didn’t want to go, but whether an invisible force, or duty, or fear of self-force pushed him in the back; if he didn’t report, he would be guilty.

“Your Majesty, there is an annoying news” – he inhaled air, as if he was about to dive – “metropolitan Arceniy’s letters are found in some towns, I’m sorry, the Lier’s letters… Letters are delivered here and now it is being checked if they are true… Our people took them in Pskov, Kholmogory, Novgorod, Yaroslavl, Rostov. By the way, this lier appeals to You too, asking to conduct the most thorough investigation of the murder of Ivan Antonovich. If it isn’t done, Your Majesty will be considered an accomplice of the murder.”

After a long silence, to Stepan Ivanovich’s surprise, the empress’s face remained immovable, she only drank a small sip of water.

“Who guarded the Lier?”

“Four soldiers and one officer.”

“Officer must be reduced to the ranks, whips and servitude are for soldiers.”

Sheshkovskiy was surprised at the empress’s calmness from annoying news but this calmness had neither part nor lot in indifference, the empress managed to control herself constrainedly. She could expect resistance to her intentions everywhere – from courtiers with their endless intrigues, from army where soldiers were underfeed and officers had not seen their pay for half-year, from tribal nobility in the province, who considered themselves to be autocratic kings, having right to pardon and punish up to death, but she didn’t expect this from Russian clergy, tamed by Peter I long ago, lured and intimidated. And not even from the whole clergy but from one man who was aged, suffered from scurvy, bald, wrinkled, and flattened. She could negotiate and bargain with everybody, by gold, by hot and thirsty body, by manors, ranks, but she was helpless only with one man. Name of Arceniy Matsievich stuck as a constant threat, indestructible and overwhelming, he was hidden in a hole which was far away from active world, but he managed to rile water even from there.

It was out of place, especially because they didn’t have to waste time with church reforms – who knew, maybe unrest would break out. Only one hundred and sixty one monasteries remained in Russia from seven hundred and thirty two, and only thirty nine convents from two hundred and twenty two. She knows whom to give lands taken from monasteries and churches, but now seven eights from this four million encome goes to treasury, as chancellor reported. Despite disagreements of Synod, new Synod public prosecutor Melissino forces reforms: he insists on reducing of Lents, banning bringing icons into houses, to allow the bishops to marry, to cancel the wake of dead, to allow more than three marriages, to ban to communicate children under ten.

“Not to stop Lier’s case” – the empress interrupted her thoughts – “and Mirovich, how does he conduct himself?”

“He is walking in a cell, speaking something in his beard, maybe he’s writing his verses…”

Sheshkovskiy was reported about Mirovich twice a day.

“It would be better tackle him with zeal, he may tell much interesting. But terms of investigation should be extended…”

“By no means” – the empress didn’t agree – “unbelievable rumors, fabrications and fantasies roam in Europe. And trial must say its fair word sooner.”

The empress didn’t want to delay this case; she made senate push things on, and senate made Supreme Court do it. She prepared a list of judges personally, considering every surname. Both local dignitaries and representatives of other states, who had to report in monarch’s houses, had to spread rumors about her innocence in death of former emperor Ivan Antonovich, and it must be established forever. She was turning her head as a schoolgirl of primary school, because it was still difficult to her to write in Russian, she had to express regret for her terrible orthography, but she wrote out names of future famous in the empire judges personally: “metropolitan Dimitriy, archbishop Gavriil, bishop Athanasius, archimandrite Laurentiy, archimandrite Simeon, count Razumovsky, count Alexander Buturlin, prince J. Shakhovskoy, count P. Chernyshev, count Z. Chernyshev, count I. Chernyshev, count M. Skavronsky, count G. Vorontsov, count N. Panin, count P. Panin, F. Ushakov, N. Muravyov, F. Miloslavskiy, A. Olsufyev, prince P. Trubetskoy, count V. Fermor, S. Naryshkin, L. Naryshkin, count Ernst Minih, S. Mordvinov, count Minnih, I. Talysin, count A. Golitsin, vice-chancellor count A. Golitsin, count I. Gendrikov, D. de Bosket, I. Betskiy, count G. Orlov, count S. Yaguzhinskiy, F. Emme, baron A. Cherkasov, I. Shlatter, A. Glebov, F. Vadkovskiy, G. Veinmarn, baron von Dits, N. Chicherin, J. Yevreinov, D. Volkov…”

The empress thought that at worst they would be guilty in unfair and unjust proceedings; they would be answerable to the world and next generations. But the matter shouldn’t come to it.


He could barely cross the threshold of his cell, even climbed, because his legs bent badly as if somebody tied rough sticks to them; quietly limped to a chair and sat so carefully as if there were needles. Mirovich touched his head with hands and he was sitting moveless for a long time – time stopped suddenly as an hour-glass which was broken for unknown reason and a thin trickle of fine sand fell away and ended up. Properly, he didn’t need time now – man doesn’t need a thing he can’t use. Not because he is in prison, in a fast stone cage, in a clap-net (he caught himself!), but because he can’t change circumstances even a little.

He was judged yesterday. Therefore, is it all?

In a cell, which was spacious and dry and didn’t look as a blind and musty cell of the late emperor Ivan Antonovich, Vasiliy Mirovich had time to think over all last events. All the more so, first he wasn’t called anywhere, nobody came to him, Mirovich felt as if he were on a desert island.

What happened? Why? What did these unexpected, unpredictable, not contracted events foreshow?

He began to skim page by page in the memory, as quickly read book, and to consider not only separate line but separate letter and sign – each could conceal an answer.

First of all, why did count Orlov and the empress choose him? If they plotted not noble matter from the very beginning and wanted to commit an abomination, an ordinary bloodhound of a Secret Expedition could come in handy more. Why him?

Having arrived in Petersburg from obscurity, Mirovich became famous in two years. Vasiliy was pleased that his verses were wandering in manuscripts in a capital, he was cited. Incorruptible Mikhail Lomonosov, who was walking in corridors of university, both in winter and in summer, dressed in his eastern felt boots decorated with glass which he made himself, he cited Vasiliy Mirovich’s verses as an example of the newest poetic school. And when there was competition for the picture of rail bridges in St. Petersburg declared, Vasiliy Mirovich won it. He, a man of family, eight emperors and eight convocations of a Senate had been engaged in his capital more than half a century, he dared judge with a Senate, that very Mirovich dared, whose grandfather was still alive, bothered about independence of Ukraine from Warsaw, solicits European diplomats. Petersburg had troubles too: French King Louis XV had not recognized the title of Empress II Catherine the Great, and when he wanted to joke at a lady he said that she was dressed like Catherine…

Завантажити матеріал у повному обсязі:

( Поки що оцінок немає )

Знайшли помилку або неточність? Будь ласка, виділіть її мишкою та натисніть Ctrl+Enter.

Додати коментар

Повідомити про помилку

Текст, який буде надіслано нашим редакторам: