The letters of Fyodor Michailovitch Dostoïevsky came as a revelation to his admirers. We think of him as overflowing with sentiment for his fellow man, a socialist, one who "went to the people" long before Tolstoy dreamed of the adventure, a man four years in prison in Siberia, and six more in that bleak country under official inspection; truly, a martyr to his country, an epileptic and a genius.
As early as December, 1916, the Grand Duke Nicholas Michailovitch had held a long interview with the czar in which he had openly denounced the czarina and Rasputin in such strong terms that when he had finished, having realized he had gone extremely far, he remarked: "And now you may call in your Cossacks and have them kill me and bury me in the garden."
The sceptre of the Tsar Michailovitch is of similar enamelled work, and is probably a good specimen of the effect of western influence on the goldsmiths of Moscow. The figures especially appear to be of the Italian renaissance. Another sceptre is unmistakably Russian work, and if not of pure taste is at least of fine workmanship and imposing magnificence.
Other important pieces of the regalia of Alexis Michailovitch are the orbs and sceptres, the bow and arrow case of the same description of workmanship. These are gorgeous specimens of jewelled and enamelled work attributed to Constantinople.