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Is that true?" Naglovski started and turned pale. For a moment he was taken entirely off his guard. "Ah!" went on Stürmer in his deep, thick voice, Rasputin having risen to go to the sideboard, "I see it is true. Now, what can you gain by endeavouring to belittle the efforts of our dear Father for the salvation of Russia? Think. Are you patriots? No.

Rasputin and his friends in the course of a few days created a veritable whirlwind of false reports, hoping by that means to shatter or stifle all manifestations of patriotic feeling, and prepare Russia for a separate peace.

The great church was dark save for the light of the myriad candles, and silent save for the twittering of a bird, yet I could see that the pious exhortation of Rasputin had been taken as an omen by Her Majesty.

I differed from him, for I have never had a liking for Germans. At heart Rasputin had, I knew, no great liking either. He admired them and assisted them because he was a born adventurer, and as the tool of the Kaiser was well paid for his services, while at the same time he had succeeded in placing himself in the position of autocrat over the Tsar himself.

Yet he had the courage of his evil convictions; with the desperate fury of a tortured bull in the ring he faced all his enemies and continued on his path, the whole nation against him. Trepov, who had shown his sympathy for the executioners of Rasputin, was removed. So were the Ministers of War and Marine, who had declared themselves for the people.

He accepted, hoping, of course, to discover more concerning the monk, and quite unconscious that Rasputin knew of his hostile intentions. To dinner there were invited the Prime Minister, Boris Stürmer, and a sycophant of his named Sikstel. Stürmer was in uniform and Sikstel in civilian attire.

Having admitted the visitor to Rasputin's presence, I opened the small iron box which the Starets always carried in his supposed "pilgrimages," and took out the money, leaving in it a sum of about twelve thousand roubles. The ten thousand I carried to Rasputin, but as I opened the door I heard the fair-haired man say: "All is prepared. The wire is laid across the river.

Secret meetings were being held everywhere in Petrograd, the police were making indiscriminate arrests, and Schlüsselburg was already overflowing with its human victims whom Rasputin had indicated, for a hostile word from him meant imprisonment or death. He was, indeed, Tsar of All the Russias. Such was the breathless state of things at Tsarskoe-Selo in the last days of December.

Rasputin was eager to go to one or other of the variety entertainments, but I dissuaded him from such an action, he being in clerical attire. "If you go you may arouse the curiosity of some stupid policeman, and inquiries might be made concerning us. No, while in Berlin it will be necessary for you to remain very quiet," I urged. "Remember, the baron and certain of his friends are watching us."

Though matters had assumed the most serious aspect in those last days of November, Rasputin, bent upon revenge and full of chagrin at being unable to obtain possession of those incriminating letters of the high priestess of his disgraceful cult, Madame Vyrubova, was busy making inquiries, and among those he questioned was Ivan Ivanovitch, a bookbinder in Petrograd, who was Olga's lover, and who regarded the monk with considerable disfavour, a fact of which Rasputin was unaware.