The Emperor Paul, born October 1, 1754, ascended the throne on the 12th of December, 1796. What I have related touching Catherine's funeral is sufficient proof that the new Emperor did not share the national sorrow; it is well known, besides, that he bestowed the order of St. Andrew upon Nicholas Zuboff, who brought him the news of his mother's death.
Petersburg was at a sister's of Zuboff, where I had neglected to present a letter of introduction. Six months of my sojourn in Russia had gone by, when I met her one evening coming out of the theatre. She stepped over to me and said most politely that she was still waiting for a letter which had been given to me for her.
Its shores are generally rocky, though there is a sandy beach at its head, where we found a good landing and camping place at the mouth of Zuboff* river. This stream is from fifty to seventy-five feet in width, and navigable for canoes not exceeding one hundred rods, before meeting log obstructions.
And now, with the scenes of that trying march so vividly recalled, I would dedicate these chapters to my gigantic, old and ruggedly tried friend, the agronome, to my Russian fellow-travelers, and especially, to the sacred memory of those of our companions whose bodies lie cradled in the sleep among the mountains of Tibet Colonel Ostrovsky, Captains Zuboff and Turoff, Lieutenant Pisarjevsky, Cossack Vernigora and Tartar Mahomed Spirin.
Impar congressus! like Michelet's Charles the Bold, "il avait trop voulu, des choses infinies." The arts were indifferent to her, and she was insensible to the simplicity of true greatness. She idolized a Zuboff, but Kosciuszko was immured at St. Petersburg till the day of her death, and she never even learned his precise name.
Five of the conspirators undertook the assassination, one of them being Plato Zuboff, a former pet of Catherine, whom Paul had loaded with favours after recalling him from exile. The five penetrated into Paul's sleeping apartment after he had gone to bed. The two guards at the door defended it valiantly, but their resistance was fruitless, and one of them was killed.
At the sight of the infuriated men rushing in upon him, Paul rose from his couch. As he was very powerful he made a long fight against his murderers, who finally managed to strangle him in an armchair. The unhappy man's last words were, "You, too, Zuboff! I thought you were my friend!" It seems that chance had contributed in every way to the success of the plot.