The Minister of Evil by William le Queux

The Minister of Evil by William le Queux

Author:William le Queux
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: history, russia, russian, rasputin, the life of, biography, about, william le queux
ISBN: 9781781668900
Publisher: Andrews UK Limited 2012
Published: 2012-06-20T00:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER IX

the tragedy of madame svetchine

"Sister! thou who hast chosen to become the bride of Heaven, listen unto me, and repeat these words after me!" exclaimed the monk Rasputin, holding over the kneeling countess the big bejewelled cross which the Empress had given him, and in which were set some of the finest jewels of the Romanoffs.

"I will, O Father," replied Paula Yakimovitch, a pretty young woman, whose husband was Governor of Yakutsk, far off in Siberia, and who had begged him to leave her in Petrograd.

"Then repeat these words," said the bearded saint, fixing his weird, hypnotic eyes upon her. "Thou art my holy Father - "

"Thou art my holy Father - - " exclaimed the Governor's wife in obedience.

"To thee I bow, and to thee I acknowledge that thou art sent by Almighty God to save our holy Russia."

She repeated the words amid the silence of that afternoon assembly of the sister-disciples at the Starets' house, a gathering which included Madame Vyrubova and her sister, Madame Soukhomlinoff; Madame Katacheff, wife of the Governor-General of Finland; pretty little Madame Makotine, to whose salon everyone scrambled; and old Countess Chapadier, bedecked, as always, with diamonds.

"I hereby swear in my belief that God has sent to our Russia his divine saviour in the human form of Gregory Rasputin, and that the sin I commit in my belief is the sin which is easiest forgiven, and that by prayer and fasting my sins will be remitted, even as I am admitted to the sect of the righteous and holy."

These blasphemous words the young woman repeated after the unwashed saint, who, standing upon a sort of dais in the big upstairs salon, still held up the jewelled cross suspended from his neck in front of him.

"Salvation is in contriteness," the monk went on, for that was what the sly scoundrel had invented. "Contriteness can only come after we have sinned. Let us therefore sin, my sisters, in order to gain salvation! By sinning with me," he added, having reached the apogee of his influence, "salvation is all the more certain to come to you for this reason - that I am filled with the Holy Spirit!"

"God be thanked! God be thanked!" fell from the lips of those thirty or so bamboozled and hysterical women, who, seated on forms as school-children might sit, had assembled to assist at the admission of Countess Yakimovitch to the secret and disgraceful cult of the blasphemous charlatan.

The date was September the 7th, 1914.

Russia had been at war with Germany for a month, and the Press of the Allies was full of cheerful optimism regarding what one of your London journalists had called "the Russian steam-roller." We in holy Russia believed in "the mills of God," and the nation as a whole was confident that it could resist the Teuton invasion.

The neophyte, beneath the extraordinary hypnotism of the "saint," felt the dirty fingers upon her brow, as, in a strange jargon of religious phrases and open blasphemy, he pronounced



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