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PRINCE GORTSCHAKOFF,

or

IN N the early summer of 1877, when the

Russian army had gathered on the banks of the Danube, and the Roumanian capital was swarming with illustrious Muscovites, no man who made his appearance in the beautiful Chaussée Park of Bucharest, attracted half so much attention as did a gentleman who had taken up his quarters at the rambling Russian Consulate, in the heart of that curious and lively city. A A very little, very old man, with a pale,

, withered face, and lips drawn and blanched like the lips of the dead, but with

eyes

in ques

which, behind the shelter of the gold-rimmed spectacles, beamed forth with an expression that was half benevolent and half sinister, and a bearing that told its own tale of the consciousness of power ;

the

person tion was universally remarked and almost as universally detested. Perhaps he was the more noticeable because, on almost all his public appearances, his aged face and form were contrasted with the blooming beauty of the young girl who sat beside him, and who sometimes seemed to treat her venerable companion with scant respect. not by any means an edifying spectacle that was presented by this couple as they dashed rapidly along the smooth road-way of the Park, or tore through the noisy streets of Bucharest. The sensitive Roumanians felt their pride wounded by the manner in which the man paraded his companion under the eyes of the wives of the great boyards of

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the two Principalities, and the offender smiled sardonically as he saw traces of the resentment he had inspired. For was it not part of the rôle he was playing just then, to prove to the Roumanians that they were of such small account in the eyes of the civilised Powers of Europe, that it was not even needful to observe the decencies of social life whilst one happened to sojourn amongst them?

No politician of our time has played a more important part in public affairs during the last three years than Prince Gortschakoff has done; and his private habits whilst living at Bucharest, during the RussoTurkish war, were so closely associated with the policy he was pursuing, that there can be no impropriety in making some allusion to them. Go to Bucharest, indeed, if you wish to hear what those who have seen most in recent years of the Russian Chan

VOL. II.

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cellor and his policy are disposed to think of both. In the west Prince Gortschakoff is something of a mystery. We see him but dimly through mists perhaps of a foolish prejudice, perhaps of an equally foolish partiality. He is always half-hidden, as it were, by the imposing figure of his quondam friend Prince Bismarck; and so far as the great majority of Englishmen are concerned, it may be said with truth that to them he is nothing more than a name.

Yet no one who has made European politics a study, can doubt that, next to the German Chancellor himself, Prince Gortschakoff has had a more commanding influence upon the destinies of the Continent than any other living statesman.

His story, if I could tell it fully in the brief

space at my command, would be found to be a very interesting one. Born in 1798, he began his public life at a most eventful period in the history of Russia. Yet for many years he made little progress in his official career. It was not until 1841, when he first went to Stuttgardt to arrange the marriage of the Czar's favourite daughter with the Prince Royal of Wurtemburg, that he was brought into intimate relationship with his Imperial master.

From that time, however, he became one of the trusted advisers of the Emperor, and first in Stuttgardt and afterwards in Vienna, he acted as a kind of vedette stationed outside the frontiers of the empire for the purpose of watching all that was passing, and when necessary, giving the alarm to those at home. In 1856, after the close of the Crimean war, he was recalled to St. Petersburg, and appointed Chancellor of the Empire and Minister of Foreign Affairs, in succession to Count Nesselrode. From that time, down to the present moment, he has been, next

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