The Moika basement - The night of December 29.
Left: Felix in 1916.
As I was alone in St. Petersburg, I was staying with my brothers-in-law at the Grand Duke Alexander's palace. On December 29, I spent most of the day preparing for my examinations which were to be held next day. As soon as I had a free moment I went home to make the final arrangements.
I intended to receive Rasputin in the flat which I was fitting up in the Moika basement: arches divided it in two; the larger half was to be used as a dining room. From the other half, the staircase which I have already mentioned led to my rooms on the floor above. Halfway up was a door opening onto the courtyard. The larger room had a low, vaulted ceiling and was lighted by two small windows which were on a level with the ground and looked out on the Moika The walls were of gray stone, the flooring of granite. To avoid arousing Rasputin's suspicions - for he might have been surprised at being received in a bare cellar - it was indispensable that the room should be furnished and appear to be lived in.
When I arrived, I found workmen busy laying down carpets and putting up curtains. Three large red Chinese porcelain vases had already been placed in niches hollowed out of the walls. Various objects which I had selected were being carried in: carved wooden chairs of oak, small tables covered with ancient embroideries, ivory bowls, and a quantity of other curios. I can picture the room to this day in all its details, and I have good reason to remember a certain cabinet of inlaid ebony which was a mass of little mirrors, tiny bronze columns and secret drawers. On it stood a crucifix of rock crystal and silver, a beautiful specimen of sixteenth-century Italian workmanship. On the great red granite mantelpiece were placed golden bowls, antique majolica plates and a sculptured ivory group. A large Persian carpet covered the floor and, in a corner, in front of the ebony cabinet, lay a white bearskin rug.
In the middle of the room stood the table at which Rasputin was to drink his last cup of tea.
My two servants, Gregory and Ivan, helped me to arrange the furniture. I asked them to prepare tea for six, to buy biscuits and cakes and to bring wine from the cellar. I told them that I was expecting some friends at eleven that evening, and that they could wait in the servants' hall until I rang for them.
When everything was settled I went up to my room where Colonel Vogel, my crammer, was waiting to coach me for the last time before my exams. The lesson was over by six o'clock; before going back to dine with my brothers-in-law, I went into the church of Our Lady of Kazan. Deep in prayer, I lost all sense of time. When I left the cathedral after what seemed to me but a few moments, I was astonished to find I had been there almost two hours. I had a strange feeling of lightness, of well-being, almost of happiness... I hurried to my father-in-law's palace where I had a light dinner before returning to the Moika.
By eleven o'clock everything was ready in the basement. Comfortably furnished and well-lighted, this underground room had lost its grim look. On the table the samovar smoked, surrounded by plates filled with the cakes and dainties that Rasputin liked so much, An array of bottles and glasses stood on a sideboard. Ancient lanterns of colored glass lighted the room from the ceiling; the heavy red damask portieres were lowered. On the granite hearth, a log fire crackled and scattered sparks on the flagstones.
One felt isolated from the rest of the world and it seemed as though, no matter what happened, the events of that night would remain forever buried in the silence of those thick walls.
The bell rang, announcing the arrival of Dmitri and my other friends. I showed them into the dining room and they stood for a little while, silently examining the spot where Rasputin was to meet his end.
I took from the ebony cabinet a box containing the poison and laid it on the table. Dr. Lazovert put on rubber gloves and ground the cyanide of potassium crystals to powder. Then, lifting the top of each cake, be sprinkled the inside with a dose of poison which, according to him, was sufficient to kill several men instantly. There was an impressive silence. We all followed the doctor's movements with emotion. There remained the glasses into which cyanide was to be poured. It was decided to do this at the last moment so that the poison should not evaporate and lose its potency. We had to give the impression of havinh just finished supper - for I had warned Rasputin that when we bad guests we took our meals in the basement and that I sometimes stayed there alone to read or work while my friends went upstairs to smoke in my study. So we disarranged the table, pushed the chairs back, and poured tea into the cups. It was agreed that when I went to fetch the starets, Dmitri, Purichkevich and Sukhotin would go upstairs and play the gramophone, choosing lively tunes. I wanted to keep Rasputin in a good humor and remove any distrust that might be lurking in his mind.
When everything was ready, I put on an overcoat and drew a fur cap over my ears, completely concealing my face. Doctor Lazovert, in a chauffeur's uniform, started up the engine and we got into the car which was waiting in the courtyard by the side entrance. On reaching Rasputin's house, I had to parley with the janitor before he agreed to let me in. In accordance with Rasputin's instructions, I went up the back staircase; I had to grope my way up in the dark, and only with the greate st difficulty found the starets' door. I rang the bell. "Who's that?" called a voice from inside.
I began to tremble. "It's I, Gregory Efimovitch. I've come for you.
I could hear Rasputin moving about the hall. The chain was unfastened, the heavy lock grated. I felt very ill at case.
He opened the door and I went into the kitchen. It was dark. I imagined that someone was spying on me from the next room. Instinctively, I turned up my collar and pulled my cap down over my eyes. "Why are you trying to hide?" asked Rasputin.
"Didn't we agree that no one was to know you were going out with me tonight?"
"True, true; I haven't said a word about it to anyone in the house, I've even sent away all the tainiks.(* Members of the secret police.) I'll go and dress."
I accompanied him to his bedroom; it was lighted only by the little lamp burning before the icons. Rasputin lit a candle; I noticed that his bed was crumpled. He had probably been resting. Near the bed were his overcoat and beaver cap, and his high feltlined galoshes.
Rasputin wore a silk blouse embroidered in cornflowers, with a thick raspberry-colored cord as a belt. His velvet breeches and highly polished boots seemed brand-new; he had brushed his hair and carefully combed his beard. As be came close to me, I smelled a strong odor of cheap soap which indicated that he had taken pains with his appearance. I had never seen him look so clean and tidy. "Well, Gregory Efimovich, it's time to go; it's past midnight." "What about the gypsies? Shall we pay them a visit?" "I don't know; perhaps," I answered.
"There will be no one at your house but us tonight?" be asked, with a note of anxiety in his voice. oice.
I reassured him by saying that he would meet no one that he might not care to see, and that my mother was in the Crimea.
"I don't like your mother. I know she hates me; she's a friend of Elisabeth's. Both of them plot against me and spread slander about me too. The Tsarina herself has often told me that they were my worst enemies. Why, no earlier than this evening, Protopopov came to see me and made me swear not to go out for a few days. 'They'll kill you,' he declared. 'Your enemies are bent on mischief!' But they'd just be wasting time and trouble; they won't succeed, they are not powerful enough ... But that's enough, come on, let's go.." I picked up the overcoat and helped him on with it.
Suddenly, a feeling of great pity for the man swept over me. I was ashamed of the despicable deceit, the horrible trickery to which I was obliged to resort. At that moment I was filled with self-contempt, and wondered how I could even have thought of such a cowardly crime. I could not understand how I had brought myself to decide on it.
I looked at my victim with dread, as he stood before me, quiet and trusting. What had become of his second sight? What good did his gift of foretelling the future do him? Of what use was his faculty for reading the thoughts of others, if he was blind to the dreadful trap that was laid for him? It seemed as though fate had clouded his mind... to allow justice to deal with him according to his deserts...
But suddenly, in a lightning flash of memory, I seemed to recall every stage of Rasputin's infamous life. My qualms of conscience disappeared, making room for a firm determination to complete my task.
We walked to the dark landing, and Rasputin closed the door behind him..
Once more I heard the grating of the lock echoing down the staircase; we were in pitch-black darkness. I felt fingers roughly clutching at my hand. "I will show you the way," said the starets dragging me down the stairs.
His grip hurt me, I felt like crying out and breaking away, but a sort of numbness came over me. I don't remember what he said to me, or whether I answered him; my one thought was to be out of the dark house as quickly as possible, to get back to the light, and to free myself from that hateful clutch. As soon as we were outside, my fears vanished and I recovered my self-control.
We entered the car and drove off. I looked behind us to see whether the police were following; but there was no one, the streets were deserted.
We drove a roundabout way to the Moika, entered the courtyard and, once more, the car drew up at the side entrance.
As we entered the house, I could hear my friends talking while the gramophone played "Yankee Doodle went to town."
"What's all this?" asked Rasputin. "Is someone giving a party here?"
"No, just my wife entertaining a few friends; they'll be going soon. Meanwhile, let's have a cup of tea in the dining room."
We went down to the basement. As soon as Rasputin entered the room, he took off his overcoat and began inspecting the furniture with great interest. He was particularly fascinated by the little ebony cabinet, and took a childlike pleasure in opening and shutting the drawers, exploring it inside and out.
Then, at the fateful moment, I made a last attempt to persuade him to leave St. Petersburg. His refusal sealed his fate. I offered him wine and tea; to my great disappointment, he refused both. Had something made him suspicious? I was determined, come what may, that he should not leave the house alive.
We sat down at the table and began to talk. We reviewed our mutual acquaintances, not forgetting Anna Vyrubova and, naturally, touched on Tsarskoie-Sclo. "Gregory Efimovitch," I asked, why did Protopopov come to see you? Is he still afraid of a conspiracy?"
"Why yes, my dear boy, he is; it seems that my plain speaking annoys a lot of people. The aristocrats can't get used to the idea that a humble peasant should be welcome at the Imperial Palace. ... They are consumed with envy and fury ... but I'm not afraid of them. They can't do anything to me. I'm protected against ill fortune. There have been several attempts on my life but the Lord has always frustrated these plots. Disaster will come to anyone who lifts a finger against me."
Rasputin's words echoed ominously through the very room in which he was to die, but nothing could deter me now, While he talked, my one idea was to make him drink some wine and eat the cakes.
After exhausting his customary topics of conversion, Rasputin asked for some tea. I immediately poured out a cup and handed him a plate of biscuits. Why was it that I offered him the only biscuits that were not poisoned? I even hesitated before handing him the cakes sprinkled with cyanide.
He refused them at first: "I don't want any, they're too sweet." At last, however, be took one, then another.... I watched him, horror-stricken. The poison should have acted immediately but, to my amazement, Rasputin went on talking quite calmly.
I then suggested that he should sample our Crimean wines. He once more refused. Time was passing, I was becoming nervous; in spite of his refusal, I filled two glasses. But, as in the case of the biscuits-and just as inexplicably-I again avoided using a glass containing cyanide. Rasputin changed his mind and accepted the wine I handed him. He drank it with enjoyment, found it to his taste and asked whether we made a great deal of wine in the Crimea. He seemed surprised to hear that we had cellars full of it.
"Pour me out some Madeira," he said. This time I wanted to give it to him in a glass containing cyanide, but he protested: "I'll have it in the same glass."
"You can't, Gregory Efimovich," I replied. "You can't mix two kinds of wines." "It doesn't matter, I'll use the same glass, I tell you. .
I had to give in without pressing the point, but I managed, as if by mistake, to drop the glass from which he had drunk, and immediately poured the Madeira into a glass containing cyanide. Rasputin did not say anything.
I stood watching him drink, expecting any moment to see him collapse.
But he continued slowly to sip his wine like a connoisseur. His face did not change, only from time to time be put his band to his throat as though he had some difficulty in swallowing. He rose and took a few steps. When I asked him what was the matter, be answered: "Why, nothing, just a tickling in my throat "The Madeira's good," he remarked; "give me some more."
Meanwhile, the poison continued to have no effect, and the starets went on walking calmly about the room.
I picked up another glass containing cyanide, filled it with wine and handed it to Rasputin. He drank it as he had the others, and still with no result.
There remained only one poisoned glass on the tray. Then, as I was feeling desperate, and must try to make him do as I did, I began drinking myself. A silence fell upon us as we sat facing each other,
He looked at me; there was a malicious expression in his eyes, as if to say: "Now, see, you're wasting your time, you can't do anything to me."
Suddenly his expression changed to one of fierce anger; I had never seen him look so terrifying. He fixed his fiendish eyes on me, and at that moment I was filled with such hatred that I wanted to leap at him and strangle him with my bare hands.
The silence became ominous. I had the feeling that he knew why I had brought him to my house, and what I had set out to do. We seemed to be engaged in a strange and terrible struggle. Another moment and I would have been beaten, annihilated. Under Rasputin's heavy gaze, I felt all my self-possession leaving me; an indescribable numbness came over me, my head swam....
When I came to myself, he was still seated in the same place, his head in his hands. I could not see his eyes. I had got back my self-control, and offered him another cup of tea.
"Pour me a cup," he said in a muffled voice, "I'm very thirsty." He raised his bead, his eyes were dull and I thought he avoided looking at me.
While I poured the tea, he rose and began walking up and down. Catching sight of my guitar which I had left on a chair, be said: "Play something cheerful, I like listening to your singing."
I found it difficult to sing anything at such a moment, especially anything cheerful. "I really don't feel up to it," I said. However, I took the guitar and sang a sad Russian ditty.
He sat down and at first listened attentively; then his head drooped and his eyes closed. I thought he was dozing. When I finished the song, he opened his eyes and looked gloomily at me: "Sing another. I'm very fond of this kind of music and you put so much soul into it." I sang once more but I did not recognize my own voice.
Time went by; the clock said two-thirty ... the nightmare had lasted two interminable hours. What would happen, I thought, if I had lost my nerve?
Upstairs my friends were evidently growing impatient, to judge by the racket they made. I was afraid that they might be unable to bear the suspense any longer and just come bursting in. Rasputin raised his head: "What's all that noise?"
"Probably the guests leaving," I answered. "I'll go and see what's up."
In my study, Dmitri, Purichkevich and Sukhotin rushed at me, and plied me with questions. "Well, have you done it? Is it over?" "The poison hasn't acted," I replied. They stared at me in amazement. "It's impossible!" cried the Grand Duke.
"But the dose was enormous! Did he take the whole lot?" asked the others. "Every bit," I answered.
After a short discussion, we agreed to go down in a body, throw ourselves on Rasputin and strangle him. We were already on the way down, when I was brought to a halt by the fear that we would ruin the whole scheme by our precipitation: the sudden appearance of a lot of strangers would certainly arouse Rasputin's suspicions. And who could tell what such a diabolical person was capable of doing?
I convinced my friends with great difficulty that it would be best for me to act alone. I took Dmitri's revolver and went back to the basement.
Rasputin sat where I had left him; his head drooping and his breathing labored. I went up quietly and sat down by him, but he paid no attention to me. After a few minutes of horrible silence, he slowly lifted his head and turned vacant eyes in my direction. "Are you feeling ill?" I asked.
"Yes, my head is heavy and I've a burning sensation in my stomach. Give me another little glass of wine. It'll do me good."
I handed him some Madeira; he drank it at a gulp; it revived him and he recovered his spirits. I saw that he was himself again and that his brain was functioning quite normally. Suddenly he suggested that we should go to the gypsies together. I refused, giving the lateness of the hour as an excuse..
"That doesn't matter," he said. "They're quite used to that; sometimes they wait up for me all night. I'm often detained at Tsarskoe Selo by important business, or simply to talk about God.... When this happens I drive straight to the gypsies in a car. The body, too, needs a rest ... isn't it so? All our thoughts belong to God, they are His, but our bodies belong to ourselves: That's the way it is!" added Rasputin with a wink.
I certainly did not expect to hear such talk from a man who had just swallowed an enormous dose of poison. I was particularly struck by the fact that Rasputin, who had a quite remarkable gift of intuition, should be so far from realizing that he was near death. How was it that his piercing eyes had not noticed that I was holding a revolver behind my back, ready to point it at him?
I turned my head and saw the crystal crucifix. I rose to look at it more closely. "What are you staring at that crucifix for?" asked Rasputin. "I like it," I replied, "it's so beautiful."
"It is indeed beautiful," he said. "It must have cost a lot. How much did you pay for it?" As he spoke, he took a few steps toward me and, without waiting for an answer, added: "For my part, I like the cabinet better." He went up to it, opened it and started to examine it again.
"Gregory Efimovitch," I said, "you'd far better look at the crucifix and say a prayer."
Rasputin cast a surprised, almost frightened glance at me. I read in it an expression which I had never known him to have: it was at once gentle and submissive. He came quite close to me and looked me full in the face. It was as though he had at last read something in my eyes, something he had not expected to find. I realized that the hour had come. "O Lord," I prayed, "give me the strength to finish it."
Rasputin stood before me motionless, his head bent and his eyes on the crucifix. I slowly raised the revolver. Where should I aim, at the temple or at the heart?
A shudder swept over me; my arm grew rigid, I aimed at his heart and pulled the trigger. Rasputin gave a wild scream and crumpled up on the bearskin. For a moment I was appalled to discover bow easy it was to kill a man. A flick of the finger and what had been a living, breathing man only a second before, now lay on the floor like a broken doll.
On hearing the shot my friends rushed in, but in their frantic haste they brushed against the switch and turned out the light. Someone bumped into me and cried out; I stood motionless for fear of treading on the body. At last, someone turned the light on.
Rasputin lay on his back. His features twitched in nervous spasms; his hands were clenched, his eyes closed. A bloodstain was spreading on his silk blouse. A few moments later all movement ceased. We bent over his body to examine it.
The doctor declared that the bullet had struck him in the region of the heart, There was no possibility of doubt: Rasputin was dead. Dmitri and Purichkevich lifted him from the bearskin and laid him on the flagstones. We turned off the light and went up to my room, after locking the basement door.
Our hearts were full of hope, for we were convinced that what had just taken place would save Russia and the dynasty from ruin and dishonor.
In accordance with our plan, Dmitri, Sukhotin and the Doctor were to pretend to take Rasputin back to his house, in case the secret police had followed us without our knowing it. Sukhotin was to pass himself off as the starets and, wearing Rasputin's overcoat and cap, would drive off in Purichkevich's open car along with Dmitri and the Doctor. They were to return to the Moika in the Grand Duke's closed car, after which they would take the body to Petrovski Island.
Purichkevich and I remained at the Moika. While we waited for our friends, we talked of the future of our country, now that it was freed once and for all from its evil genius. How could we foresee that those who ought to have seized this unique opportunity would not have the will, or the skill, to do so?
As we talked I was suddenly filled with a vague misgiving; an irresistible impulse forced me to go down to the basement.
Rasputin lay exactly where we had left him. I felt his pulse: not a beat, he was dead.
Scarcely knowing what I was doing I seized the corpse by the arms and shook it violently. It leaned to one side and fell back. I was just about to go, when I suddenly noticed an almost imperceptible quivering of his left eyelid. I bent over and watched him closely; slight tremors contracted his face.
All of a sudden, I saw the left eye open... A few seconds later his right eyelid began to quiver, then opened. I then saw both eyes - the green eyes of a viper - staring at me with an expression of diabolical hatred. The blood ran cold in my veins. My muscles turned to stone. I wanted to run away, to call for help, but my legs refused to obey me and not a sound came from my throat.
I stood rooted to the flagstones as if caught in the toils of a nightmare.
Then a terrible thing happened: with a sudden violent effort Rasputin leapt to his feet, foaming at the mouth. A wild roar echoed through the vaulted rooms, and his hands convulsively thrashed the air. He rushed at me, trying to get at my throat, and sank his fingers into my shoulder like steel claws. His eyes were bursting from their sockets, blood oozed from his lips. And all the time be called me by name, in a low raucous voice.
No words can express the horror I felt. I tried to free myself but was powerless in his vicelike grip. A ferocious struggle began....
This devil who was dying of poison, who had a bullet in his heart, must have been raised from the dead by the powers of evil. There was something appalling and monstrous in his diabolical refusal to die.
I realized now who Rasputin really was. It was the reincarnation of Satan himself who held me in his clutches and would never let me go till my dying day.
By a superhuman effort I succeeded in freeing myself from his grasp.
He fell on his back, gasping horribly and still holding in his hand the epaulette he had torn from my tunic during our struggle. For a while he lay motionless on the floor. Then after a few seconds, he moved. I rushed upstairs and called Purichkevich, who was in my study. "Quick, quick, come down!" I cried. "He's still alive!"
At that moment, I heard a noise behind me; I seized the rubber club Maklakoff had given me (he had said: "one never knows") and rushed downstairs, followed by Purichkevich, revolver in hand. We found Rasputin climbing the stairs.
He was crawling on hands and knees, gasping and roaring like a wounded animal. He gave a desperate leap and managed to reach the secret door which led into the courtyard. Knowing that the door was locked, I waited on the landing above, grasping my rubber club.
To my horror and amazement, I saw the door open and Rasputin disappear.. Purichkevich sprang after him. Two shots echoed through the night. The idea that he might escape was intolerable! Rushing out of the house by the main entrance, I ran along the Moika to cut him off in case Purichkevich had missed him.
The courtyard had three entrances, but only the middle one was unlocked. Through the iron railings, I could see Rasputin making straight for it.
I beard a third shot, then a fourth... I saw Rasputin totter and fall beside a heap of snow, Purichkevich ran up to him, stood for a few seconds looking at the body, then, having made sure that this time all was over, went swiftly into the house. I called, but he did not hear me.
The quay and the adjacent streets were deserted; apparently the shots had not been heard. When I had reassured myself on this point, I entered the courtyard and went up to the snow-heap behind which lay Rasputin. He gave no sign of life.
But, at that moment, I saw two of my servants running up from one side and a policeman from the other.
I went up to the policeman and spoke to him; I stood so as to make him turn his back to the spot where Rasputin lay.
"Your Highness," he said on recognizing me, "I heard revolver shots. What has happened?"
"Nothing of any consequence," I replied, "just a little horseplay. I gave a small party this evening and one of my friends who had drunk a little too much amused himself by firing his revolver into the air. If anyone questions you, just say that everything's all right, and that there is no harm done!"
As I spoke, I led him to the gate. I then returned to the corpse by which the two servants were standing. Rasputin's body still lay in a crumpled heap on the same spot, but his position had changed.
My God, I thought, can he still be alive?
I was terror-stricken at the bare thought that he might suddenly get up again. I ran toward the house, calling Purichkevich, who had disappeared indoors. I felt sick, and Rasputin's hollow voice calling my name still rang in my ears. Staggering to my dressing room, I drank a glass of water. At that moment Purichkevith entered the room: "Ah! there you are! I've been looking for you everywhere!" he cried.
My sight was blurred, I thought I was going to faint. Purichkevich helped me to my study. We had scarcely reached it when my manservant came to say that the policeman I had talked to a few moments before wished to see me again. The shots, it seems, had been heard from the police station, and my constable, whose beat it was, had been sent for to make a report on what had happened. As his version of the affair was considered unsatisfactory, the police insisted on fuller details.
When the constable entered the room, Purichkevich addressed him in a loud voice: "Have you ever beard of Rasputin? The man who plotted to ruin our country, the Tsar and your brother-soldiers? The man who betrayed us to Germany, do you hear?"
Not understanding what was expected of him, the policeman remained silent.
"Do you know who I am?" continued Purichkevich. "I am Vladimir Mitrophanovich Purichkevich, member of the Duma. The shots you heard killed Rasputin. If you love your country and your Tsar, you'll keep your mouth shut."
I listened with horror to this amazing statement, which came so unexpectedly that I had no chance to interrupt. Purichkevich was in such a state of excitement that he did not realize what he was saying.
Finally, the policeman spoke: "You did right and I won't say a word unless I'm put on oath. I would then have to tell the truth as it would be a sin to lie." Purichkevich followed him out.
My manservant then informed me that Rasputin's body had been placed on the lower landing of the staircase. I felt very ill, my head swam and I could scarcely walk. I rose with difficulty, automatically picked up my rubber club, and left the study.
As I reached the top of the stairs, I saw Rasputin stretched out on the landing, blood flowing from his many wounds. It was a loathsome sight. Suddenly, everything went black, I felt the ground slipping from under my feet and I fell headlong down the stairs.
Purichkevich and Ivan found me, a few minutes later, lying side by side with Rasputin; the murderer and his victim. I was unconscious and he and Ivan had to carry me to my bedroom.
Meanwhile Dmitri, Sukhotin and Doctor Lazovert came back in a closed car to fetch Rasputin's body. When Purichkevich told them what had happened, they decided to let me rest and go off without me. They wrapped the corpse in a piece of heavy linen, shoved it into the car, and drove to Petrovski Island. There, from the top of the bridge, they hurled it into the river.
On regaining consciousness I felt as though I had just recovered from a serious illness. The air I breathed in so deeply seemed fresh, clean and pure, as after a storm. I seemed to come to life again.
With the help of my servant I washed up all traces of blood which might give us away. When everything was in order I walked out into the courtyard... I had to think of some story to explain the revolver shots. This is what I decided to say: one of my guests while considerably the worse for liquor had tried to shoot one of our watchdogs in the courtyard when he was leaving.
I then sent for the two servants who had seen the end of the tragedy and explained what had really happened. They listened in silence and promised to keep my secret.
It was almost five in the morning when I left the Moika to return to the Grand Duke Alexander's palace. I felt full of courage and confidence at the thought that the first steps to save Russia had been taken.
I found my brother-in-law Theodore in my room. He had spent a sleepless night, anxiously waiting for me to come back. "Thank God you are here at last," he said. "Well?"
"Rasputin is dead," I replied, "but I'm not in a fit state to talk about it; I am dropping with fatigue."
Realizing that I would need all my strength on the morrow to face the cross-examinations, the investigations, and perhaps even worse, I went to bed and at once fell into a deep sleep.
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