CHAPTER III
THE MONASTERY OF THE TROßTSA
I.Government under the Regency--Its merits--Causes of weakness--Disappointments and bitterness--Diversion to external matters--The Crimean campaigns--Disasters--Galitzin's return--Popular indignation--Peter's party takes advantage of it--The Kreml and the Préobrajenskoïé camp --Sophia faces the storm--The conflict.
II.The night of the 7th of August--Attack or stratagem?--Peter's flight--The convent of the Troïtsa--The Archimandrite Vincent--Boris Galitzin-- The struggle is organised.
III.Parleys and manœuvres--Which way will the army go?--Sophia's courage --Vassili Galitzin's weakness--Defection--The Regent submits--He comes to the Troïtsa--Exile-Question and torture--Sophia acknowledges herself beaten--Her cloister--The new régime--Peter's comrades in power--The reaction--the Future.

I

SOPHIA'S regency, justified, at all events, as it was, by Peter's youth, if not its natural outcome, might, in 1689, have still hoped to endure, more or less legitimately, for several years. Peter was barely eighteen years old, and no Russian law-- like that of Charles V. in France--has advanced the hour of political maturity in the case of sovereigns. Impatient ambition may indeed endeavour to hurry the march of time. But not Peter's own ambition; he still cares so little about power, that, for many a day yet, the accomplishment of the great event will bring no change in his occupations.

The government of Sophia and of her co-Regent, inaugurating a gynecocracy which, for almost a century--from the days of Catherine I. to those of Catherine II.--was to become the general rule in Russia, does not strike me as having deserved either the criticisms, or the praises,--all of them equally exaggerated,--which have been showered upon it. Neither Voltaire, who follows La Neuville in describing the Tsarevna as a second Lucrezia Borgia, nor Karamzin, following Lévêque and Coxe, who calls her 'one of the

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