Page:The Russian Review Volume 1.djvu/156

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and, after each virulent attack by his critics, he rose Antaeus-like against his opponents, hurling his mighty thunderbolts against them and growing bolder in his critiques. In Russia he was regarded as a man of great prominence, but there, too, his enemies were as powerful as his friends were great, and he never succeeded in getting the official advancement which was due him or the emoluments which would raise him above a life of mediocre ease and at times even downright want. His name has completely passed out of memory, though historical works occasionally refer to him as "the well-known Russian Consul."

In the beginning of 1811, Eustaphieve had sufficiently progressed in his social status to dare to put one of his dramas on the stage, but he did not yet feel justified in proclaiming his authorship. On March 5th the newspapers announced that a new tragedy in five acts, "Mazepa, Hetman of the Ukraine, written by a gentleman," would be given on the following evening. The program gave a brief account of Mazepa and informed the public that the hero of the play was the only real personage, the rest of the characters being fictitious, that the plot could not be traced from history, and that "as the offspring of imagination it was fairly submitted to the ordeal of public judgment." No lesser lights than Messrs. Duff, Entwistle and Darley, and the Mrs. Darley and Powell took the chief parts, while Mr. Vaughan spoke the prologue. The first two performances did not draw large crowds, and for the third night, March 11th, the author found it necessary to have the tragedy curtailed, to bring it within histrionic bounds. Though the papers announced that his Excellency and Suite would probably honor Mazepa and the Theater with their attendance that evening, and though they spoke with commendation of the tragedy as "an attempt in a higher walk than any we have witnessed in this town," the theater was not packed, and the play was not given again until April 24th, as a benefit for Messrs. Vaughan and Robertson.

Encouraged by his dramatic success and anxious to continue the literary career begun by him in England, Eustaphieve published early in 1812, "Reflections, Notes, and Original Anecdotes, illustrating the Character of Peter the Great, to which is added a tragedy in five acts entitled "Alexis, the Czarewitz." In his panegyric on Peter the Great, in whom he apparently found the prototype for Alexander I., to whom the volume was dedicated, he refuted the charges of cruelty which had been preferred against the Tsar, and surrounded him with an aureole of glory, investing him with all the virtues in the calendar of saints. In