[Notes on the Czar and the “Nihilist-Socialists”]
Theosophist, June, 1881
A strange phenomenon happened, write the Russian papers.
“There was a sign in heaven on the day of the regicide. On March 1 about 10 p.m., the whole town (St. Petersburg) witnessed a most startling phenomenon: a large and very brilliant star suddenly appeared on the clear night sky. It proved to be a double-tiled comet, one of its tails pointing upward, and the other—a far longer one—expanding itself downward. The phenomenon lasted for over twenty minutes.”
The Russian papers see in it a divine portent of great significance. The peasant classes remain firmly persuaded that this comet was the “Martyred Father-Czar’s soul.” A superstition— we agree to it, but a touching and a harmless one. No Czar of Russia—aye, no other sovereign in the whole world, perhaps—was so much beloved by his people as that Imperial victim of the savagest production of this, our most savage and cruel century—the Nihilist-Socialists.
Another touching proof of the above is found in a book just published at Moscow, and got up by subscription from the Moojicks, all of them ex-serfs liberated by the Czar, and residing in the old Russian metropolis. It bears a title, which at first sight may appear to the general reader somewhat pretentious; but we, who know well the Russian peasant and even the middle classes, see in it, but the true expression of that passionate devotion which they bore to him, whom in the simplicity of their hearts they consider as their God upon earth. The Book is called “A Wreath on the Tomb of The Russian Czar-Martyr, Alexander Nikolaevitch.”
[Here followed an outline of the contents of the book.]
The contents of the volume are said to be ultra-mystical. “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem!” . . . will be the national rallying cry of Russia for years to come, and—unto many a new generation. The “All-Annihilating” Nihilists have laboured but to build a number of new churches, and to add one more martyr to the host of other publicly and synodically recognized great martyrs of Russia . . . .