Twenty-eight year old Prince Felix Yussupov fights with all his will against being dominated;  but, completely paralysed, he has to wait for Rasputin to order him to get up, to be able to use his members again.

The “prophet” believes that the Prince will be in his power from now on.  He does not guess that the Prince, more and more convinced of being designated by Heaven to “deliver” Holy Russia from Rasputin, is preparing a trap for him.  Several plots are cooked up.  Finally, the house owned by Yussupov on the Moika quay is chosen as the place of execution.  And on the evening of 29 December 1916, in the cellar converted into a comfortable salon, the Prince and his friends make the last preparations for “appropriately” receiving the “prophet” who has accepted to come “to talk about the soul”.  They place pastry, bottles of alcohol, wines, a samovar in evidence on a table;  then one of them, who is a doctor, puts on rubber gloves and, crushing some potassium cyanide crystals to powder, sprinkles the cakes with a dose of poison which is sufficient to provoke the instantaneous death of several people.  Prince Yussupov goes to get Rasputin and brings him back by car.  The two men enter the cellar alone, settle themselves in front of the table and engage in a conversation on philosophy, as usual.

Prince Felix Yussupov.

While talking, Prince Yussupov offers Rasputin some of the cakes containing cyanide;  Rasputin willingly takes several of them and eats them.

A few minutes go by.  Pale with fright, the Prince watches the “prophet”.  To his great surprise, Rasputin does not collapse and continues to talk in a joyful voice.  Maliciously considering his host, he then swallows several glasses of poisoned wine…

Suddenly, he rises, and his eyes gleam, becoming frightening.  Is this the end?  No.  The next minute, he smiles and asks for music.  Then, the Prince, who can’t wait any longer, takes out his revolver, aims at the heart and fires.

Rasputin lets out a savage roar and collapses.  The Prince’s friends, who are waiting in a neighbouring room, immediately arrive.  The doctor leans over the body, notes that the bullet has traversed the region of the heart and that the “prophet” is dead.  Everyone goes back up to the ground floor to discuss the future of the country, now rid of its bad genie.

But, after half an hour, Prince Yussupov, suddenly anxious, and compelled by a sudden impulse, goes back down to the cellar.  Rasputin is still lying on the floor.  He considers him, and is about to go back upstairs, when his attention is drawn to an almost imperceptible trembling of the left eyelid.  “My spine icy”, as he will later write, he stares in terror at this eye which slowly opens.  A few instants later, the right eyelid starts to tremble as well, then opens, and the Prince sees Rasputin’s two eyes, two viper eyes, fixed on him with a satanical expression.  Hypnotised, he remains fixed to the spot without being able to cry out.  In a sudden movement, Rasputin leaps with a roar onto the Prince and tries to strangle him.  A terrible struggle begins.  Finally, Yussupov sends his adversary rolling onto the floor, and races upstairs to find his friends.

“Come down quickly, he is still alive!”

Before the three men have time to do anything, Rasputin, dragging himself on his stomach, appears on the stairs;  he is covered in blood.  With one bound, he gets up and runs towards a secret door which opens onto the courtyard.  The Prince had previously locked this door with a key, however, the “prophet” opens it, as if it were unlocked, and disappears into the night.

Is he going to succeed in escaping?  Panicked, Prince Yussupov leads his friends out of the castle.  One of them, Puvichkenitch, seizes his revolver and fires at Rasputin, once, twice, three times.  But the Tsarine’s extraordinary counsellor continues walking.  A fourth shot finally makes him fall.

The three men rush to him:  Rasputin is really dead this time.  Two hours later, his body is thrown into the river…

***

After having inexplicably survived cyanide poisoning and a bullet in the heart, Rasputin is finally killed by Yussupov and his friends.

Prince Yussupov went to bed.  But, the following day, he found on his desk a photo of Rasputin which he did not at all remember seeing before.  On the back was the following inscription in Rasputin’s hand:

“I bless you, child.  Live not in wildness, but in enjoyment, light and joy.  Gregory.”

Yussupov never found out who had placed this photo in his home…

***

Later, it was learnt that, at the precise moment of Rasputin’s death, curious perturbations occurred in Russian convents.  Nuns suddenly started screaming and raising their skirts with obscene gestures, and priests blasphemed while rolling on the floor, as if they had suddenly gone mad.  Further, Rasputin is said to have appeared to several people.  A few days later, Prince Yussupov went to visit an elderly nun who had a reputation for sainthood.  She received him, saying:

“It is you I was waiting for…  Do not torment yourself, you are under God’s protection.  Rasputin was a fiend of Satan that you brought down, like Saint George brought down the dragon.  And he, himself, is protecting you, for, by killing him, you have prevented him from committing the even bigger sins that he would have committed in the future…”

***

At Rasputin’s death, hundreds of women mourned him, of course;  but all those who had deplored the influence that he had had on the Tsarine were able to breathe more easily…  For them, Russia and the Romanov dynasty had been saved…  They did not know about a letter, written in 1915 by Papus (Doctor Encausse) to the Empress, which ended like this:

“From the cabalistic point of view, Rasputin is a vase, comparable to Pandora’s box, which holds all the vices, all the crimes, all the filth of the Russian people.  If this vase breaks, we will see its appalling contents immediately spreading over Russia.”

One month after Rasputin’s death, the Russian Revolution erupted…

***

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