Of all the freaks surrounding Peter, Jacob Bruce was the most normal. He did not lead the most cathedrals, did not arrange wedding jesters, not pickled freaks in the banks and did not die from singing. In his house there are no braided monograms with the initials of Peter, and in the letters you will not find these snotty "Mein Hertz". That's because Jacob Bruce was really busy. A mathematician, an astronomer, a cartographer, a polyglot, he has no promotion — a new rank or a new order. All man has time: to go on military campaigns, to fight in battles, to translate books, and to manage the Moscow Civil Printing Office. In addition, Bruce - one of the main Peter headhunters. His responsibilities include regular business trips to Europe for personnel valuable to the fatherland. And while his brother is building a stone fortress in St. Petersburg, Bruce opens a naval navigate school in Sukharev Tower in Moscow.
Here the people did not suffer. When a smart person does something, everyone else is bombing. About Bruce rumors spread. Say, not without reason he sits in this tower. He does not have a library there, but a real alchemical laboratory, and Bruce himself is a sorcerer and warlock. It flies at night on the chimney, calls dragons and, in general, has sold the soul to the devil. Well, of course, when the XVIII century in the yard, any science - from the evil one. Immediately there is alchemy, dragons, the philosopher's stone, living water, girls turned into plants, and what else is enough fantasy, and here also Lefort with this his Masonic Neptune society ...
People talked about Bruce, “as if he had such a book, which revealed all the secrets to him, and through this book he could find out what was on any place in the earth, could tell who had what was hidden”. The peasants called him “Tsarist Arikhmetchik” and admired his amazing abilities - “he knew how many stars were in the sky and how many times the wheel would turn when the cart reached Kiev, and looking at the peas scattered in front of him, he could immediately name the exact amount of peas”.
When the detailed reference calendar of Vasily Kipriyanov with weather, crops, wars and epidemics forecasts for 200 years ahead came out in the printing house under his jurisdiction, the calendar was immediately dubbed “Bryusov”. Well, because who else. It's a shame, of course - you go abroad, you communicate with Newton, you teach people the mind, intelligence, you command armies, and everything that is remembered in the end is flying on a pipe and a calendar of crops. But Yakov Vilimovich, he is therefore intelligent, because he did not react to the rumors and did not try to refute anything. So he went down in history as a magician and warlock. On the other hand, the peasants can also be understood. When, after Bruce’s death, an inventory of his things was written, there were listed: “a small round-shaped mirror, in which a large face appears”, “Chinese shoes woven from grass”, “stone mushroom”, “Indian pumpkin”, “mammoth bone”, “ a box with a small natural snake "," two balls of some kind of fruit "and similar things. Well, what is all this? A normal person, is it really going to be at home?