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IN a book recently published the author describes at length a visit to the house of the Governor of Moscow, and speaks of his family and governess. Now for fourteen years before his death the Grand Duke Serge was Governor of Moscow-and he had no children.
A well-known magazine spoke of us travelling with a cow! Now I can safely aver that I never took a cow on a journey. She would have been very much in our way, and the poor beast would have had a sad time in the Baltic or Black Sea! Again and again have I seen allusions to the Empress's love of caricatures, and her cleverness in drawing them. As a matter of fact, the Empress never drew such a thing in her life; nor can she see the fun of them when they are drawn by other people.
The author of a book which had considerable success describes Tsarskoe Selo as being surrounded by double walls of granite. As a matter of fact, Tsarskoe Selo is separated from the road only by iron railings. The English daily papers described the Emperor and his family as having fled in their yacht, at a time when the yacht was deeply embedded in ice outside Kronstadt.
I could multiply such stories ad lib., but merely wish to draw attention to the fact that so much that is written regarding Russia and the Imperial family is absolutely untrue, so little is really known about the Court life, that I am emboldened to offer my slight sketches of life in the Palaces. I t would be very easy for me to "pile on the agony; " to represent the Emperor as a "muchridden" man; to picture plots and counter plots; to speak of hairbreadth escapes from death; of hidden bombs; of life made horrible by fears; but no such things have occurred in my six years at the Russian Court, and I am a truthful person, and have not started forth to write fiction, but plain, unvarnished truth. To the courtesy of the editor of the Leisure Hour I am indebted for permission to reprint those parts of this work which have already appeared in print. But the book has been considerably enlarged.
SHORTLY after the birth of the Czarovitch I said to the Empress that I often had thought of writing my memoirs. She encouraged me to do so, saying so many untruths had been published that it would be a relief to have an account of the Russian Court which was absolutely true. Hence this book.