Telegram. Stavka. 1 December, 1915.
Hearty thanks for letters. I am sorry for Sonia. The weather is again frosty. Thank her sincerely for letter and present. I kiss you tenderly.
NOTES: Sonia: Princess Orbeliani, lady-in-waiting to the Tsaritsa.
Telegram. Stavka. 1 December, 1915.
I am terribly shaken at Sonia's sudden death. I feel for you, but for her it is a true release. I implore you not to tire yourself. Both embrace you and kiss you fondly.
Telegram. Stavka. 3 December, 1915.
God bless you. My heart and soul are with you. Alexey has had rather a bad cold since yesterday. It will be disappointing if he has to stay in the train and see the troops. Give Trina my condolences. We are starting now. Both embrace you tenderly.
NOTES: TRINA: Mlle. Schneider, the Tsaritsa's "reader." She was one of the small company of friends and retainers who went with the Imperial Family to Siberia in 1917. Kiled by the Bolsheviks.
Telegram. Stavka. 3 December, 1915.
Owing to his cold, Alexey has had bleeding at the nose at intervals the whole day. Have decided, on Feodorov's advice, to return to the Stavka. I shall be very glad if you come to spend the 6th of December together. I embrace you closely.
NOTES: The Tsarevitch, as is commonly known, was a hemophiliac, bleeding of any kind had the most serious, consequenses - In the present case, his life was in actual danger. It was the Tsar's intention to visit the Guard regiments in Galicia, and he and the Tsarevich were already in the train when, during the night, Aleksey's condition became alarming. At three o'clock in the morning Professor Feodorov decided to wake the Tsar and to advise him to return immediately to the Stavka. They got back to Mogilev on the same day, but Alexey grew rapidly worse, and it was decided to take him to Tsarskoe Selo (Gilliard).
Telegram. Stavka. 4 December, 1915.
We have arrived safely; are remaining in the train. As his temp. rose to 39, 1 decided to return home at once. I am leaving to-day at 3; hope to arrive to-morrow at 11 in the morning. He slept fairly well, is cheerful; the bleeding is considerably reduced; seldom coughs. Hearty thanks for letter. Both kiss you.
Telegram. Stavka, 4 December, 1915.
Thank God, he is better now, Temp. 37-5. The bleeding has stopped, though it might easily begin again from moving or coughing. He has no headache. Eats, on the whole, well. I shall telegraph in the evening. Warmest thanks for second dear letter. I am so glad that I shall soon see you at home.
Telegram. Vitebsk. 4 December, 1915.
Has spent the second half of the day well. At 8 o'clock the temp. was 38-11. In excellent spirits, and rather astonished at our going home. Please let there be nobody on the station to-morrow. Both kiss you fondly.
NOTES: According to Gilliard, the journey was "agonising." The train had to be stopped several times in order that the dressings might be carefully renewed. The boy had two attacks of syncope during the night, but towards the morning there was a slight improvement. He was taken to the palace with infinite precautions, and the wound was cauterised. It was on this occasion that the Tsaritsa attributed her son's escape from death to the timely presence of Rasputin (Paléologue, Vol. II. p. 138).
Telegram. Semrino. 12 December, 1915.
I have made inquiries about the frost-bitten Cossacks. It has turned out to be an absolute lie from some doctor...
Telegram. Kiev. 14 December, 1915.
Have arrived safely. One degree of warmth. Thanks for news. Ksenia, Sandro and Olga spent a little time with me after tea, and we had a pleasant talk...
Telegram. Podvolochisk. 15 December, 1915
All three reviews have passed off very successfully. The appearance of the troops is magnificent. The weather is warm-2 deg. I am leaving now; I remembered Alexey in these places. I embrace all closely.
Telegram. Bakhmach. 16 December, 1915.
At present I am under the delightful impressions of all that I saw yesterday. I thank you very much for letter. I am glad that health is better. There are 4 deg. of frost here...
Stavka. 17 December, 1915.
MY DARLING SUNNY,
Here I am again, and full of the happiest impressions. First of all, my tenderest thanks for your four dear letters two I received on the way, and two on my arrival here.
Ksenia and Olga kiss you; we spent two pleasant hours in the train, Sandro as well. That very night it became quite warm, and I opened the window into your coupd and the doors into mine - so that I slept well. On the 15th I got up early, because the first inspection - of the ist Cavalry Guards Divisionwas due to begin at 8.3o. The weather was lovely, exactly as with us in the spring, in April; only it was terribly muddy on the fields and roads. Great was my happiness at seeing the dear regiments, which I had not seen since the very beginning of the war! Two Cossack regiments. were here also, and three batteries of horse artillery, and all marched past very well. I invited all the commanding officers into the train, and fed them on the way to Volochisk. Among them were Dmitry and Linevitch, who, according to his own words, feels much better.
At Voloch, quite close to the train, the second review of the 3rd Guard Division (Varshavskaia) took place. Our Rifles, grown into a whole division, the fine battalion of the Gvard. Equip., the sappers and their artillery. The appearance of the troops was brilliant. They did not march past, owing to the deep, thick mud - they would have lost their boots under my very eyes. The generals, Kyrill and N. P. lunched in my train - after which I promoted him. Later, we moved on to Austrian territory. The last inspection, which began at 3.30, took place within two versts of the station of Podvolochisk, as I had been detained at the previous inspections. Here were present the ist and 2nd Infantry Guards Divisions with their artillery. It was already getting dark, so that I again rode twice along the ranks from the front to the rear, after which Shavelsky held a moleben (Te Deum) in the centre of a huge square in complete darkness. Having sat down in the car, I shouted "Good-bye" to the troops, and from the invisible field rose a terrible roar, which accompanied me to the train. Here the last party came to dinner. On that day I inspected 84,000 soldiers - Guards alone - and fed 105 commanding officers!
Alas, I must finish!
God bless you and the dear children! Tell the Little One that I miss him terribly.
Accept tender kisses from
NOTES: LINEVITCH: Colonel A. N. Linevitch, A.D.C. to the Tsar. It was after one of these tours of inspection that the Tsar remarked to Sir J. Hanbury-Williams that he had been "doing a bit more of the publicity and photography business!" (P. 70).
"I promoted him," N. P. Sablin to a command in the Equipage.
Telegram. Stavka. 18 December, 1915.
Thanks for dear letter and list of New Year's greetings. During the day I am busy, but it is very lonely in the evenings and at night. Thank her for her letter. I embrace and kiss you fondly.
Stavka. 18 December, 1915.
MY BELOVED SUNNY,
Heartfelt thanks for your dear letter and for sending me the list of the New Year's telegrams. Thank the Little One and the girls for their letters.
Beletzky, among others, dined here to-day; he told me how Masha V. behaved herself before and after her departure from town, and how she was received on her sister's estate.
I have some hope of being able to return home precisely for the Christmas holidays. This is my plan: I leave to-morrow night, the 19th, for the Western Front (Everth), and arrive, via Minsk, at the little station of Zamirye, not far from Baranovitchi. Here I shall stay for two days, and hope to inspect a great many troops. For Tuesday morning I shall arrange an inspection at Molodechno, and for Friday another at Vileiki, whence I shall at once go back through Minsk and Orsha - home, where I hope to arrive on Thursday at 5.30, so as to be in time for the evening service. That would be splendid!
There is very little news from the south, as a thick fog interferes with our artillery fire; none the less, some of the infantry regiments went up, or crawled up, to the wire entanglements of the Austrian positions, and even took the first lines in several places. But this must not yet be spoken of - do me the favour.
I have no more time to write, so I must finish.
The old man's health is excellent; the other day he succeeded in persuading me to allow him to lead in the march past at the head of his squadron of Cavalry Guardson horso-back, but at a walking pace. He was tremendously happy after it.
God bless you my darling, my little bird... I kiss the dear children.
With my tenderest love I remain
Ever your old hubby
NOTES: BELETZKY: S. P. Beletzky, a Privy Councillor and Senator, Assistant Minister of Internal Affairs from September 1915 to February 19 16. MASHA V.: Marie Vassilchikova, a maid-of-honour, who remained in Austria after the beginning of the war and was instrumental in conveying peace overtures from the Germans. She was dismissed from her appointment and met with general disapproval in society. EVERTH: General A. E. Everth. - After the battle of Lyublin he took over the 4th Army from Baron Salza, and was later promoted to the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Western Front. His task was perhaps more difficult than that of any of the other generals, and it is to his credit that he was not conspicuously unsuccessful. Dismissed during the February Revolution in 1917.
Telegram. Stavka. ig December, 1915.
Warmest thanks for dear letter. I am glad that the Little One is on his feet again. Fancy, Georgie has promoted me to Field-Marshal of the British Army. I am leaving to-day at io in the evening. You will find the explanation in my second letter. I kiss all fondly.
NOTES: Sir Hanbury-Williams tells us that the Tsar's appointment as a Field-Marshal of the British Army, of which he heard on New Year's Day, caused him "real satisfaction and pleasure."
Telegram. (Place not given) 20 December, 1915.
Thanks for news. In the morning I held a grand inspection. I was very pleased with the brave and healthy appearance of the troops. The weather is not cold. The roads are good. I embrace yoii all closely.
Telegram. Army in the Field. 21 December, 1915.
Hearty thanks for dear letter. To-day I have driven round the fighting front of two corps, in a place which is known to me. I received the most pleasant impressions from the troops. Real thawing weather. I embrace you closely.
Telegram. Army in the Field. 22 December, 1915.
I thank you with all my soul for letter. Congratulate you on Anastasia's namesday. In the morning I inspected the troops of the army in this place, saw our Caucasian friends. All sections look remarkably well...
Telegram. Army in the Field. 23 December, 1915.
This morning I made the final inspection of the army on the Western Front. The troops look splendid...
Telegram. Stavka. 31 December, 1915
I have arrived safely, could not sleep. The weather is the same. Hearty thanks for dear letter. In thought we are always together. I kiss you fondly.
Stavka. 31 December, 1915
I thank you with all my heart for your sweet letter, which you gave to Teter., and which I found as a surprise when I was going to bed! My warmest thanks for all your love and kindness during the six days we were together. If you only knew how it supports me and how it rewards me for my work, responsibilities and anxietim and so forth I Indeed, I do not know how I could have endured it all, if God had not decreed to give you to me as a wife and friend!
I speak in earnest. At times it is difficult to speak of such truths, and it is easier for me to put it down on paper owing to stupid shyness.
Yesterday, after having parted from you, I received,the fat Khvosto - for an hour and a half. We had a good serious talk. After tea I took up this book - "The Millionaire Girl" - and read a great deal. Extremely interesting, and soothing to the brain; it is many years since I have read English novels!
I slept badly, or, more correctly, little, as I could not get off to sleep, my feet were so cold, and at last I crept with my head under the sheets, and in this manner warmed the edge of the bed-this at length improved matters!
On my arrival here this morning I found the weather just as cold as at home - 10 deg. Now the cold is less severe, there is no wind, a lot of snow, After a lengthy report, the usual lunch with all the foreigners. I passed on Alexey's greeting to them, and they asked a great deal about him, and were sorry not to see him now.
Our prayers will meet to-night - the moleben (Te Deum) will take place in the church at 11.45.
God bless you, my darling, and the dear children!
Eternally, my dear Sunny,
Your old hubby,
NOTES: TETER.: N. C. Teteriatnikov, a valet.
"The Millionaire Girl," a novel bv A. W. Marchmont.