Telegram. Stavka. 1 January 1916
I thank you heartily for dear letters and wishes. I have at once ordered the repeal of the prohibition concerning the tramways. Have always thought it unjust. I hope you are not tiring yourself. I kiss you tenderly.
NOTES: - "Concerning the tramways." Soldiers were not allowed to ride on the trams, and this was considered, naturally, as a most unjust restriction.
Stavka. 2 January 1916
MY OWN BELOVED, DARLING SUNNY,
I thank you with all my heart for both dear letters. I am distressed by your ill health, and live in anxiety when I am parted from you. My loneliness is nothing compared to this. My dear, be prudent and take care of yourself.
I send you these telegrams to read, and then tear them up.
You ask me how I greeted the New Year. We too had a moleben (Te Deum) in the church at midnight. O.Shavelsky spoke very well, and to the point. - I had a headache and lay down immediately after. - On New Year's Day I felt quite well again. At 10 o'clock I received several pleasant people from the town, and later went to church.
A few papers have come, as well as a number of telegrams, mostly family and foreign ones, which are always more difficult to answer. - Of the regiments, the Erivantzi alone telegraphed.
I must confess that the book I am now reading is absolutely fascinating. When I have finished it I shall send it on to you. You will probably guess which parts interested me most.
The foreign officers asked my permission to telegraph to Alexey, and were greatly touched by his well-composed reply.
Tell him that they always finish their zakouska in the little room, and remember him.
I also think of him very often, especially in the garden and in the evenings, and I miss my cup of chocolate.
The weather is pleasant, mild, 3 degrees, and quantities of snow, but there has been no sun since the day of my arrival here. - The days have become much longer.
I must finish.
May God preserve you, my dear Wify
I kiss you and the children tenderly.
Stavka. 3 January 1916
Up to now I have not received a single letter. The train is six hours late, owing to a violent snowstorm.
A storm has been raging here too since yesterday, and in the night the wind howled down the chimney like that terrible tremolo in the "Ahnfrau." I am very grateful for your dear telegram. I am glad that your headache has nearly gone; but the naughty heart persists in being disobedient !
To-day I can Write to you and the children, as no papers have come in. I telegraphed to Ania yesterday, and received a very becoming reply.-Nobody remembered this anniversary, so that I reminded Fred. and Voeikov about it. Valia is in bed : he has a high temperature, I have only just visited him. He is feeling better, but his face is swollen up and red with the cold.
A great deal of snow has conic down during the night. I was glad to find a wooden shovel in the garden, and have cleared one of the pathways.-That is a very useful and pleasant occupation for me, as at present I take no exercise. And then I do not miss the Little One so much.
The morning reports are short nowadays, because everything is quiet at present, but on the Caucasus our troops have begun an offensive, and fairly successfully. The Turks had not expected it to take place during the winter. In Persia we are also dealing heavy blows to those accursed gendarmes, who are under the leadership of German, Austrian and Swedish officers. Among the rest, I have received a very cordial telegram from Harding, the Viceroy of India, in the name of the Government, the princes and the people. Who would have thought it ten years ago?
I was touched by the flower sent by our Friend.
Farewell till our next meeting, my darling Sunny. God guard you.
I kiss you tenderly and love you infinitely.
NOTES: "Die Ahnfrau," a drama by Franz Grillparzer. In the last act the family ghost (die Ahnfrau) rises from the grave to receive a member of the household who is dying. The wind is supposed to be howling outside the house, and, when the play is given with incidental music, the orchestra reinforces the effect with an appropriate tremolo. This drama was popular with Russian audiences.
VALIA: Prince V. A. Dolgorouky, Marshal of the Court, attached to the Tsar at G.H.Q. He was a charming and gallant man. lie went with the Tsar to Tobolsk, and was murdered, togethcr with General Tatishchev, at Ekaterinburg in 1918.
Telegram. Stavka. 3 January, 1916
Tender thanks for dear letter. I have only just received it now, as the train was late, owing to snowdrifts. The weather is warm. (But) it is beginning to freeze again. I hope you will soon recover your strength. I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 4 January, 1916.
MY DARLING SUNNY,
Hearty thanks for dear letter, which arrived yesterday evening after mine had already been dispatched.
The train was again late to-day, but the wind has died down and it is snowing.
I sincerely hope that your headache has gone and that the poor heart feels better. - I read out aloud, with pleasure, your long New Year's telegram to old Gorem. It is very well composed.
All is quiet on our front. Our offensive is developing successfully in the Caucasus, but slowly, because of the deep snow. Our troops are fighting courageously, and have taken many prisoners, equipment, stores and so forth.-As far as I can judge by what Alexeiev read to me this morning, Nicolasha is confident and satisfied.
My dear, I am longing for you... Just here, away from Ministers and strangers, we would have plenty of time to talk quietly about various questions, and spend a few cosy hours together. But what is to be done? You have said very justly, in one of your last letters, that our separation is our own personal sacrifice, which we. are making for our country in this sorrowful time. And this thought makes it easier for me to bear it.
The kind old General Pau is a delightful neighbour at the table. I like his simple, sound outlook on things and his straightforward talk.
I am still getting masses of postcards from various English regiments. Sir Williams gave me an enormous quantity of them for Alexey; I shall gradually forward them to youand let them be kept in order.
Farewell till our next meeting, my dear child! I must finish, as the courier is due to leave!
God bless you and the dear children I I kiss you passionately and them tenderly.
Your old hubby
Telegram. Stavka. 4 January, 1916.
Thanks for news. The train is again very late. It will come in at about 9 o'clock. It is rather cold. I have written. Hope you are feeling better. I kiss you tenderly.
Telegram. 5 January 1916
Have only received your dear letter this morning, for which I thank you very much, also for the telegram. 15 deg. of frost. Bright, sunny weather. I am feeling well...
Stavka. 5 January, 1916
MY BELOVED DARLING,
There were no letters yesterday, but to-day, as a recompense, I have received two (literally, a whole two). One in the morning and the other soon after during the day. My heartfelt thanks for both.
Tell Alexey that I am glad he has begun writing his diary. It teaches one how to express one's thoughts clearly and concisely.
How sad that you are not feeling better, and that the beastly headache persists! - It is very fortunate that Mamma was pleasant to N. P. - Perhaps we shall manage to see the others - Kogev., Rod., and so forth, when they come for a short leave?
To-day the weather is clear but cold - 15 deg. with wind. I hope it will be warmer to-morrow; then it will be more pleasant to attend (when I attend) the consecration of the waters on the river near the big bridge.-This morning, after service, 0. Shavelsky went all over the house and sprinkled everything with holy water, beginning with my blue room, where he read several prayers! - The foreigners will have to eat fish and mushrooms to-day, but they assure us that they like it.
I think incessantly about a successor for the old man. In the train I asked the fat Khv. what was his opinion of Sturmer. He praises him, but thinks that he is too old also, and that his head is not as clear as formerly. Incidentally, this old Sturmer has sent me a petition to allow him to change his surname and adopt the name of Panin. I replied, through Mamant(ov), that I could not grant permission without the previous consent of the surviving Panins.
The little Admiral is well, but angry with Manus, who desires to receive the name of Nilov. What do you think of this?
I must finish, my precious Wify. God keep you and the children! I kiss you and them tenderly, and remain
Your faithful hubby
NOTES: KOGEV., ROD.: L. V. Kogevnikov and N. N. Rodionov, Lieutenants in the Gvardeisky Equipage. "The old man" Goremykin.
STURMER: B. V. Sturmer, formerly Governor of Yaroslav (where he distinguished himself by his persecution of the Liberals), a Master of Ceremonies at the Court and an extreme Conservative. He was appointed President of the Council of Ministers in succession to Goremykin. Later, he became the Minister of Foreign Affairs. His character seems to have been well summarised by Count V. N. Kokovstov, a former President of the Council, who described him to Paleologue as "an incapable and vain man, but who has astuteness and even finesse when his personal interests are at stake." His election was due to the influence of Rasputin and the Tsaritsa; but he was so ill fitted for his duties, or, indeed, for any duties, that be was removed from office by the Tsar at the end of the year. Sturmer was the bete-noir, not only of his own colleagues, but also of all the Allied ambassadors.
MAMANTOV: V. I. Mamantov, a member of the Council of State and head of the Petitions Department. MANUS: I P. Manus, a Councillor of State, and the conductor of dubious transactions on the exchange. lie was accused of being in close touch with enemy financiers, and it was rumoured, though perhaps with little foundation. that he paid large sums of money to Rasputin.
Stavka. 6 January, 1916.
Hearty thanks for dear letter No. 420, and for the brilliant idea of deputing George and Tatishchev to see how the prisoners of war are kept in Siberia. I shall do it.
The blessing of the waters to-day went off well. When I got up there were 15 deg. of frost; towards the time for the blessing of the waters the temperature rose to 7, and now to 5- - curious fluctuations. The sun is already beginning to warm in a spring-like fashion.
The kind Bishop Constantine officiated in our church, and thence the procession of the Cross made its way down to the river.
All the troops which are stationed in the town were lined up on both sides, the battery saluted 101 times, and two aeroplanes hovered over our heads. Masses of people, and exemplary order. On the way back I left the procession near the house where the Staff is quartered, as I had to go to go to the report. The crowd cheered me. - The old man insisted on being allowed to accompany me during the ceremony, as he was feeling well. - The little Admiral was more cautious, and stayed at home, because he has a cough. Both throw themselves at your feet !
On Friday I am arranging a cinematograph for all the school-boys, and shall take advantage of this opportunity too!
I have just received your telegram, saying that Anastasia is suffering, from bronchitis; how tiresome! I hope that it will soon pass over.
I have finished my book, and shall certainly read it aloud to you and the children when I return home - exceptionally interesting, and quite proper
gether. I have just had a friendly talk with our Metropolitan.
It is damp and warm...
"Our Metropolitan "-Pitirim, formerly the Exarch of Georgia, Archbishop of Kartalia and Kakhetia. Appointed through the influence of Rasputin.
Stavka. 12 January, 1916.
My hearty thanks for your dear letter, and for the little bottle and the flowers from our Friend.I drank the wine straight out of the bottle to His health and happiness-, drank it all, to the last drop.
This happened after lunch-the young Ravtopoullo lunched with us as well. He has been sent here from his regiment to obtain boots and all sorts of warm things. I was very glad to see him and talk to him. He congratulated me on Tatiana's namesday, and requested me to give his respects to you and the girls. I congratulate you also!
During the day I received Pitirim. He spoke of the Synod, the clergy and especially of the Gos. Duma. This surprised me, and I should like to know who influenced him in this matter. He was very glad to be received and to be able to speak out freely.
Now I must finish; I have no time.
God guard you, my beloved darling. I kiss you and the dear children fondly. Give her my greetings and thank her for her letter.
Eternally your old
NOTES: Gos. Duma: Gosoudarstvennaia Duma, the State Duma.
Stavka. 13 January, 1916
MY PRECIOUS WIFY,
My plans are now settled. To-morrow - on Thursday - I get into the train, and on Friday morning shall hold the inspection of the Trans-Baikal Cossack Division in Bobrouisk. - The same day I am returning here, and am spending the night in the train.
On Saturday morning there will be my usual report, and then I shall leave immediately for Orsha. - Three Cossack divisions will be drawn up in the neighbourhood - the 1st and 2nd Koubanskaia and Ouralskaia - after which I shall continue my journey home, and shall arrive at Ts. S. on Sunday at 12 o'clock. - Alas, I shall miss the church service! Perhaps I shall manage to spend 8-9 days at home - that would be splendid!
My dear little Sunny, I am burning with impatience to see you as soon as possible, to hear your voice, to look into your eyes...
I think that separation actually makes love stronger and mutual attraction greater. I hope that you will feel quite well and strong by then.
Tatiana's namesday was celebrated in the town with great solemnity. There was a concert, a play and living pictures in the theatre. Apparently it was crowded with people and very successful, but lasted from 9 till 1.30. - The Governor was unable to tell me how much had been collected during the whole evening. - Tatiana's portrait with her autograph was sold together with the programme.
Feodorov has had slight pains in the left side of the abdomen and a slight temperature for the last two days, so that I asked him to lie down. He looks, as he always does, cheerful. At this moment - 2.30your dear letter No. 427 has been brought to me.
I kiss you fondly and thank you for all that you write.May God bless you and our dear children !
Your deeply loving old hubby
Stavka. 14 January, 1916.
This will be my last letter. Yesterday a great many generals and other persons of high rank arrived here to take part in the commission under Alexeiev's presidency for the discussion of the questions about supplies, coal and other things. Pr. Ouroussov, who works in the Red Cross, as well as in connection with the organisation of the begentzi, together with Gen. Ivanov, have arrived; then, to my great astonishment, the Mayor of Moscow, Chelnokov, the President of the Soius Gorodov, and several other distinguished persons from various other ministries. I invited them to dinner. - A few minutes before dinner I received Chelnokov privately-he presented to me a warm address from Moscow, in which he thanks the troops for the good reception which was accorded to the delegation sent for the distribution of presents to the soldiers.-He breathed heavily, and jumped every second from his chair while he was speaking. I asked him whether he was feeling well, to which he answered in the affirmative, but added, that he was accustomed to present himself before Nicolasha, and had not at all expected to see me here. This reply, and his general bearing, pleased me this time!
Poor Alexeiev sat with them yesterday evening from 9 to 12. And to-day again.
Now, after Feodorov, Voeikov has fallen ill with influenza: foolish man, two days ago he had a fit of shivering, and when he took his temperature it was 39deg.. 1 persuaded him with difficulty to stay in bed this morning, but now he has got up again. Our Poliakov put 17 cuppings on his chest and back, which helped him considerably, otherwise he might have got inflammation of the lungs!
I thank you and kiss you heartily for your dear letter No. 428, which has only just arrived.
Well, farewell. God guard you, my beloved Sunny, my precious darling ! I kiss you and the dear children tenderly. In 2 days, God willing, we shall be together again.
NOTES: Ouroussov: Prince N. P. Ouroussov. a Member of the Council, an Equerry, and Marshal of the Nobility in the province of Ekaterinoslav. CHELNOKOV: M. V. Chelnokov, the Mayor of Moscow. He was a Liberal, and his audience with the Tsar had for its object the representation of public opinion. That, no doubt, accounted for his nervous demeanour.
Soius Gorodov : the Union of Towns.
POLIAKOV: Dr. S. P. Poliakov. an assistant physician, attached to Headquarters.
Stavka. 14 January, 1916.
Am very grateful for dear letter. In the evening I go over to the train, leave for Bobrouisk during the night. Warm, greyish weather. I embrace all tenderly.
Telegram. Bobrouisk. 15 January, 1916.
I have just held the inspection of the Zabaikaltzi. Am very pleased. Thanks for yesterday's telegram. The weather is sunny, windy...
Telegram. Stavka. 15 January, 1916
Tender thanks for letter and telegram. Have just returned. It is frosty; terribly windy. You must at all costs recover towards Sunday. I embrace you closely.
Telegram. Orsha. 16 January, 1916
Hearty thanks for letter. I have returned, very pleased with the inspection. The weather is propitious. My invalids, V. and F., are better...
Stavka. 28 January, 1916.
MY OWN DARLING,
Again I must leave you and the children-my home, my little nest - and I feel so sad and dejected, but do not want to show it. God grant that we may not be parted for long - I hope to return on the 8th of February. Do not grieve and do not worry! Knowing you well, I am afraid that you will ponder over what Misha told us to-day, and that this question will torment you in my absence. Please let it alone!
My joy, my Sunny, my adorable little Wify, I love you and long for you terribly!
Only when I see the soldiers and sailors do I succeed in forgetting you for a few moments - if it is possible! With regard to the other questions, I am going away this time with greater peace of mind, because I have unlimited confidence in Sturm.
God guard you! I kiss you all fondly.
Telegram. Vyshki Rwy. 29 January, 1916.
Many thanks for letter yesterday evening. I am very pleased with the inspection. Have seen many troops. My company of Kabardintzi was in the Guard of Honour...
Telegram. Army in the Field. 30 January, 1916
Have just finished a big inspection. Saw Tatiana's regiment. Found them all in splendid condition and order. The weather is warm. I embrace all closely.
Telegram. Army in the Field. 31 January, 190.
To-day there was a splendid review of two cavalry divisions. Am very grateful for yesterday's letter, and for the second, just received...