1 May, 1916.
I thank you heartily for dear letter. Yesterday I was very busy; to-day too. So I could not write a long letter. The weather is getting better, though it is still very cold. It snowed a little this morning. I count the days until our meeting I God guard you and the children! I kiss all tenderly.
Stavka. 1 May, 1916.
MY OWN DARLING,
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter No. 488, Here is the month of May, and the nearer the date of your coming approaches, the more impatient I become! I only hope that the weather during your stay here may be fine and warm. As far as I remember, there was no sun at all during your last stay at Mogilev. But that is quite another matter.
We shall stay at Odessa for 24 hours - I think you will have time to look over everything you wish to.
Boris immediately (and) very amiably replied by telegraph, so that the reprimand has done good! Very likely Plen is mixed up in all this business.
Veselkin appeared to-day, thin and sad. He told me that there was a set of people who were trying to break his neck by spreading libels about him. I had heard something, and was very glad to learn that everything has turned out to be an invention; lie left me completely reassured - I mean to say that he felt very much relieved When he had told me everything straight out. His work is going on well and smoothly.
Please tell Paul, when you see him, that his appointment will take place on the 6th of May. Besobrazov is coming here to-morrow - I shall talk it over with him once more.
Now, my beloved, it is time to go to bed, as it is late. Good-night!
The weather is undoubtedly getting better and warmer. I have only just returned from the report. I forgot to tell you that Romanovsky dined here yesterday - he is now on his way to France, where he is being sent with two others. He has become thinner, but looks well.
This is my last letter! God guard you and the children! I wish you a quiet and pleasant journey!
God grant that in three days' time we shall be together. I kiss you tenderly, my beloved Wify.
Your old hubby
NOTES: PLEN: Colonel I. M. Plea of the Cavalry Guards, at one time attached to the Grand Duke Boris.
The appointment of the Grand Duke Paul was to the command of the Guards.
ROMANOVSKY: presumably General Romanovsky, QuartermasterGeneral of the 9th Army.
Telegram. Stavka. 2 May. 1916.
Hearty thanks for dear letter. I have written my last letter. Beautiful weather, strong wind. I rowed on the river; was tossed from side to side on the waves, very amusing. Thought of the Little One. I embrace all closely.
Telegram. Stavka, 4 May, 1916.
Thanks for dear telegram. I quite agree. May God bless your journey. I kiss you fondly.
NOTES: "I quite agree." The Tsaritsa had telegraphed: "I forgot to tell you that in my opinion it would be an excellent thing to send George to Nijni, as I consider that at such a national festival, especially in war time, a representative of our family ought to be there, and George is the most suitable."
Telegram. Gloushhovo. 17 May, 1916
It feels empty and sad without you. I have finished the book. I thank you heartily for letter. Alexey and I embrace all tenderly.
Stavka. 18 May, 1916.
MY OWN DARLING,
I thank you tenderly for your sweet letter, which I had not in the least expected I Oh, how I miss you I Our mutual journey and the time spent on the Black Sea have passed like a dream. It is a consolation for me that the Ray of Sunshine has remained with me. I love you with an eternal love which grows continually. May God bless you, my darling!
I kiss you and them tenderly.
NOTES: "The time spent on the Black Sea". - The Tsar and Tsaritsa had spent about ten days together in the Crimea- "The Ray of Sunshine" - Alexis, who had come to the Stavka with his mother and was remaining there.
Telegram. Stavka. 18 May, 1916.
Hearty thanks for telegram. I hope you have arrived safely. The weather here is fine and warm. Since yesterday we have been to play on the sands. Both are perfectly well. I miss you terribly. I kiss all tenderly.
Telegram. Stavka. 19 May. 1916.
Am deeply touched by the sweet letter. Best wishes to Tatiana's Uhlans, and to yours...
19 May, 1916.
MY OWN DARLING,
I thank you fondly for your dear letter, which was such a delightful surprise! Thank God that you do not feel fatigued after our journey! To-day the weather has suddenly become cold, with bright sunshine. We both slept excellently, side by side. Yesterday we played happily on the sand. May God guard you and the girls! I kiss you tenderly, my dear Sunny, and them also.
Stavka. 20 May, 1916.
MY DEARLY BELOVED WIFY,
Thank you for your dear letter, written before your arrival at Tsarskoe; I had not in the least expected to get it so soon. It was terrible seeing you go away with the girls - Baby and! Immediately went into our train, and we left Koursk ten minutes after you. I took him into your coupé and let him smell your pillow and the right-hand window curtain; he was absolutely amazed at recognising the smell of your perfume, and shyly remarked that he felt sad without you. Then I kissed him, and told him to go and play "Nain Jaune," promising to take him for a little walk with me at the next station. Of course I was occupied with my beastly papers. I could begin my new book only in the evening, after he had said his prayers. It was very cold during the night, but luckily the weather cleared up and became warmer when we arrived here. We had a drive in the motor car to-day, and found a lovely place with soft sand, where he played happily. Yesterday the weather suddenly changed and it became cold - 4 deg. in the night; but the sun warmed the air, and the temperature rose to 10* in the shade. For our second drive we chose a little road along the river, and stopped about three versts below the new bridge. The sand there was as white and soft as on the seashore. Baby ran about there, shouting: "Quite like Evpatoria" - as it was very warm. Feodorov allowed him to run about barefoot-naturally he was delighted! I took a little walk along the river up to the bridge and back, and thought of you all the time, and of our walk on the first day of your arrival here. At present it seems just a dream!
I am fairly busy now in the evenings, as the Ministers and other people wish to see me. We dine at 8 o'clock, in order to have more time after tea. So far I have no desire to have dinner in the tent - the evenings are very cold.
Alexey behaves much better at table, and sits quietly by my side. He brings much light and animation into my life here, but none the less I long and yearn for your tender love and caresses!
Separation teaches much!
When one is so often absent one begins to appreciate that which passes unnoticed, or which one does not feel so strongly, (when) living quietly at home!
Now, my dear, I must finish. God guard you and the dear girls! I kiss you all fondly. I long for you very much.
NOTES: "Nain Jaune" - a card game, usually known as Pope Joan.
Telegram. Stavka. 21 May, 1916.
Hearty thanks for dear letters. To-day is Georgie's birthday. It is again very warm. Both kiss you and the girls tenderly.
NOTES: "Georgie's birthday", - the birthday of King George V.
Stavka. 21 May, 1916.
MY BELOVED WIFY,
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter. They arrive now before 12 o'clock. To-day the weather is warm, the barometer is falling - possibly there will be a thunderstorm.
How good that you have seen Yedigarov and the others!
I have received Trepov, who has just returned from the Caucasus. He visited the front at Trapezund and saw Nicolasha. He left with a good impression of him and of the whole country generally. The local inhabitants told Tr. that the native tribes have become much more loyal than they were before, and they attribute this to the influence of the august cousin. If that is so, so much the better. I shall receive Sturmer this evening. I have put all the questions down in writing. Yesterday I received Naoumov, who has been travelling in the East and South.
Laguiche is going to town, as he has been replaced-more correctly, he and old Pau-by the new General, Janin, Joffre's favourite. Old Pau has to undergo a cure before returning to France. We all wanted him to go to Sevastopol, but he is afraid to go so far. Then there is nothing else left for him but Staraia Russa.
Now it is time to finish. May God guard you and the girls! My dear, my only and my all, my tenderly beloved Wify, I kiss you passionately and tenderly...
NOTES: YEDIGAROV: Captain D. S. Yedigarov of the 17th Nijni Dragoon Regiment - "The august cousin." the Grand Duke Nicholas. JANIN: General Janin, the French military attaché at the Stavka. "Staraia Russa" - a town in the province of Novgorod, celebrated for its clinical mud-baths.
Telegram. Stavka. 22 May, 1916.
Hearty thanks for dear letters. Lovely weather. We have begun dining and lunching in the tent. Had a splendid row down the river to the new bridge. I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 22 May, 1916.
MY BELOVED SUNNY,
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter with the two pansies - I gave one to Baby. Now, at last, the weather has become fine and warm. Yesterday evening, when Alexey was already in bed, a thunderstorm broke out; the lightning struck somewhere near the town, it rained hard, after which the air became delightful and much fresher. We slept with the window open, which he approved of greatly. Thank God, he looks well, and has become sunburnt!
I assume that you will have received from Grigorovitch the details of the naval battle; if not, ask him to tell you all he knows. The English have acknowledged the loss of the "Queen Mary," the "Invincible" and the "Warspite," and of 6 torpedo boat destroyers. The Germans must have lost quite as much - at any rate, more than they have published so far! Of course this is sad - but think of what we lost at Tsoucima 11 years ago!! Nearly the whole fleet!
To-night we have begun the bombardment of the Austrian positions a little to the north of Rovno. May God bless our troops, who are so eager to begin the attack!
The naval expedition on the Black Sea has succeeded splendidly - a new division has disembarked to the west of Trapezound!
Good-bye, my love, my Sunny, soul of my soul! May God keep you and the girls! I kiss you tenderly.
NOTES: "The naval battle" - the Battle of Jutland. Tsoucima: the Russian fleet was annihilated in the Straits of Tsushima on the 27th May 1905 - the anniversary of the Tsar's coronation and of the disaster at the Kremlin, when hundreds of people were crushed to death. Of the thirty-six ships which went into action under Rojdestvensky, twenty-two were sunk, six were captured and six interned. Thus the Japanese fleet, led by Admiral Togo, won the most complete naval victory of modem times.
"Eager to begin the attack." Broussilov's great offensive began on the following day, and led to a series of brilliant victories on the Carpathian front.
Telegram. Stavka. 23 May, 1916.
Hearty thanks for dear letters. Beautiful dry weather. I am happy about our first success in the south-west. I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 23 May, 1916.
MY DEAR WIFY,
I thank you sincerely for your dear letters. I have handed the papers concerning Mile. Petersen over to Fred., - she will receive the 2000 Rb. He made inquiries as to why she had been sent away - it transpires that she has two brothers serving in the German army, and that she had been corresponding with them through prisoners of war, and in spite of Nicolasha's order to desist, she nevertheless persisted - that is the reason!
I gave Shavelsky orders last evening in the garden to write for the Mother of God of Vladimir to be sent here. I hope she will be brought in time, before the coming of our days of trial. This morning I heard good news about the beginning of our offensive in the South-west. So far we have taken yesterday several guns and over 12,000 prisoners, mostly Hungarians. God grant that it may go on in this way.
You can see, from this, that I cannot absent myself from here, and, unfortunately, shall not be able to visit the Guards. This is very disappointing; the more so, as it may happen that they will be sent into action, and I have not inspected them since the month of December.
You will receive this letter on the eve of your birthday. I am distracted at not having a present for you, my beloved. Please forgive me. I can only offer you my unbounded love and fidelity, and am terribly sorry that I shall be parted from you on this day. The only consolation lies in the fact that duty to the Fatherland demands this sacrifice. May God bless you and the girls! I kiss you and them tenderly, my darling Sunny, my little Wify.
NOTES: Mlle. Petersen: it appears from the Tsaritsa's letters that this lady was destitute.
The Mother of God of Vladimir: the Ikon or Image of the Holy Virgin from Vladimir, one of the ancient capitals of Russia. The province of Vladimir borders that of Moscow to the east. It must be remembered that the Orthodox religion was, at that time, a vital force in the life of Russia. Certain ikons were believed to possess miraculous powers, and their presence gave confidence and courage both to the leaders and to the troops. - "Our offensive in the Southwest." Broussilov's energetic advance compelled a general retreat of the Austrian forces.
Telegram. Stavka. 24 May, 1916.
I am very grateful for dear letters. We both send you our very best and tenderest wishes and blessings. Wonderful weather. I embrace you closely.
Stavka. 24 May, 1916.
I thank you heartily for your dear letter. I enclose a letter from Olga which Sandro brought from Kiev. Today is your birthday; my prayers for you and my thoughts of you are more heartfelt than ever! May God bless you, and may He send you all that for which I pray daily to Him with all my heart!
I cannot express in words bow sorry I am that it is impossible for me to spend these two days with you and to rest in your tender embrace!
Thank God, the news continues to be good! - our troops have captured, in all. 30,000 prisoners and many guns and machine guns. Our dear Crimean Rifles bore themselves like real heroes, as usual, and have taken several Austrian positions at the first assault! If our offensive develops, our cavalry may break through to the enemy's rear.
I have received a very amiable reply from Georgie, in answer to my telegram which I sent him after the naval battle. It appears that only their cruisers fought the battle with the whole of the German fleet, and that when the English Grand Fleet came on the scene the German-, hastily retired to their harbours.
Please let Betsy Sh. know that, of course, there is no need for her to go to Germany. I had her in view because she is such a capable and good woman. Of course, Mak. is entirely unsuited for the post of Minister of Internal Affairs. I wonder where these rumours originate.
Now, my love, my DARLING Wify, I must finish.
May God bless you!
I kiss you and the children tenderly, and hold you in a close embrace.
NOTES: Betsy Sh.: Mlle. Schneider. MAK.: A. Makarov, who had been Minister of the Interior, 1911-13.
Telegram. Stavka. 25 May, 1916.
Sincerest thanks for your letter. Once more we both send you, with all our heart, our best wishes. I long for you terribly. The loss of Lord Kitchener must indeed be very distressing for Georgie. I kiss you tenderly.
NOTES: The "Hampshire," with Lord Kitchener on board, had been lost a week previously.
Telegram. Stavka. 26 May, 190.
Many thanks for dear letters. To-day there are over 50,000 prisoners, counting from the beginning. Ideal weather. I have received her photographs. Shall I send them to you? I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 26 May, 1916.
I thank and kiss you tenderly for your dear letter. I found this "lucky bit" on a lilac bush in the garden on your birthday - I send it to you for remembrance I The feelings I lived through yesterday were of a very mixed nature - the joy at our successes fought against the sorrow called forth by the sad news about Kitchener. But such is life; especially in war-time! You know, of course, from the newspapers, how the number of prisoners and other trophies captured by our troops is growing. I told the Italian General that, in my opinion, their losses were counterbalanced by the victories of the Russian army, which is avenging them. He readily agreed with me, and said that the Italians would never forget our help. He is stupid, and our other foreign officers do not like him. Old Pau has at Iasi consented to go for his cure to Essentouky before his return to France. Gen. Janin gives the impression of a well-informed military man, bears himself modestly, and is, for the Most part, silent.
George has returned from the Crimea; all three brothers were together for two days. Sandro has gone to Kiev to-day. This morning I received with Baby the deputation from the 1st Life Grenadier Ekaterinoslav Regiment of the Emp. Alexander 11, as to-day is the anniversary of the day on which I became their Colonel-in-Chief at the grand review in Moscow, after the coronation - 20 years ago. There are only two Lieutenant-Colonels left from that time!
The old man is going away for 10 days, and I have asked Benckendorf to come here for that period. Now it is time to finish this letter, my beloved. May God bless you and the children!...
NOTES: A "lucky bit" is a lilac bloom with five or more petals instead of usual four. It is particularly efficacious if the finder eats it.
"The Italian General": the Italian military attaché at the Stavka, Colonel (not General) Marsengo. BENCKENDORF: General P. C. Benckendorf, Chief Marshal of the Court.
Telegram. Stavka. 27 May, 1916.
I thank you heartily for dear letters and charming flowers. Have you found my letter of yesterday in the large envelope? In thought I am always with you. Very good news. I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 27 May, 1916.
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter. Benckendorf has just arrived, and has given me by word of mouth the latest news of you. What a pity that it was not you yourself! Thank God, the news continues to be good!
The Staff has reckoned that the total number of German and Austrian prisoners taken by us reaches 70,000 men and a thousand officers! And the word "victory" has been used for the first time in the official communications. N. has sent me - from himself personally - a very cordial Telegram. I understand perfectly what you mean about A. I beg you, my dear, he first of all your own mistress - (mistress) of your own time, and plan it out in accordance with your own duties and wishes. It is quite sufficient if you reserve for her some time after lunch or in the evening, but not both the one and the other. I sincerely wish her well, but, of course, I think that you can act with a clear conscience as you find best, according to your own habits!
Alexey and I have just received a deputation from the peasants of the Kherson Gov. - (Odessa). Fancy, these dear (touching) folk have presented me with 600,000 R. from the entire population (of the province) for military requirements! Think out (some cause) to which we might devote this colossal sum; and would it not be better for me to send it to you? I have not yet decided how to spend it.
The weather is lovely and very warm, even hot, and the Perspiration is streaming off my face - we shall go to the river.
The Ikon is arriving from Moscow to-morrow. A solemn reception will be prepared for it.
I must finish now. May God bless you and the children, my dear Sunny !
I kiss you and the children tenderly, and remain eternally
Stavka. 28 May, 1916.
MY OWN DARLING SUNNY,
I have no time whatever to write properly. Everything is going splendidly with us. To-day the Holy Ikon of the Vlad. B. M. will be brought into our church. I am quite convinced that its blessing will be of great help to us. I love you and long for you terribly.
Gen. Williams thanks you very much for the flowers. May God bless you, my beloved! Thousands of tender kisses from
NOTES: "Vlad.B.M." Vladimirskaia Bogia Mater - The Mother of God of Vladimir.
Telegram. Stavka. 28 May, 1916.
Hearty thanks for letter and telegram. The ikon was brought to-day and set up in our church. Masses of people accompanied it. Here too the heat is terrible. Both kiss you tenderly. God bless you!
Stavka. 29 May, 1916.
MY BELOVED WIFY,
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter. In thought I go back to the event which took place 19 years ago, on the farm in Peterhof! May God bless Tatiana - may God grant that she will remain as good, loving and patient a girl as she is now, and be our consolation in old age!
I have again no time at all to write. The heat is frightful, and my hands perspire terribly. Yesterday the soldiers carried the Ikon along the streets; that reminded me of Borodino. To-morrow it will be taken to the front, to the troops which will soon begin the attack on the German positions I Later, it will be brought here.
Thank God, the news is very good! - our troops are attacking and pressing the enemy. The number of prisoners exceeds 100,000 men and one general - I have not found out his name yet.
I must finish now, my treasure. May God bless you! I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 30 May, 1916.
It is clear and cool now, after a very rainy morning.
Very many thanks for dear letters. I have only just returned from the cinematograph. The news is still good. I kiss you fondly.
Stavka. 30 May, 1916.
I thank you tenderly for your sweet letter. The heat was terrible here too for the last few days, but yesterday, after heavy rain and a real storm, the temperature has luckily dropped to 13 deg. , and now we can again breathe easily. It seems strange that even I should suffer from the heat; our rooms were terribly stuffy - 19 deg. in the bedroom! - hence I slept rather badly. This morning it rained in torrents, and in such rain we had an exceedingly long moleben (Te Deum) in front of our house, in the presence of the troops and an enormous crowd of people. Then everybody came up to kiss the Ikon. Some time to-day it will be. taken to the front, whence it will be brought back here in a week or two. Our heads and necks got thoroughly wet, to Baby's delight. After having kissed the Ikon I went to the Report, but he stood for a long time under the porch, watching the crowd! At 12.30 it was all over - the people and the soldiers had begun to assemble as early as 10-30. The night's storm has greatly damaged the telegraph wires, for which reason we received incomplete news from the South-western front, but those which got through are highly satisfactory. So far we have taken over 1600 officers and 106,000 men. Our losses are not great on the whole, but, of course, not the same in all the armies. I am glad that you have seen N. P., and would very much like to visit them myself, but at present this is quite impossible!
New regiments are being formed now, in order to be sent to France and to Salonica...
May God bless you and the girls! I kiss you tenderly, and many, many times.
Telegram. Stavka. 31 May, 1916.
We both thank you warmly for your dear letters. Beautiful weather. I was very busy. Good-night. I embrace you closely.
Stavka. 31 May, 1916.
MY DARLING WIFY,
I thank you tenderly for your dear letter. The weather is lovely at present, after yesterday's downpour. The rooms are quite cool again. I took a long walk in the woods and fields with Valia D., while Baby played by the side of the main road. Then we went to the cinematograph, which was very entertaining. To-day we are going for a trip (literally, walk) on the river, after having inspected several passing regiments at our station.
On the whole, our successes are everywhere satisfactory, with the exception of one place, just in the centre of both of our attacking flanks. The Austrian troops and some of the German divisions are making desperate efforts to break through in this place, but without result. All necessary measures are being taken for the support of our corps, and new reserves are being brought up. Here we naturally suffer heavy losses; but what is to be done! These troops have carried out their duty valiantly - they had to attract the enemy's attention, and in so doing help their neighbours.
I have heard nothing of your Crimeans! I hope that Keller will distinguish himself in some way with his cavalry; perhaps he will succeed in occupying Chernovitzi. Then our Cossacks and our 1st Koubanskaia will move towards that town.
My dear, I long for you so much! Ever since our arrival here I have not been able to touch the new book, which I should like to read; there is no time. May God bless you, my beloved Wify! I kiss you passionately and the girls tenderly.
Eternally your old