Telegram. Stavka. 1 November, 1915
Thanks for dear letter and news. I have heard nothing about Roumania, but Greece is becoming very suspicious. The little arm has been aching a little since yesterday. Charming, warm weather. Both kiss you fondly.
Mogilev. 2 November, 1915
My DEAR LITTLE BIRD,
Many, many thanks for your sweet letters. What a pity it is that you are again feeling worse and that your heart is enlarged! Take care of yourself and rest well.
But I know that this is useless advice, as it is impossible to live near the capital and not to receive anybody.
When we arrived here by train - in the evening, Baby played the fool, pretended to fall off his chair, and hurt his left arm (under the arm-pit); it did not hurt afterwards, but swelled up instead. And so the first night here he slept very restlessly, kept on sitting up in bed, groaning, calling for you and talking to me. Every few minutes he fell off to sleep again - this went on hourly till 4 o'clock.
Yesterday he spent in bed. I explained to every one that he had simply slept badly, and myself as well - and so it was.
Thank God it is all over to-day - except for paleness and a slight bleeding at the nose. For the rest, he is exactly as he usually is, and we walked together in the little garden.
At 4 o'clock in the afternoon we went to the theatre, where we were shown a cinematograph - among other things, pictures of your stay here.
On the 5th, on Thursday evening, we are starting on our tour to the South. It will last a week, and then we shall return here.
I am afraid that it will be difficult for me to communicate everything to you in detail by telegraphbut perhaps I shall find time to write to you, as the distances between these towns and little places are not great, and we shall come to a stop at some of the stations - so one must suppose. I have just received your last letter of the 1st November, in which you speak of your conversation with Khvostov. I had no idea that Drenteln was his brother-in-law. I cannot understand what worries Khv. in this story letter. I could wish, indeed, that you paid a I attention to such trifles. I told you several days I had offered Drent. the command of the Preobraj. cannot retract it.
Please receive General Murray before his departure for England.
Well, I must finish, as I have to read through a great pile. Baby has gone to bed. God bless you and the girls. Good-bye, my own dear Sunny I I kiss you fondly and long for you terribly.
NOTES: Preobraj.: the celebrated Preobrajensky Regiment of the Guard, in which Drenteln was a colonel.
MURRAY: General Sir Archibald James Murray, K.C.B., a distinguished soldier. He was Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1915. and General Officer Commanding (1st Class) in Egypt in 1916-17.
Telegram. Stavka. 4 November, 1915.
Both thank you sincerely for your dear letters. It snowed here too during the night, but now it is clear. It has all disappeared. In thought we are always together. Both kiss you fondly,
Mogilev. 4 November, 1915.
MY BELOVED SUNNY,
Thanks for your sweet letters, which arrive here again in the evening. I hope your poor heart will soon be all right again. I hate separation at such moments, and understand well that a depressed condition is natural at those times when one is suffering from internal pain.
Yesterday we arranged a Te Deum for dear Olga's sake the church was full of generals, officers and men - mostly those living here. I ordered this thanksgiving moleben (Te Deum) for Baby and myself. A great number of people are being invited to table now (it is at N. P.'s suggestion)in this way they all come under one's eye. Some of the foreigners have gone to the front, others to Petrograd. The tall Montenegrin is returning home, as he is wanted by the King. To-morrow we are going away for a week, and I am glad that we are going to the South, and especially that I shall see my favourite troops, which I have not since the beginning of the war. In Odessa we shall see the Guard. Equip., who will join the rest of the Guards, (the latter) are being also sent there - to Bessarabia - in about 3 weeks' time.
I shall explain to you later on what measures will adopted in case Roumania does not allow our troops to pass through that country.
Is everything quiet on our front? Ask General Murray what his opinion is concerning our affairs - it will interes you, as he has seen and heard much during his tour on our front.
My own little one, I love you so tenderly, am so in need of you!
Yesterday, Alexeiev, Ivanov and I conferred about Roumania and Greece. We came to the conclusion that so far, it is wiser to leave the first alone, and not to send Kyrill. France and England have apparently understood at last, that Greece must be made to behave decently towards them and the poor Serbs!
It is time for me to finish. May God bless you, in treasure, and the girls, and may He keep you!
Ever your old hubby
Telegram. Stavka. 5 November, 1915
Thanks for news. I am afraid the letter will arrive after I have seen him. I am starting at midnight. Rain, wind. Both embrace you closely.
NOTES: "Him" refers to A. A. Khvostov, the Minister of justice.
Telegram. Odessa. 7 November, 1915
Warmest thanks for news. I have spent a very satisfactory day. Inspected several transports and a hospital ship. After lunch, a brilliant inspection of our fine fellows, and others. Cold, windy, sunny weather. Complete order reigns in the town. Both kiss you fondly.
NOTES: "Our fine fellows"-the Gvardeisky Equipage.
Telegram. Reni. 9 November, 1915.
Thanks for telegram. After the inspection of our troops we visited a church, all the institutions and Veselkin's flagship. He has done an astonishing amount here, and done it well. The weather is cold. We embrace you closely.
Telegram. Balta. 10 November, 1915.
Many thanks for letters. I have just made an inspection of the Nijegorodtzi, Severtzi and the Khopertzi. All presented themselves in ideal condition. 4 deg. of frost. Fog. I was glad to - see many acquaintances, to whom I have given your greetings. Now we are going further...
Telegram. Novopoltavka. 11 November, 1915.
I thank you sincerely for the telegram. To-day it was warm at last. In the morning a magnificent inspection of a division at Kherson, and, during the day, of another at Nicolaievo. The impressions are most gratifying. ToInorrow night we are returning to the Stavka. I embrace all tenderly.
Telegram. Mogilev. 12 November, 1915.
Have just arrived. I shall spend the night in the train. Excellent impressions from the whole tour. Tender thanks for the file of letters, received on my return. You had better write again. Give her my greetings. The weather is calm, much snow. I hope that your health will soon improve...
Mogilev. 12 November, 1915
MY BELOVED DARLING,
Here we are again at the Stavka, after an absence of exactly one week - hour for hour. It makes me feel nearer to you, somehow, as the letters come on the following day, whereas during our tour we received them only on the third.
I cannot say yet when we are coming home, but I think it might happen in about six days. That will be a happy moment - how much there will be to relate!
Well, thank God, our journey has passed off and ended splendidly! A whole rainbow of impressions! Only, alas! the weather was unfriendly - we hoped to meet a little warmth, but the South received us very coldly, with a piercing wind. The only sunny day we had was in Odessa. There we were met by Kyrill, Boris and Shcherbachev. The streets were crowded with young soldiers, cadets, students from the military schools and the people - it reminded me so much of my visit there in the spring. But this time I had our Treasure with me. He sat with a serious face, saluting all the time. Through the tumult of the crowd and the shouts of "hurrah!" I managed to hear women's voices calling out: "The heir, the angel, the pretty boy!" Exceedingly touching! He heard them too, and smiled at them. Having visited the cathedral, we drove to the port and went on board a large French ship which has been converted into a floating hospital; on the new cruiser "Prouth" - formerly "Medjidye" - a very fine ship, almost entirely refitted; then on the korabl-priyut (home-ship) for boys whose fathers are at the war, under Alexey's patronage (the pretty Mme. Sosnovskaia is at the head of it); and lastly, on one of the seventy transports, under the command of Admiral Khomenko. Before the evening a grand inspection took place. What a magnificent appearance the Gvard. Equipage presented! I addressed a few words to Poloushkin and Rodionov when driving past them, but have not said good-bye to them, as I hope to see them when the Guards are collected together.
There were many troops, so that the inspection lasted a long time, and it was already dark when we returned to the station. I had a long conversation with Shcherbachev, whom I promoted to the rank of Adjutant-General.
The following morning, the 8th November, I inspected a whole Army Corps, very close to the train, by a village called Eremeievka. The troops seemed to me splendid, well trained, well equipped, and so on. I lunched in the train on the way to Tiraspol, where we were together on the day of our trip to Kishinev. Here we looked at another corps, at present stationed at Odessa - this one appeared even better. Then we travelled all night to Reni, arriving there on the morning of the 9th, at 9 o'clock. Here the permanent way is old and terribly jolting, the train rocks as though - on the sea. The Danube is a powerful, broad river, between handsome wooded banks, reminiscent of the English lakes (literally, ponds). Our fat friend Veselkin met us in the early morning, in order to explain thoroughly everything beforehand. What we saw was interesting in the highest degree. I must admit that he possesses the gift of good organisation, and knows how to make people of different stations work hard in complete agreement with each other. To describe all this in a letter would take too long!
Here I inspected the 3rd Turkestan Rifle Brigade - they looked, and marched past, absolutely like our very best Guard regiments. We visited also several of the recently equipped heavy batteries, which cover the river Prouthflowing into the Danube. They are very well placed. Again we travelled all' night, and arrived at Balta on the ioth of November, after breakfast. 4' of frost, and fog. That was a pity, because the country looks charming. After a quarter of an hour's drive in a car, we arrived at the place (appointed) for the inspection of the Caucasian Cavalry Division. All the four regiments were amazingly beautiful 1 How sorry I was that you could not admire them!
I delivered your greetings to all the officers of the three Dragoon regiments. On our way to Kherson we met many trains full of young soldiers, whom we inspected at the stations where we stopped. The inspection of the 2nd Finland Rifle Brigade took place in this town, and, after midday, of the 4th Finland Rifle Brigade in Nicolaievo. It had become warmer at last, and my fingers ceased aching when I was riding. Alexey has borne the strain of this week astonishingly well, only occasionally he suffered from a little bleeding at the nose. He was in excellent spirits all the time. Everything is well with the old man. He is now and then very pale before meals, and at times says foolish things across the table, but feels no fatigue from what we are doing and from much walking.
We returned home at 10 o'cleck in the morning. Found the rooms excellently ventilated and cool, and, in a way, fresh. Alexeiev's report lasted a long time - each had much to tell to the other. Tomorrow I shall give him the newspapers you sent me.
I woke up with a shocking cold in the left nostril, so that I am thinking of spraying it with cocaine. Apart from that, I feel strong-heaps of energy I The time-table for the trains has been altered here. They are coming in at i:i in the morning and leaving at 6 in the evening, which is more convenient-at least for me. I greatly hope that your poor heart will get better and will not cause you so much pain. I am always sorry for you, my dear Wify, when I hear that your health is not good and when you suffer physically...
Everybody here has learnt with sorrow of Eshappar's death. Such a capable and energetic man! What a loss!
Well my treasure, I must finish. God bless you and the girls! With countless kisses
Your old hubby
NOTES: POLOUSHMN: Captain A. S. Poloushkin of the Gvardeisky Equipage. RODIONOV: Lieutenant N. N. Rodionov, also of the Equipage. ESHAPPAR: General F. V. Dubrail-Eshappar. formerly an officer in the Empress's Own Uhlan Life-Guards. He was Master of the Household to the Grand Duke George Mikhailovitch.
Telegram. Stavka. 13 November, 1915.
Both thank you sincerely for dear letters. It is sad not to be together to-morrow - the day of our wedding, for which I am sending my heartiest wishes. Both kiss you fondly.
Telegram. Stavka. 14 November, 1915.
I am much touched with the little frame and the wishes for this day. Hearty thanks for the letter. I am leaving on Tuesday. I have been to church to-day. Snow, 5 deg. of frost. I kiss you tenderly.
Telegram. Stavka. 16 November, 1915.
I thank you sincerely for dear letter. Lovely sunny weather. I am counting the hours till our meeting. We both send you all our warmest greetings.
24 November. 1915.
It is hard to part again, having spent barely 6 days together. Duty! - that is the reason. Please take care of yourself, do not overtire your poor heart. I love you so truly! In thoughts and prayers I am nearly always with you, and especially in the evenings, when we are accustomed to be together I I hope that that time is not behind mountains and that nothing will distress you. God bless you and the dear girls!
I kiss you tenderly and love you infinitely. Always, my Sunny,
Your old hubby
NOTES: "I hope that that time is not behind mountains" is a popular Russian saying. It means - "I hope that such a good time has not gone for ever," implying, of course, the hope that it may occur again.
Telegram. Stavka. 25 November, 1915.
Thanks for dear telegram. We have arrived safely. It has been thawing since the morning. It is strange and lonely here. We both kiss you fondly.
Telegram. Stavka. 26 November, 1915.
Hearty thanks for dear letter and congratulations. The review and festival have passed off excellently, though quite differently from usual. The weather is spring-like, but rainy. We both send you all, and her, our gratitude and warm greetings.
Stavka. 26 November, 1915.
MY BELOVED WIFY,
The journey was dull and quiet; we both felt so sad without you and the girls. We were met by Alexeiev, several of the Generals from the Staff and old Pilz, and drove to our house.
Then I was bothered with petty questions concerning to-day's festivities. Baby slept well; his legs and arms did not hurt. It was warm and damp. Feodorov was rather anxious about the review and the slippery ground. Thank God, everything has passed off well, and touchingly.
At io in the morning we both came out. All the officers who had come from the army stood to the left of the porch, and opposite them a wonderful company of non-commissioned officers and ensigns, with two, three and four Crosses of St. George, and all the medals, on their breasts. Then, with their backs to the street, a grand gathering of wounded men who have been sent to serve at the Stavka, and, still further, our soldiers and Cossacks, police, gendarmes, etc.
After a thanksgiving moleben (Te Deum), they all marched past, with the generals and officers at their head. I addressed a few words to them, and then went to the report. At 12 we visited the dinner which had been arranged for everyone, and I drank their health in kvas. After this Alexey went home, and I with the others to the Gorodskaia Duma. We lunched in two high halls, - 170 men altogether. When we rose, I spoke with every officer, which took an hour and a half-but I did not mind that, as it was most interesting to listen to their answers. At the end, I promoted them all, eachto his next rank. The effect was tremendous I Among the officers I noticed, and spoke to, Navrouzov and Krat, and gave them greetings from you and the girls. Nic. Pav. is leaving to-morrow to take over the command of the Gvard. Equip. from Poloushkin.
God bless you, my darling Wify! I kiss you and the children tenderly.
Ever your old hubby
Please forward my letter to Malcolm.
NOTES: The "wonderful company" was the Battalion of St. George, consisting of men who had been decorated with the Cross of St. George, an award for conspicuous bravery in the field.
Gorodskaia Duma, the Town Duma or Town Council, which sent representatives to the central or State Duma in Petrograd. The reference here is to the Duma building or town hall.
NAVROUZOV: Captain T. B. Navrouzov of the 17th Nijegorodsky Dragoons. Nic. Pav.: N. P. Sablin. MALCOLM: Sir Ian Malcolm, K.C.M.G. He has held many diplomatic and political appointments. and was British Red Cross Officer during the war in Prance, Switzerland, Russia and America. He was private secretary to Mr. Balfour at the Peace Conference in 1919.
Telegram. Stavka. 27 November, 1915.
Warmest thanks for letter and news. To-day is the holiday of my Nijegordtzi. Navrouzov and Chavchavadze came to lunch; they hope to see you soon. N. P. has said good-bye; I am glad, for his sake. A slight frost. I kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 28 November, 1915.
My warmest thanks for two dear letters. I have again been busy all the morning and after dinner, and could scarcely snatch a quarter of an hour for writing a few words.
Grabbe asks you to send 70 ikons here for our 4th Kouban sotnia, who are soon going off to the front.
This very moment Voeikov has brought me the paper with the time-table for our tour. We are starting on the 3rd of December for Jmerinka, and shall spend the 4th, 5th and 6th with the Guard Divisions. I am glad that it has fallen out thus, and that I shall spend my namesday among them.
Excuse this terribly hasty writing, but I have only a few minutes left.
Silaiev has just looked in - he looks radiant. He has given me the girls' greetings, for which I thank them very much. -
I send you Georgie's reply - keep it.
I hope that your poor heart will soon be better; I am so sorry for you! God bless you, my dear little bird, my treasure, my dear Wify! I kiss you and the children lovingly.
NOTES: SILAIEV: Colonel I. Z. Silaiev of the 13th Erivan Grenadier Regiment, attached to the Imperial suite during the war.
Stavka, 30 November, 1915.
MY DEAREST WIFY,
My warmest thanks to you for your letters. I always look forward to them with a beating of the heart.
Having opened the envelope, I push my nose inside and breathe in your scent!
With a view to inspecting the Guards with more comfort both to them and to ourselves, we are starting on Thursday the 3rd, and will return here either on the 7th or the 8th of December. The troops are now on the move, and we shall therefore see them nearer the frontier than we originally expected.
Drenteln is taking leave here on the day of our departure, and is going straight to Petrograd, for family reasons. The same with Nic. Pav., who is returning from Odessa for ten days. I am not sure whether I can see the Gv. Equip. again, as they must stay as long as possible in that town. What a pity!
That French gentleman - Paul Dourner - whom I received on the last day of my stay at home has arrived here 'this morning. He lunched, and then I had a talk with him.
I have just received your dear letter No. 398, for which I thank you very much, my treasure!
In one of your previous letters you mentioned Spiridovitch. But it seems to me that I told you before my departure that Khovstov talked to me about it, and asked that he should not be appointed to Obolensky's post, with which I entirely agree. Khovstov then said that, in his opinion, our Veselkin would be a very suitable man. But there is no hurry, as Obolensky is remaining for the present. As for the old men and children from East Prussia, who are now in Siberia, I have made arrangements to have them sent to Germany. The report has been a short one this morning, so that before lunch I could at last take a walk with our Little One. He marched about with his rifle, and sang loudly.
God bless you, my Sunny, my darling. I love you tenderly and kiss you.
PAUL DOUMER: Deputy. at one time Governor-General of French Indo-China, President of the Budget Commission and President of the Chamber of Deputies. Then on a political mission to Russia. SPIRIDOVITCH: A. 1. Spiridovitch, of the Gendarmerie. He was attached to the Court Commandant (Voeikov) for duty, and accompanied the Tsar to the Stavka. He succeeded Doumbadze as Mayor of Yalta. OBOLIENSKY: Prince A. N. Obolensky, President of the Committee of Supplies till November 1916.