Stavka. 1 October, 1916.
MY PRECIOUS, BELOVED SUNNY,
Thank you with all my heart for your dear letter and note concerning the Erivan Regiment. After my last conversation with Silaiev I have been busy on this matter and am seeking a successor for him.
I made inquiries through Kondz. as to who was the first candidate; the answer was as follows - first Michabeli, then the Prince Shervashidze and finally Gelovani.
In the present case this sounds like a mockery, does it not? I shall find out from Paul, who knows the Guards, who is a likely candidate for them. It is, alas! a year since I lost touch with them.
And so, God willing, in two days' time we shall see each other!
Your telegram of yesterday has worried me considerably about the ikon of the Synod. Why such a desperate hurry? I have already fixed the reception of several persons for Monday, just on the day of your arrival, and now besides that the Metrop(olitan) and Raiev are to come!
Yesterday arrived a General and two officers with their Ambassador from the Crown Prince of Serbia with military awards for me and Baby and handsome crosses (the Cross of Mercy) for you and all the girls.
What a difference! These people, who have lost their country, are full of faith and humility, whereas the Roumanians, who have only been a little shaken, have completely lost their heads and their faith in themselves!
May God protect you on your journey, my beloved Wify 1 I kiss you and the girls very tenderly, and remain
Your loving and expectant old
NOTES: KONDZ.: General P. C. Kondzerovsky, attached for duty to the Stavka. MICHABELI; Colonel E. L Michabeli Or Machabeli, of the
14th Georgian Grenadier Regiment, then in temporary command of the 16th Mingresky Grenadier Regiment. He was an ardent separatist, and was supposed to have been in touch with the directors of the German espionage during the war. GELOVANI: Colonel Prince C. L. Gelovani of the 13th Erivan Grenadier Regiment. RAIEV: N P. Raiev, a Secretary of State and a member of the National Education Committee, the new Procurator of the Synod.
Telegram. Stavka. 3 October. 1916.
Thanks for telegram. Baby has a deranged stomach, so will not meet you. We embrace you tenderly.
Stavka. 12 October, 1916.
You are leaving us again to go back to your work and wearying cares! Thank you deeply and warmly for your visit here, for all your love and caresses! How I shall miss them! God grant that in two to two and a half weeks we shall meet again. Before that I see no possibility, alas, of leaving here. I had great hopes of being able to go together to the South and of spending, a few days together in our train. - Perhaps it will happen some day.
I shall miss you... particularly in the evenings, which belonged to us.
May God bless your journey and your return home! Take care of yourself and do not get overtired. Tenderly I kiss your dear little face, my own Sunny...
Telegram. Stavka. 12 October, 1916.
We are very sad. Thanks for dear letters. It is lonely in the house. Good-night. Embrace you tenderly.
Stavka. 13 October, 1916.
MY TENDERLY BELOVED. DEAR SUNNY,
Thank you with all my heart for dear letter.
I must tell you a piece of good news: I shall try to come for 2-3 days. I hope to leave on the 18th and spend these three days with you, my beloved.
Alas! To-day there is no time for more, but I have told you the thing that matters most I
God keep you and the girls! Eternally your old
Telegram. Stavka. 13 October, 1916.
Thanks for the telegram. Hope you have arrived safely. The sun is hiding. I am touched by their letter. Sleep well. Tender kisses.
Stavka. 14 October, 1916.
All day yesterday Baby looked pale and sad; I think he was fretting. But to-day he played as usual, quite cheerfully, in the little wood by the old Stavka.
At dinner he complained of a headache, and he was put to bed, at which he was very pleased. His temperature rose rapidly and he felt very unwell. He went off to sleep before 9 o'clock and slept soundly all the night... This morning his temperature is quite normal, he is cheerful, but all the same we are keeping him in bed. Vl. Nic. thinks all this is still the result of his first cold or that he has eaten something indigestible. In any case I hope that all is done with now.
Oh, how happy I am at the thought of being able to come home for a few days and see you and the girls! I asked Al. about it and he said that it was quite practicable; he remembered that last year I had also gone home about the 20th. He thinks that later on I could go to the South Reni, etc. - to review the troops. How pleasant to feel that one is not tied to one place! Yesterday Paul brought his son, who gave me a book of his verses. To-day they have both gone to make an inspection of the Guards. I asked P. to speak to Brouss. and Gourko. I must finish, my dear Sunny. May God keep you all! Many kisses.
Telegram. Stavka. 14 October, 1916.
Thanks for information. It is finer here too. Am keeping the Little One in bed. A chill on the stomach. He is very cheerful. Both embrace you.
Stavka. 15 October, 1916.
Thank you tenderly for your first sweet letter from Ts. Selo. I am so happy that I can come for a few days. Thank God, Alexey has quite recovered. He has got up to-day, but as he coughs a little we have decided not to let him out in the air. The weather is lovely, the air so pure and sunny I In the morning there was a slight frost.
To-day arrived Mitia, D. and Dm. Sheremetev to replace Kira and Igor.
Ministers come to see me every day; I hope they will leave me in peace for the few days that I am at home!
After your departure I sent a telegram to Tino, and then learnt that things in Athens have taken a turn for the better. Please God I Besides that, Sturmer has composed an official, frankly amiable telegram to Tino - of course in cipher - in my name, which will, I hope, improve the situation and will enable him to notify the Powers that he is undertaking on his own initiative those measures which the Powers wanted to impose on him rudely and by force.
Now, my dear Sunny, I must finish. God keep you and the girls!
I hope to start on Tuesday at 12-30, shall get to T. S. at 3.30 before tea. I kiss you all tenderly.
NOTES: Mitia D.: Captain Dehn. - "Before tea" - on the following day.
Stavka. 15 October, 1916.
Hearty thanks for letter and telegram. A bright, cold, sunny day. The Little One is well, cheerful. We kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 16 October, 1916.
Sincerest thanks for dear latter; thank Tatiana also. This will be my last, as we are leaving Mogilev in 48 hours.
Yes, my little one, of course I very much want to go to Communion with you, as I have not fasted since the first Week of Lent. I shall try to eat as little as possible during these days.
Thank God, Baby has recovered and can go out again, but he must observe a strict diet. It is amusing to hear his complaints, that he is hungry and that he is given too little to eat.
For the last two days the weather has been gloriously sunny, but now it is again cold and dull - 0 deg. The river keeps on rising - in some places near Smolensk and Kaluga the meadows are flooded owing to the heavy rains.
Yesterday all the Quartermasters of the army arrived here for a conference under the chairmanship of the Chief of the Commissariat; they had dinner with me and told me a mass of interesting things. The whole army requires daily 2676 wagon-loads of victuals and fodder for the horses! This alone constitutes 400 trains per day.
It is time, my beloved Sunny, to dispatch the courier.
May God preserve you and the girls. Many kisses for you, them, and A.
What joy, that we shall soon see each other!
Telegram. Stavka. 16 October, 1916.
Best thanks. It is cold, dull. In thought I am always with you. Both are well. We kiss you tenderly.
Stavka. 17 October, 1916.
MY PRECIOUS SUNNY,
I was mistaken yesterday, thinking that I was writing to you for the last time. I am so accustomed to you coming here and my remaining that I thought I would not have enough time to write again.
In 24 hours we are starting on our way and I am quite excited at the thought of the journey and reunion with all my dear ones in my own home.
Protopopov spent nearly two hours with me last night. I sincerely hope that God will bless his new work of responsibility! He has firmly decided to carry it through to the end, in spite of all difficulties. But I am afraid that the difficulties will be great, especially for the first two months!
Fabritzky appeared during dinner; I was glad to see him - enormous, healthy, sunburnt and energetic. His naval brigade is being converted into a division at Nicolaievo, where I hope to inspect them later on.
I have just received your dear letter No. 610. Tender thanks.
Mordvinov did not sneeze, reading Anastasia's letter, but laughed a lot when I told him what she had done. It is two years since he has been able to invent a punishment for her.
Now I must finish this, my very last letter!
God guard you and the girls.
I kiss you tenderly, my beloved Wify.
NOTES: FABRITZKY: Rear-Admiral S. S. Fabritzky, at one time commander of the battleship "Amuretz."
Telegram. Stavka. 18 October, 1916.
I prefer Mass at 11 in the fortress.
Telegram. Smolensk. 26 October, 1916.
Both have slept well, feel better. Greyish, warm weather. We miss you terribly. Thank you tenderly for your dear letter. Both embrace you closely.
Stavka. 26 October, 1916.
Arrived safely. It is sad and lonely without you and the girls, especially here on the platform. Close embrace.
Mogilev. 26 October, 1916.
MY PRECIOUS, BELOVED DARLING,
With all my old loving heart do I thank you for your sweet letter, which you left on my table as you were saying good-bye. We both felt so sad when the train moved off and you stood at the door. Presently we had a glimpse of your car, which was carrying you all back home. Then Baby went to his coupé to play, and I received old Trepov, who stayed with me until our halt at Tosno!
After saying prayers with ALEXEY I played a game of dominoes with Dmitry, Grabbe and N. P. We all went to bed early and slept well.
We got up late - Baby even after 10 o'clock. At Smolensk we stopped, took a little walk, and I received Rausch. All day long I read a very interesting English book which has only just come out: "The Man who dined with the Kaiser." When I have finished it I will send it to you.
Al. played his favourite "Nain Jaune." Before our arrival here his nose started bleeding, so that we had to send for Isanianz, who cauterised it. Now all is well.
We were met by the usual people and after a few words of greeting I let them go. I walked up and down. the platform, thinking of you and the girls. I was struck by the stillness which reigned around I was expecting all the time to hear the wild shrieks of Anastasia or Marie, plaguing Mordvinov. Instead of that, Alexey's cat ran away and hid under a big pile of boards. We put on our greatcoats and went to look for her. Nagorny found her at once with the aid of an electric torch, but it took a long while to make the wretch come out. She would not listen to Al. At last he caught her by the hind legs and dragged her through a narrow chink.
At present it is quite still in the train. Alexey has gone to bed, and many of the retinue have, of course, gone to the cinematograph! I feel very lonely, but am glad that I can write to you; I imagine that I am talking to you quietly.
Last night I received the following telegram from dear Mamma: "Is it true that we shall meet soon? Would very much like to know when and for how long, because M. P. will come 29. Shall I have time to put her off?" I laughed while reading this, and immediately telegraphed the necessary details.
When you get this letter we shall already be in Kiev. I am vexed that for a few days you will have no letters from me, because I shall hardly have time to write. In any case, this can count for two.
Ah, my treasure, my love, how I long for you! It was such real happiness - those six days at home!
Embraces for the girls and A.
Eternally, my Sunny,
Your very own old
NOTES: RAUSCH: Baron E. A. Rausch von Traubenberg, Assistant Commandant of the troops in the Minsk Military District.- "The Man who dined with the Kaiser." "My Secret Service, by the Man who dined with the Kaiser," published in March 1916. Alexey's cat: Zoubrovka, a kitten from Mogilev, the favourite pet of the Tsarevitch. - "The following telegram from Mamma." This telegram was transcribed in Russian in the original letter. with the exception of the words "put her off," which are in English.
Telegram. Stavka. 2 7 October, 19 16.
Warmest thanks for dear letter. I have only just finished lunch and am going back to the train. We are leaving at six o'clock. It is cloudy, warm. The dining saloon looks gay and bright. Embrace you closely.
Kiev. 28 October, 19X6.
Arrived safely. A touching reception. Mother met us.
Foggy, calm weather. The three of us lunched snugly together. Hearty greetings from all of us. Nicky.
Kiev Station. 28 October, 1916.
MY BELOVED DARLING
We arrived this morning at 10.30 and, only think I were met by Mamma, Paul and Sandro. Besides them there were three Generals, the District Governor and the Mayor.. As Baby and I had to call in at the Sofiisky Sobor, Mamma drove straight home to the Palace and we arrived a little later.
The troops and all the schools - military and others - were drawn up along the streets. Order was exemplary, but unfortunately the weather was none too pleasant: it was foggy and dark, but not cold. I went through our old rooms with mixed feelings. The past and the death of the unhappy Stolypin came back to me so vividly.
We sat in my room till lunch time, looking through Mamma's interesting albums; she likes this room. as it is bright in the mornings. Then we three lunched together, and for the first time Baby ate with appetite.
It has been announced that the courier ought to leave at once. May God keep you, my beloved, and the girls I I kiss you tenderly.
Telegram. Kiev. 29 October, 1916.
Best thanks for dear letter. It is dull, but warmer. Have visited four military colleges this morning. Our suite lunched at Mamma's. The three of us drove through the town. Saw Olga; she is better. Am leaving, very pleased with everything seen. Embrace you closely.
Mogilev. 30 October, 1916.
We have only just arrived here, amidst terrible rain and wind. I am writing in the train, so as not to lose time, and to send off the courier punctually.
I have brought away with me the best impressions of Kiev. Mamma was very kind and charming. In the evenings, during our games of "puzzle," we had long talks. We saw Olga twice; she got up yesterday and looks well, but thin-such a calm, good expression on her face. She has written requesting permission to be married on Saturday the 5th November. Of course she asked Mamma about it too, and I took her side, saying that in my opinion it was best to finish with this affair. If it must happen, let it happen now! She wants to take leave for a fortnight and then return to her work. Mamma intends staying on in Kiev for a while, as she is very fond of it.
To-morrow I shall describe to you the details of our stay there but now I must finish. God keep you, my beloved! Best thanks for your two letters. I kiss you all.
Stavka. 30 October, 1916.
MY DEAR TREASURE,
My warmest thanks for your sweet letter, which I found on the table on my return home. It was a great consolation to me to get both your letters, as I felt depressed coming back. Kiev seems like some wonderful dream; everything passed off so well there, and everybody was so cordial!
Now I shall tell you all in order. In my last hurried letter from Kiev, written in the train, I got to where the three of us were having lunch. At 2.30, the students from one of the schools for ensigns, who had completed their course and were promoted to the rank of officer, were drawn up in the courtyard. Mamma looked on out of a window and approved of everything; she was particularly pleased with Baby for keeping behind me I After that we drove to Olga's hospital and spent about an hour with her. She lay on a wicker couch, something like garden furniture.' I saw several of her nurses, whom I had met before, and two doctors.
The wounded came down to see us off. Tat. Andr. was tremendously pleased to be able to speak to ALEXEY. From Olga we went to have tea with dear Mamma, and then I went to the train. He had his dinner while I read and wrote. At 8 o'clock I dined with Mamma and spent a very cosy evening. The next day, the 29th, from 9.30 till 12 o'clock I visited four military colleges; three of these colleges were quite new and I began with them. First of all the Nicolaiev Military College and the Nicolaiev Artillery College - both beyond the town boundary, not far from each other. Beautiful big new buildings, here and there not quite finished. Then I had to cross the whole town to get to the Alexeiev Engineering College, also a huge and wellplanned building, with a magnificent view down the Dnieper. On the way to the Palace I looked in at the old Military College, now named in memory of Kostia. Luckily I arrived back in time for lunch at 12.30. Mamma invited all my suite and her own, as well as Ignatiev (the Governor) with his wife (daughter of Julius Uroussov). Baby spent the whole morning in the garden; his cheeks were rosy and he amazed everyone at the table by his appetite. He talked very nicely with Zina Mengden and behaved very well.
In the afternoon Mamma took us for a charming trip on the other side of the river. The view of the town from there was lovely, but, alas! sunless. We returned over another bridge and, passing by Olga's hospital, got out, and were glad to find that she had got up. But she was still feeling a little weak. Later we had tea at Mamma's with Paul and M. P. She presented Mamma with a very pretty ikon from the whole family with everyone's signatures on the back - only our signatures and the children's, of course, are not on it. She was very cold to me, and did not say a word about Livadia! Mamma thought that very strange. Paul was in high spirits. He had only recently seen the whole of the Guards and was full of enthusiasm. Having had dinner with Mamma, I left Kiev in pouring rain.
I have received your dear letter and thank you with all my heart for your kind advice. I have always thought that the question of supplies ought to be decided at once, only I had to wait for this paper. Now it is done: may God help us! I feel it is right.
The weather is warm. Yesterday it rained heavily. It is time to finish. God guard you, my angel, and the girls I
I kiss you tenderly.
NOTES: "Schools for ensigns" - skola praporshchikov.
Kostia, referred to previously: the Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovitch. He died in 1915. - he had recently seen the Guards, and was full of enthusiasm."
How false this impression must have been is made evident by an entry in Sir Alfred Knox's diary, dated 28th October, 1916 (P. 488): "I hear whispers that the Russian infantry has lost heart and that anti-war propaganda is rife in the ranks. It is little wonder that they are downhearted after being driven to the slaughter over the same ground seven times in about a month, and every time taking trenches where their guns could not keep them."
"ENGDEN": a lady-in-waiting to the Dowager Empress.
"Miechen" -the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna - v. ante. Now it is done." The control of Supplies had been placed in the hands of the Minister of the Interior - Protopopov.
Stavka. 31 October, 1916.
Sincere thanks. All is done. I have telegraphed to the old man. Do not overtire yourself. It is warm, sometimes the sun comes through. Embrace you closely.