Tsarskoe Selo, Sept. 19-th 1914
My own, my very own sweet One, I am s o happy for you that you can at last manage to go, as I know how deeply you have been suffering all this time - yr. restless sleep has been even a proof of it. It was a topic I on purpose did not touch, knowing & perfectly well understanding your feelings, at the same time realising that it is better you are not out at the head of the army. - This journey will be a tiny comfort to you, & I trust you will manage to see many troops. I can picture to myself their joy seeing you & all your feelings - alas that I cannot be with you to see it all. It is more than ever hard to bid goodbye to you my Angel - the blank after yr. departure is s o intense ! Then you, I know, not withstanding all you will have to do, will still miss yr. little family & precious agoo wee one. He will quickly get better now that our Friend has seen him & that will be a relief to you.
May the news only be good whilst you are away, as to know you have hard news to bear alone, makes the heart bleed. Looking after wounded is my consolation & that is why the last morning I even wanted to go there, whilst you were receiving, so as to keep my spirits up & not break down before you. To lessen their suffering even in a small way, helps the aching heart. Except all I go through with you & our beloved country & men I suffer for my "small old home" & her troops & Ernie & Irene & many a friend in sorrow there - but how many go through the same. And then the shame, the humiliation to think that Germans should behave as they do - egoistically I suffer horribly to be separated - we are not accustomed to it & I do so endlessly love my very own precious Boysy dear. Soon 20 years that I belong to you & what bliss it has been to be your very own little Wify ! -
How nice if you see dear Olga, it will cheer her up & do you good. - I shall give you a letter & things for the wounded for her. -
Lovy dear, my, telegrams cant be very warm, as they go through so many military hands - but you will read all my love & longing between the lines. - Sweety, if in any way you do not feel quite the thing, you will be sure to call Feodorov, wont you - & have an eye on Fredericks.
My very most earnest prayers will follow you by day and night. I commend you into our Lord's safe keeping - may He guard, guide & lead you & bring you Safe & sound back again.
I bless you & love YOU, as man was rarely been loved before - & kiss every dearly beloved place & press you tenderly to my own heart.
For ever yr. very own old Wify.
The Image will lie this night under my cushion before I give it to you with my fervent blessing.
Tsarskoe Selo, Sept. 20-th 1914
My own beloved One, I am resting in bed before dinner, the girls have gone to church and Baby is finishing his dinner. He has only slight pains sometimes. Oh my! It was hard bidding you goodbye and seeing that lonely, pale face love with big sad eyes at the waggonwindow - my heart cried out, take me with you. If only you had had N. P. S. or Mordv I. with you, a young loving face near you, you would be less lonely and "feel warmer". I came home and than broke down, prayed, - then lay down and smoked to get myself into order. When eyes looked more decent I went up to Alexei and lay for a time near him on the sopha in the dark rest did good, as I was tired out in every sense. At 4 1/4 I came down to see Lazarev and gave him over the little Image for the regiment - I did not say it was fr. - you, as then you would have to give to all the other newly formed regiments. The girls worked in the stores. At 4 1/2 Tatiana and I received Neidhardt about her committee - the first will be in the Winter Palace on Wednesday after a Te Deum, I shall again not assist. It is a comfort to set the girls working alone and that they will be known more and learn to be useful. During tea I read reports and then got a letter at last from Victoria, dated the 1/13 Sep. it hat taken long coming by messenger. I copy out what I think may interest you: "We have gone through anxious days during the long retreat of the allied armies in France. Quite between ourselves (so lovy don't tell on better) the French at first left the English army to bear all the brunt of the heavy german out flanking attack, alone, and if the English troops had been less dogged, not only they but the whole French forces would have been crumpled up. This has now been set right and two French generals who were to blame in the matter, have, been deposed by Joffre and replaced by others. One of them had 6 notes from the English Com. in chief French, unopened in his pocket - the other - kept sending as answer to an appeal to come on and help, that his horses were too tired. That is past history however, but it has cost the lives and liberty of many good officers and men. Luckily it was kept dark and people here in general dont know about it. "The 500000 recruits asked for are nearly complete and hard at work drilling all day long masses of gentlemen joined the ranks and set a good example. There is a talk of raising a fourther 500000 including the contingency from the colonies. I am not sure I like the Idea of Indian troops coming to fight in Europe, but they are picked regiments and when served in China and in Egypt kept perfect discipline so that those who ought to know best are confident they will behave perfectly well no leeting or massacring. The superior officers are all English. Ernies friend the Maharagah of Biskanir is coming with his own contingent - last time I saw him was as Ernie's guest at Wolfsgarten. - Georgie wrote us an account of his share in the naval action of Helgoland. He commands the fore-turret and fired quite a number of shots and his captain says with coolness and good judgement. S. says that the attempt to destroying the docks of the Kiel Canal (the bridges alone would be little good) by aeroplanes is always in the admiraltys mind - but it is very difficult as all is well defended and one has to wait for a favorable opportunity or the attempt has no chance of success. It is distressing that the only passage into the Baltic for men-of-war, wh. is at all possible of being used, is through the Sound, wh. is not deep enough for battleships or big cruisers. In the North Sea the Germans have strewn mines far out all over the place recklessly endangering neutral trading ships and now that the first strong autumn winds are blowing, they will drift (for they are not anchored) on the Dutch and Norwegien and Danish shores (some round the German, one must hope) "She sends much love. - The sun shone so brightly this afternoon - but not in my room - tea was sad and strange and the armchair looked mournful without my precious One in it. - Marie and Dmitri dine, so I will stop writing and shut my eyes a little - and finish tonight. - Marie and Dmitri were in good spirits, they left at to so as to go to Paul. Baby was restless and only got to steep after 11 but no strong pain. The girls went to bed, and I to surprise Ania who lay on her sopha in the big palace - she has now obliteration of veins, so Princess Gedroytz had been again to her and told her to keep quiet a few days - she had been by motor to town to see our friend and that had tired her leg. I returned at 11 and went to bed.
My face is tied up, as the teeth, jaw ache a bit; the eyes are sore and swollen still, and the heart yearns after the dearest being on earth who belongs to old Sunny. - Our Friend is happy for your sake that you have gone and was so glad to have seen you yesterday. He always fears Bonheur, that is to say, the crows want him to get the P. throne or in Galicia that that is there aim but I said she should quieten him, even out of thanks you would never risk such a thing. Gr. loves you jealously and cant hear N. playing a part. - Xenia answered my wire - is sad not to have seen you before you left her train arrived. I miscalculated, Schulenburg cannot be here before to-morrow afternoon or evening, so I shall only get up for Church, a little later too. -
Tsarskoe Selo, 21th Sept. 1914
MY very own beloved One, What joy to receive your 2 dear telegrams - thank God for the good, such a comfort to receive it upon your arrival. God bless your presence there. Do so wonder, hope and trust that you will see the troops. - Baby had a rather restless night but no real pain. I went up to kiss him before Church, at 11. Lunched with the girlies on my sopha, Bekker arrived. Then lay near Alexeis bed for over an hour and then off to the train - not very many wounded. Two officers of one regiment and rota died on the journey and one soldier. Their lungs are much attacked after the rain and having gone through the Nieman in the water - no acquaintances army regiments - one soldier remembered seeing us at Moscou this summer at the Khodynka. Paretzky got worse from his ill heart and overstrain, looks very bad, sunken in face, staring eyes, grey beard, painful impression poor dear - not wounded. - Then we 5 went to Ania and took tea early there. At 3 went to our little hospital to put on our chalat and off to the big hospital, where we worked hard, At 5 1/2 I had to return with M. and A. as received an otriad with Masha Vassitichikov's brother at the head. Then back to the little hospital, where children were working and I did 3 new officers - them showed Karangosov and Zhdanov how to really play domino. After dinner and prayers with Baby, went to Ania where the 4 girls already were and saw N. P who had dined with her. He felt comforted to see us, as very lonely and feels himself so useless. Princess Ged. came to see Anias leg wh. I then bandaged, and we gave her a cup of tea. Dropped N. A in the motor near the station. Bright moon, cold night. Baby is sleeping fast. All the little family kiss you ever so tenderly. Miss my Angel quite horribly, and at night whenever woke up tried to be silent not to wake you up. So sad in Church without you near me. Goodbye Sweetheart - my prayers and thoughts follow you everywhere. Bless and kiss you without end, every dearly beloved place.
Your own old
N. Gr. Orlova is going off to morrow to Baranovitchi see her husband 2 days. Ania heard from Saschka - and 2 letters from her brother. -
No - 6.
Tsarskoe Selo, 23rd Sept. 1914
My own beloved Darling,
I was so sorry not to be able to write to you yesterday, but my head ached hideously & I lay all the evening in the dark. In the morning we went to the Grotto church for half of the service & it was lovely; I had been before to see Baby! Then we fetched the Pss. G. at Anias.
My head already ached & I cant take any medecins now, neither for the heart. We worked from 10-1, as there was an operation wh. lasted long.
After luncheon I had Schulenburg who left again to-day, as Rennenkampf told him to hurry back. Then I came up to kiss Baby & went down & lay on my bed till tea-time, after wh. I received Sandra Schouvalov's otriad, after wh. to bed with a splitting headache. Ania was offended I did not go to her, but she had -lots of guests, & our Friend for three hours. The night was not famous & I feel my head all day - heart enlarged - generally I take drops 3 or 4 times a day, as otherwise I could not keep up, & now I cant these days. - I read Doklady in bed & got on to the sopha for luncheon. Then received the couple Rebinder from Kharkhov they have my stores there & she had come from Vilna where she had been to bid goodbye to her brother Kutaissov. He showed her the Image I had sent the battery from Baby & it looked already quite used it seems they daily have it out for prayers & before every battle they pray before it - so touching. -
Then I came to Baby & lay near him in the half dark whilst Vlad. Nik. was reading to him, now they are playing together, the girls too, we have had tea up here too. - The weather is bright, in the night almost frost. -
Thank God the news continues being good & the Prussians retire. The mud hunted them away. Mekk writes that there are a good many cases of cholera & dissentry in Lvov but they are taking sanitary measures. - There have been difficult moments there, according to the papers; but I trust there wont be anything serious - one cannot trust those Poles --after all we are their enemies & the catholics must hate us. - I shall finish in the evening, cant write much at a time. - Sweet Angel, soul & heart a r e e v e r with you.
I am writing on Anastasias paper, Baby kisses you very much - he has no pains at all, lies, because the knee is still swollen, do hope he can be up then by your return. - I got a letter from old Mme Orlova, to whom Ivan wrote that he wants to continue the military service after war - he told me as much too - he is Flyer Orlov, 20th Corps, active Army - he received the St. George's cross, has the right to another decoration, but perhaps he might receive the grade of praporstchik (or podporoutchik). He did his "reconnoitring under heavy fire of the enemy" - one day he flew alone particularly high up & the cold was so intense, he did not know what to do - the hands freezing - machine stopped working - he did not care what would become of him, so numbed he felt - then he began praying & all of a sudden the machine went off working again alright. When it pours they cannot fly so sleep & sleep. Plucky boy to fly so often alone - what nerves one needs; indeed his father would have been proud of him therefore the Grandmama asks for him. - I write abominably to-day, but my brain is tired & heavy. - Oh my sweetheart, what an intense joy it was when your precious letter was brought to me, & I thank you for it from all my heart. It was good of you writing - I read parts of it to the girls & Ania, who had been permitted to come to dinner & remained till 10 1/2. How interesting it must all have been. - Rouzsky. for sure was deeply moved that you made him general adj. Wont agoo wee one be happy you wrote! He has no more pain, thank God. You are probably now off in the train again - but how short you remain with Olga. What a recompense to the brave garrison of Ossowetz if you go there; - perhaps Grodno, if some troops are still resting there. - Schulenburg saw the lancers, their horses are completely done up, the backs sore to blood - hours in the saddle - & their legs quite weak. As the train stood near Vilna several of the officers Came & slept change about several hours on his bed, & they enjoyed this luxury of a train-bed even, & to find a real W. C. was exquisite joy to them, Kniaievitch did not want to come out any more he was so comfortable there! (this Sch's wife related to Ania).
And beloved huzy misses his little Wify! And do I not you too! But I have the nice family to cheer me up. - Do you go into my compartment sometimes? Please give Fred. many kind messages. Have you spoken to Feodorov about the military students & Drs? No telegram from you to-day, that means that you did nothing in particular, I suppose.
Now my own sweetest one my Nicky dear, I must. be trying to sleep & lay this letter out to be taken at 81/2. -
I had no more ink in my pen, so had to take another. Goodbye, my Angel, God bless & protect you & bring you safe & sound back again. Ever possible tender kiss & caress fr. yr. foundly loving & truly devoted little Wify. Wify. Ania thanks for your message & sends much love.
Tsarskoe Selo, Sept. 24-th 1914
My beloved Darling, From all my heart I thank you for your sweet letter. Your tender words touched me deeply and warmed my lonely heart. I am deeply disappointed for you that one advises you not to go to the fortress - it would have been a real recompense to those wonderfully brave men. One says Ducky went there for the thanksgiving Te Deum and that she heard the cannons firing in the distance. - At Vilna there are many troops resting as the horses are so worn out, I hope you can see them, Olga wrote such a happy telegram after having seen you - dear child,. she does work so bravely, and how many grateful hearts will carry home pictures of her bright sweet being into the ranks again and others home into their villages and her being your Sister will make the link yet stronger between you and the people. - I read such a pretty article out of an English paper - they praise our soldiers so much and say that their deep religiousness and veneration for their peace-loving monarch makes them fight so well and for a holy cause. - How utterly shameful that the Germans have shut the little Grandduchess of Luxemburg in a castle near Nuremberg, - such an insult! - Fancy only I got a little letter from Gretchen without signature or beginning, written in English and sent from England and the address written in another handwriting - I cannot imagine how she got it sent. - Ania's leg is much better to-day, and I see she intends to be up for your return - I wish she had been well now and the leg next week bad, then we should have had some nice quiet evenings cosily to ourselves. We only went at 11 to the hospital, fetched the Pss. at Anias. We assisted at 2 operations - she did them sitting, so as that I could give her the instruments sitting too. The one man was too amusing when he came to himself again in bed - he began singing away at the top of his voice and very well, and conducting with his hand, upon wh. I concluded he was a "Zapievalo" - and so he was most cheery and said he hoped he had not used rude language - he wishes to be a hero and soon go back again to the war as soon as his foot heals up again. - The other one smiled mischivously and said: "I was far, far away, I walked and walked, - It was nice over there. Almighty God, we were all together you don't know where I have been!" and thanking God and praising him - he must have seen wonderful sights whilst one was extricating the ball out of his shoulder. She did not let me bind up anyone, so as to keep quiet, as felt my head and heart. After luncheon I lay in Babys room till 5, Mr. G. read to him and I think I took a short nap. Then Alexei read 5 lines in French aloud, quite nicely. Then I received Uncle Mekk after wh. I flew for a half an hour with Olga to Anias house, as our Friend spent the afternoon with her and wanted to see me. He asked after you and hoped you would go to the fortress. - Then we had our lecture with Pss. G. - After dinner the girls went to Ania where N. P. was, and I followed after prayers. We worked, she glued and he smoked. She is not over amiable these days and only thinks of herself and her comfort and makes others crawl under the table to arrange her leg on lots of cushions, and does not trouble her head whether others sit comfortably - spoilt and badly brought up. She has lots of people coming to see her all day long, so she has no time to be lonely, tho' when you return she will groan that she was wretched the whole time. - She is surrounded by several big photos of you enlarged ones of hers - in every corner and heaps of small ones. - We dropped N. P. near the station and were home at 11. - I wanted to go to Church every day and only got there once, such a pitty, as it is such a help when the heart feels sad. We always place candies before we go to the hospital and I like to pray for God and the holy Virgin to bless the work of our hands and to let them bring healing to the ill. - I am so glad you are feeling better again, such a journey is beneficient, as still you feel yourself nearer to all and could see the chiefs and hear all from them directly and tell them your ideas. -
What joy for Keller - he really has deserved his cross and now he has repayed us for everything, it was his ardent wish all these years. - How deadtired the French and English troops must be, fighting without ceasing for 20 days or more. - And we have the big guns from Koenigsberg against us. Today Orlov sent no news, so I suppose nothing in particular has occurred.
To be away from all the petty talks must do you good - here there are such rumours always, and generally without foundation. - Poor old Fredericks, the other one, had died. How sad our poor old one got worse again
I was so afraid I it might happen again when out with you, and it would have been more delicate had he remained behind - but he is so deeply devoted to you, that he could not bear the idea of your going alone. I fear we shall not keep him long amongst us, his time is near at hand - what a loss it will be - there are no more such types to be found and such an honest friend is difficult to replace. - Sweetheart, I hope you sleep better now, I cannot say that of myself, the brain seems to be working all the time and never wanting to rest. Hundreds of ideas and combinations come bothering one. - I, reread your dear letters several times and try to think its Lovy speaking to me. Somehow we see so little of each other, you are so much occupied and one does not like to bother with questions when you are tired after your "doklady" and then we are never alone together. - But now I must try and get to sleep, so as to feel stronger to-morrow and be of more use. I thought I should do so much when you were away, and Bekker spoilt all my plans and, good intentions, - Sleep well wee One, holy Angels guard your slumber and Wify's prayers and love suround you with deep devotion and love.
25-th. Good morning my treasure. To-day the Feldjeger fetches the letter later so I can write still a little. This may be the last letter if Fredericks is right, that you are returning to-morrow, but it seems to me you wont, as you are sure to be seeing the hussars, lancers, artillery and other troops resting at Vilna. There were 2 degrees of frost this night - now there is again glorious sunshine. - We shall be at 11 at the hospital, I still cannot take medicins wh. is a great nuisance, as my head daily aches tho' not very strongly and I feel my heart, tho it is not enlarged, but I must keep still rather quiet today. I have not been for a real airing since you left. - Sergei is a little better - Pss. Orlov too feels quite alright, only weak. - Baby slept and feels well. One continues speaking of that property in the Baltic provinces where the place is marked white and a hydroplane rested upon their lake there - as. tho' officers, ours, had dressed in plain clothes and seen it - nobody is allowed to go there. - I do wish one could have it seriously enquired into. There are so many spies everywhere that it. may be true, but it would be very sad, as there are still many very loyal subjects in the Baltic provinces. This miserable war, when will it ever end. William, I feel sure must at times pass through hideous moments of despair, when he grasps that it was he, and especially his antirussian set, wh. began the war and is dragging his country into ruin. All those little states, for years they will continue suffering from the after effects. It makes my heart bleed when I think how hard Papa and Ernie struggled, to bring our little country to its present state of prosperity in every sense.
With God's help here all will go well and end gloriously, and it has lifted up spirits, cleansed the many stagnant minds, brought unity in feelings and is a "healthy war" in the moral sense. Only one thing I long that our troops should behave examplarily in every sense, and not rob and pillage - leave that horror to the Prussian troops. It is demoralising, and then one looses the real control over the men they fight for personal gain and not for the country's glory, when they reach the stage of high-way robbers. - No reason to follow bad examples - the rearguard, "obozy" are the curse in, this case all speak in despair of them, nobody to hold them in hand. - There, are always ugly sides and beautiful ones to everything, and so is. it here. Such a war. ought to cleanse the. spirits and not defile them, is it not so? Some regiments are very severe I know and try to keep order - but a word rd from above would do no harm, this is my very own idea, Darling; because I want the name of our russian troops to be remembered hereafter in the countries with awe and respect - and admiration. Here people do not ever quite grasp the idea that other peoples property is sacred, and not to be touched - victory does not mean pillage. Let the priests in the regiments say a word to the men too on this topic.
Now I am bothering you with things that do not concern me, but only out of love for your soldiers and their reputation.
Sweetest treasure, I must be ending now, and get up. All my prayers and tenderest thoughts follow you; may God give you courage, strength, and patience, faith you have more than ever and it is this wh. keeps you up - yes prayers and implicid trust in God's mercy alone, give one strength to bear all. And our Friend helps you carry yr. heavy cross and great responsibilities - and all will come right, as the right is on our side. I bless you, kiss your precious face, sweet neck and dear loving handies with all the fervour of a great loving heart. How lovely to have you soon back again. Your very own old
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