Volume III - CHAPTER VIII - FEBRUARY 22-MARCH 11, 1917
Thursday, February 22, 1917.
I have just been reading the letters of Tchadaïev, a paradox-loving and discerning author, the ironical enemy of Slav particularism and the great and inspired philosopher who thundered his eloquent prophecies at the Russian people in or about the year 1840. I have incidentally noted the following profound observation:
"The Russians are one of those nations which seem to exist only to give humanity terrible lessons. Of a certainty these lessons will not be wasted. But who can foretell the sufferings and trials in store for Russia before she returns to the normal course of her destiny and her place in the bosom of humanity?"
Friday, February 23, 1917.
The foreign delegates have hardly left Petrograd before the horizon of the Neva is darkening anew.
The Imperial Duma is to resume its labours on Tuesday next, the 27th February, and the fact is causing excitement in industrial quarters. To-day, various agitators have been visiting the Putilov works, the Baltic Yards and the Viborg quarter, preaching a general strike as a protest against the government, food-shortage and war.
The agitation has been lively enough to induce General Kharbalov, Military Governor of the capital, to issue a notice prohibiting public meetings and informing the civil population that "all resistance to authority will be immediately put down by force of arms."
This evening I gave a dinner to the Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna and her son, the Grand Duke Boris. My other guests were Sazonov, Shebeko, the former ambassador to Vienna, Princess Marie Troubetzkoï, Princess Bielosselsky Prince and Princess Michael Gortchakov, Princess Stanilas Radziwill, M. and Madame Polovtsov, Count and Countess Alexander Shuvalov, Count and Countess Joseph Potocki, Princess Gagarin, M. Poklevski, Madame Vera Narishkin, Count Adam Zamoïjski, Benckendorff, General Knorring and my staff.
The Grand Duchess was at the head of my table. I was on her left and Sazonov on her right. The Grand Duke sat opposite her; on his right was the Vicomtesse du Halgouët, wife of my secretary who acts as hostess, and on his left Princess Marie Troubetzkoï.
During dinner, my conversation with the Grand Duchess was purely small-talk and her conversation with Sazonov was of the same character.
But when we returned to the drawing-room, she asked me to sit by her, and we talked more freely. With an air of the deepest dejection she told me that she is leaving the day after to-morrow for Kislovotsk, on the northern slopes of the Caucasus:
"I badly need sun and a rest, " she said. "The emotions of recent times have worn me out. I'm leaving with my heart heavy with apprehension. What will have happened by the time I see you again? Things can't go on like this!"
"So affairs are not improving?"
"No. How could they? The Empress has the Emperor entirely under her thumb her only adviser is Protopopov who consults the ghost of Rasputin every night! I can't tell you how downhearted I feel. Everything seems black, wherever I look. I'm expecting the most dire catastrophes. And yet God can't mean Russia to perish!"
"God only helps those who help themselves; I have never heard of Him preventing a suicide. And what the Emperor is now doing is simply suicide, suicide for himself, his dynasty and his people."
"But what can we do?"
"Fight on. The recent intervention by the Grand Dukes has failed: we must try again, but on broader grounds and, permit me to add, in a more serious and prudent, and less censorious spirit. Both the Right and Left sections of the Council of Empire and the Duma contain elements well qualified to organize resistance to the abuses of autocracy. I believe that Protopopov, Dobrovolsky and all the rest of the Empress's camarilla would soon crumble into dust if all the reasonable and patriotic men in these two assemblies made common cause for the sake of national salvation and undertook to show the Emperor, firmly and logically, but with due moderation, that he is leading Russia straight to disaster; if the imperial family combined to speak with one voice while carefully avoiding the slightest suspicion of intrigue or conspiracy, and if you thus succeeded in creating in the upper strata of the State an all-embracing concentration on national revival. But there is no time to lose! The danger is pressing; every hour counts. If salvation does not come from above, there will be revolution from below. And that will mean catastrophe!"
Her only answer was a despairing sigh. Then she remembered her royal duties, in the performance of which she has no superior, and asked some of the ladies to come and talk to her ...
Saturday, February 24, 1917.
The Marchese Carlotti, my Italian colleague, has just been comparing notes with me on the results of the conference. The course of our conversation led us to discuss the internal situation.
Without minimizing the gravity of the symptoms that come under our observation every day, Carlotti does not think that a revolution is imminent. In any case, he presumes that if the tsarist monarchy were overthrown by a popular rising, it would be immediately replaced by a constitutional and democratic régime, in accordance with the programme of the "Cadet" Party; with the exception of a little bloodshed at the start, the new order would find no great obstacles to its inception. He argued this point of view with the ingenious subtlety of the Italian character which, in a political crisis, at once perceives all the possible combinations and desirable solutions.
I argued contra, that the abolition of tsarism would probably inaugurate an unlimited period of disorder such as that which followed the death of Ivan the Terrible; tsarism, I said, is not only the official form of Russian government; it is the very foundation, tie-beam and structure of the Russian community. It is tsarism which has made the historic individuality of Russia and still preserves it. The whole collective life of the Russian nation is so to speak summed up in tsarism. Outside tsarism there is nothing. To bring home to Carlotti what I meant by assertions so dogmatic, I had recourse to an imaginary comparison which has often occurred to me of late:
"You remember the famous Gunpowder Plot in the reign of James I of England, in 1605: a number of conspirators mined Westminster Palace with the idea of blowing up the sovereign, the ministers and all the members of Parliament at one and the same time. Suppose that at the present time a few English anarchists, using some highly improbable explosive, succeeded in annihilating at one blow King, Ministers, House of Lords, House of Commons, all government departments, police, armed forces and courts of law; in a word, all the machinery of the British constitution. Anyone can see there would be instant and general confusion in the State and a sudden cessation of almost all its vital functions. But it would only be a case of syncope. After a short period of paralysis and amazement, you would see public life revived and reorganized by the spontaneous action of provincial and municipal institutions, ecclesiastical bodies, the Universities, clubs, chambers of commerce, corporations and those innumerable private associations - religious, political, charitable, philanthropic, literary, scientific and sporting - which swarm on English soil and co-ordinate to a certain extent the free play of individual initiative. Such an exhibition of automatic reconstruction is impossible to imagine in a country like Russia, where no manifestation of political or social activity escapes the interference, supervision or strangling grip of the central authority, and the whole life of the nation is the slave of an omnipotent bureaucracy ... My conclusion is that if tsarism collapsed, it would bring the whole Russian edifice down with it in its fall. I even wonder whether national unity would survive; for by what force, or in virtue of what principle could the belt of subject races be kept in place which the traditional policy of the tsars has girt about the Muscovite State? Would it not mean the end of Russia?"
Sunday, February 25, 1917.
Pokrovski and I have been academically discussing the origins of the war, the action of the collective forces and individual intentions which had long made war inevitable, the terrible responsibility which History will certainly assign to Germany, and so on. While thus investigating first causes, we came to mention the Russo-Japanese War and I alluded to the double game which William II played towards Russia at that time. Pokrovski interrupted:
"As we are on this subject, .1 should like to ask you a question which will demonstrate once more how little I know about diplomatic affairs. Is it true that in 1904 the Kaiser was urging Japan to attack us while simultaneously inciting us on to make no concessions?"
"Absolutely true. To see what advice and encouragement Germany gave Russia at that time, you have only to examine your archives or, better still, study the report of your excellent colleague, Neratov. there is no doubt that from 1897 onward the Emperor William was always dangling before your eyes the vision of the Far East; it was he who suggested the seizure of Port Arthur to you. He paraded before you the spectre of the 'Yellow Peril' and denounced the monstrous selfishness of France in trying to keep you out of Asiatic adventures. In the following years he was always complimenting you on your work in Manchuria. The moment you had any difficulty with Japan, he gave you secret assurances that if the 'dirty little yellows' became too bold, the German fleet would go to the help of yours in the China Seas. Towards the end of 1903, while France was exerting herself to procure you an honourable outcome of the Yalu affair, he made the Tsar a solemn promise to keep the peace in Europe while your armies were away fighting in the Far East. Until the Mukden defeat, he never ceased exhorting you to continue the war, increase your effectives and throw the whole of your national resources into that disastrous struggle. Such was his attitude towards Russia ... But the Kaiser might conceivably say: 'Admitted that the advice I gave Russia was bad, all she had to do was not to take it. You reproach me with having encouraged her to involve herself in the Far East with the secret desire of seeing her weakened in Europe. All that is only policy, and good policy: I have furthered German interests ... ' So I should not pass too severe a judgment on his behaviour towards you if it were not for something else. The fact is that while he was fooling and mystifying you, he was secretly encouraging the restiveness of Japan: he was inciting her to attack you and saying to her 'In a duel with Russia: you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Your friend England will never allow you to be crushed. France will abandon her ally. My personal contribution will be to promise you neutrality, a benevolent neutrality!' On the 8th February, 1904, without the slightest warning, Japanese destroyers sank three of your largest cruisers off Port Arthur. To excuse behaviour such as that, the Kaiser cannot plead the traditional processes of political calculation. It was pure deceit, knavery and double-dealing on his part."
Pokrovski sat dumbfounded, then flung up his arms:
"Do you mean to say that machiavellianism such as that is possible in the twentieth century! The twentieth century!"
"Yes. even in the twentieth century. But what does the century matter Machiavellianism was several thousand years old when Machiavelli invented it. I don't suppose the events of the present war have exactly persuaded you that the world grows wiser as it gets older. The future will always be the product of the past."
"Then I'm sorry for humanity! Gospodi pomilouï. . .But is what you've just been telling me absolutely true and authentic? And how do you know, if it's not indiscreet to ask?"
"The Japanese Government was immensely surprised by Germany's encouragement; it immediately informed the British Government which at once recognized the scheming and mischief-making brain of the Emperor William.
"Shortly afterwards the war-party got the upper hand at Tokio. I heard all this in 1913 from the British Ambassador in Paris, Sir Francis Bertie, who was Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office in 1903."
Monday, February 26, 1917.
The food situation in Moldavia is getting worse every day: the Rumanian army is rationed below subsistence level and the civil population is dying of starvation. The natural result of physical distress has been a shocking epidemic of typhus.
General Berthelot maintains that the sole remedy is an offensive north of the Dobrudja, carried out in such a way as to free one arm of the Danube and thus open a fresh line of supply. General Gourko, however, refuses to undertake this offensive, which he regards as extremely dangerous and in any case does not fit in with his strategic plans.
In this national trial - one of the most cruel which has overtaken any country - King Ferdinand, Queen Marie and Bratiano are real shining lights. All the evidence we are getting from Jassy agrees on that point. By his calm and fearless energy, the King is keeping up the nation's courage and rallying everyone to the defence of the flag; gravely and without any sort of affectation, he is carrying out his professional duties splendidly as sovereign and leader. Bratiano shows the same strength of character and calm and deliberate fortitude; he, too, is facing the necessary sacrifices in the same manly way. In the case of the Queen on the other hand, patriotism is taking the heroic form; there is a fiery and warm-hearted ardour about her, an enthusiastic and chivalrous ardour, something of the sacred flame. So she has already become a figure of legend, for her proud and winning loveliness is the very incarnation of the soul of her people.
Wednesday, February 28, 1917.
From whatever point of view the Russian be regarded, whether political, intellectual, moral or religious, he always presents the paradoxicaI spectacle of extreme docility combined with a spirit of revolt which is very strongly marked.
The moujik is famed for his endurance and fatalism, his gentleness and meekness; his tenderness and resignation often border on the sublime. But all at once you will see him assert himself and rebel. His blind rage immediately impels him to the most shocking crimes, ferocious acts of vengeance and paroxysms of wickedness and savagery.
There is the same contrast in the religious sphere. All who study the history and theology of the Russian Orthodox Church, "the True Church of Christ," realize that its essential characteristics are its conservative instincts, the immutable rigidity of its creed, reverence for canon law, the importance of forms and rites, routine devotions, sumptuous ceremonial, an imposing hierarchy and humble, blind submission on the part of the faithful. By way of contrast, the great sect of the Raskol which separated from the official Church in the XVIIth century and has no less than eleven million adherents, shows us the abolition of priesthood, a primitive rough-and-ready form of worship and a negative and subversive radicalism. The innumerable sects which the Raskol produced in its turn, sects such as the Khlisty, Dukhobors, Stranniky, Pomortsi, Duchitely, Molokanes and Skoptzy, have gone very much further. With them there is no limit to individualism, no organization or discipline, unbridled licence, all the freaks and aberrations of religious emotion; in fact absolute anarchy.
These two sides of the Russian nature appear equally well in the sphere of morals and private life. I know no country where the social fact is so impregnated with the spirit of tradition and religion; domestic life so solemn, patriarchal, inspired by so much tenderness and affection, enveloped in so much poetry and reverence. Nowhere are family duties and responsibilities accepted more readily; the irksomeness and privations, distresses and adversities of daily life borne with more patience.
On the other hand, in no other country are individual revolts more frequent and sudden, and nowhere do they create such a sensation. On this point the records of crimes of passion and fashionable scandals abound in startling examples. There is no excess of which Russians, whether men or women, are not capable, the moment they have decided to "assert themselves as free beings."
Thursday, March 1, 1917.
In spite of my repeated appeals, General Gourko has peremptorily refused to launch an offensive north of the Dobrudja with a view to creating a new line of supply for Rumania. There is undoubted force in his technical objections, but his real reason is one he does not mention, though General Polivanov gave me a hint of it not long ago.
The Russian High Command attaches but slight importance to any operations of which Rumania might become the theatre; it intends to maintain a strict defensive there, its sole strategic object being to keep the enemy away from Kiev and Odessa. It has no illusions whatever about the possibility of clearing the way to Constantinople by forcing the Danube and the Balkans. It regards a march on Constantinople as necessarily postponed to the very end of the war, when an exhausted Germany will leave Turkey to her fate. Then and only then will a Russian army undertake the conquest of Constantinople: its point of departure will not be the Danube, or Sinope, or Heraclea, but the western shore of the Black Sea, Midia, Cape Inadia, or perhaps even Burgas if the military and political situation in Bulgaria makes it possible.
As I was telling Pokrovski of my annoyance at General Gourko's refusal, he replied with some warmth:
"I assure you that we are doing and shall continue to do everything possible to save Rumania. But we must wait for a favourable moment! And that means a long time, no doubt! I know that at Jassy the Rumanians are saying nasty things about us, and even accusing us of treachery. I can forgive them, because they're in a very wretched state. But the honesty of our conduct is sufficiently proved by the fact that our Moldavian army is no less than five hundred thousand strong with a colossal amount of equipment. Bratiano should realize that most of the present troubles are due to this vast accumulation, for which he himself pleaded so long and so often."
As General Alexeiev is about to return to his post as Chief of the General Staff, Pokrovski has promised to put before him, in my name, the political and humanitarian arguments in favour of an offensive north of the Dobrudja.
Friday. March 2, 1917.
The effects of the stimulant which the Allied Conference provided to the Russian Government departments, or at any rate the departmental offices in Petrograd, has already worn off.
The artillery, war-factory and supply and transport departments have fallen back into their old casual and leisurely ways. Our officers and engineers are up against the same dilatory replies, the same dead weight of inactivity and indifference as before. It is enough to make one despair of everything. How I can sympathize with the spur of Ivan the Terrible and the cane of Peter the Great!
Saturday, March 3, 1917.
I have just been told of a long conversation which took place recently between the Empress and Monsignor Theophanes, the Bishop of Viatka. This prelate is a creature of Rasputin, but the way he spoke to his sovereign shows that he has a sensible and independent mind.
The Tsarina first asked him about the attitude of his flock towards the war. Monsignor Theophanes replied that the spirit of patriotism had not waned in his diocese which lies west of the Urals: of course the public was suffering from so long a trial; there was grumbling and criticism, but men were willing to put up with many more losses and much more privation in the cause of victory. He could reassure the Empress on that point. But in other respects he had much to worry and grieve him; he had observed that the demoralization of the people was making alarming progress every day. The men who returned from the army, sick, wounded, or on leave, were giving utterance to scandalous opinions; they openly professed unbelief and atheism and did not even shrink from blasphemy and sacrilege. Anyone could see at once that they had been in touch with intellectuals and Jews. The cinemas, which had now spread to every little provincial town, were now another cause of degeneration. Melodramatic adventures and scenes of robbery and murder were too heady for simple souls such as moujiks: they fired their imaginations and turned their heads. It was thus that the bishop accounted for the unwonted number of sensational crimes of violence which have been recorded in recent months not only in the diocese of Viatka but the neighbouring dioceses of Ekaterinburg, Tobolsk, Perm and Samara. In support of his statements, he showed the Empress photographs of looted shops, sacked houses and mutilated corpses, all of them obviously showing the handiwork of audacious criminality. He, then castigated a wholly modern vice - morphia-taking - of which the masses in Russia had not even heard until quite recently. The evil had come from all the military hospitals with which the country is dotted. Many doctors and chemists had got into the habit of taking morphia; through them the use of the drug had spread among officers, officials, engineers and students. Before long the hospital attendants had followed their examples, and their case was far more pernicious because they had made men of the people their companions in debauchery. When they did not take morphia themselves they sold it to others; everyone in Viatka knew the cabarets where this trade was carried on. The police had good reasons for shutting their eyes to it ...
Monsignor Theophanes ended thus:
"The remedy for all these evils should be sought, I think, in strong action by the clergy. But I confess with grief to Your Majesty that the general demoralization has not spared our priests, particularly in the country districts. A few are real saints but the majority are abandoned and degraded. They have no influence with their parishioners. The religious education of the people must begin all over again, and to that end the moral ascendancy of the clergy must be restored to them. The first step is to suppress the sale of the sacraments. The State must pay the priest a stipend sufficient to live upon and then he must be forbidden to accept any money save that given voluntarily for his church or the poor. The wretched condition to which the sviat chenik is reduced, as things are now, compels him to resort to a scandalous sort of trading which deprives him of all prestige and dignity. I anticipate great disasters to our holy church unless its supreme guardian, our revered and pious Tsar, reforms it as soon as possible ... "
In the mouth of one of Rasputin's bishops, these words are an edifying prediction.
I have heard from another source that Monsignor Vladimir; Archbishop of Penza, and Monsignor Andrew, Bishop of Ufa, two prelates who would not consent to throw in their lot with Rasputin and are among the most distinguished members of the Russian clergy, have expressed exactly the same opinions as Monsignor Theophanes.
Tuesday, March 6, 1917.
Petrograd is short of bread and wood, and the public is suffering want.
At a bakery on the Liteïny this morning I was struck by the sinister expression on the faces of the poor folk who were lined up in a queue, most of whom had spent the whole night there.
Pokrovski, to whom I mentioned the matter, did not conceal his anxiety. But what can be done! The transport crisis is certainly worse. The extreme cold (43°) which has all Russia in its grip has put more than twelve hundred engines out of action, owing to boiler tubes bursting, and there is a shortage of spare tubes as a result of strikes. Moreover, the snowfall of the last few weeks has been exceptionally heavy and there is also a shortage of labour in the villages to clear the permanent way. The result is that at the present moment fifty-seven thousand railway wagons cannot be moved.
Thursday, March 8, 1917.
There has been great agitation in Petrograd all day. Processions have been parading the main streets. At several points the mob shouted for "Bread and peace!" At others it sang the Working Man's Marseillaise. In the Nevsky Prospekt there have been slight disorders.
I had Trepov, Count Tolstoï, Director of the Hermitage, my Spanish colleague, Villasinda, and a score of my regular guests to dinner this evening.
The occurrences in the streets were responsible for a shade of anxiety which marked our faces and our conversation. I asked Trepov what steps the Government was taking to bring food supplies to Petrograd, as unless they are taken the situation will probably soon get worse. His replies were anything but reassuring.
When I returned to my other guests, I found all traces of anxiety had vanished from their features and their talk. The main object of conversation was an evening party which Princess Leon Radziwill is giving on Sunday: it will be a large and brilliant party, and everyone was hoping that there will be music and dancing.
Trepov and I stared at each other. The same words came to our lips:
"What a curious time to arrange a party!"
In one group, various opinions were being passed on the dancers of the Marie Theatre and whether the palm for excellence should be awarded to Pavlova, Kchechinskaïa or Karsavina, etc.
In spite of the fact that revolution is in the air in his capital, the Emperor, who has spent the last two months at Tsarskoe Selo, left for General Headquarters this evening.
Friday, March 9, 1917.
This morning the excitement in industrial circles took a violent form. Many bakeries were looted, especially in the Viborg Quarter and Vassili-Ostrov. At several points the Cossacks charged the crowd and killed a number of workmen.
Pokrovski has been confiding his anxieties to me:
"I should regard these disorders as of minor importance if my dear colleague at the Interior still retained a shred of common sense. But what can you do with a man who has lost all idea of reality for weeks, and confers with the shade of Rasputin every night? This very evening he's been spending hours in conjuring up the ghost of the staretz!"
Saturday, March 10, 1917.
The hair-raising problem of food supplies has been investigated to-night by an "Extraordinary Council," which was attended by all the ministers (except the Minister of the Interior), the President of the Council of Empire, the President of the Duma and the Mayor of Petrograd. Protopopov did not condescend to take part in the conference; he was no doubt communing with the ghost of Rasputin.
Gendarmes, Cossacks and troops have been much in evidence all over the city. Until four o'clock in the afternoon the demonstrations gave rise to no untoward event. But the public soon began to get excited. The Marseillaise was sung, and red flags were paraded on which was written Down with the Government! . . . Down with Protopopov... Down with the war! ... Down with Germany! . .
Shortly after five disorders began in the Nevsky Prospekt. Three demonstrators and three police officers were killed and about a hundred persons wounded.
Order was restored by the evening. I took advantage of the situation to take the Vicomtesse du Halgouët, my secretary's wife, to hear a little music at the Liloty concert. We passed Cossack patrols the whole way there.
The hall of the Marie Theatre was almost empty; not more than fifty persons were present and there were many gaps even in the orchestra itself. We heard, or rather sat through, the first symphony of the young composer Saminsky, an unequal work which is quite powerful in places though its effects are wasted in a certain straining after startling dissonances and complicated harmonic formulæ. At any other time these subtleties of technique would have interested me: to-night they simply exasperated me. Very fortunately, the violinist Enesco came next. After glancing round the deserted hall with eyes that were almost in tears, he came close up to our seats at the corner of the orchestra, as if he meant to play for us alone. This splendid virtuoso, worthy rival to Ysaye and Kreisler, never moved me so deeply before with his broad and unaffected playing which is capable of the most delicate modulations and the most impassioned transports. A Fantasia of Saint-Saëns with which he ended, was a miracle of fervid romanticism. When this was over, we came away.
The square of the Marie Theatre, usually so gay, looked utterly desolate; my car was the only vehicle there. The Moïka bridge was guarded by a picket of gendarmes and troops were massed in front of the Lithuania Prison.
Madame du Halgouët shared my astonishment at the sight and remarked:
"Are we witnessing the last night of the régime?"
Sunday, March 11, 1917.
The ministers sat in council until five o'clock this morning. Protopopov condescended to join his colleagues and reported to them the strong measures he had prescribed to preserve order "at any cost." The result is that General Khabalov, Military Governor of Petrograd, has had the city placarded with the following warning this morning:
All meetings or gatherings are forbidden. I notify the civil population that I have given the troops fresh authority to use their arms and stop at nothing to maintain order.
As I was returning from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs this morning, I met one of the leaders of the Cadet Party, Basil Maklakov.
"We're in the presence of a great political movement now," he said. "Everyone has finished with the present system. If the Emperor does not grant the country prompt and far-reaching reforms, the agitation will develop into riots. And there is only a step between riot and revolution."
"I entirely agree with you, but I'm very much afraid that the Romanovs have found their Polignac in Protopopov. But if a crisis is precipitated you will certainly be called upon to play a part. In that case, let me beg of you not to forget the fundamental obligations the war has laid on Russia."
"You can count on me."
In spite of the warning of the Military Governor, the mob is becoming increasingly disorderly and aggressive; in the Nevsky Prospekt it is getting larger every hour. Four or five times the troops have been compelled to fire to escape being brushed aside. There are scores of dead.
Towards the end of the day, two of my secret informers whom I had sent into the industrial quarters returned with the report that the ruthless measures of repression adopted have taken the heart out of the workmen, who were saying that they had "had enough of going to the Nevsky Prospekt to be killed!"
But another informer tells me that the Volhynian Regiment of the Guard refused to fire. This is a fresh factor in the situation and reminds me of the sinister warning of October 31.
As I needed a rest after all the work and worry of to-day (I have been literally besieged by anxious members of the French colony) I turned out after dinner for an evening call on Countess P - - who lives in Glinka Street.
When I left her about eleven o'clock I heard that demonstrations were continuing in the neighbourhood of Our Lady of Kazan and the Gostiny-Dvor. I thought it as well to return to the embassy by the roundabout way along the Fontarska. My car had just reached the quay when I noticed a house which was a blaze of lights; opposite it was a long line of cars and carriages. Princess Leon Radziwill's party was in full swing; I caught a glimpse of the car of the Grand Duke Boris as we passed.
Sénac de Meilhan tells us that there was plenty of gaiety in Paris on the night of the 5th October, 1789.