Diaries and Letters - Letter from Dowager Empress Marie in exile to Nicholas II
21 November 1917
The last letter Nicky ever got from his mother.
Aitodor, 21st November, 1917.
My dear Nicky,
I have just received your letter of October 27th which has filled me with joy. I cannot find words to express my feelings and thank you with all my heart, my dear.
You know that my thoughts and prayers never leave you I think of you day and night and sometimes feel so sick at heart that I believe I cannot bear it any longer. But God is merciful He will give us strength for this terrible ordeal. Thank goodness you are allwell and that at least you live together and in comfort. A year has gone by already since you and darling Alexei came to see me at Kieff. Who could have thought then of all that was in store for us, and what
we should have to go through. It is unbelievable. I live only in my memories of the happy past and try as much as possible to forget the present nightmare. Misha has also written to me about your last meeting in the presence of witnesses and [illegible] and of your ghastly and revolting departure.
I received your first dear letter of September 19th and apologise for not having been able to answer it before, but Xenia will have explained the reason to you.
I am sorry you are not allowed to go for walks, I know how necessary it is for you and the dear children; it is an incomprehensible cruelty!
I have quite recovered from a long and tedious illness and am able to go out again after two months.
The weather is beautiful, especially during the last few days. We live very modestly and quietly and see nobody, as we are not allowed to leave the estate, which is a great nuisance.
It is a blessing I am with Xenia, Olga and the grandchildren, who dine with me by turns every day. My new grandson Tikhon is a source of joy to us all. He grows bigger and fatter every day and is such a darling, so charming and quiet. It is a pleasure to see how happy Olga is, and how delighted she is with her baby which she had hoped for for such a long time.
They live very snugly above the cellar. She and Xenia come to see me every morning, and we have our cocoa together, as we are always hungry. It is so difficult to get provisions, white bread and butter are the things I miss most, but sometimes I get some sent by kind people: Papa Felix [Yusupov, senior] sends crabs and butter for which I am very grateful.
Prince Shervashidze arrived a little while ago. It is very pleasant to have him as he is a great asset,
always in good spirits and amusing and so glad to be here and to have a rest after Petersburg where it was so awful.
I am very glad to get those dear letters from Alix and my granddaughters who all write so nicely. I thank and kiss them all.
We always think and talk about you. It is so sad to be separated, not to see one another, not to be able to talk.
I get letters from Aunt Alix and Waldemar [her sister and brother] from time to time, but they are so slow in coming and I just sit and wait. I long for news.
[Last phrase is in English]
I well understand how you must enjoy re reading your old letters and diaries, although those memories of a happy past rouse deep sorrow in the heart. I have not even got that consolation, for mine were all taken away from me in the spring when they searched the house all your letters, all those I received at Kieff, the children's letters, three diaries, etc., etc., and nothing has been returned yet, which is revolting, and for what reason, if I may ask?
Today is November 2nd, dear Misha's birthday. I believe he is still in town, God grant him health and happiness.
There has been a sudden break in the weather, a sharp wind is blowing and it is cold, only 3 degrees, and although the rooms are heated they are not warm enough, and my hands are cold.
Nikita saw K., the dentist [Kastritsky]. It was through him that I got some news about you. I am glad poor Alix does not suffer from toothache and that he has finished treating you.
I hope Isa B. [Buxhoeveden] has arrived safely and has recovered from her operation.
Please give my love to them all, also to Il. Tatishcheff.
Which servants have you got with you? I hope dear Teteridtnikoff went with you. I have only kept Yashchik and Poliakoff and have not enough words of praise for them, such splendid, trustworthy people. They serve at table and manage very well. Kukushkin and Yashchik are great friends and chatter a lot together.
On December 6th all my thoughts will be with you, my dear darling Nicky, and I send you my warmest wishes. God bless you, send you strength and peace of mind, and may He not allow Russia to perish.
I kiss you tenderly. May Christ be with you. Your fondly loving old