Chapter Fifteen - The Imperial Family is Imprisoned
Life for the Imperial Family passed by monotonously.
In March thick snow again covered the ground. The Emperor would walk alone in the park escorted by an officer of the Guard. Occassionaly Marshall of the Court Prince Dologoruki would go with the Emepror. The Emperor took walks twice a day. The officers of the Guard who escorted him during his walks showed him perfect kindness and attention. Only once did the guard escort the Emperor literally at his side, squeezing close next to him; the Emperor, smiling, pushed him aside. During the changing of the guard, which always took place during the Imperial Family's dinner, the two officers, the one leaving duty and the other coming on to replace him, would go into the Emperor's room. One day, the two entered the Emperor's room and the first left. Saluting the replacement guard, the Emperor offered him his hand, but the guard pointedly took a step backward and refused the Emperor's hand. The Emperor approached him, placed his hand on the guard's shoulder and softly asked:
"Why golubchick (little dove)?"
"I come from the people" the officer answered, "since you did not want to extend your hand out to the people, I will not extend my hand out to you either."
A.A. Vyroubova also lived in the Palace, as did J.A. Dehn, who as a sister of charity, looked after the children during their illness. Kerenski, on one of his first visits, ordered that they had to leave the Palace; this was under Kobylinski, who had replaced Korovichenko as Commandant of the Palace.
I got the order to announce the expulsion of Mmes. Vyroubova and Dehn to the Empress. This news was very painful for the Empress, and she melted into tears. The actual separation was the most sad, for when they were brought to her they also cried. Vyroubova was taken by escort to be put in prison. Mme. Dehn was sent to her home.
After the spring thaw they began to take the convalescing children out for walks. The Emperor suggested that they do some work. Everyone worked, the family, the suite and those in service. At the beginning the work consisted of digging in the kitchen garden. The Empress did not work, but as soon as it got warmer she would rest lying on a carpet next to where they were working. It sometimes happened then that the soldiers would come near to her, sit down and talk with her for a long time. The soldiers acted most appropriately and were rarely allowed to smoke when they were in the presence of the Tsar's family. One day an inside sentry opened a trunk and took out two pairs of shoes belonging to the Empress. He hid them in the stove, but we soon noticed it and the culprit was discovered.
All of the painful incidents for the Tsar's family or the suite cannot be attributed to evil intentions, but instead to ignorance and lack of education. During the inspections of the Palace, that took place under the authority of whoever was in charge at the time, the soldiers leading the inspections behaved themselves appropriately and would not permit anything inappropriate to happen.
Once the kitchen garden had been all planted out, the Emperor suggested that the Entourage cut trees in the park. This work continued until leaving for Tobolsk.
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