At the train station in Petersburg, I bought a newspaper and read, “Prince Yusupov has been arrested and imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress.” The servants who had read of my arrest were in tears. See more
When they saw me, their mouths gaped, and they began weeping with joy instead. Although it was forbidden me, I met with one or two of my friends. Finally, after a few days, I left along with those same guardian angels of mine, both military and civilian, for the Crimea.
I told the commander that I had no intention of indefinitely staying in Kiev and doing nothing. I wanted to join my family in Crimea. Moreover, I had to pick up some things that I left in Petrograd, as I was leaving the city in a hurry.
When I opened the newspaper by accident, I jumped in my seat: there was a search for a criminal who had the same name as I did in my fake documents. I’m going the commander. He took away my document and easily gave me a new one, also fake.
Confusion reigns in Kiev, just like in the capital. Rifle fire comes from everywhere, such that people are killed by stray bullets. Machine gun fire rages off and on. I pretty much crawl around the city. See more
My landlady was horrified when she saw me in a torn dress, covered in dirt from head to toe. My commander came to me and said that the house where he’d settled and to which he’d called me had been hit by a bomb. The house was no more. He’d stayed somewhere else and, as a result, had escaped.
I have decided to go to Petersburg, to hide my jewels and the most valuable items of my collection. I got to work as soon as I arrived. First I headed for the Anichkov Palace to remove the large portrait of Alexander III. See more
I took it out of its frame and rolled it up, like I did with my Rembrandts in the spring. As for the jewels, I was too late. They have been taken to Moscow on the orders of the Provisional Government. Having completed my tasks in Petersburg, I gathered all the family diamonds and went to Moscow to hide them there together with my trusted servant Grigory. I hid them under the stairs.
Despite the events and general alarm, we still accept guests often. Life takes over, even more so in adolescence. We get together with friends almost every day, at ours on the Moika, then at someone else's. Once, we even went to Tsarskoye Selo.
The Bolsheviks have attempted to seize power for the first time. Trucks full of armed men drove around the city. Lines of machine gun fire fanned out from the trucks.
Despite events and the general anxieties of the guests, we still often accept them. Life takes own, even more so in youth. We meet with friends almost every day. We have them over at our place on the Moika, then we go to someone else. We once went to Tsarskoe Selo.
While we were away, a court of inquiry visited regarding a complaint from Irina’s family: my mother- and father-in-law reported thefts that happened during the house-check in May. Everyone in the house was questioned separately. The Empress’ turn came. At the end of the interrogation they suggested she signs it “the former Empress”. She signed “Widow of Alexander III”.
The residents of Ai-Todor are daily exposed to insults. Twenty five soldiers and sailors, beasts and savages to a man, have taken up residence in the manor. The commissar has announced to my parents-in-law that they are under arrest.
Первая ласточка беды прилетела в Ай-Тодор. Утром тесть мой проснулся, ощутив револьверное дуло у себя на виске. В дом нагрянули с обыском матросы. Обыскивать приказал Петросовет: этим начальникам взбрело на ум, что Иринины родители — контрреволюционеры. Отобрали ключи от письменного стола и оружие. See more
Вдовствующую императрицу подняли с постели и переворошили простыни. Она стояла за ширмой и не смела слова сказать. Главарь забрал ее письма, бумаги моего тестя. Обыскивали все утро. Всего оружия нашли дюжину старых винчестеров, хранившихся прежде на яхте, о которых тесть мой и думать забыл. В полдень главный их, офицер, явился объявить великому князю, что арестует Марию ФедоровнуВдова императора Александра III, мать императора Николая II: дескать, оскорбила Временное правительство. Еле угомонил его тесть, объяснив, что, если матросы ломятся к пожилой даме в пять утра, она, понятное дело, недовольна. Обыск в Ай-Тодоре лишний раз показал, как слабо Временное правительство.
We travelled back to Crimes in misery. A crowd of soldiers-deserters besieged the train. The corridors became full, people climbed on the roof. The third-class car collapsed from the weight. Everyone was drunk, many fell off the roof en route. See more
The more south we went, towards Crimea, the more refugees packed the train. We were travelling in a destroyed sleeper car, eight in a compartment, including an old woman and two children. We were stuffed like herring in a barrel.
I managed to take out two Rembrandts among the masterpieces of our collection from St. Petersburg: "Man in a wide-brimmed hat" and "Woman with a fan". Having removed the frames and rolled them into tubes, I got them out easily
Rodzianko, the chairman of the Duma, has become a frequent visitor to our house. Once, catching sight of me, Rodzianko came straight out with a question: “Moscow wants to declare you Emperor, What do you say?” This wasn’t the first time I had heard this. Soon, Admiral Kolchak and Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich came to me and repeated: “The Russian throne has not, in the past, been achieved through inheritance or election. It has been seized. See more
Take advantage of the opportunity. You know best. Russia cannot exist without a Tsar. But confidence in the Romanov dynasty has been shattered. The people no longer want the Romanovs.” And to think, this proposal springs from a murder. The man who, by killing Rasputin, hoped to save the monarch, is now being encouraged to seize the throne himself!
Life in Petersburg is becoming unbearable. Everybody is raving about the revolution, even wealthy people, and those who used to think of themselves as conservatives. A great many city-dwellers have run away to their estates in the Crimea. We have become fugitives. The revolution has still not reached the south of Russia, and the Crimea is relatively safe.