-3°. I read, drew and wrote. Thank God that we seven are safe and well and together and for having protected us through this year and all those dear to us.
At Christmas I had a great happiness, nothing less than letters and a parcel of food from the exiles in Tobolsk. There were two parcels in fact, one containing flour, sugar, macaroni, and sausage, wonderful luxuries, and the other a pair of stockings knit by the Empress's own hands, a warm scarf, and some pretty Christmas cards illuminated in her well-remembered style. See more
I made myself a tiny Christmas tree decorated with bits of tinsel and holly berries and hung with these precious tokens of affection and remembrance. Nor was this the only Christmas joy vouchsafed me after a year of sorrow and suffering.
Thus we reached Christmas. The Czarina and Grand-Duchesses had for many weeks been preparing with their own hands a present for each of us and each of the servants. Her Majesty distributed some woollen waistcoats which she had knitted herself. With such touching thoughtfulness as this she tried to show her gratitude to those who had remained faithful. See more
On December 24th the priest came to the house for Vespers ; everyone then assembled in the large hall, and the children were full of delight at the " surprise " prepared for us. We now felt part of one large family ; we did our best to forget the preoccupations and distresses of the time in order to enjoy to the full and in complete unity these moments of peaceful intimacy.
The next day, Christmas Day, we went to church. By the orders of the priest the deacon intoned the Mnogoletie (the prayer for the long life of the Imperial family) . This was an imprudence which was bound to bring reprisals. The soldiers, with threats of death, demanded that the prayer should be revoked. This incident marred the pleasant memories which this day should have left in our minds. It also brought us fresh annoyances and the supervision became still stricter.
Christmas Eve. I made gifts. Decorated the Christmas tree and laid out gifts.
You will probably get this in February, so I congratulate you on your name day. God help you in future and bless you. We always remember and speak of you. May God guard all your ways. Don't be sad, dear. All will be well, and we shall be together again. I kiss you tenderly. Maria.
It is bright sunshine and everything glitters with hoar frost. There are such moonlight nights, it must be ideal on the hills. But my poor unfortunates can only pace up and down the narrow yard. How I long to take Communion. See more
We took it last on October 22, but now it is so awkward, one has to ask permission before doing the least thing. Some thoughts one is obliged to drive away, they are too poignant, too fresh in one's memory. All things for us are in the past, and what the future holds I cannot guess, but God knows, and I have given everything into His keeping.
Where is your poor old Grandmamma? I often think of her in her loneliness, and of your stories, after you had been to see her. Who will wish you a happy Christmas on the telephone? Is it true that Protopopoff has creeping paralysis? Poor old man, I understand
that he has not been able to write anything yet, his experiences being too near. Strange are our lives, are they not? One could write volumes.
I am knitting stockings for the small one (Alexei). He asked for a pair as all his are in holes. Mine are warm and thick like the ones I gave the wounded, do you remember? I make everything now. Father's trousers are torn and darned, the girls' under-linen in rags. Dreadful, is it not? I have grown quite gray. Anastasie, to her despair, is now very fat, as Marie was, round and fat to the waist, with short legs. I do hope she will grow. Olga and Tatiana are both thin, but their hair grows beautifully so that they can go without scarfs.
Merry Christmas to you, my dear Iza! I kiss you tenderly and wish you all the very best. May the Lord send you good health and provide you with that spiritual world which is the greatest gift for us mortals. See more
We must pray to God for patience as well, for we so direly need it in this world of suffering (and insanity of the highest order)-- and for solace, strength, and happiness. It may be that the words “a joyful Christmas” sound like a mockery these days, but this joy comes from the birth of our Lord, He who died to save all of us-- and isn’t that surely enough to restore our faith in the endless mercy of our Lord? He is above all, and He is in all: He will show His mercy when the time comes, and until then, we must wait patiently.
This is the feast day of the Virgin of Unexpected Joy. I always read the day's service, and I know that you, dear, do the same. It is the anniversary of our last journey together, to Saratoff. Do you remember how lovely it was? The old holy woman is dead now, but I keep her ikon always near me. Yesterday it was nine months since we were taken into captivity and more than four months since we came here. Which of the English nurses was it who wrote to me? See more
I am surprised to hear that Nini Voyeikoff and her family did not receive the ikons I sent them before leaving. Give kind regards to your faithful old servant and Nastia. This year I cannot give them anything for their Christmas tree. How sad. My dear, you are splendid. Christ be with you. Give my thanks to Fathers John and Dosifei for their remembrance.
I am writing this morning in bed. Jimmy is sleeping nearly under my nose and interfering with my writing. Ortipo lies on my feet and keeps them warm. Fancy that the kind Kommissar Makaroff sent me my pictures two months ago, St. Simeon Nesteroffs, the little Annunciation from the bedroom, four small prints from my mauve room, five pastels of Kaulbach, four enlarged snapshots from Livadia; Tatania and me, Alexei as sentry, Alexander HI, Nicholas I, and also a small carpet from my bedroom. My wicker lounge chair, too, is standing in my bedroom now. Among the other cushions is the one filled with rose leaves given me by the Tartar women. It has been with me all the way. At the last moment of the night at Tsarskoe I took it with me, slept on it on the train and on the boat, and the lovely smell refreshed me. Have you had any news of Gaham (Chief of the Karaim)? Write to him and give him my regards. One of our former wounded, Sirobojarski, has visited him.
There are 22 degrees of frost today, but bright sunshine. Do you remember the sister of mercy K. M. Bitner? She is giving the children lessons. What luck! The days fly. It is Saturday again, and we shall have evening service at nine. A corner of the drawing room has been arranged with our ikons and lamps. It is homelike—but not church. I got so used to going almost daily for three years to the church of Znamenia before going on to the hospitals at Tsarskoe. I advise you to write to M. Gilliard. (Now I have refilled my fountain pen.) Would you like some macaroni and coffee? I hope soon to send you some. It is so difficult for me here to take the vegetables out of the soup without eating any of it. It is easy for me to fast and to do without fresh air but I sleep badly. Yet I hardly feel any of the ills of the flesh. My heart is better, as I live such a quiet life, almost without exercise. I have been very thin but it is less noticeable now, although my gowns are like sacks. I am quite gray too. The spirits of the whole family are good. God is very near us, we feel His support, and are often amazed that we can endure events and separations which once might have killed us. Although we suffer horribly still there is peace in our souls. I suffer most for Russia, and I suffer for you too, but I know that ultimately all will be for the best. Only I don't understand anything any longer. Everyone seems to have gone mad. I think of you daily and love you dearly. You are splendid and I know how wonderfully you have grown. Do you remember the picture by Nesteroffs, Christ's Bride? Does the convent still attract you in spite of your new friend? God will direct everything. I want to believe that I shall see your buildings (my hospital) in the style of a convent. Where are the sisters of mercy Mary and Tatiana? What has become of Princess Chakoffskaia, and has she married her friend? Old Madame Orloff has written me that her grandson John was killed in the War and that his fiancee killed herself from grief. Now they are buried beside his father. My regards to my dear Lancers, to Jakoleff, Father John, and others. Pray for them all. I am sure that God will have mercy on our Russia. Has she not atoned for her awful sins?My love, burn my letters. It is better. I have kept nothing of the dear past. We all kiss you tenderly and bless you. God is great and will not forsake those encircled by His love. Dear child, I shall be thinking of you especially during Christmas. I hope that we will meet again, but where and how is in His hands. We must leave it all to Him who knows all better than
Yesterday I received your letter and I thank you for it from my heart. It was such a joy to hear from you and to think how merciful is God to have given you this compensation. Your life in town must be more than unpleasant, confined in stuffy rooms, steep stairs to climb, no lovely walks possible, horrors all around you. Poor child! You know that in heart and soul I am near you, sharing all your pain and sorrow and praying for you fervently. See more
Every day I read the book you gave me seven years ago, "Day by Day," and like it very much. There are lovely passages in it. The weather is very changeable, frost, sunshine, then darkness and thawings. Desperately dull for those who enjoy long walks and are deprived of them. Lessons continue as usual. Mother and daughters work and knit a great deal, making Christmas presents. How time flies! In two weeks more it will be eight months since I saw you last. And you, my little one, so far away in loneliness and sorrow. But you know where to seek consolation and strength, and you know that God will never forsake you. His love is overall. On the whole, we are all well since I do not count chills and colds. Alexei's knee and arm swell from time to time, but happily without any pain. My heart has not been behaving very well. I read much, and live in the past, which is so full of rich memories. I have full trust in a brighter future. He will never forsake those who love and trust in His infinite mercy, and when we least expect it He will send help and will save our unhappy country. Patience, faith, and truth.
How did you like the two little colored cards? I have not heard from Lili Dehn for three months. It is hard to be cut off from all one's dear friends. I am so glad that your old servant and Nastia are with you, but where are the maids, Zina and Mainia? So Father Makari has left us. But he is really nearer than he was before. Our thoughts will be very close together next month. You remember our last journey and what followed. After this anniversary it seems to me that God will show mercy. Kiss Praskovia and the children for me. The maid Liza and the girls have not come yet. All of us send tenderest love, blessings, and kisses. God bless you, dearest friend. Keep a brave heart. P. S. I should like to send you a little food, some macaroni for instance.
We are all well. I have been suffering from neuralgia in the head but now Dr. Kostritzky has come to treat me. We have spoken often of you. They say that life in the Crimea is dreadful now. Still, Olga A. is happy with her little Tichon whom she is nursing herself. See more
They have no servants so she and N. A. look after everything. Dobiasgin, we hear, has died of cancer. The needlework you sent me was the only token we have received from any of our friends. Where is poor Catherine? We suffer so for all, and we pray for all of you. That is all we can do. The weather is bad these last few days, and I never venture out because my heart is not behaving very well. I get a great deal of consolation reading the Bible. I often read it to the children, and I am sure that you also read it. Write soon again. We all kiss and bless you. May God sustain and keep you. My heart is full, but words are feeble things.
My darling: We are thinking constantly of you and of all the suffering you have had to endure. God help you in the future. How are your weak heart and your poor legs? We hope to go to Communion as usual if we are to be allowed See more
. Lessons have begun again with Mr. Gibbs also. So glad, at last. We are all well. It is beautifully sunny. I sit behind this wall in the yard and work. Greetings to the doctors, the priest, and the nurses in your hospital. I kуiss you and pray God to keep you.
Grey morning and raining, later fine. At 10 ¼ - ¾ Tatiana - German reading. Then: Isaiah 58-65. Lunched with Baby. The wine crates brought to us were emptied into the river, following the wish of the garrison soldiers. See more
In avoidance of a row Bode has to remain several days still. This story turned up again, which is why we may not go to church. Pankratov did not allow the nuns to have tea at any of these houses.
When it began to get very cold, and the large hall became impossible, we took refuge in the adjoining room, which was Their Maj esties' drawing-room, the only really comfortable apartment in the house. The Czar would often read aloud while the Grand-Duchesses did needlework or played with us. The Czarina regularly played one or two games of beziqueBezique is a French intellectual card game for two. with General Tatichtchef and then took up her work or reclined in her armchair.