His Majesty came to see me with Alexei and Tatiana. They were very sweet. The Empress also said that she would return after five o’clock tea. I hugged the Emperor several times, and he kept kissing my hand... my heart was breaking. It’s the state of the army which aggrieves the Emperor above all; he doesn’t understand an army without discipline. The Emperor came later and spent two hours with me. See more
I was overwhelmed. She showed such affection. She understands that I’m leaving for the sake of the children, and hopes for a counterrevolutionary reaction all the same; alas, if there is one, it won’t be in their favour!
Сегодня утром Боткин определил бронхит и уложил в постель, до сих пор я лежала на кушетке. Теперь только шаг до воспаления легких, провела очень тяжелую ночь; лечение обычное: горчичники, банки и проч. Подавленное настроение способствует развитию болезни. Милые девочки читают мне роман Сенкевича: прекрасный анализ бесплодности славянских душ. Затем я написала Керенскому, прося его распорядиться, чтобы меня поместили в одной из прекрасных гостиных Большого дворца. Керенский согласился.
Day of the Emperor’s Angel! Oh, what a sad day. I’m sick - terrible cold - my living room is a glacier.
It’s bitterly cold in the room; they’re saying that there’s no firewood. The ministry still hasn’t been established. They’ve unanimously decided to continue the war, while our soldiers go and explain our signalling to the enemy. What heinousness! See more
Our nation is pitiful; there’s always been desertion, but never has there been such an open betrayal anywhere. A complete lack of moral sentiment.
What awful reversals! All the generals have turned and fled, and none can command the demoralised and unreined army. While the government sits throughout the night, the soldiers run away and desert. Kerensky, with much bitterness, has pronounced: “I only regret that I did not die two months ago, when I could have shaken off my mortal coil with the illusion that my country was free. Who do you wish to be - free citizens, or a nation of brigands?”
I am consoled by reading prophecies about the end of the world. I, too, have come to the end of my life and I give God the remaining sad days of my existence, begging him to free my soul from all earthly attachments.
The political situation is distressing: the anarchist party of the socialists is gaining the upper hand. The army is in tatters and refuses to fight. We’re witnessing a grotesque fraternisation with the Germans, who’ll find out everything they need to know. The allies’ advance is being achieved at the cost of inhuman efforts. Enemy troops have been transferred from our front to counter them. See more
We’re jettisoning our allies and talking about a separate peace instead of helping them by launching an offensive of our own. If we break with the allies, we are lost. It would be curtains for Russia, and we would be put to shame before the whole world.
The commandant came. He understands all my reasons for wanting to leave and approves the letter to Kerensky but he is very anxious for me not to take this step. He thinks that Kerensky will refuse. At such a critical and dangerous moment, the fact of my leaving will be exploited, misinterpreted, and will result in more unrest. See more
If this is really the case, I would reproach myself for the rest of my life for adding another drop to that cup of hatred which might cause it to overflow. I have decided to stay and await further instructions.
I have decided to leave Tsarskoye Selo, in pursuance of which I have written a letter to Kerensky which I hope to get to him by way of the commandant. If this turns out to be impossible, I will accept it as God’s will that I remain here. I have requested that the commandant sees me.
The weather is dreadful; the cold penetrates our chambers. We are each apportioned a ration of sugar and firewood. The Tsar pretends not to notice the frightful breaches of discipline committed by the soldiers. When he recently passed a guard the latter remained prostrate and continued smoking. On another occasion, an officer, rather than taking the hand offered to him by the Tsar, stepped away from him. See more
The Tsar then stretched out both his hands and said: “What do you hold against me? Let us forget what has been”.
The officer then put his hands behind his back, saying: “I am a peasant, and I will never forgive you”. The Empress understood this in her own way. She explained the scene as proof of the officer’s modesty, that, being a peasant, he considered himself unworthy to shake the hand of the Tsar.
Empress's name day passed quietly. Instead of hundreds of telegrams, only 3: from M-me Komstadius, Tolstoy-Bekhteeva, and the sweetest Lily Obolenskaya, who sent a lovely letter by express mail. She has a noble heart. They were congratulating until the afternoon mass. During the day I went out; it was rather warm, despite the horrible wind.
There was shooting on the Nevsky Prospect. The attack was organised by German emissaries. It turned out that they used exploding bullets that we do not use. Undoubtedly this movement has already existed and had its followers. See more
I am glad that everything we have talked about was confirmed: there was mysticism, an unfortunate choice of ministers, but treason—never!
The Pacifist movement is growing. Milyukov’s note has provoked protests. Merely emphasising the rejection of annexation and indemnities was simply not enough. Fools… German agents are turning them against England. Without a doubt, envy plays a role in the ill-will towards our allies. Giving the soldiers such will was an insanity of unspeakable proportion. Now it is no longer an army, but a horde of Praetorians who dictate the law. We are in terrible danger.
Today the Tsesarevich told me: “Father gave us an exam. He remained very unhappy and said: “What did you learn?”" The young girls offered their services as teachers, and the crowned parents followed their example. The Emperor took upon himself the task of teaching history and geography, the Empress - God’s law and German, Iza - English, Nastenka - the history of art and music. See more
This is very good, as it engages them and brings a cultural stream into their democratised way of life. This was even noticed by one of the junior officers, who alternately guard the Emperor. He believes that they have just come down from the pedestal, and the Sovereign will gradually get used to his present way of life, if only his habits, his walks, tea at five o’clock in the evening and other meals will be allowed to him.
I had an interesting conversation with the commandantKorovichenko, commandant of the Alexander Palace. He is an idealist, a straightforward and honourable man. I admire that type of character. Kerensky, too. Both of them put their whole lives into their work. If his Majesty could rid himself of the cult of autocracy, which is as mystical as it is political, and surround himself with the forces of the nation, instead of the handful of rascals in whom he places his trust, everything could be different! See more
It is cold outside. I am not going out. There is no sign of spring leaves yet. I attended vespers and, as usual, it brought me some comfort.
Kerensky arrived today, and the empress sent for me so that I might be present during the interrogation which was no doubt in store for her. She rehearsed all the unpleasant things she had been longing to say to him before his arrival. She was indignant and nervous, but I managed to calm her down by assuring her that Kerensky was doing all in his power to save her from the fury of the anarchists. See more
She agreed that I was right, and fell silent. At this point Kerensky entered the room accompanied by the commandant. He then asked us to kindly leave him alone with the Empress.
I then retreated with the Tsar into his bedroom and reported everything to him as it had been. We remained together until the interrogation was complete, at which point I went to the empress and Kerensky to the Tsar. The empress had been left with a favorable impression of Kerensky, who she called sympathetic and frank, and on whom she said she believed she could rely. I am left to deduce from this that Kerensky was similarly impressed, as she had spoken sincerely, and he must have seen that the description of her that I had given was accurate: she is entirely genuine in her unwavering deludedness.
The Empress sent for me. She visited her daughters. Olga is very weak – her heart has been affected by the constant illnesses from which she has suffered over the last two months. She is very sweet, and Maria, who is in bed still recovering from pleurisy, is charming. The Empress worked, and was in a very kind and docile frame of mind. We didn’t talk about any pressing issues, merely about my own personal affairs. In such a peaceful setting, it is difficult to feel that one is in the middle of such terrible destruction and such grave danger.