Nothing new in our captivity. The only distraction is going out. It is very hot, and for some days Alexis Nikolaevitch has been bathing in the pond round the children's island. It is a great joy to him.
News from the front are not good. The offensive that has started out so successfuly is turning into a failure for the Russians.
Молебен по случаю военных событий, предвещающих, как кажется, большую победу. Государь, сияющий, приносит Алексею НиколаевичуНаследник российского престола вечерние газеты и читает ему официальные сообщения.
Дни проходят за днями без всяких перемен, в уроках и прогулках. Государь рассказал мне сегодня забавный случай, нарушившей однообразие нашего заключения. Вчера вечером он читал вслух в красной зале, где находились Государыня и Великие Княжны. Вдруг около одиннадцати часов входит весьма смущенный лакей и докладывает, что начальник караула желает быть немедленно принятым Государем. See more
Думая, что дело идет об очень важных событиях в Петрограде, — ждали вооруженного выступления большевиков против Временного правительства, — Государь приказывает немедленно пригласить начальника караула войти. Входит офицер в сопровождении двух унтер-офицеров. Он объясняет, что вызван выстрелом часового, заметившего красные и зеленые сигналы, подаваемые из окон комнаты, занимаемой Царскою Семьей. Общее полнейшее недоумение! Какие сигналы? Что это все означает? Страшное волнение Государыни и Великих Княжон. Офицер приказывает наглухо закрыть шторы, — стоит удушливая жара, — и собирается уходить. В это время выступает вперед сопровождающий его унтер-офицер и разъясняет загадку. Великая Княжна Анастасия Николаевна вышивала, сидя на подоконнике. Нагибаясь к столу, чтобы брать со стола нужные ей для работы вещи, она то загораживала, то открывала свет двух ламп с красным и зеленым абажурами, при которых читал Государь. Сконфуженный офицер удаляется.
After the disease Grand Duchesses shaved their heads because their hair fell out heavily; When they went out into the garden, they put on hats made to hide the lack of hair. At the moment when I was going to take pictures of them, they quickly took off their hats on the sign of Olga Nikolaevna. See more
I protested, but they insisted, amused by the thought of seeing their images in this form and waiting for the indignant parents' surprise. Despite all, from time to time their humor again manifests itself; This is the proof of the nexhaustible youth!
We finished our kitchen garden some time ago and it is now in splendid condition. We have every imaginable kind of vegetable, and five hundred cabbages. The servants, too, have made a garden on their side of the palace, where they can cultivate what they like. We went to help them dig it — the Czar too. To occupy our leisure now that we have finished our work on the garden, we have asked and obtained permission to cut down the dead trees in the park, so we go from place to place, followed by a guard which moves when we move. We are beginning to be quite skilful woodcutters. This will give us a supply of wood for next winter.
April 13th, Good Friday.—In the evening the whole family went to Confession.
Monday, April 9th.—I learn that Kerensky had intended at first to isolate the Czarina, but it was pointed out to him that it would be inhuman to separate a mother from her sick children; it was then that he decided to isolate the Czar.
After the service, Kerensky announced to his Majesty that he was obliged to separate him from her Majesty the Empress, and that their Highnesses should live apart, and see each other only at the dining table, on condition that they speak Russian at all times. They are also allowed to take tea together, but only in the company of an officer, as the servants are not present at these times. A little later the Empress came to me, greatly agitated, and said: See more
“How contemptible and how petty it is to treat his Majesty in this way, after he has sacrificed himself and abdicated the throne in order to avert a civil war! His Majesty did not wish the blood of a single Russian to be spilt for his sake. He has always been willing to give up everything, if he felt sure that it was for the good of the country.”
Sunday, April 8th.—After Mass, Kerensky announced to the Czar that he was obliged to separate him from the Czarina—that he will have to live apart, only seeing Her Majesty at meals, and that on condition that only Russian is spoken. Tea, too, may be taken together, but in the presence of an officer, as no servants are present.
A little later the Czarina came up to me in a great state of agitation, and said:
“To think of his acting like this to the Czar, playing this low trick after his self-sacrifice and his abdication to avoid civil war; how mean, how despicable! The Czar would not have had a single Russian shed his blood for him. He has always been ready to renounce all when he knew that it was for the good of Russia.”
Friday, April 6th.—The Czar told me to-day of the distress the papers cause him. It is the ruin of the army; no more hierarchy or discipline. The officers are afraid of their men and are spied upon by them. One feels the Czar is hard hit by the collapse of the army which is so dear to him.
Alexei Nikolayevich related to me yesterday’s conversation between Kerensky and the Tsar. No sooner were they alone than Kerensky said to him, “Do you know that I’ve managed to get the death penalty abolished?.. I did this despite the fact that many of my comrades perished as victims of their convictions.”
Did he not want to flaunt his generosity and hint at the fact that he has saved the Emperor’s life even though the latter doesn’t deserve it?
He proceeded to speak about our departure, which he’s still hoping to arrange. When, how, where? He wasn’t too clued up on this himself and requested that no mention be made of it. For Alexei Nikolayevich, the blow was a heavy one indeed. He hadn’t yet fully grasped their new situation. He now saw for the first time that his father was being given orders – and that he was executing them in the manner of a subordinate.
And here’s a detail worthy of particular note: Kerensky arrived at the palace in one of the Emperor's private cars, chauffeured by a driver from the imperial garage.
Wednesday, April 4th.—Alexis Nicolaevitch related to me yesterday’s conversation between Kerensky and the Czar and Czarina. The whole family was collected in the apartment of the Grand-Duchesses. Kerensky entered and introduced himself, saying:
“I am the Procurator-General, Kerensky”
Then he shook hands all round. Turning to the Czarina, he said:
“The Queen of England asks for news of the ex- Czarina.”
Her Majesty blushed violently. It was the first time that she had been addressed as ex-Czarina. She was troubling her as usual. Kerensky went on:
“Anything I begin I always carry through to the bitter end, with all my might. I wanted to see everything myself, to verify everything so as to be able to report at Petrograd, and it will be better for you.”
He then asked the Czar to go with him into the next room as he wished to speak to him in private. He went in first and the Czar followed. After his departure, the Czar told us that no sooner were they alone than Kerensky said to him:
“You know I’ve succeeded in getting the death penalty abolished?... I’ve done this in spite of the fact that a great number of my comrades have died, martyrs to their convictions.”
Was he trying to make a display of his magnanimity, and insinuating that he was saving the Czar’s life though the latter had done nothing to deserve it? He then spoke of our departure, which he still hopes to be able to arrange. When? Where? How? He did not know himself, and asked that the matter should not be discussed. This has been a hard blow for Alexis Nicolaievitch. He has not yet realised their new situation. It was the first time he had seen his father receive orders and obey like a subordinate. It is worthy of note that Kerensky arrived at the palace in one of the Czar’s private cars, driven by a chauffeur from the Imperial garage.
To-day Kerenski came to the palace for the first time. He went through all the rooms and noted all the sentry-posts, wishing to assure himself in person that we are well guarded. Before leaving he had a fairly long conversation with the Czar and Czarina.
Alexis Nicolaievitch feeling much better. We went to church this morning, where we found Their Majesties, the Grand-Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, and the various members of the suite who are sharing our captivity. When the priest prayed for the success of the Russian and Allied armies the Czar and Czarina knelt down, the whole congregation following their example. See more
A few days ago, as I was leaving Alexis Nicolaievitch’s room, I met ten soldiers wandering about in the passage. I went up to them and asked what they wanted.
“We want to see the Heir”
“He’s in bed and can’t be seen.”
“And the others?”
“They are also unwell.”
“And where is the Czar?”
“I don’t know.”
“Will he be going out?”
“I don’t know; but come, don’t hang about here. There must be no noise because of the invalids!”
They went back, walking on their toes and talking in low voices. These are the soldiers depicted to us as wild revolutionaries hating their ex-Czar.