In honour of VladimirDuke, lieutenant, poet.'s twenty-first birthday, his coming of age, we lit up the tree again and put back the presents on it. The little girls and he had a charming surprise for us, a piece of verse of his composition, entitled " l'Assiette de Delft." Irene and Nathalie, coached by my son, played it to perfection.
Yesterday I was unhappy to see that the great bulk of the “Aurora” has once more appeared beside the Admiralty Shipyard. Now there are three of these monsters - the “Aurora” and The “Yermak” in the Admiralty Shipyard, and a third ship in the fog on the other side of the Neva. What does this mean? What can we expect from this “expression of democratic will”? Could it mean that there will be some sort of new coup in the next few days? And when, exactly? It is something to do with the convening of the Constituent Assembly, and attempts to prevent it? I went right up close: at that distance, the Aurora, looming out of the fog and covered in frost and ice, looked like an illustration of a journey to the North Pole.
At moment’s blooming I was not then questing,
Cassandra, for your lips, Cassandra, for your eyes,
But we’re December’s solemn wait digesting –
We’re hounded by our memories’ lies.
In 1917 in mid-December
We find we’ve lost love and it all;
The people’s will will some of us dismember,
And others hold themselves to wall.
And time will come in city’s madness
Amidst some Scythian orgy on the river bank
And in the dancing din and out of badness
From lovely head they’ll grab scarf with a yank.
If necessary madness is our mortal meaning
And high constructions make an ocean full of trees,
I fell for you, disarming victory’s overweening
And plague is borne by winter breeze.
And on the square I see a fellow,
Amidst the armoured cars he scares
The wolves, as chucking burning blocks he issues bellow
That freedom, law and right are theirs.
O sick and silent, dear Cassandra,
To understand this can’t be done.
Oh why shone sun of Alexander
A hundred years ago on everyone?
Adler told me at Vienna that Trotski had his library, by which he set great store, somewhere in Vienna, with a Herr Bauer, I fancy. I told Trotski that I would arrange to have the books forwarded to him, if he cared about it. I then recommended to his consideration certain prisoners of war, as L. K. and W., all of whom are said to have been very badly treated. Trotski noted the point, declared that he was strongly opposed to ill-treatment of prisoners of war, and promised to look into the matter; he wished to point out, however, that in so doing he was not in the least influenced by the thought of his library; he would in any case have considered my request. He would be glad to have the books.
Revocation of property rights for the owners of dachas.
A few days ago, in Siversky, peasants proposed to a Mr B, the owner of a dacha, that he vacate his property. Not long ago, the newspapers reported on a special “decree” issued by the Smolny Institute, revoking property rights for the owners of dachas. The dacha owners either did not read the article or did not believe it. However, the “decree” turned out to be a fact.
At nine o’clock in the morning, I was woken up by a noise of some kind. I sat up a bit on my bed and heard loud voices, stamping feet and doors slamming. About six sailors, covered in machine gun cartridges, and with rifles in their hands, tore into the room. Two of them ran up to my bed and held their rifles at me, shouting:
“Not a muscle, you’re under arrest”.
You, our descendents, who will not know our times - if only you could understand all the horror of existence in a country in chaos, existing only through inertia, with no people, no system, no organisation and without even any future. Think of what this means for Russia, to have no future! We are living in darkness and have no idea of the time, we know only that time is passing, and with each moment we pass further into the night and into devastation. Where is the limit, where is the end? It is like the plague of darkness over Egypt. We can neither laugh, nor cry - both are pointless. Try to exist in this pitch darkness, and if you cannot - you must die. Old people are killing themselves, and young people are drinking, while they still can. But supplies everywhere are running out. It is torture.
My darling beloved, how are you? We are all well, walk much in the yard, and have a little hill down which we can slide. There is much frost these days so Mama sits at home. 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.
I came across a strange phrase in Ogareva’s diary, “children should be guarded against Russian life,” how true it is for our times!
It was also a nice sunny day today, four degrees of frost. We worked on the wood pile which we had prepared. I chopped while the girls slid down the hill on skies.