At yesterday’s meeting on defence in the Mariinsky Palace the minister for transport presented his report: supplies of fuel for the Nikolaevsky Railway will be exhausted in four days, and the situation on other railways is no better; some railways are down to two days’ worth of fuel! This is why goods are not getting into the city. There are 36,000 wagons full of various goods and foodstuffs stranded along the lines, but there are no locomotives to move them, and where locomotives can be found the majority are not in working condition. The situation is critical. If railway transport is stopped for two weeks there will be a famine. There is already no flour here.
Whichever university you may have graduated from, whatever you do in life, however rich you are, you will always be poor as long as you do not welcome art.
I am not going to play games with you. If you suspect us of being engaged in politics, I will not dispute it for a minute. Yes, we are involved in politics, but it is the government that has turned us into a political organisation. We think the question of defence can only be resolved if the political conditions of our work are altered.
What is it that binds wealth of spirit with poverty? After all, it’s not difficult to obtain a comfortable style of life, but by God is it dull.
I’ve got a large canvas ready, something will come of it, although I’m sick of anything which is not painting in its purest of forms. I’m happy only with pure colours and materials and the like. Well, something will come of it.
I had an audience with the Emperor again. He received me with such extreme coldness that I could not set out my case in the course of a conversation, as I usually do, but instead began to read out the written report. His Majesty’s reaction was not only indifferent, but even abrupt. All the time I was reading the report, which concerned poor supply of provisions to the army and towns, the issuing of machine guns to the police and the general political situation, his mind was elsewhere. This is the way things are at the moment.
I am told that during his visit to Petrograd, Bratiano has sounded the Emperor as to his ultimate consent to the marriage of the Grand Duchess Olga to Prince Carol, the presumptive heir. The idea of this union has been mooted several times before. The Emperor's answer was quite encouraging: "I shall have no objection to the marriage if my daughter and Prince Carol find they suit each other."
This evening I read and helped Mary with a puzzle.