In the evening a concert of Strauss’s music: Till Eulenspiegel, Salome, A Hero’s Life. A full half of those present were Frenchmen, Englishmen and Russians, so that each half of the audience would have been perfectly within their rights to torpedo the other half.
A rush of blood to the head. Sad thoughts: the Empress is abhorred. I believe danger will come from an unexpected source: Mikhail. His wifeNatalia Sheremetyevskaya, with whom Mikhail Romanov entered into a morganatic marriage, was the daughter of a Moscow lawyer. The marriage with Mikhail was her third. is “very much a member of the intelligentsia”, and, as such, lacks any constraints. She’s already wormed her way through to Maria Pavlovna. Her box at the theatre is teeming with Grand Dukes; they’ll connive together with Maria PavlovnaGrand Duchess Maria Pavlovna was the center of opposition to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of the Romanovs.. She’ll see to it that she’s accepted by the Empress-Mother and the Emperor. I sense that they’re plotting. Poor Misha will, in spite of himself, be implicated in this plot; first he’ll be regent, then he’ll be emperor. They’ll accomplish everything.
An “intimate” lunch at the GorchakovsMikhail Gorchakov, aristocrat and public advocate of the monarchy.’. Delicious food, first-rate wine, a highly well-mannered maitre d’hotel such as are found in the best bonnes maisons, and an ecstatic (if sometimes exhausting) host. Akitsa and I are both terribly fond of these feasts, which extend long into the evening, are executed with great taste and accompanied by countless comforts (such as the oh-so delicious chocolates we enjoy after the meal). Not a word, thank God, was mentioned of the war; most of the time we spoke of friends and acquaintances.
Rumours have been circulating the world over to the effect that the Empress is a German sympathiser, with relevant evidence adduced. These rumours, which resist refutation, will undoubtedly find their way into the field army, and the consequences of their propagation may prove highly deleterious. It has been claimed, for example, that during one of my reports to His Majesty, the Empress entered his office, upon which I discontinued my report. His Highness, so it is alleged, proceeded to tell me that he had no secrets from the Empress, to which I am supposed to have responded that, on the other hand, did have such secrets. But, far from bespeaking the existence of any “fire”, as per the famous proverb, this tittle-tattle is “smoke-free”, too; during my time as Chief-of-Staff, the Empress has not been present at a single one of my reports to the Tsar, conversations at table excepted.
At eight o'clock state banquet at Alexander Palace. As a matter of fact, the state part of it was displayed only in the liveries, lights and plate, for the menu was simplicity itself, a thoroughly bourgeois simplicity which contrasted forcibly with the ancient and far-famed splendour of the imperial cuisine. The Tsar looked as he does on his good days; he feared, I am told, that the delegates would give him unwanted advice on internal politics; he is now reassured on the point. The Tsarina is not well and remained in her room.
Dinner ended at last and we went into the next room where coffee was served. The Emperor lit a cigarette and passed from group to group. While these dull conversations were in progress, the Empress received the chief delegates in turn in her room.