We’re back at home. The snow is deep, the cold bitter. But the morning skies gleam pink over the Tauride Gardens, as does the dead round dome of the Duma.
Here, too, Grishka’s murder continues to seem a pathetic affair to me. The conspirators, murderers and “envious relatives” have been packed off to their estates while Grishka was buried in Tskarskoye Selo by the royal family. We now await graveside miracles. Can’t do without that – he’s a martyr, after all. Why crown such filth with thorns?
Looking at it from aside, the whole thing’s a farce. Well, let other people laugh – I, for my part, cannot. The laughter dies in my throat. This is us, after all. It’s Russia that has lapsed into such ignominy. And what else will befall her?
Paid the workers their wages. I often pity the working folk; you want to clothe them in better outfits, feed them up and show them all affection – especially the children.
In the military hospital at Vanves, Paris, Russian lance corporal Stepan B. is being seen to by a French nurse. She tells him about what the Germans did to her home town of Lunéville. A Russian nurse translates:
“…And an entire block was burnt to the ground. Thirty-two houses. The men were taken out of town and shot. The Église Saint-Jean was torched, as was the Jewish synagogue; and they went round to the neighbours and grabbed the old woman…”
She explains everything at length, and the soldier sighs:
“That isn’t good, the poor woman!”
Then the French nurse says, smiling, “But when you Russians get to Germany you’ll show them what’s what. I only want one thing – I want all the Germans slaughtered.”
The Russian nurse translates. Stepan looks at her, bewildered, flummoxed.
“How’s that, then?.. What, are we animals?.. Oh no, young miss, that simply isn’t on…”
I am sending you a leaflet. Will you please translate it into French and English...
Please translate it in vigorous language, in short sentences. Please write it in duplicate on thin paper as clearly as possible to avoid misprints.
We played whist, poker, baccarat, sevens – for money, of course, as Mayakovsky demanded.
Thousands demonstrate in London in support of the war.
The situation is getting worse with every day. We are heading towards the abyss. A revolution would be our undoing, but we are surely heading for one. And even without a revolution everything is coming undone at a dizzying rate. The supply situation in Petrograd is already critical. If not today then tomorrow we will run out of bread. The soldiers are grumbling, and the garrison is unreliable. At least, as you know, our military power and technical capabilities have grown to unprecedented levels. Our spring offensive will be supported by a hitherto inconceivable quantity of shells. If we can just hang on till the spring…
Were gathering forces that shall enable us to fight back and advance with confidence.