All day I’ve sat at work, almost completely alone.
After liturgy I went to meet Karol – the Romanian crown prince – and brought him home. He breakfasted with us, then I conversed with him at length. Went for a stroll with Maria and Anastasia. A slight frost in the air.
Life goes on as before. Lessons started today. The Romanian king has arrived. No happenings of note. I sit and stare out of the window.
The opera chorus had chosen Fenella for its benefit performance, and asked me to take the leading dumb role in the opera.
I practised with Fokine, who did away with the conventional mime and gave new life to the heroine. It was the first production of this work on the Imperial stage, and there was a great deal of talk about it in theatrical circles. Some said that Fenella brought bad luck, and quoted numerous precedents to support their claim, including one which I remember very well. Fenella was being performed in a private theatre, and Grimaldi had invited me to come to see her in the part.The performance was quite uneventful, and I returned to Strelna. But when I opened the newspaper next morning, I read that the theatre had been burnt down during the night.
During this second stay a slight stir was caused at Court by the visit ofthe Crown Prince Carol of Roumania—his second visit to Russia. This was the last time a State dinner was given. It was marked by the first official appearance of the Grand Duchess Marie, the Emperor's third daughter. She looked extremely pretty in her pale blue dress, wearing the diamonds that her parents gave to each of their daughters on her sixteenth birthday. Poor child! she felt that the world was coming to an end and that she was disgraced in its eyes for ever, when she slipped in her new high-heeled shoes and fell down as she was entering the dining-hall, on the arm of a tall Grand Duke.
I should like to talk to you about what’s going on, and to ask your advice as to how I ought to proceed. We understand the situation all too well.