I’m in a very difficult position here. Leading a war and handling domestic politics, while trying to reconcile two such mutually exclusive tasks, amounts to a kind of monstrous compromise. The latter goes against my nature and psyche, and on top of that, I’m having to fight an internal struggle. This complicates everything to the extreme, and domestic politics is growing like a snowball rolling down a hill and is evidently engulfing the war. It’s a shared, unpleasant phenomenon which lies in the deeply non-military nature of the masses, who’ve been impregnated by abstract, lifeless ideas of social doctrines (but of what kind?!).
On Easter Saturday I communed with them, perhaps for the last time. The thought of this really moved me. When I returned, I found a magnificent lilac in my room. The Empress had sent me some Easter eggs and a pillow which she had knitted, together with the wounded officers in her infirmary. Easter Matin was solemn, and oh so sad!
Munition workers, oddly enough, tended to be pacifists. My speeches to munition workers in South Wales, all of which were inaccurately reported by detectives, caused the War Office to issue an order that I should not be any prohibited area. The prohibited areas were those into which it was particularly desired that no spies should penetrate. See more
They included the whole sea-coast. Representations induced the War Office to state that they did not suppose me to be a German spy, but nevertheless I was not allowed to go anywhere near the sea for fear I should signal to the submarines.
At the moment when the order was issued I had gone up to London for the day from Bosham in Sussex, where I was staying with the Eliots. I had to get up my brush and comb and tooth-brush, because the Government objected to my fetching them myself. But for these various compliments on the part of the Government, I should have thrown up pacifist work, as I had become persuaded that it was entirely futile. Perceiving, however, that the Government thought otherwise, I supposed I might be mistaken, and continued. Apart from the question whether I was doing any good, I could not well stop when fear of consequences might have seemed to be my motive.
I find it most interesting to talk to simple people. I recently spoke at a rally in one of the dark outlying regions of the city, where mayhem threatens to creep out on every turbulent day. The audience was attentive. With a glance, I picked out two or three faces with especially uncultured features and spoke as if they were the only people there. It fascinated me. When I saw the attention, followed by interest, curiosity and agreement as I continued, it inspired thought and imagination. I am now working on a pop brochure for the nation, in which I show how the last Romanov broke down and destroyed the autocratic idol (and other expressions).
Sergei Pavlovich literally flew into the lobby of the hotel and passionately embraced Nijinsky: "Vatsa, dear, how are you?". The embrace turned out to be so gentle and sincere, as if there had never been an argument between them. It was the real Diaghilev of the past days. They retired to a corner and talked hours and hours, and it seemed that the old friendship had been restored. Since that day, we spent literally all the time with Diaghilev. See more
Sergei Pavlovich simply said: "We are opening the season in Madrid, in the theater "Real", then we will give several performances in Barcelona. Massine composed new ballets, I want you to look at them and tell your opinion. Do you have anything new?".
Recent events in Russia were also discussed by them, and Vaslav Diaghilev about his plans about the school and the festival theater. But Diaghilev objected: "Why do you think about the future of the ballet? This is not our task. Dance, compose and let the new generation to take care of themselves. I worked abroad for too long and do not want to return to Russia. I can be asked there what I need in this country, they will say that I want to take the advantage of freedom, that other people struggled for, that I am a tired old-regime. I would not survive in the new Russia and prefer to stay in Europe."
War prevents me from working on my paintings. I have to work on smaller orders that bring me quick money, thereby allowing me to pay the bills.
In a conference at G.H.Q. at the beginning of April, important alterations were made in the staffs of the fronts, several army commanders were retired and no less than twenty-seven corps
Three French socialist deputies, Montet, Cachin and Lafont, arrived from Paris yesterday evening, travelling via Bergen and Tornea; they have come to preach wisdom and patriotism to the Soviet. They are accompanied by two members of the British Labour Party, O'Grady and Thorne. See more
Montet is a barrister; Cachin and Lafont are professors of philosophy; O'Grady is a cabinet-maker; Thorne, a plumber. French socialism is thus represented by intellectuals with a classical education, English socialism by manual workers, "matter-of-fact men." Theory on one side, practice on the other.
My three compatriots presented themselves at my office this morning. My first impressions of them left nothing to be desired. We were absolutely at one about the task that lies before them here. Their main anxiety was to know whether Russia is capable of continuing the war and if we can still rely on her for an effort which will enable us to secure our terms of peace. I told them that if they could win the confidence of the Soviet, speak to it kindly but firmly and succeed in convincing it that the fate of the revolution is bound up with the result of the war, the Russian army would again become an important factor---a factor of mass, if not of shock, in our strategic plans. As regards our peace programme, we must obviously adapt it to the new aspects of the problem. In the West I saw no reason for abandoning our claims or modifying our hopes, as American help must necessarily more or less compensate us for the diminished value of Russia's aid. But in eastern Europe and Asia Minor we should doubtless have to sacrifice something of our ambitions; but I also thought that if we set about the matter in the right way and our diplomacy carried out the manœuvre which will sooner or later be forced on us, in time that sacrifice would not cost France too much. They said they entirely agreed with me.
At one o'clock they came to lunch, as a family party, at the Embassy. All that they told me about the state of public feeling in France is quite satisfactory.
Seeing them thus under my roof, I could not help thinking what a strange and paradoxical spectacle their presence here presents. For the last five-and-twenty years the Socialist Party has never ceased in its attacks on the Franco-Russian alliance. And now we see three socialist deputies coming to defend it---against Russia!
When they left me, they went to the Champ-de-Mars to lay a wreath on the grave of the victims of the revolution, just as in the old days the envoys of the French Republic used to go to the Fortress of SS. Peter and Paul to place a wreath on the tomb of Alexander III. As Sainte-Beuve wrote: "Life is nothing but seeing everything and the reverse of everything."