A great discovery. I read Dostoevsky’s The Idiot from start to finish, unable to tear myself away. There is a character in the book called Myshkin – an idiot, a Christian, meek and kind with human frailties; a young boy, Kolya; a general’s wife - kind-hearted, but excitable woman; and another woman, Nastasya Filippovna, who has been corrupted through no fault of her own. See more
It is difficult to understand all these complex characters, because they contradict themselves, just as real life does, and they are all rather sickly and excitable, because Dostoevsky thought anyone worthy of being called a human being should by definition be excessively sad and too bewildered to keep a calm head on his shoulders. And last of all, as far as the author is concerned, this terrible work springs from his own memory of his last minutes when he was condemned to death.
Letter to the Foreign Ministry
"I returned last night from a week's holiday in Finland and saw Tereschenko this morning. I told him that I was greatly disappointed to find that the situation had, if anything, changed for the worse, that hardly any of the disciplinary measures contemplated had been applied, and that the Government seemed to me weaker than ever. On my inquiring whether Kerensky was in agreement with the commander-in- chief on the question of the death See more
penalty in the rear, he said that it was only during the past few weeks that it had been possible even to moot this question and that the Government had been obliged to move very cautiously. Kerensky, he told me, had, in the Council of Ministers advocated its application to certain offences committed against the State by soldiers and civilians alike, but the Cadets had objected to its being applied to the latter for fear that it might be used against persons suspected of promoting a counter-revolution. I replied that, whatever reasons the Government may have had for caution in the past, they had now no time to lose, as, apart from the military outlook, the economic situation was so serious that unless drastic measures were at once taken there would be serious trouble in the winter. I had once warned the Emperor that hunger and cold would bring revolution in their train, and if the Government did not act with prompti- tude the same causes would provoke a counter-revolu- tion. Tereschenko admitted that the Government was not as strong as he could wish, but said that General Korniloff would, at the Moscow conference, which opens to-morrow, submit his programme and explain the measures which he considers it necessary to take. The conference will constitute the first great national gather- ing since the revolution, and will be attended by all the Ministers as well as by representatives of the Soviet and of other institutions."
Moscow is now filled with “women of easy virtue” – or, to put it bluntly, prostitutes. They were assailing men on the way to the bathhouse, and the police were doing nothing to stop them. See more
After repelling the advances of one blue-eyed beauty, I took a steam-bath with great pleasure. But there, too, in the Sandunovsky baths, the general decline in standards was evident. The sheets and seat covers were not snowy-white. I found myself thinking of how in Turkey - in the 16th Century, say - one could be given up to two thousands strokes of the rods as a punishment for providing shabby linen. It would make the unfortunate recipient puff up like a pigeon, but he would survive if he was put into a pit of horse manure.
The stream of golden honey poured, so viscous,
slow from the bottle, our hostess had time to murmur:
‘Here, in sad Tauris, where fate has brought us,
we shan’t be too bored’ – glancing over her shoulder. See more
Everywhere the Bacchic rite, as if all were merely
dogs and watchmen – go, and you’ll see nothing –
the days like heavy barrels rolling by quietly:
far off, hut-bound voices – no response or meaning.
After tea we entered the huge brown garden,
dark blinds lowered like eyelids over windows,
past white columns to inspect the grapes then
glassy air sluicing the sleepy mountain slopes.
I said: ‘The vines live on here in ancient wars,
and curly-haired horsemen fight in leafy rows,
the science of Hellas in stony Tauris – these are
the noble golden acres, the rusty furrows.’
Well, like a spinning wheel, silence in the white room,
smelling of vinegar, paint, new wine in the cellar.
Remember the wife loved by all, in the Greek home,
how long she spent weaving? – Not Helen – that other.
Golden Fleece, where are you Golden Fleece?
The journey: a roar of ocean’s heavy waves.
Leaving his ship, its canvas worn by the seas,
Odysseus returned, filled with time and space.
Alexis only slept a little. During the night he moved in with Alix. His ear was better, and his arm only ached a little now and then. MarieThird daughter of Nicholas II is better. The day became quiet. All morning I walked around the deck. See more
We went up the Tobol and put ashore on the left bank and went along the road and returned along the river with various difficulties but in a good mood. At 6 o'clock we returned to Tobolsk, and with a loud crash ran into the pier, breaking some of the railings on the side. The day was hot.