By Maurice Paléologue
OCTOBER 29-NOVEMBER 30, 1914
Sudden attack by Turkish destroyers on the Russian fleet at Odessa.---Allied rupture with Turkey.---A Rasputin logograph.---Victory of the Russians in Galicia.---They resume their offensive in Poland.---The utopias of Slavism; the Byzantine dream.---Intrigues of Count Witte.---England spontaneously abandons Constantinople to Russia.---An audience with the Emperor. Nicholas II gives me his views on the terms of the future peace.---The Battle of Lodz: a victory is prematurely announced by the Russians who let it slip from their grasp.---A forerunner of Rasputin; the magician Philippe; the canonization of Saint Seraphin and the birth of the Tsarevitch.
Thursday, October 29, 1914
At three o'clock this morning two Turkish destroyers entered the port of Odessa, sank a Russian gunboat and fired on the French mail boat Portugal doing considerable damage. Then they fled at top speed, pursued by a Russian destroyer.
Sazonov has received the news very calmly. He immediately applied to the Emperor for orders, and then said to me:
"His Majesty has decided that not a man shall be withdrawn from the German front. Our first concern is to beat Germany.. The defeat of Germany will necessarily involve the ruin of Turkey. We shall keep down to a minimum the forces required for defence against the. Turkish fleet and army."
Among the general public there is great excitement.
Friday, October 30, 1914.
The Russian Ambassador in Constantinople, Michael de Giers, has received orders to demand his passports.
At Sazonov's request the three allied Governments are still trying to keep Turkey neutral, and pressing her immediately to dismiss the German officers serving in the Ottoman fleet and army.
The attempt has no chance of success, however, as Turkish cruisers have just bombarded Novorossisk and Theodosia as well.
These attacks---which have not been preceded by a declaration of war or any sort of notice---this series of provocations and outrages, have made the whole Russian nation almost beside itself with fury.
Sunday, November 1, 1914.
As Turkey has refused to sever her ties with the German powers; the Russian, French and English Ambassadors have left Constantinople.
West of the Vistula the Russian armies are still advancing victoriously on the whole front.
Monday, November 2, 1914.
The Tsar Nicholas has issued a proclamation to his people:
Under German command the Turkish feet has had the treacherous effrontery to attack our Black Sea coasts. We share with all the peoples of Russia the unshakable conviction that the rash intervention of Turkey will only hasten that country's downfall and open Russia's path towards the solution of the historic problem which our ancestors have bequeathed to us on the shores of the Black Sea.
I questioned Sazonov about the meaning of this last phrase which seems to have been drawn from the Sibylline Books.
"We shall have to make Turkey pay dearly for her mistake of to-day," he replied. "We must have tangible guarantees on the Bosphorus. As regards Constantinople, personally I don't want the Turks to be cleared out. I'd gladly leave them the old Byzantine city with a good-sized kitchen-garden all round. But no more!"
Tuesday, November 3, 1914
Two days ago Countess I---- sent me the following letter:
My Dear Friend,
Don't be afraid I'm going to ramble, but a strange and mysterious being has asked me to translate his thought for France and send it on to you. I warn you it's just a mass of incoherencies.
I also send the Russian original, if the enclosed scrawl can be called an "original." Perhaps you will find someone better qualified than I to seize the mystic, and perhaps prophetical meaning of this letter. It is Madame Vyrubova who has sent it to me with a request to translate it for I imagine the idea has emanated from higher up. . . .
Enclosed in this letter was a sheet of paper gashed with a large, uneven, heavy and uneducated handwriting, a jumble of jerks, stabs and contortions. The letters were so clumsy and mis-shapen that it was exceedingly difficult to make them out. But, taken as a whole, the sheet was as expressive as an etching: one could feel the trembling of the hand as it traced each word, and before one's eyes rose the vision of a being endowed with imagination and audacity, a thing of impulses and sensuality. The signature was almost easy to read: Rasputin.
Madame L-----'s translation from the Russian runs as follows:
God grant that you may live after the manner of Russia, and not of the critics of the country, the cipher for example.(1) From that moment God will give you the miracle of strength. Your armies will see the strength of Heaven. Victory is with you and on you!
The piece of paper on which this unintelligible scrawl was written has had the top left corner torn off, the corner on which the imperial arms are stamped. Rasputin must have written this note in Tsarskoïe-Selo palace itself.
After somewhat anxious reflection I dictated to Countess L------ a nebulous reply, which enshrines the following notion: "The French nation, whose intuition is very quick, well knows that the Russian people embody their love of their country in the person of the Tsar. . . ." My letter ended thus: "Your Prophet may be easy in his mind! France and Russia are at one in the loftiness of their common ideal."
Wednesday, November 4, 1914.
The strength of the Russian troops assigned for operations in Asia against the Turks is 160,000 men. The plan of the Russian General Staff is immediately to secure all the strategic positions which command the gateways into Azerbaidjan and then remain on the defensive.
Countess L----- writes to me:
Your answer to my letter was perfect and your letter has reached august hands. I have ascertained that I had good reason to think that the order to translate came from high up.
All good wishes.
Thursday, November 5, 1914.
An Anglo-French squadron has bombarded the advanced forts of the Dardanelles.
In Armenia the Russians have carried by storm the fortress of Bayazid which commands the road to Van. They began their campaigns of 1828 and 1877 in the same way.
England is annexing the Island of Cyprus, which she has occupied since 1878 in accordance with the terms of her alliance with Turkey.
In northern France and Belgium the Germans are exhausting themselves in frantic and furious efforts to force their way through to Calais.
Friday, November 6, 1914.
In the region of Warsaw the Germans are threatened with envelopment of their left wing and are hastening their retreat in a westerly direction.
In Galicia the obstinate fighting which has been in progress for three weeks on the San resulted yesterday in a general and precipitate retreat by the Austrians.
The Grand Duke Nicholas has asked me to forward to General Joffre the following telegram:
"Following on our successes on the Vistula a complete victory has just been gained by our troops. The Austrians are in disorderly flight on the whole of the Galician front. The strategic manoeuvre of which I informed you when it began has thus come to a happy conclusion, being crowned with the most important success gained by us since the beginning of the war."
Saturday, November 7, 1914.
I have had a talk with the Chief of the General Staff. I asked him what would probably be the immediate effect of the rout of the Austrians on the course of the operations.
I give a summary of what I took down from General Bielaiev's dictation:
(1) In the Austrian theatre
The Austrian army may be considered as crushed. Its debris are being mercilessly pursued into the defiles of the Carpathians. The intention of the Grand Duke is to send twelve cavalry divisions with infantry support into the upper valley of the Theiss with a view to threatening Buda-Pesth; but for the time being these troops will not proceed more than a hundred kilometres. These twelve divisions comprise 48,000 men, of which 30,000 are Cossacks. The latter include the special brigade known as the "savage brigade" because it is recruited from the fiercest and most warlike tribes of the Caucasus. The Grand Duke anticipates that this mass of cavalry will produce a panic in Hungary.
(2) In the German theatre:
The German armies are retreating all along the line, but it looks as if they would stop on the Thorn-Posen-Breslau-Neisse line where a series of fortified positions is being prepared in feverish haste. The German forces consist of seven corps, to which should perhaps be added five corps of recent formation (the five corps operating in East Prussia are not included in this number). The Russian forces comprise thirty-seven corps (not including the five corps in East Prussia). The Grand Duke Nicholas's intention is to press forward on Berlin on a front of approximately 250 kilometres, resting his left on the Carpathians.
Sunday, November 8, 1914.
Yesterday the Japanese captured Tsing-Tau and have taken 2,300 prisoners.
In Poland a Russian cavalry division has advanced 250 kilometres west of Warsaw and penetrated German territory as far as Pleschen, which is 30 kilometres northwest of Kalisz.
Monday, November 9, 1914.
The attack by the Turks has shaken the Russian national conscience to its depths.
Naturally the shock and indignation have been nowhere greater than at Moscow, the sacred metropolis of orthodox nationalism. In the heady atmosphere of the Kremlin all the romantic utopias of Slavism have suddenly been roused to life. As in the days of Aksakov, Kireievsky and Katkov Muscovite brains have been intoxicated the last few days with the thought of Russia's divine mission on earth.
It has inspired me to re-read the poems of Tiutchev, the poet of slavianophilstvo, and particularly his verses called Russian Geography, which had such a success in days gone by:
"Moscow, the City of Peter and the City of Constantine, these are the three sacred capitals of the Russian Empire. But where are its frontiers on the north and the east, on the south and the west? Destiny will show us in the future. Seven inland seas and seven great rivers; from the Nile to the Neva, the Elbe to China, the Volga to the Euphrates, the Ganges to the Danube---there is the Russian Empire, and it will last throughout the centuries! The spirit has predicted this, and Daniel has prophesied it."
It was Tiutchev, too, who wrote this famous apocalypse:
"Soon the days will be fulfilled, the hour will sound! And in Byzantium, born again, the ancient vault of Saint Sophia will once more shelter the altar of Christ. Kneel before that altar, O Tsar of 'Russia, and rise, Tsar of all the Slavs!"
Tuesday, November 10, 1914.
With his usual calm and haughty audacity Count Witte is carrying on his campaign in favour of Peace. He is going about saying:
"Lose no time in liquidating this sorry adventure! Russia will never have so favourable an opportunity again. We have just beaten the Austrians and driven back the Germans. It is the utmost we can ever do. Henceforward our military power can only wane. We shall require months and months to bring our effectives up to strength and complete our artillery and supplies. But within three weeks the Germans, with the help of their railways, will return to attack us with new armies, superior in numbers and provided with all the munitions they require. And this time they'll finish us off! That's what the Emperor and his ministers have to realize---if they, are capable of realizing anything!"
This specious talk, uttered in his slow, deliberate and contemptuous voice, is having a great effect. I complained to Sazonov:
"What makes Count Witte's intrigues particularly ill-timed and indecent," I said, "is the fact that in France and England politicians of all parties have voluntarily submitted to strict discipline in the interests of national solidarity. Look at our socialists. Not a fault to find with them! The only false note is here. And he who utters it, nay shouts it on the house-tops, is not a private individual but a former President of the Council and still one of His Majesty's Secretaries of State, a member of the Council of Empire and President of the Higher Committee of Finance! "
"You're perfectly right, I'm sorry to say! Count Witte's intrigues are not merely indecent; they're positively criminal. I've denounced them several times to the Emperor and His Majesty has been very indignant."
" But why doesn't the Emperor punish him? Why doesn't he take away his title of Secretary of State and deprive him of his seat in the Council of Empire, or at any rate of the presidency of the Finance Committee?"
"Because . . . because. . ."
His words ended in a despairing sigh.
"But you should take action against this pacifist propaganda: it might easily become dangerous."
"I'll be seeing the Emperor in the next few days and advise him to see you, so that he can tell you himself that Count Witte's babble doesn't matter a bit."
Wednesday, November 11, 1914.,
During the ten months of my acquaintance with Russian society one of the phenomena which have amazed me most is the freedom, or rather the licence, with which the Emperor, Empress and imperial family are discussed. In this home of autocracy where the police, the gendarmerie, the Okhrana, the Fortress of Peter and Paul and Siberia are such terrible and ever-present realities, the crime of lèse-majesté is the habitual sin of conversation in society. I had further proof of it to-day when I was at tea with Madame B-----.
She told me of several new features in Witte's peace campaign, and then flamed up against the Emperor who tolerates this outrage:
"He is mortally afraid of Witte; he'll never have the courage to deal with him. . . . He's always been the same since the beginning of his reign; he has neither courage nor will."
"Is it fair to say he has no will? I should have thought that he'd held the reins pretty tight on a good many occasions."
But Madame B----- was not to be appeased. Her eyes sparkling with intelligence and irritation, she continued her indictment with a frown:
"No, he hasn't an ounce of will. How could he expect to have, seeing that he hasn't the slightest personality? He's obstinate, but that's a very different thing. When an idea has been put in his head---he never has ideas of his own---he takes it up and clings to it simply because he hasn't the strength of mind to want any other. . . . But what annoys me most about him is that he hasn't any courage. He's always doing underhand things. He won't enter into a frank and free discussion on a subject which is not indifferent to him. To avoid opposition he invariably acquiesces in everything which is said to him, and always complies with one's requests. The moment his back is turned he orders the opposite. . . . Look at the way he dismisses his ministers! It is just when he's determined to get rid of them that he gives them the friendliest reception and shows them special confidence and kindness. They open their newspaper some fine morning and learn from a rescript that their health obliges them to take a long rest. Have you ever heard anything more disgraceful than the dismissal of Kokovtsov at the beginning of this year? Why, I shouldn't send one of my servants away in such a humiliating fashion and without a word of explanation! . . ."
Thursday, November 12, 1914
At the club to-day I had a talk with old Prince T---- and B----- (the Director of the Imperial Hunting Establishments) who were personal friends of Alexander III. In veiled terms they conveyed to me how deplorable the discredit into which the imperial family has fallen, seemed to them, and how dangerous the perpetual web of intrigues around the Empress was for Russia and the dynasty. I did not conceal from them that I, too, was very uneasy about these intrigues:
"How can the Emperor tolerate a real hot-bed of treason within the four walls of his own palace? How can he let his own authority be flouted in this way? Why doesn't he take strong action? He could put everything right in a moment---with a word, or a stroke of his pen. . . After all, he's the master! Of course, I know Russia has passed beyond the feudal stage, the times of Ivan the Terrible or Peter the Great. But the Tsar is still the Tsar, the autocrat that is to say, and his power is enormous . . "
Prince T----- broke in:
"His power is far less than you think. From a practical point of view he is dependent upon his officials for information or advice or the carrying-out of his orders. And he lets things slide, because he has little initiative or will and at heart is pretty much of a fatalist. It is the bureaucracy which really governs the Empire."
B----- joined in:
"With very few exceptions it has always been the same. The Tsars have always been more or less in the hands of their tchinovniks. You remember Madame Svetchin's remarks: 'It's marvellous how much those who can do everything cannot do!' And she was speaking of none other than Nicholas I!
Saturday, November 14, 1914.
This morning Buchanan told Sazonov in my presence that the British ministers had discussed at great length the new problems which had arisen in the east owing to the deeds and misdeeds of the Turkish Government; he added that Sir Edward Grey had not failed to inform them of the views of the Russian Government and the aspirations of the Russian people. He wound up with a solemn declaration:
"The Government of His Britannic Majesty have been led to recognize that the question of the Straits and Constantinople must be solved in the manner Russia desires. I am happy to inform you accordingly."
After a moment's surprise Sazonov's face lit up with delight, but overcoming his emotion he replied with calm dignity:
"Monsieur I'Ambassadeur I accept your intimation with heartfelt gratitude. Russia will never forget the proof of friendship which England has given her to-day. Never!"
Then they shook hands, and warmly congratulated one another.
Sunday, November 15, 194.
In Poland the operations of the Russian army are developing successfully (1) between the Vistula and the Warta, in, and around Leczyca; (2) in South-western Poland between Czestochova and Cracow.
In Galicia the Russians are still making progress across the Carpathians.
In East Prussia they are approaching the Gumbinnen-Angerburg front, where the German line is strongly fortified.
General de Laguiche, who has Just been round the Russian army fronts in Poland, has been telling me of the enormous difficulties of their advance in the region from which the enemy has just retired. All the railways and roads have been systematically destroyed. Not a station, not a bridge is left. In many places a series of trenches has been cut across the roads for several versts. The troops are displaying amazing energy in the repair of the roads---such is their impatience to get on. . . . The men are in fine fettle. There are few sick; but thousands of horses have had to be replaced. The units which have suffered most are those which were engaged in operations in Galicia and have had to be sent north. Five army corps, forming a single column, spent four days in passing through forests so marshy that the trees on either side of the one available road had to be cut down to fill up the holes.
After describing the retreat of the Germans in a westerly direction General de Laguiche concluded with his usual wisdom:
"The enemy's retreat is voluntary, without letting himself be held and without being touched in his vitals. This enemy may therefore appear again. What is the motive behind this retirement? It is a question we should put to ourselves, if we are to be prepared against surprise and not to be embarrassed in the execution of our own plans. We are witnessing successes which are well calculated to give us every satisfaction; but the task before us is one and indivisible for there will be no victory until the enemy's armies have ceased to exist."
Wednesday, November 18, 1914
Buchanan told Sazonov this morning that the British Government finds itself compelled to annex Egypt; it hopes that the Russian Government will offer no objection.
Sazonov hastened to express his approval.
Four days ago England abandoned Constantinople to Russia. To-day Russia has abandoned Egypt to England. Thus is fulfilled, after an interval of sixty-one years, the programme which the Tsar Nicholas I laid before Sir Hamilton Seymour, the British Ambassador, in January 1853---a programme which was the origin of the Crimean War.
Thursday, November 19, 1914
Between the Vistula and the Warta---about 100 kilometres from Warsaw---the Germans are engaged in a violent offensive to hold up the Russian advance on Silesia. Near Kutno the Russians seem to have suffered a reverse which is said to have cost them 30,000 men.
A great battle is about to begin further south, in the region of Lodz.
The Grand-Master of the Ceremonies has informed me that the Emperor desires to see me and will receive me the day after to-morrow, Saturday, at Tsarskoïe-Selo.
Friday, November 20, 1914.
The new Bulgarian Minister, Madjaroff, presented is credentials to His Majesty this afternoon.
After declaring his friendly feelings for the Bulgarian an nation the Emperor spoke to him in a warning tone:
"I must not hide from you that the attitude of your Government towards Serbia is making a very painful impression upon me and that all my people feel it as much as I myself. . . . If your Government takes advantage of the present situation to attack Serbia, as sovereign of the greatest of the Slav States I shall solemnly proclaim that Bulgaria has forfeited her place in the Slav family!"
Saturday, November 21, 1914
This morning Sazonov said to me: "The Emperor will receive you at four o'clock. Officially he has nothing to say; but he wants to talk to you frankly and without restraint. I warn you your audience will be a long one.
At three o'clock I left in a special train for Tsarskoïe-Selo. Snow was falling heavily. Under the wan light from the sky the great plain in which Petrograd is set lay pale, misty and drab. It made me feel gloomy with its reminder of the plains of Poland where at this very moment thousands of men are dying and thousands others suffer the tortures of wounds.
Although my audience was a private one I had to put on my full-dress uniform, as is fitting for a meeting with the Tsar, Autocrat of all the Russias. The Director of Ceremonies, Evreinov, went with me. He also was a symphony in gold braid.
From Tsarskoïe-Selo station to Alexander Palace is a short distance, less than a verst. In the open space before one reaches the park a little church, mediæval in style, raises its pretty cupola above the snow; it is the Feodorovsky Sobor, one of the Empress's favourite resorts for private devotion.
Alexander Palace showed me its most intimate side, for ceremonial was reduced to a minimum. My escort consisted only of Evreinov, a household officer in undress uniform and a footman in his picturesque (Tsaritsa Elizabeth) dress with the hat adorned with long red, black and yellow plumes. I was taken through the audience rooms, then the Empress's private drawing-room, down a long corridor leading to the private apartments of the sovereigns in which I passed a servant in very plain livery who was carrying a tea tray. Further on was the foot of a little private staircase leading to the rooms of the imperial children. A lady's maid flitted away from the landing above. The last room at the end of the corridor is occupied by Prince Mestschersky, personal aide-de-camp. I waited there barely a minute. The gaily and weirdly bedecked Ethiopian who mounted guard outside His Majesty's study opened the door almost at once.
The Emperor received me with that gracious and somewhat shy kindness which is all his own.
The room in which he received me is small and has only one window. The furniture is plain and comfortable there are plain leather chairs, a sofa covered with a Persian rug, a bureau and shelves arranged with meticulous care, a table spread with maps and a low book case with photographs, busts and family souvenirs on the top shelf.
As usual the Emperor hesitated over his preliminary remarks, which are kind personal enquiries and attentions, but soon he became more at his ease:
"Let's make ourselves at home and be comfortable first, as I shall keep you some time. Have this chair. . . . We'll put this little table between us: that's better. Here are the cigarettes: Turkish. I've no business to smoke them as they were given to me by a fresh enemy, the Sultan. But they're extremely nice and, anyhow, I haven't any others. Let me have my maps. . . . And now we can talk."
He lit his cigarette, offered me a light and went straight to the heart of the subject:
"Great things have happened in the three months since I saw you last. The splendid French army and my dear army have already given such proof of valour that victory can't fail us now. . . . Don't think I'm under any illusion as to the trials and sacrifices the war still has in store for us; but so far we have a right, and even a duty, to consider together what we should have to do if Austria or Germany sued for peace. You must observe that it would unquestionably be in Germany's interest to treat for peace while her military power is still formidable. But isn't Austria very exhausted already? Well, what should we do if Germany or Austria asked for peace?"
"The first question," I said, " is to consider whether peace can be negotiated if we are not forced to dictate it to our enemies. . . . However moderate we may be we shall obviously have to insist on guarantees and reparations from the Central Powers, demands they will not accept before they are at our mercy."
"That's my own view. We must dictate the peace and I am determined to continue the war until the Central Powers are destroyed. But I regard it as essential that the terms of the peace should be discussed by us three, France, England and Russia-and by us three alone. No Congress or mediation for me! So when the time comes we shall impose our will upon Germany and Austria."
"What is your general idea of the terms of peace, Sire?"
After a moment's consideration the Emperor resumed:
"What we must keep before us as our first object is the destruction of German militarism, the end of the nightmare from which Germany has made us suffer for more than forty years. We must make it impossible for the German people even to think of revenge. If we let ourselves be swayed by sentiment there will be a fresh war within a very short time. . . . As for the precise terms of peace I must tell you at once that I accept here and now any conditions France and England think it their duty to put forward in their own interest."
"I thank Your Majesty for that intimation; I am certain that the Government of the Republic in turn will meet the wishes of the imperial Government in the most sympathetic spirit."
"What you say encourages me to tell you all I think. But I m only giving you my own view, as I don't like to open questions of this kind without consulting my ministers and generals." He drew his chair close to mine, spread a map of Europe on the table between us, lit another cigarette and continued in an even more intimate and familiar tone: "This is more or less my view of the results Russia is entitled to expect from the war, results failing which my people will not understand the sacrifices I have require of them. . . . In East Prussia Germany must accept a rectification of the frontier. My General Staff would like this rectification to be extended to the mouths of the Vistula. That seems to me excessive; I'll look into the question. Posen and possibly a portion of Silesia will be indispensable to the reconstitution of Poland. Galicia and the western half of the Bukovina will enable Russia to obtain her natural frontier, the Carpathians. . . . In Asia Minor I shall have to consider the question of the Armenians of course; I certainly could not let them return to the Turkish yoke. Ought I to annex Armenia? I shall only do so if the Armenians expressly ask me to. Otherwise I shall establish an autonomous regime for them. Lastly, I shall be compelled to secure my Empire a free passage through the Straits."
As he stopped at these words I pressed him to enlighten me further. He continued:
"I am far from having made up my mind. The matter is of such grave importance. But there are two conclusion to which I am always being brought back; first, that the Turks must be expelled from Europe; secondly, that Constantinople must in future be neutral, with an international regime. I need hardly say that the Mohammedans should receive all necessary guarantees that sanctuaries and tombs will be respected. Western Thrace to the Enos-Midia line should be given to Bulgaria. The rest, from that line to the shores of the Straits but excluding the environs of Constantinople, would be assigned Russia."
"So if I have understood you correctly, the Turks will be confined to Asia---as in the days of the first Osmanlis--- and have Angora or Koniah for their capital. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmora and the Dardanelles will thus form the western frontier of Turkey."
"Your Majesty will forgive me for interrupting again to remind you that in Syria and Palestine France has a precious heritage of historical memories and moral and material interests. May I assume that Your Majesty would acquiesce in any measures the Government of the Republic might think fit to take to safeguard that inheritance?"
Then he spread out a map of the Balkans and indicated broadly his view of the territorial changes we should desire:
"Serbia should annex Bosnia, Herzegovina, Dalmatia and Northern Albania. Greece should have southern Albania with the exception of Valona, which must be assigned to Italy. If Bulgaria behaves properly she should receive compensation in Macedonia from Serbia."
He carefully folded up the map of the Balkans and as carefully returned it to its exact place on his table. Then crossing his arms and leaning back in his chair he fixed his eyes on the ceiling and asked in a dreamy voice:
"What about Austria-Hungary? What's to become of her? "
"If the victories of your armies develop beyond the Carpathians and Italy and Rumania enter the field Austria-Hungary will hardly survive the territorial sacrifices the Emperor Francis Joseph will be obliged to accept. When the Austro-Hungarian partnership has gone bankrupt I imagine the partners won't wish to go on working together, at any rate on the same terms."
"I think so too. . . . When Hungary loses Transylvania she'll have some difficulty in keeping the Croats under her sway. Bohemia will demand its autonomy at the least and Austria will thus find herself reduced to her ancient hereditary states, German Tyrol and the district of Salzburg."
Hereupon he lapsed into silence for a moment, his brows contracted and his eyes half closed as if he were repeating to himself what he was about to tell me. Then he cast a glance at the portrait of his father on the wall behind me and continued:
"But it is primarily in Germany that the great changes will take place. As I have said, Russia will annex the former Polish territories and part of East Prussia. France will certainly recover Alsace-Lorraine and possibly obtain the Rhine Provinces as well. Belgium should receive a substantial accession of territory in the region of Aix-la-Chapelle; she thoroughly deserves it! As for or the German Colonies, France and England will divide them as they think fit. Further, I should like Schleswig, including the Kiel Canal zone, to be restored to Denmark. . . . And Hanover? Wouldn't it be wise to revive Hanover? By setting up a small independent state between Prussia and Holland we should do much towards putting the future peace on a solid basis. After all, it is that which must guide our deliberations and actions. Our work cannot be justified before God and History unless it is inspired by a great moral idea and the determination to secure the peace of the world for a very long time to come."
As he uttered these last words he sat up in his chair his voice quivered a little under the influence of a solemn religious emotion. In his eyes shone a strange light. His conscience and his faith were visibly at work. But neither in his attitude nor his expression was there a suggestion of pose: nothing but perfect simplicity.
"Doesn't it mean the end of the German Empire?" I said.
He replied in firm tones:
"Germany can adopt any organization she likes, but the imperial dignity cannot be allowed to remain in the House of Hohenzollern. Prussia must return to the status of a kingdom only. . . . Isn't that your opinion also, Ambassador?"
"The German Empire, as conceived, founded and governed by the Hohenzollerns, is so obviously directed against the French nation that I shall certainly not attempt its defence. France would have a great guarantee if all the powers of the German world ceased to be in the hands of Prussia. . . ."
Our talk had already lasted more than an hour. After a few moments of reflection the Emperor remarked, as if he had suddenly remembered something:
"We mustn't think merely of the immediate results of the war: we must consider the remoter future, too. . . . I attach the very greatest importance to the maintenance of our alliance. The work we have set out to do and which has already cost us such efforts and sacrifices will be permanent only if we remain united. As we know we are striving for the peace of the world it is essential that our work should be permanent."
As he delivered himself of this finale, an obvious and necessary finale, to our conversation, I could see in his eyes the same strange, mystic light I had observed a few minutes earlier. His ancestor, Alexander I, must have worn this fervent and inspired expression when he preached to Metternich and Hardenberg about the Holy Alliance of kings against peoples. Yet in Madame von Krüdener's friend there was a certain theatrical affectation, a kind of romantic exaltation. Nicholas II, on the other hand, is sincerity itself: he endeavours to contain rather than give rein to his feelings, to conceal rather than deploy his emotions.
The Emperor rose, offered me another cigarette and remarked in the most casual and friendly way:
"What glorious memories we shall share, my dear Ambassador! Do you remember? . . ."
And he reminded me of the days immediately preceding the war, that harassing week from July 25 to August 2; he recounted even the most trivial details and laid particular emphasis on the personal telegrams which had passed between the Emperor William and himself:
"He was never sincere; not for a moment! In the end he was hopelessly entangled in the net of his own perfidy and lies. . . . Have you ever been able to account for the telegram he sent me six hours after giving me his declaration of war? It's utterly impossible to explain what happened. I don't remember if I've ever told you. It was half-past one in the morning of August 2. I had just received your English colleague who had brought me a telegram from King George begging me to do everything possible to save peace. I had drafted, with Sir George Buchanan's help, the telegram with which you are familiar, which ended with an appeal for England's help in arms as the war was forced on us by Germany. The moment Buchanan had left I went to the Empress's room, as she was already in bed, to show her King George's telegram and have a cup of tea with her before retiring myself. I stayed with her until two in the morning. Then I wanted to have a bath, as I was very tired. I was just getting in when my servant knocked at the door saying he had a telegram for me. 'A very important telegram, very important indeed . . a telegram from His Majesty the Emperor William; I read the telegram, read it again and then repeated it aloud . . . but I couldn't understand a word. at on earth does William mean, I thought, pretending that it still depends on me whether war is averted or not! He implores me not to let my troops cross the frontier! Have I suddenly gone mad? Didn't the Minister of the Court, my trusted Fredericks, at least six hours ago bring me the declaration of war the German Ambassador had just handed to Sazonov? I returned to the Empress's room and read her William's telegram. She had to read it herself to bring herself to believe it. She said to me immediately: 'You're not going to answer it, are you? ' ' Certainly not.'
"There's no doubt that the object of this strange and farcical telegram was to shake my resolution, disconcert me and inspire me to some absurd and dishonourable step. It produced the opposite effect. As I left the Empress's room I felt that all was over for ever between me and William. I slept extremely well. When I woke, at my usual hour, I felt as if a weight had fallen from mind. My responsibility to God and my people was still enormous, but at least I knew what I had to do."
"I think, Sire, I could give a somewhat different explanation of the Emperor William's telegram."
"Really! Let me have it! "
"The Emperor William is not a man of courage
"He is not."
"He's a comedian and a braggart. He never dares to go right through with what he undertakes. He has often reminded me of an actor playing the murderer in melodrama who suddenly finds that his weapon is loaded and that he's really going to kill his victim. How often have we not seen him frightened by his own pantomime? When he ventured on his famous Tangier pronouncement, in 1905, he stopped quite suddenly in the middle of his scenario. . . . I am inclined to think that the moment he had issued his declaration of war he got frightened. He realized the formidable results of his action and wanted to throw all the responsibility on you. Perhaps, too, he clung to some fantastic hope of producing by his telegram some unexpected, inconceivable, miraculous event which would enable him to escape the consequences of his crime . . . . "
"Well, your explanation is quite in keeping with William's character."
The clock struck six.
"My word, it's late!" the Emperor said. " I'm afraid I've wearied you, but I'm glad to have had an opportunity of talking freely to you."
As he led me to the door I asked him about the fighting in Poland.
"It's a great battle," he said, "and raging with the greatest fury. The Germans are making frantic efforts to break our line; they won't succeed and they can't remain long in their present positions. So I hope that before long we shall resume our advance."
"General de Laguiche wrote to me recently that the Grand Duke Nicholas still keeps a march on Berlin as his one and only objective."
"Yes, I don't yet know where we shall be able to get through. Between the Carpathians and the Oder, perhaps? Or between Breslau and Posen? Or north of Posen. It depends a good deal on the fighting now in progress around Lodz and in the neighbourhood of Cracow. But Berlin is certainly our sole objective. The fighting is equally violent on your side. This furious Yser battle is going in your favour. Your marines have covered themselves with glory. It's a serious reverse for the Germans, nearly as serious as their defeat on the Marne. . . . Well, good-bye, my dear Ambassador! Once more, I'm very glad to have been able to talk so freely with you! "
Tuesday, November 24, 1914.
The Russians are keeping the upper hand in the furious struggle raging west of Warsaw, and particularly between Lodz and Lowicz; but the issue of the battle is not yet determined.
The Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna asked me to dinner this evening. Besides herself only her ladies-in-waiting and particular cronies were present. She was very anxious to know what the Emperor said to me in my last audience. I told her only as much as is good for her to know---and hand on. For instance, I told her that the Emperor had vigorously confirmed his determination to continue the war until German power was utterly overthrown:
"He has also given me to understand that he cannot allow the imperial dignity to remain in the House of Hohenzollern."
The Mecklenburger in her came out and once more I could see all the ancient and jealous animosity of the little German courts towards arrogant Prussia. Her eyes sparkling with rage, she continued:
"We've had quite enough of the Hohenzollerns! Quite enough! They've been the curse of Germany! Munich, Stuttgart, Dresden, Darmstadt, Schwerin, Weimar, Meiningen, Coburg: none of them wants them any more. . . . It's only perhaps in Baden that there is some slight attachment for them because they're really the same family."(3)
We talked about the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna:
"I noticed," I said, "that the Emperor mentioned her name several times during our conversation."
"That doesn't surprise me. He tells her everything---takes her opinion on everything. You may be certain that the moment you were out of his room he went and told her of the conversation."
"What are the Empress's present feelings towards Germany?"
"I expect I'll surprise you. She's fervently anti-German. She denies the Germans all honour, conscience or humanity. Only the other day she said to me 'They've lost the moral sense and all Christian feeling!'"
Wednesday, November 25, 1914.
Petrograd is delighted. It is said, with a wealth of detail, that the Germans have been totally defeated between Lodz and Lowicz; their troops are making a supreme effort to escape being surrounded.
General Bielaiev, Chief of Staff, has told Sazonov that two or three German corps are surrounded already.
Thursday, November 26, 1914.
Sazonov is delirious with joy:
"Our victory at Lodz is splendid, complete, and far more important than all our successes in Galicia. We're waiting for the fruits of our victory to be harvested before making it public."
From the Foreign Office I went to the General Staff building, which is opposite it on the other side of Winter Palace Square. General Bielaiev confirmed what Sazonov has told me:
"We've won a victory, a great victory; but between Brzeziny and Strykov the Germans are still making desperate efforts to cut their way through north. That is why in our communiqué we have confined ourselves to saying that the advantage is with our troops and the Germans are finding it very difficult to secure their retreat. Their losses, too, are enormous, and three of their corps are almost completely surrounded. I've been working all night to arrange transport for 150,000 prisoners. Personally I build great hopes on the results of this victory."
In the city the public delight is to be read on every face. Out of curiosity I stopped my car at the façade of Our Lady of Kazan. The faithful were simply streaming into the great national sanctuary which is one mass of gold and precious stones. The candle-sellers at the doors cannot meet the demand, and before the "Sacred Portal" the crowds throng impatiently to kiss the miraculous ikon of the Virgin.
Friday, November 77, 1914.
This morning Sazonov's face was not so radiant as yesterday. When I asked him certain details about the battle of Lodz, he was inclined to evade my questions:
"It's a victory for us," he said, "patently a victory. But we don't know the exact results yet. Besides, the battle is still continuing."
"What about the three German corps being surrounded? "
"I know nothing."
"Couldn't you telephone to General Bielaiev?"
"I've just done so. He knows nothing either, except that in southern Poland the Austrian army which is defending the approaches to Cracow was driven back yesterday."
Saturday, November 28, 1914.
The German corps, which were half-surrounded near Lodz, have succeeded in escaping at the cost of appalling hecatombs. The Russian plan failed at the last moment through the fault of General Rennenkampf who was lacking in vision and quickness of movement.
The general staff has published a communiqué in the following terms:
The rumours in circulation as to the magnitude of our victory between the Fistula and the Wartha originate in private correspondence, and must be accepted with reserve. . . . There is no doubt that the German plan of surrounding the Russian army on the left bank of the Fistula has completely failed. The Germans have had to retreat in unfavourable conditions and suffering huge losses. The battle is developing in our favour, but the enemy continues his stubborn resistance.
The public is grievously disappointed.
Sunday, November 29, 1914.
Public opinion in Russia is certainly too nervy and imaginative; not practical enough. It is very natural that the public should be dissatisfied, or even irritated, at being misled about the results of the battle of Lodz. But in its disappointment it forgets that if the Germans have escaped a complete disaster they have none the less suffered a heavy reverse. Everywhere I find nothing but pessimism and expressions of war-weariness or disillusionment. What would it be if the Germans had won?
Monday, November 30, 1914.
I am getting information from every quarter that Count Witte is tirelessly carrying on his campaign in favour of peace.
I had this confirmed this evening by Countess K-----, with whom I and a few close friends were dining. She does not share Witte's opinions, but she often has occasion to see him and is also well informed as to what is going on behind the scenes at the palace:
"Witte's influence is very great at the moment," she told me. "His pronouncements are making a great impression. At Princess P-----'s yesterday he spent more than an hour arguing that we ought to make peace at once; otherwise he is certain that we are on the way to defeat and revolution. I have never seen him so pessimistic."
"Where do France and England come in in his argument? After all, it was not Russia who came to their assistance but they who came to the assistance of Russia."
"That's exactly the reply he got---that we had no right to abandon our Allies. His answer was: 'But it is as much to France and England's interest not to persist in this stupid adventure as it is to ours!' "
I expressed my astonishment that such things could be said with impunity by a member of the Council of Empire, one of His Majesty's Secretaries of State
"It would be so easy to silence him!"
"They daren't silence him! "
And she told me that the Emperor hates Witte but is very much afraid of him, afraid of his intellect, his arrogance, his pointed, acid remarks, his epigrams and his intrigues. Besides they have more than one secret between them, the revelation of which would be very awkward for Their Majesties.
"You know," she went on, "that when Witte was President of the Council and Minister of Finance he was very much mixed up in the affairs of the famous Philippe, Rasputin's predecessor. You may remember, too, that the Emperor asked President Loubet to grant the magician the degree of doctor of medicine and that Monsieur Loubet naturally evaded that absurd request. But Philippe was absolutely determined to be a 'Doctor of Medicine,' and gave the Emperor no rest. Then Witte applied to the War Minister, General Kuropatkin, to have Philippe appointed medical officer on the Reserve, and he was also authorized to wear the uniform of a civil general!. . . .
As the name of Philippe has thus cropped up I will give a few details of his biography as I did earlier on for Rasputin.
In February, 1903, the Chief of the Russian Police abroad, Ratchkovsky, whose assistance had often been profitably utilized in the minor affairs of the Alliance, prayed an audience of Delcassé and expressed a desire for confidential information about the antecedents of the magician Philippe, a native of Lyons, who had been cutting a ridiculous figure at the Russian court for more than a year. "I'm afraid," he said, "that the eccentricities of this charlatan will end in some frightful scandal. The German party would certainly use him as a tool against the Alliance."
Delcassé put the matter in my hands. I give a summary of the information I obtained at once from the police.
Philppe Nizier-Vachod was born on April 25, 1849 at Loisieux in Savoy. His relatives were humble farmers. At thirteen he came to live at Lyons with one of his uncles, who employed him in his butcher's business at la Croix-Rousse. The boy already revealed curious tastes, such as a love of solitude, a hankering after the mysterious and a strong inclination for sorcerers, fortune-tellers, mesmerists and somnambulists. He soon tried his hand at occult medicine and succeeded straight away.
In 1872 he left his uncle's butcher's shop and opened a consulting-room at No. 4, Boulevard du Nord, where he treated his patients with psychic fluids and astral forces. Of medium height and heavily built, child-like in manner and simple in his ways, with his gentle voice, high forehead under thick, dark hair, and limpid, fascinating and penetrating eyes, he had an amazing fund of sympathy and magnetism which seems to have powerfully affected every one with whom he came in contact.
In September, 1877 he married Jeanne Landar, one of his patients, whom he had cured. By her he soon had a daughter. In 1887 the doctors of Lyons denounced him for the illegal practice of their profession. He was convicted and fined. As always happens in such cases his conviction increased his reputation. In 1890 and 1892 he again appeared before the courts and was fined on each occasion. But at each of these trials all the evidence had been favourable to the accused. All the witnesses---including those the magician had failed to cure---had agreed in emphasizing his kindness, pity and unselfishness, the soothing and strengthening power of his presence and the gentle balm that flowed from his slightest movement.
With a view to keeping on the right side of the law in future Philippe employed a Polish physician named Steintzky, who possessed a genuine degree and countersigned his prescriptions. A few years later he took as his assistant a young French doctor, Lalande, who shortly after became his son-in-law.
Thereafter his consulting-room, transferred to No. 35, Rue de la Tête-d'Or, was never empty. Artisans, shopkeepers, concierges and cooks always formed the backbone of his clientele; but after 1896 they were joined by society people, well-dressed women, magistrates, actresses, officers and priests. The woman who had kept the tobacco-shop opposite and informed the police said that she was "amazed at the society folk she saw going in and out." One day she noticed a Russian prince, "a tall, thin man whose name she had forgotten and who had called several times with two fine ladies." Philippe's cook had also shown her, with great pride, a letter with large seals bearing the Russian arms. The whole quarter had been talking about it.
Some time before this letter arrived two Russian ladies, Madame S----- and Madame P-----, who were passing through Lyons, called to consult Philippe. They were astounded at his gift of divination and supernatural authority. So they gave him no rest until he agreed to accompany them to Cannes where they introduced him to the Grand Duke Peter Nicolaievitch, his wife the Grand Duchess Militza and her sister, Princess Anastasia Romanovsky, Duchess Leuchtenberg, who subsequently married the Grand Duke Nicholas as her second husband in 1907:
The information gathered by the police stopped there. Later on we shall see what happened afterwards.
How did the magician of Lyons get into touch with the Tsar and Tsaritsa? Manuilov, who was the intermediary, told me quite recently.
The meeting took place in September, 1901, during the visit of the Russian sovereigns to France. At that time Manuilov was in Paris, employed on a mission for the Okhrana and under the orders of the famous Ratchkovsky. The Grand Duchess Militza had informed Philippe that the Emperor and Empress would be glad to have a talk with him at Compiègne. He arrived there on September 20. Manuilov was instructed to receive him at the doors of the palace and question him before conducting him to the imperial apartments.
"I had before me," he told me, "a heavily-built fellow with a big moustache; he was dressed in black and looked quiet and grave, rather like a schoolmaster in his Sunday best. His clothes were absolutely ordinary, but spotlessly clean. There was nothing remarkable about him except his eyes---blue eyes half hidden by heavy eyelids, but every now and then a curious, soft light shone in them. Round his neck hung a small, black silk triangular bag. I asked him what it was. He offered mysterious excuses for his inability to answer me. When I saw him afterwards this amulet was still on his breast. One evening I was in a railway carriage alone with him and he was asleep and snoring like a trooper. I tried to take off his talisman to see what was inside. But I'd no sooner touched him than he woke with a start."
From the first audience Philippe hypnotized the sovereigns who induced him on the spot to make his home in Russia. He went there almost at once. A house was got ready for him at Tsarskoïe-Selo.
He immediately won the full confidence of his imperial hosts who highly appreciated his quiet manner and extreme discretion as well as his attainments in magic. Once or twice a week. he carried out experiments in hypnotism, prophecy, incarnation and necromancy in their presence. The Tsar's weak will was greatly fortified by these nocturnal séances. Innumerable decisions were communicated to him by the ghost of his father, Alexander III. In all questions of health Philippe's advice was accepted implicitly.
Among the confidences exchanged between the imperial couple and Philippe was a matter between the three of them, a secret of the most intimate nature, but both a state and palace secret. The Tsaritsa was married on November 26, 1894, and had given birth to four daughters, the youngest of whom, Anastasia, was born on June 18, 1901. The Tsar, the Tsaritsa and the Russian nation were anxiously awaiting the appearance of a Tsarevitch. As all the mysteries of nature were an open book to Philippe he claimed that he could not only prognosticate the sex of unborn children but actually determine it. By combining the most transcendental practices of hermetic medicine, astronomy and psychurgy the magician undertook to direct at will the evolution of the embryonic phenomena. A complicated method!
In the spring of 1902 Alexandra Feodorovna was expecting another child. She had no doubt that this time it would be a son. The Emperor was no less certain. Philippe encouraged them in their belief. But on September 1 the Empress had a sudden pain and before any help could be given she saw all her hopes dashed to the ground.
It was a nasty blow to Philippe's reputation. An attempt was made to spread a rumour that the Empress had never really been enceinte and that the physiological disorders observed were entirely explained by her state of nerves. But the real facts soon came out and at court there was a loud outcry against the magician of Lyons.
Notwithstanding all this, the Emperor and Empress retained their loyal confidence in him, calmly accepted his explanation and lost nothing of their belief in his magic powers.
Yet they did not disregard the secret warnings that reached them from religious circles. The Empress's confessor, Monsignor Theophanes, of whom they were exceedingly fond, succeeded in forcing them to grave searchings of heart. Had not their faith in the occult arts carried them beyond the permitted limits? Was not the disappointment they had just suffered a warning from God? . . .
They felt impelled to perform some solemn act of Christian devotion and humility.
For some considerable time the Holy Synod had been leisurely considering the canonization of an obscure monk, the blessed Seraphin, who had died in the odour of sanctity in the monastery of Sarov, near Tambov, somewhere about 1820. No one was interested in the matter and it dragged on through endless enquiries and adjournments. Also the promoters of the canonization were faced with a formidable obstacle: the corpse of the ascetic had passed through all the normal stages of necrosis and putrefaction. Now the Orthodox Church holds that the incorruptibility of the human corpse is an essential mark of sanctity.
However that may be, the Tsar and Tsaritsa suddenly intervened most enthusiastically for the canonization of the holy man. In his capacity as supreme guardian of the Church Nicholas III furnished himself with a detailed account of the enquiry and ordered that there should be no further delay in bringing it to a conclusion. Henceforth the matter became an obsession to the sovereigns: they held continual conferences with the metropolitans of St. Petersburg, Kiev and Moscow, the Procurator of the Holy Synod, the Bishop of Tambov and the Abbot of Sarov. But what pleased them more than all was the fact that their dear Philippe, who combined his attainments in magic with a childlike and generous piety, thoroughly approved their zealous endeavour.
It was all needed to disturb the slumbers of the Holy Synod which immediately discovered in the life of the hermit Seraphin an unsuspected wealth of virtues, merits and miracles. As if by enchantment all difficulties vanished, procrastination ceased and objections were overruled.
On January 24, 1903, the Metropolitan of Moscow submitted to the Emperor a report recommending: (1) the admission of the Blessed Seraphin to the catalogue of saints; (2) the exhibition of his mortal remains as relics; (3) the preparation of a special service in his honour. The Tsar wrote at the foot of the report: Read with a feeling of joy indescribable and the deepest emotion. The canonization decree received the imperial assent and was issued on February 11.
All that remained was to celebrate the pontifical ceremonies which definitely mark the elevation of a holy man to the rank of a saint. The Emperor decided that they should be. distinguished by unusual pomp. He would be present in person with the Empress and the whole imperial family.
The preparations took several months. The ceremonies began on July 30. For a whole week Sarov had been the lodestar of all the higher clergy of the Empire, thousands of priests, monks and nuns, a crowd of officials and officers, not to mention a motley and gaping mob of one hundred thousand pilgrims. Their Majesties arrived in the evening and were received with the sound of anthems and the din of Church bells. A storm of cheering accompanied them. The whole night was taken up with the nocturnal mass for the dead.
The next day, July 31, began with morning mass and the sacrament. Their Majesties participated at the sacred table. In the afternoon there was another memorial service for the eternal repose of the soul which was to be glorified. In the evening the remains of Seraphin were taken in procession through the churches and the monastery: the Emperor helped to carry the bier. About midnight the precious relics were uncovered and exhibited for the first time for the veneration of the faithful. Then prayers, litanies and psalms followed each other uninterruptedly till morning.
On August 1 Monsignor Anthony, Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and President of the Holy Synod, celebrated the pontifical high mass for the canonization. It lasted nearly four hours. Towards evening Seraphin's reliquary was again carried in procession through the town and the monastery. Sermons, eulogies, the chanting of hallelujahs and a whole series of minor services took up the following day. On August 3, by way of finale to these endless devotions, a church which had been recently built was consecrated under the name of the new saint.
A year later, on July 30, 1904, the Empress gave birth to the present heir to the throne, the Tsarevitch Alexis.
When this happy event took place Philippe had already lost the imperial favour.
The mishap of September 1, 1902, had been strongly exploited against him. Foreseeing the decline of his fortunes many of his partisans had hastened to disown him. Some went so far as to say that he had the evil eye and even that he had the mark of Antichrist upon him. Moreover the prolonged intimacy between this foreigner and the sovereigns began to outrage national feeling. Puritan circles in Moscow were furious that the Emperor should allow his palace to be profaned by the black magic of this heretical charlatan. And again, although the magician professed to live in the non-material world and ignore the exigencies of politics, he had been more or less consciously a tool in many intrigues. Thus he had gradually become the object of implacable hatred. In the spring of 1903 attacks upon him increased. From Paris the Police Chief, Ratchkovsky, supplied their authors with arguments. Armed with information he had obtained from the French police he even sent a report direct to the Emperor, calling his attention to Philippe's three convictions.
Just at this time the magician happened to have gone to Lyons on some family business. Ratchkovsky utilized his absence to affect the Tsar's mind still more adversely against him in the hope of preventing his return; but Philippe got wind of the plot against him and on April 19, 1903, he telegraphed to the Grand Duke Nicholas, imploring him to see the Emperor at once on his behalf.
A fortnight had not passed before Ratchkovsky, a most important official in the imperial administration and the guardian of so many secrets, was dismissed out of hand. No compensation was given or promised him. He found himself without means on the streets of Paris.(4)
Towards the end of 1903, however, diplomatic relations between Russia and Japan become more strained every day. War was patently on its way.
A right understanding of the drama about to be played in the Far East was well beyond the intellect of the ex-butcher boy, yet he was bold enough to prophesy a swift and brilliant victory. He even indicated publicly the commander-in-chief, a Grand Duke, whom his intuitive genius told him the Tsar must select.
The Emperor is very jealous of his authority and at once realized that a court cabal was using the magician to influence him in the exercise of his sovereign powers. He immediately dismissed Philippe on some vague excuse whilst loading him with flowers and gifts.
The magician sorrowfully turned his steps homewards. After the grandeur and luxury of Tsarskoïe-Selo, the Tête d'Or and its neighbourhood seemed horribly vulgar. In returning to his dull consulting-room and resuming relations with his lowly clientele of days gone by he tasted all the bitterness of human misfortune. He soon became morose and harassed, imagining himself surrounded by enemies, watched by the police, persecuted by mysterious and powerful persons. Then he lost his daughter, Madame Lalande, whom he dearly loved. Stricken with grief he retired to his country place at Arbresle where he died after a short illness on August 2, 1905.
1. Madame Vyrubova thinks this means that Russia should not be blamed for her monarchical principle.---(Countess L-----'s note.)
2. See the document in facsimile facing page 178.
3. The Dowager Grand Duchess, Louise of Baden, mother of the reigning Grand Duke, is the daughter of the Emperor William I.
4. The revolutionary troubles of 1905 gave him an opportunity of recovering his position. He astounded the Okhrana by the audacity and skill of his detective exploits.
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