Henceforth, there is no more separation. Finally, we are united and constrained to live together. When the life here comes to an end, we will meet again in another world to be together forever. Yours, yours.

Recording by the hand of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in the diary of Emperor Nicholas II

1894

I can’t be without You,

I will not live without faith,

My mind is running away from me,

And the forces leave me.

But You are the salvation for me,

Love and beauty.

And I gather strength again,

Touching only you.

12/24 July 1894

To my Alix

Windsor

My dear little Alix,

How can I thank you, my angel, for writing such a wonderful postcard and a long letter while we were still together. Oh, that made me so happy. It shook me. Every minute I run down into my cabin to read your messages again and again! You’re lovely, that took care of me to please me after our parting. You are spoiling me, darling: these little cufflinks are wonderful. I put it on today and will be worn it during the whole trip!

I like it so much! I hope that old Biroff delivered you my letter. I wrote in terrible haste last night. I don’t want my dear to go to bed on the first night of separation, without receiving any news from her faithful boy! You can’t imagine how much I miss you, much more since you were on the «Polar Star». It was so nice that you wrote your name on the window and on the drawer of my desk. All the pictures of my dear are around me. I unpacked it. It helps me with the memories of your stay here and brightens up my loneliness. Honey … I truly love you more and more every day!

We left Coase this morning, when it was light.  We are moving with a speed of 15 miles per hour along the quiet green sea near the southern coast of England. We are on the same course as you will go by “Victoria” on the way to Flushing. All morning I walked along the deck and tried a sailor’s dinner with sauerkraut, which was perfect. I thought so much about my baby, how you would like to try it too. A brilliant idea occurred to me at the moment. Instead of sending you this message from Copenhagen, when it is already obsolete, I will give it to the pilot who will exit in Dover. He will send it by the post, so today my beloved will receive the news from her varmint, who is sailing on the sea. It’s nice that you can write and deliver this mail within one day. I am happy that I can bring you this consolation.

The old priest, the captain and Mr. Hit heartily thank you for the good wishes passed through me. Shakavoski is so sorry you could not come with us. We could easily take you to Flushing. We are approaching Dover. The beach looks beautiful in a light haze and the sun shines brightly! Yes, my dear, give my dearest greetings to my dear grandmother. Yesterday I was so upset that I could not thank her for all her kindness. Say hello to everybody. I kiss and bless you with love many times, my priceless, beloved Alix. God bless you!

Everlasting deeply in love with you and sincerely devoted Niki, who loves you more than can express.

13/25 July 1894

To my Alix

Windsor

My dear little Alix,

Yesterday I had such a strong desire to jump into the boat of the old pilot, get to the shore, take the train to Portsmouth and quickly appear in Osborne. I would be in my sweetheart’s arms on the same day after tea! No, dear, you do not know how terribly I miss you everywhere and in everything.

There is not enough talk for food, not enough coachman, not enough kisses and blessings for the night! This time our separation was much harder and more painful than in Cobourg. My dear child, accept my deep love and admiration. I’m so accustomed to be with you all the time. I don’t know how I’ll spend my days. I miss you terribly, my dear little bride, my Sunny…

When we went through the strait into the North Sea, the weather remained good until 6 o’clock. We played at Bull all day. Then a thick fog descended and lasted about three hours. We had to walk very slowly. It became clear and the wind rose when the fog cleared and we finished praying. The lightning flashed throughout the horizon. The thunder rang out. The rain poured like a bucket for an hour. The poor watchmen got wet. It became clear after that, and the moon appeared. But a fairly strong swell (perhaps an echo of a storm) rocked the yacht while I was sitting with the officers in their state cabin. The water splashed several times through the hatches and portholes. I was sitting with them until one o’clock in the morning. We had a light supper. We were talking only about England. They asked me about life at the Court and told me what they had seen in London! We all agreed that it was a great pity to leave England before the holiday in Coase!

They are all very pleased that they are the first who saw you after our engagement! Today is rocking too. The weather is fine, so warm and calm. The sun shines over the sea. My dear, it is just the color of your beautiful deep eyes! My little cabin is so pretty and sunny! If only you were here, with me, my priceless treasure!!! (We crossed the North Sea pretty quickly. The shore of Denmark is already visible. There are two lighthouses in the long way). I wonder what you are doing in Osborne. Do you have such a wonderful weather as here? The hands of the clock moved for an hour. It’s not difficult to calculate what you are doing at this time. My precious baby, I read your dear letter many times — it both makes me happy and sad! What a joy it was to also find these lines that you wrote in my diary. I discover something new every day. I think I hear your sweet voice whispering these words to me! All those lovely songs that my dear sang to me…

Oh, I wish I could hear them again! My dear Alix, what a pleasure it was for me to listen to your singing. What a good, low, deep voice you have. If I told you this when I was with you, my dear girl, you would call me a «controller» as usual.  So I was silent. We just finished playing with Bull. I’m completely wet, because it’s very hot on the deck. Poor old priest today did not show up at all. Maybe he is sick!!! Poor old man! Mr. Hitt is busy. He is drawing the pictures for the grandmother. He is completely fascinated by her kind attitude to him, and he lost his head because of you completely. However, like everyone on board! Hmm…

14/26 июля 1894

To My Alix 

Windsor

Good morning, my love. What a wonderful summer day. The sun is bright, the sea is quiet. We are going between the Danish and the Swedish shores. We saw how the German fleet enters the sea. Maybe Henry was on the board of one of the ships. My darling, when the weather is so beautiful and everything looks so good and bright, like this morning, I always miss you terribly. I want you to enjoy nature and be next to me too! …

Now, dear, I must finish. We will come to Copenhagen in an hour. If only you were here on board with me!!! But I hope that I will get your dear letter on the shore, oh! What consolation it will be. My dear, my priceless baby-I send you many, many kisses, blessings, and most heartfelt thanks for that wonderful long letter that you gave to my man. I don’t know how often I read it. I warmly pray to God that He will keep my sweet one and endlessly give Her His favors.

I remain forever your deeply loving, faithful,

Niki.

Yours till the last!

20 July/1 August 1894

To my Alix

Windsor

My dear love,

Today is a good day for me. I received three letters from my dear. What a joy and happiness it brought me! Thank you, thank you for the fact that you write to me so often and for all the kind words that you are telling me. I also feel as if you are talking to me in your sweet, soft, loving voice, when I eagerly read your letters…

Now you’re drinking tea with grandmother. I’d like to see what happens without me in Osborne! How kindly it was from the grandmother to make this remark about me in the diary. And you, my dear, are so kind, helping a kind old woman, although your legs hurt.

… My dear, priceless Alix, I often think about your poor legs. It hurts so much that I can’t ease your suffering, which you endure with such patience, my beloved angel! I admired your strong will every day. It’s the fact that you try not to show anyone your suffering, and you hid it so well that I often did not know whether the pain became stronger or not! My dear, my Sun, I love you so much. I want you to feel good, calm and happy, while I’m not with you !!!

… My dear Alix, you can be sure that I do not want to hurry. I fully understand and quite agree that we should not rush our wedding for this reason. We have a special case. Dear girl, this shows how seriously you look at this matter. I love you even more, if only it is possible, my Sunny, my dear, my beloved, my unique, my life!

Misha and Baby (the younger brother and sister of Nikolai Alexandrovich — Mikhail Alexandrovich and Olga Aleksandrovna — ed.) came to my house. They live downstairs, but his room neighbor mine. They released their rooms in the cottage for Aunt Alice and cousins ​​who come tomorrow. They are going to live with Dad and Mom. I leave to the camp tomorrow. I look forward to it, because I love the duty, but abandoned it! Yes! But there was a good reason for that. Was not it, my love? Ksenia and Sandro went to the Holy Communion of the Holy Mysteries at 9 o’clock in the morning. We were all present. It was so touching!..

God bless you, my beloved and dear bride. I miss you so much. Good night.

Always yours, Niki.

I love you…

24 July/5 August 1894

To my Alix

Windsor

My precious little darling,

I must write to you on this large sheet, because the little ones are running out on me. In addition, I have it in the camp. Your lovely letter just arrived. It is the first from the house, with Ernie’s initials. It gave me such joy. Knowing that you are at home, happy, safe and sound is such a comfort for me. The letter makes me even more homesick for my darling. We are not so far apart. Our letters go only two and a half days. Thank you also for the heather from home.

May I consider your house a little like my home too? Everyone here says that I look good, but sadly. It is true. I can’t feel quite happy, being detached from my dear girl. I try not to show my mood! Aunt Alice brought me a letter from your grandmother. It is full of such love and kindness. She writes that she relies on me as a person who will take care of you because she is worried when you are away from her «with a stupid old doctor.»

She calls him that again, luckless man! Then, there is a description of your many values on five or six pages. I fully agree with her.  Finally she writes about your promise to visit her briefly in November. It is a very touching letter. It seems to me that I have known dear grandmother since childhood and that she has always been my grandmother. All my uncles laugh at me, tease and talk about her and about me all kinds of fables.  Sometimes it annoys me!

I can’t believe that Ksenia will be married this time tomorrow. It seems so strange! But I’m sorry for poor Mom. She was very sad this week. This is real salvation that Aunt Alice could come. Just imagine: Mom and Ksenia for the past 12 years have never been separated from each other!

The newlyweds are going to spend together 3 days in one of the hunting grounds of Dad in Ropsha. Then they will go to the city for one day to perform unpleasant formalities: congratulations, receptions, kissing hands, etc. They will return here in the evening for a big reception. Finally they will leave for their estate in the Crimea at the 30th (August 11)! My parents go to the camp in a few days…

Now, my precious little treasure, I should wish you a good night. But before I put the pen, let me whisper to you my eternal and sincere: I love you, I love you. That’s all I can say about what I dream at night, of which I dream, when I pray!

Dear, may God bow down to you in peace, and let His love console you. I send the words: «God bless you!» with the wish of it. Sleep peacefully. Let you dream of everyone you love. I embrace you, my beloved, my dear Alix.

Your beloved Niki.

25 July/8 August 1894

To my Alix 

Винздор

 

My dear Alix,

I just returned from the Ksenia wedding! She is Sandro’s wife. It’s hard to express in words! But I’m still happy for them. They had to wait for a long time, poor! We all went to the Grand Palace shortly before 3 o’clock. There she dressed her wedding dress with a mantle, which was to be carried by 4 people. There was a diadem on her head. Long curls hang under the diadem. She was very beautiful in a white dress embroidered with silver. And the only jewel she wore, not the royal ones, was our little star, which she pinned to the shoulder! I was completely shocked when I saw her standing next to him in the middle of the church. She looked so happy and calm, completely unconcerned. She even looked at me two or three times, and her smile said that she was perfectly happy that she was standing with him, finally, at the altar! Good heavens, it was not at all what I felt at the Ernie and Ducky wedding. Niki, Misha, Christians and I held a crown over her, and Sandro’s four brothers held the other over him. The heat was terrible. The poor Ella felt bad. She turned green, but the service ended very quickly, so everything went away.

We spent at the Palace the rest of the day. There was a big wedding dinner at 6 o’clock.  Then there was a concert at 9 o’clock . The fireworks ended very early. It was a rescue, because everyone was fatally tired, and we thought only of getting home as quickly as possible. We spent them in a carriage drawn by four wonderful gray horses (in a row), and drove home. It was 11 o’clock, and I was impatient to receive a letter from my beloved. I knew it should have come. Thank you, dear, for writing so much in Russian. How well you did it, almost flawlessly!

Now good night, my dear little bride. It’s late, and my eyes are closing … Good night, good night, my dear…

8 August 1894

To my Alix 

Krasnoe Selo

My dear, my beloved,

I thank you many many times for two of your dear letters, one from Wolfsgarten and one from Darmstadt … You do not know, my dear, what pleasure and comfort it gave me and how I need it. But I’m patient, my dear Alix, you know this. I will always do what you want, especially when you’re right, as in the matter of our wedding. I do not want to hurry. It hurts when people do not understand the reasons. In the end, I do not care what they think, because it’s only our business!

I’m intolerant of the thought that you, maybe, are still tormented by all these stupid things. I once again ask you, my dear, to believe and be absolutely sure that I do not want to hurry with our wedding.  God willing someday it take place! If only I was allowed to come and stay with you for a longer period. It would make others understand that there is no need to rush. I would be the happiest man in the world! I just reread your letter. Yes, my priceless, I can’t express in words how happy I am that you give me such love!

God bless you. Only He knows the depth and purity of my love for you! It’s good that I visited your rooms and know how they look and where my dear girl loves to sit!.. My little house in the camp reminds me of that time, two months ago, when my little girl was in Harrogate — and then, oh, this is wonderful then! Until the end of my life I will remember these wonderful days in Windsor and in Osborne, and the «Polar Star». Alix, Alix, my dear…

We received news that yesterday. Ksenia and Sandro were going to the house in Ropsha. The horses were frightened of the red lights that people lit near the road. The carriage turned into a ditch, and they were thrown out. Fortunately, they got off with a few bruises. The poor coachman got more. He had to be sent to the hospital. Yesterday she telegraphed to Mama, that they feel well and the fall did not hurt them!  As always, people uttered all sorts of nonsense about this incident. They even said that the bride was crushed by the carriage and both were seriously injured!

My prayers are always with you … with tender kisses, always loving you, faithful to the grave, Niki.

8 August 1894

To my Alix

Krasnoe Selo

My dear Alix,

I tenderly thank you many times for your sweet letter (No. 63) … How good it is for Ducky that she has you who can give advice. Who would give her better advice than my girl? You say that you have become an adult long ago and you have learned what others do not know before the marriage. I must say that, in my opinion, this is correct.  It is always better to get to know the world before to be ready for anything! If only I knew life more … Who knows, maybe then the entire story would not have happened to the young artillery officer. My dear Alix, it still hurts me to remember the day when I told you about this, forcing you to suffer! If you only knew what shame of anguish caused in me your angelic forgiveness. If you would properly give a rocket it would be much easier for me to reschedule. Your poor heart was beating so hard that I was even frightened — all because of my lousy behavior!

The Greek Niki was sitting at my top of the tower today. He was watching the regiment march back and forth in front of the tents. Every time I looked at him, he got up and bowed low, making me and the other officers to laugh. I asked one of the officers to make a photo of my house from all sides, as well as the rooms. So you can see how it looks like.

The weather is beautiful: very warm with refreshing breeze. The long white row of tents looks so fresh and bright. It is very lively around us: small detachments are maneuvering, shooting, drums are being beaten, orchestras are playing, soldiers are singing.

Ksenia and Sandro go to the city tomorrow. They are going to receive congratulations on the occasion of their wedding. I must go there and attach myself to the handle, like all the colonels from different regiments and one officer of each rank. Is not it funny? Then I must make a deep bow in front of Sandro and shake his hand if he condescends to submit it! All men from our Family will also do this. I already went through this ceremony once. It was in honor of the Paul’s wedding, when I served in the hussars. And then my heart and soul already belonged to you (1889)!

I have to finish, my Sunny, because it’s getting late. We start classes at 9 o’clock in the morning. Good night, my love, my dear Alix…

Alix, I love you deeper and stronger, every day…!

9 August 1894

To my Alix 

Krasnoe Selo

My dear,

I warmly thank you and kiss you for your lovely letter. It made me so happy. I don’t have much time to answer some of your questions tonight. The regiment should be ready to perform tomorrow at 5 am, and I need to return from Peterhof at one in the morning after a big reception. I must thank you, my love, for being so open and direct with me and in such a confidential manner. I can’t express how it touches me! My darling, there is nothing that we wouldn’t say to each other, right? No secrets. You need to talk about any sadness and misunderstanding! If you only knew what a consolation this is for me…

My next letter should be longer. Dear, today I have no time, I will sleep 2 hours. But it’s not scary.  I’ll catch up in the afternoon. Good night, my dear Alix, I’m sorry for such a bad handwriting. God bless you, my precious little bride. Many tender kisses from your sincerely loving and deeply committed old Niki.

13 August 1894

To my Alix

Krasnoe Selo

My dear Alix, I thank you with all my heart for your wonderful letter (No. 67), which was waiting for me in my small room when I returned home from the maneuvers. All that you write about Schneiderliein shows your kindness. It is peculiar to you in relation to all. I’m sure that if you want her to stay with you longer, it can be arranged. I’ll talk to Mama and write to Ella. I enjoy your every wish. My love, you can be sure of it! And why not to make my little one pleasant, if it’s in my power? I can’t promise, but I‘ll do everything that I can for her!

We all arrived here this morning by rail. The weather always threatened to change, but it was still good during the short service and a small parade. It was nice to see how the divisions of each regiment were marching past Father and returning to their location. We arrived to the parent’s house in Krasnoe. A real flood began there. We had dinner in a small pavilion in the garden. A beautiful view of the whole camp opens there. I’ve loved this place since I was a little boy and used to sit for hours on end, admiring the long white row of tents and wondering when I could spend my summer holidays in the shelves with the soldiers I loved so much. And now, have not all my dreams and desires fulfilled? The best, deepest, most beautiful divine dream has come true! I can consider myself the most fortunate and happy of all living on the earth. I must eternally thank our merciful God for giving me the greatest treasure on the earth — you, my priceless, my beloved Alix. Now I can call you my own. Yes, yes, although we are separated for a while and this is difficult to endure, I am the happiest creature in the world! There is a peace in my heart and soul. I feel completely confident about the feelings of my dear little bride. I love you so much!

My Father, Mother, Aunt Alisa and other relatives went back to Peterhof after lunch. I returned to the camp. The regiment had already left for two hours. So I changed clothes, wearing the oldest form. The rain was pouring. It was so comfortable in old clothes. Then I jumped on the horse and galloped with Kostya and Niki to the place where the regiment had stopped. Poor people, in what position they were! There was a larger maneuver that time — brigade against the brigade. We were attacked from two sides.

You can’t imagine who we were like when we returned! We were soggy and covered with clay and sticky mud from head to foot! But it was warm, and we are well performed the duty. So we all returned home and changed clothes. We were happy — I have more than others. My eyes already devoured your dear letter when I was changing clothes in the fresh. There could be no better reward after such a day! We had supper at 9 o’clock. Then I played billiards with one here and ran home to chat with you, my child, my beloved babe!

Good morning, my favorite Sun!

What a glorious day! It was a big success that it rained all night. We left the camp for divisional maneuver at 12 o’clock s. Yes, we need to do quite a lot. I’m happy that I will be out in the open with the regiment for the whole day…

Today we represent the enemy. So we will wear white uniforms and white caps, in which we are very similar to equestrian guards, only without horses. I must finish here.

Goodbye, my dear Alix…

With the warmest love and tender kisses. I remain your faithful and deeply loving,

Niki.

God bless you.

15 August 1894

My dear, my love Alix 

Krasnoe Selo

We just finished the breakfast, and, since I’m free now, I have a desire to sit down and chat with my baby. Honey, don’t think me stupid, but I can’t start a single letter without repeating what I constantly feel and think about: I love you, I love you. Oh, dear, what is the force that made me your prisoner forever? I can’t think anything except you, my dear. I give my life into your hands. I can’t give more. You have a total power over my love, every bit of it! Although we are apart, but our souls and thoughts is one. Isn’t it, my dear?

Oh, my Alix, if you only knew how much happiness you gave me. You would be glad and nothing would disturb the peace of your heart. How I would like to be with you, to whisper in your ear tender words of love and consolation. Nothing saddens me more than the thought that through my fault, although involuntary, you are tormented, and I can’t help you, being away from you in a long distance! A prayer relieves all the burden of the earth. And, darling, please, always write to me if you need to know something. Speak directly and frankly. Never afraid to tell me everything you want. We should know all about each other and always help each other, isn’t, dear?

… your Niki.

16 August 1894

To my Alix 

Krasnoe Selo

My dear, my priceless Alix,

I kiss you with love and warmly thank you for your letter (No. 70).

… Sometimes it doesn’t matter that I sleep two or three hours at night. I get some more sleep by day. My face burns, because from 4.30 to one o’clock I was under the hot sun … There are quite different things — to live and breathe the air you are used to, or to lead a healthy life in the camp! We have three times more people in the city than here. We had to go a very long distance, and then we had a two-hour rest. Many others and I slept wonderfully on the soft grass, wrapped in a greatcoat. After that, there was a magnificent battle. About 36,000 military men were employed there! My Father and Mother were present. Everyone was so glad to see them!

I spent the whole evening in Krasnoe. We had dinner at 7 o’clock with the Family. Then we had supper with Aunt Mikhen on the balcony with the moonlight. Imagine, after I had admired it for half an hour (the moon, and not Aunt Mikhen), I saw two faces longed for each other. Good night and God bless you, my beloved, my darling.

Baby, rest a little,

Angels keep you!

And the God Blessings

From heaven fly to you.

My precious Alix, always loving you, your devoted and faithful old man, Niki.

17 August 1894

To my Alix 

Krasnoe Selo

My dear,

I tenderly thank you many times and kiss you with love for your dear letter (No. 71), which I hardly found time to read. Today was a very busy day. I did nothing, only rushed back and forth between the parents’ house and the camp. I enclose the letter that Thoria wrote here in terrible haste. She wanted so much to see my hut, so I brought her here for half an hour. I hope, my dear that you will not get angry with me. You know that she is my best and the oldest friend. Everyone likes her here, but I’m afraid she does not have a chance to stay in Russia. I received a charming kindly reply to my letter from the grandmother. She also enclosed a letter for Ksenia. Now she calls you «our dear Alix» — I like this «our», but it causes jealousy in me. She has been with you so long, now it’s my turn!

Today we marched back and forth in front of the camp again. I had dinner with my parents and a lot of generals … there was a terrible heat. I barely managed to get back and rushed headlong into the tents where our evening service was. All the soldiers crowded around. It was beautiful, a magnificent sunset, a real summer evening…

Thank you, my Sunny, for all the kind loving words in your letter. You can’t imagine how you made me happy and how grateful I am for this, but now I must finish.

Good night, Alix, my angelic treasure. I send you a fond kiss from your deeply loving and devoted old, Niki.

2 May 1894

To my Niki

Windsor

My priceless treasure, I lie in bed, but I can’t sleep without writing to you, because we can’t talk. It’s impossible to describe how I miss you and miss those two hours that we spent alone with you every evening. It’s hard to describe, but our thoughts will meet, right?

Your nice telegram made my heart rejoice. It’s near me now. What a delight to find your letter in Windsor! And here you are shaking in this monstrous train, while I comfortably settled in bed in my own «sweet home». It reminds me so much of our last week. How glad I am that you visited me here and met a little with my rooms. I want you to be here so much. Our journey went well. We went out In Schweinfurt for 3/4 hours and drank tea. Then we stopped in Harzburg and went to the city. But it was gray and sad. There was a beautiful sunset over the bay a little later.

I wonder how you spent the last hours in Coburg … The teardrop is so touching, but you should not spoil me so. Do you hear, my dear boy? We leave tomorrow at 11.16. The tailor should come before. I would like to stay here longer instead of packing things…

Oh, how I dream to clasp you to my heart, to kiss your sweet head, my love. I feel so alone without you. May God bless you, my treasure, and may He keep you and give you a sleep…

I can’t be without You,

I will not live without faith,

My mind is running away from me,

And the forces leave me.

But You are the salvation for me,

Love and beauty.

And I gather strength again,

Touching only you

4 May 1894

To my Niki

Винздор

My dear, my priceless Niki,

I just arrived and had breakfast with my grandmother (Queen Victoria — ed.). It reminded me of Cobourg and made me missing you more than usual.  Then I felt bliss because of your lovely letter. Great thanks and many tender kisses to you for the letter and the flowers. I’m going to put it in my Bible and prayer book. It still smells wonderful. I was so pleased with your letter that I can’t say how many times I reread it in these few minutes, covering it with kisses. How I miss your kisses and sweet words! The trip went well. We crossed the strait very good. There were no heaves of the sea, so I was not very tired. It’s so beautiful here — the greenery is animated by flowers…

The Grandmother says she wrote you. She wrote to me even in Darmstadt. Aunt Beatrice is going to London on some business, so grandmother, children and I will be left unattended. I’m terribly happy after your letter. I’m just like you; I’m too shy to express my feelings. I wanted to tell you so much, to ask, to talk about a lot, but I felt too embarrassed. We will have to cope with this weakness, right?

… I tried to arrange everything in the rooms to my liking: to put all my photos and to unpack the notes.  I plan to start playing as soon as I can. I dropped studying piano to my shame. All your photos look at me with big beautiful eyes. Oh, if only you were here, and I could clasp you to my heart… Yes, my beloved, it was so awful to say good-bye to you coldly at the station.

I had to think it all out before your arrival. I will never forget these early days and how piggishly I behaved towards you. Forgive me, my love. Oh, if you only knew how I adore you. The time only strengthened my love to you. I want only one thing: to be worthy to your love and tenderness. You’re too kind to me. I’m finishing, otherwise the letter will not be in time at the post office … God bless you, my dear love.

A lot of gentle kisses from your deeply committed little girl, Alix.

Your bride! How unusual it sounds, dear. I keep thinking about you all the time.

4 May 1894

To my Niki

Windsor

The most precious Niki,

… As soon as I finish one letter to you, I want to start the next one. I’m an old talker but when you’re around, I’m numb, like an old owl. If you could recommend some good book with a Russian translation that you would like your stupid frog to read, please do it … Will you see Fraulein Schneider before she comes here?

Poor little woman, I hope she does not get lost in the way. If only you could come here with her. Ah, we must be patient and not grumble, but I feel terribly lonely. I dream that you will hug me with your strong loving hands. There is more interest in life when you know that you are loved. If the owl does not disappoint you, you must teach her to make her smart as you are…

I was so happy to receive your dear telegram. Thank you very much for it. I can imagine how happy you are at home and you can kiss your parents and receive their blessing. Happy is the one who has parents! It was so nice of your mother to ask me not to call her more aunts. I’m happy to say «mother» and «father», but I can’t pronounce «Mama» and «Papa.» These words so vividly remind me the past and make more than usual miss my dear parents. But your parents will always be mine, and I will love and honor them…

I went out with my grandmother today. She asked me so many questions: when, how and where, and what made me change my mind until I don’t know what to answer. She likes you very much, my dear… Then she slept a little, and I admired the beautiful nature, Windsor castle, which is seen through dark trees and illuminated by the sun. There were the bright blue shadows as a beautiful vision. I drank tea with her, and the children jumped, played and made a terrible noise.

Drino offered her flowers, which he collected by himself.  She forced him to give it to me. This is her characteristic: she always tries to deliver others little pleasures…

Now I’m sitting alone. I inserted four of your photo into a not very elegant red leather frame which is bought here. I do not know what they will think about me at the post office, if I write to you so often. So I’d better limit myself to one letter a day. But no, sometimes I have to write more, because when I’m sitting alone in my room, my thoughts go faster than usual to you. So if I bore you with my chatter, forgive me, my dear Niki, my honey «hubby.»

If you know any small book about your religion, please tell me. So I can read more before you take the priest. Sergei gave me one book in French to read in 1890. Now it is here with me. Oh, I would like you to be here, you could help me. If you are such a believer, you must understand how I feel. But God will help me, and you too, my love, isn’t it?… So I can always be a good Christian and serve my God as faithfully as before, and even more. How can I worthy thank Him for what a heart like yours belongs to me. May His blessings and intercession be with you…

… The terrible earthquakes in Greece do not come to end yet. The poor little Sophie was sure that everything could perish at any moment: the walls were shaking so dreadfully.

Now, my dear priceless Niki, I must say goodbye. God bless you. Many tender kisses. Always your deeply committed,

Alix.

Sleep peacefully, my angel. Let you dream about your «little girl», who prays to God for your happiness. Love and kisses.

5 May 1894

To my Niki

Windsor

My dear darling!

Thank you for your lovely letter and telegram to my grandmother. We had breakfast together when it arrived … Gretchen and I went to Frogmore. We were picking primroses and were sitting, basking in the sun. She had to climb up to get it. Unfortunately my boy is not here… I often think about the Rosemund and how I made you collect them all the time. I’m afraid that sometimes you wanted to tell me where to go … It’s a pity that a lot of people were beating about the bush all day, so I could not finish this letter. And then I had to try on the stupid, uninteresting clothes: two new blouses and two hats that I bought… I went with my grandmother and Aunt Beatrice to the park. We drank tea in Manohril’s cottage. The wood is beautiful there. The forest and grass are so poetic. We must go there when you arrive…

I had so bad legs all day that I even sent for Dr. Reid. You should not have a lame wife. «Wife» — how unusual it sounds. I still can’t imagine that the old owl will be yours! If only she was worthy of you and could really help and console. But she will do everything that is possible … I hear an old organ playing in the city. It reminds me of my childhood. It seems that it was so long ago, so much had happened since then. Such unforgettable losses, and now this joy!..

«Love is the only thing on the earth that we never lose. It is like a cold river, which becomes wider and deeper, approaching the sea, and which makes all fields green. The beautiful flowers blossom where the river flows. Once upon a time it flowed through paradise and it was called the River of Life. »

Yes, love is the greatest good on the earth. The one who does not know it is pitiable. But I must hurry … Good-bye, my love. You are my dear, the best living on earth.

God bless you now and forever. Many tender kisses from an eternally loving pathetic old owl,

Alix.

6 may 1894

Моему Ники

Винздор

Dear Niki,

I just came from the church service. There was a beautiful singing and a wonderful sermon. I prayed fervently for my dear. Wish you were here. I think you would liked the English church service. The prayers were so beautiful and sublime…

… Yesterday I forgot to say that stupid Georgie says that I should insist that you need to wear high heels, but I need to wear very low. He says that May does not change his, and his heels are much higher. Primarily it was uncomfortable, but now he just does not notice it. Imagine your face when you read this.  What nonsense! As if growth plays a role. A well-bred man with high heels looks so absurd that I’m sure you will never do it.

The grandmother limps today. She is very depressed because of it. Dear, try to find free time so that we can come to visit her. Who knows how much more she will be with us. One thought that I will be so far away from her makes her unhappy. We have been here so often. She always was our second mother and treated us more like her children, and not like her grandchildren. Sometimes I think with horror that something can happen with her. Then the whole family will not be as united as before. There will be no leader around which everyone is accustomed to get together. May God give her to spend many more years with us…

It is warm and windy. I hope that tomorrow the post will deliver me a letter. Letters from Russia are going on for so long, and I’m looking forward to news. Many tender kisses to you, my dear. I miss you. Bells ring so beautifully here. I wish you could hear them too. Many tender kisses … God bless you and save you, my dear Niki.

Always loving and faithful to you your girl,

Alix.

7 May 1894

To my Niki

Windsor

My precious Niki,

I love you and tenderly kiss you and thank you for your wonderful letter that I received this morning… This morning I went to Cumberland Lodge to see Aunt Helen and her family. I ran two ponies. If only we were allowed to ride together. I doubt it very much, because my grandmother adheres to old-fashioned views about the betrothal, very peculiar. It’s warm and sunny, but there is a strong wind at the same time…

There is a «charming» young pageboy, who seems to like talking to an owl … Do you order me to behave with him in a friendly way, or are you shocked and offended? My tyrant! I’m afraid that you know that your little rogue is completely devoted to you, so teasing you is useless…

We read the description of the earthquakes. It’s too horrible to express it in words: all these innocent kids crushed in the church — it’s too hard to think about it, it’s too horrible…

Now I have to dress for going out with my grandmother. Goodbye, God bless you, my precious Niki. Let your girl tenderly kiss you.

Always loving, faithful, adoring and trusting,

Alix.

8 May 1894

To my Niki

Windsor

My dear Niki,

I just returned after breakfast with my grandmother. Aunt Vicky sent us a long letter from Sophia – poor girl., It must be terrible in Greece. These earthquake tremors are not finished. She writes that she was impressed when a procession with a carpet and candles was walking along the streets and everyone was singing: «Lord, have mercy!» It was on the night of Great Friday.

It’s too horrible to express in words: to have a constant fear every day that you will be blown to pieces. It looks like they were punished for some terrible sin. It is incomprehensible, but God knows why He sends this misfortune upon them. It seems to us to be cruel. What troubles and adversities are coming during the life, and how difficult it is to patiently endure it. And then, we don’t know how to be thankful for a half of joy that life gives. Dear, I’m sure that these five years were useful for both of us. I know that it made me think about God more than ever before. Sufferings always bring us closer to God, right? And when we think about what Jesus Christ had to suffer for us, how small and insignificant in comparison our sorrows seem to be. But we are irritated and grumbling, and not as patient as He was. Oh, my love, I always want you to be near me! How could you help me and teach me to be better.

I’m still halfway unworthy of you. I still have so much to learn, that’s why I also say that I don’t need to get married right now. The separation is so hard, but it’s better not to hurry. Think only about the faith, you can’t expect me to learn everything and understand immediately. It’s impossible to know something only a half. I need to learn language so that I can listen to the church service…

… I received your letter. I kiss you with love and warmly thank many times. You can’t imagine how happy I was to get it with the news that your parents are agree … I feel like a different person after your letter has come with all those words and flowers that are dear to me … Aunt Alisa with three girls has already left . They were very nice, especially Victoria. They look forward to meet you. They all love you very much. Well, I think I can understand that. You’re a pig. Everybody lose their head because of you.

With lots of tender kisses and blessings, I always remain deeply devoted to you, Alix.

9 May 1894

To my Niki

Windsor

Dear Niki,

… I write rubbish because Tora Holstein is sitting next to me … She is chatting like a magpie, but you are expecting me to write something decent … It’s raining and I hope that my grandmother will not leave because it’s tiresome for me to sit in the back of the closed carriage … In fact, my grandmother is going to leave, so I have to go — I will be tiresome…

Finally, I’m here again. I was nearly choked while I was drinking hot tea after the 38 steps overcome. There was a downpour, but when we returned the sun was shining. Now I have to run and dress for dinner and theater. It’s really hard, that I live at the very top of this huge palace.

I’m greedy, I need one more letter from you, my heart … The Torah made me laugh: one of the newspapers said that we loved each other for five years, but we were too shy to confess to each other – isn’t it  nice ? Oh, Niki, my dear, how happy I am to be your love. I want to fly to you, to cuddle up to you and look into your beautiful soft eyes. I’ll write more tomorrow, but now I don’t have more time. It’s tiresome, but I have to go to a lot of places. I send you a gentle blessing and a long kiss.

Forever yours, your loving little girl,

Alix.

10 May 1894

To my Niki

Windsor

My dear, my sweet Niki,

I got your dear long letter this morning, when I was still in bed. It was such a pleasure… The poems that you wrote for me are wonderful. I wonder where you got it from. Sergei telegraphed that Fraulein Schneider had left for Darmstadt yesterday. So I believe that she will appear on Sunday or Monday. Then I will have to work very hard. Everyone is teasing me about my Russian lessons. If only I could learn to speak more or less passably, so that you would not laugh at me or close your ears.

I bought a small cross, my dear. It is similar to the one that Toria gave me. I’m going to wear it before our meeting. Then, please, take it for my sake.

My soul, I must say goodbye to you. God bless you, my treasure. I’m always affectionately devoted to you. Devotedly in love, Alix.

12 May 1894

To my Niki

Windsor

My precious Niki,

I am going to start my message to you since I had a free minute … We are expecting a few strangers by the lunchtime, so I think it will be very boring. There will not even be a young pageboy to cheer me up. Is it not sad?.. My tyrant, I would like to pinch you well, and not kiss, do you hear? I have a terrible bad mood today…

[The next morning]

… Good morning, dear, I just came from the church, where we heard a wonderful sermon. It reminded me of an old priest at Ernie’s wedding. I could sit there for hours listening to him. I would like to retell this to you — as the God does not look for the external form, but searches for the spirit. As well as people who are devoted to each other, do not judge by exterior, and their hearts and souls are drawn to each other. That religion is not only in a certain place or in a church, but God is everywhere. We all have certain responsibilities, sometimes it is small, and we think that it is not necessary to invest our soul in it. But this is wrong.  It was a text of St. Apostle John 4.24, Samaritan woman. God is the Spirit. Those who worship Him must honor Him in the Spirit and the Truth. If we do not understand the God Spirit — we are not His creatures. His laws govern nature. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to always be with Him. When you are choosing between the right and the wrong decision, your conscience tells you that you have a Spirit that unwittingly leads you to goodness.

You should not foresee the consequences of your decision: it is not your decision that brings you grace, but the Holy Spirit. You accepted it by obedience to Holy Spirit. Many people think that to be with God is to be in worship places, where our souls fly high up above the world or harmoniously intertwine, rising up, voices and the sound of an organ, and instant inspiration comes … But the real secret is how to find God is to dedicate to him your whole life, and every little bucket of water that you need to carry along the long and hard road to the well. Christ always does his best, no matter how small, insignificant work He has to perform. He presents his teaching to a poor woman with a limited horizon and a narrow environment. He tells her about the greatest truths that are a mystery for the wise.

She sought only to relieve her earthly burdens. We often long for deliverance from suffering and worries. He used this desire to lead her to the higher spheres of spirit development. Dedication of our life to the faith, the fulfillment of the smallest duties with the exertion of all forces and with one desire — “to do as best as possible” … Well, I tried to write a part of the sermon. Gretchen helped me. I’m afraid I did it not entirely clear, but at least you will have an idea about him and his sermon.

Oh, Niki, honey, don’t you really afraid when you think about who you will marry? Will this person drive you crazy?.. I look forward to the hour of your arrival. We should have a good time if the weather is good. Aunt Beatrice said that we should go up the river. It should be very nice, because I never did that. They say it is wonderful. Honey, now I have to say goodbye. God bless you, and His Holy Angels keep you safe.

Kiss you many times. Forever deeply loving and devoted little girl, Alix.

14 May 1894

To my Niki

Винздор

My darling,

The tenderest thank you for your letter that I received this morning … Fraulein Schneider arrived … This cute little woman insists that we speak only Russian. I stand and smile at her, unable to understand anything. I have such a bad memory. She tried to drub something into me. She will go downstairs in a few minutes and if she asks me again, oh my God! … Wilhelm Grancy sent me beautiful lilies of the valley. They gathered it in the forest near Darmstadt … Today is a big holiday today. The park was crowded with people. There are a lot of small couples in touching poses settled under the trees. I’m sure they got great pleasure … My dear Niki, I would like to cling to one of the swallows flying through my window and fly with them through the hills and valleys, the seas and the countries to you, my true love … God bless and protect you and take away all the sorrow from you. Say something good to Michen when you see her, okay?

Always deeply loving you, old lady,

Alix.

Forever yours … I received my first wedding gift, a small silver lamp, from some gentleman … What do you say about that, old man? The little owl kisses you very tender.

23 May 1894

To my Niki

Windsor

My dear Niki,

Fraulein Schneider and your owl wonderfully rode through the hills this afternoon. We gathered flowers growing at the side of the road. It was windy and cool. The sunset was very beautiful. Everything was shrouded in smoke, so we can hope for fine weather. While our ladies worked, I read to them from Russian geography. And now, I will write a little before going to bed. Our room looks charming. It is adorned with flowers that we collected today and all my photos…

Schneiderlein and I were studying Russian for more than an hour. But it was not easy at all, because “Punch and Judy” were performing on the street and sang wonderfully at the same time. We read about the boy and his sick mother, about the grandmother’s name day and the apple basket. It was a good little story, but when I had to retell it later, I felt completely helpless — I know quite a lot words, but I can’t link it to a sentence…

I want to re-read your sweet letter again before going to bed. It makes me happy. Oh, what an inexpressible joy to know that you are loved and desired. I pray on my knees to become more worthy of your great love.

Oh, my dear Niki… God bless you now and forever. I want to cry because of my love of you. I miss you so much. I also miss Ernie, who previously could run into my room at any moment, and now he is married and happy. There were no such kind and nice brother, except my yeanling and my dear Dad. It’s terrible to think that we will never meet again in this world. I miss him more and more every day. Especially now, when, thanks to you, my heart is so full of love. Tomorrow my younger sister May would be 20 years old. It’s hard to see how adult and cute she would be. But, my love, I had to go to bed. My legs were very sore today…

Good morning, my dear boy … Some poor people are playing outside, and not bad: a harp, a cello, a clarinet and, probably, a violin. It reminds me of my favorite Venice … You know, I already tried to do a massage, but there was no use. The doctor thinks that it is even harmful for me. The nerve runs down the entire leg, and not just in the knee. It has become warmer and the sun shines brightly this morning. It snowed a bit here last week … Well, you know, we are halfway to Scotland, between Leeds and York…

God bless you, my love. Many tender kisses from your loving and sincerely faithful old woman, Alix.

23 May 1894

To my Niki

Windsor

My precious Niki,

I am starting this letter to you tonight again, as I have little time in the morning. The doctor examined me. He wants me to lie as much as possible. I don’t know how to describe correctly — in general, my blood passes arteries more three times when I lie, than when I am sitting. So rest for me is the main thing. It seems that I have gout. I take sulfur baths for 15 minutes, then I stand for 3 minutes, and then something like a needle-shaped shower: water streams splash out of thousands of holes on me, first hot, and then cooler. The feeling is not very pleasant. At present, I can’t go to any expeditions — neither walking on foot, nor riding. I can only go out in a wheelchair. I have to move as little as possible. Less pain is better.

Gretchen is making Schneiderlein read nursery rhymes in English right now. It is very laughable, but I am afraid that she will not teach her good pronunciation. Today I read about the Russian climate for them, about the temperature … They read “The House That Jack Built”, and this makes it very difficult for me to write. I am learning a poem by Lermontov in Russian…

I had to slip out the back door to get into my wheelchair. Everyone was watching …, I met a lot of horsemen, men and women when I was riding in my chair. I envied them terribly. The fields and meadows are so great for a gallop. I am glad in advance. Your letter will be brought tomorrow. The doctor comes to check my knee at 10 o’clock. It’s tiring, but I have to endure and do everything to get better for my Niki.

I have to say goodbye, because it’s really late. God bless you, honey.

Sleep well, sweet dreams to you … always yours,

Alix.

 

23 May 1894

To my Niki

Windsor

 

My precious Niki,

I am starting this letter to you tonight again, as I have little time in the morning. The doctor examined me. He wants me to lie as much as possible. I don’t know how to describe correctly — in general, my blood passes arteries more three times when I lie, than when I am sitting. So rest for me is the main thing. It seems that I have gout. I take sulfur baths for 15 minutes, then I stand for 3 minutes, and then something like a needle-shaped shower: water streams splash out of thousands of holes on me, first hot, and then cooler. The feeling is not very pleasant. At present, I can’t go to any expeditions — neither walking on foot, nor riding. I can only go out in a wheelchair. I have to move as little as possible. Less pain is better.

Gretchen is making Schneiderlein read nursery rhymes in English right now. It is very laughable, but I am afraid that she will not teach her good pronunciation. Today I read about the Russian climate for them, about the temperature … They read “The House That Jack Built”, and this makes it very difficult for me to write. I am learning a poem by Lermontov in Russian…

I had to slip out the back door to get into my wheelchair. Everyone was watching …, I met a lot of horsemen, men and women when I was riding in my chair. I envied them terribly. The fields and meadows are so great for a gallop. I am glad in advance. Your letter will be brought tomorrow. The doctor comes to check my knee at 10 o’clock. It’s tiring, but I have to endure and do everything to get better for my Niki.

I have to say goodbye, because it’s really late. God bless you, honey.

Sleep well, sweet dreams to you … always yours,

Alix.

May 27, 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

Dear, sweet Niki,

I love you and I thank you tenderly for your really nice letter that I received today… I went to the Church of St. Peter with Gretchen, it is so tall. We heard a wonderful singing, but the sermon was not very good. We were sitting in the back among people of different classes, I liked it so much, and there was a man sitting behind us, who sang very beautifully. It lasted an hour and a half, and then I felt that my body got slightly stiff, as the bench was hard and narrow. I am ashamed that I do not kneel, but my legs just do not allow me to do this.

Yes, local newspapers said I was «charming», the newspaper “Pravda”, said that my chin was a little short while describing me. Alas, I have already known this for a long time and I am afraid that I will not be able to lengthen it even for you. But other than that, they flattered me much. Most of all, I was amused by their message that they did not have my full-length photo, but there was the one where I could only be seen from head to calves. Have you ever heard of such expressions being printed in newspapers? I laughed like crazy.

My beloved boy, I prayed sincerely for you in the church this morning. Did you pray for me? I will pray again in an hour and I will ask Him to make me a being more worthy of your love. As for now, I have to study Russian for a bit, otherwise you will scold your lazybones. Goodbye, my lovely, my precious Niki. My Sun, I send you many gentle kisses and blessings from afar.

Deeply loving you old lady,

Alix.

God bless you, my faithful to death. Please, always tell me everything about your soldiers. I like it so much, you know how I love soldiers. Oh, how well I know their singing when they are marching home, and how often I stopped to listen to them. In the meantime, I will learn to love your soldiers as well, while you find a place in your heart for my beloved Hessians, will you, dear?

May 28, 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

My deeply loved Niki,

What can I say to express my joy and gratitude for the three long and so dear to me letters which I received in one day? The second one is addressed to Walton, another one is from Gatchina and the other letter is from the camp. It is such an unusual mail, that I have not quite believed it.

There are disgusting people here… Now that they have found out about me, they stand in a crowd to watch me leave. Even though I am sitting in my backyard chair now, they watch the door and then run to see me, while some of them even follow me. There is one unpleasant woman here, who comes near me so close and is all eyes… I thought that maybe that was your crazy correspondent – remember the letter in Coburg that you showed me? When I go to a shop to buy some flowers, some girls are standing and looking out the windows as if it was an aquarium. A pharmacist told Waddell that he had filed a request to put a policeman near the house who would chase away onlookers.

It is so kind of him, but it is not going to help. “That is her,” someone said behind me. I would not mind if I was not in a wheelchair. When Gretchen was at the store this morning, a little girl came in, and when a man asked her whether she had seen me, she said, “Yes, but only once”, because my “carriage” is in the backyard and I do not really like being stared at. I wish people would realize it and stay away, rather than look at me through theatrical binoculars from the windows. It feels awful!

…I cannot write any longer today, because I had been studying with Schneiderlein for two hours before dinner and I am tired now. Good night, my love. Many gentle kisses and a sincere prayer for your happiness and well-being. Eternally yours, deeply loving to death, your deeply devoted bride,
Alix.

May 30, 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

My lovely Niki

A big kiss and thank you so much for your sweet letter, which I received this morning… So you have bad weather too, I am sorry, my poor boy should get into his bed as soon as possible… I have no heating in my bedroom but I must confess I have a hot water bottle, because I suffer so much when my feet get cold!

…and your officers ask different questions and embarrass the boy. Oh, how cute! No, I mean, I feel sorry for you — you see, what a burden I am to you and how much happier you would be without me. But I cannot live without you and your love. “I love you, I love you, that’s all I can say, this is my dream at night and my vision at noon.”

Gretchen has a Russian lesson, but I am on a couch with a bad leg. By the way, they brought me my dress today, remember you helped me to choose fabrics in Coburg? Oh, how difficult Russian verbs are! I am afraid I will never learn them. Today we read about a bear and young children, who confused the bear with a big dog and played with it at the soldiers’ place. Oh, those are such good stories, don’t you think? …Ladies are hilarious — when Gretchen cannot pronounce Russian words, I advise her to sneeze and spit, and, indeed, then it is easier for her. Oh, I apologize to you for speaking ill of your mother tongue.

…Last night, when I got into my bed, a great disappointment was waiting for me. My hot water bottle had leaked and had wet the bed, so I had to wrap my feet, which were cold as ice, in a shawl. The musicians below were playing again, and that was not bad at all. The ladies went shopping, so I was left all alone writing my letters. I would rather be alone in silence, but there is usually someone spinning around me all the time. As you can tell, I am quite a reserved person…

Well, the wind starts blowing and the clouds are building now. Big surprise, I cannot even open the window, since people start looking in it. Oh, I want to smack them!

Okay then, goodbye, my love. I gently hold you to my heart and kiss you. God bless you, forever mine Niki. Always sincerely and deeply loving you, devoted to you your bride,

Alix.

 

May 30, 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

My precious and dear Niki,

A big kiss and thank you so much for your letter which I have just received (No. 27). Oh, my dear old man, you pleased me so much with all these sweet and kind words. God bless you for them… I spent two hours studying Russian. I have almost memorized the Lord’s Prayer. Oh, I wish I were smart for you. Whenever I think of you, I feel myself so unreasonable…
Victoria is coming alone now and will stay from the 5th to the 8th so that I will not be by myself on my birthday.
Tomorrow is Georgy’s birthday. I wonder whether you get it on the 6th. I dream about you so much. This is one of those days in a year, which I dislike the most. I always feel miserable on this day, since I have no idea what the next year is going to bring me! This one has brought me both great sadness and indescribable joy. Now is the time when you think about dear people, who are already gone, most of all. It will be my third birthday without my beloved Dad. Oh Niki, how much he meant to me! No one will ever know. However, I cannot talk about it anymore, otherwise I will not be able to hold back my tears, and then the ladies will imagine God knows what, then they will stare at me and torture me with their questions. But this is a loss which is felt even more with each passing day. God help me!
…But enough for today, your bride blesses you and covers you with burning kisses…
…Good morning, my dear! A few words before I go to church… Yesterday Gretchen read to me a short biography of Pushkin, and it is really interesting, while Schneiderlein and I read about the childhood of Peter the Great in Russian. That sounds impressive, right? With a lot of help though, but I am able to figure it out… Now I have to go get dressed, put my hat on and look staid. I will think of you, my sweetheart, and I am sure our prayers will meet. We all have our own Guardian Angels who look out for us, and we should keep in mind that all Angels care for our well-being. Isn’t it said that Angels are more pleased with one repentant sinner than with many righteous who do not need to repent?
…Well, I am back from the church again, it is so beautiful and small, and we will go there again next Sunday… There were a lot of people there, and it took us a while to get to the porch where the carriage was waiting. To my horror, there was a policeman standing and a crowd waiting there, and I heard a lady say: «Princess Alix of Hesse is coming out.» Then the gentleman, who was sitting on the bench next to us, courteously started to hold his umbrella over me. I climbed inside in the clumsiest way possible, getting red as a lobster. These nice people make me feel incredibly awkward, while Gretchen laughs at me, what a shameless person. That’s it for now, since it lasted almost two hours, and now I have to get some rest before lunch. I prayed for you and for myself, so that I could become better both as a woman and as a Christian, and so that God would help me get to know and love your Church, and so that He would help me overcome the greatest difficulty, which is to make myself more worthy of you. I feel myself much calmer after the church, so I want to go there and pray every morning and every evening.

…Gentle kisses and blessings from your always faithful and loving,
Alix.

May 31, 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

Precious Niki,

…So you also had bad weather. Today there were two thunderstorms, after which I went out in a wheelchair with Gretchen, who was walking next to me, we went to swamps and a wonderful little cemetery — it was too damp for me to walk. On our way back we passed by the forest reserve and greenhouses, then we stopped and bought some flowers, thanks to which our rooms look more fun now…

I was reading one of the books, the one that the old priest had translated, but I could not finish it, since I was terribly tired to make any sense of it. I often have to reread paragraphs multiple times. I wish you were here now so I could ask you about something I do not understand.

…Ksenia is at Sandro’s place… what a joy it must be for them — but we should not grumble, God willing, it will be our turn someday, but we have to be patient. “Patience should be our main concern in this life.” Isn’t it, my dear? The sun comes out from time to time, so it gets warmer. I have to answer other letters. Oh, how much I am looking forward to your arrival. There is so much that you could help me to understand, and there are things that would be easier for me to talk about with you, not with a priest, about confession, for example. But that’s enough for today, my dear.

I remain asking for God’s blessing for you, always deeply loving you, sincerely faithful and adoring bride,
Alix.

June 4, 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

My dear, precious Niki,

I warmly thank you and wholeheartedly kiss your dear letter, which I just received… It’s pouring down now, but when Schneiderlein and I left, it was not so bad, it was only damp and unpleasant. If this keeps up, we might get the wheels off and start paddling.

How nice of your Mom to give you a briefcase for your owl’s letters. Actually, they are not even worth keeping… So you just want me to feel that you mean something to me. Is that it? Then you are easier to satisfy than I am. I want more, much more, and in return, take my heart and my life and do whatever you want with them.

This morning I read many of your prayers translated into French. Some of them are so beautiful, but I do not need a mediator for my prayers, my heart, I tell the Lord everything directly and repent for my sins, and I know He will forgive me for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died so that we could be forgiven and saved. I do not want my Guardian Angel to ask God for me. My prayer goes up to Heavenly Father directly.

I do not want the Blessed Virgin to stand up for me. I cannot ask through someone and I have never done this before. It would be terrible if I were forced to do it now. I would have thought that I had committed a great sin, and I cannot ask directly. It is difficult to expect such a thing from me, isn’t it, my love? Oh, I wish you were here, I have so much to ask you about what I read. I completely understand having images of the Blessed Virgin and saints and kissing them. Why not also kiss the photos of those who you love and those who are gone, and when you look at them, you remember all the good things they have done and try to follow their example. But why would you pray to them, as well as to the Blessed Virgin? What for, Niki? I can love, honor and respect Her as the Mother of God and as the Purest and the Best Woman who has ever lived, but is there really any reason to pray to Her? “And thou shalt know no god but Me” (Hosea 13:4) — then why is that? Oh, if only you were here to talk to me about it, it scares me. I need your help. I hope I am not hurting you by the way I tell you about it. If only you knew how I feel. I want to be a good Christian, but there are things that shock me, and I want you to explain them to me. Reading can never give a clear understanding. But you are such a true and good Christian, so you can help me. Just in case there are things I cannot do — do you think I can skip them? I really hope you are not upset with me, I would not do this for the world.

…I feel sad and depressed tonight, and this monotonous sound of rain only strengthens this mood. How ashamed I feel when I think about the way I behaved the other night. What should have you thought of me, crying like a child. You were incredibly kind to me. But I had kept everything to myself for so long that I just could not hold it back any longer. It is always hard for me to bear everything in silence. I know that men do not like tears, so do not think badly of me because of it, okay? But if you are loved so much, it is really touching.

June 5, 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

Good morning, my precious, my dear, I send you many gentle kisses for your sweet letter and your good wishes. When I get them from you, it touches me beyond any description…

Louise gave me a frame so that I could put two of your photos, with the size of a sealed envelope, in there. Do you have any two photos that you can give me, even if they are very old? I saw several ones where you are so tiny and cute with curly hair. They would fit in just fine if I cut them a little. I hope you have not shaved and cut all of your hair yet, just like your heart, you old sinner, otherwise you are in danger, because I will pull out all that is left — do you hear me?

…gentle kisses and thanks for your dear letter… my beloved forever, dear Niki, your loving and eternally faithful bride,
Alix.

[With Alix’s solid character and her hatred of pretending, it is only natural that she had a hard time with canons and traditions alien to her native Lutheranism. The fact that later she managed to fully accept the Orthodox veneration of the Mother of God is clearly shown in the following note to Nikolai Alexandrovich, dated May 6/15, 1913 (A-224): “My dearly beloved, may the holy Angels guard your dream, and the Blessed Virgin gently and carefully cover you with her shroud. I entrust you to Her, to the Blessed Virgin, who grieves for all of us and shows infinite mercy to us.”]

June 6, 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

My dear lover,

It is late, everyone has gone to bed, and I am all alone in the living room with a burning candle and such a beautiful moonlight. I have to write to you, I just cannot go to bed without talking to you a bit. Oh, my dear Niki, I do not know how to thank you for that wonderful bracelet, it is really too good for me, nevertheless, I wore it as a brooch today. I received many lovely gifts such as a pretty umbrella from Ernie and Ducky, a basket for tea from my grandmother, a small oil painting from Irene, which is a picture of my father’s living room, a basket for handicraft from Victoria, some pretty frames for your photos from aunt Alice, as well as one from Schneiderlein. I was also given a photo of my favorite horse – well, not really mine, but the one I usually ride. H.V. Riedesel will not allow anyone else to sit on it any more… Moreover, I got lots of flowers from Gretchen. The room looks like a garden now and it smells so nice. I adore flowers.

…Then one person brought me a little drawing of my dear Mom, made from a photo belonging to an old poor woman, who drew the picture herself. I gave her something. The drawing is lovely, everyone really loved and honored my Mom, and thanks to her, everyone is interested in me. There were even flags in the city. And then a large crowd poured into the streets to see us leave, they had been waiting for two hours until we came back — we returned home late. They rushed to the house, and the police could not push them away… When I went to the wells for my glass (of mineral water — ed.), people flocked around me. I feel myself so embarrassed and stupid when I am being stared at as if I were a wild animal that escaped from a zoo.

…I received such a nice telegram from your Dad, that I was deeply touched…
So you think there is nothing special in your eyes. Well, that is where you are wrong: there are whole worlds in them – they are so deep and true, both big and pretty. I could look into them for ages. Now speaking about owl’s eyes you’d better say nothing about it, do you hear me?

Honey, I have to take wings now, or, should I say, to crawl away, taking into account my poor lame legs.

Many gentle kisses and prayers for your happiness. Sleep well, my dear…

June 8, 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

Dear Niki,

It is already the third letter, which I start writing to you today! I was lying a bit because my back was sore. I have not had enough rest for several days. Being worried, Fraulein Schneider even started speaking Russian with Siebert while he was filling her inkwell. She writes down the verbs, which I will have to learn tomorrow. It is because of you, you little stubborn one, I have to study so hard. You should have chosen a smarter wife, so it would be easier, and I would have less trouble.

You are my tyrant, I work so hard, but I am so stupid that I forget everything. You made a bad choice indeed, but I hope you will never regret it. Now I can pronounce the Lord’s Prayer in Russian quite well, and Schneiderlein wants me to learn the Creed… Moreover, I can write your address very well and I do not even need to look at the piece of paper, and I am very proud of it.

June 8, 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

My dear, lovely, precious Niki,

Just like that time when I left a few lines in your room in Coburg so that you would find them after my departure, now I’m going to write a letter again and give it to your servant so that he will give it to you when you leave. The thought of our tomorrow’s separation makes me miserable. Oh, my love, what am I going to do without you? I am so used to being with you now that I will feel completely lost… God bless you and keep you safe in your journey and in your return home.

Make sure you tell your Mom how happy we were that, thanks to her wish, you went to your uncle’s silver wedding, since it gave us the opportunity to spend two more days together. I can hear breakfast being made for my boy in the next room… before he goes to church. God willing, this time next year I will always walk with you, and then I will belong to you even more fully. You will help me understand everything so that I could love your religion as much as you do.

Oh, Niki, my thoughts will follow you, and you will feel your Guardian Angel hovering over you. Although we are separated our hearts and thoughts are connected, invisible strong ties bind us, and nothing can divide us. I think separation is one of the hardest things in life: you have to smile, while your heart is breaking! I cannot bear to think about it. Oh, dear Niki, I love you more and more with each passing day. My devotion to you is boundless and genuine, it is almost beyond description.

All I can do is keep saying the same thing over and over again: “I love you, I love you, I love you, I adore you and I bow to you”. I pray to God to make me more worthy of you, so that you will never have any reason to regret that you chose your bride who is so deeply and sincerely devoted to you. God only knows how much I love you, it is beyond description – the power of my love is so great that it almost completely took me over. Wherever I glance, you are everywhere in front of me, and your image is imprinted in my heart.

One look into your eyes is enough to make one never be able to forget them. Big pretty eyes of my beloved man are so kind and gentle, they are so wonderful! Oh, I remember our evenings! My dear, thank you for always coming.” I will remember them and dream of them again and again… How patient and kind you were to me when I was tired and stupid. If you only knew how grueling this constant pain is, it is terrible. I was very angry with myself for breaking up, but you were kind to me and you never grumbled. What am I going to do left all by myself now… I feel so lonely and lost.

I kiss you, sweetheart. How much I love you! We just had breakfast together and you went to church… Madeleine is shouting that it is already 20 minutes to 10, and my grandmother is really punctual on Sundays, so I have to go. Goodbye… There is just one more thing. My dear, I love you more than words can say, and my love becomes stronger and deeper day by day. Honey, what will be our end…?

Your deeply loving and tenderly devoted bride,

Alix.

June 12, 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

Dear Niki,

It is already the third letter, which I start writing to you today! I was lying a bit because my back was sore. I have not had enough rest for several days. Being worried, Fraulein Schneider even speaks Russian with Siebert while he fills her inkwell. She writes down the verbs, which I will have to learn tomorrow. It is because of you, you little stubborn one, I have to study so hard. You should have chosen a smarter wife, so it would be easier, and I would have less trouble.

You are my tyrant, I work so hard, but I am so stupid that I forget everything. You made a bad choice indeed, but I hope you will never regret it. Now I can pronounce the Lord’s Prayer in Russian quite well, and Schneiderlein wants me to learn the Creed… Moreover, I can write your address very well and I do not even need to look at the piece of paper, and I am very proud of it.

July 26, 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

My dearest, lovely, precious Niki,

I just came back from a walk with my grandmother. She was talkative until she suddenly felt the pain, then she turned pale and started crying. She says whenever she has such kind of pain, it gets on her nerves and makes her cry.

I rubbed her leg for a quarter of an hour, and she felt a little better. Poor thing, it is awful to see her suffer. I am young, so it is easier for me to stand the pain. I would even say that it is good that I have to stand the pain — but she is an elderly woman and it is hard for her, it is so sad to see it and it scares me. We were driving as carefully as possible…

This afternoon my grandmother was dictating her diary to me, she wants me to do it again, and she stopped at the point, when the Archduke left, so she is in a hurry to catch up. She takes notes every day, but they are so illegible that she can barely make them out herself…

Darling, dear, I have to say good night to you. Sleep well, my love. God bless you and God keep you. I kiss you gently many times. I miss your tender blessings so much. Alix.

27 th of July 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

My beloved one,

As soon as I have a free minute, I immediately sit down to write to you. It seems to me that at any moment, I can see your sweet face, but no — you are far away from me, floating in the vast sea … Please, send my regards to all the officers, the priest and Mr. Heath. Tell the priest that I am going to read my correspondence with Schneiderlein in Russian every day to get used to it. Honey, my love, I hope you understand my request to postpone a little bit with the wedding. After all, this is not just a wedding, but also a matter of religion — I need to understand it more. Otherwise, how can I do this? The more I learn about it, the more peace will be in my soul. Because of this, no need to hurry. It is difficult to understand, but with God’s help, I will cope, and then I will be your heart and soul, my dear.

… Now you are on board, at the evening prayer, and I could be with you and hear the sailors singing the Psalm. I am sitting on the couch trying to read «the Indian Prince,» but my thoughts are flying to you… Everything makes me think of you… I would give everything to have you sitting next to me, hugging me and whispering sweet words of love to me. Oh, my dear, where is my Niki’s blessing for the night? Nevertheless, I am sure you will send it to me across the seas as I give my blessing to the winds to bring it to you…

Goodbye now, dear, and God bless you. Many tender kisses from your loving and sincerely devoted bride. Alix.

28th of July 1894

To my Niki

Harrogate

I have a few minutes before teatime, so I start my letter … after lunch, I wrote to Toriya and two other ladies, and then I went to rest because I wasn’t feeling well. However, I did not manage to do so – Schneiderlein came and I had to listen a long lecture about not studying the Russian language. So I had to be a good girl and read and translate (she was sitting on the couch at your place) and suddenly I found your name written on the wall. Before I saw it only in the bedroom – when she left, I jumped up and kissed it. You have done great, now I feel happier knowing that you are next to me on the couch as well.

…Another body was excavated near Cowes after the explosion. Widows will be calmer if they can bury the remains…

I have just returned from the service, where I prayed earnestly for my dear one. The sermon was wonderful. We are all one big family, but unity does not mean sameness. As in any family, brothers and sisters think differently, so each person has his own purpose and responsibilities in life, and yet this is a great community. Thus we, Christians, are also one big family, and we have one Father. He (the priest) has spoken beautifully about the fact that we all have certain talents…

The chanting was absolutely wonderful, psalms were beautiful. I believe, you have a church on board or in the city, and wonderful chanting — what a pity that I could not go with you last Sunday … I hope that I will understand more and be able to follow the service, at least know , what prayers are recited … Dear, can you get me a little book so that on one side the text is Russian, and on the other English or German? From London, I received one in English and Greek. Yes, dear, I would be happier if the old priest could come, because there are still many things that I would like to hear from him. I wanted to ask you something, but I could not, I was afraid that my questions could hurt you.

Gradually, with God’s help, everything will become clear. That is the main reason why, my dear, priceless Niki, I do not want our wedding to happen right now. I do not feel that I am ready yet – it is not the wedding itself, and there is another reason – you know what I am talking about. You know what I mean, right? On the other hand, you know how I dream of being completely yours – my heart is already completely yours, and the threads that bind our hearts will never be able to break or weaken. For your sake, I also want to be strong and healthy, and in all your affairs to be close to you, and not a hindrance, as now… You are so happy with riding together, I was afraid that you are terribly bored by it. If only I could ride before your arrival – my legs are still weak, and the more exercises I make, the worse it become.

So you really, honestly, like my singing? Well, then I’ll start my lessons again as soon as I get home, and I’ll do everything I can to improve myself if it gives you a little pleasure.

…For two days, I have been rewriting grandmother’s diary in a new notebook, and instead of July 1, just like a fool, put non-existent 31st of June so I had to rip out the pages and rewrite them. On one page in my grandmother’s diary, I saw: «Niki is always so gentle and attentive to me.” You know, you have completely won her heart, and not just her, everyone loves you, there’s nothing you can do about it.

May God protect you and secure you from all troubles and misfortunes. With love, many gentle kisses. Always yours very deeply devoted and faithful to the grave,

Alix.

4th of August 1894

To my Niki

My tenderly beloved and dear,

 

Today is the third time I sat down to write to you, I cannot go to sleep without expressing you the most tender appreciation for your precious letter (H-52), which I received tonight. Like you, I am afraid when someone intimate is at sea. I am not worried about myself, but I was very anxious until I got your telegram from Home. The month we spent together seemed like a wonderful dream to me. Now that I am home and I see all the familiar places, I feel like I have never gone anywhere. Once my heart finally calms down, next moment it fills with love for my dear, whom I wish to see near me, to kiss and to bless.

It really should have been a touching scene when Sandro and Xenia went together to the Holy Communion. I think it was a great idea that they made this before the wedding. What an exciting moment it is! Honey, for me, this day will be a secret, will it? As it was for Ella – otherwise it would be too scary – such a religious act should be quiet, otherwise it is impossible to think about what you do or say…

From Darmstadt we drove a four-in-hand (horses – editor’s note), on which dear Papa usually drove here in the park, and picked mushrooms with Ernie. Ernie played tennis with Rideselen and Lasdorf, while Dackie sat and read to me as I was laying on the sofa with my work. However, the reading did not last long, because we began to chat. She is so sweet, and the frankness with which she talks to me about everything has touched me deeply. Since I am much older, she can talk with me about things that I know which younger girls do not, and I think such a conversation is useful for her. I cannot express how adult sometimes I feel myself — as a child I knew what others would know only when they grow up and get married. I do not know how this happened. I lived with Papa so secluded, went everywhere with him, and to the theater as well, and it made me grow up early. I went through a lot in some matters, so I don’t mind talking to her about life.  I would never have been able to do it with sisters. Besides, she is married to Ernie, with whom I am also sincere. And it helped her at the beginning when she felt so shy with him. I am pleased to see how they love each other, but because of this I miss you more

It’s time to send a letter. Everyone has come. I sat reading Ducky while Victoria and Ernie were together. Good-bye and God bless you, my dear boy Niki.

Always yours, deeply loving, very faithful and trustworthy bride,

Alix

August,5 1894

To my Niki

My dear, my beloved,

I just got here, Ducky and me were sitting and watching others playing tennis. The air was wonderful, much nicer than in the morning … Today there is no letter from you, and I am sad. My thoughts are with you, with everyone else, and with Xenia. This is her last night at home — and although she is happy about tomorrow, she is probably sad at the thought of leaving. Everything changes when you get married. Poor dear Mom, how sad she must be — God calm her and help her to feel happiness for her child. It is difficult to part with own child, besides being the first, although she was lucky that they would live in one country, so if necessary she could be with her at any moment …

Yes, Ernie and Ducky  talked to me, as you can guess from what I asked Toria to tell you. Ernie wants me to say this to you. (Do you mind that I am writing this to you in such a way, no? After all, being not too shy to talk to you about this will not make you think bad of me. I am so used to talking with Ernie that it helps me to be less shy with you). If you want, we could get married in April, as he hopes that by then Ducky will be completely healthy and able to travel …

He thinks that you may want to tell your parents about this, so that they can understand everything if they want to speed up our wedding. I’m afraid that this will seem strange to them — what I am writing to you, but we want you to know it. It would be so sad to get married without Ducky, and I’m sure Ernie wouldn’t want to leave her alone in the winter. Please write me when you receive this letter and think it over. Don’t think badly of me because I told you about Ducky, but I don’t know what to say. When you arrive, it will be much easier to talk about everything. Please don’t tell anyone else about this, as they may not like it. Yesterday I was ashamed to write you directly about everything. Therefore, I asked Toria, who, as I thought, would not mind …

It is unbearable heat. I suffer from such heat, and my hands are terribly dirty, all in turpentine, because Ducky and me were sitting on the steps and painting flowers on the doors of my room, and Schneiderlein read Russian stories to us, which I then had to translate. It turned out not very well, since I had to look at my flowers, and today my thoughts were only in Peterhof. At the moment,  they have been already married, and you, probably, have a dinner party. Oh, how I would like to be with you! I cannot imagine that this child is married — in fact, when I saw her the last time, she still wore a short dress and was just a child. I am sure that she looks great and Sandro, probably, too. But your poor Mother — how she must be sad …

Always yours, deeply loving, very faithful and trustworthy bride,

Alix

August 9, 1894

To my Niki

My dear sweetheart Niki,

I send you my most tender thanks for your sweet letter that came tonight. Honey, you even wrote to me on Xenia’s wedding day, which, I am sure, was so tiring. That cute girl looked beautiful, I can easily imagine. But for me, who saw her only a child, it is almost impossible to imagine her a wife.

How happy and joyful she must be now, being married to a man she loves so much, and having the freedom to do everything she likes, without being burdened with any serious duties. Don’t it seem strange to you that you held a crown over her? She is much younger than you. It isappealing that she put on our little star — let it bring her good luck and happiness. Yes, your feelings really had to be different from those that you had at Ernie’s wedding. Oh, that day was so frightening, so many experiences, and then to see Ernie standing next to Ducky, and Daddy is not around. I wanted to scream in pain. He stood so lonely, only Uncle Wilhelm came to him … Little Xenia soon became happy. We have to endure longer, and we should not grumble, although separation is terribly difficult, and I miss you more than you can put into words. My treasure…

The spouse of the Prussian ambassador, who travels to Greece, came to dinner, then we went to look at the nest, where there was a hedgehog with seven crumbs, still blind. We sat and watched … and then Ducky and me went again mushrooming. Two Coburg baskets were heaped, and even more in the carriage cover …

I received a lovely long letter from my grandmother … so kind. She is delighted with your telegrams that you answered so quickly. But she’s waiting a letter from you. I always sign up as her daughter, not a granddaughter, she likes it, since she really considers me to be a daughter. But never before did she begin a letter like this time: “My favorite child, my dear Aliki”. I’m so happy you love her too. When an elderly woman is in the family, this is something special.

Kisses, God bless you, my angel, love of my heart. Always yours, sincerely devoted, deeply loving bride, Alix.

August 10, 1894

To my Niki

My dear, my beloved,

With love and affection, I thank you for your dear letter, which I received tonight and which I read with such pleasure. Every word of such true love makes my heart happy, but my longing for you doubles because of this. Everything you talk about and even about our wedding, so touching and full of kindness — thank you for it. It is so hard to wait when you die of love, but if you could come often and stay long, it would be a consolation. …

I repeat again, our expectation will not reduce our love, on the contrary, if it is only possible, it will increase my love and my respect to you. Never a word of grumbling, always kind and sweet, oh, my Niki, how much I love you! I feel sad when I think that you are left alone in your house so often. But this is better than the behavior of the disobedient little artillery officer you told me about, huh? (“the behavior of the disobedient little artillery officer” is about Matylda Krzesińska, a ballerina at the Imperial ballet in Saint Petersburg. Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich felt an affection towards her for a short while before his engagement to Alix – ed.).

Don’t you think so? I need to tease you from time to time, can I? … I’m selfish and greedy and want the best to be mine, it’s hard-hitting, isn’t it? I don’t think you can cure me of it. You’re mine and only mine. You see, how greedy I am … poor little Ksenia. What a beginning of married life: to get ditched. God be praised that they didn’t get hurt. Poor driver, I hope that there is nothing serious …

Right now, the sun is shining very pleasantly; I wish it could keep on shining. My dear, goodbye. Many fond kisses to you, my darling boy.

Your sincerely loving and deeply loyal and faithful girl, Alix

August 10, 1894

To my Niki

My dear sweetheart, Niki,

I stayed in bed with headache. But my head was on fire so much that I decided to get up and to write you, hoping that I’ll get better. It’s the pleasing wind blowing, and a storm is brewing like yesterday. The leaves are falling, the clouds are building up, I can hear distant rumble. Here we go: large droplets of rain began to pelt. My head is likely to get better.

This morning poor Shneiderlin has had a dentist appointment in Darmstadt. He filled cavities in some of her teeth, which, however, hurt so bad that she didn’t have lunch. When I came in her room, I found her, poor dear, cry. A bit later I brought her some soup … got her to have a meal, and I left her so that she could try to fall asleep.  But I’m afraid that if thunder grows in intensity, she won’t be able to fall asleep. Therefore, I’m going to drop by her a bit later. I know that many people are afraid of staying alone in such times. It’s lashing down, and, taking such a wonderful bath, parrots are letting out a piercing scream of joy. There’s still no letter from Ella: she is really utterly lazy to write … If only she wrote to grandmother … a servant has just got out of the house and taken parrots away.

Don’t lose sleep over the artillery officer. This kind of things happen. At that time you were young and felt all alone. It had been a small episode in your life that, God be praised, turned out well and will never repeat again. My precious should not feel sad about it.

…So sweet of you to ask a mate of yours to take a picture of your house. It will afford great pleasure to me to see how it looks like. I’m pretty sure that Ksenia made a face at you when you came up to her to kiss her hand. You know, I still can’t imagine her married! It’s just as funny as Ducky is married. It’so amusing. Of course, now she’s giving instructions, a housekeeper consults her, but I have nothing to do. After all these years, it looks weird, but she is very nice. Even now and then, it’s so hard not to meddle in. I love her so much. Ernie and she are devoted to each other. She is a nice creature …

I saw that Shneiderlin was walking around the yard. She must feel better again. Last evening she felt very bad and refused to eat. But I was adamant and fed her as if she was a child. A bit later in the evening, she felt better, but, of course, she stayed in bed. I see a postman. Goodbye …

August 12, 1894

To my Niki

 

My precious Niki,

…first thing first, let me send you my fondest gratitude for your sweet letter (N-60). I can’t say how deeply this letter, written at night, with you being wide awake, moved me. I should have given you a telling off for this, but it’s such a blessing for me … yes, my darling, no secret is lost between us …

… I feel so joyful that I love and am loved more than I can say. I don’t know why it was me whom you picked. I’m not that much delighted with your choice, but woe is you, if you had made another one …

Always yours, sincerely faithful and dearly loving fiancée,
Alix

August 18, 1894

To my Niki

My precious sweetheart,

My best wishes to you and your regiment; my thoughts will be with you longer than ever … it’s nice to hear that maneuver day (2/14) was so successful. It must be the great joy for all of you although it’s a bit boring. You’re crazy. How could you toss that poor boy in a blanket. But I would like to see horse racing, it must have been very funny. It’s so nice that your parents have already arrived and that sweet aunt Alisa and cousins will stay there for a long while. Please tell them that I love them so much …

You know, here is some commotion about a feral cow. She is in the forest since 5 am, and in the evening it approaches the houses too close. It run away from its hosts, living somewhere at Main. Someone saw it yesterday. Much to the their delight, it has a chain on its neck. One who will catch it, will receive 100 marks as a reward. But it’s so frightened that as soon as someone approaches it, the cow runs away…

Maid of Honor Shneider is terribly behaving today! You know what this nasty woman has said today? She believes that it would have been better if you hadn’t come in order not to get upset when saying goodbye to each other. She likes to tease me … She got terrified by having found out that I have written this … I translated your letter to her, in which you write about maneuvers and the dog, bringing shells from behind. It kept me in stitches ….

It’s bucketing down … Seeing the sun shining, I hoped that the weather will be fine. It’s far too boring. Poor people: their crops might die. You’re in church now, and I’m mentally praying God that he blesses and protects you and ours so that you can spend yet many such days together!

Your dearly loving and deeply faithful fiancée,
Alix

August 18, 1894

To my Niki

Volfsgarten

My dear Niki,

I send you the most tender gratitude for your letter (No. 66), which cheers up me, even though I want to be with you now. I’m always with you in spirit. In your honor, I put on a bright red dress decorated with white laces and emeralds…

Do you know that Ella hasn’t written to grandma yet? My grandmother telegraphed this to me today. Well, I’m going to write her a letter and speak out everything I think of this situation. How can she so carelessly treat her grandmother …

Yes, my child, indeed, our souls and thoughts are united despite our separation, because only the bodies are separated. Our souls and hearts are together, and nothing can separate them.

Honey, don’t eat your heart out, though even unintentionally, you allegedly made me suffer. And on the contrary, your great love helps me to endure everything. Yes, my love, at first, it was extremely hard, and these lessons in Windsor cost me a lot of pain and unshed tears. But he (the priest) was so kind, you were loving, and God was merciful, and I have gradually risen above myself. He was kind, but now, when I read some books for myself, sometimes I meet there things that scare me, or when I think of old times, not very old, in France, for example: people then chose to be shot rather than to change their faith. But I’ll go and do it! So, I can’t describe all my feelings. We can only pray that God helps me. Thinking of you also helps me. I know that I will love your religion.

Help me to be a good Christian, help me, my love, teach me, how to be like you. But now I won’t talk about it anymore, I have already cried enough about it. Besides, I’m tired! I know that God will help me for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ, who suffered to save us all. Pray for me, my love. So nice that I can share everything with you, and you understand me…

I have to go to church … my precious treasure, which I love so much … and whom I trust completely.

Many times gently hug you, my dear Niki,

Yours, Alix

August 20, 1894 года

To my Niki

Volfsgarten

 

My dear, Niki,

Kiss you and sweetly-sweetly thank you for your letter, which I received this morning at the breakfast.  You are probably very busy now – so early awaking and long marches… I just can imagine the cousins ​​probably enjoyed the day outdoors, in spite of all the shooting! In the pouring rain I rushed to Ernie to ask him, what was happening. As far as I saw three cavalrymen racing nearby, and I heard some kind of shooting all the time. He thinks that this is a small-scale cavalry military exercises damaging our roads around the house.

He has never  been interested in these things. I can’t understand this. I usually run to look at soldiers, and I like it most of all. I want to jump on a horse and rush to see what they are doing. But, instead of it I should sit at home, study Russian and watch the rain pattering dismally against the panes.

Many gentle kisses to you! God bless you.

Always sincerely faithful, deeply loving, and gently devoted to you your bride, Alix.

August 20,1894

To my Niki

Volfsgarten

Today is four months from the day of our engagement, and my thoughts are flying back to Coburg. Will I ever forget the emotional experience of that day and what it has given to me? I don’t deserve this gift that God gave me after five years of despair. May He make me worthy of such a present. My dear boy, how kind and loving you were, I constantly think of you. It was such a joy to receive two of your precious letters today. Yesterday no letters arrived due to holiday in the post-office. Thank you for them and for the letter from Toria. Please, thank her for me and tell her, how deeply I was touched by her message from your little house.

I’m not angry, my dear! On the contrary, I am glad that you have her. I know that she is your best friend and that you are committed to each other. Now I should admit that when you went to Sandrinch-Ham, I felt miserable knowing that you would spend a lot of time together. I was so angry with myself for my jealousy (the jealousy is terrible) and for my egoism and desire to see you only with me. I’m glad that now you are together, and it is good that I managed to overcome this bad feeling. I tenderly love her and would never want to ruin your friendship, as she knows you for a longer time, saw you more often and knows you better than me. I’m glad that you have such a loving, dear friend. God bless your friendship, and may it last forever. And this was just my instantaneous and ridiculous feeling. What a nonsense!

… This afternoon we went to Darmstadt and were caught by heavy rain. We looked around the rooms: Daki’s rooms are now being finished. You could hardly imagine how it hurts me every time when I see Mummy’s rooms, changed and owned by another person, who hardly remembers her. The Daddy’s rooms are also partially changed, and this saddens me. The memories dear to me disappeared from them, but they are preserved in my heart. I miss him now more than usual. Every time I go there, I get upset, but I should look like nothing had happened. I quickly went to my rooms to find the belongings I needed. We drank tea, and after it we went down to the stables to have a look at the horses…

…but today the stars are shining, I hope the weather will improve. It tries to do it all the time. Well, I have to go to bed, as my poor legs are so tired.

Good night and God bless you, and His angels bless you! I am sure that our thoughts will meet…

Your loving faithful girl,

Alix.