Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, September 01, 1912, MAGAZINE, Image 17

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Omaha Sunday Bee Magazine 1!
opyrlyht, 1912, by American-Examiner. Great Britain Rights Reaerved.
The Czarina' Drawing of Grand Duke Sergius Hitting Vassili
Morosoff for Defending His Wife's Honor. Morosoff Was Sub
equently Fatally Injured in His Duel with the Grand Duke.
FEW persons know that the unhappy Czarina of Rus
sia is quite an artist. This little gift is one of her
few comforts as the wife of the superstitious and
fear-ridden Czar. Here on this page are show a few
of her sketches depicting court life. In the text Count
ess Von Branitzkaya, for many years the Czarina's fa-
-. vorite lady-in-waiting, throws a new' and sinister light
upon the death of Grand Duke George, -the Czar's
brother. .' ' '
HIS . is .the Inside story, of ' given , .me lots books about the
me- iragie -romance ; or., tne oumww- mj eyes flare peen opened.
inave.Degun to.efee.Hfe from a dif
, ferent point of .view. ; But i don't
see why my brother (meaning the
Czar) doesn't see the point. He
could change the situation with one
stroke, by making conditions equal .
to those in France or England. The
King of England is better off than,
a Czar of Russia."
The Grand Duke ' paused, pon
dered and continued:
"But j tell you what it is. My' "
brother Is a tennis ball of the high
bureaucratic clique and the rival
members of his dynasty..: He merely (
. moves in their hands as they turn
him. The trouble with him is that
-he. has neither ' brain nor eyes to
grasp things as they are. He was
raised up, like me, in the belief that
the Czar of Russia is the man al
mighty ' and" his ' family a - super
human society. I think our Greek
Church is the fundamental cause of
all this Russian slavery. How long
it is going. to last, God knows."-.-.
"Your high-
" ness, but what
would you do
if you were a
' plain Russian
subject?" I
asked, curious-
The young
Duke looked
at me serious
ly and said:
"By Jove, if
I were not
his brother I
would grab
. him by his
neck and keep
him a year
in those dun
geons In which
he keeps po
litical - crimi
nals. In the
meantime 1
would make
the, people
free, curb the
lies of the -clergy
and the
arrogance of
the officials. I
would not stand .-Editions as they
are. But the trouble with- Russian'
intellectuals and the peasants is that
they are worshippers of. the Oriental
negative' philosophy. There is no
use to argue with my brother, be-
Grand Duke George, brother
of the Czar of Russia. -As lady-in-waiting
to the Czapina- and con-
,. fidante of the unfortunate Duke, I
came into possession of many facts
which I now reveal for the first
time. Indeed, I myself played an
-. important part in the events which
led up to the Grand Duke's, tragic
end. :' '
When the Czarina presented the
. Czar with . a second daughter, and
' his brother, George, thus remained
heir-apparent, , his hostility to the
Grand Duke, -to whom he had al
ways been greatly Opposed, was
immeasurably Increased. ;
The Grand Duke George ..was an
. interesting, romantically ,' disposed
youth. He had made the acquaint
ance of a Caucasian Cossack officer,
with whom he became greatly Im
pressed. George retired from the
court ' life, gave up his gambling
and sporting, began to read books
'by the Cos--
tack officer
.and - became
taciturn and
: serious. . The
. change in him
, . was so great
. and unexpect-.
L ed that every
body was
amazed. At
, first the royal
family thought
be bad fallen
in love with
; somebody, but
when they
learned what
" had really hap
pened, they
- became alarm-
r.ed and lectur-,
ed him severe-
, ly.
George had
always , been
'a --.'i..s.:v-iiM.',",!-' ii mm i i - .
flu mbp I Iter II f Mr&t$ Vv-vfefl
s ''fimS iiWHl :mm$!4fr mk S- rsrw I
II .. . h ..
f.o as, because
. . V -l 40 vvtuvr
How the Czarina . Pictured
Countess Branitzkaya Con
fessing to the Court Chap
lain the Love-Affair of '
the Czar's Brother.
orttic and
rank, "manner
and of his artistic temperament. But
when I heard of his changed views
aild life and saw how he was ostra
. cized, I often conversed with bim
'" on the subjects that Interested him.
Mv fpeHn? tnwnrd th vnnnr man
y. brought him closer to me, and he cause he wouldn't change it without
'casually beean to nour out his force."
; Heart. . one oay wnue I was taking i was so snocsea at tne views of
' a walk in the Winter garden he ap- the heir-apparent that I could
" proached me and asked: hardly believe the. evidence of my
'; "Countess, please tell me, have ears,
you been much in France and in "Your Highness," I remarked, "I
England?" am afraid of the boldness ot your
'Yes, quite frequently, I replied.
5 "Well, and have you observed -the
" great difference of life between
those countries and Russia?" he
went on. ,
"I have found that there the peo
ple are all more or less on a level,
and more or less free. But the
people in Russia are divided into
r q ecu a IVfl kov. tyiam ntvaffv and
more luxury than any other coun-
try In the world," I said.
The Grand Duke offered me a
.aeai. we toog a seat unaer tne
wopica paim rrees, ana ne Degan:
f- .'"We have in Russia the bureau-
A.1 1 LIl. I . . . .
u..v., nuiv,u id just as uau
as waa the feudal slavery. I never
thought and never knew of it Only
since my friend, Lieutenant Peter
Platonoff, has explained it and has
A Drawing of Mystic Nature by the Czarina for Her Husband. The Czar Revels in Draw
" ' ings Such as This and Has a Private Collection of Thousands
His frank and revolutionary talk
had dazed me for several minutes.
I was made an involuntary con
spirator and thus dragged in the
family secrets of the dynasty of
Romanoffs. My duty wad to tell
the Czarina what I had heard from
the lips of a conspirator. I pon
dered about the situation tor sev
eral minutes and decided to Keep
secret what the Grand Duke had
told me.
Two months after this I came
again to the court. I met the
Czarina in a very nervous condition.
"What do you think," she began
hoarsely, "the Grand Duke George
has married a plain Caucasian gTrl
and now they are on a secret honey
moon trip in Finland! The Czar is
mad at him and wants to deprive
him of the rights of heir-apparent
if he does not give up his wife
Two officers have been sent to ar
rest the couple and to separate
them forcibly. I don't know how
it is going to end. It la a terrible
The Czar was so furious that for
two days he did not leave his apart
ment and cancelled all his engage
ments. His newly married brother
and his wife were caught in a small
Finnish town and brought as pris
oners to St. Petersburg. I waj
curious as to what would happen
and Intended to telephone to the
Grand 'Duke, but realizing that he
was watched by spies, I gave up my
daring intention.
In the evening of the same day
my Dutler came
views. I don't know what His
' Majesty would do if he had heard
what you have told me."
"Oh, I know what he would do.
He would send me out of European
Russia. But I am not going to tell
my views to donkeys. I tell them
to the people I respect and trust.
I trust and respect you as I do my
friend, Peter Platonoff. To-day I
committed a terrible crime by shak
ing hands with the officers of my
regiment and offering them cigar
ettes. But soon I am going to com
mit a still greater crime by marry
ing the sister of my friend, Peter
Platonoff! She is a beautiful Cau
casian girl and I simply adore her.
This is her photograph."
The Grand Duke pulled out the
picture of fascinatingly pretty girl,
handed it to me and asked me my
opinion of his plan. I said that as
long as she was below the rank of
a Countess the marriage might be
declared morganatic, and he, being ,
the Czarevitch, would be put In a
critical position.
"But I don't mind the objection
of my brother or the family in the
matter, and I don't care about be
ing - the heir-apparent. I would
rather be a happy family father
than an unhappy candidate for a
tyrannic throne. If my brother
Nicolas wants he can make my
younger brother Mlhall heir-apparent."
The young Czarevitch put the pic
ture of his bride in his pocket, light
ed a cigarette and continued:
"Countess, I confess to you con
fidentially that I can turn another
page to my family if they pinch me
too hard for my liberal views and
marriage. I know the secrets of
the situation, and if I should join
a group of conspirators I could ac
complish something. Countess, have
you ever heard of the secret subter
ranean galleries of the palaces?"
I replied that I had heard that
such existed, but I never had been
in one and did not know where
they were.
"There are two subterranean
passages from each of the Czar's
big palates which lead out to certain-churches.
Through them I
could lead my whole regiment In
half an hour to the Czar's private
apartment without being seen by
any of his senti
nels. I would
need only to cap;
ture or kill the
sentinels and
guards which
watch his private
apartment and
then I could ar
rest him and
bring him out or
do what I want
"With my regl
ment (the Grand
Duke, being the
Czarevitch, was
the chief of a
guard regiment)
I could overthrow
the regime of my
brother in a few
hours and cap
ture the throne.
It mar seem fan
tastic to you, but
you know -it has
been done fre
quently by our
dynasty. Cather
ine the Second
did the same
thing with her
husband, Peter
the Third. Alex- a cu.tu u .t
ander the First Sklcl by the
overthrew his
father, Paul, with the conspirators,
and so on. You, of course, know
that. No one of the Russian rulerd
since Peter the Great has died his
natural death. They were either
ae asslnated, poisoned or secretly
strangled by their own family. It'a
already in our blood. But the truth
is, I am not inclined to such con
spiracies. I am too much a gentle
man. At present I am- only inter
ested in getting married."
"But what will the Dowagei
Czarina, your mother, say?" I asked.
'0h, well, I don't care what she
will say. She will get more mad at
me than she is at Nicolas now. You
know she has her own ambltiond.
Her scheme is to get the throne
from Nicolas for herself. Plehve,
Bobrlkoff, Alexeyeff and Goremykln
are all her secret- agents. That's
the reason they all plot against
Nicolas and Wltte. My uncle Vladi
mir has secretly joined them, and I
should not be surprised if they
finally dethroned Nicolas. I believe
Witte is a sincere and big states
man, the only minister I respect.
But he, poor man, can do nothing
alone. Nicolas does not trust him
because his wife is a Jewess. But
what nonsense! He has begun to
hate the Jew simply because he
was In love with a Jewess himself
and' could not marry her. Now
Witte stands alone between the two
fires. I really pity him."
The chamberlain entered and
brought me &n order ot the Czarina.
The Grand Duke bowed and left.
v 1 Ai
Czarina Illustrating the Sentinels of the Royal
Palace Being Fee1
in and said that
a lady and a gent
leman wished to
see me without
having given
their names. I
told him to Invite
them in. To ray
surprise, the
Grand Duke
George, . accom-
panied by a fasci
nating pretty wo
man, entered.
" Countess, I
have the pleas
ure to introduce
to you my wife,"
he began. "I came
to bid you fare
. well. I am going
to be exiled to
Caucasus and my
wife is going to
be sent abroad. I
wrote to my
brother that if he
.wants to punish
me he should ex-
. lie us both to
Siberia,' instead
of separating us.
I would rather
be In Siberia,
with my wife
Intimate Scenes of Russian
Court Life Drawn by
the Wife of Russia's Au
tocrat, and an Explana
tion of the Tragic Mystery
of Grand Duke George's
Death After He Had Eloped
with a Caucasian Beauty
than alone in Caucasus. I know he
will not read my letter, but throw
it in the waste basket. But I will
escape from Caucasus and join my
wife somewhere abroad. She will
live in Paris and wait for me. I
will disguise myself as a pilgrim
and by bribing the frontier soldiers
I can get out of Russia all right.
When I am in Paris they can't touch
me. But I know that they are going
to watch my mall and do every
thing to separate us. Our most
earnest request to you Is that you
permit us to use your address for
our correspondence. You see, I will
send a special messenger with my
letter to you
house day and night It was evi
dent the spies had detected the
secret 4 -
One day coming to the court the
Czarina met me with an artificial
politeness, and I felt intuitively
that there was something wrong in
her relation to me. Toward even
ing she said to me that the Czar
wished that I should receive the
sacraments In their palace chapel.
I felt it strange, but said I wag
very pleased with the honor. But
before getting the communion one
has 'to confess to the priest, and I
had te do so. Thinking of it, I re
alized that , the proposition' of the
Czarina1 was to
and you can
mail it to my
wife. Your
mall Is not
watched by the
police, so my
wife can ad-'
dress her let
ters . to me in
your name. The
envelopes will .
have only a let
ter 'R.,' which
means it Is to
be 1 forwarded
for me. It is
a terrible, situa
tion, isn't It?"
"But what can
you do in Paris, '
in case you es-
fnnn from the
Caucasus?" I The Czarina's Picture of the Czar's the role I was
asked. " The Gallant Before Dinner Salute, playing and
find out ' from
their palace
chaplain what
I had confess
ed. It was a
diplomatic way
to try my loy
alty and to get
to the bottom
of the secret
plot in which
I was Involved.
I went to the
palace chapel,
knelt before
the solemn old
chaplain and
began to con
fess. As there
was- nothing
else left for me
I told briefly of
aaents of your
brother, the Czar, would tlnd you
thore and separate you again."
"Well, .we. might leave Tarls ln-t
cognlto and; take a steamer - to
America.- We . would arrive in '
America.. as .common tourists or
emigrants, would buy a small farm
out In the country and live a retired
life forever. Who would know that
a Mr. and Mrs. Jones, as we would
be called, .were once actors In a
historic drama? Who would know
that I was the heir-apparent to the
Russian throne if I kept it secret?"
I expressed my admiration of the
romantic plans of the young couple,
but doubted the possibility of re
alizing .them. However, I gladly
consented to act as an agent be
tween the Grand Duke and his wife
in the matter of their correspond
ence. Before leaving he told me
that he would join In the future a
group of conspirators and act as ho
bad once told me. Then he bade
me good-by and left.
The following day the Grand
now it came
"Didst thou sot realize that in
doing bo thou wert a tool of the
devil?" asked the priest solemnly.
"No," r answered. "I never be-'
lieved in the existence of the devil."
The priest - shook his head,
crossed himself and continued: '
"Dost thou regret it and promise
solemnly to discontinue such treacn
erous doing?" -
"Yes, I do," I stammered. ;
This established me again at the
court and I wrote to the Grand
Duke George and his wife how the
situation wad. I received a short
note from bim saying that he was
in despair about his wife and the
banishment. It had made it utterly
impossible for. bim to escape. An
army of spies and desperate people
surrounded him. HI life was made
a regular torture.
Shortly afterward I read the dis
patch that the Grand Duke George
had died while bicycle riding neaf
The Czarina's Drawing of a Duel Between Grand Duke
Sergius arid Vassili Morosoff.
Duke was sent to his' country
estates in the Caucasus. About the
tame , time bis desperate . young
wile, accompanied by a gendarme
officer, left Ruasla for Paris. For
three months everything in regard
to their correspondence went well.
Suddenly. I began. to realize that
my letters were being secretly
opened before I received them and
that a strange figure shadowed my
his country estate in the Caucasua
I was greatly shocked at the newt
and suspected that there must have
been something wrong with his sud
den death. Ail my investigation of
it,' however, has not revealed the
mystery. What became of his young,
exiled wife I have been unable to
learn. I received her last letter
from New York aad never heard of
her more,