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Palais Edinburg. Coburg. December 23rd 1906


Dearest Missy!

I must write a few words amongst all the agitations of Christmas, of course, it is always a laborious time and the weather being “exquisite” now, one wants to be out in the afternoons. Perfect winter atmosphere, dry, snowy, sunny! Very good sledging and skating also started. I do enjoy sledging. I bought a new light and comfortable sledge and it is heavenly going along. Well, Ducky is looking very well, though beginning to get uncomfortable in a dozen small ways. She is very large but it all sits up very high, making her quite out of breath and the kicking little creature makes her start from time to time. But she comes over often and does not let herself go. She is enchanted to be back, as at Paris she had to go out often to big parties and it began to be very troublesome in her advanced state. Kyrill is gracious and in good humour for him! Only he will insist on driving her every day in an uncomfortable high American sledge, when she can hardly lift her legs to jet into any carriage at all! I tell him every day about it but he won’t see it and she is absolutely his slave. He is obstinate like a mule and the whole business is so simple to get a low comfortable sledge and she does enjoy it, as she won’t walk a step. Very bad for her, but here comes her obstinacy. Well, well, I am old fashioned enough to believe in the excellency of moderate walking before confinements, for otherwise you gradually get incapable of moving at all. But she always was mal sur jambes. Of course we play bridge after dinner, even till midnight, because they both like it so much. Baby has been angelrut and, as a fact, does not dislike it at all, but she is terribly slow, which is trying and prolongs the pleasure. The theatre season is coming to an end, but we had still some good plays. A very pretty one taken from Dickens: Little Dorrit. I never read the story but will do so now, it is supposed to be a true story and the old woman still living! There is a very jolly fat Russian lady here now, the wife of Schirinsky: she is quite young and full of life’s enjoyment, though really enormous. They love being at Coburg and spend their time at the Mengdens. Imagine, that we proposed to go to the Mengdens and were asked for dinner next Saturday, is it not wonderful? The courier from Russia has not arrived and it seems that Aunt Minny has actually sent me this time a fine jewel! Wonderful and not a Danish vase like the last years. She writes very openly about the Stana story, but Nicky and Alix deny the idea of the marriage with Nicolasha, whilst Stana writes about it to her ci devant husband Youry! What a muddle and to my mind a whole net of intrigues and lies. Poor Aunt Minny with her old world ideas is completely dumb founded and does not know anymore, who is lying or who is telling the truth. I am so sorry for her as it seems, that Nicky and Alix are not a bit kind towards her in reality and hide carefully everything from her! Ella complained bitterly to her of the complete and sole influence of the Montenegrin sisters on Her Russian Majesty.

Ducky just came in looking very handsome in a mauve dress of mine… I console her, that her burden is getting lower now, as it always does the last month. We will all think so much of you tomorrow, at our Christmas tree! Baby has asked Ena’s former governess, Miss Parrot whom she likes. She is with the Reusses at Greiz, but one sister is going to marry now and the youngest will be confirmed, so she is leaving them in the spring. She would not be bad at all for you, I was thinking as I hear that Miss Mandell is very troublesome and you ought not to keep her. Many thanks for your last letter. I hope you are quite well now, be careful and don’t overdo the winter riding. Love and kisses and write again soon.


©Diana Mandache