XXVIII Neues Palais 19/IX/1903
Neues Palais 19/IX/1903
It is impossible for me to pass over the sudden and tragic death of that sweet little sunshine, without sending you just a word to tell you, how deeply I feel for you all in this sad affair. It is really very difficult to realise the fact; that this darling child is no more among us! How joyous and merry she was that day at Wolfsgarten when I was there, so full of life and fun and health, and to think that one shall never see her again in this world! What a terrible heartrending blow for poor Ernie, who doated and adored that little enchantress! May heaven give him power to bear up under such a blow! I am still under the charm of the 2 days I was able to spend with you and they remain a delightful souvenir for me. You remember our conversation about the Balkans and Turkey, and my later telegram with my instructions to my Ambassador to give the Sultan an energetic lecture that it was hightime for him to at least conform himself to the "Mürzsteg Programme"? Well these instructions have led to a conversation between my Ambassador and the Sultan a few days ago, which took an hour and three quarters. The Sultan was very tough; and decidedly in the idea, that a refusal to comply with the wishes of Russo-Austria backed by me, would bring no great harm to him! The Ambassador had to make use of every power of expression feasible for him versus a Monarch, to bring the gravity of the situation home to His Majesty, and left him "a sadder but a wiser man" after he had made it quite clear to him that on no account whatever would I raise a hand in his support or speak a word for him, should he involve himself and his country into serious consequences, by refusing to fullfill the wishes of H. M. the Russian and the Austrian Emperors, who had shown almost angelic patience and forbearance with his bearing, and who strictly adhered to the February and Mürsteg Programm backed up by me. The Ambassador is under the impression that very animated intrigues are going on in the Palace among a band of organs of very shady nature who surround the Sultan and with incredible lies managed to abuse of his credulity and to keep away the Grand Vizier, whose influence is feared by them, and who is perfectly in harmony and loyally "d'accord" with our 3 ambassadors.
Another interesting piece of news reached me from Sofia. The Prime Minister of the "Archplotter" in a conversation after dinner, gave utterance of his and the country's extreme dissatisfaction at the Mürzsteg Programme! That it was not enough for them, and that they must insist on getting more. But as he was quite sure that the Imperial Powers would not grant more, they all in Bulgaria turned to Italy, England and France! From these countries alone hope was forthcoming for the future of Bulgaria and Macedonia; alone they would bring "freedom"-- i.e. Parliaments and Republics -- for the suppressed Balkan Races! This shows you again, what I hinted at in our conversation, that the "Crimean Combination" is forming and working against Russian interests in the East. "The democratic countries governed by parliamentary majorities, against the Imperial Monarchies." History allways will repeat itself.
With best love to Alix and hopes for her speedy recovery I remain ever
Your true and devoted friend and cousin
- Princess Elisabeth of Hesse, only daughter of Ernest Louis Grand Duke of Hesse by his first marriage with Princess Victoria of Sase-Coburg-Gotha. The marriage was dissolved in 1901. The Princess, who was only eight years old, was staying with the Czar's children. There was a story current in Russia that she was poisoned. It is said that one day at dinner the Czar served with a plate of soup passed it with some smiling remark about "ladies first" to the little princess who died the same night. It was officially announced that the child had died of abdominal typhus.
- Near Darmstadt, where the Czar and Kaiser met on November 4 and 5, 1903, a fortnight before this letter was written.
- The Grand Duke of Hesse.
- The program of Macedonian reforms drawn up by Count Lamsdorf, the Russian Foreign Minister, and Count Goluchowslry, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister, at their meeting in Mürtzeg, October 9th, 1903.
- Baron Marschall von Bieberstein.
- The preliminary Austro-Russian reform program was presented to the Porte on February 21st, 1903.
- Major-General R Petrow, the Bulgarian Prime Minister.
- Ferdinand of Bulgaria, formerly Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, recognized by the Powers as Czar of Bulgaria in 1909.