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Zinaida Gippius

In 1919, she emigrated from Soviet Russia to Poland and then to Paris.

Zinaida Gippius

In 1919, she emigrated from Soviet Russia to Poland and then to Paris.

It's incredibly boring. The weather is fine. The ocean is blue.

Everyone is afraid of the USSR. Everyone trembles. No one knows what's going on between Hitler and Stalin - what is the deal, what about their pact. Which one of them will fool the other?

We miraculously caught up on our sleep in Bordeaux. Then — a new journey, dammit…

It is cloudy and cold. In one train, then we got out, then back in, from Bayonne, to some Négresse, from there in a half-tram to Biarritz, where we wandered from hotel to hotel, until it was dark and we went crazy… until we ended up in the rather run-down but expensive Britannica. A thunderstorm, it is grey and the air is stuffy.

We are leaving. In a nightmare. 

We waited two hours in hellish heat in an overcrowded wagon. Then we left. A horrific night!

What a day! It began in the morning with a sudden telegram from Ksenia Merezhkovskaya, Dmitry’s niece, who we met here 35 years ago and saw here one evening in the summer. I said jokingly: well, if there will be a war, we will come to you. And now — voulez-vous venir chez moi à Lausanne?
It would be better to be with her than just the two of us, abandoned in Biarritz. But here our wandering began — to the prefecture, then to the Bureau (so they would give us permission to leave), then back to the prefecture, and again… and tomorrow again, if we will still be alive (I am waiting for the sirens!).


Then, 25 years ago, I wrote, now I cannot.
Britain declared war.
1,500 have already been killed in Poland by the air raids.

Paris is black like coal and empty. Every night (and today) they are waiting for the bombs.

It is quiet, quiet at Theresa’s.
Terpiano, Mandelstam, G. Ivanov, Mamchenko, and Felzen — Ilyusha! are at home.

He isn’t leaving!
The windows are covered with paper crosses.
Italy is still waiting.


Yes, the war — it hasn’t been declared yet, but that doesn’t matter. Hitler nevertheless invaded Poland. He is bombing Warsaw, and declared Danzig German. There is a general mobilisation in France. People are standing in front of posters: Patrie en danger.
Somehow they don’t believe it: after all, it’s Poland! They cannot understand that Britain will not back down, and will take France by the arm and… However, there isn’t the slightest sign of protest. Italy is silent (it would appear Hitler liberated it).

Asya is in a panic (?). It is dark on the streets and in the houses.
I went to the dentist, freeing myself.
I feel an intense embarrassment for everyone (including myself) because of the war.


Agony continues, but it’s worse. Only a “miracle” could save us from the devil, the very Father of Lies, who has taken over half of the world. As he is the “original mankiller”.

No one believes in a miracle, and therefore there are no doubts about the war.

The weather is nice: in Bagatelle park (from which we walked along the canal to the café), it is peaceful, it is green, there are ducks, roses, fish, daisies, “the vault of the blue sky”… but this vault is already directed towards people, from it will come death — the bomb...
Theresa! Theresa!

The war is almost a fact. Danzig declared itself German. Hitler's pact with Stalin signed. Mobilization.

Yes, there was no other way out, I must admit according to my conscience.

No negotiations with this demon turned out to be possible, already demanding the whole of Poland, (just as impossible with the USSR (former Russia). Everyone who can, leaves Paris. We cannot.

Brun (Grasset) killed by his wife. Mamchenko appeared sick in London.

Oh my God.

It is cold in the evening. An agent from Buenos Aires.

Unprecedented: a British-French mission headquarters in Moscow before the pact is signed. And Japan is joining the Axis? Everyone lies to himself and to others. The kingdom of deceit, hypocrisy, and fear.

Oh, what if…


Since the morning, in fact since the night, there has been pouring, cold rain. Sometimes it stopped. During the pauses, we went for walks.

Flowers, flowers, flowers… 
Kerensky came. I never saw him in such a nervous state. He says that the war will begin around August 20th. “My intuition never tricked me…(we suppose!!) and that is what I am afraid of… I will try to find one chance for peace… I am truly trying… And I can’t…”

A gloom set in.

They took Teffy to the sanatorium.

Cold rain, sometimes it pours.

Lidiya ChervinskayaLidiya Chervinskaya, poet arrived. She sat for a long time, then we had lunch. We talked about different things. She isn’t stupid. Maybe she isn’t very deep, in a psychological sense, as a woman. And she can be hysterical. But like this, she is rather pleasant.

I am going to bed. I don’t want to think about what is important.

Will the war give Russia freedom? “There” they think so. “Here” it is difficult to think like that. Bolshevism doesn’t want a war for itself.

The weather is good. Katerina and I went to Vigam to fix the corset. He will send it on the first, and it costs 155 francs. From there we got lost and walked on foot a long time. We should have bought flowers in Madeleine. I am tired.
The house is a mess.
The war is approaching closer each day.
I am so sorry for VolodyaVladimir Zlobin, poet and critic. He is turning to stone from loneliness.