Writing up despatches. Dined with General Dixon of Rhodesia. The Marlings were there – glad to be out of Teheran. Also Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovitch, 27, now with a Commission as Captain in the British Army, He is quite possibly the next Czar. He talked to me for an hour in gratitude for my help to the Russians etc., and told me of the horrible things he has to suffer at the hands of our blunt Englishmen. One Officer says: “the Russians always run away, don’t they?” and so on.
A woman was shot by her lover on the next wharf at lunch time and her screams were dreadful – it was regarded as an ordinary occurrence. These wicked Armenians never cease their Mahomedan atrocities. Last night they raided a Tartar house and when Russian soldiers went to restore order, the Captain’s son was shot and the ship is in mourning to-day – No shelling yesterday. A nasty lull. After many interviews I met, in the evening, for the first time, a representative of the Daghestani-Mahomedans, who put the Daghestani point of view very clearly before me. We have restored order in the Arsenal and have the ammunition supply well in hand. Machine guns and Artillery also – the present supply can be made to last 6 months.
Days are very busy. To-day I saw Lt. Maurice of the French Army about certain secret matters connected with the oil-fields, then Captain Noel about some mills that want shuttles from England to increase supply, we to purchase increased supply and exchange for grain in ports where cash is not accepted – we get back to barter in these days, also about Noel’s plans for the N. Caucasus where Pike has been killed and I propose Noel takes his place. Then Mr. Clarke Head of the Food Control about food supplies for population here, 300,000. Then Gendre the Social Revolutionary about his plots, then Araratiantz the Armenian about Armenian Army Reform, then Chardigny about wiring present situation to Paris – then Ragozin about his plans, Albizzi about the Russian armed cars. In the evening 5 p.m. a Georgian Prince re Tartar affairs and hopes. Then a Committee meeting at the War Minister, Bogratuni, reorganization. Then Captain Colmanautz, re the situation in Erivan, Major Conrans en route to Bicherakov with instructions, Colonel Rawlinson re destruction of bridges.
I attended the Russian Church Service yesterday and I’m afraid the people looked more at me than at the holy images. To-day I was cinematographed, so my features go down in history.
To-night I sail for Derbend. The situation here is critical from a military point of view, but good from a political. But changes come rapidly and the present Government may be thrown out any minute. Bicherakov is doing splendidly and I feel I deserve credit for the one thing that I have trusted him throughout against everyone’s opinion. The War Office cable me not to trust him, the Baghdad people do the same, all Russians do the same. Had I not fought against their views the fat would, indeed, have been in the fire. Bicherakov has been magnificently successful so far, and all my success has been due to him. I am teaching the people here to understand him. The Chief of Staff, Avitisov, hates him, however, we have sent the Chief of Staff off on sick leave and things will be better. Bob [Keyworth, Stalky’s brother-in-law] does very well in command here and the scheme is one of those rare ones where an artillery man is the best man. Got wireless on board and sailed at 9 p.m. for Derbend, weather fine. We heard Alexiev had taken Astrakhan which was good news, now we hear not A. but anarchist sailors from the Baltic which is bad news. I am always being cinematographed and to-day I was filmed while addressing some refugees on board a ship going to Krasnovodsk. Baku is terribly weak and I hope it will not fall during my absence.
* I cannot identify Alexiev or Avitisov; if anyone else can I would be very interested to know more.
I went to Teheran and stayed with the Minister, returned on the 7th, it was very beautiful there. The Minister, Sir Charles Marling, was not happy and the moral atmosphere of the place is unclean. I do not like the young Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovitch. The attitude of the old-régime Russians is very unpleasant, suspicious and hostile.
Still fires and still in our warm clothing, but leaves are appearing on the trees, and when the sun is out it is quite warm. I am having a lot of trouble with the Russians, they are so inexact – Baratov and Col. Bicherakov – in their ideas. I must put everything on paper and my fingers are very tired. Situation here is quiet. Turks are coming into Tabriz and I do not know how to thwart them without troops. The Squadron of 14th Hussars [scroll down to Bridges Column, here, to read more] arrived on Wednesday and I sent them on to Kasvin on Monday.
I get my old fits of giddiness worse and more frequently as I get older – generally about an hour after breakfast, so I suppose it’s a form of indigestion – to-day I nearly tumbled down, some day I shall quite – as my father did on more than one occasion [note: it’s likely to be angina due to other symptoms mentioned elsewhere].
Situation to-day is bad. I sent Colonel Bicherakov with his Cossacks to save Kasvin against the Jangalis which he has so far done. This morning the Persian Government have ordered the Russians to leave at once and the fat is in the fire – Our Government is now at last compelled to do something either to fight or to withdraw from Persia. Baghdad beat their own record yesterday. As I have now some British troops I wired asking for “a butcher and a baker”. They have replied “For what purpose do you require a butcher and a baker?”