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Marie of Russia

  • [On her father, Alexander II of Russia:] For two hours every evening, he read to us aloud, seated in his large leather arm-chair. A lamp with a green shade threw a peaceful light upon the pages of his book. The corners of the room and the outline of the objects were plunged in semi-darkness and the atmosphere was warm, soft, and intimate. He read well and with pleasure. My imagination, always alert, illustrated better than could any artist the colourful and intense tales of my mother tongue.

  • Father Michael ... was one of the few persons I have ever known in whom a genuine spiritual loftiness did not seem at times, rather oppressive. ... From my early youth ... I had retained for all the clergy an instinctive dislike. To me they did not seem to be men, but some kind of vague creatures always uttering the same words, and thinking always the same identical and servile thoughts. One had to speak a different language with them and to conduct oneself differently, with a pretence of almost inhuman virtue. A clergyman, it seemed to me was supposed constantly to maintain authority without probing its essence, for all power came from God. This sounded to me false, and falsity I despised.

  • But Russians, in their very nature, it seems, pass quickly from the highest enthusiam to complete dejection and distrust. They yield to their moods quite sincerely and go the whole way, entirely forgetting all moods preceding and opposite. They do not see any contradiction in such behaviour; or, if they do, they readily find excuses for it.

  • It seemed to me that I had come for the first time close to the soil of my native country, and could feel for the first time running in my veins Russia's vastness, her potency, her strength.

  • Revolutions existed in history, books were written about them, and lectures given: they were complicated phenomena, scientific, remote. While here, the riot of a week ago had turned out to be a real revolution and the shadow of death actually threatened all of us who were of the ruling cast.

Marie of Russia, Russian royalty

(1853 - 1920)

Full name: Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. Later: Duchess of Edinburgh and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. She was the mother of Marie of Romania (see also quotations under that name).