Ludmilla shares a chamber with Sophia. The servants are available on a moments notice, but Sophia is comforted by having Ludmilla there to talk to during the long lonely nights.
In the silence of her own chamber, Irina writes in her diary.
We enjoyed a day of extraordinary entertainment this day. Katrina took over for mother and had the seamstress measure us for our summer trousseau. I don’t know where Katrina goes but she manages to be very aware of the current fashions and is able to make us somewhat connected to the outside world.
I must pay mind to Katrina’s schedule and perhaps learn how she manages to get around the guards and locked doors. In the near future she promises to teach us some dances. She is always singing and twirling around. Elizabeth seems to come alive when Katrina brings her lively spirit to us.
I miss the days when I used you see you, I only can catch a glimpse of the guard when I am out on the balcony and peek from behind the screen.
Sophia, poor soul has no interest in the frivolous activity, and Ludmilla hasn’t joined me in some time. Elizabeth however, has an interest in one of your fellow guardsmen, the one who leads the second column in procession. But he does not compare to you. I live for the day I should see you in the Grand Hall as I used to before our confinement. I still see your smile and admire your bravery and have hope that the future will change for us.
P.S. I have given Elizabeth a copy of “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare. I am teaching her to read just as Katrina taught me.
The physician ,entered the rooms of the princesses to see Sophia just as the Tsarina had promised. A change in diet and walking is prescribed. The Princesses are to be taken by carriage to the Verdant Forest, where the guard will monitor the perimeter to assure the privacy of the Royal sisters.
Katrina has managed to make a picnic of it and an excursion the princesses will not forget. If she has her way this will continue through the warm summer and fall.
Five carriages and the Stretlsy Guard set off for the Verdant Forest. The Tsarina chose to ride with Elizabeth and her maid servant, if this venture works out, she may approve of its continuance.
The guard surrounds the perimeter of this acre wood, recently cordoned off for the sole purpose of Sophia’s health. Six elite guard members line up outside the stalled carriages. One by one the princesses are guided out of the carriage and covered from sight by their personal servants. They are led down the path to the clearing where tables have been set up and food and wine are placed for their enjoyment.
Immediately Ludmilla takes Sophia by the hand and walks her down a path to do some exploring. Katrina disappears and isn’t seen or heard from for the duration of their adventure. Irina wonders if Vasilly is among the guard just down the path or stationed at the perimeter of the forest. Irina decides to find out and Elizabeth is hot on her heels.
The Tsarina seats herself at the table where a delicious feast has been set out and works on her cross-stitch.