Yes, I can truly say that I have a friend, and no one but me (and he, of course) knows about him! I've been able to see Sasha only a few times during this Jubilee year. He is a funny sort sometimes. He teases me terribly, but not in a mean way. I tease him back just as much.
Still, sometimes he can make me cross, when he treats me too much like a child and thinks I don't know anything about life. I dared him to show me what he was talking about. He said the poor people were unhappy, that my Papa had not done enough to help them, and that everyone wants their own government, not just to be ruled by Papa. I can't believe it. How could they not want a tsar like Papa?
Sasha took me to see some very poor people and it upset me a great deal. I wish I could do something, but I don't know what more. We help with hospitals and churches, and we give money to the poor. He says the problem is bigger than that.
When I ask Tatiana, she tells me to go away and play, as if that's all I'm capable of doing. But I'm nearly 14 now—well, 13 and a half—and I can see things as well as the others. I can see that a war is coming and that Mama and Papa don't want to talk about it.
Sasha will, though. The next time I see him, I shall make sure he tells me everything he knows.
Sometimes it's very difficult being the youngest daughter.