Frances and Jane Coster of Eastbourne

26 Oct 1909: Jane Coster to Her Niece, Florence Scott

This is a letter written in 1909 by Jane Coster (Nurse to the children of Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia) to her niece, Florence Mary Stilwell of New Zealand.

Oct 26 09

My dearest Florrie,

I was delighted when Aunt Fanny sent me here your nice letters and all the photos. It seems as if we have recovered you all, and I am very glad that you are comfortable and have such a nice, good husband and dear children. How nice you all look! I should indeed like very much to go to you and shall continue to wish for it until it is an accomplished fact, or I am unable to make the voyage, as I have heard that it takes 6 weeks. Is that so? If so, it will take me 3 months for the journey, which will have to be taken into consideration. Then I must have at least a month in which to see you all and make your acquaintance. How I long to do it. Aunt Fanny and I have never been married and both want to know our Sister's children. I shall try to persuade her to come with me. That is, if you are sure you would like to have us. I am here in the Crimea, where, you remember, a great war was fought, 55 years ago, between us and the Russians. I am sending you each a post-card so that you can see what kind of a place it is. Our Grand Duke has an estate here. Here also the Emperor and his Family are staying at their estate. The climate is mild, and, in the summer, very hot. I wrote to you from Biarritz, in the Bay of Biscay. From there, we went to a place called Gatchina, where we often go to stay with the Empress of Russia. It is near St. Petersburg and is a lovely large Palace with miles of ground attached, lakes and deer park. And after that we moved with the Court to a place called Peterhof, where Aunt Fanny could come and stay with me. Then, on the 19th of August, we came here and shall most likely stay here till Christmas, when we go to St. Petersburg, where we have a Palace belonging to our Grand Duchess. So if you write to me, you could address to:
Miss Coster
HIH The Grand Duchess Xenia
St. Petersbourg
and it will be sent to me wherever I am. Or, if you like, do as you did this time, and Aunt Fanny will forward to me. I shall be pleased to send you a parcel, if I only knew what kind of things you want and have not got. I could, with pleasure, send you. I know there is a Parcel Post to you now, and it would give me great pleasure to send you something now I have found you. This year, at any rate, I shall think of you all camping out at the sea side and hope you will enjoy yourselves very much indeed.

With very much love to you, my dear Florrie, hoping to see you some day.

I am your ever affectionate
Auntie Jennie Coster

*Ai-Todor (Home of Princess Xenia in Crimea)