The death of Pushkin came on January 29, 1837 at 14.45 in the city of St. Petersburg, at number 12 on the Moika embankment. The minute the poet’s heart stopped, Vladimir Ivanovich Dahl (1801-1872), who was with him all the time, stopped the hands of a wall clock. This relic is still kept in the museum of the great Russian poet and prose writer. The reason for the sad end was the duel with Georges Charles Dantes (1812-1895). It was a bullet fired from a Frenchman’s pistol that cut short the life of Alexander Sergeevich.
We must immediately say that Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin was an inveterate duelist. From an early age, the future great poet had a difficult character. Excessive pride, desire for independence and youthful fervor caused quarrels with other young people. They often ended in duels. However, at that time it was commonplace among the nobility, despite the prohibition of such fights by the state.
Alexander Sergeevich fenced very well, was also an excellent shooter. At the same time, he constantly improved his mastery of all types of weapons. Therefore, he has always been a worthy opponent in matters of honor and dignity. During the duel, all Pushkin’s passion and ardor passed. He became collected and cool.
All the friends of the poet noted that he was a very high class duelist. During the fight, always sought to shoot second. The thing was that the opponent who had kept his shot had the right to call the person who had already shot to the barrier, and this is the minimum distance. The man turned into a fixed target, which was literally two steps away.
In the first half of the 20s, Alexander Sergeevich used any suitable reason for a quarrel. He constantly created conflict situations, that is, he provoked fights. A duel with an officer of the General Staff Zubov in 1821 was very dangerous. He shot first and missed. The line was for Pushkin, but he showed nobility and refused to be shot. After that, the officers reconciled.
In 1822 there was a duel with Colonel Starov. He also shot first and got a slip. Pushkin asked the colonel to stand at the barrier. He pointed his pistol to the colonel almost in the forehead and asked: "Are you satisfied?" He replied that he was pleased. Then the poet fired into the field, and the conflict was settled there.
Over the years, Alexander Sergeevich settled down. He became smarter, steadfast. Already did not touch people with jokes and ridicule. In December 1828, an acquaintance with the Muscovite Natalia Nikolaevna Goncharova (1812-1863) took place. The momentous meeting took place at a ball in Moscow, and in April the poet asked for the hands of a young girl. But Natalia’s mother was not thrilled with the poor, disgraced groom. However, the daughter was not against marriage, and on May 6, 1830 an engagement took place, which caused even the emperor to be satisfied. The wedding took place on February 18, 1831 in Moscow.
In May of the same year, the couple settled in Tsarskoye Selo. Soon the imperial couple arrived there and met the poet’s wife. Natalya Nikolayevna made a most favorable impression on the crowned heads. In the autumn of 1831, the Pushkins couple moved to Petersburg. Metropolitan secular society appreciated the beauty of the young wife of the poet.
But in order to be at court, Alexander Sergeevich had to have at least some court rank. By the highest order, he was given the rank of a junker chamber. It humiliated the vanity of the poet. In the Table of Ranks, the chamber junker was considered the lowest court rank. He was given to beless young men. But Pushkin at the time was 34 years old. He consisted in the service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and received an annual salary of 5 thousand rubles. It was very little in view of the maintenance of the house, servants and beautiful women of the wife.
Georges Charles Danthes
The death of Pushkin is directly connected with Georges Charles D’Anthes. He was born in a poor French noble family and it would be more correct to call him "d’antes"but more familiar to the Russian person "Dantes". He was born the same year as Natalia Nikolaevna Goncharova. So they were the same age. Maternal grandmother Georges was German, so French and German blood flowed in the veins of a man. Appearance in Dantes was very showy. Tall, athletic, blue eyes and blond hair. In this regard, Alexander Sergeevich lost to him. He was 168 cm tall, slim and physique, and his face was not distinguished by classical features.
In the French army, Georges’s career did not work out, and in 1833 he left to seek his fortune in Russia. On the way, I met the Dutch envoy, Baron Heeckeren. He managed to impress him and arrived in the capital of the empire as his protégé. In 1836, the envoy even adopted Dantes, and he became Baron Heeckeren.
This adoption caused surprise in the Russian Empire. The biological father Georges was alive, so the rumor was heard at court that Georges and the Baron were in homosexual contact. But no concrete facts have been confirmed.
In Russia, Georges was made into cornets and enrolled in the Cavalry Guard Regiment. He was sociable, cheerful, witty, and quickly became a favorite with the fair sex and fellow service. At the same time, those people who knew him very well noted carefully concealed prudence, arrogance and frank dishonesty.
Dantes and Natalia Nikolaevna
Natalia Nikolaevna’s acquaintance with Dantes happened at the end of 1834. It should be noted that Pushkin’s wife was not at all a windy and frivolous beauty. The woman played chess very well, which indicates her analytical mind. At the same time, she did not love her husband, but only had respect and sympathy for him. Her success at court was pleasant, and the attention of Emperor Nicholas I flattered her vanity.
Many researchers admit that Georges and Natalia, after they met, had a mutual attraction. Pushkin himself at first treated Dantes absolutely neutral, in no way isolating the Frenchman from the numerous cohort of admirers of his wife.
However, Natalia Nikolaevna apparently did not differ due to ingenuity, ingenuity and tact. She often visited a secular society without a husband, and then shared her impressions with him and told about Dantes’ wooing. It seems that the newly made cornet didn’t guess about such revelations, otherwise he would have behaved more carefully.
This gave rise to suspicions in the soul of Alexander Sergeevich, which grew into jealousy. The situation was aggravated by the anonymous message received by the poet on November 4, 1836. It represented itself "Cuckold diploma" and was written in French. This libel contained a hint of the connection of Natalia Nikolaevna with the emperor and Dantes.
Pushkin and Dantes
It is difficult to say who could write such a message, but Alexander Sergeevich decided that it was the work of the newly arrived Frenchman. Immediately, Pushkin sent Dantes a challenge to a duel. This caused opposition from the friends of the poet and Baron Hecker. He came to an angry husband and persuaded him to delay the duel. And literally a week later, George made an offer to Ekaterina Nikolaevna Goncharova (1809-1843), the sister of Natalya Nikolaevna. It turned out that the Frenchman was not in love with the poet’s wife, but with her sister. It all ended with Alexander Sergeevich withdrawing his challenge, and there was a lull before the storm.
On January 10, 1837, the wedding of Georges Dantes and Ekaterina Nikolaevna Goncharova was held. Russian poet and Frenchman became relatives. But this event had no effect on the attitude of Dantes to Natalia Nikolaevna. The courtship continued. They were aggravated by unsightly jokes about the Pushkin family. Rumors reached the poet and infuriated him. On January 26, Alexander Sergeevich sent a letter to Baron Heeckeren. In his rough form, he was denied to the father and his adopted son to visit the poet’s house.
The letter was insulting. Therefore, on the same day, the attache of the French embassy told Alexander Sergeyevich that he was authorized, on the instructions of Dantes, to hand him a call to a duel. The poet immediately took it, and "fight" agreed the next day.
Pushkin’s last duel
Pushkin’s last duel took place on January 27, 1837, after 4 pm. The poet was 37 years old, his opponent remained a week to 25 years. The duel place is a copse near the Commandant’s cottage near the Black River. The poet’s lyceum comrade Lieutenant Colonel Konstantin Danzas was the second. Dantes’ second was Viscount d’Archiac – employee of the French Embassy.
Duel conditions were as follows: fired from 20 steps, the barrier was 10 steps. Opponents had to go to the barrier and make one shot. Dueling pistols had bullets with a diameter of 12 mm. Such a small projectile could easily inflict a fatal wound. The snow was deep, so the seconds trampled tracks in it, took off their greatcoats and marked the boundaries of the barrier with them.
Danzas waved his hat, and the opponents went to the barrier. Alexander Sergeevich went faster. He went to the barrier, took aim, but the Frenchman shot earlier. The bullet hit the right side of the poet’s belly. He fell on Danzas’ overcoat and seemed to lose consciousness. Dantes and his second approached the fallen. He raised his head and said he was ready to continue the duel.
He was given another pistol, since the barrel of the first one was beaten with snow. Georges Dantes stood at the barrier. At the same time he turned his right side. He bent his right arm in his elbow to protect his chest, and covered his head with a pistol. Alexander Sergeevich sat down, leaned on his left hand, aimed, and fired. The bullet fired from a pistol hit the right forearm of the Frenchman. He fell, the poet shouted: "Bravo!" – but Georges rose to his feet. His injury was not dangerous.
Alexander Sergeevich began a heavy bleeding. But the duelists have not invited a doctor to a duel. They also did not have anything at hand to put a bandage on the wound. The bleeding poet was taken to the Commandant’s cottage by sleigh. Here the wounded man was transferred to a carriage, taken home to the Moika embankment, and summoned doctors.
The death of Pushkin for Russia was the greatest tragedy. But this sad fact happened on January 29, and before that the great poet lived, which gave relatives and friends hope for a favorable outcome. A bullet in several places pierced the intestines and touched the sacral bone. Alexander Sergeevich was constantly in consciousness and suffered from severe pain.
January 28, the poet said goodbye to his wife and children. The condition of the wounded improved or deteriorated. By the end of the day, the pulse fell, hands and feet began to cool. Sharpened facial features, there was a weakness. January 29, Alexander Sergeevich began to periodically fall into oblivion. Appeared visual hallucinations. Breathing was prolonged, hands and feet cooled more and more. At 2:45 pm death occurred.
The sovereign did very decently in relation to the mortally wounded poet. He sent a paper in which he forgave Alexander Sergeevich and promised to take care of his wife and children. The burial took place on February 6, 1837 at the cemetery of the Svyatogorsky monastery in the ancestral tomb of the Hannibal-Pushkins. At that time this place was located in the Pskov province. Currently, this is the Pskov Region, and the monastery belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church. It is under the protection of the state as a museum-reserve of A.S. Pushkin.
After the ill-fated duel, Lieutenant Colonel Danzas was arrested for 2 months, after which he was released. He continued to serve in the army. Netherlands Ambassador Heckeken was recalled from Russia. As for Georges Dantes, he was demoted to the rank and file, deprived of the nobility acquired in Russia and sent abroad. He lived to be 83 years old, was a member of the French Senate and, in his declining years, claimed that Pushkin’s death had a positive effect on his career.
So ended this tragic event in the history of the Russian state. But could the doctors at the time save the seriously wounded poet? Experts say that at that level of medicine it was impossible. Nowadays, the chances of a happy outcome are 60%. This is when using the latest medical equipment and antibiotics. But, unfortunately, and perhaps, fortunately, each of us lives in his own time. Therefore, we can only remove the hat in front of the image of the great poet, who is considered to be the pride of Russia.