Why Pushkin challenged Dantes to his last duel

Do you know that according to the calculations of the Pushkin scholars, the clash with Dantes was at least the twenty-first challenge to a duel in the poet's life. Yes, Alexander Sergeevich was very hot and scandalous, which provoked many quarrels, and even with his friends. The result in most cases was a duel, fortunately either they fired past, or put up ... but the duel with the French officer Dantes turned out to be fatal. So, what was the reason for the quarrel that led to such tragic consequences?

“Look for a woman in any complicated business, ” the French say, and in this case it turned out to be so. The reason for the challenge to a duel was jealousy. Well, first things first.

In 1835, the young Frenchman Georges-Charles Dantes, an officer of the cavalry regiment, the adopted son of the Dutch envoy in St. Petersburg, Baron Louis Gekkern, at one of the receptions met his contemporary Natalia Nikolayevna Pushkina, the poet's wife. In secular society, gossip immediately spread, in which Dantes appeared as a brilliant young officer in love with the beautiful wife of a jealous husband. There were rumors about the reciprocity of Pushkina's feelings and that Dantes had already achieved victory ...

Through the efforts of the spiteful critics, the gunpowder was scattered, the slightest spark was enough for an explosion, which did not take long. On November 4, 1836, the city mail delivered to Pushkin and several of his friends an anonymous libel in French, in which Pushkin was awarded a "cuckold diploma"; the "diploma" contained an indirect allusion to the attention to NN Pushkina on the part of not only Dantes, but also of the tsar himself. The letter had the following content:

Cuckold patent

Cavaliers of the first degree, commanders and knights of the Most Serene Order of the Cuckolds, having gathered in the Grand Chapter under the chairmanship of the Honorable Grand Master of the Order, His Excellency D.L. Naryshkin, unanimously elected Mr. Alexander Pushkin as the Coadjutter of the Grand Master of the Order of the Cuckolds and the historiographer of the order.

Indispensable Secretary Count I. Borch

Fueled by the unabated gossip and hints of "well-wishers" Pushkin considered the letter to be coming from Gekkern. His confidence was supported by the opinion of the typographer M.L. Yakovlev, to whom the poet showed libel. Yakovlev considered that the message was written on foreign-made paper. The poet immediately sent Dantes a challenge to a duel.

Pushkin's friends immediately joined in settling the conflict, and it came to the Tsar. It is not known for certain about what Nicholas I talked with the failed duelists, but a week after the call, Georges Dantes made an offer to Ekaterina Goncharova, Natalia Nikolaevna's sister and, accordingly, Pushkin's sister-in-law. Since Dantes became Catherine's fiancé, Pushkin was forced to withdraw his challenge. Nevertheless, the insulted poet refused to have any relationship with Dantes and Heckern.

On January 10, 1837, Ekaterina Goncharova became the wife of Dantes. She subsequently bore him four children and died after giving birth in 1843, in the seventh year of her marriage.

After the wedding of Dantes and Catherine, the conflict between Pushkin and the Gekkerns was not exhausted, and soon the spread of rumors and barracks jokes about Pushkin and his family began in the light.

The jealous poet could not endure this for a long time, and on January 26, 1837, Pushkin sent an insulting letter to Heckern, the father, in which he spoke very sharply about him and his adopted son. Pushkin clearly provoked Gekken and understood that this would lead to a new duel.

On the same day, Baron Gekkern announced to Pushkin in a letter that Dantes was making a challenge to the poet on his behalf. At the insistence of Alexander Sergeevich, one of the participants was shot to death.

On January 27, 1837, a duel took place near St. Petersburg in a copse near the Commandant's dacha, in which Pushkin was mortally wounded in the stomach. He fell after Dantes shot and the barrel of the pistol was clogged with snow, the poet stood up and asked to change the pistol. The second began to object, but Dantes stopped him with a sign, and Pushkin was given another pistol. With a return shot, he wounded Dantes in the right hand, after which he fainted.

The wounded Pushkin was taken home on the Gekkernov carriage. The poet lived for two days. Despite the efforts of doctors, he died on January 29, 1837 at 14:45. At the time of the death of Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin, the clock was stopped, which, being a relic of the era, is still kept, having become one of the significant exhibits of the Pushkin house-museum.