The last lover of the Empress – Іван Корсак

“Do you want to Siberia again? You won’t come back this time!”

Alexander Nikolaevich returned home, something snapped in his heart finally, snapped, and it was impossible neither to stick it together, nor to add up. “They drank the state and pushed it into the German whore’s vagina” – Radishchev connected thoughts without anger, with cold sadness, but they couldn’t be connected – “even after the death of the empress her lovers continued to rape this land and people. I have nothing to do in this Russia, and there is not another one.”

He poured a glass of poison with the same cold composure, drank without a break, as you could drink only alcohol – and incredible pain increased, its flame grew, blazing, then everything was broken and subsided at one moment, the pain disappeared, only blue sky remained, sky without injustice and evil, blue and comprehensive, as his faith in the goodness.


After the wedding Potyomkin with the empress fled in Tsaritsyno for a time – they bought an estate from Kantemirs to their liking, it was very comfortable among the hills and mounds, blue ponds, forests, and broad troughs.

Potyomkin caught the empress in Vasilchikov’s place – he would become simply a “cold soup” for her. “I was like a kept woman” – Vasilchikov would complain – “so I was treated. I wasn’t allowed to see anybody and I was confined. Nobody answered me when I moved for something. The same was if I asked something for myself. I wanted Anna’s ribbon, and when I asked it, I found 30 thousand in my pocket the next morning.”

“Cold soup” was poured out familiarly, apartments for Potyomkin were arranged in the Winter Palace, and now he was riding proudly to the Palace by six frisky horses, with impetuous and impulsive force. Now the empress belonged only him, Grigoriy felt it particularly here, in Tsaritsyno, where there weren’t flattering and crafty courtiers’ faces, vanity and worldly tricks. He could afford to walk, arm in arm, along picturesque banks of the ponds, where the peace was comprehensive and immeasurable, and could be broken only by pat of carp’s tail in the water under the reeds.

But the state cares were clinging here too, as an annoying burr. They had been discussing long what to do not to repeat Pugachev.

At the mere mention of Pugachev clammy and cold horror rolled on the empress every time like a strong wave. And not only because the flame of the uprising spread to vast areas and after Kazan was a court trembling: would the rebel go to Moscow or not?

The empress was imagining a reproachful glance of metropolitan Arceniy Matsievich many times at night, she heard those sad words said by him on the trial, “You will meet your husband killed by you…”

There has been massive tombstone on the husband for more than ten years, but the riots light up from time to time, riots headed by Peter III, her dead husband, according to rumours of people. She cuts the head of the next pretender, but her husband raises again from a hopeless darkness of the grave, and the riot lights up again.

Yemelyan Pugachev became the fifth pretender who had taken her husband’s name, Peter III.

She still dreamt of that sad look of an old, bald from scurvy Matsievich; without metropolitan canonicals, only in robe, he invoked the rest not to step on that path, not to do things prepared by the empress; he only reproached her bitterly, without devilry and revenge:

“You will meet…”

An executioner cut Pugachev’s head by a wide stroke of the ax, and raised it high, bloody, on a stick, over heads of frightened people, but then a pretender came up. She called herself a sister of the rebel, bastard daughter of the dead empress Elizabeth Petrovna. People said that Elizabeth had given birth to her from Razumovskiy.

“I wonder what her real background is,” the empress thought aloud, going home from ponds by nice alley.

“Hell knows” – only the remembrance of her was unpleasant for Grigoriy – “One people say that she is a daughter of publican from Prague, the others say – from Nuremberg baker.”

“They say she is unusually beautiful and clever…”

“I don’t know if she is beautiful. But the Secret Expedition reports she is clever enough to send manifests to Sultan, even to Orlov, to count Panin…”

“I’m fed up with five dead husbands who put the empire on its hind legs, and now their sisters appear. By the way, where is she now?”

“She was travelling all over Europe; they say she is in Italy at present, in town Ragusi.”

“Arrest this tramp. Who is able to do it neatly, properly, so that nobody of any Regal Court can guess?”

“Orlov,” Grigoriy said at once as if he knew the question before.

The empress only shook her head – Grigoriy didn’t forget who had deformed his eye.

“Let it be so…”

Potyomkin understood that he exposed count Orlov-Chesmenskiy, his offender, and what a grand European scandal could happen in a case of failure. But Grigoriy was wrong this time. Orlov, being very adventurous, coped with the request brilliantly.

First Alexey pretended to be in love, soon the princess reciprocated, then a fortune helped. British Consul in Leghorn had sent a letter, telling about a fighting between Russian and English sailors, he asked Orlov to get outside of it personally. Alexey didn’t know English and he asked the princess to translate and was going to start. She was sad and she wanted to go with him.

“The empress should see her future fleet…”

It was only required. As soon as she climbed aboard the flagship, they came up to her,

“In the name of her Imperial Majesty, you are arrested!”

Then the princess’s fate was clear: tiring road of prisoner, Petropavlovsk Fortress.

In stone walls of the fortress the princess quickly burned from tuberculosis, and took to the grave the secret of her birth. Therefore, the entire extended Razumovsky family was present at crowded funeral.


Moscow rang bands, festively dressed people filled the squares in fine morning, on the 13th of July 1775, even more fun had been in bars and taverns – Moscow was celebrating Kuchuk Kaynarzhinsky peace.

People were arriving even in the morning in emergency rooms of the Prechistinskiy palace, where the empress was, to congratulate on his victory. One people came, the others had already gone, diamonds were throwing playful gleams on the sweaty wigs, but unfortunately, none of the respectful guests won an audience.

“The empress feels bad” – the same answer was for the curious.

A rumor about the empress’s indigestion spread among the famous visitors quickly. She was given badly washed fruit because of inattention of servants who were unnecessarily spoiled, and that was the result…

“They deserve not only the whip for this…”

“Goodness of the sovereign led to such consequences,” the courties were resenting.

The empress was indifferent to festive thunder of bands and gossips of respectful people in emergency rooms, she had to give birth. Labor pains began in the morning, besides the pain, she was tormented by the fear. Be that as it may, but she was forty six, it was late, it was different earlier from Ponyatovskiy, Saltykov or Grigoriy Orlov.

Nobody knew about birth, nobody had to know, as well as about the wedding with Potyomkin – so, people were whispering in the corners and no more.

To her surprise, she gave birth quickly and easily, she even didn’t cry much – a pretty girl drew the first breath. The empress didn’t have to suckle babies, that’s why it was washed and swaddled, then brought secretly to Potyomkin’s sister, Maria Alexeevna Samoilova. The baby was named Elizaveta Temkina, the Samoilovs brought her up, then she was brought to a boarding-house, she would become a mistress of large estates in the province of Kherson.

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