Author Topic: Alexei anecdotes  (Read 86479 times)

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Dust_of_History

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #45 on: September 06, 2010, 05:03:24 AM »
Here is another anecdote from Elisabeth Heresch's book "Alexej - Der Sohn des letzten Zaren" (Alexei - Son of the last Tsar).

"There wan an incident during a Christmas party that was given by the colonel of the life guards. The colonel had a son called Kyrill who was a friend of Alexei. Kyrill, Alexei and some other boys wanted to play and banished all supervisors from the room. Then, Kyrill had an idea: Everyone had to jump high enough to touch the paraffin lamp on the ceiling. Kyrill himself was able to touch the lamp with his long legs but he accidentally broke the lamp and one moment later the room was on fire. The maids in the next room noticed it and thankfully they were able to put out the fire. The colonel was of course very angry and he wanted to punish Kyrill. But Alexei protected him by saying that he was the one who had caused the fire."

I don't know where Mrs Heresch got this anecdote from but as far as I know her book is merely a translation of Gilliard's book. Does anybody know this anecdote as well?  
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 05:16:14 AM by Dust_of_History »

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #46 on: September 06, 2010, 08:44:54 AM »
Reference Reply # 45:   Hello, "Dust of History"!  Yes, I know of this quote.  It is only the second time that I have seen it appear in print.  I will get you the particulars in a few moments when I get to my source.  Regards,  AP.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 08:47:03 AM by aleksandr pavlovich »

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #47 on: September 06, 2010, 09:08:04 AM »
Referencing "Dust_of_History" inquiry # 45 on this thread and amplifying my Reply  # 47:    As I remarked, I have only seen the quoting of this incident exactly twice.  IMO, I do not believe that it is linked to Gilliard. I have not had the opportunity to read the book from which you quote "...Sohn des letzen Zaren,"  but this episode described is almost a word-for word repeat of Kyril (de) Sishmarev's recounting (in which he is the perpetrator of the game) in the Chapter "The English Baby", pages 191-192 (paperback edition) of Guy Richard's, "The Hunt for the Tsar," copyright date 1970/publishing date 1971. While the late Mr. Richards is now thoroughly out of date in most of his book/s, Kyril (de) Shishmarev apparently comes through with a genuine and believable impression, that others have also found valid.  Earlier references can be found to Kyril (de) Shishmarev on this Forum, in reference to the Michael Goleniewski episode, since Mr. (de) Shishmarev was apparently a genuine childhood playmate of the Heir at Tsarskoye Selo.  Best regards, and it is good to hear from you again!   AP.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 09:18:22 AM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Dust_of_History

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #48 on: September 06, 2010, 01:24:55 PM »
Thanks Sarushka and AP for your replies. It was not easy for me to post this anecdote, because I have the German version and I could only make a rough translation due to lack of time. So I'm kinda proud that it is almost a word-for-word repeat. :-) As I thought, this anecdote is quite rare. The anecdote was quite suspicious, because I couldn't find it anywhere else but I'm relieved that it can be found in "The Hunt for the Tsar". The reason why I thought it to be suspicious was that I didn't know who Kyrill was. As far as I know, Alexei never mentioned him in his diaries or letters. I don't think he was a close friend but only a playmate. Thanks for the information AP. :-)

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #49 on: September 06, 2010, 02:04:30 PM »
Re Reply # 49:  You are correct, "Dust_of_History", Kyril (de) Shishmarev  (the original family name was just "Shishmarev," but Kyril states that the family made the name change when they left Russia, to  "de" Shishmarev to indicate that they were out of Russia) indicates that he was a playmate of the Heir and his family owned a house "only fifteen minutes by carriage" from the AP in Tsarskoye Selo. While he saw the Heir on a number of occasions, I am certain that he never considered himself a truly "close friend."   IMO, by the very nature of their status, when the IF family was IN POWER, the children had no "close friends" outside the "in-house" court circle, and even then, protocol imposed distance and constraints.  Even "Kolya" Derevenko would properly and ultimately have been considered just the "son of one of the Court Physicians," never a "close" friend.  Likewise, I think too much is made of the SUPPOSED "closeness/familiarity" of Gleb Botkin, another "son of a Court Physician."  Their fathers were EMPLOYEES of the IF, not equals. I really think that it is most difficult for modern-day people to realize that "status/place/tradition" was of such tremendous importance.  The IF was simply unapproachable in a casual manner.  Best regards, AP.

By the way, one note to the translation:  Your source says the lamp was on the ceiling.  De Shishmarev says, "There was a kerosene lamp held to the wall on a metal fixture."  This rather makes more sense, as the children could not kick high enough to bring down one from the "ceiling" ! (According to him, they were attempting to jump up and and touch it  Since he thought that he had the longest legs of the approximately 10 to 12 children present, he felt certain of his chances.....and he was correct!)     AP
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 02:35:05 PM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Dust_of_History

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #50 on: September 07, 2010, 08:50:37 AM »
Thanks for the information about Kyril Shishmarev, AP. That interesting, because I don't know much about the fate of Alexei's playmates. I'm surprised that one of them even wrote a book. I agree with you that it is hard to say and even quite unlikely that the IF (especially Aexei) had close friends (due to the protocol) but I think Kolya Derevenko could have been an exception. In "Der Sohn des letzten Zaren" the author also says that Alexei was even allowed to visit his friend Kolya at home (which was unthinkable for a tsarevich before). And by means of the amount of letters he wrote to Kolya, I think he could have been considered a close friend.  

About the translation: Let me quote the German version of the anecdote:

".... jeder der Anwesenden sollte versuchen, so hoch zu springen, dass er mit einem Fuß die von der Decke hängende Petroleumlampe treffen konnte."  

My translation (not the best I suppose):

 Everyone present should try to jump high enough to touch the kerosene lamp, which was hanging from the ceiling, with one foot."

But I also believe that a kerosene lamp held to the wall would make more sense. The author made some mistakes in the book, maybe this is one of them.



aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #51 on: September 07, 2010, 11:26:54 AM »
Re Reply # 51:   Thank you, "Dust_of_History," for your prompt and interesting reply!  Several things:  I hope that I did not mislead you about Kyril de Shishmarev's information.  He did NOT write a book; the information about him, his background, etc., is simply a CHAPTER entitled "The English Baby," in Guy Richard's book, "The Hunt for the Tsar."  Also, The Heir DID visit at the home of Kyril de Shishmarev, as quoted from the Chapter, "The English Baby":  "Especially in the last two years before the Revolution, said Mr. de Shishmarev, Alexei frequently came over in the afternoon to play or attend a party.  He would be accompained by Miss Schneider and one or two bodyguards, the two sailors from the Imperial Navy "Dena" Derevenko and Nagrony."  (Page 188 of "The Hunt for the Tsar.").  Also the Christmas party with the lamp-kicking incident was at KYRIL's house, NOT the AP.  Thus, the Heir DID make other home visits, but of course, ONLY in a VERY, VERY select circle.  
  As to the lamp, I agree that perhaps the author of "Der Sohn....." made at least THAT mistake!  Lamps were commonly placed above adult shoulder-height/head-height on walls of rooms, and they were seated in a deep "bowl-like" metal bracket/holder, making it easier for a servant to reach up, take the lamp out of the bracket and refill it with fuel.  If someone were to violently kick underneath the bracket, the lamp could be thrown out onto the floor, and THAT is apparently what happened.         Good to hear from you again!  Best regards,   AP.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 11:38:19 AM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Dust_of_History

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #52 on: September 07, 2010, 11:58:36 AM »
Oh sorry, I really misunderstood that. If Alexei visited Shishmarev "regularly", I think we could count him into his inner "close friend"-circle. I have to admit that I find Shishmarev a bit suspicious, because Alexei never mentioned him (unlike Kolya) in any of his diaries or letters. Are there any photos of Shishmarev?

Yes, the lamp being held on the wall would have been much easier for the servants to reach. The book contains some mistakes what is quite strange, because she used a lot genuine literature like Gilliard's book. But I don't understand the way she listed her sources. Really strange...

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #53 on: September 07, 2010, 12:17:58 PM »
Re Reply # 53:  Thanks for the response!  Though the late Guy Richard's book is often rather "strange," I have felt (as others have on this Forum) that the De Shishmarev material is valid.  It is extremely detailed, including his later life in America, with schools, places, dates, jobs, that would not be easy to fake.  He felt that he was one of the few people that could help Michael G. in his "position" of claiming to be the Heir. Though he had many questions himself, he apparently felt it his "duty" to help his old playmate, since he was THERE, in those times. He is also mentioned prominently in William Clarke's well-known book, "The Lost Fortune of the Tsars," St. Martin's Press, NY, 1995 (see initially page # 137 and following). I'm not certain that I have seen a photo of de Shishmarev (perhaps I have), but I would feel certain that there are some, at least from his American life. In his later years (I believe that he died in 1975), he was elected the chief/grand master of a respected religious order, the name of which does not immediately come to mind, but something SIMILIAR to the Malta Knights. He was married, but I'm not certain about children.  To my knowledge, he never sought to overtly benefit from his association with the IF. I did "Google" him sometime much earlier, and I seem to remember that's where I learned on the charitable/religious order connection.
 As to diary entries, we will remember that the Heir was not a "prolific" diary writer, and I have read that often another family member would make entries for him.  No, I do not recall that de Shishmarev was ever mentioned by name in the Heir's diaries, but then again, to my knowledge, neither was the famous/infamous Leonid Sednev.    Thanks for all your interest!   Regards,  AP.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 12:46:23 PM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Dust_of_History

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #54 on: September 08, 2010, 05:15:10 AM »
Thanks again for all the information, AP. :-) It's amazing to learn that there was another playmate of Alexei besides Kolya who did not disappear into obscurity. Well OK, it is true that Alexei was not really a prolific diary writer, but he also did not write him any letters (as far as I know). You have convinced me that the Shishmarev material is valid but what's bothering me is that Alexei did not write him any letters. It could be that they lost contact during the revolution but what about before? But it could also be an indication that they were not as close as I first thought.

Regards
Dust_of_History

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #55 on: September 08, 2010, 07:04:32 AM »
Re  Reply # 55:    Hello!  I believe I have the informatiom that you need concerning on-going closeness of contact between the Heir and Kyril (de) Sishmarev.  I did not include this yesterday, as I did not wish to "flood" my reply with information, but here , I think you will find the reason for contacts between the two families, which obviously came apart when the Revolution/IF captivity came.  From Guy Richards', "The Hunt for the Tsar,"  Chapter XVI, "The English Baby," page 188 (soft-bound 1971 Edition):   " Their (the Heir and Kyril Shishmarev) inclination for each other's company was strengthened by a friendly relationship that sprang up between the immaculate Miss Matthews (Kyril's governess) and the more scholarly, but equally well-groomed, Miss Schneider, Alexei's German tutor.  Especially in the last two years before the revolution, said Mr. de Shishmarev, Alexei frequently came over in the afternoon to play or attend a party.  He would be accompained by Miss Schneider and one of his two bodyguards........."   Thus you can readily see that the getting-togethers equally benefitted the governess and teacher, who obviously enjoyed each other's company, and would have time to "catch-up" on informal things, perhaps trade gossip, etc., or just being able to express themselves freely, while the children played.  It would appear that they set, governed, and rescheduled the visits (subject to the schedules/permission of their respective families).  Of course, all this disappeared when revolution/IF captivity came in 1917.  Kyril, his brother and his mother fled to the USA. Quoting further:  " (The Revolution) It took the life of Colonel Shishmarev. But it left Alexei, then twelve and thirteen, and Kyril then nine and ten, with a store of common memories.  As the months passed, Mr. de Sishmarev said, and he was speaking fifty-two years later, those memories came to mean more and more to him after he heard the grim news of the assassination."  
     I know of no letters that he mentioned from the Heir when they were both at Tsarskoye Selo. Perhaps there WERE some: short notes of "Thank You," and the like. But such apparently have not sufaced.  As to a "Friendly Letter" such as the Heir's last letter to Kolya, I can find no mention.  By that time the de Shishmarevs were far away in the "New World."  IMO, retrospectively, I cannot conclude that Kyril de Shisgmarev was a truly "close friend" of the Heir, but simply a MORE familiar, aristocratic boy that was an IF approved playmate for the Heir, when it suited them.     Regards,  AP.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 07:15:49 AM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Dust_of_History

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #56 on: September 10, 2010, 04:00:57 PM »
Hello AP,

sorry I'm late. ;-) As you know, I was quite "busy" here the last few days. I feel a bit like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. :-)
OK, I agree that (de) Sishmarev can be counted in Alexei's inner circle of friends but not as close as Kolya. About the letters, it could be that they have been lost.

I found another anecdote which caught my eye this morning. I found it in the book "Der letze russische Zar und seine Familie" by Barkowez, Fedorov, Krylov. The authors found the anecdote in W.N. Vojekov's memoirs.

One day, while we were talking about animals, I told Alexei Nikolaevich about my new cat breed. The cats were similar to Siamese cats but without claws. They were also chocolate-brown and had blue eyes. The Heir was really exited and ask me if I could bring him such a cat. A few days later I drove back home. On my arrival back at Head Quarters the Heir expected me in my room and asked: "And where is the cat?" But this time I had not taken it with me. The Heir was very disappointed and even accused me of lying. On my next return from home the Heir expected me in my room again and asked me the same question. This time I gave him the cat and the Heir was so happy. He told his sisters about the cat and then they also wanted a similar cat. That's how they got their cat "Subrovka".

Quite interesting anecdote I think. But I've never heard of W. N. Vojekov.

 

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #57 on: September 10, 2010, 06:01:59 PM »
Re Reply # 57 and "Dust_of_History":    Thanks for the response!  Yes, I did indeed see that you were BUSY for a moment!  (Humorously, in regards to the "White Rabbit," I seem to recall there was also a "Mad Hatter" in "Alice in Wonderland" with which one had to interact !)  As to the anecdote about the Heir, I have also never heard of "W. N. Vojekov" (at least not with that spelling), or the book, "The Last Russian Tsar and his Family." What was his position/rank with the Imperial forces?  With best regards,  AP.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 06:12:10 PM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Offline nena

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #58 on: September 11, 2010, 08:04:45 AM »
Quite interesting anecdote I think. But I've never heard of W. N. Vojekov.

I know for that anecdote. I have Vladimir Nikolaievich Voeikov's memories, there's specific thread about his book:

With Tsar and Without Tsar, Count Vladimir N. Voeikov, on AP Book Searcher : S Tsarem i Bez Tsarya (With the Tsar and without the Tsar). You'll find more information there about him and see the photo where Voeikov was present. He spent much time with the Tsarevich. For example, there is anecdote that Aleksei was so furious when he found silver on Count's table, and insisted it to be given back to the closet, or something like that.
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aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #59 on: September 11, 2010, 08:54:18 AM »
Re Reply #60 and "nena":   Thank you, "nena," for the clarification!  Regards,  AP.