The man who killed Alexander Pushkin made a brilliant political career in Europe, and lived for 83 years, extremely pleased with himself and his biography.
Dantes came to Russia from Alsace in 1833 and brought a beautiful heroic legend - he allegedly participated in the uprising raised in France by Duchess Maria Caroline of Bourbon-Sicily, who was trying to return the French throne to her son Henry. Indeed, the Dantes family was devoted to the Bourbon family, however, as historians later established, Dantes did not take part in any uprising.
On the way to St. Petersburg, Dantes met the Dutch envoy - Baron Louis Heckern. A handsome, stately and charming young Frenchman made the most positive impression on the aging and childless minister, and Gekkern introduced a new friend to high society. Dantes was introduced to Emperor Nicholas I and the Empress, who was simply fascinated by Dantes. Nicholas I gave the highest order that the brilliant French youth be enrolled as a cornet in the Cavalry Regiment, and even put a good financial support. Subsequently, Gekkern adopted the young man, and he officially adopted his name. There were, however, rumors that Gekkern loved his adopted son far from paternal love, which the unprincipled young man used for his own benefit.
Dantes did not arrive in Russia by chance - his distant relative, Countess Vartensleben, lived here, who at one time was married to one of the Musins-Pushkin counts. Thus, Dantes was also a distant relative of Alexander Sergeevich himself. Subsequently, they became even closer - Dantes married Ekaterina Goncharova, sister of Natalia, the poet's wife.
There is a mass of conflicting evidence about whether Dantes really had a compromising relationship with Natalya Nikolaevna. It is reliably known that he openly courted the poet's wife at balls. Some historians are of the opinion that the French was really in love with the beautiful Natalie. However, Dantes behaved in such a way that he gave rise to gossip, and as a result, Pushkin and some of his acquaintances in 1836 received anonymous letters in an offensive tone alluding to the "cuckold diploma" that the poet was "awarded". These letters were the reason why Pushkin challenged the Frenchman to a duel.
A wedding to divert your eyes
Minister Gekkern himself accepted the call on behalf of his adopted son, but asked for a two-week reprieve. Pushkin agreed to wait. During these two weeks, Dantes managed to get married to Ekaterina Goncharova and received a positive answer from her. The duel had to be postponed, and Pushkin took the challenge back, not wanting to make his sister-in-law unhappy. The wedding was celebrated on January 10, 1837. The bride, by the way, did not differ in beauty, and she was far from the famous sister in this respect. Almost immediately after the wedding, Dantes resumed his courtship with Natalia.
On January 25, 1837, Pushkin, furious with gossip, rumors, offensive allusions and vile anonymous letters, wrote an angry letter to Heckern Sr., where he declared that he did not want to see both relatives in his house, and hinted that Dantes was sick with syphilis. This time the challenge was accepted, and on January 27 a duel took place on the Black River. Both participants were wounded - Pushkin in the stomach, Dantes in the arm. The poet died 2 days later, and Dantes soon recovered. However, by personal order of the emperor, he was forever expelled from Russia under escort.
Senator, spy, mayor
Dantes was never embarrassed by this whole story.After settling in the French city of Sulze, he embarked on a political career. For example, he traveled on a secret mission from Emperor Napoleon III to three monarchs: Russian, Austrian and Prussian. He coped with the mission successfully, for which Napoleon III appointed him an irreplaceable senator. But Dantes, serving his native country, did not forget about Russia either - for many years he supplied the Russian ambassador with secret information from the palace. When his wife Catherine died, Dantes began a lawsuit with the Goncharovs - demanding the inheritance of his wife. But custody of the children of Alexander Pushkin, who was killed by him, firmly rejected all demands. [С-BLOCK]
Over time, Dantes finally settled in Sulza, and even became the mayor of the city. His business was going uphill, his health did not bother him, and it seemed that his fate was happy in everything. True, after all, there was one echo of that fatal shot in the life of Dantes. One of his daughters, having grown up, became an ardent admirer of Alexander Pushkin's poems. The girl was mentally unhealthy, and the story of the duel completely clouded her mind. For the rest of her short life, she called her father a murderer. Father and daughter were buried nearby, in the city cemetery.