Essay: Lev Tolstoy and England
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Once walking across the steppe with Hanna Tanya saw something white in the grass. She ran up and saw that it was a tiny white lamb. The girl was delighted and cried: “Hanna, just look! It’s a little lamb! May we take it? Perhaps some shepherds have lost it!”
“I think you may. Nobody will return to look for it I suppose. There are lots of them there and when one is lost shepherds often don’t notice it. But if its master is known we’ll return him his lamb,”- Hanna answered. Tatyana did not like the idea of returning the lamb but still she took the lamb and brought it home. The lamb was very tired and could hardly stand on its small legs when the girl put it on the floor. The girl asked for a saucer, poured some milk in it and was waiting to see how the baby would lap. But it was too little and could not drink itself. Hanna advised Tanya to wet her finger with the milk and offer the lamb to lick it. The girl followed the advice and was happy when the lamb took her finger into its mouth and began to suck waving its funny short little tail. Tanya called the lamb Moutka. It was not easy for the girl to grow up the baby lamb because she had to feed it every two hours by day and at night as well. When the girl was sleeping she suddenly felt that someone was pushing her. It was Moutka. The girl got up, kissed its nice pink little snout and poured some milk into the saucer then went to bed again and fell asleep while Moutka was drinking its milk wagging its short tail. By day the lamb followed Tanya everywhere like a dog. The lamb knew its name and always ran up to the girl knocking by its little hooves when she called it.
Once when Hanna and Tanya were walking across the steppe they met a very strange company: a lean Tatar in ragged clothes was going in front dragging a small cart behind him with a baby inside, there was a ragged all in dust Tatar woman by his side with a dirty shaggy – haired girl. The family looked hungry, dirty and sad. The man asked Hanna and Tanya if there was any work for him and his wife. Tanya knew that her father always tried to give work everybody who needed it and she showed the way to the house. Lev Tolstoy hired the man and his wife to work in the fields. The family settled in the open air and sometimes they moved to the shed. Hanna was full of pity for the Tatar children. She explained to the girl that they were always hungry and together with Tanya brought them food from Tolstoy’s house. First the Tatar girl was afraid of them but then became friendly and did not hide. She was as wild as a little animal. She could not talk or play like a child. The only thing she was interested in was food. She came up to Tanya’s and Hanna’s window and shouted asking for bread. When they gave her some flat cakes she never thanked them but began to eat rapidly. Tanya tried to play with the girl but in vain. Tanya made little gardens on the bottom of their dried pond sticking little branches into the ground, built roads between them and dug up holes and filled them with water as if they were lakes. The little Tatar girl watched her and then began to laugh widely and crushed all Tanya’s work. Then she found horrible tarantulas in their holes, picked them and showed to Tanya speaking her native language that Tanya did not understand. The family lived and worked there the whole summer and then went away.
The adults began to talk about returning to Jasnaya Polyana. Little Tanya troubled about her pet Moutka. She wanted to take him to Jasnaya Polyana very much. But she did not know if her parents would permit her because it would be a long journey. She thought she would manage to put him on her laps when they would ride to Samara but she did not know how to convey the lamb on board the ship and by train. She rejected the idea to leave the poor thing in the steppe because he would be eaten there as all the other sheep. Tanya cried much, then pulled herself together and went to her parents to ask for permission to take Moutka to Jasnaya Polyana. But they did not understand their daughter’s trouble and were very indifferent and stern. They prohibited to take the lamb thinking that it was nonsense to transport the sheep to their estate Jasnaya Polyana where there were enough sheep. The little girl had nothing to do but go to their cook Avdotja who was going to stay at the farm. Tanya gave her Moutka and asked the woman to look after the lamb and protect it from any danger. The cook gave her her word but Tanya was still not sure about the lamb’s future.
Tanya had one more trouble at that period of time. Hanna was going to leave them and return to the Caucasus. The little girl tried to calm herself hoping that Hanna would come with the Kuzminskyes to Jasnaya Polyana the next summer. It had been very good for Hanna to drink koumiss, she stopped coughing and put on some weight. She was going to the Caucasus full of energy to help Tatyana Kuzminskaya to overcome her deep sorrow. The Tolstoys said good bye to Hanna and little Tanya cried much parting with her dear governess. The little girl felt lonely after Hanna’s departure and could not sleep at night. The room where just some days ago they spent days and nights together began to look gloomy and empty. ” But she would come back again and we shall meet again”, Tanya whispered softly to herself.
The little girl did not know that she would never see her beloved Hanna any more.
Hanna returned to the Caucasus and continued to teach and bring up Masha and Vera Kuzminskye. In spite of the fact that Dasha’s death was a great shock for her she tried her best to give all her heart and soul to the little girls.
Hanna often sent letters to the Tolstoys. They did not notice any change in her way of describing her life and events. But in spring of 1874 they got a letter from Hanna’s sister Jenny informing the Tolstoys that Hanna was going to get married. Her fiance was Georgian Prince Matchuladze. The Tolstoys were greatly amazed. They had never thought about such probability. The children did not know weather to cry with joy or to sob and pity themselves. They sent Hanna their letters and Hanna replied and described them her engagement and invited the Tolstoys to visit her in Kutais. The Tolstoys also invited her and her husband to come to Jasnaya Polyana.
As the Tolstoys found out later Hanna was not happy in her married life at first. Her mother-in-law and her father-in-law were angry with their son that he had married the poor foreigner. The young Prince did not obey his parents and got married without their permission.
The old prince and princess stopped to give money to their son and the young couple had nothing to live on and was rather poor after their marriage. Besides Hanna grieved that she had parted her husband with his parents. But then Hanna gave birth to a child and the stern parents were happy to have a grandson and forgave their son and daughter-in-law. They made certain that Hanna was a good and modest young woman. The old prince and princess invited the young couple to their house and asked to stay and live with them. The old man and woman had their own business, it was production of sheep cheese. Hanna took an active part in the business and it was a success so her father- and mother-in law passed her all their business.
There in the Kutais estate Hanna spent the rest of her life. She sent the photo of her daughter to the Tolstoys. Hanna and her daughter were very much alike. After some years they got and sent letters more seldom but they never stopped their correspondence. Hanna wrote that she hoped to see “dear old Jasnaya” again and bring her daughter with her too.
Her dreams did not come true. Nobody from the Tolstoys except Sergey saw her again. When Sergey was already an old man he went to the Caucasus on business and came to see their old governess. Tanya envied him and was still hoping to see Hanna some day.
Then the Tolstoys got a message informing them that Hanna was seriously ill. Soon after that they came to know that she had died. She was not an old woman when she died, about 50 years old.
7. L.N.Tolstoy’s descendants in England nowadays.
There are many Tolstoy’s descendants abroad nowadays. They live in the USA, France, Sweden, Italy, Canada, Germany, Switzerland and England. Great Britain is not rich in Tolstoy’s descendants but still two girls – Lev Tolstoy’s great-great-great-granddaughters live there. Their names are Anastasia Vladimirovna Tolstaya and her sister Yekaterina Vladimirovna Tolstaya. Anastasia was born in Moscow on 1 February, 1984. Yekaterina was born in Moscow on 11 November, 1987. Their father Vladimir Tolstoy is the director of the estate-museum Yasnaya Polyana now. Their parents are divorced. The girls have been living with their mother in London for nearly 5 years. But they often visit their father in Yasnaya Polyana when they are on summer holidays. Their hobby is riding horses.
L.N.TOLSTOY’S DESCENDANTS IN ENGLAND ( 2000 )
Son Ilya Lvovoch
Grandson Vladimir Ilyich
Great grandson Ilya Vladimirovich
Great-great grandson Vladimir Ilyich
Great-great-great granddaughters Anastasia Yekaterina
1.Victor Shklovsky. LEV TOLSTOY. Progress Publishers Moscow, 1978 (in English)
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