Turgenev Signed Letter, Probably to his Longtime Love Madame Pauline Viardot, Regarding the Labor of his Daughter Paulinette
TURGENEV, Ivan. ALS. Baden, Germany , 1868.
Single leaf (5 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches) with manuscript on both recto and verso. Written in French. Baden, July 26, [18]68. Leaf a bit toned. With light crease marks. Still a very good example with an interesting subject matter and recipient.

The present letter pleads with the recipient whom it is believed to be Pauline Viardot, to update him with news on the well being of his daughter who was to give birth on or around July 9th of 1868. He had received word from his daughter Paulinette that she was due to give birth but had not heard anything since. The present letter being dated July 26, 1868. The tone of the letter and the fact that Viardot was a trusted caretaker of his daughter Paulinette leads one to believe this was written to Viardot. Turgenev states in the letter "I intend to come to Paris around the 10th of next month- and you will be, as always, the first person I call on. I ask you, dear Madam, to accept this assurance of my unwavering devotion."

Pauline Viardot was a French mezzo-soprano, and the long time love of Turgenev. "Turgenev was not a man of grand passions, although the love story was to provide the most common formula for his fiction, and a love for the renowned singer Pauline Viardot, whom he first met in 1843, was to dominate his entire life. His relation with Viardot usually has been considered platonic, yet some of his letters, often as brilliant in their observation and as felicitous in their manner as anything he wrote, suggest the existence of a greater intimacy. Generally, though, they reveal him as the fond and devoted admirer, in which role he was for the most part content. He never married, though in 1842 he had had an illegitimate daughter by a peasant woman at Spasskoye; he later entrusted the upbringing of the child to Viardot." (Brittanica)

"Paulinette (1843 - 1919) was Turgenev's daughter by Avdotya Ivanov, one of his mother's seamstresses. When the girl was eight, she was sent to France and was brought up in the family of Pauline Viardot. At 14, the girl was sent to a private boarding house, as a result of strained relationship with Viardot. But soon Turgenev took her away from the boarding house to live with him. At 17 Paulinette was married to Gaston Brewer, a young entrepreneur, who was soon impoverished. After that Paulinette, with the assistance of her father, hid from her husband in Switzerland." (World Biographical Encyclopedia).

Full translation:

"Baden Tiergartenstrasse, 3. Sunday, July 26, 68 Dear Madam, I have just returned from Russia, where I stayed for six weeks- and I am writing to you to ask you to free me from a state of uncertainty and worry that is tormenting me greatly. On July 14th (12 days ago), in Moscow, I received a letter from Paulinette, dated the 9th, that informed me that she was going to labor 'that same day or the next.' I asked her husband to telegraph me the outcome immediately - and I received nothing in Moscow or Petersburg - and I did not findanything here. This last circumstance seems particularly extraordinary to me - I wrote to Gaston immediately - and I implore you, Madam, to send a telegram to Rougemont (the office here does not accept them) to receive good news and forward me the response. You have always been so admirably good to me that I do not hesitate to make this request. I would also be very happy to know how you are and what you are doing. I intend to come to Paris around the 10th of next month- and you will be, as always, the first person I call on. I ask you, dear Madam, to accept this assurance of my unwavering devotion. I. Turgenev P.S. Please be so kind as to inform me of your new house number."

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