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Prevyet! I suppose I should introduce myself, as I certainly wasn't raised without manners! I'm Larisa Grigorievna Tarkhan...well...Mrs Larisa Grigoreivna Polzin now, but feel free to call me Lara. I was born on my family's farm just outside Kharkov on 8 December 1898. I have--well...HAD two brothers and a sister. Filya (what we all called Filip), who was around twelve years older than I am, and Ivashko. I also had a sister, Anna, born when Filya was five, but she lived barely a year. According to Tetya Vera, Mama suffered, and was unable to carry to term again, that is until Vashko, hence the large age gap between us. My late father, Grigory Ivanovich was an officer in the Russian Army. He was also one of the many workers who helped to build the Trans-Siberian Railroad AND he built our home with his own two hands. He married my mother Vladislava Vassilievna, who raised us children, and taught us everything she knows, from domestic work to helping out on the farm. It's quite clear that she adored Papa, and like all of us, was heartbroken when he died. I was only ten, but I remember him well...I cannot say the same for poor Filya, but I do know that Mama was a mess when we received word that he'd been killed during the war with Japan.
The boys always had a bit of an obsession with all things military; partially Papa's doing, I suppose! Filya and Vashko both managed to get into the Corps des Pages and do well. We nearly lost poor Vashko too, shortly before the Great War. He was one of the officers chosen to look after the Imperial family aboard their yacht, and somehow, his appendix burst. Mama and I didn't find out until later, but he was rushed ashore for immediate surgery.
Vashko and I have always been close. You see, we wrote to each other constantly while he was away during the Great War. He went on and on about the Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna and how he was madly in love with her. He even sent a watercolor to Mama, one that he claimed the grand duchess had painted just for him as a 'get well' gift. Stupidly, Vashko was sent off to the war shortly after he recovered. Thankfully, we exchanged letters during the time he was away, and I teased him of course, and well...he was behaving quite like Prince Myshkin...you know, from Dostoevsky's 'The Idiot'...Vashko and his obsession with Maria Nikolaevna!
Well, come to find out that I was entirely in the wrong. I was only teasing Vash after all, and didn't want to see him disappointed. Mama and I were first introduced to the grand duchess in the summer of 1918, shortly before Vashko married her. I have to give my brother some credit, having the courage to ask the TSAR to marry his daughter! I would've never thought my dear brother Vashko so brave as that! I mean, brave, yes...he is a soldier after all, but to talk personally to the Emperor himself!
Mama was very accepting of Maria Nikolaevna, insisting that she refer to her as 'Mama' or 'Motherdear', if she so chose. Mama has always been sweet that way. Oh, and Maria Nikolaevna was not at all as I thought she'd be! In fact, she was everything that Vashko claimed - kind, generous and sweet, and quite pretty too. I must say my brother is a very lucky man. And well...now I'm an aunt!
Masha has (happily!) given Vashko three children now. My little niece Natasha is quite the chatterbox and rather enjoys being the center of attention. Kolya is quite shy, like his father, but he's always happy to see his Tetya Lara! Little Grisha is quite handsome, and growing so quickly. It irritates me that the stupid idiots of the world still insist he was named for that awful Rasputin! Indeed! He was named for Papa, at Masha's insistence.
It's quite nice having another girl around, although I don't get to see Masha and Vashko much anymore, as they live in Petrograd to be near the Imperial family. I was quite happy though, to be invited to Grisha's baptism (and Kolya and Natasha's of course!), although I'm well aware that there were many of the family who did not want Mama and I there. With all the excitement for the upcoming wedding of the Tsesarevitch, there's talk that we may even be invited to the ceremony! Wouldn't that be something!
With Vashko married now, Mama is insisting that I find a husband for myself...although I think it more proper for me to remain at home and care for her. After all, she is getting on years and will need more help with time. There is someone, a family friend who I've been spending quite a bit of time with lately. I've only just told Vashko about him, although he ought to remember Mitya Polzin, as they studied together at the Academy. Mama seems quite pleased with the two of us, but I cannot simply leave her here to look after the farm and herself. Mitya has agreed to stay here with us after we're married. Thankfully, he understands my predicament.
Mitya and I were married at the Three Saints Church on November 30th. Of course it wasn't nearly as grand as the Tsesarevitch's nuptials, but just as exciting! We spent our week-long honeymoon exploring Petrograd, at Vashko's insistence. Since then, we've made our home with Mitya's parents, or will until a new house is built next to Mama's on the land Papa bought long ago.
The Romanovs - One Last Dance
My Reference Books:
Manuel II of Portugal
Ivashko Grigoriev Tarkhan
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A lovely wedding tradition, written beautifully!
Jul 30, 2019 07:52 pmMr.
Sep 13, 2016 05:58 pm