Written by Victor D'Andre
London, June 9, 1931
I have received your nice and kind letter; thank you for your kind words about me.
You ask me why Anna Pavlovna never mentioned your name in "her memoirs" and on other occasions. It needs to be said that Anna Pavlovna never wrote any memoirs, though they attributed the latter to her many times. Last year I was forced to start legal procedures regarding the book published in Dresden under the title "Die Taenzende Fuesse", the author of which was claimed to be Anna Pavlovna; at last the publisher had to apologize publically and withdraw the book from sale.
I have to clear up also that Anna Pavlovna hated interviews and did not care about any memoirs though she was offered several times to write it. She always answered that she considered it too early since she was still dancing.
I know that your first tour was very dear to her, and I have no doubt that in her real memoirs she would have paid a lot of attention to it. Personally Anna Pavlovna had a very high opinion about you; she appreciated your loyalty and love for dancing as well as your constant striving for new knowledge in the field of ballet, music, painting. She highly respected you and your work.
I'm still in London but it's more likely that I'll move to Paris this autumn and will visit London only occasionally. I may visit America in future; I would be glad to meet you there if you happen to be near New York.
Give my best regards to your wife;
Russian original version
London, February 2, 1931
Thank you very much for your cordial cable. The decease of Anna Pavlova followed so quickly and unexpectedly that I still cannot get used to the idea.
Enclosed is the description of her last days made by myself.
Russian original version
Written on the outside of a folded page, with the text below typewritten inside the page, these words, "D'Andre's letters to Adja - (June 1931)"
After spending three weeks at Cannes, Madame returned to Paris where she stayed a week, leaving Paris on Saturday 17 January at nine o'clock in the morning. The first time she was not feeling well was on Friday evening, and during the voyage from Paris to The Hague she became worse. On arrival at The Hague she went to bed and a doctor was called in who, after examining Madame, declared she had pleurisy on the left side.
Sunday morning another doctor was called in, in consultation, being considered the best doctor at The Hague, Dr. De Yong, medical adviser to the Queen. He confirmed the diagnosis of his colleague and it was found necessary to apply stimulating compresses right around the body, covering chest and back, and take other medicinal measures.
As one could see from Madame's appearance that her condition was becoming worse and her breathing was much affected, Dr. Zalewski was sent for from Paris. He had treated Madame during the last few years; Madame liked him and had great faith in him.
On arrival at The Hague, Dr. Zalewski, after examining Madame was very anxious about the state of the patient. He explained that without a doubt Madame had caught a chill some days previously and had developed peumonia without realising it, and fighting against not feeling well, had remained up and about, as she so often did if she happened to have anything the matter. In this weakened state of the system, she caught cold, and at once pleurisy set in.
In the first two days the disease had attacked the left lung and the pleura and breathing became difficult. Everything applied to give relief only seemed to help momentarily. Dr. Zalewski while approving of the treatment prescribed, decided at once to give an injection of anti-pneumococ serum and Thursday morning the back was pierced to drain the fluid which had accumulated in large quantity and prevented breathing. A considerable amount was removed. The serum injection was given, and every possible means was employed to help the heart which was shewing signs of weakening. But Madame's strength was visibly ebbing away and towards six o'clock in the evening Madame sank into a state of unconciousness, no longer realising what took place about her. All possible medical aids were applied, but Madame no longer reacted to any of them. All the time oxygen was being administered.
Madame had with her, the whole time, her maid, Marguerite, to whom Madame was greatly attached and who was really marvellous, tending Madame with touching devotion and gentleness.
Breathing became fainter and fainter. Towards midnight Madame opened her eyes and lifted her hand feebly to make the sign of the Cross. A few moments later Marguerite saw that Madame wanted to say something to her, and approaching, Madame whispered "Prepare my Swam costume" - those were her last words.
Half an hour after midnight on Friday 23, Madame breathed her last.
All necessary steps were at once taken and a few hours later the coffin arrived. During this time Marguerite and the nurse had dressed Madame in her favourite little dress of beige lace and we ourselves laid her in her coffin. A few sprigs of lilac were also put in the coffin.
Suffering had so altered the features of Madame that I would not have a death mask taken as was suggested.
At seven in the morning the Russian priest arrived, and said the special prayers, according to the orthodox rite (Panihida).
During the few hours that had elapsed since death took place, the features had softened and a smile seemed to be on Madame's lips.
At half past seven we took the coffin away from the hotel to the little chapel attached to the Catholic hospital where we were allowed to leave it until it should be decided where and when the funeral would take place.
This was a difficult question for me to decide. The large Russian Colony in Paris wanted her buried there, but I was in favour of England. I know how much Madame is loved in England, and I know that, at least by the present generation, Madame will not be forgotten and will always have flowers on her grave. I do not doubt that Paris would have done her homage with a magnificent funeral, but I do not feel so certain that she would have been surrounded there, or for so long, with the same universal feeling of love and almost worship.
So the same day, Friday, I left the Hague and returned to London to take all necessary steps. I wished first and foremost that Madame should be buried not far from her house, where she had lived for nearly twenty years and of which she was very fond. The most beautiful cemetery in the neighbourhood, laid out on quite new lines, and called "The Garden of Rest" belongs to the Golders Green Crematorium and as Madame had on more than one occasion expressed her approval of the idea of cremation, and after consulting several friends, and the orthodox Russian priest, I have decided in favour of cremation.
If at some future time, Russia should become settled again, and there should be reason for Madame to rest in her native land, to which she was so deeply attached, it will be easy to remove her ashes there.