17: Ossip the hero

The field marshal would never have achieved fame and honour, had it not been for brave Ossip, the dwarf servant of the family. 

Count Christian Ludwig, Peter’s father, was fighting in the Caucasus when, on a winter’s night in 1771, his house near Kiev burnt down shortly after his wife Amalia Ludovika gave birth to a daughter.

Ossip rescued little Peter from the flames, as well as his newborn sister, Amelie. Their mother, however, died in the fire. 

Depicted in the painting above is Princess Charlotte of Lieven, the wife of the Provincial Governor, who took the children into her care and later ensured that Peter was admitted to the Page Corps in Saint Petersburg. Amelie later married Count Keller, with whom she had many descendants, including Princess Leonilla. You shall hear more from her in a moment.