Her history a well told romance – betrothed at nine to a boy of thirteen, an infantine attachment – neighbours and brought up together, they were the bosom friends of each other. He, in the army, [was] killed in a duel at nineteen and Count Panin, the second of the young officers, who killed him – I never to breathe this, but on this account, she had always avoided him as much as she civilly could. After this she determined not to marry – refused any good offers. This the only subject on which she had annoyed her father and mother. She thought it not right to marry a man she did not care for, to give her hand and not her heart – those cold marriages called [carafe d’orgeat] – the Emperor in his own and the name of the Empress sent for her to court. Her excessive timidity and shyness saw her husband in Warsaw without his being introduced to her – a mutual penchant between them. He afterwards distinguished himself – was taken to court by the Archduke Michel, made aide du camp of the Emperor and married Sophie, then the beautiful Princess Ourousoff – told the story of the two bats that frightened her, as my owl at Red House did me, and I then said the same had occurred to me with an owl. She then hinted at the many occasions of intrigue at court – she would not like to trust a daughter of hers there – a young girl was treated en dame, could visit and receive company. I said that visiting at country houses also offered occasions for intrigue (thinking of the stories I had heard from Lady S[tuart] de R[othesay] and Gordon).

Count Koutaisoff fears for A- and me – we ought to have a gentleman. I said we were not beauties – yes, I had a beautiful nose and she [Princess Radzivill] almost said that I was almost handsome. An eagle’s eye so quick at discovering her character, and gently hinted at my being very agreeable. The eye of an author – no, I had never written a book. She asked what particular had ever happened to me – they said I had courage. I told the story of the two men in the maid’s room at North Bridge, and briefly the going to Venice story, the boatmen – but all this was not volunteered. Poor A- luckily did not understand much, so all about the travelling dangers etc passed off. I saw her crying while I talked of Shiben etc – she [Princess Radzivill] asked if I had a large garden – no, I had pulled all up, spent much money and nothing was finished. Had I no relations – yes, a younger sister – was she twenty-five or six – yes, did not see much of her – she had near made an unequal match. I had [said] I would not see her again and the gentleman, rich, had wisely broken it off – had she enough to live upon – yes, and might be at Shibden when she liked. Nobody there but servants – I had nobody but my niece, the little person – how long – five or six years. Well, they will know all about me here and at Saint P[etersburg] by and by. I hope they will be satisfied. She asked if we would retire – no, but we then left her and she afterwards joked with me about being a goddess, Minerva – this is the first manqué de la délicatesse anglaise.

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