Thursday 14 November 1839
Finish dullish soft morning - streets dirty Fahrenheit 63 on my table now at 10 a.m. and Reaumur +2 1/2 = Fahrenheit out of doors, as yesterday - breakfast at 10 - Ann read vocabulary and read 10 pages Karamsin, as usual for the last 10 days or fortnight, and we sat talking till now 11 1/2
Had Count Panin and the Countess Goudovitch till 1 55/60 - Count Panin very good about our future plans - I mentioned Astracan and Tiflis - yes! we could do that very well - he will think about it for us - Countess Goudovitch very good natured and kind - very nice person
Out at 2 1/2 - called and sat about 20 minutes with Madame Perfilieff - saw her 2 little boys and little girl æt 5 months and piece (in a frame) of worsted work - home at 3 10/60
Dressed chez Princesse to dinner at 4 5/60 - the dinner table brought into the salon, she not being well enough to bear a change of room - the Kutaisoffs there on our going in - Countess Koutaisoff in trouble about her nurses and people leaving her - dinner about 4 1/4, and afterwards sat in the bedroom till incense was burnt in both rooms and till between 7 and 8 - sat talking in the dark - the princess's eyes bad today
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 killed in a duel at nineteen and Count Panin the second of the young officer 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 many 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 Caraffe d'orgeat the Emperor in his own the name of the Empress sent for her to court her excessive timidity and shyness saw her husband at 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 how 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 intrige [sic], thinking of the stories I had heard from Lady Stuart de Rothesay and Gordon, among the horreurs, Lady Coventry a narrow escape of assassination by her discarded Italian frotteur who had lived with her 10 or 11 years but was suspected of stealing - the man was to have a pension, yet in revenge got into her room thro' the roof, and attempted to stab her - could not recollect the name of the very beautiful Italian Lady violée, and afterwards would retire to a convent - Count Koutaisoff fears for Ann and me we ought to have a gentleman I said we were not beauties yes I had a beautiful nose and she almost said that I was almost handsome an eagles 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 maids room at north bridge and briefly the going to Venice story the boatmen - cut all this was not volunteered poor Ann luckily did not understand much so all about the travelling dangers &c. passed off I saw her crying while I talked of Shibden &c. she 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 a unequal match I had I would not see her again and the gentleman rich had wisely broken off had she enough to live on 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 Petersburg 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 deesse a goddess minerva this is the first manque de la delicatesse anglaise
The father and mother and old English lady and afterwards Princess Gortschakoff and her daughter Countess Douchkini came afterwards and staid supper and we left them all there at 10 1/2 -
Ann and I stood talking 55 minutes - then had Grotza, and wrote the last and so far of this page till now 12 55/60 at which hour Fahrenheit 63 1/2 on my table - disagreeable thaw-day - we could not have walked, the walk too wet and dirty.