Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Once, while walking about in the park, I decided to run away from the Englishwoman [presumably a governess or nurse] and to give her a good scare by my disappearance. After waiting for a convenient moment, I jumped over the bushes and then rushed like a shot into the wood, not paying attention to the desperate cries of the anxious Miss Jackson.

Suddenly from somewhere a big black dog jumped out at me with a loud bark; I, of course, took fright, wanted to flee, stumbled, fell and burst into fearful, bitter tears. At that moment a man in military uniform turned up near me, and he began to caress me and calm me down. When I came to myself, I recognised the Tsesarevich Alexander Nikolayevich [future Alexander II], whom we constantly saw in the park and knew well. The Heir also recognised that I was a friend of his daughter [Alexandra Alexandrovna, 1842-49], being the daughter of his acquaintance Colonel Zolotnitsky, and began to question me, whither and why I was running so surreptitiously.

The Tsesarevich spoke with me so affectionately and simply, with such boundless kindness, that I explained to him with a clear heart, that I escaped from my English governess, who I felt to be a bore, since she permanently kept an eye on me and didn’t allow me to make any mischief. “But you, probably, enjoy very much being mischievous,” the Tsesarevich noted, smiling, “but nevertheless you must find your governess.” When I remarked that Miss Jackson was probably angry with me and I was afraid to go to her, the heir took me by the hand and said: “Let’s go together, and I will ask of her not to tell you off, but you must promise that you won’t run away from her any more.”

After this on many occasions I met with the Tsesarevich in the alleys of the park, always with his dog Milord, with whom after my first inauspicious encounter I had a most close friendship. Going on a walk, I would always take with myself sugar or even a biscuit for Milord, and it regularly was the case that as soon as the setter saw me, he would scratch me with all his feet; once he collided into me so hard that I, unable to bear the shock, fell and rolled head over heels into a ditch; seeing such a funny picture, the Tsesarevich laughed heartily and personally dragged me out of the ditch.

А. П. Бологовская - “Из вспомниманий о детстве имератора Александра III” (A. P. Bologovskaya, From the reminiscences of the childhood of Emperor Alexander III, pp. 42-43 of Александр III - Воспоминания, Дневники, письма. Санкт-Петербург (2001): Издательство “Пушкинского фонда”)