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Matveief was a Hamilton, one of a Scotch family settled at Moscow.
There were no daughters, but Matveief had living with him a ward,
the daughter of an old comrade, Cyril Na- ryslikin, a chamberlain
and a landed proprietor of the remote district of Tarus, one of a
noble but little known family of Tartar origin, several members of
which had died in arms for their country. There was a family tie,
for Theodore Naryshkin, the brother of Cyril, had also married a
Hamilton, the niece of Mat- ve"ief's wife, under whose charge
Natalia Naryshkin was receiving- her education at Moscow?a tall,
shapely, black-eyed, black-haired girl. One evening, when the Tsar
was at Matveief s house, the wife and the pretty ward of the Prime
Minister came into the room, bringing, as usual, the cups of vodka,
the caviare, the smoked fish, and the other whets to the appetite
which are taken before the Russian dinner or supper. The widowed
Tsar, in the depth of his grief and gloom, was struck by the pretty
face, and still more by the modest smile?neither forward nor too
much abashed?and by the sensible answers he received to his
questions. lie ate with more than usual heartiness, and seemed to
enjoy the evening, and on going away said to Matveief that he would
find a bridegroom for his pretty ward. Notice had already been
served for the inspection and review, on the llth of February, of
the young girls, either in Moscow or the distant provinces, whose
position and beauty rendered them suitable to be the Tsars bride,
and word was now sent to Natalia Naryshkin to appear among the
others. According to custom, all the maidens then present assembled
again for inspection on the 28th of April. Report soon bruited it
about that Natalia Narv'shkin was the chosen one. This caused an
unpleasant sensation in the Krem...
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||246 x 189 x 8mm (L x W x T)
||Paperback - Trade
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