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whose care and good nature now in part supplied to me the loss of my mother,
whom I do not even remember, so early I lost her. She made a third at our little
dinner party. There was a fourth, Mademoiselle De Lafontaine, a lady such as
you term, I believe, a “finishing governess.” She spoke French and German,
Madame Perrodon French and broken English, to which my father and I added
English, which, partly to prevent its becoming a lost language among us, and
partly from patriotic motives, we spoke every day. The consequence was a
Babel, at which strangers used to laugh, and which I shall make no attempt to
reproduce in this narrative. And there were two or three young lady friends
besides, pretty nearly of my own age, who were occasional visitors, for longer or
shorter terms; and these visits I sometimes returned.
These were our regular social resources; but of course there were chance visits
from “neighbours” of only five or six leagues distance. My life was,
notwithstanding, rather a solitary one, I can assure you.
My gouvernantes had just so much control over me as you might conjecture such
sage persons would have in the case of a rather spoiled girl, whose only parent
allowed her pretty nearly her own way in everything.