But in those days schooling was not what it is today.
At the age of five I was entrusted to the care of the groom and huntsman Savelich, who was appointed my instructor in recognition of his sober conduct. Under his supervision I had learnt to read and write Russian by the age of twelve, and could make a sound assessment of a wolfhound’s qualities.
Then Father hired a Frenchman for me, Monsieur Beaupré, who had been ordered by mail from Moscow along with our annual supply of wine and cooking oil.
This man’s arrival greatly displeased Savelich. “Praise God,” he muttered under his breath, “the child’s been kept clean, well-combed and fed. What need is there to throw away money hiring this m’sewer, as if there weren’t enough of our own folk?”
in The Captain's Daughter (1836) de Alexander Pushkin