Vera Sergeyevna Plaoutine (1869 - 1917)
— "The Morning Post" Thursday, 12 Aug 1869, page 8:
De Plaoutine. – On the 5th inst, at Tsarsko-Selo, Russia, the wife of Colonel De Plaoutine, A.D.C. to H.M. the Emperor of Russia, of a daughter.
(Same exact appeared in "The Times" on 12 Aug 1869, page 13)
— Vera Plaoutine has proved to be one of the most difficult trails to follow in the whole Plaoutine/Plautin family. Most often, in Russian sources, she is confused with her father's first cousin, Vera Sergeyevna Plautin. This Vera was actually Countess Zubov, having married Platon Zubov and raising a family. They are, however, two very distinct individuals, despite the similarity of their names.
The first sign of Vera Plaoutine appeared in the form of her birth announcement as transcribed above. It was years before the mist shrouding her identity cleared, and this was due to help from others interested in her husband's family, and the appearance of fifty hand-written pages of memories by her daughter, Mariamne. These few stories (from the memories of a very young child) shed a little light on Vera as an individual:
We lived in Petrograd [St. Petersburg] (the town of Peter, now Leningrad) in Lopoohinskaya Street, on one of the islands. The house was wooden and stood in its own grounds. It was built off the ground and we could crawl about underneath amongst the lagged central heating pipes.
. . . On the drive before reaching the house was a wing which, during the First World War, was turned into a convalescent home by my mother for soldiers. She had passed the necessary exams to run it. She wore a veil and an apron like the nurses when she went over for her round.
. . . My mother was very fond of dogs. I have already mentioned the Alsation brothers, Rob and Roy. Rob was the elder of the two. He hurt his paw once and had a dressing on it. He came every evening and put his paw on my mother's lap to have it changed.
. . . Mother had a dachshund, Poopsik, which was devoted to her.
— A few references to Vera are also made in some surviving transcripts of letters written by her younger sister, Lily:
22 Dec 1889 [Russian Date]
Yesterday, Thursday, we had a ball, we, that is to say Vera and all the big ones. Mother allowed me to come in this morning at five o'clock to dance the last quadrille. It was such fun. Vera and Mischa told a lot of people that they must stay on a long time so that I should be able to dance.
. . . I was a good deal applauded for everybody had been waiting for me. They all looked very pale and tired, just fancy they have danced the whole night.
31 Dec 1889 [Russian Date]
Wednesday morning is our grand ride to take place, and in the evening, oh it will be such fun! There are going to be about twelve pairs, not a large party you see, but dressed up and with masks. I did not expect Mother would let [u]me[/u] dress up, but when I asked her this morning if I might see them arrive she had the good idea of dressing me up and pretending that I am Vera. Collie [Vera and Lily's brother, Nikolai] is going to be a Turk, Misha [Vera and Lily's brother, Mikhail] a Janonize [?] amn. Mother has not quite settled about Vera and me yet, but it will be fun!
— Vera is also mentioned in the memories of her young cousin, Eleanor Violet Jauncey:
[1897-8] In the spring, we all went to stay in lodgings at Saltino, a village above Vallombrosa. Vera had the English nurse for her baby, complete with pram. Because the paths were bad going and some steep, she had hired a donkey and Jigino (a boy) to manage it. Vera had some plan for it to pull the pram, which was utterly useless. We all returned south, me on the donkey, which annoyed her.