Edward Frederick Leveson-Gower.

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was opened for the first time, the old one having
been burnt down three years ago. It is the largest


theatre in Europe and splendidly decorated. I was
sorry to have to come away in the middle of a song
of Madame Bosio, in order to get home in time
for my sister-in-law's first reception. It was well
attended by the diplomatic corps and the most inti-
mate of our Russian acquaintances. Three hundred
and fifty people came. There was very little
beauty among the women. Comtesse Schouvaloff
(a daughter of Princesse Kotchoubey), Mademoiselle
Panin (a niece of Count Pahlen), and the Princesse
Wittgenstein were most to be admired. I have
seen so many handsome Russian women in other
countries that this dearth of beauty surprised me.
I think those I saw must have been exported for
show. It is said, too, that in less exalted circles
beauty is more prevalent. My brother had ex-
pressed some regret at having no portrait of Her
Majesty, and Mr. Ker^ undertook to paint one
full length from memory.^ He had never done
anything of the sort before, and he finished it in
nine days. When seen from a distance it had a
plausible effect. The Russians expressed admiration
for it as a fine work of art. They are so amiable
that they will say anything, whether true or false,
if they think it will give pleasure. I will give
another instance of this custom. They often
abused the French to us, making comparisons
unfavourable to them. The Frenchmen assured us
they did the same to them about us.

On September the 2nd we were summoned to the
Kremlin to be presented to the Empress-Mother.

' One of Lord Wodehouse's attaches.

' Which was hung up in Lady Granville's room of reception.


She received us graciously, but appeared very weak.
She spoke to us all, but the effort was nearly too
much for her. I came away with an impression
of sadness. That feeble, sickly body covered
with fine clothes and a profusion of diamonds,
offered a melancholy contrast. The Coronation
must be to her a painful ceremony, but they say
she looks upon it as a religious duty.

Afterwards we went without our ladies to the
Crown Prince of Prussia. He was most cordial,
seemed pleased to find himself among Englishmen,
and spoke to every one at some length. Several
Prussians were present. I was introduced to Prince
Radziwill and his son. The latter is engaged to
a daughter of Madame de Castellane, whom I knew
at Nice as ** Baba."

On September the 20th we were summoned
to be presented to the Grand Duchess Marie,
whom we had met at Chatsworth. She was very
cordial both to Margaret and to me. She shook
me warmly by the hand, which, as I was in-
structed to do, I endeavoured to kiss. I did not
succeed, as she kept her hand away with the
strength of a lioness. She told me she was so
glad to see Margaret again, and urged me to
prolong our visit in Russia beyond the stay of the
Embassy. She has altered in looks and grown
fatter, but is still handsome. She referred to
the pleasure her visit to Chatsworth had given

Our next and last presentation was to the Grand
Duchess Catherine. Her dull husband came up
to us first. As old Chatsworth acquaintances,



Cavendish ^ and I were prepared for a shake of the
hands ; but he did nothing of the sort, but stood
opposite, not saying a word. His plain wife was
equally formal, and has certainly none of her
mother's charm.

On September the 7th the Coronation took place.
A lovely day — an Italian sky without a cloud. The
whole diplomatic body met at Morny's at half-past
seven in order to go in procession to the Kremlin.
The French equipages were very handsome, but
my brother had the best horses. Esterhazy's ^ horses
were inferior, but their harness was gorgeous, and
he had twelve running footmen, which had a good
effect. We reached the church without any difficulty,
and found tribunes reserved for us in a good

Soon after our arrival the Emperor entered,
preceded by his numerous relatives. First the
Empress-Mother, led by her two youngest sons to
a seat close to the Empress. The rest were in a
line opposite to us. The Grand Duchess Marie
was most picturesquely dressed and looked un-
commonly well. So did her daughter, who was
with her, and whose likeness to her was striking.
Constantine remained the whole time at his brother's
elbow. The ceremony lasted three hours. It was a
touching sight to see the Imperial family, beginning
with the Empress-Mother, embrace the Emperor
and Empress. They did so with much apparently
real affection, and this part of the ceremony was
a great contrast to the excessive formality of the

' The present Duke of Devonshire.
* The Austrian Ambassador.


rest of it. There was a general murmur of
admiration, and I heard several persons exclaim
" Comme cest beattT I shall not attempt to describe
the gorgeous church and the beautiful music.
Nothing could be worse than the behaviour of the
corps diplomatique, who laughed and talked most
of the time. I saw the Emperor and Constantine
glance angrily towards our tribune on several
occasions. The English were the best behaved.
The Emperor looked unwell and melancholy, and
was devoid of dignity. The attitude of the
Empress, on the contrary, was most dignified.
She had no jewels on her head, except a little
diamond crown, which was placed there during the
ceremony. It fell off several times, and for some
while she gave up trying to replace it. She
has lovely hair, which, as some one observed, is
an ornament more beautiful than diamonds.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, whilst the
Emperor was going the round of the churches in
the Kremlin, we made our way to the Gravinataia
Palace. The enceinte was surrounded with tribunes
filled with great people in Court finery, the middle
space being occupied by soldiers and people in every
variety of costume, which, with bells ringing and
bands playing, made a most animated scene. In the
Palace in one of those quaintest of old rooms we
found a hot luncheon prepared for the diplomats.
There was a table in the middle at which the
Ambassadors and most of the ladies and persons of
importance sat. After luncheon we stood about
a large central hall called the Hall of St. Vladimir.
The ladies got chairs in a corner, and soon


attracted the notice of a large circle of men. Lister
suggested that they were looking at the jewelled coat
and hat of Esterhazy, who was sitting with them.
We then adjourned to the banqueting hall, and had
time to examine some very curious old plate set
out on the various tables, some lovely salt-cellars
on the table reserved for the Emperor, his carved
ivory chair and the two chairs studded with tur-
quoises destined for the two Empresses. The
guests, amongst whom were long-bearded priests
and very elderly Court ladies, gradually took their
places. Soon the Emperor came in and took his
seat between his mother and his wife. Wine was
then served to him, which was the signal for our
departure. We were hurried out by the chamber-
lains in the most undignified manner. While the
Emperor dined, his brothers stood behind his chair.
The rest of the Imperial Family watched the pro-
ceedings from a window near the roof.

In the evening we drove about to see the
illuminations, which made the Kremlin look like
a fairy palace. But Moscow generally is less suited
for an illumination than towns where the houses
are more closely packed. The Embassy was the
best lighted house, and a great crowd filled our
street all the evening.

On the night of September the 8th there was
a great ball in the Gravinataia Palace, if it can
be called a ball at which there was no dancing,
only polonaises. We assembled in the room where
the great banquet took place on the day of the
Coronation. From this old-fashioned room the
Imperial Family started on incessant promenades


through the rest of the Palace, each time changing
partners. It gave us a good opportunity of seeing
every one, and was a pretty sight. Both Granville
and Marie were paid great attention to by the

On the loth of September General Todleben, who
conducted the defence of Sebastopol, dined with us.
Everybody liked him, and his head has been in no-
ways turned by the great reputation he has earned.
When the war began he was only a lieutenant-
colonel unknown and without favour. He had
married the daughter of a Consul, who disapproved
of the marriage and would not see his son-in-law.
When he returned from Sebastopol, a general
and loaded with honours, the Consul relented, and
received him with open arms. After dinner we
went to the spectacle gala, which the Imperial
Family attended. The theatre was lighted al
giorno, but not so brilliantly as what I have seen
in Italy.

On the 13th I paid a visit to Count Nesselrode.
He was separated from his wife, on account of
her liaison with Edmond About in Paris. She
received a hint not to be in Russia during the
Coronation, but she disregarded it. I saw her at
the French play perched up in the upper tier of
boxes, not being allowed to have a lower one.
Her mother, Madame Zahrenski, is likewise in
bad odour, and received a similar hint, of which
she likewise has taken no notice. Being the wife
of the Governor of St. Petersburg, she takes the
lead at all the fetes, which she does not adorn.
When she dined at the Embassy my brother


took her in to dinner, and I found it difficult to
persuade any one to sit on the other side of

Count Nesselrode, who is very amusing, talks
with apparent openness on many subjects. He
speaks of the late Emperor in a way he would
not have ventured to do in his lifetime ; and
this I find to be the case with several Russians.
He says that Nicholas was so bad a judge of
men that he never made a good appointment.
I expressed my astonishment at his saying so,
considering his father's position in the late reign. —
" O, mon pere, il Va trouvd, il ne I'a pas nonimd.
Aussi c'etait un mariage de raison, pas (Tmcli-
nation. Mon pere lui Mait ddvou^, mais il n'y avait
pas de sympathie entre eux'' — He added that in
this respect the son is superior to his father, and
that every appointment he had made had been
excellent. I said the Grand Duke Constantine was
supposed to be the cleverest. — " // a du brillant,
mais rBmpercur a du bon sens.'' — Nesselrode
told me that his father's fortune originated in
the snuff-boxes which he received as Minister
between the years 1812 and 18 15, and which
he sold for ^20,000. This sum he invested in
land, which has since increased in value to an
incredible degree. One estate that he gave
^10,000 for now brings in that sum yearly.

The next evening we went to see the Camp
des BonrgeoiseSy which, though ill-acted, made me
laugh immensely. Godeonofif, the director of all
the theatres, allowed it to be acted with some
hesitation. He was vexed at receiving on this


occasion no cordon. Mademoiselle Cerito^ was lately
hurt by something going wrong in the machinery,
which Godeonoff made light of. Thereupon she
said to him : " Puisquun cordon qui n arrive pas
blesse tant, une corde qui frappe pent bien etre

The following mot was current at the time.
Alluding to the initials of the two monarchs people
said : " Oic Nicholas avail des ennemis, Alexandre
a des amis.'' "

On Sunday, the 14th, we were invited to a great
State ball at the Kremlin. Our Protestant ladies
preferred not to go. Most of the attaches did not
share their scruples, looking upon it as an official
duty, but three of them peremptorily refused. As
these three never ofo to church and went to the
races on Sunday, and as their ways were generally
far from puritanical, my brother was provoked by
their refusal, and gave them a piece of his mind.
It was a splendid fete. The halls of St. George,
St. Alexander, and St. Andrew were filled, but
not crowded. Seventeen hundred people sat down
to supper, and were served as well as if they were
only ten.

On the 17th of September we went in a large
body to L' Hopital des Enfants Trouvds. We
were received by directors in uniform and
directresses in silks and laces. The place is said
to be admirably managed. A part of the estab-
lishment is merely a school for the orphans of
Government employes, which is kept apart from

* The well-known dancer.

^ It was said of Napoleon III., "// a des ennemis partouV


the foundling establishment. Any one may take a
child to the latter. The only question asked is
whether the child has been baptised. The person
bringing it then receives a ticket with a number.
On presenting this ticket and on paying a sum of
money he may claim back the child. How much
some mothers must cherish this ticket ! What
despair if they lose it ! It is acknowledged that
many of the children are illegitimate, and it seems
to me that the institution must produce much
moral evil. Its enormous extension of late years
is said to have alarmed the late Emperor. Its
defenders point to the infanticide prevalent in
England, which they declare does not exist in

A party of about thirty fashionables went to
Morny's the evening of the i8th. A professional
sang rather well and no one applauded her, but
when Madame Adlerberg sang out of tune every
one was in ecstasy.

On the 22nd was the Bal de la Noblesse, held in a
magnificent ball-room with columns and galleries.
Here again a tribune was reserved for the royalties,
to which Margaret was invited, and where she
hatched mischief; that is to say, she accepted
Morny's offer of a horse for the next day's hunt.
For her, who had not ridden for ages, to mount an
unknown horse on so trying an occasion as a crowded
hunt alarmed me much. Being, however, assured
that the horse was like a lamb, and seeinsf how much
she wished it, what could I say ? But I slept very
little. All, however, turned out well. Margaret
got on famously, riding between Maude and me,


and her seat on horseback was much admired. I
was well mounted on a horse of the Emperor's.
The sport was not famous. Many hares, a few
tame foxes and a still tamer wolf, all eaten up by
the hounds without any run or chance of escape.
But the Emperor was pleased and the little
Czarewitch much excited, so what could we wish for
more ? Besides, the huntsmen in red, the bright uni-
forms, and the fine hounds made it a pretty sight.

One day we drove with Marie to the Devezin
Convent. The nuns did her the honours, and
left the religious service in which they were engaged
in order to follow her about. Custine,^ in his
amusing but abusive work on Russia, reflects on
the morals of these nuns. They must have been
a prettier and younger set than they are now if his
account is to be believed, for a more repulsive set of
old women I never beheld, and there was nothing
in their dress to redeem their ugliness.

On September the 29th the grand fireworks, the
end of all things, took place. The Empress after
them tenait cercle, and we all went to make our
bows. I took advantage of the opportunity to take
a good look at the Emperor.

Only one day more, which we spent in shopping.
My brother and Margaret passed their last evening
at the French play. The title of the piece was,
" Faut-il que je te pince ? " Margaret did not like
it, particularly as she was in an open box, which
is very different from a shut one at the Palais
Royal. But she could not leave, as she was to

1 Astolphe, Marquis de Custine, born 1793. A celebrated French
writer and traveller. He wrote La Russie en i8jg.


accompany Granville to Princesse Kotchoubey,
who gave a ball, the last, as she had given the first,
in Moscow. The Emperor went there alone and
impromptu, to flirt with a maid-of-honour he ad-
mired. He told Margaret he had seen her at the
theatre, and added, ''Quelle drole de piece on notes
a donned

Our journey back to St. Petersburg was enjoyable,
and we were made as comfortable as possible. An
attentive guard was constantly opening our door in
the night to ask us in Russian what he could do
for us. As we none of us understood him, this
was a needless disturbance. The chasseur, too, was
very zealous. He was sent to fetch Mrs. Page,^
Margaret's maid. She was in a carriage with no
steps and five feet fi-om the ground. The chasseur,
nothing daunted, took her by the waist and
threw her like a bundle into the air, kicking and
struggling in vain, whilst Mrs. Malcolm, Marie's
maid, kept calling to her not to make the attempt.
This was the last thing she wished to do, but
the Russian chasseur did not think of consulting
her wishes.

On the evening of our arrival at St. Petersburg
we all supped at a restaurant, where we were given
some specimens of Russian cookery, which were
not bad. Next day we and the Ailesburys went by
rail to Tsarskoe Selo, which is a poor imitation of
Versailles. It was a lovely autumn day, the leaves
golden and the sky blue, and we were pleased
with our drive about the place.

1 A devoted friend and servant, who was for sixty-two years in my
wife's service and my own.


That evening we went with the Granvilles and
Acton to dine with the Grand Duchess Helene.
She has a fine palace, fijrnished with more comfort
and taste than is usual in Russia. It was a small,
pleasant dinner. The table was narrow enough
for people to talk across it. They are reckoned
the most agreeable dinners in St. Petersburg. Our
hostess conversed with me some time, and I in-
dulged in a little mild Radical talk, which she
did not mind. I told her free discussion was
everywhere a safety valve. She wished to know
what English she would find at Nice this winter,
and asked me whether Lady Ashburton was
young or old. I answered, " Neither one nor the
other."—" Is she fifty ? "— " About."—" Then I
know what you think of my age." — I said nothing,
as she looks older, but my Chatsworth friend
stepped forward and rebuked her for so calumni-
ating herself

A few days later we took leave of Russia. I
felt quite at home again on board the Acre. At
Kiel we parted with many. The Granvilles went
thence to Carlsbad, where he was to complete his
cure, and which they will have all to themselves.
They were both in great spirits, relieved at Moscow
being over, and justly pleased with the success of
their Embassy. We accompanied them to Hamburg,
where we spent three days. I was glad to see it,
with its fine modern streets and its picturesque old
town. The look of comfort and well-being in the
inhabitants struck us much after Russia, where
there are comparatively few well-dressed pedestrians
to be seen in the street.


Our party continues to dwindle. Maude is
hurrying home to his wife, Lincoln to his Oxford
examinations. Lister and Ponsonby are on their
way to the Hanseatic towns in search, as usual,
of the picturesque. Cavendish, Dalkeith, Seymour,
Ashley, and Sir Richard King are all that remain
to come home with us by sea. Our voyage was
without incident. Lovely weather most of the time
till we were within sight of England, when we
were uncomfortably tossed about. Cavendish had
the jaundice, which he bore with resignation. Our
most intimate companion was a seal,^ which became
quite tame, the sailors carrying him about in their
arms. What good fellows they are ! One of them
died at Cronstadt, and his things were sold on
board for his widow's benefit, his fellow sailors
paying extravagant prices for them to give her
greater assistance. We reached Spithead on
October 17, and so ends my cursory account of
this very pleasant episode in my life.

' Bought by Sir Robert Peel at Hamburg.



IN the summer of 1847 Lord Bessborough died,
and his son, Lord Duncannon, who was member
for Derby, succeeded to the peerage, thereby-
creating a vacancy in that borough. Up to that
time some member of the Cavendish family had
always held one of the seats, and my uncle on this
occasion gave me his support. He wrote to me
with regard to it :

" I am so very happy that you are pleased, and
your letter has gratified me very much. It is quite
true that you are the only person to whom I should
consent to prolong that sort of interest with

All the workmen in the town were Chartists,
and one of their body stood against me. The
consequence was that at the nomination nearly
every hand was held up in favour of my opponent.
The Mayor, who was a Tory, but preferred even
a Whig to a Chartist, sternly cried out, " Non-
electors, put down your hands ! " They, taken
by surprise, obeyed him, and there remained a
sprinkling of hands in my favour. Thereupon he

decided that I had got the show of hands. The



Chartists demanded a poll, but being unable to
produce the requisite guarantee money, the Mayor
declared me elected. I fancy his proceeding was
illegal ; at all events, as the Chartists could not be
made to obey him, if they had kept their hands
up, the show of hands could not have been
declared in my favour.^

I returned to London and did not mind the abuse
I met with in some quarters for my advanced
opinions. All I know is that every measure I then
promised to vote for, with one exception, has since
become law.

A General Election occurred the next year, the
Tories and Chartists in Derby having in the mean-
time agreed to exchange their votes. I stood with
the old member, Mr. Strutt, and although it was
a sharp fight we won. But alas ! our triumph was
short-lived. Our agent, following the usual course,
had engaged voters as messengers. So little did
he imagine that it was illegal that he paid for their
services openly, and therefore, the evidence being
clear, the House of Commons Committee the
following year had no option but to unseat us. It
was a hard case, as there was no treating and the
election had been a pure one. Our joint expenses
did not exceed eight hundred pounds, much less
than what was in those days usually spent on
elections. It was particularly vexatious for my
colleague, whose seat was never in jeopardy ; but

' Nominations and shows of hands were soon afterwards done away
with at elections, which made them much more peaceful.

1847-80] ELECTION AT STOKE 239

he bore it with great good-humour. He soon
afterwards represented Nottingham, and in 1856
was created Lord Belper.

At the General Election in 1852 I, in conjunction
with Mr. Ricardo, opposed at Stoke-upon-Trent
Alderman Copeland, the other sitting member.
It was a hard fight. The Alderman had great
influence in the Potteries, and was backed up by-
most of the other leading manufacturers. Mr.
Minton, however, who was the principal one,
was an exception and gave me his strenuous
support. The Duke of Sutherland was also my
well-wisher, and frequently during the contest wrote
to me to ascertain how I was getting on. But
his agent, Mr. Loch, shook his head and assured
me, without convincing me, that some return to
Protection was essential. The working-men had
then no votes. In many streets the publicans
were the only electors, but the working-men were
enthusiastic for Free Trade, and won the election
for us by threatening the publicans and shop-
keepers to withdraw their custom unless they
promised to vote for us. Their enthusiasm delighted
me, whereupon my colleague observed that there
was nothing like beer to create it. I had begged,
however, that there should be no treating, and
was much concerned to see how much drunkenness
prevailed on the day of the poll. There was
some talk of a petition, but nothing came of it.

My colleague, who was a nephew of his namesake,
the celebrated economist, was clever and amusing,


but not ill-described as " Louis Ricardo, so full of
bravado." Five years later the Alderman had his
revenge. He was returned at the head of the poll,
leaving me a bad third. This was owing to the
respective votes of Ricardo and myself about the
Chinese War. I, unwillingly, voted for it, and
Ricardo voted against it, thus causing a split in
our party of which I was the victim, although
I had given the popular vote. If I had stood
independently I should have been returned, but it
would have been by the help of the Tories.

The Alderman's first entry into political life had
been a curious one. He sat in Parliament as

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Online LibraryEdward Frederick Leveson-GowerBygone years; → online text (page 15 of 21)