Edward Frederick Leveson-Gower.

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The Coronation of Queen Victoria took place
during my first year at Oxford. I came up to
London for it, having had the good fortune to
obtain, through the kindness of the Duchess of
Sutherland, a ticket of admission into the Abbey.
I got a capital position, very high up, but opposite
to Her Majesty. It was a splendid spectacle.
I saw the whole ceremonial well, including Lord
Rolle rolling down the steps of the throne. I
had a great disappointment that evening. To my
delight I received an invitation to a great ball
given by the Duke of Wellington in honour of
the Coronation. After dinner I went home to
dress, when, knocked up by the fatigues of the
day, I sat down in an armchair, fell fast asleep,
and did not awake till four o'clock the next morning.
My distress may easily be imagined.

It was during one of my holidays in Paris that
the Italian Opera-house was burnt. I was amusing
myself with some friends at a bal masqud when
we heard of its being on fire, and we at once pro-
ceeded to the scene of action. We had to fall in


with one of the lines of men who were handing on
the buckets, full of water, to the theatre, or the
empty ones from it. The line we joined was
luckily the latter, and therefore the least fatiguing.
It was an intensely cold night, and we were thinly
clad, but the excitement of the labour kept us warm.
The rule is, that no one once engaged is allowed
to leave ; but we managed to evade it, and therefore
did not witness the dreadful tragedy which took
place. The manager and his family threw them-
selves out of their apartment at the top of the
building, and all perished. Had they remained
quiet they would have incurred no harm, as the
fire never reached their quarters.

F. Charteris and I, when at Oxford, spent a
good deal of our time at Nuneham, a charming
country house which the Archbishop of York had
recently inherited, when he changed his name of
Vernon to that of Harcourt. His illustrious grand-
son, the late Sir William Harcourt, had just before
his death become the possessor of it. The Arch-
bishop was my uncle and godfather, and always
very gracious to me, both in the country and later
in London. He was a noble specimen of an ecclesi-
astic of former days, courteous, dignified and genial,
very hospitable and beloved by all who approached
him. In certain circumstances in our political
history he acted with a good deal of common-sense.
He was an ardent sportsman, perhaps more so than
some of the strait-laced would approve of. When
Bishop of Carlisle he shot grouse on the Naworth

1819-40] NUNEHAM 17

moors. One day when they proposed to take
him out of his way to show him the Roman wall,
he said, " Never mind the wall ; show me the
grouse." On one occasion at Nuneham we found
the foxhounds running by the house, when we saw
the Archbishop, leaning out of an open window,
crying out " Tally-ho ! " at the top of his voice.

The following account of Nuneham, written
some years afterwards by my sister, Georgiana
Fullerton, to my mother, may be found of some

Nuneham, February 2$th, 1843.

"We arrived here yesterday at half-past four.
I am much struck with the beauty and comfort
of the house, and the view and the gardens in
summer must be perfectly beautiful. We find a
large family party. . . . "We are to go to Oxford
on Friday. I summoned up courage to say that
I would rather go and see some of the buildings
while they are at a lecture of Doctor Buckland's
on the causes of the colours on birds' wings. And
so it is arranged.

" There is much surprise felt at Oxford at Mr.
Ward's ^ marriage, and both friends and foes seem
to think it rather inconsistent in such an advocate
of Romish practice. I suppose he says it is a
matter of discipline only, and that, as his Church
allows him to marry and he does not feel equal
himself to what he has recommended as the
highest line, he is justified in doing so. That
may be so, strictly speaking, but it throws rather

* Mr. Ward was one of the leaders of the Oxford movement, and
a close friend of Newman and of Gladstone. His book, The Ideal
of a Christian Church, was condemned, and he was stripped of his
degrees by Convocation in 1845. He subsequently became a Roman
Catholic, and was the father of Mr. Wilfred Ward.


a ridicule upon him, and people say he has left
his College more in love than in hate."

I will add an extmct from another letter written
at the same visit.

" The morning is beautiful, and we are going
to drive into Oxford. I shall enjoy it very
much. I am so pleased at what I have just heard
that I shall look upon it in better spirits than
yesterday. The Bishop has wisely and kindly
given way and Mr. Oakeley resumes his ministry
without recantation or conditions. They do not
mean to have any more proceedings at Oxford
of any kind, and therefore there seems some
prospect of peace and agreement in differing."

My sister joined the Roman Catholic Church
in 1846, just after my father's death. She post-
poned doing so as she knew it would cause
him great annoyance. Those who knew her will
think me justified in saying she was an angel on
earth. Her conversion never altered her rela-
tions with any member of her family, to whom she
was always devotedly attached, particularly to my

Our visits to Nuneham were much more frequent
when Mr. Harcourt, the Archbishop's eldest son,
came to reside there in the absence of his father.
His wife, Lady Elizabeth (who was the daughter
of the second Earl of Lucan), was Charteris' aunt,
and was handsome and attractive. Her daughter,
who had just married Lord Norreys, was also
charming. The latter became Lady Abingdon,
and was the mother of Sir Francis Bertie, who

1819-40] MILAN 19

has lately been appointed Ambassador at Paris.
Time passed in such society was very agreeable.

Lady Elizabeth, not long after this, met with
an untimely end. She and her husband went to
Milan to witness the Coronation of the Emperor
of Austria as King of Lombardy. By my father's
leave I accompanied my brother-in-law, Mr.
Fullerton, with the same object, and also in the
hope of meeting the Harcourts. Milan was the
scene of numberless festivities. The Italians just at
that time became more reconciled to the Austrians
on account of the benevolent rule of the Viceroy,
Archduke Rainer. Many of the Milanese nobility
opened their houses, and we were present at
most of their parties. I have a distinct recollec-
tion of seeing several times in society that fine
old man. Marshal Radetzski. I also remember a

beautiful Russian, the Comtesse , whom I had

known in Paris, and who was at Milan, as an
Italian lady put it, in rather a " bad smell." She
led a fast life, and I heard an amusing story of
an incident which occurred a year or two later.
She had fallen in love with an Italian tenor, who
at her request had cultivated a moustache. Now
it seems that it was not etiquette for a singer to
appear on the stage otherwise than clean-shaved,
so that the audience hissed him ; upon which the
lady stood up in her box with her hands out-
stretched in a suppliant attitude, which was a
silent appeal to them to allow her favourite to
retain his moustache.


This reminds me of an incident in a theatre
which happened some years afterwards at Venice.
I was there with my brother, Lord Granville and
his wife, her mother the Duchesse de Dalberg,
and her aunt Contessa Marescalchi. We went
one evening to the Opera, when the last-named
recognised in the principal singer the husband of
her lady's-maid, who had cruelly deserted his wife.
Madame Marescalchi got my brother the next
morning to ask him to call at our hotel. When
he appeared my brother said nothing, but begged
Madame Marescalchi, who was waiting in the
next room, to come in. She entered, bringing
in her maid, who at once threw herself into the
arms of the faithless husband. Upon this a
reconciliation took place, to last how long I do
not know. The following day we all returned to
the Opera, to show our approbation of the young
man's conduct. We vehemently applauded every
note he sang. As he sang out of tune the audience
resented this applause and began to hiss. This
made Madame Marescalchi remark to us, '' Je voiis
prie, tin peu moins de zele!'

To hit the right measure in such cases is
somewhat difficult. I found it so at some private
theatricals which took place at the Dowager Lady
Essex's in London. Henry Greville was the
principal performer, and at the end of the first
act complained to us of the absence of applause,
without which it was impossible to act. We then
took to fipplaiidipg vigorously, which m^ide him

1819-40] NEWMAN AT OXFORD 21

still more angry. Indiscriminate applause, he said,
was worse than none. But as the acting had
nothing salient about it discrimination was difficult.

The Coronation at Milan was a magnificent
sight, rivalling that which I had lately witnessed in
Westminster Abbey. There are few interiors of
cathedrals finer than the one at Milan, and when
the beautiful Empress walked majestically along
the aisle from the door to the altar, it was a sight
worthy of the gods, although somewhat impaired
by the insignificant appearance of the husband
by whose side she walked. One evening the
Cercle de Noblesse gave a ball in honour of the
Coronation. I led Lady Elizabeth Harcourt,
leaning on my arm, round the room, and her beauty
excited general admiration. Two days later she
was seized with an attack of cholera, to which
she succumbed. I need not say how much we were
grieved and shocked. We went out no more, soon
taking our departure for Paris.

It would weary my reader if I described in more
detail my life at Oxford. It seems strange to
me now that neither I nor any of my companions
paid any attention to what was called the Oxford
Movement, which had its origin about that time.
Some of us used to go to St. Mary's to hear
Newman preach. We were attracted by his
earnestness and the beauty and simplicity of his
language ; so far as I can remember he rarely
touched upon dogma.

Our life was very pleasant, but must be con-


sidered to have been wasted, except by those who
look upon time affording much pleasure as not
absolutely thrown away. My chief amusement was
tennis. I sometimes went out with the drag. I
was president of an archery club, which, to the
peril of the neighbourhood, we converted into a
rirte club, and was on that account closed soon
after I left. I went to many wine-parties, where
there was no drunkenness, but perhaps more con-
viviality than would be at present approved of.
I played a good deal at whist, but for moderate
stakes. I read little, and relied on what I had
learnt at my private tutor's to get through my
daily work. We were on the whole a steady set,
but it was not a life calculated to promote success
in our future careers.

In my opinion my masters, whether at school
or college, were to a certain degree responsible
for my indolence. Not one of them sought to
interest me in my work, or pointed out the merits
of the authors we read. Nor did they bring home
to me the circumstances under which these authors
wrote, nor make any comparisons between ancient
and modern literature. It was very different with
a Frenchman who coached me during one of my
Oxford vacations. He pointed out beauties and
defects, and enlivened his lessons with many anec-
dotes and interesting facts bearing upon our studies.
It is fair to add that he had as a teacher a consider-
able reputation. I do not remember his name,
but he was tutor to the late Due de Broglie, the

i8i9-4o] OXFORD TO PARIS 23

distinguished politician and author, whose father
recommended him to mine, and in later years he
became the tutor of the Prince Imperial.

It is odd enough that in England instructors of
the well-to-do classes never receive any training
in the art of teaching, while this is required of the
masters and mistresses in our elementary schools.

I left Oxford in the autumn of 1840 and joined
my parents at Paris. I remained with them until
the end of the following January, when I took up
my abode in London in order to study law.


MY legal studies were soon interrupted by my
being summoned to Paris, where my
father had been struck down with paralysis. I
believe this was the result of the anxiety he went
through during the previous autumn. England
and France were on the vero^e of war on the
Mehemet AH question, and it was largely owing
to my father that peace was maintained. But the
strain put upon him was great, and undermined
his health. He gradually somewhat recovered,
but for the rest of his life remained an invalid.
He was very fond of me, and was unwilling
in his impaired state of health to part with
me. So niy return to my legal studies was
postponed to the following year. This was most
welcome to me, as I dearly loved my father, and
preferred the gay life in Paris to reading Smith's
Leading Cases. There are two seasons in Paris —
one in mid-winter, before Lent, the other after
Easter. The latter is by far the pleasanter, as I
realised on this occasion. There were many balls
and other amusements, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I attended the races at Chantilly with a pleasant


1841-42] PARIS— LA JONCHERE 25

party. The Duke of Orleans gave a ball in
a part of the building which had been the stables
of former days, and had escaped destruction during
the French Revolution. The whole ckdieati was
afterwards, as is well known, fully restored by
the Due d'Aumale.

Later on in this year, when the weather grew
warmer, my father rented a charming place not
far from Versailles, called La Jonchere. It was
formerly the residence of Ouvrard, the great
contractor in the time of the first Napoleon, and
one of Madame Tallien's lovers. The house stood
on an eminence, with a glorious view, the Seine
winding through the plain below, St. Germain with
its chateau in front, and Marly with its woods and
aqueduct to the left. As my father got better
we saw more society, and many people came down
to sleep or only for dinner. One difference I
observed between our English and French visitors.
The former either admired or pretended to admire
the view ; the latter rarely looked at it. We got
up some theatricals in a small way. Madame de
Meyendorf and my sister Georgiana Fullerton
acted in perfection the scene between C^limene
and Arsinoe in Moliere's Misanthrope, and I took
a part in the bower scene of Much Ado about

During my various visits to Paris I came across
a number of remarkable persons. I saw Talleyrand
once or twice, and Thiers oftener. I frequently
shook hands with Guizot, and heard Mole converse,


who was reckoned one of the most agreeable men
in France. I. saw Berryer, but never Lamartine,
except when speaking in the Chambers. I knew
Eugene Sue well, as he frequented the house of
one of my friends. When a dandy he wrote some
fashionable novels, and was the pet of various fine
ladies. One of his novels was founded upon a
story in real life. It was published in numbers,
the heroine being described as involved in dreadful
trouble from which his female friends entreated
him to extricate her.

This reminded me of an anecdote a propos of
Cla7nssa Harlowe. The novel came out in suc-
cessive volumes, and at the end of the sixth she is
described as dying. Upon this some one wrote to
Richardson that he would give him a thousand
pounds if in the next volume he would restore her
to health. This Richardson refused to do.

Eugene Sue then wrote some stories full of
sympathy for the working classes. He consequently
obtained their favour, and was elected a deputy by
them, but in that capacity he met with no success.

I shall not attempt to enumerate all the lovely
women I at this time became acquainted with.
The Duchesse d'Istrie was the most beautiful, and
one of the few French women I ever met with who
could rival our principal English beauties.

The Duchesse de Galliera, a first cousin of
my sister-in-law Lady Granville, was remarkably
clever. She was rather plain, with a peculiar
absent manner, but had great finesse d'esprit, and


could hold her own with the distinguished men she
received in her salon. It was to her, I believe,
that some one remarked, '' Apres tout, madamey il
faut avouer que ce sont les gens d' esprit qui ont
perdu la France'' — ''Mais alors done, monsieur,
pourquoi ne nous avez-vous pas sauvis ? " — Both
she and her husband were immensely rich, and
lived in the splendid Hotel Monaco. I never
afterwards went through Paris without her asking
me to dinner, when I met distinguished company. I
made friends there with M. Legouve, the dramatist
and academician. He was the author with Scribe
of "Adrienne Lecouvreur." When I told him I
had been charmed with a little piece which had
just appeared at the Gymnase called La Chaste
Suzanne, — "I am glad," he said, "you were
pleased with it, as I am the author."

At one of these dinners, which took place just
after the entry of Garibaldi into Naples, I ex-
pressed myself delighted with this event, not
knowing that among the guests was the Cavaliere
Canofari, who remained as Neapolitan Charge
d' Affaires at Paris until the recognition of Italy by
the French Government. This caused me some
compunction, as he bore with so much good humour
my observations, which must have been most
offensive to him, and merely expressed his dissent
from my views.

The Gallieras were most generous. He gave
;^8oo,ooo towards the improvement of the harbour
at Genoa. She built and endowed various institu-


tions in France and in Italy. She and her son
handed over II Palazzo Rosso with all its priceless
treasures to their native town of Genoa. Her
son is a Socialist, and, considering all capital to
be robbery, was with difficulty persuaded to limit
himself to the miserable pittance of ^20,000 a year,
which I believe he distributes among others. His
mother, who held rather Liberal views, was de-
voted to the Orleans family, and proved her
devotion by giving a valuable estate in Italy
to the Due de Montpensier. When she offered
it he accepted it by telegram. She also left a
large sum to the Empress Frederick, with whom
she became acquainted on the Riviera.

During these years I frequently saw Princess
Lieven, who, when she had ceased to be Russian
Ambassadress in London, took up her permanent
abode in Paris after passing a winter in Russia.
She spent much of her time at our Embassy.
I often made up her rubber of whist, of which
she was very fond. The Tsar was indignant with
her for refusing to return to Russia, so much so
that at one time he stopped her allowance, and she
had to have recourse to her friends to enable her
to meet her expenses. My father delighted in her
conversation, and on this account my mother was
glad to welcome her to her house ; she also
pitied her, as she thought that, in spite of her
brilliant existence, she was an unhappy woman.
The Princess, in one of her letters to her brother,
Comte Benckendorf, which have been lately


published, says that she preferred my mother's
society to that of any other woman in London,
which is all the more flattering as my mother did
not really feel much affection for her, and she was
the only person who took little interest in politics
whom the Princess cared for.

What the Princess chiefly suffered from was
intense boredom, which amounted almost to a
disease. If nobody called during the afternoon
she would roll on the floor from ennui. On one
occasion, when on her way from England, she
got so much alarmed at the prospect of travelling
alone from Calais to Paris, that she offered a seat
in her carriage to a respectable-looking clergyman
on board the steamer, which he joyfully accepted.
When seated beside her, he talked so incessantly
as nearly to drive her wild. She could only relieve
her feelings by putting her head out of the window
every ten minutes and screaming out to the winds,
" // mennuie — il niennuie V Sometimes since,
when bored by some one to extinction, I have been
soothed by repeating those words to myself.

Though she looked very distinguished, with her
small head and graceful figure, she was not
handsome ; yet there never was a woman who
had at her feet so many men of mark. Prince
Metternich, Canning, Wellington, Aberdeen, Lord
Grey, and Guizot, as well as George IV. were
at different times devoted to her. It, however,
appears from some of her lately published letters
that she did not care much for any of them,


but made use of them for her own political objects.
Her correspondence betrays duplicity with regard to
them. The only person she seems to have been truly
attached to was M. Guizot, who was her friend for
twenty years, and was faithful to her till she died.

I was once present on an interesting occasion
at her salon. All Paris was at that time wondering
whether the Emperor would marry Mademoiselle de
Montijo. The room was full when the door was
thrown open, and the Comtesse and her daughter
announced. Madame de Lieven immediately got
up from her seat and, brushing past the mother,
embraced the daughter, taking her by both hands.
Every one present at once knew that the engage-
ment had taken place.

Madame Appony, the Austrian Ambassadress,
was also a constant visitor at our Embassy. She
was a most amiable woman, but was to a tiresome
degree what the French call doucereuse, her words
melting in her mouth. Her eldest son married
Mademoiselle de Benckendorf, who was described,
before her arrival as a bride at Paris, to be blunt
and insolent. This made Monsieur Tschann, the
Swiss Minister, observe : ''Si elk est brutale cela
sera rafraichissmtty She afterwards became
Austrian Ambassadress in London, where she
was decidedly civil and popular. She was a niece
of Princess Lieven, and probably found out that,
being less clever, she had better not try and imitate
her aunt's imperious ways.

Later on I spent a short time in England, and

1841-42] THE RIVIERA 31

afterwards went to Nice, where my father had
been ordered by the doctor to spend the winter.
I found the whole family lodged in a charming
house close to the shore, near the Promenade des
Anglais. Lord Brougham had offered to lend
his villa at Cannes to my father, but he preferred
Nice as being more sociable. Lord Brougham's
villa and Mr. Leader's were then the only ones
at Cannes, and Nice and Genoa were the only
towns on the Riviera frequented by strangers.
Nice was very gay, with a distinguished and cos-
mopolitan society. My uncle, thei Duke of Devon-
shire, rented a house close to ours, and took an
active part in all that was going on. So did the
Grand Duchess Stephanie of Baden, with her
daughter the Princess Marie. The Duchess was
related to the Empress Josephine, and was the
adopted daughter of Napoleon. She was very
good-natured and without pretension. On Mardi
Gras, not recognising her, I pelted her mercilessly
with bonbons, which she did not in the least
resent. Another visitor at Nice was the handsome
and brilliant Duchesse de Dino, whom Prince
Talleyrand had obtained in marriage for his nephew
the Due de Talleyrand, who became the Due de
Dino. After the lapse of some years she left her
husband in order to live with his uncle, over whose
establishment she presided during the remainder of
his life. She accompanied him when he came to
London as Ambassador, and had great success in
English society, which, after some hesitation.


received her well. Her daughter, Madame de
Castellane, who, with her husband, was staying
with her at Nice, was said, when a girl of
eighteen, to have reconciled Prince Talleyrand
on his deathbed to the Church, and was con-
sequently looked upon as a saint. She deserved
that appellation, not on account of that achieve-
ment, but because she was good, and bore well
some sad trials in life. Her daughter married
Prince Radziwill, whom I met in Russia just
after his engagement, and surprised by telling him
that I had once given a kiss to his intended. But
he was reassured when I explained that she was
at the time only two years old. The Duchesse
de Dino, upon her uncle's death, became devout,
and was for a time the bosom friend of the Arch-
bishop of Paris. After we met at Nice she
fell in love with a good-looking young German,
a Prince Lichnowsky, and was only deterred by

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Online LibraryEdward Frederick Leveson-GowerBygone years; → online text (page 2 of 21)