Frances (Winckley) Shelley.

The diary of Frances lady Shelley (Volume 1) online

. (page 10 of 33)
Online LibraryFrances (Winckley) ShelleyThe diary of Frances lady Shelley (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 33)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

placed themselves opposite to the Tuileries, in the
Place de Louis XV. The Duke and I were quite close
to them while the troops defiled. The bands played
stirring marches ; the day was very fine, a bright sun
and no dust. The whole scene represented my idea
of what ancient tournaments must have been ; par-
ticularly so when the Emperors took up their
positions at the head of the regiments that had been
given to them by the King of Prussia. At a given
signal, all those fine regiments passed in review, and
the Emperors saluted the King of Prussia as they

The Emperor of Russia led the wa}' with much show
and pretension. He cannot ride at all, and looked
extremely ungraceful. The Emperor of Austria, who
did it for the first time, pleased me by his simplicity
and grace. His charger, which advanced at a walk
for a certain distance, no sooner heard the blare of the
trumpets than he began to caracole in the most effective
manner, and bore his Imperial rider past the saluting

The Emperor of Austria interests me. He is thin, and
has a melancholy expression. He is a great favourite
with the Duke, who told me that the only really paternal
government in Europe is that of Vienna.

That evening we went to the Comedie Francaise
to see Mdlle. Georges in " Semiramis." The Duke
was not present, as he was engaged to dine with


the General Officers quartered in, and around, Paris.
We met him afterwards at Lady Castlereagh's, but
he did not stay there long. Prince Leopold of Saxe-
Coburg, whom I had known well in England, sat by
me at supper. He is very gentlemanlike and agree-
able. I wish he may marry Princess Charlotte,
which is talked of. I don't believe that the Prince
of Orange would now marry her, even if it were
proposed to him again. They are, I think, far better
apart. When the time comes for them to assume
the sovereignty of their separate dominions, they
would be unable to leave, and the Prince, being
decidedly domestic, would, naturally, like to live
entirely with his wife.

The Prince of Bavaria caused us much amusement
at Lady Castlereagh's. He persists in speaking
English, and makes the most dreadful mistakes,
saying, in all innocence, the most extraordinary
things. I see very plainly that we shall all be
heartily bored with him. He is all very well for
once in a way. The Duke introduced me to him
this morning, for the fun of the thing!

Next morning we went to the Louvre. I was much
more impressed this time, and less bewildered. We
afterwards rode on the boulevards, where we met the
Duke, who insisted on our dining with him after our
ride. After a pleasant dinner the Duke took us to the
opera. He was evidently unwell, and, when he had
set us down at Lady Castlereagh's, he went home.

I thought the supper that evening tiresome, in spite
of Pozzo di Borgo, 1 who delighted me by praising the
Duke of Wellington, as well as by his knowledge on
many subjects. He has, what the French call Fesprit de

1 Charles Andre Pozzo di Borgo was born near Ajaccio, in Corsica,
March 8, 1768, in the same year as Napoleon. lie was in early life
closely allied with the hero Paoli. He attached himself to the Girondists in
the National Assembly. When obliged to leave Corsica he came to London,
and soon gained the confidence of Mr. Pitt, who employed him on diplomatic
missions to Vienna. lie subsequently won the confidence of the Emperor


la conversation, to a greater degree than anybody I ever
met with. His hatred of Bonaparte is well known.
I should describe him as a gifted man, mats, il est un
pen fat. Lord Clive and Lord Cathcart sat by me, and
made themselves very agreeable.

• • • • •

{July 1815.) The great review was splendid
indeed ! The Duke sent the glass coach, with
two outriders, and two footmen behind, at half-
past nine. I called for Lady Kinnaird, and we
stationed ourselves at the end of the Avenue, in
the Champs Elysees, opposite to the Palais Elysee
Bourbon, where the Emperor of Russia resides.
Presently the Duke arrived, and saluted the Emperor
with his sword. Then they rode together along the
line. Never shall I forget the impression which the
whole scene made upon my mind. The Duke, as
usual, wore his Field-Marshal's uniform with all his
orders. He looked indeed the conqueror ! We fol-
lowed along the line, to the Pont de Neuilly. The
Sovereigns and the Duke took up their stations
opposite to the Garde Meuble ; with that fine building,
le Corps Legislatif, at their backs. The troops then
began to defile. We were exactly opposite to the
Sovereigns. The Prince of Orange saluted with per-
fect grace. There were 65,000 men present, and the
review lasted till five o'clock. I thought that the
Dutch looked very shabby ; but the British troops,
and particularly the Guards, were magnificent. The
18-pounder guns, drawn by twelve horses, made an
impression on the foreign officers. The Duke kept his
sword drawn throughout the day, and conversed a
great deal with the Emperor of Austria, who strongly
resembles the Duke of Gordon. There were shoals

Alexander, who sent him to Naples on the eve of the Battle of Austerlitz.
During the campaign of 1809, Pozzo di Borgo was at Vienna. After the
Battle of Wagram, Napoleon made it a condition that he should be banished.
He entered Paris with the Allies and took a leading part in Napoleon's


of people, of every nationality and class, at this
review. I never saw a mob so hard to disperse.
There was no clearing them away from our carriage,
in spite of the efforts of our attendant aides-de-
camp. Close to us stood a French cuirassier, who
had deserted, and joined the Duke of Wellington
just before the Battle of Waterloo. This man warned
the Duke that Bonaparte would attack in half an

After the review we dined with the Duke, but
I had not the happiness of sitting by him, which
made me think the dinner was un pen triste. Lady
John Somerset, of course, took precedence of me,
and Lady Kinnaird sat on his other side. My
neighbour was the Prince of Saxe-Coburg and
Nassau. Next to him sat Metternich, who told me
of a singular, and common, manner of selling estates
in Germany, which has just given rise to a remarkable
trial. It seems to be a usual practice there to put
estates up to lottery. In this case, the man who
won the prize happened to die before the result was
declared. His next-of-kin claimed the estate. Un-
fortunately, a servant-maid in the house of deceased
came forward, produced the winning ticket, and stated
that he had made her a present of it. It is thought
that she will gain the cause.

Next morning I went to Gerard's studio to see
the Duke's portrait. It is not equal to that by
Lawrence. In my opinion all Gerard's portraits
are bad — the one which he gave to the Duke, of
Bonaparte, is the best I have seen. Gerard begged
me to ask the Duke to dispense with all his orders,
and to have only the Order of the Garter on his
breast. I delivered the message. We then went
to the Luxembourg, and I was delighted with the
pictures — especially the Vernets, which are quite
beautiful. Several artists were copying them, and
among the group was a woman. We visited the


Chamber of the Peers. The large pictures repre-
senting Bonaparte's victories are covered with green
cloth. This was done by the King's orders in
1814. On Bonaparte's return from Elba they were
uncovered, and are now again hidden from view !
Why don't they take them away ?

In the evening we dined at Verrey's with a party of
officers, and afterwards went with the Duke to the
opera. They had put on a new ballet in honour of
the Bourbons. It was violently applauded. We
finished the night at Madame Crauford's. The Duke
is, evidently, not at all well.

Next day Shelley and I dined at Chateau
Villiers, where General Lambert is quartered. It
belonged to Murat, who gave it to Bonaparte
when he went to Naples. Princesse Vaudemont
dined there. She is of the house of Lorraine.
A clever woman, but exceedingly plain in feature.
I talked much with her, and also with some French-
men, who disgusted me by their abuse of France,
and their pretended adoration of England. I was
rather fortunate in being able to meet so many

The dear Duke has been unwell for the past three
days, and unable to leave his quarters. What a
difference this makes in my liking for Paris ! I do
not feel very well myself. I passed the morning in
shopping, which was a great bore. We dined at
Verrey's, but I thought the dinner bad. Everything
in France tastes the same. I feel sure that at the
restaurants they throw all the remains after dinner
into a stock-pot for the next day. Salt spoons are
never seen, and the French dip their knives into the

After dinner we went to the Feydeau to see " Le
Nouveau Seigneur du Village" and " Joconde." The
latter is very pretty, and the music charming. Lady


Kinnaird took me, against my inclination, to Lady
Castlereagh's. I did not stay long. Every person
that 1 like is at Madame Crauford's, where I was
a fool not to go, as I had been invited. Lord Stewart
accompanied Lady Kinnaird and myself in the carriage.
I never met so great a fool. He pretended to be dis-
tressed because he felt sure that, on his arrival at
Lady Castlereagh's, he would be called " the Duke's

I told him plainly that it was degrading the adora-
tion we feel for the Duke, to persifler about it, and
to call it " love." I explained to him that whenever
admiration was openly expressed, love might well
despair !

Next morning I went with Lady Kinnaird to the
Palais Royal. We saw the whole palace. The
gallery and bedroom are most beautiful. The rest
of the building is broken up into small, low rooms,
and very uncomfortable. We afterwards walked in
the arcades, which amused me much. The shops
are really beautiful. We dined with Lord Cathcart
at the Hotel d'Abrantes. A grand dinner and
excellently served. This evening I heard more
nonsense from General ChernichefT, and more com-
pliments than had ever been paid to me before.
Went to the opera with Prince Saxe-Coburg. I
feel triste, for the Duke is still unable to leave his

At one of the receptions at the Tuileries, I was
leaning on the Duke's arm, when he suddenly
dropped it, to greet, and kiss with reverence the
hand of the most charming old lady, of the vicille
cour, that I ever met. The Duke introduced me to
her as the Duchesse de Seran, in whose society he
had passed the happiest part of his life, and to whose
matronly kindness he owed more gratitude than he
could ever repay. It appears that the Due de Seran
was, in those days, Commander of the Military


College where Wellington acquired that perfect
command of the French language, and distinguished
manners, which enabled him, many years afterwards,
to meet on terms of equality the first Princes and
diplomats of Europe. The Duchesse de Seran
spoke to me of the noble qualities of mind and
heart which had, in those early days, endeared
Wellington to the Due de Seran and to herself.

• * • • •

Went to visit Grassini, who, delighted at my
calling, kissed me on both cheeks. I was much
interested by Monsieur Delessart, 1 with whom I
conversed on the political situation. He openly
expressed his determination never to wear the white
cockade. In his opinion, if the King had at first
adopted the Tricolor Standard he would have felt
secure on the throne of France. He says that even
if Bonaparte had not left Elba, there would have
been a Revolution, just the same. " We require a
national King," said he, " not un roi des emigre's.
The Due d'Orleans, as a son of the Revolution,
would have proved acceptable. We resent any
semblance of a reflection being made upon us for
having served our country in the Revolution.
Toute la partie agissante de la nation pense de
meme. Our King must be the King of the nation."
This I perfectly believe.

Went to see Les Invalides. The Prussians have
carried off a great many of the models.

The Duke is better to-day, and was able to dine
at Lord Stewart's. He called, and took us in his
carriage. It was the most delightful dinner. Although
I did not sit by the Duke, I saw a great deal of him
both before, and after dinner. I sat between the
Prince of Orange and Metternich. Talleyrand, and

1 Probably a son of Monsieur Delessart, Minister of the Interior in 1792,
who lost his life in the Rue de 1'Orangerie on September 2, during the
massacre, at Versailles, of the prisoners coming from Orleans.


Schwartzenberg were opposite. I never saw so dia-
bolical a countenance as Talleyrand's. He has no
very marked feature, is pale, has a crafty expression,
and a most villainous mouth. His fiendish laugh still
haunts me.

After dinner we retired to a small apartment,
where I noticed a bust of the Due de Montesquieu.
Talleyrand told us the following anecdote. He said
that one day Bonaparte, in a towering passion, gave
him his conge as Grand Chamberlain. " I retired to
my apartment, and in an hour a servant entered and
announced, • Monsieur le Grand Chambellan de
l'Empereur.' It was Montesquieu, who had come to
pay his respects to me."

Talleyrand repeated the last sentence in a most
malicious manner; called Montesquieu bete, and added,
" Voila ce qu'on appelle ' gentleman,' n'est-ce pas ? "
Talleyrand may be clever, but he has evidently a
very little mind, or he would not dwell on such an
incident. At dinner Metternich was very entertaining.
I wonder if one may believe what he said ?

He told me that he was the person who announced
to Marie Louise that Bonaparte had made a proposal
for her hand. She asked, " Est-ce que mon pere le
veut?" Metternich replied, "II ne veut pas vous
contraindre." " Alors j'y consens," said Marie

It was Metternich, again, who told her of the
Emperor's escape from Elba. When the Empress
heard this she remarked : " Mes devoirs sont en
contradiction. Dites a mon pere qu'il faut qu'il oublie
que j'ai plus de quinze ans. Je me mets sous sa

Metternich told me that when the news arrived
that Bonaparte was actually in the hands of the
English, he was instructed to break the news to
Marie Louise. He speaks of Bonaparte as if he
adored him, but this, 1 am assured, is not the case.


After dinner the Duke of Wellington took us to the
Theatre Francais ; and afterwards set us down at
Lady Castlereagh's. He then went home. I fear that
he is still very far from well.

• • • • •

Sunday, July 30. — I am just setting off for Malmaison.
My journal has been terribly neglected, but I must try
to make up for it.

• • • • •

We spent a pleasant day at Malmaison, and had a
long conversation with the concierge, who told us a
great deal about Bonaparte. We spent the night at
the chateau ; and I slept in the bed which Bonaparte
occupied the night before he went away for ever. I
saw the marks he had cut into the chairs and tables.
The concierge professed a deep attachment to him,
and affection for the Empress Josephine. He told us
that Bonaparte had never spoken a cross word to him.
He attributes this to the fact that he always pre-
served silence in his presence, and never spoke except
by way of reply. When addressed by the Emperor,
he would answer him quickly ; and was careful never
to appear frightened, for that always made him angry.
Bonaparte objected to observations being made in his
presence. Whenever any of his entourage spoke, he
invariably cut them short with : " Allons ! point
d'observations ! "

The concierge's wife is an Englishwoman. She
told me that Josephine was very extravagant in her
dress, and also in her mode of living. Sometimes Bona-
parte stormed at her because she asked him for money.
" But," said my informant, " that which he refused
her to-day, she was sure to receive on the morrow."

Josephine's death appears to have been very sudden.
One morning she left Malmaison, in perfect health, to
breakfast with the Sovereigns at Princesse Hortense's.
She ate a great deal, and afterwards felt unwell — so
unwell that she resolved to return home. On the road


she was obliged to stop several times, being overcome
by nausea. She did not keep to her bed, which perhaps
she ought to have done. The concierge seems to think
that her case was mismanaged by her physician, but he
protests against the theory of poison. " Elle etait si
bonne quelle ne voulait pas avoir d'autre medecin, de
crainte de faire de la peine a ce pauvre homme."

At last the Emperor of Russia insisted on sending
his own physician to the Empress Josephine.

When the doctor saw her he pronounced her case
hopeless, and said that she could not live another
twenty-four hours. He proved to be right. Josephine
died without pain. Her body did not change after
death, which it would have done if she had been
poisoned. It was quite touching to hear the way in
which the concierge spoke of his late mistress. He
said : " Si elle avait du chagrin, qui la rendait un peu
de mauvaise humeur avec quelqu'un, on etait sur que
dans peu ellel'enverrait chercher, pour lui dire quelque
chose d'agreable."

Princesse Pauline Borghese, in spite of her beauty,
seems to have been as much disliked as Josephine was

We rode home next morning through the forest ; and
thence all through the park of St. Cloud, which is
magnificent. The allees afforded delicious shade from
the heat of the sun. The Duke met us on horseback,
and took us to look at the preparations for his ball,
which is to take place to-night. He looked ill, but was

in good spirits.

. . • •

The Duke's ball was very pleasant, but too crowded
for dancing. The Emperor of Russia sent an excuse ;
but the King of Prussia was present, and talked a great
deal to me ; so also did Schwartzenberg, whom I like

On the following morning we went with Lord
Cathcart to see the Monuments Erancais. Was intro-

i2 4 CONTRETEMPS [ch. ix

duced to M. le Noir, who arranged them. The statue
of Henri le Grand bears a very strong resemblance to
the Duke of Wellington — it is wonderfully like him —
and, if he wore a beard and moustachios, it would be
himself; particularly that extreme uprightness. On the
whole, I was pleased ; but not so much as I expected
to be. I don't like to see all these monuments from
sacred ground. It painfully recalls all the horrors of
the Revolution.

August i.— Dined at Sir Henry Clinton's 1 in the
Bois de Boulogne. Hurried back to the play, " Le
Medecin malgre lui " — excellent.

The next day was full of contretemps. In the morn-
ing the shopping tired me. I then visited the Cabinet
of Medals, where I should have been amused if I had
been left to myself ; but was intensely bored by Prince
Joseph of Monaco, and some young people with him.
Then, I had promised to ride a horse belonging to
Colonel * * * to oblige him. Unfortunately the
gallant Colonel got so tipsy the night before, that he
forgot all about it. I sent a message to the Duke about
the theatre ; that message never reached him. In
the evening I dined at Lord Cathcart's, one of the most
punctual of men. No one came until half-past six. I
was impatient to get to the theatre, where Mdlle. Mars
was to act one of her great roles. I was in a state of
trepidation, which I dared not show, all through the
dinner. I eventually got away to the Duke's box, but
during the most interesting scene, Lady John Somerset
and her sister entered the Duke's box, which was
already full enough. When, later on, the Duke arrived,
I got up ; and, with a hasty excuse to the party, went
to join Lord Stewart. I became so engrossed by the
acting of Mdlle. Mars, that, for the time, I quite forgot
I was an intruder !

1 General Sir William Henry Clinton (1769 — 1S46;, served in Flanders
1793, commanded British forces in Portugal 1826. A member of Parliament

i8i5] "VIVE TIVOLI!" 125

This provoking day ended with an extremely stupid
supper at Lady Castlereagh's ! I am afraid that the
Duke thought me foolish for leaving his box ! One
ought never to be discrete.

Wednesday, August 2. — What happiness ! I was
quite right last night to leave the box. It seems
that the Duke had desired Colonel Campbell to write,
and tell me that he had given the box to Lady John
Somerset ; and that I might have his box at the
Feydeau. How provoking ! But I am amply consoled
by the Duke coming this morning to see me. He was
exceedingly kind ; and stayed above half an hour
chatting in the most friendly manner. How I adore
that great man ! This bonte, which is a distinguishing
trait in the Duke's character, is so exactly what Sully
describes as a characteristic of Henri IV. I feel sure
that the Duke perceived my annoyance last night, and
determined to make up for it. As Shelley was at home
during the whole of his visit, I doubly enjoyed it, for I
always feel shy in a tete-a-tete with Wellington. I cut
off a lock of his hair !

We went in the evening to the Tivoli. I was much
amused by the dancing, etc., etc. After the fireworks
were over, the people shouted " Vive Tivoli ! " just as
at the theatre they cry " Vive le Roi ! " What a strange
people ! and what a nursery for vice is this garden,
which, like Ruggieri, is open three times a week. The
whole business is conducted with greater decency than
Vauxhall, and, perhaps for that reason, is, I believe,
more dangerous. The valsing was very comical. On
the other hand, a soldier, with a wooden leg, danced
contredanses beautifully.

Went to Lady Castlereagh's. On the Duke's arrival
there he came to me, and said : " Well ! why did not
you ride? I waited at home all the morning expecting
you to come. Did not you say that you were going to
ride with Colonel Hervey ? "

How provoking ! Why, or wherefore, I know not —


but ever since Emily's arrival things have taken a
guignon ! l However, I passed a delightful evening;
sat by Alava, 2 who talked of the Duke the whole time.
He has promised to show me the Duke's letter to the
King of Spain on the subject of Alava's alleged treason.
The Duke wrote that he would answer " pour le fidele
compagne de ses travaux." Alava told me that he
valued that letter more than all the orders and decora-
tions that had been given to him.

1 Emily Wellesley-Pole, a niece of the Duke of Wellington. She married,
August 6, 1814, Lord Fitzroy Someiset, youngest son of Henry Duke of

' The Spanish General Alava was a great friend of the Duke of Wellington.
He fought at Salamanca, and was wounded at the Carrion in 1812. He had
been a naval officer until the French invasion of Spain ; he then entered the
military service, for the defence of his country. He used to say that until he
came to the Duke's headquarters he had always been on the losing side, fight-
ing against the English at sea, and against the French on land.


I have neglected my journal, and forget what I did.
On Friday I would not go to the opera, for fear of
being in the Duke's way, as I guessed Lady Frances l
would be there. Shelley went alone. The Duke was
quite sorry I had not gone, and wished to send the
carriage for me ; but Shelley would not allow him to do
so. We met afterwards at Madame Crauford's, where
I spent a pleasant evening. Grassini sang beautifully.
The Duke enjoyed it extremely. We arranged our
plans for Malmaison.

August 5. — This was indeed a happy day ! At
three o'clock we went to the Duke's. It was too
hot to ride, so we determined to go to Malmaison in
the coach. Went into the Duke's sitting-room. He
showed me about one dozen boxes, with portraits of
various sovereigns, set with diamonds, which they had
given to him. I took possession of one of his pens ;
and saw him receive, and answer several letters, by
simply fixing a mark upon their margins. Others,
containing the most absurd complaints, he threw away.
One of these letters requested him to compensate the
writer for mischief done to his property by the
Prussians ! The Duke told me that he receives similar
letters daily. We had a delightful drive. The Duke
talked of the new Knights of Maria Theresa. He said

1 Lady Frances Annesley was the daughter of first Earl of Mountnorris and

Online LibraryFrances (Winckley) ShelleyThe diary of Frances lady Shelley (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 33)