Frances (Winckley) Shelley.

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European nation are devouring the very vitals of
the State. The French are become so heedless of
events, that they live from hour to hour, apparently
unconscious of the disasters that have befallen their
proud, and once glorious, country. The uncertainty
of the future checks any attempt to redress the wrongs
of the past, and the leaders are swept along by the
stream of indolence and indifference. This unhappy
state of things only augments the evils from which
France suffers, and, if it continues, those evils will
be irreparable. At the same time, I much fear
another attempt at soulevement. The last two days
have been anxious ones. There has been trouble
at the Tuileries, and many people have disap-
peared — some are known to have been sent to the

• . • « •

I forgot to say that, while we were at Talleyrand's,
his nephew arrived from Orleans, and stated that
the Bavarians had entered the town, had seized the
Caisse, and driven away the authorities. I asked him


if Prince Wrede knew this ? He replied : " On le lui
dira de suite ; mais il n'en croira rien — cependant,
c'est vrai."

All the ministers were in high spirits this evening.
I trust that the affairs of the Congress are advancing,
and that the allied armies will soon retire. The
Russian review is fixed for September 10. Two
days ago, I went with the Duke to a review of
ten thousand British troops, who have lately arrived
from different parts of the world. Many are come
from America. The Duke praised them for their
smartness, and the precision of their movements, in
spite of the fact that they had never before paraded

It interested me to hear the Duke giving his orders
to the commanding officers, through aides-de-camp.
One of them told me that he gave them at this
review exactly as he does on the field of battle. I
heard the Duke say to an aide-de-camp : " Go, and tell
that damned adjutant he can't ride : tell him to get off
his horse."

The Emperor of Russia arrived towards the close
of the review, and was particularly gracious to me.
He moved from his place, at the Duke's right hand, to
speak to me. We afterwards rode home with him at
full gallop.

, • ■ • •

Yesterday we went, with Madame de Peysac,
Colonel Stanhope, and Sir D. Packe, 1 to Bagatelle.
It is a pretty, quiet place ; but, if it were not so
near Paris, its beauties would not impress one. It
was built — I am told — in consequence of a wager.
Queen Marie Antoinette, one day while hunting,
expressed a wish that there were a pretty pavilion

1 General Sir Denis Packe saw service in Flanders. lie commanded the
71st Regiment at the capture of the Cape of Good Hope. Served in the
Peninsula, and from 1810 to 1814, commanded a Portuguese brigade in Spain-
He commanded a brigade at Waterloo. He died in 1823.

!4* BAGATELLE [ch. x

to go to in the Bois de Boulogne. The Comte
d'Artois, 1 who overheard the remark, declared that
nothing could be more easily realised. He made a
bet with the Queen that, in six short weeks, he would
turn that barren spot into a beautiful campagne. The
Comte d'Artois threw himself, heart and soul, into the
project ; and at the end of the time specified, he con-
ducted the Queen, while out hunting, to breakfast at
Bagatelle. That was thirty years ago. The soil is so
bad, and the weather so dry, that all the leaves hang,
curled and withered, from the trees.

We sat for an hour upon a grassy bank, while
Colonel Stanhope recited some of the finest passages
from "Childe Harold." 2 He also repeated some fine lines,
written by an unhappy youth on the fly-leaf of " The
Pleasures of Memory." This young man's idea was
that, were it not for the dread that Memory would
survive the grave, Death would be happiness. It
would relieve us from the torment which memory
produces. When I heard that the young poet, after
writing these lines, immediately committed suicide, I

What an extraordinary person is Stanhope ! If you
happen to be in a frivolous mood, he will say foolish
things, and will inspire folly in others. If you are
in a serious vein, his conversation becomes interest-
ing, and in the highest degree instructive. If you
feel sentimental, his wonderful memory will supply
poetical images from the finest passages in poetry.
In coming home from Montmorenci a few days ago
I asked him to tell me a story. He rolled them out,
one after the other, always using the most appro-
priate expression, and with a precision in detail which
made each story appear credible. Without being
handsome, Colonel Stanhope is not bad-looking — but

1 Afterwards Charles X. of France.

2 From the first and second cantos. The third canto was not completed
until 1816.


he is never two days alike. He is a charming com-
panion ; obliging, good-tempered, full of wit ; and yet
it would be quite impossible to fall in love with
him. This makes his companionship especially

August 24. — Dined alone with Lady Kinnaird. The
usual set came in the evening. We had a very
pleasant gathering, and sat talking until one o'clock.

August 25. — Fete du Roi. Dined with the same party
at Verrey's, and afterwards walked in the gardens of
the Tuileries, which were crowded with people. On
the Retraite being sounded, the gendarmes began to
clear the gardens, and, in less than a quarter of an hour,
not a soul was to be seen there. We reached Verrey's
with difficulty ; then went in our carriages to see the
illuminations. They were decidedly effective, owing
to height of the houses. People threw squibs in
every direction.

Went to Ruggieri, where the fireworks were the
most beautiful that I ever saw. Not so full as Tivoli,
but equally decent, although, if possible, worse com-
pany. On our return home we found a note from
Prince Schwartzenberg, asking Shelley to shoot at
Grosbois. 1 In consequence I gave up the idea of
riding at the Review.

August 26. — Went in the carriage to see Lowry
Cole's Division. I begin to understand the movement
of troops. The Duke came to speak to me, and
reproved me for not riding.

" Don't you think I could take care of you ? " he

The Emperor of Russia also came up to the carriage
and talked to me for some time. I told his Imperial
Majesty that I hoped to be at Chalons for his Review.
He graciously promised to cause my visit there to be
made comfortable, and agreeable.

After the review we went to breakfast with Sir

' Gros Bois, near Paris. Once the country seat of Barras.


Lowry Cole at the Palace of Neuilly — the residence of
Princesse Borghese. From there the Duke of Welling-
ton sent his first despatch from Paris. It is now the
quarters of Sir Lowry ; his camp is in the garden.
After a sumptuous repast we walked to the Hermitage,
and went all over the house, which is quite unfur-
nished. Princess Pauline had removed everything in
1814. The garden extends to the Seine.

In the evening, Shelley returned from his shooting
expedition, in high spirits. He had dined with Prince
Maurice Schwartzenberg, and had drunk a good deal
of champagne. I was with Madame de Peysac at Lady
Kinnaird's when Shelley arrived. He insisted on
our waltzing while he sang the tune. We laughed a
great deal, and were extremely gay. Afterwards we
all went to sup at Lady Castlereagh's, where we
stayed for nearly three hours. As it was a very hot
night we all went for a walk on the boulevards by
moonlight. This was really enchanting. There was
not a soul in the streets. It was like the stillness of
the country. This is due to the fact that military
patrols do not permit any assemblage in the streets of
Paris after a certain hour.

August 27. — Without exception, this is the hottest
day I ever felt. Went with Shelley and Mr. Russell
to the tennis court ; and afterwards was present
at a charming dinner, given by Sir A. Barnard at
the Hotel Beauvais. The Duke was in high spirits.
The Spaniards and Alava dined there. As soon as
dinner was over, we went down into the garden, where
a military band played most beautifully. We all sat
down under the trees, and listened to some one playing
a guitar. Meanwhile, a shabbily dressed little French
child ran up to us with a hunch of bread, and an
apple in its mouth. The Duke began to play with
the child— dirty though it was — and the little creature
was so pleased with him that it would not go to any
one else. The Duke ate a bit of the apple, and took


the child on his knee, fondling it in the prettiest and
most natural manner. How extraordinary is the
fondness of all great men for children ! I never saw
anything so becoming, as the Duke's caressing manner
with this uninteresting little creature. How I should
like to see him with his own children !

We sat in the garden until ten o'clock ; and then
went with some of the party to Ruggieri. The fire-
works were over, but we walked about, and saw the
dancing. We were in such a merry mood that Lady
Kinnaird and I mounted into the swans attached to a
merry-go-round ; while the Duke and the other gentle-
men took it in turns to ride the horses. The ladies
of the party then played at the rings, and won
seventeen partis, much to the general amusement.
After playing like children for some time, I went
with the Duke to Talleyrand's ; he then brought me

This evening I was told by Lady Kinnaird that,
during the advance on Paris, she was at Audilly. 1
The whole village was Bonapartist, and she could
not persuade any one to take a note from her to
the British camp. Meanwhile, she was in constant
alarm that the Prussians would arrive, and plunder
the village.

August 28.- — After dining with the Duke, we went
to the Theatre Francais ; and afterwards he took
Shelley and myself to the Duchesse de Courlande's.
We left Shelley there, and the Duke brought me

August 29. — There was a review to-day, and I rode
as usual. The Emperor was most gracious. He paid
me many compliments, and talked much to me. He
praised the English ladies, and wished that he could
persuade his countrywomen to interest themselves in
military matters, as 1 do.

The Duke considered the Manoeuvres fairly well

1 In the Haute Saone.
I — 10


executed, though they failed in some respects,

apparently through the stupidity of General H ,

who is undoubtedly a very thick-headed person.
The Duke was kind enough to order, for my edifica-
tion, the troops to form up into hollow squares — like
those at the Battle of Waterloo — into one of which he
threw himself.

As we were coming home, I felt so tired that I
could scarcely keep pace with the party, and tried to
fall back. The Emperor noticed this, and insisted
upon our all returning at a walking pace. When we
reached the Avenue de Neuilly, I entreated his
Majesty to hasten the pace, for I could not bear to
feel that I was keeping them all back. The Emperor
thereupon exclaimed : " Mais, madame, je vais comme
Monsieur le Marechal, et il fait ce que vous voulez."
We then galloped home.

August 30. — A charming ball at Lady Castlereagh's.
I danced an Anglaise with the Prince F. of Prussia.
I then valsed a great deal, and ended with a French

August 31. — Went to the Invalides with Madame
de Peysac, and Colonel Stanhope. He was as
delightful as usual. After a party at Lady Kin-
naird's, went again to Ruggieri. The Duke and
Metternich, who were to have gone with us, were
kept away by these interminable conferences. The
Duke of Saxe-Coburg was my cavalier. The music
was good.

September 2, 181 5. — Went to the review of the
cavalry. A fine sight indeed ! Very dusty. The
Duke full of attentions, and kindness to me during the
charges. We galloped very hard. The Duke kept
saying : " Stick close to me." On returning home, I
had a long conversation with the Emperor of Russia.
He paid endless compliments to the English ladies, at
the expense of his own countrywomen. Of the
French — both men and women — he expressed the

iSi5] ST. CLOUD 147

strongest aversion. He has certainly a great deal of
conversational power ; and, if he were not deaf, would
be a pleasant companion.

General Power, 1 not knowing Shelley, said to him
to-day : " The Duke pays a great deal more attention
to his lady than to the review."

The Duke was, undoubtedly, most kind and con-
siderate. I received endless compliments about my
horsemanship, after the review was ended.

In the evening I went to Talleyrand's, where I
was to have met Shelley, but he did not arrive. I
found myself the only woman in the room. Old
Talleyrand paid me great attention, and I sat by him,
for some time, on the sofa.

A delightful week has passed without any entries
in my journal ! One day, we dined with General
Alava. The Duke was to have met us at dinner
there, but was obliged to dine with the King of
Prussia. He came, after dinner, excessively tired ; and
went to sleep while the Spaniards were singing.
Canova was there. Lady Kinnaird and I went with
Metternich, and Mr. Russell, to the Feydeau. After-
wards we walked on the boulevards, and went into
the Cabinet d'lllusions — a ridiculous show; but we
laughed a great deal. Metternich was very agreeable.
I then went to Talleyrand's.

On Sunday I dined early, and rode to St. Cloud
with Seymour Bathurst, and Mr. Russell. We went
by the Bois de Boulogne. It was the most lovely
evening imaginable. After riding about the grounds
at St. Cloud, we dismounted at one of the guinguettcs,
and watched the people dancing. Decidedly, a lower
set than the elegantes of Tivoli. We rode home by
moonlight. Later on, I went to a music party at

1 General Sir Manley Power (1773—1826), took part in the Peninsular
War. He commanded a brigade at Salamanca, Vittoria, Nivelle, and


the Duke of Wellington's. Grassini, and some of the
other musical favourites sang.

After most of the people had left, we began to
dance. I danced twice with the Duke, who was in
high spirits ; and, later on, I danced a polonaise with
him. We stayed until three in the morning.

On Tuesday we went to Lady Kinnaird's ball. I
asked the Duke to dance with me. He said, " No, I'll
stay and see you dance — go and waltz." I danced all

Next day, there was a ball at Lady Castlereagh's.
I went first to the Theatre Francais to say farewell to
Mdlle. Mars. She acted superbly. The ball was not
lively — very little dancing — and everybody talking of
the arrangements for the Review.

• • • • •

Thursday. — I feel quite ill from the fatigue of the
last few days, preparing for our departure from dear
Paris. I have been out all the morning, visiting the
Justinian Gallery, and paying visits of adieu. I there-
fore stay at home this evening. Shelley went to
Madame Crauford's, and then on to Talleyrand's,
where he passed a very pleasant evening with the

Next day, I went to the Musee du Louvre, for the
last time ; and, in the evening, to the opera with Lady
Kinnaird— whom I have grown attached to. Saw the
Duke, and made our arrangements for the journey on
the following day. It is with the deepest regret that I
prepare to leave Paris, where I have spent the two
happiest months of my life. The pain of parting from
so many friends was diminished by the knowledge
that the Duke would accompany us.


At five o'clock in the morning we were up, and at
half-past five the Duke called for us. Fortunately, we
had sent the servants forward, with an especial Order
from the Emperor of Russia to supply us with relays
of horses. The Duke, Shelley, and I travelled together,
and I never had so delightful a journey.

At Claye a guard of Cossacks received the Duke, and
escorted our carriage the greater part of the way to
Vertus. There were patrols of them all along the road.
The Emperor of Austria overtook us, and we continued
most of the way in company, as etiquette would not
permit his carriage to be passed on the road. It was
fortunate that the Duke had sent his own horses
forward ; as the Emperor of Russia and the King of
Prussia, who preceded us, had taken eighty-seven
horses for themselves and their suites. Thus, in spite
of the Emperor of Russia's care, there were no horses
left for the Duke of Wellington.

A trifling accident to the carriage delayed us half
an hour at Ferte-sous-Jouarre, famous for its mill-
stones, with which the whole place is covered.
This accident to the carriage, and the embarras
about horses, proved the equanimity of the Duke's
temper, which — in spite of what is said to the con-
trary — remained unruffled throughout the journey.
He was not even disturbed by the dirt of the
inn at Montmirail — a wretched auberge where we
stopped to dine. A small, stuffy bedroom, through
the kitchen ; in which there were already some



Prussians dining, quite satisfied the Duke. He ordered
another table to be brought in, and made an excellent
dinner on the nastiest civet de lapin, and omelettes
that 1 have ever experienced in the whole course of
my life. The Duke told us that he had often lived for
a month in a worse place. He certainly seemed to
enjoy himself vastly here !

The battle with the Russians in 1814 was fought on
the hill we passed before our arrival at this place.
The Duke's conversation in the carriage, as we drove
along, was most interesting. He talked openly of his
own private affairs. He spoke of the annoyances, and
the expense, of the Embassy at Paris. He told us how
fortunate it was that he happened to be sent to Vienna ;
for he was able to " spur " the Allies into signing the
Treaty. This was not done without great difficulty.
The moment that was done, Wellington seems to have
left Vienna. We talked also about the newspapers. The
Duke expressed himself, with great warmth, against
the licentiousness of the Press ; especially as regards
its attacks upon the private affairs of individuals.
Although he is aware of the difficulty of checking
libellous insinuations, he seemed to be very sore
indeed. I knew what was in the Duke's mind ; he
keenly felt the scandalous reports that had been
circulated about himself and Lady Frances Wedderburn
Webster — reports which every day convinces me are
absolutely untrue. He spoke also about Indian affairs,
and Lord Moira.

We reached Vertus at about five o'clock. We had
sent our carriage the day before to the Chateau Petit
Morain, where the Emperor of Russia had given us
quarters, and an order for post-horses. On our arrival
here, the Duke found that he could arrange — by putting
two or three aides-de-camp into one room — for our
accommodation at his own house; he insisted upon
our staying there, and sent his courier for our servants.
This arrangement was scarcely completed, when a


deputation of children, dressed in white, and bearing
flowers, came to make a little complimentary speech
to the Duke. It was very prettily done by a little girl.
The Duke gave her a kiss, and handed to me the
bouquet which she had presented to him.

After the aides-de-camp had gone to dine at Lord
Cathcart's, we remained with the Duke and made tea
for him. Meanwhile, a Russian band played under
our windows, and ended their programme by singing
a Russian hymn in parts. It was very beautiful.
General Barclay de Tolly 1 called on the Duke;
and, later, came General Chernicheff to explain the
programme of manoeuvres for the next day. The
plan which Chernicheff brought, and gave to the
Duke, is now in my possession. The Duke kindly
gave it to me afterwards, as a memento of the pro-
ceedings. The Emperor of Russia had ordered
General Chernicheff to attend the Duke during the

On the arrival of our carriage, at about ten o'clock,
we had a good laugh at my band-boxes, which were
in a very battered condition. It seems that our
carriage, while crossing the bridge of boats, was
overturned into the Marne ! Fortunately none of
the servants were hurt, nor was the carriage much

At half-past seven next morning 2 I made breakfast
for the Duke, and w r e were soon mounted on horse-
back. We galloped about three miles to the foot of
Mont Aime, where we waited a short time for the
Emperor of Austria. It is not in my power to
describe the scene. The hill rises abruptly from
the immense plain of Champagne, apparently as
endless as the sea. There is scarcely a village, or a
tree to break the monotony of the scene. When we

1 Field-Marshal Count Barclay de Tolly, commanded the main body of the
Russian army.
1 September 10, 1815.


passed it on the previous evening it had all the
appearance of a huge desert. But, during the night,
the troops had marched ; and the plain was now
occupied by 156,000 men, 520 pieces of artillery, and
innumerable carriages of every European nation !
There was the Russian droschki, German, Prussian,
and English berlins, standing in their allotted places,
under the eyes of Cossack guards. Cossacks were
stationed at the foot of the hill ; as also the grooms
with led horses, belonging to the different heroes who,
resplendent with decorations blazing from their gor-
geous uniforms, awaited the coming of the Sovereigns.
The slopes of the hill were crowded by peasants and
people of the humbler classes, who Jiad assembled
to witness this superb spectacle. Benches had been
placed half-way up the hill for those English ladies
who had been invited.

Mounted as I was, on the dear chestnut mare, by
the Duke's side, I felt supremely happy. When the
Emperor of Austria arrived in his carriage, we began
to ascend the hill, which is about 150 feet high, and
covers about two acres of ground. The Emperor
Alexander came down half-way to meet the Sovereigns.
We then galloped to the top of the hill, dismounted,
and moved to the railing which had been placed on
the side of the hill nearest to the troops.

At a signal given by the Emperor of Russia, a
cannon close to us was discharged, and was answered
by other cannons stationed in different parts of the
three lines in which the army was drawn up. Then
the troops began to move, and assumed the appear-
ance of a chessboard. They then formed a huge
square. There was a light breeze blowing, which
drove away the dust, so the whole of the movements
of this great army could be distinctly seen.

The artillery and the cavalry took up their stations
at full gallop. The whole movement was performed
with a celerity which surprised the Duke, who re-


marked that it had all the precision of a machine,
particularly the division commanded by General
Woronzow. 1 stood by the Duke the whole time ;
he explained the movements and lent me his glasses.
The Emperor at first looked rather surprised at seeing
me there; but he soon recovered himself, and spoke
to me most graciously, during intervals, for the rest
of the day. He asked if I was contentc. I cannot
describe the confusion of getting again upon our
horses. However, the Duke took great care of me,
and I never lost him for a moment. We were, of
course, always in front ; and on descending the hill
we set off to gallop round the square, which we did
without once pulling up, a distance of eleven miles.
As usual, I received endless compliments on my
horsemanship ! While Schwartzenberg was escorting
me, on the other side, we made our final arrangements
about going to Vienna.

We then stood still for the troops to march past,
which they did by divisions. The artillery was in
the centre, and the magnificent cavalry brought up the
rear. There is a striking uniformity among all the
regiments : when you have seen one, you have seen
them all. The front rank always very fine men, the
second rank inferior, and the rear rank good-sized.
The companies are all strong, as they have always a
reserve of fifty men to each regiment.

After the march past we returned to the top of
Mont Aime. As we rode along, Pozzo di Borgo
joined us. By his confidential conversation with
the Duke on the subject of Fouche, I gathered that
his dismissal had been agreed upon. But I do not
feel quite sure that it was approved, or advised by
the Duke of Wellington.

Refreshments were served to the Sovereigns in a
tent. Then the feu-de-joie began, and was kept up
for at least ten minutes. It was most effective, and

Online LibraryFrances (Winckley) ShelleyThe diary of Frances lady Shelley (Volume 1) → online text (page 12 of 33)