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chaise awaited them at the park gates and drove them
to the coast. They had engaged a vessel to take them
across to the coast of France, whence they mysteriously
arrived in Paris. Dupot pretended that they were
acting under instructions from the French Govern-
ment, and added : " Comment auraient-ils pu resister a
la tentation que l'ambition et l'amour de la patrie les
offraient ? " " After all," he continued, " it was only
a few individuals of exalted rank who could have
been thus tempted, the inferior officers would have

I could not help expressing my astonishment at his
line of argument, and said : " Do you then mean to
say that the lower grade of officers have more respect

1 I afterwards found out that he was Sir Thomas Webb. (Note by Lady


for their word of honour than have their generals ?
It seems to me that if the generals do not set a good
example one cannot be surprised if their subordinates
have lax notions of honour." To this involuntary-
reproof — for the words escaped me unawares — Dupot
replied with a bow that could not be misunderstood :
14 Madame, je metonne que mes compatriotes aient pu
quitter les Anglaises."

This, of course, ended the discussion, and we rose
from table. We walked about the town, and saw the
celebrated floating bridge, and the beginnings of a
new stone one, of which the Empress Marie Louise
laid the first stone during her tour in Normandy. The
views on every side are lovely, and the Seine is of
considerable width. In the evening we went to the
theatre, where we saw some detestable plays, given in
honour of the marriage of the Due de Berri.

Next morning, at six o'clock, we entered our carriage.
A fog hung so heavily over the river, that we could see
nothing beyond the fine elms on each side of the
boulevard along which we passed. As we approached
Port St. Ouen the mist rose, and we enjoyed in full
splendour the magnificent and extended view which
opened as we ascended the hill beyond the village.
The broad Seine wound around innumerable islands
with their plumed poplars, and extended as far as
the eye could see up and down the stream. On the
opposite bank of the river we looked upon a fine
forest ; while, on the river bank, we saw villages with
their lofty spires, farms, and fields under cultivation,
which formed a fine contrast to the abrupt cliffs of
the mountain chain we were slowly ascending. The
village of St. Ouen, partly concealed by pine trees, lay
beneath us ; while the passenger boat, as it glided
swiftly along the unruffled waters of the Seine, drawn
by a pair of horses at full trot, was reflected on the
mirrored surface of the stream. We passed many
peasants on their way to the great market at Rouen.
1— 13


Our merry postilion greeted the women with smiles
and, from the manner in which he was welcomed,
seemed to be a general favourite. With a rose in his
mouth, and both hands full of cherries, he could have
done but little to control his horses. So our necks
were entrusted to their sagacity ; and, in truth, we
could not have been in safer keeping.

We crossed the Seine at Pont de l'Arche, and entered
a forest which extends for some miles. As we slowly
ascended a long hill, the singing of birds and the fresh-
ness of the green foliage reminded me of our Maresfield
woods, although the acacia, and a delicate poplar
unknown in England, told me that we were some
degrees to the southward. The bridge at Louviers
being under repair, we were obliged to make a detour,
which gave more pleasure to our postilion than to us.
It enabled him to display his skill ; for Shelley thought
the way in which we turned the corners at full trot,
and avoided the ruts, where it scarcely seemed possible
for a carriage to pass at all, was little short of a miracle.
At the next post we were detained some time by the
carriage being out of order. We were obliged to
exchange our excellent postilion for a very disagree-
able one with inferior horses. As the horse in the
limoniere 1 could not hold back, we were obliged to
drag down every descent, and in the middle of the
last hill, the drag-chain broke ; so away we went,
helter-skelter, to the bottom ! Our road followed
closely the windings of the Seine ; and on our right
we were shown a cliff of great height covered with
trees. This is a dangerous place at night, it being the
haunt of robbers. The wood extends for some miles,
with an occasional chapel or a fishing village at the
foot of the hill. Later on, we passed the fine chateau
of Rosny, where Sully's " bons Paysans " lived. How
often, when I read his Memoirs, have I wished to see
the spot where they were written !

1 Shafts.

iSi6] ST. GERMAINS 195

Rosny now belongs to Monsieur Edouard de
Perigord Talleyrand, and is for sale. How many
memories were awakened in my mind on passing this
spot ! Those were the avenues under whose shade
Henri walked, the forest in which he hunted. I felt
myself upon enchanted ground ! After dining at
Mantes we passed along a route which bears evidence
of an approach to Paris. The vineyards become
frequent, and you observe that the country is par-
celled out among small proprietors. Each owner's
land is laid out so as to suffice for his own wants
alone. In the space of an acre may be seen a patch
of vineyard, a patch of corn, another of hay, and then
a vegetable patch. This, from a distant view, gives
the country the aspect of a tailor's pattern-book. This
remark, indeed, may be said to apply to France
generally, although it is more striking in the close
neighbourhood of Paris. The country houses near
Meulan added much to the picturesque, while on the
opposite banks of the Seine are some fine chateaux
buried in woods.

We approached St. Germains through the park, and
while the horses were changing we walked to the
terrace. I am still of opinion that the beauty of the
view from thence has been overrated. Although it
is undeniably fine, it cannot be compared to the view
from St. Cloud or Montmartre.

After passing Marly 1 and Malmaison, with which
so many pleasant recollections of last year are asso-
ciated, we arrived at our last post, where our
passports were examined. It was by this time nearly
dark, so I had to trust to my memory. I recognised
the Arc de Triomphe and the bridge and avenue of

The scaffolding had been removed from the Arc de
Triomphe, so we could thoroughly enjoy that noble
approach to the capital, which we reached at ten

1 Marly-le-Roi.


o'clock at night. We drove to our old hotel in the
Rue de la Paix. We found that place so full that we
were compelled to sleep in a garret. Next day we
were glad to change our quarters to the Hotel de
Londres, Rue de Mont Thabor, a newly built and very
clean hotel.

"Paris, June 22, 18 16.
" Dear Lady Shelley, —

" I am very happy to hear of your arrival, and I
will call upon you as early as 1 can. It will be
probably about three.

"Will you dine here ? We must dine at five exactly,
as we go to the play at Court.

" Ever yours most sincerely,

" Wellington."

On the following day we dined with the Duke of
Wellington quite quietly, no one but his family at
dinner. Afterwards we went with the Duke to the
spectacle a la cour. He looks well, I think, but com-
plains that he has not felt in good health all the
winter. He has been advised to go for a time to
Cheltenham. If he follows that advice, he must set
off very soon, as he must be at Cambray in August,
when the troops are to be in camp there. As our
dinner had been a very gay and pleasant one, we
remained at table so long that we arrived rather
late at the theatre. We found every place in the
grand tier boxes occupied. The gentlemen were seated
in the parterre, and the ladies on the sides. The
King's box was in the centre, and a box on the left
was reserved for the Ambassadors. The members of
the Corps Diplomatique had a box next to the
Ambassadors. Into that box Lady Elizabeth Stuart
was kind enough to invite me. I did not see the
opera well, and thought it very tiresome, though
splendid. It was a ballet opera, and I then saw
Bigottini for the first time. The coup d'ceil of the
theatre was certainly most beautiful, and took one


back in imagination to the times of the poor Queen !
The young Duchesse de Berri is very fair, with large
blue eyes, a small, straight nose over rather projecting
lips, and good teeth. She has a very pretty bust, a
long throat, and a beautiful skin. She was well
dressed — a la Parisiciine—nxid. is very agreeable-look-
ing, if not quite pretty. She is only seventeen years
of age, and evidently enjoys her elevation extremely.
She is amused with every novelty, looks espicgle, and
seems to long to laugh, like the child she is, but the
gravity of Madame 1 checks all hilarity, and reduces
her to a Princess-like condition of inanimation. I had
been told that Madame, who is very devote, thinks it a
sin to see the dancing. This is perfectly true, for I
observed her closely, and I can answer for it that she
never once looked towards the stage while the ballet
was in progress. Madame is much improved in
looks, and is better dressed than when I last saw
her. The old King waddled into his box very un-
gracefully ; his second stomach is more pronounced
than ever. The whole family looked happy. Talley-
rand waited behind the King; the back of the box
was occupied by the suite. After we had seen the
coup d'ceil we were all tired to death, the heat being

The Duke made me a sign to wait for him, and
in a few minutes he came to the door of the box
and led me to the salon. Here we stayed some
time, paying our compliments to different people,
and then drove off to Madame Crauford's, where
we drank tea. In this house we found all the old
set ranged in the same circle. I could fancy that
they had never moved since 1 left Paris a year ago!
Grassini was looking desperately ill, and our hostess
a trifle older. That is all the change that I noticed.
We stayed half an hour, and then the Duke brought
us home.

1 The Duchesse d'Angouleme, daughter of the unfortunate Louis XVI.

198 THE FETE-DIEU [ch. xiv

Next day, being Sunday, we rose early, and went to
Notre Dame to see the procession of the Fete-Dieu.
The streets through which the processions were to
pass were completely tapisse'e, and the reposoirs
splendid. Even in those streets through which the
procession did not pass, the inhabitants seemed eager
to testify their respect by draperies, garlands, etc.

What a wonderful nation ! Yesterday the Fete of
the Age of Reason. To-day, the Fete-Dieu ! The
decorations at Notre Dame were the same as were
used at the marriage of the Due de Berri. It more
resembled a theatre than a church. The whole interior
was hung with light blue silk, embroidered in gold
fleur-de-lis, and garlands of flowers. The galleries
were fitted up with boxes, as in a theatre, from whence
the ladies saw the marriage ceremony. After hearing
a portion of the mass and the strains of the fine organ,
we went to St. Eustache to see the procession on its
return. The church was, literally, crammed. The
procession was attended by the National Guard.
Crowds followed it, with many young girls veiled,
and in white dresses ; a voluntary act of pure devotion.
The National Guards lined the aisles through which
the procession passed, and, at the elevation of the
Host, they knelt in simple reverence. I am sorry to
say that, in spite of every attempt to make allowances
for the faith of others, I never quite feel at home in
a Catholic church. I am always deeply interested in
the service, and try to say my prayers. Alas ! this
morning, beyond an entreaty for blessing on my
absent children, I could not pray, as I so much
wished to do !

• • • • •

In the evening we dined at the Duke of Wellington's
to meet a large party in honour of the Spanish
Ambassador. The Duke wore his Spanish uniform,
which is simple and soldier-like. All the Corps
Diplomatique were there with their ladies ; and also


the Duchesse de San Carlos. The two Mesdames de
Noailles, the Due de Mouchy, and the Prince de Poix
were among the company. It was a very pleasant
dinner. We had arrived very late, and found the
company already assembled in the garden. The Duke
most kindly came in to receive me, and we took a few
turns in the garden, until I had quite recovered the
flurry. After dinner I was prepared to attend the
reception of the Duchesse de Berri ; but the Duke
persuaded me to defer it, and to go with him to the
opera. As the reception at the Duchesse de Berri's
was for ladies only, I felt that it would be monstrous
dull. For that reason I was only too happy to be
excused, and I shall certainly have another opportunity
of paying my respects there. Things turned out very
fortunately for me. When all the party was gone,
except Pozzo di Borgo, 1 General Vincent, and Castel-
reale, an interesting conversation took place between
them and the Duke about the Spanish nation. The
Duke maintained that the Libcrales were ruined by
abolishing the Inquisition. He said that the people
were devoted to it. He mentioned that, when he was
in Spain, he made the following remark to some of the
Reformers : " Quoi, vous voulez me donner un autre
ennemi a combattre ! J'aurai tous les cures de la
Castilie contre moi. L'Inquisition se meurt d'elle-
meme. Voyez le Portugal ; nous ne l'avons pas aboli
la, et cependant elle n'existe plus. Ce sera de meme
ici. Si vous l'abolissez elle existera toujours." The
Duke referred to a natural instinct of servitude in-
herent in the Spanish race. On the return of their
king, after the Revolutionary Government had been
driven out of Madrid, the people broke into the
Government building, and tore from its walls every
motto in which the word "Liberty" appeared. The
Duke was himself a witness of that fact, not long after
it occurred. No one respects a strong hand more than

1 Russian Ambassador at Paris in 1S15.


a Spaniard, for whom the word " Liberty " has no
meaning whatever.

We stayed on, conversing in this agreeable manner,
until nine o'clock, when the Duke took us to the opera.
The dancing was, as usual, perfect ; Biggottini, instead
of Gressling. We afterwards went on to Madame
d'Escars, at the Palace of the Tuileries. In a garret,
at the top of the Palace, an immense number of people
were assembled. It was very hot, and everybody
stood about, as they do at an English assembly. We

had rather good fun with Madame de R and the

Persian Ambassador.

Monday, June 24. — Went to the Duke's at two
o'clock, to ride. Saw all the horses. He told me
that every lady who rode them, except me, had lamed
them. While they were saddling Copenhagen, the
Duke took us into his room to show us W}^att's plan
of his house, the details of which he explained. He
marked the alterations which he proposed, which will
much add to its comfort. We rode in the Bois de
Boulogne, where all the trees are cut, excepting those
at the sides of the road. Some had been cut by the
English soldiers, but many more by the French.

After our ride we went to the Tuileries — the Duke
to call on Monsieur; and we, to get our tickets for the
spectacle to-night from the Due de Mouchy. We dined
quietly with the Duke, who afterwards took us in his
carriage. My place was in the amphitheatre amongst
all the princesses and duchesses, where I saw remark-
ably well. Next to me was a very agreeable Frenchman,
who talked to me during the intervals between the acts.

The tragedy was " Adelaide du Guesclin," * which

1 The Duke said to Lord Stanhope ("Njtes of Conversation, "etc., p. 218):
" They tried to put up my back one night at the Palace at the representation
of • Adelaide du Guesclin.' There were divers hits intended against le tyran
de Cambray ! Several people came up to me afterwards to urge me on ; but
I was determined not to be offended, and told them that I had not heard it
distinctly, and that I did not know French well enough to catch such


contains many passages in extravagant, not to say
violent, abuse of the English. One of the ladies of
the Court told me next day that the King was very
angry at the choice of that play. I do not much
believe this. The second piece was " Les Etourdis."
Mdlle. Mars acted delightfully, and I should have
enjoyed it more if the heat had not been excessive.
It is difficult to define my opinion of Talma. In
some passages he is wonderful — giving expression
where in the reading one finds none. In other
passages Talma is a mere buffoon. When he cries,
and sobs, which he does violently, I am inclined to

June 25, 1816. — Dined at the English Ambassador's
— a great many people. I sat by Sir Charles, 3 who
was very agreeable. Afterwards Shelley went with
him to the opera, while I went to the Duke of
Wellington's ball. To my surprise I found him alone
— people assemble late in Paris — and was much amused
at the Duke's arrangement of the chairs, and his pre-
parations for the fete in honour of the Duchesse de
Berri. He moved the things about himself, and was
as full of fun as an ordinary person in like circum-
stances would have been. As soon as the room
became crowded, I seated myself in a corner, and did
not move until the Royalties had departed. When
the Duchesse de Berri arrived, they played an Anglaise,
which she danced with the Due d'Angouleme. She
danced with the greatest spirit, full of vivacity and
happiness. She is only seventeen. Afterwards she
danced with Lord Arthur Hill, by the Due de Bern's
desire — the Duke of Wellington having courteously
declined that high honour. The Duchesse then danced
with the Due de Fitzjames; and, at half after two in
the morning, she said : " Je crois qu'il faut que je m'en

1 Sir Charles Stuart, afterwards Lord Stuart de Rothesay, Ambassador at
Paris, 1815-30.


aille, car mes messieurs dorment ! Je resterais volon-
tiers jusqu'a cinq heures."

The young Duchesse seemed to be perfectly happy,
and danced in good time. She has a remarkably pretty
foot, but no idea of dancing. The Due de Berri was
most gracious to me, and came up twice to speak to
me. I wished him joy in his married life ; and he
really seemed pleased at my commendations— which
were sincere — of his little Duchesse. The Duke of
Wellington, who was obliged to stand by the Due de
Berri all night, contrived to talk to me occasionally.
Monsieur also, on hearing where I was, came to me,
and was quite as he used to be. The Duke of
Wellington took the Duchesse de Ragusa (Mar-
mont's wife) to supper, and the Due de Fitzjames
escorted me.

My cavalier complained bitterly — though evidently
proud of the honour — of having twice danced down
about forty people with the Duchesse de Berri. After
supper, the Duke came, and sat by me until he went
to bed at four o'clock. He told me that he had long
been advised to go to Cheltenham for the waters, and
that he had at last made up his mind to leave Paris
next Saturday. But he did not wish it to be known
till the last moment.

Though I had done my utmost to persuade the
Duke to go, I could not hear of its being so soon
without feeling very sorry, and I told him so. He
said : " You must dine with me every day until I go."
Next day, the Duke told me of the attempt that had
been made to burn his house down.

It seems that last night some one had put a quantity
of gunpowder and ball cartridges in at one of the lower
windows of the street. The iron bars of the window
had been shattered and two planks were burned. The
fire was discovered by one of Madame de Vaudreuil's
footmen, and was put out by the Duke's tall footman,
who had been in his service during his Embassy.


The Duke told me that when Napoleon returned
from Elba, this footman went into the Emperor's
service ; and then, after Waterloo, he returned into
the Duke of Wellington's service, just as though
nothing had happened ! One of the French Guards,
who attend on the Duke at his hotel, was quizzing
the man for serving the Duke after Napoleon : "Mais,
n'etes-vous pas ses serviteurs aussi ? " said he with
a shrug of the shoulder.

Monsieur de Cage had been at the hotel in the
morning, but gave no hope of discovering the author
of this vile attempt. The Duke said : " If they had
a spite against me, the} 7 might have been sure to find
me in bed almost any night at midnight. Whether it
was simply the hope of plundering the house in the
confusion of the fire, or a wish to throw a gloom on
the fetes of the Berri marriage, no one can imagine.
We should easily have escaped, as there are twelve
large windows opening into the garden, in which there
are doors leading into the Champs Elysees." The
Duke said that as the fire was out, there was no use
in mentioning it, but that everybody in the outward
rooms smelt the gunpowder.

The Duke showed us some marble tables that he
had bought at Cardinal Fesch's sale. We sat down to
dinner so early that only two of his aides-de-camp
were arrived ; the others dropped in by degrees. Mr.
Cathcart did not arrive until dessert was on the table,
which afforded us plenty of fun.

The Duke took me to the spectacle at the Tuileries.
As Shelley was bored with the heat and would not go,
the Duke acted as my chaperon. It was a comic opera,
and, I believe, pretty ; but it was not possible to see
the stage without standing up. As I did not wish to
incommode those who sat behind me, I saw very little.

Next day, we were to have gone to Tivoli, but alas !
it rained, so I drove in a closed carriage. While I was
out, the Duke called for me to ride.


There was a large party at the Duke's dinner in the
evening. Lady Elizabeth Vernon and Lady Bingham
dined there. I sat by General Faghel, who was
particularly agreeable. Afterwards the Duke took
us to the Francais, where we saw a new tragedy
entitled " Charlemagne." It was a ridiculous play,
stocked with risible passages, and we thought it was
damned. The small piece that followed — "An English
Village Lawyer " — was excellent. Oh ! the pleasure
of being without lappets, trains, and stars ! We were
all in particularly good spirits.

• • • • •

To-day we are to ride for the last time ! How could
one be gay? Our ride was not long. The Duke
called, and we walked to his stables together. We
dined with the Duke at five o'clock. A large party of
gentlemen. Sir George Murray 1 accompanied us to
the spectacle at the Tuileries. I arrived late, and
should not have found a place, if our Ambassadress
had not taken me into her box. I saw, very well
indeed, the touching ballet of "Nina," in which Biggot-
tini made me cry. I was overcome by the delicacy
and pathos of her acting. The opera, an Italian one,
was good. Madame Camporese 2 sang extremely well.
She does not usually sing in public. A vaudeville,
given in honour of the marriage, was full of ex-

1 General Sir George Murray (1772 — 1S46), Quartermaster-General in the
Peninsular War; M.P. for Perth, 1823; Colonial Secretary 182S-30.
Edited Marlborough's Despatches.

2 Madame Camporese, who was a great favourite in England, married a
member of the Giustiniani family, and originally cultivated music only as an
accomplishment. Subsequent events caused her to convert what had been her
amusement into her profession, and she became a concert singer. She never
appeared on the stage prior to her visit to England, circa 181 4. Her first
appearance was in " Penelope," an opera which had no success. But she
made a great impression as Desdemona, and in the opera of "Mose." She was a
good musician, had great powers, was very ladylike, and possessed a thorough
knowledge of the stage, on which her manner was easy and dignified. On
leaving England she retired from the stage, and assumed her proper name of
Madame Giustiniani. She gratefully showed great civilities to the English, to
whom she was indebted for her celebrity.


aggerated compliments to every member of the Royal
Family, and was decidedly de trop. It prolonged the
entertainment until midnight.

How I grieved to part from the Duke— who was all
kindness to the last. He set off a little after three

Online LibraryFrances (Winckley) ShelleyThe diary of Frances lady Shelley (Volume 1) → online text (page 16 of 33)