Frances (Winckley) Shelley.

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o'clock this morning, and hopes to reach Calais in
twenty hours, which he has often said was quite
feasible. 1 He proposes, on landing at Dover, to go
direct to Lord Wellesley's near Ramsgate, and meet
his carriage at the first stage. The courier with his
letters would arrive in the morning, and the Duke in
the evening of Sunday. The Duchess and the boys
go with him to Cheltenham. The Duke has kindly
left me his boxes at the theatres.

• • ■ • •

During one of our rides we talked over with the
Duke all the business of the election, in which I see
that he thinks Shelley is quite right. We told him
that the Opposition abused Shelley for making it up
with the Prince. " What ! " said the Duke, " are
quarrels to be eternal? I hate these Party squabbles."

How exactly our feelings ! We also talked over the
business of Sir Thomas Wilson 2 and Kinnaird. The
Duke said : " I know that Wilson was sent over to
pick a hole in my coat." He told us that after Sir
Thomas was arrested, a letter came in the Duke's bag
addressed to Sir Thomas by Lord Grey. " If I had
sent it to the prison," said the Duke, " it would have
been opened, so I thought it best to send the letter
back to Lord Grey."

This, surely, was a noble act towards an enemy !
The Duke is quite certain that Kinnaird did not assist
in Lavalette's escape — probably because the Duke

1 He actually took twenty-two hours. (Note by Lady Shelley.)
7 General Sir Robert Thomas Wilson (1777— 1849). He fought at Liitzen
and Uautzen in 1813. Was M.P. for Southwark 1818-30. Was dismissed
from the army for his conduct at Queen Caroline's funeral in 1 821. lie was
reinstated in 1830. Published military and autobiographical works.


had cautioned him. He said to Kinnaird : " Take care
what you do, Kinnaird, for the police know every word
you utter."

Kinnaird was not sent from Paris on that account,
but for his former conduct. 1 Lady Kinnaird thought
that the Duke had not done enough to save her
husband, and that he might have interfered. This
made a coldness at last.

• • • a •

Went to the Louvre, where all the Poussins, some
fine Salvators, and Raffaeles still make it a fine
collection. The Salle of the Statues looks deplorable.
But the Fighting Gladiator, my favourite Muse, and
the Diana from Versailles are still worth repeated
visits, but it closes to-morrow. I met Mr. Vernon at
the Louvre. He told me that there was a fine potpourri
about the theatre boxes. It seems that our Ambassa-
dress is jealous at their being left to me, and gave away
the Duke's box at the opera to Lady Lonsdale. This
must be a wilful mistake, as I asked her, before the
Duke left, if he had told her I was to have them until
my departure, and she said " Yes." But of course I
shall not go now without asking her, and I don't think
I shall do that often. She offered me the Francais
for to-morrow night. The Duke told me always to
let her know which theatre I wished to attend, in order
that she might give away the rest, and that he had told
our Ambassadress this, so there could be no mistake.

Madame de Gontaut has to-day a little explained the
enigma by saying — without knowing that any difficulty
had arisen — that she does not think Sir Charles 2 likes
the Duke ; at least, that he is jealous of him when he
is here. I don't know how that may be ; but the ladies
are jealous, for when by the Duke's desire I appeared

1 Charles, eighth Baron Kinnaird (1780— 1826), M.P. Leominster 1802-5.
Lord Kinnaird was arrested on the day after Napoleon's return as a
spy of the Duke of Orleans. When Napoleon's abdication was read to the
Chamber, Lord Kinnaird was liberated.

8 Sir Charles Stuart.


at his ball in my court dress, they said it was treating
him like a king ; and they repeatedly expressed their
doubts whether the Duchesse de Berri would attend.
When she arrived, and stayed so long, they said that the
Duchesse evidently wished to make up for the abuse of
the Englishon the precedingnight. "Ainsi va lemonde!"
How much the Duke is above all such nonsense !

I paid a long visit to Madame de Gontaut. She is a
very amiable person, who has lived twenty years in
England and has enough of the old French Court about
her to be piquante. She is much attached to our
country. She appears to be much bored with her
duties at Court, and says it has been a dreadful fatigue.
But she is full of praises of the young Duchesse de
Berri, whom she pronounced charmante. She told me
that she is full of life and spirits, and runs about the
gardens like a wild thing. Her head has not been
turned by the public applause, which she knows is
paid to her rank. She is fully aware of the heartless-
ness of the cries " Vive le Roi ! "

This young Duchesse was much disgusted with the
vaudeville the other night, 1 and is glad the fetes are
over. The Duchesse de Berri has masters of all kinds,
and her husband seems to treat her as his daughter,
and to be very fond of her. I hope this may last.

The Due de Berri desired Madame de Gontaut to tell
me particularly, that the play " Adelaide du Guesclin "
had not been read by the Court, and that they were
miserable at its having been acted. In fact, the Due
de Duras has received a reprimand for having sanc-
tioned its performance. It is forbidden at the Theatre
Francais, on account of its allusions to the English —
and so markedly to the Duke — but its representation
at the Tuileries had been managed by Mdlle. Volmy,
who thinks that she appears to advantage in it. Her
lover, who directs the menu plaisirs, proposed it, and it
is supposed that the Due de Duras did not raise any

1 " Adelaide du Guesdin."

2o8 MADAME LE NORMAND [ch. xiv

special objections, as he detests the English. Whatever
may be the truth of the matter, it is evident that the
members of the Court wish to give the impression that
they are sorry it was given. Madame de Gontaut hates
Paris, and much prefers London. She says that society
here is a mass of intrigue of all kinds, and jealousies
beyond conception. She agrees with me that one
cannot really be happy while living in the world of
fashion. There may be a certain indefinable charm in
the brilliancy of situation, and in creating the envy of
other women. But how heartless it all is ! and how
happy I shall be to return to an English country life,
after the hollow pleasures and make-believes of this the
gayest city in the world ! . . .

Neither Shelley nor I have been well during the past
week. At the opera, the other evening, I fainted away.

July 4. — I went this morning to see the cele-
brated Madame Le Normand, 1 as I consider my
knowledge of Paris incomplete without visiting so
remarkable a personage. Madame Le Normand is
clever enough to impose upon half the continent of
Europe, and is consulted by crowned heads, and all the
beau monde of Paris. She predicted to the Empress
Josephine the divorce which was to prove Napoleon's
ruin. Bonaparte often consulted her, and she is under
the especial protection of the Bourbons, whose cause
she espouses with so much success. She is, indeed, a
useful auxiliary amongst this irreligious but super-
stitious people. I was shown into a beautiful boudoir,
furnished with a luxury which gave evidence of her
prosperity. After waiting for some time, the prophetess
appeared, and exclaimed " Passez, madame." She then
introduced me into a dimly lit cabinet delude. On a
large table, under a mirror, were heaps of cards, with
which she commenced her mysteries. She bade me

1 Madame Le Normand was born in 1768, and was already celebrated as a
fortune-teller in 1790. She was frequently consulted by Robespierre and


cut them in small packets with my left hand. She
then inquired my age — a pen pros — the day of my
birth ; the first letter of my name ; and the first letter
of the name of the place where I was born. She asked
me what animal, colour, and number I was most partial
to. I answered all these questions without hesitation.
After about a quarter of an hour of this mummery,
during which time she had arranged all the cards in
order upon the table, she made an examination of my
head. Suddenly she began, in a sort of measured
prose, and with great rapidity and distinct articulation,
to describe my character and past life, in which she
was so accurate and so successful, even to minute
particulars, that I was spellbound at the manner in
which she had discovered all she knew.

Looking into my face with an expression of intense
interest, she said : " You will soon be ill— but it will
pass. You will soon travel post, and visit a neigh-
bouring country. You will see high mountains, and
you will be spoken of in several European capitals.
Before you die you will save the life of a distinguished
individual. You will be present at a duel, but by
your presence of mind you will avert the conse-
quences. You often visit a house where there are
sentries. A queen invites your presence; but you
must flee from palaces, for happiness is not to be
found in them. Your disposition is frequently inclined
to solitude ; or, at least, a peaceful, quiet existence,
but you have much ambition. You will distinguish
yourself, but be careful to disregard flattery. Always
follow your instincts, and do not ask advice of any
one. Your presentiments will never deceive you. You
will have three dream warnings : do not neglect or
disregard them." And so on ; saying many things
that I shall not commit to paper. On the same
evening I fainted at the opera. Thus Madame Le
Normand's first prediction was verified !



Next morning I went to the Cour d'Assize with
General Ramsay, and was fortunate in arriving just
as the defence of la Femme Picard began. She is an
extremely interesting and pretty woman. She wept
profusely, and her avocat assisted her tears by an
eloquent address, free from the usual flowery language
of French advocates. He certainly persuaded me that
Madame Picard was not quite aware of the contents
of the papers she distributed. Her husband, a boot-
maker to the Swiss Guard, is remarkably loyal. In
these circumstances, even if his wife be acquitted of
the serious part of the charge, she deserves to be
incarcerated for carrying on these intrigues against
her husband's known inclinations and wishes. She
is a sort of Lady Jersey des Faubourgs ! By the way,
Madame Le Normand indicated our relative situations
very strangely, and predicted that I should eventually
disconcert all Lady Jersey's ill nature, and rise superior
to her malice !

Sunday, July 7. — We left Paris at one o'clock,
having been detained on account of our passport,
which had not been vised by the French police.

The road to Fontainebleau passes through the
narrow streets of the vile Faubourg St. Antoine,
which so painfully recalls the horrors of the Revo-
lution. We drove through Charenton, Villeneuve,
and the Foret. When about one mile from Melun
we were caught in a tremendous thunderstorm. The
rain smoked along the ground, and formed rivers in
the centre of the streets, into which the inhabitants
threw the filth of their dwellings. On our arrival at
the post-house, our postilion, without ceremony,
unharnessed the horse he rode, left the others at-
tached to the carriage, and galloped for shelter,
leaving us and the poor servants in the deserted
streets of Melun. Our situation was embarrassing,
as we could not leave the carriage without wading
knee-deep in water. When the storm abated our


postilion returned, fresh horses were put to, and off
we went. After turning a sharp corner we came
suddenly on the steep bank of the Seine, where a boat
waited to receive us. Without further warning we
found ourselves, carriage, horses, and all, on the Seine,
which, swollen by the torrents, was running rapidly.
The sensation was not pleasant, but we were eventu-
ally consoled by a clearing sky and a glorious view of
Melun with its broken bridge.

Having thus crossed the river, we entered the forest
of Fontainebleau, so full of associations of the great
Henri. The scenery is lovely. The soil, rocks, and
woods remind me of our part of Sussex. As we
ascended a hill we saw an immense flock of sheep, and
one of the shepherds, with the air of a petit ttiait/r,
offered our postilion a pinch of snuff — a courtesy
which was graciously accepted. As we drove through
the streets of Fontainebleau, our pace slackened in
order to accommodate a huge crowd, who were watch-
ing a tight-rope dancer in the Place. Our inn is named
La Ville de Lyon, and is remarkably clean and good.
We walked towards the Palace, and saw the court-
yard where Napoleon drew tears from his Imperial
Guard on taking leave of them after his abdica-
tion. The exterior of the Palace has no especial
merit from an architectural point of view, beyond
its size and appearance of antiquity. The iron
railing set up by Napoleon is very like the one at
the Tuileries.

We found Mr. Wilbraham and Lady Anne at the
inn, with whom we spent a pleasant evening. The
girl at the inn amused us by the following remark :
" Ma foi ! nous etions bien faches de perdre l'Em-
pereur, car nous ne connaissions pas alors le Roi.
Mais, quand il a ete ici, et que nous avons toujours eu
la maison pleine d etrangers, ma foi, nous etions tout
aussi faches du retour de l'Empereur. Pendant six
mois nous n'avons pas eu detrangers chez nous. A

212 FONTAINEBLEAU [ch. xiv

present tout va bien encore; nous n'aimons plus
Thus speaks self-interest, all the world over !
Next morning we went to see the Palace, meaning
to resume our journey early. But on our arrival there
we found that all the servants were gone to hear the
Te Deum for the anniversary of the King's return. As
we were obliged to wait, we walked in the park and
gardens, which are beautiful. The first is composed
of berceaux de verdure, where the sun cannot pene-
trate. The French parterres of the flower-garden
form a pleasant contrast to the so-called English
garden which Napoleon made four years ago, and
which is much in the style of the one at Malmaison.
The gardens are divided by a piece of water, in the
centre of which is the Cabinet Secret, where the
Kings used to consult with their Ministers on affairs
of State.

The interior of the Palace is chiefly remarkable for
ihe gallery of Francis I., which is kept in the
same state in which he left it. The only change that
has been made is the addition of the marble busts of
some great men, which were placed there by Napoleon.
There were several empty pedestals from which the
busts of Napoleon and some of the revolutionary
generals have been removed. A number of the lower
orders of society went through the apartments with
us, and gave their sols to the Swiss who conducted us.
We left Fontainebleau that afternoon, and passed
through a portion of the late theatre of war. The
roads were execrable, owing to the quantity of rain
that has fallen. We met numbers of people, drunk in
honour of the King's return ! We reached Sens at
six in the evening, and went into the cathedral. To
my joy and surprise, I found that the fine monument
of the Dauphin, father of Louis XVI., had been
preserved from the destructive fury of the revolu-
tionists. It has been replaced in the choir, and it


exceeds its reputation for beauty of design and execu-
tion. In my opinion, it far surpasses any other
French monument, for feeling and sentiment pervade
the whole. I have not been so highly gratified by
any modern sculptor, not even excepting Canova

Last year Sens was delivered up to pillage by the
Wiirtembergers and Bavarians. 1 The inhabitants
were prepared to receive the Allies with open arms.
Unfortunately a French general arrived one night at
the head of six hundred men, and ordered the people
to defend their city. Pillage was the consequence.
Although some shells entered the cathedral, the
monument was not injured. The officers belonging
to the attacking force came to see the cathedral, and
when the Prince Royal of Wurtemberg came there, he
found it filled with his soldiers. He was very in-
dignant at the desecration, and ordered the sacred
edifice to be cleared of troops and restored to perfect

Next day we drove along straight avenues and
a flat country, bearing traces here and there of the
ravages of war. We then ascended a steep hill and
saw the beautiful and fertile valley, which is watered
by the Yonne, a river which winds for miles along our
route. After passing the chateau of Passy with its
fine woodland scenery, we found the whole country
laid out in vineyards, until the cathedral spires of
Auxerre burst upon our view. When we reached the
gates of the town, we drove along the boulevards to
the quay, where the hotel is situated, close to the
river's bank. Although the weather was bad, we
thought the place lovely. We were taken to the
wrong hotel, and had a comical scene with the land
lady, who made tremendous efforts to detain us. At
last we succeeded in getting away from the nastiest hole
I ever saw, into a very good inn, named " The Leopard."

1 February II, 1814.


We found Mr. Sharp, 1 a member of parliament, there.
He is a clever man, and passed the evening very
agreeably with us. He told us that he had been
detained there for ten days through the illness of his
sister. His only resource had been the physician,
whom he described as intelligent, but with a very
small collection of the commonest drugs. He had
seen two pretty fetes. One was for the passage of
the Due d'Angouleme — who was received with
enthusiasm — the other, for the return of the King.
I afterwards saw at one of the post-houses a placard
expressing love "pour ce prince, cheri des Francais."
I said to the post-master in French, " What ! } T ou love
the Prince here?" He replied very sulkily: "Bah!
e'est qu'il vient de passer par ici." His manner
expressed far more than the words !

It has rained incessantly for eight days, and the
roads are in consequence a severe trial to the springs
of our carriage. The road between Avallon and
Rouvray is hilly, tiresome, and full of holes and deep
ruts. We were nearly three hours coming two stages,
and were thus compelled to sleep at the latter place.
We are much pleased with our hostess, who is a very
pretty woman.

Our host was a soldier under Napoleon, and left
the army on the King's first return. He had served
for eighteen months, being one of those drawn under
conscription ; and on the return of the King, which
released him from military service, he determined to
marry. While waiting for the consent of parents,
Napoleon came back from Elba, and very nearly upset
their plans.

Fortunately, Napoleon passed through Auxerre, so
this pretty woman threw herself at his feet, and

1 Richard Sharp (1759 — 1835), known as "Conversation Sharp," a Whig
M.P. His friends numbered the most eminent men of his day. He
published " Letters and Essays in Prose and Verse " in 1834. Byron spoke
of him as "a man of elegant mind."


implored his permission to marry one of his old
soldiers. He gave his consent most readily ; and
she is now hourly expecting her confinement. When
she wished us farewell, she said that we would bring
her luck. The husband is twenty-two years old, and
she is 'only eighteen — certainly the prettiest French-
woman, with the fairest skin, I ever saw.

Soon after leaving Rouvray we quitted the Lyons
road with pleasure, as the passage of the artillery had
completely destroyed it. The road to Dijon is very
good. The approach to Dijon is fiat, not unlike
Cambridge. The cathedral and other churches,
rising out of the trees, produced a fine effect. All
the ancient monuments, and the facades of the
churches, were destroyed during the Revolution.
As we left Dijon on the road to Auxonne, we
passed the ground where the Austrians held their
grand review last year. The situation is far inferior
to that of the plains of Champagne near Vertus,
where the Russians were reviewed. Auxonne, where
we slept, is on the banks of the Saone. It is a
mile de guerre into which the Allies did not enter.
Its inhabitants are very proud of this, for it saved
them from much discomfort. Although it is said
that the Austrians always behaved very well on
these occasions, yet the quartering of troops is a
dreadful infliction at all times. We had some excel-
lent hone} T for breakfast, and were made very com-
fortable. But the charges were imperial !

We followed the road to Besancon, and the country
became more and more beautiful as we proceeded.
The incessant rain of the last few days abated, and
we only had occasional storms. The country was
flooded, and the crops everywhere suffering from
the unusually wet season. The hay in many places
has been washed down the stream. At St. Vit we
caught our first view of the mountains of Switzerland.


The peasants in these parts are decidedly handsome,
and their large hats extremely picturesque. On our
arrival at Besancon we were made to show our pass-
ports, which examination detained us two hours and
a half. They were very strict and not very civil.
This town also escaped an occupation by the Allies
in 1815. It had been unsuccessfully besieged by
Prince Lichtenstein in the previous year. The
Austrians passed along the heights, and crossed the
Doubs lower down. The inhabitants say that it is
impregnable, which I can well believe, for it is by
nature wonderfully strong, being surrounded on
three sides by a rapid river, and inaccessible rocks rise
behind it. On the summit of these rocks stands the
citadel, built by Vauban. They showed us the place
where Louis XIV. was wounded. Its Roman remains
are not worth the drenching I got on going to see
them. A storm overtook me, and flooded the streets
in a few minutes. We took a dislike to the people
of the inn, especially a pert waiter, whose manners
would have been much improved by a little of the
Allies' discipline. So we determined to go forward,
in spite of every attempt made to detain us. With
that true English love of liberty, we chafed at the
closed gates and the sentries who paraded through
the town. While waiting for the post-horses we
entered into conversation with an old " Croix de St.
Louis," who turned out to be the Marquis de Bessieres,
a field-marshal ; and, as he said with a chuckle,
" un gentilhomme Francais qui a tres mal fait ses
affaires en emigrant avec le reste a Coblentz." He
asked if we knew Lord Maynard, whom he said he
had met at Plombieres previous to the Revolution.
He spoke with pleasure of the time they passed
together in the company of the late Duke of Bedford,
who with his son was visiting Plombieres. On part-
ing he begged that we would remember him to Lord
Maynard, which we promised to do.


It would be difficult to give any idea of the beauty
of the Valley of the Doubs, along which we passed
after leaving Besancon. The road afterwards led us
for three miles up a very steep hill, from the top
of which we saw the broad river, looking in the
deep distance like a mountain stream. The view
extends to Dole, and the whole plain of Franche-
Comte, suffused by the light of a setting sun. We
toiled onwards in the growing darkness and
experienced another violent storm before we reached
the post-house. It was now quite dark, and the
place where we meant to sleep was many degrees
worse than any we had yet met with. It was quite
impossible to enter it. There were no beds to be
had, and the kitchen was filled with the lowest
class of travellers. In these distressful circumstances
we had no alternative but to move on to the next
post, alas ! with only two horses — all that remained
in the stables. On inspection we found that the
harness was broken, and every possible disaster
loomed on the horizon of our imagination. Fortu-
nately, we soon met a third horse returning home
after his day's work, and having attached the poor
beast to our carriage, we proceeded. The first hill
was extremely heavy owing to the rains, and tre-
mendously steep. We stuck fast ! The storm had
by this time abated, so we all got out and stood on
the flooded road. Shelley, our manservant, and my
maid Angelique all put their shoulders to the wheel,

Online LibraryFrances (Winckley) ShelleyThe diary of Frances lady Shelley (Volume 1) → online text (page 17 of 33)