Frances (Winckley) Shelley.

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sixty thousand pounds a year, which he feels is nothing
at all, after the possession of two hundred and fifty
thousand !

In the days of his glory he had a Court, like a
sovereign Prince. The Princess had her circle, where
her subjects, from the different estates, assembled
to kiss her hand. The Prince used to go to church
surrounded by his guard. He rode on horseback
through the church, to the door of his tribune, where
he sat in solitary grandeur. The Princess also sat alone
in her tribune opposite. The officers of the guard



i8i6] LETTER FROM DUKE OF WELLINGTON 295

occupied another, and the visitors had another to
themselves. All this was a good deal ridiculed by
those who considered themselves his equals ; and
as the Prince has not been particularly fortunate
either in a military or in a diplomatic career, having
failed in both, he is not liked ; and his low intrigues
prevent his being respected. As a consequence, he
hates Vienna, abuses his fellow countrymen, and
passes his time in rambling from one fine estate to
another. He always winters in Italy.

It is a great misfortune to the Grand Seigneurs
that few of them possess less than four or five
chateaux, and two or three palaces in Vienna, besides
their villas. They have not time to get attached
to one spot, nor can their habitations be made as
comfortable as they would be if occupied as a per-
manent residence.

From the Duke of Wellington to Lady Shelley

"Paris, August 26, 1816.

" My dear Lady Shelley,

"I have received your letter of the 14th, and
you will see by my empressement to answer it that
I am not dissatisfied with the warmth of your fire.
I really hope that you will write to me whenever
you will have a leisure moment, and I will answer
you punctually ; and I only beg that you will not
show or quote the contents of my letters, and I
promise you the same discretion respecting yours.
Indeed, excepting Calantha's 1 letters to you, I never
show my letters to anybody and never talk of them.

" Youraccount of your journey is delightful, and makes
one wish still more anxiously that one was with you.
But I hope that you will soon come back, and that you
will spend some time with me at my chateau at Mont
St. Martin, near Catelet. I am going there on Satur-
day; and shall stay there, or thereabouts, till Christmas.
Let me know what your intended movements are. In
September and October we shall have encampments,
reviews, races, hunting, and shooting. In November

1 Lady Caroline Lamb.



296 THE QUEEN OF SOCIETY [ch. xv

and December probably hunting only. But I believe
the Duchess of Richmond and all her daughters pro-
pose to spend the whole winter with me, and we
shall have plenty of whist for Shelley of an evening
and what they call in Zeland la Bra Pleasura, and
gambols of all kinds for you and the girls.

"I left England on the 13th, and am quite well. I
saw a good deal of Calantha at different times, and
I think I was of some use to her, more particularly
as my family, which is tolerably numerous, took up
her cause very warmly. She discovered that it was
Queen Willis x alone who gave the order that she
should not have a ticket at Almack's, notwithstanding
that Lady Bathurst had given her an order for it, and
it was said that the Queen had done so because I
had been the cause of asking for the ticket for her.
But this I don't believe. H.M. is now abroad, and
you will probably meet her, but not at the Mont St.
Martin. 1 recommend her not to stay too long, or
she will find the exercise of her intolerable tyranny
very difficult when she returns to England.

"I am not the head of the party 2 ; but am understood
to belong to the ' Shelley faction,' and the ' Lamb
party,' so the Queen says ! There is one thing very
certain ; and that is, that she has no chance with us
here.

" Nothing has yet been done about my house.
" Believe me, dear Lady Shelley,

<( Ever yours most sincerely,

Wellington.

" Remember me kindly to Shelley."

1 Lady Jersey, the Queen of Society, who presided over Almack's. The
rooms in which those balls took place were long known as Willis's Rooms,
in King's Street, St. James's.

2 The party in opposition to Lady Jersey, whose social tyranny was causing
much dissatisfaction at that time.



CHAPTER XVI

I have now passed more than a month in Vienna.
The town itself is small, and surrounded by a rampart,
the fashionable promenade, which one can go round
in about three-quarters of an hour. Five or six gates
lead to the Faubourgs, each of which is nearly as
large as the town itself. They contain fine palaces,
inhabited in late spring and late autumn, when the
dreadful state of the unpaved streets drives all the
beau monde into the town. As Vienna itself is small,
society is very rapproche and pleasant, particularly
to those who, like ourselves, are fortunate to be in
several of the coteries. As a rule strangers cannot
get into more than one. They are obliged to attach
themselves to one person, to whom they must pay
a good deal of court. This is, however, amply repaid
by a kindness, attention, and bonhomie quite peculiar
to Vienna. Our circle being more extended, we are
more free, and our lives more pleasant. I find people
in society perfectly satisfied if one calls after dinner,
and plays one's part in contributing to the general
amusement by conversation at their Receptions.
When one is invited to soirees, it is either to tea,
which is not the quickly dispatched business of our
English tea-drinking, but the antiquated usages of
our forefathers. The lady of the house smokes over
the tea-urn, and is fully occupied in distributing
sugar and cream to the whole party. The cloth is
laid, as at dinner, and the table is laden with fruit
and cakes.

297



298 EVENINGS AT PRINCE METTERNICH'S [ch. xvi

In most of the tea-drinking houses, they assemble
at eight o'clock. At Prince Metternich's the soiree
begins at ten, and lasts till two or three in the
morning. Princess Labomierska has a supper very
much a lAnglaise ; and so also has Count Zichy, once
a week. The usual hour of dining is four o'clock.
At about half-past five the company is increased by the
arrival of evening visitors, who remain about an
hour. They then go to the theatre, or to a soiree.

We always end the night at Prince Metternich's.
The society there is select, and chiefly diplomatic.
Sometimes they have charades. If there are not
many people, Princess Marie plays waltzes, and the
old Princess talks the scandal which she dearly
loves. Her history is that of most German wives.
Her husband was faithless : and she consoled her-
self. The children of the liaison are distinguished
by their black locks from their fair sisters, the
children of the Prince. It is wonderful with what
perfect coolness the Princess calls one's attention
to the striking difference between them ! She is a
fond mother, very dull, and undemonstrative. She
shows her liking of me by treating me without
ceremony. Sometimes she goes to bed, and leaves
me to my own resources. After she has gone, the
conversation becomes most brilliant and agreeable.
We get into a little circle, and Metternich, who is
very susceptible of being encouraged to talk, and
indeed likes to be drawn out, becomes so brilliant
that I feel almost inspired.

One of the great charms of Vienna is its delightful
environs, which are so truly the country, that in half
an hour's drive you find yourself in wild, mountain
scenery. The mountains bordering Styria, which
extend from the Danube to Baden, contain endless
rides and drives by ruined castles, wooded heights,
fine parks, and sheltered valleys. The valley of Briel,
one of the many enviable possessions of Prince Jean



i8i6] THE VALSE IN GERMANY 299

Lichtenstein, is in the wildest scenery. It is interest-
ing from having been the retreat of the Austrians
when flying from the Turks. The fine ruined castle
of Lichtenstein, whose grounds afford views without
end, rustic temples placed in the most perfect taste,
a Swiss farm, etc., are quite enchanting. Another
of his castles is situated on a bold rock overhanging
the Danube, which rolls its mighty flood of water
round innumerable islands. That river often changes
its course, and causes dire devastation. Sometimes
the whole plain becomes a mighty sea. A deep semi-
circular valley encloses the back of the castle. From
this valley rise the finest wooded hills, backed by
others in the distance. We made an excursion to
this place with a party of Austrians, and Mr.
Warrender. After a ride of three hours through the
woods, we dined at the castle ; and then went two
posts to Glaster Neuburg, in half an hour, by one
of the Emperor's carriages, which was drawn by six
horses, who w r ent the whole distance full gallop,
bespattering us with mud. We then returned, and
entered a Court barge in which we swept along the
rapid stream of the Danube.

We made many other excursions into the heart of this
magnificent scenery. I have spoken of the beauties of
Nature. I regret to say that art has done only harm.
The walks are laid out without taste, and the alentours
of pavilions and houses are neglected. This applies
to all the places in this neighbourhood. The Grand
Seigneurs have so many places, that all are, in a
degree, neglected.

On the 1 2th Count Stackelberg gave a ball. It was
one of the gayest I ever attended. It was given for
the Emperor's Name-Day, the anniversary of the camp
at Vertus. Unless one has seen waltzing in Germany,
one can form no idea of the life and spirit of that dance.
It is extremely quick, and only three or four couples
dance at a time. They then range themselves beside



300 CALTENBERG [ch. xvi

those who are waiting, until their turn comes to begin
again. This prevents all confusion. We afterwards
danced the German quadrille, and " Mon Grand-pere,"
a funny, romping dance, with which all Viennese balls
are concluded. It is danced with a sangfroid which
makes a queer contrast to the ludicrous attitude of the
dance, and gave me fits of laughter. Chernicheff did
the honours, and protected me as an old amie. We
have since become really great friends.

One of our excursions was to the Caltenberg, the
retreat of the Prince de Ligne. It was formerly a
monastery belonging to the order of Chartreux. The
Prince located his friends in the cells of the monks.
The view from the terrace, where we dined, is very
fine. The town of Vienna lay at our feet, and we
could trace all the windings of the Danube, with the
battlefields of Aspern and Wagram on the opposite
bank of the river. These, with the island of the Lobau,
add historic interest to the natural beauty of the
scene. While we were looking at that classic ground,
the Battle of Wagram was described by General
Walmoden, who had an important command, and dis-
tinguished himself greatly, on that memorable day.
He did the honours of this party, sent his cook, and
lent me his horse. It was quite dark when we re-
turned home, and we were caught in a thunderstorm.

During the early part of our stay at Vienna, before
Metternich's soirees were quite established, I used to
have tea parties every evening after the theatre.
Once Count Trauttmansdorff l sent the Tyroleans.
They sing beautifully, in parts, the wildest airs with-
out music. Another excursion was to Hitzing, Count
Francois Palfi's pavilion, a lovely spot. Music was
played in the garden during dinner. I drove myself
down there in one of the Emperor's open carriages;
the. horses had been perfectly broken in. We then
mounted our horses, and rode to the valley of

1 Afterwards Prince de Trauttmansdorff, Minister for Foreign Affairs.



iSi6] PRINCE SCHWARZENBERG 301



Heinberg, where I gathered a quantity of wild
cyclamen. On our way we rode through the Royal
chase of Schonbrunn, and saw quantities of wild boar,
who came to be fed at the call of a whistle, like our
pheasants.

I was rather embarrassed to-day to keep all my beaux
in good humour. We were rather too large a party ;
Clanwilliam, Elcho, and Francois Palfi were de trap.

I often went in the evenings to visit Princess
Galitzin. There was always a Russian and Polish
society there. Princess Galitzin is a belle esprit who
travels perpetually in search of happiness, but without
success. She has been, and is still, very handsome ;
has a mass of raven black hair which she sometimes
hides with a flaxen wig. This has the oddest effect
possible. Sometimes we played at Patience, some-
times Princess Galitzin told our fortunes. One of
the gentlemen, a pupil of Lavater, professes to
describe character by handwriting. He wrote a very
pretty character of me. Sometimes we acted charades,
sometimes we listened to excellent music, and some-
times waltzed. When we were a small party, Cherni-
cheff would produce the maps, and recount the history
of the campaigns of 1813 and 1814 in which he played
so distinguished a part. I became acquainted with
Count Pahlin ; and constantly met Ozarowsky. 1

Shelley went into Bohemia for a month, to shoot
with Maurice Lichtenstein, and afterwards with Field-
Marshal Prince Schwarzenberg, who treated him with
unexampled kindness. He always gave him the place
between him and his brother in the battues, and
exceeded the usual attentions due to a stranger. He
took him to see the Princess, who is a blue-stocking
and very seldom takes fancies; she certainly did take a
liking to Shelley.

After his return to Vienna we paid a second visit to
Eisenstadt, which broke most terribly into the delight-

1 General Count Ozarowsky, a Russian diplomat.



302 MARRIAGE OF THE EMPEROR [ch. xvi

ful life I was leading. I thought this visit duller than
the first one, and was glad to get back to Vienna.

I shall never forget the night of my return, when I
went to Metternich's. There was a larger party there
than usual, and I was loaded with reproaches for my
absence. Chernicheffs departure was announced.
Walmoden is to go to Warsaw to congratulate the
Emperor Alexander, who has arrived there. Metter-
nich, and one or two others, looked cross because I
seemed to regret the departure of the others. I had
difficult cards to play to get them all into good humour
again, but at last 1 succeeded.

Marie Metternich and the whole society received me
with a delight, which proved to me that she spoke
truthfully in saying that they missed me very much.
Even the Princess said she was glad I was come back.
I amused them with histories of the dullness of
Eisenstadt, and told them that I had been obliged to
kill wild boars in order to pass away the time !
Leopoldine Lichtenstein, who had been there with me,
and had been as much bored as myself, backed up all
I said.

When, in about three weeks' time, Walmoden
returned, he gave us an entertaining account of
Warsaw. The Emperor had made himself very
popular by dancing and making love to the women.
All the upper classes are delighted that he possesses
the kingdom of Poland. This does not apply to the
middle orders, who have now just liberty enough to
wish for more.

On November 10, the Emperor's 1 marriage took
place. There had been some difficulty in regard to
the presentation of strangers. The Austrian ladies
were indignant at foreigners being presented before
them, but as we could not have been presented at all,
except by being presented by the Corps Diplomatique,
I induced Metternich to take the question up. He

1 Francis I.



i8i6] AM PRESENTED TO THE EMPRESS 303

managed it with the Emperor, and this little triumph
and glory was pleasant enough.

The entrance of the Empress into Vienna was the
most magnificent thing that could be imagined. It
had all been arranged by Count Trauttmansdorff.
Walmoden commanded the troops on the day. The
streets were all hung with tapestry, and decorated
with flowers ; all the windows were crowded with
people. We went to the Church des Augustins and
sat in the gallery with the Corps Diplomatique. All
the Austrian ladies were below in full Court dress,
wearing superb diamonds. When the Guard of
Honour and the Hungarian Guard of Nobles entered
the church, and lined the aisle, the effect was magical.
A Saint-Esprit formed of wax candles filled the end of
the church, the whole of which was hung with fine
tapestry. The Empress did not look unpleasing as
she walked up the church ; but, on a nearer approach,
she is very ugly. Though very amiable, she is very
dull. 1

After the marriage we went into the palace, which
was fitted up and lighted as it had been at a celebrated
Congress which preceded the Battle of Waterloo.
After having been presented to the Queen, we wit-
nessed the presentation of all the ladies. This was a
disagreeable ceremony, as they had to kiss her hand,
and then walk backward to their places. Most ot
them did this very awkwardly, for they trod on and
got embarrassed with their long trains.

The assembly was held in the large ballroom, which
is entirely of white and gold, and lit by wax candles.
We then retired to another room, and awaited the
arrival of the Princes to the banquet. The whole
scene reminded me very much of a similar scene in
" Henry VIII." The table at which they supped
was raised a few feet, and was approached by steps.

1 Caroline Augusta, daughter of King Maximilian of Bavaria. She married
November 10, 1816, Francis I., Emperor of Austria.



304 THE KING OF ROME [ch. xvi

On these steps we, who were near enough, were glad to
sit and rest, while awaiting the entrance of the Royal
party. The young Napoleon attracted my attention.
He was seated in a box prepared for him in the
gallery, with the Duchesse de San Carlos, and looked
full of reflection, far above his years. The remainder
of the galleries were filled with the petite noblesse, as
none of those who have not the forty quarterings can
be presented at Court. Other seats were placed
round the room for spectators in full dress. It was
considered a distinction to stand, which, like many
other honours, was decidedly fatiguing.

I had plenty of time to examine the magnificent
dresses of the ladies. Picturesque veils which swept
the ground were worn by the Hungarian ladies, who
at Court, like the gentlemen, always appear in national
costume. The Comtesse Caroline Zechany looked
lovely in a dress of black velvet richly embroidered
in gold, with an antique stomacher of precious stones.
She wore a net veil embroidered in gold falling from a
coronet of diamonds.

It is the custom at Vienna at bals pares to borrow,
or hire, as many jewels as can be obtained. The head
of the family who is present wears all the treasures of
the family. In her absence the second of the family
wears her jewels. It was thus that the beautiful
Leopoldine was laden. Her own jewels are also
magnificent ; but as they consist of strings of the
finest diamonds and pearls, they can be worn in
immense quantities without detriment to the general
effect. Prince Esterhazy's dress (for be it observed,
the wearing of jewels is not confined to the women)
was that of captain of the Hungarian Garde-noble. It
consisted of scarlet cloth, embroidered from head to
foot in pearls. The tops of his yellow boots, and his
spurs, were set with diamonds. His cloak, lined with
the finest fur, was fastened with a magnificent cluster
of diamonds, so also were the belt, sword-knot, the



i8i6] A DRESS WORTH ONE MILLION POUNDS 305

handle and scabbard of his sword. A heron's feather
and aigrette of diamonds rose from his fur cap, whose
loops, like his sabre-tache, were of pearls and diamonds.
He and others told me that his dress that day was
worth more than one million pounds sterling, and yet
he had not on his person more than a quarter of the
family diamonds, which have been collecting for
centuries. The head of the family is obliged to lay
out a certain sum every year on jewels. It is no
wonder, then, that the Princess Esterhazy's are con-
sidered the finest in Germany, and far superior to
those belonging to the Crown. Count Palfi's dress
was fringed with turquoises and diamonds. I
remember that when he wore the same in Paris in
181 5, it then struck me as extremely ridiculous in a
man. On my telling him that I had never seen tur-
quoises of so large a size, he replied : " Je le crois bien,
elles sont uniques. J'ai passe ma vie a les ramasser."

I have since heard that, only a few days before,
Count Palfi had been arrested for debt at Paris, and
would have been sent to prison had not Metter-
nich, TrauttmansdorfT, and some others of his friends
paid his debts. They said they could not bear to
leave a compatriot in prison in a foreign country.
They had received this very necklace as security; but
had allowed him to wear it on great occasions, thus
gratifying a vanity to which he has sacrificed a hand-
some fortune. He has lost most of his money in
managing, or rather mismanaging, the financial affairs
of all the theatres in Vienna. This is strange in a
man who has talent, and who possesses a remarkably
good head for business.

From Lady Shelley to the Duke of Wellington

" Vienna, September 25, 18 16.
" My dear Duke,

"A thousand thanks for your letter. With
what pleasure 1 sign the contract of silence, which
1—20



3 o6 EVENINGS AT METTERNICH'S [ch. xvi

I already felt was understood between us, or I should
not have dared to write to you as 1 have done. I
knew you would regard my letters as for you alone,
consequently I did not doubt that their contents
would be sacred. Your letters are, and shall be,
the same ; and when you know me better, you will
feel that security in my promise which I feel in
yours.

" I wrote to you on my arrival here, and as you
say that you will answer me punctually, I hope soon
to receive an answer upon which so much happiness
depends. Since I last wrote one of the Ministers said
to Shelley : ' Quel plaisir cela nous ferait si le Due
de Wellington venait ici pour le manage.' I now
feel that this may be possible since you are in
Flanders. If you give a decided negative to this
suggestion I shall be more disappointed than perhaps
I ought to be !

"What a tempting proposal you make, that we
should visit Mont St. Martin. How delightful to see
you daily and hourly, but alas ! it cannot be at

E resent. Shelley is delighted with Vienna, and has
ad wonderful shooting. I think that we must go
into Italy — for improvement, more than for pleasure.
" I cannot describe the kindness we have received
since our arrival at Vienna. There are but few people
here at present, but those few we meet daily.

" We have made various excursions on horseback
into the environs. In the evenings we all meet at
Prince Metternich's after the theatre. There about
twenty people — chiefly men — assemble sans gene.
Shelley plays at whist, and I play a little the queen — for,
in the dearth of women at present at Vienna, I am rather
in request ! Prince Metternich's eyes are still very
bad — I much fear that one is quite gone. He speaks of
you as he ought to do, and always wears the gold
ring with your head engraved upon it. ' Prince '
Charles, 1 who is a little put out at the arrival of
Warrender, is gone with the Duchess into Bohemia.
Shelley set off to-day for Prince Maurice Lichten-
stein's, and from thence he goes to Prince Schwartz-
enberg's. He will be absent, I fear, for nearly three
weeks, during which time I shall be obliged to live
a cloistered and rather dull life. I hope to be

a Six Charles, afterwards Lord. Stewart, the British Ambassador at Vienna.



i8i6] LA BELLE JULIE 307

enlivened by your letters, but I still wish for
Husayn's carpet to take a flight to Mont St. Martin.

" We also are to have races here on October 25,
and as the marriage will certainly take place on
November 10, I fancy that people will come earlier
to town than usual.

"I have only seen la belle Julie 1 once since I
wrote. She remains at her country place near to
Schonbrunn until her confinement. People here
say that during the past year and a half she has be-
come devote, and lives entirely with the priests. Is
that your fault ? We went for two days to Eisen-
stadt, Prince Esterhazy's, where there were two
excellent chasses. You know that old Rozamoffsky
married ? The Princess is handsome, ires aimable,
and very lively. It is supposed that she will give
her husband des inquietudes. ChernicheffyW la cour
there, and on all sides as usual. He is at present
tres affaire. He is to remain here as Ambassador.
He has not yet forgotten his exploits in 18 14. He
complained to me the other day, that in spite of his
services neither he, nor any other Russian, had been



Online LibraryFrances (Winckley) ShelleyThe diary of Frances lady Shelley (Volume 1) → online text (page 24 of 33)