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taste by going so often to her house. But, after all,
he is a true soldier, and likes lively society where he
can be at his ease.

Except on subjects which interest the Duke, such
as war and politics, he prefers to listen rather than to
talk, consequently he seldom says anything worth
noting. But, on those subjects which form the whole

1 Further observation has confirmed the justice of this remark, though
certainly the usages de soc'Uti are much less favourable to the virtue of
married women than they are with us. (Note by Lady Shelley, 1817.)


interest of his life he speaks most luminously. I
remember now, that our first intimacy began with
mutual regret at the death of Colonel Cadogan, the man
who first taught me to appreciate the Duke's exalted
character. Poor Colonel Cadogan fell at Vittoria,
and the Duke, who felt a deep affection for that
gallant soldier, acutely deplored his loss. Since then,
others, as much esteemed by Wellington, have fallen
in battle, and it is only natural that the Duke's
sensibility should have become blunted, otherwise life
would be insupportable. But those who accuse him
of a lack of feeling — and some there are who state
as much — have not seen him as I have, his eye
glistening, and his voice broken, as he spoke of the
losses sustained at Waterloo. " I hope to God,"
he said one day, "that I have fought my last battle.
It is a bad thing to be always fighting. While in
the thick of it I am too much occupied to feel any-
thing; but it is wretched just after. It is quite
impossible to think of glory. Both mind and feelings
are exhausted. I am wretched even at the moment
of victory, and I always say that, next to a battle
lost, the greatest misery is a battle gained. Not
only do you lose those dear friends with whom
you have been living, but you are forced to leave
the wounded behind you. To be sure, one tries to
do the best for them, but how little that is! At such
moments every feeling in your breast is deadened.
I am now just beginning to regain my natural
spirits, but I never wish for any more fighting."

I quote the Duke's words just as they were spoken.
They may not be eloquent, but the expression of his
face, which was lit up by an intensity of feeling, gave
those simple words an eloquence which went straight
to the listener's heart. I was that listener, and the
distinction is indeed a proud one!

In ordinary conversation the Duke often spoke of
the Battle of Waterloo abstractedly — as if he were


Posterity sitting in judgment on his own conduct — not
as if he had had any share in the glories of that day.
That is the only way in which I can describe the
singular manner in which Wellington, without a
trace of egoism, or fanfaronnade, spoke of himself. He
was always perfectly frank, and natural. He said
one day :

" It is experience that gives me the advantage over
every other officer. Nothing new can happen to me,
and I always feel confident that I shall succeed. The
troops feel the same confidence in me. For that
reason I firmly believe, that if anything had happened
to me at Waterloo the battle was lost. I told Lord
Uxbridge so — an odd thing to say to the second in
command, was it not ? But I'll tell you how it
happened. We were riding together into rather too
hot a fire. I stopped him, and said : ' I must not go
there, for, should anything happen to me, the battle
is lost ! ' Uxbridge said : ' By the way, should
anything happen to you, what is best to be done ? '
I gave him my instructions for a retreat — as a legacy !
Soon after a ball hit him. It must have passed over
me, or my horse ! But the finger of God was upon

On the day after the opera, some officers called,
and we took Colonel Stanhope to see Lady Kinnaird,
who has been in Paris since November, and is,
consequently, very entertaining. I always liked her
better than I did her husband. She talked a great deal
about Napoleon; and owned to me that she thought
him the greatest man in the world, until he ran away
from his army after Waterloo. She told me that
Napoleon had caused Lord Kinnaird to be arrested,
because he abused England so much, that Bonaparte
took him for a spy ! She said that Lord Kinnaird
was the first person to tell the Queen of Holland
• whom she describes as a charming person — of
Bonaparte's return from Elba. The Queen of Hoi-

104 M. HUET ON THE STAGE [ch. ix

land was miserable at it. She foresaw that the for-
tunes of the whole family would be taken away from
them, as she was confident that the Emperor could
never re-establish his power.

I went with Lady Kinnaird to the Louvre, and was
especially struck by the statue of Apollo, which is
exceedingly beautiful. The Duke of Wellington sent
a sergeant with us, to ensure our admittance, as every
soldier in Paris has a free entree there. Indeed,
the common soldiers are admitted everywhere ; the
authorities dare not refuse them anything. How grating
it must be to the Parisians to see the Prussians,
walking about with sprigs of laurel in their hats !

The Prussians are quartered all over Paris ; and
wherever they suspect the loyalty of the inhabitants
they keep quartering more soldiers upon them.
Our men are quartered out of the town — in the Bois
de Boulogne — the officers excepted. One evening we
went to the Theatre Feydeau, opera comique. The
first piece was ending as we entered the house,
and some couplets were sung in praise of Louis XVIII. ;
they were received with violent applause by the
whole audience. One man, however, ventured to
hiss, whereupon there was a great disturbance, and
the individual in question was thrown out of the pit.
The couplets were then encored amid tumultuous
expressions of delight. It was a moving scene. The
petit-piece was entitled " Richard Cceur de Lion."
The man who represented Blondel 1 had been with the
King to Ghent, and was consequently much applauded.
He sang well, and with real feeling. When Mar-
guerite in the play said, " Vous etiez avec le Roi," the
cheering was beyond description. I cannot describe the

1 " M. Huet, on his first reappearance on the Parisian stage, was in the
part of Blondel, the affectionate and faithful servant of the exiled Richard.
The Parisians felt how much superior this poor player was to all the traitorous
and time-serving dukes and marshals. This coincidence produced a strong,
effect on the feelings of the French audience." — Quarterly Review, vol.
xiv. p. 78.


enthusiasm which prevailed throughout the house. The
theatre is dirty, the boxes small and insufferably hot.

Afterwards we went to Madame Crauford's, where
I heard Paer * play, and sing. He is a good
musician, has a most brilliant touch, and a fine
bass voice. The circle was rather less stiff than
on the previous night. The Duke went away to
attend a conference ; and, on his return, announced
the capture of Bonaparte ! This news at once broke
up the circle, all the women jumped up, and almost
embraced the men, in an ecstasy of joy ! The Duke
introduced me to Prince Metternich ; and said that he
must have an interview with Bonaparte. Wellington
thinks that Bonaparte ought to be shut up at Fort St.
George, as, by the laws, his life cannot be forfeited.
The Duke brought us home in his carriage, and
stayed for some time conversing about the situation
relative to the surrender of Bonaparte.

Next morning I went out shopping with Lady
Kinnaird, and found the dresses almost as dear here
as they are in England. That evening we dined
with Wellington. He had asked us to come early,
as I had expressed a wish to see the horse that carried
him at the Battle of Waterloo. After visiting the
stables, which interested me much, we returned to
the house which Wellington calls his " billet." The
owner of the house has given up his best rooms
to the Duke, and is content to live upstairs. There
were about fifty men at dinner, but only two ladies —
Lady Kinnaird, and myself. The Prince of Orange
was among the guests. He looks very ill, and is
thinner than ever. He is a fine creature, 2 and I
told the Duke, at dinner, a trait which he had not
previously heard of the Prince.

During the Battle of Waterloo, it is said, that the

1 Possibly the composer of " Didone," and of " Agnese," operas that were
much liked in London.

1 I have since altered my opinion of him. (Note by Lady Shelley.)


Belgians behaved very ill ; and matters might have
taken a serious turn, if the Duke had not intermixed his
foreign troops with a strong body of British soldiers ;
which, as Colonel Stanhope remarked to me, had the
appearance of a tesselated pavement. At a critical
moment the Colonel of one of the Belgian regiments
came to the Prince of Orange and urged him to retire.
The Prince turned slowly towards the colonel and said :
u Sir, I do not know what the word ' retire ' means."

During the whole of this dinner the Duke, who
was in a confidential mood, talked a cceur onvert of
Waterloo, and of his own feelings. I never, until that
moment, realised the full power of his countenance ;
its wonderful expression, and the fire of his eyes
when any subject interested him. This conversation
made a deep impression upon me, and even now I
cannot shake it off. It would be vain to attempt to
write it down. I agree with Lord Uxbridge, who
exclaimed, on seeing the Duke during the battle : " I
thought I had heard enough of this man, but he far
surpasses my expectations. It is not a man, but a god."

I asked the Duke of Wellington if he enjoyed
the thoughts of going to England. He replied:
" Do you know, I never anticipate. I think it will cer-
tainly be very gratifying, but I am quite happy here."

I said I hoped he had now fought his last battle,
but expressed a fear that after such an exciting life
he would never settle into the quiet of private exist-
ence. " Oh ! yes I shall," replied the Duke, " but I
must always have my house full. For sixteen years
I have always been at the head of our army, and I
must have these gay fellows round me."

The Duke told me that he would have gone to
America if the war there had not been put an end to,
before the spring. I said : " Thank God you did not
go there, for the sharpshooters would have taken too
sure an aim."

He said : " No. I should never have run any risk.


I never expose myself except when it is necessary;
and I should always have been properly guarded. It
is very wrong in a commander to expose himself

Before dinner the Duke took me into the garden,
overlooking the camp in the Champs Elysees. What a
fine spectacle ! — the Garde Meuble to the left ; the
Tuileries with their gardens ; the Dome of Les Invalides
rising above the trees, under whose shade are pitched
countless canvas tents, gleaming through the blue
smoke of their camp fires.

Here I walked, some days later, with that sublime
hero who alone had saved this fine city from fire, and
plunder by the Prussians. Wellington condescends to
converse with me as a friend ! I hope my head won't
be turned. There really is some danger, and I already
begin to feel a dislike — bordering on something like
contempt — for the commonplace amusements of London
society. It is lucky for me that my happiness is
centred in domestic life. In the peace and quiet of my
home these souvenirs will form interesting subjects for
conversation ; and will encourage me to devote my
sons to the service of Wellington, and of my country.
Oh ! how much I hope that some day they may be
under that great man's command ! Every day adds to
my pride at being an Englishwoman, and to my joy at
being born in the same age with this great being.

The Duke saved the Bridge of Jena from being blown
up by the Prussians, by the simple device of posting
an English sentry upon it. He had himself persuaded
the Prussians to await the arrival of the Sovereigns
before blowing up the bridge. After the Duke had
left the vicinity, the Prussians tried hard to get rid of
the sentry, for they were determined to blow up the
bridge. But the sentry would not leave his post.
" You may blow up the bridge if you like," said he,
" but I don't stir from here." He kept his word, and
the bridge was saved !


The Duke says that Bliicher behaved admirably
during the whole campaign. The exact words he used
were :

" We never had a hitch. But at last Bliicher grew
impatient, and got too much the start of me. This
caused the battle near Paris, which would have been
unnecessary, if Bliicher had waited until I came up.
But he is a famous old fellow — though he don't quite
stop his troops from plundering."

They have removed all the pictures belonging to
Prussia from the Louvre. They are quite right there,
no doubt; but the Duke advised us to go to St.
Cloud before it is pillaged, as the Prussians are
packing up the things there as fast as they possibly
can. No wonder that the French detest the Prussians!
Last night there was a tumult on the boulevards
about the pink, which the partisans of Napoleon now
wear instead of the violet. The National Guard
tried to disperse the people, and wounded a great
many of them. It is clear that things cannot run
smoothly after the troops have left Paris.

Shelley yesterday went to Court, and afterwards
to wait on Monsieur, who was delighted to see him,
and reproached him for not having come last year.
How glad I am that we did not. Madame d'Angou-
leme is detested. 1 She is especially unpopular be-
cause she set her face against the extravagance of
dress. The tradespeople here, say that they could

1 Marie Theresa Charlotte, Princess Royal of France, was the daughter of
Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette. She was born December 19, 1778.
During the three years that she was imprisoned in the Temple she softened,
by every possible attention, the severity of her parents' captivity. It is said
that she owed her life, during the ascendancy of Robespierre, to a project
which he was revolving in his mind, of marrying the Princess, and thus
uniting, in his person, the Revolutionary and the Royalist parties. On June
18, 1795, she was released from the Temple. She resided in England from
1807 till the fall of Bonaparte. The Parisians afterwards called her Antigone,
in allusion to her sorrows and her piety. She married her cousin, the Due
d'Angouleme, son of Charles X.


not have gone on at all, if it had not been for the
Englishwomen last year.

When we met the Duke to-day, he said : " I'll give
you a ball, and it is to be next Monday."

Last night we went again to the opera with the
Duke of Wellington. I never saw anything so pretty
as the dance. Gresling is by far the best dancer I
ever saw ; but am told that Biggotini, now confined,
is really superior, and is considered the best in Paris.
The Duke attends conferences nearly every evening.
He told us to-day that he had just been requested
by the " Scythian Dandy" 1 to interfere in the follow-
ing absurd case :

While two British officers were in a garden, at
Montmartre, the occupants of the house came out
and attacked them. They fired upon the officers
without any warning ; and one of the officers, in
running away, fell into a pit, and broke his back.
The Prefect caused the owner of the premises to be
arrested, and the Duke requested the Prefect to have
the man tried in accordance with the laws of France.
The Magnanimous Dandy 2 is trying to gain popu-
larity by interference on the man's behalf; but the
Duke pays no attention to the Emperor's suggestions,
and sincerely hopes that the assailant will be hanged.
He is very clear-headed, has mastered all the facts,
and is determined to go through with it.

To-day I rode the Duke's mare— the one that had
carried him so often in Spain — to St. Cloud. Baron
Tripp, and Lord Edward, Somerset accompanied us.
We passed the Place Louis Ouinze, where poor
Louis XVI. was beheaded, and rode along the quays
to the Bridge of Jena, where we saw the foundations
of the palace which Napoleon intended for the King
of Rome. The quays are magnificent. An English

1 Alexander, the Emperor of Russia.

2 Ibid.


sentinel still guards the bridge; and at the barriers
we saw a party of our soldiers on duty. The road
is uninteresting until you approach St. Cloud, which
is finely situated. As you cross the bridge you see
the women washing in the river, which gives a
picturesque aspect to the scene. The bridge of St.
Cloud had been blown up in its centre by the
French, but is now temporarily repaired. As we
approached the palace we saw symptoms of Prussian
vandalism, and on entering the palace itself, we found
every apartment filled with soldiers. Their dirty beds
had been laid on the silk sofas ; and there was all
the confusion of a barrack, in the magnificent apart-
ments of Marie Louise!

The luxury of this palace exceeds every idea I
had formed of Parisian extravagance. The gallery
is at once the richest, and the most beautiful realisa-
tion of Arabic splendour, that can be imagined. On
each side of the entrance stand two immense vases,
supported by a pedestal, on which the figure of
Bonaparte is depicted en cameo. On the four sides
are emblems of his victories. The Prussian officers
who accompanied us pointed out — with an expression
of countenance easily imagined — the words " Berlin,"
" Friedland," etc. I am convinced that these beautiful
specimens of French art will be destroyed, as they
are too cumbersome to remove. 1 Several of the
medals, with which the cabinets on each side of the
room were embellished, have been torn off; and in
the chapel the gold lace has been torn from the chairs.
In other respects there has been less mischief done
than I expected. The State apartments are kept
locked. We entered them with a sort of fear that
they also would have suffered, but were agreeably
disappointed. In the first room we noticed a space
on the wall where Bonaparte's portrait once hung.

1 In this I was mistaken. They are still there. (Note by Lady Shelley.)

i Si 5] A CONTRAST in

The next room is in precisely the same state as
when occupied by Louis XVI. The next, and by
far the most magnificent of them all, was furnished
by order of Bonaparte, and inhabited by him only
a few days before the campaign which sent him to

Bonaparte did not visit St. Cloud during his short
stay in Paris after his return from Elba. The hang-
ings are all of red velvet with black roses ; and the
borders brode a la main with gold of the richest
possible design. There were several fine malachite
candelabras in the apartments ; these had been pre-
sented to Napoleon by the Emperor of Russia. We
afterwards walked in the orange grove, and realised
the sensation of breathing an air parfumc. These
gardens are delicious ; and we loitered under the
shade of the fine trees. Here and there we met a
priest, intent on some religious book, and, in one
a/lc'e, we saw several standing in a row chanting
their prayers. As we listened to them we heard
the sound of a galloping horse approaching, and
beheld a Prussian officer, attended by an escort,
riding as hard as he could towards the bivouacs on
the summit of the Obelisk Hill. What a contrast!

In the evening we went to the Theatre Francais to
see " Le Manage de Figaro," which is most beautifully
acted. Indeed, the acting was so good, and the
interest so great, that I could not help being pleased,
in spite of the immoral tendency of the piece. Mdlle.
Mars did not appear on that occasion. The Duke
came early, and enjoyed it as much as I did. Baptiste
is the best Buffo actor I have ever seen.

Afterwards we went with the dear Duke to the
Duchesse de Duras' at the Tuileries. A very dull
party, but I saw the two Marshals, Marmont and
Victor, and was delighted to see with how much
respect they addressed the Duke of Wellington. We
then went with him to Prince Talleyrand's. As we


entered the room Madame St. Edmond Perigord * ran
up to the Duke, and kissed him on both cheeks. She
showed the most naive joy, and called him her saviour.
They had been much together at Vienna. She is a
very pretty little woman, and expressed without the
slightest hesitation, and with a natural impulse, the
adoration which I also feel for Wellington. As we
went home in the carriage we laughed at her embrace ;
and the Duke told us that on the night before he left
Vienna, all the women at a party embraced him, and
prophesied that he would conquer Paris, when they
would redeem the pledge.

On the following day we went in the Duke's carriage
to Versailles. We had a relay of horses. I never
was more deeply touched than when I stood upon
that balcony upon which the Queen and all the
Royal Family appeared on the night before they
were seized. From there one sees the road by which
the mob arrived on that tremendous day. I shall not
easily forget the impression of that moment.

The orangery is magnificent, but I regret to say that
our aides-de-camp sacked the place in our service ! Our
party consisted of Lord and Lady Kinnaird, Colonel
Stanhope, Lord March, Mr. S. Bathurst, and General
Maitland. In the evening we dined with the Duke,
went on to the Fe} T deau, and then to Madame Crau-
ford's. At eight o'clock next morning the Duke called to
take me to the review, where I had the happiness of
riding by his side along the line ; and stood by him while
the troops marched past. They numbered about ten
thousand, and all of them had fought at Waterloo !

The Sovereigns bowed most graciously. But my
delight was great when the immense concourse, after
repeated cries of " Vive Alexandre," took off their
hats, and respectfully saluted Wellington.

1 Dorothea, born 1793, daughter of Pierre Due de Courlande et Sagan.
She married in 1809 Edmond, son of Archibald Joseph, Prince-Duke of
Talleyrand- Perigord. She died in 1862.


In the evening went to the Varietes with the
Kinnairds. This is the worst example of Sadler's Wells
that I ever was at ; and I was glad to leave it for the
opera, where the Duke soon afterwards joined our party.
This evening passed more delightfully than any of the
preceding ones. Metternich and the Duke held a
most interesting conversation on the state of affairs,
and discussed the Congress. We then accompanied
the Duke to the Duchesse de Duras', where the King
of Prussia was, also the Princes of Prussia. We had
excellent music — Nadermann on the harp, Paer on the
piano, and Madame Caporese sang. After the part}',
we set the Duke down at Talleyrand's. Shelley over-
heard the Duchesse de Duras talking of my riding
at the review ; and, while pretending to praise my
horsemanship, insinuated that it was indecorous !
Shelley does not think so, therefore I shall ride again

• • • • •

At eleven o'clock the review began. It was even

more magnificent than the previous one, but, on the

whole, less interesting. There were above twelve

thousand of the Prussian Guards on the ground.

These troops had not been engaged this campaign.

I never beheld such troops, and the Duke thinks them

finer than any he has ever seen. We first rode along

the line, which extended to the end of the boulevards.

As the Duke passed the troops cheered by word of

command. It was a monotonous sound, more like a

groan than anything. The Duke turned to me, after

it was over, and said : " I hate that cheering. If once

you allow soldiers to express an opinion, they may,

on some other occasion, hiss instead of cheer.

However," he added, " I cannot always help my

fellows giving me a hurrah ! As I rode along the

line, after the last battle, they gave me a cheer. But

the cheering then was spontaneous, this is, evidently,

by word of command."



The crowd at this review was much greater than
on the last occasion. Monsieur, and the Due de Berri
shook hands with me. The latter is detested here,
and the former is held in light esteem. It is simply
impossible for the Bourbons to continue on the throne
of France. I regretted to see them mixed with the
crowd, while the Sovereigns rode in front. However,
there were so many princes on the ground, that the
position of the Bourbons was less remarked.

We returned along the line, and the Sovereigns

Online LibraryFrances (Winckley) ShelleyThe diary of Frances lady Shelley (Volume 1) → online text (page 9 of 33)