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presents to her ladyship the starostine and myself; his generosity
toward the poor and my sister's servants was truly regal.

He has promised the starost his interest with the king, to obtain for
him the castellanship of Radom. Alas for me! I can do nothing for my
family; but I have embroidered a dress for Angelica which has cost both
time and labor; the prince royal told me he thought it in the best
taste. I will shortly embroider a cap for the dear little one.

But I am forgetting a piece of news of the greatest importance. Prince
Jerome Radziwill, the standard bearer of Lithuania, is preparing a grand
hunt to amuse the king and the prince royal. He is expending the most
enormous sums to surpass everything of the kind hitherto seen. He has
filled his park with all kinds of game, brought expressly from the
forests of Lithuania. The hunt will begin to-morrow; the weather is
favorable; it is freezing hard, and the sledges will slide over the snow
most charmingly. The prince royal insists upon my being present at this
_fête_. The four beauties of Warsaw will occupy the same sledge, driven
by the prince royal himself. (I must here say that I am one of the four
beauties now in fashion.) We will all wear the same costume, differing
only in color. I have chosen crimson; Madame Potocka, blue; Madame
Sapieha, green; and Miss Wessel, orange. Our velvet dresses will be
trimmed with sable, and our caps will be made of the same material. I am
sorry Barbara cannot see it all; but she has her Angelica, and that is a
happiness worth all the rest.


Friday, _January 17th_.

I was brought up in a castle with a brilliant court, and I have seen the
royal fêtes at Warsaw; but I never beheld anything comparable to the
Prince Radziwill's hunt. We set out at nine in the morning, amid an
innumerable quantity of sledges and horses; our equipage was the most
splendid, and followed next after the king's. The prince wore a hunting
dress of green velvet. I do not know whether it was his costume which
rendered his appearance so striking, or his bearing which threw such a
charm about his dress; of one thing, however, I am sure, and that is,
that I never saw him look so well.

We first went a considerable distance beyond the church of the Holy
Cross; then we flew down the side of the hill on which Warsaw is built.
In the centre of the plain, near Szulec and Uiazdow (now Lazienki),
Prince Radziwill has had a park made and an iron pavilion built. The
situation is admirable; the building is open upon all sides, and
defended against the wild beasts by bristling points of sharpened iron.
All the furniture is covered with green velvet. The king and the prince
royal took their places within the pavilion, while the guests occupied a
lofty amphitheatre raised without; the little hills to the right and
left were crowded with curious spectators. At some distance from the
pavilion began long avenues, bordered with fine trees.

As soon as all had arrived, and had taken their destined places, the
hunting horns were sounded. The prince's huntsmen let loose eight elks,
three bears, twenty-five wolves, and twenty-three wild boars; dogs
trained for the purpose drove the animals toward the king's pavilion.
The shouts of the huntsmen and the howlings of the animals were
deafening. The king killed three boars with his own hands; the prince
royal killed at least twenty of the creatures, and, not yet content, he
fought a bear with a club, a proof of great strength and skill. I am to
have the bear's skin, the main trophy of the prince's hunt, as a carpet.
These amusements lasted until four in the afternoon; we then had a
collation. We counted eighty-four huntsmen and foresters belonging to
Prince Radziwill; they were all richly dressed. Latin and Polish verses
were distributed among the guests. Everything was charming. Prince
Radziwill desired thus to commemorate the anniversary of the king's
coronation. There will also be a grand ball this evening at Marshal
Bielinski's, to celebrate the same event.


Sunday, _January 19th_.

The ball was superb. The prince royal was charmingly gay; the king had
given him a star set with diamonds. The supper was splendid, exquisite;
and the enforced abstinence of Friday by no means diminished the luxury
and abundance; there were an infinity of dishes, but not a particle of
meat.

I danced a great deal, and have pains in my feet which cause me much
suffering; but I am sorry that I complained, for I shall now be obliged
to keep my room for ten days to rest. The princess is quite uneasy about
my health. She fears lest so many balls and such late hours should be
injurious to me. In truth, I do not think my cheeks are as rosy as they
were a few weeks ago.

We have received letters from Maleszow; my mother was kind enough to
write to me herself. She begs me to take good care of myself, and, above
all, to act prudently, and beware of heeding vain flatteries. She says:
'Do not become vain or proud through the praises bestowed upon you.
Caprice has more influence upon the world's judgment than either beauty
or merit. If reason is lulled to sleep through the power of such
deceitful murmurs, the happiness of a whole life is in danger, and one
may suddenly fall from a great height, with all one's weight, upon the
earth.'

I hope my good mother's fears will never be realized, and, if my desires
have been too lofty and ambitious, I will in future endeavor to chain
them in the depths of my soul. My mother's letter caused me many tears;
I carry it with me wherever I go, and read it often. God has endowed the
words of parents with the power of going directly to their children's
hearts. Happy the young girl who has never left her father's house!
Notwithstanding all my triumphs, I often regret our castle at Maleszow.


WARSAW, Wednesday, _January 29th_.

My quarantine is finally ended, but I am sorry to say there have been
four balls during my seclusion. I particularly regret a masked ball,
where I was to have made one in a Scotch quadrille with the three
celebrated beauties. Miss Malachowska took my place, and I was forced to
remain alone, notwithstanding the entreaties of the prince royal and of
many others; but when the princess once says no, there is no use in
attempting to induce her to change her mind, I confess I was really
vexed, but it would have been very ungracious to have let it be
perceived; at my age, one should be reasonable; besides, I ought not to
regret anything, for the prince royal has often been to see me, and has
told me that he approved my resignation and the strength of my
character.

Since the baptism, the distance separating the prince royal, heir
apparent to the throne, from the Starostine Frances Krasinska, has been
gradually decreasing; the prince royal desires me to treat him as my
equal: what precious and inconceivable goodness! The hours he passes
with us are the most delightful that can be imagined; he talks of his
journeys to St. Petersburg, to Vienna, to Courland, and amid the society
surrounding us, he even finds opportunities to say words to me which I
alone can comprehend. The prince royal knows and appreciates all the
intrigues which are mining our unfortunate republic, but, through
respect for his father, he dare not say what he thinks. Great God! If he
should one day be king!

The princess, who eagerly seeks a bad side to the best things, says that
his politeness has no other aim than to make a party for himself, and
when he is master of the crown, he will forget or despise us. I do not
believe this, and repel such a suspicion as the deepest injustice. The
princess would be very glad to see Lubomirski on the throne, but I doubt
exceedingly the possibility of such an event.

The sisters canonesses have a soirée this evening, to which I am
invited. The superior, Miss Komorowska, is a very respectable personage.
Madame Zamoyska, born Zahorowska, was the foundress of this community:
she copied it from that existing at Remiremont, in Lorraine. It serves
as an asylum for young ladies who will not or who cannot marry; they
live there in retirement, but still receive visits. Madame Zamoyska
bought the Marieville, in one of the main streets, on purpose to
establish this community of canonesses. Twelve ladies of the highest
rank are received there, but eight young girls belonging to the lesser
nobility are also admitted.

The last days of the carnival are finally at hand.


Ash Wednesday, _February 16th_.

After such constant and fatiguing excitement, one grows tired of
pleasure and longs for rest. I am almost glad when I think the carnival
is over. During the past three weeks I have led a purely external life,
absorbed in balls, dress, and visits. One must have tried this mode of
life to know how sad and tiresome it really is. My success, my
happiness, are envied by others, while I long only for solitude, only
for a few quiet moments, in which I may enjoy my own thoughts and
reflections.

Barbara seems to comprehend my sufferings. I see her often, and certain
words which occasionally fall from her lips explain her fears for me.
She sees before me a destiny by no means in harmony with my tastes,
requirements, and faculties; she would wish for me a future such as her
heart and her reason have made for her; she understands life, and has
set me to dreaming of another happiness.... I begin to reflect.... But
how beautiful Madame Potocka looked at the masked ball yesterday
evening! Her dress as a sultana became her astonishingly. Her beauty
shone as a sun above that of all other women; every one admired her, and
all coveted the honor of dancing with her. As for me, I could only dance
one Polonaise; I was attacked by so severe a pain in my foot that I
could not leave my seat, and I was forced to decline the invitations of
the prince royal and of several noblemen. Thank heaven, the carnival is
over!


Saturday, _February 29th_.

I am going to Sulgostow when I least expected to make such a journey,
and must first write a few hasty lines. The starost and my sister called
yesterday to say farewell. The prince palatine came to my room this
morning, and told me my brother and sister were very anxious I should
accompany them home. 'It is very probable,' he added, 'that your father
and mother will soon join you there.' I always yield implicit obedience
to the will of the palatine, and made no resistance in this case: I will
go. The princess approves highly of my resolution. I will go, since they
desire it; and yet the prince royal is ignorant of my approaching
departure, and there is no one whom I could ask to inform him of it: he
will hear it as one of the ordinary items of every-day news.

If I dared I would ask the princess to say farewell for me, and present
my regrets to him; but I should never have the courage to confide in
her - and, besides, will my departure cause him any pain? Will a single
thought, a single remembrance follow me, when there are so many
beautiful women in Warsaw?... Madame Potocka will still be here.... But
I am called, and must hasten my preparations.


Sunday, _March 15th_.

I returned to Warsaw two days ago. I do not know how it was, but I
forgot my journal, and was forced to abstain from the consolation of
writing during my absence.

I remained three weeks at Sulgostow. I tell it to my shame, but the time
weighed upon my soul as a lengthened torture. I did not see my parents,
as they are not expected there for four days yet, and the prince
palatine came for me in such haste that we made the journey in one day;
fresh horses awaited us at each stopping place, so that we did not lose
a single moment.

The prince royal came to see us the day after our arrival. He is much
changed; he seems sad or suffering. He gave me to understand that my
departure had given him great pain, and he said with some bitterness,
that one should have some consideration for a friend.... A friend! this
heartfelt word fell from his lips. Oh! how remorseful I felt for having
made this journey! And yet I made it against my own will.

The prince palatine maintains that all is for the best. I must confess I
can see no reason for making me suffer, and for afflicting the prince
royal; but I have made a promise to myself to obey the palatine blindly;
I believe him to be destined to play a large part in all the events of
my life. The princess received me most kindly upon my return.

I have embroidered a cushion for the cathedral, with I.H.S. upon it. I
found all that was needful for my work at Sulgostow, and I was so
diligent that I finished it before my departure. I worked fervently, for
I was accomplishing a secret vow; God alone knows my intention, God
alone can grant my prayers.

The anniversary of Barbara's marriage was celebrated with great pomp at
Sulgostow. How many changes in the space of a year! Before Barbara's
marriage, I was always gay and always happy; that is to say, always
calm. I enjoyed my insignificant liberty; my life was like a cloudless
sky; I experienced none of those moments of bliss which are yet a real
suffering, nor of those hours of torment possessing so strange a charm.


Thursday, _March 19th_.

The prince royal was as gay and amiable yesterday as during the first
days of our acquaintance. He came in the morning and passed an hour with
us; he could not remain longer, as he was obliged to accompany his
father on a hunting party to the forest of Kapinos: but he returned in
the evening when we least expected him; he came quietly, without any
escort, and with an absence of ceremony, and an air of mystery which
added to the charm of his presence.

The chase was successful, and quite a singular event took place. The
forest of Kapinos borders upon that of Zaborow; the proprietor of the
last-mentioned domain is said to be a gentleman of good family; he gave
the king a splendid reception when his majesty passed through his lands,
and the king promised the gentleman a starosty, as a recompense for his
fidelity, on condition that he would first permit him to kill a bear
upon his territory. Several bears were killed, but the starosty seemed
forgotten; the poor gentleman, always hoping and always disappointed,
killed a bear himself at the last hunt. He dragged it to the king's
feet, and said to him, 'Sire, ursus est, privilegium non est.'

The king laughed heartily at this sally, and promised him solemnly that
he should have the promised starosty.

The prince royal remained two hours with us: he is now freer, and can
leave his father more easily, because his brothers, Albert and Clement,
are in Warsaw. Every one says that Prince Clement is very good and very
pious; he has a decided vocation for the ecclesiastical state, and it is
presumed he will take orders. It is a proof of great wisdom on the
king's part to consecrate one of his sons to God; but it is fortunate
the choice did not fall upon Prince Charles.


Tuesday, _March, 24th_.

Notwithstanding it is Lent, my days pass quite gayly. The prince royal
comes often to see us; he repeats unceasingly that the court etiquette
weighs upon him; he is glad to be free from it: but to-morrow I am again
to be separated from him. The princess is in the habit of making a
retreat of a week before Easter, in order to prepare for her confession;
all religious ladies do the same, and I must of course accompany the
princess to the convent of the Holy Sacrament.

During a whole week we will see none but priests, we will read only
books of prayer, and work only for the church or for the poor.


Holy Thursday, _April 2d_.

I have made my confession, and am now prepared to receive the holy
communion. I never remember to have been so calm, or to have felt so
much quiet in my soul. It is an inestimable blessing to be at peace with
God and with one's self. How solemn and how sweet are the ceremonies of
our holy religion! What a happiness to have been brought up in the
knowledge of its mysteries! I have an excellent confessor, the Abbé
Baudoin; he is very popular among the ladies of the court, because he is
a Frenchman. But, popularity aside, he would still be the confessor of
my choice; he is a worthy and a holy man, possessing all the virtues
taught by Christ; one follows his counsels with respect; his views of
religion console and show one the way to heaven without forcing one
entirely to quit the earth. I passed several hours with him, and he knew
how to reach my heart, even while condemning my faults. He caused me to
feel humiliated for my sins, without crushing me, or driving me to
despair; he showed me the futility of all human things, the sadness and
emptiness of all pleasures arising from vanity and self-love.... Indeed,
during a few moments, I thought seriously of consecrating my life
entirely to God, and of becoming a gray nun in the convent under the
Abbé Baudoin's direction.

I was measuring my cell, and counting the number of steps I could take
in my new asylum; I thought my resolution nearly taken, when my maid
entered and began to tell me some trifle concerning the prince royal's
huntsman!... The chain of my holy thoughts was immediately broken, and I
strove in vain to relink it; I could remember but one point, and that
was, that the Abbé Baudoin had told me it was possible to secure one's
salvation even while living in the great world, and that this difficult
struggle, when brought to a victorious conclusion, was as pleasing to
God as that virtue which had never dared the combat.

Why, then, should I throw myself into a world of sacrifices, whose
extent is unknown to me, and perhaps beyond my strength? I will follow
my destiny, while maintaining the purity of my conscience. Yes, I swear
never to commit any action unworthy of the name of Krasinski. If I sin,
alas! it is through too much pride; my desires are placed very high; the
Abbé Baudoin does not blame me; he says that ambition is criminal only
when it leads us from the path of virtue.... What God requires, is a
heart prepared for every sacrifice - a will ready to yield all for His
sake; and I feel that I possess this disposition; I experience an
indefinable quietude, and my soul is comforted. This week has seemed to
me a foretaste of heaven; I have seen no one but the nuns and my
confessor, the sole confidant of my thoughts and feelings, and the time
has passed rapidly and without tedium. To-day I am once more to find
myself in the great world. I am to witness the ceremonies of Holy
Thursday in the castle. I am very curious to see this religious
solemnity.




NOVEMBER.


Low the leaves lie in the forest; on the damp earth, brown and chill,
Gather near the evening shadows. Hark! the wind is sorrowing still.
Vanished are the pine-crowned mountains, hidden in a dusky cloud;
See the rain, it falleth ever from the wan and dreary sky:
Rusheth on the swollen streamlet, wildly whirling, foaming by;
And the branches, leafless waving, in the Fall wind low are bowed.

See, the golden-rod no longer bends its yellow-plumèd head,
By the roadside lies it faded - 'mid the grasses - pale and dead;
While alone the stately mullein rears its brown and withered crest.
Quiet skies of early Autumn mirrors now the lake no more,
But its waters struggle fiercely, laden storm-clouds flying o'er,
And the rain it falleth ever, and the wind will never rest.

Once the hills were clad in scarlet: vanished all their beauty now;
Perished now the crown of glory that encircled then their brow;
Low the crimson leaves are lying, and the withered boughs are chill;
Faded are the purple daisies, and the little pool looks sad,
Missing now the gentle flowers that once made it bright and glad;
For the rain it falleth ever, and the wind is never still.

Closer fall the gloomy shadows, and the forests drearier seem,
Still the leaden clouds are flying, rusheth wilder yet the stream;
And the reckless wind is telling now a wild and fearful tale,
While the trees all listen trembling, and the mullein bows its head,
And the dusky lake grows angrier, and the dark pool mourns its dead;
For the rain it falleth ever, and the winds but louder wail.




THE ASSIZES OF JERUSALEM.


There is in the Royal Library at Munich a room called the Cimelian Hall,
in which the manuscripts and works with binding richly ornamented in
gold and precious stones are kept. Many a visitor to this hall has felt
deep interest as his eyes have rested upon an open manuscript, to be
seen through the glass doors of its case, written with inverted strokes
and adorned with various colored initial letters. The interest has risen
on learning that this contains the 'Assizes of Jerusalem,' of which
there are but few manuscripts in existence - one at Venice and several at
Paris. This work is in the old French language, and the frequent
recurrence on the open page of such words as _jurés_, _larcin_, _vol_,
_meurtre_,[1] in connection with the word '_assises_,' leads the visitor
to suppose that this may be a judicial report of remarkable criminal
cases - a kind of 'Pitaval.'[2]

But these yellow leaves contain one of the most important documents
connected with the history of civilization which the night of the middle
ages has given us: it is indeed an invaluable inheritance from that
period - nothing less than the laws of the kingdom of Jerusalem, as
founded by the Crusaders at the end of the eleventh century.

The kingdom of Jerusalem! At the very mention of the name, there seems
to pass over us a breeze from that charmed time when Christendom,
inspired by its faith with heroic zeal, went forth to rescue from insult
and ignominy the tomb of the Redeemer. Who does not feel a kind of
longing after that romantic splendor of the Orient, which impelled the
people of Europe to leave homes and families upon this great enterprise
beyond the sea? Who does not gladly lose himself in contemplating the
traditions of life and deeds, contests and poesy of those chivalrous
times, and dream over again a short portion of that brief but beautiful
dream of the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem?

Nor is it merely this feeling of romance which binds us to the law book
of the Crusaders. It has important political and judicial significance.
In the kingdom of Godfrey of Boulogne lived mixed up together, formed
into a kind of variegated checkerwork, people of all lands and languages
of the Occident - French, Italians, Spanish, English, and Germans. The
system of law which united this mixed multitude was indeed the German,
at least in its fundamental and leading forms and features, as this was
before the time when the flourishing of the law school at Bologna had
brought again everywhere into use the Roman law. There is, however, a
perceptible influence of the Roman law in this work, and indeed an
occasional reference to it as an authority. It has, therefore, its
importance to jurists, but its general interest is deeper, disclosing,
as it does, a view of a distant age, and of a land long since covered
with the charm and glory of song.

This manuscript is in the old French tongue, was evidently written by an
Italian hand in the latter part of the fourteenth century, and bears the
title: '_Livres des assises et bons usages dou réaume de Jerusalem._'

'Assize,' primarily means an assembly of several wise men in the court
of a prince for the making of laws; but it comes thence to mean that
which they have determined upon as law, and is so used in the judiciary
of the Christian Orient.

We shall see that the Munich manuscript does not fully make good its
name. It is not in the proper sense a law book, but rather notes in
regard to the judiciary of the kingdom, made by authors of unknown
names. There are internal evidences that the original compilation must
have taken place from 1170 to 1180 of the Christian era, that is, before
the recapture of Jerusalem, and is therefore from the best of sources.
It contains, however, but a single department of the judiciary system of
Jerusalem, and the deficiency must be supplied from the Venetian
manuscript. Still, however, there remains little to desire in regard to
the completeness of the sources from which we learn the contents of
these books of 'Assizes.'

Before passing to a notice of the law book of the Crusaders, it is
necessary to premise a brief statement of the political condition upon
which this system of law was based, since it is only by knowing this
that we can understand the laws.

When the Christian kingdom of Asia was in its bloom, it consisted of
four provinces, viz.: 1, the principality of Antioch; 2, the duchy of


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Online LibraryVariousThe Continental Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 5, November, 1863 → online text (page 3 of 20)