A. B. (Alfred Barton) Rendle.

The Century online

. (page 81 of 120)
Online LibraryA. B. (Alfred Barton) RendleThe Century → online text (page 81 of 120)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

acVvmg us. The stress of feeling has to
great before it prevents sufferers from
wing up to tea. Miss Gladwin glanced
vard her advancing guests, smiled, and
ighted the spirit-lamp under the kettle,
suppose I was looking thoughtful,
r the next moment she said, "Rather
le in the day to do anything? Is that
hat 's in yoiu* mind ? Will they say


" How can I tell ? Yoiu* adherents say
ou 've been like sisters."

" I never had a sister younger and pret-
tier than myself," said she. She waved
her hand to the new arrivals, now close on
us. " I nearly had a stepmother like that,
\iio\igh," she added.

I did not like her at that moment ; but

is anybody very attractive when he is

fighting hard for his own ? Renunciation

is so much more picturesque. She was

fighting— or preparing to fight. I had

suddenly realized the position, for all that

v\\t garden was so peaceful, and spring

was on us, and Nettie's new-bom laugh

rang light across the grass, so different

from the cry we once had heard from her

lips in that place.

Beatrice Gladwin looked at me with a
suddenly visible mockery in her dark eyes.
She had read my thoughts, and she was
admitting that she had. She was very
"hard." Fullard was perfectly right. Yet
I think that if she had been alone at that
moment she might have cried. That was
just an impression of mine ; really she gave
no tangible ground for it, save in an odd

constraint of her mouth. The next mo-
ment she laughed.

" I like a fight to be a fair fight," she
said, and looked steadily at me for a mo-
ment. She raised her voice and called to
them: "Come along; the tea 's getting
cold." She added to me : " Come to my
room at ten to-morrow, please."

The rest of the evening she was as much
like velvet as it was in a Gladwin to be.
But I waited. I wanted to know how she
meant to arrange her fair fight. She wanted
one. A sportsman, after all, you see.

She was not like velvet when we met the
next morning after breakfast in her study :
her own room was emphatically a study,
and in no sense a boudoir. She was like
iron, or like the late Sir Thomas when he
gave me instructions for his new will and
for the settlement on his intended marriage
with Miss Nettie Tyler. There was in her
manner the same clean-cut intimation that
what she wanted from me was not advice,
but the promptest obedience. I suppose
that she had really made up her mind the
day before— even while we talked on the
lawn, in all probability.

"I wish you, Mr. Foulkes," she said,
" to be so good as to make arrangements
to place one hundred thousand pounds at
my disposal at the bank as soon as pos-

I knew it would be no use, but my pro-
fession demanded a show of demur. " A
very large sum just now— with the duties
—and your schemes for the futiu*e."

" I *ve considered the amount carefully ;
it 's just what appears to me proper and

" Then I suppose there 's no more to be
said," I sighed resignedly.

She looked at me with a slight smile.
" Of course you guess what I 'm going to
do with it ? " she asked.

" Yes, I think so. You ought to have it
properly settled on her, you know. It
should be carefully tied up."

The suggestion seemed to annoy her.

"No," she said sharply. "What she
does with it, and what becomes of it, have
nothing to do with me. I shall have done
my part. I shall be— free."

"I wish you would take the advice of
somebody you trust."

Digitized by

work of Chalgrin, Percier, and Fontaine.
The Hotel Monaco, which, according to
its date, was as far removed from the hesi-
tations that are part of a transition era as
from the excesses of a period of decadence,
offers us a harmonious example of the pure
Louis Seize style.

Under this king no remarkable event
fixed attention on this palace. Besides,
the end of the reign offered few occasions
for festivals in Paris, disturbed as it was by
the hidden agitations of the Revolution.
'ITie king resided at Versailles, with little
desire to mix in the life of the capital, and
naturally the grand seigneurs stuck to their
old ruts; so that one may say that never
before had Paris been more deserted, more
void of animation.

The Revolution passed hke a hurricane.
Then with the Directory began a period of
unbending of nerves, a protest against the
recent terror and mourning and suffering.
It showed itself in a kind of explosion of
delight in life, as of a rebirth. Perhaps no
period in history was freer, more unbridled,
more naughtily, childishly voluptuous and


Then it was that the Hotel Monaco be-
gan its career. The offices of the Minis-

try of the Interior had been arranged in it
only a few months, when one fine day hur-
ried orders were issued to vacate. While
the bureaucrats, disturbed in their peace-
ful ways, departed with their files and
papers, an army of paper-hangers and dec-
orators took possession of the palace, and
in great haste nailed down carpets, hung
up hangings, and suspended tapestries.
And the reason for this sudden change ?
It was the approaching visit of his Excel-
lency Esseid Ali Effendi, the first perma-
nent ambassador of Turkey to France.

Up to the time of the Revolution the
envoys and ambassadors plenipotentiary'
alone had been lodged at the expense of
the state. But by installing the envoy of
the Sultan in the Hotel Monaco the Direc-
tory showed able diplomacy. It was an
adroit flattery of the despot, who for his
part made an alliance in no doubtful
fashion with the new regime in France;
moreover, it was a quiet method of strictly
overseeing the ways and deeds of the am-

He arrived in Paris July 13, 1797, ac-
companied by Caulaincourt, his aide-de-
camp; Citizen Venture, interpreter of the
French embassy at Constantinople ; (ien
eral Aubert du Barget, and Codrica, a
Greek dragoman. Besides these, there was
a suite of eighteen persons.

This little court was easily accommo-

Digitized by




dated in the H6tel Monaco. Its happy
arrangement, its distinguished appearance,
and the charms of its park had determined
the Directory to make of it the Turkish
embassy. Twelve thousand francs— not
a large sum— was appropriated by the
Ministry of Finance for the first cost of
installation. The administration found an
amusing excuse for not placing at once in
the building a fine lot of silver, porcelain,
and Hnen. " Perhaps," the cautious ones
remarked, "the ambassador has much
more simple habits than we imagine, and
too great an exhibition of luxury might
disgust him. Let us permit him to draw
up a list of the objects which may seem
to him needful."

This was well calculated. As soon as
he arrived, Esseid Ali passed in review the
guard of honor of one hundred men which
was drawn up in the courtyard ; then he
examined his new abode from top to bot-
tom. He seemed delighted, was not chary
of saying so, and, what was very important,
made no demands.


The very first hour that he passed in the
Hotel Monaco was marked by one of
those amusing scenes which made the
residence of the Effendi at Paris a con-
tinuous comedy. Hardly had he taken
time to arrange the disorder of his toilet
when he insisted that he must at once pay
his visit to Minister Delacroix. They suc-
ceeded in moderating his zeal. But it re-
turned afresh when Citizen Guiraudet
arrived, bringing him the complimentary
welcome of the government. Then a veri-
table struggle was necessary to prevent
that all too courteous man from proceed-
ing at seven in the evening to present his
letters of introduction ! The interview was
arranged for July 18, and the particulars
of the ceremony, fixed by Minister Dela-
croix, form so typical a document, and one
so amusing, that we have no hesitation in
quoting it from the archives of the Minis-
try of Foreign Affairs :

The Turkish minister, on arriving from the
Hotel Monaco, will be received by Citizen
Venture, interpreter for the Republic, and by
Citizen Guiraudet, Secretary-General of the
Department of the Boulevard, who will await
him at the entrance to the vestibule and con-

duct him to the drawing-room, which he wii\

I will come to meet him as far as three
quarters the length of the drawing-room. Two
arm-chairs will be placed facing each other at
the end of the room. The ambassador will
seat himself on the chair on one side of the
hearth, and I on that opposite. Coffee n-ill be
served to him and also to me at the same mo-
ment by two lackeys. He will then present to
me the copy of his letters of credence, and
after the conversation currant preserves mil
be offered to him as well as to me. Rose-water
will be poured over his hands and perfume
will be offered him. I will reconduct him to
a short distance from the door of the drawing-

This masterpiece in the way of proto-
cols elaborated by Delacroix was his last
ministerial act. A few hours earlier he
had been replaced by Charles Maurice de
Talleyrand- P^rigord.


The former residence of the Princess of
Monaco was for several years witness to
strange ceremonies which did not smack
in any way of the eighteenth century. For
instance, in the fine garden laid out in the
French style, which is one of the orna-
ments of this palace, a singular ceremony
took place every day— one that followed
an unchangeable ritual. At the moment
that the sun reached the western horizon
the ambassador descended the granite
stairs, stepped on the lawn, where before-
hand a cloak embroidered in gold had
been spread, and there, turned toward the
east, he went through long prayers and
four times prostrated himself and kissed
the ground.

The delicate woodwork of white lacquer
and gold grew dark with smoke, for the
Effendi rarely dropped the mouthpiece of
a three-foot pipe which reached the floor ;
and his entire suite followed his example.
When in gallant humor he would offer his
own pipe to be smoked by the ladies who
came to see him. For all the beauties of
the period begged the honor of being
presented to the king of the fashion, the
hero of the hour. They flocked in crowds,
with languorous airs, wearing on their
spangled fans the portrait of the lucky
Esseid printed on an oval bit of satin.

Alas! everything must have an end—
especially whatever is the fashion. Soon

Digitized by



^ i

^ !




Sf I

hJ = I

CI =- I





> -







Digitized by



did Esseid the Iilffendi know the heart-
burning and disillusions which the fickle-
ness of these faithless ones occasioned.
Turkomania ceased to amuse at the very
instant that the ambassador ceased to be a
power. The expedition of Bonaparte to
Egypt broke the former traditions of
friendship which had long existed be-
tween France and the Sublime Porte. The
EfFendi had to stand by powerless while
that* rupture took place. Under surveil-
lance in the Hotel Monaco he dragged
out a pretty wretched existence — somewhat
better, however, than that of Raffin, the
French charge d'affaires at Constantino-
ple, who, for his part, was shut up in the
Castle of the Seven Towers. The flatter-
ing visits of the fair men^ei Ileuses ceased ;
the Turkish portraits framed in crescents
of pearls were torn ; the court of honor of
the palace was empty. The wretched man
had to swallow a final humiliation : trying
to get back some little of his prestige, he
had conducted negotiations as well as he
could with Talleyrand in order to restore
peace between France and Turkey (1802) ;
but his government disavowed these pre-

liminaries, and gave to his successor the
satisfaction of conducting the definitive


During the reign of Napoleon I the Hotel
Monaco was inhabited by Berthier, Prince
of Wagram ; then it passed to Baron Hope,
the famous financier, who changed almost
entirely the decorations of the interior and
spent on it seven and a half millions of
francs. In place of the delicate Louis XVI
woodwork, few traces of which can be
found to-day, this banker had the idea of
introducing a profusion of ornamentation,
too heavy and rich— columns glittering
with gold, involved arabesques, vaguely in
the Louis XV style, but designed and
executed under Louis Philippe.

On the death of Baron Hope, the palace
was i)ut up for sale at an upset price of
three million francs. The offer was re-
duced to one million eight hundred thou-
sand without finding a buyer. A third
attempt at a start of one million two hun-
dred thousand brought a raise of fifty

Digitized by




francs, and the hotel was knocked down to
Baron Seilli^re. Among the papers were
found the note-books of the contractors,
and the bill of the plumber alone amounted
to the modest sum of one million seven
hundred thousand francs !


baron of
taste than
r to bring
;reat num-
it to-day.
ry widely
bore the
;, namely,
d, titular
Louis Na-
poleon de Talleyrand- P^rigord, Duke of
Talleyrand and Valen^ay, and reigning
Prince of Sagan by right of his maternal
grandfather, Pierre, Duke of Courland,
Semgallen, and Sagan.
The Talleyrand- Perigord family is one

of the most ancient and illustrious in
France. It dates back to Wulgrin I, who
was dubbed sovereign Count of Perigord
and Angouleme by Charles the Bald, his
relative, who died in 886. Helie V suc-
ceeded Boson III in the countship of Pe-
rigord in 1186. He was a valorous war-
rior, which the name he received from his
sovereign sufficiently proves: "Taille les
rangs, Perigord ! " (" Carve the ranks, Peri-
gord!"), whence "Talleyrand."

Nevertheless the famous motto of the
Talleyrand-Perigords, " Re que Diou,"
has a different origin, and one which it is
worth while to relate. Adalbert, Count of
Perigord, having rebelled against the au-
thority of the king, who was Hugues Capet,
the latter sent him a messenger with these
words : " Forgetful one, who made thee
count ? " " Who made thee king ? " re-
torted Adalbert ; " I know of no king but
God " (TJr fu comtais de roi que Dieu),
whence, in the old French, " Re que Diou."

In all epochs the members of this family
of warriors showed, besides, an intelligent
love of the arts and literature. Thus Car-

From a photuifraph


Digitized by


Fruiii a photograph

dinal Helie de Talleyrand ^ was the friend
and protector of Petrarch, who often be-
sought his aid. Another, Adrien Blaise de
Talleyrand, wedded in 1659 Anne de la
Tremoille, who later on was destined to
make the name of Princesse des Ursins

During the seventeenth century they
are found at open war with Richelieu;
thus Henri de Talleyrand et de Chalais,
Grand Master of the Guard of Nobles of
the King, was beheaded at Nantes, August
19, 1629, by order of the cardinal.

Finally, all the world knows the name
of the famous Abbe de Perigord who be-
came celebrated under the name of Charles
Maurice de Talleyrand- Perigord, Prince-
duke of Talleyrand, Prince of Benevento,
Duke of Dino, Vice-Grand Elector of the
Empire, Grand Chamberlain, etc.


The present Duke of Talleyrand and

Sagan, owner of the H6tel Monaco, is the

1 He it was whom people

grandnephew of the Bishop of Autun.
People are agreed to mention him as one
who has realized the perfected type of the
Parisian elegant. And he has known how
to be at one and the same time extremely
" modern style " and yet excessively talon
r(t7//^^'(" red-heel," a nickname for courtiers).
Continuing the traditions of the seigneurs
of the past, the prince has long main-
tained a residence separate from that of
his wife. He entertained his friends in his
tasteful apartment in the Club of the Rue
Royale, and did not consider himself
obliged to appear at the Hotel Monaco
even when the princess received at her
table kings or grand dukes, the Prince of
Wales, or the Orleans princes. Now he is
sick, aged, struck by paralysis ; and at the
earnest demand of his family he has in-
stalled himself on the ground floor of the
palace, in a little suite.

The princess, who was extremely beau-
tiful, has known how to keep her tall and
elegant figure and her proud mien. She
has lost none of her delicate wit, her aris-
called the *' Pope-maker.'*

Digitized by




tocratic grace, and she recalls the charm
of the grandes dames of the nineteenth
century— for there were still such at that
time — who knew how to hold as their own
for a long time all admiration and all
hearts — such as the Duchesse de Duras,
the Marquise de Montcalm, Madame Del-
phine de Girardin. the Comtesse d'Haus-
sonville, and the Princesse de Li^ven.


No sooner is the heavy gate of the portal
passed than one sees from afar among
the leafage the court of honor, to which
one comes along an alley decorated uni-
formly with upright square shafts like
classic terma in stone and bronze, and
with clipped trees. Here is the courtyard
properly so called, and we see the impos-
ing sweep of the buildings by Brongniart.
The impression of the antique lines is strik-
ing : it springs at once to the eyes, at first
in this portico with columns and a heavy
entablature, but lacking a pediment. The
portico interrupts the general monotony
and indicates the entrance to the private
apartments. This close reminiscence of
classic periods is found again in the some-
what cold but majestic regularity of the
entire facade, composed solely of a ground
floor and a great first story with thirteen
windows, the piano nobiU as the old* mas-
ters called it. Plainly it is this story on
which the architect desired to concentrate
attention. But observe the facts: on this
ground-floor front the openings are
dwarfed, heavily arched, separated by
engaged half-columns, and surmounted by
a light frieze, all of which are things that
catch the eye, without speaking of the
heavy portico which breaks the line of the
front. On the contrary, the first story
shows an intentional simplicity, very hap-
pily calculated and truly grandiose— no
ornaments to speak of, nothing but the
fine proportions of the enormous windows,
over which runs a double entablature on
which one perceives in the intervals over
the metopes, done in fine style, a row of
fine decorative vases with garlands carved
about them.

Two wings of less elevation turn back
along the court of honor. That to the right
includes first the vestibule which leads to
the grand marble stairway and then to the
grand galleries of the first floor.


In the center of the building, under the
peristyle, is the entrance to the apartments
on the ground floor where the Duchess
of Talleyrand and Sagan usually stays,
the immense first story being opened only
for grand receptions. This entrance, all of
stone, has had a sober decorative treat-
ment. In the center— a marble statue of the
eighteenth century— is Ceres, the blonde
goddess; and on each side, on tall por-
phyry columns, are distinguished heads of
Roman emperors, their dark faces, made
of onyx and camelian, emerging from
splendid togas made of gilded bronze. On
the walls light-toned medallions in pottery
by Luca della Robbia send their note of
blue through the green of the palms.
Along the wainscot are some beautiful,
severe-lined pieces of furniture, among
them a marriage-chest of the sixteenth

We enter to the left into a Renaissance
antechamber of a somber but harmonious
tone, where greens and old reds dominate.
The eyes are caught at once by a portrait
of Machiavelli, thin, yellow, bald, with a
high and pointed cranium. The author of
" The Prince " seems mournful, disdainful,
and has a sidelong look. Right in front,
Louis XIII on horseback does not show
any gayer visage. A very realistic " Cruci-
fixion" by Govaert Flinck is surrounded
by plaques from Faenza. Beneath these
canvases there are more busts of emperors,
but these are in white marble on pedestal
columns of red marble. Red also are the
tall Italian Renaissance arm-chairs, the
woodwork heightened with gold, bringing
out the sombemess of that heavily built
Burgundian piece of the sixteenth century
which we attribute without hesitation to
Hugues Sambin, the what-not opposite
which is covered with bric-k-brac of great
value — golden bumpers, German tankards
in ivory, chased boxes, all marvelous in
their jewelry work.

A large bay permits one to catch a
glimpse of the Salon Rouge, which looks
out on the park, just as do all the others
to follow. It would be hard to enumerate
even approximately the riches here in-
closed. Still, one may remark that the
dominant note in the furniture and objects
is the style of Louis XVI and that of the
Empire, harmoniously mingled.

uigitizea by




Let us try, if possible, to examine the
paintings without seeing the ceiling too
much— for this ceiling, in caissons, dating
from the restorations of the h6tel by Baron
Hope, is truly afflicting. Noisily blue
against a white ground, it belongs to the
real Louis- Philippe style. Murillo, painted
by himself, hangs opposite a painting of
Colbert, to the right of the chimneypiece.
This fine picture was brought from Spain
by Marshal Soult.

The portrait of Ferdinand VII of Spain
recalls an interesting page of history, and
will explain its presence here.

In 1808 three Spanish princes were held
in durance at the Chdteau de Valen9ay by
order of Napoleon I. They were Ferdi-
nand VII, his brother Don Carlos, and
Don Antonio, their uncle.

The choice of the place was odd ; for
Talleyrand, the castellan of Valen9ay,
was known to disapprove in the highest
degree the imperial policy with respect to
Spanish affairs. From the first he took
great interest in these three mournful ex-
iles; and he expressed himself thus on
their arrival in his domain : " The princes
were young, and over them, about them,
in their clothes and their carriages, in their
liveries, everything displayed an image of
past centuries. The coach from which
I saw them descend might have been
taken for one under Philip V [1700].
This air of antiquity, while recalling their
grandeur, added still more interest to their

It was a sorrowful visit, which lasted six
years. Fearing that his captives might
escape, and badly informed by his spies,
the Emperor gave severe orders with re-
gard to the princes; and their existence
would have been wretched indeed had it
not been for the humane intervention of
Talleyrand, who one day dared to write as
follows in a report :

I took the tone of master toward Colonel
Henri of the police, in order to make him
understand that Napoleon does not reigii either
in their apartments or in the park of Valengay.

And again on another occasion :

I shall surround the princes with respect,
esteem, and thoughtful care.

It was by way of thanks for this atti-
tude, so firm and courageous, that Ferdi-

nand VII, on his return to Spain as king,
oflered his portrait to Talleyrand: that
very portrait we can still admire in the
Red Salon of the duchess.

The Oak Salon continues the series of
apartments. One may say that it is the
Talleyrand Salon, for the Prince of Bene-
vento dominates it from the height of his
frame. Clothed in a costume of ceremony
of light blue and dark blue, with grave,
pensive features, hair entirely white, and
wearing the grand eagle and the grand
cross of the Legion of Honor, the states-
man rests his clenched hand on his hip and
fronts the spectator in a proud attitude.
Moreover it is a masterpiece by the great

Four other pictures adorn this salon.
One is a portrait of the Princesse de Conti
as Diana the Huntress, with a landscape
background, in the somewhat pretentious
fashion of Mignard. Another, a portrait
of the King of Saxony, which acts as a
pendant, was given by him to Prince de
Talleyrand after the interview at Erfurt.
It is an official figure, the sovereign in
white coat and yellow breeches, behung
with orders, powdered, the plumed hat
under his arm. Farther on, two pictures
by Bronzino offer their dark yet warm

Online LibraryA. B. (Alfred Barton) RendleThe Century → online text (page 81 of 120)