Copyright
Edmund B. (Edmund Basil) D'Auvergne.

Lola Montez : an adventuress of the forties online

. (page 1 of 15)
Online LibraryEdmund B. (Edmund Basil) D'AuvergneLola Montez : an adventuress of the forties → online text (page 1 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


smaa



'T r '-' - rjT'y—




()f i/ie Sorites




^.M. dy^wemne



« /



BS3S



CORNELL

UNIVERSITY

LIBRARY




GIFT OF



Prof. A. M. Drummond



Cornell University Library
DD 801.B383M782



Lola Montez :



3 1924 028 390 254




The original of this book is in
the Cornell University Library.

There are no known copyright restrictions in
the United States on the use of the text.



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924028390254



LOLA MONTEZ



UNIFORM LIBRARY EDITION OF THE WORKS OF

GUY DE MAUPASSANT, newly translated into
English by Marjorie Laurie.

Volume 1. BEL-AMI.

" Bel- Ami " is an extraordinarily fine full-length
portrait of an unscrupulous rascal who exploits his
success with women for the furtherance of his ambi-
tions. The book simmers with humorous observa-
tions, and, as a satire on politics and journalism, is
no less biting because it is not bitter.

Volume 2. A LIFE.

This story of a woman's life, harrowed first by the
faithlessness of her husband and later by the worth-
lessness of her son, has been described as one of the
saddest books that has ever been written ; it is
remorseless in its utter truthfulness.

Volume 3. " BOULE DE SUIF " and other Short Stories-

A story of the part played by a httle French
prostitute in an incident of the war of 1870. It was
published in a collection of tales hj distinguished
French writers of the day, and was so clearly the gem
of the collection that it established the Author at
once as a master.

Volume 4. THE HOUSE OF TELLIER.




LOLA MONTEZ.

Countess of Lanrlsfeld.



LOLA MONTEZ



AN ADVENTURESS OF THE 'FORTIES



BY

EDMUND B. D'AUVERGNE



ILLUSTRATED



NEW YORK

BRENTANO'S

PUBLISHERS

IPrinM in Crtai Britain]



Printed by pox, Jones & Co., Kemp Hall Press, Oxford, England



PREFACE

The story of a brave and beautiful woman, whose fame
filled Europe and America within the memory of our
parents, seems to be worth telling. The human note
in history is never more thrilling than when it is struck
in the key of love. In what were perhaps more virile
ages, the great ones of the earth frankly acknowledged
the irresistible power of passion and the supreme desir-
ability of beauty. Their followers thought none the
less of them for being sons of Adam. Lola Montez
was the last of that long and illustrious line of women,
reaching back beyond Cleopatra and Aspasia, before
whom kings bent in homage, and by whose personality
they openly confess themselves to be swayed. Since
her time man has thrown off the spell of woman's
beauty, and seems to dread still more the competition
of her intellect.

Lola Montez, some think, came a century too late ;
" in the eighteenth century," said Claudin, " she would
have played a great part." The part she played was,
at all events, stirring and strange enough. The
most spiritually and aesthetically minded sovereign in



Preface

Europe worshipped her as a goddess ; geniuses of
coarser fibre, such as Dumas, sought her society. She
associated with the most highly gifted men of her time.
Equipped only with the education of a pre- Victorian
schoolgirl, she overthrew the ablest plotters and
intriguers in Europe, foiled the policy of Metternich,
and hoisted the standard of freedom in the very strong-
hold of Ultramontane and reactionary Germany.

Driven forth by a revolution, she wandered over the
whole world, astonishing Society by her masculine
courage, her adaptability to all circumstances and
surroundings. She who had thwarted old Europe's
skilled diplomatists, knew how to horsewhip and to cow
the bullies of young Australia's mining camps. An
indifferent actress, her beauty and sheer force of character
drew thousands to gaze at her in every land she trod.
So she flashed like a meteor from continent to continent,
heard of now at St. Petersburg, now at New York, now
at San Francisco, now at Sydney. She crammed
enough experience into a career of forty-two years to
have surfeited a centenarian. She had her moments
of supreme exaltation, of exquisite felicity. Her
vicissitudes were glorious and sordid. She was presented
by a king to his whole court as his best friend ; she was
dragged to a London police-station on a charge of
felony. But in prosperity she never lost her head, and
in adversity she never lost her courage.

vi



Preface

A splendid animal, always doing what she wished to
do ; a natural pagan in her delight in life and love and
danger — she cherished aU her life an unaccountable
fondness for the most conventional puritanical forms of
Christianity, dying at last in the bosom of the Protestant
Church, with sentiments of self-abasement and con-
trition that would have done credit to a Magdalen or
Pelagia.

In my sympathy with this fascinating woman, it is
possible that I have exaggerated the importance of her
rdle ; probable, also, that I have digressed too freely
into reflections on her motives and on the forces with
which she had to contend. Those who prefer a bare
recital of the facts of her career, I refer at once to the
admirable epitome to be found in the " Dictionary of
National Biography." Here I have not hesitated to
include all that seemed to me to throw light on the
subject of my sketch, on the people around her, and on
the influences that shaped her destiny.

Edmund B. d'Auvergne.



vu



CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE

I. CHILDHOOD I

II. A RUNAWAY MATCH II

III. FIRST STEPS IN MATRIMONY . . . . I7

IV. INDIA SEVENTY YEARS AGO .... 21
V. RIVEN BONDS 3I

VI. LONDON IN THE 'FORTIES .... 39

VII. WANDERJAHRE 47

VIII. FRANZ LISZT 59

IX. AT THE BANQUET OF THE IMMORTALS . . 65

X. m6ry 75

XI. DUJARIER 79

XII. THE SUPPER AT THE FR^RES PROVEN9AUX . 83

XIII. THE CHALLENGE 87

XIV. THE DUEL 95

XV. THE RECKONING 101

XVI. IN QUEST OF A PRINCE . . . . . IO7

XVII. THE KING OF BAVARIA Ill

XVIII. REACTION IN BAVARIA 121

XIX. THE ENTHRALMENT OF THE KING . . 125

XX. THE ABEL MEMORANDUM .... I35

XXI. THE INDISCRETIONS OF A MONARCH . I43

ix



Contents



CHAP.

XXII. THE MINISTRY OF GOOD HOPE

XXIII. THE UNCROWNED QUEEN OF BAVARIA

XXIV. THE DOWNFALL ....
XXV. THE RISING OF THE PEOPLES .

XXVI. LOLA IN SEARCH OF A HOME .
XXVII. A SECOND EXPERIMENT IN MATRIMONY
XXVIII. WESTWARD HO !
XXIX. IN THE TRAIL OF THE ARGONAUTS
XXX. IN AUSTRALIA
XXXI. LOLA AS A LECTURER
XXXII. A LAST VISIT TO ENGLAND
XXXIII, THE MAGDALEN
XXXIV. LAST SCENE OF ALL

SOURCES OF INFORMATION



PAGE
149

163

177
181

199
205
213
219
223
227
234



ILLUSTRATIONS



LOLA MONTEZ, COUNTESS OF LANDSFELD . Frontispiece
NICHOLAS I To face page 54

FRANZ LISZT „ 6o



ALEXANDRE DUMAS, SENIOR

LOUIS OF BAVARIA, WHEN ELECTORAL PRINCE

LOUIS I, KING OF BAVARIA .

LOLA MONTEZ (AFTER JULES LAURE) .



70
112
144
194



XI



LOLA MONTEZ

AN ADVENTURESS OF THE 'FORTIES



CHILDHOOD



The year 1818 was, on the whole, a good starting-point
in Ufe for people with a taste and capacity for adventure.
This was not suspected by those already bom. They
looked forward, after the tempest that had so lately
ravaged Europe, to a golden age of slippered ease and
general stagnation. The volcanoes, they hoped, were
all spent. " We have slumbered seven years, let us
forget this ugly dream," complacently observed a
German prince on resuming possession of his dominions ;
and " the old, blind, mad, despised, and d5dng king's "
worthy regent expressed the same confidence when he
gave the motto, " A sign of better times," to an order
founded in this particular year. Yet the child that thus
with royal encouragement began life in England at that
time learned before he could toddle to tremble at the
mysterious name of " Boney," and later on would thriU
with fear, delight, and horror at his nurse's recital of

I



Lola Montez

the atrocities and final glorious undoing of that terrific
ogre. Presently he would meet in his walks abroad,
red-coated, bewhiskered veterans who had met the
monster face to face (or said they had) ; who would
recount stories of decapitated kings, dreadful uprisings,
and threatened invasions ; who had lost a leg or an arm
or an eye at Waterloo or Salamanca ; which victories
(they assured him) were mainly due to their individual
valour and generalship. As the child grew older he
would begin to make a coherent story out of these
strange happenings : he would realise through what a
period of storm and^ stress the world had passed imme-
diately before his advent. He would listen eagerly at
his father's table to more trustworthy relations of the
great battles by men whose share in them his country
was proud to acknowledge. Waterloo, Trafalgar, the
NUe, would be fought over again in the school play-
ground. For the best part of his life he might expect to
have as contemporaries, men who had seen Napoleon
with their own eyes, and shaken Nelson by his one hand
— men who had seen thrones that seemed as stable as
the everlasting hills come crashing down, to be pieced
together with a cement of blood and gunpowder. How
often the boy, or, as in this particular case, the girl,
must have longed for a recurrence of those brave days,
and deprecated the peaceful present. But for him (or
her) far more amazing things were in store. His it was
to see society emerge from its worn-out feudal chrysalis,
and to take the path which may yet lead to civilisation.
Those born in 1818 could have the delightful distinction
of being carried in the first railway train, of sending the
first " wire," of boarding the first " penny 'bus." Born
in the age of the coach and the hoy, they would die in



Childhood

the era of the locomotive and mail steamer. Theirs
was an age of transition indeed, most curious to watch,
most thrilling to traverse. And — most valuable
privilege of all to those that loved to play a part in great
affairs — they would be in good time to assist at the
widest spread and most terrific upheaval Europe had
known since the downfall of the Roman Empire. To
have been thirty years of age in that year of years, 1848 !
Those who witnessed the great drama must have felt
that to have come into the world more than three
decades before would have been a mistake the most
grievous.

Among the children fortunate enough, then, to be
born when the nineteenth century was in its eighteenth
year was the heroine of our history. Limerick, the city
of the broken treaty, was her birthplace, Maria Dolores
Ehza Rosanna the names bestowed upon her in baptism.
Only a year before (on 3rd July 1817) her father, Edward
Gilbert, had been gazetted an ensign in the old 25th
regiment of the line, now the King's Own Scottish
Borderers. He may have been, as his daughter and
only child afterwards claimed, the scion of a knightly
house, but he could boast a far more honourable dis-
tinction — that he rose from the ranks and earned his
commission by valour and good conduct in the long
Napoleonic wars.^ Promotion it was, perhaps, that
emboldened him to marry in the same year. His wife
was a girl of surpassing beauty, a Miss OUver, of Castle
Oliver, wherever that may be, and a descendant of the
Count de Montalvo, a Spanish grandee, who had lost his
immense estates in the wars. The ancestors of this

* Historical Record of the 44th, or East Essex Regiment (1864),
by Thomas Carter, of the Adjutant-General's Office.

3



Lola Montez

unfortunate noble (we are told) were Moors, and came
into Spain in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, which
was certainly the worst possible moment they could
have chosen for so doing. For this account of Mrs.
Gilbert's ancestry we are indebted to her daughter,
whose names certainly suggest a Spanish origin. It was
by her mournful second name, or rather by its lightsome
diminutive, Lola, that she was ever afterwards known.
Perhaps she was so called in remembrance of one of the
proud Montalvos. At all events, she never ceased to
cherish the belief in her half-Spanish blood. When she
was a romantic young girl — for young girls were romantic
seventy years ago — Spain obsessed the Byronic caste of
mind. It was regarded as the home of chivalry, romance,
love, poetry, and adventure. To be ever so little
Spanish was accounted a most enviable distinction.
So it would be ungenerous of us to impugn Lola's claim
to what she and her contemporaries considered an
inestimable privilege. True or false, the idea was one
she imbibed with her mother's milk — though I forgot
to say that, according to her own statement, she was
nourished at this early period by an Irish nurse. I
wish I could say in what religion the new daughter of
the regiment was educated. Somewhere she says that
her mother eloped with her father from a convent. The
strong dislike she manifested in after years for the
Roman Catholic Church may have been inspired by this
circumstance, and suggests, at any rate, in one not
keenly sensible of nice theological distinctions, some
personal motive arising from a bitter experience.

If the baby Lola gave promise of the woman, Edward
Gilbert must have been proud of his child — as proud
of her as of his pretty wife and his hard-won commission.

4



Childhood

But those years in troubled Ireland must have been
anxious ones for him. There is no evidence that he
possessed private means, and to support -a wife and
child on the pay of an ensign in a marching regiment
would necessitate economies of the most painful des-
cription. In the East, now that Europe was at peace,
lay the only hope of immediately increased pay and
rapid promotion. The establishment of the King's Own
Scottish Borderers was reduced, in August 1822, from ten
to eight companies, and Gilbert was able to obtain, in
consequence, a transfer to the 44th of the Une, already
under orders for India. His appointment to his new
regiment — now the first battalion Essex regiment —
is dated loth October 1822. With his young wife and
child he embarked, accordingly, for the land of promise.
Probably the four-year-old Lola endured best of the
three the unspeakable fatigue and tedium of that long,
long journey round the Cape — a voyage which in those
days it was no uncommon thing to prolong by a call at
Rio de Janeiro. It was not till four months had been
passed at the mercy of wind and wave that our weary
travellers set foot in Calcutta.

The regiment was stationed at Fort William, and
there the ensign's hopes of speedy advancement early
received encouragement. At one time seventeen of his
brother ofl&cers lay sick with the fever, and before six
months had fled, the last post was sounded over the
graves of Major Guthrie, Captain O'Reilly, and Lieu-
tenants Twinberrow and Sargent. The unspoken
question on every one's lips was. Whose turn next ?
In this Indian pest-house there must have been moments
when the young mother, fearful for her husband and
child, longed fiercely for the rain-drenched streets of

5



Lola Montez

Limerick. At last the regiment was ordered to Dinapore.
The journey was effected, as was usual in those days,
by water, an element to which the Gilberts were now
well accustomed. But here, instead of the monotonous
expanse of ocean, they had slowly unfolded before them
the strange and brightly-coloured panorama of the
East — gorgeous, teeming cities, the dreadful, burning
gh§,ts, rank jungle, dense forests, rich rice-fields. As the
flotiUa travelled only 12 or 14 miles a day, the passengers
had ample time to stretch their limbs ashore, and to
visit the towns and villages passed en route. The
voyage, too, did not lack incident. On one occasion
nine boats were swamped, and eight British redcoats
went to swell the horrible procession of corpses which
floats ever seaward down the Sacred River. Another
night the Colonel's boat took fire, and the flames,
spreading to other vessels, consumed the regimental
band's music and instruments, which were so sorely
needed to revive the drooping spirits of the fever-stricken
troops.

However, in the excitement of taking up their new
quarters at Dinapore, these evil omens were, no doubt,
forgotten. Pretty women were rare in India in those
days, and Mrs. Gilbert received (from the men, at all
events) a right royal welcome. She was acclaimed
queen of the station, and, as her husband, the Ensign,
became, of course, a person of consequence. This
was better than Ireland, after all. Dinapore was a
fairly Uvely spot, and regimental society was not over-
shadowed, as at Calcutta, by the magnates of Govern-
ment House. So Lola's mother flirted and danced,
while Lola herself was petted by grey-haired generals
and callow subs., and Lola's father began to dream of a

6



Childhood

captaincy. One day, in the early part of 1824, his
place at the mess-table was vacant. The doctor looked
in, and said " Cholera," and a few faces blanched.
Craigie, the Ensign's best friend, hurried to his bedside.
The dying man was speechless, but conscious. Beckon-
ing to his friend, he placed his weeping wife's hand in
his, and, having thus conveyed his last wish, died.

Lola was left fatherless before she was seven years
old. She and her mother, she tells us, were promptly
taken charge of by the wife of General Brown.

" The hearts of a hundred officers, young and old,
beat all at once with such violence, that the whole
atmosphere for ten miles round fairly throbbed with
the emotion. But in this instance the general fever
did not last long, for Captain Craigie led the young
widow Gilbert to the altar himself. He was a man of
high intellectual accomplishments, and soon after this
marriage his regiment was ordered back to Calcutta,
and he was advanced to the rank of major."

We are thus able to identify Lola's stepfather with
John Craigie of the Bengal Army, who was gazetted
Captain on nth May 1816, and Major, iSth May 1825.
Four years later he attained the rank of Lieutenant-
Colonel.^ He seems to have been a generous, warm-
hearted man, who never forgot the trust placed in him
by his d3dng friend at Dinapore. To him Lola was
indebted for such education as she received in India.
That was not of a very thorough character. With a
mother who, we learn, was passionately fond of society
and amusement, little Miss Gilbert must have passed
most of her time in the company of ayahs and orderlies,

* Dodwell and Miles, Indian Army List, 1760-1834.
7



Lola Montez

picking up the native tongue with the facility which
distinguished her in after life, and domineering tre-
mendously over idolatrous sepoys and dignified khan-
samahs. I can imagine her on the knees of veterans at
her father's table, delighting them with her beauty,
and still more with her boldness and childish ready wit.
Of course. His Excellency (Lord William Bentinck)
would take notice of the pretty, pert child of handsome
Mrs. Craigie, and it is not to be wondered at that all
her life she should hanker after the atmosphere of a
court, remembering the vice-regal glories at Calcutta.

It seems to have dawned upon Mrs. Craigie, not very
long after her second marriage, that her daughter was,
to use a common expression, running wild. A little
discipUne, it was felt, would do her good. It was
decided to send her home to her stepfather's relatives
at Montrose. With screams, sobs, and wild protests,
the eight-year-old girl accordingly found herself torn
from the redcoats and brown faces that she loved,
once more to undertake that terrible four months'
journey to a land which she had probably completely
forgotten.

The contrast between Calcutta, the gorgeous city of
palaces, and Montrose, the dour, wintry burgh among
the sandhills by the northern sea, must have chilled the
heart of the passionate child. Yet she does not seem in
after life to have thought with any bitterness of the
place, and speaks with respect, if not affection, of her
new guardian. Major Craigie's father. She writes : —



" This venerable man had been provost of Montrose
for nearly a quarter of a century, and the dignity of
his profession, as well as the great respectability of

8



Childhood

his family, made every event connected with his house-
hold a matter of some pubUc note, and the arrival of
the queer, wayward, httle East Indian girl was imme-
diately known to all Montrose. The peculiarity of her
dress, and I dare say not a httle eccentricity in her
manners, served to make her an object of curiosity
and remark ; and very hkely she perceived that she
was somewhat of a public character, and may have
begun, even at this early age, to assume airs and
customs of her own."



That is, indeed, very likely. Further information
concerning our heroine's stay at Montrose we have
little. She does not seem to have retained any very
vivid impressions of her childhood. One of the few
events in the meagre history of the little Scots town she
was privileged to witness — the erection of the suspension
bridge from Inchbrayock over the Esk. Here it was,
too, that she formed that friendship with the girl,
afterwards Mrs. Buchanan, which was destined to form
her greatest consolation in the evening of her days.
The Craigies were strict Calvinists, and some of her
biographers have assumed, in consequence, that they
must have treated the child with rigour and inspired
her with a distaste for religion. She never said so, as
far as I can ascertain. On the contrary, throughout her
life she evinced a marked bias in favour of Protestantism,
which is quite as compatible with an erotic temperament
as was the zeal for Cathohcism displayed by the favourite
mistress of Charles II.

Her parents, says Lola, being somehow impressed with
the idea that she was being petted and spoiled (by the
gloomy Calvinists aforesaid), she was removed to the
family of Sir Jasper Nicolls, of London. It is to be

9



Lola Montez

observed that neither now nor after do we hear of her
father's relatives, who one would suppose to have been
her proper guardians. This circumstance certainly
discountenances the theory of Edward Gilbert's exalted
parentage. Sir Jasper Nicolls, K.C.B., Major-General,
was succeeded by Major-General Watson in the command
of the Meerut Division in 1831, in which year it may be
presumed he returned to England, and took his friend
Craigie's stepdaughter under his wing. Like most
Indian officers, he preferred to spend his pension out of
England, and gladly hurried his girls off to Paris to
complete their education They missed the July Revo-
lution by a year ; but all France was presently ringing
with the exploits of the brave Duchesse de Berry, who
became the idol of the pensionnats. To Lola, no doubt,
she seemed a heroine worthier of imitation than the
young Princess Alexandrina Victoria, who was just then
touring her uncle's dominions. The romantic fever
was at its height in Paris. To her schoolfellows the
beautiful Anglo-Indian girl, with her Spanish name and
ancestry, must have appeared a new edition of De
Musset's " Andalouse." The influences about her at
this time tended to stimulate all that was romantic
and adventurous in her temperament, and determined,
perhaps, her action in the first great crisis of her life.



10



II



A RUNAWAY MATCH



It was now fifteen years since Mrs. Craigie had visited
England, and rather more than ten since she had seen
her daughter. She had been made aware that Lola's
beauty far exceeded the promise of her childish years,
and this she took care to make known to all the eligible
bachelors of Bengal. The charms of the erstwhile pet
of the 44th were eagerly discussed by men who had
never seen her. Lonely writers in up-country stations
brooded on her perfections, as advertised by Mrs. Craigie,
and came to the conclusion that she was precisely the
woman wanted to convert their secluded establishments
into homes. It was difficult to get a wife of the plainest
description in the India of William IV.'s day, and the
competition for the hand of the unknown beauty oversea
was proportionately keen. If marriage by proxy were
recognised by English law Lola's fate would have been
sealed long before she was aware of it. From a worldly
point of view the most desirable of these ardent suitors
was Sir Abraham Lumley, whom our heroine unkindly
describes as a rich and gouty old rascal of sixty years,
and Judge of the Supreme Court in India. We see that
in that rude age it was not the custom to speak of
sexagenarians as in the prime of life. To the venerable

II



Lola Montez

magistrate Mrs. Craigie promised her daughter in
marriage. Remembering the hard times she had gone
through with her first husband, the penniless ensign,
and forgetting, as we do when past thirty, how those


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryEdmund B. (Edmund Basil) D'AuvergneLola Montez : an adventuress of the forties → online text (page 1 of 15)