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The Life of an Empress



Frederic Loliee, Bryan O'Donnell



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L.^"^ ^



THE LIFE OF AN EMPRESS

(EUGjfiNIE DE MONTIJO)



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OF THE

UNIVERSITY



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iHE LIFE
)F AN EMPRESS

(LlG.iNIK Pi: MONTIJO)



BY

FRf:nF.RIC LOLIKl::



KNGLISH VERSION BY BRYAN O'DONNFI.L



EVE LEIGH NASH

Fawside Iloi'SE

London

1908



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THE LIFE
OF AN EMPRESS

(EUGENIE DE MONTIJO)



BY .

FRfiDfiRIC LOLlfiE ■ A



AUTHOR OF * WOMEN OF TBI 81C0MD SMFIRK



ENGLISH VERSION BY BRYAN O'DONNELL






EVELEIGH NASH

Fawside House

London

1908



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'\ , -



"V



■mwfjHew



RiCHAKo Clay & Sons, Limitbo,

BRSAD 8TKKBT HILL, ■.&, AND
BUMGAY, SUFFOLK.



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PREFACE

These final pages are written as a necessary
conclusion to our trilogy of the women of the
Second Empire. Having sketched the pictures
of Court and Society with a pen as discreet as
possible, although by some it has been termed
a frivolous pen, we had to determine in a wider
manner the historical bearing of an important
personality. Through circumstances, more than
by her own will, she was the leading figure among
the women of that Court and of that Society,
and her position as such was naturally due
to her sovereign rank, her influence for good
or evil, and the extraordinary series of fate-
ful events in which she took part. This is an
opportune time for recalling the career of such a
personality, because we have not yet reached the
period when gossip and reiterations of a common-
place nature shall run their free course unfettered
by the hand of fate.

We dispose of such information and authentic
data as enable us to undertake our task without
fear. Yet the subject of this study is so near to
us, and reasons of reserve and propriety, of his-
torical hesitation, so to speak, have so carefully



217930 c- T

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VI PREFACE

shaded it from the lurid light of publicity, that it
has all the seduction of novelty. That novelty can-
not long endure because narratives, memoirs and
similar publications are about to see the light
of day.

Our views upon this matter have been shared
by others. During the latter part of 1906, two
volumes of monographs upon the Empress
Eugenie were published in England — compact
works, confined to well-known generalities, and so
evidently inspired by a desire of complete com-
placency towards one whose merits are being
sung, that the two books seem to be the replicas
of the one model.

Does this long and well-filled life offer no more
matter of interest than three or four salient points
which have been worked out and dwelt upon with
the greatest minutia, viz. the family history of the
Empress, her coming to Paris, her conquest of a
spouse and of a throne, her marriage, her existence
at Court, during her regency throughout the war
and through her long years of exile ? We think
that the picture needs retouching so that it may
afford a complete and faithful likeness.

Thus we have obtained from Emile OUivier
himself, from his own lips, the solution to the
secret of the last act, the key to the painful
enigma that was to drag the Empire and France
into the mire.

The happy days of the Empire were minutely
chronicled in so far as intimate and external



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PREFACE vii

matters were concerned. We have had the
opportunity of reading some of its uncut pages.
We have studied closely the manuscript notes
forgotten at the Tuileries, which recorded the
observations of their writer, Bernard Bauer, a
Court preacher most eloquent in the pulpit, most
persuasive in the drawing-room.

There was no lack of strange physiognomies
in this new-born society which had crowded the
road to power upon the accession of the Bona-
partist regime.

Among them were many as complicated and as
troubling as that of the Abb6 Bauer, formerly
dubbed " Monsignor." His existence was made
up of a series of evolutions and transformations.
Bom a German and a Jew, he became a Catholic
monk, and carried the word of Christ throughout
the Breton villages. He had wished to bury
himself in the cloister. He left the cloister.
The whilom Carmelite monk, with deep-set
eyes and sunken cheeks, became later the
cynosure of every woman's eye at brilliant,
worldly gatherings, where he displayed all
the charms of a fashionable ecclesiastic, playing
to the life the part of a red-heeled prelate in
the by-gone days of the monarchy. Pure
mysticism had so far possessed all the faculties
of his soul as to immobilize them in dream
and ecstasy. Then the ardent flames of the
neophite flickered under the breath of human
passions, growing dull, languid, almost extinct.



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PREFACE



Towards the end of his life, when religion or the
commerce of human beings had nothing more to
teach him, the late Imperial chaplain, henceforth
as sceptical as he had been enthusiastic, will throw
off his sacerdotal garb ; the late man of the world,
pleasant and benevolent in private intercourse,
will take the place of the quondam priest by the
side of a young, beautiful and intelligent wife,
whom he has married in the sere and yellow of
his days. To her he will look for warmth and
affection, that heretofore had found no place in the
rarefied atmosphere in which he moved. When
he crossed the threshold of the Tuileries for the
first time, he had just returned from Rome,
bearing the highest recommendations of the
Pontifical Court. The letters in his possession
and his fame for eloquence were not the only
titles that Bernard Bauer could invoke with
Eug^ie de Montijo. He was personally known
to her, and she remembered his brother, a prince
of finance, the Rothschild of Madrid. Bauer was
chosen to preach the Lent in 1866 before their
Majesties. Public curiosity ran high, for Madrid
and Vienna, where he had made his ddbut in
the pulpit, treasured recollections of him, which,
added to the mysterious legend of his conversion
to Catholicism, lent much importance to his name.
For a time he was held in the highest favour.
The Empress afforded him numerous proofs of
her sympathy. The Emperor, whose religious
convictions were, to say the least, lukewarm.



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PREFACE IX

could not escape the charm and the power of his
word. Above all things, Napoleon admired his
zeal in charitable intercession, which urged the
priest to multiply his efforts in behalf of the
afflicted poor. The Sovereign conceived a scheme
of public relief, the administration of which he
meant to entrust to Monsignor Bauer. Rome
had conferred upon him the insignia of the prelacy,
and Paris proclaimed him the ablest and most
popular of preachers. It is little wonder that such
a vivid imagination as his, so excitable a nature,
should have been sorely tried by such a quick
succession of incredible successes. A Queen in
all the radiancy of youth and glory bowed her head
under this sacerdotal hand, whispered her secret
fears into the ear of this upstart priest, telling him
her most intimate woes, relating her moments of
weakness, and seeking from him both light and
peace. He directed the minds and consciences
of the most beautiful women in the capital. He
was the chosen confidant of weakest hearts
residing in loveliest frames. At first they repaired
as pilgrims to his humble apartment in the
Carmelites' convent, and then foregathered in
the handsome house he took in the Rue Saint
Florentin, close to the Rothschild mansion. His
house, whither women went in long processions,
was termed by the people "the little church."
It was well-nigh impossible to live in such an
intoxicating atmosphere without suffering from
vertigo. That atmosphere cost him his fortune



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X PREFACE

and wrecked his future. Imprudences and indis-
cretions were soon laid at his door. He was too
much in evidence, and had lost his former simplicity.
His affected manners, acquired in his constant
communion with women, were severely criticized ;
so were the dandyish cut of his cassocks and the
erotic perfumes he was wont to use.

The Empress Eugenie had cleverly widened
the distance that separated her from the chaplain.
She did not discard him completely : this would
have been difficult to effect, for had he not been
her chosen confessor in her hours of melancholy ?
She had not forgotten the day when he met her in
Scotland, travelling under an official pretext, but
in reality seeking to heal her soul of the wounds
inflicted upon it by the betrayal of her hearth.
Better than any man, Bauer could analyze the
slightest impressions of the proud soul of Eugenie.
So after years of silence and oblivion, he wished
to commit in these scattered notes the minute his-
torical facts of which he had personal knowledge.

In them we have found the echoes of conver-
sations overheard, of unpublished anecdotes, of
original reminiscences, and we have culled them
from the narrative so that they may serve in their
proper place as an ornament to this work and a
recreation to its readers. It seems needless to add
that, when dealing with the essential and living
parts of our subject, we have gone to deeper and
more authorized sources of information.

For the last few years by-gone political passions



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PREFACE xi

are analyzed in detail, as have also been the
personages of the Second Empire, and it is patent
that sincere efforts have been made to correct
mistakes, and also to judge the rash acts of the
Empress with more harshness than the heavy
mistakes of Napoleon. Devoted beings and
faithful pens have struggled energetically to refute
such imputations. With loyalty most admirable,
they have pleaded all the circumstances that could
deaden the blow of such accusations. They have
failed, however, to secure the acquittal of Eugenie.
It is only in the light of accurate facts, considered
without the slightest prejudice, that one can fairly
apportion the justice or otherwise of her interven-
tion, direct or indirect, in the counsels of a State
in which she was but the consort of its Chief. In
such light must we tax her with, or relieve her of,
all responsibility in causing the armed conflicts of
her period.

In this Life of an Empress, in which the narra-
tive of events must bear a strange personal
interest from end to end, we have endeavoured to
prepare matter born of a healthy appreciation of
simple facts, and to relate events as they came to
pass, brilliant or disappointing, fortunate or tragic
in their bearing.

Fr^d^ric LOLI^E.



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

The Empress Eugenie (from a portrait by

P, de Fommaigran) Ftmti^iM

The Birthplace of the Empress EuciNiE . Tojaupagt 13

Eugenie de Montijo, in Spanish Costume ^ „ 36

The Empress in her Bridal Robes . • » >» 54

The Imperial Wedding . . . . „ „ 60

The Emperor and Empress . . . « n 78
The Empress Eugenie and her Maids of

Honour » » 94

The Birth of the Prince Imperial. . „ ,, 138
The Emperor, the Empress, and the

Prince Imperial >} » 142

The Emperor, the Empress, and the

Prince Imperial, 1858 . . . „ „ 160

Le Due DE MORNY », » 196

The Empress at Nancy in 1866 . „ ,,220

Mgr. Bauer » >» 234

M. Emile Ollivisr >> n 240

The Prince Imperial » » 250

The Princess Leopold of Hohenzollern „ „ 294
The Emperor Napoleon (from a photograph

by Downey) » >, 34©

The Empress Eugenie, 1873 (from a photo-
graph by Downey) >, i> 346

The Empress EuctoiE (from a photograph

taken at Paris^ 1906) ....„„ 400



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• • •

• •• •



THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE EMPRESS EUGENIE.
12, Calle de la Gracia, Granada.



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THE LIFE OF AN EMPRESS



CHAPTER I

The j>rophecy of a famous French writer, spoken by him in 1834
m the salon of the Comitess de Montijo— The daughters of
Don Cipriano de Montijo, Eugenie and Francesca — Descrip-
tion of their mother — Details concerning their childhood
and education — From Paris to Madrid — Frequent voyages —
Death of Count de Montijo— Return to France — Unpublished
anecdotes.

It was in 1834, in a Madrid drawing-room to
which Stendhal had gained access through his
friendship with M6rim6e, that the famous man was
wont to gambol with a pretty child bom under
the sky of Granada. Her graceful charms be-
witched him. With a bitter smile, the scejptica!
thinker would often say to the child,. s^s. though
speaking to himself —

" When you grow up, you will marry the Mar-
quis de Santa Cruz, and I shall think of you no
more."

True, Eug6nie de Guzman, Countess of Teba,
could aspire to this marquisate. The house from
which she sprang basked in the glory of famous
recollections, and as she was taught the alphabet,
she learnt that among her ancestors was one



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14 THE LIFE OF AN EMPRESS

Alphonse Perez de Guzman, a hero whose deeds
and prowess are sung to this day by the peasants
of Andalusia ; that Gonzales of Cordova, known
as " the great Captain," and Antoine de Leve,
the ablest of Charles V's generals, were also among
her forefathers. The young lady was not, however,
to assume the name of Santa Cruz — a still more
surprising fate was in store for her. On the day
when her feeble cry was first heard,* amid the
roars of thunder caused by the cataclysm that rent
the soil of Granada and shook the earth, a mys-
terious sign is said to have appeared above the
cradle — a sign betokening the fact that, in order to
die a Queen, you need not be born a Princess.

The famous writer who had foretold the future

of the youngest daughter of Countess de Montijo

was a constant visitor at her house. He came

regularly on stated days, took up his quarters in

vthe'drawiqg-room with the two children, Eugenie

."aaid/;l?raa€esca, whose pet name was Pacca, and

1 In 1867 the following inscription was placed upon the
house where she was bom : 12 Calle de Gracia, Granada —

** In this house was bom the illustrious
Senora dona Eugenia de Guzman
Y Porto-carrero,
now Empress of the French.
The municipality of Granada is conferring an honour
upon itself by placing this commemoration stone in
recollection of our famous townswoman.
1867."



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THE LIFE OF AN EMPRESS 15

found in the child-like gaze and the interested,
inquisitive expression of their little faces that
inspiration which enabled him to unfold to them
with eloquence the story of the great deeds of the
Empire. He would hold them in awe with im-
provised warmth as he sketched to them great
pictures of conquest, relating episodes both true
and legendary, and turning over with them the
leaves of the epic of Napoleon. Designedly would
he pass over in silence all matters of sad reality,
the wholesale slaughter of peoples, the horror
of the batde-field, the wailings and gnashings of
humanity, caused by dread war. But he painted
to them in vivid colours the glorious and flam-
boyant aspect of these campaigns, to which he
was well entided to bear witness. The children
drank in his words, wishing that they might never
end, and when the clock recalled the lateness of
the hour, Stendhal would tear himself away re-
luctantly, promising to resume his story soon
again. He was in the habit of bringing to them
coloured pictures of the different incidents related
in the heroic poem, with which he kindled their
enthusiasm. Seventy years later Eugenie de
Montijo can still show the picture of the battle of
Austerlitz, the gift to her of " Monsieur Beyle."
Her youth, her years of splendour in married life
and the sad period that followed it have not yet
dimmed the recollection, deep and tender, of



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i6 THE LIFE OF AN EMPRESS

Stendhal, to whom she still refers as " Monsieur
Beyle," just as she did in the days of her girlhood.^

"We looked forward with great joy to the
evenings when he was expected at our mother's
house, for we knew that on those days he would
charm us with his vivid anecdotes, and that we
should be allowed to stay up a little later."

Thus she wrote to Count de Morile. In such
ways did the girls imbibe the religion of the
Empire, for which their souls had been prepared
by the recollections of their father. That religion
became the staple food of their minds.

Stendhal was fond of travel. Through Italy
and France he wandered, gathering on the way
impressions of art and literature. His little friends
did not forget him during his absences, and in
their graceful, childish episdes they warned him
that they would not allow him to forget them.
This school-girls' correspondence reveals the great
dissimilarity that existed between the two sisters.
In the case of the one, political considerations
obtain sway— considerations which in after life as
a Sovereign were to occupy and preoccupy her
mind to excess.^ Her sister poured forth im-

^ Stendhal was a nam de plume; Beyle was his real name,
under which he was introduced to the Countess de Montijo,
and which he had reassumed on the fall of the Empire.

^ Her political tendencies are well set forth in the following
letter of Eugenie de Guzman, written to Henry Beyle in
December 1839 —



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THE LIFE OF AN EMPRESS 17

pressions of youth condign with her age and
position. Speaking of others and herself with
much frankness, she gave full vent to her %senti-
ments, and unwittingly provided indications pre-
cious to history upon the mode of living under the
maternal roof of a future Empress and her sister,
upon their education and the way in which they
spent their holidays. Often she would refer to
the void created by the absence of their big friend
from the country house, in which they had no
other companion, for they desired none.

"Sir,

" I have read your letter with great pleasure, and await
the coming of the year 1840 with keen impatience, since that
year is to bring you back to us. You ask me what my present
occupations are. I am learning to paint, and the rest of the
time we work and laugh as usual. Mother still finds time to
give us a few lessons, and we endeavour not to forget what we
learnt in Paris.

<' Spain at present is much agitated ; a nation clamours for
peace; Marato, the Carlist General, has come over to Christina
in consideration of a large handover — surely a mean and petty
action. The subordinate officers have followed in his wake.
Navarre, Alava, Guipuzcoa and Biscaya have recognized the
legitimate queen. It is said that Don Carlos and the Duchess
of Bura have fled to France. Cabrera has gone to Jaramon,
and 200 horsemen are watching the enemy. In Madrid great
festivals have been held in honour of the proclamation of
peace, but so often has peace been proclaimed, that I am
slow to believe it is yet an accomplished fact However,
every one yearns for peace. Mother, my sister and Miss Flower
send their respectful regards, and I remain, Sir, your devoted
and affectionate friend,

" E. Guzman y Palafox."

B



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i8 THE LIFE OF AN EMPRESS

" The young girls that we meet can only speak
of dress, or if they change their conversation it is
to slander and backbite one another, as is the wont
of the sex. I do not like such friends, and when I
am in their drawing-rooms, I only open my mouth
to wish them good-day and good-bye."

Pacca and Eugenie urged Stendhal to return to
Madrid. At that time the attention of Europe
was riveted upon a great event — the translation to
Paris of Napoleon's ashes. How they yearned to
witness this great function in the city that they
knew, and of which Eugenie wrote at length to
Prosper M6rim6e, another intimate friend of her
mother ! In a letter to the sapient curator of the
British Museum, M6rim6e described his saunters
along the Boulevard with the litde Spanish girl
of five or six years of age. At length he wrote
about this child, ingenuous and bewitching, won-
dering what would become of the sprighdy mite,
who bullied him and led him to the pastry-
cook's as she would a victim to the altar.

Eugenie and Francesca were the daughters of
Don Cipriano de Portocarrero, who served in the
armies of Napoleon, became Count of Teba in
1 8 14, was grievously wounded in the battle of
Salamanca, and was made Senator of Spain at the
end of the reign of Ferdinand VII. He was also
Marquis of Ardales and Grandee of Spain.

Their mother, Marie Manuela de Kirkpatrick y



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THE LIFE OF AN EMPRESS 19

Grivegn^e, Countess of Teba and later of Montijo,
occupied a brilliant social position. She was the
most striking of three daughters, owing to the
brilliancy of her eyes, the vivacity of her manner,
and the gracefulness of her deportment Her
£aither was a Scotch merchant, one William Kirk-
patrick, of Malaga, where his wine and fruit
business did not cast a veil of oblivion upon
his lineal parentage with the ancient Barons of
Closebum. Nay, more, a family tradition went so
far as to claim the giant Finn Mac-Cual, king of
the Fenians, as an ancestor of William Kirk-
patrick. So when the Malaga merchant gives his
daughter to a Spanish nobleman, who, like his
fellow-peers, has more full titles than ducats, he



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