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LIBRARY

OF THE

University of California.

Class



Memoirs

of a

Contemporary




I3>A ST ELME,

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Memoirs

of a

Contemporary

Being Reminiscences by Ida Saint-Elme, Adventuress, of her

Acquaintance with Certain Makers of French History,

and of her Opinions Concerning them.

From 1790 to 181 5.

Translated by Lionel Strachey





New York

Doubleday, Page & Company

1902



ji^m^^



Copyright, 1902, by

DOUBLBDAY, PaGB & COMPANY

Published September, iqo2



CONTENTS



Chapter I. paob
The Authoress' Descent — Her Birth and Child-
hood — Early Amazonian Accomplishments — Mar-
riage at the Age of Twelve with van M His

Political Affiliations — Removal to France — Cap-
tain Marescot's Admiration — Which Evokes Re-
sponse — The First Downward Step — Departure for
Paris — Van M Joins the Army — The "Contem-
porary" Dons Male Attire — and Witnesses the
Battle of Valmy — Return to Holland — Attentions
from General Grouchy i

Chapter IT.

French Invasion op Holland — Amsterdam Sur-
renders to Pichegru — Attack Upon the Dutch Fleet
by Cavalry and Artillery — Pichegru's Insincerity —
Moreau and Maria — Pichegru a Political Intriguer —
The "Contemporary" first Hears of Ney — News of
Marescot — Van M Learns of His Wife's Rela-
tions with Marescot — Van M Forgives Her —

Which Angers Her — She Runs away from Him . 1 5

Chapter III.

Arrival in Utrecht — Interview with Grouchy —
and with Moreau — Intimacy with Moreau Begins —
His Simplicity and Sense of Justice — Campaigning



CONTENTS

in Men's Clothes once more — Pichegru's Treachery
— In Paris with Moreau — A House Purchased in
Passy — Collision with Mme. Tallien's Carriage —
Visits to Mme. Tallien and Drives with Her ; : 27

Chapter IV.

Moreau Appointed Inspector-General op the
Army IN Italy — The "Contemporary" Goes with
Him to Milan — The Casa Faguani — Enthusiasm of
Milanese Society for "Madame Moreau" — The Na-
ture of Her Regard for the General — Spies of the
Directory — A Dining-room Comedy of Vengeance —
Moreau's Desire to Marry Ida — Moreau and Ney
Contrasted — All Women Ordered to Leave the
Army — Moreau offers to Resign his Career — Ida
Meets old Friends in Lyons — Moreau's Military
Successes in 1799 39

Chapter V.

Visit to Mlle. Contat — Her Dramatic Roles — De-
parture from Lyons — M. De La Rue, the Banker —
Talleyrand's Indebtedness — His Indifference to
Perjury — Talleyrand and the Inquisitive Coach-
man — His Exile — Carnot Prefers Satan to Him —
Audience Granted to Ida — Moonlight Walk with
Mme. Tallien — Ney's Exploit at Mannheim — Ida
Writes an Ardent Letter to Him and a Cold One to
Moreau — and Misdirects the Envelopes — The Re-
sult 55

Chapter VI.

Beaumarchais — Attempted Suppression of the
"Marriage of Figaro" — The Seven of Diamonds —
Beaumarchais as a Humorist in Real Life — Dra-
matic Aspirations of the "Contemporary" — Mor-

vi



CONTENTS

eau's Disapproval of Them — First Impressions of
Bonaparte — The Conspiracy of the i8th of Bru-
maire — The New Constitution and the Consuls —
Moreau Marries a Friend of Josephine de Beauhar-
nais — A Pair of Shrews . . . . . .69

Chapter VII.

Power of the Bankers and Army Contractors —
Their Intrigues — Opulence of the Banker Ouvrard —
Festivities at His Estate — A Symposium of Beauty
and Brains — Bonaparte's Contempt for Money —
Fashionable Dressing Under the Directory — Lucien
Bonaparte, Minister of Home Affairs — Chaptal, his
Successor — Impudent M. De Montmorency — The
Authoress' Fiasco on the Stage of the Thd^tre-
Frangais 83

Chapter VIII.

Ney's Private Correspondence During the
Campaigns of 1800 — Moreau's Dislike for Ney —
Further Theatrical Venture in the Provinces —
Death of Kleber — His Caustic Notes upon Bona-
parte — Reminiscence of Valmy — Death of Van

M A Theatrical Company in Pawn — Moreau's

Hostility to the First Consul — Bernadotte and the
"Butter-pot Conspiracy" — Fouch^ Prevents a
Duel Between Bonaparte and Moreau • . • 9S

Chapter IX.

Last Meeting with Moreau — He Goes to Amer-
ica after the Cadoudal Plot — Beginning of Intimate
Relations with Ney — Characteristics of Talleyrand
— Thousand Franc Bank-notes as Curl-papers —
Talleyrand's Stupid Wife — Napoleon Crowned King
of Italy — The "Contemporary" at Milan — "Fama

vii



CONTENTS

Volat" — Amorous Episode with Napoleon — His
Way with Women : . '. ; : : 3 109

Chapter X.

Journey to Innsbruck — Meeting there with Ney —
Gardane, Governor of the Pages — Dery; a Chival-
rous Escort — The Campaign of 1806 — The Battle of
Eylau — In which the "Contemporary" Rides in a
Cavalry Charge — And is Wounded — Interview with
Ney after the Battle — Its Cost to France — The
"Red Lion" — Return to Paris . . , .123

Chapter XI.

Junot's Incipient Madness — Napoleon's Sisters
on Thrones — Description of Elisa Bacciochi, Grand
Duchess of Tuscany — Ida's Appointment to Her
Court — Rebelliousness of the Tuscans Against
French Authority — A Soldier- Sultan — The Author-
ess' Fimctions at Court — The Hainguerlots, a Fash-
ionable Pair — Prince Bacciochi his Wife's Loyal
Subject — "The Little Napoleon" — Audience with
Queen Caroline of Naples — Royal Frocks, Frills,
and Small Talk — Murat as an Amateur Tragedian —
His Theatrical Bravery . . . . •' i3S

Chapter XII.

The Fatal Russian Expedition — Journey to
Moscow with Nidia — The French Theatre at Mos-
cow — Burning of the City by the Russians — ^A
Scene of Devastation and Pillage — Unscrupulous
Looting by the French Troops — Difficulties in Pas-
ing the Dnieper — Nidia and Ida Shoot some Cos-
sacks — Privations of Women During the Retreat —
And Worse — The Breaking Down of the Beresina
Bridge — A Heartrending Episode — The Last of

viii



CONTENTS

Nidia— The "Bravest of the Brave "—Did he Beat

the "Contemporary"? ..... 147

Chapter XIIIj

Journey to Styria — Louis Bonaparte, King,
Novelist, Poet and Philanthropist — Meeting with
Ney in the Champs Elysees — A Private Bachelor's
Breakfast with the Marshal — His Tirade against
Royalist Intriguers and Flunkey Politicians — A
Glimpse at Napoleon's Plebeian Mother — Commer-
cial Depression at the French Metropolis in 18 14 —
The Lower Classes Regard Napoleon as the Symbol
of the Revolution — Another Campaigning Expedi-
tion in Men's Clothes — Elation in Paris over French
Victories — While the Allies are Marching upon the
Capital 159

Chapter XIV:

The Capital in Danger — Marie-Louise and the
King of Rome leave the Tuileries — King Joseph's
Hopeful Proclamation — The Battle of Paris —
Marshal Moncey's Gallant Defence — Capitulation —
"Our Good Friends the Enemies" — Napoleon Sur-
rounded by the Allies at Fontainebleau — He At-
tempts Suicide — Signs the Treaty of Abdication —
Farewell to His Soldiers in the Courtyard at Fon-
tainebleau — Ida's Resentment Against Ney for
Advising the Abdication 171

Chapter XV:

Lazare Carnot; a Real Republican — And an
Upright Man — And a Patriotic Citizen — He Com-
pares Napoleon with Caesar and Washington — A
Political Breakfast Party — At which the "Con-
temporary'! is Given a Secret Mission — Her Jour-

ix



CONTENTS

ney to Elba — Reminiscences, by the way, of Napo-
leon's Journey Thither — How He Escaped Hanging
— The Ex-Emperor's Activity as a Landlord — He
tells the Authoress of His Dream of a Mediterra-
nean Kingdom — His Status in Exile as a Sovereign
— Officials of His Court in Elba . . . .183

Chapter XVI.

Ida's Friendship with General Quesnel — His
Mysterious Assassination — Napoleon sets Foot in
France Again — Ney's Inconsistency Excused — His
Defection from the Anti-Napoleon Party — Rejoic-
ings at Lons Le Saulnier over the Emperor's Return
— Ney's Meeting with Napoleon — The Marshal
Explains His Change of Heart — The Ovation at the
Tuileries 195

Chapter XVII.

The New Cabinet — Fouch^'s Treachery — Camot
Made Minister of Interior — His Noble Motives for
Accepting the Portfolio — Fouch^'s Diverting Views
as to the Functions of the Police — His "Modera-
tion " — A Private Breakfast with Ney in the Champs
Elysdes — Regnault's Apprehension — Hopes of an
Alliance with Austria — Political Unrest in Paris —
Particulars of the New Constitution — The Grand
Ceremony of Its Promulgation — Comments and
Criticisms — Napoleon once more Girds His Loins
for War — Enthusiasm of the Army — The Capital's
Fortifications are Strengthened .... 207

Chapter XVIII.

The Last Campaign — Ida follows Ney to Waterloo
— His Heroism in the Battle — Calmness of Napoleon
— The Retreat — Camilla, Another Military Woman



CONTENTS

— Is Wounded and taken Care of by the Authoress —
The Return to Paris— Carnot's Irrational Hopeful-
ness — He Resists Napoleon's Dethronement Single-
handed— The "Contemporary's" Last Interview
with Ney — Camilla's Recovery and Disappearance 221

Chapter XIX.

Banishment op Carnot— Ney's Intended Depar-
ture to the United States — He is Arrested at Bes-
sonis — His Chivalrous Refusal to Attempt Escape
—A Plot to Rescue Him— The Court-Martial De-
clares Itself an Incompetent Tribunal — Ney is Tried
Before the House of Peers— Condemned— And
Shot — Ida sees Him Going to His Execution— Her
Vow of Amendment at His Bier — Conclusion . .229



xs



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



Ida Saint -Elme ( la " Contemporaine " ) in 1828 . . . Frontispiece
From a rare lithograph

FACING PAGE

Amsterdam Towards the Zuyder Zee 3

From an old print

Brussels 8

General Kellemiann 11

Drawn by Bonneville and engraved by Claesens

General Grouchy 13

From Rouillard^s painting {Historical Gallery of Versailles)

General Pichegru 17

A drawing from Steuben's oil portrait {Historical Gallery
of Versailles)

General Victor Moreau . . , 21

From a painting at Versailles

Utrecht 27

Facsimile of an old English print

Stage Coach of the Napoleonic Era , *9

Madame Tallien 35

Frotn an engraving by Leguay

Bemadotte, King of Sweden 40

Engraved by Portman

General Joubert 53

Engraved after the portrait by Bouchot

Mademoiselle Contat, the actress 57

From an old French print

Maurice de Talleyrand, the "Abbe Maurice de PerigOrd " . . 63

Barras 66

Engraved from a drawing by Raffet

Pierre Auguste de Beaumarchais . . , 70

xiii



xiv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

FACING PAGE

Cambaceres, Second Consul 78

From an engraving by Bonneville

Lebrun, Third Consul ......... 79

Drawn by Lacauchie, engraved by Monin

Elizabeth, Lady Holland 86

Lucien Bonaparte 90

General Kleber 100

From an oil portrait by Ansiatt

Marshal Ney 113

From the painting by Langlois

"The Contemporary " during the Campaign of 1806 ... 126

General Junot, Duke d'Abrantes • . 135

From the painting by Raverat

Pauline Bonaparte, Prince Borghese 137

From the engraving by Madame Fournier

Princess Elisa Bacchiochi, Sister of Napoleon .... 139

Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples, Sister of Napoleon ... 142

From an engraving by Hopwood

Joachim Murat, King of Naples 145

Reproduction o/an old London print

Burning of Moscow in 1812 151

From a rare old French engraving

Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland 159

Fouche, Duke d'Otranto 163

Engraved by Wolff after Girardet's drawing

Letitia Bonaparte, Mother of Napoleon 165

The King of Rome, Napoleon's son 173

Engraved by Dosselmann

Joseph Bonaparte, King of Spain 176

Napoleon bidding his soldiers farewell at Fontainebleau before

going to Elba 180

Lazare Camot .......... 186

Marshal Cambronne 193



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xv



PACING PAGB



Regnault de Saint -Jean-d'Angely 199

Count Caulaincourt • . . 207

Madame de Stael 215

From an oil painting in a private collection

Cambronne at Waterloo - 223

Ida Saint-Elme, (the " Contemporary ") - 228

General Augereau 232

After Portman^s engraving

Marshal Moncey, Duke de Conegliano 233



-V:^



CHAPTER I

THE AUTHORESS ' DESCENT — HER BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD —
EARLY AMAZONIAN ACCOMPLISHMENTS — MARRIAGE AT

THE AGE OF TWELVE WITH VAN M HIS POLITICAL

AFFILIATIONS — REMOVED TO FRANCE — CAPTAIN MARE-
SCOT ,'s ADMIRATION — WHICH EVOKES RESPONSE

THE FIRST DOWNWARD STEP — DEPARTURE FOR PARIS —

VAN M JOINS THE ARMY THE "CONTEMPORARY"

DONS MALE ATTIRE AND WITNESSES THE BATTLE OF

VALMY RETURN TO HOLLAND ATTENTIONS FROM

GENERAL GROUCHY.

I AM a daughter of Count Leopold Ferdinand Tolstoy,
who was born in 1749 at the castle of Werbom, on
the seigneurial estate of Krustova, in Hungary. Him-
self was a son of Samuel Leopold de Tolstoy, Duke of
Cremnitz, and of Catherine Vevoy, Countess Thuroz.
My grandmother was the mother of the Polish starost
Beniowski. Upon the decease of my grandfather,
whose widow soon followed him to the grave, my father
took arms in the Austrian service with his uncle Beniow-
ski, he having attached himself to the fortunes of Arch-
duke Charles of Lorraine. My father was then nineteen
years of age. Outraged, however, at the unjust treat-
ment to which he was subjected, he made his way to Russia
where he was soon joined by Beniowski, and where this



2 MEMOIRS OF A CONTEMPORARY

nobleman was honoured with an exalted charge by the
Empress. Beniowski did his utmost to bring about a
match between his nephew and a very rich Russian lady
of great family. But my father's heart became en-
gaged in another quarter. He eloped with the daughter
of the governor of Pressburg, Ida Komewitz, fleeing
with her across the Russian border.

My father's only patrimony was his ancestral name
of Tolstoy, which was one of great renown. He offered
it to his lady-love. But Ida refused to allow him to
make this sacrifice. Only for a brief moment did she
surrender to the embraces of the youth for whom she
had relinquished home and country, but whose future
she would not consent to prejudice. Tearing herself
away from the illusions of love, she separated from the
world forever, and devoted the remainder of her days
to the service of God. Leopold, unable to shake her
resolve, escorted her to the abbey of Novgorod, He
then returned to Saint Petersburg, where his uncle Beni-
owski lavished a truly paternal affection upon him.

Resuming the plans of marriage he had entertained
for his nephew's benefit, he tried to persuade him to take
the hand of the only daughter of Count Penski, whose
dowry would amount to a million roubles. Leopold's
only condition was that he should first make the ac-
quaintance of the lady whose happiness was to be en-
trusted to him. An interview was arranged. But at
the sight of the ungainly figure and very uncomely face
of the countess, who was to be his wife, the heir of the
Tolstoys manifested a decided repugnance to the pros-
pective marriage. The young lady was too ugly. Neither
entreaties, threats, nor anything availed to influence
my father's inflexible will, and in order to escape in-
carceration he was obliged to make a rapid flight. From
Saint Petersburg he betook himself to Dantsic, where
he embarked for Hamburg. From Hamburg he went




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Online LibraryIda Saint-ElmeMemoirs of a contemporary; being reminiscences → online text (page 1 of 18)