« AnteriorContinuar »
It was a
the imperial family always took part in of the period had been wealthy French the battues, the empress's skill with her nobles were now penniless adventurers, gun being very remarkable.
earning a precarious living as underlings All the chroniclers of the time are full in the sei vice of some foreign state. of a wonderful entertainment—“the most Others, especially military men, had prosextraordinary spectacle ever witnessed in pered beyond their wildest dreams. Genmodern times,” a friend of Lagarde called eral Tettenborn, of the Russian sta it-styled a "carrousel,”' which took place an example of the latter. In 1809, after in the beginning of December.
the marriage of Napoleon with Marie sort of assault-at-arms held in the imperial Louise, he had been sent to the Austrian riding-school. The number of spectators embassy in Paris as military attaché. “I was limited to a thousand, all specially in- need not enter into any detail of the gay vited by the court. The seats at one end life I led in Paris,” said he in a naïf conof the building were reserved for the royal fession to Lagarde, “ France was then in ties. Those at the other, for the patron- the zenith of her prosperity and glory, and esses of the fête, twenty-four young ladies the Austrian embassy enjoyed the marked of the highest families in Vienua, chosen favor of the court. Amid the universal specially for their beauty. They were revelry, I unfortunately neglected to baldivided into four companies, distinguished ance my expenditure with my receipts. by the color of their mantles, one being My creditors became impatient, and I soon black, a second scarlet, a third criinson, found that the only means of extricating and a fourth blue. The competitors, at- myself was to quit the scene of temptatired in antique Spanish dress, were sim- tion.” However, this proved to be the ilarly divided into corresponding bands. beginning of greatness. Tettenborn reThe main body of spectators consisted of turned for a time to his regiment, then the chief members of the Austrian aris- stationed in an Austrian village, where life tocracy and the corps diplomatique. was very dull. When therefore war broke Among those who attracted most attention out between France and Russia, the young were Prince Esterhazy, in a hussar uni- soldier, like a true condottiere, offered his form entirely embroidered with the finest sword to the Tsar. He distinguished himpearls and diamonds, valued at four mill- self greatly in the campaign of Moscow. ion florins ; and Lady Castlereagh, tre- His first stroke of luck was the capture of mendous as usual in tawdry finery, but Napoleon's military chest, “a considerspecially conspicuous on this occasion with able part of its contents falling to his lot her husband's Order of the Garter worn as by way of reward.” He was given the an ornament in her hair. The entertain- command of Hamburg after the expulsion ment resembled the military tournaments of Davoust ; and so bigh was the value of our own day, and consisted of tent-peg- set on his services that at the end of the ging, lemon-slicing, and riding at the ring. war he was raised to the rank of general, It concluded with a quadrille on horseback, and received estate in Westphalia in which all the competitors took part, valued at 40,000 florins a year. It is accompanied by their equires. Every one pleasant to notice that Tettenbora's first then proceeded to the palace, where a act on coming into his good fortune was great banquet and ball took place.
to pay his creditors in Paris to the full. Besides those officially concerned there. Few of those present at Vienna had in, the congress attracted crowds of visit- gone through such a strange career as the ors from every country. Vienna during Countess Rosalie Rezewoffski. Her moththe winter of 1814 became a sort of ren- er, Princess Lubomirski, had at the time dezvous for the European aristocracy. They of the French Revolution been resident in thronged to the Austrian capital, partly to Paris. Rashly remaining there during the share in the gayeties of the congress, Reign of Terror, she had been arrested as partly to congratulate one another that the a spy and placed in the Conciergerie. bid times were over at last. Owing to After a basty trial she was condemned and the extraordinary changes of the last executed, leaving behind her, alone in the twenty-five years, friends who had been French metropolis, a daughter, Rosalie, separated for many a long day were now aged five. The orphan found a protectress able to meet again and talk over their in the kind-hearted Citoyenne Bertot, the vicissitudes. Some who at the beginning prison laundress.
At last peace came in 1801. Nuiner- Prince de Ligne. Born in 1735, of an ous foreign visitors began to appear at old and wealthy Belgian family, Charles Paris, and among them was Count Re- Joseph, Prince de Ligne, bad entered the zewoffski, brother of Princess Lubomirski, Austrian army in 1752. He served with eager to discover the secret of his sister's great credit through the Seven Years' fate. He obtained full information as to War, and was made a major-general at the her arrest, imprisonment, and execution, coronation of Joseph II. in 1780. He But the authorities of the Conciergerie then entered the Russian service, and held had lost sight of Madame Bertot, and he a command at the storming of Oczakoff in was unable to discover the slightest trace 1788. He was a great favorite with the of his niece Rosalie. One morning, how- Tsarina, Catherine II., and accompanied ever, while crossing the courtyard of his her in her celebrated journey through the hotel, he met a young girl carrying a bas- Crimea. In 1789 he resumed his duties ket of linen. She bore such a striking in the Austrian army. He received the resemblance to his dead sister that the rank of field-marshal in 1808, and was also count was amazed. He hurriedly demand- colonel of the regiment of Trabans. The ed her name, and was delighted to receive Prince de Ligne was one of those persons the hoped-for answer-Rosalie. He then who, though of independent character, accompanied her to the dwelling of the have a natural genius for winning the esBertots, where he thanked the astonished teem of sovereigns. A great traveller, he laundress for her kindness to his niece. was equally welcome at Versailles, Vienna, On returning to Poland with Rosalie, he and St. Petersburg. To a noble bearing took Madame Bertot and her children with and unsullied reputation he added the poshim. The boys were educated at Wilna session of great literary abilities. His at his expense and received commissions in mélanges littéraires are as conspicuous for the Polish army.
The girls, richly dow- extent of knowledge as for perfection of ered by the count, were wedded to Polish style. According to Madame de Stäel, gentlemen. Rosalie herself, on coming to he is the only foreigner who has ever beyears of discretion, married her cousin, the come a model to French writers in their younger Count Rezewoffski.
own language. Though in his eightieth Perhaps the most significant examples year, he was still remarkable for bis fondof capricious fortune were to be found in ness for society. He assiduously attendthe ex-empress of the French, Marie ed all the festivities of the congress, and Louise, and her little son, the young was much in request owing to his know). Napoleon, or, as he was styled in Vienna, edge of the world, and his skill as a raconthe Prince of Parma. Having placed her- teur. He loved the companionship of self under the protection of her father young men, and used to give them much after Napoleon's abdication, Marie Louise advice, of the kind that would now be had come to Vienna with her child. She termed fin de siècle. · Enjoy your youth lived very quietly in the suburbs, at Schön- while it lasts," he used to tell them, ," and brunn, and took no part in the festivities adopt as your maxim, carelessness till of the congress.
Marie Louise bad in- twenty-five, gayety till forty, and philosoherited her father's cold heart and apathetic phy to the end of life.” mind. She seemed in no way upset by In the beginning of December, while the sudden change in her position, and was the congress was still in full swing, he quite content to sit at home playing duets caught a chill whicn confined him to his with Baron Neipperg, with whom she sub
Erysipelas set in, and the doctors sequently contracted a morganatic mar- were compelled to inform him that his riage. Her little son was naturally an ob- time was come. The Prince de Ligne reject of intense interest. Visitors to the ceived the dread summons as gayly as he congress crowded to Schönbrunn to see would have accepted an invitation to a him. He was a lovely child, with fair dance or a challenge to a duel. complexion, and silky golden hair falling will be sorry,” he remarked, “ to relieve in curls upon his shoulders, and charmed the monotony of pleasure by the funeral everybody by his gentle ways and artless of a field-marshal.” He drew up a dispratile.
sertation in which fourteen reasons were One of the best-known characters in given for not fearing death.
He spoke Vienna at this time was Field-Marshal the approvingly of Petronius Arbiter who,
6. No one
wishing that his death should be as where the congress was now in full swing. voluptuous as his life, commanded soft He here met an old friend, Mr. Merry, music to be played, and fine poetry to be who introduced him to the English ambasrecited to him in his last moments ;'' and sador, Lord Castlereagh, with whom he died on December 13th in the arms of his became very intimate. He had by now friends. His obsequies were celebrated dropped his title of prince, but by the with full military state, and in spite of the exercise of his old arts still retained his sincere regret felt for him, his kindness in position in society. There were few funcproviding society with so imposing a spec- tions of the congress in which he did not tacle at that identical time was universally take a prominent share. But he was cold. acknowledged.
ly received, except at the English Em. As might have been expected, the list bassy, and the Prince de Ligne, when inof visitors to Vienna included many per- troducing hiin to Madame de Stäel, slyly sons whose social position and private whispered : “Je vous présente un homme character were not quite faultless. So
So qui n'est pas présentable.” George Aïde brilliant a reunion of rank and wealth returned to England after the congress and afforded a rich hunting-ground for adven- married an heiress, Miss Collier. After turers of every kind.
his marriage he went to Paris, where he The most singular of these was a certain was shot in a duel, caused solely by his George Aïde, “ ex-prince of Mount Leb- own rudeness, by a M. de Bombelles.
He was the son of an Armenian It would be impossible within the limits merchant, settled at Constantinople. The of a single short essay to recount even the latter, in return for a rich donation to the names of all the striking characters whom Catholic monastery of Mount Lebanon, Vienna gathered within its walls during had received from the Pope the Order of the winter of 1814. It rernains to say a the Golden Spur. He sent his son George few words about the political work of the to Vienna to study European languages congress. To one fresh from the heroism and perfect himself in the details of com. and bloodshed of Leipzig, the transition
But these possessed little attrac- to the tinsel glories of Vienna is like the tion for the young man's aspiring mind. farce succeeding the tragedy. “Never," Nature had intended him to shine in the says Lagarde, * had such important and great world, and he was resolved to obey complicated interests been discussed amid its promptings. Soon, therefore, after his so much gayety and dissipation.” The arrival at Vienna, he assumed the title of universal frivolity penetrated to the politPrince of Mount Lebanon ; and by dint ical deliberations of the congress. Called of a handsome face and figure, a fixed air on to settle the affairs of Europe after a of calm assurance, and an extraordinary period of unprecedented upheaval, the aspromptness to avenge the slightest insult sembled statesmen knew of no modes of by an appeal to arms, he at length obtained action save intrigue and chicanery, of no a footing in Austrian society. After some political ideal save the equilibrium of time he received a summons home. On dynastic interests. As time passed on, arriving at Constantinople he explained to and the diplomatic wrangle grew worse his father the absolute impossibility of his and worse, people began to wonder for ever settling down to a commercial life, what purpose the congress had met at all. and obtained leave to travel. IIe first visited Palermo, where he made friends wife, seem to be unchained to destroy our
“ All the base passions,” wrote Stein to his with the Hon. Frederick North, son of the hopes and throw us back into new complicaEarl of Guildford. From Sicily, armed tions. . . . It is now the time of littlenesses with letters of introduction to various and mediocrities ; they all turn up again, and members of the English aristocracy, he reoccupy their old place, and those men who
have risked their all are forgotten and neglectpassed to London. He there obtained a
ed." grcat reputation as a leader of fashion. At last his father refused any longer to an- For this state of things no one was swer his inordinate demands for money, more responsible than Prince Metternich. and the Prince of Mount Lebanon found That light-hearted genius had received the himself compelled, like Napoleon after the post of Austrian States.Chancellor (primeburning of Moscow, to beat a retreat. minister) in 1810. Possessed of a graceHis genius naturally led him to Vienna, ful figure, a winning address, and a pair of fascinating blue eyes, Metternich was in XVIII. There was something unearthly his youth the very model of a gay Lo- in the ex-bishop's glassy stare and sardonic thario. He laid the foundation of his humor. “ Talleyrand will never die,' greatness by a marriage with the unlovely Pozzo di Borgo used to say, parceque le daughter of the all-powerful Kaunitz, in diable en a peur,” Good Miss Berry drew 1795. At Dresden, whither he was sent her virtuous skirts close together when she as Austrian Envoy in 1801, he surpassed met him. all his competitors in gallantry. As Austrian Ambassador at Paris in 1806 he won
“ Talleyrand! Could you see him !" she
writes in her diary. “Such a nass of moral the heart of Caroline Murat. At a time and physical corruption as be appears in my when politics and society were synony- eyes, inspires me with sentiments so far from mous, the recommendations of his fair ad- those with which I look up to great minds and mirers greatly contributed to his advance- great exertions, that I should be very sorry to
be obliged to express what I feel about him." ment. But he also possessed an acuteness, vivacity and perseverance which, in The Allied Powers had hoped to comthe actual dearth of all first-class states- pletely exclude France from the most immen, amply justified his appointment to portant deliberations. But Talleyrand the highest post in the Austrian Empire. soon forced them to acknowledge her as Metternich always held that in public an equal. The course of events increased affairs the only thing to be dreaded was his influence. The King of Saxony, in failure. He disliked men of solid attain- return for his alliance with Napoleon, had ments. Zeal, patriotism, public spirit, in 1807 received the Polish provinces of were to him things to be sedulously avoid- Prussia under the designation of the ed, save as means to an end. Metternich Grand-Duchy of Warsaw. In 1809 he did not possess the constructive talents of had received a further accession of terriKaunitz. He had no sympathy with the tory at the cost of Austrian Galicia. It generous ideals of Count Philip Stadion. was now proposed by Russia and Prussia But he was never capable of the colossal that he should be punished by being decynicism of his successor, Prince Felix prived of his dominions ; Saxony going to Schwartzenburg ; and in the attainment of Prussia, the Grand-Duchy of Warsaw to a definite purpose by purely diplomatic the Tsar. This scheme was resolutely methods he has never been surpassed. opposed by Metternich, who gained the Metternich never had any real antipathy support of the English Ministers. Talleyto France, with which he wished Austria rand was delighted at the discord in the to be allied, as a counterpoise to Russia. allied camp. He secretly inflamed the He therefore strongly supported the mar. growing animosity which would naturally riage of Napoleon with Marie Louise. His result in making France the arbiter of policy after the defeat of Napoleon in Rus- Europe. When the division was complete, sia, in its superb selfishness, its indifference he threw in his lot with Austria and Engto all side issues, and its masterly use of land. But he did more than offer them Napoleon's own errors, is a triumph of material aid ; he gave them a war-cry. diplomatic genius. Now that the war was Stein had passionately demanded the conover, Metternich's position was assured. fiscation of Saxony as a retribution for her To his subtle mind the confusion of the king's gross treason to the German nation. congress was a matter of congratulation. Talleyrand now declared that the French Delighting in mystification and finesse, he Revolution had inaugurated a struggle beloved to steer his way through its sboals tween Legitimacy and Jacobinism. The and eddies, and found in the universal defeat of the Revolution in the
person of jealousy and distrust a fit field for the Napoleon implied the triumph of Legitiexercise of his skill.
macy. To rob a lawful king of his dominFrom an artistic point of view it is to ions therefore would be a fatal return to be regretted that the political exigencies revolutionary principles. It is characterof the congress placed Talleyrand on his istic of the congress that Talleyrand's side. A passage at arms between these theory was only applied to cases where his two great adversaries would have been of special interests were concerned. The surpassing interest. In spite of his long unhappy heir of Gustavus IV. vainly deservice under the Empire, Talleyrand's manded his help toward restoring him to offers had been readily accepted by Louis the throne of Sweden. But Bernadotte's
treachery toward Napoleon had been of versatile States-Chancellor, for once in his too great service to the Bourbons to be life, was dumbfounded. But it would overlooked ; and the lucky French mar- have been madness to quarrel when Naposhal was left in undisturbed enjoyment of leon was about to burst into Belgium at his thirty pieces of silver.
the head of 120,000 men. Alexander The interest of the congress soon began threw the treaty into the fire, promised to centre round the question of Saxony. never to refer to the subject again, and Long and furious were the conferences extended his hand to the exposed plotter between Metternich and the Tsar. Alex- in an affecting but hypocritical reconciliaander, impatient of opposition, told every- tion. It is, however, almost certain that body that the Austrian Minister was a the return of Napoleon only prevented the miserable red-tapeist. He sneered at him congress ending in a general European in public, and exclaimed quite loud one The diplomatists were now comday, in his hearing, “I despise a man pelled to conclude their differences. In who does not wear a uniform !” The June, 1815, Napoleon was finally crushed English and Austrian Governments, with at Waterloo. In September the Holy the assistance of Talleyrand, drew up a Alliance was formed between Russia, Aussecret treaty, by which they bound them- tria, and Prussia. The last touches were selves to go to war against Russia and given to the new map of Europe, and the Prussia, unless the two latter abated their golden age, as Alexander fondly deemed demands. The treaty was sent to Paris it, at last began. for the French king's consideration. Sud. Of the setilement made by the congress denly, in March, 1815, Napoleon returned of Vienna not a vestige remains. From to France. Louis XVIII. had to post off the cataclysm of the last twenty-five years to Belgium in such desperate hurry that the sovereigns and statesmen who met tohe left the treaty behind him at the gether in the winter of 1814 had learned Tuileries. Napoleon, hoping to still fur- nothing. The apostles of reaction, their ther increase the dissension anong the object, so far as any object shines through allies, gave it to the Russian envoy in the gloom of mutual distrust, was to restore Paris, who forwarded it to Vienna. Great the old state of things, and establish guar. was the astonishment of Alexander when antees for its continnance. The Revoluhe discovered that the hospitable Francis tionary Epoch had seen the birth of two had for the past few weeks been making great ideals, liberty and nationality. A careful preparations for war against him. system which affected to ignore them both He immediately sent for Metternich, and contained within itself the seeds of its own confronted him with his handiwork. The ruin.- Temple Bar.
BY KATHLEEN LYTTELTON.
Who is there who has not felt the the only time I gave way to the temptation charm, after a day's sight-seeing in some I was punished for my indiscretion in a foreign town, of going out of the glare way which I can never forget, and was and heat of the streets into the dimness called upon to solve a problem in casuistry and quiet of one of the old churches ? which might have taxed the skill of the For my own part, as a persistent sight-seer experienced confessor whose place I had and visitor of churches, I have often been usurped. tempted, when there resting, to secure a I was travelling in Italy, and had come further retreat from publicity in one of to Florence, meaning to remain only for a the dark little confessionals which line the few days. The fascination of the place, walls. There is a strange attraction about however, which I had known well in years them, partly because they are so cool and past, held me strongly, and the days grew quiet, partly because of the experiences, into weeks. It was winter when I came, the tragedies, the penitence which those but now the spring was at hand, and the brown wooden walls have listened to. But wonderful bloom of flowers was begin