THE GIFT OF

MAY TREAT MORRISON
IN

MEMORY OF
F

ALEXANDER

MORRISON

MEMOIRS
tyvintt&st De JLigne

MEMOIRS
OF THE

^ritumf

tot

ijUgne

EDITED BY

LUCIEN PEREY
TRANSLATED BY LAURA ENSOR
IN

TWO VOLUMES.— VOL.

I.

LONDON RICHARD BENTLEY & SON
Publishers in ©roinarg
to

P?er fHajestg

tfjc

©uem

1887

Printed by R.

&

R. Clark, Edinburgh

3)

LS3M4mh
v

CONTENTS
PART THE FIRST
Introduction
ix

CHAPTER
the Massalski

I

Ignace Massalski, Prince and Bishop of Wilna

—The Bishop — His with niece — Letters from Madame Geoffrin — Answer of the King Stanislaus-Augustus — The Abbaye-aux-Bois Page
Poland
in exile
arrival in Paris

—The

feudal

lords

in

Poland

—The Radziwill and — wars
Civil
. .

in

his

I

CHAPTER

II

The Memoirs of Helene Massalska Her entry Bois The dormitory Illness of Helene

at the

Abbaye-auxBichon and

Sister

Paradise

—The —The Comte
chouart
.

Grise and Mother Quatre Temps's punishments Wars of the " blues " and the " reds " order of truth

La


.

de Beaumanoir's scullion
. .
.
.

— Madame de Roche. .

.19

CHAPTER
The
class

III
in the white
.
.

story of the Vicar of Saint Eustache

— Helene — Death of Mademoiselle de Montmorency

56

428718

CONTENTS

CHAPTER
Moles

IV
Convent
first

and

niggers

— Mutiny

in

the

— Marriage

of

Mademoiselle de Bourbonne

— The

communion

Page 90

CHAPTER V
The Convent duties The Abbess's department Balls at theAbbayeaux-Bois— Madame de Rochechourt and her friends 114
.

CHAPTER
The
record office

VI

— Madame
Orpheus

de Saint Germain and her rasp

The

ballets

and Eurydice

gates and the tower

—The
.
.

— The
. .

refectory
cellars

community and the

— The — Story
.136

of Mademoiselle de Saint

Ange

— Madame de Sainte Delphine
. .

and the library

CHAPTER
romantic adventures

VII

Mademoiselle de Choiseul and her mother

— Madame de Stainville's
de Choiseul's wedding
.

— Mademoiselle
.

Taking the

veil

.

.

.

.

153

CHAPTER
Madame
d'Orleans, Abbess of Chelles

VIII
visit

—The

Jansenist nuns

chouart's fete day

— Her

— A from the Archbishop —The dispensary— Madame de Rocheillness

and death

.

.

.182

CONTENTS

PART THE SECOND
CHAPTER
The Prince-Bishop and
tutor
I

Stanislaus- Augustus

Second dismemberment of Poland

—The — Prince
II

Diet in 1773

Xavier and his

Page 217

CHAPTER
Helene's suitors

— The

Due

d'Elbceuf and the Prince de Salm

Negotiations of marriage

Comtesse de Brionne
Wilna's
refusal

— Madame
fresh
suitor

—The

Marquis de Mirabeau and the
de Pailly

Ligne

.........
Prince

—A

— The
III

— The

Bishop of
Charles

de

230

CHAPTER

The de Ligne Family Prince Charles War in Bavaria Engagement at Posig The Prince de Ligne's letter to his son The

Treaty of Teschen

.

.

.

.

.

.

,256

INTRODUCTION
The
prominent position assumed by
century

women

during the eighteenth

has always
trait

been considered a characteristic
period.

of that
in-

We

do not here

refer to the

trigues or friendships of the

younger women.

We

allude rather to the influence of

women

of a certain age, who, as mothers and advisers,

formed

so powerful

an element

in

society.

The Vicomte de
women, gives us a
manner
in

Segur, in his book upon
vivid description of the
this

which

feminine

influence

made

itself felt:

"Society," he says,

"was
:

at that time divided into three classes

the

young women, women of a

certain age,

and

'

INTRODUCTION
those elderly ladies who, receiving every consideration

and

respect,

were regarded as the

upholders of established principles, and, in a
great measure, the sole arbitrators of taste,
tone,

and

fashion.

A

young man coming

out in society was said to
or
'first

make

his

'

debut
to to

appearance.'
fail
;

He was bound
is

succeed or
please

that

to

say,

he had
classes

or

displease

these

three

of

women, whose sentence determined
tation,

his repu-

his

position at Court, his place

and

rank,

and who nearly always made up an
match
for him."

excellent

All

education, therefore, tended

towards
object.

the

attainment

of

this

favourable

The

father merely directed a tutor to give

his son such general

and

superficial instruc-

tion as

might inspire the child with a possible

taste for

some branch

of learning later on.
to her

But the mother alone imparted
that polish, grace,

son

and amiability which she

INTRODUCTION
herself possessed, and to which she

knew

so

much importance was

attached.

Her

self-

love and her maternal affection were equally
involved.
" If a

young man," M. de Segur

again writes, "had been wanting in proper
attention towards a lady, or a
himself, his

man
to

older than

mother was sure

be informed

of

it

by her friends the same evening, and the

next day the giddy young fellow was certain to

be reprimanded
that delicate
taste

"
!

From

this

system arose

politeness, that exquisite
in

good

and

moderation

speech,

whether

discussing or jesting, which constituted the

manners of what was termed

"

Good

Society

"

[La bonne compagnie).

The
selves

first
is

question

we

naturally ask ourthat so

:

What was
young

the training

well prepared

girls,

when

married, to
?

take such a leading part in society

Where
good

had they learnt that consummate
taste

art of

and

tone, that facility of conversation.

INTRODUCTION
which enabled them
to glance at the lightest

subjects, or discuss the

most serious

topics,

with an ease and grace of which

Mesdames
Sabran,

de

Luxembourg, de

Boufflers,

de

the Duchesse de Choiseul, the Princesse de

Beauvau, the Comtesse de Segur, and
others, give us such perfect

many
This

examples

?

question
the
fact

is

the

more

difficult to

solve from

that,

although the

mothers

were

much occupied with
sons,

the education of their
that they

we do

not

find

concerned
that of

themselves

in the

same degree with

their daughters.

The

reason

is

very simple.
those

At

this

epoch young

girls, especially

of the nobility, were

never brought up at
at five
it

home, but were sent to a Convent
or six years of age.

They

only

left

to

marry, and the mother's influence was entirely
absent, or

came but
the

late

into

play.

What

was,

therefore,

conventual

education
?

which produced such

brilliant results

We

INTRODUCTION
believe

we have found an

interesting answer

to this question in the

Memoirs

of the

young

Princesse Massalska, which are contained in
the
first

part of this work.

They show

us,

without reserve, the strong and the weak
points of the training given to girls of
family, future great ladies,

good

— a training which
in

enabled them to play their part on a stage

where success awaited them, but whose brilliant
scene was so soon to disappear
the storm that

was already threatening the
It is

political horizon.

evident, however, that although this
fulfilled
its

system

purpose,
education.

it

could not en-

tirely replace

home

But where did
?

family

life

exist in the eighteenth century

Perhaps
is

in the

middle classes
for

;

but even that

not certain


;

they strove to imitate the

upper classes

and under the conditions which

prevailed at that time amongst the nobility,

family

life,

such as

we understand

it,

was an

impossibility.

INTRODUCTION
All

gentlemen

of

good
rank
in

name

held

an

office at Court, or a

the army, and
at

consequently lived very
great

little

home.

A

many

of the female

members

of the

family were attached to the service of the

Queen

or the Princesses

by duties which

re-

quired their presence at Versailles, and took

up half their time.

The

other half was

employed
cultivating

either in paying their court, or in

those

accomplishments

which

were considered so important.
also to read

They had

up the new books, about which
in the

they would have to converse

evening

;

and

as

dressing,

especially

hair-dressing,

took up most of the morning, they generally

employed

in

reading the time which

the hairdresser devoted to the construction

of those wonderful edifices which ladies then
carried about

on

their heads.

All the great houses received daily twenty
to twenty-five people to dinner,

and the con-

INTRODUCTION
versation was hardly of a nature to admit of

the

presence of young
at

girls.

The

dinner
at

hour was
three,

one o'clock, they separated

and

at five

went

to the theatre,

whento

ever their duties did not
Versailles
;

summon them

after

which they returned home,

bringing with them as
sible.

many

friends as pos-

What

time could have been devoted to
?

the children in a day so fully occupied

The

mothers
ters in a

felt this,

and by placing

their

daughfor

convent did the best they could

them.

But we

shall see,
herself,

by the

life

of the

young Princess

how

incomplete was

an education thus carried on by women, themselves
utterly

ignorant

of the

world,

and

therefore unfit to prepare their pupils for the

temptations that there awaited them.

These Memoirs, begun by a
years old and continued
till

child of nine

she was fourteen,

commence

with her entry into the Convent

and end on the eve of her marriage.

They

INTRODUCTION
were not intended
lain

to

be published, and have
in their old

by

for

over a hundred years

cases,

from whence, with M. Adolphe Gaiffe's

kind permission,

we brought them

to light,

when searching through
at the

his splendid libraries
in Paris.

Chateau d'Oron and

There,

amongst treasures of the sixteenth century
and
austere

Huguenot authors bound

in

black shagreen, or dark turkey leather,

we

found the journals of the

little

Princesse

Massalska, whose bright blue, yellow, and
red

covers

contrasted

with those of their

sterner neighbours.

Their genuineness

is

unquestionable.

The

margins covered with childish caricatures, and
scribbled over with her or her companions'
jokes,
like

any schoolboy's book

;

the old

yellow-stained paper, the faded ink, the large

handwriting, which gradually improves
incorrect

;

the
first

and

careless

style

of

the

chapters,

which towards the end becomes

INTRODUCTION
remarkable for
its

elegance

;

all

combine

to

show us

that these

Memoirs

are really the pro-

duction of a precocious and intelligent child.

The

Princess

died

forty

years

after

having written them, and she only mentions

them twice

in

her

correspondence.

She

simply says that one day at

Bel CEil, the

residence of the Prince de Ligne, her fatherin-law,

she

read

some

passages

of

the

Memoirs she wrote when she was a

little girl,

and that her husband was so amused by them
that he

wanted

to print a couple of chapters

in his private printing-press.
later,

Twenty

years

during a long winter in Poland, she

read

them

to

her daughter, the Princesse
at finding

Sidonie,

and was much pleased

her childish recollections so ingeniously expressed.

Our

researches have enabled us to test

the veracity of these Memoirs.

We

found
is

by the records

at

Geneva how exact

her

INTRODUCTION
account of Mademoiselle de Montmorency's

death

;

and the romantic story of
Stainville,

Madame
in

de

Choiseul

as

related

the

Mdmoires of Lauzun,
of

in the

Correspondance

Madame du

Deffand, and in the Memoires

of Durfort de Cheverny, confirms and explains the narrative of the
little

Princess,

written

forty

or

fifty

years

before

these

Memoirs were

published.

She

also describes

a taking of the veil, of which

we have found

an

official

report in the national Archives. 1

After the names of the Abbess and Prioress

and other signatures, appears that of the
little

Princess as one of the witnesses.
facts

Convinced of the exactness of the
related

by Helene Massalska,

it

has seemed

to us interesting to place before the public
this
faithful

picture of an education in the
its

eighteenth century, with

detailed account of

the studies, punishments, rewards, and
1

games

Portfolio

H. No. 3837, Abbaye-aux-Bois.

INTRODUCTION
of the Convent, and
satirical,
its

descriptions, often

but always witty, of the mistresses
;

and scholars

in fact,

the complete

life

of a

young

girl in

a Convent from 1772 to 1779.
all

We

must add that

worldly gossip did not

stop at the Convent door, that

many echoes
the
little

invaded the

cloisters,
fail

and

that

Princess does not
is

to notice them.

This

not the least curious side of the book.

After reading these interesting pages,
felt
little

we
the

regret at parting so abruptly with
writer
;

and we have, thanks

to the

kindness of our friends and correspondents,

been able
life.

to reconstruct the history

of her

The

Princesse

Massalska,

later

on

Princesse de Ligne, though she did not play

a prominent part

in

history,

found

herself,

through her uncle, the Bishop of Wilna, and
her father-in-law and husband, the Princes

de Ligne, mixed up with many interesting

INTRODUCTION
historical events.

Besides which, her

own

life

was a most romantic one.

The

variety of

documents we have gathered together, and the
brevity of

many

of the

memoranda, have not

permitted us to quote them word for word,
as

we have done
have

in

the case of the letters.

We

therefore

endeavoured

to

give

them a

certain unity of style,

and

to avoid

such sudden transitions as might be distasteful to

our readers.

PART

I

THE ABBAYE-AUX BOIS

I

Ignace Massalski, Prince and Bishop of Wilna
the Massalski

— The Bishop — His Paris with niece — Letters from Madame Geoffrin — Answer of the King Stanislaus-Augustus — The Abbaye-aux-Bois.
Poland
in exile

—The

feudal

lords

in

Poland

— The Radziwill and — wars
Civil
his

in

arrival in

On
1

a dull
1
,

December

day, in the year of grace

77

a coach drew up at the door of the Con-

vent of the Abbaye-aux-Bois,

Rue de
it

Seve, 1
lady
;

and three persons alighted from
advanced
in

—a

years,

very simply dressed

a

man

of distinguished appearance, easily re;

cognisable as a foreigner
delicate -looking
little

and a pale and

girl.

These persons

were no other than the famous
Geoffrin
1
;

Madame
;

Prince Massalski, Bishop of Wilna
after the

It

was only

Revolution that the street called Seve

took the

name
I

it

now

bears of

Rue

de Sevres,
I

VOL.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
and
his

eight

years

old

niece,

the

little

Princesse Helene.

The
by

Prince-Bishop, implicated in the late

Polish revolution, had barely escaped arrest
flight.

He

was bringing

to

Paris

his

niece and his nephew, orphans

who had been
It will

placed under his guardianship.

here

be necessary to cast a retrospective glance at
the series of events which brought this exiled
family to Paris.

The Bishop
Massalski,

of

Wilna was a son of Prince

Grand General of Lithuania.
x

He
influ-

attained to the episcopate

at

an early age,

and became possessed of considerable
ence.

His contemporaries describe him as a
gifted with

learned scholar, erudite, and

a

quick and lively intelligence, but at the same
time

add that he was frivolous and

fickle.

To

excessive timidity he united a disposition
in

prone to meddle with eagerness

every

1

Prince

Ignace

Massalski,

born

18th July

1729,

was con-

secrated Bishop of
father

Wilna 27th June 1762. His eldest brother, of the Princesse Helene, had married a Radziwill.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
concern.

Hasty

in his

schemes and

irresolute

afterwards in their execution, his conduct was
often at variance with the principles he professed.

The Bishop was a gambler he
:

lost in three

years more than a hundred thousand ducats,

and

in spite of

the

immense

territorial posin

sessions of the Massalski

was continually

monetary

difficulties.

His family was one of the most
tial

influen-

in

Lithuania, where two rival houses

the

Radziwill
for

and

the

Massalski
latter

— con-

tended
the

supremacy.

The

supported

Czartoryski

faction,

assisting

them by

every means in their power to obtain, with
Russia's concurrence, the
their

Polish throne for
-

nephew,

Stanislaus

Augustus.

The
ancient

Radziwill,

on the other hand, sworn enemies
Czartoryski,

of

the

upheld

the

traditions

of the

Polish

Republic,
hostile
to

proving
Russian

themselves
influence

more than

and

to the nomination of Stanislaus-

Augustus.

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

The

Polish

feudal

lords

exercised

in

their respective

provinces the authority of

sovereigns

;

*

their chamberlains,

masters of

hounds, and equerries could compare with

Crown

officials.

They possessed body-guards

of dragoons, cossacks, and infantry, and often
a considerable militia, of which the officers

equalled in rank those of the royal forces. 2
It
is

evident

that

the nobles, although
factions, could dis-

weakened by formidable

pose of a power with which the king had
to reckon.

They enjoyed
to

all

feudal privileges,

and, heedless of the authority of the Crown,

were unwilling

yield

up any of

their

prerogatives, each one being determined to

1

In order to form a correct idea of the lives of the great feudal

by Onken in Le Steele Grand ; by Rulhieres in Les Revolutions de Pologne ; and by Hermann in Geschichte des russ Staats, vol. vi. p. no. 2 The Bishop of Wilna paid out of his private purse the entire cost of the 16,000 men forming the Massalski legion. At precisely the same period Comte Potocki, Palatine of Kiowie, was obliged to disband the 25,000 soldiers who had been kept on war footing for
lords in Poland, refer to the accounts given

de Frederic

le

a considerable time past by his family.
the
little

Prince Radziwill (uncle of

Princesse Helene) had a revenue of ten millions, and
cities

maintained in his

and

castles a regular

army of 20,000 men.

PRINCESSE DE L/GAE
exercise
solely

that

authority

in

his

own

palatinate or woivodie, the result being that

the lesser dictes, called Dietines, 1 which pre-

ceded the election of a king or of a grand
dicte,

usually

ended

in a

sanguinary

conflict.

At the
met

critical

moment, when the Dietines

for the election of Stanislaus -Augustus,

the Massalski most opportunely distributed
large

sums of money

;

sent their troops to
felt least
effi-

surround the Dietines, of which they

assured, and, thanks to these extremely

cacious

electoral

proceedings,
the

none of the
were
Prince

members proposed by
nominated.

Radziwill
result,

On

hearing this
left

Radziwill hurriedly
fortress,

his castle, or rather

and hastened

to Wilna, escorted

by
his

the two hundred noblemen
usual retinue, and
1

who formed

who were

the terror of the

It

was

in the assemblies called

"Dietines" that the represent-

atives to the general ditte

were chosen, and also those judges who,

during the interregnum necessarily existing between the end of one
reign and the election of the next king, were
courts of justice.

empowered
the

to hold

These

courts,

termed tribunals of mourning, were

all-powerful during the interregnum.

Hence

immense import-

ance the great families attached to supremacy

in the Dietines.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
country.

He broke
the
and,

into the episcopal palace,

drove

out

judges
violently

appointed

by the
the

Dietines
prelate,

apostrophising

he ran over rapidly the names of the

former bishops

whom
:

the princes had put to
in public affairs,

death for interfering
with these words
jected
that
I

ending

"

Next time you

are sub-

to

the

same temptation, remember
in

have a hundred thousand ducats

reserve with which to obtain
at

my

absolution

Rome."

1

The Bishop was
to depart

at

first

dismayed by

Radziwill's insolent threats,

and allowed him

without opposition, but, suddenly

recovering his presence of mind, he sounded
the alarm
bell,

armed the people,

recalled the

judges, barricaded the episcopal palace and
cathedral,

and drove Radziwill out of Wilna.
illustration of
in

This incident affords a striking
the violence
at that time.

commonly perpetrated

Poland

1

For a more detailed account see Rulhieres Revolutions de

Polotrne.

.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

The

Prince- Bishop

having

so

warmly

supported the election of Stanislaus-Augustus,
it

was natural

to expect that

he would con-

tinue to uphold the authority of the King.

Such, however, was not the case.

The
1

treaty of peace signed at

Warsaw

in

768 between Russia and Poland had given

great offence to the heads of the Catholic
clergy, for
to the
it

granted to the Polish dissidents,
to

Greek community,
same

the

Lutherans
till

and

Calvinists, the

rights

which had
of of

then been the

exclusive

privilege
1

the

Roman
The

Catholic

Church.

Most

the

bishops refused to submit to these

new

terms.

share which Polish dissidents might
affairs,

now
to

claim in public

the appointments to
aspire,

which they might now
exasperate the nobility.
1

combined

Armed confederations
for the first

The Confederation

of

Bar had been proclaimed

time in 1768, the principal leaders being Putawski, Krasenski, the

Bishop of Wilna, and his father the Grand General of Lithuania.

With

it

began the

civil

wars of Poland.

Louis

XV. and

the Sultan

secretly supported the

Polish patriots, but the downfall of the

Due

de Choiseul and the defeat of the Turks led to the dispersion of the
confederates.

The Confederation was

reorganised in

1

77

1

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
were organised on
conflict with
all sides,

and entered

into

the Court party, and with the
troops,

Russians,

whose

under

pretext

of
in
in-

upholding the King's authority, occupied

Poland numerous

forts,

and perpetrated

conceivable outrages.

Bishop Massalski was

one of the principal promoters of the most famous of these associations
federation of Bar.

—that of the Conthe

His

father,

Grand
and
that

General of Lithuania,

had just

died,
in

Count Oginski had succeeded him
important command.
difficulty

The Bishop found no
over to the new

in

gaining him
1

confederation.

On
had

the

20th

of

September,

Oginski
the

already

attacked
half

and
a

defeated

Russians,

captured

regiment

and

massacred the other
fortune

half,

but shortly after

deserted
it

his
is

cause.
said,
in

Overcome by

numbers, and,
1

by treachery, he
Lithuania,
;

Possessed

of

immense

estates

Oginski

had

married the daughter of Prince Michel Czartoryski
fore first cousin of the
rivals

he was there-

King Stanislaus-Augustus, but they had been
and were jealous of each other.

from their

earliest childhood,

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
fled

with difficulty to Konigsberg amidst a

thousand dangers.

His defeat was the signal
of the confederates.
left

for the disbanding

The

Prince-Bishop had

Warsaw

for

Wilna
his

early in June to assist
influence,

Oginski

with

powerful

but

hearing of the victory of the Russians and
their

advance on Wilna, he secretly

left

in

great haste for France, taking with him his

nephew, Prince Xavier, and
Princesse Helene,
his care.

his niece, the little

who had been

confided to

The two

children, careless of events,

allowed themselves to be hurried away by
their uncle, only too

happy

to leave a country
fierce
-

where they saw nothing but
soldiers,

looking

"whose appearance alone
Prince

frightened

them."

The
following

had no sooner crossed the

Polish frontier than he might have seen the
in

the

Dutch Gazettes

:

"

Major

Soltikoff, at the

head of the Russian troops,
all

occupies Wilna, and has sequestrated
episcopal possessions
;

the

the household goods

PRTNCESSE DE LIGNE
forming part of these possessions have been
at

once removed and taken to the residence.
for

As

the
it
1

Bishop's
will

personal

and family

property,
castellan

be judicially seized by the

of Novgorod, and be subject to his
2

administration."

The
Paris

Bishop's
to call

first

care

on arriving
Geoffrin,
in

in

was

on

Madame

whom

he had seen during her recent stay

Poland.

He was

aware of her influence with the King,
to obtain

and hoped

by

this

means

his recall

1

The

Polish

castellans,

more

especially

in

Lithuania,
castles,

were

originally

invested
as

with

the

supervision

of the

from a

military as well

from a judicial point of view.

Subsequently

they only retained their judicial functions, and they formed part of
the Senate.
three

They were divided

into

two
-

classes, of

which

thirty-

were superior castellans and forty

nine inferior castellans.

They ranked
2

after the woivodes or palatines.

Prince Radziwill, the Bishop's old enemy, was exiled at the
time, his possessions being confiscated for the benefit of the
It

same

Russians.

would almost appear as

if his

ancestors had foreseen

the misfortunes which might befall their descendants, for they had

placed in their church at Diewick statues of solid gold, each a foot

and a half

in height, representing the twelve apostles.

When

the
to

war broke out Prince Charles had the twelve apostles conveyed
Munich, and by melting them down was able not only
for

to live there

many

years, but

was

also enabled

to extend

the most liberal

hospitality towards

many

of his fellow-exiles.

PRIXCESSE DE EIGNE
from exile as well as the removal of the
decree sequestrating his property.

Madame

Geoffrin, notwithstanding her usual discretion

and dread of being implicated
others, took the

in

the affairs of

Bishop under her protection,

and wrote

to the

King

as follows
\~jth

x
:


1

November
in Paris,

77

1.

"

The Bishop
intends

of

Wilna

is

where
has
his

he

making

some

stay.

He
and

brought

me two
care.

children, his niece

nephew, and has begged
under

me

to take

them
a

my

I

have placed the

girl in

convent, and sent the boy to college."
It
is

apparent

that

Madame

Geoffrin,

according to her usual discretion, does not

compromise herself
the Bishop
;

in this first reference to

she merely acquaints the King

with the fact that she has seen the Bishop,

and then waits
the information.
1

to

know how he

will receive

The King

appears to have
Madame

See Correspondance du Roi Stanislaus-Augustus avec

Geoffrin^ published

and edited by M. Charles de Mouy.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
shown no
this

displeasure, for she writes again,
:

and

time more boldly

1

3 th

January 1772.

"

I

implore your Majesty to write a few
to the unfortunate

words of kindness
of

Bishop

Wilna

;

he

is

a child, but a foolish child,
I

devoted to your person.

can assure you

that he cannot be reproached with a single

step he has taken since his arrival in Paris.

He
me

is

the only Pole
;

I

receive,

and he

fears

like fire

truly

I

have forbidden

his talking

about Polish

affairs

with any of his countryobedience.

men, and

I

feel certain of his
I

He

has two servants

have procured

for him.

The Abbe Bandeau and

Colonel Saint Leu

form part of his household."
It

was not only

in

order to receive a few

words of kindly notice from the King that
the Bishop
influence.

made use

of

Madame

Geoffrin's

The

chief object in view

was

to

obtain the removal of the decree of sequestration

under which

his lands

had been placed.

i

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
the case, but

13

The King understood
favourably

was unPrince,

disposed

towards

the

whose

fidelity

he doubted.
Geoffrin
for the
:

Nevertheless he
"

wrote to
to

Madame

My

last letter

you enclosed one

Bishop of Wilna,

written in accordance with the request contained in your letter of 13th January.

To
I

what

I

then wrote both to you and to him,

can only here
of his
to

now add that I see by a letter the Abbe Siestrzencewiez he is
I

under the impression that
Russians
to
is

requested
his

the

sequestrate
;

property.

Nothing

more untrue

neither his estates

nor those of any other persons have been
seized at

my command.

On

the contrary,
in

I

gave myself considerable trouble
protect them.
But, once for
all,

order to

remember

the fable of the horse that was jealous of the
stag without
to
his

knowing why.

How,

in

order

subdue him, he appealed to man,
back, and accepted the bridle.

lent

him

When,

thus combined, they had overcome the stag,
the horse tried to shake off his rider.

The

14

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
however, kept his
seat,

i

latter,

and vigorously

spurring him, compelled the animal to submit
to

his

mastery.

The

simile

is

apparent.

The

Poles often feel the spur of the Russian
in-

horseman, whose assistance they have

voked against
their equals.
"

their

king or against one of

The Bishop

of

Wilna

is

perfectly

aware
to

whom He intrigue.
against
to his deserts
;

he wished the

Russians

has been punished according
but again
I

repeat,

it

is

not

I

who have drawn down upon him
ment.
lighten

this punish-

On
it,

the contrary,

I

have striven to
his

by obtaining that part of
left

revenues should be
that

him, and

the fact

my

ministers,

two of

whom

are

my
I

near

relatives,

have
is

for a year past

had

their lands

sequestered,

the best proof that

do not

command
ever,

these Russian executions.

How-

you may again assure the Bishop from

me

that the

moment
I

I

see an opportunity of
so."

assisting

him

will

do

The

Prince-Bishop appeared satisfied with

i

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

15

the King's promise, and, expressing his ex-

treme gratitude to
in Paris as

Madame

Geoffrin, settled
it

though he intended making

his

permanent abode.
place his

He
it

then

proceeded to

nephew and

niece in the best educa-

tional establishments

was possible

to find.

We

have already seen that he chose the
for the

Abbaye-aux-Bois

young

Princess.

Two

convents competed

at that

time for

the privilege of educating the daughters of
the nobility, Penthemont and the Abbaye-auxBois.
St.

Cyr was no longer the

fashion, and,

moreover, founded by
for

Madame

de Maintenon
of

the gratuitous
girls, it

education

noble but

poor

was

restricted to a very limited

sphere.

The two convents we have

just

mentioned were, on the contrary, intended
only for the education of the daughters of the
richest

and highest

families.

1

The Abbaye-aux-Bois had been founded by
1

Even

the princesses of royal blood conformed to this usage

;

the Duchesse de Bourbon nee Princesse d'Orleans was educated at

Penthemont.

6

1

PRINCES SE BE LIGNE

i

Jean de Nesle and his wife
in the diocese of

Anne

d'Entragues,

Noyon, under the reign of

Louis

le
1

Gros, and belonged to the order of

Citeaux.

In the year 1654 the Abbess and

nuns of the Abbaye-aux-Bois had been reduced
to flight in

consequence of the disturbances

and devastations that
county of Soissonnais.
in

had

laid

waste the
shelter

They found

Paris,

and there bought the convent of

Dix

Vertus, situated in the

Rue de Seve,

which had just been vacated by the nuns of
the order of the Annunciation of Bourges.

The
1

2 Cistercian nuns obtained from the

Citeaux, a celebrated monastery situated in
five

the diocese of

Chalon-sur-Saone,

miles from Dijon, was founded in 109S by

The rules of Citeaux were drawn up in 1107. Saint Robert. The Abbeys of La Ferte, of Pontigny, of Clairvaux, and of Morimond were termed the four daughters of Citeaux. Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, gave his name to the monks of Citeaux, now called Bernardines. 2 The Cistercian nuns are as ancient an order as the monks.
Saint Hourbelle, mother of Saint Bernard, and several other ladies
of rank, adopted the order of Citeaux, and were celebrated for their
virtue

and

austerity.

But they did not long retain the favour of
acquired great wealth and, as the annals

their early piety.

They
state,

of

the

convent

"their

iniquity

sprouted

up from

their

fatness

and

their

obesity."

They possessed numerous convents

under the name of "Bernardines."

"

i

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
transfer of the deeds

17

Pope the

and possessions

of the Abbaye-aux-Bois, which the
fied

King

rati-

by

letters-patent,

August 1667.

On

the

8th June 17 18,

Madame, widow

of Philip of
first

France, brother of Louis XIV., laid the

stone of the Church of Notre-Dame-aux-Bois, 1
little

anticipating that at a later period her

own

grand-daughter,

Louise-Adelaide d'Orleans,

would become Abbess of that same convent.

At

the time of which

we

write the

Abbaye-

aux-Bois was ruled by
deleine de Chabrillan,

Madame Marie Mawho had succeeded
sister of the

Madame
Marechal.

de Richelieu,

famous

All the ladies entrusted with the

education of the scholars
highest nobility
the
noblest
;

belonged to the

the pupils themselves bore
in

names

the

kingdom,

and,

strangely enough, their education combined

1

In

this

stone was enchased a large gold medal,

given by
effigy

H. R. H. Madame, on which was engraved
of the Princess.

in bas-relief the

On
in

the reverse she was represented seated on

two
' '

lions,

holding

her right hand a medallion with the design of
this

the church.

Round
ct

medal was inscribed the following legend

:

Diis genita

genetrix

Dcum.
2

VOL.

I

8

1

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

i

the most practical and homely domestic duties,

with instructions best suited to mould them
for polished

and courtly

society.

Music, dancing, and painting were taught
with the greatest care.

The Abbey

possessed

a fine theatre well provided with scenery and

costumes, which,

in

point of elegance,

left

nothing to be desired.

Moli and Larive taught elocution and the
art

of reading aloud,

the

ballets

were

di-

rected by Noverre, Philippe, and Dauberval,
first

dancers at the opera.
all

The

professors

were

chosen beyond the precincts of the
in

Abbey, the instructors

botany and natural

history alone being an exception to this rule.

The

ladies

merely superintended the studies

of their scholars, and were present during the
lessons.

They, however, took a much more active
share in the domestic education imparted to
the

young

girls after their first

communion.

This we

shall see later on.

II

The Memoirs of Helene Massalska He: entry at the Abbaye-auxBois The dormitory Illness of Helene Sister Bichon and paradise La Grise and Mother Quatre Temps's punishments The order of truth Wars of the " blues " and the "reds " The Comte de Beaumanoir's scullion Madame de Roche-

— —

chouart.

But

it

is

time to

let

the

little

Princess

describe in her

own ingenuous and charming
She pompously heads
title,

language the details of her admission to the

Abbaye-aux-Bois.

her copy-book with the following

which
1

we reproduce

as

it

stands in the original.

Memoirs of Apolline-H^lene Massalska
in

the royale abbaye de notre-damerue
de
seve,

aux-bois,

faubourg

Saint Germain.
"
1

I

was received on a Thursday
in

at

the

Helene began her Memoirs

1773

;

she was then ten years

old.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

Abbaye - aux

-

Bois.

uncle's friend, took

Madame me first to

Geoffrin,

my
it

the Abbess's
is

parlour,

which

is

very handsome, for

painted white with gold stripes.

Madame
also,
is

de

Rochechouart came to the parlour
also

and
the

Mother Quatre Temps,

for

she

head-mistress of the youngest
I

class, to

which

am
"

to belonof.

They were kind enough
good
reply,

to say

I

had a

pretty face and a
hair.
I

figure

and beautiful

made no

having quite forgotten
for
I

my

French on the way,
I

had been such
I

a long journey that

had passed through

do not know how many towns, and always by
coach, the
time.
said.
I

driver blowing his horn
all

all

the

understood, however,
told

that

was

They then

me

they were going to
scholar's dress,

take

me away

to put

on the

and that then they would bring
the grating for

me

back to

Madame

Geoffrin to see me.

They

therefore

opened the wicket of the

parlour grating and passed
I

me

through
to a

it,

as

was so

small.

They brought me

room

ii

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE
all

21

belonging to the Lady Abbess,

hung

in

blue

and white damask, and

sister
I

Crinore put
it

me on
black

the dress, but
I

when

saw that
it

was

cried

so very

hard,

was quite
the

piteous to see

me

;

but

when they added

blue ribbons
the

I

was a

little

comforted, and then

head-mistress brought
I

some preserves

which

ate,

and

I

was
I

told

we should be
ladies

given some every day.
deal,

was petted a good
on

and the elder of the young
1

service at the abbatial

came
'

to look at me,
little child,

and

I

heard them say

:

Poor
;

she
her

does not speak French

we must make

speak Polish, to see what kind of a language
it
is.'

But

I,

knowing they would laugh

at
I

me, did not choose to speak.

They

said
I

was very

delicate,

and then said that

came
!'

from a very distant country, from Poland,

adding
"

:

'Ah,

how

comical to be a Pole

However, Mademoiselle de Montmorency

took

me on
The

her knee and asked

if

she should

1

private apartments of the

Lady Abbess

are so called.

22

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE

u

be
for

my little
I I

mother, and

I

answered by a nod,
to

was quite determined only

speak
I

when

could speak like everybody
if
I

else.

was asked

thought the young lady holding
I

me

pretty, so

put

my

hand

to

my
in

eyes to

show

that

I

thought hers were beautiful, and

then they amused

make me say her name —
"

themselves
'

trying to

Montmorency.'

However,

I

was

told that

my

uncle had

come
and
well,

to the parlour
I

and wished

to see

me
I

in

uniform.
it

therefore went, dressed as
it

was,

was thought that
after

suited

me

very

and

having well recommended
uncle and

me

Madame Geoffrin Then the Lady Abbess and Madame de left. Rochechouart tried to make me converse, but found it quite impossible, so that Madame de
to the ladies,

my

Rochechouart

called

to

Mademoiselle
'
:

de
I

Montmorency

and

said

Dear
;

heart,

recommend
little

this child to

your care

she

is

a
;

foreigner,

knowing hardly any French

you have

a kind heart, take her to the school,
is

and see that she

not teased

;

it

will

be easy

i

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
you
to

23

for
it

have her well received.'
to

But when
de
;

came

giving

-

my name Madame
it it

Rochechouart never could remember
repeated
ridiculous
it,

I

but seeing that

was thought
in future

I

proposed

it

should not

be mentioned; then

Madame de Rochechouart
I

asked
said

me

if

I

had not a Christian name.

'Helene;' so
said she

Mademoiselle de Mont-

morency
the

would introduce

me

under

name

of Helene.
started
oft.

"We
time.

It

was the recreation

Mademoiselle de Narbonne, who had

seen

me

at

the

abbatial,

had already anI

nounced me.
wild thing,
lips
;

She had

said

was a

'little

who had
I

not chosen to open her

but that
that

was very graceful.'

As

it

was

raining

day the recreation was taking

place in All Souls' cloisters.

As soon
us.

as

I

arrived they
moiselle de
teachers,

all

came towards

Madeto the

Montmorency brought me

who made

a great deal of me, and
all

the class surrounded me, asking

sorts of

queer questions, to which

I

did not reply,

:

24

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
that

n

so

some

of

them

thought

I

was

dumb.
"Mademoiselle de Montmorency asked the
head-mistress of the blue class to be allowed
to

show me over
she took

all

the departments in the

Convent.

Mother Quatre Temps consented.

Then

me
of

through the whole house,
collation.

and gave

me

a

good

All the nuns

and scholars
extremely.
soufflets}

the

red

class

petted

me
very

They gave me
grimaces?

pin-cushions,
I

and

was

happy.
"

At supper-time Mademoiselle de Montto the classroom,

morency brought me back

and Mother Quatre Temps led me by the hand
to the refectory.
I

was given a

seat

next to Mademoiselle de Choiseul,
the last arrival.

who was

During supper Mademoiselle
I

de Choiseul talked to me, and

risked a few

words

in

answer,

so

that

she called out
French.'

'The

little

Pole

speaks
in the

After

1

Small pin-cushions

shape of bellows.

2

A

thick round box with pin-cushion top.

ii

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
I

25

supper

became quite intimate with Made-

moiselle de Choiseul,

She

told

me

that,

who was very pretty. when in the evening our
I

names were

called over,
for

must ask

Madame

de Rochechouart
collation,

a holiday, and give a

and that she would do the speaking.

Then we played at many games

— the massacre
to the nuns'

of the innocents, and a thousand other things.

When
the

it

was bed-time we went

dormitory.
roll-call

Madame
;

de Rochechouart read
called
last.
I

I

was

came

forward with Mademoiselle de Choiseul,
in

who

my name
if

begged

for a holiday.

Madame

de Rochechouart inquired from Mother Ouatre

Temps
as
it

my

uncle had been
to
it

informed of
the welcome,'
lo2iis
x

what was necessary

pay

for

'

was

called, for

cost twenty-five
to
all

to give a

grand collation

the pupils,

and

ices

were absolutely necessary.

Mother

Ouatre

Temps

said

Yes

;

so the following

Saturday was chosen
It
is

for the holiday."

easy to see by this opening scene
1

Twenty pounds.

:

26

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
little

n

that the
to her

Pole would soon get accustomed

new

life.

The

blue

class

into

which

Helene was

entered was composed of children from seven
to ten years old. 1
It
is

interesting to note,

from the very
lessons,

first,

what was the order of the

the working and recreation hours.

Helene
"

gives

it

in

her

own

.writing
:

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

to

get up in

summer

at

seven o'clock,

in

winter
in

at half-past seven.
stalls

To

be at eight

the

of the schoolroom, ready for

Madame
at

de

Rochechouart,

who comes
repeat

in

eight.

Directly she has de

left,

to learn the Catdchisme
it.

Montpellier? and
;

At nine

o'clock, breakfast

and

half-past nine,

Mass

;

at ten, reading

till

eleven.

From

eleven

till

half- past eleven,

a music lesson.

At

half-

1

Children
;

from

five

to

seven years of age did

not

attend

school

but there was a considerable number of them at the Abbaye-

aux-Bois, under the care of the younger nuns.
2

The Catechisme

de Montpellier was a Jansenist catechism

;

its

doctrines were openly proclaimed by the ladies of the Abbaye-auxBois.

ii

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
till

27

past eleven

twelve, drawing lesson.

From

twelve
history.

to

one,

a lesson in geography and
o'clock, dinner

At one
three.

and recrea-

tion

till

At three

o'clock, lessons in
four.
five.

writing and
o'clock,

arithmetic

till till

At

four

dancing lesson
till

Collation

and recreation

six

;

from six to seven, the

harp or the harpsichord.

At seven,

supper.

At

half-past nine, the dormitory."

The

alternate days

were arranged

in the

same manner, but instead of receiving lessons
from masters unconnected with the Convent,
the
children

studied

under

the

superin-

tendence of the ladies of the Abbey.

On
being
eight
all

Sundays and holy-days (these
very numerous)
o'clock, the

latter

the

classes

met

at

Gospel was read, and then
at nine.

went
girls

to

Mass
and

At eleven the young
went
to

attended a short lesson given by the
at four o'clock

directors,

to Vespers.

Helene has not omitted

portray the

mistresses of the blue class, and has sketched

them with irreverent

precision

:

"

Madame

28

PRTNCESSE DE LIGNE

n

de Montluc, called Mother Quatre Temps,
kind, gentle, careful, too minute,

and a busy-

body.
"

Madame

de Montbourcher, called Sainte

Macaire, kind, stupid, very ugly, believing in
ghosts.
"

Madame
ugly

de

Fresnes,

called
tells

Sainte

Bathilde,
stories."

and

kind

;

us

many

Fifteen lay sisters performed the service of the blue class.

Though Helene belonged
class,

to the

youngest
in the

she had been temporarily placed
girls

dormitory of the elder

—a source of great
shall

displeasure to them, as
"

we

soon
fall

see.
ill,

About
effects
1

this

time

I

began

to

from

the

of the

Paris water.

Monsieur

Portal
1

ordered

me some

powders, and
to Louis

when
XV. and Anatomy

Baron Antoine Portal, consulting physician

the successive sovereigns until Charles X., was Professor of
at the

Museum, President of

the

Academy

of Medicine, and a friend
to remark-

of Buffon and Franklin.
able works.

His long career was devoted
of the

By command

Academy

of Sciences he

drew up

a report in 1774, on the effects of noxious fumes, amongst others,

of coal, on man.

This small work was reprinted several times,

ii

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
was
in bed,

29

I

Madame de

Sainte Bathilde,

the third mistress of the blue class, used to

come with
take them.

a lay sister in order to

make me

give them to
girls

On me

one occasion she forgot to
;

and on that day the elder and when the

were going

to eat a pasty,

door was locked they got up and began to
eat
I

by the glimmer of a
I

street lamp.

When
I

saw they were eating
if

said

I

wanted some,
should

and that
tell.

they did not give

me any

Upon which Mademoiselle d'Equilly brought me a large piece of pie and crust, But Madame de Sainte which I devoured.
Bathilde remembered that she had not given

me my
brought
ladies
all

powder, and got out of bed and
it

me.

No

sooner did the young
in

hear the key

the lock than they
all

ran to their beds, and one of them put

the

fragments of the pasty into her bed.
the mistress and Sister Eloi

Then

came

to

and translated into four languages
although the least important,
it

at the
is

expense of the Academy

;

best

known

of

all

his works.

He

died in 1832, aged eighty-seven.

30

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
to give

n

my side
the

me my

powder.

As

I

did not

dare to say anything for fear of betraying
girls,
I

was obliged

to

swallow the powder,
crust.

having just eaten a large piece of pie

"When Madame
gone the
at
girls

de Sainte Bathilde was
;

got up again
it

they grumbled
to

me, saying

was insupportable

have a

tiresome brat like myself in their room, and

then they set to and drank some cider.
called out again for

I

some

to
I

be given me, but

they would not, because

had

just taken a
la

powder, and even Mademoiselle de

Roche

Aymon came and
much

slapped me, but

I

cried so

that at last they

were obliged to give
I

me

a glass of cider, which

drank

off at

one

draught.

Next morning
to

I

had violent

fever,

and was carried
night
on.
I

the infirmary.

In the

was

delirious,

and a putrid fever came and remained two

I

was

at death's door,

months

at the infirmary."
fine

After this
little

freak

the

health

of the
delicate
It

Princess was considered

too

for her to

undergo the usual education.

ii

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
to give

31

was therefore decided

her separate

rooms, a nurse, a maid, and a mie (a nurserymaid), her uncle having written to authorise
in

advance

all

necessary expenses.

''My

nurse," she continues,

"was

called

Bathilde Toutevoix, and soon idolised me.
I

was given a very
1

fine

apartment, allowed

my pocket money, and nothing was denied me for my keep and my Mr. Tourton, my banker, received masters. an order from my uncle to supply me up to
four louts a

month

for

the

sum

of thirty thousand livres

2

a year

if

necessary.

"About
fond of

that time

my

nurse became very

cross with me.

We
it

had a cat that was very
for

my

nurse,
it

and even of me,

what-

ever
I

I

did to

never scratched me, though
of temper to

often put
it

it

sufficiently out

make
1

orowl like a

mad

thino-.

This cat

2

About three pounds. Twelve hundred pounds.

We

must not

lose sight of the fact
to

that at the

Abbaye-aux-Bois the education was exclusively devoted

forming future "great ladies," and differed entirely from that of the

middle

class.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
was
called

La

Grise.

Once Mademoiselle

de Choiseul and myself were eating some
walnuts at the end of the passage leading to
the older part of the building

ourselves
fortunately

on

some

steps

we had seated there, when un;

La

Grise passed by.

I

called
it

it

and
idea

it

came
on

to us,

and while stroking

the

came
its

into our

heads to fasten the nut-

shells

paws.

Mademoiselle de Choiseul
in

had some ribbon

her netting box, so

we

carried out our plan,

and
not

La

Grise was so
up.

funny,

for

it

could

stand

We
;

laughed so loud that

Madame de Sainte Monique heard us from my room they came downstairs and found La Grise in

my

nurse and

this condition.

My

nurse nearly cried
sent

;

she

scolded

me

very

much and

me
all.

to the

schoolroom.

But that was

not

La
bed,

Grise always slept at the foot of

my

because

my

nurse thought

it

would keep

me

warm.

That evening, when my nurse had
to bed, being cross with

gone

La
I

Grise for

having got

me

into disgrace

began kick-

ii

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
it it

33

ing

so

much

that

it

got
in

off

my

bed.

Then

went

to lie

down
I

the fireplace.

After a few minutes

put
it

my

head out of

my

curtains to see
I

what

was about, but
in

when

saw
I

its

two eyes glistening

the

fireplace
if I

was frightened, and thought that
in the night

awoke

and saw those eyes
were.

I

should not

know what they
it

So

I

got

out of bed, took
to put
it,

up,

and not knowing where
it

gently opened the press and shut

up

inside.
"

Then

the poor Grise began to
that
it

mew

and

moan

so loud

my
last

nurse got up, not

knowing what

could be.

She looked about

everywhere, and at
in the press.
I I

discovered
silly

La

Grise

was so

that

I

maintained

had not put the
it

cat there,

and that appar-

ently
"

had got

in

by

itself.

My
La

nurse said
Grise, she
;

as that

was the way
it

I

hated

would give
I

away the
de

very next day

then

cried so

much and

screamed
Choiseul,
vol.
1

so

loud

that

Mademoiselle

Mesdemoiselles de Conflans,
3

my

;

34

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

n

maid, and their maids ran into the room, not

knowing what could have happened.

I

told

them

I

was the most unhappy person

in

the

world, that

my

nurse wanted to give away
I

La
that

Grise, that
I

could not live without

it,

would have
and
I

La
till

Grise,

it

must be given
pardon.

me
bed

at once,
"
;

would beg

its

I

had no
I

rest
it

took
its

in

La Grise was put on my my arms, I embraced
it,

I

kissed

paws, and promised

it

I

would never

do so again.
sented to keep

Then my

nurse said she conI

La

Grise, but that

should

have nothing but dry bread
day.
easily
I
;

for breakfast

next
so

I

was only too happy
they
all

to

be

let off

went back

to their

rooms and

slept quietly the

remainder of the night."
to

Soon

after,

Helene was brought
first

the

Confessional for the

time.

Though

only

eight years old, she followed the religious instructions for

some

days,

and

Dom

Themines,

the

pupils'

director,

enjoined

on

her

a

religious

retreat to meditate

on obedience

a very good subject for a mischievous child.

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

35

After the retreat she confessed, but unfortunately has
left

us no record of her confession
tired,

;

she came back rather

but satisfied with

her day's work, and thinking herself quite a

grown up person.
tive with
"

She continues her

narra-

charming ingenuousness.

In the evening Sister Bichon
nurse,

came

to

see

my

and while Mademoiselle Gioul,

my
(for

maid, was undressing me, Sister Bichon
to
I

begged me

remember her
said
I

in

my

prayers
in

although

them with the others
to repeat

the schoolroom,

was made
I

them
Sister

before getting into bed).

said

to

Bichon

'

:

What do you
for

wish

me

to
:

ask
'

God

Almighty

you

?'

She

replied

Pray to

God

that
is

He may make my soul
at
this

as pure as

yours

moment.'

I

therefore said
' :

out loud, at the end of

my
that
to

prayer

My
age
I

God,

grant Sister Bichon
as white as

her soul

may be
if
I

mine ought

be

at

my

had profited by the good teaching
received.'

have

My
which

nurse was delighted at the
I

manner

in

had arranged

my

prayer,

36

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
also

n

and kissed me, as did
Mademoiselle
Gioul,

Sister

Bichon,

and
asked

mie
if it

Claudine.
sin to

When
pray

I

was

in

bed

I

was a

for

La
God

Grise.

My
La

nurse and
I

Sister

Bichon replied Yes, and that
speak to
"

must not

about
I

Grise.
sleepy, Sister

Then, as
to

was not

Bichon
if
I

came

my
;

bedside, and told
I

me

that

died that night,
paradise
paradise.

should go immediately into

then

I

asked her what one saw
'

in

She

replied

:

You must
is

imagine,

my little
all

darling, that paradise

a large
rubies

room
and

made

of

diamonds

and

emeralds and other precious stones.

God
is

Almighty

sits

on a throne, Jesus Christ

on

His right hand, and the Blessed Virgin on

His

left; the

Holy Ghost
all

is

perched on His

shoulder, and

the saints pass and repass
telling

before
this
I

Him.'
fell

While she was

me
and

asleep."
is

There

always

a

certain

truth

simplicity about the

little

Princess's narrative
;

which lend

it

a great charm

she praises or

n

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
faith,

37

blames herself with entire grood

and her

character becomes apparent at the end of a

few pages.

The

education

in

common, and

the intelligent

management

of

Madame de

Rochechouart, had an excellent influence on
this spoilt

and wayward

child,

accustomed to

see everything give

way

before her.

But she
relates

had
her

to suffer at the beginning,
first

and she

experiences in a most comical manner.

"I
terrible

had

at

that

time,"

she

says,

"a

aversion

for

good
very

handwriting.

Monsieur

Charme

was

much

dis-

pleased with me, and set

me

back to write

nothing but O's, which bored

me

very much,
class

and

at the

same time made the whole
:

laugh at

me

they said

I

should never be
It

able to sign
I

my own

name.
;

was not

that
I

absolutely hated writing

on the contrary,

spent the whole day writing

my

Memoirs, as

was the fashion amongst the elder young
ladies at that time,

and we, the younger
I

class,

chose to do the same.
all

therefore scribbled

day long, but

it

was such a scrawl that

428718

38

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
I

only

could read
spoilt

it,

and, far from benefiting

me,

it

my

hand.

Mademoiselle de

Choiseul often wrote for me, but, as they

perceived

my writing, Monsieur Charme complained of me to Mother Quatre Mademoiselle, is it Temps. She asked me
it

was not

'

:

you who have written

this
I.'

?
'

I

answered 'Yes,
:

Madame,

in truth

it is

She

said

'

:

If

it is

you, write out at once before
page.'
I

me

a similar

Then

I

was very much embarrassed,

should have liked to have got into a mouseI

hole.

What wrote worst were the M's and Massinissa, roi de N's, and my copy was As every one knows, there are a Numidie.'
'

great

many

tops and tails in that
all
;

name

;

and

there they were,

awry, one going one way,
in short,
it

the other another
that
I

was easy

to see

was incapable of making such a copy.
fastened donI

Then Mother Quatre Temps
key's
ears

on

to

me, and because

had

told falsehoods

hung a red tongue, together

with
that

my
I

copy, on

my

back.

I

began saying

wrote so badly because the table had

ii

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
;

39

been shaken

I

was

told

that

I

slandered,

and the black tongue was added.
of
it

The

worst

was

that

Madame

de

Rochechouart,

who was
told
cell

rather pleased with me, and

was

beginning to show

me much

kindness, had

me

at the

morning

class to

go

to her

that evening at six.

But now the hour
I

was approaching, how could
appearance
in

make my
? I

the state

I

was
I

in

would

sooner have died.

Was
?

presentable with

donkey's
scrawl

ears,

two tongues, and a tattered
back

on

my

So when
to

Mother

Ouatre

Temps
I

told

me

go

to the Maitresse

Gdndrale,
cried

would not leave
to

my

place,

and

I

enough

make my eyes

start out of

my

head.
crying,

Mademoiselle de Choiseul was also

and

all

my

class pitied
I

me.

When

Mother Ouatre Temps saw
her, she

would not obey

added

into the bargain the order of
sisters, Sister

ignominy, and sent for two lay
Eloi and Sister Bichon,

who

took
stall,

me by

the

arms, dragged

me

from

my
of

and conde

ducted

me

to

the

door

Madame

40

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE
cell.

n

Rochechouart's
I

When
I

I

arrived there
life

was so wretched
pin.

that

felt
I

my

was not

worth a

Directly

entered

Madame
' :

de Rochechouart called out and said

Eh,

my heavens, what
look
like

has happened to you
;

?

you

a

merryandrew

what

can

you
your

have done

to deserve being deprived of
?
'

human
feet,

figure

Then

I

threw myself at her
I

and

told her

my

faults.

saw she had

the greatest difficulty in the world to keep
herself from laughing
;

however, she said
faults are
is

in a

severe manner

'

:

Your

very great,

and your punishment

not great enough.'

Then

she called in the two sisters

who were

at the door,

and she said

' :

I

order Made-

moiselle to be reconducted to the schoolroom,

and
tell

to

go without dessert

for eight

days

;

and

the head-mistress of the blue class to
to me.'

come and speak
one on

Madame
if
I I

de Roche-

chouart, moreover, asked

had met any
I

my way to her, and

said

had met the

doctor Monsieur

Bordeu, and

Madame

la

Duchesse de Chatillon, who had come

to see

ii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
sick.
I I

\\

one of her daughters who was

was

brought back to the classroom, but
shortly after,
ladies say that

heard,

some

of the red class

young

Madame de Rochechouart had
to

said

it

was stupid
she

make such
soundly

a guy of me,

and

that

had

rated

Mother

Ouatre Temps, requesting her
scholars without disfiguring

to punish her
;

them

that a few

days before she had entered the schoolroom

and thought she must be looking
idols,

at

Egyptian

on seeing

five or six of us

with asses

ears

and three tongues, and as the Convent
full

was constantly
throw a
pupils.

of

strangers,

it

might

ridicule

on the education of the

From

that time forth these punish-

ments were abolished, and instead we were

made
choir,

to

go on our knees

in the

middle of the

we were deprived

of dessert, given dry
collation, or
1

bread at breakfast and

made

to

copy out the Privilege du Roi during playtime,

which was very tedious."
du Roi, a preface authorising the publication of
a

1

Privilege

work, granted in the king's name.

42

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
Helene, however, was not
at

n

the end of

her tribulations, and her quick temper naturally

brought her into a few more.

"

About

that time

I

experienced from
I

all

the class a bodily punishment which

re-

solved
habit

long to remember.
of

I

was

in

the

repeating to

Madame de
met with

Sainte
in the
I

Euphrasie everything that took place
class,

and

as
all

I

saw

it

success,

listened to
it

the pupils said, so as to repeat
so that
all

to her, so

much

the classes had

taken a dislike to me.
"
I

was

at that

time nine years of age.

I

had a quarrel with Mademoiselle de Nagu
she had taken from

;

my

drawer the short
in
it,

Lives of the Saints, with pictures

and

was reading

it.

intimate friends
I

As I only allowed my most to rummage in my drawer,
told her to return
' :

went

to her

and
said

me my
I

book.

She

This book amuses me,
it

you do not want
return
it

to read

just now,
it.' I

will

when

I

have finished

was

not satisfied with this answer, and tried to

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
snatch
it

43

away from her
I,

;

but,

as she

was

stronger than
the ear
return,
;

she gave

me

a sound box in

then, instead of giving her

one

in

I

began

to cry,

and went and com-

plained to

Madame
The
cheek

de Saint Pierre, head-

mistress of the white class, as
to

Nagu belonged

that class.

mistress, seeing
red, called

me

in

tears,

and

my

Mademoiselle

de Nagu, desired her
to ask

to return

me my

book,

my

pardon, and condemned her to go

without dessert at supper.

Every one
I

pitied
liked.

Nagu, the more so

that

was not
and

Every one
in

called
'

me

tell-tale,

hummed
our cat
die.'

my
"

ears,

Tell-tale-tit,

go and

tell

to

keep a place

for

you the day that you
all.

But that was not and

Mademoiselle de

Choiseul

Mesdemoiselles de Conflans,

my three
were

friends,

were absent

;

Mademoiselle

de Choiseul was being inoculated, the others
in the country,

so that

I

had no one
it

to
is

uphold me.

On
the

leaving the refectory

the custom to run as fast as possible to the

schoolroom,

mistresses,

meanwhile,

re-

44

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

11

maining behind.

Instead of remaining- with

them
me),
to
I

(for

then no one could have touched
silly

was
I

enough

to

be one of the

first

run.

unluckily found
' :

myself next to
you,'

Nagu, who said
and
at the

Ah,

I

have caught

same moment tripped me
face.

up,
all

and
the

threw

me down on my
ladies
I

Then

young
so that

began jumping over

my

body,

received so
over.

bruised

all
I

many kicks that I was The mistresses came to
up,

me, and
ladies

was picked
'
:

and the young
I

said
I

Mademoiselle,

beg

your

pardon,

never saw you.'

Others said to
'

the mistresses,

who

scolded them

:

I

did not
I

do

it

on purpose, she was on the ground,
I

did not see her.'

was sent

to bed,

and the
to
'

next day

me.

I

Madame de Rochechouart came told her my story, and she said
:

If

your companions loved you,

this

would never
faults

have happened
of character for
you.'

;

you must have great
all

the classes to be against
I

Since that day

have never repeated

the least thing to

my

mistresses,

and

I

became

ii

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
amiable
that every
I

45

so

one loved me,

and

Nagu also, with whom became such friends that we would have gone through fire and
water for each other.
"

But now
that

is

the

moment

to

speak of the
the Abbayeit

game

was most
It

in fashion at
;

aux-Bois.

was the chase
it

but
it

required

a whole day to carry

out,

and

could only
elected

be played

in

the

garden.
;

They

huntsmen and whippers-in
those

then they chose

who were

to

be the deer, and marked

one stag to
the hounds
;

lead.

The younger
class

class

were

and the red

always went

very politely and asked the
that part in the game.

.blue class to take

When we
we

were not
;

pleased with the red class

refused

and

even sometimes

it

has happened

that, in the

middle of the game, the blues would leave

and go away, so that the stag could not be
run down.
"
I

had then an adventure
well.

for

which
the
a

I

revenged myself
girls

Among
there was

older

of the red

class

Made-

46

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
cle

n

moiselle
face,

Sivrac

who had
to

a very handsome

but was subject

spasms, and

was

rather crazy.
in the garden,

We

had had our recreation

and as we were returning to

the

schoolroom she said to

me

' :

I

have

forgotten
please

my gloves

at the

end of the garden,
fetch

come with me

to

them.'

I

innocently accompanied

her,

but

when we

were behind the
self
lilac

lilac

bushes she threw her-

on me, upset me, seized a branch of and whipped

me
I

cruelly.

When
I

she

had beaten

me

well she ran away.

picked

myself up as

best

could,
I

and returned
thought
' :

crying to the classroom.

If

I

complain to the mistresses, Mademoiselle de
Sivrac will deny the fact
only gave
;

she

will
I

say she

me

a few slaps, and
tell-tale.
all

shall again
I

be thought a
I

What

should

do

?'

called

together

the most determined

girls

of the blue class,

and told them

story,

adding that

if

they did not revenge

my me

the blue class would soon be overpowered by the older pupils
;

in fact,

I

stirred

up

their

ii

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE
I

47

feelings as best

could, so that

we

declared

we would have no
made me an
"
class
to

further intercourse with

the red class unless Mademoiselle de Sivrac

apology.
first

On

the

holiday after this the red
at the

wished to play

chase

;

they sent
girls
;

beg the blue

class to lend
;

them some

to act as
it

hounds

but no one would go
for
all

and

was the same

the other' games.
the

Then they asked what was
"In
the
reality

meaning of

brats like us being so stuck up.

they were very annoyed, for
is

red class
is

the

least

numerous

;

the

white class
their
first

taken up with preparing for
that

communion, so

we

were

absolutely necessary for any

games requiring

a large number.
"

This was not

all

;

we broke open Madestall,

moiselle de Sivrac's drawer and
into

tore

atoms

all

her papers, and threw into the

well her purse, a pocket-book,

and a comfit

box

that

we

also found in

it.

Then

the red

young

ladies told

Mesdemoiselles de Choiseul

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
and de Montsauge, who were the most
furiated because they
if

in-

were

my

friends, that

they caught them alone they would box

their ears.
"

From

this

moment

there was the most

fearful disorder in the

schoolroom.
to the

Anything
red class

that

was found belonging

was thrown
blue
class
;

into the well, or torn

up by the

and whenever the reds could

catch the blues they beat them like plaster.

At last all
for at

this

became known

to the mistresses,
little

every

moment

the

ones were

seen with marks of pinches or scratches, and

when asked
they replied
the

'
:

Who
'

put you in that state
red

?'

:

The

young

ladies.
lost

'

On
their

other hand,

the

older

girls

books, found their copy-books torn and their
trinkets broken.

spoke

to

The parents of both classes Madame de Rochechouart, some
their

saying that
with

daughters were

covered

bumps and

bruises, the others that their
lost

daughters had
torn up.

or had

all

their

things

Then Madame de Rochechouart

ii

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE
to the

49

came

schoolroom and asked the blues
rise

and reds what had given
hatred.

to

all

this

Mademoiselle
related

de

Choiseul

came

forward and

my

affair

with Made-

moiselle de Sivrac.

"Madame
reason

de Rochechouart asked her

why

she had whipped me, and she could give no
;

but without

Madame

de

Roche-

chouart saying anything more to her, she came

up

to
"

me, begged

my

pardon, and kissed me.
if

Madame
to

de Rochechouart said that

these quarrels continued the two classes would

have

be entirely separated

;

and she com-

manded

us to kiss each other.
re-established,

day peace was

From that and we no
we

longer willingly hurt each other.

"One
heard
a

day, while running in the garden,

subterranean
it it

noise,

and

looking
from, at

about to see where
last

could

come

discovered that

issued from a drain-

hole which corresponded with the kitchen of
the

Comte de Beaumanoir, whose mansion
Thereupon several of us
4
1.

was next door.
vol

:

50

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE
line,

n

formed a

to hide

what we were doing

from the mistresses, while the others began to
talk.

We

heard a

little

boy's
it

voice

;

we

asked him his name; he said

was

'Jacquot,'
in the

and that he had the honour of serving

Comte de Beaumanoir's

kitchen.

We
the

told

him the recreation hour was ending, but

that

we should
hour.
"

return

next

day

at

same

The

following day he played the
;

flute,

and we sang

then, as soon

as

one of us

spoke, he asked her name.

He
knew

was

told

it,

and

in

three or four days he

several by

the sound of their voices,

and called out
Mortemart!'
or dark
;

'Halloo!

D'Aumont!
if

Damas!
fair

He
then

inquired

one was

and
the

asked what

we were doing
him
it

in

garden.

We

told

was our

collation
for

hour, and he replied that

if it

were not

an he

iron grating in the middle of the drain

would be able

to give us

some dainty
do

morsels.

So we
grating,

said

he must try and remove the
to
his
best.

and he promised

:

ii

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

51

We
that

were so taken up by our conversation

Madame
it.

de Saint Pierre, one of the
to

mistresses,

was able

approach us without

our noticing

When we

saw her so
cried

near,

we
'

all
!

ran

away, and Jacquot

out
shall

Listen

Choiseul,

Damas, the grating

be taken away to-morrow.'

Madame de Saint Pierre went directly to Madame de Rochechouart and told her what had happened. Madame de Roche"

chouart wrote at once to Monsieur de Beaumanoir,
that

the

drain

leading

from

his

kitchen was going to be walled up, as his
servants talked with the scholars.

He

im-

mediately replied that he was extremely vexed
at

what had happened, and that he was going
all

to dismiss

his kitchen servants.

Madame
;

de Rochechouart begged he would not do so
the

masons were sent
up
that

for,

and

the

drain

walled

very

day.

Madame
it

de

Rochechouart did not consider
to

worth while

come down

to the

schoolroom about such

an adventure.

On

the contrary, she thought

52

PRFNCESSE DE LIGNE

n

it

would be attaching too much importance
it
;

to

but

in

the evening, at the

roll-call,

she

made some

jests about the delightful conquest

we had made, and added
set such store

that

we must have
conversation

very refined tastes and noble feelings to have

by a

scullion's

;

and, that as for those
their names, she

who had

given him

trusted

he would at some

future time take advantage of their former

kindness,

which

would

naturally

be

very

pleasant for their families.

In this

way she
of

humbled without scolding

us."

Madame

de Rochechouart, a

woman
little

sound judgment and noble mind, soon became
very tenderly attached to the
Pole.

The own

child,

almost abandoned, so far from her

country, inspired her with real interest.
to

Each day she had her brought
watched her
like

her

cell,
it,

and without the child being aware of
carefully.
colt,
felt

Helene,

who was
the

a wild

a respect and at

same time

a sort of fear mingled with the

Greatest admiration for the Grande Maitresse o

ii

PRIA'CESSE

DE

LI ONE

53

Ghierale.

She constantly mentions her
de Rochechouart,

in

her Memoirs.

Madame
late

sister of

the

Due de Mortemart, was twenty-seven
:

years of age

" Tall,

a

handsome

figure, a

pretty foot, hands delicate and white, splendid
teeth,

large black eyes, a proud

and grave

look,

and a betwitching smile."
little

Such
left

is

the

portrait the

Princess has
after the

us of her.

She was undoubtedly,
the most

Lady Abbess,
the Abbey,

important person

in

and directed as she chose the studies and
education of the pupils.
filled

It

was thus that she
life

up the often tedious hours of a
she had
not
chosen.

and
de
r

calling

Madame

Rochechouart
beautiful

had

two

sisters
all

who w ere
when

and

witty, like

the Mortemarts.

All three

went through
;

their novitiate
for,

hardly fifteen years old
cruel

according to the

custom of those times, their fortunes
to the inheritor of the
their

went entirely
name.

family

They pronounced

vows three

years after.

54

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
"
I

n

stood

in in

great

fear

of

Madame

de

Rochechouart
"

those days," says
the

Helene.
in the

When

she came to

classroom
if

morning and went the rounds,
she spoke to me,
I

by chance

immediately became em-

barrassed and had trouble to collect myself
sufficiently to reply.

Indeed,

it

may be

said

that the whole class trembled before her, so

that

when she came
all

in of a

morning, and we

were

returning in confusion from breakfast,
clap her

she would

hands and every one

would run
heard a
to her
in
I

to her stall,

and one might have
our curtsey
tried to read

fly.

When we made
choir,
I

on entering the
if
I

her eyes, and

thought her look severe
I

was

in

despair.
full

had got the habit of
;

tearing at

speed through the house

but
I

when

I

met

Madame

de

Rochechouart,

stopped dead short.
at

Then, when she looked
is

me, as her customary gaze
I

naturally
her,

severe,

fancied

I

had displeased

and

returned to the schoolroom quite disheartened,

saying

:

'

Ah

!

Madame

de

Rochechouart

ii

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

55

has

made
'

big

eyes
silly

at me.'

The

others

replied

:

How

you

are,

do you expect

her to

make her eyes
This

smaller
told

when she meets

you

?'

was

to

Madame

de

Rochechouart.

The

next time she saw

she called me, and laughingly
she was looking at
if

me asked me if
I

me
still

the

way

liked,

and
I

her

eyes

were
I

very alarming.

answered that
that they

thought them so beautiful
fear
;

gave more pleasure than

and

she kissed me.
respect of
severe,
her,
tive,
ful
is

She commands the love and
the pupils, and though a
just.
little

all

very

We

are
is

all

devoted to

and yet

fear her.

She

not demonstra-

but a word from her has a most wonder-

effect.

She

is

accused of being proud
;

and

satirical to

equals

but she
;

is

gracious

and kind

to her inferiors gifted."

very well informed

and highly

Ill
The
story of the
class

the Vicar of Saint Eustache — Helene —Death of Mademoiselle de Montmorency.
in

white

H^lene had taken The more
white
class,

the greatest aversion to

Mother Ouatre Temps and her punishments.
so that, thanks to her, she had

been twice delayed from promotion into the
not being considered worthy of
first

preparation for her

communion.
says,

"I was only consoled," she
it

"when
many
by

was the hour of Mother Sainte Bathilde's
for

superintendence,
stories

she

knew

so

that

I

was

extremely amused

them.
"

She was very fond of me,

for

I

was

always the most attentive listener directly
she began relating her
stories.
I

remembered
left

every word she

said, so that

when she

us

;

in

PRINCESSE DE LIONE
was able
to

57

I

repeat

her stories,

without
blue

omitting even one syllable.
class knelt

The whole

around

me

in

order to hear better,
ladies

and even some of the white young
occasionally listened too.
'

"

When

I

had finished

telling
I

Madame

de

Sainte Bathilde's stories,

related those of
;

my

grandmother, which were endless
I

for

while narrating,

invented
curious.

all

the incidents,

and they were most

"No
Madame
I

one could have replaced
de Sainte Bathilde

me

with

in the attention

gave

to the

innumerable
class,

tales with

which

she deluged the

although

Madame de
stories,

Rochechouart had several times requested
her to
desist
telling

these

foolish

which

made

the

pupils

credulous

and

frightened.

The

temptation was too great

she began again every day.
herself

Sometimes she
it

had seen

things, or else
at last

was some

of her friends,

till

she told us a story

which nearly caused her dismissal from the
class.
It

was shortly

after the death of the

58

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

in

Vicar of Saint Eustache,

who had been found

dead one morning

in his church.

The Curate
Giron, often

of Saint Eustache, by

name Mr.

came

to see

Madame

Sainte Bathilde.

The
yard,

scholars had often seen

him crossing the
his

and had noticed that

neck was awry.

One

day,

when we were surrounding Mother
usual,

Sainte Bathilde in the schoolroom, and she

seemed more animated than
told her that

a pupil

from one of the windows of the
she had seen a priest pass by,

depository

*

going

to

the

tower,

and
in

that

his

neck

appeared to be twisted

a very peculiar

manner.
that he

Madame
was coming

Sainte Bathilde replied
to call

on

her,

and was

the Curate of Saint Eustache,

whose neck had
extraordinary
to relate

been

dislocated

by a most

adventure.
it.

We

begged her eagerly

After having assured us that what she
to relate
: '

was going
as follows

was truth
all

itself,

she began
late

As we

know, the

Vicar

1

Room

in

which the records were kept.

;

in

PR INCESSE DE LIGNE

59

of Saint Eustache rebuilt the front portal of
his church,

and stood
1

in
it.

need of

fifteen thou-

sand

livres

to finish

He

did not

know
of his

where

to obtain the

money.

So one

friends advised
Etteilla,

him

to consult a certain

M.

who had

the reputation of performing

wonders.

The
him

Vicar therefore went to him,

and

told

that he

was
;

in

absolute want
if

of fifteen thousand livres
possible,

begging him,
After

to procure that sum.

much
meet

pressing

M.

Etteilla told the Vicar to

him a

little

before midnight in the church oi

Saint Eustache, accompanied by only one person,

and that he would see what he could do

for him.

The

Vicar came punctually to the

appointed place, bringing with him Mr. Giron,
his Curate,

whose neck

at that

time was as
they were

straight as yours or mine.
all

When
M.

three in the church,

Etteilla

drew a
to

circle

around them and told them not
it,

move

out of

in spite of

anything they might see

1

Six hundred pounds sterling.

60

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

m

but that very soon they would see near them
a most appalling figure,

who would
reply
for

inquire

what
to

they

wanted.

In

they
the

were
of

ask

without
required,

hesitation

sum

money

and

the

phantom would
began

present them with a purse, which they must

hasten to take.
incantations

M.

Etteilla then
circle

his

and closed the
It

round the

Vicar and the Curate.

was not long before

they saw a kind of monster with horns rise
out of the ground,
of thunder
terrified,
:

who asked them
they desired.
circle,

in a voice

What
him

The

Vicar,

moved
felled

out of the

and the

monster

to the ground.

He

then

returned to the

circle,

within which the Curate

had remained, and

repeated

his

question.

The Curate asked for the sum of fifteen thousand livres. The monster held it out to him,
but in taking
little
it,

having advanced his head a

too

far,

he received a blow which distorted
life.

his

neck

for

The

incantation being over,

they went to pick up the Vicar, but found he

was dead.

They

therefore

made up

their

in

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
to leave the

61

minds

body

there,

and so

left

the
this

church.'

The

pupils

having repeated
it

story to several people,

came
so

to

Madame
sent
for

de

Rochechouart's ears

;

she

Madame
Chapter

Sainte Bathilde, treated her with a

high hand, and told her that when the next

was

held,

she

would

have

her

dismissed from the class."
It

must not be supposed that the

belief in

magicians was only the hobby of a credulous
old nun.

On

the contrary,

it

was widespread

at that time,

and the most

intelligent people

were not above consulting them.

The Due
Etteilla.

d'Orleans and even the Prince de Ligne be-

came acquainted with the famous

The

Prince says, in his unpublished writings,

called

Fragments des Mdmoires
regret having paid so
little

:

'

I

very

much

attention to

the predictions of the great Etteilla.

This
I

magician had just arrived

in Paris.

took

M.

le

Due

d'Orleans

to

see
floor.

him,

Rue
could

Fromenteau, on the fourth

He
I

not be acquainted with either of us.

know

62

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

in

that he spoke to

him of a throne, of revoluthe

tions, of the royal family, of Versailles, of

Devil, but
fusedly.
to

I

only remember

it

all

most con-

It is

a fact that Etteilla described

Madame

de

Merode
later

the
:

scene

she

witnessed a

fortnight

her

husband

(then in sound health) laid in state, with the
description of the
it
;

room and the people

in

all

of which were

unknown

to

him

;

and

that

everything happened as

he had preshe

dicted.

He
again.'

also

foretold

that

would

marry

Etteilla

was onlv the anagram of the sham

magician's real name.

He was called
1

Alliette,

sold engravings, and styled himself Professor

of Algebra

in

Paris,

where

in

reality

he

occupied himself with fortune-telling by cards.

"It
prizes

is

customary every year to distribute
the scholars on Saint Catherine's

to

eve.

It is

always some married lady of rank
1770a
small i2mo. vol. entitled Method of

1

He

published in

Diverting Oneself with a Pack of Cards, and
called

in 1784 a fresh edition Method of Diverting Oneself with a Pack of Chequered Cards.

in

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
gives them away.

63

who
one

The

pupils contribute

towards the expense of the prizes, each giving
louis.

We
in

were then a hundred and

sixty -two

number, which made a large
all

sum

of money, and was
prizes

spent on books.

There are three
prizes

for

each

class,
:

the

being regulated as

follows

Three
for

prizes for history

and geography, three

dancing, three for music, three for drawing.

This year
Valliere
first

it

was Madame

la

Duchesse de
I

la

who
for

distributed them.

had the
for

prize

history and

the

second

dancing.
first

Mademoiselle de Choiseul had the

prize for dancing
;

and the second

for

history

but the fact was,

we were about
M.

equal both in history and in dancing, neither

M. Huart,
Philippe
us.
3

1

M.

Dauberval, 2 nor even

could

manage
hands

to decide
to

between
the
la

So,

when we went up
the

receive

prize

from
1

of

Madame

Professor of History at the Abbaye-aux-Bois.
2 3

First dance? at the Opera.

The

leader of the ballet at the Opera.

64

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
1

m

Duchesse,

Madame

de Rochechouart told
first prize,

us that as there was only a single

one of us should have

it

for history

and the

other for dancing, but that

we both deserved

them

equally."

This shows how great was the importance
attached to accomplishments, since the
prizes for history
first

and dancing were adjudged
as she was, Helene really
:

together.

Young

danced remarkably well
says, "
I

"

At

that time," she

danced the farlanes and montfdrines
beautifully.
balls,

(old

French dances) most
2

Madeso

moiselle

came

to

our

and was

pleased with
1

my

dancing that both she and
was the daughter of the Marechal de
still

The Duchesse de
At
fifty

la Valliere

Noailles.

years of age she was

marvellously beautiful.
[the

On
:

seeing her

Madame d'Houdetot

improvised

following stanza

" La nature prudente et sage, Force le temps a respecter, Les charmes de ce beau visage,
Qu'elle ne saurait r^ptrter."

Nature prudent and wise, Forces time
that lovely face,

to respect,

The charms

of

Which

she

is

powerless to repeat.

Madame
2

de la Valliere's

sister

was the Comtesse de Toulouse.

Mademoiselle (Louise -Adelaide de Bourbon-Conde), born on
1757, was the daughter of Louis-Joseph de

the 5th of October

Bourbon, Prince de Conde, and of Charlotte-Godefriede-Elizabeth
de Rohan-Soubise.

She became Abbess of Remiremont

in

1786.

in

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
la

65

Madame

Duchesse de Bourbon 1 always
I

begged that

should dance the pas de deux,

and they gave

me

comfits."

Madame
pleased her

de
little

Rochechouart
favourite,

knew what
"

and often allowed

her to go out during this carnival.

Not a

week

passed," she says, "without

to four or five children's balls at
la Vaupaliere, 2 hotel

my going Madame de
At
that
of

du Chatelet. 3
d'Orleans,
the

1

Louise- Marie -Therese-Bathilde

sister-in-law

Mademoiselle,
d'Orleans

was the daughter
of

of

Due Louis -Philippe
Bourbon - Conde.
She

and

Louise - Henrietta

de

married, 14th April 1770, Louis-Henri-Joseph,

Due de Bourbonof the

Conde, born 14th April 1756, and brother to the above-mentioned
Mademoiselle.
unfortunate

The Duchesse de Bourbon was mother
d'Enghien,
shot under the
first

Due

Empire.

Her

husband, passionately in love with her, obtained permission to marry
her at fifteen years of age, but. they were separated after the cere-

mony.
2

Furious at

this,

the

young prince

carried her

off.
;

M. and Madame de

la

Vaupaliere were very agreeable
simplicity,

she

had much native grace and
character

and her

affable
la

and equal

made
a

her generally beloved.

M. de

Vaupaliere was,
of this

unfortunately,
passion.

gambler, and

nothing could

cure him

At

that time a small sort of case
for

was invented, of a novel

and convenient shape,
la

holding slips and counters.

Madame

de

Vaupaliere had one made, of the richest and most beautiful work-

manship, which she sent to her husband.
portrait

On

one side was her
:

and on the other that of her children, with these words
(\

" Songez
3

nous " (think of

us).

The
VOL.

hotel du Chatelet, which
I

was

just finished,

was

situated

5

66

PRINCES SE DE EIGNE

in

time they were going to act Athalie at the

One day Madame de Rochechouart made me read aloud the part of Joas, and she was so pleased with the way
hotel de Mortemart.
1

in

which

I

read

it

that she spoke of

it

to her

niece,

the

young Duchesse de Mortemart,
I

who

entreated, as a favour, that

should be

allowed to act that part at her house, where

they were going to perform Athalie.

They

had no one

to

undertake the part of Joas,

Mademoiselle de Mortemart having no talent
for tragedy."

The Dowager Duchesse de Mortemart
and the Duchesse d'Harcourt mentioned
to the
it

Abbess,

who consented

to the little

Princess going out three times a
in the
gates.

week during
city

Rue de
It

Grenelle,

Faubourg Saint Germain, near the
interior

was a magnificent building, and the

arrangements

and richness of the apartments corresponded with the beauty of the
exterior.

The
1

Marquise,

afterwards

Duchesse du

Chatelet,

was

the

daughter-indaw of the celebrated Eniilie of Voltaire.

The Duchesse de Mortemart resided with her sons at their Rue Saint Guillaume, her daughter being The mansion still exists, and educated at the Abbaye-aux-Bois. bears the number 14 of the Rue Saint Guillaume.
beautiful house of the

in

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
for

67

one month
sent
for to

the

rehearsals.

Mole was
"
I

direct

the

company.

I

was

very happy," Helene writes, "for

always

brought back sweetmeats, and Mademoiselle
de Mortemart accompanied me.
I

went out
it

three days during the performances, and

was thought
child at the

that

I

acted

better

than the

Comedie Francaise.

M. Mole

recommended me
at
all,
I

particularly not to declaim

but to speak naturally, without gestures,

as

would

in

conversation,

and

this

suc-

ceeded very well."

A

curious custom existed at the Abbaye-

aux-Bois.

On

Saint

Catherine's

Day,

in

honour of that
to
all

saint, the pupils

were allowed

assume the
the
ladies

dress,
in

occupation, or rank of

the

Convent,
simplest

from
nun.

the

Abbess down

to

the

The

nominations took place by the majority of
votes,
all

and the

electoral

body, composed of

the pupils, the

solemnly met the day before
in

in

Chapter-house
year

order
elected

to

vote.

This

Helene

was

Abbess,

68

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
relates the

in

and she
details
"
:

ceremony

in its

minutest

The Chapter-house was
I

lent us for the

elections.

was elected Abbess, and chose
for rdgente ;

Mademoiselle de Choiseul
moiselle

Madebearer,

de

Conflans

was

crosier

-

Mademoiselle de Vaudreuil chaplain; Mesdemoiselles

de

Damas,

de

Montsauge,

de

Chauvigny, de Mortemart, and de Poyanne

were appointed as

my

personal attendants.

The remainder
went
to the

of the places were given by

majority of votes.

When

this

was done, we
to

Lady Abbess, who, according

custom, kissed me, took off her cross, fastened
it

on me, and put the abbatial ring on
I

my
we

finger.

entered into office the very next

morning, and during High Mass, which
sang,
I

was seated on the Abbess's throne.

"It had been decorated with the carpet of
purple velvet fringed with gold, only used on
occasions of great ceremony.
incense, and, preceded
kiss the paten.
I

received the

by the

crozier,

went

to

All the nuns heard

Mass and

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
the
services

69

from

the

galleries,
stalls.
I

and

the

scholars occupied their

gave the

holy water, and received the public confession
of
all

the pupils.
five

It

was very funny

to see

nuns of
ladies

and

six years old.

A great many
and
in the

came

to see us in the choir
I

refectory,
ices.

where

gave a grand dinner with

All the nuns and lady visitors were in

the middle of the refectory in order to see us at table.

Each of us put on
to the

the sedate

mien appropriate
After dinner

costume she wore.
all

we took

possession of

the

different functions, while the nuns,

by way of

a joke, settled themselves in the schoolrooms.

None

of us, however, dared to go and see

Madame

de

Rochechouart

;

she could

not
said

endure these
the day before
one.
this

masquerades,
that

and

had

she wished to see
Sainte Delphine,

no
all

As
to

for

Madame
her,

amused her
see

intensely,

and every one
their

went

each

in

turn

;

the

young Duchesse de Mortemart, Madame de
Fitz- James,

Madame

de

Bouillon,

Madame

;

70

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

m

d'Henin, and the Vicomtesse de Laval spent
the

afternoon

with
;

her.
I

We

flocked
all

in

troops to see her
court.
in short,

first,

went with

my
But

We
we

were made
greatly

to talk

and converse
ladies.

amused the

what pleased us most was, that suddenly the
door opened and
entered.

Madame de Rochechouart
like

Then, as we knew she did not

to see us like that, the

Lady Abbess and her
fled.

retinue took to their heels and

In the

evening we went

in state to carry

back to the

Abbess her cross and her
our monastical clothes.

ring,

and we doffed
festivities

The same

are repeated on Innocents' Day, and
moiselle

Madede

d'Aumont was Abbess.

Concerning

the fear

we had

of displeasing

Madame

Rochechouart.

Madame

Sainte

Delphine

was

in the habit

of saying that no Asiatic
in his rule

monarch could be more despotic
than her sister was
in hers,

and

it is
I

true that

we had
in

a real worship for her.

must say

her praise that she rather influenced our
persons,
for

minds than our

she

seldom

in

PRINCESS E DE EIGNE

71

admonished or punished.
convinced
it

We were

perfectly

was impossible she could be

wrong

in

anything, and she inspired an unIt is difficult to

bounded confidence.
the
extent
of

imagine

the enthusiasm
in the

Madame
;

de
our

Rochechouart excited

schoolroom

heads were turned with the honour we en-

joyed

in

having such a great lady to preside

over our education.

who depended on her, were always quoting her name as that of The a divinity who punished or rewarded.
"

The

other mistresses,

Lady Abbess
allowed
little

held her in great esteem, for she
intimacy.

Those who saw her

frequently formed a kind of court around her.
"

About

that time,

my
I

nurse having

left

a

bottle of oil

on the chimney-piece, Madediscovered that by
it

moiselle de Choiseul and

rubbing

oil

on the door

could be opened

without any noise.

My

nurse slept in the
in the habit of

room next
key

to mine.

She was

locking the door inside at night, leaving the
in

the lock.

Mademoiselle de Choiseul's

72

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE
into mine.

in

room opened
to get

She

used, therefore,
to

up

at night

and come

my

bedside

;

then

we

slipped on our dressing-gowns, softly
all

opened the door, and ran about the house
night,

amusing ourselves by playing
;

all

kinds

of pranks

such as blowing out the lamps,

knocking

at the doors,

going and talking to

the novices and eating with
pies,

them preserves,

and sweetmeats which we had secretly

bought.
"
it

Once we took a

bottle of ink

and poured

into the basin for holy water at the door of

the choir.

As
is

the ladies go to Matins two

hours after
heart, there

midnight, and

know them by

no other

light than that of a

lamp, which throws a very faint glimmer on
the holy-water vessel.

They

therefore took

the holy water, without perceiving the state
in

which they put themselves

;

but as Matins

were finishing the day broke, when, seeing
each other so strangely marked, they laughed

one and

all

so loud that
It

the

service
this

was

interrupted.

was suspected that

prank

in

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

73

originated in the school, and on the following

day a search was made, but
never discovered.
"

its

authors were

A

few
trick.

days

afterwards
bell-ropes,

another

The

we played The called
'

Gondi,' because they had been blessed by the

Archbishop of Paris of that name, are used to
ring for the services on working days, and
are placed behind the choir, the larger and

more important
above the
choir.

bells

being

in

another belfry

These ropes pass through
and
bell-

a gallery situated behind the Abbess's throne.

We
tied

therefore

went up

into this gallery

our handkerchiefs tightly to the

ropes.
for

When

the novice

who had
in

to ring

Matins came, she pulled
;

vain.

She

thought she was ringing

but

when

the rope

came

to the knots

it

stopped, and the bells

did not move, so that the ladies

who were
come

waiting for the

first

stroke of Matins to
the

down never came, and
hausted with ringing.

novice was exlast

At

some

of the

nuns, seeing that the hour for Matins

was

74

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
to see

in

going by, came down

why no

bells

were ringing.

They found

the nun half dead

with pulling the ropes.
that

Then, perceiving
bells,

something must be wrong with the

they went up into the gallery and found the
handkerchiefs.

Unfortunately
J.

our

initials

were on them, H. M.,
therefore, taken to

C.

They

were,

Madame

de Rochechouart,
into

who

inquired next day

when she came
C.

the schoolroom to
kerchiefs

whom

belonged the handJ.

marked H. M. and

Then we
stalls,

hung our heads. Madame de Rochechouart
ordered us in a severe tone to leave our
so

we came
at

to her,
feet.

trembling

all

over,

and

knelt

her

She

asked

us

if

we

imagined these ladies were made to be the
butt of our practical jokes
;

she begged us not

to exert our ingenuity in

tormenting them,
this,

and said

that,

in

order to remember

we

should kneel in our night-caps the following

Sunday

in the

middle of the choir during
for
;

High Mass,

as an apology to the ladies
at their

having amused ourselves

expense

in

PRINCES SE DE EIGNE
also, that, as

75

and

we were answerable

to

God

for the prayers

which had not been said that

day, Matins having been curtailed,

we

should

have

to recite out loud, during recreation, the

seven penitential Psalms.
"

Some

ill-disposed nuns,

having excited

the

Lady Abbess on

the subject of these pranks,

she sent for

Madame

de Rochechouart, and

charged her with the disorders committed by
the class, and with their wicked and spiteful

behaviour.
it

Madame de Rochechouart
;

said

was

false

that

no doubt some of the pupils

played
cerned,

tricks,

but that as far as spite was conears, and,

nothing had come to her

moreover, that she had immediately punished
the offenders.

Then

the

Lady Abbess

cited

the tampering with the holy water as an act of impiety.

Madame

de Rochechouart,

who

was very quick tempered and hated mummeries, replied that the deed

was dark, bebut that
in
it

cause

it

was a question of

ink,
it

was impossible
lisfht

for her to see

any other

than that of a child's

frolic,

carried rather

;

76

PRINCESS E DE EIGNE
whereupon she
left

in

too far she admitted,

the

Lady Abbess
" All the

in a tolerably

bad temper.

pranks Mademoiselle de Choiseul

and
the

I

had played had considerably retarded

ceremony of

my first communion. MadeAs
far as the lessons
in

moiselle de Choiseul had been in the white
class for

some

time.
I

were concerned,

ought to have been
I

that class since the previous year, for
at

had

my

fingers'
class.

ends
I

all

that

was taught

in the

blue

knew

ancient

history,

the

history of France,
I

and mythology very well

knew by

heart the whole

poem
the

of

La

Re-

ligion,

the Fables of

La

Fontaine, two cantos
all

of the
Athalie,
Joas.
sol-fa
;

Henriade,
in

and
I

tragedy of

which

had acted the part of
;

I

danced very well

I

knew how
little

to

I

played the harpsichord a
little
;

and

the harp a

as for
;

my

drawing, that
continual

was the

least

good
I

but

these

pranks, into which

was partly drawn by
de

my

weakness

for

Mademoiselle
to me.

Choiseul,

were very prejudicial

Every piece of

in

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE

77

mischief done was set
I

down

to our account.

was so fond of Mademoiselle de Choiseul
I

that

preferred being in disgrace with her,

to seeing her

punished alone.
reciprocal,
fault

Her
went

friendI

ship for

me was

and when

was
the

punished for any

she

to

mistresses and grumbled in a

way

that soon

caused her to share

my

disgrace.
for the

The whole
communicaand
in

day was not long enough
tions

we had

to

make

to each other,

the evening, as her

room opened
I

into mine,

she came to me, or else

visited her.

We

were both very fond

of

reading,
:

and so

were Mesdemoiselles de Conflans
together
in
all

we read

our

spare

moments, each

reading out loud in her turn.

"As we had left off our pranks for some time, Madame de Rochechouart availed herself of this opportunity to advance me into
the white class, for she quite worshipped me,

and was rather amused than angry
tricks
I

at

the

used to play.
sister,

Madame

de Sainte

Delphine, her

was

also very fond of

78

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
;

m
loss to

me
the

she always said

it

would be a
I

Convent
said

if

Choiseul and

became

steady.

She

that

my

frolics

always

bore the

stamp of gaiety and
fact,

wit, and, as

a matter of

my

tricks

never harmed any one, and

were always a subject of merriment.
"

When my
I

removal from the blue

class

was decided,

went and begged Mother
for all the

Ouatre Temps's pardon

worry

I

had given
ness.

her,

and thanked her

for her kind-

She

told

me

she was

very sorry to

be

no longer on

as

intimate
I

terms with

me, and that although

had occasionally

maddened

her,

there

had been
for
all.
I

moments
embraced

which had compensated
her.
"

Several of

my

companions, Mademoiselle
in their

de Chauvigny among them, had tears
eyes

when Mother Ouatre Temps came

to

take off
"
I

my

blue ribbon.

was received with acclamations by the
class,

white
the

whose ribbon

I

received from
Pierre, head-

hand of Madame de Saint

in

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

79

mistress of that class.

came and kissed me.

The young ladies all Of the three mistresses,

Madame

de Sainte Scholastique took
I

my
in

fancy the most, and

resolved to do

all

my power
preferred
seul to
"
I

to obtain her favour.

She already

my

friend

Mademoiselle de Choi-

all

the other pupils.
for the

was most anxious

ceremony of
to

my

first

communion, and was desirous not
in

remain long

the white class,

where the

mistresses had the reputation of being very
severe."

Helene's Memoirs prove that her

intelli-

gence and character were now beginning to
develop
in a

remarkable manner.

Her

style

becomes

bolder,

and

frees

itself

from the

childish phraseology in

which she gives us

the story of the cat, or enlarges on

Mother

Ouatre
she
will

Temps's

punishments.

Moreover,

soon have more serious events to

relate.

"

We

had great sorrows about
the

this time,

owing

to

death of two of the pupils.

So

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
1

Mademoiselle de Chaponay
that died.

was the
old,

first

She was nine years
2

and had
de
la

a

charming person.

Mademoiselle

Roche Aymon
she was her

was very much grieved,
mother.

as

little

Mademoiselle de

Chaponay was

carried to her grave

by four of

the scholars, her coffin
roses,

was covered with white
all

and the church was

draped

in white.
3

"

Mademoiselle de Montmorency's
far

death

was
"

more

dreadful.

The

Princesse de

Montmorency wished
to

her daughter's education with great severity.

be

conducted

When

she was twelve

1

Daughter of M. de Chaponay, who had been implicated

in

Lally's trial,

and was

his aide-de-camp.

severely censured

by the Court of

M. de Chaponay was Parliament. When summoned
!"

by name and declared infamous, he had the courage to refuse to
kneel, and replied
:

"

I see

nothing infamous except your judgment

The Court
2

deliberated as to whether he should be imprisoned for
so.

making such a bold answer, but they dared not do
Great -niece of the
to the

Cardinal

de

la

Roche Aymon, Grand
at

Almoner
3

King.

We

have found in the records of the Council,

Geneva, an

account of the arrival of the Princesse de Montmorency and her

daughter

;

the authorisation given

them "to harness

their horses at

night in order to send for the doctor or apothecary," and various other details, which confirm Helene's narrative.

PRINCESSE DE LIGXE
years old
it

was noticed

that her figure

was

growing awry. She might perhaps be alive still
if

the suppositions of

Madame

de Saint Come,

the head lady apothecaress, had been credited.
"

Madame
de

de Saint

Come

said that

Madefrom
a

moiselle
vitiated

Montmorency

suffered

state of the blood,

which impeded

her growth, and that she was certain a treat-

ment of
tions,

antiscorbutic herbs, taken in decocpurify

would

the

blood,
itself.

when

her

figure

would straighten of

This the
admit.
the

Princesse de

Montmorency would not
called

However, she was
Convent on
the

away from
of

occasion
le

her

sister's

marriage with M.
Fosseuse,
after

Due de Montmorency
She only returned
Without

her cousin.

an absence of six months, and then
actual beauty,
;

quite unrecognisable.

she

still

had had a very pleasing appearance

large fine black eyes, a white skin, a noble

and proud
fearfully

carriage.

Now, she was most
with
a
livid

emaciated,

skin

and

a

hard cough.
vol.
i

She

informed us of her
6

;

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
marriage
with
the

Prince

de

Lambesc, 1

which was to take place during the course of
the winter.
It

was with great
had

difficulty that

the

persons

interested

obtained

his

consent to the match, for he did not wish to
marry, and
to
it

was only on
she
in

their representing

him

that

was the greatest French
in fortune, that

heiress,
finally

both

name and

he

pledged his word.

"

Meanwhile Mademoiselle de Montmowas decidedly growing awry

rency's figure

and
of
1

at last

her mother put her under the care
for

Val (TAjonc? who tortured her
Prince de

six

Comte de Brionne,
ment
called "

Lambesc, grand equerry of France, son of the of the house of Lorraine, and of the Comtesse

de Brionne, born Rohan-Rochefort.

He was

colonel of the regi-

De

Lorraine."

When, on
cries,

the 12th July 1789, the populace, uttering seditious

and carrying the busts of Necker and of the Due d'Orleans
but the Prince, sword in hand,

round the Place Vendome, was dispersed by the Prince's dragoons,
they fled into the Tuilerie gardens
;

pursued them and forced them to leave.
1825.
2

He

died at Vienna in

The Val d'Ajonc was

a valley situated in Lorraine, and at

this period

was inhabited by a family who enjoyed a wonderful

reputation as bone-setters.
inhabited.
It is said that

They took

the

name of

the valley they

they were so hated by the surgeons that

they had always to be accompanied and protected by armed force.

in

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

S3

weeks.

She wore bandages day and
becoming quite

night,

which aggravated the heated condition of her
blood,
till

at last,

ill,

she

lost

her hair and her teeth.

One day

she

fell

on
the

her arm, which brought on a tumour

in

armpit

;

the whole faculty in Paris was con;

sulted in vain
"

not one could cure this tumour.

Meanwhile the winter
the
state

advanced,
in,
it

and

considering

she was

was

impossible to give her in marriage.
over,

More-

M. de Lambesc
to

told every

one that he

had no
trouble

affection for her,

and even took no
repulsion

conceal
;

the

he

felt

towards her

in

consequence the marriage

was postponed
"

for a year. to take the

They determined
in

young

girl

to

Geneva

order to place her under the

care of the

Mountain Doctor}

She came

to

say good-bye to us.
beautiful eyes alone.
1

She had retained her
I

cried a great deal on
this doctor.

We

have been unable to discover the name of

In
the

all

probability he

was simply a
still

bone-setter,

or rubber, from

hills

of Vuache, such as

exist in

Savoy, and

who

are often

consulted at Geneva.

; ;

84

PRINCESSE DE L1GNE
;

m
She

leaving her

she was

my

little

mother.

gave

me

a keepsake in old lacquer, and told

me

to

pray for her, and to be very good.
regretted, for she

She was much
beautiful nature,
"

had a very
all.
I

and was loved by
after she

Three months

had

left

awoke

one night feeling very much agitated and
called

my
'

nurse.
I

She came, and

I

said to
I

her

:

Ah,

have just dreamt that
in

saw

Mademoiselle de Montmorency
dress,

a white

and wearing a wreath of white roses

she told

me
I

she was going to be married.

Since then

keep fancying that

I

see her two
it

large black eyes looking at me,

and

frightens

me.'

A

few days after

we heard

the news

of

Mademoiselle de Montmorency's death
I

she had died the same night
"

dreamt of

her.

We

heard that the bone of her arm had
all

decayed and was

rotting away.

They had
room,

tried to induce her

mother

to leave the

but she flung herself

down on

the threshold

of the door, sobbing most violently.

When

Mademoiselle de Montmorency saw her arm

:

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
had mortified, she said
to

85

Madame
!'

de

la Salle,

a friend of her mother's,

'Now
de

death

is

who was with her beoinnin^ Then Madame

la Salle

gently proposed her receiving the

Sacraments, and she consented.
"

From

that

moment

she ceased to see her

mother, whose mind had completely given

way.

She begged Madame de

la

Salle to

ask her mother's forgiveness for any trouble
she might have caused her
;

then she re-

quested her to
that
if

tell

Madame

de Rochechouart,

she died, her greatest sorrow would be
last

not to have had her with her during her

moments
round

;

then she gathered her attendants

her,

asked their forgiveness, and

re-

ceived the Sacraments.

"Afterwards she sent

for her doctor,
if

and

begged him

to tell her frankly

he thought

she would recover.
barrassed and that
crying, she said
'

Seeing he appeared em-

Madame
!

de

la

Salle
it

was

:

so certain.

Oh,

Ah my God
to

I

did not
!

know

was

take

all

my fortune,
which,

and

call

me back

life.'

Upon

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
he
told

her
'

not
for
I

to
feel

lose
I

courage.
it all,

'

Yes,

she replied,
fifteen.'

need

to die at

"

However, the young Duchesse de Montin

morency and her husband arrived
evening with the Due de Laval
informed them she could not
the
night,
;

the

the doctor

live

through
rapidly

as

the

gangrene

was

spreading.
"

A

few moments

later

Mademoiselle de
she

Montmorency asked
mind with

for her mother, but

could not come, for she was almost out of her
grief.

They
asked

told her she
for

was

ill.

She

therefore

her

sister,

the
at

Duchesse de
once.

Montmorency, who came
' :

She
at

said to her

Tell

all

my

comI

panions

the Abbaye-aux-Bois that

am
to

giving them a great example of the nothingness of

human

life.

I

had everything

make me happy
snatches

in this world,

and yet death
high destiny.'

me away

from

my

Then she gave her many
for

particular

messages
de
la

Madame

d'Equilly and

Madame

in

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
was
to tell

87

Faluere, and said she
to

me

to pray

God for my little mother. "She asked for her confessor, and
'
:

said to

him

Well, since
to

I

must
life,

die,

you must teach
I

me how
confessor

renounce

for surely

should
the
re-

have the merit of such a

sacrifice.'

Then

brought a crucifix and began

citing the psalms, but he avoided those for

the dying.
suffer!'

Then she
last

said

'
:

Ah,

I

no longer

For the

two days indeed she

had hardly

suffered, but previous to this she

had gnawed her sheets with

frenzy,

and her

screams could be heard a long way

off.

She

asked for a peppermint lozenge, they put one
in

her mouth, she

made an
1

effort

as

though

to cough,
1

and expired.

The

Princesse de Montmorency, beside herself with grief,

left

suddenly, and on her return to the Chateau de Senozan, wrote to
the " Magnificent Council " of

Geneva
:

honours accorded to her daughter

to

thank them

for the funeral

"Gentlemen
the

— M. des Chenes has

arrived and informed

me

of
as

many

courtesies the Magnificent Council have

shown him,

my

representative,

daughter.

If anything could alleviate

and the honours they have bestowed on my my grief, it would be the
in

manner

in

which they have taken part

my

affliction.

Your

attentions during her illness

had already greatly touched me, but

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

"When
class

her death was announced to the
grief

the

was

universal,
for her.

and

I

in

particular

wept much

A magnificent
held,

commemorative service was
founded
in

which was
the
1

perpetuity to her
forty

memory by

payment of a sum of
"

thousand
I

francs.

There

is

one anecdote which

have heard

related about Mademoiselle de

Montmorency

which shows that she possessed some native
energy of character.
"
old,

When she was about eight or nine years and Madame de Richelieu was the ruling
she

power,

one

clay

behaved with

great
said
I

obstinacy towards the
angrily to her
'

Lady Abbess, who
I

:

When

see you like that,

could

kill

you.'
:

Mademoiselle de Montmo'It

rency replied
all that

would not be the

first

time
in

you have done under these circumstances has engraved

my

heart the most vivid and sincere gratitude.

" Receive, gentlemen,
fully
I

I

pray,

my best

assurances thereof, and be

persuaded of the perfect and inviolable attachment with which
sirs,

have the honour to be,

your very humble and obedient

servant,

Montmorency."

(Geneva, Records of the Magnificent Council, February 1775.)
1

Sixteen hundred pounds.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
that the Richelieus had been the murderers of

the Montmorencys.'"

Such a haughty answer
child
is

in the
it

mouth of a
shows the
at

surprising enough, but

extraordinary
that

development

of

children

period

;

and the account that Helene

herself gives of the death of her
is

companion
impossible
is

a striking proof of this.
;

It

is

to relate a story better
in the picture
;

not a line

wanting
style

and the simplicity of the

adds yet more to the

effect of the narrative.

IV
Moles

and

niggers

— Mutiny
time

in

the

Convent
first

— Marriage

of

Mademoiselle de Bourbonne

—The

communion.

"About
be

this

Dom

Rigoley de Juvigny

having come to confess a nun, happened to
in the cloisters at the

moment when
that he

the

class

was leaving Mass, so

was seen
all

by

all

the pupils, and was the butt of

their

jokes.
" If
it

had been

Dom

Themines, our own

confessor,

we should

not have allowed our-

selves

all

these jokes, but
it

we thought

it

of no

consequence when

was the nuns' confessor.

So one
"

said

one thing, one another.
in

There was then
could
not

the red class a mistress
called

we

endure,

Madame

de

Saint Jerome.
dark,

As

her complexion was very

and

Dom

Rigoley's also,

some of us

iv

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
that
if

91

declared
offspring

they

were

married
little

their

would be moles and
it

niggers.

Although
so

was very

silly,

this

joke became

much

the fashion that in the whole class

we

talked of nothing
;

but moles and

little

niggers

and when we quarrelled we said
' :

to

each other

Do

you take
?'

me

for a mole, or

for a little nigger

"

However, as

it

was

chiefly in our class

(the white one) that this joke

had been made,

and as some of us w ere
r

in

the midst of our
first

devotions preparing for the approaching

communion, we reproached ourselves very

much

for this joke.
it
;

So we determined

to

confess
guilty,

but as about thirty of us were
a letter in which

we wrote

we

said

we

had sinned against modesty and charity by
saying that
if

Dom

Rigoley married
little

Madame
niggers
letter

de Saint Jerome, moles and

would be the
to
all

result

;

and we sent the
This

Dom

Themines.

became known

through the establishment, and was much
;

laughed at

but

Madame

de Saint Jerome

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
took
a great
aversion
to

the white

class.

But then, there was not a single pupil
she liked or

whom

who

liked her.

"This worried and vexed Madame de
Rochechouart,
for

who
past

said that she

had already
elections

some time

begged that new

should be held, and that

Madame de

Saint
place,

Jerome should be deprived of her
since she
six

was not
she

fit

for

it.

For, during the
that

months

had
in

occupied

post

she had succeeded
sally

making

herself univer-

hated,
since

without

being feared
class
ridicule.
all

by her

pupils,
itself

even the blue

amused
That

by covering her with

she was

made

the subject of

the satires,

songs, and lampoons that were stuck up in
All
Souls'
cloisters,

that she

had not the

necessary coolness to deal with children, and
that

when

she

inflicted

punishments

she

always did so when beside herself with anger.

The Lady Abbess
chouart that
to
this,
it

told

Madame

de Roche-

was impossible

for her to attend

and that she must speak to

the

;

iv

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
it.

93

Mother Prioress about

The

Prioress said

they would have to hold a general Chapter
meeting, and
calling

that

it

was not worth while
purpose
it
;

one together

for that

as one

was going

to be held shortly,

would then
the school.

be possible to make a change

in

Then

Madame

de

Rochechouart

became

very angry, and said she could not answer
for the disturbances that such a hot-headed

person might occasion amongst a hundred

and sixty

pupils.

As

ill

luck would have
ears,

it,

rumours of

this dispute

reached our

and

we heard
of

that

Madame

de Saint Jerome con-

tinued in the schoolroom against the wish

Madame
"

la Maitresse Gdnerale.

A short time after the Chapter assembled
Madame
it,

but

de Rochechouart could not be
as she

present at

had a

cold.

The

other

mistresses had not the courage to propose to

the Chapter the removal of

Madame

de Saint

Jerome, so that she remained
room.

in the school-

Madame

de Rochechouart was exat
this.

tremely vexed

Then

the

pupils,

94

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Mesdemoiselles de

iv

with

de

Mortemart,

de

Choiseul,

Chauvigny,

de Conflans and

myself
first

at

their head,

resolved to seize the

opportunity of perpetrating some grand

stroke which would oblige her to leave the
class."

While waiting

to execute their plans, the

leaders of the conspiracy, acting with pru-

dence, wished to satisfy themselves as to the

number

of their followers.

Helene

relates
:

this with all the

solemnity of a politician

"We
six

called together a

meeting of
it

five or

pupils of each class, and

was agreed

that

those

who

did

not

like

Madame
have her
is,

de
to
re-

Saint Jerome, and

who were determined
to
;

do everything they could

moved, should wear green
leaf,

that

either a

or a bit of weed, or a ribbon, in fact
;

something green

that

each of those

were present

at

this

meeting should

who make

her friends in her class wear green, and that
in

order to be able to recognise each other

and avoid explanations which might be over-

;

iv

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

95

heard when
prends sans

we

met,

we would

say

'

Je vous

vert.'

(I

catch you unawares.)
colour,

That then we would show the
those

and

who had

not got

it

would be considered
;

as not belonging to the mutinous party
that as
it

and

was very possible

that either from

timidity or other reasons

some of the
those

pupils

would change

their

minds,

persons

should then be obliged to leave off wearing
the green
;

so that in this

way

there would

be no mistake as to who belonged to the
league."

An

opportunity soon occurred for putting

these fine plans into execution.

"One

holiday,

on

the

eve

of

Saint

Magdalene, who was the patron saint of the

Lady Abbess,
room.

all

the pupils had

left

their

departments to come and play

in the school-

As we
all

already had had recreation for
the mistresses were tired out

two days,

so they had agreed, in order to have
rest,

some
in

to

remain only one

at

a time

the

schoolroom.

About

four

o'clock

Madame

96

PRWCESSE DE LIGNE

iv

de Saint Jerome's turn came, and we took
into our

it

heads not to do a single thing she
All of a sudden the
little
little

should
Lastic
1

tell us.

de

and the

de Saint Simon

girls

began

quarrelling,

and ended by coming

to

fisticuffs.

Madame

de Saint Jerome went up

to separate them,

and without knowing who

was

right or wrong, she took Mademoiselle

de Lastic by the arm, and tried to make her

go down on her knees.
Lastic said
'

Mademoiselle de
assure you,
it

:

Madame,

I

was

not

I

who

began.'

Thereupon Madame de

Saint Jerome flew into a dreadful rage, seized

Mademoiselle de Lastic by the neck, and
threw her down so violently that she
her nose, which began to bleed.
fell

on

When we
her,

saw the blood we gathered round

and

swore that not only we should not allow her
to

be punished, but that we would throw de Saint Jerome out of the window,
she

Madame
because
1

had

murdered
Lastic,

one

of

us.

Her mother, the Comtesse de Mesdames de France.

was lady-in-waiting

to

iv

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

97

Madame de
at

Saint Jerome was so frightened

our screams,
she
quite

and
lost

the

noise

we made,
She was
excited

that

her

head.

afraid of

some

violence, seeing

how

we

were.

She therefore resolved
she

to retreat, to

saying

would

go

and
It

complain

Madame
a

de Rochechouart.

was a great
at

mistake on her part to leave the class

such
1

moment

without a mistress.
' :

Mortemart
all

got on the table and said

Let

those

who
so,

have green show

it.'

Then every one

did

and those who had none begged the others
to give

them some.
strong,

On

seeing that our party
said

was so

Mortemart

we must

withdraw from the schoolroom, and return
only

under

conditions
It

both

advantageous
to

and

honourable.

was

decided

go

through the garden, secure the kitchen and
larders,

and reduce the

ladies

by famine.

"We
went
1

therefore crossed the garden,

and

to the building containing the kitchens.

Mademoiselle de Mortemart was

Madame

de Rochechouart's

niece.

She married
I

in

1777 the Marquis de Rouge.
7

VOL.

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
This building had only one
floor
;

on which

were the storerooms, the
bakery.

larders,

and the

The

kitchens

were

underground.

We

first

entered the storeroom, where

we

only found

Madame

Saint Isidore and Sister

Martha.
leave,

We

very politely begged them to

and they were so frightened on seeing

us that they went

and the
to burst

The larders bakery being shut up, we proposed them open then we went down into
away
at once.
;

the kitchens, after having
in the storeroom.

left

one of our party

We were

rather astonished
in the kitchens,

to find a

number of people

amongst others one of the schoolmistresses,

Madame
great

de Saint Antoine, for

whom we
us

had

respect.
:

She

asked

what

we

wanted
that

Mademoiselle de Mortemart replied
fled

we had

from the schoolroom because

Madame

de Saint Jerome had broken the
Startled at this

head of one of the pupils
piece of news, she

did

not

know what

to

say

;

she,

however, tried to induce us to return,
it

but

we

told her

was

useless.

Then she

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
left
all.

99

us and ran to the schoolroom to verify

it

Madame

de Saint Amelie, head of the

kitchen department, tried to turn us out, but

we turned her
Saint Sulpice,

out.

As

for

Madame

de

who was sixteen years old, she wanted to leave, but we would not allow her we told her that we should keep her as a witness that we did not waste the provi;

sions of the establishment.

We

wanted

to

turn out the lay sisters, but

Madame
supper,

de Saint

Sulpice having represented to us that in that
case

we should have no

we kept

Sister Clothilde.

Then we

bolted the doors
left

opening into the refectory, and
gardens open
;

those on the

but about thirty of the pupils

remained

to

guard them.

We

then resolved
:

to capitulate, "

and these were our terms

'The United Scholars of the Three Classes

of the Abbaye-aux-Bois,
Rochechouart, Maiti'esse

to

Madame

de

Ge'ne'rale.

"'We
for the

entreat your forgiveness,

Madame,
;

measures that we have taken

but the

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
cruelty

and incapacity of

Madame
us.

de Saint
request a

Jerome forced them upon

We

general amnesty for the past, that

Madame

de Saint Jerome
inside

shall not put

her foot again

the
days'

schoolroom,
recreation,

and that we have
to
rest

eight

our

bodies

and minds
gone.

after the fatigues

we have under-

As soon as we shall have obtained justice, we will return and submit ourselves to whatever it may please you to dictate.
"
'

We

have the honour
respect
etc.

to remain, with

the

deepest

and tenderest attach-

ment,
"
'

Madame,
P.S.

—We
we

send two of our party as
If they are not sent
it

bearers of this petition.

back to

us,

shall consider

a sign that
:

you do not choose
case

to treat with us
in

in

which
fetch

we

shall

go

open force

to

Madame

de

Saint Jerome

and whip

her

round the four corners of the Convent.'

"Mademoiselle de Choiseul offered
the
letter,

to carry

and

I

consented to accompany her.
to the

When we came

end of the garden we

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
saw a numerous assembly of nuns and
brought thither by
pupils
to
curiosity, ta see
j

sisters,

whit the

would

do.

But none- of them dared

approach the building.

When
' :

they saw

us they

came up

to us, saying
?'

Well, what

are the rebels about

We

answered that

we were

taking their proposals to

Madame

de Rochechouart.

"We

entered her

cell,

but she looked at
I

us with an air of such severity that

turned

quite pale, and Choiseul, bold as she was,

trembled.

Madame
said no.

de Rochechouart asked
in the school'

whether the young ladies were
room.

We

'

Then,' said she,
;

I

will listen to

nothing from them

you may
or

carry your complaint to the
to

Lady Abbess,

any one you choose

;

I

will

have nothing

to

do

in the matter,

and you have taken the
to

best

means of disgusting me with trying
set of

manage such a
enlisted

madcaps, more

fit

to

be

amongst the followers of some army

than to acquire the modesty and gentleness

which are the charm of woman.'

We

were

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

much

confused, and Mademoiselle de Choiseul,

who
at--,

h-ad
.

more courage than

I,

threw herself

hen

feec,

and said that a word from her

would always be sovereign law, and that she
did not doubt that each one
felt

the same,

but that

in

an

affair

of honour

we would

sooner die than seem to betray or abandon our companions.
'

Well,' said

Madame de
you
will, for
I

Rochechouart, 'speak to

whom

have ceased
her,

to

be your

mistress.'

We

left

and went

to the abbatial rooms.

The
our

Lady Abbess read our
presence
;

petition, but not in

we

only

knew

that

Madame
we

de

Rochechouart was sent
hear what took place.

for,

but

did not

Only when the Lady

Abbess received
was unheard

us,

she told us such conduct
such an event
in

of,

that

had

never occurred before, even

a

college,

and she asked who was
rebellion.

at the

head of the
it

We
if

answered that

had been
it

the inspiration of the moment, and that

seemed

as

the whole class had had but

one mind.

iv

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
"

103

Madame
'

de Rochechouart was there, and
'

did not say a word.

Well,' said the LadyI

Abbess,

if

the

young

ladies will return,
is

will
I

grant a general amnesty, but that

all

can do.
she
is

As

for

Madame

de Saint Jerome,

a person of great merit, and this fine
is

hatred of her

a mere whim.'

However,

we went our way back to the kitchens. All the people we met questioned us. When we
got back everybody surrounded
'

What

news

mournfully.

None we answered Then we told them what had
?
' !

us,

saying

:

'

'

been said

to us

;

and the young

ladies

soon

made up

their minds.

They begged Madame

de Saint Sulpice to give out the provisions.

Madame de
assistant

Saint Sulpice said she was only
in

nun

the kitchens, and had not

got the keys.

Then we broke open
after

the

doors

of

the

bakery and meat- store, and

Sister Clothilde,

some

resistance,

was

obliged to give in to numbers, and prepared
the supper, which was very merry. a thousand foolish things
;

We

did

we drank Madame

104

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

iv

de Rochechouart's health, and the affection
the pupils
that
all

had

for her

is

proved by
she

this,

our

only
;

fear

was

lest

should

leave the class
that in the

but

we

said to ourselves,

bottom of her heart she would
this
;

forgive us
that

all

one of the chief reasons
dislike to

had made us take a
Saint Jerome

de

being

that

Madame Madame de
was that
lively

Rochechouart did not approve of her being
in the

schoolroom.

The

best joke

Madame

de Saint Sulpice,

who was

and amiable, was

in the best possible spirits,

and was quite reconciled
forcibly detained.
at all
us.

to

having been so

After supper

we played
to be

sorts of

games, and she played with
that she

She kept saying
were

seemed
if

there as a hostage, and that
ladies

the

young
be

not

pleased

she

would

the

one to blame.
a
sort

When

bedtime came

we made up
straw,
It

of couch, with

some

which we took from the backyard.
this

was decided that

couch should be
re-

for

Madame

de Saint Sulpice, but she

iv

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
it,

105

fused

and said we must give
girls,

it

up

to the

youngest

who were
on

the most delicate.
it

We

therefore settled

the

little

Fitz-

James, Villequier, Montmorency, and several
other children of five or six years of age.

We

wrapped up

their

heads

in

napkins and clean

kitchen cloths, so that they should not catch
cold.

About

thirty of the older girls posted

themselves

in the

garden before the door,

for

fear of a surprise.

the kitchens.

The others remained in And so we spent the night,
to
felt

partly in talking, partly in sleeping, as best

we
as

could.

Next morning we prepared
in the

spend the day
if

same way, and we
was
to last
all

this state of things

our

lives.

However,
all

as

we

afterwards

heard,

they were
at the

in a great state of perplexity

Convent.

Some were

of a

mind
;

to

frighten

us by calling in

the

patrol

but

Madame
casion,
to

de Rochechouart said the
lie in

real mis-

chief would

the scandal this would ocit

and that

would be more advisable

send for the mothers of those pupils who

106

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE
to

iv

were supposed
cordingly

be the ringleaders.
la

Ac-

Madame

Duchesse de Chatillon,

Madame de Madame du
to

Mortemart,

Madame

de

Blot,

Chatelet arrived.

They came
to resist,

our camp, and called their daughters and

their nieces.

These did not dare
them
off.

and

so they carried

Then

a lay sister

was despatched

to the pupils to say that the
it

schoolroom was open, that

was ten

o'clock,
in

and that
class

all

those

who should be back

by twelve would have a general pardon
conduct.

for past

After a great consulta-

tion, the principal
all

mutineers being gone,

we
our
as-

returned and

ranged ourselves
all

in

places.

We

found

the

mistresses

sembled, and even

Madame

de Saint Jerome,

who seemed

rather embarrassed,

was

there. to

Madame

Saint Antoine said
but,

we deserved
it

be punished,

however, that

was the

return of the prodigal child.

This mistress

was

at the

head of the red

class,

—she belonged
Saint Jean was

to the Talleyrand family,

—and was much be-

loved and respected.

Madame

iv

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
;

107

delighted to see us back
felt

she told us she had
;

very

dull

during our absence

in fact all

the mistresses were most indulgent.

"It was with much dread that we looked
forward to the
to

moment when we should have

appear before

Madame
the
over.

de Rochechouart.

This was not

till

evening,

when

the

names were

called

Much

to our as-

tonishment, she did not say one word about

what had happened

;

and indeed, some of us

innocently persuaded ourselves that she had
altogether ignored
it.

As

for

me, when the
to ask for
'
:

Duchesse de Mortemart had come
her daughter, she had said to

me
you

My

sister-in-law has

had great pleasure
;

in acting

as a mother toward you

it is

for

to

show
by

whether you mean
obeying her orders.
Let us go to
the
her.'

to confirm

that

title

She has asked
I

for you.

immediately followed

Duchesse

de

Mortemart
to

and

her

daughter.

We

were taken

the school-

room, whither the remainder of the scholars
shortly after returned.
I

only saw

Madame

'

:

108

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
in the evening,

iv

de Rochechouart

when our
turn came,

names were
she looked at

called.

When my
and
I

me

with a smile, and chucked
kissed her hand.
its

me under the The next day
course.

chin,

everything resumed

usual

"

Madame

de Saint Jerome was
in the

left for

another month

schoolroom, and then

removed

to other functions.

About

thirty of

the pupils had not joined in the insurrection,

amongst others Levis, and they were simply
wretched.

They were tormented and run
the whole class
;

down by
but

they had fancied

they would gain great credit by their conduct;

Madame
day

de Rochechouart did not like
better for
it.

them any the
said one
'

One
and
in

of them

to

Madame

de Rochechouart

I

was not

in the insurrection,'

Madame
absent

de

Rochechouart
:
'

answered,
you.'

an

manner
young

I

compliment

Shortly after this memorable episode the
girls

were much interested
one
of
their

in

the

marriage

of

companions,

iv

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE

109

Mademoiselle de Bourbonne,
does not
"
fail

— and

Helene

to describe

it.

One day Mademoiselle de Bourbonne
her stay
in

returned from

society looking

very depressed, and remained a long time
with

Madame de
all

Rochechouart.

day

her relations came to see

The next Madame de
de

Rochechouart, and ten days later she came
to
us,

conducted

by

Mesdemoiselles

Chatillon, the eldest of
friend, to

whom was
M.
le

her great
le

announce her marriage with M.
of

Comte d'Avaux, son
Mesme.

Marquis de

We

all

gathered round her, and

asked her a hundred questions.
barely twelve
first

She was

years old, was to

make her

communion a week
She seemed
her
if

thence, to be married

eight days after that, and then return to the

Convent. 1
that

so very melancholy

we asked

her intended did not
told us that

please her.

She frankly
old,

he was

very ugly and very

and she added that

1

This kind of marriage was frequent at that period.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
he was coming to see her the next day.

We

begged the Lady Abbess

to

have the Orleans

apartments, which looked on to the Abbatial

court,

thrown open

to us,

so that

we

might view the intended husband of our
companion, and she granted our request.
"

The

next day, on awaking, Mademoiselle

de Bourbonne received a large bouquet, and
in

the

afternoon

M. d'Avaux came.

We

thought him horrible, which he certainly was.

When

Mademoiselle de Bourbonne came out

of the parlour,

we

all

said to her:

'Ah
is
;

!

good
were

heavens
you,
I

!

how
!

ugly your husband

if I

would not marry him.
'

Ah
'

!

you unI

fortunate girl

And

she said

:

Oh,

shall
;

marry him, because papa
I

insists

upon

it

but

shall not love him, that is certain.'

It

was

decided that she should not see him again
till

the day she

made her

first

communion, so

that her attention should not be distracted.

She made her

first

communion

at the

end of

eight days, and four or five days after was

married

in the

chapel of the hotel d'Havre.

PRIXCESSE DE LIGNE

"She
day.

returned to the Convent the same
jewels, diamonds,

She was given

and
;

magnificent wedding presents from Boland

what amused her most was
her
the

that

we

all

called

Madame
wedding

d'Avaux.

She

told us that after

ceremony there

had been a
;

breakfast at her mother-in-law's

that they

had wanted her

to kiss her

husband, but that
;

she began to cry, and absolutely refused
that then her mother-in-law

and

had said she was

only a child.
to her

Henceforth her strong aversion
flourished,

husband only grew and

and

once when he asked

for her in the parlour,

she pretended to have sprained

her ankle

sooner than go

down
of

to see him."

On

hearing

such

marriages

it

is

impossible not to feel

some indulgence
philosophers

for the

theory of free choice so eloquently pleaded

by the
period.
to

women and

of

that

We

are therefore scarcely surprised

hear

that

some

years

later

Madame
Vicomte

d'Avaux, on meeting

in society the

de Segur, youngest brother of the ambas-

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
sador,

was so captivated by

his

charming wit

and personal attractions that she was drawn
into an intimacy

which lasted

all

her

life.

The
little

arch and ingenuous narrative of the

Princess also enables us to touch the
in this

weak point
admirable
girls,

Convent education, so
respects.

in

many
to

These young

brought up away from a world they

were burning

know, were destined beforeits

hand

to

be carried away by
it

temptations.

How

was

possible for the nuns to

warn

them against dangers of which they themselves were ignorant
fulfil
?

A

mother alone can

that duty

;

and though the Convent may

form the character and manners, adorn the

mind and
family
the
life

develop accomplishments,
alone that can create

it

is

woman
of

in

highest

and

healthiest

sense

the

word.

But

let

us return to Helene,
first

who was

pre-

paring for her
her friends

communion, together with
Mortemart,

Mesdemoiselles de

de

Chatillon, de

Damas, de Montsauge, de

iv

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

113

Conflans, de Vaudreuil, 1 and de Chauvigny.

The
"

great day arrived, and the

young

friends

partook together of the communion.

On

that day," says Helene, "the pupils
their

do not wear

Convent

dress, but a white
in silver.
silver.

gown, striped or embroidered

Mine
Nine

was

in

watered

silk striped

with

days after
the vestry.

we made

a gift of our dresses to

We

folded our gowns, fetched
silver salvers,

from the vestry large

and after

the Gospel, during the offertory,
after the other

we went one
on the
altar

and

laid

our

gift

next to the choir.
the

After Mass

we went

to

schoolroom,
off

where our

white

ribbons
instead,

were taken

and red ones given us

and
>>

all

the class embraced and congratulated

us.

1

Mesdemoiselles de Conflans and de Vaudreuil

were

sisters.

Mademoiselle de Conflans was pretty, had a great deal of wit and
spirit
sister,

of repartee.

She married the Marquis de Coigny.

Her

who was

neither as pretty nor as witty, tried to imitate her

in everything (Helene's

own

note).

VOL.

I

V
The Convent
duties

aux-Bois

— The Abbess's department — — Madame de Rochechouart and her
retreat

Balls at the Abbayefriends.

When
in

the

that

followed

the

first

communion was ended,

the Chapter assembled

order to decide what should be the func-

tion assigned to each of the pupils recently

admitted to the Holy Communion.
It

was

an

established

custom
to

at

the

Abbaye-aux-Bois
the duties of the
offices,

for the pupils

perform

Convent

in its nine different
:

which were as follows

The The The The
1

abbatial.
sacristy.

1

parlour.

dispensary.

The apartments belonging

to the Abbess.

;

v

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE

115

The The The The

linen department.
library.

refectory.

kitchen.

The community.

A

certain

number of
them

lay

sisters

were

associated with

in these

employments,

which only occupied a limited number of
hours, and did not interfere with accomplish-

ments, but formed the greatest contrast with

them, as well as with the aristocratic names
of the young ladies.

Mesdemoiselles de

la

Roche Aymon and de Montbarrey could be
seen carefully arranging the piles of napkins

and sheets
moiselles de

in

the

presses,

while

Mesde-

Chauvigny and de Nantouillet
;

laid the cloth

Mesdemoiselles de Beaumont
;

and d Armaille added up the accounts
moiselle

Made-

d'Aiguillon

mended

a

chasuble

Mademoiselle de Barbantanne was on duty
at the gate
;

Mademoiselle de Latour-Maucoffee
;

bourg gave out the sugar and the

;

n6

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

v

Mesdemoiselles de Talleyrand and de Duras

were

at the orders of the

community

;

Maded'Uzes
the

moiselle
for

de Vogtie had a particular talent

cooking; de

and

Mesdemoiselles

and

Boulainvilliers

superintended

sweeping of the dormitories, under the
tion of

direc-

Madame
the

de Bussy, irreverently nickpupils
la

named by
finally,

mere

Graillon ;

Mesdemoiselles de Saint Simon and
for

de Talmont were responsible

repairs

and Mesdemoiselles d'Harcourt, de Rohan-

Guemenee, de Brassac, and de Galaar lighted
the lamps, under the supervision of

Madame

de Royaume,
Light.

whom

they called the Mother of

After having acted the part of Esther in a
dress embroidered with diamonds and pearls

worth

a

hundred

thousand ecus, 1 Helene

returned to the Convent, and, resuming her
little

black frock again, prepared decoctions
in the dispensary.

and poultices

1

An

ecu was

five shillings.

v

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Such an education may appear strange

117

to

us,

but

it

unquestionably prepared excellent

housekeepers and accomplished
the world.
"
I

women

of

was very anxious," Helene

says, "that

we

should not be separated, and that

we

should be placed together

in the dispensary.

On

the contrary,

I

was sent

to the abbey-

house, and Mademoiselle de Choiseul to the

record

office.

Mesdemoiselles de Conflans,
to hold a needle,

who

did not

know how

were

sent to the sacristy.
cross.
"

This made us very

However,

if

Mademoiselle de Choiseul
I

had been with me,

should have been very

happy

at the abbey-house,
1

where the Lady

Abbess
and

ruled with the greatest gentleness

justice.

She had taken a great
I

liking to

me;

she' considered that

did her commis-

1

Marie-Madeleine de Chabrillan.

She was

first

a nun at the

Abbaye-de-Chelles, then Abbess of the Parc-aux-Dames, and lastly

Abbess of the Royal Abbaye of Notre-Dame-aux-Bois, where she
succeeded

Madame

de Richelieu,

sister

of the famous Marshal.

PRLXCESSE DE EIGNE
sions

with

intelligence.
I

I

was quick, and
first

when she rang
come
;

was always the

to

I

knew her

books, her papers, her

work, and was always the one she sent to
fetch

what she required from her desk, her

bookshelf, or her chiffonier."

Helene's companions at the abbey-house

were

apparently

amiable, judging

by the

record she has
"

left us.

Mademoiselle de Chatillon, nicknamed
(busybody),
pedantic,

Tatillon
serious,
stout.
"

fourteen
pretty,

years

old,

very

but

rather

Madame

d'Avaux, born a
old, just

Bourbonne,

twelve years
pretty face,

married, very small, a

silly,

but good-natured.
la

"Mademoiselle de Mura, nicknamed

Precieuse (the conceited), eighteen years old,
pretty,

handsome even,

witty,

amiable, but

rather pretentious.

"Mademoiselle de Lauraguais, very
quiet,

pretty,

gentle, not
to the

clever

;

was married the

same year

Due d'Aremberg.

v

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
"

119

Mademoiselle de Manicamp, her
very

sister,

plain, kind,
"
I

intelligent, hasty, passionate.

had become very intimate with
Gertrude

de

Sainte
;

Madame and Madame Saint
Mademoiselle de

Cyprien

they were regular madcaps, fond of

laughter and amusement.

Manicamp was
frankly
that

also a great addition to society.

Madame d'Avaux
she
husband, that
it
;

used to
cordially

tell

us so very

detested

her

we were always joking about and openly made fun of him whenever he
to see her, as unfortunately for

came

him the

windows of the Abbess's apartments looked
out on the yard, so that
it

was impossible

for

him
"

to avoid our mischievous glances.

Mademoiselle de Mortemart was also on

duty at the abbey-house, and her presence
alone was sufficient to banish
all

dulness and

melancholy.

We

laughed

at the

grand

airs

Madame

de Torcy gave

herself,

and main-

tained that she had only

become a nun because
even

she had found

in

Jesus Christ alone a spouse

worthy of

her,

and

then

she was

;

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
not
quite

sure

she

had

not

made

a

mesalliance !

"Madame
called

de Romelin,

all

bristling over
;

with Greek and Latin, amused us also

we
this

her Aristotle's eldest daughter

;

did not

make her

angry, as she was very

irood-natured.
"

But our great delight was

to establish the
;

pretentious

Mura

at

the harpsichord

then

she sang, and

Madame

de Sainte Gertrude,
excellent
all

who was extremely merry and an
affectations.
"

mimic, stood behind her, and imitated

her

A

great

many people also came

to ask for

permits, or to speak to
to the
"

Madame

de Royer, or

Lady Abbess.
suit a
I

This dissipation might

good many
was rather

other people, but for

my

part

bored by the functions at the abbey-house
I

do not know why, but
attendance

this

fashion

of
to

dancing

on

others

seemed

me

humiliating."
It

was the custom

at the

Abbaye-aux-Bois

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
to

give a ball

once a week

during

the

carnival.

"

On

that day," says the

young

Princess,

"we

laid

aside our school dress, and every

mother decked out her daughter as well as
she could
;

our

attire

on these occasions was

most elegant.

A

great

many women
especially

of the

world attended our
married
ladies,

balls,

young

who, not being able to go out

alone, preferred

them

to those of the fashion-

able world, as they were not obliged to remain
all

In aw.

the time seated next to their mothers-in-

It is

evident that already at this period a

young married woman dreaded the tyranny
of a mother-in-law,
far greater authority

who indeed

exercised a

over her than even her
mother-in-law was alone

own

mother.

The

privileged to

accompany the young married
Probably
it

woman
able

in society.

was reasonon her

enough

to expect less indulgence

part than on a mother's, and the

husband

preferred this safeguard, precluded as he was

122

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

v

by custom and the

fear of exciting ridicule
wife.

from watching or even noticing his

We
some
"

shall

see

that

the
ill

supervision

of the
for

mother-in-law could
of these giddy

be dispensed with

young women.
l

One day, when Madame de Luynes and Madame de la Roche Aymon were at
2

the

ball,

they sent away their carriages, and
3

hid themselves in Mademoiselle d'Aumont's

apartment.
for
silence,

After the bell

had been rung

they began

making the most
in

horrible noise,

which they kept up
night.

the

Convent throughout the
all

They broke

the
1

pitchers

that

are

put outside the
She married the Due de

Guyonne de Montmorency Laval.

Chevreuse in 1765, and became Duchesse de Luynes at the death
of her father-in-law in 1774.

Their mansion was situated in the
to the

Rue
2

Saint Dominique.

She was appointed lady-of honour
in 1775.
la

Queen Marie- Antoinette

The Marquise de
la

lady-in-waiting to the Queen.

Roche Aymon was appointed in 1776 Her husband was major-general and
first

nephew of Cardinal de
3

Roche Aymon,

almoner to the King

Louis XV., and Archbishop of Rheims.

Mademoiselle d'Aumont, daughter of the Due d'Aumont,

first

equerry to the King.

The

hotel

d'Aumont was

in the

Rue de

Jouy.

The

ceilings, painted

by Lebrun, and the

staircase,

and buildings

looking on the gardens, were greatly admired.

v

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE
cells
;

123

ladies'

they

stopped

all

the
;

nuns
fact,

whom
they
"

they met going to Matins
a most diabolical noise.

in

made

The Lady Abbess gave

orders that these
insulted, but

ladies should not be in

any way

that they should be given no food,

and not

be allowed to leave the Convent.

When

eleven o'clock struck, they asked for something to
eat,

but they were refused

;

then they

requested that the gates should be opened,
but

Madame

de Saint

Jacques,

who was
at the

head portress, said that the keys were

Lady

Abbess's.

Then

they sent

Madeto

moiselle d' Aumont to

beg the Lady Abbess
for them.

have the doors opened

The Lady

Abbess sent them word

that having remained

without her permission, they should not leave
till

their families

came

to fetch

them away

;

upon which they were

in despair.

Madame

de Rochechouart, on the other hand, warned

them

to

be careful when the pupils were

going or returning from Mass or the refectory,
as she could not answer for their not being

124

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

v

insulted should they find themselves in their

way.

If the truth be

known, we were most

anxious to hoot them, and turn them into derision
at
;

we were even ready
expected
la

to

throw water
la

them.

Meanwhile Madame de
to

Roche
at

Aymon was
uncle's, the

dinner

her

Cardinal de

Roche Aymon, and

Madame
side

la

Duchesse de Chevreuse on her
her

was

expecting
la

daughter-in-law,

Madame
aux-Bois.

Duchesse de Luynes.

Their

at-

tendants said they had remainedat the Abbaye-

Accordingly their relations

sent
;

word
the

that they

were waiting
to

for

them

but

Lady Abbess wrote

Madame

de

Chevreuse, and to the Cardinal, that Mes-

dames de Luynes and de
were not quite right
she would hand
relations.

la

Roche Aymon
and that
to

in their heads,

them over only
de Chevreuse,
to

their

Madame
hurried

in a state

of

anxiety,

the

Abbey, when
;

she soundly rated her daughter-in-law
the

and
at

two prisoners, very much annoyed
were given into her charge.

this adventure,

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
"

Mademoiselle d'Aumont excused herself
that these ladies

by saying she was not aware
were hiding
in

her room, but there was every

reason to believe she was implicated in the
plot.

"A

fine

story occurred at another

ball.

Mademoiselle de Chevreuse found a note
appointing a meeting, addressed to
la

Madame

Vicomtesse

at the

ran as

who had been ball and had dropped it. The note follows You are adorable, my dear
de
Laval,
' : ;

Vicomtesse

trust

in

my
at

discretion

and

my
and

fidelity.

To-morrow
house.'

the

same hour

in the

same

On

finding this note,

Mademoiselle
read
ball
it

de
it it

Chevreuse
in

immediately
;

and put

her pocket
all

after the

she showed

to

the red class.
it

We

could well imagine that

was a gentleman

who wrote
hearing of

to her like that.
it,

The

mistresses,
note,

insisted
it

on having the

and
to

we

believe

must have been returned

Madame
to the

de Laval, as she never came again
for

Convent

any of the carnival

balls."

126

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE
There was much
talk in

V

Paris two years

later

concerning

an

affront

sustained

by

Madame de Laval. Bachaumont mentions that Madame de Laval presented herself for
the post of lady-in-waiting to

Madame.

It

had been almost promised
refused
it

her, but she

was

because her father, M. de Boulogne,
in

had been treasurer

the war department,
birth.

and therefore was not of gentle
father-in-law,

Her

M. de Laval,

first

gentleman of

the chamber to Monsieur, sent in his resignation.

The whole

family of the
it.

Montmorency

made an

outcry over

Madame

de Laval was the daughter of M.

de Boulogne, fermier general}

From
in

the

anecdote related by the young Princess, and

from a certain account given

Lauzun's

Memoirs,

it

seems probable that the alleged
in

motive was only a pretext,
placing in attendance on

order to avoid
a person

Madame

with such a reputation for heedlessness.
1

Tax-gatherer,

who

for a certain

sum

leased out from Govern-

ment the

collection of the taxes.

v

princesse de ligne

127

The

Sacristy.
in

"After having served three months
abbey-house
I

the

was sent

to

the sacristy or

vestry department, where the

company was

very amusing.
not suit

As
all,

for
I

the duties, they did

me

at

for

have always had an
needlework.

incredible

aversion to

There

were

at that

time some very agreeable per-

sons employed in this department, amongst
others

Mademoiselle de Broye and MadeParoi,

moiselle de
intimate,

with

whom

I

was very

and Mademoiselle de Durfort, who

was

lively

and very charming.

Mademoiselle
figure,

de Paroi was pretty, had a good
played the harp like an angel
years old.
older,
wit.
;

and

she was twelve
little

Mademoiselle de Broye, a
pretty,

was rather

and overflowing with

"
all

One may

well say that

all

the gossip and

the news was chronicled in the sacristy.

It

was a general meeting-place
If

for the

whole

blessed day.

any one was complaining, or

128

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
had some event
to relate,
it

v

rejoicing, or

was

always to the sacristy that they came.

Madame de Madame Granville and Madame de Tinel. de Granville wished to teach me to embroider,
"

The two

vestry nuns were

for

she herself embroidered most beautifully

;

but she never succeeded in teaching me.
therefore did no work, but was
folding

I

employed

in

and cleaning

the

vestments,

and

helping

Madame de

Saint Philippe to arrange

the church.

"In the evenings
came
to talk

at least

twenty persons
in
I

about what had taken place
;

the four corners of the establishment
did not remain there, for
I

but

used to go to

Madame de Rochechouart's, where I always found Madame de Choiseul, Mesdemoiselles de Conflans, Madame de Sainte Delphine, Madame de Saint Sulpice, Madame de Saint Madame de Edouard, and the best society. Madame de Sainte Delphine, sister to
Rochechouart, was generally stretched out,
with her feet upon a chair, beginning purses,

v

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
which
she

129

of

never finished one

;

I

had
she

much amusement
was very
droll
;

in listening to her, for

and though

Madame

de

Rochechouart's wit was more remarkable and
striking,

whereas

Madame deSainteDelphine's
like her person, yet

was often languid

when

roused she was very agreeable.
it

Moreover,

is

well

known

that wit

is

hereditary in

the

Mortemart

family.

Delphine was one of the
could see
;

Madame de Sainte prettiest women one
old, tall,

she was twenty-six years
fair hair,

with lovely

large blue eyes, the most

beautiful teeth in the world,

charming

features,

a fine figure, and a noble carriage.
fered a great deal from her chest,

She

suf-

was of an

indolent character, and entirely dominated by

her

sister.

"

Madame

de Saint Sulpice was pretty,
;

lively,

and amiable
amiable,

Madame de Saint Edouard

pretty,

and very romantic.

We

talked as freely as

we

pleased,

and whatever
de Roche-

was

said,

I

never saw

Madame
in

chouart
VOL.
I

grow

warm

discussing
Q

any

i3o

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

v

opinion.

At the very utmost, she would
on the matter

throw

ridicule

—a

talent
it

in

which she] excelled, and against which
difficult to

was

hold one's own.

New works
all

were

read that could without
read by
us.

inconvenience be
that took

We
;

chatted about

place in Paris

for the ladies spent their

days

in the parlour,

where they received the very

best company, and the

young

ladies

went out

a great deal, so everything

was known.
de Rochechouart's

"It was rare at
to hear

Madame
ill

any one speak
it

of their neighbours,

and even then
vaguely than
Convent.
feared, for
in

was always much more
sets in the

any of the other
circle

Yet her
it

was the one most

was well known that every one
rest.
It

there was witty, and superior to the

was therefore looked
tribunal,

upon

as

a

kind

of
to

whose

criticism

one

dreaded

encounter.

When, on
I

leaving
to

Madame
the

de

Rochechouart,

returned

sacristy,

Madame

Saint Mathieu and

Madame
'

Sainte

Ursule used to ask

me

:

Well,

what do

v

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
?'

131

those exquisites say about us


;

'

Nothing,
'

Madame,'
not

I

could honestly reply
you.'

they did
astonish-

mention

Then
for

their

ment was without end,
ran
long.

they themselves
all

down
I

the

whole

household

day

may
her

say that
sister

chouart,
Sulpice,
society, to

Madame Madame

de Roche-

de

Saint

and several had
an
for

other ladies

of their

indifference

amounting
did

contempt

anything

that

not

particularly concern them,

and were always

the

last

to

become acquainted with the

news of the Convent.
"It

seemed

to

me

that
sister

Madame
had a
all

de

Rochechouart and her
their
I

style of

own, and a manner that we
those
of us

caught

;

mean

whom

she

received.

The women

of the world were astonished at

the style in which

we expressed
any one
else

ourselves.

Mademoiselle de Conflans,
said anything like

especially,
;

never

there

was

originality in her every word."

Madame

de Rochechouart's

society,

the

132

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
full

v

advice,

of tact, and refinement that she
girls,

gave these young them
in the

admirably adapted
fill

for the part

they were destined to

highest ranks of society.

In our free
faintest

and easy days we cannot have the

conception of what was formerly considered

good

style

and courteous manners, nor of the
all

value that was set on
of good breeding.

the different shades

" Politeness,

good

taste,

and

style

constituted a kind of truce
care,

that

each one guarded with

as

if

it

had

been confided
ally

to

them

only.

Women
this
1

especi-

were the chief supporters of
all

ground-

work of
"
I

the charms of society."

shall

never forget what happened one

day between me and Madame de Rochechouart.
cell

She had

told

me
I

to

come

to

her

in the

evening.

So

went, and found
busily
writin

her
ing.

surrounded
I

with

papers,

was not astonished,

as she
;

was

the habit of being so occupied

but what

1

Les Femmes, by Vicomte de Segur.

v

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

133

struck

me was

to see her look disconcerted

and blush tremendously on
told
"

my
sit

arrival.

She

me
I

to take a

book and

down.
to
read,

therefore
;

pretended

and

watched her

she wrote with great agitation,
sighed,

rubbed her forehead,

and

looked

around her with a fixed and absent look, as
if

her thoughts were a hundred leagues away.
"

She

often wrote like that for three con;

secutive hours

at

the slightest

sound she

would

give

a

start,

which

showed
in

how
way

absorbed she was,

and seemed

a

almost angry at having been disturbed.
that

On

day
I

I

so distinctly

saw

tears in her eyes

that

could not help thinking that perhaps

she was not happy.
looked at her
;

While pondering,

I

she had a paper before her,

her pen in hand, her mouth half open, her
eyes looking fixedly before
tears
her,

while her
affected
I

were flowing.

I

was so deeply

that tears gathered in

my

eyes,
;

and

was

unable to suppress a deep sigh

this

aroused

Madame

de Rochechouart, who raised her

134

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE
and seeing
I

v

eyes,

me

in

tears

immediately

concluded
she was
in a
in.

had noticed the

state of anxiety
to me,

She held out her hand

most expressive and touching manner,
'

saying,

Dear

heart,

what

is

the matter
into tears
I

?'

I

kissed her

hand and burst

;

she

questioned

me

again,
I

and

confessed that
in

the extreme agitation
led

had seen her

had

me

to

suppose that she was harbouring
that this

some sorrow, and

was the cause of
folded

my
in

being so affected.

Then she

me
say.

her arms, and remained silent for a time,

as though reflecting on

what she would

Then she
vivid
it,
I

said to

me

'
:

I

was born with a very
in

imagination, and
hurriedly set

order to employ
all

down on paper

that

it

conceives.

As among
to
life

these fancies

are sad and melancholy, they often

many affect me
tears.

keenly

enough

make me shed

Loneliness and a

of contemplation keep

up

in

me

this

propensity to give

way

to

imagination.'

The supper
talking.

bell

rang while
with

we were

still

We

parted

v

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE
and since then

135

regret,

chouart's tenderness
twofold,
interest

Madame de Rochetowards me increased

and nothing could equal the tender
I

felt for

her in return."

VI
The
record
office

— Madame

de Saint Germain and her rasp
refectory

The

ballets

Orpheus and Eurydice

gates and the tower

— The —The community and
Ange

— The

the cellars

— Story

of Mademoiselle de Saint

— Madame de Sainte Delphine

and the

library.

"

About

this

time

I

was removed from the
the record
I

sacristy

and put

into

office.

I

cried a great deal
all

when

was sent

there, for

the nuns were old grumblers, with the

exception of

Madame
and

de

la

Conception,
;

who

was of the Maillebois family
dignified manner,
it

she

had a

was easy

to see she

was a lady of high
thing

birth.

She knew everyAbbey, and
it

connected

with
to

the
to

was a pleasure

listen

her anecdotes

of former times at the monastery.
"

Madame

de

la
;

Conception had a mania
I

for

singing ballads

never heard a more

vi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

137

nasal voice.

She sang every day

to us the

ballads oi Judith, of Gabrielle de Vergy, and

many

others.

Sometimes, to amuse

us,

she

would show us some curious
possessed,

things, for they

among

the records, letters from of Brittany, and
of

Queen Blanche, from Anne
from
several

other

Queens

France,

addressed to the Abbesses of the Convent.
Letters from

Guy de Laval

to his aunt, the

Abbess of the Abbaye-aux-Bois, written when
he was with the army during the disturbances
of Charles the Seventh's reign
;

La Hire

and Dunois were mentioned

in these letters,

and several other interesting documents she

showed
"

us.

The

pupils at that time on duty at the

record office 1 were Mademoiselle de Caumont,

handsome,
thirteen
;

witty,

but easily offended, aged

Mademoiselle d'Armaille, fourteen
hall, entirely fitted

1

This department consisted of a large
;

up

with drawers for the archives
of the repository, and a

a second hall containing the library
for the

room

nuns in charge.

There were four
sisters.

ladies,

two

secretaries, six pupils,

and two lay

; ;

138

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
old,
;

vi

years

hideous,

affected,

but

a

good

creature

Mademoiselle de Saint Chamans,

ugly, with very short legs, quite out of pro-

portion

to

her body,

eighteen

years

old

Mademoiselle de Beaumont, ugly and lame,
but a good soul
;

Mademoiselle de Sivrac,

nineteen years of age, of noble appearance,
but
subject
to

spasms,

and

rather crazy

Mademoiselle de Levis, kind, colourless, not
clever, fourteen years of age.
"
I

have already mentioned

Madame

de

Maillebois; the other nuns at the record office

Madame de Saint Romuald, an old grumpy; Madame de Saint Germain, another old grumpy; Madame de Saint Pavin, fortywere
:

eight years old,

who never

spoke, and was

very
"

sly.

We spent

the whole day,
all

Caumont and

I,

making fun of
Saint

these people.

Madame
old,

de

Romuald was eighty years
de
Saint

and

Madame
They

Germain

seventy-five.
first
;

spent the whole day quarrelling,

about one thin^ and then about another

it

'

vi

PRTNCESSE DE LIGNE
really incredible.

139

was

They were
It

constantly

making mistakes

in their accounts,

and always

put the fault on each other.

was comical

to see them, with their spectacles on, buried

up

to their noses in the large archive books.

They

spent their days reading either the old

letters that

former Abbesses of the Abbaye-

aux-Bois had received, or else poring over
the old lawsuits of those ladies, and
if

ever

any one wished
the
tell

to

know anything concerning

Abbey
a thing.
"

in

former times, they never could

On

one

occasion,
lent a

Romuald had

Madame de Saint sugar rasp to Madame
lost
it

de Saint Germain, who either
got she had had
it.

or for-

One Sunday,

during
re-

High Mass, Madame de Saint Romuald

members her
Romuald
"

rasp

;

and as these two centuries
side,

were seated side by
leans

over to
in a

Madame Madame

de Saint
de Saint

Germain, and says
'

low tone

By
?

the by, you have not returned

me

my

rasp

Ho
'"

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

vi

What do you mean by your rasp ?' '" What I did not lend you my rasp ?' " Madame de Saint Germain (annoyed
!

at

such a request
'"
"
I

in

church)
rasp.'

have not got your

The

other (getting angry and raising her

voice)
'"

Give me back

my

rasp

!'

"

They continued

so long and so loud that

the pupils burst out laughing.

"Astonished

at this, the
;

Lady Abbess asked
she was told
to
;

what had taken place
sent

she

word

to the

two ladies

be

quiet,

and

she would send them each a rasp.
"

When

they returned to the

office,

they

sulked at each other for a whole week, and

whenever sugar or things
tioned,

lent

were men-

Madame

de Saint Romuald would at
;

once relate the story of her rasp

how she
it,

had once had one, that she had
that
it

lent

and

had been

lost.

Then Madame de
say that
it

Saint Germain would
true
;

was not

and we often amused ourselves with

vi

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE

141

putting the conversation on this subject, so
as to see

them

quarrel."

On

leaving the record office Helene went

to the refectory department,

where she spent

two months.

Her

duties there consisted in

waiting on the pupils at table, helping to lay
the
cloth,

to

keep the refectory
glass

in

order,
etc.

and
all

to put

away the

and china,

useful acquirements for a future mistress

of a household.
in the refectory,

However, although so busy
Helene did not neglect her

accomplishments.

"At

that time

I

danced
;

in the ballets of in

Orpheus and Eurydice

we danced them
was
at the

our theatre, which was a very fine one, and

handsomely decorated

;

it

end of

the garden, near the old plague-house.

We

were

in all fifty-five dancers.

Made-

moiselle

de Choiseul

danced as Orpheus,
as

Mademoiselle de
Cupid,

Damas
two

Eurydice,

I

as

Mesdemoiselles

de

Chauvigny and

Montsauge were

attendants.

There

were ten dancers of the funeral

entry, ten as

142

PRINCES SE DE EIGNE

vi

the furies, ten as Orpheus's followers, ten as
Eurydice's, and ten for the Court of Love.

That winter we
Convent
theatre.

also played Polyeucte in the
I

took the part of Pauline,
Polyeucte,
;

Mademoiselle de Chatillon was

and Mademoiselle de Choiseul, Severe

it

was a great

success.

Shortly after
I

they

made
and

us study the Cid.

played Rodriguez,

also Cornelia, in the

Death of PompeyT
full

These performances were so
terest for the
little

of in-

actresses that they fre-

quently devoted

their

recreation

hours to

the study of their parts.

The

audience was

composed of the mothers and
pupils,

relations of the

and

their friends.

And

these plays

were the

talk of all Paris.

However, these worldly amusements did
not interfere with the regular course of their
duties.

"After the refectory," Helene

tells us, "

I

was a fortnight on service
were
five of us
:

at the gate.

There

Mademoiselle de Morard,

fourteen years old, rather pretty, but stupid

;

vi

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
insipid
;

143

and

Mademoiselle de Nagu, aged
;

seventeen, pretty and amiable

Mademoiselle

de Chabrillan, ugly but

clever, fourteen years

of age; Mademoiselle de Barbantanne, fifteen

years old, looking like a boy, a romp, pretty,

and a very good dancer.
" tress

Our duty was

to

accompany the porto

whenever she went

open the outer

gates.
"

The movement was
the masters,
directors
;

perpetual

;

at

one
or

moment
else

then the
fact,

doctors,

the

in

Mesdames de

Fumel and de

Pradines, the two portresses,
tired out

were completely

by the evening
sour, dry,

we

did not like the former
ill-natured.
1

—she was
I

and
"

The turning box, where was next sent, suited me better we saw a number of people
;

all

day long

;

I

was there with Aumont,
all

Cosse, and Chalais,
ladies.

very amiable young

"
1

The two nuns
There were two nuns

in

charge,

Mesdames de
and
five pupils.

at the turning box,

144

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
;

vi

Calvisson and de Nogaret, were sisters
latter

the

was fond of reading, and very learned.
had
to ring for

"We

every one

who was
not to

wanted, and there was a different bell for

each person.

It
;

was rather
for
;

difficult

make
3, 8,
;

a mistake

one, there

would be
8,

and a peal
it

for another,

V,

and a

peal
"

was

endless.

Aumont was

eighteen years old, and was
;

witty and talented

she was rather pretty, and

had been married some time.
"
full

Cosse was only twelve; she was
;

plain,

but

of charm, and very delicate

she married

later the

Due de Mortemart.
I

"Madame d'Avaux, of whom have already
spoken,
silly.

was good-natured and

pretty,

but

" Lastly,

Mademoiselle de Chalais, very

pretty, fifteen years old, rather an invalid.
"

This department amused
fatiguing,

us,

but as the
re-

work was very
mained there
"

no one ever

long.
I

From

the duties of the tower

passed on

v

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
of the community.
I

145

to those

could

have

spent a long time in this department without
feeling dull
if

only

I

had been

left there.

I

was with Mademoiselle de Talleyrand, who

was

pretty, amiable,

and very popular, and
sister,

Mademoiselle de Perigord, her
pretty
;

also

Mademoiselle de Duras,
;

pretty,

and

rather amiable
Spinola,

and

finally,

Mademoiselle de
ill-natured,

who was awkward,
the ladies

but

very handsome.

"Among
duties

was an old
;

who attended to these nun named Madame de
and nothing disturbed
noise around her,

Saint Charles
old,

although seventy-five years

she was
;

lively,

her

we might make any
not mind
it.

she did

There were always

about

fifty

people in the community -room,
kinds of needlework.
I

busy

at all

Talleyrand

played the harpsichord and

the harp, and

we sang
nuns.
"

;

these concerts greatly

amused the

This room was hung

all

round with
IO

full-

length portraits of the Abbesses of the AbbayeVOL.
I

146

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE
;

*vi

aux-Bois

nearly

all

of them had their coats

of arms painted on an escutcheon at their
feet.

In this

way one could
occurred

tell

who

they

were.

Mother Saint Charles

told us of

an

adventure that
tiate,

during her novi-

which

I

will relate here.

"

On

one occasion a certain
to

Madame

de

Saint

Ange came

propose her daughter as
la

novice to

Madame

de

Tremouille, at that

time Abbess of the Abbaye-aux-Bois.

The

young lady seemed of a gentle
and dowry suitable

disposition,

and, moreover, the mother offered a pension
for a girl of

good

family.

She was

therefore accepted, and entered the
in

next day, and soon every one

the Convent
wit,

was enchanted with her grace, her
her gentleness.
several others,
Charles,

and

She was novice together with
including

Madame
:

de Saint
'

who sometimes

said to her
it is

Madeyou

moiselle de Saint Ange,

incredible that a
as

young lady so modest and well-bred
are should
that

have the gestures and manners
;

you sometimes have

for

when you

are

vi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
before
the
fireplace

147

standing

you spread

your

feet in

an odd manner, and when you
chair

move up your
take hold of
it is
it

you often seem about to
;

between your knees

in

fact,

extraordinary to see, in the same person,
of modesty verging on constraint, oc-

an

air

casionally

combined with the gestures of a
Mademoiselle de Saint Ange

musketeer.'

blushingly replied that she had been brought

up with a brother, whose manners she used
to

copy as a

child,

and that she had never

quite got rid of them.

One night, during a storm, Madame de Saint
"

terrible

thunder-

Charles,

who

at

that time

was Mademoiselle de Ronci, came
at

and knocked

the

cell

of

Mademoiselle
to

de Saint Ange, and begged her
door.

open the

"Mademoiselle de Saint Ange kept her
waiting a few moments, and then opened.
said Mademoiselle de Ronci,
' '

Ah,'

I

am

horribly
let

frightened

in

my
till

cell

;

you must
is

me
But

sleep in yours

the storm

gone

by.'

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Mademoiselle de Saint Ange would not hear
of
it,

telling her

the holy rules forbade

it,

and begged her

to

go away.

At

last

Made-

moiselle de Ronci, seeing she

was determined
cell,

not to

let

her remain in her

went away,

highly displeased at this want of good nature.

"When

Mademoiselle de Saint Ange had
for three

been doing her novitiate

months,

her mother came one day to the
to say that her

Lady Abbess,
no longer any
to

daughter

felt

vocation for a religious

life,

and

beg that

she might be restored to her.

Mademoiselle

de Saint

Ange

departed, to the grief of the

whole Convent, who regretted her very much.

Some days

after,

Madame

de Saint

Ange

wrote to the Lady Abbess, to ask her pardon
for the deception

she had practised on her.
that she

She informed her

had had

in

her

establishment her son instead of her daughter.

The

young
kill

man
his

having

had

the

mis-

fortune to

adversary in a duel, she
his sister's clothes,

had made him wear

and

had put him

in the

Abbaye-aux-Bois, that

vi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

149

being the only plan she could devise for
sheltering
law.
"

him

from

the

severity

of

the

The Lady Abbess
she

replied that since the

thing was done,
that

congratulated
life

herself

by

this

means the

had been saved

of one who, during his stay in her house, had

given her such a good impression of his
character.

Madame de

Saint Charles told us

that Mademoiselle de Saint

Ange would

often

inadvertently speak of herself in the masculine

gender.
"

The
I

Library.
to

"At
to

length
great
I

was sent

the

library,

the

satisfaction

of

Madame
tell
I

de
in
I

Mortemart.
the kitchen

was seated quietly reading
to

when they came

me

that

was appointed
to find

to the library.

quickly ran
;

as she
to

Madame de saw me she
;

Sainte Delphine
said
shall
' :

as soon

At

last

you come
lives
to-

me

I

hope we
Indeed
I

spend our
left

gether.'

hardly

her; she was
I

nearly always at her sister's and

with her.

150

PRINCESS E BE EIGNE
"

vi

She

took
to the

no

more

notice
if

of

what

happened
existed,

books than

they had not
;

and yet she was fond of reading
a

when she wanted

book she would ask
for
it.

Madame
"

de Saint Joachim

Sometimes when she was

in

the library,

and saw that when books were fetched or
returned

Madame
much

de Saint Joachim noted
astonish-

them down, she would express her

ment
"
for
I

at so

trouble being taken.

spent the morning doing commissions

her,

and generally went

to

her imme-

diately after appearing before

Madame

de

Rochechouart

at

morning
\.o

class.
1

"After going
returned
to
;

prime

she had gravely

bed,

and thought no more of
I

getting up
'

when

went

in

I

used to say

:

Madame,
"

it is

half-past eight o'clock.'
is it

'Ah, good heavens,
!'

possible

?

I

can-

not believe
"

it

Sometimes Madame de Rochechouart, on
term
of the

1

Prime, a

Roman

Catholic

Liturgy,

the

first

canonical hour succeeding lauds, beginning at six in the morning.

:

PRLVCESSE DE EIGNE
returning from the schoolroom, would
into her
ful for
cell,

151

come

and say

' :

My sister,
in bed.'

it is

shame-

a nun to be

still

Thereupon

Madame
'

de Sainte Delphine would reply
to sleep

I

have taken no vow not

to

my

heart's content.'

Madame
get up.'
I

de Rochechouart

would then say: 'Well, Helene, you must

make my

sister

would

call

Sister

Leonard, then she would close her curtains,
put on her chemise, and dress herself without

doing her

hair.

She looked charming
still

thus,
;

when
cold

dressed, with her head

bare

she

kept her hair rather long, for fear of catching
;

it

was of the most

beautiful

colour.

She next washed her head
and put on her guimp and
I

in tepid water,
'

veil.

Madame,'

would
?'

gotten


:

say,
'

'

is

there nothing you have forto-day.'
1

No, nothing

But scarcely

had she entered the
claimed
'

library

when she

ex-

Helene,

I

have forgotten

my

hand-

1

The

library at the

Abbaye-aux-Bois occupied three large

halls,

contained sixteen thousand volumes, and possessed a very complete
collection of theological works.

152

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
I

vi

kerchief.'
it

would run
thing,

to fetch

it

;

sometimes

was one

sometimes another.
all
I

She
the
did

would keep
morning, but
not mind
it."

me
I

thus running about

was so fond of her that

VII
Mademoiselle de Choiseul and her mother
romantic adventures

— Madame de

Stainville's

— Mademoiselle

de Choiseul's wedding

Taking the

veil.

"

My intimacy with

Mademoiselle de Choiseul
;

increased day by day

we had everything
trinkets,

in

common, our books, our
were mutually
" It

and even

the keys of our drawers and writing desks,
in

each other's possession.

happened about that time that Made-

moiselle de Levis 1 one day publicly taunted

Mademoiselle de Choiseul before the whole
class with the fact of her mother's
in
in

being kept

confinement on account of her having been
love with an actor.

1

The Marquis de

Levis, her father, lieutenant-general
la

in the

king's army,

had married Mademoiselle de
of

Reyniere, daughter of
la

the rich fermier general and
Briere.

Mademoiselle de Jarente de

154

PRINCE SSE DE IIGNE
"

vn

Mademoiselle de Choiseul, although very
'

angry, was not disconcerted, and said

:

No

;

my

mother
it,

lives in the

country because she

prefers

at least that is

what

I

have always
true,
it

been
will

told.

But

if

what you say be

not be the most

commendable

action on

your part to have enlightened
subject.'
"

me on

the

The whole

class

was exceedingly
Levis,

irritated
all

with

Mademoiselle de

and

the

young

ladies told her that her conduct
;

was

infamous

that no

one could be reproached
;

for a thing of that kind

that they were in
in their class
;

despair at

its

having happened

and that they would ask as a favour for her
removal back into the blue
tion of her
class, in

considera-

own honour,
like a child

since the

more she

was treated

the

more excusable

her behaviour would be.

"Then Mademoiselle de Levis sought out Mademoiselle de Choiseul, who was in a corner of the classroom, and being mean-spirited,
knelt

down

before

her

and

begged

her

:

vii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
to

155

not

repeat

the

story.

All

the young
her.

ladies of her class followed

and hooted
replied

Mademoiselle
'

de
all

Choiseul
that
I

aloud
is

Mademoiselle,

can do for you
I

not to mention your name, and

give you

my word
lips
;

of honour that
I

it

shall not pass

my
in

but

should be condemned for ever

the eyes of

my
after

companions

if

I

appeared
told

unconcerned

what you have
if
I

me

in

their presence,

and

did not seek informa-

tion about

my

mother from

my

relatives.'

"At
amongst

that

moment
pupils,

a mistress,

who had
and

noticed durine the last hour the disturbance
the

came

forward

asked what had happened.

Mademoiselle

de Choiseul said that she had had a dispute
with one of the pupils, and that
over;
the mistress asked
if
it

was now

any one had a
silent

complaint to make, and as
she returned to her seat.
"

we remained

Mademoiselle de Choiseul and
in

I

after-

wards held a consultation,

order to see what

steps she should take, and

we decided

that

156

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

vn

she must speak of this event to

Madame de
if

Rochechouart.
"
I

asked Mademoiselle de Choiseul

she

had had no suspicions of what she had been
taunted with, and she said
that
' :

No

;

I

fancied

my

mother was a peculiar woman, and

was

disliked

by her

family,

and that was her

reason for preferring to live in the country.'

She

also

added

'
:

Neither

my

father 1 nor

my
oc-

uncle ever mention her to me, and
casionally
I

when

have spoken of

her,
;

I

noticed that

the subject was distasteful
recall

but

now

that
I

I

a host of things said before me,

afraid

what Mademoiselle de Levis

told

am me

is true.'
I

Then

she added

'
:

I

am

suffocating,

feel

an imperative need to weep, and
I

am

controlling myself here.'

went

to

Mother

Temps and asked her to allow me to go to Madame de Rochechouart, as I had something to say to her, and she gave me
Ouatre
1

Jacques de Choiseul, Comte de Stainville, youngest brother of

the

Due de

Choiseul.

He became

a Marshal of France, and died

in 1789.

vii

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE

157

the permission.

Mademoiselle de Choiseul,
to ask

on her
Pierre,

side,

went

Madame
strict,

de Saint

who, being very

replied that

she might wait to see
chouart
evening.
" Choiseul,
till

Madame

de Roche-

the

names were

called over in the

who was very quick tempered,
no longer, and burst into
tears.

could bear

it

Madame
down.
her,

de Saint Pierre said she was out of
kneel

temper, and ordered her to go and

She obeyed.

All

the pupils pitied
her.

and made much of

They
all

told
this

Levis that she was the cause of
trouble
;

she had remained

in

a corner of the
herself.

room, not daring to show

Madea low

moiselle de Choiseul said to

me

in

voice

' :

As you have
to

permission, go to
tell

Ma-

dame de Rochechouart,
and beg her
mention Levis, as

her

my

trouble,

send for
I

me

;

but do not

have promised not to

do

so.'

"

I

therefore
I

ran

off

to

Madame

de
cell,

Rochechouart.

did not find her in her

158

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

vn

but only
said
to

Madame Ah me
' :

de Sainte Delphine,
!

who
I

it

is

you,
I

my
was

pussy.

am

very glad to see you, for
a dog, waiting for

feeling as

dull as

my

sister.

Tell
I

me something amusing, I beg of am in exceedingly low spirits.' " Then said to Madame I
Delphine
' :

you, for

de Sainte
I

Mademoiselle de Choiseul and
to tell

have something

Madame

de Roche-

chouart, but she has not obtained permission
to
for

come
her,

;

if

you would be so kind
Sister

as to send

by

Leonard,

saying
for

that
it

Madame

de Rochechouart asks
lie,

her,

would not be a

as

it

is

also

your name.'

She consented, and
Rochechouart came
"

shortly after
in.

Madame

de

Mademoiselle de Choiseul arrived
told

at the

same moment, and we

Madame

de Roche-

chouart what had taken place.

She appeared
said

most
thing
to

indignant.
?'

'

And who

such

a

she inquired.
her.

We

absolutely refused

tell

Thereupon Madame de Rochedid not wish to commit herself

chouart,

who

vii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Mademoiselle de
Choiseul,
said
:

159

with

'

I

have withdrawn myself from the world, and
events of this kind do not reach us
;

but

tell

me which member of your me to write to, who may be
some
seul

family you wish
able to give you

explanations.'

Mademoiselle de Choithe

named her
1

aunt,

Duchesse

de

Gramont.
"

Madame
:

de Rochechouart accordingly
she came the next day, and

wrote to her

Mademoiselle de Choiseul having told her
the cause of her trouble,
replied
: '

Madame

de Gramont

I

do not wish

to deceive

you

;

you

1

Beatrix de

Choiseul-Stainville,

born at Luneville in 1730.

She was Canoness of Remiremont, and had no other income but She was ambitious, and united that derived from her prebendary.
to

a stern and hard
affairs

character a masculine intellect, capable of

grappling with

and

intrigues.

She soon formed the project

of ruling her brother, but for this purpose a great
large fortune

name and

a

were indispensable

;

moreover the man who would bring

her these advantages was bound to be a mere cipher, in order not
to

overshadow the Due de Choiseul.
6th of August 1759.

She found

all

these requisites

united in the person of the
the
1

Due de Gramont, whom she married The Duchesse de Gramont*s influence
to

over her brother became absolute,

the great despair of
to her husband,

the

Duchesse de Choiseul, who was devoted

and found

herself supplanted by her domineering sister-in-law.

160

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

vii

are

now growing up and cannot be
that

left

in

a state of ignorance
to

might lead you
It
is

make
that

injudicious

remarks.

quite

true

your

mother's

misconduct

has

obliged her family to place her in a convent.

You have
in

a sister

1

who

has been brought up

another convent, and

who

is

coming

to

be with you at the Abbaye-aux-Bois.

Your
be

demeanour

towards

the

pupils

must

sufficiently authoritative to

prevent any one

broaching the subject

in future,

and above

all,

have no confidantes.
that this
is

You

can easily imagine

not an agreeable topic of con;

versation for your father

do not therefore
he be the
first

mention

it

to him, unless

to

speak to you.'
"

Mademoiselle de Choiseul asked

if

she

would not be allowed

to write to her mother.

Madame
1

de Gramont said that she could not

Therese Felicite de Choiseul-Stainville, born in 1767, married

in

1782 the Prince Grimaldi-Monaco.
to

From contemporary
in 1793.

ac-

counts she appears

have been

pretty,

and endowed with a

captivating personality.

She was guillotined

;

vii

PRIXCESSE DE LIGNE

161

take upon herself to give her that permission,

but that she would speak of
"

it

to her family.

Mademoiselle de Choiseul came and told
all

me

this,

and we agreed that we would

appear to have forgotten what had taken
place,

and that

if

the others

referred to

it

we

should show our displeasure."
Unfortunately,

Mademoiselle de Levis's

cruel gossip

was but too well-founded, and

the romantic adventures of
ville,

Madame

de Stain-

especially

the

final

catastrophe,

had

created a great scandal.

When
Belle- Isle)

the

Due de
his

Choiseul became war

minister (at the death of the Marechal

de

he had

brother,

the

Comte
lieu-

Jacques de Choiseul -Stainville, named
tenant-general.
his family,

The Count had no

fortune
brilliant

wishing to secure for him a

match, turned their thoughts to Mademoiselle

Therese

de

Clermont- Revel,

who was

a

great heiress, and
presence.

endowed with a charming
cleverly conducted the

The Duke

negotiations,
VOL.
I

and the marriage was decided
II

162

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

vn

upon.
old, his

The Count was

nearly forty years
fifteen,

betrothed was only

and had

never seen her future husband.
leave of absence,

He obtained
and six hours

came

to Paris,

1 after his arrival the marriage was celebrated.

The young Comtesse de

Stainville

was

presented in society by her sister-in-law, the

Duchesse de Choiseul, and created quite a
sensation.

She danced

like

an angel, and
It

shone with grace and beauty.

was easy

to

suppose that before long she would receive
attentions

from

the most fashionable men.

Contemporary memoirs even pretend that her
brother-in-law, the

Due de

Choiseul, dared to

hazard a declaration, which was badlyreceived.
It is said

that

Lauzun
was

fared better, but this

passing fancy

shortly
It
is

superseded

by

another sentiment.
actors

well

known how
Their

were then run

after in society.

conquests were innumerable.
Clairval

At

that time

was the actor most

in

vogue, and the

1

The 3d

April 1761.

vii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
of
all

163

favourite

the

ladies.

He
face,

united to

undoubted
figure,

talent a

handsome

an elegant

and a natural audacity which nothing

could check.

He

was not long

in perceiving

the impression that he had

made on Madame
to risk all

de

Stainville,

and determined
it.

and

take advantage of

A

lady's-maid and a
the
secret,

footman were

taken

into

and

Madame
Some
gave

de Stainville even went so

far as
1

to receive Clairval at her

own

residence.

time passed

:

Madame de

Stainville

birth to a second daughter,

and nothing
to

foreshadowed the scandal that was about
take place
;

but the intimacy between Clairval

and the Countess was gradually becoming

known
first

;

the Duchesse de

Gramont was the
to inform her
till

to

hear of

it.

She hated her young
then he

sister-in-law,

and was not slow

brother of the rumours which

had ignored.

The Count was away on
1

military service
living at

She had
7

left

the Choiseul family mansion, and was

No.

Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore,

"

1

64

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE

vn

with the army, and was to return to be present
at

an entertainment

in

which

all

Paris

was

interested.

The Marechale de Mirepoix was
National

preparing a wonderful fancy ball at the hotel

de Brancas.

dances were to be

performed by twenty-four gentlemen and by
as

many

ladies,

in

Chinese

and

Indian
for

costumes.

These were being rehearsed
"

the last week.

The

guilty

and unfortunate

Madame

de Stainville," says

Madame du

Deffand, "had Prince d'Henin for a partner,

and was present every day

at these rehearsals.
ball, all

On

Tuesday, two days before the

the

dancers were entertained at a supper given

by the
noticed

Duchesse
that

de Valentinois

;

it

was

Madame de

Stainville

seemed
in

very dejected and constantly had tears
eyes.

her

Her husband had arrived that morning.
Wednesday, 1
at three

On

the following day,

o'clock in the morning,

Madame

de Stainville

was carried

off in a post-chaise

and conducted

1

The

31st January 1767.

vii

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
in

165

by her husband

person to the Convent of

the Filles de Sainte

Marie

at

Nancy.

The

Count had

easily obtained a lettre de cachet

through his brother, the Duke, and his wife

was confined
returned her
tee appointed,

for the
all

rest

of her

life.

He

her fortune, and had a trusauthorised to give the

who was

Countess everything she required, but not
a farthing in money.

A

sum was devoted

to

his daughters' maintenance,

and the remainder

of her income put under sequestration for
their benefit.

The
ment
had

lady's-maid was sent to the Salpetriere
Bicetre,

and the footman to
for

as

a punishIt

having aided

in the affair.

was

generally considered that
inflicted

M. de

Stainville

on

his wife a chastisement of

unheard-of severity.
morality
it

In those days of easy
to consider

was not the custom

this sin as

an unpardonable offence, and the de Stainville excited
It

beautiful

Madame
Count's

a

universal feeling of pity.
that

was even said
a

the

mistress,

young

and

1

66

PRINCESSE BE EIGNE
at the opera, notified to

vn

charming actress
on
his

him

return from

Nancy

that

she would

never see him again, for fear of being taken
for an accomplice in such

an iniquitous pro-

ceeding.

1

Some
to

time after this sad revelation, Made-

moiselle de Choiseul, very

much agitated, came
parlour,

Helene

as she
:

was leaving the

and

said to her

"

Fancy, they are going to put

my
will

sister at the

Abbaye-aux-Bois, and she

arrive next
is

Monday.
is

What

distresses

me

that she
I

simply sent to the dormi-

tory, whilst

have

my own

apartment.

This

difference

is

certain to

make

the pupils talk."
it

Helene advised her
considered proper to

to say that

had been
on

make

this difference

account of her being the eldest.
"

She

told

me

she was to go out the next
sister's

day and make her

acquaintance, as

she had never seen her.
1

The time came, however, when, thanks

to the efforts of the

Duchesse de Choiseul,

Madame de

Stainville's

home was

again

opened

to her

;

but she refused to return, and died in the Convent,

in great piety.

vii

PRINCESS E DE EIGNE
"

167

She went
in

out, accordingly,

and as she was

late

returning

we were
But
in

not able to talk
the evening she

together in private.

came
sister

into

my

room, and told

me

that her
herself,

was four years younger than
child
;

and a mere

that she

was rather

pretty,

but did not appear very

lively,

and she thought
;

her ignorant and badly brought up

that she

had made a great deal of
appeared very untamed.
that she
ville.

her, but that

she had

She

also told

me

was

called

Mademoiselle de Stain-

We

decided to notice her a great deal,

in

order that no unpleasantness should occur
received."

when she was

She was brought to the Convent by Madame
la

Duchesse deChoiseul, who gave instructions
all

that she should be appealed to for

require-

ments, being specially in charge, instead of her father or the Duchesse de Gramont, as

was the case
It
is

for

Mademoiselle de Choiseul.
the

evident

that

kindness
belie

of

the

Duchesse de Choiseul did not
that she

itself,

and

was determined

to act the part of a

1

68

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE
to the forsaken to repel.
1

vn

mother

child,

whom

every

one seemed
"

Mademoiselle de Choiseul presented her

to the class, saying that she

was her
to

sister,

and that she begged every one
kindly towards
her.

behave

Then Mesdemoiselles
her,

de Conflans, Mademoiselle de Damas, and
myself,

went up
but

to

and made a great
very shy,

deal

of her,

she

was

and

received us very coldly.
"

As soon

as she had

made some

acquaint-

ances, Choiseul left her,

and never became

very intimate with her, for there was a great
difference

between the two
the

sisters.

"When
Stainville,

Due de
to

Choiseul,
la

Madame

de

and

Madame
see

Duchesse de
de

Gramont came

Mademoiselle

Choiseul, they never asked for Mademoiselle

1

M. Durfort de Chevemy,
Choiseul having
severely

in his

Memoirs, says that the

Due

de

reprimanded his sister-in-law on

account of her intimacy with Clairval, the Countess had solemnly
declared that the child she had just given birth to was a legitimate

daughter of the Count.

(See the Memoirs of the Comte Durfort de

Chevemy.

Paris, 18S6.)

;

vii

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
Stainville
insisted,
;

169

de
seul

but Mademoiselle de Choi-

and said
if

she would not go

down

to the parlour
;

her sister was not also
obliged
It

asked for

so

they were

to

see the

Mademoiselle

de

Stainville.
out.

was

same thing about going
de Choiseul

Mademoiselle

de Choiseul would never go by herself to
the
hotel
1

and

all

this

was
she

from a generous and kindly
did not care for her
sister,

feeling, as

but she would not

allow herself any distinction which might be
to her disadvantage."

Mademoiselle de Choiseul's generous conduct

under

these

circumstances

proves a
in

nobility of character
child

most uncommon

a

of fourteen.

No

doubt the exalted

1

The

family

mansion of the Choiseuls was

at

No. 3 Rue

de

la

Grange

Bateliere,

and occupied the
the Opera

site

of the former Opera

The gardens and House. Rue Neuve Saint Augustin

outer buildings extended as far as the
;

Comique (burnt clown

in

May

1887) was built on land belonging to the

Due de

Choiseul.

We

can hardly realise at present the
of the
eighteenth
little

size

and importance of the
of which

hotels

century,

many

were regular

palaces.
brother's.

The

hotel of

Madame

de Gramont was next to her

170

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

vn

opinion these young girls had of their rank

and

their birth contributed to develop

sen-

timents

of

honour and

refinement

:

they

practised the
extent,

axiom

noblesse oblige to the full

and

to say that they

had a base mind
reproach.
But,

was

to

them the

bitterest
it

at the

same

time,

must be acknowledged
for

that

they

had the greatest contempt

any one who did not belong

to their caste.
this

Helene expresses herself on
the most ingenuous manner.
"

point

in

At one
in

time," she tells us, " there

was a

breach

the walls of the Convent, while the
rebuilt.
is

garden wall was being
custom, whenever there

It

is

the

a breach in the

enclosure, for the rules of seclusion to be set

aside for as long a time as the breach

lasts.

This wall separated the
side from the street, whilst
lay the

Convent on one
on the other side

Convent of the Petites Cordelieres, so

that now, there being a

way

open, the nuns

were able to
"

visit

each other.

The Convent of the Petites Cordelieres was

vii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

171

neither as large nor as fine a building as ours.

They

only received about thirty pupils, but

they were not young ladies of good birth, and
they were very

much embarrassed when they
classes entirely

saw our numerous
of the

composed
of

daughters of

the

best

families

France.

"At
said she
said

that time, on returning to the Con-

vent one evening, Mademoiselle de Choiseul

had a great event

to tell me.

She

she was going to marry the son of

M. de Choiseul- La- Baume, who was only
seventeen years
that
old,
1

that he

was very

nice,

she would

become the Duchesse de
and that the next day

Choiseul-Stainville,

her family were coming to inform
1

Madame

Claude-Antoine-Gabriel de Choiseul-La-Baume, born on the

24th August 1760, was a son of the Marquis de Choiseul-Beaupre

and Diane-Gabrielle de

la

Baume de Montrevel.

He was

brought

up

at

Chanteloup, under the personal supervision of the

Choiseul, his education having been begun by the

Due de Abbe Barthelemy.
no children, he
consequence of
in

After the death of the
inherited the
title

Due de
niece.

Choiseul,

who

left

and peerage of that minister,
his

his marriage with

The young Duke

later

on became

governor of the Palace of the Louvre.

He

took an active share in

the King's flight to Varennes, and died in 1838.

172

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

vn

de Rochechouart and the Lady Abbess of the
match, and she begged

me

to

accompany her

on her
It

visits."

was a time-honoured custom
for the

at

the
per-

Abbaye-aux-Bois

young

girls

sonally to inform their companions of their

marriage, and on this important occasion the

betrothed was accompanied by her greatest
friend.

Helene, delighted at playing such
part,

an important

prepared herself to escort

Mademoiselle de Choiseul with due solemnity the following afternoon.
"

the

The next day, accordingly, in the morning, Due and Duchesse de Choiseul, Madame
Abbess's
parlour,

de Gramont, and M. de Stainville came to the

Lady

and

Madame

de

Rochechouart also came.

They

said that the

settlements were to be signed at Versailles

on the following Sunday

;

that on

Monday
;

the family and friends would sign them.

that

on Tuesday Mademoiselle de Choiseul would
receive

her

wedding-gifts

;

and
for

that

on

Wednesday she would

leave

Chante-

vii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
1

173

loup,

where the marriage ceremony would take
;

place

and that two days

after she

would be

brought back to the Abbaye-aux-Bois, as she

was only fourteen years of
family

age.

Directly her

had

left
all

I

went with Mademoiselle
in

de Choiseul

through the establishment,

order to announce her marriage.

On Monday,

the day on which the contract was signed, the

whole
to see
to us

class

were looking out of the windows
arrive,

M. de Choiseul

and he appeared

very good-looking.

All Paris

was

at

the signing of the settlements.

On

leaving

the parlour, Mademoiselle de Choiseul
to the

came

window where the other

pupils were,

and M. de Choiseul on seeing her made her
a low bow, which delighted us.

She

told us

that her mother-in-law appeared very strict,

and that
to get

it

was

said

she was most

difficult

on

with.

The

next day she received
1778.

1

The ceremony took

place on the 10th October

The
de

young Duchesse de Choiseul
Berthier,

had

two

children

:

Etienne

Choiseul, a very distinguished young man, aide-de-camp to General

who was killed in the campaign who married the Due de Marmier, a peer

in

1807, and a daughter,

of France.

174

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
magnificent

vn

a

wedding
Bertin's,
in

-

casket,

bought

at

Mademoiselle

a

case

of beautiful

diamonds, jewels

blue enamelling, and a
louis.
1

purse containing two hundred
"

On

the day of her departure

Madame

de

me to go out and breakfast with Madame la Duchesse de Gramont. Madame de Clermont brought o back. me " Mademoiselle de Choiseul ^ave me a
Rochechouart allowed keepsake made of gold and ornamented with
hair,

a bag, and a fan.

She

distributed forty

bags and forty fans among the pupils.
"It had been proposed that her sistershould

not go to Chanteloup, but Mademoiselle de

Choiseul complained so bitterly that
la

Madame
take her.

Duchesse consented
gave her
sister

at last

to

She

a beautiful

diamond

locket,

and M. de Choiseul gave her a keepin

sake also mounted
"

diamonds.

Mademoiselle de Choiseul,

whom

I

shall

vn

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

175

call

Madame

for the future,

came back

at the

end of a

fortnight.

She

told

me
let

all

about the

festivities

given

in

her honour, but added that
a single day

her mother-in-law had not

pass without scolding her; as for her husband,

she said she was madly
that he

in

love with him,

was

lively

and amusing, and that
never been
left

although
together

they had

alone

he had managed to say a great

many

things to her, but that she had scruples

about repeating them to me."

An
created

event took place at this time which
a great

impression

on the

young

pupils at the Abbaye-aux-Bois.

They were
ceremony of

accustomed to be present
taking the
veil,

at the

which was rather a frequent
Convent.
It

occurrence
natural
to

in the

seemed quite
excite
it

them,

and

did

not

any

painful emotion.
different. "

This time, however,

was

There had been

for

two years

at

the

novitiate a

young lady

called

Mademoiselle

de Rastignac, who was twenty years of age.

176

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
in the

vn

She appeared absorbed
choly,

deepest melan-

was constantly

ill,

and spent most of

her time in the infirmary.

She had already

adopted the nun's habit

;

and twice had been

on the point of pronouncing her vows, but
each time she
to
fell
ill,

and the ceremony had

be put

off.

Her

director,

Dom

Themines,

urged the indefinite postponement of her vows,

and
a

it

was rumoured

that she

was being made
to

nun against her

will.

Once we spoke
it,

Madame

de Rochechouart about

and she any way

replied that she did not interfere in

with the novices

;

but that
to

if

she thought she
life

was being made

embrace a monastic

against her will she would not give her vote.

Two

or three times she
to

was sent back

to her

family, so as

bring her once more into

contact with the world, but in vain.

At

last

a day was fixed for the
place,

final

ceremony

to take

and
ill,

it

was said that although she was

very
to

and could hardly stand, she wished

pronounce her vows.

On

the

day of

her

initiation

all

the

vii

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
in the

177

Hauteforts

world

filled

the church, for

she was their near relative.

Mademoiselle de

Guignes carried the wax taper and acted as
her godmother; the

Comte d'Hautefort was
pretty.

her squire.

She was very

First she

went

to the outer church

and knelt down on

a praying chair.

Her

dress was white crape,

embroidered with
diamonds.

silver

and covered with
well during the

She bore up very

address from the

Abbe de

Marolle, in which
in the sight

he told her
of

it

was a great merit

God

to

renounce the world, when one
to be loved
society.

was made

and be the charm
It

and ornament of

seemed

as

if

he

took pleasure in painting a glowing picture of
all

that she
it

was going

to give

up

;

but she

bore

with a firm countenance.

"After the address the Comte d'Hautefort
took her hand and led her to the cloister door.

As soon

as she

had entered

it

was closed upon
a

her with a great crash

it is

way they have
remarked that
the court
12

on these occasions.
she turned very pale.
VOL.
I

We

all

She entered

178

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
alive.
It

vn

more dead than
was
ill,

was said that she
if

but

it

seemed

to us as

her mind

suffered

more than her body.

When

she

reached the choir gates they were closed,
while she was undressed and her worldly orna-

ments taken from
hair
;

her.

She had long
all

fair

when

it

was

let

down we were
its

on the

point of crying out to prevent
off,

being cut

and
'

all

the pupils exclaimed under their
a pity
!

breath,

What

'

At

the

moment when
her hair on a

the mistress of the novices put her scissors to
it

she gave a

start.

They
;

laid

large silver

platter

it

was

lovely.

Then

they clothed her

in the dress of

the order, put
roses, after

on the

veil,

and a wreath of white

which the grating was opened, and she was
presented to the priest,

who

blessed her.

"An
herself,

arm-chair was then placed near the

grating for the

Lady Abbess, who seated
Mademoiselle de Rastignac

with her cross-bearer and her chaplain
side.

on either
knelt
hers.

down

before her, and put her hands in

The

formula used on taking- the vows

vii

PR1NCESSE DE LIGNE
as follows
' :

179

is

I

take the

vow

before God, and

at

your hands, Madame, of poverty, humility,

obedience, chastity, and perpetual reclusion,

according

to

the

rule

of Saint

Benoit,

as

observed by Saint Bernard,
Citeaux and the
affiliation

in the

order of

of Clairvaux.'

She

was so weak

that she could hardly support

herself on her knees.
novices,

The

mistresses of the

Madame
to

de

Saint

Vincent

and

Madame
hardly to

Saint Guillaume, were behind her.

She seemed

have a

veil

over her eyes, and
;

know where

she was

Madame

de

Saint Vincent said the words of the vow, and

she repeated them after her.

When
made
till

she had

pronounced the vow of obedience and came
to the

vow

of chastity, she
all

so long a

pause that

the pupils,

who

then had

been crying, could hardly refrain from laughing.

She looked on every

side,

as

if

for

help, so at last the mistress

approached her

and said

' :

Come, take courage,
!'

my

child

;

accomplish your sacrifice
sigh at the words
'

She gave a deep

of chastity and perpetual

PRINCESSE DE L/GAE
reclusion,'

and

at the

same moment her head
and she was

drooped on the knees of the Lady Abbess.
It

was seen that she had

fainted,

taken to the sacristy.

"It

is

the custom that, after pronouncing

her vows, she should go and kiss the knees
of
it

all

the nuns, and embrace the pupils.
said she

But
that

was

was not well enough, and

she would only come and prostrate herself in
the centre of the choir.
affected

Nothing has ever

me more
and

than seeing her appear at

the door of the sacristy, pale as death, her

eyes

dim,

supported

by

two

nuns.

Mademoiselle de Guignes, who carried her
taper,

was

trembling

so

violently

that

she could scarcely walk.

Madame
the

Sainte

Madeleine, for that was

name Made-

moiselle de Rastignac had taken, advanced
to the centre of the choir,

where they helped

her to prostrate herself.
with the pall
sung.
Irce
;

She was covered

the Miserere of

La Lande was

We

also

sang

it,

as well as the Dies

and the Libera of the Cordeliers, which

PRTNCESSE DE LIGAE
is

beautiful.
half,

It

took altogether an hour and

a

as the prayers for the dead were said

over her, to remind her that she was dead
to the world.

The same evening
for

she had an

attack of fever, and was taken to the infirmary,

where she remained
she
left it

six weeks.

When
She
and

she was appointed to the refectory,

but she has not recovered her health.

remains

in a state of

languor which causes
in

everybody

to

take an interest

her,

each one seeks to cheer her, trying to
her
life

make

as agreeable as possible."

VIII
Madame
d'Orleans, Abbess of Chelles

—A

visit

from the Archbishop de Roche-

— The Jansenist

nuns

chouart's fete day

— Her

— The

dispensary

— Madame

illness

and death.

In the extensive building of the Abbaye-auxBois
there was
It

one apartment which was

rarely opened.

had formerly been occupied

by Madame d'Orleans, better known under
the

name

of the

Abbess of

Chelles.

1

From

her vouth
cloister,

she had

been destined to the

which certainly was not her vocation.

After a short novitiate she pronounced her

vows, and was
1

named Abbess

of the AbbayeXIV.

Louise-Adelaide de Chartres, grand-daughter of Louis

and of Madame de Montespan, second daughter of the Regent
Philippe d'Orleans, and of Mademoiselle de Blois, born the 13th

August 1698, died the 20th February 1743.
years of age

She was eighteen

when she became Abbess of the Abbaye-aux-Bois, and one -and -twenty when made Abbess of Chelles. (Vide the
Correspondence of
Palatine.)

Madame

la

Duchesse d'Orleans nee Princesse

vin

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

183

aux- Bois.

H er remarkable beauty recalled that
Madame
de Montespan,

of her grandmother,

but her haughty and violent temper and un-

governable passions soon made her the terror

and shame of the Convent, and
that

at the

time

Helene was writing the end of her
d'Orleans' apartment was

Memoirs Madame
still

a source of dread to the pupils.

"It was asserted,"

says

Helene,

"that

shrieks and sounds of beating, and the rattle

of chains,

could be heard in

the
that
in

Orleans'

apartment,

and

it

was

said

Madame
order to

d'Orleans' soul

came back there

expiate
lifetime.

all

the evil she had done during her

"

People were so afraid of these rooms that

they never entered them except a number at
a time
;

and Sister Huon, having once gone
sweep, found marks of blood in

in alone to

the bedroom, and was nearly suffocated by a

strong smell
fetched
nothing.

of sulphur.

She immediately
they saw

some

of the others, but

1

84

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

vm

"When
which
is

this

apartment has to be cleaned,

only twice a year, for no one ever
it,

occupies

five or six

people go

in at the
I

same time
not
all

to

sweep.

There are
of an

know
size,

how many rooms
be there alone.
for

immense
it is

opening into each other, and

dangerous
is

to

The apartment
to

only
the

opened
ceilings,

strangers,

show them

which are beautifully painted, and
high

the
the

magnificent
walls,

warp
the
is

tapestry
histories

on
of

representing
It

Esther and Judith.

said

that

these

tapestries are the finest the Gobelin

manu-

factory have ever produced."

Madame

d'Orleans had

left

cruel

memories

of her stay at the Abbaye-aux-Bois.

"It was said," continues the

young

Princess,

"that in the time of

Madame
cruelty,

d'Orleans,

who

was a monster of

she had

caused

some
death
;

of the

nuns to be nearly beaten to

others she had had shut

up

;

and

sometimes she made them chant the services
the whole night through.

viu

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
"

185

Meanwhile M.

le

Recent would come

to
in

her rooms, and she would spend the night

laughing and amusing herself, eating and perpetrating
all

sorts of follies before the

young

nuns she had

chosen as her companions.

She

said

that she

made

the

ladies

spend

their nights in prayer in order to expiate the

sins she committed.

It is also

said that she

used to take off

all

her clothes, and send for

the nuns to admire her, for she was the most
beautiful

woman

of her time.

She took baths
it

of milk, and the next day had

distributed

among
"At

her nuns at the
their

refectory, ordering
to drink
it.

them by

vows of obedience

last

her excesses reached such a point

that the nuns

made

a formal complaint, and

they were told she would be transferred to
the

Abbaye
"

of Chelles.
to bring her
'

M.

le

Regent came himself

the king's commands, and told her that

she

had so persecuted her unfortunate nuns that
their complaints

had reached the ear of the
notwithstanding his tender-

king

;

and

that,

1

86

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
felt

ness for her, he

compelled to move her to

another abbey, for the public feeling would

be aroused
ladies.'

if

he did not do justice to these

Then
;

Madame
at the

d'Orleans

was

in

despair

she wept, she implored her father

to let her

remain

Abbaye-aux-Bois, and

promised that henceforth her rule should be
as gentle as
it

had hitherto been cruel and

despotic.

But the Regent was inexorable,

and

told her she

must be ready

to leave for

Chelles in a few days.

When

she saw that

she could not win him over, she called the

Chapter together, and going down on her
knees before the nuns, entreated them to
petition

Government

in

her behalf, promis-

ing them that they should never again have
to complain of her conduct.
"

The

Prioress at that time was a

Madame
said

de Noailles.

She came forward and

these words, which have been repeated to
us a hundred times
'
:

We have

borne without

murmuring, Madame, the cruel penalties you
inflicted

upon

us.

Blindly submissive to your

vin

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

187

will,

we

only saw in our sufferings the hand

God laid heavily upon us. The respect which we have for you, and our attachment
of
to the family

you belong

to,

make

us

feel

that

it

is

a great misfortune not to end our
rule.

days under your
that

But, in the

same way

we

should have been to blame had

we

refused to accept the afflictions
so likewise
if
it

God

sent us,

would be tempting Providence
the storm

we sought

when

it

pleases

Him
you

to restore us to peace.
will find
live,

We
will

trust that

happiness where you are destined to
this,

and

Madame,

be the object of

our prayers and supplications.'
"

Madame

d'Orleans, seeing by this speech

and the

attitude of the

nuns that she had
like a

nothing to hope for from them, got up
fury

and returned

to her rooms.
la

"A
and

few days later M. de

Tourdonnet,

secretary for the

commands

of the Regent,
Villequier,

Madame

la

Duchesse de

came

to tell her that

her father's carriages were
;

ready, and that she must leave for Chelles

;

1

88

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
she declared she would
not
go.

vm
In
tried

but
vain

Madame
on her

la

Duchesse de Villequier

every form of persuasion, she could not prevail

to

leave.

So they returned
'

to

M.

le

Regent,
failed,

who

said

that

when

gentle

measures

strong ones must be used.'
la

He

then sent with M. de

Tourdonnet and

Madame
guards,

de Villequier his captain of the

M. de Lyonne, and two
d'Orleans was

officers

and

Madame

informed that

these persons had orders to put her in the
carriage.

When

she heard

this,

she com-

pletely undressed herself, got into bed, sent
for

M. de Lyonne, and asked who would be

bold enough to lay hands on a daughter of
the royal blood of France.

M. de Lyonne,
to

much embarrassed, returned

M.

le

Regent,

who
and

sent

Madame

la

Princesse de Conti with
his

orders to try and
if

call

daughter to reason,
to

she did
in

not

succeed

have her

wrapped up
away.

her mattresses and carried
la

So Madame

Princesse

de Conti

came, and by tears and entreaties at length

PRTNCESSE DE LIGNE
prevailed on her to leave.

She was con-

ducted to Chelles, a distance of four leagues

from

Paris,

where she retained the

title

of

Lady Abbess, but without

any authority.
of

Some
asked

time
of
it,

after,

the

Abbey

Saint

Anthony
for

Paris

becoming

vacant,

she

and

it

was granted

to her, but

under the same conditions, namely, that she
should have merely an honorary
died a few years
at the
later,
title.

She

and asked

to

be buried

Abbaye-aux-Bois, which request was

granted.

Her body
in the

lies

in the choir,
1

under

a mausoleum of white marble.

"There was
fine portrait of

Abbaye-aux-Bois, over
Hall, a very

the fireplace in the

Community

Madame

d'Orlcans.

She was
one hand

represented standing, with crowns and sceptres
1

trampled beneath her feet
differs

;

in

Helene's account

from that of Madame, the Regent's
does
not

mother.

She was fond of her grand-daughter, and

describe her in such dark colours.

She never mentions her

stay at

the Abbaye-aux-Bois, and only speaks of her installation at Chelles.

The perfect accuracy of those portions of Helene's narrative which we have been able to verify gives great weight to her account of
the facts.

;

i

go

PRJNCESSE DE LIGNE

vm

holding a crucifix, and with the other taking

from an

altar a

crown of thorns.

A

peculi-

arity of this picture was, that

though she was

dressed as a nun, her feet were bare."
It

hardly seems

likely that

the Abbess

of Chelles would have busied herself with
theological discussions.

She, however, pro-

fessed very decided Jansenist opinions.
father

Her

the

Regent strongly supported the
out of opposition
to
to

Jansenists,
party,

the Court

who belonged

the opposite sect
his

he

probably

inculcated

ideas

to

his

daughter, and either under the influence of
their Abbess, or that of their directors, the

Abbaye-aux-Bois had become
senist.

entirely Jan-

The nuns

expressed their opinions

so openly that the Convent was put under

an interdict during the

last

years of

Madame
they

de

Richelieu's

rule.

However,

got

back into favour, and Monseigneur de Beaumont, 1
1

who was

the

avowed enemy of the

Christophe de Beaumont, Archbishop of Paris, Peer of the
(this latter title

Realm, Due de Saint Cloud

belonged to that of the

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

191

Jansenists, consented to give confirmation to

the the

young
year

pupils of the Abbaye-aux-Bois in

1777.

Helene gives

a

faithful

account of this event, which

agitated

the

whole Convent, and not one
escapes her keen observation.
"
I

detail of

which

was

at that

time being prepared for
I

my confirmation,
Whitsuntide.

for

was

to

be confirmed at

"His Grace
that day,

the Archbishop

was

to

come

and as Mother Ouatre Temps was
to

supposed

be very Jansenist,
in

I

bethought
I

myself to say,

order to please her, that

feared his Grace the Archbishop, instead of

confirming
confirm

me
in

in

the

Holy
one.

Spirit,

would
of

me

the

evil

Instead

scolding me,

Mother Ouatre Temps laughed
this

extremely at

joke,

and,

delighted
in a

at

Archbishopric of Paris).

His archbishopric brought him

hundred

and eighty thousand francs a year, and he had

in his gift four

hundred

and ninety-two
able in private

livings.

This prelate, whose conduct towards the

Jansenists was so harsh and even sometimes so violent, was admirlife for

his gentleness, his

equanimity of character,

and
la

for his liberality.

Roque,

in

Born the 26th July 1703 in the Chateau de Perigord, he died on the 12th December 1781.

192

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
I

vm
went and

having said such a witty thing,
repeated
it

all

over

the

house.

Mother

Saint Ambrose, regent of the abbey- house,
held very strong Molinist opinions, and

when

my joke came to her ears she complained to Madame de Rochechouart, who sent for me and rated me soundly. She decided that I
should not be confirmed then, and
I

was only

confirmed the following year.
confirmation
the

I

took at

my

names of AlexandrienneWhitsunday,
after

Emanuelle.
officiated at

On
the

having
pupils,

Mass and confirmed the
Archbishop

His

Grace

entered

the

Abbey.
and
o-ate,
all

The Lady Abbess,
visited
all

with her crozier

the community, received

him

at the

and he

the establishment,
is

even the schoolrooms.
all

It

the custom for

the nuns to

come

forward, one after the

other,

and

kiss his episcopal ring, but
so.
I

many

of

them avoided doing

even saw several,
feeling, stood be-

who, carried away by party

hind his back and put out their tongues at him.

He

went

into the library,

which

is

very fine

;

vni

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
rooms opening
thirty

193

it

consists of three

into each

other

containing

thousand volumes,
It
is

and some very

curious manuscripts.

said that the nuns possess Jansenius's writings
in the original edition, but

they are not

in

the

library,

and

are
his

no

doubt

carefully

concealed.

When

Grace the Archbishop

came

to the library

he sat down.

Madame
was shown

Sainte Delphine,

who was head

librarian, did

the honours of the place.

He
in

some handsome books, bound
ornamented with miniatures.

vellum and

He

saw

that

some of the presses had
and inquired what was
told that they contained

their curtains drawn,
in

them.

He

was

romances and books

on

literature.

He

desired to see them, so

the presses were opened and he admired the

beauty of the editions, amongst others The

Romance of
which
asked

the Rose

and the Holy Grail,
miniatures.

had

magnificent
it

He

how

came

that

books of that kind
library, for

formed part of a convent
certainly not
VOL.
I

they had

been purchased.

Then Madame
13

194

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

vm

Sainte Delphine replied that formerly a great

many people had on
their libraries to the

their death

bequeathed

Convent

;

that

Madame

d'Orleans had for her part given hers, which

contained a great

many books

of this kind.

Passing on to the shelves where the works of
Nicole, Arnaud, Pascal, and other Fathers of

Port Royal were ranged, the Archbishop said:
'

These have turned many a

brain,

and

will

turn

many

more.'

On

passing the division

containing the works of the Fathers of the

Church, he remarked that

many

shelves were

empty,

and

asked

the

reason.

Madame
of the

Sainte Delphine
ladies

said

that

several

had got the books.

He

expressed his

surprise that

women
'

should take pleasure in
in

reading

scholastic
:

works written
not
that

Latin,
at

and

said

I

curates

telling

am me

astonished

my

they are

a better

match

for the doctors of the

Sorbonne than

for the ladies of the Abbaye-aux-Bois.'

He

asked laughingly where Jansenius and the
writings of

Father

Ouesnel were

usually

vin

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

195

kept.

Madame

Sainte Delphine replied that

those books were not in the catalogue which

was under her charge.
"

Then he

inquired whether she had ever
in

seen these works
that for

the house.

She

replied

some years

past they had been so
if

questioned about this Jansenius that, even

they had not possessed his works, they would

have
all

tried to procure them, as

it

is

against

conscience to speak evil of a person unless
it
;

you are certain that he deserves
it

and that

could only be the obligation under which

they were to answer questions which

made

them read works so
those of Jansenius.
left.

far

from entertaining as

After this the Archbishop

Two
all

days later he sent his curates,
the theological books returned to

who had

the library, locked up the shelves, and sealed

them with the Archbishop's
ladies

seal,

which the

were forbidden

to

remove.

The

ladies

then said that

in the interior of their estab-

lishment they recognised no authority but that
of the

Abbot of Citeaux or Clairvaux,

their

;

196

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

vm

superior.

They wrote
to his

to

him on the subject
visitors of the order,

he immediately sent two

who complained
telling

Grace the Archbishop,
be

him

that his authority could only

exercised with regard to the steps the nuns

might take outside
the interior

their

Convent, but that
sole jurisdiction of
his
affair

was under the
1

Citeaux or Clairvaux.

As

Grace the
might be
re-

Archbishop was afraid the

brought before Parliament, he sent to

move

the seals
I

;

then the visitors assembled
;

the Chapter.
I

do not know what took place

only

left

know that when they separated they the Abbey as well pleased with the
Shortly
the

nuns as the nuns were with them.
after

Abbot of Clairvaux

sent an imas a pre-

mense quantity of Burgundy wine
sent to the Convent.

"We
1

resolved

at

that

time
the

to

give a

By

the agreement
I.

signed between
all

Pope Leon X. and
of Cluny,

Francis
to

the nominations to

the

Abbeys of France belonged
Citeaux,

the

King, with the exception of those

Premontre, and Grandmont, which were reserved and their abbots

appointed by the Pope.

viii

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
in

197

performance

honour of

Madame

de Roche-

chouart, on her fete or Saint's Day, which

was the 15th of August, Mary being her
name.

We

wanted

to get
it

it

up with more

care than usual, so that

might be a success.
I

So we acted Esther.

took

that

part.

Mademoiselle de Choiseul

was

Mordecai,

Mademoiselle de Chatillon Ahasuerus, and

Mademoiselle de Chauvigny was

Haman.
of the
silver

Our costumes were copied from those
Come die
1

Franpaise.

I

had a white and

dress, the skirt of

which was fastened with
to

diamonds from top
than

bottom

;

I

had on more
ecus' 1

one

hundred

thousand
all

worth

of diamonds, having

those of

Mesdames

de Mortemart, de Gramont, and of
la

Madame
was
the
I

Duchesse

de

Choiseul.

It

Vicomtesse de Laval who dressed me.

had a mantle of pale blue velvet and a gold
crown.
All the
pupils in

the

chorus had
Before the

white muslin dresses and

veils.

1

An

ecu was worth five shillings.

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
play,
still

wearing the simple costume of the
I

Convent,

advanced and pronounced the
:

following words
"

Nous sommes en un

lieu

par la grace

habite",

Ou

l'on vit

dans

la

paix et la tranquillite.

L'innocence, qui fut leur

compagne

eternelle

S'y plait et n'eut jamais d'asile plus fidele.

"A Madame
"

de Rochechouart.
-

Tout un peuple naissant

est
la

forme par vos mains.

Vous

jetez

dans son cceur
il

semence

fe'conde

Des vertus dont

doit sanctifier le
ici

monde.

Ce Dieu

qui vous protege,

du haut des cieux

A

commis

a vos soins ce depot precieux.

C'est lui qui rassembla ces

colombes timides

Afin que vous soyez leur secours et leur guide.

We
And
Is

live in a place

where grace

inhabits,

Where one
happy

dwells in peace and tranquillity.

innocence, their eternal companion,
in this her safest refuge.

To Madame de Rochechouart.

An

entire people

is

formed by your hands.

You sow in its heart the fruitful seed Of virtues which will sanctify the world. God, who from the heavens protects you here Has committed this precious charge to your care. It is He who gathered these doves together
For you
to

be their guide and their succour.

!

ii

PRIXCESSE DE EIGNE
ses bienfaits aient place en ta

199

Grand Dieu que

memoire

Que

les soins qu'elle

prend pour soutenir

ta gloire,

Soient graves de ta main au livre ou sont Merits

Les noms predestines de ceux que tu cheris

!

Tu

m'ecoutes,

ma

voix ne

t'est

point etrangere,
;

Je t'implore souvent pour celle qui m'est chere

Elle-meme t'envoie

ses plus tendres soupirs ses desirs.
l'aurore,

;

Le Le

feu de ton

amour allume

zele qui l'anime

au lever de

Au Tu

coucher du

soleil,

pour

toi

l'enflamme encore.

la vois tous les jours
le

donner de grands exemples,
-

Baiser avec respect

pave de

tes temples.

O

vous, qui vous plaisez aux folles passions

Ou'allument dans vos cceurs de vaines fictions
Profanes amateurs de spectacles frivoles

Dont
Great

l'oreille

s'ennuie au son de

mes

paroles,

God

!

may

her goodness be remembered by Thee

!

May

the care with which she supports

Thy

glory

Be engraved by Thy hand in the book where are written The predestined names of those Thou dost cherish Thou will'st hearken to my voice, it is not strange to Thee, Oft I implore Thee for her who is dear to me
!

;

She herself gives Thee her tenderest

sighs

;

The The
Still

fire

of

Thy

love
fills

is all

her desire.

zeal

which

her at rise of

dawn

flames for

Thee

at set of sun.

Thou

dost see her each day give great examples,

Kiss with respect the pavement of

Thy

temples.

Oh

you who
in

rejoice in

mad

passion,
fictions,

Aroused

your heart by vain

Profane admirers of frivolous shows,

Whose

ear

is

wearied with the sound of these words,

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Fuyez de nos
plaisirs la sainte austerity
ici
:

Tout respire

Dieu, la paix,

la verite". 1

Flee from our pleasures

full

of saintly austerity

:

All here breathes of God, of peace, and pure verity.

"

I

cried towards the end,
also.

and

Madame de
I

Rochechouart

The

chorus was sung
dressed.

and a

ballet

was danced while

After the performance, as soon as she saw me,

Madame de Rochechouart held out her arms I rushed into them, and she folded to me me to her heart. She did not hide her great
;

partiality for

me.
at that time that
it
I

"

I

was so happy
for

should
I

have been glad
at
last

to last for ever.

had

been appointed to the dispensary, 2

which had been the summit of

my

ambition,
I

and
with

I

lived there very

pleasantly.

was

Madame

de Choiseul, Mesdemoiselles

de Conflans, Mademoiselle de
1

Montsauge,

This curious mixture of the prologue of Esther and other lines

of Racine
2

was arranged by M. de
dispensary.

la

Harpe.

The

This department consisted of

(i)
;

A
(2)

large

room

lined with shelves on

which were the medicines
four alembics.

Two

immense rooms with two chimneys and

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
and Mademoiselle de Damas,
all

of

whom

were pretty and amiable.
"

Among

the nuns

was a person of rare
Saint Laurent,

Madame de Saint Come amiability; Madame de
of the Cosse family,

who was

was

witty

and

scatterbrained.

Madame

Sainte Marguerite,
old,

who was

only sixteen years

had just taken her vows, and thought only

of amusing herself.

Madame Sainte Veronique
woman, without a
and that
in

was a
of

ridiculous old

particle

common

sense,

itself

was a

source of amusement.

Madame
;

de Saint

Come taught us
all

botany she taught us to know
In

the different plants and their virtues.

the evening
chouart's.

we went
I

to

Madame

de Roche-

would have liked to have spent

my

life in

that way.
in
all

"

I

have said that there were six of us

the dispensary.
faithful likenesses

Here
:

are our portraits,
la

Madame

Duchesse de

Choiseul, fifteen years old, married, pretty,

amiable, bright, witty, but satirical, violent,

and

hot-tempered.

Mademoiselle

Helene

202

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

vm
old, pretty,

Massalska (myself), fourteen years
clever,

graceful,

stylish,

a

good

figure,

as

stubborn as the Pope's mule, and incapable
of controlling her
first

impulse.

Mademoiselle
but with

de Damas,

1

pretty,

most

graceful,

more jargon than

wit, sixteen

years of age.

Mademoiselle de Montsauge, the most beautiful

eyes

in

the

world,

but with
fifteen
2

a

dark
years
rather

complexion,
old.

gentle,

witty,

Mademoiselle
remarkably

de

Conflans,

pretty,

brilliant
sister,

and

full

of wit,

aged

fifteen.

Her
not

Mademoiselle de
;

Vaudreuil,

was
sister,

pretty

she

tried

to

copy her
clever.

but was far from being so

"

One
to
;

morning,

Madame

de Rochechouart

said

me
I

'
:

Helene, come to
to

me

at

six

o'clock

want

speak to you.'

I

went there-

1

Mademoiselle de Damas was the

sister of the

Damas, of

whom we

shall

speak later on.
to the cause of

Comte Royer de The Damas family

showed the greatest devotion
during the emigration.
2

King Louis XVIII.

Afterwards Marquise de Coigny, one of the wittiest ladies of

the Court of Louis

XVI.

PR1NCESSE DE LIGNE
fore,

according to the order

I

had received
dear
child,

;

but she only said to

me

' :

My

I

am

very sorry, but

I

cannot talk to you
I

now
;

;

my

head

is

burning, and
I

feel feverish

you
I

must go away, and

must go

to bed.'

re-

turned to the dispensary, which was

ment, and said that

I

had found
this

my departMadame de

Rochechouart

ill.

As

was very seldom
de Ferriere and

the case with her,

Madame

Madame de
Madame

Cosse, the second and third dis-

pensary nuns, went to her immediately.

When
in

de Ferriere returned she told us she

had found
high fever.
greatest
refectory
class,

Madame

de Rochechouart
all

a

We

were
;

seized with the

apprehension

on

going
to

to
all

the

we

carried

the

news

the

and

the

consternation

was general.

After supper Sister Leonard,

who

waited on

Madame

de Rochechouart, came with a mes-

sage from her to say our names would not

be called over
bed.

;

and we went sorrowfully

to

The

next day, on going

down

to the

schoolroom,

we were

told that the fever

had

204

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
and that
to
all

vin

increased,

Madame

de Rochechouart
infirmary.

was going

be taken to the
burst into tears
;

Then we

Madame

de

Choiseul, Mesdemoisellesde Conflans, myself,

and a few others were

in dreadful grief.
x

The

Duchesse de Mortemart

came

in
2

the after-

noon, bringing with her Bouvart

and Lorry. 3

The same evening Madame de Rochechouart
1

Charlotte de

Manneville,

Dowager -Duchess
at

of

Mortemart,

sister-in-law to
2

Madame

de Rochechouart.
Chartres,

Bouvart (Mich.-Ph.), born

nth

January 171
he

1,

died the 19th January 1787.

He was

professor at the College of
;

France, and a great

enemy

of the system of inoculation

is

supposed to have been the author of the act of accusation brought " This Bouvart," writes against Joly de Fleury for this innovation.

Grimm, "

a legalised assassin in the streets of Paris,
to insult his fellow-members,
It
is

is

only too glad,
to get

by way of pastime,

and even
he

up

some

little

criminal cases against them.

who

attacked

Tronchin, accused Bordeu of stealing a watch and sleeve-links off
a dead body, and

who

fought with Petit."

It is certain that

Bouvart

was detested by
3

all

his colleagues, but at the

same time he was the

most fashionable medical

man

in Paris.

Lorry (Anne-Charles), President of the Faculty of Paris, born

the 10th October 1726, at Crosne, near Paris, died at
les

Bourbonne
strik-

Bains the 18th September 1783.

His character formed a

ing contrast with that of Bouvart.

His gentleness, kindness, and the

compassionate interest he took in his patients, brought him great
success.

Hating discussions, he was occasionally reproached with
too readily to the opinions of his fellow-doctors.

giving

way

He

never aimed at making a fortune, and died poor.

vin

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
delirious,

205

became
till

and remained

in that state

the eve of her death.
"

Meanwhile, the masters were dismissed,
playing at any games, and were in

we

left off

a state of utter despair.
the pupils
infirmary.

Every hour one of
news
at

went

to

ask for

the

every

The Lady Abbess went herself day to see her. The Due de
his brother

Mortemart and

were admitted. 1

The Duchesse de Mortemart remained day
and night by her
beside.

Mademoiselle de

Mortemart seemed

sad, but less afflicted than

we were it cared much
:

is

true that her aunt
her.

had never

for

At
fever,

last,

after eleven

days of

continuous

the doctors

de-

clared that she could not recover, and that

the Sacraments must be administered as soon
as she should
"

become

conscious.

The

following day,

the twelfth of her

1

Victorien -Jean -Baptiste- Marie

de

Rochechouait, born

8th

February 1752, died

14th July

1812.

He had

married Made-

moiselle de Cosse-Brissac.

His brother, the Marquis de Roche-

chouart, born in 1753, died in 1823.

2o6

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

vin

illness,

towards the morning, she appeared to

recover consciousness.
of precaution,
if

She was asked, by way

she would not receive the

Sacraments, and she

made

a sign of assent.
al-

They were
though
it is

therefore administered, and

the custom for the pupils to assist at

these ceremonies from the passage of the infirmary, as
it

was feared that our

cries

might

be heard from her room, and that some of us

might try

to

see

her,

we were conducted
but they did
at

during that time to the choir.
"

At night her agony began
toll

;

not

the

bell,

as

is

customary

such mo-

ments, partly because of the pupils, and also

on account of had

Madame

Sainte Delphine,

who
the

fallen into a state of stupor.

From

moment she had seen

her

sister's illness
left

take

a fatal turn she had not

the foot of her

bed, but after the Sacraments
istered, the

had been admin-

Duchesse de Mortemart conferred

in a

low voice with the Lady Abbess, and

told

Madame

Sainte Delphine that she begged

her not to spend the night in the infirmary.

vin

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
told her she insisted

207

The Lady Abbess

on

her going, and gave orders to
Sulpice not to leave her.
the dispensary, where

Madame

Saint
to

So she was taken

we

all,

belonging to

that department, spent the night in weeping.

The Lady Abbess was informed, as she requested, that Madame de Rochechouart was at the point of death. Her confessor, Dom Themines, had not left her side. The
"

Duchesse de Mortemart was

in the

Abbess's

rooms, for she would not leave the Convent.

When

they came to

call

the

Lady Abbess
come, and she
to

she begged to go with her, but the Lady

Abbess implored her not
sent

to

word

to the

Due de Mortemart
arrived,

come

immediately.

He

having on the

previous day asked for a permission from
his

Grace the Archbishop

to take

Madame
if

Sainte Delphine

away from the Convent

her sister died.

At about

eight o'clock in the

morning Madame de Rochechouart, who had
not spoken

a word

since

the

Sacraments

had been administered, asked

for her sister.

208

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
told her that she

vm
there,

They
"

was not

but

that they
'

would fetch

her.

Raise

Verrue

my pillows,' she said. Madame de and Madame de Domangeville, first
;

and second infirmary nuns, did so
took hold of
said
'
:

then she

Madame
!

de Verrue's arm, and
I

Oh, what pain

am dying

!'

and she

expired.

The

class

had just come down, and

Madame
not

de Royer had said that

Madame

de

Rochechouart was not dead, so that we did

know

but what there might

still

be hope.

As soon
left

as she

had expired, the Lady Abbess

the infirmary, in order to convey the in-

telligence to
son.

Madame

la

Duchesse and her

The Duchess

fainted away.

When

she

came

to herself again

they said there was

nothing else to do but to put

Madame

Sainte

Delphine

in a carriage

and take her away.

So a

carriage with six horses
it

was sent

for

;

when
to

arrived,

Madame

de Mortemart went

the

dispensary,

where

Madame

Sainte

Delphine had remained, as yet unconscious of
her
sister's death.

Madame

de Mortemart told

viii

PRINCES SE DE EIGNE

209

her nothing, but simply gave her the Archbishop's permit to remain three

months out

of the Convent.

Madame

Sainte Delphine

immediately understood what that meant, and

had a violent attack of

hysterics.

At

last

they managed to put her into the carriage,

and convey her

into the country at Everli,

where she spent one month.

The

other two

she spent at Paraclet, with her

sister,

and

then returned to the Abbaye-aux-Bois.

"The Lady Abbess sent Madame de Villiers with orders to Madame de Royer to
announce the news
already suspected
it.

to

the

pupils,

but

we

She came forward,
has pleased

when each
said
'
:

of us had taken our places, and
ladies,
it

Young

recall

to

Himself our beloved
Offer up to

God to Madame de

Rochechouart.

Him the sacrifice
pray for the
to

of your legitimate grief, and

repose of her soul'

Then we asked
we

be
the

taken to the choir, where
prayers for the dead.

recited

"We
vol.
1

had been so deeply attached

to the
14

2io

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

vm

person of

Madame

de Rochechouart that we
not to

obtained permission

appear

in

the

schoolroom either that day or the next, on

which she was
"

to

be buried.

The

class did not follow her funeral, but
in prayer.

passed the time

She was

to

have
nuns

been buried
are,

in the cloister, as all the

but the family requested that the body
in

should be placed
choir,

one of the chapels of the

which was accordingly done.
marble covers her tomb.

A

slab

of black
pupil

Each
and

had two Masses said

for her soul,

she had a magnificent funeral at the expense
of her family.
" It

now became

necessary to elect another

mistress-general, but

nobody wished

to take

the

office,

each one dreading the comparisons
pupils.

which would be made by the
of

Some
Royer,

them wished
she

to

have

Madame de

but

would
Sainte

not

accept.

We
but
;

wanted

Madame

Delphine,

she

was
far

certainly not equal to the

work

she was

too indolent.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
"

At

last,

on the day fixed

for the

meeting

of the Chapter to decide on the appointment,

a

novice came

at

three

o'clock

from

the

community,

to tell the class that the ladies

begged us

to

pray that the

light of the

Holy
they

Ghost might guide them
were about
to

in the choice

make
all

of a

mistress-general.

We

immediately

knelt down, and after a

short silence sang the Veni Creator.

"At six o'clock
schoolroom
;

the Lady Abbess

came to the
stalls,

we placed

ourselves in our
'
:

and she addressed us as follows
ladies,
I

Young

have come

to

express to you
sustained,

my
at

grief at the loss

we have

and

the

same time inform you
to retrieve

that the
it

ladies

have endeavoured

as far as in

them

lay.

They have

elected

Madame

de

Voyers, second mistress of the novices, in the
place

of

Madame de
reply
to

Rochechouart.'

We

made no

the

Lady Abbess, but
the room.

merely bowed, and she
Shortly after

left

Madame de Voyers, conducted
in
;

by Madame de Royer, came

she had a fine

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
figure,

and enjoyed much consideration

in the

novitiate.

She was about
'
:

forty years of age.
I

She

said

Young

ladies,

feel that

my preI

sence here can hardly be agreeable to you.

know how
me.
I

difficult is

the task that lies before
it

pray you to
in

make
me.

easier

by placing

your confidence

you rightly accord

to the

The regrets that memory of Madame
to

de Rochechouart are a credit both
to her
;

you and
I

I

cannot

flatter

myself that
I

shall

worthily replace her, but

ask you to rest

assured that
"

I

shall

This

little

make every effort to do so.' speech, made with much sin;

cerity of

manner, touched us

we applauded
her,

vehemently, and asked permission to kiss her
hand.

She begged us

to

embrace

and

on the following day everything resumed
its

usual course.
"

For

my own
I

part,

I

never loved her, and
for

in truth

was

to blame,

she deserved

our affection.
death was the
the Convent."

Madame de Rochechouart's cause of my first wish to leave

viii

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE

213

Here the Memoirs written by the young
Princess during her stay at the Abbaye-aux-

Bois

come

to an end.

Henceforth we

shall

have ourselves
life
;

to relate the history of her

drawing the materials of our story from

her

own correspondence and
discovered

that

of her

family,

from her notebook, and other sources

of information
patient research.

by

diligent

and

PART

II

THE PRINCESS CH. DE LIGNE

The Prince-Bishop and
tutor.

Stanislaus-Augustus

Second dismemberment of Poland

—The Diet — Prince Xavier

in

1

773his

and

We must
We
left

now
him

return to the Bishop of Wilna,

and see what had befallen him since 1772.
settled in Paris,
life.

as

though he
his

intended to remain there for

Through
mind,

amiable
taste

disposition,

cultivated

and

for science
ties

and

erudition, he

formed

many

there.

He

was even made an

Associated
scriptions

Member

of the

Academy

of In-

and Belles Lettres, and Madame

Geoffrin, certain of her influence over him,

was persuaded that he no longer meddled
with
politics.

She

little

understood

the

changeable and restless mind of her protege.
Since the month of January 1773 the Prince-

8

21

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
left

i

Bishop had
letter

Paris,

and the following

is

a

Madame
:

Geoffrin received from the

King of Poland

1

6th April 1773.

"The
cause,

Bishop

Massalski,

after

having
his

urgently requested
after

my

uncle to judge
to

having

refused

give him

colleagues, as

my uncle

had himself proposed,

has induced the Austrian minister to interfere

by means of the

authority, or rather the
in

power, which his Court exercises
in order to

Poland,

prevent his suit being judged by
if

my
too

uncle, who,

the truth be known,

is

only

glad to be rid of the whole business.
dis-

This inconsiderate conduct has greatly
credited the Bishop.
It is
is

a pity, for
a great

I

have
of

always said that there

deal

good

in this

Bishop."

Madame
embarrassed
conduct,
for him.

Geoffrin,
at

although

very

much

having to explain the Bishop's
still

endeavoured

to

find

excuses

i

princesse de ligne

219

Madame Geoffrin to the

King.

2d May 1773
"
I

will at

once answer your Majesty about
It is

the Bishop of Wilna.

true that he has

an amiable and gentle disposition that be-

comes him
so

in society

;

but his character

is

weak

that

he he

is

incapable of keeping

the

resolutions

makes with
person

the

best

intentions.

The

first

who

cajoles

him, or

who

raises the least suspicion in his

mind, distracts him, so that he does not

know

on what he can

rely.

He
me

has written to me,

and

I

could see that he was in a great fright
to inform

on writing
his affairs.

of the

new

aspect of

He

fears that this

may
I

estrange

your Majesty from his cause.
of the contrary, and told him
that

assured him

I

was certain
the
to

your

Majesty

and

also

Prince

Chancellor would

be very glad

avoid

judging
never

this

affair,

which

in

all

probability

will

be

tried.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

"He
whom,

has

left

us the

Abbe Baudeau,

to

as well as to Colonel Saint Leu, he

had made the most splendid promises.
are both

They
;

much

attached to his person
I

and

if

he forgets them

do not know what
Saint Leu
is

will

become of them.

perfectly

devoted to the Bishop."

Meanwhile nearly

all

the exiled senators

who had taken

part in the Confederation of
to favour,

Bar were restored

and returned
in

to

Poland to take their seats

the Senate.

The Bishop of Wilna arrived amongst the first.

The King Stanislaus-Augustus Madame Geoffrin.
"The

to

Bishop of Wilna, when writing to

inform you that
his business,

my

uncle would not judge

might have informed you also of

several other changes in his conduct and in
his principles.

He

is

now

the intimate friend

of

those

who,

not

satisfied

with

having

despoiled

me

of three-quarters of

my kingdom,

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
are anxious to deprive

me

to a very great

extent of

my
is

royal prerogatives.

"Moreover the appointment of a Permanent
Council
contemplated, which will

grant

pardons instead of the King, and superintend,
besides,
all

the transactions that take place

between the Diets.
" us.

Such are
I

their intentions with regard to
their decision at

was only informed of

the opening of the Diet by the three Powers

who have dismembered

the kingdom."

The
that the

creation of the

Permanent Council
in

King dreaded was decided

August
had

1774.

The
ministers

delegations

of

Poland
1st of

resumed

their sittings

on the
three

August.

The

of the

Powers were

present at the Assembly, and proposed the
plan of a Permanent Council.

The scheme
in the

met with the most strenuous opposition

following sittings, especially on the part of

the

Lithuanian

deputies

;

however,

it

was
his

reported that the

King had already given

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
consent to the establishment of the council,

and deputies were immediately sent
Majesty
rumour.
his
in

to

his

order to hear him confirm this
report

The

was

true: the

King with
submitted.

customary
illness,

weakness

had

Pleading

he begged

for a delay of

several days, during which time he secretly

hoped that the Bishop of Wilna would persuade the Lithuanian deputies to consent to the
scheme. 1

Someslight modificationswere made

and urged by the foreign ministers, the King

and the delegation were obliged

to assent,

and

on the 7th of August the project was signed. This

may be

considered

as

the

date
Polish

of the overthrowing of the
constitution,

ancient

and of the

utter annihilation of

the sovereign power.

The Bishop
Paris

of

Wilna had returned

to

with
:

a

portfolio

crammed
consulted

full
all

of
the

schemes

"He

had

philosophers of the

time

on the state of

1

See the Journal EncyclopcJique, September 1774.


;

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
Poland, and brought back plans borrowed

from Rousseau and Mably,

etc.

He

fancied

he would find the salvation of his country
in in

the abstract paradoxes of the former, or

the

democratic

delirium
state

of

the

latter

and the confused
to every theory,

of his mind, open

exposed him to numerous

delusions."

1

He

was named a member of the Permanent and the King had
with his conduct.
little

Council,
satisfied

reason to be

Warsaw paper called Jotimal Encyclopddique we find the following: "As for the Bishops of
In the

Cajavia

and

Wilna,

they

persist
their

in

dis-

tinguishing

themselves

by

constant

opposition to the King's wishes."

Madame Geoffrin also writes to theKine:
ig//i

September.

"As
Paris,
I

long as the Bishop of Wilna was
could see

in

how weak he was and how

1

Vide Ferrand's History of the Dismemberment of Poland.

224

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
required to be guided.
start
.

much he
I

.

.

When
all

saw him

for Poland, without taking

either of his

two
I

acolytes,

I

foresaw

that

would occur.
that one

am more

than ever convinced
in

can

have no confidence

weak

minds and frivolous characters.

The poor
others
will

man
In

will

be

his

own dupe

;

avenge your Majesty."
this

case

Madame
;

Geoffrin

showed

herself a true

prophet

but

in

the mean-

time

honours and

distinctions

were being
the
Princelately

showered
Bishop.

on

the
Polish

head

of

The

Government had

constituted a

body

for the general direction

of public instruction.

This body received the
of National Education,
It

name of Commissioners

and the Bishop was appointed president.

proceeded to reorganise the studies which

had

been

completely

interrupted

by

the

suppression of the Jesuits,

who

until

then had

educated the Polish youth.
that

It

was decided
should

the

sale

of

their

possessions

furnish the capital necessary for the founding

i

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
and universities as well as

225

of schools

for

the purchase and books.

printing of the students'

While the Bishop of Wilna was busied
with the
tutor he
his

education

of his countrymen the
his stay in Paris for

had chosen during

own nephew,

Prince Xavier, was discharg-

ing his functions in the worst possible manner.

The Bishop had
to college

not wished to send the child
his delicate state of

on account of

health.

He

preferred confiding

him

to

some

trustworthy man,

who would be
on the
a clever

exclusively

attached to his person.
consulted

Madame

Geoffrin

her

friends

subject,

and
a

Masson

de

Pezay,

1

intriguer,

colonel and a poet, proposed his uncle,

M.

Boesnier-Delorme
of woods

;

he was a commissioner
a
talented

and

forests,

man and

accustomed to good

society,

but his head

was turned by the economists, and he was
infatuated with their
1

new

theories.

Alfred -Frederic -Jacques

Masson, called Marquis de Pezay,

inspector-general of the sea-coast, born 1741, died 1777.'

VOL.

I

15

226

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Notwithstanding
this,

i

as he

was warmly-

recommended both by

the Marquis de Mirafor

beau and the Abbe Baudeau,

whom
was

the
ac1

Bishop had a great regard, the
cepted.

offer

A

salary of thirty thousand livres
for

per

annum was agreed upon

M. Delorme,

including an under-tutor, a gentleman, and

a lackey,
the

who were more specially assigned to The same amount was child's service.
Masson de Pezay on signing the

offered to

agreement, and a further
livres

sum of sixty thousand
to

was promised besides

M. Delorme
be finished.
to

when
It

his pupil's education should

would have been

difficult

make

a

worse choice.

M. Delorme spent

his time

travelling for the benefit of his agricultural
affairs,

and squandered

his

money

in costly

ex-

periments on his property near Blois, situated

on the banks of the Loire.
he resided chiefly
fully

During the winter
where he
faith-

in

Paris,

attended the receptions of the Baron

1

Twelve hundred pounds

sterling.

i

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

227

d'Holbach and

Madame

Geoffrin, as well as

the political dinners given by the Marquis

de Mirabeau.

him about
the winter

in
left

As for his pupil, he dragged his summer travels, and during
him
at the

mercy of underlings

without exercising the slightest supervision.

The

child,

barely seven years old, and an
his birth,

orphan from

was puny and

delicate,

and would have required a mother's incessant
care.

Instead of getting stronger, his health
;

deteriorated from bad to worse
to

either left

himself,

or

ill-treated

by a brutal and

ignorant under-tutor, encouraged in low and
precocious instincts by a debauched lackey,
the unfortunate child contracted bad habits,

and when,
education,

at the

end of the term fixed
his

for his

the uncle claimed

return to

Poland

in 1778,

M. Delorme brought back a

child of fourteen, half crazy, absolutely ignorant,
It
is

and

in a

most deplorable

state of health.

easy to understand the indignation of
Bishop,

the
in

who had been

carefully

kept

ignorance of his nephew's condition.

M.

228

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

i

Delorme did not dare

to face an interview. to

He

sent the

young Prince

Wilna accom-

panied by a servant, and prudently remained
himself at Warsaw.
the

He

had, nevertheless,

audacity

to

claim

the

60,000

livres

promised on the completion of Prince Xavier's
education.

The Bishop
successful

flatly

refused

it,

and

only paid the travelling expenses.
dint

But by

of

scheming

in

Warsaw
francs
in

Delorme obtained a sum of 20,000
from the
haste
livres

family
Paris.

council,

and

returned

to

He

had received

30,000
180,000

during

six

years

— that
total

is,

plus 3600 at the outset, and 20,000 at the

end,
livres,

which
1

made up
payment

a

of

230,000
an

in

for

so

successful

education. 2

The young

Prince was settled at Werky,

in the magnificent residence of his uncle, at

a short distance from Wilna.
1

He

was treated

230,000

livres are
is

^9200

sterling.

2

This story

told

differently in the ilfewoirs
;

of Dw-fort de
after a

Cheverny, edited by M. de Crevecceur
consideration of his version,

but

even

careful

we

consider our

own

the most correct.

i

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

229

with the most tender care, his uncle never

let

him out of

his sight,

and took him with him
visits

during his frequent
confidential

to

Warsaw.

A

man named Levert was
;

attached

to his person

he was sent by the Marquis
indignant at

de Mirabeau, who,

Delorme's

conduct, and most distressed at having re-

commended
precisely
at

him, had remained on the best
the

of terms with

Prince- Bishop.

It

was

this
in

period

that

unforeseen

circumstances,

which

Helene was con-

cerned, gave rise to a rather curious corre-

spondence
Marquis.

between

the

Bishop

and

the

II

Helene's suitors

—The —A

Due

d'Elboeuf and the Prince de Salm

Negotiations of marriage

Comtesse de Brionne
Wilna's refusal

fresh suitor

— The Marquis de Mirabeau and the — Madame de Pailly —The Bishop of — The Prince Charles de Ligne.
bringing to a close the
life,

While Helene was

story of her peaceful years of convent

the reputation of her beauty, her name, and

her fortune had spread beyond the walls of
the old Abbey.

The young
appearance

Princess had already

made her

at children's balls.

The Duchesses

de Mortemart, de Chatillon, du Chatelet, de
Choiseul,
nieces

and

others,

whose daughters or
often

were

her

companions,

took

Helene out with them.

More than one

mother, anxious for her son's provision in
life,

had turned her thoughts towards the
Pole,

little

and disposed her

artillery

with a

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
view towards securing auxiliaries
in the field.

The young
not
to

girl

was not long

in finding this

out, but with

much

discretion she appeared

notice

anything.

Her
was

plans

were
ac-

already

marked

out

;

she

better

quainted than any one with her uncle's weakness of character, and

knew

well she

would

only

make
was

the marriage

she chose.

Two
The
de

suitors
first

came forward
the

at the

same

time.

Due

d'Elbceuf,

Prince

Vaudemont, second son of the Comtesse de
Brionne, of the house of Rohan-Rochefort,

and of Comte Charles- Louis de Lorraine,

Grand Equerry
and an

of France.

Though
heiress

of such

noble birth, the Prince's fortune was small,
alliance with a rich

was

for

him the

chief object in view.

de Brionne, an intimate de
Choiseul,

The Comtesse friend of the Due
at

saw

Helene

Chanteloup.
girl at-

The

grace and charm of the young

tracted her attention,

and on returning

to

Paris she carefully informed herself of both

Helene's present and

future prospects.

It

232

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

n

has not been forgotten that at the beginning
of her

Memoirs
This

the

little

Princess mentions

the Comtesse de Rochefort as a friend of her
uncle's.

lady

and

her

friend,

the

Marquis de Mirabeau, were among those

who
as

frequented the Comtesse de Brionne's

receptions.

The Marquis de Mirabeau
great friend of the

was,

we know, a

Bishop

of Wilna, and kept up a constant correspond-

ence with him

;

nothing was therefore easier
all

than for the Countess to procure
formation she desired.
It

the in-

was

in this

small circle that was
is

woven

the matrimonial plot which
folded before our eyes,
in

now to be unand we can see how
feeling,
;

those days, as at present, slight importance
to

was attached

mutual

or to con-

formity of taste or character

fortune, rank,

and name were the only conditions required.
It

was decided that the Marquis de Mirashould

beau

open
it

fire
felt

by writing

to

the

Bishop.

But

was

that he could not
;

bring the

affair to

a good issue unassisted

ii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
haughty and violent temper,
of
his

233

his

the

unthe

certainty

disposition,

required

controlling

influence

of

a

feminine

mind.

The right person was ready to hand, and Madame de Pailly, whose intimacy with the
Marquis was well known, was deputed
assist

to

him

in this matter.

1

Madame de
for intrigue.

Pailly

was very pretty, and pos-

sessed a quick, shrewd intelligence, well fitted

The

great Mirabeau,

who had
:

good reason

to hate her, wrote as follows

"This woman has the cleverness of
hundred thousand demons, or angels,
prefer
it
;

five

if

you

but she

is

equally dangerous by

reason

of

her

beauty,

and

her

intensely

designing disposition."
1

Madame de
;

Pailly

was the daughter of Captain de Malvieu, of

the Swiss guards

her family came from Berne, but her father's rank

keeping him
still

in

France, she had been brought up there, and while
officer, also in

very young had married M. de Pailly, a Swiss

the French service.

Her husband took

his pension

and returned

to

Lausanne
from him

;

Madame

de Pailly often went to see him there, but she
fact,

continued to reside in Paris, and was, in
after the year 1762.

completely separated

For more
;

details see

Memoirs 0/

Mirabeau, by Lucas de Montigny

The Comlesse de Rochefort

and her Friends r by Louis de Lomenie.

234

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

n

We

are not concerned with the unedifying

position that

Madame
1
j

de Pailly occupied

in

the Mirabeau family
that she

we merely conclude
was then

must have conducted herself with
it

sufficient reserve or decency, as
called, to

be admitted into the society of the
aunt,

Comtesse de Brionne and that of her
the Princesse de Lione- Luxembourg.
black hen, as she

The

was

called

by her intimates,

was delighted

to play a part in this affair.

She desired beyond everything
to such great ladies, to
attain
this

to be useful

and neglected nothing

end.

Madame
in

de

Pailly's

letters

were

quoted

her

society
"
;

"as

models of sentiment and elegance

we may

add of acuteness and moderation.

Madame de Pailly to the

Princesse de

Ligne- Luxembourg.
Paris, 26th December 1777.

"I enclose,
1

Madame,

a copy of

M. de Mira-

The

Princesse de Luxembourg, born de Bethisy, was a sister

of the Princesse de

Rohan-Montauban, mother of the Comtesse de

Brionne.

ii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

235

beau's letter to the Bishop.

On
:

handing
'

it

to

me
will

yesterday morning he said

Be assured
Providence

that this negotiation will succeed
aid
this

;

you.

I

could

not

have written
all
I

you

morning,

but

having suffered
attack
so.
1

night

from a violent
in

of
It

asthma

employed the time
suffered from
I

doing

may have

my

condition,
all

but nevertheless
necessary.'
will

think
"

I

have said

that

was

He

begs the Comtesse de Brionne

forgive the freedom with which he has spoken

of her and her family; he thought
to

it

advisable

preserve towards the

Bishop the same

frankness he has

always shown him, and,
letter

moreover, that his
to

should not appear

have been

dictated.
it.

The Abbe

2

was

quite satisfied with
"

We

are agreed as to what he (the
in his letter.

Abbe)

should say

He

will

resolutely

1

The Marquis was
for the

ill,

and very much taken up trying
at the Bastille.

to obtain

an order
2

imprisonment of his son

The Abbe Baudeau, who thoroughly understood
stay in Paris.

the Bishop's

character, having been attached to his service in 1772, during his
first

236

PRINCESSE DE L1GNE
dowry, and
will

n

treat the question of the
all

make

necessary observations.

He even adds that

in

order to influence the undecided character

of the Bishop he will enclose in his letter a

copy of

the

answer

he should

send

the

Marquis de Mirabeau.
used
this

The Abbe
success

has often
previous

plan

with

on

occasions.

"He does

not appear
'

much alarmed
prince,'
*

at the
fol-

competition of the

modern

and

lowing the usual bent of his mind, which leads

him

to believe in

what he wishes, he does

not doubt for one
this affair,

moment
it

of our success in

and

will carry

through rapidly."

The Marquis de Mirabeau was perhaps
not the best person for a negotiation of this
sort,

and
;

his nature

was

certainly not

conhis

ciliatory

but in spite of his violence,

tyrannical character, and fantastical ideas, his

was not an ordinary

intelligence.

He

had

much

observation, and expressed his ideas in
1

Prince Frederic de Salm.

ii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
original,

237

an

glowing, and picturesque

style,

though occasionally somewhat obscure.

The Marquis de Mirabeau
Bishop of Wilna.

to the

Paris, 25//* December 1777. "

My

Lord

— My gratitude
I

for

your kind-

ness,

and the

affection

feel in

return for the

friendship you have conferred

upon me, have
I

caused
suitable

me

to entertain

an idea which

think

both as regards the greatness of

your family and your

own

happiness.

I

have
if
it

conducted the

affair

to a point where,
it

meets with your approval,
developed,

can be further

but without

compromising you

in the slightest

degree should you have other

intentions.
"
I

know your

affection for the scions of

your

illustrious family,

whose destiny both law
1

and nature, the

will of their ancestor,

and

their

own
"

helplessness,
I

have confided
it

to

your care.

have not forgotten that
1

formed part of

Prince Massalski, Grand General of Lithuania.

-

;

238

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

n

your plan that the young Princess, your niece,
should

be established

in

France.

I

have

heard that she has given

much

satisfaction,

and that each day she has shown herself more
worthy of your care and
affection.
I

have

therefore thought of an alliance worthy of

you

in

every way.

Next

in

rank to our
always

Princes of the blood, who, though
'

peers

'

of the blood were only raised by law
less

above the other peers
ago,

than two centuries

we have nothing in France that can equal the House of Lorraine. " This family is now reduced in France to
two branches.

One

of

them

is

almost extinct

the only remaining male representative being the Prince de Marsan,

who has never

married.

The

other branch

is

that of the Princes of

Lambesc, Grand Equerries of France, at whose
head stands the beautiful Comtessede Brionne,

whom
1

you know, 1 and who occupies her
of the Comtesse de Brionne was famous.
in

The beauty

The

Duchesse de Villeray,

sending her a netting needle, addressed
:

to her the following lines

ii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

239

position with as

much

dignity as splendour.
left

This Princess has been

a

widow with two
Princes

sons and two daughters.
are
:

The two
1

the Prince de Lambesc,
the

Grand Equerry,
young Prince
noble mien
all

and

Due

d'Elbceuf,

a

eighteen years of age, of a

fine,

and

gentle

character,

with

whom

his
in

family are satisfied
the

— a rare thing anywhere,
especially with
us.

present day,

The
now

eldest, the Prince

de Lambesc, has

until

refused to marry with a persistency that time

alone can overcome. 2

His younger brother

" L'embleme frappe ici vos yeux. Si les graces, l'amour et l'amitie parfaite Peuvent jamais former des noeuds, Vous devez tenir la navette."

An emblem
friendship
shuttle.
1

here meets your gaze, If grace,
ever be knit together,

love,

and perfect
the

Can

Then you must hold

Prince Marie-Joseph de Lorraine,

Due

d'Elbceuf, Prince de

Vaudemont, was the son of Charles-Louis de Lorraine, Comte de Brionne, Grand Equerry of France, and of Julia-Constance de
Rohan.

He

emigrated with his brother, the Prince de Lambesc,
into

and they entered

the

service

of Austria.

Their
the

rank

of

Princes of Lorraine gave them
eyes,

special favour in

Emperor's

and they both attained the rank of field-marshal.

the Prince de

Lambesc

that the

It was to young Princesse de Montmorency

was betrothed.
2

Time

effectually

overcame

it.

He

married

in

1S12 the

240

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
far as to

n

even went so
feet to implore

throw himself at his

him

to

do so on one important

occasion.
It
is

1

The two brothers are veryamicable.
I

on the Prince d'Elbceuf that

have

cast

my

eye, as representing, in the interim,
I

the sole hope of his family, and
well not to delay.
"

thought

it

Madame

de Brionne

is

very clever, very
of her
family,

watchful

over the

interests

especially with regard to

the settlement of

her children.
less,

Active,

without
in

being

rest-

noble

and elevated

her ideas

on

general matters, easy on questions of detail,

amiable to the exact degree or extent she
chooses, but

having never displeased any-

body or anything any more than her own
mirror.

This

is

not a portrait
as
;

:

it

is

a plain
for
all

description,

such

is

necessary,

depends upon her

she will be a

pillar

of

Countess Colloredo, a widow, beautiful in spite of her forty years,
witty and ill-natured.
years.
1

He

separated from her at the end of two

On

the occasion of his proposed marriage with Mademoiselle

de Montmorency

ii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

241

support

to the

young
and

Princess, who, with

her noble mind

ardent
;

feelings,

will

prosper under such guidance
couple
also,
;

to the

young
and

who
live

will require sustaining

directing

and

lastly, to

your Lordship, when
;

you come to
for society
I

amongst us

for if

I

cared

should prefer the dull

moments
all

of

Madame
"

de Brionne to the wittiest of

the others.

Pray take counsel with

yourself,

and send
promises.
affair

me word if I am Any other will
and do
so.
all

to

my Lord, withdraw my
up
can,

follow
I

the

as well,
to

better,

than
I

and

ought even

But
its

alone could give
If

you

my

idea with

developments.
all

the plan suits you avoid

delays.

State

things exactly as they are to be, so that

we

may

consider

them

as signed

and

ratified.
I

"In any
consider me,
"

case,

pray forgive the liberty
in

have taken by interfering
etc.

your

affairs,

and

P.S.

I

ask:

1.

If the idea

meets with
16

your approval.
vol.
1

242

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
" 2.

n

The

conditions you require.
will grant."

" 3.

Those you

While

this negotiation

was being carried on
her frequent
1

Helene had met,
appearances
Salm,

in the course of

in society,

Prince Frederic
as
if

de
to

who had come
ball.

by chance

a young ladies'
successful

His reputation as a

man

of the world, his debts, and

his conduct, did little credit to the

name he
society, of

bore.

Unscrupulous

in

the

choice of his

amusements, frequenting the worst
doubtful courage, he

commanded

in Paris

no

sort of consideration.

He

was reproached,

on the occasion of a duel he fought with an
officer

of the

King's guards, with having

taken the precaution of secretly protecting himself with a large muff.

On
The

arriving at the

ground he refused

to undress,

and rushed on
latter

his adversary unawares.

gave him

1

Frederic-Jean Othon, hereditary Prince of Salm-Kybourg

;

his

mother was a Princesse de Horn.

He was

born on

nth May

1746, and died on the scaffold in 1794.

ii

PR INCESSE DE EIGNE

243

a thrust that would have pierced him through

and through had
ing muff.

it

not been for the protect-

The

recoil

caused by this obstacle
ground, and the seconds

threw the

officer to the

had

all

the difficulty in the world to prevent

the Prince from killing his fallen adversary.

The
mind.

Prince de Salm had a handsome face,

easy manners, a gay disposition, and a supple

Helene ignored the
life.

dishonourable
in

details of his private

She only saw

him an elegant
and above
in
all,

cavalier, bearing a great

name,

the certainty of a fixed residence
the

Paris,

in

magnificent

mansion the

Salms had

built,

on the Quay d'Orsay. 1
d'Elbceuf,

She would not hear of the Due
in spite of his brilliant prospects
;

she dreaded

Madame

de Brionne as a mother-in-law, and

allowed herself to be strongly influenced by
the Prince de Salm's friends,

who

did not miss
girl's

an opportunity of exciting the young
imagination.
1

The

Bishop, led by his niece,
Honour
;

This hotel
built

is

actually the palace of the Legion of

it

was

by the architect Rousseau.

:

244

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
an ambiguous
answer,

n

returned
his

adjourned

decision,

spoke of a probable journey

to Paris,

and ended by no longer concealing

the fresh candidature of the Prince de Salm.

The Comtesse de Brionne
to continue the negotiations,

ardently desired

and she consulted
attaining

Mirabeau as
her end.
letter,

to the best

means of
replied
is

The Marquis
is

in

a long
1

of which the following
absolutely

an extract
that

"It

necessary

the

Countess should
staid

have as representative a

and honourable man, acting on her

authority,

and
he

capable
will

of

defeating

the

intrigues

meet
fact,

with.

National

jealousy,
in places

errors

of

important changes

and
all

ideas, distractions

and

dissipa-

tions of

kinds, in fact every sort of dis-

appointment,

await
his

him

;

quite

enough

to

worry out of

mind any

sensible man.
in

"It must, however, be borne
1

mind

that

The

letters of the

Marquis de Mirabeau and those of

Madame

de Pailly on the subject of Helene's marriage are numerous, and
are amongst the sequestrated papers.

Letter T, Portfolio de Ligne

1-4 of the National Archives.

We

only give extracts from them.

ii

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

245

he must not be expected to conclude,

treat,

or decide anything, but only to obtain ample

and

reliable

information

as

to

the

family

possessions, customs,
in a

etc., to

keep the Bishop

favourable frame of mind, to sketch out

the conditions with him, and try to bring

him

round
is

to our views.

I

cannot deny that this

too

much

to expect
;

from a
this

man
there

alone, in
is

a

strange

country

for
if
it

only
it,

one remedy, which,
think will succeed

we can
is

obtain the

I

to get

Abbe

Baudeau
I

to

accompany him on the journey.

know
the

all

that can be said against him, and he
to

is

first

own

his faults

;

he would

spoil

any business requiring time, but an

affair that
is

has to be carried off at the outset
another matter, and he
is

quite
in

the

first

man

Europe

for that kind of thing,

thanks to his

business-like aptitude

and resources.

He

is

ingenious, insinuating, as
brained, of easy

good

as he

is

scatter-

and

lively habits,

knowing

how

to influence the Bishop,

which he does,

not by thwarting him, but by turning

him

246

PRINCE SSE BE EIGNE
like a glove.

n

round

In short, whatever objecto him,

tions there

may be

we cannot have

men made on
over there

purpose.

This one has a clear

head, and will elucidate matters both here and
;

he enjoys the confidence of the

young
her
In
;

Princess,

and knows how

to

manage

he can work up the Bishop as he pleases.

fact,

even had he none of these advantages,
I

which

consider quite exceptional for the

affair in

hand, or did he not
I

know
it

the country

as he does,

should think

of capital im-

portance to employ him in carrying through
a business of this kind.

"What
result of

I

can guarantee, not only as the
express warning, but also by

my

the fact that he has already suffered from
it,

is,

that he will not

meddle with

politics
dis-

or

economy, or any other subject of

cussion,

and

that,

provided
to

his

travelling

companion behaves

him

in a

simple and

friendly way, neither allowing himself to be

ruled by him, nor

still

less contradicting

him

openly, he will be quite satisfied with him, and

ii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
him most
useful.
I

247

will find

must appear

to
I

write at great length on this subject, but

assure you that

I

am

actuated by no prejudice.
is

In reality

I

have more liking than
;

supposed

for sensible business

but try watering cabwill see

bages with lavender water, and you
if

they grow

!

.

.

."

Notwithstanding the Marquis's eloquence,
the
land,

Abbe Baudeau
the

did

not start
fell

for

Po-

as the negotiations

through.

By

a second letter

Prince- Bishop,

under

the influence of his niece, declined for her

the

honour
1

of

entering

the

house

of

Lorraine.

The

unsuccessful

result

of the

negotiations
Pailly

undertaken

by
;

Madame

de

had vexed her much

she feared the

displeasure of the Comtesse de Brionne, and
still

more

that of her aunt, the Princesse de

Ligne- Luxembourg, 2
1

whom

she had special
himself by

In the same year the

Due

d'Elbceuf consoled

marrying, on 30th December 1778, Mademoiselle de Montmorency -

Lagny.
2 Henriette Eugenie de Bethisy de Mezieres, widow of the High and Mighty Lord Claude -Hyacinthe- Ferdinand Lamoral, Prince de Ligne and of the Holy Empire.
-

248

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE

n

reasons for wishing to please.

The

Princess,

formerly lady-in-waiting to the late
of Spain, had, by virtue of that

Queen
been
the

office,

given by the
palace
of the

King an apartment
Tuileries.

in

She

received

a

limited but carefully -chosen circle, of which

Madame
form
one.

de Pailly would have been proud to

part,

though the society was a very
old
Princess,

dull

The

according to her
fiftyfat,

contemporaries, had the most hideous

year-old face that had ever been seen, a

shiny countenance, without any rouge, lividly
pale,

and adorned with a chin three

stories

deep.

The Duchesse de

Tallard used to say

"that she was like a dripping tallow-candle."

But she was obliging and kind, and soon consoled herself for the failure of the projected

marriage.

She confided

to

the negotiating

lady that she had another scheme in view.

This time she had turned her thoughts to
Prince Charles de Ligne, nephew of her late

husband.

In

point

of fortune

the

young

Prince's position

was

far superior to that of

ii

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

249

the
in

Due

d'Elbceuf, and

if

his family occupied

France a

less elevated

rank than that of

the house of Lorraine
family

—which was a reigning
nobility
it

—on the score of
de

was

inferior

to none.

Madame
her for
it

Pailly, delighted at the con-

fidence the Princess reposed in her, thanked
as for a favour,

and

set to work,

resolved to profit by the experience she had

acquired and avoid another

failure.

She began by making the Abbe Baudeau
and the Marquis write
that
to the Prince- Bishop

nothing

could
that

be

concluded
the

in

his

absence,
suitors,

and

among

crowd
it

of

which every day increased,
he could discern
be
the
best
at

was

impossible

a distance
for

what would
niece.

match

his

Then she

cleverly tried to discover

what
to

was the influence which had been brought

bear on the young Princess that disposed her
so strongly in favour of the Prince de Salm.

She learned

that he

had gained over

to his

250

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE

n

cause one of the lady residents in the Convent,

whom Helene
Once
fully

frequently went to see. 1

acquainted with

all

the details

of the situation, she drew up her batteries
accordingly,

and

won over

to
:

her

side

three of Helene's best friends

the young

Duchesse de Choiseul and Mesdemoiselles de
Conflans.

She got mutual

friends to urge

them

quietly to influence the

young

Princess,

and then patiently awaited the

arrival of the

Bishop, which could not long be delayed.

Before seriously opening up negotiations
the Princesse de Ligne had written to Prince

Charles and his mother to inform them of
her plan, and of the advantages she saw in
this
alliance.

But she

did

not

hide

the

preference

over his

numerous competitors

which the young
1

girl

showed towards the

This lady was no other than the Marquise de Mesnard,

separated from her husband, the Marquis de Marigny, brother to

She inhabited in 1778 a magnificent Madame de Pompadour. apartment in the Abbaye-aux-Bois, where she received the most
brilliant

society.

She was on intimate terms with the Prince-

Cardinal Louis de Rohan, and with the Princesse de Salm, mother
of Prince Frederic.

ii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Frederic de Salm.

251

Prince
did not
to his

Prince Charles

seem very much
:

flattered,

and wrote

aunt as follows

March
"
I

1779.

have received,

my

dear aunt, the letters
to write to to

you have had the goodness

me,

and have immediately forwarded them
father.
I

my

foresee that there will be

many
It will

difficulties in

the affair you mention.

require

all

the perseverance you possess with

regard to what interests you,

and tax

to

the utmost your kindness towards the whole
of our family
;

a kindness whereof

we

are

deeply sensible, and for which once more,

my

dear aunt,
"

we

offer

you our best thanks.

The

little

lady appears to

me
in

of decided

character,

and not very delicate

her choice,

since she prefers the

Prince de Salm,
I

who

has such a bad reputation.

only hope the
takes so long

Bishop

will

not decide! for

it

to receive the answers.
"

Receive,

my

dear aunt, etc."
it

From

this letter

appears that the young

252

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

n

Prince was not very

much

delighted at the

proposed marriage, but his mother took up
the matter with

more eagerness, and begged

her cousin to continue the negotiations.

The latter, Madame de
offered
to

then staying at her
Brionne,
in

niece's,

the

Chateau de
Pailly,

Limours, wrote to

Madame
to

de

and
talk

come

herself
affair.

Paris

to

over the great
replies
"
I
:

Madame

de

Pailly

had hoped, Madame, that

this

week

would not have elapsed without your coming to
Paris.
I

greatly desire to have the honour
tell

of seeing you, in order to
affair.

you about our
I

You may be
me.
It

sure that

have made

the best possible use of what you deigned
to

inform

would be too long

for

me

to write to

you

all

that has been said on
last

one side and on the other, but the
our tmcle
is

word of
will

that he

must know what

be

the total fortune of the
future,

young Prince
his father

in the

and what allowance

means

to

give him at present.

He has repeated several

ii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

253

times that that was the essential point to be
cleared up
tions
;

that he found
;

all

the other condi-

most suitable

that with regard to the
his

residence in
sensible,

Brussels,

niece

was

very-

and that he

flattered

himself he
if

would have no
that

difficulty in

persuading her,
in the
'
:

was the only obstacle
is

way.

"It

true that he adds

But may we

not hope that the Prince de Ligne will
to

come

Paris

?'

I

answered that
this

I

thought not,

and,

indeed, that

change of residence
advantage
it
;

would

not

be to

his

that

I

thought his niece would find
able to be at the

very agreein

same time a great lady
and
at Versailles
;

Brussels, in Vienna,

that

the Prince de Ligne's establishments in Flan-

ders
to

were such that they were preferable

any that might be had elsewhere. ..."

Madame
young

de Pailly conducted the whole

business very cleverly.

She

called

on the

Princess, and, feigning to ignore the

preference that
the

Helene openly avowed

for

Prince de Salm, she carefully avoided

;

254

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE
subject.

n

mentioning the

But

she

boldly

faced the other obstacle

— that of an establishon the excepPrinces de Ligne in

ment

in Brussels.

She dwelt
tional

at great length

position of the
in the

Vienna and

Netherlands.

Then
of

she
that

gave a most

brilliant

description

occupied by the Prince's father at Versailles,

where he spent most of
from military service.

his time

when

free

She gave Helene

to

understand that with the great preference the
Prince showed for the French Court, she would
easily find in

him an

ally
;

towards obtaining
for

an establishment
son,

in Paris

he adored

his

and would be happy
it

to

have him

near.

Only

was

essential to gain time,

and care

must be taken not
de Ligne,

to clash with the Princesse

who was

the

least

disposed

to

accept this arrangement.

This conversation made a tolerably deep
impression

on

Helene,

who,

for

the

first

time, did not

oppose a formal refusal to the

proposed alliance with the Prince de Ligne

ii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

255

she merely asked to be allowed to

reflect,

and

to await the arrival of her uncle before

taking a decision.
the

The

delay was granted

more

easily that the Princes

de Ligne,

both father and son, were at that time en-

gaged with the army, Austria being

at

war

with Prussia as to the succession of the electorate of Bavaria.

We
tions,

will

now who
in

leave Helene to her reflecto

and turn our attention

the

two

personages

are about to play such an

important part

her

life.

Ill
The de Ligne
ment
at

family

Posig

— Prince Charles — War — The Prince de Ligne's

in Bavaria

letter to his

— Engageson — The

Treaty of Teschen.

The De Ligne
illustrious in

family was one of the most
Its

Flanders.

head,

Charles-

Joseph, Prince de Ligne, Prince of the

Holy

Empire, Lord Paramount of Fagnolles, and

Lord of the Manors of Beaudour, Bel

CEil,

Valincourt and other territories, Marquis of

Roubaix and Dormans, Baron of Fauquenberghe,

Baron of Wershin, Knight of the
first

Golden Fleece, Grandee of Spain of the
class, first

ber of Flanders, Peer, Seneschal
in

and Marshal of Hainault, was General

the Austrian army, Captain of the Trabans,

Colonel and owner of a regiment of Walloon

in

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
and chamberlain
1

257

infantry,

to their

Imperial

Majesties.

These honours were

certainly sufficient to

satisfy the highest ambition, but

they were
titles

not

all.

In addition to

all

these

we

must add the position enjoyed by the Prince de
Ligne
at Versailles,

Vienna, and Brussels

a position acquired by his brilliant personal
qualities.

Handsome, brave, generous, chival-

rous, gifted with a dazzling imagination, lively
wit,

and a mind

full

of impulsive brilliancy,
all

he was, notwithstanding

these advantages,

the most unaffected of men.
in all

He is

mentioned

contemporary memoirs, even by those

of most diverse opinions.

Mesdames de

Stael,

de Genlis, the Comte de Segur, the adventurer
Casanova, the Emperor Joseph, Voltaire, the

Empress Catherine, and

others,

all

unite in a

concert of praise, and not a discordant note
jars

upon the general harmony.

Madame

de Stael winds up her portrait of him by
1

At a

latter

period he became field-marshal, like his father and

grandfather.

VOL.

I

17

258

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
:

m

saying, like Eschine
at

" If

you are astonished

what

I

say of him,
if

would you be

how much more so you knew him !" Such was

the future father-in-law of Helene.

Prince Charles-Joseph had been brought

up by
" "

his

father

in

the

strictest

manner.
:

My
I

father did not care for me," he says

know

not

why,

for

we

hardly

knew
it

each other.

He

never spoke to

me

;

was

not the fashion at that time to be either a

good

father or a

good husband.

My

mother
to

feared

him extremely.

She gave

birth

me

dressed in her farthingale, and died in
later,

the same dress, a few weeks

so strict

was

he as to appearances and stately formalities."

His military career was most
his

brilliant,

and

promotion rapid.

At the age
immediately

of twenty

he was named colonel of his father's regiment
of

dragoons.

He

wrote

to
is

inform him of the

fact,
:

and the following

the answer he received

"It was already unfortunate enough for

me,

sir,

to

have you as a son without the

m
additional
colonel."

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
misfortune of having you as

259

my

His son replied:
one nor the other are

"My
my

lord,

neither the
it

fault,

and

is

the
re-

Emperor your Highness must make
sponsible for the second misfortune."

The
de
while

Prince married in 1755 the Princesse

Lichtenstein, 1

and

in

September

1759,

he was busy fighting the

Prussians

before Meissen, he received the news of the
birth of a son.
"
I
I

have a son," he writes
shall love
tell

joyfully.
I

"Ah

!

how
from

him;
so.

I

already wish

could

write and
this
:

him
I

...

If

I

come back
'

war

shall
I

say to him

:

Be welyou

come
with

I

am

sure
!

am going

to love

all

my

heart

"
'

The

Prince

had suffered

too

severely

from the harshness of his father to be willing
to imitate
it.

All his children

were brought

1

Francoise-Marie-Xaviere de Lichtenstein, born 25th November

1740, daughter of Emanuel, Prince de Lichtenstein, and of Marie-

Antoine de Dietrichstein-Weichseltadt.

260

PRINCE SSE DE L/GNE
affection,

in

up with the greatest

but he was

never able to refrain from showing a marked
preference
suitor to our
to

the

eldest,

Prince

Charles,

young

Princess.

what he knew so well
like a
still

himself — "to
little

He taught

him

fight

gentleman."

The

Prince, while
his father.

a child,
I

was

led to battle

by

"

had a

slight skirmish

at the outposts

with the Prussians," he says, " and, jumping
into

the
I

saddle

with

him

as

we
in

galloped

along,

took his
shot
I

little

hand
I

mine.

At
:

the

first

ordered

said

to
if

him

'It

would be charming,
little

my

Charles,

we had

a

wound
!"

together.'

And

he laughed, and

swore, and became excited, and spoke quite
judiciously

After having been at Strasburg 1 for four
years,
1

Prince Charles entered the Austrian
that time there

At

was a famous school of

artillery at Stras-

burg, directed by de Marzy.

By
tember

the treaty of Ryswick, signed in 1697, Alsace at that time

belonged to France.
1

Strasburg had capitulated on the 30th Sepits

68 1, and made
it

submission to Louis XIV.
fortress.

Fortified

by

Vauban

had become a formidable

The

arsenal con-

tained nine hundred cannon.

in

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
at

261

service,

the

age of sixteen,

as

second

lieutenant

of

engineers.

He

would have

preferred the artillery, but chose the engineers
to please his father.

At the moment when

the negotiations for

Helene's marriage were begun war had just

broken out between Austria and Prussia, on
the question of the succession in
Bavaria,

and the two Princes de Ligne were with the
Austrian army.

The Elector of Bavaria, Maximilian-Joseph,
had died on the 30th of December 1777
without male
issue.

Notwithstanding

the

indisputable rights of the

Elector- Palatine,

several other princes raised pretensions to the
succession.

The most
was
the

formidable of these
II.

pretenders

Emperor Joseph

Barely had the Elector closed his eyes when
the Austrian troops marched on the Bavarian
frontier.

This caused great uneasiness

in Prussia,

and the young Due des Deux-Ponts, urged
on and supported by Frederick the Great,

262

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

in

protested before the Germanic Diet against
Austria's designs.

The

Elector of Saxony

followed his example, and while this serious
discussion

was going on Joseph and Frederick
into
Silesia,

went,

the one

the other

into

Bohemia,
they

command of the large armies had raised. They remained thus in
to take

presence of each other for several months.

Marie -Therese, who feared war, carried on
secret negotiations to stop
it.

Joseph, on the

contrary, anxious for a contest with the great

Frederick, urged

it

on with

all

his might.

1

The

Austrian army was divided into two

corps, the

one

officially

commanded by

the

Emperor, but

in reality

by Marshal de Lascy,
;

and the other by Marshal Laudon

it

included

the Lycanians or Croats, and picked grenadier regiments under the

Prince de Ligne.

1

Rulhiere, a passionate but keen observer, wrote of the
:

Emperor

Joseph
quest

"Peace was pain and anxiety

for

him, invasion and con-

was the

result of all his meditations.
it

These two words had
that Joseph

made

the celebrity of Frederick, and

was by them

wished to attain and even surpass his

rival.

This proud

man was

constantly tortured by a nervous and jealous anxiety."

ni

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
headquarters

263

His

were
in

at

Bezesnow,

in

Bohemia.

His son was

Marshal de Lascy's

corps, occupying a strong position behind the

steep banks of the Elbe

;

three lines of forts
river.

defended the passage of the

Prince

Charles was in fact principally occupied with
the construction of these constantly
letters will
forts,

and

his father

wrote

to

him.

The

following

show the

affectionate terms that
It

existed between them.

would appear that

Prince Charles was dissatisfied at the manner
in

which the

fortifications

were being made.

From my Headquarters
'

at

Bezesnow, 26th June 1778.

"

Well,

my engineer,

so

you are

still

fortify-

ing your position, but you are not fortifying

your esteem
I

for the genius of

our engineers

?

have much

trouble,

on

my

side, to fortify

myself against ennui.

The Emperor came here to make what we may well call a fuss. He said he wished
"

for war, but did not believe in

it.

'

Who

will

264

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

hi

take a bet?'

he said to us the other day.

'Everybody? replied Marshal Laudon,
always
nobody!
in

who

is

a bad temper.

'

Evei ybody means
r

— 'But I for one will
'

bet! said

Mar-

shal Lascy.

How much ?

'

said the

Emperor,

who expected him to propose about twenty Two hundred thousand florins! said ducats. The Emperor pulled a long the Marshal.
'

face,

and

felt

he

had

received

a

public

reprimand.

"He
is

has been very gracious to me.

He
my

in

constant fear lest one should play the

pedant by him.
troops,

He

was

satisfied

with

and said many nice things about you,

my
still

dear Charles, for he had seen you work

marvellously well.
see
I

him from

He has just my windows.

left

;

I

can

"
I

laugh at myself and the others when
I

think that, unappreciated though

be,

I

value myself so
I

much more than they

suppose.
I

personally superintend every platoon.

make myself hoarse

with giving the word of

command

to six battalions at the

same

time.

in

PPINCESSE DE LIGNE
"
I

265

personally inspect even the very smallest

huts, called in

Bohemia

kaloups, each contain-

ing only four soldiers, and taste their soup,
their bread,

weigh

their meat, in order to see

that they are not cheated.

There
I

is

not one

whom
and

I

do not

talk to,
;

whom

do not supply
I

with something

not an officer

do not

feed,

whom

I

do not rouse to the war.

My

comrades do nothing of this kind, and they are
very wise, as no one cares.
cares for the

Not one of them

war

;

they utter the most pacific

speeches before the young men,

whom
They

they

expect in the future to be zealous and good
generals.

This

is

also very well.
I

will

be made generals before
also will
" It
is

shall,

and that

be very
six
;

well.
I

weeks since
but,

have spoken a word
to repay

of French

on the other hand,
I

me

for a tiresome dinner,

have the pleasure,

on leaving the
at a time."

table, of receiving thirty

bows

" If

an infantry

officer

may

salute an engiI

neer in the exercise of his genius,

embrace

266

PRINCES SE DE EIGNE

in

you,

my

dear boy.

I

am

delighted that you

should get praised for doing bad work.
bye,

Good"

my excellent work
much
the

;

good-bye, my masterx

piece, almost as

so as Christine.

In

meantime the Emperor and the
stationary,

King of Prussia remained
stantly

con-

exchanging

letters.

The

Prince de

Ligne,

who was

well posted up, kept his son

informed of what was going on.
Bezesnow, $th July.
"
I

have

this

moment heard

that

the

Marshal asked the Emperor, on Saint John's
Day, how he had answered the
received that day from the
'

letter

he had

King

of Prussia.
'
;

I

have nonplussed him,' he answered

I

re-

presented that the season was advancing, and
that
I

wished to receive some lessons from so
master.

great a

When
I

do you think,

my
?'

dear Marshal, that

shall get his

answer

The Marshal counted on
1

his

fingers,

and

Princess Christine was the eldest daughter of the Prince de
;

Ligne
of that

she married in 1775

Comte
all

Clary, eldest son of the prince

name

;

she was adored by

who knew

her.

in

PRIiXCESSE
'
:

DE EIGNE
;

267

replied

In eight days

but he will bring

it

himself to your Majesty.'
"
I

have just heard that he has entered
;

Bohemia
lation
is

to-day
;

is

the 5th July, the calcu-

exact

so

much

the better
all

;

I

have

received orders to march with

my

corps."

The King
his

of Prussia had suddenly
at

made
his

appearance

Nachod,
"

at the

head of

advanced guard.
Prince de Ligne,
writes to his son
:

We

hoped

it,"

says the
it."

" but did not

expect

He

July.

"As
left

I

do not suppose you have already
I

Pardubitz for the army,
it.

must write and

give you some news of

The Emperor
col-

was informed that the King was advancing
at the

head of

I

do not know how many
at full gallop to the

umns.

He
7,
is

went

redoubt
:

number

and asked about twenty times
the Marshal?'

'Where

The

latter
life
:

came
'

up slowly

for the first
I

time in his

Well,
for

everywhere.' — 'Well,

Field- Marshal,

have had you looked
Sire, there
is

the King.

268

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
your spy-glass.
I
. . .

in

— Give me
he
.
.

Ah!

there

is

himself,

bet

!

on a large English horse
look.'-

.

perhaps his Anhalt,
;

— 'That

is

possible

but they have not

come alone

to

beat us

;

look at the strength of the columns,
is

Oh
us

!

there

one that certainly numbers ten

thousand men.
?'

They
will

are coming to attack
is it ?'

'

Perhaps, what o'clock

o'clock.'

— They
'

'

Eleven

only be in battle line in
will

two hours' time, then they
dinner, so shall

cook their

we

;

they will certainly not

attack your Majesty to-day.'

— 'No, but to-mor-

row
day

?

'-

— 'To-morrow!
nor even at
will
all

I

think not, nor the

after,

during this campaign.'

"You

recognise the phlegmatic and

bitter style of

our excellent Marshal, annoyed

at the constant interference

and anxiety of the
feels that

Emperor, who on these occasions
he
is

not master of the situation."

At

last

the war began, but the opposing

parties contented themselves with observing

each other's movements.

Prince Charles re-

in

PR INCESSE DE EIGNE

269

joined his father at Mickenhau on the 30th
of July,

and he became one of
;

his

aidesat the

de-camp
outposts,

he was always to be found

and

in

the midst of danger was

remarkably cool and courageous.

His father

constantly speaks of him with a pride that he

cannot conceal: "Charles
fire
;

is

splendid under

I

cannot restrain his ardour, he has such
spirits

presence of mind, such

and animation,
I

that he encourages every one.
that the

must

also

add

Emperor
It
is

is

very much pleased with

him."

thus that the Prince expresses
the

himself

in

picturesque

and delightful
this

description

he has given of

Bavarian

war
not

;

a war presenting this peculiarity, that
a shot was fired in
Bavaria,

and that

two armies of more than a hundred thousand
men, one commanded by the King of Prussia,
the other by the

Emperor
in

of Austria, remained
sight of each other

during nine months

without fighting a single battle, contenting

themselves with slight skirmishes or small
outpost attacks.

o

27

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

in

The
action,
1

Prince, in despair at this state of in-

seized every opportunity of attacking

the enemy.

We

will

quote the account he
;

gives of the fight of Posig

it

was the

first

action in which Prince Charles took part,

and

had a great influence on
" Prince
2

his military career.

Henry's hussars had taken up a

strong position on the heights of Hiihnerwasser.

In order to
first

dislodge them

it

was

necessary

to take the

Convent of Posig,

where there was a small garrison of about
forty

men, who spent their days watching

all

that took place in our camp.

This perpetual

spying irritated M. de Laudon a great deal.
I

told

him that Colonel d'Aspremont had
attack them,

already proposed to
1

but that
;

War was
he says:
it

a real delight to the Prince de Ligne
it.

from his

childhood he was passionately fond of
battle

When

he speaks of a

"

A
I

battle

is

like

an ode of Pindar: you must
!

throw into
it

an enthusiasm bordering on madness
think,

To

describe

properly would,

require the sort of intoxication one

feels at the
2

Prince

moment Henry
died

of victory." of Prussia,

brother

of the

King, born 8th
to

January

1726,

3d April
;

1802.

He

is

said

have had

great military talent

but his brother was jealous of him and did

not like him.

in

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
if

271

even

the position were carried
it,

it

would be

difficult to retain

being situated nearer to
to us.

Prince
if I

Henry than
.

He

told

me

to try

could.

.

.

But the garrison was on the

watch.
of the

A sentinel had been placed at the door
monk who gave me
to the

information, the
barri-

main entrance

Convent had been

caded, and they had raised trestles.

The
that

brave Lycanians began the attack an hour
before daybreak, at the very

moment

I

was drawing up

my men

on the small

plain.

Fifty were chosen to form the scaling party.

All wanted to go, but there were only five
ladders,

and

if I

had sent

for

more the news
Although

would have spread
the
ladders

in the country.

were

short,

one of the brave

Croatians was killed on the wall.

On

arriving

they were greeted by a shower of stones, and

Colonel d'Aspremont could no longer restrain

them.

The

excellent and worthy Lieutenant
first
;

Wolf went up
arm.

he was shot through the

All of a sudden they heard, without
that the

knowing where the news came from,

272

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

m

gates had been burst open, and every one

rushed thither.

Wolf was
lives

shot through the

body, and died two days
if

after, telling

me

that

he had a thousand

he would be glad to

sacrifice

them

all in

my

service.

A

sergeant

and
were

five

sappers

who
spot,

burst open the gates

killed

on the

and twenty-five men

were wounded.
"

Nothing has ever grieved
seeing
these
fine,

me

so

much

as

excellent

fellows,

stretched side by side with their lieutenant
uttering

these touching
sacrificed

things.
lives

Formerly

when

I

the

of

my

men,

sometimes needlessly, we shared the same
dangers,

and
But
I

it

had

not

the

same

effect

on me.
forward,

had sent these poor fellows
to

and unable

be everywhere
to

at

once, thinking

moreover

be of more use

where
that

I

was,

I

remained behind, and perceived

it is

often a hard thing to be a general

officer, as

one

is

obliged to expose one's

men

to

dangers which one cannot share."
Prince

Charles

was so struck with the

in

PRJNCESSE DE LIGNE

273

confidence and devotion his father inspired
in his

men, and with the praises bestowed on
his
life,

him by Lieutenant Wolf on
that

deathbed,
as

he remembered
later
1

it all

his

we

shall

see

on.

A
his

few days after

Marshal

Laudon came
to

to the Prince,

and ordered him

advance

all

troops,

and dislodge the

Hiihnerwasser huzzars.

"We
Marshal

had scarcely got

to

Jezoway when
;

the rattle of the carbines
in

was heard

the

consequence began to get excited,

and

I

saw, on a reduced scale, the conqueror
;

of Frankfort and of Landshut
first

it

was the

and

last

time

he smiled through the

whole of the campaign.
1

Laudon (Gedeon-Ernest, Baron
1

of),

an Austrian field-marshal,

born

6th October 17 10 at Trolsen in Livonia.

He

first

served in

the Russian

army from 1733
services

to

1739, and not finding his promotion

rapid
his

enough, he entered the Austrian service.
the

brilliant

As a reward for Emperor Joseph made him, in 1769,
in

Commander-General of Moravia, and Field-Marshal
Empress
Catherine

1778.

The

used

to

say

:

"I

cannot

see

Admiral

Tchitchakoff without thinking of a saying of the Prince de Ligne about Marshal Laudon.
recognised
:

Some one asked him how he

could be

'Go,' he replied; 'you will find him hid behind the

door, ashamed of his merit and superiority.'

That quite describes
18

my

admiral."

VOL.

I

274

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
" Charles
is

hi

so brave that

it is

a pleasure to
his side,

see him.

I

was galloping by

and
'It

holding his hand, saying as formerly:

would be a joke

if

we were

struck by the

same shot

!

'

After that, he carried an order

to retreat to

an

officer,

who was wounded on
with the enemy.
also

receiving

it.

Charles was delighted at having
pistol shots
I

exchanged

M.
;

de Laudon and
first

were

under

fire

the

time he sees the

enemy

after a

long
if

period of peace he gets as excited as

he

were

still

a mere lieutenant of Lycanians, and
to order

went himself
lackzi
to

Klegawiez and Pal-

retire

from their positions, which

had been turned.
"
I

said to

him

' :

Marshal,

let

us rather

send our orderly
camp.'

officers

and our aides-de-

When
;

I

looked round there were
all

none

left

they had
Charles.

gone

off like

giddy
at

fellows with

Posig was taken

about twelve o'clock.
"

Such

is

the simple story of a very pretty
little affair

and amusing

similar,

however, to

in

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
others that our generals

275

many

make

a fuss

about, and the newspapers describe as serious
battles, for the edification of the

coffee-rooms

and society of the

capital."
in

Meanwhile Marie -Therese,
less efforts to

her cease-

bring the war to a close,

won

over the Czarina to her cause, and

at length

succeeded

in

spite of the

Emperor Joseph,
Teschen
on
the

who was ignorant of

his mother's negotiations.
at

A
10th

Congress
of April

met

1779, and peace

was signed

on the 13th of
peculiar
in

May

1779.

This war was

many

respects.

The

Palatine

dynasty, in whose interest the war had been

undertaken, took no part in
subject of dispute,
hostilities
;

it.

Bavaria, the
in

was not involved

the

and the Elector-Palatine, who had

refused the

King of

Prussia's assistance,

owed
his

the

chief advantages

of the

peace
of

to

influence.

The

termination
left

this

war
in a
:

without a single battle

everybody

bad humour, especially the Prince de Ligne
"
I

was not the only one displeased," he says

;

276

PRINCESSE DE

1.

1

ONE

in

"

the

Empress was
not

dissatisfied

because peace

had

been

made
it

soon

enough

;

the

Emperor because
his

was concluded without
his

knowledge; Marshal Lascy because
if

plans had been interrupted, which,

they had
far

been carried

out,
;

would have proved

more

advantageous

Marshal Laudon because he

had only played the part of observer and
observed; the

King of Prussia because he
1

had spent twenty-five millions of ecus

and

twenty-five thousand men, and had not once

done what he intended

;

Prince

Henry

be-

cause he had been constantly crossed by the

King."
1

Equal to ,£6,250,000 sterling

END OF

VOL.

I

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s.

&

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