'

'

™*

THE GIFT OF

MAY TREAT MORRISON
IN

MEMORY OF
F

ALEXANDER

MORRISON

MEMOIRS
OF THE

j&rtncesse

toe

3Ugne

MEMOIRS
OF THE

iprincesse be ILtgnr
EDITED BY

LUCIEN PEREY
TRANSLATED BY LAURA ENSOR
IN

TWO VOLUMES. — VOL.

II.

NEW YORK

SCRIBNER AND WELFORD
1887

Printed by R.

&

R. Clark, Edinburgh

".8

CONTENTS
CHAPTER
Arrival of the Prince-Bishop in Paris
Pailly

IV

— Letters from Madame de — Letters from the Princesse de Ligne-Lichtenstein— The Paris Bel (Eil — Arrival of the de Lignes Abbe Baudeau — Marriage of Helene and Prince Charles —Their departure
at in
for Brussels

.......
CHAPTER V

Page

I

An

entertainment at Bel CEil
Brussels

— Prince

—The

Ligne family

Charles of Lorraine

Letter of the Chevalier de ITsle
Versailles

—The

—The

—The
.

Court

at

ladies at Court

Prince de Ligne at
.

— The Prince's

letter to his

son Charles

24

CHAPTER
The two
Great
Princes journey to Berlin

VI
Portrait

of Frederick the of the

— Return journey through Poland — The Bishop's residence Werky — The Diet Warsaw — The Indigenat —
Catherine
at

Journey to Saint Petersburg

—-Portrait

Empress

The

return to Bel CEil

......
at

52

438719

CONTENTS

CHAPTER
Life at

VII
Christine,

Bel CEil

Netherlands
Figaro

— The

—The Archduchess —The Comte d'Artois
Comtesse de

Governor of the

at Bel CEil

Le Manage de
Chevalier

Sabran and

the

de

Boufflers

Page 72

CHAPTER
insurrection in Flanders
his

VIII

Prince Charles purchases a hotel in Paris

for

— Birth of Sidonie —The and Vienna—Joseph representation of Don Juan — Haydn and Court — Mozart —The Comtesse de Kinsky — Prince Charles's Warsaw her — Helene's departure 95 —Winter
for

in

II.

First

affection

CHAPTER
The
Prince de

IX
Petersburg

Ligne's departure for Saint

— War declared against the Turks — Alliance between Austria and Russia — The Prince de Ligne as Russian General — Potemkin and Romanzoff—The
through Tauris— Interview at Kherson
taking
of

— Journey

Sabaez

— Prince

Charles

at

the

storming

of

Sabaez

— Letters from the Emperor Joseph

to the Prince-father

Letters from the Prince de Ligne to his son

of Kaminiecz

—The

Prince's return to

Vienna

—The Governor — Siege of Bel120

grade

CHAPTER X
The
four years' Diet

— The
to

Court

at

Warsaw and
Polish lords

the Princesse

Charles

— Festivities of the great

— Count Vincent
suits
.

Potocki and his two wives
Potocki

— Flight

Niemirow

—The Princesse Charles and Count — Two divorce 158

CONTENTS

CHAPTER
The
rebellion in Flanders
in the

XI
II.

Russian service
at

Vienna

— Helene Paris — The Lignes

illness

........
refuse to

— Death of Joseph — Prince Charles —The storming of Ismail — Return Kowalowska — The Count's journey grant a divorce — The Count's
to to

Page 192

CHAPTER
Return of the
Princes
to

XII
in

Mons

— Emigration
de

Belgium

—A

representation

of Richard

Caitr

Lion

re-enters the Austrian service

— He

— Prince
at

Charles

represents the

Emperor

on

his inauguration as

Count of Hainault

— Dumouriez Bois — Death of
Ligne

in

Champagne

— The

—War with France
Croix -auxof the Prince de

fight

.........
Prince Charles

— Despair
XIII
the

230

CHAPTER
Prince
Charles's Will

band's death

Potocki

.........
for

— Helene — Departure

receives

news of her husmarries Count

Werky

— Helene

257

IV
Arrival of the
Pailly

Prince-Bishop — Letters from Madame de —Letters from the Princesse de Ligne-Lichtenstein—The Bel Abbe Baudeau — Arrival of the de Lignes Paris — Marriage of Helene and Prince Charles—Their departure
in Paris at

CEil

in

for Brussels.

The
for

Prince-Bishop at

last

decided to start

Paris.

He

had hardly arrived when he

received a visit from

Madame

de

Pailly,

who
The

informed him of his niece's inclinations, and
explained to him the progress of
affairs.

Bishop earnestly requested to see the Princesse de Lignethat

Luxembourg

herself,

but at

moment

she was staying with

Madame
:

de Brionne

at her

country place of Limours.

Madame de Pailly at once resumes her pen "The Prince-Bishop, Madame, is always
inquiring whether you have returned
;

he

is

extremely desirous to have the honour of
VOL.
II

19

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
seeing you, and
I

should be very glad

if

you

could seriously discuss the matter with him.

"Occasions on which
zeal

I

can prove to you
will
;

my

and entire devotion

not be wanting
will

with so vacillating a mind
say through

you

be able to
I

me

anything you please.

will

see to everything, and render you a faithful

account of what happens.

But

it

seems

to

me

that
is

we must
to

settle

between ourselves

what

be the point of departure.

He

has referred several times to the question
of settlements, especially with regard to the
present.

Would
a

it

not be better to present
It

him with

copy of the deed of property?
transaction,

would hurry on the
measure.

and be a wise

"The
active
listens
;

Prince de Salm's agents are very

he constantly alludes to him, and he
to

my
;

replies

as

if

they were quite

new
all

to

him

he goes on confiding to

my

ear

the proposals that are
rivals,

made

to him.

We

have three fresh
however, give

who,

for the present,

me

no anxiety."

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

The

desired explanations at last arrived
in the following letter
:

from Brussels,

The

Princesse de Ligne-Lichtenstein to

the Princesse de Ligne-Luxembourg.
"
I

trust, Princess,

you do not doubt the

tenderness of
gratitude
it.

my

feelings towards

you

;

the

I

now owe you can

only increase

"

I

have the honour

to enclose the

paper

concerning

M. de Ligne's
all

property.

For

the last year he has put

his affairs into

my

hands, and as
all

I

sign everything and collect

the

revenues,

and M. de Ligne even

gives

me

the receipts for the
estates,
I

money he draws

from the

can guarantee the exact-

ness of the document.
"
I

am

too sure of

my

husband's affection

for you, Princess,
in

and the confidence he has
feel

your judgment, not to
will

certain

that

he

agree to any arrangement you
I

may

choose to make for his son.
you,

be°f to entreat

Madame,

in

case you should think an

4

PRINCESSE BE EIGNE
livres
1

\v

income of twenty-five thousand

not

sufficient for the present, to fix the
self,

sum

your-

for

I

only require one more

year to

settle the affairs of

our house (public opinion
in

having kindly reported that they were

a

much more confused
to
be).
I

state than

I

found them

can promise you to honour any

arrangements

and

liabilities

that

you

will

undertake for our young people.
will

All they
their
in-

have to do when they draw
three
I

come every
their

months

will
it

be to sign

names.

have made

a rule in busi-

ness to consider as sacred the dates on which

income or pensions
"

fall

due.

The

affection

I

bear towards

my children
faults,

leading
it
I

me
ill

perhaps to overlook their

would

become me

to praise

our son, but

must believe the testimony of those who
at

knew him
and

Strasburg during several years

;

at the present

moment we have every

reason to be satisfied with the character he
bears
in

the army.
1

One thousand pounds

sterling.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
" Pray, therefore,

do not relax your kindness
your
efforts

towards him, and
his happiness.

let

conduce

to

Youwill also be contributingtosur-

wards mine, for to see him settled and to be

rounded by mychildren
" Receive,

will

be

Princess, the

my greatest joy. assurance of my
etc. etc.

deepest respect and esteem,"

This

letter

had a wonderful

effect

on the

uncle, but did not

move
lady,"

his niece.

"The young

writes

Madame
;

de

Pailly, " is infatuated

with M. de Salm

he

has some emissary about her

whom we

do not
all

know, and who demolishes beforehand
can say againsthim.

we

Even the Comtede Horn's
as an honour,

name has been brought forward

on account of the Regent's phrase 1 about him.

"The good
1

uncle

feels

his

own weakmurder.

The Comte de Horn,

a connection of the Regent through his
for

mother, the Princess-Palatine, was condemned to death

The

family implored his pardon, appealing to the Regent
"
it

on the

ground of relationship. coldly replied, " I have
It
is

When

I

have bad blood," the Regent

drawn," and the pardon was refused.

probable that they boasted to Helene of the connection

between the Horn and Orleans families without mentioning the
Count's crime.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
ness,

and carefully endeavours to hide

it

he has agreed to everything with me, and,
as
I

have been fortunate enough
I

to

per-

suade him, he fancies

shall
if

have the same

success with his niece, as

they were in the
is

same frame of mind.
to use all his influence,

To-day he
and
at the

going

same time
to

inform her of the

visit

he wishes

me

make,

and of the
have
in

entire trust he desires she should
I

me.

shall lend

myself to

all

his

wishes, and shall have the honour of sending

you a report of
pray," etc.

this interview.

Receive,

I

The

uncle did not meet with the slightest

success in his efforts to overcome his niece's
resistance.
to confess
is
it

Madame

de Pailly was obliged
:

to her correspondent

"
I

There
think

one
will

point,

Madame, on which
;

you

be obliged to give way

the Bishop
niece's

asserts that

he can only overcome his

passionate wish to be married in Paris by

pledging his word that she shall spend three
winters there under your guidance, so as to

PRIXCESSE BE LJGNE
get accustomed to the fashionable world.

He
it

appears

to
;

attach great importance to this

promise

for

he

feels the great

advantage

would be to

his niece.

You

still

have time,

Madame,
time

to think over this matter, for
in

we

can discuss the other points
;

the meanI

I

will

tell

you what they are when

see you.

..."
Princesse de Ligne kept her
all

The

nephew

informed of

these negotiations

;

as for the

Prince's father, he

was

still

detained with the
Prince
in

army, waiting for peace to be signed.

Charles wrote a short cold note to his aunt,

which he did not even allude

to his

marriage

:

"My
my

dear Aunt

— Although
is
it
;

peace has
;

been declared the Congress
father
is

not yet over

very displeased at
village, feeling

he

is still

in a

wretched

very

dull,

with

nothing to do.
"

He
I

will certainly

go

to Paris as

soon as he

can

;

envy him the pleasure he

will

have

in

seeing you,

my

dear aunt.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
"

Allow me

to assure

you from time

to time

of the feelings of affection and respect with

which

I

remain

all

my

life," etc. etc.

The
easily

coolness the Prince displayed will be

understood when
felt for

we

learn that he al-

ready

a friend of his childhood a love
effaced.

which was never completely

But, ac-

customed as he was absolutely

to respect the
will, it

paternal or rather the maternal

never
to

entered his
obey.

mind

for

one moment not

His mother had eagerly agreed
cousin's plans.

to their
iso-

Helene's large fortune, the

lated position of the

young

girl,

which would
family

tend to

make her adopt her husband's

as her own,
cess,

had quite won over the Prin-

who
in

ignored or pretended to ignore her

son's secret affection.

She therefore perseto succeed,

vered

her

efforts,

hoping

though

the object in view was not easy to attain.

The Bishop
to the

of

Wilna had been won over

de Lignes, but he had

many

a hard

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
battle to fight, for

an unforeseen circumstance
to

had strengthened Helene's resolution not
leave Paris.

Her

friend,

Mademoiselle de

Lauraguais, had married the

Due Auguste

d'Aremberg, cousin of the de Lignes, who,
like him, resided for part of the year at the

Court of Brussels.

The young Duchess
at the

re-

turned to Paris for some time, and at once
visited her former

companions

AbbayeCharles'

aux-Bois.

She had heard of Prince

proposed marriage, and gave Helene a most

gloomy description of
latter

life in

Brussels.

The

immediately repeated
picture several

this to

her uncle,

making the

shades darker.
to listen

The poor Bishop
to
;

did not

know who

in

the

midst of

his

perplexities

he

determined to despatch the

Abbe Baudeau,
1

who was always
him

at hand, to Bel CEil,

giving

instructions to confer verbally with the

Princesse de Ligne on the delicate subject of

a residence in Paris, as well as on the
1

money

Bel CEil was the

summer

residence of the Princes de Ligne,

and

will often

be referred to

later on.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
question.

He

was allowed great
and accordingly
lost

latitude
set
off.

on

this latter point,

Madame

de Pailly

no time, and again

wrote to the Princesse de Ligne-Luxembourg

"We
thing,

have had news of the envoy, Madame,
is

and we hear he

much

pleased with every-

but he sends word that

Madame

la

Princesse de Ligne will not hear of a three
years' residence in Paris.
"

The Bishop appeared

to

me

very much

disturbed at the effect this would have on his
niece, as she
dition.
difficult

had always held
there
is

to

this

con-

You know
to

nothing more
fancies of a

overcome than the

young person, and unfortunately she has been
confirmed in this one by
all

that

Madame
told
I

d'Aremberg de Lauraguais

has

her.
shall

The Abbe
uncle,
niece.
"

will arrive

perhaps to-day;
first

be there, and we
so
as to

will

work upon the
his

make him work upon
will not

M. de Salm

give

way

;

he has

sent his picture to his friend at the Convent,

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
and she has invited the Princess Helene
collation,

to a

given in a room of which this portrait

forms the chief ornament.
"
I

was

at the

opera with a lady

who

is

much
are a

interested in this fine gentleman, and
' :

she said

What

does

it

signify

whether you

scamp or not when you have a name
?

and a large fortune
so and
"
so,' etc.

Look, for instance,

at

God

forbid

that such

morality should

enter the head of our prelate and his niece. In the meantime
I

amused myself

last

night

by quietly challenging
friend to
this
it

my

free-spoken young

tell

me

all

the naughty stories about

charming Prince.

The good Bishop
air,

bore

with a slightly embarrassed

which quite

amused me.
"
I

shall

have the honour, Madame,
return,

to give

you an account of the envoy's
all its

and of
to

consequences.

I

beg you not

be

impatient, and to rely on

my
is

zeal

and

my

intense desire to do
you.

all

that

agreeable to

12

PRINCESSE DE L1GNE
"

iv

Receive,"

etc.

It

was not long before the Abbe returned,
though he had not succeeded
in

and,

ob-

taining the promise of a residence in Paris,

he had done much to push the matter forward.

He
the

brought magnificent

fruit

and flowers
CEil,

to

young Princess from Bel

and

in the

description he gave of the almost regal
nificence of the place he neglected

mag-

none of

the details which were likely to charm and
flatter

her vanity.

He

had granted handand the Princess,
to accept

some pecuniary
on her
the
part,

conditions,

had seemed disposed
-

marriage

contract

proposed

by

the

Abbe.

Madame de

Pailly to the Princesse de

Ligne- Luxembourg.
"All
is

going on wonderfully

well,

Madame;

you

will find the

Prince and his envoy very

well satisfied.

At dinner we had a melon
and peaches were sent to the
I

from Bel

CEil,

Princess Helene.

proposed the health of

iv

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
;

13

the giver

but they will

tell

you the

rest.

I

am

rejoiced at the position of affairs.
"

The Abbe may have every

possible

fault,

but he confirms

me

in

my

opinion that one

can do nothing with fools and everything
with intelligent people.
is

The young

Princess

converted, and her good uncle, agreeing to
expedient, says
livres
I
1
:

the Abbe's

'It will

cost

me
if

thirty

thousand

a

year more to

make my

niece happy.
satisfied.'

will

do

it,

Madame,

only you are

"

The

Princesse

de

Ligne

-

Luxembourg
this

wrote to her cousin to give her

good

news, and to urge her to come to Paris as

soon as possible

;

but she was in no hurry,
all,

and, like a prudent mother, wished above
to settle everything relating to the

income and

household arrangements of the future young
couple, for
tions,

whom

she dreaded certain tempta-

from which she herself had suffered.
to Paris with

She again sent her steward
1

two

Twelve hundred pounds

sterling.

14

PRINCESSE DE L/GNE
one of which was a confidential one
to

letters,

her cousin.
Bel
"
I

CEil, igih

January 1779.

despatch you

my

steward,

Princess

;

he

will

have the honour of handing you

this

letter,

and

I

have instructed him

to

carry

out exactly whatever you are kind enough to
order.

"The
of June
;

Prince arrived at Vienna on the 5th
I

therefore think he will soon be
in

home
go
days

again,

which case

I

should

only

to Paris with
later,
if
I

him, or even a couple of

can

possibly

avoid going

before.

"In any
orders.
I

case, Princess,

I

shall await

your

reserve

myself the pleasure of
all

assuring you personally of
I

my

gratitude.

have never doubted the success of any-

thing which you were good enough to take
in

hand.
"

As our young people

will

not have to

receive,

and as the ordinary expenses of the
all

household cannot possibly absorb

their

iv

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
I

15

income,

fear that too large a fortune mayto

be hurtful
gambling,

them,
other

and lead perhaps
extravagances,

to

or

which
they

would

do

them

harm,

and

which

would always consider themselves obliged
to

increase

in

proportion to their income
will
I

especially

when they

come

into

their

respective fortunes.

look at this matter

from a mother's point of view.
let it

Pray do not

go beyond the

family."

The

Princesse de Ligne- Luxembourg told

the Bishop of her cousin's wise advice, but

no attention was paid to

it.

The Congress
for

of

Teschen was over, and the Prince de Ligne

was returning home

slowly,

he always

found much to delay him on the road.
will

We
these

not
;

inquire
he,

into

the

nature

of

delays
to

however, found

sufficient

time
his

write

a

few

lines

from Vienna

to

cousin,

and

to the

Bishop of Wilna, which
for

he had neglected doino"
months.

the

last

two

i6

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

To THE
"
I

PRINCESSE DE LlGNE-LuXEMBOURG.
told, Princess, that,
all
is

am

thanks to your

kindness,

going on
the

well, also that

you
to

have done
me.

me
I

honour of writing
received

...
say
I

have not

anything.
I

They
you

must write

to the Bishop.
letter.

beg

will

give him the enclosed

"If you
me,

have any commands
to

to

give
at

address them
;

the

Post
in

Office

Munich
through.

I

shall

find

them

passing

" All the

information

I

receive from Poland

appears to coincide with our views.
"
I

place myself at your feet, Princess, and

beg
to

to assure

you that

my gratitude

is

equal

my

tender and respectful attachment.
"

Le Prince de Ligne."
this letter

A

few days after the receipt of
all

they had agreed upon
the settlement was
cesse

points
up,

;

a draft of

drawn

and the Prinannounced

de

Ligne and

her

son

their arrival.

iv

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

17

In spite of the very small inclination the

young Prince

felt

for this marriage,

he ex-

perienced a certain curiosity to see his future
bride.

As

for

Helene, she was far more

in-

terested in her outfit, her presents, and her

diamonds

than

in

her

husband.

Among

other things, she had been promised "certain
girandoles
ful
1

and diamond bracelets of wonderthat she

beauty

— old family jewels,
to
see,

was
in

most impatient

and she was
left

a

great fright lest they should be
at Brussels."

behind

Her

future aunt undertook to

explain this childlike anxiety to the wife of
the steward, so that she might remind the

Princess

to

bring these precious
as follows
:

trinkets.

She answered
"

On my
and

return

home
that

I

found a

letter

from the Princess, announcing her immediate
arrival,

adding

she

is

bringing

with her the girandoles and the bracelets
so the Princesse Helene need have no cause
1

Large diamond earrings that were worn with the Court

dress.

VOL.

II

20

i8

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
I

for anxiety.

shall

have the honour of pay-

ing her

my

respects on

Monday.

We

have
that

also heard, through

M.

le

Comte Tasson,

M.

le

Prince de Liene will reach Brussels,

at the latest,

on Monday.

I

hasten to apprise

your Highness of the

fact,

and beg she

will
etc.

accept the assurance of deepest respect,"

The

Princesse de Ligne's

first

visit

was

to her cousin.

She there found the Princearrival.

Bishop awaiting her
conversation
either side,
it

After a long

and

endless

compliments
the

on

was

settled that

Bishop

should escort the Princess and
the Abbaye-aux-Bois.

her son to

Helene,
before,

who had been warned the day was very much vexed at having to
first

make her

appearance

in

her school dress

;

but no exception could be

made

to the rule.

She went down

to the parlour

accompanied

by Madame de Sainte Delphine, and very soon
perceived that the plainness of her dress did
not prevent the Prince from thinking her very

iv

PR INCESSE DE LIGNE

19

Though she pretended to cast her eyes modestly down during the visit, she took
pretty.

care to see enough of her future husband to

be able to say to her companions on returning
"

:

He

is fair,

has a

tall

slight figure,
is

and

re;

sembles his mother,

who

very handsome
is

he has a noble mien, but he
there
is

too serious, and
!"

something German about him
Prince's father

The
later.

arrived

three

days

"

I

abandon M. de Ligne

to

your indignacousin
;

tion, Princess," his wife writes to their

"

you may prepare her

for his arrival,

which
;

will certainly
it fills

be either to-day or to-morrow
!"

me

with the greatest joy

The
all

Prince-father had his head completely

turned by his future daughter-in-law,

who

did

she could to please him, intuitively feeling

that he

was the one with

whom
it

she could

best sympathise.

Having no family

in Paris,

was decided

that Helene's marriage should be celebrated
in the chapel of the

Abbaye-aux-Bois, to the

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
great delight of the pupils.
his niece

The Bishop gave

an

outfit

worth a hundred thousand

ecus

l
;

the wedding casket, offered by the
;

Lignes, was provided by Leonard

the laces,

ordered at Brussels and Mechlin, were real
masterpieces of work.

The

jewels offered to

Helene, besides the family diamonds and the

famous girandoles, were chosen by herself
Barriere's

at

and

at Drey's.

She gave a
in

trinket

to each of her

companions

the red class,
ices,

and a magnificent luncheon, with
given by the Prince-Bishop to
1

was

all

the pupils,
marriage -portion

The

Princesse

Helene received

as

her

palaces at

two Cracow and one at Warsaw. Prince Radziwill owed the Massalski family a sum of one million eight hundred thousand Polish He had given them as florins, inherited through Helene's mother.
Mogylani,
interest three

an estate with a residence and country-houses,

important estates, of which half the income belonged
to her brother.

to Helene,

and the other half

The Prince-Bishop

promised to give and guarantee the Princess, from her weddingday, a clear income of sixty thousand livres, payable in Paris, and
to

pay

all their

expenses in the event of their remaining in that

city.

On

the other hand, the Prince de Ligne promised to give his son,
thirty

on his wedding-day, a revenue of

thousand

livres,

and

in

addition to lodge the pair at Brussels, or Bel OZil, or Vienna, in

one of

his palaces or residences.

If they

had any children,
to

at the

end of four years the Prince promised

double the sum of

money.

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
including the
in addition a
little blues,

who each

received

bag of sweetmeats.

The
sailles

marriage-contract was signed at Vertheir Majesties

by

and the royal

family,

the 25th of July 1779.

The wedding

took

place on the 29th at the Abbaye-aux-Bois.
It is

needless to add that Helene's nurse,

Mademoiselle Bathilde Toutevoix, took part
in

the festivities.

She adorned her

pretty

mistress to the very best of her ability, and

the poor

girl's

head was so completely turned

with joy that she even forgot her cockades. 1

She came down

to the parlour after the bride,
in a corner.

and modestly hid herself

Prince

Charles approached her, and slipped into her

hand

his

wedding present
livres.
2

—an annuity of

six

hundred

Helene was much touched
"
I

with this attention.
says, "

thanked him," she

by a smile and pressure of the hand,
I

the
1

first

had granted him."
them, and Helene

She was

in the habit of bedizening herself with

does not forget to mention in her memoranda that on that
she forgot them.
2

day

Twenty-four pounds

sterling.

PRTNCESSE DE LIGNE

The
uncle,

bride was led to the altar by her

and by the Marquise Wielopolska, who

took the place of her mother.

The Duchesses
de Chatillon,
at

de de

Choiseul,
la

de

Mortemart,
etc.,

Valliere,

were

present

the

ceremony.

The young

Princess, exquisitely

lovely in her bridal dress, fully satisfied the

company by her
full

" decent attitude,

which was
After

of feeling " (style of that day).

receiving the congratulations of the brilliant

assembly, Helene went up to her apartment
to

change her costume

;

but, instead of return-

ing immediately to the parlour, she quickly

made her way

to

the

choir

chapel,

where
and

Madame de Rochechouart was

buried,

kneeling on the tomb of the one

who had
she re-

been to her as a mother, she offered up to

God

her last girlish prayer.

When
;

turned to the parlour she was rather pale, and
her eyes showed signs of tears
gates
of the

but at the

Abbey
the

a

post-chaise,

drawn
;

by

six

chafing
in

horses,

was awaiting
and

the

postilions,

pink

silver livery of

iv

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

23

the Prince, being scarcely able to hold them

;

Helene,

after a rapid farewell,

was hurried

into the carriage

by her young husband, and
gallop for Brussels.

they started at

full

V
An
entertainment at Bel CEil
Brussels

— Prince Charles —The

— The

Ligne family

of Lorraine

Letter of the
Versailles

Chevalier de ITsle

—The

—The

— The

Court at Court

ladies at

Prince de Ligne at

Prince's letter to his son Charles.

The young couple
at Bel GEil, the

first

established themselves

magnificent

summer

residence

of the Prince de Ligne.

The Marshal was
millions.

passionately attached to this regal abode, on

which

his father

had lavished several

The
sion

property

was composed of a succesforests,

of gardens,

parks,

mansions,

and shooting boxes, which the Prince de
Ligne had designed with the most perfect
taste.
It

was here that he preferred
guests,

receiv-

ing

his

and

that

he successively

entertained the Prince de Conde, the
of Sweden, the of Prussia, etc.

King

Comte

d'Artois, Prince

Henry

Helene was dazzled by the

v

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

25

splendour of her

new

abode.

A

brilliant

reception had been prepared in her honour.

On

the

very day after her
in

arrival,

which

had taken place

the evening, the

young

Princess, on opening her windows, perceived

an immense park
attired as

full

of villagers elegantly

shepherds and shepherdesses, their
like

dresses

more

those

of

Watteau and

Lancret than those commonly worn by the

Flemish

peasants.

The
off,

Prince's

dragoons
;

were making merry

at tables
in

on the lawn

and a

little

farther

a grove, might

be seen puppet shows,
dancers
;

in

another tight- rope

a rural ballroom was established on
;

a green sward
cian
little

under a leafy bower a magi-

was

distributing

sham ointments

in

boxes, which contained sweetmeats and

trinkets.

In another spot a bard was gaily

reciting verses,

composed by the Prince
;

in

honour of the newly-married pair
composition was not
it

and

if

the

brilliant in versification,

yet

could

boast of grace and
for its defects

art
;

suffi-

cient to

compensate

finally,

26

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Preville,

v

Aufresne and

who had

arrived that

same morning from

Paris,

were playing impro-

vised proverbs in the private theatre of the
residence.

The
in

festivities lasted

the whole

day

;

after dinner the

proverbs were replaced
with interludes of song,
the

by a comedy

one

act,

entitled, Colette

and Lucas, composed by
audience

Prince de Ligne in honour of his daughterin-law.
1

The

was

composed of

brilliant officers

and

fine ladies,

who had come

expressly from Brussels and even Versailles
for the occasion.

The
in

play,
;

though worthless,
but another had

was courteously applauded
been prepared
spectators.

order to compensate the

Night having come on during
sudden floods of
sheaves
light

the

representation,

springing

up

in

brilliant

between

the trees greeted the guests as they emerged

from the theatre, and
illuminations
lit

in the thickets fairylike
;

up the arbours

it

was im-

1

This comedy was printed in the private press at Bel OZil in

1

78 1.

The only copy known

to

be extant

is

in

H.R.H.

the

Due

d'Aumale's library

at Chantilly.

v

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

27

possible to see

the lamps, cleverly hidden
" It

under the

foliage.

was not

night," says

Helene

:

"it

was

silvery daylight."

The married
one with the

couple appeared enchanted

other,

with a shade more of

tenderness on the part of the Prince.

Helene's

beauty, grace, and intelligence surprised and

charmed him

;

he had not expected to find

these qualities united in the person of a child
of fifteen.

Every one was under the same
Dowager- Princess
herself,

impression, and the

who was

not easy to please, wrote as follows,
after the

some time

wedding, to the Princesse
:

de Ligne-Luxembourg
Bel
"

CEil, 20th

August 1779.

Again

I

renew

my

thanks, Princess, and
I

reiterate the expressions of gratitude

owe
and

you.
gentle,
at
in

Our

child

is

most charming,

docile,

having no
;

will of

her own, and amused
could be desired

everything

in fact all that
if

a daughter-in-law
self.

she were moulded by
quite a success with

one's
all

She has been

who have seen her

in these parts.

28

PRINCE SSE DE LIGXE
"

v

As our

children have both had the honour
I

of writing to you,
petition, give

will not, for fear of re-

you the

details of our journey.

Moreover, his Grace the Bishop of Wilna
will

have told you

all

;

he appeared himself

very well pleased with our country.
try, Princess, to

Do
his

make him send my son
whatever
style

niece's portrait, in

he

prefers,

even

if it

be that

little

pencil drawing
;

we saw

at the

Abbaye-aux-Bois
of

and do not doubt,
sentiments,"
etc.

Princess,
etc.

the

tender

The
delighted

Prince- Bishop

had
in

indeed
Flanders
;

been
the

with

his

stav

amiability of the family of Ligne, the har-

monious

relationship

existing

between

its

members, the distinguished intelligence and
the kindness of Prince Charles in particular,
all

contributed to assure him of his niece's
happiness.

future

He

left

her thoroughly

satisfied.

For the

first

time Helene was going to be

v

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
family
life
;

29

acquainted with

she could not
for the
full

have had a better beginning,

Lignes
of ease,
life

lived together with an intimacy
gaiety,

and tenderness.

In her convent

the

little

Princess, with the selfishness natural

to children,

had only thought of
to

herself,

and

was not accustomed

the daily sacrifices
sisters,

made by
proval and
ticeship

brothers

and

which

are

made easy and rewarded by
kiss.

a mother's apserious appren-

She had a

to

undergo.

She

preferred

her

father-in-law

and the Princess Clary, her

sister-in-law, to all the other

members of her
the
Prince's

family.

The

Princess

Clary,

eldest

and favourite daughter, "his masterhe called her, was kindness, grace,

piece," as

and

affability itself.

Married some four years,
tact,

gifted with

sound judgment and perfect

she would

have been an
to her

affectionate

and

charming guide

young
life
;

sister-in-law at

the outset of her married
possible for her to
naturally devolved

but

it

was not
which

assume

this position,

upon the Princess-mother,

30

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
rights,

v

who, jealous of her

would have ceded

her authority to no one.

The

Princesse de Ligne played an imif

portant part,

not in the heart of her hus-

band, at least in his household.

The

Prince

willingly rendered justice to his wife's qualities
;

he was

full

of consideration

for

her,

and treated her always with amiable deference.
wife,
in

"My
full

wife,"

he

said, "is

an excellent
nobility,

of delicacy,
selfish.

feeling,
is

and

no way

She

often in a pet,

but her temper soon passes away, melting
in

tears

and leaving no

trace,
It

for

my

wife

has an excellent heart."

was not

difficult

for the Prince to resign himself to his wife's

temper,

for

it

affected

him very

slightly.
;

Such was not the case with her children
it

must, however, be admitted that she had

often

good cause

for her

unevenness of temper.

Not only was her husband constantly and
openly faithless to her, but he also squan-

dered his fortune, and
revenues

in spite of the large

he

possessed

would often

have

v

PRINCESS E DE EIGNE
in

31

been involved

serious difficulties

had

it

not been for the watchful care of the Princess,

who by

her clever administration estab-

lished a proper balance

between

their

income
the

and expenditure.

However,

in spite of

Princess's rather uncertain temper, the un-

varying cheerfulness and good humour of the
Prince

made

it

a delightful

home,

for

he

possessed the rare quality of being as charming at

home

as in society.
life,

Helene thoroughly enjoyed her new
and eagerly threw herself
pleasures entirely new to a
at

into the pursuit of
schoolgirl.
in

little

She

once learnt to

ride.

Dressed

an elegant

riding-habit,

made

to display her delicate

and

supple figure to perfection, and accompanied

by her husband, she would spring
saddle the
as a bird,
first

into

the

thing in the morning, as light
liberty
;

and as pleased with her

then three or four times a day, with childlike
glee, she

would array herself

in

new

dresses
;

from Leonard or Mademoiselle Bertin

and

we may be

sure that they in no

way resembled

32

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
little

v

the

black convent -frock.

At

all

the

entertainments

given

in

honour

of

her

wedding, she fascinated
grace and liveliness
spirit,
;

everybody by her

she danced with such

acted so naturally and with so

much

animation, sang with a voice so youthful and
fresh, that

her husband, though not sharing

her worldly tastes, was happy in her pleasure,

and allowed her to give herself up
restraint.

to

it

without

Immediately

after her arrival

Helene was

presented at the Court of the Netherlands.

The Ligne
palace
at

family possessed a magnificent

Brussels,

near the

Cathedral

of

Sainte Gudule, and often resided there during
the winter.

At

that time the Viceroy
;

was

Prince Charles of Lorraine

he had married

the Archduchess Marie-Anne, 1 sister of Marie-

Therese, and was
1

now

a widower.

This brave and clever prince was a most unfortunate general.
in
1

Beaten by the Prussians

742, while

commanding

the Austrian

army

in

Bohemia, he was again defeated
manners, his
artistic
all,

in Alsace in 1745.

The
still

affability of his

and

literary tastes, his kindness

of heart,

endeared

him

to

and

his

paternal

rule

is

v

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

33

The
hunt
kind,
rare.

Prince of Lorraine

often

came

to

at

Bel CEil.

"

He

could not help being

even

in his fits of

temper, which were

One

day, for instance, while hunting, on
airs of

which occasion he gave himself the
an old huntsman, enraged
people
at a

number of

who

disturbed the hunt by overrun-

ning the forest at Bel CEil, he called out
'

Go

to

the devil

!

——if you

please, gentle-

men,' he added, taking off his hat."

The liveliest, wittiest, and most fashionable man at the Court of Brussels was certainly the
Prince de Ligne's father, and he enjoyed his
life

there extremely.

" It was,"
at the

he says, "a
secure,

nice Court,
idle

gay and

same time

and agreeable, with plenty of drinking

and hunting."
remembered
in Belgium.

However, when the Duke
His generosity was boundless, and the con

siderable income he received (six hundred thousand florins of Brabant)

did not suffice to cover his expenses.
prodigality, but science

He

ruined himself by his

and

art prospered

under him, and schools
in every

of paintings

and colleges were established
;

town.

New
the

roads

were made
;

trade, then

at

a

low ebb, received a fresh
between

impulse

and a transport service was organised

Flemish ports and those of Germany and France.

VOL.

II

2

1

34

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

v

held a levee, and invited ladies, nothing but
the most inoffensive gaiety was permitted, for the Prince hated
all

license

and bad

taste.

Prince Charles's palace at Brussels was

an immense and ancient building.

Brussels
the town

reminded one somewhat of

Paris,

offering every kind of resource.

The

cours

was the favourite promenade, and there the
grandest equipages were to be seen.

The

coachbuilders of Brussels were famous, and
the

Duke was

anxious that

the

nobility

should possess the most elegant specimens of
their work.

Helene made her
in

first

appear-

ance on the cours

a

superb

gilt

coach

made by Simon
Martin? by
In
spite

;

all

the panels were deli-

cately painted, in the

most

beautiful vernis

clever Viennese artists.
of
his

love

for

the

Court of

Brussels and his passion for Bel GEil, the

Prince never stayed very long at either

;

he

generally started off at a moment's notice.

1

A

species of lacquer painting, at present revived in France.

v

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

35

"

What

a charming existence

mine was,

in

my

dear and delightful Bel GEil.
I

In twenty-

four hours' time

could be either in Paris
the
Paris

or in

London,
I

at to

Hague,
to

at

Spa,

etc.

Once
there,

went

spend one hour
after

and another hour

at Versailles,
:

the Queen's last confinement
the fourth

I saw her on

day" he

carefully adds.
I

"On
It

another occasion

took

all

pany there

to the opera in a coach

my comof my own."
like

was natural that the Prince should

Paris and Versailles, for he
life

was the soul and
circle

of the
;

little

intimate

around the
to

Queen
and

his

presence

gave

animation

everything, and his invariable good
sallies

humour
him a
seen

of wit

always

secured
to

smilinof

welcome.

He
at

was

be

everywhere,

arranging or disarranging the
entertainments
:

gardens

;

presiding
the

and
part

directing
in

illuminations

he

took

the

Queen's

lansquenet,

Mesdames'

cavagnole,

Monsieur's whist, the Prince de

Conde's quinze, the King's

game

of billiards,

36

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
pharaon. 1

v

and the Prince de Conti's
said everything that

He
;

came

into his

head

but

although he gave way to

much exaggerated
serious truths

merriment, from time to time, under cover of
a joke, he would
acceptable.

make many

His

great

friends

were the Polignacs, 2
consisted

whose

intimate

society

of

the

Coignys,

the

Confians,

the

Comte
l'lsle.

de

Vaudreuil, and the Chevalier de

He

always defended the Polignacs

against the

numerous accusations which were brought
against them.

He
virtuous

writes

:

"

There

is

no

one

more
all

and

more

disinterested

than

these Jules, but their
1

company was somevogue
at

All different

games of

cards, in

that

time

at

the

French Court.
2

The Duchesse de
Expressive

Polignac,

Gabrielle

-

Yolande

-

Martine de

I'olastron,

an intimate friend of the Queen, was both amiable and
blue
eyes,

beautiful.

a

high

forehead, a
little

nose

very

slightly turned up, a

lovely mouth, with

pretty

white teeth
agreeable

which were
physiognomy.
modesty.

beautifully

symmetrical,

formed a most

Her

features bore

the

stamp of sweetness and

At the age of seventeen she married the Comte Jules

de Polignac,

v

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

yj

times monotonous, so great was their fear of

giving rise to prating and gossip
tesse

;

the

Com-

Diane was the only one whose conall lively."

versation was at

The
the

Prince was particularly intimate with
cle

Chevalier
of the

l'lsle,

1

the

least

known

member

little circle.

The

Chevalier

was an excellent

officer,

an encyclopedist, and
2

a poet, a correspondent of Voltaire
of the Prince de Ligne,
great esteem.

and also

who

held him in

He

was a master of song, and

reigned supreme in the art of letter-writing.

He
in

had never composed a

faulty verse, or

written a letter that
excellent
style
;

was not both witty and
however,
in

society he

was wanting both
ing, giving

in

good

taste

and breedfamiliarity.

way

to ill-temper

and

1

The Chevalier de

l'lsle

was a brigadier

in the King's cavalry,

having been appointed on 25th July 1762.
the Choiseul family and
latter's
2

Very intimate with
is

Madame du

Defiant, he

mentioned

in the

correspondence.

It

was he who wrote a

letter to the patriarch of

Ferney about
:

a badly-executed commission
sir,

commencing

as follows

"You

must,

be very stupid,"

etc.

This beginning threw Voltaire into an

ecstasy of delight.

428719

38

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
as to

v

So

make

believe that he dined with the

Queen
came

at the Polignacs
first

on Sundays, he would
that those

arrive the
after

after dinner,

who
this

him should be deceived by

manoeuvre.
Prince about

He
all

wrote
that

regularly

to

the

went on

at Versailles
is

during his absence.

The
:

following

an

example of

his letters

1

6th January 17 So.

"

What

a turkey
!

we have

just eaten at the

Comtesse Diane's
fine bird
!

My

goodness, what a
sent
it

M. de Poix had

from the

poultry-yard.
it
:

There were eight of us round
of

the

lady

the

house,

Madame
d'Henin,

la

Comtesse

Jules,

Madame
;

and

Madame

de

la

Force

M.

le

Comte

d'Artois,

M. de Vaudreuil, the Chevalier de
and myself.

Crussol,

"While we were eating
without reference to
you,
it,

the turkey, but

some one mentioned

my
?

Prince.

Stay, let

me

recall

who

it

was

A

lady

no

;

a

man

yes, certainly

v

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

39

a man, for he said Chariot, and our ladies
are not given to such familiarities.
It

was

man who was on Madame Let me see Jules' left hand.
the
to

la
;

Comtesse

I

was next
de

the

poet

;

here

sat

the

Chevalier

Crussol,

and there M. de Vaudreuil,

and

then
le

Ah! now
d'Artois
'
:

I've
;

got
I

it,

it

was M.
it

Comte
said

yes,

He

By

the bye,

am who

sure of

now.

can
?'

tell

me

if

Chariot has arrived at Brussels

'I

can,
lines

your Highness,
in his

for

I

have received four

own

handwriting, and
to

am

myself going

to

write

him
All

;

who has any message
in a

to send?'

immediately answered
I

chorus

' :

I

have,

have,

I

have.'

In the
:

confusion
'

I

could distinguish these words
I

I

embrace him,

love

him

;

tell

him

to

come, we expect him.'

When
of

the

hubbub
la
:

had subsided the

soft voice

Madame

Comtesse Jules commenced more audibly
'

Tell

him that

if
I

he had dated his

last letter

more

distinctly,
it
;

would not have
although

failed

to

answer

but

that,

assisted

by

40

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

v

several experts in the art of deciphering,

it

was impossible
what place
it

for

me even
I

to suspect

from

had been

written,

and conse-

quently to what place
"

should direct

my own.'
then
of
In-

Thereupon we conversed about you,
then

and
of

about

Admiral
then
of

Keppel,
the

the

turkey,

capture

our two frigates, then
quisition,

of the
large
in

Spanish

then

of

a

gruyere cheese
Switzerland

which our ambassador
just

has

sent his children, then of the strange

conduct of the
at
last

Spaniards towards

us,

and
who,

of

Mademoiselle

Theodore,

upon

my

life,

dances better than ever, and

who
ful

pleased us yesterday as

much by her
Queen
'

talent as

Mademoiselle Cecile by her youth-

charms.

To-morrow
first

the
till

will

receive for the

time

;

now she has
petites en-

only seen those
tries
';

who have

the

she

is

rather thinner, but otherwise

her

health

leaves
is still

nothing to be

desired.

The King
father,

the

good husband, the good

and the good man he has always

v

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
;

41

been

it

is

impossible to be near him with-

out admiring him as the personification of
honesty, and without being sincerely attached
to his person.
in possessing
I

assure you

we

are fortunate
:

such a royal couple

may God
all

preserve them on the throne where His goodness has placed them
!

.

.

.

We

are

going

to-morrow
ing
little

to Paris to inaugurate the

charmhas

house M.

bought,

and

in

Due de Coigny which we shall have
le

What do you
Our
verbs,
first

think

we
shall

shall

have

?

grand entertainment

—a

regular

house-warming.
verses,
it

We
songs,

have

farces, proall

and pleasures of

kinds
"

;

will

be a beautiful ceremony.
:

A
I

propos of verses

you have not seen

those

wrote the other day for the Queen,

threatening to play her the trick she most

dreads
ball.

— that
Here
"Dans
Vous

is,

to
:

name her

at the

opera

it is

ce temple ou l'incognito
la folie,

Regne avec

n'etes grace

au domino

Ni reine

in jolie.

42

PRrNCESSE DE LIGNE
Sous ce double deguisement
Riant d'etre ignoree,
Je vous

v

nomme

et

publiquement
1

Vous
"

serez adore'e.

I

implore you,

Prince,

Prince,

do

not

massacre

my my
will

very dear

song

in

honouring
that care
full

me by singing it to my cousin, who
on

yourself; leave

give
tell

it

its
I

value;

love her for me, and

her

shall

go

to Brussels,

my

head

if

necessary,

to see her;

you must love me, both of you." 2

The
tion

Queen

was

an

object
"

of

devocould

to the

Prince de Ligne.

Who

1

In this temple, where incognito

Reigns as well as

folly,

You

are,

thanks to the domino,

Neither queen nor beauty.

Under
Should

this

twofold disguise,

Laughingly unknown,
I

name

you, then at once

You
2

will

be publicly adored.

In order to elucidate this paragraph,

we must

explain that the

Prince sang dreadfully out of tune, and that the pretended cousin

was the lovely Angelique d'Hannetaire, daughter of the director of
the theatre at Brussels
telligent
; ;

she sang beautifully, and was very in-

the Prince was

madly

in love

with her at that time.

v

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

43

see the unfortunate Marie Antoinette without

adoring her?" he writes thirty years
"
'

later.

1

I

only realised

it

the day she said to

me

:

My

mother

is

displeased at your remaining
;

so long at Versailles

go and spend some
letters
are,

days at your post

;

from thence write

to Vienna, in order to

show where you

then come back.'

Such kindness, such delicacy
still

on her
to

part,

and

more the idea of having
her,

spend a fortnight without seeing
from

drew

tears

my

eyes

;

but the charming heedall

lessness,

which preserved her from

coquetry

prevented her .noticing
"

my

emotion.
in

As

I

do

not

believe

a

passion
fortnight
I

which cannot

be reciprocated, a
to cure

was

sufficient

me

of a sentiment

now admit
to

for the first time,
I

and which,

for

fear of ridicule,

never should have confessed
.

any one

else.

.

.

Have

I

ever seen

in

her society anything that did not bear the

impress of grace, kindliness, and good taste
1

?

See Fragments of unedited Memoirs of the Prince de Ligne,
Paris,
1

published in the Revue Nouvelle.

840.

44

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
intuitively

v

She

knew an

intriguer miles
;

off,

and hated every kind of deceit

that

is

why

she preferred the society of the Polignacs and
their friends

— that

is

to say, Valentine Ester-

hazi, Besenval, Vaudreuil, Segur,

and myself."

If the

Prince worshipped the Queen, on
little

the other hand he had

esteem

for the

King.

He
said

writes

:

"The King

in

hoped

to find
I

some good

qualities,

whom I whom it
I

may be

have protected, whose mind
to elevate

have endeavoured
discourses,
idiotic

by interesting

instead of his hunting topics or

conversation

— cares
has
It

for

nothing but

tomfoolery.

His

practical jokes are always

aimed

at Conflans,

Coigny, or the Polignacs'

friends.

The Queen
this habit.

managed
at

to

cure

him of
his

was
us.

bedtime that

Majesty liked to worry

He possessed,
threaten-

however, a certain tact

in

the midst of his

rough jokes.

One

day,

when he was

ing us with his blue ribbon, which he tried to

throw

at

some

one's head, the
said
:

Due de Laval
'

withdrew.

The King

Do

not

fear,

v

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
it

45

Monsieur;
. .

has nothing to do with you.'
fault-finder, said

.

Coigny, the eternal
'
:

to

me one day
the

Would you
?

like to

know what
locksmith,

these three brothers are
wit of a

A

fat

country public-house,

and a
to

street fop.'

The two last epithets applied Monsieur and the Comte d'Artois."

When

the Prince returned to Bel CEil he

delighted his youthful daughter-in-law with
these tales
fairly
;

for although she liked

Flanders
her

well

when

not there

alone with

mother-in-law, she could not help regretting
Paris,

when her husband's
and her

duties recalled

him

to the army,
off

fickle father-in-law

went

on

his incessant travels.

It will

be remembered that the Dowaeer-

Princess had absolutely refused to consent to

a residence

in Paris

during the winter months.
although
the
officers

She was

right,

for

generally returned to their respective capitals

during the bad season, the military profession
did not allow

much

leisure time,

and Prince

Charles, being in the Austrian service,

would

46

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

v

scarcely have been able to spend his leave in
Paris.

The young
left

Princess would therefore

have been

to the care of an aunt,
her, or
in

who

had no authority over
father-in-law,
self

to

that of a

more absorbed

amusing him-

than acting as mentor to his daughter-in-

law.

This delicate and dangerous position

had naturally alarmed the Princesse de Ligne,
but

Helene had

not

such

foresight;

the

pleasure she anticipated of appearing in the
brilliant

society of which she

had only just

caught a glimpse outweighed any feelings of
prudence, and she quite hoped to obtain her

husband's consent in the matter.

The

first

step consisted of her presenta-

tion at Court.

Helene had gained an

ally in

her aunt the Princess,

who was

quite ready
;

to conduct her pretty niece to Versailles

but

the latter wished to
there with
all

make her appearance

the honours of war

— that
King

is,

with

those of the tabotiret}
1

This could only be
down
in

To have

the right of sitting

the

or

Queen's

presence.

v

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
rights.

47

obtained by virtue of certain

The

rank of grandee of Spain was a sufficient
title.

The

Prince de Ligne possessed this
to

rank,

and Helene persuaded her husband

ask the Prince to

make

it

over to him.
affair.

Such

a request was not a small

The young

Prince was rather embarrassed, the more so
that this request

would

entail another, that of

a grant of money.
jewels,
etc.,

Magnificent costumes and

had absorbed the largest part of
couple's income.

the

young

However,

in-

capable of refusing any wish of his wife's,
Prince Charles took heart, and decided upon
writing.
father,

He

immediately received from his
at Versailles, the

who was then
:

most

charming reply

Versailles, \oth September 17 So.
" Is
it

not,

my
?

dear Charles, a droll thing

to

be married

You
one
is

will

manage

to

get
less

on, for, after

all,

bound more or
It
is

according to circumstances.

only fools
the
posi-

who do

not

know how
:

to

turn

tion to account

meanwhile you have a very

PRJNCESSE DE LIGNE
pretty
little

wife,

whom

without false shame
to son

you may

love.

Although from father

we have been called Lamoral,
whether he
is

without knowing
neither moral,
to preach,

a saint,

I

am

moralist, nor moraliser
I

enough

and

make

fun of those

who do
consists
I

not believe in
in

my

morality,
all

which

trying

to

make

around
is

me

happy.
;

feel quite sure

that this

your case also

without having a
is

whole array of
four or five
I

principles, this

one of the

have adopted as a second
first,

education
to

:

my

as

I

told you,

is,

that

be a

liar

or a coward would bring
Certainly,

me

with

sorrow to

my grave.
now,
let

my dear fellow,
to

you have well understood
"

this short lesson.

And
as

us

come
as

business.
;

Take

much money

you require
it

my
it
;

men
that

of business must have
is

or obtain
.
.

one subject done with.
said she will

.

The

Queen
1

make my

affair

de Kceurs 1

An

estate of the Prince
;

de Ligne in France, and about which
of the estate
is

he had a lawsuit
(hearts),

the

name

pronounced

like cceurs

hence the Prince's pun.

V

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
success,
r

49

a

and,

when

I

told

her that

my
that

affai} es de cceur (love affairs)

were

successful,

she said

/

zvas a fool.
affairs

Kceurs

settled,

makes two

done with.

Your

uncle, the
I

Bishop of Wilna, who fancies that you or

may some day be King
to obtain the indige'nat
is
;

of Poland, wants us

we

shall get

it,

that

another
"

affair

terminated.

Our aunt
to

of the Tuileries wants your

wife to have the tabouret; she has a fancy for

going
wishes

Versailles,

and

for

that

purpose
I

me

to cede to

you the grandezza.
to the

have already written

King of Spain
and have
Fourth

and

to the minister
it

on the

subject,

spoken of
affair

to

the

ambassador.

concluded, leaving

me

the prospect of

taking cold, by being obliged to get

down

at

the gates of the Court, where only the coaches

of the grandees of Spain are allowed to enter,
as in the
"

Luxembourg and
are two

elsewhere.

Here
!

sources of

economy

for

me

—the
II

King's play and coucher,

which
22

no longer cost
VOL.

me

anything.

5o

PRINCESSE BE EIGNE
"

v

What annoys me

is

to hear clever people

say foolish things; to hear war discussed by
idlers,

who have never
exercises,

seen anything but

military

and those

badly done

;

disinterestedness proclaimed

by women who
dint of torment-

manage

to get pensions

by

ing the ministers and the Queen,

who

is

a

thousand
bility

times

too

kind

;

to

hear

sensiat
in-

professed by those

who have had
then,

least

twenty
!

lovers.

And
!

the

triguers

the

obtrusive

and the wicked
boil,

How

often this

makes my blood
I

but a

quarter of an hour later
" Shall
I

forget

it all.

tell

you a

foolish saying of mine,
all

considered as such by

the royal family
I

?

You know
you
will

that at the

town theatre

am
;

under the King's box, amongst the public

remember the mirror At the
close of the

in

La

faiisse
it

Magie}

play

was
of
I

dreadfully cold, and the
it,

King complained

as well as of the coldness of the acting.

1

The false Magic, a comic opera by

G retry.

v

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
' :

51

said
glace s

It

is

because the denouement
brothers
2

is

a

la

,

.' 1

The two
is

hooted

me
at
in

out

loud for this pun.
sailles

This existence
;

Vera

delightful
I

it

is

like

life

country-house.

embrace your wife and

your mother for having had wit enough to

make me
" P.S.

a Charles like yourself.

— By
my

the

bye,

I

had

already
Charles,

planned

in

head a grove for

my

a fountain that will bear the

name

of Helene,

and a bower
"
I

for their children.

shall

work

at

it

as

soon as

I

leave

Versailles, to

go and
all

tell

you, tutti quanti,
heart."

that

I

love you with

my
in

1

A

pun on the word

glace,

which

French means

either ice or

a looking-glass.
2

Monsieur and the Comte d'Artois.

VI
The two
Princes journey Berlin — Portrait of Frederick the —Journey Saint Petersburg — Portrait of the Empress Catherine — Return journey through Poland — The Bishop's residence Werky—The Diet Warsaw— The Indigenat —
to

Great

to

at

at

The

return to Bel CEil.

The

Prince had not spoken lightly

when he
Poland
all

said to his son that they
for the indighiat}

would go

to

In the midst of

the

pleasures and amusements of Versailles

he
he

suddenly departed.
says, "obliged

"

Family

interests,"

me

to undertake a long journey.
little

My

son Charles has married a pretty

Pole, but her family has given
lieu of

us paper

in

hard cash.
;

Their claims were on the
it

Russian Court
present them.
1

was necessary
1780
I

to

go and

In June

started for

The

indigenat, though differing from naturalisation, conferred

on those

who

obtained
soil.

it

all

the privileges belonging to those in-

digenous to the

vi

PR IXCESSE DE LIGNE
Prague,

53

Vienna,

Dresden,

Berlin,

Saint
I

Petersburg,

Warsaw, Cracow,

—where

had

much

to do,
I
I

— Mogylani,
in love.

1

Leopol, and Brunn,
I

— where
add that
Polignac,

was

must not forget

to

started from Paris

and the Rue de

Bourbon, from the house of the Duchesse de

who had
had

just

been confined, 2 and Queen.
I

where

I

dined with the
at the

promised to return

same hour

in six

months' time, and ordered

my

livery coach

and courier

in

consequence."

The sum
claimed
in

of

money

the Prince de Ligne
of
It

the

name

his

daughter-into four

law was considerable.

amounted

hundred thousand roubles, which were well
worth the trouble of recovering.

However,

we

incline

to

the

belief that

these family

affairs

were merely a cloak

for political de-

signs

;

the journey was probably intended to

carry on the preliminaries of a negotiation

1

An

estate belonging to the Princesse Charles.

2

The Duchess had given

birth to the

Comte Armand-Jules de

Polignac on 14th

May

1780.

54

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
by
Joseph
in
II.

vi

begun

and

the

Empress
Mohileff.

Catherine

their

interview at

The

Prince

started

from Vienna,

whither

he had gone to receive

his final instructions.
his

His companions on the journey were
Charles,
l'Isle.

son

and

his

friend

the

Chevalier

de

"

I

made de
saying

l'Isle

a colonel," he says,
in

"by

simply

when

Austria,

Prussia,

Poland, and Russia that he was one, and

buying him a pair of epaulets.
obliged to knight him," he adds,
to

I

was
" in

also

order

distinguish

him

in

foreign
1

parts

from

the

Abbe of the same name." The Princes started on their journey
had ended.
"

a

year after the war of the Bavarian succession

This war entailed on

the

King

of Prussia a large expenditure of
;

men, horses, and money

it

procured him

an appearance of honesty and disinterested1

The Abbe

Delille,

born at Aigueperse on 22cl June 1728,
18 13.

died in Paris on 1st

May

He

was a member of the French
celebrity.

Academy, and
differently the

as a poet enjoyed

European
in the

Though

spelt

name was pronounced

same way.

vi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
and some
political

55

ness,

amenities,

but

it

brought him no military honour, and caused

him
us.

to entertain very bitter feelings towards

Without any apparent reason the King

forbade Austrian officers to enter his dominions without a special permit signed

by him.

The
same

Austrian Court retaliated by making the
rule with regard to
rise to

Prussian

officers.

This gave
reason or
I

mutual discomfort without

profit.
I

Being of a confiding nature,

thought

could do without a permit, but

the desire to have a letter from the great

Frederick, rather than the fear of being badly
received, induced

me

to write to him."

Instead of one letter the Prince de Ligne
received
three,
all

charming.

For

fear

of

missing

him
to

the

King had

written

from

Potsdam

Vienna, Dresden,
at

and

Berlin.

The
"

travellers arrived

Potsdam on the

28th of June.

Having

to wait until twelve o'clock, at
I

which hour

was

to

be presented to the
son Charles and M.

King, together with

my

56

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
l'lsle,
I

vi

de

went

to the parade ground,

and

was soon surrounded and escorted by Austrian
deserters, especially those from

ment,

who

tried to

fawn

my own regiupon me and ask my
me.

forgiveness for having

left

The hour The

for

the presentation arrived, and the

King received
military

me in

the most charming fashion.

stiffness of

headquarters was exchanged for

a tender and benevolent welcome.

He

said

he did not know
" "

I

had so old a

son.

'He has even been married
'

a year, Sire.'

May

I

ask to

whom

?'

"
"

'To a Pole

—a Massalski.'
?

'What, a Massalski

Do

you know

what her grandmother did
" "

?'

'No,
'

Sire,' replied Charles.

She

fired off the
fired,

cannon

at the sieo-e of
fire,

Dantzic,

— she

and made them

and

defended the place, when her party, who had
lost their heads,

only thought of yielding.'

"

'Women
I,
'

are

unaccountable creatures,'

said

strong and weak by turns, cautious and

dissimulating, they are capable of anything.'

vi

PRINCES SE DE EIGNE
"

57

'No

doubt,' said

M. de

l'lsle,

annoyed

at

not having been spoken

to,

and he added,

with a familiarity which met with no success,
'

See, for instance—
"

The King
King
;

interrupted

him

at the

end of
l'lsle
I

half a second.
told the
in his

In order to satisfy de
that

M. de Voltaire had died

arms

so that the

King asked him
rather

a

few

questions.

He

answered

too
I

lengthily,

and went away.
for dinner.

Charles and

remained
"

Every day the King had long conversaand

tions with me, often of five hours at a time,

completely fascinated
cine, literature

me

:

fine arts, war,

medimoral
all re-

and

religion, philosophy,

philosophy, history and legislation, were

viewed

in turn.

The
;

great eras of Augustus

and Louis XIV.

the refined society of the
;

Romans, the Greeks, and the Franks
chivalry of Francis the First
;

the

the frankness
;

and valour of Henry the Fourth
of learning
days,
;

the revival

anecdotes of clever
their
failings
;

men of former
errors,

and

Voltaire's

58

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE
irritability,

vi

Maupertuis's
else.

and

I

know

not what

In

fact,

anything

and

everything.
things were

The most
said

varied

and

wittiest

by the King
voice,

in a soft, low,

and agreegraceful

able

with
of the
I

an

inexpressibly

movement

lips.

manner was,

think,

The charm of his the reason why one
certainly a subin his

did not notice that, like Homer's heroes, he

was rather a babbler, though
lime one.
portraits,

His eyes, always too hard
although
strained with

work and

the fatigues of war, softened in their expression

when

listening
trait

to

or

relating
. .
.

some

noble deed or
"

of sensibility.
I

One

morning, as

arrived at the palace,
said
;

the

King came forward and
Prince

' :

I

fear

I

must be the bearer of bad news
heard that
dying.'

I

have just
is

Charles of Lorraine
effect

He
my

looked to see what

the

news would have on me, and seeing the
fall

tears

from

eyes,

he gradually and gently

changed the conversation.
the

The

next day,
up,

moment he saw me,

the

King came

vi

PRINCESSE DE L1GNE
air

59

and said with an
cern
a
'
:

of the deepest con-

Since you must hear of the death of
loved you and honoured manit

man who
it

kind,

is

better that

should be through
it

some
I

one
poor

who

feels

as

sincerely
is

as

do;

Prince

Charles
as

no more!'
these

He

was deeply

affected

he said

words."
After a conversation

during which the
for nearly

King had spoken unceasingly
rather monotonous, seized
to Virgil, "

an

hour, the Prince, finding the part of listener

upon an

allusion

and said

:

'What a grand
!

poet, Sire, but

what a bad

gardener

"'How
sow,
dig,
?

true!

Did

I

not try to plant,

and hoe, with the Georgics as
" But, Sire," the

my
a

guide

gardener used
:

to say, not
fool,

knowing who

I

was
;

"You
is

are

and your book
sets
!

also

it

not so

that

one

to

work."

Good

heavens,
it,

what a climate

would you believe

God
Look

and the sun refuse

me

everything

!

60

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

vi

at

my
all

orange, olive, and lemon trees, they

are

dying of hunger.'
I

"'Laurels,
will

see, are

the only trees that

grow

for

your Majesty.'
a delighted look,
bit of

"The King gave me
and
to cap
I

my

insipid

remark with a
'
:

nonsense,

quickly added

And
1

then, Sire,

there are too

many

grenadiers in this country,

they swallow up everything.'
laughed, for
it

The King

is

only nonsense that makes

one laugh."

The
not bear

Prince

knew

that

the
that

King- could
it

M. de Ried, and

was be-

cause the latter had mentioned the taking
of Berlin by Marshal

Haddik

that the

King
there-

had conceived such a
fore,

dislike for

him
if

;

when Frederick asked him

he found
re-

Berlin

much

altered,

he took care not to

mind him

that he
it

was one of those who took
1760.
"

possession of

in

He

was pleased

with
1

my

reticence, for
in

he was an old wizard,

Grenadiers
tree.

French signifying both the soldier and the

pomegranate

vi

PRINCESS E DE EIGNE

61

who guessed The
"

everything, and whose tact was

the finest that ever existed."

Prince

asked him a bold question

when speaking about France.
There
it

is

everything, Sire, in that country,

and

really deserves to

be happy

;

it

is

re-

ported
if

that

your
to

Majesty had

said

that

one wished
"

have a happy dream, one

ought

"Yes," interrupted the
true

King,

"that

is

— one ought
the

to

be King of France."
at

After spending a delightful fortnight

Potsdam,

Princes

took leave

of

the

King of Prussia with
month of August.

regret,

and continued

their journey, arriving at Saint Petersburg in

the

The Empress

received

the

Prince
;

de

Ligne with the greatest distinction

she was

already acquainted with him through Voltaire's
letters

and the accounts the Emperor Joseph
at Mohileff.
all
:

had given her

Catherine found

him worthy of

the praise she had heard of

him, and writes

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

"We
is

have also the Prince de Ligne, who

one of the most amusing and easy beings on with
I

to get

have ever seen.

Though
all

an original and a deep thinker, he yet has
the gaiety of a child.
suit

His company would

me

very well."

On

his part the Prince

was charmed with

Catherine the Great, as he called her, and,

thanks to his account,
trait

we have

a living por-

of the Czarina.

"It was easy to see that she had been

handsome rather than
and smile, but
character,

pretty

;

the majesty of

her brow was softened by a pleasant
it

look

showed

all

the force of her
justice,

and revealed her genius,

judgment, courage, equanimity,
calmness, and firmness.

gentleness,

"Her

chin,

though rather pointed, did not
;

exactly project

nor was

it

a receding chin,

but one nobly proportioned.
face

The
it

oval of her
pleasing,
full

was not good, and yet

was

for the expression of

her mouth was

of

frankness and mirth.

She must have had a

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
fresh

complexion and a

fine

bust,

which,
;

however, she got
she had

at the cost of

her figure

been almost too
in

slight,

but one

becomes very stout
clean,

Russia.

She was

and

if

her hair had not been drawn so
face,

far back,

but allowed to surround her

she

would have been better looking.
notice she

One

did not

was small

;

when she
to realise

told me, in a

slow manner, that she had been very vivacious,
it

seemed impossible

it.

On

enter-

ing a

drawing-room she always made the
like a

same three bows,
style
;

man,
one

in the

Russian
left,

one

to the right,

to the

and

the other in the middle.

Everything about

her was measured and methodical."

The
days.
'"

Prince

had

already

become very

intimate with Catherine at the end of a few

What did you

suppose

I

would be

like

?'

she asked me. "'I fancied your Majesty
tall,

stiff

as a

poker, with eyes like stars, and a large hoop.
I

thought

also

I

should

only

have

to

64

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
and
constant

vi

admire,

admiration

is

very-

fatiguing.'
"' Is
it

not true that you did not expect to
?

find

me

so stupid
I

"'

In truth,
all

thought

it

would be necessary

to

have

one's wits about one, that your
license,
I

Majesty allowed yourself all
perfect firework of wit
;

and was a

but

infinitely prefer

your careless style of conversation, which be-

comes sublime when

treating of noble passages

of history, or examples of sensibility or greatness.'

And
was

the

Empress

heartily laughed at
flattery.

this clever

mingling of frankness and

" It

this contrast of simplicity in

what
pertrifle

she

said

with

the great

deeds

she

formed that made her

interestinsf.

A

amused her
joke,

;

she was pleased at the smallest

and
I

cleverly
told

turned
that

it

to

account.

One day
with
in

her

to

silence

the

reproaches of a lady

who was

displeased

my

scarcity of talk,
I

and looking bored
I

her house,

replied that

had just heard

of the death of an aunt

who had brought me

vi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

65

up.

When
uncle
it

the

Empress was bored on the
to
I

grand reception days, she would say
1

me

:

My

is

about to
'
:

die.'

Then

would

hear

murmured

We

are going to have a

mourning.'

And

all

the Court would search

up the uncle
not find him."

in the

almanac, and of course

However
him

great the fascination Catherine

exercised over the Prince, she did not
forget Marie-Therese,
his

make

and towards the
:

end of

stay he wrote

"

Marie-Therese had certainly

The Empress much greater
carried

charm and
one

fascination.
:

Our Empress

away

the

impression

made

by the
at first,
re-

Russian Empress was

much weaker

but gradually increased.

However, they

sembled each other

in this, that if the

universe

had crumbled away they would have been
found impavidas ferient
ruincz.

No
;

power
their

on earth would have made them yield
great
souls

were proof against adversity

enthusiasm preceded the one and followed
the other."
VOL.
II

23

66

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
It

vi

was, however, necessary for the Prince to

tear himself

away from the

delights of this

charming abode.

But before their departure

the Empress, laughing, said to the Princefather:
sell,

"As you

told

me that you would either
I

gamble, or lose any diamonds

should

give you, here are only a hundred roubles'

worth round

my

portrait

on

this ring

!"

1

To
Prince

this present

Catherine added jewels for
;

the Princesse de Ligne and her daughters

Charles

received

a

rich
left

casket for
for

Helene,

and the Princes

Poland,
viz.

having forgotten only one thing,

the

claim of four hundred thousand roubles, for

which they had undertaken their journey.
1

It is said

that Catherine's friendship for the Prince de Ligne
to believe
it

became a warmer sentiment, and we are disposed

when we read
that

the sour letters that

Grimm
well.

wrote to the Empress
It will

about the Prince, of

whom

he was jealous.

be seen later en
it

he excited Potemkin's jealousy as

Be

this as

may, the

Prince was very discreet on the subject, as also on that of the
political

conversations he had with the

Empress,

for

he

relates

nothing about them, not even in reference to Poland.

We
;

can
the

hardly believe, however, that he did not touch upon the subject

Princesse Charles was Polish, and Catherine might well suppose
that her father-in-law

and husband took some

interest in that un-

happy country.

vi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Prince gaily,
"
it

67

" For," says the

seemed

to

me
the

a want of delicacy to take advantage of favour with which
I

was received

to

obtain favours."

The Bishop
at his

of Wilna received the Prince

residence of

Werky, a short distance
writes the Prince,

from Warsaw.

"Werky,"

"was
river,

a fortunate child of nature,
three

—a

large

smaller

ones,

and a chain of

mountains, separated two valleys.
five

Four or

waterfalls,

three islands, manufactories,

castles, a windmill, a port, a ruin,

two convents

of

handsome appearance,

natural undulations,

temples to Vulcan, to Bacchus, and one to
Unity, which
is

to

be erected upon

piles,

and a

kind of bridge at the meeting of three pretty
rivulets,

an obelisk, a fisherman's and a workhut,

man's
rustic,

bridges,

some

ornate,
this

others

complete the attractions of
estate.
I

mag-

nificent

advise and direct every-

thing."

The

Dietine

(sub- Diet)

of

Wilna had

assembled

to elect

deputies for the Diet of

68

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

vi

Warsaw.

The Bishop gathered round

his
all

table eighty-four Polish gentlemen, nearly

wearing the national costume, and having
their

heads shaved after the Polish fashion.

Before dinner each of them came up to salute
the Bishop by respectfully kissing the
his robe.

hem

of

At the end of the
;

repast healths

were drunk

the Bishop proclaimed the

name
;

of the person whose health was proposed

then

he

filled

an antique cup,
it

beautifully

chased, emptied
that he

and turned
it

it

over,

showing

had drained
it

to the

bottom.

He
table.

then passed

to his right-hand neighbour,
it

and

in

this

way

went round the

These

toasts

were always celebrated with
After an interesting

champagne or Tokay.
sojourn at

Werky and

Wilna, the Princes,
for

accompanied by the Bishop, started
saw.

War-

We

have seen that

in

the negotiations

for the

marriage of the

Due

d'Elbceuf with

Helene the Prince-Bishop and the Marquis
de Mirabeau had dreamt of the Polish throne
for the

young

Princess's future husband.

This

vi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

69

idea had

taken possession of the Bishop's
to

brain

;

and the accounts that were given

him

of Saint Petersburg, and the peculiarly cordial
reception
that

the
in
it.

Princes

had received,

confirmed him

Persuaded that the
in

Prince was far advanced

the

Empress's

good

graces,
-

and convinced that the King

Stanislaus
favour,

Augustus
Bishop,
a

was
ever

no
ready

longer
to

in

the
into

throw
ad-

himself

new

adventure,

took

vantage of the opening of the Diet to propose the Marshal as candidate for the
digdnat.
"
in-

You

will

one day be King of Poland,"
"
;

said the enthusiastic Bishop
will

what a change

come over European

affairs!

what good

luck for the Lignes and

Massalski!"

The

Marshal laughed,

but,

although he ridiculed

these sayings, he allowed matters to proceed.
''I

had a fancy," he

says,

"to please the

nation assembled for the Diet, and accordingly presented myself."

Twenty-five candidates came forward to

70

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
indighiat ;

vi

obtain the

twenty-four of them

were
but

set aside, the Prince alone
it

was retained

;

required a unanimous vote, and three
"

opponents came forward.
cut down,

They were
his

nearly

and the violence of one of the
laid

nuncios,

1

who

his

hand on

sword,

uttering very threatening words, nearly broke

up the

Diet,

and

my

too zealous partisan had

a narrow escape of losing his head.
"
in
I

sought

my

opponents

;

I

succeeded

overcoming

their prejudices,
said,

and that so

thoroughly that they

with a grace and
that,

eloquence worthy of their country,

in

favour of an acquisition they considered so
honourable, they would, each in turn,
the vote of one of their friends.
solicit
all

Against
hall,

custom,

I

rushed into the nuncios'
the
It

and

embraced
orators.

mustachios

of

these
I

three

electrified

me, for

began an
I

oration myself

in

Latin too!

then

took

them by the hand, and my advances

resulted

1

The

Polish deputies were called nuncios.

vi

PRINCE SSE BE LIGNE

71

in a

general sgoda} which rang three times
hall,

through the

nearly bringing

it

down, so

great were the universal acclamations."

After having obtained the good graces of
the

Empress Catherine,

laid out the

Bishop

of Wilna's gardens, gained the indigdnat, and

become almost

as popular at

Warsaw

as in

Brussels, the Prince de Ligne, faithful to his

word, arrived at Versailles to the very day,
six

months

after

having

left

it.

1

The sgoda was

the cry which

announced the unanimity of the

vote.

VII
Life
at

Bel

CEil

Netherlands

Figaro

— The

—The Archduchess —The Comte d'Artois
Comtesse de

Christine,
at Bel CEil

Governor of the

Le Mariage de
Chevalier de

Sabran and

the

Boufflers.

Hellene awaited her husband's return with
the
greatest

impatience,

for

during
life

his

absence and that of his father her
not been an easy one.

had

The Dowager- Princess
the

generally took ad-

vantage of her husband's absence to reduce
expenses of
as

her

household,

and

re-

establish,

much

as possible,

a condition
the
Prince,

of

things

too

often

upset by

who, like the amiable spendthrift that he
was, gaily threw
millions

out

of the win-

dow.

Helene

would

gladly

have

taken
;

her share in superintending the household
for

she

had learnt

at

the

Convent how

vii

PR/NCESSE DE LIGNE

73

to

keep house, and was naturally proud of

her acquirements.

She

gracefully proffered

her services to her mother-in-law, anxious to
display her domestic qualities, but the Prin-

cesse de

Ligne was not disposed

to share

her authority with any one, and coldly refused her daughter-in-law's
offer.

Helene, rebuffed
it

and humiliated, did not complain, but

left

a feeling of rancour in her mind, and from
that

moment

the relations between mother
strained.

and daughter-in-law became more

At

last the Prince's six

months' journey drew

to a close,

and

it

was with twofold joy that
return,

Helene hailed her husband's

and the

end of the harsh tutelage under which she
had been
living.

The
Brussels,

Princes

found

their

family

at

and

in the

spring went to Bel CEil,

where they spent the summer together, with
the

exception

of

Prince

Louis,

who was
at
;

detained by his service in Paris, and could

seldom be with

them.

The

life

Bel
the

CEil was extremely gay and animated

74

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

vn

stream of visitors was incessant, and poured
in

from

all

sides

— Brussels,
in turns.

Paris,

and

even Vienna.

The

officers of the

de Liome

regiment came to stay

Not only

did the Prince keep open house
say, that people

— that

is

to

could

come and spend the
number
of apartments

day there without any previous warning, but
there

was

also a certain

kept

in readiness for

any unexpected guests

who might come
the
intimates
at

for a longer visit.

Among
the

Bel

CEil

were

most

charming

women

of the Court of Brussels.

Although the de Lignes provided ample
entertainment
guests, a
to

and

amusement

for

their

due part of the day was devoted
serious

more

occupations.

The mornMusic,
litera-

ings were given
ture,

up

to study.

drawing,

etc.,

were cultivated

in turn.

" Christine pastes

and unpastes, Helene sings

and

is

enchanting," wrote the Prince.

As
in

for him,

he was no sooner up than, book

hand, he

went

to

his

island

of Flora,

or

worked

in his library,

or else inspected the

vii

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

75

gardens.

He

already

possessed

a

private

printing-press in his house at Brussels; he
installed

another at Bel CEil, which was a
Prince Charles
it,

source of great amusement. 1
in

particular busied himself with

but he

confined himself to publishing the works of
others; his father, the Chevalier de
l'lsle,

and

the

Abbe

Payez, provided ample material for

the small presses of Bel CEil.

Prince Charles,

who was an

enthusiastic
in spite

admirer of pictures, had found time,
of his studies and military duties, to

make

a

magnificent collection of original drawings,

both of ancient and modern masters. 2

He

was a thorough connoisseur, and drew well
himself,

he

even

undertook

to

engrave

some

of the drawings in his collection, and

The volumes printed at Bel CEil are extremely rare and much M. Adolphe Gaifte is in possession of one of the two known copies of the Chevalier de ITsle's poems. From a memorandum left by the Princess, we believe that part of her childhood's Memoirs was printed by her husband at Bel CEil. 2 A catalogue of them was made by Adam Bartsch in 1794 it
1

in

demand.

;

contained

six

thousand numbers.

76

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

vn

sent for the celebrated Bartsch to give
lessons at Bel GEil.
self in

him

Helene interested her-

her husband's occupations, and, while
in order,

he was engraving, put the drawings

studied under his guidance the different styles
of each master,

and became quite an en-

lightened

amateur.

These
first

intellectual

oc-

cupations took up the
after

half of the day,
visitors

which the family and numerous
for dinner.

assembled
they
all

After an hour's rest

went

into the gardens,
in

where they
reverie,

wandered about, or indulged
gathered together according to

or

taste.

There
a

were a hundred

different

pastimes, and

hundred

different

ways of enjoying one's

self;

the Prince had anticipated every taste and

every wish.

Sometimes

they

went

long

excursions on horseback or in carriages to
the beautiful forest of Baudour, adjoining the

woods of Bel
large

CEil,

or

they sailed on

the

lake

which was connected with the

canals, rivers,

and smaller lakes of the park.

The

boats were decked out with streamers,

vii

PRINCESSE DE LICNE

j7

and manned by small boatmen dressed
the
Prince's
livery.
"

in

During the lovely

summer
sions

evenings," he writes, "our excurthe
water,

on

with

music

and

a
to

bright

moonlight,

were most agreeable

the ladies."

The
rustic

Prince

never
;

forgot
well

them

in

his

arrangements

beaten-paths, so
feet,

that they might

not wet their pretty

bowers of

roses, jasmine,

orange

trees,

and

honeysuckle, led to the ladies' baths.

They
cabins,

found

shaded

benches

and

rustic

and

also

"their

embroidery frames, their

knitting, their netting, and,

above
or

all,

their

black
else

writing-books.

Sand

something
they
lovers

was

often

wanting,

but
to

con-

tained secrets

unknown both
used
as

and
their
little

husbands,

and,

desks

by

owners, served to write
lie."

many

a pretty

At

this period Brussels

presented the most
Prince Charles

brilliant

and animated

aspect.

of Lorraine had been succeeded by the Arch-

78

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

vn

duchess Marie-Christine, formerly Regent of

Hungary, where she had enjoyed the privileges
of a queen.
scale,

She held her court on a grand
it

and did the honours of

with grace
con-

and

affability.

The Archduchess was
She danced so

sidered the handsomest of Marie-Therese's
four daughters. gracefully

and so

lightly that, directly she began, to admire.

every

one stopped
to

Although pretending
far

be annoyed, she was, on the contrary,
at

from displeased
voked.

the admiration she pro-

She had married the Archduke Albert

of Saxe-Teschen, 1

who was

entirely

under

his

wife's influence, and, unlike Prince Charles of

Lorraine, never gained the hearts of the Flemish.

Nevertheless, the Archduke's gentle and

easy character

made him beloved by

all

who
two
in

approached
connoisseur
1

him.
in

He

was
and

an

intelligent

pictures,

formed

Son of Augustus

III.,

King of Poland
born on

;

and Field-Marshal

the Austrian army.

He was

nth

July 1738, and married,

on 8th April 1766, Marie - Christine -Josepha -Jeanne -Antoinette,
sister

of the

Emperor Joseph, born on 13th May 1742.
in

She died

in

1798, and the Archduke Albert

1S22.

vii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
collections

79

magnificent
drawings.

of

paintings

and

The Archduchess and
pleasure in encouraging

her husband took
art

and

literature,

and Brussels soon became a
centre.

lively literary

All that appeared in France

novels,

poetry, travels, etc.

—was eagerly
The
to

read. Several

reviews were started.

Prince de Ligne

welcomed young Belgian

authors,

and helped
of
his

them
ability.

in

every

way

the

best

Happy

to avail

themselves of the
graciously offered,

lordly

hospitality he

so

they constantly came to submit to him their
essays.
It
is

needless to say that they ex-

tolled the beauties of Bel CEil
in

and Baudour
in

verses

w hich were reproduced
r

the

gazettes of the day.
If

Belgium had not become the scene of
it is

political events,

probable that the Prince
literature

would have founded a school of

and

good

taste, for

he occasionally evinced

in his

writings talent of the highest order.

Ideas
pen,

flowed

in

abundance from

his

fertile

8o

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE
to jot

vn

and he seemed merely
the paper at haphazard.
capricious,
incorrect,

them down on
style,

His

which

is

and even obscure,
;

is

always lively and descriptive

each

word

seems
his

to
;

fall

naturally into

its

place under

pen

wit abounds, unexpected, satirical,

and sometimes most daring.
greatest contempt for

He
;

has the

grammar

but this very

negligence, this lordly indifference, gives to
his writings a

most original
he

style.
all

Moreover,
quisites

possessed
critic,

the
it

re-

of an excellent

but

must
in-

be acknowledged that he was
dulgent towards his

blindly

own

poetry.
facility,

Unfortu-

nately gifted with deplorable

he never

missed an opportunity of rhyming.
ing,

One evenwalk
far into the

when they had

all

gone

for a long

in the

woods, they wandered so

forest that

they completely lost their way,
it,

and only found
had
noticed.
-

thanks to a star Helene
the

On

following day

her

father

in

-

law brought her a ballad,
perhaps

set to

a tune then in vogue, and

among

vii

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE
those

Si

all

he has written,
:

it

may be

con-

sidered as one of the best

A
Un
Nous

HfL^NE.
la

Air: Sous

Verdure.

sombre

voile
;

Nous derobait notre chemin
Mais nous arrivons a
Grace a
Est-ce
l'etoile.

errions a la belle etoile,
la fin

l'etoile
?

Qui jadis guida vers un Dieu

Ou

de Venus est-ce

l'etoile ?

Je penche beaucoup en ce lieu

Pour

cette etoile.

Aupres d'Helene
Conduit
l'etoile

du berger

;

Trop heureux
Tout juste a

celui qu'elle

amene

l'heure

du berger

Aupres d'Helene. 1

And

so

the

days

passed quickly and
in

pleasantly, the only
1

drawback

this

happy

To H£lene.

A

dark mist
;

Concealed our road

We
But
VOL.

wandered
at last

in the

open

air,

we

reach our goal,

Thanks
II

to the star.

24

82

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

vn

scene

being the state of Helene's health,

which required an amount of care her youth

and love of pleasure made
to take.

it

difficult for

her

Two

accidents

had successively

destroyed a hope dearly cherished by her

husband, and even
law,

more by her
that
his

father-in-

who

was

anxious

beloved
waters of

Charles should have a son.
Spa, then very

The

much
Helene
1782,

the fashion, were re-

commended.

went there

in

the

month of May
Chevalier de

accompanied by the
friend,

l'lsle,

and her convent

Mademoiselle de Conflans,
1

who was now

Marquise de Coigny, and on intimate terms
Was
Or was
I
it

it

the star
led us

That formerly
of

heavenwards

? ?

Venus the guiding
was

star

am

disposed to believe

That

it

this latter star.

'Tis to

Helene
that by

That

this star led us,
it

Too happy he Comes just at
Near
1

brought,

the

happy moment

to Helene.

It

was

to this witty

Marquise de Coigny that the Prince de
letters written

Ligne addressed the charming

from Tauris.

vii

PRINCE SSE BE EIGNE
Helene wrote

83

with the de Lignes.
point a meeting- place.
l'lsle,

to ap-

The
"
1

Chevalier de
familiar

who had

a

ready pen and
:

style,

answered as follows

Madame
till

de

Coigny embraces Mouchette,

and exhorts
the
for

her to wait for her to go to Spa
fifteenth of

next month."
they
started

Helene waited
together

her,

and
;

with

the

Chevalier

he only remained a short time,
return wrote to the

and on
Ligne
dear
there,
:

his
"
I

Prince

de

did not write to you from Spa,
I

my
you

Prince, because

hoped
I

to

see

and then because

intended stopping
;

at Brussels, at Bel CEil

even

I

had begged

the Princesse Charles,

who

talks

much

better

than

I

can write, to speak to you of

me
?

in

her spare

moments.

She has none

So

much
so

the better for both her and you, and

much
at

the worse for me.

But
I

I

had

my

turn
point

Spa

;

twenty times
if

was on the
tell

of writing,

only

to

you how

1

Familiar nickname of the Princesse Charles.

84

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

vn

charming your daughter-in-law was, and then
I

reflected that
it,

you were not the man

to

ignore
fresh

and that when one has nothing
say,

to

one

had better hold one's

tongue."

Shortly after the Chevalier's departure the
Prince rejoined his daughter-in-law at Spa.

A
much

watering-place at that time was very
like

what

it

is
it

in
in

our days, but the
the

Prince

describes
:

most
hall,

spirited

manner
I

"

I

arrive

in

a large

where
arms
titles,

find

the

maimed showing
legs
; ;

off their

and

their

ridiculous

names,

and

faces

clerical

and

worldly
;

animals

jumping and running races
milords

hypochondriac
;

wandering

sadly

about

females

from Paris entering with roars of laughter,
to

make one

believe they are amiable and

at their ease,

and hoping thereby to become
all

so

;

young men of
the

countries,

countertheir

feiting

English,

speaking

with

teeth closed, and dressed like grooms, their
hair

cut

short,

black,

and greasy, with a

vii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

85

pair of Jewish
ears.

whiskers surrounding dirty

"

French bishops with

their nieces

;

an ac-

coucheur, decorated with the order of Saint

Michael

;

a dentist with that of the Spur
in

;

dancing and singing masters
of Russian majors
;

the uniform

Italians in that of Polish

colonels, leading about

young bears of
scanning
;

that

country
for

;

Dutchmen
rate of

the

papers

the

exchange
;

thirty
all

so-called

Knights of Malta
the right and the

ribbons of
left,

colours, to

at the buttonhole

on

both sides, orders of
sizes.

all

kinds, shapes,

and

"

Old

duchesses
tall

returning

from

their

walks armed with

canes a la Vendome,

and

three

coatings

of white

and
at

rouge
cards

;

marchionesses,
horrible

cheating

doubly

;

and suspicious

faces,

surrounded by
all

piles of ducats,

and swallowing up

those

that
cloth

were timidly put on the large green
;

two or three

electors

in

hunting-

dress, striped with gold,

armed with hunting-

86

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
;

vn

knives

a few princes incognito,

who would

not produce a greater sensation under their

own names
retired

;

some

old generals and officers

on account of wounds they never
;

received
doctors,

a few Russian princesses with their
Palatines and
Castilian
ladies

and

with their young chaplains.
"

Americans
;

and

burgomasters

of

the
all

neighbourhood

convicts

escaped from
;

the different prisons in

Europe

quacks of
all

every description abbes of
all

;

adventurers of

kinds

;

countries.

Twenty
;

sick people
forty lovers,

wildly dancing for their health

or pretended lovers, sweating and agitating

themselves,

and sixty feminine waltzers of
beauty and innocence, cleverness

more or

less

and coquetry, modesty and voluptuousness.
All this combined
fast."
is

called a dancing break-

After leaving

the

establishment of the

mineral waters, the Prince takes us to
Sauvetiere,

La
for

an

elegant

meeting-place

bathers:

"The

noise, the buzzing

sound of

vii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

87

conversation, the
intoxicating

uproar of the music, the
waltz, the passing

rhythm of the

and repassing of the

idlers,

the oaths and

sobs of the gamblers, both
the weariness of this

men and women, maoqc-lantern made me
down, and
I

leave the

hall.

I

sit

see

some
their

water

drinkers

religiously

counting

glasses and their steps, and

congratulating

themselves, perhaps rather sadly, on the im-

provement of

their digestion.

Some

ladies

join their group.
"
'

Do

you digest the waters,
sir,

Madame

?'

"
"

'

Yes,

since yesterday.'
to digest?'

'

Does your Excellency begin

she says to the minister of an ecclesiastical
court.

"
'

I

have the

honour

to
I

inform

your

Excellency,' he answers, 'that

perspire from
ten,

eight o'clock in the evening
I

till

and that
If

sweat completely from ten

till

midnight.

I

had not so much business
I

to transact for

his Grace,

should be entirely cured by the

treatment.'

"

88

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Helene returned
to

vn

Spa

in

1783,

and
a

met

there

Madame

de

Sabran,

born

d'Andlau, 1
Boufflers.

who became

later the

Marquise de

She was one of the most charming

women of her time, and pleased every one who saw her by her appearance, her elegance,
and the kindliness of her nature.
accompanied by her
Sabran,
little

She was
Elzear

son,

de

who

little

thought of the part he was
;

destined to play in politics later on

for the

present, he contented himself with learning

the

part

of

Cherubin
Princesse

in

the

Mariage de
studying

Figaro,

the

Charles

Suzanne, and

Madame

de Sabran the part of

the Countess, for after the return from the play was to be acted at Bel CEil.
Just at this time they received

Spa

news of
2

the

Comte
Madame

d'Artois' arrival in Flanders,

and

1

d'Andlau was daughter of the famous Helvetius and
Ligneville.

Mademoiselle de

She had educated her daughter,
:

Madame de
2

Sabran,

very well

Madame d'Andlau

in

no way-

shared her father's opinions.

We

read in the Gazette des Pays Pas, dated Thursday, 17th
:

July

17S3

"On

Monday,

H.R.H.

the

Comte

d'Artois,

ac-

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
the Princes de Ligne started off at once to
receive and

accompany him on

his progress

through Rocroi and Spa, bringing him back
with them to Bel CEil.

The
for

Princesse

Helene returned

to

Bel

CEil before the Princes, in order to prepare

the

Comte

d'Artois'

reception
fell

;

but he
ill.

had barely arrived when he

seriously

The
cost

Prince had prepared festivities which

him over

fifty

thousand francs
to the Count,

;

he never
not

even spoke of them
in

who was

a condition to enjoy them.

Only one thing

took place, a fairy-like illumination of the
park, which the Prince, however, did not see,
for

he never

left

the

Comte

d'Artois' side,

and started with him

for Versailles.

After the departure of the

Comte

d'Artois,

the Chevalier de Bouhiers and

Madame

de

Sabran came

to Bel GEil.

Hearing that the

companied by
that

their Excellencies

the Governors -General,

saw

all

was remarkable

in the vicinity.
left

The

next day the Prince,

with their Royal Highnesses,

for the

Chateau de Mariinont,

from whence he was going to Bel CEil."

go

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

vii

Chevalier was garrisoned at
the

Valenciennes,

Prince wrote and proposed his joining
at

him
"

Tournai, and from there returning

with him to Bel CEil.
I

The

Chevalier replied

:

am
all

very

much tempted, my dear
;

Chariot,

by

you suggest

but on closely examinI

ing your marching orders,

believe that
I

my

regiment
Tell

is

the very thing
to

should miss.
;

me when you go
if
I

Tournai

I

intend

going there, and defying you
your army, and
(lines),
I

at the

head of

find

it

on two Lignes

shall try to

break through them.
love you as
if
I

"

Dear

Prince,

I

saw you
is

every day of

my

life.

After yourself there

nothing that gives so

much

pleasure as the

impression that you leave.

Send me your

marching orders, so that we may meet somewhere, and that,
if

possible,

we may

part

nowhere."

l

1 The Prince de Ligne had a particular affection for Boufflers. would appear, however, that the Chevalier had a very uneven temper, for Madame de Sabran, in one of the charming letters she " It is not your manners, wrote him, gives us the following sketch

It

:

which are those of a savage, your absent and moody appearance,

vii

PRINCES SE DE EIGNE

91

The
to

Chevalier arrived at Bel CEil
part
in

in

time

take

the

representation

of the

Mariage de Figaro, which was given with
great
CEil.

success

in

the pretty theatre at

Bel
;

Helene took the part of Suzanne
de Sabran that of the Countess
Boufflers, Figaro
;

Madame
for

;

Elzear, Cherubin, and

as

the

Prince -father,

he

had

to

content

himself with the modest part of Doublemain,
the notary's clerk
;

we must
1

confess

that,

though he gave others good advice, he acted
very badly himself.

He

was generally given

the part of the notary

who draws up

the

marriage -contract, or that of the lackey
brings in a
in at the
letter,

who

and would invariably come
;

wrong moment

but on the other

hand, once on the stage he would not leave
it,

but say in a supplicating whisper to the

your sharp and genuine wit, your large appetite, and your deep
sleep whenever one wishes to converse with you, which

made me

love you to distraction.
that

It is I

know

not what

:

a certain sympathy

makes me think and
you conceal the
See his Letters
to

feel

like you, for

under that rough ex-

terior
1

spirit

of an angel and the heart of a
Paris,
1

woman."
1

Eugenie on Theatricals.

77

92

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
l<
:

vn

other actors

I

am

not in your way,

am
and

I?"

Helene

acted

with

an

archness

vivacity which recalled the merry schoolgirl

of the Abbaye-aux-Bois, tempered by a

little

experience

;

the

little

Elzear was charming

as Cherubin, but the Chevalier carried off the

palm by the

zest

and

spirit

with which he
It

threw himself into his

part.

was a

curi-

ous sight, and a sign of the times, to hear
Figaro's
soliloquy
recited

by a nobleman,
audience

and applauded by the
of Bel (Eil.

aristocratic

Prince Charles willingly lent
his wife's

himself to

amusements, though he took no

active part in

them

;

but his serious mind

required occupations of a different order.

He
dis-

took a keen interest
coveries,

in

all

scientific

and

at

that

moment was much

taken up with the new process of aerostation
invented by Charles Pilatre de Rozier and
Montgolfier.

He

witnessed the

first

experi-

ments made

in Paris,

and among others the

vii

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
fire

93

ascension of a

balloon, in the gardens of

La

Muette, on the 21st of

November

1783,

made

by

Pilatre

de Rozier and D'Arlandes.

The

aeronauts were in the greatest danger, their
balloon having caught
fire
;

they managed to
their

extinguish

it,

and

made
At

descent at

Gentilly in safety.

that time a balloon

ascension was looked upon as a most daring
undertaking, and no one cared to accompany
the aeronauts.

But Prince Charles, whose
coolness

courage and
everything,
third ascent,

were

proof

against
in

determined to take part

the

which took place
January
:

at

Lyons on

the

19th

of

1784.
elder

The seven
Montgolfier,

passengers
Pilatre de

were

the

Rozier, Fontaine, Prince Charles,

and three other

persons
to

who
size,
;

at

the

last

moment wished

ascend.

Although the
the

balloon was of enormous

number

of passengers was too great foreseen
this,

De

Rozier had
last

and did not wish the two
car.

persons to enter the

Montgolfier perlet

suaded him, however, to

things be

;

but

94

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
off,

vn

they were hardly
five

and had only run about

hundred

fathoms,

when

the

balloon

began imperceptibly
obliged to

to tear,

and they were

make

a hasty and perilous descent

at a distance of

about a league from the town.

On

their return to

Lyons they were received

with acclamations by the whole population.
In April 1784 Prince Charles sent off from
the public square in front of the hotel des
Etats, at

Mons, a magnificent balloon, con-

structed at his

own

expense.

He

had invited

Duke and Duchess of Aremberg and a great many distinguished personages of the
the

Courts of Brussels and Versailles, who, after
the ascent of the balloon,
CEil.
1

all

returned to Bel

1

See the Gazette des Pays Bas, Monday, 5th April 1784, No.

xxviii.

VIII
Prince Charles purchases a hotel in Paris
insurrection in Flanders
his

—Winter
for

in

Court

Mozart
for her

—The Comtesse de Kinsky — Prince — Helene's departure Warsaw.
in

First

representation of

— Birth of Sidonie—The Vienna —Joseph and Don Juan — Haydn and
II.

Charles's affection

The

Prince de Liome and his dauo-hter-inentire sympathy.

law were

The young
when her
already

Princess enjoyed living at Bel OEil
father
-

in

-

law was there,

but

she disliked

Brussels, their winter residence.

We

know, by her own confession, that Helene was
as "obstinate as the

Pope's mule," and she
settling

had not given up her purpose of
in

Paris.

Her husband
life,

disliked

the idea
his

of the Paris
tastes
;

so

little in

harmony with
in

he had never lived

France, and, a

stranger there, he feared comparison with the

supreme elegance, the

light witty tone,

which

96

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

vm

distinguished the brilliant gentlemen at the

Court of Versailles.

But, as the saying goes,

"What woman
in
in

wills,

God
fine

wills;"

Prince

Charles ended by giving way, and he bought

September 1784 a
the
It

mansion, situated

Rue de
is

la

Chaussee d'Antin. 1
say with what delight

needless to

Helene went

to live in Paris.

She found most

of her old convent friends, and, presented

under the auspicies of her father-in-law, she

was welcomed and entertained on every
Received everywhere into the most
circles

side.

brilliant

at Chantilly, the

Prince de Conde's; at
;

Petit Bourg, the

Duchesse de Bourbon's

at

the Temple, the Prince de Conti's

all

wel-

comed the young
up

Princess,

who gave
and

herself
success.

entirely to a vortex of pleasure

Captivated by the charm and amiability of
the

young men who surrounded her with
Helene gave way
;

their

attentions,

to her natural

instinct of coquetry
1

she distinguished no one

This hotel occupied the whole of the space between the Rue de
la Victoire.

Provence and the Rue de

vin

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
particular but
tried

97

in

to please

all

;

when
toilet

at

home, she was occupied with her
little

and saw very
rarely
as he

of her husband,
into society,

who

but

accompanied her

absorbed

was

in his studies.

The

steady char-

acter of the Prince, his taste for study,

and

the very

German and romantic

turn of his

mind, formed a marked contrast with
light, bantering, superficial

the

tone assumed by

the courtiers. youth,

Helene, with the giddiness of
in

decided

her

own mind
it

that

her

husband was tiresome, and had
for fear of offending

not been

her father-in-law she
little

would not have spared him a

bantering.

Prince Charles's position in Paris as hus-

band of a pretty and fashionable woman was
rather a trying one.

With

a father

whose
take

sparkling

wit

made him everywhere
and reduced

a leading part in society, he was thrown
into the shade,
position, which,

to a secondary

however, his modesty would
felt

not have objected to had he not
it

that

lowered
VOL.
II

him

in

his

wife's

estimation.
25

PR.INCESSE

DE LIGNE

When

he married,
for

it

was without any feeling

of love

Helene,

whom

he had hardly-

seen, but he soon felt a tender

and almost had allowed

paternal affection for her.

He
at

her the greatest
the

freedom
to

Bel

GEil,
in

at

same time seeking

develop

her a

taste for serious occupations

hitherto rather

checked by her intense love of pleasure.

He

was beginning

to

succeed, but these three
efforts,

winters in Paris almost annulled his

or at least greatly compromised their success.

Helene was too young

to

understand and

appreciate her husband's superior intelligence

and high

character.

However, a long -desired event brought
the

married pair nearer to each other for

a while.

On

the

8th of

December 1786

Helene gave
the
to

birth to a

little girl,

who

received

name

of Sidonie.

This was a great joy he easily obtained

Prince Charles, and

Helene's consent to go to Bel CEil in the
early spring, instead of returning to
Paris.

She consented the more

willingly that her

vni

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

99

father-in-law had left Paris for the Russian

Court, whither he had been

summoned by

an invitation from the Empress Catherine.
Before starting the Prince had had ample
time to construct the bower of roses he had

promised for Charles's children, and as early
as the

month of March a handsome Brabant
and white baby, might
Every-

nurse, carrying a pink

be seen in the gardens of Bel GEil.

thing seemed to promise a happy summer,

and

in

spite

of the

somewhat
over
the

unrestricted

authority

exercised

nurse

and

baby by the Dowager- Princess, which was a
source of annoyance to the young mother,

harmony and peace prevailed
All of a

at Bel CEil.

sudden,

in

the

middle of the

summer
out
in

(1787), a serious

insurrection broke

Flanders.
for

It

had
past.
in

been
Joseph

secretly
II.
;

brewing
the

some time

had
he

mania of meddling

everything

generally had the best intentions, but, cleverer
in

theory

than

in

practice,

he

often

ne-

glected to ascertain whether a system useful

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE
in itself

might not become dangerous
any previous preparation.

if

ap-

plied without

The

reforms he tried to introduce into Flanders
are a striking example of this sort of mistake.

The Flemish
in their religion,

people,

who had long been

under the dominion of Spain, were bigoted

and as deeply attached to
were

their ancient political privileges as they

to those of the Church.

After the death of
II.

Marie-Therese, Joseph

began by abolish-

ing certain processions, pilgrimages, and a

number of
and and

confraternities.

These customs

institutions,
far too

which were certainly useless

numerous, were closely interwoven

with the habits of the people, and their abolition

was a source of great

offence.

The

clergy were not less offended at the decree
that

suppressed

the

Bollandists,
all

numerous

convents and abbeys, and
seminaries.

the diocesan

Finally the Emperor,

still

animated with
it

the most liberal intentions, thought that "

was

his

charitable duty to extend towards

vin

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
civil

101

Protestants the effects of that

tolerance
belief,

which, without inquiring into 'a man's

considers only his capacity an citizen."'

Pie

accordingly granted them a

civil

existence

a privilege which
to them.

till

then had been refused

The
these

Bishops
measures,

loudly

protested

against
re-

and

were

severely

primanded.

Not content with attacking
and

the

privileges of the Church, Joseph II. upset the
judicial organisation of the country,
in a

way suppressed
lands,

the nationality of the Nether-

which were declared to be an Austrian

province, divided into nine circles, governed

by an intendant and Austrian commissioners,
solely

dependent on the Viennese Court.
"Joyettse

This
"

was trampling underfoot the
(Joyous
Entry),
that

Entrde

grand charta of the

privileges of Brabant
States.
1

and the other Flemish

1

Amongst

others, the privileges of Hainault

were most curious.

We

find there the formula of the ancient oath

which the Emperor

took at his inauguration as Comte de Hainault.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

The
had

irritation

was

at its height, for

Joseph
in

by' his

various

reforms

succeeded

'alienating every class of his subjects.

A

barrister of Brussels,

Van

der Noot,
manifesto,

published

an

extremely violent
illegality of the
II.
1

demonstrating the
introduced

innovations
libel

by Joseph

This

was
in

approved of by the States, but the author,

danger of being arrested by the Government,
fled to

England.

It

was

at the

very

moment

when

the revolution was being- fomented that

the de Ligne family, alarmed at the agitation

going omin Belgium, hastened to join Prince
Charles
at

Vienna,

whither

he had

been
army,

summoned by Marshal
spring,

Lascy.

An

destined to fight the Turks in the ensuing

was already being organised by the

Emperor's secret orders.

The
at

Princesses de

Ligne reached Vienna
1

the

end of the
and

The

States of Hainault took an active part in the rebellion,

refused in October

Emperor.

demanded by the They had been mortally offended when an Austrian
1788
to vote the subsidies

Commissioner superseded
the Prince of Aremberg.

their former governor

and grand

bailiff,

vin

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Helene had made a short

103

summer.

stay-

there at the time of her marriage, and had

not retained an agreeable recollection of the
place.

differed

The Viennese manners and customs too much from the French to suit
She would
infinitely

her

taste.

have pre-

ferred spending the winter in her hotel at

Paris
in

;

but her husband's duties detaining him

Vienna, she dared not

make

the request.

The Emperor
been
expected

of

Germany's Court did not

display the brilliant aspect which might have

from
1

the

most

important

European power.
of
his

The

simple architecture

palace

conveyed

no

idea

of

a

sovereign's residence.

A

detachment of the

1

The House

of Lorraine had greatly contributed to banish the
till

severe etiquette which

then prevailed at the Viennese Court.

Francis the First, father of Marie- Antoinette, invited to his table
the principal

Crown

officials,

and allowed the most perfect freedom.

Marie-Therese admitted to her intimacy most of the ladies of her

Court

;

she even during the

summer paid

frequent visits to several
in the gardens,

of them.

She might be

seen, knitting

and walking

or reading in an arbour, unattended by any of her ladies.

Marie-

Antoinette had therefore from her infancy been accustomed to those
habits of ease and familiarity which

she carried to France, and

which caused her

to

be so severely censured.

104

PRJNCESSE DE LIGNE

vm

Viennese garrison mounted guard, and a few
trabans posted at the inner doors superin-

tended the management and good order of
the interior.

Joseph

I

I.'s

household was very

economically conducted.

He

had, however,

grand Crown
lord

officials,

such as grand-master,
etc.

high chamberlain, grand -equerry,
fulfilled

But they only
days.

their duties

on gala

In spite of the plainness and simplicity

of the Viennese Court, the personages

who

composed
there were

it

were of very high standing
reigning princes, brothers
the service

many

of kings or electors, in

of the

Emperor, and a crowd of great nobles, such
as

the

Princes

de

Ligne, d'Aremberg, de
1

Lichtenstein, Esterhazi, Colorado, Palfy,
others,

and

who by

their

rank and future were

almost equal to their sovereign.
chose, the

When
to

he

Emperor

"

knew how

impart

to this Court,

which usually had the appearall

ance of a convent or a barrack,
1

the

pomp

The

Princesse

Euphemie de Ligne married, nth September

1798, Jean-Baptiste Gabriel, the eldest son of the

Comte de

Palfy.

viii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

105

and dignity worthy of the palace of MarieTherese.

Helene
the
that

witnessed

for

the

first

time

New
to

Year's festivities at Vienna.

On
1

day most of the Hungarian magnates
Court
in

came

their

elegant

costumes,
;

decked out with

their

handsomest jewels
others,

the

Prince Esterhazi,

among

was mounted

on a richly caparisoned horse whose saddlecloth

was

studded

with

diamonds.

The
him,"

Prince's costume

was as
could

rich as his horse's

trappings.

"

1

not

look

at

Helene says; "he dazzled me." The Emperor
Joseph, so simple in private
life,

wore a

full-

dress uniform embroidered with gold, and his
coat,

his orders,

and

his hat glittered with

eighteen hundred thousand livres 2 worth of
Emperor on
States,

1

The guard of Hungarian nobles only
It

escorted the

great state occasions.

was supported by the Hungarian

who took
The

great pride in the beauty of the horses

and splendour of

the uniforms.

Polish guard, created after the

first

Polish division (1772),
in brilliancy with the

was composed of young noblemen, and vied
Hungarian guard.
2

Seventy-two thousand pounds.

106

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
;

vm

diamonds

the buttons, the fastenings, the

epaulets, the braid,

and the button of

his hat

were one mass of diamonds.

On

that

day the

Court servants and those of the nobility wore a
livery of silk embroidered with gold

and

silver.

The

Prince de Ligne has

left

an interesting

portrait of

Joseph

II.,

with

whom

he had

been on terms of the closest intimacy.
year
before
the

A
the

commencement

of

Emperor's

reign,

Lord Malmesbury asked

the Prince de Ligne what he thought of him.
"

As

a man," replied the Prince, " he possesses
talent
;

great merit and

as

Prince he will
will

always be tortured by ambitions which he

be unable to

satisfy

;

his reign will

be a sort

of perpetual and vain longing to sneeze."

The Emperor Joseph was
society of amiable

fond of the

and distinguished women,
in his intimate

but no love intrigue ever arose
circle.

The

Princesse Kinsky, born a
sister,

Hohen-

zollern,

and her

the Princesse Clary, 1
at Court.

were both conspicuous
1

The

first

Mother-in-law of the Princesse Christine de Ligne.

vni

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE
affable,

107

was simple and

had much learning,

possessed a sound judgment, and was passionately fond of reading

and conversation.

The

second, modest, gentle, and gracious, was a
better listener than her sister, and her pliant
disposition imparted great

charm and ease

to

her society.

The Emperor had given
Haut Belvedere.
1

the

Princesse Kinsky a very fine apartment in
his palace of the
It

was

there that the choicest Viennese society, both

men and women, would meet every Thursday. As a great favour Helene was admitted
of
to this circle,
traits

and she has traced a few por-

of these ladies

—amongst
who was

others, that of

the Princesse Charles de Lichtenstein, born Princesse d'CEttingen, the Belvedere society.
beautiful,
letters,

the darling of
exquisitely
well.

She was

and wrote marvellously
all
;

Her

nearly

written

in

French, over-

flowed with wit

she expressed herself with
reliable character,

elegance
1

;

and her firm and

A

small palace built by Prince Eugene in one of the suburbs

of Vienna.

108

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE

vm

her amiable and cultivated mind, so
heart of the

won

the

Prince de Ligne that she be-

came

his favourite sister-in-law.

The Comtesse Ernest de
and
lively.

Kaunitz, 1 sister

of the Princesse Charles, was plain, but witty

She would
she
loved

often provoke a dis-

cussion,

for

an argument, and

excelled in the vivacity and archness of her
repartee.
stein,
circle.

The

Princesse Francois de Lichtenlittle

born Steinberg, completed the

Second

sister-in-law of the Prince
first
;

de

Ligne, she pleased him less than the

she

had an exalted idea of her rank and name, and
of the consideration that was

due

to her.

Serious and dignified, but at the same time

kind

and

benevolent,

she

was constantly
it

occupied with charitable works, and
difficult to

was

escape the lottery
for the

tickets, concerts,

and collections
every one.

poor she imposed upon

1

Daughter-in-law of the famous Prince de Kaunitz, Chancellor

of the

Empire under Marie-Therese.

He

had retained

office

under

Joseph, and was one of the most influential persons at Court.

vin

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

109

The
society

only

stranger
the

admitted

into

this

was

Due de Braganza.

The

Marshal de Lascy, the Prince de Kaunitz,
the Prince de Ligne, and several other gentle-

men

of the Court frequently came, and the

Emperor Joseph never missed
the Belvedere. In his youth Joseph
II.

a Thursday at

did not give

much

promise of amiability, but he changed entirely

when he became Emperor.
had formed
his character

His

travels, his

campaigns, the society of distinguished women,

and cured him of a

shyness engendered by the extreme severity
of his education.

The

greatest
circle
;

freedom
the

existed

in

the

Belvedere

Emperor

laid aside his

rank and allowed the ladies to speak with a
frankness
that
respect.

sometimes

exceeded

the

bounds of
"

The

things

I

have heard said

to

Joseph

by the

ladies of his society are simply incon"

ceivable," writes the Prince de Ligne.

One

of them said, referring to the execution of a

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
robber
that

who had been hanged by
' :

his orders

day

How could your
moment
who

Majesty condemn
?'

him

after

your robbery of Poland

"It was at the

of the

first

divi-

sion of that country.

'"My
Mass

mother,

enjoys
'

all

your conto

fidence, ladies,'

he replied,

and who goes

as often as

you

do, has long
I

ago made
only her

up her mind on that question.
"

am

first

subject.'

The Emperor was
fidences,

fond of receiving condiscreet,

and was safe and

though he

was fond of meddling.
agreeable, he had
tion,

His manners were
brilliancy of conversa-

some

a great deal of natural wit, and was a

pleasant narrator.

The

following

is

an anecMarie-

dote he was fond of repeating.

When

Therese was so closely pursued by her enemies
that hardly a

town was
to

left to

her in Germany,

not

knowing where

go

for her confinement,

she retired to Presburg and assembled the
States.

She was young and handsome, with a

dazzling complexion, and appeared before the

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Hungarian paladins clad
in

a long mourning

garment, which set off the radiancy of her
beauty; her son, two or three years of age, was
clasped in her arms.
"
I

confide him to you,"

she said, presenting the child, who began to cry.

The Emperor,
added that
produce an

in

telling this story,

always

his mother,
effect,

who knew

the

way

to

gave him a

sly pinch as
;

she

presented him to the Hungarians
the cries of the child,
their compassion,

touched by
to implore

who seemed

"my

bearded heroes drew

their swords,

and swore on their Turkish

blades to defend both mother and son to the
last

drop of their blood."
little

1

The
Vienna
doors.

group that met

at the

Belve-

dere did not represent the only society in
;

many

other houses threw open their
Princesse

The

Lubomirska, 2 com-

1

Fragments of

the

Prince

de

Ligne's

Unedited Memoirs,

published in the Revue Nonvelle, 1840, and by Albert Lacroix at
Brussels.
-

The

Princesse Lubomirska was a cousin of the

King

Stanislaus-

Augustus.

He

frequently mentions her in his correspondence with

Madame

Geoffrin

under

the

name

of

Aspasia.

She was a

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
monly
called the Princesse Marechale, held
brilliant receptions.

some of the most
original

Her

and ready

wit,

and the piquancy of

her manner, imparted a certain liveliness to
the character of her " salon."
all

She forebade
"

talk of

war or

politics at

her house.

No

politics,"

she said,

" in

the

drawing-room,

where the men are more women than we
are.

A

great

many

balls

were given

in

Vienna,
for the

and they were always very animated,

Viennese were passionately fond of dancing.

They waltzed
rapidity that at
tiful

so

furiously

and with such

first

Helene, though a beau-

dancer,

was made quite giddy by the

pace.

She, however, soon

became accus-

tomed, like others, never to rest for a
as long as the waltz lasted.

moment

The balls of the Princesse Lubomirska were
delightful
;

they always began and ended with

Czartoryiska by birth, and alternately resided at Vienna, Warsaw,

and

at

her magnificent estate of Lancut.

A

large part of the

Princess's lands

was situated

in

Austrian Galicia.

vin

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

113

a polonaise, a kind of measured march,

in-

terrupted at intervals by a graceful balanck or

swinging movement.
people wish to join

"

When

the

elderly
for

in the

dance they ask

a polonaise," says the Prince de Ligne, "and

then the good people perform

the

figures,

and move round with a contented smile on
their faces,

as they recollect the

good

old

times,

and the way they used

to smile.

The

young people are
moment."

entirely taken

up with the
to lose a

present, of which they

do not care

This dance displayed to advan-

tage the elegance and grace of the figure.

Helene excelled

in

it,

and took a

patriotic

pride in carrying off the palm.

The
theatre.

Princesse Charles was passionately

fond of music, and had a box at the Court

Don Juan had just been

given with

great success at Prague, in honour of the
visit of

the Duchess of Tuscany, the wife of

Leopold.
rehearsals.

Mozart had

in

person directed the
Joseph, about to

The Emperor

leave for the army, pressed Mozart to return
VOL.
II

26

ii4

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Vienna
to get

to

up the opera there

at once.

The

rehearsals were rapidly got through, and

the representation was given before a large

audience.

Helene was present, and

all

the

Viennese nobility witnessed the performance.

Don Jnan was

admirably sung, but the public,

with few exceptions, of which
one, remained cold throughout.
peror,

Helene was

The Emwas

who thought

the music admirable,

vexed
"It

at the indifference of the audience.
is

a divine work," he said to Mozart,
"

whom

he had summoned to his box,

but
"
!

it is

not the sort of thing for

my

Viennese

"We
it,"

must give them time

to appreciate

modestly replied the author.
;

"It suited the
it

Prague people better
for myself

but

I

composed

only

and

my

friends.''

On

leaving

the

theatre

some

of

the

spectators went to the house of the Comtesse

de Thun, and they were warmly discussing
the

new work when Haydn

entered.

Every

one was of a

different opinion,

and though ad-

mitting for the most part that the music bore

vm

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
all

115

the impress of genius,

declared

that

in

some
sible.

parts

it

was obscure and incomprehenas judge.
"
I

Haydn was chosen
said
is

am

not in a position to decide in such a learned
dispute,"
" all
I

he with malicious humility
that Mozart
is

;

know

the greatest

musician living."

The

concerts at Vienna were numerous

and most magnificent.

The Emperor had

a

passion for instrumental music.

Mozart and

Haydn's

1

symphonies were played with rare

perfection
Salieri.
2

by an excellent
It

orchestra, led
in

by

was likewise

the spring of

1787 that the Seven Words were given for
the
first

time

—an

oratorio which

is

looked

upon

as

Haydn's masterpiece.
evident that Helene might have spent

It is

1

Mozart was appointed
II.

to

the

Emperor's chapel
his salary

in

1780.

Joseph
small,

was very fond of him, and although

was very

he always refused the advantageous

offers

sovereigns,

among

others the

King of

Prussia.

made by other Haydn was also

attached to the Emperor's chapel.
2

Salieri,

chapel - master and music -director to the Emperor at

Vienna.

H6

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE
in

vm

a most agreeable winter

Vienna, but she

did not like Viennese society.
at

A

Parisian

heart, she felt

there entirely out of her

element.

Her husband, on the other hand, who had known all the families about Court
from childhood, was
in
infinitely

more

at

home

Vienna than

in Paris.
all

He was

on the most

intimate terms with

the young married

women who were
of

friends of his sisters.

One

them

in

particular treated

him with the
;

affectionate familiarity of an old playfellow
this

was

the

Comtesse

Kinsky,

born

a the
It

Dietrichstein,

and daughter-in-law to
at

Princess

presiding

the
to

Belvedere.

would have been

difficult

meet with a

more

fascinating

woman, and her romantic

story added greatly to her charm.

Comte

Kinsky's parents and her
a marriage

own had agreed on
children without

between

their

consulting

them on the

subject.
in

The young
for

Count was garrisoned
town,

a small Hungarian
in

and

only arrived

time

the

marriage ceremony.

Immediately afterwards

viii

PRIXCESSE DE LIGNE

117

he conducted his young wife home, kissed
her

hand, and

said
;

:

"

Madame, we have
I

obeyed our parents
with regret that
tions
I

and

must confess
;

it

is

leave you

but

my

affec-

have long been engaged

to a to

without

whom

I

cannot

live,

and

woman whom I
at the

must now return."
door of the church
;

A

post-chaise

was

the Count drove off and

never returned.

Comtesse Kinsky was thereand the

fore neither maid, wife, nor widow,

dangers of

this

peculiar position

were enit

hanced by her

extreme beauty, which
difficult to outrival.

would have been

She

united to her external charms a cultivated

mind and an
met her
at the

excellent heart.

Helene often

Comtesse de Thun's, who was
Lignes, and

an intimate friend of the de

whose house was

their habitual rendezvous.

Comte Francois de
1

Dietrichstein,

1

Madame
born
28th

The Comte Francois -Joseph de

Dietrichstein,

April 1767, was private counsellor and chamberlain to the Austrian

Emperor.
during the

He
first

filled

the post of Major -General in the Engineers
it

wars against the French republic, and

was he who

n 1800 concluded with Moreau

the armistice of Parsdorf.

i

iS

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

vm

de Kinsky's brother, was a great friend of
Prince
Charles,

with

whom

he had been
position of the

brought up.

The

peculiar

Countess rendered
ous,

this intimacy

very hazardaffection for

and Prince Charles's tender

her partook very

much

of the nature of love.
instinct,

With

a

woman's

quick

Helene

divined between her husband and the beautiful

Countess a secret

tie,

the nature of which

she could not

make

out, the strictest propriety
sides.

being observed on both
that,

We must admit
which

in spite of little Sidonie's birth,

for a

moment drew

the pair

more

closely toindifferent

gether, they were

becoming very

towards each other.
forgotten

The

Prince had

not

the

contemptuous

manner with
in Paris, in

which

his wife

had treated him

and

he was not sorry to show her that he played quite a different part.
neither one nor the other had

Vienna

In short, love

made a

match.

Social conventions and a similarity

of tastes had conduced to a certain decree of
friendship
;

but would that suffice to guard

viii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
against

119

either

any warmer sentiment that
?

might intervene

And
portions,

so the winter passed.

The

revolu-

tion in Flanders

had assumed alarming pro-

and there could be no question of
Prince Charles,

returning to Bel CEil.

who
left

had

rejoined

his

regiment,
orders,

served

under

General

de
for

Lascy's

and

had

Vienna

some

time.

No

sooner had he

taken his departure than Helene wrote to

ask his permission to join her uncle
saw,

at

Warmeet.

where the Diet was about
important business with

to

Some
The

the

Prince-

Bishop served as a pretext
authorisation

for the journey.

was

easily granted,

on conSidonie
;

dition

that she should

leave

little

under the care of

her grandmother
in

and

Helene

left

Vienna

September 1788.

IX
The Prince de
Tauris

Petersburg —Journey through Ligne's departure — Interview Kherson — War declared against the Turks — Alliance between Austria and Russia — The Prince de Russian General — Potemkin and Romanzoff— The Ligne the storming of Sabacz taking of Sabacz — Prince Charles Prince-father — Letters Letters from the Emperor Joseph son — The Governor of from the Prince de Ligne Belgrade. Vienna — Siege return Kaminiecz — The
for St.

at

as

at

to the

to

his

Prince's

to

of

In the autumn of the year 1786 the Prince

de Ligne received an
Czarina, asking

invitation

from the

him

to join her at St. Petersin

burg, and

accompany her
to

a journey she

was about
invitation

undertake

in the

Crimea.

This

was

secretly intended to prepare an

interview that was to take place at Kherson

between Catherine and Joseph

1 1.

Turkey had
in

ceded the Crimea and Kouban to Russia January 1784.

These

acquisitions

had only

aggravated Catherine's
quest.

thirst for further con-

She already betrayed her ambition

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
in the smallest details
:

one of her grandsons

had been named Alexander, and the other
Constantine
;

the
;

Crimea was

now

again

called Tauris

but her ambitious designs did

not end there.

The Empress
if

received the
left

Prince de Ligne as

he had only

her

the day before, informed him of her plans,

and

at the

end of December sent him back

to Joseph with the itinerary of her journey

and the

result of his secret mission.

Under

the pretext of visiting her

new

do-

minions the Czarina undertook on the 15th of

January 1787 a journey through the southern
provinces of her empire.

She was accom-

panied by her favourite, Count MomonorT, and

by the ambassadors of France, Austria, and
England, and by the Prince de Ligne, who
"

met her

at Kief.

I

occupied," he says, " the

position of a diplomatic jockey."

She was
able

also

accompanied by a considerprinces and Russian lords.

number of
flotilla

Her

consisted of eighty-four ships,

manned by

three thousand seamen.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

The King,
the Czarina at

Stanislaus-Augustus, awaited

Kanew.

She slowly descended

the Borysthenes in a galley as magnificent as
that of Cleopatra.

The

Prince de Ligne

left

the

flotilla

in

a small Zaporavian canoe to
arrival to the

announce Catherine's
hour

King.

An

later the great lords of the

empire came

to fetch

him

in a

gunboat

brilliantly decorated.
said,

Whilst stepping on board he
inexpressible

with the

charm of manner and pleasant

tone of voice so peculiar to him: "Gentle-

men, the King of Poland has requested

commend
health

to

you Comte Poniatowski."

me to The
by

dinner was very gay, and while the King's

was drunk, three

salutes
fleet.
all

were

fired

the artillery of the whole

Afterwards
the nobles of

the

King gave a supper

to

his retinue.

The

fleet

had cast anchor before
;

the palace improvised for him

no sooner

had night closed
tion

in

than a general conflagra-

on the neighbouring shores of the Boryseruption of Vesuvius,

thenes simulated an
lighting

up the

valleys, the mountains,

and

ix

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE

123

the river in a most glorious manner.
glare

The
dis-

of the of the

fires

lit

up the

fantastic

play

brilliant

squadrons of

Polish

cavalry.

Stanislaus had spent three
in

months

and three millions
for three

order to see the Czarina
but,

hours.

She had loved him,

long ago, this love had been
others
;

replaced by

and now she slowly and cruelly tore

from him the shreds of the kingdom she had
formerly bestowed.
the

They

separated with

all

appearance of friendliness, but during

their short

meeting the King had had time

to perceive that there

was no hope of reviving

the past.

This was the

last

interview that took place

between Catherine and Stanislaus.

Eight

years later she dethroned him with her
hands.

own

The Emperor Joseph met
their
travels,

the Czarina at

Kherson, and they continued together on

which resembled those of a
I

fairy tale.

"

still

fancy

I

am
I

dreaming,"
recall that

says the Prince de Ligne,

"when

124

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
in

ix

journey,

an enormous coach large enough
quite a triumphal chariot in

for six people,
fact,

studded

all

over with precious stones,

and drawn by sixteen horses of the Tartar
race.

How,

as

I

sat
I

between two persons, on
at times, over-

whose shoulders

would sink
I

come by the
"
told,

heat,

would be

startled
:

by

such snatches of conversation as these
'

I

have thirty millions of subjects,

I

am

counting only the males.'
I,

"'And
'

twenty-two,' replied the other,

counting- all'
"

They made imaginary conquests
if

of towns
at
all,

and provinces, as
whilst
I

that
'

were nothing

kept on saying

:

Your Majesties

will

reap nothing but worry and misery,' to which
the

Emperor would
Empress
:

reply,
'

addressing himtreat

self to the

Madame, we
for us.

him

too well

;

he has no respect

Did you
with

know, Madame, that he had been

in love

one of
of

my
first

father's mistresses,

and

at the

time

my
in

successes in society he outwitted

me

the affections of a marchioness

who

ix

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
to both of us,

125

was an object of adoration
as beautiful as an angel
?
'

and

During the journey the Empress had made
a gift of the site of Iphigenia's rock to the

Prince de Ligne.

All those

who possessed
and the

land in the Crimea, such as the Mourzas, took

the

oath of fidelity to

Catherine,
suit.

Prince de Ligne followed

The Emperor
his order
"

came up

to him,

and taking hold of
:

of the Golden Fleece, said
first

You

are the
al-

one of

this

order

who
the

has sworn

legiance
lords."

together

with

long -bearded

" Sire," said
air,

de Ligne, with a malicious

"it

is

better both for your Majesty
I

and

myself that

should take

it

with the Tartar

lords than with those of Flanders."

The Emperor had
speak later on.

just

heard of

the
shall

rebellion in that country, of which

we

After their return from this fairy-like jour-

ney the war against the Turks was decided, and the Austro- Russian
alliance concluded.

126

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
for

ix

Preparations
carried

war were
all

being

quietly
as-

on when,

at

once,

Turkey

sumed the
him

offensive

by arresting the Russian

ambassador, M. de BulgakofT, and confining
in the Castle of the

Sept Tours (Seven
of August

Towers).

On

the

18th

1787

Catherine declared war.

The Empress thoroughly
alliance she
II.;

relied

on the

had just concluded with Joseph

nevertheless she inquired of the Prince
:

de Ligne
" "

What do you think the Emperor will do ?" Have you any doubt, Madame ? He will
to

convey even

you

his

good
;

intentions, perhaps
will cost

his best wishes
I

and as neither
sure his
first

him anything,
be
full

am

letter will

of them."

The

Prince was mistaken
to

;

the

Emperor
with
a

was ready

appear on the
1

field

hundred thousand men,

and had just ap-

pointed the Prince General -Commander- in
1

On

9th February 1788 Austria, in fulfilment of her alliance

with Russia, declared war with Turkey.

ix

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE
of
all

127

chief (feldzeugmeister)

the infantry.

Unfortunately the letter bringing this news
crossed one the

Prince had written to the
his permission to serve as

Emperor asking
a general
in

the Russian army, and at the
to

same time

offering

keep

His Majesty

well informed of the Russian plans of cam-

paign and military operations.

The Emperor

granted this request.

The
says,

Prince began preparing for his de-

parture in October 1787.

"I received," he
letter concern-

"from the Emperor a

ing his ally that showed both his kindness

and genius

;

I

made

a

summary

of

it

that

served as a plan of campaign, for none had
as yet been conceived at Saint Petersburg.

They had no
Before
1

idea by what end to begin."
to

starting

join

Potemkin

1

the

Potemkin (Gregoire Alexandrowitch), Russian Field-Marshal,
II.

and the most renowned favourite of Catherine September 1736, October 1791
in
It
is

He was

born

in the suburbs of

Smolensk, and died on 16th
in Tauris

said that during the

famous journey

he ordered

theatrical scenery to

be constructed

at intervals

on the road along
This
scenery
re-

which the Empress was

expected

to

pass.

128

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

ix

Prince wished to give a ball to the prettiest

women

at Court,

according to their request,
so, as

but was unable to do

the war operations
"

were already

far

advanced.

The army," he

was

told,

"may
killed

perhaps be already under

the walls of OczakofT; five thousand Turks

have been

by SouvarofT
;

at

Kinburn.

The Turkish

fleet is retiring

start at once."

He
"

left

on the
!"

ist of

November
what

1787.
!

Good heavens
!

he writes, "what weather
!

what roads
quarters
!

what a winter
nature
I I

head-

By

am
own
towns,

confiding,
I

and

always believe
Prince, judging
presented in the

am
by

loved.
his

thought the

words, would
and
cities,

distance

villages,

and

he

organised troops of supernumerary actors,

who

simulated the rural

population peacefully pursuing their avocations.
invested with
offices

Although he was
one than the

and

dignities

more

profitable

other, he helped himself to the State monies,

and accepted bribes

from foreign powers.

Joseph

II.

and Frederick the Great loaded
in

him with presents and pensions, and
Prince of the
assist

consequence of
first

their

rivalry with regard to the Russian alliance, the

created him

Holy Roman Empire, and

the second offered to

Duchy of Courland. He had no talent as a general in command, but was fortunate in having under him good officers, who were able to carry on the war
him
in obtaining for himself the

operations against the Turks.

ix

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
I

129

be delighted to see me.

only observed six
in

months

later the

embarrassed manner, on the day of
his

which
I

he received

me

my

arrival.
:

threw myself into
"
'

arms and said
take Oczakoff

When shall we "'Who knows!'
not as

?'

he said;

'the garrison
;

numbers eighteen thousand men

I

have
I

many

in

the whole of

my

army.

am

short of everything, and the most unmortals, unless
I

happy of

God
has

helps me.'

"'What!'

replied, 'the story of
fleet,
all

Kinburn,

the departure of the

that

been of

no use

?

I

have travelled day and

night, for

they told
siege
"
'

me you had
he answered,
'

already begun

the

!'

Alas,'

God

grant that the

Tartars do not get here, and lay waste the

whole country with
saved

fire

and sword.

God

has

He me (I shall never forget it). allowed me to collect behind the banks of
the

Bog what remained
I

of the troops.
till

It is

a miracle that

have retained
I

now
27

as

much
vol.

of the country as
11

have.'

130

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
"
'

ix

Where
is

are the Tartars

?'

said

I.

"'Everywhere,' he

replied,

'and

among
of

them

a seraskier,

1

with a large

number

Turks,

near

Ackermann, twelve
is

thousand

men

in

Bender, the Dniester

guarded, and

there are six thousand

men

in

Choczim.'
truth
in

There was not a word of
this.

in

all

Five months were spent

a state of

inactivity

which would have been inexplicable

had

it

not been intentional.

The

Prince de

Ligne was not long

in perceiving that this

was the

case,

and punctually warned

the

Emperor

of Austria.

During the long days of far niente the
Prince amused himself by scribbling
his thoughts

down

on

little

squares of paper, which,
to attach

though he appeared
to them, he took

no importance

care to preserve.
to

They

were well worth keeping,
following
"
:

judge by the

Europe

is

in

such a perfect mess at the

1

Seraskier, general-in-chief in the Turkish army.

ix

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

131

present

moment

that

I

think

it

a good time

to reflect

on the position of

affairs.

France
reads.

writes, but, unfortunately, the

Empire

The
at

soldiers of the

Bishop of Liege are
the

open

war with

bankers
risen

of

Spa.
their

The Netherlands have
doubt,

against

sovereign without knowing why.

Soon, no
in

people

will

kill

one another

the

hope of gaining more freedom and happiness.
Austria, exposed to dangers at home, timidly

threatens both friend and foe, and
to distinguish

is

unable

one from the other.

England,

who

is

never entirely of the same opinion,

has a majority in favour of Prussia,
already fired a few shots in Holland
Spain,
fleet,
!

who has
Proud

who
gets

formerly

owned
as

the
as

invincible

anxious

soon

a

single

English vessel leaves port.
lazzaroni

Italy fears the

and the

free-thinkers.

Denmark
watches
the
kill

watches
Russia.

Sweden,

and

Sweden
the

The

Tartars,

Georgians,

Imarets, the Abyssinians, the Circassians,

the Russians.

The journey

to the

Crimea

132

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
irritates the Sultan.

ix

alarms and

The Egyptian
sides,

and Scutari bashaws are warring with the
Turks,

who,

from

two

other

at

a

thousand leagues' distance, are

at the

same

time attacking the two most powerful and

important empires that
to arms,

exist.

We

are called

and

I

join the fray.
I

Without ceasing
actor in the

to be a spectator,
play.

become an
all

In

my
is

opinion

that

is

taking place
in

around

me

nothing more than a kick

an

anthill.

Are we anything
?

better
"

our-

selves,

poor mortals that we are
this
1

During
shal

time the corps under Mar;

Lascy

had opened the campaign
in person,

the

Emperor commanded
Charles,
father
to

and Prince
his

who had
Russia,

not

accompanied
as

served

major

in

the

engineers.

1

Joseph-Francois-Maurice, Comte de Lascy, born at

St.

Petersburg

He was colonel on 2 1st October 1725, and educated at Vienna. when the Seven Years War broke out. The services he rendered
ensured him rapid promotion
;

he distinguished himself during the

campaign of 1778, and
against the Turks.

in

1788, as field-marshal, conducted the war

He

died at Vienna on 4th

November 1S01.

ix

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

133

The

Prince soon distinguished himself at

the siege of Sabacz, where he superintended

the opening of the trenches, and directed the
batteries

which attacked the

fort.

On

the day of the assault, by

means of

a plank,

he crossed the wide deep moats
for-

which protected the approaches of the
tress
;

he was the

first

to

dash forward and

scale the wall,

and once on the top of the

ramparts, in spite of the efforts of the Turks,

he held out

his

hand

to the soldiers

who had

followed him, helped them up, and was the
first

to enter the town.

The Emperor, who

witnessed this brilliant exploit, conferred on
the

Prince the rank of Colonel, and deco-

rated

him with the order of Marie-Therese,

without holding a chapter of the order

— an
Bel-

honour which was entirely without precedent.
It

so happened

that

the garrison

of

grade was carrying on such a heavy cannonading during the ceremony that the Emperor
Joseph, addressing the Prince, said
the
:

"

Even
initia-

Turks are taking part

in

your

134

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE
and celebrating your valour and

ix

tion,

my

justice."

The Emperor

himself announced to the

Prince de Ligne his son's brilliant conduct
the pride and emotion of the father can only

be described in his
to the

own
:

words.

He
May

writes

Comte de Segur

Zth

1788.

"Ah!

my

friend, let

me weep

awhile; and

read the following
"
'

The Emperor
"

Joseph to the

Prince de Ligne.
'

Kilenack, 25th April 1788.
l
:

"

'We
small.

have just taken Sabacz

our loss

was

The

feldzeugmeister, Rouvroy, 2

a brave man, as you know, received a slight

wound
1

in

the chest, which does not prevent

A

fortified

town

in

Servia,

situated

on the Save

;

4000
1727.

inhabitants.
2

Theodore, Baron de Rouvroy, born

at

Luxembourg

in

He
31st

entered the Austrian service in 1753, and in 1765 received the

cross

of

commander

of the order of Marie-Therese.

He

died

September 1789.

He was

one of the most distinguished

artillery generals in the

Austrian army.

ix

PRINCESS E DE LTGNE

135

him from dressing himself or going

out.

Prince Poniatowski was shot in the thigh,

and though the bone
is

is

not injured the

wound
dear

somewhat

serious.

But

I

must,

my
it

Prince, inform
will please
will

you of something
all

else,

which

you

the

more

that in

you
it

recognise the spirit of your race

;

is

that

your son Charles contributed for the
to the success of this enterprise,

most part

by the

infinite

pains that he took in marking

out the trenches for the batteries, and he was
the first to scale the parapet
rest.

and help up the
Lieutenant-

So

I

have named him have
conferred
It
is

Colonel,

and

on him

the

order of Marie -Therese.
sure to
I

a real plea-

me

to send

you

this intelligence, as
it

am aware

of the satisfaction
I

will

give

you, knowing, as

do, your patriotism

and

your affection for your son.
"
'

I

leave to-morrow for Semlin.
" 'Joseph.'

"

What modesty

!

The Emperor does

not

136

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE
in the

ix

mention himself, though he was
of
the
firing.

midst

And how
is
it

graciously

and

kindly expressed

the account

he sends
burst into

me.

On

reading

over again

I

tears."
8t/i

May

{continued from the above).

"

The messenger saw

the

Emperor himand Marshal

self firing

musket shots with hearty goodwill
suburbs of Sabacz
;

into the

de Lascy tear up some palings to point a
cannon, which should protect
attacking
fire

my

Charles by

a

turret

from which a continual

was

being;

directed against him.
I

The
it

Marshal would,

believe,

have done

for

any

other, but

it

had the appearance of per-

sonal and almost paternal kindness.
"

The Marshal being

rather exhausted, the

Emperor fetched a
thus

barrel

and made him

sit

down, while he himself stood surrounded by
his

generals,

paying him a kind of

homage.
"

Here

is

a letter from Charles himself:
I

"'We

have taken Sabacz.

have the

ix

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

137

cross.

You may be

sure,

papa,
first

that

I

thought of you on going up the
assault.

to the

— Your submissive and respectful son,
"
'

Charles.'
!

"

Could there be anything more touching
I

Would
I

had been there
I

to give

him a hand

can see that

have
but
I

his
I

esteem by the words,

/ thought of you,
it

should have deserved
too

still

better.
I

feel

much

affected to

write more.

embrace you,

my dear

Count."
Prince

But

it

is

with his son that the
all

gives himself up to
feelings.

the intensity of his

From Potemkin's Headquarters at
Elisabethgorod.
12th

May

1788.

"What
that

can

I

tell

you,

my

dear Charles,

you do not already know of

my

feelings

on receiving from His Majesty a
of kindness and graciousness?
is

letter so full

This

letter

worth more to you than any parchments
titles,

containing

diplomas, or patents

—mere

138

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
rats. It

ix

food for
for us

contains such touching words

both
it

that,
is

though

I

am
I

getting rather

old to cry,

impossible for

me

to refrain

from doing so whenever
paragraph.
officers,

read over that

All the Circassian generals and

the Zaporogues, Tartars, Cabardians, 1
etc.,

Germans, Russians, Cossacks,
to

all

came
with

me
"

in

crowds, to congratulate
I

me

a warmth

can never forget.

The

father

and most tender friend of

my

Charles are assuredly deeply touched at the

honour you have won, and which surpasses
anything
I

have ever done

in

my
a

life.

But

the General de Ligne has suffered abominably.
"

Imagine,
for

my

boy,

what
I

delightful
first

moment
to accept
pet,

both of us had
in

been the

your aid

clambering up that paraelse
is

where you arrived before any one
heavens, what a fool one
I,

"Good
distance
!

at a

who

at

Hiihnerwasser would

1

Inhabitants of Cabardia, a country situated on the northern

slopes of the Caucasus,

and which,

at that time,

was not yet under

Russian dominion.

ix

PRTNCESSE DE LIGNE

139

have calmly seen you shot through the arm
I

am

as nervous as
is
1

any woman,

— a condition
that

which

not

far

removed
I

from

of

minister.

However,

have agreed with
horse
to

some regiments of

light
I

make

a

good slashing charge.

have never done
at the

anything of the kind, except
ten

head of

Uhlans

against

five

or

six

drunken
it

Prussian hussars.

You

will

admit that

was not the most memorable
century.
I

action of this
in

cannot shut myself up

those

squares, as in a box,
to

where one opens a door

come
"

in or

go

out.

One

can always manage to
battle,

one chooses on the day of
perfectly certain, though
that nothing will
I I

command if so that I am

have not an army,
I

happen where

am

but what
that
is

choose

;

I

have already learnt

all

necessary, and

am

beginning to understand

Russian.
that
1

Do

you think now,

my

Charles,
to be

I

was

right in always wishing

you

The Prince was both General-in-Chief without an army corps

and Minister-plenipotentiary in partibus.

140

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
?

ix

an engineer
as
I

You have now shown

genius,

1

knew you would.

But are you sure you

are not slightly wounded, though you do not

say so
"

?

Do

not

let

any of His Majesty's mes-

sengers
letter.

come

to

me
fate
2
!

without sending

me

a

A

thousand messages to

my comrade
I

Rouvroy, whose

and wound
tremble
lest

envy.

Poor Poniatowski
follow
in

I

he should

his

father's

footsteps.

He

has

already the

same courage, the same

military

intelligence, personal devotion to

His Majesty,
not have

generosity,

etc.,

but

I

trust

he

will

the

same

fate.

Embrace him

for

me."

The news
1

of the taking of Sabacz had

A

play upon words; "genius" and "engineer" in French

being expressed by the same word, genie.
-

Prince Joseph Poniatowski was at that time lieutenant-colonel
to the

and aide-de-camp

Emperor of

Austria.

He entered
of the

the Polish

army

in 1809.

Warsaw The Emperor Napoleon made him a Marshal of France. At Sabacz the Turks took him for the Emperor Joseph, as he
as general in 1789.

He had command

army

at

wore the same uniform
brilliant

—a

green coat with red facings, and
killed

a

decoration.

He

was

by a shot while crossing the

Elster on 19th October 1813.

ix

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
a

141

made

welcome break

in the

weary

exist-

ence the Prince's father was leading; but Potemkin's apathy

made him

relapse into bad
tried in vain to

humour and

impatience.

He

sting his pride

by making constant

allusions

to the storming of Sabacz, but

he had rightly
ill-will,

guessed "that, either out of policy,
or
incapacity, the

marshals were resolved,

even before the campaign was begun, on
doing nothing."

At

last,

wearied

by

this

determined

inaction,

he wrote

to Prince

Potemkin that
for

he should leave the next day
Romanzoff's
l

Marshal

camp

in

Ukrania.
left

"At
those

last,"

writes the Prince, "I have

filthy

entrenchments which,

in virtue

1

Romanzoff

(Pierre Alexandrowitch), born in 1725,

was one of

the most celebrated Russian generals.

He

defeated Frederick the

Second
Turks,

at

the battle of Kunersdorf.

Appointed Commander-in-

Chief of the Russian army in

1770 during the war against the
successes,

he obtained several

brilliant

and was named

field-marshal.

He was

so dissatisfied at sharing the

command

with

Potemkin

in

1787 that he did not continue the campaign, and
This motive

resigned his post.

may

also explain his inaction.

He

died on 17th

December 1796.

142

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

ix

of a few projecting angles, are supposed to represent
a
fort
;

eight
it.

days more and

I

should have died of

Potemkin nearly

drove

me

mad.

Sometimes on good terms,
at

sometimes on bad,
favourite,

daggers drawn or prime
sit-

speaking or not speaking, but
till

ting

up sometimes

six in the

morning

to

induce him at least to say one word sensible

enough
the

to report,

I

could no longer endure

whims

of such a spoilt child."
to death

Wearied

by

this horrible inaction,

the Prince went to see
zoff

why Marshal Roman-

was no better employed than Potemkin.

Romanzoff, as amiable as Potemkin was
the reverse, loaded the Prince with promises

and

attentions,

all

equally,

false.

At

the

end of a few days Ligne was
that

fully

convinced

the

two Commanders-in-Chief of the

Russian army were agreed on one point

"to play a

trick

on the Emperor Joseph,
in

and only begin the campaign

July,

by

which time the whole of the Turkish forces

would

have

been

directed

against

the

ix

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

143

Austrians."

The

Prince de Ligne redoubled

his efforts to stir

up Potemkin.

He

wrote to

the Austrian ambassador at St. Petersburg, and
to the

Comte de Segur, urging them
situation
;

to inform

the

Empress of the

but though

himself in such

favour at Court

he never

once wrote to Catherine.

She knew the
irritated at
it

motive of his

silence,

and was

but she would not complain, in case that, in a
fit

of frankness, the Prince should

say too

much.

"If

I

had chosen," he

says,

"to write

only once in praise of Prince Potemkin and
his

operations, 1

I

should
in

have

received
serfs.

showers of presents

diamonds and

Catherine would have been very well pleased
The
idea

1

Prince de Ligne relates that Prince

Potemkin had only
to
I

one

that

of forming

a

regiment

of Jews,

be

called
;

Israelowsky.
for their

"We

already had a squadron

whom
in

delighted in

long beards, which reached to their knees, on account of

their short stirrups,

and the

fear they

were

on horseback, gave
felt

them the appearance of monkeys.
read
in

The
if

anxiety they

could be
a

their eyes,

and the long pikes they carried

in

most

comical manner
the Cossacks.

made them look as I do not know what

they were trying to mimic

cursed Pope (Russian priest)

persuaded our Marshal that a corps of Jews was contraiy to the

Holy

Scriptures."

144

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE
I

ix

if

had deceived her

;

it

would have been

more convenient
was going on

for her to believe that all

well."

In spite of his anger against the Russian

Marshals the Prince de Ligne, who was a
connoisseur, sincerely admired the Muscovite

nation and soldiery.
"
I

see that the Russians," he writes to

the
in

Comte de Segur, "learn
the

the liberal arts

same way

that le mcdecin malgre hit

(the

doctor in

spite

of

himself)

took

his

degree.

They are

foot-soldiers, sailors, sports-

men,

priests,

dragoons, musicians, engineers,
painters

actors,
I

cuirassiers,

and

surgeons.

see the

Russians sing and dance in the

trenches,

though they are
in

never relieved,
shell,

and remain
of

the midst of shot and
clever,

snow or mud,

clean,

attentive,

respectful, obedient, trying

to

forestall their

orders by divining them in the eyes of their
officers."

The

greatest

pleasure

the

General

de

Ligne had was

to write

and receive news of

ix

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
His
letters are so
is
is

145

absent friends.

wonderfully

graphic, the slightest detail

invested with

so

much charm,

that one

never tired of
to his son
life.

reading them.

Those he wrote

Charles are a perfect diary of his

From Marshal Romanzoff's Headquarters
in Poland.

Wi June

1788.

"If you
am,
I

inquire,

my

dear Charles,

how
I

I

shall

reply

:

Always the same.

am

continually with the armies and the marshals,

trying to
devil
is

make them do something.
with

But the
all

them,

in

spite

of

their

Russian signs of the cross.

"The
left

best thing

I

have done

is

to

have

that quiz, that

maker of compliments,

my
in

admirer, as he calls himself, for Kaminiecz.

Ah

!

if
I

I

still

had a
!

heart,

how

terribly
1

love
1

should be

The

governor's wife, that
slave,

The famous Sophie de Witt was a Greek
Island
of

stolen from

the

Chio.

She attracted the notice of the French
and he had her taken
ambassador
2S

ambassador

in a street of Constantinople,

care of and educated.

On

his

way

to St. Petersburg the

VOL.

II

146

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

ix

magnificent Greek,

known and admired

all

over the world, drove

me

in

a berlin within

half a cannon's range of Choczim, from

whence

a few shots were fired over our heads.
"
I

confess that

I

felt

more
of

inclined to find

out

her

weak

point

attack

than

to

reconnoitre that of the fortress.
"
I

stay at her house
!

;

but what an infernal
night
fact is

row goes on
I

A

rattle of chains all

thought there were ghosts.

The

that her husband,

who
his

is

commandant

of

Kaminiecz, has
victs.

all

work done by con-

What

a contrast between their rascally

countenances and the beauty of her
stopped
at

whom
General

Kaminiecz

;

he had brought Sophie with him.

de Witt, Governor of Bessarabia, entertained the ambassador, and

was so struck with the beauty of the Greek
desperately in love with her.

slave

that he

fell

In order to deceive his guest, he arranged a hunting party, which

was

to

meet

at a great distance

from

the fortress, and, excusing

himself on the ground of a sudden order, remained behind.

Hardly

had the ambassador

left

than de

Witt

closed

the

gates,

and
an

celebrated his marriage with Sophie.
the ambassador

On

returning in the evening,
;

envoy was
thought
it

sent,

was much surprised to find the gates closed who informed him of what had taken place
to

;

he

useless

contend against an accomplished

fact,

and

philosophically resigned himself to his ward's marriage.

ix

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
!

147

they serve, under the sway of the rod
the cook
dreadful. "
(I
I

Even

is

a convict

;

it

is

economical, but

wish,

my
to

dear Charles, that Oczakoff

must return

Potemkin,
this
in

incapable of

moving

am still more man) may procure
for
I

me

something glorious

your
for

style.

I

shall

be killed on your account,
a father worthy of you.

you must have

you say

;

you are
for

You thought of me, sublime and touching. You
;

have worked

me

I

will

work

for you.

I

send you a tender farewell from these
six

five or

hundred leagues distance."

The
son,
to

Prince found Potemkin and his army

just as he

had

left

them, and he writes to his
a Prussian officer

who had recommended
:

him

From the Camp
"

in

the Deserts of Tartary.
Before Oczakoff, ^oth July.

I

will

place

your

Prussian

officer.

I

cannot
as

make

Prince Potemkin advance as far
I

the

Liman, but

can advance

officers.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
I

have made generals, majors,

etc.

;

but you

have made your crop of
laugh at me.

laurels,

and can

"Always the same
through
fear,

inaction,
spite,

one -third

one through
I

and one
at the

through ignorance.

would wish,

end

of the war, to have one-quarter of your glory
in this

campaign.

Your
;

letters are

gay and

brave, like yourself

they bear your image.

"A

fearful

storm obliges

me

to

go

to bed.

A

cloud has burst over the camp, and inunlittle

dated the two pretty
erected under
that
I

houses

I

have

my immense
this

Turkish
to

tent, so

do not know where
!

put

my
in
it

foot.

Oh, oh

I

am

moment informed
by lightning

that a
his

major has been
tent
;

killed

it

falls

nearly every day, catch

who

may.
"

The

other day the arms of an officer of

light cavalry

had to be amputated on account
;

of the bite of a tarentula

as for lizards, no
I

one

is in

a better position than

am
;

to assert
I

that they are the friend of

man

for

live

ix

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE

149

with them, and can trust them better than
friends
in

my

this

country.

Sometimes

I

hear

the wind rising, and have

my
;

tent opened,
for the

but

I

shut
to

it

up again quickly
off a furnace.

wind

seems

blow

Oh! we do enjoy
Shall
I

every sort of advantage here.

give

you a specimen of Prince Repnin's good taste?

You know
of the

the habits of the service here, the

baseness of the inferiors, and the insolence
superiors.

When

Prince

Potemkin

makes a sign or drops anything, twenty
generals prostrate themselves to earth.
other day seven or eight of them

The
to

tried
:

help Prince Repnin off with his cloak
gentlemen,' he said
kindly do
it.'
;

'No,
will

'the Prince de

Ligne

A

good lesson!

They have
heart,

more refinement of mind than of
they
felt
it.

and

" Nevertheless,

I

rather play the victim

;

but Sarti

1

is

here with an excellent orchestra,

1

Sarti (Joseph), a celebrated

Italian composer,
St.

born at Faenza
II.

in 1730.

In 1785 he was called to
of

Petersburg by Catherine
in

Under the protection

Potemkin he was appointed

1793

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
and he has brought that music you know so
well, in
etc.

which there are

thirty C's, thirty D's,

Sometimes we have no bread, only
and macaroons
;

biscuits

no apples or pears,
but ices
; ;

but pots of

jam

;

no

butter,

no
for

water, but every kind of wine

no wood

the kitchen
to

fire

sometimes, but logs of

aloe's

burn for perfume.

We

have here

Madame
niece

Michel Potemkin,
ful
;

who

is

extremely beautianother

Madame

Skawrowski,

of the vizier or patriarch

Potemkin

(for

he
;

arranges his religion

also),

very charming

and

Madame
lovely.

Samoiloff,
I

another niece,

still

more

played a proverb for her
to like
it,

in this desert,

and she seemed
'
:

for

she has since said
for me.'

Do

play another riddle

"

I

presented the other day to the Prince a

blockhead sent to

me by

a
is

fool.

One

is

called Marolles, the other

M. de

X

,

Director of the Conservatorium at Catherinoslaff, with an annual

revenue of thirty-five thousand roubles

;

he was allowed free lodging

and

fifteen

thousand roubles

for travelling expenses.

Admitted into

the ranks of the Russian nobility, he died at Berlin in 1802.

ix

PRINCESS E BE LIGNE
as

151

who recommends him
and destined
"
'

head of the engineers,

to take Oczakoff.

Good morning,
to

General,'
'

he

said,

on
that

entering,

the

Prince,

I

will

take

place for you in a fortnight.

Have you any
in

books here
of a

?

Do

you know

Russia those
1

M. Vauban and a

certain

Coehorn

P

I

should like to look them over before beginning.'

You may fancy Potemkin's aston'What a man!' he said to me, ishment. I do not know if he is an engineer, but I know he is French. Ask him a few ques'

tions.'

I

did so, and he admitted he was an

engineer for roads and bridges.
"

Baron de Stad, who
also
is

is

here, delights
;

me.

He

a thorough

Frenchman

annoying

the Prince, unpleasant to every one, writing

1

Coehorn (Menno, Baron
rival of

de), celebrated engineer,

contemporary

and
for

Vauban.

He

defended

Namur

against Vauban, and
at last

two days repulsed the attack on Fort Wilhelm, but
to superior

succumbed

numbers.

He

directed, under the Prince de

Nassau- Saarbruck's orders, the sieges of Venloo and Ruremonde,
which, owing to his skilful operations, were obliged to capitulate.

He

had a great reputation

in

Germany.

Born

in

1641 in Friesland,

he died on 17th March 1704.

1

52

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
verses,

ix

charming
1

hating

the

petulance

of

Roger, with
ling,

whom

he

is

perpetually quarrelinto action,
is

and going gallantly
all

though

declaring
fright.
'

the time that he
'

dying of
suffers
;

Behold,' says he,

how nature

my horse
for glory

himself trembles, and cares no more

than

I

do.'

We

have seen another

personage, as ridiculous as his name, which
is

Gigande, a lieutenant
Porentruy.

in

the guards of the

Abbe de

Yesterday he was robbed.

Furious, he exclaimed, with his Swiss accent:
'

Che me

lefe,

eke

uidgorge

les

pieds pour
tin

alter tout te suite faire

mes blaintes a

chhieral
1

et il

me

tit

:

'

Si cest un
in

soltat, che

Comte Roger de Damas (born

1765, died in 1823).
in

At the
;

age of fifteen he was already an

officer

the French

army

his

bravery, his chivalrous character, his quick intellect,

made him

the

observed

of

all.

" Francois

First,

the

great

Conde,

and the

Marshal de Saxe, would have wished to have a son like him," says the Prince de Ligne. " In the midst of the heaviest cannonade he
is

the finest opera

giddy as a cockchafer, noisy, the most relentless singer, shouting airs, making the maddest quotations in the midst
all

of the firing, and yet judging perfectly

that goes on.

War
is

does

not intoxicate him, but he
feels after a

is full

of a genial ardour, such as one
all,

supper

.

.

.

amiable, beloved by

what

called a

nice

Frenchman, good-looking, an excellent fellow, and a well-bred gentleman of the Court of France such is Roger de Damas."
:

ix

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
tin

153

vous ferai ventre, mats, si cest
cela sera
"
x

officier,

tifficile.'

Another Frenchman, whose name

is

M.
of

Second, came to consult
honour.
'

me
he

about an
said,
'

affair
I

For

I

see,

sir,'
I

that

shall
if

be forced to

fight!'

assured him that

he spoke

in that

way

to

everybody he would
his

have no need of a man of

own name
it

;

that
?

was a good piece of nonsense, was
"Shall
I
?

not

tell
I

you one of
place

my

innocent
in

amusements
the

my

dromedaries

way

of the gilded

staff,

when by chance
other day two or

'Marlborough sen va-t-en guerre (Marlborough
goes
off to the wars).
2

The

three generals were thrown, half the escort
upset,
"

and the other half sent
shall

flying.

Ah, Charles, when
at

we meet
?

again,

at

Stamboul or

Bel CEil

If only

the

Emperor and my Russian General would not

1

"I

get up, I

become
but

footsore with running about to complain
to

to the general,
will
2

and he says
;

me

:

If

it

is

a soldier, your things

be returned

if it is

an

officer, it will

be

difficult.'"

.

Popular French song.

154

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

ix

stand on such ceremony about crossing the

Save and the Bog as they would do
Sublime Porte, and should meet where
Then,
while

to

go

through a door, we should soon upset the
I

said.

my dear
let

Cine'as, etc. etc.

In the mean-

us love each other wherever

we

are."

On

the

Russian side the
till

situation

re-

mained the same

October, and during this

time things went as badly as possible for
Austria.
thirty

This disastrous campaign cost her
in various

thousand men, killed
forty

engage-

ments,

thousand

carried

off

by the

plague, the invasion of the Banate, and several

defeats in Bosnia.

Ill

with

fatigue,

in

despair at his want of success, alarmed at
the complete rebellion in

Flanders, Joseph

returned to Vienna almost broken-hearted.

He
de

determined to

call to

his side the

Prince

Ligne, and to give

him, with
his

Marshal

Laudon, the command of
ensuing campaign.
to

army during the

He

sent Prince Charles

carry the order to his father.

We

can

ix

PRTNCESSE DE EIGNE

155

imagine

how welcome was

the arrival of the

conqueror of Sabacz, and with what transports of delight he

was received.

His father

immediately prepared to depart, and they
arrived in Vienna at the end of

November.
later.

Potemkin took Oczakoff a fortnight
It

seemed

as

though he had waited Ligne's

departure before deciding on the attack, and
his jealous character justifies the supposition.

The winter was peacefully spent at Vienna, and Prince Charles, absorbed in his new passion,
did not

seem

afflicted at his wife's absence.

In the spring of

1789 the two

Princes

joined Marshal Laudon's army.

General de

Ligne commanded the right wing, and played
an important part
at the siege of Belgrade,

during which he displayed an indefatigable
energy.
"
I

was

all

on

fire
1

myself," he writes,
is

"urged on by that being, who
a god than a man.

more

like
I

Urged on by him,

urged on the others.

Bolza watched, and

1

Marshal Laudon.

156

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

ix

danced attendance.
advanced.
threatened,
I

Funk

fired,

Maillard

1

thanked, begged, thundered,
;

commanded

all

was done, and

well done, in the twinkling of an eye."

Prince Charles,

who was

Colonel,

was

in

command, and
father,

energetically

seconded

his

who caught
at

a violent fever during the
to his

siege,

and was confined

bed

for

some

days,
writes

which he was very

furious.

He

to

Marshal

Lascy

:

"

The Turkish
must give
at

Caiques have been venturing too near KriegInsel

(my

headquarters).
I

'We
son,

them a

lesson,'

said to

my

who

times

engaged with

my

own,

at others with
;

Marshal

Laudon's column of attack
his usual liveliness,
self into a

Charles, with

immediately threw him-

boat with

my

aides-de-camp, and,

followed by

about forty other small boats,

went
"
I

off to attack the

Turkish Caiques.

directed the battle from

my

window,

in spite of a diabolical attack of fever,
1

and

MM.

Bolza,

Funk, and Maillard were the Prince's three

aides-de-camp.

ix

.PRINCESS E

DE LIGNE

157

almost killed myself screaming to an

Italian,

who commanded my
Thdrese
I

frigate,
/'

the

Marie-

:

'

Alia larga

and words which
I

dare not write.
to

Out of patience
this

finally

went myself

end

very peculiar naval

engagement."
Belgrade was taken on the 8th of October

1789; Prince Charles had again the honour
of being
first at

the assault.

Marshal Laudon,

who was
to the

not lavish of praise or flattery, wrote

Prince

de

Ligne the most compli:

mentary

letter, in

which he said

"

More than

half the glory

won by
to

the taking of Belgrade

by right belongs

your Highness."

The Emperor sent the Prince the cross of Commander of the Order of Marie-Therese,
accompanied by a dry and cold
letter,
;

whose
but he

purpose de Ligne could not unravel

was
and

still

so

ill

with fever that

both cross

letter

made

but a slight impression.
:

He

solved the riddle later on
justly suspected

Joseph

II.

had un-

him of having encouraged

the rebellion in Flanders.

X
The
four years' Diet

Charles

—The
to

Court

at

Warsaw, and the Princesse

Festivities of the great Polish lords

Potocki and his two wives

Potocki

— Flight

— Count Vincent — The Princesse Charles and Count Niemirow — Two divorce
suits.

The

Turkish war had seemingly caused a
affairs,

happy diversion from Polish
the last two
or

and

for

three

years

that

country

had enjoyed a most unusual

state of peace.

Russia, entirely absorbed by her important

wars

in

Turkey and

in

Sweden, was appaAustria, on

rently oblivious of her existence.

her side, took
with

little

heed, and was satisfied

the large share that had been ceded

to her in the first

dismemberment

that had

taken place.

But

this lull could not continue.

Prussia was secretly
Poles,

making overtures

to the

and trying

to prevent Stanislaus

from

x

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

159

sending his promised reinforcements to the
Russians.

The

Polish nobility, always restless and

disunited,

were anxious

to take

advantage of

Russia's difficulties, but could not agree on

the

course

likely

to

ensure success.

The
her

majority, however, tempted

by Prussia's secret
to
listen

promises,

were

disposed

to

advances, and conclude with her a defensive
alliance.

A

new

constitution,

more

in har-

mony
also

with the actual state of Poland, was a question of debate, and the
public

mind,

now
1

thoroughly

roused,

anticipated

with increasing interest the meeting of the
Diet.

The King summoned
6th of October
1788.

it

to

meet on the
arrival

The

of

all

the nuncios, accompanied by their numerous
retinues, part of

which came from the most
;

1

This Diet was called the Grand or Constitutional Diet
four
years,

it

lasted

and decreed hereditary

rights

to

the throne,

religious liberty, the

maintenance of a permanent army, and a new
the nobility.

distribution

of taxes, affecting also

See Ferrand's

History of the Dismemberment of Poland.

160

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

x

distant Palatinates, imparted to

Warsaw an
;

unusually

animated
at

appearance

and

the

town offered

that time attractions of a

most unique character.

The
lived

great Polish
estates,

lords,

who

habitually

on their

had retained manners

and customs that partook of an uncivilised
magnificence.
palaces in

They

nearly

all

possessed

Warsaw, but only inhabited them

during the Diets


;

that

is

to say, for six

weeks

every two years

and these large residences

presented the most curious mixture of luxury

and penury.
halls,

After passing through empty
ceilings

where the

were
all

falling to pieces,

and the hangings were

mouldy from the

damp, one came upon drawing-rooms with

ornamented

frescoes,

and with

gold

and

blue vaulted ceilings.

The ante-rooms were
in

crowded with lacqueys

tattered liveries,

and with poor gentlemen who, attending as
servants upon the great lords, proudly wore
the ancient Polish costumes.

Though they
in

did

not give

at

Warsaw,

as

the

Pala-

x

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE
gigantic
feasts,

161

tinates,

during which

the
artil-

toasts
lery,
all

were accompanied by a salute of

yet they did not completely abandon

the old customs, and the master of the
still

house would

occasionally honour the lady

of his thoughts by sending round her tiny
shoe,
full

of

champagne or Tokay.
of the
best

The
of

tone

French

society

reigned at the Polish Court with a mixture
oriental
peculiarities.

European

good

taste

was combined with that of Asia, and the

polished manners of civilised countries did

not exclude the hospitality

common

to those

beyond the

pale.

A

revival took place in Polish literature

during

the

reign

of

Stanislaus-Augustus.

The King
aged
the
to

patronised learning, and encour-

his

utmost

the

reorganisation

of

universities.

After the suppression of

the Jesuits the funds obtained by the sale of
their property
object.

were entirely applied

to this

A
ii

regular committee

was appointed

to superintend the national
vol.

education.
29

The

1

62

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
its

x

Bishop of Wilna was one of
fluential

most
his
at

in-

members

;

he created

at

own
the
that

expense a professorship of anatomy
university of Wilna, which

was the

first

existed in Poland.

1

During the reign of Stanislaus-Augustus
the Court was celebrated for love intrigues, and
its
its

pleasures,
;

its

pretty

women

their

beauty had become proverbial.

Among

the

beauties of that time were the Princess Lu-

bomirska,

whom we

have already heard of
;

under the name of Princesse Marechale

her

sister-in-law, the fascinating Princess Czar-

toryska, a

Fleming by

birth

;

the Countess
;

Potocka, an
Princess

Ossolinska by birth
of

and the

Charles

Courland.

The two

1

The dismemberment

of Poland did not arrest the intellectual

progress of the nation, which from that time devoted itself to the
preservation of the Polish language, and to the protection of the

monuments
movement.
important

of the

country.

The

influence exercised

by Prince

Czartoryski in the

Emperor Alexander's

councils greatly assisted this

He

purchased the magnificent library of the King

Stanislaus-Augustus, which, added to his own,

became the most
It

depository of Slavonic history and literature.

was

confiscated by Russia in 1S31.

x

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
were
really beautiful,

163

latter

and

all

four were
that the

intelligent
first

women.

It

was asserted

one made the fortune of those she loved,
it,

the second robbed them of
others

and the two

simply enjoyed
of

themselves without
else.

thinking

anything

The

Princess

Langorouska and the Countess Branicka, the
Princess
to

Andre Poniatowska,
King, the
Princess

sister-in-law

the

Lubomirska,

a

Haddik by
where
all

birth, also

ranked high

at Court,

the affairs of the State were the

mainspring of society.
weak,
indulgent,

The King, who was
in

and always

love,

was

governed by the favourite of the moment. 1

1

"It would be necessary," says the Prince de Ligne, "to preand
in society

vent the ladies at Court from harming the Government by intrigues
in love, in politics,
;

and also advisable

to attract the
It

great lords by

all sorts

of amusements and distinctions.
all

would

then be possible to retain in the kingdom
the pettiest noble,
left

the

money which

as

soon as he has cut his mustachios and

off his long respectable coat, thinks necessary to carry off to

Paris,
in

and spend with women,

tailors, hotels,

and hairdressers, and

gambling and paying

off the police, with

whom

he

is

always

getting into trouble."

Unfortunately the King himself set the exin favour of

ample of thus abandoning the ancient Polish customs
the French.

164

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE
Prince, during his short stay at

x

The

Warsaw,

soon perceived these weak points, and he
says:

"The King
as he
is

is

too honest a
all

man

with
;

women,
he
is

indeed with
in love,

his subjects

genuinely

and inconstant with
;

the greatest possible sincerity

and thus he

often throws himself into the

arms of
his

his

opponents, deserting and
cause."

ruining

own

Such was the Court
cess Charles

at

which the Prin-

was

to shine.

Her

reputation

for intelligence, beauty,

and coquetry having
attention of
all,

already

attracted

the

her

Polish nationality, elegance, talents, and the

evident pleasure she showed on
to

returning
fellow-

her

native

land,

delighted

her

countrymen.

Her empty
most elegant
self of the

palace, rapidly

metamorphosed

by her own able hands, became one of the
in

Warsaw, and she availed

her-

opportunity to display the remark-

able

domestic qualities she possessed, and
little

which had been so

appreciated by her

x

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
During the
latter

165

mother-in-law.

time of her

stay at Bel CEil her

husband had forbidden
;

her to she

ride,

on account of her delicate health

now amply made up
Prince- Bishop,

for that privation.
spoilt

The
her,

who thoroughly

gave her the most beautiful horses, and

she might be seen every morning on horse-

back escorted by several young noblemen

who

were perfect horsemen, as are

all

the Poles.

She

built a theatre in

her palace, and gratified

her love of acting to her heart's content.

Freed from the supervision that oppressed
her at
Bel OEil, Helene abandoned herself

without constraint to the irresistible charms of
this life of pleasure.

She

forgot the past, her
;

husband, and her daughter even

the Prin-

cesse Charles de Ligne no longer existed

Helene Massalska alone remained. Winter was rapidly drawing
the Princess
still

to a close,

and

gave no thought

to Vienna.

The de Ligne
prolonged
silence.

family, justly offended at her

absence,

preserved

a

disdainful

1

66

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

x

The
niece,

Prince- Bishop had returned to
Diet,

Wilna

during the vacation of the

but his
seaat

who wished

to enjoy the

summer

son, just then beginning,

remained alone

Warsaw.

The King,
houses
in the in the

his family,

and the most import-

ant personages at Court, had elegant countrysuburbs, where they indulged
festivities.

most sumptuous and original

The

greatest luxury was displayed in these

entertainments, where each host endeavoured
to surpass his

neighbour
effects.

in

planning surprises
first

and unforeseen

The

one

at

which

the Princess Charles appeared was given by
the

Princess

Andre

Poniatowska.

"
;

The
the

heat on that day had been suffocating

Prince led his visitors to a grotto formed by

an

artificial

rock, from
its

which

fell

a cascade,

imparting by

very sound a cool and agree-

able sensation.
grotto,

Then they

all

went

into the

where they rested

for a

few minutes on

the soft mossy banks, after which the Prince

proposed a walk

in

the park.

They

entered

x

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

167

a shady avenue leading to a door, which was

hidden

in the foliage

;

he touched a spring,

the door flew open, and disclosed a magnifi-

cent circular

hall,

splendidly illuminated, and

painted with frescoes representing allegorical
subjects
;

it

was surrounded by niches

in the

walls containing Turkish divans, which

were

covered with the richest brocades.
of these recesses

The back

was of a dead

gold, contrast-

ing marvellously with the black hair and delicate complexion of the Polish ladies
to
rest
in

who came

them.

They had

barely seated

themselves when strains of music were heard,

which seemed
the skies.

to

descend mysteriously from
floor

Suddenly the

opened, and a
ascended,

table, magnificently laid out, slowly

as

if

at

the touch of a fairy's wand."
himself,

The

King seated
being

and motioned the de-

sired guests to their places, Princesse

Helene

among

the number.
;

Stanislaus was most agreeably disposed

he was fond of conversation, and set every

one

at ease.

He

liked to speak

on

art

and

1

68

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
;

x

literature

his

mind, which was cultivated,

though without

much

depth,
its

appeared

at

these entertainments under
able
aspect.

most favour-

Paris

and

France were the

topics of conversation,

and as they recalled

the delightful past, the

King took pleasure

in

questioning Helene about the people

whom

he had known.

When
into

supper was over they again went
in

the park, and wandered about

the

beautiful

moonlight, returning only to
far

War-

saw when the night was
Helene had become

advanced.

particularly intimate

with the Princess Czartoryska, so passionately

loved by Lauzun, and of
a charming description.
1

whom

he has

left

The

Princess's resi-

dence was entirely different from any of the
others
;

for
call

Powinski was

laid out in

what

we now

the realistic style.
of the family occupied a

Each member

cottage, the exact reproduction of a peasant's
1

See the Memoirs of Lauzun, whose authenticity, however, one
of.

can by no means be certain

x

PRINCESS E BE LIGNE
;

169

hut

it

was made with trunks of
the
other,

trees laid

one on
a
la

cemented together
and straw
a
:

by

mixture of earth
Princesse
of
the

"

Madame
;

inhabited
children

very large hut
servants

those

and

were
like
;

smaller.

This group of cottages looked

a village in the midst of an
but,

immense park

on entering one of them, one was struck
sumptuousness of
greeted
of the
eye.

by the
which

the

apartments
finish

The
detail

and
on
a

elegance
scale of

the

decorations

were
will

which one single

give

an

idea.

The bathroom
from
top
to

of

the

Princess
tiles

was
of

lined

bottom with
with
the

Dresden
delicacy,
:

china,

painted

ut-

most

and each representing a small
it

picture

they numbered,

is

said,

three

thousand.

"After leaving these would-be cottages, and
crossing a part of the park, one

came upon an

enormous Turkish

tent, of
It

a magnificent and
to the

curious appearance.
Vizier,

had belonged

and was taken during the war be-

i7o

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE

x

tween the Russians and the Turks.
interior

The
hanQf-

was ornamented with Oriental

ings and trophies of Turkish arms, which were

exceedingly beautiful.
rich carpets,

On

the ground were

and
as

piles of

gold-embroidered

cushions
perfect.

used

seats

made

the

illusion

Behind the heavy curtains sounds

of Turkish music were heard, and servants

dressed

in

Eastern costumes served pipes

and, coffee on small low tables, inlaid with
mother-of-pearl."
park,
lakes,
rivers,

Every reception -day the
and bridges were
illu-

minated, and supper was served the whole

evening
creepers,

in

a large

pavilion
all

covered with

and open on

aides.

A
ball

number
was

of small tables were laid out, and at each

one of the ladies presided.
ganised

A

or-

in the Princess's cottage,

where they

danced most of the

night.

After enjoying these
time,

gaieties

for
at

some

Helene joined her uncle

Werky.

With

the exception of a few short holidays,

the Diet, contrary to the usual custom, sat

x

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

171

without interruption and without fresh elections
years,
till

the year 1792.

During these four
critical

and notwithstanding the

nature

of the political
the

questions under discussion,

Court of Stanislaus

presented

an un-

usually brilliant aspect, which, however,

was

not destined to

last.

While the Diet was
officials

sitting all the

Crown

were obliged by

their duties to reside

in

Warsaw.

Amongst

the most notice was the
lain,

who attracted Lord High Chamberthose

Count Vincent Potocki.

He

belonged
Po-

to

one of the most

illustrious families in

land,

and possessed immense landed estates
palaces
of
regal

and

magnificence.

His

father,

Stanislaus-Potocki, Palatine of Kiew,

was the nephew and godson of the King
Stanislaus-Leczinski, and therefore
first

cousin

of the late

Queen

of France.

Although
lain

at this

time the Lord Chamber-

was nearly

thirty-eight years of age, he

passed for one of the most fascinating
at Court.

men

Gifted with a keen and refined

172

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE
very careful of his

x

intellect,

own

interests, a

favourite with

women, and always on the

best of terms with influential men, he

knew
1

the art of being successful with every one.

His
niece

first

wife

was

Ursule

Zamoiska,
;

of

King

Stanislaus- Augustus

they
at the

had no children, and were divorced

end of a few

years.

Divorces were of such

frequent occurrence in Poland, and had be-

come such an
event

established custom, that this
difference
in

made no
Princess

the

Count's

position with the

King.

Shortly after her

divorce

Zamoiska

married

the

Count Mniseck, and Count Vincent himself
married
in

1786 the Countess Micielska, by
It

whom

he had two sons.

was

just at the

time of the birth of his second son that the

Count was summoned by
1

his duties to

WarCount
Ursule

The King's

eldest sister, Louise Poniatowska, married

J.

J.

Michel Zamoiski, by

whom

she had one daughter,

Zamoiska.

Madame
:

on 25th March 1776
ever

— " Society

Geoffrin wrote as follows to
at

King Stanislaus
brilliant

Warsaw

is

more

than

at

least

I

hear of a great 'many marriages.
is

Your

niece,

Mademoiselle Ursule Zamoiska,

marrying a

Count

Potocki,

brother-indaw of a Countess Potocka

who

is

here."

x

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE

173

saw.
in a

The Countess remained

at

Ukrania,

property near Niemirow, their habitual

residence, her health not yet permitting her
to travel.

The Lord Chamberlain, on
cousins,

arriving
at

at

Warsaw, met the Princesse Helene
he was presented

his

Mesdames Jean and Severin Poto her,
faithful

tocka

;

and soon
followers

became one of the most
of her
little

Court.

Hitherto
all

Helene, like
her admirers
it

a real coquette, had noticed

without seeming to distinguish any, but

was soon apparent that she received Count
Vincent with

marked
she

changed
society,

entirely,

Her habits went much less into
favour.
at

and was only seen

the

houses

which the Count himself habitually frequented.

He showed

the greatest reserve in his inPrincess.

tercourse with the

Either from

policy or prudence, he manifested no eagerness,

and even affected
;

to

avoid meeting

her too often

it

was

easy,
to

however, for
that

an

attentive observer

see

he was

174

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
at

x

flattered

the

distinction

with

which he

was treated by a young,
attractive

beautiful,

and most

woman.
first

Helene, who was in love for the
her
life,

time in

gave herself up completely

to the feel-

ings which influenced her.
it

Without admitting

to herself, she felt

keenly the Count's coldher,

ness of

manner towards
its

and endeavoured

to find out

cause

;

she thought he disap-

proved of her worldly pursuits, and she hoped
to please

him by giving them up

:

the pleasall

ure parties, the brilliant cavalcades, were

abandoned.

She courted
here

solitude,

and

in

her

letters to her friends betrayed,

unawares, her

secret thoughts

:

is

an answer from the

Princesse Henri Lubomirska, then living in
Paris,

which shows that her passion was no
:

longer a secret

Paris,

i

5///

October 1789.

"At
is

last,

pussie,

I

have received a

letter
It

from you, dated the 24th of September.

a thousand and a hundred thousand years

x

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
I

175

since

had heard from you, and
cross,
I

I

even

felt

a

little

must confess.
letter

But,

after

seeing in

your

such big phrases
etc.,
I

as

actual situation, settled for ever,

have

cooled down,

for, like

Germain
I

in

La
I

Feinte

par Amour,

x

'What

am
I

not told

know
that
I

nevertheless.'

Really
in this

am

sorry

cannot see you

new

situation^ ivhich

makes

solihtde

so

precious.
I

You must be
to

very funny, not that
style altogether

think the sentimental

unbecoming
beings

you

;

there

are
suits,

privileged

whom

every phase

and

this
;

can be said of you more than
I

of

anybody

but

cannot suppress a certain
for
it,

curiosity,

— forgive me
is

my

pet.

Your
I

happiness

my

most ardent wish, and
it,

am

more

interested than ever in desiring
it

since

the longer

lasts the

longer you will remain

with with
1

us.

Tell

me what

terms you are on
2
;

Madame
Feinte

de Mniseck

I

have good
comedy
in

La

par Amour, The

Counterfeit of Love,

three acts

and verse by Dorat, played

for the first time

on 13th

July 1773.
2

Ursule Zamoiska, Count Fotocki's

first

wife.

176

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

x

reasons for asking, and you will understand

them

;

but do not mention

my
see

question to
the

anybody,

and

when

you

Lord

Chamberlain, present him with
ments.

my

compli-

"Is
at

it

true that he

is

irrevocably settled
?

Warsaw, and has given up Niemirow
"

By

the bye,

why were you

astonished that
I
1

in

a letter dated from Paris

should have

sent you the
It

Comte Auguste's compliments?
here,

was not on the high-road, but
is

where
I

he

deputy
I

at the States-General, that

saw
too

him.

will

not mention

my

health
will

;

it is
I

tiresome a subject.

Neither

write

about what goes on here, as

political

matters

do not

interest

you much
in
;

;

and, moreover,

you see everything
good-bye,

the newspapers.
;

So

my

puss

write often

you know

that your letters are always a great pleasure
to

me.

Are you
la

still

fond of riding and

1

Comte Auguste de

Marck, second son of the Duchesse

d'Aremberg.
in the

A

friend of Mirabeau, he played an interesting part

commencement

of the Revolution.

x

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
?
I

177

going to the theatre
given up
surmises
;

am
of

afraid

you have

all

these amusements. a distance

Forgive
five

my

at

hundred
a mistake,

leagues one

may sometimes make
in

and see things
believe
that

a

wrong

light

;

but at least

no distance can diminish the
I

tender interest

feel for

you."

Evidently Helene's friend
all

knew

perfectly

that

was going on

;

her question with
it.

regard to the Comtesse de Mniseck proves

She wished
had

to

know on what
become

footing the two
other.

young women were with each
naturally

Helene
her.

intimate

with

Madame

de Mniseck was only too glad that

the Count should be faithless to her successor.

We

have already seen that

Helene

was

extremely worried by the Count's coldness

and reserve towards herself; she could not
refrain

from mentioning who,

it

to to

Madame
the

de

Mniseck,
Polish

according

singular
perfectly
It

habit,

had

remained
first

on

courteous terms with her
VOL.
II

husband.
20

178

PRTNCESSE DE LIGNE

x

is

not necessary to add that the word love
;

was never mentioned between them

they

only recognised an "affectionate regard," and

Helene implored her
cause
of
the

friend to discover the

Count's

strange

behaviour.
fulfilled

Madame

de Mniseck graciously

this

strange commission, and reassured Helene so

completely that she wrote as follows to the

Count
"

:

Madame

de Mniseck has just told

me

that

you have spoken of

me

in

affectionate

terms to her, and that you reproach yourself
with having
left

me

for three

months

in

doubt

as to your sentiments.
"
I

am
is

deeply

touched

at

this

;

your

affection

precious to me, and will always
I

be

so, and, as
I

felt

that

I

had not been

in

fault,

was sure your good heart would

bring you back to
It
is

me

sooner or
little

later."

evident

that

by

little

the

intimacy between

the

Count and
he

Helene

was

increasing.

Perhaps

was uncon-

sciously fascinated

by the very great charm

x

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
the

179

of

young Princess

?

Perhaps

in

the

Bishop of Wilna's immense fortune he hoped
to find a resource for freeing his lands

from

their

heavy mortgages

?

It is difficult to tell,

for, in

this circumstance, as in all those con-

nected with the

Count, the motive of his

conduct remains an enigma.

Whatever

the

reason,

he accepted

the

delicate responsibility of
affairs,

managing Helene's
in

which had been

a state of great

confusion for

some

time.

The Count had

an undoubted capacity
quality
in

for business
;

—a

rare

a
to

Polish

noble

they generally
fortune
better

know how
than

spend
it.

their

how

to

manage

The

advice which he gave the Princess
for frequent interviews,
in the

was a pretext

which

always took place

presence of a third

person, either a secretary or a

young

lady.

1

One
1

day, however,
great

Helene received a note
some

The

Polish ladies were always accompanied by

young

girl

or

young married woman, who belonged
;

to the lesser

and poorer

nobility

their

position

was

that of a

companion or

even head lady's-maid.

i

So

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE

x

from the Count begging
view.

for a private inter-

Surprised and disturbed at the receipt
lines,

of these few

Helene, without reflecting

on their undoubted significance, replied that
she would grant his request, but only on
condition that he would

remember she was

another man's wife.

The Count
and
after a

arrived at the appointed time,
trivial

few minutes of the most

conversation, Helene, agitated and trembling,

asked him, without reflecting on the purport
of her words,
interview.

why he had demanded
it

this

He

answered rather coldly that
already
;

she appeared to be aware of

and

he then made her a regular declaration.

The

young

Princess, carried

away by the violence

of her feelings, admitted that she loved him
as she

had never loved any one before, but

that she

was determined

that this confession

should lead to no result so long as they had
not each recovered their liberty.

The Count

calmly replied

that

he was
it

proud of the distinction conferred, that

was

x

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
for his

1S1

sufficient

happiness,

and

that

his

reserve and respect would prove that he was

an honourable man.

He

then

made

a deep

obeisance and retired, leaving Helene in a

most agitated frame of mind.

She

felt

more humiliated than
;

satisfied

with what had taken place

for, in

accordance

with a very natural sentiment, she had wished
to

maintain a discreet behaviour, with the
all

intention of taking

the credit to herself;

she had prepared to combat an ardent lover,

and she had found herself face
a

to face with

man who was

able not only to master his

feelings, but

was even more reasonable than

she was.
Dissatisfied with
herself,

with

him,

and

with the rash admission she had just made,

she wrote and tore up three or four letters
after his departure
;

at last

she sent him the

following
"
I

:

have

tried three times to write to you,

without having been able to express the agitation of

my

heart.

How

changed are

my

pro-

1

82

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
!

x

spects since yesterday

I

feel

humiliated, defirst

graded. ...

I

granted the very
I

request

you made, but

wished

to place

between us

a barrier which your delicacy of feeling would
respect.

On

reflection

I

perceive that

my

surrender has only added to
I

my

imprudence.

have shown you

my

weakness, whilst you
should control

have shown
nature.
I

me how honour
forgot

myself
is

whilst

you

re-

membered
me.
" P.S.

;

this

not

the

moment

to
it

claim your esteem, time alone will restore
to

— My thoughts are so
I

full

of yesterto

day's events that
close

have not been able
it

my

eyes.

Can

be possible that a

single
feel

day should thus influence
it

my

life

;

I

that, henceforth,
!

is

yours,

and yours

alone

Helene spoke

truly,

for

this

affection,
all

already so deeply rooted, was to last
life.

her

It

appears that the Count replied in a way
sufficed
to

that

dispel

the

anxiety of the

x

PRINCESS E BE LIGNE
;

183

young Princess

for

he received the following

note from her, which

we

find carefully preletters.
1

served amongst her other

"The filled me
ten

few words you have written have
with joy.
I

read and reread them
I

times whilst dressing, and
I

found the

pastime a sweet one.

shall see
2

you

this

evening

at

Madame

Jean's."

We do

not possess any of the letters which
;

the Count wrote at that time

but,

judging

by Helene's answers, he must have been a
jealous and despotic man.
his

She submitted

to

tyranny
insisted

in a

most extraordinary manner.
all

He

on her burning

the letters

she had received from her husband and her
friends,

and made so severe a selection amono-

her numerous acquaintances at Warsaw, that
little

by

little

he narrowed her sphere
in

to a
;

small

circle,

which he reigned supreme

Helene accepted everything.
1

Helene's

notes,

many

of

which

were

insignificant,

were

docketed and carefully kept by the Count.
-

Madame Jean

Potocka, the Count's niece.

1

84

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE
"
I

x

wrote to you

last

night,

and intended

sending off
"

my
I

note this morning," she writes,
it

but

when

awoke
it

was too

late.

"What
at once.

is

that worries

you?

Tell

me

If a

complete

sacrifice of all that

displeases you can secure your peace of mind,

say but one word, and
I

it

will cost

me
if,

nothing.

shall consider

myself the gainer
I

by giving

up everything,
and contented.
"If these
going with

am

able to

make you happy
insisted

ladies

had not
I

on

my

them,

would willingly have

stayed at home.
"

With you alone
heart

I

have enough to occupy

my

and mind without requiring the

presence of others."

About
of

this time, that

is,

towards the end

1790,

the

Comtesse Vincent, who had
left

completely recovered her health,

Ukrania,
It

and joined her husband

at

Warsaw.

was

impossible to prevent her return, and equally impossible to conceal from her the growing

intimacy between the Lord Chamberlain and

x

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE

185

the Princesse de Ligne,

whose reputation of

coquetry and beauty had already reached her
ears.

The Comtesse Anna adored
and
in

her husband,
to

spite

of

all

his

efforts

hide
it,

the truth from her she soon discovered

and absolutely refused
within her doors.
"
I

to

admit the Princess
never consent,"

shall

she said to her husband,

" to receive the

woman
The

who

has robbed

me

of your affection, whatever

may be

the nature of your intimacy."

Count, very

much

surprised at this unexpected

resistance on her part, vainly endeavoured to
dispel his wife's suspicion, but
called
closed.

when Helene

on the Countess she found the door
Mortally wounded by this affront,

she gave
character
;

way

to

all

the violence
to

of

her

she declared

the Count that

she insisted on his compelling his wife to
receive
rest her,

adding that she
insult

could

never

under an

that

dishonoured her

in the

eyes of the world.

The

Count, after

trying in vain to calm her, finally flew into a

1

86

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

x

passion, and after a terrible scene abruptly
left

her.

Utterly upset

by the manner

in

which the Count had
vious day,

left

her on the pre-

Helene sent him the very next
lines,

morning these few

written in such a
illegible
:

state of agitation as to

be almost

"I

am

writing to you without knowing

how

to begin.

What
it
;

a scene

!

I

am

still

quite

unnerved by
me,

you have

left

me, abandoned
alleviate
I

and nothing remains
I

to

my
have

despair.

am

alone in the world.

neglected

my

friends,
all

broken

all

ties,

burnt

under your eyes

the proofs of the affection
I

which

my

husband once bestowed on me.

have destroyed

secrets, confidences, assurances

of tenderness from the friends of my childhood,

and yesterday you retracted the few words of
affection
lips.
I

which have
will

at times

escaped your

Who
it

console
to

me

in

my

affliction

?

leave

to

you

imagine what remains

after this.

Good-bye,
I

my

dear Vincent

;

in

any

case, should

meet you again, you

will

always be the eternal object of

my affections,

x

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
to

187

and should nothing bring you back
that of

me,

my

eternal regrets.
all

In any case you

alone will occupy
sess
till

my

thoughts, and pos-

death

all

my

affection.

"If you are determined never
again, return
this

to see

me
be
I

my
:

letters,

and

at

the end of
to

one write

Adieu.

This sentence,
is

decreed by your hand,
solicit

the only favour

from you."
to the Princess,

This note was returned
a few minutes
later,

by the messenger who
seal

had
but

taken

it.

The

was unbroken,
lines,

1

on

it

were traced

two

in

the

Comtesse Anna's own handwriting, with the
following

words
for

:

"

The

Count

left

this
filled

morning
Helene

Niemirow."

This news
she
grief,

with

dismay
at

;

fancied

the

Countess rejoicing
in his

her

triumphing

departure, and preparing to join her
children.
;

husband and her

A

mad

idea shot

through her brain
1

she rang at once, and
amongst the Count's papers.
Helene

We

have found

this letter
it

probably forwarded

before she determined to join him.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
ordered a post-chaise to be brought round
immediately.

Half an hour

later the Princess

threw herself into the carriage, accompanied

by only one of her women, and

after a

journey

of astounding rapidity arrived at a few hours after the Count.

Niemirow

The
bearable,

latter

had

left

Warsaw merely

to

escape from a position that was no longer

and without any
arrival of

settled resolution.

The unexpected
unnerved him
;

Helene completely

her beauty, her tenderness,

her despair, the rashness of her conduct in
thus sacrificing her reputation,
to
all

combined

move and perplex
poor Comtesse

him, and the recollec-

tion of

Anna

could not con-

tend against the fascination of the moment.

Helene carried the day, and when the emotion of the first

few moments was over they
sides.

agreed to ask for a divorce on both

The
should

Princess,

dreading

lest

the

Count
their

change

his

mind, urged that

plans should be carried out without delay,

and the very next day three

letters

were

x

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
from

189

despatched

Niemirow,

the

first

ad-

dressed to the Comtesse Anna, the second to
the

Prince de Ligne, and the third to the

Bishop of Wilna.

The Count

offered

his

wife the custody of their two sons, besides a
large annuity,
divorce.
if

she would consent to the
requested that her

The

Princess

daughter Sidonie should be sent back to her,

and that the Prince- Bishop and a trustee
appointed by her, and invested with her
authority, should settle
all

full

questions of interest

with the de Ligne family.
to

Then,

in a letter
in-

her uncle, she informed him of her

tended divorce, asking him not to withdraw
his

sympathy from

her,

and help her

in the

settlement of her

affairs.

The Comtesse Anna was
of what had taken place
told her the sad truth.
;

in total

ignorance

her husband's letter

The unhappy woman
She
and

could as yet hardly believe in the reality of
the blow which had fallen upon her.

had scarcely been married four

years,

her unvarying gentleness and blameless char-

i

9o

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
have secured
to her the last-

acter ought to

ing affection of the husband she adored, and

whose fondest wish had been
birth of

fulfilled

by the
this

two sons.

She

still

hoped that

intimacy would be but a passing fancy, and
refused to consent to a divorce.

Her answer was
"

simple and touching

:

Have you

forgotten," she said, "that

we

married out of mutual

sympathy, and not

only with the consent but by the wish of our
parents
?

These

ties

were

to last for ever

and God sanctioned and blessed them by
granting us children.

You have sometimes
still

been weak, but
fully

I

shall

persevere, being

persuaded that both
. .

my
.

duty and

my

happiness are involved.
"
cis
I

shall

always remember that when Franin the

was born you were on your knees

adjoining room, praying to
for our child.

God

for

me and
if

You

loved us then, and

you
still

searched your inmost heart, you would
find these

two sentiments

there, for

I

believe

nothing could ever efface them.

x

PRINCESS E DE EIGNE

191

"You
one,

see
;

my

heart and

soul

laid

bare

before you

read your

own

;

one word, only
;

and

I

will forget

everything

I

await

it

with the greatest impatience.
"

Your very humble and very obedient

servant,

Anna
letter
;

Potocka."
remained

This

and many others

without effect
already

the Lord Chamberlain had
his

made up

mind.

Not only was

he completely under the charm of Helene's
fascination, but, as

we

said before, the pro-

spect

of

the

immense fortune she would
strengthened his deter-

possess
mination.

singularly

XI
The
rebellion in Flanders
in

— Death of Joseph

II.

the Russian service

Vienna
Paris

— Helene

— The

storming of Ismail

at

Kowalowska

—The

— Prince Charles — Return
—The

to

Count's journey to Count's

— The

Lignes refuse to grant a divorce

illness.

While
place
in

these romantic events were taking

Ukrania others of a more serious

nature were occurring in Flanders.

Van

der

Noot, uniting his efforts to those of

Vonck

and Van der Mersch, had issued a manifesto

exhorting the people

of

Brabant to

rebellion,

and on the same day, the 24th of
1789,

October

the

little

army

of

patriots

assembled at Hasselt had invaded the Belgian
territory.
1

The

Emperor,

suddenly

1

Van

der Noot, an active and zealous lawyer, but with more

ambition than capacity, together with the Grand Penitencier,

Van

Eupen, headed the party who wished

for

the maintenance of the

xi

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE
tried

193

alarmed,

to arrest

the
;

movement by
the violent
irri-

making
tation

useless concessions
felt

he

at the defection of

Flanders

caused him to suspect every one belonging to
the country of taking part in the rebellion.

The

Prince de Ligne himself, then at the

siege of
pleasure,

Belgrade, did not escape his dis-

and

it

was then

that he wrote

him

the harsh letter

we have

already mentioned.
injustice of

But Joseph soon recognised the
his suspicions,
recalled.

and the Prince de Ligne was
latter

The
:

obeyed

at

once,

and

wrote the following charming

letter to the

Emperor

Belgrade, November 1789.
"
I

am

overjoyed at your Majesty's kind-

ness in permitting

me

to appear before you,
until
I

and

to

remain

in

Vienna

start

for

Moravia or

Silesia at the

head of the army
I

now

returning from Syrmia.
aristocratic,

am
Van

far

more
another

ancient,

and sacerdotal

constitution,

while

lawyer, Vonck, a

man

of great ability, and General

der Mersch,

led the popular faction.

VOL.

II

31

i

94

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
by a grace than by a

xi

touched, Sire,
grace.

dis-

The

cares of the siege of Belgrade,
I

and the fever from which

suffered, that

no

amount of quinine could subdue, prevented

my

feeling the grief

I

should naturally have

had on reading the

terrible

phrase

:

'

Prepare

yourself to receive marks of
for
it is

my

displeasure,

neither

my
I

pleasure nor

my

habit to

be disobeyed.' myself on
rian

had reason
Sire,

to congratulate

my behaviour, On
to

during the Bava-

war eleven years ago, and you thanked
for
it.

me

this occasion,

it

is

true,

your

Majesty decided that

my despatches
it

should be
;

conveyed

you through an orderly

but

if I

made use

of

my

aides-de-camp,

was

solely

on account of the Comte de Choiseul's

special

message from Constantinople, recommending
that his very important despatch to the

Mar-

quis de Noailles should be conveyed as safely

and

directly as possible.

An

orderly

may

fall

asleep, get drunk, or be
"
I

murdered.
Sire,
if
I
I

must crave your pardon,
at

showed no anxiety

your displeasure, but

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

195

know your

justice

still

better

;

I

supposed
of
re-

that the ill-timed journey

made by one

my

aides-de-camp

to

Flanders when the

bellion

was

at

its

height had perhaps

led

your

Majesty
in
it,

to

suppose that
I

I

was con-

cerned

and that

had some under-

standing with the disaffected." 1

Whilst the Prince de Ligne was returning
to

Vienna the insurgents seized Ghent and
and on the 2d of December 1789
II.

Brussels,

they proclaimed that Joseph
the sovereignty of the

had

forfeited

Netherlands.

Two
to a

months
chronic

later

the

Emperor succumbed
aggravated

disease,

by

grief

and

1

The

Belgians had, nevertheless,

made

the most brilliant offers

to the Prince.

Van

der Noot implored him to

come and
I

place
offer

himself at their head.

"

I

thank you for the provinces you

me," he replied
winter."

in his usual jesting

manner, "but

never revolt in

Moreover the Prince, who did not approve of revolutions,
at

was indignant
"
I

that of Flanders.
first

"

If I

were there," he writes,
is

should speak

as a patriot, a

word

that

becoming odious to
;

me, then as a
not succeed
silence
I

citizen,

another word often misapplied

and

if I

did

should speak as an Austrian general, and forthwith
fat

an archbishop, a bishop, a

monk, a

professor, a brewer,

and a lawyer."

196

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
1

xi

anxiety.

The

Prince de Ligne wrote to the
:

Empress Catherine

"

He is no more, Madame,
more honoured the
a few days before

— he

is

no more, the Prince who honoured the
still

man, the man who
Prince.
his death,

He
on
I

said to

me

my

return from the Hungarian
into Silesia
' :

army which
not
fit

had led

I

was

to see

you yesterday; your country has
.

killed

me.

.

.

The

capture of Ghent

is

my my
that

agony, and the abandonment of Brussels
death.

What
to

an outrage
times).
'

'

(he repeated

word several

I

am

dying of

it
it.

one would have
I

be of stone to survive

thank you for

all

you have done
well of you
;

for
I

me.

Laudon has spoken very
you
for

thank
;

your

fidelity.

Go
to

into

Flanders

1

The Empress Catherine wrote
;

Grimm

:

"Joseph

II. killed

himself with his endless audiences

they are, to say the least, useless,
I

and waste a great deal of time.

used to

tell

him

so.

He was

acquainted with everything, except the disposition of the Flemish

people when the rebellion broke out.

I

witnessed his astonishment
dis-

when

the

first

news arrived
to

;

he came to consult me, and was
matter
;

posed to treat the
of advising

affair as a trifling

but

I

took the liberty

him

pay

it

the most serious attention."

Joseph

II.

died on 20th February 1790.

xi

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE
its

197

bring back the country to

allegiance.
;

If

you cannot succeed, remain there
sacrifice

do not
have

your
.

interests

to

me

— you
were

children.

.

On
death.

the

Emperor's

table

found
his

several letters, written

on the eve of

One

of them, which was in French,
to

was addressed

the

Princesses

Francois
to

and Charles de

Lichtenstein,

and

the

Comtesses Clary, de Kinsky, and de Kaunitz.

To the
"

Five Ladies

who
me
all

so kindly

RECEIVED

ME

INTO THEIR SOCIETY.
to bid

The
at

time has come for

you an

eternal farewell,
I

and express

the gratitude

feel

the condescension and kindliness

you have shown

me

for so
is

many

years.

The

memory

of each day

dear to me, and the
is

thought of separation
troubles me.

the only one that

Wholly
I

trusting in the good-

ness of Providence,
to its decrees.

submit myself entirely
in

Keep me

remembrance,

and do not forget

me

in

your prayers.

My

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
writing
will

show

you

the

condition

I

am

in."

The
by
ful

Prince de Ligne was deeply affected

this loss, of
results.

which he soon
II.,

felt

the painhis

Leopold

who succeeded

father,
all

behaved with marked coldness towards
for

those

whom

Joseph had
the

had any

affection.

Moreover,

new

sovereign's

policy had nothing in
his predecessor.

common

with that of

On

the 27th of July 1790

Austria signed at Reichenbach a Convention
with Prussia, by which she agreed to

make
to

peace with

Turkey, the conditions

be

based on the status quo that existed before
the war.

Prince
forced

Charles,

foreseeing

a

period

of

inaction,

asked

and

obtained

per-

mission to enter the Russian service.
accordingly
set
off,

He
in

leaving

his

father

Vienna unfavourably looked upon and grieved
It

at Court,

at

being separated from him.
in

was under Souvarof's orders

Bess-

xi

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

199

arabia that
paign.

Prince Charles fought his cam-

He

was selected

to conduct part of
1

the operations at the famous siege of Ismail.

Since the i9thSouvarof had been battering the walls of the town
;

he directed

in

person the assault by land, while another
attack

was

being

made

from

the

river.

Three times the Russians were driven back
under a
terrific
fire
;

two columns remained
exposed to a

for three hours in the trenches

perfect storm of grape shot.

At

last

a

fire

broke out

in

the

town, and

the Russians

were able
ten hours.
first

to enter, the assault

having lasted

Prince Charles was amongst the
up,

to

go

and behind him followed, as
the

simple volunteers,
the

Due de
Fifteen

Richelieu,

Comte Roger de Damas,
Langeron,
etc.
etc.

the

Comte

de

thousand

1

Ismailoff, a

town of Russia

in

Europe (Bessarabia), situated on

The storming of Ismail is one of the most celebrated in history. The Russians, numbering 30,000, took possession of the town on 22d November 1790, and pillaged it for three days. The Russians, exasperated at the resistance they had met with,
the Danube.

massacred two-thirds of the inhabitants.

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
Turks were massacred, and the town was
given up to pillage.
a

Prince Charles received

wound

in the leg, which,

however, did not

stop him.

General Ribas, who commanded the
in

flotilla

the Danube, wrote to the Prince de Ligne
:

as follows

Ismail,

i

%th December.

"

My

Prince

— In

recalling myself to the
I

notice of your serene Highness,

venture to

congratulate you on the glory that Prince

Charles has

won

at the

storming of Ismail.
following the
first

The column he commanded,
example of
to effect
its

daring leader, was the

a landing.
his

In spite of a severe

wound

in

leg he

was the

first

to leap

out of the boat, and he scaled the ramparts
of the town under a deadly
fire.

He

took

possession of

it,

after setting fire to a

Turk-

ish frigate that

was doing us great damage,
and directing the
bat-

and
tery,

after establishing

which

inflicted the greatest loss

on the

enemy."

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

At the moment of Prince
into Ismail,
pillage

Charles's entry
fire

and

in the

midst of the

and

and the

fearful carnage,

he saw a child

three or four years old standing alone under

the doorway of a fine-looking house, and utter-

ing the most heartrending cries

;

his

beauty

and the richness of

his attire attracted the

attention of the Prince; he took
in his

up the

child

arms

;

it

ceased crying, and looked at
full

him with eyes
rified at

of astonishment

;

then, ter-

the tumult and the horrible scenes

going on around them, he hid his face on
his

deliverer's
all

breast, clinging to

his

neck
arms.

with

the

strength
the

of

his

little

Much moved,

Prince

hastily

carried
it

the child to a place of safety, and had

questioned by some prisoners

who had
could

es-

caped

the

massacre.
called

All

he

say

was that he was
his

Norokos, and that

mother and the women who took care of
killed.

him had been

The
into

Prince

chose

among

the

prisoners

a Turkish

man and

woman, gave the

child

their keeping,

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
and commanded that he should receive every
possible care, as

he had decided to adopt

him, and take him to Vienna on his return.

Immediately after the taking of Ismail the

Empress Catherine wrote
tell

to Prince Charles to

him

herself of his promotion to the rank of

colonel,

and

to confer

on him the cross of

commander of

the order of Saint Georges.

The
he
Ismail,

Prince de Ligne was at Vienna
the

when

received

news of the capture of

and of the honours the Empress had
his son.

bestowed on
slighted

He

had just been
injustice

and treated with flagrant
II.,

by

Leopold

but

he forgot everything on

hearing of his Charles's success, and wrote
the

same day
"

to the Czarina

:

Madame
it,

— My

heart,

which bounds
is

for-

ward so quickly that
pace with

my pen

unable to keep

can never sufficiently express

my

gratitude for the favours bestowed by your

Imperial Majesty on
Charles.
I

my excellent and fortunate
you

shall not publish the letter

xi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
to write to

203

have deigned

me, but shall conit.

tent myself with never forgetting
until

Not
years

we have peace
wit, as
all

will

your Majesty regain
last four

your former

during the
soul

you have been

and genius.
it

Good
there
!

heavens, what abundant proof of
in

is

your
it

letter to
will

my good

Charles

I

am

afraid
self.

have put him quite beside him-

..."
it is

But

with his son that the Prince gives
to

himself up
feelings.

the

full

vehemence of

his

Vienna,

2 th

November 1790.
it,

"

So you end the war,

as

you began

by

making me

die of anxiety

on behalf of the
at possess-

most courageous of mortals, of joy

ing such a son, of emotion at your conduct,

and of regret

at

never having equalled your

1 merit in any quarter.

My
I

dear Charles,

in

spite of these four deaths,
1

am
my

quite alive,

Prince Charles was extremely modest.
:

His father wrote to
courage, which

Madame de Coigny

"

I

do not underrate

may

204

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
for
!

xi

and the happiest of men,
see

I

am

going to

you again.

My God
the
you,

good Charles,

brave Charles, what anxiety you have given

me

!

Mine

is
1

high

stake

!

If

they

had ndbozssdd

as they

sometimes do

(and for two or three nights especially the

thought deprived
in

me

of sleep), say, what

the world would
I

have become of
I

me

?

Supposing

had survived, could

have

existed a minute without reproaching myself
for

my strength

and weakness
?
. .

in not

opposing

your departure

."

Almost immediately after the peace of Ismail
the

Empress began

secretly to

negotiate a

treaty with the Turks.
in

Preoccupied by events
in

France, and especially

Poland, she was

anxious to be rid of a war which absorbed the

be brilliant enough, but

it
it

is
;

not unalloyed
I

;

there

is

a certain

amount of humbug about

perform too much for the public.

How
1

infinitely I prefer the
if

courage of

my

dear,

good Charles, who

never looks to see

he

is

being looked at."

A

Turkish expression, indicating the act of beheading the dead
field

on the

of battle.

xi

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE

205

greatest part of her army.

Prince Charles,

aware of what was going on, asked and
obtained his discharge.

He

announced

his

return to Vienna to his father, and

came back
brought
his
at-

escorted by a numerous retinue.

He

with

him the

little

Norokos and

tendants, a Turkish

band of twelve musicians,

and magnificent presents of arms and horses
that Marshal Souvarof

and Prince Potemkin

had given him.

The Prince de Ligne
"

to his Son.

Good

Lord

!

dear
I

Charles

!

you
it.

are
I

coming back, but

cannot

realise

assure you that since you have had the good
fortune
to

escape from such dangers, you

must be physically immortal as well as morally.
I

do not know how

I

shall

manage

to

kiss

you,

how

I

shall

place myself, where

your large nose

will go,

how

I

shall

manage
your

my own
wounded

;

I

fully

intend also

kissing

knee, perhaps going

down on my

206

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
for the

xi

own knees

purpose, before you as

well as before heaven."

P.S.

To THE

BRAVEST AND PRETTIEST
1

FELLOW AMONG THE VOLUNTEERS.
"

As
to

for you,

my
It

dear Duke,
feelings

I
I

shall not

seek

express

the
is

entertain

on your behalf.

impossible to

be a

more worthy grandson of the Marechal de
Richelieu, never has
valiant

any one had a more Both you
to each

and charming comrade.

and Charles have equally contributed
other's glory.

1

Duplessis,

The Comte de Chinon, Armand-Emmanuel-Sophie-Septimanie Due de Richelieu, grandson of the Marshal, born the
1766, died the 16th

25th September

May

1822.

At the age of
had no
went
to Vienna,

fourteen he married Mademoiselle de Rochechouart, but children by her.

The Duke emigrated
distinction,

in 1790,

where he was received with

Petersburg, where he was equally well received.
says the Prince de Ligne, " rare beauty,
gentleness.
talents,

and from thence to Saint " He possessed,"

and a character of extreme

Though he

did not inherit his grandfather's superior

he had nevertheless a sound judgment, many natural virtues,
justice
;

and an ardent love of

he was

less dissipated

than

his

youthful companions, although fond of ladies' society, and born to
please."

The Due de

Richelieu was

President

of

the

Privy

Council under the Restoration.

xi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
"

207

Certain of your mutual esteem, you strove
it.

to

augment
to
;

What
that

happiness for me, dear
full

Duke,
energy

know
to

you are
that
I

of

life

and

remember

have loved you
hardly had

from the time of your

birth, for

^ou come into the world
already
"
its
I

than you were

ornament.

But

must

tell

you both about the King
!

What a kind good man he is He embraced me about ten times, that is to say, as often as he met me during the ball,
of Naples.

which took place
bassador Gallo. 1
one, saying:
e
'

at

the house of his

am-

He

took
!

me up

to every
!

Suo figlio

ah! bravo juvene

ferito"'

2

The Flemish
close.

rebellion

was drawing

to a

After shaking off the Austrian yoke
act

the

first

of

the
into

Flemish

people

had

been
1

to

divide

two

hostile

factions,

The Marquis
this ball in

del Gallo, Neapolitan

ambassador

at

Vienna,

gave

honour of the betrothal of the King of Naples's

two daughters with two Archdukes, sons of the Emperor Leopold. 2 " His son, ah is wounded." brave young fellow
!
!

208

PRINCESSE DE L1GNE
to

xi

one of which was anxious
ancient, aristocratic,
tion, to retain

preserve the

and sacerdotal constitu-

which had been the motive of

the revolution, while the other faction sup-

ported the

new

doctrines of the constituent

assembly

in Paris.

Leopold,

who had

learnt

the art of negotiating in Tuscany, and

was

an astute

politician, cleverly

took advantage

of the division of opinions, and on coming
to

the

throne
all

1

promised

to

restore

to

Flanders
the

her ancient privileges, but at

same time despatched an army strong
to

enough

subdue her

if

necessary.

The

country offered no resistance. 2

On

the 2d

of

December 1790 Leopold

granted a general amnesty, and before

many

months had passed

all

trace of the disturb-

ances in Flanders had disappeared.
1

2

The 30th September 1790. The Comte de Browne took back

Brussels from the Belgian pat-

riots

with a few companies of grenadiers and a handful of hussars.

By
he
it it

dint of care, firmness,

and gold, which he distributed
and security

in handfuls,

so completely re-established order

in the

town

that

became more
ever had been.

quiet,

more submissive, and more prosperous than

{Unpublished Memoirs of the Prince de Ligne.)

xi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

209

After enjoying for some time the happiness
of seeing
left for

her

son,

the

Princesse

de

Ligne

Brussels and Bel CEil, in order

to repair the

damages these residences had
the
revolution,
for

sustained

during

they
It

had been abandoned ever since 1787.

was precisely
letters

at

this

period that

Helene's
her

asking

for

a

divorce

reached

husband.

The de Ligne

family had several times

expressed their displeasure at the prolonged
stay of the Princesse Charles in Poland.
first

At

she had answered evasively, then, having
after

inquired

her

little

daughter Sidonie,

she ceased writing altogether.
Helene's sudden departure and prolonged
stay in Ukrania
in

had created a great sensation
Princesse Marechale and

Warsaw.

The

other great ladies,

who were spending

the

winter in Vienna, related the adventure, and

commented upon
easily
at

it.

The

Lignes, as

may
far

be supposed,

were greatly offended
32

Helene's
vol.
11

imprudent escapade, and,

210

PRINCESS E DE LIGNE

xi

from favourably receiving her request
divorce,

for a

they
it.

absolutely

refused

to
if

conthe

sent to

It

may be supposed

that
free,

lady

whom

he loved had been

Prince

Charles would have sent a different answer,
but there existed, evidently, some insurmountable obstacle to their union.

Meanwhile the
Helene's
affairs,

Count,
started
full

who
for

directed
Paris,

all

invested
the

by her
Lignes
;

with
for

powers

to

treat with

the Princesse

Charles

was

still

under the

delusion that her request would be granted.

On

his arrival in

Paris he had a

first inter-

view with the Prince de Ligne's steward, and

gave him a copy of

his

deed of authorization.
off at

The steward went
with the Prince on

once to confer

these grave questions,
to Paris

but

when he returned

he found that

the Count,

who

in

the meantime had heard
Charles's

from

Helene of Prince
had already taken
following
is

decided

refusal,

his departure.

The

the letter the steward

had brought.

PRTNCESSE DE LIGNE

Letter from the Prince de Ligne.
Vienna, i$th January 1791.

"As we no
fact,

longer are aware of the Prinas, in

cesse Charles de Ligne's existence, and

she

is

dead to us and to our

little

Sidonie,

we can

enter into no arrangements with her.

"A woman
lish tyrant

kept prisoner by a stupid Po-

should not prevent Sidonie's greatbills

uncle from paying the

of exchange, for

which he has given us every possible security,

and which, according
Charles

to the

desire of

Prince

and

the

Prince- Bishop,

and even according

to that of her mother,

are destined to free the

estates in Galicia.
right to

She has neither the power nor the
administer these estates, as she
influence of a
is

under the

man who

publicly

manages her

business, for in so doing she might

damage

her daughter's interests.

"When

she chooses to free herself from
is

the bondage in which she

living,

and take

up her residence

either in Paris or

Warsaw,

212

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

xi

or on one of
shall receive

my

estates

if

she prefers

it,

she

an annuity of thirty thousand

French
intends

livres,

which

is

the least her husband

her to have, as soon as he shall

himself

come

into the

whole of

his fortune.
if

"As

the Princesse Charles,

she married

the Count Potocki, would be even

more un-

happy than she
in

is

at present,

her husband,

her interest and in that of her daughter,

will
"

never give his consent.

Ligne.
rest of

The

Princess's
will

diamonds and the

her property
her,

be immediately returned to
to Pradel the
still

and she must send

drawings

belonging to her husband she
possession."

has in her

Prince Charles wished to

send back at

once
left

all

the diamonds, furniture, and effects
at Bel

by Helene

CEil and at Brussels,

and he wrote

to his

mother urging her

to

forward them at once to their destination.
It will

be remembered that Helene had

left

Brussels hurriedly at the time of the insurrec-

xi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
and therefore had not had time

213

tion,

to dis-

charge a few personal debts contracted at her

own

expense.

The

Princesse de Ligne wrote
:

to her daughter-in-law the following letter

Brussels, 24/A February 1791.

As your husband had written Madame, that he consented to the
"

to

me,

return

of everything

belonging to you, with the

exception of the books, most of which already

formed a part of the library
rest

at

Bel CEil, the

having been purchased on condition of
being
placed
in
it,

their

I

was about

to

order the packing of your effects
creditors,

when your
to

hearing of

this,

came
that

oppose

the

proceedings, alleging

they never

received any answer to the letters they sent
you.
effects,

They
of

will

not allow the removal of the
their guarantee
for
;

which are

it

is

only

out

consideration

me, and

on

my
you

promising to write to you myself, that they

have consented

to wait long

enough
reply.

for

to receive this letter

and send a

214

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
"
I

xi

therefore beg you,

Madame,
a

if

you do

not wish to run the risk of having your things
publicly sold, to send

me

bill

of exchange

or an order on

some bank,

so that by the end

of April
"

I

may be
bills
I

able to meet their claims.

The
to

have been able to
I

collect,

added
to

those
five

already

know

of,

amount

about
I

thousand
to

florins

in

our coin.

As

do not intend
I

be

in Brussels after
I

the 15th of May,
receive the
I

warn you that unless
the
first

money by

of the month,
to a public

shall

hand over your possessions

auctioneer,
settle

who

will

estimate their value and

with the

creditors,
to

and
it.

I

shall

have
will
;

nothing

more

do

with
this

You

certainly not profit
I

by

arrangement

for

should have been more economical
in

and
than

have taken more interest
he
will.

your

affairs

" Sidonie

is in

excellent health; she

is

a

dear

little

thing,

and although you hardly no-

tice her,

she often speaks of you, and never

forgets to mention her

mother

in

her

little

xi

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
Impatiently

215

prayers.
for,

awaiting your
I

reply,
I

with the precautions

have taken,
I

am

certain this letter will reach you,

remain,

Madame,

yours, etc.
"

La Princesse de
negotiations
in

Ligne."

During these
living at

Helene was

Kowalowska

complete retirement.

Her mother-in-law's letter arrived at a moment when it was impossible for her to send any
money to
almost
Brussels.
to the

This

woman of the world,

accustomed

most refined luxury, was

in actual

want, and with very natural

pride would accept nothing from the Count

but the hospitality he had offered her.

She

wrote to him as follows
"

:

Your
is

letter

has

made me very

sad.

There
than
if

no more question of your return

you were never coming back.
will listen

MM.
I

de Ligne

to nothing

;

what can
?

do

?

What

line of action

can

I

take

What
?

do they want of

me

?

What

is

their object

They

apparently hope that want will

make

2i6

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
submit to their
will,

xi

me

and imagine they are

granting

me

a favour by shutting
1

me up

in

a

Convent with a pension.
they be willing to receive
family,
at
I

But even should

me

back into their
to

would never return

them
I

;

all is

an end between them and me, and

should

even prefer the Convent
with people

to the trial of living love,

would

whom despise me
to the
to

I

do not

and who

;

the word alone

makes

me

shudder.
"

As
in

money

question,

it

would be

most painful

me

to be a
;

burden to anylive

body

the

world

I

would sooner

by manual work, and would not hesitate to
begin by discarding
all

my

household, and

keeping only one servant.
"

The few

effects

I

possess, such as books,
furniture,
I

music,

and some pieces of

no

longer consider as

my own

;

you

will

be good

enough
1

to take

them

into account in the

sum

This phrase shows that the Count had not sent Helene the

Prince's letter, in
retreat.

which he offered her one of

his residences as a

xi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

217

I

owe you

for table expenses, washing, etc.

;

for,
I

as regards

money,

I

can give you none.
this
I

have made a purchase

month, which

I

should have avoided had

known my
I

affairs

were

in

such a bad

state.

spent

forty

ducats in buying linen to
I

make

chemises, for

required some, and
I

it

was

difficult for

me

to

do without them.
linen,
I

was shown some

fine

and as
it.

it

is
I

often difficult to procure,

bought
I

If

become a prey

to absolute

misery,
to bear

shall yet

have the necessary courage

it.

You

will care as

much

for

me

in

sackcloth as in
I

silk,

and

I

shall

be quite happy.
I

do not wish even

to return into society.

became acquainted
brilliant attractions,
I

early in

life

with

its

most

and soon wearied of them
life,

shall

never get weary of a quiet
if

even

attended with poverty,

you love me."
all

The

Princesse Charles was a prey to
;

kinds of anxiety

her imagination was con:

stantly inventing dangers

"

I

am

far

from

being reassured," she wrote to the Count
"

on the contrary,

it

seems

to

me

that each

218

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
increases

xi

moment
I

my
to

anxiety

and worry.

was

told that

on

his return

from Vienna the
If

Krajczy had gone

Dubus.
will

you meet

him

I

fear that

he
;

encourage you to
will at

separate from

me
de

he

certainly

have
their

known

MM.

Ligne

Vienna

;

cause will have interested him, and he will
try to oblige

them by urging you

to

abandon

me.

This idea tortures me.
on
this subject.

Answer me
I

directly

Since Thursday
to

have been
tenure of

abandoned

the

melancholy

my

thoughts, and that without any
;

hope of consolation
lest

I

am
up

in

great dread

your absence should be taken advantage

of to get

you

to give

all

idea of our
this.
I

union

;

do not ever expect
it

my

consent to

Should

be necessary for your happiness,

am
I

ready to release you from your vows, but

nothing will induce

me to break those by which
to love

have bound myself

you always."

The

Princess had received a very short
letter

answer to the
Prince-Bishop.

she had sent to the
himself,

He

had not written

xi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

219

but had replied through his steward that he

would
refused
his

reflect

on the subject,
the

and

that he

for

time being to

treat
to

with
the

niece's delegate.
:

Helene wrote

Count, and added

"If

my

uncle will not abide by the settleit,

ment, he has only to cancel

and give

me
is

back

my

lands.

But

to take possession of

my

estates,

and give

me
I

nothing in return,

really too unjust,

and

cannot believe
It

my
pos-

uncle will

let
if,

me

die of hunger.

would be
I

infamous
sess,
I

with the immense fortune
to poverty

were reduced

by so

cruel

an

injustice,

notwithstanding every law to the
grant that
1

contrary.

God

I

may

escape the
inis

clutches of Silvestrowicz

with a sufficient
!

come

to

be a burden to no one
?

But where

my
to

uncle

Can

I

despatch any one to him,

explain

my
?

position
I

and the

ill-will

of

Silvestrowicz
sol,
2

shall find

myself without a
?

and then what
1

shall

I

do

tell

me.

But

The Bishop
-

of Wilna's steward.

A

halfpenny.

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

how

could

it

be possible for

me

so completely, without
?

my uncle to rob my obtaining any
I

redress

It is

only in this country that such

a thing could take place.

am

indeed very

unhappy, but
that
it

I

am

so affected by your absence

prevents

my

dwelling upon

my

other

griefs,

which, at this moment, are but a minor

part

of

my

sorrows.

Good-bye, Vincent
is all
I

love me, for your love

have

left."

The Count had

just arrived

in

Poland,

but seemed in no hurry to return to Ukrania.

He wrote

to

Helene that

his

own

business

kept him away from her, but that she had

nothing to fear from the influences she had

mentioned

in

a former

letter.

"

I

am
that

greatly

relieved," she answers, " to hear at last that

you are

in

Poland, and to

know

I

have

nothing to fear from the Krajczy ; his wife, his
daughter, and his sons are
of
all

intimate friends
lest

MM. de

Ligne, and

I

dreaded

he might
I

meddle with our
consider
to

affairs.

As

for myself,

the

engagement which bound us
a
fatal

have

been

error,

seeing

we

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
were so young, and that our only
sisted in a
fitness con-

mere

similarity of birth
I

and

fortune.

To you
ties.

alone

have given

my

pledge,

my
all

real love, the

most chaste and sacred of

A

short

time

after "

Helene

had

fresh

cause for anxiety.

Fancy," she writes to the
in the

Count, "

I

have read

Gazette de

Ham-

bourg that Prince Charles
to the

is

about to return
;

Russian army by Leopol

he must

therefore pass

by Niemirow, or

at least quite

near

it.

I

assure you that your Cossacks are

barely a sufficient protection to reassure a

coward

like myself."

x

But the Prince passed

through without troubling himself about her.

At
1

last

the Count announced his arrival.
inhabited the plains of Ukrania, and the borders

The Cossacks

of the Borysthenes (Dniester).

These savage hordes, who

lived

by

plunder and pillage, were sometimes called Zaporogues (inhabitants
of the cataracts).

Most of the Polish noblemen

in this part of the

country had in their pay some hundreds of these brigands,

who

caused the greatest terror.
best,

They belonged

to those

who

paid them

and the

cruelties

committed by the Cossacks

in Catherine's

pay during the massacres in Ukrania exceeded the greatest horrors
that can be imagined.
(See, for

more ample

details,

Comte de

la

Garde's Voyage in Ukrania,')

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
"

How my
I

heart

beats,"

writes
is

Helene,

"when

think that the

moment

drawing
I

near which will bring you back to me.

am

so taken up by your return that whether you

have

successfully

or

unsuccessfully

settled

my

business

is
it

a question which does not

interest

me

as

would

at

any other time.

I

count the minutes, and can only speculate on
the hour at which you started, and the hour
at

which you may

arrive,

and

it

seems

to

me

as

though
"
I

I

had centuries
will

to wait.

hope you
I

receive this letter on

your way.
uncle
;

have just received one from
is

my
by

it

appears that he

not angry with

me, and, with the exception of helping
his influence or his money,,
to me.
is

me

entirely devoted
I

What
family
is

irony

!

But what can
I

do

?

If

my

indifferent to me,
;

am

quite

the

same towards them
I

provided that you
left in

always love me,
the

shall

have no wish
neither

world
I

;

I

have

vanity

nor

ambition,

have only love."
arrived at

The Count

Niemirow very much

xi

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
with
his

223

dissatisfied

journey,

and anxious
thought,

about the future.

He
said,

had

from

what Helene had

that he

would meet

with no opposition to a divorce on the part
of the

Lignes, and instead of the consent

he expected, he had only received a very
decided
criticism
refusal,

accompanied by a severe

of

his

own

conduct,

and of the

interested motives which, rightly or wrongly,

were attributed

to him.

He

had

also

fancied

he

would

easily

obtain his wife's consent by leaving her his

two sons
baffled

;

instead of
all

this, his

schemes were
difficulties.

on

sides

by very serious

On

the other hand, the position of the

Princess,

who was
it

living

an isolated

life,

almost hidden,

may be

said, in

one of the

Count's residences, in the neighbourhood of

Niemirow, could no longer be endured without
serious inconvenience.

The Comtesse Anna
in the country,

was very much beloved

her

two children inhabited Niemirow, and every-

body

was

beginning

to

wonder

at

her

224

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
;

xi

prolonged absence
ordinary would
it

how much more

extra-

appear when her husband

should return
the

!

All these reflections threw

Count

into

a gloomy
at

state

of mind

;

he made a short stay

Kowalowska, but
his

Helene was pained by the coldness of

manner, and the embarrassment he showed
during
narrated
their
first

interview

;

he

briefly

the

unsatisfactory

results

of

his

journey, intimating that he could not remain'
at

Niemirow, and advising her

to

go

to her

uncle's

and wait there

for a solution

which

was probably very remote.
Although the Count made these announcements with a certain precaution, they produced a
terrible impression

on the Princess.
faith,

She had behaved with the utmost good
persuaded
directly
that, to obtain

a divorce and marry
easiest

after,

was the

thing in the

Her marriage would cover the imprudence of her flight, and make every one
world.
forget the conclusions they
it.

had drawn from

Suddenly she saw her dearest hopes

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
vanish,

her honour compromised, and the

man

for

whom

she had sacrificed everything

calmly suggest that she should leave him,

perhaps for ever.

The

strain

on her overfainted.

wrought mind was too

great,

and she

When

she came to herself her
for

women
to

only

were around her bed,
returned to Niemirow.

the

Count had

She wrote

him
in

at

once

:

"

When

you

left

me
I

I

was

the

greatest despair, yet

you never showed the
can only say that
if

slightest feeling of pity.
I

shall find

my

life

odious

you

persist in
I

your intention of abandoning me.
to

appeal

you

for

an account of

my
Is
it

destiny thus
possible

committed to your charge.
could dispose of
it

you

with so

little
all

reflection ?"
for a reply
;

Helene

in vain

waited

day

the Count did not answer.

The
saying

next day
that

she received a

few

lines,

he

was
of

ill.

The

Princess was not in the habit

leaving

Kowalowska,

and

had

never

entered the residence where the children of
the Countess
vol.
ii

Anna were

living.

But

in

her

33

226

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE
all

xi

anxiety she forgot
follows
ill
; :

prudence, and wrote as

"I am

in

despair at hearing you are

if

you had sent

me word
to

sooner

I

should

have perhaps found means of coming to see
you.
If

you are unable

assist

me

other-

wise, send

me
it is

the key of the small garden
I

gate

;

Saint Charles will follow me, and impossible for
;

will

come, for

pass without seeing you
besides
I

I

me to let to-day am in agony, and

have

letters

I

must show you."

The Count's illness was only too genuine. The worry he had gone through during his
journey,
the

awkwardness of

his

position,
its

added
cause.

to

bodily fatigue, were probably

At

the end of three days a putrid
itself,

fever of an alarming character declared

and

for

three months he was in danger of

death.

The unhappy Helene
her place at his
secretly to his

did not dare to take
;

bedside
in

she only went

room

order to be certain

that every care

was bestowed on him.

The

Bishop of Wilna, on hearing what was taking

xi

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE
decided at
last

227

place,

to write to his niece.
settle

He
at

urged her to come and

near him

Werky, and promised
if

to forget her past

impfudences

she would renounce her

mad

infatuation for the Count.

The
"

Princess answered

:

My

dear Uncle

— You
tell
is

must certainly
illness
;

have heard of the Lord Chamberlain's
but what no one can

you, and what

I

myself can hardly express,
of despair
I

the fearful state

was

in

on seeing the only happiin this

ness possible for

me

world on the very

brink of destruction.
"

Now

at last, after

all

my

anxiety, he

is

out of danger, and although he was on the
point of losing his
life,
I

can truly assure you

that he does not recover from a worse state

than
"

I

do myself.
letter arrived at the

Your

very
take

moment
courage,
still

that

we were beginning
to

to

and

fancy that
;

our union was

a

possibility

you

will

imagine

my

despair

228

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
seeing
that

xi

on
"

you

only

speak

of

a

separation.
I

know your kindness
and

of heart,

my

dear

uncle,

am

persuaded that you have never
it

formed a plan without intending
about

to bring
;

my

happiness and tranquillity

I

there-

fore implore you,

my

dear uncle, not to con-

sider any plan feasible that should

remove
I

me
me,

or oblige

me

to forsake the choice

have

made.
I

Whatever reproach may be

cast at
to

am
for

certain

I

do not deserve

be

blamed
I

want of firmness or constancy.

am

quite decided not to change anything

in

my way

of acting, even should the present
last as

impediments
fore

long as

my life.

I

there-

beg you,

my

dear uncle, to vouchsafe
Tell

me

a few words of comfort.
to see us happy, but

me that you wish
us that

do not

tell

we must

seek our happiness apart from each other.
"

Good-bye,

my
I

dear uncle

;

accept the

tribute of
affection

my

deepest respect, and the tender
shall bear
"

which

you through

life.

H£lene

Ligne."

xi

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
After
a

229

convalescence which
illness,

lasted

as
for

long as his
Galicia.

the

Count started

He

had been touched by Helene's
to him.

despair,

and by her devotion

On

leaving her he promised that he would again

make every
in

effort to obtain the

divorce so
not easy

ardently desired, and he

left her, if

her mind, at least somewhat reassured.

XII
Return of the Princes to Mons
sentation of

— Emigration
represents

in

Belgium

Richard Cceur de Lion
service

the Austrian

— He

— Prince
the

—A

repre-

Charles re-enters

Emperor on
with

his

inauguration

as
in

Count of Hainault

Dumouriez

Champagne

— The

— War

France

fight at

Croix -aux-Bois

— —

Death of Prince Charles

—Despair of

the Prince de Ligne.

The

pacification of Flanders
fact,

was an accom-

plished

and

in

1791 the Prince de Ligne,
Charles,
officially

accompanied
entered

by Prince
as

Mons

Grand

Bailiff of Hainault.

A

magnificent banquet, followed by a concert
ball,

and a

was given

in their

honour by the
Hall.
1

States of Hainault, in the

Town

Several
Prince

poems were presented
Houdain and
say that

to

the

de

Ligne by the students of the
others.
It
is

college of

unthe

necessary to
1

the

virtues

of

The expenses

of this banquet amounted to nine thousand
livres.

eight

hundred and ninety-five

{Archives of Mons.)

xii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

231

Prince and the glory of his son were the

chosen theme.

However,
praise,

in the

midst of this concert of

one discordant note was heard.

A

certain lawyer from Nivelle, called

Masson,

published a

libel

on the occasion.
I

"

Amongst
entry
as

several other things

have forgotten," writes
at

the Prince,

"

he said that
I

my
to

governor of Hainault
Sultan, surrounded

looked like an old

by women,

whom

I

devoted the whole of
I

my
'

attention,

and that

had been stupid enough
acclamations of

to accept in
live the
is

good

faith

Long
was
I

Patriot
It

Prince.'

This

last

statement
I

true.

was

in a church,

where

either taking or

administering the oath.
with
the
rest,

accepted this cry
its

without suspecting that
intention.

utterer

had any malicious

As

for

the Sultan, he does
it

me

too

much honour

is

true that, during

my

tedious progress,

some very

pretty girls threw bouquets into

my

carriage,

and the crowd obliging them
I

to

stop near the door,

thanked them very much,

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
and
told

them they were charming.

The

only reproach which might be considered not
quite
entry.

unfounded was

that

concerning

my
of

The war had
in

just ended, as well as

the

rebellion

the Netherlands,

both

which had cost
I

me

a great deal of money.

might have made debts and covered
;

my

followers with gold lace

but

I

thought, on

the contrary, the people would be grateful to

me
I

for not

making too great a
Turks,
four

display.

As

had two

Hussars,

several

bearded Russians, a Tartar with two dromedaries,

and a Turkish band, he might very
to

well

compare me

Tamerlane or the EmI

peror of China, though

do not remember
I

exactly which of the two
to resemble."

was supposed

The

Princes were very heartily received

by the inhabitants of the good town of Mons,

where they were much beloved

;

on the follow-

ing day they started with their family for Bel
GEil.

As soon

as he

was

settled the first thing

xii

PRTNCESSE DE LIGNE

233

the Prince did was to erect a

monument in hon-

our of his beloved son Charles, to perpetuate
the

memory
site,

of his brilliant conduct at Sabacz

and
the

at Ismail.

He designed
it

it

himself, chose

and

laid

out so as to imitate a spot
at Czarskoe-Celo.
river,"

in the
"

Empress's gardens
left

By

following the

bank of the

he

says, "

you come upon an obelisk dedicated by
It is
it
;

Friendship to Valour.
Charles
is

not

the hero of

it is

my fault not my fault
;

if
if
it

Charles distinguished himself in the war
is

not

my

fault if

perfect being.

am the father of such a The father disappears, the
I

man

remains, and the hero

is

celebrated

;

I

must not be accused of
be accused of pride."

partiality,

but

I

may

This obelisk,
high.
letters,

in

marble,
is

is

forty-five feet
in

On

one

side
:

inscribed,

gold

the following

"

To my
;

dear Charles,
the
second,

for

Sabacz and
te

Ismail

"

on

"Nee
ship

juvenis memoranda silebo /" and on

the third,

"His

glory

is

my

pride, his friend-

my

happiness."

234

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

xn

The de Lignes
CEil,

spent the

summer

at

Bel

happy

to

be quiet and united once more
;

in the

country they loved so well
observer the
in
;

but to an

attentive

tranquillity

which

reigned
duration

Flanders was not to be of long
threatening

symptoms might be

discerned on every side.
gress of
the

The

frightful pro-

French

revolution,

and the

presence of the dmigrds in the Netherlands,

caused anxiety in

many

minds.
the

Savoy,

Switzerland,

Black

Forest,

Liege, Treves, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands were the
it

first

asylums of the persecuted

;

was only

later on,

when they had

lost all

hope of a speedy

return, that they

went

to

Vienna, London, Poland, and Russia.

The
in the

Archduchess Marie Christine, regent
Netherlands, was the sister of the

Queen of

France

;

it

was natural she should protect the

dmigrds ;

but Leopold was not favourably

disposed towards them, and in the very be-

ginning of his reign he requested the Arch-

duchess

Christine

and

the

Electors

of

xii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
to

235

Mayence, Cologne, and Treves
their

do

all

in

power

to prevent the refugees

and the
"

Princes from doing anything rash.

Do

not

allow yourselves to be led into anything,"

he wrote;
Princes
civilities

"do nothing
do
;

the French or the

ask you to

meet

them with

and dinners, but give them neither
money, nor help of any
separated
the
sort."

troops,

He
King

entirely

cause of the

from that of the dmigris.

The

Prince de Ligne was extremely

ill-

disposed towards the

Emperor Leopold

;

he

reproached him with having sucked the milk
of Italian dissimulation, and he would not

have anything

to

do with

his

pretended

political calculations.

He

adored the Queen,

and

his heart leaped with indignation at the

thought of the dangers which daily threat-

ened her more and more.

He

had vainly
army.

solicited

a

command

in

the Austrian

Leopold had carefully

avoided granting his request, for he feared
the

imprudences

his

vivacity, his opinions,

236

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
his chivalrous devotion

xn

and

might lead him

to commit.

We
very

must admit that the Prince de Ligne
liberty
;

was no passionate admirer of
soon
foresaw the

he

tendencies

of the

revolution,

and

in

1

790 wrote to the Comte
:

de Segur concerning the National Assembly
"

Greece had her philosophers, but they were
;

only seven

you have twelve hundred of them
having no mission
to

at eighteen francs a day,

but what they arrogate

themselves, no

knowledge of foreign

countries,

no general

plan of operations, and not even the sea, which
is

a sort of protection to the makers of

empty
it

phrases, and to the laws of the country

surrounds."

The
of
family.

Prince never missed an opportunity
his

showing

sympathy

for

the

royal

One day he was
of

present at a reat

presentation

Richard Cceur de Lion

the small theatre at Tournai.

The

public

was

chiefly

composed of French
full

Emigre's,

who were

of

hope

and

illusion,

im-

xii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

237

patiently awaiting the time

when they should

return to their country.

The

Prince could
air

not

hear

without

emotion the

of:

O

RicJiard !

O mon

roi ! Punivers fabandonne}
his eyes,

Tears came into

and the audience,

perceiving his emotion, frantically applauded.

"At
king,

that part," says the Prince,
is

"where the

promise
I

made

to

avenge the poor captive
I

advanced, applauding as though

too
in

wished to contribute

my
it

efforts.

I

was

earnest at the time, and

seemed

likely that

my

services

would be accepted.

Suddenly

the French ladies, both young and old, in the

excitement rushed out of their boxes, and the

whole of the

pit,

mostly consisting of young
stage, crying
live the

French
out
' :

officers,

jumped on the

Long

live the
;
'

King

!

Long

Prince de Ligne

and they only stopped

clapping their hands to wipe their eyes overflowing with tears."

Among
1

the young

refugee officers

who

Oh

Richard

!

oh

my King

!

the whole world forsakes thee.

238

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
at

xii

were the most cordially received

Bel CEil
writes

was M. de Villeneuve Laroche.
in his
this

He

Memoirs

l
:

"The

Prince de Ligne at
all

time was residing with

his family at

Bel CEil, a fine estate distant one league from
the town of

Ath

;

he took pleasure

in con-

versing with us about the principles of honour
that

were the basis of our conduct, and he
us with enthusiasm.
to invite

commended

"He was good enough
may even go
Charles,

me
I

several
;

times to dine at his magnificent residence
so far as to say that

I

formed

quite an intimacy with his eldest son, Prince

an
;

officer

of

the

very

greatest
in

promise
artillery,

he was

a colonel major

the

and had

lately distinguished himself
. . .

in the

war against the Turks.

"The son sympathised
much
that
as his father.

with our feelings as
told

He

me one day
Emperor

he had just written to the

asking to be employed

in the coalition war,

1

Villeneuve Laroche, Memoirs on Quiberon.

xii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
if

239

and added that

his request

was rejected he

would serve as a mere volunteer with the

French

nobility."

Prince Charles had in fact

urgently re-

quested to be allowed to return to the Austrian army, with the

rank of colonel

in

the

engineers.

After the death of the Emperor

Leopold,

which

took

place

on

the

27th

of February 1792, the Prince was given

an

appointment

in

General Clairfayt's army corps.

The

Austrian general-in-chief was the
-

Duke

Albert of Saxe

Teschen,

husband of the

Archduchess Christine.

The campaign was opened
armies of the French republic
;

against

the

and already,

on the 27th of May,

Prince Charles had
valour

distinguished himself by his daring
in

a

fight

that

took

place

near

Conde

;

but no great battle was yet imminent.

The
;

enemy

confined himself to skirmishes

the

Duke

Albert's headquarters were at Mons,

and the inauguration of the new Emperor,
Francois
II.,

as

Count of Hainault, was

to

240

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

xn

take place in that town.

Prince Charles de

Ligne was chosen

to represent the sovereign

on

this occasion.

1

We

read in the Journal du Palais et
the
councillor
:

historique of

Paridaens the

following paragraph

jth

June 1792.

"This day being a

feast

of the

Holy

Sacrament, his Royal Highness the
Albert of Saxe-Teschen,

Duke
in the

who

is

Governor-

General of the Netherlands, followed
procession.

Several

generals

accompanied
de Lambesc,
trans-

him

—among
House

others, the Prince

of the

of Lorraine,

who had been

ferred from the

French

to the Austrian service,

and also the son of the Prince de Ligne."
1

On

the
II.

nth June 1792

the inauguration of the

Francois

took place at Mons.

Vienna on the 19th March, the
the

Emperor By letters patent granted at new Emperor had authorised

Due

Albert de Saxe-Teschen to represent him in this ceremony,

and

to take the

customary oaths in his name.

The Duke Albert
Bailiff of

having in his turn appointed the Prince de Ligne, Grand

Hainault, to perform these duties, the latter conferred the honour

on Prince Charles,

his eldest son.

(Note communicated by M.

Deviller, keeper of the records at Mons.)

xii

PRINCE SSE BE LIGNE
9//* Jiuic.

241

"

On

this

day,

Saturday, the Prince de

Ligne's

son,

although quartered for some

time at Mons,
the
at

made

his

official

entry into

town

as

Commissary

to

his

Majesty
is

the ceremony of

Inauguration which
after

to take place

on the day
although

to-morrow.

Guns were
the

fired,

we

are at the very

seat of war.

He
gate,

entered on horseback by
crossed
the
to

Havre
1

square,

and

went up the Rue Neuve
Ligne,

the hotel de
ringing.
officers

while the bells were

He
of

was
the

followed

by the

dragoon

Coburg regiment, and by
"

his

liveried

retainers.

However,
at

as

the

French,

who were

camped
and had
wards

Maubeuge, showed a disposition
ceremony of Inauguration,
few days drawn nearer
to-

to interfere in the

in the last

Petit,

Quevy, and even Bougnies, on the

evening of the 10th of June an attack was pre1 The hotel de Ligne was on now a hospital for incurables.

the

Rue de

la

Grosse

Pomme,

it

is

VOL.

II

34

242

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
in the

xn

pared and carried out at two o'clock
ing.

morn-

There was a

violent onset
till

and sharp can-

nonading, which lasted
Prince
Charles,

five."

who would
anything

not

have

missed

this fight for

in the world,

started off in

the

middle of the night at

the head of his regiment, despite the Arch-

duke Albert's opposition.
his

He

fought with

usual

bravery,

was very nearly taken

prisoner,
far

having imprudently ventured too
;

amidst the enemy

and

at

seven

in

the

morning, black with powder and heated with
the
fight,

he

arrived

on

horseback,

post

haste, barely in time to put

on

his full dress

uniform and get into his coach.

The ceremony

of

the

Emperor's
is

In-

auguration as Count of Hainault

as old

as the days of Charlemagne, but this
last

was the

time that the traditional custom was to

be celebrated.
attached to
it

We have

seen the importance
at

by the States of Hainault

the time of the Flemish insurrection.

xii

PRINCESSE BE LIGNE

243

At

half-past eight

all

the clergy of Mons,

the ladies of the Chapter of Sainte
following the
shrine of the saint,
all

Waudru,

who was

the patroness of Mons,

the magistrates,

the deputies of the town council, the chief
councillor of the Provinces in his State robes,

and the twenty-six deputies of the chief towns
in Hainault,

preceded by magnificent banners

from

all

the parishes, embroidered in gold

and

silk,

took their places
o'clock
his

in

the theatre.

At nine
drawn by

Highness the Prince
hotel
in

Charles de Ligne
six

left his

a coach

horses

and preceded by a

detachment of dragoons, by the members of
the order of the nobility, each one in a coach

drawn by two

horses,

and by a herald-at-arms

on horseback, named O' Kelly, bearing his
coat-of-arms,
his office.

and

the

cap

and

wand

of

The guards and
his

officers

of his

house closed the procession.
the
theatre

On
seated

reaching
himself

Highness

on an arm-chair under a canopy, above which

was placed a

portrait of his Majesty.

244

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

xn

When

all

the

different

orders

were

placed and seated,

the

trumpets

sounded,
musketry,

Murray's regiment

fired a volley of

the artillery on the ramparts answered by a
salute,

and the herald-at-arms, advancing to
of the
theatre,

the
three

front

called

Silence

times.

Then

the Prince

rose,
first

and,

laying his hand on the Gospels,

took

the oath to the Chapter of Sainte Waudru,
of

which

he

was

named
first

Abbot.

The

Princesse de Croy,

lady of the Chapter,

presented to him the crozier, and a salute
of artillery and music and trumpets,
etc.,

an-

nounced

to the people that the first act of the
place.

ceremony had taken

The

Prince afterin

wards took the oath to the States,

the

same manner

;

and

finally,

a third time to the

town of Mons,

after

which

he

solemnly

received the oaths of allegiance from the said

Chapter, States, and Town.
"

During the ceremony," says the counParidaens,

cillor

"some

national guards, taken

prisoners in that night's encounter, had been

xii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

245

brought to the square, and just as the procession

was threading

its

way

to Sainte
it

Waudru,

at the entrance of the road,

was met by the

generals

who were

returning from fighting
of these generals
his

the French.

At the head
1

was the Due Albert de Saxe, with
the
fire

nephew

Archduke Charles, who had been under
for the first time in

his

life.

At

that

very

moment

the

news arrived

that

M. de

Gouvion, Commander-in-Chief of the French
army, had been
that
killed.
It

was vaguely known
after

the

French had been repulsed,

having made, however, a good stand for the
first

time.

Indeed the cannon had been

heard without interruption from two o'clock
till

six in the morning.

On

the 12th of June

H.R.H. Madame
in the

arrived about ten o'clock

morning.

"On

entering the rooms of
heartily

the

Government House she

and

re-

1

brother of the

The Archduke Charles-Louis, born in 1771, and youngest Emperor Francois, was one of the best Austrian
;

generals during Napoleon's wars
outset of his military career.

it is

rather curious to study the

246

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

xn

peatedly embraced her nephew, the Archduke
Charles,
as one
first

might a friend

whom
from

one

sees for the

time after he has encountI

ered a great danger.

saw

this

my

dining-room windows."

The

Prince gave a banquet that evening to
;

the principal town authorities

the Archdukes,

the Prince de Lambesc, and other generals

were present.

On

the following day he re-

turned to the camp, only too glad to have

done with a part so
natural

little

in

keeping with his
by,

modesty.

Two

months went

events were succeeding each other in France
with the most startling rapidity, the position
of the royal family was becoming daily
critical,
till

more

the terrible ioth of August induced of Brunswick, commander-in-chief

the

Duke

of the allied forces, to alter his plan of campaign.

He

decided to

move on

the

army

in

the direction of the gorge of Argonne, so as
to

enter

Champagne by

Sainte Menehould,

and march on Paris by Chalons.

He

gave

orders to General Clairfayt to join him with

xii

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
thousand

247

twenty-five

men,
his

who were
army.

to

form the

right

wing of

This

change of position on the part of Count
Clairfayt

decided

Dumouriez,

then at the

camp
of

of Maulde, to proceed to the plains the greater part of his

Champagne with

army.

During the three months
since the inauguration at
battle

that

had elapsed
important

Mons no

had afforded Prince Charles an opporbut, gifted

tunity of distinguishing himself;

with a sound judgment

and an observant
in

mind, he had employed the interval
ing a just
tained

formenter-

estimate of the
dmigrds,

illusions

by the

and

of

the

very
of

imperfect
the state

description

they

had

given

of France.

He

wrote from the
fell

camp

at

Boux

a letter, which

into the
at a

hands of the republicans, and was read
public sitting of the Convention.
1

"We
1

are

beginning

to

get

tired

of

Moniteur,

" Sitting of the Convention," Thursday evening,

27th September 1792.

248

PRINCESSE BE EIGNE
which

xn

this war, in respect of

MM.

les

imigrds

had promised us more butter than bread.

We

have

to fight against troops of the line

who never
are armed,

desert,

and national troops who

remain at their posts.
fire

The

peasants,
if

who

on our men, and
in

one of

them
is

is

found alone or asleep

a house he

murdered.
France,

The
has

weather, since our entry

into

been

horrible

;

it

rains

in torrents

every day, and the roads are so

bad that

at the present
;

moment we cannot

move

our cannon

moreover,

we

are almost

in a state of famine.
difficulty in

We

have the greatest

obtaining bread for the soldiers,
is

and meat
officers

often

wanting

;

many

of the

remain for
food.

five or six

days without
cloaks
to

warm
rotten,
ill
;

Our shoes

and

are
fall

and our men are beginning

the villages are deserted, and provide
vegetables, nor

neither
I

brandy,
shall do,

nor flour nor what

do not know what we

will

become of
letter

us."

This

expresses

a

discouragement

xii

PRINCE SSE DE LIGNE

249

that

must have been general, and circum-

stances

were

favourable
;

to

Dumouriez
it

in

preparing for the attack

but

was indispen-

sable that he should at any cost prevent the
allied

army from occupying the Argonne
forest

pass.
five

The

was impenetrable except by
it

passages, which

was necessary

to

guard

and hold against the enemy.

These passes

were the Chene-Populeux, the Croix-au-Bois,
the Grand-Pre, the Chalade and the Islettes.

A

camp placed
roads

at the Islettes

and a position

taken up at the Chalade would close the two
principal
to

Clermont

and

to

Var-

ennes, and General
for the purpose.
self

Dillon was despatched

Dumouriez established himto

at

Grand-Pre,

close

the

roads

to

Rheims and
Sambre,

to the Croix-au-Bois.

He

sent

orders to General Duval, then at Pont-surto

break up his camp at once and

advance by forced marches to the pass of the
Chene-Populeux.

Dumouriez
act of

felt

certain of success, but an
his hopes.

imprudence frustrated

250

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE

The

pass of the Croix-au-Bois had been

considered less important than the others,

and was only defended by a couple of battalions

of

infantry

and
in

two squadrons of
the
stress

cavalry.

Dumouriez,

of the

moment, had not had the time

to see

and
this

judge personally of the importance of
pass,

but the

German

spies,

employed

to

inspect the different

French

posts,

informed

the
this

Duke

of Brunswick of the advantages of
Clairfayt confided

badly-guarded pass.

the attack to Prince Charles de Ligne,
started

who

on the 13th of September
to

at early

dawn

seize

it.

The

abatis

intended

to bar the

road had been carelessly made,

the half- buried
resistance
to

branches not offering any

the

enemy

;

the

imperialists

easily forced a passage,

and the roads had

been so slightly damaged that they made
their

way

at

once.

They met with
hastily

hardly

any

resistance,

and

easily carried the position.
it

The men who

held
;

fell

back on

Dumouriez's camp

the latter, anxious at the

xii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
things

251

turn

were

taking,

immediately de-

spatched two brigades of infantry, and six

squadrons of cavalry, to General Chazot, with
orders to recapture
the

pass

at

any

cost.

Chazot spent the day without attacking,

but,

on receiving fresh and urgent orders
an attack, he opened
the 14th.
fire

to risk

on the morning of

The
six

attack

and the defence were vigorous
post

;

times

the
as

was

carried

by the by the

French,

and

often

recaptured

Austrians.
to

Prince Charles sees that in order
it is

keep the position

necessary to capture
is

a French battery, which, cleverly placed,
inflicting

heavy losses on the Austrians.
charge
is

A
;

vigorous
in

necessary

;

the

Prince

person leads the attack on the battery

eight

men

in

the front rank are shot dead.

He

dashes

forward

himself,

the

ninth,

but, shot

through the head by a

bullet,

he

reels for a

moment

in

the saddle, and

falls

back dead.

The French

regained possession of the

252

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

xn

pass,

and raised the body of the unfortunate

Prince.

They found two
letter.

gold chains with a

locket round his neck, and in his pocket an

unfinished

Clairfayt, in despair at the cruel loss the

army had

sustained, hastened to

avenge

it,

and took possession of the Croix-au-Bois.

He
Prince,

immediately claimed the body of the

and

it

was

at

once given up. Mass was
the following morning,

celebrated in the

camp

and the

coffin

started for

Mons.

At

that

moment M. de
at

Villeneuve Laroche, a guest

Bel CEil, and a friend of Prince Charles,

arrived on the scene.

"On
met a
foreign

the

battlefield,"

he says,

"where
I

yesterday the republicans were defeated,
funeral procession, escorted
troops,
It

by a few
of

going

in

the

direction

Hainault.

was that of the young Prince
killed in the fight,

de Ligne, who was

and the
father

body was being taken
at

to his

unhappy

Bel CEil." Prince Charles's death was universally de-

xii

PRINCESS E DE EIGNE
;

253

plored

his brilliant military qualities caused

him

to

be regretted by the whole army

;

the

Baron de Breteuil wrote from Verdun

to the

Comte de Fersen
army came
posts,
in

:

"Yesterday

Clairfayt's

in for a

sharp fight at the outit

which, however,

was

victorious.

Clairfayt's

army

lost in the attack five or six

hundred men, but what deeply
that Prince Charles de Ligne

affects

me

is
I

was

killed.

loved him from a child

;

he was the most

dis-

tinguished amongst the Austrians of the same
age.

His father

will feel the loss terribly."

Prince Charles's body was conveyed

to
at
;

Bel CEil, after passing through
night,

Mons

1

but his father was no longer there

he

had

been

recalled,

with

Marshal

de

Lascy, to Vienna.

When the terrible news arrived no one dared
to tell

him of it, and the Marshal alone had the

courage to undertake the delicate mission.

He sent the
1

Prince word that he had received
at

Forty years ago,

Mons, there were old men who remembered
city.

Prince Charles's death as an event which afflicted the whole

254

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
Clairfayt's army,

xn

bad news from

adding that
it.

he would himself come and inform him of

"My
silent.

son

is

wounded!"

said the Prince as
latter

the Marshal entered.

The
good
I

remained
."
.

"But
I

speak,

God!

.

"Alas!

would

not, or

could not, undersaid that dread-

stand," he writes,
ful

"when he
. . .

word

:

Dead /
I

I

feel

crushed by the

news, and he had almost to carry
in

me away
I

his arms.

see

it still,

the spot where

was when the Marshal
Charles was killed
himself, as
;

told

me

that

my

poor

he

my poor Charles welcomed me every day with
I

see

the sunshine of his happy and good face.

I

had dreamt a few days before that he had
received a mortal
fallen

wound

in the head,

and had

dead from
I

his horse.

For

five or six

days

was anxious, but as one always
is

treats

as a weakness that which

often a warning,

or perhaps a feeling of nature
ties

when

there are

of blood,

I

cast

from

my

thoughts the

fatal

foreboding which was only too soon to
!"

be realised

xii

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

255

The
life.

Prince

never

got

over
all

his

son's
in

death, and he entirely lost

enjoyment

This sad recollection had made

in his "

heart a deep and incurable wound.

That

so light-hearted a man," says Count Ouvaroff,
"

who had

lived through so

much and was

so

careless of misfortune, should ten years after
this calamity

break down at the bare mention

of the beloved
it

name
;

!

No

one dared utter

in his

presence

if

he happened to speak

of

his

son
of

his his

voice
grief,
is

would

betray
eyes

the
fill

intensity

and

his

with tears."

There
this

something strangely
of the
old

touching
formerly

in

picture

man,

so

worldly and

sceptical,

as

we
be

should

say

nowadays,

who would
still

not

comforted because he
child

thought of the
longer.

of

his
is,"

heart

who was no
after

"There

said the

Prince with admirable

philosophy,
his fortune,
rising
at

when

shortly
is

he

lost

all

" there

a terrible
It

method of
is

above circumstances.
of a

bought
soul

the cost

great grief.

If the

256

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
all

xn

has been wounded by the loss of
is

that
to

dearest,
it
;

I

defy
of

minor
wealth,

misfortunes
total
ruin,

touch

loss

perinto

secutions,

injustice,

everything

sinks

insignificance."

XIII
Prince Charles's will

death

—Departure

— Helene
Werky

receives the

news of her husband's

for

— Helene marries Count Potocki.
de

The unhappy

Prince
Bel

Ligne
the

had

im-

mediately sent to

CEil

necessary

instructions for his son's last wishes to be
fulfilled,

but the victory of Jemappes, which

ceded the whole of Belgium to the French,
prevented the de Ligne family from returning to Bel CEil,

now

in the

hands of the

enemy.

Prince Charles's wishes were conhis

tained in a will written shortly before
death.
felt

We
war.

shall
fall

see that
a
victim

he instinctively
in

he would
this

the

course

of
life,

Perhaps,

indeed,
for

weary of

he sought death,
it
;

he seemed to
the the

brave

at

all

events

deepest
following

melancholy

overshadows

pages
vol.

:

ii

35

258

PRINCE SSE DE EIGNE

xm

Prince Charles de Ligne's Will.

"As
wish

I

shall

most probably be

killed, if

not in this war at least in

some

other,

I

my body

to

be

recovered
all

and

my
mili-

funeral to be conducted with

the honours

of war, and with the greatest
tary, of course.
"
I

pomp

wish
after

my body

to be

carried to

Bel

CEil,

having been

embalmed, so as
I

not to incommode any one, for

desire to

be

laid

with

my good
have
all

ancestors,

who from

father to son
"
I

been honest men.
heart be wrapped up

desire that
in

my
I

separately

a

handkerchief
love,

which
I

shall

have belonged

to her

and which

beg
has

her to give for that purpose.

As she

always possessed
I

wish

it,

after

my heart during my lifetime, my death, to be as happy as a
company with something
I

heart can be in the absence of the beloved one,
that
is

to say, in

that

has been

her's.

beg her

to

embroider

on the

first

corner of the handkerchief Alona ;

xiii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
delicieuse ;

259

on the second Tendresse
third Indissoluble ;

on the

and on the fourth the 21st

September 1787, and the date of
"
I.

my

death.

—The
my

whole of

my

collection

of en-

gravings,

collection of original drawings,
all

and

in

general

the contents of

my

port-

folios,

are to be sold to the best purchaser.

One

will

have to see

in

what country the
in

sale will

be most advantageous, whether

Paris, Vienna,
"

London, or Amsterdam.

Nota

bene.

— Should

any of

my

family

wish to have these, he can take them at the
estimated value, which, however, cannot be
less

than a hundred thousand

German
and

florins

;

for

the drawings are really priceless, as

I

have

none of

inferior

value,

all

are

recognised

originals.

This

will,

therefore,

bring in a clear
florins,

sum

of a hundred thousand

which

will

be completely

my

own,

and quite independent of the succession due
to

my

natural heirs, which

I

leave to

them

according to law.

This sum of a hundred
be divided into two

thousand

florins is to

260

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
:

xm

parts

eighty thousand
for

are to of

be sunk in

an annuity
daughter

the

benefit

my

natural

Christine,

so

that

there will

be

eight thousand florins a year for her keep

and education, which, up

to the

age of

fifteen,

may be
florins

five

hundred

florins,

and a thousand
at

up

to the
will

age of twenty,

which

time she

probably be married, and can

then spend her

money

as she chooses

:

In

such a manner, however, that she shall not

spend more than eight thousand
that
all

florins

;

and

the

money saved on

this

sum, up to
if

the age of twenty or five-and-twenty,

she

does not marry before, shall be placed out
at four or five per cent

interest

;

this will

become her
taken
capital.

children's property, care being
to

always

add the

interest

to

the

"II.

— Should
is

she die without children,
heir.

Norokos

to

be her

As

I

am

the

adopted father of Norokos, the Turkish child
I

found abandoned during the war, the
florins

re-

maining sum of twenty thousand

out

xiii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
the

261

of

hundred

thousand realised
in

by the
his

sale shall

be sunk

the

same way on
as to
its

account.

The
as for

directions
little

use are

the

same

Christine.
is

Should he
to

die without children, Christine
heir.
I

be his
if
;

recommend
wish,

their marrying,

they
it

have any inclination one

for the other
I

is

my

greatest

and

beg
I

my my

sister

Christine to encourage
their guardian,

this.

appoint her
sister

and

in

default of
la

Christine,

I

appoint

Madame
I

Comtesse
to

Therese Dietrichstein, formerly married

Comte de Kinsky.
by Le
Clerc,

bequeath also to

little

Christine the portrait of her mother, painted

and the chain

I

wear round

my

neck, with the following words on the
' :

clasps

Ces

liens

me

sont
I

chers

'

(these

ties are

precious to me).
it,

beg her never
it

to part with

but always to wear

as a

remembrance of myself and of the person

who gave
" III. "
I

it

to me.
for the servants.

— My dispositions

bequeath to Norokos

my damaskeened

262

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

xm

Turkish gun with gold mountings, and
sabre with the steel guard

my
may
his

— the one
that

I

carried

during

this

war,
it

in
is

order
to

he

remember
condition
;

that

war he owes

that he

must look upon a
;

military

career as his fortune, his element the

and upon

army
" IV.

as his country.
I

bequeath to

my

father the small

painting by
ing,
I

Le

Clerc and

M. Duvivier's draw-

both representing the fight at Posig, and
that

beg

my
I

crosses of the orders of Merit

and that of Saint George be suspended from
them, since

ample

;

won them by my father's exand as also I owe the happiness of
in

having acquired some friends
through listening to
to
it

the

army

all

Lieutenant Wolff said

my father when all my life.
"

dying, and remembering

V.

I

bequeath to

my

sister Christine

all

my

framed drawings, with the miniatures,

cameos, and small frames.

"VI.

I

bequeath to

my daughter Sidonie
may
re-

her mother's portrait, so that she

xni

PR1NCESSE DE LIGNE

263

member

not to follow her example, and the

Turkish sabre given

me by

Prince Potemkin,
in

which she

is

always to keep

her room,

so that her children
intend them to

may understand that I become soldiers when her
;

son fights his

first

battle,

in

which,
will

I

trust,

he

will distinguish himself,

she

give him

this sabre

from me.
I

"VII.

bequeath to

Madame de
I

Kinsky,
all

who was Countess
ment
round
at Bel CEil,

Dietrichstein by birth,

the framed engravings

have

in

my

apartI

and also the chain

wear
her

my

neck which was given
;

me by
her
life,

dearest friend

I

venture, on this account, to

beg that she

will

wear

it

all

in

remembrance of one whose happiness was

bound up with
this
I

that of

Madame
to

de Kinsky

;

positively affirm.

"VIII.

I

bequeath

Madame
at

la

Princesse de
birth,

Lichtenstein, a

Mandesch by
Brussels,

several
will

things

I

have

which
these

be described

later on,

and besides

my

watch, as a token that the happiest

264

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE
it

xm

hours

has told are those
to the

I

spent with her,

and that

very

last

I

thought of her as
heart was next to

a friend whose place in
the one
" IX.
I

my

have always adored.
I

bequeath to the Princess Jablon-

owska,
things
I

Countess Czaski

by

birth,

several

have

at Brussels,

which
I

will hereafter

be named, and also the ring
with the motto
folio
'

always wear

Indissoluble,' the small port-

with the chain, and the other portfolios

or caskets containing letters and manuscripts

written by myself.

I

give

this

last

proof

of

my

confidence

to

her

who

has

most

claims

on

my

gratitude for past

kindness,

who has
friend,

best understood the nature of

my

thoughts, of

my troubles, — in short, to a true whom am sure not to forget even in
I I

the other world.

"X.

bequeath
birth,

to the Princess
fine

Linowska,

Thun by

my

edition of Shakein

speare's works,

and the best English horse
it

my

stable,

on condition that

will

be kept

exclusively for her use.

xin

PRINCESSE DE EIGNE

265

"XI.
line

I

bequeath to Mademoiselle Caroeight

de

Thun my
and
this

handsome

silver

candlesticks,

my handsome
may

coffee-pot,

and besides
in

an annuity of twenty ducats,
procure for herself
in the

order that she

wherever she goes, and even

house

which she most frequents, the best arm-chair
or couch that can possibly be made.
"

XII.

I

bequeath to

Madame
had
in

de Woina 1

a table and a tea-service, in order that she

may

remember the pleasure
tea with her
children,
;

I

going to take
for her

also

two Turkish sabres

Maurice and Felix.

"XIII.

I

bequeath to

my good
with

friend

Poniatowski,

my

sabre

set

Marshal
belt,

Laudon's stone, and also the shoulder
requesting him to wear
it

should he meet the
to save his life

enemy,

in

honour of one who
have

would
Also

willingly
fine
all

sacrificed

his

own.

my

horse Winer, so that he
his
life.

may be

cared for

1

These three ladies were

sisters.

266

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

xiii

"XIV.
the
pistols.


I

I

bequeath to

my

brother Louis

King of Poland's sabre and Marlborough's
"

XV.

bequeath to

my

friend Francois,

Comte de

Dietrichstein, the
killed, or that

arms found with

me
I

if I

am

belong to

me should
to collect

die a natural death, excepting those disposed
;

of by special legacies

I

beg him

and distribute the above-named
I

legacies,

and

am

certain that he will not leave

my body

to the

enemy.

Should, however, an accident

intervene, such as his being
self,

wounded himin

he must neglect nothing

having

it

reclaimed, with the chains
I

and other things

wear on

my

person.
portraits of

"XVI.
ska,

— The

Mesdames de

Kinsky, Lichtenstein, Jablonowska, Linow-

and Caroline, as well as Poniatowski's and

that of

Madame

de Woina, which

I

request

may be
ment
in

obtained, shall be placed in

my apartI

the tower at Bel CEil, where

have

already placed the coloured prints belonging
to

Madame de

Kinsky.

My

wife's portrait

xin

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
be previously removed and placed
in

267

is

to

the

lumber-room.

This chamber

is

to

become a
shall

Temple

to Friendship,

and over the door
:

be inscribed the words
able.

Abode of the

insepar-

"

I

request that

my bust shall

be placed on

a pedestal in the centre of the tower, and

turned

in the direction of

Madame de
to

Kinsky's

portrait,

and

I

beg

my father
I

compose and

have engraved on

this pedestal

some verses
in

describing the happiness
society
;

have enjoyed

her

but they must not contain any praise
;

of myself

under each portrait he

will write in

verse a description of the person represented.
"

XVII.

— Arrangements

I

for

my household
Madame
de

(not copied).

"XVIII.
Kinsky

bequeath

to

my good dog
;

Tristan, that he

may

be taken good care of

he has been treated

by me as
faithful

I

was by

her, like a

good and ever-

dog."

Note added by the Countess Dietrichstein.
"

The body was embalmed,

and, considering

268

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

xm

the circumstances, sent to Bel CEil by mail
coach.
at

A

Mass was

said at the headquarters
all

Boux,

in the

presence of

the officers
last

;

and orders were given that the
should be rendered to his

honours
the

memory on

passage of the coffin through Mons, where

he was well known and beloved.
" In order to carry out his wishes as

much

as possible, the handkerchief will be placed
in his coffin
;

the date he asks for

is

unfortunto the

ately from the 21st of

September 1787

14th of September 1792."

Notwithstanding the mysterious reserve
with which the Prince expresses himself,
is
it

difficult

not to believe that

Madame

de

Kinsky was the
attachment.

secret object of his

deep
so

On

reading his

last wishes,

imbued with nobleness, tenderness, and generosity,

we wonder how Helene
to

could have so
it

misunderstood him, and obliged him as

were

transfer

his

affection

to

another.

Perhaps

she was
;

not

entirely

responsible

for their disunion

a mother or a friend like

xin

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
de
at

269

Madame
imprudent

Rochechouart
the
It

might

have

guarded her

outset

from many an
to expect
fifteen.

step.

was impossible
in

experience and wisdom

a child of

During the
feel

last

two years she had begun

to

how

dearly they are purchased.

All this time
at

Helene had remained alone
Notwithstanding the im-

Kowalowska.

prudences her passion for the Count had
led

her to commit, she had never for one
entertained any other idea than that

moment

of marriage, though she

knew

in

what

light

her conduct was judged by the world.
Mortified

and discouraged, Helene was

giving herself up to the gloomiest ideas,

when
from

she suddenly received the news of her husband's death.

The sudden

transition
first
;

despair to joy stunned her at

but soon

only one feeling possessed her soul, that of

her freedom, and she hurriedly wrote these

few

lines to the

Count

:

"A
Charles.

cannon-ball
I

has
;

carried
is

off
will

Prince
:

am

free

it

God's

This

27

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
1

xm

cannon was loaded from all eternity Z"

And
com-

absorbed

in the selfishness of

her passion, she
first

did not for one instant regret the

panion of her
of her child.

life,

or shed a tear for the father

His glorious and touching end

did not inspire her with an atom of pity.

And then, as indeed, death had received from God the mission of removing all possible
if,

obstacles to Helene's happiness, a few days
later the

second son of the Countess

Anna
and

died of a gangrenous sore throat, before his

unhappy mother was able
that nothing

to reach to

him

;

might be wanting

complete

the romance, the Princess heard almost at the

same moment of the death of her brother
hundred thousand
livres. 2

Xavier, leaving her heiress to an income of
six

The Count had
to see his son, of

reached Niemirow

in

time

whom,

it

must be added,
care.

Helene had taken the utmost

He

wrote

1

These were the words Madame de Sevigne used when
Twenty-four thousand pounds.

writing

to

Bussy Rabutin on the death of Turenne.
2

xin

PRINCES SE DE LIGNE
Countess

271

in all haste to the

Anna

to tell her

the fatal news, and then in another letter he

announced

to her Prince Charles's death,

and

offered to give her back at once her eldest
son, Francois, in
their divorce.

exchange

for

her consent to

The

unfortunate

woman

re-

sisted

no longer, she only begged that the
be carefully observed
in

legal forms should

obtaining the consent of the Court of

Rome,

hoping that

in the interval

her husband might

return to her before the last step was taken.

Directly after his mother's answer the

little

Count Francois, accompanied by

his gover-

ness and servants, started to meet her.

Without
uncle,

loss of time

Helene wrote

to her
;

whose character she well understood

she told him of her husband's death, and

implored his aid for the settlement of her
brother's affairs
to see
;

she ended by asking him
to to

Count Vincent, who would be able

explain

many

important details

difficult

negotiate in writing.

She sent
by Major

this letter to

the

Prince- Bishop

Hoffman, a

272

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

xm

Polish gentleman attached to the service of

the Lord Chamberlain.

The embassy was a complete success. The prelate, calculating that Count Vincent
Potocki living would be infinitely more useful
to

him than the Prince de Ligne dead, wrote
and begged him to come and
to

to the Count,

see

him when he should next go
in the

Warsaw,

and

meanwhile offered

to receive his

niece at reply
:

Werky.

Helene sent the following

December 1792.

"

My

very dear and very honoured
It is

Uncle
I

with the deepest gratitude that

received through Major

Hoffman the

as-

surance of your paternal disposition towards

me.

It

has awakened in

me

the warmest and

strongest feelings.
uncle,

Pray receive,

my

dear

my

compliments

Many
to see

things at present

my thanks. prevent my going
and
as,
I

you as

I

should wish, but as soon
I

by the grace of God,
shall

am

able to do so,

have the honour of presenting myself

xin

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

273

in person,

and reiterating to you the deep
I

respect with which

have the honour

to

subscribe myself,
uncle,

my
"

very dear and revered

your very humble and obedient servant

H£l£ne Massalska,

"

Dowager-Princesse de Ligne."

Then
"
I

she wrote to the Count Vincent
to await the arrival of

do not advise you

the Prince -Bishop before writing to him, for

he

is

one of those persons who never know
will start

when they

or

when they

will arrive.

You

could send a messenger to Werky,
for

who

would wait

an answer, which might per;

haps hurry on matters

but

if

the Prince-

Bishop could see you, he would do every
thing you wish, and

The Count
to

did

we should be happy." not make up his mind
went
to

go,

and

Helene, fearing his capricious

and
self.

irresolute character,

Werky

herto

She entreated her uncle
Pope,
so
as
to

to apply

the

hasten the formalities
for

necessary for the divorce,
VOL.
11

she was
16

in

274

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
which she had

daily fear that the project on
set her heart should
fall

through.
in

Everything took place

accordance with

the Princess's wishes, and tJwee months after

the death of Prince Charles de

Lig-ne the o

marriage of Helene and Count Potocki was
celebrated at midnight in the Chapel of the

Convent of the

Bernadines

near Werky.

The apparent motive
Princess's

of this secrecy
as yet
;

was the
to

mourning,
official

too

recent
it

allow of an

wedding

but

must be

added that the permission
not yet arrived from
three months later.

for a divorce

had

Rome, and only came
It

required

all

the in-

fluence of the Prince-Bishop to obtain a priest

that should celebrate the marriage under such
conditions.

On
sired,
tion,

entering the Chapel, and at the

moment

of realising the happiness she so ardently de-

Helene experienced the deepest emo-

mingled with a vague sense of terror. She

knelt beside the Count, and remained motionless,

her eyes fixed on the ground, and ab-

xiii

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE
in

275

sorbed

her thoughts.
his

When

the Count

gave her

hand

to lead her to the altar

she rose to her

feet,

but suddenly stopped
terrified gaze, a

short, with a fixed

and

prey
the

to the

most

terrible

hallucination.

By

flickering light of the

wax

tapers she fancied

she saw three coffins laid across her path,

which she would have

to step

over on her

way

to the altar.

The

Count, appalled at
in

Helene's terrified look, inquired
voice the cause of her alarm
;

a

low

the sound of

his voice recalled her to herself, and, chasing

away the
will,

horrible vision

by a strong

effort of

she resolutely ascended the three steps

of black marble, which a

moment

before had

presented such a sinister appearance.
bridal
terrible

The

pair

returned

to

Werky, and the
forgotten.

moment was soon

After a prolonged stay in Lithuania, during

which the Lord Chamberlain visited
extensive

his wife's

domains,

they

both

returned

to

Ukrania, and Helene triumphantly entered
the Count's abode, whither she had gone in

276

PRINCESSE DE LIGNE

xin

such fear and trembling at the time of his
ness.

ill-

The

past and

all its

sorrows were

for-

gotten, and, radiant with happiness, she wrote
to her husband,
"

who was

absent for a few days

:

To-morrow
still

I

shall see
I

you again, and see

you
to

the same, for
in

do not want you ever
:

change

the smallest degree
faults,
;

virtues,
all

attractions,

wit,

caprices,

are

precious to

me

if

you were more

perfect,

you would no longer be the Vincent
sake
I

for

whose

should have been guilty of the greatest

folly, if
all

kind heaven had not permitted that
in

should be for the best

the end."

THE END

Printed by R.

&

R. Clark, Edinburgh.

TOTVERSITY

of

CALIFORNIA

AT

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY
Los Angeles

This book

is

DUE on the last date stamped below.

* H70

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APR

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