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Copyright, 1899 
By Hardy, Pratt & Company 

All Rights Reserved 

Printed in the 
United States of America 




Translator's Kote 35 

Prei'ace to Edition of 1S09, by IIauame de Stael-IIolstein 45 


CHAPTER I. — 1735-1757. 

Birth and Lineage. — His Tutors. — The Principles of Educa- 
tion. — Passion for Heroism. — Life at Court. — Marriage. 51 

CHAPTER II. — 1757-1758. 

First Military Service. — Tlie Seven Years' War. — Capitula- 
tion of Breslau. — Second Campaign. — Defeat of the 
Prussians at Hochkirch. — Attack on Dresden ... 68 

CHAPTER III. — 1758-1762. 

The Seven Years' War (Continued). — Tliird Campaign. — 
First Visit to Paris. — Interviews with Louis XV. and 
Madame de Pompadour. — Entry into Berlin. — Tlie Peace 
of Ilubertsburg 93 

CHAPTER IV. — 1703-1767. 

Life in Vienna. — Getting in Debt. — Qualities of a Perfect 

Man. — 'Francis I. — Life in Paris Ill 

CHAPTER v. — 1707-1769. 

Life in Paris (Continued). — Anecdotes of Famous People. — 
Jean Jacques Rousseau. — Chevalier de Bouflaers. — Char- 
acterization of the English 132 

Mem. Ver. 6— A 


CHAPTER VI. — 1769-1770. 

Life in Paris (Continued). — Enthusiasm for Voltaire. — Com- 
ments on Voltaire. — Portrait of the Comte de Segur . 151 

CHAPTER VII. — 1770-1773. 

Intercourse with Frederick the Grejit. — Tlie King's Love of 
Literature. — Death of Charles of Lorraine. — Character 
of Frederick 169 

CHAPTER VIII. — 1774-1778. 

Life in Paris. — Death of Louis XV. — Daily Life of Marie 
Antoinette. — The Comte d'Artois. — Cagliostro. — Mes- 
mer. — The Due d'Orleans 106 

CHAPTER IX. — 1778-1780. 

The Bavarian War. — Enthusiasm of his Wallons Regiment. — 

His Wallons Song. — Bravery of his Son Charles . . . 217 

CHAPTER X. — 1780-1786. 

Life at Reloeil. — Discussion of Authors and Literature. — 

Tlie Reign of the Great Selrahcengil. — Portrait of Heloise 233 

CHAPTER XL — 1767-1704. 

Reheil. — Love of Gardens. — Gardens of Italy, England and 

Russia. — Moral of Gardens 256 

CHAPTER XII. — 1780-1780. 

Friendship of Marie Antoinette. — A Prophecy of the French 
Revolution. — Men of Letters. — ISIen of Talent. — French 
Art 282 

CHAPTER XIII. — 1780-1786. 

First Visit to Russia. — Appreciation of Catherine the Great. 
— The Cliarms of Poland. — Correspondence with the Em- 
press Catherine 301 

Appendix. — Works of the Prince de Ligne 321 

Index 325 


Field-Marshal the Prince de Ligne Frontispiece 

By C. Leclercq; in possession of tlie family. This portrait, to- 
gether with the four pictures of Belooil, liave been most kindly given 
to the translator by Mgr. the present Prince de Ligne, for this edi- 
tion of his ancestor's works. The portrait is thought by the family 

to be the best they have ol him. 


Belceil, the Chateau of 13 

From a photograph given by the Prince de Ligne. 


I. Francis L, Emperor of Germany 63 

In the Imperial gallery, Vienna. 

II. The Prince de Ligne 90 

By An. La Berge; from the edition of the Prince's works pub- 
lished in 18G0. 

IV. Maria Theresa, Empress OP Austria 112 

In the Royal gallery, Munich. 

IV. Mme. Geoffrin 128 

By Chardin (Jean-Baptiste-Sim(f-on); in the Trocad^ro. 

V. Jean-Jacques Rousseau 139 

B^'Latour; in the Palais-Bourbon. 

VI. Voltaire, Francois-Marie Arouet, called 152 

By Tournieres (Robert Le Vrac); in the Museum of Rouen. 

VII. Frederick the Great, Kino, of Prussia , 172 

By Camphausen ; in the Berlin gallery. 


Chapter Paob 

VIII. Marie-Antoinette, Queen op Feance 196 

By Mine. Vigi'^e-Lebrun (Elisabeth-Louise); at Versailles. 

VIIL Philippe " i^GALiTE," Due d'Orleans 214 

By Regnault (Je;iii-Baptiste, Baron); in Ihe Trccadero. 

X. La Fontaine 242 

By Rigaud (Hyacinthe); in possession of M. le Vicomte HMcart 
de Tliury, Chateau de Thury. 

XL Belceil, the Gardens 268 

From a photograph given by the Prince de Ligne. 

XIL Louis XVL, King of France 286 

By Duplessis (Joseph Silfrede); in the Trocadero. 



More than once writers have drawn upon the Prince de 
Ligne's collection of his Works in thirty-four volumes, rather 
fantastically entitled by him " Melanges militaires, littdraires, 
et sentimentaires " (1795-1808) in order to make extracts, 
either in two volumes or in five, under the title of " Selected 
Works " or " Memoirs and Miscellanies." Mme. de Staid, 
in the lifetime of the prince, made a volume of his " Let- 
ters and Thoughts." After reading one or other of these 
abridged collections we have in our minds a very vivid and 
lifelike Prince de Ligne. The more he is allowed to speak 
for himself the better that likeness is defined ; moreover, it 
seems as if, in relation to him, all forms of brilliant eulogy 
have been exhausted. If his " Memoirs " should some day 
appear in full the whole will be said, or rather, said over 
again, for we shall then have a full-length portrait of him 
in all its freshness. Time can only add to the value of 
certain details which belong to the manners and morals of 
a vanished society. " I should not write thus if I were to 
be read at once," says the Prince de Ligne at the end of 
one of his narratives ; " but a hundred years hence these 
little things, which now seem nothings, will give pleasure. 
I judge so by that which I derive from the ' Souvenirs of 
Mme. de Caylus,' the ' ]\Iemoirs ' of the mother of the 
Regent, those of Saint-Simon [at the time when this was 

1 From the " Causeries du Lundi," June, 1853. 


written the latter were known only by fragments], and 
fifty other writers of anecdotes of the Court of France of 
those times." 

Without pretending to forestall the final idea of him which 
he will leave after his Memoirs have been wholly published, 
I wish to say a few words here of the Prince de Ligne as 
of one who has written much, and, without precisely treat- 
ing him as an author, to make use of what he has himself 
put in print, in order to offer a few remarks on the man and 
on his period. 

Born in Belgium, May 12, 1735, of the illustrious family 
whom we all know, he does not like to tell his exact age ; 
he says that his baptismal record has been lost. He would 
fain be, as he was in fact, the man " who is never more than 
twenty." He diverts us with an account of his tutors, who 
are more or less incapable or vicious, and he speaks in a 
singular tone of his father. " My father never liked me ; 
I do not know why, for we never knew each other. But 
it was not the fashion at that time to be a good father, or 
a good husband. My mother was very much afraid of him ; 
she was brought to bed of me attired in a great farthingale." 
In the days of this haughty and stern parent it was cus- 
tomary for fathers to be feared. But if manners had then 
an antiquated stiffness, by the time the prince wrote these 
flippant lines fashions had changed, the old manners had 
suddenly relaxed ; from respect they had dropped to imper- 
tinence ; all things were treated with a jest. Still, one 
could wish that the amiable prince were less ready to trifle 
with those sentiments of nature and family which he was 
so well fitted to feel. He gayly quotes a correspondence 
that he had with his father on the day he was appointed 
colonel of the regiment that bore tlie family name and of 
which his father was proprietary colonel: " Monseigneur, I 


have the honour to inform your Highness that I have just 
been appointed colonel of your regiment. I am, with pro- 
found respect, etc." The answer was not long in coming : 
" IMonsieur, after the misfortune of having you for a son, 
nothing could more keenly affect me than the misfortune of 
having you for colonel. Receive, etc." 

But the lively scoffer who does the honours of his father 
thus, tells us elsewhere, in doing justice to his high quali- 
ties : " He had great elevation of soul ; he was as proud 
within as he was without." On the last occasion when he 
saw his father, the latter, who was then ill, said, when 
charging him with certain matters : " After all, they con- 
cern you more than they do me, because — " That " be- 
cause," he confesses, which expressed the certainty of an 
approaching end, made him burst into tears. 

The Prince de Ligne had a son whom he loved tenderly, 
whose comrade and friend he was, leading him under fire 
the moment the occasion offered ; the death of this son, in 
the first war of the Eevolution, broke his heart. He had 
more natural feeling than he likes to admit. If, in the 
feudal and seigniorial rigidity of the preceding generation 
there still remained an excess of the ancient customs, it will 
be seen, by the way the prince speaks of them, that in 
him there was an opposite excess, an airy tone of the world 
and an affectation of unrestraint, which presupposes a cer- 
tain manner and style. 

This was, in fact, the defect of his early years. It was 
the first bend that he thought proper to give himself in 
order to please. As a young man he had no other religion 
than that of pleasing, and that (which ruled him above all) 
of glory and military honour. When he was only fifteen he 
wrote a little "Treatise on tlie Profession of Arms." This 
liking for arms was something more in the young Prince de 


Ligue tlian the shining instinct of valour. Subsequently 
he wrote much on war, he studied and meditated all parts 
of the subject, he analyzed the actions and the merits of the 
great captains of former wars and the generals of his own 
time. I do not know what the men of his profession think 
of him, but the Duke of Wellington is said to have esteemed 
his military works. Independently of the special knowl- 
edge of which he gives proof, and of the actual ameliora- 
tions which he proposed in his day, I see in what he writes 
that which makes the soul of the noble profession of a 
soldier, — the alliance of abnegation with a glorious emula- 
tion. " We perform services," he said, " we endure hardships, 
we receive praise." He makes an apostrophe to " Beginners 
in war " which breathes the sacred fire. But while he 
gives those electrifying counsels, he speaks in a tone that 
is not less generous or less comforting to men who have 
failed to make their way although they deserved to do so ; 
to those who are dissatisfied, who complain of tlie service 
and whom a slight affront might drive into renouncing it. 
It is the reverse of the medal, but on that side also he 
points to Honour. 

"A wrong, an injustice, or too little justice and favour," 
he says, "may sometimes make you regret that you have 
sacrificed your days to your country. Ah ! never blame 
yourself for that. The respect of the Army consoles and 
avenges us for the foolish distribution of favours. Remem- 
ber the caressing, yet respectful air of those you have led 
to victory ; remind yourself of what you have heard them 
say of you in their tents, or in their bivouacs on the battle- 
field. In what other profession, despite its drawbacks and 
the caprices of fortune, can a man be more respected ? An 
old sub-lieutenant commands more respect than a minister 
of State ; his company trembles when he appears. No one 


stands aside for a great lord, but the soldier who meets an 
officer in the street stops and salutes. Never, never quit 
the noblest of careers." 

We have seen in Vauvenargues a most distinguished 
soldier and philosopher, who felt the glory of arms and 
renounced them with regret. The Prince de Ligne said of 
him : " Vauvenargues is too sad for a man of war ; he sees 
things too gloomily." In this he supposes wilfulness on the 
part of Vauvenargues, whereas it was really melancholy, 
acting on a serious nature and constant ill-health. The 
prince himself carried to war a jaunty, animated air, that 
heightened his valour and gave it a species of grace. 

We have his " Journal of the Seven Years' War," of which 
he made all the campaigns in the service of Austria ; a journal, 
he says, " that was written more on horseback than other- 
wise." In this war he was, successively, captain, lieutenant- 
colonel, and then colonel in the Wallon regiment which 
bore his name and belonged to his father.^ On the 17th of 
May, 1757, he saw an advanced post for the first time and 
heard the first balls whistle. " I was happy as a king," he 
writes. His impatience cannot away at any time with the 
methodical slowness of Mar^chal Daun. After each suc- 
cess they chant Te Deums, which lose much time. They 
let the enemy retire in good order after gaining advantages. 
" It might have been difficult to damage them," he remarks, 
" but the truth is we were not damaging." In a first affair, 
where the object was to occupy the crest of a height, he 
arrives with his company at the same time as the enemy. 
" We had a moment of flux and reflux, like the pit at the 
opera." This image comes naturally to him, as though war 

^ Wallons (in Enjjlisli, Walloons) : Belgians of Gallic origin, speaking 
French, and occupying the provinces of Ilainault, Namur, Liege, Luxem- 
bourg, and southern Brabant. — Tk. 


were a fete. He makes his first prisoners, a captain and 
fifteen or sixteen men, who, finding their retreat cut off, 
surrender. "I sent them to the rear with boyish delight." 
The affair over, he has lost half his battalion, and the victori- 
ous fragments remain exposed to the fire of a battery. " It 
came into no one's head to order us under shelter, though 
all was over, and our artillery was scarcely answering that of 
the Prussians. But one does not like to give advice in 
such matters," — meaning thereby that he preferred to re- 
main exposed to danger, even uselessly. I only cite these 
passages to give an idea of the tone of the Prince de Ligne 
in speaking of thmgs of war with rapidity and zest. 

If we go deeper, without, however, pretending to techni- 
cal knowledge, we find the characters of the various generals 
vividly sketched by means of their own actions: Mar^chal 
Daun, prudent, circumspect, methodical, who on one occa- 
sion was seen to gallop for the first and only time in his 
life, and after the victory of Hochkirch began on the field 
to write to Maria Theresa, — that she might receive his 
account of it on Saint-Theresa's day, — instead of giving the 
proper orders for pursuit. He rested his sheet of paper on 
a stone. "It was our stone of stumbhng," remarks the 
prince, who liked such play on words, especially if there 
was any imagination in it. In his opinion, the victory 
should have been completed before it was reported. Of 
Lacy and Loudon, who are the generals of his choice and his 
admiration, he is proud and self-glorifying to call himself 
from afar the pujiil. As for the great Frederick, the 
Prince de Ligne makes us fully feel the spirit of his tactics 
during this weary war, in which he was satisfied, as a general 
thing, not to be crushed, — to be "neither victor nor van- 
quished, content with that state of uncertainty." Apropos 
of a situation advantageous to the Prussians, "the kmg," 


observes the l*rince de Ligne, " occupied it perfectly ; he 
enjoyed his usual pleasure, that of keeping us in suspense." 

At the close of the campaign of 1759, the Prince de 
Ligne, being then twenty-four years old, was chosen to 
carry to the King of France at Versailles the news of the 
affair at Maxen [where the Prussian general Finck surren- 
dered to the Austrians]. He relates his first appearance in 
that Athens, to which liy nature he belonged, with piquancy 
and some little flourish. His fine Parisian moment, his 
dashing French hour, hatl not yet come. 

Some years after peace was made he returned to Paris, 
and lived there for a time before he was sufficiently appre- 
ciated. Madame du Defland, a severe but also a most clear- 
sighted judge, speaks of having just made his acquaintance 
in the summer of 1767 ; he was then thirty-two years old. 
" The Prince de Ligne," she says in a letter to Horace Wal- 
pole (August 3d), "is not the stepson of the Princesse de 
Ligne-Luxembourg, but her nephew. He is an acquaintance 
of mine and I see him sometimes ; he is gentle, polished, 
a good fellow, and a trifle wild. He wishes, I fancy, to 
resemble the Chevalier de Boufflers, but he has not, by any 
means, so much wit; he is, in fact, his mimic." I am 
struck by the fact that Grimm about the same time says 
nearly the same thing in speaking of a letter addressed by 
the prince in 1770 to Jean-Jacques Eousseau, offering 
him an asylum against persecution at Beloeil [his country- 
seat in Belgium], like M. de Girardin, who made Jean- 
Jacques accept one later at Ermenonville. " This letter," 
Grimm adds, " has had no success in Paris, because it is 
not thought sufficiently genuine ; the pretension to intellect 
is a malady that people do not recover from in this coun- 
try." Two points may be remarked on here : in the first 
place, persons who are already in possession of reputation 


and credit, and who watch your start, make difficulties in 
admitting you ; they compare you with others who have 
won a rank abeady ; the places are all taken in theij mind. 
the heights are occupied. To gain them, you must dislodge 
your predecessors, which cannot be done in a day, nor 
without some effort. Secondly, it is to be inferred that the 
Prince de Ligne at starting forced his manner. Saint-Lam- 
bert said of the dawning Boufflers, "He is Voisenon the 
Great." The Prince de Ligne was aiming to be Boufflers 
the Great. This was pretension. He has written some- 
where : " I prefer a stanza of Anacreon to the Iliad, and 
the Chevalier de Boufflers to an Encyclopedia." 

I have noted already (for I like to grasp the lofty or the 
serious sides of agreeable people) his worship of the military 
religion, which enraptured him as a child with the glory of 
such heroes as Prince Eugene and Maurice de Saxe. Possibly 
all that he lacked to take high rank in this direction was a 
command-in-chief, bestowed in time ; for, without speaking 
of his intrepidity on the battle-field, he possessed the coup- 
d'ceil, the glance that sees, of a true soldier. But together 
with this noble and strengthening ideal he had another, of a 
totally different kind, which came of an imagination that 
was somewhat affected and spoiled by the air of the century. 
" Who cares," he said, " that Bussy fought at the head of the 
light-horse of France at the battle of the Dunes ? But they 
remember well enough the ' Amorous History of the Gauls ' 
and the Song of the Hallelujah. "VYlien a man paints him- 
self in his works, especially on the side of voluptuous pleas- 
ure, he interests every one, above all, young men ; they long 
to have lived with the agreeable rakes of Anet and the Tem- 
ple, and those gentlemen at I'oissy." All of which carries 
us back to the little suppers with roues, the Du Barrys and 
others, and to a certain early affectation of license and fash- 


ionable debauchery, of which the Prmce de Ligne may have 
had, perhaps insensibly, to correct himself. He did correct 
himself of it, as he did of the desire to display his wit, of 
which he had plenty without assuming it. " lUit even in 
their errors there are persons whom everything becomes, 
because they have grace and tact." He himself was one of 
those persons from his youth up ; and until his end he must 
always have had the desire to please. " None but boors are 
without it." But his great precept in such matters is, above 
all else, to imitate no one. " The method w^ould surely be 
detected and all would be spoiled. The greatest art in pleas- 
ing is to have no art." This he must have practised him- 
self, if not in his first period, certainly in his second. 

He whom Madame du Del!'and and Grimm found diffi- 
culty in admitting to be of the pure race of French wits, 
became one so naturally that, writing in 1807 from Toplitz 
to his compatriot Prince d'Aremberg, Mirabeau's former 
friend, and speaking to him of M. de Talleyrand, who had 
just arrived, he says : " Fancy his pleasure in being received 
by me ; for there are no Frenchmen left in the world but him 
and you and me — who are not Frenchmen." And in saying 
that he spoke the truth. 

He made his first essay in Paris under Louis XV., but he 
succeeded completely under Louis XVI., in that young and 
frolicsome Court, among his true contemporaries. He has 
painted in a few airy pages, with inimitable touch, those 
matutinal and familiar cavalcades, those promenades, where 
Queen Marie Antoinette enraptured and thrilled all hearts, 
yet never ceased to deserve respect. He has shown us that 
lovable and calumniated queen in her true colours ; as he 
does, later on, all the other illustrious sovereigns he has 
known, — the Empress Catherine, Frederick the Great, Joseph 
IL, CJustavus IIL On each of these historical personages 


the Prince de Ligne is at once an accurate and rapid witness 
and the most animated, easy, and natural of painters. His 
judgments are of great value, and the sound sense that un- 
derlies his amiability is readily discerned. 

In the interviews that he had with Frederick at the camp 
of Neustadt in 1770, the conversation having turned on 
religion, the king talked freely and with little decency, as he 
did with such men as La Mettrie and d'Argeus. " I thought," 
^ays the Prince de Ligne, " that he set rather too high a 
value on his damnation and boasted too much of it. . . . 
At any rate, it was bad taste to exhibit himself in that way. 
T made no reply when he spoke to me thus." With Voltaire, 
another sovereign, to whom he made a visit at Perney, and 
whose conversation, gestures, incongruities even, in all their 
dishabille and petulance, he gives us to the life, he had 
more than one serious discussion. " He was just then in 
love," he says, " with the English Constitution. I remember 
tliat I said to him : ' Monsieur de Voltaire, add to that its 
supporter, the ocean, without which it would not last a 
year.' " The man who seemed the more trivial of the two 
was not in this instance the least wise. 

This serious and sensible side of his nature, which he 
never had any opportunity of developing to results in public 
affairs, turned in the Prince de Ligne to the profit of his 
character as Vhomme aimahle. But even in being only that, 
to the exclusion of other things, there is progress to be made 
if such a man would continue to deserve his reputation. He 
must nourish that charm, as he advances, with all sorts of 
accurate and solid ideas, without appearing to do so ; the 
agreeable man of sixty, if only to seem always twenty, must 
not be agreeable as men are at twenty, when half their 
charm, in many cases, is a winning face and pretty manners. 
He must, though all the while preserving his desire to please, 


add to that charm qualities which he did not liave at twenty. 
While feeling himself ever in concert with youth, he must 
have experience that shall always accompany him, yet never 
be marked. But for that matter, the Prince de Ligne, who 
knows all about it far better than any one, shall develop the 
idea as it suits him, and recite to us the several degrees, or, 
(SO to speak, the successive seasons of the homme aimahlc. 

" I know men," he says, " who have only as much wit as 
they need to be fools. Listen to them, they talk well ; read 
them, they write finely ; at any rate it is said so. All men 
have intelhgence now-a-days ; but if there is not much in their 
ideas, distrust their phrases. Unless there is wit, novelty, 
piquancy, and originality, such men of intellect are in my opin- 
ion fools. Those who have this wit, novelty, and piquancy 
may still be only half agreeable ; but if to that half they 
add imagination, charming details, perhaps even happy in- 
congruities, things unexpected that flash like lightning, re- 
finement, elegance, precision, a pretty turn of instruction, 
of reasoning that does not weary and is never in the least 
commonplace, a simple or distinguished bearing, a happy 
choice of expressions, gayety, aptness, grace, carelessness, a 
manner of their own in speaking or writing, you may then 
say that such men have really and truly minds and are 

But now comes a second degree, the second season that 
makes a lasting maturity, without which the agreeable man, 
even though he be defined in the above manner, runs a 
risk of dying within himself, or of turning into fossilized 

" If," says the prince, " adding to all this, he has a knowl- 
edge of the literature and the language of other nations, if 
he has philosophy, if lie has seen much, compared well, 
judged soundly, met with adventures, played a part in the 


world, and if he has loved, or been loved, he is still more 

You think that this attains to the highest degree ; but the 
Prince de Ligne, who will not content himself at so small 
a cost, and who imports into this grace and social fehcity 
something of the fire and vivifying poesy which he puts 
into his actions of war, completes his model and gives us, in 
so doing, his own portrait. 

" If, adding still further to the above, he inspires the 
desire to meet him again, if he leads others to find in him 
a continual charm, if he is greatly concerned for others, and 
greatly detached from himself, with a strong desire to please, 
to obhge, to take part in the success of others, to make 
others shine, if he knows how to listen, if he possesses 
sensibihty, elevation of mind, sincerity, probity, and excel- 
lence of heart, oh, then he brings happiness to the society 
in which he hves, and he is certain of universal success." 

You will observe that in order to complete and crown 
his picture he thinks it essential to add to his idea of the 
charming man a sentiment of humanity, of affection, of 
sincere self-detachment in the midst of success. The reason 
is, he weU knows that the peril of what is commonly called 
amiabihty in social life and the use, exclusively, of mental 
gifts is hardness and selfishness; the remedy must there- 
fore be found in the quahties themselves, the contrary of 
their defects, in order that the full charm may be acquired, 
and that the charm may last 

Among the desultory writings which escaped the Prince 
de Ligne during the first half of his hfe and which best 
depict him at that date, I note particularly those that he 
has written about gardens in connection with his own at 
Beloiil. This was the period when the Abbd Delille pub- 
lished his poem entitled " Gardens," in which he said of 

Mem- Ver. 6 — A 


Beloeil, that beautiful place near Atli in Belgium, the prop- 
erty and partly the creation of the Prince de Ligne, " Beloeil, 
magnificent, yet rural ! " France was then in a vein of 
creation and remodelling of gardens ; the English style was 
being introduced and breaking in upon the harmonies of 
Le Notre. It was who should study to diversify Nature, 
and profit by the study to embellish her. M. de Girardin 
created Ermenonville ; M. de Laborde, M^r^ville ; M. Boutin 
had Tivoli ; M. Watelet, Moulin-Joli. Bela3il was, and I am 
glad to think still is, a combination charmingly composed 
of French and English gardens, — something natural, yet 
regular ; elegant, but majestic. AU that was grand, formal, 
and in the style of Le Notre came from the prince's father; 
he himself was ever seeking to add the varied, the unex- 
pected ; time alone was lacking to him to complete his work, 
his poem. He is not exclusive ; he would be very sorry to 
banish the straight line ; he does not wish to substitute 
English monotony for French monotony, which was happen- 
ing even then ; but in gardens, as in love, it is his opinion 
that we should not show too much at first, because, the first 
moments of pleasure over, we yawn and are bored. He 
treats of buildings in their relation to the surrounding coun- 
try. One building should be a palace, a royal residence, 
another a chateau, another a country-house, a hunting-box, 
a house in the fields or among the vineyards. But wher- 
ever it be, ■' I exclude," he says, " everything with a bour- 
geois facade, without movement in the roof and elevation, 
without centre, without projection on the wings ; also all 
that is plaster with its vulgar air; and I advise either the 
noble or the simple, the magnificent or the pretty, but always 
the appro2Jriate, the piquant, and the distinguished." 

Why do we say English gardens rather than Chinese 
gardens, or natural gardens ? According to the prince, 

ilem. Ver. 6—13 


Horace has pictured to us an English garden ; his Qua 
pinus ingens is the best, sweetest, and most smiling descrip- 
tion of them. " That little brook that is fretting to escape," 
said the prince, "gave me even more pleasure to arrange 
than I take in reading." 

In reading all that he has written about gardens we are 
repaid by charming passages, sketches of sites as if in 
water-colour, washed-in lightly but very vividly touched. 
Sometimes he exclaims against " templomania ; " though he 
himself admits too many altars, statues, and allegories, accord- 
ing to the taste of his day. Still, in the designs among 
which he dallies there are plans and suggestions wholly 
natural and suited to all fortunes. "If you are not rich," he 
says, " you can still have all you need with a house of one 
story, simple, neat, the roof hidden, a coating of colour, a 
few casts of bas-rehefs or some rustic lattice-work ; a broad 
and rapid brook escaping from real rocks, a trembling foot- 
bridge, like that of Aline, a few benches, perhaps a stone- 
table, a shepherd's hut, a movable salon rolling on four 
wheels ; a few pines, proud without arrogance ; a few Italian 
poplars, darting upward, not showy, but agile and friendly, 
one weeping willow, one Judas-tree, an acacia, a plane-tree ; 
three flower-beds, cast hap-hazard on the grass, daisies in a 
corner of your lawn and a little field of poppies and of bluets." 

I make no mention of the chapter on allegories, inscrip- 
tions, hieroglyphics, of which he desires that no abuse be 
made, though at the same time he grants their use as a trib- 
ute paid to the taste of the day. 

" With all this," he adds, " and a ha-ha, unseen and sunken, 
letting us enjoy the slopes, the vales, the woods, the fields, 
the village, the ancient castle of the neighbourhood, I could 
surpass both Kent and Le Notre ; and with twenty thousand 
francs for the whole work, and two hundred francs a year to 


keep it up, I could bring travellers fifty miles off their route 
to see it." 

It is thus tliat he constructs you a I'ibur, according to the 
dream of a moderate competency; but if you are rich, he will 
propose to you columns, marbles, galleries with burnished 
domes and tiers of terraces. " I mean that these shall be far 
distant from each other, in a great space," he says, " blending 
with water and turf and the finest oaks." 

By these quotations I am only trying to give the senti- 
ment that circulates through all that the Prince de Ligne 
has Nvritten about gardens. He writes in a style most con- 
trary to that of certain persons of our acquaintance, — in a 
joyous style, through which the sun-rays pass. He brings 
to his composition of gardens a strong recollection of society 
and a taste for attracting and bringing it thither. He thinks, 
with La Fontaine, that " gardens talk little." He loves 
Nature, but rarely to be alone with it. He takes the country 
on his return from camps, in the interval between two cam- 
paigns, as he himself says happily : " You whom the Court 
and Army reheve for a while of attendance, amuse yourselves 
in your gardens, uplift your souls in your forests." He is so 
sociable, even in his hours of retreat and solitude, that he 
would not be sorry if he could see a great capital from his 
rural home. " ' There,' I should say, sitting at the foot of an 
ancient oak, ' there is the great assemblage of absurdities 
and vices,' " and he enumerates tliem ; pushing to its con- 
clusion the pretty theme, which parodies tliat of the sage of 
Lucretilis enjoying the sight of a storm. But he wants all 
sorts of people about him, even animals, provided they are 
not stupid. This is truly that spirit of society which was 
mingled by the eighteenth century with its love for gar- 
dens. Since then we have made a stride in our worship 
of Nature ; T do not say that we like to be alone more 


than they did in former times, hut we are less afraid of 
being so ; and we have fewer garden amateurs who would 
say with the Prince de Ligne : " I have always so loved 
social life of every kind that I lately parted with a Salvator 
Eosa for almost nothing, because it was sheer desert, and 
deserted places have to me an air of annihilation ; a picture 
without figures is like the end of the world." 

In after years the Prince de Ligne, in his " Eefuge " on 
the Leopoldberg, near Vienna, seems to have been brought 
to admire Nature more truly for herself. He has left some 
papers as to this which breathe a soul at last initiated ; 
provmg that he was well rewarded for his assiduous sylvan 
labours. The habit of this kind of beauty renewed his en- 
joyment instead of lessening it, which is the great test of all 
the things we love. " I perceive every day," he says, " and 
more and more, that we never weary of the noble spectacle 
of nature." His practical moral in this line is that we should 
" seek out, not make ; " in other words, find and recognize 
the existing points of view, the natural lay of the land, and 
be content to give them all their value, not seeking to create 
nor to construct. 

How often during the last few days, while reading this 
series of the prince's thoughts and excursions among gardens, 
liave I wished that some man of taste and observation (not 
an indifferent and hasty editor) would make a diligent and 
discrimmating selection which should give their true value 
to so many choice passages. A number of rapid glimpses, 
full of freshness and invention, could be found. There is 
one, for instance, upon the choice of seeds for the environs 
of a park. The prince supposes that the park is not inchjsed 
by walls ; that the view extends beyond it through well- 
managed vistas. He therefore chooses seeds that will give 
diversity of tune to the plains ; he assorts " the tender green 


of the flax, the honey-grass, the mottled Inickwheat, the pale 
yellow of the wheat, the vivid green of the barley, and many 
otlicr species, which," he says, " I do not yet know ; " the 
whole together forming a distance to tlie picture and a 
pleasure to the eye. All this is said of a mere nothing, 
with careless, piquant lightness, mingled with an avowal of 
inexperience, as if by some Hamilton who had come to love 
sincerel}' rural scenes. 

In the history of the picturesque m our literature the 
sketches and landscapes of the Prince de Ligne may serve 
as a date and a landmark. Jean-Jacques Rousseau had 
already discovered and revealed solitude and the sweetnesses 
and sublimities it enshrines ; Bernardin de Saint-Pierre and 
Chateaubriand were about, in their turn, to discover and de- 
scribe the virgin forest, the savage and splendid beauties of 
another world ; Obermann was soon to cast himself into the 
sohtary contemplation and- inmost expression of far-off, 
desolate scenes ; but amateurs, who were men of the world, 
men of taste, and of noble taste, moved indeed by Nature, 
And yet not wishing to enjoy it apart from society, said 
(among other things) with the Prince de Ligne, and they 
could not say it better than he : — 

" I love the copses and vistas of a wood, the fine patha 
better kept than those of a garden, the pretty fences, and 
above all, those glades of birches that look like marble col- 
umns standing forth against the tall, dark greenery of the 
wood. I love the garden air of the forests, and the forest 
air of the gardens ; and it is tlius that I mean always to 

These sketches (with many others) of the Prince de Ligne 
seem to me to represent to us to-day the spirit of the actual 
transition which, profiting by the ideas and inspirations of 
the great writers and innovators of the picturesque, endeav- 


oured to conciliate the latter with the traditions of our taste 
and the inclmations of our nature. I speak of the Prince de 
Ligne as being altogether a Frenchman at the time that he 
wrote on Beloeil. It is what he then was, and never ceased 
to be. 

" Away with the semi-amiable, the semi-learned men ! We 
can get more from those who are not so at all. Let us have 
the natural man ; above all, naturalness." This was a maxim 
of the Prince de Ligne. Naturalness : he had it in his life- 
time in his own person ; to-day he does not seem always to 
have it in his style, which is written conversation, nor in his 
letters and the sayings that are quoted of him ; and the 
reason is that he lives no longer. The mark of the times 
and the world in which he lived is stamped in the corner of 
what he writes ; and though he says, " In all we do let us 
have what is called in painting the broad manner," he shows 
the effects of Trianon. Eager, brilliant, sparkling with wit, 
he sought the best, but did not always keep to it ; he had 
more imagination than decorum or taste. This man of lofty 
stature, of fine and noble countenance, with a martial and 
intelligent air, wore ear-rings. That being told, let us take 
him on his good points : his witty sayings, which often go 
far into truth and earnestness, his perfect knowledge of life, 
of the world, of men. 

One of the episodes attached to his name, the memory of 
which his letters have consecrated, was the journey he made 
to the Crimea in 1787 with the Empress Catherine, her min- 
ister Potemkin, and the whole of the diplomatic corps, in- 
cluding M. de S(5gur, who represented France. Poniatowski, 
King of Poland, appeared for a moment at one of the stop- 
ping-places on their route. The Emperor of Germany, 
Joseph TL, was one of the party during the whole last half 
of the trip. The Prince de Ligne has written nine letters 


on tlie subject to the Marquise de Coigny, — a bulletin of 
fairy-land, of enchantment, for the benefit of that world of 
Paris and of Versailles which the Assembly of Notables 
was already undermining. "Cleopatra's fleet left Kiev as 
soon as a general cannonading assured us of the breaking up 
of the ice in the Borysthenes [Dnieper]. If any one had 
asked, on seeing us embark on our big and little vessels to 
the number of eighty sail, with three thousand men in their 
crews, • what the devil we were going to do in those gal- 
leys,' we should have answered, ' Amuse ourselves, and — 
Vogue la galere ! ' " 

Amuse themselves, and something more — initiate a war. 
On arriving at the mouth of the Dnieper the flotilla of the 
empress came to the town and fortress of Oczakow, then 
belonging to the Turks, from which a dozen Turkish vessels 
sailed out and stationed themselves across the river. This 
angered Catherine: she took a map to stvidy the country 
and flicked the spot with her finger-nail, smiling, — a presage 
of war ! It is well to notice in the prince's account with 
what heedlessness the affair was begun. One object of the 
trip was to drag in Joseph II., who was not inclined for war. 
The Prince de Ligne assisted ; he confesses the whole 
manoeuvre, — not in his letters to the Marquise de Coigny, 
which were written for the purpose of being shown, but in 
a narrative, written later, and after the event, which w^ill be 
found in the twenty-fourth volume of his Works. 

Singular thing ! Catherine, who thought herself ready, was 
not so at all ; she had a mind for war, and yet she hesitated. 
" Gazing at the portrait of Peter I., which she always carries 
m her pocket when she travels, she said to me several times, 
in a manner that dictated my answer : ' What would he say ? 
what would he do if he were here ? ' It is easy to guess all 
that my desire to please and to make war inspired me to 


reply." Here the Prince de Ligne makes his sincere med, 
culpcL. He contributed, without reflection he says, to the 
harm that was done. Each time that the empress showed 
him that portrait of Peter the Great on her snuff-box, and 
repeated her " What would he say ? what would he do ? " 
he made the desired answer. This is the only time we detect 
liim in saying a slighting word of the Empress Catherine and 
of the disadvantage of having women upon thrones. " They 
are overwhelmed with homage ; they make no distinctions, 
but accept it all as sovereigns. Thus S^gur's gallantry, the 
piquant indifference of Fitz-Herbert [English ambassador], — 
which only makes his bit of praise the more subtle, because 
it has the air of escaping him unwillingly, — the flattery of 
some, the servility of others, intoxicate this princess." He 
sketches for us delightfully a few of these intoxicating 
scenes ; especially one at the moment of their arrival in the 
Crimea. The misc-en-scene was due to the clever Prince 
Potemkin, but the feuilletons are those of the Prince de 
Ligne. I send the reader to them. 

However, when the war broke out, when Turkey (for she 
could do so then) was the first to take offence, and the news 
came that the Eussian ambassador was imprisoned in the 
Sept-Tours, Catherine, who by that time had returned to her 
capital, received these events with a less joyous air than that 
with which she had provoked them. She became once more 
what she really was, " a sovereign for history far more than 
for romance," who now thought only of procuring certain 
sohd and feasible results with the least possible difficulty. 
They liad all gone fast and far in anticipating schemes of 
partition among the sovereigns ; they had even asked them- 
selves amid the enchantments of the Crimea, " What the 
devil shall we do with Constantinople ? " But now they 
were content to lay siege to Oczakow. 


The Prince de Ligne, during this journey to the Dnieper 
and the Crimea, had been only tlie most agreeable of cour- 
tiers and knights of romance. One day, as the imperial 
galley passed close to the rock where tradition places the 
sacrifice of Iphigenia, and while the party were discussing 
that point of historical mythology, Catherine, who was walk- 
ing the deck with majesty, grace, and slowness, stretched 
forth her hand, and said : " I give you. Prince de Ligne, that 
disputed territory." The story adds that the prince, seeing 
they were near the bank, sprang into the water as he was, in 
uniform, and immediately took possession of the rock ; carv- 
ing on one side, the visible side, the divine name of Catherine, 
and on the other (so he says) the wholly human name of 
the lady of his thoughts, the lady of the moment — for he 
changed often. He liked such lively frolicking. 

But towards the end of the same year, 1787, he becomes, 
as far as he is able, a personage of history ; he wanted war, 
and he was now among the first to enter it. As he did not 
think his own sovereign, Joseph II., was prepared to begin it 
quickly enough, he asked to be taken, provisionally, into the 
service of Pussia. " After committing various follies in the 
course of my life," he says, " I have ended by committing a 
stupidity." We see him now without any definite part to 
play, a soldier, half diplomat, a general-officer, half coun- 
sellor, but a counsellor very little heeded, side by side with 
Prince Potemkin, who caresses him and fools him. " I am 
trustful," he says ; " I always believe in those who like 
me." Oczakow is besieged ; Potemkin is nothing of a sol- 
dier, but he wishes to appear one. The Prince de Ligne, 
out of delicacy, abstains from writing anything against him 
to the Court, but he eats his heart out at the petty rivalries 
and intrigues that take the place of battles. " What foUies, 
whims, childishnesses, anti-militaiy things of all kinds went 


on during the space of five months that I remained before 
that beggarly place 1 I tried to ignore them ; but I suffered, 
like a musician who listens to instruments that are out of 

From there lie went to the Russian army in Moldavia, 
under command of Mar(5chal Romanzoff ; there, indeed, was 
a soldier, but a man who was even more wily than Prince 
Potemkin, and who listened to the Prince de Ligne as little. 
The latter had his quarters at Jassy, and while fretting 
against his enforced inaction, he made acquaintance with 
the boyards and the wives of the boyards, the beautiful 
jMoldavians, the indolent Phanariots, the half-Asiatic Greek 
women, whose grace and careless ease and dances lie de- 
scribes in his letters to the Comte de S^gur. 

Shrewd political perceptions mingle with these pretty 
sketches ; even the prince's literary tastes find food there, 
so that later, when he reads La Harpe's " Cours de Littdra- 
ture " and makes annotations (often very keen and very 
just), he reproves the celebrated professor for his chapter 
on the Greeks. " If you had seen, Monsieur de La Harpe," 
he says, " and studied the Greeks of to-day as I have in 
treating with them on affairs of public policy, you would 
know that they resemble the ancients. Circumstances alone 
prevent them from showing it. Meantime, examine their 
minds, look in their beautiful eyes, remark the vivacity 
or the nobility of their present Greek language." He says 
elsewhere, in criticising our manner of translating the an- 
cients and our habit of ignorantly judging tliem : " "We 
must go to the fountain-head, to the original. I know 
that time may have corrupted it, but I have shown trans- 
lations to Greeks of the regions about Pera and the Archi- 
pelago, and to the handsome, well-educated wives of the 
boyards of Jassy, persons who knew French well, and 


spoke the iiiodorn Greek, but understood their ancient 
literature thoroughly from father to son, and they one and 
all assured me that the originals were totally different 
from the translations, and that it was most amusing to 
read of the discussions in France about the ancients, who, 
especially the poets, were not in the least understood there." 
This opinion (to me, who am as ignorant as the prince him- 
self) seems at the present day to be strictly just. 

At length, however, Joseph II. began his own war against 
the Turks, less fortunately than he had reason to expect. The 
Prmce de Ligne has no longer any cause to be absent from 
the Austrian ranks. He asks for his recall, and serves under 
his former general, Loudon, at the siege of Belgrade (Septem- 
ber and October. 1789) ; he helps him effectually by a series 
of well-manoeuvred attacks, and towards the close by placing 
a battery at the point of an island, which does marvels. 
After Lacy, who was more completely a soldier, uniting both 
dash and coolness, he valued no one so highly as Loudon, a 
great warrior the moment he was in action. " I was all on 
fire myself for that Being who was more god than man in 
war." After the taking of Belgrade the Prince de Ligne, 
who had been for some time in a sort of semi-disgrace [ow- 
ing to an unfounded suspicion of his sympathy with the 
Belgian revolution], obtained a distinction due to merit only ; 
he was named Commander of the military Order of Maria 
Theresa. His health, injured by a succession of fevers, 
needed several months in which to recover itself. The revo- 
lution in the Low Countries had begun, that of France was 
beginning to flame. The Prince de Ligne is at the dawn of 
great events ; he is fifty-five years of age ; his robust consti- 
tution, recovered from the effects of Belgrade, is still well 
able to endure fatigue. He aspires to a command-in-chief ; 
he is on the point, perhaps, of showing his full proportions ; 


for it is in war only, as he tells us himself, that he has 
ever dreamed of playing a grand part ; in other directions 
he has been content to be a witness and a confidant. But 
the Emperor Joseph dies (February 20, 1790 ^), his adored 
Joseph II., as he calls him, and with him the fortunes of 
the Prince de Ligne come to an end ; his career is broken, or, 
at any rate, closed. sorrow ! in vain has he fed on nol)le 
desires and generous ambitions ; he will never be anything 
henceforth but the veteran of elegance, the last of the 
knights of old. 

We, who in these days are searching everywhere for mate- 
rial on the history of manners and morals and the distinc- 
tion of characters, should note well the point of separation of 
periods which the prince, better than any one, helps us to 
observe and define. In his letters to M. de Sdgur, dated 
Oczakow, during that melancholy siege where, spite of slow- 
ness and intrigues, a few brilliant cannonadings and combats 
took place, the Prince de Ligne speaks of the Prince of Nas- 
sau, that brilliant paladin, a sort of knight-errant through 
many lands, in turn and at his fancy colonel of infantry, 
colonel of cavalry, and vice-admiraL He also speaks of a 
French volunteer, another pretty phenomenon of chivalry, 
Comte Pioger de Daraas, of whom he says : " Fran(^ois I., the 
Great Condd, and the Mardchal de Saxe would fain have had 
a son like him." These were the last bouquet, if I may so 
express it, of the flower of our old French knighthood, of 
those valiant and gallant courtiers, civilized and refined, 
whose swords were brave and brilliant, but sheathed in 
silken scabbards. The Prince de Ligne was of their race. 
At the moment of the taking of Belgrade he writes to M. de 
S^gur, combining with true art his various sensations : " I 

1 He writes to the Empress Catherine, on the death of Joseph II., a let- 
ter which deserves to become historical. 


saw with great military i)leasure and great philosophical pain 
the twelve thousand cannon-balls that I aimed at those poor 
infidels hurtling through the air." And after entering the 
town he says : " We smelt there, all at the same time, death, 
burning, and attar of rose ; for it is extraordinary to what 
point the Turks unite their voluptuous tastes with barbar- 
ism." He himself likes to play with such antitheses. 

But now a new era was about to open, imposing, stern. 
In the great democratic convulsion when the soil of France 
gave birth to armies, after the tirst inuring to war and its 
appreuticesliip was over, there were heroes and knights also ; 
but these Lannes, and Murats, and Neys were, each in his 
own way, a primitive Eolaud or Achilles, who knew nothing 
of the polished graces and refinements of the old reigns. 
M. de Narbonne alone, as if to honour that memory, presented 
a last specimen of them on the emperor's staff ; all the rest 
were of the soil, — keeping their origin visible beneath their 
purple and gold ; lions in courage, a generation made for the 
strife of giants. 

The Prince de Ligne, in spite of his mental affdiations 
with the eighteenth century, did not hesitate a moment in 
his antipatliy to the Eevolution ; but, for all that, he was 
one of the first to judge rightly of the great new movement, 
its bearings, and its consequences in the future. They are 
not predictions like those of a de ]\Iaistre that I expect of 
him, but sallies and outlooks full of acumen and accuracy. 
A piquant letter addressed to his old friend Scgur, who had 
given some adhesion to the first acts of the Revolution 
shows us the Prince de Ligne in 1790. In the tone of the 
letter much is true and much false, but the situation is 
keenly felt and vividly characterized. He exhorts Segur to 
emigrate, which the latter has the riglit s])irit not to do ; but 
the prince advises it in noble terms : " Give your hand to 


Louis XYI. to reascend his throue, instead of helping him 
to come down from it. Be, all of you, more royalist than 
he." The Prince de Ligne could speak at his ease, he whose 
country was in some sort ad libitum, and who defined him- 
self as French in Austria, Austrian in France, and either in 

But he is not long in becoming more circumspect, and 
less ready to prognosticate. The Allied Powers have not 
done what he wished ; they have given France the time to 
train herself to war. The emigres, in his opinion, have 
carried Honour (in the royalist sense) out of the country; 
the " rebels " have kept nothing of their nation but intelli- 
gence and courage. He forgets that the " rebels," who are 
nearly the whole nation, have kept intact the sentiment of 
patriotism. He is forced, however, to acknowledge that 
talent has taken the place of the guillotine : " From Athens 
France has been to Sparta, passing through the country of 
the Huns." In an essay on the new French army he does 
it, not indeed complete justice, but at least the beginning of 
justice. As for the repubhc, he no more forgives it than 
he did on its first day. In his opinion, contrary to that of 
Montesquieu, it is terror alone that makes republics. " God 
grant it may have virtue for six months, and it will be 

He believes from the start that the most distinct result 
of the French Revolution and of all that happened in '93 
would be to strengthen the monarchical principle. The 
rule of '93 would have, he thought, the effect of the drunken 
Helot, and disgust the nations from copying it. " We shall 
sooner see," he says, "republics become kingdoms, than king- 
doms become republics. They will mourn in Louis XVI. the 
best of men, in his wife the most beautiful and perfect of 
queens, with thousands of other victims, and they will serve 


God the better for it and respect their sovereigns more." 
Here he turns to gravity of tone and thought. " It is diffi- 
cult not to be serious at the bottom of our souls," says the 
prince in one of his " Scattered Thoughts," " if that bottom 
is not, as it is in some people, on the .surface." 

He was royalist, not from prejudice, but from reflection and 
principle. He thought that in all the great moments of his- 
tory which last and fix themselves permanently " everything 
depends on a single man " or on a very small number of men. 
lleigns, even the most severe, seemed to him to offer more 
chances to talent and to distinguished men than anarcliy. 
" The Scipios," he said, " were great aristocrats. Pericles 
was a species of king. Horace and Yirgil would have had 
little success during a civil war. If Montaigne and that 
good La Fontaine had lived in our day, the one with his 
truths, the other with his absent mind and his naivet(5, they 
would have been the first hanged." In all of which the 
Prince de Ligne does as others do in like cases ; he twists 
history to his own side. 

There is a letter from the prince to a very distinguished 
emigre, M. de Meilhan, a former government official, a man 
of letters and a man of intellect. It discusses the changes 
that the Eevolution will bring into the public manners and 
taste. "After what has happened of late, all ideas must 
necessarily be re-made." He thinks, first, that the universal- 
ity of the French language will suffer, that Paris will no 
longer be, as before, the recognized literary and intellectual 
capital of Europe. He makes a very keen remark on the 
emigres and the spirit of aristocracy which has found its 
way into democracy itself : " ]\Iany persons flatter them- 
selves they will be noblemen by emigrating ; not one of 
them, however insignificant he may be, but thinks he is the 
etpial of a Montmorency in serving throne and altar." The 


result of the emigration will therefore be to vulgarize nobil- 
ity. Unable to separate the idea of taste from that of the 
charming society in the midst of which he liad lived, he 
concludes by saying : " They may restore the throne in 
France, but good taste never." The lustre, grace, and urban- 
ity of manners in the most amiable of all nations have 
vanished before the presence of crime ; in their place a 
sullen republic puts the spirit of discussion aud false elo- 
quence. Do not take the prince's words for more than the 
lively and piquant talk of a man who lies in bed in the 
morning and thinks aloud ; you may tlien gather in on all 
sides witty sayings and whetted ones which will make you 
think and swear, and say yes and no in a breath — which 
is what the prince desires. And even when we agree 
and approve, his sayings are still conversation, to which 
we must .supply at every moment the answers that are 

Speaking to this very M. de Meilhan, who had an idea 
of writing a History of the Empress Catherine, the Prince 
de Licrne said, while encouraointf him : " It needs a man 
of good society to write history." 

But great things were doing at the war, and the Prince 
de Ligne w\as not of it. This inaction, to which his Court 
condemned him, was cruel. " Apparently," he says, " I am 
dead with Joseph II., resuscitated a moment to be in- 
valided with Mardchal Loudon and die again with Mart^chal 
Lacy." There came moments when he would fain have 
been appointed to tlie chief command in Italy, where he 
could have measured himself with the conqueror of Kivoli 
and Marengo. Such an ambition was honourable. There 
were several ways, no doubt, of being vanquished by Buona- 
parte ; we can imagine some that were worthy of envy. 
The Prince de Ligne concealed his warrior-pain beneath the 


smiles of a man of the world and the indifference of a 
philosopher. But the wound was there. 

He spent his last insensibly declining years in Vienna, 
in his little house on the rampart, or at his " Refuge " on 
the Leopoldberg. He read, he wrote every morning with- 
out fail, he printed his Works, too muddled, too swamped 
and riddled with blunders by the printers, not to speak of 
his own. Disillusioned as to fame, enjoyed by every one, 
he charmed the society about him, and cheated Time as 
best he could. When La Harpe's " Cours de Litt^rature," 
or his " Correspondence " with the Grand Duke of Russia, 
or the Memoirs of Bezenval appeared the Prince de Ligne 
read them, pen in hand, adding curious and interesting 
comments to page after page, which careful editors of those 
works would do well in future to make use of. On Raynal, 
his tone and heaviness ; on Beaumarchais, his mystifica- 
tions and charlatanism ; on Duclos, Saint-Lambert, Cr^billon, 
and a hundred others, he gives strokes that are original and 
as if he had dined with them all. Of Mme. Geoffrin he 
says, in approving the picture that La Harpe makes of her : 
" The portrait is of the utmost truth, but he should have 
added her remarkable talent for definitions." We feel the 
value of such remarks from a man who has seen so much 
and so well, and who has no other pretension than to 
remember with accuracy. 

There is one topic to which he often returns, ^ propos 

of either Bezenval or La Harpe ; it is that of Queen Marie 

Antoinette ; and each time, inspired by his heart, by a 

faithful and tender imagination, he shows her to us in her 

true light, with her innocent giddiness, her ingenuousness, 

and all the glow of a face " on which could be seen to 

develop, with blushes, her pretty regrets, her excuses, and 

often her kindnesses." It is when he thinks the least of 
Mem. Vor. 6— C 


what he writes that he pamts her best, and makes us see 
with one stroke her goodness and her grace. After vindi- 
cating her on all essential points, he ends, with a chivalrous 
sentiment that recalls that of ]>urke, by putting her memory 
under the protection of the young French soldiers, who had 
never seen her and, coming at a later day, were pure of all 
ingratitude towards her. " At least," he writes, about the 
date of Austerlitz and Jena, " those who have acquired such 
glory under the banners of their emperor must pity that 
unhappy princess whom they would have served so well." 
That is an alliance of ideas and feelings which does him 
honour. In making that appeal the Prince de Ligne touched 
true ; he was not mistaken ; Marie Antoinette has been 
vindicated by the new France against the old. 

Old age came on, however, though the Prince de Ligne 
adorned it to the last with charm and elegance. He became 
aware one day that two beautiful women whom he often 
visited lived on an upper storey, to be reached by many 
stairs. He wrote them a Hvely little note, taking leave of 
them and saying : " Adieu ; you are decidedly the last whom 
I have loved on a third floor." But this apparent gayety 
served only to conceal within him regrets and memories. 

" Memories ! " he cried in his moments of sohtude. 
" They call them sweet and tender, but in whatever form 
they come to me I declare them hard and bitter. War, 
love, success of other days, places where we have had all 
that, you poison our present ! ' ^Y}\at a difference ! ' we say, 
' How time passes ! I was victorious, loved, and young! ' We 
feel so far, so far from those fine moments which went by 
so fast that a song heard then, or a tree beneath which we 
sat recalls them, and we burst into tears. ' I was there,' we 
say, ' tlie night of the famous battle.' — 'Here he pressed my 
hand.' — ' It was from there I started for those charming 


winter quarters.' Then I tliought well of men. Woman, 
the Court, the town, the men of business had not then 
deceived me. My soldiers (a society of honest men, purer, 
more delicate than men of the world) adored me, my 
peasants blessed me, my trees grew, that which I loved was 
still in the world, it existed for me. Oh, memory ! memory ! 
It returned sometimes to the Duke of Marlborough ; playing 
in his second childhood with his pages one day, a portrait 
before which he passed restored it for a moment, and he 
watered with tears the hands with which he covered his 

Eloquent words ! accents escaping from the heart ! the 
voice of nature ! Why did the amiable prince so seldom 
use them ? 

When the Congress of Vienna opened in 1814 the Prince 
de Ligne was by his position, and quite naturally, the grand- 
master of the ceremonies of that brilliant reunion. The 
younger of the diplomatists delighted in gathering about 
him and listening to him, making him their mtroducer and 
guide and echoing his witticisms as he uttered them : " Le 
Congres ne marche j^cis, il dansc. . . . The web of policy 
is embroidered with fetes." But amid the brilliancy that sur- 
rounds him we catch a glimpse of shadows. The Prince de 
Ligne suffered at times from being looked on as a curiosity, 
a mere social convenience in this great meeting of kings and 
ministers about to determine the destinies of the world. He 
had begun too early to seem a relic. All that he felt to be 
a failure in his military career came back to him, at certain 
moments, with bitterness. One morning when he had gone 
to Schonbrunn, where the young King of Eome was living, 
the child, who was fond of the old marshal, began to play at 
soldiering before him. The marshal joined the game and 
commanded the manoeuvre, but as he watched the boy the 


tlioutiht must have come to liim that it was more than a 
score of years since he had commauded iu earnest before the 

On a certain day, when he had received one of those little 
affronts that even tlie most amiable old age cannot always 
avoid when it persists m wishing to seem ever young, a 
few words escaped him, kindly as he was, against youth. 
" My day is gone," he said ; " my world is dead. But after 
all, what is the merit of the youth of to-day that all the 
world should shower it with favours ? " That merit was 
simply smiling and being young in its turn. The Prince de 
Ligne, in spite of his habitual sweetness of temper and man- 
ners, cannot quite protect himself from an attack of mis- 
anthropy. He was vexed at infatuations and all the 
imitations of talent and wit which usurped the reputation 
of that which was truer and more original. " There is such 
brigandage of success in society," he said, " that it disgusts 
me." But it was more in the spirit of his own philosophy 
that he wrote the following thought, which is the summary 
of his last views of happiness : — 

" Evening is the old age of the day ; winter the old age of 
the year ; insensibility the old age of the heart ; reason the 
old age of the spirit ; illness that of the body ; decHue the 
old age of life. Each instant brings with it a sense of de- 
crease ; all things move, but faster in ill than in good. We 
are not as gay at fifteen as we were at ten, at thirty as at 
twenty, and so on till death. What wounds, accidents, falls, 
griefs, and derangements of the stomach have we not felt by 
the time we are thirty ! and we suffer their effects to the 
end of our hves. Employments, ribbons, glory, — do they, 
after all, give as much pleasure as the first doll, the first 
sailor's suit ? The child eats four meals a day ; the hero 
often goes without his supper. Happy he who by the value 


he places upon little things and his enjoyment of them pro- 
longs his childhood. The happiest days are those that have 
a long morning and a short evening." 

The Prince de Ligne died in Vienna December 13, 1814, 
in his eightieth year, during the session of the Congress, to 
which he procured, between two balls, the spectacle of a 
magnificent funeral. A Protestant writer is severe to the 
point of injustice upon this end of the Prince de Ligne. 
But the latter, in spite of his failings and his maxims ^ la 
Hamilton and Aristippus, was far from being an unbeliever 
or an atheist. " All that is very pretty," he said of the 
boast of scepticism, " so long as the death-knell is not heard." 
No one has spoken better than he on the origin of irreligion 
in Voltaire : " that desire to be new, piqiuint, and quoted, to 
laugh and create a laugh, to be what was called in those 
days a bold writer," — things which, in his opinion, actuated 
Voltaire more than any positive conviction. It was the 
Prince de Ligne who gave utterance to this fine thought: 

" Unbelief is so surely an assumed air that if any one sin- 
cerely had it I do not see why he should not kill himself at 
his first pain of body or mind. People do not sufficiently 
think what human life would be with a real irreligion ; 
atheists live under the shade of religion." 

In what I have now said I have not meant to make a 
biography, or even a portrait of the Prince de Ligne, but 
merely to present him, and to save, so to speak, from the 
wreckage of his Works a few fine or charming passages, and 
to recall him to attention as one of the most sensilile of the 
arbiters of elegance, and the most truly amiable of the 
fortunate of the earth. 


"L'homme aimable," the term by which Sainte-Beuve 
justly characterizes the Prince de Ligne, is not translatable 
into English. Vliommc aimalle is pre-eminently a man of 
society ; but the words " amiable," " agreeable," " lovable," 
" charming " do not singly represent him ; he is all of these 
and somethmg more. The genius of social life is not that 
of the Anglo-Saxon ; and this may be the reason why his 
language so inadequately renders Vhomme aimable. The 
prince's own definition, given by Sainte-Beuve, and his life 
in practice stand for that man. 

His was a life lived for pleasure and to give pleasure , 
but it was not a selfish life. He believed that to be happy 
and to make others haj)py was a proper object of existence ; 
he looked to good and not to evil. In these days of intro- 
spection, when the discovery and study of evils prevail, it 
is comfortable to meet with a nature like his. For one 
thing, he thought no evil ; his interpretations were generous, 
even of those, happily few, who wronged him. Throughout 
his writings scarcely a harsh word can be found, certainly 
never a harsh, unqualified judgment, although he freely 
expresses disapproval, and is not weak in doing so. When 
thwarted and mortified by Prince Potemkin he makes 
an inimitable portrait of him, in which generosity, and a 
loving generosity, prevails. JMarried by his father at nine- 
teen without even knowing his wife, and living, certainly at 


times, the life of a bachelor who did not feel himself "bound 
by his conventional marriage vows, he nevertheless says, 
quite incidentally : " I have known only one really united 
family, and that is my own." 

His love for his eldest son, Charles (he had seven children), 
was passionate ; and the death of that gallant son, in the 
first war of the Eevolution, broke his inmost heart; he 
never mentioned him again without tears, although he still 
continued to be the same homme aimahle of society until he 
died in his eightieth year. 

His memory has suffered a little from the fragmentary 
manner in which his vsrritings and the records of his hfe 
have been given to the pubHc ; he himself having set the 
example. The varied, not to say romantic incidents of his 
career, and his own versatility have led his editors and com- 
mentators to present him not as a whole but in parts, and 
these dressed-up a httle to suit their own interpretation of 
what he was. Sainte-Beuve, always sincerely seeking to 
understand and make clear to others the person of whom he 
writes, and subordinating himself to that purpose, is an 
exception. His portrait of the Prince de Ligne makes itself 
felt to be the best we have ; his great merit of sincerity is 
nowhere more visible. 

The present volumes seek to do what has not been done 
before with the life of the Prince de Ligne. They take his 
Fragmentary Memoir and fill its gaps with facts, sketches, 
letters, and opinions found in his Works. Thus the only 
consecutive history of the prince is here given, and given 
in his own words. It seems to bring out certain of his 
qualities that were not so distinctively social; such, for 
instance, as his sense of duty in his profession, his warm 
appreciation of others, his love of reading and of Nature, and 
his happiness in sohtude. His was not a lire of achieve- 


ment, and it is doubtful whether a certain volatility would 
not have counteracted the value of his mihtary genius (for 
he had that genius and the soldier's eye) had he obtained the 
object of his ambition, namely, a command-in-chief. He was 
therefore a disappointed man, but never an embittered one ; 
nor was he at any time self-seeking. All these are fine 
quahties which have hitherto been a little overshadowed by 
his great social reputation, and also by a sort of giddiness 
of high spirits, most amusing, and even lovable in his youth, 
but which lasted in a modified form all his life. 

If the reader should find that the Memoir thus filled in 
and amplified with the prince's own words is still fragmen- 
tary and lacks co-ordination he must kindly believe that 
there were difficulties in the way, especially in the fact that 
the prince seldom, except in his campaign journals and 
some of his letters, gives the date of either time or place, 
and that more than half his volumes have no index. 

To avoid what to many persons is the great annoyance of 
footnotes, dates and short elucidating remarks are put into 
the text between brackets ; and a few of the chapters are 
headed (also between brackets) with short statements in- 
tended to assist the reader in following the Memoir under- 

The Prince de Ligne, who speaks of his lineage in a few 
airy sentences with his accustomed carelessness, came of a 
very ancient and distinguished family. " We were all brave 
from father to son," he says. In the Memoirs of the Due 
de Saint-Simon more facts are given about his ancestry than 
he himself takes the trouble to teU us. In a list of the 
Grandees of Spain Saint-Simon says of his great-grand- 
father: "The Prince de Ligne of Flanders, whose mother 
was a Lorraine-Chaligny, niece of Queen Louise, wife of King 
Henri III., was grandson of the first Prince de Ligne, created 


1601 by the Emperor Eodolphe II. He had the Golden 
Fleece, as did liis father, his grandfather, and his great- 
grandfather, also his elder brother, who died without children 
in 1641. He was general of cavalry in the Low Countries, 
ambassador of Spain to England, viceroy of Sicily, governor- 
general of the Milanais, Grandee of Spain 1650, councillor 
of State, and died in Madrid, December, 1679. He married 
a iSassau-Dilembourg-Seigen, widow of his elder brother, by 
dispensation. The grandeeship has descended to his male 
posterity, who aU served Philippe V., and returned to the 
service of the emperor when the Spanish Low Countries were 
again under Austrian dominion." 

The Prince de Ligne wdth whom we are concerned was 
this man's great-grandson. He was a last product of the 
eighteenth century, stopping short of its ultimate conclu- 
sions, and marking, as Sainte-Beuve says, the parting of its 
ways, or, more truly, its transition. His nature, sagacious, 
witty, inquiring, fearless, shrewd, and argumentative, threw 
him into the philosophy of the latter half of that century 
with the spirit of a Frenchman ; his traditional instincts, 
and more than that his convictions, held him back. Never- 
theless, at the beginning of the French Revolution he was 
thought by the Austrian Court to be affected by its princi- 
ples and to have fostered them in the Low Countries. The 
injustice of these suspicions was proved by circumstances. 

To Sainte-Beuve's wise and discriminating perception of 
the Prince de Ligne it is superfluous to add anything. Of 
late it has become the fashion with some to say that Sainte- 
Beuve is out of date, " academic," and that the new blood 
and spirit of the day needs another form of criticism. But 
let us take a topic, — the Prince de Ligne, for instance, — 
study it ourselves, and then read Sainte-Beuve upon it. We 
shall see that he goes to the essential truth of things with 


strong sincerity ; and if to this lie adds the quality of being 
academic, so nuich the better. It is the union of these 
two gifts which has made liini one of the greatest critics 
the world has had ; and such he will remain, for the periods 
of which he writes, so long as true literature lasts. 

The bibliographical history of the Prince de Ligne and 
his Works is as follows : After the French occupation of 
Belgium, when his little principality and his " dear Beloeil " 
with its splendid revenues were confiscated, he retired to 
Vienna, where he employed himself in writing and in 
arranging his papers, which he published at intervals from 
1795 to 1811, in 34 volumes under the title of : — 

Melanges Militaires, Littekaires et Sentimentaires. 
A mon Refuge sur le Leopoldberg, pres de Vienne. Et se 
vend k Dresde chez les Frferes Walther. 

A list of the contents of these 34 volumes will be found 
in the Appendix to the present volume. Though many m 
number, the volumes are small. The average number of 
pages in each is 252 ; the longest page (without a paragraph) 
has only 184 words. 

Subsequently, in 1812, the Prince de Ligne published a 
volume entitled : — 

New Collection of Letters by Field Marshal the Prince de 

After his death appeared in Berlin, 1816 : — 

Philosophy of Catholicism, by the Prince de Ligne, with 
answer by Mme. la Comtesse M. de B . 

In the catalogue of one bibliographer, Qu^rard, the fol- 
lowing publication is mentioned : — 

Posthumous Works of the Prince de Ligne. Dresden and 
Vienna, 1817, 6 vols. 18 mo. 


Of these six volumes no trace remains except in the one 
catalogue named above. 

In VoL XVII., of his Melanges, printed in 1796, the 
prince inserts a notice that his " Posthumous Works " will 
be as follows : — 

1. Journals of Three Campaigns in 1787, 1788, 1789. 

2. Parthenizza ; pliilosophical and historical work. 

3. Fragments of the History of my Life. 

4. Tales which are not tales ; or. Confidences of my 

5. My Posthumous Scattered Thoughts. 

6. Interesting letters written to me ; with a few answers 
from me, copied without my knowledge, for I never make 
rough drafts or copies. 

By his will the Prince de Ligne bequeathed his " Posthu- 
mous Works " to his regiment of halberdiers, in compliance 
with an ancient custom which required that each commander 
should leave a present at his death to the force. To this 
bequest a condition was attached that the papers should 
not be published until all the persons named therein were 
dead. The first act of the legatees was to relinquish their 
possession, with the restriction upon it, to M. Cotta, pub- 
lisher, at Stuttgard. Since then nothing definite is known 
of it. 

A topic of discussion among the various editors and com- 
mentators of the Prince de Ligne is the question : What has 
become of the " Posthumous Works " bequeathed as above ? 
and is there some unpublished Alenioir now in existence ? 
Several attempts have been made to clear this up, especially 
by MM. Lacroix and de Lescure, but without any definite 
results. If the present writer may be allowed to offer an 
opinion it is as follows, — on tlie understanding of course 
that tliLs is only conjecture : The " Posthumous Works " in 


six volumes, stated by the bibliographer Qu^rard to have 
been published in 1817, were the works (in six parts) 
named in the prince's will and described by him in Vol. 
XVII. of his published Works. These M. Cotta may 
have passed to other publishers ; possibly to the Freres 
Walther of Dresden, who published the prince's other 
books from 1795 to 1811. Or, inasmuch as the prince 
states in the seventeenth volume that his " Posthumous 
Works" are then in the hands of the Frferes Walther, there 
may have arisen between them and M. Cotta some ques- 
tion of prior rights. It is certain that the Cotta house, 
which was a much respected one, never made any state- 
ment as to what became of the papers they had purchased 
from the regiment. 

But in whosoever hands they were when the edition of 
1817 was announced — it can never have been published, 
for if it had, all trace of it cou.ld not have disappeared so 
completely that no one has been found who has seen a copy 
— the family, in all probability, bought it up, destroyed it 
(if it was ever really printed), and recovered the manuscript. 
At any rate, the manuscripts of No. 3, " Fragments of the 
History of my Life," and of No. 5, " My Posthumous Scat- 
tered Thoughts," were in the possession of the prince's 
grandson, who was Belgian ambassador to France in 1845, 
for he permitted their publication in " La Eevue Nouvelle " 
of that year, and again in 1860 in book form (see following 
list of publications relating to Prince de Ligne). 

The fragmentary Memoir thus published answers fully to 
the prince's description of it, and is in itself extremely char- 
acteristic of his heedless, inconsecutive way of throwing his 
thoughts and his writings together. In all probability there 
is little or nothing in possession of the family to add to it. 
If, as appears likely, some parts of the " Posthumous Works " 


have been suppressed, they are probably Nos. 4 and 6, de- 
scribed by the prince as " Confidences of my friends " and 
" Interesting letters addressed to me," which the family may 
think it is not desirable or proper to give to the curiosity of 
the world. 

List of Publications relating to the Prince de Ligne, in 
THE Order of tueir Publication. 

It is by the help of these Works that the following Memoir, which 
is, however, chiefly in the prince's own words, has been prepared. 

1809. Lettres at Pensees du Marechal Prince de Ligne, precedees 

d'une Preface par Mme. la Baronne de Stael-Holstein. 1 vol. 

8vo. Paschoud: Geneve et Paris. 1809. 
[The preface is given in this edition ; the selection is small 

and limited.] 
1809. (Euvres choisies du Marechal Prince de Ligne, par M. de Pro 

priac. 1 vol. 8vo. Chaumerot : Paris. 1809. 
1809. CEuvres choisies du Prince de Ligne, precedees de quelques 

details biographiques par un de ses amis (Malte-Brun). 

2 vols. 8vo. F. Buisson : Paris. Paschoud : Geneve. 1809. 
1812. Nouveau receuil de lettres du Feld-Marechal Prince de Ligne. 

Deux parties. 8vo. Weimar. 1812. 
1829. Memoires et Melanges Historiques et Littdraires du Prince da 

Ligne. A. Dupont. 5 vols. 8vo. Paris. 1829. 
1840. Fetes et Souvenirs du Congi'cs de Vienne, par le Comte de La 

Garde. Paris et Bruxelles. 1840. 

[The parts relating to the Prince de Ligne form the 

eleventh chapter of Vol. II. of this edition.] 
1845. Notice sur le Prince de Ligne par M. de ReifEenberg. Memoires 

de I'Academie Royale des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de 

Bruxelles, Vol. XIX. 1845. 
1845. Fragments inedits des Memoires du Prince de Ligne. La 

Revue Nouvelle. Paris. 1845, 1846. 
[The Prince de Ligne, his grandson, was then Belgian 

ambassador to France, and he gave these Fragments for 

1848. Esquisses Politiques et Littdrairep) par le Comte Ouvaroft. 

Paris: Gide et Cie. 1848. 

[The parts relating to the Prince de Ligne are given in the 

tenth chapter of Vol. II. of this edition.] 


1857. Le Prince de Ligiie, on ficrivain grand seigneur & la fin du 
XVIIIfeme Si^cle. Par M. N. Peetermans. 1 vol. 8vo. 
Paris et Leipzig. 1857. 

1860. ffiuvres du Prince de Ligne, precedees d'une Notice par Albert 
Lacroix. 4 vols. Bruxolles. A Bohne : Paris. 18G0. 

1860. Menioires du Prince de Ligne, suivis de Pensees, et precedees 
d'une Introduction par Albert Lacroix. 1 vol. 8vo. Brux- 
elles. A Bohne : Paris. 1860. 

[These are the " Fragments inedits " of the Revue Nouvelle, 
published in book form by permission of the Prince de Ligne, 
then President of the Belgian Senate ; and this book is the 
Fragmentary Memoir of the present translated edition; tlie 
gaps in which have been filled by facts, sketches, letters, and 
opinions taken, in the prince's own words, from his Works.] 

1878. Lettres inedites du Feld-Marechal Prince de Ligne, avec una 
Introduction par J. Petit. 1 vol. 8vo. Societe des Biblio- 
philes. Bruxelles. 1878. 

1886. Souvenirs du feu Due de Broglie. 1 vol. 8vo. Calmann 

Levy: Paris. 1886. 

[The passages relating to the Prince de Ligne are given in 
the tenth chapter of Vol. 11. of this edition.] 

1887. Histoire d'une Grande Dame au XVIIIe Sifecle, Princesse 

Helfene de Ligne, Comtesse Potocka, par Lucien Perey- 

2 vols. 8vo. Calmann Levy : Paris. 1887. 

[Taken largely from manuscripts at Beloeil by permission 

of the Prince de Ligne, and used and partly translated in 

the eighth chapter of Vol. II. of this edition.] 
1890. Lettres du Prince de Ligne k Mme. la Marquise de Coigny, avec 

une preface par M. de Lescure. 1 vol. 8vo. Librairie des 

Bibliophiles. Paris. 1890. 
1890. QEuvres choisies du Prince de Ligne. Avec une notice par 

M. de Lescure. 1 vol. 8vo. Librau'ie des Bibliophiles. 

Paris. 1890. 
1895. L'Imperatrice Catherine et le Prince de Ligne, par Lucien 

Perey. Revue de Paris. 1895. 

[Fi-om these articles are taken the letters of the Empress 

Catherine contained in this edition,] 



To " Letters and Thoughts of the Peince De Ligne," 
Selected by her in 1809. 

We always regret when we have not enjoyed an inter- 
course with the spirit of celebrated men through their 
spoken words ; for what is quoted of them gives but a very 
imperfect idea of their conversation. Phrases, witty sayings, 
all that is retained and repeated, can never picture the grace 
of every movement, the nicety of expression, the elegance of 
manner which form the charm of personal intercourse. The 
Mar^chal Prmce de Ligne has been acknowledged by all 
Frenchmen to be one of the most agreeable men in France ; 
and rarely do they accord that suffrage to one not born in 
their midst. Perhaps, indeed, the Prince de Ligne is the 
only foreigner who has become a model of French style, m- 
stead of being only an imitator. He has printed a number 
of useful and profound essays on history and on the military 
art. He has published both prose and verse, which the cir- 
cumstances of his life have inspired. Wit and originality 
are m all that comes from him, but often his style is the 
spoken style, if I may so express myself. We who know 
him need to recall the expression of his fine countenance, 
the characteristic gayety of his narratives, the simpHcity with 
which he abandoned himself to memment, in order to like 
the very negligences of his manner of writing. But those 
who are not beneath the charm of his presence analyze as 
an author one to whom they ought to listen even while they 

Mem. Ver. G— D 


read him ; for the very defects of his style are the graces of 
his conversation. That which is not always very clear 
grammatically becomes so through the It propos of speech, 
the subtlety of the glance, the inflections of the voice ; 
through all, in short, that gives to the art of speaking a 
thousand times more charm and more resource than that of 

It is therefore difficult to make known by what we must 
call dead letters a man whose intercourse the greatest living 
geniuses and the most illustrious sovereigns have sought as 
tlieir choicest relaxation. Nevertheless, attempting to do so 
as much as possible, I have made a selection from his cor- 
respondence, and also from his detached thoughts. No form 
of writing can take the place of personal acquaintance. A 
book is always made on some system or another which 
places the author at a distance from the reader. We may 
of course divine the writer's character, but his very talent 
puts a species of fiction between him and us. The letters 
and thoughts which I pubHsh to-day [1809] convey a picture 
of the meditation and also the ease of the Prince de Ligne's 
mind ; it is to himself and to his friends that he speaks thus. 
There is never in him, as in La Eochefoucauld, an always 
consistent opinion, steadily pursued. Men and things and 
events have passed before his eyes ; he judges them without 
a plan, without an object, never seeking to impose upon them 
the despotism of a system ; they were such, at any rate they 
seemed to him such, as he relates on that particular day. If 
there is harmony and completeness in his ideas it is tliat 
which nature and truth put into everything. 

We may notice in the account of the conversations which 
the Prince de Ligne held with Voltaire and Ptousseau the 
profound respect he felt and showed for superiority of mind ; 
it needed as much as he had himself to be neither a prince 

rilEFACE. 47 

nor a great seigneur with men of genius. He knew that it 
was nobler to admire than to patronize ; he was flattered 
by the visit of Kousseau, and did not shrink from showinr^ 
that feehng. It is one of the advantages of high rank and 
illustrious blood that they quiet all that tends to vanity ; 
for to judge truly of society and of nature we should, perhaps, 
be conscious of gratitude to the one and to the other. 

Correspondence coming nearest to conversation, we may 
follow the Prince de Ligne tlirough his letters into active 
life and discover there the unwearying youthfulness of his 
mind, the independence of his soul, the chivalrous gayety 
which perilous positions inspired in him. His letters are 
addressed to the King of Poland, giving him an account of 
two interviews with the great King of Prussia, to the 
Empress Catherine of Russia, to the Emperor Josepli II., to 
M. de S^gur, to Mme. de Coigny during the famous journey 
to the Crimea, and to several others. Thus the subject of 
the letters and the persons to whom they are addressed 
inspire a double interest. The Prince de Ligne knew 
Frederick the Great, and above all the Empress of Russia, 
in the familiarity of private life, and what he says of them 
makes us live in their society. The portrait of Prince 
Potemkin, which will be found in the letters to M. de S^gur, 
is truly a masterpiece. It is not worked up like those por- 
traits that serve to make the painter known rather than 
his sitter. You see before you the man the Prince de Ligne 
describes ; he gives life to the portrait because he has put 
no art into it. Those who know him know it is impossible 
to be more alien than he to all species of calculation. His 
actions always have the effect of spontaneous impulse ; he 
comprehends both men and things by sudden inspiration, 
and lightning, rather than daylight, seems to guide him. 

Adored by a charming family, cherished by his feUow- 


citizens, who see in him an ornament to their city [\^ienna], 
and who deck it with his presence to the eyes of foreigners as 
if with a gift of Nature, the Prince de Ligne has, nevertheless, 
lavished his Ufe in camps, from taste and from allurement, far 
more than his mihtary career demanded. He believes he is 
born lucky because he is ever kind ; and he thinks that he 
pleases fate while he pleases friends. He enjoys life hke 
Horace, but he exposes it as if he set no value on its enjoy- 
ment. His valour is of that brilliant nature which we are 
wont to attribute to French valour. It is, perhaps, suspected 
that during the last war the Prince de Ligne may have 
longed for an occasion to exercise his French valour against 
Frenchmen ; that is the only blemish of ambition that we 
can perceive in a man whose philosophy we must praise — 
if philosophy there be in contenting one's self with pleasing 
and succeeding in all things. 

He has lost a great fortune with admirable equanimity ; 
and he has shown rare pride in doing nothing to repair the 
loss. The calmness of his soul has been troubled only once, 
by the death of his eldest son, killed when exposing himself 
in battle like his father. In vain did the Prince de Ligne 
call reason to his succour, and even the volatihty of mind 
which not only serves to charm, but is sometimes able to 
distract the soul from grief. He was wounded to the heart ; 
and his efforts to hide it made the tears that did escape 
liim the more agonizing. This fear of appearing to feel 
when we have allowed ourselves sometimes to laugh at 
feeling, this pudicity of paternal tenderness in a man who 
had never shown aught to others but his gifts of pleasing 
and captivating, this contrast, this mixture of gravity and 
gayety, pleasantry and reason, levity and depth, make the 
Prince de Ligne a true phenomenon ; for the spirit of 
society, in the eminent degree in which he possesses it. 


rarely gives such graces permitting at the same time such 
high quahties to remain. One might say that civilization 
stopped in him at a point where nations never remain ; 
namely, wliere all rude forms are softened without any 
change in the essence of things. 

It is unnecessary to say that the Editor does not take 
the liberty to support or refute the opinions of tlie Prince 
de Ligne on various subjects as exnibited in this Selection. 
I have merely wished to gather together a few scattered 
flashes of a conversation always varied, always piquant, in 
which the play of words and ideas, the force and the play- 
fulness, are always in their proper place and suited to the 
topic of each day, whatever may be said on the morrow. 
The privilege of grace seems to be to harmonize itself 
equally with all styles, all courses, all methods of seeing 
things. It touches nothing harshly enough to wound, or 
seriously enough to convince ; and never does it roughly 
shake the life which it embellishes. 

I could continue still longer this portrait of the Prince 
de Ligne ; for one seeks a hundred different ways to picture 
that which is inexpressible — a 7iahtral nature full of charm. 
But after essaying many words, I should still be forced to 
say with ^schines : " If you are amazed by what I tell you 
of him, what would it be if you had listened to him ? " 






The year of my birth seems to me uncertain. Bajotized 
without ceremony by the almoner of my father's regiment, 
I lost, in after years, a suit which depended on the produc- 
tion of my baptismal register, which could not be found. 
All I know is that I was bom before the year 1740, and 
that I had scarcely heard of Prince Eugfene (then lately 
dead) before I wanted, I said, small as I was, to take his 
place. That is the first thought that I can remember. The 
second is that a war was being fought ; and it turned my 
head. I remember that they talked before me of the 
battle of Dettingen [1743], where the Ligne-Infantry and 
the Ligne-Dragoons did wonders. 

A man in my chancellor's office, my German secretary, 
named Leygeb, thinks (and I, too, for that matter) that he 
has read on an old parchment that we are descended from 
a king of Bohemia. He also says that he has seen on a 
tomb, I do not know where, that we are descended from 
Charlemagne, through a certain ThieiTi d'Enfer ; he says 
that genealogists give us the same stock as the house of 


Lorraine, and that others declare we are a branch of that 
of Baden, There must be something in all this, for my 
father was devilishly proud. And what makes me think 
there may be a touch of Charlemagne or of Wittikind in 
our blood is that we have had the Golden Fleece for the 
last four centuries, and are Princes of the Empire for the 
last two. 

We have always been brave, from father to son ; even 
the bastards, who gloried in being called so, and had the 
rank of nobles. I have seen a tomb with this inscription : 
" Bastard of Ligne, killed in Africa." Many of my ancestors 
have been killed in battle. My great-grandfather, a man 
of much merit, was imprisoned because of his bravery in 
Spain, where he was president of the council of war in 
Castile, viceroy of Sicily, governor-general of the Milanais, 
etc. ; often beating, sometimes beaten, and captured at last 
after marvellous deeds. My great-grandmother — a Princess 
of Nassau, daughter-in-law of the Lorraine, niece of Henri 
III. — and my grandfather were killed hunting at Baudour 
[hunting-box near Belceil] in the woods, while waiting at 
their post for the boar. 

My father did not like me ; I do not know why, for we 
never knew each other. It was not the fashion in those 
days to be a good husband or a good father. My mother 
[^felisabeth-Alexandrine-Charlotte, Princesse de Salm] was 
very much afraid of him. She lay-in with me in a great 
farthingale, and died in the same a few weeks later ; so much 
did he care for ceremonies and an air of dignity. I often 
received from him certain marks of attention in the way 
of abuse and prognostics that I should turn out detestably. 
Nevertheless, his death, which I will relate by and by, 
had a great efifect upon me. He had turned me out of 
his house, and was living at the time of his death in the 


country. I returned from the war, not liaving seen h'un 
more than two or three times between the two events ; but 
in death one remembers only the good and the great things. 
He had much loftiness of soul, and was as proud within as 
he was without. He thouglit himself a Louis XIV. ; and he 
almost was so in gardens and in magnificence, for which 
he substituted sometimes very comical little meannesses. 
For instance, he who spent millions in creating Beloeil, and 
millions at Belceil in giving superb fotes and in keeping up 
the state of a king, scolded his servants if they gave a 
glass of wine to the village cure or to the capuchin who 
came to preach in Lent, saying, aloud, that " beer was 
good enough for such people." This was mere oddity, for 
he was really noble in his manners and actions. He had 
been distinguished for bravery in the War of the Succession 
and at the battle and siege of Belgrade, "\^^len a very 
young colonel, being compelled to capitulate in the citadel 
of Antwerp, he said to the commander-in-chief : " The 
enemy shall not have my flags, at any rate ; " and he carried 
them off on liis shoulders and hid them. 

Prince Ferdinand, my uncle, was a marshal like my 
father, and distinguished himself at Bamillies, Audenarde, 
Malplaquet, and elsewhere ; but he was over-pious and 
petty. He had some good qualities ; for instance, he con- 
tributed not a little to my love for war. He often talked 
to me about it, and sent me constantly to his dragoons, or 
made those who had greatly distinguished themselves and 
taken banners come to see me. He so inspired me with his 
hatred for the French that I abhorred them for a very long 
time. He was a poor Hamilcar, and I was a poor Hannibal. 
The Due de Croy was the first soldier who came to us after 
the taking of Brussels in 1746, and I did not look at him 
with composure. 


I had another uncle of whom I knew nothing. He was 
older than my father, handsome as the day, brave as Csesar, 
amorous as a cat, and apparently faithful as a dog, for he 
wanted to marry the lady of his thoughts. She was a 
charming creature of some position, but not enough, I 
fancy, for his relations to approve. They opposed him ; he 
was angry and left the service, in which he was distin- 
guished. They were angry, and he left society. They dis- 
approved of him still more, and he shut himself up in a 
convent. They were furious ; on which he made over all 
his property to my father, reserving nothing for himself 
but the third floor of the small hotel de Ligne, an almoner, 
a valet, and for all furniture a chair and a crucifix. During 
the siege of Brussels [in 1746] the great hotel de Ligne was 
raked by a number of cannon-balls, and my father, marshal 
though he was, being surprised and shut up in the town, 
took his whole family and all his servants to the small 
hotel de Ligne because it was less exposed. Nevertheless, 
three balls entered the door one day as I was standing at 
the window above it. I was about ten years old. I do 
not know what possessed me to be always wanting to run 
up to the corridor on which my uncle, quite unknown to 
me, lived. They stopped me again and again ; on which I 
went to play elsewhere and thought no more about it. Some 
six or seven years later I said one morning as I woke, to my 
tutor, M. de la Porte, that I had dreamed my uncle was 
dead. But as I knew of only one uncle, the one named 
Prince Ferdinand, I said : " My uncle. Prince Ferdinand, 
died at five o'clock this morning." Two days later I heard, 
for the first time, of the existence and the death of the 
hermit. I asseverate that nothing can be truer than this. 

My eldest sister was certainly no beauty, and my father 
said to her one day : " Mj son will be killed in the war, for 


you have the face of an heiress." I have 'hardly ever seen 
her (or my other sister either, who was not less ugly) ; she 
is now the superior of the convent at Essen, and a good 
woman, so they say. 

My father was more or less in love with the Princesse 

C ■. Certain verses which my tutor, the Abbe Verdier, 

wrote for her, in which there were allegories that my father 
did not understand, made him jealous. He sent away the 
abbd ; and before they could find another tutor, imagine 
the hands into which they put me, — those of my father's 
pages ! They were two Barons de Hayden, who both died 
staff-officers. Knowing they could teach me nothing but 
the exercise, and being quartered with the regiment, they 
used to come over from Mons for that purpose only. 

The Abb^ Verdier's place was filled by another abb^, the 
only one of my tutors who believed in God. He was a 
true country vicar; said his breviary, sketched, went out 
shooting or snaring quail, and made me carry his powder 
and shot, and pick up the game. I fought for it with his 
little spaniel, which made me active, and I grew. It was 
thought my abb^ taught me nothing except to fetch, so he 
was sent away. 

M. Dutertre [the next] was accused to my father of 
trying to make learned persons and eclogues in the village, 
where he had found certam milkmaids to his fancy. So 
here I was again in other hands. A Chevalier des Essarts, 
a very limited gentleman, returning from the wars in 
Bohemia and Bavaria (which he never ceased recounting), 
undertook to give me the education that he lacked himself. 
He brought me back, however, to my military ardour. The 
siege of Prague, the sortie, the assault, turned my head. 
While he scarcely knew there was ever an Alexander or a 
Caesar, I devoured Quintus Curtius and the Commentaries 


(found in an old bookcase in the chateau de Baudour), and 
fancied myself becoming what they had been. He had but 
one book, the fables of Phaedrus [^Esop's, translated by 
Phnedrus], and he made me learn them by heart, while he 
himself went to ride on horseback. Once, when he tried 
to thrash me for not remembering them I flew at his face, 
and ran for my little sword to fight him. They parted me 
from my poor, ignorant, and angry Mentor. He was the 
one, next to the second abbd, whom I cared for least. 

The Jesuits and the cavalry having so ill responded to 
my father's intention of making me a youthful prodigy, he 
threw himself upon a totally different line. A successor of 
the Arnaulds, the Pascals, as euhghtened, as enthusiastic, 
as eloquent, as sublime as the best of Port-Pioyal, was chosen 
to put the last touch to my education — the last touch, 
they said ; but how many more hands were put to it after 
that ! He was named M. Eenault de la Eoche-Valain, was 
a great arguer, a profound theologian, and called the preacher 
of our village " a cawing crow in the Church of God." The 
latter had much influence over my uncle, a narrow-minded 
little marshal ; so the tutor was accused of being a Jan- 
senist. I can still see two asses, laden with Saint Augustine 
and various other fathers of the Church and of the Bible, 
arriving, with the prior of the convent, to confound my 
tutor. He w\as right ; and nothing more was needed to 
put him in the wrong. So the monastic cabal deprived me 
of a man who was full of ideas. I had been a Molinist 
(without knowing it) under my two Jesuits, who discoursed 
to me about Mme. Guyon, Fdnelon, and (quietism. I be- 
came a Jansenist with my ex-Oratorian, who talked to me 
of nothing but Bossuet, and made me learn the catechism 
of ]\I()ntpelh"(;r, and read the Old Testament of IMdzenguy 
and the "Ilistorv of Variations," etc. The Jesuits had 


made me learned on Molina and Molinos ; the abb^ whom 
I mentioned as the one who believed in God gave me Marie 
d'Agr^da and Marie Alacoque ; but with all my ecclesiasti- 
cal erudition I did not know one word of religion. They 
found this out by the time I was fourteen, when they talked 
about my making my first communion. I was sent to the 
village rector to learn everything, from the creation to the 
mysteries. He told me that he did not understand them 
any more than I did. I thought I believed in Christianity, 
of which no one had ever spoken to me, and for two weeks 
I was very devout. 

I would like to know what are the principles of educa- 
tion. We deceive our children all the time. We teach 
them things that we do not believe ourselves, and what we 
know that, in the end, they will not believe either. We 
expect this change in their ideas, but we never prepare them 
for it. We say : " Flee from pleasure." On the contrary, 
give it to them, or at least let them take it early. They 
will not desire it so much. One would really think that a, 
shrewd school of vice had trained the race of tutors to make 
it more enticing to their pupils. It is better for young men 
to have their fling and be blas^ on pleasure early, for then 
they will seek it afresh in study, application, morality, duty. 
We exact all that at the age of the passions, and the youth 
is disgusted. 

The father or the tutor never says to him : " You will fall 
in love ; attach yourself to none but an lionest woman, who 
will love you for yourself." His abb^ says to him : " Monsieur, 
you will be damned if you fall in love." His father's man 
of business tells liim : "Monsieur, keep away from women, 
or you will lose your reputation on entering the -world." 
The youth will soon find out there is no truth in all that 
They tell him : " Theatres are a school of vice and frivohty," 


and he sees the whole town rushing to them ; " Xever miss 
a mass," and he finds, unfortunately, that very many persons 
miss them ; " Do not lie," and lie goes to Court without 
having been shown the difl'erence between lies and reserva- 
tions. Talk to him of poisons, but give him the antidote. 
A young man from whom all knowledge of evil has been 
kept is elated on entering life ; his brain whirls ; he is 
startled, excited, and free as a young horse in the fields 
which cannot be caught; he confounds the virtue of the 
catechism with that of morality; he detests the first, and 
neglects the second. And because he was never taught to 
know the true value of things he is made a young scamp in 
spite of himself. 

My father, fearing that all these controversial matters, 
Jesuitical and other, would injure my mind, again had recourse 
to the French army to form my morals and my religion. 
Recollecting that the Chevalier des Essarts was a deist 
(and I too, in consequence), he asked a Chevalier de Saint- 
Maurice, a captain of the hussars of the Morlifere, whether 
he was a deist also. On being assured that he was not, he 
took him as my tutor. The chevalier did not lie, for he was 
an atheist. So now we were two atheists ; or rather, we did 
not think anything at all about the matter. 

Instead of teaching children geography and so many other 
things they forget as soon as they cease to be children, why 
not teach them to form a judgment on the right and the 
wrong, tlie just and the unjust? Take a little boy of six 
years old about with you among the poor ; let him see the 
obhgation and the pleasure of easing their troubles ; let him 
notice the hardness of a superior who scolds and humiliates, 
and the pain of a subordinate who is forced to endure it. 
Show him a miser, a malignant man, an ignorant one, a man 
who makes a bad argument, or does a bad action ; also the 


respect sliown to those wlio do good oues, the pure joy of 
a pure conscience, the innocent pleasures of country life. 
If we took the little boy always witli us and talked with 
him, instead of making him learn Eoman history, we could 
make him good, obedient, compassionate, generous, reasonable, 
and happy all his life. 

But no, a father thinks he has done all when he pays two 
hundred ducats to a tutor, whose chief concern is to main- 
tain his own dignity in the household. He teaches what he 
calls Poetry, but not to understand it or to make verses, and 
Philosophy, or rather the terms of sciences included under 
that name, so ill-applied. Then in due time he informs the 
father that he can invite all the Family Ptclations to dinner 
and be present afterwards at what is called an examination. 
The youth appears, armed with answers to all the questions 
that will be put to him. A cousin says : " What a mind ! " 
The aunts say : " Wliat a memory ! " The pedants smile. 
The mother says nothing and takes it all for granted ; the 
father, himself as badly brought up, is lost in astonishment 
that he has forgotten all that. Everybody is pleased, and my 
young man is a fool. Where is the logic and the morality 
of such an education ? Go on an embassy, young man, and 
you will soon find out that you know nothing, and that you 
ought to have been put upon the right track to know men. 
Be employed in your own country, or govern your own 
affairs, and you will see the injustices that you commit under 
the shadow of justice, you will learn the truths and the 
reasons that M. I'Abb^ ought to have taught you by con- 
versation, not by lessons. Wliere is the Professor and the 
University of the human heart ? 

But the Chevalier de Saint-Maurice proving no better 
than the rest, here I was again without a tutor. The studies 
I had followed under all of them had aiven me a liking for 


none. That of liistor}' was the one continual object of my 
thoughts. I was mad for heroism. Charles XII. and Cond^ 
kept me from sleeping; I even fancied I could do better 
than they. I gasped over Polybius ; I commentated the 
commentaries of Folard. I longed to be off to the wars. 
lUit what can one do at fifteen ? I tried to stir the im- 
agination of my family and my masters. I wrote a " Treatise 
on Arms," hoping to convince them that that was my voca- 
tion. It began : — 

" No man was ever born who did not receive from Nature 
some dominant inclination which will lead him to success 
in one way or another. Unhappy he who allows it to escape 
him ! He who was made, perhaps, to defend the Honour 
or the life of citizens is lost to the Country^ he was born to 
defend. He whom this noble duty suited dishonours the 
garment of a servant of the God of Israel, and shakes the 
foundations of the Church of which he would fain have been 
a powerful column. . . . The glory of arms sheds so daz- 
zling a radiance that it conquers the soul at the first glance. 
And what is the source of that Light ? This is something 
we take no pains to discover ; often we enjoy the light of 
day and never think of the Sun which is its principle. 
Little content myself to consider superficially an object that 
concerns me so closely, I sound the depths ; I find that glory 
to be that we render services, we endure pains, we receive 
praise. And what are the objects on which the Warrior's 
eye is fixed as he renders service ? His Prince, his Country, 

" It is impossible to utter that word ' Country ' without 
remembering what the ancient Eomans, filled with the 
most sublime Virtue, did for theirs. Decius, Curtius, and 
other Heroes who sacrificed themselves for her good have 
left, no doubt, a great example to be followed, but do we 


need it ? Is not love of Country innate within us ? Does 
not the same bond that binds us one to another attach us, 
each and all, to the good of our common Mother ? . . . The 
soldier is the eagle of Jupiter the Thunder-bearer. It is 
living twice to die as lie dies. Great Heroes ! conquerors 
over so many pains of body and of mind, I hold you in 
veneration. Mars ! guide my steps. Pardon me if I 
invoke you instead of the god of Eloquence. Had I done 
otherwise this would have been a Hymn, and not a Treatise. 
Speak, my soul ! and may the enthusiasm which I have here 
restrained as much as possible find grace before you, my 
Master ! " (This passage was particularly addressed to the 
tutor who was then endeavouring to form my mind.) " My 
Soul will take care of herself ; 't is She who from your 
hands will pass me soon to those of Victory." 

I considered that I already belonged to the army, be- 
cause the old dragoons of my uncle's brave regiment carried 
me on their muskets and told me tales of Clausen, Dettingen, 
and Bonef. At nine or ten years of age I had already heard 
the guns of a battle [Fontenoy], I had been in a besieged 
town. A little later, and I was surrounded by military men. 
Old officers, retired after long service on their estates neigh- 
bouring those of my father, fed my passion. " Turenne," 1 
said to myself, " slept on a gun-carriage when he was ten ; 
Hannibal swore eternal hatred to the Eomans when he was 
nine." I swore it in my heart to the French, whom I was 
taught to believe our inevitable enemies. I have since 
recovered from that idea very thoroughly. 

War was beginning to be talked of. I made a certain 

M. de Chaponais, captain in Royal-Vaisseaux, promise to 

engage me in his company. T meant to have run away from 

my father's house under a feigned name ; and already I was 

imagining the joy of not being recognized until after I had 
IMem. Ver. 6— E 


done the most dazzling deeds. Instead of this fine project^ 
a tutor, much wiser than the others, and who, unluckily, 
gave me no chance against him, arrived at this juncture to 
take me in hand. He seconded my liking for study; he 
divided my studies in a way to make them fruitful, and gave 
me by way of relaxation my mihtary authors ; among whom 
I then began, though very shghtly, to take the place I now 
occupy. M. de la Porte (that was my tutor's name) was 
the third ex-Jesuit that I had over me. He brought to me 
from the College of Louis-le-Grand that fine flower of the 
humanities, of literature, of urbanity which has since made 
the charm of my existence, and in forming my soul at the 
same time as my mind, he won the more right to my grat- 
itude, because I believe that if I have ever been worth 
anything it is to him I owe it. 

But whoever was my tutor, no one could make me learn 
anything I did not like ; and they discovered at last the 
impossibility of teaching me chemistry, mathematics (except 
what sufficed for fortifications), astronomy, or even arith- 
metic. This deficiency goes to such a point that I have 
never been able to learn a game of cards, or chess, or back- 

During the five or six summer months, which I always 
spent at Beloeil, I learned hunting and economy — the 
economy of my father — in a singular way. As he did not 
choose that I should waste his powder on sparrows, he made 
me buy my own and the shot too, and agreed to pay me 
four sous for every head of small game I brought home, 
half a crown for a fox or a deer, a whole crown for a boar or 
a wolf. I never had any other money than what I earned 
thus until the day of my marriage. 

My father, who shared his opera-box with the Princesse 
de Home, who was just married and as beautiful as she was 


amiable, fearing that I should fall in love with her, would 
not let me go there. My tutor liked the theatre. " Very 
well," said my father, " then you must sit on the benches of 
the stage ; " — they were placed about the stage in those 
days. There I saw the charming actresses more closely, 
and I lost nothing of much that was little instructive in the 
pretty vaudeville-operas. One evening I pretended to be 
obliged to go out, but T stopped in the coulisse, where I 
found a danscuse, a Demoiselle Gr^goire, whose fine eyes, 
as I believed, being very vain in those days, were sometimes 
turned on me. I made her my declaration, and she laughed. 
Speechless at first, then mortified, I said to myself : " This 
scene in the coulisse shall serve for sometJiing." M. de 
Turenne's duel at nine years of age had turned my head. 
" I am thirteen," I thought, " and I have never fought yet." 
An officer about thirty years old was entering the house to 
take a seat on the benches. I trod on his toes. " The 
deuce ! prince," he said, " you are very awkward." " No, 
monsieur," I replied, " I did it on purpose, for you looked at 
me with such an air." He began to laugh like Mile. 
Gr^goire ; and there was I, in one quarter of an hour twice 
scarified as a child ! 

We went to Vienna and my father took me to Court. 
Wliile he was with the empress the emperor sent for me, 
treated me very kindly, and took me into the antechamber, 
where my father soon arrived. Easily infuriated, the latter 
began to scold me for being where no one was allowed to 
enter but the chamberlains. " That is precisely what he is," 
said Francis I. ; "I meant to surprise you." 

We are all more or less silly at that age, and self-impor- 
tant, which naturally follows. I never made a drawing or 
wrote a letter without signing at the bottom : " Charles de 
Ligne, chamberlain." In fact, my joy was extreme. A man 


of the Court at fifteen ! " And then, too," I said to my- 
self, " M. de la Porte " (though I loved him well) " can't be 
a chamberlain ; I shall be at Court, at church, without 
him. "What pleasure ! What lionour ! " Alas ! once back 
at Beloeil my chamberlainship did not prevent my being 
treated as a child. 

My father never talked with me. One day he made me 
get into the carriage with him and took me to Vienna and 
married me. We went to a house where there were a quan- 
tity of pretty faces, married or to be married, I did not know 
which. I was told to sit at table beside the youngest. My 
servants had told me that my marriage was arranged, but 
when we left the table and I thought over all that I had 
seen, I could not tell whether it was my mother-in-law 
or an aunt, or one of the little young girls who was des- 
tined for me. Eight days later I was married [1755]. I 
was nineteen years old, and my little wife [the Princesse 
FranQoise-Xavi^re de Lichtenstein, daughter of Emmanuei, 
Prince de Lichtenstein, and Marie- Antoinette de Dietrich- 
stein-Weichselstadt] was fifteen. We had never spoken to 
each other. It was thus that I did what is said to be the 
most serious act of one's life. I thought it a good joke for 
some weeks ; after that I was indifferent. 

My tutor, M. de la Porte, left me the day after my mar- 
riage. This caused me a grief I cannot express. He went 
away witli my father, who left him in France and gave him 
a pension too small to satisfy me. I then incurred the first 
debt of my life ; namely, twelve hundred ducats, to buy him 
a little property in the Agdnois, his native region, where he 
died soon after. 

At the marriage benediction in the Austrian (or Moravian) 
village church, where the litanies are said, it is the custom to 
appear in dressing-gowns. What was my astonishment 


when my father made me put my arms into an old garment 
of his in which I had seen him go through fifty attacks of 
gout. It was made of flame-coloured satin, with parrots 
embroidered in gold perched on innumerable little trees 
embroidered in green ; and this, too, in the heat of summer 
My father himself looked more like the bridegroom, and 
wore a coat with gold lace on every seam. He had, I admit, 
rained silver about me on the day of the betrothal, and show- 
ers of gold on the wedding-day. In the evening there were 
fireworks. Some one had imagined the idea, — a novel im- 
age — of uniting two fiery hearts ; but the groove on which 
they were to slide missed action. My wife's heart went off, 
but mine stayed behind. This alarmed my relations, who 
thought it a bad omen. 

I do not remember whether it was a piece of affectation or 
from real love of the chase that I went out hunting at six 
o'clock in the morning after my wedding night. It is true 
that my mother-in-law came to wake us before daylight, 
" for fear," she said, " some evil-minded person might cast a 
spell upon us." I was not long in finding out that the fam- 
ily I had entered were no sorcerers. 

My wife's great-aunt, the Princess of Saxe-Weissenfels, 
enchanted perhaps with her new great-nephew, said to me : 
" I will pay all your expenses in Dresden." I therefore in- 
vited all Saxony and Poland to dinner at the Hotel de la 
Pologne. It cost the good princess not a little, but I left her 
charmed with a couple whose united ages were thirty-four, 
and continued my way to the Low Countries. My wife is 
an excellent woman, — full of delicacy, sensibility, and noble- 
ness. She is not at all selfish. Her ill-humour soon passes 
off and her eyes are wet with tears for the merest trifle. 
There is no unpleasantness in her because she has an excel- 
lent heart. She grants her children all they ask, and is just 


as complying to even me. If people are really amiable at 
home they can, with a trifle less success owing to locality, 
succeed elsewhere. I have no opinion of those who are not 
amiable in their famihes ; not to speak of the bad heart that 
that implies, a man must be pretty poor to show himself so 
economical of wit and grace. 

If I had won battles instead of merely helping to win 
them, I could never have been more pleased and proud than 
I was when I first went on guard, and that other day when 
I started for my first campaign in 1757. To beginners in 
war I say : Be you of the blood of heroes, be you of the race 
of demigods, if glory does not intoxicate you continually do 
not stand beneath her banners. Say not that you have a 
liking for your profession; if that cold word suffices you, 
embrace another. Be sure of tliis: you may perform your 
service without blame, you may know the principles of the 
art of war, but you are only artisans ; you may even attain 
to a certain point, but you are not artists. Love the profes- 
sion of arms before all else ; love it with passion — yes, pas- 
sion is the word. If you do not dream of soldiering, if you 
do not devour books and plans of war, if you do not kiss the 
footprints of old soldiers, if you do not weep at the recital of 
their combats, if you are not consumed with desire to see 
war, and with shame that you have never yet done so, tear 
off in haste the uniform you dishonour. If the exercise of a 
mere battahon does not excite you, if you do not feel the 
longing to be everywhere, if your mind is absent, if you 
do not dread lest rain should hinder your regiment from 
manoeuvring, give your place to some young man such as 
I wish him to be, — a young man mad for the art of 
Maurice and Eug(ine ; one who will ever be convinced that 
he must do his duty trebly to do it passably. Sorrow to the 


lukewarm ! Iteturii them to the bosom of their families ; 
let such degraded beings, the unfortunate mob who are con- 
stantly soliciting favours they do not deserve, let such men 
cease to hinder old soldiers from showing to the sovereign 
their honourable scars. True consideration belongs to the 
truly brave, and not to those who, pretending to serve, rob 
the real soldier of his recompense. 

In short, to be a soldier, enthusiasm must go to our heads, 
honour must electrify our hearts, the fire of victory must 
shine in our eyes, our souls must be lifted up as we uplift 
the banner of glory. I ask pardon for this enthusiasm, 
which may be too great at the present moment, driving me, 
against my will, into a little declamation. 



In 1757 the Prussians, being resolved to open the 
campaign before we did, never a very difficult matter, en- 
tered Bohemia on five different sides, as everybody knows. 
The Ligne battalions were hurried out of cantonments with 
orders to go to Konigingratz. "We arrived at Rothwesely 
at the same time as the Saxe Gotha contingent, whose blue 
jackets, seen from afar, misled our general into thinking 
they were the enemy ; whereupon he halted us. We soon 
joined forces, and camped together, April 22, near the 
village of Nechanitz. Such was the singular beginning of 
a singular campaign, in which the regiments hunted for 
the generals and the generals for the regiments, and some- 
times did not find each other at all 

That night we were ordered to strike tents at ten o'clock 
and march in the deepest silence to Konigmgratz. I was 
ordered forward with forty of my men as an advanced 
guard, and, in spite of the precautions which I took to get 
the road well mended, a bridge broke down and delayed 
the march some hours on account of the supply waggons 
which they did not wish to leave behind. Never was there 
so dark a night; no one knew where he was going. We 
needed guides, but the country people were afraid of us. 
I did not reach the gates of Konigingriitz till daylight. 
M. de Serbelloni, whom I informed that the rest of the 
corps would soon join him, had given us up. He sent me 


the other side of the Adler to mark out the camp, and little 
by little the rest of the force arrived. We were under 
arms all day. 

May 8 Mar(5chal Daun arrived from Vienna to take 
command of our army, and he must have formed a bad 
opinion of us. Impossible to be worse encamped. The 
regiments wejre one above another in a valley with their 
whole right flank exposed. I desire to do justice to the 
indefatigable care of Mar^chal Daun, who visited the troops, 
talked to them, encouraged them, and issued an order 
saying that circumstances obliged him to make a few 
marches to meet his reinforcements, but that the moment 
they joined him he would march upon the enemy. 

On the 17th we threw up a few redoubts, good and bad, 
and I had leisure for the first time to go off and see the 
outposts. I got there almost too late for a little skirmish 
which M. de Nauendorf carried off successfully ; but he 
was still firing, and I did not care ; I had heard the balls 
whistle for the first time in my life, and I was happy as 
a king. 

On the 13th the army marched to Kolin. The marshal 
had conceived the fine idea of advancing to the eastward 
and turning the enemy's flank. Secrecy was necessary, and 
what chance of that with us ? However, we almost suc- 
ceeded ; though a defile (which could have been foreseen) 
made us lose a whole day. The cavalry had to pass single 
file ; it took us thirteen hours to do three leagues. But at 
last we came so close to the enemy that their pickets and 
ours were in the same wood. I was ordered there, and my 
patrols went almost up to theirs. Suddenly the unlucky 
discharge of a musket, fired accidentally, which was taken 
for a signal, set all our drums to beating. In spite of this, 
however, the enemy could have been surprised if we had 


marched on at midnight instead of waiting for the next 
day, if the columns had debouched on the level of the 
plain, and if they had not formed in line of battle instead 
of advancing instantly on the Prussians, as they well could. 
And yet these very blunders brought us luck ; for if, as 
was intended, we had surprised, fought, and captured the 
Prince de Bevern, there would have been no battle of Kolin 
on the 18th [June]. 

A singular thing happened at that battle. A fancy 
seized, no one ever knew why, the whole Ligne battalion 
to fire off a/eit de joie of rejoicing, which came near having 
dangerous results. The regiments before us thought they 
were attacked in their rear. It cost the lives of several of 
our officers. In fact, I do not know why a great many 
more were not killed, for we were just behind the front 
and got their volley at close quarters. My lieutenant had 
his coat burned. It was only seven o'clock. Victory was 
not yet decided. But all our troops of different nations 
did marvels. The marshal, who rode in the heaviest fire, 
had all his orderlies killed around him. I fuUy expected 
to see the remains of the Prussian army driven into the 
Elbe, and I shall never understand why there was no 
pursuit. M. de Nadasdy, who ought to have charged with 
his hussars, received no orders, and issued none. I re- 
member that I gave myself airs, and advised my own 
general. The king's right retired towards Bohmischbrod, 
his left to Nimburg. Our army passed the night on the 
field of battle, with all the joy that can be imagined in 
those who were not accustomed to it. On the 21st was a 
Te Deum, which made us lose still more time. 

The Ligne Dragoons, who have done such honour, on so 
many different occasions, to our name, won this battle by 
a vigorous charge at the very moment the order of retreat 


was given, the battle being considered lost ; and they were 
the first to break the Prussian battalions. Some squadrons 
of Savoie and Wiirtemberg and the Saxon light-horse also 
did marvels. As for me, inasmuch as, thanks to my briga- 
dier who was confused, we were not yet under fire, I was 
so tired of being out of it I fired a cannon into the midst 
of a lot of blue which I saw on a hill the other side of the 
high-road. They said afterwards that the king was there 
until the moment when he himself led his cavalry to the 

On the 26th we met the besieged army, which took ad- 
vantage of our victory to come out of Prague. On the 30th, 
Mar^chal Brown [Maximilian Ulysses] died in Prague, of 
his wounds and of the visit of his victorious rival, Mardchal 
Daun. I went to Prague myself to see if there was any- 
thing to be learned. I saw nothing but the remains of a 
quantity of ignorances committed on both sides, particu- 
larly in the works of the Prussians, for they know nothing 
of the engineering side of war. I saw how it was that the 
right wing of our army, beaten at Malleschitz, was taken in 
flank ; and how the enemy had separated one half from 
the other half and had cut it off entirely, thanks to the 
ill-behaviour of our cavalry, which was seized with a panic 
terror at the same time as the Prussian cavalry, which fled 
in the other direction with just as little reason. I saw, in 
short, the most villanous beginning of a campaign, and one 
which cost us much to repair. 

July 21 the enemy, having retreated as we advanced, 
threw himself into Zittau, and it seemed probable some- 
thing interesting would happen. I started from camp with- 
out leave with several other young officers, who, like me, 
risked the provost and being shot to satisfy our curiosity. 
But the Prussian chasseurs gave us more than we wanted. 


I afterwards accompanied the marshal to the suburbs of 
the town, whence he sent two colonels to propose terms to 
the garrison, which were rather severe. He would have 
done much better to invest the town, for the enemy were 
only trying to gain time, in order to send away their 
treasure and then escape themselves — which they did, 
to our shame. 

Instead of being the first in the attack as I flattered 
myself, I was forced to rejoin my battalion, which, under 
orders of General Wied, was now brought up with the rest 
of the reserve corps. We arrived in time to witness the 
barbarity that was exercised on Zittau. What a scene ! 
They reduced to ashes a splendid city, perfectly well built, 
the most commercial town in Saxony after Leipzig, and — 
most distressing of all — a number of the prettiest women 
in the world. This was discovered the next day, as soon 
as the terrible conflagration, lasting more than twenty-four 
hours, allowed us to visit the lugubrious remains of a brilliant 
city that existed no longer. It was dangerous to ride about 
on account of the still falling stones, and awful to look into 
the cellars where whole families were smothered, — children 
lying dead upon their mothers' breasts. I turn my thoughts 
away from this horrible event, fit to disgust one forever with 

On the 25th we went into camp near Zittau, and there 
we spent the greater part of the summer, in the most in- 
jurious inaction for the army, because desertion, sickness, 
lack of supplies, marauding, and want of discipline made 
their appearance, and with evil results. 

On the 6th of September Prince Charles of Lorraine, in 
order to attract the attention of the Prince de Beveru (to 
whom the King of Prussia had left the command of his 
army while he marched against the French), posted his 


left at Jauernick and occupied the camp at Schonau. At 
midnight an order came to us to start in great silence, and 
leave our tents standing. We marched to glory. Nadasdy's 
companies of Hungarian and German grenadiers, joined to 
our AVallons, were ordered to climb the mountain, the Holz- 
berg, and drive away the Prussian grenadiers, while the 
Croats, slipping round by the ravines were to take them in 
flank and join us at the battery. The dispositions were 
all excellent. The attack was to be supported by the bat- 
talions of the Fusileers, who were ordered to advance in 
two lines accordmg as the grenadiers advanced themselves. 
But they, carried away by too much ardour for glory and 
booty, did not stop at the battery ; some pursued the 
Prussians in great disorder, others entered the tents. The 
enemy returned in force, and matters went ill. 

It was for us to repair them ; I say tts, and I mean our 
battalion, that of Saxe-Gotha and a few of the Arberg. It 
was the Wallon day ! for our companies of the grenadiers 
were the first up. It was fine to see them mount without 
firing a shot until they were sure of the mountain, Man- 
teufel and Treskow were the troops with whom wo had to 
do. I have never seen anything finer or so brave. M. de 
Winterfeld was killed at their head marching against us 
like a madman. He mounted the hill on one side as our 
men mounted it on the other. Pieaching the crest of the 
mountain at the same time, we had a moment of flux and 
reflux, as they do at the opera. I tried to stop it, and to 
fix and form a line with my battle-axe and the halberds of 
my sub-officers. It was rough to be between the hottest 
fire the enemy had made throughout the war and that of 
the Platz regiment, which, instead of keeping on our right 
as it should, was hurrying to fire off its cartridges from 
behind us, and so have a pretext for going away. 


The first rank of the Prussians and ours were so close 
together that the muskets ahnost crossed each other. It 
was then that the affair became terrible ; the barracks, 
kitchens, tents, etc., took tire and blazed up. The enemy 
used them as a parapet to shoot us at close quarters ; the 
wounds were so large they looked as if made by cannon- 
balls. The smoke was dense ; we did not know with whom 
we were. Several times I got beyond the Prussians, who, 
turning round upon us, gave and received bayonet thrusts ; 
a number of my men were wounded in that way. There 
was such slaughter, my neighbours and the clumsy fellows 
in the rear ranks were killing so many, that it was abso- 
lutely necessary to stop their wild firing. My staff-officers 
could not be everywhere, my oldest comrades were all 
killed, nearly all our officers were wounded. I shouted : 
" Shoulder arms ! " as hard as I could ; but if I stopped ten 
or twelve, the thirteenth man, who did not hear me, fired, 
and all the others began again. I saw the moment coming 
when we should have to yield. More than ever I roared 
myself hoarse for the honour of the nation, and shout- 
ing, " Vive Maria Theresa ! Bayonets and the Wallons I " I 
rushed on with a small following of Lignes and Saxe- 
Gothas ; and well they served me ! It was a race pell-mell 
with the enemy; each man picked and followed his own. 
Two soldiers got to the bottom of the mountain when I 
did, and each of them captured a flag. Tliis helter-skelter 
rush was the thing that decided the enemy to retreat. We 
went at this pace to the village of Moys. There I rallied 
my troop with the one sub-lieutenant who had kept up 
with me. We ran the risk of being sabred by hussars if 
any had come up. That reflection decided me to bring my 
company back to the battalion, which I found, formed in 
good order, at the foot of the mountain. All the officers 


were hors de combat except two, and they had cuts through 
their hats and coats, for everybody had something. While 
I was addressing my remains, a cannon-ball carried off four 
grenadiers between the Prince de Stolberg and me ; another 
at the same instant covered me with eartli, and a third 
knocked me over. I did not know what to look to. We 
were left there a long time exposed very improperly. It 
did not come into anybody's head to order us under shel- 
ter ; the fight was over, and our artillery was replying very 
badly to that of the Prussians. But one does not like to 
give advice in such cases. 

Two or three times [during this campaign] I had talks 
with the enemy. Prince Louis of Wlirtemberg and I went 
to the outposts one day and twirled our caps, which is a sign 
of good friendship. Some hussars came to us ; this was near 
Breslau. We told them we should come back the next day 
at the same hour, to the same place, and they must tell 
Prince Frederick and his brother, a major-general in their 
service. The prince came, and brought with him Prmce 
Frangois of Brunswick, who was quite wrong to want a 
talk, for he could not say a word, he stuttered so. All the 
students at Breslau came out to look at us. Many of the 
Prussian general officers were walking about at no great dis' 
tance, but they did not dare to join us. Such interviews 
were scarcely tolerated on their side, and strictly forbidden 
on ours. During the conversation I tried all I could to 
examine the lay of the land beyond the river and the 

November 25 the capitulation of Breslau was signed. 
The garrison was to leave with the honours of war. As the 
order forbidding officers to ride over there was very badly 
enforced, I went with the Princes of Saxony to witness the 
affair. It was the saddest sight in the world. I looked for 


the garrison, but saw none. There was a troop in the market 
place, not drawn up in order, which diminished every minute, 
for a ducat was being given to each deserter. Scarcely any 
but the officers left the place, and they canied off their 
Hags themselves, sadly enough. Seventeen thousand of our 
men were marched in under orders of M. de Sprecher. 

November 27 we learned that the King of Prussia was ad- 
vancing ; that the fragments of his beaten army had rejoined 
him and that even the deserters were flocking back. If tlie 
resolution had then been taken instantly to post ourselves 
at Parchnitz, or to stay where we were and await the enemy, 
or to attack him at the passage of the Schweidnitz (if he 
attempted it), or to camp at Marchdorf, we should have kept 
Silesia; Liegnitz would have fallen. Our quarters might 
have been a little cramped, but the king would have had to 
turn back for want of supplies. As for us, we could have 
drawn ours from Poland and Bohemia. Of all those plans 
none were taken, and a worse was chosen ; namely, a march, 
and the passage of the Schweidnitz. General Lucchesi, who 
gave this bad advice, was punished for it two days later by a 
cannon-ball which took off his head. 

On the morning of December 5 our Saxon light-horse 
cavalry were utterly defeated [battle of Leuthen] ; they were 
pushed too far forward, and the hussars were unable to sup- 
port them against the Prussian cavalry. The king, by help 
of a ravine, covered the manoeuvre. We ought not to have 
been deceived ; it was plain that he meant to attack upon 
our left ; which should have rested on the river, and not 
have been presented to the enemy as it was, for the flank 
was formed in front in a manner to give him the idea of 
overwhelming it. "We ought at least to have put brave men 
on that flank, and to have taken one or other of the two 
positions in the rear of it which were offered by Nature her- 


self ; we ought never to have listened to Lucchesi ; we ought 
to have obliged him to attack the enemy on his left; we 
ought to have burned the houses in Leuthen, and we ought 
not to have engaged tlie whole army, and each regiment sep- 
arately, after the ill-success of our left. 

The few WUrtemburgers who did not run away surren- 
dered to the Prussians. The Bavarians departed a few 
moments later. Nadasdy's corps was then, necessarily, with- 
drawn. The thing was all over in half an hour. They 
shouted for the Eeserve to come up as fast as possible. We 
made but one rush ; my lieutenant-colonel was killed in- 
stantly. I lost, besides, the major, all my officers except 
three, and eleven or twelve cadets or volunteers. We passed 
to the left of the houses of Leuthen ; but it was impossible 
to hold our ground. Besides an incredible cannonading and 
the musket-balls that rained upon the battalion which I was 
then commanding (for we had no colonel, and I called out : 
" Messieurs, awaiting the decision of a Council of War, I 
take this upon myself " — a good deal is forgiven to the son 
of a proprietary colonel), the third battalion of the King's 
Guards kept at us with their hottest fire. They were not 
eighty paces distant, drawn up and awaiting us as if on 
parade. My soldiers, jaded with their march and without 
cannon (for none could or perhaps would follow us), scattered, 
and fought no longer except from temper; it was for our 
honour rather than for the good of the thing that we did not 
go off the ground. An ensign of the Arberg battalion helped 
me for a time to make a line with his remains and mine. 
When he was killed, two officers of grenadiers brought me 
theirs. When I had, with these and the remains of my 
own brave battalion and a few Hungarians, about two hun- 
dred men I withdrew to the Moulin height (as the rest of 

the army ought to have done). From there T proposed to 
Mem. Ver. 6— F 


attack the village, and taking a flag in my hand, I advanced 
with my troop in good order, everybody fleeing to right 
and left of us. But, desperate at seeing no one imitate our 
example, and that two brigades, which were always march- 
ing about and doing nothing, would not support us, I now 
thought only of how to retire more honourably than the 
rest. It was high time ; a few minutes later we should all 
have been made prisoners. I managed to lodge the few men 
left to me of my Ligne regiment in the first hovels I found 
on the other side of the river. Towards the end of the 
battle I had found my horse, on which I gave myself the 
airs of a staff-officer ; it is true I was tired out, and could 
do no more ; but he gave me a bad fall into a ditch in the 
course of the night. 

About five in the morning the Due d'Aremberg passed 
the place where I was, and ordered me to go with him to 
Grabischen, where I saw the prince [Charles of Lorraine] 
and the mar^chal [Daun], as sad as can well be imagined. 
One seemed to be saying, " I never could have believed it ; " 
and the other, " I told you so." 

December 24 we reached Jaromirz. The prince and the 
mar^chal established their winter quarters at Konigingratz : 
and it was there, where I began, that I ended my first 

The colonel of the Ligne regiment having been detached 
before the battle of Breslau, and the lieutenant-colonel and 
stafi'-officers and other captains having been killed at Leuthcn, 
I found myself, as I have said, in command of the battalion. 
I was soon after promoted lieutenant-colonel and commanded 
the two battalions of my father's regiment of Wallons. We 
are ignorant of the origin of that name. No one has ever 
been able to tell how the word " Wallons " or " Vallons " came 
to us. Our region is that of what the Eomans called the 


Nervii, and the origin must be there. But as to the usage 
tliat history had since made of the name, it seems to have 
long been the custom to call all French-speaking inhabitants 
of the Austrian Low Countries Wallons, and the neighbours 
of the Nervii, such as the Eburones and the Tongris, were 
included. Hence the ancient Vallonne hordes, so famous in 
other days, and the Vallon Guards, regiments which have 
served with such honour in the Austrian armies. There are 
companies who still bear that name in the armies of France, 
Naples, and Holland. In the latter country they talk of 
the Vallon Church. In the regions where they speak 
Vallon, that is to say, bad French, the name is pronounced 
Ouallon, and spelt with a W. 

[The following year, 1758] the army, fated to be com- 
manded by Mar(5chal Daun, came out of its very bad winter 
quarters with all the more satisfaction because contagious 
diseases were rife and had carried off a good number of those 
whom the preceding campaign had spared. The King of 
Prussia, neither conqueror nor conquered, content with a 
state of indecision, did not think of attacking us ; that was 
not his game ; on the contrary, he was anxious not to come 
to a general engagement, which might cause him to lose 
Saxony. He therefore enjoyed his usual pleasure of keepmg 
us in a state of suspense. 

Meanwhile, however, the siege of Olmutz was progressing 
considerably. The enemy was said to be not more than 
sixty yards from the covered way. It was time to do 

June 30 we suddenly received orders to strike tents and 
start instantly. This was shortening formalities mightily; 
but it is thus, by wasting no time, that the secrecy of an 
expedition is secured. We marched without really know- 
ing where we were going, but, in the main, we felt sure it 


must be to relieve the besieged town. We marched slowly 
Meantime wonders were being done by M. de Loudon with 
his Croats, who had hmg been on the watch for a favourable 
enterprise. He knew well how to distinguish good reports 
from bad ones ; rejecting those dictated by fear, he made 
the most of the others. Eeceiving news of a convoy near 
Domstattl, he sent forward his light troops, supported them 
with his dragoons, captured the convoy and escort, took 
quantities of prisoners, destroyed the, enemy's supplies, 
succeeded in capturing every waggon, saved Olmutz, and 
covered himself with glory. 

The heat was extreme ; but we stood it well and patiently 
because we knew we were advancing against the enemy. 
July 1, from the heights above Olmutz, we could see the 
besieged and the besiegers ; only a short march remained to 
be made. On the 2nd, we were amazed to find the trenches 
abandoned and the garrison employed in destroying them. 
Everybody was pleased: Mar^chal Daun for having made 
a wise march ; somebody else for having advised it ; M. de 
Loudon for having fought and decided what might have 
hung on for some time longer; and Comte de Marschall for 
having defended the place vigorously. But why was not 
M. de Bucknow, so useless hitherto, close at the king's heels ? 
We might have got his artillery and baggage. Ah ! if that 
enthusiasm which the king knew so well how to inspire 
in his army had only been in ours I Some one was wanted 
to stir its imagination. But we had learned this year 
how to camp and how to march, and that was a good deal 
for us. 

I spent the two days we were under the walls of Olmutz 
in visiting the fortifications. They had suffered very little 
from a six weeks' cannonading. They were already being 
repaired in two or three places. It seemed to me that the 


breach made in tlie wall of the Corps de Place was sufficient 
for an assault as soon as the enemy were masters of the 
covered way. Olmutz might have been better attacked, but 
it could not have been better defended. 

We entered Saxony August 31, by way of Konigsbriick, 
with the intention of reheving Dresden by crossing the Elbe 
above the woods of Eadeburg. It was here that the rumour 
of a battle with the Eussians began to be bruited about 
[Frederick the Great had defeated the Eussians at Dornsdorf, 
August 25]. Our march was greatly retarded by the confu- 
sion of two columns that crossed each other. September 3rd 
the project of relieving Dresden was abandoned; we had 
scarcely reached Eadeburg before this retrograde resolution, 
which put it out of our power to undertake anything good, 
was formed. The army marched at once to Stolpen; the 
Prussian hussars attacked our baggage, and came near cap- 
turing the whole of it. 

Prince Henry [of Prussia], who from the beginning of the 
campaign had no other object than to cover Saxony, was in 
camp at Dohna. The defeat of his corps would have 
brouQ;ht about the taking of Dresden and the evacuation of 
Saxony. The day for it was fixed, but a parade and review 
in honour of the Comte de Haugwitz delayed the march ; and 
so an army that ought only to have taken up arms to force 
the enemy to lay down theirs, took them up for a minister 
who was so near-sighted that he only pretended to see the 
troops. The march was therefore postponed till the follow- 
ing day. This was September 22. The grenadiers, under 
M. de Lacy, were ready to cross the river ; the bridges 
were thrown over ; the army had orders to leave its bag- 
gage, and was only waiting the word to march, when false 
information, fear of results, what shall I say ? fatal irreso- 
lution, so destructive in war, upset the whole plan. The 


grenadiers came back to camp, and the army returned to its 

I saw a great deal during this time of the famous Com- 
tesse de Cossel, who for forty-eight years had been shut up 
in the neighbouring castle of Stolpen for having tried to kill 
her august lover, Augustus [Elector of Saxony and King of 
Poland]. She took a great liking for me, and told me that, 
bemg able to go free on the death of her king [1733], that 
is, at the end of twenty -three years' imprisonment, she had 
remained in the castle twenty-five years longer, because she 
then knew no one and expected to die soon. She said that, 
having had time to study all religions, she had chosen the 
Jewish, and exhorted me to do the same. For wdiich pur- 
pose she gave me, the last time I saw her, her Bible, with 
her notes in broad red pencil. This gift she announced to 
me in a way that made me suppose it was the largest of her 
diamonds she was going to present to me. 

She gave me an account of the arrival of Charles XII. in 
Dresden, so well known to history. Augustus and herself 
were in the latter's arsenal, where he practised his feats of 
strength, especially with his wrists, in which his great power 
lay. Some one knocked at the door. Augustus said, " Come 
in ! " and Charles entered and embraced him, saying, " Good- 
morning, my brother." Mme. de Cossel went up to the king 
to advise him to arrest this wandering royal brother. 
Charles perceiving her intention, or else disliking women, 
made a face, which induced Augustus to make a sign to 
Mme. de Cossel to withdraw. She did so, with a furious 
glance at the King of Sweden, miserable that the King of 
Poland should draw no benefit from a visit that amazed all 
Europe. She told me a hundred interesting things, and ad- 
vised me not to drink and not to gamble, and to give up 
great adventures at Court, where no one could long be 


happy, and also in the army after I had won the fame she 
predicted for me. 

The last time I saw her she said, with great coolness and 
yet with much earnestness : " This is Friday, and it is nearly 
seven o'clock ; my Sabbath is about to begin. You leave in 
a few days and I shall not see you again. In three years 
you will lose your best friend, who bids you farewell at this 
moment forever." I was much moved ; she kissed me and 
I left her. She wrote me a letter some time after, scarcely 
legible, still less intelligible, full of mystical or magic mean- 
ings, which the devil alone could have deciphered. She kept 
her word and I never saw her again. 

There had long been talk of a possible deficiency of provi- 
sions which sooner or later would force Mardchal Daun to 
leave Stolpen, but he seemed to be reluctant to do so. He 
had not known how to profit by the diversion of the Eus- 
sians and the battle of Dornsdorf to establish himself, as he 
ought to have done, in Brandebourg. It was not until 
October 5 that we moved from Stolpen. We Wallons, who 
had been for some time past the Croats of the army, were 
to cover the retreat. The Due d'Aremberg commanded the 
rear guard of the reserve corps ; Loudon that of the main 
army. We struck tents with a show of mystery and spent 
the night under arms between Neukirch and Tautwalden. 
My regiment marched four or five hours behind the others, 
but was not attacked. 

On the 7th our position was secure, and the heights of 
Hochkirch were occupied by six hundred of our cavalry. On 
the 10th a few pistol-shots, heard on the Hochkirch at day- 
break, announced the intention of the enemy to carry it. 
The commanders of our cavalry might perhaps |^have held 
their ground some time without being supported ; but the 
fact is it was the King of Prussia himself, with his whole 


army, advancing to occupy the heights. I can render no 
better account of the glorious day of October 14 than by 
copying the orders of the commander-in-chief and showing 
in what they were followed and in what they were not 
followed.^ . . . 

My two battalions were drawn, by special distinction of 
the marshal, from the rear of the right, to be the first of all 
to attack on the left, after a march of twelve hours through 
woods and stony ravines, where we saw neither sky nor 
earth. We had our instructions to dislodge from the under- 
brush roimd the enemy's camp all the sharp-shooters that we 
believed to be there ; and for this light and rapid move- 
ment we were ordered to leave our flags behind us. This 
last order alarmed the sensibilities of my regiment, and I had 
difficulty in making them understand it was doing us great 
honour to treat us as grenadiers without a flag, so that we 
could take those of the enemy. Brown's regiment [son of 
Mar^chal Brown, killed at Prague] had orders to march 
behind mine with as much order as was needed to second 
our eagerness, which was greater than ever. . . . 

It was five o'clock in the morning when General Brown 
drew up the two battalions of his father's regiment and the 
two of the Ligne in a little thicket, close to a pond, at the 
extremity of the camp of the Prussian hussars. While I, 
with Fabris, was reconnoitring the underbrush in front of 
us, Brown ordered his father's regiment to advance. Ee- 
turning a moment later I found it already started and 
firing, and I marched my own men along very fast. On 
the way I met Brown, looking for his horse ; he told me to 

1 The battle of Hochkirch, Oct. 14, 1768, in which Frederick the Great 
was defeated by Marechal Daun. The particulars of this and of all the 
other campaigns of the Seven Years' War are given by the Prince de Ligne 
in his Melanges Militaires, etc., vols, xiv., xv., xvi. The chief events only 
are told in this Memoir. — Tb. 


go straight before me, for lie was dangerously wounded 
(they were firing at us from the underbrush on all sides) ; 
and after that I was my own general for the rest of the 

I went as fast as I could, spreading my front as wide as 
possible. My battalion on the right entered the camp of 
the Prussian grenadiers, and they, half clothed, retired to 
form, and then returned to defend themselves. We killed 
a great number during that time in the darkness ; mine 
being the first line of infantry in the advance, having 
formed in a little plain beyond the wood. Hearing M. de 
Stainville coming up at the full trot with the Lowenstein 
regiments, I took him for the enemy, and what resistance 
could I make then ? Nevertheless, I ordered, " Ruhig ! " [Be 
still ! ] to my whole battalion, who were nothing but recruits, 
and I was amazed at the self-command and obedience they 
showed ; not a shot was fired. I went a few steps forward 
by myself and recognized Stainville, who told me that if 
I would go up a little hill about two hundred paces distant 
he would support me with his regiments. During the time 
I was marching there, down came the gendarmes of the 
king at full gallop to pounce on my battalions, and they 
would certainly have crushed them if the Lowenstein regi- 
ments had not charged vigorously. 

I occupied the height and requested a battalion of Croats, 
which I found abandoned to itself, to take my right and 
fill up the gap between my battalions and that of Arberg, 
separated from me by the darkness. It was just then that 
I encountered M. de Loudon, who approved of all that I 
had done. He ordered our three battahons forward to a 
little wood to the left of the village of Hochkirch. I 
rallied about two hundred grenadiers of the Arberg, which 
I put on my right, Loudon having ordered Merode and the 


Croats to my left. He told me to put my whole force into 
the quarries from which they took stone. Thus intrenclied 
by nature, I feared nothing either for myself or for the 
grenadiers, whom I posted in the thick underbrush. The 
enemy turned us, but they could not break us ; and when 
I saw that after the fusillade of my men and the Croats 
on the hussars in front of me, the latter were trying to 
take me from behind, I swung a half-circle to the right 
with the grenadiers only, and so was able to make front 
and fire on two sides at a time. The only danger was from 
our own artillery, which was not able to advance as far as 
I ; a cannon-ball all but killed me and M. de Loudon at 
one shot. 

It was now half-past eight ; and it was then that the 
Prussian infantry, farther to my right, rallied miraculously, 
and, regaining its lost ground around the village, was about 
to regain the lost battle. The mardchal saw this and 
feared the result. M. de Lacy, who had made himself 
responsible for everj^thing up to this moment, did so again 
at this crisis. It was he who had made the fine arrange- 
ments I have quoted ; it was he who had planned the 
attack ; it was he who had decided the battle so far ; and 
it was he who now won the victory ! He charged at the 
head of six companies of horse-grenadiers and carbineers, 
dashed through the village of Hochkirch, surmounted almost 
insurmountable obstacles, took quantities of flags, and bore 
down everything before him. 

But why did our cavalry on the right do nothing, and 
our cavalry on the left so little ? Why did they not pursue 
the beaten army along the road from Lobau to Budissin ? 
Why were the infantry intrusted to Loudon withdrawn 
during the battle ? Or rather, why not have ordered so 
many regiments, that had so far done nothing at all, to 


pursue ? The artillery should Iiave been led from height 
to height, tlie troopers sent forward at full speed as far at 
least as Budissin, the victory completed, and not written 
about. That miserable stone on which I saw the mar^chal 
writing a letter in haste, that the empress might receive 
the news before she left her room on Saint Theresa's day, 
was our stone of stumbling, as I remember saying at the 

In the cemetery of Hochkirch I recognized Mar^chal 
Keith (James Keith, a Scotchman, in the Prussian service) 
by his majestic mien and his wounds. He did prodigies of 
valour till he received the ball that pierced his heart. I 
saw him, the Hero, lying among his soldiers and ours ; his 
noble presence still awing those who saw it. 'T was the 
death of the righteous. His body was all covered with old 
wounds, his scarred face unchanged by the change that 
took him to the home of souls like his own — for doubtless 
there is one for those that leave the bodies of such brave 
soldiers ; they must after death receive the reward of all 
their virtues. 

There were many dead in the same place, among them 
Prince Prangois of Brunswick. The Prince of Anhalt was 
dangerously wounded and taken prisoner under the idea 
that he was the king himself. We took one hundred 
cannon and many flags. I repeat : they might have taken 
the whole army, but they were too surprised at having 
surprised it. The king returned to Bautzen, and on the 
29th marched with his whole army into Silesia, escorted 
by Loudon, who never lost sight of him, but followed him 
steadily to Schonberg. 

As for us, we were reserved for greater exploits ; we had 
to pass the time until we went into winter quarters ; and so 
we marched into Saxony. Our column crossed the Elbe 


near Pillnitz, on twenty-eight pontoons ; that of the Supplies 
and Equipments on other pontoons at Pima. I examined 
carefully the ground where we ought to have made our 
attack on Prince Henry's left. We should only have had 
a short distance to climb ; and even if we had not succeeded 
in attracting the enemy's attention in that direction we 
should have facilitated his defeat by our reserve corps. 

General Itzenplitz, to whom Prince Henry had left the 
command of his corps, was the king's reliance for the pres- 
ervation of Dresden, where the garrison, of only three 
thousand men, could easily have been reinforced from his 
troops. But whether he was ignorant of our advance or 
whether he foresaw what actually happened, he remained 
quietly in the position he occupied. If we, instead of stop- 
ping a day and a half at Lockwitz, had stationed ourselves 
on the evening of the 7th between Itzenphtz and Dresden 
we should have had Dresden and Leipzig, etc. The king 
was in Silesia ; Dohna could do us no harm ; and Itzenplitz 
was cut off. 

November 9, one hour after mid-day our army was under 
arms and advancing upon Dresden. Charles Lorraine, Hild- 
burgshausen, my regiment and that of Gaisruch, had orders 
to carry the Great Garden, which is separated from the fau- 
bourg by only a little esplanade of about eighty yards at the 
most, and surrounded by a good wall. We reached the 
gates at half-past two. My sappers battered them in, and I 
entered with a detachment of four hundred men, which 
served as the advanced guard. I had a number of men 
wounded by the Prussian chasseurs who, after a gallant 
defence, retired behind the ruined walls of the Garden and 
fired at us from there. It was only by cannon that I was 
able to drive them into the faubourg and so get rid of 


Emeric Esterhazy having himself reconnoitred with his 
hussars a redoubt in which fifty grenadiers were stationed 
to cover the faubourg of Pirna, I offered myself and my two 
battalions to carry it and then post ourselves as close as 
could be to the gates of the town. But in vain I entreated, 
besought, represented; the orders of the mar^chal were, 
they said, to undertake nothing further. And thus a thing 
so easy, which would have secured to us the possession of 
Dresden on the following day, if the rest of the army had 
done as it should have done, was treated as a piece of non- 
sense on my part and utterly neglected. 

Nothing could have been worse than what happened 
the next day; and it would not have happened had I 
carried the redoubt ; because we could then have ex- 
tinguished the conflagration, and made ourselves responsi- 
ble against pillage. And if we think we are sheltered 
from blame because it was not we who set fire to the fau- 
bourgs, nor had we suffered any one to enter the town, 
we are mightily mistaken. We had done too much not 
to do more; having undertaken a great affair we did too 

On the 10th we saw the frightful spectacle of all those 
beautiful houses about Dresden in flames, I could warm 
myself by them in my tent. Days went by in making 
plans ; and as if we seriously thought of investing Dresden, 
there was talk of bringing up the siege guns. But it was soon 
discovered that the king was returning ; Dohna was advanc- 
ing against us ; and so, in order not to give a second edition 
of Leuthen, the armies all retired, each in its own direction : 
the Prince de Deux-Ponts gave up his enterprise at Leipzig ; 
Iladdick that of Torgau ; Daun that of Dresden ; Loudon 
that of Cossel ; and as if this wisdom of operations ex- 
tended everywhere, even the Eussians left Colberg; and 


all at the same moment, as though the word had been 
passed round. 

The cold now becommg severe, tlie total lack of wood to 
warm the right wing of the army, and the desire to have the 
troops in a good state for the campaign of 1759, led to our 
returning to Boliemia by the Geyersberg and the savage 
chain of mountains which that route required us to cross. 
They might have spared our doing it in one march ; it took 
some regiments eighteen hours to get across, and certainly 
^here was nothing to hurry us. Every one got into winter 
quarters as best he could. As for me, I reached mine at 
Tdplitz November 25, 1758, where I found myself under 
the orders of General Siskowitz. 

We lived in the utmost tranquilhty tlie whole of that 
winter ; there was not even so much as a false alarm. Twice 
a week we reconnoitred the roads about us, and kept them 
in good order ; also the bridges, employing for that purpose 
the peasants of the neighbouring villages. Once I played 
orderly corporal during the night, and left invitations for 
everybody to dine with the generals, who never dined at 
home. The company arrived and waited, expecting their 
hosts to return. General Lacy was tlie only one who 
dined in his own quarters ; he expected about a dozen, and 
sixty came. He imagined it was the fault of his aides-de- 
camp, who had each invited guests inconveniently. They, 
on the other hand, said afterwards they could not imagine 
what the general was thinking of to invite so many 
persons. Every one was ill at ease, ill-fed, ill-served, and 
in very bad humour; the officers all left the generals' tents 
at four o'clock, declaring they were villains and very 

" Let us do justice," I said one day to my young officers 
of twenty or so (for all the rest had been killed), " and throw 


those flags where they ought to be " [apparently the flags 
of some regiment tliat had misconducted itself]. We seized 
the sentinel, and blindfolded him in front of the regiment's 
quarters, so that he might have nothing to blame himself 
for, and I gave him five ducats for his fright. The flags 
went where I had said. The uproar this made can be 
imagmed. I went to see the proprietor of the regiment 
as if nothing had happened. It was O'Kelly, who hked me 
much. I found Inm in tears. " Ah ! my friend," he said, 
" if you only knew what has happened to me ! But don't 
speak of it to any one, for pity's sake ; it is better to smother 
the affair." " Yes," I said, " smother it by all means ; be as 
mum as you can." 

I remember that just as the battle of Hochkirch was be- 
ginning, M. de M(5rode, a captain of my regiment, thinking 
that I had no religion and wanting to try me, asked if I 
thought there was a God, hoping to send me to the devil, 
where I sent him as I answered, " I never doubted it." 
As if the word had been passed round to damn me, another 
young officer, of whom I was very fond, and who may have 
heard me talk lightly on such subjects, and whose Mahomet 
I was in another matter, asked me nearly the same question. 
On his part it was sincerely a desire to know, and not from 
mischief. Cursfed human deference ! and to whom ? — a 
young sub-lieutenant of eighteen ! I answered feebly as to 
my behef ; but see the contradictions of the mind : the 
balls were whistling round me, and I made the sign of the 
cross in perfect good faith, like Henri IV. in the trenches 
of Montalban. 

Fabris, a brave officer of the headquarters staff, and I 
had been talking at Adelsbach about a poem on the Art 
of War. He remembered it on this occasion, and during 
a deluge of water and fire, for there came up a great shower 


in the midst of the rain of balls and bullets, he repeated 
a quotation I had made to him of two pretty poor lines : — 

" These weapons, these horses, these soldiers, these cannons, 
Can't sustain of themselves the honour of nations." 

I paid him instantly in his own com, and pointing to my 
own regiment and Betchein's, I capped him with : — 

" But see the Hungarians, there are the Wallous I " 

^^t^' \.y:r(^rrce.^,f^^ 



The colonel of my father's regiment would have been 
made general if he had not been taken prisoner; and as 
he was certain to be as soon as he was ransomed I was 
made colonel-commander during the winter of 1758-59 ; 
and for this promotion, as well as all others, I owed nothing 
to favour. I was always indifferent to many things. AVith 
a little pains I might have had the regiment of Ligne 
Dragoons after the battle of Kolin, for my uncle had just 
died. But even then I detested intrigue ; I thought that 
to write to the empress and send to Vienna would be in- 
triguing. Otherwise I should have been a marshal at thirty. 
As it was, I was one year captain, one year lieutenant- 
colonel, four years colonel, then major-general. 

[At the opening of the campaign of 1759] I was brigaded 

with a Hungarian regiment, an Italian regiment, and a 

German regiment. This assemblage of four nations was 

often exercised together by M. de Siskowitz, who commanded 

the brigade, in their four ditferent languages, which he spoke 

perfectly. When it was our turn to appear before the 

marshal, who made the whole army manoeuvre before him 

successively, he seemed very pleased with all of us ; but 

I shall make bold to say that for quickness and precision 

in wheeling, and for marching in general, the Wallons 

carried the day 
Mem. Ver. G— G 


August 12, the day that Loudon won the battle of Franck- 
fort [Kunersdorf], I was at our outposts by daylight. The 
enemy came out to insult them as usual, and then attacked 
them in regular form by several squadrons at the same 
moment, so that Esterhazy's Grand' Gardes were roughly 
handled. It was a little my fault, because I advised Cap- 
tain Nitsky to go out and meet them as they came on ; and 
before long we were surrounded on all sides ; the Prussians 
coming out of the houses of the village of Thiemendorf and 
the underbrush all the time and pouncing on us. My 
lieutenant-colonel (who had hurried up at the noise) and 
I, after staying there longer than we ought, had to ride 
back at a furious pace to escape them. We were be- 
tween our own hussars and those of Prince Henry, wdio 
were after us ; but the horses of the latter went so fast 
they could not control them in time to capture us. Luckily 
we came upon the picket of an officer of Warasdins, who 
fired just at the right time on our pursuers (and a little 
on us). As usual, the Prussian cavalry was supported 
by their infantry. This little combat, which was more 
amusing than murderous, lasted nearly four hours, and 
served only to get me scolded. The enemy returned to 
tlieir outposts, and we to ours. It was here that I heard 
of the birth of my son. "Ah!" I cried joyfuUy, "how 
I shall love him ! I wish I could write it to him now. 
If I return alive from this war I shall say to him : 
' You are welcome, and I am going to love you with aU 
my heart.' " 

[Prince Henry of Prussia, then in command of the army 
of his brother, Frederick the Great, in Saxony, was in camp 
at Torgau ; the king being engaged with Loudon near 
Fran ck fort.] 

On the 20th of October, General Lacy, while reconnoitring 


as closely as he could the camp at Torgau, which was 
hidden by the brushwood on all sides, was shot in the arm 
by a chasseur. There is never so much marching to and fro 
as when you don't want to fight. You are always thinking 
that by keeping on the flank of the enemy you can force 
him to decamp, and often you are wrong. All our strata- 
gems and efforts proved useless on this occasion. Prince 
Henry eluded them until the end of his authority ; and 
that is a justice I ought to do him. 

On the 22nd the Due d'Aremberg was detached to 
Strehlin by the marshal, with a corps of twenty thousand 
men. That of Brentano was added to ours. I say ours, 
because it was now plain that no detachment could leave 
the army without my regiment being part of it. I found 
this in all the campaigns, and it gave me a great deal of 
pleasure. Brentano camped in front of us. The marshal 
came over to inspect our position, which would have been 
good for a larger force, if the heights above the chapel had 
been occupied. 

On the 26th a Prussian corps was seen advancing, which 
was rightly supposed to be thirty squadrons of horse and ten 
battalions of infantry detached from Torgau, under com- 
mand of General Finck, who at first showed signs of attack- 
ing Brentano, but withdrew to Dommitsch. . . . Brentano, 
finding himself cut off from us, was not uneasy ; he fought 
his little fight and retired to Diiben, which was his only re- 
source, where we were charmed to rejoin him the following 
day. He had not suffered much. During the action his 
Croats had abandoned two cannon. M. de Beaud^ans, cap- 
tain of the Wallon dragoons, dismounted his squadron and 
chased Pinck's infantry. His lieutenant, M. de Pfortzheim, 
recaptured the guns, harnessed the dragoon horses to them, 
and brought them safely in. Such deeds as these deserve 


to go down to posterity with the names of those who did 

By November 6 the king had returned with rapid marches 
and joined his brother Henry, having quite recovered from 
his losses before Franckfort. Brentano was put on his left 
to watch him. On the 14th of November the whole army 
was ordered to make a retrograde movement in the deepest 
secrecy. Our column marched by Meissen, and there, after 
my regiment had passed through the town, an obstruction 
of waggon-trains and artillery lasted so long that the Prus- 
sian hussars came up and pillaged the baggage ; which gave 
us time to save the cannon, although they were quite in the 
enemy's power. I lost my provision-waggons and other sup 
plies; also my tents and bvdlocks, with their guards, who 
defended them as long as they could. On the 17th the 
army halted before Dresden, and Brentano had orders to go 
to Maxen ; he was the rear-guard, with the cavalry. Finck 
and Wunscli arrived at Maxen at almost the same time. 
The king, who was at Lommatsch, believed that nothing but 
his presence was now lacking to crown the campaign. 

We wanted to attack, but we did not know where. The 
Prussian general, Eebentisch, had started for Maxen to join 
Finck and Wunsch ; and the question was, should we attack 
those three generals ? Fabris had found two roads through 
the woods by which to debouch two columns and attack on 
our side ; Brentano was ready on his ; and the imperial 
army was at Dohna. ]>ut difficulties were talked of. Lacy 
smoothed them all, gave his word of honour, wagered his 
head. Almost all the generals opposed liim ; but at last he 
convinced Mar^chal Daun that he would lose his artillery 
and baggage, and, worse still, be forced to retreat into Bo- 
hemia, if he did not fight and capture the Prussian army 
of nearly twenty thousand men at Maxen. The marshal 


agreed, and Lacy drew up as good a plan of operations as 
he had done for Hochkirch.^ 

At eight in the morning of November 20, in horrible 
weather, and after waiting three hours with our feet in tlie 
snow, the march began. Every one had his instructions, 
which were clear and precise. Mar^chal Daun drove over 
from his own army in a carriage, and, mounting his horse, 
put himself at the head of ours. He was no longer irresolute 
after the thing had once begun ; he saw clearer under fire 
than he did in his cabmet. He himself formed the grena- 
diers on the first height beyond the woods, under a heavy 
cannonading. If the enemy had posted twenty cannon on 
that height they could have prevented our debouching. But, 
in point of fact, they advanced towards us in a manner that 
facilitated our project of surrounding them. 

The grenadiers of the Ligne were the first in the village 
and castle of Maxen, where all who defended them threw 
down their arms. The Wallon dragoons also defeated the 
Finck cavalry, in spite of its superiority. During the 
greater part of the time the marshal was in front of my 
front, only leaving it now and then to expose himself still 
more in leading and animating the different troops. The 
whole affair lasted barely three hours, and the enemy could 
have made better use of the lay of the land and the severely 
cold weather. 

Towards evening I took my stand at the great battery, 
where I gathered together the prisoners and deserters, wliom 
the grenadiers were bringing in at every moment. They told 
me that the three Prussian generals lost their heads. Maxen 
was set on fire, and there was some pillage. I put a guard in 
the castle. A quantity of young ladies, in tears, begged me to 

1 This account of the battle of Maxen is much abridged in the trans- 
lation. — Tr. 


lodge there. The marshal came, and I gave him, also the 
volunteer princes and generals, a good supper. M. de Lacy, 
who had well earned it, said to me, laughing: "At what 
o'clock to-morrow wiU you take for your reward the birds 
that we have caught to put in the cage ? We have them 
all." The marshal said to him, " Do you think that is reaUy 
so ? " Lacy assured him it was so. I gave another supper 
to the officers whom we had taken prisoners. 

The next day I received a summons from General O'Don- 
nell, to go to him. He told me of the favour I had obtained 
in being chosen to carry to the King of France the news of 
the battle of Maxen and the capture of nine generals and 
eighteen thousand men. O'Donnell sent me to the mar^- 
chal's headquarters in Dresden to receive my instructions. 
Though it was a frost like that on the day of the action, 
during wliich (I forgot to say) I almost broke my neck by 
my horse falling with me, I galloped to Dresden in an hour 
and a half, at the risk of twenty other falls. I was beside 
myself with joy. The mar^chal sent me off that very day. I 
never was so happy in my life. 

The nation which knew the most about glory would be 
forgotten at the present day, like so many others, were it 
not for the noble public works it has left to posterity. It 
foresaw that the fame of its arms needed that support. 
There were deeds as brilliant no doubt in the history of aU 
the Peoples that are now buried in eternal oblivion; but 'tis 
only those who cultivate the arts who can perpetuate them- 
selves. It is against Time, that destroyer of Nature, that 
they should arm. The Romans knew how to conquer it. 
In seeing the amphitheatres, the colunms, the roads, the 
afjueducts that still remain to us, we are made to feel that 
they had their Yirgils, Horaces, and Ovids because Genius 


drives her chariot with all the sciences abreast. France 
alone can aspire to the many-sided fame of Konie. But she 
has no ambitions incompatible with pleasing ; that delightful 
nation knows how to enjoy. Let her enjoy ; for she unites 
in herself the heritage of Rome and Athens. 

Nevertheless the climate, the gloom, the deserted spaces, 
the remoteness of Versailles are distasteful to everyone. The 
queen of that country is Gayety. She who reigns there at 
the present moment is therefore doubly a queen. The beauty 
of her soul is pictured in her face, grace directs her every 
movement; she wears a look of happiness, she inspires it, 
and thus contributes to that of her kingdom. If her subjects 
could see and admire her daily they would be the better for 
it. For this reason Paris and the Louvre should once more 
be made the residence of the king and Court. But when I 
was sent to France, in 1759-60, to carry the news of the 
victory and capture of eighteen thousand Prussians to Louis 
XV., the Court was buried at Versailles. The king received 
me at his lever and asked a score of silly questions, as he 
did to others who were present. For instance, he asked 
the rector of Saint-Germains if there had been many 
deaths during the winter. "Bad year, bad year," he re- 
peated a dozen times, addressing that phrase to every one 
who was present at the lever. He asked our ambassador, 
Stahrenberg, what weather it was in Vienna, and whether 
there were many old men ; he asked the nuncio how the 
pope's pages were dressed ; and me whether Mar^chal Daun 
wore a wig. 

What was my astonishment when, after the round of 
ceremonious bows which I was taken to make on all the 
individuals of the royal family, I was conducted to a species 
of second queen — she had more the air of a queen than the 
first, who was a dowdy old woman. Madame de Pompadour 


(it was she) talked a quantity of politico-ministerial and 
politico-military nonsense. She made me three or four plans 
of campaign, and said with emphasis : " You know, monsieur, 
what we are doing for you; are you not satisfied?" "I 
assure you, madame," T said, " tliat I know nothing about it." 
She replied : " We are selling our gold and silver plate to 
support your war." And then she actually took it into her 
head to say : " I am much dissatisfied with your women of 
Prague." " So am I," I replied, " I have often been so." 
" They are very ill brought-up," she added. " Why do they 
not pay better court to the sisters of Madame la Dauphine ? " 
There was no answer to make to such a piece of ignorance, 
80 I retired. 

I wish to deny here the letters and anecdotes which 
report that the Empress Maria Theresa wrote to Mme. de 
Pompadour calling her " my pretty little cousin," and that 
the latter replied, " my dear little queen." The empress 
addressed her through our ambassador as she would a 
minister, which, in fact, she was. That is how I myself 
was presented. She put to me on several occasions most 
ridiculous questions, but not more so, after all, than those of 
the other ministers. One day she was trying to find Saxony 
on a great atlas spread out before her, and when the king 
asked me if we had completely surrounded the Prussians, 
she said, rather sensibly : " You can see. Sire, it was not 
necessary, because here is the river Elbe to shut them in 
on this side." 

It is singular that even without a war licing in progress 
France has always felt ill-will to the house of Austria. I 
have never felt it to the house of Bourbon ; on the contrary, 
I adored the heads of that house, such of them as I knew, 
and they deserved a general interest. But if, in after years, 
their throne had been restored to them, through the interest 


they inspired or for the sake of other thrones, we ought to 
have said firmly : " Be careful that your infernal, or lazy, or 
frivolous, or ignorant, or intriguing, or haughty minister leaves 
us m peace and stirs up neither our subjects nor our neigh- 
bours agahist us, and does not meddle again with Flanders, 
Hungary, the Empire, and Holland." Did not M. d'Aiguillon 
refuse us the help of men and money to prevent that first 
partition of Poland ? Did not M. de Vergennes sound the 
tocsin against our claims in Bavaria and our rights to the 
freedom of the Scheldt ? I myself experienced the result 
of French antipathy on this visit of mine to Versailles. 
"You are very late in winning your victories," Mar^chal 
Belleisle, then minister of war, said to me. " In last year's 
campaign Hochkirch only came in October, and this year 
your Maxen is put of!" till November." " I think, monsieur," 
I replied, with more temper than he had dared to show to 
me, " that it is better to beat in the autumn, and even in 
the winter, than to be beaten in summer." The French had 
been totally beaten in August of this year, at Minden. 

The people I met could not get over their surprise that I 
knew French so well and did not know Hungarian. After 
making many acquaintances, many observations, follies, and 
debts, after the most charming winter I ever passed in my 
life, in the midst of all sorts of pleasures, I returned to the 
army, which I found near Dresden, about where it was wlien 
I left it. Louis XV., among other presents, gave me a 
superb ring, which I put in pawn the next day, so ready was 
I to make light of everything in those days. I wanted 
money ; I was in haste to live, and finding how lively the 
war was, I was afraid of not getting pleasure enough before 
I was killed. On returning to Vienna I sold to the empress 
a snuff-box the king had also given me. It had his portrait 
surrounded with diamonds. I let the empress have the box 


and the diamonds but I kept the portrait. This made her 
angry, and I made her more so by sending her word (the 
negotiation lasted a year) that I was all the more determined 
to keep it, as it was a memorial of the last victory her arms 
had won — we had just been defeated at Torgau. Stupidity 
suits none but men of genius like La Fontaine. I have done 
several things in the style of " \^'liose purse is this ? " in 
Molifere's Etourdi. For instance, I once read the first lines 
of a letter sent me from the empress, in which I was told that 
she had given the command I had asked her for to another 
general. I wrote at once and told him of it and congratu- 
lated him. He immediately sent his thanks to the Court 
and to me. Afterwards I read at the bottom of the letter : 
" Say nothing about this ; the appointment is just changed, 
and I think you will have it." The other general's thanks 
arrived in Vienna the day my appointment was about to be 
sent to me, and to punish me for my obligmg precipitation 
and my indiscretion I was deprived of it. 

When I returned from Paris I found the two armies, as I 
have said, pretty much where I left them, the snow having 
put an end to all enterprises for the winter. The campaign 
which followed, that of 1760, was enough to immortahze a 
man, as it did General Lacy. It will be good to read of in 
my Posthumous Works. Meantime I shall only say here 
that the corps of Comte de Lacy, to which I belonged, con- 
tinually exposed to being captured, or at least beaten, always 
neglected by its neighbours and almost sacrificed, retired 
from Silesia to Saxony without discomfiture ; never ten min- 
utes too soon or too late before the king's forces, and having 
always the advantage over them, even with our rear-guard ; 
so that we came in time to save the imperial army at Dres- 
den, and by arriving at Listvorwerk at five o'clock in the 
morning, two hours before the time agreed upon, we could 


have saved Loudon at Liegnitz on the 15th of August, and 
did save, November 5, Marechal Daun, who, having his three 
bridges close to one another, would have been Hung into the 
Elbe if we had not driven off the corps of General Ziethen. 
After that we covered the retreat of the whole army to 
the camp at Plaueu. We slept upon our fields of battle 
and were never beaten. We returned to Brandebourg, and 
with the enemy sometimes on our flank and always at our 
rear, we marched in seventeen days from Charlottenburg 
to Berlin. 

This expedition, this splendid taking of Frederick's capi- 
tal, was so precisely calculated by General Lacy that if it 
had not been for Todleben, the Eussian general, we should 
have captured the whole Prussian corps camped before the 
Halle gate ; and after having thus fulfilled and executed the 
object of this diversion, we should, so far from being driven 
back, have compelled the Prince de Deux-Ponts to surrender 

My Journal will explain all this in detail, with a truth 
that will do still greater honour to the Comte de Lacy. Let 
it be studied whenever it is published. It will be found one 
of the finest of lessons for war.^ 

We entered Berlin [as said above] on the 9th of October 
by three gates. My regiment held that of Halle, and 
thought only of getting back the trophies carried off in so 
many battles won by the king against our troops. It recov- 
ered them all and fifteen bronze cannon to boot, and will- 
ingly abandoned to Todleben and his Russians the tributes 
and pillage. The arsenal and the enormous magazines had 
previously been surrendered by negotiation. 

1 Melanges Militaires, etc., of Field-Marshal the Prince de Ligne, vols, 
xiv., XV., xvi., " My Journal of the Seven Years' War," published in Vienna 
and Dresden, 1706. — Tr. 


The people of Berlin were satisfied with my grenadiers, 
who did no harm to the houses where tliey were lodged. 
They hung their pouches and their sabres on the bronzes, 
the chandeliers, and the picture-frames, and they gave them- 
selves airs, but they took nothing and they spoilt nothing. 
I myself ordered my guard to shoot down the Cossacks who 
tried to force their way in by the Halle gate, and tliey killed, 
I believe, two or three of them. I wanted to procure some 
clothing for my regiment at the cost of the King of Prussia, 
who had an enormous equipment warehouse in Berlin for his 
armies. For this I stole in person breeches, cloaks, and 
blankets, in spite of those who tried to prevent me. They 
got angry and I got angry, and I elbowed and punched 
them all ; on which they flung themselves on my chaplain 
and me. I narrowly escaped a bayonet thrust, which my 
orderly got in my place. Pappenheim came to my assistance 
and separated us. 

Lacy sent Emeric Esterhazy with the Imperial regiment 
to take possession of Potsdam. He posted guards every- 
where, saved Sans Souci, taxed the town sixty thousand 
crowns, which were divided among the corps, took a picture 
for himself, an inkstand for Lacy, a flute for O'Donnell, and 
a pen for me. He kept the best order in the world. If the 
I^etreat of the philosopher of tSans Souci was thus saved 
to him by the kind care of Austrians, his beautiful house 
at Charlottenburg was not so fortunate. The Cossacks got 
there first and ruined everything. Our hussars would not 
be left out, and they afterwards did some damage. They 
waded knee-deep in broken glass and china ; the splendid 
picture-gallery of Cardinal de Polignac, the consolation of 
a king who was fond of art and a treasure that might 
have found grace in the eyes of the Goths, was ruined in 
an instant. 


I admit that while every one was in the way of taking, 
I felt a frantic desire within me to do the same. As there 
had been some talk of not sparing Sans Souci, I had asked 
to be allowed to conduct the affair, at least so far as related 
to the king's cabinet, where I had my plan all laid. His 
books, his own works, his military maps, his Reflections 
on the Campaigns, which had not then appeared, his Palla- 
dium (the very place of which I knew in his desk) would 
have fallen to my share; and I should have made it a 
festal joy to send them to the king with all the respect 
that an author, and so illustrious a foe deserved. Mon 
Bijou escaped, I scarcely know how, for there were many 
things of value there, — the most beautiful porcelains in the 
world and some fine lacquer. I did not give the concierge 
any money for his trouble in showing me about, but I gave 
him advice that was worth gold to him : I told him not 
to open the door to any one. 

The three days that we passed before Berlin I spent in 
comforting the afflicted and in visiting the establishments 
of the king. 

After the battle of Torgau [November 3] the empress sent 
General de Lacy the patent of marshal, which he returned 
to her, because he would not do a wrong to O'Donnell, his 
superior in rank and his friend. The army went into 
winter-quarters in camp at Plauen, and O'Donnell sent me 
to Vienna with important despatches to the emperor. 

The campaign of 1761 was the most wearisome and 
insignificant that was ever carried on. All General de 
Lacy's plans were opposed. Mar^chal Daun was reduced 
to the most melancholy inaction in Saxony vis-^-vis to 
Prince Henry, If M. de Lacy had been listened to we 
should have conquered Silesia this summer. Therefore it 
would have been conquered if he had commanded the 


army ; therefore the Empress Maria Theresa was right to 
make him marshal ; therefore he was very wrong to re- 
fuse that rank, and show a scruple of dehcacy for which 
his comrades never thanked him, and which the world in 
general has never known, owing to his bad habits of modesty 
and silent discretion. 

Maurice Petrowitz, Comte de Lacy, was born in Peters- 
burg, Oct. 10, 1725. He was the son of Comte Pierre de 
Lacy, the Ptussian marshal, who was born at Ballin- 
garry, county Limerick, Ireland, and quitted Limerick after 
its capitulation in 1691, with his uncle James de Lacy, 
quartermaster-general, brigadier, and colonel of the Prince 
of Wales' regiment, in which he, Pierre, was an ensign. 
He entered the French army as lieutenant in the Athlone 
regiment of Irishmen at Nantes in 1692, and served under 
Catinat. After the peace of Eyswick that regiment was 
disbanded, and he quitted the French army, intendmg to 
take service under the emperor against the Turks ; but 
when he reached Hungaiy peace was proclaimed ; on whicli 
he offered his services to the King of Poland, and the fol- 
lowing year, 1700, received a command in the Russian 
army under Peter the Great. His wife, the mother of 
Maurice, followed her husband, as the Empress Catherine 
followed Peter the Great, to the unfortunate camp at Pruth, 
where, sitting in her carriage, she received a ball through 
her hood from the Turks. When Maurice was of age to 
serve, Ptussia was at peace ; otherwise his father would 
surely have made him his aide-de-camp, and the Russian 
Court would have gained a great general. He was per- 
mitted to come to us in search of cannon-balls, as the War 
of tlie Succession of Charles VI. was then beginning. 

That was a campaign about which Lacy never dared to 
speak, because of all the extraordinary and foolhardy things 


that the impetuosity of his nature led him to do with his 
troop of hght-horse. He was more with the enemy than he 
was with his friends, for he harried them ceaselessly, even 
going into the rear of their camps and making prisoners, 
pillaging the Spanish waggon-trains, attacking and driving-in 
the outposts. Nevertheless, I am persuaded that that cam- 
paign was the best school the marshal could have had, 
and that he learned from these httle expeditions, in which 
he was his own general, how to carry on those we have 
seen him make so brilliantly on a larger scale. From 
the little enlightenment I was able to drag out of him, 
it was plain that he had been very useful to the Comte 
de Brown, whose pupil, relation, friend, and aide-de-camp 
he was. 

But Mar^chal Lacy has never been able to correct himself 
of one fault ; and it was that with which he seemed to re- 
proach himself in his first campaign. It was certainly not 
bravado ; but in every rank which he has held in the army 
he has always been too much engrossed with the object in 
hand to think of dangers. Personally he does not run as 
great risks as others, because, besides his presence of mind, 
he has incredible agility and strength, and there never was a 
better or bolder horseman. In moments of danger his soul is 
aUve to friendship. In 1760, at an attack on a cavalry post 
which obstructed him near Eadeburg in Saxony, the fight 
began, in spite of his wishes, before daylight, and there was 
such confusion that he and his aides-de-camp, and I who 
followed him, got between the pistol-shots of the enemy 
and those of our own men. He turned round to me and said : 
" All this will clear up as soon as the light dawns. My 
horse being white you can easily see it; don't lose sight 
of me for an instant. If you do, I shall be anxious ; you 
might be captured. We shall get out of this presently." 


In 1788 he saved the life of my son Charles, by killing a 
Wallachian who was about to sabre him. 

The talents of General Lacy had so impressed the Court, 
the city, and the army that in 1757 there was but one cry 
to make him a lieutenant-general and quartermaster-general. 
As lieutenant-general he taught the army two things that 
it did not know, namely : how to put itself in motion, and 
how to march. Also he taught the generals how to camp. 
If Mar^chal Daun, who esteemed him, but did not know 
him enough to love him, had been entirely without talent 
he would have been easier to lead. But, soldier and man 
of war, Daun feared to compromise his Kolin laurels and 
his credit with the empress. Brave and clearsighted under 
fire, he was not so in his cabinet ; and it was necessary to 
cai-ry him off his feet and make him a hero in spite of him- 
self. It is only necessary to read through my twelve 
campaigns (which will be pubUshed after my death) to 
understand the Comte de Lacy ; this is but a sketch of 

These few words about the two de Lacys lead me to a 
recollection very bitter to my mind, but tender to my heart : 
to that of Lacy's nephew, Comte George de Brown, whom 
we still mourn, and who was worthy of the lasting regret 
of those who love honour, virtue, intellect, talents, and all 
the lovable and essential qualities. General Brown was 
agreeable, as well as trusty and attached to his friends. 
His repartees, his way of seizing everything rapidly, seeing 
and apprehending at once, were qualities suthciently ap- 
parent in social life to show that he would certainly have 
the same sort of promptitude in war. He had a taste for 
the fine arts, a cultivated mind, as well as natural wit and 
a turn for humour. He laughed with all his heart at the 
merest trifle, but he was also an observer; nothing escaped 


him. His only defect was that he did not sufficiently show 
what there was in him that was lovable and profound. He 
had astonishing application, and great knowledge of all 
kinds, — especially of military theories and erudition. He 
knew by heart Ciesar, Horace, Ovid, Tacitus, Montesquieu, 
Voltaire, and Eousseau, and disdained no source of instruc- 
tion in any direction.^ 

But I perceive that I have not said a word of his virtues. 
He possessed true generosity, to which he added benevo- 
lence ; one was the need of his mind, the other of his heart. 
By one he loved to give, to refuse nothing, to spend (for 
which he had more desire than opportunity). By the other 
he loved to assist. The one made him give to his regiment 
for its embellishment and recruiting his pay as its pro- 
prietor; the other made him help and succour its widows 
and children. The one induced him to do good to artists, 
men of letters and of talents ; the other led him to seek out 
the unfortunate. He was drawn to men of integrity, and 
he scoffed at those who had little, — without, however, giv- 
ing himself the trouble to hate them. He feared nothing in 
this world but bores ; his taste was exquisite, and his tact 
as sure as it was delicate. Throughout the Seven Years' 
War he was a model for the infantry (in which he served), 
as much for his conduct as for his talents and the 
punctilious discharge of his duty. He comprehended dis- 
cipline, and was feared before he was loved ; but when the 
troops under his orders, the grenadiers for instance, had 
time to know him they loved him even more than they 
respected him. They noticed the trouble he would give 
himself that they might want for nothing, and be spared 
all useless fatigue, — two things which win the heart of 
every soldier. " There 's a man," said Mar^chal Loudon to 
me after the siege of Belgrade [in 1789], "who ought 

^lem- , Ver. G— H 


to be put as soon as possible at the head of armies." The 
thing that completely won the marshal's heart was the 
manner in which Brown tossed his overcoat on a fence as 
he leaped over, so that he might lead the attack brilHantly 
in his general's uniform, as if at a review. 

During the campaign of 1762 General Lacy, althougli 
commandhig one whig of the army, was practically quarter- 
master-general of the forces, and did great service in that 
line. He saved O'Kelly's corps on the 22nd of July; and 
by placing me and four other regiments on the Eulenbeig 
[Owl's Crag] the name of which sliows that the devil alone 
could have clambered tliere, he covered Glatz, which ended 
the war. We had orders to hold the Eulenberg until the 
enemy abandoned their own heights. There I stayed two 
months, and there I finished, under Loudon, who had taken 
the command of our corps, this last campaign in Silesia. The 
war continued to be feebly carried on for a while in Saxony. 
Our corps, chilled to the marrow with snow, ice, and fog, 
was pitiable to see. Ten days after the taking of Schweid- 
nitz it was put into cantonments, being relieved on tlie 
Eulenberg by detachments from all the other regiments, 
which to the number of four hundred men and forty Croats 
occupied my dreadful mountain. 

Peace was now talketl about; and I went off as fast as 
I could to Vienna. It was concluded, as everybody knows, 
at Hubertsburg [Feb. 15, 1763]. We remained conquerors, 
inasmuch as, thanks to Loudon, we retained possession of 
the province of Glatz ; which was afterwards returned, I 
don't know why, to Frederick IL, who well deserved the 
name of Frederick the (Jreat. 



Can any one be freer than a soldier who is known to he 
a good fellow ? He has the confidence of his chiefs, the 
regard of his equals, and the respect of his younger com- 
rades. Nobody asks him what he has done ; they only wish 
him to amuse himself and prosper if he can. I always 
wanted as a young man to do better and more than what I 
saw others do. I drank, and I managed it so that no one 
ever succeeded in making me drunk. But at cards I felt 
myself hampered by a sort of self-respect. However, coming 
home one night from hunting, very tired and half asleep, I won 
thirty thousand ducats; I could not wake myself up until 
an old woman pulled me by the arm to pay her six francs 
out of which she was cheating me. Led by this success into 
taking great risks at play, I soon lost the double of what I 
had won ; but after playing a stake of eight thousand ducats 
and ending the evening by losing seven thousand, I aban- 
doned for ever the silliest of pleasures. I won four or five 
hundred ducats from a General Wbra, a Comte Desoffi, and 
three other officers the night before the battle of Breslau, 
and I lost a thousand to Rodeni, Tomasoli, and Blankenstein. 
The next evening I asked how they all were. Those who 
owed me had been killed ; the others were quite well. 

I never was drunk but once, and that was at the theatre 
one night when I played Hortensius. After keeping the 
whole town waiting, I appeared half laughing, half asleep. 

112 MEMOlli Ui' TIIL: I'lilNCE DE LIGNE. 

leaning at times against tlie wings. As tliey did not know 
much in Vienna about French plays or this particular piece, 
which was called " The Overcoming of Love," they thought 
it was all in my part, and complimented me on playing it 
so naturally. 'T was more the overcoming of wine than of 
love. I was, however, a little drunk one other time, at 
Karlsbad, where I drank a dozen bottles of wine with Lord 
Pdversdale to drown my vexation at finding that a husband 
had carried off, the very day I arrived, his pretty wife whom 
I admired. But it is an abominable thing to disturb a 
marriage of love. We may be envious of the external 
prosperities of a man and think his luck unfair ; but the 
happiness that comes within the soul is always deserved. 

I have made emperors and empresses wait for me, but 
never a soldier ; in fact, I had rather wait for my troops than 
arrive myself too late. One day, when I was loitering too 
long on the steps of the courtyard of the palace with a pretty 
woman, the Empress Maria Theresa waited a whole hour 
for me. She was angry, and sent me word to come every 
day to her antechamber and send in my name by the 
chamberlain on service, who would not admit me until I 
had learned that it was / whose place it was to wait. I 
took pens and paper and wrote in her antechamber every 
morning so as not to waste my time ; and each day the 
chamberlain would tell me to come back the next day. At 
last, after two weeks of this public punishment, and when I 
thought my hair must be combed enough, the empress sent 
for me and said, with the pleasantest look in the world: 
" Do you know that I have made you a colonel during oui 
httle quarrel ? I don't regard my own interests ; you killed 
me a whole company in the campaign of 1757, and now, ] 
suppose, you will kill me a regiment. Spare my service and 
yourself, for my sake." 


M, Ndny told me one day that the empress had com- 
plained to him that I never went to mass. I begged him to 
represent to her that if my forefathers had not been so 
faithful to hers two centuries back we should now be ex- 
cused from going at all. [The Princes of the house of Ligne 
lefused, during the religious revolution of the Low Countries 
in the sixteenth century, to abandon the Catholic cause and 
the Austrian dynasty.] That did not satisfy her. So the 
£rst time I happened to go to her to ask for some trifling 
favour, she reproached me for having so little religion. I 
could not help telling her that the little I had was sound, 
for no one could find fault with me for being a hypocrite, 
and that I was a better Christian than those who said I 
was none. I happened to face the window and the sunlight 
hurt my eyes. The empress thought I wept, and I did not 
have the honesty to undeceive her. So she said : " You have 
a good heart, and I still hope for your conversion. Stay in 
my cabinet ; I do not wish you to be seen to leave my room 
looking unhappy." That time I really did come near 
weeping from gratitude ; but it did not prevent me from 
laughing when I got out, and telling the whole story. The 
empress heard of it ; but she forgave me for it, as she did 
for a hundred other follies of all kinds, 

I always did things with my whole heart. Being obliged 
to take the communion with the empress, I could not find, 
as late as ten o'clock of the night before, a confessor who 
spoke French, for I would not confess my sins in coarse 
German. Some one told me of a Father Aubri, or Aubre, 
and pointed out his house. I rushed there at eleven o'clock 
and woke up the whole establishment. I mistook the stair- 
case and appeared in the antechamber of a pretty woman, 
where I was taken for a lover and chased. I opened a 
door, it closed after me, and I found myself in a garret ; the 


people below heard me and ran up and caught me for a 
thief. I got away, cursing myself for such mistakes, and, at 
last, I found the staircase of my reverend father. Being 
determined to do the thing sincerely, I said to him : " Mon- 
sieur, you are a Jesuit, and indulgent, no doubt. Don't 
rise, I will kneel here." I began my prayer and confession. 
He must have thought it was a hoax, and, frightened by 
my impious insolence or else by the multiplicity of my little 
crimes, he jumped up and turned me out of his room. 

If I seem sometimes to swerve from Christianity or 
Catholicism, I wish to be warned of it. It is not my in- 
tention. If I give myself, perhaps without perceiving it, 
a Pyrrhonian little air, it is to clear up doubts, which I 
have not myself, but which I see in others ; if I make risky 
propositions it is only for those who are out of the pale of 
the Church ; for those who are in it there is nothing risky. 
Another thing I ought to say : When I talk of loving, it is 
often legitimately. When I say having, I mean the heart, 
and not the person. When I speak of love, gallantry, 
marriage, infidelity, I am not saying that things ought 
to be so ; it is as if I said, " Inasmuch as such things 
are so." 

I was so indiscreet, so imprudent, so conceited, when I was 
young (and am even now), and so fond of fun, though never 
malicious or dangerous, that I don't know why I did not 
have a score of duels on my hands. I was very near it 
several times, but always with persons who ended by making 
excuses, or by saying, what is usually said by those who do 
not want to fight : " It is true, monsieur, is it not, that you 
had no fixed intention of insulting me ? " Once, however, I 
challenged Jean Palffy, to avenge myself for a slander he 
had circulated about me. He was a general and I was only 
a colonel at the time. He had the air and manner of a 


great seigneur, and was very brave and handsome. Joseph 
Colloredo, who was present, disturbed at seeing ine involved 
in an adventure which might have serious results, wrote to 
Mardchal Lacy in these words : " I have the honour to in- 
form his Excellency that Ligne's heedlessness has involved 
him in a quarrel." The marshal took that him to mean 
himself ; and, supposing that I had thoughtlessly stirred up 
trouble for him, he passed a very bad night. He sent for 
Colloredo to come and explain what the matter was. Ee- 
assured about himself he wanted to be so about me, and he 
went at once to Jean Palffy to see if there was no way to 
stop his wrath. He might have succeeded, but I happened 
to arrive at the same moment, with my second, the Prince 
of Nassau-Usingen. I supposed the marshal was there by 
accident, so I waited. Palffy was booted and spurred and 
wore gloves like Crispin. " The devil ! " I thought to myself, 
"is he so sure of kilhng me? I wonder if he has a horse 
all ready for escape." After a moment's silence, M. de Lacy 
said : " If that is your last word, M. le Comte, I will push 
the bolt. Begin." I stared in astonishment at such a 
second, who, out of kindness to me, was risking disgrace at 
Court if the affair should become known. However, I 
laughed and took my sword and broke Palffy's into I don't 
know how many bits, for I thrust like the devil, and held 
him pressed against the wall. He parried in the same v/ay 
and sabred, which, for fear I should be scarred in the face, 
made me so angry that I did not see when he was disarmed 
and slightly scratched, and I should have nailed him to his 
own wall but for the marshal's cane which struck down my 
sword. " I '11 take another, and begin again," said Palffy. 
"And I," said the marshal, drawing his, "will take mine to 
prevent it. Come, monsieur, let us make haste." But I 
opposed that. The marshal really desired nothing better 


than to be the belligerent instead of the auxiliary. Seeing 
that I exacted my rights, he insisted on our ending the 
matter there and then. 

A coward never calculates well. The uncertainty of a 
sword-thrust or a cannon-ball should be weighed against the 
certainty of dishonour and the probability of a score of 
horrid affairs he will have to meet because he did not face 
the first properly. Cowards always end by being killed. 

I happened one day to be driving to the Montecuculi 
gardens (now called Eazumowsky) and I passed very 
rapidly before a little chapel without observing that its 
little saint was just then expecting a procession that turned 
into the street at the same moment. One of the devout, 
very angry, seized my leaders and almost flung them over ; 
another threw himself on the postilion ; a third, more pious 
still, began to beat him. I called out to him, " Fahrt zu 
zum Teufel ! " (words which appeared in the complaint, and 
came near getting me broke). My postihon whipped up, 
but they stopped the four horses; the angry devout ones 
held the wheels, intending perhaps to thrash me too. I 
jumped out, and as, unluckily, I did not have a cane, I 
dispersed the procession with my sword. The priest was 
left all by himself ui his little chapel, and I pursued my 

Two days later the devil was after me, clergy, bourgeoisie, 
police, lawyers, thirty quires of paper ! Mardchal Neipperg 
summoned me to go to him. " What have you done ? " he 
said. " It was all very well in the olden time. Charles VI., 
stern as he was, w^ould have laughed at Prince Eug(^ne or 
Vaudemont in the hands of the pohce, but now ! a pro- 
cession ! the empress ! You are lost. Go and see M. de 
Scrottenbach." " I shall do nothing of the kind," I said. 
" If I meet him perhaps I may speak to him. Much obliged^ 


Monsieur le mar^chal; your habitual kindness and your 
interest at this moment have my tenderest gratitude." 

But matters went from bad to worse. I was more afraid 
of a lecture from the empress than of being broke. I saw 
the fat chief of police entering his opera box, and I followed 
him and told him of the insult offered to my livery and 
person ; and the damage done to my horses and postilion ; 
and the fresh injury they were now trying to do me. His 
Excellency said they were quite right, and that they might, 
and perhaps had better, have killed my man. I was angry ; 
his Excellency asked me for further particulars ; I gave 
them ; his Excellency replied that he did not know if they 
were true ; I was furious, and said to him, with the precipi- 
tancy and delicacy of my years : " Believe what I tell you 
at once, or — " and I made a motion to throw him over into 
the pit. On which his Excellency made believe to believe 
me, and the whole affair quieted down. 

My father, who never gave himself the trouble to make 
my acquaintance, did so little for me that I usually spent 
in a month what he gave me for a year. He foresaw, of 
course, that I should make debts. It was natural that I 
should do so, as he left me without a penny. Three Jews, 
Henzelkne, Schimmelkne, and a Levi, whose daughter was 
beautiful as the day, had pity upon me and lent me money 
at six per cent at the risk of losing all if I were killed. I 
only owed them about 200,000 florins at the time of my 
father's death. 

During our youth, our wars, and our loves, neither of us 
having anything. Prince Louis of Wiirtemburg was con- 
stantly saying to me : " Ah ! my friend, if my brother dies 
before your father all my duchy is yours." Generosity of 
money is easy enough ; we only need to be rich to be 
generous. It is the generosity that does not cost a penny — 


that of the pouI — that I value. Tis a fine thing, a man 
truly generous; there is no real grandeur upon earth Lut 
in the sacrifice of self. 

I should like to know how many men it would take to 
make a perfect man. One of the noblest souls I have ever 
known and one which I would select for this collection, a 
soul that smiled on Good, lively, gentle, gay, and quick to 
feel, was that of Prince Charles of Lorraine, brother of our 
good Emperor Francis, who was very near perfection. The 
frankness of that soul was painted on his forehead, a kindly 
and communicative gayety was in his smile, which years 
never changed, nor the wars, nor the small-pox, which had 
carried off his beauty. That first smile of his was ever ready 
to be replaced by a laugh of such heartiness that that of 
others followed blindly, sometimes about a mere nothing. 
His bursts of laughter were so merrily noisy or so comically 
smothered that the pubhc, whom he was wont to disturb m 
this way at the theatre, surprised at first into a smile ended 
in a peal of laughter like his own. There was neither look 
nor gesture of Harlequin or Crispin about it, — it was always 
spontaneous. He was the most frankly gay man I have ever 
known ; you could not see him once without loving him 
always. It was droll to see him at a Court ceremony or 
presentation when assailed by a spirit of mischief or some 
childish nonsense, — for he had the innocence and the fun of 
childhood ; his arrested gayety would be visibly curbed, 
at the same time the dignity and gentle majesty of his 
figure and rank accorded with the kindliness of his manner 
and speech. I speak of his spirit, painted here like a 
study such as we make of the leg or arm of the Apollo 
Belvidere, — with this difference, that I do not propose it 
for imitation, because we can neither teach nor learn that 
which comes naturally. Lut I present it to give an idea of 


something fine. It is plain that as there was never in that 
soul the slightest shadow of maliciousness, the outcome was 
generosity, amiahle disorder in his finances, indulgence, and 
kindliness, which his grace of manner and his amusing spirit, 
so easily amusable, made more charming still. He was so 
kind that it showed in his angers, if by chance he had any. 
I remember m after years, when hunting in the forest of 
Beloeil, where he played the important man as an old 
huntsman, that, being very angry with a crowd of spectators 
who filled the alleys and hindered the chase, he called out : 
" Go to the devil ! — gentlemen, if you please," he added, 
raising his hat to them. 

Therefore his figure and his soul must form part of the 
ideal perfection that I am seeking. I even turn to him 
for valour, and for several miUtary qualities. But for others 
that I would rather call military talents, vastness, firmness, 
knowledge, and the art of making himself feared and obeyed, 
I find them in another style of mind, that of the Great Fred- 
erick ; so I take him for those, adding also his love for letters 
and philosophy, theoretical and practical. 

For the virtues, for love of duty joined to firmness under 
fire, and the strictest honesty and logic, I join to the two 
others the Prince of Anhalt, a liero in history. And lastly, 
here comes the element of romance. With the courage of 
the others, which made him amorous of danger, the chi- 
valrous bearing of my fourth gives brilliancy to all. This 
one has something of the Moor and the Saracen in their best 
days. He has gallantry and magnificence. He is a poet in 
war and in society, without writing verses, except in his 
own Lusitanian language. There, indeed, he is another 
Camoiins — he is also a Camoens in all that he says and 
does: I speak of the Duke of Bragauca. I do not mean 
that these four men have not each the noble qualities of 


the others ; but those that I have pointed out in each are 
the ones that they have carried to the highest degree in 
their own personality ; and by uniting them all in a single 
individual I pretend to do vrhat they say was done for the 
Venus de' Medici, who was composed of twenty different 
beauties taken from twenty difierent women ; and I think 
I have succeeded in making the portrait of a perfect man 
out of these detached features of four mdividuals. 

In the days when I shared the good graces of the prettiest 
woman in the world and the greatest lady in Vienna with 
the emperor of those days, the good, excellent, safe, amiable, 
even handsome, the clean, gay, honest Francis I., the empress 
still went sometimes to the theatre ; and on such occasions the 
emperor dared not leave her box. But one night, as Maria 
Theresa seemed preoccupied, he slipped away to the one 
where I was sitting with his dear friend. We were rather 
alarmed at his apparition, but w^e knew he loved us both. He 
asked me what was the name of the afterpiece. It chanced to 
be " Crispin, the Rival of his Master." I did not know how 
to tell him. He asked again, and I told him, half embarrassed 
and half choking wdth laughter at having to say what de- 
scribed our mutual position. After which I got away as fast 
as I could, leaving the pretty and charming lady to find in her 
brilUant imagination some natural excuse for my departure. 

That kind sovereign, Francis I., loved fetes without cere- 
mony, and women, and young people. One day he dressed 
me up as a Court lady, and tried to make a bridegroom be- 
lieve that I was the woman he had asked in marriage. I 
committed all sorts of folly, and kissed everybody. The 
bridegroom, much displeased, wanted to carry me off, and as 
he was grand master of the kitchen, he marched at the head 
of fifty scullions, making music on their saucepans. They 
took us in flank, on the road to Etzendorff, where we were 


going to sup. The grand e(|iierry, with a reserve corpis of 
fifty grooms, fell upon the scullions, I was defended and 
the sham fight concluded by the real bride arriving very 
decently with her Frau Hoffmeisterinn, and asking what it 
all meant, and scolding her lover for ever supposing she was 
such a trollop as I. 

Do you like miniatures ? I know one that is precious, 
— the prettiest features, the prettiest little countenance, the 
prettiest little waist, the prettiest motions m the world, and 
the sweetest eyes. Grace descends from the crown of her 
head to the soles of her little feet, passing on its way, appar- 
ently, to all the little hidden charms of her person. After 
you have watched her walk, dance, jump, run, talk eagerly 
with animation, and animating others, go and listen to 
her. You will then admire the grace of her mind, which 
resembles, feature for feature, that of her manners. Hear 
how prettily she expresses herself; and if there is occasion 
after some anecdote or pleasantry has been related, or if 
some obligation is upon her to speak, feel, or show her sen- 
sibility, see how her pretty eyes and her whole person 
express it so well that we are sure that her soul is in unison 
with her face and her manner. She thinks of everything 
and for everybody. All who leave her are pleased with her 
and with themselves, for she knows how to bring the best 
out of all. Her virtue is not perhaps what I like the most ; 
but see what it is : she is not a daughter of religion or pru- 
dery. If she were she would have a touch of sham austerity 
or the sternness of rigid vanity. Her virtue never made any 
one frown. On the contrary it gives her a kinder look than 
others. Her virtue lets every one live. Between ourselves 
I think that this may be the effect of a shght calculation of 
selfishness, of which she is incapable in other things ; for 
egotism in her is something that does not exist. She knows 


she is winning, and pretty, and gay, and perhaps she may 
say to herself : " I shall be courted ; to save myself the 
trouble of defence, I will make for myself at once the repu- 
tation of coldness, which will give me more freedom in so- 
ciety and not alarm the other women." Besides, just as she 
likes to stand well with the world, she is not, I think, averse 
to standing well with God. It is amusing to see her take 
the part of an absent person, or of one of her friends and 
acquaintance. Her industry is great; it is wonderful how 
much she can do in a day. But no work was ever better 
done than the making of her. You will see her and hear of 
her everywhere, so that I need not name her ; all Vienna 
knows her and society follows her lead. Women certainly 
make our manners and ways. Even though we sometimes 
find fault with them it is none the less true that men 
who avoid their company cease to be amiable and can never 
again become so. 

After the accession of Joseph II. to the crown of Germany 
in 1765 he held many peace camps in various parts of the 
country. I [then a general] was on my way to one with 
two colonels, Schorlemer and Clerfayt, when we found our- 
selves detained at Augsburg by the want of post-horses. 
Bored by waiting we went to a tavern, which turned out to 
be the usual rendezvous of Prussian recruiters. I noticed 
that I was observed ; my height, which is five feet ten, 
attracted attention. Finally they proposed to me to enlist 
for fifty ducats. I agreed, on condition that they would 
take my friends as well. They consented to take Schor- 
lemer, who was fine-looking, but they would not have Cler- 
fayt, whom they thought puny and ugly, which was true. 
I laughed, but it was no laugliing matter with them ; and 
they were for marching me off, wlien my name, already 
given at the post-house, luckily saved me. 


Another time I was at Li^ge and passed myself off for a 
cardinal sent by the pope to admonish the prince-hishop on 
the irregularity of his morals. He nearly died of terror and 
of the scandal, for all the public papers made mention of it. 
When he found me out he wrote against me to Prince 
Charles of Lorraine. But that was addressing the wrong 
person, for the prince laughed like a maniac over the adven- 
ture when he questioned me about it. 

[Durmg the winters between 1763 and 17G7, the date of 
his father's death, the prince spent much of his time in Paris, 
but not at the Court.] 

In Paris I was intoxicated with pleasures, — fetes, wonders, 
and enchantments of all kinds. It can be imagmed, there- 
fore, what I felt when I had to leave that fairy-land to see 
my father at Baudour. I found him in a vast, ill-lighted 
hall, in wintry weather, with the gout and two blackbirds for 
supper. He told me that when he was in Paris in the olden 
time he always sat in the balcony of the opera, as that was 
the most noble place. " So do I," I said, " beside the Nea- 
politan ambassador." "That is very right," he said, "I 
know the place." Instead of doing any such thing, there 
was no sort of extravagant nonsense I did not commit with 
Letorifere and other young fellows of my age at the three 
theatres where we put ourselves on exhibition ; for in those 
days there were seats upon the stage. 

Young, extravagant, ostentatious, and full of fancies of 
every kind, I had made a quantity of bills of exchange in 
Paris, not knowing what they were but wanting the money. 
They reached my father almost as soon as I did, and I left 
in a hurry for my regiment. However, I really had not time 
to stay longer. He had received me very badly, as usual, 
and asked me if I had not been surprised at his liberality in 
sending me fifty louis. "Certainly," I replied, "and they 


were almost enoiigli to pay for my posting here." It is true 
tliat I had added three or four thousand more to them, 
"which I had spent on all sorts of folly. While at Baudour 
I kept out of sight as well as I could my two outriders in 
my pink liveries with gold lace on all the seams, and my 
hussars and negroes, but my father always happened to meet 
one or other of them on the road. 

In spite of the enormous change which my father's death 
produced in my situation, when it happened it affected me 
greatly. What touched me most of all and cost me tears 
was that one day he charged me to attend to a certain 
matter, and spoke to me (almost for the first time in my 
life) saying that this affair would concern me more than it 
did him, because — That hecause made me burst into tears. 
AVlien I was made colonel of his regiment, I wrote him as 
follows : " Monseigneur, I have the honour to inform your 
Highness that I have just been appointed colonel of your 
regiment. I am, with profound respect, etc." This is what 
he answered : " Monsieur, after the misfortune of having 
you for a son, nothing could more keenly affect me than the 
misfortune of having you for colonel. Eeceive, etc." I re- 
plied, in a respectful letter : " Monseigneur, neither the one 
nor the other is my fault. It is to the emperor that your 
Highness should complain for the second misfortune." He 
exacted that I should write to him, as other colonels did, 
about the regiment and its services ; biit never did he give 
me a kind word, or write to tell me that he was satisfied 
with the honour I liad done to his name and tliat of his regi- 
ment. He took no notice of my liaving the small-pox [com- 
municated to him by Prince Auguste d'Aremberg, who had 
the disease and whom he insisted on kissing to see if it were 
contagious], and lie drove me out of his house twice when I 
tried to see liim just before the coronation of Joseph II. at 

.yfff^ie-. cS^-^^Y 



Franckfort in 1765, where I attended the emperor. After 
that I travelled in Itussia, England, and Italy until his 
death in 1767. 

And yet, I forgot all his harshness at the solemn moment 
when we remember only the kind things that we have either 
seen or heard of. I remembered how brave he had been in 
war, and with what an air of grand seigneur he bore himself, 
and how tenderly I would have loved him had he been will- 
ing. Maria Theresa used to amuse herself with the terror I 
had of him ; and one day when I was laughing and making 
the ladies of the Court laugh, she came behind me and said : 
" Here he comes ! " 

Being very much out of temper at not receivmg at my 

father's death his regiment and his Golden Fleece, I wrote to 

M. Neny, whom, the empress used to call in fun my minister 

at her Court, as follows : " Born in a land where there are 

no slaves, I shall carry elsewhere my small merits and my 

fortunes." She read the letter and, furious at tliat sentence 

in it, she sent for her son, Mar^chal Lacy, and Prince Venzl 

Lichtenstein, my uncle, to hold a council of war upon me. 

The emperor, sterner then than he was later, and who made 

himself stern on a system, proposed to dismiss me. " For," 

he said, " we are dismissed ourselves if we allow this." My 

uncle, to play the Eoman at my expense, proposed to shut 

me up in a citadel, to teach me to make bargains with my 

sovereigns. " And you, Monsieur le mar^chal ? " said the 

empress. " I shall be more severe," he answered, " than the 

emperor and the prince ; neither of their punishments is 

enough for his crime. Ligne will arrive here soon; your 

Majesty must turn your head away when he kisses your hand, 

and not say one word to him during the three months he 

expects to stay in Vienna." This is what she did, and with 

such an affectation of severity, that I am certain I saw her 
Mem. Ver. 6—1 


once on the point of laughing out herself. I consented to 
be employed (which I did not much like in times of peace), 
and when, at the risk of her turning on her heel and not 
looking at me, I thanked her for giving me a brigade and a 
garrison, behold, instead of the thundering mien or the sharp 
reply I was told to expect if she deigned to speak to me, she 
said : " It is for me to thank you for sacrificing your liberty 
during peace, after being so ready to sacrifice your life to me 
during war." 

I had been invited during one of my little quarrels with 
the Court of Vienna to accept the command of a German 
regiment in France, with the promise of the cordon bleu, and 
the rank of lieutenant-general. M. de Choiseul said to me : 
" I will give you all that, but you will commit a folly if you 
accept it. Believe me, stay at home ; you are more bored at 
your Court than you are angry with it." He was right ; I 
made up the quarrel, and things went as well as ever. This 
reminds me of another proposal of the same kind. It was 
impossible for me to accept what Prince Henry made the 
late King of Prussia promise me when his uncle died. Could 
I have done so I should have been lieutenant-general and 
governor of Stettin, etc. These propositions were made to 
the two Courts without my knowledge. It has always been 
the fashion to treat me well everywhere, and I have experi^ 
enced pleasant things in many lands. In fact, I have at the 
present moment of writing, six or seven countries : Empire, 
Flanders, France, Austria, Poland, Itussia, and almost Hun- 
gary, where they are obliged to naturalize aU those who 
fight against the Turks. 

Paris, in truth, has been another home to me. How 
often when there I used to wish that the Louvre might 
once more become the residence of the kings. For a long 
time past the look of ruin in the old building and the garden 


of the infanta has given an air of melancholy to the quay. 
They ought to make a fine open plaza between the Tuileries 
and the old Louvre. It would be a very simple thing to do, 
and should be done. The whole Carrousel, those miserable 
buildings, and the rue Saint-Nicaise dishonour Paris, for the 
unworthy reason of making money out of everything, liut 
the spending of gold brings gold, and magnificence is the 
true support of monarchy. Can any one tell me why in 
the countries where there are no rivers three-masted ships 
are seen unloading the riches of the Western world at the 
very doors of the merchants, while in Paris there is nothing 
on the Seine but a barge to Saint-Cloud and the ferry-boat to 
the Invalides ? It ig true that the water is low at certain 
seasons of the year; but it might be deepened in places, es- 
pecially among the islands where the labour would be less. 
The course of the Seine to the sea is not so long that it 
could not be kept in order. They are not ships of war that I 
want to bring to Paris, but I would like to see the river from 
the Pont Royal to Chaillot covered with merchant vessels of 
500 tons each, or more if they liked. A vessel of 110 tons 
draws only ten feet of water, and they ought to calculate on 
that basis.^ They should build up the Place Louis XV. on 
the side towards the quay and also on that towards the 
Champs filys^es in the same style as the two buildings on 
either side of the rue Ptoyale. There is enough open space 
in the gardens of tlie Tuileries ; and the bank of the river 
should be built upon as far up as opposite to the Ecole 
Militaire, where I think Paris ought to end. 

I often took to drive in a great berline, around the 
environs of Paris, a woman distinguished for her many 
adventures and her witty sayings, — Mme. du Deffand ; 
also the Mardchale de Mirepoix. The latter had a sweet 

1 Is this a misprint, or a blunder of the prince 1 — Tr. 


and siren spirit, which enabled her to please every one 
without insipidity, without compliments, and yet with a 
nameless way of putting everybody at their best and at- 
taching them to her. You would have sworn she had 
thought of you only aU her life. What a society ! where 
shall we find its like again ? There was a Comtesse de 
Boufflers, a httle paradoxical perhaps, but in her frame of 
simphcity making you forgive her sophisms and her claims 
to eloquence ; always kind and protecting in society and 
easy to live with. I greatly regretted Mme. du Deffand 
[after her death in 1780]. She used to sit in a great arm- 
chair which looked like a barrel and reminded me of that 
of Diogenes ; and there she would keep me, sitting up with 
her, tUe-h-tUe, sometimes till six in the morning. She 
could guess the figures and almost the features of every one 
by fingering them, which she did sometimes, because, as 
she said, she wanted to know with whom she had to do. 
A sort of rivalry existed between her and Mme. Geoffrin, 
but in place of the sohd good sense of the latter the con- 
versation of Mme. du Deffand was full of wit, with epigram 
and couplet well in hand. 

The portrait given by La Harpe of ]\Ime. Geoffrin is 
absolutely true, but he ought to have mentioned her great 
talent for definitions. If I had not known her previously, 
on the occasion of her passing through Vienna, I should 
never have made her acquaintance in Paris. I supposed 
her to be a tribunal of wit and intellect, whereas she was 
far more that of sense and reason. The witty people who 
went to see her did not make wit when there ; on the con- 
trary, they became almost kind-hearted. Mme. Geoffrin's 
line was that of a guardian of taste, just as the Mardchal 
de Luxembourfj was the guardian of the tone and traditions 
of the great world. I often saw Mile, de I'Espinasse at 


Mme. du Deffand's, but I never noticed anything that was 
striking about her. Mme. Geoffrin died of apoplexy in 
1777 ; and while she was in the unconscious state preced- 
ing death, a valet, who was despatched to make inquiries 
about her, brought back a message that Madame was very 
grateful for the inquiries and sent Monsieur word, with her 
compliments, that she had lost the use of speech. 

Of all the clever men with whom I used to sup in 
those days, there was scarcely one except the Abb^ Arnault 
who was really witty, possessing the gift of the d, propos 
and the spice of epigram. The abbd's bugbear and butt 
was Marmontel. Laplace was an excellent man, but very 
heavy, especially when he tried to be lively ; Saint-Laurent 
was silent. Those who supped with Mile. Sophie Arnoult 
and Mile. Julie, whose houses were for some time very 
charming and the resort of good company, were the most 
agreeable, such as the Chevalier de Beauvau, a man of the 
world and the most so I ever knew, the Chevalier de 
Luxembourg, the Comte de Coigny, Louis de Narbonne, 
M, de S^gur, the Chevalier de Boufders, Conflans even, the 
Due d'Orl^ans, and the Prince de Conti. 

Apropos of the Prince de Conti he asked me one day to 
do him the favour to have Beaumarchais picked up in a 
hackney-coach at the corner of the rue Colbert near an 
extinguished street lamp, driven to Bourget, and sent thence 
in one of my carriages to Ghent, and have him consigned 
there to an agent of mine with orders to contrive a way 
to send him over to England. That singular man as- 
sured me that otherwise he should certainly be arrested. 
Within a week he was in the cabinet of Louis XV., who 
had sent him on a secret errand, and he took this means 
to cover up his traces and throw us off the scent. 

It was thought very flattering to belong to the Prince de 


Conti's society and be invited to his " teas " and his battues 
at Bertichferes and other hunting-boxes. Wishing to make 
my acknowledgments by a present wliich, to my think- 
ing, would be interesting in France for its singularity 
and choiceness, I sent him from Brussels in a carriage 
mounted in his own style, a very handsome young cook, 
twenty-five years of age, with the face and colour of a 
Eubens, carrying with her specimens of everything the 
Low Countries produced in the w^ay of dainties and luxuries. 
Tliis excellent cook was literally buried under good things 
to eat. She arrived at I'lle-Adam. The prince and his 
company were talking and playing cards ; the arrival was 
announced. " Ah ! that dear Ligne, how is he ? " cried the 
prince. " How I love him ! Is he there ? Well, ask how 
soon he is coming, and put the things he sends anywhere 
you choose." I will bet that all that, with the journey, had 
cost me more than five hundred ducats. 

My aversion to business and all sorts of thrift and cal- 
culation, sometimes caused by the dread of giving pain, 
often led me to make gifts to some and allow myself to be* 
robbed by others. One day I counted fourteen barbers, 
or servants of my servants, who called them messengers. 
They were all on the alert to be taken into my service, 
or rather to take me into theirs. They succeeded ; but I 
was never the better served in consequence. I have always 
been punished by the sin itself whenever I have yielded to 
the vanity of extravagance. Once I gave up a hundred 
thousand crowns in a transaction I had with a species of 
country cousin. I did it at the prayers and entreaties of 
the Due de Bouillon, also his relation, who thought what 
I did very pretty. People talked about my disinterested- 
ness for three days. I supposed the talk would last, and 
that all Paris would say : " There 's the man who would not 


ruin that poor little young man by forcing him to sell liis 
estate of Saint-F^lix." They soon forgot it, and he first of 
all. Sensible people who foresaw this blamed me, and after 
that nothing more was said about it. 

I do not know why I did not profit by the friendship 
Mme. du Barry had for me before it turned into love. 
From delicacy, I refused to ask her assistance to gain a law- 
suit of some consequence to me. One day at her toilet I 
told her, when she asked me before the king for a memo- 
randum about it, that I would give it to Lacroix, the hair- 
dresser, for her curl-papers, for that was the only means I 
knew of getting business into her head. She laughed, and 
the king too, and he repeated it twenty times running, for 
he was a kind of automaton that seemed to be wound up 
to go by springs. I brought ill-luck, I think, to that poor 
Louis XV., whom I had never seen till the last year of 
his life since the time I was sent to him from our army 
after Maxen. On account of friends of my friends the 
Choiseuls, for whom however I did not care much, I did 
not continue to visit Mme. du Barry, and scarcely saw her 
again until within a few months of the king's death. But 
I did have a duel on her behalf with that queen of intri- 
guers, Mme. de N — k — rck — , who wanted to maiTy the 
king, and took to religion for that purpose. In a letter of 
explanation which I wrote to her I said, " Your grace, 
madarne, the king's graces, and the grace of God give you 
a right to everything ; nevertheless, etc." 



[The chronology of the Prince de Ligne is often difficult 
to follow. In the absence of dates we are obliged to trace 
him by the help of contemporaneous events and pub- 
lications. His father died in 1767, and he became the 
ruler of his little principality, — living part of the year at 
Belceil, his beautiful ancestral estate near Ath, on the river 
Dender, in Belgium; dividing the rest of his time between 
Paris and Vienna, with trips to other countries and mili- 
tary inspections of camps and garrisons. Before his father's 
death we have seen him in France, and Mme. du Deffand 
speaks of him in a letter to Horace Walpole (August 3, 
1767) as among her acquaintance. When Rousseau re- 
turned to France after his stay in England with David 
Hume, in 1668-69, being then mfirm and very poor, he went 
to Paris and lived in the semi-concealment of a wretched 
lodging in the rue de la Platifere, now the rue J.-J. Rousseau. 
There the Prince de Ligne made an excuse, as he tells us 
with something of his old boyishness, to go and see him. 
At that time Rousseau was again threatened by clergy and 
parliament with persecution, and it was then that the Prince 
de Ligne offered hira a home at Beloeil. This act, which is 
rather sneered at by Baron Friedrich Grimm, the French 
critic, may be reckoned among his first kindly deeds after 
coming into possession of his property. 


About the same time, or a little earlier, he stayed a week at 
Ferney with Voltaire. Here again he puts no date, but the 
visit must have been before a meeting that he had with 
Frederick the Great at a peace camp held by the Emperor 
Joseph II. at Neustadt in 1770 ; which meeting the prince 
relates at length in a letter addressed to Stanislas Ponia- 
towski, king of Poland, which was afterwards published by 
him in vol. vi. of his Works. 

During these first years in Paris he lived, as he tells 
us, among persons of note, men of rank, authors, and wits, 
but he did not go to Court. It was not until 1774, the 
first year of the reign of Louis XVI., that he went to Ver- 
sailles and became the intimate friend and companion of 
Marie Antoinette (whom he had known from childhood at 
her mother's Court), and the adopted sou of French society.] 

I lived a great deal with Dorat, Bernard (Gentil Bernard), 
Pezai, Ducis, Beaumarchais, Boufflers, Sdgur, Laplace, Cr^- 
billon fils, Voisenon, Favart, Hume, Metastasio, Calzabizzi, 
Castellini, and, in a more serious way, with Meilhan and 
Pfere Griffet. I also knew Lavater, Geisner, and Gall ; and 
I twice saw Jean-Jacques Kousseau. I cannot now recall 
the whole of what passed between him and me, but here 
is a part of it which I am able to remember. 

He had scarcely returned after his misfortunes (some of 
which were real, some imaginary) to seek liberty in a land 
which he asserted, so improperly, to be a land of despotism, 
he had scarcely quitted a land which he called, with equal 
inaccuracy, that of freedom, when I went to stir him up in 
his garret in the rue de la Platifere. I did not know, as I 
mounted the staircase, how I should approach him ; but 
being accustomed to follow my instinct, which has always 
served me better than reflection, I went in and pretended 


to have made a mistake. " What do you want ? " said Jean- 
Jacques. " Monsieur, pardon me, I am looking for M. Eous- 
seau of Toulouse." " I am only Rousseau of Geneva," he 
replied. " Oh ! " I said, " that great plant-collector ? — yes, I 
see. Good God! what quantities of plants in those big 
books ; they must be worth more than the printed ones." 
Rousseau almost smiled, and showed me what may have 
been his dear periwinkle, which I have not the honour of 
knowing ; also certain plants between the leaves of a folio 
that lay before him. I made believe to admire this collec- 
tion, which was very common and uninteresting. He con- 
tinued his important work, with his nose and his spectacles 
upon it, without looking further at me. 

I begged his pardon for my heedlessness, and asked to 
be directed to the lodging of M. Rousseau of Toulouse, and 
then, for fear he should do so, I said : " Is it true that you 
are so very clever at copying music ? " On that he went 
and fetched some little books, quite long in shape, and 
began to talk about the difficulty of the work and his ability 
for it, precisely as Sganarelle talks about his faggots. The 
respect with which a man such as he inspired me, which had 
made me, in fact, feel a sort of trembling as I opened his 
door, prevented me from going on with a conversation which 
would have seemed to be a species of hoax had it gone 
any farther. I only meant it to serve as a passport, or 
ticket of entrance. So I told him that I believed he had 
only taken up these two trivial occupations to extinguish 
the fire of his brilliant imagination. 

" Alas ! yes," he said ; " the real occupations on which I 
spend myself in order to learn and to teach others do me too 
much injury." And then, not wishing to play a comedy I 
thought unworthy of us both, I spoke openly of the only 
thing in his books about which I truly agreed with him, and 


said that I believed with him in the danger of Knowledge, 
especially that of Letters. 

On this he instantly quitted his do, re, mi, fa, his peri- 
winkle and his spectacles, and entering into details, superior 
perhaps to anything he ever wrote, he defined that thought 
of his, running over the gradations of it with the accuracy 
that his genius gave him, but which his mind lessens and 
even perverts in solitude, by dint of meditating and writing. 
He cried out several times : " Men ! men ! " I had sufficient 
hold upon him by this time to dare to contradict him. So I 
said : " Those who complain of men are men themselves, and 
may be mistaken on the score of others." That made him 
reflect a moment. I said there was another point on which 
I agreed with him : the manner of giving and receiving 
benefits, and the burden of gratitude to those whom we 
neither esteem nor wish to like. That seemed to please 
him. Then I fell back on the other extreme to be dreaded, 
the fear of ingratitude. On that he went off like a flash, 
and made me one of the finest manifestoes in the world, with 
a few little sophistical maxims, which I drew upon myself 
by saying, " If M. Hume had been really sincere — " He 
asked me if I knew him, I replied that I had had a very 
sharp conversation with Hume about him, Eousseau ; and I 
added that the fear of being unjust almost always stopped 
me in forming a judgment. 

His villanous wife, or servant-woman, interrupted us now 
and then by stupid questions that she asked him about his 
linen or his soup. He answered her with gentleness, and 
would have ennobled a bit of cheese had he talked about it. 
I could not see that he distrusted me the least in the world. 
But, in truth, I had never let him get his breath since I 
entered the room, lest I should give him time to reflect 
upon my visit. I now put an end to it in spite of my 


wishes, and after a silence of veneration, all the while look- 
ing the author of the " Nouvelle Ht^loise " straight in the 
eye, I quitted that garret, the abode of rats, but the sanc- 
tuary of virtue and of genius. He rose, conducted me to 
the door with a sort of interest, and never asked my name. 

He would certainly not have remembered it (for he cared 
for none but those of Tacitus, Sallust, Pliny, and the like), 
if I had not chanced, in the privacy of the Prince de Conti's 
house, where I was dining with the Archbishop of Toulouse, 
President Aligre, and other prelates and parliamentarians, to 
hear from those two distinguished classes of corrupt men 
that they meant to harass the man who was least so. I then 
wrote to Jean-Jacques a letter, which he rather improperly 
gave to some one to read or to copy ; so that in the end it 
found its way, I do not know how, into all the gazettes. It 
can be read in the collected edition of Eousseau's Works, and 
in his Dialogue with himself, which is also in his Works. 
In that, he has the kindness to think, after his usual fashion, 
that the offer of an asylum which I made him was a trap 
that his enemies had induced me to set for him ; so much 
had that form of suspicious insanity attacked the brain of 
this unhappy great man, who was equally fascinating and 

But his first impulse was good ; for the day after he re- 
ceived my letter, in which he recognized an outburst of 
enthusiastic sensibility, he came to express his feelmgs. 
" Monsieur Rousseau " was announced to me, and I could 
scarcely believe my ears. The door opened, and I did not 
believe my eyes. Louis XIV. could not have experienced a 
greater feeling of vanity in receiving the ambassador of Siam. 
It was then that I became fully convinced of the lies he has 
told in his " Confessions." The description he gave me of 
Jiis misfortunes, the picture he drew of his imaginary ene- 


mies, of the conspiracy of all Europe against him, would 
have grieved me had the tale not been related with the full 
chorus of his eloquence. I tried to drag him away from it, 
and to talk of fields and herbs. I asked him how it was 
that he who loved the country could come and lodge in the 
heart of Paris. On which he made me several of his charm- 
ing paradoxes : on the advantages of writing about liberty 
when you were shut up ; on the delight of describing the 
spring-tide when it snowed. I took him to Switzerland, and 
proved to him, without seeming to do so, that I knew Julie 
and Saint-Preux by heart. I did this, not by direct quota- 
tion, but by adopting the same terms as he. He seemed 
surprised and flattered. But he saw quite plainly that the 
" Nouvelle Hdloise " was the only one of his works that 
suited me ; and also that, even if I could be profound, I 
would not give myself the trouble to be so. 

Never have I shown so much intellect (it was, I fear, for 
the first and last time in my hfe) as I did during the eight 
hours I passed with Jean-Jacques in these two conversations. 
When at last he told me definitely that he should await in 
Paris the attacks and decrees of imprisonment that priests 
and parliament threatened against him, I told him certain 
rather severe truths on his method of regarding celebrity. I 
remember that I said : " Monsieur Rousseau, the more you 
keep in hiding, the more you put yourself en evidence. The 
more you live in this furtive way, the more you become a 
public character, whom Europe will try to unearth." 

His eyes were like two stars. Genius flashed its radiations 
in his looks and electrified me. I remember that I ended 
by saying two or three times, with tears in my eyes : " Be 
happy, monsieur, be happy in spite of yourself. If you will 
not inhabit the temple that I would build to Virtue in the 
little sovereignty over which I rule, where I have neither 


parliament, nor clergy, but the best sheep in the world, stay 
in France (if they leave you in peace) but sell your books 
and buy a little country house near Paris, or build yourself 
one on an island in the Seine. Open your doors to your 
admirers, and soon there will be no further talk of disturbing 


I think that that was not what he wanted. He would 
not even have stayed long at Ermenonville [the beautiful 
estate of the Marquis de Girardin, where Eousseau went to 
live] if death had not suddenly overtaken him there. How- 
ever, satisfied with the effect he had produced upon my 
feelings and enthusiasm, he showed me more interest and 
gratitude than he usually showed to others, no matter who 
they were ; and when he left me I was conscious of the same 
void that we feel after waking from a beautiful dream. 
What was my amazement when I read in his own words 
that I was the accomplice of his enemies, who were setting 
a trap for him by means of my offer of a home at Beloeil ! 
I have already mentioned why I wrote to him, and how he 
imprudently printed my imprudent letter. He must have 
had the devil in him to think I meant him any harm. What 
interest could I, or others, have had in deceiving him ? 
However, the affair might have proved one of the follies of 
my life, for if he had accepted the offer he would doubtless 
have brought discord into my sovereignty, if not among 
my subjects at least among my sheep, whom he would 
certainly have asserted to be wolves. Besides, he would 
have written against the Germanic Empire, its members, its 
laws of hospitality, which I was exercising upon him. He 
would doubtless have accused me of being, or being able to be, 
a tyrant ; he would have known no more of the province of 
Westphalia, where I wanted him to live and be happy, than 
he did of Poland and Corsica, about which he wrote ; he 


would never have seen that our abnormal government — 
abnormal from the singularity of its construction — was 
good in practice, however defective in theory ; he would 
never have admitted that the Head, the Aulic Council, 
the Diet and Wetzlar, were able to stop all abuses of 

He took a prejudice against every one who did him ser- 
vice, and suspected them of meanness. A man can be 
properly grateful without being attached to those who do 
not deserve his attachment. It was his weakness to believe 
that twenty women were in love with him, and that he 
might have had them all had he willed it ; but the height 
of his self-love was reached in the idea that he was perse- 
cuted, and in seeking to be so rather than be ignored. The 
crown of sorrow to him was to end ignored, without being 
tormented during the last dozen years of his life. Let us 
forgive him, admire him sometimes, and read him without 
believing him ; we can always reverence in his works the 
mightiness of genius and of eloquence, simple without 
familiarity, noble without arrogance. 

I am very sure that Eousseau never committed the vil- 
lanies he avows in his " Confessions." Pleasure and sin- 
gularity were the two things that carried the day with him, 
and they cost him his honour. There was no baseness of 
sentiment, tone, or style in Jean-Jacques ; there was only 
pride and a grain of madness. To understand him we should 
look at the splendid frame with which he has surrounded 
his foolish nonsense, his minute and petty details, his in- 
justices, his little lies, and his contemptible tales. But if 
we all gave an account of every thouglit and action of our 
lives as Rousseau assumes to have had the courage to do, I 
am inclined to think we might feel more indulgent to him. 

The coiiditions of the human mind are so narrowed down 


that if we step aside ever so little from the small ideas that 
the weakness of our organization allows they become at once 
out of order, and genius is almost the stepping-stone to insan- 
ity. This may be why, after taking his flight so near to sub- 
limity, the unhappy Jean-Jacques has suffered so terribly 
through his imagination. He has changed his worship two 
or three times, and twenty times his belief. The " Profession 
of Eaith of a Savoyard Vicar " comes in about the middle of 
these changes. Men of genius know no more than others on 
those subjects. 

Jean-Jacques wrote on heroism; but there, too, he is not 
consistent with himself. He says first that heroism is the 
most essential quality of the soul of those who seek to 
govern well ; and then, at the end of his treatise, he com- 
plains that heroes are seldom just, prudent, or reasonable. 
He dwells particularly on their want of prudence. I should 
have thought that nothing was more needful for those who 
are placed over others ; and if to govern well means the 
possession of heroism, prudence would surely be its control- 
ling virtue. I am afraid his talk is only a dispute of words, 
like most disputes. It is an affair of definition. If Jean- 
Jacques was not bUnd himself, he has blinded a good many 
people in the course of his life ; all those, for instance, down 
on their knees before him, who fancy they see clearly into 
all the things he has said. They persist in believing a man 
to be steadily consistent with himself who never sought to 
be so. They imagine that his manifest contradictions can 
all be harmonized, and so, with perfect honesty, they become 
dishonest. No doubt when a principle was set up, Jean- 
Jacques was always right on that principle; but they do 
not examine the principle, they are carried away by that 
prophetic, inspired, authoritative air, and by an eloquence 
the like of which no one has ever had before him ; which 

K^^c^e^t^fty t.^C<tc<rM^<^^>u^i<f€^i^i 


he did not seek, for it came to him by nature. Admire 
him always, but only half believe him ; he does not 
wholly believe in himself. Distrust his definitions, for he 
changes all received conventions to suit himself, but do not 
distrust his soul. That is pure, that is real ; the soul of 
each of us would be racked like his if we had the uneasy, 
restless mind that governed him. Only a hypochondriac of 
the mind, if I may use that expression, is thus affected. 

A moment before he expired he summoned strength 
to open the window and contemplate nature, fixing his 
eyes upon the sun — dying as the eagles hve. Alas ! he 
might have been one, with a little more reason and less 

I do not know why people should discuss so gravely the 
style of the Chevalier de Boufflers, when his style is to have 
none. He has never made verses merely to make them, but 
only as he catches the flash, the sparkle, the wit, the 
piquancy, and the amusing side of the society in which he 
is a god. His poems have a charming neghgence ; gayety is 
in every line, with Avitty nonsense, always in good taste ; 
even if the style be bad it is never felt to be so. He has a 
manner, entirely his own, of saying things and of not saying 
them, precisely as he wishes. I know nothing more charm- 
ing than the letters he wrote to me, which are worth more 
than those that are given in his Works. 

M. de Boufflers has been successively abb^, soldier, writer, 
administrator, deputy, and philosopher ; in all of which con- 
ditions he has been out of place only in the first. He has 
thought much ; but unfortunately, always, as it were, upon 
the run. His perpetual motion has robbed us somewhat of 
his intellect. One would like to gather up all the ideas he 
has scattered, together with time and money, on the high- 
roads. Perhaps he had too much mind to be able to fix it 

Mem. Ver. 6— J 


when the fire of his youth gave it so much impetus. That 
mind must have mastered its master ; it shone at tirst with 
the caprice of a will o' the wisp ; age alone has given it the 
steadiness of a beacon. Unerring sagacity, profound shrewd- 
ness, volatility that is never frivolous, the art of sharpening 
ideas Ly the contact of words, — these are the distinctive 
marks of his talent, to which nothing is alien. Happily, 
he does not know everything ; but he has plucked the tiower 
of knowledge, and surprises by his learning those who know 
him to be volatile, and by his volatility those who have dis- 
covered how profound he is. 

The basis of his nature is unstudied kindness ; he cannot 
endure the thought of a suffering human being, and would 
give what he needs himself to relieve others. He would go 
without food to feed a wicked man, especially an enemy. 
" That poor man ! " he says. At one time he had a servant- 
woman whom everybody told him was a thief ; in spite of 
which he kept her, and when they asked him why, replied, 
" But who would take her ? " 

Childhood is in his laugh, awkwardness in all his move- 
ments ; he can'ies his head a little bent ; he twirls his 
thumbs before him like Harlequin, or keeps his hands behind 
his back as if he were warming them. His eyes are small, 
but agreeable, and always smiling ; there is something good 
in the expression of his countenance, — simple, gay, and 
naive in his grace, though heaviness is apparent in his figure, 
and his person is ill cared for. Sometimes he has the 
vacant air they say La Fontaine wore ; you would say he 
was thinking of nothing when he thinks the most. He 
never voluntarily puts himself forward, which makes him 
the more piquant when he is drawn forth. Kindliness of 
nature is the essence of his manners ; no malice escapes him, 
except sometimes in his smile and in his eyes; he is so 


much on iiis guard against his talent for epigram that in 
writing he too often leans the other way. He has a way of 
overdoing praise, merely to prevent his satire from peeping 
out, and this excess does sometimes serve to make his praise 
suspicious. It is impossible to be a better man or a wittier, 
but in him the two qualities have little communication, and 
if his wit is not always kind his kindness occasionally lacks 

M. de Boufiiers will end his career as he began it, by being 
the happiest, as he is the most amiable, of men. Why 
should he not be ? He is too superior to have pretensions. 
He is not on the line or in the way of any one in the world. 
Justice is done without hesitation to his talent — which is 
unique in a certain kind of verse ; his couplets, for instance, 
in which each word has its point. He is admirable above all 
when we think him most negligent. M. de Bouflflers pleases 
us, we scarcely know how ; but it is by grace, good taste, 
and a certain easy abandonment which makes him unlike 
any one but himself. In after years [Stanislas de Boufflers 
died in 1815 ; he was one year older than the Prince de 
Ligne], filled with the natural disappointment of a superior 
mind and a heart that loves the good, he busied himself with 
agriculture and metaphysics, — an honourable refuge, where, 
though he may still meet with disappointments, it will not 
be through men. 

There never was any one less gentil than my friend Gentil 
Bernard, who often dined with me in company with Dorat 
[Claude-Joseph, poet]. He was very amiable, just as simple 
in society as he was the reverse in his books, and kind 
and modest. The " gentil " was a fat man, who looked more 
like a German poet than a French one, and ate his dinner 
without saying a word. He had neither figure, nor manner, 
nor even intellect. In his verses there is more wit and 


taste than there is gentillesse, which presupposes the gayety 
and artlessuess of childhood. I should not have remarked 
him, or remarked upon him here, were it not for the name of 
Gentil, which always makes me laugh. He was fond of eat- 
ing, and read his " Art of Loving " wonderfully well. 

I should like to see a universal academy for all Europe 
which would form the taste of the nations. Intercommunica- 
tion of ideas would ensure growth. But minds must be 
shorn of prejudice. French literature would benefit by the 
riches of foreign literatures which in turn would acquire its 
tone, its criticism, its wit. We should have no more super- 
ficial men in France, no more pedants in Germany, no more 
ghostly mental puzzlers in England, no more charlatans in 
Italy. It is a good thing that German literature is coming 
into vogue. The only fear is that we may find there many 
things that we are tired of already : commonplace descrip- 
tions, rivulets meandering over flowery enamels always of 
the same colouring and design. It has certainly not the 
rockets of Italian poetry, the sublimity and the exaggeration 
of the English, nor the grace and good taste of the French. 
But without pretending to superiority in any line, it has of 
late developed a philosophy, which will soon destroy old prej- 
udices and make the Germans a people of thinkers, not 
visionary as they are in England, or frivolous as they are in 

Since the above words were written a number of still 
more superior works have appeared. Besides what they call 
in German witz, there is more force, energy, and greatness in 
them than in the modern works of other languages. But 
let that country beware of images, and not sacrifice the light 
of truth to false sublimity. 

I am often surprised that so little has been said of the 
superiority of the epigrams of Ilobd to those of liousseau, 


Boileau, and others ; for his verses, though hard, are marvel- 
lously well-constructed and full of pith. We ought not to 
require that a trumpet should have the same harmonious 
tone as a flute. The sul)jects of which he treated are not 
susceptible of the grace of " A bouquet to Iris." I often 
supped with him at Mme. du Barry's before her presentation 
to the king. She amused herself greatly with his vanity in 
thinking he had the smallest foot in France. At that time 
he was becoming devout, and had burned all his songs as 
too libertine. " But come into this little cabinet," he said to 
me one day, " and I '11 recite them to you ; I know them 
by heart." I remember one piece he recited, beginning : 
" Beauty ! almighty mediator between men and women." 

Should a portrait be flattered ? " Gentle spirit," says 
Saint-Laurent (in his poem on the Seasons) of the Mar^chale 
de Luxembourg, whose bitterness was only redeemed by the 
piquancy of her sayings, her severe but accepted taste, her 
manner of defining and judging ; a woman who took pleasure 
in embarrassing others by a singular manner of putting ques- 
tions ; who dictated, without appeal, the laws of good breed- 
ing, the traditions of which would otherwise have been lost 
in France ; a woman who excused nothing, not an expression, 
not a trifling familiarity, who discomfited those she did not 
like with a word; the example and the preceptor of the 
great world, whatever else she may have been in her earlier 
days, — the days of her first husband, when the following 
quatrain was made upon her : — 

" When Boufflers dawned upon the sky, 
' 'T is Cnpid's mother I ' was the cry ; 
Each did his best in turn to win her, 
And all possessed the pretty sinner." 

Suspecting the Comte de Tressan of being the author, she 
said to him : " Do you know that song ? It is so well done 


that if I knew who wrote it I would not only forgive him, 
but kiss him." " Well," said Tressan, lured by the scent 
like the fox and the crow, " 'T was I, Mme. la Mar^chale." 
Whereupon she boxed him on both ears. 

The Abbe de Bernis, with whom I was intimate in Vienna, 
was never, as M. de La Harpe states, minister at that Court. 
If I dared to relate an adventure that he had with a nun in 
Venice, and quote the best verses that he ever made in his 
life, which he left one day on my table, the story would be 
more piquant than anything that has been said about him. 
But why do not people add to his many portraits that al- 
though he was a churchman, a wit, a man of the world, and 
of letters, and a courtier, he was never malicious or vindic- 
tive. The caprice of two women, Mme. de Pompadour and 
Mme. Lafortane caused his rise ; the same capriciousness 
caused his fall. After it he retained his dignity, philosophy, 
and friends. 

I had met a few years earlier, while travelling with some 
young Poles, M. de Caraccioli [Francesco, hung in 1794], a 
rather commonplace man, I thought, who bored me a good 
deal. At first he seemed to me to have not even the merit 
that belongs to the soil of his country, neitlier wit, repartee, 
nor humour. By playing devotion, laughing at it possibly in 
his sleeve (for I don't know that he had any really), he won 
the favour of Maria Theresa, who believed him in those re- 
spects. I had slightly recommended him to Mile. Baretta, 
one of her ladies-in-waiting. He was, however, kind, sensi- 
ble, and grateful, and I liked him much after he came to 
Paris as ambassador. . Scores of his speeches are quoted, 
among them two to the king. One day at his lever the king 
said to him, speaking of his appointment as viceroy of 
Sicily, " They tell me it is a fine post." " Yes, Sire, but I 
prefer that of Louis XV." "M. TAmbassadeur," said the 


king on another occasion, " are you making love in Paris ? " 
" No, Sire," he replied, " I buy it ready-made." He told me 
in London, where I met him, that he could not live in a 
country where they bet about everything, — " for example," 
he said, " on my life. My horse ran away with me. ' He 
will be killed ! ' ' He will not be killed ! ' cried two English- 
men. ' Fifty guineas ? ' ' Done.' I came to a turnpike gate, 
and hoped the keeper would open it. Not he. 'It is a 
wager,' they shouted. My hat fell one side of the gate, my 
wig the other and I too, and I never knew which side won 
the bet." 

England would be the land of eclogues, idylls, pastorals, 
were it not so damp. I was tempted to search for Tityrus, 
that scamp of Melibceus, and Menalcas ; methought I heard 
in the meadows their defiance of Knowledge and of Love. I 
listened for the shepherds' flutes, which I heard not ; 't was 
on those verdant carpets of English turf that I thought to 
hear the swains singing to their milkmaids' charms and 
their faithful dogs. In England, however, the shepherds 
are not so gentle as their sheep, and the dulcet tones of the 
reedy pipe are little suited to those insularies. But the 
scenes that produced the sublime, gigantic works of Shake- 
speare, and the grotesque Hudibras will be ever felt ; they 
have put us eternally under the deepest obligations to 

There is scarcely an adventurer, a chevalier cfindustrie, 
a liar, or a fool among the English, They are too proud 
to be assuming ; for my part I prefer the man who scorns 
to the man who magnifies his value. This is not saying 
that they have not the faults of other nations when a great 
self-interest comes along. An English minister, for example, 
will lie like any other, but he will not lie as an Englishman, 
only as a minister. His rudeness in society would be in- 


tolerable incivility in a man of any other nation ; but an 
Englishman will seldom say anything vulgar. His gener- 
osity is not humiliating ; he seems to say, " I give this money 
because I have too much and do not care for it." 

Why, with the love of freedom that Englishmen assert in 
all things, have they, until the middle of this century, shut 
themselves in behind walls and lofty hedges ? How is it, 
learned as they profess to be in promenades, plantations, 
lawns, and rivulets, how is it that they have never seen with 
their eyes that which Milton, who had lost his, describes 
so perfectly ? They had only to reduce the scale of his 
terrestrial paradise. Yet Milton, before he was blind, saw 
but two gardens, and those pitiable, at Nonesuch and 
Theobald. How is it, I say again, after reading the en- 
chanting lines of their Iving of Poets, that Sir William 
Temple could describe Moor Park as the finest garden 
in the world ? But of late Bridgman is pulling down the 
walls and hedges, and Kent is vaulting over them. Eyre 
had tried to do so, but his courage failed him. Kent has 
made the revolution, helped perhaps by the principles and 
the example of Pope. 

Voltaire says of Milton, in his stanzas on Epics, that he 
" sang for madmen, angels, and devils." Wlien Englishmen 
rise to great heights it is with a sort of delirium ; foreigners 
call that visionary, sublime, and poetic; such soaring 
thoughts are like their dreams if written down. Milton 
dreamed always, but on a single subject. Pope, who never 
dreamed, does not pass in England for a great poet ; but 
he certainly is the Englishman who in taste and reasoning 
approaches the nearest to Erenchmen, without losing the 
energy and depths which are the attributes of his nation. 
Lord Mansfield, who had lived much with him, made me 
love him. 


[A portrait.] Look at Lizy, listen to her, and I will wager 
that you will immediately write of her exactly as 1 do. 
Her manner of holding herself, of dressing herself, of be- 
having, talking, and walking, iii short, everything about her 
is extremely careless ; it is only in her method of thinking 
that there is no carelessness at all. In that she has strength, 
force, and accuracy, expressed less in words than in acts. 
What she says is concise, prompt, gay, piquant, good, sen- 
sible, and thoroughly felt. She understands quickly and 
can make herself quickly understood. With her, theory 
came after practice. Candour and mischief, rather surprised 
to find each other together, have fixed themselves singularly 
in her eyes. Her freshness bespeaks a good conscience. 
Oh ! I advise her to have it and keep it, for she lets you 
know very plainly what there is against her. Shyness, 
which is often hypocrisy, or else the child of vanity, is not 
of her acquaintance ; but in place of it she puts so much 
discretion that she is neither embarrassed nor embarrassing. 
She never says a word, or takes a step to please ; but the 
air with which she does both secures to her general success. 
I think other women are not alarmed by this ; for I have 
heard some who know her well judge her as I do. She is 
gowned and her hair is dressed in a manner all her own, 
which is not like that of any one else. There is always 
something missing about her ; she has forgotten her little 
dog, or her gloves, or her fan. She has fine chestnut hair, 
very long, beautiful teeth, especially beautiful for their 
evenness, with lips precisely what they ought to be for the 
use that should be made of them. 

Her face is more interesting when seen in front than in 
profile, where it is not pretty except for its droll shape ; 
her fuU face might inspire a great sentiment in a fool who 
would imagine that she loved him. But for fear that a 


man who is no fool should imagine the same thing and 
annoy her, there issues from her lips at the same moment 
something unexpected, perhaps jocose, which disconcerts 
the rising passion. Lizy would have no defect at all if she 
were not a woman. She is never malicious, for example, 
except in that one quahty, and then only two or three times 
a year for a quarter of an hour each time. She is never 
out of temper ; she has more firmness than a man, and is 
more superior to circumstances. Lizy apparently attaches 
no value to any virtue, for she sets none on those she has. 
If you say to her, for example, that she has delicacy, she 
will ask : " What have I done ? You are a Frenchman, there- 
fore I know you are flattering me." If some one says to 
her : " You have singular moderation, and surprising self- 
abnegation; you have great elevation of mind without ex- 
aggeration," she will repeat those four words ending in o n, 
in English and French, and then say : " What does all that 
mean ? You are w^orse than a Frenchman, if that be pos- 
sible. I am an Enghshwoman, and I do not need compli- 
ments." She is not complimentary herself ; she has very 
amusing franknesses. Lizy has no agreeable talent ; she does 
only useful and difficult things ; she says and listens will- 
ingly to the most serious matters. She loves the country, 
gardens, sheep, animals, and Nature, of which she is the 
petted child, but not the spoilt child. No, assuredly she is 
not that. But, smiling at fate and at philosophy, without 
exactly knowing what it is, she w411 be happy. Oh ! yes, 
she will be happy. I have a presentiment of it ; and I am 
happy in thinking that she will be so. 



I REMEMBER that at twelve years of age, having had the 
joy of getting hold of a Voltaire, I read it at night ; and 
the pleasure and longing for glory which I derived from 
the little poem called the " Battle of Fontenoy " are inde- 
scribable. I was in ecstasy, and would willingly have con- 
sented to perish in my first battle for the fate of being 
named in verse. I had heard the cannon and the musketry 
of Fontenoy while still a little fellow ; I had been upon the 
field itself. I imagined the battle ; Fontenoy was mine ! All 
this roused my enthusiasm for the poem ; on which M. de 
Voltaire himself set no value, although it awakened and 
inflamed the courage of even the petty court seigneurs and 
sent them to immortality. 

[In 1768 or 1769] I was eight days with M. de Voltaire at 
Ferney, and I wish I could remember the sublime, simple, 
gay, and interesting things that came incessantly from him. 
But, in truth, it is impossible. They were not conversa- 
tions that I had with him, for the best thing that I could 
do was to have none. I talked only to make him talk ; I 
laughed, or I wondered and admired ; I was intoxicated. 
Even to his wrong sentiments, his false knowledge, his in- 
fatuations, his want of taste for the Fine Arts, his caprices, 
his pretensions to be a statesman, or profound and learned 
almost to the point of being dull and a bore (which he 
never could be), all was charming, novel, piquant, and tin- 


expected. At that time he was in love with the English 
constitution. I remember that I said to him, " M. de Vol- 
taire, add to that the ocean for its support ; without which 
it would not last a year." " The ocean ! " he exclaimed, 
" you will force me to make many reflections on that 

He was in a fury against the King of Prussia. " They 
say I rave against criticism ; here, have you seen this ? 
I don't know how that devil of a man [Frederick], who 
can't spell, and forces a poem as he would a camp, ever 
contrived to make four such good lines upon me as these 
beginning : Candide est un petit vaurien. He never was 
capable of gratitude, tliat man. Monsieur, he never felt 
gratitude except to his horse, on which he ran away at the 
battle of Molwitz. The chasseur who went after him to 
. tell him the battle was won is a chasseur still — he had a 
pension already." 

" You seem to be on bad terms with him at the present 
moment," I said ; " it is a German quarrel and a lover's 
quarrel both." This bit of nonsense made him laugh; he 
talked nonsense himself and liked to hear it. A man from 
Geneva was announced. " Quick ! quick ! " he cried, " give 
him Tronchin " — his doctor's name ; meaning, " Tell him 
I am ill." The Genevese departed. 

" What do you think of Geneva ? " he asked me one day, 
knowing that I had been there in the morning. " Hideous 
town," I replied (which was not true, but I knew that just 
then he detested Geneva) ; " its porticos and arcades are in 
the gallows style of architecture." " And its citizens ought 
to hang there, i' faith," he said. In fact, there really were 
scaffoldings everywhere about the town, perhaps preparing 
for better things ; and each of them looked like a gallows. 

An amusing thing occurred one day with his niece, Mme. 


Denis. I told her, in presence of her uncle, of a circum- 
stance that had happened to herself, though at this time I 
thought it was to Mme. de Graffigny. The Marquis di 
Xiuienes defied her to make him a quotation of whicli he 
could not instantly tell her the author. He did not miss 
one. Then Mme. Denis, who had very little mind of her 
own, managed, by dint of rubbing against that of her uncle, 
to make four lines on the spot, in order to catch him. 
" Well, M. le Marquis, whose are they ? " she asked. " Those 
of a Groper after Wit, madame," he replied. " Ha ! ha ! 
bravo ! bravo ! " cried M. de Voltaire. " Pardi ! how foolish 
she must have felt ! Why don't you laugh, niece ? " 

As I must tell all that I heard from this celebrated man, I 
shall own that after walking about his garden one beautiful 
night, I climbed a large rock, whence I could look into 
his bedroom and see him in bed, writing, with the window 
open. At that instant he gave a loud hiccough, more like 
that of a mason than a poet, and I rushed away at full 
speed lest he should hear me laughing. He was then oc- 
cupied in tearing to rags and paraphrasing that tiresome 
" History of the Church " by the Abb^ Fleury. " It is not 
a history," he said to me, speaking of it, " it is a rigmarole. 
There are none but Bossuet and Fldchier whom I admit 
to be sound Christians in history." "Ah! M. de Voltaire," 
I said, " and also a few reverend Fathers, whose sons brought 
you up pretty well." He always spoke well of them. I 
might have added that history is under the deepest obliga- 
tions to the Jesuits, and, especially as to China, we have no 
idea what we owe to them. 

" You have just come from Venice ; did you happen to 
see there the Procuratore Pococurante ? " " No," I replied, 
"I do not remember him." "Then you have not read 
' Candide,' " he said angrily ; for there was always a time 


when he was more attached to one of his works than to 
the rest. " Pardon me, M. de Voltaire, my thoughts were 
wandering ; I was thinking how surprised I was to hear 
the Venetian gondohers singing Tasso's Aminta." " What ? 
Explain that to me if you please." " The gondoliers prac- 
tise the voices and the memory of their comrades, like 
Meliboeus and Menalcas of other days. On the Canal' 
Grande of a beautiful summer's night, one of them will 
begin with a recitative, and another answers and continues. 
I don't think the hackney-coachmen of Paris know the 
' Henriade ' by heart ; and if they did, they would intone 
it very badly with their coarse voices, their hard, ignoble 
accent, and the brandy tones of their throats." " That is 
because the Goths are barbarians, enemies to harmony, 
men who will cut your throat, monsieur. That is what the 
People are. But our men of intellect [esprit] have so much 
of it that they put it even into the titles of their books : 
* Livre d'Esprit,' frolicsome intellect, that one. ' Esprit des 
Lois,' intellect put into laws ; I have not the honour to 
understand it. But I do understand the ' Lettres Persanes ; ' 
good book that." 

"There are several other men of letters of whom you 
seem to think well." — " Yes, truly, one must. D'Alembert, 
for instance, who for want of imagination calls himself a 
geometrician ; Diderot, who, in order to make you sure he 
has a mind, is bombastic and declamatory ; and Marmontel, 
whose poetism, between you and me, is unintelligible. 
Those men would say that I am jealous. Well, let them say 
it. Have n't they shrieked everywhere that I was envious 
of Rousseau ? I have drunk champagne with the first, in 
company with your father at your cousin the Due d'Arem- 
berg's, and he went to sleep at that charming supper ; but 
I don't choose to go on all fours after the last and crop 


grass. What is that impertinent ' Profession of Faitli "by a 
Savoyard Vicar,' for example ? Who knows when that man 
is really sincere ? At Court they call me a flatterer and a 
frondeur both ; in Paris too much of a philosopher ; at the 
Academy a foe to philosophy ; contraband at Piome for a 
few little jokes about their actresses and gayeties of an 
oriental kind ; Parchment says I 'm a teacher of despotism ; 
I 'm a bad Frenchman for speaking well of, the English ; 
a thief, and a benefactor of libraries ; a libertine on account 
of Jeanne, whom my enemies choose to call guilty ; an 
imitator and flatterer of men of genius ; and an intolerant 
man because I preach tolerance." 

He bore a grudge against Jean-Jacques for having, by 
means of his stern partisans, forced him to give up his 
theatre and his delightful retreat at " Mes Dehces." But 
one day, at the very moment when he was calling him a 
monster and saying that such a man should not be exiled, 
he should be banished, they came to tell him that Rousseau 
was just entering his courtyard. " Wliere is he, unfortunate 
man ? " he called out. " Let him come to me ; my arms 
are open to him. Perhaps they have driven him from 
Neufchatel. Find him, bring him to me ; all that I have 
is his." 

M. Constant asked him in my presence for his " History 
of Russia." " You are crazy," he said. " If you want to 
know about Russia take La Combe's History ; he never got 
any medals or decorations, that man." He seemed at times 
to be having squabbles with the living and also with the 
dead. His variabiUty made him like them sometimes 
more, sometimes less. When I was with him F^nelon, La 
Fontaine, and Molifere were in the greatest favour. 

" Niece, let us give him some Moli^re," he said to Mme. 
Denis. " Come into the salon and we will do ' Les Femmes 


Savantes ' without preparation." On which he did Trissotin 
very badly indeed; substitutmg Frdron for Trissotin and 
amusing himself immensely with the change. He was just 
then much out of humour with parliament, and when he 
met his donkey at the garden gate he stepped aside and 
said : " Pass on, I beg of you, M. le President." He mis- 
took the tuner of his niece's piano for the shoemaker, and 
when, after a quantity of blunders, the matter was cleared 
up, he said : " Ah ! monsieur, man of souls ; I was putting 
you at my feet, when I ought to be at yours." 

A gentleman, in gray hat and shoes, suddenly entered the 
salon. M. de Voltaire, who dishked visits so much that he 
owned to me he had taken medicine to escape mine, fearing 
it would bore him, fled towards his cabinet. The gentle- 
man stopped him, saying : " Monsieur, monsieur, I am the 
son of a lady on whom you made verses." — "I can believe 
it ; I have made so many and for so many women. Good- 
day to you." — "But it was Mme. Fontame-Martel." — "Ah, 
, monsieur, she was very beautiful. Your servant, sir." (He 
was almost in his cabinet.) " But, monsieur, where did you 
acquire such taste ? This salon, for example, is charming. 
Is it really your own doing ? " (He was just going through 
the door.) " Yes, yes, it is mine ; I gave the designs ; look 
at that entrance, and the staircase, hey ? " " Monsieur, the 
thing that chiefly brought me to Switzerland was the desire 
to see M. de Haller." (M. de Voltaire retreats into his 
cabinet.) " Monsieur, monsieur, how much this must have 
cost you ! what a charming garden ! " (M. de Voltaire 
comes out.) " Oh ! as for that, my gardener is a fool ; I 
have done it all myself." " So I see. M. de Haller is a 
great man." (M. de Voltaire retires.) "How much time 
would it take, monsieur, to build a ch§,teau as beautiful as 
this ? " (M. de Voltaire re-enters the salon.) Without in- 



tending it, they have played me the funniest httle scene in 
the world ; and M. de Voltaire gave me many another, more 
comic still, from his vivacities, his tempers, his repentances, 
his stamp of the man of Letters joined to his air of a sei- 
gneur of the Court of Louis XIV. and a frequenter of the 
best company.^ 

He was comical when he played the village lord. He 
talked to the peasants as if they were ambassadors of the 
Romans, or princes of the Trojan war. He ennobled every- 
thing. Wishing to ask why they never gave him jugged 
hare for dinner, he said to an old game-keeper : " My friend, 
has the emigration of animals from my estate of Tourm^ to 
my estate of Ferney ceased ? " 

He would come in the morning and sit on my bed, and 
talk with the simplest grace and gayety, saying and liking 
conversational nonsense. It was thus that I said to him : 
" Your Mile. Corneille takes after a rook [corneille] much 
more than she does after Corneille." She was nigra, but not 
formosa. But his sister-in-law. Mile, du Puys, pleased me 
exceedingly, and made me sometimes inattentive when the 
great man was talking to me. He did not like that. I re- 
member that one day his handsome Swiss maids, waiting at 
table with their shoulders bare on account of the heat, passed 
between him and me in handing me the cream ; he caught 
them, angrily, with both hands round their necks, exclaim- 
ing : " Bosoms here and bosoms there ; go to the devil ! " 

1 From the tenor of this remark is it to be inferred that the prince 
knew, or did not know, that Arouet was the son of a notary — that of the 
Due de Saint-Simon and his fatlier 1 He took the name of Voltaire to con- 
ceal his identity. Carlyle says tliat name is the anagram of Arouet 1. j. 
{le jeune). At the present date, December, 1897, the bodies of Voltaire 
and Rousseau have just been exliumed at tlie Pantheon in Paris. That of 
Voltaire was so well preserved that its likeness to Houdon's statue was 
very noticeable. Of Rousseau's bod.y onlv the skeleton remained. — Tr. 

Mem. ' Ver. 6— K 


He always wore gray shoes, iron-gray turned-over stock 
ings, a great dimity jacket coming down to his knees, a large 
and very long wig, and a black velvet cap. On Sunday he 
put on a handsome, spangled coat of one colour only, waist- 
coat and breeches of the same ; but the waistcoat had great 
flaps, edged with gold lace k la Bourgogne in scallops, with 
broad lace cuffs coming down to the tips of his fingers, " be- 
cause," he said, " with this, one has an air of nobility." M. de 
Voltaire was kind with all his neighbours, and made them 
laugh. He embellished what he said and what he heard. 
He put some questions to an officer of my regiment, and 
thought him sublime in his answers. " Of what religion are 
you, monsieur ? " — " My parents brought me up in the Cath- 
olic religion." " A grand answer," remarked M. de Voltaire ; 
" observe, he does not say that he is of it." 

All this seems rather frivolous to relate, and as if I intended 
to ridicule him ; but he ought to be seen in the light of his 
brilliant and beautiful imagination, distributing and scatter- 
ing its witty sallies all around him ; attributing his own wit 
to others ; always seeing and believing in the good and the 
beautiful; abounding in this sense and making others 
abound, imconsciously to themselves ; giving succour to the 
unfortunate, building houses for poor families, and being in 
his own home the good man he was in his village, — good 
man and great man both ; a union without which neither 
the one nor the other is complete ; for genius gives a wider 
sphere to goodness, and goodness more of nature to genius. 

If I had thought of it when I was at Ferney I would 
have said to M. de Voltaire, " Come and walk with me in 
the village of which you are the creator and the happiness. 
Look at that peasant who has just lost his calf. He hopes 
to find it because he has had a mass said to Saint Anthony 
of Padua. Would you have the barbarity to take that hope 


from him ? " " No," he would have answered in his thun- 
dering voice, " I would sooner burn my books against reli- 
gion." And he would have done so assuredly, if I had 
proved to him that one of his peasants, chancing to read a 
book of his, had yielded to despair about his rheumatism, 
after throwing away, in consequence of what he read, a relic 
which a Franciscan friar had given him to relieve it. If he 
had been the leader of a sect, other than that of the Philoso- 
phers (and there is no harm done in sending the souls of 
a hundred or two of them to the devil), he would have 
preached irreligion in his village, and that he never did. 

[In 1777], unable to believe that M. de Voltaire would 
commit the folly of going to Paris, or the pope the folly of 
going to Vienna, I, most unfortunately, left both cities just 
before the arrival of each. Too well, or too ill received, the 
former went to Paris to die. The bustle, the bad air of that 
city, the pitiable conduct of the Court (which he ought to 
have expected), the detestable behaviour of the clergy, — all 
this, together with the excitements of joy and anger in place 
of the sweet and salutary life of his smiling valley, could 
only result in terminating his days. 

M. de Voltaire was no more conclusive in his opinions 
than other people. In reading him, I think I have him 
when (for instance), out of the apparent abandonment of his 
heart, he talks with Uranie. Not at all ; he escapes me ; the 
palinode is over ; and I see it was not in good faith. But 
when is he in good faith on those points ? I am convinced 
that if he could have seen the foolish unbelievers of our 
present day, he would never have permitted himself those 
jests, which have done more harm than he suspected. He 
might also have excused himself from laughing at the 
ancient Jews, to whose history he is constantly harking 
back, — a history which would certainly be ridiculous were it 


not a sacred and extra-ordinary history ; and also if all 
things were not possible to God. The only thing he says in 
favour of the modern Jews, of whom he is no more tolerant 
than he is of Christianity, and specially of Catholicism, is 
(while preaching tolerance) that he would not burn them. 
He declaims so much against Jesus Christ chietly because he 
was born among a nation he abhors. He is its Fri^ron ; and 
that is the real sin of M. de Voltaire. If, at his death, his 
vicar had had the wit to leave his room with a satisfied air, 
and, by a pious lie, had said he was converted and had ful- 
filled his Catholic duties, he would have converted back the 
pretended free-thinkers whom M. de Voltaire had misled. 
When he repeated twice over the name of Jesus Christ, it 
was not to deny him, as people said, adding the words, " In 
the name of God do not talk to me of that man." It should 
not be concluded that when a dying man, no longer in his 
senses, pushes away his vicar with his fleshless, feeble fingers 
he wishes to end his life without religion. Not knowing 
more than others about eternity, M. de Voltaire would never 
have run that risk. He was not what is called a " free- 
thinker," like Alembert and Diderot ; he never upheld the 
principles of atheism, or anything like it. Rousseau, who 
changed his opinion two or three times, and attacked re- 
ligion many more times, grievously and seriously, was far 
more dangerous. 

M. de Voltaire died as a saint might die. That is what 
ought to have been told at Versailles. Mar^chal Brown and 
Mar^chal Daun, his friends, who were both tliere, ought to 
have had the courage to say it. But Louis XVI. with his 
weak speech, the enmity of the clergy, the opposition of the 
gazettes, and other pitiable things in connection with his 
burial, have caused an ineffaceable scandal and done great 
harm to religion. It is not enough to be religious, men 
should also have common-sense. 


If any one had said to ]\I. dc Voltaire : " Everything 
depends on you ; what do you wish to put in the place of 
God ? " " Nothing," he would have said in a voice of thun- 
der. " Adore Him instead of the pope, and make the latter 
stay in Eome." It should be remembered of him that he 
has extinguished the spirit of party ; he has made Hugue- 
nots, Catholics, and Jews cling together. He laughed at 
them and made them laugh at themselves. Moreover, in 
preaching a taste for the arts, and in extending it to litera- 
ture, he has softened manners and customs, and removed 
much that formerly disturbed governments and the tranquil- 
lity that Europe now enjoys. 

The foregoing paragraph, written some years ago, proves 
that I am no wizard. Could I have imagined then that the 
names of Voltaire and of Eousseau would be profanely used 
to overthrow altars, thrones, palaces, castles, laws ? Let no 
one say that philosophy produced the monsters who de- 
stroyed the peace of the world. The ambition of a few 
wretches it was that, heaping crime on crime, have dragged 
us back to barbarism. 

A few years before this time there appeared upon the 
horizon of Paris a phenomenon, which had nothing alarm- 
ing about it. It was not a comet, for instead of a tail it had 
a queue, rather ill-made, a chignon, a catagon that was often 
falling apart. It was not an aurora horeo.lis, for it lighted 
the day as well as the night. It was not an ignis fatuics, 
for it was much too wise to lead or to be led astray. It was 
not a planet, for it did not revolve around any one ; nor was 
it a star, because, happily for the nations of Europe, it 
was not fixed to its own spot. This phenomenon talks, but 
not enough ; thinks, but far too much ; walks, but only to 
sit down, crookedly, in a chair and cross its little legs, and 
tlien uncross tlieni to make a little bow to a man who has 


been waiting half an hour. It holds its head on its left 
shoulder and begins to listen to what a second man is not 
saying, and does not hear a word that a third man says. 
Its name, I think, is Elzdar [Comte Louis-Philippe de S^gur]. 
He has a touch of genius and looks like a sylph, for he is 
almost transparent ; he is a salamander when he writes, for 
then he is all in fiames. He has very Utile human nature, 
no desires, no passions, and, I fear, few pleasures, though he 
suffers pain. His sensibility, for instance, procures him 
something else than enjoyment. The depth of his reflec- 
tions turns to sorrow rather than to joy. He neglects the 
charms of the present to think about the troubles of the 
future. He is sometimes too young, and sometimes too old. 
Look at him, walking ajong in his overcoat with its small 
collar, head down, body forward, with a big book under his 
left arm and a little one in his right hand, in which is also a 
little cane with a red knob, which he never puts upon the 
ground. He will plunge into the wood, or climb a moun- 
tain. Nature hides nothing from him ; physics and astronomy 
open their treasures to him, and mechanism her workshop. 

Are you afraid of this phenomenon, though I warned you 
in the beginning that it was not alarming ? Fear nothing ; 
he does marvels without being marvellous. Do not be 
uneasy about his humour, or his sombre meditations, for 
this elderly young man can laugh like an idiot and never 
stop himself; or if he does, a mere nothing will start him 
again. He is kind, simple, naif, indifl'erent about himself, 
and has no silly pride of modesty, for he does not know his 
own value. He puts forward his little paradox sometimes, 
as if he meant to sustain it rigidly ; others deny it, he takes 
no notice ; they laugh, he does not cai'c ; they attack it, he 
does not defend it. The accuracy of his mind is often 
worsted by the exaltation of liis soul. His soul ! that 


word would give me much to do if I tried to say all that I 
have remarked about it. When it is in company with his 
mind it serves him well ; hence extreme sensibility, fresh- 
ness, choice of expressions, a tinge of sweet and tender mel- 
ancholy with which his works and talk are impregnated. 
AVhen his soul goes alone it also does well. It is then he 
writes his couplets and talks to Christine. 

Elz^ar is white and pink ; sweetness and charm are in his 
face, and grace, because he has none at all ; he is always nat- 
ural and piquant. The originality of his manners is like 
that of his mind. He says things differently from other 
people, and better ; he makes his own definitions, which 
are very subtle, and he gives to each a distinguishing tone. 
He pleases every one when he likes, and he might like it a 
little more ; meantime it is certain that all who know him 
h fond will say, as I do, that S^gur is a phenomenon. More 
than twenty of his songs are masterpieces, and his plays, 
though made for laughter only, are sparkles of pretty wit. 
His reports as minister to Eussia and all his despatches are 
superior in politics, diplomacy, and even in literature, and 
should serve as history. He is the first Frenchman who has 
understood Russia. The Vicomte de S^gur is less correct, 
more neghgent, less witty ; there is, however, an agreeable 
piquancy in his work. They both deserve their success in 

The Comte de S^gur was always amiable, even sword in 
hand at two duels, in which I saw him show grace, pleasan- 
try, coolness, and courage. He and I were coming out one 
very rainy night, after supping with Mme. de Polignac in the 
rue de Bourbon. No coach to be seen and no person there 
to fetch one. " Let us pretend to fight," I said to him, " and 
that will bring the watch ; they '11 arrest us, and we '11 make 
them get a carriage to take \is to the commissary." On 


which we took sword in hand with a fearful scuffle and cries 
of " Oh ! ah ! are you dead ? are you wounded ? " The watch 
passed and repassed quite near us on the Pont-Koyal, but, 
apparently frightened, they did not arrest us, and we, half 
dead with laughter and the fatigue of the battle, had to go 
home on foot in the rain after all. 

I am surprised that La Harpe in his " Cours de Litt^rature " 
dues not speak of the stupidity of the French Academy in 
compelling Montesquieu to retract the very book for which 
they gave him his admission. After that, let him say no 
more about his Academy, composed of grand seigneurs who 
could neither read nor write nor spell, like Mardchals Eiche- 
lieu and Duras, Cardinal de Rohan, etc., and of certain mere 
translators and compilers. How happens it that a Swiss 
and a Savoyard are the two men who have fixed the French 
language by writing it with the greatest purity, — Vaugelas, 
and Jean-Jacques Rousseau ? I advise that in order to know 
that language well and to admire its justness and precision 
we should analyze and define each word that seems syony- 
mous with another. For instance, those very two words: 
I mean by " analyze " to trace up a word, or a thought, to 
its source ; to go back to its etymology, see it under all its 
different aspects and relations, because analysis seems to me 
for mental use what anatomy is for physical. By " defi- 
nition" I mean the result of analysis, and the word or 
thought fixed by that result. 

The " Encyclopedia " was an impossible work, especially in 
France, where, excepting literature, they know nothing. The 
English, the Italians, even the Germans would have been 
more capable of it, except in matters of taste. The military 
part is pitiable ; without vanity I think I could have done 
that pretty well myself; and the philosophers' heads were 
much too poor to undertake a crusade against M. Luther 


and kings. What I saw of d'Alembert I liked and admired, 
without knowing him very well, and it makes his memory 
dear to me. I don't know whether in England or Germany 
he would have passed for as much of a geometrician as he did 
in France, where they are too amiable for that science. But 
he, Buffon, and La Harpe are the three last great authors. 
D'Alembert was gay, without appearing to be so, and he 
mimicked every one to perfection. In spite of the great 
defects and sins of Diderot, he would perhaps have been the 
greatest writer of prose if Eousseau had not eclipsed him. 
He had fire and true enthusiasm, with a great gift of elo- 
quence, or rather declamation, which made him an atheist. 
It is a great pity that nothing remains of his which will ever 
be useful. 

The Abb^ Eaynal (who in after years was the first to un- 
frock himself, even before it became the fashion) wrote his 
" Philosophical history of the commerce of European nations 
with the Indies," without ever having been in England, or 
even in Holland, the two chief commercial countries of 
Europe. He might have got instruction had he done so, 
especially as to the Indies ; but the French never doubt 
themselves. A certain M. de Sainte-Palaye thought, and so 
did all France, that he had written a History of Chivalry ; 
but in it he only told, wliat everybody knew, of his own 
country; though of course, with such a title, English, German, 
Spanish, and other knights expected to find themselves in- 
cluded. It is a general defect in the French nation to think 
itself the only one in the world ; but this comes more, as 
I think, from ignorance and levity than from arrogance. La- 
place translated English plays, and Linguet Spanish ones, 
without either of them knowing a word of those languages. 

But what a heavy man was Raynal ! — although he was a 
Gascon, whose very accent is burlesque ! He always related 


his anecdotes twice over, though all were well-known ; and 
between the first and second narrations he would rap with 
his fingers on a table and say : " That is capital ! I don't 
know if other people feel the full force of it." I used to 
breakfast with him in Paris, but there was more amusement 
in dining with him at Spa, with the Emperor Joseph and 
Prince Henry of Prussia, than at his dreary Paris breakfasts, 
which bored me. When he saw that effect beginning he 
would try to efface himself in order not to be thought the 
cause of it. What he said of the King of Prussia, in con- 
nection with the war which the emperor had just ended 
with him, did not prevent the king from treating him well ; 
" the old lion shaking his mane " did not cause him either 
pain or terror. 

It was Eaynal and Marmontel who made the critical and 
humorous reputation of Fr^ron, through the latter's comments 
upon them in his " Letters on the Writings of the Time." 
My tutor, M. de la Porte, who was a great friend of Fr(5ron 
[father of the inventor of the jeunesse dorce] because they 
had been Jesuits together, found Marmontel, on one occasion, 
sword in hand, about to attack Frdron on coming out from 
Aristomanes, but the idlers about the Caf^ de Procope easily 
parted them. 

I have always been sorry that the Abb^ de la Porte never 
continued his Journal, which I knew well. He was as good 
on details as Freron ; he had all his good qualities without 
his ill-humour, malice, and insincerity. 

The bequest in M. de Voltaire's will of a velvet coat and 
brocaded waistcoat to his secretary Vagniferes made me laugh 
when the latter told me about it. The philosopher expected 
to wear them on the occasion of receiving the emperor if the 
latter, disobeying his mother, had come to see him ; which 
indeed he really might have done. I could understand this 


by the gold-brocaded coat, and waistcoat of the same with flaps 
a la Bourgogue, which he donned for me. However, he was 
quite as undecided on this occasion as M. Jourdain ; and did 
not feel sure that he might not appear to greater advantage 
in a dressing-gown of some rich stuff. "Dress yourself 
rather well," he said to Vagniferes ; " you had better put on 
that suit of Hydaspes " (captain of the guards of Darius) 
" which I had made for you to act in the tragedy." A true 
philosopher, a geometrician, without being as full of his 
subject as Archimedes was at the siege of Syracuse, would 
never have run again and again to the street door to see if 
Joseph II. were coming. " I think," he kept saying, " I think 
I see him coming." But a poet, a lord of the manor, the 
courtier, friend and correspondent of kings, did have the 
weakness to set a value on that visit. 

It was about this time that a thing happened which dis- 
tressed me very much. M. de La Harpe relates it in a letter 
to the Grand-duke Paul, calling the person concerned a Capi- 
taine Valton. He was really a Wallon captain, the Chevalier 
de la Touche, captain of grenadiers in my father's regiment, 
whom a piece of insubordination towards my major con- 
demned to death. The excuse of a little too much wine 
would have saved him ; but he thought that his honour re- 
quired him not to offer it. I loved him tenderly. A fault 
something like the present had obliged him to leave France 
and the Normandy regiment in which he was a. captain. 
Living constantly in my father's house he had asked for my 
pardon a score of times when at ten or twelve years of age I 
deserved to be punished. And now I could not ask for his ! 
Maria Theresa (for I was in Vienna at the time, and not with 
the regiment) said to me : " Mardchal Daun, who esteems 
your captain highly, is as sad as I am that we cannot get 
him out of this ; he is condemned." I returned to the regi- 


ment ; and the next morning I heard in my tent the three 
shots that ended the life of that brave and obstinate man. I 
turned sick ; my state is not to be described. He had him- 
self loaded the muskets of the men detailed for his execu- 
tion, " because," he said, " I do not want to be missed. Fire 
straight ; I have taught you to do that as well as I could ; 
and tell my colonel that 1 regret nothing in life but leaving 
him ; and I want him to pardon the trouble I have often 
caused him by my wilful temper." He would not let them 
bandage his eyes. He had dressed himself and arranged 
his hair as if for parade. Then, kneeling down he fell dead 
instantly, as he had desired. 

It is a wonder to me that preachers do not learn Massillon 
and Bourdaloue by heart and preach them instead of their own 
wretched sermons. We could then say, " Let us go and hear 
Bourdaloue," just as we say, " Let us go and hear Corneille 
at the Th(^atre Fraugais." I knew a preacher, a little abb^ of 
whom nobody thought much, who did this in the provinces. 
He was admired, and everybody cried out " Miracle ! " His 
last sermon in Lent was on Eestitution ; and after having 
again delighted and amazed his hearers, he ended by saying 
that he intended to set the example himself by restoring to 
every man what he had taken from him. He then informed 
his auditors of all that he had taken from other Christian 
orators, who were apparently not much known in those parts. 

I was dining one day at Saint-Germain when an abb6 
very much esteemed in society kept us waiting for dinner. 
When the hostess said to him, " What have you been doing, 
abbe, to make you so late ? " " Ladies ! " he replied, " the 
very best thing in the world, — turning T(^lt5maque into 
verse." I knew a lady who committed the same absurdity 
with tliat immortal letter of H^loise beginning, " Let us die, 
sweet frieud," 



[This account of Frederick II. was originally given in a 
letter to the King of Poland, Stanislas Poniatowski, begin- 
ning as follows in the first paragraph below, but the prince 
published it in vol. vi. of his Works without the inscription 
to the king and with various additions to the text, which are 
here given.] 

To His Majesty the King of Poland : 

You have ordered me, Sire, to give you an account of one 
of the greatest men of this age. You admire him, although 
his proximity has done you harm ; by placing yourself at 
the distance of History all that belongs to that extraordinary 
genius inspires you with a noble curiosity. I shall render 
you an exact account of every word that I myself have 
heard from the great Frederick. Nothing is without in- 
terest in such a report, because everything will serve to paint 
his character. The man of whom I speak and the one 
whom I address will both give interest to what I here relate, 
I do not know. Sire, if any of the great phenomena of nature 
will mourn the day when you will cease to reign, but it is 
already a phenomenon in the world that a king who governs 
a republic should have made himself obeyed and respected 
for himself as well as by his rights. 

It is not in speaking of one's self that the fatal egotism, 
which is the general vice of our time, consists ; it is in re- 
ferring everything to one's own self. Nevertheless, I dislike 
to speak of myself. " I " is odious to me, as it is in others 


when I hear them use it. If I say it often in what follows, 
it is tliat I am obliged to do so in relating what the King of 
Prussia said to me. Another person might not relate all 
these various details ; but 1 think that the least little word 
of a man like him should be recorded. 

In 1770, by a singular chance, and in consequence of a 
personal admiration which our emperor [Joseph II., who 
had succeeded his father Francis I. as Emperor of Germany, 
his mother, IMaria Theresa, still being Empress of the Holy 
Roman Empire] had conceived for the King of Prussia, 
these two great sovereigns were on such terms that they 
paid each other visits. The emperor allowed me to take 
part in one he was about to receive from the king at the 
camp at Neustadt in Moravia. I cannot remember whether 
I really had, or whether I assumed, an embarrassed air ; but 
what I do remember very well is that the emperor, who per- 
ceived it, said to the king, speaking of me and leading him 
away : " He looks shy, which I never knew him to be before ; 
he will be worth more presently." He said this with much 
grace and gayety, and they left headquarters to go, I think, 
to the theatre. The king, on the way, turned back to me to 
ask if my letter to Jean-Jacques Pousseau, which had been 
.printed in the public papers, were really mine. I replied: 
" Sire, I am not sufficiently famous to have ray name stolen 
by others." He saw what I meant. Horace Walpole had 
taken the king's name in writing the celebrated letter to 
Eousseau, which contributed more than anything to turn 
the head of that eloquent and irrational nian of genius. 

As we left the theatre, the emperor said to the king : 
" Here is Noven-e, the famous composer of ballets ; he has, 
I tliink, been to P)erlin." Noven-e made a fine dancing- 
master's bow. "Ah! I know him," said the king; "we had 
him in Berlin ; he was very droll, mimicked everybody, 


and our danseuses nearly died of laughing." Noverre, little 
pleased with this slighting manner of recalling him, made 
another fine bow, and bided his time, hoping that the king 
would give him a chance for vengeance. " Your ballets are 
good," said the king, " your danseuses have grace, but it is 
stiff grace. I think you make them raise their shoulders 
and arms too much ; for, M. Noverre, if you remember, our 
leading danseuse of Berlin never does that." " That is why 
she is there, Sire," replied Noverre. 

I was invited every night to sup with the king ; and he 
addressed his conversation only too often to me. In spite 
of my attachment to the emperor, whose general I like to be, 
but not his Argeus, I kept a little backward and put my 
stomach to work rather than my mind. When I was 
absolutely questioned I had to answer and continue the 
conversation ; into which the emperor put a great deal of 
fire and was more at his ease than the king was with him. 
They discussed one day what a man should most desire to 
be, and asked my opinion. I said : " I would like to be a 
pretty woman till I was thirty ; a commanding-general with 
success and ability till sixty," and then, not knowing what 
to say, but thinking I must add something, no matter what, 
I said, " a cardinal till eighty." The king, who is fond of 
laughing at the Sacred College, made merry over that. The 
emperor let him have Rome and all its myrmidons on easy 
terms. That supper was one of the gayest and pleasantest 
I ever enjoyed. Both emperor and king were without 
assumption or reserve, which did not happen every day ; 
and the friendliness of two such superior men, a little sur- 
prised to find each other together, was a very agreeable 
thing, as can well be imagined. The king told me to go and 
see him the first time that he or I had three or four hours 
to ourselves. 


A storm, such as there was never the hke of, a deluge be- 
side which that of Deucahon was merely a summer shower, 
covered the mountains with torrents and nearly drowned our 
army, which was manoeuvring. The next day, except for 
that, was a day of rest. I went to the king at nine in the 
morning and stayed with him till one o'clock alone. He 
talked of our generals, and I let him say for himself the good 
that I thought of Mar(5chals Lacy and Loudon, but I told 
liim that, as for the others, he had better talk of the dead 
than the living, for no one could judge properly, unless they 
had done great deeds like the other two. He spoke of Mar^- 
chal Daun. I said I thought he might have been a great 
general against the French, but that against him he had not 
shown all he might be, because he always saw him, thunder- 
bolt in hand, ready to pulverize his army. He seemed to 
like that, and expressed much esteem for Mar^chal Daun ; 
he also spoke highly of General Brentano. I asked the rea- 
son of certain things I knew he had said about General Beck. 
" Well, I thought him a man of merit." — "I don't think so, 
for he never did you any harm." — " He captured some of 
my magazines." — " And let your generals escape." — "I 
never beat him." — " He never came near enough for that, 
and I have always believed that your Majesty only pre- 
tended to think him of importance, so that confidence might 
be put in him and strong corps given to him, to play into 
your Majesty's hands." — " Do you know who taught me the 
little I know ? Your old Mardchal Traun ; ah ! there was a 
man, indeed ! You spoke just now of the French ; are they 
making any progress ? " — " They are capable of anything in 
times of war. Sire, but in times of peace they are not satis- 
fied with what they are ; tliey want to be what they are not." 
— " Wliat is that ? Disciplined ? They were disciplined in 
the days of M. de Turenne." — " Oh ! that is not it; they 

•^^^^^/^/t ^^lAe <3C9^€i^ 


were not disciplined in the d.iys of Vendonie, but they won 
battles. The thing is, they are now your imitators and ours, 
and that is not suited to them." — " That is what I think, and 
what I have said to their trainers ; they want to sing before 
they know music." — " Yes, that is very true ; but they ought 
to be left in their natural tones ; for my part, I like rural 
music. For example, they ought to make the most of their 
valour, their volatility, and even their defects ; I think their 
confusion might be made to spread to the enemy." — "Why, 
yes, no doubt, if they were well supported," — " By the Swiss 
and the Germans, Sire." — " They are a brave and amiable 
nation ; it is impossible not to like them ; but, good God ! what 
have they done with their men of letters ? what a difference 
of tone among them ! Voltaire was excellent ; d'Alembert, 
whom I esteem in some respects, is too forth-putting; he 
wants to make too much effect in society. Were these the 
men of letters who gave such grace to the Court of Louis 
XIV., and received it in return ? There was the patriarch 
of kings, that one ! People said rather too much good of 
him during his lifetime, but a great deal too much evil of 
him after he was dead." — "A King of France, Sire, is al- 
ways the patriarch of men of talent." — " They are a bad 
lot ; it would take the devil and all to govern them. Better 
be the patriarch of the Greeks, like my sister, the Empress 
of Russia. That brings her in something, and will bring her 
more. There 's a religion indeed, which includes so many 
different countries and nations. As for our poor Lutherans, 
there are so few of them it is not worth while to be their 

" And yet. Sire, if the Calvinists were collected, and all the 
little bastard sects, it would make a pretty good post." The 
king appeared to take fire at that, and his eyes blazed up. It 

did not last, however, when I added : " If the emperor were 
Menk Ver. G — L 


the patriarch of the Catholics that would not be a bad place 
either," " Well done," he said, laughing. " Here 's Europe 
divided up into three patriarchates. I was wrong to begin 
this subject ; just see where it leads. I think our dreams 
are not those of good men, as the regent used to say. If 
Louis XIV. were living now he would not thank us." 

All these patriarchal ideas, possible and impossible, made 
him thoughtful for a moment and almost ill-humoured ; but 
he presently resumed : — 

" Louis XIV., having more judgment than mind, was al- 
ways seeking the one more than the other. They were men 
of genius whom he wanted and whom he found. You can't 
say that Corneille, Bossuet, Eacine, and Cond^ were men of 
talent." — "I have heard, Sire, that your Majesty said, ' If 
any one wanted to make a fine dream — ' " — " Yes, that is 
true, to be King of France." — " If Francois I. and Henri IV. 
had come into the world after your Majesty, they would have 
said, ' to be the King of Prussia.' " — " TeU me, if you please, 
whether there is no one in these days fit to quote." I 
laughed, and the king asked why. I told him he made me 
think of the " Russian in Paris," those pretty verses of M. de 
Voltaire ; on which we both quoted charming passages, 
laughing heartily. 

He said : " I have heard of the Prince de Conti ; what 
sort of a man is he ? " " He is a composition," I answered, 
" of twenty or thirty. He is proud and affable, ambitious 
and philosophical, grumbler and gourmand, lazy, noble, de- 
bauched, the idol and example of good society ; liking evil 
from lasciviousness of head only, but putting his self-love 
into it ; generous, eloquent, very handsome, the most majestic 
of men, with a manner and style that is all his own ; a 
good friend, frank, amiable, well-informed, liking Montaigne 
and Eabelais, and liaving something of their language ; re- 


sembliiig in some respects M. de Vendome and the great 
Condd ; wishing to play a rSle, but without the steadiness of 
mind to do so ; wishing to be feared, yet only being loved; 
believing that he leads parliament, and is another Due de 
Beaufort for the people, yet little considered by one and little 
known by the other ; fit for all, but capable of nothing. 
This is so true," I added, " that his mother one day said of 
him : ' My son has intellect, oh, yes, he has a great deal, and 
it seems to cover a wide extent ; but he is like an obelisk ; the 
higher he goes the smaller he gets, and he ends in a point 
like a steeple.' " 

The portrait amused the king. It was necessary to hold 
his attention by some rather piquant detail, otherwise he 
escaped you or did not give you time to speak. But even 
the first words of an ordinary conversation he found means 
to make interesting ; if it was only about the rain or the fine 
weather, he put something lofty into it, and never did one 
hear from him the slightest thing that was commonplace. 
He ennobled all, and would bring examples from Greeks and 
Eomans and modern generals to illustrate something that in 
others might seem trivial. " Did you ever see a rain like 
that of yesterday ? The good Catholics on your side said : 
* That is what it is to have a man without any religion 
among us ; what shall we do with that damned king, 
Lutheran, if he is anything ? ' For I really do think I have 
brought you ill-luck. , Your soldiers have been saying: 
' Peace is made, and yet here 's that devil of a man annoy- 
ing us still.' " — " If your IMajesty is really the cause it is 
very wrong, because it is only permitted to Jupiter, who has 
good reasons for all he does." — "I am sure I beg your par- 
don for having so often tormented you in those Seven Years. 
I am sorry for humanity in general, but a fine war of 
apprenticeship that was ! I made faults enough to teach 


you all, you young men, to do better than I. Good God ! 
how I love your grenadiers ! How they have defiled before 
me ! If the god Mars should want to raise a guard for his 
own person, I advise him to take those fellows without choos- 
ing further. Do you know, I was much pleased with your 
emperor at supper last night. Did you hear what he said 
to me about the liberty of the press and the restraints upon 
conscience? There's a good deal of difference between 
him and his worthy ancestors." " I am convinced," I said, 
" that he will show no bigotry in anything and that your 
Majesty is to him a great book of instruction." — " Yester- 
day he disapproved very much, but delicately, and without 
saying so, of that ridiculous Vienna Censure, and his 
mother's too great attachment to certain things which only 
make hypocrites, but he did not name her. But h propos of 
this, she ought to hate you, that empress." — "Why, no, not at 
all ; she scolds me sometimes for my misguided conduct, but 
very maternally ; she pities me and thinks I shall return to 
the fold, and not long ago she said : ' I don't know how you 
manage it, but you are the intimate friend of P^re Grift'et, 
and the Bishop of Neustadt is always saying good of you to 
me, — the Archbishop of Malines, too ; and the cardinal is 
fond of you.' " 

Why can I not remember the scores of luminous things 
that flashed from him in this conversation, which lasted 
until the trumpet at head(piarters announced to us that 
dinner was served? The king went to the table, and it was 
this day, I think, that, some one having asked why M. de 
Loudon was late in coming, he said : " It is not his habit ; 
he usually arrived before me : be so kind as to let him have 
this place near me ; I prefer to have him at my side rather 
than opposite." 

Another day, the manoeuvres having ended early, there 


was a concert at the emperor's quarters. In spite of the 
king's love for music he came and sat down by me and 
enchanted me with the magic of his conversation and the 
gay and bold and brilliant flashes that characterized it. He 
asked me to name to him the officers present, and to tell 
him those who had served under Mardchal Traun ; " for," he 
said, " as I told you before, he was my master, he corrected 
all the blunders that I made." — " Your Majesty was very 
ungrateful, and did not pay for your lessons ; you ought at 
least to have let him beat you, and I do not remember that 
that happened." — "He never beat me, because I never fought 
him." — " That is how the greatest generals have often 
made war ; one has only to look at the two campaigns of 
1674-75 of M. de Montecuculi and M. de Turenne to see 
that." — " There is no difference between the first of those 
generals and Traun, but between the other and me, good 
God ! it is great indeed." 

I don't know how the conversation changed, but it pres- 
ently became so free that seeing some one approach as if to 
share it, the king warned him to take care, that there was 
risk in talking to a man condemned to eternal flames by the 
theologians. I thought the king set too much value on his 
damnation, and boasted of it a trifle too much. Apart from 
the insincerity of free-thinkers, who often fear the devil with 
all their hearts, it is bad taste to want to show off their 
opinions. But it was from the men of bad taste whom he 
had had about him, like Jordans, d'Argens, Maupertuis, 
la Beaumelle, la Mettrie, the Abb^ de Pradt, and several 
other dull-witted scoffers in his Academy, that he had learned 
to speak ill of religion and to talk dogma, Spinozaism, Court 
of Rome, etc. I did not answer when he talked in this way ; 
and I seized a moment when he blew his nose to speak of 
SpDjething else. After that he went on to ask me the names 


of those present. I pointed out to him a number of young 
princes who had entered the service, several of whom gave 
hopes of excellence. " Maybe," he said, " but I think it 
is well to cross the races of empire. I like the children of 
love ; look at Mar^chal de Saxe, and my own Anhalt, — 
though I am very much afraid since that fall upon his head 
that he will never be as good as he was before. I should 
be sorry for him and myself too ; he is a man full of 

I am glad to record this because I have often heard his 
silly detractors, who accused him of want of feeling, say that 
he was not touched by this accident to the man whom he 
seemed to love best. Fortunate would he have been had 
they said no worse of him. They supposed him jealous of 
the talents of Schwerin and Keith, and to be glad to have 
killed them. It is thus that common men endeavour to 
pull down great ones in order to diminish the vast space 
between them. 

The king, out of courtesy, wore a white uniform, and so 
did each of his suite, in order not to spread before our eyes; 
the blue we had seen so much of during the war. He.. 
seemed to belong to our army and to be in the suite of the: 
emperor. There was, I think, a little personal feeling, some 
distrust, — perhaps a slight beginning of bitterness in this,, 
which always happens, says Philippe de Commines, at the 
meeting of sovereigns. The king took a great deal of snuff, 
and as he brushed it from his coat as best he could, he said 
to me : " I am not clean enough for you gentlemen ; I am 
not worthy to wear your colours." The air with which he 
said that made me think that he would soil his coat again 
with gunpowder when occasion offered. 

I forgot to mention a little opportunity which I had to 
make the two monarchs feel pleasantly toward each other ^ 


The king said to me : "I was much pleased to-day with the 
dressing of your columns and the way in which they de- 
ployed " — " And I, Sire, was pleased with the emperor's coup 
d'o&il ; he was there himself and was not mistaken by a 
foot on the ground or the distances." The emperor came 
up at this moment and asked the king what I was saying. 
" I am certain," replied the king, " that he will not dare to 
repeat it to your Majesty, and I myself have hardly the 
courage to do so. We were both of the same opinion about 
the movement you made the hussars do this morning, which 
protected the deployment; your Majesty placed them so 
exactly at the right point that each division came into 
line abreast." Later, the king spoiled this little madrigal 
which I had thus procured; and his epigram of entrance 
into Bohemia some years after was more in his line. 

The king was sometimes too ceremonious. This annoyed 
the emperor. For instance, I do not know whether it was 
to play the part of a submissive elector, but when the 
emperor put foot in his stirrup, the king took his horse by 
the bridle ; when the emperor threw his leg over to mount 
the saddle the king set foot in his stirrup, and so on. The 
emperor had an air of great sincerity from the first in ren- 
dering him attentions, like those of a young prince to an old 
king, a young soldier to the greatest of generals. On one 
confidential day they talked politics together. " Every one 
can't have the same," said the king. " It all depends on 
the situation, circumstances, and power of States. What 
suits me would not suit your Majesty. For instance, I 
sometimes risk a political lie." " What is that ? " asked the 
emperor, laughing. "Well, for example," said the king, 
gayly, " I imagine a piece of news, which I know will be 
seen to be false at the end of twenty-four hours. No matter ; 
before the truth is known, my news has done its work." 


Sometimes there was an appearance of real cordiality 
between them. It was plain that Frederick II. liked Joseph 
II., l)ut the preponderance of empire over monarch and the 
nearness of Silesia to Bohemia arrested the feeling. Their 
letters on the subject of Bavaria will be remembered, their 
compliments, the explanation of their intentions made with 
so much politeness, and liow, from courtesy to courtesy, the 
king marched into Bohemia. 

Before leaving the camp, he made me promise to go to 
Berlin. I hastened to do so after the little war which he 
called his lawsuit, saying he had come as a sheriff to put in 
an execution, came to an end [the war of the Bavarian Suc- 
cession, lasting seven months, to put Charles Theodore, elec- 
tor palatine, on his throne ; opposed by Frederick without 
success]. The result to the king is well-known : great cost 
of men, horses, and money ; a certain appearance of good 
faith and disinterestedness ; little honour in war, some hon- 
esty in policy, and much bitterness towards us. After it 
was ended the king began, without knowing why, to forbid 
aU Austrian officers from setting foot in his dominions 
without an express permission, signed by his hand ; in re- 
turn, the same order from our Court relating to Prussian 
officers ; hence awkwardness on both sides, without profit or 
reason. I am naturally confident, and I believed, and still 
believe, I needed no permission ; but a strong desire to get 
a letter from the great Federic (that was how he signed 
himself), rather than the fear of not being well received, 
made me write to him. My letter was glowing with enthu- 
siasm and admiration and with the warmth of my senti- 
ments for this extraordinary and mighty Being, and it 
brought me three charming answers. He gave me in de- 
tail what I had given him in bulk ; and what he could not 
return to me in admiration, for I cannot remember having 


ever won a battle, he made up for in friendship. For fear 
of missing me he wrote three letters from Potsdam, to 
Vienna, Dresden, and Berlin. 

While awaiting the hour to be presented to him with my 
son Charles and M. de Lille, whom I had taken with me, I 
saw the parade ; after which I was instantly surrounded and 
escorted to the chateau by Austrian deserters, especially 
from my regiment, who almost kissed me, and with the ut- 
most freedom (which was fully allowed them) they begged 
my pardon for having left me. 

The hour of presentation came [this was in 1780 ; ten 
years after the former interview]. The king received me in 
a charming manner. The military stiffness of headquarters 
was changed into a gentle and kindly welcome. He said, 
" I did not know you had so tall a son." — " And he is 
married, Sire, within a year." — "May I venture to ask to 
whom ? " (He often used this expression ; also, " if you will 
permit me to have the honour of saying to you.") " To a 
Polish lady, a Massalska." — " What ! a Massalska ? Do you 
know what her grandmother did ? " " No, Sire," said Charles. 
" She fired a cannon at the siege of Dantzic ; she fired her- 
self, and ordered the firing when her side lost their heads 
and wanted to surrender." " Women are unaccountable," I 
said ; " strong and weak by turns, indiscreet and dissimulat- 
ing, they are capable of everything." " No doubt of that," said 
M. de Lille, annoyed at nothing having been said to him, 
and speaking with a familiarity that gained him nothing. 
"Just see — " he was beginning, but the king interrupted 
him. I cited a few instances, like that of the wife of 
Huchet at the siege of Amiens. The king made a tour to 
Sparta and Rome ; he liked such little excursions. Then, 
after a moment's silence, in order to give pleasure to de 
Lille, I said to the king that M. ds Voltaire had died in his 


arms. That obliged the king to ask him some questions, to 
which he repHed at too great length, and went away, while 
Charles and I remained to dinner. 

It was then, during five hours of every day, that his 
encyclopedical conversation completely charmed me. Fine 
arts, war, medicine, literature, religion, philosophy, morals, 
history, and legislation passed, one after another, in review. 
The grand ages of Augustus and Louis XIV. ; the good com- 
pany of the Koraans, Greeks, and Franks ; the chivalry of 
Frangois I. ; the frankness and valour of Henri IV. ; the 
renascence of Letters and their revolutions from the times of 
Leo X. ; anecdotes of men of learning of other days and 
their objectionable points ; Voltaire's flightiness, Maupertuis' 
susceptible temper, the agreeable qualities of Algarotti, the 
wit 'of Coff^ and Jordans, the hypochondria of the Marquis 
d'Argens, whom the king delighted in sending to bed for 
twenty-four hours, by simply telling him he did not look 
well, — in short, everything that was most amusing, varied, 
and piquant came from his mouth in the sweetest tone of 
voice, rather low and as charming as the movement of his 
lips, in which there was a graciousness quite inexpressible. 
It was this that prevented one, I think, from perceiving that, 
like the heroes of Homer, he was rather garrulous, though 
sublime. He caused me to make reflections about loquacious 
persons, whose voices, perhaps the mere noise of them, and 
their gestures win them the reputation of garruUty. Certainly 
it would be impossible to find a greater talker than the king, 
but all men were charmed that he was so. Accustomed to 
talk only with the Marquis de Lucchesini, or four or five 
generals who knew no French, he now took his compensation 
for his hours of work, of reading, meditation, and solitude 
in his little garden, where, directly opposite to his door, was 
the young and beautiful and easy Antinous. 


" Still," I thought to myself, " I really must put in a 
word." He had just named Virgil. " What a great poet,", I 
said, " but what a bad gardener ! " " You need not tell me 
that," said the king. " Have I not planted and sown and 
toiled and dug, Georgics in hand ? ' But, monsieur,' says 
my gardener, ' you are stupid, and your book too ; that is not 
the way to work.' Good God ! what a climate ! Would you 
believe that God, or the sun, would refuse me everything ? 
Look at my poor olive-trees, my oranges, my lemons ; they 
are all dying of starvation." " Nothing but laurels appear 
to live here, Sire," I said. The king gave me a charming 
glance, and I added hastily, to turn off an insipidity by a 
stupidity, " and then, Sire, there are too many pomegranates 
— grenadiers — they kill everything." The king laughed, 
for there is nothing like nonsense to raise a laugh. 

One day I turned a plate to see what porcelain it was. 
" Where did you think it came from ? " he asked. " I 
thought it was Dresden, Sire, but instead of the two swords 
there is but one." — " That is a sceptre." — "I beg your 
Majesty's pardon, but it is so like a sword that I easily 
mistook the one for the other ; " which was obviously true 
in more ways than one. A sceptre is the mark, as every 
body knows, of the Berlin porcelain. But as the king some- 
times chose to play the king and thought himself very 
magnificent when he carried a cane and a snuffbox with 
villanous little diamonds, I don't know that my small 
allegory pleased him much. 

One morning he came to meet me as I went to him, and 
said : " I tremble in giving you bad news. They have just 
written me that Prince Charles de Lorraine is dying." He 
looked at me to see what effect his words would have, and 
observing the tears that filled my eyes, he changed the 
conversation by gentle gradations and talked of war and 


then of Mar^chal de Lacy, He asked me for news of him, 
and said : " He is a man of the highest merit. Mercy of 
yours in the older time and Puys^gur among the French 
had some idea of marching and camping, and so had the 
Greeks, as you may see in Hyginus's ' Art of Camping ; ' but 
your marshal surpasses the ancients and the moderns and all 
the most famous men who had to do with those arts. 
Therefore the whole time that he was your quartermaster- 
general, if you will permit me to make the remark, I never 
got the least advantage of you. Do you remember the two 
campaigns of 1758 and 1759, during which you were 
successful in every way ? ' Shall I never be rid of that 
man ? ' I used to say to myself. Well, they had to reward 
him ; so they made him master of ordnance and gave him 
the command of a corps that was too strong to harry me 
and too weak to resist me. And yet, for all that, he got 
away from me, and over all possible obstacles in that able 
campaign of 1760. Then another man took his place. ' Not 
bad for me,' I said to myself ; ' some occasion may turn up.' 
I looked about for it, and I got it at Torgau." He never 
made a finer panegyric ; for he showed cause, in thus allow- 
ing that it was M. de Lacy who cleared him out of Moravia, 
Bohemia, Lusatia, and Saxony. I am certain that the king 
did not know that I was attached to Lacy, as I am ; and 
besides, there is no flattery when you tell facts. 

The next day the king came to me as soon as he saw 
me and said, with a most grieved air : " Since you must be 
told of the death of one who loved you well and was an 
honour to humanity, it is better it should be by one who 
feels as deeply about it as I do. Poor Prince Charles is 
gone. Others, perhaps, may be fitted to replace him in 
your heart, but few princes can take his place in beauty of 
soul and virtue." In saying this his feelings overcame him. 


I said : " Your Majesty's regrets are a consolation ; and you 
did not wait until liis death to say good of him. There are 
some fine verses about him in your ' Art of War.' " I broke 
down for a moment in spite of myself, but after that I 
repeated them. 

The Man of Letters seemed to be grateful to me for 
knowing them by heart. " His passage of the Rhine was 
a very fine thing," said the king, " but the poor prince was 
forced to depend on so many persons ; whereas I have de- 
pended on nothing but my own head — too much for my 
own good, sometimes. But he was always ill served, and 
little obeyed. I avoided the first and made sure of the 
second. Your General Nadasdy seemed to me a great 
general for cavalry." As I did not think so, I contented 
myself with saying he was very brilliant, and could lead his 
hussars to hell, he inspired them so. " What has become 
of a brave colonel who fought like the devil at Rosbach ? 
Ah ! stay, I think it was the Marquis de Voghera — yes, I 
remember, that is his name, for I asked it after the battle." 
— "He is general of cavalry." — " Pardi ! you must have 
wanted desperately to fight that day, to charge with your two 
regiments of cuirassiers, and I think the hussars too, for the 
battle was lost before it was begun." — "Apropos of M. de 
Voghera, Sire, I don't know if your Majesty knew what he did 
just before the charge. He is a fiery man, uneasy, always 
in a hurry, with something of the old chivalry about him ; 
finding that his regiment did not advance quickly enough, 
he rushed forward, and getting close to the commander 
of the Prussian cavalry he made him a bow as if on 
parade, the other returned it, and then they attacked each 
other like madmen." — " That was good style ; I 'd like to 
know my man and thank him. When I think of those 
devilish camps in Saxony it is a wonder I attacked them. 


If M. de Lacy had still been quartermaster-general at 
Torgau I should never have attempted to attack you ; but I 
saw at once that the camp was ill placed." — " The bad repu- 
tation of a camp often creates the desire to attack it," I said 
" For example, begging your Majesty's pardon, I always 
thought you would end, if the war lasted, in attacking that 
of Plauen." — " Oh no ! certainly not ; there was no way to 
do it." — "Does not your Majesty think that with a good 
battery on the Dtilschen lieight which commanded us, a few 
battalions, one behind another in the ravine, attacking us 
before daylight, assaulting, as it were, our camp between 
Coschutz and Guttersee, where I noticed a score of times 
that there was room for a front of three battalions — doesn't 
your Majesty, I say, think you might have carried that 
battery which was almost invincible, the boulevard, our 
pis alter, and our slielter ? " — " How about your Windberg 
battery, which would have raked my battahons in the ravine 
you talk about ? " — " But, Sire, the night." — " Oh ! that 
would not have saved us ; that long ravine from Bourg and 
Potschappel would have been a ditch for us. You see I am 
not so brave as you think me." 

The emperor was on his way to pay a visit to the Empress 
of Russia, which did not please the king ; and m order to 
undo the good it might have done us, he sent off the prince 
royal in haste, and very clumsily, to Petersburg. He was 
afraid the Court of Russia might escape him. I feared from 
that his kindness to me would come to an end, but he 
seemed to forget I was an Austrian. " Strange," I said to 
myself; "not an epigram upon us, nor upon our master! 
What a change ! " 

That scatter-witted Pinto said to his neighbour one day at 
the dinner-table that the Emperor Joseph was a great travel- 
ler, and that no monarch had ever been as far as he. " I beg 


your pardon, monsieur," said the king ; " Charles V. went to 
Africa, for he won the battle of Oran." Then turning to 
me he said, without my being able to divine whether his 
meaning was malicious or merely historical : " The emperor 
is more fortunate than Charles XII. ; he entered Eussia like 
him at Mohilev, but I think he will get to Moscow." The 
same Pinto said to the king one day when he remarked 
that he was puzzled whom to send as minister into foreign 
countries : " Wliy not send M. de Lucchesini ? — he is a man 
of intelligence." " That is why I want to keep him," replied 
the king ; " I would send you rather than him, or a bore like 

M. ; " and he appointed the latter on the spot, but I 

forget the name. 

M. de Lucchesini, who had a touch of Sallust, Tasso, 
Tacitus, Horace, and Pliny in him, brought out the best of 
the king's talk through the charm of his own conversation. 
He knew in which direction it was agreeable to have it 
fall ; and also he knew how to listen, which is not so easy 
as people think, and which a fool never knows at all. He 
was just as agreeable to others as he was to the king by 
his attractive manners and graceful wit. Pinto, who had 
nothing to lose in that direction, allowed himself everything. 
" Sire," he said, " ask that Austrian general to tell you what 
he saw me do when I was in their service." " Willingly, 
my dear Pinto," I said, " you let off the fireworks on the 
occasion of my marriage." "Do me the honour," said the 
king, " of telling me whether he did that well." — " No, Sire ; 
and he frightened my friends and relations, who took the 
failure for a bad portent. He had imagined and prepared 
the joining of two flaming hearts, the very novel image of 
a bridal couple. The slide by which they were to come to- 
gether missed ; the heart of my wife started, but mine lagged 
behind." — " There, you see, Pinto, you were not worth any 


more to them than you are to me." " Oh, Sire ! " I said, 
" since then your Majesty owes him a great deal for the 
sabre cuts lie has had on his head." " I have paid him too 
much," said the king. " Pinto, did n't I send you yesterday a 
pot of my good Prussian honey ? " " Yes," replied Pinto, " but 
that was to only get it known ; if your Majesty could succeed 
in making a traffic of it, you would be the richest king on 
earth, for your kingdom is all honey, and nothing else." 

" Did you know," said the king one day, " that I was once 
in your service ? I first took up arms for the house of Aus- 
tria. My God ! how time passes ! " He had a way of putting 
his hands together when he said " My God ! " which gave 
him a most worthy look and a very gentle one. " Did you 
know I saw the last rays of genius gleaming from Prince 
Eugfene ? " — " Perhaps your Majesty lighted your own from 
them." — " Ha ! my God ! who could equal Prince Eugfene ? " 
— "He who is worth more, who has won a dozen battles." 
He put on his modest air ; I have always said it is easy to 
be modest when there is a foundation underneath. He made 
believe not to understand me, and said that when the cabal 
which, for forty years, existed against Prince Eugfene in his 
own armies wanted to injure him, they profited by the 
afternoon hours, when his mind, which worked clearly in 
the mornings, was tired or relaxed by the fatigues of the 
day ; it was thus that they induced him to undertake his 
bad march to Mayence. 

" Sire," I said, " you do not tell me anything about yourself. 
I know all your Majesty has done, and even what you have 
said ; I can relate your journeys to Strasburg and Holland, 
and all that passed on that boat. And ct propos of that 
campaign on the Rhine, one of our old generals, whom I 
often set talking as one reads an old manuscript, related to 
me how surprised he was one day to hear a young Prussian 


officer, whom he did not know, say to a general of the late 
king, who was sending an order not to go out on forage: 
' I, monsieur, order it done ; the cavalry needs it ; in a 
word, I command it.' " " Oh ! you see me in too fine a 
light," said the king. "Ask those gentlemen over there 
about my tempers and caprices. They will tell you a 
pretty story to my account. He must have been very 
lovable, Prince Eugfene." — "And beloved too, Sire. The 
discovery your Majesty made of his letters in the Palatinate 
proves that he was very strong and rather handsome, and 
so called Madame Chimone." — " What ! do you know all my 
badnesses ? I ought never to have told what I found out ; 
because a great man — " he said, smiling. " — has always," 
I continued, " not only the upper hand of his enemies, but — " 
" Yes," completed the king, " such as Caesar, Alexander, 
Vendome, and Catinat." I spoke only as a connoisseur, he 
as an amateur. 

On this he began to talk of anecdotes found in very few 
published works, and I told him how amused I had been 
by certain books, true or false, written by Huguenot refugees, 
which were not even known of in France, books in the style 
of the " Amours of Pfere de La Chaise " and others of that 
kind. " Where did you find all those fine things ? " asked 
the king ; " they would amuse me much more in the evenings 
than the conversation of a Doctor of the Sorbonne whom I 
have here now, and whom I am trying to convert." " In a 
library in Bohemia," I replied, " which helped to divert 
my mind through two long winters." — "Two winters in 
Bohemia ! what the devil were you doing there ? Was it 
long ago ? " " No, Sire, only a year or two ago ; I retired 
there to read at my ease." He smiled, and seemed to thank 
me for not naming the little war of 1778, of which, it ap- 
peared to me, he did not like to speak ; and seeing that this 

Mem. Ver. 6— M 


happened during the time that I was in winter quarters 
he was glad of my reticence on the subject; as he was, 
another day in Berlin, when showing me some of the im- 
provements he had made to that city. But being an old 
wizard whose insight was the keenest that ever was, he knew 
perfectly well that I did not choose to tell him I saw changes 
since the time I was there. I was careful not to remind 
l)im tliat I was among those who captured the city in 1760 
under the orders of M. de Lacy. 

Apropos of that doctor of the Sorbonne, with whom he 
argued every day, — " Help me to get a bishopric for him," 
said he one morning. " I don't think," I replied, " that my 
recommendation or that of your Majesty would do him 
much good among us." " Oh ! no," said the king ; " I '11 
write to the Empress of Russia for the poor devil, who is 
beginning to bore me. He fancies he is a Jansenist. My 
God ! what fools the Jansenists of the present day are ; the 
nursery of their genius ought never to have been destroyed. 
That Port-Royal, exaggerated as it may have been, only 
proves that nothing should ever be destroyed. And why 
have they put an end to those guardians of the graces of 
Rome and Athens, those excellent professors of the Human- 
ities, and perhaps of humanity itself ? — I mean the ci-devant 
Reverends. [He referred to the suppression of the Jesuits 
by Louis XV., in 1764.] Education will suffer from it; but 
as my brethren, the kings Catholic, very Christian, very Faith- 
ful and Apostolical, have driven them out, I, very Heretic, 
have gathered in as many as I could of them, and perhaps 
in time they will court me to get them back. I preserve 
the race. I was saying to mine the other day : ' I could sell 
a rector, like you, father, for three thousand crowns, and you, 
reverend prior, for six hundred, and the rest in proportion* 
when one is n't rich, one has to speculate.' " 


For want of memory, and the opportunity to see often and 
for a longer time the greatest man that ever existed, I am 
obliged to stop here. There is not one word in what I have 
written that is not his ; and all those who have seen him 
will recognize his manner. Wliat I want is to make him 
known to those who never had the good fortune to see him. 
His eyes, too hard in his portraits, but worn witli toil in his 
cabinet and the weariness of war, softened as he listened to 
or related some trait of elevation of soul or of feeling. Until 
his death, in fact only shortly before it, in spite of certain 
little remarks which he knew I had allowed myself to make in 
speaking or writing about him (assuredly attributed by him 
to my duty, which was opposed to his mterests), he deigned 
to honour me with tokens of his remembrance, and he often 
charged his ministers at Paris and Vienna to assure me of it. 

I no longer believe in the earthquakes and the eclipses 
said to have taken place at the death of Ciesar, since none 
occurred on the death of Frederick the Great. 

Had fate placed him on the throne of France he would 
have been chivalrous like Franc^ois I., wily like Louis XI., 
just as Louis XII., a good administrator like Louis IX. (with- 
out, however, starting off as a paladin), a good fellow like 
Henri IV., and as magnificent as Louis XIV. He would 
have made better verses than he did, as good perhaps as 
those of Charles IX., but he would not have made the Saint- 
Bartholomew. He would have followed his taste for letters 
and music, and corrected his taste for the fine arts ; for it 
must be owned he could better deploy his columns in war 
than place them in his buildings. He would not have liked 
those pictures of his by Pater and Watteau, nor all that pink 
and green and silver furniture ; and he would certamly have 
forbidden his cook to use musk, cinnamon, ambergris, and 


Time, and the contents of his letters as prince royal reveal 
to me, independently of what I myself remarked in him, that 
the man who could not be the first and best of kings had 
resolved to make himself the best of generals and soldiers. 
When he came to his little Northern throne of sand he 
thought he saw a way to give it a better base; he offered 
the support of his active genius and a good army to Maria 
Theresa, to defend a part of her States. The offer was re- 
jected with disdain ! He took what lie asked, and more too, 
to revenge himself. Peace, and the Holy Trinity, of which, 
as he supposed, the other sovereigns thought more than he 
did, secured to him what he had taken. 

But Prmce Kaunitz wanted revenge for Frederick's ridi- 
cule of his toilet ; Mme. de Pompadour, for his treating with 
her through his ministers, and for certain remarks upon her 
health ; the Empress Elizabeth of Eussia, for comments on 
her behaviour ; the Comte de Briihl, for sneers at his ward- 
robe ; the Empire, for sneers at the poverty of its means ; 
Sweden, for sneers at its nullity, and its failure to produce 
another Charles XII. So that, finally, all Europe put 
700,000 men under arms against him, in 1757, to recover 
Silesia, which he prevented. 

After each victory he offered peace. In his letter to the 
Marquis d'Argens after the battle of Liegnitz, in 1760, we 
see the same sentiments felt by him as when he was prince 
royal in 1738. Always victorious, after wearying Europe 
and himself too with his triumphs, he ended by asking 
nothing more than he had before the war. 

He saw an empire rising daily around him and making 
ready to swallow him up. He proposed to it to enlarge 
itself, and at the same time to enlarge him, — with this differ- 
ence, tliat his acquisition would so bind his States together 
tliat, from being a secondary power, he would pass into the 


first rank ; a scheme that rendered all three Courts equally 
guilty of an immoral partition, and an impolitic one for tlio 
two great empresses, one of whom, moreover, spent her days 
before the altar. 

But integrity came with opportunity. He was able at 
last to give himself up to his natural leaning to virtue, and 
to spend, some years later, twenty-five milUons of money 
and twenty-five thousand men in preventing Austria from 
seizing upon the whole of Bavaria. 

That is the history of his three wars. They proposed to 
him a fourth in 1785, about the freedom of the Scheldt; but 
he only made jokes on M. de Vergennes and the Dutch re- 
public, and busied himself the more in bviilding villages and 
giving seeds and tools to those who cleared the land. It was 
not his fault if he was ill aided and ill understood on certain 
points as to farms, taxes, tobacco, and legislation. And yet 
all that was truly his sole study and care. He had friends, 
and was gentle in private life. He gave away much, and 
did it judiciously : and in spite of his outlays, by means of 
the strictest economy he left behind him hundreds of tons of 
ducats. He answered every letter with his own hand, and 
listened to all who came to him ; he never condemned any 
one to death ; he adored the great eras and the great men of 
France, — the language of that country being the only one 
that he knew well, and he therefore considered its literature 
and its genius above those of all the other nations. 

He did wrong, no doubt, in allowing himself certain lively 
flings at rehgion ; but he declared himself its supporter for 
the sake of his own interests, and the close connection it had 
with the principles of government. He did still greater 
■wrong in doubting his own soul ; but he put into practice 
at his death what was theory only in his philosophers ; and 
by ending, as he did, with perfect indifference, he placed 


them on the same line of contempt as the priests and the 
doctors. He often talked to me of his friends, the atheists 
d'Argens, de Pradt, Toussaint, La Mettrie ; he despised them 
all ; but he never tired of talking religion with Voltaire. 
They wrote to each other on the subject in order that others 
might admire their strong-mindedness, but they were not 
dupes enough to believe all they said. While admiring, as 
I do, both Voltaire and the King of Prussia, I must say that 
their correspondence, both in prose and verse, was never 
anything but letter-making. 

If Frederick II. had had a little more mind [^esprif] he 
might have committed follies ; but his line of demarcation 
was that of genius and good sense. He had impulse, and 
then reflection. Sometimes the first had the upper hand, 
and that is how it was he lost three battles. But it cannot 
be said that he had the forceful and vivid mind of Ciiesar 
and Cond^. His did not start so quick. In conversation 
Joseph II. was quick at repartee, but he did not like it if 
others were so too. Frederick the Great did like it, and 
would put himself, though slowly, in tune with his company, 
and then show, in his conversations, as he did in his cam- 
paigns, an inexhaustible fund of useful information, leading 
to profound results. He had more gayety in things than in 
words ; the latter required a lightness that was not in him. 

Frederick the Great's father was a man of the utmost bru- 
tality, as the following anecdote will prove ; and it will also 
show what presence of mind can do. He was passing the 
afternoon on a little island near Berlin, smoking and drinking 
beer with his generals and ministers. The Austrian ambas- 
sador, M. de Seckendorf, was there, seated between the king 
and the prime minister. His Majesty was displeased at one 
of his remarks, and not being as ready with his repartees as 
he was with liis fists, he jiave M. de Seckendorf a blow. 


Permit me, you who are reading these words, to ask you 
what you would have done in the ambassador's place. Hav- 
ing agreed, as you will with me, that you do not know, I will 
finish the story. M. de Seckendorf gave the blow to the 
prime minister, and said, "Pass it on." 



Louis XV. has been ill used by public opinion. I had 
not seen him from the time I took him the news of the 
battle of Maxen until 1774, a period of fourteen years, after 
which I saw him daily at Mme. du Barry's until his death. 
It is surprising that those who did exactly what he did 
should have thought his deeds so evil. The vile courtiers 
of Mme. de Pompadour, a little bourgeoise who eloped from 
her husband, cried out upon the corruption of morals when 
the king took another mistress, although the latter had a far 
better heart than the former, and did not meddle in either 
war or politics. 

When Louis XV. was dying the courtiers of Mme. du 
Barry abandoned her, as is customary. I, who had neg- 
lected her until recently for five or six years, was now with 
her constantly. I said to her famous brother-in-law, the 
roue du Barry, " The farce is played out, and you can go." 
" Why should I go ? " he said, in his droll provincial accent. 
" If they affront me I '11 turn the kingdom into a republic." 
That sounded at the time like the impossible boast of a 
braggart, but the future realized it through men who were 
more rascally but less able than he. Some time later the 
young king heard that I had given a letter from Mme. du 
Barry to the queen, asking her Majesty to smooth her 
pecuniary affairs, which her unconcera and perfect disinter- 


estedness had allowed to be very bad at tlic death of the 
late king. " That is a pretty embassy you have taken upon 
yourself," Louis XVI. said to me. I replied that 1 took it 
because I was quite certain no one but me would dare to 
do so. On my way to Versailles I used to go round by 
Luciennes. Mme. du Barry was always a most excellent 
person, and as late as seven years ago very handsome to see, 
and very good to know. 

In 1774 chance brought the Comte d'Artois to a garrison 
in the neighbourhood of a camp where I happened to be 
inspecting troops. I rode over with thirty of my Austrian 
officers, well turned-out. He saw us, called to me, and 
beginning with an air of brother to the king he ended as 
if he were my brother. We drank and laughed and played 
cards. Free for the first time in his life, he did not know 
how to make enough of his liberty. This first gush of 
gayety and the petulance of youth charmed me, and his 
good heart, which I saw in everything, allured me. He 
wanted me to go and see him at Versailles. I said no, I 
would see him in Paris. He insisted, spoke to me of the 
queen [Marie Antoinette], who not long after ordered me 
to go to Court. The charms of her face and of her soul, 
the one as white and beautiful as the other, and the attrac- 
tion of that society made me henceforth spend five months 
of every year in her suite, without absenting myself for a 
single day. 

If I dared, I could make many portraits of this period, 
but the fear of giving pain to the living of that Court deters 
me. I may say that I have played on many a stage, or 
at least I have sat in the box that was nearest to it. I 
never liked great parts, except in war ; at Court a few inti- 
mates and the right entrees were all I wanted. At twenty 
years of age I was already laughing at the toil the actors 


gave themselves. Life is so short, and the audience so 
ill composed that any such trouble is not worth while. 

The paternal kindness of that good and worthy Emperor 
Francis I., the maternal kindness of the great Maria Theresa, 
the sometimes almost fraternal affection of our noble Joseph 
II., the entire confidence of Mardchal de Lacy, the intimate 
society of the adorable Queen of France, the friendship of 
Catherine the Great, my access to her at all hours, the dis- 
tinguished kindness of the Great Frederick — would make 
my memoirs very interesting. But I dare only admire those 
persons, adore them, mourn them ; their privacy is sacred to 
me, and I refuse to let myself speak in detail of six Courts 
of which I have been enabled to judge, as well as of their 
sovereigns, whose memories are so dear to me that I can only 
bless them. I have seen those sovereigns calumniated, and 
I have cursed their unjust and ungrateful slanderers. 

The title " Private Life " always throws me into a rage ; 
especially when I think of the unfortunate and adorable 
Queen of France, and her friend (whom I dare to call my 
friend), who was indeed perfection. Among tlie few and 
trifling wrongs of heedlessness which the queen committed, 
I one day blamed her for not stopping the libels and songs 
against her, which she showed me half-weeping, half-laugh- 
in<T. It was a damnable " Private life of the Due d'Orl^ans " 
[Philippe ;6galit6] which, by painting him as a monster 
before he became so, made him one. 

None but knaves could have said evil of Louis XVI., his 
brothers, or the queen adored by all who really knew her ; 
but fools believed them. The disaffected and foreigners read 
those horrors ; and (as if I had had a presentiment) I said 
to the Empress Catherine with some temper, in her carriage 
during the famous journey in Taurica, one day when, with- 
out exactly believing it, she quoted one of those tales : 


" The porters of the sedan-chairs at Versailles wrote that ; it 
is just as if one of the istvoschiks in Petersburg wrote a 
history of your Majesty." The infamy of the three charges 
laid to her account justified the prediction. 

As for the queen, the radiance of her presence harmed 
her. The jealousy of the women whom she crushed by the 
beauty of her complexion and the carriage of her head, 
ever seeking to harm her as a woman, harmed her also as 
a queen. Fr^degonde and Brunehaut, Catherine and Marie 
de' Medici, Anne and Theresa of Austria never laughed -, 
Marie Antoinette when she was fifteen laughed much ; 
therefore she was declared " satirical." 

She defended herself against the intrigues of two parties, 
each of whom wanted to give her a lover ; on which they 
declared her " inimical to Frenchmen ; " and all the more 
because she was friendly with foreigners, from whom she 
had neither traps nor importunity to fear. 

An unfortunate dispute about a visit between her brother 
the Elector of Cologne and the princes of the blood, of 
which she was wholly ignorant, offended the etiquette of 
the Court, which then called her " proud." 

She dines with one friend, and sometimes goes to see 
another friend, after supper, and they say she is " familiar." 
That is not what the few persons who lived in her familiarity 
would say. Her delicate, sure sense of the becoming awed 
them as much as her majesty. It was as impossible to for- 
get it as it was to forget one's self. 

She is sensible of the friendship of certain persons who 
are the most devoted to her ; then she is declared to be 
" amorous " of them. Sometimes she requires too much for 
their families ; then she is " unreasonable." 

She gives little fetes, and works herself at her Trianon : 
that is called " bourgeoise." She buys Saint-Cloud for the 


health of her children and to take them from the malaria of 
Versailles : they pronounce her " extravagant." Her pro- 
menades in the evening on the terrace, or on horseback in 
the Bois de Boulogne, or sometimes on foot round the music 
in the Orangery "seem suspicious." Her most innocent 
pleasures are thought criminal ; her general loving-kindness 
is " coquettish." She fears to win at cards, at which she is 
compelled to play, and they say she " wastes the money of 
the State." 

She laughed and sang and danced until she was twenty- 
five years old : they declared her " frivolous." The affairs 
of the kingdom became embroiled, the spirit of party arose 
and divided society ; she would take no side, and they 
called her " ungrateful" 

She no longer amused herself; she foresaw misfortunes: 
they declared her " intriguing." She dropped certain little 
requests or recommendations she had made to the king oi 
the ministers as soon as she feared they were troublesome, 
and then she was " fickle." 

With so many crimes to her charge, and all so well-proved, 
did she not deserve her misfortunes ? But I see I have 
forgotten the greatest. The queen, who was almost a 
prisoner of State in her chateau of Versailles, took the liberty 
sometimes to go on foot, followed by a servant, through one 
of the galleries, to the apartments of Mme. de Lamballe or 
Mme. de Polignac. How shocking a scandal! The late 
queen was always carried in a sedan-chair to see her cousin, 
Mme. de Talmont, where she found a rather bad company 
of Polish relations, who claimed to be Leczinskis. 

The queen, beautiful as the day, and almost always in 
her own hair, — except on occasions of ceremony, when her 
toilet, about wliich she never cared, was regulated for her, — 
was naturally talked about ; for everyl^ody wanted to please 


her. The late Leczinska, old before her time and rather 
ugly, in a large cap called, I think, " butterfly," would some- 
times command certain questionable plays at the theatre ; 
but no one found fault with her for that. Devout ladies 
like scandals. When, in our time, they gave us a play of 
that sort we used to call it the queen's repertory, and Marie 
Antoinette would scold us, laughing, and say we might at least 
make known it was the queen before her. No one ever dared 
to risk too free a speech in her presence, nor too gay a tale, 
nor a coarse insinuation. She had taste and judgment ; and 
as for the three Graces, she united them all in herself alone. 

Oh ! what reason I had, when she said to me one day that 
they deprived her of all her little pleasures, to call the 
French her charming, vile subjects. But those who have 
acquired such glory under the banners of their Emperor 
Napoleon, they, at least, will pity the unhappy princess 
whom they would have served so well, being themselves 
guiltless of the ingratitude of those to whom she did, or 
tried to do, good. 

Who could see her, day after day, without adoring her ? 
I did not feel it fully until she said to me : " My mother 
thinks it wrong that you should be so long at Versailles. 
Go and spend a little time with your command, and write 
letters to Vienna to let them know you are there, and then 
come back here." That kindness, that delicacy, but more 
than all the thought that I must spend two weeks away 
from her, brought the tears to my eyes, which her pretty 
heedlessness of those early days, keeping her a hundred 
leagues away from gallantry, prevented her from seeing. 
As I never have beheved in passions that are not reciprocal, 
two weeks cured me of what I here avow to myself for the 
first time, and would never avow to others in my lifetime 
for fear of being laughed at. 


But consider how this sentiment, which gave place to 
the warmest friendship, would have detected a passion in 
that charming queen, had she felt one for any man ; and 
with what horror I saw her given in Paris, and thence, 
thanks to their vile libels, all over Europe, to the Due de 
Coigny, to M. le Comte d'Artois, M. de Lamberti, M. de 
Fersen, Mr. Conway, Lord Stratheven, and other Englishmen 
as silly as himself, and two or three stupid Germans. Did 
I ever see aught in her society that did not bear the stamp 
of grace, kindness, and good taste ? She scented an intriguer 
at a league's distance ; she detested pretensions of all kinds. 
It was for this reason that the whole family of Polignac 
and their friends, such as Valentin Esterhazy, Baron 
Bezenval, and Vaudreuil, also S^gur and I, were so agree- 
able to her. She often laughed with me at the struggle for 
favour among the courtiers, and even wept over some who 
were disappointed. The death of Louis XV., at which I was 
present, is accurately described by the Baron de Bezenval in 
his Memoirs ; it was then that the struggle began, and 
standing well with both parties, I was a witness of all that 
took place. The baron thinks that the queen paid great 
attention to what was said to her for the nomination of this 
minister or that. She might have been interested in any of 
them when they were dismissed ; but they never were dis- 
missed through her ; she has often told me that the fear of 
depriving the king of a man who might perhaps serve him 
in some way that she was not in a position to judge of, kept 
her from ever interfering. 

The queen was too light-hearted and careless about the 
libels against her, and I often blamed her ; but ghe never 
neglected the dinners in public, the tiresome, formal receptions 
of Sundays and Wednesdays, the Tuesdays of the ambassa- 
dors and foreigners, the presentations, which were called 


les reverences, the morning Courts (called the toilet of the 
queen), which took place before the procession through the 
gallery to daily mass, nor yet the Thursdays with the great 
and wearisome nobles and prudes in grand apparel ; she her- 
self appearing always with decorum and magnificence at the 
festivals, and with dignity and elegance at her carnival balls 
and at her suppers every night with the family in Monsieur's 

In the early days of the friendship between the queen and 
the Comtesse Jules, I was playing with them, one against the 
two at billiards, when they began to dispute and wrestle to 
know which of the two was the stronger. The queen in- 
sisted that it was she. " Because you play the queen," said 
her friend. " Quarrel about it," I said ; " quarrel." " Well, 
if we do quarrel," said the queen to the countess, "what 
would you do ? " " Oh ! " said the other, " I should weep — 
weep — weep ; but I should console myself, because you are 
a queen." Her conduct proved this in later and more serious 
years. She detested the Court, and only remained there from 
attachment and gratitude. There never were any people 
more virtuous or more disinterested than the Jules [de 
Polignac]. The Comtesse Diane was the person who put 
the most piquancy into that Court life. 'T was a pity there 
was not more of it ; but fear of making talk and giving rise 
to gossip produced too much monotony. 

At Fontainebleau a storm arose suddenly one day about the 
queen's intimacy with Mme. de Polignac. The Chevalier de 
Luxembourg produced it to serve his project of driving away 
the countess, whose good little head and excellent heart he 
feared, wanting himself to govern the queen. Mme. de 
Polignac went to her and said: "We do not yet love each 
other enough to be unhappy if we part ; but I see it coming ; 
soon I shall not be able to leave you. Forestall that time. 


Send me from Fontainebleau ; I am uot made for the Court ; 
everybody here knows too much for me." Her horses were 
already harnessed to go. The queen embraced her, took both 
her hands, conjured her, entreated her, and flung herself upon 
her neck. The door was partly open ; the Comte d'Artois 
saw the little scene as he entered. He laughed and went 
away saying, " Don't disturb yourselves," and told every one 
how he had found the two friends. 

The king, in whom I hoped at times for something of 
merit, whom I protected if I may say so, endeavouring often 
to lift his soul to some interesting conversation instead of his 
foolish talk or his hunting stories, was very fond of rough 
play. His attacks usually fell on Conflans and the Coignys, 
those friends of the Jules (by " the Jules " I mean the Poli- 
gnacs, whom I call so in spite of their duchy, for which they 
did not care). The queen succeeded in correcting him of 
this. It was at his couchers that his Majesty chiefly pleased 
himself in tormenting us. He had, however, a sort of tact 
in the midst of his vulgar play. One day, when he threat- 
ened us with his cordon Ucu, trying to throw it at our noses 
in such a way as to hook those who wore ear-rings, as I did, 
the Due de Laval went away. The king called after him : 
" Don't be afraid, monsieur ; it does n't concern you." An- 
other day he almost strangled me with his rough gayety ; I 
was angry and said : " The king has touched me ; may God 
cure me ! " This only lasted a year or two. Often in public 
he showed consideration for those who deserved it. I have 
known him once or twice to rebuke persons roughly for 
taking precedence of me. 

Cr^qui, a great censurer, said to me one day : " Do you 
want to know what those three brothers are ? — a fat locksmith, 
the wit of a provincial caf(5, and a boulevard strutter." The 
last two descriptions were caricatures of Monsieur, who had 

-^yvta/f*is^ 'S^pi/€>f^te/<^ 


much memory, much information, and was famous and quick 
at quotations, and of the Comte d'Artois, who made the most 
of his figure certainly, and played the pretty French prince 
sometimes ; but it became him, for he had as much grace as 
he had kindness, and he was very trustworthy in his relations 
to others. 

I had the pleasure of being obstinate occasionally with 
sovereigns, who are often despots in merry-making. M. le 
Comte d'Artois wanted me to hunt the wild-boar with him. 
" To-morrow, at seven o'clock." — " No, monseigneur ; in the 
first place, it is too early, and then the queen wishes me to 
ride on horseback with her as far as the Cross of Toulouse." 
— "I don't wish it." — " It will be done, for all that." — " You 
will come with me." — " No, monseigneur." — "I give you my 
word that you shall." — " And I mine that I shall not." 

The next morning at six o'clock, great racket at my door ; 
the young prince attacked, and I defended. He called our 
common friends, and I banicaded myself in. He burst the 
door, dragged me out of bed, shouting victory, put on my 
clothes himself, and forced me along almost lifting me on 
the horse he had in waiting for me. Just as he was mount- 
ing his, after putting my foot in the stirrup, I escaped. He 
flung himself off and pursued me. I hid, and he passed me. 
I did not know where I was going, but I rushed through the 
king's kitchens ; twenty scullions and as many saucepans 
gave chase, taking me perhaps for a poisoner of his Majesty. 
I ran through a crowd of porters, who took me for an assas- 
sin, and were after me with their long chair-poles. 

The young prince was off the scent and I had time to 
look about me. I went up to the theatre and hid behind 
a lot of scenes that were piled on the ground. I was be- 
trayed by some workmen, who went down, and up came the 

prince and discovered my feet and tried to pull me out by 
Mem. Ver. 6 — N 


them. I got them free and sprang the other way, but in try- 
ing to clear the scenes I met with a devil of a nail, which 
tore my whole right cheek and covered me with blood. 
The prince was in great distress, and consoled me and 
kissed me and went off to his hunt and his wild-boars 
alone. I put plenty of salt in my wound and bathed it 
with brandy, and took my handkerchief; the queen was 
waiting for me, and I mounted my horse and rode off with 
her. That was how, though I suffered much, for the cold 
was severe, I kept my word of honour to the prince. 

It was during such rides as those, all alone with the 
queen, though followed by the royal cortege, that she told 
me many interesting anecdotes which concerned her, and 
about the many traps that were laid to give her lovers. 
The Duchesse de Duras, when it was her week for attend- 
ance, went with us, but we left her with the equerries, 
and this was one of the queen's most heedless acts and 
greatest crimes ; for she never did anything worse than rid 
herself of bores, both male and female ; but such are always 

All these rides in the Bois de Boulogne and to Verriferes, 
not to speak of the hunts, were too charming not to be 
envied. In the same way they spoilt our pleasant and in- 
nocent nights on the terrace of Versailles, which reminded 
me of a ball at the Opera. We listened to the conversa- 
tions ; we mystified some, and were hoaxed ourselves ; I gave 
my arm to the queen and her gayety was delightful. Some- 
times we had music in the bosquets of the Orangery, where, 
in a niche and very high up, is a bust of Louis XIV. The 
Comte d'Artois used to say to him sometimes, " Good even- 
ing, grandpapa ! " One night I arranged with the queen 
to put myself behind the bust and answer him ; but a fear 
that they would not leave the ladder to enable me to get 


down made me abandon tliat project. But sometimes there 
was in all this more Court malice than kindliness. The 
Due de Guignes had much of the former; he gave his arm 
sometimes to Madame, and to Mme. la Comtesse d'Artois. 
Many reasons and some malignity made us drop this pas- 
time, for apparently it is written above that you must not 
amuse yourself at a Court. 

After that we had balls at the Saint-Martin in the theatre 
at Versailles, where none but the royal family and the 
troupe of Mile, de Montansier were present. The company 
was found to be too good and too bad, though we had with 
us all the households of the king and princes. A mask 
addressed verses to the queen, and gossip was made out of 
nothing. So there was another enjoyment given up. 

I wanted myself to have a little prologue of Beaumarchais 
acted in presence of the queen before the performance of 
the " Noce de Figaro," for it would have amused her very 
much. I had had it read before the gentlemen of the 
Bedchamber, but the comedians opposed its being acted. 
The parts were given to those who were to act in the 
play, but they had to appear in their every-day clothes and 
under their own names, and talk together about the beauties 
and defects of the piece, and — I must own — laugh a 
little at the public. It was full, as might be supposed, of 
personalities, that were very ingenious. 

The queen was charming to hoax, and there used to be 
much pleasure in laying traps to embarrass her. If we 
interpreted any of her remarks wrongly or maliciously she 
would be angry, and then laugh and be more amiable than 
ever. The grace she put into repairing her little inad- 
vertences, which often occurred through a sort of ingen- 
uousness, became her well; it pictured the goodness and 
sensibility of her beautiful soul and added to the charm 


of her face, on which one could see, developing with blushes, 
her pretty regrets and excuses, and sometimes her wish to 
benefit. How many times have I not watched these emo- 
tions succeeding one another, when, to amuse myself, I had 
laid traps for her. Would that no others had ever been 
laid to her injury ! And yet there was not as much gained 
from the latter as the world supposed. The unfortunate 
princess proved, again and again, on her way to death, her 
too great delicacy in never venturing to take upon herself 
to oppose either the king or his ministers. The only serious 
affair in which I saw her take part was the prevention, as 
a Frenchwoman and also an Austrian, of a war which, with- 
out her, would have broken out upon the Scheldt. The 
ten millions which she induced the king to lend to the 
Dutch Eepubhc to pay the costs and appease her brother 
the emperor, gave rise to the most stupid of calumnies, 
namely: that she sent him money from the treasury. We 
had no need of money ; the house of Austria was better off 
than the house of Bourbon. 

The blame cast upon her luxury was just as ill-founded. 
There was never a lady-in-waiting, a king's mistress, or a 
minister's wife, who did not have more than she. She 
thought so little of her toilet that for a long time she let 
lier hair be dressed extremely ill by a man named Larceneur, 
who was among those who went to fetch her from A''ienna, 
because she feared to give him pain by dismissing him. It 
is true that, as soon as she was out of his hands, she would 
put her own hands to her hair and arrange it to suit her 
face. As for the slander about her gambling, I never saw 
her lose more than two thousand louis, and that was in 
games of etiquette, where she was always afraid of winning 
from those who were obliged to take part in them. I 
remember that one day I went into the antechamber and 


begged from her footmen twenty-five louis, which slio wanted 
to give to a woman in need. 

Her so-called gallantry was never anything but a deep, 
and perhaps distinguishing friendship for one or two persons, 
and the general coquetry of a woman and a queen who seeks 
to please everybody. Even in those earliest days, when her 
youth and inexperience might have encouraged some to be 
too much at their ease with her, there was not one of us who 
had the happiness of daily intercourse with her who would 
have dared to abuse it by even the most trifling impropriety ; 
she made herself the queen, without being aware of it, and 
we adored her, but did not dream of loving her. Her father, 
Francis I., received at his table the principal officers of the 
crown, and allowed them the utmost liberty. Maria Theresa 
admitted to her intimacy most of the Court ladies, and even 
stayed with some during the summer in their country- 
houses. She might there be seen walking up and down and 
knitting in the gardens, or reading in a grotto, without a 
single lady-of-honour in attendance. It was thus that Marie 
Antomette, from her very childhood, had habits of innocent 
freedom and familiarity which, when she brought them to 
France, were judged severely. 

In the matter of her finances, I remember that one day 
she amused herself very much when I laughed at her strong- 
box, in which I knew there was not a single louis, being 
taken to Fontainebleau at full gallop, surrounded by guards, 
according to a ridiculous Court custom, like numerous 
others, — such, for instance, as paying sixty thousand francs 
a year for twine to tie up parcels. The queen laughed her- 
self at abuses she dared not reform ; and especially about 
her chicken which cost a hundred louis a year. I forget 
whether it was the late queen, or Marie Th^rfese, or Anne, 
who asked for a chicken after dinner, for either herself or 


her dogs. There was none to be had ; and every year since 
then provision had been made at the same hour, which 
became in the end a regular Court charge and perquisite. 

Will it be believed, ci propos of this, that Louis XV., 
wounded on the Epiphany of 1767, was obliged to go with- 
out his broth because of a dispute between the kitchen 
department and the one most contrary to it, namely, that of 
the apothecary ? The latter declared that the former had 
nothing to do with the king's victuals except when his 
Majesty was in perfect health. 

After a while the queen, being no longer so young, thought 
that she might enjoy the Opera-balls as quietly and safely as 
the most ordinary w^oman of her kingdom. She was not 
more fortunate in this than in other matters. In fact I 
could prove that, beginning with the death of five or six 
hundred persons on the day of her marriage with the best, 
but not the most tempting man in the kingdom, I have 
never known her enjoy a perfectly happy day. The Opera- 
balls were the signal for a fresh persecution. The queen, not 
to be recognized, as she was certain of being by us, and even 
by Frenchmen who knew her but shghtly, spoke only to 
puzzle foreigners. Hence a thousand stories and a thousand 
lovers, English, Eussians, Swedes, and Poles. I never liked 
that she should go to those balls, partly for this very reason, 
and partly because she was very tiresome the next day, hav- 
ing so many things to tell about the masks, and what she 
had said, and what they had said to her, till it was quite 
intolerable. If we had been willing to do the same it would 
have been more piquant than her pretended adventures. 

I should not write all this if I were to be read at present. 
But a hundred years later these little things, which now 
Beem nothing, will give pleasure. I judge by that which I 
have received from the " Souvenirs of Madame de Caylus," 


the " Memoirs of the Mother of the Eegent," those of Saint- 
Simon,^ and other writers of anecdotes of the Court of 
France of that period. There are hundreds of other anec- 
dotes that I have now forgotten that are worth perhaps 
more than these. 

After a charming trip to Spa and Eocroy, which I made 
with M. le Comte d'Artois, he became very ill at Beloeil, 
where I probably saved his life by deciding to have him 
bled. People thought much good of me because I had pre- 
pared fetes in his honour, which cost me 50,000 or 60,000 
francs, and said nothing to him about them as he could not 
enjoy them. There was to have been a military display in 
the camp of a splendid company of my regiment, which I 
had ordered to Belceil as his guard, with music, songs, and 
scenes of all kinds in different parts of the garden. Noth- 
ing, however, took place except the illumination of my tem- 
ples, islands, bosquets, corbeils, and the trees of the park, in 
the style of the Champs-Ely s^es at the Opera, with plenty to 
eat and drink for several thousands of spectators. All the 
rest could not take place. I myself could not enjoy that 
beautiful night scene, which seemed like a silvery day, for 
not a single lamp was visible. I did not leave the prince, 
and as soon as he was able to be put into a carriage I took 
him from Belceil to Versailles in sixteen hours. 

As fetes of convalescence are usually as tiresome as the 
illness itself, the Comtesse Diane determined to give one 
to provoke him. The queen, who was partly in the secret, 
brought the Comte d'Artois with her. He trembled when 
he arrived. Polignac and Esterhazy, masked as Loves, 
darted upon him, and held him almost throttled in his 

^ The prince must have seen Saint-Simon's Memoirs in manuscript, 
as Mme. du Deffand saw them, for they were not published, unless in frag- 
ments, during his lifetime. — Tr. 


chair, beneath his own portrait, diabohcally painted, under 
which was the legend, " Vive Monseigneur, Comte Artois." 
The Due de Guiche, as Genius, held his head. The Due 
de Coigny preceded me, singing : " Via le Plaisir ! via le 
Plaisir!" I had a coat and two liuge wings exactly like 
those of the cherubim in the parish church. The queen, 
Mmes. de Polignac, de Guiche, and de Polastron were 
dressed as shepherdesses ; de Lille as a shepherd, with a 
sheep. We sang couplets as silly as the prince upon his 
throne, where he behaved like a maniac. Mine were full 
of insipid flattery about his face and other points, made 
expressly to infuriate him. I never saw anything in better 
taste than this piece of bad taste, which outdid all other 
convalescent fetes ; nothing could be gayer than the homage 
of respect and love we paid to the prince, who, by his 
grimaces, was sending us to the devil, not knowing at first 
whether we were in fun or in earnest. 

Apropos of that trip to Rocroy : suddenly, between there 
and Spa, we met at daylight some fifty armed peasants. I 
thought they were deserters. The Comte d' Artois had no 
arms, nor I eitlier. Just as we were regretting that mis- 
chance, the vivats reassured us. They turned out to be a 
band of my faithful subjects, with bad faces but good hearts, 
who were awaiting me on the frontier of my little sover- 
eignty, which I did not know lay on our way. They led me 
up a steep place, where the wheels of the carriage had to 
be blocked whUe I received the homage of clergy and 
magistrates, after which we continued our way. 

The Chevalier de Luxembourg had given me a taste for 
sorcery. I made myself a sorcerer's apprentice for over a 
year ; but in spite of my desire to behold something 
marvellous, and all they did to show it to me, I left the 
business without succeeding. In vain T passed whole niplits 


at the house of an old Comtesse de Silly in the faubourg 
Saint-Marceau, where she saw spirits, or said she did, in my 
presence ; in vain a certain Chavigny worked over me ; and 
a man named Beauregard, on the night between Holy 
Thursday and Good Friday, performed the most horrible 
conjurations and tricks around me and the Dues d'0rl6ans 
and Fitz-James. The latter in signing his name upset the 
inkstand over our compact with the devil, who, apparently 
furious at tliis lack of attention, refused to appear. An 
Abb^ Beudet, who gave me dancing lessons, said one day : 
" I cannot come to-morrow ; no, it is impossible " (counting 
on his fingers) ; " but the day after I will come ; we have 
an assemblage of spirits in Philadelphia, and I must have 
time to get there and back." 

I cannot conceive how, with the face, clothes, accent, and 
queue of a quack -doctor, Cagliostro ever made dupes. He 
was mine. I took a false patient to him. He gave him 
his worthless yellow liquid, and after telling me how it had 
cured the whole harem of the Emperor of Morocco, he 
said that when he was not sure of his remedy in some 
desperate case he raised his eyes to heaven (which he then 
did) and said, " Great God, so blasphemed by Eousseau and 
Voltaire, you have a servant in the Comte de Cagliostro; 
do not abandon the Comte de Cagliostro ! " And God did 
not abandon him, for he had a hundred persons in his ante- 
chamber that day. This was at Strasburg. 

Mesmer acknowledged to me himself that if he could 
succeed in directing the effects of magnetism he should be 
an able man ; but until that, and also the steering of bal- 
loons were discovered they would always be two useless, and 
sometimes dangerous things. But the world has ever risen 
up and will continue to rise up against useful novelties, 
instead of testing them and proving them. If a sovereign 


would once say, " I will it," these tilings would be examined 
to their depths. As it is, the councils, the little committees, 
the examining commissioners, with that air of superi- 
ority that comes from ignorance, pronounce them all mere 
nothings. How long did it take for inoculation and light- 
ning-rods to get a hearing ? They refused telegraphs. They 
opposed thermo-lamps, — in which there may, perhaps, be 
certain improvements to discover. In our coal-fields in 
Belgium we have numbers of Swiss peasants in whose 
hands I have frequently seen the hazel-wand turn. As it 
marks the position of the vein but does not show whether 
it is considerable enough to justify the outlay on machinery 
to work it, that experiment once cost me fifty thousand 
florins uselessly. 

In the matter of balloons, the most celebrated experience 
of that kind is one that made me tremble. My son Charles, 
who proves only too well his love for danger, was one of the 
eight who went up in the celebrated Montgolfier machine 
at Lyons. When I lost him from sight in the clouds, where 
the Ehone and the Saone looked to him like little white 
threads, I was in a terrible state. Happily, I saw them 
descend, without injury, though the shock was violent, about 
a league from the town ; after which I enjoyed the applause 
given to him that evening at the theatre, where we went. 

I have always regretted that I paid too little attention to 
the predictions of the great Etteilla. When that sorcerer 
arrived in Paris, I took the Due d'Orl^ans to see him, on 
tlie fourth floor of a house in the rue Fromenteau. He 
knew neither of us. He talked to the duke of thrones, revo- 
lutions, Versailles, the royal family, and many surprising 
matters, to which my want of confidence prevented me from 
attaching value. I only remember those things confusedly, 
but I am persuaded that they turned the duke's head. 


Fatal result of my imprudence, if that were so 1 Etteilla 
was not a mere vulgar fortune-teller, nor the deluder of 
credulous women; on the contrary, the most intelligent 
persons consulted him. He depicted before the eyes of 
Mme. de INl^rode a state bed on which lay the body of her 
husband, who was then in perfect health, in a room and sur- 
rounded by persons unknown to Etteilla ; all of which came 
true in a fortnight. He announced to me that I should die 
seven days after hearing a great noise. I am still expecting 
it ; but as I have, in the meantime, heard the noise of two 
sieges and the explosion of two magazines, I think that he 
must have been mistaken. 

The society of the Due d'Orl^ans was, until a year before 
the Eevolution, composed of all that was best among men. 
Quantum mutatus ah illo ! Damnable spirit of vengeance, 
incalculable in results if yielded to! Who could be purer 
in this world than the ChevaHer de Durfort ? yet he, MM. 
de Pons, Thiars, Coigny, S^gur, father and son, Lauzun, 
Chabot, Fitz-James, with several others and myself, loved 
the Due d'OrMans. Had there been any appearance of his 
becoming a monster, should we not have seen it ? We 
saw him risk his life to save that of a servant; we saw 
him renounce shooting and weep because his huntsman, 
rising suddenly from a ditch, received a few shot in the 
neck from his gun. Miserly he may have been in little 
things, but he was generous in great ones. His orgies were 
fables. He was always of correct behaviour himself, even 
in the midst of bad company ; polite, with a certain haughti- 
ness towards men, attentive and almost respectful to women ; 
gay himself, with good taste in his jokes ; he had more wit 
than conversation. Under other circumstances he would 
have resembled the regent [his great-grandfather] ; he had 
the same class of mind. He was well-formed, well-made, 


with handsome eyes. It must have been his infamous rev- 
ohitionary intrigues that made his visage red and bloated 
and hideous, for what passes in the soul is painted out- 
wardly. When one has been his friend (a word of which 
he knew the value) one must weep before detesting him, 
and forget the pleasant man in order to loathe the wretch 
who voted the death of his king. 




[This political war, called by Frederick the Great his little 
lawsuit, was caused by Austria endeavouring to make good 
her pretensions to part of Bavaria while upholding Charles- 
Theodore, elector palatine, the rightful claimant of the 

January 1, 1778, the Emperor Joseph marched his troops 
into Bavaria. This alarmed all foreign courts, and still more 
his own, which foresaw that, little ready as we were for war, 
without a fortress or the necessary levies to complete the 
army, we should be long in getting to work. From the 
Black Sea to the Ocean, from the Adriatic and the Lake of 
Como to the PJiine, all the troops of Austria were put in 
motion. Those in Bohemia were collected around Prague 
on the 10th of April, but they were far from considerable. 
The king of Prussia on the same day made his headquarters 
at Frankenstein, around which place his troops assembled at 
the same time as ours around Prague. 

The emperor arrived at Prague. Many couriers went and 
came between there and Vienna and Berlm. Both sides wrote 
irritating letters, and embittered each other. The king of 
Prussia, it is true, answered one letter, in which he was told 
that we should be very glad to take lessons of so great a 
captain, by saying that if he thought himself capable of being 
that he should remember the sad fate of Mithridates. 

However, he published a few manifestoes, and mounted 


his horse. They gave me the command of the left wiug of 
the army. I commanded in Prague till the 1st of May, 
and when they divided the army in two I received the com- 
mand of all the grenadiers of the half that was under the 
orders of Mar^chal Loudon. The emperor put himself at 
the head of the other half, and took up a fine position 
behind the Elbe, which secured the Bavarian monarchy and 
did great honour to Mar^chal Lacy. The confidence of the 
emperor in him, and the quickness with which he seized 
upon all the advantages of that perfect trust do him also 
great honour. 

My brother-in-law Lichtenstein had a corps at Leitmeritz. 
Prince Henry having brought his whole army and camped on 
the left bank of the Elbe, Lichtenstein expected to be at- 
tacked, and M. de Loudon sent me to support him. The 
march was long, and enabled me to make acquaintance with 
the brave fellows I had under my orders. I don't know but 
what I contributed a little to excite them, but their own 
spirit was so good that if I had been given an enterprise, no 
matter how dangerous, to carry out with them, that day 
would have been the finest of my life. I rested them at 
Ploschkowitz, a little short of Leitmeritz, and sent word to 
Lichtenstein that if he wanted me I was close by him. He 
did not expect me to come at that pace. But the next day 
M. de Loudon made me march as fast as I could to Pleiswedel, 
whence, he said, he had news that the enemy was advancing. 

It is hard to feel you are doing a useless thing. I was 
very certain it was a false alarm, and that M. de Loudon was 
too hasty in marching his whole army. The night was dark, 
the weather dreadful, the defiles so dangerous that the men 
dropped in the ranks with twisted ankles, and when we ar- 
rived it proved to be a flock of sheep that report had turned 
into the enemy's column. 


I increased my share of tlie discomfort of this miserable 
march by going myself to mark out the camp. The violence 
of the wind and rain continuing, I got my corps into Pleis- 
wedel pell-mell as it arrived. The poor fellows slept stand- 
ing, there being no space under shelter to lie down ; and 
within an hour orders came to return to Leitmeritz. In vain 
I represented to M. de Loudon, who came past himself just 
at that time, that my men were too tired to march at once, 
and also that my brother-in-law was not pressed (for I had 
made a little reconnoissance of his position). I had to re- 
turn, full of respect and admiration for the good stuff of my 
men, — who would actually have been gay had they had the 
strength, — to my first camp, where I had preserved my straw, 
so sure was I that the enemy was not before us, though I 
never thought of the sheep. In my opinion that scout ouglit 
to have been punished. 

Lichtenstein showed me his arrangements, which were all 
the stronger because the devil himself could not have made 
him let go of any one of his defensive points. I defy an army 
to have a braver and more determined commander ; and with 
it all, he was active, confident, and able to inspire his own 
qualities into his troops. I think he was rather too much in 
love with his tUe de jpont ; which was made, I admit, with 
the utmost care, but the taking of which might have been 
easier than he thought, because of a ravine in which the 
enemy could have hidden and rushed to the attack. But 
perhaps more agile troops than the Prussians were needed for 
that sort of thing. ' T was work for my Wallons and the 
Hungarians, who succeed in that line better than troops 
of all the other nations. 

We were persecuted by the elements at the opening of this 
campaign, and had to endure one storm the like of which was 
never before seen. Many of the men came near being 


drowned in camp, which in ten minutes was a deep lake. 
The baggage, the bread, and all the munitions were spoilt, for 
there was not a moment in which to save them. The affair 
happened at three o'clock in the morning; I rushed to the 
camp to share the trouble and do the best I could for the 
men, whom I cantoned in the neighbouring villages ; but they 
went without bread for a day, which was very annoying. To 
console me, I was told that the emperor's army went with- 
out it for five. The marshal wanted to hang some two or 
three persons who he thought were the cause of the trouble. 
Nobody was hung, but it cost me two or three hundred 
ducats to feed my men, for I bought up all the loaves of 
bread and the Jcochjes from the surrounding and even the 
distant villages, and I gave out brandy and beer till I could 
get the loaves brought in. 

But Destiny does sometimes send us evil for our good. In 
order to dry the cartridges we were obliged to undo them, 
and I then discovered what was either a rascality or a very 
dangerous piece of negligence. There was not in any of 
them as much as half tlie necessary powder. I reported this 
to the marshal, who was for hanging somebody else. But 
where could we find him ? The matter was put right ; and 
that tempest did us great service, and taught us a good lesson 
at the beginning of a war. 

July 29 I received orders to start in all haste for Micken- 
han. It was a rough march, but I reached there at eleven 
o'clock, and at five o'clock orders came from M. de Loudon, 
who is always in a hurry, as I have often had occasion to know, 
to march on quickly to Nimes, without the slightest informa* 
tion or caution accompanying the order, which was brought 
by a simple cavalry-man. God knows the sort of camping- 
place I had for that night. I was frightened when I saw it 
in the dawn. My staff-officers were sent about everywhere 

<Jfyu/^iJtey Wy^^z^c^ 


for information, my son Charles among them, although I was 
afraid he might be captured. I found myself on the bank of 
the Poltzen, a little river until then unknown on military 
maps, and I burned three bridges to protect myself. 

An officer, whom I have never met since, rode up to me 
with a pursued air and said aloud that I should be attacked 
m a few minutes, for the enemy were mounting a height 
which commanded my position. What a foolish, bad, and 
dangerous thing to tell me this in a loud voice in front of my 
corps, part of whom heard it and would surely communicate 
it to the rest ! He might have perceived that we were caught 
in a trap. " How fortunate ! " I cried ; " just what I wanted ! 
We will head them off, or receive them well ; " and I ordered, 
" Forward, march ! " to one division. 

I had no choice. I brought my artillery to the front, in- 
tending to rush on with my Himgarians, sabre in hand, and 
capture the guns the Prussians had no doubt established on 
that height, and so put a bold face on the matter to prevent 
the enemy from discovering what a bad position I held. I 
put pickets in the two woods to my left, a battahon in the 
open space, and sent patrols along my right, who had not 
much to fear there. My grenadiers, on the first appearance 
that there was any work to be done, swore to me that I 
could safely count upon them, in a way that made me be- 
lieve it ; their good-will and their friendship for me has often 
touched my heart. Then I went myself to reconnoitre the 
approaching enemy. There proved to be no infantry at all ; 
nothing more than a squadron of red hussars drawn up be- 
fore Bartzdorf. What proves that I am not rash and dis- 
posed to risk things and expose my men, as some people 
have said of me, is that I did not dare to attack them, feehng 
sure they were well supported, and fearing they were placed 
there expressly to draw me on and then surround me. But 

Mem. Ver. 6— O 


it seemed hard to pass by them, at the beginnmg of a war, 
with a fairly considerable force ; when oue has never before 
served as a commanding-general, one docs want to do some- 
thing distinguished. Every time I saw my generals or their 
adjutants coming after me to talk to me of the orders to 
march I galloped the other way to gain time, hoping at least 
to get my cannon on them before I should have to go. But 
in vain did I try to cheat friends and enemies ; the day was 
failing, and the distance to Nimes was stiLl great. 

On the road orders met me to go on to Hirschberg, and 
the moment I arrived there I received other orders to stay 
at Nimes, M. de Loudon informing me that he meant to 
attack the next day. I repUed that I was glad of it, and 
would be back in three hours, if he desired it. He returned 
word to stay where I was ; that he had changed his plans, 
and would join me at Hirschberg before daylight. He 
wanted news of General Devins. 

M. de Loudon, whose activity is equalled only by his 
courage, arrived the next day, August 2, in frightful weather, 
at three in the mornmg. His temper matched the weather. 
. . . There was talk of evacuating Prague, and going to 
Kolin. . . . M. de Loudon was furious, and wanted to quit 
the command. I represented to him that we were lost if he 
did so, " for," I said to him, " your reputation is our security." 
In the old war bugbears were not made out of everything, as 
they seemed to be in this. 

The emperor arrived at our camp, not choosing to stay 
with his own army and be harassed by the negotiations for 
peace that were going on between the empress and King of 
Prussia, at the rear of the latter's army. He seemed to 
desire that something sliould be done. The marshal, who 
was in despair at all tlie conflicting orders he received, and 
the little satisfaction given to him in general, promised to do 


all that was wished provided he received positive orders, 
especially orders to fight, which was what he wanted ; hut 
he declared that he reiiuired a plan that was not so vague 
as that which was being made and unmade at every 

My Wallons arrived one day while the emperor was with 
us. He was much pleased with them, and told me that in 
all his armies there were no troops, except the Lycanians, 
who were so well trained as my regiment; and he added 
that it was so handsome, gay, and agile that he had never 
seen anything finer, — it was a true guard-battalion. I was 
busy the day the regiment arrived, with a reconnoissance, and 
could not go to see it till the day after. I shall never forget 
how I was received, — the clapping of hands, the vivats, the 
shouts that were heard a league off, the touching things they 
said, their jovial greeting as they surrounded me and ran 
after me ; it is indescribable ; it filled me for all my life 
with gratitude. 

His Imperial Majesty was also touched by the reception 
(half curiosity, half enthusiasm) which my Wallons gave to 
him. They had never before seen him. His face, his at- 
taching manner, his friendship for soldiers, his way of talk- 
ing with them won their hearts ; a little more and they 
would have followed him all the way to headquarters. In 
fact, there was difficulty in stopping the French-speaking 
ones, who have much of the character of that nation ; those 
who speak German, coming from Limbourg and Luxem- 
bourg, resemble the Germans, while those who speak Flem- 
ish are like the Dutch. The latter, when they first join, 
are less good than the other two ; but they soon get the 
esprit de corps ; at the end of three months they are one 
and all gay, sensible, brave Wallons, soldiers to the core. 

Here is a song that I made for them, to the air of " The 


Grenadiers' March;" I taught them to march to it in the 
last war. No one would believe of what use such songs 
can be on the day of an action ; they are really enough 
sometimes to win a battle. As for the verses, I know they 
are not the Hymns of the Ancients, but then, we have 
neither Greeks nor Eomans in these days. My soldiers 
are gayer, jollier, and quite as brave, but they do not under- 
stand fine poetry as well. 

Follow me, Grenadiers ! 
Crowned with laurel I 
Lay low 
And overthrow 
Our proud and haughty foe ; 
Well the Walloons they know, 
Deadly in quarrel. 

Honour's voice calls to us I 
Charge now or never 1 
See, they fly ! 
Fast they fly ! 
Seize their flags ! is the cry j 
Ours now the victory ; 
Onward forever ! 

And when the day is won, 

Bards, sing the story! 
Hail the great Emperor ! 
Hail this one victory more ! 
Honour his mighty name I 
Honour our Walloon fame, 

Leading to glory I 

M. de Loudon, finding that I never gave liim the alarm, 
would sometimes give it to me. He would send me word 
that I should be attacked the next day, and I would send 
back word that I should not be attacked. But I was none 
the less alert, and was always on horseback two liours before 
day, and sometimes all night if a musket went off. On the 


heights above our position was the convent of Pdsig, where 
there were but forty-two men, who spent their time during 
the day in watching what was going on in our camps. This 
perpetual annoyance of being gazed at through a spy-glass 
irritated M. de Loudon, and he spoke to me about it several 
times. I told him I would like to attack the heights ; but 
it would be hard to hold the place, as it was nearer to 
Prince Henry than to him. He said it could be done, and 
I had better try to take them if I could. 

I was glad of the permission, never doubting that M. de 
Moltendorf and M. de Belling would support me. But the 
Prussian hussars, who were lurking very close to me in the 
woods, captured all the aides-de-camp whom I sent to those 
generals, and to the commanders of my small detached 
corps. Consequently, no one came. The attack on the con- 
vent failed ; the garrison was warned. My brave Lycanians 
began the attack before daylight, just as I was forming be- 
low on the plain. Fifty were detailed for the assault ; all 
of them wanted to be chosen, but we had only five ladders, 
and had I sent for more the news would have spread about 
the country. The besiegers were received with a hail of 
stones ; Colonel d'Aspremont could not hold them in ; their 
worthy and respectable first-lieutenant, Wolf, was first to 
mount the wall and was shot through the arm. Suddenly 
a cry was raised that the door was burst in and all rushed 
to it. A sergeant and five men were killed on the spot, and 
twenty-five men were wounded. 

Nothing has ever given me such pain as to see those 
handsome, excellent Lycanians stretched side by side, and 
saying to me and to their lieutenant such touching things. 
At other times when I have caused the death of men (which 
I might sometimes have avoided) I was with them, sharing 
their dangers, so that the sight of their wounds did not 


have the same effect upon me. But these poor fellows I 
had sent to their work. Not being able to be everywhere, 
and knowing, moreover, that it was more important to be 
where I was and do what I was doing, I began to perceive 
how hard it was to be a general officer, because he is obliged 
to expose others to be killed while he himself is not. 

A fool of a chaplain of one of my regiments was always 
preaching to the men of Transubstantiation, Transfiguration, 
and the like. " Father," I said to him, " that is not what 
you ought to tell those brave fellows, who can't understand 
such things any more than you do. Talk to them in a 
language that will help them to happiness. Eaise their 
souls, instead of depressing them. Give them true ideas, 
instead of muddling their minds. I will write you a 
sermon. Learn it by heart, and preach it to them next 

Nothing interesting happened with me until September 9, 
when M. de Loudon came to my camp, and with that 
precious gift of the coiiiJ d'ceil which he has, especially 
under fire, when one would really think the balls electrified 
him, he put (without, as I beheve, having thought of it 
till that moment) my whole corps on the march toward 
Gezoway. As I was used to him by this time, I did not 
always obey him implicitly, and where he told ine to put a 
battalion I put a division, because I fully believed he would 
want more men and more cannon farther on. 

We had scarcely reached Gezoway before the musketry 
began, and he let me see an abridgment of the conqueror of 
Franckfort. With his staff officers and mine, twenty hussars, 
and twenty rifiemen, we drove off all the Prussian hussars 
and drove in all the outposts that we came to. The marshal, 
thinking apparently that it was too small a skirmish for liim 
to be engaged in, never rested till he had drawn upon us a vol- 


ley from the infantry behind the abattis. That was the first 
time and the last time that he smiled throughout the whole 
campaign. My Charles is so brave it is a joy to see him. I 
held his little hand as we galloped along, saying to him: 
" It would be a pleasure, — wouldn't it, my boy? — if you and 
I were wounded by the same ball." After that he carried the 
marshal's order to an officer, who was shot as he received it. 
Charles was in all the enchantment of firing his pistol for the 
first time, and that of being fired upon [he was just nine- 
teen years old]. 

On the 20th the Prince of Mecklenbourg was sent to me, 
at three o'clock in the afternoon, with the emperor's light- 
horse cavalry and orders from the marshal to march at 
once, watch the march of the enemy, and make all the 
prisoners I could. In order to do that, inasmuch as it is for- 
est all the way from Nimes to Hiinerwasser, I was necessarily 
obliged to go beyond those places. . . . M. de Loudon thought 
me lost, cut off, or deserted. I reported to him that in my 
position, which the enemy thought stronger than it was, I 
expected to drive them from Neuschloss or even to cap- 
ture them. I never doubted that M. de Loudon would be 
enchanted to hear of me there, and would let me continue to 
be the advanced guard of the army, which would follow me 
at once into Lusatia. Instead of that, M. de Loudon sent 
me an order to return. I did so with my own regiment and 
Deux-Ponts'. My Croats were sent to M. de Eiese ; and my 
corps, which might have done such service at that moment, 
was dispersed among the different commands, because an 
order had come to march to Prague, in spite of all that I 
could say to assure them that the enemy gave no sign of 
moving in that direction. 

When I saw the marshal, he asked me immediately who 
had given me the order to attack and follow the enemy and 


make prisoners. I told liiin it was the Prince of Mecklen- 
bourg. He replied : " He is a prince, he is a general, but 
I '11 tell him before you that he lied." I asked why he had 
sent him to me with a strong reinforcement if he intended 
me to do nothing ; and I told him that if he had guarded my 
rear, I would at least have taken all the enemy's cannon and 
baggage, which was much retarded owing to the heavy rains 
of the last week. 

Mar^chal de Loudon, who is a god in offensive warfare, 
is a man, and even an ill-tempered man, on the defensive ; 
he distrusts both friends and foes alike. He had promised 
Maria Theresa not to give battle, and was afraid of being 
forced into it if he allowed me to do as I wished. I had 
good reason to wish it, for Prince Henry afterwards did me 
the honour to tell me that, knowing me, he expected to lose 
his rear-guard, disposed as it was, near the defile of Lockow. 
The prince had no reason to blame himself for the risk he 
ran ; it was the king, his brother, who exposed him to it. 
M. de Loudon was sorry afterwards for having vexed me, and 
thanked me for my activity and readiness, but said they were 
just as useless as his own, "in this dog of a political war" 
[ chienne de guerre politique']. Those were his words. He 
added that he would keep no more corps in the advance ; 
but that if the emperor ever let him fight he would give me 
the hardest work there was to do. 

The first moment when I received M. de Loudon's letter 
recalhng me was perhaps the saddest of all my life. My 
brain, excited by its visions of pursuit, capture, advantage, 
and success, had hard work to recover itself. I think 
there is nothing so sad in the world as to be called back 
from the command of an advanced guard to a command in 
the line; but this was just what had happened to me. I 
hardly knew the names of the regiments I now had under 


me. There were none of my old men except my battalions 
of grenadiers, whom I was charmed to see again. 

During the advance I had not been willing to balk my 
Charles' ardour, and I let him go on one occasion with the 
first troop of light-horse, who, from too much eagerness and 
too little order, were obliged to retreat with a loss of sixty 
men killed, wounded, and taken prisoners. Charles called 
out to " make front, and keep together ! " but they were 
forced to retire at a gallop through a boggy country. Charles 
showed great valour and coolness in the midst of danger. 

I went into wmter quarters at Nischberg much out of 
temper, and so were others : Maria Theresa, because enough 
had not been done in the war on which to make peace ; the 
emperor, because the empress and King of Prussia were try- 
ing to make it without his knowledge ; Mar^chal Lacy, be- 
cause they had upset all his good plans, which, if followed, 
would have given us the upper hand ; Mardchal Loudon, for 
having been kept as it were a mere observer ; the King of 
Prussia, for having wasted twenty-five millions of crowns and 
twenty-five thousand men without having done what he 
wanted ; and Prince Henry, for being so continually thwarted 
by his brother. 

All the armies were exercised through the winter, and they 
even began a sort of campaign in 1779. Marches were made 
on both sides, and a species of enterprise was undertaken in 
Moravia. Frederick paid dear for the title of a just and dis- 
interested man ; Maria Theresa bought, with much disquietude 
of soul and mind, a few small bailiwicks in Bavaria, and the 
elector was amply compensated by the Order of the Golden 
Fleece. [The war closed with the treaty of Teschen, which 
recognized the succession of Charles Theodore, elector pala- 
tine, to the throne of Bavaria, and the Palatinate of the 
Ehine was united with that kingdom.] 


I went, to recover from a slight wound, to the baths of 
Aix-la-Chapelle and Spa, wliere all the world of all the coun- 
tries of Europe congregate, sent by the ignorance of doctors, 
who lind it much easier to say, " Cure yourself " than to 
say, "I will cure you." I was intending also to cultivate 
the lighter and more frivolous tastes of society, social in- 
timacies, gardening, literature, etc. I wanted to let my eyes, 
my desires, my actions, rather than my heart, rove as it were. 

I arrived at Spa and entered a great hall, where I saw one- 
armed persons getting new arms, lame people making fine 
legs, people with names, titles and faces that were all ridicu- 
lous ; I saw amphibious animals of Church and the world, 
careering or strutting around ; a line of English, hypochon- 
driacal milords, walking mournfully about; Parisian prosti- 
tutes entering with peals of laughter, to have it thought they 
were amiable and at their ease, and hoping to become so by 
that device ; I saw young men of all countries making believe 
to be English, talking with closed teeth and dressed hke 
grooms, their hair cut round, black and greasy, and two Jew 
whiskers inclosing dirty ears ; I saw French bishops with 
their nieces ; an accoucheur with the Order of Saint-Michel ; 
a dentist with that of the Golden Spur ; dancing-masters and 
singing-masters, all in Eussian uniform ; Italians in that of 
colonels in the Polish service; Dutchmen searching the 
gazettes for rates of exchange ; I saw thirty self-styled 
Knights of Malta ; cordons of all colours, worn to left and 
right and in the buttonhole ; stars of all shapes and sizes, 
worn also on both sides ; fifty Chevaliers of Saint-Louis ; 
old duchesses coming in from their walk with great sticks 
it la VendOme and three layers of white and rouge over 
their wrinkles ; a few countesses playing double stakes ; 
cruel, suspicious faces in the midst of a mountain of 
ducats, engulfing, as it were, those that were laid, trem- 


bling, on the great green table ; one or two electors dressed 
as huntsmen, with hunting-knives and slim gold cords ; 
a few princes incognito, who would have made no stir 
at all under their own names ; certain old generals and 
officers retired for wounds they never had ; certain Russian 
princesses with their physicians ; also princesses, Palatine 
and Castilian, with their chaplains ; Americans ; burgomas- 
ters from neighbouring States ; outlaws from all the prisons 
of Europe ; charlatans of every species ; adventurers of every 
kind ; abbess of all lands ; a few poor Irish priests, tutors to 
the sons of Lifege; English archbishops with their wives; 
a score of patients dancing like lost souls for their health ; 
forty lovers who were, or made believe to be, ardent and 
agitated; sixty waltzing ladies with more or less beauty, 
innocence, cleverness, coquetry, modesty, and voluptuousness. 

All this was called a dejeuner dansant. The bustle, the hum 
of conversation, the dizzying monotony of the waltz, the 
passing and repassing of aimless idlers, the cursing of the 
gamblers, the sobs of the gambling women, and an utter weari- 
ness of this magic-lantern scene drove me from the room. 
The next histant I am knocked down on a wretched pave- 
ment by an Enghsh race. I pick myself up and barely avoid 
being thrown again by a score of little scamps, lordlings 
great and small, who gallop by on little horses which they 
call " ponies." 

I sit down. I notice several drinkers of water counting 
religiously their glasses and their steps, and congratulating each 
other, thongh rather dismally, on the progress of their stomachs. 
I listen. "Do the waters pass you, madame?" inquires an 
old president. — "Yes, monsieur, since yesterday." "Does 
your Excellency begin to digest ? " asks another of the min- 
ister of an ecclesiastical Court. " I have the honour to inform 
your Excellency," replies the minister, " that I perspire in the 


evening from eiglit to ten o'clock, and from ten to midnight 
I sweat thoroughly ; in fact, if I had not so much to do 
for Monseigneur, I should now have completed my cure." 
" Your cure ! " exclaims a Frenchman, wishmg to say the 
civil thing, but mistaking the word ; " I thought you at least 
a vicar-generaL" " Goddam your Gdronst^res and Pouhons," 
remarked a lord. " Poumons ! " cried a deaf man ; " lungs 
are not treated here." " I did not say they were," replied the 
honourable member. " I have left the bills of my country 
that I may hear no more about our infernal and mercantile 
policy ; instead of these waters, I drink punch like the devil. 
Why don't you at least drink claret as I do ? We were 
ten or a dozen Englishmen very drunk last night, but we 
are all well to-day." 

If I had come to Spa from curiosity, I should already 
have had enough of it, for in half an hour I had seen and 
heard all Europe and part of America. There is no better 
observatory than a watering-place. But as observations will 
not cure sabre-cuts, I cut short my visit, and, to rest my 
eyes and ears, I took my way to the mountains. 




The life that I led at my dear Beloeil, though wars, travels, 
and other pleasures prevented my being there as much as 1 
wished, was very happy. I used to go, half -dressed, and read 
on Flora's isle, where, with my little skiff drawn up on shore, 
I was safe from importunate visitors ; or else I went to watch 
my workmen. After that, I returned to bathe in the pretty 
bath beside my chamber, and then to bed again to sleep, or 
else, more frequently, to write till half-past three o'clock, 
when a dozen of the officers of my regiment came to dinner. 

How happy one is in being alone ! But where shall we 
go for that ? We can't inhabit a forest. Though it happens, 
at times, that I love silence for myself, I like noise for others. 
It seems to me as though I were supercilious when I do not 
share their amusements, and when I make myself pleasures 
that are for myself only. I think this sometimes in winter 
when I hear the carriages in the street and know that the 
whole world is hurrying after that which I have procured 
for myself tranquilly by my fireside. I am going to say 
something that wiU seem very childish. But I am sure of 
it. It is tliis : sing in the morning to be gay all day. We 
get a habit of being duU if we let ourselves go on saying 
nothing, walking about our rooms, and fancying we are un- 
happy or ilL Make a habit of being gay. If you are not so 
naturally, at least you can drive away melancholy. Shake 


yourself. Sing some lively «air ; rouse your organs vehe- 
mently with a ringing song. Wind up your fibres as you do 
an instrument ; your mind will soon give out a pleasant 

I remember giving a fU& to the Princesse de Bouillon 
(whom I fancied I loved, but only admired), on the canal 
between Brussels and Antwerp. It was one of the most 
beautiful feUs I ever saw. The water seemed molten fire, 
so many illuminated barges were there for my party, my 
servants, the musicians, and the curious spectators who 
came by thousands, with my yacht in the middle of all. 
More than ten thousand persons accompanied us along the 
banks to ]\Iarli, where I gave a terrestrial fUe, and thence 
on our return to Brussels. The same year all classes, 
from what are called in Brussels " capons " [porters] up to 
H. E. H. the Conite d'Artois, were received and treated with 
balls, illuminations, refreshments, and a gogaillc, or gogaie (I 
don't know how that is pronounced, still less how it is spelt), 
a grand merry-making on the occasion of the inauguration of 
the statue of our good prince, Charles de Lorraine. I had an 
ox roasted whole, with chickens, etc., inside of him, — in 
short, all that could make the good populace love me, be- 
fore the bad populace made the Eevolution. While the 
people were worth the trouble of pleasing I used to take 
pains to make them love me ; among other means, by balls 
in my gardens. 

I was always amused myself m amusing the public. Once 
I gave the Tower of Babel in masquerade. Was that pro- 
fane, and how came it to be forgiven me ? The scene was 
exactly as it is described in the Bible ; the number and 
variety of the clothing of the workmen cost me immensely. 
The first coup d'oeil enchanted the two thousand spectators, 
— for the affair took place in the large theatre of Brussels. 


The music, expressing first the confusion of tongues, and 
then tlie confusion of our dance whicli began as soon as we 
descended from the tower, liad a charming eilect. I loved, I 
was loved, and I knew it ; without which neither fetes nor 
merriment. At another time I had a masquerade of Spanish 
guerillas, whose costume, music, and dances, as they depicted 
scenes of war and hunting on the mountain, w^ere marked 
with good taste, gayety, and even glory. I chose the airs 
and made all the programmes myself. 

What a delightful existence was mine ! In twenty-four 
hours I could be in Paris, London, the Hague, Spa. I went 
to Paris once merely to spend one hour at Versailles on the 
occasion of the queen's last (I think it was her last) confine- 
ment, I saw her on the fourth day. Another time I drove 
a whole party that was staying with me from Beloeil to the 
Opera, in my coach. I often laughed to myself in thinking 
that within the same twenty-four hours I was in the society 
of the Queen of France and that of Mme. Gauthier, a Belceil 
peasant-woman, most faithful to the Wallon accent. 

It suited me, for my pleasure and the good of the Low 
Countries, to belong to all the Brotherhoods. I succeeded 
famously at the suppers of those two or three hundred wor- 
thy bourgeois, stout drinkers, choice feeders, and honest folk 
in those days. Some of them shot with bows and arrows, 
some with muskets, and that of Saint-Anthony of Ghent 
with cannon. " God preserve me," I said to myself, " from 
winning the prize ; it would cost like the devil." Accord- 
ingly, I aimed that cannon at least two feet to left of the 
white, and there was the ball in the middle of it ! I was 
applauded, in spite of myself, and carried on the shoulders of 
my dear fellow- marksmen, who flung their hats in the air 
and Tasped my ears with their vivats ! — Flemish, and there- 
fore not harmonious. I expressed surprise that I had shot 


SO well, and was told that a corps of artillery had given the 
cannon to our l^rotherhood because it was spoilt and had 
the defect of carrying two feet to right of the luark. Victor 
against my will, I was none the less pleased, in spite of all 
the suppers I had to give and the toasts to drink. They 
presented me with the ribbon and medal of our Order, bear- 
ing two cannon m saltire ; and there never was more good, 
hearty gayety than prevailed for the next week in the town 
of Ghent — it was almost graceful. 

There was not a single town that did not give me marks 
of attachment. Beside my Brotherhood of Mercy at Ath, 
where I wore a monk's dress, like the black penitents of 
Henri III., I belonged to those of Saint Dorothea, queen or 
goddess of ilowers, at Brussels, Saint Sebastian at Ghent, and 
another, but I forget its name, at Antwerp. Namur gave 
me, equipped at its own cost in my uniform of pink, yellow, 
and silver, a company of chasseurs, who, together with all 
the peasantry on my estates, remained royahsts during the 
Revolution, as did Luxembourg, which had taken the oath 
under me. 

But from all these amusements how happy I was to return 
to my Flora's island, that isle of verdure and of flowers, 
where grace abounds, with my books for company. I have 
often noticed that there are times more favourable than 
others for classes of reading ; we ought to fit our reading in 
quantity and quality to the situations in which we find our- 
selves. In the agitating times of great adventures, in war, 
at Court, in love, we want works that touch the mind but 
lightly, — memoirs, and a mixture of philosophy, literature, 
and poesy. The history of battles, the intrigues of policy or 
of gallantry are better to contemplate ; in our inaction we 
can judge of the activity of others ; this rests, refreshes, 
calms both body and mind. 


I own that my dislike for novels, which when they do 
not bore me fade at once out of my memory, often prevents 
me from attempting to read them. Some of Scarrou's have 
made me laugh, but the comic novel has never given me 
any pleasure. I own, moreover, that the Arabian fairy 
tales with their thousands of days and nights tire me with 
weariness of the names, customs, and riot of imagination. 
But long live the writer of the Life of Chevalier de Gram- 
mont, and long live de Grammont himself ; 't is Apelles and 
Alexander over again ; I don't know which is the more 
famous of the two. For all this, however, I did risk read- 
mg "Cecilia" and I was enchanted. The talent shown in 
the details, portraits, and scenes pleased me all the more 
because I happened this very year to meet with a number 
of the origmals, painted unconsciously ; so trained is the 
English eye in that faculty. 

By way of criticising the books of the present day, people 
are in the habit of saying : " You will not find that in 
Eacine, or Molifere, or Fl^chier, or Boileau." I have some- 
times justified our poor moderns at the expense of those 
saints of literature, whom I, more than any one, revere, 
though they do sometimes use superfluous words, and give 
us figures and expressions that are not accurate. But in 
their day people were, happily, less hypercritical ; they did 
not always have at their tongue's end that silly phrase, 
" What bad taste ! " There is no such thing where genius 
is. Also there are subjects which are far above that con- 
demned bad taste. The least good things in Molifere, those 
that they call his farces, are sublime in their own way from 
their simplicity and their truth ; the most insignificant of 
some of his plays, even those that were written to com- 
mand, are masterpieces. The grave Louis laughed as 
heartily as the sweepers in the Gallery of Versailles. We 

Mem. Ver. 0— P 


admire, we adore the " Misanthrope ; " and so we should ; I 
cannot conceive of a criticism upon it, except one, which 
has never been made. No one has yet thought of consid- 
ering the title false. No man can be a misanthrope who 
lives as he did in the great world ; he liked it if only to 
gird against it, and to have the privilege of grumbling 
against his mistress, his friend, customs, Court, and the law. 
A man like Alceste could never have endured solitude. 
Call him a boor, an over-sincere man, an honest man 
hyperbolized, but not a misanthrope. Jean-Jacques, who 
was the latter and was not in the least the former, was 
unable to perceive the real meaning of Molifere in Alceste. 
A man like him, without happiness, without gayety, with- 
out knowledge of men, cannot conceive that we should 
laugh at one whom we admire. But the crotchets of a 
great man, even the oddities of his clothes, his tic, his 
haste, his slowness, the gold lace tt la Bourgogne on M. de 
Voltaire's waistcoat, the timid shyness of M. de Loudon 
(the bravest man in the world) have often made me laugh, 
but I am not mocking at them for all that. On the con- 
trary, I am feehng their good qualities the more. Loving 
the noble character of Alceste, enchanted with the original 
turn he gives to everything he says, I should certainly have 
followed him about in Paris to witness his outbursts, and 
relate them afterwards, much as I loved him. 

I do not take Cdlimfene to be a coquette of good society. 
Always alone, a backbiter, surrounded by men, to whom 
she makes all the advances without choice or discernment, 
she is an excellent figure for the stage, where types must 
be more marked, and in a way that would be offensive in 
society. Men would have pointed the finger at her there; 
they would have sought to win her and leave her within 
twentv-four hours. That is precisely tlie nature that Molifere 


gives her, and with it he gets more effect for his purpose 
than he could have done from a woman of good society. 

I have heard persons say that the " Bourgeois Gentil- 
homnie " and " Georges Dandin " were not masterpieces, 
because they were written under contract and for the 
people. Well, I am one of the people too, and so are all 
persons of good taste who delight in true pictures of nature 
of all kinds. Those delightful trifles, the grains of salt 
in the egg, the pacings about of that imaginary sick man, the 
proverbs that turn up, — " There are faggots and faggots ; " 
" What the devil was he doing in that galley ? " " We have 
changed all that," — and a hundred other sayings, so good 
because so simple, have alone become immortal. 

I know it is the fashion to blame Molifere for his denoue- 
ments, but I shall justify even those of the " Avare," the 
" Ecole des Femmes," and the " Misanthrope " by asking 
those who do so to imagine others less defective. But as 
for that of " Tartuffe," I consider it the finest and the most 
probable that I know upon the stage. Molifere was a good 
man, simple because colossal, who studied each condition 
and its effects, and drew out of those effects their conse- 
quent results as a painter and a philosopher. It might be 
that a sovereign or an enhghtened minister could decree 
a college that in fifty years would make us a race of splendid 
writers, but Moliere and La Fontaine can never be created. 

Molifere, Destouches, Boissi, Boileau, Eeynaud understood 
perfectly the art of saying evil of others. We recognize the 
originals of their portraits everywhere. But the talent is 
lost. Manners and customs have changed. There are no 
authors now to take the place of those I have just named. 
Eeynaud follows on the heels of Molifere ; but he amuses 
without correcting. Moliere is a moralist; Eeynaud only 
a satirist. 


We overlook the desiiltoriness of Montaigne because every- 
thing becomes him. His soul is a chatterer, not his mind, 
which is, however, the servant of the other. That is how it 
is he flits about in so charming a manner. An idea sweeps 
him off, but it leads to anotlier. He says to us : " Apropos 
of that, I '11 tell you — " He never suspected his depth, nor 
the subtlety of his observations. I feel to him as Cond(5 did to 
Turenne. " What would I not give," said tlie great Cond(5, 
*' for half an hour's talk with him ! " Montaigne was, except 
for pride, the whole galaxy of Athens in himself. We see 
in everything he says the good man, the good heart, the 
sound head. He divined the world. He saw the past, the 
present, and the future, without ever believing himself a 
great wizard. 

I have tried to laugh, because I have been promised that I 
should do so, over the " Lettres Provinciales." Then I tried 
to admire them, and that I could not do either. As for 
Pascal's " Pens^es," I have not been able to understand many 
of them. I am the only man who dares to say this ; but not 
perhaps the only one in that condition. Let us be sincere: 
though I truly respect Port-Eoyal des Champs, and agree with 
the great Frederick it should never have been destroyed. 

It has been said that Voltaire was against that immortal, 
wise, sweet, and most profound work " T^l^maque," because 
he wrote two jesting couplets upon it. All that he says of 
Tolerance ought to silence the saints of to-day, if they under- 
stand it. Wliat a man would Fenelon have been had fate 
allowed him to be prime minister ! and what a reign that of 
the Due de Bourgogne, had he possessed but half the regent's 
intellect! The peace of Europe and that of consciences 
would have been secured ; virtue would have gone hand in 
hand with happiness; religion would have had grace, the 
State sound finances, the laws more clearness and less se- 


verity, the Court real enjoyments, and society a better tone. 
I know but one man under Louis XVI. who was fitted to 
make the kingdom go in that way : M. de Sully Maurepas, 
generalissimo of the armies, as well as minister of war. His 
rank, his example, his economy, his sternness, his appren- 
ticeship in camp would have made him king almost in spite 
of himself. I have known in my day but two ministers 
who could be truly said to have intellect : M. de Maurepas 
and M. de Cobenzl, father of the ambassador. Both had 
grand views, though the former was too careless to realize 

My excellent friend Laplace was fond of making epitaphs 
on me, and made at least a score of them ; here is one : 
Ci git Nenni, mats qui gira. [Here lies Nothing, but he 
gyrates still.] In return, I made verses on him beginning : 
" Pierre et Picard, le pesant Laplace," with four or five ^''s. in 
every line ; that one refers to his constantly saying, " My 
name is Pierre, and I come from Picardy." La Harpe in his 
" Cours de Littdrature " gives him the credit of knowing Eng- 
lish. He may have understood it once upon a time with 
the help of a dictionary, but he could not speak a single word 
of it. He was an excellent man, without taste, and without 
other knowledge than that of a compiler, a ransacker, and 
sometimes an unearther of precious things. His tragedy of 
" Jane Gray " is better than his two others, though they have 
merit. All that, of course, constitutes an author, a man of 
letters, but not a man of genius, nor the first of versifiers, nor 
even a good prose-writer. He had the laugh of a discon- 
tented pig, and was fond of telling anecdotes without any 
point ; he tells some of me in his Works, which have not even 
common-sense. [Laplace did not publish his "M^canique 
Celeste " till 1799 ; the prince appears to judge him solely on 
his literary merits, and as if he knew of no others.] 


Marmontel was a man I never liked; I thought him 
coarse, disdainful, and presuming; but he had eloquence 
and the tragic instinct. His style, without being harmoni- 
ous, is not incorrect ; though it is that of an artisan rather 
than an artist. Happily no one ever believes or follows his 
poetism, liis judgments, his examples, or literary paradoxes. 
He has been too much praised and too much criticised for 
his " Moral Tales." The Chevalier d'Eon, then censor, ex- 
demoiselle, and ex-captain of dragoons, had the malice to give 
his sanction in these words : " I have read, by order of Mon- 
seigneur the chancellor, the ' Moral Tales ' of M. de Marmon- 
tel, and I have found nothing, by dint of forgetting, which 
forbids their publication." 

How little justice or knowledge has been shown about 
Ossian ! His heroes are purer and braver than those of 
Homer. Barbarians are like that, and they sing just in tliis 
way the actions of their leader. Many a time, without un- 
derstanding them, unless by chance a word here and there, 
I have admired my Croats, glorifying in the Illyrian lan- 
guage their King Kralowitz Marco. Wliat a fine represen- 
tation they used to give of waking the sleeping enemy and 
daring him to the combat. Frederick the Great would have 
liked us to warn his hussars in that way on the morning of 
the battle of Hochkirch. 

But always I return, in these sylvan shades where the 
pigeons coo and the woods resound with voices not of man 
but of Nature, to the simple and sublime La Fontaine. Ex- 
cept for some half a dozen quite insignificant fables, in which 
he loses himself among arguments about atoms and souls 
and so forth, and a few that are merely epistles, what a code 
of policy and morals he gives us ! The morality is the policy 
of each of us ; the policy is the morality of the State, in- 
structive to sovereigns and ministers. The one serves for 


self-government, the other for the government of alL 
The latter is more profound in La Fontaine than in Montes- 
quieu, the former more profound than in Epictetus, that 
manual of all philosophy, and even in Montaigne — which is 
saying muck 

You, and I, and all men, what are we ? Kings of Nature ? 
Read the " Marseillais and the Lion," lauffh or meditate with 
Voltaire, and away with such pride! Are you gay (for 
that is what you had best be) ? the monkey is gayer. Are you 
provident ? the ant is more so. Are you a legislator ? look 
at the laws of the bees and be confounded. Are you a mason, 
architect, carpenter, joiner, roofer ? go and watch the beavers. 
Are you a manufacturer or a milliner ? see the coquettish 
manner in which the little fishes are adorned in speckles of 
silver and crimson and gold, and striped stuffs. Are you a 
painter ? try to match the colours of the butterfly, the trans- 
parency and magnificence of shells. Are you brave ? yes, 
but the lion is more so. Are you vigorous ? the ass, what 
say you to him ? and think of his sturdy sense, his sobriety, 
his humour, a trifle heavy perhaps, but excellent. Are you 
strong ? there 's the elephant, the camel. Are you clean ? ' 
the rabbit was that before you. Do you swim ? go and look 
at the pigs. Can you jump ? no, not like a kid. Are you 
agile ? see those chamois clinging to a rock that Virgil tells 
of. Do you run ? the stag will outspeed you. Are you 
brawny ? the wild boar is brawnier. Are you bold in your 
own defence ? look at the bear and all his resources. Are 
you clever ? the fox is cleverer, and his countenance shows 
it. Are you faithful ? never so completely as that vigilant 
dog ; and examine those storks standing sentinel. Tactician 
are you ? see the cuncus of the ancients in that flight of wild 
geese. Traveller ? do you choose your seasons with the wis- 
dom of the birds of passage ? Brilliant ? no, never as the glow- 


worm. Coaxing ? caressing ? melodious ? amusing ? what a 
difference between you and the smallest little denizen of that 
coppice ! Is your memory good ? as good as that of the ca- 
nary ? Shrewd, are you ? tlie squirrel is beyond you there 
Graceful ? that is the kitten's peculiar distinction ; all its 
movements are that. Obedient ? useful ? was ever a man 
like the horse or the ox ? Clearsighted ? as far as a lynx ? 
Free ? why, all the animals are that — is man ? Do animals 
have doctors, lawyers, masters, mistresses ? do they murder ? 
do they slander ? They don't laugh, it is true, but neither 
do they weep. They pay court to no one. If they are 
scolded, they bite ; they are not humiliated. Perhaps there 
are not many among them who are very amiable, but there 
is not one that is ever bored, and none are damned. 

I was feeling bored one day, and boring others, so I thought 
I would go out and be bored all alone. I have a very fine 
forest. I went there towards evening, thinking to shoot a 
rabbit. 'T was the hour when all the wild animals are about. 
Quantities of young rabbits went by me and disappeared, 
scratching their noses and making great leaps and twirls, but 
always so fast I had no time to sight my gun. An elderly 
rabbit, with a gray coat, and a sedate manner, suddenly ap- 
peared at the edge of his burrow. Having made his toilet 
quite at his ease (" clean as a rabbit " comes from that), he 
noticed that I held him at the end of my gun. " Fire ! " he 
said ; " what are you waiting for ? " Oh ! — I confess I was 
seized with astonishment. I had never (except in war) fired 
upon animals that spoke. " I shall not do so," I said ; " you 
are a witch, and I should die of it." " I ? not at aU," he re- 
plied, " I am La Fontaine's old rabbit." Oh ! that time I 
came down my full length ; I knelt at his little feet ; I asked 
his pardon ; I reproached him for the risk he had run. "But," 
I said, " why do you want to die ? what makes you so tired 


of living ? " — " All that I see." — " Bless me 1 but you have 
the same twigs and the same thyme, have n't you ? " — " Yes, 
but the folks are not the same ; if you only knew the kind 1 
have to pass my life with, — little finical rabbits, who want 
to live on roses instead of our good old cabbages, geometrical 
rabbits, political,' philosophical, and I don't know what all; 
some talk only German, others only French, a new sort of 
French that I can't understand. If I come out of my hole 
and go to see a neighbour, it is just the same ; I don't un- 
derstand anybody. The animals of to-day have too much 
mind. But, to tell you the truth, by dint of having so much 
they have got so little that our old ass had more than these 
young scamps." 

I begged him not to be so cross, and I told him I would 
always take care of him, and his comrades if there were any 
like him. He promised in return to tell me all that he had 
said to La Fontaine, and to take me to see the latter's old 
friends ; and so he did. The frog, who was not quite dead, 
though he said he was, behaved with the utmost modesty, 
compared with the conduct of those which we see about us 
every day ; the toads and the cranes were singing like night- 
ingales ; the wolves were nicer than my sheep. " Good bye, 
little rabbit," I said, " I '11 come back to my woods and my 
fields and my orchards, and I '11 raise a statue to La Fontaine 
and spend my life with the animals of that good man." 

We need twin hearts, if I may so express it, to perfectly 
agree. But where are they ? I have never known but one 
united family, and that is mine. All the mdividual members 
suffer equally at the absence of one ; that is because the six 
united form but one. I do not mean exactly the Family 
bond ; it is something more inexplicable. If sympathy acts 
as I believe it does, may we not find in the analysis of blood 
magnetic particles ? If we could put away from us our 


proud, undisciplined self-love, if the circulation of our blood 
did not in some way stir the h}'pochcndriacal particles within 
us, we should be more capable of friendship. I will even 
grant to ourselves the honour of being capable of great 
sacrifices, great privations. 

I think I have said somewhere already, that we ought to 
be the father of our friends to be sure of them. We should 
marry young enough to have grown children, with whom we 
can be comrades from the time they are twenty. But the 
fatal scythe must make no mistake. I lost a son named 
Albert between four and five years of age. The nurses did 
so much for his figure they deformed him, and the doctors 
did so much for his health they killed liim with experiments. 
I lost another son named Frangois, who would have been as 
pretty as my Louis is now, but the doctors were as mistaken 
about him as they were about Albert. My son Charles is 
just about to marry a pretty little Polish girl, a Massalska, 
whose family pay her dot in paper, that is in claims against 
the Court of Eussia. 

I said the other day, " If I were king " — my three 
daughters, who are far too well brought-up to know the rest 
of the quotation, said : "Then you would do a great many 
foolish things." " Not at all," I replied. " I am your father 
only through metempsychosis ; I, such as you see me, have 
been a king. Here is the anagram of my two names, and the 
history of my reign : " — 


He ascended the throne at the age of eighteen. Wishing 
to make War then, in order to make none later, and also to 
see if he had Courage and could justly respect himself, he 
declared hostilities against a neighbour, who had captured a 
Province from his father ; he won three Battles, seized the 


enemy's States, made him prisoner, and then returned him 
everything on condition that he would defend him against 
the other neighbours if they wanted to quarrel with him. 

" I shall not need an Army now," said this great Prince. 
" My Soldiers shall be labourers and artisans. I will keep 
about my person a guard of ten thousand well-equipped, 
handsome men, whom my subjects shall relieve yearly, that 
none may lose the military spirit. I shall employ them in 
ballets, tragedies, masquerades at Court, excursions upon the 
water, and battues of foxes, hares, rabbits, pheasants, and 

Thus spake Selrahcengil. Here is what he did for the 
manners, morals, and customs of his Kingdom. He ordained 
that the young people of both sexes should have the greatest 
liberty to know each other, and by that means escape 
deception in marriage. 

Nevertheless (as the ardour of passion may conquer rea- 
son), should the first blindfolding of illusion be torn away 
he permitted all persons to be married three times, — it not 
being likely they would deceive themselves oftener than 
that ; permission being also given to return to first or second, 
provided all parties were agreed. The children will thus be 
handsome and amiable, because they are children of love. No 
quarrels in the households. All, even the valets (having 
no ill-tempered masters), are happy and good. 

The sons whose faces give least promise become Vicars, 
Doctors, Judges. 

There are no Lawyers, therefore no lawsuits. The Books 
of the three professions are interdicted. The Vicars preach 
and paraphrase the Gospel. The Doctors gather simples, and 
write down the facts of each malady in order to draw useful 
conclusions. The Judge, who is only an umpire, reconciles 
all who seem likely to quarrel. 


Selrahcengil lias but three great Ofl&cers at Court : Grand 
Vicar, Grand Doctor, Grand Judge. They travel incessantly- 
through his Dominions, to watch that no trouble comes in 
the consciences, the health, or the business of his subjects. 
Once a week he shuts himself up alone with each of them to 
receive their reports. This is all the work he does. 

The Prince has neither cabinet, nor council, nor secretary. 
Here is how he manages the Finances. In order that those 
employed in receiving the revenues of the State shall not eat 
up the greater part of them, he has ordained that in each 
Parish a great iron coffer shall be kept, in which every man 
shall deposit his poll-tax. Each subject is taxed one ducat 
per head a year ; but the richer pay for the poorer. He who 
earns but fifty florins pays twenty-five kreutzers only. This 
partition of assessment burdens none. Those who have 
less pay nothing, but, by that very means, they earn enough 
to obtain a revenue that comes under taxation. The 
Eeceiver-general goes round with a mule, takes the money 
from the iron coffers, and conveys it to the coffers of His 

The manufactures of the Kingdom are for the needs and 
luxuries of its people. Nothing is received from abroad. 
No money enters the kingdom, but also none goes out of it. 

Foreigners are not welcomed. They must be very great 
Personages, or persons distinguished for much Merit ; more 
is required than a mere certificate of good conduct ; a great 
Reputation is necessary. 

His ]\Iajesty sends no ministers to foreign courts ; and re- 
ceives none. He reads the Gazettes from time to time, to 
see if any great Conqueror has appeared ; and he a-nd his 
Court often laugh at the graces and disgraces of other 

His Majesty issues no orders, that he may not be deceived 


or disobeyed ; but he lets it be known what he wishes. For 
instance, he has expressed himself on the pleasure it would 
give him if all his great Nobles and Gentlemen would live on 
their estates for four or five months in the year, in order to 
spend a part of their revenues upon them ; and also to make 
sure that the Vicar, the Doctor, and the Judge were doing 
their duty. 

All persons can present to His Majesty petitions, and even 
complaints, provided they sign their names to them. He 
guarantees secrecy, and to make it impenetrable, each person 
is directed to put his statement into the great Mouth of Truth 
which is under the peristyle of the splendid colonnade of his 
magnificent palace. His Majesty takes these statements out 
himself at night just before he goes to bed, and reads them all 
before he rises in the morning. 

The worthy poor are assisted ; there are no others. Each 
seigneur sees to this by works of improvement in each vil- 
lage, which give employment to all, and by establishing 
Homes for those who are not in a condition to do any work. 

His Majesty has twenty-five millions of subjects ; conse- 
quently twenty-five millions of ducats ; without having other 
costs than the salaries of the Vicars, the Doctors, the Judges, 
the Receiver-general, and the keep of the latter's mule. He 
would have some difficulty in spending his revenue, were it 
not for his taste for Art and Pleasure. 

He loves Architecture and Gardens ; his whole Kingdom 
has become a garden, through the canals he has built to fer- 
tilize it, bordered with four rows of beech, linden, and chest- 
nut trees. These canals flow through meadows abounding 
with cattle, and horses galloping free from field to field. This 
tranquil scene is very picturesque, and forms a Vista from 
the gardens of the Nobles, whose chateaus stand on beautiful 
law^ns, neither too much nor too little diversified. These 


residences are all of one storey, for the Prince has forbidden 
staircases throughout his Dominions. There is no uniformity 
in these chateaus, but much elegance. 

Each Peasant has his little enclosure within a quickset 
hedge, of garden, field, and vineyard. The houses of the 
village are separate, to prevent conflagration, and painted 
white ; the street, or road, is planted with fruit-trees, and a 
rivulet runs through, or round, each village. 

There are no ruins, real or fictitious, anywhere, nor bridges, 
except where necessary. The Church in each village stands, 
smiling, on high ground, and is of Greek design ; the music 
in all of them is fine. 

There are scarcely any laws, for there are no crimes ; every 
one is at his ease, liking pleasure and easy duty. There is, 
however, a lex talionis, in case, by chance, a criminal should 

The Sovereign takes care of the roads and the Public 
Works ; but a great deal remains in his iron coffer, because 
he has neither Generals, nor Solchers, nor Ministers, nor 
Presidents, nor Financiers to pay. 

Now that is the state of the Kingdom of the Great Selrah- 

As for his Court, His Majesty comes out of his private 
apartments at three o'clock and is sure to find a large assem- 
blage in his vast salons. There are no Court days, nor ap- 
partements, nor State balls, nor fetes ; but every day there is 
something agreeable, which the company can choose for 
themselves. The Prince appears, or does not appear, as he 
pleases. No one rises more than once a day to receive him ; 
and besides, he is the first of his class who hkes to sit down. 
To prevent a circle being formed, or a formal line anywhere, 
the sofas and chairs have rollers, on which they are pushed 


As for the Olficers of the (luard, all young fellows and the 
handsomest men in the Empire, they are always about the 
salons, waltzing, or planning pleasure-parties in the glorious 
Gardens, where tables and balls and music and suppers can 
be transported if they like. 

A part of those Gardens are kept for the public, and that 
part contains everything that can possibly amuse it : games, 
singers, concert-halls, and gulnguettes. There are smaller 
gardens also, intended for Societies, who obtain the key and 
spend the day there. Besides a lake of considerable extent, 
there is a river, with barges and gondolas and music, for 
those who are fond of navigation and moonlight. 

All these people growing old together have not perceived 
it ; they do not see one another's wrinkles ; they think them- 
selves always young, even while they change their tastes. 
There are pleasures for all ages ; tranquillity in a salon or 
a bosquet, side by side with the noisier joys of youth. No 
one is unkind, all are happy, and the reign of this Great 
Prince has lasted sixty-eight years. 

Any person conscious of Eloquence, or gifted with a talent 
for Poesy, that nurse of Urbanity, can mount a species of pul- 
pit and speak, or read aloud whatever may contribute to 
Happiness, Morality, and the extension of the Pine Arts or 
Literature — on condition that he bores nobody. A gentle 
mockery is usually sufficient to stop him. 

Among so many other pleasures there is a tennis-court, a 
splendid Library, several reading-rooms, always a good break- 
fast for every one, and a Picture-Gallery, in which are fine 
copies of famous paintings, that could not otherwise be had ; 
also choice models in relief of noted public buildings. 

In short, up to the death of this good Prince, who was 
buried at the age of eighty, in a species of Elysian Fields he 
had prepared for all his subjects, — there never were any 


people so happy as his, aud never any Sovereign who, while 
amusing and ruling them well, had a reign more fortunate. 

[A portrait.] I know very well that in naming H«51oise, 
whose portrait I am about to paint, I seem to undervalue two 
others, who are superior to her in one respect, which she has 
not the happiness to understand. Their names are Louise, 
and they both have the wisdom to love me a little, — a wis- 
dom which she will never learn. 

H^loise will never have a master ; she does more, and does 
it better than any man who might try to be so. She lias 
pretty talents, little inductions, theories, and, unfortunately, 
enough reason to be master of every one, mistress of herself, 
and the mistress of none. It is for time to decide whether 
or not she is in the wrong for never being wrong. I would 
rather have to do with a good, mystical Catholic who, having 
wept through the holy sacrifice of the mass, would be capa- 
ble of a passion, and after succumbing to it, would seek for 
pardon from the priest and the altar. This third Nouvelle 
H(^loise is of a dry and stern religion, mingled with some 
moral preservative, that rests upon duty which is pushed to 
extremes ; and unless a person of that religion has a soul 
that is keenly ahve, and keeps everything on its feet, that 
person is likely to remain within the limits of the principles 
of administration and the circle of conventional virtues. 

Hc^loise has a face that was made for feeling. She is too 
perfect not to have received that good gift from Nature added 
to all the rest. But she spends all her gifts in retail (in 
order not to spend them in bulk), in the small change of 
friendship, in attentions, in gratitude. Her strength of mind 
does battle against her heart, and if she finds an inclination 
to struggle against it, it carries tlie day. 

Never did I see a more perfect figure. It has that well- 

Sz4zy ' /!€>tt/it^, 



proportioned shape susceptible of all the graces, and its ease 
has passed into her manners. All that she says and does is 
natural. Art could not serve her as nature does ; yet it is 
nature embellished by taste. Extreme gentleness pervading 
her whole being allures, touches, subjugates, without our 
bemg aware of it, by the least alarming and yet the most 
rapid approaches. Everything about her contributes to this ; 
the tones of her voice, her little attentions to right and left, 
her way of listening, her fascinating glance, which is taken 
as a favour, though, in truth, she cannot help using the 
sweetest eyes in the world. All this attracts both men 
and women ; the first do not perceive the ascendency she is 
about to acquire over them, and the second do not perceive 
her superiority over themselves. 

She is always busy, without having anything to do. She 
has to talk to others in order to keep them pleased with her, 
and yet, with that general desire of pleasing, she has not 
the slightest coquetry. She changes her place ; she begins a 
score of things at once ; she is very eager, though she does 
not seem so because her ways are all gentle, and her move- 
ments never hasty. 

Hdloise is twenty years old to those of her own age, and 
fifty to those who are fifty. She adapts herself to all with 
amiable good-nature. Her tact in society is very sure ; she 
speaks well, observes everything, is never duped ; her tone is 
excellent, always graceful and in good taste. She is fresh, 
with the prettiest blond hair I have ever seen. She is rav- 
ishing on horseback, and dances well ; I guessed from her 
countenance her delicate style of drawing and her dainty 
handwriting. She has delicacy and refinement in her mind 
as in her countenance. 

Hdloise has her little deceitfulnesses like any other. It is 
not possible she is wholly sincere when she says so much 

Mem. Vor. G— Q 


good of other women. " Madame so and so does not seem to 
me very amiable," some one says to her. " That is because 

you do not know her," she answers. " Madame de is 

very ugly." " Without being disagreeable," she adds ; " and 
then she has so much wit." — " You must admit that that 
other woman has very little, and no charm at all." — " She 
has the finest features I ever saw ; she has beauty." — " That 
one over there is very stiff in figure." — " Heavens ! not at 
all ; you might say that of me ; I wish I were made like her." 
People look at each other, and look at her, and laugh ; but it 
does not disconcert her. 

H^loise has the good sense to like French literature and 
English gardens. Another quahty that she has, happUy for 
me, is a love for the country and a delight in adorning it 
with her delicate taste. As soon as I noticed that I said she 
had a fine soul, — and I was not long in discovering how 
compassionate and generous she is, and what strength of 
mind she can show on occasion. She is equable, without 
moods, without caprices, and as amiable in the evening as 
she was in the morning. But, after all, how was it ? We 
have been enchanted with her all day ; yet, if we recapitulate 
at night what has happened we are not content with her, 
nor with ourselves. She has declined an interesting conver- 
sation by substituting some insignificant topic for what 
might have been a revelation of her heart. We had a thou- 
sand things to say to her ; she managed to evade them all, 
and we scarcely know how she did it. She escapes us at 
every moment, especially that in which we expect it least. 

I have spoken of her grace, which is not that of any 
other woman; she resembles herself alone. Impossible to 
say to what country or what epoch she belongs. French 
grace is so well known, so easily foreseen, so little varied, that 
all the women of that country are like one another; they 


come from a convent, they have the same hair-dresser, same 
milliner, same dancing-master. Polish women have some- 
times too much laissez-allcr, English women too little ; and 
the graces of other countries oblige us to quarrel with them. 
But naturalness, appropriateness, and charm are always in 
the demeanour, the motions, the face, the conversation of 

I spoke of her gentleness : it is far indeed from insipidity ; 
her manner of expressing herself is piquant, clever, gay, 
amusing, and never commonplace. But when she has said 
something worthy of remark and said it well, she drops her 
voice, as if asking pardon for it. When her beautiful eyes 
do not serve her purpose in looking at a thing or person 
she half closes them, and then from beautiful they become 
pretty and very amusing to watch ; but let another woman 
do the same thing and she makes a frightful face. Great 
and striking beauties must not come and sit beside her, for 
her beauty is only touching. Their portraits should be 
painted for a great salon, or gallery, but the portrait of 
H^loise we put in our cabinet, where there shall be none 
but our Albanos, Correggios, Titians, and Eaffaelles. 

" Why do you love her so much ? " may be said to me. — 
" I don't know why." — " What do you hope ? " — " Nothing ; 
but I feel that I shall be tenderly attached to her all my 
life." How much it costs me to say that, when I thmk 
that I may pass my life without again seeing that most 
perfect and distinguished being, who unites all charms to 
my eyes. 



A Coup-d'ceil on Eeloeil. In the first place, it is not 
known exactly what that means. Beloeil is an old name, 
an old village, called so Ly my forefathers ; and as this 
writing of mine is a sort of work which resemhles nothinjT 
in particular, and I am doing it solely for the sake of 
Beloeil, which I love more and more daily, that title will 
do as well as another. I write as it happens ; sometimes 
a description of my gardens and my country-house, some- 
times remarks, with reasons given, on the gardens of other 
nations ; occasionally all is practical, at other times romantic, 
even rural ; but in early days I liked the pastoral better in 
books than in love. There is some imagination in it ; I let 
myself be carried away by my subject ; fable bears me 
along, the gardener forgets himself. Possibly there is some 
philosophy and reason ; but also things without common- 
sense. In short, this that I write is just what Martial says 
of himself : bona et mala. 

Would that I could rouse the whole universe to my taste 
for gardens ! It seems to me that it is impossible for a 
bad man to have it. He is not susceptible of it. However 
much, for the same reason, I esteem the sohtary herbalist, 
tlie airy, skipping capturer of butterflies, the scrutinizmg 
investigator of shells, the gloomy lover of minerals, the 
glacial geometrician, the three daft s^jirits of music, painting. 


and poesy, the mnsin<? author, the absent-minded thinker, 
the cautious cheuiist, there are no virtues tliat I do not 
attribute to him who loves to talk of and to make gardens. 
Absorbed by this passion, which is the only one that aug- 
ments with age, men lose daily all those other passions that 
shake the calmness of the soul and disturb social order. 
When a man has crossed the drawbridge of a city (that 
refuge of both moral and physical corruption), to go and 
work or delight in his country-place, his heart feels the 
same sensation that his lungs derive from the breeze that 
refreshes them, and it smiles at nature. 

Fathers of families ! inspire gardenmaiiia in your children. 
They will become the better for it. Let the other arts 
be cultivated to embellish the one I preach. When our 
thoughts are full of shading a dell, or clearing the course of 
a brook, we have too much to do to be dangerous citizens, 
scheming generals, caballing courtiers. How could we write 
against the laws, upset our superiors, or plot against the 
Court while our heads are full of our groves of Judas-trees, 
our banks of flowers, our labyrinths of platanes to lay out ? 
Scarcely have we time to profit by the smiles of a woman 
ere we leave her in haste to expiate in the meadows the 
most charming of sins. 

It is to my father that the glory of my Beloeil is due ; 
he wins thereby as much honour as if he had made an epic 
poem. All that is grand,- dignified, noble, majestic belongs 
to him. After the great ideas there was nothing left for 
me to produce but those that are pleasing and interesting. 
After all, grandeur and greatness grow wearisome, usually. 
I prefer a song of Anacreon to the Iliad ; the Chevalier de 
Boufilers to a cyclopedia. I console myself easily for not 
knowing how to make an ^neid; a little couplet or a 
little coppice pleases me better. 


A sojourn in the country is never more agreeable than 
when \vc sec tlie woods, the meadows, the streams taking 
new aspects beneath our hand. Satisfied with the harmony 
of the grand proportions that I found in my garden I have 
been careful not to break it; I have sought to earn my merit 
in a different way. I began hj making a second courtyard 
and pulling down a portion of the main building that did 
not please me ; I narrowed the moat, filled in part of a pond, 
and by new plantations and vistas through the old ones with 
diversities of tone, I began a new approach which hundreds 
of workmen carried out in a manner that proved I was 

Everywhere there are pieces of water ; one is surrounded 
by a marble balustrade ; another with slender bars of iron, 
partly gilded. Hedges of the yoke-elm, fresh and stately, 
but not monotonous or closely trimmed, I have left as 
frames, with which to inclose, in some, secluded gardens, 
Italian arljours, bosquets, magic bowers ; in others of grander 
and nobler proportions, a charming cloister around a piece 
of water, salons of turf, corbeils of flowers, a little forest of 
roses in quincunx. On all sides flow the loveliest streams 
in the world, pure, limpid, sparkling, each communicating 
with the rest. All my patlis are green and lead into the 
forest beyond my garden. I have dared to venture upon 
turf on all sides ; my sheep are my gardeners ; they make 
me a lawn, or rather, I should say, a green velvet carpet. 
Two hundred acres are the extent of this French garden 
territory. A piece of water, of twenty acres, divides it into 
two equal portions, which are flanked by canals, their arms 
disguised as rivers being visible in the forest and the sur- 
rounding enclosures, which contain preserves of stags, wild- 
boar, and deer, the overplus of which are turned out into 
my woods, that are fifteen miles long and six miles wide. 


It is at the end of the large central piece of water, after 
crossing the drawbridge over one of the encircling canals, 
that many roads diverge from one point into the forest ; the 
one in the centre being one hundred and twenty feet wide. 
I Leed not speak of the glades, the openings, the broad 
spaces, the groups of noble oaks and beeches to be met with 
here and there, and all designed to give a view of stag and 

I return to my garden. In the varied designs of the two 
parts of it which the great lake separates, there are, as I 
have said, many bosquets. They are all unlike one another, 
and each has its own destination. One is dedicated to those 
I love best ; another to my soldiers ; another to my peas- 
ants ; a fourth to my workmen, and so on. All are des- 
ignated by attributes and different styles of decoration and 
inscription. Others, of another nature, are still to be com- 
pleted ; these are : the bosquet of the soul's peace ; that of 
sensuous delight ; that of idleness ; that of coquetry, in- 
difference, jealousy. All of which will be treated mythically 
as they should be ; but the latter, unhappily, may be too 
often occupied. There will be a little promenade, very 
shady, where those who issue from these bosquets can meet 
together. The melancholy dreamers will be full of their 
own little griefs, — which often give them pleasure and to 
which they yield without resistance, — for who has not 
known vexations, obstacles, parents, bores, misunderstand- 
ings, and envy ? Tlie happy dreamers, they will think of 
being peace-makers, of hope, of joy — ah ! what know I ? — 
of change, perhaps. One bosquet is to Virgil, one to Ovid, 
another to Horace, another to my friends. May that last 
be sometimes frequented ! but alas, I dare not make it too 
large. There is also to be a house to Socrates. 

Beyond the plantations to the east are twenty acres of 


vegetables, herbs, and fruit-trees, surrounded by a wall cov- 
ered with the finest espaliers. Here are four basins with 
jets of water. In the centre is the temple of Pomona, where 
we go to eat fruit. The hot-houses, a garden of melons, 
another of figs deserve, they tell me, a great deal of praise. 
All that is done. This is what I am about to do the coming 
year: In the greenhouse building, the structure of which 
is very charming, five little pavilions are to be raised to 
break the uniformity, which is seven hundred feet long, 
and under each will be a marble basin and a fountain to 
refresh the eye; and here will grow the earhest and most 
prolific fruits. 

A winter room at the end of this building has an ante- 
chamber and a cabinet of glass, which serve as an asylum 
for the choicest flowers until the sun and the springtide 
come to fetch them out and present them to all nature. 
Standing at right angles to this little building is the 
gardener's house, treated in the Dutch manner (for he comes 
from Holland). I shall make him a garden, to amuse him, 
in the style of his own country, with grotesque china images, 
gilt men, glass fountains, which will serve to show him 
what bad taste is. It will be a sort of object lesson, and 
the burlesque of it rather funny. The rest of this part of 
the garden beyond the greenhouse is a nursery ; it will be 
covered with a fine wire netting, and contain a great quan- 
tity of birds, which I shall not make unhappy. They shall 
have their own house opposite to that of the gardener, and 
a comfortable winter salon, where these deceived little musi- 
cians shall sing their loves to the goddess of the spring and 
to the spring itself : Flora's music ! and to her shall be 
raised and consecrated an altar in the centre of the little 
garden in the nursery-ground, where the rarest flowers are 
raised and kept until they are needed for the corbeils, the 


English beds, the sacred wood, the garden of the Hesperides, 
and my islands. Near-by is a triumphal arch where the 
garden ends by the eastern canal. Beneath it there shall 
be a little port for two gondolas, four seats, a bower, and 
circumjacent water with every means for splashing gloomy 
persons tempted to yield themselves to grave reflections. 

Already I am beginning to have a navy. I sail on my 
great lake, which communicates with all the canals, the 
pieces of water, and the river. My galleys are decked 
with pennants and manned by youthful mariners, dressed 
in my livery. As it would be too finical, too regular, or 
irregular, to have an island in my lake, I have a fancy to 
build a frigate there, a frigate of thirty guns. No one would 
be able to understand how she got there. She will look as 
if at anchor ; but she will really be fastened to the bottom 
of the lake. We shall go out there in little boats (of which 
I have a number) and sup on the fine summer evenings ; 
indeed, as it is, our sails on the lake with music and fair 
moonlight are most agreeable. 

Now comes the part on which I have been last engaged ; 
it is just finished and is, to my thinking, the most interest- 
ing of all, because it is more or less rural (occupying more 
than forty acres), lies nearest to my apartments, and is 
wholly my own creation. Behind the walls of the green- 
house and the vegetable garden I have built, towards the 
east, a Tartar village. I say Tartar because the huts for 
the shepherds and the sheep are outlandish in style, with 
projections of tree-trunks that form a veranda. There is 
also a dairy in the form of a mosque, its minarets serving 
as pigeon-houses. These minarets, as every one knows, are 
species of columns or spires from which the criers of the 
Mussulmans call to prayer. 

The twenty-four acres of greensward on which my village 


is built are level, except where they slope insensibly to the 
brink of the river that waters them. My inhabitants go 
during the daytime to live in the woods and fields ; they 
depart and return to the sound of their own music. In 
number they are between seven and eight hundred in- 
dividuals, — partly sheep, with other animals of all sorts ; 
for instance, I am now expecting the fattest cows of Swit- 
zerland, who will present at night what Cybele had in 
abundance to the shepherds and their mistresses or their 
waives. I am having the latter taught to sing and to play 
on various rustic instruments ; their voices are rustic too, 
and I wish to encourage clear, gay tones. It is to rest 
those voices, strained by the village songs, that I mean to 
have bagpipes, horns, hautboys, and gTcat flutes, like the 
Tyrolese. These shepherds and milkmaids are to wear a 
uniform worthy of the beauty and the simplicity of nature, 
of which they are now the high-priests. The bulls have a 
threatening air; but the children of my Tartar farm play 
happily together on the banks of the river. 

There are vistas through the plantations eastward, and 
openings in the espaliered walls, so that I see from my 
French garden beyond the village to the plain, which 
makes my Tartar park seem larger than it is. Now, as I 
want ever to see life, I must fill the void left by my flocks 
when they roam all day ; and this is how I shall do it : I 
love animals as much as I hate fools ; I shall fill my plain 
with fallow-deer, Barbary sheep, gazelles, foreign animals 
of all kinds, even wild ones that have been tamed among 
us, sheep with pendent fleeces, horses such as I have seen 
in the north of Europe with their white manes sweeping 
the ground. One species, discredited by most of us very 
unadvisedly, shall be of this colony. Its name is not in 
vogue, and seems ignoble. I speak of the ass. I love his 


style of mind, his maliciousness, his reasoning, his obstinacy 
I shall have several, if I can find any sufficiently pliiloso- 
phical to live with me without ambition, and if, sacrificing 
honours and favour, they are content to repose on my turf 
— instead of being seated in an arm-chair before a desk. 
All this will be accomplished in two years. 

At one end of the village and Tartar farm rises by 
imperceptible degrees a hill, very natural, very real, com- 
manding my gardens of all nations, upon which will stand 
the column of Marathon. But instead of the names of the 
ten thousand Greeks it will bear upon it those of Hannibal, 
Alexander, Epammondas, Xenophon, Cfesar, Scipio, Maurice, 
Frederick-Henry of Nassau, the great devil Lamoral de 
Ligne, Farnese, Cond^, Turenne, Luxembourg, Catinat, 
Gustavus Adolphus, Charles XII., Montecucuh, Louis of 
Baden, Eugfene, Lacy, Frederick the Great, Loudon. 

It is here, at this point, that begins the tableau of human 
life, which has been finished for some years. Come ye, 
and walk here, proud philosophers who know everything — 
except yourselves. I despise your ostentatious march ; 
mine is meeker, truer, and will bring me to the end more 
pleasantly. Come, ye grasping, ye ambitious beings, fool- 
ish preceptors of the human race, stern moralists to others, 
presumptuous men of letters, and sham legislators, courtiers, 
and men of fashion, come into my groves. 

First, here is an arbour, it is that of childhood ; a little 
barrier parts it from adolescence, where begins a pathway, 
bordered with roses and lilies, carpeted with moss, charm- 
ing in its freshness, that leads to steps on which to kneel 
around the statue of Love in white marble. Here is the 
altar, the sacrifice, the oblation, all at the same time, and 
whenever you will. A little road, bordered with grape- 
vines, brings us to old Silenus, crowned with tendrils, and 


holding a cnp which he gayly offers. Here we may hnger, 
I think, a moment without leading to consequences. Thence 
the same path, rejoining that of Love, leads to a dusky 
thicket ; in this are the Laughs and the Games, also in 
white marble. One there is in black marble and more 
serious ; that one points to the only road that pierces 
deeper into the thicket, and leads to a ruin placed in 
a semicircle. It is of twelve marble columns in three 
storeys, and gives the idea of those baths of antiquity. 

Other Games, more pleasing, point the way to the cabinet 
of Philosopliy. This is a verdant salon, with a rivulet that 
winds its way through the flowery mead, o'er golden sands 
and silvery pebbles. Across it are one or two tiny marble 
bridges wliich come into use in times of siege. Here stands 
the statue of M. de Voltaire in a bower of winter roses. 
Yes, 't is here, 't is to you, divine Voltaire, that I made this 
offering. Though you love no sheep that are not of your 
fold, mine come and browse upon the flowers I have planted 
at your feet. My vassals and I bless him who gave in- 
telligence to some and bread to others. 'T is to the author 
of the Epistles from the Lake of Geneva and on Agriculture, 
to the apostle of tolerance and beneficence, to the lord of 
the village, the maker of Ferney, that I here sacrifice. If 
it were to the author of the Henriade and other master- 
pieces of all kinds, my wealth would not sufiice to raise the 
temple, which should be of gold and azure. 

Farther on, at the end of an alley that has no regularity, 
the good La Fontaine listens, attentive, to the various animals 
of my numerous family, and catches their zoo-wits in the act. 
I invoke his own to brighten mine ; I say to him : " Make me 
talk like thy menagerie, thy pigeon-cote, thine aviary. Con- 
sole me, inspire me, protect me, sublime and simple La 


Moliere, in a corner, is laughing at all and making me 
laugh. I think of that great saying: " You are a jeweller, 
M. Jesse ? " It was that which won him the small distinction 
of my placing him here. 

But before entering this dwelling of the three greatest of 
all philosophers, we passed, on the left, the statue of one who 
was none at all — the unhappy, the eloquent, the stupendous 
Jean-Jacques. He is in bronze, because of the blackness of 
his spirit ; there are thorns and some stones on tlie path 
that leads to him through yonder rather wild piece of woods. 
It is because of his paradoxes and his iU-temper that I have 
put him there for punishment, outside the door of the salon 
of philosophy. 

From this salon of philosophy we go by flowery paths to 
the chamber of Death environed with cypress, myrtle, and 
laurel. In it is a sepulchre of white marble, for which, before 
constructmg it, I took my measure, that I might lie at ease 
in case, perchance, I end my days at Beloeil. For, being as 
lazy after death as I have been in life, I shall wish to be left 
wheresoever I close my eyes to the light. Meantime this 
last retreat is a long parallelogram filled, summer and winter, 
with roses, heartsease, and immortelles. 

Eeturning to the ruined Temple, tlie thicket on the left 
(that on the right leads to the garden of the philosophers) 
encloses the mausoleum of Adonis, standing amid an island 
of anemone, the choice of which conveys the idea that they 
are still stained w^ith his blood. From there we pass to 
another scene, the Temple of Gnossia [Ariadne] in white 
marble, near to the river Cephisus, which, as we know, com- 
pels the nymph to bestow the kiss that she has promised. 
Then another space, close by, yet wholly separated, contains 
the Temple of Morpheus, surrounded by poppies. This is a 
covered salon, painted witliin as if open to the sky. In the 


centre is a fine statue of the god of the lazy, or rather of 
pleasure-seekers tired by pleasure. Vast divans are all 
around it, where scores of weary beings can lose the last 
remnants of their vigour in sluggish idleness. 

I have a qualm about the Temple of Gnossia. It stands 
in so small a space, to which its eight columns are duly pro- 
portioned, that I fear 't is more the bathroom of the goddess 
than her temple. Had I a greater space to devote to the 
goddess of Tenderness, I would outdo Cyprus, Cythera, Paphos, 
and Amathus; Paros and Carrara should exhaust their 
treasures in her service. Ptuined in peristyles and bas-reliefs, 
I should be so denuded as to be unable to leave this temple, 
where, as everybody knows, the worship of the goddess 
must be carried on naked. Cupid would be angry ; he likes 
no rival worship to that of his mother. " Little god," I 
should say to him, " there 's a worship for you that is better 
than this ; it is in my heart. ' T is a temple less costly, but 
more divine." 

An upper canal, which surrounds my riding-school, is fed, 
near two great trees as old as the country, by a little cascade, 
issuing from a spring, which rises also in the first of the three 
courtyards and supplies the water of the whole chateau, the 
bathrooms, kitchens, and stable. Stone balustrades with iron 
railings separate these courtyards, around which rise the 
main buildings of the chateau, which has forty-six complete 
suites of rooms, twelve of which are rather magnificent, and 
are made extremely gay and convenient by twelve salons in 
the four towers of the chateau. 

I had under my eyes from the windows of the three 
chief salons, the stiffest, coldest part of the grounds, — a 
patch of water without effects, a patch of fiowers with- 
out grass, hedges like the frame of a mirror defining 
the limits of the whole "ardeu. This is what I did: 


Just before starting for the war in Bavaria, I made witli my 
own hands a plan in relief, out of clay and little branches, 
on a table that was twenty-five feet in length. After being 
away three years without seeing Beloeil, I came back to find 
tliis melancholy part of my garden (that to the west) met- 
amorphosed into the loveliest of meadows, with banks of 
flowers here and there, and a river, flowing through a smiling 
valley. I had given the lay of the land by my eye, not 
by my legs ; for I am not fond of fatiguing myself, or, to tell 
the truth, of fatiguing others. 

But in order to get this very considerable flow of water, I 
was obliged, necessarily, to narrow the ground ; and in this I 
succeeded perfectly, by making a gentle ravine which, before 
the water falls to the level of the river below, is rich with a 
wealth of the rarest shrubs and, on one side, with a forest of 
orange-trees, buried in their tubs. Above the fall of water I 
have built a temple to I don't know what god, — dedicate it 
to whom you will, — a superb ruin, all in marble, the columns 
of which, though well-preserved, instead of presenting the 
repellent aspect of most of the ruins that I know, fill the 
miad with rich ideas. In the apse are four pilasters of 
Genoese marble carved in arabesques ; the seats are pieces 
of marble, which I suppose to have fallen from some pedi- 
ment. This hall, rather vast and paved with marble, is 
crossed by a small canal or conduit, which carries the water 
of the river above, between the columns of the portico and 
down three falls of twenty feet, with great rapidity, iato the 
river below. 

There is scarcely a morsel of these marbles that I have 
not changed from year to year a dozen times to be sure that 
each shall have its due effect, and people say I have suc- 
ceeded. Following the river, which in flowing onward makes 
an isle of roses, we find on the left bank an obelisk, dedicated 


by friendship to Valour. It is not my blame if Charles is 
the object of it ; it is not my deed if Charles has distmguished 
himself in war ; it is not my fault if I gave life to a being so 
perfect ; the father is nought ; the man exists ; the hero is 
celebrated. Accuse me not, therefore, of partiality. Of 
pride, if you will ; I can conceive that that may be.^ 

This obelisk, also in marble, which we approach through 
a sacred wood by a marble path across a beautiful lawn, is 
forty feet high. On one side, in letters of gold, are the 
words : To my dear Charles, for Sabacz and Ismail. On 
the second side : Nee te, juvenis memorande, sileho (from 
Virgil). On the third: Seiyi Ruhm macht melnen Stolz, 
seine Freundschaft mein Glilck. 

I have carried this lawn very nearly across the moat of 
the chateau close up to the towers on two peninsulas ; also 
on an island of swans, another of ducks, a third of geese, 
which latter have a little throne of four tiny columns of 
marble on a grassy mound. There is also a floating island, 
a Chinese island, and still another island, on which there is a 
very singular building, the lower floor of which belongs to 
bees ; the next is an aviary ; the third a pigeon-cote ; the 
fourth is the home of storks. I thus break up a mass of 
water which was too considerable, and I bring my natural 
garden, my meadow, as I call it modestly, beneath the very 
windows of my three grand salons. 

The spirit of detraction is, as I have said elsewhere, the 
sign manual of mediocrity. Many of these details will be 
thought too petty. To play at genius we must call things 
trivial. It is this point of view alone that applies that term 
to garden works, which, if done appropriately, will point to 

^ Great God! how have I been punished for it! I have no strength to 
change what I have written above. It will be seen elsewhere what I have 



objects most interesting to the soul. Must we be poor and 
insignificant to have the pleasure of being natural ? It ia 
allowable in me, more perhaps than in any other man, to 
say : " I do not decide between the French and English gar- 
den, between Kent and Le Notre." And to prove that my 
mind is of neither side (though my heart is for that of the 
irregular) I will admit that visitors to Beloeil are struck with 
the French manner and do not willingly turn from admiring 
the superb developments of my father's work to come and 
dream in mine. The reason is, one cannot force men to 
think, and the greater number prefer to look than to feel. 

What I have written, and it is written without wishing 
or being able to lessen the merit of my French gardens, will, 
I trust, win a merit for mine with all true worshippers of 
the god of taste — be they amused or instructed, interested, 
made to think, or ravished. May Beloeil give back to pos- 
terity the happiness and the sweetness I have enjoyed here 1 
Let those who are not like me amend their ways, or die with 
envy that there is one man upon this earth who is perfectly 
happy ; and let those who do resemble me share, when I am 
no longer here, the felicity of the maker and possessor of 
these tranquil gardens. 

You who do not own a garden ready-made, and who desire 
to make one in treacherous climes, meditate, calculate effects, 
exaggerate nothing ; if you cannot have genius and taste, be 
logical — if you can be no better. But what observations to 
make ! what essays ! I know well you cannot wipe out 
bosquets as you can a tree ill-placed on your paper design ; 
but, nevertheless, stand off, turn about, look on all sides at 
your effects, in order to change your plantations. Correct 
nature, instead of employing art to make nature. There are 
few brooks, for instance, that flow as we want them : you 
must give them an easier course ; inclose them with some 

Mem. Ver. G— R 


particular scene and fringe their borders suitably. Barriers 
are annoying to meet with and never good to see, except from 
a height tliat dwarfs them ; vineyards have a most disagree- 
able effect for eight months of the year, fields for six, flowers 
for ten, if not renewed. 

The sheen of flowers, the tones of a varied verdure and of 
fruits may give to one garden great superiority over others ; 
but, after much experience, I find that we ought to make 
masses ; if not, there is too much twinkling of colour ; let 
there be masses of roses, of pinks, or tulips ; and let them be 
renewed, by buried pots if necessary. But never any stands 
of flowers in gradation, as if for the fete of a parish saint or 
a chapel of the Virgin. And so with shrubs ; a score to- 
gether, all gray in tone, or purple, or rose, or white, or 
yellow, or flesh-coloured like the magnolia. I know that 
all this must be subordinate to the rays of the sun and the 
hours of the day ; but it is a necessary work ; be not dis- 
couraged ; it is for the sun to protect that which we do only 
for him to put the final touches. 

Drive all trades from gardens ; no frame-work, no trellises, 
no painting, no hoops to the beds ; let the branches twine 
together at their own sweet will. Occupy yourselves in 
your garden. Bring with you and amuse the charming sex ; 
let the paths be well beaten that they may not wet their 
pretty feet. Through winding arbours, narrow and fragrant 
with roses, jasmine, violets, and honeysuckle, lead them to 
the baths, or to tlieir sofas ; give them their embroidery- 
frames, tlieir knitting, their netting, but, above all, their 
writing-desks, in which the sand, or something else, is always 
missing — though secrets, ignored by husbands and lovers, 
are always there. Eesting on their knees, those desks will 
serve them to tell sweet lies with crow-quills. 

I detest rouiih sketches of great things ; if they be touched 


at all they must not be failures. No ruins of Palmyra in 
the style of those of General Conway ; their whiteness, their 
polished columns set a bad example ; crumbling arches too 
well kept become ridiculous. Euins should convey the idea 
of places of dignity passed away with the celebrated persons 
who inhabited them. But when one sees the Grcekery of 
certain Englishmen, and the Gothic of Mr. Walpole, one is 
tempted to believe that the dehrium of a bad dream con- 
trived the work. I much prefer his " Castle of Otranto " to 
that on the Thames, which is quite as distraught, and not 
nearly so gay. 

Temples ought either to inspire sensuous pleasure or to 
recall that secret awe that was felt on entering them in days 
of old ; but what can we feel on beholding templomania, 
such as my Lord Temple was led into by his name ? 

I should think much of the place of a Lord Botetourt, near 
Bristol, but it has no water save that which comes down from 
heaven. In vain has he built certain Chinese bridges over 
hollows, making believe that water flows beneath. No one 
is long the dupe of that ; and what I saw at my Lord Mans- 
field's from the windows of his house is only one instance of 
an unfortunate lack in many of the finest gardens in Eng- 
land. The celebrated Mile. Sophie Arnould, when some one 
was trymg to make her admire an English garden, remarked, 
pointing to a trickling ditch over which a bridge had been 
thrown, " It is as Hke a river as two drops of water." 

The English might diminish this difficulty if it were not 
for a mania with them to get away from the Thames ; they 
have not known how to profit by that advantage. The Duke 
of Marlborough has supplied the want by turning a river 
through his park, where it becomes both broad and rapid, 
and flows with a roar. I cannot forgive my Lord Pembroke 
for letting his run sluggishly, Hke a canal. They love grot- 


tos in England, it seems to me ; that of my Lord Tilney has 
cost him much more than the pleasure it gives ; and I only 
like that at Twickenham because I pictured to myself Pope 
sitting there, engaged upon Man. He worked almost as 
well in gardens ; for his, though small, is very pleasing. It 
now belongs to ]\Irs. Stanhope. 

I never like seini-foreign things. The Duke of Devon- 
shire has brought back from his travels beauties that do not 
go well with his landscape ; the little French and Italian 
that he has at Chiswick did not please me at all. But what 
can be more beautiful than King's-Western, and the view 
from the river Mersey and the whole of Wales ? Is any- 
thing more superb than Windsor ? What a forest ! what 
majesty ! In other days the ancient oaks of the forest of 
Dodona gave forth oracles. I was tempted to inquire of 
these. They inspired the awe with which our souls are pen- 
etrated by the approach of divinity. 

Blenheim and Kew are all that are best for flower-beds 
and rarest shrubs. Wilton next, for the sake of its bridge, 
its mill, and its busts, though the latter, which are too 
numerous, are in the house, and I would rather see them in 
the gardens. Lastly, the lodges of the Duke of Cumberland. 
These are what gave me the greatest pleasure in England. 
I do not speak here of the architecture of the country. The 
heaviness of Sir John Vanburgh is well known, as well as 
his epitaph, which is an excellent joke. Inigo Jones, noble 
and simple in his work, is the last who has done honour to 
England in this style. He has imitated the antique rather 
too closely in his narrow doors and windows. Greenwich 
would have done him more credit, it seems to me, if he 
had joined the two wings in the wood, at the lower end, 
by a superb temple and mausoleum, filled with urns, to 
receive the ashes of the brave sailors who make the hon- 


our and wealth of the kingdom, and are the admiration of 

I have said nothing of Sion House, formerly a Catholic 
convent, then the residence of Cardinal Wolsey, now the 
property of the Duchess of Northumberland. It stands on 
the bank of the Thames, with a splendid view of Eichmond 
and the Uttle house of my Lady Harrington. 

Those who can call to mind the sublime and stupendous 
scenes of Shakespeare, and the grotesque ones of the author 
of " Hudibras," will have a sense of them here in these gar- 
dens of England, as well as in her morals, medicine, and phi- 
losophy. We owe to the English great obhgations. Even 
their defects are of benefit to others. I defy any one to 
work really well with Nature who has not been in England, 
if only to learn neatness. For instance : go into the finest 
palace precincts of France or the residences of the Empire ; 
I think more of the small country-place of a London shop- 
keeper, where the furniture is kept like a snuff-box, the turf 
like a bilHard-table, and the shrubs cared for like the hair 
of a pretty woman. It is neatness that I commend the most. 
Without it a man should quit the meadows, which he is not 
worthy to inhabit, and contribute to increase the filth of 
great cities, where his soul will acquire the same and lose its 

The taste for gardens has departed from Italy ; behold 
what they are doing there ! No more turf ; no longer a 
Sabine valley, as in the days of Horace ; the charming Tibur 
is no more ! What has become of that spot which he paints 
so weU as a natural garden ? — 

Quk pinus ingens, albaque populus 
Umbram hospitals m consociare amant 

Ramis, et obliquo laborat 
Lympha fugax trepidare rivo. 


Perliaps it was this ode that gave to the English the idea of 
tlieir gardens, for they all have Horace in their heads as well 
as Homer and Virgil. 

It seems as though the Italian climate must have 
clianged; at any rate, the love of gardens has passed from 
the south of Europe to the north. On arrival, it had an 
audience with the Empress of Russia, They understood 
each other on the spot. It became her Bostangy-Pacha ; or 
rather, the conqueress of the Turks is herself the gardener- 
ess of Czarsko-zelo. The legislatrix of the greatest of em- 
pires sows her own lawns. Czarsko-zelo, which contains 
what the empress calls her fancies, presents on all sides the 
most charming pictures. These fancies, so-called, are water 
and optical effects, well imagined and well varied, such as 
a bridge of Siberian marble of an architecture in the style of 
Palladio, baths, a Turkish pavilion, groups of islands, iron 
gates, a ruin, monuments to the victories of Romanoff and 
Orloff, a superb rostral column in the middle of the lake to 
commemorate Czesma ; on the bank a charming building ; 
agreeable contours everywhere, quantities of flowers and 
exotic shrubs, lawns as well kept and as fine as those of 
England, temples, colonnades, and, above all, the grand 
staircase of Hercules on the garden side, — all of which 
makes this garden one of the most interesting in the world. 
It is here that the great princess, letting fall for a moment 
the reins of government, takes up a pencil, a rake, a pruning- 
hook ; which implements, however, she does not handle as 
slie would a sword if destiny had not made her, for the 
honour of her sex, a woman. 

Peterhoff is two leagues distant from Czarsko-zelo. It is 
the most imperial dwelling of all the summer residences of 
the Court, consequently the least gay. The petty Dutch 
style in which Peter the Great began it is visible ; also the 


enlargement of his ideas from what he had seen during his 
travels. It was in the first manner that he built himself 
on the seacoast a house that he called Monplaisir, where, in 
arbours ill-designed, ill-planted, there are traps, clocks, harpsi- 
chords, chimes, organs, musicians, ducks, hounds, deer, all 
set in motion by water-wheels. 

In the advice that I distribute, without being asked for 
it (for the worst little author, or maker of gardens thinks 
that he at least has no need of any), I always say : " It is 
by doing, reflecting, walking about, and noting down that 
you will see what persons with fitful notions cannot see. 
Let your eyes never weary of wandering over the beauties 
of Nature, and you will learn from her how to combine 
them." I have looked long at the open fields, and I have 
learned that the red of the poppies, the blue of the corn- 
flowers, the yellow of the turnips make the best of palettes ; 
unite them with the tender green of the flax, the honey- 
grass, the mottled buckwheat, the pale yellow of the wheat, 
the vivid green of the barley, and many other species that 
I do not yet know, and you will have an enchanting effect. 
To me, who do not like walls, and to whom the hedges and 
the canals suffice, this picture which lies in the distance 
beyond the gardens and plantations is a joy the more in my 
country home. 

Let us do good, good to others ; let us make others live ; 
let us increase, for example, the populations of the air, 
the earth, the waters. As it was said of old, " Let there be 
light," and there was light, so I would fain that men should 
say, " Let there be birds, fishes, above all, swans." I seek a 
Jupiter, but I see no Leda ; perhaps some god might still 
renew the jest — but, ah! there is no gallantry in heaven 
now. However, the margin of my fountains resounds with 
the cries of increase among my creatures ; the waters bubble 


with the leap of carps, the ducks are making nests, even the 
geese are busy; the pigeons, hunted in other places, are 
flocking to the cotes. Methinks I am increasing the wealth 
of Nature by thus increasing the number of her children. 
Many peacocks, above all, are here ; though I detest the 
proud. Let us meet comrades everywhere, no matter of what 
species they may be. Hey ! good God ! there are many on 
four feet that might serve as an example to those on two. 
The more we see and the more, unfortunately, we know of 
men, the more unconsciously we detach ourselves from them 
(keeping in our hearts indulgence for all, but devotion to 
few), and the more we attach ourselves to animals. Besides 
the many favourites that I have, such as a certain doe, 
which follows me when I ride on horseback, or swims beside 
my boat on the lake, I have an innumerable quantity of 
other creatures which come to me when I call them, in 
Turkish fashion, by clapping my hands, — two hundred geese, 
for instance, swans, ducks, birds; all of which are con- 
tentedly propagating in the castle moat. 

I think much of statues ; but those of marble are soon 
stained, those of stone become spUt, those of plaster make a 
wretched appearance. We should be mediocre in nothing, 
but especially not in such things. Unless you can put in 
a garden of a hundred acres one hundred thousand crowns' 
worth of statues, it is better to say you do not like them. 
That is what I say myself, but I fib. They ennoble and give 
Hfe. It is well, too, to place a few busts in retired places, 
without pretension ; still, they must seem to be a fancy or 
an act of friendship; if of love, so much the better. A 
Btatue dear to one's heart is better than the chariots of the 
Sun, or the horses of Victory; but remember, it must be 
placed only in a temple of mystery, filled with the spirit of 
the beauty we adore. Invoke that spirit in your gardens ; 


after satisfying your heart it will inspire you with taste; 
for we must love and be loved in order to create the beauti- 
ful. All the works of Love are perfect. Poems and gar- 
dens that breathe it cannot fail to charm. But is it to frighten 
children that white colossal figures are placed symmetrically, 
ranged like a regiment ? Rather let each divinity stand 
relieved against dark masses of trees ; and in place of those 
Roman emperors and Greek philosophers (with whose heads 
I long to play at ball) let us place in branchy bowers a 
Venus amid myrtle, a Mars inclosed in laurels and pome- 
granates, and even a Vulcan protecting a forge if we are 
fortunate enough to be able to combine the agreeable with 
the useful. 

Let us ennoble all necessary work. Let the ditches for 
dramage recall the aqueducts of the masters of three-fourths 
of the then known world. Do not, however, push your 
draining too far ; there are many trees which, if you leave 
them thirsty, wiU punish you. If you clear your brooks 
and rivulets it is good to see them flowing through the grass 
wliich should slope to their brinks by a verdant glacis, 
gentle and imperceptible ; never a revetment of stone, above 
all, not of brick, always grass. I preach grass ; and on the 
grass I shall preach love. No compasses, either ; none were 
used for the lines of the Graces, and the cestus of Venus 
was never symmetrically put on. 

But return we now to the sweet and tender thoughts 
inspired by the love of gardens. It is in rural life that 
you will best find means to practise human kindness. You 
will see what it is near by. You will learn to comfort the 
needs of humanity, to unite them with your tastes ; the 
one will help the other, and heaven will bless the work. 
Do not hurry what you do; take time; choose the season 
that follows harvest. The great heats have passed; the 


fields are deserted; no longer is the pretty picture seen of 
the rustic lover courting the wayward maid by doing half 
her work. It is now, when the labourers of the fields have 
nothing more to do, that you should dig and sow and plant. 
Renew your flowers ; graft them, protect them ; consider 
and consult the seasons and the climate. Banish from 
your garden the mournful image of the effects of poverty , 
let your inspectors concern themselves about the health of 
your workmen ; restrain their zeal in the heat of the day, 
compel them to rest in the shade of the trees, and give 
them milk and bread. Their bodies blistered by the burn- 
ing sun are painful to see. Exhausted with heat and 
fatigue, these poor unfortunates trouble the peace of those 
who make them toil by the knowledge of all that their 
poverty forces them to suffer. In the springtime and 
autumn we are consoled for the labour they bestow; we 
do not fear for their health because, the day's work done, 
they refresh themselves in the river, whither they coax the 
village girls who have brought them their frugal suppers 
and helped them, perhaps, to fill their baskets. The sex, 
though feeble in comparison with ours, is excellent for use 
in gardens. The gardening implements suit well those arms 
that the tanning of the sun has only mellowed. All that 
is not too hard to do may well be trusted to the village 
maidens, who, singing at their work, can earn enough to 
help a mother, — a scolding mother perhaps, but who at 
heart is a tender parent to her family. 

Remember too the children ; if they are seven years old 
they can gather up each morning the leaves that fall at 
night, or pull the weeds the dainty sheep refuse upon the 
lawns. The luxury of neatness, which I have so com- 
mended, wiU employ a score of little ones ; and five or six 
hundred ducats a year thus spent will ensure to you the 


beauty and neatness of your garden, and be a proper tribute 
paid by wealth to poverty. Employ all ages ; but without 
fatiguing the old soldiers, whom wounds and age have 
banished to their cottages. They can do something ; they 
can keep the little ones from playing, the guis from chat- 
tering, the labourers from lingering too long about their 
dinners ; they could even wheel a barrow with slow steps, 
and fill the ruts that deface the roads beyond the park. 
On Sundays they can watch the visitors and see they do 
not gather flowers or break the shrubs, and that their lively 
lads do not disturb the brooding mothers on their nests. 

It ought to enter into the policy of a wise government 
to protect the art of gardens and those who cultivate them, 
and to induce the seigneurs of a village to live upon their 
property, at least for six months of the year. But no, the 
government sends them to their regiments, never to their 
estates, where they might be far more useful. They coul'^- 
for example, redress wrongs, reconcile the vicar and the 
baillie who have quarrelled about the former's niece ; they 
could check the zeal of the young practitioner who is ex- 
perimenting on the luckless villagers, preparatory to be- 
coming a city physician ; they could say to the apothecary 
(receiver of the refuse of city chemists): "Do not give 
those dangerous mixtures of American barks and juices; 
come into my garden and gather for yourself the indigenous 
and wholesome herbs." Above all, they could entreat the 
vicar to read fewer books on theology and more of the 
Gospel; to explain and paraphrase it, not interpreting it 
according to his own notions, but (finding there a mystery 
too great for him to solve) preaching from its pages obedience 
to the sovereign, to fathers and mothers, the seigneur, the 
parson, the accomplishment of duty, and concord with all. 
Through physical advance into mental calmaess and 


from that to physical calmness, I ad\dse others, from my 
own experience, to love gardens to the point of dreaming 
of them. May heaven preserve you from thinking as you 
go to rest of women, war, the Court, of evil-doers, fools, or 
fortune ; but if some plan of a bower, an orcHard, a brook 
goes to bed with you, you will surely have an excellent 
niglit. Your ideas will be luUed by the undulathig water, 
by the wavmg gold of Ceres, by flowers, softly trembling 
to the breath of a gentle zephyr. Happy I — who have so 
often written that men should make a code, and even a 
r{5gime of happiness — happy I, if I have now held out 
a branch to be seized by some about to drown in the ocean 
of the great world. Happy mdeed is it to guard from 
storms, to offer a hospitable shade to those who are flung 
into the valley of tears, to teach them to plant with flowers 
the little distance which separates, as I have shown in my 
garden of allegory, the cradle of infancy from the sanctuary 
of death. 

Yes, happy, if I have succeeded ; if, in embellishing 
Nature, or, rather, in bringing her closer — let me say better 
still — in making her felt, I have imparted a taste for her. 
From our gardens she will lead us elsewhere ; our spirits 
will have recourse to her power in all things ; our purer 
hearts wiU be the temple, the most precious temple we can 
dedicate to her. Our souls will glow with her beauties ; 
truth will return to live among us, justice wiU quit the 
skies; and, happier a thousand-fold than on Olympus, the 
gods will pray mankind to let them live on earth. 

What I have written above (of which two editions are 
exhausted) has lost and at the same time gahied in merit. 
I do not know if the gardens that I saw twenty years ago 
in England, eight years ago in France, seven years ago in 


the North are still what they were ; neither do I know if 
my own gardens are such as I left them a year ago. I 
described them as they were before our armies abandoned 
my estates, my government, my regiment [in 1794 to the 
armies of the French Kepublic]. I wrote in happy days; 
when the earth was not soiled with crime ; when our blood 
and our tears did not flow. Then I wrote names that I 
have no longer the strength to utter. All things have taken 
another aspect. But that does not change the intention of 
my work, which was simply to give counsel and example to 
others. These are not the tales of a traveller, they are only 
the precepts of a gaixlener. 

Sit mecE sedes utinam senectcB, 
Sit modus lasso maris, et viarum 
Mditioique ! 

Hou. Odes, Book II., Ode to Septimiiis, 




I HAVE just given myself the trouble of counting in the 
journal of my secretary, M. Leygeb, the number of journeys 
I made up to this period of my life. I find thirty-four from 
Brussels to Vienna, always passing through Paris ; twelve 
from the Army to Vienna during three wars ; and eighteen 
from Belceil to Paris up to the year 1786, after which the 
Turkish war and the Revolutions fixed me in Vienna for 
the next thirteen years. I have travelled twice through 
Itussia, Poland, and Italy, once in Moravia, England, the 
Crimea, and through Provence. I will wager that I have 
spent three years of my life in carriages, and more than 
150,000 florins in post-horses alone. As much more in 
cards, I fancy. My campaigns cost me more than 500,000 
florins, and I gave over 200,000 to my regiment and other 
troops that I had under my command. I must have spent 
500,000 more in gardens and buildings at Pelanl, which is 
not so very much ; and the same for fetes, reviews, camps 
for drill and exercise, public entries, inaugurations, etc. 
The ordinary expenses of my household in the Low Coun- 
tries was 60,000 florins, without counting my ambulating 
residences [maison amhuUmtc], which cost me 30,000 or 
40,000 more. So in all, I think, I have spent some six or 
seven millions of our Viennese florins, or twenty millions 
of French francs, since I came into the world. 


In 1780 I started, I do not now remember what day in 
the month of May or June, for Vienna, Prague, Dresden. 
Berlin, Petersburg, Warsaw, Cracovia, where I had business, 
Moghilani, which ahnost belongs to me, L^opol and Brunn, 
where I thought I was in love. 1 am forgetting to say 
that I started from Paris, No. 2 rue de Bourbon, the liouse 
of the Duchesse de Pohgnac, who had just been confined, 
where I had dined with the queen. I promised them to 
return at the same hour six months later; and I ordered 
the hired coach and my hired valet to be ready at that 
time. I found them at the very spot at the right hour, 
though many events had occurred in the meantime, among 
others the death of the Empress Maria Theresa. 

It was on my return that I displeased the queen very 
innocently. As she mourned the death of her mother so 
deeply, I did not expect to see her first in public. But 
one of those officious persons who are always seeing and 
hearing things crookedly, found me with the Comtesse 
Diane during the hour for the public dinner of the queen. 
" She knows you have arrived," he said, " and she takes it 
very ill of you not to go to her at once." I was foolish 
enough to beheve him and went. When she saw me the 
queen began to weep before all the Court, who were present, 
as usual, at the Sunday dinner, and she said to me on leav- 
ing the table : " You might have spared my feelings this 
public scene ; you are not Austrian enough to disregard the 
customs of this country." I explained to her the cause of 
my indiscretion, and the storm, like so many others when 
we live in a zone of tempests, went by. 

At Versailles, where I stayed only to amuse myself, they 
had the absurdity to suppose I was there with pohtical 
intentions, and they said the same thing a little later when 
I went to Eussia. " It is not natural," people said, " but very 


clever of him to be so continually in the intimate society 
of the queen." 

On another occasion I found myself suddenly out of 
favour with the queen, without suspecting it, because of 
some trifling gayety I had permitted myself (so she told 
me afterwards) about the Emperor and the Queen of Naples. 
While she was playing cards in the apartments of the 
Princesse de Lamballe, I placed myself behind her chair 
with my usual confidence, which never supposes that people 
are displeased with me. She did not speak to me, but I 
thought that was only because I was so much with her. 
I spoke to her and she answered curtly; still I suspected 
nothing. Mme. de Lamballe reminded me of it after the 
game and seemed quite frightened ; and being as good and 
kind as she is pretty, she promised to find out the reason. 
She told me the next day. As there was a masked ball in 
Paris that night, I hoped for an opportunity to have an 
explanation with the queen. She noticed that I was ex- 
tremely sad all day, and she told Mme. de Simiane to make 
me believe that she was the queen, telling her a part of our 
quarrel, and assuring her that I should be a very good sub- 
ject to mystify. 1 fell into the trap. Mme. de Simiane 
showed me her beautiful hands, which w^ere not however 
as beautiful as those of the queen, but she made them her 
letters of credit. I was agitated; I believe I wept, and I 
justified myself with excessive warmth. She promised that 
we should continue on the same good terms as before. I 
represented to her that one never could trust to kings and 
queens, and I was afraid she would not be as kind to me 
the next day ; therefore, to reassure me, I begged her to 
pinch the tip of her right ear every time that I pinched 
mine during the play the next evening at Versailles, where 
I always stood just below her box. In vain did I almost 


tear my ear off; the queen did not touch hers. I had an 
opportunity of speaking to her about it as we came out. 
She thought me crazy, and it made her laugh so much she 
forgot her anger ; which, after all, was not great, and there is 
but a step from laughter to forgiveness : people who laugh 
are always ready to pardon; and all the more if they are 
charming young queens. 

The queen had the kindness to permit me to always 
stand beneath her box [at the theatre] where I could talk 
with her. The day when the Notables had been convoked 
I could not help looking at her when Cassandra said, in the 
Tableau Farlant, " The notables of these regions are now 
to assemble." The queen made terrible eyes at me to warn 
me to hold my tongue in case I should want to say a word 
about it ; but she had some difficulty in repressing a laugh. 
The more she had been opposed to that cursed invention, 
the less she wanted to show it, holding it as a principle of 
her conduct never to seem to condemn what the king did ; 
but nothmg could be more amusing than the air of prudence 
she assumed at such times. 

It was those cursed grumblers at Louis XV. who really 
flung poor Louis XVI. into his grave. It was the fashion to 
gird at everything. People watched for M. de Choiseul at 
his first relay on his way to exile. They rushed to Chante- 
loup ; they cried out against the parliament of Maupeou. 
The latter, who knew his countrymen well, made Mme. du 
Barry (she told me this herself) buy a portrait of Charles I., 
that the king might daily behold before his eyes the results 
of weakness. M. de Voltaire also wrote to him with the 
same meaning, as I may have said elsewhere. It was the 
higher nobihty who were most ungrateful, — they who had 
been loaded with Court favours, who, royalists and emigres 
later, were scouting then at royalty. If there are, indeed, 

Mem. Ver. 6— S 


Elysian Fields hereafter, that beautiful and most unfortunate 
queen will tell me she remembers how, on her relating to 
me some outrage those people had done her, I called them 
her " vile, charming subjects," seeing, even then, the harm 
done by levity and ingratitude, but far, indeed, from foresee- 
ing that those subjects would cease to be charming and 
become what they have been from 1789 to 1797. Noble, 
sublime, beautiful, adorable, and hapless daughter and sister 
of my masters, look down from where you are amid the rec- 
ompense of your virtues, and see the eternal regrets of those 
who, hke myself, were the witnesses of your goodness, and 
are ever filled with the tenderest admiration and unceasing 

The king said one day, among his brutal, stinging sallies : 
" I always think of hunting dogs when I hear the names of 
Du Lot, D&saulx, Turgot, Baudeau, Mirabeau, and the rest 
of those Economists." The Abb^ Baudeau talked as badly 
as a man could about the art he professed [poHtical econ- 
omy], which only proves that it is not an art, but a trade. 
As he was one of my Council [in the Low Countries], though 
I never asked him for any advice, I took him one day into 
the country. After talking to me all the Economies, political 
and rural, I proved to him, by the latter, tliat he did not 
understand the former. I set him arguing with my farmers, 
mechanics, workmen, labourers, and the peasants of several 
villages ; and I admired anew the good sense of that mer- 
chant of Smyrna, when a plough made by a learned man was 
in question. It was ]\Iirabeau's father, by the way, who, in 
order not to compromise himself, used to pray : " My God, if 
there be one, I commend to you my soul, if I have one." 
That is all very pretty, as long as the death-kueU does not 

The quarrel caused by the too clever friends and the too 


wide-awake enemies of M. de Calonne and the Baron de 
Breteuil, was a chief cause of the misfortunes of France, 
consequently of Europe. I besought them a score of times 
to reconcile the excellent head of the one with the penetrat- 
ing (though perhaps rather volatile) intelligence of the 
other ; for the union was necessary and would have made 
an excellent administration. 

M. de Pezai was one of M. Necker's last hopes, and 
became, in consequence, completely spoiled and puffed up. 
Necker employed him to write anonymous letters to the 
king, saying good of himself, Necker, and giving the king 
advice. Louis XVI. read the letters with pleasure. Necker, 
wishincr to know their effect, made Pezai write that he 
should send no more unless the king should express a desire 
for them by looking in a certain direction as he came 
through the glass door of liis cabinet into the gallery, and 
by making a sign. The king did so. Pezai continued writ- 
ing. He happened to mention M. de Sarthie as among his 
acquaintance, was seen to talk with him, and was guessed 
when the king asked that minister who he supposed was 
the author of the letters. Sartiue expected to play a role, 
and Necker was then playing that which ruined France. 
Pezai afterwards pleased M. de Maurepas, made a fool of 
himself, was scolded, and died of the mortification. In his 
letters to the king he went so far as to prompt the king as to 
what he ought to say and do. " You cannot reign with grace, 
Sire," he wrote ; *' nature has denied you that ; make yourself 
imposing, therefore, by great severity of principles. Your 
Majesty will soon attend a horse-race. You will there see a 
notary who will be writing down the bets of M. le Comte 
d'Artois and M. le Due d'Orleans. You should say, Sire, on 
seeing him : ' What is that man doing here ? should there 
be writings between gentlemen ? their word suffices.' " All 


this took place ; I was there and saw and heard it. Every 
one cried out : " How true ! how right ! what a grand, kingly 
saying ! — but that is the king's way." 

Horses and cabriolets in the morning are the ruin of the 
young men in Paris. Englishmen do more harm to French- 
men by their manners and customs, which Frenchmen adopt, 
than by their navy. The latter now waste their morning 
going about ; they dine with men ; they sup with courtesans, 
because they are in frock-coats and it is too late to dress and 
go into good company. And the " clubs " are putting a last 
touch to this state of things. Farewell politeness, respect, 
gallantry, the desire to please. They talk ParHament, House 
of Commons ; they read the Courier de V Europe ; they talk 
horses ; they bet, they play at crebs ; they drink a melan- 
choly " clairet " wuie, instead of the good champagne that en- 
livened their charming forebears and inspired their songs. 
Amiable Gauls ! I entreat you to give the tone, and not to 
take it. 

If Frenchmen cease to be children I will not answer foi 
them. If races, newspapers, English clubs, frock-coats, boots, 
little cords in their leather breeches, theatres, and dreadful 
dramas cause them to lose their natural graces, — if tliey cease 
to be singing, dancing, and gallanting, the French will become 
furious madmen. The fasliions and monstrosities that are 
leading them to this should be smothered. Never were any 
people so made for a Court. They were not created to tliink, 
but to obey, and to amuse themselves, without being responsible 
or intrusted with anything. Frenchmen of to-day, who 
are losing the friendship of Europe without having acquired 
its esteem, you are rushing to perdition. This is no child's 
play. You are changed ; and blood will have to flow to bring 
you back to common-sense. [Note by the prince in 1795 : 
It was thus that I foresaw the evils of to-day. I can prove 


that these words were written during the Assembly of the 
Notables. It is sometimes easy to be a prophet.] 

What are called men of letters in the present day, discon- 
tented because men of the world are as well informed as 
themselves, show a great deal of haughtiness; they are sulky 
because they are not consulted by kings and ministers. Thoy 
have read in the classics that philosophers were at Court in 
those days ; but in the first place those were not philosophers, 
and in the second these gentlemen are not philosophers 
either, much as they talk philosophy. The ancients taught 
it without having it ; it was their business, and it did neither 
harm nor good. But those of the present day are dangerous. 
A bone should be given them to gnaw. It is clear that those 
who have the most capacity will overthrow those who have 
least ; it is also clear that those who are nothing are seeking 
to be something. They are saying (as if it were possible) 
that nobility should not be hereditary, and they aver that 
they speak in the name of the people — the People ! who, if 
it were not for them, would be drinking in their cafds and sing- 
ing without a desire to kill or to govern any one. In order to 
bring themselves nearer to the nobles (whom I don't like 
myself, unless they have merit, any better than the authors), 
why don't they write in favour of misalliances, marriages that 
Love, who was never a gentleman, ought to arrange with 
Hymen ? 

It would be much better if all the governments of Europe 
regarded these philosophers as in England they regard the 
party of the Opposition, where they make use of it in politics 
and in administration when they want to make changes by 
calling it the majority. The writer, the lawyer, the little 
curate would soon write for the Court, and against those it 
formerly sided with. To complete the matter, tlie first 
bourgeois author who wrote against the nobility should be 


made a baron. That would catch him, and the man of 
intellect would be the proudest of barons. 

M. de la Blache challenged Beaumarchais, on one occasion, 
to fight a duel with him, but Beaumarchais replied, apropos 
of the Due de Chaulnes, who had also sent him a challenge, 
" I can't, for I have refused a better." The assassination of 
Beaumarchais was a very singular hoax. I saw him when he 
arrived in Vienna with the air of a murdered man, for that 
excellent mimic could make himself any face that he chose. 
" Look at my hand," he said, " there is the cut of the knife. 
Here upon this box of imitation gold the poignard struck. The 
king gave it to me, I owe my life to him. Had I not hung 
it round my neck to preserve this order, written by his own 
hand (which you may read), I was a dead man." Sure 
enough, the paper said: "The Sieur Beaumarchais will 
execute the orders that I have given him, and his punctual 
obedience will be the measure of my gratitude. Louis." He 
was always chasing after the so-called libels against the 
queen, which, as I think, he sometimes invented in order to 
get a royal commission to investigate them. " A Jew," he 
went on to say, " who was hawking an infamous book about 
the queen, tracked me. I got out of my travelling-carriage 
the other side of Nuremberg because I had to get out. I 
stepped aside ; I went into a wood. Eight or ten soldiers in 
uniform, recruiters or deserters, attacked me. Without arms ! 
what a position ! I tried to slip behind a tree ; in an instant 
all their poignards were raised and — see the wound!" 
" But, my dear Beaumarchais," I said, " soldiers don't carry 
poignards ; you must mean bayonets." Poignards, however, 
sounded better. Here is what the postilion, who brought 
him the last stage before Nuremberg, related : " M. Beaumar- 
chais made me stop. He went into a wood ; he was gone so 
long that I got impatient, and went in myself to see what he 


was doing. I saw hiin put his penknife into his pocket, 
having just cut his hand with it." Beaumarchais took the 
needful time to play the wounded man, and then he went to 
his audience with Maria Theresa. lie thought proper to ask 
for a chair to sit in her presence. " The excess of my ad- 
miration," he said, " the surprise — the emotion — my con- 
valescence — ah ! Madame, I can no more ! " The farce was 
iiscovered a few days later. The police arrived. " Take 
care ! " said Beaumarchais, " there are pistols on my table. 
I am capable of anything." The officer laughed, arrested 
him and carried him ofl' to the nearest post. 

I encountered Beaumarchais one evening at M. de Ver- 
gennes', then Minister of Foreign Affairs, and said to him in 
a low voice, " What brings you liere ? is it Figaro ? " " No," 
he said, " public business ; look at all these papers ; see what 
I am doing." And he showed me a portfolio stuffed full of 
letters, projects, manifestoes, etc. So the dullest of all min- 
isters that France ever had was employing a jester to do 
his business, and that, too, with the knowledge of the most 
serious and austerely moral of kings. But this same droll 
jester, who amused himself with friends and enemies alike, 
had a marvellous style. He knew well how to dazzle with 
his singular ideas, the construction of his sentences, and 
the sparkling wit that makes itself remembered. Where is 
the author who is quoted as he is ? There is not a day that 
one does not hear, " As Figaro says ; " he is known every- 
where. I love him much ; there is real philosophy in the 
Barbier, and philosophism in that detestable and weari- 
some Tarare. As for the " Noces " it will not do to say it is 
a witty play, it is all wit. What fineness, and sometimes 
what delicacy ! 

I have often had occasion to observe that men of talent 
are queer people. Some of them have cost me dear. I re- 


member Le Kain, for instance [celebrated tragic actor], whom 
I had at BeloeO. to play Mahomet before Prince Henry of 
Prussia. Though he had a proper coat, he asked me for 
another, and ordered it to be covered with gold and silver. 
" That ought not to be so," said the tailor. " Very well," he 
replied ; " then make it as it ought to be, but use the costliest 
furs and line it with the finest Brussels camlet." On another 
occasion Albanese told me that he suffered with cold ; so I 
ordered a superb cloak made for him. The next day he 
said to me : " And the breeches, monseigneur, — could n't I 
have breeches to match the cloak ? " I had employed, pro- 
tected, and known so many actors in province and in garri- 
son, that I was often able to help them out of their troubles 
and repair their follies, although not always. I do not 
know how it happened, but the Italian comedians who 
played " The Reduction of Paris " wore cordons hleus around 
their necks (they were worn round the neck in those days 
because they made less show). I frightened Louis XVI. 
one day, when we were playing at bilhards, by asking him 
for a cordon hleu. " It can't be for yourself," he said, " be- 
cause you are a Grandee of Spain ; besides your Orders pre- 
vent you from wearing mine. I will wager it is for some of 
your devilish protdg^s." " No, Sire," I said, " it is only 
for Mold ; he wants to wear the star of the Saint-Esprit 
in playing the * Malheureux Imaginaire ; ' " whereupon he 
sent me marching, and would not let the piece be played at 
all. I busied myself also about the illumination of the 
theatre for the fete that was given to the Grand-Duke Paul 
of Russia at Versailles. The king was astonished that the 
Grand-Duke was so little astonished by the coup d'o&il when 
the doors were thrown open, for notliuig could have been 
added in the way of lights and decoration. " One would 
really think," the king said to me, " that that gentleman 


[ce ynons'icur'j sees such things every day." I answered: 
" Not precisely every day, Sire ; but it is true that he is blase 
on magnificence." 

It is singular that there should be so much thick pro- 
nunciation at the Theatre-Fraugais. Prdville and Grandval 
(whose last years I saw, and they did not give me the idea 
of great actors), Clairval, M. and Mme. Larouette, and Mme. 
Trial all said chamais for jmnais, and p instead of h, as if 
they were Germans, Swedes, or Spaniards. 

To return to the men of letters, I escaped their demands 
upon me with praises against their praises and as many 
verses to them as they made upcn me. 

The Marquis d'Adh^mar had the credit of not being the 
author of his own songs, some of which I had seen him 
make. A great deal of harm was said of him and quite 
unfairly, for without being perfectly well-bred he was very 
amiable. His indiscreet friends procured him enemies by 
his appointment as ambassador to England. The queen, 
one evening, brought us, laughing, a quantity of songs against 
her and her society. We were beginning to sing one against 
M. d'Adh^mar to the tune of the " Bourbonnaise " which 
began : " Marquis by accident, Chevalier d'industrie, Colin 
of comedy, Major of infantry," when in he came. To save 
him from playing a poor part and to put the laugh on his 
side, I called out, "Adh^mar can sing that better than any 
of us. Sing it, Adhdmar, it is your aflair;" which he did 
gayly and with good taste, saying to the queen : " Major 
of infantry proves that I serve the king, Colin of comedy 
proves that I serve your Majesty." 

If La Bruyfere had drunk, if La Eochefoucauld had hunted, 
if Champfort had travelled, if Lassay had known foreign 
languages, if Vauvenargues had been in love, if Weisse had 
been at Court, if Theophrastus had lived in Paris, they 


woiild all have written better than they did. Some of the 
above, and others also, are like delayed fireworks, with great 
spaces of obscurity between whiles. In the " Pens^es " of 
my friend M. du IMeillian there are flashes of fire which 
hght up everything continuously, with rockets that go so 
high their sound is not heard, and the whole winds up in a 
final display. Tliat is because he is a statesman and a man 
of the world. Open his " Considerations on Mind and 
Morals " and you will see how he has closed the door of the 
illustrious French writers and taken the key. Men of letters 
are making themselves, for the sorrow of the century, 
statesmen. Meilhan, a statesman, has made himself a man 
of letters. He had never before been remarked upon except 
in his ministry and for his good administrations. His last 
work, perfect in style and thought, has induced people to 
reread his first, the work of his leisure in the midst of his 
important avocations. 

Every one has his favourite author. Voltaire made the 
fortune of the Arabian Nights ; Eousseau that of Robinson 
Crusoe. If I were as great as Voltaire and Eousseau, I 
should make that of Amelot de la Houssaye. His work 
ought to be the breviary of Sovereigns. He was a pedant. 
So much the better ; we can find in him without trouble 
what he spent his life in digging out of others whom we 
should never have the time or the courage to read. There is 
nothing in his political Notes that is not profoundly thought 
out and appUcable to these times. If persons are afraid 
of undertaking to read the ten volumes of his Tacitus, let 
them take him hap-hazard and open his books where they 
please. I repeat, and I maintain, that he is sublime and 
admirable. Apparently no one has read him, for no one is 
of my opinion. 

The Comte de S^gur is rightfully a man of letters, and the 


only one in the highest good society of France. The Comte 
de Vauch-euil might l)e if he desired it; the Comte de 
Coigny also. M. de Chastellux, de Bissy, and JMontcKquiou 
do desire it, and cannot be. Dorat is so in his class, as iiuu'li 
for the quality as for the quantity of his writings. The 
Chevalier de JJouiilers is more and also less than a man of 
letters. Just as the grace, originality, and gayety of his 
charming little verses are superior to those of others on 
the same ground, so his lack of serious work and his ami- 
able indolence deny him the title of author. He might 
have had it, and also that of one of the first men of letters 
in France. 

Nature, so prodigal to Frenchmen in graces of every other 
kind, has refused them the two gifts of music and painting. 
When I think of the admiration I have heard bestowed on 
the shepherdesses of Watteau, the insipid voluptuousness of 
Boucher, the spinach-green, the cream-like water, the scaffold 
architecture of Eobert, the pretty daintinesses of Greuze, the 
deformities, flippancies, mannerisms, and flat gray tones of 
the rest, I wonder they exhibit their pictures at all in France. 
It is the study of flesh in the Italian masters and colouring 
from the Flemish which in my opinion has made Mme. 
Vig^e Le Brun superior to her countrymen in the magic and 
the boldness of the colour she employs in her draperies, 
where she dares all, while none conflict. On the contrary, a 
rare harmony, the liquid light of the eyes, the transparency 
of the skin, conceal the very trifling defects with which she 
may be charged, — such as making her beauties too young, 
her backgrounds insignificant, and an occasional want of 
drawing. The accusation, made perhaps once in a dozen 
cases, of a lack of resemblance, is an injustice. Look at 
her Hamilton, her Sibyl, and fall at her feet. How beautiful 
that picture of the queen all in white ! what art in express- 


ing so perfectly the various tones of it, from the slippers, 
the stockings, the gown, the chemise, to the dazzling skin of 
that beautiful princess ! 

And in music, how far behind other nations are the 
French ! They have not the divine gift ; they have not the 
composers, nor the apprehension in their nature from which 
the composer is born. "VVe should restore to Music her 
ancient virtue. That duet, Liebst die mich ? has often 
made me weep. A woman of my acquamtauce assures me 
that whenever they play " Orpheus " she is in a state of 
which she can give no account to herself. Tliis might be a 
charming means to move an inhuman heart. 

It was interesting to watch Gluck as I did in Vienna, at 
the rehearsals of his opera of " Iphigenia ; " the devil was in 
him (as Voltaire said he ought to be in tragic actors), with 
comphments and insults to the singers and musicians splut- 
tering from his mouth. He was the first man who exacted 
the keeping of time in actors and orchestra ; and that was a 
good thing done, as Piccini found on arrival. Gluck was 
born in a village belonging to my brother-in-law, Waldstein, 
in Bohemia ; and I was told there that when he was a child 
he used to sing airs with dramatic effect, and teach that 
effect to his little companions. A French company came to 
Vienna, and a meddlesome censor, named Gautier, prevented, 
by order of the empress who was rather too chaste, the pro- 
duction of some very good plays, considered by him to be 
indecent. M. Durazzo, the minister for theatrical matters, 
engaged Gluck, who by that time was known by certain 
songs and instrumental pieces performed in concerts for a 
coming genius, to recompose " The Siege of Cythera," " The 
World Upset," " The Pilgrims of Mecca," and " The Duped 
Cadi." Gluck knew scarcely any French, and he made a 
detestable business of it. In that air, " 'T is thus that all 


like us are found," he knew so little of stage work that he 
put a word of three syllables to one note ; wishing to repre- 
sent, so he told nie, the gabble of a woman. I admired and 
encouraged his music, half warlike, rural, animated, flowing, 
gliding, sometimes almost French in moments of sentiment 
and repose, and more German than Italian. He studied 
French and began to read Eacine, whose beauties he divined. 
When he did not understand them I helped him, and he 
finally adored him. After a conversation at dinner with 
Prince Kaunitz and M. du Eoulet at my house, they made 
choice of Iphigenia for his subject. But how was he to 
keep to those fine Alexandrines ? He used to ask me this 
continually. He would fain have left nothing out, but that 
was impossible. However, he preserved the ideas as much 
as he could. 

When Mardchal de Lacy was in Paris there was much 
talk about Gluck and Piccini ; discussions ran high as to 
their respective merits. M. de Voyer, minister of war, asked 
me to brmg the marshal to dinner at his house, for he 
wanted to listen to him and judge of him. At the same 
dinner there happened to be an ardent admirer of Gluck. 
M. de Voyer broached the Seven Years' War and Military 
Constitution, and was on the point of making the marshal 
talk when the musical enthusiast broke in with : " M. le 
mar^chal, did Gluck sup with you in Vienna? What 3 
man, M. le mar^chal ! And that Piccini, how paltry beside 
him ! Compare, M. le mardchal, those duets in Iphigenia 
and Poland," — and he came near singing them on the spot. 
The marshal looked at me and smiled ; he was charmed 
to escape his other inquisitor. M. de Voyer was furious at 
missing his object ; and all the more because, when question- 
ing me about the marshal, he had said, in reply to the por- 
trait I drew of him : " Either he is a great man, or you, 


knowiug what that is, are making him one. I shall find out 
the truth for myself to-morrow." 

Never can the enthusiasm of a place so little given to 
enthusiasm as Vienna be forgotten as it listened to the Fiat 
Lux of Haydn's symphony in his truly sublime work " The 
Creation." Hayden heard, and he wished to make heard, the 
roaring, bellowing, lowing, bleating, almost the croaking and 
the cawing, the flight of birds, the creeping of insects. 1 
exaggerate somewhat. But all, as in the Four Seasons, 
glows with colour and delightful freshness. There are 
ravishing duets between Adam and Eve. The chase, the 
vintage, the rising of the sun, all are given with the same 
vigour. The whole, the Angels and the Chou', did infinite 
honour to the composer and to Vienna. What with the 
clever Salieri, a worthy pupil and almost a rival of Gluck, 
and Mozart, who was just beginning to succeed him, Vienna 
at this time swarmed with musicians. 

The Emperor Joseph II. was a passionate lover of good 
music, and having heard " Don Giovanni" at Prague, on the 
occasion of his brother Leopold's marriage to the Grand- 
Duchess of Tuscany, he urged Mozart to bring tlie opera to 
Vienna ; which he did. It was coldly received at first, and 
tlie emperor was greatly annoyed with the audience. " It 
is a divine work," he said to ]\Iozart, whom he summoned 
to his box, " but it is not a morsel for my Viennese." " They 
need time to taste it," replied Mozart, modestly. " It cer- 
tainly suited the Prague public better; but I only wrote 
it for myself and my friends." A number of those present 
had gone after the performance to sup with Mme. de Thun, 
where they were discussing the new opera eagerly when 
Haydn entered. All were giving their opinions right and 
left, and while agreeing that the music bore the stamp of 
genius, they said it was obscure and incomprehensible in 


certain places, and they called upon Haydn to be the judge. 
" I am not competent," he said with malicious humility, " to 
decide this learned dispute. All I know is that Mozart is 
the greatest musician in existence." 

The souvenirs of the Baron de Besenval I might have 
written myself (so fully are the same incidents known to 
me), though never in a style so brilliant, — as brilliant as 
their author, and that is saying all. No one was ever more 
so than he in war and at Court, where his fine social quali- 
ties brought him into the favourite society of the queen. 
We were all surprised that he sought to be in that of the 
king also ; that is to say, among the latter's hunting com- 
panions, for he had no others. At sixty years of age 
Besenval had the appearance of a yomig man on his pro- 
motion, wearing the gray coat of a beginner while awaiting 
the blue. He had made himself a few noble quarterings, 
of which he had no need, for nobility was in his souL But 
there he was in the king's carriages and among the king's 
huntsmen and consequently supping in the cabinets. A 
Swiss lieutenant-general with a gray head, who was present 
at the death of Berwick [1734], might have dispensed with 
being in at the death of the stag forty years later. It is 
plain that he wished to be concerned with many things ; 
but at bottom he was like all the rest of the world at Court, 
where good and evil were said of the ministers alternately. 

The baron makes himself out more intriguing than he 
really was. He was always rather morose in spirit, and apt 
to grumble in his own home to his servants and his women- 
kind ; but he was one of the gayest and most amiable men 
in society that I have ever seen. People would say to him 
when he gave them occasion by his gruff manner to the 
Swiss guards : " Baron, what bad taste ! you are dreadful." 
His frank, handsome countenance allowed him to risk such 


insolences ; wliich, after all, became him. He had, as one 
might say, an excellent tone in his bad tone. His famil- 
iarities had an air of confidence ; he related things pleas- 
antly, with gay good-humour, in a style and manner that 
was all his own. 

Besenval quotes me once ; he might have done so a 
hundred times. I was everywhere in the midst of those 
storms, in which I took no part, although I often warded 
them from the heads of men whom I did not even know. 
I am sorry that his editor has suppressed so many names, 
and so many of the baron's adventures, of wliich, handsome, 
insolent, and charmmg as I represent him, he had many. 
I know of a dozen at this moment ; and he has told me a 
score of others which I do not now remember. If I dared, I 
would tell facts as he does ; but I fear to give pain to the 
living. If the anecdotes of a past time afford pleasure it 
can be imagined how much I should find in relating those 
I know of noted persons with whom I have passed my hfe 
in many lands. All that the baron says in praise of the 
Polignac family, and all that ever could be said of them, 
is below their merits. 






[Tn 1780 the Prince de Ligne paid, as he has already men- 
tioned, his first visit to Eussia. He went to obtain the 
dowry of the wife of his son Charles, Princess H^l^ne Mas- 
salska, subsequently married, on the death of her first hus- 
band, to Comte Potocki, and the original of the well-known 
charming portrait by Mme. Vig^e LeBrun. The young lady's 
dowry consisted of Moghilani, an estate with chateau and 
country-houses, two palaces in Cracovia, and one palace in 
Warsaw. Prince Eadziwill owed the Massalski family 
eight hundred thousand Polish florins (one milhon francs), 
the inheritance of H^l^ne's mother, who was a Eadziwill; 
half of this property belonged to H(^lfene, half to her brother, 
they being orphans. Prince Eadziwill's property, as will 
appear later, was under sequestration to the Eussian Court, 
in consequence of the part he had taken in a Polish revolu- 
tion. H^lfene was niece and ward to the Prince-Bishop of 
Wilna, who was tortured and hung before the cathedral he 
had himself built in Warsaw, by the followers, though not 
by the orders, of John Sobieski. He settled upon H^lfene 
Massalska, on her marriage with Prince Charles of Ligne, a 
revenue of sixty thousand francs a year. The Prince de 
Ligne, on his side, engaged to give his son a revenue of 
thirty thousand francs, and a home at Brussels, Beloeil, and 
Vienna in one of his palaces or chateaus ; and if, at the end 

of four years, the couple had children, to double the revenue. 
Mem. Ver. 6 — T 


The marriage had taken place in July, 1779, and the Prince 
de Ligue went to Petersburg in 1780 to endeavour to obtain 
the sequestrated property. It is rather characteristic of liim 
that when he found how warndy he was received, he was 
reluctant to press the claim, and did not then do so. 

The Emperor Joseph 11. had just paid a visit to the 
Empress Catlierine, and his friendship for the Prince de 
Ligue caused the latter to be received with great cordiality 
at the Kussian Court ; from that time, until her death m 
1796, the empress was in more or less frequent correspond- 
ence with him. In 1786 she proposed to him to join her on 
her famous journey to her newly acquired territory, the 
Crimea, or Taurica, as she and the Prince de Ligue preferred, 
classically, to call it. This journey, which took place in the 
following year, 1787, is fully described in the letters of the 
prince to the Marquise de Coigny, which will be found, 
unabridged, in Chapters I. and II. of Vol. II.] 

Who has not felt, on arriving in Petersburg, as if he were 
entering a temple ? Everything breathes of divinity, a 
divinity that seems divided between the palaces and the 
marble churches. All that is not marble is of precious 
stones. The granite of the splendid quays on the finest of 
rivers, the columns, the walls, are dazzling in the sunlight, 
like the sun itself. London surprised me even more than 
Venice. I could imagine a city in the midst of the sea ; one 
has only to think of a flood through the streets, and one has 
an idea, at the least, of Venice. But wide and convenient 
sidewalks, convenient shops, inconceivable cleanliness every- 
where, lighted promenades, where there are concerts and games 
and no police, delightful gardens, a river which adds to all this 
a hundred varied scenes ; in short, whatever can be imagined 
for the best-planned fete is found daily in four or five differ- 


ent quarters of Lund(jii. In difference, an air of freedom and 
magnificence, elegant ])haeton.s, the whole town on the trot, 
fine houses, charming women, and excellent fruit. Paris, on 
the other hand, disgusts a newly arrived stranger with its 
dirt ; also the appearance of the populace and their villanous 
manner of dressing ; the savage air of the fishwives and the 
rag-pickers ; the narrowness and mud of the streets ; the 
clatter of the hundreds of carts one meets everywhere, and 
that vile wicket, through which all Paris is forced to pass 
daily. But Petersburg I found another thing, always stately 
and majestic, like its empress. 

That empress is a mixture of soul and good sense, of lofti- 
ness and vigour. Those are the four columns that support 
the great colossus that she governs. Her perceptions are not 
quick ; one must never be too subtle in jest or wit, for she is 
liable to suppose it the reverse of what is meant ; what we 
say to her must be as simple as she herself. Her Majesty is a 
little susceptible. If her imperial self-love takes umbrage as 
to her wars or her finances, or even as to the Eussian cli- 
mate, she is no longer at her ease. Bat far from revenging 
herself, even for a real offence, she merely withdraws her 
familiarity, and it is difficult to obtain it again. She has so 
amazing a kindlmess that even after heavy labours, which 
may have related to treaties of alliance, or partitions of 
Europe and Asia, she is ready to concern herself with the 
interests of her friends ; persuading one of them, for instance, 
as I knew her to do, to cease making debts. 

In proof of what I said above as to her manner of some- 
times taking things askew, I give the following incident, 
which amused me very much, though I greatly love M. de 
Sdgur [French ambassador at the Court of Petersburg]. It 
is a Russian custom to chant the Te Deum all over the em- 
pire after a victory ; and in Petersburg a minister of State 


reads iu a loud voice an account of the battle, with a list of 
the killed and wounded, and of all those who have specially 
distinguished themselves. On one occasion when this was 
done, the empress, on her return from the ceremony to give 
audience to M. de Sdgur, said to him, " I beg your pardon 
for having kept you waiting." To which, as a flatterer of 
charming good taste, he replied, " Madame, I am resigned ; 
though I foresee it will soon be intoleraljle, for we shall have 
these ceremonies every day." Eeferriug to this bit of flat- 
tery, which meant, of course, that he expected her to be 
always victorious, the empress said to me : " Did you notice 
how ill-humoured the Comte de S^gur was ? These French- 
men never can get accustomed to my successes." In vain I 
endeavoured to set her right. With an air of the utmost 
attention she did not listen to me, or even understand that 
I was explaining the matter. S(5gur was not happy in his 
compliments. One day, when Peter the Great was men- 
tioned before her, I said, without wit, but with much truth, 
that she was worth more than he. Sdgur told her the same 
thing, but with far more delicacy, to which she answered, 
" You are right, M. le Comte, in saying that we cannot be 
compared," He gave himself to all the devils ; and as for me, 
I could not speak for laughing. 

Among the many occasions when I have seen and appre- 
ciated her lofty good sense, here is one that I remember at 
this moment. When [before the war with Turkey in 1788] 
I was charged by Joseph II. with the duty of making, with 
her, a plan for the concerted operations of her armies and 
ours, she said to me : " Write to your emperor that this is 
the way in which allies always end by quarrelling. It is 
impossible to fix precisely, especially at such a distance, an 
exact arrangement; each side will complain of the other. 
Now we both have the same object. Let us each go for it 


in our own way. Whatever one does for his own interest 
will serve the interest of the other. I am sure of his 
friendship ; he is sure of mine. That is the whole of my 

Wy principle, whether because she did not want to be led 
away in conversation, or because she wished to avoid being 
bored (a thing she hated), the empress never allowed any 
one to speak to her of public affairs. All things had to go 
through her ministers, who were only the canals of her 
ocean of wisdom ; her own head was her cabinet. Catherine 
was never so great as under some reverse. She would have 
given her whole wealth, the last inch of her vast dominions, 
and hfe itself sooner than do, I will not say a meanness, but 
any action that was not honourable. In her could be seen 
and noted all the points of difference between exalted and 
exaggerated sentiment. 

When I found myself obliged by her great kindness to 
spend my days, from five o'clock till ten, in her private 
society with five or six other persons, I brought her to trial 
in my own mind, and judged her living, as the Kings of 
Egypt in ancient times were tried and judged at their 
deaths, in order to feel wholly at my ease. M. de la 
Rulhiferes, in his history of " Anarchy in Poland," has col- 
lected all sorts of lies and false tales of every kind. Before 
speaking of the death of Peter III. he ouglit to have ques- 
tioned, as I did, the old servants at Oranienbaum, where the 
emperor was murdered. Nothing could better prove the 
total ignorance of the great Catherine about a death slie 
never ordered, than the perfect liberty those old servants 
of the emperor have to tell what happened. Apparently she 
is ignorant that the crime was imputed to her. I learned, 
incidentally, from those who did not like her, that she was 
seized with an involuntary convulsion when she heard of 


the death at the house of Comte Panin, where she happened 
to be with the grand-chamberlain Schuvaloff. Probably the 
fear of being thought an accomplice produced that effect. 
She did not dethrone her husband until she knew positively 
that on the following day he would incarcerate her in a con- 
vent, for the sole crime of being loved by the empire as much 
as he was detested by it. 

Jesting with us one day when the grand-equerry, Narisch- 
kin, pretended to be the Grand Turk, " Let us strangle him," 
she said. Would she ever have uttered that word if she had 
stained her hands with a death of that kind ? To this first 
accusation her detractors have added crime upon crime, — 
the poisoning of Ivan, that of the first Grand-Duchess, and 
lastly of Potemkin. The lies of lacqueys, or of souls as base, 
have endeavoured to tarnish the lustre of that immortal 
reisn. So much the worse for the fools who invented them, 
and the malignant souls who believe them ! 

It was for love of truth, and in order that nothing might 
trouble the pleasure I .should have in being with her, that I 
investigated these facts. But one only needed to see the 
empress, to hear her, to know the history of her life, in order 
to be certain of her goodness, her justice, and her unalterable 

Whether from malice in those who do not like me, or 
foolishness in those who do, a hundred stories are told of me 
that liave not even common-sense. They are repeated to 
me constantly, and yet I am too lazy to prove they are not 
true. I am told that I have made answers that arc thought 
to be charming and are not worth a deuce, jests and repartees 
which make people (or so they say) die with laughter. I 
have played most piquant tricks; I have rapped generals 
over the knuckles when I was young, and sovereigns when 
I grew older ; in short, I have said and done so many clever 


things that there are none but a few persons of taste who 
know better. 

One of my sayings did, however, serve to baffle Prince 
Frederick of Prussia [afterwards Frederick William III.] 
and pleased Joseph IL, who feared the prince might have a 
success in Petersburg after his own visit. The day Prince 
Frederick caused himself, quite inappropriately, to be re- 
ceived by the Academy of Sciences where it was very hot, he 
fainted. I told the empress, who asked me how the reception 
had gone off, that " the prince found himself without sense 
[scms connaissance] in the midst of the Academy." I saw at 
once how that devil of a speech was running, and I ran after 
it, and told it to the prince himself, transposing the words to 
his " finding himself in the midst of the Academy tvithout 
sense." On this, each side laughed at the other ; all were con- 
tent, and so was I ; still more the empress, to whom I con- 
fided my innocent little perfidy, who thought it was true of 
her Academy and also of the prince, by whom she was con- 
siderably bored. It is my opinion, however, that it is best 
to be discreet and reserved with crowned heads. I have 
always been convinced that we cannot do them a greater 
service than to make them talk and put them at their ease, 
taking the precaution not to seem so ourselves. 

On my return from Petersburg, a fool of a bishop, uncle 
of my daughter-in-law [the Prince-Bishop of Wilna], imagin- 
ing that I was on the very best terms with the empress 
because she had treated me so kindly, persuaded him- 
self that I should certainly be King of Poland if I were 
naturalized. " What a change," he cried, " in the face of 
the affairs of Europe ! What joy, what happiness for the 
Lignes and the Massalskis ! " I laughed at him ; but the 
desire took possession of me to please the nation which 
was then assembling at Warsaw for a Diet. The natioi\ 


applauded me. Out of twenty-five candidates desired and 
proposed by Poland for naturalization, I was the only one 
who obtained it. Three presented themselves, and came 
near bemg sabred. The hand that a nuncio put upon his 
sabre, with loud menace, came near dissolving the Diet, 
and possibly cutting off the head of my too zealous partisan. 
I went to my opponents, and succeeded in overcoming 
their prejudice ; so much so, in fact, that with much grace 
to me, and an eloquence worthy of their country, they said 
that in favour of an election they now thought honourable 
they solicited the votes of their friends. The first candidate 
was an Austrian minister, the second a Prussian minister, the 
last a Eussian colonel ; and against all usage I sprang into 
the hall and embraced the. moustache of the three orators. 
It electrified me, for I became an orator myself and said to 
the assembly in Latin : " I have not so direct a claim aa 
these gentlemen, for I am of many countries, but I want 
to belong to yours." I took them by the hand, I cajoled 
them. Sgoda ! general, which shook the very hall three 
times and came near bringing down the building by the 
roar of such applause. This was one of the finest moments 
of my life. 

Who does not love Poland, the Poles, and, above all, the 
Polish women, for the intelligence and courage of the men, 
the beauty and grace of the women, who have, even the 
least amiable, a laissez-aller, an eloquence, a piquancy, a 
charm superior to tlie women of all other countries ? Who 
would not prefer a life in Warsaw, where the choicest 
French tone reigns, mingled with an Eastern allurement, the 
charm of Europe and of Asia both, the urbanity of the 
most civilized of lands joined to the natural hospitality of 
those who are not urbane at all? Who does not admire 
ft nation of noble yet pleasant faces, gentle, yet simple 


manners, manners that are polite, or frankly sincere and 
courteous in the capital, but jovially kind-hearted in the 
country? a nation ready of comprehension, easy and gay 
in conversation, of good education ; possessing the gift of 
languages and of all the talents, even those for bodily exer- 
cise, especially on horses ; fine voices, eloquence, splendour 
of appearance ; a taste for the fine arts, luxury, gallantry, 
fetes, social exhibitions, national dances ; a little barbaric 
in costume and singular in customs perhaps, but easy to 
live with, full of kindliness, good feeling, and gratitude ? 

As for mine to Poland, it is unlimited. The honour that 
she did me, my admittance to that noble and superb nation, 
the applause that the unanimous consent in giving me that 
illustrious naturalization procured for me, will never be 
effaced from my heart. 

But for that very reason I ventured to submit to that na- 
tion of heroes a few reflections. If, I said, instead of three 
empires and one kingdom you were surrounded by seas you 
would be tranquil on their bosom and safe in your laws, 
many of which are more reasonable than those of that 
famous isle said to be the abode of wisdom. Your Con- 
stitution is a species of miracle, but beware lest it end. 
The slightest leaning towards any one of your neighbours 
will give the others a pretext to drive you from the face 
of the earth. No doubt from time immemorial Eussia, 
through her strength, language, and geography, has sheltered 
you with the wings of her double eagle, — a protector if you 
treat her wisely, a destroyer if you affront her. At present 
she wishes you well. Eejoice in this period of moderation, 
which should have come sooner, but do not abuse it. 

I can answer to you for our emperor, and I am authorized 
by him to tell you so. Lately, when Stanislas-Augustus, en- 
couraged by Joseph II., said to him ; " C^n I rely that I shall 


not be made to die of grief by the seizure of more of my 
unhappy country ? " the emperor replied : " I promise it ; I 
answer for myself. Not a tree." Those were his very words, 
for they each repeated them to me. " Give me your hand," 
said the king, moved to tears by the frankness of the other 
monarch. " There it is," said Joseph II., " but more than 
that, I give you the word of a gentleman." The King of 
Prussia, in whose loyalty I believe, would promise you, I 
think, as much, if you asked him to explain himself clearly , 
and would keep his word, unless you lay traps to mislead 

But tlie moral of all this is : do not look outside of your 
own country, either to Vienna, Berlin, or Petersburg; be 
Poles ; that is what I ask of you. Do not mourn the old 
partition, but avoid a new one. No more secret machina- 
tions, especially with Ptussia ; no more incoherence in your 
principles; let your great families cease to quarrel among 
themselves ; let honest men no longer be tricked and fooled 
by those who are not honest. Cease to accuse one another, 
saying, " He is Prussian," or " That man is Eussian." For- 
get your private animosities ; drive away from you those 
subaltern intriguers who foster your petty jealousies and then 
laugh at you; beg your women to think of giving pleasure, 
and not of politics. Make yourselves a nation, and begin 
by making a king, for Stanislas-Augustus, always thwarted, 
always insulted, is not one. This is no time for shams. . . . 

In a letter that I wrote to that most excellent and most 
unfortunate king, who is, of a truth, without a kingdom, I 
said : " Sire, do you not see the storm that is gathering 
about your head ? " " Yes," he replied, in a letter fuU of in- 
telligence, good sense, humanity, and feeling (like all else 
that comes from liim), " but I shall try to place a lightning- 
rod, and draw the thunderbolt elsewhere," That will be 


difficult to do. The surest way is to disperse the clouds 
while yet there is time, I repeat to you : Be still, be stilL 
If you stir, Poland is dead. 

[The rest of this address, made to certain Polish nobles, is 
published in Vol. IX. of the Works. The prince is said by 
all who have written about him to have taken little interest 
and no part in politics. It is difficult to believe, when read- 
ing of his intimate intercourse with the Empress Catherine 
and Joseph II., that he was not confidentially informed, and 
perhaps employed, by them politically. If he was, he shows 
the same self-restraint and discretion in speaking of it that 
he does about the private life of their Courts. 

The Padziwills were among the oldest and noblest families 
of Poland; they had always defended the ancient Polish 
republic, and were hostile to Russia and the election of 
Stanislas-Augustus Poniatowski. The mother of the young 
Princesse Charles de Ligne was a Ptadziwill, and her brother 
Charles-Stanislas, who had a revenue of ten millions and 
maintained a regular army of 20,000 men in his towns and 
chateaus, fought against Russia to prevent the first partition 
of Poland in 1772. It was then that the family estates were 
sequestrated. Among the Radziwill treasures and heirlooms 
were statues of the twelve apostles in gold, each of them one 
foot and a half high. When Prince Charles-Stanislas saw 
that the war was going against him, he sent these statues to 
Munich, and he lived for several years on the melting up of 
this golden treasure, the proceeds of which enabled him to give 
a most generous hospitality to his exiled countrymen. The 
following are little vignettes of his daughters.] 

H^roise [Princess Louise Radziwill] is thus called, so they 
teU me, because of a dozen heroes who have borne the name 


of her family, among tliem two demigods. Wliat is singular 
is that she has between the eyes, starting from the root of the 
nose, a faint line which shows me that she could have been 
one of the prettiest of heroes herself had she belonged to that 
profession. That line tells me (I speak now to subtle physi- 
ognomists only) of a style of nobleness that becomes in a 
woman the sign of much firmness and great character. I do 
not mean that she is a heroine of virtue, for virtue costs her 
nothing, loving as she does to realize ideal perfection. She 
surrounds all who belong to her with such cordial tenderness 
that all who are not. hers would fain be so. 

Hdroise is a receipt against Jacobinism near thrones, 
dominations, and powers. That heroic blood, mingled with 
the blood of the Jagellons, promises to reproduce on earth 
the virtues that do it most honour. Meantime her style of 
beauty, her facility in living, her grace, her bonhomie, if I 
may so express myself, win the suffrages and the homage of 
all hearts. 

Angela [Princess Ang^hque Radziwill] can only be painted 
by Michel Angelo and Raffaelle, who understand angels ; 
though at one time the latter requested Albano and Correggio 
to attempt them. The first two undertook the grace, the 
dignity of their emanation from the Divine ; the others the 
profane graces we admire in those who accompany Cupid's 
mother. If the first attributes keep us at a certain distance 
apart from Angela, the second bring us back to her ; and she 
herself is the only person who is unconscious of it. This is 
not stupidity, for she cannot look, or move, or seem to reflect 
•without our perceiving as much intelhgence as she has taste 
and tact in everything. Her mind rings true, like her voice ; 
there is nothing prettier than her speech ; she has a delight- 
ful pronunciation, even in singing ; and her quick, agreeable 
way of throwing out her words adds piquancy to what is 


already agreeable and distinguished. Her laugh is amusing ; 
it is short and precipitate, but only a little louder than a sort 
of murmur of gayety. She is beautiful, yet pretty in doing 
and saymg nothing ; but whatever she says or does, whether 
she dances, sings, or plays, she is handsomer and prettier 
still. If the devil has cast his eyes upon her to make havoc 
in hearts, the angels reclaim her, because of her name, and 
say, seeing how she makes, and is, the happiness of all 
around her : " Angela is our angelic work." 

[The Prince de Ligne's correspondence with the Empress 
Catherine began on his return to Vienna, with the following 

To H. I. Majesty Catherine 11. 

October, 1780. 

Madame, — I feel as though I had just awakened from 
the most beautiful dream in the world. I went to Petersburg 
for two weeks only, merely to admire your Majesty, and tell 
my children's children that I had had the happiness of see- 
ing the noble object of so much worship and celebrity. You 
deigned to allow me to pass beyond that circle of admiration, 
in order to convince me how much is gained by a nearer 
view of superiority of all kinds, such as that of your Majesty. 

As you know all things, you will remember how Simeon 
says in his canticle : " You have sent away your servant in 
peace, for he has seen your Divinity." I trust he will see 
it again. Meantime I leave you, filled with a sense of your 
goodness and of the kindness that permits me to give to your 
Majesty this assurance of my gratitude. Prince Potemkin 
allows me to hope that you will accept it, and he offers to 
present it to your Majesty himself. He has just added to 
the other marks of friendship with which he has honoured 


me that of showing me the finest regiment of cavahy, and 
tlie best mana3uvred that I have ever seen. 

May I soon again have another such dream, and waken 
from it to the sound of cannon announcing the glory of the 
two empires [this allusion is to his hope of a war against 
Turkey by Eussia and Austria]. The last thing that I re- 
member saying to your Imperial Majesty, murmuring it 
between my teeth, w^as the thought that I should be at the 
summit of happiness could I risk my life in your service. It 
is also the last thing that I take the liberty of writing to 

I have the honour to be, with the utmost attachment, etc. 

From the Empress Catherine. 

December, 1780. 

Monsieur le Puince de Ligne, — You must know that 
the farce of a political conference which you played in my 
presence at Czarsko-zelo with the grand equerry [a pretended 
conference between all the existing sovereigns of Europe and 
Asia, out of which, after much prating, nothing came] struck 
me so forcibly as to give me a decided taste for general dis- 
sertation. All laconic communications, even the game of 
macao, have, since then, been discredited with me. The 
letter I have just received from you gives me an agreeable 
occasion to tell you of a dissertation of my own on the letters 
I receive and those I write. It would be herewith enclosed 
if I knew of any one who could translate it into ordinary 
Chinese. Meantime, all that I can tell you of its contents 
is that the letters I receive are classified; that yours are 
among the very few that are as good to read as they are to 
receive. Each class has many letters to illustrate it, each 
letter is ticketed, as, for example, yours : " Good to know ; 
easy to live with; enlightened mind; sensibility; gayety, 


etc.," — all of which are thinif.s that I, neighbour of the Tar- 
tars, hold ill great liouour, because they are becoming very 
rare in the present world. 

You, who speak to me of Saint Simeon, and quote him in 
a manner so flattering to me, you, wiio have Holy Writ, as 
you have so many other things, at your fingers' ends, cannot 
be ignorant that it is written, " Compel them to come in," 
but nowhere, " Compel them to depart." Now the cannon 
of the two empires which you mention to me may very well 
some day be compelled to depart. 

Believe me, mo7i jprince^ etc. 

[During the prince's stay in Petersburg he became very 
intimate with the grand equerry, Narischkm, who concealed 
under an innocent and childlike air an able mind and the 
art of telling home truths. He amused the empress, who 
was fond of him and very kind to him. His vice was ex- 
travagance, and she took various amusing ways to correct 
it. The Prince de Ligne wrote to him on his return to 
Vienna ; the letter, which has not been preserved, appears to 
have turned on a joke between them about a journey which 
they professed to have made together to China. As Prmce 
Narischkin did not write French with ease he asked the 
empress to write the answer for him. The following letter 
is in her handwriting.] 

The Grand Equerry to the Prince de Ligne. 

Petersburg, December, 1780. 
MON Prince, — I have just received a letter without 
date of time or place, and without signature. I have de- 
voured it, and having nothing more pressing to do I have 
shown it to everybody, because it has given me infinite 
pleasure. I am only sorry that the letter has been strangely 


crumpled and soiled. I wish to preserve it, for every word 
it contains recalls to my mind one who gave additional 
wings to my natural faculties and whose memory is ever 
dear to me. Those Chinese expressions overcome me with 
joy. Yes, yes, there are none but you and I, dear prince, 
who really understand the Cliinese language in Europe. 
Always devoted to the Court of Pekin, though far away 
from it, I have lately composed the following lyric : — 

Le Roi de la Chi, i, i, i, i, i, i, ne 
Quand il a bien bu, u, u, u, u, u, u, 
Fait la plus f acheuse mi, i, i, i, i, i, ne 
Qu'on ait jamais vu, u, u, u, u, u. 

Is it not pathetic ? While I was busy with these lines 
people were urging me to answer your letter. I myself had 
the strongest desire to do so ; but, as all the world knows, 
every one has his own head, and mine goes often quite the 
contrary of the wishes within it. So, to cut the matter 
short, I said to a person whom I shall not name : " If you 
would write that answer for me you would do me the great- 
est pleasure." All present exclaimed about the rarity of 
that invention and the necessity of executing it. 

The secretary understands the Chinese language almost 
as well as I do. I cannot precisely say that he is a pretty 
lad, but he is gay, easy to live with, and, above all, he costs 
me nothing ; a matter that is not without its convenience 
especially for one who keeps his pockets empty by buying 
things he does not want. But whatever his pockets may be, 
his heart is not like them : that is always full of friendship 
and gratitude for the kindness that you have shown to me, 
mon prince. If it gives you pleasure to remember your stay 
here the game is even ; all whom I know remember you with 
the utmost mterest, and if you do not beheve me I shall 
quote to you Annette's song : " Come here, and you shall see." 


The empress, to whom I showed the passage in your 
letter which concerns her, desires me to say that she con- 
tinues to regard in a quite particular manner the Prince de 
Ligne. Prince Potemlcin and tlie two Princes Bariatinski 
salute you. Prince Basile Dolgorouki has gone to Moscow 
and Prince Wolkonski has not yet returned from Italy. I 
conclude by offering you the assurance of my most profound 
attachment in all the languages of the known world. 

The Umpress Catherine to the Prince de Ligne. 

Petersburg, March 7, 1781. 

Monsieur le Prince de Ligne, — I do not know which 
writer of China, or other lands, has said that the best method 
of avoiding temptation was to yield to it. According to 
that fine rule — which may not, however, be to the taste of 
everybody — I choose that whenever you desire to write to 
me you shall employ your two hands, not in holding your- 
self back, as you say, but, the right, if you please, in seizing 
a pen, the left in taking a sheet of paper, on which you will 
write whatever may seem good to you ; and be assured that 
this will give me as much pleasure as the letter which you 
addressed to me on the 15th of February. 

Thrones, and those who are upon them, are usually very 

fine to look at in perspective ; but, without wronging my 

honoured brethren, I suppose that all of us, such as we are, 

must be intolerable personages in society. I know it by 

experience. When I enter my salon I create the effect of 

Medusa's head. Every one is petrified, and takes root on 

the spot where he stuck. It is very flattering to me that 

you say the contrary ; but experience shows me daily that I 

am like all the rest ; there are not more than ten or a dozen 

persons who can endure me without constraint or uneasiness. 
Mem. Ver. 6— U 


I have pitied you for being a spectator of tlie sad event 
that awaited you in Vienna [the death of Maria Theresa], 
The regrets of all Europe accompany that great princess to 
the grave. That, I think, is the noblest eulogy that can be 
made upon her. For myself, I take so sincere a part in this 
grief that I could not refrain from expressing my feelings 
immediately to her august son. You know my sentiments 
for him. 

Have the kindness to remember sometimes, mon prince, 
that you have left here tlie hope of seeing you again ; and 
be assured that on the hst of those who will see you with 
pleasure you will find the name of 


The Prince de Ligne to H. I. M. the Empress Catherine. 

Vienna, February 12, 1782. 

Madame, — Nothing but the fear of taking too much 
liberty prevents me from recalling myself more frequently 
to the memory of your Imperial Majesty. I did not need 
to see your distinguished subjects in this city to glow with 
the sentiments that are always in me. Wliile whoever is 
nearest to your august person, or indeed, whatever comes 
from your vast and superb empire is precious to me, T find 
myself always the same in mind when I think of what I 
saw there. 

When weary of thinking of what I admired, I think of 
the things that interested me ; that is a species of repose 
for the souL Thence I pass to recollections of gayety ; still 
sweeter to rest in. Sometimes I remember the tinteret 
[game of cards], sometimes I think of Czarsko-zelo, or else 
of the prince without sense ; and often of the pains that 
She wlio knows all, does all, plans all, gives Herself to pre- 
vent us from believing it; and then I laugh out loud. 


Methiuks I have seen the Divinity Herself laugh. Divin- 
ities in the olden time never so much as smiled. I should 
have been terribly bored on Olympus, and my yav^^ns, com- 
pelling all those gentlemen to yawn too, would have cost 
me a perilous flying leap across the firmament. I am 
quite content on earth, and shall be more so when I can 
return to that part of it of which your Majesty is the joy 
and ornament. You can believe the truth of what is said 
in prose, provided the writer is not a subject, an encyclo- 
pedist, or an economist. 

If your Majesty were a little nearer to this city I would 
ask you to complain of the little care that M. le Comte de 
Falken stein [the name Joseph 11. took in visiting her] takes 
of his health and his eyes ; but they will both be better, I 
hope, before the arrival of this letter. Fatigue, and his con- 
tinual but useful work have done great injury to his eyes. 
However, they are still good, for they see your Majesty ex- 
actly as you are. I am witness of that, not as oculist, as a 
friend of mine said, but as oculaire [eyeglass]. 

Will Her Majesty have the time to read me ? Perhaps 
some of Her neighbours, the Emperor of Byzantium or of 
Pekin, for instance, are at this moment writing to her to 
make submissions. Those two foreign courtiers deserve the 
preference ; they are no more to be feared than I am, but 
they hold a higher rank in the Almanach. I retire, there- 
fore, and close up my rear-guard with the assurance of the 
most respectful attachment that ever existed. Can I say 
more than that? Its first enthusiasm was no choice of 
mine ; I felt it first because I could not do otherwise ; but 
it is in cool blood that we delight in sentiments which we 
feel are in us to the end of life. 

I have the honour to be, with those sentiments and a most 
profound veneration, Madame, etc. 


The Empress Catherine to the Prince de Ligne. 

CZAKSKO-ZELO, Julj 11, 1782. 

I have just received at Czarsko-zelo, on this 11th of July, 
the letter that you wrote to me, mon prince, under date of 
February 12. I trust that this answer will reach you before 
the total revolution of the year. Inasmuch as you like to 
remember us, it is not useless to tell you that all who svir- 
round me are not only not indifferent to your recollection, but, 
a rare thing ! not one is ungrateful for it. In a word, we 
all like to remember your stay in tliis country ; but you no 
longer know the map of it : reversi has succeeded tinteret, 
Czarsko-zelo has acquired apartments, and kiosks that look 
like snuff-boxes. 

Voltaire used to say that all sorts were good except the 
tiresome sort. If ennui reigns on Olympus it is not sur- 
prising that so few people want to go there. Go there your- 
self as late as possible ; I shall do the same ; but if no one 
laughs there, you and I will be very much out of place ; 
and that poor grand equerry, what will he do ? When you 
return here we must all three take measures together not to 
be so caught. 

I do not like that trouble in the eyes of M. de Falken- 
stein ; I fear the gifts of miracle of Saint Paul. Neither 
my dear friend, the Emperor of Byzantium, nor my good 
neighbour, he of China, can prevent me from reading your 
letters, which are infinitely more agreeable to me than theirs, 
in spite of their high rank in the Almanach. 

No deployment of the rear-guard was ever more satis- 
factory to me than that with which you finish your letter. 
Preserve to me the sentiments that you express, and be 
assured, mon prince, that it is with a most distinguished 

esteem for you that I end my letter. 







Vol.1. PrdjugesMilitaires (Military Judgments). Topics: Changes. 
Exclusives. Cavaliy. Horses. Infantry. Tactics. Formation. 
Drill. Marching. Fires. Deployment. Masses. On the Superior- 
ity of the Enemy. Promotions. Discipline. Severity. Excellence 
of our Army. Of our Constitution. Medicine. Hospitals. Terms. 
Semestres. Marriages. Conscription. Magazines. Quarters. Suc- 
cessors. Recruiting and Recruits. Baggage. Cattle. Distribution 
of Orders. On more or less Contempt of Life. Feeling in Soldiers. 
Honour. Religion. To those dissatisfied with the Service. 

Vol. II. Fantaisies Militaires (Military notions). Topics: To Be- 
ginners. On Armament. Camping. My Orders of Battle. War. 
Plans of Campaign. Peace. The Battle. Pursuit. Retreats. The 
Marshal or General commanding. Generals. Soldiers. Aides-de- 
Camp. Volunteers. On Disorder. Guards. Fortifications. Ar- 
tillery. On Regiments in Garrison. On the Corps of Artillery, 
Engineers and General Staff. On Villages. The Danube. Schools. 
Young Men. On the Different Species of Troops. Detached 
Thoughts. To the Military Chiefs of Provinces. To Criticisers, 

Vols. IH., IV. Memoirs of the Campaigns of Prince Louis of Baden. 

Vol. V. Memoirs of the Campaigns of Comte de Bussy-Rabutin. 

Vol. VI. Memoirs of the Turkish War from 1736 to 1739. On 
the two Marechaux de Lacy. On Frederick II., King of Prussia. 

Vol. VII. Secret Instructions of Frederick II., King of Prussia, in 
1778. Translated from the German, with notes. Letters on the 
Turkish War of 1787-1789. 

Vols. VIII., IX. Coup d'oeil on Belceil and a part of the Gardens 
of Europe. 


Vol. X. Discourse on the Profession of Arms. Dialogue of Dead 
Men. Funeral oration. Sermon for a Wallou regiment. Letters to 
M. de La Harpe on Caesar. Letters to M. Schdpfflin on Caesar. Of 
Myself during the Day. Of Myself during the Night. Letter to 
two Brothers, friends of mine. Memorial for my Accused Heart. 
Prophecies. Notes on Vienna. Notes on Paris. My Conversations 
with M. de Voltaire. My Conversations with Jean-Jacques Rousseau. 
Letter and Portrait in monosyllables. 

Vol. XL Letters to Eulalie. On the Stage. 

Vols. XII., XIII. Mes hearts (My Scatterings) or ray Head at 
liberty. Mixture, very careless, of several styles of Poetry and 

Vols. XIV., XV., XVI. Journal of the Seven Years' War. 

Vol. XVII. Journal of the Seven Months' War in Bavaria. 

Vol. XVIII. Plays. The Queen of Majorca. The Samnite Mar- 
riage, comic opera in .3 acts. Diana and Endymion. The Disen- 
chantment of the Companions of Ulysses. The Wedding Interrupted, 
comedy in 3 acts. Alcibiades, comedy in 1 act. The Sultan of the 

Vol. XIX. Memorial of Great Generals. 

Vol. XX. Mes ]^carts. Supplement and Portraits. Portrait of 
H. I. M. Catherine II. 

Vol. XXI. Letters from the Crimea to the Marquise de Coigny. 
Short Essays and Poems. Dialogue between a Sceptic and a Capuchin. 
Notes on the Jews. On the Gipsies. On the Greeks. On Poland. 
Notes on the old French army. On the new French army. 

Vol. XXII. Poems. Discourse to the Belgian Nation. Letters to 
the Empress of Russia. The Abduction, comedy in 3 acts. 

Vol. XXIII. Reign of the Great Selrahcengil. Thoughts and 
Poems. Immoral Talcs; conversations with Belial or the Good 

Vol. XXIV. Relation of Campaigns against the Turks in 1788- 
1789. Letters to H. I. Majesty Joseph II. Letters to Marechal de 
Lacy, Prince Kaunitz, and others. 

Vol. XXV. Poems. Portraits. Letters. Thoughts. The Found- 
ling, comedy in 3 acts. 

Vol. XXVI. Memoirs of the Comte de Bonneval, Achmet-Pacha. 
Poems, Proverbs, Thoughts, and Portraits. The Perfect Egoist. 

Vol. XXVII. Notes on the Literary Correspondence of M. de La 
Harpe with the Grand-Duke Paul of Russia. Notes on the Cours de 
Litterature of M. de La Harpe. Principles of Health. Poems. 

Vol. XXVIII. Detailed Catalogue, with notes, of the Military 
Library of His Highness the Prince de Ligne. 


Vol. XXIX. The Cours de Litterature of M. de La Harpe. Frag- 
ment upon Casanova. Mes ficarts. Poems, etc. Notes on the 
Memoirs of the Baron de Besenval. 

Vol. XXX. Notes on the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Order 
of Maria Theresa. 

Vol. XXXI. The Art of Travelling, poem in 3 cantos. Reflections 
on the two Condes. J^carts and Poems. Delights of Vienna, or the 
Four Seasons, poem. 

Vol. XXXIl. Plays, Don Carlos, tragedy in 5 acts. Saul, tragedy 
in 5 acts. The Fortunate Bad Advice, comedy in 2 acts in verse. 

Vols. XXXIII., XXXIV. The Little Plutarch of aU Nations. 


Adhemar (the Marquis d'), anecdote 
of, 293. 

Antoinette (Queen Marie), the Prince 
de Ligne's portrait of her, 198-204; 
her innocent pleasures thwarted, 
charming to lioax, 206-208 ; the 
slanders on her luxury and gallantry 
answered, 208-210 ; pretty anecdotes 
of, 283-285 ; the prince's tender apos- 
trophe to her, 286. 

Artois (Charles, Comte d') first meeting 
with Prince de Ligue, 197 ; his arbi- 
trary fun, 20.5, 206 ; illness at Bolceil, 
211 ; fete of convalescence, 211, 212. 

Barry (Marie- Jeanne, Comtesse du), 

anecdotes of, 131, 196, 197, 285. 
Bavarian War of 1778-1780 (The), 

217-229 ; " a dog of a political war," 

Beaumarchais (Pierre-Augustin Caron 

de), anecdotes of, 290, 291. 
Belceil, life at, 233-255; a coup-d'ceil 

on Beloeil, 256-281 ; vignette drawn 

by Prince Charles for his edition of 

" Coup-d'oeil sur Beh^il," 281, 
Bernard (" Geutil "), portrait of, 143. 
Bernis (Fran^ois-Joachira de Pierre, 

Abbe' and Cardinal de), 146. 
Besenval ( Baron de), his memoirs, 202 ; 

souvenirs and character, 299, 300. 
Boufflers (Stanislas, Chevalier de), 

his portrait,141-143; his writings, 295. 

Cagliostro (Alessandro, Comte de), 

Caraccioli (Francesco, Admiral), anec- 
dotes oi 146, 147. 

Catherine II. of Russia (Empress), 
first portrait of, 303 ; the Prince 
de Ligue investigates the charges 
against her, 305, 306 ; beginning of 
her correspondence with the prince, 

CoNTi (The Prince de), his teas and 
hunts, 129, 130. 

CossEL (Comtesse de), mistress of Au- 
gustus the Strong, King of Poland, 
82, 83. 

Daun (Leopold- Joseph-Maria, Comte 
and Mareclial), commands Austrian 
army through the Seven Years' War, 
69-110; battle of Kolin, 70, 71; at 
the battle of Maxen, 96, 98. 

Deffand (Marie, Marquise du) Prince 
de Ligne's intercourse with her, 127, 

Etteilla, celebrated wizard, 215, 216, 

Francis I. of Germany (Emperor), his 
love of fetes, 120. 

Frederick the Great (King of Prus- 
sia), during the Seven Years' War, 
chaps, ii., iii. ; interviews of the 
Prince de Ligue with him at Neu- 
stadt in 1770 and at Berlin in 1780, 
his talk, his opinions, etc., 169-195. 

Frederick-William III., anecdote of 
him as Crown Prince of Prussia, 307. 

Freron, French critic, 166. 

Geoffrin (Marie-Ther^se, Mme.), La 
Harpe's description of her true, 128; 
her deathj 129. 



Gluck (Christoph Wildbad von), in 
Vienna, his " Iphigeuia," etc., 296, 

Haydn (Joseph), enthusiasm for his 
" Creation " in Vienna, 298 ; his re- 
mark on Mozart, 299. 

IIeloYse, a portrait, 252-2.5.5. 

Henry of Prussia (Prince), brother of 
Frederick the Great, 94-96. 

HoussAYE (Amelot do la), the prince's 
opinion of him, 294. 

Joseph II. (Emperor), at the camp of 
Nenstadt, 170, 171, 178-180; during 
the Bavarian War, 217-229. 

Keith (James, General), killed at the 
battle of Hochkirch, 87. 

Lacy (Maurice-Petrowitz, Comte and 
Marechal de), 81 ; his fine disposi- 
tions for battle of Hochkirch, 84 ; de- 
cides the fortunes of the day, 86 ; 
induces Mare'chal Daun to fight the 
battle of iMaxen, 96, 98 ; immortalized 
by the campaign of 1760, 102; his 
splendid retreat from Silesia and 
taking of Berlin, 103; refuses to be 
made a marshal, why, 105, 106 ; per- 
sonal history of his father and him- 
self, 106-108, 110; manages a duel 
for the Prince de Ligne, 114, 115; 
anecdote of him in Paris, 297. 

La Fontaine (Jean de), simple and 
sublime, 242, 243 ; his old rabbit, 
244, 245 ; his statue at Belcjeil, 264. 

LioNE (Charles- Joseph, Mare'chal Prince 
de), his lineage, 37 ; his bibliograj)hi- 
cal history, 39-43 ; birth and lineage, 
51 ; his father, 52 ; his uncles, 53, 54 ; 
his tutors, 55-62 ; what are the prin- 
ciples of education ? 57-59 ; liis pas- 
sion for heroism, 60 ; Treatise on 
Arms, 60, 61 ; plans to run away to 
the wars, 61, 62; goes to Court with 
his father, 63 ; marriage, 64-66 ; 
advice to beginners in war, 66, 67 ; 
first military service, tlie Seven Years' 
War, 68-78 ; second campaign, 79- 

90 ; defeat of the Prussians at Hoch- 
kirch, 83-87 ; attack on Dresden, 88, 
89 ; anecdotes, 90-92r; third campaign, 
93 ; birth of his son, 94 ; battle of 
Maxen, 96, 97 ; is sent to Paris to 
carry news of that victory to Louis 
XV., 98 ; interview with the king, 
99 ; with Mme. de Pompadour, 100 ; 
with the ministers, 101 ; pawns, and 
sells to the empress, Louis XV. 'a 
presents, 101; his heedlessness, 102; 
enters Berlin, 103-105 ; the weari- 
some campaign of 1761, 105; peace 
of Hubertsburg, 110; anecdotes of 
life in Vienna, 111-117; kept short 
of money by his father and makes 
debts, 117; the composition of a 
perfect man, 1 18, 1 19 ; Francis I., 120 ; 
a miniature, 121 ; anecdotes, 122 ; 
death of his father, 124, 125 ; life in 
Paris and anecdotes of noted persons, 
126-131 ; his chronology difficult to 
follow, 132 ; two interviews with J.- 
J. Rousseau and comments on him, 
133-141 ; portrait of the Chevalier de 
Boufflers, 141, 142; of Gentil Bernard, 
143 ; anecdotes of men of note, 144- 
147 ; opinion of England and English- 
men and portrait of an Englishwoman, 
147-150; enthusiasm for Voltaire, 
151 ; intercourse witli him at Fcrney, 
151-158; comments on him, 159-161; 
portrait of the Comte de Segur, 161- 
164; the French Academy, the En- 
cyclopedia, 164, 165; anecdotes of 
authors, 166-168; his intercourse 
with Frederick the Great in 1770 and 
1780, 169-195; regard for Mme. du 
Barry, 196; first acquaintance with 
the Comte d'Artois, 197 ; refrains 
from writing details of Court life, 
198; his tender picture of Queen 
Marie-Antoinette, 198-204; his rela- 
tions with Louis XVI., 205 ; resists 
the Comte d'Artois, 205, 206; inti- 
macy with and judgment on Marie- 
Antoinette, 206-210; his fete to the 
Comte d'Artois, 211 ; devotes him- 
self in vain to sorcery, 212, 213 ; 
tricks Cagliostro, 213; Meamer's re- 



mark to him, 213; the Montgolfier 
balloon, 214; the hazel wand, 214; 
takes the Due d'Orleaus to the wizard 
Etteilla, 214 ; judgment on the Due 
d'Orle'ans (Philippe Egalite), 215, 
216 ; his account of, and part taken 
in the Bavarian War of 1778-1780, 
217-229; enthusiasm of his Wallons, 
223 ; his Wallon song, 224 ; what 
kind of sermons should be preached 
to soldiers, 226 ; his brave son 
Charles, 227, 229; visits Spa, 230- 
232; his life at Belceil, 233; fetes, 
etc., 234-236 ; remarks on reading, 
writers, and literature, 236-242 ; the 
reign of the Great Selrahcengil, 246- 
251 ; a portrait, 252-255 ; a coup- 
d'ceil on Belceil, 256-281 ; gardens in 
England, 271-273; in Italy, 273; in 
Russia, 274, 275 ; the moral of gar- 
dens, 275-280 ; his intercourse with 
Marie-Antoinette, 283-285 ; his ten- 
der apostrophe to her, 286 ; a prophecy 
of the French Revolution, 288 ; his 
opinion of men of letters, 289, 295 ; 
of men of talent, 291-293 ; opinion of 
French art, of Mme. Vige'e 'Le Brun, 
295 ; of French music, 296 ; visits 
Russia for the first time, 301-307 ; 
first intercourse with Empress Cathe- 
rine and judgment upon her, 303, 304 ; 
investigates the charges against her, 
305, 306 ; visits Poland and is natural- 
ized there, 307-309 ; advice to Poles, 
309,310; portraits of the Princesses 
Radziwill, 31 1-313 ; the beginning of 
his correspondence with the Empress 
Catherine, 313-320. 

LiGNE (Claude-Lamoral, Prince de), 
father of Charles-Joseph, 52, 63, 64- 
66, 117, 124, 125. 

LiGNK (Elisabeth- Alexandrine-Char- 
lotte de Salm, Priucesse de), mother 
of Charles-Joseph, 52. 

LiGNE (Fran(;oise-Xavi^re de Lichten- 
stein, Princesse de), marriage to 
Charles-Joseph, Prince de Eigne, 

LiGNE (Charles, Prince de), accom- 
panies his father to Berlin, 181 ; 

ascends in the Montgolfier balloon 
from Lyons, his bravery at nineteen 
years old, 227-229 ; his vignette to the 
" Coup d'oeil sur Belceil," 281 ; his 
obelisk at Beloeil, 267, 268. 

London, appearance and charm of, 
302, 303. 

Lorraine (Charles, Prince de), his por- 
trait, 118; his death, 183, 184. 

Loudon (Gideon-Ernst, Baron von), 
in the Seven Years' War, 80, 85, 86 ; 
commanded one wing of army in 
Bavarian War, 218-229; a god in of- 
fensive war, an ill-tempered man on 
the defensive, 228. 

Louis XV., his inane behaviour, 99, 
131 ; ill-used by public opinion, 196 ; 
his death well described by Besenval, 

Louis XVI., his rough, unpleasant 
manners, 204, 285, 286. 

Luxembourg (The Marechale de), the 
epigram upon her, and how she pun- 
ished the author, 145, 146. 

Marie- Antoinette (Queen). See An- 
toinette (Queen Marie). 

Marmontel (Jean-Franyois), 166. 

Maria Theresa (The Empress), anec- 
dotes of her management of the 
Prince de Eigne, 112-114; her death, 

Meilhan (Se'nac de), the prince's opin- 
ion of him, 294. 

Mesmer (Friedrich-Anton), his remark, 

Mirepoix (The Mare'chale de), her 
siren spirit, 127. 

Moliere (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, 
called), remarks on, 237-239 ; his 
statue at Beloeil, 265. 

Montgolfier (Jacques-Etienne and 
Joseph-Michel), ascension of their 
balloon from Lyons, 214. 

Mozart (Wolfgang), cold reception of 
" Don Giovanni " in Vienna, 298. 

Narischkin (Prince), his nature, the 
letter the Empress Catherine writes 
for him, 315, 316. 



Necker (Jacques), employs M. de Pezai 
to write to Louis XVI., 287. 

NovERRE, a famous ballet-master ; an- 
ecdote of, 170, 171. 

Orleans (Philippe " Egalite'," Due d'), 
198, the Priuce de Ligue's judgmeut 
upon him, 215, 21G. 

Paris and Versailles, 98, 99, 126; of- 
fensive appearance of Paris to stran- 
gers, 303. 

Petersburg, its majestic appearance, 

PoLiGNAC (The Jules de), 200, 203, 204. 

Pompadour (Jeanne-Antoinette Pois- 
son, Mme. de), her speeches to the 
Prince de Ligne, 100; reported free- 
dom between her and the Empress 
Maria Theresa untrue, 100. 

Raynal (Guillaume-Thomas-Franfois, 
the Abbe'), 165, 1G6. 

Robe, poet, anecdote of, 144, 145. 

Rousseau (Jean-Jacques), Prince de 
Ligne's interviews with, and com- 
ments upon him, 133-141 ; his statue 
excluded from the philosopher's gar- 
den at Beloeil, 265. 

Sainte-Beuvb (Charles-Augustin), his 
essay on the Prince de Ligne, 1-34 ; 
his portrait of the prince the best we 
have, 36 ; his merits as a critic, 38, 39. 

Si:GUR (Louis-Philippe, Comte de), his 
portrait, 161-164; a man of letters, 
294 ; amusing failure of his compli- 
ments, 303, 304. 

Selkahcengil (The Reign of the 
Great), 246-251. 

Spa, a picture of, 230-232. 

Staeil-Holstein (Aune-Louise-Ger- 
maine, Baronne de), her preface to 
her selection of the Prince de Ligne's 
Thoughts and Letters, 45-49. 

Translator's Note, 35-43. 

Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet, 
called), the Prince de Ligne's inter- 
course with him at Ferney and com- 
ments on him, 151-161 ; bequest of 
his coat and waistcoat, anecdote of 
him, 166, 167. 

Wallons (The), origin of the name, 
anglice Walloons, unknown, 78, 79; 
gallant conduct of a captain of Wal- 
lons, 95 ; their behaviour at Maxen, 
97 ; and in Berlin, 104 ; sad fate of a 
captain of Wallons, 167, 168; who 
the Wallons are, 223; their battle- 
song, 224. 

Works of the Prince de Ligne, 39-43, 

Wurtemberg (Louis, Prince of), poor 
and generous, 117. 


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