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Title: My First Years as a Frenchwoman, 1876-1879
Author: Waddington, Mary Alsop King, -1923
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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MY FIRST YEARS AS A
FRENCHWOMAN

[Illustration: Madame Waddington.
From a photograph taken in the year of the Exposition, 1878.]

MY FIRST YEARS AS A
FRENCHWOMAN

1876-1879

BY

MARY KING WADDINGTON

ILLUSTRATED

1914



CONTENTS

   I. WHEN MACMAHON WAS PRESIDENT
  II. IMPRESSIONS OF THE ASSEMBLY AT VERSAILLES
 III. M. WADDINGTON AS MINISTER OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
  IV. THE SOCIAL SIDE OF A MINISTER'S WIFE
   V. A REPUBLICAN VICTORY AND A NEW MINISTRY
  VI. THE EXPOSITION YEAR
 VII. THE BERLIN CONGRESS
VIII. GAIETIES AT THE QUAI D'ORSAY
  IX. M. WADDINGTON AS PRIME MINISTER
   X. PARLIAMENT BACK IN PARIS
  XI. LAST DAYS AT THE FOREIGN OFFICE

INDEX



ILLUSTRATIONS

MADAME WADDINGTON _Frontispiece
  From a photograph taken in the year of the Exposition_, 1878.

MONSIEUR THIERS

MARSHAL MACMAHON

SITTING OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AT THE PALACE OF VERSAILLES

THE FOYER OF THE OPERA

MEETING OF OFFICERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, AND OF
DELEGATES OF THE NEW CHAMBERS, IN THE SALON OF
HERCULES, PALACE OF VERSAILLES

THEODOR MOMMSEN

PALACE OF THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, PARIS

FRANZ LISZT

WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE

LORD LYONS

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES, IN 1876

PRINCE HOHENLOHE

M. WILLIAM WADDINGTON. IN THE UNIFORM HE WORE AS
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND AT THE BERLIN
CONGRESS, 1878

NASR-ED-DIN, SHAH OF PERSIA

PRINCE BISMARCK

THE BERLIN CONGRESS

M. JULES GRÉVY, READING MARSHAL MACMAHON'S LETTER
OF RESIGNATION TO THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES

M. JULES GRÉVY ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC BY
THE SENATE AND CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES MEETING AS
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

THE ELYSÉE PALACE, PARIS

HER MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA, ABOUT 1879

M. DE FREYCINET

MME. SADI CARNOT

PRESIDENT SADI CARNOT



MY FIRST YEARS AS A FRENCHWOMAN



I


WHEN MACMAHON WAS PRESIDENT

I was married in Paris in November, 1874, at the French Protestant
Chapel of the rue Taitbout, by Monsieur Bersier, one of the ablest and
most eloquent pastors of the Protestant church. We had just established
ourselves in Paris, after having lived seven years in Rome. We had a
vague idea of going back to America, and Paris seemed a first step in
that direction--was nearer New York than Rome. I knew very little of
France--we had never lived there--merely stayed a few weeks in the
spring and autumn, coming and going from Italy. My husband was a deputy,
named to the National Assembly in Bordeaux in 1871, by his
Department--the Aisne. He had some difficulty in getting to Bordeaux.
Communications and transports were not easy, as the Germans were still
in the country, and, what was more important, he hadn't any
money--couldn't correspond with his banker, in Paris--(he was living in
the country). However, a sufficient amount was found in the country, and
he was able to make his journey. When I married, the Assembly was
sitting at Versailles. Monsieur Thiers, the first President of the
Republic, had been overthrown in May, 1873--Marshal MacMahon named in
his place. W.[1] had had a short ministry (public instruction) under
Monsieur Thiers, but he was so convinced that it would not last that he
never even went to the ministry--saw his directors in his own rooms. I
was plunged at once into absolutely new surroundings. W.'s personal
friends were principally Orleanists and the literary element of
Paris--his colleagues at the Institute. The first houses I was taken to
in Paris were the Ségurs, Remusats, Lasteyries, Casimir Périers,
Gallieras, d'Haussonville, Léon Say, and some of the Protestant
families--Pourtalès, André Bartholdi, Mallet, etc. It was such an
entirely different world from any I had been accustomed to that it took
me some time to feel at home in my new milieu. Political feeling was
very strong--all sorts of fresh, young elements coming to the front.
The Franco-German War was just over--the French very sore and bitter
after their defeat. There was a strong underlying feeling of violent
animosity to the Emperor, who had lost them two of their fairest
provinces, and a passionate desire for the revanche. The feeling was
very bitter between the two branches of the Royalist party, Legitimists
and Orleanists. One night at a party in the Faubourg St. Germain, I saw
a well-known fashionable woman of the extreme Legitimist party turn her
back on the Comtesse de Paris. The receptions and visits were not always
easy nor pleasant, even though I was a stranger and had no ties with any
former government. I remember one of my first visits to a well-known
Legitimist countess in the Faubourg St. Germain; I went on her reception
day, a thing all young women are most particular about in Paris. I found
her with a circle of ladies sitting around her, none of whom I knew.
They were all very civil, only I was astonished at the way the mistress
of the house mentioned my name every time she spoke to me: "Madame
Waddington, êtes-vous allée à l'Opéra hier soir," "Madame Waddington,
vous montez à cheval tous les matins, je crois," "Monsieur Waddington va
tous les vendredis à l'Institut, il me semble," etc. I was rather
surprised and said to W. when I got home, "How curious it is, that way
of saying one's name all the time; I suppose it is an old-fashioned
French custom. Madame de B. must have said 'Waddington' twenty times
during my rather short visit." He was much amused. "Don't you know why?
So that all the people might know who you were and not say awful things
about the 'infecte gouvernement' and the Republic, 'which no gentleman
could serve.'"

[Footnote 1: "W.," here and throughout this book, refers to Madame
Waddington's husband, M. William Waddington.]

[Illustration: Monsieur Theirs.]

The position of the German Embassy in Paris was very difficult, and
unfortunately their first ambassador after the war, Count Arnim, didn't
understand (perhaps didn't care to) how difficult it was for a
high-spirited nation, which until then had always ranked as a great
military power, to accept her humiliation and be just to the victorious
adversary. Arnim was an unfortunate appointment--not at all the man for
such a delicate situation. We had known him in Rome in the old days of
Pio Nono's reign, where he had a great position as Prussian minister to
the Vatican. He and the Countess Arnim received a great deal, and their
beautiful rooms in the Palazzo Caffarelli, on the top of the Capitol
Hill (the two great statues of Castor and Pollux standing by their
horses looking as if they were guarding the entrance) were a brilliant
centre for all the Roman and diplomatic world. He was a thorough man of
the world, could make himself charming when he chose, but he never had a
pleasant manner, was curt, arrogant, with a very strong sense of his own
superiority. From the first moment he came to Paris as ambassador, he
put people's backs up. They never liked him, never trusted him; whenever
he had an unpleasant communication to make, he exaggerated the
unpleasantness, never attenuated, and there is so much in the way things
are said. The French were very hard upon him when he got into trouble,
and certainly his own Government was merciless to him.

One of my first small difficulties after becoming a Frenchwoman was to
eliminate some of my German friends from my salon. I could not run the
risk of their being treated rudely. I remember so well one night at
home, before I was married, seeing two French officers not in uniform
slip quietly out of the room when one of the German Embassy came in, yet
ours was a neutral house. When my engagement was announced one of my
great friends at the German Embassy (Count Arco) said to me: "This is
the end, I suppose, of our friendship; I can never go to see you when
you are the wife of a French deputy." "Oh, yes, you can still come; not
quite so often, perhaps, but I can't give up my friends." However, we
drifted apart without knowing why exactly. It is curious how long that
hostile feeling toward Germany has lasted in France.

Every year there is a great review of the Paris garrison (thirty
thousand men) by the President of the Republic, at Longchamp, on the
14th of July, the national fête--the day of the storming of the Bastile.
It is a great day in Paris--one of the sights of the year--and falling
in midsummer the day is generally beautiful and very warm. From early
dawn all the chairs and benches along the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne are
crowded with people waiting patiently for hours to see the show. There
is not a seat to be had at Longchamp. Unless one arrives very early the
tribunes are packed, and the President's box very crowded, as he invites
the diplomatic corps and the ministers and their wives on that day. The
troops are always received with much enthusiasm, particularly the
artillery, dragging their light field-pieces and passing at a
gallop--also the battalion of St. Cyr, the great French military school.
The final charge of the cavalry is very fine. Masses of riders come
thundering over the plain, the general commanding in front, stopping
suddenly as if moved by machinery, just opposite the President's box.
I went very regularly as long as W. was in office, and always enjoyed my
day. There was an excellent buffet in the salon behind the box, and it
was pleasant to have a cup of tea and rest one's eyes while the long
columns of infantry were passing--the regular, continuous movement was
fatiguing. All the ambassadors and foreigners were very keen about the
review, paying great attention to the size of the men and horses and
their general equipment. As long as Marshal MacMahon was President of
the Republic, he always rode home after the review down the
Champs-Elysées--in full uniform, with a brilliant staff of foreign
officers and military attachés. It was a pretty sight and attracted
great attention. Some of the foreign uniforms are very striking and the
French love a military show.

[Illustration: Marshal MacMahon.]

For many years after the war the German military attaché returned from
the review unobserved in a _shut_ carriage, couldn't run the risk of an
angry or insulting word from some one in the crowd, and still later,
fifteen years after the war, when W. was ambassador in England, I was
godmother of the daughter of a German-English cousin living in London.
The godfather was Count Herbert Bismarck, son of the famous chancellor.
At the time of the christening I was in France, staying with some
friends in the country. The son of the house had been through the war,
had distinguished himself very much, and they were still very sore over
their reverses and the necessity of submitting to all the little
pin-pricks which came at intervals from Germany. Bismarck sent me a
telegram regretting the absence of the godmother from the ceremony. It
was brought to me just after breakfast, while we were having our coffee.
I opened it and read it out, explaining that it was from Bismarck to
express his regret for my absence. There was a dead silence, and then
the mistress of the house said to me: "C'est très désagréable pour vous,
chère amie, cette association avec Bismarck."

I didn't see much of W. in the daytime. We usually rode in the morning
in the Bois and immediately after breakfast he started for Versailles in
the parliamentary train. Dinner was always a doubtful meal. Sometimes he
came home very late for nine-o'clock dinner; sometimes he dined at
Versailles and only got home at ten or eleven if the sitting was stormy.
The Hotel des Reservoirs did a flourishing business as long as the
Chambers sat at Versailles. When we were dining out it was very
disagreeable, particularly the first winter when I didn't know many
people. I remember one dinner at the Countess Duchatel's where I went
alone; we were ten women and five men. All the rest were deputies, who
had telegraphed at the last moment they would not come, were kept at
Versailles by an important question.

One of the most interesting things I saw in 1873, just before my
marriage, was the court-martial of Marshal Bazaine for treachery at
Metz--giving up his army and the city without any attempt to break
through the enemy's lines, or in fact any resistance of any kind. The
court was held at the Grand Trianon, Versailles, a place so associated
with a pleasure-loving court, and the fanciful devices of a gay young
queen, that it was difficult to realise the drama that was being
enacted, when the honour of a Marshal of France--almost an army of
France, was to be judged. It was an impressive scene, the hall packed,
and people at all the doors and entrances clamouring for seats. The
public was curious, a little of everything--members of the National
Assembly, officers all in uniform, pretty women of all categories--the
group of journalists with keen eager faces watching every change of
expression of the marshal's face--some well-known faces, wives of
members or leading political and literary men, a fair amount of the
frailer sisterhood, actresses and demi-mondaines, making a great effect
of waving plumes and diamonds. The court was presided over by the Duc
d'Aumale, who accepted the office after much hesitation. He was a fine,
soldierly figure as he came in, in full uniform, a group of officers
behind him, all with stern, set faces. The impression of the public was
generally hostile to the marshal; one felt it all through the trial. He
was dressed in full uniform, with the grand cordon of the Legion of
Honour. It was melancholy to hear the report of his career when it was
read by his counsel,--long years of active service, many wounds, often
mentioned for brave conduct under fire, having the "Médaille
Militaire"--the grand cordon of the Legion d'Honneur, the baton de
Maréchal de France,--all the honours his country could give him--to end
so miserably, judged not only by the court but by the country, as a
traitor, false to his trust, when his country was in the death-throes of
defeat and humiliation. His attitude at the trial was curious. He sat
very still in his armchair, looking straight before him, only raising
his head and looking at the Duc d'Aumale when some grave accusation was
made against him. His explanation brought the famous reply from the duc,
when he said it was impossible to act or to treat; there was nothing
left in France--no government, no orders--nothing. The due answered:
"Il y avait toujours la France." He didn't look overwhelmed, rather like
some one who was detached from the whole proceedings. I saw his face
quite well; it was neither false nor weak--ordinary. It is difficult to
believe that a French general with a brilliant record behind him should
have been guilty of such treachery, sacrificing his men and his honour.
His friends (they were not many) say he lost his head, was nearly crazy
with the utterly unforeseen defeat of the French, but even a moment of
insanity would hardly account for such extraordinary weakness. W. and
some of his friends were discussing it in the train coming home. They
were all convinced of his guilt, had no doubt as to what the sentence of
the court would be--death and degradation--but thought that physical
fatigue and great depression must have caused a general breakdown. The
end every one knows. He was condemned to be shot and degraded. The first
part of the sentence was cancelled on account of his former services,
but he was degraded, imprisoned, escaped, and finished his life in Spain
in poverty and obscurity, deserted by all his friends and his wife. It
was a melancholy rentrée for the Duc d'Aumale. His thoughts must have
gone back to the far-off days when the gallant young officer, fils de
France, won his first military glory in Algiers, and thought the world
was at his feet. His brilliant exploit, capturing the Smala of
Abd-el-Kader, has been immortalised by Vernet in the great historical
picture that one sees at Versailles. There are always artists copying
parts of it, particularly one group, where a lovely, fair-haired woman
is falling out of a litter backward. Even now, when one thinks of the
King Louis Philippe, with all his tall, strong, young sons (there is a
well-known picture of the King on horseback with all his sons around
him--splendid specimens of young manhood), it seems incredible that they
are not still ruling and reigning at the Tuileries. I wonder if things
would have been very different if Louis Philippe and his family had not
walked out of the Tuileries that day!

I often asked W. in what way France had gained by being a republic. I
personally was quite impartial, being born an American and never having
lived in France until after the Franco-Prussian War. I had no particular
ties nor traditions, had no grandfather killed on the scaffold, nor
frozen to death in the retreat of "La Grande Armée" from Moscow. They
always told me a republic was in the air--young talents and energy must
come to the front--the people must have a voice in the government. I
think the average Frenchman is intelligent, but I don't think the vote
of the man in the street can have as much value as that of a man who has
had not only a good education but who has been accustomed always to hear
certain principles of law and order held up as rules for the guidance of
his own life as well as other people's. Certainly universal suffrage was
a most unfortunate measure to take from America and apply to France, but
it has been taken and now must stay. I have often heard political men
who deplored and condemned the law say that no minister would dare to
propose a change.

I went often to the Chamber in the spring--used to drive out and bring
W. home. Versailles was very animated and interesting during all that
time, so many people always about. Quite a number of women followed the
debates. One met plenty of people one knew in the streets, at the
Patissiers, or at some of the bric-à-brac shops, where there were still
bargains to be found in very old furniture, prints, and china. There is
a large garrison. There were always officers riding, squads of soldiers
moving about, bugle-calls in all directions, and continuous arrivals at
the station of deputies and journalists hurrying to the palace, their
black portfolios under their arms. The palace was cold. There was a fine
draught at the entrance and the big stone staircase was always cold,
even in June, but the assembly-room was warm enough and always crowded.
It was rather difficult to get seats. People were so interested in those
first debates after the war, when everything had to be reorganised and
so much of the past was being swept away.



II


IMPRESSIONS OF THE ASSEMBLY AT VERSAILLES

The sittings of the assembly were very interesting in that wonderful
year when everything was being discussed. All public interest of course
was centred in Versailles, where the National Assembly was trying to
establish some sort of stable government. There were endless discussions
and speeches and very violent language in the Chambers. Gambetta made
some bitter attacks on the Royalists, accusing them of mauvaise foi and
want of patriotism. The Bonapartist leaders tried to persuade themselves
and their friends that they still had a hold on the country and that a
plébiscite would bring back in triumph their prince. The Legitimists,
hoping against hope that the Comte de Chambord would still be the
saviour of the country, made passionate appeals to the old feeling of
loyalty in the nation, and the centre droit, representing the
Orleanists, nervous, hesitating, knowing the position perfectly,
ardently desiring a constitutional monarchy, but feeling that it was
not possible at that moment, yet unwilling to commit themselves to a
final declaration of the Republic, which would make a Royalist
restoration impossible. All the Left confident, determined.

The Republic was voted on the 30th of January, 1875, by a majority of
one vote, if majority it could be called, but the great step had been
taken, and the struggle began instantly between the moderate
conservative Republicans and the more advanced Left. W. came home late
that day. Some of his friends came in after dinner and the talk was most
interesting. I was so new to it all that most of the names of the rank
and file were unknown to me, and the appreciations of the votes and the
anecdotes and side-lights on the voters said nothing to me. Looking back
after all these years, it seems to me that the moderate Royalists
(centre droit) threw away a splendid chance. They could not stop the
Republican wave (nothing could) but they might have controlled it and
directed it instead of standing aloof and throwing the power into the
hands of the Left. We heard the well-known sayings very often those
days: "La République sera conservatrice ou elle ne sera pas" and "La
République sans Républicains," attributed to M. Thiers and Marshal
MacMahon. The National Assembly struggled on to the end of the year,
making a constitution, a parliament with two houses, senate and chamber
of deputies, with many discussions and contradictions, and hopes and
illusions.

[Illustration: Sitting of the National Assembly at the palace of
Versailles. From _l'Illustration_, March 11, 1876]

I went often to Versailles, driving out when the weather was fine. I
liked the stormy sittings best. Some orator would say something that
displeased the public, and in a moment there would be the greatest
uproar, protestations and accusations from all sides, some of the
extreme Left getting up, gesticulating wildly, and shaking their fists
at the speaker--the Right, generally calm and sarcastic, requesting the
speaker to repeat his monstrous statements--the huissiers dressed in
black with silver chains, walking up and down in front of the tribune,
calling out at intervals: "Silence, messieurs, s'il vous plaît,"--the
President ringing his bell violently to call the house to order, and
nobody paying the slightest attention,--the orator sometimes standing
quite still with folded arms waiting until the storm should abate,
sometimes dominating the hall and hurling abuse at his adversaries. W.
was always perfectly quiet; his voice was low, not very strong, and he
could not speak if there were an uproar. When he was interrupted in a
speech he used to stand perfectly still with folded arms, waiting for a
few minutes' silence. The deputies would call out: "Allez! allez!"
interspersed with a few lively criticisms on what he was saying to them;
he was perfectly unmoved, merely replied: "I will go on with pleasure as
soon as you will be quiet enough for me to be heard." Frenchmen
generally have such a wonderful facility of speech, and such a pitiless
logic in discussing a question, that the debates were often very
interesting. The public was interesting too. A great many women of all
classes followed the sittings--several Egerias (not generally in their
first youth) of well-known political men sitting prominently in the
President's box, or in the front row of the journalists' box, following
the discussions with great interest and sending down little slips of
paper to their friends below--members' wives and friends who enjoyed
spending an hour or two listening to the speeches--newspaper
correspondents, literary ladies, diplomatists. It was very difficult to
get places, particularly when some well-known orators were announced to
speak upon an important question. We didn't always know beforehand, and
I remember some dull afternoons with one or two members making long
speeches about purely local matters, which didn't interest any one. We
looked down upon an almost empty hall on those occasions. A great many
of the members had gone out and were talking in the lobbies; those who
remained were talking in groups, writing letters, walking about the
hall, quite unconscious apparently of the speaker at the tribune. I
couldn't understand how the man could go on talking to empty benches,
but W. told me he was quite indifferent to the attention of his
colleagues,--his speech was for his electors and would appear the next
day in the _Journal Officiel_. I remember one man talked for hours about
"allumettes chimiques."

Léon Say was a delightful speaker, so easy, always finding exactly the
word he wanted. It hardly seemed a speech when he was at the tribune,
more like a causerie, though he told very plain truths sometimes to the
peuple souverain. He was essentially French, or rather Parisian, knew
everybody, and was au courant of all that went on politically and
socially, and had a certain blague, that eminently French quality which
is very difficult to explain. He was a hard worker, and told me once
that what rested him most after a long day was to go to a small
boulevard theatre or to read a rather lively yellowbacked novel.

I never heard Gambetta speak, which I always regretted--in fact knew
very little of him. He was not a ladies' man, though he had some devoted
women friends, and was always surrounded by a circle of political men
whenever he appeared in public. (In all French parties, immediately
after dinner, the men all congregate together to talk to each
other,--never to the women,--so unless you happen to find yourself
seated next to some well-known man, you never really have a chance of
talking to him.) Gambetta didn't go out much, and as by some curious
chance he was never next to me at dinner, I never had any opportunity of
talking to him. He was not one of W.'s friends, nor an habitué of the
house. His appearance was against him--dark, heavy-looking, with an
enormous head.

When I had had enough of the speeches and the bad atmosphere, I used to
wander about the terraces and gardens. How many beautiful sunsets I have
seen from the top of the terrace or else standing on the three famous
pink marble steps (so well known to all lovers of poetry through Alfred
de Musset's beautiful verses, "Trois Marches Roses"), seeing in
imagination all the brilliant crowd of courtiers and fair women that
used to people those wonderful gardens in the old days of Versailles! I
went sometimes to the "Reservoirs" for a cup of tea, and very often
found other women who had also driven out to get their husbands. We
occasionally brought back friends who preferred the quiet cool drive
through the Park of St. Cloud to the crowd and dust of the railway. The
Count de St. Vallier (who was not yet senator, but deeply interested in
politics) was frequently at Versailles and came back with us often. He
was a charming, easy talker. I never tired of hearing about the
brilliant days of the last Empire, and the fêtes at the Tuileries,
Compiègne, and St. Cloud. He had been a great deal at the court of
Napoleon III, had seen many interesting people of all kinds, and had a
wonderful memory. He must have had an inner sense or presentiment of
some kind about the future, for I have heard him say often in speaking
of the old days and the glories of the Empire, when everything seemed so
prosperous and brilliant, that he used often to ask himself if it could
be real--Were the foundations as solid as they seemed! He had been a
diplomatist, was in Germany at the time of the Franco-German War, and
like so many of his colleagues scattered over Germany, was quite aware
of the growing hostile feeling in Germany to France and also of
Bismarck's aims and ambitions. He (like so many others) wrote repeated
letters and warnings to the French Foreign Office, which apparently had
no effect. One heard afterward that several letters of that description
from French diplomatists in Germany were found unopened in a drawer at
the ministry.

It was rather sad, as we drove through the stately alleys of the Park of
St. Cloud, with the setting sun shining through the fine old trees, to
hear of all the fêtes that used to take place there,--and one could
quite well fancy the beautiful Empress appearing at the end of one of
the long avenues, followed by a brilliant suite of ladies and
écuyers,--and the echoes of the cor de chasse in the distance. The
alleys are always there, and fairly well kept, but very few people or
carriages pass. The park is deserted. I don't think the cor de chasse
would awaken an echo or a regret even, so entirely has the Empire and
its glories become a thing of the past. A rendezvous de chasse was a
very pretty sight.

We went once to Compiègne before I was married, about three years before
the war. We went out and breakfasted at Compiègne with a great friend of
ours, M. de St. M., a chamberlain or equerry of the Emperor. We
breakfasted in a funny old-fashioned little hotel (with a very good
cuisine) and drove in a big open break to the forest. There were a great
many people riding, driving, and walking, officers of the garrison in
uniform, members of the hunt in green and gold, and a fair sprinkling of
red coats. The Empress looked charming, dressed always in the uniform of
the hunt, green with gold braid, and a tricorne on her head,--all her
ladies with the same dress, which was very becoming. One of the most
striking-looking of her ladies was the Princess Anna Murat, the present
Duchesse de Mouchy, who looked very handsome in the tricorne and
beautifully fitting habit. I didn't see the Empress on her horse, as we
lost sight of them very soon. She and her ladies arrived on the field in
an open break. I saw the Emperor quite distinctly as he rode up and gave
some orders. He was very well mounted (there were some beautiful horses)
but stooped slightly, and had rather a sad face. I never saw him again,
and the Empress only long years after at Cowes, when everything had gone
out of her life.

The President, Marshal MacMahon, was living at the Préfecture at
Versailles and received every Thursday evening. We went there several
times--it was my first introduction to the official world. The first two
or three times we drove out, but it was long (quite an hour and a
quarter) over bad roads--a good deal of pavement. One didn't care to
drive through the Park of St. Cloud at night--it was very lonely and
dark. We should have been quite helpless if we had fallen upon any
enterprising tramps, who could easily have stopped the carriage and
helped themselves to any money or jewels they could lay their hands on.
One evening the Seine had overflowed and we were obliged to walk a long
distance--all around Sèvres--and got to Versailles very late and quite
exhausted with the jolting and general discomfort. After that we went
out by train--which put us at the Préfecture at ten o'clock. It wasn't
very convenient as there was a great rush for carriages when we arrived
at Versailles, still everybody did it. We generally wore black or dark
dresses with a lace veil tied over our heads, and of course only went
when it was fine. The evening was pleasant enough--one saw all the
political men, the marshal's personal friends of the droite went to him
in the first days of his presidency,--(they rather fell off later)--the
Government and Republicans naturally and all the diplomatic corps. There
were not many women, as it really was rather an effort to put one's self
into a low-necked dress and start off directly after dinner to the Gare
St. Lazare, and have rather a rush for places. We were always late, and
just had time to scramble into the last carriage.

I felt very strange--an outsider--all the first months, but my husband's
friends were very nice to me and after a certain time I was astonished
to find how much politics interested me. I learned a great deal from
merely listening while the men talked at dinner. I suppose I should have
understood much more if I had read the papers regularly, but I didn't
begin to do that until W. had been minister for some time, and then
worked myself into a nervous fever at all the opposition papers said
about him. However, all told, the attacks were never very vicious. He
had never been in public life until after the war when he was named
deputy and joined the Assemblée Nationale at Bordeaux--which was an
immense advantage to him. He had never served any other government, and
was therefore perfectly independent and was bound by no family
traditions or old friendships--didn't mind the opposition papers at
all--not even the caricatures. Some of them were very funny. There was
one very like him, sitting quite straight and correct on the box of a
brougham, "John Cocher Anglais n'a jamais versé, ni accroché" (English
coachman who has never upset nor run into anything).

There were a few political salons. The Countess de R. received every
evening--but only men--no women were ever asked. The wives rather
demurred at first, but the men went all the same--as one saw every one
there and heard all the latest political gossip. Another hostess was the
Princess Lize Troubetskoi. She was a great friend and admirer of
Thiers--was supposed to give him a great deal of information from
foreign governments. She was very eclectic in her sympathies, and every
one went to her, not only French, but all foreigners of any distinction
who passed through Paris. She gave herself a great deal of trouble for
her friends, but also used them when she wanted anything. One of the
stories which was always told of the Foreign Office was her "petit
paquet," which she wanted to send by the valise to Berlin, when the
Comte de St. Vallier was French ambassador there. He agreed willingly to
receive the package addressed to him, which proved to be a grand piano.

The privilege of sending packages abroad by the valise of the foreign
affairs was greatly abused when W. became Minister of Foreign Affairs.
He made various changes, one of which was that the valise should be
absolutely restricted to official papers and documents, which really was
perhaps well observed.

The Countess de Ségur received every Saturday night. It was really an
Orleanist salon, as they were devoted friends of the Orléans family, but
one saw all the moderate Republicans there and the centre gauche (which
struggled so long to keep together and be a moderating influence, but
has long been swallowed up in the ever-increasing flood of radicalism)
and a great many literary men, members of the Institute, Academicians,
etc. They had a fine old house entre cour et jardin, with all sorts of
interesting pictures and souvenirs. Countess de S. also received every
day before three o'clock. I often went and was delighted when I could
find her alone. She was very clever, very original, had known all sorts
of people, and it was most interesting to hear her talk about King Louis
Philippe's court, the Spanish marriages, the death of the Duc d'Orléans,
the Coup d'Etat of Louis Napoléon, etc. When she first began to receive,
during the reign of Louis Philippe, the feeling was very bitter between
the Legitimists (extreme Royalist party) and the Orleanists. The Duc
d'Orléans often came to them on Saturday evenings and always in a good
deal of state, with handsome carriage, aides-de-camp, etc. She warned
her Legitimist friends when she knew he was coming (but she didn't
always know) and said she never had any trouble or disagreeable scenes.
Every one was perfectly respectful to the duke, but the extreme
Legitimists went away at once.

We went quite often to Monsieur and Madame Thiers, who received every
evening in their big gloomy house in the Place St. Georges. It was a
political centre,--all the Republican party went there, and many of his
old friends, Orleanists, who admired his great intelligence, while
disapproving his politics,--literary men, journalists, all the
diplomatists and distinguished strangers. He had people at dinner every
night and a small reception afterward,--Madame Thiers and her sister,
Mademoiselle Dosne, doing the honours for him. I believe both ladies
were very intelligent, but I can't truthfully say they had any charm of
manner. They never looked pleased to see any one, and each took
comfortable little naps in their armchairs after dinner--the first
comers had sometimes rather embarrassing entrances,--but I am told they
held very much to their receptions. Thiers was wonderful; he was a very
old man when I knew him, but his eyes were very bright and keen, his
voice strong, and he would talk all the evening without any appearance
of fatigue. He slept every afternoon for two hours, and was quite rested
and alert by dinner time. It was an interesting group of men that stood
around the little figure in the drawing-room after dinner. He himself
stood almost always leaning against the mantelpiece. Prince Orloff,
Russian ambassador, was one of the habitués of the salon, and I was
always delighted when he would slip away from the group of men and join
the ladies in Madame Thiers's salon, which was less interesting. He knew
everybody, French and foreign, and gave me most amusing and useful
little sketches of all the celebrities. It was he who told me of old
Prince Gortschakoff's famous phrase when he heard of Thiers's death--(he
died at St. Germain in 1877)--"Encore une lumière éteinte quand il y en
a si peu qui voient clair,"--(still another light extinguished, when
there are so few who see clearly). Many have gone of that
group,--Casimir Périer, Léon Say, Jules Ferry, St. Vallier, Comte Paul
de Ségur, Barthélemy St. Hilaire,--but others remain, younger men who
were then beginning their political careers and were eager to drink in
lessons and warnings from the old statesman, who fought gallantly to
the last.

I found the first winter in Paris as the wife of a French deputy rather
trying, so different from the easy, pleasant life in Rome. That has
changed, too, of course, with United Italy and Rome the capital, but it
was a small Rome in our days, most informal. I don't ever remember
having written an invitation all the years we lived in Rome. Everybody
led the same life and we saw each other all day, hunting, riding,
driving, in the villas in the afternoon, generally finishing at the
Pincio, where there was music. All the carriages drew up and the young
men came and talked to the women exactly as if they were at the opera or
in a ballroom. When we had music or danced at our house, we used to tell
some well-known man to say "on danse chez Madame King ce soir." That was
all. Paris society is much stiffer, attaches much more importance to
visits and reception days.

There is very little informal receiving, no more evenings with no
amusement of any kind provided, and a small table at one end of the room
with orangeade and cakes, which I remember when I was first married (and
always in Lent the quartet of the Conservatoire playing classical
symphonies, which of course put a stop to all conversation, as people
listened to the artists of the Conservatoire in a sort of sacred
silence). Now one is invited each time, there is always music or a
comédie, sometimes a conference in Lent, and a buffet in the
dining-room. There is much more luxury, and women wear more jewels.
There were not many tiaras when I first knew Paris society; now every
young woman has one in her corbeille.

[Illustration: The foyer of the Opéra.]

One of the first big things I saw in Paris was the opening of the Grand
Opera. It was a pretty sight, the house crowded with women beautifully
dressed and wearing fine jewels which showed very little, the decoration
of the house being very elaborate. There was so much light and gilding
that the diamonds were quite lost. The two great features of the evening
were the young King of Spain (the father of the present King), a slight,
dark, youthful figure, and the Lord Mayor of London, who really made
much more effect than the King. He was dressed in his official robes,
had two sheriffs and a macebearer, and when he stood at the top of the
grand staircase he was an imposing figure and the public was delighted
with him. He was surrounded by an admiring crowd when he walked in the
foyer. Everybody was there and W. pointed out to me the celebrities of
all the coteries. We had a box at the opera and went very regularly. The
opera was never good, never has been since I have known it, but as it is
open all the year round, one cannot expect to have the stars one hears
elsewhere. Still it is always a pleasant evening, one sees plenty of
people to talk to and the music is a cheerful accompaniment to
conversation. It is astounding how they talk in the boxes and how the
public submits. The ballet is always good. Halanzier was director of the
Grand Opera, and we went sometimes to his box behind the scenes, which
was most amusing. He was most dictatorial, occupied himself with every
detail,--was consequently an excellent director. I remember seeing him
inspect the corps de ballet one night, just before the curtain went up.
He passed down the line like a general reviewing his troops, tapping
lightly with a cane various arms and legs which were not in position. He
was perfectly smiling and good-humoured: "Voyons, voyons, mes petites,
ce n'est pas cela,"--but saw everything.

What W. liked best was the Théâtre Français. We hadn't a box there, but
as so many of our friends had, we went very often. Tuesday was the
fashionable night and the Salle was almost as interesting as the stage,
particularly if it happened to be a première, and all the critics and
journalists were there. Sarah Bernhardt and Croizette were both playing
those first years. They were great rivals and it was interesting to see
them in the same play, both such fine talents yet so totally different.



III


M. WADDINGTON AS MINISTER OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

In March, 1876, W. was made, for the second time, "Ministre de
l'Instruction Publique et des Beaux Arts," with M. Dufaure Président du
Conseil, Duc Décazes at the Foreign Office, and Léon Say at the
finances. His nomination was a surprise to us. We didn't expect it at
all. There had been so many discussions, so many names put forward. It
seemed impossible to come to an understanding and form a cabinet which
would be equally acceptable to the marshal and to the Chambers. I came
in rather late one afternoon while the negotiations were going on, and
was told by the servants that M. Léon Say was waiting in W.'s library to
see him. W. came a few minutes afterward, and the two gentlemen remained
a long time talking. They stopped in the drawing-room on their way to
the door, and Say said to me: "Eh bien, madame, je vous apporte une
portefeuille et des félicitations." "Before I accept the felicitations,
I would like to know which portfolio." Of course when he said, "Public
instruction," I was pleased, as I knew it was the only one W. cared for.
My brother-in-law, Richard Waddington, senator of the Seine
Inférieure,[1] and one or two friends came to see us in the evening, and
the gentlemen talked late into the night, discussing programmes,
possibilities, etc. All the next day the conferences went on, and when
the new cabinet was presented to the marshal, he received them
graciously if not warmly. W. said both Dufaure and Décazes were quite
wonderful, realising the state of affairs exactly, and knowing the
temper of the house, which was getting more advanced every day and more
difficult to manage.

[Footnote 1: My brother-in-law, Richard Waddington, senator, died in
June, 1913, some time after these notes were written.]

W. at once convoked all the officials and staff of the ministry. He made
very few changes, merely taking the young Count de Lasteyrie, now
Marquis de Lasteyrie, grandnephew of the Marquis de Lafayette, son of M.
Jules de Lasteyrie, a senator and devoted friend of the Orléans family,
as his chef de cabinet. Two or three days after the new cabinet was
announced, W. took me to the Elysée to pay my official visit to the
Maréchale de MacMahon. She received us up-stairs in a pretty salon
looking out on the garden. She was very civil, not a particularly
gracious manner--gave me the impression of a very energetic, practical
woman--what most Frenchwomen are. I was very much struck with her
writing-table, which looked most businesslike. It was covered with
quantities of letters, papers, cards, circulars of all kinds--she
attended to all household matters herself. I always heard (though she
did not tell me) that she read every letter that was addressed to her,
and she must have had hundreds of begging letters. She was very
charitable, much interested in all good works, and very kind to all
artists. Whenever a letter came asking for money, she had the case
investigated, and if the story was true, gave practical help at once. I
was dismayed at first with the number of letters received from all over
France asking my intercession with the minister on every possible
subject from a "monument historique" to be restored, to a pension given
to an old schoolmaster no longer able to work, with a large family to
support. It was perfectly impossible for me to answer them. Being a
foreigner and never having lived in France, I didn't really know
anything about the various questions. W. was too busy to attend to such
small matters, so I consulted M. de L., chef de cabinet, and we agreed
that I should send all the correspondence which was not strictly
personal to him, and he would have it examined in the "bureau." The
first few weeks of W.'s ministry were very trying to me--I went to see
so many people,--so many people came to see me,--all strangers with whom
I had nothing in common. Such dreary conversations, never getting beyond
the most ordinary commonplace phrases,--such an absolutely different
world from any I had ever lived in.

It is very difficult at first for any woman who marries a foreigner to
make her life in her new country. There must be so many things that are
different--better perhaps sometimes--but not what one has been
accustomed to,--and I think more difficult in France than in any other
country. French people are set in their ways, and there is so little
sympathy with anything that is not French. I was struck with that
absence of sympathy at some of the first dinners I went to. The talk was
exclusively French, almost Parisian, very personal, with stories and
allusions to people and things I knew nothing about. No one dreamed of
talking to me about my past life--or America, or any of my early
associations--yet I was a stranger--one would have thought they might
have taken a little more trouble to find some topics of general
interest. Even now, after all these years, the difference of
nationality counts. Sometimes when I am discussing with very intimate
friends some question and I find that I cannot understand their views
and they cannot understand mine, they always come back to the real
difficulty: "Ecoutez, chère amie, vous êtes d'une autre race." I rather
complained to W. after the first three or four dinners--it seemed to me
bad manners, but he said no, I was the wife of a French political
man, and every one took for granted I was interested in the
conversation--certainly no one intended any rudeness. The first big
dinner I went to that year was at the Elysée--the regular official
dinner for the diplomatic corps and the Government. I had Baron von
Zuylen, the Dutch minister, one of our great friends, on one side of me,
Léon Renault, préfet de police, on the other. Léon Renault was very
interesting, very clever--an excellent préfet de police. Some of his
stories were most amusing. The dinner was very good (always were in the
marshal's time), not long, and mercifully the room was not too hot.
Sometimes the heat was terrible. There were quite a number of people in
the evening--the music of the garde républicaine playing, and a buffet
in the dining-room which was always crowded. We never stayed very late,
as W. always had papers to sign when we got home. Sometimes when there
was a great press of work his "signatures" kept him two hours. I don't
think the marshal enjoyed the receptions very much. Like most soldiers
he was an early riser, and the late hours and constant talking
tired him.

I liked our dinners and receptions at the ministry. All the intelligence
of France passed through our rooms. People generally came early--by ten
o'clock the rooms were quite full. Every one was announced, and it was
most interesting to hear the names of all the celebrities in every
branch of art and science. It was only a fleeting impression, as the
guests merely spoke to me at the door and passed on. In those days,
hardly any one shook hands unless they were fairly intimate--the men
never. They made me low bows some distance off and rarely stopped to
exchange a few words with me. Some of the women, not many, shook hands.
It was a fatiguing evening, as I stood so long, and a procession of
strangers passed before me. The receptions finished early--every one had
gone by eleven o'clock except a few loiterers at the buffet. There are
always a certain number of people at the big official receptions whose
principal object in coming seems to be to make a comfortable meal. The
servants always told me there was nothing left after a big party. There
were no invitations--the reception was announced in the papers, so any
one who felt he had the slightest claim upon the minister appeared at
the party. Some of the dresses were funny, but there was nothing
eccentric--no women in hats, carrying babies in their arms, such as one
used to see in the old days in America at the President's reception at
the White House, Washington--some very simple black silk dresses hardly
low--and of course a great many pretty women very well dressed. Some of
my American friends often came with true American curiosity, wanting to
see a phase of French life which was quite novel to them.

W. remained two years as Minister of Public Instruction, and my life
became at once very interesting, very full. We didn't live at the
ministry--it was not really necessary. All the work was over before
dinner, except the "signatures," which W. could do just as well in his
library at home. We went over and inspected the Hôtel du Ministère in
the rue de Grenelle before we made our final decision, but it was not
really tempting. There were fine reception-rooms and a pretty garden,
but the living-rooms were small, not numerous, and decidedly gloomy. Of
course I saw much less of W. He never came home to breakfast, except on
Sunday, as it was too far from the rue de Grenelle to the Etoile. The
Arc de Triomphe stands in the Place de l'Etoile at the top of the
Champs-Elysées. All the great avenues, Alma, Jéna, Kléber, and the
adjacent streets are known as the Quartier de l'Etoile. It was before
the days of telephones, so whenever an important communication was to be
made to him when he was at home in the evening, a dragoon galloped up
with his little black bag from which he extracted his papers. It made
quite an excitement in our quiet street the first time he arrived after
ten o'clock. We just managed our morning ride, and then there were often
people waiting to speak to W. before we started, and always when he came
back. There was a great amount of patronage attached to his ministry,
nominations to all the universities, lycées, schools, etc., and, what
was most agreeable to me, boxes at all the government theatres,--the
Grand Opera, Opéra Comique, Français, Odéon, and Conservatoire. Every
Monday morning we received the list for the week, and, after making
our own selection, distributed them to the official world
generally,--sometimes to our own personal friends. The boxes of the
Français, Opéra, and Conservatoire were much appreciated.

I went very regularly to the Sunday afternoon concerts at the
Conservatoire, where all classical music was splendidly given. They
confined themselves generally to the strictly classic, but were
beginning to play a little Schumann that year. Some of the faces of the
regular habitués became most familiar to me. There were three or four
old men with grey hair sitting in the first row of stalls (most
uncomfortable seats) who followed every note of the music, turning
around and frowning at any unfortunate person in a box who dropped a fan
or an opera-glass. It was funny to hear the hum of satisfaction when any
well-known movement of Beethoven or Mozart was attacked. The orchestra
was perfect, at its best I think in the "scherzos" which they took in
beautiful style--so light and sure. I liked the instrumental part much
better than the singing. French voices, the women's particularly, are
thin, as a rule. I think they sacrifice too much to the
"diction,"--don't bring out the voices enough--but the style and
training are perfect of their kind.

The Conservatoire is quite as much a social feature as a school of
music. It was the thing to do on Sunday afternoon. No invitation was
more appreciated, as it was almost impossible to have places unless one
was invited by a friend. All the boxes and seats (the hall is small)
belong to subscribers and have done so for one or two generations. Many
marriages are made there. There are very few theatres in Paris to which
girls can be taken, but the Opéra Comique and the Conservatoire are very
favourite resorts. When a marriage is pending the young lady, very well
dressed (always in the simplest tenue de jeune fille) is taken to the
Conservatoire or the Opéra Comique by her father and mother, and very
often her grandmother. She sits in front of the box and the young man in
the stalls, where he can study his future wife without committing
himself. The difference of dress between the jeune fille and the jeune
femme is very strongly marked in France. The French girl never wears
lace or jewels or feathers or heavy material of any kind, quite unlike
her English or American contemporaries, who wear what they like. The
wedding-dress is classic, a simple, very long dress of white satin, and
generally a tulle veil over the face. When there is a handsome lace veil
in the family, the bride sometimes wears it, but no lace on her dress.
The first thing the young married woman does is to wear a very long
velvet dress with feathers in her hair.

I think on the whole the arranged marriages turn out as well as any
others. They are generally made by people of the same monde, accustomed
to the same way of living, and the fortunes as nearly alike as possible.
Everything is calculated. The young couple usually spend the summer with
parents or parents-in-law, in the château, and I know some cases where
there are curious details about the number of lamps that can be lighted
in their rooms, and the use of the carriage on certain days. I am
speaking of course of purely French marriages. To my American ideas it
seemed very strange when I first came to Europe, but a long residence in
a foreign country certainly modifies one's impressions. Years ago, when
we were living in Rome, four sisters, before any of us were married, a
charming Frenchwoman, Duchesse de B., who came often to the house, was
very worried about this family of girls, all very happy at home and
contented with their lives. It was quite true we danced and hunted and
made a great deal of music, without ever troubling ourselves about the
future. The duchesse couldn't understand it, used often to talk to
mother very seriously. She came one day with a proposal of marriage--a
charming man, a Frenchman, not too young, with a good fortune, a title,
and a château, had seen Madam King's daughters in the ballroom and
hunting-field, and would very much like to be presented and make his
cour. "Which one?" we naturally asked, but the answer was vague. It
sounded so curiously impersonal that we could hardly take it seriously.
However, we suggested that the young man should come and each one of the
four would show off her particular talent. One would play and one would
sing (rather like the song in the children's book, "one could dance and
one could sing, and one could play the violin"), and the third, the
polyglot of the family, could speak several languages. We were rather
puzzled as to what my eldest sister could do, as she was not very
sociable and never spoke to strangers if she could help it, so we
decided she must be very well dressed and preside at the tea-table
behind an old-fashioned silver urn that we always used--looking like a
stately maîtresse de maison receiving her guests. We confided all these
plans to the duchesse, but she was quite put out with us, wouldn't bring
the young man nor tell us his name. We never knew who he was. Since I
have been a Frenchwoman (devant la loi)--I think all Americans remain
American no matter where they marry,--I have interested myself three or
four times in made marriages, which have generally turned out well.
There were very few Americans married in France all those years, now
there are legions of all kinds. I don't remember any in the official
parliamentary world I lived in the first years of my marriage--nor
English either. It was absolutely French, and rather borné French. Very
few of the people, the women especially, had any knowledge or experience
of foreign countries, and didn't care to have,--France was enough
for them.

W. was very happy at the Ministry of Public Instruction,--all the
educational questions interested him so much and the tournées en
province and visits to the big schools and universities,--some of them,
in the south of France particularly, singularly wanting in the most
elementary details of hygiene and cleanliness, and it was very difficult
to make the necessary changes, giving more light, air, and space.
Routine is a powerful factor in this very conservative country, where so
many things exist simply because they have always existed. Some of his
letters from Bordeaux, Toulouse, and Montpellier were most interesting.
As a rule he was very well received and got on very well, strangely
enough, with the clergy, particularly the haut clergé, bishops and
cardinals. His being a Protestant was rather a help to him; he could
take an impartial view of things.

At Bordeaux he stayed at the Préfecture, where he was very comfortable,
but the days were fatiguing. He said he hadn't worked so hard for years.
He started at nine in the morning, visiting schools and universities,
came home to breakfast at twelve, and immediately after had a small
reception, rectors, professors, and people connected with the schools he
wanted to talk to, at three started again seeing more schools and going
conscientiously over the buildings from basement to garret,--then visits
to the cardinal, archbishop, general commanding, etc.--a big dinner and
reception in the evening, the cardinal present in his red robes, his
coadjutor in purple, the officers in uniform, and all the people
connected in any way with the university, who were pleased to see their
chief. There was a total absence of Bonapartist senators and deputies
(which was not surprising, as W. had always been in violent opposition
to the Empire), who were rather numerous in these parts. W. was really
quite exhausted when he got back to Paris--said it was absolute luxury
to sit quietly and read in his library, and not talk. It wasn't a luxury
that he enjoyed very much, for whenever he was in the house there was
always some one talking to him in his study and others waiting in the
drawing-room. Every minute of the day he was occupied. People were
always coming to ask for something for themselves or some members of
their family, always candidates for the Institute, anxiously inquiring
what their chances were, and if he had recommended them to his friends.
It is striking even in this country of functionaries (I think there are
more small public employees in France than in any other country) how
many applicants there were always for the most insignificant places--a
Frenchman loves a cap with gold braid and gilt buttons on his coat.

All the winter of 1876, which saw the end of the National Assembly and
the beginning of a new régime, was an eventful one in parliamentary
circles. I don't know if the country generally was very much excited
about a new constitution and a change of government. I don't think the
country in France (the small farmers and peasants) are ever much excited
about the form of government. As long as the crops are good and there is
no war to take away their sons and able-bodied men, they don't care,
often don't know, whether a king or an emperor is reigning over them.
They say there are some far-off villages half hidden in the forests and
mountains who still believe that a king and a Bourbon is reigning in
France. Something had to be decided; the provisoire could no longer
continue; the country could not go on without a settled government. All
the arguments and negotiations of that period have been so often told,
that I will not go into any details. The two centres, centre droit and
centre gauche, had everything in their hands as the great moderating
elements of the Assembly, but the conflicting claims of the various
parties, Legitimist, Orleanist, Bonapartist, and advanced Left, made the
question a very difficult one.

W. as a member of the Comité des Trente was very much occupied and
preoccupied. He came back generally very late from Versailles, and, when
he did dine at home, either went out again after dinner to some of the
numerous meetings at different houses or had people at home. I think the
great majority of deputies were honestly trying to do what they thought
best for the country, and when one remembers the names and personalities
on both sides--MacMahon, Broglie, d'Audiffret-Pasquier, Buffet, Dufaure,
and Thiers, Casimir Périer, Léon Say, Jules Simon, Jules Ferry,
Freycinet, and many others, it is impossible to think that any of those
men were animated by any spirit other than love of the country and an
ardent desire to see some stable government restored which would enable
France to take her place again among the great powers. Unfortunately the
difference of opinion as to the form of government made things very
difficult. Some of the young deputies, just fresh from the war and
smarting under a sense of humiliation, were very violent in their abuse
of any Royalist and particularly Bonapartist restoration.

[Illustration: Meeting of officers of the National Assembly, and of
delegates of the new Chambers, in the salon of Hercules, palace of
Versailles. From _L'Illustration_, March 11. 1876.]



IV


THE SOCIAL SIDE OF A MINISTER'S WIFE

My first big dinner at the Ministry of Public Instruction rather
intimidated me. We were fifty people--I the only lady. I went over to
the ministry in the afternoon to see the table, which was very well
arranged with quantities of flowers, beautiful Sèvres china, not much
silver--there is very little left in France, it having all been melted
at the time of the Revolution. The official dinners are always well done
in Paris. I suppose the traditions of the Empire have been handed down.
We arrived a few minutes before eight, all the staff and directors
already there, and by ten minutes after eight every one had arrived. I
sat between Gérôme, the painter, and Renan, two very different men but
each quite charming,--Gérôme tall, slight, animated, talking very easily
about everything. He told me who a great many of the people were, with a
little commentary on their profession and career which was very useful
to me, as I knew so few of them. Renan was short, stout, with a very
large head, almost unprepossessing-looking, but with a great charm of
manner and the most delightful smile and voice imaginable. He often
dined with us in our own house, en petit comité, and was always
charming. He was one of those happy mortals (there are not many) who
made every subject they discuss interesting.

After that first experience, I liked the big men's dinners very much.
There was no general conversation; I talked exclusively to my two
neighbours, but as they were always distinguished in some branch of art,
science, or literature, the talk was brilliant, and I found the hour our
dinner lasted a very short one. W. was very particular about not having
long dinners. Later, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where we
sometimes had eighty guests, the dinner was never over an hour. I did
not remain the whole evening at the men's dinners. As soon as they
dispersed to talk and smoke, I came away, leaving W. to entertain his
guests. We often had big receptions with music and comédie. At one of
our first big parties we had several of the Orléans family. I was rather
nervous, as I had never received royalty,--in fact I had never spoken to
a royal prince or princess. I had lived a great deal in Rome, as a girl,
during the last days of Pius IX, and I was never in Paris during the
Empire. When we went back to Rome one winter, after the accession of
King Victor Emmanuel, I found myself for the first time in a room with
royalties, the Prince and Princesse de Piémont. I remember quite well
being so surprised by seeing two of the Roman men we knew very well come
backward into the ballroom where we were sitting. I thought they must be
anticipating the Mardi Gras and were masquerading a little, didn't
realise that every one was standing. I remained sitting for a moment
(much to the horror of one of the English secretaries who was with us
and who thought we were going to make a spread-eagle American
demonstration and remain sitting when royalty appeared). However, by
some sort of instinct, we rose too (perhaps to see what was going on),
just as the princes passed. Princess Marguerite looked charming, dressed
in white, with her splendid pearls and beautiful fair hair.

When it was decided that we should ask the Orléans princes to our party,
I thought I would go to see the Duc Décazes, the foreign minister, a
charming man and charming colleague, to get some precise information
about my part of the entertainment. He couldn't think what I wanted when
I invaded his cabinet, and was much amused when I stated my case.

"There is nothing unusual in receiving the princes at a ministry. You
must do as you have always done."

"But that is just the question, I have _never done_. I have never in my
life exchanged a word with a royal personage."

"It is not possible!"

"It is absolutely true; I have never lived anywhere where there was a
court."

When he saw that I was in earnest he was as nice as possible, told me
_exactly_ what I wanted to know,--that I need not say "Altesse royale"
every time I spoke, merely occasionally, as they all like it,--that I
must speak in the third person, "Madame veut-elle," "Monseigneur veut-il
me permettre," etc., also that I must always be at the door when a
princess arrived and conduct her myself to her seat.

"But if I am at one end of the long enfilade of rooms taking the
Comtesse de Paris to her seat and another princess (Joinville or
Chartres) should arrive; what has to be done?"

"Your husband must always be at the door with his chef de cabinet, who
will replace him while he takes the princess to her place."

The Marquise de L., a charming old lady with white hair, beautiful blue
eyes, and pink cheeks, a great friend of the Orléans family, went with
me when I made my round of visits to thank the royal ladies for
accepting our invitation. We found no one but the Princesse Marguerite,
daughter of the Duc de Nemours, who was living at Neuilly. I had all my
instructions from the marquise, how many courtesies to make, how to
address her, and above all not to speak until the princess spoke to me.
We were shown into a pretty drawing-room, opening on a garden, where the
princess was waiting, standing at one end of the room. Madame de L.
named me, I made my courtesies, the princess shook hands, and then we
remained standing, facing each other. She didn't say anything. I stood
perfectly straight and quiet, waiting. She changed colour, moved her
hands nervously, was evidently overcome with shyness, but didn't utter a
sound. It seemed very long, was really only a few seconds, but I was
getting rather nervous when suddenly a child ran across the garden. That
broke the ice and she asked me the classic royal question, "Avez-vous
des enfants, madame?" I had only one, and he was rather small, but still
his nurse, his teeth, and his food carried me on for a little while and
after that we had some general conversation, but I can't say the visit
was really interesting. As long as I was in public life I regretted
that I had but the one child,--children and nurseries and schoolrooms
were always an unfailing topic of conversation. Frenchwomen of all
classes take much more interest in the details of their nurseries and
the education and bringing-up of their children than we Anglo-Saxons do.
I know several mammas who followed all the course of their sons' studies
when they were preparing their baccalauréat, even to writing the
compositions. The head nurse (English) who takes entire charge of her
nursery, who doesn't like any interference, and brings the children to
their mother at stated hours, doesn't exist in France.

Our party was very brilliant, all sorts of notabilities of all kinds,
and the leading Paris artists from the Grand Opera, Opéra Comique, and
the Français. As soon as the performance was over W. told me I must go
and thank the artists; he could not leave his princes. I started off to
the last of the long suite of salons where they were all assembled.
Comte de L., W.'s chef de cabinet, went with me, and we were preceded by
a huissier with sword and chain, who piloted us through the crowd. I
felt very shy when I arrived in the greenroom. The artists were drawn up
in two rows, the women on one side, the men on the other, all eyes of
course fixed upon madame la ministresse. Madame Carvalho, Sarah
Bernhardt, and Croizette were standing at the head of the long line of
women; Faure, Talazac, Delaunay, Coquelin, on the other side. I went
first all along the line of women, then came back by the men. I realised
instantly after the first word of thanks and interest how easy it is for
princes, or any one in high places, to give pleasure. They all responded
so smilingly and naturally to everything I said. After the first two or
three words, I didn't mind at all, and found myself discussing
acoustics, the difficulty of playing any well-known part without
costumes, scenery, etc., the inconvenience of having the public so near,
quite easily. We often had music and recitations at our parties, and
that was always a great pleasure to me. I remember so well one evening
when we had the chorus of the Conservatoire and they sang quite
beautifully the old "Plaisirs d'Amour" of our childhood. It had a great
success and they were obliged to repeat it. W. made one great innovation
in the dress of the ladies of the Conservatoire chorus. They were always
dressed in white, which was very well for the young, slight figures, but
was less happy for a stout middle-aged lady. So after much discussion it
was decided to adopt black as the official dress and I must say it was
an enormous improvement.



THE SOCIAL SIDE

All sorts of interesting people came to see us at the Ministry of Public
Instruction,--among others the late Emperor of Brazil, Don Pedro de
Bragance, who spent some months in Paris that year with his daughter,
the young Comtesse d'Eu. He was a tall, good-looking man, with a
charming easy manner, very cultivated and very keen about
everything--art, literature, politics. His gentlemen said he had the
energy of a man of twenty-five, and he was well over middle age when he
was in Paris. They were quite exhausted sometimes after a long day of
visits and sightseeing with him. He was an early riser. One of the first
rendezvous he gave W. was at nine o'clock in the morning, which greatly
disturbed that gentleman's habits. He was never an early riser, worked
always very late (said his best despatches were written after midnight),
and didn't care about beginning his day too early. Another interesting
personality was Mommsen, the German historian and savant. He was a
picturesque-looking old man with keen blue eyes and a quantity of white
hair. I don't think anything modern interested him very much. He was an
old man when I first saw him, and looked even older than his age. He and
W. used to plunge into very long, learned discussions over antiquities
and medals. W. said the hours with Mommsen rested him, such a change
from the "shop" talk always mixed with politics in France.

We often had political breakfasts at home (more breakfasts than
dinners). Our Aisne deputies and senators were not very mondains, didn't
care much to dine out. They were pleasant enough when they talked about
subjects that interested them. Henri Martin, senator of the Aisne, was
an old-fashioned Republican, absolutely convinced that no other
government would ever succeed in France, but he was moderate. St.
Vallier, also a senator from the Aisne, was nervous and easily
discouraged when things didn't go smoothly, but he too thought the
Republic was the only possible government now, whatever his preferences
might have been formerly.

W.'s ministry came to an end on the famous 16th of May, 1877, when
Marshal MacMahon suddenly took matters in his own hands and dismissed
his cabinet presided over by M. Jules Simon. Things had not been going
smoothly for some time, could not between two men of such absolute
difference of origin, habits, and ideas. Still, the famous letter
written by the marshal to Jules Simon was a thunderclap. I was walking
about the Champs-Elysées and Faubourg St. Honoré on the morning of the
16th of May, and saw all the carriages, our own included, waiting at the
Ministry of the Interior, where the conseil was sitting. I went home to
breakfast, thought W. was later than usual, but never dreamed of what
was happening. When he finally appeared, quite composed and smiling,
with his news, "We are out of office; the marshal has sent us all about
our business," I could hardly believe it, even when he told me all the
details. I had known for a long time that things were not going well,
but there were always so much friction and such opposing elements in the
cabinet that I had not attached much importance to the accounts of
stormy sittings and thought things would settle down.

[Illustration: Theodor Mommsen. From a painting by Franz von Lenbach.]

W. said the marshal was very civil to him, but it was evident that he
could not stand Jules Simon any longer and the various measures that he
felt were impending. We had many visitors after breakfast, all much
excited, wondering what the next step would be--if the Chambers would be
dissolved, the marshal trying to impose a cabinet of the Right or
perhaps form another moderate liberal cabinet without Jules Simon, but
retaining some of his ministers. It was my reception afternoon, and
while I was sitting quietly in my drawing-room talking to some of my
friends, making plans for the summer, quite pleased to have W. to
myself again, the butler hurried into the room telling me that the
Maréchale de MacMahon was on the stairs, coming to make me a visit. I
was very much surprised, as she never came to see me. We met very
rarely, except on official occasions, and she made no secret of her
dislike to the official Republican ladies (but she was always absolutely
correct if not enthusiastic). I had just time to get to the head of the
stairs to receive her. She was very amiable, a little embarrassed, took
a cup of tea--said the marshal was very sorry to part with W., he had
never had any trouble or disagreement with him of any kind, but that it
was impossible to go on with a cabinet when neither party had any
confidence in the other. I quite agreed, said it was the fortunes of
war; I hoped the marshal would find another premier who would be more
sympathetic with him, and then we talked of other things.

My friends were quite amused. One of them, Marquise de T., knew the
Maréchale quite well, and said she was going to ask her if she was
obliged to make visites de condoléance to the wives of all the fallen
ministers. W. was rather astonished when I told him who had come to tea
with me, and thought the conversation must have been difficult. I told
him, not at all, once the necessary phrases about the departing
ministers were over. The piano was open, music littered about; she was
fond of music and she admired very much a portrait of father as a boy in
the Harrow dress, asked who it was and what the dress was. She was a
perfect woman of the world, and no one was uncomfortable.

It seemed quite strange and very pleasant to take up my old life again
after two years of public life. W. breakfasted at home, went to the
Senate every day and to the Institute on Fridays and we dined with our
friends and had small dinners in our own house instead of official
banquets at all the ministries (usually from Potel and Chabot at so much
a head). Politics were very lively all summer. The Chambers were
dissolved almost at once after the constitution of the new cabinet,
presided over by the Duc de Broglie. It was evident from the first
moment that the new ministry wouldn't, couldn't live. (The Duc de
Broglie was quite aware of the fact. His first words on taking office
were: "On nous a jetés à l'eau, maintenant il faut nager.") He made a
very good fight, but he had that worst of all faults for a leader, he
was unpopular. He was a brilliant, cultured speaker, but had a curt,
dictatorial manner, with an air always of looking down upon his public.
So different from his colleague, the Duc Décazes, whose charming,
courteous manners and nice blue eyes made him friends even among his
adversaries. There is a well-known story told of the two dukes which
shows exactly the personality of the men. Some one, a deputy I think,
wanted something very much which either of the gentlemen could give. He
went first to the Duc Décazes, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, who
received him charmingly, was most kind and courteous, but didn't do what
the man wanted. He then went to the Duc de Broglie, Président du
Conseil, who was busy, received him very curtly, cut short his
explanations, and was in fact extremely disagreeable but did the thing,
and the man loved Décazes and hated de Broglie. All sorts of rumours
were afloat; we used to hear the wildest stories and plans. One day W.
came in looking rather preoccupied. There was an idea that the Right
were going to take most stringent measures, arrest all the ministers,
members of Jules Simon's cabinet, many of the prominent Liberals. He
said it was quite possible and then gave me various instructions. I was
above all to make no fuss if they really came to arrest him. He showed
me where all his keys, papers, and money were, told me to go instantly
to his uncle, Mr. Lutteroth, who lived next door. He was an old
diplomat, knew everybody, and would give me very good advice. I did not
feel very happy, but like so many things that are foretold, nothing
ever happened.

Another rumour, from the extreme Left this time, was that a large armed
force under the command of a well-known general, very high up in his
career, was to assemble in the north at Lille, a strong contingent of
Republicans were to join them to be ready to act. I remember quite well
two of W.'s friends coming in one morning, full of enthusiasm for this
plan. I don't think they quite knew what they were going to do with
their army. W. certainly did not. He listened to all the details of the
plan; they gave him the name of the general, supposed to have very
Republican sympathies (not generally the case with officers), the number
of regiments, etc., who would march at a given signal, but when he said,
"It is possible, you might get a certain number of men together, but
what would you do with them?" they were rather nonplussed. They hadn't
got any further than a grand patriotic demonstration, with the military,
drums beating, flags flying, and the Marseillaise being howled by an
excited crowd. No such extreme measures, however, were ever carried
out. From the first moment it was evident that a large Republican
majority would be returned; almost all the former deputies were
re-elected and a number of new ones, more advanced in their opinion. In
the country it was the only topic of conversation.

Parliament was dissolved in June, 1877, but we remained in town until
the end of July. It wasn't very warm and many people remained until the
end of the session. The big schools too only break up on the 15th of
July, and many parents remain in Paris. The Republican campaign had
already begun, and there were numerous little dinners and meetings when
plans and possibilities were discussed. W. got back usually very late
from Versailles. When he knew the sitting would be very late he sent me
word and I used to go and dine with mother, but sometimes he was kept on
there from hour to hour. I had some long waits before we could dine, and
Hubert, the coachman, used to spend hours in the courtyard of the Gare
St. Lazare waiting for his master. We had a big bay mare, a very fast
trotter, which always did the train service, and the two were stationed
there sometimes from six-thirty to nine-thirty, but they never seemed
the worse for it. W., though a very considerate man for his servants
generally, never worried at all about keeping his coachmen and horses
waiting. He said the coachmen were the most warmly dressed men in Paris,
always took care to be well covered, and we never had fancy,
high-stepping horses, but ordinary strong ones, which could wait
patiently. W. said the talk in the Chambers and in the lobbies was quite
wild--every sort of extravagant proposition was made. There were many
conferences with the Duc d'Audiffret-Pasquier, Duc de Broglie--with
Casimir Périer, Léon Say, Gambetta, Jules Ferry, and Freycinet--where
the best men on both sides tried hard to come to an agreement. W. went
several times in August to see M. Thiers, who was settled at St.
Germain. The old statesman was as keen as ever, receiving every day all
sorts of deputations, advising, warning, encouraging, and quite
confident as to the result of the elections. People were looking to him
as the next President, despite his great age. However, he was not
destined to see the triumph of his ideas. He died suddenly at St.
Germain on the 3d of September. W. said his funeral was a remarkable
sight--thousands of people followed the cortège--all Paris showing a
last respect to the libérateur du territoire (though there were still
clubs where he was spoken of as le sinistre vieillard). In August W.
went to his Conseil-Général at Laon, and I went down to my
brother-in-law's place at St. Léger near Rouen. We were a very happy
cosmopolitan family-party. My mother-in-law was born a Scotch-woman
(Chisholm). She was a fine type of the old-fashioned cultivated lady,
with a charming polite manner, keenly interested in all that was going
on in the world. She was an old lady when I married, and had outlived
almost all her contemporaries, but she had a beautiful old age,
surrounded by children and grandchildren. She had lived through many
vicissitudes from the time of her marriage, when she arrived at the
Château of St. Remy in the Department of Eure-et-Loire (where my
husband, her eldest son, was born), passing through triumphal arches
erected in honour of the young bride, to the last days when the fortunes
of the family were diminished by revolutions and political and business
crises in France. They moved from St. Remy, selling the château, and
built a house on the top of a green hill near Rouen, quite shut in by
big trees, and with a lovely view from the Rond Point--the highest part
of the garden, over Rouen--with the spires of the cathedral in the
distance. I used to find her every morning when I went to her room,
sitting at the window, her books and knitting on a table near--looking
down on the lawn and the steep winding path that came up from the
garden,--where she had seen three generations of her dear ones pass
every day--first her husband, then her sons--now her grandsons. My
sister-in-law, R.'s wife, was also an Englishwoman; the daughter of the
house had married her cousin, de Bunsen, who had been a German
diplomatist, and who had made nearly all his career in Italy, at the
most interesting period of her history, when she was struggling for
emancipation from the Austrian rule and independence. I was an American,
quite a new element in the family circle. We had many and most animated
discussions over all sorts of subjects, in two or three languages, at
the tea-table under the big tree on the lawn. French and English were
always going, and often German, as de Bunsen always spoke to his
daughter in German. My mother-in-law, who knew three or four languages,
did not at all approve of the careless habit we had all got into of
mixing our languages and using French or Italian words when we were
speaking English--if they came more easily. She made a rule that we
should use only one language at meals--she didn't care which one, but we
must keep to it. My brother-in-law was standing for the deputation. We
didn't see much of him in the daytime--his electors and his visits and
speeches and banquets de pompiers took up all his time. The beginning
of his career had been very different. He was educated in England--Rugby
and Woolwich--and served several years in the Royal Artillery in the
British army. His military training was very useful to him during the
Franco-Prussian War, when he equipped and commanded a field battery,
making all the campaign. His English brother officers always remembered
him. Many times when we were living in England at the embassy, I was
asked about him. A curious thing happened in the House of Lords one day,
showing the wonderful memory of princes for faces. R. was staying with
us for a few days, when the annual debate over the bill for marriage of
a deceased wife's sister came up. The Prince of Wales (late King Edward)
and all the other princes were present in the House. R. was there too,
standing where all the strangers do, at the entrance of the lobby. When
the debate was over, the Prince of Wales left. As he passed along, he
shook hands with several gentlemen also standing near the lobby,
including R. He stopped a moment in front of him, saying: "I think this
is Mr. Waddington. The last time I saw you, you wore Her Majesty's
uniform." He hadn't seen him for twenty-five or thirty years. I asked
the prince afterward how he recognised him. He said he didn't know; it
was perhaps noticing an unfamiliar face in the group of men standing
there,--and something recalled his brother, the ambassador.

In September we went down to Bourneville and settled ourselves there for
the autumn. W. was standing for the Senate with the Count de St. Vallier
and Henri Martin. They all preferred being named in their department,
where everybody knew them and their personal influence could make itself
more easily felt. W.'s campaign was not very arduous. All the people
knew him and liked him--knew that he would do whatever he promised.
Their programme was absolutely Republican, but moderate, and he only
made a few speeches and went about the country a little. I often went
with him when he rode, and some of our visits to the farmers and local
authorities were amusing if not encouraging. We were always very well
received, but it wasn't easy to find out what they really thought (if
they did think about it at all) of the state of affairs. The small
landowners particularly, the men who had one field and a garden, were
very reserved. They listened attentively enough to all W. had to say. He
was never long, never personal, and never abused his adversaries, but
they rarely expressed an opinion. They almost always turned the
conversation upon some local matter or petty grievance. It didn't seem
to me that they took the slightest interest in the extraordinary changes
that were going on in France. A great many people came to see W. and
there would be a curious collection sometimes in his library at the end
of the day. The doctor (who always had precise information--country
doctors always have--they see a great many people and I fancy the women
talk to them and tell them what their men are doing), one or two
farmers, some schoolmasters, the mayors of the nearest villages, the
captains of the firemen and of the archers (they still shoot with bow
and arrow in our part of the country; every Sunday the men practise
shooting at a target)--the gendarmes, very useful these too to bring
news--the notary, and occasionally a sous-préfet, but then he was a
personage, representing the Government, and was treated with more
ceremony than the other visitors. It was evident from all these sources
that the Republicans were coming to the front en masse.

The Republicans (for once) were marvellously disciplined and kept
together. It was really wonderful when one thought of all the different
elements that were represented in the party. There was quite as much
difference between the quiet moderate men of the Left Centre and the
extreme Left as there was between the Legitimists and any faction of the
Republican party. There was a strong feeling among the Liberals that
they were being coerced, that arbitrary measures, perhaps a coup d'état,
would be sprung upon them, and they were quite determined to resist. I
don't think there was ever any danger of a coup d'état, at least as long
as Marshal MacMahon was the chief of state. He was a fine honourable,
patriotic soldier, utterly incapable of an illegality of any kind. He
didn't like the Republic, honestly thought it would never succeed with
the Republicans (la République sans Républicains was for him its only
chance)--and he certainly had illusions and thought his friends and
advisers would succeed in making and keeping a firm conservative
government. How far that illusion was shared by his entourage it is
difficult to say. They fought their battle well--government pressure
exercised in all ways. Préfets and sous-préfets changed, wonderful
prospects of little work and high pay held out to doubtful electors, and
the same bright illusive promises made to the masses, which all parties
make in all elections and which the people believe each time. The
Republicans were not idle either, and many fiery patriotic speeches
were made or their side. Gambetta always held his public with his
passionate, earnest declamation, and his famous phrase, that the marshal
must "se soumettre ou se démettre," became a password all through
the country.



V


A REPUBLICAN VICTORY AND A NEW MINISTRY

The elections took place in October-November, 1877, and gave at once a
great Republican majority. W. and his two colleagues, Count de St.
Vallier and Henri Martin, had an easy victory, but a great many of their
personal friends, moderates, were beaten. The centres were decidedly
weaker in the new Chambers. There was not much hope left of uniting the
two centres, Droite et Gauche, in the famous "fusion" which had been a
dream of the moderate men.

The new Chambers assembled at Versailles in November. The Broglie
cabinet was out, but a new ministry of the Right faced the new
Parliament. Their life was very short and stormy; they were really dead
before they began to exist and in December the marshal sent for M.
Dufaure and charged him to form a Ministère de Gauche. None of his
personal friends, except General Borel at the War Office, was in the new
combination. W. was named to the Foreign Office. I was rather
disappointed when he came home and told me he had accepted that
portfolio. I thought his old ministry, Public Instruction, suited him so
well, the work interested him, was entirely to his taste. He knew all
the literary and educational world, not only in France but everywhere
else--England, of course, where he had kept up with many of his
Cambridge comrades, and Germany, where he also had literary connections.
However, that wide acquaintance and his perfect knowledge of English and
English people helped him very much at once, not only at the Quai
d'Orsay, but in all the years he was in England as ambassador.

The new ministry, with Dufaure as President of the Council, Léon Say at
the Finances, M. de Freycinet at Public Works, and W. at the Foreign
Office was announced the 14th of December, 1877. The preliminaries had
been long and difficult--the marshal and his friends on one side--the
Republicans and Gambetta on the other--the moderates trying to keep
things together. Personally, I was rather sorry W. had agreed to be a
member of the cabinet; I was not very keen about official life and
foresaw a great deal that would be disagreeable. Politics played such a
part in social life. All the "society," the Faubourg St. Germain (which
represents the old names and titles of France), was violently opposed to
the Republic. I was astonished the first years of my married life in
France, to see people of certain position and standing give the cold
shoulder to men they had known all their lives because they were
Republicans, knowing them quite well to be honourable, independent
gentlemen, wanting nothing from the Republic--merely trying to do their
best for the country. I only realised by degrees that people held off a
little from me sometimes, as the wife of a Republican deputy. I didn't
care particularly, as I had never lived in France, and knew very few
people, but it didn't make social relations very pleasant, and I should
have been better pleased if W. had taken no active part. However, that
feeling was only temporary. I soon became keenly interested in politics
(I suppose it is in the blood--all the men in my family in America were
politicians) and in the discussion of the various questions which were
rapidly changing France into something quite different. Whether the
change has been for the better it would be hard to say even now, after
more than thirty-five years of the Republic.

Freycinet was a great strength. He was absolutely Republican, but
moderate--very clever and energetic, a great friend of Gambetta's--and
a beautiful speaker. I have heard men say who didn't care about him
particularly, and who were not at all of his way of thinking, that they
would rather not discuss with him. He was sure to win them over to his
cause with his wonderful, clear persuasive arguments.

[Illustration: Palace of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paris.]

The first days were very busy ones. W. had to see all his staff (a very
large one) of the Foreign Office, and organise his own cabinet. He was
out all day, until late in the evening, at the Quai d'Orsay; used to go
over there about ten or ten-thirty, breakfast there, and get back for a
very late dinner, and always had a director or secretary working with
him at our own house after dinner. I went over three or four times to
inspect the ministry, as I had a presentiment we should end by living
there. The house is large and handsome, with a fine staircase and large
high rooms. The furniture of course was "ministerial"--stiff and
heavy--gold-backed chairs and sofas standing in rows against the walls.
There were some good pictures, among others the "Congrès de Paris,"
which occupies a prominent place in one of the salons, and splendid
tapestries. The most attractive thing was a fine large garden at the
back, but, as the living-rooms were up-stairs, we didn't use it very
much. The lower rooms, which opened on the gardens, were only used as
reception-rooms. The minister's cabinet was also down-stairs,
communicating by a small staircase with his bedroom, just overhead. The
front of the house looks on the Seine; we had always a charming view
from the windows, at night particularly, when all the little steamers
(mouches) were passing with their lights. I had of course to make
acquaintance with all the diplomatic corps. I knew all the ambassadors
and most of the ministers, but there were some representatives of the
smaller powers and South American Republics with whom I had never come
in contact. Again I paid a formal official visit to the Maréchale de
MacMahon as soon as the ministry was announced. She was perfectly polite
and correct, but one felt at once she hadn't the slightest sympathy for
anything Republican, and we never got to know each other any better all
the months we were thrown together. We remained for several weeks at our
own house, and then most reluctantly determined to install ourselves at
the ministry. W. worked always very late after dinner, and he felt it
was not possible to ask his directors, all important men of a certain
age, to come up to the Quartier de l'Etoile at ten o'clock and keep them
busy until midnight. W.'s new chef de cabinet, Comte de Pontécoulant,
was very anxious that we should move, thought everything would be
simplified if W. were living over there. I had never known Pontécoulant
until W. chose him as his chef de cabinet. He was a diplomatist with
some years of service behind him, and was perfectly au courant of all
the routine and habits of the Foreign Office. He paid me a short formal
visit soon after he had accepted the post; we exchanged a few remarks
about the situation, I hoped we would faire bon ménage, and had no
particular impression of him except that he was very French and stiff; I
didn't suppose I should see much of him. It seems curious now to look
back upon that first interview. We all became so fond of him, he was a
loyal, faithful friend, was always ready to help me in any small
difficulties, and I went to him for everything--visits, servants,
horses, etc. W. had no time for any details or amenities of life. We
moved over just before New Year's day. As the gros mobilier was already
there, we only took over personal things, grand piano, screens, tables,
easy chairs, and small ornaments and bibelots. These were all sent off
in a van early one morning, and after luncheon I went over, having given
rendezvous to Pontécoulant and M. Kruft, chef du matériel, an
excellent, intelligent man, who was most useful and devoted to me the
two years I lived at the ministry. I was very depressed when we drove
into the courtyard. I had never lived on that side of the river, and
felt cut off from all my belongings,--the bridge a terror, so cold in
winter, so hot in summer,--I never got accustomed to it, never crossed
it on foot. The sight of the great empty rooms didn't reassure me. The
reception-rooms of course were very handsome. There were a great many
servants, huissiers, and footmen standing about, and people waiting in
the big drawing-room to speak to W. The living-rooms up-stairs were
ghastly--looked bare and uncomfortable in the highest degree. They were
large and high and looked down upon the garden, though that on a bleak
December day was not very cheerful--but there were possibilities. Kruft
was very sympathetic, understood quite well how I felt, and was ready to
do anything in the way of stoves, baths, wardrobes in the lingerie, new
carpets, and curtains, that I wanted. Pontécoulant too was eminently
practical, and I was quite amused to find myself discussing lingeries
and bathrooms with a total stranger whom I had only seen twice in my
life. It took me about a week to get really settled. I went over every
day, returning to my own house to eat and sleep. Kruft did wonders; the
place was quite transformed when I finally moved over. The rooms looked
very bright and comfortable when we arrived in the afternoon of the 31st
of December (New Year's eve). The little end salon, which I made my
boudoir, was hung with blue satin; my piano, screens, and little things
were very well placed--plenty of palms and flowers, bright fires
everywhere--the bedrooms, nursery, and lingeries clean and bright. My
bedroom opened on a large salon, where I received usually, keeping my
boudoir for ourselves and our intimate friends. My special huissier,
Gérard, who sat all day outside of the salon door, was presented to me,
and instantly became a most useful and important member of the
household--never forgot a name or a face, remembered what cards and
notes I had received, whether the notes were answered, or the bills
paid, knew almost all my wardrobe, would bring me down a coat or a wrap
if I wanted one suddenly down-stairs. I had frequent consultations with
Pontécoulant and Kruft to regulate all the details of the various
services before we were quite settled. We took over all our own servants
and found many others who were on the permanent staff of the ministry,
footmen, huissiers, and odd men who attended to all the fires, opened
and shut all the doors, windows, and shutters. It was rather difficult
to organise the regular working service, there was such rivalry between
our own personal servants and the men who belonged to the house, but
after a little while things went pretty smoothly. W. dined out the first
night we slept at the Quai d'Orsay, and about an hour after we had
arrived, while I was still walking about in my hat and coat, feeling
very strange in the big, high rooms, I was told that the lampiste was
waiting my orders (a few lamps had been lit in some of the rooms). I
didn't quite know what orders to give, hadn't mastered yet the number
that would be required; but I sent for him, said I should be alone for
dinner, perhaps one or two lamps in the dining-room and small salon
would be enough. He evidently thought that was not at all sufficient,
wanted something more precise, so I said to light as he had been
accustomed to when the Duc Décazes and his family were dining alone
(which I don't suppose they ever did, nor we either when we once took up
our life). Such a blaze of light met my eyes when I went to dinner that
I was quite bewildered--boudoir, billiard-room, dining-room (very large,
the small round table for one person hardly perceptible), and corridors
all lighted "à giorno." However, it looked very cheerful and kept me
from feeling too dreadfully homesick for my own house and familiar
surroundings. The rooms were so high up that we didn't hear the noise of
the street, but the river looked alive and friendly with the lights on
the bridges, and a few boats still running.

We had much more receiving and entertaining to do at the Quai d'Orsay
than at any other ministry, and were obliged to go out much more
ourselves. The season in the official world begins with a reception at
the President's on New Year's day. The diplomatic corps and presidents
of the Senate and Chamber go in state to the Elysée to pay their
respects to the chief of state--the ambassadors with all their staff in
uniform in gala carriages. It is a pretty sight, and there are always a
good many people waiting in the Faubourg St. Honoré to see the
carriages. The English carriage is always the best; they understand all
the details of harness and livery so much better than any one else. The
marshal and his family were established at the Elysée. It wasn't
possible for him to remain at Versailles--he couldn't be so far from
Paris, where all sorts of questions were coming up every day, and he was
obliged to receive deputations and reports, and see people of all kinds.
They were already agitating the question of the Parliament coming back
to Paris. The deputies generally were complaining of the loss of time
and the discomfort of the daily journey even in the parliamentary train.
The Right generally was very much opposed to having the Chambers back in
Paris. I never could understand why. I suppose they were afraid that a
stormy sitting might lead to disturbances. In the streets of a big city
there is always a floating population ready to espouse violently any
cause. At Versailles one was away from any such danger, and, except
immediately around the palace, there was nobody in the long, deserted
avenues. They often cited the United States, how no statesman after the
signing of the Declaration of Independence (in Philadelphia) would have
ventured to propose that the Parliament should sit in New York or
Philadelphia, but the reason there was very different; they were obliged
to make a neutral zone, something between the North and the South. The
District of Columbia is a thing apart, belonging to neither side. It has
certainly worked very well in America. Washington is a fine city, with
its splendid old trees and broad avenues. It has a cachet of its own, is
unlike any other city I know in the world.

The marshal received at the Elysée every Thursday evening--he and his
staff in uniform, also all the officers who came, which made a brilliant
gathering. Their big dinners and receptions were always extremely well
done. Except a few of their personal friends, not many people of society
were present--the diplomatic corps usually very well represented, the
Government and their wives, and a certain number of liberal deputies--a
great many officers. We received every fifteen days, beginning with a
big dinner. It was an open reception, announced in the papers. The
diplomats always mustered very strong, also the Parliament--not many
women. Many of the deputies remained in the country, taking rooms merely
while the Chambers were sitting, and their wives never appeared in
Paris. "Society" didn't come to us much either, except on certain
occasions when we had a royal prince or some very distinguished
foreigners. Besides the big official receptions, we often had small
dinners up-stairs during the week. Some of these I look back to with
much pleasure. I was generally the only lady with eight or ten men, and
the talk was often brilliant. Some of our habitués were the late Lord
Houghton, a delightful talker; Lord Dufferin, then ambassador in St.
Petersburg; Sir Henry Layard, British ambassador in Spain, an
interesting man who had been everywhere and seen and known everybody
worth knowing in the world; Count Schouvaloff, Russian ambassador in
London, a polished courtier, extremely intelligent; he and W. were
colleagues afterward at the Congrès de Berlin, and W. has often told me
how brilliantly he defended his cause; General Ignatieff, Prince Orloff,
the nunzio Monsignor Czascki, quite charming, the type of the prélat
mondain, very large (though very Catholic) in his ideas, but never
aggressive or disagreeable about the Republic, as so many of the clergy
were. He was very fond of music, and went with me sometimes to the
Conservatoire on Sunday; he had a great admiration for the way they
played classical music; used to lean back in his chair in a corner
(would never sit in front of the box) and drink in every sound.

We sometimes had informal music in my little blue salon. Baron de
Zuylen, Dutch minister, was an excellent musician, also Comte de Beust,
the Austrian ambassador. He was a composer. I remember his playing me
one day a wedding march he had composed for the marriage of one of the
archdukes. It was very descriptive, with bells, cannon, hurrahs, and a
nuptial hymn--rather difficult to render on a piano--but there was a
certain amount of imagination in the composition. The two came often
with me to the Conservatoire. Comte de Beust brought Liszt to me one
day. I wanted so much to see that complex character, made up of
enthusiasms of all kinds, patriotic, religious, musical. He was dressed
in the ordinary black priestly garb, looked like an ascetic with pale,
thin face, which lighted up very much when discussing any subject that
interested him. He didn't say a word about music, either then or on a
subsequent occasion when I lunched with him at the house of a great
friend and admirer, who was a beautiful musician. I hoped he would play
after luncheon. He was a very old man, and played rarely in those days,
but one would have liked to hear him. Madame M. thought he would perhaps
for her, if the party were not too large, and the guests "sympathetic"
to him. I have heard so many artists say it made all the difference to
them when they felt the public was with them--if there were one
unsympathetic or criticising face in the mass of people, it was the only
face they could distinguish, and it affected them very much. The piano
was engagingly open and music littered about, but he apparently didn't
see it. He talked politics, and a good deal about pictures with some
artists who were present.

[Illustration: Franz Liszt.]

I did hear him play many years later in London. We were again lunching
together, at the house of a mutual friend, who was not at all musical.
There wasn't even a piano in the house, but she had one brought in for
the occasion. When I arrived rather early, the day of the party, I found
the mistress of the house, aided by Count Hatzfeldt, then German
ambassador to England, busily engaged in transforming her drawing-room.
The grand piano, which had been standing well out toward the middle of
the room, open, with music on it (I dare say some of Liszt's own--but I
didn't have time to examine), was being pushed back into a corner, all
the music hidden away, and the instrument covered with photographs,
vases of flowers, statuettes, heavy books, all the things one doesn't
habitually put on pianos. I was quite puzzled, but Hatzfeldt, who was a
great friend of Liszt's and knew all his peculiarities, when consulted
by Madame A. as to what she could do to induce Liszt to play, had
answered: "Begin by putting the piano in the furthest, darkest corner of
the room, and put all sorts of heavy things on it. Then he won't think
you have asked him in the hope of hearing him play, and perhaps we can
persuade him." The arrangements were just finished as the rest of the
company arrived. We were not a large party, and the talk was pleasant
enough. Liszt looked much older, so colourless, his skin like ivory,
but he seemed just as animated and interested in everything. After
luncheon, when they were smoking (all of us together, no one went into
the smoking-room), he and Hatzfeldt began talking about the Empire and
the beautiful fêtes at Compiègne, where anybody of any distinction in
any branch of art or literature was invited. Hatzfeldt led the
conversation to some evenings when Strauss played his waltzes with an
entrain, a sentiment that no one else has ever attained, and to
Offenbach and his melodies--one evening particularly when he had
improvised a song for the Empress--he couldn't quite remember it. If
there were a piano--he looked about. There was none apparently. "Oh,
yes, in a corner, but so many things upon it, it was evidently never
meant to be opened." He moved toward it, Liszt following, asking
Comtesse A. if it could be opened. The things were quickly removed.
Hatzfeldt sat down and played a few bars in rather a halting fashion.
After a moment Liszt said: "No, no, it is not quite that." Hatzfeldt got
up. Liszt seated himself at the piano, played two or three bits of
songs, or waltzes, then, always talking to Hatzfeldt, let his fingers
wander over the keys and by degrees broke into a nocturne and a wild
Hungarian march. It was very curious; his fingers looked as if they
were made of yellow ivory, so thin and long, and of course there wasn't
any strength or execution in his playing--it was the touch of an old
man, but a master--quite unlike anything I have ever heard. When he got
up, he said: "Oh, well, I didn't think the old fingers had any music
left in them." We tried to thank him, but he wouldn't listen to us,
immediately talked about something else. When he had gone we
complimented the ambassador on the way in which he had managed the
thing. Hatzfeldt was a charming colleague, very clever, very musical, a
thorough man of the world. I was always pleased when he was next to me
at dinner--I was sure of a pleasant hour. He had been many years in
Paris during the brilliant days of the Empire, knew everybody there
worth knowing. He had the reputation, notwithstanding his long stay in
Paris, of being very anti-French. I could hardly judge of that, as he
never talked politics to me. It may very likely have been true, but not
more marked with him than with the generality of Anglo-Saxons and
Northern races, who rather look down upon the Latins, hardly giving them
credit for their splendid dash and pluck--to say nothing of their
brains. I have lived in a great many countries, and always think that as
a people, I mean the uneducated mass, the French are the most
intelligent nation in the world. I have never been thrown with the
Japanese--am told they are extraordinarily intelligent.

We had a dinner one night for Mr. Gladstone, his wife, and a daughter.
Mr. Gladstone made himself quite charming, spoke French fairly well, and
knew more about every subject discussed than any one else in the room.
He was certainly a wonderful man, such extraordinary versatility and
such a memory. It was rather pretty to see Mrs. Gladstone when her
husband was talking. She was quite absorbed by him, couldn't talk to her
neighbours. They wanted very much to go to the Conciergerie to see the
prison where the unfortunate Marie Antoinette passed the last days of
her unhappy life, and Mr. Gladstone, inspired by the subject, made us a
sort of conférence on the French Revolution and the causes which led up
to it, culminating in the Terror and the execution of the King and
Queen. He spoke in English (we were a little group standing at the
door--they were just going), in beautiful academic language, and it was
most interesting, graphic, and exact. Even W., who knew him well and
admired him immensely, was struck by his brilliant improvisation.

[Illustration: William E. Gladstone. From a photograph by Samuel A.
Walker, London.]

We were often asked for permits by our English and American friends to
see all the places of historical interest in Paris, and the two places
which all wanted to see were the Conciergerie and Napoleon's tomb at the
Invalides. When we first came to Paris in 1866, just after the end of
the long struggle between the North and South in America, our first
visits too were for the Conciergerie, Invalides, and Notre Dame, where
my father had not been since he had gone as a very young man with all
Paris to see the flags that had been brought back from Austerlitz. They
were interesting days, those first ones in Paris, so full of memories
for father, who had been there a great deal in his young days, first as
an élève in the Ecole Polytechnique, later when the Allies were in
Paris. He took us one day to the Luxembourg Gardens, to see if he could
find any trace of the spot where in 1815 during the Restoration Marshal
Ney had been shot. He was in Paris at the time, and was in the garden a
few hours after the execution--remembered quite well the wall against
which the marshal stood--and the comments of the crowd, not very
flattering for the Government in executing one of France's bravest and
most brilliant soldiers.

All the Americans who came to see us at the Quai d'Orsay were much
interested in everything relating to Général Marquis de Lafayette, who
left an undying memory in America, and many pilgrimages were made to the
Château de la Grange, where the Marquis de Lafayette spent the last
years of his life and extended a large and gracious hospitality to all
his friends. It is an interesting old place, with a moat all around it
and high solid stone walls, where one still sees the hole that was made
in the wall by a cannon-ball sent by Maréchal de Turenne as he was
passing with his troops, as a friendly souvenir to the owner, with whom
he was not on good terms. So many Americans and English too are imbued
with the idea that there are no châteaux, no country life in France,
that I am delighted when they can see that there are just as many as in
any other country. A very clever American writer, whose books have been
much read and admired, says that when travelling in France in the
country, he never saw any signs of wealth or gentlemen's property. I
think he didn't want to admire anything French, but I wonder in what
part of France he has travelled. Besides the well-known historic
châteaux of Chaumont, Chenonceaux, Azay-le-Rideau, Maintenon, Dampierre,
Josselin, Valençay, and scores of others, there are quantities of small
Louis XV châteaux and manoirs, half hidden in a corner of a forest,
which the stranger never sees. They are quite charming, built of red
brick with white copings, with stiff old-fashioned gardens, and trees
cut into all sorts of fantastic shapes. Sometimes the parish church
touches the castle on one side, and there is a private entrance for the
seigneurs. The interior arrangements in some of the old ones leave much
to be desired in the way of comfort and modern improvements,--lighting
very bad, neither gas nor electricity, and I should think no baths
anywhere, hardly a tub. On the banks of the Seine and the Loire, near
the great forests, in all the departments near Paris there are
quantities of châteaux--some just on the border of the highroad,
separated from it by high iron gates, through which one sees long
winding alleys with stone benches and vases with red geraniums planted
in them, a sun-dial and stiff formal rows of trees--some less
pretentious with merely an ordinary wooden gate, generally open, and
always flowers of the simplest kind, geraniums, sunflowers, pinks,
dahlias, and chrysanthemums--what we call a jardin de curé, (curate's
garden)--but in great abundance. With very rare exceptions the lawns are
not well kept--one never sees in this country the smooth green turf that
one does in England.

Some of the old châteaux are very stately--sometimes one enters by a
large quadrangle, quite surrounded by low arcades covered with ivy, a
fountain and good-sized basin in the middle of the courtyard, and a big
clock over the door--sometimes they stand in a moat, one goes over a
drawbridge with massive doors, studded with iron nails and strong iron
bolts and chains which defend the entrance, making one think of old
feudal days, when might was right, and if a man wanted his neighbours
property, he simply took it. Even some of the smaller châteaux have
moats. I think they are more picturesque than comfortable--an
ivy-covered house with a moat around it is a nest for mosquitoes and
insects of all kinds, and I fancy the damp from the water must finish by
pervading the house. French people of all classes love the country and a
garden with bright flowers, and if the poorer ones can combine a rabbit
hutch with the flowers they are quite happy.

I have heard W. speak sometimes of a fine old château in our
department--(Aisne) belonging to a deputy, who invited his friends to
shoot and breakfast. The cuisine and shooting were excellent, but the
accommodations fantastic. The neighbours said nothing had been renewed
or cleaned since the château was occupied by the Cossacks under the
first Napoleon.

We got very little country life during those years at the Foreign
Office. Twice a year, in April and August, W. went to Laon for his
Conseil-Général, over which he presided, but he was rarely able to stay
all through the session. He was always present on the opening day, and
at the préfet's dinner, and took that opportunity to make a short
speech, explaining the foreign policy of the Government. I don't think
it interested his colleagues as much as all the local questions--roads,
schools, etc. It is astonishing how much time is wasted and how much
letter-writing is necessitated by the simplest change in a road or
railway crossing in France. We had rather a short narrow turning to get
into our gate at Bourneville, and W. wanted to have the road enlarged
just a little, so as to avoid the sharp angle. It didn't interfere with
any one, as we were several yards from the highroad, but it was months,
more than a year, before the thing was done. Any one of the workmen on
the farm would have finished it in a day's work.

At one of our small dinners I had such a characteristic answer from an
English diplomatist, who had been ambassador at St. Petersburg. He was
really a charming talker, but wouldn't speak French. That was of no
consequence as long as he only talked to me, but naturally all the
people at the table wanted to talk to him, and when the general
conversation languished, at last, I said to him: "I wish you would speak
French; none of these gentlemen speak any other language." (It was quite
true, the men of my husband's age spoke very rarely any other language
but their own; now almost all the younger generation speak German or
English or both. Almost all my son's friends speak English perfectly.)
"Oh no, I can't," he said; "I haven't enough the habit of speaking
French. I don't say the things I want to say, only the things I can say,
which is very different." "But what did you do in Russia?" "All the
women speak English." "But for affairs, diplomatic negotiations?" "All
the women speak English." I have often heard it said that the Russian
women were much more clever than the men. He evidently had found
it true.



VI


THE EXPOSITION YEAR

The big political dinners were always interesting. On one occasion we
had a banquet on the 2d of December. My left-hand neighbour, a senator,
said to me casually: "This room looks very different from what it did
the last time I was in it." "Does it? I should have thought a big
official dinner at the Foreign Office would have been precisely the same
under any régime." "A dinner perhaps, but on that occasion we were not
precisely dining. I and a number of my friends had just been arrested,
and we were waiting here in this room strictly guarded, until it was
decided what should be done with us." Then I remembered that it was the
2d of December, the anniversary of Louis Napoléon's coup d'état. He said
they were quite unprepared for it, in spite of warnings. He was sent out
of the country for a little while, but I don't think his exile was a
very terrible one.

I got my first lesson in diplomatic politeness from Lord Lyons, then
British ambassador in Paris. He was in Paris during the Franco-German
War, knew everybody, and had a great position. He gave very handsome
dinners, liked his guests to be punctual, was very punctual himself,
always arrived on the stroke of eight when he dined with us. We had an
Annamite mission to dine one night and had invited almost all the
ambassadors and ministers to meet them. There had been a stormy sitting
at the Chamber and W. was late. As soon as I was ready I went to his
library and waited for him; I couldn't go down and receive a foreign
mission without him. We were quite seven or eight minutes late and found
all the company assembled (except the Annamites, who were waiting with
their interpreter in another room to make their entry in proper style).
As I shook hands with Lord Lyons (who was doyen of the diplomatic corps)
he said to me: "Ah, Madame Waddington, I see the Republic is becoming
very royal; you don't receive your guests any more, merely come into the
room when all the company is assembled." He said it quite smilingly, but
I understood very well, and of course we ought to have been there when
the first guests arrived. He was very amiable all the same and told me a
great many useful things--for instance, that I must never invite a
cardinal and an ambassador together, as neither of them would yield the
precedence and I would find myself in a very awkward position.

[Illustration: Lord Lyons.]

The Annamites were something awful to see. In their country all the men
of a certain standing blacken their teeth, and I suppose the dye makes
their teeth fall out, as they hadn't any apparently, and when they
opened their mouths the black caverns one saw were terrifying. I had
been warned, but notwithstanding it made a most disagreeable impression
on me. They were very richly attired, particularly the first three, who
were très grands seigneurs in Annam,--heavily embroidered silk robes,
feathers, and jewels, and when they didn't open their mouths they were
rather a decorative group,--were tall, powerfully built men. They knew
no French nor English--spoke through the interpreter. My intercourse
with them was very limited. They were not near me at dinner, but
afterward I tried to talk to them a little. They all stood in a group at
one end of the room, flanked by an interpreter--the three principal
chiefs well in front. I don't know what the interpreter said to them
from me, probably embellished my very banal remarks with flowers of
rhetoric, but they were very smiling, opening wide their black mouths
and made me very low bows--evidently appreciated my intention and effort
to be amiable.

They brought us presents, carpets, carved and inlaid mother-of-pearl
boxes, cabinets, and some curious saddles, also gold-embroidered
cushions and slippers. Some Arab horses were announced with great pomp
from the Sultan's stables. I was rather interested in them, thought it
would be amusing to drive a long-tailed Arab pony in a little cart in
the morning. They were brought one morning to the Quai d'Orsay, and W.
gave rendezvous to Comte de Pontécoulant and some of the sporting men of
the cabinet, in the courtyard. There were also several stablemen, all
much interested in the idea of taming the fiery steeds of the desert.
The first look was disappointing. They were thin, scraggy animals,
apparently all legs and manes. Long tails they had, and small heads, but
anything so tame and sluggish in their movements could hardly be
imagined. One could scarcely get them to canter around the courtyard. We
were all rather disgusted, as sometimes one sees pretty little Arab
horses in Paris. I don't know what became of them; I fancy they were
sent to the cavalry stables.

Our first great function that winter was the service at the Madeleine
for the King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel, who died suddenly in the
beginning of January, 1878. France sent a special mission to the
funeral--the old Marshal Canrobert, who took with him the marshal's son,
Fabrice de MacMahon. The Church of the Madeleine was filled with people
of all kinds--the diplomatic corps in uniform, a very large
representation of senators and deputies. There was a slight hesitation
among some of the Left--who were ardent sympathisers with young
Italy--but who didn't care to compromise themselves by taking part in a
religious ceremony. However, as a rule they went. Some of the ladies of
the Right were rather put out at having to go in deep mourning to the
service. I said to one of them: "But you are not correct; you have a
black dress certainly, but I don't think pearl-grey gloves are proper
for such an occasion." "Oh, they express quite sufficiently the grief I
feel on this occasion."

It was curious that the King should have gone before the old Pope, who
had been failing for some time. Every day we expected to hear of his
death. There were many speculations over the new King of Italy, the
Prince Humbert of our day. As we had lived so many years in Rome, I was
often asked what he was like, but I really had no opinion. One saw him
very little. I remember one day in the hunting-field he got a nasty
fall. His horse put his foot in a hole and fell with him. It looked a
bad accident, as if the horse were going to roll over on him. I, with
one of my friends, was near, and seeing an accident (I didn't know who
it was) naturally stopped to see if our groom could do anything, but an
officer rode hurriedly up and begged us to go on, that the Prince would
be very much annoyed if any one, particularly a woman, should notice his
fall. I saw him later in the day, looking all right on another horse,
and no one made any allusion to the accident.

About a month after Victor Emmanuel's death the old Pope died, the 8th
of February, 1878, quite suddenly at the end. He was buried of course in
Rome, and it was very difficult to arrange for his funeral in the Rome
of the King of Italy. However, he did lie in state at St. Peter's, the
noble garde in their splendid uniforms standing close around the
catafalque--long lines of Italian soldiers, the bersaglieri with their
waving plumes, on each side of the great aisle. There was a magnificent
service for him at Notre Dame. The Chambers raised their sitting as a
mark of respect to the head of the church, and again there was a great
attendance at the cathedral. There were many discussions in the monde
(society not official) "as to whether one should wear mourning for the
Saint Père." I believe the correct thing is not to wear mourning, but
almost all the ladies of the Faubourg St. Germain went about in black
garments for some time. One of my friends put it rather graphically: "Si
on a un ruban rose dans les cheveux on a tout de suite l'air d'être la
maîtresse de Rochefort."

All Europe was engrossed with the question of the Pope's successor.
Intrigues and undercurrents were going on hard in Rome, and the issue of
the conclave was impatiently awaited. No one could predict any result.
The election of Cardinal Pecci, future Leo XIII, seemed satisfactory, at
least in the beginning.

My winter passed pleasantly enough; I began to feel more at home in my
new quarters, and saw many interesting people of all kinds. Every now
and then there would be a very lively debate in the Parliament. W. would
come home very late, saying things couldn't go on like that, and we
would surely be out of office in a few weeks. We always kept our house
in the rue Dumont d'Urville, and I went over every week, often thinking
that in a few days we should be back there again.

One of my great trials was a reception day. W. thought I ought to have
one, so every Friday I was at home from three until six, and very long
afternoons they were. I insisted upon having a tea-table, which was a
novelty in those days, but it broke the stiff semicircle of red and gold
armchairs carefully arranged at one end of the room. Very few men took
tea. It was rather amusing to see some of the deputies who didn't
exactly like to refuse a cup of tea offered to them by the minister's
wife, holding the cup and saucer most carefully in their hands, making a
pretence of sipping the tea and replacing it hastily on the table as
soon as it was possible. I had of course a great many people of
different nationalities, who generally didn't know each other. The
ambassadresses and ministers' wives sat on each side of my sofa--the
smaller people lower down. They were all announced, my huissier, Gérard,
doing it very well, opening the big doors and roaring out the names.
Sometimes, at the end of the day, some of my own friends or some of the
young men from the chancery would come in, and that would cheer me up a
little. There was no conversation, merely an exchange of formal phrases,
but I had some funny experiences.

One day I had several ladies whom I didn't know at all, wives of
deputies, or small functionaries at some of the ministries. One of my
friends, Comtesse de B., was starting for Italy and Rome for the first
time. She had come to ask me all sorts of questions about clothes,
hotels, people to see, etc. When she went away in a whirl of
preparations and addresses, I turned to one of my neighbours, saying:
"Je crois qu'on est très bien à l'Hôtel de Londres à Rome," quite an
insignificant and inoffensive remark--merely to say something. She
replied haughtily: "Je n'en sais rien, Madame; je n'ai jamais quitté
Paris et je m'en vante." I was so astonished that I had nothing to say,
but was afterward sorry that I had not continued the conversation and
asked her why she was so especially proud of never having left Paris.
Travelling is usually supposed to enlarge one's ideas. Her answer might
have been interesting. W. wouldn't believe it when I told him, but I
said I couldn't really have invented it. I used to go into his cabinet
at the end of the day always, when he was alone with Pontécoulant, and
tell them all my experiences which W. forbid me to mention anywhere
else. I had a good many surprises, but soon learned never to be
astonished and to take everything as a matter of course.

The great interest of the summer was the Exposition Universelle which
was to take place at the Trocadéro, the new building which had been
built on the Champ de Mars. The opening was announced for the 1st of May
and was to be performed with great pomp by the marshal. All Europe was
represented except Germany, and almost all the great powers were sending
princes to represent their country. We went often to see how the works
were getting on, and I must say it didn't look as if it could possibly
be ready for the 1st of May. There were armies of workmen in every
direction and carts and camions loaded with cases making their way with
difficulty through the mud. Occasionally a light case or bale would fall
off, and quantities of small boys who seemed always on the spot would
precipitate themselves, tumbling over each other to pick up what fell,
and there would be protestations and explanations in every language
under the sun. It was a motley, picturesque crowd--the costumes and
uniforms making so much colour in the midst of the very ordinary dark
clothes the civilised Western world affects. I felt sorry for the
Orientals and people from milder climes--they looked so miserably cold
and wretched shivering under the very fresh April breezes that swept
over the great plain of the Champ de Mars. The machines, particularly
the American ones, attracted great attention. There was always a crowd
waiting when some of the large pieces were swung down into their places
by enormous pulleys.

The opening ceremony was very brilliant. Happily it was a beautiful warm
day, as all the guests invited by the marshal and the Government were
seated on a platform outside the Trocadéro building. All the diplomatic
corps, foreign royalties, and commissioners of the different nations who
were taking part in the exposition were invited. The view was lovely as
we looked down from our seats. The great enclosure was packed with
people. All the pavilions looked very gay with bright-coloured walls and
turrets, and there were flags, palms, flowers, and fountains
everywhere--the Seine running through the middle with fanciful bridges
and boats. There was a curious collection of people in the tribunes. The
invitations had not been very easy to make. There were three Spanish
sovereigns, Queen Isabella, her husband, Don François d'Assizes, and the
Duc d'Aosta (King Amadée), who had reigned a few stormy months in Spain.
He had come to represent Italy at the exposition. The marshal was rather
preoccupied with his Spanish royalties. He had a reception in the
evening, to which all were invited, and thought it would be wise to take
certain precautions, so he sent one of his aides-de-camp to Queen
Isabella to say that he hoped to have the honour of seeing her in the
evening at the Elysée, but he thought it right to tell her that she
might perhaps have some disagreeable meetings. She replied: "Si c'est
mon mari de qui vous parlez, cela m'est tout à fait égal; si c'est le
Duc d'Aosta, je serai ravie de le voir."

She came to the reception, but her husband was already gone. The Due
d'Aosta was still there, and she walked straight up to him and kissed
him on both cheeks, not an easy thing to do, for the duke was not at all
the type of the gay lady's man--very much the reverse. He looked a
soldier (like all the princes of the house of Savoy) and at the same
time a monk. One could easily imagine him a crusader in plumed helmet
and breastplate, supporting any privation or fatigue without a murmur.
He was very shy (one saw it was an effort for him every time that any
one was brought up to him and he had to make polite phrases), not in the
least mondain, but simple, charming when one talked to him.

I saw him often afterward, as he represented his brother, King Humbert,
on various official occasions when I too was present--the coronation of
the Emperor Alexander of Russia, the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. He was
always a striking figure, didn't look as if he belonged to our modern
world at all. The marshal had a series of dinners and receptions which
were most brilliant. There was almost always music or theatricals, with
the best artists in Paris. The Comédie Française was much appreciated.
Their style is so finished and sure. They played just as well at one end
of a drawing-room, with a rampe of flowers only separating them from the
public, as in their own theatre with all the help of scenery, acoustics,
and distance. In a drawing-room naturally the audience is much nearer.

I remember one charming party at the Elysée for the Austrian crown
prince, the unfortunate Archduke Rudolph. All the stars of the Théâtre
Français were playing--Croizette, Reichemberg, Delaunay, Coquelin. The
prince seemed to enjoy himself. He was very good-looking, with a slight,
elegant figure and charming smile--didn't look like a man whose life
would end so tragically. When I saw him some years later in London, he
was changed, looked older, had lost his gaiety, was evidently bored with
the official entertaining, and used to escape from all the dinners and
receptions as soon as he could.

The late King Edward (then Prince of Wales) won golden opinions always.
There was certainly something in his personality which had an enormous
attraction for Parisians. He always seemed to enjoy life, never looked
bored, was unfailingly courteous and interested in the people he was
talking to. It was a joy to the French people to see him at some of the
small theatres, amusing himself and understanding all the sous-entendus
and argot quite as well as they did. It would almost seem as if what
some one said were true, that he reminded them of their beloved Henri
IV, who still lives in the heart of the nation.

His brother-in-law, the Prince of Denmark, was also most amiable. We met
him often walking about the streets with one or two of his gentlemen,
and looking in at the windows like an ordinary provincial. He was tall,
with a slight, youthful figure, and was always recognised. It was a
great satisfaction and pride to Parisians to have so many royalties and
distinguished people among them again.

Those two months of May and June gave back to Paris the animation and
gaiety of the last days of the Empire. There were many handsome
carriages on the Champs-Elysées, filled with pretty, well-dressed women,
and the opera and all the theatres were packed. Paris was illuminated
the night of the opening of the exposition, the whole city, not merely
the Champs-Elysées and boulevards. As we drove across the bridge on our
way home from the reception at the Elysée, it was a beautiful sight--the
streets full of people waiting to see the foreign royalties pass, and
the view up and down the Seine, with the lights from the high buildings
reflected in the water--like fairy-land.

[Illustration: His Royal Highness, Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1876.
From a photograph by Lock & Whitfield, London.]

The dinners and receptions at the Elysée and at all the ministries those
first weeks of the exposition were interesting but so fatiguing. Happily
there were not many lunches nor day entertainments. I used to get a good
drive every afternoon in the open carriage with mother and baby, and
that kept me alive. Occasionally (not often) W. had a man's dinner, and
then I could go with some of my friends and dine at the exposition,
which was very amusing--such a curious collection of people. The rue des
Nations was like a gigantic fair. We met all our friends, and heard
every language under the sun. Among other distinguished foreign guests
that year we had President and Mrs. Grant, who were received everywhere
in Europe (England giving the example) like royalties. When they dined
with us at the Quai d'Orsay W. and I went to the top of the great
staircase to meet them, exactly as we did for the Prince and Princess
of Wales.

It seems funny to me when I think of the very unceremonious manner in
which not only ex-presidents but actual presidents were treated in
America when I was a child. I remember quite well seeing a president (I
have forgotten which one now) come into the big drawing-room at the old
Cozzen's Hotel at West Point, with two or three gentlemen with him.
There was a certain number of people in the room and nobody moved, or
dreamt of getting up. However, the Grants were very simple--accepted all
the honours shown to them without a pose of any kind. The marshal gave
them a big dinner at the Elysée. We arrived a little late (we always
did) and found a large party assembled. The Grants came in just
after us.

The Maréchale said to me: "The Chinese ambassador will take you to
dinner, Madame Waddington. He is an interesting, clever man, knows
England and the English well--speaks English remarkably well." Just
before dinner was announced the ambassador was brought up to me. He was
a striking-looking man, tall, broad-shouldered, dignified, very
gorgeously attired in light-blue satin, embroidered in bright-coloured
flowers and gold and silver designs, and a splendid yellow bird of
paradise in his cap. He didn't come quite up to me, made me a low bow
from a certain distance, and then fell back into a group of smaller
satellites, all very splendidly dressed. When dinner was announced the
first couples filed off--the marshal with Mrs. Grant and the Maréchale
with President Grant and W. with his lady. There was a pause; I should
have gone next, but my ambassador wasn't forthcoming. I looked and
wondered. All the aides-de-camp were making frantic signals to me to go
on, and the whole cortège was stopped. I really didn't know what to
do--I felt rather foolish. Presently the ambassador appeared--didn't
offer me his arm, but again made me a low bow, which I returned and
moved a few steps forward. He advanced too and we made a stately
progress to the dining-room side by side. I heard afterward the
explanation. It seemed that in those days (things have changed _now_ I
fancy) no Chinese of rank would touch any woman who didn't belong to
him, and the ambassador would have thought himself dishonoured (as well
as me) if he had offered me his arm. The dinner was anything but banal.

When we finally got to the table I found myself on the marshal's
left--Mrs. Grant was on his right. The marshal neither spoke nor
understood English. Mrs. Grant spoke no French, so the conversation
didn't seem likely to be very animated. After a few moments Mrs. Grant
naturally wished to say something to her host and she addressed him in
English. "Mr. President, I am so happy to be in your beautiful country,"
then the marshal to me: "Madame Waddington je vous en prie, dites à
Madame Grant que je ne puis pas répondre; je ne comprends pas l'anglais;
je ne puis pas parler avec elle." "Mrs. Grant, the marshal begs me to
say to you that he regrets not being able to talk with you, but
unfortunately he does not understand English." Then there was a pause
and Mrs. Grant began again: "What a beautiful palace, Mr. President. It
must be delightful with that charming garden." Again the marshal to me:
"Mais je vous en prie Madame, dites à Madame Grant que je ne puis pas
causer avec elle. Il ne faut pas qu'elle me parle, je ne comprends pas."
"Mrs. Grant, the marshal is distressed that he cannot talk to you, but
he _really_ does not understand any English." It was very trying for
Mrs. Grant. Happily her other neighbour knew a little English and she
could talk to him, but all through dinner, at intervals, she began again
at the marshal.

After a few moments I turned my attention to my ambassador. I had been
looking at him furtively while I was interpreting for the marshal and
Mrs. Grant. I saw that he _took_ everything that was offered to
him--dishes, wines, sauces--but he never attacked anything without
waiting to see what his neighbours did, when and how they used their
knives and forks,--then did exactly as they did,--never made a mistake.
I saw he was looking at the flowers on the table, which were very well
arranged, so I said to him, speaking very slowly and distinctly, as one
does to a child or a deaf person: "Have you pretty flowers in your
country?" He replied promptly: "Yes, yes, very hot, very cold, very hot,
very cold." I was a little disconcerted, but thought I had perhaps
spoken indistinctly, and after a little while I made another attempt:
"How much the uniforms add to the brilliancy of the fête, and the
Chinese dress is particularly striking and handsome," but to that he
made such a perfectly unintelligible answer that I refrained from any
further conversation and merely smiled at him from time to time, which
he always acknowledged with a little bow.

We went back to the salons in the same way, side by side, and when the
men had gone into one of the other rooms to talk and smoke, I went to
speak to the Maréchale, who said to me: "I am sure you had a delightful
dinner, Madame Waddington. The Chinese ambassador is such a clever man,
has travelled a great deal, and speaks such wonderful English."
"Wonderful indeed, Madame la Maréchale," and then I repeated our
conversation, which she could hardly believe, and which amused her very
much. She spoke English as well as I did.

The Grants were very much entertained during their stay in Paris, and we
met them nearly every night. W. liked the general very much and found
him quite talkative when he was alone with him. At the big dinners he
was of course at a disadvantage, neither speaking nor understanding a
word of French. W. acted as interpreter and found that very fatiguing.
There is so much repartee and sous-entendu in all French conversation
that even foreigners who know the language well find it sometimes
difficult to follow everything, and to translate quickly enough to keep
one au courant is almost impossible. When they could they drifted into
English, and W. said he was most interesting--speaking of the war and
all the North had done, without ever putting himself forward.

We had both of us often to act as interpreters with French and
Anglo-Saxons, neither understanding the other's language, and always
found it difficult. I remember a dinner at Sandringham some years ago
when W. was at the embassy. The Prince of Wales (late King Edward) asked
me to sit next to a foreign ambassador who understood not one word of
English. The dinner was exclusively English--a great many clever
men--the master of Trinity College, Cambridge (asked especially to meet
my husband, who graduated from Trinity College), Lord Goschen, James
Knowles of the _Nineteenth Century_, Froude, the historian, Sir Henry
James, Lord Wolseley, etc. The talk was very animated, very witty. There
were peals of laughter all around the table. My ambassador was very
fidgety and nervous, appealing to me all the time, but by the time I had
laboriously condensed and translated some of the remarks, they were
talking of something quite different, and I am afraid he had very hazy
ideas as to what they were all saying.

We saw, naturally, all the distinguished strangers who passed through
Paris that year of 1878. Many of our colleagues in the diplomatic corps
had played a great rôle in their own country. Prince Orloff, the Russian
ambassador, was one of our great friends. He gave us very good advice on
one or two occasions. He was a distinguished-looking man--always wore a
black patch over one eye--he had been wounded in the Crimea. He spoke
English as well as I did and was a charming talker. General Cialdini was
at the Italian embassy. He was more of a soldier than a statesman--had
contributed very successfully to the formation of "United Italy" and the
suppression of the Pope's temporal power, and was naturally not exactly
persona grata to the Catholics in France. Prince and Princess Hohenlohe
had succeeded Arnim at the German embassy. Their beginnings were
difficult, as their predecessor had done nothing to make the Germans
popular in France, but their strong personality, tact, and understanding
of the very delicate position helped them enormously. They were
Catholics (the Princess born a Russian--her brother, Prince
Wittgenstein, military attaché at the Russian embassy) and very big
people in their own country, so absolutely sure of themselves and their
position that it was very difficult to slight them in any way. They
would never have perceived it unless some extraordinary rudeness were
shown. The Princess was very striking-looking, tall, with a good figure,
and splendid jewels. When she was in full dress for a ball, or official
reception, she wore three necklaces, one on top of the other, and a big
handsome, high tiara, which added to her height. She was the only lady
of the diplomatic corps whom Madame Grévy ever recognised in the first
weeks of her husband's presidency. Madame Grevy was thrown suddenly not
very young into such an absolutely new milieu, that she was quite
bewildered and couldn't be expected to recognise half the women of the
diplomatic corps, but the German ambassadress impressed her and she knew
her always. The princess was not very mondaine, didn't care about
society and life in a city--preferred the country, with riding and
shooting and any sort of sport.

We had a very handsome dinner at the German embassy the winter of
1878--given to the Marshal and Madame de MacMahon. After dinner, with
coffee, a bear made its appearance in the drawing-room, a "baby bear"
they said, but I didn't think it looked very small. The princess patted
it, and talked to it just as if it were a dog, and I must say the little
animal was perfectly quiet, and kept close to her. I think the lights
and the quantity of people frightened it. It growled once or twice, and
we all had a feeling of relief when it was taken away. I asked the
Maréchale afterward if she were afraid. "Oui, j'avais très peur, mais je
ne voulais pas le montrer devant ces allemands." (Yes, I was very
frightened, but I would not show it before those Germans.) They had
eventually to send the bear away, back to Germany. It grew wilder as it
grew older, and became quite unmanageable--they couldn't keep it in
the embassy.

Hohenlohe was always pleasant and easy. I think he had a real sympathy
for France and did his best on various delicate occasions. The year of
the exposition (1878) we dined out every night and almost always with
the same people. Hohenlohe often fell to me. He took me in to dinner ten
times in succession. The eleventh time we were each of us in despair as
we filed out together, so I said to him: "Don't let us even pretend to
talk; you can talk to your other neighbour and I will to mine." However,
we _did_ talk chiffons, curiously enough. I had waited for a dress,
which only came home at the last moment, and when I put it on the
corsage was so tight I could hardly bear it. It was too late to change,
and I had nothing else ready, so most uncomfortable I started for my
dinner. I didn't dare to eat anything, hardly dared move, which
Hohenlohe remarked, after seeing three or four dishes pass me untouched,
and said to me: "I am afraid you are ill; you are eating nothing." "No,
not at all, only very uncomfortable"--and then I explained the situation
to him--that my dress was so tight I could neither move nor eat. He was
most indignant--"How could women be so foolish--why did we want to
have abnormally small waists and be slaves to our dressmakers?--men
didn't like made-up figures." "Oh, yes, they do; all men admire a
slight, graceful figure." "Yes, when it is natural, but no man
understands nor cares about a fashionably dressed woman--women dress for
each other" (which is perfectly true).

[Illustration: Prince Hohenlohe. After the painting by F.E. Laszlo.]

However, he was destined to see other ladies very careful about their
figures. The late Empress of Austria, who was a fine rider, spent some
time one spring in Paris, and rode every morning in the Bois. She was
very handsome, with a beautiful figure, had handsome horses and
attracted great attention. Prince Hohenlohe often rode with her. I was
riding with a friend one morning when we saw handsome horses waiting at
the mounting-block, just inside the gates. We divined they were the
Empress's horses and waited to see her mount. She arrived in a coupé,
her maid with her, and mounted her horse from the block. The body of her
habit was open. When she was settled in her saddle, the maid stepped up
on the block and buttoned her habit, which I must say fitted
beautifully--as if she were melted into it.

The official receptions were interesting that year, as one still saw a
few costumes. The Chinese, Japanese, Persians, Greeks, and Roumanians
wore their national dress--and much better they look in them than in
the ordinary dress coat and white tie of our men. The Greek dress was
very striking, a full white skirt with high embroidered belt, but it was
only becoming when the wearer was young, with a good figure. I remember
a pretty Roumanian woman with a white veil spangled with gold, most
effective. Now every one wears the ordinary European dress except the
Chinese, who still keep their costume. One could hardly imagine a
Chinese in a frock coat and tall hat. What would he do with his pigtail?

The entertainments went on pretty well that year until August, almost
all the embassies and ministries receiving. Queen Isabella of Spain was
then living in the big house in the Avenue Kléber, called the "Palais
d'Espagne" (now the Hotel Majestic). We used to meet her often driving
in the Bois. She was a big, stout, rather red-faced woman, didn't make
much effect in a carriage in ordinary street dress, but in her palace,
when she received or gave an audience, she was a very royal lady. I
asked for an audience soon after W. was named to the Foreign Office. We
knew one of her chamberlains very well, Duc de M., and he arranged it
for me. I arrived at the palace on the appointed day a little before
four (the audience was for four). The big gates were open, a tall porter
dressed in red and gold lace and buttons, and a staff in his hand, was
waiting--two or three men in black, and four or five footmen in red
liveries and powder, at the door and in the hall. I was shown at once to
a small room on the ground floor, where four or five ladies, all Spanish
and all fat, were waiting. In a few minutes the duke appeared. We talked
a little (he looking at me to see if I had taken off my veil and my
right-hand glove) and then a man in black appeared at the door, making a
low bow and saying something in Spanish. The duke said would I come, Her
Majesty was ready to receive me. We passed through several salons where
there were footmen and pages (no ladies) until we came to a very large
one quite at the other end of the palace. The big doors were open, and
at the far end I saw the Queen standing, a stately figure (enormous),
dressed in a long black velvet dress, a high diamond tiara on her head,
from which hung a black lace veil, a fan in her hand (I suppose no
Spanish woman of any station ever parts with her fan) and a splendid
string of pearls. I made my curtsey on the threshold, the chamberlain
named me with the usual formula: "I have the honour to present to Your
Majesty, Madame Waddington, the wife of the Minister of Foreign
Affairs," then backed himself out of the room, and I proceeded down the
long room to the Queen. She didn't move, let me make my two curtseys,
one in the middle of the room, one when I came close up to her--and then
shook hands. We remained standing a few minutes and then she sat down on
a sofa (not a very small one) which she quite filled, and motioned me to
take an armchair on one side. She was very amiable, had a charming
smile, spoke French very well but with a strong Spanish accent. She said
she was very glad to see my husband at the Foreign Office, and hoped he
would stay long enough to do some real work--said she was very fond of
France, loved driving in the streets of Paris, there was always so much
to see and the people looked gay. She was very fond of the theatres,
particularly the smaller ones, liked the real Parisian wit and gaiety
better than the measured phrase and trained diction of the Français and
the Odéon. She spoke most warmly of Marshal MacMahon, hoped that he
would remain President of the Republic as long as the Republicans would
let him, was afraid they would make his position impossible--but that
the younger generation always wanted reforms and changes. I said I
thought that was the way of the world everywhere, in families as well
as nations--children could not be expected to see with the eyes of their
parents. Then we talked about the exposition--she said the Spanish show
was very good--told me to look at the tapestries and embroideries, which
were quite wonderful--gold and silver threads worked in with the
tapestries. The interview was pleasant and easy. When I took leave, she
let me back down the whole length of the room, not half turning away as
so many princesses do after the first few steps, so as to curtail that
very inconvenient exit. However, a day dress is never so long and
cumbersome as an evening dress with a train.

The chamberlain was waiting just outside the door, also two ladies in
waiting, just as fat as the Queen. Certainly the mise en scène was very
effective. The number of servants in red liveries, the solitary standing
figure at the end of the long enfilade of rooms, the high diamond comb
and long veil, quite transformed the very stout, red-faced lady whom I
used to meet often walking in the Bois.

We dined once or twice at the palace, always a very handsome dinner. One
for the Marshal and Madame de MacMahon was beautifully done--all the
footmen, dozens, in gala liveries, red and yellow, the maître d'hôtel in
very dark blue with gold epaulettes and aiguillettes. The table was
covered with red and yellow flowers and splendid gold plate, and a very
good orchestra of guitars and mandolins played all through dinner, the
musicians singing sometimes when they played a popular song. We were all
assembled in one of the large rooms waiting for the Queen to appear. As
soon as the Marshal and Madame de MacMahon were announced, she came in,
meeting them at the door, making a circle afterward, and shaking hands
with all the ladies.

Lord Lyons gave a beautiful ball at the embassy that season. The hotel
of the British embassy is one of the best in Paris--fine reception-rooms
opening on a very large garden, and a large courtyard and side exit--so
there was no confusion of carriages. He had need of all his room--Paris
was crowded with English. Besides all the exposition people, there were
many tourists and well-known English people, all expecting to be
entertained at the embassy. All the world was there. The Prince and
Princess of Wales, the Marshal and Madame de MacMahon, the Orléans
princes, Princesse Mathilde, the Faubourg St. Germain, the Government,
and as many foreigners as the house could hold, as he invited a great
many people, once his obligations, English and official, were
satisfied. It was only at an embassy that such a gathering could take
place, and it was amusing to see the people of all the different camps
looking at each other.

There was a supper up-stairs for all the royalties before the cotillion.
I was told that the Duc d'Aumale would take me to supper. I was very
pleased (as we knew him very well and he was always charming to us) but
much surprised, as the Orléans princes never remained for supper at any
big official function. There would have been questions of place and
precedence which would have been very difficult to settle. When the move
was made for supper, things had to be changed, as the Orléans princes
had gone home. The Crown Prince of Denmark took me. The supper-room was
prettily arranged, two round tables--Lord Lyons with the Princesses of
Wales and Denmark presiding at one--his niece, the Duchesse of Norfolk,
at the other, with the Princes of Wales and Denmark. I sat between the
Princes of Denmark and Sweden. Opposite me, next the Prince of Wales,
sat a lady I didn't know. Every one else at the table did. She was very
attractive-looking, with a charming smile and most animated manner. I
asked the Prince of Denmark in a low voice, who she was--thought it must
be one of the foreign princesses I hadn't yet met. The Prince of Wales
heard my question, and immediately, with his charming tact and ease of
manner, said to me: "You don't know the Princesse Mathilde; do let me
have the pleasure of presenting you to her," naming me at once--in my
official capacity, "wife of the Minister of Foreign Affairs." The
princess was very gracious and smiling, and we talked about all sorts of
things--some of her musical protégées, who were also mine. She asked me
if I liked living at the ministry, Quai d'Orsay; she remembered it as
such a beautiful house. When the party broke up, she shook hands, said
she had not the pleasure of knowing M. Waddington, but would I thank him
from her for what he had done for one of her friends. I tried to find W.
after supper to present him to the princess, but he had already gone,
didn't stay for the cotillion--the princess, too, went away immediately
after supper. I met her once or twice afterward. She was always
friendly, and we had little talks together. Her salon--she received once
a week--was quite a centre--all the Bonapartists of course, the
diplomatic corps, many strangers, and all the celebrities in
literature and art.

With that exception I never saw nor talked with any member of that
family until I had been some years a widow, when the Empress Eugénie
received me on her yacht at Cowes. When the news came of the awful
tragedy of the Prince Imperial's death in Zululand, W. was Foreign
Minister, and he had invited a large party, with music. W. instantly put
off the party, said there was no question of politics or a Bonapartist
prince--it was a Frenchman killed, fighting bravely in a foreign
country. I always thought the Empress knew about it and appreciated his
act, for during his embassy in London, though we never saw her, she
constantly sent him word through mutual friends of little negotiations
she knew about and thought might interest him, and always spoke very
well of him as a "clear-headed, patriotic statesman." I should have
liked to have seen her in her prime, when she must have been
extraordinarily beautiful and graceful. When I did see her she was no
longer young, but a stately, impressive figure, and had still the
beautiful brow one sees in all her pictures. One of our friends, a very
clever woman and great anti-Bonapartist, told us an amusing story of her
little son. The child was sometimes in the drawing-room when his mother
was receiving, and heard her and all her friends inveighing against the
iniquities of the Imperial Court and the frivolity of the Empress. He
saw the Empress walking one day in the Bois de Boulogne. She was
attracted by the group of children, stopped and talked to them. The boy
was delighted and said to his governess: "Elle est bien jolie,
l'Impératrice, mais il ne faut pas le dire à Maman." (The Empress is
very pretty, but one must not say it to mother.)



VII


THE BERLIN CONGRESS

Seventy-eight was a most important year for us in many ways. Besides the
interest and fatigues of the exposition and the constant receiving and
official festivities of all kinds, a great event was looming before
us--the Berlin Congress. One had felt it coming for some time. There
were all sorts of new delimitations and questions to be settled since
the war in the Balkans, and Europe was getting visibly nervous. Almost
immediately after the opening of the exposition, the project took shape,
and it was decided that France should participate in the Congress and
send three representatives. It was the first time that France had
asserted herself since the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, but it was time
for her now to emerge from her self-imposed effacement, and take her
place in the Congress of nations. There were many discussions, both
public and private, before the plénipotentiaires were named, and a great
unwillingness on the part of many very intelligent and patriotic
Frenchmen to see the country launching itself upon dangerous ground and
a possible conflict with Bismarck. However, the thing was decided, and
the three plenipotentiaries named--Mr. Waddington, Foreign Minister,
first; Comte de St. Vallier, a very clever and distinguished
diplomatist, actual ambassador at Berlin, second; and Monsieur Desprey,
Directeur de la Politique au Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, third.
He was also a very able man, one of the pillars of the ministry, au
courant of every treaty and negotiation for the last twenty years, very
prudent and clear-headed. All W.'s colleagues were most cordial and
charming on his appointment. He made a statement in the House of the
line of policy he intended to adopt--and was absolutely approved and
encouraged. Not a disparaging word of any kind was said, not even the
usual remark of "cet anglais qui nous représente." He started the 10th
of June in the best conditions possible--not an instruction of any kind
from his chief, M. Dufaure, Président du Conseil--very complimentary to
him certainly, but the ministers taking no responsibility
themselves--leaving the door open in case he made any mistakes. It was
evident that the Parliament and Government were nervous. It was rather
amusing, when all the preparations for the departure were going on. W.
took a large suite with him, secretaries, huissiers, etc., and I told
them they were as much taken up with their coats and embroideries and
cocked hats as any pretty woman with her dresses. I wanted very much to
go, but W. thought he would be freer and have more time to think things
over if I were not there. He didn't know Berlin at all, had never seen
Bismarck nor any of the leading German statesmen, and was fully
conscious how his every word and act would be criticised. However, if a
public man is not criticised, it usually means that he is of no
consequence--so attacks and criticisms are rather welcome--act as a
stimulant. I could have gone and stayed unofficially with a cousin, but
he thought that wouldn't do. St. Vallier was a bachelor; it would have
been rather an affair for him to organise at the embassy an apartment
for a lady and her maids, though he was most civil and asked me to come.

[Illustration: M. William Waddington. In the uniform he wore as Minister
of Foreign Affairs and at the Berlin Congress, 1878]

I felt rather lonely in the big ministry when they had all gone, and I
was left with baby. W. stayed away just five weeks, and I performed
various official things in his absence--among others the Review of the
14th of July. The distinguished guest on that occasion was the Shah of
Persia, who arrived with the Maréchale in a handsome open carriage,
with outriders and postilions. The marshal of course was riding. The
Shah was not at all a striking figure, short, stout, with a dark skin,
and hard black eyes. He had handsome jewels, a large diamond fastening
the white aigrette of his high black cap, and his sword-hilt incrusted
with diamonds. He gave a stiff little nod in acknowledgment of the bows
and curtseys every one made when he appeared in the marshal's box. He
immediately took his seat on one side of the Maréchale in front of the
box, one of the ambassadresses, Princess Hohenlohe I think, next to him.
The military display seemed to interest him. Every now and then he made
some remark to the Maréchale, but he was certainly not talkative. While
the interminable line of the infantry regiments was passing, there was a
move to the back of the box, where there was a table with ices,
champagne, etc. Madame de MacMahon came up to me, saying: "Madame
Waddington, Sa Majesté demande les nouvelles de M. Waddington," upon
which His Majesty planted himself directly in front of me, so close that
he almost touched me, and asked in a quick, abrupt manner, as if he were
firing off a shot: "Où est votre mari?" (neither Madame, nor M.
Waddington, nor any of the terms that are usually adopted in polite
society). "A Berlin, Sire." "Pourquoi à Berlin?" "Comme
plénipotentiaire Français au Congrès de Berlin." "Oui, oui, je sais, je
sais. Cela l'intéresse?" "Beaucoup; il voit tant de personnes
intéressantes." "Oui, je sais. Il va bien?" always coming closer to me,
so that I was edging back against the wall, with his hard, bright little
eyes fixed on mine, and always the same sharp, jerky tone. "Il va
parfaitement bien, je vous remercie." Then there was a pause and he made
one or two other remarks which I didn't quite understand--I don't think
his French went very far--but I made out something about "jolies femmes"
and pointed out one or two to him, but he still remained staring into my
face and I was delighted when his minister came up to him (timidly--all
his people were afraid of him) and said some personage wanted to be
presented to him. He shook hands with me, said something about "votre
mari revient bientôt," and moved off. The Maréchale asked me if I were
not touched by His Majesty's solicitude for my husband's health, and
wouldn't I like to come to the front of the box and sit next to him, but
I told her I couldn't think of engrossing His Majesty's attention, as
there were various important people who wished to be presented to him. I
watched him a little (from a distance), trying to see if anything made
any impression on him (the crowd, the pretty, well-dressed women, the
march past, the long lines of infantry,--rather fatiguing to see, as one
line regiment looks very like another,--the chasseurs with their small
chestnut horses, the dragoons more heavily mounted, and the guns), but
his face remained absolutely impassive, though I think he saw
everything. They told a funny story of him in London at one of the court
balls. When he had looked on at the dancing for some time, he said to
the Prince of Wales: "Tell those people to stop now, I have seen
enough"--evidently thought it was a ballet performing for his amusement.
Another one, at one of the European courts was funny. The monarch was
very old, his consort also. When the Shah was presented to the royal
lady, he looked hard at her without saying a word, then remarked to her
husband: "Laide, vieille, pourquoi garder?" (Ugly, old; why keep her?)

[Illustration: Nasr-ed-Din, Shah of Persia.]

I went to a big dinner and reception at the British Embassy, given for
all the directors and commissioners of the exposition. It was a lovely
warm night, the garden was lighted, everybody walking about, and an
orchestra playing. Many of the officials had their wives and daughters
with them, and some of the toilettes were wonderful. There were a good
many pretty women, Swedes and Danes, the Northern type, very fair hair
and blue eyes, attracting much attention, and a group of Chinese (all in
costume) standing proudly aloof--not the least interested apparently in
the gay scene before them. I wonder what they thought of European
manners and customs! There was no dancing, which I suppose would have
shocked their Eastern morals. Lord Lyons asked me why I wasn't in
Berlin. I said, "For the best of reasons, my husband preferred going
without me--but I hoped he would send for me perhaps at the end of the
Congress." He told me Lady Salisbury was there with her husband. He
seemed rather sceptical as to the peaceful issue of the
negotiations--thought so many unforeseen questions would come up and
complicate matters.

I went to a ball at the Hôtel de Ville, also given for all the
foreigners and French people connected with the exposition. The getting
there was very long and tiring. The coupe-file did no good, as every one
had one. Comte de Pontécoulant went with me and he protested vigorously,
but one of the head men of the police, whom he knew well, came up to the
carriage to explain that nothing could be done. There was a long line of
diplomatic and official carriages, and we must take our chance with the
rest. Some of our cousins (Americans) never got there at all--sat for
hours in their carriage in the rue du Rivoli, moving an inch at a time.
Happily it was a lovely warm night; and as we got near we saw lots of
people walking who had left their carriages some little distance off,
hopelessly wedged in a crowd of vehicles--the women in light dresses,
with flowers and jewels in their hair. The rooms looked very handsome
when at last we did get in, particularly the staircase, with a Garde
Municipal on every step, and banks of palms and flowers on the landing
in the hall, wherever flowers could be put. The Ville de Paris furnishes
all the flowers and plants for the official receptions, and they always
are very well arranged. Some trophies of flags too of all nations made a
great effect. I didn't see many people I knew--it was impossible to get
through the crowd, but some one got me a chair at the open window giving
on the balcony, and I was quite happy sitting there looking at the
people pass. The whole world was represented, and it was interesting to
see the different types--Southerners, small, slight, dark, impatient,
wriggling through the crowd--the Anglo-Saxons, big, broad, calm,
squaring their shoulders when there came a sudden rush, and waiting
quite patiently a chance to get a little ahead. Some of the women too
pushed well--evidently determined to see all they could. I don't think
any royalties, even minor ones, were there.

W. wrote pretty regularly from Berlin, particularly the first days,
before the real work of the Congress began. He started rather sooner
than he had at first intended, so as to have a little time to talk
matters over with St. Vallier and make acquaintance with some of his
colleagues. St. Vallier, with all the staff of the embassy, met him at
the station when he arrived in Berlin, also Holstein (our old friend who
was at the German Embassy in Paris with Arnim) to compliment him from
Prince Bismarck, and he had hardly been fifteen minutes at the embassy
when Count Herbert von Bismarck arrived with greetings and compliments
from his father. He went to see Bismarck the next day, found him at
home, and very civil; he was quite friendly, very courteous and
"bonhomme, original, and even amusing in his conversation, but with a
hard look about the eyes which bodes no good to those who cross his
path." He had just time to get back to the embassy and get into his
uniform for his audience with the Crown Prince (late Emperor
Frederick).[1] The Vice Grand-Maitre des Ceremonies came for him in a
court carriage and they drove off to the palace--W. sitting alone on the
back seat, the grand-maître facing him on the front. "I was ushered into
a room where the Prince was standing. He was very friendly and talked
for twenty minutes about all sorts of things, in excellent French, with
a few words of English now and then to show he knew of my English
connection. He spoke of my travels in the East, of the de Bunsens, of
the Emperor's health (the old man is much better and decidedly
recovering)--and of his great wish for peace." All the plenipotentiaries
had not yet arrived. They appeared only on the afternoon of the 12th,
the day before the Congress opened. Prince Bismarck sent out the
invitation for the first sitting:

[Footnote 1: The Crown Prince represented his father at all the
functions. Some days before the meeting of the Congress the old Emperor
had been wounded in the arm by a nihilist, Nobiling, who Fired from a
window when the Emperor was passing in an open carriage. The wound was
slight, but the old man was much shaken and unable to take any part in
the ceremonies or receive any of the plenipotentiaries.]

                Le Prince de Bismarck
     a l'honneur de prévenir Son Excellence, Monsieur Waddington,
     que la première réunion du Congrès aura lieu le
     13 juin à deux heures, au Palais du Chancelier de l'Empire,
     77, Wilhelmstrasse.
                      "Berlin, le 12 juin 1878."

It was a brilliant assemblage of great names and intelligences that
responded to his invitation--Gortschakoff, Schouvaloff, Andrassy,
Beaconsfield, Salisbury, Karolyi, Hohenlohe, Corti, and many others,
younger men, who acted as secretaries. French was the language spoken,
the only exception being made by Lord Beaconsfield, who always spoke in
English, although it was most evident, W. said, that he understood
French perfectly well. The first day was merely an official opening of
the Congress--every one in uniform--but only for that occasion. After
that they all went in ordinary morning dress, putting on their uniforms
again on the last day only, when they signed the treaty. W. writes:
"Bismarck presides and did his part well to-day; he speaks French fairly
but very slowly, finding his words with difficulty, but he knows what he
means to say and lets every one see that he does." No one else said much
that first day; each man was rather reserved, waiting for his neighbour
to begin. Beaconsfield made a short speech, which was trying for some of
his colleagues, particularly the Turks, who had evidently much
difficulty in understanding English. They were counting upon England's
sympathy, but a little nervous as to a supposed agreement between
England and Russia. The Russians listened most attentively. There seemed
to be a distrust of England on their part and a decided rivalry between
Gortschakoff and Beaconsfield. The Congress dined that first night with
the Crown Prince at the Schloss in the famous white hall--all in uniform
and orders. W. said the heat was awful, but the evening interesting.
There were one hundred and forty guests, no ladies except the royal
princesses, not even the ambassadresses. W. sat on Bismarck's left, who
talked a great deal, intending to make himself agreeable. He had a long
talk after dinner with the Crown Princess (Princess Royal of England)
who spoke English with him. He found her charming--intelligent and
cultivated and so easy--not at all stiff and shy like so many royalties.
He saw her very often during his stay in Berlin, and she was unfailingly
kind to him--and to me also when I knew her later in Rome and London.
She always lives in my memory as one of the most charming women I have
ever met. Her face often comes back to me with her beautiful bright
smile and the saddest eyes I have ever seen. I have known very few like
her. W. also had a talk with Prince Frederick-Charles, father of the
Duchess of Connaught, whom he found rather a rough-looking soldier with
a short, abrupt manner. He left bitter memories in France during the
Franco-German War, was called the "Red Prince," he was so hard and
cruel, always ready to shoot somebody and burn down villages on the
slightest provocation--so different from the Prince Imperial, the "unser
Fritz" of the Germans, who always had a kind word for the fallen foe.

[Illustration: Prince Bismarck. From a sketch by Anton von Werner,
1880.]

W.'s days were very full, and when the important sittings began it was
sometimes hard work. The Congress room was very hot (all the colleagues
seemed to have a holy horror of open windows)--and some of the men very
long and tedious in stating their cases. Of course they were at a
disadvantage not speaking their own language (very few of them knew
French well, except the Russians), and they had to go very carefully,
and be quite sure of the exact significance of the words they used. W.
got a ride every morning, as the Congress only met in the afternoon.
They rode usually in the Thiergarten, which is not very large, but the
bridle-paths were good. It was very difficult to get out of Berlin into
the open country without going through a long stretch of suburbs and
sandy roads which were not very tempting. A great many officers rode in
the park, and one morning when he was riding with the military attache
of the embassy, two officers rode up and claimed acquaintance, having
known him in France in '70, the year of the war. They rode a short time
together, and the next day he received an invitation from the officers
of a smart Uhlan regiment to dine at their mess "in remembrance of the
kind hospitality shown to some of their officers who had been quartered
at his place in France during the war." As the hospitality was decidedly
forced, and the presence of the German officers not very agreeable to
the family, the invitation was not very happy. It was well meant, but
was one of those curious instances of German want of tact which one
notices so much if one lives much with Germans. The hours of the various
entertainments were funny. At a big dinner at Prince Bismarck's the
guests were invited at six, and at eight-thirty every one had gone. W.
sat next to Countess Marie, the daughter of the house, found her simple
and inclined to talk, speaking both French and English well. Immediately
after dinner the men all smoked everywhere, in the drawing-room, on the
terrace, some taking a turn in the park with Bismarck. W. found Princess
Bismarck not very femme du monde; she was preoccupied first with her
dinner, then with her husband, for fear he should eat too much, or take
cold going out of the warm dining-room into the evening air. There were
no ladies at the dinner except the family. (The German lady doesn't seem
to occupy the same place in society as the French and English woman
does. In Paris the wives of ambassadors and ministers are always invited
to all official banquets.)

Amusements of all kinds were provided for the plenipotentiaries. Early
in July W. writes of a "Land-parthie"--the whole Congress (wives too
this time) invited to Potsdam for the day. He was rather dreading a long
day--excursions were not much in his line. However, this one seems to
have been successful. He writes: "Our excursion went off better than
could be expected. The party consisted of the plenipotentiaries and a
certain number of court officers and generals. We started by rail,
stopped at a station called Wannsee, and embarked on board a small
steamer, the Princess Royal receiving the guests as they arrived on
board. We then started for a trip on the lakes, but before long there
came a violent squall which obliged the sailors to take down the awnings
in double-quick time, and drove every one down into the cabins. It
lasted about half an hour, after which it cleared up and every one
reappeared on deck. In course of time we landed near Babelsberg, where
carriages were waiting. I was told off to go in the first with the
Princess Royal, Countess Karolyi (wife of the Austrian ambassador, a
beautiful young woman), and Andrassy. We went over the Château of
Babelsberg, which is a pretty Gothic country-seat, not a palace, and
belongs to the present Emperor. After that we had a longish drive,
through different parks and villages, and finally arrived at Sans Souci,
where we dined. After dinner we strolled through the rooms and were
shown the different souvenirs of Frederick the Great, and got home at
ten-thirty." W. saw a good deal of his cousin, George de Bunsen, a
charming man, very cultivated and cosmopolitan. He had a pretty house in
the new quarter of Berlin, and was most hospitable. He had an
interesting dinner there with some of the literary men and
savants--Mommsen, Leppius, Helmholtz, Curtius, etc., most of them his
colleagues, as he was a member of the Berlin Academy. He found those
evenings a delightful change after the long hot afternoons in the
Wilhelmsstrasse, where necessarily there was so much that was long and
tedious. I think even he got tired of Greek frontiers, notwithstanding
his sympathy for the country. He did what he could for the Greeks, who
were very grateful to him and gave him, in memory of the efforts he made
on their behalf, a fine group in bronze of a female figure--"Greece"
throwing off the bonds of Turkey. Some of the speakers were very
interesting. He found Schouvaloff always a brilliant debater--he spoke
French perfectly, was always good-humoured and courteous, and defended
his cause well. One felt there was a latent animosity between the
English and the Russians. Lord Beaconsfield made one or two strong
speeches--very much to the point, and slightly arrogant, but as they
were always made in English, they were not understood by all the
Assembly. W. was always pleased to meet Prince Hohenlohe, actual German
ambassador to Paris (who had been named the third German
plenipotentiary). He was perfectly au courant of all that went on at
court and in the official world, knew everybody, and introduced W. to
various ladies who received informally, where he could spend an hour or
two quietly, without meeting all his colleagues. Blowitz, of course,
appeared on the scene--the most important person in Berlin (in his own
opinion). I am not quite convinced that he saw all the people he said he
did, or whether all the extraordinary confidences were made to him which
he related to the public, but he certainly impressed people very much,
and I suppose his letters as newspaper correspondent were quite
wonderful. He was remarkably intelligent and absolutely unscrupulous,
didn't hesitate to put into the mouths of people what he wished them to
say, so he naturally had a great pull over the ordinary simple-minded
journalist who wrote simply what he saw and heard. As he was the Paris
correspondent of _The London Times_, he was often at the French Embassy.
W. never trusted him very much, and his flair was right, as he was
anything but true to him. The last days of the Congress were very busy
ones. The negotiations were kept secret enough, but things always leak
out and the papers had to say something. I was rather émue at the tone
of the French press, but W. wrote me not to mind--they didn't really
know anything, and when the treaty was signed France would certainly
come out very honourably. All this has long passed into the domain of
history, and has been told so many times by so many different people
that I will not go into details except to say that the French
protectorate of Tunis (now one of our most flourishing colonies) was
entirely arranged by W. in a long confidential conversation with Lord
Salisbury. The cession of the Island of Cyprus by Turkey to the English
was a most unexpected and disagreeable surprise to W. However, he went
instantly to Lord Salisbury, who was a little embarrassed, as that
negotiation had been kept secret, which didn't seem quite
fair--everything else having been openly discussed around the council
table. He quite understood W.'s feelings in the matter, and was
perfectly willing to make an arrangement about Tunis. The thing was
neither understood nor approved at first by the French Government. W.
returned to Paris, "les mains vides; seulement à chercher dans sa poche
on y eut trouvé les clés de la Tunisie"--as one of his friends defined
the situation some years ago. He was almost disavowed by his Government.
The ministers were timid and unwilling that France should take any
initiative--even his friend, Léon Say, then Minister of Finances, a very
clever man and brilliant politician, said: "Notre collègue Waddington,
contre son habitude, s'est emballé cette fois pour la question de la
Tunisie." (Our colleague Waddington, contrary to his nature, has quite
lost his head this time over the Tunis question.) I think the course of
events has fully justified his action, and now that it has proved such a
success, every one claims to have taken the initiative of the French
protectorate of Tunis. All honours have been paid to those who carried
out the project, and very little is said of the man who originated the
scheme in spite of great difficulties at home and abroad. Some of W.'s
friends know the truth.

[Illustration: The Berlin Congress. From a painting by Anton von Werner,
1881.]

There was a great exchange of visits, photographs, and autographs the
last days of the Congress. Among other things which W. brought back from
Berlin, and which will be treasured by his grandsons as a historical
souvenir, was a fan, quite a plain wooden fan, with the signatures of
all the plenipotentiaries--some of them very characteristic. The French
signatures are curiously small and distinct, a contrast to Bismarck's
smudge. W. was quite sorry to say good-bye to some of his colleagues.
Andrassy, with his quick sympathies and instant comprehension of all
sides of a question, attracted him very much. He was a striking
personality, quite the Slav type. W. had little private intercourse with
Prince Gortschakoff--who was already an old man and the type of the
old-fashioned diplomatist--making very long and well-turned phrases
which made people rather impatient. On the whole W. was satisfied. He
writes two or three days before the signing of the treaty: "As far as I
can see at present, no one will be satisfied with the result of the
Congress; it is perhaps the best proof that it is dealing fairly and
equitably with the very exaggerated claims and pretensions of all
parties. Anyhow, France will come out of the whole affair honourably and
having done all that a strictly neutral power can do." The treaty was
signed on July 13 by all the plenipotentiaries in full uniform. W.
said there was a decided feeling of satisfaction and relief that it was
finished. Even Bismarck looked less preoccupied, as if a weight had been
lifted from his shoulders. Of course he was supposed to have had his own
way in everything. Everybody (not only the French) was afraid of him.
With his iron will, and unscrupulous brushing aside, or even
annihilating, everything that came in his way, he was a formidable
adversary. There was a gala dinner at the Schloss, to celebrate the
signing of the treaty. "It was the exact repetition of the first, at the
opening of the Congress. I sat on the left of Bismarck, and had a good
deal of conversation with him. The Crown Prince and Princess were just
opposite, and the Princess talked a great deal with me across the table,
always in English." The Crown Princess could never forget that she was
born Princess Royal of England. Her household was managed on English
principles, her children brought up by English nurses, she herself
always spoke English with them. Of course there must have been many
things in Germany which were distasteful to her,--so many of the small
refinements of life which are absolute necessaries in England were
almost unknown luxuries in Germany,--particularly when she married. Now
there has been a great advance in comfort and even elegance in German
houses and habits. Her English proclivities made her a great many
enemies, and I don't believe the "Iron Chancellor" made things easy for
her. The dinner at the Schloss was as usual at six o'clock, and at nine
W. had to go to take leave of the Empress, who was very French in her
sympathies, and had always been very kind to him. Her daughter, the
Grand Duchess of Baden, was there, and W. had a very pleasant hour with
the two ladies. The Empress asked him a great many questions about the
Congress, and particularly about Bismarck--if he was in a fairly good
temper--when he had his nerves he was simply impossible, didn't care
what people thought of him, and didn't hesitate to show when he was
bored. The Grand Duchess added smilingly: "He is perfectly intolerant,
has no patience with a fool." I suppose most people are of this opinion.
I am not personally. I have some nice, foolish, kindly, happy friends of
both sexes I am always glad to see; I think they are rather resting in
these days of high education and culture and pose. W. finished his
evening at Lady Salisbury's, who had a farewell reception for all the
plenipotentiaries. He took leave of his colleagues, all of whom had been
most friendly. The only one who was a little stiff with him and
expressed no desire to meet him again was Corti, the Italian
plenipotentiary. He suspected of course that something had been arranged
about Tunis, and was much annoyed that he hadn't been able to get
Tripoli for Italy. He was our colleague afterward in London, and there
was always a little constraint and coolness in his manner. W. left
Berlin on the 17th, having been five weeks away.



VIII


GAIETIES AT THE QUAI D'ORSAY

W. got home on the 17th, and was so busy the first days, with his
colleagues and political friends that I didn't see much more of him than
if he had been in Berlin. He was rather disgusted and discouraged at the
view his colleagues of the cabinet and his friends took of France's
attitude at the Congress. The only man who seemed to be able to look
ahead a little and understand what a future there might be for France in
Tunis was Gambetta. I remember quite well his telling of an interesting
conversation with him. Gambetta was very keen about foreign affairs,
very patriotic, and not at all willing that France should remain
indefinitely a weakened power, still suffering from the defeat of 1870.
There were many fêtes and reunions of all kinds, all through the summer
months, as people had flocked to Paris for the exposition. We remained
in town until the first days of August, then W. went to his
Conseil-Général in the Department of the Aisne, and I went down to
Deauville. He joined me there, and we had a pleasant month--bathing,
driving, and seeing a great many people. We had taken Sir Joseph
Oliffe's villa, one of the best in Deauville. Oliffe, an Englishman, was
one of Emperor Napoleon's physicians, and he and the Duc de Morny were
the founders of Deauville, which was very fashionable as long as Morny
lived and the Empire lasted, but it lost its vogue for some years after
the Franco-German War--fashion and society generally congregating at
Trouville. There were not many villas then, and one rather bad hotel,
but the sea was nearer than it is now and people all went to the beach
in the morning, and fished for shrimps in the afternoon, and led a quiet
out-of-doors life. There was no polo nor golf nor automobiles--not many
carriages, a good tennis-court, where W. played regularly, and races
every Sunday in August, which brought naturally a gay young crowd of all
the sporting world. The train des maris that left Paris every Saturday
evening, brought a great many men. It was quite different from the
Deauville of to-day, which is charming, with quantities of pretty villas
and gardens and sports of all kinds, but the sea is so far off one has
to take quite a long walk to get to it, and the mornings on the beach
and the expeditions to Trouville in the afternoon across the ferry, to
do a little shopping in the rue de Paris, are things of the past.
Curiously enough while I was looking over my notes the other day, I had
a visit from an old friend, the Duc de M., who was one of the inner
circle of the imperial household of the Emperor Napoleon III, and took
an active part in all that went on at court. He had just been hearing
from a friend of the very brilliant season at Deauville this year, and
the streams of gold that flowed into the caisse of the management of the
new hotel and casino. Every possible luxury and every inducement to
spend money, racing, gambling, pretty women of all nationalities and
facile character, beautifully dressed and covered with jewels, side by
side with the bearers of some of the proudest names in France. He said
that just fifty years ago he went to Deauville with the Duc de Morny,
Princesse Metternich, and the Comtesse de Pourtéles to inaugurate the
new watering-place, then of the simplest description. The ladies were
badly lodged in a so-called hotel and he had a room in a
fisherman's hut.

Marshal MacMahon had a house near Trouville that year, and he came over
occasionally to see W., always on horseback and early in the morning. W.
used to struggle into his clothes when "M. le Marechal" was announced.
I think the marshal preferred his military title very much to his civic
honours. I suppose there never was so unwilling a president of a
republic, except many years later Casimir Périer, who certainly hated
the "prison of the Elysée," but the marshal was a soldier, and his
military discipline helped him through many difficult positions. We had
various visitors who came down for twenty-four hours--one charming visit
from the Marquis de Vogüé, then French ambassador at Vienna, where he
was very much liked, a persona grata in every way. He was very tall,
distinguished-looking, quite the type of the ambassador. When I went to
inspect his room I was rather struck by the shortness of the bed--didn't
think his long legs could ever get into it. The valet assured me it was
all right, the bed was normal, but I doubt if he had a very comfortable
night. He and W. were old friends, had travelled in the East together
and discussed every possible subject during long starlight nights in the
desert. They certainly never thought then that one day they would be
closely associated as ambassador and foreign minister. Vogüé didn't like
the Republic, didn't believe in the capacity or the sincerity of the
Republicans--couldn't understand how W. could. He was a personal friend
of the marshal's, remained at Vienna during the marshal's presidency,
but left with him, much to W.'s regret, who knew what good service he
had done at Vienna and what a difficult post that would be for an
improvised diplomatist. It was then, and I fancy is still, one of the
stiffest courts in Europe. One hears amusing stories from some
diplomatists of the rigid etiquette in court circles, which the
Americans were always infringing. A great friend of mine, an American,
who had lived all her life abroad, and whose husband was a member of the
diplomatic corps in Vienna, was always worrying over the misdemeanours
of the Americans who never paid any attention to rules or court
etiquette. They invaded charmed circles, walked boldly up to archdukes
and duchesses, talking to them cheerfully and easily without waiting to
be spoken to, giving them a great deal of information upon all subjects,
Austrian as well as American, and probably interested the very stiff
Austrian royalties much more than the ordinary trained diplomatist, who
would naturally be more correct in his attitude and conversation. I
think the American nationality is the most convenient in the world. The
Americans do just as they like, and no one is ever surprised. The
explanation is quite simple: "They are Americans." I have often noticed
little faults of manners or breeding, which would shock one in a
representative of an older civilisation, pass quite unnoticed, or merely
provoke a smile of amusement.

We drove about a great deal--the country at the back of Deauville, going
away from the sea, is lovely--very like England--charming narrow roads
with high banks and hedges on each side--big trees with spreading
branches meeting overhead--stretches of green fields with cows grazing
placidly and horses and colts gambolling about. It is a great grazing
and breeding country. There are many haras (breeding stables) in the
neighbourhood, and the big Norman posters are much in demand. I have
friends who never take their horses to the country. They hire for the
season a pair of strong Norman horses that go all day up and down hill
at the same regular pace and who get over a vast amount of country. We
stopped once or twice when we were a large party, two or three
carriages, and had tea at one of the numerous farmhouses that were
scattered about. Boiling water was a difficulty--milk, cider, good bread
and butter, cheese we could always find--sometimes a galette, but a
kettle and boiling water were entirely out of their habits. They used to
boil the water in a large black pot, and take it out with a big spoon.
However, it amused us, and the water really did boil.

We had an Italian friend, Count A., who went with us sometimes, and he
was very débrouillard, made himself delightful at once to the fermière
and got whatever he wanted--chairs and tables set out on the grass, with
all the cows and colts and chickens walking about quite undisturbed by
the unusual sights and sounds. It was all very rustic and a delightful
change from the glories of the exposition and official life. It amused
me perfectly to see W. with a straw hat, sitting on a rather rickety
three-legged stool, eating bread and butter and jam. Once or twice some
of W.'s secretaries came down with despatches, and he had a good
morning's work, but on the whole the month passed lazily and pleasantly.

We went back to Paris about the 10th of September, and remained there
until the end of the exposition. Paris was again crowded with
foreigners--the month of October was beautiful, bright and warm, and the
afternoons at the exposition were delightful at the end of the day, when
the crowd had dispersed a little and the last rays of the setting sun
lingered on the Meudon Hills and the river. The buildings and costumes
lost their tawdry look, and one saw only a mass of moving colour, which
seemed to soften and lose itself in the evening shadows. There were
various closing entertainments. The marshal gave a splendid fête at
Versailles. We drove out and had some difficulty in making our way
through the crowd of carriages, soldiers, police, and spectators that
lined the road. It was a beautiful sight as we got near the palace,
which was a blaze of light. The terraces and gardens were also
illuminated, and the effect of the little lamps hidden away in the
branches of the old trees, cut into all sorts of fantastic shapes, was
quite wonderful. There were not as many people at the entrance of the
palace as we had expected to find, for the invitations had been most
generously given to all nationalities. At first the rooms, which were
brilliantly lighted, looked almost empty. The famous Galerie des Glaces
was quite enchanting, almost too light, if there can be too much light
at a fête. There were very few people in it when we arrived rather
early--so much so that when I said to M. de L., one of the marshal's
aides-de-camp, "How perfectly beautiful it is, even now, empty; what
will it be when all the uniforms and jewels are reflected in the
mirrors," his answer was: "Ah, Madame, I am afraid we shan't have people
enough, the hall is so enormous."

I thought of him afterward when an angry crowd was battering at the
doors of one of the salons where the royalties were having refreshments.
I don't think they realised, and we certainly didn't, what the noise
meant, but some of the marshal's household, who knew that only a slight
temporary partition was between us and an irate mob, struggling up the
staircase, were green with anxiety. However, the royalties all got away
without any difficulty, and we tried to hurry immediately after them,
but a dense crowd was then pouring into the room at each end, and for a
moment things looked ugly. The gentlemen, my husband and my
brother-in-law, Eugene Schuyler, Lord Lyons, British ambassador (a big
square-shouldered man), and one or two others, put us, my sister
Schuyler and me, in a recess of one of the big windows, with heavy
furniture in front of us, but that was not very pleasant--with the crowd
moving both ways closing in upon us--and the men were getting nervous,
so one of our secretaries squeezed through the crowd and found two or
three huissiers, came back with them, and we made a procession--two big
huissiers in front, with their silver chains and swords, the mark of
official status, which always impresses a French crowd, then Lord Lyons,
my sister, and I, then W. and Schuyler, and two more men behind us--and
with considerable difficulty and a good many angry expostulations, we
made our way out. Happily our carriages and servants with our wraps were
waiting in one of the inner courts, and we got away easily enough, but
the evening was disastrous to most of the company.

There must have been some misunderstanding between the marshal's
household and the officials at Versailles, as but one staircase (and
there are several) was opened to the public, which was of course
absolutely insufficient. Why others were not opened and lighted will
always be a mystery. Every one got jammed in the one narrow
stairway--people jostled and tumbled over each other--some of the women
fainted and were carried out, borne high aloft over the heads of the
struggling multitudes, and many people never saw their cloaks again. The
vestiaire was taken by storm--satin and lace cloaks lying on the ground,
trampled upon by everybody, and at the end, various men not having been
able to find their coats were disporting themselves in pink satin cloaks
lined with swan's-down--over their shoulders. Quantities of people never
got into the palace--not even on the staircase. The landing was directly
opposite the room where the princes had their buffet--and if they had
succeeded in forcing the door, it would have been a catastrophe. While
we were standing in the window, looking into the park, which looked an
enchanted garden, with the lights and flowers--we wondered if we could
jump or climb down if the crowd pressed too much upon us, but it was too
high and there were no projecting balconies to serve as stepping-stones.
It was a very unpleasant experience.

We were giving a ball at the Quai d'Orsay a few nights afterward, and
had also asked a great many people--all the ambassadors sent in very
large lists of invitations they wanted for their compatriots, but much
the largest was that sent in by the American minister. The invitations
sent to the United States Legation (as it was then) were something
fabulous. It seemed to me the whole of the United States were in Paris
and expecting to be entertained. It is a very difficult position for the
American representative on these occasions. Everybody can't be invited
to the various entertainments and distinctions are very hard to make. We
had some amusing experiences. W. had a letter from one of his English
friends, Lord H., saying he was coming to Paris for the fêtes, with his
two daughters, and he would like very much to be invited to some of the
parties at the Elysee and the ministries. W. replied, saying he would
do what he could, and added that we were to have two large dinners and
receptions,--one with the Comédie Française afterward and one with
music--which one would they come to. Lord H. promptly replied, "to
both." It was funny, but really didn't make any difference. When you
have a hundred people to dinner you can quite easily have a hundred and
three, and in such large parties, arranged weeks beforehand, some one
always gives out at the last moment.

We had a great many discussions in W.'s cabinet with two of his
secretaries, who were especially occupied with the invitations for our
ball. The Parliament of course (le peuple souverain) was invited, but it
was a different question for the women, wives of the senators and
deputies. We finally arrived at a solution by inviting only the wives I
knew. We had an indignant response from one gentleman: "M. X., Député,
ne valsant qu'avec sa femme, a l'honneur de renvoyer la carte
d'invitation que le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères et Madame
Waddington lui ont adressée pour la soirée du 28...." (Mr. X., Deputy,
who waltzes only with his wife, has the honour to send back the card of
invitation which the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Madame Waddington
have sent to him for the party of the 28... ) It was unanimously
decided that the couple must be invited--a gentleman who went to balls
only to dance with his wife must be encouraged in such exemplary
behaviour. Another was funny too, in a different style: "Madame K.,
étant au ciel depuis quelques années, ne pourrait pas se rendre à la
gracieuse invitation que le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères et Madame
Waddington ont bien voulu lui adresser. Monsieur K. s'y rendra avec
plaisir."... (Madame K., being in heaven for some years, cannot accept
the amiable invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Madame
Waddington. Mr. K. will come with pleasure.) We kept the letters in our
archives with many other curious specimens. The house was given over to
workmen the last two or three days before the ball. With the remembrance
of the staircase at Versailles in our minds, we were most anxious to
have no contretemps of any kind to interfere with our entertainment.
Both entrances were arranged and the old elevator (which had not worked
for years) was put in order. It had been suggested once or twice that I
should use it, but as I always had heard a gruesome tale of Madame
Drouyn de l'Huys, when her husband was Foreign Minister, hanging in
space for four or five hours between the two floors, I was not inclined
to repeat that experience.

My recollection of the lower entrance and staircase, which we never
used, was of rather a dark, grimy corner, and I was amazed the morning
of the ball to see the transformation. Draperies, tapestries, flags, and
green plants had done wonders--and the elevator looked quite charming
with red velvet hangings and cushions. I don't think any one used it. We
had asked our guests at nine-thirty, as the princes said they would come
at ten. I was ready about nine, and thought I would go down-stairs by
the lower entrance, so as to have a look at the staircase and all the
rooms before any one came. There was already such a crowd in the rooms
that I couldn't get through; even my faithful Gérard could not make a
passage. We were obliged to send for two huissiers, who with some
difficulty made room for me. W. and his staff were already in the salon
réservé, giving final instructions. The servants told us that since
eight o'clock there had been a crowd at the doors, which they opened a
little before nine, and a flood of people poured in. The salon réservé
had a blue ribbon stretched across the entrance from door to door, and
was guarded by huissiers, old hands who knew everybody in the diplomatic
and official world, and would not let any one in who hadn't a right to
penetrate into the charmed circle (which of course became the one room
where every one wanted to go). There were, too, one or two members of
W.'s cabinet always stationed near the doors to see that instructions
were obeyed.

I don't think the salon réservé exists any more--the blue ribbon
certainly not. The rising flood of democracy and equality wouldn't
submit to any such barrier. I remember quite well one beautiful woman
standing for some time just the wrong side of the ribbon. She was so
beautiful that every one remarked her, but she had no official rank or
claim of any kind to enter the salon réservé--no one knew her, though
every one was asking who she was. She finally made her entrée into the
room on the arm of one of the members of the diplomatic corps, a young
secretary, one of her friends, who could not refuse her what she wanted
so much. She was certainly the handsomest woman in the room with the
exception of the actual Queen Alexandra, who was always the most
beautiful and distinguished wherever she was.

The royalties didn't dance much. We had the regular quadrille d'honneur
with the Princes and Princesses of Wales, Denmark, Sweden, Countess of
Flanders, and others. None of the French princes came to the ball.
There was a great crowd, but as the distinguished guests remained all
the time in the salon réservé, they were not inconvenienced by it. Just
before supper, which was served at little round tables in a room opening
out of the rotonde, the late King of Denmark, then Crown Prince, brother
of the Princess of Wales, told me he would like to go up-stairs and see
all the rooms; he had always heard that the Palais d'Orsay was a
beautiful house. We made a difficult but stately progress through the
rooms. The staircase was a pretty sight, covered with a red carpet,
tapestries on the walls, and quantities of pretty women of all
nationalities grouped on the steps. We walked through the rooms, where
there were just as many people as there were down-stairs, an orchestra,
supper-room, people dancing--just like another party going on. We halted
a few minutes in my petit salon at the end of the long suite of rooms.
It looked quite charming, with the blue brocade walls and quantities of
pink roses standing in high glass vases. I suggested taking the elevator
to go down, but the prince preferred walking (so did I). It was even
more difficult getting through the crowd down-stairs--we had the whole
length of the house to cross. Several women stood on chairs as we passed
along, in the hope of seeing one of the princesses, but they had wisely
remained in the salon réservé, and were afraid to venture into
the crowd.

Supper was a serious preoccupation for the young secretaries of the
ministry, who had much difficulty in keeping that room private. Long
before the supper hour some enterprising spirits had discovered that the
royalties were to sup in that room, and finding the secretaries quite
inaccessible to any suggestions of "people who had a right to come
in"--presidents of commissions and various other distinctions--had
recourse to the servants, and various gold pieces circulated, which,
however, did not accomplish their object. The secretaries said that they
had more trouble with the chamberlains of the various princes than with
the princes themselves; they all wanted to sup in the private room, and
were much more tenacious of having a good place, or the place they
thought was due to them, than their royal masters. The supper was very
gay--the Prince of Wales (the late King Edward) perfectly
charming--talking to every one, remembering every one with that
extraordinary gracious manner which made him friends in all classes.
Immediately after supper the princes and distinguished strangers and W.
departed. I remained about an hour longer and went to have a look at
the ballroom. It was still crowded, people dancing hard, and when
finally about two o'clock I retreated to my own quarters, I went to
sleep to the sound of waltzes and dance music played by the two
orchestras. The revelry continued pretty well all through the night.
Whenever I woke I heard strains of music. Supper went on till seven in
the morning. Our faithful Kruft told us that there was absolutely
nothing left on the tables, and they had almost to force the people out,
telling them that an invitation to a ball did not usually extend to
breakfast the next morning.

There was a grand official closing of the exposition at the end of
November, with a distribution of prizes--the city still very full and
very gay--escorts and uniforms in every direction--the Champs-Elysées
brilliant with soldiers--equipages of all descriptions, and all the
afternoon a crowd of people sitting under the trees, much interested in
all that was going on, particularly when carriages would pass with
people in foreign and striking costumes. The Chinese always wore their
costume; the big yellow birds of paradise became quite a feature of the
afternoon défilé. An Indian princess too, dressed entirely in white--a
soft clinging material, with a white veil, _not_ over her face, and
held in place by a gold band going around the head--was always much
admired. Every now and then there would be a great clatter of
trotting-horses and jingling sabres, when an escort of dragoons would
pass, escorting some foreign prince to the Elysée to pay his formal
visit to the marshal. Everybody looked gay--French people so dearly love
a show--and it was amusing to see the interest every one took in the
steady stream of people, from the fashionable woman driving to the Bois
in her victoria to the workmen, who would stand in groups on the corners
of the streets--some of them occasionally with a child on their
shoulders. Frenchmen of all classes are good to children. On a Sunday or
fête day, when whole families are coming in from a day at the Bois, one
often sees a young husband wheeling a baby-carriage, or carrying a baby
in his arms to let the poor mother have a rest. It was curious at the
end of the exposition to see how quickly everything was removed (many
things had been sold); and in a few days the Champ de Mars took again
the same aspect it had at the beginning of the month of May--heavy carts
and camions everywhere, oceans of mud, lines of black holes where trees
and poles had been planted, and the same groups of small shivering
Southerners, all huddled together, wrapped in wonderful cloaks and
blankets, quite paralysed with cold. I don't know if the exposition was
a financial success--I should think probably not. A great deal of money
came into France (but the French spent enormously in their preparations)
but the moral effect was certainly good--all the world flocked to Paris.
Cabs and river steamers did a flourishing business, as did all the
restaurants and cafés in the suburbs. St. Cloud, Meudon, Versailles,
Robinson, were crowded every night with people who were thirsting for
air and food after long hot days in the dust and struggles of the
exposition. We dined there once or twice, but it was certainly neither
pleasant nor comfortable--even in the most expensive restaurants. They
were all overcrowded, very bad service, badly lighted, and generally bad
food. There were various national repasts--Russian, Italian, etc.--but I
never participated in any of those, except once at the American
restaurant, where I had a very good breakfast one morning, with
delicious waffles made by a negro cook. I was rather glad when the
exhibition was over. One had a feeling that one ought to see as much as
possible, and there were some beautiful things, but it was most
fatiguing struggling through the crowd, and we invariably lost the
carriage and found ourselves at the wrong entrance, and had to wait
hours for a cab. Tiffany had a great success with the French. Many of my
friends bought souvenirs of the exposition from him. His work was very
original, fanciful, and quite different from the rather stiff, heavy,
classic silver that one sees in this country.



IX


M. WADDINGTON AS PRIME MINISTER

There had been a respite, a sort of armed truce, in political circles as
long as the exposition lasted, but when the Chambers met again in
November, it was evident that things were not going smoothly. The
Republicans and Radicals were dissatisfied. Every day there were
speeches and insinuations against the marshal and his government, and
one felt that a crisis was impending. There were not loaves and fishes
enough for the whole Radical party. If one listened to them it would
seem as if every préfet and every general were conspiring against the
Republic. There were long consultations in W.'s cabinet, and I went
often to our house in the rue Dumont d'Urville to see if everything was
in order there, as I quite expected to be back there for Christmas. A
climax was reached when the marshal was asked to sign the deposition of
some of the generals. He absolutely refused--the ministers persisted in
their demands. There was not much discussion, the marshal's mind was
made up, and on the 30th of January, 1879, he announced in the Conseil
des Ministres his irrevocable decision, and handed his ministers his
letter of resignation.

We had a melancholy breakfast--W., Count de P., and I--the last day of
the marshal's presidency. W. was very blue, was quite sure the marshal
would resign, and foresaw all sorts of complications both at home and
abroad. The day was gloomy too, grey and cold, even the big rooms of the
ministry were dark. As soon as they had started for Versailles, I took
baby and went to mother's. As I went over the bridge I wondered how many
more times I should cross it, and whether the end of the week would see
me settled again in my own house. We drove about and had tea together,
and I got back to the Quai d'Orsay about six o'clock. Neither W. nor
Count de P. had got back from Versailles, but there were two
telegrams--the first one to say that the marshal had resigned, the
second one that Grévy was named in his place, with a large majority.

[Illustration: M. Jules Grevy, reading Marshal MacMahon's letter of
resignation to the Chamber of Deputies. From _L'Illustration_,
February 8. 1879.]

W. was rather depressed when he came home--he had always a great
sympathy and respect for the marshal, and was very sorry to see him
go,--thought his departure would complicate foreign affairs. As long as
the marshal was at the Elysee, foreign governments were not afraid of
coups d'état or revolutions. He was also sorry that Dufaure would not
remain, but he was an old man, had had enough of political life and
party struggles--left the field to younger men. The marshal's letter was
communicated at once to the Parliament, and the houses met in the
afternoon. There was a short session to hear the marshal's letter read
(by Grévy in the Chamber of Deputies) and the two houses, Senate and
Chamber of Deputies, were convoked for a later hour of the same
afternoon. There was not much excitement, two or three names were
pronounced, but every one felt sure that Grévy would be the man. He was
nominated by a large majority, and the Republicans were
jubilant--thought the Republic was at last established on a firm and
proper basis. Grévy was perfectly calm and self-possessed--did not show
much enthusiasm. He must have felt quite sure from the first moment that
he would be named. His first visitor was the marshal, who wished him all
possible success in his new mission, and, if Grévy was pleased to be the
President of the Republic, the marshal was even more pleased not to be,
and to take up his private life again.

There were many speculations as to who would be charged by Grévy to form
his first cabinet--and almost permanent meetings in all the groups of
the Left. W.'s friends all said he would certainly remain at the Foreign
Office, but that depended naturally upon the choice of the premier. If
he were taken from the more advanced ranks of the Left, W. could not
possibly stay. We were not long in suspense. W. had one or two
interviews with Grévy, which resulted in his remaining at the Foreign
Office, but as prime minister. W. hesitated at first, felt that it would
not be an easy task to keep all those very conflicting elements
together. There were four Protestants in the ministry, W., Léon Say, de
Freycinet, and Le Royer. Jules Ferry, who took the Ministry of Public
Instruction, a very clever man, was practically a freethinker, and the
Parliament was decidedly more advanced. The last elections had given a
strong Republican majority to the Senate. He consulted with his brother,
Richard Waddington, then a deputy, afterward a senator, president of the
Chamber of Commerce of Rouen, and some of his friends, and finally
decided to accept the very honourable, but very onerous position, and
remained at the Foreign Affairs with Grévy, as prime minister.

If I had seen little of him before, I saw nothing of him now, as his
work was exactly doubled. We did breakfast together, but it was a most
irregular meal--sometimes at twelve o'clock, sometimes at one-thirty,
and very rarely alone. We always dined out or had people dining with us,
so that family life became a dream of the past. We very rarely went
together when we dined out. W. was always late--his coupé waited hours
in the court. I had my carriage and went alone. After eight or ten days
of irregular meals at impossible hours (we often dined at nine-thirty) I
said to Count de P., W.'s chef de cabinet: "Can't you arrange to have
business over a little earlier? It is awful to dine so late and to wait
so long," to which he replied: "Ah, madame, no one can be more desirous
than I to change that order of things, for when the minister dines at
nine-thirty, the chef de cabinet gets his dinner at ten-thirty." We did
manage to get rather more satisfactory hours after a little while, but
it was always difficult to extract W. from his work if it were anything
important. He became absorbed, and absolutely unconscious of time.

The new President, Grévy, installed himself at once at the Elysée with
his wife and daughter. There was much speculation about Madame Grévy--no
one had ever seen her--she was absolutely unknown. When Grévy was
president of the National Assembly, he gave very pleasant men's
dinners, where Madame Grévy never appeared. Every one (of all opinions)
was delighted to go to him, and the talk was most brilliant and
interesting. Grévy was a perfect host, very cultivated, with a
marvellous memory--quoting pages of the classics, French, and Latin.

Madame Grévy was always spoken of as a quiet, unpretending
person--occupied with domestic duties, who hated society and never went
anywhere--in fact, no one ever heard her name mentioned. A great many
people didn't know that Grévy had a wife. When her husband became
President of the Republic, there was much discussion as to Madame
Grévy's social status in the official world. I don't think Grévy wanted
her to appear nor to take any part in the new life, and she certainly
didn't want to. Nothing in her former life had prepared her for such a
change, and it was always an effort for her, but both were overruled by
their friends, who thought a woman was a necessary part of the position.
It was some little time before they were settled at the Elysée. W. asked
Grévy once or twice when Madame Waddington might call upon his wife--and
he answered that as soon as they were quite installed I should receive a
notice. One day a communication arrived from the Elysee, saying that
Madame Grévy would receive the diplomatic corps and the ministers' wives
on a fixed day at five o'clock. The message was sent on to the
diplomatic corps, and when I arrived on the appointed day (early, as I
wanted to see the people come in, and also thought I must present the
foreign ladies) there were already several carriages in the court.

[Illustration: M. Jules Grévy elected President of the Republic by the
Senate and Chamber of Deputies meeting as the National Assembly. From
_l'Illustration_, February 8. 1879.]

The Elysee looked just as it did in the marshal's time--plenty of
servants in gala liveries--two or three huissiers who knew
everybody--palms, flowers, everywhere. The traditions of the palace are
carried on from one President to another, and a permanent staff of
servants remains. We found Madame Grévy with her daughter and one or two
ladies, wives, I suppose, of the secretaries, seated in the well-known
drawing-room with the beautiful tapestries--Madame Grévy in a large gold
armchair at the end of the room--a row of gilt armchairs on each side of
hers--mademoiselle standing behind her mother. A huissier announced
every one distinctly, but the names and titles said nothing to Madame
Grévy. She was tall, middle-aged, handsomely dressed, and visibly
nervous--made a great many gestures when she talked. It was amusing to
see all the people arrive. I had nothing to do--there were no
introductions--every one was announced, and they all walked straight up
to Madame Grévy, who was very polite, got up for every one, men and
women. It was rather an imposing circle that gathered around
her--Princess Hohenlohe, German ambassadress, sat on one side of
her--Marquise Molins, Spanish ambassadress, on the other. There were not
many men--Lord Lyons, as doyen of the diplomatic corps, the nonce, and a
good many representatives of the South American Republics. Madame Grévy
was perfectly bewildered, and did try to talk to the ladies next to her,
but it was an intimidating function for any one, and she had no one to
help her, as they were all quite new to the work. It was obviously an
immense relief to her when some lady of the official world came in, whom
she had known before. The two ladies plunged at once into a very
animated conversation about their children, husbands, and various
domestic matters--a perfectly natural conversation, but not interesting
to the foreign ladies.

We didn't make a very long visit--it was merely a matter of form. Lord
Lyons came out with me, and we had quite a talk while I was waiting for
my carriage in the anteroom. He was so sensible always in his
intercourse with the official world, quite realised that the position
was difficult and trying for Madame Grévy--it would have been for any
one thrown at once without any preparation into such perfectly different
surroundings. He had a certain experience of republics and republican
manners, as he had been some years in Washington as British minister,
and had often seen wives of American statesmen and ministers, fresh from
the far West, beginning their career in Washington, quite bewildered by
the novelty of everything and utterly ignorant of all questions of
etiquette--only he said the American women were far more adaptable than
either French or English--or than any others in the world, in fact. He
also said that day, and I have heard him repeat it once or twice since,
that he had _never_ met a stupid American woman....

I have always thought it was unnecessary to insist upon Madame Grévy's
presence at the Elysée. It is very difficult for any woman, no longer
very young, to begin an entirely new life in a perfectly different
milieu, and certainly more difficult for a Frenchwoman of the
bourgeoisie than any other. They live in such a narrow circle, their
lives are so cramped and uninteresting--they know so little of society
and foreign ways and manners that they must be often uncomfortable and
make mistakes. It is very different for a man. All the small questions
of dress and manners, etc., don't exist for him. One man in a dress coat
and white cravat looks very like another, and men of all conditions are
polite to a lady. When a man is intelligent, no one notices whether his
coat and waist-coat are too wide or too short and whether his boots
are clumsy.

Madame Grévy never looked happy at the Elysée. They had a big dinner
every Thursday, with a reception afterward, and she looked so tired when
she was sitting on the sofa, in the diplomatic salon, making
conversation for the foreigners and people of all kinds who came to
their receptions, that one felt really sorry for her. Grévy was always a
striking personality. He had a fine head, a quiet, dignified manner, and
looked very well when he stood at the door receiving his guests. I don't
think he cared very much about foreign affairs--he was essentially
French--had never lived abroad or known any foreigners. He was too
intelligent not to understand that a country must have foreign
relations, and that France must take her place again as a great power,
but home politics interested him much more than anything else. He was a
charming talker--every one wanted to talk to him, or rather to listen to
him. The evenings were pleasant enough in the diplomatic salon. It was
interesting to see the attitude of the different diplomatists. All were
correct, but most of them were visibly antagonistic to the Republic and
the Republicans (which they considered much accentuée since the
nomination of Grévy--the women rather more so than the men). One felt,
if one didn't hear, the criticisms on the dress, deportment, and general
style of the Republican ladies.

[Illustration: The Elysée Palace, Paris]

I didn't quite understand their view of the situation. They were all
delighted to come to Paris, and knew perfectly well the state of things,
what an abyss existed between all the Conservative party, Royalists and
Bonapartists, and the Republican, but the absence of a court didn't make
any difference in their position. They went to all the entertainments
given in the Faubourg St. Germain, and all the société came to theirs.
With very few exceptions they did only what was necessary in the way of
intercourse with the official world. I think they made a mistake, both
for themselves and their governments. France was passing through an
entirely new phase; everything was changing, many young intelligent men
were coming to the front, and there were interesting and able
discussions in the Chambers, and in the salons of the Republican
ministers and deputies. I dare say the new theories of liberty and
equality were not sympathetic to the trained representatives of courts,
but the world was advancing, democracy was in the air, and one would
have thought it would have interested foreigners to follow the movement
and to judge for themselves whether the young Republic had any chance of
life. One can hardly imagine a public man not wishing to hear all sides
of a question, but I think, _certainly_ in the beginning, there was such
a deep-rooted distrust and dislike to the Republic, that it was
impossible to see things fairly. I don't know that it mattered very
much. In these days of rapid travelling and telephone, an ambassador's
rôle is much less important than in the old days when an ambassador with
his numerous suite of secretaries and servants, travelling by post,
would be days on the road before reaching his destination, and when all
sorts of things might happen, kingdoms and dynasties be overthrown in
the interval. Now all the great measures and negotiations are discussed
and settled in the various chancelleries--the ambassador merely
transmits his instructions.

I think the women were rather more uncompromising than the men. One day
in my drawing-room there was a lively political discussion going on, and
one heard all the well-known phrases "le gouvernement infect," "no
gentleman could serve the Republic," etc. I wasn't paying much
attention--never did; I had become accustomed to that style of
conversation, and knew exactly what they were all going to say, when I
heard one of my friends, an American-born, married to a Frenchman of
very good old family, make the following statement: "Toute la canaille
est Républicaine." That was really too much, and I answered: "Vous êtes
bien indulgente pour l'Empire." When one thinks of the unscrupulous (not
to use a stronger term) and needy adventurers, who made the Coup d'Etat
and played a great part in the court of the Second Empire, it was really
a little startling to be told that the Republicans enjoyed the monopoly
of the canaille. However, I suppose nothing is so useless as a political
discussion (except perhaps a religious one). No one ever converts any
one else. I have always heard it said that the best political speech
never changed a vote.

The first person who entertained Grévy was Prince Hohenlohe, the German
ambassador. They had a brilliant reception, rooms crowded, all the
official world and a fair contingent from the Faubourg St. Germain. The
President brought his daughter with him (Madame Grévy never accepted any
invitations) and they walked through the rooms arm-in-arm, mademoiselle
declining the arm of Count Wesdehlen, first secretary of the
German Embassy.

However, she was finally prevailed upon to abandon the paternal support,
and then Wesdehlen installed her in a small salon where Mollard,
Introducteur des Ambassadeurs, took charge of her and introduced a great
many men to her. No woman would ask to be introduced to an unmarried
woman, and that of course made her position difficult. The few ladies
she had already seen at the Elysée came up to speak to her, but didn't
stay near her, so she was really receiving almost alone with Mollard.
Grévy was in another room, très entouré, as he always was. The
diplomatic corps did not spare their criticisms. Madame Grévy received
every Saturday in the afternoon, and I went often--not every time. It
was a funny collection of people, some queerly dressed women and one or
two men in dress coats and white cravats,--always a sprinkling of
diplomatists. Prince Orloff was often there, and if anybody could have
made that stiff, shy semicircle of women comfortable, he would have done
it, with his extraordinary ease of manner and great habit of the world.
Gambetta was installed in the course of the month at the Palais Bourbon,
next to us. It was brilliantly lighted every night, and my chef told me
one of his friends, an excellent cook, was engaged, and that there would
be a great many dinners. The Palais Bourbon had seen great
entertainments in former days, when the famous Duc de Morny was
Président de la Chambre des Députés. Under Napoleon III his
entertainments were famous. The whole world, fashionable, political, and
diplomatic thronged his salons, and invitations were eagerly sought for
not only by the French people, but by the many foreigners who passed
through Paris at that time. Gambetta must have been a curious contrast
to the Duc de Morny.

We went to see a first function at the Elysée some time in February, two
Cardinals were to be named and Grévy was to deliver the birettas.
Mollard asked to see me one morning, telling me that the two ablegates
with their suite had arrived, and wished to pay their respects to me.
One of them was Monsignor Cataldi, whom we had known well in Rome when
we were living there. He was a friend of my brother (General Rufus King,
the last United States minister to the Vatican under Pia Nono), and came
often to the house. He was much excited when he found out that Madame
Waddington was the Mary King he had known so well in Rome. He had with
him an English priest, whose name, curiously enough, was English. They
appeared about tea-time and were quite charming, Cataldi just as fat and
cheerful and talkative as I remembered him in the old days in Rome. We
plunged at once into all sorts of memories of old times--the good old
times when Rome was small and black and interesting--something quite
apart and different from any other place in the world. Monsignor English
was much younger and more reserved, the Anglo-Saxon type--a contrast to
the exuberant Southerners. We asked them to dine the next night and were
able to get a few interesting people to meet them, Comte et Comtesse de
Sartiges, and one or two deputies--bien-pensants. Sartiges was formerly
French ambassador in Rome to the Vatican, and a very clever diplomatist.
He was very autocratic, did exactly what he liked. I remember quite well
some of his small dances at the embassy. The invitations were from ten
to twelve, and at twelve precisely the musicians stopped playing--no
matter who was dancing, the ball was over. His wife was an American,
from Boston, Miss Thorndike, who always retained the simple, natural
manner of the well-born American. Their son, the Vicomte de Sartiges,
has followed in his father's footsteps, and is one of the most serious
and intelligent of the young diplomatists.

Cataldi made himself very agreeable, spoke French perfectly well, though
with a strong Italian accent. He confided to me after dinner that he
would have liked to see some of the more advanced political men, instead
of the very conservative Catholics we had invited to meet them. "I know
what these gentlemen think; I would like to talk to some of the others,
those who think 'le clericalism c'est l'ennemi,' and who are firmly
convinced that the soutane serves as a cloak for all sorts of underhand
and unpatriotic dealings; I can only see them abroad, never in Rome." He
would have talked to them quite easily. Italians have so much natural
tact, in discussing difficult questions, never irritate people
unnecessarily.

W. enjoyed his evening. He had never been in Rome, nor known many
Romans, and it amused him to see how skilfully Cataldi (who was a
devoted admirer of Leo XIII) avoided all cross-currents and difficult
questions, saying only what he intended to say, and appreciating all
that was said to him.

Henrietta and I were very anxious to see the ceremony at the Elysée, and
asked Mollard, Introducteur des Ambassadeurs and chef du Protocole--a
most important man on all official occasions, if he couldn't put us
somewhere in a corner, where we could see, without taking any part. W.
was of no use to us, as he went officially, in uniform. Madame Grévy was
very amiable, and sent us an invitation to breakfast. We found a small
party assembled in the tapestry salon when we arrived at the Elysée--the
President with all his household, civil and military, Madame and
Mademoiselle Grévy, three or four ladies, wives of the aides-de-camp and
secretaries, also several prominent ecclesiastics, among them Monsignor
Capel, an English priest, a very handsome and attractive man, whom we
had known well in Rome. He was supposed to have made more women converts
to Catholicism than any man of his time; I can quite understand his
influence with women. There was something very natural and earnest about
him--no pose. I had not seen him since I had married and was very
pleased when I recognised him. He told me he had never seen W.--was most
anxious to make his acquaintance.

While we were talking, W. came in, looking very warm and uncomfortable,
wearing his stiff, gold-embroidered uniform, which changed him very
much. I introduced Capel to him at once. They had quite a talk before
the Archbishops and ablegates arrived. The two future Cardinals,
Monseigneur Pie, Archbishop of Poitiers, and Monseigneur Desprey,
Archbishop of Toulouse, were well known in the Catholic world. The
Pope's choice was generally approved. They were treated with all due
ceremony, as befitted princes of the church. One of the Elysée carriages
(always very well turned out), with an escort of cavalry, went to fetch
them, and they looked very stately and imposing in their robes when they
came into the room where we were waiting. They were very different,
Monseigneur Pie tall, thin, cold, arrogant,--one felt it was a trial for
him to receive his Cardinal's hat from the hands of a Republican
President. Monseigneur Desprey had a kind good expression. I don't think
he liked it much either, but he put a better face on the matter.

Both Cardinals said exactly what one imagined they would say--that the
traditional fidelity of France to the church should be supported and
encouraged in every way in these troubled days of indifference to
religion, etc. One felt all the time the strong antagonism of the church
to the Republic. Grévy answered extremely well, speaking with much
dignity and simplicity, and assuring the Cardinals that they could
always count upon the constitutional authority of the head of the state,
in favour of the rights of the church. I was quite pleased to see again
the red coats and high boots of the gardes nobles. It is a very showy,
dashing uniform. The two young men were good-looking and wore it very
well. I asked to have them presented to me, and we had a long talk over
old days in Rome when the Pope went out every day to the different
villas, and promenades, and always with an escort of gardes nobles. I
invited them to our reception two or three nights afterward, and they
seemed to enjoy themselves. They were, of course, delighted with their
short stay in Paris, and I think a little surprised at the party at the
Foreign Office under a Republican régime. I don't know if they expected
to find the rooms filled with gentlemen in the traditional red
Garibaldian shirt--and ladies in corresponding simplicity of attire.

[Illustration: Her Majesty Queen Victoria, about 1879. From a photograph
by Chancellor, Dublin.]

We saw a great many English at the Quai d'Orsay. Queen Victoria stayed
one or two nights at the British Embassy, passing through Paris on her
way South. She sent for W., who had never seen her since his
undergraduate days at Cambridge. He found her quite charming, very easy,
interested in everything. She began the conversation in French--(he was
announced with all due ceremony as Monsieur le Ministre des Affaires
Etrangères) and W. said she spoke it remarkably well,--then, with her
beautiful smile which lightened up her whole face: "I think I can
speak English with a Cambridge scholar." She was much interested in his
beginnings in England at Rugby and Cambridge--and was evidently
astonished, though she had too much tact to show it, that he had chosen
to make his life and career in France instead of accepting the
proposition made to him by his cousin Waddington, then Dean of Durham,
to remain in England and continue his classic and literary studies under
his guidance. When the interview was over he found the Queen's faithful
Scotch retainer, John Brown, who always accompanied her everywhere,
waiting outside the door, evidently hoping to see the minister. He spoke
a few words with him, as a countryman--W. being half Scotch--his mother
was born Chisholm. They shook hands and John Brown begged him to come to
Scotland, where he would receive a hearty welcome. W. was very pleased
with his reception by the Queen. Lord Lyons told him afterward that she
had been very anxious to see him; she told him later, in speaking of the
interview, that it was very difficult to realise that she was speaking
to a French minister--everything about him was so absolutely English,
figure, colouring, and speech.

Many old school and college experiences were evoked that year by the
various English who passed through Paris. One night at a big dinner at
the British Embassy I was sitting next to the Prince of Wales (late King
Edward). He said to me: "There is an old friend of your husband's here
to-night, who will be so glad to see him again. They haven't met since
he was his fag at Rugby." After dinner he was introduced to me--Admiral
Glynn--a charming man, said his last recollection of W. was making his
toast for him and getting a good cuff when the toast fell into the fire
and got burnt. The two men talked together for some time in the
smoking-room, recalling all sorts of schoolboy exploits. Another school
friend was Sir Francis Adams, first secretary and "counsellor" at the
British Embassy. When the ambassador took his holiday, Adams replaced
him, and had the rank and title of minister plenipotentiary. He came
every Wednesday, the diplomatic reception day, to the Quai d'Orsay to
talk business. As long as a secretary or a huissier was in the room,
they spoke to each other most correctly in French; as soon as they were
alone, relapsed into easy and colloquial English. We were very fond of
Adams--saw a great deal of him not only in Paris, but when we first
lived in London at the embassy. He died suddenly in Switzerland, and W.
missed him very much. He was very intelligent, a keen observer, had
been all over the world, and his knowledge and appreciation of foreign
countries and ways was often very useful to W.

We continued our dinners and receptions, which always interested me, we
saw so many people of all kinds. One dinner was for Prince Alexander of
Battenberg, just as he was starting to take possession of the new
principality of Bulgaria. He was one of the handsomest men I have ever
seen,--tall, young, strong. He seemed the type of the dashing young
chief who would inspire confidence in a new independent state. He didn't
speak of his future with much enthusiasm. I wonder if a presentiment was
even then overclouding what seemed a brilliant beginning! He talked a
great deal at dinner. He was just back from Rome, and full of its charm,
which at once made a bond of sympathy between us. Report said he had
left his heart there with a young Roman. He certainly spoke of the happy
days with a shade of melancholy. I suggested that he ought to marry,
that would make his "exile," as he called it, easier to bear. "Ah, yes,
if one could choose." Then after a pause, with an almost boyish
petulance: "They want me to marry Princess X., but I don't want to." "Is
she pretty, will she help you in your new country?" "I don't know; I
don't care; I have never seen her."

Poor fellow, he had a wretched experience. Some of the "exiles" were
less interesting. A lady asked to see me one day, to enlist my
sympathies for her brother and plead his cause with the minister. He had
been named to a post which he couldn't really accept. I rather demurred,
telling her messenger, one of the secretaries of the Foreign Office,
that it was quite useless, her asking me to interfere. W. was not very
likely to consult me in his choice of nominations--and in fact the small
appointments, secretaries, were generally prepared in the Chancellerie
and followed the usual routine of regular promotion. An ambassador, of
course, was different, and was sometimes taken quite outside the
carrière. The lady persisted and appeared one morning--a pretty,
well-dressed femme du monde whom I had often met without making her
acquaintance. She plunged at once into her subject--her brother's
delicate health, accustomed to all the comforts and what the books call
"higher civilisation" of Europe, able to do good service in courts and
society, as he knew everybody. It was a pity to send him to such an
out-of-the-way place, with an awful climate,--any consul's clerk would
do as well. I supposed he had been named to Caracas, South America, or
some other remote and unhealthy part of the globe, but when she stopped
for a moment, I discovered that the young man was named to Washington. I
was really surprised, didn't know what to say at once, when the
absurdity of the thing struck me and I answered that Washington was far,
perhaps across the ocean, but there were compensations--but she took up
her argument again, such an impossible place, everything so primitive, I
really think she thought the youth was going to an Indian settlement,
all squaws and wigwams and tomahawks. I declined any interference with
the minister's appointments, assuring her I had no influence whatever,
and she took leave of me very icily. I heard the sequel afterward--the
young man refused the post as quite unworthy of him. There were several
others ready and pleased to take it, and M. de X. was put en
disponibilité.

We saw too that year for the first time the Grand Duke Alexander of
Russia (later Emperor Alexander III, whose coronation we went to at
Moscow) and the Grande Duchesse Marie. Prince Orloff arranged the
interview, as he was very anxious that the Grand Duke should have some
talk with W. They were in Paris for three or four days, staying at the
Hotel Bristol, where they received us. He was a tall, handsome man,
with a blond beard and blue eyes, quite the Northern type. She recalled
her sister (Queen Alexandra), not quite so tall, but with the same
gracious manner and beautiful eyes. The Grand Duke talked a great deal,
principally politics, to W. He expressed himself very doubtfully about
the stability of the Republic, and was evidently worried over the
possibility of a general amnesty, "a very dangerous measure which no
government should sanction." W. assured him there would be no general
amnesty, but he seemed sceptical, repeated several times: "Soyez stable,
soyez ferme." The Grande Duchesse talked to me about Paris, the streets
were so gay, the shops so tempting, and all the people so smiling and
happy. I suppose the contrast struck her, coming from Russia where the
people look sad and listless. I was much impressed with their sad,
repressed look when we were in Russia for the coronation--one never
heard people laugh or sing in the streets--and yet we were there at a
time of great national rejoicings, amusements of all kinds provided for
the people. Their national melodies, volklieder (songs of the people),
have always a strain of sadness running through them. Our conversation
was in French, which both spoke very well.

The winter months went by quickly enough with periodical alarms in the
political world when some new measure was discussed which aroused
everybody's passions and satisfied neither side. I made weekly visits to
my own house, which was never dismantled, as I always felt our stay at
the Quai d'Orsay would not last much longer. One of our colleagues,
Madame Léon Say, an intelligent, charming woman, took matters more
philosophically than I did. Her husband had been in and out of office so
often that she was quite indifferent to sudden changes of residence.
They too kept their house open and she said she had always a terrine de
crise ready in her larders.

The diplomatic appointments, the embassies particularly, were a
difficulty. Admiral Pothnau went to London. He was a very gallant
officer and had served with the English in the Crimea--had the order of
the Bath, and exactly that stand-off, pompous manner which suits English
people. General Chanzy went to St. Petersburg. It has been the tradition
almost always to send a soldier to Russia. There is so little
intercourse between the Russian Emperor and any foreigner, even an
ambassador, that an ordinary diplomatist, no matter how intelligent or
experienced he might be, would have very few opportunities to talk to
the Emperor; whereas an officer, with the various reviews and
manoeuvres that are always going on in Russia, would surely approach him
more easily. I was so struck when we were in Russia with the immense
distance that separated the princes from the ordinary mortals. They seem
like demigods on a different plane (in Russia I mean; of course when
they come to Paris their godlike attributes disappear, unfortunately for
themselves).

Chanzy was very happy in Russia, where he was extremely well received.
He dined with us one night, when he was at home on leave, and was most
enthusiastic about everything in Russia--their finances, their army--the
women of all classes so intelligent, so patriotic. He was evidently
quite sous le charme. When he had gone, M. Desprey, then Directeur de la
Politique, a very clever man, who had seen many ambassadors come and go
from all the capitals of Europe, said:

"It is curious how all the ambassadors who go to Russia have that same
impression. I have never known it to fail. It is the Russian policy to
be delightful to the ambassadors--make life very easy for them--show
them all that is brilliant and interesting--open all doors (society,
etc.) and keep all sordid and ugly questions in the background."

St. Vallier remained at Berlin. His name had been mentioned for Foreign
Minister when Dufaure was making his cabinet, but he hadn't the health
for it--and I think preferred being in Berlin. He knew Germany well and
had a good many friends in Berlin.

W. of course had a great many men's dinners, from which I was excluded.
I dined often with some of my friends, not of the official world, and I
used to ask myself sometimes if the Quai d'Orsay and these houses could
be in the same country. It was an entirely different world, every point
of view different, not only politics--that one would expect, as the
whole of society was anti-Republican, Royalist, or Bonapartist--but
every question discussed wore a different aspect. Once or twice there
was a question of Louis XIV and what he would have done in certain
cases,--the religious question always a passionate one. That of course I
never discussed, being a Protestant, and knowing quite well that the
real fervent Catholics think Protestants have no religion.

I was out driving with a friend one morning in Lent (Holy Week),
Thursday I think--and said I could not be out late, as I must go to
church--perhaps she would drop me at the Protestant Chapel in the Avenue
de la Grand Armée. She was so absolutely astonished that it was almost
funny, though I was half angry too. "You are going to church on Holy
Thursday. I didn't know Protestants ever kept Lent, or Holy Week or any
saint's day." "Don't you think we ever go to church?" "Oh, yes, to a
conference or sermon on Sundays, but you are not pratiquant like us." I
was really put out, and tried another day, when she was sitting with me,
to show her our prayerbook, and explained that the Creed and the Lord's
Prayer, to say nothing of various other prayers, were just the same as
in her livre de Messe, but I didn't make any impression upon her--her
only remark being, "I suppose you do believe in God,"--yet she was a
clever, well-educated woman--knew her French history well, and must have
known what a part the French Protestants played at one time in France,
when many of the great nobles were Protestants.

Years afterward, with the same friend, we were discussing the proposed
marriage of the Duke of Clarence, eldest son of the late King Edward VII
of England, who wanted very much to marry Princess Hélène d'Orléans,
daughter of the Comte de Paris, now Duchesse d'Aosta. It was impossible
for the English prince, heir to the throne, to marry a Catholic
princess--it seemed equally impossible for the French princess to become
a Protestant. The Pope was consulted and very strong influence brought
to bear on the question, but the Catholic Church was firm. We were in
London at the time, and of course heard the question much discussed. It
was an interesting case, as the two young people were much in love with
each other. I said to my friend:

"If I were in the place of the Princess Hélène I should make myself a
Protestant. It is a big bait for the daughter of an exiled prince to be
Queen of England."

"But it couldn't be; no Catholic could change her religion or make
herself Protestant."

"Yet there is a precedent in your history. Your King Henri IV of beloved
memory, a Protestant, didn't hesitate to make himself a Catholic to be
King of France."

"Ah, but that is quite different."

"For you perhaps, chère amie, but not for us."

However, the poor young prince died suddenly of pneumonia, so the
sacrifice would have been in vain.

All the autumn of '79 was very agitated. We were obliged to curtail our
stay at Bourneville, our country home. Even though the Chambers were not
sitting, every description of political intrigue was going on. Every day
W. had an immense courrier and every second day a secretary came down
from the Quai d'Orsay with despatches and papers to sign. Telegrams came
all day long. W. had one or two shooting breakfasts and the long tramps
in the woods rested him. The guests were generally the notabilities of
the small towns and villages of his circumscription,--mayors, farmers,
and small landowners. They all talked politics and W. was surprised to
see how in this quiet agricultural district the fever of democracy had
mounted. Usually the well-to-do farmer is very conservative, looks
askance at the very advanced opinions of the young radicals, but a
complete change had come over them. They seemed to think the Republic,
founded at last upon a solid basis, supported by honest Republicans,
would bring untold prosperity not only to the country, but to each
individual, and many very modest, unpretending citizens of the small
towns saw themselves conseilleurs généraux, deputies, perhaps even
ministers. It was a curious change. However, on the whole, the people in
our part of the world were reasonable. I was sorry to go back to town. I
liked the last beautiful days of September in the country. The trees
were just beginning to turn, and the rides in the woods were delightful,
the roads so soft and springy. The horses seemed to like the brisk
canter as much as we did. We disturbed all the forest life as we
galloped along--hares and rabbits scuttled away--we saw their white
tails disappearing into holes, and when we crossed a bit of plain,
partridges a long distance off would rise and take their crooked flight
across the fields. It was so still, always is in the woods, that the
horses' feet could be heard a long way off. It was getting colder (all
the country folk predicted a very cold winter) and the wood-fire looked
very cheerful and comfortable in my little salon when we came in.

However, everything must end, and W. had to go back to the fight, which
promised to be lively. In Paris we found people wearing furs and
preparing for a cold winter. The house of the Quai d'Orsay was
comfortable, well warmed, calorifères and big fires in all the rooms,
and whenever there was any sun it poured into the rooms from the garden.
I didn't take up my official afternoon receptions. The session had not
begun, and, as it seemed extremely unlikely that the coming year would
see us still at the Quai d'Orsay, it was not worth while to embark upon
that dreary function. I was at home every afternoon after five--had tea
in my little blue salon, and always had two or three people to keep me
company. Prince Hohenlohe came often, settled himself in an armchair
with his cup of tea, and talked easily and charmingly about everything.
He was just back from Germany and reported Bismarck and the Emperor (I
should have said, perhaps, the Emperor and Bismarck) as rather worried
over the rapid strides France was making in radicalism. He reassured
them, told them Grévy was essentially a man of peace, and, as long as
moderate men like W., Léon Say, and their friends remained in office,
things would go quietly. "Yes, if they remain. I have an idea we shan't
stay much longer, and report says Freycinet will be the next premier."
He evidently had heard the same report, and spoke warmly of
Freycinet,--intelligent, energetic, and such a precise mind. If W. were
obliged to resign, which he personally would regret, he thought
Freycinet was the coming man--unless Gambetta wanted to be premier. He
didn't think he did, was not quite ready yet, but his hand might be
forced by his friends, and of course if he wanted it, he would be the
next Président du Conseil. He also told me a great many things that
Blowitz had said to him--he had a great opinion of him--said he was so
marvellously well-informed of all that was going on. It was curious to
see how a keen, clever man like Prince Hohenlohe attached so much
importance to anything that Blowitz said. The nuncio, Monseigneur
Czaski, came too sometimes at tea-time. He was a charming talker, but I
always felt as if he were saying exactly what he meant to and what he
wanted me to repeat to W. I am never quite sure with Italians. There is
always a certain reticence under their extremely natural, rather
exuberant manner. Monseigneur Czaski was not an Italian by birth--a
Pole, but I don't know that they inspire much more confidence.



X


PARLIAMENT BACK IN PARIS

The question of the return of the Parliament to Paris had at last been
solved after endless discussions. All the Republicans were in favour of
it, and they were masters of the situation. The President, Grévy, too
wanted it very much. If the Chambers continued to sit at Versailles, he
would be obliged to establish himself there, which he didn't want to do.
Many people were very unwilling to make the change, were honestly
nervous about possible disturbances in the streets, and, though they
grumbled too at the loss of time, the draughty carriages of the
parliamentary train, etc., they still preferred those discomforts to any
possibility of rioting and street fights, and the invasion of the
Chamber of Deputies by a Paris mob. W. was very anxious for the change.

He didn't in the least anticipate any trouble--his principal reason for
wanting the Parliament back was the loss of time, and also to get rid of
the conversations in the train, which tired him very much. He never
could make himself heard without an effort, as his voice was low, had no
"timbre," and he didn't hear his neighbours very well in the noise of
the train. He always arrived at the station at the last minute, and got
into the last carriage, hoping to be undisturbed, and have a quiet
half-hour with his papers, but he was rarely left alone. If any deputy
who wanted anything recognised him, he of course got in the same
carriage, because he knew he was sure of a half-hour to state his case,
as the minister couldn't get away from him. The Chambers met, after a
short vacation in November, at last in Paris, and already there were so
many interpellations announced on every possible subject, so many
criticisms on the policy of the cabinet, and so many people wanting
other people's places, that the session promised to be very lively--the
Senate at the Palais du Luxembourg, the Deputies at the Palais Bourbon.

W. and I went over to the Luxembourg one morning early in October, to
see the arrangements that had been made for the Senate. He wanted too to
choose his seat. I hadn't been there in the daytime for years--I had
dined once or twice at the Petit Palais with various presidents of the
Senate, but my only impression was a very long drive (from the Barrière
de l'Etoile where we lived) and fine high rooms with heavy gilt
furniture and tapestries. The palace was built by Maria de' Medici, wife
of Henri IV. After the death of that very chivalrous but very undomestic
monarch, she retired to the Luxembourg, and from there as regent (her
son Louis XIII was only ten years old when his father died) for some
years directed the policy of France under the guidance of her favourite,
the Italian Concini, and his wife.

The palace recalls very much the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, with its
solid masonry and rather severe heavy architecture. It must have been a
gloomy residence, notwithstanding the beautiful gardens with their broad
alleys and great open spaces. The gardens are stiff, very Italian, with
statues, fountains, and marble balustrades--not many flowers, except
immediately around the palace, but they were flooded with sunshine that
day, and the old grey pile seemed to rise out of a parterre of bright
flowers. The palace has been slightly modernised, but the general
architecture remains the same. Many people of all kinds have lived there
since it was built--several royal princes, and the Emperor Napoleon when
he was First Consul. He went from there to the Tuileries. The Luxembourg
Palace has always been associated with the history of France. During
the Revolution it was a prison, and many of the curious scenes one reads
of at that period took place in those old walls--the grandes dames so
careful of their dress and their manners, the grands seigneurs so brave
and gallant, striving in every way by their witty conversation and their
music (for they sang and played in the prisons all through that awful
time) to distract the women and make them forget the terrible doom that
was hanging over them. Many well-known people went straight from the
palace to the scaffold. It seemed a fitting place for the sittings of
the Senate and the deliberations of a chosen body of men, who were
supposed to bring a maturer judgment and a wider experience in the
discussion of all the burning questions of the day than the ardent young
deputies so eager to have done with everything connected with the old
régime and start fresh.

After we had inspected the palace we walked about the gardens, which
were charming that bright October morning,--the sun really too strong.
We found a bench in the shade, and sat there very happy, W. smoking and
wondering what the next turn of the wheel would bring us. A great many
people were walking about and sitting under the trees. It was quite a
different public from what one saw anywhere else, many students of both
sexes carrying books, small easels, and campstools,--some of the men
such evident Bohemians, with long hair, sweeping moustache, and soft
felt hat,--quite the type one sees in the pictures or plays of "La Vie
de Bohême." Their girl companions looked very trim and neat, dressed
generally in black, their clothes fitting extremely well--most of them
bareheaded, but some had hats of the simplest description--none of the
flaunting feathers and bright flowers one sees on the boulevards. They
are a type apart, the modern grisettes, so quiet and well-behaved as to
be almost respectable. One always hears that the Quartier Latin doesn't
exist any more--the students are more serious, less turbulent, and that
the hardworking little grisette, quite content with her simple life and
pleasure, has degenerated into the danseuse of the music-halls and
barrière theatres. I don't think so. A certain class of young,
impecunious students will always live in that quarter and will always
amuse themselves, and they will also always find girls quite ready and
happy to enjoy life a little while they are young enough to live in the
present, and have no cares for the future. Children were playing about
in the alleys and broad, open spaces, and climbing on the fountains
when the keepers of the garden were not anywhere near--their nurses
sitting in a sunny corner with their work. It was quite another world,
neither the Champs-Elysées nor Montmartre. All looked perfectly
respectable, and the couples sitting on out-of-the-way benches, in most
affectionate attitudes, were too much taken up with each other to heed
the passer-by.

I went back there several times afterward, taking Francis with me, and
it was curious how out of the world one felt. Paris, our Paris, might
have been miles away. I learned to know some of the habitués quite
well--a white-haired old gentleman who always brought bread for the
birds; they knew him perfectly and would flutter down to the Square as
soon as he appeared--a handsome young man with a tragic face, always
alone, walking up and down muttering and talking to himself--he may have
been an aspirant for the Odéon or some of the theatres in the
neighbourhood--a lame man on crutches, a child walking beside him
looking wistfully at the children playing about but not daring to leave
her charge--groups of students hurrying through the gardens on their way
to the Sorbonne, their black leather serviettes under their
arms--couples always everywhere. I don't think there were many
foreigners or tourists,--I never heard anything but French spoken. Even
the most disreputable-looking old beggar at the gate who sold
shoe-laces, learned to know us, and would run to open the door of
the carriage.

With the contrariety of human nature, some people would say of feminine
nature, now that I felt I was not going to live much longer on the rive
gauche I was getting quite fond of it. Life was so quiet and restful in
those long, narrow streets, some even with grass growing on the
pavement--no trams, no omnibuses, very little passing, glimpses
occasionally of big houses standing well back from the street, a
good-sized courtyard in front and garden at the back--the classic
Faubourg St. Germain hotel entre cour et jardin. I went to tea sometimes
with a friend who lived in a big, old-fashioned house in the rue de
Varenne. She lived on the fourth floor--one went up a broad, bare, cold
stone staircase (which always reminded me of some of the staircases in
the Roman palaces). Her rooms were large, very high ceilings, very
little furniture in them, very little fire in winter, fine old family
portraits on the walls, but from the windows one looked down on a lovely
garden where the sun shone and the birds sang all day. It was just like
being in the country, so extraordinarily quiet. A very respectable man
servant in an old-fashioned brown livery, with a great many brass
buttons, who looked as old as the house itself and as if he were part of
it, always opened the door. Her husband was a literary man who made
conférences at the Sorbonne and the Collège de France, and they lived
entirely in that quarter--came very rarely to our part of Paris. He was
an old friend of W.'s, and they came sometimes to dine with us. He
deplored W.'s having gone to the Foreign Office--thought the Public
Instruction was so much more to his tastes and habits. She had an
English grandmother, knew English quite well, and read English reviews
and papers. She had once seen Queen Victoria and was very interested in
all that concerned her. Queen Victoria had a great prestige in France.
People admired not only the wise sovereign who had weathered
successfully so many changes, but the beautiful woman's life as wife and
mother. She was always spoken of with the greatest respect, even by
people who were not sympathetic to England as a nation.

Another of my haunts was the Convent and Maison de Santé of the Soeurs
Augustines du Saint Coeur de Marie in the rue de la Santé. It was
curious to turn out of the broad, busy, populous avenue, crowded with
trams, omnibuses, and camions, into the narrow, quiet street, which
seemed all stone walls and big doors. There was another hospital and a
prison in the street, which naturally gave it rather a gloomy aspect,
but once inside the courtyard of the Convent there was a complete
transformation. One found one's self in a large, square, open court with
arcades and buildings all around--the chapel just opposite the entrance.
On one side of the court were the rooms for the patients, on the other
nice rooms and small apartments which were let to invalids or old
ladies, and which opened on a garden, really a park of thirteen or
fourteen acres. The doors were always open, and one had a lovely view of
green fields and trees. The moment you put your foot inside the court,
you felt the atmosphere of peace and cheerfulness, though it was a
hospital. The nuns all looked happy and smiling--they always do, and I
always wonder why. Life in a cloister seems to me so narrow and
monotonous and unsatisfying unless one has been bred in a convent and
knows nothing of life but what the teachers tell.

I have a friend who always fills me with astonishment--a very clever,
cultivated woman, no longer very young, married to a charming man,
accustomed to life in its largest sense. She was utterly wretched when
her husband died, but after a time she took up her life again and
seemed to find interest and pleasure in the things they had done
together. Suddenly she announced her intention of becoming a nun--sold
her house and lovely garden, where she had spent so many happy hours
with her flowers and her birds, distributed her pretty things among her
friends, and accepted all the small trials of strict convent life--no
bath, nor mirror, coarse underlinen and sheets--no fire, no lights, no
privacy, the regular irksome routine of a nun's life, and is perfectly
happy--never misses the intellectual companionship and the refinement
and daintiness of her former life,--likes the commonplace routine of the
convent--the books they read to each other in "recreation," simple
stories one would hardly give to a child of twelve or fourteen,--the
fêtes on the "mother's" birthday, when the nuns make a cake and put a
wreath of roses on the mother's head.

The Soeurs Augustines are very happy in their lives, but they see a
great deal more of the outside world. They always have patients in the
hospital, and people in the apartments, which are much in demand. The
care and attendance is very good. The ladies are very comfortable and
have as many visitors as they like in the afternoon at stated hours, and
the rooms are very tempting with white walls and furniture, and
scrupulously clean. The cuisine is very good, everything very daintily
served. All day one saw black-robed figures moving quietly across the
court, carrying all kinds of invalid paraphernalia--cushions, rugs, cups
of bouillon--but there was never any noise--no sound of talking or
laughing. When they spoke, the voices were low, like people accustomed
to a sick-room. No men were allowed in the Convent, except the doctors
of course, and visitors at stated hours.

I spent many days there one spring, as C. was there for some weeks for a
slight operation. She had a charming room and dressing-room, with
windows giving on a garden or rather farmyard, for the soeurs had their
cows and chickens. Sometimes in the evening we would see one of the
sisters, her black skirt tucked up and a blue apron over it, bringing
the cows back to their stables. No man could have a room in the house.
F. wanted very much to be with his wife at night, as he was a busy man
and away all day, and I tried to get a room for him, but the mother
superior, a delightful old lady, wouldn't hear of it. However, the night
before-and the night after the operation, he was allowed to remain with
her,--no extra bed was put in the room--he slept on the sofa.

Often when C. was sleeping or tired, I would take my book and establish
myself in the garden. Paris might have been miles away, though only a
few yards off there was a busy, crowded boulevard, but no noise seemed
to penetrate the thick walls. Occasionally at the end of a quiet path I
would see a black figure pacing backward and forward, with eyes fixed on
a breviary. Once or twice a soeur jardinière with a big, flat straw hat
over her coiffe and veil tending the flowers (there were not many) or
weeding the lawn, sometimes convalescents or old ladies seated in
armchairs under the trees, but there was never any sound of voices or of
life. It was very reposeful (when one felt one could get away for a
little while), but I think the absolute calm and monotony would pall
upon one, and the "Call of the World"--the struggling, living, joyous
world outside the walls--would be an irresistible temptation.

I walked about a good deal in my quarter in the morning, and made
acquaintance with many funny little old squares and shops, merceries,
flower and toy shops which had not yet been swallowed up by the enormous
establishments like the Louvre, the Bon Marché, and the big bazaars. I
don't know how they existed; there was never any one in the shops, and
of course their choice was limited, but they were so grateful, their
things were so much cheaper, and they were so anxious to get anything
one wanted, that it was a pleasure to deal with them. Everything was
much cheaper on that side--flowers, cakes, writing-paper, rents,
servants' wages, stable equipment, horses' food. We bought some toys one
year for one of our Christmas trees in the country from a poor old lame
woman who had a tiny shop in one of the small streets running out of the
rue du Bac. Her grandson, a boy of about twelve or fourteen, helped her
in the shop, and they were so pleased and excited at having such a large
order that they were quite bewildered. We did get what we wanted, but it
took time and patience,--their stock was small and not varied. We had to
choose piece by piece--horses, dolls, drums, etc.--and the writing down
of the items and making up the additions was long and trying. I meant to
go back after we left the Quai d'Orsay, but I never did, and I am afraid
the poor old woman with her petit commerce shared the fate of all the
others and could not hold out against the big shops.

One gets lazy about shopping. The first years we lived in the country we
used to go ourselves to the big shops and bazaars in Paris for our
Christmas shopping, but the heat and the crowd and the waiting were so
tiring that we finally made arrangements with the woman who sold toys in
the little town, La Ferté-Milon. She went to Paris and brought back
specimens of all the new toys. We went into town one afternoon--all the
toys were spread out on tables in her little parlour at the back of the
shop (her little girl attending to the customers, who were consumed with
curiosity as to why our carriage was waiting so long at the door) and we
made our selection. She was a great help to us, as she knew all the
children, their ages, and what they would like. She was very pleased to
execute the commission--it made her of importance in the town, having
the big boxes come down from Paris addressed to her, and she paid her
journey and made a very good profit by charging two or three sous more
on each article. We were quite willing to pay the few extra francs to be
saved the fatigue of the long day's shopping in Paris. It also settled
another difficult question--what to buy in a small country town. Once we
had exhausted the butcher and the baker and the small groceries, there
was not much to buy.

From the beginning of my life in the country, W. always wanted me to buy
as much as possible in the town, and I was often puzzled. Now the shops
in all the small country towns have improved. They have their things
straight from Paris, with very good catalogues, so that one can order
fairly well. The things are more expensive of course, but I think it is
right to give what help one can to the people of the country. One cold
winter at Bourneville, when we had our house full of people, there was a
sudden call for blankets. I thought my "lingerie" was pretty well
stocked, but one gentleman wanted four blankets on his bed, three over
him and one under the sheet. A couple wanted the same, only one more, a
blanket for a big armchair near the fire. I went in to La Ferté to see
what I could find--no white blankets anywhere--some rather nice red
ones--and plenty of the stiff (not at all warm) grey blankets they give
to the soldiers. Those naturally were out of the question, but I took
three or four red ones, which of course could not go in the guests'
rooms, but were distributed on the beds of the family, their white ones
going to the friends. After that experience I always had a reserve of
blankets, but I was never asked for so many again. Living in the
country, with people constantly staying in the house, gives one much
insight into other people's way of living and what are the necessities
of life for them. I thought our house was pretty well provided for. We
were a large family party, and had all we wanted, but some of the
demands were curious, varying of course with the nationalities.

The Chambers met in Paris at the end of November and took possession of
their respective houses without the slightest disturbance of any kind.
Up to the last moment some people were nervous and predicting all sorts
of trouble and complications. We spent the Toussaint in the country with
some friends, and their views of the future were so gloomy that it was
almost contagious. One afternoon when we were all assembled in the
drawing-room for tea, after a beautiful day's shooting, the conversation
(generally retrospective) was so melancholy that I was rather impressed
by it,--"The beginning of the end,--the culpable weakness of the
Government and Moderate men, giving way entirely to the Radicals, an
invitation to the Paris rabble to interfere with the sittings of the
Chambers," and a variety of similar remarks.

It would have been funny if one hadn't felt that the speakers were
really in earnest and anxious. However, nothing happened. The first few
days there was a small, perfectly quiet, well-behaved crowd, also a very
strong police force, at the Palais Bourbon, but I think more from
curiosity and the novelty of seeing deputies again at the Palais Bourbon
than from any other reason. If it were quiet outside, one couldn't say
the same of the inside of the Chamber. The fight began hotly at once.
Speeches and interpellations and attacks on the Government were the
order of the day. The different members of the cabinet made statements
explaining their policy, but apparently they had satisfied nobody on
either side, and it was evident that the Chamber was not only
dissatisfied but actively hostile.

W. and his friends were very discouraged and disgusted. They had gone as
far as they could in the way of concessions. W., at any rate, would do
no more, and it was evident that the Chamber would seize the first
pretext to overthrow the ministry. W. saw Grévy very often. He was
opposed to any change, didn't want W. to go, said his presence at the
Foreign Office gave confidence to Europe,--he might perhaps remain at
the Foreign Office and resign as Premier, but that, naturally, he
wouldn't do. He was really sick of the whole thing.

Grévy was a thorough Republican but an old-fashioned Republican,--not in
the least enthusiastic, rather sceptical--didn't at all see the ideal
Republic dreamed of by the younger men--where all men were alike--and
nothing but honesty and true patriotism were the ruling motives. I
don't know if he went as far as a well-known diplomatist, Prince
Metternich, I think, who said he was so tired of the word fraternité
that if he had a brother he would call him "cousin." Grévy was certainly
very unwilling to see things pass into the hands of the more advanced
Left. I don't think he could have done anything--they say no
constitutional President (or King either) can.

There was a great rivalry between him and Gambetta. Both men had such a
strong position in the Republican party that it was a pity they couldn't
understand each other. I suppose they were too unlike--Gambetta lived in
an atmosphere of flattery and adulation. His head might well have been
turned--all his familiars were at his feet, hanging upon his words,
putting him on a pinnacle as a splendid patriot. Grévy's entourage was
much calmer, recognising his great ability and his keen legal mind, not
so enthusiastic but always wanting to have his opinion, and relying a
good deal upon his judgment. There were of course all sorts of meetings
and conversations at our house, with Léon Say, Jules Ferry, Casimir
Périer, and others. St. Vallier came on from Berlin, where he was still
ambassador. He was very anxious about the state of affairs in
France--said Bismarck was very worried at the great step the Radicals
had made in the new Parliament--was afraid the Moderate men would have
no show. _I_ believe he was pleased and hoped that a succession of
incapable ministries and internal quarrels would weaken France still
more--and prevent her from taking her place again as a great power. He
wasn't a generous victor.

As long as W. was at the Foreign Office things went very smoothly. He
and St. Vallier thought alike on most subjects, home politics and
foreign--and since the Berlin Congress, where W. had come in touch with
all the principal men in Germany, it was of course much easier for them
to work together. We dined generally with my mother on Sunday
night--particularly at this time of the year, when the official banquets
had not begun and our Sundays were free. The evenings were always
interesting, as we saw so many people, English and Americans always, and
in fact all nationalities. We had lived abroad so much that we knew
people all over the world,--it was a change from the eternal politics
and "shop" talk we heard everywhere else. Some of them, English
particularly (I don't think the Americans cared much about foreign
politics), were most interested and curious over what was going on, and
the probable fall of the cabinet. An English lady said to me: "How
dreadful it will be for you when your husband is no longer minister;
your life will be so dull and you will be of so much less importance."
The last part of the sentence was undoubtedly true--any functionary's
wife has a certain importance in France, and when your husband has been
Foreign Minister and Premier, you fall from a certain height, but I
couldn't accept the first part, that my life would be necessarily dull
because I was no longer what one of my friends said in Italy, speaking
of a minister's wife, a donna publica. I began to explain that I really
had some interest in life outside of politics, but she was so convinced
of the truth of her observation that it was quite useless to pursue the
conversation, and I naturally didn't care. Another one, an American this
time, said to me: "I hope you don't mind my never having been to see you
since you were married, but I never could remember your name; I only
knew it began with W. and one sees it very often in the papers."

Arthur Sullivan, the English composer, was there one night. He had come
over to Paris to hear one of his symphonies played at the Conservatoire,
and was very much pleased with the way it had been received by that very
critical audience. He was quite surprised to find the Parisians so
enthusiastic--had always heard the Paris Salle was so cold.

Miss Kellogg, the American prima donna, was there too that evening, and
we made a great deal of music, she singing and Sullivan accompanying by
heart. Mrs. Freeman, wife of one of the English secretaries, told W.
that Queen Victoria had so enjoyed her talk with him--"quite as if I
were talking with one of my own ministers." She had found Grévy rather
stiff and reserved--said their conversation was absolutely banal. They
spoke in French, and as Grévy knew nothing of England or the English,
the interview couldn't have been interesting.

We saw a great many people that last month, dined with all our
colleagues of the diplomatic corps. They were already dîners d'adieux,
as every day in the papers the fall of the ministry was announced, and
the names of the new ministers published. I think the diplomatists were
sorry to see W. go, but of course they couldn't feel very strongly on
the subject. Their business is to be on good terms with all the foreign
ministers, and to get as much as they can out of them. They are, with
rare exceptions, birds of passage, and don't trouble themselves much
about changing cabinets. However, they were all very civil, not too
diffuse, and one had the impression that they would be just as civil to
our successor and to his successor. It must be so; there is no
profession so absolutely banal as diplomacy. All diplomatists, from the
ambassador to the youngest secretary, must follow their instructions,
and if by any chance an ambassador does take any initiative, profiting
by being on the spot, and knowing the character of the people, he is
promptly disowned by his chief.

I had grown very philosophical, was quite ready to go or to stay, didn't
mind the fight any more nor the attacks on W., which were not very
vicious, but so absurd that no one who knew him could attach the least
importance to them. He didn't care a pin. He had always been a
Protestant, with an English name, educated in England, so the
reiteration of these facts, very much exaggerated and leading up to the
conclusion that on account of his birth and education he couldn't be a
convinced French Republican, didn't affect him very much. He had always
promised me a winter in Italy when he left office. He had never been in
Rome, and I was delighted at the prospect of seeing that lovely land
again, all blue sky and bright sun and smiling faces.

We dined often with M.L., W.'s uncle, who kept us au courant of all (and
it was little) that was going on in the Royalist camp, but that was not
of importance. The advanced Republicans were having it all their own
way, and it was evident that the days of conciliatory measures and
moderate men were over. W. was not a club man, went very rarely to his
club, but his uncle went every afternoon before dinner, and gave us all
the potins (gossip) of that world, very hostile to the Republic, and
still quite believing that their turn would come. His uncle was not of
that opinion. He was a very clever man, a diplomatist who had lived in a
great many places and known a great many people, and was entirely on the
Royalist side, but he thought their cause was a lost one, at least for a
time. He often asked some of his friends to meet us at dinner, said it
was a good thing for W. to hear what men on the other side thought, and
W. was quite pleased to meet them. They were all absolutely opposed to
him in politics, and discussion sometimes ran high, but there was never
anything personal--all were men of the world, had seen many changes in
France in their lives; many had played a part in politics under the
former régimes. It seemed to me that they underrated the intelligence
and the strength of the Republican party.

One of the regular habitués was the Marquis de N., a charming man,
fairly broad-minded (given the atmosphere he lived in) and sceptical to
the highest degree. He was a great friend of Marshal MacMahon, and had
been préfet at Pau, where he had a great position. He was very
dictatorial, very outspoken, but was a great favourite, particularly
with the English colony, which is large there in the hunting-season. He
had accepted to dine one night with an English family, who lived in a
villa a little out of town. They had an accident en route, which delayed
them very much, and when he and the marquise arrived the party was at
table. He instantly had his carriage called back and left the house in
spite of all the explanations and apologies of his host, saying that
when "one had the honour of receiving the Marquis de N. one waited
dinner for him."

We saw always a great deal of him, as his daughter married the Comte de
F., who was for some time in W.'s cabinet at the Quai d'Orsay, and
afterward with us the ten years we were at the London Embassy, where
they were quite part of the family. They were both perfectly fitted for
diplomatic life, particularly in England. Both spoke English well, knew
everybody, and remembered all the faces and all the names, no easy thing
in England, where the names and titles change so often. I know several
Englishwomen who have had four different names. Lady Holland was also a
friend of "Oncle Alphonse" and dined there often. She was
delicate-looking, rather quiet in general conversation, though she spoke
French easily, but was interesting when she was talking to one or two
people. We went often to her beautiful house in London, the first years
we were at the embassy, and always met interesting people. Her salon was
very cosmopolitan--every one who came to London wanted to go to Holland
House, which was a museum filled with beautiful things.

Another lady who was often at my uncle's was quite a different type,
Mademoiselle A., an old pupil of the Conservatoire, who had made a short
career at the Comédie Française many years before. She was really
charming, and her stories of the coulisses and the jalousies between the
authors and the actors, particularly the stars (who hardly accepted the
slightest observation from the writer of the play), were most amusing.
Once the piece was accepted it passed into the domain of the theatre,
and the actors felt at liberty to interpret the rôles according to their
ideas and traditions. She had a perfect diction; it was a delight to
hear her. She recited one night one of Alphonse Daudet's little contes,
"Lettres de Mon Moulin," I think, beginning--"Qui n'a pas vu Avignon du
temps des Papes n'a rien vu." One couldn't hear anything more charming,
in a perfectly trained voice, and so easily and naturally said.

I suppose no one would listen to it in these days. Bridge has suppressed
all conversation or music or artistic enjoyment of any kind. It must
come to an end some day like all crazes, but at the present moment it
has destroyed society. It has been a godsend to many people of no
particular importance or position who have used it as a stepping-stone
to get into society. If people play a good game of bridge, they are
welcome guests in a great many houses which formerly would have been
closed to them, and it is a great resource to ladies no longer very
young, widows and spinsters, who find their days long and don't know
what to do with their lives.

Notwithstanding his preoccupations, W. managed to get a few days'
shooting in November. He shot several times at Rambouillet with Grévy,
who was an excellent shot, and his shooting breakfasts were very
pleasant. There was plenty of game, everything very well organised, and
the company agreeable. He always asked the ministers, ambassadors, and
many of the leading political men and very often some of his old
friends, lawyers and men of various professions whom W. was delighted
to meet. Their ideas didn't run in grooves like most of the men he lived
with, and it was a pleasure to hear talk that wasn't political nor
personal. The vicious attacks upon persons were so trying those first
days of the Republic. Every man who was a little more prominent than his
neighbour seemed a target for every kind of insinuation and criticism.

We went for two days to "Pout," Casimir Périer's fine place in the
département de l'Aube, where we had capital shooting. It was already
extremely cold for the season--the big pond in the court was frozen
hard, and the wind whistled about our ears when we drove in an open
carriage to join the shooters at breakfast. Even I, who don't usually
feel the cold, was thankful to be well wrapped up in furs. The Pavillon
d'Hiver looked very inviting as we drove up--an immense fire was blazing
in the chimney, another just outside, where the soup and ragout for the
army of beaters were being prepared. We all had nice little foot-warmers
under our chairs, and were as comfortable as possible. It was too warm
in fact when the shooters came in and we sat down to breakfast. We were
obliged to open the door. The talk was entirely "shop" at breakfast,
every man telling what he had killed, or missed, and the minute they
had finished breakfast, they started off again. We followed one or two
battues (pheasants), but it was really too cold, and we were glad to
walk home to get warm.

The dinner and evening were pleasant--everybody talking--most of them
criticising the Government freely. W. didn't mind, they were all
friends. He defended himself sometimes, merely asking what they would
have done in his place--he was quite ready to receive any
suggestions--but nothing practical ever came out of the discussions. I
think the most delightful political position in the world must be
"leader of the opposition"--you have no responsibilities, can
concentrate all your energies in pointing out the weak spots in your
adversary's armour, and have always your work cut out for you, for as
soon as one ministry falls, you can set to work to demolish its
successor, which seems the most interesting occupation possible.

The great question which was disturbing the Chambers and the country was
the general amnesty. That, of course, W. would never agree to. There
might be exceptions. Some of the men who took part in the Commune were
so young, little more than lads, carried away by the example of their
elders and the excitement of the moment, and there were fiery patriotic
articles in almost all the Republican papers inviting France to make the
beau geste of la mère patrie and open her arms to her misguided
children, and various sensible experienced men really thought it would
be better to wipe out everything and start again with no dark memories
to cast a shadow on the beginnings of the young Republic. How many
brilliant, sanguine, impossible theories I heard advanced all those
days, and how the few remaining members of the Centre Gauche tried to
reason with the most liberal men of the Centre Droit and to persuade
them frankly to face the fact that the country had sent a strong
Republican majority to Parliament and to make the best of the fait
accompli. I suppose it was asking too much of them to go back on the
traditions of their lives, but after all they were Frenchmen, their
country was just recovering from a terrible disaster, and had need of
all her children. During the Franco-Prussian War all party feeling was
forgotten. Every man was first a Frenchman in the face of a foreign foe,
and if they could have stood firmly together in those first days after
the war the strength of the country would have been wonderful. All
Europe was astounded at the way in which France paid her milliards,--no
one more so than Bismarck, who is supposed to have said that, if he
could have dreamed that France could pay that enormous sum so quickly,
he would have asked much more.

December was very cold, snow and ice everywhere, and very hard frosts,
which didn't give way at all when the sun came out occasionally in the
middle of the day. Everybody was skating, not only at the clubs of the
Bois de Boulogne, but on the lakes, which happens very rarely, as the
water is fairly deep. The Seine was full of large blocks of ice, which
got jammed up against the bridges and made a jarring ugly sound as they
knocked against each other. The river steamers had stopped running, and
there were crowds of flaneurs loitering on the quais and bridges
wondering if the cold would last long enough for the river to be quite
frozen over.

W. and I went two or three times to the Cercle des Patineurs at the Bois
de Boulogne, and had a good skate. The women didn't skate as well then
as they do now, but they looked very pretty in their costumes of velvet
and sables. It was funny to see them stumbling over the ice with a man
supporting them on each side. However, they enjoyed it very much. It was
beautiful winter weather, very cold but no wind, and it was very good
exercise. All the world was there, and the afternoons passed quickly
enough. I had not skated for years, having spent all my winters in
Italy, but on the principle that you never forget anything that you know
well, I thought I would try, and will say that the first half-hour was
absolute suffering. It was in the old days when one still wore a strap
over the instep, which naturally was drawn very tight. My feet were like
lumps of ice, as heavy as lead, and I didn't seem able to lift them from
the ground. I went back to the dressing-room to take my skates off for a
few minutes, and when the blood began to circulate again, I could have
cried with the pain. A friend of mine, a beginner, who was sitting near
waiting to have her skates put on, was rather discouraged, and said to
me: "You don't look as if you were enjoying yourself. I don't think I
will try." "Oh yes you must,--'les commencements sont toujours
difficiles,' and you will learn. I shall be all right as soon as I start
again." She looked rather doubtful, but I saw her again later in the
day, when I had forgotten all about my sufferings, and she was skating
as easily as I did when I was a girl. I think one must learn young.
After all, it is more or less a question of balance. When one is young
one doesn't mind a fall.

W., who had retired to a corner to practise a little by himself, told me
that one of his friends, Comte de Pourtalès, not at all of his way of
thinking in politics, an Imperialist, was much pleased with a little jeu
d'esprit he had made at his expense. W. caught the top of his skate in a
crevice in the ice, and came down rather heavily in a sitting posture.
Comte de Pourtalès, who was standing near on the bank, saw the fall and
called out instantly, "Est-ce possible que je voie le Président du
Conseil par terre?" (Is it possible that the President du Conseil has
fallen?) The little joke was quite de bonne guerre and quite
appropriate, as the cabinet was tottering and very near its fall. It
amused W. quite as much as it did the bystanders.

The cold was increasing every day, the ground was frozen hard, the
streets very slippery, and going very difficult. All our horses were
rough shod, but even with that we made very slow progress. Some of the
omnibuses were on runners, and one or two of the young men of the
ministry had taken off the wheels of their light carriages and put them
on runners, but one didn't see many real sleighs or sledges, as they
call them here. I fancy "sleigh" is entirely an American expression. The
Seine was at last completely taken, and the public was allowed on the
ice, which was very thick. It was a very pretty, animated sight, many
booths like those one sees on the Boulevard during the Christmas
holidays were installed on the ice close to the banks, and the river was
black with people. They couldn't skate much, as the ice was rough and
there were too many people, but they ran and slid and shouted and
enjoyed themselves immensely. I wanted to cross one day with my boy,
that he might say he had crossed the Seine on foot, but W. was rather
unwilling. However, the préfet de la Seine, whom he consulted, told him
there was absolutely no danger--the ice was several inches thick, so I
started off one afternoon, one of the secretaries going with me. He was
much astonished and rather nervous at seeing me in my ordinary boots. He
had nails in his, and one of our friends whom we met on the ice had
woollen socks over his boots. They were sure I would slip and perhaps
get a bad fall. "But no one could slip on that ice; it is quite rough,
might almost be a ploughed field,"--but they were uncomfortable, and
were very pleased when I landed safely on the other side and got into
the carriage. Just in the middle the boys had swept a path on the ice to
make a glissade. They were racing up and down in bands, and the constant
passing had made it quite level and very slippery. We saw three or four
unwary pedestrians get a fall, but if one kept on the outside near the
bank there was no danger of slipping.

The extreme cold lasting so long brought many discomforts. Many trains
with wood and provisions couldn't get to Paris. The railroads were all
blocked and the Parisians were getting uneasy, fearing they might run
short of food and fuel. We were very comfortable in the big rooms of the
ministry. There were roaring fires everywhere, and two or three
calorifères. The view from the windows on the Quai was charming as long
as the great cold lasted, particularly at night, when the river was
alive with people, lights and coloured lanterns, and music. Every now
and then there would be a ronde or a farandole,--the farandole forcing
its way through the crowd, every one carrying a lantern and looking like
a brilliant snake winding in and out.

We had some people dining one night, and they couldn't keep away from
the windows. Some of the young ones (English) wanted to go down and have
a lark on the ice, but it wasn't possible. The crowd, though thoroughly
good-humoured, merely bent on enjoying themselves, had degenerated into
a rabble. One would have been obliged to have a strong escort of police,
and besides in evening dress, even with fur cloaks and the fur and
woollen boots every one wore over their thin shoes, one would certainly
have risked getting a bad attack of pneumonia. One of our great friends,
Sir Henry Hoare, was dining that night, but he didn't want to go down,
preferred smoking his cigar in a warm room and talking politics to W. He
had been a great deal in Paris, knew everybody, and was a member of the
Jockey Club. He was much interested in French politics and au fond was
very liberal, quite sympathised with W. and his friends and shared their
opinions on most subjects, though as he said, "I don't air those
opinions at the Jockey Club." He came often to our big receptions, liked
to see all the people. He too used to tell me all that was said in his
club about the Republic and the Government, but he was a shrewd
observer, had been a long time an M.P. in England, and had come to the
conclusion that the talk at the clubs was chiefly a "pose,"--they didn't
really have many illusions about the restoration of the monarchy,
couldn't have, when even the Duc de Broglie with his intelligence and
following (the Faubourg St. Germain followed him blindly) could do
nothing but make a constitutional Republic with Marshal MacMahon at
its head.

It was always said too that the women were more uncompromising than the
men. I went one afternoon to a concert at the Austrian Embassy, given in
aid of some inundations, which had been a catastrophe for that country,
hundreds of houses, and people and cattle swept away! The French public
had responded most generously, as they always do, to the urgent appeal
made by the ambassador in the name of the Emperor, and the Government
had contributed largely to the fund. Count Beust the Austrian ambassador
was obliged of course to invite the Government and Madame Grévy to the
entertainment, as well as his friends of the Faubourg St. Germain.
Neither Madame nor Mademoiselle Grévy came, but some of the ministers'
wives did, and it was funny to see the ladies of society looking at the
Republican ladies, as if they were denizens of a different planet,
strange figures they were not accustomed to see. It is curious to think
of all that now, when relations are much less strained. I remember not
very long ago at a party at one of the embassies, seeing many of the
society women having themselves presented to the wife of the then
Minister of Foreign Affairs, with whom they certainly had nothing in
common, neither birth, breeding, nor mode of life. I was talking to
Casimir Périer (late President of the Republic) and it amused us very
much to see the various introductions and the great empressement of the
ladies, all of whom were asking to be presented to Madame R. "What can
all those women want?" I asked him. He replied promptly, "Embassies for
their husbands." It would have been better, I think, in a worldly point
of view, if more embassies had been given to the bearers of some of the
great names of France--but there were so many candidates for every
description of function in France just then, from an ambassador to a
gendarme, that anybody who had anything to give found himself in a
difficult position.



XI


LAST DAYS AT THE FOREIGN OFFICE

The end of December was detestable. We were en pleine crise for ten
days. Every day W. went to the Chamber of Deputies expecting to be
beaten, and every evening came home discouraged and disgusted. The
Chamber was making the position of the ministers perfectly
untenable--all sorts of violent and useless propositions were discussed,
and there was an undercurrent of jealousy and intrigue everywhere. One
day, just before Christmas, about the 20th, W. and his chef de cabinet,
Comte de P., started for the house, after breakfast--W. expecting to be
beaten by a coalition vote of the extreme Left, Bonapartists and
Legitimists. It was an insane policy on the part of the two last, as
they knew perfectly well they wouldn't gain anything by upsetting the
actual cabinet. They would only get another one much more advanced and
more masterful. I suppose their idea was to have a succession of radical
inefficient ministers, which in the end would disgust the country and
make a "saviour," a prince (which one?) or general, possible. How wise
their reasoning was time has shown! I wanted to go to the Chamber to
hear the debate, but W. didn't want me. He would be obliged to speak,
and said it would worry him if I were in the gallery listening to all
the attacks made upon him. (It is rather curious that I never heard him
speak in public, either in the house or in the country, where he often
made political speeches, in election times.) He was so sure that the
ministry would fall that we had already begun cleaning and making fires
in our own house, so on that afternoon, as I didn't want to sit at home
waiting for telegrams, I went up to the house with Henrietta. The
caretaker had already told us that the stock of wood and coal was giving
out, and she couldn't get any more in the quarter, and if she couldn't
make fires the pipes would burst, which was a pleasant prospect with the
thermometer at I don't remember how many degrees below zero. We found a
fine cleaning going on--doors and windows open all over the house--and
women scrubbing stairs, floors, and windows, rather under difficulties,
with little fire and little water. It looked perfectly dreary and
comfortless--not at all tempting. All the furniture was piled up in the
middle of the rooms, and W.'s library was a curiosity. Books and
pamphlets accumulated rapidly with us, W. was a member of many literary
societies of all kinds all over the world, and packages and boxes of
unopened books quite choked up the room. H. and I tried to arrange
things a little, but it was hopeless that day, and, besides, the house
was bitterly cold. It didn't feel as if a fire could make any
impression.

As we could do nothing there, we went back to the ministry. No telegrams
had come, but Kruft, our faithful and efficient chef du matériel, was
waiting for me for last instructions about a Christmas tree. Some days
before I had decided to have a Christmas tree, about the end of the
month. W. then thought the ministry would last over the holidays, the
trêve des confiseurs, and was quite willing I should have a Christmas
party as a last entertainment. He had been too occupied the last days to
think about any such trifles, and Kruft, not having had any contrary
instructions, had ordered the presents and decorations. He was rather
depressed, because W. had told him that morning that we surely would not
be at the Quai d'Orsay on the 29th, the day we had chosen for our party.
However, I reassured him, and told him we would have the Christmas tree
all the same, only at my house instead of at the ministry. We went to
look at his presents, which were all spread out on a big table in one of
the drawing-rooms. He really was a wonderful man, never forgot anything,
and had remembered that at the last tree, the year before, one or two
nurses had had no presents, and several who had were not pleased with
what was given to them. He had made a very good selection for those
ladies,--lace scarfs and rabats and little tours de cou of fur,--really
very pretty. I believe they were satisfied this time. The young men of
the Chancery sent me up two telegrams: "rien de nouveau,"--"ministère
debout."

[Illustration: M. de Freyeinet. After a photograph by M. Nadaz, Paris]

W. came home late, very tired and much disgusted with politics in
general and his party in particular. The cabinet still lived, but merely
to give Grévy time to make another. W. had been to the Elysée and had a
long conversation with Grévy. He found him very preoccupied, very
unwilling to make a change, and he again urged W. very much to keep the
Foreign Office, if Freycinet should succeed in making a ministry. That
W. would not agree to--he was sick of the whole thing. He told Grévy he
was quite right to send for Freycinet--if any man could save the
situation he could. We had one or two friends, political men, to dinner,
and they discussed the situation from every point of view, always
ending with the same conclusion, that W. was right to go. His policy
wasn't the policy of the Chamber (I don't say of the country, for I
think the country knew little and cared less about what was going on in
Parliament), hardly the policy of all his own colleagues. There was
really no use to continue worrying himself to death and doing no good.
W. said his conversation with Grévy was interesting, but he was much
more concerned with home politics and the sweeping changes the
Republicans wanted to make in all the administrations than with foreign
policy. He said Europe was quiet and France's first duty was to
establish herself firmly, which would only be done by peace and
prosperity at home. I told W. I had spent a very cold and uncomfortable
hour at the house, and I was worried about the cold, thought I might,
perhaps, send the boy to mother, but he had taken his precautions and
arranged with the Minister of War to have a certain amount of wood
delivered at the house. They always had reserves of wood at the various
ministries. We had ours directly from our own woods in the country, and
it was en route, but a flotilla of boats was frozen up in the Canal de
l'Ourcq, and it might be weeks before the wood could be delivered.

We dined one night at the British Embassy, while all these pourparlers
were going on, en petit comité, all English, Lord and Lady Reay, Lord
Edmond Fitz-Maurice, and one or two members of Parliament whose names I
have forgotten. Both Lord and Lady Reay were very keen about politics,
knew France well, and were much interested in the phase she was passing
through. Lord Lyons was charming, so friendly and sensible, said he
wasn't surprised at W.'s wanting to go--still hoped this crisis would
pass like so many others he had seen in France; that certainly W.'s
presence at the Foreign Office during the last year had been a help to
the Republic--said also he didn't believe his retirement would last very
long. It was frightfully cold when we came out of the embassy--very few
carriages out, all the coachmen wrapped up in mufflers and fur caps, and
the Place de la Concorde a sea of ice so slippery I thought we should
never get across and over the bridge. I went to the opera one night that
week, got there in an entr'acte, when people were walking about and
reading the papers. As I passed several groups of men, I heard W.'s name
mentioned, also that of Léon Say and Freycinet, but just in passing by
quickly I could not hear any comments. I fancy they were not favourable
in that milieu. It was very cold in the house--almost all the women had
their cloaks on--and the coming out was something awful, crossing that
broad perron in the face of a biting wind.

I began my packing seriously this time, as W.'s mind was quite made up.
He had thought the matter well over, and had a final talk with
Freycinet, who would have liked to keep both W. and Léon Say, but it
wasn't easy to manage the new element that Freycinet brought with him.
The new members were much more advanced in their opinions. W. couldn't
have worked with them, and they certainly didn't want to work with him.
The autumn session came to a turbulent end on the 26th of December, and
the next day the papers announced that the ministers had given their
resignations to the President, who had accepted them and had charged M.
de Freycinet to form a cabinet. We dined with mother on Christmas day, a
family party, with the addition of Comte de P. and one or two stray
Americans who were at hotels and were of course delighted not to dine on
Christmas day at a table d'hôte or café. W. was rather tired; the
constant talking and seeing so many people of all kinds was very
fatiguing, for, as long as his resignation was not official, announced
in the _Journal Officiel_, he was still Minister of Foreign Affairs.
One of the last days, when they were hoping to come to an agreement, he
was obliged to come home early to receive the mission from Morocco. I
saw them arrive; they were a fine set of men, tall, powerfully built,
their skin a red-brown, not black, entirely dressed in white from
turbans to sandals. None of them spoke any French--all the conversation
took place through an interpreter. Notwithstanding our worries, we had a
very pleasant evening and W. was very cheerful--looking forward to our
Italian trip with quite as much pleasure as I did.

W. made over the ministry to Freycinet on Monday, the 28th, the
transmission des pouvoirs. Freycinet was very nice and friendly,
regretted that he and W. were no longer colleagues. He thought his
ministry was strong and was confident he would manage the Chamber. W.
told him he could settle himself as soon as he liked at the Quai
d'Orsay, as we should go at once, and would sleep at our house on
Wednesday night. Freycinet said Madame de Freycinet (whom I knew well
and liked very much) would come and see me on Wednesday, and would like
to go over the house with me. I was rather taken aback when W. told me
we must sleep in our own house on Wednesday night. The actual packing
was not very troublesome, as I had not brought many of my own things
from the rue Dumont d'Urville. There was scarcely a van-load of small
furniture and boxes, but the getting together of all the small things
was a bore,--books, bibelots, music, cards, and notes (these in
quantities, lettres de condoléance, which had to be carefully sorted as
they had all to be answered). The hotel of the Quai d'Orsay was crowded
with people those last two days, all W.'s friends coming to express
their regrets at his departure, some very sincerely sorry to see him go,
as his name and character certainly inspired confidence abroad--and some
delighted that he was no longer a member of such an advanced
cabinet--(some said "de cet infect gouvernement"), where he was obliged
by his mere presence to sanction many things he didn't approve of. He
and Freycinet had a long talk on Wednesday, as W. naturally wanted to be
sure that some provision would be made for his chef de cabinet and
secretaries. Each incoming minister brings his own staff with him.
Freycinet offered W. the London Embassy, but he wouldn't take it, had
had enough of public life for the present. I didn't want it either, I
had never lived much in England, had not many friends there, and was
counting the days until we could get off to Rome. There was one funny
result of W. having declined the London Embassy. Admiral Pothnau, whom
W. had named there, and who was very much liked, came to see him one day
and made a great scene because Freycinet had offered him the London
Embassy. W. said he didn't understand why he made a scene, as he had
refused it. "But it should never have been offered to you over my head."
"Perhaps, but that is not my fault. I didn't ask for it--and don't want
it. If you think you have been treated badly, you should speak to
Freycinet." However, the admiral was very much put out, and was very
cool with us both for a long time. I suppose his idea was that being
recalled would mean that he had not done well in London, which was quite
a mistake, as he was very much liked there.

We dined alone that last night at the ministry, and sat some time in the
window, looking at the crowds of people amusing themselves on the Seine,
and wondering if we should ever see the Quai d'Orsay again. After all,
we had had two very happy interesting years there--and memories that
would last a lifetime.--Some of the last experiences of the month of
December had been rather disillusioning, but I suppose one must not
bring any sentiment into politics. In the world it is always a case of
donnant--donnant--and--when one is no longer in a position to give a
great deal--people naturally turn to the rising man. Comte de P., chef
de cabinet, came in late as usual, to have a last talk. He too had been
busy, as he had a small apartment and stables in the hotel of the
ministry, and was also very anxious to get away. He told us all the
young men of the cabinet were very sorry to see W. go--at first they had
found him a little cold and reserved--but a two years' experience had
shown them that, if he were not expansive, he was perfectly just, and
always did what he said he would.

The next day Madame de Freycinet came to see me, and we went over the
house. She didn't care about the living-rooms, as they never lived at
the Quai d'Orsay, remained in their own hotel near the Bois de Boulogne.
Freycinet came every day to the ministry, and she merely on reception
days--or when there was a party. Just as she was going, Madame de
Zuylen, wife of the Dutch minister, a great friend of mine, came in. She
told me she had great difficulty in getting up, as I had forbidden my
door, but my faithful Gérard (I think I missed him as much as anything
else at first) knowing we were friends, thought Madame would like to see
her. She paid me quite a long visit,--I even gave her some tea off
government plate and china,--all mine had been already sent to my own
house. We sat talking for some time. She had heard that W. had refused
the London Embassy, was afraid it was a mistake, and that the winter in
Paris would be a difficult one for him--he would certainly be in
opposition to the Government on all sorts of questions--and if he
remained in Paris he would naturally go to the Senate and vote. I quite
agreed that he couldn't suddenly detach himself from all political
discussions--must take part in them and must vote. The policy of
abstention has always seemed to me the weakest possible line in
politics. If a man, for some reason or another, hasn't the courage of
his opinions, he mustn't take any position where that opinion would
carry weight. I told her we were going to Italy as soon as we could get
off after the holidays.

While we were talking, a message came up to say that the young men of
the cabinet were all coming up to say good-bye to me. I had seen the
directors earlier in the day, so Madame de Zuylen took her leave,
promising to come to my Christmas tree in the rue Dumont d'Urville. The
young men seemed sorry to say good-bye--I was, too. I had seen a great
deal of them and always found them ready and anxious to help me in
every way. The Comte de Lasteyrie, who was a great friend of ours as
well as a secretary, went about a great deal with us. W. called upon him
very often for all sorts of things, knowing he could trust him
absolutely. He told one of my friends that one of his principal
functions was to accompany Madame Waddington to all the charity sales,
carrying a package of women's chemises under his arm. It was quite true
that I often bought "poor clothes" at the sales. The objects exposed in
the way of screens, pincushions, table-covers, and, in the spring, hats
made by some of the ladies, were so appalling that I was glad to have
poor clothes to fall back upon, but I don't remember his ever carrying
my purchases home with me.

They were much amused when suddenly Francis burst into the room, having
escaped a moment from his Nonnon, who was busy with her last packing,
his little face flushed and quivering with anger because his toys had
been packed and he was to be taken away from the big house. He kicked
and screamed like a little mad thing, until his nurse came to the
rescue. I made a last turn in the rooms to see that all trace of my
occupation had vanished. Francis, half pacified, was seated on the
billiard-table, an old grey-haired huissier, who was always on duty
up-stairs, taking care of him. The huissiers and house servants were all
assembled in the hall, and the old Pierson, who had been there for
years, was the spokesman, and hoped respectfully that Madame "would soon
come back...." W. didn't come with us, as he still had people to see and
only got home in time for a late dinner.

We dined that night and for many nights afterward with our uncle
Lutteroth (who had a charming hotel filled with pictures and bibelots
and pretty things) just across the street, as it was some little time
before our kitchen and household got into working order again. The first
few days were, of course, very tiring and uncomfortable--the house
seemed so small after the big rooms at the Quai d'Orsay. I didn't
attempt to do anything with the salons, as we were going away so
soon--carpets and curtains had to be arranged to keep the cold out, but
the big boxes remained in the carriage house--not unpacked. We had a
procession of visitors all day--and tried to make W.'s library
possible--comfortable it wasn't, as there were packages of books and
papers and boxes everywhere.

I had a good many visits and flowers on New Year's day--which was an
agreeable surprise--Lord Lyons, Orloff, the Sibberns, Comte de Ségur,
M. Alfred André, and others. André, an old friend of W.'s, a very
conservative Protestant banker, was very blue about affairs. André was
the type of the modern French Protestant. They are almost a separate
class in France--are very earnest, religious, honourable, narrow-minded
people. They give a great deal in charity and good works of all kinds.
In Paris the Protestant coterie is very rich. They associate with all
the Catholics, as many of them entertain a great deal, but they live
among themselves and never intermarry. I hardly know a case where a
French Protestant has married a Catholic. I suppose it is a remnant of
their old Huguenot blood, and the memories of all their forefathers
suffered for their religion, which makes them so intolerant. The
ambassadors had paid their usual official visit to the Elysée--said
Grévy was very smiling and amiable, didn't seem at all preoccupied. We
had a family dinner at my uncle's on New Year's night, and all the
family with wonderful unanimity said the best wish they could make for
W. was that 1880 would see him out of politics and leading an
independent if less interesting life.

An interesting life it certainly was, hearing so many questions
discussed, seeing all sorts of people of all nationalities and living as
it were behind the scenes. The Chamber of Deputies in itself was a
study, with its astounding changes of opinion, with no apparent cause.
One never knew in the morning what the afternoon's session would bring,
for as soon as the Republican party felt themselves firmly established,
they began to quarrel among themselves. I went back to the ministry one
afternoon to pay a formal visit to Madame de Freycinet on her reception
day. I had rather put it off, thinking that the sight of the well-known
rooms and faces would be disagreeable to me and make me regret, perhaps,
the past, but I felt already that all that old life was over--one adapts
one's self so quickly to different surroundings. It did seem funny to be
announced by my own special huissier, Gérard, and to find myself sitting
in the green drawing-room with all the palms and flowers arranged just
as they always were for me, and a semicircle of diplomats saying exactly
the same things to Madame de Freycinet that they had said to me a few
days before, but I fancy that always happens in these days of democracy
and equalising education, and that under certain circumstances, we all
say and do exactly the same thing. I had quite a talk with Sibbern, the
Swedish minister, who was very friendly and sympathetic, not only at our
leaving the Foreign Office, but at the extreme discomfort of moving in
such frightfully cold weather. He was wrapped in furs, as if he were
going to the North Pole. However, I assured him we were quite warm and
comfortable, gradually settling down into our old ways, and I was
already looking back on my two years at the Quai d'Orsay as an agreeable
episode in my life. I had quite a talk too with the Portuguese minister,
Mendes Leal. He was an interesting man, a poet and a dreamer, saw more,
I fancy, of the literary world of Paris than the political. Blowitz was
there, of course--was always everywhere in moments of crisis, talking a
great deal, and letting it be understood that he had pulled a great many
wires all those last weeks. He too regretted that W. had not taken the
London Embassy, assured me that it would have been a very agreeable
appointment in England--was surprised that I hadn't urged it. I replied
that I had not been consulted. Many people asked when they could come
and see me--would I take up my reception day again? That wasn't worth
while, as I was going away so soon, but I said I would be there every
day at five o'clock, and always had visits.

[Illustration: Mme. Sadi Carnot. From a drawing by Mlle. Amelie
Beaury-Saurel.]

One day Madame Sadi Carnot sat a long time with me. Her husband had been
named undersecretary at the Ministry of Public Works in the new
cabinet, and she was very pleased. She was a very charming, intelligent,
cultivated woman--read a great deal, was very keen about politics and
very ambitious (as every clever woman should be) for her husband and
sons. I think she was a great help socially to her husband when he
became President of the Republic. He was a grave, reserved man, didn't
care very much for society. I saw her very often and always found her
most attractive. At the Elysée she was amiable and courteous to
everybody and her slight deafness didn't seem to worry her nor make
conversation difficult. She did such a charming womanly thing just after
her husband's assassination. He lay in state for some days at the
Elysée, and M. Casimir Périer, his successor, went to make her a visit.
As he was leaving he said his wife would come the next day to see Madame
Carnot. She instantly answered, "Pray do not let her come; she is young,
beginning her life here at the Elysée. I wouldn't for worlds that she
should have the impression of sadness and gloom that must hang over the
palace as long as the President is lying there. I should like her to
come to the Elysée only when all traces of this tragedy have gone--and
to have no sad associations--on the contrary, with the prospect of a
long happy future before her."

[Illustration: _Photograph, copyright by Pierre Petit, Paris._
President Sadi Carnot.]

W. went the two or three Fridays we were in Paris to the Institute,
where he was most warmly received by his colleagues, who had much
regretted his enforced absences the years he was at the Foreign Office.
He told them he was going to Rome, where he hoped still to find some
treasures in the shape of inscriptions inédites, with the help of his
friend Lanciani. The days passed quickly enough until we started. It was
not altogether a rest, as there were always so many people at the house,
and W. wanted to put order into his papers before he left. Freycinet
made various changes at the Quai d'Orsay. M. Desprey, Directeur de la
Politique (a post he had occupied for years) was named ambassador to
Rome in the place of the Marquis de Gabriac. I don't think he was very
anxious to go. His career had been made almost entirely at the Foreign
Office, and he was much more at home in his cabinet, with all his papers
and books about him, than he would be abroad among strangers. He came to
dinner one night, and we talked the thing over. W. thought the rest and
change would do him good. He was named to the Vatican, where necessarily
there was much less to do in the way of social life than at the
Quirinal. He was perfectly au courant of all the questions between the
Vatican and the French clergy--his son, secretary of embassy, would go
with him. It seemed rather a pleasant prospect.

W. went once or twice to the Senate, as the houses met on the 12th or
14th of January, but there was nothing very interesting those first
days. The Chamber was taking breath after the holidays and the last
ministerial crisis, and giving the new ministry a chance. I think
Freycinet had his hands full, but he was quite equal to the task. I went
late one afternoon to the Elysée. I had written to Madame Grévy to ask
if she would receive me before I left for Italy. When I arrived, the one
footman at the door told me Madame Grévy was un peu souffrante, would
see me up-stairs. I went up a side staircase, rather dark, preceded by
the footman, who ushered me into Madame Grévy's bedroom. It looked
perfectly uncomfortable--was large, with very high ceilings, stiff gilt
furniture standing against the wall, and the heat something awful,--a
blazing fire in the chimney. Madame Grévy was sitting in an armchair,
near the fire, a grey shawl on her shoulders and a lace fichu on her
head. It was curiously unlike the bedroom I had just left. I had been to
see a friend, who was also souffrante. She was lying under a lace
coverlet lined with pink silk, lace, and embroidered cushions all
around her, flowers, pink lamp-shades, silver flacons, everything most
luxurious and modern. The contrast was striking. Madame Grévy was very
civil, and talkative,--said she was very tired. The big dinners and late
hours she found very fatiguing. She quite understood that I was glad to
get away, but didn't think it was very prudent to travel in such
bitterly cold weather--and Rome was very far, and wasn't I afraid of
fever? I told her I was an old Roman--had lived there for years, knew
the climate well, and didn't think it was worse than any other. She said
the President had had a visit from W. and a very long talk with him, and
that he regretted his departure very much, but that he didn't think
"Monsieur Waddington was au fond de son sac." Grévy was always a good
friend to W.--on one or two occasions, when there was a sort of cabal
against him, Grévy took his part very warmly--and in all questions of
home policy and persons W. found him a very keen, shrewd
observer--though he said very little--rarely expressed an opinion. I
didn't make a very long visit--found my way down-stairs as well as I
could--no servant was visible either on the stairs or in the hall, and
my own footman opened the big doors and let me out. We got off the first
days of February--as, up to the last moment, W. had people to see. We
went for two or three days to Bourneville--I had one or two very cold
tramps in the woods (very dry) which is quite unusual at this time of
the year, but the earth was frozen hard. Inside the woods we were well
sheltered, but when we came out on the plain the cold and icy wind was
awful. The workmen had made fires to burn the roots and rotten wood, and
we were very glad to stop and warm ourselves. Some had their children
with them, who looked half perished with cold, always insufficiently
clad, but they were quite happy roasting potatoes in the ashes. I was so
cold that I tied a woollen scarf around my head, just as the women in
Canada do when they go sleighing or skating.

We had a breakfast one day for some of W.'s influential men in the
country, who were much disgusted at the turn affairs had taken and that
W. could no longer remain minister, but they were very fairly au courant
of all that was going on in Parliament, and quite understood that for
the moment the moderate, experienced men had no chance. The young
Republic must have its fling. Has the country learned much or gained
much in its forty years of Republic?



INDEX


Adams, Sir Francis, school friend of
  M. Waddington
Aisne, deputies and senators of Department
  of the
Alexander of Battenberg, Prince
Alexander of Russia, Grand Duke
  (Emperor Alexander III), interview
  with
Alexandra, Queen
Ambassadors, treatment of, in Russia
Americans, violation of rules of court
  etiquette by; good-natured tolerance
  of, in European circles;
  Lord Lyons's opinion of women
  of
Andrassy, Count, at Berlin Congress;
  personality of
André, Alfred
Annamites as dinner guests
Aosta, Due d', in Paris at opening of
  exposition; author's impressions of
Arab horses presented to M. Waddington
Arco, Count
Arnim, Count, German ambassador
  in Paris; succeeded by Prince
  Hohenlohe
Aumale, Duc d', president of Bazaine
  court-martial; at ball at
  British embassy
Austria, description of Empress of,
  when in Paris; stiffness of court
  etiquette in


Baden, Grand Duchess of, M. Waddington's
  meeting with
Bazaine, Marshal, court-martial of
Beaconsfield, Lord, at Berlin Congress
Bear as a pet at German embassy
Begging letters received by persons in
  public life
Berlin Congress, the; French
  plenipotentiaries named to the;
  M. Waddington's account of doings at
Berlin Treaty, signing of
Bernhardt, Sarah
Beust, Comte de, as a musician
Bismarck, Count Herbert, story of
  telegram from; welcomes M.
  Waddington to Berlin
Bismarck, Countess Marie
Bismarck, Prince, account of, at Berlin
  Congress; anxiety of,
  over French advance in radicalism;
  suspicions of sincerity
  of, in anxiety for France;
  surprise of, over speedy payment of
  war indemnity by France
Bismarck, Princess, M. Waddington's
  account of
Blowitz, M. de, present during meeting
  of Berlin Congress;
  M. Waddington's distrust of;
  Prince Hohenlohe's high opinion of;
  at Madame de Freycinet's
Borel, General
Bourneville, days at; a winter
  house-party at; a winter
  visit to
Breakfasts, political
Bridge, remarks on
Broglie, Duc de, cabinet of; unpopularity
  of; break-up of
  cabinet
Brown, John, retainer of Queen Victoria
Bunsen, George de
Bunsen family


Canrobert, Marshal
Capel, Monsignor
Cardinals, incidents attending naming of
Carnot, M. Sadi
Carnot, Madame
Carvalho, Madame
Casimir Périer, dislike of, for office of
  president; mentioned;
  story of Madame Carnot and
Cataldi, Monsignor
Catholics, views of, concerning Protestants
Chanzy, General, appointed ambassador to Russia
Châteaux in France
Children
  interest of Frenchwomen in
  good treatment of, by French of all classes
Chinese ambassador, experience at dinner with
Cialdini, General, Italian ambassador in Paris
Clarence, Duke of, love affair of, with Catholic princess
Comédie Française, finished style of artists of the
Compiègne, a scene at, during the Empire
Conciergerie
  Mr. Gladstone at the
  interest of American visitors in the
Conservatoire,
  Sunday afternoon concerts at the
  marriages made at the
  change effected in dress of chorus of the
  Monsignor Czascki at the
Convent of the Soeurs Augustines in the rue de la Santé
Corti
  Italian plenipotentiary to Congress of Berlin
  feeling of, over establishment of Tunisian protectorate by France
Costumes, national, seen in Paris during exposition year
Country people
  lack of interest of French, in form of government
  attitude of, in election of 1877
  enthusiasm of, aroused over Republic
Croizette, Théâtre Français artist
Cyprus, cession of, to England
Czascki, Monsignor, papal nunzio


Deauville, a vacation at
Décazes, Duc
  appointed to Foreign Office
  advice on social etiquette from
  Duc de Broglie contrasted with
Denmark, Crown Prince of
  in Paris during exposition
  at ball at British embassy
  at ball at the Quai d'Orsay
Desprey, Monseigneur, created a Cardinal
Desprey, M.
  a plenipotentiary of France at Berlin Congress
  quoted on treatment of ambassadors in Russia
  named ambassador to Rome
Diplomatists
  antagonistic attitude of, toward the Republic
  anomalous and mistaken behaviour of
  superficiality of majority of
Dufaure, M.
  appointed Président du Conseil
  now cabinet formed by
Dufferin, Lord


Election of 1877
Elysée, ceremonies attending naming of Cardinals at
English, Monsignor
English visitors to Paris in 1879
Eugénie, Empress
  at Compiègne
  description of, and reminiscences concerning
Exposition Universelle of 1878
  closing of
  good moral effect of


Fan, an autographed, as souvenir of Berlin Congress
Farmers,
  usual indifference of French, to form of government
  enthusiasm of, over the Republic
Ferry, Jules
Fitz-Maurice, Lord Edmond
France, astonishing rapidity of recovery of, after Franco-Prussian War
Frederick-Charles, Prince
French people
  self-centred attitude of
  conventions in dress of girls
  interest of women in their children
  lack of regard for, on part of Northern races
  defence of fine qualities of
  difficulties of interpreting conversation,
  cramped lives of middle-class women
  religious question among
Freycinet, M. de
  appointed Minister of Public Works
  ability displayed by, as a Republican statesman
  excellent qualities of
  succeeds M. Waddington as premier
  official changes made by
Freycinet, Madame de
  author's visit to, at Quai d'Orsay


Gambetta, Léon,
  manners and appearance of
  force of oratory of, in campaign of 1877
  mentioned
  appreciation by, of value of Tunisian protectorate
  comparison of Grévy and
General amnesty, discussion of the.
Germans, want of tact characteristic;
  position of women among;
  advance in comfort and elegance among.
Germany, feeling in, over radicalism in France, 
Gérôme, J. L., as a table companion.
Gladstones, visits from the.
Glynn, Admiral, school friend of M.
  Waddington.
Gortschakoff, Prince, quoted on death of Thiers;
  at Berlin Congress;
  a diplomatist of the old-fashioned type.
Grand Opera in Paris.
Grange, Chateau de la, home of Lafayette.
Grant, President and Mrs., in Paris.
Greek national dress.
Grévy, election of, to presidency;
  good figure cut by, in society;
  hats bestowed upon two Cardinals by;
  disappointment of, in the Republic;
  rivalry between Gambetta and;
  Queen Victoria's meeting with;
  feelings of regard for one another held by M. Waddington and,
Grévy, Madame;
  unknown to society upon husband's election to presidency;
  first reception held by;
  question of necessity of presence of, at the Elysée;
  receptions held by;
  author's last visit to;
Grévy, Mademoiselle, at Prince Hohenlohe's reception.


Halanzier, director of the Grand Opera.
Hatzfeldt, Count, story of Liszt and;
  personal charm of,
Hélène d'Orléans, Princess, love affair
  of Duke of Clarence and.
Hoare, Sir Henry.
Hohenlohe, Prince, German ambassador to France;
  pleasant manners of;
  at Berlin Congress;
  reception given to President Grévy by;
  reports by, concerning feeling in Germany
  over French radicalism.
Hohenlohe, Princess, striking personality of;
  at Madame Grévy's first reception.
Holland, Lady.
Holland House, London, 236.
Hôtel de Ville, ball at the, in 1878.
Houghton, Lord.
Humbert, King.


Ignatieff, General.
Isabella, Queen, at Marshal de MacMahon's reception;
  Description of, and account of audience given author by;
  Dinner given Marshal and Madame de MacMahon by.
Italians, author's doubts concerning.


Japanese, reported intelligence of.
Jockey Club, Paris, political talk at the.


Karolyi, at Berlin Congress.
Kellogg, Clara Louise, with the Waddingtons.
King, General Rufus.
Kruft, chef du matériel at Quai d'Orsay.


Lafayette, Marquis de, interest of
  American visitors in things relating to.
Lasteyrie, Count de.
Layard, Sir Henry.
Leo XIII, election of.
Liszt, meetings with, and stories of.
Longchamp, review of Paris garrison at.
Lord Mayor of London at the Grand Opera, Paris.
Louis Philippe, memories of.
Lutteroth, M., uncle of M. Waddington;
  information concerning Royalist circles from;
  interesting friends of.
Luxembourg, Palace of the;
  gardens of the.
Lyons, Lord, lesson in diplomatic politeness from;
  ball given by, during exposition year;
  at Madame Grévy's first reception;
  memories of Washington ministry by.


MacMahon, Fabrice de.
MacMahon, Marshal de, President of French Republic;
  at the Longchamp review;
  receptions of, at Versailles;
  attitude of, toward cabinet of 1876;
  official dinner given by, to diplomatic corps
  and the Government;
  dismissal of cabinet by (May 16,1877);
  dislike of, for the Republic and the Republicans;
  official receptions and dinners of;
  Mrs. Grant and;
  visits M. Waddington at Deauville;
  dislike of, for office of president;
  preference of, for his military title;
  fete given by, at Versailles during exposition year;
  resignation of;
  delight at resumption of private life.
MacMahon, Maréchale de, description of visit to;
  visit to Madame Waddington from, upon dismissal of cabinet;
  chilly attitude of, toward things Republican.
Madeleine, service at the, for King Victor Emmanuel.
Marguerite de Nemours, Princesse, author's visit to.
Marquis, anecdotes of a dictatorial.
Marriages, made at the Conservatoire or the Opéra Comique;
  Favourable criticism of arranged.
Martin, Henri, senator of the Aisne.
Mathilde, Princesse, meeting with;
  salon of.
Mendes Leal, Portuguese minister.
Molins, Marquise, Spanish ambassadress.
Mollard, Introducteur des Ambassadeurs.
Mommsen, Theodor.
Morny, Duc de, a founder of Deauville;
  famous entertainments of.
Morocco, mission from.
Murat, Princess Anna (Duchesse de Mouchy).


Napoleon III, Emperor, at Compiègne,
Napoleon's tomb, interest of American visitors in.
National Assembly, description of sittings of.
New Year's day reception at the President's.
Ney, Marshal, execution of, recalled.
Nuns, the life of.


Oliffe, Sir Joseph, a founder of Deauville.
Opera Comique, making of marriages at the;
  artists of the.
Opposition leader, joys of position of,
Orléans, Due d', at Countess de Ségur's salon,
Orléans family, members of, at official
  reception given by the Waddingtons;
  members of, at Lord Lyons's ball.
Orloff, Prince, Russian ambassador;
  attractive personality of;
  at Prince Hohenlohe's reception to President Grévy,


Paris, reasons against holding of Parliament in;
  gaiety of, during exposition;
  return of the Parliament to.
Pedro de Bragance, Emperor of Brazil.
Pie, Monsignor, created a Cardinal,
Piémont, Prince and Princesse de.
Pius IX, death of and funeral observances.
Poles, author's lack of confidence in.
Pontécoulant, Comte de, chef de cabinet
  under M. Waddington.
Pothnau, Admiral, appointed ambassador to Great Britain;
  Annoyance of, over offer of London embassy to M. Waddington.
Protestants, views of, held by Catholics;
  isolated position of the French.


Quai d'Orsay, description of house of Foreign Minister at the;
  removal of Waddingtons to;
  receiving and entertaining at;
  large ball given at;
  English visitors at;
  view from, on cold winter nights;
  departure from;
  formal visit to Madame de Freycinet at.
Quartier Latin, the modern.


Reay, Lord and Lady.
Receptions, customs at official.
Renan, Ernst, description of.
Renault, Léon, préfet de police.
Republic, strength of feeling against the, in Paris "society;"
  enthusiasm of farmers over the;
  disappointment of statesmen
in the; moderation of
  feeling in society circles toward the, at present time.
Republicans, proposed uprising of (1877);
  work of, in election of 1877;
  victory of.
Reviews at Longchamp.
Rome, early social life in;
  Account of reception in, where royalties were present.
Roumanian woman's dress.
Royalties, first social encounters with;
  present at opening ceremony of exposition;
  experiences with, at ball given by Lord Lyons
  at British embassy;
  risks run by, at fête at Versailles;
  present at the Waddingtons' ball at Quai d'Orsay.
Rudolph, Archduke, crown prince of Austria.
Russia, sadness of people of;
  Distance between princes and ordinary mortals in;
  pains taken to give ambassadors a pleasant impression of.


St. Vallier, Count de;
  Senator of the Aisne;
  Plenipotentiary to Berlin Congress;
  ambassador to Germany;
  reports brought from Germany by.
Salisbury, Lord, at Berlin Congress.
Salon réservé, passing of the.
Salons, political.
Sartiges, Comte and Comtesse de.
Sartiges, Vicomte de.
Say, Léon, as a speaker in the National Assembly;
  Minister of Finance;
  attitude of, toward French protectorate of Tunis.
Say, Madame.
Schouvaloff, Count;
  at Berlin Congress.
Ségur, Countess de, political salon of.
Seine, freezing of the.
Shah of Persia, experiences with the.
Shooting expeditions.
Shops, trading at small.
Sibbern, Swedish minister.
Simon, Jules, dismissal of cabinet of.
Singing, comments on French.
Skating experiences in Paris in 1879.
Soeurs Augustines, Convent and Hospital of the.
Sullivan, Arthur, in Paris.


Théâtre Français, nights at the.
Thiers, M;
  superseded as President of Republic by MacMahon;
  receptions at house of;
  comment of Prince Gortschakoff upon;
  condition in 1877 and sudden death of.
Thiers, Madame.
Thorndike, Miss (Comtesse de Sartiges).
Tiffany, success of, with French, at exposition of 1878.
Travelling, a Frenchwoman's views of.
Troubetskoi, Princess Lize.
Trouville, vogue of, as a watering-place.
Tunis, French protectorate of, arranged by M. Waddington.


Versailles, meetings of National Assembly at;
  terraces and gardens at;
  Marshal de MacMahon's receptions at;
  compared with Paris as a meetingplace of Assembly;
  badly managed fête given by Marshal de MacMahon at;
  removal of Parliament to Paris from.
Victor Emmanuel, death of, and service at the Madeleine for.
Victoria, Princess, charming character of;
  strong English proclivities of.
Victoria, Queen, M. Waddington received by, in Paris;
  prestige of, in France;
  expresses approval of M. Waddington.
Vienna, stiffness of court at.
Vogtio, Marquis de, a visit from, at Deauville.


Waddington, Francis, son of Madame Waddington.
Waddington, Richard, senator of the Seine Inférieure;
  family life at country home of;
  early career of;
  story of the Prince of Wales and.
Waddington, Madame Richard.
Waddington, William, marriage of Madame Waddington and;
  Deputy to National Assembly from Department of the Aisne;
  brief term as Minister of Public Instruction;
  method of speaking in National Assembly;
  criticisms of, by opposition newspapers;
  second appointment as Minister of Public Instruction (1876);
  life of, as minister;
  dismissal of, from the ministry;
  fears of arrest of;
  attitude toward proposed Republican uprising;
  electoral campaign of;
  elected senator in 1877;
  named to the Foreign Office in new cabinet formed by Dufaure;
  life of, as Foreign Minister;
  named plenipotentiary to Berlin Congress;
  activities of, at the Congress;
  French protectorate of Tunis arranged by;
  remains at Foreign Office upon accession of Grévy,
  and becomes prime minister;
  onerous life of;
  reception of, by Queen Victoria;
  interview with Grand Duke Alexander of Russia;
  determines to quit office;
  last days as premier and Foreign Minister;
  mild attacks on, by political opponents;
  shooting parties at Grévy's and Casimir Périer's;
  gives over ministry to Freycinet;
  offered the London Embassy, but declines;
  President Grévy's regard for.
Waddington, Madame, mother of William Waddington.
Waddington, Madame William, marriage;
  early experiences in Paris after Franco-Prussian War;
  anecdote of Count Herbert Bismarck's telegram to;
  story of early attempt to arrange a marriage for;
  at first big dinner at the Ministry of Public Instruction;
  first social meetings with royalties;
  experience in thanking the artists at reception;
  visit of Maréchale de MacMahon to, upon dismissal of cabinet;
  feelings on moving into foreign ministry;
  trials over reception days;
  experience with Chinese ambassador at Marshal de MacMahon's
  dinner to General Grant;
  audience given to, by Queen Isabella of Spain;
  at Lord Lyons's ball, and meeting with Princesse Mathilde;
  received by Empress Eugénie;
  does not accompany husband to Berlin Congress;
  meeting with the Shah of Persia;
  in crush at ball at Hôtel de Ville;
  exciting adventures at fête at Versailles;
  ball given by, at the Quai d'Orsay;
  attends Madame Grévy's first reception;
  at naming of Cardinals at the Elysée;
  conversations of, with Catholic friends;
  growing fondness of, for the rive gauche;
  skating experiences of;
  crosses the Seine on the ice;
  visits of farewell received by, upon leaving Quai d'Orsay;
  pays formal visit to Madame de Freycinet at Quai d'Orsay;
  visit to Madame Grévy;
  departure from Paris and short stay at Bourneville.
Wales, Prince of, story of Richard Waddington and;
  liking of Parisians for;
  Madame Waddington presented to Princesse Mathilde by;
  at ball at the Quai d'Orsay.
Washington, D. C., characteristics of;
  Lord Lyons's reminiscences of life at;
  a French conception of.
William I, Emperor, attempted assassination of.
Winter of 1879, severity and hardships of.
Wittgenstein, Prince.
Women, adaptability of American;
  cramped lives of middle-class French;
  more uncompromising than men in political views;
  ambitions of, for husbands and sons.


Zuylen, Baron von, Dutch minister;
  as a musician.
Zuylen, Madame von.





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