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Title: The Memoirs of Maria Stella (Lady Newborough)
Author: Ungern-Sternberg, Maria Stella
Language: English
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THE MEMOIRS OF MARIA STELLA

(LADY NEWBOROUGH)



[Illustration: _Maria Stella, Lady Newborough, as a Gypsy._

_From a picture at Glynllifon_]



                             THE MEMOIRS OF
                              MARIA STELLA

                            (LADY NEWBOROUGH)

                                   BY
                                 HERSELF

       _Translated from the original French by M. Harriet M. Capes
                 and with an introduction by B. D’Agen_

                                 LONDON
                              EVELEIGH NASH
                                  1914



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                      _To face page_

    * MARIA STELLA, LADY NEWBOROUGH, AS A GYPSY
          (_From a picture at Glynllifon_)            _Frontispiece_

    * LORD NEWBOROUGH                                            76
          (_From a picture at Glynllifon_)

    * GLYNLLIFON                                                 88
          (_From a drawing by the late Sir John Ardagh_)

    * MARIA STELLA, LADY NEWBOROUGH                             104
          (_From a bust at Glynllifon_)

    THE DUKE OF ORLEANS (PHILIPPE-ÉGALITÉ)                      152

    MME. DE GENLIS                                              198
          (_Photo, Braun Clement et Cie_)

    MARIA STELLA, LADY NEWBOROUGH, BARONNE DE STERNBERG         228

    THE DUCHESS OF ORLEANS (LOUISE MARIE ADÉLAÏDE DE
        BOURBON-PENTHIÈVRE) WIFE OF PHILIPPE-ÉGALITÉ            244

    LOUIS-PHILIPPE, KING OF FRANCE                              280

* The thanks of the publisher are due to the Hon. F. G. Wynn for
permission to reproduce these pictures, and to Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey,
Bart. (author of _The Mystery of Maria Stella, Lady Newborough_: Edward
Arnold), for the use of his copyright photographs of the same.



THE ORLEANS-CHIAPPINI CASE

NEWBOROUGH _v._ JOINVILLE


_Whereas the plaintiff has claimed that the rectification of her
certificate of baptism should be properly carried out, etc. That Lorenzo
Chiappini, being near his death, wrote a letter to the plaintiff, in
which, to ease his conscience, he declared that she was not his daughter._

_That the words of a dying man must bear the impress of truth._

_That, according to the evidence of the witnesses Bandini, it is
absolutely proved that Count Louis Joinville exchanged his daughter
for a boy of Lorenzo Chiappini’s, and that the Demoiselle de Joinville
was baptized under the name of Maria Stella, falsely described as the
daughter of Chiappini and his wife._

_That the Lady Maria Stella therefore justly claims the rectification of
her birth-certificate._

_Moreover, that the evidence of the aforesaid witnesses is supported by
public notoriety and the difficulties the Comte de Joinville experienced._

_Finally, that the legitimacy of the claim is proved by the careful
education given to the plaintiff—an education unsuitable to the daughter
of a jailer, as well as by the improvement in the fortunes of Chiappini
which ensued._

_For these reasons, which will be established both in fact and law by the
proofs put in, and for all others resulting from the proceedings, it is
held that the plaintiff’s request should be granted, etc._



THE ORLEANS-CHIAPPINI CASE

JOINVILLE _v._ NEWBOROUGH


_Whereas the plaintiff, in both her birth and baptismal certificates, is
described as the daughter of Lorenzo Chiappini, who brought her up as
such, and that so she acknowledged herself for nearly fifty years, etc._

_That this plainly establishes the fact of her birth and consequent
rights, etc._

_That the proofs brought forward by the plaintiff amount to no more
than the depositions of a few witnesses, whereas the proof should be in
writing, etc._

_That failing the necessary proofs of affiliation and paternity, the law
holds good that given in the birth-certificate, etc._

_That, even if the proofs given in evidence were alone sufficient, the
witnesses produced by the plaintiff do not plainly report the fact of the
substitution, etc._

_Moreover, doubt is not dispelled by Chiappini’s declaration, because it
is not expressed in authentic or documentary terms, etc._

_Finally, that to claim to be the daughter of a certain person not that
named in the certificate of birth or shown as in possession, it is
necessary to prove that such person has really existed, etc._

_For these reasons, it must be held that the claims of the plaintiff be
refused, and that she be condemned in all the costs of the trial, etc._



THE MEMOIRS OF MARIA STELLA



INTRODUCTION


In _Le Matin_ of March 17, 1913, appeared the following article, with
which we will begin the account of some abridged documents.

    “While examining the Archives of the Office of Foreign Affairs,
    a young historian, M. Maugras, has unearthed a very curious
    love-story, deposited by the ‘guilty couple’s’ own hands,
    relating to the Duke of Orleans, later Philippe-Egalité, and
    the governess of his children, the virtuous and pedagogic Mme.
    de Genlis.[1]

    “In consequence of this _liaison_, Mme. de Genlis was made
    Captain of the Guards; and the ‘governess’ of the future
    Louis-Philippe and Mme. Adélaïde gave birth to two charming
    little daughters, who were brought up in England and known as
    Pamela and Miss Campton.

    “Mme. de Genlis was also the mother of a legitimate daughter,
    who later on married M. de Valence. Mme. de Valence was to have
    for her son-in-law the Maréchal Gérard, lineal ancestor of the
    brilliant poetess, Rosemonde Gérard.

    “On the other hand, Miss Campton married a Gascon, M. Collard,
    and was grandmother to Marie Cappelle (Mme. Lafarge).

    “Thus, by legitimate descent, Mme. de Genlis is the ancestress
    of Rosemonde Rostand, and, illegitimate, of Mme. Lafarge.

    “The latter wrote six thousand letters, not to speak of her
    _Mémoires_ and her _Heures de Prison_.

    “As for the author of the play, _Un Bon Petit Diable_, ‘he’
    proposed nothing less than to tune his pipe to all history and
    legend, in spite of what his own descent might imply.…

    “The heritage of the Governess of the Children of France has
    not fallen to the distaff side.”

The next day, March 18, the same journal published this other article,
which impartiality obliges us to reproduce here—

    “Through the assiduous researches of a pious inquirer into the
    things of the past, the _Mercure de France_ has just published
    a touching series of letters, written by Mme. Lafarge from
    her prison at Montpellier, to her Director, l’Abbé Brunet,
    residing in the Bishop’s Palace at Limoges. This is a twofold
    revelation, in that it testifies both to the delicate skill
    of the writer and the innocence of the accused, but the
    correspondence is unfortunately incomplete.

    “Some of these letters were given to M. Boyer d’Agen by M.
    Albris Body, Keeper of the Records at Spa in Belgium; others
    were discovered amongst the posthumous papers of Zaleski, the
    classic poet of the Ukraine; those that remain are doubtless
    buried in the dusty catacombs of some library.… It could be
    wished that one of those lucky chances which are the providence
    of the erudite might allow of their disinterment.”

To complete this and prove something definite, these two quotations ought
to be accompanied by a third which I take from one of the letters given
by _Le Matin_, in which the celebrated Mme. Lafarge ventures to disclose
the secret reason for her notorious misfortunes by at last revealing
the mystery of her illegitimate origin, which, through the house of
Orleans, of which her grandmother was issue, made her a near relation of
Louis-Philippe, who during his reign, moved by fear, permitted the trial
of this cousin by blood, whom he dared not have acquitted after ten years
of imprisonment.

“The Queen charged the Maréchale Gérard,” writes Marie Cappelle in this
painful confession, “to tell me that she would make it her business to
interest herself in me. She went herself to speak to the Ministers. It
was last spring (1848), and the men condemned for the riots at Basanceney
had just been executed. The Ministers said that there would be an
outcry, that it would get mixed up with politics; _that the left-handed
relationship_ that was suspected would be exploited by parties and
newspapers. In the month of August there was some hope; but the Praslin
affair put a stop to everything. Now, I don’t know what has become of the
goodwill of our saintly Queen; I don’t know if the Maréchale (Gérard)
seriously means to carry out all the provisions of her poor mother’s
(Mme. de Valence) bequest. I have not written to her. It is painful to
me to address prayers to men; I scorn to ask for pardon when I have the
right to ask for justice.”

The rest is known. Four years later, on June 1, 1852, Napoleon III opened
a door Louis-Philippe had kept closed during the whole of his reign,
and Marie Cappelle left her prison at Montpellier to go and die of
exhaustion, four months later, at the little hot-spring town of Ussat,
which could not give her back her lost life.

For my part, I was counting, letter by letter, the steps to Calvary
climbed by this poor woman, and which, letter by letter, may be followed
in a forthcoming book which is to contain all that I have been able to
collect to the honour of this possessor of so fine an intelligence and so
polished a style; when, all of a sudden, the episode of Marie Cappelle
reminded me of that of Lorenzo Chiappini—with the house of Orleans as the
origin of those doubtful births and as the clue to these yet unsolved
historical enigmas.

What was the Orleans Chiappini affair?

       *       *       *       *       *

In the spring of 1902 I was rummaging amongst the Archives of the
Vatican, of whose secular secrets Pope Leo XIII, of august memory, had
made an end by opening them to the world of inquirers, with no fear that
the dangerous resurrection of this Lazarus of history would be for that
liberal Pontiff—as it was for the Divine Miracle-worker of Bethany—the
prelude to the maledictions of a scandalized Sanhedrin, and to another
painful Passion—a renewal of that of old.

While waiting for the _crucifigation_ of the Pharisees—those lovers of
darkness and the unfathomable crimes of secret history—I took pleasure,
as a simple Publican and lover of the light, in admiring the daylight
making its cheerful way under the corniced vaults of the _Archivio
Segreto_, and disclosing those files of dusty manuscripts, which, each
stripping off his registered shirt, emerge naked from the tomb at the
call of the first passer-by who, recognizing his dead, simply says, “Come
forth!” and they come.

Standing before those desks over those deep tomblike cases of archives
wherein slumber the secrets of the dead, my ears open to the miraculous,
“Lazarus, come forth!” which the patient seekers for silent memories are
prepared to utter at the turning of each yellow leaf, I let my dreaming
eye, that afternoon, rest upon a ray of that Roman sunshine, as, with its
soft radiance, it gave life to the solitude of a vault, scattering its
riches broadcast through the windows, prodigal as the gambler staking
with both hands just for the pleasure of playing, and losing.

“I’ve been using in your service the time you waste here!” said a
searcher in this Vatican vault, as he came and sat down at my work-table.
He is one who knows all the treasures of the place, since he has
frequented it for over thirty years, working for the most learned of the
best Reviews—the _Civilta Cattolica_, to which my honourable colleague is
one of the most authoritative contributors.… “Well, what do they say in
Paris about Louis-Philippe?”

“That he has been dead for some time!” I could not help answering, with a
laugh at this not over-retrospective interruption.

“But is it known how he was born?” continued my interlocutor, more
mysteriously than if he were simply talking nonsense; and without
another word, “Here!” he added; “read this letter. I found it amongst the
papers of Cardinal Joseph Albani, whom the celebrated Secretary of State
Chateaubriand used to visit during his Embassy to Rome, and of whom he
has left, in his _Mémoires d’outre-Tombe_, a witty enough portrait. Read
this document; it is well worth while.” In the Secret Archives of the
Vatican it is inscribed (B. 43242, anno 1830)—

    CARDINAL MACCHI to CARDINAL ALBANI, Secretary of State.

                                         “_Ravenna, Nov. 19, 1830._

    “EMˢˢⁱᵐᵉ MAÎTRE,

    “Enclosed in this letter you will find a copy of the decision,
    given on May 29, 1824, by the Episcopal Tribunal of Faenza,
    in favour of the Lady Maria Newborough, Baronne de Sternberg,
    by the terms of which it is declared that this person is the
    daughter of the Comte and the Comtesse de Joinville, and not
    the daughter of the two Chiappinis. The documents concerning
    this affair are pretty numerous, but there is no mention
    made of the Orleans family. It is true that the aforesaid
    title of Joinville belongs to that Royal Family, and is borne
    at the present time, if I am not mistaken, by the daughter,
    born fourth of the family. It is true, likewise, that it is
    generally believed here that the Comte de Joinville was no
    other than the famous Duc d’Orléans-Egalité.

    “Moreover, not only is there no proof that the Duc d’Orléans
    was travelling in Italy in 1773, but, on the contrary, we read
    in his biography that in 1778 he travelled in Italy in the
    company of the Duchess.

    “I notice, besides, that Lady Newborough was born at Modigliana
    on April 17, 1773, and that the present King of France was born
    six months later. How, then, could the supposed exchange have
    been managed? It seems to me that this is a mere fable which
    might, and not a little, compromise us. I should advise your
    Eminence to claim those documents from the Tribunal of Faenza,
    so as to keep them from the public eye and in Rome.

    “Having thus carried out your esteemed orders, I pray your
    Eminence to accept the humble expression of the profound
    respect with which, etc.

                                      “Signed: V. CARDINAL MACCHI.”

“But,” said I, as I returned the folio to its obliging discoverer, “it
seems to me that this letter is conclusive, and that the Louis-Philippe
Chiappini case is settled as soon as heard.”

“Precisely, because it has not yet been heard. You are stopping your
ears, like the _Eminentissimo_ Macchi, Cardinal-Legate of Ravenna, who
did not want to hear any more of the affair. But no, no!—and besides,
you haven’t the same excuse. Would you like, in connection with this
letter, to read the document that goes with it? It is the Italian text
of the sentence solemnly pronounced by the Episcopal Tribunal of Faenza,
on the 29th of May, 1824; fifty years after this criminal business; all
surviving witnesses heard; all inquiries scrupulously made; the Holy
Trinity invoked in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.…”

“The devil!” I ventured to exclaim, at a matter beginning with so
sacramental a formula.

And I read in Italian what I am going to give here in a translation, and
the number of which, 43-242, is that of its place in the Secret Archives
of the Vatican.

    “Having invoked the most holy Name of God:

    “We, seated in our Tribunal, and having before our eyes
    nothing but God and justice, by our final decision from the
    pleadings of the lawyers and the documents, we deliver judgment
    on the action or actions debated before us in the inferior
    or any other higher Court, between her Excellency Marie
    Newborough-Sternberg, the Plaintiff, on the one part, and M. le
    Comte Charles Bandini on the other, acting as legally delegated
    trustee to represent M.M. le Comte Louis and la Comtesse de
    Joinville, and any other absent person who has, or claims to
    have, any interest in the case; these two parties to it having
    submitted to jurisdiction, in default of the _Excellentissime_
    M. le Docteur Thomas Chiappini, domiciled at Florence, who has
    not so submitted himself.

    “Whereas, before our Episcopal Curia acting as a Tribunal
    competent to judge the ecclesiastic cases named below submitted
    to their jurisdiction, the Plaintiff has asked that orders may
    be given, by means of suitable alteration, to correct her
    baptismal certificate, etc.

    “That, on the part of the delegated Trustee Defendant, it
    is asked that the Plaintiff’s claim should be rejected and
    the costs repaid. That the other proper Defendant, Doctor
    Chiappini, has not submitted to jurisdiction, though, according
    to the custom of this Curia, he has been twice summoned by a
    Sheriff of the Episcopal Tribunal of Florence, and that the
    report of contumacy has been added to the decision on the suit.

    “Considering the documents, etc.

    “Having heard the respective counsel, etc.

    “Whereas Lorenzo Chiappini, being near his end, did, in a
    letter which was given to the Plaintiff after the decease of
    the aforesaid Chiappini, reveal to the same Plaintiff the
    secret of her birth, by clearly making known to her that she
    was not his daughter, but the daughter of a person he declared
    he could not name.

    “That it has been legally acknowledged by the experts that this
    letter is written in the hand of Lorenzo Chiappini.

    “That the word of a dying man is proof in full, since he has no
    longer any interest in lying, and it is to be presumed that he
    is thinking only of his eternal salvation.

    “That such a confession ought to be looked upon as a solemn
    oath, and as a bequest made for the good of his soul and his
    own salvation.

    “That the Trustee would vainly endeavour to deprive the said
    letter of its force, on account of its containing no indication
    as to who were the real father and mother of the Plaintiff;
    since although, in fact, such indication is really wanting,
    recourse has been had, on the part of this same Plaintiff, to
    the testimony of witnesses, to presumptions and conjectures.

    “That, where there exists in writing a beginning of proof, as
    in the present case, it is allowable, even in State questions,
    to introduce testimonial proof and all other evidence.

    “That if, in questions of State, after the original written
    proof, that by means of witnesses is admissible; there is still
    stronger reason to accept the same proof in this case when a
    document is produced to be used in the question of State.

    “Whereas, from the sworn legal depositions of the sisters,
    Maria and Dominica Bandini, it is clearly shown that there
    was an agreement between M. le Comte and le Sieur Chiappini to
    exchange their respective children, should Mme. la Comtesse
    give birth to a girl and Chiappini’s wife to a boy; that the
    agreed exchange did really take place, the case having been
    provided for; that the girl was baptized in the church of the
    Priory at Modigliana, by the name of Maria Stella, and falsely
    registered as the daughter of the Chiappini couple.

    “Whereas the said witnesses swear as to the time of the
    exchange as coinciding with that of the Plaintiff’s birth.

    “Whereas, the Trustee, likewise in vain, urges the
    improbability of this evidence; since, not only no
    improbability is to be met with in the witnesses’ statement,
    but, on the contrary, it is upheld and verified by a great
    number of other presumptions and conjectures.

    “That one very forcible conjecture is deduced by the public
    voice and the rumours which were then spread as to the fact of
    the exchange.

    “Whereas, this rumour is proved, not only by the testimony of
    the aforesaid sisters Bandini, but also by the attestation
    of M. Dominique Della Valle, and that of other witnesses in
    Brisighella and Ravenna, all equally judicially examined in
    their own towns and before their respective tribunals.

    “That the vicissitudes to which M. le Comte was exposed are a
    convincing proof of the reality of the exchange.

    “That there is documentary proof that in consequence of the
    rumours spread abroad in Modigliana concerning the exchange in
    question, the Comte de Joinville was forced to leave that place
    and take refuge in the Convent of St. Bernard at Brisighella;
    that having gone out for a walk, he was arrested, taken to, and
    kept some time in, the Public Palace of Justice of Brisighella,
    and that afterwards he was conducted by the Swiss Guards of
    Ravenna before his Eminence the Cardinal-Legate, who set him at
    liberty, etc., etc.

    “Whereas, Querzani, of Brisighella, swears to having shaved a
    great French nobleman who was for some time living in seclusion
    in the Convent of St. Bernard at Brisighella.

    “Whereas, in the evidence of the aforesaid Della Valle, he
    declares that, while he was assisting in making out the
    inventory of the aforesaid Convent of St. Bernard, he saw two
    letters signed ‘le Comte de Joinville’; that one of these was
    dated from Modigliana, and that in it the writer thanked the
    Abbot of St. Bernard’s for having allowed him to retire into
    his convent; that, in the other letter, dated from Ravenna, the
    same correspondent tells of his liberation to the same Abbot;
    that both these letters bore the date of 1773.

    “Whereas, one of the soldiers charged with the surveillance
    of the Count at Brisighella during his stay at the Palace of
    Justice of that town, is still living, which soldier has given
    evidence on the subject judicially and of his own free will.

    “That M. le Comte Nicolas Biancoli-Borghi testifies in his
    judicial examination that, while he was looking through old
    papers of the Borghi house, he came upon a letter written from
    Turin to M. le Comte Pompeo-Borghi, the date of which he could
    not remember, signed Louis C. Joinville, which said that the
    _exchanged child was dead and that there was now nothing more
    to fear on its account_.

    “Whereas, the same Count Biancoli-Borghi alleges his own
    knowledge to be the motive of his evidence, etc.

    “That the exchange is proved also by the change in the fortunes
    of Chiappini, etc.

    “That in fact, after this event, Chiappini paid ready money
    for the cereals needed for the support of his family, and that
    he bought them at the Borghi place of business, while before
    that time he had discharged his debts by the giving up of his
    monthly pay; which Biancoli-Borghi testifies to having found as
    a fact in the books of the Borghi firm.

    “Whereas, it is proved beyond doubt by many documents that
    Chiappini, after he retired to Florence, acquired means that
    enabled him to live at ease, as the sisters Bandini and other
    witnesses testify.

    “Whereas, the Sieur Della Valle asserts that he saw Chiappini
    at Florence in flourishing circumstances, and that, moreover,
    the same Chiappini spoke of the exchange to a certain Sieur D.
    Bandini of Verifolo who was often in his company, as the same
    Bandini declared to Della Valle.

    “Whereas, the Plaintiff received an education suited to her
    distinguished rank, and not such as would have been given to
    the daughter of a jailer, etc., etc.

    “That, it clearly follows in view of all the matters up to now
    alleged and of many others existing in the documents, that
    Maria Stella was falsely described in her certificate of birth
    as being the daughter of the Chiappini husband and wife, and
    that she owes her birth to M. le Comte and Mme. la Comtesse de
    Joinville.

    “That, in consequence, it is a matter of justice to grant the
    correction of the certificate of birth now claimed by this same
    Maria Stella.

    “Finally, that M. le Docteur Chiappini, instead of opposing the
    claim, is guilty of contumacy.

    “Having repeated the most holy Name of God, we declare,
    decree, and give final judgment, that the pleas of the
    aforesaid delegated Trustee must be rejected, as we reject
    them; we desire and order that they be held as annulled; and,
    in consequence, we have declared, decreed and given final
    judgment, that the certificate of birth of April 17, 1773,
    inscribed in the Baptismal Registers of the Prioral Church of
    St. Stephen, Pope and Martyr, at Modigliana, in the Diocese
    of Faenza, wherein Maria Stella is described as the daughter
    of Lorenzo Chiappini and Vincenzia Viligenti, be corrected;
    and that, on the contrary, she is to be described as the
    daughter of M. le Comte Louis and Mme. la Comtesse N. de
    Joinville, French; to which end we have likewise decreed that
    the rectification in question shall be executed officially by
    our Registrar, also empowering M. le Prieur, of the Church of
    St. Stephen, Pope and Martyr, at Modigliana, in the Diocese of
    Faenza, to give copies of the rectified and corrected paper to
    all such as may ask for it, etc.

                                     “LE CHANOINE PRÉVOT,

                             “VALERIO BOSCHI, PRO-VICAIRE GÉNÉRAL.”

“The devil! the devil!” I repeated, astonishment increasing by leaps and
bounds in the face of two such grave and contradictory statements. Was
the Cardinal of Ravenna wrong? Was the Bishop of Faenza right? And did
one ever see a scarlet-clad Eminence break a more vigorous rod over the
violet-clad shoulders of a Counsel of Prelates than this reversion of
a decree so solemnly pronounced, a few years earlier, before a plenary
court of all the officers of a diocese?

“You forget,” answered my colleague, “that the then Legate of Ravenna
had been Nuncio at Paris under Charles X, and a special friend of the
King’s. So great a friend that the pasquinades on the Conclaves of 1829
and 1830, at which this Cardinal was present, always called him the
‘_Joueur de Gherardo della Notte_,’ in memory of the royal card-parties
at the château, where this ex-Nuncio was always the favoured partner. He
was so loaded with presents, that the distended skirts of the prelate’s
gown became legendary in Paris as in Rome. And the least he could do
amidst the amplitude of the cloth out of which he had shaped such a gown,
was for the Cardinal Macchi to attempt later to shield the honour of the
new King that, in this same 1830, Charles X, on abdicating, had left to
France. But however deep they be, the well-furnished pockets of a modern
Cardinal can’t take the place of the ancient _oubliettes_ of history.”

“True! true!”

“To throw light upon this strange business, there is more than the
affirmations of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of Faenza and the denials of
the Cardinal-Legate of Ravenna. There is a heap of proofs got together
by the plaintiff in a voluminous memoir. Lady Newborough, Baronne de
Sternberg, wanted it to be published in Italian and French at the same
time. But the date of 1830, chosen for these startling revelations, was
also that when the person principally interested mounted the throne of
France. Is it to be wondered at that these compromising documents were at
once destroyed wherever the representatives of the King Louis-Philippe
could find them?”

“And then?”

“Then, there existed, and exists, a copy, thank God! Written in an
elegant and easy hand, it once more proves the distinction of its author,
as well as the sincerity of her words. You will easily discover the
Italian text at Recanati, in the celebrated house of the Leopardis; for
the Count Monaldo, father of the great poet Giacomo Leopardi, was not
afraid of preparing an edition of this document for the edification of
his contemporaries speaking the same tongue. The French text, which
the supposed daughter of Philippe-Egalité undertook to publish in your
language, and which she signed with the actual name of Joinville, which
had at the first concealed the criminal _incognito_, would perhaps be
more difficult to recover in France after the hunt for it But here is
a copy which will console you for the loss of the rest. Shall we look
through it together?”

“Certainly; it is enough that the Vatican should shelter such noble
victims within the silence of its protecting walls, without Herod having
to impeach the Pope for his guilty connivance in a repetition of the
Massacre of the Innocents.”

So here we are in the presence of Lady Newborough’s Memoirs, which relate
that she was born on April 17, 1773, at Modigliana; her supposed father
being Lorenzo Chiappini, _sbirro_, or factotum, to the Count Borghi. Her
supposed mother was one Vincenzia Viligenti, attached, as _concierge_, to
the kind of prison of which her husband was warder.

This birth took place at the precise time that a certain Comte de
Joinville and the Comtesse, his wife, who were staying at the Palazzo
Borghi, opposite the prison of which Chiappini was warder, had also a
child born to them. The child of Chiappini was baptized on the very day
of its birth under the names of Maria Petronilla; _that of the Comte de
Joinville does not appear in the Baptismal Registers of the Parish of
San Stefano_, common to both families.

Maria Petronilla, always ignorant of her true origin and problematic
destiny, lived until she was four years old between the indifference of
her mother, who gave all her love to her other children, and the marked
affection of the Countess Borghi, who greatly appreciated the natural
distinction of the little girl, quite incompatible with so low an origin.

But the lowly estate of the Chiappinis improving day by day, Maria was
only four years old when she had to leave for Florence, the Grand Duke
having summoned the humble warder of the Modigliana prison to unhoped-for
good fortune there.

Maria Stella’s education kept pace with the growing prosperity of her
father Lorenzo.

When the little girl had learnt enough of dancing and accomplishments,
her father got her an engagement as ballet-dancer in a large theatre in
the town.

Scarcely of marriageable age, she had first to spurn and then to accept
the passionate addresses of an elderly English nobleman, who asked her
hand. The parents granted what the daughter refused, and one day, against
her will, Maria Petronilla became the wife of Lord Newborough.

Lady Newborough’s Memoirs continue as tales of travel up to the page
wherein she records the death of Lorenzo Chiappini, with this autograph
letter from the dying man.

    “MILADY,

    “I have come to the end of my days without having ever revealed
    to any one a secret which directly concerns you and me.

    “This is the secret.

    “The day you were born of a person I must not name, and who
    has already passed into the next world, a boy was also born to
    me. I was requested to make an exchange, and, in view of my
    circumstances at that time, I consented after reiterated and
    advantageous proposals; and it was then that I adopted you as
    my daughter, as in the same way my son was adopted by the other
    party.

    “I see that Heaven has made up for my fault, since you have
    been placed in a better position than your father’s, although
    he was of almost similar rank; and it is this that enables me
    to end my life in something of peace.

    “Keep this in your possession, so that I may not be held
    totally guilty. Yes, while begging your forgiveness for my sin,
    I ask you, if you please, to keep it hidden, so that the world
    may not be set talking over a matter that cannot be remedied.

    “Even this letter will not be sent to you till after my death.

                                               “LORENZO CHIAPPINI.”

“Stranger and still stranger!”

“This letter, sent through the post from Florence to Lady Newborough,
then at Siena, about the middle of December 1821, was the beginning of
the lengthy investigations to which this daughter of noble but unknown
parents henceforth entirely devoted herself. You must read the rest
of the Memoirs, of which I venture to recommend whole pages to your
consideration. Here is an extract—

    “‘After leaving my two eldest sons,’ writes Lady Newborough,
    ‘I took the road to Rome, where I had already made the
    acquaintance of Cardinal Consalvi, who showed me the greatest
    kindness. By his order, all the archives were thrown open to
    me; everything was examined into, not only in the capital, but
    in the country round about the Apennines; but everywhere the
    answer was the same: “Nothing whatever has been discovered;
    everything must have been destroyed during the Revolution.”

    “‘Seeing that there was nothing to be done there, I set out
    for Faenza, where I was informed that the Count Borghi was
    absent, and that, moreover, it would be useless for me to see
    him, as he had declared that he would never tell me anything at
    all. I heard even that he had threatened the old servant-women
    with the withholding of their modest pensions if they had the
    ill-luck of speaking to me. But they could not restrain their
    longing to see me or the cry of their consciences. Their first
    words when they met me were a simultaneous exclamation of “O
    Dio! how like you are to the Comtesse de Joinville!”

    “‘I joyfully welcomed them and treated them kindly; and having
    implored them to acquaint me with the details concerning my
    birth, they at last consented to speak perfectly openly.

    “‘“Our father, Nicholas Bandini,” they told me, “at the age of
    seventeen entered the Borghi mansion as chief steward, and
    never left it till his death. We also were taken on there in
    our youth as maids to the Countess Camilla. That lady, with her
    son, the Count Pompeo, was in the habit of spending a good part
    of the year at the castle at Modigliana, and in the beginning
    of the spring of 1773 we accompanied them there.

    “‘“On our arrival we found, already established in the
    Pretorial Palace, a French couple, called the Comte Louis
    and the Comtesse Joinville. The Comte had a fine figure, a
    rather brown complexion, and a red and pimpled nose. As to the
    Comtesse, you can see almost her perfect image in your own
    person, milady.

    “‘“Being such near neighbours, the greatest intimacy soon
    came to pass between them and our masters. Every day the two
    families met, sometimes at one house, sometimes at the other.

    “‘“The foreign stranger was extremely familiar with people of
    the lowest rank, especially with Chiappini, the jailer, who
    lived under the same roof. As it happened, both their wives
    were then _enceinte_, and the two confinements appeared to be
    imminent.

    “‘“But the Comte was seriously anxious; his wife had not yet
    given him a male child; and he was intensely uneasy lest he
    should never have one, when of this very fear was born an idea,
    both barbarous and advantageous. First he broached the subject
    to the Count Pompeo and his mother, from a very charming point
    of view; then he endeavoured to worm himself more and more into
    the warder’s confidence, and ended by telling him that seeing
    himself about to lose a great inheritance absolutely dependent
    on the birth of a son, he was quite willing, in case he should
    have a daughter, to exchange her for a boy, whose father he
    would largely recompense.

    “‘“The man who listened to his words, delighted to find
    unlooked-for luck at so appropriate a moment, did not hesitate
    for an instant; he accepted the offer, and the matter was
    settled on the spot.

    “‘“We know it,” the sisters Bandini went on, “because we
    heard it with our own ears; and we know, too, that the event
    justified the precautions taken; the Comtesse gave birth to a
    daughter, and the other woman to a son. The news was brought
    to our master, and one of us going into the Pretorial Palace
    to see the newly-born children, was assured by some women of
    the house that the exchange had really taken place. Chiappini,
    who was present, confirmed it in his own words. Later on, the
    Countess Camilla often repeated it to us; she used to say that
    the Comtesse Joinville had been told all about it, and had
    seemed quite content.

    “‘“Soon after this abominable crime we ourselves saw the Comte
    and the jailer on the best of terms; the first because he had
    secured immense profit; the other because he had received
    much money. Although silence had been promised, there were
    indiscreet people, and public rumour soon accused the authors
    of this horrible transaction. The Comte Louis, dreading the
    general indignation of his accusers, fled and hid himself at
    Brisighella, in the convent of St. Bernard. We knew he had been
    arrested and then set at liberty, but we never saw him again.

    “‘“The lady left with her servants and her reputed son,
    while her own daughter, baptized by the name of Maria Stella
    Petronilla, and described as belonging to Lorenzo Chiappini
    and Vincenzia Viligenti, always remained with these last. Our
    mistress was constantly distressed about this misfortune. To
    repair it as much as possible she kept the unfortunate child
    near her, caressing her and giving her all kinds of presents,
    treating her not with ordinary friendliness, but with every
    mark of ardent love. So she behaved to this child for the first
    four years, that is to say till Chiappini took her with him
    to Florence, where he had her educated, and where he bought
    property with the price of his frightful bargain.”

    “‘Thus spoke my venerable septuagenarians.

    “‘Fully satisfied with their story, there seemed no need of
    more, and that now it would be enough to appear before my
    iniquitous parents and obtain from them just reparation.

    “‘With this plan I set out for France with my third son,
    his drawing-master, my maid, and my courier, a faithful and
    intelligent servant.

    “‘By the Sieur Fabroni’s advice, we went straight to Champagne,
    and the mere name of the place led us to Joinville. I asked the
    magistrates for information, and was told by them all that no
    nobleman of the neighbourhood bore the name of their city, and
    that it belonged solely to the Orleans family.

    “‘After several attempts, which all had the same result, I went
    to Paris, arriving on July 5, 1823. As a cleverly used ruse
    may bring about an act of justice, and as the bait of riches
    is nowadays the most powerful of motives, I had the following
    advertisement inserted in several newspapers—

      “‘“The widow of the late Count Pompeo Borghi has asked
      Lady N. S. to find for her in France a certain Louis,
      Comte Joinville, who, with the Comtesse, his wife, was
      at Modigliana, a little town in the Apennines, where the
      Comtesse gave birth to a son on the 16th of April, 1773. If
      these two persons are still living, or the child born at
      Modigliana, Lady N. S. has the honour to announce to them
      that she has been empowered to make them a communication
      of the highest interest. Supposing that these persons
      can prove their identity, they have only to apply to the
      Baronne de Sternberg, Hôtel de Belle-Vue, Rue de Rivoli.”

    “‘Two days later appeared a colonel bearing the much-desired
    name; I received him with the warmest welcome. He spoke,
    recounting his various titles. Alas! the one that had at first
    interested me so immensely was quite recent, and came to him
    from Louis XVIII.

    “‘At that moment I was told that M. l’Abbé de Saint-Fare
    solicited the honour of an interview; the colonel looked much
    astonished, and withdrew. In his place entered an enormous man,
    wearing spectacles and supported by two footmen. As soon as he
    was seated, the following conversation took place.

    “‘“The Duke of Orleans, having seen your advertisement, has
    this morning begged me to come and make inquiries about
    this inheritance; for we presume that that is the matter
    in question, and at the date you mention there was no one
    in existence outside the family to whom the title of Comte
    Joinville could belong.”

    “‘“Was Monseigneur the Duke of Orleans born at Modigliana on
    the 16th of April, 1773?”

    “‘“He was born that year, but in Paris, on the 6th of October.”

    “‘“Then I am very sorry that you should have taken the trouble
    to come; for in that case he has no connection with the person
    I am looking for.”

    “‘“No doubt you have heard it said that the late Duke was very
    gay with the fair sex, and the child in question might well be
    that of one of his favourites.”

    “‘“No, no, its legitimacy is incontestable.”

    “‘“Could anything be more surprising! It is true, the late Duke
    lived in the midst of mysteries.”

    “‘“Could you not describe him to me, Monsieur?”

    “‘“Willingly, madame. He was a fine man with a good leg; his
    complexion was of a rather dark red, and, if it had not been
    for the numerous pimples on his face, he would have been very
    good-looking.”

    “‘“And his character?”

    “‘“What people principally admired in him was his extreme
    affability to every one.”

    “‘“Your description agrees exactly with that that was given me
    of the Comte de Joinville.”

    “‘“Then it must be supposed that it was the Duke himself.”

    “‘“That can’t be if it is true that his son was born in Paris.”

    “‘“May I ask you if there is a large sum to be had, and when?”

    “‘“I am truly sorry not to be able to inform you; I am not at
    liberty to say more.”

    “‘During the whole of this conversation, the big abbé had never
    left off looking at me in an almost offensive way; and, trying
    to find out what was my native tongue, he had spoken now in
    English, now in Italian, without being able to make up his
    mind, in consequence of my speaking both languages equally well.

    “‘After an hour’s talk, he took leave, asking my permission to
    come again. I replied that I should be delighted to see him
    again, and, in my turn, begged him to be so good as to make
    inquiries amongst his many acquaintances.

    “‘He kindly promised to do so, and added that he knew a very
    aged lady from Champagne very well, and that she might be able
    to give him much information, which he would transmit to me at
    once.

    “‘As nothing came of it, I sent M. Coiron, a teacher of French,
    who was giving lessons in it to my son, to him.

    “‘M. de Saint-Fare treated him politely, pleaded indisposition,
    and made great protestations.

    “‘On Coiron presenting himself a second time, he was received
    very coldly, and simply told that nothing had been yet done.

    “‘Moved by his own zeal and without my authority, he made a
    third attempt. Then the abbé told him plainly that he might
    discontinue his visits; that the lady knew nothing at all, and
    that he himself did not want to have anything to do with this
    fuss.

    “‘Still, the first impression his visit made on me could not
    be effaced. I procured a ticket, and went with my friends to
    the Palais Royal. What was my surprise on seeing in some of
    the portraits their extreme resemblance either to me or to
    my children. My astonishment increased when my young Edward,
    catching sight of a picture I had not yet noticed, exclaimed:
    “Dieu! Maman, how much that face is like old Chiappini’s and
    his son’s!”

    “‘We discovered that it was actually the portrait of the
    present Duke.…

    “‘Thinking seriously over this, I realized that I owed to him
    in fact the important service of being the first to tear the
    impenetrable veil by deputing that Abbé de Saint-Fare, who, I
    was told, was not only his great friend, but his natural uncle,
    to see me.

    “‘It will be believed that, from that moment, all my researches
    went in the direction so clearly pointed out.…’

“The proofs Lady Newborough goes on heaping up in her startling Memoirs
ought to be quoted as a whole,” ended my guide, as he tied up the heap
of papers. “But that will need another sitting, longer than the first.
Here is the sun beginning to set, and the custodian of the Archives
of the Vatican inviting us to go. Will this historical puzzle awake
your curiosity? In that case you will have to endeavour to reconcile
these undeniable yet contradictory documents, since they repose in the
shadow of these protecting walls, where you may read on the face of the
_Archivio_ which Leo XIII set open for the truth of History, the proud
device that bold and beneficent Pontiff had cut upon it when he invited
the whole civilized world to enter its doors.

“‘_The first law of History is not to dare to lie; the second, not to
fear to tell the truth; further, the historian must not lay himself open
to a suspicion of either flattery or animosity._’

“The survivors of this domestic drama still draw breath at Modigliana
and Brisighella, where Lorenzo Chiappini and Philippe-Egalité have
left traces of their sojourn and their crime. At Glynllifon, in the
Principality of Wales, the lineage of Lady Newborough, in the shape of
her grandsons, still flourishes, if not the claims that died with her.
Shall you go there, too, to examine into them?”

“Most assuredly,” I answered; “for the honour of the blood of France,
which cannot lie, and of the truth which could not well serve a nobler
cause than this.”

But, while waiting for the information which cannot fail to bring
order and light into this still confused and perplexing affair, it was
important that the actual text of these Memoirs, hunted for by those
interested in them for nearly two-thirds of a century, so that there is
scarcely a copy left that is not worth its weight in gold, should be put
in reach of honest minds which have likewise a full right to form an
opinion on a case of such barbarity and of such national interest.

But what was to be expected of a Philippe-Egalité, who, to secure the
great inheritance of Penthièvre, and needing a male firstborn, did not
hesitate to sacrifice his own legitimate daughter for it? Would he be
likely, a few years later, to hesitate before voting for the death of
Louis XVI, who could no longer do anything for him? Had he not shown the
extent of his complaisance in his preference for Madame de Genlis over
his wife, whose confidante the mistress became under the very roof of the
infamous husband of one and lover of the other?

The Memoirs of de Genlis have been widely read; let the Memoirs of Maria
Stella be read likewise. After that we can talk with better knowledge of
the facts.

                                                      BOYER D’AGEN.



FIRST PART

FROM MY BIRTH TO THE DEATH OF HIM I CALLED MY FATHER



I

    My Birth—Kindness of the Comtesse Borghi—We leave for
    Florence—My Circumstances in that Town—Domestic Troubles—My
    Parents’ good Fortune—My Tastes—My Education—Journey to Pisa—My
    Illness.


I was born in 1773, in the little town of Modigliana, situated on the
heights of the Apennines, which could be reached only by very bad roads.
It belongs to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, though dependent on the Diocese
of Faenza in the Papal States.

On April 17 of the same year I was baptized in the parish church,
receiving the names of Maria Stella Petronilla. My father’s name was
Lorenzo Chiappini; my mother’s, Vincenzia Viligenti.

The family of Borghi Biancoli of Faenza owned, in my birthplace, a
magnificent palace almost opposite the Pretorial Palace, where my father
lived in the position of jailer.

The Count Pompeo Borghi, with his mother, the Countess Camilla, came
there every year to spend the summer. The Countess happened to see me,
and despite my father’s ignoble profession, she was very fond of me and
showed me immense kindness. I was admitted to her table, and often even
shared her bed; she heaped presents upon me, and I lived almost entirely
with her; I may even say that she inspired all the people of her house
with the same sentiments, and that I was generally loved.

It was a precious compensation for the ills I suffered at home, where I
had to endure the cruel brutality of a barbarous mother, to whom I was an
object of detestation!

I well remember that as the first germ of gratitude developed in my
little heart, I loved my benefactress as myself. When she was absent,
I longed for her return, and when I had got her back, I couldn’t tear
myself away from her; in a word, she was all the happiness of my life;
but, alas! it was soon to be torn from me.

I had not yet reached my fourth year, when my father was summoned to
Florence by the Grand Duke Leopold, who put him in command of a company
of archers (_capo squadra sbirri_). A few months later my father, in his
turn, sent for us. I was his eldest child; two brothers were born after
me, and the first had been dead some time.

The day we left, I was awakened very early, and in a few minutes my
brother and I were each put into a pannier on a mule, and my mother got
upon another animal of the same kind, our sole guide, protector and
companion being the muleteer.

What tears I shed at leaving my dear Countess! It almost seemed as if I
had foreseen that in losing this loving friend I should lose everything,
absolutely everything!…

During the journey, which lasted two days, my mother seemed to care for
nothing but my little brother, to whom she gave all her attention. Her
neglect of me filled me with such bitterness that I felt like complaining
to my father the instant we reached Florence.

In this new abode small-pox attacked our family; I got off with some
small suffering; but my brother fell a victim to it, and my mother was
not consoled for his loss till she gave birth to a third son six months
later.

Scarcely convalescent, I was sent to a school, taken every morning by an
ancient maidservant.

My appearance and manners, my native tongue, which nobody spoke at
Florence; my rich attire, my splendid bracelets, my coral necklace, and
all the gifts of the Countess Borghi, soon attracted much attention. I
was sent for; people were pleased to see me, and liked to listen to me.

But what struck other people so pleasingly made only an unfavourable
impression on my mother; for the slightest fault I was punished with the
greatest severity.

On one occasion she gave me such a violent blow with her heavy hand that
I fainted, and, falling backwards, hurt myself terribly. When I recovered
from my fainting fit, I could not restrain my grief. Going into a corner,
I gave myself up to the most frightful despair, invoking my protectress
with loud cries and calling to her for help.

Vain lamentations! Henceforth given over to my ill fortune, I was never
again to find maternal consolation.

My father had a sister who was very unfortunate in her marriage; she left
her husband and came to live with us. She and my mother could never get
on; they detested each other, and were perpetually quarrelling.

Witnessing their disputes, my father sometimes took the part of one,
sometimes of the other; still more often he reproved both of them, and
drew their anger upon himself. The arrival of my paternal grandmother,
who, growing old, came to be with her son, led to fresh subjects for
wrangling; and as they were all violent and passionate, our house was
like a veritable hell upon earth.

These interminable quarrels were not caused, as might be supposed, by the
cares attending poverty. Though my father’s post brought him in no more
than a hundred francs a month, he had always plenty of money. He was well
dressed, and often gave large dinners. He had abundance of provisions,
and his cellar contained wines of the best kinds. He had a very pretty
house and a splendid garden.

But these advantages were far from making up to me for my annoyances,
or from doing away with the mortal weariness I felt in the bosom of my
family.

I bewailed my fate unceasingly; I felt humiliated by my circumstances; I
envied the ladies who possessed many servants, beautiful mansions, fine
equipages, and most of all those who were received at Court.

These lofty aspirations were always with me; they were so deeply graven
on my mind, so natural to me after a fashion, that I should have liked
always to live with the great, and felt myself grievously hurt when I was
obliged to keep company with common people.

I had, too, a decided taste for the fine arts; I had a passion for
antiquities, and I do not doubt that I should have made great progress if
my talents had been cultivated.

However, from the age of seven I was given lessons in writing, dancing,
music, etc.

As my voice and my skill were remarkable, my parents made me early an
object of speculation, and I was forced into practising cruelly. They
made me sing, or play the piano eight hours a day, which inspired me with
an insurmountable detestation of that instrument.

If my master complained of my inattention, I was shut up in the
music-room from six in the morning till eight in the evening and given
hardly anything to eat. If by chance I got a good report, I was pretty
well treated, my father made me a present of twopence, and my mother told
me ghost stories, which terrified me to such an extent that I scarcely
dared to be alone during the night.

One day when they had forgotten to open my prison at the usual hour, I
was suddenly seized with a panic of terror, and, quite beside myself, I
opened the window and threw myself out into the garden, without doing
myself any harm, however.

About this time great rejoicings were taking place in Pisa in honour of
their Neapolitan Majesties, who were on a visit to the Grand Duke Leopold.

My mother, wishing to take the opportunity of going to see her sister,
who lived in that town, my father gave his consent, on condition that my
aunt and I should be of the party.

With what transports of joy did I receive this agreeable news! What a
delightful and lively satisfaction it would be to let my _dear_ piano
rest!

Great preparations were made for my toilette; several frocks were bought
for me; my father gave me two gold watches and a very valuable ring. He
did not forget to make me take my shoes with their very high red heels,
whose sound much delighted me.

We embarked on a public boat, and, although it was my first journey by
water, my young imagination, far from dreading the perils of the furious
element, was at once wonderfully diverted.

In twenty-four hours we landed at Pisa, where my uncle and aunt
Fillipini, as well as their son and daughters, received us with open
arms. They were greatly surprised to see me so richly clad, and said to
my mother that no doubt her husband was very well off.

She answered only that I was a _bastard_, a name she gave me pretty
often, and the meaning of which I did not understand.

Profiting by my father’s absence to treat me with greater harshness, she
was eternally scolding and tormenting me; she went so far as to take
away my watches and my ring, to give them, as she said, to the great
Madonna. Unluckily for me, she managed to procure a piano, at which I was
pitilessly forced to work.

One day, having suddenly sent for me, she ordered me to sing for the
amusement of two ragged and unpleasant-looking women she told me were
intimate friends of hers.

Indignant at such a proposal, I said that a bit of bread was all they
needed just at present.

She rose; I rushed to my room; but nothing could save me from her fury.

In vain did I beg her pardon, in vain entreated for mercy; a hail of
blows fell upon me; my body was a mass of bruises; the blood streamed
from my nose. I could not stand the overcoming pain; I went to bed, and
did not rise from it again till we set out for Florence.

In this fashion my visit to Pisa became a real martyrdom for me instead
of an amusement.

During my infancy I had been very subject to eruptions which from time
to time appeared all over my body; but none had ever equalled that which
was caused after my return by weariness and wretchedness. After the
doctors had prescribed a lengthy course of cooling remedies, my parents,
to rid themselves of such a nuisance, determined to send me to a hospital
maintained at the expense of the Grand Duchess, and the admission to
which needed great interest. Nevertheless, my father got an order
without any difficulty.

I stayed there several weeks, and I must proclaim aloud that I felt as if
I had refound my dear Countess in the person of each of the sisters who
managed the hospital. Their constant care soon cured me; they were always
near me, caressing me, and giving me fruit and sweetmeats.

No, no one could have been kinder, more courteous than those charitable
women, to whom I vowed eternal gratitude, and whom I could not leave
without anguish.



II

    Fresh Tortures—My Parents’ Talks—Theatres—Mysterious
    Letter—Troublesome Visits—Useless Prayers—My Protests.


Nature had given me a good figure; nevertheless, my father maintained
that I stooped, that one of my shoulders was higher than the other, and
that my feet grew large too quickly.

To remedy these imaginary defects he made me wear an iron collar, which
was taken off only at meal-time, a steel corset that increased the
torture and really made me deformed, and shoes so narrow and short that I
could hardly walk.

When I begged him to take off this painful apparatus, a box on the ear
was his usual answer.

He often took me to the opera, to teach me, he said, to hold myself
properly; to move my arms easily; to behave with grace.

All this rigmarole was an enigma to me, until at last he explained it to
me in these terms—

“Isn’t it about time, my dear Maria, that you repaid what I have spent on
your education?”

“How can I do that?” I answered quickly, and with a smile, “since all I
have comes from you.”

Instantly he replied—

“This is the way you are going to do it. I have got you an engagement at
the Piazza-Vecchia, where you will certainly make a great success.”

Dismayed by these words, I blushed, I trembled, and, concealing some of
my trouble, I exclaimed—

“But the thing would be impossible. Don’t you know, father, that the
presence of two or three lookers-on is enough to confuse me when I am
taking my lessons?”

Vain subterfuge.

“Make a beginning,” he said harshly; “after you’ve done it a few times
you’ll find all the courage you need.”

There was one last expedient left me. I flew to my mother and, with
tears, begged her to remember how often she had told me that actresses
deserved the most profound contempt. You may judge of my astonishment
when I heard her answer thus—

“It was so formerly, my daughter; nowadays all that is changed; on
the contrary, those ladies are admired and loved by everybody, and if
they sing well they gain great wealth, and even sometimes marry great
noblemen.”

After that I saw there was nothing more to hope for; my doom was fixed
and my misfortune inevitable.

I was made to study my part, which my unwillingness made a very slow
business, and when the day for acting it arrived, my parents themselves
came to introduce me.

When my turn came I found it impossible to open my mouth. My youth and
my simplicity stirred the pity of the whole audience, while my father
endeavoured to express his displeasure and anger to me by frightful
grimaces, which at last forced me to stammer out a few notes.

The spectators made the building echo with their loud cries of _brava!
brava! coraggio!_ and at the end of the play several ladies of quality
asked to see me, praising me repeatedly and lavishing all sorts of
endearments upon me.

All the time the carnival lasted I was compelled to carry out the painful
task imposed on me. One day, having tried to play the invalid, my father
discovered the trick, and made me pay for it so dear that I did not again
think of making that sort of excuse.

God alone knows how delighted I was when my engagement came to an end;
but, alas! the relief was a short one. After a few months’ rest, my
father announced to me that I was about to have the honour of appearing
on a larger stage, adding that everything was arranged and settled and
there was nothing left for me but to obey his orders.

The news came upon me like a clap of thunder. Putting aside my
nervousness, I felt myself degraded and debased.

More especially did I feel ashamed when I heard the actresses saying to
one another: “It is disparaging to us to have the daughter of a constable
put amongst us.”

At this period I had two brothers and one sister, three little tyrants
all of whose whims I had to humour; for if I made the smallest objection
my mother encouraged them to abuse me and beat me, and throw stones at
me. Fed and brought up delicately, nothing was good enough for them;
but I had no difficulty, nevertheless, in realizing that they were being
prepared for no better fate than mine, and they, too, were destined for
my degrading profession.

Too unfortunate already in that I belonged to such a family, I was far
from expecting fresh troubles, when my father read aloud to us the
following letter, which he had just received, addressed to me—

“I have seen you, you beautiful star, and listened to the melodious tones
of your angelic voice; they have intoxicated my heart. I implore you, my
angel, to come at ten o’clock to the least frequented walls of the town;
there you will receive the faithful promises of your unknown adorer.”

This letter sent us into fits of laughter; my father alone was angry,
and declared that if he could discover the impertinent author of such an
anonymous letter he would severely punish him for his temerity.

The next day a messenger asked for me at the door. My father went in my
stead, had a long talk with him, and I heard nothing further about it,
till one day, having dressed me up like a goddess and given me all my
mother’s rings—carefully reduced in size with wax—to wear, I was told
of the coming visit of an illustrious personage whom I was ordered to
welcome.

At his arrival my parents bent themselves nearly double to show their
respect, and motioned me to do the same.

I was inclined to mockery and could hardly contain myself, when I saw
enter an old greybeard, from behind whose few and discoloured teeth came
forth an offensive breath.

He was dressed in a blue coat braided with red, and wore a little white
cloak with gold fringe, over which hung a thin queue, an ell long.

This gentleman, who, moreover, was stout, and might have been a
fine-enough-looking man in his earlier years, introduced himself as Lord
Newborough, an English nobleman, and, as he entered, told me he had come
solely for the pleasure of hearing me sing.

How great was my reluctance to do as he asked! With what bad grace I sang!

My _bravura_ ended, I made some excuse and retired.

A few days later milord appeared again; his visits became more and more
frequent; soon they were daily.

Each time he talked to me of his wealth; boasted of his immense
possessions; gave me the most magnificent descriptions of England; and
was constantly repeating that he was a widower with only one son.

His Italian was so bad that I should never have understood his jargon
without my father’s help.

I understood no better why I was always so well got-up, so adorned with
jewels and diamonds. When I asked the reason, I was told that all this
finery would induce the great lord to increase the value of the presents
he could not fail to make me.

In vain I did my utmost to convince my parents that I hated the very
idea of receiving the least thing from him. They overwhelmed me with
reproaches, asking me if this was the way I meant to repay them;
representing to me that they had to provide for the education of three
other children; and at last saying plainly—

“How would it be if you had to marry this man whom you had no right to
look for, and who is so much above you?”

Unhesitatingly I cried, “O Dio! Dio! I would rather die!”

Then my father bade me remember that his power over me was absolute and
that I was bound to obey his commands; my mother joined in and declared,
with an oath, that, willing or not, I should be the wife _del signore
inglese_.

Realizing that it was not a joke, I implored them to let me become a nun,
or to do with me what they pleased so long as I was not forced to make
such a detestable match; but my words, my tears, my sighs, resulted only
in making them more angry and eliciting more hateful oaths.

Then I ran to my grandmother and my aunt, begging them to take my part.
They did as I asked, but without success; they were only forbidden to
mention the subject again.

Wounded to the very depths of my heart, I gave myself up wholly to my
grief, scarcely alive or able to breathe.

Milord himself came to rouse me from my stupor.

At the sight of him I gave a wild cry, and, falling at his knees,
with sobs implored him not to exact such a sacrifice from me; to think
of my youth; to see that I could not reasonably give my hand to a man
old enough to be my grandfather and for whom I felt an insurmountable
aversion.

He did nothing but laugh at my pitiful simplicity; and, raising me from
my lowly attitude, he said to me that if I did not love him yet, I would
later on; that his rank, his estates, his wealth, and all the fine things
I should enjoy, would oblige me to love him dearly.

At these words my whole being was possessed by fury; I violently thrust
back my insupportable persecutor, looking at him with blazing eyes; I
abused him, passionately declaring that I would rather endure any plague
than the union he offered me; that I would rather face all the miseries
in the world; that death itself would be nothing to dread; that, besides,
my hatred of him had come to its height; that it was so deeply rooted in
my heart that nothing could tear it up, and that my greatest happiness
would be to be rid of his presence for ever.



III

    Arrangements with Milord—His Son—Brain-fever—Fruitless
    Attempts—My Marriage—My Husband’s Conduct—The Avarice of my
    Parents—An Envoy from England.


Though my engagement at the theatre was to end in a fortnight, my father
got a substitute for me, and himself gave up his post; maintaining that
all that was henceforth incompatible with the high rank I was to attain.

Nevertheless, he did not forget to take his precautions, but effected
an agreement greatly to his own advantage, and, with no thought for my
future, simply put me at the mercy of my elderly adorer in consideration
for a sum of fifteen thousand _francesconi_, a pension of thirty ducats a
month, and the proprietorship of a magnificent country house at Fiesole,
very well furnished, with a courtyard, gardens, and two immense vineyards.

Moreover, milord promised to pay the expenses of the whole family during
his whole stay in Italy on condition that he and his son were allowed to
live with us.

That young man was then sixteen years old, tall and well made; Nature had
endowed him with ability and a good heart, but he was so ignorant and
uncouth that it was pitiful to see him. He could neither read nor write,
and used the coarsest expressions; his greatest pleasure was the company
of low people or servants.

He talked a great deal about a Signora Bussoti, wife of milord’s cook,
telling any one who choose to listen that this _very respectable_ person
had caused his mother’s death, and was daily eating up his father’s
fortune; that she had children whose legitimacy was anything but certain,
and for whose sake he himself had often been beaten.

These speeches, and many other blemishes I caught sight of through the
trouble my future husband took to prevent my being entirely disgusted
with him, finished by making me realize completely the depth of the abyss
into which I was to be thrown. My youthful imagination took fright, and I
could no longer bear the weight of my misery.

All at once I was seized with violent pain, my senses were benumbed, my
head turned, and for twenty-six days my life was despaired of. Even
in my delirium the thought of my unhappiness did not leave me; I cried
aloud; I breathed complaints; I made incoherent murmurs. My grandmother
and my aunt were inconsolable; they were always with me, and their
constant and affectionate care greatly contributed to my recovery.

Alas! as soon as I recovered consciousness, I regretted that I was alive;
I rose and rushed to the balcony; but my father came in, took hold of me
and stopped me.

Vainly I took the opportunity to repeat my humble remonstrances and to
swear perfect obedience to him in every other respect; he only put before
me, in his turn, all the supposed advantages I should gain, and averred
that the Grand Duke, knowing all about me, absolutely required me to be
ennobled.

As soon as I was well enough to go out, the doctors advised country air,
and we went to Fiesole, a little town three miles from Florence.

There a new idea came to me, which at first I believed might be very
useful. I urged the difference of religion and the impossibility of my
marrying a Protestant.

But the old heretic did away with that difficulty at once.

“I’ll turn Jew!” he exclaimed; “I’ll turn Mussulman; I’ll turn idolater;
I’ll turn anything you like so long as you’ll consent to be my wife.”

And he called in priests and monks to instruct him, and neglected nothing
necessary for becoming a member of the Roman Church.

After that there was nothing to be done but fix the day for my immolation.

The fatal day arrived, and by the first light of dawn we made ready to
start for Florence.

Before getting into the carriage, for the last time I threw myself at the
feet of my inexorable parents, watering them with my tears, while sobs
choked my voice.

My mother grew angry and heaped abuse on me; my father raised me roughly,
saying crossly, “The Grand Duke wishes it; there’s no way of going back
now.”

We set off at once, and fearing that the populace might rise against
the unjust violence done to a girl of thirteen, we went not to a public
church but to a private chapel.

I was led to the foot of the altar and placed by the side of the man I
abhorred.

Questioned by the minister, I had nearly answered in the negative, when
my father pinched me, and, with a muttered threat that he would kill me,
somehow extorted from me the fatal vow which put the seal on my wretched
fate.

The ceremony over, we returned to Fiesole, where a number of friends came
to offer their congratulations.

Instead of receiving them, I shut myself up in my room, and it was in
vain that they sent for me. I took no food but what my grandmother and
aunt brought to me in secret.

At the end of four days my father burst open the door, forced me to go
out, and put me into the arms of my husband, or rather my insufferable
keeper; for he was so full of jealousy that he could not endure the
presence of a man. If I went out, he wanted to accompany me, or sent some
one after me.

Scores of times he was guilty of rudeness to people who honoured me with
their salutations, and on every hand he thought he saw favoured rivals or
dangerous emissaries.

Every day the fumes of wine upset his weak mind; he gave way to
frightful fits of anger, and after having infinitely increased the usual
discomforts of our dreary household, he would fall into a deep sleep in
which he snored loudly.

He speedily conceived such an antipathy for the various members of my
family that he never spoke of them but by the most filthy names.

When I reminded him of the affectionate and loving names he constantly
called me by, he always answered, “As for you, my dear better-half, you
may feel quite sure there is nothing in common between your charming self
and that odious stock.”

And truly I was often astonished myself that there was so obvious a
difference, whether in the colour and shape of the face, whether in
the disposition and temperament, the bearing and speech, or the mental
faculties and the inclinations of the heart.

The contrast was especially striking between my generosity and the
well-known avarice of the Chiappinis.

They were in constant torment from this passion; they were for ever
exhorting me, urging me to ask for money, to demand ornaments, to go to
shops to buy them whatever they wanted.

My humouring them, their own extravagances, and, even more, the
insatiable claims of the _charming_ Bussoti, soon exhausted the exchequer
of milord, whose credulity let him be robbed of nearly his last farthing.

I don’t know what would have become of him if Mr. Price, his man of
business, had not opportunely arrived.

This gentleman handed over some ready money to him, and prepared to
return and send him back some larger sums.

There was waiting, and impatience, and counting of days and hours! At
last the post brings a letter. My father goes to fetch it, breaks the
seal, has it translated, and its contents are known before it reaches the
person to whom it is addressed.

It announces the sending off of several trunks. Joyful news! Clapping of
all hands!

But what a surprise! When the trunks, so longed for, were opened, nothing
was to be seen but a heap of old rubbish that Mr. Price had doubtless
got together from the wardrobes of milord’s grandmamas, and by which he
had thought he might temporarily assuage the raging thirst of my greedy
relatives.

I could not help laughing, while my mother, bawling at the top of her
voice, accused me of carelessness, declaring that if there was nothing
better, it was because I had not been willing to ask for anything.



IV

    Return to Florence—Rupture and Reconciliation—The British
    Minister—English Lady’s-maid—Milord’s Imprisonment—My
    Flight—Presents and Promises—My Father’s Avowal—My Behaviour
    Towards Him—His Obliquity.


My husband soon wearied of the country and wanted to return to Florence.
There he hired a fine house, big enough to hold us all; the first storey
was to belong to him, his son and me; my parents occupied the second.
We were to be independent of each other, but Lord Newborough was still
responsible for the expenses of the double household.

Although forty-five years old, my mother was then _enceinte_, and gave
birth to a fifth boy, who was named Thomas, after milord, his godfather.

[Illustration: LORD NEWBOROUGH

FROM A PICTURE AT GLYNLLIFON]

The education of my brothers took a quite different direction from what
had seemed probable at first. My husband placed them in a large school,
with his own son, who could not stay there more than a few months.
Afterwards an attempt was made to give him a tutor; but the young man
was irrevocably ruined. When the tutor saw him he said, “I have come too
late.”

In changing my abode I had in no way changed my situation; milord kept up
his usual style of living, giving me endless trouble; and those who ought
to have been a comfort to me, treated me with contempt, only saying,
“Really, you are not worthy of your lot; don’t you understand that you
are on the eve of becoming a very wealthy widow, and that soon you will
be able to do just what you please?”

But in spite of these fine words, they did not show themselves very
willing at times to put up with the fits of rage of the irascible old man.

One day, when the intoxicating fumes had got greatly into his head, he
provoked my father by his abuse and rushed at him to strike him. Armed
with a big stick and wild with rage, my father vigorously returned the
assault, till the noise they made and their outcries attracted a crowd
which separated them.

The assailant left his house and ordered me to follow him. As I clearly
and positively refused to do so, I received a note in which he informed
me that if I did not do as he asked, he should put an end to his life. I
seized a pen and wrote him these few words—

    “My old fool, if you wish to give me a proof of your affection,
    make haste and carry out what you announce to your unhappy
    victim,

                                                           “MARIA.”

Several days went by without my hearing anything about him, and I was
almost happy; but this calm was but the prelude to the storm.

One of his servants came to tell me that he was dangerously ill, and
that, feeling his last hour to be at hand, he begged to see me that he
might make important communications to me.

It was in vain I answered that I had no wish to receive any; my father
pointed out to me that such conduct on my part could not fail to be very
prejudicial to us.

He added that he would go with me, and swore that he would bring me back
with him.

Reassured by this promise, I agreed, on condition that our visit should
be a short one.

As I entered, I was greatly astonished at seeing the British Minister
beside milord’s bed.

The supposed sick man held out his hand to me and assured me that it
needed only my presence for his complete recovery; that he was very sorry
for having given me so much trouble, and that it should not happen again.

“I wish you good health,” I replied quickly; “but to return to you is
quite impossible; and I declare to you that if it had not been to please
my father, you would never have seen me here.”

I got up at once, and signed to my father to leave.

He did not stir; his look revealed the plot to me, and I realized his
deceitfulness.

The Minister did all he could to lessen my vexation, and averred that he
took upon himself the responsibility for the conduct of my husband in the
future.

From that moment that gentleman showed me much attention; he introduced
me to his wife, and procured me the acquaintance of several English
ladies, among others the Misses C., with whom I became very intimate,
especially the second, afterwards the Marchioness of B., my greatest
friend.

Still I had to endure numberless mortifications; the Italian nobility
looked down on me, and milord was invited by himself to the great
receptions. Moreover, my domestic circumstances had become more
unbearable than ever.

My husband had insisted on giving me a lady’s-maid of his own country and
choice, the most worthless of women. In a short time she had succeeded in
wholly captivating her old master, and even more, his son, so that she
ruled despotically in the house; nothing was done without her, her advice
was received like an oracle, and her words were commands no one dared
disobey. If I allowed myself a comment, she treated me like a child,
and took pleasure in secretly taunting me with my lowly origin and the
contemptible part I had played in my own despite. I could not take a step
without having her at my heels, finding fault with everything I did; and
as my most innocent doings were always malignantly misconstrued, I made
up my mind to give up all outside amusements.

Keeping to my own room, I had no recreation but music and the care of my
birds.

One day when I was petting my favourite sparrow, they came to tell me
that milord was asking for me to go out driving with him. I went down,
quite resolved to make my rightful complaints to him.…

Our carriage, having crossed the town, was stopped at the barrier. We
went to another of the gates and were treated in the same fashion.

My husband, in a fury, accused Chiappini of this, and swore to have his
revenge. He forbade me to hold any communication with him, and ordered
his abominable confidante never to let me out of her sight. Paying no
attention to his reproofs, I went back quietly to my room.

Suddenly there arose a great uproar in the next room; I opened the door
and saw milord, followed by three constables, who seized him and dragged
him away to the fortress.

The lady’s-maid screamed aloud and hurled a torrent of abuse at me.

The next morning she received a letter and went to the prison, after
putting me in charge of two footmen, who took advantage of her absence to
empty a bottle or two.

Having myself taken the opportunity to go out on my balcony and breathe
freely, a note which I saw came from my father was thrown up to me.
Joyfully I picked it up.

It told me to hold myself in readiness at a certain hour.

I hastily put on all my most valuable things, and at the appointed moment
went quickly downstairs and jumped into a carriage that was at the door.
There I found my aunt, who tenderly welcomed me, and in no time we
reached Fiesole, where my father told me that, having heard by public
report that my husband wished to get away without paying his debts, he
had got leave from the Grand Duke to have him put into safe keeping.

Walking in the garden on the Sunday, I saw the arrival of his son, who,
as he met me, said,

“Milady, allow me to offer you some trifles my father sends you.”

I declared that I would take nothing from him, and that his gifts were as
hateful to me as their giver.

But the parcel had already fallen into the hands of my mother, who
welcomed its bringer with jubilation, and begged him to repeat his visits.

“Oh, how beautiful!” she cried as she opened the box; “who would have
believed milord had such good taste? I’ll wager that several of these
fine things were bought for me.”

I retorted that she might take them all, and that never in my life would
I touch one of them.

It needed nothing further to induce her to take possession of the whole
lot, except the flowers, which she looked upon as worthless.

The same messenger reappeared towards the end of the week, and handed me
the following letter—

    “My angel, I cannot live without you. Oh! if you knew how
    I weary for you, I am convinced your tender heart would
    break. Come, come, to comfort me. Happiness awaits you with
    me. A large sum of money is being sent to me to meet all my
    obligations, and we will leave Florence soon and go to my own
    dear country, where you will be admired by all the world,
    especially by your humble and affectionate slave.”

While reading these curious sweet things, I had noticed the delight of my
family at hearing that a large sum was coming from England, and in it I
saw the omen of a distressful reconciliation.

My father left us at once, and the very same evening I had the misery of
seeing him return with milord, who fell at my feet, saying, “Dear jewel
of my heart, behold your faithful adorer.”

At the same time he offered me a bouquet, which I threw in his face.

Far from being offended, he pressed me to his bosom; and while I
struggled to free myself, my father joined in, declaring that he had no
power over my person, that he could not keep me away any longer, and that
the law obliged me to live with my husband.

I felt my blood freeze in my veins; I gave full vent to my indignation; I
stated its causes unreservedly; but the only satisfaction I could obtain
was the dismissal of my infamous persecutrix.



V

    Integrity of Milord—Preparations—Secret Union—Stay at the
    Hague—Arrival in England—The Country of Wales—My Exaltation—My
    Griefs—My Relations—The Eldest of my Brothers.


The pretended report of Lord Newborough’s projected flight was a pure
invention of my father’s; for I feel bound to say to the credit of
the first that his integrity stood all proof, and that his too great
generosity placed him infinitely above any suspicion of meanness. If he
had prolonged his stay in Italy, it was simply to enable him to meet all
his family’s engagements by cutting off for a time a host of superfluous
expenses his presence in his own country would have necessitated.

Mr. Price had written that he was coming to us; he came, and the
preparations for our journey were begun; the accounts were all made up,
all engagements were met. My father received his 15,000 _francesconi_ and
all the arrears of his pension. It was settled that he should accompany
us to Boulogne, and that my aunt should go with us to England.

As we were to travel by land as far as the Hague, my mother managed to
instil into us a dread of robbers, and insisted on keeping back some of
my diamonds to wait for a safe opportunity for sending them direct to me.
I need not say that she never found it!…

On the eve of our departure it was perceived that the son of milord was
missing; he was called for, sought for, in vain. My father set to work
all the constables of his acquaintance, and one of them at last succeeded
in discovering him with my former maid, who had fainted. He protested
that he would never abandon his _lawful wife_; but as this wonderful
title rested on nothing more than a kind of clandestine marriage, the
Archbishop of Florence promptly absolved him from his vows. He was made
to listen to reason, and some assistance was given to the forsaken beauty.

On leaving this town, I felt the liveliest regret at the separation from
my grandmother, who had always been so kind to me; as for the rest of my
family, indifference was all they aroused in me.

At Boulogne I took leave of my father, who, as a final consolation,
assured me I should become a maid-of-honour at the English Court, and
acquire all the titles that had belonged to Lady Catherine Perceval, Lord
Newborough’s first wife.

When we reached the Hague, Mr. Price left us to make preparations in
London and Wales.

We took up our quarters in an hotel, and my husband hastened to leave his
card on the British Minister, who, being absent, was represented by Lord
H. Spencer, son of the Duke of M., who came to call on us, and offered to
present me to the Dutch Royal Family, who received me with extraordinary
affability.

He also made me acquainted with several of the best families, and my stay
in Holland was a round of drives, games and amusements.

When we had been there six months, Mr. Price wrote that everything was
ready for our reception.

When we arrived in London, my husband introduced me under the name of the
_Marchesina di Modigliana_, the name I still bear in the English Court
Circular.

As it was summer, and the greater number of the best families were in the
country, there were but few ladies for me to meet, amongst whom I was
especially attracted by Lady Ford, and we became very intimate friends.

After spending a couple of months in the capital of the British Empire,
we set forth for Wales, where Lord Newborough’s largest estates and his
finest mansion, called Glynllifon, were situated. Glynllifon is about six
miles from Carnarvon in North Wales, and in that town we had the most
magnificent reception; the horses were taken out of the carriage, and the
young men dragged us in their place. We were escorted home by six hundred
men, all people or friends of milord’s. In the evening our park, as well
as the town and the surrounding estates, were brilliantly illuminated
and filled with a vast crowd that begged at intervals to be allowed to
look at me. When I complied with their wishes, the air was rent with loud
applause.

All the noble families of the neighbourhood came to call on us, and for
six consecutive months it was like a perpetual _fête_, and we had as many
as fifty guests every day.

[Illustration: GLYNLLIFON

FROM A DRAWING BY THE LATE SIR JOHN ARDAGH]

Towards the end of the winter we went back to London, where my act
of naturalization was at once set about. As my husband had arranged
everything beforehand, there was no difficulty about the matter, and in
less than a month the necessary preliminaries for my presentation at
Court were accomplished.

I was presented by Lady Harcourt, chief lady-in-waiting to the Queen,
and was received with the most wonderful marks of regard and admiration.
My dress of cloth-of-silver, adorned with precious stones, dazzled
everybody, and I was regarded with the greatest interest.

From that moment I had the entry into the highest society, and, instead
of the humiliations I had so often experienced at the hands of my
compatriots, I found myself surrounded by respect and honour.

Personages of the highest rank sought my acquaintance, and thought
themselves happy to be received by the wife of a noble peer, illustrious
descendant of the ancient Princes of North Wales, and grandson of the
intimate friend of George I.

In spite of all this, I was far from tasting the sweets of happiness; my
aversion for the man to whom I owed all these good things made me envy
the lot of women belonging to even the lowest classes of society.

My only consolation was in pouring out my griefs to my aunt, and even
that comfort I was to lose. She had never been able to get used to either
the climate or the customs of my new country; absolutely ignorant of its
language, she could not join in any conversation, and, rosary in hand,
from morning till night she told her beads.[2]

As her health visibly declined, I felt obliged to give way to the wish
she had long expressed to return to her native land; but her departure
filled me with sadness and trouble, and I could not endure the thought
that the protectress of my childhood would no longer be with me.

I insured her enough to live upon in comfort, and handed over to her
several trunks, either for herself or for my other relatives, from whom
I was always receiving importunate requests, and to whom I constantly
replied by the perpetual sending of packets.

More than half the pin-money milord allowed me went to Italy, not
to speak of the goods of all kinds I was always sending to the same
destination.

Not content with all this, my father sent us his eldest son, who was a
pretty good historical painter, and begged us to look after him. We kept
him with us for a year, and then my husband sent him to the East Indies,
where he cost us a heap of money, as Messrs. Coutts & Co. of London can
testify.

He stayed three years in Calcutta, and then went to the Cape of Good
Hope, where he married the daughter of the Danish Consul, to whom Lord
Newborough had given him an introduction. His wife’s brother taking him
into partnership, in a short time he made a large enough fortune to be
able to enjoy all the comforts of life and to bring up his numerous
family, consisting, I believe, of fourteen children.



VI

    Consumption—Death of my Step-son—Birth of my Children—The
    Arrival of Several Members of my Family—Domestic Cares—Milord’s
    Death—My Second Marriage—Much Travel—Fresh Sojourns in Italy—My
    Third Brother—My Behaviour to my Father—His Death.


The eruptions which had been so great an affliction in my childhood
continued making their appearance at intervals; but when I was
twenty-six, the evil having settled on my chest, it was believed that I
showed strong symptoms of consumption. I was so weak that after walking
a few steps I could not breathe; bathed in a cold sweat, I could get no
rest.

Several remedies were tried on me without any good result. The doctors
advising change of air, we set out for Wales; but it was soon seen that
that cold and damp climate was more hurtful than helpful to me. Not
knowing what else to do, I was ordered to Tunbridge Wells, and it was
that marvellous specific that gradually restored me.

I was still only just convalescent, when milord’s son was himself
attacked with a decline, which carried him to his grave.

His constitution had been a robust one, but long undermined by his own
errors it could not make any resistance. He succumbed, after every
medical expedient had been tried in vain.

His father was broken-hearted; in addition to the loss of his only son,
he saw that his vast estates would pass to relations of whom he had good
reason to complain.

To provide against this misfortune as much as possible, he made a will to
the effect that, if he should die without issue, the larger part of his
property should go to the second son of the Minister, Perceval, brother
of his first wife, leaving me at the same time an annuity of £1400, on
condition that I granted him a favour, until then persistently refused.…

His grief was so great, and he had always shown me so much kindness, that
at last I felt it to be my duty to make the most painful sacrifices for
his sake—I consented to become a mother!…

With what transports of gratitude did he not welcome the first signs of
the fulfilment of his hopes! But even they did not equal his delight
when I gave birth to a son. Beside himself with joy, he ordered that no
expense was to be spared, and gave the most brilliant of entertainments;
the best families came to it and offered us their heartiest
congratulations.

As for myself, I felt then the most delightful emotion, quite new to my
heart and which I recognized as maternal love.

This happiness was increased the next year by the birth of a second son,
whose baptism was celebrated with great pomp. Mr. Perceval and Lord
Bulkeley were his godfathers.

My father, having heard that I was now sole mistress in my husband’s
house, hastened to bring his daughter, to give me, as he said, a pleasant
companion.

They both appeared in sailor costume, which made me feel greatly ashamed;
and I had them dressed in a proper fashion.

My father ran all over London, visited all the places of interest, laid
his hands on everything he could get in our house, and departed with
well-lined trunks.

I kept my sister with me, furnished her with a magnificent wardrobe,
and gave her in abundance everything she could desire; but in spite of
it all, I could never conquer her hardness of heart, and every day she
distressed me by her constant rudeness.

Her connection with Lord Newborough brought her in contact with a
distinguished ecclesiastic, whom she subsequently married.

We had just heard that my second brother had got into terrible trouble in
Italy, when he made his appearance in order to secure himself from the
hands of justice, which would have infallibly consigned him to the same
fate as one of his cousins, who was sent to the galleys for ten years.

My consternation may be imagined!

My husband was furious, and expressed very forcibly to me his disgust at
being so tormented by this _insaziabile canaglia_, as he called it. I was
almost as angry as he; nevertheless, I did my best to quiet him, thinking
to do good to my brother; but his bad conduct soon obliged us to send him
away.

I got him placed with a merchant at Leghorn, but he, too, could not keep
him for more than a few months.

Since my father’s visit I noticed that milord often forbad me to go to
entertainments frequented by the French nobility, especially the Bourbon
Princes.

This fresh antipathy greatly amused me, though I wondered over so odd a
warning; since at that time I was living in absolute retirement with my
children. Having no thought but for them, I lavished endearments on them
and all the care their growing infirmities needed; for I had the grief of
seeing that I had bequeathed them a very sad inheritance. The eruptions
which had caused me so much suffering made their appearance very early
on their little bodies; the eldest was quite covered with them. Many
remedies were tried, but the root of the evil was never wholly destroyed.

Although their father had never suffered in a similar way, his health,
shattered by other causes, gave way completely; he fell ill of a terrible
disease which lasted a year and ended in his death. In the midst of his
severe pains he would take no help but mine; he gave me constant marks of
love, and to give it effectual expression he considerably increased my
annuity.

It was in my arms that he drew his last breath, on the 11th of October,
1807.

His funeral was solemnized with all the pomp befitting his rank and
fortune; all the people of distinction made a point of attending it and
did not fail to pay their touching tributes of condolence to my grief.

The deceased had assigned for his children’s education a sum which
was thought insufficient; a larger was put at my disposal by the Lord
Chancellor; but it was ruled that I should lose it, as well as my
guardianship, if I married again.

My youth was so far past that at first this condition seemed useless and
ridiculous to me.

Meanwhile, I went to drink the waters at Cheltenham, and there I met a
Russian Baron, called Ungern Sternberg, who paid me immense attention;
I was charmed with his kindness, enchanted with his fine manners. He
loved music, dancing, riding, and a hundred other things I, too, liked.
This peculiar similarity of tastes brought us together and soon formed a
strong tie between us.

Later on I met him in the best houses in London, especially and on
several occasions at that of General Hughes, whose wife constantly
entertained me with accounts of the wonderful merits of the gentleman,
never tiring of exalting his talents and virtues.

Thinking she saw that I thoroughly agreed with her, she told me that he
intended to ask for my hand. Such an idea never having entered my head,
I looked upon it as an idle tale and laughed at it. But she returned to
the charge; her husband joined in, and the Baron himself made me a formal
offer.

Seeing that this was a serious matter, I did not hesitate in giving an
absolute refusal; alleging my position with regard to my two sons.

Every possible step was taken to make me believe that it would be easy
for me to obtain permission to retain all my rights over them.

My objections were contested so cleverly; I was so lulled with hopes;
such earnest and well-worded entreaties were made to me, that it became
well-nigh impossible to make any further opposition. I yielded, and made
up my mind to contract a second union which everything around me combined
to represent to me in the most tempting light.

My consent given, my future husband went to carry the news to his own
family, while I went to Lady Charlotte Bellasis, my late husband’s niece
by marriage, at Newborough Park.

The Baron joined me there, and our wedding was celebrated on the 11th of
September, 1810.

Immediately afterwards we returned to London to prepare for our departure.

I will not attempt to describe the grief I felt at having to dismiss my
servants; still less will I try to describe the anguish of my heart when
I realized that it was vain to dream of keeping the guardianship of my
children. Milord’s executors were inexorable, they tore them from me.

Having left at the beginning of November, we travelled across Switzerland
in severe cold, and did not arrive in Petersburg until the last fortnight
of January.

Count Pahlen, our uncle, First Minister to the Emperor, received us in
the most friendly fashion; he introduced me to the highest society, and,
but for the bitter coldness of the weather, I should have taken part in
all their gaieties.

If I was not presented at Court, it was because, as an English lady, such
a presentation should have been made by the English Ambassador, and at
that time there was not one, in consequence of the war between the two
countries.

Nevertheless, I was admitted to look on at a brilliant entertainment
inside the Palace; and the Emperor Alexander, having noticed me amongst
the other lady spectators, commanded his first gentleman-in-waiting to
show me all the splendours of that delightful residence.

Everything I looked at, and still more the universal courtesy of manner,
promptly convinced me of the great mistake it is to look upon the Russian
nation as behindhand in European civilization.

Spring having brought back warmth, we went to Reval, to offer our
respects to my mother-in-law, who welcomed us warmly, and showed me much
kindness.

A little later we set sail for the Island of Dago, where lay the Baron de
Sternberg’s principal estates.

All his acquaintances there received me with enthusiasm, and did their
best to divert my mind; but with no success until the birth, in the
following month, of a third son, whom I called Edward, after his father.

How can I describe what this newly-born son was to me, especially when
his first signs of intelligence made me foresee that he would become more
and more worthy of my love?

Feeling unable to let him be out of my sight for a moment, I took him
with me the first time I went to see his brothers.

I had the comfort of finding them pretty well in health; but alas! it was
but too evident to me that perfidious skill had been at work in filling
their minds with unjust prejudices against her who had always loved them
so tenderly. In spite of their goodness of heart, they could not help
showing a certain coolness which greatly grieved me.

I set to work to revive their old love for me, and flatter myself I
succeeded.

At the end of a year my husband came to fetch me in one of his own
vessels, manned by his own people, in which I lived as in a house of my
own.

While in England I had been given several very great curiosities, among
others a fan from the East Indies and a magnificent bird-of-paradise
feather; I added to these a little piece of work I had made out of the
rarest shells then known, and took the liberty of sending the whole to
her Majesty the Empress Elizabeth, who most graciously had a delightful
and flattering letter written to me, and sent with it a magnificent clasp
set with brilliants.

But I will tell nothing more of my return to Russia nor of another
journey to England I made. Let us go back to my parents.

My father had written to me of the deaths, one after another, of my
second brother, my grandmother and my mother; and he was constantly
expressing the most intense wish to embrace me once more before he
himself followed them to the grave.

At last I yielded to his pressing entreaties, moved greatly by a vague
hope I had always kept of seeing again the old Countess Borghi, of whose
death I had never positively heard.

When I got to Italy I made inquiries about her which resulted in my
hearing that she had died when I was scarcely nine years old.

My father, aunt and brother joined me at the hotel where I had put up for
the time; they were all in excellent health.

My brother became my intimate confidant; I told him all my affairs and
put all my concerns into his hands, delegating my authority to him.

Very soon I noticed that he was received very coldly in the good houses
to which I took him; I asked one of my old friends the reason for this,
to be told by her that the young man, having behaved very badly during
the course of his studies at the University of Pisa, where he took his
degree in Law, had brought back with him a doubtful reputation, which day
by day grew worse.

My own experience promptly showed me that these suspicions were far from
being without foundation; and thenceforth I left off confiding in him.…

For two consecutive years I took every care of my father; not only did I
provide for his wants, but I invited him to my table; I desired him to
come to the parties I gave; I tried to cheer him up by my talk; I made
much of him; while, on his side, he always showed me the most profound
respect, never calling me anything but milady, and behaving to me like a
humble retainer.

In vain I implored him to remember that I owed my existence to him; to
call me his daughter and to treat me like one; I saw that my loving
reproaches awoke no sweet transports of paternal affection. He scarcely
ventured to look me in the face, and spoke only of his gratitude,
constantly repeating that I had been his lucky star and mumbling the word
“Borghi” and another that he never finished.

This confusion and these many mysterious speeches seemed to me the signs
of approaching mental aberration and made me very uneasy.

At last he fell dangerously ill, and I was inconsolable. I sent for
doctors; I got three attendants for him, and ordered that he was to have
every comfort.

[Illustration: MARIA STELLA, LADY NEWBOROUGH

FROM A BUST AT GLYNLLIFON]

One day they came to tell me that on recovering from a sudden attack he
had uttered my name and asked to see me. I flew to his bedside, kissing
him and weeping over him. He looked at me with eyes full of sorrow,
pressed my hand, and struggled hard to make himself understood; but his
paralysed tongue refused to articulate anything but: “_Mio Dio!_—Barant,
Baranto——”

I was overcome with grief at his state; I was advised to go; they led me
away and put me into my carriage.

On the morrow my brother sent me word that the poor dying man being no
better than on the previous day, a visit from me could not fail to be
hurtful rather than helpful. On the following days he wrote to me in the
same fashion, and at last came himself to tell me, with every sign of
grief and affliction, that our father was no more.



SECOND PART

FROM THE DEATH OF HIM I HAD BELIEVED MY FATHER UNTIL THE PRESENT TIME



I

    The Funeral—Sea-baths—Rupture with my Brother—My Establishment
    at Siena—Chiappini’s Letter—My Reflections—First Steps—Various
    Pieces of Information—Verification of Handwriting—Visit of my
    Elder Son—Stay in Rome—The Marchioness of B.—Departure of my
    Children.


My brother appeared to be so much affected by his recent loss that, in
spite of the coolness existing between us for some time past, I kept him
to sleep at my country house.

All the evening he seemed to be sunk in deep thought and overwhelming
grief, which greatly surprised me in a young man who up to then had shown
so many signs of a want of filial affection. He left very early the next
morning without taking leave of me.

I at once sent him the sum necessary for having the funeral solemnized in
a fashion in accordance not with the lowly condition of the deceased, but
with all the dignity due to my own rank.

The marble beneath which lie his mortal remains bears witness to my
liberality, very unlike that of my sister, who, being present at her
mother’s death, allowed her body to be cast into the common pit, when a
dozen crowns would have procured her a more honoured grave.

My constantly recurring eruptions had induced my doctors to prescribe
sea-bathing; my father’s illness having deferred the carrying out of
their orders, I prepared to do so a fortnight after his death, which took
place towards the end of January 1821, and went to spend three weeks at
Leghorn, where I should have been horribly bored if it had not been for
the company of my Edward, who never left me.

On my return to Florence I found out the various tricks my brother had
played on me, first in concealing from me the real condition of my
father, who, I learnt, had recovered his power of speech before breathing
his last, and whose death had not taken place until thirty-six hours
after the time reported to me; secondly, in persuading me to pay the
purchase money of a fine house, supposed to be for me, but the deed of
purchase of which he had had made out in his own name, on the pretext
that a married woman could not do so validly.

Justly incensed at his conduct, I not only upbraided him bitterly, but
ignominiously cast him out and gave him up absolutely and finally.

Surrounded as I was by nothing but gloomy memories, in a place where
everything recalled troubles and misfortunes, I resolved to go to Siena,
and began at once to make my preparations.

There were several reasons that induced me to fix on that town, among
others its pure air and the famous School of Design which is its chief
ornament.

I was well acquainted with the head master of this school, and he had
kindly promised me to take the greatest pains with my young son, who
already showed decided taste and talent for this admirable art.

I had been living in this town about a week when I received by post the
letter I give here, with its translation.

    _Miledi._

    _Giunsi finalmente al termine di miei giorni senza vere svelato
    ad alcuno un segreto che riguarda me e la vostra persona
    direttamente._

    _Il segreto è l’appresso:_

    _Il giorno dell a vostra nascita da persona che non posso
    nominare, e che già è passata all’ altra vita, a me pure nacque
    un figlio maschio. Fui richesto à fare uno scambio, e mediante
    l emie finanze, di quei tempi, accedi alle molteplici richieste
    con vantaggio; ed allora fù che vi adottai per mia figlia, in
    quella guisa che mio figlio fu adottato dall’ altra parte._

    _Vedo che il cielo ha supplito alle mie mancanze, con porvi in
    uno stato di miglior condizione del vostro padre, sebbene esso
    pure fosse per rango quasi simile, ed è ció che mi fa chiudere
    con qualche quiete il termine di mia vita._

    _Serva a voi questa operazionne per non farmi colpevole,
    totalmente; domandovi perdono di questa mia mancanza, vi prego,
    se vi piace, di tenere in voi questa cosa, per non far parlare
    il mondo di un affare che non vi ha più rimedio._

    _Non vi sara consegnata questa mia che dopo la mia morte._

                                               _Lorenzo Chiappini._

    Milady

    I have come to the end of my days without having ever revealed
    to any one a secret which directly concerns you and me.

    This is the secret. The day you were born of a person I must
    not name, and who has already passed into the next world, a boy
    was also born to me. I was requested to make an exchange, and,
    in view of my circumstances at that time, I consented after
    reiterated and advantageous proposals; and it was then that
    I adopted you as my daughter, as in the same way my son was
    adopted by the other party.

    I see that Heaven has made up for my fault, since you have been
    placed in a better position than your father’s, although he was
    of almost similar rank; and it is this that enables me to end
    my life in something of peace.

    Keep this in your possession, so that I may not be held totally
    guilty. Yes, while begging your forgiveness for my sin, I ask
    you, if you please, to keep it hidden, so that the world may
    not be set talking over a matter that cannot be remedied.

    Even this letter will not be sent to you till after my death.

                                                 LORENZO CHIAPPINI.

The amazement such a missive caused me may well be imagined. In an
instant a crowd of ideas rushed upon me; the veil was rent, the cloud
dispersed. At once I realized the reason for the immense differences
between myself and my supposed relatives.

I saw the reason for the ill-treatment I had endured at the hands of a
woman perhaps forced into calling herself my mother; I understood the
meaning of those many muttered enigmatical half-sentences of my first
husband, and still more those of the writer of the astounding letter I
held in my hand.

There was but one mystery left to clear up, and that was precisely the
one I was implored to let alone.

But the man who had so implored me was now in my eyes nothing but a
criminal for me to forgive, his paternity destroyed, his rights broken,
and my duty to him annihilated, or rather born anew—enjoined on me by
honour and the love I bore my children—namely, to try every possible
means to discover my real father.

In my anxiety I hastened to the postmaster, as if he were the person to
give me useful information; but all he could tell me was that the letter
in question had come in the bag from Florence and under the postmark of
that town; but he directed me to an old man, a native of Faenza, to whom
I went at once. He could tell me nothing at the time; but he wrote, and
received an answer that there were two maid-servants of the Countess
Camilla still living, and that there was a new Count Biancoli-Borghi, a
relation and heir of the Count Pompeo, whose widow he had even married.

For my part I had written to the Fathers Ringrezzi and Fabroni, the
first-named confessor to the former jailer, the other the nephew of the
confessor of the late old Countess.

Having accepted the invitation I sent them to come and see me, Father
Ringrezzi told me at once that his calling bound him to inviolable
secrecy, but added that his private opinion had always been that I was
the child of the Grand Duke Leopold.

At this, Father Fabroni eagerly exclaimed—

“You are wrong, Monsieur l’Abbé. Milady is the daughter of a French
nobleman, called the Comte Joinville, who had great possessions in
Champagne; and I have no doubt that if Madame la Baronne went to that
province she would find documents that I have been told were handed over
to a worthy ecclesiastic.”

On this combined advice, I decided to return at once to Florence to get
further information. I had the satisfaction of finding no incredulity; my
many friends all told me that they had never believed I belonged to the
family of the Chiappinis.

I was told that the constable, having at one time been in danger on
account of his political opinions, had entrusted the lady Massina
Calamini with some papers which he told her were of the highest
importance, and which he carefully reclaimed the very moment he was set
free.

It is equally certain that he had a great number in a strong box, the key
of which he never gave up to any one whatsoever.

But it was impossible to get anything from his son, except a few letters
of no consequence, which he had already shown me with a laugh as being
the only asset of his inheritance.

As to her whom up to now I had called my aunt, she came to see me
several times, and I continued to look after her welfare.

It seemed to her that her brother had been quite capable of the thing he
had so tardily confessed to me; she even maintained that she remembered
his wife, in her fits of rage often throwing these cutting words at him—

“You monster! Have you forgotten that you’ve committed a crime worthy of
the gallows?”

Count Borghi and the two old maid-servants living at Faenza having been
applied to for information, the latter replied that first of all they
wished to see me and to speak to me alone; the Count indignantly asserted
that I had made an unpardonable mistake about him, and swore that he
would make me pay dearly for it.

Not knowing what more to do, I went and asked a clever lawyer what steps
I ought to take. He told me I must submit Chiappini’s letter to the
authorities and have it legally verified.

As this verification entailed great formalities and much delay, I went
back to Leghorn to continue my sea-bathing. I soon heard the news that
my two elder sons were coming to visit me; my heart overflowed with joy;
I hastened to meet them, and received them at Florence.

They rapturously embraced me and gave me a thousand proofs of their love
for me. We spent five delightful weeks together, and about the middle of
November they started for Rome. I could not accompany them; my presence
had become indispensable to accelerate my business, which still lasted
more than another month.

At last the experts, having carefully compared the writing submitted to
them with several authentic signatures, decided that it was entirely in
the hand of Lorenzo Chiappini.[3]

As soon as this was finished, I hastened to join my children, and managed
to arrive on the first day of the year 1823, so as to give them my
presents and renew the heartfelt proofs of my love for them, which they
received with touching gratitude and profound respect.

The first thing they told me of was their fortunate meeting with my old
and most faithful friend, the Marchioness of B., who was looking forward
with the liveliest impatience for the moment of my arrival. My delight
was at its height; seeing her once more seemed to give me back a part of
myself.

They went very fast—those happy days I spent with her and my three
children.

Obliged to return to England, she gave me two letters of introduction to
use after the journey to France which I intended to make; one was for the
Duke of Orleans, the other for the British Ambassador.

She earnestly begged them to give me their powerful assistance, and,
moreover, entreated the first to be so kind as to present me to his
sister, who, she said, would soon become my friend, since my features and
manners were exactly like hers.

My son was close upon one-and-twenty, and was bound to be in London on
the 3rd of April, the day he would attain his majority, in order to take
his seat in Parliament.

Consequently, he and his brother left Rome about the end of February. I
went with them to Florence, to Pisa, and to Leghorn, and there I said my
last farewell to them.

Never was anything sadder or more harrowing than this cruel separation; a
secret presentiment warned me, alas! that it would be but too long a one.



II

    Return to Rome—Departure from Florence—Testimony of the Sisters
    Bandini—My Arrival in Champagne and in Paris—An Innocent
    Ruse—Colonel Joinville—The Abbé de Saint-Fare—Visit to the
    Palais-Royal—My Reflections—Lady Stuart—Advice.


After leaving my two eldest sons, I took the road to Rome, where I had
already made the acquaintance of Cardinal Consalvi, who showed me the
greatest kindness. By his order, all the archives were thrown open to
me; everything was examined into, not only in the capital, but in the
country round about the Apennines; but everywhere the answer was the
same: “Nothing whatever has been discovered; everything must have been
destroyed during the Revolution.”

Seeing that there was nothing to be done there, I set out for Faenza,
where I was informed that the Count Borghi was absent, and that,
moreover, it would be useless for me to see him, as he had declared
that he would never tell me anything at all. I heard even that he had
threatened the old servant-women with the withholding of their modest
pensions if they had the ill-luck of speaking to me. But they could not
restrain their longing to see me or the cry of their consciences. Their
first words when they met me were a simultaneous exclamation of “O Dio!
how like you are to the Comtesse de Joinville!”

I joyfully welcomed them and treated them gently; and having implored
them to acquaint me with the details concerning my birth, they at last
consented to speak perfectly openly.

“Our father, Nicholas Bandini,” they told me, “at the age of seventeen
entered the Borghi mansion as chief steward, and never left it till
his death. We, also, were taken on there in our youth as maids to the
Countess Camilla. That lady, with her son, the Comte Pompeo, was in the
habit of spending a good part of the year at their castle of Modigliana,
and in the beginning of the spring of 1773 we accompanied them there.

“On our arrival we found, already established in the Pretorial Palace,
a French couple, called the Comte Louis and the Comtesse Joinville.
The Comte had a fine figure, a rather brown complexion, and a red and
pimpled nose. As to the Comtesse, you can see almost her perfect image in
your own person, milady.

“Being such near neighbours, the greatest intimacy soon existed between
them and our masters. Every day the two families met, sometimes at one
house, sometimes at the other.

“The foreign stranger was extremely familiar with people of the lowest
rank, especially with Chiappini, the jailer, who lived under the same
roof. As it happened, both their wives were then _enceinte_, and the two
confinements appeared to be imminent.

“But the Comte was seriously anxious; his wife had not yet given him a
male child; and he was intensely uneasy lest he should never have one,
when of this very fear was born an idea, both barbarous and advantageous.
First he broached the subject to the Count Pompeo and his mother, from a
very charming point of view; then he endeavoured to worm himself more and
more into the warder’s confidence, and ended by telling him that, seeing
himself about to lose a great inheritance absolutely dependent on the
birth of a son, he was quite willing, in case he should have a daughter,
to exchange her for a boy, whose father he would largely recompense.

“The man who listened to his words, delighted to find unlooked-for luck
at so appropriate a moment, did not hesitate for an instant; he accepted
the offer, and the matter was settled on the spot.

“We know it,” the sisters Bandini went on, “because we heard it with our
own ears; and we know, too, that the event justified the precautions
taken; the Comtesse gave birth to a daughter, and the other woman to a
son. The news was brought to our masters, and one of us going into the
Pretorial Palace to see the newly-born children, was assured by some
women of the house that the exchange had really taken place. Chiappini,
who was present, confirmed it in his own words. Later on, the Countess
Camilla often repeated it to us; she used to say that the Comtesse
Joinville had been told all about it, and had seemed quite content.

“Soon after this abominable crime we ourselves saw the Comte and the
jailer on the best of terms; the first because he had secured immense
profit; the other because he had received much money. Although silence
had been promised, there were indiscreet people, and public rumour soon
accused the authors of this horrible transaction. The Comte Louis,
dreading the general indignation of his accusers, fled and hid himself
at Brisighella, in the convent of St. Bernard. We knew that he had been
arrested and then set at liberty, but we never saw him again.

“The lady left with her servants and her reputed son, while her
own daughter, baptized by the name of Maria Stella Petronilla, and
described as belonging to Lorenzo Chiappini and Vincenzia Viligenti,
always remained with these last. Our mistress was constantly distressed
about this misfortune. To repair it as much as possible she kept the
unfortunate child near her, caressing her and giving her all kinds of
presents, treating her not with ordinary friendliness, but with every
mark of ardent love. So she behaved to this child for the first four
years, that is to say, till Chiappini took her with him to Florence,
where he had her educated, and where he bought property with the price of
his frightful bargain.”

Thus spoke my venerable septuagenarians.

Fully satisfied with their story, there seemed no need of more, and that
now it would be enough to appear before my iniquitous parents and obtain
from them just reparation.

With this plan I set out for France with my third son, his
drawing-master, my maid, and my courier, a faithful and intelligent
servant.

By the Sieur Fabroni’s advice, we went straight to Champagne, and the
mere name of the place led us to Joinville. I asked the magistrates
for information, and was told by them all that no nobleman of the
neighbourhood bore the name of their city, and that it belonged solely to
the Orleans family.

After several inquiries, which all had the same result, I went to Paris,
arriving on July 5, 1823. As a cleverly used ruse may bring about an act
of justice, and as the bait of riches is nowadays the most powerful of
motives, I had the following advertisement inserted in several newspapers—

    “The widow of the late Count Pompeo Borghi has asked Lady N.
    S. to find for her in France a certain Louis, Comte Joinville,
    who, with the Comtesse, his wife, was at Modigliana, a little
    town in the Apennines, where the Comtesse gave birth to a son
    on the 16th of April, 1773. If these two persons are still
    living, or the child born at Modigliana, Lady N. S. has the
    honour to announce to them that she has been empowered to make
    them a communication of the highest interest. Supposing that
    these persons can prove their identity, they have only to apply
    to the Baronne de Sternberg, Hôtel de Belle-Vue, Rue de Rivoli.”

Two days later appeared a colonel bearing the much-desired name; I
received him with the warmest welcome. He spoke, recounting his various
titles. Alas! the one that had at first interested me so immensely was
quite recent, and came to him from Louis XVIII.

At that moment I was told that M. l’Abbé de Saint-Fare solicited the
honour of an interview; the colonel looked much astonished, and withdrew.
In his place entered an enormous man, wearing spectacles and supported by
two footmen. As soon as he was seated, the following conversation took
place—

“The Duke of Orleans, having seen your advertisement, has this morning
begged me to come and make inquiries about this inheritance; for we
presume that that is the matter in question, and at the date you mention
there was no one in existence outside the family to whom the title of
Comte Joinville could belong.”

“Was Monseigneur the Duke of Orleans born at Modigliana on the 16th of
April, 1773?”

“He was born that year, but in Paris, on the 6th of October.”

“Then I am very sorry that you should have taken the trouble to come; for
in that case he has no connection with the person I am looking for.”

“No doubt you have heard it said that the late Duke was very gay with
the fair sex, and the child in question might well be that of one of his
favourites.”

“No, no; its legitimacy is incontestable.”

“Could anything be more surprising! It is true the late Duke lived in the
midst of mysteries.”

“Could you not describe him to me, Monsieur?”

“Willingly, madame. He was a fine man, with a good leg; his complexion
was of a rather dark red, and, if it had not been for the numerous
pimples on his face, he would have been very good-looking.”

“And his character?”

“What people principally admired in him was his extreme affability to
every one.”

“Your description agrees exactly with that that was given me of the Comte
de Joinville.”

“Then it must be supposed that it was the Duke himself.”

“That can’t be if it is true that his son was born in Paris.”

“May I ask you if there is a large sum to be had, and when?”

“I am truly sorry not to be able to inform you; I am not at liberty to
say more.”

During the whole of this conversation, the big abbé had never left off
looking at me in an almost offensive way; and, trying to find out what
was my native tongue, he had spoken now in English, now in Italian,
without being able to make up his mind, in consequence of my speaking
both languages equally well.

After an hour’s talk he took leave, asking my permission to come again.
I replied that I should be delighted to see him again, and, in my
turn, begged him to be so good as to make inquiries amongst his many
acquaintances.

He kindly promised to do so, and added that he knew a very aged lady
from Champagne very well, and that she might be able to give him much
information, which he would transmit to me at once.

As nothing came of it, I sent M. Coiron, a teacher of French, who was
giving lessons to my son, to him.

M. de Saint-Fare treated him politely, pleaded indisposition, and made
all manner of excuses.

On Coiron presenting himself a second time, he was received very coldly,
and simply told that nothing had yet been done.

Moved by his own zeal and without my authority, he made a third attempt.
Then the abbé told him plainly that he might discontinue his visits; that
the lady knew nothing at all, and that he himself did not want to have
anything to do with this fuss.

Still, the first impression his visit made on me could not be effaced.
I procured a ticket, and went with my friends to the Palais Royal.
What was my surprise on seeing in some of the portraits their extreme
resemblance either to me or to my children. My astonishment increased
when my young Edward, catching sight of a picture I had not yet noticed,
exclaimed, “Dieu! Maman, how much that face is like old Chiappini’s and
his son’s!”

We discovered that it was actually the portrait of the present Duke.…

Thinking seriously over this, I realized that I owed to him in fact the
important service of being the first to tear the impenetrable veil by
deputing that Abbé de Saint-Fare, who, I was told, was not only his great
friend, but his natural uncle, to see me.

It will be believed that from that moment all my researches went in the
direction so obviously pointed out, and, above all, that I took good care
to keep possession of the letter the Marchioness of B. had given me for
_his Highness_.

As for that she had been good enough to write about me to the British
Ambassador, I myself left it with my card at the door of his house. A
week later, his wife, Lady Stuart, simply sent her name by a footman
as sole answer; which greatly astonished me from a lady of title,
a relation of my friend’s and daughter of the Earl and Countess of
Hardwicke, with whom I had been formerly very intimate.

I was advised that, finding no support in that quarter, and having
henceforth to fight against wealth and power, I had better go back to
Italy to take every necessary measure and to collect all quite authentic
documents.



III

    My Return to Faenza—First Visit of the Count Borghi—His
    Story—Public Rumours—Evidence of Messieurs Valla, Guerzani,
    Tondini, Ludovichetti, della Valle, Perelli and Maresta—My
    Letter to the Count—His Second Visit—Legal Formalities—Judgment
    in my Favour—Decree of Rectification.


Before leaving France, I made several discoveries which more and more
strongly confirmed my suspicions as to the personality of the Comte
Joinville. But my first object being to find proof of the exchange
itself, I went again to the place where it had been effected.

As I passed through Turin, Alessandria, Reggio, etc., I employed several
people to make inquiries for me. At Modena I made the acquaintance of the
lawyer, Massa, who had a great reputation, and who clearly marked out for
me the course I ought to take. At Bologna I engaged an advocate whom this
gentleman had recommended to me; but I was soon obliged to give him up on
account of his dilatoriness, and replaced him by the Signore Bucci, of
Faenza.

When I arrived at that town, I went to stay with the Marchesa di Spada,
to whom I had an introduction.

As she was very intimate with Count Borghi, I had conceived the hope of
obtaining through her useful information, and especially the return of
certain papers that gentleman, it was said, boasted of having in his
possession.

She wrote to him, but there was no answer. I then called upon the Bishop
of the diocese, claiming from him a perfectly impartial investigation
of my case, assuring him that I asked for nothing but justice, and
entreating him to persuade the Count to accept my invitation.

The prelate strongly backed my request, and Count Borghi, not daring
to refuse him, at last came to see me, bringing with him an enormous
packet of letters which he declared he had received from me. They bore
the fictitious name of my so-called man-of-business, and were evidently
written with the intention of incensing against me a man who might prove
so helpful to me.[4]

My astonishment was beyond words, and I made such eager protestations of
my innocence in the matter that he was quite convinced of the truth, and
spoke to me as follows—

“I have often had occasion to look over old papers belonging to the
Borghi family, of whom I became the representative; and one day when I
was doing so at Modigliana I saw a letter addressed to the late Count
Pompeo, dated from Turin and signed _Louis, Comte de Joinville_, the
contents of which, so far as I can remember, were as follows—

“‘Since we left that place, my wife, always prolific of girls, has at
last presented me with a boy. As to the one of whom you know, there is
left only the grief of having lost him, and I feel no _further scruples_
on his account. My compliments to your ladies, and believe me, etc.’

“This letter greatly struck me, and I examined it more than once; but
then I considered it of no importance, and I ended by tearing it up,
without attempting to remember the date.”

“In the account-books of an old steward, which I looked over likewise,
the name of the jailer, Lorenzo Chiappini, was often written; and I
noticed that before 1773 this person bought his necessary provisions of
the Borghis, by relinquishing a part of his future salary; while, after
that time, he always paid in ready money for corn and wine of the best
quality. These account-books could not now be discovered, because when I
had looked through them I gave them back to the aforesaid steward, who is
no longer living.”

Who could believe that, with no motive, this gentleman could have parted
with papers relating to an inheritance just fallen to him, and which he
had looked into minutely? Still less, who could believe that he could
have destroyed a paper that had so greatly interested him, that he had
read several times, and whose tenor was so deeply graven on his mind?

Nevertheless, in order to prove to me that he now bore me no ill-will, he
bestirred himself to make others speak.

Very soon the voice of the public was quite on my side; every one knew
of Chiappini’s sudden accession of wealth; every one remembered hearing
something about the Signore Joinville and his excessive familiarity.

It was generally assumed that the jailer’s wife, going to her Easter
confession a few days after the exchange, had been ordered by her
director to denounce its principal perpetrator to the Holy Office. It was
said that this Tribunal, having ordered his arrest, the Count had been
warned, and fearing the probably unpleasant results of this order, had
asked and obtained permission to take refuge in a convent at Brisighella
until the storm had blown over.

It was affirmed also that, having ventured to go out for a walk, he was
seized and taken to the Town Hall, where one of his footmen went to spend
three or four days with him, and where he spent money profusely and
recklessly. In conclusion it was added that the Legate of Ravenna, having
sent for him, as he got into his carriage, he was holding in his hand a
paper that he pointed to with a laugh, as if to say—

“I’ve only got to make myself known!”

But I was not satisfied by these vague, general reports; I wanted
witnesses who had seen with their own eyes and heard with their own ears;
and I succeeded in discovering them.

Not to speak of the sisters Bandini, who related what happened in the
bosom of the families into which they were admitted as confidential
servants, or of Count Borghi, who quoted in support of his theory his
careful perusal of certain papers immensely in my favour, this is how the
Signore Giovanni-Maria Valla, of Brisighella, spoke on the subject—

“It is more than fifty years since I was enrolled in the Country Militia.
Shortly afterwards, when I had already risen to the rank of Corporal,
I was put in charge of a stranger called by the title of Comte, whom
the constables had taken up in the neighbourhood of the Convent of St.
Bernard. I did not know the man, who was well-made and rather stout, with
a reddish-brown complexion.

“It was said that the order for his arrest came from Ravenna; but I know
nothing about the reason for it nor anything else about him, except that
a few days later we gave him up again to the Cardinal’s Swiss guards, who
took him away in his carriage. As for Lorenzo Chiappini, I knew him very
well, having seen him several times at Brisighella, where he used to come
to play football, and I remember having heard it said that he had given
up his post because he had got a great lot of money for exchanging his
boy for the girl of a rich nobleman.”

And again, this is what the Signore Giuseppe Guezzani, of the same town,
said—

“My business has always been that of a barber, and I always served the
Fathers of St. Bernard until they were suppressed. It is about fifty
years since I used occasionally to shave a stranger living with them, who
passed for a great French nobleman. I was left in ignorance as to who he
was or why he was there. Afterwards I heard that he had been arrested,
but I was never told the reason. He was rather stout, of good height, and
had a brownish complexion with a red and pimply nose. I remember, too,
that he had very fine legs.”

And this is the account of the Signore Giuseppe Tondini, another
inhabitant of the town—

“About fifty years ago a foreign nobleman was living for some days in the
convent of St. Bernard then existing in this town of Brisighella. I don’t
know to what nation he belonged, and I don’t remember him well enough to
describe him; but I think he was about the average height and rather
stout. It was reported afterwards that he had been arrested.”

Then there is the story of the Signore Ludovichetti, a lawyer living at
Ravenna—

“Some length of time before the changes in this province—I can’t tell the
exact date, but it was certainly during the time I was practising in the
Criminal Court of that Legation, which was from 1768 to 1793—being about
one o’clock one day in the said Court, I heard that a foreign nobleman of
exalted rank had been arrested, and was being brought to our prison under
an escort of soldiers. His Eminence, being told of his arrival, had him
at once brought before him. Moved by curiosity, I left my office and went
into the Cardinal-Legate’s room, and there I saw that when this nobleman
appeared, his Eminence went forward to meet him, embraced him, and led
him into his own apartments. A good half-hour later, having gone back to
my work, I heard the carriage; and looking out of the window, I saw the
said nobleman get into it, and it crossed the square in the direction of
the Adrian Gate by which it had entered. I don’t know who he was or where
he came from, nor do I know where or why he was arrested. But he was
said to be a great French personage.”

Having heard these eye-witnesses, let us listen to others whose
reputations make them worthy of full belief.

Let us listen to the Signore Domenico della Valle, Secretary to the
parish of Brisighella—

“Though very intimate with one of the Fathers of St. Bernard, I never
heard him say a word about the exchange in question. But I can vouch
for the fact that before 1790 I had heard the fact much talked about by
several persons, and especially by the late Maestro don Giovanni-Batista
Tondini, who seemed to know all about it. He told me that the thing
had taken place about fifty years ago in the little town of Modigliana
between a great French nobleman living in the Pretorial Palace, who
had exchanged his daughter for the son of a certain Chiappini, then a
constable, and whom I knew very well later on when he used to come to
Brisighella to play football as an amateur. About twenty-five years ago
I again saw, in the piazza of the Grand Duke, the said Chiappini, who
talked for a long time with the late Cesare Bandini of Veriolo, who was
with me. When that gentleman came back to me, I said to him: ‘You have
been talking to a man I know to have exchanged his boy for the daughter
of a great French nobleman.’ And Bandini replied, ‘Yes, that’s the man,
and we were talking privately about that business.’

“I can say for certain that Chiappini was well dressed then, and I was
told he was in easy circumstances, and had no need to follow his original
occupation.

“After the suppression of the monastery of St. Bernard, I was employed
in helping to make an inventory of papers and effects belonging to
it. As I could speak French, they made me read two letters written in
that language. They were addressed to the Father Abbot, signed L. C.
Joinville, and bore the date of 1773; but I can’t remember what day or
what month.

“In the first, written from Modigliana, there were thanks to that Father
for having allowed him to take refuge in his convent; and in the second,
written from Ravenna, he informed him that he had been set at liberty
after having been arrested and taken to that town, and thanked him for
all the attention he had shown him. These letters were written in a
running and uneven hand; if I could see another written by the same
person I should probably recognize it.

“The brothers of St. Bernard had themselves told me that the Count was
taken up one morning when he had gone out for a walk with a book; and
they added that their Abbot, looking upon this arrest as a violation of
a sacred sanctuary, had been to Ravenna to lodge a complaint, and had
obtained satisfaction.

“There was nothing entered in the inventory but the title-deeds of the
capital and interest of the convent; the letters and other papers were
left as being of no use; no one looked after them, and I don’t know if
they are still in existence.”

Now let us hear Don Gaspare Perelli, Canon at Ravenna—

“I can perfectly well remember, about forty-three years ago, hearing
some one say to my father, who was Governor of Brisighella, that some
years earlier a prince in disguise, who was stopping in that part of the
country, had exchanged his daughter for the son of a constable, and that
this had taken place in the neighbourhood of Brisighella, though I can’t
remember the name of the place itself. My father often told this story at
table, and in the presence of my mother, Angela Forchini; and then they
would inveigh against the cruelty of so changing a girl of high rank for
a boy of low condition.”

Finally, let us hear the Signore Marco Maresta, chief custom-house
officer in that same town of Ravenna—

“It is a long time ago, and I couldn’t swear to the exact date, that
several people told me that at Faenza, or, as they said later, at
Modigliana, there had taken place an exchange of the daughter of a
great nobleman for a boy of low condition whose father had received a
large sum, and that this exchange had been arranged beforehand when the
two wives were about to be confined. I can’t remember the name of the
nobleman nor that of the base man who accepted his offer, nor even that
of the people who told me about it; but I did hear that the first was a
Frenchman.”

With so many proofs at my command, I thought the time had come to push
on my case. To procure greater expedition, I thought of another innocent
stratagem.

From Ravenna, whither I had gone so that I could not be suspected of
complicity with my judges, I wrote a letter to the Count Borghi, in which
I pretended to have been informed that, my friends having discovered my
true family in France, not one of my relations was left but a nun living
at Bordeaux, who would welcome me with the greatest delight if I could
succeed in proving to her the truth of the exchange, etc.

Quite beside himself, that gentleman hastened to announce this piece of
good news to the Bishop of Faenza, came to Ravenna to congratulate me,
and added to what he had already told me that the Count and Countess
Borghi, his informants, though held in the highest esteem, were both of a
very giddy and thoughtless disposition; that the last-named used to remit
to the former doorkeeper an annual pension sent by the Comte Joinville
for my education, and that the Grand Duke Leopold had shown me great
favour.

“Do you suppose,” he said, “that except for that, that Prince would have
been so deeply interested in you? Do you suppose he would have taken so
much trouble or done so much for such a miserable wretch as Chiappini,
etc.?”

Having promised me that he would mention all this in his deposition, he
started for home, where he set everything going. His great eagerness made
me alter my opinion of him; I could not believe that he still wished to
conceal from me any helpful letters he might possess, and thenceforth my
belief was that he had originally handed them all over to my supposed
brother, with whom I knew he had had some communication.

Not to be behindhand with his fervour, I made haste to engage as my
lawyer the Signore Jérôme Bellenghi, in order to obtain from the
Episcopal Tribunal sitting at Faenza the proper rectification of my
baptismal certificate; and this tribunal, on its side, nominated the
Count Carlo Bandini to fill the office of proxy as representative of the
Comte and Comtesse de Joinville, not present.

My so-called brother, Tomaso Chiappini, was assigned me as my
representative, but, though twice summoned, refused to appear.

After the aforesaid witnesses had made their attestations, they were
cross-examined, and their answers were in strict accordance with their
original accounts.

My counsel having argued his case, his opponent argued his and raised
every difficulty possible.

The Tribunal, having, after mature consideration, come to the conclusion
that the attestation of the deceased jailer, far from being improbable,
had been confirmed and verified by a large number of other evidence,
presumptions and conjectures, gave, on the 29th of May, 1824, a verdict
entirely in my favour; and when the proper time for appealing against
it was over, no objection having been raised, the Registrar, under this
warrant, proceeded to carry out the definitive rectification of my birth
certificate, and declared me to be the _daughter of the husband and wife,
M. le Comte Louis, and Madame la Comtesse N. de Joinville_. (French.)[5]



IV

    Fresh Investigations—Count Borghi’s Letters—The Baths of
    Lucca—Intimacy of the Duke of Orleans and the Marchioness
    of B.—Loan—The Chevalier Montara—Letter to the Duc de
    Bourbon—Various Publications—The Lawyer Courtilly—Archives of
    Genoa—Conduct of the Governor—Tomaso Chiappini’s Libel—Refusal
    of the Printers—Vain Attempts—The Bishop of Faenza—Letter from
    the Cape of Good Hope.


One important fact had been argued and settled, namely, that of my
substitution; and thenceforth it would be incontestable that my parents
were the Comte and Comtesse de Joinville, and French. But who were this
couple, and where were they? The uncertainty about this was insupportable
to me now, and I was inspired with fresh courage to renew the struggle.

Greatly wishing, if possible, to discover the nurse who had suckled the
jailer’s son, I had notices put up in several towns that a large reward
would be given to any one who could give me news of her.

I wrote about this matter to Count Borghi, and at the same time
reproached him somewhat for having omitted, on examination, to add to his
first declaration what he had come to Ravenna to tell me.

This was his answer—

    “HONOURED LADY,

    “It is enough for me that you are pleased with what I have
    done, and if you keep your goodwill for me, my delight will be
    complete.

    “You must never doubt of our everlasting remembrance of you,
    whom we love and esteem for your rare and excellent qualities.
    I have heard how much vexed you were by the ignorance of the
    copyists; I could not have believed they could be so stupid and
    illiterate; but the Bishop will have all that remedied.

    “All these unlooked-for difficulties must have worried you and
    delay our progress still more; I am truly sorry for it, and
    if I could have foreseen it, I would have offered to make the
    copies myself.

    “During my examination I answered every question put to me,
    and I wanted to add what I told you at Ravenna; but I was
    told that, as that could not strengthen my deposition, it was
    useless to include it in the case. I did not fail to ask the
    sisters Bandini if they had not still got some remains of the
    correspondence between the Countess Camilla and the Comte de
    Joinville, but they always answered that they had absolutely
    nothing left of it.

    “And that must be true; for if they possessed any of your
    parents’ letters they would have thought of making something
    out of them to relieve their poverty.

    “Your nurse at Modigliana was the mother of a woman who is
    still alive; as to that of the exchanged boy, no one has been
    able to give me news of her; and prudence would have prevented
    the author of so atrocious a crime from choosing her about
    here, and also from leaving any trace of the direction in which
    the Comtesse de Joinville, with her attendants, went.

    “I will go to Modigliana shortly, where I will make it my duty
    to make every possible inquiry, as you desire; but I greatly
    fear they will be fruitless, like those of so many others whom
    you employed before me, amongst whom was the Signore Ragazzini,
    who took immense trouble.

    “I think I have now answered all the questions in your letter,
    which I received from your courier, from whom we heard, to
    our great delight, that you and your beloved Edward, to whom
    we send our best love, are in perfect health. Your friend[6]
    swears an eternal affection for you; she joins with me in
    wishing you the greatest success and a full recovery of your
    sacred rights.

    “Believe, honoured lady, that my protestations of respect and
    attachment could not be more sincere; and I can flatter myself
    that, from the moment I made your personal acquaintance, I
    was, and shall always be, proud to be your humble and devoted
    servant, as well as your very affectionate friend.

                                        “NICHOLAS BORGHI-BIANCOLI.”

After so much anxiety, worry and fatigue, I felt the greatest need of
rest, and my dear Marchioness of B. having most luckily told me that she
was at the baths of Lucca, I hastened to throw myself into her loving
arms there.

She told me that, about six weeks after my going to Paris, she had
written the _Duke of Orleans_ a second letter of introduction for me,
and said that she had been much surprised that _that Prince_ had not
acknowledged its receipt, and had not even taken the trouble to thank her
for the news she had given him of her daughter’s marriage to Lord S.

For it is as well to know that, during the time of their exile, the _Duke
and his two brothers_[7] had received from Mr. C., the Marchioness’s
father, an annual pension of £200 and permi to dine with him as often as
they pleased.

[Illustration: THE DUKE OF ORLEANS]

The Marquess of B. had given them a similar invitation, and had offered
them the use of a country house a short distance from London.

The Duc de Montpensier, filled with gratitude, was so greatly attached to
him that he had himself carried to him just before his death, saying that
he must go to give an eternal farewell to his best friend.

This Prince having died of consumption at the age of thirty-two, the
unfortunate Comte de Beaujolais, already attacked by the same disease,
was taken by his _elder brother_ to a milder climate, and died at Malta
during his twenty-eighth year.

On his return to England, the present Duke applied once more to Mr. C.
and the Marquess of B. and obtained fresh favours and assistance, to
supply, as he said, the needs of his mother and _sister_.

A short time after the Restoration, the Marchioness being in Paris, he
went to see her, thanked her for all her good offices, vowed eternal
gratitude to her and pressed her to go to spend a few days at Neuilly.
Her health prevented her from yielding to his gracious entreaties or
those of the Duchess, who also showed her great kindness; but from that
time there began a very friendly and almost fraternal correspondence
between the Duke and my friend, which was interrupted only by the sending
of the letter concerning me.

I could easily explain to my friend the cause of this silence, by telling
her of all that had happened since I had had the happiness of seeing her.

The enormous expenses I had incurred had exhausted my funds, and I asked
her to be so good as to advance me something.

At first she refused, pleading that her intimacy with the Duke would not
allow her to provide weapons against him; but my arguments, and still
more her own love for me, little by little convinced her, and she ended
by lending me the sum I needed.

With scrupulous delicacy she informed my adversary of this, assuring him
that it was solely to give me the power of paying off my old debts and
not with the intention of helping me to make war on him.

Instead of a direct answer to so expansive a confidence, a thousand
tortuous ways were taken to convince my friend that my claims were
nothing but a tissue of lies, and everything possible was done to deprive
me of her affection.

But her never-failing answer was: “Let her ideas be true or false, my
heart will always be with one whom I love like another self.”

As soon as I had somewhat recovered, I went to Genoa, so as to be more
within reach of news from France, whither I had made up my mind to send
a certain Chevalier Montara whom a lady in Lucca had described as being
a very clever man. I gave him my instructions and £300 sterling, for the
journey as well as for the investigations he would have to make, and
ordered him to submit the whole thing to his Majesty Louis XVIII.

His first letters were very encouraging, and they came pretty frequently;
soon they became rarer and rarer; he tried to arouse fears in me; he
pleaded serious illness, squandered my money, and, in fact, did nothing
for me.

About this time, I was reminded that the Duc de Bourbon-Condé, during his
misfortunes, had received much civility from Lord Newborough’s relations.
Delighted at this reminiscence, I thought I might take the liberty of
writing a very respectful and touching letter to His Highness, begging
him to give me his advice.

My letter was delivered, opened, and having been looked at, was
ignominiously returned to the person who had undertaken to take it.

The secretary who gave it back to him censured my action, accused me of
audacity, and treated my business as a chimerical delusion.

After this disappointment I was advised to have recourse to Madame la
Dauphine.

A literary man of high reputation undertook to draw up my petition after
the most proper fashion; but when he came to read it to me, I must
confess that it seemed to me far from likely to convince any one of the
truth, especially at a time so fertile in impostors.

Despite the doubts which I thought might be caused by my ignorance of
a language that was still almost unknown to me, I decided to have it
presented by a gentleman residing in Paris, who, at the end of three
weeks wrote that he must not again be given such commissions; that he had
been asked several questions he could not answer, and that he had found
himself, without any manner of doubt, under the special observance of the
police.

This fresh worry was all the more trying since my stay in Genoa was
disturbed by a multitude of other anxieties.

Not content with distributing copies of the judgment given at Faenza,
I had an article inserted in a newspaper[8] containing a summary of my
case, in which I asked for fresh information concerning my father and
mother, whom I designated only by the initial J.

No one could believe that they were simply nobles; everybody was
whispering august names; but as the Orleans family was allied with all
the reigning families of Italy, fear seized upon all hearts and closed
all lips.

Only one man made his appearance: a former magistrate who had known old
Chiappini well.

As a matter of fact, his evidence would have been much more useful to
me before the verdict given in my favour, but at least it will serve to
confirm it. Let us listen to it.

    “I, the undersigned, certify and declare what follows, on my
    soul and conscience—

    “In the year 1808, having sent in my resignation of the post
    of substitute of the Attorney-General in the Criminal Court
    of the department called that of the Apennines, I retired to
    Florence, where I lived until the month of April 1813, the date
    of my departure for Rome. At the beginning of my residence
    in the first of these two towns, I made the acquaintance of
    Lorenzo Chiappini, with whom I sometimes dined at the house
    of the doctor, Pietro Salvi. In 1810, I met him, with other
    Florentines, in the immense house of the old Chartreuse, where,
    like me, he had hired rooms to spend the summer in. The more
    we saw of each other the more intimate and familiar became our
    intercourse, especially on his side.

    “Very soon he told me the most minute details of a journey he
    had made to London to see one of his daughters, married, he
    said, to a rich English lord who had fallen in love with her on
    hearing her sing in a theatre.

    “He could not say enough about the splendour of his
    son-in-law’s house, nor of the welcome he had received there;
    told me some coarse stories about Great Britain; described the
    manners of the inhabitants; constantly repeated that all his
    happiness lay in that darling daughter, and assured me that
    he would give the world to procure the pleasure of seeing her
    again.

    “The next year he was attacked by some slight malady, and one
    day, as I went to see him pretty frequently, he confessed to me
    that he had a great burden on his conscience. I tried in vain
    to make him listen to some words of comfort; nothing could cure
    his melancholy.

    “Another time, the talk having turned on the same subject, I
    said that if he had not been guilty of theft—a sin God does
    not pardon without restitution—all else could be expiated by
    repentance. At that he made a clean breast of everything, and
    confided to me that, having been in his youth keeper of the
    prisons at Modigliana, he exchanged his firstborn son for the
    daughter of a foreign nobleman, and that it was that daughter
    who was married in London, and that he should feel never-ending
    regret for so having helped to deprive her of her birthright.

    “Having strongly advised him to reveal such a secret to his
    generous benefactress, who must most certainly rejoice over it
    because of the honour and profit it would bring her, he said
    that he had already thought of doing so, and only wanted to
    avoid any sort of fuss during his life; but he should manage
    so that everything should be discovered after his death. He
    added that this seemed sufficient reparation due to the lady,
    considering her present condition of grandeur and opulence.

    “He talked after the same fashion to me on several other
    occasions, and I always found him fixed in that resolve.

    “This is what I heard from Chiappini’s own lips, and I am
    prepared to confirm it, if necessary, legally and by oath.

                      “In testimony whereof,

                                                  “LOUIS COURTILLY,

                                                          “Lawyer.”

This very clear and precise deposition was far from compensating me for
all the disagreeables brought upon me by my harmless advertisements.

Researches made in the Public Archives of the town I was living in
brought to light almost nothing about the year 1773; the Keeper of the
Records declared that the books relating to that period had been put
together in a place I must not enter without special permission, and
where, he told me, memorandums of great importance were kept.

But it was impossible to get anything out of the Governor, who was my
sworn enemy.

The day after the appearance of my article he had severely reprimanded
the journalist I had employed.

He often gave balls, concerts and entertainments of all kinds, to which
all the English ladies, from those of high rank down to the wives of
the smallest tradespeople, were invited; I alone was deprived of this
_immense honour_.

One day he went so far as to express to my banker the greatest desire
for my speedy departure. “I am ordered,” he said, “to keep the strictest
watch over her.”

My banker replying that he could not understand the reason of it, since
all I was doing was in order to discover a Comte and Comtesse Joinville—

“Yes,” said this officious governor; “but it isn’t very easy to prove
that this Count and Countess are no other than the former Duke and
Duchess of Chartres?”

But that was not all.

Fifteen days after the appearance of my article in the _Gazetta di
Genova_, my ex-brother, the advocate Chiappini, sent me by post a
so-called answer he had had put into the public papers, boasting of
having obtained the permission of the Government. Adorned with all the
flowers of speech an infamous pen could indite, such a libel was well
worthy of its author.

Although my reputation stood immeasurably high above his insults, at
first I wanted to answer them.

The first printer I spoke to refused his services, under the pretext
that he had received orders in the matter; I had successive recourse to
several others, who all likewise put me off. Not only at Genoa, but at
Florence, Bologna and Alessandria—everywhere they had been threatened
with severe penalties in case of disobedience.

Tomaso Chiappini had not confined himself to spreading atrocious
calumnies against me; I heard that he was accusing my witnesses of
imposture, and that several of them, alarmed by the sinister rumours he
circulated, and believing themselves irretrievably ruined, were cursing
me and declaring that I had involved them in the greatest trouble.

Amongst these was the Count Borghi, who henceforth became once more my
enemy.

The whole country was topsy-turvy; but all these intrigues, all these
diabolical plots fell to the ground.

I wrote to the Bishop of Faenza, who could not get over his astonishment,
but exhorted me to suspend judgment on the persons whose perfidious
inconstancy I was denouncing, and assured me that the truth was too well
established for anything henceforth to shake it.

His letter, which I carefully treasure, is dated July 20, 1826.

If that of this venerable prelate, illustrious by his learning and
formerly Patriarch of Venice, was flattering and an honour, another,
which I received from the Cape of Good Hope, was as vile and filthy.

It can easily be guessed it was the work of that other Chiappini to whom
Lord Newborough had shown so much kindness.

The most malignant rage was manifest through the whole of it, beneath
the hideous hues of expressions as indescribably ignoble as they were
ridiculous.

To do full justice to it, it would doubtless be enough to let it be seen
as it is; but I should fear to disgust my readers.



V

    I go to Nice—Rudeness of the Governor—Letter from
    Alquier-Caze—My Precautions—Demands, and Remittances—Second
    Journey to Paris—Conversation—A Gouty Colonel—Expenses—Return
    to Nice—Letters from my Husband—His Arrival—That of the
    Marchioness of B.—A Transient Happiness.


Being so ill-treated at Genoa, and also wishing to be still nearer to
France, in the month of September 1825, with my son, his tutor and my
servants, I left and went to live in a country house I had rented near
the gates of Nice, where I was unlucky enough to come across a governor
still stiffer and ruder than that of the town I had just left.

But what could so many unjust proceedings do but confirm me still more in
the justice of my high claims! For it was easy enough for me to see that
they were dictated by a powerful hand, and I could not believe that that
kind of enemy would fight mere phantoms.

A little before this I had received a letter from Paris, written by a
certain Alquier-Caze, who introduced himself and offered me his services.

“I have been well posted up in the case,” he wrote; “I know its delicacy,
I see its difficulties; but I don’t feel any qualms about undertaking it;
and I even count on a speedy success if you will deign to honour me with
your complete confidence.”

Afraid of falling again into the hands of a rogue, I sent him a very
guarded and cautious letter; but he was not at all put out by it, and
replied in these terms—

“Madame la Baronne, the position you are in is such as to cause you
great anxiety. The importance of the matter that fills your mind; the
uncertainty of its issue; the base machinations that perfidy has employed
against you; the kind of fatality that seems to pursue you, all combine
to give birth to endless doubts and apprehensions. But, believe me,
Madame, I feel the strongest conviction that, by my hands, Heaven will
give you the final victory over your enemies. Yes, that victory will be
my work. Up to now you have been deceived; up to now I have met with
nothing but ingratitude for my services; Fate keeps in reserve for each
of us an equally pleasant event; for you, that of seeing your confidence
justified by my vigorous efforts; for me, that of meeting at last with
a noble expression of gratitude. No, the soul of a Catalan is not an
ordinary soul, as the future will prove to you better than anything I
could say,” etc.

The confident warmth of this shook me. I had some inquiries made about
him, and as I was told he was a young lawyer of good repute, bold and
clever, I decided to confide my documents to him.

He wrote soon, declaring that he had already made some valuable
discoveries, intimating at the same time that the lure of gain was
absolutely necessary for obtaining good evidence.

I at once set about sending off a considerable sum to him, which was but
the prelude to the many other such disbursements the necessity of which
he was continually urging.

This had gone on for several months, when, some weeks after my arrival
at Nice, I received a fresh letter from Caze, telling me that he was
beginning the attack at the reopening of the Courts; that he greatly
wished to confer with me beforehand, and urging me so strongly to come
to Paris before the 1st of November, that I set out at once, taking with
me my dear son and his tutor.

In spite of all the haste we made, we could not manage to arrive before
the 2nd of November. I took a suite of rooms in a large hotel in the
Place Vendôme, and not till two days later did I receive the first visit
of my _assiduous_ lawyer.

Compliments exchanged, this represents the substance of what passed
between us—

“Have you got your husband’s authority, madame?” “No, monsieur.” “But
that is a document without which we can do nothing.” “You ought to have
warned me of that six months ago.” “I most sincerely beg your pardon
for not having thought of it.” “It is very annoying to have taken so
long and expensive a journey uselessly.” “Far from being useless, it was
indispensable.” “I don’t see why.” “Wasn’t it necessary for us to arrange
together what it would be best to attempt so as to ensure complete
success?”

“That could have been done by writing, or after I had been furnished
with the power-of-attorney.”

“Yes; but I was longing to tell you in person what I could not confide to
paper.”

“What are these very important communications, then?” “I have succeeded
in discovering that the very year of the exchange the Duc de Chartres,
your father, was staying at Berne, under the name of the Comte de
Joinville, in an inn the then landlady of which is still alive; and where
he scandalized everybody by his profligate conduct. I believe I can get
a certification of this from the local authorities. Another of my agents
has informed me that the Marquise de Boucherolles, an old friend of your
mother’s, testifies that that Princess was on bad terms with her supposed
son, and often made mysterious remarks that are in perfect agreement with
the facts of the case.

“The same agent spoke to me of a certain M. d’Echouards, who knows of
the testimony of the late Madame Cambise to the effect that, on her
death-bed, the Dowager suffered greatly from a troubled conscience. He
told me, too, that the late mother-in-law of the Comte de Saillan was
one of the travelling-party in 1773. Moreover, on this point I have
three witnesses _de visu_, and am just about to procure three more still
living.” “Will you be so very kind as to introduce them to me?” “Most
willingly; but I shall still need a little more money to give them enough
courage. That’s by far the best card to play, especially in Paris.”

Bewitched by his talk and his protestations, I opened my purse, and my
poor pennies disappeared into that of my artful juggler, who, the next
day, appeared once more, bringing with him a gouty old Colonel, who,
almost before he got into the room, addressed me in the following words—

“As I am well acquainted with the family of the Baron de Sternberg, I
want to help you as much as I possibly can. The judgments of men being
always doubtful, you may perhaps fail in obtaining the justice you seem
to expect from legal tribunals; but it would be quite easy for you,
through my intervention, to arrive at a satisfactory settlement.”

Astonished at such a speech, I promptly exclaimed: “No, no; I would never
consent to submit to such a disgrace.”

The Colonel replied—

“Still, madame, the plan I want to propose to you would undoubtedly be
the wisest and the most advantageous for you. Will you live long enough
to see the end of such a case? And how do you know that your children
would have any desire to go on with it?”

To this my answer was still more concise, being couched in three words:
“All or nothing!”

I left the room as soon as they were uttered, and declined to see my
gouty old friend again, believing him to be a spy sent from my adversary.

Vainly I waited for the appearance of M. Alquier’s promised witnesses;
there were always fresh excuses on his part, and renewed requests for
money, which I was simple enough to grant. In less than a fortnight I had
spent more than three thousand crowns.

Weary of such expenses and delays, I longed to return to Nice, where
I arrived towards the end of the autumn. I had written to my husband,
who, during the winter, sent me his very disappointing opinion. Instead
of authorizing me to go to law, he advised attempting to come to some
arrangement.

I seized my pen at once to tell him shortly that, desiring to die as I
had lived, I could not compromise my honour.

Some months after, I received a second letter, in which he told me that,
on the advice of our friend, Admiral Krusenstern,[9] he was coming to me,
so as to endeavour to end the business in the best way possible.

He arrived towards the end of October, having stopped some time in Paris
to make fresh investigations. While allowing that I had excellent grounds
and very favourable chances, his constant refrain was: “We must try for
an arrangement”; while mine was a vexed and endless repetition of: “All
or nothing.”

His arrival was shortly followed by that of the Marchioness of B., who
came from Lausanne.

She told me that _the Duke of Orleans_, while visiting that town, had not
condescended even to ask news of her; adding that she quite understood
that I was the innocent cause of this base ingratitude.

The house she took at Nice being next door to mine, we saw each other
constantly; in fact, we were always together, and I can assert that that
winter was the happiest time in my wretched existence; though even then
I could not fully enjoy its consolations, because of my firm conviction
that they would speedily change to bitter sufferings.

My presentiments were but too well verified; my friend, for her part,
was obliged to go back to London, while the Baron, on his, announced his
positive intention to send Edward to a public school!



VI

    My Stay at Geneva—Correspondence of Alquier-Caze—M.
    Sparifico—Payment of the Lawyers—An Unlucky Meeting—Weakening
    of my Health—My Husband’s Exhortations—His Arrival with
    Driver-Cooper—Fatal Agreement—My Son’s Tutor.


In the middle of the year 1827, soon after the departure of my friend,
we transported our household goods to Geneva, where was the school my
husband had chosen for our young son; and his first care on our arrival
was the carrying out of his barbarous plan.

Unable to make up my mind quite to lose sight of the dear child who,
since his birth, had never left me, I hired a house close to his. I was
able to go to see him every day, to lavish love upon him, and he himself
came to see me twice a week and spent the whole of Sunday with me.

I used to invite several of his school-fellows for the evening, providing
all sorts of refreshments for them, and letting them amuse themselves
just as they pleased; and their childish games were a real relaxation to
me.

Moreover, my dear Marchioness of B. had kindly given me several agreeable
introductions, so that in my new home I found something of the pleasure I
had enjoyed at Nice.

But this new tranquillity could not last.

For some time past I had noticed that d’Alquier-Caze’s communications
were neither so frequent nor so hopeful as they had been. Having
mentioned this to him, he answered me by a lengthy enumeration of his
supposed services. Another time he wrote that he was going to Nancy
to question an old person he had been told of from whose evidence he
expected the happiest results.

On another occasion he gave me an account of a conversation he professed
to have had with a Minister of his most Christian Majesty.

“The first attempt was to frighten me,” he said; “but my determined
aspect speedily destroyed all hope of succeeding in that. Then
discouragement was tried; I made a suitable reply. Every possible way
of trying to make me speak was used; but I steadily kept myself within
the limits of a wise discretion. ‘_What do you want?_’ I was asked. My
answer was yours: _‘All or nothing.’ ‘You’ll ruin yourself.’ ‘I shall
do my duty.’ ‘You had better give up such a chimerical business.’ ‘I
possess the confidence of milady, and I cannot betray it.’ ‘You will
never succeed.’ ‘We shall.’ ‘Every one regards your claims with supreme
contempt.’ ‘That’s impossible!’ ‘They can’t conceive on what you found
them.’ ‘Do you allow that the exchange took place?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Then all that
I have to do now is to prove the identity of its perpetrator with the too
notorious Orleans.’ ‘Prove even its likelihood, if you can.’ ‘I shall
prove its reality.’ ‘How?’ ‘We shall have writings and witnesses.’ ‘Well,
we shall always be pleased to see you.’ ‘I shall come again.’_ etc.”

Far from satisfied with all this talk, I constantly complained that,
since the verdict given at Faenza, I had spent a great deal of money and
was still about where I was then. To combat my reproaches he conceived
the idea of writing me the extraordinary letter here given—

    “You are angry with me, dear milady, are you not? You are both
    right and wrong. You are right, because in your situation
    nothing could be more natural than impatience; and wrong,
    because I am to be excused on account of all the trouble I am
    taking.

    “There is a question I am about to submit to you, and to which
    you must give a definite answer.

    “Certain proposals, in the form of advice, have been made to me
    in your interest. Would you be disposed—yes or no—to come to an
    arrangement if its terms were considerable pecuniary advantages
    to yourself? Please let me know at once. I won’t say more
    to-day, but that everything is going on well. Believe me, etc.”

What more was wanted to open my eyes and let me clearly see the crafty
duplicity of my ill-advised rascal, who up to now had so piqued himself
on the nobility of his sentiments?

Knowing in Paris a certain M. Sparifico, I begged him to tell me of some
lawyer famous for his ability and still more for his integrity.

First he mentioned several, who, he said, dared not undertake my defence;
and then he named others whom I knew to be devoted to my mortal enemy.

I was so disgusted with all these obstacles that I almost made up my mind
to give up everything.

The Baron being obliged to go to the capital of France on his own
affairs, I requested him to recover all the papers in Alquier-Caze’s
possession, which he endeavoured to do; but could not manage till he had
paid 200 francs to Maître Hennequin for a memorandum I had never seen;
550 francs to Maître Plé for work of which I had never heard, and 1000
francs to Caze himself for having cheated me out of many times as much.

About this time a certain Henry Driver-Cooper, who, after ruining his
creditors in England, had taken refuge on the Continent so as to increase
his iniquitous fortune, had just exchanged his modest designation of
hop-merchant for the pompous title of jurisconsult, which he thought
he had the right to share with Maître Dupin, considering that he had
entrusted to him the celebrated Stacpoole case;[10] wherefore he
considered that he also ought to share in the glory of its success;
since, without him, Maître Dupin would not have intervened. He had his
_Doctor’s Diploma_ printed on his visiting-cards, and went from house to
house boasting of his triumph.

But he took good care not to add that Maître Dupin himself, thinking but
little of his services, had reduced the fee he claimed by a thirty-second!

After this blow the disconsolate hop-merchant, or, if you like, the
saddened jurisconsult, was on the look-out for a favourable opportunity.
He owned in the neighbourhood of Paris a so-called _château_, which he
had bought in better days, and he was trying to find an obliging tenant
who would pay him a big rent for it while still leaving him in possession
and even keeping him during the whole duration of the lease.

I was to be this compassionate person; he had foreseen it from the
moment that he had first chanced to meet my husband, whom by dexterous
suggestions he drew into his net, and negotiations were entered into.

Meanwhile, the damp climate of Geneva having given me a very bad cold,
which, as usual, had at once settled on my chest, my friends advised me
to take a house in the country where I could breathe more healthy air. I
had chosen one, called Coligny, looking over the lake and magnificently
situated, when the Baron, writing to me about his _lucky discovery_,
asked my opinion of it.

In spite of his youth, my dear son begged me not to forget how many
times I had allowed myself to be caught in the snares of impostors. In
consequence I answered evasively, and principally to tell my husband of
my resolve to change my house.

I soon received a second letter in which he implored me not to carry out
my intention, explained still more fully the conditions laid down by my
_deliverer_, and told me that one of them was that I must live in his
house during the whole course of the trial.

This time my answer was decided.

“I will consent,” I said, “to combine with your agent in pecuniary
matters if he will pay half the costs and undertake to push on the
business briskly. As to the plan for my living in his house, you may
give that up at once; for I intend to take the one I have in view here
from to-morrow, and nothing will induce me to leave my dear Edward.”

In fact, I signed the agreement and moved to Coligny.

I was hardly settled there when I had a third letter from the Baron,
expressing very great displeasure and even reproving me in a way. He
spoke enthusiastically of Cooper, extolling his courtesy, enlarging on
his ability, and endeavouring above all to convince me that if I did not
take advantage of his generous offer I might give up all my hopes; that I
should not find any French _avocat_ willing to fight against the powerful
Colossus, reputed the first Prince of the Royal Blood, and that the great
benefit to my son claimed the sacrifice, however painful to my heart, of
a separation destined to procure for him the most brilliant of futures.

That last argument moved and shook me; it was so cleverly put that I
consented to see our charlatan. But the clever swindler, not wishing
to make it seem that he had come on his own initiative to see me in
Switzerland, got a model of the flattering invitation I was to give him
sent to me.

My exact copy having reached him, he and my husband arrived.

He left no stone unturned to dazzle our eyes with his cunning promises,
and, as soon as he believed us both well prepared, he persuaded us to go
to the house of Voltaire at Ferney.

“It shall be on the very table at which the great man wrote his immortal
works that our agreement shall be signed; his shade shall preside there,
and his presence be the pledge of the most glorious success.”

It was pure farce, I own, but what is easier than to inflame minds
already under the spell? Could we haggle when the grandeurs and riches we
had a right to claim were, so to speak, at our discretion?

Cooper was able to take advantage of our weakness in the most infamous
fashion.

Sitting unmoved in this castle-in-the-air of his own building, caring for
nothing but other people’s money, he made us affix our signatures to two
deeds, the outcome of his crafty cupidity.

By the first he appointed himself my steward; as such he was, during
the whole course of the trial, to lodge and keep me; to furnish me with
horses, carriages, and servants, in return for an annual payment of
25,000 francs, payable in advance.

Having made his calculations correctly, by the second, which he had
taken care to bring ready drawn-up and in French so uncouth that it was
difficult to understand it, he created himself the absolute dispenser of
larger sums.

He was to proceed with the business which was my principal object _if
he thought fit, and in the way he thought best_. The costs were to be
divided, and, in the case of success, the profits also.

“Perhaps you have not by you the sum you ought to pay me. Well, give me
bills.”

And so I did to the amount of £1,150 sterling.

After this delightful expedition, he was ready to return to Paris,
begging me to follow quickly.

Although at school my son had all the necessary masters, I had up to
now kept on his tutor, called Ragazzini, a native of Tredozzio, who had
been recommended to me at Florence as a clever man, and had taken some
trouble in the Faenza business.

I wished to discharge him at this time in consequence of many defects he
could no longer keep hidden; but Cooper and the Baron were against it,
saying that the man, knowing Italy perfectly, might be of the greatest
use to us; so, though very reluctantly, I gave way to their urgent
representations; and it was arranged that he was to accompany me and my
husband.



VII

    Painful Separation—Arrival at Bellevue—Powers given to
    Cooper—His Swindling—The Ills he made me suffer—Fresh Attempts
    of Alquier-Caze—Distraint on my Effects—My Move to the Hôtel
    Britannique—Letters from my Husband and my Son—My Grief and my
    Resolves.


Immediately after Cooper’s departure I began to prepare. The owner of
Coligny was inexorable; I had to pay him the whole year’s rent.

But this loss was very small compared with another much greater one. It
would be vain to try to describe how my maternal heart was torn, when I
thought I was forsaking my dear son. How difficult it was, what restraint
I had to use, what efforts to make, not to break down when the dear boy
asked me with sorrowful and almost prophetic voice: “Maman, Maman, what
are you going to do?”

And all I could say in answer was: “My darling, I am going to work for
the good of you and your dear brothers.”

Before the fatal day he spent two with me, and his loving caresses were
sweet but incurable wounds to my soul.

No—I will not attempt to describe that cruel parting; I will not speak
of it. I will only say that, absorbed in my own thoughts, despite the
numerous requests to do so, I could not bear once to look at the sublime
and delightful beauties of nature, which had always had so great a charm
for me.

After a journey of four days we passed through Paris, and arrived at
Bellevue near Meudon.

One of the chief reasons that had induced me to go to the scene of
action was the inclination my husband and his confidant had shown to try
the plan of compromise with my adversary; and I was quite resolved to
make an eternal protest against that kind of baseness. But once on the
spot, I thought there was nothing to fear. Deeds, papers, documents, got
together with difficulty by my constant care—all were handed over without
misgiving, and the full powers demanded by Cooper at once given him.

But that was not enough; he must seize my whole fortune. My income was
now reduced to £1,700 sterling a year; he had already taken £1000 for
the rent of the house; but he could not be satisfied till he got hold of
the £700 I still had to dispose of.

To this end, he got together some infamous assistants, with whom he
worked upon the Baron’s mind with shameless cunning, and they came all
together to propose my giving the rogue fresh powers to raise my funds in
England, under pretext of the enormous expenses my case would entail.

No more powerful motive could have been offered me; after a few short
explanations, I signed a paper, which I had not even been asked to read.

So now Cooper was absolute master of my property; there was nothing more
for him to ask for: he had got it all.

And now the important trial for which I had already made such great
sacrifices would surely make mighty strides towards the desired event?

By no means; Cooper isn’t even giving it a thought; anyhow there is
nothing to prove that he is. But he is always talking to me in a hopeful
strain, so important is it to him to keep his post as director of a
sham piece of work which, without care or trouble, ought to bring him in
45,000 francs a year!

But the agreement as to rent and stewardship was very ill carried
out; for several weeks carriage, horses, servants could not be found;
our rooms lacked the most necessary pieces of furniture, and my table
displayed such parsimony that I should infallibly have died of hunger if
I had not taken care to get in from outside something to live upon.

I might have borne with this economical diet patiently if I could have
got any satisfaction about the great business; but nothing was got
ready, nothing begun. At last I saw that I was the victim of the basest
imposture; and when I reflected on all the deeds my weakness had allowed
to be extorted from me, I realized all the horror of my position.

Forthwith I burst into bitter complaints. Cooper, in a rage, threw away
his mask, and might have said—

    _“C’est à vous de sortir, vous qui parlez en maître;_
    _La maison m’appartient.…”_

And truly, my own agreement in his hand, he ruled like a despot over the
house he had let to me for 25,000 francs; and to make me feel the full
weight of his authority, he redoubled his economies, kept under lock and
key even the garden seeds which I was no longer allowed to gather for my
birds; spoke haughtily to me; poured out abuse on me, and, in a sort of
way, kept me under close surveillance.

He had then his mother and sister with him, two veritable furies who
joined in all his excesses; and as on every occasion they gave way to
their fiery passions, several conflicts took place.

No—I can never understand how my husband could restrain himself under
such circumstances!

While I was being thus tormented by my new swindler, Alquier-Caze did not
lose sight of me, and still speculating brilliantly on my easy credulity,
he endeavoured to approach me once more through this very specious
preamble.

    “Milady, no doubt you will be astonished at receiving a letter
    from me; this is what has induced me to write to you.

    “This morning a person I do not know, and who would not tell
    me his name, came to see me. He told me where you are living,
    and talked a great deal about your case. I cannot and will
    not trust to paper the communications he made me. They are of
    importance to you and your position.

    “Although I cannot feel much flattered that, being in this
    country, you have not come to see one who took so much trouble
    for you, I can never cease to participate in your troubles, and
    I believe it will be in your interest to tell you what I have
    learnt.

    “I am free only on Sunday. If you think it well for me to come
    and see you, answer at once, and the day after to-morrow I will
    be with you.

    “Please be prudent and tell no one of my letter, etc.”

Curiosity to see him rather than any hope of hearing anything useful
decided me to allow him to come. He came, and his constrained manner and
ambiguous language soon betraying to me his deceitful plot, I treated him
with icy coldness, and made him clearly see that for the future I would
have nothing more to do with him. I heard afterwards that his numerous
misdeeds had forced him to leave France.

In the meantime I had written to England with orders that the last power
of attorney I had so rashly given to the cheat Cooper should not be
honoured.

On the first hint of this being learned by my odious agent, he flew into
a frightful rage; loaded me with insults, threatened me with his wrath,
and put in a distraint on all my effects, to which I responded by a
revocation of all the powers I had given him.

We could no longer live with such a scoundrel; so we left Meudon on
September 1, 1828, and established ourselves in the Hôtel Britannique.

I need hardly say that on the day we left we had to submit to the
grossest of insults in the shape of a ridiculous and minute examination
to make sure, as they said, _that we had committed no theft_.

As I pretty often reproached the Baron for having caused me so many
discomforts, I thought I saw that my words had a great effect on him,
and his mind seemed much upset. On the fourth day after our change of
residence, I saw him go out with a paper in his hand, and asking him
when he would be back, he said: “In an hour’s time.”

While waiting, I went for a walk with my son’s former tutor, and on
getting back, my first question to the portress was whether my husband
had come in.

As she answered in the negative, I ordered dinner to be put off; but
the Baron did not return. I began to feel great anxiety, fearing that
something had happened to him; but at eight o’clock in the evening I
received a packet containing a power of attorney for Ragazzini and a
letter for me in these words—

    “MY DEAR WIFE,

    “I am distressed at having to leave you just now; but business
    I can’t put off longer calls me to Russia. I beg your pardon
    for not having told you sooner; but I acted in this way so
    as to avoid the harrowing scenes that would have followed.
    My agitation is so great that I can say nothing to you but
    that my conscience does not accuse me of all the wrongs you
    impute to me. I have told M. Ragazzini to act for you against
    Driver-Cooper. Some day, I hope, we shall meet again under a
    more lucky star than the present one. I participate in all your
    troubles, but I cannot help you. Adieu; _tout à vous_.

                                                 “B. DE STERNBERG.”

It will well be believed that I cannot describe the grief I felt at
finding myself forsaken by him who had so disastrously involved me in so
grievous a strife. But his pitiless hand was to strike me a still harder
blow.

About the end of the week I received the following letter—

    “MY DEAREST MAMAN,

    “My father has just arrived in Geneva, and intends to start for
    Russia to-morrow with me. I already hear your reproaches; but
    what can I do?

    “Forgive your loving son, and don’t think him ungrateful; for I
    am ready to put my head in the fire if that would be any good
    to you.

    “But what would become of me if I did not obey my father’s
    orders? Don’t be afraid; you will always have the whole of my
    filial love.

    “How cruel it is to tear me in this fashion from my darling
    mother! But what can be done? If you had stayed at Coligny, and
    if you had listened to my advice, this would not have happened.

    “I am hurried. Be comforted; you shall soon have news of me,
    and believe me always the most loving of your sons.

                                                “EDWARD STERNBERG.”

What I felt on reading this was not grief; it was despair. For several
days I gave myself up completely to the most acute anguish; at times I
wanted to start for Russia; at others I resolved to let myself die.

But at last real maternal love triumphed over affliction, and I realized
that it was necessary for the good of my children both to go on living
and to remain in France.

Taking fresh courage, I formed the unshakable resolution to suffer and
face everything, that I might gain a victory to the advantage and honour
of those who were so dear to me in this world.



VIII

    Cooper’s Rage—Recourse to the Law—First Result of
    Arbitration—M. Huré—My Letters to Mme. de Genlis—Visit of
    Saint-Aubin—His Journey—Emissary from Mme. de Genlis—Letters
    from Saint-Aubin—His Return—Realized Fears—Mr. Mills’s
    Tricks—My Correspondence with the English Ambassador.


While I was lamenting over the unexpected departure of my husband and
son, Driver-Cooper, for his part, was loudly complaining, and wanting
to force me to go back to his house, which he still kept on calling his
_château at Bellevue_, his beautiful _château of Colonnes_.

Maintaining that, as I had been, and was still, his boarder, he said, the
usual meals were being served every day for me and my people.

He was eating them by himself—without much trouble, probably!—but still
protested, none the less, that I ought to pay him 25,000 francs a year
for dinners I refused to eat; and talked a lot of other nonsense.

I wanted to put an end to these impudent molestations, and, as a clause
in each of our two famous Ferney agreements submitted any difficulty
that might arise to arbitrators, amicably chosen by us, or, in default of
that, by the Tribunals of the Seine, I had recourse to the last means.

The arbitrators were appointed, and I explained to them the clever way
in which the perfidious Cooper had blinded me, as well as his iniquitous
fashion of fulfilling his obligations; I especially brought to their
notice that, by the terms of the contract, his lease was to last only for
the time taken up by my great affair; and that this had legally come to
an end since my revocation of the powers I had given him.

The first decision of the arbitrators, given on September 30, 1828,
was in my favour, and annulled the agreement as to the letting of the
_manoir_ of Bellevue at the rent of 25,000 francs; but, to my great
surprise, I found myself sentenced to pay 16,000 of it as a compensation
for the time I had spent in that wretched hole and for other expenses
I knew nothing about for the most part; an indispensable condition for
obtaining the restitution of my effects.

When I had done this, I fixed a day for them to be fetched, and the
holder undertook to give them up.

Fresh matter for astonishment.

My servant presents himself and is informed that the removal is opposed
at the request of M. Huré, furniture-dealer, in whose favour the honest
Cooper had backed my bills.

Luckily for me, the President suspected some intrigue and ordered a
severe examination of the books and registers of the opposer, who, less
disreputable than his corrupter and not daring to play his part to the
end, frankly owned to his odious rôle of catspaw.

The Court, having condemned him in costs, sent back my claim for the
return of my bills for the judgment of the same arbitrators who were
to pronounce as to the validity of the agreement in virtue of which I
had consented to them. But I had to endure such delays that my poor
belongings were not returned to me till after six months of waiting,[11]
and my old villain raised so many quibbles and difficulties that the
discussions relating to the second arbitration lasted a year.

From the very beginning of all these disputes I had been advised to write
to the celebrated Comtesse de Genlis, formerly _governess_ to the Orleans
children,[12] in order to induce her to reveal to me the secrets of this
horrible drama, which perhaps she herself had managed.[13]

In consequence, I composed a letter well suited to _her profound modesty
and her noble disinterestedness_.

Some days passed and no answer came; and, beginning to think that my
letter had not been given to her, I decided to write another, which I
sent by sure hands to our chaste Susannah.

[Illustration: MME. DE GENLIS]

The next day but one, M. de Saint-Aubin was announced, and there entered
a rather good-looking young man, refined and open in manner, who told
me he had seen what I had written to Mme. de Genlis, with whom he lived
and in whose confidence he was; adding that if I would give him mine, by
degrees he would persuade her to speak out.

“Has she not already confessed to me,” he went on, “that your affairs
formerly caused her much trouble, and that the evil genius who had
bewitched the late Duc de Chartres was an Italian and still living?
Anyhow, madame, the only motive I had for coming to see you was the
desire to be of use to one who is oppressed.”

He then showed me several letters from our _virtuous heroine_, in which
she lauded his talents, told him of her own doings, called him her best
friend, etc., etc.

In a word, the young rascal left no stone unturned to delude me; and
when he thought I was well prepared, he offered to go a journey which,
to judge by his hints and mysterious speeches, ought to be to my immense
advantage.

Dazzled by this display of verbosity and his gorgeous promises, I
sanctioned his plan, and offered him 1000 francs to carry it out. He
asked me for 3000, and we split the difference.

In acknowledgment of the sum I handed over to him, all he gave me was
this meaningless memorandum: “I have received from Madame la Comtesse
de Newborough 2000 francs, on an agreement between us. Given in Paris,
December 6th, 1828. S. D. de Saint-Aubin.”

A few days later he announced to me his arrival at Nancy, and said he had
already got important information.

I had just received this news, when an ill-dressed man holding a paper
made his appearance, calling out to me: “Didn’t you write this letter to
the Comtesse de Genlis?” And as I took it from his dirty and disgusting
hands, to see if it was really mine, he went on: “The Comtesse won’t
have anything to do with your affair, which can’t be anything but an
imposture. What! you claim to be the daughter of the Duc d’Orléans? For
shame! you deserve to be finely laughed at.”

I had him turned out at once, throwing my letter, which he wanted to get
back, into the fire; and not only this, but I begged a lady, a friend of
mine, to call for me upon my considerate confidante to express to her my
displeasure and to ask her for the papers I had been foolish enough to
send her.

My friend insisted on seeing her, and, after a long delay, she grew angry
in her turn, promised haughtily to return everything to me, shut her door
and disappeared.

Although my packet never arrived, I thought it would henceforth be
beneath me to have any intercourse with such a person, who, doubtless,
would have preferred remitting it to her dear adopted son, in the hope of
reaping golden harvest from this fresh proof of her boundless devotion.

Meantime, the cunning Saint-Aubin wrote again, assuring me that he was
greatly pleased with his mission, and had found out many things, about
which he would tell me on his return.

Shortly after he wrote that he had just discovered the dwelling of a very
aged Italian woman, the former nurse of Chiappini’s son, who possessed a
very precious medallion and alone could give me more valuable information
than any I had yet got. He promised to bring her to Paris, provided I
could enable him to give her a gratuity. To my shame I confess that again
I was so foolishly simple as to send him 500 francs, begging him to
manage to let me make her acquaintance as soon as possible.

Seven long weeks having passed with no word from him, I began to get
impatient, when he took it into his head to send me the well-worn excuse
of an unforeseen accident. This is his amusing note—

    “Madam, I may truly say that I have come back from the other
    world. Some days after receiving your second letter—that is
    to say, in January last—I had set out for a place I wanted to
    find. I had hired a carriage for the journey. As the roads were
    very difficult on account of the ice and snow, the carriage
    was upset; it was a terrible disaster; I was carried away
    unconscious, and it was only after six weeks that I began to
    recover. During the lucid moments of my illness I wished very
    much to write to you, but I dared not confide in any one.

    “For the last fortnight I have been much better. As this
    misfortune happened to me near Strasburg, I write to you from
    that town.

    “My friends and relations must be very anxious about me, for
    I have not been able to write to them; besides, it would have
    alarmed them too much if they had known of my condition.

    “I shall be in Paris in eight days.

    “I am longing to see you and to relieve the terrible anxiety
    you must have been in at the total want of news.

    “I have done all I could, and have much to tell you.

                 “Your humble and devoted servant,

                                                     “SAINT-AUBIN.”

It may well be supposed that I was somewhat surprised that severe
suffering should have made him completely forget both the old nurse and
the interesting medallion.

Alas! my doubts turned to cruel certainties when I saw him come in plump
and blooming, and with a look of long-standing health.

After having at great length bewailed his _unlucky adventure_, he rose,
took leave, and contented himself with saying, as he left the room, that
he would come again and give me a full report.

Tired of waiting, after a few days I sent to the address he had given
me, only to be told that he was known there only as being sometimes seen
in the company of other young scapegraces who had left without paying,
and that Saint-Aubin was no better than his companions.

This was the end of the adventure.

I have since discovered that this _chevalier d’industrie_ was the
near relative of the _venerable_ Comtesse de Genlis, _née_ Ducrest de
Saint-Aubin!

While all this was going on, I had need of an English lawyer to manage my
London affairs.

A Mr. Mills was recommended to me as a model of integrity. I sent for
him; he came, showed me the greatest respect, condoled with me on my
troubles; took the liveliest interest in my concerns, and undertook not
only to manage everything in England, but to obtain for me, free of
interest, the sum necessary to meet the unjust claims of Cooper in Paris.

Delighted to have made his acquaintance, I put myself into his hands;
and in a little while he became my guide, my steward, my banker, and my
manager.

By his advice, and against my own judgment, I wrote to the British
Ambassador to ask his protection against my unworthy extortioner.

To this request his lordship _condescended_ to have an answer sent to me
in these terms—

    “Lord Stuart de Rothesay presents his compliments to Lady
    Newborough-Sternberg, and begs her to send him a detailed
    account of the business. Without this it will not be in his
    power to be of any service to her.

                             “The English Embassy, April 22, 1829.”

At once I put together my papers and sent them, with the following letter—

    “Lady Newborough-Sternberg presents her compliments to Lord
    Stuart de Rothesay, and, in accordance with the wish expressed
    in his kind note, sends him the details of her case, begging
    him to be good enough to give it his consideration.

    “If his Excellency should desire fuller information, Lady N.-S.
    will ask Mr. Mills to give it to him, etc.”

Unluckily, amongst my papers there was a mention of my most important
affair.

The Ambassador, confounding the two, and fearing to compromise himself,
sent the whole back to me with this laconic note—

    “Milady, in returning the documents sent to me in your letter
    of yesterday, I beg you to accept the regret I feel that I
    cannot give you the help you ask by interfering in a dispute
    between you and his Most Christian Majesty.

    “I have the honour to be your Excellency’s most obedient
    servant,

                                              “STUART DE ROTHESAY.”

Astounded at so prompt a change, I seized my pen and wrote—

    “It appears, Milord, that you have misunderstood my meaning.
    Please feel quite assured that I asked your help only in my
    dispute with Cooper. If I had supposed for one moment that you
    were to be helpful to me in my delicate affair, I should have
    well deserved the mortification of being refused.

    “But I thought I ought to have recourse to you to obtain
    justice in a scandalous dispute arisen between two subjects of
    the monarch whose representative you are.

    “Is it possible, Milord, that you should regard my complaints
    with indifference, and that you should refuse me the help you
    so generously bestow on all those who implore it?…”

Thus ended my correspondence with the noble gentleman, and I refrain from
saying anything about his subsequent behaviour.



IX

    Ragazzini sent off—Proposal of Mr. Mills—Offers to Cooper—His
    Account—His Disgust—His Calumnies—My Vindication—Decision of
    the Arbitrators—Fresh Quibbles—Divers Sentences.


To all my outside troubles were added a host of domestic misfortunes,
for the most part caused by the unworthy confidant to whom my husband
had, so to speak, handed me over. I mean M. Ragazzini, who, proud of
the authority the Baron had conferred on him, became day by day more
arrogant, and now took no trouble to conceal his hateful vices.

No longer able to endure his presence, I made up my mind to dismiss him
ignominiously.

Being now alone and needing some diversion, Mr. Mills offered me one of
his sisters-in-law, whom he described as a real _miracle_ of nature. I
thanked him for his kindness, but gave an equivocal answer. He returned
to the charge, but I still made only complimentary rejoinders.

At last he spoke with such warmth, whether of the dangers of my solitary
state, or of the rare qualifications of the young person, that I
consented to take her as my _dame de compagnie_.

She came, and I very soon found her to be an insipid creature, to say
the least of it, whose wardrobe stood in much more need of my help than
I did of her society. The tradesmen’s invoices can bear witness to
the zeal I displayed on her behalf as well as on that of her sisters
and brother-in-law. But what would I not have done for a family whom
I considered as my only resource for getting out of the hands of the
infamous Cooper?

When the second arbitration concerning the agreement as to the management
of the larger affairs took place, I asked for the cancelling of that
agreement, offering to make good Cooper’s disbursements and fees,
deducting only the bills handed over by me on April 1, 1828.

At the invitation of the arbitrators he produced his account, in which a
sum of 6,526 francs was placed to my credit.

My counsel, astonished at this, since he had reclaimed only the bills
of £75 sterling each, asked for explanations, and it turned out that
besides those two bills, Cooper had received another for 5000 francs
which, among the many deeds and bills of exchange he had successively
extorted from me, I had forgotten. In consequence, I amended my plea, and
asked for the deduction of this new amount.

It would be impossible to imagine the disgust of our _honest man_ when
he realized that he might have hidden for all eternity the existence and
the payment of my bill. According to him it was not just that a fit of
absence of mind should make him lose £200 sterling.

Unluckily he could not do away with what was written in his account by
his own hand; but to evade the consequences of his _fatal_ admission he
had recourse to calumny.

According to him, every one in Geneva had been alarmed at the first hint
of my approaching departure, my debts were so numerous, and my reputation
for laxity so well known! Upholsterers and tradesmen had come in crowds,
and I had all at once found myself in the toils of Rabelais’ terrible
quarter of an hour.

Having nothing with which to pay off my debts, I had vainly implored the
help of M. Hentsch, a banker of Geneva; but he himself, _poor Cooper_,
touched with compassion, had at once handed over to me 5000 francs which
he had in his purse, etc.[14]

I should disgust my readers too greatly if I repeated here the vile abuse
with which he spiced this heap of inventions.

Anxious to undeceive a public that did not know me, I wrote to Geneva,
and found no difficulty in obtaining a large number of excellent
testimonials, of which I will quote but three.

    1st. “Milady, we have received the letter your ladyship was
    kind enough to write to us, and have been much grieved at the
    lies which wickedness and calumny have dared to invent about
    you; only a consummate scoundrel could be capable of it.

    “Messrs. Hentsch have told me that they will write to you at
    once, so as to undeceive the small number of persons who could
    have believed this tissue of falsehoods. The Cramers will do
    the same; and I can assure your ladyship that every one in
    Geneva who had the pleasure of your acquaintance is indignant
    at what you must have gone through.

    “But we trust the culprit will speedily be punished, and that
    we shall soon have the pleasure of having you amongst us again,
    which we look forward to greatly.

    “Madame Galiffe asks me to give you her respects, and to assure
    you of the sincere pleasure it will be to see you again.

    “Accept the assurance of my profound respect, and of the great
    esteem with which I have the honour to be your ladyship’s very
    humble and obedient servant.

                                                          “GALIFFE,

                                                         “Colonel.”

    2nd. “Madame, I was less surprised than deeply grieved at the
    contents of your letter to Colonel Galiffe; for my wife and I
    felt only too much anxiety as to the result of your journey. M.
    Cooper has quite justified the opinion of him we formed when we
    saw him at your house, for we feared just what has happened.

    “Good God! into what hands you have fallen! And how could so
    fine and spotless a character as yours be blackened by calumny?

    “But I have no doubt that you have speedily turned aside the
    shafts of malice. As to what is said about your debts, I can
    certify that I have known you to be most scrupulous in paying
    all your accounts; that I have never heard of your being in
    arrears with any creditor, and that I am in a good position to
    judge, having had several conversations about your concerns
    with M. Hentsch, who, I have no doubt, will testify to the same.

    “But what need is there, madame, to continue in this strain, or
    to undertake to clear so unjustly attacked a reputation?

    “Many other better-known persons than I will come to your aid,
    and in a little while you will receive from all sides documents
    wherewith to crush your vile calumniators.

    “I will conclude, madame, by sending you my most sincere wishes
    that your enemies may get what they deserve, and may their
    punishment be as certain as all I have said is true.

    “My wife asks me to give you all kind messages, and I beg you,
    Madame la Baronne, to accept the expression of my respect and
    my sincere attachment.

                                                     “J. L. CRAMER,

                                                     “Lt.-Colonel.”

    3rd. “Madame, and respected friend; what! there are villains in
    the world who, not content with having taken advantage of your
    ignorance of business, venture to attack the reputation of one
    whose private life it seems to us ought to have been more than
    safe from the tongue of calumny.

    “We are shocked at it, and ready to send you voluminous
    testimonials as to the high reputation you left behind you here.

    “If necessary, we will state in Court that we know you to have
    been held in constant affection and respect by all around you;
    that benevolence was your especial virtue, and that your steps
    were followed by actions recorded in the book of heaven, when
    unnoticed or unfelt by men.

    “We can say that you gave happiness to many here; we can say
    (though it is impossible that such a question should be put
    to us), we can say that it is false, absolutely false, that
    you left debts behind, and that, on the contrary, before you
    left, you had the forethought to leave 2000 francs on deposit
    to pay the rent of your country house in case of its not being
    sub-let; which event happened.

    “We can say that your charming son gave the highest hopes of
    inheriting the striking virtues that distinguish you, and which
    he could have gained only in the bosom of a mother worthy of
    all honour and best formed for an example of all that society
    loves and welcomes.

    “Speak, Madame la Baronne, only speak! What can we do to
    communicate to your judges the feelings of the highest esteem
    which we have for you?

                    “Your very humble servant,

                                                “H. HENTSCH, FILS.”

It needed nothing more to obliterate the disastrous impressions my
audacious calumniator’s lies might have made.

I was summoned to declare if I had, or had not, received from him
the amount of my bill; and on my formal answer in the negative, the
arbitrators of course said to us—

“Since you disagree as to facts, we cannot pronounce for one or the
other; we must give our decision according to the wording of the bill. If
it was endorsed, ‘Sum received in cash,’ Mr. Cooper is right; if not, he
is wrong. Therefore, produce this bill.”

I wrote at once to my London banker to get an authentic copy; but before
it arrived, the extension of time for the arbitration expired, and the
arbitrators gave their decision. They cancelled the agreement concerning
the larger interests, fixed Mr. Cooper’s disbursements at 4,169 francs
51; assigned him 3000 francs for his trouble,[15] and ended by making
this order—

“We declare and decree that on Mr. Cooper returning the deeds, papers and
all other effects, the Lady de Sternberg shall be under the obligation to
pay him the sum of 7,169 francs 51; that Mr. Cooper, on payment of the
said sum, shall return to her the two bills of £75 sterling each, unless
their worth is deducted from the 7,169 francs 51.

“We reserve to both parties their respective rights as to the deduction,
claimed by the Lady de Sternberg, of £200 sterling, the amount of the
third bill received by Mr. Cooper.

“On the fulfilment by Lady de Sternberg of the above directions, we
declare that she shall be freed from all obligations to Mr. Cooper
arising out of the agreement of April 27, 1828.”

The execution of this judgment could present no difficulties except for
that concerning the bill for £200 sterling, with which it could not deal.

A few days later the bill arrived; it was endorsed: “Sum received on my
account from the testamentary executors of the late Lord Newborough”; and
Cooper had sworn that it was endorsed, “Sum received in cash.”

The 5000 francs therefore ought to be deducted from the 7,169 francs
51. Cooper refused to deduct them; I proposed to him to submit this
difficulty anew to the arbitrators, who, knowing the business in all its
details, could decide on it at once.

An honest man would have gladly accepted this expeditious settlement;
but our scoundrel, who had already seen his way to take advantage of his
position, absolutely refused.

Having extra-judicially called upon him to name his arbitrator, and on
his failing to respond to this summons, I applied to the President of the
Court, who assigned me one.

On the day appointed for the meeting of the “friendly arbitrators,”
Driver-Cooper sent word to them that he opposed their proceeding until
after the cancelling of the bills; and they thought themselves bound to
abstain from a decision until there had been legal enactment on this
opposition.

At the same time my rascal sent me orders to pay him the full sum of
7,169 francs 51, which he must receive at once, so depriving me by his
frivolous objections of the power of previously effecting the deduction
of the 5000 francs, which had nevertheless been so expressly reserved for
me by the decree of the arbitrators. But I knew my man too well not to
foresee that after obtaining the payment he demanded, he would take every
means to refuse my demand, even to the declinatory plea of the French
Courts.

In consequence I made him an actual offer of the sum of 2,169 francs
51, and as to the 5000 francs representing the value of my bill of £200
sterling, I proposed to deposit it in the _Caisse de Consignations_, not
to be withdrawn by Mr. Cooper until it was decided that the aforesaid
deduction could not be made.

Moreover, I summoned Mr. Cooper to make a declaration of my available
effects, and to be ordered to return to me all my deeds, under pain of
damages to the amount of 100 francs for each day’s delay.

Even this did not stop him, and I was obliged to make an application to
the President to make him cease his persecution.

The President having made an order entirely agreeing with my wishes,
Cooper appeared disconcerted, and did not dare to appeal against it.

It was in this condition that the case was brought into Court. There
my rascal once more took up his rôle, and, as usual, bristled with
objections and quibbles which prolonged the disgusting dispute till
October 8. All his cunning and ingenuity could not save him from the
condemnation he deserved.

But, alas! my triumphs were but funeral honours, and my gains nothing but
actual losses.

Yes, my over-great belief in so unworthy a man had cost me more than
28,000 francs, my peace of mind, and my health.



X

    Insertion in the Newspapers—Visit from M. Laurentie—His
    Letter and its Publication—His Advice—A Bold Venture—My
    Discretion—Insidious Answers—Behaviour of the Mills
    Family—Letters from my Children.


When I found that my troublesome dispute was coming to an end and that I
was about to recover both my documents and my own full liberty, I had the
following article inserted in several newspapers—

    “In the year 1773, two illustrious French personages were
    travelling _incognito_ in Italy, under the names of the Comte
    and Comtesse de Joinville. On the 16th of April of that same
    year the Comtesse gave birth to a daughter in the little
    town of Modigliana. The parents, urged by ambition, resolved
    to exchange their daughter for the son of a jailer, named
    Chiappini, whose wife at the same time gave birth to a boy,
    who has in consequence enjoyed the rank and fortune belonging
    to the other child. It has pleased Providence to allow this
    unjust usurpation to last for many years. But, to prove that
    justice, though sometimes slow, is always sure, it has lately
    permitted this unnatural action to be brought to light; the
    proofs were sufficient to convince any impartial mind, and a
    decisive decree of the Ecclesiastical Court of Faenza, given
    upon the most undoubted evidence, has pronounced as to the
    truth of the facts.

    “The father, many years ago, met with a violent death; the
    mother survived him, but has now been eight years dead; and
    there is no doubt that the parents during their lifetime
    entrusted certain papers and documents to persons who were then
    in their confidence.

    “It is needless to add that these documents are of the highest
    importance to the daughter who was deprived of her proper
    position. In the name of justice and humanity, she entreats any
    persons who may be in possession of documents concerning this
    matter, to send such information, in writing, to the Baronne de
    S., 18 Rue Vivienne, Paris.

    “They may feel assured of a large reward from the person
    concerned.”

A few days later I had almost the same words again put in; at last, M.
Mills having called a third time at the office of the _Quotidienne_,
M. Laurentie said he would like to see me before the third insertion
was made, alleging that he could be of much more use to me when he was
perfectly acquainted with my affair.

I was urged to receive him, and I fixed a day for his coming.

The first thing he did on seeing me was to give a start of astonishment.

He told me that he had known at once that my paragraph related to the
Duke of Orleans, and that, fearing his Highness’s anger, he wanted to see
my papers before going further.

I at once got together some imperfect copies that had chanced to escape
the insatiable Cooper’s greedy rapacity, and handed him the parcel.

He strongly advised me against any mysterious or partial publication of
my story, but to bring it to the full light of day.

I told him that such was my intention.

“You will do well,” he said; “and I assure you your likeness to Louis XIV
is so striking that only to see you is to be convinced.”

It would not be easy to describe my surprise when, three days later, I
received my packet, accompanied, for all apology, by the following brief
communication—

    “MADAME LA BARONNE,

    “I have the honour of returning you the papers you committed to
    my care.

    “I have had an opportunity of tracing the truth to its source,
    and have ascertained that M. le Duc and Mme. la Duchesse
    d’Orléans did not quit Paris or the Court in the year 1773.”[16]

    “Therefore I cannot permit the _Quotidienne_ to print a single
    line concerning the extraordinary and mysterious event spoken
    of in these papers.

    “I have the honour to be, Madame la Baronne,

              “Your very humble and obedient servant,

                                                       “LAURENTIE.”

To astonishment succeeded just indignation when in the numbers for the
2nd and 3rd of November I read what follows—

    “The public may have remarked, some time ago, a notice in
    the _Quotidienne_ in which there was mention of a Comte and
    Comtesse de Joinville, who, in 1773, when in Italy, had a child
    of the female sex for which a male child was substituted, and
    information was asked as to this mysterious substitution.

    “Whatever may have been the purpose of the person who sent
    us this notice, it is our duty to declare that we take no
    responsibility for it.

    “We have even been able to ascertain that its publication masks
    an intrigue in which we could not be expected to meddle, and
    we retract the notice sent to our office, and which, at first
    sight, might seem to be simply an announcement relating to
    family matters.”

At first I wanted to force the audacious editor to insert in his journal
an answer which would have let every one know of his criminal abuse of
confidence, and ask him how he dared brand with the odious name of
_intrigue_ a claim which, from my papers so trustfully given over to him,
he knew to be based on the depositions of numerous witnesses, and on an
episcopal judgment given with the most imposing formalities.

But on consideration I decided that my complete Memoirs being about to
appear, France and the whole of Europe would do me enough justice after
reading them.

I wanted some one to correct the many mistakes which my pen, so unskilled
in the French language, had made without taking from my story its
original simplicity.

M. Lafont d’Aussonne, author of the _Mémoires universels de la Reine de
France_, called on me, discoursed on his literary talents, offered me his
services, and succeeded in getting me to give him a copy of my notes.
Here is his letter of the next day—

    “MADAME,

    “I have spent part of the night in reading your papers. I find
    them convincing, and am astonished only at one thing—that you
    have been so long in attacking the unlawful possessor. I shall
    have the honour of seeing you this evening at the same hour as
    yesterday.

            “Your very respectful and devoted servant,

                                               “LAFONT D’AUSSONNE.”

I was much pleased with his way of looking at it, and with all the
arguments with which he supported my interesting affair; but with a swift
change of front he wrote to me a few days later—

    “However long the time I have devoted to the papers you
    committed to me, madame, I grudge neither the time nor the work
    if I may keep your confidence and your esteem. From things I
    know of and approaching events, I am convinced that your cause
    has its dangers, and that you must be prepared for oppositions,
    humiliations, delays and troubles innumerable.

    “Your last years will be years of grief and affliction; I am
    not exaggerating.

    “An opportunity is now offered me of rendering you the greatest
    of services by giving you rest and peace of mind.

    “You are a good wife and tender mother; you might, at the same
    time, give delight to your family and to the excellent persons
    who have given such proof of their constancy and their devotion
    by combining with you.

    “As for myself, madame, I have no thought but to repeat the
    assurance of my respectful and sincere devotion.

                                               “LAFONT D’AUSSONNE.”

At once I saw through the plot, and wishing to find out what offers would
be made me, I replied in such a fashion as to let it be believed that I
was quite willing to make concessions.

[Illustration: MARIA STELLA, LADY NEWBOROUGH, BARONNE DE STERNBERG]

My friend fell into the trap, loudly applauded my quite futile letter and
sent me a curious composition, of which M. d’Aussonne declared he had
secretly sent a copy to my adversary.

    “MONSEIGNEUR,

    “As M. de Broval’s illness or sufferings may last some long
    time, I take the respectful liberty of addressing you directly.

    “I have not forgotten that, five years ago, your Royal Highness
    did me the honour to send for me to your gallery that I might
    give my opinion on some wrongly-named or doubtful portraits,
    and that you received me with marked affability.

    “Something has now happened, monseigneur, which, in a fashion,
    brings me again to your notice.

    “Lady Newborough, Baronne de Sternberg, having read with great
    interest at Nice, where she was then living, my _Mémoires
    universels de la Reine de France_, wished to know its author;
    and this lady, pleased with my eagerness, has entrusted me with
    the revision of her own Memoirs written entirely in her own
    hand, that I may put them into shape and give them a literary
    style.

    “Devoted as my whole life has been to the defence of the
    greatly unfortunate, I did not hesitate to accept this
    commission; and I think I have made some improvements in a book
    good society seems to me to be eagerly expecting, here and
    elsewhere.

    “With my mind full of the strange details contained in these
    Memoirs, I cannot help looking upon the prodigious noise such
    revelations will make in the world as _a great political
    event_; and I ask myself if I should not be doing a good
    action in endeavouring to find some means for bringing about
    conciliation and peace.

    “There is no room for doubt, monseigneur, that milady, by the
    advice of her lawyers, will find herself obliged to prove,
    by numberless traits, character and conduct that the inhuman
    father, by whom she was forsaken, made the criminal exchange
    for his _own immoral ends_. After this, we shall see this
    father, already so notorious, handed over to the judgment
    of all Europe. As to the gist of the principal question,
    monseigneur, you must already know everything. You know of
    Lorenzo Chiappini’s clear statement, made but a few moments
    before his death; you know of the numerous depositions of so
    many candid and unexceptionable witnesses; you know of the
    solemn decree of the august Tribunal which restored to Maria
    Stella her original position, and as a consequence, her rights.

    “From the moment that striking judgment was pronounced, milady
    was enabled fearlessly to sign herself _née de Joinville_; and
    we have no other Joinvilles but the Princes of the House of
    Orleans.

    “The documents obtained in Italy are already very
    considerable; those discovered in France are not less so; and
    the two journeys in Italy are proved.

    “To these remarkable details I beg your Highness to be pleased
    to add the following facts.

    “Milady’s profile is extraordinarily like that of Madame la
    Dauphine; seen at three-quarters her face is the image of that
    of Mademoiselle d’Orléans, etc. Lord Newborough, her eldest
    son, bears so strong a resemblance to Louis XIV, and her second
    son, M. Chevalier Wins (_sic_) to the late Comte de Beaujolais,
    that the artists are amazed.

    “And now, monseigneur, I will add, by your gracious permission,
    a fact which is as extraordinary and seems miraculous; the
    two brothers Chiappini, each the image of his father, have
    the honour of resembling you. The inhabitants of Florence and
    Modigliana are all agreed on this point.

    “I have given you but a short summary of this important
    affair, known to no one better than to myself since I have had
    everything under my own eyes.

    “My great respect for the name of Bourbon leads me to hope
    that confidential matter of this kind may not be told in
    the market-place, to become the fable or the romance of all
    parties. With all my heart I desire that the life of our
    beloved Duc de Bordeaux may be spared; but if, by a stroke of
    fate, that fragile olive-branch were snatched from France, the
    Salic Law would call your children to the throne, and it might
    be painful, perhaps dangerous, for them not to have public
    opinion with them.

    “You anticipate, monseigneur, what would be my respectful
    advice, and I beg you to see in my action no motives but those
    dictated by kindness, wisdom and prudence.

    “The excellent milady, who admires my works, has favoured their
    author with her partial confidence; but I have the honour of
    writing to you without her knowledge.

    “I wish to help her to the ease of mind so astounding a trial
    could not fail to destroy; and, if you have sufficient trust in
    me to accept me as intermediary, I feel a secret presentiment
    that I shall be able to induce her to make peace.

    “I am a daily witness of her respect and admiration for Louis
    XIV, Henri IV, etc., whom she looks upon as her ancestors; but
    I know, too, that she adores her beloved Edward, her youngest
    son, from whom she has been cruelly separated; and by this very
    natural way I think I may reach her heart.

    “If so, I shall rejoice at having restored her to life and
    peace, and to have spared you, monseigneur, an unpleasant
    dispute through which your children, sooner or later, must have
    suffered.

    “Allow me with the greatest respect to sign myself your Royal
    Highness’s very humble and obedient servant,

                                               “LAFONT D’AUSSONNE.”

All this inspired me with invincible dread of a man who, like so many
others, thus played me false. To escape his snares I began by politely
refusing to see him; then, under various pretexts, I asked him to
send back my books and papers, and tried to make him understand my
very natural apprehensions. His letters will prove the accuracy of my
statements—

    1st. “Madame, I have the honour to return you the books
    relating to the great affair. I will also collect the papers
    you ask for and this evening you shall receive them in a sealed
    parcel. I like to take back such important things myself.

    “For God’s sake don’t allow yourself to have any doubt of me or
    my doings. I am doing what is for the best, and for your sole
    and veritable benefit.

    “If I asked to see you for a moment, it was to tell you of
    a most important matter which has to do with what you were
    told in Italy—that a _French ecclesiastic knew a great secret
    concerning all this_.

    “While I write to you, a person in my confidence is taking the
    necessary steps for discovering what the Duke wishes to do as
    to the matter about which I wrote to him.

    “Rest assured, milady, that God decreed your acquaintance with
    me, and that you will never find another with a heart so good
    and large as mine, or so noble a probity.

    “But your misfortunes have naturally made you timid and
    suspicious, and you may feel quite certain that I am too
    reasonable to take offence. Your most respectful and devoted
    servant,” etc.

    2nd.—“Madame, What I told you in my letter of yesterday rests
    on the evidence of two persons, of whom one, aged and infirm,
    and of a timid and nervous disposition, has told me what she
    knows, and by her explanations has enabled me to explain to
    myself things which formerly did not sufficiently influence me,
    for I was the best friend and vindicator of _him who knew all_.

    “The other person, who is still alive, will play no part
    whatever in all this, so greatly does she dread the vengeance
    of the Duke of Orleans.

    “But I, who do not fear him, promise you that, if _we go on
    acting in unison_, I will state and proclaim everything.

    “How could you, madame, suppose for one moment that my actions
    concealed any plot—actions as clear as day?

    “After making a thorough examination of your case, I perceived
    many probabilities, but, unfortunately, not enough proofs; and
    that is why, as an honourable and kindly man, I advised you to
    consent to a compromise, supposing your wealthy adversary able
    to make up his mind to a sacrifice.

    “In this way you would have gained an increase of fortune
    to the benefit of your son, while the Prince, _real_ or
    _supposed_, would have retained the votes and the respect of
    the common people which your Memoirs and the noise of the trial
    must inevitably have lost for him.

    “No, milady, Mme. Fleury and I have not joined in any plot
    against you; since that wicked Irishwoman wanted the Duke to
    crush you by his power without giving you anything out of his
    riches; while what I desire is that if he and you come to some
    arrangement, he shall make over to you a considerable sum.

    “The letter I sent him is surely proof enough of that.

    “Is that letter, wherein I made such outspoken and humiliating
    statements, nothing in your eyes? Is that possible? And what
    can I do, Madame, to prove to you my sincerity and integrity?

    “Oh! what a lesson for me!

    “I must end here a letter I did not think to make so long.

    “I have served you zealously, milady; and I don’t regret it,
    for I believe your cause to be a just one in the sight of God
    and of nature.

    “I withdraw without resentment, although I am much hurt by the
    insult offered to me.

    “If the Duke comes to know what has taken place, he will be
    much rejoiced, for he dreads my pen and the strength of my
    writings.

    “With all respect, madame,” etc.

In spite of all these protestations, he could not win back my confidence,
and I would have nothing more to do with him.

Mills’s sister-in-law was still with me; but for the last few days I had
noticed a complete change in her for which I could not account and which
she would explain to me only by pleading indisposition.

One morning her younger sister made her appearance and told me she wished
to take her sister back with her to stay while the carnival lasted, as
while she was with me she had no chance of enjoying the entertainments
connected with it.

Glad of this opportunity, I replied at once—

“With pleasure; I should be very sorry to put her out. Let her stay at
home as long as she likes.”

The two ungrateful creatures went off at once to collect the munificent
gifts I had made them, packed up their parcels, and, from that moment,
never once took the trouble to inquire after me.

I saw at last—but too late—what sort of family this was, and to what a
set of people I had so generously given myself over.

It was only with the greatest difficulty that I managed to get a
statement of my accounts, and when I did receive it, I found myself
finely tricked!

For a few private consultations of no importance, and a few drives about
Paris, the considerate lawyer was content with asking me the _bagatelle_
of 6000 francs; _inadvertently_ indebted me with £300 sterling, and
exacted the rigorous payment to him of interest for which he had promised
I should not be liable!

I held my tongue, hoping he would not force me to divulge what I knew of
myself or had heard spoken of.

My eldest son had known him better than I did; he wrote later to me from
Marseilles that he had always had strong suspicions about him and had
never ceased to look upon him as a professional humbug.

This letter from the young Lord Newborough, as well as showing the
great affection he had for me, gave me besides two strong grounds for
consolation in the midst of my trouble, by assuring me of the restoration
of his own health and of his undying attachment to my dear Edward.… I
knew that for some time he had been suffering from a weak lung, and
remembering his antecedents, I had felt grave fears; on the other hand,
the future of my third son was a source of painful anxiety to me.

But his kind brother did away with all my troubles on both matters by
telling me that the mild climate of southern Europe had quite restored
his strength, and by asking me to tell Edward that he could henceforth
look upon Glynllifon Castle as his own house.

Could anything be sweeter to the heart of a loving mother? And it was not
the only sign of filial love that came to ease my mind. The youngest of
my children never failed from time to time to send me the expression of
his ardent love for me. This is one of his recent letters—

“I am delighted to see that our _great affair_ is beginning to get
cleared up and looks so well. I wish with all my heart that it may go in
our favour, and that you may at last be able to enjoy some compensation
for the vicissitudes and cares and worries which you have had to bear for
the last seven or eight years.

“Believe me, my dear mother, my most earnest prayer is that I may see you
win the victory in a trial you have so much at heart and which so nearly
concerns our family and your name, etc.”



XI

    The Cause of my Delay—My Trustfulness—Louis-Philippe, Duke
    of Orleans—Louis-Philippe-Joseph, his Son—Chief Vices of
    the Last—Bad Son—Bad Husband—Bad Father Bad Friend—Bad
    Citizen—Consequent Results.


I ask my readers to forgive me for having so long entertained them with
so many tiresome details. I had no thought at first of doing so, but the
recent attempts at the most impudent frauds[17] have more and more fully
convinced me that I cannot make too well known the various events which
have brought about the deferring of my just claims.

And if my silence since I succeeded in getting back my deeds from the
hateful Cooper causes some surprise, it must be told that they were
hardly once more in my possession before I handed them over to a lawyer
of reputation, who, after keeping them a couple of months, wrote to me
that, before definitely undertaking my case, he wished, through the
medium of M. de Broval or M. Dupin,[18] to get leave to make researches
in the archives of the house of Orleans.

“The result of this step,” he said, “would be decisive, and, when it had
been taken, we could decide as to the following up or the relinquishing
of the trial.”

It will be believed that I could not consent to be thus put at the mercy
of my adversary. I asked for the return of my papers; but once more I
could not get them without the payment of 100 francs for the time my
_comic_ lawyer had thought good to make me lose.

I then decided to have recourse to one of those _colossal celebrities_
whose sublime eminence seems to place them so high above the fatal bait
of bribes;[19] and these were at first his fine promises—

    “Madame la Baronne, I have not yet been able to examine the
    papers you were kind enough to send me. I propose to devote the
    whole day to them to-morrow, and I will at once give you my
    opinion on this _important_ business.

    “Pray accept, madame, the humble respects of your obedient
    servant,

                                                            “B. F.”

Who could believe that more than fifty days after I received this letter,
my packet had not even been opened, and that the _important_ business
rested in oblivion?

At last I put it into the hands of a man whose excellent references
proved him worthy of my confidence; he will not abuse it, and most
certainly neither he nor those he will employ in my service will behave
like those who, acting for me in the Cooper business, so cruelly ground
me down.

Yes, I hope Providence has not quite forsaken me, and that the day of
victory will come; the many valuable discoveries the base machinations of
my enemies have been unable to prevent me making, vouch for it, and give
me confidence amidst my many tribulations. Kindly lend me your ears still.

In 1773, at the time of the infamous substitution, these were the members
of the house of Orleans.

The Prince of that name was Louis-Philippe, who married first
Louise-Henriette de Bourbon-Conti, and, secondly, Madame de Montesson;
but this last union was always kept secret.

Of the first marriage was born Louis-Philippe-Joseph, then commonly
called Duc de Chartres, who, in his turn, became Duke of Orleans, a title
he gave up later to assume the ludicrous nickname of Egalité, under which
he made himself so ignominiously notorious. He had married Mademoiselle
Louise Marie Adélaïde, daughter of the Duc de Bourbon Penthièvre, who
died in 1821, under the name of the Dowager Duchess of Orleans.

Louis-Philippe-Joseph is precisely the person who, according to a host of
admitted facts, _seems_ to us to have been the guilty perpetrator of the
criminal exchange; I say _seems_, for submitting beforehand to the final
decision of my judges, I will do nothing to prejudice it.

I will not say, with the historians of his life,[20] that the Duc de
Chartres, when scarcely out of his boyhood, showed the most depraved
tastes, and took no pleasure but in wickedness.

I will not say that from his youth upwards his degrading vices made him
the object of universal contempt, and ended by earning for him the vilest
names.

I will not repeat that in his inextinguishable passion for riches he was
not afraid to show the greatest impatience at the prolongation of his
father’s life; that, not satisfied with degrading himself, he was willing
publicly to dishonour her who had borne him in her bosom, and shamelessly
forswore his glorious descent from the most august blood.

I will not repeat that his wife had the constant affliction of finding
her efforts to lead him into the ways of a wise moderation quite useless,
and that she had to endure hardships of all sorts from a husband both
hard and unfaithful.

I will not repeat that he pitilessly sent the sad fruits of his
profligacy to the asylum for the poor, and that his legitimate children,
given over very early into the hands of strangers, were never the objects
of his care, seldom of his endearments.

[Illustration: THE DUCHESS OF ORLEANS

LOUISE MARIE ADÉLAÏDE DE BOURBON-PENTHIÈVRE WIFE OF PHILIPPE-ÉGALITÉ]

I will not repeat that, bad son, bad husband, bad father, he could not
fail to be a bad friend, and that many of his confidants were the victims
of his perfidy or his rage.[21]

I will not repeat that his presumptuous rebellion, his implacable
hatred for the best of kings; the murderous outcries against him he so
shamelessly raised, and which, even in his own eyes, proved him the
most hateful of citizens, forced from him that admission, as true as
humiliating, “I would as soon be guillotined as banished, for where is
the country that would receive me?”

But no more—for I blush as I write these lines and my heart bleeds with
shame!

Besides, does it need more to represent the man we have just described as
quite capable of the crime we think we have the right to impute to him?

Still, we admit that the reality of a thing cannot be deduced from its
mere possibility, so we will enforce it by arguments of quite another
nature.



XII

    An Incontestable Principle—Title and Fief of Joinville—Travels
    under that Name—The Comte’s Titles—His Description—His
    Character—Deposition of the Signora Galuppi-Toschi—Certificate
    of the Conte Falopio—That of the Priest Carlo Brunone—Letter
    from Baron Vincy—Attestation of M. D.—Summary.


Identity of name, title, description, character, position, time and
place, are doubtless enough to establish identity of person, or nothing
would be able to prove it.

Let us apply this clear principle to the matter in hand, and it will end
in proof.

1st. _The name._ Let us remember that the chief agent of the hateful
substitution was a Frenchman called Louis, Comte de Joinville. Now, as
history and the whole of the aristocracy are silent on the matter, we
cannot even imagine that this title in 1773 belonged to any one not of
the Orleans family. Let us see if it could then be found _in_ that family.

The Fief of Joinville, raised to a barony at the beginning of the
eleventh century, and to a principality under Henri II, after passing
successively to several lords, had at last fallen into the female line by
the death, on March 16, 1675, of the Duc de Guiche, Prince de Joinville;
and _Mademoiselle_, the daughter of Gaston de France, having inherited
it in her own right from her maternal grandmother, Catherine-Henriette
de Joyeuse, Duchesse de Guise, left it by will to her cousin-german,
Philippe de France, _Monsieur_, only brother of Louis XIV, and head of
the Orleans branch. Whence it follows that this principality is actually
patrimonial in that family, and that the Duc de Chartres, son of its
chief, had the right to call himself by that name.

I say more: open the books written about him, and the frontispiece will
show that he was not only Duc de Valois, de Nemours, de Montpensier,
d’Etampes, but also Comte de Beaujolais, de _Joinville_, de Vermandois,
and de Soïssons.[22]

I say still more: that is precisely the name under which he and his wife
were accustomed to travel.

In 1778 she assumed it to go to Holland; he had taken it in 1777 to
visit the Netherlands; the year before it was the title borne by the
Duchess during the whole of her tour in Italy;[23] and to speak only of
the year of the exchange, the newspapers of the day forbid any doubt
that, under that name, and in the summer, the Duke had made a pretty
long journey.[24] And worthy witnesses, whose valuable evidence we shall
presently quote, declare that the august couple bore that title precisely
at the time of the exchange and in the very districts where this horrible
agreement was made.[25]

2nd. _The Rank._ According to the decree of Faenza, the Comte de
Joinville was a French nobleman; almost all the witnesses testified to
his being rich and powerful, and if we may believe the evidence of one
who ought to have known more than any one else, since he had it direct
from the man who no doubt had categorically interrogated the Comte
after his arrest at Brisighella—he was nothing less than a _prince in
disguise_.[26]

It will be remembered, too, that having been led before the
Cardinal-Legate at Ravenna, the Cardinal, on recognizing him, welcomed
him warmly, affectionately embraced him, and at once set him entirely at
liberty.

Now, it must be pointed out that the etiquette of the Roman Church is
that Cardinals must embrace only the members of reigning houses, and it
could have been only the consideration due to so august a rank that could
have cut short the prosecution already set on foot by the inexorable
agents of the Inquisition.

Now, supposing the titles of _Comte de Joinville, a great French nobleman
belonging in 1773 to a reigning family_ to be united in a single person,
who would not at once recognize Louis-Philippe-Joseph?

3rd. _The Description._ The Comte de Joinville, the Italian witnesses
tell us, had a fine figure; he was rather stout, had a brownish
complexion, a red and pimply nose, and splendid legs.

But is not this the exact description of the Duc de Chartres as given me
by the Abbé de Saint-Fare, who was his natural brother? A description
agreeing completely with that of all who knew him. Here is one among many
written by a man who had, so to speak, always lived with him—

“Louis-Philippe-Joseph was a fine man in every sense of the word. His
figure, of more than middle height, was gracefully and faultlessly
proportioned. The lower part of his body, from the waist downwards, could
not have been better made; the rest was rather heavy, but this stoutness
was not ungraceful.

“As a result of his debauches, his nose and the lower part of his
forehead were covered with small red pimples; and this sort of mask,
which in fact disfigured him, but which he owed to his dissolute life
and not to nature, made many people say that his face was hideous.”[27]

4th. _Character._ The Comte de Joinville’s habits led him to extreme
familiarity with people of low condition, and to great generosity where
the success of his ambitious projects was concerned; the positive
evidence of witnesses, his sudden intimacy with the jailer, and the
presents he made him, leave no room for doubt on that question. But by
these signs how can we do anything but believe in the portrait drawn by
all historians alike of the Duc de Chartres?

“He loved,” they say, “to mix with the crowd, and was never so happy as
when he was able to cast off restraint and etiquette; he had a lively and
caustic wit, liked to banter his inferiors, and showed no displeasure
at their bantering him. Despite the avarice of which he gave so many
proofs, which went so far as to make him say that ‘a crown in his pocket
was worth more to him than all public esteem,’ he made no difficulty in
scattering his sordid gains with profusion, either to obtain nominations
to the States-General or to gain the affection of the great nation he
wished to captivate.”[28]

5th. _The Circumstances._ We have seen that the Comte de Joinville had
some reason to fear that his wife would never give him a male child,
and that, in that case, he was afraid of losing a great inheritance
absolutely depending on the birth of a son.

Now all the world knows that, in 1773, the Duchesse de Chartres, though
in the full bloom of her radiant youth, had, in the four years of her
marriage, borne only one daughter, who died at birth on the 10th of
October, 1771.[29]

Her ambitious and covetous husband must therefore have greatly dreaded
not only the fading away of his flattering hope of winning for his line
the good graces of his compatriots, so as to obtain from them the _happy
transference_ of that crown of France, the object of so many longings,
so many intrigues, so many secret manœuvres—it may be obscure crimes—but
also to fail in concentrating on his family the whole affection of
his father-in-law, the richest of princes, who, still only forty-eight
years old, had, since the death of his wife,[30] pretty often shown his
intention of contracting a second alliance.[31]

Here again, one feels, the identity is absolute. Finally, let us come
to the point which seems to us to sum up everything, and is the most
important and the best proved of all.

6th. _The Time and Place._ It was in the spring of the year 1773 that on
the heights of the Apennines and in a diocese under the rule of the Papal
States, the Comte de Joinville, by means of a most atrocious agreement,
succeeded in securing an heir to his name and his lofty hopes.

Can it be true that Louis-Philippe-Joseph and his wife were actually in
those districts at that time?

Let us boldly declare that there is no doubt about it.

During my stay at Genoa I learnt that at Reggio there lived a lady
formerly in the service of the d’Este family, and who had heard the
mysterious journey spoken of.

It will be easily believed that I lost no time in writing to her, and in
her turn she made no delay in answering my questions, and assured me she
would willingly testify, in a Court of Law if necessary, to everything
she had told me.

Delighted at this promise, I gave my orders so as to make sure of a
properly drawn-up document.

I chose my lawyer; a proxy was appointed for the Comte and Comtesse de
Joinville and any other person absent interested in the case.

In a word, all preliminary formalities having been duly performed, the
interrogation was carried out, _in consideration of her circumstances_,
at the lady’s own house.

After having sworn to speak the whole truth, and being questioned as to
the reason of her appearance, her age, her domicile, and her memory, she
answered—

“It is in order to obey the command I have legally received from M. le
Président that I have consented to this examination. I am sixty-four
years old; I live at Reggio, my native town, and I was actually born in
the palace of S. A. S. the Duchess Maria-Teresa Cybo d’Este, where my
late father, Josophat Galuppi, held the post of auditor of accounts and
wardrobe keeper to the Duke Francesco.

“My memory is very good, and I have a clear recollection of things that
happened in my young days.”

Asked as to whether, while the aforesaid Duchess was living at Reggio, a
certain remarkable prince and princess had come there, she answered—

“During the year 1773, and, it seems to me, in the late spring, their
Royal Highnesses the Duc Louis-Philippe de Chartres and his wife, the
Duchesse Louise-Marie, passed through this town, on their way, I think,
from the Papal States.

“I know this because I was present when Count Manetti, the Duchess
Maria-Teresa Cybo’s major-domo, was sent to the hotel to welcome the
aforesaid Prince and Princess and invite them to the Court. I know it
also because I was in a back room when Count Manetti came back, and I
quite distinctly heard him say that their Highnesses sent their thanks,
but could not accept the invitation, partly because of the incognito
they wanted to preserve, as they were travelling under the name of the
_Comtes de Joinville, French_, and partly because of the short time they
were staying.”

Questioned as to whether she knew of any visit of this Prince and this
Princess of Chartres to the town at any other time than the above, she
answered—

“In 1776, just at the time of the fair in the month of May and when
several other princes were also at Reggio, this same Princesse
Louise-Marie de Chartres arrived in this town and stayed here till June.
She lived in the Giucciardi Palace which my father had got ready for her
by order of the Duke Francesco. This time I saw her come to the Court
where I was then living. When she came, every one told me she was the
Duchesse de Chartres, and it was as such that she was known and saluted
by all persons of distinction.”

After these questions the examination was gone over again in the order of
the records of the trial which the notary public read to this valuable
witness, who said—

On the first: “It is quite true that during the spring of the year
1773 their Serene Highnesses the Duc Louis-Philippe de Chartres and the
Duchesse Louise-Marie, his wife, passed through Reggio on their way from
the Papal States; and that the same Princess in 1776, with other Princes,
came to the fair being held at Reggio in the month of May.”

On the second: “It is equally true that the aforesaid Prince and Princess
were travelling _incognito_ and with a small suite, and called themselves
the _Comte and Comtesse de Joinville_.”

On the third: “It is also the absolute truth that at the news of their
arrival in Reggio, the Duchess Maria-Teresa Cybo d’Este sent her
major-domo, Count Manetti, to welcome these illustrious personages and
to ask them to come to Court. But they did not accept the invitation,
alleging the _strict incognito they were keeping_, and the preparations
already made for an early departure. And all this I know for the reasons
already given.”

Finally, to other minor questions put to her she gave pertinent answers:
that she professed the Catholic religion; that she married the noble
Signore Maria-Toschi of Reggio; that she was not a relation of mine, nor
connected with me in any way; that her statement had not been prompted
by any one, and that she had been guided solely by her love of right and
justice.

Her deposition having been read, she ratified it and confirmed it by her
signature.

In the letter she did me the honour of writing to me she mentions two
things omitted in the interrogatory: i.e. _that the answer given to the
Count Manetti had often since been repeated to her by the people about
the Court, and that the illustrious travellers, after spending the night
in the hotel they had come to, left very early the next morning_.

After such satisfactory evidence as this I sought further, and found
means for fully corroborating it.

First, this is the declaration of one who occupies a very distinguished
position—

    “To give homage to truth, I testify to the whole world that
    towards the spring or the beginning of summer, of either the
    year 1772 or 1773—I am not sure which, but I am certain that it
    was either one or the other—his Royal Highness, the Duke of
    Orleans, passed through Reggio, where he slept one night, and
    I remember his appearance perfectly. _Of middle height, rather
    stout; a full face that looked as if it were pitted with the
    small-pox, pimply; a red nose, and rings in his ears_:

    “This highly respectable personage was travelling incognito
    with a woman who was said to be his wife, and under the name
    of the Comte _de Joinville_. I can all the better attest and
    confirm this fact to any one, let him be who he may, because at
    that time I was at the Court of Modena and in the service of
    his Serene Highness, Ercole III of glorious memory.

    “In testimony whereof I affix to my signature the arms of my
    family.

                               “BERNADIN GRILENZONE-FALOPIO,

                         “Chamberlain to his Imperial Highness, the
                                         Archduke of Austria, etc.”

In support of these conclusive declarations there is also the following—

    “The undersigned, of the town of Alessandria in Piédmont, where
    he resides; sixty-seven years of age; formerly professor of
    rhetoric, pensioned by his Majesty the King of Sardinia after
    having served forty years; being still quite sound in mind,
    recollects, as well as if it had taken place yesterday, and
    is ready to take his oath that it was about fifty years ago,
    though on account of the lapse of time he cannot absolutely
    swear to the year, that with his own eyes he saw the Duke of
    Orleans, who then bore the title of Duc de Chartres, pass
    through Alessandria, coming from Italy and going towards
    Piédmont.

    “In proof whereof he declares that he saw him in his barouche
    which, with his large suite, waited more than half-an-hour
    before the Countess Govone’s palace, a short distance from the
    post-house, for what reason nobody knew.

    “The undersigned stopped about the same length of time, and
    remembers that it was in the morning, but has only a faint
    recollection of the features of this nobleman. He feels certain
    it was in the summer, and affirms that this is the exact,
    unalloyed and whole truth.

    “In testimony whereof he will affix his signature to it in
    order that it may serve as an authentic and historical document.

                                   “Alessandria, December 17, 1824.

                                  “The Priest, CARLO BRUNONE, etc.”

M. le Baron de Vincy de la B., in a letter he was so good as to write me
lately, declares in set terms that “_being in the bosom of his family in
1773, news was spread about in the country that the Duc de Chartres had
passed through Berne under the name of Monsieur le Comte de Joinville_.”

Which, according to the reiterated assertions of d’Alquier-Caze,[32]
would seem to prove that the Prince crossed Switzerland either in going
to Italy or on his return.

And finally, M. D., formerly attached to the Orleans family, testifies
that the late _Madame the Dowager-Duchess had made one journey to beyond
the Alps before that of 1776_; and though he only dimly remembers that
it was in 1773, he knows for certain that the incognito name was that of
Comtesse Joinville, etc.

Therefore, to sum up, between Louis-Philippe-Joseph, Duc de Chartres,
and Louis, Comte de Joinville, perpetrator of the shameful substitution,
there is no difference; everything about them is identical, everything
proves, everything shows them to be the same person, one and the same
individual.



XIII

    Circumstances in my Favour—Incognito of the Princes—The Journey
    of 1776—Extraordinary Precautions—The Duke’s Attention to his
    Wife—Sudden Alteration—Delivery of the Princess—Complaisant
    Witnesses—Parliament Absent—Dread of Self-betrayal—Secret
    Sorrows—Mutual Indifference—Speech of Louis XVI—Others made by
    d’Orléans—Striking Resemblances—Important Traces.


My task would doubtless be finished if there were no question but of
inspiring confidence and giving conviction; but when I think of the
advantageous position of him I am going to fight, can I be too anxious to
equip myself with weapons and support?

Let us therefore consider certain circumstances which furnish us with
further arguments in our favour.

1st.—When, wishing to rid those who will receive him of the strict
rules of a tiresome etiquette, a prince resolves to travel under the
little-known name of one of his estates, he takes care to make public
his voluntary metamorphosis, so that, under the borrowed title, none
will fail to recognize him who bears it for the moment; and, far from
avoiding the palaces of kings, he visits them in order to enjoy their
delights more at his ease.

As an instance, let us take the journey of 1776.

Madame de Chartres, having accompanied her husband to Toulon, where he
was to embark for his campaign at sea, resolved to visit the Peninsula,
without having previously obtained the permission of the Court.[33]

Surely she ought to have taken every care to conceal this _freak_, for
which she expected to be banished at least.[34]

Despite this fear, she had it pompously announced that she should travel
under the name of Comtesse de Joinville, published her itinerary, showed
herself everywhere in public, and everywhere accepted the homage paid to
her.[35]

Why, then, was nothing of all this done three years earlier? Why this
profound silence, this impenetrable mystery? Why the _secret incognito_,
as the witnesses call it? Why did the Duke and Duchess wish to remain
unknown, even to the extent of going to an inn, in a town over which
their nearest relations reigned,[36] and preferring to pass the night at
a hotel rather than accept the invitation sent them to come to Court?

Do not these precautions, this secrecy, point to the committing of a
crime, and a crime still far more heinous than that of disregarding the
deference due to one’s sovereign?

But let us ask, what was that crime?

Point it out to us!

In Heaven’s name, could we be told of any other but that very one with
which so many incontestable proofs have made us acquainted?

2nd.—During his wife’s first pregnancy, the Duc de Chartres never left
her side, redoubled his endearments as her time approached, gave up his
former evil courses and behaved to the Princess in the most exemplary
manner. “Which,” says a writer, “gave immense delight to the Duke of
Orleans, and still more to M. le Duc de Penthièvre.”[37]

True to this way of behaving, in 1773, he did not leave the Duchess
during the months preceding my birth; the most he did was to take a
short journey to Chanteloup to see the Duc de Choiseul;[38] while after
the month of April it was nothing but a series of absences on his part,
excursion upon excursion, journey upon journey;[39] and, so far from
exercising any restraint, or restricting himself in any way, he spent
the whole day with jugglers and pickpockets, cast about for new ways
of sinning, and carried his excesses and debauchery to such a pitch as
to amaze and shock the by no means susceptible servants of the Palais
Royal.[40]

What are we to conclude from so great and sudden a change?

One of two things: either that the Duchess was no longer _enceinte_, or
that the Duke had ceased to care about the child she might give him.

This second hypothesis is evidently inadmissible, especially when we
remember that the stillbirth of 1771 must naturally fill his ambitious
spirit with the gravest fears.

And if he had become so indifferent to the birth of a firstborn, why, six
years later, did he express such delight on finding himself the father of
a third son?

We must perforce come back to the first supposition, and acknowledge the
delivery of the Princess as already accomplished; which entirely agrees
with the account of certain inhabitants of Forges,[41] who state that she
left their town towards the end of July 1772, with all the signs of the
beginning of a pregnancy which would naturally find its termination in
the following April.

But if she was no longer _enceinte_ in April 1773, was it not impossible
that on the 6th of October of the same year she should have given birth
to the _Duc de Valois_?[42]

What is told about the time of that confinement is therefore a fable, and
a fable of which my story alone explains the motive.

3rd.—It is evident that this event, which was said to have happened five
and a half months after I was exchanged, required no precautions if it
was a reality; but, on the other hand, very many if it was a pretence.

Accordingly, it was not in the parish church and in public, nor even in
the Palais-Royal Chapel, but in some unascertained spot in that dwelling,
that the child, born, it was said, at three o’clock in the morning,
was privately baptized in the presence of two obscure witnesses in the
service of the Orleans family. No Minister of the King’s, no Gentleman of
the Court was to be seen; in a word, no one was there of whose devotion
there could be any doubt.

And that is not all; in the _Gazette de Modène_, called _Le Messager_,
No. 44, Nov. 3, 1773, we read under date of Paris, October 11—

“Every one knows that here, on the birth of sons of the royal blood,
a report is drawn up in evidence, in the presence of Parliamentary
Commissioners who sign it.

“This formality was neglected in the case of the Duc de Valois, and all
that was done was to add to the report made on the occasion the words,
_Parliament absent_.

“The report was presented to the King for his signature, and it is said
that, paying no attention to these words, his Majesty at once signed it.”

But the thing, according to the journal we quote, seemed so astonishing
that the public, not understanding it, thought to discover in it a sign
foretelling very great political events.

4th.—The journey of 1776 had been long planned, and even before leaving
Paris there was a positive intention of carrying it out.[43]

Nevertheless it was only in a letter dated from Antibes that the Duchess
told the King of her plan, assuring him there had been no premeditation,
and alleging, as excuses, her wish to see her grandfather, the Duke of
Modena.[44]

But why was this excellent excuse sent from afar; why not dare to give it
in person; why put oneself under the sad necessity of lying about it?

Ah! no doubt one feared for one’s own countenance; one feared to blush in
speaking the word _travel_, and, above all, the name of Italy; one might
dread the withering look of a sovereign to whom indiscreet tongues might
already have revealed everything.

5th.—On her return from this same journey, the Princess had hardly
crossed the boundary of her own country when, as reported by Mme. de
Genlis, _she burst into tears_.[45]

Now, these tears, after a short and voluntary absence, a simple
pleasure-trip, would surely have been senseless tears if they were caused
by nothing, as pretends our _veracious_ historian, but joy at being once
more on French soil.

Would it not be more natural, more reasonable, to attribute them to
importunate memories, for ever connected with the country just left?

6th.—M. Delille, the Dowager’s private secretary, tells us in his
journal[46] that this lady _confided to her father-in-law hidden troubles
which she dared not reveal to the Duc de Penthièvre for fear of grieving
him too greatly_.

Can it be said that this refers to the grief caused to the Duchess by her
husband’s misconduct?

Alas! there was no secret about that; everything was but too well and
publicly known; and it is to be supposed that Madame de Chartres would
have preferred going for comfort to her virtuous father to complaining
about it to the Duke of Orleans, who, in such matters, was no more
blameless than his son.

These hidden troubles, requiring so much discretion, must therefore have
been of quite another nature, and arose from a different cause.

7th.—The sensitive Princess could never reconcile herself to seeing her
children given over to the management of a _governess_. Her complaints
never ceased; over and over again she made warm and urgent protests.[47]

Yet who would believe it? These cares and anxieties had nothing to do
with the one of her sons who, by right of primogeniture, would have
seemed most likely to be most dear to her.

If he informs her that he will be much away with his _friend_,[48] _she
is quite willing; assures him that what suits him will always suit her,
and tells him that she does not want to restrain him in any way_.[49]

Whence arose such indifference in a heart otherwise so warm?

And, on the other side, could real filial love, the love nature must
perforce create, exist in one who thought himself lucky that he was not
obliged to go to see his _mother_ more than twice a week,[50] and whose
affection for his governess was so far greater than that he felt for _his
own parents_?[51]

8th.—His reputation having become somewhat inconvenient,
Louis-Philippe-Joseph, in 1782, went to Versailles to ask permission from
Louis XVI to absent himself.

“The King,” writes an historian, “received him rather coldly, and
answered him in words to this effect—

“_I have a Dauphin; Madame may perhaps be enceinte; Monsieur le Comte
d’Artois has several children. You can do as you please. I do not see in
what way you can be of use to the country; so go when you like and return
when it seems good to you._”

Why this momentary silence and thoughtfulness, if it were not to remember
a fact about to be the object of veiled rebuke from august lips? And what
fact? What cause for so severe a reprimand?

According to all evidence it related to the _paternity_ of the traveller,
and to the dangers with which his absence might have threatened the
succession to the crown if it had not been for the existence of several
children of the elder branch.

Who would not feel sure that the monarch, knowing of the whole adventure,
took this opportunity of moving the culprit to shame and repentance?

9th.—The Convention, after the defection of Dumouriez, having, at its
sitting of the 4th of April, 1793, ordered that the citizens Egalité and
Sillery were to be watched, Sillery mounted the tribune and stammered out
these words: “If my son-in-law is guilty, he ought to be punished; _I
remember Brutus_ and his sentence on his own son, and I will imitate him.”

Then came Orleans, and, as he gazed at the bust of the First Roman
Consul, he, too, said, “If I am guilty, needless to say, my head should
fall; if my son is—I do not believe it, but, if he is,[52] _I, too,
remember Brutus_.”

These horrible words, from which Nature revolts from the lips of a
father, can be well believed from those of a _complaisant_ husband;[53]
but could the well-known virtue of Madame la Duchesse allow of such an
explanation relative to her husband?[54]

To all these forcible arguments may be added one already mentioned, and
which, after all that precede it, would be too extraordinary if it were
the effect of pure chance.

I speak of the resemblance.

That of the present Duke to the various members of his supposed family
is absolutely non-existent,[55] while he has all Chiappini’s features:
loose-hung jaw; tanned complexion; brown eyes; black hair; slightly
crooked legs, etc.

As for myself, I can proudly boast that I have nothing in common with the
former jailer; but every one is struck by the many points of resemblance
seen between Mademoiselle d’Orléans and me—manners, tone of voice,
physique, shape and colour of face, all identical.

I have the honour of bearing on my body certain marks distinguishing the
late Dowager; at first sight her handwriting and mine display the most
astounding similarity of character.

We need not add that whoever knows the history of Louis-Philippe-Joseph
must have already discovered the disastrous source of the maladies I
have suffered from since my birth, and that I have so unfortunately
transmitted to my dear children, who themselves, in their turn, are the
perfect image of the illustrious ancestors that I hold myself right in
claiming.

What more could be wished for in the way of proof?

We must not lose sight of the fact that power and riches are two
great means of corruption; that their own chief interests forced the
perpetrators of the exchange to destroy as quickly as possible all
essential traces of the deed; that fear and cupidity indubitably kept
silent the greater number of witnesses, who, in any case, could not
be very many, since, in 1773, they were already of a certain age, and
fifty-seven years have gone by since then.

It must be remembered, also, that during this lengthy period took place
that revolutionary tempest which spared private rights no more than
public monuments.

Still, with lively gratitude, I say it once again, Providence has had
compassion on me, and my latest investigations have furnished me with
fresh pleas, which I feel I cannot with delicacy communicate to any one
but my judges.



XIV

    Objections and Answers—Chiappini’s Ignorance—Name of the Maker
    of the Exchange—Prolonged Pregnancy—Absence from Paris—Motive
    of the Second Journey—Birth of the Duc de Montpensier and
    the Comte de Beaujolais—Letter dated from Turin—Apparent
    Contradictions—Virtues of the Duchess.


In setting forth the strong arguments in my own favour, I have also
considered those that might be urged against me, and I hasten to answer
them.

1st. “In his letter Chiappini said that I was born in a position almost
similar to, but still lower than that given me by my marriage to Lord
Newborough. Yet how great a difference between them! How superior was
the first to the second, if I really had the honour of belonging to the
august house of Orleans.”

This mistake can be corrected in a few words.

Every one must see how extremely important it was to guard against any
indiscretion on the part of the jailer, perhaps even such involuntary
revelations as his pride in the lofty position of his son might draw from
him.

Every sort of precaution, therefore, was taken to keep him in ignorance
of the exalted rank of the Sieur de Joinville, whom he never knew but as
a rich nobleman simply bearing the title of Count, a title so common in
Italy that no one pays any attention to it, so to speak.

It was by this title he must have called my true father, in order to do
away with milord’s constant suspicions, when he came to London; and my
husband, knowing more about the French nobility than he did, and having
a notion that I might have its blood in my veins, gave me his commands,
then so inconceivable, to avoid the great people of that nation,[56]
fearing, no doubt, that some unlooked-for circumstance might let me
discover my origin through them, which would infallibly have parted
me for ever from him whose only means of overcoming my insurmountable
repugnance was his perpetual references to the low estate from which he
claimed to have raised me.

2nd. “Does it not seem strange that the Duc de Chartres, anxious to
consign an atrocious crime to everlasting oblivion, should have assumed
a name belonging to his family, and one so easily recognizable?”

There is nothing to prove that when he first came to live at Modigliana,
under the name of Comte de Joinville, he had formed the fatal plan.
Perhaps the simultaneous pregnancy of his wife and Chiappini’s may have
really given him the first idea.

[Illustration: LOUIS-PHILIPPE, KING OF FRANCE]

But let us suppose, as is more probable, that this hateful plan had been
long made; how could he know what were the decrees of Providence?

The Duchess might just as well be about to give him a boy as a girl. In
that case, it would have been made public at once; Bishops, Cardinals,
the Pope himself, would have been informed of it; a courier would have
been dispatched to Versailles; the Prince and Princess would have excused
themselves at Court by saying that the reason of their secret journey
was to go to invoke the Virgin of Loretto for the granting of a happy
_accouchement_, which they had believed would not take place for some
months yet. Therefore a name not belonging to their family would not only
have made them look foolish, but might have led to their being accused of
falsehood, or have even given rise to legitimate suspicions.

3rd. “Why, even admitting the substitution, should the birth of the
supposed Prince not have been immediately made public? Why bring back to
France the reputed mother with the false appearances of a pregnancy which
was made to last some months longer?”

An invincible sense of shame must necessarily have prevented a course
which would infallibly have been taken in the absence of all fraud, under
the hypothesis of deceit.

Not only was self-betrayal to be dreaded, but some possible imprudent
talker; and after that there would be no way of concealing a secret that
the mere inspection of the infants must reveal to the least skilful
physiognomists.

The correctness of this conjecture was suddenly proved by experience;
there is some indiscreet talk, and, in spite of the determined silence
of the interested party, a little more and all would have been
discovered.[57]

Hence a thousand anxieties, a thousand cares;[58] hence the absolute
necessity of having recourse to expedients and thinking out new
stratagems; and hence, above all, the very natural idea of putting a long
interval between the real and the fictitious accouchement, so as to stop
tongues, and, if need arose, to fall back upon the difference in dates.

4th. “Is it absolutely certain that the accused Prince and Princess were
absent from Paris at the time of the exchange? The papers of the day seem
to show the contrary. Do they not report that the Duke was in the Chapel
Royal on April 8, being Holy Thursday; that, on the 13th of the following
May, he accompanied his Majesty to the great review of the troops on the
Plain of Sablons, and that in the month of June of that same year the
Duchess was seen at the opera?”

We could, no doubt, content ourselves with sending our readers back to
the unimpeachable testimony which has already vouched for the actual
fact,[59] without taking the trouble to reconcile it with the vague and
often incorrect assertions of many newspapers; but, for the sake of
fuller proof, we are willing to discuss the matter briefly.

As to the Duchess, it is incontestable that her absences after the
10th of October, 1771, were so lengthy and so mysterious that certain
historians, not knowing how to account for them, have maintained that
she stayed at the waters of Forges during two consecutive years; while
several eye-witnesses still living testify that she spent there only two
of what they call their seasons, of about three weeks each.

It was on the 16th of June, exactly two months after my birth[60]—a time
quite long enough for her return—that she was first seen at the opera.
Monseigneur the Dauphin and Madame la Dauphine were expected; and the
_Duchess de Chartres_, says a writer, “_had taken care to be in her box
before the arrival of the august couple_; so much was she in doubt as to
their demeanour towards her.”[61]

It is equally well known that the Duke was not in Paris towards the end
of May 1773, and that, failing him, recourse had to be had to the Princes
of the house of Condé to appear at the funeral-service for the King of
Sardinia celebrated at Notre-Dame.

The list of assistants at the Holy Thursday ceremonies and at the Sablons
review ought to be looked upon as mere official etiquette rather than
historical and accurate reports of events; the constant uniformity during
a long series of years to be noted is a convincing proof of this.

And even admitting that the Duc de Chartres was actually in Paris on Holy
Thursday 1773, what does that prove?

At most that he was not at Modigliana the following Friday, the day of my
birth.

But this, far from being against me, becomes, in a fashion, a presumption
in my favour, as being absolutely in accordance with the deposition of
the sisters Bandini, who swore to having seen the Sieur Joinville before
and after the exchange, but said nothing of his being there on the day it
was made.

What they said about that fatal day related to the Borghi family, the
two children, the two mothers, even to Chiappini; the Comte alone is not
mentioned.[62]

It might well be believed, then, that, the better to deceive inquiry,
after having sealed his infamous compact, he went back to Court to
perform his usual function at that sacred solemnity;[63] and, as he was
an expert traveller, and even able to drive a chariot himself, it would
have been still possible for him to start at once for the Apennines and
get back there during the five weeks between the 8th of April and the
13th of May.

5th. “Supposing the Duke and Duchess of Chartres to have been the
perpetrators of this abominable traffic, would the Duchess have returned
to Italy three years later? Would she have reappeared under the same name
of Comtesse Joinville and with such a display of luxury and magnificence?”

Although at the time the Prince and Princess must have suffered from
grave fears, they had, nevertheless, ground for hoping that influence and
money would, if necessary, be able to stifle the accusing voices of a few
poor and timid witnesses.

But could they be certain of equally good luck in the future?

Therefore it was necessary to think of and provide for everything. Well,
what more efficacious and advantageous way of doing this was there than
to put people on a wrong scent by confusing the dates? And supposing that
some unlucky echoes of the old rumours at Brisighella and Ravenna[64]
were still to be heard, what more likely to destroy them than boldness
and bravado? What more plausible, deluding and beguiling than a visit
in state after so short a lapse of time, a procedure which our opposers
think so improbable?

In this matter we feel that the objection absolutely contradicts itself.
Let us examine it in detail.

Nature does not easily give up its rights; it makes itself heard even in
the hardest hearts, and the heart of a mother cannot possibly remain deaf
to its mighty voice.

Therefore the Duchess’s whole mind is drawn and attracted to the spot
that holds the first-fruit of her maternity, and there is born in her the
ardent desire to turn her steps thither.

Despite _convenances_, despite obstacles, despite a thousand objections,
this desire must needs find fulfilment, with these two remarkable
circumstances: _i.e._[65] the first, that the Duke seems to have
consented to his wife’s request, only on the condition that she would
bind herself in a very special fashion to keeping the secret inviolable
by becoming a Freemason;[66] the second, that the arrival of the Princess
at Florence exactly coincides with the time when great influence must
have been used with regard to Chiappini, who was not only suddenly called
to fill a more honourable and lucrative post, but was admitted to some
sort of intimacy with his sovereign, who was good enough also to take a
quite wonderful interest in me.[67]

Among the patrimonial estates belonging to the Orleans family, that of
Joinville was the finest;[68] it was therefore the most natural name
to take for an incognito; to choose another might possibly serve to
increase the King’s displeasure and to awake dangerous suspicions.
Moreover, the correct pronunciation of the word is so strange to Italian
lips that it was hardly probable that the wretched inhabitants of
Modigliana would recognize it by the mere reading of the newspapers,
which the greater number of them never saw.[69]

Finally, if Madame de Chartres displayed such magnificence and brilliancy
in the places she condescended to visit, it was only to put every one on
the wrong scent and the better to convince them that she had absolutely
nothing to do with the simple and retiring lady so few people had seen
some years earlier.

6th. “Supposing that Louis-Philippe-Joseph had determined on the
substitution before his wife had given him a male child, would not the
subsequent births of the Duc de Montpensier and the Comte de Beaujolais
have induced him to make every effort to return the substituted child to
its real position?”

But, admitting in our turn the possibility of such a reparation, there
was always time enough to carry it out; and it was expedient to make sure
if the two first would live long; for, from their earliest years alarming
symptoms must have given rise to very sad and, alas! but too true
forebodings,[70] while the health of their _elder brother_ was so assured
and excellent that there was no need for fear about him.

A reputable personage wrote to us lately—

    “I have been carefully examining the portraits of the present
    Duke of Orleans and of his two brothers, the Duc de Montpensier
    and the Comte de Beaujolais. There is a striking contrast
    between that of the first and those of the two others. In
    fact, the Duke of Orleans has, as is well known, a strong
    constitution, a robust temperament, and is common-looking,
    having coarse features.

    “As for the two others, they look poor and weak in constitution
    and temperament, and of distinguished appearance, and bear no
    resemblance whatever to their brother,” etc.

7th. “The Comte de Joinville wrote from Turin that, ‘having lost the
substituted child, he no longer felt any scruples on his account.’[71]

“Would there be any meaning in such words from the lips of the Duc de
Chartres? Had he lost a single son in his life? Could this assertion
relate to the Duc de Valois, who is still alive?”

Let us recall for an instant the insatiable avidity of the Chiappinis,
and the whole difficulty will vanish. Is it not easy to believe that,
far from satisfied with the considerable sums they had received from
my father, and the annual pension handed over to them by the Countess
Borghi, they must have kept up an incessant demand for more? Tired of
the worry, Pompeo and his mother must themselves have begged the Comte
de Joinville to write them a letter which would thenceforth put a check
on the intolerable pestering of the _sbirro_ and his wife. The style,
the oddness, the curtness of this missive, all proclaim it the result of
an arrangement between the two noble families. As it might always be of
use, it was carefully preserved; the other portions of the correspondence
might have been compromising, and were perhaps destroyed on the very day
they were received.

8th. “According to the Signora Galuppi, the Duke and Duchess of Chartres
had but few of their people with them at Reggio;[72] how, then, did
the priest Brunone see them pass through Alessandria with a numerous
suite?”[73]

To dispose of this contradiction—in itself proof positive that there was
no plot or bribery—there are two ways of fully reconciling the double
evidence.

1st. The Signor Brunone, living in a town far from Court-doings, may well
have thought considerable what to a person living since her birth in a
royal residence seemed insignificant.

2nd. Who knows if the Duke, when he started, did not leave in the Alps
the greater number of the suite, which he took on again afterwards, so as
to destroy any sign of his having anything whatever to do with a man who
had been seen almost by himself on the other side of the mountains?

9th. “If it is easy enough to attack the memory of Louis-Philippe-Joseph,
who does not know with what just and profound veneration that of his
wife is looked upon, and which must, nevertheless, be tarnished by an
accusation of unworthy complicity?”

No one can be more anxious than I to give the homage of my respect to
the memory of the Duchess; and my dearest wish would undoubtedly be to
believe a life made illustrious by its many virtues, without a stain.
Indeed, I had at first tried to persuade myself that, having been once
before the victim of deception, she had again fallen into the snare woven
for her at the time of her first confinement.[74]

A consoling illusion, which the stories of witnesses and many other
indications did but too quickly banish from my mind![75]

It is a well-known fact that the finest characters are not without
defects, and no one who knew her could deny that the Princess was in
truth very ambitious.

Moreover, the fact of her being her parents’ only child and sole object
of their deepest love, was an incentive for this loving daughter to turn
her fondest hopes to the birth of an august scion who should be the glory
of her maternity.[76]

Over this she ponders and frets incessantly, and, in the midst of her
magnificent surroundings, she carefully _conceals the grief she feels at
finding herself deprived of this blessing_.[77]

In consequence, she was naturally inclined to lend a favourable ear to
the temptation offered her by a husband whom, besides, _she would not
for all the world displease_,[78] and for whom her complaisance went so
far as to help in the concealment of his vices,[79] even to the extent
of uncomplainingly sacrificing not only _her tastes and her health_, but
also _her warmest and most legitimate affections_.[80]

The crime once committed, she soon looked upon the wrong as irreparable,
and from that time a false sense of honour, a deadened conscience, made
it appear a duty to abstain from a revelation as degrading as it was
unavailing.



CONCLUSION


Possibility, presumptions, relations of facts, statements by those who
tell of what they have seen and heard; the absence of any interested
motive for their assertions; such are the foundations, the elements of
certainty, and it is by their means that two important facts have been
proved: first, that of the exchange between the jailer Chiappini and the
Comte de Joinville; secondly, that of the identity of the Comte with the
late Duc d’Orléans-Egalité.

So I know who is my brother; I can name my mother; at last I belong to a
family. Alas! shall I be for ever excluded, repulsed, from its bosom?

Shall I always be conspicuous as a witness to the truth that the
Divine vengeance sometimes avenges the criminal’s guilt even upon his
unfortunate posterity?

I have been derided for my ridiculous credulity; accused of pursuing
phantoms, of feeding on dreams and idle fancies.

Kind and attentive reader, you have seen, you have examined, the papers
and the evidence I have submitted to you; you have considered and weighed
them all; now give judgment, and condemn me if my documents are but lies,
if my claims are but folly and wild extravagance.

But no! I dare to say your decision has been in my favour; and this
flattering victory foretells for me the fullest, the happiest results.

No; it will not be in vain that I shall carry my humble supplications to
the foot of the august throne where sits the most equitable as the best
of kings; it will not be in vain that I shall lift my eyes and send forth
my hopes to the sanctuary of justice; the throne will cover me with its
beneficent shadow, and justice will give me the victory. Victory all
the sweeter to my heart that then I shall be able to follow my love of
liberality and benevolence without restraint or caution.

And what other compensation have I for so many perfidies and
persecutions; for the long-drawn-out torture of the sad and solitary life
to which I have been reduced?

Shall I be believed if I say that this profound sadness, this dark
melancholy, that crushes and consumes me, does not arise solely from the
vast abyss of my own misfortunes; it has, too, another cause in the cruel
distress I have already inflicted on the involuntary usurper of so many
rights which henceforth he cannot keep without guilt; for I know that
she whom he wishes to appear so weak, and whom he affects to look upon
with nothing but contempt, has troubled and frightened him; and, without
knowing it, he proclaims and cries it aloud.[81]

And what especially increases my sorrow and completes my trouble is to
think that that must fall upon a Princess so worthy of all respect and
also upon the offspring of that venerable mother; and if I were thinking
of nothing but my own interests, if I were the only person concerned,
there would soon be a full and complete surrender.

But no! maternal love; the honour of my race; the glory of the most
ancient of dynasties; all speak to me with their imperious voices, and
how can I refuse the hard tasks imposed upon me?

Born of illustrious blood, my sentiments will always accord, always
harmonize, with the loftiness of my origin.

It is true I see myself parted from my friends, separated from all I hold
most dear on earth; I am alone, without stay or support; but the memory
of my ancestors, the thought of my dear children, lead me on and rouse me
to battle, and fighting under such banners how could I fail in courage or
boldness? What greater proof of that boldness and courage could I give
than my being here? I could have gone back to my adopted country, to
the bosom of that tender mother, that gracious England to whom I owe an
everlasting debt of love and gratitude.

From there I could have looked without terror upon the perils of the
fight and seen the manœuvres of the enemy without fear of his darts. But
I must always keep in the forefront of the battle, show myself in the
breach, and guard against all blows.

Far from me be any shameful capitulation! May my hand perish rather than
sign any degrading concession!

I have said it; I say it again, and shall constantly repeat it—

“To conquer, or die as I have lived. All or nothing!

                           “M. S. NEWBOROUGH, BARONNE DE STERNBERG,
                                                 NÉE DE JOINVILLE.”



FOOTNOTES


[1] These documents, taken by M. Gaston Maugras from the papers of
the Minister for Foreign Affairs (France, 319), have been published
under the title of _L’Idylle d’une “Gouverneur,” la Comtesse de
Genlis et le Duc de Chartres_. (Paris, Librairie Plon, 1904.)

[2] This was extremely amusing to my lively companions, who could
not understand such an occupation.

[3] This decision, given on December 17, 1822, was deposited, with
the letter, with Maître A. Chelli, notary at Florence.

[4] These letters, which bore the Florence postmark, have always
inspired me with very unpleasant suspicions as to the lawyer
Chiappini.

[5] This, the 24th day of June, 1824, sitting in the name of our
Lord, Pope Leo XII, the Sovereign Pontiff, happily reigning, in the
first year of his Pontificate; declaration xii, at Faenza.

The period of ten days, in which to appeal, having elapsed since
the notification of the judgment given by this Ecclesiastical
Tribunal of Faenza, on the 24th of May last, in the lawsuit between
her Excellency Lady Maria Newborough, Baronne de Sternberg,
and M. le Comte Charles Bandini, of this town, acting as legal
representative of the Comte Louis and Madame N. de Joinville,
and to all such other absent person or persons who may have, or
may suppose they have, any interest in the case; also to the
Signore Dottore Tomaso Chiappini, living in Florence, in the State
of Tuscany, without any one having appealed against it; I, the
undersigned, by virtue of the faculties given me by the aforesaid
judgment, have proceeded to the carrying out of that judgment, by
means of the rectification of the birth certificate produced in the
course of the trial, the terms of which are as follows:

    “In the name of God, Amen.

    “I the undersigned, Canon, Chaplain and Rector of the Prioral
    and Collegiate Church of St. Stephen, Pope and Martyr, in the
    territory of Modigliana, in the Tuscan States, and in the
    Diocese of Faenza, testify to having found in the fourth book
    of certificates of birth, the following notice:

    “Maria-Stella-Petronilla, born yesterday, of the couple
    Lorenzo, son of Fernando Chiappini, Sheriff’s Officer of this
    place, and Vincenzia Viligenti, daughter of the late N. of this
    parish, was baptised on the 17th of April, 1773, by me, Canon
    Francesco Signari, one of the Chaplains.

    “The god-parents were Francesco Bandelloni, Constable, and
    Stella Ciabatti.

    “In testimony whereof, etc.,

    “Signed, GAETANO VIOLANI,

                “Canon, etc.”

    “Modigliani, April 16th, 1824.”

    “I have, I say, proceeded to the execution of the aforesaid
    judgment by carrying out the aforesaid rectification, which has
    been definitely made in the following form and words:

    “Maria-Stella-Petronilla, born yesterday of the couple M. le
    Comte Louis, and Madame la Comtesse N. de Joinville (French)
    then living in the territory of Modigliana, was baptised on the
    17th of April, 1773, by me, Canon Francesco Signari, one of the
    Chaplains. The godparents were Francesco Bandelloni, Constable,
    and Stella Ciabatti.”

                Signed, ANGELO MORIGI,

    Registrar to the Episcopal Tribunal of Faenza.

[6] His wife.

[7] _The Princess Marie-Adelaïde de Bourbon-Penthièvre, who in 1769
married the Duc de Chartres, afterwards the Duke of Orleans, and
surnamed Egalité, had, on the 10th of October, 1771, brought into
the world a dead girl; and in 1773, though four years married, she
had not yet the happiness of being a mother._

_It was on the 6th of October of this last year that it is said she
gave birth to Louis Philippe, the present duke, successively called
Duc de Valois, de Chartres and d’Orléans. On the 3rd of July, 1775,
Madame de Chartres gave birth to a second Prince, to whom was given
the name of Antoine-Philippe, Duc de Montpensier, who died in
England on the 18th of May, 1807._

_In the month of August, 1777, she experienced the joys of a double
maternity by the birth of girl-twins, of whom one died of the
measles when she was four years and a half old; the other, first
called Mademoiselle de Chartres, is now known under the title of
Mademoiselle d’Orléans._

_Finally, on October 7th, 1779, she once more became a mother by
the birth of another Prince, who was named Louis-Charles, Comte de
Beaujolais, and died at Malta in 1808._

[8] The _Gazetta de Genova_ of March 2, 1825.

[9] A man of the highest worth, to whom I owe the inestimable
obligation of having, under circumstances I cannot mention,
preserved for me the liberty and the life of my third son.

[10] The old Count George of that name, having defeated the law in
his own country, took refuge in France with the abundant fruits of
his vast depredations. Mr. William Stacpoole pursued him, and the
mere sight of the French Courts of Justice brought about the famous
transaction that made Cooper cry victory; he having taken the
modest precaution to get previously from Mr. William the promise of
a trifling gratuity of 800,000 francs as a reward for the trouble
he was going to take in engaging an advocate to plead against Count
George.

[11] Needless to say that they were in a pitiable state, and nearly
useless.

[12] It is known that in 1782, the Duc de Chartres took them out
of the hands of a man to entrust them to this _notorious_ woman,
and that this unprecedented innovation, which was in great part
the cause of the subsequent differences between the Duke and his
wife, was the occasion of many lampoons and satires. See the _Vie
Politique de Louis-Philippe d’Orléans_, and other works.

[13] On the supposition that she had been the young Chiappini’s
foster-mother, it would be easy to understand why the eldest of her
pupils constantly called her “mother,” and why she herself spoke of
him in so maternal a fashion. See the Journal of that _Prince_ and
several other works.

[14] See Cooper-Driver’s “Answer to Madame la Baronne’s Statement,”
etc.

[15] It would be truer to say “for the immense trouble he had given
me.”

[16] If by the title of Duc d’Orléans our correspondent means him
who alone bore it at that time—that is to say Louis-Philippe, who
did not die till 1785, we quite agree with him; but, in that case,
we will ask him to take notice that that is by no means the person
suspected of having made the exchange. If, on the other hand,
he has heard speak of Louis-Philippe-Joseph, son of the former,
then Duc de Chartres, and since so well known under the name of
d’Orléans-Egalité, the sequel of our story must surely make him
realize that the truth he has traced to its source is not quite so
_true_ a truth as he seems to believe. Let him read to the end.

[17] Those of the sham Duc de Normandie and the sham Baron de
Saint-Clair.

[18] The first steward and the second lawyer of the Duke of Orleans.

[19] Alas! probability is not always proved true!

[20] _Conjuration de L.-P.-J._; _Vie politique du même_; _Vie du
Duc de Chartres_, and many other works.

[21] Every one knows of the sad fate of the unfortunate Prince de
Lamballe.

[22] See _Explication de l’énigme_, and other works.

[23] See _Conjurations de L.-P.-J._; _La Gazette de France_, and
other works.

[24] “It is reported,” says the _Gazette de Leyde_ (article on
Paris, July 23, 1773), “that M. le Duc de Chartres, under the name
of the Comte de Joinville, is about to make a three weeks’ visit to
Holland.”

The _Journal historique et politique des événements des différentes
cours de l’Europe_ (Article, _France_, Aug. 6, 1773), thus
announces the carrying out of this plan: “Monsigneur the Duc
de Chartres, having taken leave of the King and Royal Family,
travelled to Metz, and from there to Thionville, from which
place it is believed that Prince will go to Luxembourg and to
the Austrian Netherlands, where he will travel under the name of
the Comte de Joinville.” We should like to know what the learned
Laurentie could now plead in contradiction!

[25] See later, The Time and the Place.

[26] See the deposition of the Cavaliere Don Gaspar Perelli, son of
the Governor of that town. Chapter III, Part II.

[27] _Conjuration de L.-P.-J._, bk. I. It was this mask which,
having sullied the natural whiteness of his skin, gave him his dark
and brownish complexion.

[28] See _Conjuration de L.-P.-J._, bk. I; _Vie Politique_, p. 6;
_Vie du Duc de Chartres_, p. 25, etc.

[29] See the Journal of her life, and other works.

[30] Aglaé d’Este, daughter of the Duke of Modena.

[31] First with the Princess Mathilde d’Este, his sister-in-law,
and then with _la belle Forcalquier_. See _Vie du Duc de
Penthièvre_, by Maître Guénara, vol. i, pp. 45 and 114.

[32] See Chapter V, Part II.

[33] _Mémoires de Mme. de Genlis_, vol. iii, p. 14.

[34] _Mémoires de Mme. de Genlis._

[35] _Ibid._ See also the _Gazette de France_ and other works. As
to the title of _Comtesse de Joinville_, the following letter, sent
on May 15, 1776, by M. Roger de Jouscolombe, will be a sufficient
explanation—

    “MONSIEUR,

    “I take the opportunity of the departure of M. Fontaine,
    private secretary to Madame la Duchesse de Chartres, to answer
    the letter your Excellency did me the honour to write to me the
    day before yesterday.

    “I don’t mention the day the Duchesse de Chartres, who starts
    to-morrow, will arrive at Reggio, because you will hear it from
    M. Fontaine; I confine myself to sending you below the list of
    ladies, gentlemen, and servants in the Princess’s suite.

    “I am delighted that this occasion has procured me the pleasure
    of receiving news of your Excellency; I should be still more
    so if you would entrust me with some commission that would let
    me prove by my alacrity in doing anything you would like the
    feelings of sincere and respectful attachment with which I have
    the honour to be, monsieur,

    “Your Excellency’s very humble and obedient servant,

                                             “ROYER DE JOUSCOLOMBE.

    “To His Excellency M. le Marquis Paoluni.

    “List of the ladies, gentlemen, and servants with Madame la
    Duchesse de Chartres, travelling under the name of Madame la
    Comtesse de Joinville.

                      “To wit—
    Madame la Comtesse de Genlis.
    Madame la Comtesse de Rully.
    M. le Comte de Geils.
    M. le Chevalier de Foissy.
    M. Fontaine, Private Secretary.
      Four Chambermaids.
      Eight Footmen, or Servants.

    “P.S.—Since writing my letter, Madame la Comtesse de Joinville,
    in consequence of the representations made to her as to the
    difficulty there would be in getting the necessary post-horses
    on the way, has determined to send M. le Chevalier de Foissy
    and M. Fontaine back to France with two servants. I thought
    I ought to warn your Excellency of this new arrangement,
    and I am going to hand over my letter to M. le Marquis de
    Clermont-d’Amboise, French Ambassador to Naples, who is
    starting for Reggio.”

[36] The Duke of Modena was the maternal grandfather of Mme. la
Duchesse de Chartres.

[37] _Mémoires secrets ou Journal d’un observateur_, etc., 29th
July, 1771.

[38] _Journal historique_, vol. iv, and others.

[39] _Journal historique_, May 24. See Chapter XII, Part II.

[40] _Mémoires secrets ou Journal d’un observateur_, etc., June 21
and 28, and July 15, 1773.

[41] A town in Seine-Inférieure, where are the mineral waters the
Princess went to drink after her marriage.

[42] He who is now called the _Duke of Orleans_.

[43] See the _Mémoires de la Genlis_, vol. iii; the _Journal_ of
Delille, and other works.

[44] _Mémoires de la Genlis_, vol. iii, p. 14.

[45] _Nouvelles historiques_, vol. ii, p. 311.

[46] First Part, Chapter X.

[47] See her correspondence with her husband, and the various lives
of this last.

[48] The name by which he usually called his dear Comtesse de
Genlis.

[49] _Journal_ of the present Duke, March 25, 1791.

[50] _Ibid._

[51] On almost every page of that memorial wherein he painted his
own picture so well, with his religious and political opinions,
there are such lively exclamations as, “Fine day! beautiful day!
Splendid day spent at Belle-Chasse!” It was there la Genlis lived.

[52] This refers to the _eldest_.

[53] He was the husband of la Genlis!

[54] It is to be noted that when Orleans had finished speaking, a
deputy called out to him, “You wretch! it will not be your first
sacrifice of your family!” (_Conjuration de L.-P.-J._).

[55] La Genlis herself says in set terms that, “_in looks he is
very different from his brothers_,” and the comparison she makes is
very far from being in favour of the first (_Mémoires_, vol. iii,
pp. 150, 164, and following).

[56] See First Part, Chapter VI.

[57] See Chapter VII, Part II.

[58] Perhaps the many trips the Duke made during the summer
of 1773, and on which he would take no more than two or three
confidential followers (see _Gazette de Leyde_, August 6th,
article, “Paris”), may have had for end nothing but to ensure the
success of his infernal project. And perhaps the child may have
been deposited in one of those northern places the Prince so often
visited.

[59] See Chapter XII, Part II.

[60] See Chapter I, Part I.

[61] _Mémoires secrets ou Journal d’un observateur_, June 16th,
1773.

[62] See Chapter II, Part II.

[63] See pages 123, 124, Part I.

[64] Chapter II, Part II.

[65] See Chapter XII, Part II, and _Mémoires de la Genlis_, vol.
iii.

[66] _Journal de Delille_, Part I, Chapter VII, and _Mémoires
secrets_, March 18th, 1876.

[67] See Chapter I, Part I.

[68] See the schedule drawn up at the period of the Revolution.

[69] Newspapers were very rare then, and the populace did not read
them. Besides, the Italian papers said little about the Princess’s
journey; and it was only the _Gazette de France_ that wrote about
it at any length.

[70] See Chapter VI, Part II.

[71] See Chapter III, Part II.

[72] See Chapter XII, Part II.

[73] _Ibid._

[74] We read in the _Muratore_ that when it was seen that she had
brought forth a dead child, a living one was hastily procured, and
shown for a time to the Duchess, so as to spare her a sudden and
dangerous grief.

[75] See Chapter II, Part II.

[76] See _Journal de Delille_, Part I, Chapter IV.

[77] _Ibid._, Chapter V.

[78] _Ibid._, Chapter VII.

[79] _Explication de l’énigme_, Part I, Book I.

[80] This is what she wrote to him on the subject of la Genlis
herself: “Once more, _mon cher ami_, don’t let us discuss my
opinion of Mme. de Sillery. When I parted from her you did not
attempt to justify her; you only said that _you had essential
reasons for keeping to her_; and at least I rejoiced at the
idea of _making a sacrifice for you that you would feel_” (See
_Correspondance de L.-P.-J._, p. 184).

Surely we may suppose that the important secret had something to do
with these _essential reasons_.

[81] What, in fact, meant the many secret and ill-managed
intrigues, the many spies; the many watchers of my doings; why the
pains taken to seize books that were but now to be met with at
every step? Why carry out these seizures not only in the provinces
of this kingdom, but even in foreign countries—Germany, England,
Switzerland, etc.?

                   RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED,
              BRUNSWICK STREET, STAMFORD STREET, S.E.
                       AND BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.

       *       *       *       *       *

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       *       *       *       *       *

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