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of the country for a little while, but I don’t think his exile was a very terrible one.

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

[Illustration: Lord Lyons.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VII

THE BERLIN CONGRESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Le Prince de Bismarck
a l’honneur de prevenir Son Excellence, Monsieur Waddington, que la premiere reunion du Congres aura lieu le 13 juin a deux heures, au Palais du Chancelier de l’Empire, 77, Wilhelmstrasse.
“Berlin, le 12 juin 1878.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIII

GAIETIES AT THE QUAI D’ORSAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IX

M. WADDINGTON AS PRIME MINISTER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: The Elysee Palace, Paris]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We saw too that year for the first time the Grand Duke Alexander of Russia (later Emperor Alexander III, whose coronation we went to at Moscow) and the Grande Duchesse Marie. Prince Orloff arranged the interview, as he was very anxious that the Grand Duke should have some talk with W. They were in Paris for three or four days, staying at the Hotel Bristol, where they received us. He was a tall, handsome man,