Ekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova
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Austrian Conspiracy - PART II


By Ekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova, 2014-08-10

The extent of people buzzing around Berlin regarding the assassination rumours was at its highest by the 3rd week of August, 1763. It was apparent - there were much more guards making rounds around Berlin and Potsdam checking on anything suspicious. Plus, entry into the country was much more strictly regulated. It was in this period that something completely unthought for happened. It all started with a merry evening in Potsdam.

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Baroness von Essen invited several of her friends and even the King's sister Her Royal Highness Princess Amalia. It was delightful evening with champagne and poker chips flowing around the gaming table like butterflies. Princess Amalia found delight in playing billiard with a certain French Marquise while the rest of the guests preferred cards. The evening was well accompanied by a pleasant summer breeze that passed in and out of the room through the open doors.

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Then the unthinkable happened. The witnesses, later interrogated, recalled the Baroness offering a "refreshing drink" to Her Royal Highness and just another ordinary maid poured the drink into the glass and offered it to the Princess via a serving tray. A moment later, the Princess complained about feeling dizzy and immediately dropped to the ground unconscious. Everyone panicked. The moor that was present there quickly grabbed some smelling salt, as the hostess shouted to the servants to quickly get water and the doctor for the Princess and at the same time tried to wipe unknown liquid from the Princess' mouth. "She was poisoned!" - the baroness shouted calling on the guards to catch the maid for later interrogation.

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The Princess was then carefully carried into the music salon to rest on the sofa until she regains consciousness. The atmosphere was really gloomy and the guests, unwilling to be in any way related to the incident, excused their leave in any ways possible. Upon regaining consciousness several hours later, the Princess, being in a delicate condition, used a servant as the "bucket". After some more time Princess Amalia, feeling like she could go home now, furious and frustrated from such disgrace, stomped out of the Baroness' house swearing to catch the one responsible for this.

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The pamphlets boomed after this incident, most of which blamed Austrians, however, there was large number blaming the Baroness herself, as they claimed that she had grudge against the royal family and that she was an Austrian spy. The Baroness' reputation was in tatters by this point. Currently, the Baroness is under house arrest until proper investigation is carried out and the culprit is caught and punished. The Baroness at the same time tries to convince everyone that she' innocent, as she claims that she tried the drink beforehand suffering no damage whatsoever.

But who knows? Perhaps, it really was part of Austrian assassination plot. Maybe the Baroness was set up? Or is the Baroness guilty? Could there possibly those those who hold certain grudge against the royal family inside the country? Will the truth be found out? Only time will tell.

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Austrian Conspiracy - PART II


By Ekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova, 2014-08-10

The extent of people buzzing around Berlin regarding the assassination rumours was at its highest by the 3rd week of August, 1763. It was apparent - there were much more guards making rounds around Berlin and Potsdam checking on anything suspicious. Plus, entry into the country was much more strictly regulated. It was in this period that something completely unthought for happened. It all started with a merry evening in Potsdam.

921_blogs.png?width=750

Baroness von Essen invited several of her friends and even the King's sister Her Royal Highness Princess Amalia. It was delightful evening with champagne and poker chips flowing around the gaming table like butterflies. Princess Amalia found delight in playing billiard with a certain French Marquise while the rest of the guests preferred cards. The evening was well accompanied by a pleasant summer breeze that passed in and out of the room through the open doors.

922_blogs.png?width=750

Then the unthinkable happened. The witnesses, later interrogated, recalled the Baroness offering a "refreshing drink" to Her Royal Highness and just another ordinary maid poured the drink into the glass and offered it to the Princess via a serving tray. A moment later, the Princess complained about feeling dizzy and immediately dropped to the ground unconscious. Everyone panicked. The moor that was present there quickly grabbed some smelling salt, as the hostess shouted to the servants to quickly get water and the doctor for the Princess and at the same time tried to wipe unknown liquid from the Princess' mouth. "She was poisoned!" - the baroness shouted calling on the guards to catch the maid for later interrogation.

923_blogs.png?width=750

The Princess was then carefully carried into the music salon to rest on the sofa until she regains consciousness. The atmosphere was really gloomy and the guests, unwilling to be in any way related to the incident, excused their leave in any ways possible. Upon regaining consciousness several hours later, the Princess, being in a delicate condition, used a servant as the "bucket". After some more time Princess Amalia, feeling like she could go home now, furious and frustrated from such disgrace, stomped out of the Baroness' house swearing to catch the one responsible for this.

924_blogs.png?width=750

The pamphlets boomed after this incident, most of which blamed Austrians, however, there was large number blaming the Baroness herself, as they claimed that she had grudge against the royal family and that she was an Austrian spy. The Baroness' reputation was in tatters by this point. Currently, the Baroness is under house arrest until proper investigation is carried out and the culprit is caught and punished. The Baroness at the same time tries to convince everyone that she' innocent, as she claims that she tried the drink beforehand suffering no damage whatsoever.

But who knows? Perhaps, it really was part of Austrian assassination plot. Maybe the Baroness was set up? Or is the Baroness guilty? Could there possibly those those who hold certain grudge against the royal family inside the country? Will the truth be found out? Only time will tell.

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Austrian Conspiracy - PART I


By Ekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova, 2014-07-25

* * *

Berlin has been in unrest for the last week. Whispers were everywhere in Berlin and probably even beyond it. By now, rumours have probably spread all over Prussia including Potsdam and Sanssouci. These were no ordinary rumours, as they involved the Prussian King Frederick II. People are shaken by possible Austrian assassination plot on His Majesty King Frederick II. Rumours say that the Austrians in Berlin were heard to have shouted that the King will pay for stealing Silesia from their motherland. Of course such rumours would cause uproar, as they seemed to be the truth - Austria was not happy at all to have been deceived by Prussia losing the Seven Years War and the rich lands of Silesia in the process.

* * *

The first mention of the rumours in the royal court was made by a certain Baroness von Essen during one of the Queen's salons at her summer palace Schonhausen, Berlin. At that point, Sanssouci has already increased their guard to protect the King in case of assassination attempt. Upon the mention of the rumours, the Queen seemed completely shocked, as she wasn't informed by any member of the royal family even though she lived near Berlin. The whispering couriers at the gathering guessed that the King probably forgot again that he even had a wife to begin with. Some courtiers who have recently arrived from Potsdam assured the Queen that the guards were already very cautious of the situation monitoring the grounds and reporting anything suspicious. Even Princess Amalia, one of the few friends the Queen had in Prussia, was there in Sanssouci in case there was an conspiracy against the King.

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It is still very unclear on the situation as no Austrian spies were yet caught. Prussia's neighbours such as Austria has not said anything at all on the matter preferring to stay silent to avoid any kind of misinterpretation and conflict. After all, Austria needed to restore itself after losing the war. Whatever may be behind these rumours, it certainly caused uproar around Prussia and ended the salon rather quickly as the Queen could no longer act as a proper host to the guests.

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Austrian Conspiracy - PART I


By Ekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova, 2014-07-25

* * *

Berlin has been in unrest for the last week. Whispers were everywhere in Berlin and probably even beyond it. By now, rumours have probably spread all over Prussia including Potsdam and Sanssouci. These were no ordinary rumours, as they involved the Prussian King Frederick II. People are shaken by possible Austrian assassination plot on His Majesty King Frederick II. Rumours say that the Austrians in Berlin were heard to have shouted that the King will pay for stealing Silesia from their motherland. Of course such rumours would cause uproar, as they seemed to be the truth - Austria was not happy at all to have been deceived by Prussia losing the Seven Years War and the rich lands of Silesia in the process.

* * *

The first mention of the rumours in the royal court was made by a certain Baroness von Essen during one of the Queen's salons at her summer palace Schonhausen, Berlin. At that point, Sanssouci has already increased their guard to protect the King in case of assassination attempt. Upon the mention of the rumours, the Queen seemed completely shocked, as she wasn't informed by any member of the royal family even though she lived near Berlin. The whispering couriers at the gathering guessed that the King probably forgot again that he even had a wife to begin with. Some courtiers who have recently arrived from Potsdam assured the Queen that the guards were already very cautious of the situation monitoring the grounds and reporting anything suspicious. Even Princess Amalia, one of the few friends the Queen had in Prussia, was there in Sanssouci in case there was an conspiracy against the King.

901_blogs.png?width=750

It is still very unclear on the situation as no Austrian spies were yet caught. Prussia's neighbours such as Austria has not said anything at all on the matter preferring to stay silent to avoid any kind of misinterpretation and conflict. After all, Austria needed to restore itself after losing the war. Whatever may be behind these rumours, it certainly caused uproar around Prussia and ended the salon rather quickly as the Queen could no longer act as a proper host to the guests.

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Letter to Marquise de Montsoreau


By Ekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova, 2013-08-10

Chateau de Montsoreau, Normandie, France

5th of August, 1774.

Chere Mme,

I hope you have been well there in Versailles. I miss your company in *our* home. I hear the weather in Versailles is nice. Here, in Normandy, it has been fairing fine as well. I enjoyed a cool sea breeze in your garden that I dedicated to you on our wedding day. I must say that my days have been passing rather slowly. Of course, I sometimes visit the ports to maintain the business but I would really like it if you could please leave behind your court life and return to *our* home. There is undoubtedly a lot to explore here. . .

I must say to you truthfully that I am asking you this on persistence of my mother. She finds your absence "unacceptable, not fit for a young doting wife". She obliged me to persuade you to retire from court life. And I believe that to be right decision.

Of course, I know how you would miss your friends and family but they can always visit you here. And I am sure you will be welcomed here by everyone. So please, ma femme, return to the Montsoreau chateau, to your family and home.

Veuillez recevoir, Madame, mes salutations distingues.

Votre mari le Marquis.

((referred to this letter ))

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Letter to my sister Jacqueline - Final Departure -


By Ekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova, 2013-08-10

Chateau de Versailles, France,

9th of August, 1774.

Ma chere soeur Jacqueline,

As I write to you this letter, I am already preparing all my luggage and myself to leave Versailles most likely for the last time. You may be surprised even after all the things that happened last month, I know.

It all started two weeks ago. I was sorting my daily-arrived letters when I suddenly saw a letter with the Tancarville seal on it or, to be more exact, my husband the Marquis'. I knew that something different was about this letter than the usual ones he would send me almost everyday. There was one obvious hint to be suspicious about - a rose with a pale pink silk ribbon tied to it which was attached to the letter. I hurriedly opened the envelope with my letter opener and quickly read the content of the letter. . . My mind was blank for a moment and the letter even fell down from my hand. But after picking up the letter I read again, most thoroughly this time. He was saying that my mother-in-law, Comtesse de Fraisac et Montreuil, was complaining why I was not at the marquis' side and fulfilling the duty of a doting loving wife. And so he (or to be precise, his mother) wished that I would leave the court life behind and live in my "real home" - in Montsoreau chateau far in Normandie - immediately.

*dried tear drops on the paper slightly staining the ink letters*

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Cherie, how lamented I was! I could not imagine leaving my beloved Versailles and my beloved friends behind just to stay forever with my husband in cold Normandy. Of course, I do not hate the Marquis in the least, I am just afraid to be alone there surrounded and looked upon by my in-laws and unable to see my friends, my family and you! I have been anxious, frustrated and scared since then and even now I still am. I just cannot make myself calm. I feel like I am blinded by the veil of the society and its words and being moved around like a mere pawn on the chessboard.

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I felt so lost all this time and I ironically remembered our Maman's words: "Do not fear my child. If fate throws at you pain and torture, keep it in and find ease in God as he is always with us and you can trust him. I am sure he will lead you to your salvation from whatever shall be your obstacle in the future." I did not believe truthfully her words perhaps because I was so young.

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The past week I felt as if I was in a dessert, so exhausted unable to choose where to go and unable to do anything, until I realised that crying and lamenting would not result in anything. Self pity would never help. I shall tolerate for . . .

It seems I cannot write at all, Jacqueline. And I am sorry I'm leaving this chapter half-finished.

I hope you will understand me more than you do already.

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Please visit me, ma soeur, as much as you can as I will miss you most dearly and as I am sure it will take a long time before I get accustomed to the people there. . . That is, if I ever will be at all. I will miss you terribly when I "return" to my "home".

Je t'embrasse.

Ta chere soeur,

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Anne-Sophie.

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A Letter to My Sister Jacqueline


By Ekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova, 2013-07-03

Chateau de Coucy,

Coucy province, France.

----------

July the 3nd, 1774.

Ma chere soeur Jacqueline,

The last days for me have been full of such torment and sadness that I have last experienced since *that incident* now more than a year ago. I am writing to you from our ancestral home in which I reside for the time being before returning to Versailles. I am writing to you as I cannot talk to anybody else than you, dear Jacqueline.

652_blogs.jpg?width=750 You may have already received news about me or perhaps not but I am now a married woman. These are sudden news, I know, even for myself. I received a letter from Maman a week ago saying that my grandfather, Duc de Coucy, have decided to marry me into wealthy family and that I had to quickly depart to my then fiance's home where the two families shall meet and where I shall meet my future husband. I was in complete shock as I could not believe that I would be married so quickly and at such a young age!

I knew I had to prepare quickly for my long journey. There was a lot to be packed and organised of course! I was very grateful to know that our cousine Cecile and my dear friend Mlle de Fiennes were there to see me off... I left with my luggage in the early foggy morning. The one person who accompanied me on my journey was our aunt Comtesse de Louvigny who has always been my great support since the time I first arrived at court.

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It was quite a long journey as it seems my husband's lands are situated closer to the north of France, in Normandy gouvernement. In fact, not very far away from the fortress Mont Saint Michel! Me and Lottie were very tired by the time we arrived and we soon had to quickly deal with our luggage and then quickly present ourselves to my in-laws... And my husband-to-be. I must tell you that he, of course, is nothing like the main male characters in those novels that you like to read. *smirks*

He is, in appearance, not good looking and rather chubby but he, as I later found out, was kind. He has this kind of face, that just can't be hated by anyone. Just like a child, I'd say! He doesn't like court life at all but he was kind enough to let me go back to Versailles on promise that I would visit his home frequently. I would not be able to live a secluded life with his quite unfriendly family. They sometimes seem like a gathering of chicken, peacocks and parrots all together. *draws caricatures of her in-laws on empty space of the letter* ... Oh, and I forgot to mention that he is quite rich! His lands seem to do well business including sea businesses as he is involved with ports and army forces also.

Of course, the wedding was far away from grand as both our families wanted to quickly finish with this business and then followed the dinner and of course the wedding night afterwards... *doesn't finish the sentence or the paragraph and instead there are 2 ink stains and some space in the letter*

*Sophie clearly blushed at that moment unable to write*

* * *

Ah, as I said before, my husband let me leave to Versailles. In total, I stayed in my new home for 3 days or a bit more. Of course, I had to visit Chateau de Coucy and where I am staying at the moment to visit my family once more and especially Maman and our Grandpapa. I will be soon be departing with our sister Lottie. I *did* try to persuade my husband to go with me but he would not budge and so I left him be. Of course I'll visit him from time to time when I can as promised.

And I write you this the day before I depart back to Versailles hoping to see my friends and our family who resides there. I finish this letter with an embrace and million kisses as I know that is not enough to compare to what you have done for me.

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Je t'embrasse,

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ta tendre soeur Sophie.

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Music at Marquise de Tourzel's Residence


By Ekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova, 2016-04-17

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As the sounds of horses and carriage wheels could be heard from outside the gates, Marquise de Tourzel had a last-minute glass of champagne for luck this evening. She received unexpected news early on the same day that His Majesty Louis XVI would be one of the guests to arrive on his way from Saint-Cloud to Versailles. She wished the stairs were better cleaned and polished to make the marble shine, as would be appropriate for such a special guest. But nothing can be changed now...

Diary Entry April 17th, 1776.

The young Franco-Austrian musician Monsieur Gerhard was very kind to receive my invitation to entertain us for the evening. He is very talented and holds much promise in court! There were a lot of attendees, more than I anticipated. His Majesty's presence was not expected but very much welcomed, and it is always lovely to see Princesse de Lamballe, she is such a good friend to have.

I am writing now in a condition close to agony. Since the early evening, I have slowly developed a very much unwelcome headache, and, unfortunately, had to retire early in His Majesty's presence. Such a failure as a hostess! But luckily, His Majesty was quite understanding, being weary of travels himself. Madame Langlais was very kind assisting me out of the salon and arranging with her husband Docteur Langlais for a mesmerist consultation. I should let one of my valets to send a message with arrangements sometime soon . . .

NB More photos on Facebook and Flickr!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1696447317238933/1697067290510269/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/114025716@N06/26394883172/in/dateposted/

(photo credits to AlasandAlack & Pepa Cometa)

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