VW: Second Life
By Leopoldina, 2013-08-06
Versailles, 6 August 1774
My beloved sister,
The past weeks has been rather dull, for I felt ill and was forced to stay at the countryside resting. The few court gossip that reached my ears during that was not of great interest to me. It seems a marriage for Mme Clotilde, one of His Majesty's sister, is being planned. It do seems consistent, since the girl will soon turn 15. But her weight may be a issue on future negotiations, you know how beauty is more praised than one's virtues in our day and age.
As for the youngest one, Mme Elisabeth, she is too young to think of a marriage perhaps, but she's been growing quite fast, and its becoming a very lovely young lady. Her self-willed and haughty personality is being slowly taken care of by the admirable sub-governess Mme de Mackau. The child still display some of her unappropriated behavior, but I do believe this will soon fade thanks to Mme de Mackau and Mme de Marsan's efforts. After all, I do believe the court is not in need of more self-willed Mmes.
I purposely left the most interesting fact to report in the end of this letter. As I had just returned to court this week I heard rumors that much interest me. The court musician has been seen around the palace, and it seems he will in fact move back to court. I believe I don't have to tell you how this news fill my heart with the most sincere feelings of happiness, though I am also much anxious to our probable meeting in the near future.
I shall host a salon this friday, and I have been wondering if he shall be there or not. In the case of the former, I pray that I will behave properly, hiding my feelings behind smiles and nodding, as noble ladies as ourselves ought to do in such situations. If the latter happens, I must say I will be deeply sad, and shall wait eager for the next opportunity to meet him again.
Perhaps I will join the Comtesse d'Artois this night in gambling, I am in great need of a few moments of mindless distractions to bring my spirits up.
I kiss you and dear Anne most tenderly.
Your devoted sister,
( previous letter )
By Leopoldina, 2013-06-30
My dearest friend,
Customarily, even though you know my love for it, the mentions to hunting in my letters to you and to Josephine are carried with detrimental connotation, as they are always accompanied by a lamentation about the deplorable state of my marriage.
But this time I shall tell you through this letter about a most pleasant hunt I attended in the woods of Versailles. It was interesting to noticed that the majority of the courtiers there were ladies, being the King - after he arrived, not exactly on time I would add- the only gentleman among us, which seemed to disturb him deeply.
As the hunting began, I surprised not only myself but those surrounding me with my skills, which I was ignorant to until then. Louise was pretty good as well, but all eyes were set upon Mlle de Honfleur, a bourgeoisie lady as you can tell by the last name, which alone brings me such sweet memories. Some noble ladies seemed annoyed, but you know better than anyone how I have no problems with the bourgeoisie, much the contrary in fact.
She quickly surpassed me, and was the winner of the day. The king personally complimented her, and I was most happy for her achievement. His majesty spoke briefly and uncomfortably about the Queen, and at one point, spoke proudly of a watch, and as the Comtesse d'Artois, the ladies pretended to be very interested in that little piece. Clearly nervous the whole time he was talking to anyone, His Majesty left in a most rude manner, rushing away without a proper adieu. But alas, he seems so uncomfortable under the courtiers ever-judging stares that I cannot blame him at all.
About the Comtesse, she arrived without the Comte, and even latter than the King. It makes one wonder if d'Artois succeed in seducing that young Tancarville, as rumors said they met in secret in the gardens of Versailles. This makes me think if the marriages among the nobility are fated to be those of sadness and lovers.
I shall go rest now mon cherie, I kiss you and Josephine most affectionately.
( previous letter )
By Leopoldina, 2013-06-22
My dearest sister,
Yesterday I attended the Queen's promenade, which was truly delightful. Not only cousine Sophie was there, but also our sister Louise, whom I haven't seem in a long time, and I was most happy to see her after so long.
Her majesty commented on my absence on her private picnic, and I was very honored she noticed it. In fact, that picnic was the object of gossip amongst the older ladies at court, who were somewhat annoyed by the Queen choosing cortiers by their relationship with her rather than inviting them by their titles and ranks.
Antoinette was dressed in a beautiful white polonaise with blue details. I was slightly surprised as she was not wearing a high pouf, but instead a very simple hairstyle with a straw hat. The high poufs are becoming so fashionable at court that I expected our trend-setter to use them, but it seems Her majesty truly enjoys simplicity. Well, that would depend on what one would define as simple, as I am pretty sure that would be some disagreement between the different social classes.
The weather was lovely, and we saw so many beautiful things as we walked around the gardens, with all the ladies finely dressed. Furthermore, the Queen complimented my hair and new polonaise, and I could not help but blush and feel very flattered by such kind words. Among all the ladies, the only man present was Comte d'Artois, who was gallant as usual.He was in fact flirting quite obviously with a new lady at court, a Tancarville if I am not mistaken. I do hope that poor girl does not get stupefied by all that attention, as it will likely disgrace her not even acquired reputation. Don't you think it is sad, mon cherie, that men can flirt almost, if not completely freely without being subject to prejudice, so often targeted to women?
My dear, I am getting extremely anxious about consuming my marriage to Vicomte. None of us is eager about it, but I feel the growing pressure around me to produce a heir, and I am not getting any younger as the time pass. I fear that, if he could, he would ask for an annulment for our marriage, for we have not exchanged letters since he went to the hunting lodge weeks ago.But alas! I do hope, my dearest, that you and Anne will someday find love, as your poor younger sister seems to have ill luck in that subject.
Pray for me mon cherie, as I always pray for you.
Your most devoted sister,
( previous letter )
By Leopoldina, 2013-06-05
Paris,5 June 1774
My beloved friend,
Last week I had the chance to host my very own salon at court, and I must tell you how nervous I was about tidying everything up to perfection! Thankfully, a very kind lady helped me, though I could only wish that you, my dearest Jeanne, would be there to help me, with your always gentle and affectionate guidance, from which my heart could never grow tired of.
This evening got me reminding of your secret 3 days long carrier as my lady-in-waiting. Do you remember how absurd it was my dear? Monsieur ttiquete was terrified of Mme Royale discovering it! How ridiculous this whole affair was, but it is now nothing but a sweet memory of our devotion to ourselves.
Later on the same day the Queen was to receive the courtier to show her condolences. I met cousine Sophie, whom I saw previously on my salon, and we both shared our anxiety for we were about to talk in front of Her Majesty! We had to wear mourning grand-habits de cour, which I found rather melancholic and dull. Though we also wore these little black bonnets on top of our hair, and they looked quite silly.I believe I made a great impression on the Queen, and I much hope for a positon on Her Majesty's household,as Mme Victoire's stays on Chteau de Bellevue are becoming more regular, and it is being rumored that Mesdames ought to move there permanently.
After the Queen retired to her private apartments, I got to talk with the intelligent Marquis de Sarlat and the dashing Comte de Cardaillac. After the Marquis left, I spoke briefly with the latter alone, but my good morals do not allow me to write our conversation in this letter without blushing terribly.
But my dear friend, I have to tell you that I am left at the most state of neglect. Not only by my husband, but by our musical friend .I wonder if his brother have anything to do with his decreased presence at court, but nonetheless I do hope he still carries me on his heart -along with that lock of my hair that is- for he will always have a special place on mine.
I kiss you and mon cherie soeur tenderly,
( previous letter )
By Leopoldina, 2013-05-25
Paris, May 25th 1774
My beloved sister,
I highly doubt you haven't heard of the news coming from France during the past weeks. As you probably know by now, the King Louis XV passed away over a week ago, and Louis Auguste is now our new King. The fateful day of May 10th shall never be forgotten by those who closely watched the pitiful, and then cheerful events that unfolded. The emotions were such that the poor Princesse de Lamballe fainted. I feel proud to say I was helpful to Madame as much as I could.
Regarding some vain subjects and court trivialities, I have not yet had the displeasure of seeing Lord D. , nor any gossip and whatsoever involving his person reached my ears. Monsieur Etiquette seems to have resigned his life as a courtier, for his name has been not mentioned in quite a while. Both of those happenings brought me much happiness and peace of mind.
I must add that Vicomte has once more gone away for hunting, one has to wonder what he finds so exciting about it, and I whole heartily hope that is not the company of other not accompanied men that is the main cause, as its being said in Paris.
But alas! Do write me more often Josephine, do not forget your lonely sister at Versailles!For she lives only in the hope of being reunited with her loved ones once more!
I kiss you and Anne on your foreheads.
Your most devoted sister, Leopoldine.
By Leopoldina, 2013-05-11
A dreadful noise, absolutely like thunder, was heard in the outer apartment; it was the crowd of courtiers who were deserting the dead sovereigns antechamber, to come and do homage to the new power of Louis XVI.
This extraordinary tumult informed Marie Antoinette and her husband that they were called to the throne; and, by a spontaneous movement, which deeply affected those around them, they threw themselves on their
knees; both, pouring forth a flood of tears, exclaimed: God! guide us, protect us; we are too young to reign!
the Memoirs of Madame Campan
By Leopoldina, 2012-04-02
My face is not that of a beauty, on the contrary I myself have difficulty tolerating it, and personally think [...] that I have a highly impertinent appearance, which [...] would mostly seem to invite a box on the ears [...]. I detest flattery, but welcome praise where praise is due, and I like to please, although more by the qualities of my heart that by my appearance.
Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta Dagbok I (Diary, vol. 1)
Hedwig Elisabeth Charlotte,one of the beauties of the gustavian court, kept a diary between 1775-1817,and is a good source for information about the swedish court during these years.I found and intersting article about it:
Between 1775 and 1817, Duchess Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta (1759-1818) wrote a voluminous diary of more than 4600 printed pages. She had come to Sweden in 1774, a fifteen-year-old German princess, to marry King Gustaf IIIs brother, Karl; the following year she started keeping a diary. The marriage was unhappy. Duke Karl was renowned for his sexual escapades with ladies-in-waiting and actresses, activities which he suspended for only a brief period after his marriage. Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta bore him two children, in 1797 and 1798 respectively, but neither survived. Her hopes of finally becoming a mother, and thereby having a meaningful existence, were thus crushed. In 1809, she became Queen of Sweden when her husband ascended the throne as Karl XIII.
Hedvig Elisabeth Charlottas diary is one of the most important historical documents relating to the Gustavian and post-Gustavian era. It was written in French, and drawn up as monthly letters summarising the most significant events at court during the preceding month. Having initially favoured descriptions of court parties and entertainments, which to a large extent consisted of theatre performances arranged by Gustaf III, as she grew older Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta became increasingly interested in political issues.
In order to fill the lonely vacuum and to have an ongoing occupation, both worthy of me and at the same time agreeable, for my active mind, I decided to write down everything that occurred before my eyes. However, she writes in a preface, it would be far too dull to write only for herself: she needed someone to write to, someone to write for. The entries in the diary are addressed to a woman of her own age, her best friend since her arrival in Sweden: Sophie von Fersen, who became Sophie Piper upon her marriage in 1778. Like Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta, Sophie Piper was trapped in a marriage of convenience. Sophie Piper is the diarys ideal reader, the one being spoken to: You desire of me, my dear friend, a meticulous account concerning everything that occurs here.
The diary also, however, addresses itself to posterity, and gradually assumes the character of court chronicle and political document.
Over the years, Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta also wrote thousands of letters to Sophie Piper, alongside the diary affectionate, tyrannical, romantic letters, full of the Pre-Romantic nurturing of friendship. And it is quite obvious that friendship and dialogue with Sophie are the motive powers in her extensive writing project. These discourses keep her pen writing and her heart beating, even when the two friends are apart.
Time and again she returns, in reality and in her thoughts, to the bosquet dlicieux , the delightful bower in the park of Rosersberg Palace, where she and Sophie sat in affectionate conversation. She later sits there alone, reading and dreaming. And from here she writes to her friend, telling her how she longs for her, and reminding her of the everlasting friendship they have vowed one another. The bower becomes the symbol of the magic ring their friendship had drawn around the two women: a secluded place for whispered confidences, affectionate glances, and playful comments about the surrounding world.
A little verse written by Hedwig,about her friendship with Sophie Piper:
For corrupted hearts, friendship is not made. / O, divine friendship! Consummate bliss! / The only excitement of the soul in which exaggeration is allowed [...].
original text found at: http://nordicwomensliterature.net/article/what-occurred-my-eyes