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In the winter he again appeared at the French Court. He writes to his father :

“ Last Tuesday I went to Versailles to be presented to the royal family. The Queen, who is charming, exclaimed, “Ah! au old acquaintance!! The rest of the royal family did not say a word.”

The Count writes again :

“ The Queen, who is the handsomest and the most amiable princess, nas orten had the kindness to inquire after me. She asked Creutz why I did not come to her

jeu on Sundays, and on hearing that I had been one day when it did not take place, she made a kind of apology.

“ The Queen treats me always with great courtesy. I often go to pay my respects (au jeu), and on every occasion she addresses me with some words of kindness. As they had spoken to her about my Swedish uniform, she expressed a great wish to see me in it, and I am to go full dressed, not to Court, but to see the Queen. She is the most amiable princess that I know.”

In society as well as at Court, Count Fersen's success was complete. In M. Geffroy's 'Gustave III. et la Cour de France,' there are many anecdotes respecting it. But of course triumph begets envy, and the favourites of Marie Antoinette, whose relations with her were quite as innocent as those of Count Fersen, began spreading malicious reports about their new rival.

M. Geffroy in his work thus describes the state of affairs :

“On Fersen's return to France, his favour at Court was so great that it could not fail to be much remarked. It was in the year 1779, and we know that the wicked suspicions raised against Marie Antoinette had not waited for the fatal affair of the necklace before attacking her as Sovereign and Woman. Fersen was received in the Queen's intimate circle ; the admission extended to Stedingk + was supposed to be a blind, to conceal the much-desired presence of his friend. They brought up against the Queen the small parties given by Mesdames de Lamballe and de Poliguac, in their apartments, to which Fersen was admitted; they spoke of meetings and prolonged interviews at the masked balls, (bals de l'opéra), of looks interchanged when other intercourse was wanting at the soirées intimes,' at Trianon. They declared that the Queen had been seen to look expressively at Fersen, whilst singing the impassioned lines from the opera of • Didou :'

"Ah! que je fus bien inspirée

Quand je vous recus dans ma cour' -to seek his eyes and ill conceal her feelings towards him. Nothing more was wanting than to add publicly the name of the young Count to those with which Calumny hoped henceforth to arm herself against Marie Antoinette.”

Again, in a secret despatch addressed to Gustavus III. by the Count de Creutz, we find an account of Fersen's attitude in the situation that was made so difficult for him.

"10th April 1779.-I must confide to your Majesty that the young Count Fersen has been so well received by the Queen, as to give umbrage to many persons; I must own to thinking that she has a great preference for him; I have seen indications of it too strong to be doubted. The modesty and reserve of young Fersen's conduct have been admirable, and above all, the step he has taken in going to America is to be commended; in absenting bimself he escapes all danger, but it evidently required a power of self-command, beyond his years, to overcome such an attraction. The Queen has followed him with her eyes (full of tears), during the last days preceding his going away. I implore your Majesty to keep this secret on her account, and on that of “Senateur Fersen. When the news of the Count's departure was known, all the favourites were delighted. The Duchess of FitzJames said to him, • What! monsieur, you abandon your conquest ?' 'If I had made one,' he replied, • I should not have abandoned it. I go away free, and unfortunately without leaving any regrets.' Your Majesty will agree that this was said with a wisdom and prudence marvellous in one so young. But the Queen is more reserved and cautious than formerly. The King not only consults all her wishes, but takes part in her pursuits and amusements.”

* The games played at the "jeu de la Reine" were quinze, Emmards, and trictrac. + Connt Fersen's friend and travelling companion.

The Swedish ambassador.

Count Fersen accompanied the French army to America as aide-decamp to General Rochambeau, and, owing to his talents and his knowledge of the English language, he was made the intermediary of communication between Washington and the French commander. His letters from America do not show much appreciation of the people he assisted to free. But then allies always speak ill of one another.

The Count writes :

“Money is in all their actions the first object, and their only thought is how to gain it. Every one is for himself, no one for the public good. The inhabitants of the coast, even the best Whigs, supply the English fleet, anchored in Gardner's Bay, with provisions of all kinds, because they pay them well; they fleece us without compunction: everything is an exorbitant price; in all the dealings we have had with them they have treated us more like enemies than friends. Their covetousness is unequalled, money is their god; virtue, honour, all that is nothing to them in comparison with this precious metal. Not but what there are some estimable people among them, there are many who are noble and generous, but I speak of the nation in general, which seems to me to be more Dutch than English.”

The Count was present at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at York Town, which virtually ended the war, and returned to France after the conclusion of the peace of 1783. He still remained in the Swedish service, although at the request of Gustavus III. he received the appointment of Colonel Proprietor of the regiment of Royal Suédois in the service of France. The Count henceforth passed his time between the two countries.

In 1787 he again visited England, and there is a curious account of a fracas that took place between Lady Clermont, the friend of Marie Antoinette and the Prince of Wales at a London assembly, respecting Count Fersen. The Prince's conduct with respect to the Count does not tend to the credit of the “first gentleman of Europe.” The insinuations against the Queen of France concerning her relations with the high-minded Swedish nobleman we believe are utterly groundless. There is not a particle of trustworthy evidence that the Queen ever infringed upon the duties of a wife and a mother. Count Fersen was only her friend and servant, more devoted in the dark winter of adversity than in the sunny days of regal grandeur and prosperity. The Duke de Levis, in his Memoirs, describes him as one to who had more judgment than wit, who was cautious with men, reserved towards women, whose air and figure were those of a hero of romance, but not of a French romance, for he was not sufficiently light and brilliant."

In Wraxall there is the following graphic account of the scene wè have mentioned :

As Lady Clermont enjoyed so distinguished a place in Marie Antoinette's esteem, it was natural that she should endeavour to transfuse into the Prince's mind feelings of attachment and respect for the French Queen similar to those with which she was herself imbued. Making allowance for the difference of sexes, there seemed to be indeed no inconsiderable degree of resemblance between their dispositions. Both were indiscreet, unguarded, and ardent devotees of pleasure. But the Duke of Orleans, irritated at her suceessful opposition to the marriage of his daughter with the Count d'Artois' eldest son, had already prepossessed the Prince of Wales in her disfavour. He was accustomed to speak of her, on the Duke's report, as a woman of licentious life, who changed her lovers according to her caprice. She, indignant at such imputations, which soon reached her, expressed herself in terms the most contemptuous, respecting the heir-apparent, whom she characterised as a voluptuary enslaved by his appetites, incapable of any energetic or elevated sentiments. About this time Count Fersen, who was well known to be highly acceptable to Marie Antoinette, visited London; bringing letters of introduction from the Duchesse de Polignac to many persons of distinction here, and in particular for Lady Clermont. Desirous to show him the utmost attention, and to present him in the best company, soon after his arrival she conducted him in her own carriage to Lady William Gordon's assembly in Piccadilly, one of the most distinguished in the metropolis. She had scarcely entered the room, and made Count Fersen known to the principal individuals of both sexes, when the Prince of Wales was annouuced. I shall recount the sequel in Lady Clermont's own words to me, only a short time subsequent to the fact.

“ His Royal Highness took no notice of me on his first arrival; but, in a few minutes afterwards, coming up to me, “Pray, Lady Clermont,” said he, “is that man whom I see here Cont Fersen, the Queen's favourite ?" "The gentleman to whom your Royal Highness alludes is Count Fersen; bu“, so far from being : favourite of the Queen, he has not yet been presented at Court ”—“G-d d—n me!" exclaimed he. “ you don't imagine I mean my mother ?"-.Sir," I replied, “whenever you are pleased to use the word queen without any addition, I shall always understand it to mean my queen. If you speak of any other queen I nust entreat that you will be good enough to say the queen of France or of Spain.” The Prince made no reply, but, after having walked once or twice round Count Fersen, returning to me, " He's certainly a very handsome fellow,” observed he. 6 Shall I have the honour, sir,” said I, “ to present him to you ?" He instantly turned on his heel, without giving me any answer:* and I soon afterwards quitted Lady William Gordon's house, bringing Count Fersen with me.'”

In 1788 Count Fersen returned to Sweden and accompanied his sovereign on his campaign against Russia, which ended so unfortunately, owing to the disaffection of the Finnish troops. He also was with Gustavus at Gothenburg when besieged by the Danes. The King was only saved from destruction by the conduct of Hugh Elliot, then minister at Copenhagen, who crossed the water and prevailed on the Danish commander to accept a truce. Count Fersen then returned to France, and we are now approaching the most interesting part of his career. He was now appointed the secret envoy of Gustavus, to watch over his interests at the Court of Versailles. The opening scenes of the French Revolution naturally filled his mind with dismay. Talleyrand used to say that those who were not in society before 1789 could not realise “la douceur de vivre.” Its utter destruction must have been

* The Prince afterwards made a most graceful apology to Lady Clermont for bin conduct to her.

appalling to one of its brightest ornaments. The count was present at the dreadful scenes of the 5th and 6th of October at Versailles, and accompanied the King and Queen when they were dragged in triumph to Paris by the victorious populace.

It is a great misfortune that the whole of the journal of the Count Fersen from 1780 until June 1791 was destroyed by the friend to whom it was confided on the eve of the flight to Varennes. Fortunately there is in the “Auckland Memoirs" an account of this eventful enterprise which we believe we can state was drawn up by Lord Auckland himself, when ambassador in Holland, from information derived from Count Fersen and his confederate, Mr. Quintin Craufurd, who was Lord Auckland's friend and correspondent.

The following is the account given in the Auckland papers :

From intelligence communicated to the Queen, on the 7th of October, 1789, the day after the royal family had been brought from Versailles to Paris, she thought some attempt on her life was still intended. That evening, after she had retired to her apartment, she called Madame de Tourzel to her, and said, “If you should hear any noise in my room in the night, do not lose any time in coming to see what it is, but carry the Dauphin immediately to the arms of his father.' Madame de Tourzel, bathed in tears, told this circumstance, two days afterwards, to the Spanish ambassador, from whom I learnt it.

“The Count de Fersen was the only person at Paris to whom the King at this time gave his entire confidence. He went privately to the palace by means of one of those passports that were given to some of the household and others who were supposed to have business there, and had therefore liberty to enter at all hours. He saw their Majesties in the King's closet, and by his means their correspondence was carried on,

and the King's intentions communicated.” For a long time the King had determined to escape from Paris, and Count Fersen arranged with the most consummate skill all the details of this enterprise. He had two friends in whom he trusted implicitly: Mr. Quintin Craufurd, an English gentleman well known in Parisian society, and Mrs. Sullivan, who resided in Mr. Crauford's house, and was afterwards known as Mrs. Craufurd. Fersen had the greatest contempt for the levity of the French character, and seems to think that the moment a Frenchman is in possession of a secret he writes about it or confides it to his mistress. Three of the garde-de-corps, however, were called in to assist in the final arrangements. The Count had procured a passport in the name of a “Baroness de Korff,” and had ordered a travelling coach in her name. Madame de Tourzel* was to personate Madame de Korff travelling with her family to Frankfort. Count Fersen assumed the whole responsibility of the safe conduct of the royal party as far as Châlons. After that the Marquis de Bouill, who commanded the troops on the eastern frontier, was charged to protect the travellers by escorts of cavalry.

The night of the 20th of June was finally selected for the attempt at escape, and the travelling carriage was placed at Mr. Quintin Craufurd's hoase, and a little before midnight Fersen's coachman, a Swede, who

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* Governess of the children of France.

did not talk French, and one of the garde-de-corps, mounted as postilions, took the coach with its four Norman horses, and a saddle horse, and halted on the road near the Barrière St. Martin, with orders, in case of seeing any one, to move forwards and return again to their station. Count Fersen went to see the King on the evening of the 20th, and the King determined to depart, although he thought some suspicions were entertained. Count Fersen departed, and at the appointed time arrived with a job coach and horses which he had purchased.

The following is the account of the escape as related by Lord Auckland :

The Dauphin was put to bed at the usual hour, but about half past eleven o'clock Madame de Tourzel woke him and dressed him in girl's clothes. About the same time Fersen, dressed and acting as a coachman, came with the other coach to the court at the Tuileries called La Cour des Princes, as if to wait for some one who was in the palace. He stopped at the apartment of the Duc de Villiquier, that had a communication with the one above it. Soon after he arrived, Madame de Tourzel came out with the two children. Fersen put them into the carriage. Neither of the children spoke a word, but he observed that Madame Royale was bathed in tears. She had all along shown great sensibility, and a degree of prudence and understanding beyond what might be expected from her years. Fersen drove at a common pace to the Petit Carroussel, and stopped near the house that was formerly inhabited by the Duchesse de la Vallière. Neither that house nor the houses near it have a court to admit carriages, and it is common to see them waiting in the street there. Madame Elisabeth came, attended by one of her gentlemen, who, as soon as he put her in the coach, left her. The King came next; he had a round brown wig over his hair, a greatcoat on, and a stick in his hand. He was followed at some distance by one of the garde-de-corps. They waited for the Queen a full quarter of an hour. _The King began to be apprehensive, and wanted to go back to look for her, but Fersen dissuaded him. While they waited for the Queen, Lafayette passed twice in his carriage, followed by two dragoons, once in going to the Rue de Honoré, and again in returning from it. On seeing him the King showed some emotion, but not of fear, and said, loud enough for Fersen to hear him, “Le scélérat!

“ The Queen at last arrived, followed by the other garde-de-corps. She had been detained by unexpectedly finding a sentinel at the top of the stairs she was to descend by. He was walking negligently backwards and forwards, and singing. The Queen at last observed that as he went forward from the stair, the pier of an arch must prevent him from seeing her. She took that opportunity quickly tò descend without noise, and made signs to the garde-de-corps to do the same. As soon as the Queen was in the carriage, the two garde-de-corps got up behind it, and Fersen drove away.”

Mr. Croker, in his “Essays on the French Revolution," originally published in the “Quarterly Review," observes “that the journey to Varennes is an extraordinary instance of the difficulty of ascertaining historical truth. There have been published twelve narratives by eyewitnesses of, and partakers in, these transactions, and all these narratives contradict each other on trivial, and some on more essential, points, but always in a wonderful and inexplicable manner.” In the account by Madame Royale, it is positively stated that the Queen conducted the children to the carriage. This assertion very much exercised the mind of Mr. Croker, and it now appears it was incorrect, for the

* Madame Royale gives the time as half past ten, and we think this was the real time,

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