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Title: The Journal of Countess Françoise Krasinska, Great Grandmother of Victor Emmanuel

Author: Klementyna Tańska-Hoffmanowa

Translator: Kasimir Dziekonska

Release date: July 8, 2011 [eBook #36660]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Jen Haines and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


Colour pic of Book Cover

THE Journal of COUNTESS FRANÇOISE KRASINSKA great grandmother of victor emmanuel

translated from the polish

eighth edition

A C McClurg Logo


[Pg 5]

By A. C. McClurg & Co.
A.D. 1895.

[Pg 6]

in the eighteenth century.

In the Castle of Maleszow,
Monday, January 1, 1759.

One week ago—it was Christmas day—my honored Father ordered to be brought to him a huge book, in which for many years he has written with his own hand all the important things which have happened in our country; also copies of the notable pamphlets, speeches, manifestoes, public and private letters, occasional poems, etc., and having placed everything in the order of its date, he showed us this precious collection and read to us some extracts. I was much pleased with his idea of recording interesting facts and circumstances; and as I know how to write pretty well in [Pg 7] Polish and in French, and have heard that in France some women have written their memoirs, I thought, "Why should not I try to do something of the kind?"

So I have made a big copy-book by fastening together many sheets of paper, and I shall note down, as accurately as I am able, everything which may happen to me and to my family, and I shall also mention public affairs as they happen, as far as I may be acquainted with them.

To-day is New Year's Day and Monday, a very proper season to begin something new. I am at leisure; the morning Service is finished, I am dressed and my hair is curled; ten is just striking on the castle clock, so I have two hours till dinner time. Well, I begin.

I was born in 1742, so I am just past my sixteenth birthday. I received at the christening the name of Françoise. I have heard more than once that I am pretty, and sometimes looking in the mirror, I think so myself. "One has to thank God, and not to boast," says my gracious [Pg 8] Mother; "it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves." I have black hair and eyes, a fair complexion and rosy cheeks. I should like to be a little taller, but they frighten me by saying I shall not grow any more. I am descended from the not only noble, but very old and illustrious family of Korwin Krasinski. God forbid I should ever tarnish the glorious name I am fortunate enough to bear! on the contrary I should like much to add to its fame, and I am often sorry I am not a man, as I should then have more opportunities.

The Count, my honored Father, and the Countess, are so sensible of the grandeur of the Korwin Krasinski family, and they so often speak of it,—not only they, but our courtiers and our guests as well,—and it is thought by all to be such a great reproach not to know precisely about our ancestors, that we all have our heads full of that kind of information. I can recite the genealogy of the Krasinskis and the history of each of them as perfectly as my morning prayer, and I think that I should have more difficulty [Pg 9] in telling the names of our Polish kings in chronological order than in telling those of my ancestors. The pictures of the most illustrious are in our hall, [1] but it would take too long to write about each of them. The first of whom we know anything was Warcislaus Korwin, from the old Roman family of Corvinus, who, in the eleventh century, came from Hungary to Poland and was appointed the Hetman (General-in-chief) of the army of King Boleslaus II.

Having espoused a noble lady of the name of Pobog, Korwin united his crest—a raven holding a ring—to that of the Pobogs—a hand grasping a sabre—and such is still our cognizance. His grandson was the first to take the name Krasinski, that is, of Krasin, from an estate bestowed upon him by the King as a reward for his bravery; and from that time forward many hetmans, castellans, woivodes, [2] bishops, etc., [Pg 10] made the Krasinski name famous in Polish history.

One of them, Alexander, in this very same Maleszow Castle where I am now quietly writing, resisted so bravely a great Tartar army, in one of its plundering excursions from Asia, that the chief was obliged to retreat; but before leaving, he sent to the valorous castellan, as a token of his admiration, the most precious thing he possessed,—namely, a clock, of very simple construction, it is true, but a great wonder at that time. This curious relic, this gift from an enemy,—and he a Tartar, more accustomed to take than to give,—is still preserved with great care in our family; I have seen it but twice in my life, my honored Father keeping it so carefully, and I am sure he would not exchange it for ten Paris clocks with all their chimes.

This valiant ancestor of mine was killed in a war with Russia, and left no son. His nephew John built in Warsaw a magnificent palace in the Italian style, which is said to be more beautiful than the King's Castle; [Pg 11] but I have not seen it, as I have never been in our capital.

John's brother, Alexander, the castellan of Sandomir, was my own grandfather. His son, Stanislaus, the Staroste [3] of Nova Wies and Uscie, is my honored and beloved Father; he married Angela Humiecka, the daughter of the famous Woivode of Podole, my honored and beloved Mother. But, to my great sorrow, this line of the Krasinski family will become extinct with the Count, my Father, as he has four daughters, but no son: Basia (a pet name for Barbara) is the eldest; I am the second; then comes Kasia (Katherine); and Marynia (Mary) is the youngest.

The courtiers tell me often I am the handsomest, but I am sure I do not see it; we all have the bearing becoming young ladies of high station, daughters of a Staroste; we are straight as poplars, with complexions white as snow and cheeks pink as roses; our waists, especially when Madame ties us fast in our stays, can be, as they [Pg 12] say, "clasped with one hand." In the parlor before guests we know how to make our courtesy, low or dégagé, according to their importance; we have been taught to sit quiet on the very edge of a stool, with our eyes cast down and our hands folded, so that one might think we were not able to count three or were too prim even to walk out of the room easily. But people would think differently if they saw us on a summer morning, when we are allowed to go to the woods in morning gowns and without stays, puffs, coiffures, or high-heeled shoes: oh! how we climb the steep hillsides, and run and shout and sing, till our poor Madame is quite out of breath from running and calling after us.

As yet I and my two younger sisters have seldom left home: Konskie, the home of our aunt, the Woivodine [4] Malachowska, whom we visit twice a year; Piotrowice, where my honored Father, after his return from Italy, built a beautiful chapel, like the one in Loretto; Lisow, where stands our [Pg 13] parish church,—these bound all our experiences in travelling. But Basia, as the eldest, has already seen a good part of this world: she has been twice to Opole, visiting our aunt, the Princess Lubomirska, Woivodine of Lublin, whom my Father loves and venerates as a mother rather than as an elder sister. Basia has spent also one year in the convent of the Ladies of the Visitation at Warsaw, and so, of course, she knows more than any of us: her courtesies are the lowest, and her manners the most stately.

My honored Parents are thinking now of sending me also somewhere to finish my education; I am expecting every day to see the carriage drive up to the door, and then my gracious Mother will tell me to sit beside her, and she will take me either to Warsaw or to Cracow. I am perfectly happy at home, but Basia liked the convent very much, so I hope that I shall; and then I shall improve in the French language, which is now indispensable for a lady; also in music and in dancing, and [Pg 14] besides that I shall see a great town, our capital.

As I have not seen many castles besides Maleszow, I cannot judge whether it is pretty or not. I only know that I like it very much. Some people think that our castle, with its four stories and its four bastions, surrounded with a moat full of water crossed by a drawbridge, and situated amidst forests in a rocky country, looks rather gloomy, but I do not think so at all. I am so happy here that I should like to sing and dance all day long. I hear my honored Parents complaining sometimes that they are not quite comfortable here. It is true that, although on each floor there are besides the parlor, six large rooms and four smaller ones in the bastions, we cannot all be accommodated on the same floor, as we are a very numerous family. The dining-rooms are on the first, the dancing hall on the second, and we girls have to occupy the third floor. My honored Parents are no longer young, and it fatigues them to go up and down every [Pg 15] day, but for me these stairs are just my delight! Often, when I have not yet all my puffs on, I grasp the stair-rail and I am down in one second without my foot once touching the steps. Oh! it is such fun!

It is true our many guests may sometimes be crowded a little in their sleeping rooms, but nevertheless, they visit us often, and I do not know that we could amuse ourselves better in a more spacious palace. I think the Maleszow Castle, if three times as large, could not be more magnificent; it is so gay and lively that the neighbors often call it little Paris. We are especially gay when winter comes; then the captain of our dragoons does not lift up the drawbridge until night, so many people are continually driving in and out, and our court-band has enough to do playing every day for us to dance.

But I ought not to forget to speak about the retinue of our Castle, which, in accordance with the rank of my honored Parents, is very numerous and stately.

There are two classes of courtiers,—the [Pg 16] honorary and the salaried ones, all alike nobles, with the sword at their side. The first are about twenty in number; their duties are to wait in the morning for the Count's entrance, to be ready for any service he may require, to accompany him when visiting or riding, to defend him in case of need, to give him their voice at the Diet, and to play cards and amuse him and his guests. This last duty is best performed by our Matenko (Mathias), the fool or court jester, as the other courtiers call him; but he does not at all deserve that sobriquet, as his judgment is very correct and his repartees are very witty. Of all the courtiers he is the most privileged, being allowed to speak whenever he chooses and to tell the truth frankly.

To the honorary members of our court belong also six girls of good family, who live on the same floor with us under the superintendence of our Madame, and also two dwarfs. One of the latter is about forty, but of the size of a four-year-old child; he is dressed as a Turk. The other, [Pg 17] still smaller and very graceful and pretty, is eighteen years old, and they dress him as a Cossack. Sometimes, for sport, my honored Mother orders him to be put on the dinner table, and he walks about among the bottles and the plates as easily as if he were in a garden.

The honorary courtiers receive no pay, almost all of them being the sons and daughters of rather wealthy parents, who send them to our castle for training in courtly etiquette. The men receive, nevertheless, provision for two horses, and two florins [5] weekly for their valets. These servants are dressed, some as Cossacks, some as Hungarians, and stand behind their masters' chairs at meals. There is no special dinner table for them, but they must be satisfied with what their masters leave on their plates, and you should see how they follow with a covetous eye each morsel on its way from the plate to the master's mouth! I do not dare to look at them, partly from fear of laughing, and partly out of pity.

[Pg 18]

The salaried courtiers are much more numerous. They do not come to our table, except the chaplain, the physician and the secretary. The marshal and the butler walk around the table watching if anything is wanted; they pour the wine into the glasses, often replenishing for the guests, but only on feast days keeping the glass full for the courtiers. The commissary, the treasurer, the equerry, the gentleman usher, the masters of the wardrobe, all dine at the marshal's table. To tell the truth, those who sit at our table have more honor than profit, for they do not always have the same kind of food that we have, although it comes from the same dish. For instance, when the meats are brought in, there will be on the dish game or domestic fowl on the top, and plain roast beef, or roast pork, underneath. Each course is brought on two enormous dishes, and it seems almost impossible such heaps could disappear; yet the last man served gets often but scanty bits of food, and whether there are four courses, as on [Pg 19] week days, or seven, as on Sundays, or twelve, as on festivals, I do not remember having seen anything left on our table.

The salaried courtiers receive quite high pay, from three hundred to a thousand florins annually, also provender for two horses each, and the livery for their valets; but then the Count expects them all to present themselves well dressed. When he is especially pleased with one of them he rewards him generously, and every year on the Count's birthday, rich presents in dresses and money are distributed.

But this is not our whole retinue; there are also the chamberlains,—young boys from fifteen to twenty years of age, of noble families, who perform a kind of novitiate in our service. Their duties are to be always in attendance, to accompany our carriage on horseback, and to be ready for all kinds of errands; thus if my honored Parents have letters to be carried in haste, or presents or invitations to be sent, they always send the chamberlains. One of them, Michael Chronowski, will finish his novitiate on [Pg 20] Epiphany, and then will come the ceremony of liberation, which I shall describe in its place.

As for other people belonging to our retinue, it would be difficult to enumerate them; I am sure I do not know how many there are of musicians, cooks, linkboys, cossacks, hostlers, valets, chamberlains, and boy and girl servants. I know only there are five different dinner tables, and two stewards are busy from morning till night, giving out the provisions for the meals. Very often, especially when fresh supplies are brought in, my honored Mother is herself present in the storeroom; she also keeps the keys of the medicine closet, where spices, dainties, and sweet liquors are kept. Every morning the marshal brings to her the dinner and supper menu, which she, with the advice of my honored Father, either changes or approves.

The arrangement of our day's occupation is as follows: we rise at six o'clock in summer, at seven in winter. All four of [Pg 21] us sleep in the same room with Madame, and each has an iron bedstead with curtains around it. Basia, as the eldest, has two pillows and a silk coverlet; we, the younger, have but one pillow and a woollen blanket. Having said a French prayer with Madame, we begin our lessons at once. At first the chaplain taught us the catechism, and with our tutor we learned how to read and write in Polish; but now he teaches only my two younger sisters, for Basia and I study with Madame only. We learn vocabularies, dialogues, and anecdotes by heart from a text-book. At eight we go downstairs to wish our honored Parents good-morning and to have breakfast. Then we go to the chapel, where, after the mass, the chaplain reads Latin prayers, which we all repeat after him aloud. Returning to our room, we learn German vocabularies, we write letters and exercises, and Madame dictates to us the verses of a French poet, Malesherbes. We have a spinet and are taught to play upon it by a German teacher, who directs our [Pg 22] orchestra; for this service he receives three hundred florins annually. We all study music and Basia plays not badly at all.

When our lessons are over we put on wrappers and the coiffeur comes to dress our hair, beginning with the eldest. This is a long and often painful operation, especially when he is inventing some new coiffure. As my hair is the thickest and the longest (it drags on the floor when I am sitting before the dressing-table), it is on my head that he generally makes his experiments. It is true that he does make very beautiful and wonderful coiffures; for instance, the one I have to-day, is so pretty, having a laisser aller effect: all my hair is lifted up very high; half of it is arranged in puffs on the top of the head, and the other half falls in loose curls on the neck and the shoulders; there must have been at least a half-pound of powder used in it. Our dressing takes two or three hours, during which Madame reads to us a new French book, the "Magasin des Enfants" by Madame Beaumont. [Pg 23]

At noon, at the Angelus bell, we go down to dinner, and then, our honored Parents allow us to remain with them for the rest of the day. We sit generally two hours at table; after that if the weather is favorable we take a walk; if not, we always have some needle-work on hand for our church in Piotrowice. We sit at our embroidery frames as long as we can see, and when the lights are brought in, we make netting or do some such light work. There are always many wax tapers burning in silver candelabra, and although they are rather yellow, being home-made from our own wax, they give a very bright light.

Supper is at seven, and afterwards the evening is given to amusement. Sometimes we play cards, "Marriage" or "Drujbart," and it is such fun to see the faces Matenko makes, according as he gets a seven or a trump!

Once a week a chamberlain goes to Warsaw to bring the newspapers and letters, and then the chaplain reads aloud the "Gazette" and the "Courier." At times [Pg 24] my honored Father reads the old chronicles to us; sometimes they are very dull, and sometimes very interesting. During the Carnival, there is seldom any reading, but there are games, music, and dances. I cannot imagine how they can amuse themselves better at the court in Warsaw; how can it be anywhere gayer than in our Maleszow? Still, I should like so much, if only out of curiosity, to have just a taste of that court life. But what do I hear? There is the noon bell! I must say the Angelus in haste, see if my coiffure is in order, and run downstairs, leaving for to-morrow all that I intended to write to-day.

Tuesday, January 2.

Yesterday, I wrote about myself and my home; to-day I want to write about my country. I should not be a worthy Pole if I were not interested in what happens in my own land. People in our house talk much about Poland, and I have always listened attentively, but much more so since I resolved to write this journal. [Pg 25]

Our present king is Augustus III., Elector of Saxony, son and successor of Augustus II. On the seventeenth of this month, it will be twenty-five years since the Bishop of Cracow crowned him King of Poland and Lithuania. [6] It is said that he was rather indifferent to the Polish crown, when by his father's death the chance was opened to him; but he was persuaded to become a candidate by his wife, Marie Josephine, daughter of the German Emperor Maximilian. This royal lady was very much beloved by the Poles: she had a very good influence over the king, her husband, and never meddled with any court intrigues; she was charitable, beneficent, pious, a good wife and a good mother, and fully deserved to be called a model of feminine virtues. She died in Dresden two years ago, and I remember well the great sorrow caused by the news of her death. In all [Pg 26] the churches there were grand funeral services, also in our Piotrowice, and all the poor people cried and lamented, having lost in her a real mother. She had fourteen children, of whom eleven are living: four sons and seven daughters.

The king is said to be of a kindly but rather weak character, and he has the greatest confidence in his minister Brühl, who in reality is the ruler both of Poland and Saxony. It is said affairs are going all wrong in Saxony, and not much better in our country. I have often heard people say: "We need a Frederic the Great, with a strong head and an iron will;" and as our king is old, they are all looking forward and planning already for his successor. There are two prominent candidates for the throne: one is Stanislaus Poniatowski, who was educated in France, spent four years in Russia as the envoy of Poland, and there became the favorite of the Empress Catherine II. The other candidate is Duke Charles, twenty-six years old, the most beloved of the sons of [Pg 27] our present king. People say he has a real gift for attracting all hearts to him; he is very handsome, very stately in figure, and very courteous in manner; and having spent almost his whole life in Poland, he knows our language perfectly. I have heard so much of his good qualities that my best wishes are for him, although Poniatowski is my countryman.

This day will be a memorable one for Duke Charles. A few weeks ago he was elected Duke of Courland, which is a tributary of Poland, and to-day occurs the "investiture," that is, the giving possession. The king is so happy about the good fortune of his beloved son, that he is said to look ten years younger. What festivals there will be in Warsaw! How I should like to be there now, and to see the grand doings, but especially to see the royal prince. We shall, at least, drink his health here and cry, "Long life to Duke Charles!" [Pg 28]

January 3.

Yesterday, just when we were drinking to the health of the Duke of Courland, and our band was doing its best, and our company of dragoons were firing salutes,—at that very moment the chamberlain, who had been sent to Warsaw, returned with the news that on account of the indisposition of the duke, the ceremonies of the investiture had to be postponed. "Bad omen," said Matenko; "as the mitre slips, so the crown will slip." I felt like crying, but there was no time for that, as many guests were present; among others, the Woivode of Craclaw, Swidinski, with his nephew Father Albert, a Jesuit, whom my honored Parents like and respect greatly. Basia is his special favorite; he brought her a rosary and a prayer book,—"La Journée du Chrétien,"—and he spoke several times to her at supper. But then, Basia is the eldest; no wonder everybody pays most attention to her. [Pg 29]

Friday, January 5.

The Woivode and Father Albert are still here, and to-day the two sons of the former are expected. I am very anxious to know them, as they have both been educated in France, at Luneville, at the court of Stanislaus Leszczynski. [7] This nobleman, although his country has proved faithless to him, tries to be useful to it, and he has always some young Poles at his court, where they receive the best education. The sons of our first families court this great honor, and there is not a better recommendation for a young man than to say of him: "He has been brought up in the court of Luneville." He is sure then to be refined, to speak French well, and to dance the minuet gracefully; therefore all gentlemen brought up at that court are great favorites [Pg 30] of the ladies. Oh! how curious I am to see these two!

Saturday, January 6.

They arrived yesterday, but I cannot say they are quite as I expected, especially the elder, the Staroste of Radom. I thought I should see a fine young cavalier, like the Prince Cheri, so beautifully depicted by Madame de Beaumont, but the Staroste is not at all like him; first, he is not very young,—he is about thirty; then he is rather stout, and therefore, perhaps, he is not fond of dancing. As to his Parisian accent, I cannot judge about that, as he did not say one French word, but mixes his Polish and Latin quite as the old gentlemen do. His brother, who is a colonel in the king's army, pleased me a little more; he has, at least, a fine uniform. To-day, the ceremony of liberation of the Chamberlain Chronowski will take place. Besides that, as it is customary on Epiphany, they are baking an enormous cake with an almond in it, and whoever gets the almond will be the Twelfth Night king or [Pg 31] queen. Oh! if it only came to me! A crown would be put on my head and I should have all the ordering of the dances; then what dancing there would be! Still, I think, there will be enough in any case, for many guests are expected. Our old butler, Peter, was muttering to himself this morning that around the church in Piotrowice there are said to be ever so many coaches and curricles. Poor man! he is expecting more work, so he grumbles; but I feel my heart jumping, and my feet are dancing already. How often in this world the same thing brings trouble to one and joy to another!

Sunday, January 7.

Well, yes, they did come, and many of them are still here. Old Peter has two wrinkles more on his forehead, but we amused ourselves royally. Basia, not I, was the queen, but it was just as well. When at the end of the dinner the cake was cut, Basia glancing at her piece became red as a pink, and Madame, sitting next to [Pg 32] her, announced: "Mademoiselle Basia has the almond!" Then all the people cried, "Long live the queen!" and Matenko added, smiling: "The almond is here, the husband is near." Would it not be nice to have a wedding in our house!

Decidedly I do not like the Staroste; he is so grave! Yesterday he danced the Polonaise only. He never looks at us girls, nor speaks a word to one of us; he converses with my honored Parents only, or plays cards, or reads the "Gazette;" so, really, I cannot find him very entertaining.

But I am forgetting to speak about Michael Chronowski's liberation. Soon after dinner we went to the banquet hall with our guests, and all sat around in a large circle, my honored Father in the middle, on a higher chair. The folding doors were thrown open, and the marshal with other courtiers led in the young man, dressed no more in livery, but in a rich Polish costume. He knelt down before the Count, who gave him a light blow on the cheek in token that he has been novitiate boy here, [Pg 33] then a sword was fastened to his side and his health was drunk in a cup of wine. The Count made him a present of a purse filled with gold, and of two horses which were already waiting in the courtyard for their new master. Invited to remain here as a guest till the end of the carnival, Chronowski accepted the invitation with gratitude, and having saluted my honored Parents and kissed the hands of all the ladies, was admitted to our society and danced with us the whole evening.

January 8.

The prophecy of Matenko proved true, for Basia will be married before the carnival is over. Last night the Staroste Swidinski asked my honored Parents for her hand; they sent for her this morning, told her about it, and the betrothal will take place to-morrow. Basia came back in tears to our room, telling us that she dreaded the marriage, and would always regret her old home, but that it was not possible to refuse such a match, as both [Pg 34] our honored Parents wished it, and told her she would be very happy. The Staroste is, they say, a most honorable man, religious, and of a kind disposition; his family is also old and very wealthy. His father has allotted him a large estate, "Sulgostow," with a beautiful palace, and the king has given him the appointment of staroste with the expectation of being soon named castellan. For a long time the Woivode and Father Albert had been planning this marriage, and they came here for the purpose of effecting it.

And so we shall have a wedding here, in Maleszow Castle, on the 25th of February, at the very end of the carnival. Will there not be dancing! Basia will become Madame Starostine; only, it is a pity we shall not be allowed to call her "Basia" any more. I am very sorry to have written about the Staroste as I did, but then it is not I that is to marry him, and if he pleases Basia, that is enough. She says she has always been afraid of young men, she likes serious ones better; and our honored [Pg 35] Mother tells her that those make the best husbands. Perhaps so, but as for me ... well, it is of no use to think about it at present.

Oh! but I must not forget: the investiture of Duke Charles will certainly take place in Warsaw to-day. Colonel Swidinski, who knows him personally, has not words enough to tell how charming he is. I wonder if I shall ever see him.

January 10.

The betrothal took place yesterday. In the morning, when we came down, my honored Mother gave Basia a skein of tangled silk to wind. [8] The poor girl, with flushing cheeks, began the task, not daring to look up from her work, for she knew that all eyes, especially those of the Staroste, were fixed upon her; and besides, that mischievous Matenko was teasing her without end, making all the people laugh.

[Pg 36]

After dinner, when she sat again before her winding-frame, the Staroste came near and asked in a voice loud enough for all to hear: "May I believe that your ladyship's will is favorable to my desires?" "The will of my honored Parents," answered Basia, with a trembling voice, "has ever been a sacred law to me." And that was the whole of the conversation between the betrothed.

When the courtiers had left the room and we were alone with our guests, the Woivode and Father Albert arose, the former taking by the hand the Staroste, and standing before my honored Parents he thus addressed them: "For a long time my heart has been filled with the most sincere affection and profound veneration for the illustrious family of Korwin Krasinski; for a long time I have desired fervently that my modest name be united with your glorious one, and I cannot express the great satisfaction which I feel in knowing that your Grace is willing to grant me this favor. You have a most [Pg 37] honorable daughter, Barbara; I have this son, Michael, who is my comfort and my pride; are you willing to renew to-day your promise to join this young pair for their lifetime? Here is the ring which I received on a like occasion from my honored Parents, in order to give it to my wife, who is, alas! no more in this world, but who still lives in my heart. Will you allow my son to offer it now to your daughter as a pledge of a closer tie?" Saying this he laid a costly diamond ring on a little silver tray which Father Albert was holding. The latter also made a speech, but he used so many Latin words that I could not make anything of it.

My honored Father rose and answered: "I repeat now what I told you yesterday, that I consent to the marriage of my daughter with the most honorable Staroste; I give her to him with my sincere blessing, and I transfer to him all my rights as a Father." "I do the same, and with my whole heart," added my honored Mother. "Here is a ring, the most precious jewel in [Pg 38] my house; my Father, the Woivode of Podole, received it after his victory over the Turks, from the hands of our late king, Augustus II. This was my betrothal ring, and I give it now to my eldest daughter, with a Mother's blessing, and with a prayer to the Almighty that she may be as happy as I have been." She then placed on the tray a ring with a very large diamond, which, being raised, disclosed the miniature of the late king.

"Basia! come here, my girl," said my honored Father. She rose and advanced, but was so confused and trembling that I wonder how she ever reached the spot. Father Albert blessed the rings, and gave the first one to the Staroste, who, having kissed my sister's hand, placed the ring on her fourth finger; Basia, in her turn, gave him the ring with the portrait, and had her hand kissed once more. Then the Staroste fell at the feet of my honored Parents, thanking them, and calling God to witness that he would do all in his power to make their daughter happy; in the mean time [Pg 39] the Woivode kissed the trembling Basia on the brow, while Father Albert and the colonel paid her many fine compliments.

At the end my honored Father took a large cup, filled it with old Hungarian wine, and drank the young couple's health; and all the gentlemen did the same.

The whole ceremony was so solemn and so touching that I could not keep back my tears. "Do not weep, Frances," said Matenko, who still remained in the room and for once was serious, "do not weep; in less than one year it will be your ladyship's turn." In one year? ... no, that would be too soon, but in a few years, perhaps....

Everybody in the house is now paying so much attention to Basia! My honored Parents kissed her on the cheek when she wished them good-night, and all the people are congratulating her and recommending themselves to her, as many wish that she would take them to her new court.

My honored Father brought out a bag containing a thousand ducats, which he [Pg 40] gave my honored Mother for the trousseau, and during several hours they discussed together its details. To-morrow Mlle. Zawistoska, a very respectable woman, who has been brought up in our castle and will be Basia's lady's maid, is going with the commissary to Warsaw to make the necessary purchases.

In our store-house there are four big trunks with silver plate, one for each of us. The Count ordered the one which is designed for Basia to be opened; examined each piece himself, and those which need repairs or alteration are to be sent to Warsaw.

The letters to announce the approaching marriage are already being written, and the chamberlains will take them to all parts of Poland, to all relatives and friends, inviting them to the wedding. But the most stately of our courtiers, the equerry, will go to Warsaw with letters to the king, the royal princes, the primate, and the chief senators. In these missives the Count gives notice of his daughter's intended marriage, [Pg 41] but sends no invitations, as the presence of those persons will depend upon their own pleasure. Oh! if one of them, for instance the Duke of Courland, should come here, what grandeur would be added to the wedding; but more probably they will send their envoys only, who, in that case, receive all the honors due to those they represent.

The Staroste gave handsome tokens of remembrance to each of us sisters. I received a costly brooch with turquoises; Mary, a ruby cross; Kasia, a Venetian chain. Also he offered presents to my honored Parents, which they deigned to accept,—the Count, a golden cup; the Countess, a work-box, in which all the implements are of mother-of-pearl and gold. He did not forget even our Madame, who found this morning a lace shawl on her bed; so she also highly praises our Polish generosity.

Last night we had a grand supper. The music was beautiful, the dragoons fired salutes, and the captain gave to the guard [Pg 42] for a watchword the names Michael and Barbara.

This morning there was given a great hunting-party, for Basia's good luck, and it was unusually successful; they brought home one boar, two deer, four hinds, and many hares. The boar was killed by the Staroste himself, who laid his trophy at Basia's feet. I have learned to-day what a brave man the Staroste is. My honored Father ordered for the hunters all the horses from the stables, and among others there was one, a great beauty, but very wild; even the equerry does not dare to ride him. The Staroste said, however, that he would try him, and notwithstanding all the remonstrances, he sat upon him with ease and held him with such a clever and strong hand that, in spite of all the animal's prancing and jumping, he rode three times around the castle. It was beautiful to see. Basia turned pale at first, but when she saw how he was able to manage the horse, and when loud bravos began to resound, then deep blushes covered her cheeks, especially [Pg 43] when all eyes turned towards her. By this act the Staroste quite gained my favor; one who is so brave and so strong, can be pardoned even if he does not like to dance the minuet. The Count presented the horse to his future son-in-law, adding a rich equipment and a groom; he deserved it.

To-morrow the Woivode and the Staroste are going away, in order to prepare the Sulgostow house for its new mistress.

Sunday, January 20.

During more than a week I have not opened my diary, for we are very busy. The afternoons and evenings are spent with our guests, and the mornings are given to work, as each sister wishes to make something with her own hands for Basia's trousseau. I am embroidering a dishabille with flowers in lace-stitch, and I have to get up very early in the morning and work even by candle-light in order to be ready in season. Mary is making a very pretty scarf; it will have an arabesque embroidered on fine muslin in dark silks and gold; Kasia is [Pg 44] knitting a cover for the dressing table; so all the lessons are put aside, and even Madame de Beaumont is forgotten.

From the early morning, my honored Mother is busy, unlocking the trunks, the drawers, and the cupboards,—taking out linen, silks, furs, carpets, rugs, curtains, etc. She has many things still remaining from her own trousseau, and many others bought later, as during all these years she has been gathering all kinds of beautiful things for our marriage outfits; really they are well worth seeing. Sometimes she deigns to call me to assist her, and it is quite touching to see her anxiety to do right by each of us; she divides all these treasures in four portions, and sometimes she even asks my honored Father and the chaplain to give their opinion whether the shares are quite of equal value.

A tailor and a furrier have come from Warsaw, and there is so much to be done that they will not have finished for a month. Fortunately, almost all the linen is ready, our sewing-girls having worked upon it for [Pg 45] these last two years, and now they are marking it with blue cotton.

Basia wonders what she will do with all the new dresses they are making for her; until now we had never more than four at the same time, two dark woollen ones for every day, and two white ones, one in cotton for Sundays, another in batiste for great occasions. But my honored Mother says that what is good enough for a young girl would not be proper for a married lady.

Basia has wound the tangled silk with such patience that, although green, it has not in the least changed its color; even Matenko acknowledges that she is fit to be married. She is now knitting from that silk a purse for the Staroste by my honored Mother's direction.

The equerry and the chamberlain are gone with the invitations. On the 8th of January the investiture of the royal prince took place at last. The night before, my uncle the Prince Lubomirski, Woivode of Lublin, who is also the marshal to the royal [Pg 46] prince, gave a great ball; other festivals, dinners, and balls followed for more than a week. The new duke made a speech in the Polish language, which pleased immensely; he is now treated quite as a crowned prince. In the "Courier" there is a full account of the ceremonies. It is very interesting; I should like to copy it here, but I have not the time.

January 25.

The Staroste arrived last night, and this morning Basia found on her work-table two large silver baskets with oranges and bonbons, which she distributed among us and our court ladies. Our work is progressing rapidly and my négligé is half done.

Basia will be provided with feather-beds from her own household, for to each of us daughters has been allotted for many years a certain number of geese and swans. There is among the servants a poor, stupid girl who is not able to do anything but pluck the feathers, and each of us has a separate barrel for feathers and a bag for [Pg 47] down. Basia, out of her share, will have two feather-beds, eight big pillows filled with goose-down, and four small ones of swan's-down. The pillows will be made of red silk, and the cases of Holland linen lawn embroidered.

February 2.

The Staroste stayed nearly a week and departed yesterday; the next time he will not go away alone, but Basia will go with him. It seems to me quite impossible that she will leave us and go alone with a man! Basia's friendship and esteem for the Staroste grows every day, although he never speaks with her; all his conversation is with my honored Parents, and all his attentions are paid to them. They say it ought to be so in an honorable courtship, for is there a better way of gaining the heart of the daughter than by pleasing the Parents?

The wedding will be in three weeks; we shall have new dresses as well as the court ladies; all these will be Basia's gift.

Many of the invited guests have already [Pg 48] replied that they are coming, but the king and the royal princes will send only their envoys. It is doubtful, also, if my aunt, the Princess Woivodine of Lublin will be able to come, but she is much pleased with Basia's choice, and she wrote a beautiful letter with her blessing,—which made my honored Father very happy.

I am hurrying with my embroidery, but I must rise early and work by candle-light, for my honored Mother is so gracious toward me that she often wants my help and service. Before this, only Basia, as the eldest, was so fortunate, but now, my honored Parents want me to have some practice in order to take her place when the Staroste takes her away. Twice already I have had the key of the medicine closet intrusted to me, and I really think since then I have grown more serious.

February 12.

The preparations for the wedding are going on, and our visitors begin to arrive. Almost all the guest-rooms are already occupied, [Pg 49] and the farm-house, the parsonage, even the better peasant-cottages will be wanted for the later comers. The cooks and the confectioners are already preparing all kinds of delicacies and sweetmeats for the coming event.

To-day the beds have been sent to Sulgostow and two enormous chests with mattresses, pillows, carpets, curtains, etc. The bedsteads are of carved oak with blue covers, curtains, and canopies; on the four corners there will be bunches of blue and white ostrich-feathers. Almost every moment Basia has good reason for embracing the hands and the feet of our honored Parents, they are so generous toward her. The Count is writing with his own hand, in a large book, the contents of the trousseau, beginning with these words:—

"Inventory of the wedding outfit which I, Stanislaus Korwin Krasinski, Staroste of Nova Wies, etc., etc., and Angela, born Humiecka, my honored wife, are giving to our eldest and beloved daughter Barbara, [Pg 50] promised in marriage to the honorable Michael Swidinski, Staroste of Radom; and imploring for this daughter of ours the favor of Heaven, we bestow upon her our parental blessing, in nomine Patri et Filii et Spiritu Sancto. Amen." I should like to copy here the whole inventory, but first, I have no time, and secondly, I expect to receive a trousseau like this sometime myself, and what is still better, such a blessing of my own.

February 20.

Three days more and then the wedding. The Staroste arrived yesterday; Basia shook like a leaf when the chamberlain brought him into the parlor. To-day we are expecting the Woivode, Father Albert, the colonel and the Woivodine Granowska, sister of the Staroste, with her husband. Basia is entering into a fine family,—all religious and worthy people. The trousseau is quite finished, and what has not already been sent to Sulgostow is packed in trunks, of which Mademoiselle Zavistoska has the keys. Besides this mademoiselle, [Pg 51] Basia will take with her two young girls, her goddaughters, well trained in all kinds of needle-work, and as companion, one of the six damsels who have been brought up with us. When I am married I shall take still more; I have already solemnly promised three girls that they shall go with me; one of them is the daughter of our Peter. In his grateful joy, the old man bowed to my feet, and for the first time his forehead was free from wrinkles.

Sunday, February 22.

The wedding will be to-morrow. Our guests are numberless, and all the envoys are here. The king's envoy is the Secretary Borch; that of the Duke of Courland, his confidant the Castellanic [9] Kochanowski, a very handsome and polite cavalier; the proverb is right: "As the master, so the valet." I cannot possibly describe all the others; they arrived, as if by appointment, at the same hour yesterday, and their entrance was quite imposing. Before every [Pg 52] one of them our dragoons presented arms, while the cannons were firing and the music playing. The greatest honors were shown to the king's envoy; the Count, having been informed of the hour of his arrival, was waiting with head uncovered on the drawbridge, and all our guests, courtiers, and servants stood in a double row up to the entrance door. As soon as the secretary stepped on the bridge they all shouted "Vivat!" and bowed low in salutation.

To-day, in the presence of the whole company, and before appointed witnesses, the marriage contract was written, but I do not know what it contains, as I have not understood a single word of it. I know only that the bride received many beautiful presents: from the Staroste three strings of oriental pearls; from the Woivode a rich diamond cross and an aigrette with diamond pendants; from the colonel an enamelled watch and chain; from Father Albert many relics; and from each relative a souvenir. Basia can hardly believe that [Pg 53] all these riches belong to her; until now, her only jewel, besides her betrothal ring, was a small ring with the picture of the Holy Virgin on it, and I am sure Basia will not discard her old friend for all the costly jewels which she now receives.

The maid has just brought my négligé, washed and pressed; it looks very nice. There are twenty-five different kinds of lace-stitch in it; I am sure it will be becoming to Basia.

Shrove Tuesday, February 26.

All is over, and as Matenko says, "with a hundred horses one could not catch Mademoiselle Barbara any more;" she is Madame Starostine. I have much to tell.

Yesterday, very early in the morning, we rode to our parish church in Lisow, where the bride and the bridegroom went to confession and to communion. As it was cold the bride wore a white cloak of brocade silk, lined with white fox fur, and on her head a long lace veil.

When we returned breakfast was served, [Pg 54] and soon afterwards the dressing of the bride commenced; twelve noble ladies headed by my honored Mother undertook that important task. The dress was of white satin, with watered silk stripes, a frill of Brabant lace with silver ornaments at the bottom, and a long train; a rosemary bouquet fastened the front of the corsage. On her head the bride wore a rosemary wreath held in place by a gold circlet on which was engraved the date of the wedding and good wishes in rhyme. According to the old Polish custom, my honored Mother fastened in the wreath a ducat with the date of Basia's birth-year, and a bit of bread for good luck; she also added to the above a lump of sugar in order to sweeten the married life, which they say has many difficulties. No jewels were allowed, for it is said that for each precious stone worn on the wedding day, one has to pay afterwards with a vial of tears. As it is, Basia has wept enough, so that her eyes are red and swollen.

A little in advance, the bridesmaids went [Pg 55] downstairs; we were twelve, all dressed in white, and the eldest of us was not more than eighteen. The bridegroom with twelve groomsmen met us at the door of the parlor, and there we found all the guests assembled. An enormous tray was carried behind us, heaped with bouquets of rosemary and orange sprays, each tied with a white ribbon, which were destined for the young ladies and bachelors present at the wedding. To fasten on these bouquets, each bridesmaid had a certain number of gold and silver pins, and great care was to be used in distributing the different values according to the rank of each person. The elderly ladies have been teaching us for a long time about the method we should follow in order not to cause offence by giving the priority to persons of lesser rank, and we were sure we understood the lesson perfectly; but as soon as we were in the hall, everything was forgotten. At first, we began our task very gravely, then we went on with a smile, and finally we broke into laughter; many and [Pg 56] many mistakes were committed, but all were pardoned, and our gaiety was so contagious that soon the married people and even the elderly ladies and venerable gentleman,—none of whom have any right to wear flowers on a wedding day,—all wanted a bouquet. The first heap disappeared; they brought a second tray full, and a third one; we had no more gold or silver pins, and had to use the ordinary ones, but they were received just as well. At the end everybody looked happy; all had their bouquets, and the room was like a garden.

But no, I am mistaken, not everybody was happy,—Matenko stood sad in a corner; although a bachelor he had received no flowers, and he looked as if he did not belong to the wedding party. I stepped up to him, and he said in a low, grieved voice: "I do not wonder that the other young ladies have not thought of me,—but Miss Frances, whom I have known as a baby, whom, for so many years, I have played with and amused, that she should [Pg 57] forget me! Well, I will not come to her wedding, even if she marries a king's son!" I knew that I blushed half pleased, but was still more vexed at my forgetfulness.

I ran to the dressing-room, but there was not one bouquet left, for my honored Mother, hearing how the flowers were being appropriated in the hall, took the remaining ones for the ladies who were dressing the bride and for herself. The greenhouses were too far off to send there, and I wanted, at any price, a bouquet for poor Matenko. Suddenly a happy thought came to my mind: I caught a piece of white ribbon and returning hastily to the parlor, took off my bouquet and gave half of it, with the golden pin, to Matenko. He was so pleased! "Franulka," he exclaimed, "you are as kind as you are handsome! I am sometimes a prophet; remember, young lady, what I have said to you.... I shall keep these flowers till your wedding day, and who knows with what title I shall address you when giving them back?" How strange! Notwithstanding all the distractions [Pg 58] of the day, his words are still ringing in my ears; and here I am writing about myself, when I ought to think only about Basia.

To return to the wedding: the folding doors were thrown open and Basia entered timidly, surrounded by the elderly ladies. The bridegroom approached and took her by the hand, and the two knelt down before my honored Parents, asking them for their blessing; then they went with the same request to us, to all the relatives, guests, and the whole household present, and there was not one person who did not bless them with his whole heart and with tears in his eyes.

The chapel door opened. Father Albert put on a lace surplice, and standing before the altar, called upon us to draw near. The Secretary Borch as the king's representative, and the Castellanic Kochanowski, led the bride; Mademoiselle Malachowska and I, as first bridesmaids, were directed to lead the bridegroom. All the other people went behind us, two by two, in such deep [Pg 59] silence that one could hear the rustle of the silk dresses, even the tinkling of the diamond aigrettes in the ladies' coiffures.

The altar was glittering with lights; a carpet woven with golden threads covered the steps, and on the highest were two red velvet cushions with the coats of arms of the two families, embroidered in gold.

The young pair knelt down; the bridesmaids were placed on the right side of the altar; the groomsmen on the left; I held a small gold tray with the wedding rings on it, my honored Parents stood behind Basia, the Woivode behind the Staroste. The castle band in the choir played "Veni Creator," after which Father Albert recited an allocution, almost the whole in Latin, and then he began to read the words of the marriage vow. Basia, although in tears, repeated distinctly enough: "I, Barbara, take you, Michael, for my wedded husband," etc., but the Staroste pronounced the words much louder. After the rings were exchanged the married pair fell down at the [Pg 60] feet of my honored Parents and the Woivode's, and were blessed again.

Then the marshal gave a sign; the band in the choir and the Italian singers fetched from Warsaw began a triumphal march, accompanied by the discharge of cannons outside, and when this was all over, and silence re-established, the Count pronounced a fine and very moving exhortation, at the end of which Basia fell again at his feet, sobbing; she tried to speak, but not a word could she utter.

After mutual embracings, salutations, and congratulations, Father Albert sprinkled us with holy water, and presented a cross with relics to be kissed. But he made a mistake, giving it first to Madame the Castellan Jordan before Madame Kochanowska, mother of the duke's envoy. Fortunately, my honored Mother noticed the error, and begged the latter lady to lead the bridegroom from the altar, and thus happily all unpleasantness was avoided. The bride was attended by the king's envoy, and again, two by two, we returned from the [Pg 61] chapel. Soon afterwards the dinner was announced. The tables in the banquet-hall were arranged so as to form the letter B; in the centre stood the result of the fortnight's invention and labor of our French confectioner,—an ell [10]-high pyramid representing the temple of Hymen, where, amidst all kind of ornaments, allegorical figures, and inscriptions, were the coats of arms of the two families. There were also many other devices on the table, in silver baskets, vases, epergnes, porcelain figures, etc.; it was so crowded that our little dwarf could not have easily walked on the table this time. It would not be possible to enumerate all the courses of the dinner, and as for the wine which was drunk, I wonder if the butler himself could give an account. Besides other wines, they drank at that dinner a barrel of wine which was called "Miss Barbara's wine," which the Count, according to the Polish custom, brought from Hungary in [Pg 62] the year of Basia's birth, and which had been kept for her wedding day. Each of us has such a barrel. Then they began the toasts: first for Poland, then for the young pair, then for the king, the Duke of Courland, the royal princes, the primate, the master of the house, the ladies, etc., each accompanied with loud shoutings, hurrahs, breaking of the glasses, with the music of the band and the firing of cannons; altogether there was such a tumult that I think there will not be a greater one on doomsday.

After dessert was served, and we thought it was time to leave the table, the Count gave a sign to the marshal, who brought in a black leather box with brass ornaments, which I had never seen before. My honored Father opened it and took out a golden cup embossed with precious stones and shaped like a raven; then rising, he announced with great solemnity that this cup was a souvenir from the time of the Corvins of Rome, and it had not been taken from its box since the day of his [Pg 63] own wedding. The butler placed before him a bottle covered with mould, containing, as they said, wine a hundred years old. The Count poured out the whole into the cup, and lifting it cried: "Good luck to the young pair!" The hurrahs began anew, the music was louder than ever, the cannons fired, every man drank that toast in one draught, and after that we rose from the table.

The daylight was gone already. The lady-guests went to change their dresses, but the bride and the bridesmaids remained in the same toilets. About eight o'clock the dances began. The bride opened the ball with the king's envoy, and during the whole evening danced in the first set. At first there were grave polonaises, minuets, and contra-dances, but by and by, the gaiety increasing, we had the mazourkas and the cracoviaks. The Castellanic Kochanowski dances the cracoviak like an angel; and according to the custom, when he was in the first set he sang impromptu verses, very witty and apropos. [Pg 64]

At midnight the music stopped and the "Cap" ceremony began. A stool was placed in the middle of the room, the bride sat down, and the bridesmaids began to undo her hair, singing in plaintive voices the old song: "Ah! we are losing you, Basia." Then my honored Mother removed the rosemary wreath and the Woivodine Malachowska put in its place a big lace cap. It seemed Basia was costumed for fun, and I should have laughed had not her eyes been overflowed with tears. The cap is very becoming to her, which they say is a sign that her husband will love her very much. I am sure he will; he could not help it, she is so good.

When this ceremony was over the bride was ordered to dance the "drabant" with the king's envoy, in honor of the reigning family, who introduced that dance in our country; after that, the music played again a very solemn polonaise, and the bride danced it with all the gentlemen present, one after another, beginning with the Woivode Swidinski, and ending with my [Pg 65] honored Father, who, having once paced the ballroom with her, led her to the Staroste and gave her to him, not only for that dance, but for her whole lifetime.

This was the end of that night's entertainment for us girls; my honored Mother ordered us to go to bed, and the elder ladies took the bride to the apartment reserved for the young couple. Other married and elderly people followed them, and I was told there were still more speeches in giving away the bride, returning of thanks from the bridegroom, new toasts, and all, that lasted very late into the night.

I slept wonderfully after all the excitement, and my feet are so rested that I am quite ready for to-night's ball. I danced mostly with the duke's envoy, the Castellanic Kochanowski, who returned from Luneville one year ago, and since then has been with the duke. He speaks very highly of his master; judging from the confidant, the other must be really a wonder.[Pg 66]

I have not seen Basia yet, or rather Madame Starostine, as my honored Parents order us to call her. It seems so strange not to have her in our room. I have inherited her bed, her work-table, and all the rights of the eldest daughter. They will call me now "Mademoiselle Staroste," not simply "Mademoiselle Françoise," or "Franulka," as they did until now. It is a very little compensation, but still....

We shall begin the dances very early to-night, as it is the last Tuesday before Lent, so we have to stop at midnight.

Ash Wednesday, February 27.

Ash Wednesday, what a pity! no more dancing till next Carnival. Our guests begin to depart: the king's envoy is gone, the young married couple are going the day after to-morrow, and we shall accompany them as far as their home, for the house-warming. The Staroste invited no guests but his relations, as big parties are not proper in Lent. I am very anxious to see the new home of my dearest sister; [Pg 67] I cannot get accustomed to call her "Madame Starostine," but it would not be proper to speak to her otherwise, as even my honored Parents always call her so. She grew very grave from her wedding day; the cap she is wearing and the robes with long trains make her look several years older; she is sad and speaks very little; I am sure she grieves to leave her home, and to go away with a man whom she knows so little. It must be awful!

Saturday, March 9.

Last night we returned from Sulgostow. I had a lovely time, but it is a pity not to have Madame Starostine back with us. Last Friday, before we started, she went very early to our parish church in Lisow, where she hung the half of a golden heart as a token that the half of her own heart will remain here. When she came back home she went around the whole castle, as if wishing to say good-bye to each corner, then she took her farewell of all the people in the household, and had a kind word for everybody.[Pg 68]

When we were finishing a hasty breakfast, we heard loud crackings of the whip, and a chamberlain entered announcing that everything was ready for the journey. The Staroste looked at his wife, and whispered that it was time to set out. She fell then, sobbing, at the feet of my honored Parents, thanking them for all their favors that she had received during the eighteen years of her life, asking their pardon for all the offences she might have committed, and telling them that she wished nothing more than to be henceforth as happy as she had been. For the first time in my life I saw the Count crying; oh! how they blessed her! it did one's heart good to hear it, and there was not a person in the room whose eyes were dry.

We went to the bridge, but the captain ordered it to be lifted, and refused to let the bride go away until the Staroste gave him a ring as a token that he would bring her back again. The carriages of the Staroste were splendid,—a closed carriage painted yellow, lined with red damask, [Pg 69] with seats for two persons, a landau with four seats, a coach, and several curricles. The horses were beautiful, especially six white ones drawing the yellow carriage in which the young couple were seated by themselves; behind them came the carriages with the women, and we came last. Madame Staroste sobbed so loud that we could hear her. Many courtiers and peasants followed the carriage, crying and blessing her. She gave them all the money she had with her, and the Staroste threw silver pieces bountifully.

At each halting-place where we stopped everything was prepared for our arrival: the floors were covered with rugs, the tables laid, and the waiters dressed in livery. On the following evening we reached Sulgostow. The Woivode and Father Albert started on ahead of us, in order to receive the bride in her new home. At the frontier of the property the peasants stopped the carriage of the young pair and offered bread and salt; one of the oldest men made a speech, followed by loud [Pg 70] shouts of "Long live!" and when we entered the gate a company of hussars, whom the Staroste keeps in his court, fired salutes. Before the entrance door, the Woivode stood, with the whole court, and all of them gave the heartiest welcome to their new mistress. When we entered, the Staroste brought his wife a big bundle of keys, placing thus the whole house under her direction. From the following morning Madame Starostine took the management, and it was really wonderful how everything seemed easy to her and went smoothly; but, as the eldest of us, she was accustomed for many years to assist my honored Mother in her household duties.

Sulgostow looks quite different from Maleszow. It is a palace, not a castle, but still it is very grand and gay; the retinue is numerous, the house well provided, and, what is best, all the people seem so very happy to have my sister there.

For the first time in my life I tasted coffee in Sulgostow. My honored Parents [Pg 71] do not like this fashionable beverage, which was introduced recently to Poland; they say that it spoils the complexion, so it is never served in our house. But the people in Sulgostow like it exceedingly, and the Staroste begged permission for me to drink a small cup of it.

It was rather melancholy to come back, although the Castellanic Kochanowski, who accompanied us on horseback, tried his best to entertain me. The young man has been invited to Sulgostow, as a former comrade of the young Swidinski at Luneville, but he is much younger than they are. In society they call him a "charmer," and really he deserves the title; what then must be the duke, his master!

I have had no time yet to look about me in Maleszow, as we arrived late in the evening, and the first thing I did to-day was to begin to write, but I am sure it will seem very sad here for a time. [Pg 72]

March 12.

I guessed right, it is desolate without my dearest sister; the castle seems void as if she had taken away all the life with her. My honored Parents also miss her very much, for she, as the eldest daughter, was more with them, and she was so clever! I try my best to take her place, but I know neither how to fill the Count's pipe as well as she did, nor to assort the colors for my honored Mother's embroidery. And then she was so thoughtful, never forgetting anything,—just the reverse of me. We talk of her constantly. To-day a chamberlain will be sent to Sulgostow with compliments and inquiries about my dear sister's health, and there was almost a fight among the young men, all of them wanted so much to go.

The Castellanic has departed, and for the last three days we have had no visitors but two begging friars from a neighboring convent.

I have laughed but once. My honored Mother had distributed all of Basia's [Pg 73] dresses among our waiting-ladies and maids, and last Sunday, as by a tacit understanding, each of them appeared wearing a part of Basia's former attire: one had a skirt, another a cape or a waist, etc. Matenko looked around and sighed heavily. "What is the matter?" we asked. "I am grieved," he answered, "to see the property of the late Miss Barbara so scattered." We began to laugh, but were reproved by the Count, who quoted the old proverb: "Quiet at table as in church."

Something quite new and unexpected happened to me yesterday. When we came down at noon, I saw the Castellanic Kochanowski, who was standing with the Count in a window's embrasure, talking so eagerly that he did not see us entering. I could not hear their conversation, but my ear caught the last words, spoken with some emphasis by my honored Parent: "Yes, sir, you will soon hear about the final resolution." Having said this he whispered a word to my honored Mother, who made a sign to the marshal and gave him a [Pg 74] secret order. The dinner was served, the Castellanic sat opposite to me, and then I observed how elegantly he was dressed,—a velvet coat all embroidered, a white satin waistcoat, lace frills at his shirt, lace ruffles, and a coiffure as fresh as from a bandbox. He never was so lively and brilliant, and he mixed such beautiful French with his Polish, and looked really charming. The dinner was longer than usual; we waited a while for the roast, and when they brought it in, I saw my Castellanic changing his color and growing pale. I looked at the dishes; I saw a goose with black gravy, [11] and then I guessed all.

I did not dare to lift my eyes; queer thoughts were whirling in my head. I remembered the lively cracoviaks and graceful [Pg 75] minuets, the elegant seat on horseback, the fine French conversation, the beautiful compliments, and I felt a pang in my heart. I had not the courage to touch the dish; my honored Parents refused it also, and but for the end of the table the dishes would have been untouched. Matenko was the first to help himself, and looking at his plate said aloud: "Well, it is rather a hard morsel, but still, it will be digested." I thought that was disagreeable of him.

It seemed to me that we stayed ages at table. Finally the Count gave the sign to rise, and as we were saying our "benedicite" I saw the Castellanic stealing away, and he did not appear again.

When the courtiers had withdrawn, my honored Parents called me from my work, and the Count spoke thus: "Mademoiselle, to-day the Castellanic Kochanowski asked for your hand. Although his lineage is noble and ancient, and his fortune considerable, nevertheless we did not think it was a suitable match. First, the Castellanic is very young; he has no position of his [Pg 76] own, and is called only by the title of his deceased father; secondly, he did not set about the matter in the proper way. He asked no notable person to speak for him,—he came by himself, made his declaration at once, and wanted an immediate reply, which he received unreservedly. We do not doubt, Frances, that you are of the same opinion." Having said this, without waiting for my answer, he bade me return to my work.

Well, thinking it over, certainly I am of the same opinion as my honored Parents, as well by duty as by my own conviction; but to be quite sincere, I do not find fault with the Castellanic because he is young and spoke for himself, but because he is nothing by himself. A "castellanic"? that is not enough for me, and I do not think a castellan would be too much. In any case, I have not the slightest desire to be married yet, I am happy as I am; for several days after our return from Sulgostow I felt rather sad, but now I feel merry again and life is before me. Marriage puts [Pg 77] an end to all expectations; a married woman knows who she is and who she shall be until her death, and I like so much to dream! When I sit at my embroidery frame, or at my netting, my thoughts are always travelling far and fast; all the things I have ever read come back to my mind; I share the fate of all the heroines of Madame de Beaumont, Madame de La Fayette, and Mademoiselle de Scudéry; and it seems to me that I am destined to adventures similar to theirs. Basia often scolded me for these fancies, but her habits of thought were quite different from mine. She often told me that she never brooded over her future, and never thought of the husband to come, except at her prayers,—for it must be said that with the beginning of the sixteenth year, by the direction of our honored Mother, we have to add to our every-day prayer the request for a "good husband." Basia thought it was a very right thing to ask God that the one who is to take the place of our Father and Mother, and with whom we have to live till our [Pg 78] death, should be good, but it never occurred to her to wonder what he would be, and where and when she should meet him. She always said: "There will be time enough to think of him when he comes." And she was right; she got such a good and sensible man. She wrote to my honored Parents that, but for being homesick for Maleszow, she would be the happiest woman in this world. One can see that she loves the Staroste more and more, and that she is quite satisfied with her lot. Who knows? perhaps I should also be happy in such a position. In any case, my honored Parents were right in refusing the Castellanic; I am very sorry that the poor fellow has been disappointed, but I hope that, as Matenko says, he will digest the hard morsel.

Sunday, March 17.

Yesterday, when we were just going to supper, there arrived quite unexpected but very agreeable guests: my aunt the Princess Woivodine of Lublin and her husband. They could not come to the wedding, for [Pg 79] the Woivode, being the Duke of Courland's marshal, was obliged to remain in Warsaw; but as the duke is now away, they came here to offer their congratulations. The arrival of such eminent guests gave new life to our castle. The Count is overjoyed; he loves and worships his sister. They have not been here for five years; in the mean time I have grown from a child to a young lady, and they were very much astonished at the change. Really, they spoke so much about my comeliness that I felt quite shy and uncomfortable. The Prince Woivode said quite seriously that, if I appeared in Warsaw, I should eclipse Mademoiselle Wessel, Madame Potocka, and the Princess Sapieha,—the three belles of Warsaw. The princess said that I need only hold myself more erect, to be more dignified, and to have more worldly polish, and then I should be perfect. Never in my life have I heard such compliments, and I was never aware that I was so handsome. I observed how my honored Father's countenance brightened at hearing [Pg 80] these praises, but as for my gracious Mother, she called me this morning to her room and admonished me severely not to give credit to all these fine words, which she said were only court civility.

I am sure they are making plans for me. I should like so much to know about it. I was so excited that I could not sleep well last night, dreaming most extraordinary things. It is true that I heard many curious and amusing things which the prince and his wife related. My honored Parents wanted me to leave the room with my sisters as usual at nine, but the Prince Woivode pleaded for me to stay till the end of the evening; thus I heard all about Warsaw, the court, the balls, and the festivals attending the investiture of the duke, and many praises of this prince, who I hope will one day be the King of Poland. I felt happy; he is my hero, and I am sure he will be a great man. Shall I ever meet him?[Pg 81]

Tuesday, March 19.

The Prince Woivode and his wife departed half an hour ago. They wanted to set out yesterday, but the Count ordered the wheels to be taken from their carriages, and persuaded them that it was not safe to begin a journey on Monday, which is known as an unlucky day. During the whole time they were very gracious to me, and advised my honored Parents to send me to a boarding-school in Warsaw, in order to finish my education. For some time a French lady, Madame Strumle, has conducted a school for young ladies in Warsaw; before this they were educated in convents only. This school has a great reputation. The daughters of the first families are sent there to study and to be taught good manners, and the Prince Woivode thinks I should there acquire all the accomplishments which I lack. But my honored Parents prefer the Ladies of the Visitation, and certainly a convent is the most proper place. Well, I do not know how all this will end, but I feel uneasy and [Pg 82] absent-minded; I do not understand what I am reading; my work is not so well done as before; I feel as if something extraordinary were going to happen.

Sunday, March 24.

We are going to Warsaw! We are going the day after to-morrow. I do not know yet where I shall be placed, but in any case I shall not come back soon, as my gracious Mother ordered all my clothes to be packed, and two of her dresses were made over for me. My honored Parents were unexpectedly called to Warsaw on business about an inheritance from our cousin Vincent Krasinski, who died childless and left a great fortune. They take me with them and I feel so very happy! As we have to stop at Sulgostow, I shall see my dearest sister. She has just returned from a very agreeable trip, having visited with the Staroste all his relations, friends, and neighbors; she was welcomed and admired everywhere. Now she will stay at home, and is very much pleased with that prospect. [Pg 83] She is going to be a perfect house-keeper; the old Woivode Swidinski wrote about her with such enthusiasm and gratitude that both my honored Parents cried with pleasure over the letter. Such tears are a blessing!

Warsaw, Sunday, April 7.

I can hardly believe that I am in that celebrated school of Madame Strumle; I entered it yesterday. It was not very hard work to persuade my honored Father to abandon the prospect of a convent for me, as he relies much on the Princess Woivodine's judgment, and I must say I am glad of it, as, in the secret of my heart, I did not care much for the convent.

On our way to Warsaw we stopped at Sulgostow. Madame Starostine looks gay and happy, and how she welcomed us! She remembered everything my honored Parents liked; all their favorite dishes and delicacies were prepared; everything appeared to be there for their own pleasure; and she seemed so happy to serve them in her own house! I heard my honored [Pg 84] Mother saying to the Staroste that the marriage made Basia better than ever. "No," he answered, "such she was from the beginning when I received her from your hands. God bless her!" One can see how dearly he loves her; and she respects him and obeys him as if he were her Father. She manages her house perfectly, and knows how to receive guests, and what to say to everybody; she is quite an accomplished woman. My honored Parents were not very willing to go away from Sulgostow, but I must confess I was very anxious to get to Warsaw, and I welcomed the letters which made us proceed on our journey. I was right to be anxious about my coming here, for here I shall become an accomplished woman. I want to be distinguished. Therefore I will not lose one moment, and henceforth I will not think of the future or dream of it, but will study hard and learn all that I can.

Yesterday my honored Mother took me to the Cathedral, where I went to confession and communion, and prayed that the [Pg 85] knowledge that I shall get here may do me good and honor.

When I feel a little more at home here I will write about everything. Now I am bewildered. I was accustomed to see around me well-known faces and rooms, but here I know nobody; everything seems strange.

Friday, April 12.

I am getting acquainted with my new home. I like Madame Strumle very much. She is a very dignified lady, and very gracious to me. Certainly it is not as grand and lively here as in Maleszow, but still it is comfortable and even gay. Some things seem to me strange, but amusing and quite new. For instance, there are no valets, not one man-servant in the house; dinner is brought and served by women! We are about twenty young girls, all from the best families and all very young. My honored Parents, after having visited the school, were well satisfied that young girls could not be better cared for and instructed in a convent. Madame carries [Pg 86] the key of the entrance door in her own pocket; nobody can come in or go out without her knowledge, and but for the few old teachers, one could forget how the face of a man looks. No male cousins, not even brothers, are allowed to pay their visits. Once the dancing teacher asked leave for the young Potockis, who are at the Jesuit college, to come here and practise the contra-dances with their sisters, but Madame Strumle would not hear of it. "Those gentlemen," she said, "are the brothers of two of my pupils, but not of the others, so I cannot allow them to come."

I have a teacher for the French language, another for German, others for dancing, drawing, artistic embroidery, and music. There is a beautiful harpsichord; not a spinet as in Maleszow,—it has five and a half octaves. Some of the young ladies can play polonaises, not only by ear but from a music-book. The teacher assures me that in less than six months I shall be able to do as well,—it is true that I had [Pg 87] a little instruction in Maleszow. I am now only drawing some small patterns for embroideries, but before the end of my education, I must learn enough to be able to paint with colors a dead tree, on one branch of which is a wreath of flowers with the initials of my honored Parents, to whom I shall offer my work as a token of gratitude for the education I have received. The young Princess Sapieha, who has been here for one year, is just painting such a tree, and I feel quite jealous of her skill whenever I look at her work. What a fine effect mine will have when hung in our parlor hall!

The dancing-master, besides the minuets and contra-dances, is showing us how to walk and to courtesy; until now I knew only one way of courtesying, but I hear there are several varieties,—one before the king; another before the royal princes, still another for other dignitaries or their wives.

I asked to be taught first the courtesy for the duke: some day, perhaps, I shall salute my hero.[Pg 88]

My gracious Mother came once to see me. They are having much trouble with the affairs of the inheritance.

The lessons and studies take all my time from morning till night, but I do not complain, for I want to learn much. I must say that on the first days I felt a little bewildered; the incessant scoldings and admonitions, the iron cross which was put on my back to hold me erect, the machine in which we have to stand for an hour, in order to make our feet straight,—all this was not quite to my taste.

After Basia's departure, I grew to be quite a young lady; the proposal of the Castellanic, the compliments and the whisperings of the Prince Woivode made my thoughts travel far away,—I began to think I was quite a personage; but here I am again treated like a child. Madame Strumle even ordered me to stop the prayer for obtaining a good husband, and to ask for good knowledge instead. Really, one cannot think of anything else here.[Pg 89]

Sunday, April 28.

I have not opened my journal for two weeks, but the days are going on each so like the others that I have nothing to relate, and I am thinking now what I shall write down to-day. My honored Parents will leave soon. The Princess Woivodine deigned to pay me a visit, and found that I stood straighter; Madame is very kind, my comrades very agreeable; that is all I know. Really, I hardly believe I am in Warsaw, for I know much less about public affairs than I knew in Maleszow, and I see none of the grand persons whom I sometimes met there. My eyes have not once beheld the king. The duke is away, and they do not expect him back soon.

Sunday, June 9.

If I were to pass my whole life in school, my journal would soon be ended. There is nothing to write about; and it is a pity, for I may forget the Polish language. I never use it but when writing my diary or letters to my honored Parents or talking to my little maid; on all other occasions I use French.[Pg 90]

They say that I have made great progress in my studies, and the Princess Woivodine, who has not seen me for one month, finds that I have grown much and that I have now a very good carriage. Really, I am the tallest of all the girls in the school, and my waistband does not measure quite an ell.

Now when the weather is so beautiful, the sky so blue and the trees green, I feel often a kind of sadness coming over me. I wish I were a bird! I would then spread my wings and fly away, far away from the cage. But there is no help for it; I must stay here on Bednarska Street, the ugliest in all Warsaw, they say. But next year, if God grants me life, things will be different.

Friday, July 26.

I see that when one is busy the days pass quickly, even in school. I could not believe my eyes when looking now in the calendar, in order to put the date in my journal, I found out that for seven weeks I had not opened my book. But this day [Pg 91] will be forever memorable to me: I received this morning, for the first time in my life, a letter addressed directly to me. The dearest and kindest Madame Starostine gave me that surprise, and wrote my full name on the envelope. So now they know at the Post-office that there is a "Mlle. la Comtesse Françoise Krasinska" in Warsaw. I felt like dancing for joy when I received that letter, and I will keep it with its envelope as an eternal souvenir.

Madame Starostine is in good health, very happy, and so gracious as to send me out of the income from the garden, which the Staroste leaves to her own disposal, four golden ducats with which I may do just as I please. It is the first money I have ever owned, and it seems to me that I could buy all Warsaw with it. I have been planning ever so many ways to spend it: first, I wished to give a golden ring as a keepsake to each of the young ladies, my school-mates, but Madame told me that I had just money enough to buy four rings and no more. Then I wanted to get [Pg 92] for Madame a mantle in blond lace, and again I was told that it would cost fifty ducats at least. Finally I decided thus: I shall send one ducat to the Cathedral, in order to have a Mass said before the miraculous image of Christ, with the desire that the affairs of my honored Parents turn out according to their wishes, and also that Madame Starostine be always as happy as she is now. The second ducat I shall change into small coin and distribute among the house servants; and with the other two ducats I shall give a little banquet next Sunday. There will be ices, cake, also coffee which we never taste here. Madame has already given me permission to use my money in that way, but the young ladies know nothing about the surprise. May the Lord grant his best benediction on Madame Starostine for the great pleasure she has given me.

My education is progressing rapidly. I am playing several quadrilles and minuets from a book. In a few weeks I shall begin to paint the dead tree with the garland, [Pg 93] and I am also embroidering, in cross-stitch, a hunter with his gun and a dog. I read much, and write from dictation, or copy whole pages from French books, and I begin to talk in French more easily than in Polish. As for dancing, the teacher says that there is not in Warsaw a better dancer than I; but perhaps he flatters me.

Sometimes I go to see the Prince Woivode and the princess, but only in the morning when they are alone. I always hear very agreeable things about myself, especially from the Prince Woivode, who wishes me out of school; but the princess and also my honored Parents say that I must wait until winter. Alas! it is only July. Will that winter ever come?

Tuesday, December 24.

Winter has come and the moment for leaving school is near. What a different kind of life I shall soon begin! Only God knows when I shall return to Maleszow, for the Prince Woivode and the princess graciously urged my honored Parents to let [Pg 94] them keep me for the winter and bring me out in society. The permission was granted and so I shall stay in Warsaw. I am rather sorry to leave Madame Strumle and the young ladies, but the joy of becoming acquainted with that world of which I have so often heard and dreamt, is still stronger than my regrets. I shall soon see the king and the royal princes, as I shall be presented at court; the Duke of Courland is expected soon.

Saturday, December 28.

This day begins a new life for me. In the morning the Princess Woivodine came to take me away, and in her presence I said good-bye to Madame Strumle and my school-mates. I could not help crying, although I have been wishing so long for that moment. On our way we stopped at church, but I could not pray; my thoughts were too wandering.

I am settled now. My relations live on the street called the "Faubourg de Cracovie." Their palace is not very large, [Pg 95] but extremely handsome and elegant; from the rear the view extends over a large garden to the river Vistula. I am occupying a pretty room which must be especially agreeable in summer, because there is a balcony leading into a little garden; on one side are the apartments of the princess, on the other is my maid's room.

A tailor has already been to take my measure and he seemed surprised at the smallness of my waist. He will make several dresses for me, but I do not know what they will be; the princess ordered them herself, and she inspires me with such awe, not to say fear, that I do not dare to ask her about anything. The Prince Woivode intimidates me less, although he is a man; he has gentle manners and seems to like me. I regret that he is not here at present; he went to meet the Duke of Courland at the frontier.

To-morrow we are going to pay visits. The princess will introduce me to all the first families here. I feel a little afraid and nervous.[Pg 96]

Sunday, December 29.

I have three good things to write to-day. The Duke of Courland arrived yesterday; the Prince Woivode returned with him and greeted me as if I were his own daughter, and the visits are over. In some houses such as the primate's, the French and Spanish envoys', and some others, the princess only left small cards with her name and title on them.

Among the visits I remember best was the one to the Princess Lubomirska, née Princess Czartoryska, the sister-in-law of the Woivode. She is the leading woman among the young set, and affects everything French. I observe that here the more fashionable the house, and the younger the hostess, the more one hears French; as the old men sprinkle their conversation with Latin, so the young do with French. But in the salon of Madame Woivodine of Russ, the conversation was only in Polish. She is an elderly and very stately lady, and she pleased me immensely. I met there her only son, a fine cavalier, who paid me [Pg 97] many agreeable compliments, and I think I enjoyed that visit most.

I enjoyed also the visit at Madame Poniatowska's, the widow of the Castellan of Cracow. She is a very remarkable woman and talks with great eloquence. She was giving a reception on that day, in honor of her son Stanislaus who had returned from St. Petersburg, and of whom it is said secretly that he may become King of Poland. I watched him intently, but I cannot say that he pleased me, although I acknowledge that he is handsome, and has grand manners, I should say royal.

Another good visit was at Madame Rzevuska's, where we found her husband, the Woivode of Podolie. I was very glad to see him, as I had often heard from my honored Father about his adventures when a child; how he was brought up among peasant boys and tramped barefoot as they do, and thus grew tough and fearless. He is over fifty now, but looks young and vigorous. He is said to be also extremely [Pg 98] learned. The Prince Woivode told me that he writes beautiful tragedies.

We went also to Madame Bruhl's, the wife of the minister and special favorite of the king; although he is neither liked nor respected by anybody, she is received everywhere, and called upon, as she is a very refined lady. Our next call was upon Madame Soltyk, the widow of the Castellan of Sandomir. She introduced us to her son Stanislaus, a boy of nine years, but gallant as a young cavalier; the elderly ladies were not yet seated, when he brought a chair for me, paying me a compliment, and Madame Castellan said that he was always enraptured with pretty faces and black eyes. She also was very enthusiastic about my looks, and to tell the truth, everywhere they spoke about my beauty,—sometimes in a whisper, but I heard it as well. But then I never have been dressed so beautifully, even at Basia's wedding. I had a dress of white brocade with wide flounces of gauze, a court train of turquoise blue, and pearls in my hair.[Pg 99]

I should have been quite satisfied with those visits, if I had met the Duke of Courland anywhere. I started from home with that hope, but I was disappointed. After his long absence he spends his days now with his father, and has not yet been seen out of the royal castle. It is quite natural; I myself have been so often homesick for my honored Parents, especially when in school. But soon the carnival will begin; there will be balls and assemblies without end. The duke goes everywhere, and he likes dancing very much, the Woivode says, so I am sure to meet him.

Wednesday, January 1, 1760.

My wishes have been fulfilled, how much fulfilled! Not only have I seen the duke, but I talked with him; I not only talked with him but ... but will it not be too bold to write down that which I would not dare to whisper to anybody, what I do not dare to believe myself, what perhaps I only dreamed of? Well! no, I did not dream, I am sure of that; I always know very well [Pg 100] when I please any one. And then is there anything extraordinary, since God has made me handsome, and everybody acknowledges it, that the duke looked at me with the same eyes as other people? The same eyes?—was there not in his eyes something more than in others?...

But everything ought to be set down in order. Yesterday morning the Princess Woivodine had me called to her and spoke thus: "To-night, as on the last night in the year, there is generally a ridotto, which means a masked ball. All the best people, even the king and the royal princes go to it; and you, mademoiselle, will come with us, dressed as the 'Goddess of the Sun.'" I was delighted and I kissed the princess' hand. Soon after dinner they began to dress me in a costume quite different from the usual, being without powder or hoops. The princess told me very earnestly that although such a dress was not decent at all, and that a woman would ruin her reputation if she wore it on any other occasion, still she hoped that by the expression of [Pg 101] my face, and my demeanor, I would make up for the deficiency of my costume. Obeying her instructions I tried to look very dignified, and I think I succeeded, for I heard people at the ball asking, "Who is that queen in disguise?" Now, when I think of it I feel uneasy; perhaps in that costume I was prettier than on other days.... In any case I certainly looked quite different. My hair, thoroughly cleansed from powder, fell in loose curls over my neck and shoulders; my dress of white gauze was clasped with a golden band at the waist; on my breast I wore a golden sun, and over my head a long, flowing veil, which enveloped me like a cloud. I did not recognize myself when after dressing I was allowed to look in a mirror. Perhaps others would not recognize me as I am now....

The ballroom was almost full when we entered. I felt dizzy, seeing such a crowd of people, so diversely and handsomely dressed, with and without masks, in ordinary and extraordinary costumes. I did not [Pg 102] know which way to turn my eyes, and what to look at first.

Suddenly a murmur arose in the crowd. Some voices said, "The Duke of Courland," and surrounded by a group of handsome and richly dressed young men, there he was. I knew him at once, although his costume did not differ much from those of the others; but his stature, his large blue eyes, extremely soft, and his charming smile made him different from every body else. I gazed at him as long as he did not see me, but when our eyes once met I could not look at him any more, for I always met his glance. I saw him inquiring about me,—and of whom? Of the Prince Woivode! I noticed the pleasant smile when he learned who I was, and he at once approached the princess, greeting her in a most charming voice. After the first compliments were over, the princess took my hand, and introduced me as her niece.

I do not know at all how I bowed, but I fear it was not that special courtesy [Pg 103] which the dancing-master taught me. Neither do I know what the duke said to me; I only remember that he opened the ball with the princess, and danced the second polonaise with me. Then when he talked, to my great surprise, I answered without any embarrassment. He inquired about my honored Parents, about Madame Starostine, and her wedding. I wondered how he knew so well about everything, when I recollected that the Castellanic Kochanowski was his favorite. The good boy has not only "digested the goose with the black gravy," but he gave the duke the best report of us all. "He praised you much, but not half enough," said the duke. I heard many other nice things during that dance and the following ones, for the duke invited me for almost all the minuets and quadrilles, and talked to me all the time.

When at midnight they fired the cannon as a sign of the beginning of the new year, he said to me, "I shall forever remember this night; it is not only a new year, it is the [Pg 104] beginning of a new life for me." And how many clever comparisons about my costume! (Only, it does not sound as well in any other language as in French.) "It was not the gold on my breast which was the sun, but rather my eyes; their glance lighted an eternal fire in the heart, etc., etc." Finer compliments could not be found in the novels of Mademoiselle de Scudéry or Madame Lafayette.

Can all that be only sham, courtly civility? It is a pity I cannot ask anybody about it, but I am afraid of the princess, and I cannot ask the Prince Woivode; it would not be proper to talk about those things to a man. I feel too much left to myself; one week ago I was a school-girl among books and teachers, and to-day I am playing a part in the world of which I know nothing. But in about ten days Basia is coming here; she is so wise she will enlighten me. I am so very happy thinking that she will come. I have not seen that dearest sister of mine for three quarters of the year, but I know that she is [Pg 105] more and more happy, more and more beloved by her husband.

When shall I see the duke again? Will he recognize me in my every-day dress?

Friday, January 3.

I have seen the duke, I have seen him twice, and I am laughing now at that childish anxiety I had, wondering if he would recognize me. Why, I should always know him, no matter how well disguised he might be.

I just finished writing my journal on New Year's day, when the Prince Woivode came to my room. "Françoise," he said, "you surpassed all our expectations; your demeanor at the ball yesterday was perfect, and it pleased generally, even the most notable persons. I have just returned from the Castle, where we went with the senators and ministers to pay our New Year's compliments to his Majesty. His Royal Highness the Duke of Courland approached me, and declared that he had never seen anybody like you, and that if it [Pg 106] were not for the etiquette of the court, which requires him to spend the New Year's day with the king, he would come to pay you his respects in person." I felt my cheeks growing red when I heard these flattering words, but the prince seemed not to notice it, and went away leaving me with my thoughts.

And so I shall meet the duke, not only at the balls, but in this very house! "He has never seen anybody like you." These words are still sounding in my ears, as if somebody were repeating them constantly.

I was so gay at dinner that the princess had to reproach me several times. After dinner we went again to pay some visits, but we left the carriage only twice, as all the people were out for the same purpose. We met in the streets, the carriages stopped, sometimes several of them at one time, and cards were exchanged amid much laughing, noise, and confusion. In the evening it was still gayer when the pages and the torch-bearers were moving about with their lights and brilliant uniforms. [Pg 107] There were even several accidents, but we fortunately arrived safe. We returned home quite late. I went to sleep at once, being very tired, but queer dreams flitted through my head.

The following day at noon, when I sat with the princess in the drawing-room, beginning a new piece of work on the frame, the chamberlain announced: "His Royal Highness the Duke of Courland." The princess rose quickly, and hastened to meet him at the entrance. I, in the first moment wanted to run away, but my wish to see him was still stronger than my timidity, and I stayed. As soon as he entered he approached me and inquired about my health. I answered distinctly, although I felt very much embarrassed, and when he sat near my working-frame, I had sufficient command of myself to thread at once some very fine needles with rather coarse silk, in spite of my trembling hands.

He praised my skill; stayed about half an hour, and although he talked most with the princess, still he found an opportunity [Pg 108] to say many amiable things to me. I could thus ascertain that my different dress did not change me in his eyes. He departed saying that he hoped to see us the same evening at the ball. I heard then that the Marquis d'Argenson, the French ambassador, was giving a ball to which I was to go.

What a reception it was! Why, Basia's wedding was nothing in comparison. And how highly educated are all these people in Warsaw! Whenever they open their mouths it is to compliment, but the duke's compliments surpass them all. He could not talk with me as much as at the bal-masqué, neither did I answer as boldly. But then I was no longer the Goddess of the Sun, and besides, it always happened that somebody was standing near us as if to listen to what we were saying. I do not like it; it is not nice, especially in well-bred people, to be inquisitive.

The princess is in high spirits; she was the only elderly lady with whom the duke danced last night. The Prince Woivode is [Pg 109] more gracious to me than ever, but he seems to avoid any questions from me or counselling me in any way. I look forward with growing impatience to my dear sister's coming.

Sunday, January 5.

During the whole of yesterday, the duke, the balls, all my dreams, everything went from my mind; all my thoughts were with my sister, although I have not seen her yet. She arrived yesterday morning and was taken suddenly ill. The princess hastened at once to her house, but I was not allowed to go. I spent the whole day in the most dreadful anxiety, and sent to three churches to have masses said. At last, after midnight the princess returned with the news that Basia was as well as could be expected, and that she had a little daughter. This morning I begged on my knees to be allowed to go there, but they said it would not be proper, and that I should have to wait several weeks. The Staroste came here for one moment, very happy to be a father. The little girl is, they say, beautiful. [Pg 110] If they would only let me see her! She will be named Angela in honor of my gracious Mother.

This morning the duke sent his congratulations and best wishes for the little grand-niece. Oh! I am longing to see my sister.

Wednesday, January 8.

Basia is still in bed, but the news from her and her little daughter is the best.

I have seen the duke once only; he was away hunting with the king, but yesterday he appeared unexpectedly and stayed over an hour. How good he must be, and how he loves his father! He spoke about the late queen, his mother, with tears in his eyes. One can see also that he loves Poland, and that he has a most noble and valiant heart. Everything I ever heard of him is true; he is not praised even enough; one cannot well describe the charm of his voice, his sweet smile, and the look of his blue eyes, so deep and so soft! I do not wonder that the Russian empress was charmed with him,—that he carried away [Pg 111] the hearts of the Courland people; and I shall not be surprised if after his father's death, Poland calls him to the throne. And he likes me!... Sometimes I think that it cannot be. Still, yesterday his eyes told me that so plainly; and not only his eyes, but some of his words too, and the Prince Woivode also seems to think so.

The princess made me feel a little sad when, at table, she said, with some meaning, it appeared to me, that "many women have already pleased the duke" and that the last one he sees always seems to him the most beautiful. But how childish I am! how should that trouble me?

Am I the only pretty woman in this world? In my eyes the three Warsaw belles, Mademoiselle Wessel, the Countess Potocka, and the Princess Sapieha are without any comparison more handsome than I. And what is more, they know how to enhance their beauty, which is an art quite unknown to me. The duke says that that is my great charm, but it seems to me that my complexion is quite eclipsed by theirs. [Pg 112] Especially at the ball in the French embassy Madame Potocka was ravishing, and the duke danced with her twice. Well, what right have I to be displeased with that?

Sunday, January 12.

I ought to be quite pleased now! At the ball of the Woivode of Russ, last Thursday, the duke danced only with me. On Friday he called here again. Yesterday he sent us by his aide-de-camp an invitation for a new Italian opera, "Semiramide," given in the court theatre, and there he devoted himself exclusively to me. There I was also presented to the king, who was very gracious and inquired about both my honored Parents. Still more, the Staroste came here an hour ago announcing that the duke wished to stand godfather to the little Angela, and desires me to be the godmother,—me, nobody else; he insisted upon that.

The christening will be magnificent, in the royal Collegiate Church. There were to be more couples invited to assist, but [Pg 113] out of respect to the duke the honor will be left solely to him; the others will only be witnesses of the ceremony. Many of the most distinguished persons will be invited. The whole of Warsaw will talk about the affair, and certainly the "Courier" will describe it, and our two names will stand there together.

What will Madame Strumle and the young ladies in the school say to that, and my honored Parents, and all the people in Maleszow, and the good Matenko? I am sure he will say that it is because of his predictions.

Oh, that Matenko! how often his words come to my mind. He is responsible for all my troubles; but for his hints no foolish notions would have entered my head. As it is, I do not feel two days alike: sometimes the happy thoughts crowd around me, life seems full of hope, and I hardly know that there is an earth under my feet; then suddenly everything seems to fade, and my heart feels heavy and so sad!

For instance, to-day when I was so [Pg 114]enraptured at the news of the christening, the princess mentioned,—I do not know why,—that the law of the Church forbids the godparents to marry each other, and I shuddered.

But what makes me feel really happy is that at last I shall see my dearest sister. After the christening we go to her house.

Wednesday, January 15.

The ceremony took place yesterday and I have seen Basia, who looks beautiful, although she has grown a little thin and pale. She is always as good as an angel, and as happy as a queen.

The duke begged that the little girl be named after me, but Basia was firm in her first purpose; and she was right, for this honor was due to our gracious Mother. Thus the little girl was christened "Angela;" she is a dear little thing, and she cried during the whole ceremony, which is a good sign that she will live to be aged. It was the first time in my life that I stood as godmother; I did not know how to hold the [Pg 115] baby, so the duke had to help me. It seemed so queer to stand with him before the altar surrounded by so many people, and to write down my name next to his in the large book. Perhaps it was to this event that Matenko's predictions referred.

Everybody is congratulating me on the great honor which befell me. The duke is still more attentive than before, and a little more familiar; he calls me "my beautiful partner," and the little girl is always "our little Angela." He presented handsome gifts to Madame Starostine and to me, and threw handfuls of gold among the attendants and the poor in the church.

I for my part could not do so much, but the little embroidered christening robe, my gift to Angela, has cost me more than a few hours' work.

But I forget to speak about an important affair. The topic of conversation in Warsaw has for some time been a hunting party which the Prince Jerome Radzivill, the Hetman of the Lithuania army, is preparing for the pleasure of the king and the [Pg 116] duke. He is spending thousands in order to make a grand display, and has had the game brought from the forests of Lithuania, over 500 miles away. The fête will be to-morrow; the weather is fine and the sleighing excellent. The duke wished to drive his "partner," and it shall be so. The four Warsaw belles—for I am counted now as the fourth—will go in one sleigh, and the duke will be our driver. All four will have costumes alike, but of different colors,—long velvet coats, tight at the waist, trimmed with sable, and small caps with fur to match. The Countess Potocka has selected blue, the Princess Sapieha dark green, Mademoiselle Wessel marroon, and I shall wear dark crimson.

It is a pity Basia will not see all this, but she is so happy with her little Angela that she does not care for anything else.

Friday, January 17.

I have never in my life seen anything so magnificent as this hunting party. We started at nine o'clock in the morning. One [Pg 117] could not possibly count all the horses and sleighs which were assembled before the king's castle, but ours was the handsomest of all, and we followed first after the king. The duke, in a hunting costume of green velvet, looked superb!

We had a long drive far beyond the Church of the Holy Cross, to Ujazdow. There, coming down the hill on which is built the city of Warsaw, is a large field usually planted with wheat. [12] This field was enclosed by a fence with a gate, ornamented with escutcheons, devices, and inscriptions. In the middle stood an iron kiosk into which the king and the duke entered. Near the kiosk was a space covered with bear-skins for the most notable men, and further on, an amphitheatre with an iron railing for the ladies. The whole place looked like a forest, for except a space left around the kiosk, the ground was covered with big pine-trees planted for the [Pg 118] occasion. In the background, one saw the hills covered with a throng of spectators.

As soon as we arrived and took our seats the trumpets and the horns gave the signal, and the hunters of the Prince Radzivill let the wild beasts loose from the enclosure. There were bears, deer, wild boars and wolves; the trained dogs chased them toward the kiosk, and one cannot describe the howling and the roaring of the wild animals, the barking of the dogs, the shrieking of the ladies, and all the noise which ensued. The king himself shot three wild boars; the duke killed much game, and fought a bear with the spear, a proof of great strength and skill. The skin of that bear was presented to me for a rug.

The hunt lasted until four o'clock in the afternoon; we had a lunch served to us during that time. There were perhaps a hundred hunters and game-keepers of the Prince Radzivill, all dressed in red livery and armed with guns and pikes.

This entertainment was given in honor of the anniversary of the coronation of the [Pg 119] king; for the same purpose there will be a ball to-night given by the Marshal of the Crown, Bielinski.

Saturday, January 18.

The ball was splendid. The duke was very gay and happy, as on that day he received a diamond-star order from the king. I danced a great deal and my feet are aching; but I am sorry that I spoke of it, for now I shall have to stay at home and rest for ten days. The princess fears that the incessant dancing and late hours will injure my health; really, my cheeks have become rather pale.

We received letters from Maleszow. My honored Mother deigned to write to me herself, recommending earnestly that I be prudent about my health and that I take the greatest care of my reputation, so as to give no cause for the slightest reproach for frivolity. She says that I ought not to believe all the compliments I may hear, that often a young girl is called a belle through some passing fancy, not because her beauty really deserves it; and that it [Pg 120] sometimes spoils her whole life, for her head is turned, her expectations aim too high, and she may be forsaken and laughed at in the end. I am sure that will never be the case with me. My ambition may be ever so high, but nobody shall know about my disappointment if it comes. Still I could not help crying when I read that letter; I carry it with me and often read it over. Happy is the young girl who never leaves her parents' home! I often regret the old Maleszow Castle.

Wednesday, January 29.

At last the ten days of my retirement are over. There were four balls during that time, and one of them a bal-masqué, where I was to appear in a Scotch quadrille with the three other belles. But no entreaties of the duke or others could make the princess relent; when she has said anything she never changes her decision.

I was sorry to miss the balls, but no one looking at me would have guessed it. It is true that the duke came here often, [Pg 121] and praised my patience and courage so much that it was a great comfort. The hours spent in his company are delightful. He talks about Saint Petersburg, or Vienna, where he also spent some time; he describes the good people in Courland; and he always knows how to put in a word the meaning of which, I think, escapes all other ears but mine.

How well he knows the bad affairs of our country! It is only through respect to his father that he does not dare to speak about them openly. What a good king he would make! The princess says that his extreme amiability has a particular aim,—to gain partisans for the future,—and that if he were elected king, he would perhaps not even look at us. I do not believe it. I can see plainly that the princess is not in favor of him; she would like rather to see a Lubomirski on the throne.

To-night there will be an entertainment at the Ladies Canonesses'; a very agreeable house and much frequented. This order was founded by the Countess Zamoyska, [Pg 122] in imitation of the Ladies' Chapter House of Remiremont in Lorraine. It is said that it originated from the pity the countess felt for a young girl of a noble family, who was to be married in spite of her dislike and even despair. She was an orphan and had no inclination for the convent life, but her high birth forbade her accepting a situation, so she was obliged to marry, merely for a home. In order to give a shelter to other homeless Polish girls, where they could lead a Christian life and be free to marry according to their liking, the countess bought Maryville, a large building once belonging to the Jesuits, and had it altered into small apartments, with a common dining-room and large reception-parlors; she endowed it and also completed an adjoining chapel, erected by the Queen Mary Kasimir, the wife of John Sobieski, in memory of his victory over the Turks near Vienna in 1685.

There are eleven canonesses and the abbess. In order to be elected, the young girls must be fifteen years old, and prove [Pg 123] their nobility for six generations on both parents' sides. They are addressed with the title of "Madame."

Ash Wednesday, February 19.

Thank God, the carnival is over! I see that one can grow tired even with entertainments. There have been so many during the last weeks that I felt in a continual whirl. I could do nothing, nor think of anything else but dresses, visits, assemblies, and other festivities. At first such a life seems amusing, but by and by one feels disheartened, and in my life I have never known such tedious hours as those I passed in the last fortnight. And yet so many people think that I am so very happy, and they envy me.

How beautiful the Countess Potocka looked at the ball last night, dressed as a sultana! She was the queen of the ball, and danced the whole evening. I danced only the first polonaise; I hurt my foot and refused all the invitations. Toward the end the duke came to ask me for a dance, but [Pg 124] I did not care to dance then. Thank God, the carnival is over!

Saturday, February 29.

A few words in haste: I am going unexpectedly to Sulgostow. There was nothing said about it yesterday when the Staroste and Basia came to take their leave, but this morning the Prince Woivode came to my room and said that my sister and her husband begged me to go with them; that I shall have a good rest there and probably see my honored Parents, so I ought to go. I believe that all the prince's advice tends to my good, so I did not hesitate, but I am sorry the duke does not know anything about it. Perhaps he will not mind it at all; perhaps he will not even notice it, as there are so many pretty women in Warsaw; and the Countess Potocka, she does not go away.

Sunday, March 15.

I returned two days ago. My diary was forgotten here in my desk, so I could not write in Sulgostow. I was away a fortnight, [Pg 125] but it seemed much longer. My honored Parents are expected in Sulgostow in a few days, but the Prince Woivode, who came for me, did not want to wait even a few hours; we were almost flying on the road, with fresh horses waiting at each station, and we reached Warsaw in one day. The duke came the following morning; he looked pale, almost ill. He gave me to understand that it was my sudden departure, without saying good-bye, which made him feel so badly. He said almost bitterly that "a friend deserves better treatment." I am sorry now that I went away, and to be sincere, I was sorry for it more than once during that fortnight, but the Prince Woivode says that it was for the best. I must confess that often I do not understand him at all, but I obey him blindly, for I feel that he is interested in my future. The princess greeted me very graciously.

In Sulgostow I spent most of the time petting the little Angela, and embroidering a cushion for the Christ's chapel, in order to propitiate Heaven in a certain direction, [Pg 126] which I do not dare to name here. I worked assiduously; it seemed to me that every stitch made the fulfilment of my wishes nearer, and now my work is finished.

They celebrated with great magnificence the anniversary of Basia's wedding in Sulgostow. How many changes in this one year!

Thursday, March 19.

Yesterday was one of the most pleasant days I can remember. The duke was as gay and charming as at the beginning of our acquaintance. He came here first in the morning, but only for a moment, as he was going to a hunt with the king; then in the evening, when we did not expect him at all, he ran in,—I think he walked, as no carriage was heard,—and he stayed a few hours. He is freer now to leave the castle, as his two brothers, Albert and Clement, are in Warsaw, and they keep the king company.

The Duke Clement is said to be very good and religious, and he is to enter the Church. It is quite right that the king, [Pg 127] having several sons, wishes to give one of them to the service of God, but it is as well that it was not the lot of the Duke of Courland.

Tuesday, March 24.

Although it is Lent, I have a delightful time; the duke runs in as often as he can leave the Castle. He says that he rests here from the etiquette of the court. But to-morrow will be the end of all the worldly pleasure. The princess has a few rooms kept for her in the Convent of the Holy Sacrament, and every year, before Easter, she secludes herself for eight days in order to be well prepared for confession. All the ladies do the same, and I naturally shall accompany the princess. During eight days we shall see only priests and nuns; we shall read only religious books, and work for the Church or the poor.

Holy Thursday, April 2.

Our retirement is over, Easter confession is made, and I feel so free in my mind and [Pg 128] so quiet in my heart! I had an excellent confessor, Father Bodue; he is all the fashion, as he is French, but even in spite of fashion I would always choose him for my director. He is a saint, and he is so wise! We had many and long conversations with him. He knew so well how to speak to my heart and make it humble and full of contrition, he was so convincing when speaking of the voidness of the things of the world and the dangers of it, that really there were moments when I wanted to leave everything and become a sister of charity in his hospital. I was just pacing my little cell thinking earnestly about it, when my maid entered and whispered that she saw one of the duke's hunters passing near the convent. My devout thoughts were thus scattered and I could not grasp them again.

Still, Father Bodue told me also that one can be saved as well in the world when living virtuously, and that such a life is still more meritorious, as it is more difficult. Why, then, should I shrink from it? [Pg 129]

I really regret that this week is over, although we lived in perfect seclusion. To-day we shall see everybody, as we are going to the Castle for the ceremonies of Holy Thursday.

Friday, April 10.

Easter is over. I cannot say that those days were unpleasant, but the quietude of thought and heart of one week ago, they are mine no more. Moreover, my conscience has more than one thing to reproach me for, so soon after my most earnest resolves!

For instance, that as early as Holy Thursday I was guilty of a dreadful piece of vanity! Was such a thing ever heard of?

It occurred thus: when I was to put on my mourning-dress, as is the custom in holy week, the princess entered my room followed by two maids carrying a magnificent gown of white satin with a long transparent veil, a wreath of white roses for my hair, and a bouquet for my corsage. I was amazed, but the princess explained that on [Pg 130] Holy Thursday after Mass, said in the chapel of the Castle, the king and all the assemblage go to a large room where twelve poor men are sitting at table, and the king, in imitation of Christ's humility, washes their feet and serves them at dinner. During this ceremony, one of the society young ladies is to make a collection for the poor. The king himself appoints the young lady; this time he named me, and promised to give the collected money to Father Bodue for his hospital, which is being built. I felt overcome with joy hearing this, but it was not because of the poor or Father Bodue; it was simply vanity. I saw myself, not in a heavy black and unbecoming dress, but clad in white, I alone among all the other women,—and thus the handsomest of all! It was wicked, but my conscience feels better now for having confessed it here.

The collection was extremely successful; I had over five thousand ducats. The Prince Charles Radzivill alone, saying "My [Pg 131] love! [13] one has to give something to such a fair lady," tossed down five hundred gold pieces, so that the tray bent.

At first I felt rather timid, my knees were shaking at each low courtesy which I had to make before every person, but by and by I grew bolder, and on that day the lessons of my dancing-master proved to be really useful. The marshal of the court accompanied me telling the names of the persons we were approaching, and when the tray grew too heavy he emptied it into a bag carried by the king's page.

My ears were filled with compliments. The duke told me that it was fortunate that I begged for money, not for hearts, [Pg 132] as every man would have to give me his. "I would never ask for such a thing," I answered; "for who would value a heart begged for?" He seemed pleased with my answer,—I wonder how he could imagine that I should think otherwise. A woman to beg for a heart—even of the king himself,—why! it would be a shameful, base thing. To accept it, when it is offered to her, earnestly and honorably, that is another thing.

But again my thoughts are wandering. To return to my narrative; the ceremony of the washing of the feet was very touching. I have still before my eyes the king as he was bending over the feet of the poor old men, and as he stood behind their stools at dinner. Moreover, our Augustus III., although no longer young, is very handsome and stately, and everything he does is done in a proper manner. The Duke Charles is quite the likeness of his father.

On Good Friday, we went, dressed in deep mourning, to visit the Holy Sepulchre. [Pg 133] We were in seven churches, saying in each of them five Paters and five Aves in honor of the five wounds of Christ; in the cathedral I knelt one hour before the holy Sacrament.

On Saturday evening there was a grand "Resurrection Service" in the cathedral; the music by the court orchestra was admirable.

The Easter table in our house was sumptuous, and until yesterday the tables remained covered with all kinds of meat and pastry. [14] Who would have thought one [Pg 134] year ago, when, on the third day after my arrival at the boarding-school, I was sitting [Pg 135] at the poor Easter table feeling very melancholy—who would have guessed then that [Pg 136] one year later I would eat an Easter egg with the Duke of Courland?

He seemed to have grown thin; it is perhaps because of the long fast. We also have not had any meat for forty days, and neither butter nor milk during the holy week; everything was cooked with oil, and on Friday we fasted the whole day. I did not mind it at all, but for a man it must be different. Yesterday I was looking anxiously at him: I thought he would not notice it, as he was talking with the Prince Woivode, but he thanked me afterwards for my solicitude. I felt quite ashamed; how careful a young girl ought to be, not only of her words, but even of her eyes!

Wednesday, April 15.

We leave Warsaw to-morrow. The Prince Woivode and his wife are going to their estate "Opole," and they take me with them. My honored Father wrote a letter to the princess saying that she may keep me as long as she is not tired of me. I hope that will never be; I endeavor to [Pg 137] please her as well as I can, and I feel the greatest awe of her. If I ever live to be old I wish to have her dignity of demeanor; even the duke is afraid of her.

I am glad that I am not yet going to Maleszow. I have it in my head that I ought not to return there just as I was, and if I arrived now there would be no change. No change? Oh! yes, there is a great change, but not the one I mean. Yet, things cannot stay long as they are now, something must take place. Will it be yes, or no? I shall not be surprised if it is yes, and in the other case—well, I will not bend my head, even if my heart break. It sounds like riddles, but if when I think of him I am afraid that some one may guess my thoughts, how could I write more plainly? As it is I have already said too much; it is better to stop and put my book under lock and key.

Opole, Wednesday, April 24.

We have been here for nearly a week; the place is pretty, but I do not feel very [Pg 138] cheerful, and nothing seems to go right. The trees ought to become green, but they are as black as in mid-winter; it ought to grow warm, and it is still cold. I wanted to begin some embroidery, but I have not the necessary silks; I wished to play, but the harpsichord is most dreadfully out of tune, and they have to send to town for the organist. There is a large library, but the princess has the key of it, and I am afraid to ask her for it. The prince has bought some new French books, the works of Voltaire, the most celebrated author in France; he paid, before my eyes, six golden ducats for a few volumes, and not very large ones; but the princess does not allow me to read them. What is still worse, there arrived, just fresh from Paris, a novel which is all the rage, the "Nouvelle Héloïse," written by a certain M. Rousseau. I took the book eagerly in my hand, but the author says in the introduction, "No mother will allow her daughter to read this book," and the princess most sternly forbade it to me. [Pg 139]

I had still another disappointment yesterday; the physicians in Warsaw ordered the princess to ride horseback for her health; she laughed at them, saying that she would never do it, but the Prince Woivode believed their advice good, and he bought a beautiful mare, quite gentle, which was brought here. The princess very reluctantly consented to ride a little in the garden, but I, who am not afraid of horses, was just dying to learn how to ride, and I said so yesterday. I got a terrible scolding; the princess said that such an exercise would be quite indecent for a young lady, and I had to give up all my plans,—such beautiful plans, of riding and hunting with—well, with some one.

There are many people coming here to pay their respects to the prince, who is the Woivode of this province, but they are not very interesting. The one person whom I like to see is the Prince Martin Lubomirski, the first cousin of the Woivode, but much younger, and whom I have already met in Warsaw. He owns the [Pg 140] earldom of Janow, which is not far from here, and he has invited us very eagerly to pay him a visit; I hope we shall go. The princess always finds something to censure in him, but I like him very much; he talks most agreeably, and is a great friend of the Duke of Courland.

Janow, Friday, May 1.

We have been here two days, and the Prince Martin announced from the very first that he would not let us go away soon. I do not think there can be found anywhere a host more generous, gay, and hospitable than the Prince Martin. The princess says that he sows his money broadcast as though he expected it to grow. He has now a new scheme on foot: they are cutting a road through a beautiful forest near the castle,—from my window I can see the magnificent trees fall under the axes of at least a hundred workmen,—and at the end of the road they are building a small palace, but in such haste that it seems to grow under one's eyes. There is a wager [Pg 141] between the Prince Martin and the Prince Woivode that the building will be ready in four weeks, and I am sure the younger prince will be the winner. The whole forest is to be enclosed with a hedge and serve as a preserve. Men have been sent to distant places to bring deer and bears, besides the game which is found around here. There is some mystery about all that hasty work; I wonder what it is!

This place is beautiful indeed. The old and majestic castle stands upon a hill above the Vistula, and commands a most admirable view over picturesque villages, forests, and the winding river. The halls and rooms are innumerable, the furniture rich and elegant, and the gallery of portraits is said to be the finest in the country. But my room seems to me the most charming of all; it is in a high tower, and it makes me feel like the heroine of a novel. From each of the three windows is a different view, each beautiful, but I sit most near the window looking towards the little palace, the progress of the work [Pg 142] going on there interests me so very much. On the walls of my room is Olympus painted in fresco. "Venus lui manquait, mais il la possède maintenant," said Prince Martin, gallantly, when he brought me in.

Sunday, March 3.

I rose before the sun, and I must have looked like a ghost when I glided through the large halls, on my way to the gallery of portraits.

The Prince Martin, following the example of our ancestors, who kept with great care the pictures of their most illustrious members, and the memory of their great deeds, determined to gather all such souvenirs of the Lubomirski family in one room. He brought from Italy a skilful painter, also called in the help of a very learned man, who knew all about the Polish history, and after long researches and debates the plan was carried out in 1746; as the inscription above the door testifies. The princess says it is a pity that all these portraits and pictures are not painted in [Pg 143] oil on canvas instead of "in fresco," as they never can be removed, and it is more difficult to take care of them. In any case the gallery, as it is now, is superb.

Yesterday after dinner our host brought us in and explained the meaning of the large paintings, relating the facts and the anecdotes about them. It was so interesting that I decided to get up very early this morning, before the house was awake, and come here alone to look again at the pictures, and write about some of them.

The first picture represents the three brothers Lubomirski, young and handsome men, who in the presence of the king, and many lords and witnesses, are dividing the inheritance of their father. Two scriveners are writing the deed upon a roll of parchment, and this document, dating from 1088, was the first historical title-deed known in Poland; it is still in existence, and the family are very proud of it.

After that picture, comes a row of portraits of stately men and great warriors, [Pg 144] which I must pass over. Then I see a painting representing a chapel, where, before a miraculous image of the Virgin, a baby is being weighed, and the other scale is covered with gold pieces. One Prince Lubomirski, being childless, made a vow that if a son were born to him he would offer to the Church its weight in gold, and he kept his promise.

Farther on, I see a nun on her deathbed, with a halo round her head; sick people touch her garments and are healed; it was Sophy Lubomirska, who in the sixteenth century was renowned for her sanctity.

On the other wall is represented an amusing scene: Among young damsels at work stands a pretty little girl in a very uncomfortable position, as her foot is tied to the leg of the table. Her aunt, who has punished her thus for some mischief, is sternly looking at her. But the naughty little Christina has grown to be a young lady, and in the following picture we see her kneeling before the altar in her room, [Pg 145] her beautiful eyes full of ecstasy; she has just pricked her finger with a golden needle, and gathering her blood on a pen, she writes down her determination always to lead a saintly life. She kept her word; married to Felixe Potocki, she was as famous for her virtues as for her beauty. All her accomplishments, her rare talent for music, her great skill in handiwork, were given to God's service. She adorned His churches, composed and sang verses to His glory, founded several convents, and her charitable deeds were innumerable. Her own confessor wrote her life and called her a saint.

Next come the portraits of her two brothers. First, Stanislaus, an eminent writer, surnamed the "Polish Solomon," is surrounded with books, and Fame crowns him with a laurel wreath. The second, Jerome, famous for his valor, is represented with the King Sobieski, when after the victory near Vienna they are examining the flag of Mahomet, captured from the Turks; in the distance the Polish [Pg 146] army can be seen occupying the Turkish camps.

Then I stop at a large picture representing a very exciting adventure. In a forest covered with snow, a man is fighting with a bear, who seems to have the better of him, when from behind a woman in a hunting costume approaches, and holds two pistols to the animal's ears; in the background a horse is seen running away with a sleigh. The story runs thus: A Princess Lubomirska, who was very fond of horses, was returning one day from a hunting party, with only one servant, when an infuriated bear sprang upon them. The frightened horse threw over the little sleigh and ran away with it, and the two people were left to the fury of the beast. The faithful servant having only said, "Your Grace, remember my wife and children," threw himself forward to meet the bear, who was advancing on his hind legs, and give his mistress time to run away. But the courageous Pole did not leave the brave man to perish; drawing two pistols [Pg 147] from her belt, she stepped from behind and shot the bear on the spot.

But I hear the Prince Martin talking to his dogs, which he loves and pets as if they were children; his greyhounds are famous in the whole country. It is time to stop and run back to my tower.

Thursday, May 14.

We went to Opole, and returned here again, urged by Prince Martin to see the villa finished; he won the wager. I asked him to-day why he wanted another house, and he answered smiling, "For your ladyship's sake." What does he mean?

Saturday, May 16.

The duke is here! And, oh!—I can hardly believe it,—he loves me! He loves me so much that he could stay no longer without seeing me, and the two princes, to please him, thought to build the villa and to give hunting parties, in order to bring him near the object of his affection. It is fortunate that it was dark [Pg 148] when he appeared yesterday. Everybody would have seen how I blushed, and he himself might have read in my eyes more joy than I ought to have shown. How will all this end? Until now I feigned not to understand the hidden meaning of his words. I tried most carefully to conceal my feelings toward him; shall I be able to do it any longer, especially here, where I shall see him so often,—live almost under the same roof?

I cannot express the state that my heart and head are in. I see before me either a destiny so grand that I am afraid to think of it, or so dark and miserable that I shiver. What ought I to do? I would rather die than ask the princess; she said, not later than to-day, that the woman who would believe in the love of the duke would be simply mad, and that his wife would be most unhappy. The Prince Woivode visibly shuns any confidence. [Pg 149]

May 18.

I am betrothed. Is it really true? I, Frances Krasinska, I shall be Duchess of Courland, and perhaps one day something more!

To-day we went to the little palace. The princess made a false step mounting the stairs, and was obliged to stay in the room with her companion, and we four went to the park. The Prince Martin stopped to show the Woivode some preparations for the hunt, but the duke said he preferred to walk, and took my arm. He was silent for awhile, which seemed strange, as he generally talks a great deal. At last he asked me if I would never be willing to understand for whom and for what he had come here. I tried to answer, calmly, that I knew him to be a lover of hunting, and that there promised to be great sport. Then he put aside all metaphors, and said plainly that he came for my sake, "and to find his whole life's happiness." I was stunned, it came so suddenly; but I composed myself and said: [Pg 150] "Monsieur le Duc, are you forgetting who you are, and what you may be one day? You must look for a wife among the royal daughters." "You are my queen!" he exclaimed; "you, who first by your beauty have charmed my eyes, and afterwards by your modesty and virtues have won my heart. I am used to having women run to me as soon as I have spoken one word. But you, although you loved me perhaps more than any one of them, you shunned me; I could only guess what you were feeling. You are worthy of the first throne in the world. If I wish to be one day King of Poland, it is in order to put a crown on that beautiful brow of yours." How can I believe that all that was not merely a dream!

I stood silent; no words could pass my lips. Then the two princes drew near us. "I take Heaven and you for witnesses," said the duke, turning to them, "that I will never marry any other woman but the Countess Françoise Krasinska. For reasons easily understood, I wish my decision [Pg 151] kept secret until the time comes, and I am sure of your loyalty and discretion." The princes saluted; they said something about the great honor and their faithfulness; they whispered in my ear, "You are worthy of it," and withdrew.

I stood as yet in a dream, but at last I had to answer to the affectionate words; I had even to confess that I loved him much, and had done so for a long time. Should I not have made that avowal to my future husband? My husband! No, it cannot be true. But then, what means the exchanged ring on my finger? I had from Basia a little golden snake-ring which she gave me at my last visit; the duke had observed it, and ordered a similar one with the words "for ever" engraved inside; he put it on my finger and took mine for himself. The trees and the birds were the only witnesses of that silent betrothal. But these rings were not consecrated; a Father's hand had not given me away, nor a Mother bestowed her blessing. Oh! yes, now I believe that all is true, for I feel hot tears on my cheeks. [Pg 152]

Monday, May 25.

One week has passed, a week of such bliss! To-day for the first time, I was struck with the thought that my happiness might fly away. The Dukes Clement and Albert arrived here on Thursday; the hunt took place on Friday and Saturday, and they leave this afternoon; perhaps he also will have to go soon! How could I have so totally forgotten about it? Perhaps I had not time to think of what would come next, the days are so full—not only with my heart's content, but also with the duties of the lady of the house; the princess is confined to her room, as her foot has grown worse, and I have had to take her place. Or perhaps I did not want to think at all and spoil my happiness. Now I can think of nothing else but that departure. What will it be when he has gone? With what thought shall I awake in the morning? For whom shall I want to dress? What shall I do with the whole day when he is not here!

I looked out of the window toward the [Pg 153] villa, and saw a white handkerchief waving from the balcony; it is the "good-morning" he sends me every day. How early he is,—it is not yet six o'clock! Now I see a rider galloping along the road. It cannot be he! No, it is his favorite hunter who brings me flowers, a message every day from him. Oh! no, my anxiety was premature; I have not heard yet that he was going away; we may have another happy week, and a third, and perhaps a fourth,—why did I fret?

Wednesday, May 27.

My forebodings were right; he is going. A special courier came last night with the king's order that he return at once. I saw him this morning; I shall see him again in half an hour, when he will come to say good-bye, and then when shall we meet again?

Sunday, June 7.

Two weeks have passed. Two couriers brought me short notes under the Prince Woivode's seal; but what is a letter, written [Pg 154] words, for two people who have been accustomed to talk to each other for hours, who knew each other's thoughts without even using any words, only looking into each other's eyes. He left me his miniature, a fairly good likeness, but it has always the same expression; I have a better portrait of him in my heart. I do not answer his letters; it is hard, but I was positive when I told him that until we were married he would not receive a single written word from me. I think my hand would be paralyzed if I wrote a letter without the knowledge of my aunt and my honored Parents, and I will keep my word, although God knows how much it costs.

How long the days seemed when he was gone! I felt in a kind of lethargy, caring for nothing, without will or desire to do anything. I was aroused by a very sad occurrence: the princess' health grew worse, her foot swelled, and the doctor for whom they sent to Warsaw declared her to be in a critical condition. I cannot express what I felt during the three days [Pg 155] of uncertainty. Notwithstanding all that the duke and the princes have said to quiet my conscience, I know very well that my silence about what has happened is an offence toward her. From the very beginning I planned and lived in hopes that the day would come when I should confess my involuntary fault to her, and to my honored Parents, explaining how everything happened, how I could not help it, and I was sure I would be pardoned. But during those three days of danger my hopes might at any moment have been crushed, and then what would have become of me? How could I live without having her forgiveness? It came to my mind also that my honored Parents are no longer young, and an unexpected illness may come to them, and I felt utterly desperate.

The Lord be praised and thanked! The princess is better, and we had good news from Maleszow; both my honored Parents are in excellent health.

But it is time to return to the princess; [Pg 156] she likes to have me near her, and now I feel most happy at her bedside when I can do something for her.

Opole, Thursday, June 18.

The princess felt so much better in health and strength that we returned here the day before yesterday. I left Janow with regret; after all, the remembrance of the happy hours spent there is the strongest.

In his last letter the duke frightened me, writing that he will be obliged to go to his dukedom of Courland, and that he is puzzling his brain as to how he shall see me before he leaves. How long those months will be! But his sufferings are worse to me than my own. Several guests arrived here from Warsaw, and spoke about the change that everybody notices in him; he does not look well, he is sad, and avoids society. People find me also changed and looking pale. I would not care, but when I hear the princess explaining that it is on account of the trouble and care I took [Pg 157] of her during her illness, then my conscience makes me feel miserable.

Saturday, July 11.

One moment of bliss, and it is gone; he has been here, but only for one hour. He left Warsaw last Wednesday, as if to go to Courland, but as soon as he was out of town, he left his equipage and turned south instead of going north; now he is travelling day and night to meet his court at the frontier. I saw him such a short time, that I cannot realize it was not all a dream. He came disguised as one of his hunters; nobody recognized him but the prince and myself, but nobody ought to have recognized him. He implored me with tears in his eyes to write to him, and it was perhaps fortunate that he could not stay longer, for it was hard to resist those tears.

Three months is the shortest time for his stay in Courland; how many weeks, and days, and hours in three months! [Pg 158]

Thursday, September 3.

I have not opened my book for two months; they passed as everything passes in this world, but that they were sad it is needless to say. One month more to wait. In each letter the duke assures me he will be here in October. To-day I was so glad at seeing some dry leaves on the ground in the garden; I thought it might already be October. We shall go to Warsaw ere long; the princess has forgotten that she was ever ill.

I had great trouble lately,—a proposal of marriage, and a splendid match, as they say. The princess, who from the time of her illness is kinder to me than ever, arranged everything, acting in concert with my honored Parents, and never a doubt arose in her mind that I might object. It was extremely painful to me to destroy her plans, to incur her just anger, to hear her reproaches, and especially her innuendoes concerning the duke. It was also very difficult to write to my honored Parents, not knowing what excuses to make for my [Pg 159] refusal. My honored Mother deigned to answer me. "The Parents who allow their daughter to leave their guidance," she writes, "cannot be very much surprised if she does not obey their wishes." Could I ever have foreseen that what I called the height of happiness could have thrown me into such a depth of misery!

Warsaw, September 22.

We have been in Warsaw for several days. With what joy I approached the city! Here I shall see him again; he is coming on October 1st, that is, in one week. If it was not for that hope, life here would be intolerable. Those visits and receptions which seemed so amusing are now a trial. I think everybody is reading my secret in my eyes, and that all my acquaintances are laughing at me, especially the women. Yesterday one of them made me so nervous with her inquiries and her false solicitude that my tears were quite near,—in the presence of at least fifty people. But the Prince Woivode took [Pg 160] pity upon me and came to my rescue; he is always so good, only he does not believe in my sorrow and troubles, and calls them "childishness."

Thursday, October 1.

He arrived and is well; I have seen him, but before much company, and when my heart was leaping to meet him I had to stand still and wait until he entered and saluted the Prince Woivode, and then to make the low courtesy as etiquette requires. No matter; as long as he is here and well, everything seems more cheerful, and all will be well.

Tuesday, October 20.

My God! what a promise have I given one hour ago! The fourth of November, when will it be? It is the birthday of the duke, and as a gift he wants my hand. He said that he will doubt my affection if I refuse. The Prince Woivode also pleaded for him, and I said "yes," before I realized that I had no right to do it without the [Pg 161] knowledge and permission of my honored Parents. But I will not marry without their consent; I said that I must write to them, or otherwise I would rather enter a convent. At last the duke submitted and promised to add a postscript to my letter. Here my pride received a shock; is it not the young man who ought to humbly ask the Parents for their daughter's hand? Yes, but not a royal prince. For the first time, I felt the difference in our rank,—that it is he who does me a favor in marrying me. But it is too late for any regrets; my word is given.

Thursday, October 22.

A chamberlain of the Prince Woivode has gone to Maleszow with the letters. The duke said that my letter was too humble, but I thought it was his postscript which was too royal. What will the answer be? My life is in suspense until then. I had the happy thought to ask if the curate of Maleszow could not come to give the wedding blessing; it would at least be [Pg 162] somebody from my home. The Prince Woivode promised to have him come, and he will also obtain the necessary papers.

Wednesday, October 28.

My honored Parents consent and give their blessing, but it is not such an affectionate blessing as they gave Basia when she was to be married, and it is just, for I do not deserve it. The duke expected a separate letter for himself; as there was none, he felt a little offended and talked with the Prince Woivode about the pride of the Polish seigneurs. No matter, it is a relief to think that they know everything; it is as if a stone were lifted from my heart. They promise to keep the secret until the duke releases them. One sees in their letter some surprise, even satisfaction at such an alliance, but there is also, especially in the words of my dear Mother, a kind of affectionate reproach which pierces my heart. She writes, "If you are unhappy, you cannot ascribe your misfortune to us; if you find felicity in your decision, [Pg 163] for which I shall never stop praying the Lord, your Parents will rejoice over you, but not as much as over their other children, as you have not allowed them to share in making your happiness." I cried so much over these words that they are almost illegible.

The curate will come, and in six days I shall be a bride. I cannot believe it; there are no preparations for the wedding, everything around me is so quiet and every-day-like.

One week before Basia's wedding, what was there not in Maleszow! If at least I could see the duke often, but sometimes two, and sometimes three days pass without my seeing him. He fears to awaken the suspicion of the king, and still more that of Brühl; therefore he avoids me at receptions, and does not appear here as often. I feel so lonesome with nobody to confide in or ask for any advice. Even my little maid is to be sent away, and a married woman, whom the Prince Woivode knows, but I have never seen, is to take [Pg 164] her place. I do not even know how to dress for the wedding; I asked the prince, and he answered, "As every day."

What a strange occurrence! I am making the grandest marriage in Poland, and my shoemaker's daughter will be more dressed on her wedding day than I on mine.

November 4.

Married! One hour ago, before the altar, before God, we swore to each other faith and love until death. What a terrible wedding! At five o'clock in the morning the Prince Woivode knocked at my door. I was quite dressed, we went out stealthily; at the gate the duke and Prince Martin were waiting for us. It was quite dark, the wind blew fiercely; we walked to the church, as a carriage would have made a noise. It was not far, but I should have fallen several times, if the duke had not supported me. At the door of the church the good curate met us. The church was dark and silent as a grave; at a side altar [Pg 165] two candles were lighted; no living soul but the priest and the sacristan. Our steps resounded on the flagstones as in a cavern.

The ceremony did not last ten minutes, and then we hastened away as if pursued. The duke brought us to the gate, and the Prince Martin had to compel him to go away. I had my every-day dress on, not even white, only I hastily put a bit of rosemary in my hair. Yesterday, remembering Basia's wedding, I prepared for myself, with tears, a golden coin, a piece of bread, and a lump of sugar, but in my haste I forgot to take them this morning.

Now I am again in my room, alone. Nobody is blessing or congratulating me, the whole house is asleep, and if it were not for the wedding ring, which I shall soon have to take off and hide, I could not believe that I have returned from my wedding, that I am a married woman, that I am his forever. [Pg 166]

Sulgostow, December 24.

I was not going to write in this book any more; I saw no use for it, as the friend I have won for my life had all my thoughts confided to him. But cruel destiny has separated us, and I open my book again to relate the sorrowful event. In the days of happiness, if they ever come, it will be agreeable perhaps to read over the accounts of the past misfortunes, although I do not think the most perfect bliss could ever wipe them out of my memory.

Six weeks have passed since the day of our wedding. Nobody has guessed what happened. My new maid swore to the Prince Woivode on the crucifix that she would be silent on whatever she may know. Our meetings and interviews, managed by the Woivode, were kept perfectly secret. I was still Mademoiselle la Comtesse Krasinska to everybody. The duke, in order to be ready for any sign from the Prince Woivode, pretended illness and did not leave the castle, but in the end he was obliged to appear in society, and paid a [Pg 167] visit to the princess. It was the first time I saw him in public; I could not control my emotion, which was perceived by the princess. After his departure, she overwhelmed me with reproaches, scoldings, and warnings. Sure of my innocence, I answered perhaps too boldly, and imprudently made her understand that it was not a mere flirtation between the duke and me. On the following day, the princess was very much agitated; the duke came again, and knowing he could not see me on that day in private, he had written a short note, which he discreetly slipped into my work-basket,—but not discreetly enough for the watchful eye of the princess. As soon as he was gone, she seized the basket, and when she read the inscription on the note, "Pour ma bien aimée," her wrath burst forth in the most dreadful and offensive words. I heard myself called the shame, the blot on the Krasinskis' name. I heard that I would send my Father and Mother to the grave. "But now," she added, "this low intrigue shall [Pg 168] be ended. I have written to Brühl, telling him that honesty and honor are more to me than my family ties, and I feel it to be my sacred duty to let him know that the duke is in love with you, and that he must do what he thinks best to stop this unlawful affection. So at this moment the king himself is perhaps informed of your mad scheme, and of your shame." "There is no shame," I answered, "I am his wife." As soon as I uttered these words I realized what I had done in revealing the secret, but it was too late. The princess was amazed. I fell at her feet and confessed everything; there was nothing else to be done. I implored her pardon, and begged her in the name of God to keep the secret to herself. She seemed surprised, but not soothed; she compelled me to rise from her feet, saying that it was not a proper position for a lady of my standing. She asked to be pardoned for having often treated me not according to my dignity, of which she was unaware; but she did not allow me to kiss her hand, and under the [Pg 169] pretence that her house was not good enough for a duchess, perhaps the future Queen of Poland, she gave at once the orders for my departure. I controlled myself so that not one disagreeable word fell from my lips, and I shall always be thankful to the Lord for it; the princess is my aunt, and I shall never forget the care she has bestowed upon me during so many months.

I did not know at all where I was to go. Fortunately some one happened to mention Sulgostow. The marshal, who came to take the orders, heard it, and the news spread in the house that I was going to spend Christmas with my sister. Glad of the suggestion, I confirmed it. I wrote a letter to the duke, in care of the princess, in which I told him about the necessity of letting my sister know the truth, and in less than two hours, in a closed carriage with my maid, I was travelling fast, not knowing what was to become of me. I reached Sulgostow in such a confused state of mind that when Basia saw me and [Pg 170] heard the disconnected sentences,—that the princess sent me away from her house, that I was innocent, that the duke was my husband,—she was so frightened that she wanted to call for help, and to send for the doctor; she was sure that I was insane. No news yet from Warsaw!

Saturday, December 30.

I received a letter from the duke (I think I shall never call him otherwise). He is in despair about my departure, angry with the princess, and much afraid of Brühl discovering everything. I am leaving Sulgostow; the happiness of my sister makes my lot still more miserable. I love her with my whole heart, and I pray God that she may always be as happy, but this comfortable home, the attention her husband's family pay to her, the many tokens of affection from our honored Parents, the little Angela who is so fond of her mother, and of whom her father is so proud,—all this stabs my heart when I compare her [Pg 171] fate with mine. I will go to Maleszow. When I shall hear the words of forgiveness from the lips of my honored Parents, and they embrace me, I shall perhaps feel more tranquil. Perhaps the year begun with them will be as happy as those that I spent under their roof, when a gay and careless girl.

In Maleszow Castle, January 5, 1761.

I have been here for several days, but I am not any happier. My honored Parents greeted me in such a strange manner. I wanted to throw myself at their feet, and I would have felt better for it, but they did not allow it. The Count bowed low to me as if I were a stranger; even now he will not sit next me, and he gets up when I enter the room. This homage paid to my new title is grievous to my heart. At the first dinner he whispered in my ear, "I could under the pretence of testing, order a bottle of 'Miss Frances' wine.' I am sorry not to taste it at the first dinner, but the custom requires that the first cup [Pg 172] be emptied by the father, and the second by the bridegroom; any other order is considered a bad omen. But will that happy moment ever come?" he added, so sadly that I was hardly able to restrain my tears. Oh! that dinner was for me a real suffering; everybody seemed to be under some constraint; even Matenko was not up to his standard. The Count winked at him to make him tell some jokes, but they were not a success.

He is a sharp fellow, Matenko. Yesterday he entered my room mysteriously, when I was alone, and kneeling on both knees, with an expression which was half droll and half melancholy, he drew from his vest a little bunch of dried leaves tied with a white ribbon and a golden pin in it. I could not at first make out what he meant when he said, "I am sometimes a prophet." Then I recollected the bouquet from Basia's wedding. I ran after Matenko, who still on his knees was retreating toward the door, and put in his coat a diamond pin I had received from the duke. Neither [Pg 173] of us said a word, but both perhaps thought that if it was strange that his joking prophecy was fulfilled, how much more strange it was that its fulfilment failed to satisfy my expectations. When I think how I dreamed about my return to Maleszow after my wedding! What royal presents and surprises there would be for everybody! Even each of the peasant-women was to receive a new cap, the girls bright ribbons, and what entertainments and banquets were to be given to all! And here I return to my paternal home after nearly two years of absence, and bring no gifts to any one. When Basia came home from the convent she had a little surprise for everybody, although she had no more money than I; but she had leisure of time and mind, and with her own hands she prepared the little trifles which were valued so much. How could I do it?

Here my beloved Mother interrupted my writing. She came into my room carrying heavy bundles of costly silks, laces, and jewels, and laying them down on the [Pg 174] chairs she said rather timidly: "I have brought here a part of the things which are destined for each of our daughters; I would have brought more, but nothing seems to me good enough. I have been talking to my honored husband; he will sell a few villages in order that when the happy moment comes, and the marriage is announced to the world, our second daughter may receive an outfit in accordance with her high rank." Moved to tears, I wanted to embrace her knees, but she did not permit me, and was still making excuses for the "miserable presents," as she called them.

Oh no! I cannot stand all this. I will return to Sulgostow. There are too many eyes fixed on me here, too many exclamations about how pale I look. My dear little sisters are asking continually, "Why are you not married yet?" or, "When will you marry?" Even the old servants ask me the same questions. Yesterday the three girls whom I promised to take to my court, came to see me. Old Peter brought his [Pg 175] daughter himself; it was so painful to send them away. How astonished they will be if they hear that am I married, but cannot take them, for my husband is a son of the king!

Sulgostow, January 9.

I found no letter here from the duke. I am dreadfully anxious; perhaps he is ill, or the king is informed about everything, and does not let him write. If the Prince Woivode were in Warsaw he would let me know, but he left a few days before me and probably has not yet returned.

The farewell of my honored Parents was more tender than their reception, but the best moments I spent were in Lisow, where I went to visit our curate. I found him planting spruce-trees in his garden, and he allowed me to plant one in the cemetery near the church. [15] I leave a sad souvenir behind me, but I am not gay myself. I heard kind and comforting words from the good Father, and went away with more [Pg 176] courage. If only I had news that the duke is quite well!

Tuesday, January 15.

New trials and new sufferings during these past days! Will there be any kind of grief which I have not experienced?

On Saturday when we were going to dinner we heard the postilion's horn before the palace; the door opened and Borch, the minister of the king, entered the hall. I knew at once the purpose of his coming, and I trembled like a leaf, but he pretended that he wanted to pay his respects to the Staroste and Madame Starostine, at whose wedding he had the honor to be present. He played this part during the whole dinner, but when it was over he asked me for a moment of private conversation, and then told me at once that Brühl and he were informed of all that had happened, but to them the marriage of the duke was a mere joke; that a wedding without the knowledge of the parents, and not blessed by the pastor of the parish, is [Pg 177] void, and can be annulled without any difficulty.

In the first moment I believed his words and felt doomed and helpless, but God had mercy upon me, and suddenly my mind was cleared. I considered whose representative was before me; I felt sure that the Prince Woivode would not have countenanced an illegal marriage; I was aware that upon my firmness in that moment depended the future of my whole life; and I replied as follows: "It is wrong of Minister Brühl, and it is wrong of you who speak for him, to want to deceive a woman who is not yet eighteen years old; but I am not so ignorant as you may imagine," I continued, while he was listening in blank amazement,—"I know that our marriage is valid; it was consecrated by the curate of my parish before two witnesses, and with the consent of my Parents. Yes, there is the divorce, but the signature of both parties is necessary for it, is it not so? and neither prayers nor threats will obtain mine or the duke's signature." Borch was confounded. On [Pg 178] the following day, however, he tried to secure my signature by offering me a large donation, and when that failed he wanted at least my promise that, if the duke gave his consent to the divorce, I should not withhold mine. I gave that promise in writing; I am sure of my husband's faith and love.

Here ends the journal of Françoise Krasinska. Continual sorrows and misfortunes took away her strength, and her wish to write about them any more. The most painful of her trials was the inconstancy of her husband, and the apprehension of the divorce with which she was threatened more than once. After the early death of her parents, the homeless young woman led a wandering life for several years, between her sister Barbara's, her aunt's the Princess Lubomirska (who could not remain angry very long with her favorite niece), and convents in Warsaw [Pg 179] and in Cracow. Her fickle husband returned to her from time to time, but their marriage was still kept secret, under the pretence of sparing the old king the shock. Furthermore, the visions of a brilliant future which the young girl once nourished vanished one after the other; as Matenko had predicted, the mitre and the crown both slipped away. Count Biron became Duke of Courland, and after the death of Augustus III., Stanislaus Poniatowski was elected King of Poland.

The family of the late king moved to Saxony. Then the Duke Charles wrote a most tender letter to his wife, asking her forgiveness for the past, and imploring her to come to Dresden, where, he wrote, he would publicly call her his wife, and he would devote his whole life to her happiness, in order to redeem the years of her beautiful youth spent in wandering and humiliation. Although she had longed for this moment for years, she did not yield at once to her husband's request. Her heart wished perhaps otherwise, but [Pg 180] her self-respect commanded her to await at least a second invitation. She had not long to wait; letter followed letter, and every word breathed the most tender affection, and news came that under this suspense, the duke's health began to give way. Convinced at last of the sincerity of his re-awakened attachment, the young duchess, surrounded by a numerous retinue sent from Dresden to accompany her, left her native country; and from that time she lived in Saxony, not in the splendor once dreamed of, but in a happy home. Her husband now clung to her with all the passion of a young lover; her little daughter, Marie Christine, their only child, promised to be as beautiful as her mother, and numerous friends, among others the Empress Maria Theresa, who was very fond of her, and bestowed upon her the estate of Landscrown, surrounded the "handsome Pole" with affection and admiration.

But she never forgot Poland and her relatives, nor lost the hope of living there once again. The numerous letters written [Pg 181] to her sisters, her goddaughter Angela, the Princess Lubomirska, and others, are still kept by the family and show her deep affection and solicitude for them and her country. She did not live to a great age, having died in 1796; and as if to prove his deep attachment, her husband survived her only a few months.

Their daughter, Marie Christine, married Charles de Carignan, Duke of Savoy, and had two children,—a daughter, Elizabeth Françoise, married to the Archduke Regnier, King of Lombardy-Venice, and second cousin of the present Emperor of Austria; and a son, Charles Albert, the father of Victor Emmanuel, and of the Duke of Genoa, the latter being the father of Marguerite, the "Pearl of Savoy." Thus both the King and Queen of Italy are the great-great-grandchildren of Françoise Krasinska.


[Pg 182]


In the original book and in the text version, footnotes appear throughout the book.

In this HTML version, the footnotes have been collected and moved to here


They are still in Count Adam Krasinski's palace in Warsaw.

[2] Governors of provinces.

[3] Honorary judge.

[4] Wife of a woivode.

[5] The Polish florin is worth twenty cents.

[6] At the end of the fourteenth century these two countries were united by the marriage of Hedvig, queen of Poland, with the prince of Lithuania Jagellon.

[7] Stanislaus Leszczynski, surnamed the "most virtuous of men," king of Poland before Augustus II., was dethroned by the Saxon party. He had Lorraine allotted to him, and is still remembered there as the "good King Stanislaus." His daughter Maria was married to Louis XV. of France.

[8] An old Polish custom, by which a young girl was to prove whether she was patient enough to meet the trials of married life.

[9] Son of a castellan.

[10] Two feet.

[11] It was a generally observed custom to serve a goose with dark gravy as a polite but positive answer that the proposal of marriage was not accepted. A pumpkin put in the carriage of the young man when he was leaving had the same meaning. Until now the saying "He received a pumpkin," or "He was treated to a goose fricassee," is often used.

[12] That place is now Lazienki, with a park and a charming little palace built by the last Polish king, Stanislaus Poniatowski, for his summer residence.

[13] The Prince Charles Radzivill had the habit of beginning each sentence with the exclamation "My love!" and therefore he himself was generally called, "the Prince My-love." He was the wealthiest magnate of Lithuania. After the dismemberment of Poland, when all his estates were confiscated, he emigrated to Paris and there bought the whole street between his palace and the market, in order, as he said, that his Polish cook might not lose his way. That street, near the Louvre, has still the name of "Rue Radzivill."

[14] The Easter dinner, or the "consecrated meal," is still a special feature in Poland, and an elaborate affair even among the poorer people. During several days meat and pastry are prepared, and on Holy Saturday the tables are set, with the symbolical lamb in the middle, and every dish garnished with sprays of boxwood. Then a priest is summoned, who puts on a white surplice, and saying the appointed prayers he sprinkles the table with holy water.

In the villages on Easter morning the peasants bring baskets with eggs, bread, cheese, and perhaps a sausage, to church, and standing in two rows have them consecrated.

At noon the dinner begins with hot bouillon served in cups; all the other dishes are cold. But first of all, the lady of the house, holding a plate of hard-boiled eggs cut in pieces, presents them to every one in turn, wishing a "glad Alleluia." The table sometimes stays covered several days, hot dishes being added to succeeding dinners, and the pastry lasts sometimes several weeks, by some mystery remaining as fresh as on the first day.

The children always have their own table, with miniature dishes ornamented with boxwood, a lamb in candy, colored eggs, etc. They would never forget to have them consecrated, and the little girls very earnestly play the hostess, partaking of the eggs with their own guests.

In olden times, the Polish houses tried to surpass each other in setting the most sumptuous Easter tables. In an old manuscript is found the following description of a festival given by Prince Sapieha, in the sixteenth century.

In the middle of huge tables stood a lamb of candies and marzipan, which were distributed "only to ladies, dignitaries, and church men." Around it, representing the seasons of the year, stood four wild boars, each stuffed with hams, sausages, and turkeys. The prince's chef showed wonderful skill in roasting those boars whole. Then came twelve deer, also roasted whole, and stuffed with a variety of game: hares, woodcocks, partridges, hazel-hens, etc.; these were for the twelve months of the year. Around the table, numbering the weeks of the year, were fifty-two mazourkas, that is, large square cakes stuffed with all kinds of fruit, and three hundred and sixty-five babas, for the days of the year; each was one ell high and on their iced surfaces were various inscriptions, mottoes, proverbs, and witty verses, which the invited guests took pleasure in deciphering.

In the way of beverages there were: first, four antique silver tankards with wine from "King Batory's time" (that is, one hundred years old); then twelve silver pitchers of old Tokai; then fifty-two silver barrels of Spanish, Italian, and Cypress wines, and three hundred and sixty-five bottles of Hungarian wine. For the household there were 8,760 quarts, as many as there are hours in one year, of home-made mead. The invited guests feasted during one whole week. As soon as the morning service was over they surrounded the tables, and the entertainment lasted till midnight; the prince's court band played lively airs, and the young people were never tired of dancing, nor the elderly ones of talking of "the good old times," sipping the Hungarian Malmsey, and drinking to the health of the prince.

[15] This tree still shades the old building. (Note in 1858.)