Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

The following life of the Chevalier years of age he was sent to the College D'Eon has been compiled with much care Mazarin in that city, as a day-scholar, from a document which we believe to have where he was no less distinguished for his been by his own hand. The facts will speak proficiency in literature than for the regufor themselves :

larity of his conduct. When he had comCharles, Genevieve, Louisa, Augusta, pleted his education at that seminary, he Andrea, Timothea, D'Eon du Beaumont, learned to ride the great horse and to fence; Doctor of Civil and Canon Law, Advo- , which latter exercise was always one of his cale of the Parliament of Paris, Censor favourite pursuits, . He then became DocGeneral for Belles Lettres and History in lor of Civil and of Canon Law; and was that metropolis, Captain of Dragoons, and called to the bar of the Parliament of Paris, Aid-du-Camp suicc

ccessively to the Count His love of literature did not still forsake and Field Marshal Broglio, Knight of the him, and he found time to publish many Royal and Military Order of St. Louis, small miscellaneous pieces ; as, the “ Life Secretary of Embassy to the Marquis de of Langlet du Fresnoy,” in the "Année l'Hospital, Minister Plenipotentiary to the Liieraire" of Freron; the “Funeral Eulo. Court of Russia, Secretary of Embassy to gium of Marie d'Este, Duchess of Pen. she Duc de Nivernois, Ambasçador from thjevre;" and another on the Count d'Ons the Court of France to that of England, en Bray, President of the Academy of and afterwards Minister Plenipotentiary Sciences at Paris, both in Latin, and in the himself at the same Court, was born Au-, same periodical work. The late excellent gust the 5th, 1728, a Tonnerre in Bus- Prince of Conti introduced him in 1755 to gundy. His family is mentioned as a very Louis XV. as a person very capable to ancient and illustrious one, in the Genealo- conduct a business he had much at heart gical Dictionary of De Bois de la Chesnaye. (a reconciliation between his Court and His grandfather and father were succes that of Russia). D'Eon having succeeded sively Under-Intendants of the Generality in this very arduous undertaking (in which of Paris, and his mother was Francois du he was engaged without any public characCharenton, daughter of M. du Charenton, ter), was again sent to that Court, in 1757, Ecuyer, who was Commissaire Ordonna- in conjunction with the Chevalier Doug tcur de Guerre to the French Armies in las, as a man, and in an open and arowed Spain and Italy. At six years of age he diplomatique situation. Their negocia. was sent to his aunt at Paris, where he be- tions were so powerful, that they prevailed gay to seceive his education. At fourteen upon the Empress Elizabeth to join the

armies of France and of Austria with four soner. in 1762 his Sovereign intended to score thousand troops, which she had ori have sent himn Ambassador to Russia, to ginally destined for the assistance of the replace le Baron de Breteuil, but the death King of Prussia. On his return to Paris the of the Emperor Peter The Thid having same year, he was conimissioned to com.lccasioned some change in the poli'ics of municate the plan of the Russian military || that Court, this appointment did not take camı aigns to the Court of Vienna; and place. In September, however, of the whilst he was at that Court, the news arriv ame year he was sent to London, as secre. ed of the famous battle of Prague. The ary of Embassy to the Duc de Niverno's, Couot de Broglio entrusted him with dis Ambassador from France to that Court, to patches to the Court of France, giv'ng an conclude the Peace of 1763. His conduct account of the victory obtained over the in this business was so agreeable to the King of Prussia.

King of England, thai he desired (contrary Charged with these dispatches, and with to the usual etiquette on these occasions) the treaty concluded between Russia and that he might carry to Fiance the ratificaFrance, D'Eon set out in a post. waggon tion of the treaty of peace concluded be. for Paris. He had not, however, proceed- | tween his Court and that of Versailles; and ed above fifteen leagues on his journey, his own Sovereign, as a mark of his appro. when at the famous mountain of Meich in bation, honoured him with the Order of Lower Austria (two hundred and fifty | St. Louis. When M de Niverno:s quirted Icagues from Paris), and late at night, his | bis Embassy, D'Eon was appointed Minis. carriage was overturned, and he broke one ter Plenipotentiary to the Court of Lone of the boules of his aucle. He stopped || don. His disputes with M. de Guerchy, merely to have it set, and pursued his who scceeded M. de Nivernois, are told journey with such expedition, that he with great spirgt (and with the “Pieces reached Versailles six-and-thirty hours Justificatives" appended), in one large sooner than the couiicr dispatched from volume 4to. entitled, “ Lettres, Memoires, the Court of Vienna to that of France ; || and Negociations particuliéres du Che. and without getting out of his carriage he valier D'Eon, Londres, 1764." Whatever delivered his dispatches into the hands of part the French Ministry might chuse to M. de Rouille, then Secretary of State for take in these disputes, bis Sovereign still l'oreign Affairs. They were immediately continued to honour him with his protectaken to Louis XV. who ordered a lodging || tion and confidence, and he remained in to be prepared for him, and sent one of his epistolary correspondence with him till the surgeons to attend him. He was confined time of his death. Louis XV. had from to his bed for three months, and on his time to time given him pensions of differ. recovery was presented by his Sovereigo ent values : one of three thousand livers in with a Lieutenancy of Dragoons (a situa- | 1737; another of two thousand livers in tion he had been long anxious to obtain), || 1760 ; and in 1766 a third, from his own and was sent a third time to Petersburgh, | privy purse, of twelve thousand livres, thus as Secretary of Embassy to the Marquis de stated in the warrant : l'Hospital. He returned from that Court “ En reconnaissance des services que le in 1759; and, being desirous to distinguish | Sieur D'Eon m'a rendus, tant en Russie que himself in his military profession, he was dans mes armées, et d'autres commissions permitted to join his regiment in Ger. que je lui ai données, Je veux bien lui many, as Capitaine des Dragons et des Ve assurer un traitement annuel de douze lontiers de l'Armée, and as Aid-du-Camp | mille livres, que je lui ferai payer exacteto the Count and Marshal de Broglio. Allment tous les six mois, dans quelque pays the battle of Ultrop our hero was twice qu'il soit, hormis en temps de guerre chez wounded. At that of Ostervich, at the mes ennemis, et ce jusqu'à ce que je juge a head of fourscore dragoons and forty hus. || propos de lui donner quelque poste, dont sars, he charged the Franc Battaillon Prus- || les appointments soient plus conside, ables sen de Rhées, which he completely routed, | que le present traitement. “LOUIS. and took the Commanding Officer pri “ A Versailles, le 1 April, 1766."

And here we enter upon circumstances for the money thus deposited. The par: of D'Eon's life now rendered as mysterious ticulars of the transaction are told in the in its origin, as it is wonderful in its suc- Preface of the Catalogue Raisonnée of his cessful. concealment for so many years.

books and MSS. which concludes in the Some faint rumours had spread at various following manner:preceding periods, that M. D'Eon was a “ Mademoiselle D'Eon, ne roulant pas woman, especially at Petersburgli, on ac- que sei creanciers de Londres puissent count of the total indifference, and even souffrir de cet acte d'injustice, donne avis aversion as to all affairs of gallantry con qu'elle fera un sacrifice general de tout ce stantly exhibited by D'Eon in that volup- queile possede a Lond es, et fera vendre tuous court, where intrigue is well known publiquement, les 10 d'Avril prochain to have mised itself on most occasions 1791, chez le sieur Christie, Auctionner, with political events. Not that the man. | dars sa Grande Salle en Pall-Mall, a Lon. ners or deportment of D'Eon were either dres, tous ses Livies et Manuscrits dont les karsh or fo: bidding towards women, but catalogues sont ci-joints, ainsi que ses the extieme caution with which he always Estampes, Meubles, Effets, Habi's, Uni. avoided any private or particular inter- | formes, Robes Jupons et Saniers, Pistolers, course with thein, gare strength to the Fusils, Bayonnettes, Sabres, Epees, Cuidoubts exciied as to his sex. D'Eun ac.

rasses, Corps, Casques, Dentelles, Dia. cordingly, boih in France and England, mans, Bijoux, et generalement tout ce qui assumed the female dress, and froin the compose la Garderobe d'un anrien Capiyear 1777 down to his death, was univer- taine de Dragons, et celle d'une Demoiselle, sally regarded as a woman. The first few qui ne veut rien emporter de cette is!e que years after this metaniorphosis were passed son honneur et le regret de la quilter by M. D'Eon in France, where, if the me. Elle ne pourra se consoler de l'injus. jils of the newly established Deinoiselle are tice des hormes, que par le passage sui. to be estimated by the reception she met vant de l'Ecriture:-Ce que les hommes re. at the court of Louis XVI. and the ex- tiennent injustement aux hommes, Dicu leur pressions of esteem and respect made to rendra dix fois la valeur. Ce que les homo her by almost every person of considera. incs retiennent injustement aux filles, Dicu tion in the kingdom, she was deserving of le leur rendra au centuple." the highest praise. About the year 1785, For the last (wenty years he lived rather M. D'Eon returoed to England, where he a secluded life, for many years residig in has resided ever since. The lrench re- a house near the Surrey side of Westminvolution, fatal to so many other establisis- ster Bridge, in a private manner. He died ments, deprived him also of his pension. on Tuesday, May 21, 1870), at a very adFor a few subsequent years the sale of part lanced age. It was implicitly believed to of his effects, and the profits of a public the last that the Chevalier was a female, of fencing exhibition in various parts of ille which sex for several years past he (for so United Kingdoin, enabled M. D'Eon to

we may now speak) wore the attire, &c. subsist with decency, but the increasing | However, this cuijous question, and which weight of age and infirmities, gradually will even now excite no small degree of rendered him incapable of these exertions, || interest in various circles, was on ihe day and for many years past he has been strug. || after his decease set at rest, ti e body being ling with poverty and distress.

dissected in the presence of some profesHis Sovereign, to enable him to pay || sional gentlemen, and the Earl of Yar. some debts he had contracted during the mouth, Sir Sidney smith, Hou. Mr. Lyuletime he had the honour to serve him in ton, Mr. Douglas, and several other per. his diplomatic character in England, sent sons of consideration. The following is a over to this country an agent with a very cerrect copy of the certificate of the pro. considerable sum of money for that puso fessional gentleman who operated on the pose. This he entrusted to an English | occasion:nobleman, who died soon afterwards; and “I hereby certify, that I have inspected with the heirs of him he was long at law and dissected the body of the Chevalier

D'Eon, in the presence of Mr, Adair, Mr. Perses, des Grecs, des Romains, et sur les Wilson, and Le Pere Elizee, and have differentes Situations de la France, par found the male orgaus in every respect Rapport aux Finances, depuis l'Etablisse. perfectly formed.

ment des I'raucs dans la Gaule jusqu'a (Signed) “T. COPELAND,

Present." 2 tomes, 12mo, 1758. Surgeon, Golden-square." “Les Lsperances d'un Bon Patriote dans About thirty-six years ago policies were

l'Annee Literaire de Freron."

“ Note remise a son Excellenec M. de opened to ascertain the sex of this extra

Guerchy, par

le Chevalier D'Eon." Lun. ordinary non-descript; to the amount of

dies. 1703. 2011,000. which was eventually decided

“ Lettres, Memoires, &c. du Chevalier and paid, upon surgical certificate, that the D'Lon." Quarto. Londres. 1764. reputed Chevalier was a female.

“ l'ieces Authent ques pour servir aux He made a will

, in which he had ap- Proccs Criminal Intense au Tribunal du pointed Sir Sidney Smith his executør, Roi d'Angleterre par le Chevalier D'Eon but it never was signed.

contre le Conte de Guerchy." 1765. The following is a catalogue of the prin.

Derniere Lettre du Chevalier D'Eona cipal literary pe, formances of the Cheva

M. de Guerchy." 4to, 1767. lier D'Eon:

"! Loisirs du Chevalier D'Eon en Angle• Įssai Historique sur less differentes tçrre. 13 vols. 8vo. Situations de la France, par Rapport aux ? Pieces relatives aux Demeles, de Ma. Finances sous le Regne de Louis XIV. et demoiselle D'Eon avec M. Caion dit le la Regence du Duc d'O leans." 1754. 12mo. Beaumarchais." 810. 1778.

“ Considerations Uistoriques sur les lin “ Epive aux Anglos dans leurs tristes pots des Ægyptiens, des Babyloniens, des Circonstances." 1788. 8vo.



(Continued from page 215.]

" WINTER now approached, and || Those who are in a capacity to entertain Clarissa, eager to partake in those splen- may be entertained in their turn; those dours of the fashionable world to which who can receive others at dippers, ronts, her rank and her fortune entitled her, per- || and suppers, may receive an equivalent in suaded her husband to leave the country similar invitations to themselves. The for London; and a house was accordingly fortune of Sir William and Clarissa, theretaken for them in one of the most fashion | fore, opened every door to their admission, able streets.

and no party was complete in which they “ It is unnecessary to say, that possessed were not seen. They soon became dis. of wealth, beauty, and an acknowledged tinguished for their mutual elegance and rank in the world, Clarissa and her hus- extravagance; and though Sir William's band were received with an ardour of wel- gravity of temper could not but see and come amongst the fashionable societies of momentarily dissapprove this thoughtless the metropolis. So much, at least, must profusion, like many wiser men he gra. be acknowledged with respect to the beau dually surrendered up his own superior monde, that it opens wide its arms to re sense to the influence of his wife. ceive all those who approach, and that “Whence is it Hymenæa, that even very little is required to admission besides men of the best understanding are thus the qualifications necessary to bear a part. unreasonably governce, I was about to say

by the least reasonable of women. I am he seems to me a madman, see how lie afraid, there is a current principle, or do- stares." mestic proverb, which misleads most men, “ Nonsense,” said Clarissa, “ you are and too frequently ruins many. Submit in fixed in attention on his strange figure, little things and you may govern in great and he is in admiration at yours.“ ones, says one of the wiseacres who has • This conversation was interrupted by written on the economy of married life. the departure of the object of their at. The misfortune, however, is, that the go tention, and the arrival of morning visi." vernment of the wife, and the submission tors, who came to invite them to a mas. of the husband, are gradually rendered ha- querade to be held at the Opera llouse bitual; they begin in little things, and ex the same evening." tend to great things, all distinction is lost “ Your ladyship will be at the masquebetween trifles and importance, and the rade to night," said Colonel Lounge. wift: becomes the despot of the house, and “Not I," said Clarissa; “ I am wearied the uncontrouled administrator of the with the town, I have been here three time and fortune of her husband. Now, | months, and do not really believe that though a woman myself, I cannot hesitate with the exception of the time I am in bed to say, that this indulgence lias the worst that I have been at home iwelve hours in effect, and more particularly, as it is ordi- the whole.” narily found in those cases in which the “ And why should you madam," said wife is of all reasonable creatures the least Lady Squander ; “surely home is not the calculated for such confidence and ma scene of a lady of fashion. It is a place to nagement. The young and the beautiful sleep in, and a place where your friends are those who actually possess this in- may find you; but what have you and I fluence, and govern their husbands and to do with what belongs to country housefortunes with this unlimited sway. I wives, that can neither make bread, nor should not quariel with those who would drink gooseberry-wine." give this power to discreet elderly matrons, “ 'This was laughed at as a piece of wit, but it is truly distressing to see a girl just avd Clarissa, who had made up her mind emancipated from a boarding school the | not to go to any parties or places of amuseuncontrouled mistress of thousands, and ment for ten days to come, did not suffer making ducks and drakes of her husband's her friends to depart without engaging acres, till she leaves him without money or herself to accompany thein to the masland.

querade in the evening. So much for “ To return, however, to my story.- good resolutions. Clarissa and her husband being one “ Sir William, who had stept out during morning at breakfast in the drawing this morning visit, returued to dinner, and soom, and her husband seemiagly in fixed asking the servants where their lady was, attention at the window, Clarissa demand. | and receiving for answer that she was in ed of hiin what it was that so occupied ber dressing-room, he hastily ascended him."

and entered the room in some abrupt. “I am looking at that queer figure in || ness. the street," said he; “ he has planted him. There is something about that fellow self opposite this house, and secms to be that I do not like," said he to his wife; looking at me."

“ I have been riding in the park, and hapa “ Clarissa went to the window, and her pening to look round I found him behind husband pointed out to her the object me." which had taken his attention. He was a “ On foot," said Clarissa. fellow in a slouched hat like those worn No, on horse," replied Sir Wils by the coal-heavers, with a watchman's liam; " and what is more singular, coat."

though so scurvily dressed, his horse b. What is there in him:” said Clarissa. was not inferior to my own, indeed " I know pol," said Sir William; " but iufipitely exceeded it, though I bliherto

« PreviousContinue »