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are, in every point of view, a complete forgery—the grossest and most impudent of impostures ; for not only are the facts false, and the work spurious, but the very person to whom they are attributed is a phunton created by the ignorance of the fabricator, who, having very ridiculously mistaken one lady of the family of Créqui for another, builds his whole edifice on this fundamental blunder. This seems incredible, but we think we can put it beyond all doubt. The account the editor gives of his author is as follows:
Renée Charlotte Victoire de Froulay de Tessé, Marchioness of Crequy, of Heymont, of Canaples, &c., was one of the women of her day the most remarkable for superiority and originality of mind. She died at the age of near an hundred. She had been presented to Louis XIV. in 1713, and had had an audience of the First Consul in the twelfth year of the republic (1804).'— Prospectus.
The date of her birth is not given; but as she was only near an hundred when she died, and as she was presented to the First Consul in September, 1804, she must have been born, at soonest, in 1705, and must therefore have been presented to Louis XIV. when she was eight years old. This little difficulty, however, was discovered between the publication of the Prospectus and that of the work itself; and in the latter she is made to palliate the inconsistency by saying that she is not sure whether she was born in 1699 or in 1700, or in 1701—that she left her convent in Brittany, and came to Paris in the last days of 1713—that she saw Louis twice or thrice between that period and his death in 1715—that she was married during or immediately after the mourning for that prince —and that her interview with Buonaparte was on Septidi de la troisième décade de Vendémiaire, an xi (27th Sept. 1803), so that, instead of being near an hundred, as the Prospectus announced, she was by her own account, at least one hundred and two, or perhaps one hundred and four.
But little interested as we feel in the private history of the Froulay family, we are enabled to remove a considerable portion of the uncertainty under which the lady is represented as labouring as to the year of her birth. She says her mother died an hour before she was born—that her father was then at the head of his regiment on the frontiers of Germany—that he was soon after made prisoner by the enemy, and remained so for seventeen months, and never heard of her birth nor of her mother's death till his arrival at Versailles, where his uncle, the Maréchal de Tessé, informed him of these events, and obliged him to put himself into mourning. Now it happens to be known (“Mémoires de Tessé,' t. i. p. 182) that the Count de Tessé (he was not Maréchal till 1703) left Versailles on the 4th December, 1700, for
Italy, where he remained for some years in command of the French army, so that it was not later than the 3d December, 1700, that he could have seen at Versailles Madame de Créqui's father who was not, soit dit en passant, his nephew. Deduct the seventeen months of captivity from that date, and we are brought back to July, 1699, as the latest possible day for the birth of our heroine -she was, therefore, thirteen and a half when she left her convent -fourteen or fifteen when she was presented to Louis XIV., and near seventeen at her marriage--all much more credible than the other story; but then 'incidit in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charibdim,' she must have been not near an hundred, but above one hundred and four at her interview with Buonaparte, if it took place An XI.-as she says—and above one hundred and five, if it took place, as the editor originally announced, An XII. Imagine a Tady writing her memoirs at one hundred and four! But it may be said that she only added a few notes at this very advanced age, and that the great body of the Memoirs was written some years before. They were written, she says, for the instruction of her grandson; and the editor tells us that he died long before his grandmother-very well-but if this were so, why, when she was correcting and adding notes to her Memoirs in 1803, did she leave untouched the Dedication to her grandson, who had been long dead; and why, in the very note which records her interview with Buonaparte, does she still talk, as if to her grandson, of the consul's promise to restore to them our forfeited estates ? for, after this grandson's death, there was no one to whom she could have designated the estates as ours. And why does she, in a passage, which must, as appears from the context, have been written subsequent to 1793, address her grandson as a child-je vous conterai une histoire de voleur, mon petit prince—(vol. ii. p. 65)
-- when we see from another passage (vol. i. p. 137) that the petit prince (who never was a prince at all) must have been born prior to 1756 ?
But every page of the work proves, by its style and topics, that it is of very recent composition. This, if it were worth while to enter into such details, we think we could prove, froin the idioin and orthography; nay, we are convinced by several political allusions, that it has been wholly written since the revolution of July. But such an examination would be, as our readers will see presently, a perfect waste of time in so flagrant a case as this. We shall content ourselves with two or three instances, which will prove that they are of too recent date to be the production of the imputed author. In many passages of the work, the author quotes and frequently
criticises and contradicts the Memoirs of St. Simon, and, indeed, St. Simon supplies a very considerable part of the matter of the work. Now, the Memoirs of St. Simon were not published till 1788, and then but imperfectly, while this writer alludes to more recent editions. We hear of the National Assembly (vol. ij. p. 123), and of the Revolutionary Tribunal (p. 132), and specifically of Philippe Egalité (p. 33), and Citizen Fouché (p. 104), and in the midst of a story, in which she apostrophizes her grandson as still living, she talks of the horrors of 1793 as already matter of history. All this brings the composition of the work down to, at the earliest, 1794, at which time she would be about ninety-five years old—rather an advanced age to commence writing thirteen volumes of memoirs-for such we are told is the extent of her work. "Credat Judæus ! But what follows would be too much for the credulity, we will not say of a Jew, but even of the Parisian public. The fictitious marquise thinks it necessary to be acquainted with all the eminent persons of the century embraced by her Memoirs, and accordingly she introduces, about the year 1714, the Marquis Dangeau.
They said at the time (on disait alors) that he was writing his memoirs, and when they appeared (quand je les ai vu paraître) they seemed to me neither more interesting nor less insignificant than their author.'- vol. i. p. 128.
Now, the Memoirs of the Marquis Dangeau did not appear till 1817, fourteen years after Madame de Créqui's death. These, and a hundred other anachronisnis are not in stray paragraphs, or explanatory notes, or subsequent insertions- they are interwoven with the body of the work, and accompanied by, and dovetailed into the most elaborate falsehoods and fabrications. Let us give our readers another example :-In a visit to Rome in 1722, Madame de Créqui is represented as meeting a certain Duchess of Bedford and her daughter,' Milady Marquionesse (as her mother called her) de Tavistock,' who are the most ridiculous personages that can be imagined, and of whom, particularly of the Marquionesse de Tavistock, the Memoirs tell us the most absurd stories. It may be very true, as the Memoirs say, that all English women are mad and vulgar—but at least the lady here specially attacked must be acquitted of the specific charges made against her—for luckily there happens to have been no Lady Tavistock between the years 1700 and 1764. In 1722, there existed a Duchess Dowager of Bedford, (who died in 1724 at Streathan,) and in 1725, her son, the third duke, married Lady Anne Egerton, and it was not till the marriage of the son of the fourth duke in 1764, that there was a Marchioness of Tavistock.
But But it is mere waste of time to dwell on such trifes—we now revert to our former statement, that not merely is the book spurious, but the lady to whom it is attributed is a phantom of the fabricator's imagination. We beg our reader's attention to the exposure of this miraculous mistake.
We find in the French Biographie Universelle, article CREQUI, the following notice :
· The Marquise de Créqui (married in 1720 to the Marquis de Créqui) deserves to be reckoned amongst the most celebrated women of the eighteenth century. She loved literature and cultivated it, and died in Paris in 1803, at a great age, leaving a fine library to her executors, and several manuscripts—amongst others, Thoughts and Reflections on different Subjects.'
Here we have the germ of these Memoirs-a Madame de Créqui, of great wit and talents, who dies at a great age, who might have seen both Louis XIV. and the First Consul, and bequeaths copious manuscripts to her executors—and this is, no doubt, the lady of whom the Princess des Ursins writes (as triumphantly quoted by the editor) from Rome, in 1722.
• The young Marquise de Créqui is distinguished by the dignity of her manners, the graces of her mind, the originality of her conversa. tion, and the propriety of her conduct.'—vol. i. p. 2.
The editor quotes also, with great confidence and complacency, the eulogies of Voltaire and Rousseau, and (so late as 1788) of Delille. All this looks at first sight like an important, and, indeed, conclusive corroboration of the authenticity of these Memoirs; but alas! alas ! we hardly know how to announce so direful a denouement of this fable--there have been two Marquises de Créqui
- the one the lady mentioned in the Biographie, whose maiden name was Anne Louise Lefevre d'Auxy, and who was married in 1720, and whose husband died in 1771; and the other-the lady to whom these Memoirs are attributed-Renée Charlotte de Froulay, the wife of a gentleman of another branch of the Créqui family, which, on the death of the husband of Anne, in 1771, claimed the Marquisate of Créqui. Anne Lefevre d'Auxy was, no doubt, born early in the century, as she was married in 1720, and she was the only Marquise de Créqui existing till 1771. Renée de Froulay was not born till 1715, (the year in which the author of the Memoirs pretends she was married ;)—she was really married in 1737 to the Marquis de Heymont, and her son became, on the death of his cousin-in 1771–Marquis de Créqui, and she may, for aught we know, have also called herself Madame de Créqui. All this will be made quite clear by the following tabular view of the genealogy of the family, extracted from Moreri and La Chesnay des Bois.
Charles Marquis of Heymont, born in 1738, succeeded, on the death of his Cousin
Charles James, in 1771, as Marquis of Créqui. So that the centenaire Madame de Créqui (if ever such a centenaire existed) was Anne Lefevre d'Auxy, the aunt, à la mode de Bretagne, of Renée de Froulay, who, in the Memoirs, usurps her age, her place, and her honours. What could have led to this extraordinary blunder we cannot venture positively to assert, but we suspect that an error in the Biographie has misled the fabricator. We doubt that the lady who died in 1803 was Anne Lefevre; we rather think it was Renée de Froulay, because we know that the Baron de Breteuil inherited some property from the lady who died in 1803, and the Breteuils were certainly allied to the Froulays, and not, that we can discover, to the Lefevres d'Auxy. But as Renée de Froulay, who was born after the death of Louis XIV., would not have answered the fabricator's purpose, he confounds her with her aunt; and by taking the birth of one and the death of the other, he completes his fable of a centenaire.' We see, indeed, that the fabricator had some misgivings that he was not on sure ground. He says Madame de Créqui complains of the inaccuracies of the dates in Moreri and La Chesnay des Bois. This it was quite necessary to do, because, having set out with the wrong person, he found it impossible to manage the dates, and he hoped to evade detection by thus denying the authorities which he could not reconcile: but he does not seem to have any suspicion that the cause of his difficulties was his having got, if we may use Queen Bess's homely expression, the wrong sow by the ear. Biographies and genealogies are, we well know, very liable to errors of date, but such a mistake as Anne Lefevre d’Auxy in one generation, for Renée de Froulay in another, we hardly think possible. But it is remarkable that, in this case, there seems additional reason for giving credit to the genealogists. First, the Biographie Universelle does not copy the genealogies, yet agrees with them as to the birth and marriage of Anne Lefevre: secondly, the edition of Moreri, in 1728, makes no mention of Renée de VOL. LI. NO, CII.