Fresh tactics to get her out of Munich were then adopted. When, however, somebody remarked that Ludwig was old enough to be her grandfather, she sent him away with a flea in his ear.
"It is ridiculous to talk like that," she said. "My Ludwig's heart is young. If you knew the strength of his passion, you would not credit him with being more than twenty!"
As for Ludwig himself he was bombarded with anonymous letters and warnings, calling Lola by every evil name that occurred to the writers. She was La Pompadour and the Sempronia of Sallust in one, a "voluptuous woman," and a "flame of desire." There were also tearful protests from the higher clergy, who, headed by Archbishop Diepenbrock, were positive that the "dancing woman" was an emissary of Satan (sometimes they said of Lord Palmerston) sent from England to destroy the Catholic religion in Bavaria.
Ludwig was curt with His Grace. "You stick to your stola," he said, "and let me stick to my Lola."
A soft answer, perhaps; but not a very satisfactory one.
"It is all very well for kings to have mistresses," was the opinion of the more broad-minded, "but they should select them from their own countrywomen. This one is a foreigner. Why should our hard-earned money be lavished on her?" The grievance was, as it happened, well founded, for Lola was drawing 20,000 marks a year, wrung from the pockets of the tax-payers.
Baron Pechman, the Chief of Police, had a bad reception when he suggested that the populace might get out of control.
"If you can't manage the mob," said Ludwig, turning on him furiously, "I'll get someone who can. A change of air may do you good."
The next morning the discomfited Baron Pechman found himself degomme and a successor appointed to his office.
The intrigue was too openly conducted to be "hushed up." Word of what was happening in Munich soon filtered through to Vienna. Queen Caroline-Augusta, Ludwig's sister, shook her head. "Alas," she sighed, "my wretched brother is always bringing fresh shame on me." She wrote him letters of tearful protest. They were ignored. She protested by word of mouth. Ludwig, in unbrotherly fashion, told her to "mind her own business." Caroline's next move was to take clerical counsel. "These creatures are always venal," said the Jesuits. "They only care for cash." An emissary was accordingly despatched to the Barerstrasse mansion, to convey an offer. Unfortunately, however, he had not advanced beyond "Gnaedige Frau, erlauben," when he himself capitulated to Lola's charms, and returned to the Hofburg, his task unaccomplished. Still, he must have made out some sort of story to save his face, for the Princess Melanie wrote: "Our good Senfft has come back. He was unable to speak to Lola Montez. The poor country of Bavaria is in a sad condition, which gets worse every day."
The least disturbed individual appeared to be Queen Therese. Her attitude was one of placidity itself. But perhaps she was, by this time, accustomed to the dalliance of her Ludwig along the primrose path. Also, she probably knew by experience that it was not the smallest use making a fuss. The milk was spilled. To cry over it now would be a wasted effort.
The King's favourite was good "copy" for the Bavarian press; and the Munich journals were filled with accounts of her activities. Not in the least upset by their uncomplimentary references to himself, Ludwig instructed his librarian, Herr Lichenthaler, to collect all the pasquinades, lampoons, squibs, and caricatures (many of them far from flattering, and others verging on the indecent) that appeared and have them sumptuously bound. It was not long before enough had been assembled to fill half a dozen volumes. His idea was "to preserve for posterity all this mountain of mud, as a witness of Bavaria's shame." That somebody else was responsible for the "shame" did not occur to him.
A choice specimen among the collection was one entitled Lola Montez, oder Des Mench gehoert dem Koenige ("Lola Montez, or the Wench who belongs to the King"). There was also a scurrilous, and distinctly blasphemous, broadsheet, purporting to be Lola's private version of the Lord's Prayer:
"Our Father, in whom throughout my life, I have never yet had much belief, all's well with me. Hallowed be thy name—so far as I am concerned. Thy kingdom come, that is, my bags of gold, my polished diamonds, and my unpolished Alemannia. Thy will be done, if thou wilt destroy my enemies. Give me this day champagne and truffles and pheasant, and all else that is delectable, for I have a very good appetite.... Lead me not into temptation to return to this country, for, even if I were bullet-proof, I might be arrested, clapped into a cage, and six francs charged for a peep at me. Amen!"
Those were the days when gentlemen (at any rate, Bavarians) did not necessarily prefer blondes. Lola's raven locks were much more to their taste. If she were not a success in the ballet, she was certainly one in the boudoir. Of a hospitable and gregarious disposition, she kept what amounted to open house in her Barerstrasse villa. Every morning she held an informal levee there, at which any stranger who sent in his card was welcome to call and pay his respects; and in the evenings, when she was not dancing attendance on Ludwig at the Palace, the Barerstrasse reception would be followed by a soiree. These gatherings attracted—in addition to a throng of artists and authors and musicians—professors and scholars from all over Europe; and, as Gertrude Aretz remarks, in her admirable study, The Elegant Woman (with considerable reference to this one): "the best intellects of her century helped to draw her victorious chariot." The uncultured mob, however, dubbed her a "Fair Impire" and a "Light o' Love," and flung even stronger and still more uncomplimentary epithets. Their subject, however, received them with a laugh. The shopkeepers, with an eye to business, embellished their wares with her portrait; and the University students, headed by Fritz Peissner, serenaded her in front of her windows.
Lolita schoen, wie Salamoni's Weiber. Welch 'suszer Reis flog ueber dich dahin!
they sang in rousing chorus.
Among the students engaged in amassing light and learning at the University of Munich, there were a number of foreigners. One of them was a young American, Charles Godfrey Leland ("Hans Breitmann"), who had gone there, he says, to "study aesthetics." But this did not take up all his time, for, during the intervals of attending classes, he managed to see something of Lola Montez. "I must," he says, "have had a great moral influence on her, for, so far as I am aware, I am the only friend she ever had at whom she never threw a plate or a book, or attacked with a dagger, poker, broom, or other deadly weapon.... I always had a strange and great respect for her singular talents. There were few, indeed, if any there, were, who really knew the depths of that wild Irish soul."
In another passage Leland offers further details: "The great, the tremendous, celebrity at that time in Munich was also an opera dancer, though not on the stage. This was Lola Montez, the King's last favourite.... She wished to run the whole kingdom and government, kick out the Jesuits, and kick up the devil, generally speaking.
"One of her most intimate friends was wont to tell her that she and I had many very strange characteristics in common, which we shared with no one else, while we differed utterly in other respects. It was very like both of us, for Lola, when defending the existence of the soul against an atheist, to tumble over a great trunk of books of the most varied kind, till she came to an old vellum-bound copy of Apuleius, and proceed to establish her views according to his subtle neo-Platonism. But she romanced and embroidered so much in conversation that she did not get credit for what she really knew."
Well, if it comes to that, Leland for his part was not above "romancing" and "embroidering." His books are full of these qualities. "Marvels," says a biographer, "fill his descriptions of student life at Munich. Interesting people figure in his reminiscences.... Prominent among them was Lola Montez, the King's favourite of the day, cordially hated by all Munich for an interference in public affairs, hardly to be expected from the 'very small, pale, and thin or frele little person with beautiful blue eyes and curly black hair' who flits across the pages of the Memoirs."
If this were Leland's real opinion of Lola's appearance, he must have formed it after drinking too much of the Munich beer of which he was so fond. He seems to have drunk a good deal at times, as he admits in one passage: "after the dinner and wine, I drank twelve schoppens." A dozen imperial pints would take some swallowing, and not leave the memory unclouded as to subsequent events.
Despite the alleged Spanish blood in her veins, Lola (with, perhaps, some dim stirring of memory for the far-off Montrose chapter) declared herself a staunch Protestant, and, like her pet bull dog, disavowed the Jesuits and all their works. Hence, she supported the Liberal Government; and, as an earnest of her intentions, started operations by attempting to establish contact with von Abel, the head of the Ultramontane Ministry. He, however, affecting to be hurt at the bare suggestion, would have nothing to do with the "Scarlet Woman," as he did not scruple to call her. Following his example, the clerical press redoubled their attacks. As a result, Lola decided to form an opposition and to have a party of her own. For this purpose she turned to some of the younger students, among whom she had a particular admirer in one Fritz Peissner. In response to her smiles, he, together with Count Hirschberg and a number of his friends, embodied themselves in a special corps, pledged to act as her bodyguard. Its members elected to be known as the Alemannia, and invited her to accept the position of Ehren-Schwester ("honorary sister"). Lola was quite agreeable, and reciprocated by setting apart a room in her villa where the swash-bucklers could meet. Not to be outdone in paying compliments, the Alemannia planted a tree in her garden on Christmas Day. Their distinguishing badge (which would now probably be a black shirt) was a red cap. As was inevitable, they were very soon at daggers drawn with the representatives of the other University Corps, who, having long-established traditions, looked upon the newcomers as upstarts, and fights between them were constantly occurring when they met in public. Altogether, Ludwig had reason to regret his action in transferring the University from its original setting at Landshut. On the other hand, Councillor Berks, a thick and thin champion of Lola (and not above taking her lap-dogs for an airing in the Hofgarten), supported the Alemannia, declaring them to be "an example to corrupt youth." Prince Leiningen retaliated by referring to him as "that wretched substitute for a minister, commonly held by public opinion in the deepest contempt."
The origin of the Alemannia was a little curious. Two members of the Palatia Corps happened one afternoon, while peering through the windows of the Barerstrasse mansion, to see Lola entertaining a couple of their fellow-members. This they held to be "an affront to the honour of the Palatia," and the offenders, glorying in their conduct, were expelled by the committee. Thereupon, they joined with Fritz Peissner when he was thinking of establishing a fresh corps.
In her new position, Lola did not forget her old friends. Feeling her situation with Ludwig secure, she wrote to Liszt, offering him "the highest order that Bavaria could grant." He declined the suggestion, and sent word of her doings to Madame d'Agoult:
Apropos of this too celebrated Anglo-Spanish woman, have you heard that King Louis of Bavaria has demanded the sacrifice of her theatrical career? and that he is keeping her at Munich (where he has bought her a house) in the quality of a favourite Sultanah?
Later on, he returned to the subject:
I have been specially pleased with a couple of allusions to Lola and this poor Mariette; but, to be perfectly candid—and being afraid that you would find the subject a little indecorous—I began to reproach myself for having mentioned it to you in my last letter from Czernowitz.
In speaking of Lola, you tell me that you defend her (which I do also, but not for the same reasons) because she stands for progress. Then, a page further on, in resuming the subject at Vienna, you find me very young to still believe in justice, not realising that, in this little circle of ideas and things, I represent in Europe a progressive and intelligent movement. "Alas! Who represents anything in Europe to-day?" you enquire with Bossuet.
Well, then, Lola stands for the nineteenth century, and Daniel Stern stands for the woman of the ninth century; and, were it not for having contributed to the representation of others, I too shall finish by representing something else, by means of the 25,000 francs of income it will be necessary for me to end up by securing.
"MAITRESSE DU ROI"
The role for which Lola cast herself was that of La Pompadour to the Louis XV of Ludwig I. She had been a coryphee. Now she was a courtesan. History was repeating itself. Like an Agnes Sorel or a Jane Shore before her, she held in Munich the semi-official and quite openly acknowledged position of the King's mistress. It is said of her that she was so proud of the title and all it implied, that she would add "Maitresse du Roi" to her signature when communicating with understrappers at the palace. Ludwig, however, thought this going too far, and peremptorily forbade the practice. Lola gave way. Perhaps the only time on record. In return, however, she advanced a somewhat embarrassing demand.
"My position as a king's favourite," she said, "entitles me to the services of a confessor and a private chapel."
Ludwig was quite agreeable, and instructed Count Reisach, the Ultramontane Archbishop of Munich, to select a priest for this responsible office. His Grace, however, reported that all the clergy in a body had protested to him that, "fearing for their virtue, they could not conscientiously accept the post."
Disappointed at the rebuff, Lola herself then applied to Dr. Windischmann, the Vicar-General, telling him that if he would undertake the office she would reciprocate by securing him a bishopric. This dignitary, however, was not to be tempted. "Madame," he said, "my confessional is in the Church of Notre-Dame; and you can always go there when you want to accuse yourself of any of the numerous sins you have committed."
Nor would His Eminence, the Primate of Poland, give any help. All he would do was to get into his carriage and set off to expostulate with the King. But it was a wasted effort, for Ludwig insisted that his relations with the conscience-stricken postulant were "nothing more than platonic." Thereupon, "the superior clergy announced that the designs of Providence were indeed inscrutable to mere mortals, but they trusted that His Majesty would at any rate change his mistress." Ludwig, however, brooking no interference with his amours, refused to do anything of the kind.
"What are you thinking about?" he stormed. "How dare you hint that I am the man to roll myself in the mud of the gutter? My feelings for this lady are of the most lofty and high-minded description. If you drive me to extremes, heaven alone knows what will happen!"
His Eminence met the outburst by whispering in the ear of the Bishop of Augsburg that the King was "possessed." As for the Bishop of Augsburg, he "wept every day." A leaky prelate.
"It is a paradox," was the expert opinion of Archbishop Diepenbrock, "that the more shameful she is, the more beautiful is a courtesan." A "Day of Humiliation," with a special prayer composed by himself, was his suggestion for mending matters; and Madame von Kruedener, not to be outdone in coming to the rescue, preached the necessity of "public penance." Thus taken to task, Ludwig solemnly declared in writing that he had "never exacted the last favours" from Lola Montez, and furnished the entire episcopal bench with a copy of this declaration.
"That only makes his folly the greater," was the caustic comment of Canitz, who was not to be deluded by eye-wash of this description.
With the passage of time, Lola's influence at the Palace grew stronger. Before long, it became abundantly clear to the Ministry that she was the real channel of approach to the King and, in fact, his political Egeria. "During that period," says T. Everett Harre, "when she was known throughout the world as the 'Uncrowned Queen of Bavaria,' Lola Montez wielded a power perhaps enjoyed by no woman since the Empress Theodora, the circus mime and courtesan, was raised to imperial estate by the Emperor Justinian." Well aware of this fact, and much as they objected to it, the Cabinet, headed by von Abel, began by attempting to win her to their side. When they failed, they put their thick heads together, and, announcing that she was an emissary of Palmerston—just as La Paiva was credited with being in Bismarck's employ—they hinted that her room was preferable to her company. The hints having no effect, other measures were adopted. Thus, Ludwig's sister offered her a handsome sum (for the second time) to leave the country, and Metternich improved on it; the Bishop of Augsburg, drying his tears, composed another and longer special prayer; the Cabinet threatened to resign; and caricatures and scurrilous paragraphs once more appeared in Munich journals. But all to no purpose. Lola refused to budge. Nothing could shake her resolve, J'y suis, j'y reste, might well have been her motto.
"I will leave Bavaria," she said, "when it suits me, and not before."
For ten years Ludwig had been under the thumb of the Ultramontanes and the clerical ministry of Carl von Abel. He was getting more than a little tired of the combination. The advance of Lola Montez widened the breach. To get rid of him, accordingly, he offered von Abel the appointment of Bavarian Minister at Brussels. The offer, however, was not accepted. Asked for his reason, von Abel said that he "wanted to stop where he was and keep an eye on things."
At this date Bavaria was Catholic to a man—and a woman—and the Ultramontanes held the reins of government. While one would have been enough, they professed to have two grievances. One was the "political poison" of the Liberal opposition; and the other was the "moral perversion" of the King. In March matters came to a crisis. A number of University professors, headed by the rigid Lasaulx, held an indignation meeting in support of the Ultramontane Cabinet and "their efforts to espouse the cause of good morals." This activity on the part of a secular body was resented by the clergy, who considered that they, and not the University, were the official custodians of the public's "morals." But if it upset the clergy, it upset Ludwig still more; and, to mark his displeasure, he summarily dismissed four of the lecturers he himself had appointed. As the general body of students sided with them, they "demonstrated" in front of the house of Lola Montez, whom they held responsible.
What began as a very ordinary disturbance soon developed into something serious. Tempers ran high; brickbats were thrown, and windows smashed; there were collisions with the police, who endeavoured to arrest the ringleaders; and finally the Karolinen Platz had to be cleared by a squadron of Cuirassiers. The Alemannia, joining arms, forced a passage through which Lola managed to slip to safety and reach the gates of the Residenz. But it was, as she said, "a near thing."
The crowd relieved their feelings by breaking a few more windows; and a couple of Alemannia, detached from their comrades, were ducked in the Isar.
"Vivat, Lola!" bellowed one contingent.
"Pereat, Lola!" bellowed the opposition.
Accounts of the disturbance filtered through to England. There they attracted much attention and acid criticism.
"A lady," remarked the Examiner, "has overthrown the Holy Alliance of Southern Germany. Lola Montez, whose affecting testimony during the trial of those who killed Dujarier in a duel cannot but be remembered, was driven by that catastrophe to seek her fortunes in other realms. Chance brought her to Munich, the Sovereign of which capital has divided his time between poetry and the arts, gallantry and devotion."
"What Paphian cestus," was another sour comment, "does Lola wind round the blade of her poniard? We all remember how much the respectable Juno was indebted to the bewitching girdle of a less regular fair one, but the properties of that talisman are still undescribed."
The Thunderer, in its capacity as a European watch-dog, had its eye on Ludwig and his dalliance along the primrose path. Disapproval was registered. "The King of Bavaria," solemnly announced a leading article, "has entirely forgotten the duties and dignities of his position."
Freiherr zu Canitz, however, who had succeeded von Buelow as Minister for Foreign Affairs, looked upon Ludwig's lapse with more indulgence. "It is not," he wrote from the Wilhelmstrasse, "the first time by any means that kings have chosen to live with dancers. While such conduct is not, perhaps, strictly laudable, we can disregard it if it be accompanied by a certain measure of decorum. Still, a combination of ruler-ship and dalliance with a vagrant charmer is a phenomenon that is as much out of place as is an attempt to govern a country by writing sonnets."
Availing herself of what was then, as now, looked upon as a natural safety-valve, Lola herself wrote to the Times, giving her own version of these happenings:
I left Paris in June last on a professional trip; and, among other arrangements, decided upon visiting Munich where, for the first time, I had the honour of appearing before His Majesty and receiving from him marks of appreciation, which is not a very unusual thing for a professional person to receive at a foreign Court.
I had not been here a week before I discovered that there was a plot existing in the town to get me out of it, and that the party was the Jesuit Party.... When they saw that I was not likely to leave them, they tried what bribery would do; and actually offered me 50,000 fcs. a year if I would quit Bavaria and promise never to return. This, as you may imagine, opened my eyes; and, as I indignantly refused their offer, they have since not left a stone unturned to get rid of me.... Within this last week a Jesuit professor of philosophy at the university here, named Lasaulx, was removed. Thereupon, the party paid and hired a mob to insult me and break the windows of my house.
... Knowing that your columns are always open to protect anyone unjustly accused, and more especially when that one is an unprotected female, makes me rely upon you for the insertion of this; and I have the honour to subscribe myself, your obliged servant,
A couple of weeks later Printing House Square was favoured with a second epistle:
To the Editor of "The Times."
SIR:—In consequence of the numerous reports circulated in various papers regarding myself and family, I beg of you, through the medium of your widely circulated journal, to insert the following:
I was born at Seville in the year 1833; my father was a Spanish officer in the service of Don Carlos; my mother, a lady of Irish extraction, born at the Havannah, and married to an Irish gentleman, which, I suppose, is the cause of my being called sometimes Irish and sometimes English, and "Betsy Watson," and "Mrs. James," etc.
I beg leave to say that my name is Maria Dolores Porres Montez, and I have never changed that name.
As for my theatrical qualifications, I never had the presumption to think I had any. Circumstances obliged me to adopt the stage as a profession, which profession I have now renounced for ever, having become a naturalised Bavarian, and intending in future making Munich my residence.
Trusting that you will give this insertion, I have the honour to remain, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
The assumption that she had ever been known as "Betsy Watson" was due to the fact that she was said at one period to have lived under this name in Dublin, "protected there by an Irishman of rank and fortune." With regard to the rest of the letter, this was much the same as the one she had circulated after her London fiasco. It was very far from being well founded. Still, she had repeated this story so often that she had probably come to believe in it herself.
As The Times at that period was not read in Munich to any great extent, Lola, wanting a larger public, sent a letter to the Allegemeine Zeitung. This, she thought, would secure her a measure of sympathy not accorded her elsewhere:
"I object to being made a target for countless malicious attacks—public and private, written and printed—some whispered in secret, and others uttered to the world. I therefore now stigmatise as a wicked liar and perverter of the truth any individual who shall, without proving it, disseminate any report to my detriment."
The letter was duly published. The attacks, however, did not end. On the contrary, they redoubled in virulence. All sorts of fresh charges were brought against her. Many of them were quite unfounded, and deliberately ignored much that might have been put to her credit. Lola had not done nearly as much harm as some of Ludwig's lights o' love. Her predecessors, however, had made themselves subservient to the Jesuits and clericals. When her friends sent protests to the editor, refuge was taken in the stereotyped reply: "pressure on our space does not permit us to continue this correspondence."
By those who wished her ill, any stick was good enough with which to beat Lola Montez. Thus, when a dignitary died—no matter what the medical diagnosis—it was announced in the gutter press that he died of "grief, caused by the national shame." The alleged last words of a certain politician were declared to be: "I die because I cannot continue living under the orders of a strumpet who rules our dear Bavaria as if she were a princess." Ludwig took it calmly. "The real trouble with this poor fellow," he said, "is that he never experienced the revivifying effects of the love of a beautiful woman." A popular prescription. The local doctors, however, were coy about recommending it to their patients.
That the Munich disturbances had an aftermath is clear from a news item that appeared in the Cologne Gazette of July, 3, 1847. Lola, wanting a change of air and scene, had gone on a tour, travelling incognita and without any escort. Still, as she was to discover, it was impossible for her to move without being recognised:
According to letters from Bavaria, it is obvious that the animosities excited against Lola Montez earlier in the year are far from having subsided. On passing through Nuremberg, she was received with coldness, but decency. At Bamberg, however, it was very different. At the railway station she was hissed and hooted, and, stones being thrown at her carriage, she presented her pistols and threatened to punish her assailants. The upper classes were thoroughly ashamed of such excesses; and the chief magistrate has been instructed to appoint a deputation of the leading citizens to apologise to Mademoiselle.
In a letter to his brother, dated July 7, 1847, a University student says: "Lola Montez was near being assassinated three days ago," but he gives no particulars. Hence, it was probably gossip picked up in a beer hall.
A grievance felt by Lola was that she was not accorded recognition among the aristocracy. But there was an obvious remedy. This was to grant her a coronet. After all, historic examples were to hand by the dozen. In modern times the mistress of Frederick William III had been made a duchess. Hence, Lola felt that she should be at least a countess.
"What special services have you rendered Bavaria?" bluntly demanded the minister to whom she first advanced the suggestion.
"If nothing else, I have given the King many happy days," was Lola's response.
Curiosity was then exhibited as to whether she was sufficiently hoch-geboren, or not. The applicant herself had no doubts on the subject. Her father, Ensign Gilbert, she said, had the blood of Coeur-de-Lion in his veins, and her mother's ancestors were among the Council of the Inquisition.
When the matter was referred to him, Ludwig was sympathetic and readily promised his help. But as she was a foreigner, she would, he pointed out, have to start by becoming naturalised as a Bavarian subject; and, under the constitution, the necessary indigenate certificate must bear the signature of a Cabinet Minister. For this purpose, and never thinking that the slightest difficulty would be advanced, he had one drawn up and sent to Count Otto von Steinberg. Much to his annoyance and surprise, however, that individual, "suddenly developing conscientious objections," excused himself. Thereupon, von Abel, as head of the Government, was instructed to secure another signature.
"Do not worry. It will be settled to-morrow," announced Ludwig, when Lola enquired the reason of the hitch.
He was, however, speaking without his book. The Ministry, Ultramontane to a man, could swallow a good deal, in order to retain their portfolios (and salaries), but this, they felt, was asking too much of them. In unctuous terms, and taking refuge in offended virtue, they declared they would resign, rather than countenance the grant of Bavarian nationality for "the foreign woman." Neither pressure nor threats would shake them. Ludwig could do what he pleased; and they would do what they pleased.
The manifesto in which the Cabinet's decision was delivered is little short of an historic document:
February 11, 1847.
Sir: Public life has its moments when those entrusted by their Sovereign with the proper conduct of public affairs have to make their choice between renouncing the duties to which they are pledged by loyalty and devotion, and, by discharging those duties in conscientious fashion, incurring the displeasure of their beloved Sovereign. We, the faithful servants of Your Majesty, have now found ourselves in this situation owing to the decision to grant Bavarian nationality to Senora Lola Montez. As we cannot forget the duties that our oath compels us to observe, we cannot flinch in our resolve....
It is abundantly clear that reverence for the Throne is becoming weakened in the minds of your subjects; and little is now heard in all directions but blame and disapproval. National sentiment is wounded, because the country considers itself to be under the dominion of a foreign woman of evil reputation. The obvious facts are such that it is impossible to adopt any other view.... The public journals print the most shocking anecdotes, together with the most degrading attacks on your Royal Majesty. As a sample of this, we append a copy of No. 5 of the Ulner Chronic. The vigilance of the police is powerless to check the circulation of these journals, and they are read everywhere.... Not only is the Government being jeopardised, but also the very existence of the Crown. Hence, the delight of such as wish ill to the Throne, and the anguish of such as are loyal to Your Majesty. The fidelity of the army, too, is threatened. Ere long, the forces of the Crown will become a prey to profound disaffection; and where could we look for help, should this occur and this last bulwark totter?
The hearts of the undersigned loyal and obedient servants are torn with grief. This statement they submit to you is not one of visionaries. It is the melancholy result of observations made by them during the exercise of their functions for several months past. Each of the undersigned is ready and willing to surrender everything to his Sovereign. They have given you repeated proofs of their fidelity; and it is now nothing less than their sacred duty to direct the attention of your Majesty to the dangers confronting him. Our humble prayer, to which we beg you to listen, is not governed by any desire to run counter to your Royal will. It is put forward solely with a view to ending a condition of affairs which is inimical to the well-being and happiness of a beloved monarch. Should, however, your Majesty not think fit to grant their petition, we, your Ministers, will then have no alternative but to tender the resignation of the portfolios with which you have entrusted them.
The signatories to this precious "manifesto" were von Abel, von Gumpenberg (Minister of War), von Schrenk, and von Seinsheim (Councillors of State). Much to their hurt astonishment, their resignations were accepted. Nor was there any lack of candidates for the vacant portfolios. Ludwig, prompted by Lola, filled up the gaps at once. Georg von Maurer (who reciprocated by signing her certificate of naturalisation) was appointed Minister of Justice and Foreign Affairs, and Freiherr Friederich zu Rhein was the new Minister of Public Worship and Finance.
The students, not prepared to let slip a chance of asserting themselves, paraded the streets with a fresh song:
Da kam Senorra Lolala, Sturzt Abel und Consorten; Ach war sie doch jetz wieder da, Und jagte fort den——
Despite the fact that he was indebted for his appointment to her, Maurer attempted to snub Lola and refused to speak to her the next time they met. For his pains, he found himself, in December, 1847, dismissed from office. There was, however, joy in the ranks of the clerical party, for, to their horror, he happened to be a Protestant.
"I have now a new ministry, and there are no more Jesuits in Bavaria," announced Ludwig with much complacence. As was his custom when a national crisis occurred, he was also delivered of a sonnet, commencing:
You who have wished to hold me in thrall, tremble! Greatly do I esteem the important affair Which has ever on divested you of your power!
But the fallen ministers had the sympathy of Vienna. Count Senfft, the Austrian envoy at Munich, gave a banquet in their honour. Lola reported this to Ludwig, and Ludwig gave Senfft his conge.
What had annoyed the Wittelsbach Lovelace more than anything else about the business was that the memorandum in which von Abel and his colleagues had expressed their candid opinion of Lola Montez found its way into the Augsburger Zeitung and a number of Paris journals. This was regarded by him as a breach of confidence. Enquiries revealed the fact that von Abel's sister had been surreptitiously shown a copy of the document, and, not prepared to keep such a tit-bit of gossip to herself, had disclosed its contents to a reporter. After this, the fat, so to speak, was in the fire; and nothing that Ludwig could do could prevent the affair becoming public property. As a result, it formed the basis of innumerable articles in the press of Europe, and the worst possible construction was put on it.
The erudite Dr. Doellinger, between whom and Lola Montez no love was lost, was much upset by the situation and wrote a long letter on the subject:
The existing ministry were fully awake to the encroachments of the notorious Lola Montez; and in view of the destruction which menaced both the throne and the country, they secretly resolved to address a petition to Ludwig I, humbly praying him to dismiss his favourite, and setting forth the grounds on which they based their request.
Rumours of this business soon got afloat. People began to whisper; and one fine day a sister of one of the ministers, goaded by curiosity, discovered the petition. She imparted the news in the strictest confidence to her most intimate friends; and they, in their turn, secretly read the memorial, with the result that, some time after the important document had been safely restored to its hiding-place, its contents appeared, nobody knew how, in the newspapers.
The panic of the ministers was great; the King's displeasure was still greater. He suspected treachery, and considered the publication of such a petition treasonable. Remonstrances were of no avail; the ministers were dismissed, and their adherents fled in every direction. I, who had been nominated a member of the Chamber by the University, but against my will, had to resign office at the bidding of the King. His Majesty was greatly incensed, and meanwhile the excited populace were assembling in crowds before the house of Lola Montez.
Doellinger was a difficult man to cross. He had doubts—serious doubts—concerning a number of matters. Among them was one of the infallibility of the Pope. What was more, he was daring enough to express these doubts. The wrath of the Vatican could only be appeased by ex-communicating him from the Church. He, however, added to his contumacy by surviving until his ninety-second year.
Appreciating on which side its bread was buttered, the new ministry had no qualms as to the eligibility of Lola Montez for the honour of a coronet in the Bavarian peerage. This having been granted her, the next step was to select a suitable territorial title.
Ludwig ran an exploring finger down the columns of a gazetteer. There he saw two names, Landshut and Feldberg, that struck him as suggestive. Combined, they made up Landsfeld. Nothing could be better.
"I have it," he said. "Countess of Landsfeld, I salute you!"
Thereupon the Court archivist was instructed to prepare the necessary document:
"We, Ludwig, King of Bavaria, etc., hereby make public to all concerned that We have resolved to raise Maria von Porres and Montez, of noble Spanish descent, to the dignity of Countess of Landsfeld of this Our kingdom. Whilst we impart to her the dignity of a Countess, with all the rights, honours and prerogatives connected therewith, it is Our desire that she have and enjoy the following escutcheon on a German four-quartered shield: In the first field, red, an upright white sword with golden handle; in the second, blue, a golden-crowned lion rampant; the third, blue, a silver dolphin; and in the fourth, white, a pale red rose. This shield shall be surmounted by the coronet of a Countess.
"Be this notified to all the authorities and to Our subjects in general, with a view to not only recognising the said Maria as Countess of Landsfeld, but also to supporting her in that dignity; and it is Our will that whoever shall act contrary to these provisions shall be summoned by Our Attorney-General and there and then be condemned to make public and private atonement.
"For Our confirmation of the above we have affixed Our royal name to this document and placed on it the seal of Our kingdom.
"Given at Aschaffensberg, this 14th of August, in the 1847th year after the birth of Christ, our Lord, and in the 22nd year of Our Government."
This did not miss the eagle eye of Punch, in whose columns appeared a caustic reference:
"The armorial bearings of the new COUNTESS OF LANDSFELD, the ex-coryphee of Her Majesty's Theatre, have been designed, but we think they are hardly so appropriate as they might have been. We have therefore made some slight modifications of the original, which we hope will prove satisfactory."
The suggested "modifications" were to substitute a parasol for the sword, a bulldog for the lion, and a pot of rouge for the rose. Were such an adjunct of the toilet table then in existence, a lipstick would probably have been added.
With her title and heraldic honours complete, plus a generous allowance on which to support them, and a palace in which to live, Lola Montez cut a very considerable dash in Munich. Two sentries marched up and down in front of her gate, and two mounted orderlies (instead of one, as had previously been the case) accompanied her whenever she left the house in the Barerstrasse.
While by far the most important of them, Ludwig was not by any means the only competitor for Lola's favours. Men of wealth and position—the bearers of high-sounding titles—with politicians and place-hunters, fluttered round her. It is to her credit that she sent them about their business.
"The peculiar relations existing between the King of Bavaria and the Countess of Landsfeld," remarked an apologist, "are not of a coarse or vulgar character. His Majesty has a highly developed poetic mind, and thus sees his favourite through his imagination, and regards her with affectionate respect."
This found a responsive echo in another quarter, and some sharp raps on the knuckles were administered to the Bavarian moralists by a Paris journal:
"Why do you interfere with the amours of your good Ludwig? We don't say he should not have observed rather more discretion or have avoided compromising his dignity. Still, a monarch, like a simple citizen, is surely free to love where he pleases. In selecting Lola Montez, the amorous Ludwig proves that he loves equality and, as a true democrat, can identify himself with the public. Let him espouse his servant girl, if he wants to. Personally, we would rather see the Bavarians excite themselves about their constitution than about the banishment of a royal favourite. The King of Bavaria turns his mistress into a Countess; his subjects refuse to recognise her; and a section of the students clamour for her head. Happy days of Montespan, of Pompadour, of Dubarry, of Potemkin, of Orloff, where have you gone?"
In the summer of 1847 the Paris Courts were occupied with a long outstanding claim against Lola Montez. This was to the effect that, when she was appearing at the Porte St. Martin, she had run up a bill for certain intimate undergarments and had neglected to settle the account. The result was, she received a solicitor's letter in Munich. She answered it in the following terms:
September 25, 1847.
As I have never given any orders to Messrs. Hamon and Company, tailors, rue de Helder, they have no claim on me; and I am positively compelled to repudiate the bill for 1371 francs which you have the effrontery to demand in the name of this firm.
Last spring Monsieur Leigh made me a present of a riding-habit and certain other articles which he ordered for me, and I consider that it is to him you should now address yourself.
Accept, Monsieur, etc.,
COUNTESS DE LANDSFELD.
Not being prepared to accept this view, the Paris firm's next step was to bring an action for the recovery of the alleged debt. Once more, Lola repudiated liability, this time on the grounds that the creditors had kept back some dress material belonging to herself. The defence to this charge was that, "on being informed by their representative that real ladies could not wear such common stuff, she had said she did not want it back." The court, however, held that the debt had been incurred; and, "as she considered it beneath her dignity to appear, either in person or by counsel," judgment for 2,500 francs was given against her.
Count Bernstorff, a not particularly brilliant diplomatist, had an idea (shared, by the way, with a good many others) that Frederick William IV, King of Prussia, was at one time under Lola's spell. He was allowed to think so by reason of a letter that the King had sent him from Sans Souci in the autumn of 1847:
"I am charging you, my dear Count, with a commission, the performance of which demands a certain degree of that measure of delicacy which I recognise you to possess. The commission is somewhat beyond the accepted limits of what is purely diplomatic in character.... It is a matter of handing a certain trinket to a certain lady. The trinket is of little value, but, from causes you will be able to appreciate, the lady's favour is of very high value to myself. All depends on the manner in which the gift is presented. This should be sufficiently flattering to increase the value of the offering and to cause its unworthiness to be overlooked. My acquaintance with the lady, and my respect for her, should be adroitly described and made the most of, as must also be my desire to be remembered at her hands.
"You will, of course, immediately perceive that I am alluding to Donna Maria de Dolores de los Montez, Countess of Landsfeld."
It was not until he turned over the page that the horror-struck Bernstorff saw that the King was playing a characteristic jest on him; and he realised that the intended recipient of the gift was his wife, the Countess von Bernstorff, "as a souvenir of my gratitude for the many agreeable hours passed under your hospitable roof last month."
BURSTING OF THE STORM
The beauty of Lola Montez was a lever. As such, it disturbed the equilibrium of the Cabinet; for the time being, it even checked the dominion of Rome. But the odds were against her. The Jesuits were still a power, and would not brook any interference.
Metternich's wife, the Princess Melanie, who had the family flair for politics, marked the course of events.
"Lola Montes," she wrote, "has actually been created Countess of Landsfeld. She is really a member of the Radical Party.... Rechberg, who has just arrived from Brazil, was alarmed on his journey at Munich by the events of which this town is the theatre. The shocking conduct of Lola Montes will finish by plunging the country into revolution."
This was looking ahead. Still, not very far ahead. The correspondent of a London paper in the Bavarian capital did not mince his words. "The indignation," he wrote, "against the King on account of his scandalous conduct, has been roused to the highest pitch.... King Ludwig, who possesses many good qualities, is, unfortunately, a very licentious old man.... Neither the tears of the Queen, nor the entreaties of his sons, nor the public's indignation, could influence the old monarch, who has become the slave of his silly passion and of the caprices of a Spanish dancer and Parisian lorette."
Once more, Ludwig "dropped into verse," and relieved his feelings about his enemies. This time, however, the verse was blank:
You have driven me from my Paradise, You have closed it for ever with iron grilles. You have turned my days into bitterness. You would even like to make me hate you Because I have loved too much to please your withered spirits.
The perfume of my spring-time is dissipated, But my courage still remains. Youth, always bounding in my dreams, rests there, Embracing my heart with fresh force!
You who would like to see me covered with shame, Tremble! You have committed sins against me and vomited injuries. Your wicked acts have judged you. There has never been anything to equal them!
Already the clouds disappear; The storm passes; The sky lights up; I bless the dawn. Ungrateful worms, creep back to your darkness!
There were repercussions across the Atlantic, where the role played by Lola Montez in Bavarian circles was arousing considerable interest. American women saw in it a message of encouragement for the aspirations they themselves were cherishing. "The moral indignation which her political opponents exhibited," said a leading jurist, "was unfortunately a mere sham. They had not only tolerated, but had actually patronised, a female who formerly held the equivocal position which the Countess of Landsfeld recently held, because the former made herself subservient to the then dominant party."
But, just as Lola had staunch friends in Munich, so had she pronounced enemies. Conspicuous among them was Johann Goerres, a leading Ultramontane who held the position of professor of history at the University. He could not say anything strong enough against the King's mistress, and did all he could to upset her influence with him. As he had a "following," some measure of success attended his efforts. It was on his death, in January 1848, that matters came to a head. The rival factions dividing the various students' corps made his funeral the occasion of a free fight among themselves. The mob joined in, and clamoured for the dismissal of the "Andalusian Woman." A hothead suggested that she should be driven from the town. The cry was taken up, and a rush set in towards her house in the Barerstrasse. As there was an agreeable prospect of loot, half the scum of the city swelled the mob. Bricks were hurled through the windows; and, until the police arrived, things began to look ugly.
Lola, as cool as a cucumber, appeared on the balcony, a glass of champagne in one hand, and a box of chocolates in the other.
"I drink to your good healths," she said contemptuously, as she drained her glass and tossed bon-bons among the crowd.
Not appreciating this gesture, or regarding it as an impertinence, the temper of the rabble grew threatening. They shouted vulgar insults; and there was talk of battering in the doors and setting the house on fire. This might have happened, had not Ludwig himself, who never lacked personal courage, plunged into the throng and, offering Lola his arm, escorted her to the Residenz.
The disturbances continued, for tempers had reached fever pitch. Troops hastily summoned from the nearest barracks patrolled the streets. A furious crowd assembled in front of the Rathaus; the burgomaster, fearing for his position, talked of reading the Riot Act; a number of arrests were made; and it was not until the next afternoon that the coast was sufficiently clear for Lola to return to the Barerstrasse, triumphantly escorted by some members of the Alemannia. When, however, they left her there, they were set upon by detachments of the Palatia Corps, who still cherished a grudge against them.
Lola's own account of these happenings, and written as if by a detached onlooker, is picturesque, if somewhat imaginative:
"They came with cannons and guns and swords, with the voices of ten thousand devils, and surrounded her little castle. Against the entreaties of her friends, she presented herself before the infuriated mob which demanded her life.... A thousand guns were pointed at her, and a hundred fat and apoplectic voices fiercely demanded that she should cause the repeal of what she had done. In language of great mildness—for it was no time to scold—she answered that it was impossible for her to accede to such a request; and that what had been done by her had been done for the good of the people and the honour of Bavaria."
After this "demonstration," there was a calm. But not for long. On the evening of February 10, a rabble assembled in front of the Palace, raising cries of: "Down with Lola Montez!" "Down with the King's strumpet!" As the protestors consisted largely of students (whom Thiersch, the rector, being no disciplinarian, could not keep in check), Ludwig's response was drastic. He ordered the University to be shut, and all its members who did not live in Munich to leave the town within twenty-four hours. This was a tactical blunder, and was in great measure responsible for the more serious repercussions of the following month. Apart, too, from other considerations, the edict hit the pockets of the local tradesmen, since the absence of a couple of thousand hungry and thirsty customers had an adverse effect on the consumption of sauerkraut and beer.
As she was still "news" in Paris, a gossiping columnist suggested her return there:
Lola Montez laments the Notre-Dame de Lorette district, the joyous little supper-parties at the Cafe Anglais, and the theatrical first nights viewed from stage boxes. "Ah," she must reflect, as she looks upon her coronet trodden underfoot and hears the sinister murmurs of the Munich mob, "how delightful Paris would be this evening! What a grand success I would be in the new ballet at the Opera or at a ball at the Winter Garden!" Alas, my poor Lola, your whip is broken; your prestige is gone; you have lost your talisman. Do not battle against the jealous Bavarians. Come back to Paris, instead. If the Porte St. Martin won't have you, you can always rejoin the corps de ballet at the Opera.
Lola, however, did not accept the invitation. She was virtually a prisoner in her own house, where, the next afternoon, a furious gathering assembled, threatening to wreak vengeance on her. Never lacking a high measure of courage, she appeared on the balcony and told them to do their worst. They did it and attempted to effect an entrance by breaking down the door. But for the action of the Alemannia, rallying to her help, she might have been severely handled.
One of her bodyguard managed to make his way to the nearest barracks and summon assistance. Thereupon, the bugles rang out the alarm; the drums beat a warning call. In response, a squadron of Cuirassiers clattered up the Barerstrasse; sabres rattled; and the rioters fled precipitously.
Prince Wallerstein, who combined the office of Minister of Public Worship with that of Treasurer of the Royal Household, leaping into the breach, harangued the mob; and Prince Vrede, a strong adherent to the "whiff of grapeshot" remedy for a disturbance, suggested firing on the ringleaders. Although the suggestion was not accepted, hundreds of arrests were made before some semblance of order was restored. But the rioting was only checked temporarily. A couple of days later it started afresh. The temper of the troops being upset, Captain Bauer (a young officer whom Lola had patronised) took it upon himself to give them the word to charge. Sabres flashed, and there were many broken heads and a good deal of bloodshed.
The Alemannia, thinking discretion the better part of valour, barricaded themselves in the restaurant of one Herr Rothmanner, where they fortified themselves with vast quantities of beer. Becoming quarrelsome, their leader, Count Hirschberg, drew his sword and was threatened with arrest by a schutzmannschaft. Thereupon, his comrades sent word to Lola. She answered the call, and rushed to the house. It was a characteristic, but mad, gesture, for she was promptly recognised and pursued by a furious mob. Nobody would give her sanctuary; and the Swiss Guards on duty there shut the doors of the Austrian Legation in her face. Thereupon, she fled to the Theatiner Church, where she took refuge. But she did not stop there long; and, for her own safety, a military escort arrived to conduct her to the main guard-room. As soon as the coast was comparatively clear, she was smuggled out by a back entrance and making her way on foot to the Barerstrasse, hid in the garden.
In the meantime fresh attempts were being made to storm her house. Suddenly, a figure, dishevelled and bare-headed, appeared on the threshold and confronted the rioters.
"You are behaving like a pack of vulgar blackguards," he exclaimed, "and not like true Bavarians at all. I give you my word, the house is empty. Leave it in peace."
A gallant gesture, and a last act of homage to the building that had sheltered the woman he loved. The mob, recognising the speaker, uncovered instinctively. Heil, unserm Koenig, Heil! they shouted. A chorus swelled; the troops presented arms.
"It is an orgy of ingratitude," said Ludwig, as he watched the rabble dancing with glee before the house. "The Jesuits are responsible. If my Lola had been called Loyala, she could still have stopped here."
To Dr. Stahl, Bishop of Wurzburg, who had criticised his conduct, he addressed himself more strongly. "Should a single hair of one I hold dear to me be injured," he informed that prelate, "I shall exhibit no mercy."
Palmerston, who stood no nonsense from anybody, wrote a very snappy letter to Sir John Milbanke, British Minister at Munich:
"Pray tell Prince Wallerstein that, if he wishes the British and Bavarian Governments to be on good terms, he will abstain from any attempt to interfere with our diplomatic arrangements, as such attempts on his part are as offensive as they will be fruitless."
As Ludwig had said, the Barerstrasse nest was empty, for its occupant had managed to slip out of it and reach Lindeau. From there, on February 23, she wrote a long letter to a friend in England, giving a somewhat highly coloured (and not altogether accurate) version of these happenings:
In the morning, the nobles, with Count A.—V—[Arco Valley] and a number of officers, were mixed up with the commonest people. The Countess P [Preysing] I saw myself, with other women—I cannot call them ladies—actually at their head. Hearing that the entire city—with nobles, officers, and countesses—were making for my residence, I looked upon myself as already out of the land of the living. I had all my windows shuttered, and hid all my jewels; and then, having a clear conscience and a firm trust in God, calmly awaited my fate. The ruffians, egged on by a countess and a baroness, had stones, sticks, axes, and firearms, all to frighten and kill one poor inoffensive woman! They positively clamoured for my blood.
I must tell you that all my faithful and devoted servants, with some others of my real friends, were in the house with me. I begged them to leave by the garden, but they said, poor fellows, they would die for me.
... Seeing the eminent danger of my friends, and not thinking of myself, I ordered my carriage while the blackguards were endeavouring to break down the gates. My good George, the coachman, helped me to rush through the door and we set off at a furious gallop. Many pistol shots were fired at me, but I was in God's care and avoided the bullets.
My escape was most miraculous. At a distance of two hours from Munich I left my carriage and in Bluthenberg sought the protection of a brave honest man, by whom I was given shelter. Presently, some officers galloped up and demanded me. My benefactor declared I was not there, and his daughters said my carriage had passed. When they were gone, his good wife helped me to dress as a peasant girl, and I rushed out of the house, across fields, ditches, and forests. Being so well disguised, I resolved to return to Munich. It was a dreadful spectacle. The Palace blockaded; buildings plundered; and anarchy in all directions. Seeing nothing but death if I stopped there, I left for Lindeau, from whence I am writing to you.
... Count Arco Valley has been distributing money like dirt to all classes, and the priests have stirred up the mob. Nobody is safe in Munich. The good, noble King has told everyone he will never leave me. Of that he is quite determined. The game is not up. I shall, till death, stick to the King; but God knows what will happen next.
I forgot to tell you that my enemies have announced in the German papers that the students are my lovers! They could not credit them with the loyal devotion they have ever had for the King and myself.
MARIE DE LANDSFELD.
Writing in his diary on March 14, 1848, Frederick Cavendish, a budding diplomatist, whom Palmerston had appointed as attache at Vienna, remarks:
"There has been the devil of a disturbance in Munich; and the King's mistress, Lola Montez, has been forced to fly for her life. She has been the curse of Bavaria, yet the King is still infatuated with her."
Scarcely diplomatic language. Still, not far from the truth.
A rigorous press censorship was exercised. The Munich papers had to print what they were told, and nothing else. As a result, an inspired article appeared in the Allegemeine Zeitung, of Augsburg, declaring that the Ultramontanes were responsible for the emeute. "Herr von Abel," in the opinion of a colleague, Heinrich von Treitsche, "took advantage of the opportunity to espouse a sudden championship of morals, and made les convenances an excuse for resigning what had long been to him a dangerous office."
Doellinger himself always declared that he became an Ultramontane against his will, and that he only joined the Ministry at the earnest request of von Abel. This was probably true enough, for he was much happier among his books than among the politicians. With his nose decidedly out of joint, he relieved his feelings in a lengthy epistle to his friend, Madame Rio. Years afterwards this letter came into the hands of Dom Gougaud, O.S.B., who published it in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record. Among the more important passages were the following:
Since you left M[unich] the impudence of L[ola] M[ontez] and the infatuation of her admirers have been constantly increasing. Our Members of Parliament, which have been convocated to an extraordinary session on account of a railway loan, did not dare, or did not deem it expedient, to interfere. The only thing that was done, but without producing any effect in high quarters, was that the Chamber of Deputies unanimously voted a protestation against the deposition of the professors. Then came the change of Ministers. Prince Wallerstein, who is a sort of Bavarian Thiers, selfish and unprincipled, only bent upon maintaining himself in the possession of the portefeuille, which is the glorious end that in his estimation sanctifies the means—this man of unscrupulous memory came in again, together with an obscure individual, a mere creature of L[ola] M[ontez], M. Berks.
... Meanwhile the crisis was brought about by the students of the University. L[ola] M[ontez] had succeeded in seducing a few of these, who, finding themselves immediately shunned and rejected by their fellow-students, formed a separate society or club, calling itself Alemannia, which from its beginning was publicly understood to be distinguished by the King's special favour and protection. In the course of two or three months they rose to the number of nineteen or twenty, easily recognised by the red caps and ribbons they wore. For L[ola] M[ontez] they formed a sort of male harem, and the particulars which have since transpired, and which, of course, I must not pollute your ears with, leave no doubt that she is a second Messalina.
The indignation of the students, who felt all this as a degradation of the University and an affront cast upon their character, was general. The Alemanni were treated as outcasts, whose very presence was pollution.
... L[ola] M[ontez] had already been heard threatening that if the students continued to show themselves hostile to her favourites she would have the University closed. At last, on the 10th February, a royal mandate came forth, declaring the University to be suspended for the entire year.
Next morning it was evident that a decisive crisis was coming on; the students paraded in procession through the streets, when, suddenly, the gendarmerie, commanded by one of L. M.'s favourites, made an attack upon them and wounded two of them. This, of course, served only to kindle the flames of general indignation. The citizens threatened to appear in arms, and the people made preparations for storming the house of L[ola] M[ontez].
Towards 8 o'clock in the morning of the 11th, the appalling intelligence was communicated to the K[ing] that L. M.'s life was in imminent danger. Meanwhile several members of the royal family had tried to make an impression on the K.'s mind. When his own tools, who, up to that moment, had been pushing him on, told him that L.'s life was in jeopardy, and that the regiments refused to fight, he began to yield. But even then his behaviour left no doubt that the personal safety of L[ola] M[ontez] was his paramount motive. He himself ran to her house, which the mob had begun to pluck down; regardless of all royal dignity, he exposed his person to all the humiliation which the intercourse with an infuriated mob might subject him to.... Certainly, that day was the most disgraceful royalty has yet had in Bavaria.
... You will find it natural that the first announcement of L.M.'s forced departure begot universal exultation. In the streets one met only smiling countenances; new hopes were kindled. People wished, and therefore believed, that the K[ing] having at last become aware of the true state of the nation's mind, had made a noble sacrifice. A few days were sufficient to undeceive them. The K.'s mind was in a sort of fearful excitement, alternating between fits of depression and thoughts of vengeance.... It is impossible to foresee what things will lead to, and where the persecution is to stop. The opinion gains credit that his intention is to bring L[ola] M[ontez] back. Evidently he is acting, not only from a thirst for vengeance, but also under the fatal influence of an irresistible and sinister passion for that woman.
A few days later, Ludwig, to test public opinion, went to the Opera.
"I have lost my taste for spectacles," he said to his companion, "but I wish to see if I am still King in the hearts of the people I have served."
He was not long in doubt, for the moment he entered his box the audience stood up and cheered him vigorously. This was enough; and, without waiting for the curtain to rise, he returned to the Palace.
"After all, my subjects still trust me," he said. "I was sure of them."
There was another display of loyalty elsewhere. The Munich garrison, under Ludwig's second son, Prince Luitpold, took a fresh oath en masse, swearing fidelity to the new constitution. It was, however, a little late in the day. Things had gone too far; and Lola, who had merely gone a few leagues from the capital, had not gone far enough. That was the trouble. She was still able to pull strings, and to make her influence felt in various directions. Nor would she show the white feather or succumb to the threats of rowdies.
It was from Lindeau that, disguised as a boy (then a somewhat more difficult job than now), Lola, greatly daring, ventured back to the arms of Ludwig. But she only stopped with him a couple of hours, for she had been followed, and was still being hunted by the rabble of the town. Before, however, resuming her journey, she endeavoured to get into touch with her faithful Alemannia. "I beg you," she wrote to the proprietor of the cafe they frequented, "to tell me where Herr Peissner has gone." The landlord, fearing reprisals, withheld the knowledge. If he had given it, he would probably have had his premises wrecked. Safety first!
In this juncture, Ludwig, acting like a mental deficient, announced that there was only one adequate explanation for Lola's conduct. This was that she was "possessed of an evil spirit" which had to be exorcised before things should get worse. Lending a ready ear to every quack in Bavaria, he sent her under escort to Weinsberg, to the clinic of a Dr. Justinus Kerner, who had established himself there as a mesmerist.
"You are to drive the devil out of her," were the instructions given him.
Fearing that his spells and incantations might, after all, not prove effective, and thus convict him for a charlatan, the man of science felt uneasy. Still, an order was an order, especially when it came from a King, and he promised to do his best. On the day that his patient arrived, he wrote to his married daughter, Emma Niendorf. A free translation of this letter, which is given in full by Dr. von Tim Klein (in his Der Vorkamfdeutscher Einheit und Freiheit), would read:
Yesterday there arrived here Lola Montez; and, until further instructions come from Munich, I am detaining her in my tower, where guard is being kept by three of the Alemannia. That the King should have selected me of all people to send her to is most annoying. But he was assured that she was possessed of a devil, and that the devil in her could be driven out by me at Weinsberg. Still, the case is one of interest.
As a preliminary to my magneto-magic treatment, I am beginning by subjecting her to a fasting-cure. This means that every day all she is to have is a quarter of a wafer and thirteen drops of raspberry juice.
"Sage es aber niemanden! Verbrenne diesen Brief!" ("But don't tell anybody about it; burn this letter") was the exorcist's final injunction.
To live up to his reputation for wonder-working, the mystic had an AEolian harp in each of the windows of his house, so arranged that Ariel-like voices would float through the summer breezes.
"It is magic," said the peasants, crossing themselves devoutly when they heard the sound.
But the harp-obligato proved no more effective than the reduced dieting and early attempt to popularise slimming. After a couple of days, accordingly, the regime was varied by the substitution of asses' milk for the raspberry juice. Much to his annoyance, however, the specialist had to report to another correspondent, Sophie Schwab, that his patient was not deriving any real benefit, and that the troublesome "devil" had not been dislodged.
As was to be expected, Lola, having a healthy appetite and objecting to short rations, gave the mesmerist the slip and hurried back to her Ludwig. After a few words with him, she left for Stahrenberg.
Ludwig sat down and wrote another "poem." Appropriately enough, this was entitled "Lamentation."
A FALLEN STAR
Even with Lola Montez out of the way and the University doors re-opened, it was not a case of all quiet on the Munich front. Far from it. Berks, the new Minister of the Interior, who had always supported her, still remained in office; and Lola herself continued from a distance to pull strings. Some of them were effective.
But Lola Montez, or no Lola Montez, there was in the eyes of his exasperated subjects more than enough to make them thoroughly dissatisfied with the Wittelsbach regime, as carried out by Ludwig. The Cabinet had become very nearly inarticulate; public funds had been squandered on all sorts of grandiose and unnecessary schemes; and the clerical element had long been allowed to ride roughshod over the constitution. Altogether, the "Ministry of Dawn," brought into existence with such a flourish of trumpets after the dismissal of von Abel and his colleagues, had not proved the anticipated success. Instead of getting better, things had got worse; and, although it had not actually been suggested, the idea of substituting the monarchy by a republic was being discussed in many quarters.
The editor of the Annual Register, abandoning his customary attitude of an impartial historian, dealt out a sharp rap on the knuckles to the Royal Troubadour:
"The discreditable conduct of the doting old King of Bavaria, in his open liaison with a wandering actress who had assumed the name of Lola Montez (but who was in reality the eloped wife of an Englishman, and whom he had created a Bavarian Countess by the title of Graefin de Landsfeld), had thoroughly alienated the hearts of his subjects."
As the result of a solemn conclave at the Rathaus, an ultimatum was delivered by the Cabinet; and Ludwig was informed, without any beating about the bush, that unless he wanted to plunge the country into revolution, Lola Montez must leave the kingdom. Ludwig yielded; and forgetful of, or else deliberately ignoring, the fact that he had once written a passionate threnody, in which he declared:
"And though thou be forsaken by all the world, Yet, never wilt thou be abandoned by me!"
he could find it in his heart to issue a decree expelling her from his realms.
To this end, on March 17, he signed two separate Orders in Council.
"We, Ludwig, by the Grace of God, King of Bavaria, etc., think it necessary to give notice that the Countess of Landsfeld has ceased to possess the rights of naturalisation."
"Since the Countess of Landsfeld does not give up her design of disturbing the peace of the capital and country, all the judicial authorities of the kingdom are hereby ordered to arrest the said Countess wherever she may be discovered. They are to carry her to the nearest fortress, where she is to be kept in custody."
Events moved rapidly. A few days later Lola was arrested by Prince Wallerstein (whom she herself had put into power when his stock had fallen) and deported, as an "undesirable alien," to Switzerland.
Woman-like, she had the last word.
"I am leaving Bavaria," she said, "but, before very long, your King will also leave."
Everybody had something to say about the business. Most people had a lot to say. The wires hummed; and the foreign correspondents in Munich filled columns with long accounts of the recent disturbances in Munich and their origin. No two accounts were similar.
"The people insisted," says Edward Cayley, in his European Revolutions of 1848, "on the dismissal of the King's mistress. She was sent away, but, trusting to the King's dotage, she came back, police or no police.... This was a climax to which the people were unprepared to submit, not that they were any more virtuous than their Sovereign." Another publicist, Edward Maurice, puts it a little differently: "In Bavaria the power exercised by Lola Montez over Ludwig had long been distasteful to the sterner reformers." This was true enough; but the Muencheners disliked the Jesuits still more, asserting that it was with them that Lola shared the conscience of the King. The Liberals were ready for action, and welcomed the opportunity of asserting themselves.
As soon as Lola was really out of the country, her Barerstrasse mansion was searched from attic to cellar by the Munich police. Since, in order to justify the search, they had to discover something compromising, they announced that they had discovered "proofs" that Lord Palmerston and Mazzini were in active correspondence with the King's ex-mistress; and that the go-between for the British Foreign Office was a Jew called Loeb. This individual was an artist who had been employed to decorate the house. Seized with pangs of remorse, he is said to have gone to Ludwig and confessed having intercepted Lola's correspondence with Mazzini and engineered the rioting. He further declared that large sums of money had been sent her from abroad. Historians, however, have no knowledge of this; nor was the nature of the "proofs" ever revealed.
Lola's villa in the Barerstrasse afterwards became the new home of the British Legation. It was demolished in 1914; and not even a wall plaque now marks her one-time occupancy. As for the Residenz Palace where she dallied with Ludwig, this building is now a museum, and as such echoes to the tramp of tourists and the snapping of cameras. Sic transit, etc.
When Lola, hunted from pillar to post, eventually left Munich for Switzerland, it was in the company of Auguste Papon, who, on the grounds of "moral turpitude," had already been given his marching-orders. He described himself as a "courier." His passport, however, bore the less exalted description of "cook." It was probably the more correct one. The faithful Fritz Peissner, anxious to be of service to the woman he loved, and for whom he had already risked his life, joined her at Constance, together with two other members of the Alemannia, Count Hirschberg and Lieutenant Nussbaum. But they only stopped a few days.
Anxious to get into touch with them, Lola wrote to the landlord at their last address:
2 March, 1848.
In case the students of the Alemannia Society have left your hotel, I beg you to inform my servant, the bearer of this letter, where Monsieur Peissner, for whom he has a parcel to deliver, has gone.
Receive in advance my distinguished sentiments.
COUNTESS OF LANDSFELD.
Lola's first halt in Switzerland (a country she described as "that little Republic which, like a majestic eagle, lies in the midst of the vultures and cormorants of Europe") was at Geneva. An error of judgment, for the austere citizens of Calvin's town, setting a somewhat lofty standard among visitors, were impervious to her blandishments. "They were," she complained, "as chilly as their own icicles." At Berne, however, to which she went next, she had better luck. This was because she met there an impressionable young Charge d'affaires attached to the British Legation, whom she found "somewhat younger than Ludwig, but more than twice as silly." An entente was soon established. "Sometimes riding, and sometimes driving she would appear in public, accompanied by her youthful adorer."
The official was Robert Peel, a son of the distinguished statesman, and was afterwards to become third baronet. In a curious little work, typical of the period, The Black Book of the British Aristocracy, there is an acid allusion to the matter: "This bright youth has just taken under his protection the notorious Lola Montez, and was lately to be observed walking with her, in true diplomatic style, in the streets of a Swiss town."
It was about this period that it occurred to a theatrical manager in London, looking for a novelty, that there was material for a stirring drama written round the career of Lola Montez. No sooner said than done; and a hack dramatist, who was kept on the premises, was commissioned to set to work. Locked up in his garret with a bottle of brandy, at the end of a week he delivered the script. This being approved by the management, it was put into rehearsal, and the hoardings plastered with bills:
- THEATRE ROYAL, HAYMARKET (Under the Patronage of Her Gracious Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness Prince Albert, and the Elite of Rank and Fashion.) On Wednesday, April 26, 1848, will be produced a New and Original and Apropos Sketch entitled: "LOLA MONTEZ, or THE COUNTESS FOR AN HOUR." -
"An hour." This was about as long as it lasted, for the reception by the critics was distinctly chilly. "We cannot," announced one of them, "applaud the motives that governed the production of a farce introducing a mock sovereign and his mistress. In our opinion the piece is extremely objectionable."
The Lord Chamberlain apparently shared this view, for he had the play withdrawn after the second performance.
"Es gibt kein Zurueck" ("There is to be no coming back") had been Ludwig's last words to her. But Lola did not take the injunction seriously. According to a letter in the Deutsche Zeitung, she was back in Munich within a week, travelling under the "protection" of Baron Moeller, a Russian diplomatist. Entering the Palace surreptitiously, she extracted a cheque for 50,000 florins from Ludwig. As it was drawn on Rothschild's bank at Frankfort, she hurried off there, and returned to Switzerland the same evening, "with a bagful of notes."
To convince his readers that he was well behind the scenes, Papon gives a letter which he asserts was written by Ludwig to a correspondent some months later:
I wish to know from you if my dear Countess would like her annuity assured by having it paid into a private bank, or if she would rather I deposited a million francs with the Bank of England.... I am already being blamed for giving her too much. As the revolutionaries seize upon any pretext to assert themselves, it is important to avoid directing attention to her just now. Still, I want my dearly loved Countess to be satisfied. I repeat that the whole world cannot part me from her.
While he was with her in Switzerland, Papon strung together a pamphlet: Lola Montez, Memoires accompagnes de lettres intimes de S.M. le Roi de Baviere et de Lola Montez, ornes des portraits, sur originaux donnes par eux a l'auteur, purporting to be written by their subject. "I owe my readers," he makes her say smugly, "the exact truth. They must judge between my enemies and myself." But, in his character of a Peeping Tom, very little truth was expended by Papon. Thus, he declares that, during her sojourn in the land of the mountains and William Tell, she had a series of affaires with a "baron," a "muscular artisan," and an "intrepid sailor." He also has a story to the effect that "two pure-blooded English ladies, the bearers of illustrious names," called on her uninvited; and that this circumstance annoyed her so much that she made her pet monkey attack them.
But Auguste Papon cannot be considered a very reliable authority. A decidedly odd fish, he claimed to be an ex-officer and also dubbed himself a marquis. For all his pretensions, however, he was merely a chevalier d'industrie, living on his wits; and, masquerading as a priest, he was afterwards convicted of swindling and sent to prison.
A doughty, but anonymous, champion jumped into the breach and issued a counterblast to Papon's effort in the shape of a second pamphlet, headed "A Reply." But this was not any more remarkable for its accuracy than the original. Thus, it declares, "She [Lola] lived with the King of Bavaria, a man of eighty-seven. The nature of that intimacy can best be surmised by reading the second and third verses of the First Book of Kings, Chapter i. It is evident to any reflecting mind that it was a sort of King David arrangement." As for the rest of the pamphlet, it was chiefly taken up with an elaborate argument that, all said and done, its subject was no worse than other ladies, and much better than many of them.
Among extracts from this well intentioned effort, the following are the more important:
A certain Marquis Auguste Papon, a quondam panderer to the natural desires and affections which are common to the whole human race, published and circulated throughout Europe a volume which stamps his own infamy (as we shall have occasion to show in the course of this reply) in far more ineffaceable characters than that of those whom, in his vindictiveness, he gloatingly sought to destroy.
But, before we proceed to dissect his book, it may be permitted us to ask the impartial reader what there is so very remarkable in the conduct of the King of Bavaria and Lola Montez as to distinguish them unfavourably from the monarchs and women celebrated for their talent, originality, and beauty who have gone before. Where are Henry IV of France, Henry V, Louis XIV, and Louis XV, with their respective mistresses? Who of their people ever presumed to interfere on the score of morality with the favours and honours conferred on those distinguished women? Nay, to come down to a later period, has the Marquis Auguste Papon ever heard of the loves of Louis XVIII and Madame de Cuyla, and that after the monarch's restoration in 1814? Is he ignorant of those of Napoleon himself and Mademoiselle Georges? Have not almost all the royal family of England—even those of the House of Hanover—been notorious for their connection with celebrated women? Has he never heard of Mrs. Walkinshaw, ostensible mistress of Charles Edward the Pretender, of Lucy Barlow, mistress of Charles II, mother of the Duke of Monmouth? Of Arabella Churchill and Katherine Sedley, mistresses of James II? Of the Countess of Kendal, mistress of George II, who was received everywhere in English society? Or of George IV and the Marchioness of C——? Of the Duke of York and Mary Anne Clark? Of the Duke of Clarence and the amiable and respected Mrs. J——? And last, not least, of the present King of Hanover and late Duke of Cumberland, who labours even unto this hour under suspicion of having murdered his valet Sellis, to conceal his adultery with his wife? In what differs the King of Bavaria from these?
But even to descend lower into the social scale of those who have occupied the attention of the world without incurring its marked and impertinent censure, has the Marquis Auguste Papon ever heard of the beautiful Miss Foote, who, first the favourite of the celebrated Colonel Berkeley (a natural brother of the Duke of Devonshire) and secondly of a personal friend of the writer of this reply—the celebrated Pea Green Hayne—became finally the charming and amiable Countess of Harrington, one of the sweetest women that ever were placed at the head of the Stanhope family or graced a peerage?
Who, that ever once enjoyed the pleasure of knowing this fairest flower in the parterre of England's aristocracy of beauty, would, in a spirit of revenge and disappointed avarice, have had the grossness to insult her as the Marquis of Papon—the depository of all her secrets—has insulted the Countess of Landsfeld with the loathsome name of "courtesan," because, yielding to the confidence of her woman's heart, she had been the adored of two previous lovers? Never did Lord Petersham, afterwards the Earl of Harrington, take a more sensible course than when he elevated in a holy and irreproachable love—a love that strangled scandal in its bloated fullness—the fascinating Maria Foote to the position she was made to adorn, being twin sister in beauty as well as in law to the charming Miss Green, whose ripe red lips and long dark-lashed blue and laughing eyes were, before her marriage with Colonel Stanhope, the admiration and subject of homage of all London. Should her eye ever rest on this page, she will perceive that we have not forgotten its power and expression.
To descend still lower in the scale of social life, has the Marquis Auguste Papon ever heard of the celebrated Madame Vestris, now Mrs. Mathews? Is he ignorant that her theatre—the Olympic—was ever a resort of the most fashionable and aristocratic people of London? Did her moral life in any way detract from her popularity as a woman of talent and of beauty, and an artiste of exceeding fascination and merit? And yet she had more lovers than the Marquis Auguste Papon can, with all his ingenuity, raise up in evidence against the remarkable woman he, in his not very creditable spirit of vengeance, has sworn to destroy.
Let us enumerate those we know to have been the lovers of Madame Vestris, who, after having passed her youth in all the variety of enjoyment, at length became the wife of a man, not without talent himself, and whose father stood first among the names celebrated in the comic art.
First was a personal friend of the writer of this reply to the unmanly attack of the Marquis Auguste Papon. And we have reason to remember it, for the connection of Henry Cole with the most fascinating woman of her day led to a duel in Hyde Park, of which that lady was the immediate cause, between the writer and a British officer who was so ungallant as to seek to check the enthusiasm created by her scarcely paralleled acting. To him succeeded Sir John Anstruther, and after Sir John the celebrated Horace Claggett. In what order their successors came we do not recollect, but of those who knew Madame Vestris in all the intimacy of the most tender friendship were Handsome Jack, Captain Best, Lord Edward Thynne, and Lord Castlereagh. These things were no secrets to the thousands who, fascinated by her beauty and the perfection of her acting, nevertheless thronged the theatre she was admitted to have conducted with the most amiable propriety and skill. On the contrary, they were as much matters of general knowledge among people of the first rank and fashion as the sun at noon-day. And yet what gentleman ever presumed to affix to the name of this gifted woman, whose very disregard of the opinion of those who hypocritically and sub rosa pursued in nearly ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the same course—what gentleman, we ask, ever dared to commit himself so far as to term her a "courtesan"?
There was a good deal more of it, for the "Reply" ran to seventy-six pages.
The title-page of this counterblast ran:
A REPLY TO THE "PRIVATE HISTORY AND MEMOIRS"
THAT CELEBRATED LADY
THE MARQUIS PAPON
FORMERLY SECRETARY TO THE KING OF BAVARIA AND FOR A PERIOD THE PROFESSED FRIEND AND ATTENDANT of THE COUNTESS OF LANDSFELD
Stet Nomnis Umbra—Junius
Bavaria was the key position in the sphere of European politics just then. Ludwig, however, had dallied with the situation too long. Nothing that he could do now would save him. Unrest was in the air. All over Europe the tide of democracy was rising, and fast threatening to engulf the entrenched positions of the autocrats. Metternich, reading the portents, was planning to leave a mob-ridden Vienna for the more tranquil atmosphere of Brighton; Louis Philippe, setting him an example, had already fled from Paris; and Prince William of Prussia, shaving off his moustache (and travelling on a false passport), was hurrying to England while the going was still good. With these examples to guide them, the Bavarians, tired of soft promises and smooth words, were clamouring for a fresh hand at the helm. Realising that the choice lay between this and a republic, Ludwig bowed to the inevitable; and, with crocodile tears and hypocritical protestations of good faith, surrendered his sceptre. To give the decision full effect, he issued a Proclamation:
"Bavarians! A new condition has arisen. This differs substantially from the one under which I have governed you for twenty-three years. Accordingly, I lay down my sceptre in favour of my beloved son, Prince Maximilian. I have always governed you with full regard for your welfare. Had I been a mere clerk, I could not have worked more strenuously; had I been a Minister of Finance, I could not have devoted more attention to the requirements of my country. I thank God that I can look the whole world fearlessly in the face and there confront the most scrutinising eye. Although I now relinquish my crown, I can assure you that my heart still beats as warmly as ever for Bavaria.
March 21, 1848."
Ludwig's signature to this mixture of rigmarole and bombast was followed by those of his sons, the Princes Maximilian Luitpold, Adalbert, and Carl. As for Maximilian, the new sovereign, he, rather than risk being thrown out of the saddle, was prepared to make a clean sweep of a number of existing grievances. As an earnest of his intentions, he promised, in the course of a frothy oration, to grant an amnesty to political prisoners, liberty of the press, the abolition of certain taxes, the institution of trial by jury, and a long delayed reform of the franchise.
With the idea, no doubt, of filling the vacancy in his affections caused by the abrupt departure of Lola Montez, Fraeulein Schroder, a young actress at the Hof Theatre, endeavoured to comfort Ludwig in his retirement. He, however, was beyond forming any fresh contacts.
"My happiness is gone from me," he murmured sadly. "I cannot stop in a capital to which I have long given a father's loving care."
Firm in this resolve, he left Munich for the Riviera and took a villa among the olives and oranges of Nice. There he turned over a fresh leaf. But he did not stop writing poetry. Nor did he stop writing to the woman who was still in his thoughts. One ardent epistle that followed her into exile ran in this fashion:
Oh, my Lolita! A ray of sunshine at the break of day! A stream of light in an obscured sky! Hope ever causes chords long forgotten to resound, and existence becomes once again pleasant as of yore. Such were the feelings which animated me during that night of happiness when, thanks to you alone, everything was sheer joy. Thy spirit lifted up mine out of sadness; never did an intoxication equal the one I then felt!