IN THE COURTS OF MEMORY 1858-1875.
IN THE COURTS OF MEMORY 1858-1875.
L. DE HEGERMANN-LINDENCRONE
MADAME CHARLES MOULTON
THE FAY HOUSE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS
EMPEROR NAPOLEON III
DANIEL FRANCOIS ESPRIT AUBER
FACSIMILE OF LETTER FROM THE DUKE DE MORNY
THE MAIN FACADE--CHATEAU DE COMPIEGNE
SALLE DES FETES--CHATEAU DE COMPIEGNE
CHATEAU DE PIERREFONDS
THE MUSIC HALL--CHATEAU DE COMPIEGNE
FACSIMILE OF LETTER FROM JENNY LIND
FACSIMILE OF LISZT LETTER
MERIMEE'S SIGNATURE AND ANSWERS TO MADAME MOULTON'S QUESTIONS
LA SALLE DES PREUX--CHATEAU DE PIERREFONDS....
PRINCE METTERNICH'S SIGNATURE AND ANSWERS TO MADAME MOULTON'S QUESTIONS
NAPOLEON'S SIGNATURE AND ANSWERS TO MADAME MOULTON'S QUESTIONS
EMPRESS EUGENIE'S SIGNATURE AND ANSWERS TO MADAME MOULTON'S QUESTIONS
RUE DE RIVOLI WHERE THE HOTEL CONTINENTAL NOW STANDS
FACSIMILE OF PASSPORT ISSUED TO MADAME MOULTON DURING THE COMMUNE
FACSIMILE OF THE GOVERNMENT PERMIT TO KEEP COWS
PLACE VENDOME AFTER THE FALL OF THE COLUMN
FACSIMILE OF TICKET TO PLACE VENDOME
FACSIMILE OF ENVELOPE ADDRESSED BY THE EMPRESS EUGENIE TO PRINCE
These letters written by me in my younger days to a dear and indulgent
mother and aunt were returned to me after their death. In writing them I
allowed myself to go into the smallest details even the most
insignificant ones as I was sure that they would be welcome and
appreciated by those to whom they were addressed. They were certainly not
intended to be made public.
If I have decided after much hesitation to publish these letters it is
because many of my friends having read them have urged me to do so
thinking that they might be of interest inasmuch as they refer to some
important events of the past and especially to people of the musical
world whose names and renown are not yet forgotten.
LILLIE DE HEGERMANN-LINDENCRONE. BERLIN _July 1912._
Madame de Hegermann-Lindencrone the writer of these letters which give
so vivid a picture of the brilliant court of the last Napoleon is the
wife of the present Danish Minister to Germany. She was formerly Miss
Lillie Greenough of Cambridge Massachusetts where she lived with her
grandfather Judge Fay in the fine old Fay mansion now the property of
As a child Miss Greenough developed the remarkable voice which later was
to make her well known and when only fifteen years of age her mother took
her to London to study under Garcia. Two years later Miss Greenough became
the wife of Charles Moulton the son of a well-known American banker who
had been a resident in Paris since the days of Louis Philippe. As Madame
Charles Moulton the charming American became an appreciated guest at the
court of Napoleon III. The Paris papers of the days of the Second Empire
are filled with the praises of her personal attractions and exquisite
After nine years of gaiety in the gayest city in the world came the war of
1870 and the Commune. Upon the fall of the Empire Mrs. Moulton returned
to America where Mr. Moulton died and a few years afterward she married
M. de Hegermann-Lindencrone at that time Danish Minister to the United
States and later successively his country's representative at Stockholm
Rome and Paris.
Few persons of her day have known so many of those whom the world has
counted great. Among her friends have been not only the ruling monarchs of
several countries and the most distinguished men and women of their
courts but almost all the really important figures in the world of music
of the past half-century among them Wagner Liszt Auber Gounod and
Rossini. And of many of these great men the letters give us glimpses of
the most fascinatingly intimate sort.
IN THE COURTS OF MEMORY
DEAR M.--You say in your last letter "Do tell me something about your
school." If I only had the time I could write volumes about my school
and especially about my teachers.
To begin with Professor Agassiz gives us lectures on zooelogy geology
and all other ologies and draws pictures on the blackboard of trilobites
and different fossils which is very amusing. We call him "Father Nature"
and we all adore him and try to imitate his funny Swiss accent.
Professor Pierce who is you know the greatest mathematician in the
world teaches us mathematics and has an awful time of it; we must be very
stupid for the more he explains the less we seem to understand and when
he gets on the rule of three we almost faint from dizziness. If he would
only explain the rule of one! The Harvard students say that his book on
mathematics is so intricate that not one of them can solve the problems.
We learn history and mythology from Professor Felton who is very near-
sighted wears broad-brimmed spectacles and shakes his curly locks at us
when he thinks we are frivolous. He was rather nonplussed the other day
when Louise Child read out loud in the mythology lesson something about
"Jupiter and ten." "What" cried Mr. Felton "what are you reading? You
mean 'Jupiter and Io' don't you?" "It says ten here" she answered.
Young Mr. Agassiz teaches us German and French; we read Balzac's _Les
Chouans_ and Schiller's _Wallenstein_.
Our Italian teacher Luigi Monti is a refugee from Italy and has a sad
and mysterious look in his black eyes; he can hardly speak English so we
have things pretty much our own way during the lessons for he cannot
correct us. One of the girls translating _capelli neri_ said "black
hats" and he never saw the mistake though we were all dying of laughter.
No one takes lessons in Greek from long-bearded fierce-eyed Professor
Evangelinus Apostolides Sophocles so he is left in peace. He does not
come more than once a week anyway and then only to say it is no use his
coming at all.
Cousin James Lowell replaces Mr. Longfellow the days he can't come. He
reads selections of "literary treasures" as he calls them and on which
he discourses at length. He seems very dull and solemn when he is in
school; not at all as he is at home. When he comes in of an afternoon and
reads his poems to aunty and to an admiring circle of cousins and sisters-
in-law they all roar with laughter particularly when he reads them with
a Yankee accent. He has such a rippling little giggle while reading that
it is impossible not to laugh.
The other day he said to me "Cousin Lillie I will take you out for a
walk in recess." I said "Nothing I should like better but I can't go."
"Why not?" said he. "Because I must go and be a beggar." "What do you
mean?" he asked. "I mean that there is a duet that Mrs. Agassiz favors
just now from Meyerbeer's 'Le Prophete' where she is beggar number one
and I am beggar number two." He laughed. "You are a lucky little beggar
anyway. I envy you." "Envy me? I thought you would pity me" I said. "No
I do not pity you I envy you being a beggar with a voice!"
I consider myself a victim. In recess when the other girls walk in Quincy
Street and eat their apples Mrs. Agassiz lures me into the parlor and
makes me sing duets with her and her sister Miss Carey. I hear the girls
filing out of the door while I am caged behind the piano singing "Hear
Me Norma" wishing Norma and her twins in Jericho.
There are about fourteen pupils now; we go every morning at nine o'clock
and stay till two o'clock. We climb up the three stories in the Agassiz
house and wait for our teachers who never are on time. Sometimes school
does not begin for half an hour.
Mrs. Agassiz comes in and we all get up to say good morning to her. As
there is nothing else left for her to teach she teaches us manners. She
looks us over and holds up a warning finger smilingly. She is so sweet
I don't wonder that you think it extraordinary that all these fine
teachers who are the best in Harvard College should teach us; but the
reason is that the Agassiz's have built a new house and find it difficult
to pay for it so their friends have promised to help them to start this
school and by lending their names they have put it on its legs so to
The other day I was awfully mortified. Mr. Longfellow who teaches us
literature explained all about rhythm measures and the feet used in
poetry. The idea of poetry having feet seemed so ridiculous that I thought
out a beautiful joke which I expected would amuse the school immensely;
so when he said to me in the lesson "Miss Greenough can you tell me what
blank verse is?" I answered promptly and boldly "Blank verse is like a
blank-book; there is nothing in it not even feet" and looked around for
admiration but only saw disapproval written everywhere and Mr.
Longfellow looking very grave passed on to the next girl. I never felt
so ashamed in my life.
Mr. Longfellow on passing our house told aunty that he was coming in the
afternoon to speak to me; aunty was worried and so was I but when he
came I happened to be singing Schubert's "Dein ist mein Herz" one of
aunty's songs and he said "Go on. Please don't stop." When I had
finished he said:
"I came to scold you for your flippancy this morning but you have only to
sing to take the words out of my mouth and to be forgiven."
"And I hope you will forget" I said penitently.
"I have already forgotten" he answered affectionately. "How can one be
angry with a dear little bird? But don't try again to be so witty."
"Never again I promise you."
"That's the dear girl you are and 'Dein ist mein Herz'!" He stooped down
and kissed me.
I burst into tears and kissed his hand. This is to show you what a dear
kind man Mr. Longfellow is.
[Illustration: THE FAY HOUSE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS]
CAMBRIDGE _June 1857._
If you were here dear mama I would sing "Oh Wake and Call Me Early
Call Me Early Mother Dear" for I am to dance the quadrille on the
"Green" on Class Day. To be asked by a Harvard graduate to be one of the
four girls to dance is a great compliment. All the college windows are
full of people gazing at you and just think of the other girls who are
filled with envy fuller than the windows!
Aunty is "pestered" (as she calls it) to death by people wanting me to
sing for their charities. Every one has a pet charity which it seems must
be attended to just at this time and they clamor for help from me and
aunty has not the courage to say "no." Therefore about once a week I am
dressed in the white muslin and the black shoes which is my gala get-up
and a carriage is sent for me. Then aunty and I are driven to the Concert
Hall where when my turn comes I go on the platform and sing "Casta
Diva" "Ah non Credea" etc. and if I am encored then I sing "Coming
Thro' the Rye."
I am sure every one says that it is a shame to make me sing but they make
me sing all the same. I enjoy the applause and the excitement--who would
not? What I do _not_ enjoy is being obliged to sing in church every
Sunday. Dr. Hoppin has persuaded aunty to let me help in the choir; that
is to sing the Anthem and the "Te Deum" but it amounts to my doing about
all the singing. Don't you think this is cruel? However there is one hymn
I love to sing and that is "Shout the Glad Tidings Exultingly Sing." I
put my whole heart and soul in this and soon find myself shouting the
"glad tidings" all alone my companions having left me in the lurch.
We laughed very much at aunty's efforts in the Anti-slavery movement (just
now at its height) when all Massachusetts has risen up with a bound in
order to prove that the blacks are as good as the whites (if not better)
and should have all their privileges. She wishing to demonstrate this
point introduced Joshua Green a little colored boy (the washerwoman's
son) into the Sunday-school class. The general indignation among the
white boys did not dismay her as she hoped that Joshua would come up to
the mark. The answer to the first question in the catechism (what is your
name?) he knew and answered boldly "Joshua Green." But the second
question "Who made you?" was the stumbling-block. He sometimes answered
"Father" and sometimes "Mother." Aunty being afraid that he would
answer "Miss Fay" had him come to the house during the week where she
could din into him that it was God who made him and all creation. "Now
Joshua when Dr. Hoppin says to you 'Who made you?' you must answer
'God who made everything on earth and in heaven'--you understand?" "Yes
ma'am" and repeated the phrase until aunty thought him ripe to appear at
Sunday-school which he did on the following Sunday. You may imagine
aunty's consternation when Dr. Hoppin asked Joshua "Who made you?" and
Joshua looked at aunty with a broad grin showing all his teeth and said
"Lor' Miss Fay I forget who you said it was." This was aunty's last
effort to teach the blacks. She repeated this episode to Mr. Phillips
Brooks who in return told her an amusing story of a colored man who had
been converted to the Catholic religion and went one day to confession
(he seems not to have been very sure about this function). The priest said
to him "Israel what have you to confess? Have you been perfectly honest
since the last time? No thefts?"
"None at all? Stolen no chickens?"
"No sir; not one."
Then the priest gave absolution. Outside the church Israel found the
companions whom he had left waiting for him.
"Well how did you get on?" they asked.
"Bully!" answered Israel. "But if he'd said ducks he'd have got me."
Cousin James Lowell said: "See how a negro appreciates the advantages of
DEAR L.--A family council was held yesterday and it is now quite decided
that mama is to take me to Europe and that I shall study singing with the
best masters. We will first go to New York for a visit of ten days with
Mr. and Mrs. Cooley. I shall see New York and hear a little music; and
then we start for Europe on the 17th in the _Commodore Vanderbilt_.
DEAR AUNT--We have now been here a week and I feel ashamed that I have
not written to you before but I have been doing a great deal. The Cooleys
have a gorgeous house in Fifth Avenue furnished with every luxury one can
imagine. The sitting-room dining-room library and a conservatory next
to the billiard-room are down-stairs; up-stairs are the drawing-rooms
(first second and third) which open into a marble-floored Pompeian
room with a fountain. Then comes mama's and my bed-room with bath-room
attached. On the third floor the family have their apartment. We have been
many times to the opera and heard an Italian tenor called Brignoli whom
people are crazy over. He has a lovely voice and sings in "Trovatore."
Last night when he sang "Di quella pira" people's enthusiasm knew no
bounds. They stood up and shouted and ladies waved their handkerchiefs;
he had to repeat it three times and each time people got wilder. Nina and
I clapped till our gloves were in pieces and our arms actually ached.
A Frenchman by the name of Musard has brought over a French orchestra and
is playing French music at the opera-house. People are wild over him also.
Madame La Grange who they say is a fine lady in her own country is
singing in "The Huguenots." She has rather a thin voice but vocalizes
beautifully. Nina and I weep over the hard fate of Valentine who has to
be present when her husband is conspiring against the Huguenots knowing
that her lover is listening behind the curtain and can't get away. The
priests come in and bless the conspiracy all the conspirators holding
their swords forward to be blessed. This music is really too splendid for
words and we enjoy it intensely.
Mr. Bancroft the celebrated historian invited us to dinner and after
dinner they asked me to sing. I had to accompany myself. Every one
pretended that they were enchanted. Just for fun at the end I sang
"Three Little Kittens Took Off Their Mittens to Eat a Christmas Pie" and
one lady (would you believe it?) said she wept tears of joy and had cold
shivers down her back. When I sang "For We Have Found Our Mittens" there
was she said such a jubilant ring in my voice that her heart leaped for
Mr. Bancroft sent me the next day a volume of Bryant's poems with the
dedication "To Miss Lillie Greenough in souvenir of a never-forgetable
evening." I made so many acquaintances and received so many invitations
that if we should stay much longer here there would be nothing left of me
to take to Europe.
I will write as soon as we arrive on the other side. On whatever side I
am I am always your loving niece who thinks that there is no one in the
wide world to compare to you that no one is as clever as you that no one
can sing like you and that there never was any one who can hold a candle
to you. There!
BREMEN _August 1859._
DEAR AUNT--At last we have arrived at our journey's end and we are happy
to have got out of and away from the steamer where we have been cooped up
for the last weeks. However we had a very gay time during those weeks
and some very sprightly companions. Among them a runaway couple; he was a
Mr. Aulick Palmer but I don't know who she was. One could have learned it
easily enough for the asking as they were delighted to talk about
themselves and their elopement and how they did it. It was their favorite
topic of conversation. I was intensely interested in them; I had never
been so near a romance in my life. They had been married one hour when
they came on board; she told her parents that she was going out shopping
and then after the marriage wrote a note to them to say that she was
married and off to Europe adding that she was not sorry for what she had
done. He is a handsome man tall and dark; she is a jolly buxom blonde
with a charming smile which shows all her thirty and something teeth and
makes her red thick lips uncurl. I thought for such a newly married
couple they were not at all sentimental which I should have supposed
natural. She became sea-sick directly and he called attention to her as
she lay stretched out on a bench looking dreadfully green in the face: "We
are a sick couple--home-sick love-sick and sea-sick."
The captain who thought himself a wag but who forgot every morning what
he had wagged about the day before would say for his daily greeting "Wie
[as the Germans say] befinden sie sich?" He thought the pun on sea-sick
was awfully funny and would laugh uproariously. He said to Mr. Palmer
"Why are you not like a melon?" We all guessed. One person said "Because
he was not meloncholic [Aulick]." But all the guesses were wrong. "No"
said the captain "it is because the melon can't elope and you can." He
thought himself very funny and was rather put out that we did not think
him so and went on repeating the joke to every one on the boat _ad
DEAREST A.--We arrived here as we intended on the 27th.... We easily
found Garcia's address and drove there without delay. I was very anxious
to see the "greatest singing master in the world" and there he was
standing before me looking very much as I had imagined him; but not like
any one I had ever seen before. He has grayish hair and a black mustache
expressive big eyes and such a fascinating smile! Mama said having heard
of his great reputation she wished that he would consent to give me a
_few_ lessons. He smiled and answered that if I would kindly sing
something for him he could better judge how much teaching I required. I
replied--I was so sure of myself--that if he would accompany "Qui la
voce" I would sing that. "Ha ha!" he cried with a certain sarcasm. "By
all means let us have that" and sat down before the piano while I spread
out the music before him. I sang and thought I sang very well; but he
just looked up into my face with a very quizzical expression and said
"How long have you been singing Mademoiselle?" Mama answered for me
before I could speak. "She has sung Monsieur since she was a very small
He was not at all impressed by this but said "I thought so." Then he
continued. "You say you would like to take some lessons of me?" I was
becoming very humble and said meekly that I hoped he would give me
some. "Well Mademoiselle you have a very wonderful voice but you have
not the remotest idea how to sing." What a come-down! I who thought I had
only to open my mouth to be admired and only needed a _few_ finishing
touches to make me perfect to be told that I had "not the remotest idea
how to sing"!
Mama and I both gasped for breath and I could have cried for
disappointment as well as mortification. However I felt he was right
and strange to say mama felt so too. He said "Take six months' rest and
don't sing a single note then come back to me." When he saw the
crestfallen look on my face he added kindly "Then we shall see
We leave for Dresden this evening.... Love to all.
LONDON _May 1860._
DEAR A.--I have not written since we left the kind V. Rensselaers in