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romato ask permblished an acether within at
Upsala, was engaged on the compilation of his historical romance about Aurora von Königsmarck,* it occurred to him to ask permission to examine the letters at Löberöd. In 1847 he published an account of them in a German popular literary journal,† together with a series of extracts which he reproduced in the same year in an appendix to the second volume of his romance. I On the death of Count de la Gardie the correspondence, together with other historical papers, became the property of the University of Lund, though it is stated not to have been mentioned in the Count's act of donation.
An incomplete copy of the correspondence was made (according to Mr. Wilkins, within the years 1848-50) by J. H. Gadd, at the time assistant-librarian in Lund, for the use of Count Albert von der Schulenburg-Klosterroda, a well-known Saxon diplomatist and an historical writer of much shrewdness and insight. He was then preparing a book, actually published not long afterwards,|| which was to furnish the first critical survey of the materials for the history of Sophia Dorothea and her catastrophe. An incomplete transcript of the letters, which bad convinced him of their genuineness, was presented by hiin to the late Mrs. Everett Green, and remains in private hands. But a complete copy of the Lund correspondence was afterwards made for her through her publisher, the late Mr. Colburn, and analysed, numbered, and arranged by her with the indefatigable care which her long and arduous labours had made second nature to her. She was at the time contemplating a history of the queens of the House of Hanover, but after she had abandoned this design she, in April, 1870, sold this copy to the British Museum, where it is at present preserved, with her notes and an extremely significant letter from Count Schulenburg. I
* Aurora Königsmarck och hennes slägt' (Örebrö, 1847). of Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung,' July 1-6, 1847. Both journal and romance are now before us.
| Palmblad's reckless attempt to carry back the date of the commencement of the correspondence to 1688, or even 1687, and that of the beginning of an intimacy between the pair to 1685, justly resented by Köcher, is well refuted by Mr. Wilkins, pp. 189-191.
$ Beaucaire, p. 135 note. M. de Beaucaire does not believe in the genuineness of the letters, which he is one of the few to have been at the pains of personally inspecting. 11 'Die Herzogin von Ahlden' (Leipzig, 1852).
Additional MS. 28259.
The general appearance and condition of the letters themselves are described by Mr. Wilkins, so far as our remembrance of them serves, with perfect fidelity. Königsmarck's he describes as written, some on note-paper, some on loose scraps, of course without envelopes, but at times sealed “in
red or black wax, with the device of a little heart within a ' large one, and the motto, Così fosse il vostro dentro il mio.' None are addressed in name to the Princess, but one is directed to . Mademoiselle la Frole de Knesebeck, à Zelle,' another à la Gouvernante,' and the very last of the series to 'la Frole de Kronbugler. The letters professing to come from the Princess are written on paper of good quality, generally uniform, without either envelope or seal and superscription. They are, according to Mr. Wilkins, written in two handwritings, which in his opinion bears out the
theory that some were written by the Princess in her own "hand, and others (for motives of secrecy) at the Princess's 'dictation. Unfortunately, he only gives a photograph of the calligraphy which there is no reason for regarding as the Princess's own, but which may possibly be that of her confidante. There remains, however, the second handwriting of the letters at Lund attributed to the Princess. A photograph of this, kindly taken for us at the Lund Library, we have by the courtesy of the Hanoverian authorities been enabled to compare with a photograph of an undoubtedly genuine letter addressed by Sophia Dorothea to the Electress Sophia on the death of the Elector Ernest Augustus 'in January, 1698, and preserved in the Hanover archives. Allowing for the interval of time and for the difference of circumstances under which the love-letters to Königsmarck and the formal letters to the Electress were respectively written, we bave no hesitation in stating that it is impossible after placing the handwritings side by side to assert that there is no resemblance between them. We have also had an opportunity of comparing a photograph of Königsmarck's (abbreviated) signature with photographs of genuine signatures of his preserved at Lund and at Hanover respectively, and no doubt whatever is left in our mind as to the genuineness of the (abbreviated) signature in the impugned correspondence.
Even more marked than the contrast between the handwritings of the correspondents-clear and elegant in the case of the lady, decadent and unkempt in that of her lover-is the difference of style. With the exception of one or two letters in German,* and an occasional deplorable attempt by the Colonel at quoting verse in the same tongue, the letters are entirely in French. The French spelling of the Königsmarck letters is so atrocious as, according to Professor Köcher, to argue a strange audacity in the forger; but we could cap these blunders by a similar series from the hand of Sophia Dorothea's husband.t The diction of the letters attributed to her is, so far as we have observed, natural and easy, such as might have been looked for in the child of a French mother, and their old-fashioned spelling is only varied by a reasonable proportion of inaccuracies. More importance, however, attaches to what underlies style, or is too strong for it. The tone of the cavalier in this correspondence has a general tendency to coarseness, and is often extremely gross. Occasionally he falls into a tone which reminds us only too forcibly of the character given by Stepney to Königsmarck after his disaster—that of a loose fish whom he had long known, and would always have avoided. At other times he allows himself allusions to his intimacy with the Princess which seem expressly designed to convict her of understanding them. The letters ascribed to her, though instinct with the twin passions of love and jealousy, nearly always remain within the bounds of good manners. They are exceedingly diffuse, while those sent in reply at times betray a sense of difficulty as to filling the sheet. All this, and much else that cannot of course be
* Viz., one from Königsmarck early in the correspondence, and another towards its close, which mentions Diest (in Brabant) as the expected winter quarters of the Brunswick-Lüneburg troops. It seems to have actually been such in 1693-4. (Cramer, vol. i. pp. 33-4.) Count Schulenburg's MS. also contains copies of two letters from the Princess of Hesse-Cassel, apparently written out by Sophia Dorothea with considerable trouble.
+ Königsmarck in the Lund letters writes saite for "cette ;' qui lia for qu'il y a;' astor for 'à cette heure;' schair for 'chère;' schanselles for chancelez,' &c. Prince George Lewis in two letters to his mother of August and September, 1693 (ap. Kemble, 'State Papers, &c.,' pp. 131-2), writes mais fraires for 'mes frères ; ' lon maine for 'l'on mène;' naux for ‘nos;' sed une for c'est une;' seusqui for "ce qui,' &c.
Professor Köcher points out that Königsmarck is not very differently described in the “Roman Octavia,' although the author of that romance was well disposed towards him.
§ M. de Beaucaire, to be sure, points out an instance to the contrary; but whatever may have been the case at Celle, the ' bienséances' of speech must have been easily forgotten at Hanover.
regarded as direct evidence, invest this correspondence with a general air of verisimilitude. Nor does it, in the references made by the writers to other persons, exhibit that kind of consistency which a forger could hardly but have sought to impart to them. In these letters Königsmarck, except when calling up the image of Sophia Dorothea's husband as such, refers to him with perfect good humour; and she gives quite a matter-of-fact account of a quarrel between her parents.
A complicated though not very profound system of cipher in some measure obscures the text of these letters and their references to contemporary events and personages. * But far more difficulty is caused by the condition of confusion into which the letters had fallen, a large proportion of them having lost either the first or the last page, and only a minority being headed by a notice of the place or complete date of the time of writing. Although much had been done by his predecessors towards bringing order into this chaos, Mr. Wilkins deserves great credit for having chosen the only sure way of controlling the sequence of these letters, as well as of testing the general authority of the statements contained in them. It is certainly strange that, while hardly any attempt has hitherto been made to controvert any of these statements, † their general correctness should
* The intention of most of the recurring pseudonyms is for the most part obvious. It is, perhaps, not quite clear why le Réformeur' should stand for the Electoral Prince; and one would be glad to be able to identify le Barbouilleur' (the spoiler of paper) with some officious member of the Hanoverian Court or Government. ' Don Diego' and 'La Romaine' flippantly signify the Elector and Electress ; and le Grondeur' and 'La Pédagogue' the Princess's parents. Aurora figures appropriately as “L'Avanturière,' and the indispensable Fräulein von dem Knesebeck as `La Confidante,' or under other obvious aliases ; Countess Platen is more mysteriously 'La Perspective.' Sophia Dorothea herself is most frequently designated by the sobriquet of La Petite Louche,' or under the high-flown name of 'Léonisse,' borrowed, as Königsmarck himself explains, from the Duo de Bourbon's romance, 'Le Prince de Tarente.' The numerical cipher for proper names and places is less transparent, but already M. Gadd found out its guiding principle, in ignorance of which Palemblad bad made havoc of the meaning of some of the letters. In addition, the letters make use of another easy numerical cypher for words of importance, while some of those ascribed to Königsmarck further resort to a perfectly futile kind of cryptogram.
† Professor Köcher considers that the observations of the Princess in the correspondence (cf. Wilkins, p. 430) concerning her marriage
porary one instance But Sir Willia Mr. Wilkins's in the lat
now for the first time have been demonstrated by applying to a series of them the familiar criterion of undesigned
coincidences.' Taking a hint perhaps from a note of Mrs. Green's, Mr. Wilkins has very effectively used for this purpose the despatches and letters of Sir William Dutton Colt, who, as mentioned above, was English envoy at Celle and Hanover from the middle of 1689 till shortly before his death in August 1693. As it happened, he was early in the latter year sent on a special mission to Dresden, and was afterwards very little at the Brunswick-Lüneburg Courts, so that (with one exception) his despatches only cover the period from July 1689 to December 1692.* His successor (Cresset) did not take up his diplomatic duties till January 169 +, so that his despatches are not contemporary with the Lund correspondence, though Mr. Wilkins has in one instance found in them a passage of significance for his purpose. t But Sir William Colt's letters, in which we have easily verified most of Mr. Wilkins's quotations, suffice. A few similar parallelisms occur in the late J. M. Kemble's well-known collection of State Papers
and Correspondence' (1688-1714); unluckily, Herr von Malortie's memoranda of the Court of Hanover under Ernest Augustus and Sophia (1847) contain nothing of consequence as to the years 1691-4, except a diary of the carnival of 1693, at which time there is a gap in the Lund correspondence. Possibly some further light might be obtainable from the 'Hanover' volumes in the Paris archives; for though the younger de Gourville's special mission to the Brunswick-Lüneburg Courts came to an end in January 1689, M. de Balati had returned thither after contract are opposed to the authentic documents and warranted facts. We have no space for discussing the matter here ; but we venture to submit that, at all events, the practical effect of the contract was very much that complained of in the passage in question- quite apart from the way in which the settlement was treated at the time of the divorce. M. de Beaucaire (p. 136 note), though his opinion on the handwriting of the letters deserves attention, has little beyond 'improbabilities' to urge against their text.
* They are preserved at the Record Office, partly in a volume in. cluding those of his successor, and partly in a series of copies which come to an abrupt end in 1692, but to which no sequel exists.
† About the time when, according to the letters, Sophia Dorothea was supremely anxious to obtain a sum of money for her own use, and when her mother had offered to sell her jewels for the purpose, the latier was, according to Cresset, desirous of paying thirty or forty thousand crowns 'd fond perdu into our bank.'