Love Affairs of the Courts of Europe

Thornton Hall
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Love Affairs of the Courts of Europe

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Title: Love affairs of the Courts of Europe
Author: Thornton Hall
Release Date: May 9, 2004 [EBook #12309]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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LOVE AFFAIRS OF THE COURTS OF EUROPE
BY
THORNTON HALL, F.S.A.,
Barrister-at-Law,
Author of "Love romancies of the Aristocracy", "Love intrigues of Royal Courts", etc., etc.

TO
MY COUSIN,
LENORE

CONTENTS
CHAP
I. A COMEDY QUEEN II. THE "BONNIE PRINCE'S" BRIDE III. THE PEASANT AND THE EMPRESS IV. A CROWN THAT FAILED V. A QUEEN OF HEARTS VI. THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER VII. A PRINCESS OF MYSTERY VIII. THE KING AND THE "LITTLE DOVE" IX. THE ROMANCE OF THE BEAUTIFUL SWEDE X. THE SISTER OF AN EMPEROR XI. A SIREN OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY XII. THE CORSICAN AND THE CREOLE XIII. THE ENSLAVER OF A KING XIV. AN EMPRESS AND HER FAVOURITES XV. A SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY CINDERELLA XVI. BIANCA, GRAND DUCHESS OF TUSCANY XVII. RICHELIEU, THE ROU¨¦ XVIII. THE INDISCRETIONS OF A PRINCESS XIX. THE INDISCRETIONS OF A PRINCESS--continued XX. THE LOVE-AFFAIRS OF A REGENT XXI. A DELILAH OF THE COURT OF FRANCE XXII. THE "SUN-KING" AND THE WIDOW XXIII. A THRONED BARBARIAN XXIV. A FRIEND OF MARIE ANTOINETTE XXV. THE RIVAL SISTERS XXVI. THE RIVAL SISTERS--continued XXVII. A MISTRESS OF INTRIGUE XXVIII. AN ILL-FATED MARRIAGE XXIX. AN ILL-FATED MARRIAGE--continued

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
BIANCA CAPELLO BONAVENTURA GRAND DUCHESS OF TUSCANY
CATHERINE THE SECOND OF RUSSIA
COUNT GREGORY ORLOFF
DESIR¨¦E CLARY
JOSEPHINE DE BEAUHARNAIS, EMPRESS (BY PRUD'HON)
LOLA MONTEZ, COUNTESS OF LANDSFELD
LUDWIG I., KING OF BAVARIA
FRANCESCO I., GRAND DUKE OF TUSCANY
CAROLINE OF BRUNSWICK, WIFE OF GEORGE IV

LOVE AFFAIRS OF THE COURTS OF EUROPE
CHAPTER I
A COMEDY QUEEN
"It was to a noise like thunder, and close clasped in a soldier's embrace, that Catherine I. made her first appearance in Russian history."
History, indeed, contains few chapters more strange, more seemingly impossible, than this which tells the story of the maid-of-all-work--the red-armed, illiterate peasant-girl who, without any dower of beauty or charm, won the idolatry of an Emperor and succeeded him on the greatest throne of Europe. So obscure was Catherine's origin that no records reveal either her true name or the year or place of her birth. All that we know is that she was cradled in some Livonian village, either in Sweden or Poland, about the year 1685, the reputed daughter of a serf-mother and a peasant-father; and that her numerous brothers and sisters were known in later years by the name Skovoroshtchenko or Skovronski. The very Christian name by which she is known to history was not hers until it was given to her by her Imperial lover.
It is not until the year 1702, when the future Empress of the Russias was a girl of seventeen, that she makes her first dramatic appearance on the stage on which she was to play so remarkable a part. Then we find her acting as maid-servant to the Lutheran pastor of Marienburg, scrubbing his floors, nursing his children, and waiting on his resident pupils, in the midst of all the perils of warfare. The Russian hosts had for weeks been laying siege to Marienburg; and the Commandant, unable to defend the town any longer against such overwhelming odds, had announced his intention to blow up the fortress, and had warned the inhabitants to leave the town.
Between the alternatives of death within the walls and the enemy without, Pastor Gl¨¹ck chose the latter; and sallying forth with his family and maid-servant, threw himself on the mercy of the Russians who promptly packed him off to Moscow a prisoner. For Martha (as she seems to have been known in those days) a different fate was reserved. Her red lips, saucy eyes, and opulent figure were too seductive a spoil to part with, General Sh¨¦r¨¦m¨¦tief decided, and she was left behind, a by no means reluctant hostage.
Peter's soldiers, now that victory was assured, were holding high revel of feasting and song and dancing. They received the new prisoner literally with open arms, and almost before she had wiped the tears from her eyes, at parting from her nurslings, she was capering gaily to the music of hautboy and fiddle, with the arm of a stalwart soldier round her waist.
"Suddenly," says Waliszewski, "a fearful explosion overthrew the dancers, cut the music short, and left the servant-maid, fainting with terror, in the arms of a dragoon."
Thus did Martha, the "Siren of the Kitchen," dance her way into Russian history,
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