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compelled the abandonment of the project: but it was not long before the parents in the same unceremonious way conferred her on the Baron von Krüdener, a very distinguished diplomatist under Catherine of Russia, who had been ambassador at Madrid and Warsaw. At the time of her marriage she was only Jeighteen, and her husband was only two years short of forty. He was a man whose whole soul and taste lay in his diplomatic life; he had been twice married and twice divorced already. For the rest, he appears to have been a rather dull and decent fellow, very fond of her and indulgent to her; but Fräulein von Vietinghoff appears clearly to have gone into the connection with the full assurance that it was her fate and not her choice. She said candidly, “ If they will marry me to a man to whom my heart does not incline, I shall expect him to allow me complete enjoyment of my tastes, and whatever my vanity demands." Her husband had already a daughter of nine years old, whose care and education the young stepmother, not out of her teens, was neither qualified nor anxious to discharge.
This education, terminated by this bargain of a marriage, laid the sure foundation of all the errors and aberrations of Madame von Krüdener's life for many years. Her husband became successively Russian Ambassador at Venice, Copenhagen, and Berlin. In all these cities Madame von Krüdener had to receive her husband's guests, and to live in the midst of the highest society, as became the wife of such a man. In Venice and in Italy, everywhere, she found herself as in a paradise. The charms of the climate and of the society were all that she could imagine of delightful. She was the centre of a brilliant circle where she was admired even to worship. At Venice, her portrait was painted by Angelica Kauffmann. Here a circumstance occurred which made a deep and lasting impression on her. Alexander von Stakieff, an attaché of the embassage, fell deeply in love with her--common report says that he committed suicide in consequence, but this was not the case; he took a much wiser course; he withdrew himself from the embassy, leaving a letter for Baron von Krüdener explaining the reason. Twice after in their lives Stakieff and Madame von Krüdener met, and on each occasion Stakieff conducted himself with the greatest propriety. Baron von Krüdener had made his wife acquainted with the fact of Stakieff's attachment, and it is evident how much this event had dwelt on her mind, as she afterwards made it the subject of her celebrated novel, Valérie.
Copenhagen did not much please Madame von Krüdener, and still less the atmosphere of the Court of Berlin, where the amiable and unfortunate Queen Louisa alone awoke a lively and lasting sympathy in her soul. Madame von Krüdener had two children—her son Paul, who became like his father a diplomatist, and a daughter who married a Baron von Berkheim, and who, both before and after her marriage was her constant companion. Herr von Berkheim became one of her most firm and zealous adherents in her future religious labours. But all this time, except in her children, Madame von Krüdener found no home life which answered to her vivid yearnings after enjoyment. Her husband's mind was fully engrossed and satisfied with his diplomatic affairs. He seems to have put little restraint on his wife, and she sought for her happiness where she thought she could find it. She loved gay and intellectual society. She was formed to shine in the highest and the most brilliant, and she loved to shine there. She was ambitious of a literary and worldly distinction too. She had no lack of that vanity of a woman of talent and beauty, which she had declared that she should indulge. She had an ample income from an estate left her by her father, and she made frequent excursions to Paris and to Switzerland, and stayed there for many months together, whilst her husband plodded on amid his state affairs, and must have found his home very dreary. In Paris she made a great friendship with St. Pierre, the author of Paul and Virginia; with Chateaubriand, and others. In 1793, in Germany, we find her making a visit, though only of an hour, to Jean Paul Richter, then in the zenith of his fame, who was wonderfully fascinated by her. Jean Paul said in a letter to a friend, 6. That unlike as Madame Krüdener was to all other women, so was the impression she had made upon him different from that of all other women,” and he wrote to her :-" The hour in which I saw you floats like the evening glow still lower beneath the horizon. You came like a dream, and fed like a dream, and I still live in a dream." Jean Paul and Madame. von Krüdener continued to correspond for years. At Geneva, Madame von Krüdener found a great friend in Madame de Stael and was constantly one of the brilliant coterie at Coppet.
In one of her long sojourns in France, which she excused to her husband on the ground of necessity for seeking health, she made the acquaintance of a young officer at Montpellier, Count de Fregeville, who soon acquired a complete hold on her affections. In consequence of this connection, Madame von Krüdener solicited a divorce from her husband, who would not hear of it, but received her back again, as if it were enough for him that she sate at the head of his table, and did the honours of his house. After the death of her father, however, she made another of her journeys into Germany and Switzerland. Her husband wrote her a letter, in which he upbraided her with her desertion of her home and of him in a strain of gentleness which must have made itself deeply felt; and the news soon after of his sudden death came upon her like a thunder-clap, and caused her to review in a remorseful mood her past life and conduct towards him. Again, however, she returned to the usual career of her life of fashion; went to Paris, published her Valérie, and basked in the reputation and the flatteries of the literary and gay world, which it and her elegant entertainments brought her. We pass the more lightly over this portion of her life to the subsequent one, in which she came forth in a new character. Hitherto, with all her charms, talents, and accomplishments, she was but one of the thousand butterflies of aristocratic existence, who clothe their follies and vices with a delusive grace, die, and are forgotten. Providence had a nobler sphere of action in reserve for her.
She had passed some time on her estate at Kossé, and had returned to her house in Riga. One day, as she sat thoughtfully at her window, a young nobleman rode up the street, looked up, saw her, made his greeting, and in the same instant fell by a stroke of apoplexy dead from his horse. The terror of this sight went home to her soul and conscience. The idea of death came with a new and awful force. 66 Who knows how near I am to my own end ?" was her thought. Had she laid up treasure for the mysterious eternity ; She had acquired a dubious fame on earth; but how had she prepared for the other side of existence? What would be all her reputation and distinction in the presence of the Omniscient? These reflections sunk into the depths of her heart. She had no peace night nor day. The night terrified her; the day did not relieve her. She shut herself up from all society, and brooded over her condition. Sending, however, for a shoemaker to measure her for shoes, she was struck with the marvellous expression of happiness in the man's face. “My friend,” she said, “ you are happy!” “ The happiest of men!” replied the shoemaker. All day and all night she pondered on the causes of this very poor fellow's happiness, and with the next morning she hastened to his humble dwelling. She found that he was a Moravian by profession. In her conversation with him he soon pointed her to the sole source of happiness, faith in Christ and in full forgiveness of all sins though they might be as scarlet, in and through Him. Madame von Krüdener went back a new woman. She neither sought for instruction or consolation from bishops, priests or confessors; she went to the humble Society to which this poor man belonged, and by what she heard in its teachings and in conversation with its ministers and members, a new existence broke upon her, more lovely, more inspiriting, more glorious than all her dreams and quests of enjoyment in the most intoxicating regions of this life. She commenced an eager and persevering study of the Scriptures; and in a while she camel forth into the world again learned in the simplicity of the truth. She had not sought for truth at the secondary conduits of Greek or Roman or Protestant professors, but had gone to the fountain-head of Christ and His Gospel, and by this means she came forth free from all human sophistications, canons and traditional cobwebs of human churches and creeds; armed with a power above all such powers ; fed and invigorated by the Bread of Life and the Water of Life, eternally administered to the hungering
and thirsting soul from the banqueting hall of God and His Son, where the banner of Almighty love is over all His children. She had no longer any ambition to shine before men, but to hold up to them the lamp of faith by which every man who cometh into the world may be enlightened, and in which all human glory is veiled in the glory of the Divine, and is hidden with God in the fulness of his unspeakable felicity. She was prepared to suffer shame and persecution for the testimony of the one great Truth; henceforth her creed and doctrine,—the pardon of all sins through the love of God in Christ. This she was prepared to preach to the highest and the lowest, and spend in preaching the Gospel to the poor, not only her strength of body and of intellect, but her worldly wealth to the last farthing.. In this she persisted to the end, and in this practice of pure and primitive Christianity is found the key to all her successes, her sorrows, her persecutions by kings, republics, and church-made ministers alike; for her walk in the freedom and the liberality of the Gospel was a standing censure on them all. Christ and his Apostles went forth as lambs amongst wolves; and whoever goes through life as they did, not in the mere name, but in the full and faithful discharge of the magnificent unselfishness of living, unmutilated Christianity, the love of God to the death, and the love of our neighbour as ourself, must always experience the same fate. This is the immutable law of heaven-this is the eternal verdict of the earth.
Madame Krüdener now prepared to commence the campaign of Christian duty. She put her estate into able hands, so that it might be well managed and the proceeds duly sent to her. She cut off all frivolous and unnecessary correspondence; she changed her intercourse from the fashionable world to the world of piety and usefulness, and began that work of spreading the knowledge of the Truth and of ministering to the wants of the poor, which continued her work ever after. In the winter 1806 she was, however, suffering an affection of the nerves, in the following summer sought relief at Wiesbaden an
pretentious is that of the very clever journal of its day, the London Magazine, in which Charles Lamb, Hazlitt, Bowring, Leigh Hunt, &c., wrote, and whose unfortunate editor, John Scott, was shot in a duel at Chalk Farm, originating in his severe retort on Lockhart for his most offensive personalties towards the writers of the so-called Cockney school.
On the Continent the biographical and critical notices of Madame von Krüdener have displayed the same conflicting features—the excess of partizan eulogy on the one hand, the excess of misrepresentation on the other. We have at length, I believe, obtained a just and authentic estimate of her character and actions in a handsome volume published at Bern in July of the past year, 1868, under the title of Frau von Krüdener ein Zeitgemälde. The author, of this “Picture of the Time," I regret to say, has not favoured us with his name, probably having sufficient reasons for withholding it in the religious jealousies still existing in Switzerland in the clerical mind in connection with the very home-thrusting Christianity of Madame von Krüdener, and the expulsion of her and her minister and friends from that country. But the author, it appears from the work, is a descendant of Madame von Krüdener's, and as he has not only based his narrative on the best works, German and French, concerning his distinguished ancestress, but has added many private letters and facts known to the family, we may feel satisfied that this is the most complete work that we are likely to have on the subject. The writer appends a list of his printed authorities to his book, amounting to twenty, with the exception of Eynard's Vie de Madame Krüdener, in two vols. ; and Empeytas's Notices sur l'Empereur Alexander I., chiefly in German. He seems very impartially to have weighed these authorities, and displays no desire to veil the faults of his heroine, nor to overstate her merits. If to the references of the author we add Brescius und Seiler, Beiträge zu einer Characteristic der Frau v. Krüdener, Berlin, 1818, and Wraxall and Wehrman's Memoires of Queen Hortense, we have the chief memoirs and criticisms on this lady, a mass of writing which demonstrate the great interest which she excited in her day.
Let us then endeavour to sketch a brief history of this extraordinary woman, who not only preached openly and from land to land the most bold and unequivocal principles of the Christian religion, but announced to the astonished and incredulous ears of kings coming events, which at the moment appeared the mere dreams of an enthusiast, but which quickly proved themselves the most startling realities, shocks of a political earthmwake which had awoke not the slightest foreboding in the acutest