Page images

one side the Faubourg of Leopoldstadt, from the Prater, reckoned the finest promenade in Europe. There are many splendid palaces in the Faubourgs. Among the most conspicuous, are those of Prince Schwartzenberg, and Prince Adam Ausberg, &c.

&c. I had the honour of being patronised by Prince Ausberg. His Highness employed a great number of workmen at his own expense in a manufactory for steel, and al} kinds of hardware, which he had established. I have seen some things from his fabrique, which would not lose by comparison with the excellent workmanship of Mr. Bolton's manufactories at Birmingham. His Highness also was a great patron of musical performances. He had a beautiful theatre in his palace, at which I saw the Countess Hatzfield perform inimitably well, in Gluck's serious opera of “ Alceste."-She was a charming woman, and full of talent.

The Prater, as I said before, I consider the finest public promenade in Europe, far surpassing in variety our own beautiful Hyde Park. It is about four miles in length; on each side of the road are fine chesnut trees, and a number of avenues and retired drives. These roads, on spring and summer evenings, are thronged with carriages. On all sides, as in our Hyde Park and Bushy Park, deer are seen quietly grazing, and gazing at. the passing crowds. At the end of the principal avenue is an excellent tavern, besides which, in many other parts of this enchanting spot, there are innumerable cabarets, frequented by people of all ranks in the evening, who immediately after dinner proceed thither to regale themselves with their favourite dish, fried chickens, cold ham, and sausages; white beer, and Hoffner wines, by way of dessert; and stay there until a late hour: dancing, music, and every description of merriment prevail; and every evening, when not professionally engaged, I was sure to be in the midst of it.

The Danube runs through part of this charming retreat. One evening Salieri proposed to me to accompany him to the Prater. At this time he was composing his opera of Tarrare, for the grand Opera House at Paris. At the back of the cabaret where we had been taking refreshments, near the banks of the Danube, we seated ourselves by the river side; he took from his pocket a sketch of that subsequently popular air which he had that morning composed, Ah! povero Calpigi. While he was singing it to me with great earnestness and gesticulation, I cast my eyes towards the river, and spied a large wild boar crossing it, near the place where we were seated. I took to my heels, and the composer followed me, leaving “ Povero



Calpigi,” and (what was worse) a flagon of excel lent Rhenish wine behind us, which was to me a greater bore than the bristly animal whose visit seemed intended for us. The story was food for much laughter, when we were out of danger. Salieri, indeed, would make a joke of any thing, for he was a very pleasant man, and much

a esteemed at Vienna ; and I considered myself in high luck to be noticed by him.

Shortly after I had presented my letter to him, Marshal Lacy did me the honour to invite me to dine with him ; and amongst other great men who his

guests, I had the honour to meet Marshal Laudon. I looked upon it as a great event in a young man's life, to be seated at the same table with these two heroes; rivals in the art of war, though attached friends.

Marshal Lacy was fine looking man; free, convivial, and communicative; he was about seventy years of age, of Irish extraction, but himself a Russian born. He had amassed a splendid fortune, and lived in a princely style, and was in high favour with the Emperor.

Marshal Laudon was a very different kind of personage; he appeared to be the soldier only, and spoke very little; he seemed about the same age as Marshal Lacy, but they were very different. Marshal Laudon was of Scotch extraction, but a


Livonian by birth. Such were his military talents, that he rose from the ranks in the Imperial Guard to the highest military command in the service ; and was, as all the world knows, a rival of the great Frederick; yet although they had often contended with varied success, either admitted the splendid talents of the other. As a proof of this, an anecdote was told me, by the celebrated and witty Prince de Ligne, who indeed said he could vouch for its truth from personal knowledge.

In an interval of peace between Austria and Prussia, Frederick the Great was at Silesia, at the same time with the Prince de Ligne, Marshal Brown, Marshal Laudon, and many Austrian officers. The king gave them a grand dinner, to which several Prussian officers were invited. Marshal Laudon was placed at table vis-à-vis to Frederick. The king rose, and said, “ Marshal Laudon, I request you will quit your seat ; come hither and sit by me, for believe me (and with sincerity I speak it) I always prefer having you at my side to having you opposed to me." The Prince de Ligne said, that Laudon was highly gratified by this elegant compliment from so great a warrior. The people of Vienna were in my

time dancing mad; as the Carnival approached, gaiety began

[ocr errors]

to display itself on all sides; and when it really came, nothing could exceed its brilliancy. The ridotto rooms, where the masquerades took place, were in the palace; and spacious and commodious as they were, they were actually crammed with masqueraders. I never saw, or indeed heard of any suite of rooms, where elegance and convenience were more considered; for the propensity of the Vienna ladies for dancing and going to carnival masquerades was so determined, that nothing was permitted to interfere with their enjoyment of their favourite amusement - nay,

– , so notorious was it, that for the sake of ladies in the family way, who could not be persuaded to stay at home, there were apartments prepared, with every convenience for their accouchement, should they be unfortunately required. And I have been gravely told, and almost believe, that there have actually been instances of the utility of the arrangement. The ladies of Vienna are particularly celebrated for their grace and movements in waltzing, of which they never tire. For my own part, I thought waltzing from ten at night until seven in the morning, a continual whirligig; most tiresome to the eye, and ear,--to say nothing

, of any worse consequences.

One evening, at one of these masquerades, a wellturned compliment was paid to the Emperor, by a

« PreviousContinue »