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gentleman who went in the character of Diogenes with his lantern, in search of a man. round the room he suddenly met the Emperor. He immediately made a low obeisance to His Majesty, and, opening his lantern, extinguished the candle, saying, in a loud tone, “ Ho trovato l'uomo” (I have found the man); he then took his departure, and left the ball room.
He was said to have been a courtier, but none of the courtiers would admit that he was.
Another favourite amusement, going forward at this period of the year, is a course des traîneaux, or procession of sledges. These sledges are richly ornamented, and carved with figures of all kinds of monsters, and inlaid with burnished gold, &c. A vast number of carrettas and carts, on the day previous to this singular spectacle, gather snow, and distribute it along the principal streets of Vienna, in order that the sledges may be drawn with perfect security. The effect at night, by torch-light, is like enchantment. I have seen forty or fifty sledges drawn up, one behind the other; in every sledge was a lady seated, covered with diamonds, in furs and pelisses ; behind each was a gentleman, as magnificently dressed, driving; before every sledge, were two running footmen, having long poles, with knobs of silver at their ends. The Hungarian Prince Dietressteen, the Grand Master of the Horse, was always the first to lead the traîneaux. The immense
velocity with which these things are drawn is perfectly astonishing : they go on for three or four hours, and the procession, at its close, draws up before the Emperor's palace. The running footmen have costly liveries, and the horses are caparisoned with rich trappings, and large plumes of milk-white feathers; and the spectacle, upon the whole, is very magnificent.
I was quite charmed with my situation at Vienna ; nothing could exceed the gaiety of that delightful place. I was fortunate enough to get introduced to
. the best society; my salary amply supplied my wants and wishes, and the public were kind and indulgent to me when I appeared on the stage. The kind countenance of Sir Robert Keith was not a little conducive in advancing me in the good opinion of the directors of the theatre.
As the theatre was in the palace, the Emperor often honoured the rehearsals with his presence, and discoursed familiarly with the performers. He spoke Italian like a Tuscan, and was affable and condescending. He came almost every night to the opera, accompanied by his nephew, Francis, then a youth. He usually entered his box at the beginning of the piece, but if not there at the precise moment the curtain was to be drawn up; he had given orders that he was never to be waited for. He was passionately fond of music, and a most excellent and accurate judge of it. His mode of living was quite methodical. He got up every morning, winter and summer, at five o'clock, wrote in his canceleria (study) until nine, then took a cup of chocolate, and transacted business with his ministers till one. He was very partial to the jeu de paume, and a good
, player. He had a fine racket-court, and when not in it, he usually walked or rode from one till three: punctually at a quarter after three, bis dinner was served; he almost always dined on one dish-boiled bacon, which the people, from his partiality to it, called kayser fleische, i.e. the Emperor's meat; sometimes he had a dish of Hungarian beef bouilli, with horse radish and vinegar, but rarely, if ever, any other: his beverage at dinner was water; and after dinner one goblet of Tokay wine. During dinner, he allowed only one servant to be in the room; and was never longer at the meal than half an hour.
At five, he usually walked in the corridor, near his dining room, and whilst there, was accessible to the complaints of the meanest of his subjects: he heard them with complaisance, and was ever ready to redress their grievances. He generally wore either a green or white uniform faced with red; nor did I ever see him that he was not continually putting chocolate drops, which he took from his waistcoat pocket, into his mouth. When he walked out, he
took a number of golden sovereigns with him, and distributed them personally among the indigent. He was an enemy to pomp and parade, and avoided them as much as possible; indeed, hardly any private gentleman requires so little attendance as he did. He had a seat for his servant behind his carriage, and when he went abroad in it (which was hardly ever the case in the day time) he made him sit there. I was one day passing through one of the corridors of the palace, and came directly in contact with him; he had his great coat hanging on his arm : he stopped me, and asked me in Italian, if I did not think it was very hot ; he told me that he felt the heat so oppressive that he had taken off his great coat, preferring to carry it on his arm.
To the Princesses Lichtenstein, Schwartzenberg, Lokowitz, and the Countess Thoun, he was particularly partial, and often paid them evening visits, but always retired unattended to his carriage, which stood in the street; for he never allowed it to be driven into the court yards, where other carriages were waiting. His desire was, never to have any fuss made about him, or to give any trouble, which was all mighty amiable; but as there is, and ought to be, in all civilized countries, a marked and decisive distinction between the Sovereign and the subject, this did not appear particularly wise, even if it were not particularly affected; and of all prides, that
is the most contemptible, which, as Southey says,
The present Emperor Francis, at the period of which I am writing, was as thin as possible. I do not think I ever saw so thin a youth; his uncle was very rigid with him, and made him enter the army, mount guard, clean his horse, and go through the duties of a common soldier, until he progressively rose to the rank of an officer.
The Emperor Joseph had a strange aversion from sitting for his portrait, although the greatest artists were anxious to have the honour of taking it. Pelegrini, the celebrated painter, solicited to be allowed the honour, but in vain.— The Emperor said to him, 66 There can be no occasion for taking up your time and mine by my sitting to you; if you are anxious to have a likeness of me, draw the portrait
a of an ill-looking man, with a wide mouth and large nose, and then you will have a fac simile.” The reverse, however, was the fact; for His Majesty had an intelligent countenance, a fine set of teeth, and when he laughed and shewed them, was rather handsome than otherwise.
There was a wide difference between the habits of Joseph the Second, and those of his prime minister Prince Kaunitz, who was a most eccentric personage,
but reckoned nevertheless a great statesman. He was said to be very proud of having made up