From the painting by Mlle. Godefroy.]
It was the twentieth of September, 1881. The sun shone out mild and
beautiful upon Lake Geneva, as we sailed up to Coppet. The banks were
dotted with lovely homes, half hidden by the foliage, while brilliant
flower-beds came close to the water's edge. Snow-covered Mont Blanc
looked down upon the restful scene, which seemed as charming as
anything in Europe.
We alighted from the boat, and walked up from the landing, between
great rows of oaks, horsechestnuts, and sycamores, to the famous home
we had come to look upon,--that of Madame de Stael. It is a French
chateau, two stories high, drab, with green blinds, surrounding an
open square; vines clamber over the gate and the high walls, and
lovely flowers blossom everywhere. As you enter, you stand in a long
hall, with green curtains, with many busts, the finest of which is
that of Monsieur Necker. The next room is the large library, with
furniture of blue and white; and the next, hung with old Gobelin
tapestry, is the room where Madame Recamier used to sit with Madame de
Stael, and look out upon the exquisite scenery, restful even in their
troubled lives. Here is the work-table of her whom Macaulay called
"the greatest woman of her times," and of whom Byron said, "She is
a woman by herself, and has done more than all the rest of them
together, intellectually; she ought to have been a man."
Next we enter the drawing-room, with carpet woven in a single piece;
the furniture red and white. We stop to look upon the picture of
Monsieur Necker, the father, a strong, noble-looking man; of the
mother, in white silk dress, with powdered hair, and very beautiful;
and De Stael herself, in a brownish yellow dress, with low neck and
short sleeves, holding in her hand the branch of flowers, which she
always carried, or a leaf, that thus her hands might be employed while
she engaged in the conversation that astonished Europe. Here also
are the pictures of the Baron, her husband, in white wig and military
dress; here her idolized son and daughter, the latter beautiful, with
mild, sad face, and dark hair and eyes.
What brings thousands to this quiet retreat every year? Because here
lived and wrote and suffered the only person whom the great Napoleon
feared, whom Galiffe, of Geneva, declared "the most remarkable woman
that Europe has produced"; learned, rich, the author of _Corinne_ and
_Allemagne_, whose "talents in conversation," says George Ticknor,
"were perhaps the most remarkable of any person that ever lived."
April 27, 1766, was the daughter of James Necker, Minister of Finance
under Louis XVI., a man of fine intellect, the author of fifteen
volumes; and Susanna, daughter of a Swiss pastor, beautiful, educated,
and devotedly Christian. Necker had become rich in early life through
banking, and had been made, by the republic of Geneva, her resident
minister at the Court of Versailles.
When the throne of Louis seemed crumbling, because the people were
tired of extravagance and heavy taxation, Necker was called to his
aid, with the hope that economy and retrenchment would save the
nation. He also loaned the government two million dollars. The home
of the Neckers, in Paris, naturally became a social centre, which the
mother of the family was well fitted to grace. Gibbon had been deeply
in love with her.
He says: "I found her learned without pedantry, lively in
conversation, pure in sentiment, and elegant in manners; and the first
sudden emotion was fortified by the habits and knowledge of a more
familiar acquaintance.... At Crassier and Lausanne I indulged my dream
of felicity; but on my return to England I soon discovered that my
father would not hear of this strange alliance, and that, without
his consent, I was myself destitute and helpless. After a painful
struggle, I yielded to my fate; I sighed as a lover; I obeyed as a
son." Gibbon never married, but retained his life-long friendship and
admiration for Madame Necker.
It was not strange, therefore, that Gibbon liked to be present in
her _salon_, where Buffon, Hume, Diderot, and D'Alembert were wont
to gather. The child of such parents could scarcely be other than
intellectual, surrounded by such gifted minds. Her mother, too, was a
most systematic teacher, and each day the girl was obliged to sit by
her side, erect, on a wooden stool, and learn difficult lessons.
"She stood in great awe of her mother," wrote Simond, the traveller,
"but was exceedingly familiar with and extravagantly fond of her
father. Madame Necker had no sooner left the room one day, after
dinner, than the young girl, till then timidly decorous, suddenly
seized her napkin, and threw it across the table at the head of her
father, and then flying round to him, hung upon his neck, suffocating
all his reproofs by her kisses." Whenever her mother returned to the
room, she at once became silent and restrained.
The child early began to show literary talent, writing dramas, and
making paper kings and queens to act her tragedies. This the mother
thought to be wrong, and it was discontinued. But when she was twelve,
the mother having somewhat relented, she wrote a play, which she and
her companions acted in the drawing-room. Grimm was so pleased with
her attempts, that he sent extracts to his correspondents throughout
Europe. At fifteen she wrote an essay on the _Revocation of the Edict
of Nantes_, and another upon Montesquieu's _Spirit of Laws_.
Overtaxing the brain with her continuous study, she became ill,
and the physician, greatly to her delight, prescribed fresh air and
sunshine. Here often she roamed from morning till night on their
estate at St. Ouen. Madame Necker felt deeply the thwarting of her
educational plans, and years after, when her daughter had acquired
distinction, said, "It is absolutely nothing compared to what I would
have made it."
Monsieur Necker's restriction of pensions and taxing of luxuries
soon aroused the opposition of the aristocracy, and the weak but
good-hearted King asked his minister to resign. Both wife and daughter
felt the blow keenly, for both idolized him, so much so that the
mother feared lest she be supplanted by her daughter. Madame de Stael
says of her father, "From the moment of their marriage to her death,
the thought of my mother dominated his life. He was not like other
men in power, attentive to her by occasional tokens of regard, but by
continual expressions of most tender and most delicate sentiment."
Of herself she wrote, "Our destinies would have united us forever, if
fate had only made us contemporaries." At his death she said, "If he
could be restored to me, I would give all my remaining years for six
months." To the last he was her idol.
For the next few years the family travelled most of the time, Necker
bringing out a book on the _Finances_, which had a sale at once of a
hundred thousand copies. A previous book, the _Compte Rendu au Roi_,
showing how for years the moneys of France had been wasted, had also a
large sale. For these books, and especially for other correspondence,
he was banished forty leagues from Paris. The daughter's heart seemed
well-nigh broken at this intelligence. Loving Paris, saying she would
rather live there on "one hundred francs a year, and lodge in the
fourth story," than anywhere else in the world, how could she bear for
years the isolation of the country? Joseph II., King of Poland, and
the King of Naples, offered Necker fine positions, but he declined.
Mademoiselle Necker had come to womanhood, not beautiful, but with
wonderful fascination and tact. She could compliment persons without
flattery, was cordial and generous, and while the most brilliant
talker, could draw to herself the thoughts and confidences of others.
She had also written a book on _Rousseau_, which was much talked
about. Pitt, of England, Count Fersen, of Sweden, and others, sought
her in marriage, but she loved no person as well as her father. Her
consent to marriage could be obtained only by the promise that she
should never be obliged to leave him.
Baron de Stael, a man of learning and fine social position, ambassador
from Sweden, and the warm friend of Gustavus, was ready to make
any promises for the rich daughter of the Minister Necker. He was
thirty-seven, she only a little more than half his age, twenty, but
she accepted him because her parents were pleased. Going to Paris, she
was, of course, received at Court, Marie Antoinette paying her much
attention. Necker was soon recalled from exile to his old position.
The funds rose thirty per cent, and he became the idol of the people.
Soon representative government was demanded, and then, though the King
granted it, the breach was widened. Necker, unpopular with the bad
advisers of the King, was again asked to leave Paris, and make no
noise about it; but the people, hearing of it, soon demanded his
recall, and he was hastily brought back from Brussels, riding through
the streets like "the sovereign of a nation," said his daughter. The
people were wild with delight.
But matters had gone too far to prevent a bloody Revolution. Soon a
mob was marching toward Versailles; thousands of men, women, and even
children armed with pikes. They reached the palace, killed the guards,
and penetrated to the queen's apartments, while some filled the
court-yard and demanded bread. The brave Marie Antoinette appeared
on the balcony leading her two children, while Lafayette knelt by her
side and kissed her hand. But the people could not be appeased.
Necker finding himself unable to serve his king longer, fled to his
Swiss retreat at Coppet, and there remained till his death. Madame
de Stael, as the wife of the Swedish ambassador, continued in the
turmoil, writing her father daily, and taking an active interest in
politics. "In England," she said, "women are accustomed to be silent
before men when political questions are discussed. In France, they
direct all conversation, and their minds readily acquire the facility
and talent which this privilege requires." Lafayette, Narbonne,
and Talleyrand consulted with her. She wrote the principal part of
Talleyrand's report on Public Instruction in 1790. She procured the
appointment of Narbonne to the ministry; and later, when Talleyrand
was in exile, obtained his appointment to the Department of Foreign
Matters had gone from bad to worse. In 1792 the Swedish government
suspended its embassy, and Madame de Stael prepared to fly, but stayed
for a time to save her friends. The seven prisons of Paris were all
crowded under the fearful reign of Danton and Marat. Great heaps of
dead lay before every prison door. During that Reign of Terror it is
estimated that eighteen thousand six hundred persons perished by the
guillotine. Whole squares were shot down. "When the police visited
her house, where some of the ministers were hidden, she met them
graciously, urging that they must not violate the privacy of an
ambassador's house. When her friends were arrested, she went to the
barbarous leaders, and with her eloquence begged for their safety, and
thus saved the lives of many.
At last she must leave the terror-stricken city. Supposing that
her rank as the wife of a foreign ambassador would protect her, she
started with a carriage and six horses, her servants in livery. At
once a crowd of half-famished and haggard women crowded around, and
threw themselves against the horses. The carriage was stopped, and the
occupants were taken to the Assembly. She plead her case before the
noted Robespierre, and then waited for six hours for the decision of
the Commune. Meantime she saw the hired assassins pass beneath the
windows, their bare arms covered with the blood of the slain. The mob
attempted to pillage her carriage, but a strong man mounted the box
and defended it. She learned afterward that it was the notorious
Santerre, the person who later superintended the execution of Louis
XVI., ordering his drummers to drown the last words of the dying King.
Santerre had seen Necker distribute corn to the poor of Paris in a
time of famine, and now he was befriending the daughter for this noble
act. Finally she was allowed to continue her journey, and reached
Coppet with her baby, Auguste, well-nigh exhausted after this terrible
The Swiss home soon became a place of refuge for those who were flying
from the horrors of the Commune. She kept a faithful agent, who knew
the mountain passes, busy in this work of mercy.
The following year, 1793, longing for a change from these dreadful
times, she visited England, and received much attention from prominent
persons, among them Fanny Burny, the author of _Evelina_, who owned
"that she had never heard conversation before. The most animated
eloquence, the keenest observation, the most sparkling wit, the most
courtly grace, were united to charm her."
On Jan. 21 of this year, the unfortunate King had met his death on the
scaffold before an immense throng of people. Six men bound him to the
plank, and then his head was severed from his body amid the shouts
and waving of hats of the blood-thirsty crowd. Necker had begged to go
before the Convention and plead for his king, but was refused. Madame
de Stael wrote a vigorous appeal to the nation in behalf of the
beautiful and tenderhearted Marie Antoinette; but on Sept. 16, 1793,
at four o'clock in the morning, in an open cart, in the midst of
thirty thousand troops and a noisy rabble, she, too, was borne to
the scaffold; and when her pale face was held up bleeding before the
crowd, they jeered and shouted themselves hoarse.
The next year 1794, Madame Necker died at Coppet, whispering to her
husband, "We shall see each other in Heaven." "She looked heavenward,"
said Necker in a most affecting manner, "listening while I prayed;
then, in dying, raised the finger of her left hand, which wore the
ring I had given her, to remind me of the pledge engraved upon it, to
love her forever." His devotion to her was beautiful. "No language,"
says his daughter, "can give any adequate idea of it. Exhausted by
wakefulness at night, she slept often in the daytime, resting her
head on his arm. I have seen him remain immovable, for hours together,
standing in the same position for fear of awakening her by the least
movement. Absent from her during a few hours of sleep, he inquired, on
his return, of her attendant, if she had asked for him? She could no
longer speak, but made an effort to say 'yes, yes.'"
When the Revolution was over, and France had become a republic, Sweden
sent back her ambassador, Baron de Stael, and his wife returned to him
at Paris. Again her _salon_ became the centre for the great men of
the time. She loved liberty, and believed in the republican form
of government. She had written her book upon the _Influence of the
Passions on the Happiness of Individuals and Nations_, prompted by
the horrors of the Revolution, and it was considered "irresistible in
energy and dazzling in thought."
She was also devoting much time to her child, Auguste, developing him
without punishment, thinking that there had been too much rigor in her
own childhood. He well repaid her for her gentleness and trust, and
was inseparable from her through life, becoming a noble Christian man,
and the helper of all good causes. Meantime Madame de Stael saw with
alarm the growing influence of the young Corsican officer, Bonaparte.
The chief executive power had been placed in the hands of the
Directory, and he had control of the army. He had won brilliant
victories in Italy, and had been made commander-in-chief of the
expedition against Egypt He now returned to Paris, turned out the
Directory, drove out the Council of Five Hundred from the hall of
the Assembly at the point of the bayonet, made the government into a
consulate with three consuls, of whom he was the first, and lived at
the Tuileries in almost royal style.
All this time Madame de Stael felt the egotism and heartlessness of
Napoleon. Her _salon_ became more crowded than ever with those who
had their fears for the future. "The most eloquent of the Republican
orators were those who borrowed from her most of their ideas and
telling phrases. Most of them went forth from her door with speeches
ready for the next day, and with resolution to pronounce them--a
courage which was also derived from her." Lucien and Joseph Bonaparte,
the brothers of Napoleon, were proud of her friendship, and often were
guests at her house, until forbidden by their brother.
When Benjamin Constant made a speech against the "rising tyranny,"
Napoleon suspected that she had prompted it, and denounced her
heartily, all the time declaring that he loved the Republic, and would
always defend it! He said persons always came away from De Stael's
home "less his friends than when they entered." About this time her
book, _Literature considered in its Relation to Social Institutions_,
was published, and made a surprising impression from its wealth
of knowledge and power of thought. Its analysis of Greek and Latin
literature, and the chief works in Italian, English, German, and
French, astonished everybody, because written by a woman!
Soon after Necker published his _Last Views of Politics and Finance_,
in which he wrote against the tyranny of a single man. At once
Napoleon caused a sharp letter to be written to Necker advising him
to leave politics to the First Consul, "who was alone able to govern
France," and threatening his daughter with exile for her supposed aid
in his book. She saw the wisdom of escaping from France, lest she be
imprisoned, and immediately hastened to Coppet. A few months later,
in the winter of 1802, she returned to Paris to bring home Baron de
Stael, who was ill, and from whom she had separated because he was
spending all her fortune and that of her three children. He died on
Virtually banished from France, she now wrote her _Delphine_, a
brilliant novel which was widely read. It received its name from a
"Desirous of meeting the First Consul for some urgent reason," says
Dr. Stevens in his charming biography of Madame de Stael, "she went to
the villa of Madame de Montessan, whither he frequently resorted. She
was alone in one of the _salles_ when he arrived, accompanied by the
consular court of brilliant young women. The latter knew the growing
hostility of their master toward her, and passed, without noticing
her, to the other end of the _salle_, leaving her entirely alone.
Her position was becoming extremely painful, when a young lady, more
courageous and more compassionate than her companions, crossed the
_salle_ and took a seat by her side. Madame de Stael was touched
by this kindness, and asked for her Christian name. 'Delphine,' she
responded. 'Ah, I will try to immortalize it,' exclaimed Madame
de Stael; and she kept her word. This sensible young lady was the
Comtesse de Custine."
Her home at Coppet became the home of many great people. Sismondi, the
author of the _History of the Italian Republics_, and _Literature of
Southern Europe_, encouraged by her, wrote here several of his famous
works. Bonstetten made his home here for years. Schlegel, the greatest
critic of his age, became the teacher of her children, and a most
intimate friend. Benjamin Constant, the author and statesman, was
here. All repaired to their rooms for work in the morning, and in the
evening enjoyed philosophic, literary, and political discussions.
Bonstetten said: "In seeing her, in hearing her, I feel myself
electrified.... She daily becomes greater and better; but souls of
great talent have great sufferings: they are solitary in the world,
like Mont Blanc."
In the autumn of 1803, longing for Paris, she ventured to within ten
leagues and hired a quiet home. Word was soon borne to Napoleon that
the road to her house was thronged with visitors. He at once sent an
officer with a letter signed by himself, exiling her to forty leagues
from Paris, and commanding her to leave within twenty-four hours.
At once she fled to Germany. At Frankfort her little daughter was
dangerously ill. "I knew no person in the city," she writes. "I did
not know the language; and the physician to whom I confided my child
could not speak French. But my father shared my trouble; he consulted
physicians at Geneva, and sent me their prescriptions. Oh, what would
become of a mother trembling for the life of her child, if it were not
Going to Weimar, she met Goethe, Wieland, Schiller, and other noted
men. At Berlin, the greatest attention was shown her. The beautiful
Louise of Prussia welcomed her heartily. During this exile her father
died, with his latest breath saying," She has loved me dearly! She
has loved me dearly!" On his death-bed he wrote a letter to Bonaparte
telling him that his daughter was in nowise responsible for his book,
but it was never answered. It was enough for Napoleon to know that she
did not flatter him; therefore he wished her out of the way.
Madame de Stael was for a time completely overcome by Necker's death.
She wore his picture on her person as long as she lived. Only once did
she part with it, and then she imagined it might console her daughter
in her illness. Giving it to her, she said, "Gaze upon it, gaze upon
it, when you are in pain."
She now sought repose in Italy, preparing those beautiful descriptions
for her _Corinne_, and finally returning to Coppet, spent a year in
writing her book. It was published in Paris, and, says Sainte-Beuve,
"its success was instantaneous and universal. As a work of art, as a
poem, the romance of _Corinne_ is an immortal monument." Jeffrey,
in the _Edinburgh Review_, called the author the greatest writer in
France since Voltaire and Rousseau, and the greatest woman writer of
any age or country. Napoleon, however, in his official paper, caused a
scathing criticism on _Corinne_ to appear; indeed, it was declared to
be from his own pen. She was told by the Minister of Police, that she
had but to insert some praise of Napoleon in _Corinne_, and she would
be welcomed back to Paris. She could not, however, live a lie, and she
feared Napoleon had evil designs upon France.
Again she visited Germany with her children, Schlegel, and Sismondi.
So eager was everybody to see her and hear her talk, that Bettina von
Arnim says in her correspondence with Goethe: "The gentlemen stood
around the table and planted themselves behind us, elbowing one
another. They leaned quite over me, and I said in French, 'Your
adorers quite suffocate me.'"
While in Germany, her eldest son, then seventeen, had an interview
with Bonaparte about the return of his mother. "Your mother," said
Napoleon, "could not be six months in Paris before I should be
compelled to send her to Bicetre or the Temple. I should regret this
necessity, for it would make a noise and might injure me a little
in public opinion. Say, therefore, to her that as long as I live she
cannot re-enter Paris. I see what you wish, but it cannot be; she will
commit follies; she will have the world about her."
On her return to Coppet, she spent two years in writing her
_Allemagne_, for which she had been making researches for four years.
She wished it published in Paris, as _Corinne_ had been, and submitted
it to the censors of the Press. They crossed out whatever sentiments
they thought might displease Napoleon, and then ten thousand copies
were at once printed, she meantime removing to France, within her
proscribed limits, that she might correct the proof-sheets.
What was her astonishment to have Napoleon order the whole ten
thousand destroyed, and her to leave France in three days! Her two
sons attempted to see Bonaparte, who was at Fontainebleau, but were
ordered to turn back, or they would be arrested. The only reason given
for destroying the work was the fact that she had been silent about
the great but egotistical Emperor.
Broken in spirit, she returned to Geneva. Amid all this darkness a new
light was about to beam upon her life. In the social gatherings made
for her, she observed a young army officer, Monsieur Rocca, broken in
health from his many wounds, but handsome and noble in face, and, as
she learned, of irreproachable life. Though only twenty-three and she
forty-five, the young officer was fascinated by her conversation,
and refreshed in spirits by her presence. She sympathized with his
misfortunes in battle; she admired his courage. He was lofty in
sentiments, tender in heart, and gave her what she had always needed,
an unselfish and devoted love. When discouraged by his friends, he
replied, "I will love her so much that I will finish by making her
They were married in 1811, and the marriage was a singularly happy
one. The reason for it is not difficult to perceive. A marriage that
has not a pretty face or a passing fancy for its foundation, but
appreciation of a gifted mind and noble heart,--such a marriage
stands the test of time.
The marriage was kept secret from all save a few intimate friends,
Madame de Stael fearing that if the news reached Napoleon, Rocca
would be ordered back to France. Her fears were only too well founded.
Schlegel, Madame Recamier, all who had shown any sympathy for her,
began to be exiled. She was forbidden under any pretext whatever from
travelling in Switzerland, or entering any region annexed to France.
She was advised not to go two leagues from Coppet, lest she be
imprisoned, and this with Napoleon usually meant death.
The Emperor seemed about to conquer the whole world. Whither could she
fly to escape his persecution? She longed to reach England, but there
was an edict against any French subject entering that country without
special permit. Truly his heel was upon France. The only way to reach
that country was through Austria, Russia, and Sweden, two thousand
leagues. But she must attempt it. She passed an hour in prayer by her
parent's tomb, kissed his armchair and table, and took his cloak to
wrap herself in should death come.
May 23, 1812, she, with Rocca and two of her children, began their
flight by carriage, not telling the servants at the chateau, but that
they should return for the next meal.
They reached Vienna June 6, and were at once put under surveillance.
Everywhere she saw placards admonishing the officers to watch her
sharply. Rocca had to make his way alone, because Bonaparte had
ordered his arrest. They were permitted to remain only a few hours
in any place. Once Madame de Stael was so overcome by this brutal
treatment that she lost consciousness, and was obliged to be taken
from her carriage to the roadside till she recovered. Every hour she
expected arrest and death.
Finally, worn in body, she reached Russia, and was cordially received
by Alexander and Empress Elizabeth. From here she went to Sweden, and
had an equally cordial welcome from Bernadotte, the general who
became king. Afterward she spent four months in England, bringing out
_Allemagne._ Here she received a perfect ovation. At Lord Lansdowne's
the first ladies in the kingdom mounted on chairs and tables to catch
a glimpse of her. Sir James Mackintosh said: "The whole fashionable
and literary world is occupied with Madame de Stael, the most
celebrated woman of this, or perhaps of any age." Very rare must be
the case where a woman of fine mind does not have many admirers among
Her _Allemagne_ was published in 1813, the manuscript having been
secretly carried over Germany, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and the Baltic
Sea. The first part treated of the manners of Germany; the second, its
literature and art; the third, its philosophy and morals; the fourth,
its religion. The book had a wonderful sale, and was soon translated
into all the principal tongues of Europe. Lamartine said: "Her style,
without losing any of its youthful vigor and splendor, seemed now to
be illuminated with more lofty and eternal lights as she approached
the evening of life, and the diviner mysteries of thought. This style
no longer paints, no longer chants; it adores.... Her name will live
as long as literature, as long as the history of her country."
Meantime, great changes had taken place in France. Napoleon had been
defeated at Leipsic, leaving a quarter of a million murdered on his
battle-fields; he had abdicated, and was on his way to Elba. She
immediately returned to Paris, with much the same feeling as Victor
Hugo, when he wept as he came from his long exile under "Napoleon the
Little." Again to her _salon_ came kings and generals, Alexander of
Russia, Wellington, and others.
But soon Napoleon returned, and she fled to Coppet. He sent her an
invitation to come to Paris, declaring he would now live for the peace
of Europe, but she could not trust him. She saw her daughter, lovely
and beautiful, married to the Duc de Broglie, a leading statesman,
and was happy in her happiness. Rocca's health was failing, and they
repaired to Italy for a time.
In 1816 they returned to Paris, Napoleon having gone from his final
defeat to St. Helena. But Madame de Stael was broken with her trials.
She seemed to grow more and more frail, till the end came. She said
frequently, "My father awaits me on the other shore." To Chateaubriand
she said, "I have loved God, my father, and my country." She could
not and would not go to sleep the last night, for fear she might never
look upon Rocca again. He begged her to sleep and he would awaken her
often. "Good night," she said, and it was forever. She never wakened.
They buried her beside her father at Coppet, under the grand old
trees. Rocca died in seven months, at the age of thirty-one. "I
hoped," he said, "to have died in her arms."
Her little son, and Rocca's, five years old, was cared for by Auguste
and Albertine, her daughter. After Madame de Stael's death, her
_Considerations on the French Revolution_ and _Ten Years of Exile_
were published. Of the former, Sainte-Beuve says: "Its publication was
an event. It was the splendid public obsequies of the authoress.
Its politics were destined to long and passionate discussions and
a durable influence. She is perfect only from this day; the full
influence of her star is only at her tomb."
Chateaubriand said, "Her death made one of those breaches which the
fall of a superior intellect produces once in an age, and which can
never be closed."
As kind as she was great, loving deeply and receiving love in return,
she has left an imperishable name. No wonder that thousands visit that
quiet grave beside Lake Geneva.