From preface: This history is composed of notes made in England during the Embassy of the Prince de Talleyrand and of fragments of letters addressed by my grandmother, the Duchesse de Dino (afterwards Duchesse de Talleyrand et de Sagan), during a period of thirty years, to M. Adolphe de Bacourt, who gave them to me by her desire. Some months before her death in 1862 my grandmother, who was then fully aware of her condition, herself told me of the precious legacy which would be transmitted to me when she was gone by M. de Bacourt, her executor, and added her final instructions and advice.
A just judgement on conspicuous ideas and persons is possible only after the lapse of many years, and so I should willingly have postponed the publication of these Memoirs. But some years since, my niece, the Comtesse Jean de Castellane, published the story of the early years of the Duchesse de Dino, and as many readers desire to have the continuation, I have decided not to withhold it any longer, and it will be found in the following pages.
The book throws more light on the last years of the Prince de Talleyrand than any previous publication, and it speaks so well for itself that I need say nothing for it. The place which the Duchess occupied in the European Society of the first half of last century is also too well VI known to need to be recalled here. Her personal charm, like her intellectual distinction, has rarely been equalled, but the moral fascination which she exercised on all who knew her is less well known. Intellect is a great source of strength, but nobility of soul is a greater; and it was assuredly this which helped the Duchess in many difficult passages in her history.
It is this sense of nobility and distinction which, in my opinion, is the chief characteristic of her Memoirs.
Pages are browned constant with age, some pages have underlining in pencil. The text is in French.