Barry Lyndon HTML version

Chapter 11
In Which The Luck Goes Against Barry
My hopes of obtaining the hand of one of the richest heiresses in Germany were now, as
far as all human probability went, and as far as my own merits and prudence could secure
my fortune, pretty certain of completion. I was admitted whenever I presented myself at
the Princess's apartments, and had as frequent opportunities as I desired of seeing the
Countess Ida there. I cannot say that she received me with any particular favour; the silly
young creature's affections were, as I have said, engaged ignobly elsewhere; and,
however captivating my own person and manners may have been, it was not to be
expected that she should all of a sudden forget her lover for the sake of the young Irish
gentleman who was paying his addresses to her. But such little rebuffs as I got were far
from discouraging me. I had very powerful friends, who were to aid me in my
undertaking; and knew that, sooner or later, the victory must be mine. In fact, I only
waited my time to press my suit. Who could tell the dreadful stroke of fortune which was
impending over my illustrious protectress, and which was to involve me partially in her
All things seemed for a while quite prosperous to my wishes; and in spite of the Countess
Ida's disinclination, it was much easier to bring her to her senses than, perhaps, may be
supposed in a silly constitutional country like England, where people are not brought up
with those wholesome sentiments of obedience to Royalty which were customary in
Europe at the time when I was a young man.
I have stated how, through Magny, I had the Princess, as it were, at my feet. Her
Highness had only to press the match upon the old Duke, over whom her influence was
unbounded, and to secure the goodwill of the Countess of Liliengarten, (which was the
romantic title of his Highness's morganatic spouse), and the easy old man would give an
order for the marriage: which his ward would perforce obey. Madame de Liliengarten
was, too, from her position, extremely anxious to oblige the Princess Olivia; who might
be called upon any day to occupy the throne. The old Duke was tottering, apoplectic, and
exceedingly fond of good living. When he was gone, his relict would find the patronage
of the Duchess Olivia most necessary to her. Hence there was a close mutual
understanding between the two ladies; and the world said that the Hereditary Princess
was already indebted to the favourite for help on various occasions. Her Highness had
obtained, through the Countess, several large grants of money for the payment of her
multifarious debts; and she was now good enough to exert her gracious influence over
Madame de Liliengarten in order to obtain for me the object so near my heart. It is not to
be supposed that my end was to be obtained without continual unwillingness and refusals
on Magny's part; but I pushed my point resolutely, and had means in my hands of
overcoming the stubbornness of that feeble young gentleman. Also, I may say, without
vanity, that if the high and mighty Princess detested me, the Countess (though she was of
extremely low origin, it is said) had better taste and admired me. She often did us the
honour to go partners with us in one of our faro-banks, and declared that I was the