The Comte de St. Germain is a mysterious figure, to say the least, known variously as a hero of romance; a charlatan; a swindler and an adventurer; the friend and councillor of kings and princes, an enemy to ministers who were skilled in deception, alchemist and mystic.
Educated by the last of the Medicis.
“He is supposed to have intercourse with ghosts and supernatural beings, who appear at his call.” according to one nobleman. Not that sort of intercourse, don’t start, okay?
Louis XV was very protective of the Comte, and gave him a suite of rooms in the royal Château de Chambord, he ate no meat and drank no wine. In fact he was never seen to eat or drink at all. And apparently remained ever celibate.
Chambord is a weird drink though, huh?
He did have a fair collection of aliases, some of which were anagrams of each other, not necessarily suspicious, I mean he may have had his reasons…
Not surprisingly he spoke a variety of languages and travelled widely, charming and courtly, played several musical instruments, his violin playing was described as being “like an orchestra”, some of the music he wrote can be found in the British Museum.
The Count contributed some of the songs to L’incostanza delusa, an opera performed at the Haymarket Theatre in London.
He was a master of oil painting, including apparently having discovered a colour not previously known. Like, what? I think it was a shade of aquamarine, apparently made all his paintings better. Oookay…
He dressed simply but with taste, but was rather fond of diamonds. Love or hate him, often the latter, all agreed he was skilled in “improving precious stones”. Perhaps also the Philosopher’s Stone. Alchemy was one of his favourite hobbies, and he studied Paracelsus. Cagliostro, another would be magician immortal was his pupil.
Extraordinary kindness and magnanimity were characteristics described of him, that can’t be bad, at least.
Socially he was described thus “He is everything with everybody”.
He appeared to be descended from Franz-Leopold, Prince Ragoczy, of Transylvania, a name he sometimes called himself.
Most people who met him were excited that he appeared to be over a hundred years old, or even a great deal more, but looked permanently 45. Hey, I am 45! He must have looked great!
One secret being an elixir he occasionally shared. Perhaps it was just a snifter of Pinot Noir. Surely not that Chambord stuff, that would be too obvious. There is also a gross sounding liquor from elderflowers called St.Germain. Who the hell would drink that stuff?
Slightly annoying to the Comte must have been a Parisian wag known as “Milord Gower” who was a cruel mimic and would impersonate him.
Casanova, another larger than life character, requested to meet the Comte, who appeared on that occasion as “an Armenian with a long beard.”
He then stated “The most enjoyable dinner I had was with Madame de Robert Gergi, who came with the famous adventurer, known by the name of the Count de St. Germain. This individual, instead of eating, talked from the beginning of the meal to the end, and I followed his example in one respect as I did not eat, but listened to him with the greatest attention. It may safely be said that as a conversationalist he was unequalled.
St. Germain gave himself out for a marvel and always aimed at exciting amazement, which he often succeeded in doing. He was scholar, linguist, musician, and chemist, good-looking, and a perfect ladies’ man. For a while he gave them paints and cosmetics; he flattered them, not that he would make them young again (which he modestly confessed was beyond him) but that their beauty would be preserved by means of a wash which, he said, cost him a lot of money, but which he gave away freely. He had contrived to gain the favour of Madame de Pompadour who had spoken about him to the king, for whom he had made a laboratory, in which the monarch — a martyr to boredom — tried to find a little pleasure or distraction, at all events, by making dyes. The king had given him a suite of rooms at Chambord, and a hundred thousand francs for the construction of a laboratory, and according to St. Germain the dyes discovered by the king would have a materially beneficial influence on the quality of French fabrics.
This extraordinary man, intended by nature to be the king of impostors and quacks, would say in an easy, assured manner that he was three hundred years old, that he knew the secret of the Universal Medicine, that he possessed a mastery over nature, that he could melt diamonds, professing himself capable of forming, out of ten or twelve small diamonds, one large one of the finest water without any loss of weight. All this, he said, was a mere trifle to him. Notwithstanding his boastings, his bare-faced lies, and his manifold eccentricities, I cannot say I thought him offensive. In spite of my knowledge of what he was and in spite of my own feelings, I thought him an astonishing man as he was always astonishing me.”
Another classic description “Sometimes he fell into a trance, and when he again recovered, he said he had passed the time while he lay unconscious in far-off lands; sometimes he disappeared for a considerable time, then suddenly re-appeared, and let it be understood that he had been in another world in communication with the dead. Moreover, he prided himself on being able to tame bees, and to make snakes listen to music.”
A description from the court of Marie Antionette of his physical form:-
“His countenance, haughty, intellectual, acute, struck one at first sight. He had a pliant, graceful figure, delicate hands, a small foot, an elegant leg which set off a well-fitting silk stocking. The small-clothes, very tight, also suggested a rare perfection of form; his smile showed the most beautiful teeth in the world, a pretty dimple adorned his chin, his hair was black, his eyes were soft and penetrating. Oh! what eyes! I have nowhere seen their equal. He appeared about forty to forty-five years old.”
He of course warned her about the forthcoming French Revolution. He was incarcerated in, yet immediately escaped the Bastille soon afterwards. He was also arrested in the U.K. for being a spy. He was just trying to broker peace between France and England, give the guy a break!
During his peacemaking work, the famed sceptic Voltaire stated “He is a man who never dies, and who knows everything.” and called him “The Wonderman”, perhaps a teeny but sarcastically. Okay, so perhaps he wasn’t 500 years old as he said!
Sometimes described as a leading light of French Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism or even a Templar.
He was definitely beloved of the mystics:-
“And when, in order to bring about a conciliation between the various sects of the Rosicrucians, the Necromantists, the Cabalists, the Illuminati, the Humanitarians, there was held a great Congress at Wilhelmsbad, then in the Lodge of the “Amici riuniti” there also was Cagliostro, with St. Martin, Mesmer and Saint-Germain.” Quite a gathering. He was good buds with animal magnetism hypnosis man Mesmer.
Later deified by Mme Blavatsky of Theosophy as an Ascended Master Rakoczi, people still receive channelling from him to this day as custodian of the violet flame, associated with the jewel amythyst and Chohan of the seventh ray.
Attributed teachings brought about the Age of Aquarius, aka the New Age. In this tradition he is seen as a resurrected Francis Bacon made immortal through alchemy. He apparently also incarnated in Atlantis, as Samuel in the Bible, Plato, Jesus’s step-dad Joseph, Merlin, Christian Rosenkreuz and Christopher Columbus.
He appears in popular culture, e.g. in Umberto Eco’s excellent “Foucault’s Pendulum”, and as Professor Slocombe in Robert Rankin’s “Brentford Trilogy” amongst many others.
Or perhaps most of this whole blog may well just be totally bonkers! Fun though.
If you are still knocking about, Comte, do come round for a glass of Pinot Noir. Chambord at a push if you insist. No elderflower shit. Dealbreaker.