1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Craven, Pauline Aglaé

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CRAVEN, PAULINE MARIE ARMANDE AGLAÉ (1808–1891), French author, the daughter of an émigré Breton nobleman, was born in London on the 12th of April 1808. Her father, the comte Auguste de la Ferronays, was a close friend of the duc de Berri, whom he accompanied on his return to France in 1814. He and his wife were attached to the court of Charles X. at the Tuileries, but a momentary quarrel with the duc de Berri made retirement imperative to the count’s sense of honour. He was appointed ambassador at St Petersburg, and in 1827 became foreign minister in Paris. Pauline was thus brought up in brilliant surroundings, but her strongest impressions were those which she derived from the group of Catholic thinkers gathered round Lamennais, and her ardent piety furnishes the key of her life. In 1828 her father was sent to Rome, and Pauline, at the suggestion of Alexis Rio, the art critic, made her first literary essay with a description of the emotions she experienced on a visit to the catacombs. At the revolution of July, M. de la Ferronays resigned his position, and retired with his family to Naples. Here Pauline met her future husband, Augustus Craven, who was then attaché to the British embassy. His father, Keppel Richard Craven, the well-known supporter of Queen Caroline, objected to his son’s marriage with a Catholic; but his scruples were overcome, and immediately after the marriage (1834) Augustus Craven was received into the Roman Catholic Church. Mrs Craven, whose family life as revealed in the Récit d’une sœur was especially tender and intimate, suffered several severe bereavements in the years following on her marriage. The Cravens lived abroad until 1851, when the death of Keppel Craven made his son practically independent of his diplomatic career, in which he had not been conspicuously successful. He stood unsuccessfully for election to parliament for Dublin in 1852, and from that time retired into private life. They went to live at Naples in 1853, and Mrs Craven began to write the history of the family life of the la Ferronays between 1830 and 1836, its incidents being grouped round the love story of her brother Albert and his wife Alexandrine. This book, the Récit d’une sœur (1866, Eng. trans. 1868), was enthusiastically received and was awarded a prize by the French Academy. Straitened circumstances made it desirable for Mrs Craven to earn money by her pen. Anne Sévérin appeared in 1868, Fleurange in 1871, Le Mot d’énigme in 1874, Le Valbriant (Eng. trans., Lucia) in 1886. Among her miscellaneous works may be mentioned La Sœur Natalie Narischkin (1876), Deux Incidents de la question catholique en Angleterre (1875), Lady Georgiana Fullerton, sa vie et ses œuvres (1888). Mrs Craven’s charming personality won her many friends. She was a frequent guest with Lord Palmerston, Lord Ellesmere and Lord Granville. She died in Paris on the 1st of April 1891. Her husband, who died in 1884, translated the correspondence of Lord Palmerston and of the Prince Consort into French.

See Memoir of Mrs Augustus Craven (1894), by her friend Mrs Mary Catherine Bishop; also Paolina Craven, by T. F. Ravaschieri Fieschi (1892). There is a biography of Mrs Craven’s father, “En Emigration,” in Étienne Lamy’s Témoins des jours passés (1907).