Magnetic seducer, the embodiment of Satan, a vampire. Contemporaries and posterity did not spare her these "caressing" terms. Who was the mysterious Xawera and what role did she play in the life of the national bard?
It definitely cannot be classified as one of the nineteenth-century beauties. Apparently she wasn't even pretty. On the contrary, as Maryla Wolska writes:
Skinny, modest (...) with a dark, gypsy beauty, (...) something “mal faite ", as if slightly lame and so low that when she sat down at the piano, she put a pile of notes on the chair to comfortably reach the keys .
But could the woman who introduced the discord, confusion and fear into the Mickiewicz home really be so inconspicuous? There are two known Deybel portraits located today in the Museum of Literature. Adam Mickiewicz in Warsaw. One of them shows a young, plump girl with beautiful blonde hair and slightly coarse features. In the second, Xawera is a dark-haired matron with a long, average face. Is this change the result of the inexorable passage of time or the devil's ability to metamorphose?
The history of the acquaintance of Xawery Deybel and Adam Mickiewicz dates back to 1842. There was a period of relative stabilization in the French house of Mickiewicz. Although with a mentally ill wife it is difficult to talk about a blissful and peaceful life. However, Andrzej Towiański appeared in Paris. The master who mysteriously "healed" mad Celina, and dragged Mickiewicz himself into the sect he founded.
The famous portrait of Mickiewicz by Walenty Wańkowicz reflects the romantic soul of the poet and the national bard ...
The poorly matched spouses, now both turned towards mysticism and "towianism", were slowly rebuilding their relations on the basis of the "intersex mate" and - a bit smaller, but still! - soul affinity.
But then she appeared. Anna Józefa Maria Deybel, known as Xawera. She didn't seem to be a threat to Celina. Suspecting nothing, she accepted the woman under her roof as a governess, entrusting her to the care of the young Mickiewiczs. As Joanna Puchalska writes in the book Because they were bad women. Intrigues and devils a good recommendation in the émigré community was ensured by Deybel's reputation of parents running a salary for ladies in Vilnius.
An innocent-looking tutor (remembered by the diarists of the era from the touching performance of My Nightingale to a melody composed by the master of the house himself), when she entered the poet's office, she did not turn out to be such a delicate girl. One look was enough for a romantic, who loved female charms, to lose his head, and the family peace of the Mickiewiczs fell into ruins ...
Who was the mysterious Master who was heard by almost all Polish emigrants in Paris? The figure of Andrzej Towiański remains a mystery to many today.
Eyes of a harlot
There were rumors about Xawery's amazing hazel eyes all over Paris. Towiański himself was to order the woman to cover her face during common conversations. What could the Master be afraid of, whom almost all Polish emigrants listened to with bated breath? For example, the account of Zofia Szymanowska, Celina's sister:
(...) my sister led me to my room; he was upstairs above her room. As I was about to go up the stairs, I glanced up and saw a woman standing in the vestibule with a child in her arms; I met this woman's gaze, fixed on me with such penetrating force that I felt some unease, connected with disgust for this woman. (...) despite the disgust caused by the sight of Xawera, (...) I offered her my hand honestly.
Deybel swept Mickiewicz. As Władysław Bełza described, when the ailing Celina stayed at home and fed another newborn child, Xawera accompanied Mickiewicz on all his pilgrimages. Only she was able to evoke a state of creative exaltation in the poet. It is not known, however, what was the effect and what was the cause; whether the mystical intoxication of two lovers was to lead to the spiritualization of their bodies, or vice versa - the souls were embodied. The important thing is that it worked.
Mickiewicz's wife suffered a lot. Not only because of her mental illness, but also because of her husband's repeated betrayals. Xawera Deybel finally sealed the end of the peaceful lives of the couple.
Deybel suddenly began to play the role of the poet's rightful consort, while Celina went down to the role of concubine. Also considered a higher spirit, Xawera became a member of the Tovian sect - the Circle of God's Cause - three months earlier than Mrs. Mickiewicz, immediately occupying one of the highest positions in the elite executive called the Lord's Host. As you can read in the book Because they were bad women. Intrigues and devils :
(...) she was very active, had visions and ecstasies and was always ready for mystical heights. It was she who, in rapture of spirit, saw twelve stars around the Master's head, while Gutt saw seven, and Mickiewicz only three or even one. Towiański called her the Princess of Israel, because everything related to Israel had value for the Master - it meant spiritual maturity. For Swedenborg, "Israel" meant people living according to God's plan, for Towiański it was the spiritual name of nations called to enter a higher age. Celina was called "Old Israel" .
Recognized by Towiański as the Archangel of the Cause, she betrayed him. When there was a split in Koło, she sided with Mickiewicz, deepening the strength of mutual misunderstandings. Despite Celina's insane efforts to convert her husband, the romantic's heart remained under the overwhelming charm of the mysterious princess' magnetic gaze ...
Princess of the erotic circle
“Xawera, an Israeli princess, cooked for great destinies, today in partnership with Hell to kill Christianity. It tempts and conquers with magnetism, ”he said about Deybel Towiański. The woman was not only the center of the love triangle in the Mickiewicz house, but also created erotic polygons in the Koło itself. Two brothers wanted to marry her, others - crazy with lust and passion.
Although the physical temptation that Deybel aroused among the "lonely men" of the Parisian emigration does not seem strange - it is disturbing that Xawera derives almost perverse pleasure from being magnetized with her charm. She seduced, teased, evoked feelings. Sometimes creative, sometimes destructive - but always passionate. "Beast, towianica Deybel" - wrote Lenartowicz about her. Słowacki composed malicious nursery rhymes. But neither of them was indifferent to her, since he did not keep silent on her name.
Grigory Myasoyedov immortalized the Polish poet in a painting during one of his improvisational inspirations. Mickiewicz was to experience them at the end of his life mainly thanks to Xawery Deybel, who then argued with his brothers in Koło.
The cursed harlot?
The effect of maneuvering the Tovian devil? Removing it from the official calendars of the servants of the Cause of God and putting a curse on it. Deybel, however, taking no notice of the thunders thrown at her, finally decided to settle down. Mrs. Mickiewicz died and the poet was free at last. However, Xawera did not foresee two things. First, that after her death, Celina would gain the right to be called the perfect wife in the eyes of her husband, and second - that the bard would quickly follow the deceased. Eventually, all stories end with either a wedding or a funeral, or - as in this case - both.
Therefore, the spectacular life of Xawera ended with a not very spectacular finale. Instead of Mickiewicz, she married an ordinary Parisian commissioner. He left her with numerous offspring in poverty so terrible that she had to beg from the righteous children of her lover. While it was not a spectacular end, it was certainly not ordinary.
After the death of his wife and parting with Xawera, Mickiewicz left for Turkey. He was supposed to form the Polish army there with Sadyk Pasha. However, he died under mysterious circumstances…
Almost all traces of Xawera's relationship with the Polish bard have been obliterated. The question is:was it just an attempt to maintain the flawless image of his father and leading romanticist? In the case of other lovers, Wereszczakówna, Ankwiczówna or Sobańska, no such effort was made. However, Ksawera was different from Mickiewicz's other friends. She left a descendant. Władysław and Maria's over-zealousness to destroy all evidence of her presence in her father's life allows us to speculate that she was the poet's child.
For Maria Gorecka, daughter of Mickiewicz, the most appropriate place for Deybel would be the Saint-Lazare prison:a home for the exile of prostitutes and harlots. According to Towiański, this inconspicuous brown haired girl became "Satan" during her lifetime, and he did not only mean the story of the Mickiewiczs. However, it was primarily on family life that the bard left an indelible mark on Xawer. She drove his wife deeply insane, argued him and his friends, and tarnished his opinion.
- You (...) lost it. You brought it down. Your leg barely stood there. It's your fault. (…) You killed him, Xawero. And me - you cheated. (…)
- What if I was meant to do so? How did you know that I am an Israeli princess and what is my destiny? (…) Then you cursed me. You threatened with the greatest misfortunes. You were glad when it worked out. May not? You said that if my body did not find the grave, my troubled spirit would not rest.
So far, the tomb of the Princess has not been found. Who knows if and after her death she was not touched by the Master's curse?