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The Duchess of Berry and the Court of Charles X
by Imbert De Saint-Amand
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VIII

THE ORLEANS FAMILY

At the accession of Charles X., Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans, chief of the younger branch of the Bourbons, born at Paris, October 6th, 1773, was not yet fifty-seven years old. He married November 25th, 1809, Marie-Amelie, Princess of the Two Sicilies, whose father, Ferdinand I., reigned at Naples, and whose mother, the Queen Marie-Caroline, sister of Marie Antoinette, died at Venice, September 7th, 1814. Marie-Amelie, born April 26th, 1782, was forty-two years old when Charles X. ascended the throne. Of her marriage with the Duke of Orleans there were born five sons and four daughters:—

1. Ferdinand-Philippe-Louis-Charles-Henri-Roulin, Duke of Chartres, born at Palermo, September 3d, 1810. (When his father became King, he took the title of Duke of Orleans, and died from a fall from his carriage going from the Tuileries to Neuilly on the Chemin de la Revolte, July 13th, 1842.)

2. Louise-Marie-Therese-Caroline-Elisabeth, Mademoiselle d'Orleans, born at Palermo the 3d of April, 1812. (She married the King of the Belgians, Leopold I., August 9th, 1832, and died October 11th, 1850.)

3. Marie-Christine-Caroline-Adelaide-Francoise-Leopoldine, Mademoiselle de Valois, born at Palermo, April 12th, 1813. (She was designated by the name of the Princess Marie, distinguished herself in the arts, made the famous statue of Jeanne d'Arc, married October 17th, 1837, the Duke Frederic William of Wurtemberg, and died January 2d, 1839.)

4. Louis-Charles-Philippe-Raphael, Duke of Nemours, born at Paris, October 25th, 1814.

5. Marie-Clementine-Caroline-Leopoldine, Mademoiselle de Beaujolais, born at Neuilly June 3d, 1817. (She was designated by the name of the Princess Clementine, and married, April 20th, 1843, the Prince August, of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.)

6. Francois-Ferdinand-Philippe-Louis-Marie, Prince de Joinville, born at Neuilly, August 14th, 1818.

7. Charles-Ferdinand-Louis-Philippe-Emmanuel, Duke of Penthievre, born at Paris, January 1st, 1820. (He died July 25th, 1828.)

8. Henri-Eugene-Philippe-Louis, Duke d'Aumale, born at Paris, January 16th, 1822.

9. Antoine-Marie-Philippe-Louis, Duke of Montpensier, born at Neuilly, July 5th, 1824.

The Duke of Orleans had a sister who lived with him at the Palais Royal, and was reputed to be his Egeria. She was Louise-Marie-Adelaide-Eugenie, Mademoiselle d'Orleans, as she was called under the Restoration. Born August 23d, 1777, she had been educated by Madame de Genlis, with her brother, and was said to be attached to the ideas of the Liberal party. (It was she who in 1830 decided Louis-Philippe to accept the crown, took the name of Madame Adelaide, and died, unmarried, some days before the revolution of the 24th of February, 1848.)

Marie-Amelie, Duchess of Orleans, was the sister of the Prince Royal of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinand, father of the Duchess of Berry, and the niece was very fond of her aunt. The two Princesses were united by other bonds than those of blood. During all her infancy the Duchess of Berry had lived with her aunt at Palermo and Naples. Both were descended in direct line from the great Empress, Maria Theresa. Both had greatly loved the Queen Marie-Caroline, of whom one was the granddaughter, the other the daughter. Both professed great admiration for the Martyr-Queen, Marie Antoinette, of whom one was the grand-niece, the other the niece. The devotion and family feeling of the Duchess of Orleans won every one's sympathy for her, and the Duchess of Berry had a respectful attachment for her. Their relations were as constant as they were friendly. There existed between the Palais Royal and the Pavilion de Marsan, dwellings so near each other, a friendship and neighborliness that left nothing to be desired.

The Duke of Bordeaux and his sister, Mademoiselle, were very fond of their little Orleans cousins. There was a certain pleasure in thinking that the Duke of Chartres might one day become the husband of Mademoiselle. This young Prince, already very amiable and sympathetic, was the favorite of the Duchess of Berry. She said to herself that he would be the son-in-law of her dreams. Every time that she went to the Palais Royal, where her visits were incessant, she was received with transports of affection. Nowhere did she enjoy herself more. Louis-Philippe treated her with deference and courtesy. She believed sincerely in his friendship, and any one who had shown in her presence the least doubt of the loyalty of her aunt's husband would not have ventured to complete the phrase expressing it. The Duchess of Berry was to preserve this confidence until the Revolution of 1830.

Charles X. had a kindly feeling, founded on very real sympathy, for the Duke of Orleans and all his family. During the Emigration, as under the reign of Louis XVIII., he had always maintained very cordial relations with the Duke, and had tried to efface the bad memories of Philippe Egalite. Charles X. was as confiding as Louis XVIII. was distrustful. Optimist, like all good natures, the new King would not believe evil. He attributed to others his own good qualities. Louis XVIII. always had suspicions as to the Duke of Orleans. "Since his return," he said, in 1821, "the Duke of Orleans is the chief of a party without seeming to be. His name is a threatening flag, his palace a rallying-place. He makes no stir, but I can see that he makes progress. This activity without movement is disquieting. How can you undertake to check the march of a man who makes no step?" Every time the Duke attempted to bring up the question of exchanging his title of Most Serene Highness for that of Royal Highness, the King stubbornly resisted. "The Duke of Orleans is quite near enough to the throne already," he replied to all solicitations. "I shall be careful to bring him no nearer."

This refusal was very depressing to the Duke. One circumstance rendered it still more annoying. As a king's daughter, his wife was a Royal Highness. By this title she enjoyed honors denied to her husband. When she was present at court with him she was first announced, both doors of the salon being opened: "Her Royal Highness, Madame the Duchess of Orleans." Then one door having been closed, the usher announced: "His Most Serene Highness, Monseigneur the Duke of Orleans." This distinction was very disagreeable to the Duke. Charles X. hastened to abolish it. September 21st, 1824, he accorded the title of Royal Highness to the Duke of Orleans, and three days later he conferred this title, so much desired, on the children of the sister of the Duke. The latter showed his great pleasure. Though he might favor liberalism and give pledges to democracy, he remained a Prince to the marrow of his bones. He loved not only money, but honors, and attached extreme importance to questions of etiquette. The memories of his childhood and his early youth bound him to the old regime and despite appearances to the contrary, this Prince, so dear to the bourgeois and to the National Guard, was always by his tastes and aspirations a man of Versailles.

Charles X. would gladly have said to the Duke of Orleans, as Augustus to Cinna, speaking of his benefits:—

"Je t'en avais comble, je t'en veux accabler."

He was not content with according him a title of honor; he gave him something much more solid, by causing to be returned to him, with the consent of the Chambers, the former domain and privileges of the House of Orleans. This was not easy. It required not only the good-will of the Chateau, but the vote of the Chambers, and the majority was hardly favorable to the Duke of Orleans, of whom it cherished the same suspicions as Louis XVIII. The Duchess of Berry pleaded warmly the cause of her aunt's husband, and conspired with Charles X. against the Right, the members of which in this case believed it a service to royalty to disobey the King. The opposition to the project seemed likely to be so strong, that the government was obliged to commit a sort of moral violence upon the Chamber of Deputies. The King directed his ministers to join in some way the question of the apanages of the House of Orleans with the disposition of his own civil list. The King thought that the sentiments of the Chamber for himself and his family would make them adopt the whole en bloc. It was a device of his kindliness, a sort of smuggling in the King's coach, as was said by M. de Labourdonnaye. A large number of deputies demanded a division of the question. The ministers had to make great efforts and mount the tribune many times to defend the measure, which passed only by a very feeble majority. The Duke of Orleans, now at the very height of his desires, thanked Charles X. with effusion.

Nor was this all; from the millions of indemnity to the emigres, the Duke of Orleans drew 14,000,000 francs. The opposition chiefs of the Left imitated the Prince and profited largely by the law that they had opposed and condemned. The Duke of Choiseul obtained 1,100,000 francs, the Duke of La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt 1,400,000 francs, M. Gaetan de La Rochefoucauld 1,429,000 francs, General Lafayette himself 1,450,000 francs.

The Orleanist party was already beginning to take form, perhaps without the knowledge of its chief. In his pamphlets of 1824, Paul-Louis Courier devoted himself to separating the older from the younger branch of the House, declaring that he should like to be a resident of a commune of Paris if the Duke of Orleans were its mayor, for from a Prince the Duke had become a man during the Emigration, and had never begged bread of a foreign hand. Louis-Philippe continued prudently the role he had played at the end of the first Restoration and during the Hundred Days. While professing an obsequious and enthusiastic respect for Charles X., he secretly flattered the Bonapartists and the Liberals. He sent his eldest son to the public school, as if to insinuate that he remained faithful to the ideas of equality from which his father had gained his surname. He made very welcome the coryphees of the Opposition, such as General Foy and M. Laffitte, to the Palais Royal, and received them in halls where the brush of Horace Vernet had represented the great battles of the tricolor flag. When General Foy died, in November, 1825, the Duke of Orleans put his name for ten thousand francs to the subscription opened to provide a fund for the children of the General. Some friendly representations were made from the Chateau to the Palais Royal on this matter. It was answered that the Duke of Orleans had subscribed not as Prince, but as a friend, and in private called attention to the modesty of the gift compared with others, with that of M. Casimir Perier, for example, which amounted to fifty thousand francs. This excuse was satisfactory at the Tuileries.

Is this saying that Louis-Philippe was already at this time thinking of dethroning his benefactor, his relative, and his King? We think not. He profited by the errors of Charles X.; but if Charles X. had not committed them, the idea of usurpation would not have occurred to the mind of the chief of the younger branch. Men are not so profoundly good or so profoundly wicked. They let themselves be carried further than they wish, and if the acts they are to commit some day were foretold them, the prophecies would most often seem to them as impossible as insulting.

Madame de Gontaut, Governess of the Children of France, recounts an incident that took place at the Louvre, December 22d, 1824, at the opening of the session of the Chambers: "The crowd was prodigious. The Dauphiness and the Duchess of Berry and Mademoiselle d'Orleans were present in one of the bays. The Children of France were there. The Duchess of Berry took the Duke of Bordeaux by her side. The Duchess of Orleans called Mademoiselle, whom she loved tenderly, to her. The canon announced the approach of the King. At the moment of his appearance the hall resounded with acclamations. The platform for the royal family was the one prepared for the late King; there had been left a slight elevation in it, that the King did not see, and he stumbled on it. With the movement his hat, held on his arm, fell; the Duke of Orleans caught it. The Duchess of Orleans said to me:—

"'The King was about to fall; my husband sustained him.'

"I answered: 'No, Madame; Monseigneur has caught His Majesty's hat.'

"The Dauphiness turned and looked at me. We did not speak of it until six months after. Neither of us had forgotten it."

A few years more and Charles X. was to drop, not his hat, but his crown.



IX

THE PRINCE OF CONDE

At the time of the accession of Charles X., the family of Conde was represented only by an old man of sixty-eight, Louis-Henri-Joseph de Bourbon-Conde, born April 13th, 1756. At the death of his father in 1818, he had taken the title of Prince of Conde, while retaining that of Duke of Bourbon, by which he had previously been designated. On the 10th of January, 1822, he lost his wife, Princess Louise-Marie-Therese-Bathilde, sister of the Duke of Orleans, mother of the unfortunate Duke d'Enghien, and he lost, on March 10th, 1824, his sister, Mademoiselle de Conde, the nun whose convent of the Perpetual Adoration was situated in the Temple near the site of the former tower where Louis XVI. and his family had been confined.

The Duke of Bourbon, in his youth, had had a famous duel with the Count of Artois, the future Charles X. No resentment subsisted between the two princes, who afterwards maintained the most cordial relations. During the Emigration, the Duke of Bourbon served with valor in the army of his father, the Prince of Conde. While the white flag floated at the head of a regiment he was found fighting for the royal cause; then, the struggle ended, he retired to England, where he had lived near Louis XVIII., and always at his disposition. Returning to France at the Restoration, he had since resided almost always at Chantilly or at Saint-Leu, without his wife, from whom he had long been separated. He was ranked as a reactionary, but busied himself little with politics, and exerted no influence.

The Count of Puymaigre, who, in his office as Prefect of the Oise, at the commencement of the reign of Charles X., often went to Chantilly, speaks of him in his Souvenirs:—

"The name of my father, much beloved by the late Prince of Conde, more than my title of Prefect, caused me to be received with welcome, and I took advantage of it the more gladly, because I have never seen a house where one was more at one's ease, and where there was more of that comfortable life known before the Revolution as the chateau life. There was little of the prince in him; he was more like an elderly bachelor who liked to have about him joy, movement, pleasure, a wholly Epicurean life. The society of Chantilly ordinarily consisted of the household of the Prince; that is to say, old servitors of his father, some ladies whose husbands held at this little court the places of equerries or gentlemen of the chamber, some persons who were invited, or like myself, had the right to come when they wished, and among this number I frequently saw the Prince of Rohan, relative of the Duke of Bourbon, disappointed since of the portion of the inheritance he hoped for; finally, some Englishmen and their wives. The tone was quite free, since the Prince set the example. And I recall that one day he recommended me to be gallant with one of the English ladies, who, he said, would like nothing better than to receive such attentions. That seemed very likely to me, but she was not young enough to tempt me to carry the adventure very far."

The real chatelaine of this little court of Chantilly was a beautiful Englishwoman, Sophie Dawes, married to a French officer, the Baron of Feucheres. Born about 1795, in the Isle of Wight, Sophie Dawes was the daughter of a fisherman. It is said that she was brought up by charity, and played for some time at Covent Garden Theatre, London. But her early life is unknown, and what is told of it is not trustworthy. In 1817, she was taken into the intimacy of the Duke of Bourbon, and afterwards acquired an irresistible ascendancy over him. When she became his inseparable companion, she explained her presence with him by the story that she was his natural daughter, and the Duke avoided confirming or denying this assertion. In 1818, he arranged a marriage between his favorite and a very honorable officer, the Baron of Feucheres, who believed, in good faith, that Sophie Dawes was really the daughter of the Duke of Bourbon, and not his mistress. The marriage was celebrated in England, but the pair returned to Chantilly. The Baron of Feucheres figures in the royal Almanacs of 1821, 1822, 1823, as lieutenant-colonel, gentleman in ordinary to the Duke of Bourbon, Prince of Conde, but not in the Almanac of 1824.

In a very interesting work, the Vie de Charles X. by the Abbe de Vedrenne, the reader will find:—

"By the marriage of Sophie Dawes, did the Duke of Bourbon wish to break away from a guilty bond? It is generally believed. As to M. de Feucheres, convinced that his wife was the daughter of the Prince, he had no suspicion. It was Sophie Dawes herself who enlightened him, to drive him away. The effect of the revelation was terrible. M. de Feucheres, indignant, quitted his wife. There no longer remained about the Prince any but the creatures of Madame de Feucheres. Every one did her bidding at Chantilly, and the Prince most of all."

The favorite sought to palliate her false situation in the eyes of society by doing good with the Prince's money. The Count of Puymaigre relates that she many times took him to the Hospital of Chantilly, endowed by the munificence of the great Conde, the revenues of which she wished to increase. He adds: "I urged her to this good work as much as I could; for good, by whatever hand done, endures."

One day the Duchess of Angouleme asked him if he went often to Chantilly.

"I go there," replied the Prefect, "to pay my court to the Duke of Bourbon, whom I have the honor of having in my department."

"That is very well," responded the Dauphiness, "but I hope that Madame de Puymaigre does not go."

The grand passion of the Duke of Bourbon was hunting. The Prefect of the Oise says:—

"It was particularly during the hunts of Saint-Hubert that Chantilly was a charming abode. The start was made at seven o'clock in the morning, and usually I was in the carriage of the Prince with the everlasting Madame de Feucheres. The hunting-lodge was delightful and in a most picturesque situation. There twenty or thirty persons met to the sound of horns, in the midst of dogs, horses, and huntsmen. The coursing train of the Prince was finer and more complete than that of the King. A splendid breakfast was served at the place of rendezvous, built and furnished in the Gothic style of the thirteenth century, and there the chase began. Although I told the Prince that I was no hunter, he often made me mount my horse and accompany him; but often having enjoyed the really attractive spectacle of the stag, driven by a crowd of dogs, which launched themselves after him across the waters of a little lake, I hastened back to the Gothic pavilion where the ladies and a few men remained."

The Prince said one day to the Prefect:—

"Decidedly, you do not love hunting."

"But I might love it, my lord, if I had such an outfit."

"That's because you don't know anything about it, my dear Puymaigre; when I was in England, hunting all alone in the marshes with my dog Belle, I enjoyed it much more than here."

The Prefect thus concludes his description of life at Chantilly:—

"Dinner was at six o'clock in the magnificent gallery where the souvenirs of the great Conde were displayed in all their pomp, and the eyes fell on fine pictures of the battles of Rocroy, Senef, Fribourg, and Nordlingen, inspiring some regret for the life led by the heir of so much glory. After dinner society comedy was played on a very pretty stage, where the luxury of costumes was very great and the mise-en-scene carefully attended to; and this did not make the actors any better, although the little plays were tolerable. But Madame de Feucheres wishing to play Alzire and to take the principal part, which she doled out with sad monotony, without change of intonation from the first line to the last, and with a strongly pronounced English accent, it was utterly ridiculous, and Voltaire would have flown into a fine passion had he seen one of his chefs-d'oeuvres mangled in that way. Who could have told that this poor Prince, who, if he had neither the virtues nor the dignity proper to his rank, was nevertheless a very good fellow, would perish in 1830, in such a tragic manner?"

Charles X. had a long standing affection for the Duke of Bourbon. On September 21st, 1824, he conferred on him at the same time as on the Duke of Orleans, the title of Royal Highness. The last of the Condes was, besides, Grand Master of France. This court function was honorary rather than real, and the Prince appeared at the Tuileries only on rare occasions. Charles X. loved him as a friend of his childhood, a companion of youth and exile, but he had a lively regret to see him entangled in such relations with the Baroness of Feucheres. The advice he gave him many times to induce him to break this liaison was without result. Finally the King said: "Let us leave him alone; we only give him pain." He never went to Chantilly, in order not to sanction by his royal presence the kind of existence led there by his old relation; and the Prince knowing the sentiments of his sovereign, gave him but few invitations, which were always evaded under one pretext or another.

People wondered at the time who would be the heirs of the immense fortune of the Condes, whose race was on the point of extinction. The Prince's mother was Charlotte-Elisabeth de Rohan-Soubise, and the Rohans thought themselves the natural heirs. But such a combination would not have met the views of Madame de Feucheres, who, not content with having got from the Prince very considerable donations, counted on figuring largely in his will.

Nevertheless she was not without lively anxiety in that regard. The Rohans had refused all compromise with her. If they were disinherited, what would they say? Would they not attack the will on the ground of undue influence? Such was the eventuality against which the prudent Baroness intended to guard herself. In consequence she conceived the bold project of sheltering her own wealth under the patronage of some member of the royal family, in having him receive the fortune of the old Prince under a will which at the same time should consecrate the part to be received by her, and put it beyond all contest. She would have wished the old Prince to choose his heir in the elder branch of the House of Bourbon. But the Duchess of Berry, who was disinterestedness itself, declined any arrangement of that nature. To the insinuations made to her in favor of her son, she responded:—

"Henri will be King. The King of France needs nothing."

She did more. It is said that to the persons who bore these advances to her, she suggested the idea of having the heritage of the Condes pass to the family of the Duke of Orleans. But the thing was not easy. It is true that the children of the Duke were, by their mother, Bathilde d'Orleans, nephews of the wife of the Duke of Bourbon. But this Prince had led a bad life with his wife, from whom he had separated immediately after the birth of the Duke d'Enghien, and the souvenirs of the Revolution separated him widely from a family whose political ideas were not his. Yet the Duke and Duchess of Orleans were not discouraged. They entered on negotiations a long time in advance with the Baroness of Feucheres, who was in reality the arbiter of the situation. M. Nettement relates that the first time that Marie-Amelie pronounced the name of the Baroness in the presence of the Duchess of Angouleme, the daughter of Louis XVI. said to her: "What! you have seen that woman!" The Duchess of Orleans responded: "What would you have? I am a mother. I have a numerous family; I must think before all of the interests of my children."

What is certain is that the Prince was induced to be the godfather of the Duke d'Aumale, born the 6th of January, 1822, and that was a sort of prelude to the will of 1830.



X

THE COURT

Now let us throw a general glance over the court of the King, Charles X., in 1825, the year of the consecration.

The civil household of the King comprised six distinct services: those of Grand Almoner of France, of the Grand Master of France, of the Grand Chamberlain of France, of the Grand Equerry of France, of the Grand Huntsman of France, and of the Grand Master of Ceremonies of France.

The Grand Almoner was the Cardinal, Prince of Croy, Archbishop of Rowen; the First Almoner, Mgr. Frayssinous, Bishop of Hermopolis; the confessor of the King, the Abbe Jocard. Charles X., this monarch, surrounded by great lords, knelt before a plebeian priest and demanded absolution for his sins. There were, besides, in the service of the Grand Almoner of France, eight almoners, eight chaplains, and eight pupils of the chapel, serving in turns of four.

The function of the Grand Master of France had as titulary the Duke of Bourbon, Prince of Conde. But this Prince performed his duties only in very rare and solemn circumstances. In fact, the service of the Grand Master of France was directed by the First Steward, the Count of Cosse-Brissac. There were besides four chamberlains of the House, the Count de Rothe, the Marquis of Mondragon, the Count Mesnard de Chousy, the Viscount Hocquart, and several stewards.

The Grand Chamberlain of France was the Prince de Talleyrand. He discharged his functions only on solemn occasions, such as the funeral of Louis XVIII. and the consecration of Charles X. and the arrival of the Duchess of Berry. In fact, the service of the Grand Chamberlain of France was directed by one of the first gentlemen of the chamber. They were four in number,—the Duke d'Aumont, the Duke of Duras, the Duke of Blacas, the Duke Charles de Damas,—and performed their functions in turn a year each. Every four years the King designated those who were to serve during each of the following four years. Thus, the Royal Almanac of 1825 has this notice:—

First gentlemen of the chamber: 1825, the Duke d'Aumont; 1826, the Duke of Duras; 1827, the Duke of Blacas; 1828, Count de Damas (afterwards Duke).

The first chamberlains, masters of the wardrobe, were five in number: the Marquis de Boisgelin, the Count de Pradel, the Count Curial, the Marquis d'Avaray, the Duke d'Avaray. There were besides thirty-two gentlemen of the chamber, without counting those that were honorary. To this same service belonged the readers, the first valets-de-chambre, the ushers of the chamber, the musicians of the chamber, those of the chapel and the service of the faculty. The entrees, a matter so important in the ceremonies of courts, were also attached to this service.

By virtue of royal regulations of November 1st, December 31st, 1820, and January 23d, 1821, the entrees at the Chateau of the Tuileries were established as follows: They were divided in six classes: the grand entrees, the first entrees of the Cabinet, the entrees of the Cabinet, those of the Hall of the Throne, those of the first salon preceding the Hall of the Throne, and last, those of the second salon.

The grand entrees gave the privilege of entering at any time the sleeping-room of the King. They belonged to the Grand Chamberlain, to the first chamberlains—masters of the wardrobe. Next came the first entrees of the Cabinet (this was the name of the hall which, during the reign of Napoleon III., was designated as the Salon de Louis XIV., because it contained a Gobelins tapestry representing the Ambassadors of Spain received by the King). Persons who have the first entrees of the Cabinet have the right to enter there at any time in order to have themselves announced to the King, and there to await permission to enter the main apartment. These first entrees of the Cabinet belong to those who have to take the orders of the sovereign—to the grand officers of his civil and military households, or, in their absence, to the first officer of each service, to the major-general of the royal guard on service, to the Grand Chancellor, to the minister-secretaries of State, to the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor, to the captains of the King's bodyguard, to the Grand Quartermaster.

Next come the entrees of the Cabinet (which must not be confused with the first entrees of the Cabinet). These give to persons enjoying them the right to enter that room usually a little before the hour fixed by the King to hear Mass, and to remain there at will during the day, up to the hour of the evening when the sovereign gives out the watchword. They belong to the grand officers and to the first officers of the civil and military households of the King, to the major-generals of the royal guard and the lieutenant-general in service, to the cardinals, to the Chancellor of France, to the minister-secretaries of State, to the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor, to the marshals of France, to the Grand Referendary of the Chamber of Peers, to the President of the Chamber of Deputies, and to all the officers of the King's household on service.

The persons and functionaries civil or military with a lower rank in the hierarchy of the court have their entrees, some to the Hall of the Throne, others to the first salon preceding the Hall of the Throne (the Salon d'Apollon under Napoleon III.), and still others to the second salon (communicating with the Hall of the Marshals, and called, under Napoleon III., the Salon of the First Consul).

The collective audience given to all having their entries was called the public audience of the King. It took place when the King went to hear Mass in his chapel, only on his return to re-enter his inner apartment. Followed by all his grand officers and his first officers in service, Charles X. passed to and paused in each of the rooms in his outer apartment, in order to allow those having the right to be there to pay their court to him. When he attended Mass in his inner apartment, he gave a public audience only after that ceremony. He paused in his Grand Cabinet, then in the Hall of the Throne, and successively in the other rooms.

When the King was ready to receive, the First Gentleman of the Chamber gave notice to the grand officers and the first officers that they might present themselves. Moreover, he placed before the King the list of persons having entrees to his apartments or to whom he had accorded them. On this list Charles X. indicated those he wished invited.

There was no titular Grand Equerry of France. The First Equerry, charged with the saddle-horses of the King, was the Duke of Polignac, major-general. The two equerries-commandant were the Marquis of Vernon and Count O'Hegerthy, major-general. There were, besides, four equerries, masters of the horse, three each quarter, namely: for the January quarter the Chevalier de Riviere, major-general; the Count Defrance, lieutenant-general; the Baron Dujon, major-general;—for the April quarter, the Colonel Viscount de Bongars; the Baron Vincent, major-general; the Viscount Domon, lieutenant—general;—for the July quarter, the Colonel Marquis de Martel, the Viscount Vansay, the Count Frederic de Bongars;—for the October quarter, the Count de Fezensac, major-general; the Colonel Marquis Oudinot, the Colonel Marquis de Chabannes. The chief Equerries of the stable were the Viscount d'Abzac and the Chevalier d'Abzac, both colonels. There were, besides, the equerries in ordinary and the pupil-equerries. The pages belonged to the service of the Grand Equerry of France.

The Grand Huntsman was the Marshal Marquis of Lauriston, and the First Huntsman, the Lieutenant-General Count de Girardin. There were also huntsmen for the hunting-courses and huntsmen for the gunning-hunts of the King.

The Grand Master of Ceremonies was the Marquis of Dreux-Breze, and the Master of Ceremonies the Marquis of Rochemore, major-general. There were, besides, the aides, a king-at-arms and heralds-at-arms.

All the civil household of the King worked with the greatest regularity. Etiquette, carefully observed, though stripped of the ancient minutiae, recalled the old usages of the French monarchy. All that had been suppressed was what was puerile and weariness for the courtiers and for the King himself.

The military household of the King was a group of chosen troops. The horse body-guards comprised five companies, each bearing the name of its chief. The Duke d'Havre et de Croy, the Duke of Gramont, the Prince of Poix, Duke de Mouchy, the Duke of Luxembourg, the Marquis de Riviere. The chiefs of these companies, all five lieutenants-general, were entitled captains of the guard. There was, besides, a company of foot-guards in ordinary to the King, whose chief, the Duke of Mortemart, major-general, had the title of captain-colonel, and whose officers were some French, some Swiss. There was a Chief Quartermaster, the Lieutenant-General Marquis de La Suze.

The royal guard, composed of two divisions of infantry, two divisions of cavalry, and a regiment of artillery, was under the command of four marshals of France, Victor, Duke de Bellune; Macdonald, Duke de Tarente; Oudinot, Duke de Reggio; Marmont, Duke de Raguse, all four of whom had the title of major-general.

The body-guards, the Swiss, the royal guard, were the admiration of all connoisseurs. The Emperor Napoleon never had had troops better disciplined, of better bearing, clad in finer uniforms, animated by a better spirit.

To the household of the King must be added those of the Dauphin, the Dauphiness, and the Duchess of Berry. The Dauphin had as first gentlemen, the Duke of Damas and the Duke of Guiche, both lieutenants-general; for gentlemen, the Count d'Escars and the Baron of Damas, lieutenants-general; the Count Melchior de Polignac, major-general; the Viscount de Saint Priest, and the Count de Bordesoulle, lieutenants-general; the Count d'Osmond, lieutenant-colonel. For aides-de-camp, the Baron de Beurnonville and the Count de Laroche-Fontenille, major-generals; the Viscount of Champagny, the Count of Montcalm, and the Baron Lecouteulx de Canteleu, colonels; the Viscount de Lahitte, and the Duke de Ventadour, lieutenant-colonels; the Count de La Rochefoucauld, chief of battalion.

The household of the Dauphiness was composed as follows: a First Almoner, the Cardinal de La Fare, Archbishop of Sens, with two almoners serving semiannually, and a chaplain; a lady-of-honor, the Duchess of Damas-Cruz; a lady of the bed chamber, the Viscountess d'Agoult; seven lady companions, the Countess of Bearn, the Marchioness of Biron, the Marchioness of Sainte-Maure, the Viscountess of Vaudreuil, the Countess of Goyon, the Marchioness de Rouge, the Countess of Villefranche; two gentlemen-in-waiting, the Marquis of Vibraye and the Duke Mathieu de Montmorency, major-general; a First Equerry, the Viscount d'Agoult, lieutenant-general, and two equerries, the Chevalier de Beaune and M. O'Hegerthy.

We shall devote a special chapter to the household of the Duchess of Berry.

The Count Alexandre de Puymaigre has left in his Souvenirs an account of the manner in which the court employed the two weeks passed at Compiegne in the month of October of each year. At 8 A.M., the King heard Mass, where attendance was very exact except when the King omitted to come, when no one came. At nine o'clock they set out for the hunt, almost always with guns. One hundred to one hundred and fifty hussars or chasseurs of the guard in garrison at Compiegne beat the field, marching in line of battle, with the King in the middle: he had at his right the Dauphin, at his left a captain of the guards, or such person of the court as he was pleased to designate. These were the three who alone had the right to fire.

Behind the sovereign, apart from some persons connected with the service of the hunt, came a master of the horse, the first huntsman, and some persons admitted to the hunt. The King, who used a flintlock gun, was a very good marksman. About five or six in the evening he returned to the Chateau. The people of the court were gathered on the steps, awaiting him. He usually addressed some affable words to them, and then went to dress in order to be in the salon at seven o'clock.

The captain of the guards, the first gentleman, the first huntsman, the ladies and gentlemen in waiting of the princesses, the masters of the horse, the colonel of the guard, dined with the King. The dinner was choice, without being too sumptuous, but the wines were not of the first order. The company remained at the table an hour, and each talked freely with his or her neighbor, except those by the side of the Dauphin or a Princess. There was music during the repast, and the public was admitted to circulate about the table. The royal family liked the attendance of spectators to be considerable. Thus care was taken to give out a number of cards, in order that the promenade about the table during the second service should be continuous. Often the princesses spoke to the women of their acquaintance and gave candy to the children passing behind them.

After the coffee, which was taken at table, Charles X. and his guests traversed the Gallery of Mirrors, leading to the salon between two lines of spectators eager to see the royal family. The King next played billiards while a game of ecarte was started. The agents for the preservation of the forests and the pages of the hunt remained by the door, inside, without being permitted to advance into the salon, which was occupied only by persons who had dined with the King.

After having had his game of billiards and left his place for other players, Charles X. took a hand at whist, while the ecarte went on steadily until, toward ten o'clock, the King retired. He was followed to his sleeping-room, where he gave the watchword to the captain of the body-guards, and indicated the hour of the meet for the next day.

"Sometimes we then returned to the salon," adds the Count of Puymaigre, who, in virtue of his office as Prefect of the Oise, dined with the King, as well as the Bishop of Beauvais and the general commanding the sub-division. "M. de Cosse-Brisac, the first steward, had punch served, and we continued the ecarte till midnight or one o'clock, when we could play more liberally, the Dauphiness having limited the stakes to five francs. The Duchess of Berry was less scrupulous. After the withdrawal of the princes we were glad to be more at ease; the talk became gay and even licentious, and I will say here that all the men of the court whom I have seen near the King, far from being what could be called devout or hypocritical, as was believed in the provinces, were anything but that; that they no more concealed their indifference in religious matters than they did their diversity of political opinions, royalist doubtless, but of divers grades; that no one was more tolerant than the King; finally, that if an occult power, the existence of which I do not deny, but the force of which has been exaggerated, acted on the mind of the King, it had not its seat in what was called the court."

Charles X. was deeply religious, a fervent believer, sincerely Christian, and this Prince who but for his great piety might perhaps have given excuse for scandal, led a life without reproach. But as indulgent for others as he was severe to himself, he forced no one to imitate his virtues, and his palaces were in no way like convents. As was said by the Duke Ambroise de Doudeauville, for three years the minister of the King's household, "his religion, despite all the stupid things said of it, was very frank, very real, and very well understood."

Rarely has a sovereign given such a good example to those about him. No mistresses, no favorites, no scandal, no ruinous expenditures, no excess of luxury; a gentle piety, extreme affability, perfect courtesy, a constant desire to render France happy and glorious. The appearance of Charles X. was that of a fine old man, gracious, healthy, amiable, and respected. Persons of plebeian origin at his court were treated by him with as much politeness and attention as the chiefs of the ancient houses of France. His manners were essentially aristocratic, but without arrogance or pretension. Full of goodness toward his courtiers and his servitors, he won the love of all who approached him. His tastes were simple, and personally he required no luxury. Habituated during the Emigration to go without many things, he never thought of lavish expenditure, of building palaces or furnishing his residences richly. "Never did a king so love his people," says the Duke Ambroise de Doudeauville, "never did a king carry self-abnegation so far. I urged him one day to allow his sleeping-room to be furnished. He refused. I insisted, telling him that it was in a shocking condition of neglect.

"'If it is for me,' he replied with vivacity, 'no; if it is for the sake of the manufactures, yes.'

"It was the same in everything. He had no whims and never listened to a proposition by which he alone was to profit. He joined to these essential qualities, manners that were wholly French, and mots that often recalled Henry IV. We were always saying to each other, my colleagues and I, 'If a king were made to order for France, he would not be different.' What a misfortune for France, which he loved so much, that he was not known better and more appreciated. This portrait, I protest, is in nowise flattering; if this poor Prince were still reigning, I would not say so much of him, above all in his presence; but he is persecuted and is an exile; I owe my country the truth, nothing but the truth."

Let us add to the honor of Charles X. that he made of his personal fortune and his civil list the noblest and most liberal use.

"On the throne," says the Viscount Sosthenes de La Rochefoucauld," he was generous to excess. In his noble improvidence of the future, he considered his civil list as a sort of loan, made by the nation for the sake of its grandeur, to be returned in luxury, magnificence, and benefits. A faithful depositary, he made it a duty to use it all, so that, stripped of his property, he carried into exile hardly enough for the support of his family and some old servitors."

To sum up, all who figured at the court of Charles X. agree in recognizing that he was not a superior man, but a prince, chivalrous and sympathetic, honest and of good intentions, who committed grave errors, but did not deserve his misfortunes. In his appearance, in his physiognomy, in thought and language, there was a mingling of grace and dignity of which even his adversaries felt the charm. If posterity is severe for the sovereign, it will be indulgent for the man.



XI

THE DUKE OF DOUDEAUVILLE

At the time of the consecration of Charles X., the minister of the King's household was the Duke Ambroise de Doudeauville, father of the Viscount Sosthenes de La Rochefoucauld. A philanthropic nobleman, devoted to the throne, the altar, the Charter, and to liberty, respectful for the past but thoughtful for the future, joining intelligent toleration to sincere piety, faithful servitor but no courtier to the King, the Duke of Doudeauville enjoyed the esteem of all and had at court a high standing, due even more to his character than to his birth. The volume of Memoirs that he has left does honor to his heart as well as to his mind. There is grace and gaiety, depth and charm, wisdom and courage, in this short but substantial book, where appears in full light one of the most distinct types of the ancient French society. "My years of grandeur and splendor," this author wrote, "have passed like a dream, and I have beheld the awakening with pleasure. I know not what my destiny shall be. As to my conduct, I believe that I can affirm that it will be always that of an honest man, a good Frenchman, a servant of God, desiring a Christian close to an honorable life, the crown of every human edifice."

The details given by the Duke of Doudeauville as to his early years are very characteristic. He was born in 1765. He was entrusted to the care of a nurse living two leagues from Paris in a little village, the wife of a post-rider. His parents, when they came to see him, found "their eighteen-months-old progeny astride of one of the horses of his foster-father." Like Henry IV., he was raised roughly, leading the life of a real peasant, running the day long, in sabots, through the snow and ice and mud. "My nurse, who was retained as maid," he says, "was a good peasant, and thoroughly proletarian. Afterwards, transferred to the capital, she there preserved with her simple cap her frank and rustic manners, to the admiration of all who knew her, and esteemed her loyal character and her plain ways. It is to her, and to her alone, that I am indebted for receiving any religious instruction either in infancy or youth. Everything about me was wholly foreign to those ideas; my religion was none the less fervent for that. From my earliest years, being born brave, I felt the vocation of the martyr the most desirable means of being joined to our Father which is in Heaven, and I have always thought that to end one's days for one's God, one's wife and family, was a touching and enviable death."

The Duke of Doudeauville was still a child, and a little child—in point of age he was fourteen and a day, in size he was four feet seven inches—when he was married. He espoused Mademoiselle de Montmirail, of the family of Louvois, who brought him, with a beauty he did not then prize, a considerable fortune, the rank of grandee of Spain, and, worth more than all, rare and precious qualities. Nevertheless, the little husband was very sad. When his approaching marriage was announced to him, he cried out, "Then I can play no longer!" When, after the first interview, he was asked how he liked his fiancee, whose fresh face, oval and full, was charming, he responded: "She is really very beautiful; she looks like me when I am eating plums." Listen to his story of the nuptials. "Imagine my extreme embarrassment," he says, "my stupid disappointment, with my excessive bashfulness amid the numerous concourse of visitors and spectators attracted by our wedding. The grandfather of Mademoiselle de Montmirail, being captain of the Hundred-Swiss, a great part of this corps was there, and, as if to play me a trick, all these Hundred-Swiss were six feet tall, sometimes more. One would have said, seeing me by the side of them, the giants and the dwarf of the fair. Every one gazed at the bride, who, although she was only fifteen, was as tall as she was beautiful, and every one was looking for the bridegroom, without suspecting that it was this child, this schoolboy, who was to play the part."

Is it not amusing, this picture of a marriage under the old regime? The little groom was so disturbed when he went to the chapel and during the ceremony, that, though his memory was excellent, he never could recall what passed at that time. "I only remember," he says, "the sound of the drums that were beating during our passage, and cheered me a little; it was the one moment of the day that was to my taste. How long that day seemed! You may imagine it was not from the motives common in like cases, but because I drew all glances upon me, and all vied in laughing at and joking me, pointing their fingers at me."

The day ended with a grand repast that lasted two or three hours. A crowd of strangers strolled around the table all the while. Although the precaution had been taken to put an enormous cushion on the chair of the husband, his chin hardly came above the table. Seated by the side of his young wife, he did not dare look at her. For days beforehand he had been wondering if he should always be afraid of her.

"After this solemn banquet," he adds, "came the soiree, which did not seem any more amusing; after the soiree the return to my parents' home was no more diverting; nevertheless, it was made in the company of my dear spouse, who henceforth was to dwell at my father's house. They bundled me into a wretched cabriolet with my preceptor, and sent me to finish my education at Versailles, and to learn to ride at the riding-school of the pages."

We must note that the marriage thus begun was afterwards a very happy union, and that there was never a pair more virtuous and more attached to each other than the Duke and Duchess of Doudeauville.

In 1789, the Duke was major of the Second Regiment of Chasseurs. He emigrated, though the Emigration was not at all to his liking. "This measure," he said, "appeared to me in every way unreasonable, and yet, to my great chagrin, I was forced to submit to it. The person of the King was menaced, right-thinking people compromised, the tranquillity and prosperity of France lost; they were arming abroad, it was said, to provide a remedy for these evils. The nobles hastened hither. Distaffs were sent to all who refused to rally on the banks of the Rhine. How, at twenty-five, could one resist this tide of opinion?" When he perceived, in the foreign powers, the design of profiting by the discords in France instead of putting an end to them, he laid aside his arms, and never resumed them during the eight years of the Emigration. "This resolve," he said, "was consistent with my principles. Always a good Frenchman, I desired only the good of my country, the happiness of my fellow-countrymen; my whole life, I hope, has been a proof of this view. All my actions have tended to this end."

During his eight years of emigration, the Duke of Doudeauville was constantly a prey to anxiety, grief, poverty, trials of every kind. Thirteen of his relatives were put to death under the Terror. His wife was imprisoned, and escaped the scaffold only through the 9th Thermidor. He himself, having visited France clandestinely several times, ran the greatest risks. In the midst of such sufferings his sole support was the assistance of a devoted servant. "At the moment that I write these lines," he says in his Memoirs, "I am about to lose my domestic Raphael, the excellent man who, for fifty years, has given me such proofs of fidelity, disinterestedness, and delicacy; I have treated him as a friend; I shall grieve for him as for a brother."

Misfortune had fortified the character of the Duke of Doudeauville. Unlike other emigres, he had learned much and forgotten nothing. His attitude under the Consulate and the Empire was that of a true patriot.—Without joining the Opposition, he wished no favor. The sole function he accepted was that of councillor-general of the Department of the Marne, where he could be useful to his fellow-citizens without giving any one the right to accuse him of ambitious motives. Nothing would have been easier for him than to be named to one of the high posts in the court of Napoleon, whose defects he disapproved, but whose great qualities he admired. "Bonaparte," he said in his Memoirs, "had monarchical ideas and made much of the nobility, especially that which he called historic. I must confess, whatever may be said, that the latter under his reign was more esteemed, respected, feted, than it has been since under Louis XVIII. or Charles X. The princes feared to excite toward it and toward themselves the envy of the bourgeois classes, who would have no supremacy but their own. Napoleon, on the contrary, having frankly faced the difficulty, created a nobility of his own. Those who belonged to it, or hoped to, found it quite reasonable that they should be given as peers the descendants of the first houses of France." The Duchess of Doudeauville was a sister of the Countess of Montesquiou, who was governess of the King of Rome, and whose husband had replaced the Prince de Talleyrand as Grand Chamberlain of the Emperor. Very intimate with the Count and Countess, the Duke of Doudeauville had some trouble in avoiding the favors of Napoleon, who held him in high esteem. He found a way to decline them without wounding the susceptibilities of the powerful sovereign.

Under the Restoration, the Duke of Doudeauville distinguished himself by an honest liberalism, loyal and intelligent, with nothing revolutionary in it, and by an enlightened philanthropy that won him the respect of all parties. When he was named as director of the post-office in 1822, many people of his circle blamed him for taking a place beneath him. "Congratulate me," he said, laughing, "that I have not been offered that of postman; I should have taken it just the same if I had thought I could be useful." And he added: "It was thought that it would be a sinecure for me. Far from that, I gave myself up wholly to my new employment, and I worked so hard at it, than in less than a year my eyes, previously excellent, were almost ruined. I always occupied fifteen or twenty places, each more gratuitous than the others. To make the religion that I practise beloved and to serve my neighbor, has always seemed to me the best way to serve God. So I believe that I can say without fear of contradiction that I have never done any one harm, and that I have always tried to do all the good possible."

In the month of August, 1824, the Duke of Doudeauville was named minister of the King's household. In this post he showed administrative qualities of a high order. In April, 1827, not wishing to share in a measure that he regarded as both inappropriate and unpopular, the disbanding of the Parisian National Guard, he gave in his resignation. "I did not wish," he said, "to join the Opposition. The popularity given me by my resignation would have assured me a prominent place, but this role agreed neither with my character nor with my antecedents. I resolved on absolute silence and complete obscurity; I even avoided showing myself in Paris, where I knew that manifestations of satisfaction and gratitude would be given to me." King Louis Philippe said one day to Marshal Gerard: "Had they listened to the Duke of Doudeauville, and not broken up the National Guard of Paris, the revolution would not have taken place."

The great lord, good citizen, and good Christian, who, at periods most disturbed by changes of regime, had always been as firm in the application of his principles as he was moderate in his actions and gentle in his method, made himself as much respected under Louis Philippe as under the Restoration. During the cholera, he set the example of absolute devotion and was constantly in the hospitals. He continued to sit in the Chamber of Peers until the close of the trial of the Ministers, in the hope of saving the servitors of Charles X. But when Louis Philippe quitted the Palais Royal to install himself at the Tuileries, he resigned as Peer of France. He no longer wished to reappear at the Chateau where he had seen Louis XVIII. and Charles X., and in a letter to the Queen Marie-Amelie, who had a real veneration for him, he wrote: "My presence at the Tuileries would be out of place, and even the new hosts of that palace would be astonished at it." The Duke of Doudeauville, who died at a great age, in 1841, devoted his last years to good works, to charity, to the benevolent establishments of which he was the president. One day at the Hotel de Ville, he drew applause from an assembly far from religious, by the words we are about to cite, because they discovered in them his whole mind and heart: "A husband would like a wife reserved, economical, a good housekeeper, an excellent mother for his family, charming, eager to please him—him only, adorning herself with virtue, the one ornament that is never ruinous, having great gentleness for him, great strength as against all others; he would wish, in fine, a perfect wife. I should like to believe that there are many such, especially among my listeners, but I should think it a miracle if one of them united all these qualities without having the principles of religion. A woman, pretty, witty, agreeable, would like her husband to think she was so, that he should be as amiable for her, or almost, as for those he saw for the first time; that he should not keep his ill humor and his brusqueness for his home and lavish his care and attention on society; that he should forget sometimes that he is a master,—in some ways a despotic master,—despite the liberalism of the century and the progress of philosophy; that he should be willing to be a friend, even if he ceased to be a lover; finally, that he should not seek from others what he will more surely find at home. Let this tender wife invoke religion, let her cause her husband to love it, let her win him to it; she will get what she hopes for and thank me for the recipe."

Our lady readers will thank us, we hope, for having spoken of a man who gives them such good advice; and it is with pleasure that we have taken the occasion to render homage to the memory of a great lord, who doubly deserved the title, by the elevation of his ideas and the nobility of his sentiments. Such men—alas! they are rare—would have saved the Restoration if the Restoration could have been saved.



XII

THE HOUSEHOLD OF THE DUCHESS OF BERRY

We shall now, commencing with the ladies, throw a rapid glance over the persons who, at the time of the consecration, formed the household of the Duchess of Berry. The Princess had one lady of honor, one lady of the bedchamber, and eleven lady companions, of whom three were honorary. All were distinguished as much by their manners and sentiments as by birth and education.

The lady of honor was the Marechale Oudinot, Duchess of Reggio, a lady of the highest rank, who joined a large heart to a firm mind. Attached, through her family, to the religious and monarchical principles of the old regime, by her marriage to the glories of the imperial epic, she represented at the court the ideas of pacification and fusion that inspired the policy of Louis XVIII. Born in 1791, of Antoine de Coucy, captain in the regiment of Artois, and of Gabrielle de Mersuay, she was but two years old when her father and mother were thrown into the dungeons of the Terror. Carried in the arms of a faithful serving-woman, she visited the two prisoners, who escaped death. She married one of Napoleon's most illustrious companions in arms, the "modern Bayard," as he was called, the Marshal Oudinot, Duke of Reggio, who had received thirty-two wounds on the field of battle, and who, by securing the passage of Beresina, deserved to be called the "saviour of the army." He was wounded at the close of the Russian campaign. Then his young wife crossed all Europe to go and care for him and saved him. She was but twenty. She was only twenty-four when Louis XVIII. named her lady of honor to the Duchess of Berry. Despite her extreme youth, she filled her delicate functions with exquisite tact and precocious wisdom, and from the first exercised a happy influence over the mind of the Princess, who gladly listened to her counsels. Very active in work, the lady of honor busied herself with untiring zeal with the details of her charge. She was the directress, the secretary, the factotum, of the Duchess of Berry. The Abbe Tripied, who pronounced her funeral eulogy at Bar-le-Duc, May 21st, 1868, traced a very lifelike portrait of her. Let us hear the ecclesiastic witness of the high virtues of this truly superior woman.

"She bore," he said, "with equal force and sagacity her titles of lady of honor and Duchess of Reggio. Proud of her blason, where were crossed the arms of the old and of the new nobility, and where she saw, as did the King, a sign, as it were, of reconciliation and peace, she bore it high and firm, and defended it in its new glories, against insulting attacks. An ornament to the court, by her graces and her high distinction, she displayed there, for the cause of the good, all the resources of her mind and the riches of her heart. But none of the seductions and agitations she met there disturbed the limpidity of her pure soul. Malignity, itself at bay, was forced to recognize and avow that in the Duchess of Reggio no other stain could be found than the ink-stains she sometimes allowed her pen to make upon her finger. In her greatness, this noble woman saw, before all, the side of duty."

In 1832, when the Duchess of Berry was imprisoned in the citadel of Blaye, her former lady of honor asked, without being able to obtain that favor, the privilege of sharing her captivity. The Duchess of Reggio to the last set an example of devotion and of all the virtues. She was so gracious and affable that one day some one remarked: "When the Duchess gives you advice, it seems as if she were asking a service of you." When the noble lady died, April 18th, 1868, at Bar-le-Duc, where her good works and her intelligent charity had made her beloved, they wished to give her name to one of the streets of the city, and as they already had the Rue Oudinot and the Place Reggio, one of the streets was called the Rue de La Marechale.

The lady of the bedchamber of the Duchess of Berry and her lady companions all belonged to the old aristocracy. The Countess of Noailles, lady of the bedchamber, a woman full of intelligence, and very beautiful, a mother worthy of all praise, was the daughter of the Duke de Talleyrand, the niece of the Prince de Talleyrand, the wife of Count Just de Noailles, second son of the Prince of Poix.

The Duchess of Berry had eight lady companions: the Countess of Bouille, the Countess d'Hautefort, the Marchioness of Bethisy, the Marchioness of Gourgues, the Countess of Casteja, the Countess of Rosanbo, the Marchioness of Podenas; and three whose title was honorary, the Marchioness of Lauriston, the Countess Charles de Gontaut, and the Countess de La Rochejaquelein.

The Countess of Bouille, who at the time of the coronation of Charles X. was about forty years old, was a creole, very agreeable and much respected.

The Countess d'Hautefort, nee Maille-Latour-Landry, forty-one years old, married to a colonel who belonged to the fourth company of the bodyguards, was a woman of much intelligence, charmingly natural, and an excellent musician. She shared in 1832 the captivity of the Duchess of Berry.

Very distinguished in manner and sentiment as in birth, the Marchioness Charles de Bethisy, married to a lieutenant-general and peer of France; the Countess of Gourgues, nee Montboissier, married to a master of requests, a deputy; the Countess of Mefflay, a young and charming woman, daughter of the Countess of Latour, whom the Duchess of Berry had as governess in the Two Sicilies, and wife of the Count Meffray, receiver-general of Gers; the Viscountess of Casteja, daughter of the Marquis of Bombelles, major-general, ambassador of Louis XVI. at Lisbon and Vienna, then priest, Canon of Breslau, Bishop of Amiens, First Almoner of the Duchess of Berry (he died in 1822, and one of his sons, Charles de Bombelles, married morganatically the Empress Marie-Louise, in 1833); the Countess of Rosanbo, daughter of the Count of Mesnard; the Marchioness of Podenas, wife of a lieutenant-colonel; the Marchioness of Lauriston, wife of the marshal, formerly lady of the palace to the Empress Josephine and the Empress Marie-Louise; the Countess Charles de Gontaut, whose husband was chamberlain of the Emperor, a very young and very pretty woman, remarkable for the vivacity of her mind; the Countess de La Rochejaquelein, nee Duras, a very pious and very charitable woman, whose husband was a major-general. In fact, the circle around the Duchess of Berry was perfection. The greatest ladies of France were by her side, and the society of the Petit Chateau, as the Pavilion de Marsan was called, was certainly fitted to give the tone to the principal salons of Paris.

The Duchess of Berry had as chevalier d'honneur a great lord, very learned, known for his unchangeable devotion to royalty, the Duke de Sevis (born in 1755, died in 1830). The Duke, who emigrated and was wounded at Quiberon, held himself apart during the Empire, and published highly esteemed writings on finance, some Memoirs, and a Recueil de Souvenirs et Portraits. He was a peer of France and member of the French Academy. For adjunct to the chevalier d'honneur, the Duchess had the Count Emmanuel de Brissac, one of the finest characters of the court, married to a Montmorency.

Her first equerry was the Count Charles de Mesnard, a Vendean gentleman of proven devotion. The Count Charles de Mesnard was born at Lugon, in 1769, the same year as Napoleon, whose fellow-pupil he was at Brienne. Belonging to one of those old houses of simple gentlemen who have the antiquity of the greatest races, he was son of a major-general who distinguished himself in the Seven Years War, and who at the close of the old regime was gentleman of the chamber of the Count of Provence (Louis XVIII.), and captain of the Guards of the Gate of this Prince. He emigrated, and served in the ranks of the army of Conde, with his older brother, the Count Edouard de Mesnard, married to Mademoiselle de Caumont-Laforce, daughter of the former governess of the children of the Count d'Artois (Charles X.), and sister of the Countess of Balbi. The Count Edouard de Mesnard, having entered Paris secretly, was shot there as emigre, October 27th, 1797, despite all the efforts of the wife of General Bonaparte to save him. When he was going to his death, his eyes met, on the boulevard, those of one of his friends, the Marquis of Galard, who had returned with him secretly. The condemned man had the presence of mind to seem not to recognize the passer-by, and the latter was saved, as he himself related with emotion sixty years afterward.

At the commencement of the Empire, the Count Charles de Mesnard was living at London, where he was reduced to gaining his living by copying music, when the Emperor offered to restore his confiscated property if he would come to France and unite with the new regime. The Count of Mesnard preferred to remain in England near the Duke of Berry, who showed great affection for him. The Restoration compensated the faithful companion of exile. He was a peer of France and Charles X. treated him as a friend. He had married, during the Emigration, an English lady, Mrs. Sarah Mason, widow of General Blondell, by whom he had a daughter, Aglae, who was named a lady companion to the Duchess of Berry, at the time of her marriage, in 1825, with the Count Ludovic de Rosanbo, and a son, Ferdinand, married in 1829, to Mademoiselle de Bellissen.

The Princess had for equerry-de-main, the Viscount d'Hanache; for honorary equerry, the Baron of Fontanes; for equerry porte-manteau, M. Gory. Her secretary of orders was the Marquis de Sassenay, who bore, besides, the title of Administrator of the Finances and Treasurer of Madame. He had under his orders a controller-general, M. Michals, who was of such integrity and devotion that when, after the Revolution of July, he presented himself at Holyrood to give in his accounts to the Duchess of Berry, she made him a present of her portrait.

There was not a private household in France where more order reigned than in that of Madame. The chief of each service,—the Duchess of Reggio, the Viscount Just de Noailles, the Count Emmanuel de Brissac, and the Count of Mesnard, presented his or her budget and arranged the expenditures in advance with the Princess. This budget being paid by twelfths before the 15th of the following month, she required to have submitted to her the receipts of the month past. This did not prevent Madame from being exceedingly generous. One day she learned that a poor woman had just brought three children into the world and knew not how to pay for three nurses, three layettes, three cradles. Instantly she wished to relieve her. But it was the end of the month; the money of all the services had been spent.

"Lend me something," she said to the controller-general of her household; "you will trust me; no one will trust this unfortunate woman."

As M. Nettement remarked: "The Duchess of Berry held it as a principle that princes should be like the sun which draws water from the streams only to return it in dew and rain. She considered her civil list as the property of all, administered by her. She was to be seen at all expositions and in all the shops, buying whatever was offered that was most remarkable. Sometimes she kept these purchases, sometimes she sent them to her family at Naples, Vienna, Madrid, and her letters used warmly to recommend in foreign cities whatever was useful or beautiful in France. She was thus in every way the Providence of the arts, of industry, and commerce."

To sum up, the household of the Duchess of Berry worked to perfection, and Madame, always affable and good, inspired a profound devotion in all about her.



XIII

THE PREPARATIONS FOR THE CORONATION

The coronation of Louis XVI. took place the 11th of June, 1775, and since that time there had been none. For Louis XVII. there was none but that of sorrow. Louis XVIII. had desired it eagerly, but he was not sufficiently strong or alert to bear the fatigue of a ceremony so long and complicated, and his infirmities would have been too evident beneath the vault of the ancient Cathedral of Rheims. An interval of fifty years—from 1775 to 1825—separated the coronation of Louis XVI. from that of his brother Charles X. How many things had passed in that half-century, one of the most fruitful in vicissitudes and catastrophes, one of the strangest and most troubled of which history has preserved the memory!

Chateaubriand, who, later, in his Memoires d'outretombe, so full of sadness and bitterness, was to speak of the coronation in a tone of scepticism verging on raillery, celebrated at the accession of Charles, in almost epic language, the merits of this traditional solemnity without which a "Very Christian King" was not yet completely King. In his pamphlet, Le roi est mort! Vive le roi! he conjured the new monarch to give to his crown this religious consecration. "Let us humbly supplicate Charles X. to imitate his ancestors," said the author of the Genie du Christianisme. "Thirty-two sovereigns of the third race have received the royal unction, that is to say, all the sovereigns of that race except Jean 1er, who died four days after his birth, Louis XVII., and Louis XVIII., on whom royalty fell, on one in the Tower of the Temple, on the other in a foreign land. The words of Adalberon, Archbishop of Rheims, on the subject of the coronation of Hugh Capet, are still true to-day. 'The coronation of the King of the French,' he says, 'is a public interest and not a private affair, Publica, sunt haec negotia, non privata.' May Charles X. deign to weigh these words, applied to the author of his race; in weeping for a brother, may he remember that he is King! The Chambers or the Deputies of the Chambers whom he may summon to Rheims in his suite, the magistrates who shall swell his cortege, the soldiers who shall surround his person, will feel the faith of religion and royalty strengthened in them by this imposing solemnity. Charles VII. created knights at his coronation; the first Christian King of the French, at his received baptism with four thousand of his companions in arms. In the same way Charles X. will at his coronation create more than one knight of the cause of legitimacy, and more than one Frenchman will there receive the baptism of fidelity."

Charles X. had no hesitation. This crowned representative of the union of the throne and the altar did not comprehend royalty without coronation. Not to receive the holy unction would have been for him a case of conscience, a sort of sacrilege. In opening the session of the Chambers in the Hall of the Guards at the Louvre, December 22d, 1824, he announced, amid general approval, the grand solemnity that was to take place at Rheims in the course of the following year. "I wish," he said, "the ceremony of my coronation to close the first session of my reign. You will attend, gentlemen, this august ceremony. There, prostrate at the foot of the same altar where Clovis received the holy unction, and in the presence of Him who judges peoples and kings, I shall renew the oath to maintain and to cause to be respected the institutions established by my brother; I shall thank Divine Providence for having deigned to use me to repair the last misfortunes of my people, and I shall pray Him to continue to protect this beautiful France that I am proud to govern."

If Napoleon, amid sceptical soldiers, former conventionnels, and former regicides, had easily secured the adoption of the idea of his coronation at Notre-Dame, by so much the more easy was it for Charles X. to obtain the adoption, by royalist France, of the project of his coronation at Rheims. "The King saw in this act," said Lamartine, "a real sacrament for the crown, the people a ceremony that carried its imagination back to the pomps of the past, politicians a concession to the court of Rome, claiming the investiture of kings, and a denial in fact of the principle, not formulated but latent since 1789, of the sovereignty of the people. But as a rule, there was no vehement discussion of an act generally considered as belonging to the etiquette of royalty, without importance for or against the institutions of the country. It was the fete of the accession to the throne—a luxury of the crown. The oaths to exterminate heretics, formerly taken by the kings of France at their coronation, were modified in concert with the court of Rome and the bishops. For these was substituted the oath to govern according to the Charter. Thus it was in reality a new consecration of liberty as well as of the crown." The French love pomp, ceremonies, spectacles. The idea of a consecration was not displeasing to them, and with rare exceptions, the Voltaireans themselves refrained from criticising the ceremony that was in the course of preparation. It soon became the subject of conversation on every side.

Six millions voted by the two Chambers for the expenses of the coronation, at the time that the civil list was regulated at the beginning of the reign, permitted the repairs required by the Cathedral of Rheims to be begun in January, 1825. The arches that had sunken, or threatened to do so, were strengthened; the ancient sculptured decorations were restored; the windows were completed; the fallen statues were raised. It was claimed that even the holy ampulla had been found, that miraculous oil, believed, according to the royal superstitions of former ages, to have been brought from heaven by a dove for the anointing of crowned heads. The Revolution thought that it had destroyed this relic forever. The 6th of October, 1793, a commissioner of the Convention, the representative of the people, Ruhl, had, in fact, publicly broken it on the pedestal of the statue of Louis XV. But it was related that faithful hands had succeeded in gathering some fragments of the phial as well as some particles of the balm contained in it. The 25th of January, 1819, the Abbe Seraine, who in 1793 was cure of Saint-Remi of Rheims, made the following declaration:—

"The 17th of October, 1793, M. Hourelle, then municipal officer and first warden of the parish of Saint-Remi, came to me and notified me, from the representative of the people, Ruhl, of the order to remit the reliquary containing the holy ampulla, to be broken. We resolved, M. Hourelle and I, since we could do no better, to take from the holy ampulla the greater part of the balm contained in it. We went to the Church of Saint-Remi; I withdrew the reliquary from the tomb of the saint, and bore it to the sacristy, where I opened it with the aid of small iron pincers. I found placed in the stomach of a dove of gold and gilded silver, covered with white enamel, having the beak and claws in red, the wings spread, a little phial of glass of reddish color about an inch and a half high corked with a piece of crimson damask. I examined this phial attentively in the light, and I perceived a great number of marks of a needle on the sides; then I took from a crimson velvet bag, embroidered with fleurs-de-lis in gold, the needle used at the time of the consecration of our kings, to extract the particles of balm, dried and clinging to the glass. I detached as many as possible, of which I took the larger part, and remitted the smaller to M. Hourelle."

The particles thus preserved were given into the hands of the Archbishop of Rheims, who gathered them in a new reliquary.

Sunday, the 22d of May, 1825, the day of the feast of the Pentecost, the Archbishop of Rheims assembled in a chapel of that city the metropolitan clergy, the principal authorities, and the persons who had contributed to the preservation of the particles of the precious relic, in order to proceed, in their presence, to the transfusion of those particles into the holy chrism, to be enclosed in a new phial. A circumtantial report of this ceremony was prepared in duplicate.

"Thus," said the Moniteur, May 26, "there remains no doubt that the holy oil that will flow on the forehead of Charles X. in the solemnity of his consecration, is the same as that which, since Clovis, has consecrated the French monarchs."

The day of the consecration approached. The Mayor of Rheims, M. Ruinard de Brimont, had not a moment's rest. At the consecration of Louis XV., about four hundred lodgings had been marked with chalk. For that of Charles X. there were sixteen hundred, and those who placed them at the service of the administration asked no compensation. The 19th of May was begun the placing of the exterior decorations on the wooden porch erected in front of the door of the basilica. It harmonized so completely with the plan of the edifice that "at thirty toises," it seemed a part of the edifice. The centrings and the interior portieres of this porch presented to the view a canopy sown with fleurs-de-lis in the midst of which stood out the royal cipher and the crown of France, modelled in antique fashion. These decorations were continued from the portal along the beautiful gallery that led to the palace. The palace itself, whose apartments had been adorned and furnished with royal magnificence, was entered by a very elegant porch. The grand feasting-hall, with its Gothic architecture, its colored glass, its high chimney-piece covered with escutcheons and surmounted by a statue of Saint-Remi, its portraits of all the kings of France, was resplendent. Three tables were to be set in the royal feasting-hall,—that of the King, that of the Dauphiness, and that of the Duchess of Berry. A gallery enclosed in glass, where there was a table of one hundred and thirty covers, had been built as by enchantment. On leaving the feasting-hall, one entered the covered gallery, which, by a gentle incline, led to the Cathedral. This gallery was formed of twenty-four arcades of fifteen feet each, and joined at right angles the porch erected before the portal. By this arrangement the King could proceed on a level from his apartment to the Cathedral.

In the middle of the nave was erected a magnificent jube, where the throne of Charles X. was placed. The cornice of the Corinthian order was supported by twenty columns. At the four corners there were gilded angels. The summit was surmounted by a statue of Religion and an angel bearing the royal crown. This jube, glittering with gold, was placed about one hundred and fifty feet from the portal. There was a passage under it to reach the choir, and the ascent to it was by a staircase of thirty steps. As it was open, the King upon his throne could be seen from all parts of the basilica. At the end of the choir, to the right on entering, was the gallery of the Dauphiness and the Duchess of Berry; to the left, opposite, was that of the princes and princesses of the blood; lower, toward the jube, and also on the left, that of the ambassadors and strangers of distinction; by the side of the jube, the gallery of the first gentlemen of the chamber of the King. There were, moreover, two rows of galleries on each side of the nave. The sanctuary was beaming with gold. The pillars, surrounded with wainscoting, were covered with rich Gothic ornaments. Above each of the galleries was a portrait of a king of France seated on his throne; still higher, portraits of bishops and statues of the cities of France in niches. At the back, a platform had been constructed for the musicians of the Chapel of the King. The choir and the sanctuary were to be lighted by thirty-four grand chandeliers, besides the candelabra attached to each pillar.

Some days before the coronation, which excited the curiosity of all Europe, the city of Rheims was filled with a crowd of tourists. The streets and promenades of the city, usually so quiet, presented an extraordinary animation. There had been constructed a bazaar, tents, cafes, places for public games, and at the gates of the city there was a camp of ten thousand men. To visit this camp was a favorite excursion for the people and for strangers. The soldiers assembled each evening before their tents and sang hymns to the sovereign and the glory of the French arms. In the evening of the 22d of May, these military choruses were closed by the serment francais, sung by all voices. At the words "Let us swear to be faithful to Charles!" all heads were uncovered, and the soldiers waving their helmets and shakos in the air, cried over and again, "Long live the King!"

On May 24th, the King left Paris with the Dauphin. Before going to Rheims he stopped at the Chateau of Compiegne, where he remained until the 27th, amid receptions and fetes and hunts.

M. de Chateaubriand was already at Rheims. He wrote on May 26:—

"The King arrives day after to-morrow. He will be crowned Sunday, the 29th. I shall see him place upon his head a crown that no one dreamed of when I raised my voice in 1814. I write this page of my Memoirs in the room where I am forgotten amid the noise. This morning I visited Saint-Remi and the Cathedral decorated in colored paper. The only clear idea that I can have of this last edifice is from the decorations of the Jeanne d'Arc of Schiller, played at Berlin. The opera-scene painters showed me on the banks of the Spree, what the opera-scene painters on the banks of the Vesle hide from me. But I amused myself with the old races, from Clovis with his Franks and his legion come down from heaven, to Charles VII. with Jeanne d'Arc."

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