Make your own free website on Tripod.com

List Of Contents | Contents of The Duchess Of Berry-Charles X
Next Page > >
Proofreading Team.

THE DUCHESS OF BERRY AND THE COURT OF CHARLES X

BY IMBERT DE SAINT-AMAND





CONTENTS

     I. THE ACCESSION OF CHARLES X
    II. THE ENTRY INTO PARIS
   III. THE TOMBS OF SAINT-DENIS
    IV. THE FUNERAL OF LOUIS XVIII
     V. THE KING
    VI. THE DAUPHIN AND DAUPHINESS
   VII. MADAME
  VIII. THE ORLEANS FAMILY
    IX. THE PRINCE OF CONDE
     X. THE COURT
    XI. THE DUKE OF DOUDEAUVILLE
   XII. THE HOUSEHOLD OF THE DUCHESS OF BERRY
  XIII. THE PREPARATIONS FOR THE CORONATION
   XIV. THE CORONATION
    XV. CLOSE OF THE SOJOURN AT RHEIMS
   XVI. THE RE-ENTRANCE INTO PARIS
  XVII. THE JUBILEE OF 1826
 XVIII. THE DUCHESS OF GONTAUT
   XIX. THE THREE GOVERNORS
    XX. THE REVIEW OF THE NATIONAL GUARD
   XXI. THE FIRST DISQUIETUDE
  XXII. THE MARTIGNAC MINISTRY
 XXIII. THE JOURNEY IN THE WEST
  XXIV. THE MARY STUART BALL
   XXV. THE FINE ARTS
  XXVI. THE THEATRE OF MADAME
 XXVII. DIEPPE
XXVIII. THE PRINCE DE POLIGNAC
  XXIX. GENERAL DE BOURMONT
   XXX. THE JOURNEY IN THE SOUTH





THE DUCHESS OF BERRY AND THE COURT OF CHARLES X





I

THE ACCESSION OF CHARLES X


Thursday, the 16th of September, 1824, at the moment when Louis
XVIII. was breathing his last in his chamber of the Chateau des
Tuileries, the courtiers were gathered in the Gallery of Diana. It
was four o'clock in the morning. The Duke and the Duchess of
Angouleme, the Duchess of Berry, the Duke and the Duchess of
Orleans, the Bishop of Hermopolis, and the physicians were in the
chamber of the dying man. When the King had given up the ghost,
the Duke of Angouleme, who became Dauphin, threw himself at the
feet of his father, who became King, and kissed his hand with
respectful tenderness. The princes and princesses followed this
example, and he who bore thenceforward the title of Charles X.,
sobbing, embraced them all. They knelt about the bed. The De
Profundis was recited. Then the new King sprinkled holy water on
the body of his brother and kissed the icy hand. An instant later
M. de Blacas, opening the door of the Gallery of Diana, called
out: "Gentlemen, the King!" And Charles X. appeared.

Let us listen to the Duchess of Orleans. "At these words, in the
twinkling of an eye, all the crowd of courtiers deserted the
Gallery to surround and follow the new King. It was like a
torrent. We were borne along by it, and only at the door of the
Hall of the Throne, my husband bethought himself that we no longer
had aught to do there. We returned home, reflecting much on the
feebleness of our poor humanity, and the nothingness of the things
of this world."

Marshal Marmont, who was in the Gallery of Diana at the moment of
the King's death, was much struck by the two phrases pronounced at
an instant's interval by M. de Damas: "Gentlemen, the King is
dead! The King, gentlemen!"

He wrote in his Memoirs: "It is difficult to describe the
sensation produced by this double announcement in so brief a time.
The new sovereign was surrounded by his officers, and everything
except the person of the King was in the accustomed order.
Beautiful and great thought, this uninterrupted life of the
depository of the sovereign power! By this fiction there is no
break in this protecting force, so necessary to the preservation
of society." The Marshal adds: "The government had been in fact
for a year and more in the hands of Monsieur. Thus the same order
of things was to continue; nevertheless, there was emotion
perceptible on the faces of those present; one might see hopes
spring up and existences wither. Every one accompanied the new
King to his Pavilion of Marsan. He announced to his ministers that
he confirmed them in their functions. Then every one withdrew."

While the Duchess of Berry was present at the death of Louis
XVIII., the Duke of Bordeaux and his sister, Mademoiselle, then,
the one four, the other five years of age, remained at the Chateau
of Saint Cloud, with the Governess of the Children of France, the
Viscountess of Gontaut-Biron. This lady passed the night of the
15th of September in great anxiety. She listened on the balcony,
awaiting and dreading the news.

At the moment that the day began to dawn, she heard afar the
gallop of a horse that drew near, passed the bridge, ascended the
avenue, reached the Chateau, and in response to the challenge of
the guard, she distinguished the words: "An urgent message for
Madame the Governess." It was a letter from the new King. Madame
de Gontaut trembled as she opened it. Charles X. announced to her,
in sad words, that Louis XVIII. was no more, and directed her to
made ready for the arrival of the royal family. "Lodge me where
you and the governor shall see fit. We shall probably pass three
or four days at Saint Cloud. Communicate my letter to the Marshal.
I have not strength to write another word."

"The day was beginning to break," we read in the unpublished
Memoirs of the Governess of the Children of France. "I went to the
bed of Monseigneur. He was awakened. He was not surprised, and
said nothing, and allowed himself to be dressed. Not so with
Mademoiselle. I told her gently of the misfortune that had come
upon her family. I was agitated. She questioned me, asking where
was bon-papa. I told her that he was still in Paris, but was
coming to Saint Cloud; then I added: 'Your bon-papa, Mademoiselle,
is King, since the King is no more.' She reflected, then,
repeating the word: 'King! Oh! that indeed is the worst of the
story.' I was astonished, and wished her to explain her idea; she
simply repeated it. I thought then she had conceived the notion of
a king always rolled about in his chair."

The same day the court arrived. It was no longer the light
carriage that used almost daily to bring Monsieur, to the great
joy of his grandchildren. It was the royal coach with eight
horses, livery, escort, and body-guard. The Duke of Bordeaux and
his sister were on the porch with their governess. On perceiving
the coach, instead of shouting with pleasure, as was their custom,
they remained motionless and abashed. Charles X. was pale and
silent. In the vestibule he paused: "What chamber have you
prepared for me?" he said sadly to Madame de Gontaut, glancing at
the door of his own. The governess replied: "The apartment of
Monsieur is ready, and the chamber of the King as well." The
sovereign paused, then clasping his hands in silence: "It must
be!" he cried. "Let us ascend."

They followed him. He passed through the apartments. On the
threshold of the royal chamber Madame de Gontaut brought to
Charles X. the Duke of Bordeaux and Mademoiselle and he embraced
them. The poor children were disconcerted by so much sadness. "As
soon as I can," he said to them, "I promise to come to see you."
Then turning to the company: "I would be alone." All withdrew in
silence. The Dauphiness was weeping. The Dauphin had disappeared.
Everything was gloomy. No one spoke. Thus passed the first day of
the reign of Charles X.

The next day the King received the felicitations of the Corps de
l'Etat. Many addresses were delivered. "All contained the
expression of the public love," said Marshal Marmont in his
Memoirs, "and I believe that they were sincere; but the love of
the people is, of all loves, the most fragile, the most apt to
evaporate. The King responded in an admirable manner, with
appropriateness, intelligence, and warmth. His responses, less
correct, perhaps, than those of Louis XVIII., had movement and
spirit, and it is so precious to hear from those invested with the
sovereign powers things that come from the heart, that Charles X.
had a great success. I listened to him with care, and I sincerely
admired his facility in varying his language and modifying his
expressions according to the eminence of the authority from whom
the compliments came."

The reception lasted several hours. When the coaches had rolled
away and when quiet was re-established in the Chateau of Saint
Cloud, Charles X., in the mourning costume of the Kings, the
violet coat, went to the apartment of the Duke of Bordeaux and his
sister. The usher cried: "The King!" The two children, frightened,
and holding each other by the hand, remained silent. Charles X.
opened his arms and they threw themselves into them. Then the
sovereign seated himself in his accustomed chair and held his
grandchildren for some moments pressed to his heart. The Duke of
Bordeaux covered the hands and the face of his grandfather with
kisses. Mademoiselle regarded attentively the altered features of
the King and his mourning dress, novel to her. She asked him why
he wore such a coat. Charles X. did not reply, and sighed. Then he
questioned the governess as to the impression made on the children
by the death of Louis XVIII. Madame de Gontaut hesitated to
answer, recalling the strange phrase of Mademoiselle: "King! Oh!
that indeed is the worst of the story." But the little Princess,
clinging to her notion, began to repeat the unlucky phrase.
Charles X., willing to give it a favorable interpretation, assured
Mademoiselle that he would see her as often as in the past, and
that nothing should separate him from her. The two children, with
the heedlessness of their age, took on their usual gaiety, and ran
to the window to watch the market-men, the coal heavers, and the
fishwomen, who had come to Saint Cloud to congratulate the new
King.

The griefs of sovereigns in the period of their prosperity do not
last so long as those of private persons. Courtiers take too much
pains to lighten them. With Charles X. grief at the loss of his
brother was quickly followed by the enjoyment of reigning.
Chateaubriand, who, when he wished to, had the art of carrying
flattery to lyric height, published his pamphlet: Le roi est mart!
Vive le roi! In it he said: "Frenchmen, he who announced to you
Louis le Desire, who made his voice heard by you in the days of
storm, and makes to you to-day of Charles X. in circumstances very
different. He is no longer obliged to tell you what the King is
who comes to you, what his misfortunes are, his virtues, his

Next Page > >



Other sites:

db3nf.com screen-capture.net floresca.net simonova.net flora-source.com flora-source.com sourcecentral.com sourcecentral.com geocities.com