Make your own free website on Tripod.com

List Of Contents | Contents of The Duchess Of Berry-Charles X
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

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

< < Previous Page     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