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List Of Contents | Contents of The Duchess Of Berry-Charles X
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religion. Unfortunately there was little love of liberty, even if
they had had at least a taste for glory."

This is not all; the curious royalist, as if disabused as to
Bourbon glories, so extolled by him, glorifies, apropos of the
coronation of Charles X., the Napoleon whom in 1814 he called
disdainfully "Buonaparte," loading him with the most cutting

"After all, did not the new coronation, when the Pope anointed a
man as great as the chief of the second race, by a change of heads
alter the effect of the ancient ceremony of our history? The
people have been led to think that a pious rite does not dedicate
any one to the throne, or else renders indifferent the choice of
the brow to be touched by the holy oil. The supernumeraries at
Notre-Dame de Paris, playing also in the Cathedral of Rheims, are
no longer anything but the obligatory personages of a stage that
has become common. The advantage really is with Napoleon, who
furnishes his figurants to Charles X. The figure of the Emperor
thenceforth dominates all. It appears in the background of events
and ideas. The leaflets of the good time to which we have attained
shrivel at the glance of his eagles."

Charles X. left Compiegne the 27th of May in the morning, and
slept at Fismes. The next day, the 28th, he had just quitted this
town and was descending a steep hill, when several batteries of
the royal guard fired a salute at his departure; the horses,
frightened, took flight. Thanks to the skill of the postilion,
there was no accident to the King; but a carriage of his suite, in
which were the Duke of Aumont, the Count de Cosse, the Duke of
Damas, and the Count Curial, was overturned and broken, and the
last two wounded. At noon Charles X. arrived at a league and a
half from Rheims, at the village of Tinqueux, where he was awaited
by the Dukes of Orleans and Bourbon, the officers of his civil and
military household, the authorities of Rheims, the legion of the
mounted National Guard of Paris, etc. He entered the gold
carriage,--termed the coronation carriage,--where the Dauphin and
the Dukes of Orleans and Bourbon took their places beside him. The
cortege then took up its march. From Tinqueux to Rheims, the royal
coach, gleaming with gold, passed under a long arcade of triumphal
arches adorned with streamers and foliage. From the gates of the
city to the Cathedral, flowers strewed the sand that covered the
ground. All the houses were hung with carpets and garlands; at all
the windows, from all the balconies, from all the roofs,
innumerable spectators shouted their acclamations; the cortege
advanced to the sound of all the bells of the city, and to the
noise of a salvo of artillery of one hundred and one guns. The
King was received under a dais at the door of the metropolitan
church, by the Archbishop of Rheims in his pontifical robes, and
accompanied by his suffragans, the Bishops of Soissons, Beauvais,
Chalons, and Amiens. The Archbishop presented the holy water to
the sovereign, who knelt, kissed the Gospels, then was escorted
processionally into the sanctuary. His prie-dieu was placed at
fifteen feet from the altar, on a platform, about which was a
magnificent canopy hung from the ceiling of the Cathedral.

The Dauphiness had entered her gallery with the Duchess of Berry
and the princesses of the blood. The Archbishop celebrated the
vespers, and then the Cardinal de La Fare ascended the pulpit and
delivered a sermon in which he said:--

"God of Clovis, if there is here below a spectacle capable of
interesting Thy infinite Majesty, would it not be that which in
this solemnity fixes universal attention and invites and unites
all prayers? These days of saintly privilege, in which the hero of
Tolbiac, and thirteen centuries after him, the sixty-fifth of his
successors have come to the same temple to receive the same
consecration, can they be confounded with the multitude of human
events, to be buried and lost in the endless annals? To what, O
great God! if not to the persistence of Thy immutable decrees, can
we attribute, on this earth, always so changing and mobile, the
supernatural gift of this miraculous duration?"

The Cardinal covered with praises not only the King, but the
Dauphin, the Dauphiness, the Duchess of Berry, the Duke of
Bordeaux. He cried:--

"Constantly happy as King, may Charles X. be constantly happy as

"May his paternal glances always see about him, shining with a
brilliancy that nothing can change, this family so precious, the
ornament of his court, the charm of his life, the future of

"This illustrious Dauphin, the terror of the genius of evil, the
swift avenger of the majesty of kings, conquering hero and peace-

"This magnanimous Princess, the living image of celestial charity,
the visible Providence of the unfortunate, the model of heroism as
of virtue!

"This admirable mother of the Child of Miracle, who restored hope
to the dismayed nation, astonished it by her courage and
captivates it by her goodness!

"This tender scion of the first branch of the lilies, the object,
before his birth, of so many desires, and now of so many hopes."

The Prince of the Church, amid general emotion, thus closed his

"May it be, O Lord! thy protecting will, that if the excess of
ills has surpassed our presentiments and our fear, the reality of
good may, in its turn, surpass our hopes and our desires.

"Condescend that the lasting succor of Thy grace may guide in an
unbroken progress of prosperity and lead to happiness without
vicissitude or end, our King, Thy adorer, and his people, who,
under his laws, shall be more than ever religious and faithful."

After the sermon, the Archbishop celebrated the Te Deum, to which
Charles X. listened standing. Then after having kissed the altar
and a reliquary in which was a piece of the true cross, the
sovereign returned to his apartments in the Archbishop's palace.

Thus passed the eve of the consecration. The same day M. de
Chateaubriand wrote:--

"Rheims, Saturday, the eve of the consecration. I saw the King
enter. I saw pass the gilded coaches of the monarch who, a little
while ago, had not a horse to mount; I saw rolling by, carriages
full of courtiers who had not known how to defend their master.
This herd went to the church to sing the Te Deum, and I went to
visit a Roman ruin, and to walk alone in an elm grove called the
Bois d'Amour. I heard from afar the jubilation of the bells; I
contemplated the towers of the Cathedral, secular witnesses of
this ceremony always the same and yet so different in history,
time, ideas, morals, usages, and customs. The monarchy perished,
and for a long time the Cathedral was changed to a stable. Does
Charles X., when he sees it again to-day, recall that he saw Louis
XVI. receive anointment in the same place where he in his turn is
to receive it? Will he believe that a consecration shelters him
from misfortune? There is no longer a hand with virtue enough to
cure the king's evil, no ampulla with holy power sufficient to
render kings inviolable."

Such was the disposition of the great writer, always content with
himself, discontented with others. The crowd of royalists, far
from showing themselves sceptical and morose, as he was, was about
to attend the ceremony of the morrow in a wholly different mood.
It had long been ready with its enthusiasm, and awaited with
impatience mingled with respect the dawn of the day about to rise.



Sunday, the 29th of May, 1825, the city of Rheims presented, even
before sunrise, an extraordinary animation. From four o'clock in
the morning vehicles were circulating in the streets, and an hour
after people with tickets were directing their steps toward the
Cathedral, the men in uniform or court dress, the women in full
dress. The sky was clear and the weather cool.

Let us listen to an eye-witness, the Count d'Haussonville, the
future member of the French Academy:--

"Need I say that the competition had been ardent among women of
the highest rank to obtain access to the galleries of the
Cathedral, which, not having been reserved for the dignitaries,
could receive a small number of happy chosen ones? Such was the
eagerness of this feminine battalion to mount to the assault of
the places whence they could see and be seen, that at six o'clock
in the morning when I presented myself at the Gothic porch built
of wood before the Cathedral, I found them already there and under
arms. They were in court dress, with trains, all wearing,
according to etiquette, uniform coiffures of lace passed through
the hair (what they called barbes), and which fell about their
necks and shoulders, conscientiously decolletes. For a cool May
morning it was rather a light costume; they were shivering with
cold. In vain they showed their tickets, and recited, in order to
gain entrance, their titles and their rank; the grenadier of the
royal guard, charged with maintaining order until the hour of the
opening of the doors, marched unmoved before these pretty beggars,
among whom I remember to have remarked the Countess of Choiseul,
her sister, the Marchioness of Crillon, the Countess of Bourbon-
Bosset, etc. He had his orders from his chief to let no one enter,
and no one did."

Finally the doors were opened. At a quarter after six all the
galleries were filled. The foreign sovereigns were represented by
especial ambassadors: the King of Spain by the Duke of Villa-
Hermosa, the Emperor of Austria by Prince Esterhazy, the King of
England by the Duke of Northumberland, the Emperor of Russia by
the Prince Wolkonski, the King of Prussia by General de Zastrow.
These various personages were objects of curiosity to the crowd,
as was Sidi-Mahmoud, ambassador of the Bey of Tunis. The rich
toilets and dazzling jewels of the ladies of the court were
admired; all eyes were fixed on the gallery where were the
Dauphiness, the Duchess of Berry, and the Duchess and Mademoiselle
d'Orleans, all four resplendent with diamonds. The spectacle was
magnificent. An array of marvels attracted attention. Behind the

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