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List Of Contents | Contents of The Duchess Of Berry-Charles X
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many who would not have been strongly surprised if there had been
announced to them by what a catastrophe, in five years only, an
end was to be put to the reign inaugurated under the happiest

The 8th of June, the city of Paris offered to the King a fete at
which there were eight thousand guests. The sovereign made his
entry, having the Dauphiness on his right, and on the left the
Duchess of Berry, who opened the ball. A cantata was sung with
words by Alexandre Soumet, and the music by Lesueur.

The 10th of June, the King went to the Opera with the Dauphin, the
Dauphiness, and the Duchess of Berry. The back of the stage opened
and showed, in an immense perspective, the most illustrious kings
of France; at the farthest line were the statue of Henry IV.,
Paris, its monuments, the Louvre. The 19th of June, Charles X.
again accompanied by the family went to the Theatre-Italien. Il
Viaggio A Reims was played. Le Moniteur, apropos of this work,

"It is an opera of a mould which, under the forms of the Opera
Buffa, presents some ideas not destitute of comedy, in which
homage of love and respect is at times expressed with an art that
French taste cannot disavow. The author, M. Bellochi, has
conceived the praiseworthy idea of introducing personages of all
the nations of Europe, joining with the French in their prayers
for the happiness of our country and of the august family that
governs us. The composer is M. Rossini. The Morceaux are worthy of
the reputation of this celebrated master. Madame Pasta displayed
all the resources of her admirable talent. Bouquets of roses and
lilies were distributed to the ladies."

There was an endless series of fetes, receptions, balls at court,
at the houses of the ministers of the foreign ambassador,
theatrical representations retracing the incidents of the
coronation. The cities of the provinces imitated the example of
Paris. All this movement stimulated business, and France appeared
happy. But to an acute observer it was plain that the pomps of the
coronation and the fetes that followed it pleased the people of
the court more than the bourgeoisie. The Count d'Haussonville
says, apropos of the nobility at that time:--

"I had the feeling--educated as I was at college, and provided
early with a sort of precocious experience, the precious fruit of
public education--that the nobility was a world a little apart. I
instinctively perceived how much the preoccupations of the persons
with whom I was then passing my time were of a nature particular,
special to their class, not opposed--that would be saying too much
certainly--but a little foreign to the great currents that swayed
the opinion of their contemporaries. They had their way of loving
the King and their country which was not very comprehensible, nor
even, perhaps, very acceptable, to the mass of the people and the
bourgeois classes, who were rather inclined to remain cold or even
sullen in the presence of certain manifestations of an ultra-
royalism, the outward signs of which were not always at this time
entirely circumspect."

To one regarding the horizon attentively there were already some
dark spots on the bright azure of the heavens. The struggles of
the rival classes of French society existed in a latent state. The
white flag had not made the tricolor forgotten. Charles X.,
consecrated by an archbishop, did not efface the memory of
Napoleon crowned by a pope, and beneath royalist France were
pressing upward already Bonapartist France and Revolutionary



The dominant quality of Charles X., his piety, was the one that
was to be most used against him. There was in this piety nothing
morose, hypocritical, fanatical, and not an idea of intolerance or
persecution mingled with it. Conviction and feeling united in the
heart of the King to inspire him with profound faith. In 1803,
before the death-bed of a beloved woman, he had sworn to renounce
earthly for divine love, and from that time he had kept his vow.
The woman by whom this conversion was made was the sister-in-law
of the Duchess of Polignac, Louise d'Esparbes, Viscountess of
Polastron. The Duchess of Gontaut recounts in her unpublished
Memoirs the touching and pathetic scene of the supreme adieu of
this charming woman and of Charles X., then Count d'Artois. It was
in England during the Emigration. The Viscountess of Polastron was
dying with consumption, and the approach of the end reawakened in
her all the piety of her childhood. A holy priest, the Abbe de
Latil, demanded the departure of the Prince. "I implore
Monseigneur," he said, "to go into the country; you shall see the
poor penitent again; she herself desires it, having one word to
say to you, one favor to ask, but it cannot be until at the moment
of death."

The Prince, who, even at the time of his greatest errors, had
never ceased to love and honor religion, obeyed the command of the
priest. He awaited in cruel anguish the hour when he should be
permitted to return. It was authorized only when death was very
near. The Duchess of Gontaut says:--

"The doors of the salon were opened. Monsieur dared not approach;
I was near the dying woman and held her hand; it was trembling.
She perceived Monsieur. He was about to rush toward her. 'Come no
nearer,' said the Abbe, in a firm voice. Monsieur did not venture
to cross the threshold. The agitation redoubled; the agony
increased. She raised her hands to heaven, and said:--

"'One favor, Monseigneur, one favor--live for God, all for God.'

"He fell upon his knees, and said: 'I swear it, God!' She said
again, 'All for God!' Her head fell on my shoulder; this last word
was her last breath: she was no more. Monsieur raised his arms to
heaven, uttered a horrible cry: the door was closed."

The Count d'Artois was then but forty-five, but from that day he
never gave occasion for the least scandal, and led an exemplary
life. As Louis XIV. had held in profound esteem the courageous
prelates who adjured him to break with his mistresses, Charles X.
was attached to the truly Christian priest who had converted him
by the death-bed of the Viscountess of Polastron. The Abbe de
Latil, the obscure ecclesiastic of the Emigration, became, under
the Restoration, the Archbishop of Rheims and Cardinal. It was not
without profound emotion that the very Christian King saw himself
consecrated by the priest who twenty-two years before had caused
him to return to virtue. This memory was imposed on the mind and
heart of the monarch, and under the vault of the ancient
Cathedral, he certainly thought of Madame de Polastron, as of a
good angel, who, from the height of heaven, watched over him, and
who, by her prayers, had aided him to traverse so many trials, to
reach the religious triumph of the coronation.

Charles X. was happy then. Profoundly sincere in his ardent desire
to make France happy, he believed himself at one with God and with
his people, and rejoiced in that supreme good, so often wanting to
sovereigns,--peace of heart. Could he be reproached for having
taken the ceremony of his coronation seriously? A king who does
not believe in his royalty is no more to be respected than a
priest who does not believe in his religion. Charles X. was
convinced, as the Archbishop of Rheims had said in his letter of
29th May, 1825, that kings exercise over their subjects the power
of God Himself, and that they have that sacred majesty, upon
which, in the fine expression of Bossuet, God, for the good of
things human, causes to shine a portion of the splendor of divine

This disposition of mind in Charles X. fortified his piety, so
that, at the time of the jubilee of 1826, he seized eagerly the
opportunity to affirm his religious faith, and to return thanks to
the God of his fathers, who at this epoch of his life was loading
him with favors.

The jubilee is a time of penitence and pardon, when the Pope
accords plenary indulgence to all Catholics who submit to certain
practices and assist at certain pious ceremonies. The grand
jubilee was formerly celebrated only once in a hundred years;
afterwards it took place every fifty, and then every twenty-five
years. 1825 was the time of its first celebration in the
nineteenth century, and it drew to Rome that year more than ten
thousand pilgrims. The Pope had celebrated the close of it the
24th of December, 1825, but yielding to the prayers of several
Catholic powers, he accorded to them, by special bulls, the
privilege of celebrating the same solemnity in 1826.

The opening of the French jubilee took place February 15, 1826, at
Notre-Dame de Paris. The papal bull, borne on a rich cushion, was
remitted to the Archbishop for public reading. The nuncio chanted
the Veni Creator. Mass was said by the Cardinal, Prince of Croi,
Archbishop of Rouen, Grand Almoner of France. The relics of the
apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul were borne around the Place du
Parvis, in the midst of a cortege, in which were present the
marshals of France, the generals, and the four princesses. The
order of the Archbishop of Paris prescribed four general
processions. The first took place with great pomp the 17th of
March, 1826. The King and the royal family, the princes and
princesses of the blood, all the court, the marshals, a multitude
of high functionaries, peers of France, deputies, officers,
assisted at this ceremony in which appeared the Archbishop of
Paris and his grand vicars, the metropolitan chapter, the pupils
of all the seminaries in surplice, the priests of all the Paris
churches with their sacerdotal armaments. It was a veritable army
of ecclesiastics that traversed the capital. In the midst of the
cortdge, the reliquary containing the relics of Saint Peter and
Saint Paul was the object of the devotion of the faithful.
Surrounded by the Dauphin, the Duke of Orleans, the young Duke of
Chartres, the great officers of the crown, of the Hundred Swiss,
and of the body-guard, Charles X., in a costume half religious,
half military, walked between a double hedge formed by the royal

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