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List Of Contents | Contents of The Duchess Of Berry-Charles X
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gentle, indulgent master for his servants. None of the divisions
that existed in the family of Louis XVIII. appeared in that of his
successor; perfect harmony reigned in the court of the Tuileries.

Of a mind more superficial than profound, Charles X. did not lack
either in tact or in intelligence. He sincerely desired to do
right, and his errors were made in good faith, in obedience to the
mandates of his conscience. Lamartine, who had occasion to see him
near at hand, thus sums up his character:--

"A man of heart, and impulsive, all his qualities were gifts of
nature; hardly any were the fruit acquired by labor and
meditation. He had the spirit of the French race, superficial,
rapid, spontaneous, and happy in the hazard of repartee, the smile
kindly and communicative, the glance open, the hand outstretched,
the attitude cordial, an ardent thirst for popularity, great
confidence in his relations with others, a constancy in friendship
rare upon the throne, true modesty, a restless seeking for good
advice, a conscience severe for himself and indulgent for others,
a piety without pettiness, a noble repentance for the sole
weaknesses of his life, his youthful amours, a rational and
sincere love for his people, an honest and religious desire to
make France happy and to render his reign fruitful in the moral
improvement and the national grandeur of the country confided to
him by Providence. All these loyal dispositions were written on
his physiognomy. A lively frankness, majesty, kindness, honesty,
candor, all revealed therein a man born to love and to be loved.
Depth and solidity alone were wanting in this visage; looking at
it, you were drawn to the man, you felt doubts of the King."

This remark, just enough at the end of Charles X.'s reign, was
hardly so at the outset. In 1824 people had no doubts of the man
or of the King. The French were content with Charles X., and
Charles X. was content with himself.

The new King said to himself that his policy was the right one,
because, from the moment of his accession, all hatreds were
appeased. With the absolute calm enjoyed by France he compared the
agitations, plots, violence, the troubles and the fury of which it
had been the theatre under the Decazes ministry. From the day the
Right had assumed power, and Louis XVIII. had allowed his brother
to engage in public affairs, the victory of royalty had been
complete and manifest. Charles X. thought then that the results
had sustained him; that foresight, virtue, political sense, were
on his side. Needless to say, every one about him supported him in
that idea, that he believed in all conscience that he was in the
right, obeying the voice of honor and acting like a king and a
Christian. Any other policy than his own would have seemed to him
foolish and cowardly. To hear his courtiers, one would have said
that the age of gold had returned in France; the felicitations
offered him took an idyllic tone. The Count of Chabrol, Prefect of
the Seine, said to him, January 1, 1825, at the grand reception at
the Tuileries:--

"At your accession, Sire, a prestige of grace and power calmed, in
the depths of all hearts, the last murmur of the storm, and the
peace that we enjoy to-day is embellished by a charm that is yours

The same day the Drapeau Blanc said:--

"Why is there an unusual crowd passing about the palace of the
cherished monarch and princes? It is watching with affection for a
glance or smile from Charles! These are the new-year gifts for the
people moved by love for the noble race of its kings. This glance,
expressing only goodness, this smile so full of grace, they long
for everywhere and always before their eyes. His classic and
cherished features are reproduced in every form; every public
place has its bust, every hut its image; they are the domestic
gods of a worship that is pure and without superstition, brought
to our families by peace and happiness." The aurora of Charles
X.'s reign was like that of his brother Louis XVI. The two
brothers resembled travellers who, deceived by the early morning
sun and the limpid purity of the sky, set forth full of joy and
confidence, and are suddenly surprised by a frightful tempest. The
new James II. imagined that his royalty had brought his trials to
an end. It was, on the contrary, only a halt in the journey of
misfortune and exile. He believed the Revolution finished, and it
had but begun.



At the accession of Charles X., the royal family, properly
speaking, consisted of six persons only,--the King, the Duke and
Duchess of Angouleme, the Duchess of Berry and her two children
(the Duke of Bordeaux and Mademoiselle). By the traditions of the
monarchy, the Duke of Angouleme, as son and heir of the King, took
the title of Dauphin, and his wife that of Dauphiness. The Duchess
of Berry, who, under the reign of Louis XVIII. was called Madame
the Duchess of Berry, was by right, henceforward, called simply
Madame, a privilege that belonged to the Duchess of Angouleme
before she was Dauphiness. That is why the Gymnase, the theatre
under the special protection of the Duchess of Berry, was called,
after the new reign began, the Theatre de Madame.

Born at Versailles the 5th of August, 1775, the Duke of Angouleme
had just entered on his fiftieth year. A tender and respectful
son, an irreproachable husband, a brave soldier, he was lacking in
both brilliant and solid qualities. His awkward air, his
bashfulness, his myopia, his manners rather bourgeois than
princely, were against him. He had nothing of the charm and grace
of his father. But when one knew him, it was easy to see that he
had unquestioned virtues and real worth. To Charles X. he was a
most faithful subject and the best of sons. In contrast with so
many heirs apparent, who openly or secretly combat the political
ideas of their fathers, he was always the humble and docile
supporter of the throne. The Spanish expedition brought him
credit. In it he showed courage and zeal. The army esteemed him,
and he gave serious attention to military matters. A man of good
sense and good faith, he held himself aloof from all
exaggerations. At the time of the reaction of the White Terror, he
had repudiated the fury of the ultras, and distinguished himself
by a praiseworthy moderation. He had great piety, with out
hypocrisy, bigotry, or fanaticism. The Count of Puymaigre, in his
curious Souvenirs, says:--

"The Duke of Angouleme appeared to me to be always subordinated to
the will of the King, and he said to me one day very emphatically
that his position forbade any manifestation of personal sentiment,
because it was unbecoming in the heir apparent to sustain the
opposition. Though very religious, he did not share the
exaggerated ideas of what was then called the 'congregation,' and
I recall that one day he asked me brusquely: 'Are you a partisan
of the missions?' As I hesitated to reply, he insisted. 'No, my
lord, in nowise; I think that one good cure suffices for a
commune, and that missionaries, by treating the public mind with
an unusual fervor, often bring trouble with them and at the same
time often lessen the consideration due to the resident priest.'"

Married, on the 10th of June, 1799, to the daughter of Louis XVI.
and Marie Antoinette, the Duke of Angouleme had no children; but
though the sterilty of his wife was an affliction, he never
complained of it. He was not known to have either favorites or
mistresses. The life of this descendant of Louis XIV. and of Louis
XV. was purity itself. There were neither scandals nor intrigues
about him. By nature irascible and obstinate, he had modified this
tendency of his character by reason and still more by religion.
Assiduous in his duties, without arrogance or vanity, regarding
his role as Prince as a mission given him by Providence, which he
wished to fulfil conscientiously, he had not the slightest mental
reservation in favor of restoring the old regime, and showed,
perhaps, more favor to the lieutenants of Napoleon than to the
officers of the army of Conde, his companions in arms. To sum up,
he was not an attractive prince, but he merited respect. The Count
of Puymaigre thus concludes the portrait traced by him:--

"The manner, bearing, and gestures of the Duke of Angouleme cannot
be called gracious, especially in contrast with his father's
manners; doubtless it is not fair to ask that a prince, any more
than another, should be favored by nature, but it is much to be
desired that he shall have an air of superiority. The ruling taste
of the Dauphin was for the chase. He also read much and gave much
time to the personnel of the army. Retiring early, he arose every
morning at five o'clock, and lighted his own fire. Far from having
anything to complain of in him, I could only congratulate myself
on his kindness."

The Dauphiness, Marie-Theresa-Charlotte of France, Duchess of
Angouleme, born at Versailles the 19th of December, 1778, was
forty-five years old when her uncle and father-in-law, Charles X.,
ascended the throne. She was surrounded by universal veneration.
She was regarded, and with reason, as a veritable saint, and by
all parties was declared to be sans peur et sans reproche.

The Duchess of Angouleme, shunning the notoriety sought by other
princesses, preferred her oratory to the salons. Yet her devotion
had nothing mean or narrow in it. Despite the legendary
catastrophes that weighed upon her, she always appeared at fetes
where her presence was demanded. She laughed with good heart at
the theatre, and there was nothing morose or ascetic in her
conversation. She never spoke of her misfortunes. One day she was
pitying a young girl who suffered from chilblains. "I know what it
is," she said; "I have had them." Then she added, without other
comment: "True, the winters were very severe at that time." She
did not wish to say that she had had these chilblains while a
prisoner in the Temple, when fuel was refused to her.

But if the Princess never spoke of herself, she never ceased to
think of the martyrs for whom she wept. At the Tuileries, she

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