List Of Contents | Contents of The Duchess Of Berry-Charles X
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a trifle longer than those of others, they are together confounded
in an abyss where are known neither princes nor kings nor the
proud distinctions of men, as the most boasted rivers mingle in
the ocean, nameless and inglorious with the least known streams."

Is not the Church of Saint-Denis itself a funeral discourse in
stone more grandiose and eloquent than that of the reverend
orator? Regard on either side of the nave these superb mausoleums,
these pompous tombs that are but an empty show, and since their
dead dwell not in them, contemplate these columns that seem to
wish to bear to heaven the splendid testimony of our nothingness!
There, at the right of the main altar, descend the steps that lead
to the crypt. There muse on all the kings, the queens, the
princes, and princesses, whose bones have been replaced at hazard
within these vaults, after their bodies had been, in 1793, cast
into a common ditch in the cemetery of the Valois to be consumed
by quicklime. The great ones of the earth, dispossessed of their
sepulchres, could they not say, in the region of shades, in the
mournful words of the Sermonnaire:--

"Death does not leave us body enough to require room, and it is
only the tombs that claim the sight; our body takes another name;
even that of corpse, since it implies something of the human form,
remains to it but a little time; it becomes a something nameless
in any tongue, so truly does everything die in it, even the
funeral terms by which its unhappy remains are designated. Thus
the Power divine, justly angered by our pride, reduces it to
nothingness, and, to level all conditions forever, makes common
ashes of us all."

The remains of so many sovereigns and princes are no longer even
corpses. The corpses have perished as ruins perish. You may no
longer see the coffins of the predecessors of Louis XVI. But those
of the Martyr-King, of the Queen Marie Antoinette, of the Duke of
Berry, of Louis XVIII., are there before you in the crypt. Pause.
Here is the royal vault of the Bourbons. Your glance can enter
only a narrow grated window, through which a little twilight
filters. If a lamp were not lighted at the back, the eye would
distinguish nothing. By the doubtful gleam of this sepulchral
lamp, you succeed in making out in the gloom the coffins placed on
trestles of iron; to the left that of the Duke of Berry, then the
two little coffins of his children, dead at birth; then in two
rows those of Mesdames Adelaide and Victoire, daughters of Louis
XV., those of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, those of the two
last Princes of Conde, died in 1818 and in 1830, and on the right,
at the very extremity of the vault, that of the only sovereign
who, for the period of a century, died upon the throne, Louis

The royal vault of the Bourbons was diminished more than half to
make room for the imperial vault constructed under Napoleon III.
The former entrance, on the steps of which stand the Heralds-at-
Arms at the obsequies of the kings, has been suppressed. The
coffin of Louis XVIII. was not placed on the iron trestles, where
it rests to-day, at the time of his funeral. It was put at the
threshold of the vault, where it was to have been replaced by that
of Charles X.; for by the ancient tradition, when a king of France
dies, as his successor takes his place on the throne, so he, in
death, displaces his predecessor. But Louis XVIII. waited in vain
for Charles X. in the royal vault of the Bourbons; the last
brother of Louis XVI. reposes in the chapel of the Franciscans at

Charles X. is not alone in being deprived of his rights in his
tomb; the Duke and Duchess of Angouleme and the Count of Chambord
were so, and also Napoleon III. The second Emperor and Prince
Imperial, his son, sleep their sleep in England; for the
Bonapartes, like the Bourbons, have been exiled from Saint-Denis.
By a decree of the 18th of November, 1858, the man who had re-
established the Empire decided that the imperial dynasty should
have its sepulture in the ancient necropolis of the kings.
Napoleon III. no more, realized his dream than Napoleon I. He had
completed under his reign the magnificent vault destined for
himself and his race. But once more was accomplished the Sic vos
non vobis, and no imperial corpse has ever taken its place in the
still empty Napoleonic vault. The opening situated in the church,
near the centre of the nave, is at present closed by enormous
flagstones framed in copper bands; and as there is no inscription
on these, many people whose feet tread them in visiting the church
do not suspect that they have beneath them the stairway of six
steps leading down to the vault that was to be the burial place of
emperors. "Oh, vanity! Oh, nothingness! Oh, mortals ignorant of
their destinies!" It is not enough that contending dynasties
dispute each other's crowns; their covetousness and rivalry must
extend to their tombs. Not enough that sovereigns have been exiled
from their country; they must be exiled from their graves.
Disappointments in life and in death. This is the last word of
divine anger, the last of the lessons of Providence.



Born at Versailles, the 9th of October, 1757, Charles X., King of
France and Navarre, was entering his sixty-eighth year at the time
of his accession to the throne. According to the portrait traced
by Lamartine, "he had kept beneath the first frosts of age the
freshness, the stature, the suppleness, and beauty of youth." His
health was excellent, and but for the color of his hair--almost
white--he would hardly have been given more than fifty years. As
alert as his predecessor was immobile, an untiring hunter, a bold
rider, sitting his horse with the grace of a young man, a kindly
talker, an affable sovereign, this survivor of the court of
Versailles, this familiar of the Petit-Trianon, this friend of
Marie Antoinette, of the Princess of Lamballe, of the Duchess of
Polignac, of the Duke of Lauzun, of the Prince de Ligne,
preserved, despite his devotedness, a great social prestige. He
perpetuated the traditions of the elegance of the old regime.
Having lived much in the society of women, his politeness toward
them was exquisite. This former voluptuary preserved only the good
side of gallantry.

The Count d'Haussonville writes in his book entitled Ma Jeunesse:--

"I have often seen Charles X. on horseback reviewing troops or
following the chase; I have heard him, seated on his throne, and
surrounded with all the pomp of an official cortege, pronounce the
opening discourse of the session; I have many times been near him
at the little select fetes that the Duchess of Berry used to give,
of a morning, in the Pavilion de Marsan, to amuse the Children of
France, as they were then called, and to extend their acquaintance
with the young people of their own age. One day when I was
visiting with my parents some exposition of objects of art or
flowers in one of the lower halls of the Louvre, I saw him
approach my mother--whom he had known in England--with a
familiarity at once respectful and charming. He plainly wished to
please those whom he addressed, and he had the gift of doing so.
In that kind of success he was rarely wanting, especially with
women. His physiognomy as well as his manner helped. It was open
and benevolent, always animated by an easy, perhaps a slightly
commonplace smile, that of a man conscious that he was
irresistible, and that he could, with a few amiable words,
overcome all obstacles."

The fiercest adversaries of Charles X. never denied the attraction
emanating from his whole personality, the chief secret of which
was kindliness. In his constant desire to charm every one that
approached him, he had a certain something like feminine coquetry.
The Count of Puymaigre, who, being the Prefect of the Oise, saw
him often at the Chateau of Compiegne, says:--

"If the imposing tone of Louis XVIII. intimidated, it was not so
with Charles X.; there was rather danger of forgetting, pacing the
room with him, that one was talking with a king."

Yet, whatever may be asserted, the new monarch never dreamed of
restoring the old regime. We do not believe that for a single
instant he had the insensate idea of putting things back to where
they were before 1789. His favorite minister, M. de Villele, was
not one of the great nobles, and the men who were to take the
chief parts in the consecration were of plebeian origin. The
impartial historian of the Restoration, M. de Viel-Castel,
remarked it:--

"Charles X. by this fact alone, that for three years he had
actively shared in affairs and saw the difficulty of them better,
by the fact that he was no longer exasperated by the heat of the
struggle and by impatience at the political nullity to which
events had so long condemned him, had laid aside a part of his
former exaggeration. In the lively satisfaction he felt in
entering at last, at the age of sixty-seven, upon the enjoyment of
the supreme power by the perspective of which his imagination had
been so long haunted, he was disposed to neglect nothing to
capture public favor, and thus gain the chance to realize the
dreams of his life. His kindliness and natural courtesy would have
inspired these tactics, even if policy had not suggested them."

The dignity of the private life of the King added to the respect
inspired by his personality. His morals were absolutely
irreproachable. His wife, Marie Therese of Savoy, died the 2d of
June, 1805; he never remarried, and his conduct had been wholly
edifying. The sacrifice he made to God, in renouncing the love of
women, after he lost his well-beloved Countess of Polastron by
death in 1803, was the more meritorious, because, apart from the
prestige of his birth and rank, he remained attractive longer than
men of his age. No such scandals as had dishonored the court of
nearly all his predecessors occurred in his, and the most
malevolent could not charge him with having a favorite. In his
home he was a man as respectable as he was attractive, a tender
father, a grandfather even more tender, an affectionate uncle, a

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