List Of Contents | Contents of The Duchess Of Berry-Charles X
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occupied the Pavillon de l'Horloge and the Pavillon de Flore, the
first floor apartments that had been her mother's. She used for
her own a little salon hung with white velvet sown with marguerite
lilies. This tapestry was the work of the unhappy Queen and of
Madame Elisabeth. In the same room was a stool on which Louis
XVII. had languished and suffered. It served as prie-dieu to the
Orphan of the Temple. There was in this stool a drawer where she
had put away the remaining relics of her parents: the black silk
vest and white cravat worn by Louis XVI. the day of his death; a
lace bonnet of Marie Antoinette, the last work done by the Queen
in her prison of the Conciergerie, which Robespierre had had taken
from her on the pretext that the widow of the Christian King might
kill herself with her needle or with a lace-string; finally some
fragments of the fichu which the wind raised from the shoulders of
Madame Elisabeth when the angelic Princess was already on the
scaffold. The Dauphiness, who usually dined with the King, dined
alone on the 21st of January and the 16th of October. She shut
herself in the chamber where she had collected these relics and
passed the whole day and evening there in prayer.

The charity of the pious Princess was inexhaustible. Almost all
her revenue was expended in alms. She would not have receipts
signed by those to whom she distributed relief. "The duty of
givers," she said, "is to forget their gifts and the names of
those who receive them; it is for those who receive to remember."
Nor did she ever ask the political opinions of those she relieved.
To be unfortunate, sufficed to excite her interest. One day Sister
Rosalie, charged by the Princess with paying a pension to a man
whose ill conduct she had discovered, thought it her duty to
notify the benefactress, and suspend the succor. "My sister,"
replied the Dauphiness, "continue to pay this man his pension. We
must be charitable to the good that they may persevere, and to the
bad that they may become better." Sunday, when the Princess did no
work, she passed the evening in detaching the wax seals from
letters and envelopes. This wax, converted into sticks, produced
one thousand francs a year, which she sent to a poor family. She
gave much, but only to Frenchmen and Frenchwomen. She replied to
every demand for aid for foreigners that she was sorry not to
comply with the request, but she should feel that she was doing an
injustice to give to others while there was a single Frenchman in
need. On each anniversary of mourning she doubled her alms.

The existence of the Dauphiness at the Tuileries passed with
extreme regularity. A very early riser, like her husband, she made
her toilet herself, having learned to help herself in her
captivity in the Temple. She used to breakfast at six o'clock, and
at seven daily attended the first Mass in the chapel of the
Chateau. There was a second at nine o'clock for the Dauphin, and a
third at eleven for the King. From eight to eleven she held
audiences. She retired at ten o'clock, and only prolonged the
evening to eleven when, she visited the Duchess of Berry, for whom
she had a great affection, and whose children she saw two or three
times a day. A devoted companion of Charles X., she always went
with him to the various royal chateaux. The Count of Puy maigre
says in his Souvenirs:--

"The Dauphiness having by her kindness accustomed me to speaking
freely, I used this privilege without embarrassment, but always
observing that measure which keeps a man of good society within
just limits, equally careful not to put himself ridiculously at
ease and not to be so abashed by exaggerated respect as to become
insipid. I have always thought that a princess no more than any
other woman likes to be bored. I talked much with her in the
carriage, seeking to amuse the Princess with a few anecdotes, and
I did not fear to discuss serious things with her, on which she
expressed her self with real sagacity. When she was accused of
want of tact in the numerous receptions of which one had to
undergo the monotony, it was often the fault of her immediate
companions, who neglected to give her suitable information as to
the various persons received. How many times I have hinted to her
to speak to some devoted man, who regarded a word from the
Princess as a signal favor, to yield to requests, perhaps
untimely, to visit some establishment, to receive the humble
petitions of a mayor, a cure, or a municipal council. I will not
deny that she had a sort of brusqueness, partly due to an
exceedingly high voice, and moments of ill humor, transient no
doubt, but which nevertheless left a painful impression on those
who were subjected to them. Madame the Dauphiness made no mistake
as to the state of France; she was not the dupe of the
obsequiousness of certain men of the court, and merit was certain
to obtain her support whether it had been manifested under the old
or the new regime; but she had not the influence she was supposed
to have, and I doubt if she tried to acquire it."

One day the Princess was talking to the Prefect of the Oise about
the great noblemen who had possessions in the Department.

"Have they any influence over the people?" she asked him.

"No, Madame, and it is their own fault. M. de La Rochefoucauld is
the only one who is popular, but his influence is against you. As
to the others, greedy of the benefits of the court, they come to
their estates only to save money, to regulate their accounts with
their managers, and the people, receiving no mark of their
interest, acknowledge no obligation to them."

"You are perfectly right," replied the Dauphiness, "that is not
the way with the English aristocracy."

"She saw with pain," adds M. de Puymaigre, "the marriages for
money made by certain men of the court, but not when they allied
themselves with an honorable plebeian family; her indignation was
justly shown toward those who took their wives in families whose
coveted riches came from an impure source."

The extraordinary catastrophes that had fallen on the daughter of
Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette had been a great experience for
her, and she was not surprised at the recantations of the
courtiers. The Hundred Days had, perhaps, suggested even more
reflections to her than her captivity in the Temple or her early
exile. She could not forget how, in 1815, she had been abandoned
by officers who, but the day before, had offered her such
protestations and such vows. In the midst of present prosperity
she had a sort of instinct of future adversity. Something told her
that she was not done with sorrow, and that the cup of bitterness
was not drained to the dregs. While every one about her
contemplated the future with serene confidence, she reflected on
the extreme mobility of the French character, and still distrusted
inconstant fortune. The morrow of the birth of the Duke of
Bordeaux one of her household said to her:--

"Your Highness was very happy yesterday."

"Yes, very happy yesterday," responded the daughter of Louis XVI.,
"but to-day I am reflecting on the destiny of this child."

To any one inclined to be deceived by the illusions of the
prestige surrounding the accession of Charles X., it ought to have
sufficed to cast a glance on the austere countenance of the Orphan
of the Temple, to be recalled to the tragic reality of things. The
King had for his niece and daughter-in-law an affection blended
with compassion and respect. The pious and revered Princess gave
to the court a character of gravity and sanctity.



The Duchess of Angouleme and the Duchess of Berry lived on the
best of terms, showing toward each other a lively sympathy. Yet
there was little analogy between their characters, and the two
Princesses might even be said to form a complete contrast, one
representing the grave side, the other the smiling side of the

Born November 7, 1798, and a widow since February 14, 1820, Madame
(as the Duchess of Berry was called after the Duchess of Angouleme
became Dauphiness) was but twenty-five when her father-in-law,
Charles X., ascended the throne. She was certainly not pretty, but
there was in her something seductive and captivating. The vivacity
of her manner, her spontaneous conversation, her ardor, her
animation, her youth, gave her charm. Educated at the court of her
grandfather, Ferdinand, King of Naples, who carried bonhomie and
familiarity to exaggeration, and lived in the company of peasants
and lazzaroni, she had a horror of pretension and conceit. Her
child-like physiognomy had a certain playful and rebellious
expression; slightly indecorous speech did not displease her. This
idol of the aristocracy was simple and jovial, mingling in her
conversation Gallic salt and Neapolitan gaiety. In contrast with
so many princesses who weary their companions and are wearied by
them, she amused herself and others. Entering a family celebrated
by its legendary catastrophes, she had lost nothing of the
playfulness which was the essence of her nature. The Tuileries,
the scene of such terrible dramas, did not inspire her as it did
the Duchess of Angouleme, with sad reflections. When she heard
Mass in the Chapel of the Chateau, she did not say to herself that
here had resounded the furies of the Convention. The grand
apartments, the court of the Carrousel, the garden, could not
recall to her the terrible scenes of the 20th of June and the 10th
of August. When she entered the Pavillon de Flore, she did not
reflect that there had sat the Committee of Public Safety. The
Tuileries were, to her eyes, only the abode of power and pleasure,
an agreeable and beautiful dwelling that had brought her only
happiness, since there she had given birth to the Child of Europe,
the "Child of Miracle."

The Duchess of Berry thought that a palace should be neither a
barracks nor a convent nor a prison, and that even for a princess
there is no happiness without liberty. She loved to go out without
an escort, to take walks, to visit the shops, to go to the little
theatres, to make country parties. She was like a bird in a gilded

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