List Of Contents | Contents of The Duchess Of Berry-Charles X
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cage, which often escapes and returns with pleasure only because
it has escaped. She was neither worn out nor blasee; everything
interested her, everything made her gay; she saw only the good
side of things. In her all was young--mind, character,
imagination, heart. Thus she knew none of those vague
disquietudes, that causeless melancholy, that unreasoned sadness,
from which suffer so many queens and so many princesses on the
steps of a throne.

Gracious and simple in her manners, modest in her bearing, more
inclined to laughter and smiles than to sobs and tears, satisfied
with her lot despite her widowhood, she felt happy in being a
princess, in being a mother, in being in France. Flattered by the
homage addressed to her on all sides, but without haughty pride in
it, she protected art and letters with out pedantry, rejuvenated
the court, embellished the city, spread animation wherever she was
seen, and appeared to the people like a seductive enchantress.
Those who were at her receptions found themselves not in the
presence of a coldly and solemnly majestic princess, but of an
accomplished mistress of the house bent on making her salon
agreeable to her guests. There was in her nothing to abash, and by
her gracious aspect, her extreme affability, she knew how to put
those with whom she talked at their ease, while wholly preserving
her own rank. She was not only polite, she was engaging, always
seeking to say something flattering or kindly to those who had the
honor to approach her. If she visited a studio, she congratulated
the artist; in a shop she made many purchases and talked with the
merchants with a grace more charming to them, perhaps, than even
her extreme liberality. If she went to a theatre, she enjoyed
herself like a child. The select little fetes given by her always
had a character of special originality and gaiety.

The Dauphiness had a higher rank at court than Madame, because she
was married to the heir of the throne. But as she took much less
interest in social matters, she did not shine with so much eclat.
The Duchess of Berry was the queen of elegance. In all questions
of adornment, toilet, furniture, she set the fashion. A commission
as "tradesman of Madame" was the dream of all the merchants.
Sometimes, on New Year's Day, her purchases at the chief shops
were announced in the Moniteur. There were hardly any chroniques
in the journals under the Restoration. A simple "item" sufficed
for an account of the most dazzling fetes. If the customs of the
newspapers had been under the reign of Charles X. what they are
now, the Duchess of Berry would have filled all the "society
notes," and the objective point of every "reporter," to use an
American expression, would have been the Pavillon de Marsan, the
"Little Chateau," as it was then called. There indeed shone in all
their splendor the stars of French and foreign nobility, the women
who possessed all sorts of aristocracy--of birth, of fortune, of
wit, and of beauty. This little circle of luxury and elegance
excited less jealousy and less criticism than did the intimate
society of Marie Antoinette in the last part of the old regime,
because in the Queen's time, to frequent the Petit Trianon was the
road to honors, while under Charles X. the intimates of the
Pavillon de Marsan did not make their social pleasures the
stepping-stone to fortune.

The Duchess of Berry never meddled in politics. Doubtless her
sympathies, like those of the Dauphiness, were with the Right, but
she exercised no influence on the appointment of ministers and
functionaries. Charles X. never consulted her about public
affairs; the idea would never have occurred to the old King to ask
counsel of so young and inexperienced a woman.

It is but justice to the Princess to say that while wholly
inclined toward the Right, she had none of the exaggeration of the
extremists in either her ideas or her attitude, and that,
repudiating the arrogance and prejudices of the past, she never,
in any way, dreamed of the resurrection of the old regime. She was
liked by the army, being known as a good rider and a courageous
Princess. When she talked with officers she had the habit of
saying things that went straight to their hearts. There was no
difference in her politeness to the men of the old nobility or to
the parvenus of victory. The former servitors of Napoleon were
grateful for her friendliness to them, and perhaps they would
always have respected the white flag--the flag of Henry IV., had
it been borne by the gracious hand of his worthy descendant. To
sum up, she was what would be called to-day a very "modern"
Princess; her role might well have been to share the ideas and
aspirations of the new France.

The Duchess of Berry led a very active life. When she came to
France she was in the habit of rising late. But her husband, who
believed the days to be shorter for princes than for other men,
showed that he disliked this, and after that the Princess would
not remain in bed after six o'clock, winter or summer. As soon as
she was ready she summoned her children, and for half an hour gave
them her instructions. On leaving them, she went to hear Mass, and
then breakfasted. Next came the walks, almost always with a useful
object in view. Sometimes it was a hospital to which Madame
carried relief, some times an artist's studio, a shop, an
industrial establishment that she encouraged by her purchases and
her presence. On her return she busied herself with the tenderest
and most conscientious care in the education of the two daughters
whom her husband had left to her, and who have since become, one
the Baroness of Chorette, the other the Princess of Lucinge.
Audiences took up the remainder of the morning, sometimes lasting
to dinner time. When some one said to her one day that she must be
very tired of them, she replied: "During all that time I am told
the truth, and I find as much pleasure in hearing it as people of
society do in reading romances."

Madame was very charitable. She devoted to the poor an ordinary
and an extraordinary budget. The tenth of her revenue was always
applied to the relief of the unfortunate, and was deposited by
twelfths, each month, with her First Almoner. This tithe was
distributed with as much method as sagacity. A valet de chambre,
each evening, brought to the Princess the day's petitions for
relief. Madame classified them with her own hand in alphabetical
order, and registered and numbered them. Whatever the hour, she
never adjourned this task to the morrow. The private secretary
then went over these petitions and presented an analysis of them
to the Princess, who indicated on the margin what she wished to
give. This was the ordinary budget of the poor, the tenth of
Madame's revenue. But she had, besides, an extraordinary budget of
charity for the unfortunate who were the more to be respected
because they concealed themselves in obscurity and awaited instead
of seeking help. It often happened that the Princess borrowed in
order to give more. The total of her revenues amounted to
1,730,000 francs,--1,500,000 francs from the Treasury, 100,000
francs in Naples funds, coming from her dower, and 130,000 francs
from her domain of Rosny. Madame expended all in alms or in
purchases intended to encourage the arts and commerce.

The Duchess of Angouleme and the Duchess of Berry each had in the
environs of Paris a pleasure house, which was their Petit Trianon,
where they could lead a simpler life, less subject to the laws of
etiquette than in the royal Chateaux. That of the Dauphiness was
Villeneuve-l'Etang; and that of Madame, Rosny. The first had been
bought of Marshal Soult by the Duchess of Angouleme in 1821. When
she rode from Paris, this was always her destination. When she
lived at Saint Cloud, she often set out on foot in the early
morning alone, and followed across the park a little path known as
the "road of the Dauphiness," to a little gate of the Chateau of
Villeneuve-l'Etang, of which she carried the key.

Rosny is a chateau situated in the Department of Seine-et-Oise,
seven kilometres from Mantes, where Sully, the famous minister of
Henry IV., was born, and which had been bought in 1818 by the Duke
of Berry. It was the favorite resort of Madame. She went there
often and passed a great part of the summer. There she lived the
life of a simple private person, receiving herself those who came
to offer homage or request aid. The village of Rosny profited by
the liberality of the Chateau, La Quotidienne said in an article
reproduced by the Moniteur:--

"Since Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Berry has owned the
estate of Rosny, her sole occupation has been to secure the
happiness of this country. Every journey she makes is marked by
some act of goodness. Besides the Hospital of Saint-Charles, a
monument of her beneficence and piety, which is open to all the
sick of the country, she sends out relief to the homes of the
needy every day. The houses that rise in the village replace
wretched huts, and give a more agreeable and cheerful aspect to
the place. The children of either sex, the object of her most
tender solicitude, are taught at her expense. At every journey
Madame honors them with a visit and encourages them with prizes
which she condescends to distribute herself."

In his Souvenirs Intimes the Count de Mesnard, First Equerry of
the Duchess of Berry, writes:--

"The King, Charles X., did not recognize in his daughter-in-law
nearly the solidity that she had. He believed her to be light-
minded, and only looked upon her as a great child, though he loved
her much and her gaiety pleased him beyond measure, being himself
of a gay nature. You may have heard that one day Madame rode in an
omnibus. That is not correct. But it is true that one day Her
Royal Highness said to the King:--

"'Father, if you will wager ten thousand francs, I will ride in an
omnibus to-morrow.'

"'It's the last thing I should do, my dear,' replied His Majesty.
'You are quite crazy enough to do it.'"

M. de Mesnard adds this reflection: "What the King regarded as

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