Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

1

לל

sentiment prescribes, and I shall fulfil its commands."

This was the Prince's answer ; and on the 9th, amidst peals of cannon, and the loud chaunt of the Marseillaise,' the French people accepted Louis-Philippe as King of the French, while the Bey of Titeri was vowing allegiance to Charles the Tenth, “ the great and the victorious.”

On the 16th of August this unfortunate monarch embarked at Cherbourg. On the 30th of July he had left St. Cloud; for a day he halted at Versailles. He halted there amidst the recollections of bygone times; every tree had a story linked with far-distant days; and melancholy must it have been to have seen him as he looked fondly over those stately avenuesas he lingered (and long, his attendants say, he did linger) upon the steps of that royal palace, which he had known so early, and which he will never see again. When he arrived at Rambouillet it was night. The moon threw a ghastly light on the tall tower, and into the dim court-yard of the ancient chateau, as bent with fatigue, and worn by agitation, the old King descended amidst the scanty crowd, collected less from affection than curiosity. Here he determined to abide. The great body of

the troops were bivouacked in the woods and park, and, in spite of many desertions, a large force was still devotedly attached to the royal family.

There is something mysterious in the transactions of this period. In a letter, published by the Dauphin, (1st of August,) an arrangement is spoken of as being then entered into with the Government at Paris. Almost immediately after was announced the abdication of the King and the Dauphin in favour of the Duc de Bordeaux. This certainly seems to have been the arrangement previously alluded to. Whether the Lieutenant-General, or the Government at Paris, had held out any expectations, which they never had the wish, or which, if they had the wish, they had not the power to realize, must long remain a mystery, because, if any communications did pass, it is improbable that they should have been of that direct nature which leaves the matter capable of a positive decision. But certain it is, that up to the time that the Duke of Orléans accepted the throne, Charles the Tenth believed that it would be given to his grandson. Even the Commissioners* did not combat this belief. M. Odilon Barrot said—“ Votre majesté sentira que le sang versé pour le Duc de Bordeaux servira mal sa cause-il ne faut pas que son nom, qui n'a pas été encore compromis dans nos débats civils, se mêle un jour à des souvenirs de sang.”

* M. Schonen, M. Odilon Barrot, Marshal Maison, sent by the Government.

Why this language, from a man so sincere as M. Odilon Barrot, if the Duc de Bordeaux was at that time out of the question ?

This was on the 3rd ; already on the 2nd the Commissioners had attempted to obtain an interview with the King for the purpose of inducing him to withdraw from France, or at all events from the neighbourhood of Paris. They passed through the camp; Charles the Tenth refused to see them. They returned to Paris, and their return was the signal for one of the most singular expeditions by which a monarch was ever yet driven from his dominions. The drum beat in the streets—the still excited populace collected :-“ Charles the Tenth is coming to Paris !”_" Charles the Tenth will not go away from Rambouillet !” All the women, in accents of terror-all the little boys, in accents of fury, screeched out the name of “Charles the Tenth,"_" to Rambouillet !-to Rambouillet ! -after Charles the Tenth to Rambouillet !" was the cry—as on a no less memorable occasion

it had once been—" to Versailles !"-And to Rambouillet, in carolines, and hackney-coaches, in carts, in cabriolets, running, riding, driving, without plan as without preparation, rushed the population of Paris. The Commissioners preceded this incongruous cohort, and to-day they succeeded in obtaining an interview with the King

Charles the Tenth, even as a young man, wanted personal courage. He had been accused of this weakness in the Court of Louis XVI. Years had not invigorated his spirit. His nerves were shaken, and his mind unstrung, by the quick succession of adventures and calamities that had so rapidly followed one another during the last few days. He received the deputation in a state of great agitation.

Qu'est-ce qu'ils veulent ? me tuer !was his address to Marshal Maison.

He then asked advice of the Duc de Raguse. What can you say to a man who, at the head of a gallant army, asks what he should do ?

There were that day at Rambouillet twelve thousand infantry, three thousand five hundred cavalry, and forty pieces of cannon.

The Royal Guards were on foot, at the head of their horses, one hand on their pistols, one foot ready to put into their stirrups! A prince of courage, wisdom, and resolution, might still have extricated himself from the difficulties surrounding Charles X. ; but in these difficulties such a prince would never have been involved. Alarmed by an exaggeration of the numbers of the approaching multitude; fatigued with the toil of thinking and planning, which he had already undergone; and incapable of a new mental effort to meet the new crisis ; flattering himself that the Duc de Bordeaux would still, as the best political combination, be named to the throne; conscious that blood spilled even in victory might endanger the peaceful establishment of this prince, in whose favour he had himself already abdicated ;--swayed in some degree, doubtless, by these considerations, but urged more especially by his fears and his irresolutions, Charles threw away the sword, where others might have thrown away the scabbard, and resigned himself quietly to the destiny which doomed his exile. The soldiers of the hackney-coaches returned to Paris, and the late King of France set out for Maintenon, where, reserving a military escort, he bade adieu to the rest of his army.

« VorigeDoorgaan »