master of crafty intrigue to adopt; but it was certainly the wisest course, as affairs then stood.

'The entire policy of the Provisional Government was the laissez aller and the laissez faire of M. de Talleyrand; his genius was above devices, and unequal to business. . . . The ministers received no direction, and were satisfied with carrying out mere administrative details. As to M. de Talleyrand, he was like a swimmer, whose sole object is to keep his head above water and to float with the current.'

After warm discussions and some delay, M. de Vitrolles persuaded the allied ministers and Talleyrand to invite the Comte d'Artois to enter Paris and to proclaim the monarchy. It was arranged that the Provisional Government should endeavour to prevent the ugly word 'Constitution' from being named by the Senate, and, among other things, that the prince should exercise, in his own name, the authority of the Crown; but Talleyrand, at least, agreed to these terms with an ample reserve for the chapter of accidents. M. de Vitrolles, charged by the allies to inform the Comte of what had been decided, was about joyfully to set out from Paris, when he was suddenly apprised that the Czar was treating with a deputation of Napoleon's marshals, in the interest of the King of Rome and a regency, and that everything was again in a state of uncertainty. The conduct of Talleyrand was characteristic in the extreme.

'An aide-de-camp of Prince Schwartzenberg announced that Marshals Ney and Macdonald, with the Duc de Vicence, had arrived at the outposts, and had asked for an interview with the Emperor of Russia. They were, they added, charged with proposals of Napoleon.

'Prince Talleyrand, upon this, put into his deepest pocket the letter intended for the Comte d'Artois, and, taking me by the arm, led me into the embrasure of a window.

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"This is a circumstance," he said, dwelling on the word to denote the gravity of the situation; we must see how all this will turn out; you must not leave Paris yet. The Emperor Alexander has strange moods; it not for nothing that one is a son of Paul I."'

M. de Vitrolles asserts that the final resolve of the Czar and the allies was not caused by the memorable defection of the corps of Marmont; but he is contradicted by all historians.

'People have attributed to this incident the complete and sudden change in the resolution of Alexander, and his declaration "that 66 nothing remained thenceforward for Napoleon but to abdicate uncon"ditionally."

'This, however, was not so. The answer of the emperor was concise" he was bound to consult his allies." And, in fact, it was not

until the following day that, after a conference with the King of Prussia and Prince Schwartzenberg, the emperor made the envoys from Fontainebleau aware of the definitive answer of the Allied Powers.'

The cause of the Bourbons had triumphed at last, and M. de Vitrolles was allowed to depart. Talleyrand took care to see the envoy off.


'M. de Talleyrand gave me the letter he had withheld. It was short, gracious, vague, and ended with these words, "We, sir, have had glory enough; come and give us peace." "Go quickly, but not too fast; "take care of yourself, and take care of us," he said, with that subtle look which alone sometimes gave point to his words.'

A reminiscence of old times was added :

""Ask the Comte d'Artois," he said, "if he recollects the rendezvous "at Marly."

'And he told me that, after the sitting of June 24, 1789, the members of the double minority of the noblesse, and of the clergy who, by taking part with the Tiers Etat, had turned the scale to the popular side, had begun to feel alarm at the growing symptoms of a violent revolution, and that some, whether through conscientious motives or from ambition, were thinking of inclining towards the Court.

'M. de Talleyrand, the Vicomte de Noailles, M. d'Agoult, and some others named by him, asked for an audience of the king, but in absolute secrecy. Louis XVI. was then at Marly; it was his last visit to a place abounding in memories, and rich with the grandeur, of Louis XIV. He declined the conference, but authorised the Comte d'Artois to receive them. They arrived mysteriously at midnight, and explained to the prince all the dangers of the situation and the prospects of a revolution, the results of which no one could foretell; but, according to them, there was still time to restrain its course; and the only means were force and a large increase of the royal authority. They sufficiently indicated that they possessed the secret of these expedients, but did not tell enough to enable these to be employed without their assistance. On that condition only they were ready to defend the Crown; they would engage all their influence and popularity in the task, and would accept the risks and chances of the enterprise. At the same time they declared that if the king should refuse to make use of these last means of saving himself, and of resisting a torrent about to overwhelm everything, they would throw themselves into the waters and go along with them wherever they rushed. This was, in a few words, a complete apology for the revolutionary conduct of M. de Talleyrand. All the pleadings of mankind could not have furnished a better excuse for him, especially as the story was confirmed by the Comte d'Artois, who perfectly remembered the facts. It is thus that spiders, in order to spin their webs, find again the threads they had cast to the winds.'

M. de Vitrolles thus describes the appearance of France as he passed through the districts ravaged by the war :

'The traces of the war were visible everywhere, and were horrible; the road was blocked with cut-down trees, with broken carriages, with dead horses, and one's heart was deeply moved at the sight of the stripped corpses. These were seen on the spots where death had found them; sometimes they appeared in ranks of ten or twelve men, fallen in the military formation they had held in life; some were scattered up and down and along the road, so that the carriage-wheels could scarcely keep clear of them. Death had confounded all: Frenchmen and foreigners could not be distinguished; the mud of the roads, stained with blood, marked where they lay, and the corpses were covered with it as they had struggled in their agony. No one thought of burying them; they were devoured by dogs and birds of prey, and the air around was rank with foulness. Desolation was everywhere in the most hideous forms.'

The partisan of the House of Bourbon was not the first to convey the news of coming events to the Comte d'Artois. M. de Vitrolles found the prince, at Nancy, surrounded by faithful companions of the old noblesse, and by officers of the allied armies, who had anticipated his joyful intelligence. The extravagant pretensions of the Comte and his race are illustrated in the following anecdote, of a piece with a story told of Louis XVIII. when he had entered the Tuileries a few days afterwards, that he treated Alexander and the King of Prussia as parvenus scarcely deserving his notice :

'The Duchesse de Courlande, one of the dévotes of M. de Talleyrand, had given me this message: "The Emperor Alexander has commis"sioned me to let you know that no opposition would be made, should "the Duc de Berry ask the hand of the Grand Duchess of Russia, "sister of the Czar." I informed the Comte of the overtures made by the emperor to establish a bond of union between the two crowns; but he answered lightly, "Bah, my good fellow, we shall see. now they will all be running after Berry."


After delays torturing to his impatient servant, the Comte set off from Nancy on his way to Paris. When the party arrived at Vitry-le-Français, M. de Vitrolles received an official letter from Talleyrand and the Provisional Government, enclosing the draft of a Constitution voted, a few hours before, by the Senate, and binding the sovereign by a strict compact. The despatch hinted, besides, that the Comte would do well to make concessions on points on which he was believed to be obstinate, and dwelt on the importance of gaining the support of the army and the good will of the capital. M. de Vitrolles sent off an indignant reply complaining of haste and of breach of faith; and he hurried off to Paris to see Talleyrand, and to protest against the

The adroit minister dis

impudent acts' of the Senate. cussed with him the contract made a few days previously, as to the reception to be given to the Comte, and his rights as the representative of the Crown, and he yielded every point with obliging readiness :

""So," I said to M. de Talleyrand, "Monsieur will make his solemn entry into Paris to-morrow?"

"Certainly," he replied.

""You have taken care that horses shall be provided for the prince and his suite, at a distance of half a league from the barrier?"

"That is so," was his answer.

"On our side we have faithfully fulfilled our engagements," and I showed him my uniform as a National Guard, adding "the dress of Monsieur will be the same as my own." I did not dwell on the white cockade, but he saw the one that was in my hat. I then continued, negligently

"Monsieur is to repair to Notre-Dame, where all the authorities of the city will meet to join in the Te Deum?"

"That has been arranged," said M. de Talleyrand.

"The prince will proceed from the cathedral to the Tuileries, and will take up his abode there?"

""Quite so," said my companion; "everything is prepared for his reception."

Then he will go out and pay a visit to the King of Prussia and the Emperor Alexander?"

""No doubt," was the reply.

'My heart began to beat violently, and I looked at him full in the face, trying to hide my emotion.

"To-morrow you will carry to the Senate the letters patent appointing the Comte lieutenant-general of the kingdom, in order that they may be solemnly registered?" My anxiety did not allow me to

say more.

M. de Talleyrand answered with perfect calmness, "Certainly; that has been fully agreed to."'

M. de Vitrolles was not a little astonished when Talleyrand, taking him into an adjoining room, was in a few moments in easy converse with MM. Barthélemy and Barbé de Marbois, two prominent members of the Senate. What followed is very characteristic:

'M. de Talleyrand had been repeating to the two senators what had been arranged about the entry of the prince, when, without warning or preparation, he came to the last point, that is, to the letters patent appointing a lieutenant-general of the kingdom, which were to be carried to the Senate and to be registered. I heard M. de Marbois, with his severe judicial figure and wooden head, interrupt the prince. with a troubled voice.

"Why, Prince, you do not reflect; the Constitution distinctly provides that the king summoned to the throne by the Senate will not be

acknowledged until he shall have signed and sworn to that Constitution. It is evident, therefore, that the Senate cannot verify, register, or even recognise letters patent of the king antecedent to the act that calls him to the throne, and to the execution of obligations under which his power is to be exercised."

'I had kept my eyes open. "There," I said to myself, "is the difficulty I had foreseen; but that proves nothing, except that this great personage knows no more of the matter than I do. No doubt M. de Talleyrand will shut his mouth." Nothing of the kind took place. Without saying a word, without embarrassment, without a sign of surprise, the Prince of Beneventum walked up to me, and, taking me by the button-hole, said

"You perceive, M. de Vitrolles, that you are in error; the letters patent of the Comte d'Artois cannot be registered or recognised by the Senate."

The Constitution was thus the point on which an agreement appeared impossible, M. de Vitrolles insisting that the Comte d'Artois should be treated as the vicegerent of the Crown, holding office through the royal prerogative, the Senate refusing to admit the title of the king or his delegate to exercise power, save in virtue of a national contract. The Czar, to whom the dispute was referred, maintained the position of the Senate; but M. de Vitrolles stood firm against the master even of thirty legions; and, owing probably to the intrigues of Talleyrand, who felt that the Senate stood ill in public opinion, a compromise was effected at last. It was arranged that the Comte d'Artois should enter Paris, and be acknowledged as the de facto head of the State, inconvenient questions as to the nature of his rights and those of the Crown being for the time postponed :

'The amended draft declared that the Comte d'Artois should be recognised as chief of the Government; but nothing was said as to his rights, or as to the manner in which his power should be delegated and exercised. . . . It was nearly one in the morning when the document was signed: M. de Talleyrand handed me the original with a kind of solemnity in his face."'

M. de Vitrolles, proud of his successful advocacy, left Paris at once to rejoin his master, who had taken up his abode at Livry. The Comte d'Artois, serenely confident in the divinity of the throne, took little notice of what he probably thought was the Senate's impudence; his principal stipulation was that Maury-the champion, in 1789, of Louis XVI., but, of late, one of the usurper's prelatesshould not be admitted into his presence. On April 12, 1814, the prince made his entry into Paris, a living image of a royalty of the past, surrounded by its forgotten supporters,

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