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One of them seized one of the poor wretches by the coat, and the crowd rushing in, forced away the mayor and M. d'Albis. I remained alone with M. Dubois, and we endeavoured to make the peasant loose his hold. I held one of the men by one hand, and by the other endeavoured to free the coat. At last one of the national guard arrived to our assistance, and by force cleared the man.
The crowd was still increasing. It is but justice to the people of Vendôme to say that they kept their rd, and tried to induce the peasants to do nó violence to the men. Seeing, however, that if I continued my march, some misfortune must inevitably occur, I cried we must take them to prison, and then all the people cried, "To prison ! to prison !' Some voices cried, “They must ask pardon of God, and thank M. de Chartres for their lives. That was soon done, and we set out for the prison. As we went along, one man came forward with a gun, and said to us, 'Stand out of the way while I fire on them." Believing that he was really about to fire, I rushed forward in front of my two men, saying, “You shall kill me first. As the man was well dressed, M. Pieyre said to him, ' But how can you act so?' 'I was only joking,' says the man; ‘my gun is not charged.' We again continued our way, and the two men were lodged in the prison.”
The unfortunate priests were afterwards, to the satisfaction of the populace, left to be dealt with in terms of law. On the 1st of July we find the following entry :“Several of those who the day before had been the most savage, came with tears to ask my pardon, and to thank me for having saved them from the commission of a crime.” The feelings of the duke must have been enviable at this moment, but not less so on the following occasion.
August 3.-Happy day! I have saved a man's life, or rather have contributed to save it. This evening, after having read a little of Pope, Metastasio, and Emile, I went to bathe. Edward and I were dressing ourselves, when I heard cries of " Help, help, I am drowning !' I ran immediately to the cry, as did Edward, who was farther. I came first, and could only see the tops of the person's fingers. I laid hold of that hand, which seized mine with indescribable strength, and by the way in which he held me, would have drowned me, if Edward had not come up and seized one of his legs, which deprived him of the power of jumping on me. We then got him ashore. He could scarcely speak, but he nevertheless expressed great gratitude to me as well as to Edward. I think with pleasure on the effect this will produce at Bellechasse. I am born under a happy star! Opportunities offer themselves in every way: I have only to avail myself of them ! The man we saved is one M. Siret, an inhabitant of Vendôme, sub-engineer in the office of roads and bridges. I go to bed happy!
August 11.—Another happy day. I had been invited yester
ings of his judges with contempt, he begged, as an only favour, that the sentence might be executed without delay. The indulgence was granted, and he was led, at four o'clock, when the daylight was about failing, from the court to the guillotine. An eye-witness on this tragic occasion mentions, that, prompted by barbarous curiosity, he took his station in the Rue St Honoré, opposite the palace of the duke, in order to observe the effect which, at his last moments, these scenes of former splendour and enjoyment might have on him. The crowd was immense, and aggravated, by its unjust reproaches and insults, the agony of the sufferer. The fatal cart advanced at so slow a pace, that it seemed as if they were endeavouring to prolong his torments. There were many other victims of revolutionary cruelty in the same vehicle. They were all bent double, pale, and stupified with horror. Orleans alone—a striking contrast-with hair powdered and otherwise dressed with care in the fashion of the period, stood upright, his head elevated, his countenance full of its natural colour, with all the firmness of innocence. The cart, for some reason, stopped for a few minutes before the gate of the Palais Royal, and the duke ran his eyes over the building with the tranquil air of a master, as if examining whether it required any additional ornament or repair. * The courage of this intrepid man faltered not at the place of execution. When the executioner took off his coat, he calmly observed to the assistants who were going to draw off his boots, "It is only loss of time; you will remove them more easily from the lifeless limbs.” In a few minutes he was no more. Thus died, in the prime of life—his forty-sixth year—the rash and imprudent, though honest Philippe Egalité, adding, by his death, one to the long list of those who perished from the effects of a political whirlwind which they had contributed to raise.
Seven months previous to this event, the Duke of Chartres, along with his friend General Dumouriez, became assured that the cause of moderation was lost, and looked with apprehension on the reign of terror which had already begun to manifest itself. There was little time for deliberation as to their course. Being summoned to appear before the Committee of Public Safety, and knowing that citations of this nature were for the most part equivalent to condemnation, both instantly fled towards the French frontier. The fugitives were hotly pursued, but were fortunate in making their escape into the Belgian Netherlands, at that time an appanage of the House of Austria. What were the reflections of the Duke of Chartres on this conclusion to his career as a friend of liberty, we should vainly endeavour to imagine.
* Alison mentions that this halt was caused by Robespierre, who promised, even in this last extremity, to rescue the Duke of Orleans, provided he would give him his daughter Adelaide in marriage. The duke, it is said, scornfully repelled the insulting offer.
The duke was courteously received by the Austrian authorities, who invited him to enter their service; but he declined to take up arms against France, and preferred to retire for a time into private life. He now pursued his way as a traveller by Aix-la-Chapelle, Cologne, and Coblentz, towards Switzerland, depending on but a small sum of money, and everywhere in danger of being captured. His sister Adelaide-or Mademoiselle d'Orleans, as she was now called—fled also to the same country in company with Madame de Genlis, and the two parties joining at Schaffhausen, proceeded to Zurich.
The two younger sons of the Duke of Orleans, Montpensier and Beaujolais, were less fortunate than their brother and sister. At first, confined along with their father in the tower of St Jean at Marseilles, they were in a short time deprived of the consolation of being near a parent, and finally had to mourn his unhappy, fate. The two young captives were now exposed to greater insults and severities, and in the tumultuary excesses of the mob, who contrived' to force the prison and massacre a large number of its inmates, they were in imminent danger of losing their lives. After the fall of Robespierre, besides being buffered to take an airing daily in a courtyard, they were permitted to correspond with their mother, the widowed Duchess of Orleans, who, suffering from bad health, was permitted by government to reside a prisoner on parole in the house of a physician in Paris. Yet these indulgences served little to assuage the irksomeness of their situation, and on the 18th of November 1795 they attempted to make their escape. Montpensier, in descending from the window of his cell, fell to the ground; and on coming to his senses after the shock, he found that his leg was broken. Beaujolais was more fortunate, and could with ease have escaped on board a veşsel leaving the port, but he preferred to remain with his brother, and returned to imprisonment. In consequence of this unfortunate attempt, the two princes were exposed to fresh severities from their inhuman jailer. By the repeated supplications of their mother, and the growing moderation of the governing party, they were finally, after a miserable confinement of three years, liberated, on condition of proceeding to the United States of America, there to join their elder brother, Louis-Philippe, an account of whose wanderings we shall now resume.
Arriving in the town of Zurich, it was the intention of the Duke of Chartres to take up his abode there with his sister and Madame de Genlis; but to this arrangement there were difficulties which had not been foreseen. The French royalist emigrants in Zurich were by no means friendly to the house of Orleans, and the magistrates of the canton, by giving refuge to the prince, dreaded embroiling themselves with France. The illustrious exiles needed no explicit order to seek a new retreat. They quietly departed from Zurich, and crossing the mountains