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Art. II.-Mémoires d'un Royaliste. Par le Comte de Falloux. .
In two volumes. Paris, 1888. N these Memoirs we have a record of the feelings, thoughts,
and experiences, of a man eminently loyal and honest, and of transparent character. Count de Falloux was a thorough Frenchman; unlike his friend Montalembert, he had no English blood in his veins, yet he possessed, in an exceptional degree, those characteristics which Englishmen most admire. Untiring in his fidelity, he tempered his zeal with prudence. His conservatism was intelligent; his philanthropy was replete with common sense, and eminently practical, and his religious sentiments were manly and sincere. His zeal for the Church never led him to sanction or desire an act of bigotry or intolerance, and his devotion to the Comte de Chambord never restrained him from opposing various acts of that prince and of his friends, with a vigour which the circumstances of his parentage and early education make the more noteworthy. Over and above the value that the work possesses as the picture of a noble life, and as a revelation of a special type of French thought and character, it has another and much wider interest; for it shows how great is the delusion of those who think, with the late Mr. Buckle, that the influence of individuals on the course of history is small. The influence of two men, extremely divergent in character, acting in opposite ways from opposite motives, are here shown to have unconsciously concurred in bringing about a calamitous result. Perhaps no personage in history so gratuitously ruined his own cause and that of his friends as did the Comte de Chambord. He was the main founder of the present French Republic. Its second author was M. Thiers.
We read in these pages, with increasing wonder, authentic revelations of the lamentable vanity, weakness, and shortsightedness, of M. Thiers. From 1830 to 1880, his defects of character were most injurious to France; and yet it must be affirmed that, but for the action of the Count de Chambord himself, M. Thiers would have performed an act of self-abnegation which might have gone far to compensate for the errors of his earlier years, and have saved him from the political degradation which attended the end of his career.
We see in these pages how, after the Revolution of 1848 and the disasters of 1870, the most enlightened and patriotic Frenchmen united, with extraordinary unanimity and accord, in an endeavour to found a stable system of free government, as we understand it in England ; and how in each case one or two persons, on whose action all depended, ruined everything by their vanity or folly. Every Englishman
who reads this book must feel, that he has indeed cause to be both grateful to Providence, and proud of his country, which has so long been happily preserved from calamity by the good sense and moderation of most of its politicians, and especially has escaped that evil combination of opposite extremes, which has again and again proved so fatal to the prosperity of France.
M. de Falloux was born at Angers on the 7th of May, 1811, in a small house near the old family residence, which his parents were not then wealthy enough to inhabit. In summer they dwelt at Bourg d'Iré, a village in a picturesque but most primitive part of Anjou, close to Brittany. His parents had each good cause to detest the French Revolution." His father had emigrated when only fourteen (serving in the TalleyrandPérigord regiment at Maestricht and Quiberon), and had returned, under the Consulate, to find but a small part of his fortune left. His mother was the daughter of the Marquis de Soucy, who held a command at Cherbourg when the Duc de la Rochefoucauld was planning a retreat there for Louis XVI. The King had said, “Soucy, I count upon you,' and this had prevented his einigrating, and cost him his life. His wife had been governess to the royal children, and was called to the Temple when the young Princess was exchanged for the Olmutz hostages. Born and brought up as a child in Versailles, she and her mother, the Baroness de Mackau,* also refused to emigrate, in order to be near the Queen. They stood by her on the 20th of June, and when violently separated from her on the fatal 10th of August, they retired to Vitry to be still near her. M. de Falloux's paternal grandmother died in prison, in consequence of having received in her house General de La Rochejacquelin.
Thus M. de Falloux's childhood was passed amongst persons who either after having lived at Court had made all sorts of sacrifices for royalty, or who professed and practised the same devotion without even having known Court life, and whose conversation was a reiterated eulogium of either the splendour of Versailles, or the courage and merits of royal occupants.
Young De Falloux began his education at the Lycée of Angers; and while there was greatly taken with pulpit eloquence.
He showed some juvenile oratorical talent, and his parents, who had inherited a large property from a cousin who died intestate,
* A sister of the Baroness had married the Marquis de Bombelles, who had four children by her, and became a priest after her death. He was named Bishop of Amiens at the Restoration, and used to relate how, in 1814, on visiting the Hôtel de Rougé, he was asked by an old servant, .Que dois-je annoncer ?' 'Annoncez l'évêque d'Amiens et ses enfants.'— Monsieur, je n'annoncerai jamais cela à Madame la Marquise!' Afterwards the Bishop, in introducing his sons, would playfully say, 'Je vous présente les neveux de mon frère.'
removed him to Paris for study, but under the superintendence of a private tutor from Angers. This tutor sometimes took his pupil to the Théâtre Français, where the dramatic genius of Talma soon caused his love for sermons to yield to a new-born passion for tragedy. So enthusiastic was his admiration for the great actor, that one day he played truant from school to pay a clandestine visit in the Rue Tour-des-Dames, where the tragedian resided. He soon got access to him, but, once in his presence, he could say nothing, and began to cry. Talma spoke to him with extreme gentleness, and when he had drawn forth the confession that the boy's one object had been to see him, he said : • Mon enfant, j'ai reçu beaucoup d'hommages, mais je vous assure que le vôtre me touche tout à fait.' He did not dismiss him till he had made kind enquiries about his studies, and encouraged him to work hard. A little time afterwards, having persuaded his mother to leave the theatre as soon as the tragedy had ended, while waiting for their carriage, Talma passed them, and, recognizing the boy, saluted him, saying, to the astonishment of the mother and the embarrassment of the lad: Eh bien! mon petit ami, avez-vous été content ce soir?' Confession, reproof, and ready pardon followed, and shortly afterwards Talma died. A few years passed, and the days of the Restoration were drawing towards their close.
In June 1830 the dull Court of Charles X. was enlivened by the visit of the King and Queen of Naples, the parents of the Duchesse de Berri, who were going to Spain with their daughter Christina, the great-grandmother of the present child-King. This visit offered young De Falloux his solitary experience of Court splendour; he was present at a ball given by the Duke of Orleans, and for a few moments even close to the King himself, who was walking on the terrace and rejoicing in the fine weather for his fleet then on its way to Algiers. The Opera of lu Muette de Portici (Masaniello) first appeared at that time; and its lively airs, so soon to be popular with Belgian revolutionists, were played frequently at Paris as a compliment to the King and Queen of Naples.
M. de Falloux having, after the fall of Charles X., no more chance, which he had previously anticipated, of a residence abroad in the character of a diplomatist, determined to travel; anı! having passed rapidly through Belgium and Holland, he went up the Rhine to Mayence, and thence to Prague by Frankfort. It was at Prague, in the palace of the Hradschin, that Charles X., the Dauphin and his wife, with the Duc de Bordeaux and his sister resided, with a small number of followers. The little exiled Court, which seemed lost in the innumerable chambers
and passages of the vast palace, so rarely inhabited and only half-furnished, is thus described by M. de Falloux:
• The old King maintained a serene affability ; one felt that events had made no change in him, and that he thought it was impossible to have acted otherwise or more wisely. He received French visitors with pleasure, but without emotion, and one was puzzled whether to regard him as a model of religious resignation, or as being naturally indifferent, to a fault. The Dauphin was taciturn and melancholy: and one saw that his respect for his father suppressed the external signs of very severe mental distress. The Duchesse d’Angoulême had, beyond all comparison, the best right to complain of her country; but it was she who, beyond all comparison, loved it the most. : . . Every evening the King played his game at whist with the Cardinal de Latil, the Duc de Blacas, and the Prince Louis de Rohan. A bad player, he often lost his temper; and I have more than once heard the Duc de Blacas reply, “Quand le coup sera fini, Votre Majesté verra si elle a raison.
About ten o'clock the King finished his whist, and with a few gracious words, dismissed his little Court. Every one rose; the Dauphin broke off his game of chess, and his wife folded up her tapestry. At the Hradschin this was called " étiquette”; but it might also be described as a spontaneous manifestation of unreserved respect.'
M. de Falloux soon discovered, that the aristocracies and sovereign houses of Europe were by no means so warmly Legitimist in their sentiments as he had supposed them necessarily to be. In the drawing-rooms, even of Vienna, he not only heard the conduct of Charles X. very freely commented on, but also political regrets for the death of the Duke of Reichstadt; a pacific Napoleon introducing the Austrian system into France, being evidently a favourite idea.
M. de Falloux's next visit was to Italy and to Rome under Gregory XVI., the last Pope to receive and transmit intact his temporal power, of whom he says: He maintained upon
the throne the customs and austere simplicity of his Camaldolese cloister. His features were commonplace, but intelligent and benevolent. Etiquette was maintained in his antechamber, but dispensed with in his presence, where one knelt as to a father rather than to a sovereign.
At our last audience we brought so large a basket of rosaries for him to bless, that he laughingly asked how we had got them there. We replied that our servants had carried them up to his very door. “ Are they," he asked, “ also from your good province of la Vendée ? then make them come in. I will give my blessing to them at the same time as to you.”
He had them sent for, and with great affability asked various questions of both the man and his wife, without any apparent consciousness that he was setting an example of that sort of equality which Christianity introduced, and of which it is still the only model.'
There was a great variety in the members of the Sacred College. Amongst them was Cardinal Mastai, the future Pio Nono, of whom Gregory remarked, with an indulgent smile, “In casa Mastai, anche il gatto e liberale !' Another was the celebrated linguist, Mezzofanti, who was fond of improvising verses. One day, when giving the prizes at the College of the Propaganda, young Chinaman, affecting to translate the Chinese equivalent of his name into Latin, said: “Hic est qui tacitus virtutes perficit omnes.' To which the Cardinal immediately replied : * At loquitur semper, perficit ergo nihil.' At Rome he met M. de Montmorency, who, in spite of his antipathy to all the more modern ideas, had felt, when at Geneva, that family claims bound him to pay a visit to Madame de Stael. She, on receiving him, said: “I ought to be very grateful to “Corinne," who, no doubt, has occasioned this visit.' No, Madame, for I have never read it, and must frankly say I never shall, and wish that others would not either, for I believe there would be much less disorder in the world if romantic literature had never been invented.' Madame de Stael, much astonished, and wishing to administer a gentle rebuke, replied: Are there not some gifts given us by God which impose corresponding efforts on our part? Those to whom the gift of imagination has been imparted ought no more to refuse to employ it than you, born a Montmorency, can help being chivalrous and courteous.' Ignoring the sarcasm, the old Marquis rejoined: Every comparison is necessarily imperfect ; I cannot help having been born a Montmorency, but those persons whose fingers itch for a pen can refuse to
it.' In 1835 M. de Falloux came to England, and saw among other distinguished persons the Duke of Wellington, whose grave natural dignity, he tells us, 'was expressed at once by a peculiar art of shaking hands which some Englishmen possess.' The cordiality of his reception was augmented by the Duke having been sent as a youth to Angers, where, before the Revolution, there was a cavalry riding-school with a European reputation, and where, in 1835, his name was to be seen over the door of a small room. He found London, he declares, more astonishing and enormous than attractive; but as soon as he was outside it, he declares that · England assumes an unequalled charm. Nothing elsewhere is comparable, not only with English country houses, large and small, but with the shady, winding roads, so different from the inflexible regularity of those of France. He gave Windsor greatly the preference over Versailles, but nothing delighted him so much as Oxford. After a hasty visit to Scotland, and a pious pilgrimage to Abbotsford,