Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

were packed so tight about the vehicle, estimate of their character. The hiseven at the start, that there was a diffi- toriaus whom we follow provide us culty in breathing. This, however, with pictures of the great men wliose was nothing to the afterwards. A actions they record ; but it is somevariety of old ladies in archaic bonnets, times difficult to avoid a suspicion that with bundles and umbrellas, also young the originals of these portraits would women in feathers, and males of all find it hard to recognize their own kinds stopped us in the lanes and must likenesses, and would be surprised to needs mount how and where they see of what an interpretation their could. I never was so squeezed in all actions were capable. In the days in my days. The more obliging young which they lived men were too busy in men took the comelier of the maidens working their respective works to unupon their knees. It was really false dertake the task of recording the winor kindness, since it only enabled the details of their neighbors' lives. Even driver to cram another old lady or two in the time of the great Elizabethan and into our midst. Thus after a while we Jacobean writers, we know strangely raitled along with people clinging upon little of the personal characteristics all sides like limpets to a rock. Our of the leading statesmen and poets. horses were of the large, loose, lean We are grateful beyond measure for kind, two white and two brown. For the isolated episodes occasionally introan hour it was quite laughable. Then duced by the early chroniclers, for the it began to rain, and for the remaining chance recollection which has preserved three hours of the ride the heavens for us the memory of those “ wit-conpelted us without mercy. Between us tests” at the Mermaid Tavern, or for wc absorbed so much moisture that the the anecdote of Raleigh's sacrifice of weight of the coach was considerably his cloak beneath the feet of Elizabeth. increased ere Pwllhieli was reached. But these do not go far towards reconOne of the old school of caricaturists structing the personalities of the heroes would have made a very great deal of of our earlier history. After the midthis eccentric vehicle and its pictur- dle of the century is past, however, the esque freight. For my part, I bore a scene begins to change. The age of memento of the ride in the impress of memoirs and diaries commences, which a button which a stout farmer lady had has made the eighteenth century as driven as far into my arm as it would well known to us as the days of our go. If she had been a criminal with own fathers. From the beginning of the law at her heels, my arm could the reigns of Charles II. in England have given circumstantial evidence and Louis XIV. in France, there is against her hours after we parted com- no lack of information concerning the pany.

minor characteristics, not only of the leading public men, but of many who played quite secondary parts in politics

or letters or society. From The Church Quarterly Review. The change thus produced, from our AN ENGLISH PRINCESS AT THE COURT point of view, is enormous.

History OF LOUIS XIV.1

ceases to be concerned only with the BEFORE the middle of the seventeenth great actions of statesmen and peoples ; century the personages of English his- it becomes personal and particular. tory are but dimly, and imperfectly We have authentic portraits of the known to us.

We know, more or less best-known men and women, and we accurately, the deeds they did and the have memoirs in which their private mark they left upon the history of our characters, their foibles and pcccadilcountry; and from these we form our los, their virtues and vices, are chron

icled by lively and acute observers. 1 Madame : a Life of Henrietta, Daughter of Charles I. and Duchess of Orleans. By Julia Pepys and Grammont and Evelyn have Cartwright (Mrs. Henry Ady). London, 1894. made us intimate with all the person

[ocr errors]

ages of the court of Charles II. as Wal- | classes of historians, and conscience pole and Hervey have with those who need not reproach us if we like our hisflourished under George II. The con- tory interesting. If it can be true as sequence is that students in our own well so in some moods one is inday, who have saturated themselves clined to say — so much the better ; but

; with such chronicles, can reconstruct anyhow let it be interesting. the inner life of the societies which Mrs. Ady whom many readers they describe in all its freshness and know better as Miss Julia Cartwright color. Macaulay declared that Pepys' - has an admirable knack of selecting diary formed almost inexhaustible food a picturesque personage for the subject for his fancy. “I seem to know every of an historical memoir. Her life of inch of Whitehall. I go in at Hans Dorothy Sidney, the divine Sacharissa Holbein's gate, and come out through of Waller's devotion, gave a pleasant the matted gallery,” and so on. And glimpse of life and politics from Charles Mr. Austin Dobson must, to all ap- I. to Charles II. Her new book covers pearance, know the streets and society a portion of the same period ; but the of London in the days of Steele and scene of the greater part of it is laid Walpole at least as well as those of in France. Without encroaching too London to-day.

much on the province of the professed It is, no doubt, possible that in at- historian, she throws an interesting tending overmuch to the tittle-tattle side light on the political relations beand personalities of these bygone days tween France and England after the we may lose sight of the true les- Restoration, and at the same time sons of their history; and to some paints the portrait of a bright and atextent this has actually been the case. tractive person, a princess of England Historians have dwelt upon the char-by birth, and of France by residence acters of Shaftesbury and Sunderland, and marriage. In one respect Henrithe intrigues of Newcastle and Bute, etta of Orleans is even a better subject and have overlooked the importance for biography than Dorothy Sidney, of the naval wars with the Dutch since the materials for her life are in the seventeenth century, and the fuller and more vivid. There were building up of our colonial empire in gaps in the earlier record which could the eighteenth. But so long as the only be scantily supplied by conjecgreater outlines are not forgotten, it is ture ; but the short life of Henrietta legitimate to linger a little over the was passed in the full glare of publighter aspects of history. Some of the licity. The memoirs of the personages time which we naturally devote to fic- who thronged the court of Louis XIV. tion may be quite as pleasantly spent are plentiful and varied, and they have in following a competent guide through the vivacity and piquancy which one some of the by-ways which the me- naturally associates with French memoir-writers have opened to us. The moirs. Further, Mrs. Ady has been movements of the great actors across fortunate enough to be able to print the stage will not be less interesting or for the first time in their original lanless effective, if the supernumeraries guage a large number of letters from are live men and women instead of lay- Charles II. to his sister, which have figures. And while engaged in this not a little interest, both personal and diversion we shall not inquire too curi- political. With these materials at her ously into the nature of the evidence disposal, it will surprise no one who is on which the reconstruction of this acquainted with Mrs. Ady's earlier minor history is based. Research is works to find that she has produced a great and will prevail. But the pictur- pleasant and very readable volume. esque writer will carry the knowledge The life of the Princess Henrietta, of history into many quarters which the youngest child of Charles I. and the single-minded fact-hunter never Henrietta Maria, was short but not unreaches. There is room for both eventful; and in both its beginning

ܪ

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and its end it had something striking and she, naturally perhaps, but conand pathetic. She was born in the trary to the last wishes of her husband, crisis of the Civil War, and within the resolved that she should be brought walls of a city which was on the point up in the Roman Catholic faith. Her of standing a siege. Henrietta Maria, brother, Charles, protested strongly, having parted from her husband at Ox- and his protestations were renewed ford, had taken refuge at Exeter as a still more vehemently when Henrietta place of greater security ; but hardly Maria endeavored also to bring about had the child been born when the Par- the conversion of his younger brother, liamentary army marched upon the the Duke of Gloucester an endeavor town. The queen, whether fearing for which was frustrated by the boy's own her own safety or to avoid embarrass- resistance. During these years the ing her husband by allowing herself to English exiles in Paris were often in be captured by the enemy, fled from severe straits for want of money. In Exeter, leaving the child behind under the very month of the king's executhe charge of Lady Dalkeith. No tion, a bitterly cold January, Cardinal better delegate of a mother's care could Mazarin, on paying a visit to the have been

d. Lady Dalkeith queen, found her without a fire, and nursed the weakly infant with the ut- the infant princess in bed, because that most devotion, in spite of the unmer- was the only place where she could ited reproaches which the queen, from be warm. The cardinal, however, took her safe retreat in France, heaped prompt steps to relieve her necessities, upon her for not having effected an and Anne of Austria, the queenimpossible escape. When Exeter at mother, was always well disposed to last surrendered, in April, 1646, and her; and as the young princess grew the infant princess passed into the older she was admitted to share the power of the Parliament, Lady Dal- amusements of the boy-king, Louis keith accompanied her charge, and for XIV., and his brother, Philippe, Duke several months maintained her at Oat- of Anjou. Her name occurs frequently lands at her own expense, in default of in the records of the festivities of the the Parliament's promised allowance. court, and as time went on hints were Faithful to her orders not to be parted whispered, and were, no doubt, sancfrom the child, she strenuously resisted tioned by Henrietta Maria, of the posa proposal to transfer her to the care of sibility of a future marriage between Lady Northumberland ; and when she the young king of France and his received no answer to her petition, she cousin of England. But Louis was formed the hardy resolution to carry sixteen and probably had a boy's disthe little princess secretly out of the dain for a girl six years younger than country. Probably the Parliament was himself; and certainly his admiration too much occupied with weightier mat- was attracted by the maturer charms of ters to insist that a close watch should Cardinal Mazarin's nieces, the Manbe kept on these prisoners ; still more cini. Nor was it otherwise when Louis probably it never occurred to them came of age and his marriage really that a woman and a child would at became an affair of State. For his own tempt to escape. The faithfulness of part he had no particular affection for the household at Oatlands secured the Henrietta, then a girl of fifteen ; and fugitives three days' start before notice his counsellors might well hesitate beof their escape reached the Parlia- fore connecting him with a royal family ment; and by that time they were safe which lacked a throne. Moreover, an in France, and the first exciting epi- unexpected chance offered itself for sode' of the infant princess's life was arranging a match of the greatest polithappily at an end.

ical importance, a chance which was on The years which followed can be no account to be missed. Accordingly, passed over briefly. The child's edu- the youngest Mademoiselle Mancini, cation was in the hands of her mother; 'then the object of his worship, was

[ocr errors]

cess.

was

discreetly removed from Paris, and in delayed by an attack of measles, she Junc, 1660, after prolonged negotia- reached Paris by the end of the followtions, the treaty of peace with Spain ing month. Here the attentions of was cemented by the marriage of Louis Buckingham, who had followed in the to the infanta, Maria Theresa.

princess's train, were renewed, not But before the marriage was actually much to the gratification of the object celebrated, a great change had come of them and very much to the annoyover the fortunes of the English prin- ance of the affianced lover, till a hint

In February Mouk had declared to Charles procured his recall. The for a free Parliament, and the recall of death of Cardinal Mazarin, which put Charles was certain ; in May the Res- the court into mourning, delayed the toration actually accomplished, wedding for a time, but on March 31, Charles was no longer the outcast king 1661, Philippe of France and Henrietta without a kingdom, and Henrietta, in- of England were made man and wife stead of being the youngest member of in the chapel of the Palais Royal. an exiled house, was the favorite sister From this point begins the brilliant of a great sovereign. Her marriage period in the life of the Princess Henwas no longer a matter of indifference. rietta, or Madame, as she should now It appears to have been about this time be called. Less than seventeen years that Philippe, formerly Duke of Anjou, of age, gifted with beauty and with a and now of Orleans, but commonly charm of manner which wou frienddesignated (being the brother of the ship and admiration everywhere, and king) as Monsieur, became conscious the sister-in-law of the king himself, of an ardent passion for his cousin. she had every opportunity at her disThe Emperor Leopold, the king of posal for making existence enjoyable. Portugal, and the Duke of Savoy were the characters given of her in contemnot much behindhand in making pro- porary memoirs agree in two points at posals for her hand ; but Henrietta least, the brightness of her manner and Maria's natural preference for her own the goodness of her heart. Second nation, and Charles's gratitude for the only to the queen in rank among the hospitable reception of himself and his ladies of the court, aud far superior to kin during the years of their exile, may her in beauty and liveliness, she behave contributed to turn the scale in came naturally the centre of the court's favor of Monsieur. Indeed, no other gaieties and amusements. The king, match seems to have been taken into who had been disposed to look down consideration, and the affair was set on his young cousin in former days, tled almost as soon as it was broached. now recognized her charm, and singled In September, 1660, the Princess Hen- her out for admiration and companionrietta paid a visit to her brother in ship. In masques and festivities' she England, in company with her mother, generally took the most prominent and received a warm welcome from part; and, as the memoirs of her conboth court and people. Her beauty temporaries show, she was quickly ineven drew an encomium from Pepys, volved in the network of intrigues and it effected a complete conquest which were the most marked feature over the Duke of Buckingham, who of the court of Louis XIV. In that made himself somewhat ridiculous by society gallantry gave the tone to all his pronounced attentions. One event intercourse. Every courtier must have threw a gloom over the otherwise at least one lady as the object of his happy visit.

On December 20 the adoration. Married persons were by Princess of Orange, Henrietta's elder no means disqualified for this pursuit, sister, was attacked by small-pos, and save that their devotion must not be on the 24th she died. This catastrophe directed towards their legitimate concut short Henrietta's stay in England. sorts. It was a pastime which can Monsieur despatched urgent messages hardly be commended, but which it entreating her to return, and, though was possible to play without serious

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

injury. Its rules were generally un- more for the Comte de Guiche than I derstood, and the depth of the senti- supposed.” On the other hand, there ment involved was not measured by was quite enough in these intrigues to the fervor of its avowals. Evil enough justify the annoyance with which Monthere was in it in all conscience, but it sieur regarded his wife's proceedings. had not yet produced the mass of cor- Mrs. Ady, taking her tone largely from ruption which characterized the French Madame de Lafayette, speaks of him court during the following century. throughout as a contemptible person, There was still room for a vivacity whose behavior to his wife was atrowhich is natural to high spirits, and cious. He certainly was not an estihas nothing to do with vice.

mable character, and latterly he was, Into this society, with this prevailing no doubt, on the worst terms with Matone in it, Henrietta plunged with ani- dame, and behaved unpardonably to mation. Many accounts of her be- her; but it must be admitted that at havior are extant, in which various first he had some provocation. It is interpretations are put upon it. What clear that, at any rate before marriage, may be taken

as her own version he was a devoted worshipper of Henriremains in the shape of Madame de etta; it does not appear that she ever Lafayette's Histoire de Henriette had any particular regard for him. Ald'Angleterre," a memoir undertaken at most immediately after the marriage it Henrietta's own suggestion, and under is evident that Madame took more her revision. Madame de Lafayette, pleasure in the society of the king, her though ten years older than her mis- brother-in-law, than in that of her hustress, was one of her warmest and most band. So pronounced, indeed, was the devoted friends, and seems to have king's admiration of her, that it was possessed her absolute confidence. thought expedient to cover it by the The narrative which she gives of Ma- pretence that the real object of his redame's love affairs was practically taken peated visits one of Madame's down from Madame's own lips, and it ladies-in-waiting, Mademoiselle de la bears the stamp of a true and straight- Vallière. forward confession. Madame does not

Euphemia serves to cloak my passion, disguise the fact that she had pro

But Chloë is my real flame. nounced Airtations with more than one of the nobles who attended the court, That, at least, is Madame's own vernotably with the Comte de Guiche, a sion, as propounded through Madame brave but very vain man, and the Mar- de Lafayette, and adopted by Mrs. quis de Vardes, a more underhanı and Ady ; but there are those who affirm altogether less reputable character. that the parts of Euphemia and Chloë The first of these diversions — for were reversed, and that La Vallière really they deserve no stronger name was the real object of Louis's devotion

-commenced very soon after she first from the first, as she certainly was in took her place in the court, and was the end. Anyhow there was enough to clearly entered upon light-heartedly, as disturb Monsieur's peace of mind, and a mere piece of amusement in accord to make him feel that he did not reance with the fashion of the times.ceive so much of his wife's attention The second succeeded to it wheu De as he desired. The affair with the Guiche had been summoned away from Comte de Guiche would intensify this Paris by his father, and had been feeling still more. No husband would given an honorable military appoint- wish to play, even in semblance, the ment by the king. But that neither part which is habitually assigned by the affair was regarded by Henrietta as dramatists of this period to the heromore than skin-deep seems to be shown ine's consort ; and Monsieur had no by her remark, made to the second means of knowing low far this unlover on hearing that the first had been questionably pronounced flirtation was dangerously wounded, “I find I care serious or not. Indeed, there were

was

« ElőzőTovább »