Queen Hortense eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Queen Hortense.

She gave her companion, Count de Montmorency, her handkerchief, that he might wave it aloft, fastening it to the end of his cane, in order that it should be more conspicuous.  This handkerchief of Countess Ducayla, fastened to the cane of a Montmorency, was the first royalist banner that fluttered over Paris, after a banishment of twenty years.  The Parisians looked at this banner with a kind of reverence and shuddering wonder; they did not greet it with applause; they still remained silent, but they nevertheless followed the procession of royalists, who marched to the boulevards, shouting, "Vive le roi!" They took no part in their joyful demonstration, but neither did they attempt to prevent it.

This demonstration of the royalists, and particularly of the royalist ladies, transcended the bounds of propriety, and of their own dignity.  In their fanaticism for the legitimate dynasty, they gave the allies a reception, which almost assumed the character of a declaration of love, on the part of the fair ladies of the Faubourg St. Germain, for all the soldiers and officers of the allied army.  In a strange confusion of ideas, these warriors, who had certainly entered France as enemies, seemed to these fair ones to be a part of the beloved Bourbons; and they loved them with almost the same love they lavished upon the royal family itself.  During several days they were, in their hearts, the daughters of all countries except their own!

Louis XVIII. was himself much displeased with this enthusiasm of the ladies of the Faubourg St. Germain, and openly avowed to Countess Ducayla his dissatisfaction with the ridiculous and contemptible behavior of these ladies at that time.  He was even of the opinion that it was calculated to injure his cause, as the nation had then not yet pronounced in his favor.

“They should,” said he, “have received the allies with a dignified reserve, without frivolous demonstrations, and without this inconsiderate devotion.  Such a demeanor would have inspired them with respect for the nation, whereas they now leave Paris with the conviction that we are still—­as we were fifty years ago—­the most giddy and frivolous people of Europe.  You particularly, ladies—­you have compromised yourselves in an incomprehensible manner.  The allies seemed to you so lovable en masse, that you gave yourselves the appearance of also loving them en detail; and this has occasioned reports concerning you which do little honor to French ladies!”

“But, mon Dieu!” replied Countess Ducayla to her royal friend, “we wished to show them a well-earned gratitude for the benefit they conferred in restoring to us your majesty; we wished to offer them freely what we, tired of resistance, were at last compelled to accord to the tyrants of the republic and the sabre-heroes of the empire!  None of us can regret what we have done for our good friends the allies!”

Nevertheless, that which the ladies “had done for their good friends the allies” was the occasion of many annoying family scenes, and the husbands who did not fully participate in the enthusiasm of their wives were of the opinion that they had good cause to complain of their inordinate zeal.

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Queen Hortense from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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