Remains only that the Court, to whom his manners and garrulities were always agreeable, shall make his fall soft. The grasping old man has already got his Archbishopship of Toulouse exchanged for the richer one of Sens: and now, in this hour of pity, he shall have the Coadjutorship for his nephew (hardly yet of due age); a Dameship of the Palace for his niece; a Regiment for her husband; for himself a red Cardinal’s-hat, a Coupe de Bois (cutting from the royal forests), and on the whole ’from five to six hundred thousand livres of revenue:’ (Weber, i. 341.) finally, his Brother, the Comte de Brienne, shall still continue War-minister. Buckled-round with such bolsters and huge featherbeds of Promotion, let him now fall as soft as he can!
And so Lomenie departs: rich if Court-titles and Money-bonds can enrich him; but if these cannot, perhaps the poorest of all extant men. ’Hissed at by the people of Versailles,’ he drives forth to Jardi; southward to Brienne,—for recovery of health. Then to Nice, to Italy; but shall return; shall glide to and fro, tremulous, faint-twinkling, fallen on awful times: till the Guillotine—snuff out his weak existence? Alas, worse: for it is blown out, or choked out, foully, pitiably, on the way to the Guillotine! In his Palace of Sens, rude Jacobin Bailiffs made him drink with them from his own wine-cellars, feast with them from his own larder; and on the morrow morning, the miserable old man lies dead. This is the end of Prime Minister, Cardinal Archbishop Lomenie de Brienne. Flimsier mortal was seldom fated to do as weighty a mischief; to have a life as despicable-envied, an exit as frightful. Fired, as the phrase is, with ambition: blown, like a kindled rag, the sport of winds, not this way, not that way, but of all ways, straight towards such a powder-mine,—which he kindled! Let us pity the hapless Lomenie; and forgive him; and, as soon as possible, forget him.
Burial with Bonfire.
Besenval, during these extraordinary operations, of Payment two-fifths in Paper, and change of Prime Minister, had been out on a tour through his District of Command; and indeed, for the last months, peacefully drinking the waters of Contrexeville. Returning now, in the end of August, towards Moulins, and ‘knowing nothing,’ he arrives one evening at Langres; finds the whole Town in a state of uproar (grande rumeur). Doubtless some sedition; a thing too common in these days! He alights nevertheless; inquires of a ‘man tolerably dressed,’ what the matter is?—“How?” answers the man, “you have not heard the news? The Archbishop is thrown out, and M. Necker is recalled; and all is going to go well!” (Besenval, iii. 366.)