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The Idler in France eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 285 pages of information about The Idler in France.

Of one thing I am convinced, and that is, that no sovereign, whatever may be his merits, can long remain popular in France; and that no prosperity, however brilliant, can prevent the people from those emeutes into which their excitable temperaments, rather than any real cause for discontent, hurry them.  These emeutes, too, are less dangerous than we are led to think.  They are safety-valves by which the exuberant spirits of the French people escape; and their national vanity, being satisfied with the display of their force, soon subside into tranquillity, if not aroused into protracted violence by unwise demonstrations of coercion.

The two eldest sons of the Duc and Duchesse de Guiche have entered the College of Ste.-Barbe.  This is a great trial to their mother, from whom they had never previously been separated a single day.  Well might she be proud of them, on hearing the just eulogiums pronounced on the progress in their studies while under the paternal roof; for never did parents devote themselves more to the improvement of their children than the Duc and Duchesse de Guiche have done, and never did children offer a fairer prospect of rewarding their parents than do theirs.

It would have furnished a fine subject for a painter to see this beautiful woman, still in the zenith of her youth and charms, walking between these two noble boys, whose personal beauty is as remarkable as that of their parents, as she accompanied them to the college.  The group reminded me of Cornelia and her sons, for there was the same classic tournure of heads and profiles, and the same elevated character of spirituelle beauty, that painters and sculptors always bestow on the young Roman matron and the Gracchi.

The Duc seemed impressed with a sentiment almost amounting to solemnity as he conducted his sons to Ste.-Barbe.  He thought, probably, of the difference between their boyhood and his own, passed in a foreign land and in exile; while they, brought up in the bosom of a happy home, have now left it for the first time.  Well has he taught them to love the land of their birth, for even now their youthful hearts are filled with patriotic and chivalrous feelings!

It would be fortunate, indeed, for the King of France if he had many such men as the Duc de Guiche around him—­men with enlightened minds, who have profited by the lessons of adversity, and kept pace with the rapidly advancing knowledge of the times to which they belong.

Painful, indeed, would be the position of this excellent man should any circumstances occur that would place the royal family in jeopardy, for he is too sensible not to be aware of the errors that might lead to such a crisis, and too loyal not to share the perils he could not ward off; though he will never be among those who would incur them, for no one is more impressed with the necessity of justice and impartiality than he is.

CHAPTER XVI.

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