Sat a considerable time with the Duchesse de Guiche today. How amiable and kind-hearted she is, and how unspoilt by all the brilliancy of her position! While I was there the mother and son of a young page, for whom the Duc and Duchesse have obtained that office at court, came to thank her. The boy is a very fine youth, and the mother and sister seem to dote on him. They reminded me of the mother and sister that a sentimental writer would have created for the occasion, being exceedingly interesting in their appearance and manner. The boy was evidently as fond and proud of them as they were of him, and the group formed a charming picture.
The warmth and gentleness of the manners of the Duchesse de G——, and the remarkable beauty of her face and figure, never appeared more captivating in my eyes than when I beheld her to-day, evincing such good nature to the youthful page and his mother and sister; and I saw by their eyes, when they took leave of her, that she sent away grateful hearts.
July 1830.—Indisposition has interrupted my journal for several weeks, and idleness has prolonged the chasm. The noting down the daily recurrence of uninteresting events is as dull as the endurance of them.
If reports may be credited, we are on the eve of some popular commotion in France, and the present ministers are said to be either ignorant of the danger that menaces, or unprepared to meet it. The conquest of Algiers has produced much less exultation in the people than might have naturally been expected; and this indifference to an event calculated to gratify the amour-propre which forms so peculiar a characteristic of the nation, is considered a bad sign by those who affect to be acquainted with the people. I have so often heard rumours of discontent and revolts that I have grown incredulous, and I think and hope the French are too wise to try any dangerous experiments.
26th July.—This morning General E—— came to breakfast with us, and announced that the ordonnances were yesterday signed in council at St.- Cloud. This good man and brave soldier expressed the liveliest regret at this rash measure, and the utmost alarm at the consequences likely to result from it. Is Charles the Tenth ignorant of the actual state of things in Paris, and of the power of public opinion? or does he hope to vanquish the resistance likely to be offered to this act? I hope his majesty may not acquire this knowledge when it has become too late to derive advantage from it.
The unpopularity of the present ministry, and above all of its leader, the Prince Polignac, is surprising, when one considers how estimable his private character is, and that theirs are irreproachable. They are rendered responsible for the will of the sovereign, who, if report speak truth, is very pertinacious in exacting a rigid fulfilment of it whenever it is exercised.
The present are not times to try experiments how far the will of a monarch can be pushed; and it is not in France, as in England, where our law supposes that a king can do no wrong, for the French are prone to pay no more respect to sovereigns than to their supposed advisers, and both may suffer a heavy penalty for incurring the dislike of the people.