An old man, overpowered by mental and bodily sufferings, remembering the terrible days of a former revolution, brought with a fearful vividness to his mind by the appalling change effected within the last few eventful days, he had lost all presence of mind, and with it his confidence in those whom he might have safely trusted, while he yielded it to those whose interests were wholly opposed to his. Nor is the deplorable effect produced on his mind by recent events to be wondered at.
Adversity is the only school in which monarchs can acquire wisdom, and it almost always comes too late to enable them to profit by its bitter lessons. The defection of those hitherto supposed to be devoted friends, the altered looks of faces never before beheld without being dressed in smiles, the unceremoniousness of courtiers who never previously had dared to have an opinion before royalty had decided what it should be, might well have shook firmer nerves, and touched a sterner heart, than belonged to the old, grey-headed monarch, who saw himself betrayed without comprehending by whom, and who used his authority as sovereign and father, over his religiously obedient son, to extort an abdication of his right, as well as an approval of the resignation of his own.
Like another Lear, this poor old man has been driven forth “to bide the pelting of the pitiless storm” of a revolution, followed by his widowed daughter-in-law and her helpless son, that child orphaned ere yet he saw the light, and by Frenchmen who now condemn him to exile!
They have taken the route to Cherbourg, there to embark; and of those who lately bent the knee before them, how few have followed their now gloomy fortunes! One, at least, has not left, and will not forsake them. The Duc de Guiche, the kindest husband and father perhaps in France, sacrifices his feelings of domestic affection to his sense of duty, and accompanies the exiled family!
August 5th.—There are rumours today that the son of the Emperor Napoleon will be called to fill the vacant throne. This seems to me to be very improbable, when I reflect that General Lafayette, whose influence is omnipotent at present, appears wholly devoted to the Duc d’Orleans. The minds of the people are as yet wholly unsettled; a dread of how their late exploits may be looked on by the foreign powers allied to the deposed sovereign, pervades the multitude, and the republicans begin to discover that their Utopian schemes are little likely to be advanced by the revolution effected.
I was forcibly struck this morning on reading, in an Italian writer, the following passage, which is strongly applicable to the present time:
“When a revolution is ripe, men are always found who are ready to commence it, and make their bodies the steps to the throne of him who is to profit by their labours, without having shared their dangers.”
I have a presentiment that the truth of this axiom will be verified in France.