The King of Wurtemberg, the Grand Duke of Baden, and his three brothers came to greet the King of France in the capital of Alsace. He showed them at the arsenal sixteen hundred pieces of ordnance on their carriages, and arms sufficient for a hundred thousand men.
“Sire, and gentlemen,” he said with a smile, in which kingly pride mingled with perfect urbanity, “I have nothing to conceal from you. This is something I can show to my friends as to my enemies.”
Yes, France was great then, and no one could have predicted for Alsace the fate reserved for her forty-two years later. The army was the admiration of Europe. The navy had just recaptured at Navarino the prestige and power of the time of Louis XVI. Charles X. said to Mr. Hyde de Neuville:—
“France, when a noble design is involved, takes counsel only with herself. Thus whether England wishes or not, we shall free Greece. Continue the armaments with the same activity. I shall not pause in the path of humanity and honor.”
And at the moment when the very Christian King was greeted by the German Princes in the Alsatian capital, his victorious troops were completing in the Morea the enfranchisement of Greece.
Charles X. returned by Colmar, Luneville, Nancy, and Champagne. At Troyes he found himself surrounded by all the liberal deputies, and he decorated Casimir PErier. Everywhere he had an enthusiastic welcome. On his return to Saint Cloud he was warmly congratulated by all his court. Nevertheless, as the Duchess of Gontaut said to him:—
“Sire, you must be happy.”—“What do cheers signify?” he answered, not without sadness. “These demonstrations, all superficial, should not dazzle—a friendly gesture of the hand, a prince’s, a king’s, expression of satisfaction will obtain them.”
Despite this philosophic reflection, Charles X. was triumphant. If his ministers wished to credit their liberal policy with the ovations he had received in the east, he called their attention to the fact that he had been not less well received the year before under the Villele ministry at the time of his visit to the camp of Saint Omer. In the enthusiasm manifested by the people, he saw an homage to the monarchical principle, not to the policy of one or another ministry.
“You hear these people. Do they shout hurrah for the Charter? No, they cry long live the King!” Still confident of the future, he wished to persuade himself that the obstacles piled up before his dynasty were but clouds that a favorable wind would scatter soon. “Ah, Monsieur de Martignac,” he cried, with deep joy, “what a nation! what should we not do for it!”
At the moment that Charles X. traversed the provinces of the east in triumph, the Duchess of Berry was making in the west a journey not less brilliant than that of the sovereign.
THE JOURNEY IN THE WEST