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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 211 pages of information about The Duchess of Berry and the Court of Charles X.

XXIV

THE MARY STUART BALL

No society in Europe was more agreeable and brilliant than that of the Duchess of Berry.  The fetes given by the Princess in the salons of the Pavilion de Marsan at the Tuileries were marked by exceptional elegance and good taste; the Petit Chateau, as her vivacious social staff was called at that time, had an extraordinary brightness and animation.  At the carnival of 1829 Madame organized a costume ball, which, for its brilliancy, was the talk of the court and the city.  All the costumes were those of one period,—­that at which the dowager queen of Scotland, Marie of Lorraine, widow of James V., came to France to visit her daughter, Mary Stuart, wife of the King, Francis II.  It was decided that Mary Stuart should be represented by the Duchess of Berry, and the King, Francis II., by the oldest of the sons of the Duke of Orleans, the Duke of Chartres, who was then eighteen and one-half years old, and who was, the next year, to take the title of Duke of Orleans, on the accession of his father to the throne.  The apartments of the Children of France in the Pavilion de Marsan were chosen for the ball, and the date was fixed at Monday, March 2, 1829.

The King, the Dauphin and Dauphiness, the Duke and Duchess of Orleans, appeared at the fete, but not in costume.  Charles X. came after the hour of giving out the general orders.  The Dauphin, the Dauphiness, and the Duke of Orleans arrived at 8 P.M.  The entry of the four queens, Mary Stuart, Marie of Lorraine, Catharine de’ Medici, Jeanne d’Albret, was announced by the band of the bodyguards which preceded them.  The cortege was magnificent, the costumes of the princes and their ladies resplendent.  To increase its richness, the Dauphiness had lent not only her own jewels, but a part of those of the crown.  The invited guests not taking part in the cortege occupied places already assigned them.  They wore a uniform costume of silver gauze and white satin.  This coolness of tone produced a charming effect when at the arrival of the cortege all rose.  In the ball-room a platform had been prepared with a throne for Mary Stuart.  The Duchess of Berry, as the famous queen, wore with great grace a dazzling toilet—­crown of diamonds, high collar, blue velvet robe with wide sleeves, front of white satin bordered with ermine.  The Duke of Chartres, a handsome boy and brilliant cavalier, as King Francis II., wore a cap with white plumes, and a dark blue velvet doublet with ornaments of gold.  His brother, the Duke of Nemours, fourteen years old, was in the character of a page to the King, with a white satin doublet, and recalled in his features the youth of Henry IV.  The Duchess of Berry, playing to perfection her role of queen, advanced to the throne.  The Duke of Chartres gave her his hand to ascend the steps.  Then she made a sign to be seated; but the young Prince remained standing.  Placing himself behind the throne, and removing his cap with white plumes, he bowed low and said:  “Madame, I know my place.”  The Duchess of Gontaut spoke to the Duchess of Orleans, and asked her if she had remarked the tact of her son the Prince.  “I remarked it,” replied the Princess, “and I approve of it.”

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