“‘If it is for me,’ he replied with vivacity, ’no; if it is for the sake of the manufactures, yes.’
“It was the same in everything. He had no whims and never listened to a proposition by which he alone was to profit. He joined to these essential qualities, manners that were wholly French, and mots that often recalled Henry IV. We were always saying to each other, my colleagues and I, ’If a king were made to order for France, he would not be different.’ What a misfortune for France, which he loved so much, that he was not known better and more appreciated. This portrait, I protest, is in nowise flattering; if this poor Prince were still reigning, I would not say so much of him, above all in his presence; but he is persecuted and is an exile; I owe my country the truth, nothing but the truth.”
Let us add to the honor of Charles X. that he made of his personal fortune and his civil list the noblest and most liberal use.
“On the throne,” says the Viscount Sosthenes de La Rochefoucauld,” he was generous to excess. In his noble improvidence of the future, he considered his civil list as a sort of loan, made by the nation for the sake of its grandeur, to be returned in luxury, magnificence, and benefits. A faithful depositary, he made it a duty to use it all, so that, stripped of his property, he carried into exile hardly enough for the support of his family and some old servitors.”
To sum up, all who figured at the court of Charles X. agree in recognizing that he was not a superior man, but a prince, chivalrous and sympathetic, honest and of good intentions, who committed grave errors, but did not deserve his misfortunes. In his appearance, in his physiognomy, in thought and language, there was a mingling of grace and dignity of which even his adversaries felt the charm. If posterity is severe for the sovereign, it will be indulgent for the man.
THE DUKE OF DOUDEAUVILLE
At the time of the consecration of Charles X., the minister of the King’s household was the Duke Ambroise de Doudeauville, father of the Viscount Sosthenes de La Rochefoucauld. A philanthropic nobleman, devoted to the throne, the altar, the Charter, and to liberty, respectful for the past but thoughtful for the future, joining intelligent toleration to sincere piety, faithful servitor but no courtier to the King, the Duke of Doudeauville enjoyed the esteem of all and had at court a high standing, due even more to his character than to his birth. The volume of Memoirs that he has left does honor to his heart as well as to his mind. There is grace and gaiety, depth and charm, wisdom and courage, in this short but substantial book, where appears in full light one of the most distinct types of the ancient French society. “My years of grandeur and splendor,” this author wrote, “have passed like a dream, and I have beheld the awakening with pleasure. I know not what my destiny shall be. As to my conduct, I believe that I can affirm that it will be always that of an honest man, a good Frenchman, a servant of God, desiring a Christian close to an honorable life, the crown of every human edifice.”