This soiree is a concert given by the Duchess at the Tuileries. The music is but little heard. The incidents of the review are the subject of all conversation. The courtiers wonder whether, to please the King, they should take a dark or a rose-colored view of things. The optimists and pessimists exchange impressions. Charles X. seems to lean to the former. “Apparently,” he says, with his habitual bonhomie, “my bad ear has done me a friendly service, and I am glad of it, for I protest I heard no insults.” Plainly it costs the sovereign pain to dismiss the National Guard. It gave him so brilliant a welcome in 1814. He was its generalissimo under the reign of Louis XVIII. He has liked to wear its uniform, the blue coat with broad fringes of silver that becomes him so well. But the ministers, except the Duke of Doudeauville and M. de Chabrol, pronounce strongly in favor of disbandment. Their idea prevails. After the concert Charles X. signs the decree, which appears in the Moniteur on the morrow, and is enforced without resistance. “The King can do anything!” cries the Duke de Riviere, with enthusiasm; and May 6th M. de Villele addresses to the Prince de Polignac, then ambassador at London, a letter in which he says: “The dissolution of the National Guard has been a complete success; the bad have been confounded by it, the good encouraged. Paris has never been more calm than since this act of severity, justice, and vigor.” The monarchy thinks itself saved; it is lost.
THE FIRST DISQUIETUDE
There were still great illusions among those about Charles X., and the Duchess of Berry had not for a single instant an idea that the rights of her son could be compromised. They persuaded themselves that the Opposition would remain dynastic and that the severest crises would end only in a change of ministry. Nevertheless, even at the court, the more thoughtful began to be anxious, and perceived many dark points on the horizon. Certain royalists, enlightened by experience of the Emigration and Exile, had a presentiment that the Restoration would be for them only a halt in the long way of catastrophes and sorrow. They mourned the optimist tranquillity in which some of the courtiers succeeded in lulling the King. There were courageous and faithful servitors who, at the risk of displeasing their master and losing his good graces, did not recoil from the sad obligation of telling him the whole truth. From the beginning of his reign, Charles X. heard useful warnings, and later he blamed himself for not having listened better to them. This justice, however, must be done him, that if he had not the wisdom to profit by such counsels, he never was offended at the men of heart who dared to give them to him.
In this number was the Viscount Sosthenes de La Rochefoucauld, son of the Duke of Doudeauville, son-in-law of Mathieu de Montmorency, charged with the department of the fine arts, at the ministry of the King’s household. In publishing the reports addressed by him to Charles X. from his accession to the Revolution of 1830, he writes:—