It seems to have been his thought that if she cared for him, then the two might well love; and he gave her every chance to show him favor. The youth of twenty-five and the girl of twenty-four roamed together in the long, tufted grass or lay in the sunshine and looked out over the sea. The prince would rest his head in her lap, and she would tumble his golden hair with her slender fingers and sometimes clip off tresses which she preserved to give to friends of hers as love-locks. But to the last he was either too high or too low for her, according to her own modest thought. He was a royal prince, the heir to a throne, or else he was a boy with whom she might play quite fancy-free. A lover he could not be—so pure and beautiful was her thought of him.
These were perhaps the most delightful days of all his life, as they were a beautiful memory in hers. In time he returned to France and resumed his place amid the intrigues that surrounded that other Stuart prince who styled himself James III., and still kept up the appearance of a king in exile. As he watched the artifice and the plotting of these make-believe courtiers he may well have thought of his innocent companion of the Highland wilds.
As for Flora, she was arrested and imprisoned for five months on English vessels of war. After her release she was married, in 1750; and she and her husband sailed for the American colonies just before the Revolution. In that war Macdonald became a British officer and served against his adopted countrymen. Perhaps because of this reason Flora returned alone to Scotland, where she died at the age of sixty-eight.
The royal prince who would have given her his easy love lived a life of far less dignity in the years that followed his return to France. There was no more hope of recovering the English throne. For him there were left only the idle and licentious diversions of such a court as that in which his father lived.
At the death of James III., even this court was disintegrated, and Prince Charles led a roving life under the title of Earl of Albany. In his wanderings he met Louise Marie, the daughter of a German prince, Gustavus Adolphus of Stolberg. She was only nineteen years of age when she first felt the fascination that he still possessed; but it was an unhappy marriage for the girl when she discovered that her husband was a confirmed drunkard.
Not long after, in fact, she found her life with him so utterly intolerable that she persuaded the Pope to allow her a formal separation. The pontiff intrusted her to her husband’s brother, Cardinal York, who placed her in a convent and presently removed her to his own residence in Rome.