And he fully thought my brother in the right, and that it was my duty to remain in the world, so long as my son needed me there; while, as to any galling from coming under authority again, that was probably exactly what my character wanted, and it would lessen the danger of dissipation. Perhaps I might have been in more real danger in queening it at Nid de Merle than in submitting at Paris.
The two Queens.
After all, I was put to shame by finding that I had done my poor mother an injustice in supposing that she intended to assume the government of the house, for no sooner was I admitted to her room than she gave me up the keys, and indeed I believe she was not sorry to resign them, for she had not loved housewifery in her prosperous days, and there had been a hard struggle with absolute poverty during the last years in England.
She was delighted likewise that I was quite ready to accompany her to thank Queen Henrietta for her intercession, and to take her advice for the future, nor did she object for that day to my mourning costume, as I was to appear in the character of a suppliant. When I caught Annora’s almost contemptuous eyes, I was ready to have gone in diamonds and feathers.
However, forth we set, attended by both my brothers. Lord Walwyn indeed held some appointment at the little court, and in due time we were ushered into the room where Queen Henrietta was seated with a pretty little girl playing at her feet with a dog, and a youth of about seventeen leaning over the elbow of her couch telling her something with great animation, while a few ladies were at work, with gentlemen scattered among them. How sociable and friendly it looked, and how strangely yet pleasantly the English tones fell on my ear! And I was received most kindly too. ’Madame has brought her—our little—nay, our great conspirator, the Firebrand of the Bocage. Come, little Firebrand,’ exclaimed the Queen, and as I knelt to kiss her hand she threw her arms round me in an affectionate embrace, and the Prince of Wales claimed me as an old acquaintance, saluted me, and laughed, as he welcomed me to their court of waifs and strays, cast up one by one by the tide.
His little sister, brought by the faithful Lady Morton in the disguise of a beggar boy, had been the last thus to arrive. A very lovely child she was, and Prince Charles made every one laugh by taking her on his knee and calling her Piers the beggar boy, when she pointed to her white frock, called herself ’Pincess, pincess, not beggar boy,’ and when he persisted, went into a little rage and pulled his black curls.