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These open incitements to assassination were not long Chap.
of leading to the desired result; and a deplorable event L
plunged the royal family and Royalists in grief, and caused 1*20such consternation in the general mind as for a time made The Duke the balance incline in favour of conservative principles. 8"'' The Duke De Berri, second son of the Count d'Artois, had now become the chief hope of the royal family, because it was from him alone that a continuance of the direct line of succession could be looked for. This circumstance had given an importance to his position and an interest in his fate which could not otherwise have belonged to it. He was more gifted in heart and disposition than in external advantages. His figure was short, his shoulders broad, his lips thick, his nose retrousse; everything in his appearance indicated a gay and sensual, rather than an intellectual and magnanimous disposition. But the sweetness of his smile, and the cordiality of his manner, revealed the native benevolence of his disposition, and speedily won every heart among those who approached him. He had all the hereditary courage of his race, and had sighed all his life for a share of the military fame which surrounded his country in a halo of glory, but from which his unfortunate position as a prince of the exiled family, and in arms against his compatriots, necessarily excluded him. He was not free from the foibles usual in princes in whom luxury has enhanced and idleness has afforded room for the gratification of the passions; but he caused them to be forgotten by the generous qualities with which they were accompanied. Constant in love, faithful in friendship, eager for renown, thirsting for arms, if he had not acquired military fame, it was not owing, Um to any lack of ambition to prove himself the worthy de- 239,24i;' scendant of Henry IV., but to the circumstances of his wif'si"" destiny, which had condemned him to inaction.1
Being the youngest of the princes of the blood, he came to play a more important part on the Restoration. He was the bridge of communication between the pacific
VOL. II. T
Chap. family of the Bourbons and the army; and being himself IX' passionately attached to the career of arms, he took to the 820- soldiers as his natural element. He anxiously cultivated
biogra- the friendship of the marshals, the generals, the officers— even the private soldiers attracted a large share of his attention; and before his career was cut short by the hand of an assassin, he had already made great progress in their affections. On the return of Napoleon from Elba, he was invested with the command of the army which was assembled round Paris; and when the retreat to Flanders was resolved on, he commanded the rear-guard, and by his personal courage and good conduct succeeded in escorting his precious charge in safety to the frontier, without having shed the blood of a Frenchman. At Bethune he advanced alone against a regiment of cavalry, and by his intrepid bearing imposed upon them submission. On the return to Paris after Waterloo, he continued his military habits, and many happy expressions are recorded of his, which strongly moved the hearts of the soldiers. He had been very kindly received by the inhabitants of Lisle, on the retreat to Ghent; and having been sent there after the second Restoration, the mutual transports were such, that on leaving them he said, " Henceforth it is between us for life and death." At the barracks in Paris, having one day fallen into conversation with a veteran of the Imperial army, he asked him why the soldiers loved Napoleon so much 1 " Because he always led us to victory," was the reply. "It was not very difficult to do so with men such as you," was the happy rejoinder of the prince, which proved that, besides the spirit, he had in some degree the felicity of expression of Henry IV. On the 28th March 1816, a message from the king to both Chambers announced that the Duke de Berri was about to espouse Caroline Mary, eldest daughter of the heir to the crown of Naples—an event which was hailed with every demonstration of joy both by the Legislature and the people of France. The Chambers spontaneously made him a gift of 1,500,000 francs (£60,000), but he Chap. declared he would only accept to consecrate it to the Ix" departments which had suffered most during the dreadful 1820scarcity of that year—a promise which he religiously performed. The marriage proved an auspicious one. The young princess won every heart by the elegance of her person and the engaging liveliness of her manner; and she gave proof that the direct line of succession was not likely to fail while her husband lived. The two first children of the marriage, the eldest of whom was a prince, died in early infancy; but the third, Princess Mary, who afterwards became Duchess of Parma, still survived, and the iSt^'1, princess had been three months enceinte when the hand ^rcrid03:ttT of an assassin deprived her of her husband, and induced «'-282;
x .Lam. vi.
a total change in the prospects and destinies of France.23^241; .Never were severed married persons more tenderly at- 358; uiog. tached, or on whose mutual safety more important con- Wjm,1*1"' sequences to the world were dependent.1
There lived at Paris at that time a man of the name of Louvel, whose biography is only of interest as indicating Louto/, his by what steps, and the indulgence of what propensities, and what opinions, men are conducted to the most atrocious crimes. He had been born at Versailles, in 1787, of humble parents, who made their bread by selling smallwares to the retainers of the palace. He had received the first rudiments of education, if education it could be called, amidst the fetes of the Convention, where regicides were celebrated as the first of patriots, and the operatic worship of the theo-philanthropists, where universal liberation from restraint was preached as the obvious dictate and intention of nature. Solitary in his disposition, taciturn in his habits, he revolved these ideas in his mind without revealing them to any one, and they fermented so in his bosom that when Louis XVIII. landed at Calais, in 1814, he endeavoured to get to the pier to assassinate him the instant he set foot on the soil of France. For several years after, he was so haunted
Chap. by the desire to become a regicide, or at least signalise IX' himself by the murder of a prince, that he was forced to 1820- more from place to place, to give a temporary distraction to his mind; and he went repeatedly to St Germain, St Cloud, and Fontainebleau to seek an opportunity of doing so. He was long disappointed, and had hovered about , Um vi opera for many nights, when the Duke de Berri was 214,247;' there, in hopes of finding the means of striking his victim, 357.'"' 'when, on the 13th February 1820, chance threw the long-wished-for opportunity in his way.1
On that day, being the last of the carnival, the Duke Assassin*- de Berri was at the opera with the princess; and Louvel i>uk«<uie lurked about the door, armed with a small sharp poniard, Berri- with which he had previously provided himself. He was at the door when the prince entered the house, and might have struck him as he handed the princess out of the carriage; but a liugering feeling of conscience withheld his hand at that time. But the fatal moment ere long arrived. During the interval of two of the pieces, the Duke and Duchess left their own box to pay a visit to that of the Duke and Duchess of Orleans, who, with their whole family, destined to such eventful changes in future times, were in a box in the neighbourhood. On returning to her own box, the door of another one was suddenly opened, and struck the side of the Duchess de Berri, who, being apprehensive of the effects of any shock in her then delicate situation, expressed a wish to the prince to leave the house and return home. The prince at once agreed, and handed the Duchess into her carriage. "Adieu !" cried she, smiling to her husband, " we shall soon meet again." They parted, but it was to be reunited in another world. As the prince was returning from the carriage to the house, Louvel, who was standing in the shade of a projecting part of the wall, so still that he had escaped the notice both of the sentinels on duty and the footmen of the Duke, rushed suddenly forward, and seizing with his left arm the left shoulder of the prince, stnick him violently with the right arm on the right side Chap. with the poniard. So instantaneous was the act that the IX' assassin escaped in the dark; and the Duke, who only mofelt, as is often the case, a violent blow, and not the stab, put his hand to the spot struck. He then felt the hilt of , ^ . the dagger, which was still sticking in his side ; and being then made aware he had been stabbed, he exclaimed, " I 360; Bio?. am assassinated; I am dead; I have the poniard: that 84°ai.' man has killed me!"1
The princess was just driving from the door of the gg . opera-house when the frightful words reached her car. Hu iut She immediately gave a piercing shriek, heard above allmomentsthe din of the street, and loudly called out to her servants to stop and let her out. They did so, and the moment the door was opened, before the steps were let down, she sprung out of the carriage and clasped her husband in her arms, who was covered with blood, and just drawing the dagger from his side. "I am dead!" said he ; " send for a priest. Come, dearest!—let me die in your arms." Meanwhile the assassin, in the first moments of terror and agitation, had made his escape, and he had already reached the arcade which branches oft' from the Rue de Richelieu, under the spacious arches of the Bibliothe'que du Roi, when a waiter in a coffeehouse, named Pauloise, hearing the alarm, seized, and was still writhing with him, when three gendarmes came up, and having apprehended, brought him back to the door of the opera-house. He was there nearly torn in pieces by the crowd, which was inflamed with the most violent indignation ; but the gendarmes succeeded with great difficulty in extricating him, being fearful that the secrets of an extended conspiracy would perish with him. Meanwhile the prince had been carried into a little apartment behind his box, and the medical men were arriving in haste. On being informed of the arrest of the assassin, he exclaimed, "Alas! how cruel is it to die by the hand of a Frenchman!" For a few minutes a ray of hope was felt by the