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have an eye for business. So long as the Queen of Louis XV. continued childless, he remained at court vigilantly watching the chances that might transfer to him the prize to which his family looked in vain for years, and reached at last only to grasp, and then renounce it; making his game, and preparing for contingencies. From his sire he had learned to court alliance with England, to advocate peace, and to hate with all his heart the Spanish branch of the house of Bourbon. When, on the 4th of December, 1729, the birth of a Dauphin was announced, the Duke, who had nothing to gain from public life, withdrew within the sphere most congenial to his habits. He applied himself exclusively to the study of theology, and of the languages connected with biblical literature. Regarding himself as a divinely appointed missionary, he plunged into polemics, and wrote treatises too learned to be generally appreciated, and, indeed, too metaphysical to be thoroughly understood by any one. He wasted entire days in the convent of St. Geneviève, disputing with the fathers of the monastery upon the punctuation of a verse in the Bible, or concerning the exact locality of the Garden of Eden. No religious procession took place in which he had not a part; and the parochial clergymen, whilst he lived, were never without an assistant in catechizing the poorer children. Earnest and harmless occupation gains respect at all times. When piety tinctures the labour, it commands our homage. We may smile for a moment at the proceedings of the deformed son of the Regent Orleans, but the feeling of pity is transient, and gives place to a nobler. He died February 4, 1752, bequeathing
that cripplein pecunie" Toode of this web
all his manuscripts to the Jacobin Fathers; he had already founded a professorship of biblical Hebrew at the Sorbonne, “in order that heretics should not be the only Christians who studied the Holy Scriptures in their original languages.”
The devout Duke of Orleans left a son, Louis Philippe of Orleans, who was born at Versailles, May 12, 1725. History has preserved few records of this prince's life, but such as we pick up are characteristic enough of the race, and leave no doubt as to the identity. In selecting a wife for his son, the Duc de Chartres, Louis Philippe's first and sole consideration was to obtain for him the largest dowry that the country could produce; his extravagance had crippled his own splendid resources, and his meanness in pecuniary transactions rendered him unscrupulous in the mode of repairing them. The exquisite cold bloodedness of this whole affair, the profound indifference of the father for the happiness of his son, the utter disregard exhibited by the calculator for the feelings of the lady chiefly concerned in his negotiation, are all striking points in the otherwise commonplace character now upon our stage. Louis XIV. had heaped treasures upon his natural children. At the time of which we speak, the inheritance of all was about to devolve upon M. de Lamballe and Mademoiselle de Penthièvre, the surviving children of the Duc de Penthièvre, the event waiting only for the death of the Count d’Eu, a bachelor advanced in life, and in indifferent health. When Mademoiselle Penthièvre was first proposed to the Duke of Orleans as a suitable wife for his successor, the Duke is said to have betrayed the strougest indignation. The lady was descended from the bastards, the declared enemies of the house of Orleans; that was impediment enough, but it might have been removed. Again, her fortune, though large, was not the largest in the kingdom—that obstacle was insuperable. The admirable parent would not listen to the proposition; not then, at least. Afterwards, circumstances occurred to render him more tractable. M. de Lamballe, joint heir with the young lady, was suddenly attacked with a painful disease, and was compelled to submit to a still more painful operation; the doctors pronounced the sufferer in most imminent danger. Should he die, Mademoiselle de Penthièvre would eventually inherit no less a sum than 120,0001. per annum. The Duke of Orleans asked for the young lady in marriage for his son immediately.
But M. de Lamballe was not yet dead. As he was oscillating between this world and the next, the .Duke of Orleans occupied himself in investigating the family papers. The Duc de Penthièvre, who gave his consent to the match, generously showed the Duke of Orleans his will, besides making known to him his present intentions with regard to his daughter. The generosity was thrown away upon a gentleman who was simply disgusted at the pitiful allowance which the Duke proposed for his child during his own life-time, but he consoled himself, like a prudent man and a good father, with the thought of poor M. de Lamballe's approaching dissolution. M. de Lamballe, however, was not yet dead. On the contrary, to the astonishment of everybody, a change took place for the better. It
MADEMOISELLE DE PENTHIÈVRE. 69 was enough for Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans ; by this time Mademoiselle de Penthièvre was over head and ears in love with the Duc de Chartres, but what was that to the purpose ? Half the girl's fortune would go should M. de Lamballe recover; he was recovering very fast, and, accordingly, the Duke of Orleans broke off the match instanter, and once more scouted all idea of union with virtuous indignation. His son should have nothing to say to bastards.
The fiend was very busy with the Duke. The politic gentleman had secured the natural anger of M. de Penthièvre, the fury of the Duc de Choiseul, who had made up the match, and the scorn of all right-hearted men, when M. de Lamballe suddenly suffered a relapse, from which everybody agreed he could not possibly recover, and he did not recover. He died, leaving Mademoiselle de Penthièvre heiress to a fortune which a king need not disdain. As we have seen, the Duke of Orleans had been very far from disdaining it. Yet he had suffered it to slip through his fingers. Not he; his was a happy nature, that suffered him to go forward or to go backward precisely as it suited his convenience, and answered his purpose. Mademoiselle de Penthièvre is described by all the writers of her time as the gentlest and the most timid of her sex, but her devotion to the Duc de Chartres elicited the strong passion that lies slumbering in the feeblest woman's breast. She had already vowed to end her days in the cloister, when the incorrigible Duke once more ventured, and successfully; to trade upon her affection, and to open fresh negotiations for the union. Would that he had lived to see the full-blown triumph of his scheming! Greater splendour had never been witnessed at a wedding feast than that which adorned the celebration at Versailles in the month of May, 1768. Greater calamity has never been endured by woman than that suffered by Mademoiselle de Penthièvre in consequence of that alliance. No doubt the Duke of Orleans would have sold his soul to obtain the largest dowry in the kingdom for his son; to secure a tolerably good one he, in fact, considerably tarnished that better portion of his nature; yet poor Mademoiselle, sweet-tempered, delicately fashioned, bashful, and modest, lived to see her husband without a shilling to buy a poor man's prayers as he laid his head upon the block, and to know that her children were beggars and outcasts, driven through the world without a name—without a home!
A few words must suffice to dismiss the grandson of the Regent from the scene. We have too much to say of his wretched son, the husband of Mademoiselle de Penthièvre, of his unfortunate grandsons, her children, to admit of lingering on the way. Indeed, his history is soon told. It has been stated he was born in 1725. At the age of thirteen he was appointed to a regiment of infantry. At the affair of Dettingen he served with honour, and he was present at the battles of Fontenoy, Harcourt, and Lawfeld, “ besides taking an active part in the sieges which have established the martial reputation of Marshal Saxe." The last of his exploits was in 1757, when he served under Marshal d’Estrées, and contributed largely, according to contemporary accounts, to the great