The History of
the Next French
by William Makepeace Thackeray
HENRY V. AND
CHAPTER III. THE
ADVANCE OF THE
CHAPTER IV. THE
CHAPTER V. THE
BATTLE OF TOURS.
CHAPTER VI. THE
CHAPTER VII. THE
THE BATTLE OF
[FROM A FORTHCOMING HISTORY OF EUROPE.]
It is seldom that the historian has to record events more singular
than those which occurred during this year, when the Crown of France
was battled for by no less than four pretenders, with equal claims,
merits, bravery, and popularity. First in the list we place—His
Royal Highness Louis Anthony Frederick Samuel Anna Maria, Duke of
Brittany, and son of Louis XVI. The unhappy Prince, when a prisoner
with his unfortunate parents in the Temple, was enabled to escape from
that place of confinement, hidden (for the treatment of the ruffians
who guarded him had caused the young Prince to dwindle down
astonishingly) in the cocked-hat of the Representative, Roederer. It
is well known that, in the troublous revolutionary times, cocked-hats
were worn of a considerable size.
He passed a considerable part of his life in Germany; was confined
there for thirty years in the dungeons of Spielberg; and, escaping
thence to England, was, under pretence of debt, but in reality from
political hatred, imprisoned there also in the Tower of London. He
must not be confounded with any other of the persons who laid claim
to be children of the unfortunate victim of the first Revolution.
The next claimant, Henri of Bordeaux, is better known. In the year
1843 he held his little fugitive court in furnished lodgings, in a
forgotten district of London, called Belgrave Square. Many of the
nobles of France flocked thither to him, despising the persecutions
of the occupant of the throne; and some of the chiefs of the British
nobility—among whom may be reckoned the celebrated and chivalrous
Duke of Jenkins—aided the adventurous young Prince with their
counsels, their wealth, and their valor.
The third candidate was his Imperial Highness Prince John Thomas
Napoleon—a fourteenth cousin of the late Emperor; and said by some
to be a Prince of the House of Gomersal. He argued justly that, as
the immediate relatives of the celebrated Corsican had declined to
compete for the crown which was their right, he, Prince John Thomas,
being next in succession, was, undoubtedly, heir to the vacant
imperial throne. And in support of his claim, he appealed to the
fidelity of Frenchmen and the strength of his good sword.
His Majesty Louis Philippe was, it need not be said, the
illustrious wielder of the sceptre which the three above-named princes
desired to wrest from him. It does not appear that the sagacious
monarch was esteemed by his subjects, as such a prince should have
been esteemed. The light-minded people, on the contrary, were rather
weary than otherwise of his sway. They were not in the least
attached to his amiable family, for whom his Majesty with
characteristic thrift had endeavored to procure satisfactory
allowances. And the leading statesmen of the country, whom his
Majesty had disgusted, were suspected of entertaining any but
feelings of loyalty towards his house and person.
It was against the above-named pretenders that Louis Philippe (now
nearly a hundred years old), a prince amongst sovereigns, was called
upon to defend his crown.
The city of Paris was guarded, as we all know, by a hundred and
twenty-four forts, of a thousand guns each—provisioned for a
considerable time, and all so constructed as to fire, if need were,
upon the palace of the Tuileries. Thus, should the mob attack it, as
in August 1792, and July 1830, the building could be razed to the
ground in an hour; thus, too, the capital was quite secure from
foreign invasion. Another defence against the foreigners was the
state of the roads. Since the English companies had retired, half a
mile only of railroad had been completed in France, and thus any army
accustomed, as those of Europe now are, to move at sixty miles an
hour, would have been ennuye'd to death before they could have marched
from the Rhenish, the Maritime, the Alpine, or the Pyrenean frontier
upon the capital of France. The French people, however, were
indignant at this defect of communication in their territory, and
said, without the least show of reason, that they would have preferred
that the five hundred and seventy-five thousand billions of francs
which had been expended upon the fortifications should have been laid
out in a more peaceful manner. However, behind his forts, the King
As it is our aim to depict in as vivid a manner as possible the
strange events of the period, the actions, the passions of
individuals and parties engaged, we cannot better describe them than
by referring to contemporary documents, of which there is no lack. It
is amusing at the present day to read in the pages of the Moniteur and
the Journal des Debats the accounts of the strange scenes which took
The year 1884 had opened very tranquilly. The Court of the
Tuileries had been extremely gay. The three-and-twenty youngest
Princes of England, sons of her Majesty Victoria, had enlivened the
balls by their presence; the Emperor of Russia and family had paid
their accustomed visit; and the King of the Belgians had, as usual,
made his visit to his royal father-in-law, under pretence of duty and
pleasure, but really to demand payment of the Queen of the Belgians'
dowry, which Louis Philippe of Orleans still resolutely declined to
pay. Who would have thought that in the midst of such festivity
danger was lurking rife, in the midst of such quiet, rebellion?
Charenton was the great lunatic asylum of Paris, and it was to this
repository that the scornful journalist consigned the pretender to
the throne of Louis XVI.
But on the next day, viz. Saturday, the 29th February, the same
journal contained a paragraph of a much more startling and serious
import; in which, although under a mask of carelessness, it was easy
to see the Government alarm.
On Friday, the 28th February, the Journal des Debats contained a
paragraph, which did not occasion much sensation at the Bourse, so
absurd did its contents seem. It ran as follows:—
"ENCORE UN LOUIS XVII.! A letter from Calais tells us that a
strange personage lately landed from England (from Bedlam we believe)
has been giving himself out to be the son of the unfortunate Louis
XVI. This is the twenty-fourth pretender of the species who has
asserted that his father was the august victim of the Temple. Beyond
his pretensions, the poor creature is said to be pretty harmless; he
is accompanied by one or two old women, who declare they recognize in
him the Dauphin; he does not make any attempt to seize upon his throne
by force of arms, but waits until heaven shall conduct him to it.
"If his Majesty comes to Paris, we presume he will TAKE UP his
quarters in the palace of Charenton.
"We have not before alluded to certain rumors which have been
afloat (among the lowest canaille and the vilest estaminets of the
metropolis), that a notorious personage—why should we hesitate to
mention the name of the Prince John Thomas Napoleon?—has entered
France with culpable intentions, and revolutionary views. The
Moniteur of this morning, however, confirms the disgraceful fact. A
pretender is on our shores; an armed assassin is threatening our
peaceful liberties; a wandering, homeless cut-throat is robbing on
our highways; and the punishment of his crime awaits him. Let no
considerations of the past defer that just punishment; it is the duty
of the legislator to provide for THE FUTURE. Let the full powers of
the law be brought against him, aided by the stern justice of the
public force. Let him be tracked, like a wild beast, to his lair, and
meet the fate of one. But the sentence has, ere this, been certainly
executed. The brigand, we hear, has been distributing (without any
effect) pamphlets among the low ale- houses and peasantry of the
department of the Upper Rhine (in which he lurks); and the Police have
an easy means of tracking his footsteps.
"Corporal Crane, of the Gendarmerie, is on the track of the
unfortunate young man. His attempt will only serve to show the folly
of the pretenders, and the love, respect, regard, fidelity,
admiration, reverence, and passionate personal attachment in which we
hold our beloved sovereign."
"CAPTURE OF THE PRINCE.
"A courier has just arrived at the Tuileries with a report that
after a scuffle between Corporal Crane and the 'Imperial Army,' in a
water-barrel, whither the latter had retreated, victory has remained
with the former. A desperate combat ensued in the first place, in a
hay-loft, whence the pretender was ejected with immense loss. He is
now a prisoner—and we dread to think what his fate may be! It will
warn future aspirants, and give Europe a lesson which it is not likely
to forget. Above all, it will set beyond a doubt the regard, respect,
admiration, reverence, and adoration which we all feel for our
"A second courier has arrived. The infatuated Crane has made
common cause with the Prince, and forever forfeited the respect of
Frenchmen. A detachment of the 520th Leger has marched in pursuit of
the pretender and his dupes. Go, Frenchmen, go and conquer! Remember
that it is our rights you guard, our homes which you march to defend;
our laws which are confided to the points of your unsullied
bayonets;—above all, our dear, dear sovereign, around whose throne
"Our feelings overpower us. Men of the 520th, remember your
watchword is Gemappes,—your countersign, Valmy."
"The Emperor of Russia and his distinguished family quitted the
Tuileries this day. His Imperial Majesty embraced his Majesty the
King of the French with tears in his eyes, and conferred upon their
RR. HH. the Princes of Nemours and Joinville, the Grand Cross of the
Order of the Blue Eagle."
"His Majesty passed a review of the Police force. The venerable
monarch was received with deafening cheers by this admirable and
disinterested body of men. Those cheers were echoed in all French
hearts. Long, long may our beloved Prince be among us to receive
CHAPTER II. HENRY V. AND NAPOLEON
Sunday, February 30th.
We resume our quotations from the Debats, which thus introduces a
third pretender to the throne:—
"Is this distracted country never to have peace? While on Friday
we recorded the pretensions of a maniac to the great throne of
France; while on Saturday we were compelled to register the culpable
attempts of one whom we regard as a ruffian, murderer, swindler,
forger, burglar, and common pickpocket, to gain over the allegiance of
Frenchmen—it is to-day our painful duty to announce a THIRD
invasion—yes, a third invasion. The wretched, superstitious, fanatic
Duke of Bordeaux has landed at Nantz, and has summoned the Vendeans
and the Bretons to mount the white cockade.
"Grand Dieu! are we not happy under the tricolor? Do we not repose
under the majestic shadow of the best of kings? Is there any name
prouder than that of Frenchman; any subject more happy than that of
our sovereign? Does not the whole French family adore their father?
Yes. Our lives, our hearts, our blood, our fortune, are at his
disposal: it was not in vain that we raised, it is not the first time
we have rallied round, the august throne of July. The unhappy Duke is
most likely a prisoner by this time; and the martial court which shall
be called upon to judge one infamous traitor and pretender, may at the
same moment judge another. Away with both! let the ditch of Vincennes
(which has been already fatal to his race) receive his body, too, and
with it the corpse of the other pretender. Thus will a great crime be
wiped out of history, and the manes of a slaughtered martyr avenged!
"One word more. We hear that the Duke of Jenkins accompanies the
descendant of Caroline of Naples. An ENGLISH DUKE, entendez-vous! An
English Duke, great heaven! and the Princes of England still dancing
in our royal halls! Where, where will the perfidy of Albion end?"
"The King reviewed the third and fourth battalions of Police. The
usual heart-rending cheers accompanied the monarch, who looked
younger than ever we saw him—ay, as young as when he faced the
Austrian cannon at Valmy and scattered their squadrons at Gemappes.
"Rations of liquor, and crosses of the Legion of Honor, were
distributed to all the men.
"The English Princes quitted the Tuileries in twenty-three coaches-
and-four. They were not rewarded with crosses of the Legion of
Honor. This is significant."
"The Dukes of Joinville and Nemours left the palace for the
departments of the Loire and Upper Rhine, where they will take the
command of the troops. The Joinville regiment—Cavalerie de la
Marine—is one of the finest in the service."
"Orders have been given to arrest the fanatic who calls himself
Duke of Brittany, and who has been making some disturbances in the
Pas de Calais."
"ANECDOTE OF HIS MAJESTY.—At the review of troops (Police)
yesterday, his Majesty, going up to one old grognard and pulling him
by the ear, said, 'Wilt thou have a cross or another ration of wine?'
The old hero, smiling archly, answered, 'Sire, a brave man can gain a
cross any day of battle, but it is hard for him sometimes to get a
drink of wine.' We need not say that he had his drink, and the
generous sovereign sent him the cross and ribbon too."
On the next day, the Government journals began to write in rather a
despondent tone regarding the progress of the pretenders to the
throne. In spite of their big talking, anxiety is clearly
manifested, as appears from the following remarks of the Debats:—
"The courier from the Rhine department," says the Debats, "brings
us the following astounding Proclamation:—
"'Strasburg, xxii. Nivose: Decadi. 92nd year of the Republic, one
and indivisible. We, John Thomas Napoleon, by the constitutions of
the Empire, Emperor of the French Republic, to our marshals,
generals, officers, and soldiers, greeting:
"'From the summit of the Pyramids forty centuries look down upon
you. The sun of Austerlitz has risen once more. The Guard dies, but
never surrenders. My eagles, flying from steeple to steeple, never
shall droop till they perch on the towers of Notre Dame.
"'Soldiers! the child of YOUR FATHER has remained long in exile. I
have seen the fields of Europe where your laurels are now withering,
and I have communed with the dead who repose beneath them. They ask
where are our children? Where is France? Europe no longer glitters
with the shine of its triumphant bayonets— echoes no more with the
shouts of its victorious cannon. Who could reply to such a question
save with a blush?—And does a blush become the cheeks of Frenchmen?
"'No. Let us wipe from our faces that degrading mark of shame.
Come, as of old, and rally round my eagles! You have been subject to
fiddling prudence long enough. Come, worship now at the shrine of
Glory! You have been promised liberty, but you have had none. I will
endow you with the true, the real freedom. When your ancestors burst
over the Alps, were they not free? Yes; free to conquer. Let us
imitate the example of those indomitable myriads; and, flinging a
defiance to Europe, once more trample over her; march in triumph into
her prostrate capitals, and bring her kings with her treasures at our
feet. This is the liberty worthy of Frenchmen.
"'Frenchmen! I promise you that the Rhine shall be restored to you;
and that England shall rank no more among the nations. I will have a
marine that shall drive her ships from the seas; a few of my brave
regiments will do the rest. Henceforth, the traveller in that desert
island shall ask, "Was it this wretched corner of the world that for a
thousand years defied Frenchmen?"
"'Frenchmen, up and rally!—I have flung my banner to the breezes;
'tis surrounded by the faithful and the brave. Up, and let our motto
be, LIBERTY, EQUALITY, WAR ALL OVER THE WORLD!
"'The Marshal of the Empire, HARICOT.'
"Such is the Proclamation! such the hopes that a brutal-minded and
bloody adventurer holds out to our country. 'War all over the
world,' is the cry of the savage demon; and the fiends who have
rallied round him echo it in concert. We were not, it appears,
correct in stating that a corporal's guard had been sufficient to
seize upon the marauder, when the first fire would have served to
conclude his miserable life. But, like a hideous disease, the
contagion has spread; the remedy must be dreadful. Woe to those on
whom it will fall!
"His Royal Highness the Prince of Joinville, Admiral of France, has
hastened, as we before stated, to the disturbed districts, and takes
with him his Cavalerie de la Marine. It is hard to think that the
blades of those chivalrous heroes must be buried in the bosoms of
Frenchmen: but so be it: it is those monsters who have asked for
blood, not we. It is those ruffians who have begun the quarrel, not
we. WE remain calm and hopeful, reposing under the protection of the
dearest and best of sovereigns.
"The wretched pretender, who called himself Duke of Brittany, has
been seized, according to our prophecy: he was brought before the
Prefect of Police yesterday, and his insanity being proved beyond a
doubt, he has been consigned to a strait-waistcoat at Charenton. So
may all incendiary enemies of our Government be overcome!
"His Royal Highness the Duke of Nemours is gone into the department
of the Loire, where he will speedily put an end to the troubles in
the disturbed districts of the Bocage and La Vendee. The foolish
young Prince, who has there raised his standard, is followed, we
hear, by a small number of wretched persons, of whose massacre we
expect every moment to receive the news. He too has issued his
Proclamation, and our readers will smile at its contents:
"'WE HENRY, Fifth of the Name, King of France and Navarre, to all
whom it may concern, greeting:
"'After years of exile we have once more unfurled in France the
banner of the lilies. Once more the white plume of Henri IV. floats
in the crest of his little son (petit fils)! Gallant nobles! worthy
burgesses! honest commons of my realm, I call upon you to rally round
the oriflamme of France, and summon the ban arriereban of my kingdoms.
To my faithful Bretons I need not appeal. The country of Duguesclin
has loyalty for an heirloom! To the rest of my subjects, my atheist
misguided subjects, their father makes one last appeal. Come to me,
my children! your errors shall be forgiven. Our Holy Father, the
Pope, shall intercede for you. He promised it when, before my
departure on this expedition, I kissed his inviolable toe!
"'Our afflicted country cries aloud for reforms. The infamous
universities shall be abolished. Education shall no longer be
permitted. A sacred and wholesome inquisition shall be established.
My faithful nobles shall pay no more taxes. All the venerable
institutions of our country shall be restored as they existed before
1788. Convents and monasteries again shall ornament our country, the
calm nurseries of saints and holy women! Heresy shall be extirpated
with paternal severity, and our country shall be free once more.
"'His Majesty the King of Ireland, my august ally, has sent, under
the command of His Royal Highness Prince Daniel, his Majesty's
youngest son, an irresistible IRISH BRIGADE, to co-operate in the
good work. His Grace the Lion of Judah, the canonized patriarch of
Tuam, blessed their green banner before they set forth. Henceforth
may the lilies and the harp be ever twined together. Together we
will make a crusade against the infidels of Albion, and raze their
heretic domes to the ground. Let our cry be, Vive la France! down
with England! Montjoie St. Denis!
"'BY THE KING.
"'The Secretary of State and Grand Inquisitor. . . LA ROUE.
The Marshal of France. . . POMADOUR DE L'AILE DE PIGEON.
The General Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Brigade in the service
of his Most Christian Majesty. . . DANIEL, PRINCE OF BALLYBUNION.
"His Majesty reviewed the admirable Police force, and held a
council of Ministers in the afternoon. Measures were concerted for
the instant putting down of the disturbances in the departments of
the Rhine and Loire, and it is arranged that on the capture of the
pretenders, they shall be lodged in separate cells in the prison of
the Luxembourg: the apartments are already prepared, and the officers
at their posts.
"The grand banquet that was to be given at the palace to-day to the
diplomatic body, has been put off; all the ambassadors being attacked
with illness, which compels them to stay at home."
"The ambassadors despatched couriers to their various Governments."
"His Majesty the King of the Belgians left the palace of the
CHAPTER III. THE ADVANCE OF THE
We will now resume the narrative, and endeavor to compress, in a
few comprehensive pages, the facts which are more diffusely described
in the print from which we have quoted.
It was manifest, then, that the troubles in the departments were
of a serious nature, and that the forces gathered round the two
pretenders to the crown were considerable. They had their supporters
too in Paris—as what party indeed has not? and the venerable occupant
of the throne was in a state of considerable anxiety, and found his
declining years by no means so comfortable as his virtues and great
age might have warranted.
His paternal heart was the more grieved when he thought of the fate
reserved to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, now
sprung up around him in vast numbers. The King's grandson, the Prince
Royal, married to a Princess of the house of Schlippen- Schloppen, was
the father of fourteen children, all handsomely endowed with pensions
by the State. His brother, the Count D'Eu, was similarly blessed with
a multitudinous offspring. The Duke of Nemours had no children; but
the Princes of Joinville, Aumale, and Montpensier (married to the
Princesses Januaria and Februaria, of Brazil, and the Princess of the
United States of America, erected into a monarchy, 4th July, 1856,
under the Emperor Duff Green I.) were the happy fathers of immense
families—all liberally apportioned by the Chambers, which had long
been entirely subservient to his Majesty Louis Philippe.
The Duke of Aumale was King of Algeria, having married (in the
first instance) the Princess Badroulboudour, a daughter of his
Highness Abd-El-Kader. The Prince of Joinville was adored by the
nation, on account of his famous victory over the English fleet under
the command of Admiral the Prince of Wales, whose ship, the "Richard
Cobden," of 120 guns, was taken by the "Belle-Poule" frigate of 36; on
which occasion forty-five other ships of war and 79 steam-frigates
struck their colors to about one-fourth the number of the heroic
French navy. The victory was mainly owing to the gallantry of the
celebrated French horse-marines, who executed several brilliant
charges under the orders of the intrepid Joinville; and though the
Irish Brigade, with their ordinary modesty, claimed the honors of the
day, yet, as only three of that nation were present in the action,
impartial history must award the palm to the intrepid sons of Gaul.
With so numerous a family quartered on the nation, the solicitude
of the admirable King may be conceived, lest a revolution should
ensue, and fling them on the world once more. How could he support
so numerous a family? Considerable as his wealth was (for he was
known to have amassed about a hundred and thirteen billions, which
were lying in the caves of the Tuileries), yet such a sum was quite
insignificant, when divided among his progeny; and, besides, he
naturally preferred getting from the nation as much as his faithful
people could possibly afford.
Seeing the imminency of the danger, and that money, well applied,
is often more efficacious than the conqueror's sword, the King's
Ministers were anxious that he should devote a part of his savings to
the carrying on of the war. But, with the cautiousness of age, the
monarch declined this offer; he preferred, he said, throwing himself
upon his faithful people, who, he was sure, would meet, as became
them, the coming exigency. The Chambers met his appeal with their
usual devotion. At a solemn convocation of those legislative bodies,
the King, surrounded by his family, explained the circumstances and
the danger. His Majesty, his family, his Ministers, and the two
Chambers, then burst into tears, according to immemorial usage, and
raising their hands to the ceiling, swore eternal fidelity to the
dynasty and to France, and embraced each other affectingly all round.
It need not be said that in the course of that evening two hundred
Deputies of the Left left Paris, and joined the Prince John Thomas
Napoleon, who was now advanced as far as Dijon: two hundred and
fifty-three (of the Right, the Centre, and Round the Corner,)
similarly quitted the capital to pay their homage to the Duke of
Bordeaux. They were followed, according to their several political
predilections, by the various Ministers and dignitaries of the State.
The only Minister who remained in Paris was Marshal Thiers, Prince of
Waterloo (he had defeated the English in the very field where they had
obtained formerly a success, though the victory was as usual claimed
by the Irish Brigade); but age had ruined the health and diminished
the immense strength of that gigantic leader, and it is said his only
reason for remaining in Paris was because a fit of the gout kept him
The capital was entirely tranquil. The theatres and cafes were
open as usual, and the masked balls attended with great enthusiasm:
confiding in their hundred and twenty-four forts, the light-minded
people had nothing to fear.
Except in the way of money, the King left nothing undone to
conciliate his people. He even went among them with his umbrella;
but they were little touched with that mark of confidence. He shook
hands with everybody; he distributed crosses of the Legion of Honor in
such multitudes, that red ribbon rose two hundred per cent in the
market (by which his Majesty, who speculated in the article, cleared a
tolerable sum of money). But these blandishments and honors had
little effect upon an apathetic people; and the enemy of the Orleans
dynasty, the fashionable young nobles of the Henriquinquiste party,
wore gloves perpetually, for fear (they said) that they should be
obliged to shake hands with the best of kings; while the republicans
adopted coats without button-holes, lest they should be forced to hang
red ribbons in them. The funds did not fluctuate in the least.
The proclamations of the several pretenders had had their effect.
The young men of the schools and the estaminets (celebrated places of
public education) allured by the noble words of Prince Napoleon,
"Liberty, equality, war all over the world!" flocked to his standard
in considerable numbers: while the noblesse naturally hastened to
offer their allegiance to the legitimate descendant of Saint Louis.
And truly, never was there seen a more brilliant chivalry than that
collected round the gallant Prince Henry! There was not a man in his
army but had lacquered boots and fresh white kid-gloves at morning and
evening parade. The fantastic and effeminate but brave and faithful
troops were numbered off into different legions: there was the
Fleur-d'Orange regiment; the Eau-de-Rose battalion; the Violet-Pomatum
volunteers; the Eau-de-Cologne cavalry—according to the different
scents which they affected. Most of the warriors wore lace ruffles;
all powder and pigtails, as in the real days of chivalry. A band of
heavy dragoons under the command of Count Alfred de Horsay made
themselves conspicuous for their discipline, cruelty, and the
admirable cut of their coats; and with these celebrated horsemen came
from England the illustrious Duke of Jenkins with his superb footmen.
They were all six feet high. They all wore bouquets of the richest
flowers: they wore bags, their hair slightly powdered, brilliant
shoulder-knots, and cocked- hats laced with gold. They wore the tight
knee-pantaloon of velveteen peculiar to this portion of the British
infantry: and their legs were so superb, that the Duke of Bordeaux,
embracing with tears their admirable leader on parade, said, "Jenkins,
France never saw such calves until now." The weapon of this
tremendous militia was an immense club or cane, reaching from the sole
of the foot to the nose, and heavily mounted with gold. Nothing could
stand before this terrific weapon, and the breast-plates and plumed
morions of the French cuirassiers would have been undoubtedly crushed
beneath them, had they ever met in mortal combat. Between this part
of the Prince's forces and the Irish auxiliaries there was a deadly
animosity. Alas, there always is such in camps! The sons of Albion
had not forgotten the day when the children of Erin had been subject
to their devastating sway.
The uniform of the latter was various—the rich stuff called corps-
du-roy (worn by Coeur de Lion at Agincourt) formed their lower
habiliments for the most part: the national frieze* yielded them
tail-coats. The latter was generally torn in a fantastic manner at
the elbows, skirts, and collars, and fastened with every variety of
button, tape, and string. Their weapons were the caubeen, the
alpeen, and the doodeen of the country—the latter a short but
dreadful weapon of offence. At the demise of the venerable Theobald
Mathew, the nation had laid aside its habit of temperance, and
universal intoxication betokened their grief; it became afterwards
their constant habit. Thus do men ever return to the haunts of their
childhood: such a power has fond memory over us! The leaders of this
host seem to have been, however, an effeminate race; they are
represented by contemporary historians as being passionately fond of
FLYING KITES. Others say they went into battle armed with "bills," no
doubt rude weapons; for it is stated that foreigners could never be
got to accept them in lieu of their own arms. The Princes of Mayo,
Donegal, and Connemara, marched by the side of their young and royal
chieftain, the Prince of Ballybunion, fourth son of Daniel the First,
King of the Emerald Isle.
* Were these in any way related to the chevaux-de-frise on which
the French cavalry were mounted?
Two hosts then, one under the Eagles, and surrounded by the
republican imperialists, the other under the antique French Lilies,
were marching on the French capital. The Duke of Brittany, too,
confined in the lunatic asylum of Charenton, found means to issue a
protest against his captivity, which caused only derision in the
capital. Such was the state of the empire, and such the clouds that
were gathering round the Sun of Orleans!
CHAPTER IV. THE BATTLE OF RHEIMS.
It was not the first time that the King had had to undergo
misfortunes; and now, as then, he met them like a man. The Prince of
Joinville was not successful in his campaign against the Imperial
Pretender: and that bravery which had put the British fleet to flight,
was found, as might be expected, insufficient against the irresistible
courage of native Frenchmen. The Horse Marines, not being on their
own element, could not act with their usual effect. Accustomed to the
tumult of the swelling seas, they were easily unsaddled on terra firma
and in the Champagne country.
It was literally in the Champagne country that the meeting between
the troops under Joinville and Prince Napoleon took place! for both
armies had reached Rheims, and a terrific battle was fought underneath
the walls. For some time nothing could dislodge the army of
Joinville, entrenched in the champagne cellars of Messrs. Ruinart,
Moet, and others; but making too free with the fascinating liquor, the
army at length became entirely drunk: on which the Imperialists,
rushing into the cellars, had an easy victory over them; and, this
done, proceeded to intoxicate themselves likewise.
The Prince of Joinville, seeing the deroute of his troops, was
compelled with a few faithful followers to fly towards Paris, and
Prince Napoleon remained master of the field of battle. It is
needless to recapitulate the bulletin which he published the day
after the occasion, so soon as he and his secretaries were in a
condition to write: eagles, pyramids, rainbows, the sun of
Austerlitz, figured in the proclamation, in close imitation of his
illustrious uncle. But the great benefit of the action was this: on
arousing from their intoxication, the late soldiers of Joinville
kissed and embraced their comrades of the Imperial army, and made
common cause with them.
"Soldiers!" said the Prince, on reviewing them the second day after
the action, "the Cock is a gallant bird; but he makes way for the
Eagle! Your colors are not changed. Ours floated on the walls of
Moscow—yours on the ramparts of Constantine; both are glorious.
Soldiers of Joinville! we give you welcome, as we would welcome your
illustrious leader, who destroyed the fleets of Albion. Let him join
us! We will march together against that perfidious enemy.
"But, Soldiers! intoxication dimmed the laurels of yesterday's
glorious day! Let us drink no more of the fascinating liquors of our
native Champagne. Let us remember Hannibal and Capua; and, before we
plunge into dissipation, that we have Rome still to conquer!
"Soldiers! Seltzer-water is good after too much drink. Wait
awhile, and your Emperor will lead you into a Seltzer-water country.
Frenchmen! it lies BEYOND THE RHINE!"
Deafening shouts of "Vive l'Empereur!" saluted this allusion of the
Prince, and the army knew that their natural boundary should be
restored to them. The compliments to the gallantry of the Prince of
Joinville likewise won all hearts, and immensely advanced the Prince's
cause. The Journal des Debats did not know which way to turn. In one
paragraph it called the Emperor "a sanguinary tyrant, murderer, and
pickpocket;" in a second it owned he was "a magnanimous rebel, and
worthy of forgiveness;" and, after proclaiming "the brilliant victory
of the Prince of Joinville," presently denominated it a "funeste
The next day the Emperor, as we may now call him, was about to
march on Paris, when Messrs. Ruinart and Moet were presented, and
requested to be paid for 300,000 bottles of wine. "Send three
hundred thousand more to the Tuileries," said the Prince, sternly:
"our soldiers will be thirsty when they reach Paris." And taking
Moet with him as a hostage, and promising Ruinart that he would have
him shot unless he obeyed, with trumpets playing and eagles glancing
in the sun, the gallant Imperial army marched on their triumphant way.
CHAPTER V. THE BATTLE OF TOURS.
We have now to record the expedition of the Prince of Nemours
against his advancing cousin, Henry V. His Royal Highness could not
march against the enemy with such a force as he would have desired to
bring against them; for his royal father, wisely remembering the vast
amount of property he had stowed away under the Tuileries, refused to
allow a single soldier to quit the forts round the capital, which thus
was defended by one hundred and forty-four thousand guns
(eighty-four-pounders), and four hundred and thirty-two thousand
men:—little enough, when one considers that there were but three men
to a gun. To provision this immense army, and a population of double
the amount within the walls, his Majesty caused the country to be
scoured for fifty miles round, and left neither ox, nor ass, nor blade
of grass. When appealed to by the inhabitants of the plundered
district, the royal Philip replied, with tears in his eyes, that his
heart bled for them—that they were his children—that every cow taken
from the meanest peasant was like a limb torn from his own body; but
that duty must be done, that the interests of the country demanded the
sacrifice, and that in fact, they might go to the deuce. This the
unfortunate creatures certainly did.
The theatres went on as usual within the walls. The Journal des
Debats stated every day that the pretenders were taken; the Chambers
sat—such as remained—and talked immensely about honor, dignity, and
the glorious revolution of July; and the King, as his power was now
pretty nigh absolute over them, thought this a good opportunity to
bring in a bill for doubling his children's allowances all round.
Meanwhile the Duke of Nemours proceeded on his march; and as there
was nothing left within fifty miles of Paris wherewith to support his
famished troops, it may be imagined that he was forced to ransack the
next fifty miles in order to maintain them. He did so. But the troops
were not such as they should have been, considering the enemy with
whom they had to engage.
The fact is, that most of the Duke's army consisted of the National
Guard; who, in a fit of enthusiasm, and at the cry of "LA PATRIE EN
DANGER" having been induced to volunteer, had been eagerly accepted
by his Majesty, anxious to lessen as much as possible the number of
food-consumers in his beleaguered capital. It is said even that he
selected the most gormandizing battalions of the civic force to send
forth against the enemy: viz, the grocers, the rich bankers, the
lawyers, Their parting with their families was very affecting. They
would have been very willing to recall their offer of marching, but
companies of stern veterans closing round them, marched them to the
city gates, which were closed upon them; and thus perforce they were
compelled to move on. As long as he had a bottle of brandy and a
couple of sausages in his holsters, the General of the National Guard,
Odillon Barrot, talked with tremendous courage. Such was the power of
his eloquence over the troops, that, could he have come up with the
enemy while his victuals lasted, the issue of the combat might have
been very different. But in the course of the first day's march he
finished both the sausages and the brandy, and became quite uneasy,
silent, and crest-fallen.
It was on the fair plains of Touraine, by the banks of silver
Loire, that the armies sat down before each other, and the battle was
to take place which had such an effect upon the fortunes of France.
'Twas a brisk day of March: the practised valor of Nemours showed him
at once what use to make of the army under his orders, and having
enfiladed his National Guard battalions, and placed his artillery in
echelons, he formed his cavalry into hollow squares on the right and
left of his line, flinging out a cloud of howitzers to fall back upon
the main column. His veteran infantry he formed behind his National
Guard—politely hinting to Odillon Barrot, who wished to retire under
pretence of being exceedingly unwell, that the regular troops would
bayonet the National Guard if they gave way an inch: on which their
General, turning very pale, demurely went back to his post. His men
were dreadfully discouraged; they had slept on the ground all night;
they regretted their homes and their comfortable nightcaps in the Rue
St. Honore: they had luckily fallen in with a flock of sheep and a
drove of oxen at Tours the day before; but what were these, compared
to the delicacies of Chevet's or three courses at Vefour's? They
mournfully cooked their steaks and cutlets on their ramrods, and
passed a most wretched night.
The army of Henry was encamped opposite to them for the most part
in better order. The noble cavalry regiments found a village in
which they made themselves pretty comfortable, Jenkins's Foot taking
possession of the kitchens and garrets of the buildings. The Irish
Brigade, accustomed to lie abroad, were quartered in some potato
fields, where they sang Moore's melodies all night. There were,
besides the troops regular and irregular, about three thousand priests
and abbes with the army, armed with scourging- whips, and chanting the
most lugubrious canticles: these reverend men were found to be a
hindrance rather than otherwise to the operations of the regular
It was a touching sight, on the morning before the battle, to see
the alacrity with which Jenkins's regiment sprung up at the FIRST
reveille of the bell, and engaged (the honest fellows!) in offices
almost menial for the benefit of their French allies. The Duke
himself set the example, and blacked to a nicety the boots of Henri.
At half-past ten, after coffee, the brilliant warriors of the cavalry
were ready; their clarions rung to horse, their banners were given to
the wind, their shirt-collars were exquisitely starched, and the whole
air was scented with the odors of their pomatums and
Jenkins had the honor of holding the stirrup for Henri. "My
faithful Duke!" said the Prince, pulling him by the shoulder-knot,
"thou art always at THY POST." "Here, as in Wellington Street,
sire," said the hero, blushing. And the Prince made an appropriate
speech to his chivalry, in which allusions to the lilies, Saint
Louis, Bayard and Henri Quatre, were, as may be imagined, not spared.
"Ho! standard-bearer!" the Prince concluded, "fling out my oriflamme.
Noble gents of France, your King is among you to-day!"
Then turning to the Prince of Ballybunion, who had been drinking
whiskey-punch all night with the Princes of Donegal and Connemara,
"Prince," he said, "the Irish Brigade has won every battle in the
French history—we will not deprive you of the honor of winning this.
You will please to commence the attack with your brigade." Bending
his head until the green plumes of his beaver mingled with the mane of
the Shetland pony which he rode, the Prince of Ireland trotted off
with his aides-de-camp; who rode the same horses, powerful grays, with
which a dealer at Nantz had supplied them on their and the Prince's
joint bill at three months.
The gallant sons of Erin had wisely slept until the last minute in
their potato-trenches, but rose at once at the summons of their
beloved Prince. Their toilet was the work of a moment—a single
shake and it was done. Rapidly forming into a line, they advanced
headed by their Generals,—who, turning their steeds into a grass-
field, wisely determined to fight on foot. Behind them came the line
of British foot under the illustrious Jenkins, who marched in advance
perfectly collected, and smoking a Manilla cigar. The cavalry were on
the right and left of the infantry, prepared to act in pontoon, in
echelon, or in ricochet, as occasion might demand. The Prince rode
behind, supported by his Staff, who were almost all of them bishops,
archdeacons, or abbes; and the body of ecclesiastics followed, singing
to the sound, or rather howl, of serpents and trombones, the Latin
canticles of the Reverend Franciscus O'Mahony, lately canonized under
the name of Saint Francis of Cork.
The advanced lines of the two contending armies were now in
presence—the National Guard of Orleans and the Irish Brigade. The
white belts and fat paunches of the Guard presented a terrific
appearance; but it might have been remarked by the close observer,
that their faces were as white as their belts, and the long line of
their bayonets might be seen to quiver. General Odillon Barrot, with
a cockade as large as a pancake, endeavored to make a speech: the
words honneur, patrie, Francais, champ de bataille might be
distinguished; but the General was dreadfully flustered, and was
evidently more at home in the Chamber of Deputies than in the field
The Prince of Ballybunion, for a wonder, did not make a speech.
"Boys," said he, "we've enough talking at the Corn Exchange; bating's
the word now." The Green-Islanders replied with a tremendous hurroo,
which sent terror into the fat bosoms of the French.
"Gentlemen of the National Guard," said the Prince, taking off his
hat and bowing to Odillon Barrot, "will ye be so igsthramely
obleeging as to fire first." This he said because it had been said
at Fontenoy, but chiefly because his own men were only armed with
shillelaghs, and therefore could not fire.
But this proposal was very unpalatable to the National Guardsmen:
for though they understood the musket-exercise pretty well, firing
was the thing of all others they detested—the noise, and the kick of
the gun, and the smell of the powder being very unpleasant to them.
"We won't fire," said Odillon Barrot, turning round to Colonel
Saugrenue and his regiment of the line—which, it may be remembered,
was formed behind the National Guard.
"Then give them the bayonet," said the Colonel, with a terrific
oath. "Charge, corbleu!"
At this moment, and with the most dreadful howl that ever was
heard, the National Guard was seen to rush forwards wildly, and with
immense velocity, towards the foe. The fact is, that the line
regiment behind them, each selecting his man, gave a poke with his
bayonet between the coat-tails of the Nationals, and those troops
bounded forward with an irresistible swiftness.
Nothing could withstand the tremendous impetus of that manoeuvre.
The Irish Brigade was scattered before it, as chaff before the wind.
The Prince of Ballybunion had barely time to run Odillon Barrot
through the body, when he too was borne away in the swift rout. They
scattered tumultuously, and fled for twenty miles without stopping.
The Princes of Donegal and Connemara were taken prisoners; but though
they offered to give bills at three months, and for a hundred thousand
pounds, for their ransom, the offer was refused, and they were sent to
the rear; when the Duke of Nemours, hearing they were Irish Generals,
and that they had been robbed of their ready money by his troops, who
had taken them prisoners, caused a comfortable breakfast to be
supplied to them, and lent them each a sum of money. How generous are
men in success!—the Prince of Orleans was charmed with the conduct of
his National Guards, and thought his victory secure. He despatched a
courier to Paris with the brief words, "We met the enemy before Tours.
The National Guard has done its duty. The troops of the pretender
are routed. Vive le Roi!" The note, you may be sure, appeared in the
Journal des Debats, and the editor, who only that morning had called
Henri V. "a great prince, an august exile," denominated him instantly
a murderer, slave, thief, cut-throat, pickpocket, and burglar.
CHAPTER VI. THE ENGLISH UNDER
But the Prince had not calculated that there was a line of British
infantry behind the routed Irish Brigade. Borne on with the hurry of
the melee, flushed with triumph, puffing and blowing with running, and
forgetting, in the intoxication of victory, the trifling
bayonet-pricks which had impelled them to the charge, the conquering
National Guardsmen found themselves suddenly in presence of Jenkins's
They halted all in a huddle, like a flock of sheep.
"UP, FOOT, AND AT THEM!" were the memorable words of the Duke
Jenkins, as, waving his baton, he pointed towards the enemy, and with
a tremendous shout the stalwart sons of England rushed on!— Down went
plume and cocked-hat, down went corporal and captain, down went grocer
and tailor, under the long staves of the indomitable English Footmen.
"A Jenkins! a Jenkins!" roared the Duke, planting a blow which broke
the aquiline nose of Major Arago, the celebrated astronomer. "St.
George for Mayfair!" shouted his followers, strewing the plain with
carcasses. Not a man of the Guard escaped; they fell like grass
before the mower.
"They are gallant troops, those yellow-plushed Anglais," said the
Duke of Nemours, surveying them with his opera-glass. "'Tis a pity
they will all be cut up in half an hour. Concombre! take your
dragoons, and do it!" "Remember Waterloo, boys!" said Colonel
Concombre, twirling his moustache, and a thousand sabres flashed in
the sun, and the gallant hussars prepared to attack the Englishmen.
Jenkins, his gigantic form leaning on his staff, and surveying the
havoc of the field, was instantly aware of the enemy's manoeuvre. His
people were employed rifling the pockets of the National Guard, and
had made a tolerable booty, when the great Duke, taking a bell out of
his pocket, (it was used for signals in his battalion in place of fife
or bugle,) speedily called his scattered warriors together. "Take the
muskets of the Nationals," said he. They did so. "Form in square,
and prepare to receive cavalry!" By the time Concombre's regiment
arrived, he found a square of bristling bayonets with Britons behind
The Colonel did not care to attempt to break that tremendous body.
"Halt!" said he to his men.
"Fire!" screamed Jenkins, with eagle swiftness; but the guns of the
National Guard not being loaded, did not in consequence go off. The
hussars gave a jeer of derision, but nevertheless did not return to
the attack, and seeing some of the Legitimist cavalry at hand,
prepared to charge upon them.
The fate of those carpet warriors was soon decided. The Millefleur
regiment broke before Concombre's hussars instantaneously; the Eau-
de-Rose dragoons stuck spurs into their blood horses, and galloped
far out of reach of the opposing cavalry; the Eau-de-Cologne lancers
fainted to a man, and the regiment of Concombre, pursuing its course,
had actually reached the Prince and his aides-de-camp, when the
clergymen coming up formed gallantly round the oriflamme, and the
bassoons and serpents braying again, set up such a shout of canticles,
and anathemas, and excommunications, that the horses of Concombre's
dragoons in turn took fright, and those warriors in their turn broke
and fled. As soon as they turned, the Vendean riflemen fired amongst
them and finished them: the gallant Concombre fell; the intrepid
though diminutive Cornichon, his major, was cut down; Cardon was
wounded a la moelle, and the wife of the fiery Navet was that day a
widow. Peace to the souls of the brave! In defeat or in victory,
where can the soldier find a more fitting resting-place than the
glorious field of carnage? Only a few disorderly and dispirited
riders of Concombre's regiment reached Tours at night. They had left
it but the day before, a thousand disciplined and high-spirited men!
Knowing how irresistible a weapon is the bayonet in British hands,
the intrepid Jenkins determined to carry on his advantage, and
charged the Saugrenue light infantry (now before him) with COLD
STEEL. The Frenchmen delivered a volley, of which a shot took effect
in Jenkins's cockade, but did not abide the crossing of the weapons.
"A Frenchman dies, but never surrenders," said Saugrenue, yielding up
his sword, and his whole regiment were stabbed, trampled down, or made
prisoners. The blood of the Englishmen rose in the hot encounter.
Their curses were horrible; their courage tremendous. "On! on!"
hoarsely screamed they; and a second regiment met them and was
crushed, pounded in the hurtling, grinding encounter. "A Jenkins, a
Jenkins!" still roared the heroic Duke: "St. George for Mayfair!" The
Footmen of England still yelled their terrific battle-cry, "Hurra,
hurra!" On they went; regiment after regiment was annihilated, until,
scared at the very trample of the advancing warriors, the dismayed
troops of France screaming fled. Gathering his last warriors round
about him, Nemours determined to make a last desperate effort. 'Twas
vain: the ranks met; the next moment the truncheon of the Prince of
Orleans was dashed from his hand by the irresistible mace of the Duke
Jenkins; his horse's shins were broken by the same weapon. Screaming
with agony the animal fell. Jenkins's hand was at the Duke's collar
in a moment, and had he not gasped out, "Je me rends!" he would have
been throttled in that dreadful grasp!
Three hundred and forty-two standards, seventy-nine regiments,
their baggage, ammunition, and treasure-chests, fell into the hands
of the victorious Duke. He had avenged the honor of Old England; and
himself presenting the sword of the conquered Nemours to Prince Henri,
who now came up, the Prince bursting into tears, fell on his neck and
said, "Duke, I owe my crown to my patron saint and you." It was indeed
a glorious victory: but what will not British valor attain?
The Duke of Nemours, having despatched a brief note to Paris,
saying, "Sire, all is lost except honor!" was sent off in
confinement; and in spite of the entreaties of his captor, was hardly
treated with decent politeness. The priests and the noble regiments
who rode back when the affair was over, were for having the Prince
shot at once, and murmured loudly against "cet Anglais brutal" who
interposed in behalf of the prisoner. Henri V. granted the Prince his
life; but, no doubt misguided by the advice of his noble and
ecclesiastical counsellors, treated the illustrious English Duke with
marked coldness, and did not even ask him to supper that night.
"Well!" said Jenkins, "I and my merry men can sup alone." And,
indeed, having had the pick of the plunder of about 28,000 men, they
had wherewithal to make themselves pretty comfortable. The prisoners
(25,403) were all without difficulty induced to assume the white
cockade. Most of them had those marks of loyalty ready sewn in their
flannel-waistcoats, where they swore they had worn them ever since
1830. This we may believe, and we will; but the Prince Henri was too
politic or too good-humored in the moment of victory, to doubt the
sincerity of his new subjects' protestations, and received the
Colonels and Generals affably at his table.
The next morning a proclamation was issued to the united armies.
"Faithful soldiers of France and Navarre," said the Prince, "the
saints have won for us a great victory—the enemies of our religion
have been overcome—the lilies are restored to their native soil.
Yesterday morning at eleven o'clock the army under my command engaged
that which was led by his SERENE Highness the Duke de Nemours. Our
forces were but a third in number when compared with those of the
enemy. My faithful chivalry and nobles made the strength, however,
"The regiments of Fleur-d'Orange, Millefleur, and Eau-de-Cologne
covered themselves with glory: they sabred many thousands of the
enemy's troops. Their valor was ably seconded by the gallantry of my
ecclesiastical friends: at a moment of danger they rallied round my
banner, and forsaking the crosier for the sword, showed that they were
of the church militant indeed.
"My faithful Irish auxiliaries conducted themselves with becoming
heroism—but why particularize when all did their duty? How remember
individual acts when all were heroes?" The Marshal of France, Sucre
d'Orgeville, Commander of the Army of H.M. Christian Majesty,
recommended about three thousand persons for promotion; and the
indignation of Jenkins and his brave companions may be imagined when
it is stated that they were not even mentioned in the despatch!
As for the Princes of Ballybunion, Donegal, and Connemara, they
wrote off despatches to their Government, saying, "The Duke of
Nemours is beaten, and a prisoner! The Irish Brigade has done it
all!" On which his Majesty the King of the Irish, convoking his
Parliament at the Corn Exchange Palace, Dublin, made a speech, in
which he called Louis Philippe an "old miscreant," and paid the
highest compliments to his son and his troops. The King on this
occasion knighted Sir Henry Sheehan, Sir Gavan Duffy (whose journals
had published the news), and was so delighted with the valor of his
son, that he despatched him his order of the Pig and Whistle (1st
class), and a munificent present of five hundred thousand pounds—in a
bill at three months. All Dublin was illuminated; and at a ball at
the Castle the Lord Chancellor Smith (Earl of Smithereens) getting
extremely intoxicated, called out the Lord Bishop of Galway (the
Dove), and they fought in the Phoenix Park. Having shot the Right
Reverend Bishop through the body, Smithereens apologized. He was the
same practitioner who had rendered himself so celebrated in the
memorable trial of the King— before the Act of Independence.
Meanwhile, the army of Prince Henri advanced with rapid strides
towards Paris, whither the History likewise must hasten; for
extraordinary were the events preparing in that capital.
CHAPTER VII. THE LEAGUER OF PARIS.
By a singular coincidence, on the very same day when the armies of
Henri V. appeared before Paris from the Western Road, those of the
Emperor John Thomas Napoleon arrived from the North. Skirmishes took
place between the advanced-guards of the two parties, and much
"Bon!" thought King Louis Philippe, who examined them from his
tower; "they will kill each other. This is by far the most
economical way of getting rid of them." The astute monarch's
calculations were admirably exposed by a clever remark of the Prince
of Ballybunion. "Faix, Harry," says he (with a familiarity which the
punctilious son of Saint Louis resented), "you and him yandther—the
Emperor, I mane—are like the Kilkenny cats, dear."
"Et que font-ils ces chats de Kilkigny, Monsieur le Prince de
Ballybunion?" asked the Most Christian King haughtily.
Prince Daniel replied by narrating the well-known apologue of the
animals "ating each other all up but their TEELS; and that's what you
and Imparial Pop yondther will do, blazing away as ye are," added the
jocose and royal boy.
"Je prie votre Altesse Royale de vaguer a ses propres affaires,"
answered Prince Henri sternly: for he was an enemy to anything like a
joke; but there is always wisdom in real wit, and it would have been
well for his Most Christian Majesty had he followed the facetious
counsels of his Irish ally.
The fact is, the King, Henri, had an understanding with the
garrisons of some of the forts, and expected all would declare for
him. However, of the twenty-four forts which we have described,
eight only—and by the means of Marshal Soult, who had grown
extremely devout of late years—declared for Henri, and raised the
white flag: while eight others, seeing Prince John Thomas Napoleon
before them in the costume of his revered predecessor, at once flung
open their gates to him, and mounted the tricolor with the eagle. The
remaining eight, into which the Princes of the blood of Orleans had
thrown themselves, remained constant to Louis Philippe. Nothing could
induce that Prince to quit the Tuileries. His money was there, and he
swore he would remain by it. In vain his sons offered to bring him
into one of the forts—he would not stir without his treasure. They
said they would transport it thither; but no, no: the patriarchal
monarch, putting his finger to his aged nose, and winking archly, said
"he knew a trick worth two of that," and resolved to abide by his
The theatres and cafes remained open as usual: the funds rose three
centimes. The Journal des Debats published three editions of
different tones of politics: one, the Journal de l'Empire, for the
Napoleonites; the Journal de la Legitimite another, very complimentary
to the Legitimate monarch; and finally, the original edition, bound
heart and soul to the dynasty of July. The poor editor, who had to
write all three, complained not a little that his salary was not
raised: but the truth is, that, by altering the names, one article did
indifferently for either paper. The Duke of Brittany, under the title
of Louis XVII., was always issuing manifestoes from Charenton, but of
these the Parisians took little heed: the Charivari proclaimed itself
his Gazette, and was allowed to be very witty at the expense of the
As the country had been ravaged for a hundred miles round, the
respective Princes of course were for throwing themselves into the
forts, where there was plenty of provision; and, when once there,
they speedily began to turn out such of the garrison as were
disagreeable to them, or had an inconvenient appetite, or were of a
doubtful fidelity. These poor fellows turned into the road, had no
choice but starvation; as to getting into Paris, that was impossible:
a mouse could not have got into the place, so admirably were the forts
guarded, without having his head taken off by a cannon-ball. Thus the
three conflicting parties stood, close to each other, hating each
other, "willing to wound and yet afraid to strike"—the victuals in
the forts, from the prodigious increase of the garrisons, getting
smaller every day. As for Louis Philippe in his palace, in the centre
of the twenty-four forts, knowing that a spark from one might set them
all blazing away, and that he and his money-bags might be blown into
eternity in ten minutes, you may fancy his situation was not very
But his safety lay in his treasure. Neither the Imperialists nor
the Bourbonites were willing to relinquish the two hundred and fifty
billions in gold; nor would the Princes of Orleans dare to fire upon
that considerable sum of money, and its possessor, their revered
father. How was this state of things to end? The Emperor sent a note
to his Most Christian Majesty (for they always styled each other in
this manner in their communications), proposing that they should turn
out and decide the quarrel sword in hand; to which proposition Henri
would have acceded, but that the priests, his ghostly counsellors,
threatened to excommunicate him should he do so. Hence this simple
way of settling the dispute was impossible.
The presence of the holy fathers caused considerable annoyance in
the forts. Especially the poor English, as Protestants, were subject
to much petty persecution, to the no small anger of Jenkins, their
commander. And it must be confessed that these intrepid Footmen were
not so amenable to discipline as they might have been. Remembering
the usages of merry England, they clubbed together, and swore they
would have four meals of meat a day, wax- candles in the casemates,
and their porter. These demands were laughed at: the priests even
called upon them to fast on Fridays; on which a general mutiny broke
out in the regiment; and they would have had a FOURTH standard raised
before Paris—viz., that of England—but the garrison proving too
strong for them, they were compelled to lay down their sticks; and, in
consideration of past services, were permitted to leave the forts.
'Twas well for them! as you shall hear.
The Prince of Ballybunion and the Irish force were quartered in the
fort which, in compliment to them, was called Fort Potato, and where
they made themselves as comfortable as circumstances would admit. The
Princes had as much brandy as they liked, and passed their time on the
ramparts playing at dice, or pitch-and-toss (with the halfpenny that
one of them somehow had) for vast sums of money, for which they gave
their notes-of-hand. The warriors of their legion would stand round
delighted; and it was, "Musha, Master Dan, but that's a good throw!"
"Good luck to you, Misther Pat, and throw thirteen this time!" and so
forth. But this sort of inaction could not last long. They had heard
of the treasures amassed in the palace of the Tuileries: they sighed
when they thought of the lack of bullion in their green and beautiful
country. They panted for war! They formed their plan.
CHAPTER VIII. THE BATTLE OF THE
On the morning of the 26th October, 1884, as his Majesty Louis
Philippe was at breakfast reading the Debats newspaper, and wishing
that what the journal said about "Cholera Morbus in the Camp of the
Pretender Henri,"—"Chicken-pox raging in the Forts of the Traitor
Bonaparte,"—might be true, what was his surprise to hear the report
of a gun; and at the same instant—whiz! came an eighty- four-pound
ball through the window and took off the head of the faithful Monsieur
de Montalivet, who was coming in with a plate of muffins.
"Three francs for the window," said the monarch; "and the muffins
of course spoiled!" and he sat down to breakfast very peevishly. Ah,
King Louis Philippe, that shot cost thee more than a window-
pane—more than a plate of muffins—it cost thee a fair kingdom and
fifty millions of tax-payers.
The shot had been fired from Fort Potato. "Gracious heavens!" said
the commander of the place to the Irish Prince, in a fury, "What has
your Highness done?" "Faix," replied the other, "Donegal and I saw a
sparrow on the Tuileries, and we thought we'd have a shot at it,
that's all." "Hurroo! look out for squalls," here cried the intrepid
Hibernian; for at this moment one of Paixhans' shells fell into the
counterscarp of the demilune on which they were standing, and sent a
ravelin and a couple of embrasures flying about their ears.
Fort Twenty-three, which held out for Louis Philippe, seeing Fort
Twenty-four, or Potato, open a fire on the Tuileries, instantly
replied by its guns, with which it blazed away at the Bourbonite
fort. On seeing this, Fort Twenty-two) occupied by the Imperialists,
began pummelling Twenty-three; Twenty-one began at Twenty-two; and in
a quarter of an hour the whole of this vast line of fortification was
in a blaze of flame, flashing, roaring, cannonading, rocketing,
bombing, in the most tremendous manner. The world has never perhaps,
before or since, heard such an uproar. Fancy twenty-four thousand
guns thundering at each other. Fancy the sky red with the fires of
hundreds of thousands of blazing, brazen meteors; the air thick with
impenetrable smoke—the universe almost in a flame! for the noise of
the cannonading was heard on the peaks of the Andes, and broke three
windows in the English factory at Canton. Boom, boom, boom! for
three days incessantly the gigantic—I may say, Cyclopean battle went
on: boom, boom, boom, bong! The air was thick with cannon-balls: they
hurtled, they jostled each other in the heavens, and fell whizzing,
whirling, crashing, back into the very forts from which they came.
Boom, boom, boom, bong—brrwrrwrrr!
On the second day a band might have been seen (had the smoke
permitted it) assembling at the sally-port of Fort Potato, and have
been heard (if the tremendous clang of the cannonading had allowed
it) giving mysterious signs and countersigns. "Tom," was the word
whispered, "Steele" was the sibilated response. (It is astonishing
how, in the roar of elements, THE HUMAN WHISPER hisses above all!) It
was the Irish Brigade assembling. "Now or never, boys!" said their
leaders; and sticking their doodeens into their mouths, they dropped
stealthily into the trenches, heedless of the broken glass and
sword-blades; rose from those trenches; formed in silent order; and
marched to Paris. They knew they could arrive there unobserved—
nobody, indeed, remarked their absence.
The frivolous Parisians were, in the meanwhile, amusing themselves
at their theatres and cafes as usual; and a new piece, in which Arnal
performed, was the universal talk of the foyers: while a new
feuilleton by Monsieur Eugene Sue, kept the attention of the reader
so fascinated to the journal, that they did not care in the least for
the vacarme without the walls.
CHAPTER IX. LOUIS XVII.
The tremendous cannonading, however, had a singular effect upon the
inhabitants of the great public hospital of Charenton, in which it
may be remembered Louis XVII. had been, as in mockery, confined. His
majesty of demeanor, his calm deportment, the reasonableness of his
pretensions, had not failed to strike with awe and respect his four
thousand comrades of captivity. The Emperor of China, the Princess of
the Moon, Julius Caesar, Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris,
the Pope of Rome, the Cacique of Mexico, and several singular and
illustrious personages who happened to be confined there, all held a
council with Louis XVII.; and all agreed that now or never was the
time to support his legitimate pretensions to the Crown of France. As
the cannons roared around them, they howled with furious delight in
response. They took counsel together: Dr. Pinel and the infamous
jailers, who, under the name of keepers, held them in horrible
captivity, were pounced upon and overcome in a twinkling. The
strait-waistcoats were taken off from the wretched captives
languishing in the dungeons; the guardians were invested in these
shameful garments, and with triumphant laughter plunged under the
Douches. The gates of the prison were flung open, and they marched
forth in the blackness of the storm!
. . . . . .
On the third day, the cannonading was observed to decrease; only a
gun went off fitfully now and then.
. . . . . .
On the fourth day, the Parisians said to one another, "Tiens! ils
sont fatigues, les cannoniers des forts!"—and why? Because there
was no more powder?—Ay, truly, there WAS no more powder.
There was no more powder, no more guns, no more gunners, no more
forts, no more nothing. THE FORTS HAD BLOWN EACH OTHER UP. The
battle-roar ceased. The battle-clouds rolled off. The silver moon,
the twinkling stars, looked blandly down from the serene azure,—and
all was peace—stillness—the stillness of death. Holy, holy silence!
Yes: the battle of Paris was over. And where were the combatants?
All gone—not one left!—And where was Louis Philippe? The venerable
Prince was a captive in the Tuileries; the Irish Brigade was encamped
around it: they had reached the palace a little too late; it was
already occupied by the partisans of his Majesty Louis XVII.
That respectable monarch and his followers better knew the way to
the Tuileries than the ignorant sons of Erin. They burst through the
feeble barriers of the guards; they rushed triumphant into the kingly
halls of the palace; they seated the seventeenth Louis on the throne
of his ancestors; and the Parisians read in the Journal des Debats, of
the fifth of November; an important article, which proclaimed that the
civil war was concluded:—
"The troubles which distracted the greatest empire in the world are
at an end. Europe, which marked with sorrow the disturbances which
agitated the bosom of the Queen of Nations, the great leader of
Civilization, may now rest in peace. That monarch whom we have long
been sighing for; whose image has lain hidden, and yet oh! how
passionately worshipped, in every French heart, is with us once more.
Blessings be on him; blessings—a thousand blessings upon the happy
country which is at length restored to his beneficent, his legitimate,
his reasonable sway!
"His Most Christian Majesty Louis XVII. yesterday arrived at his
palace of the Tulleries, accompanied by his august allies. His Royal
Highness the Duke of Orleans has resigned his post as
Lieutenant-General of the kingdom, and will return speedily to take
up his abode at the Palais Royal. It is a great mercy that the
children of his Royal Highness, who happened to be in the late forts
round Paris, (before the bombardment which has so happily ended in
their destruction,) had returned to their father before the
commencement of the cannonading. They will continue, as heretofore,
to be the most loyal supporters of order and the throne.
"None can read without tears in their eyes our august monarch's
"'My children! After nine hundred and ninety-nine years of
captivity, I am restored to you. The cycle of events predicted by
the ancient Magi, and the planetary convolutions mentioned in the
lost Sibylline books, have fulfilled their respective idiosyncrasies,
and ended (as always in the depths of my dungeons I confidently
expected) in the triumph of the good Angel, and the utter
discomfiture of the abominable Blue Dragon.
"'When the bombarding began, and the powers of darkness commenced
their hellish gunpowder evolutions, I was close by—in my palace of
Charenton, three hundred and thirty-three thousand miles off, in the
ring of Saturn—I witnessed your misery. My heart was affected by it,
and I said, "Is the multiplication-table a fiction? are the signs of
the Zodiac mere astronomers' prattle?"
"'I clapped chains, shrieking and darkness, on my physician, Dr.
Pinel. The keepers I shall cause to be roasted alive. I summoned my
allies round about me. The high contracting Powers came to my
bidding: monarchs from all parts of the earth; sovereigns from the
Moon and other illumined orbits; the white necromancers, and the pale
imprisoned genii. I whispered the mystic sign, and the doors flew
open. We entered Paris in triumph, by the Charenton bridge. Our
luggage was not examined at the Octroi. The bottle-green ones were
scared at our shouts, and retreated, howling: they knew us, and
"'My faithful Peers and Deputies will rally around me. I have a
friend in Turkey—the Grand Vizier of the Mussulmans: he was a
Protestant once—Lord Brougham by name. I have sent to him to
legislate for us: he is wise in the law, and astrology, and all
sciences; he shall aid my Ministers in their councils. I have
written to him by the post. There shall be no more infamous mad-
houses in France, where poor souls shiver in strait-waistcoats.
"'I recognized Louis Philippe, my good cousin. He was in his
counting-house, counting out his money, as the old prophecy warned
me. He gave me up the keys of his gold; I shall know well how to use
it. Taught by adversity, I am not a spendthrift, neither am I a
miser. I will endow the land with noble institutions instead of
diabolical forts. I will have no more cannon founded. They are a
curse and shall be melted—the iron ones into railroads; the bronze
ones into statues of beautiful saints, angels, and wise men; the
copper ones into money, to be distributed among my poor. I was poor
once, and I love them.
"'There shall be no more poverty; no more wars; no more avarice; no
more passports; no more custom-houses; no more lying: no more physic.
"'My Chambers will put the seal to these reforms. I will it. I am
"Some alarm was created yesterday by the arrival of a body of the
English Foot-Guard under the Duke of Jenkins; they were at first
about to sack the city, but on hearing that the banner of the lilies
was once more raised in France, the Duke hastened to the Tuileries,
and offered his allegiance to his Majesty. It was accepted: and the
Plush Guard has been established in place of the Swiss, who waited on
"The Irish Brigade quartered in the Tuileries are to enter our
service. Their commander states that they took every one of the
forts round Paris, and having blown them up, were proceeding to
release Louis XVII., when they found that august monarch, happily,
free. News of their glorious victory has been conveyed to Dublin, to
his Majesty the King of the Irish. It will be a new laurel to add to
his green crown!"
And thus have we brought to a conclusion our history of the great
French Revolution of 1884. It records the actions of great and
various characters; the deeds of various valor; it narrates wonderful
reverses of fortune; it affords the moralist scope for his philosophy;
perhaps it gives amusement to the merely idle reader. Nor must the
latter imagine, because there is not a precise moral affixed to the
story, that its tendency is otherwise than good. He is a poor reader,
for whom his author is obliged to supply a moral application. It is
well in spelling-books and for children; it is needless for the
reflecting spirit. The drama of Punch himself is not moral: but that
drama has had audiences all over the world. Happy he, who in our dark
times can cause a smile! Let us laugh then, and gladden in the
sunshine, though it be but as the ray upon the pool, that flickers
only over the cold black depths below!