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- Pickle the Spy - 6/45 -


vous m'attirera la continuation de votre bonne volonte pour moi.' {37a} Montesquieu praised Charles's 'simplicity, nobility, and eloquence': 'comme vous le dites tres bien, vous estes un auteur.' 'Were you not so great a Prince, the Duchesse de Guillon' (d'Aiguillon) 'and I would secure you a place in the Academy.'

The Duchesse d'Aiguillon, who later watched by Montesquieu's death- bed, was a friend of Charles. She and Madame de Talmond literally 'pull caps' for him in d'Argenson's play. But she was in favour of his going to Fribourg with a pension after the Peace: Madame de Talmond encouraged resistance. Louis's minister, M. de Cousteille, applied to Fribourg for an asylum for Charles on June 24, 1748. On September 8, Burnaby wrote, for England, a long remonstrance to the 'Laudable States of Fribourg,' calling Charles 'this young Italian!' The States, in five lines, rebuked Burnaby's impertinence, as 'unconfined in its expressions and so unsuitable to a Sovereign State that we did not judge it proper to answer it.' {38a}

To Fribourg Charles would not go. He braved the French Court in every way. He even insisted on a goldsmith's preferring his order for a great service of plate to the King's, and, having obtained the plate, he feasted the Princesse de Talmond, his friend and cousin, the Duc de Bouillon, and a crowd of other distinguished people. {38b} In his demeanour Charles resolutely affronted the French Ministers. There were terrible scenes with Madame de Talmond, especially when Charles was forbidden the house by her husband. Charles was led away from her closed door by Bulkeley, the brother-in-law of Marshal Berwick, and a friend of Montesquieu's. {39a} Thus the violence which afterwards interrupted and ended Charles's liaison with Madame de Talmond had already declared itself. One day, according to d'Argenson, the lady said, 'You want to give ME the second volume in your romance of compromising Madame de Montbazon [his cousin] with your two pistol-shots.' No more is known of this adventure. But Charles was popular both in Court and town: his resistance to expulsion was applauded. De Gevres was sent by the King to entreat Charles to leave France; 'he received de Gevres gallantly, his hand on his sword-hilt.' D'Argenson saw him at the opera on December 3, 1748, 'fort gai et fort beau, admire de tout le public.'

On December 10, 1748, Charles was arrested at the door of the opera house, bound hand and foot, searched, and dragged to Vincennes. The deplorable scene is too familiar for repetition. One point has escaped notice. Charles (according to d'Argenson) had told de Gevres that he would die by his own hand, if arrested. Two pistols were found on him; he had always carried them since his Scottish expedition. But a PAIR OF COMPASSES was also found. Now it was with a pair of compasses that his friend, Lally Tollendal, long afterwards attempted to commit suicide in prison. The pistols were carried in fear of assassination, but what does a man want with a pair of compasses at the opera? {40a}

After some days of detention at Vincennes, Charles was released, was conducted out of French territory, and made his way to Avignon, where he resided during January and February 1749. He had gained the sympathy of the mob, both in Paris and in London. Some of the French Court, including the Dauphin, were eager in his cause. Songs and poems were written against Louis XV, D'Argenson, as we know, being out of office, composed a play on Charles's martyrdom. So much contempt for Louis was excited, that a nail was knocked into the coffin of French royalty. The King, at the dictation of England, had arrested, bound, imprisoned, and expelled his kinsman, his guest, and (by the Treaty of Fontainebleau) his ally.

Applause and pity from the fickle and forgetful the Prince had won, but his condition was now desperate. Refusing to accept a pension from France, he was poor; his jewels he had pawned for the Scottish expedition. He had disobeyed his father's commands and mortally offended Louis by refusing to leave France. His adherents in Paris (as their letters to Rome prove) were in despair. His party, as has been shown, was broken up into hostile camps. Lochiel was dead. Lord George Murray had been insulted and estranged. The Earl Marischal had declined Charles's invitation to manage his affairs (1747). Elcho was a persistent and infuriated dun. Clancarty was reviling Charles, James, Louis, England, and the world at large. Madame de Pompadour, Cardinal Tencin, and de Puysieux were all hostile. The English Jacobites, though loyal, were timid. Europe was hermetically sealed against the Prince. Refuge in Fribourg, where the English threatened the town, Charles had refused. Not a single shelter was open to him, for England's policy was to drive him into the dominions of the Pope, where he would be distant and despised. Of advisers he had only such attached friends as Henry Goring, Bulkeley, Harrington, or such distrusted boon companions as Kelly--against whom the English Jacobites set all wheels in motion. Charles's refuge at Avignon even was menaced by English threats directed at the Pope. The Prince tried to amuse himself; he went to dances, he introduced boxing matches, {41a} just as years before he had brought golf into Italy. But his position was untenable, and he disappeared.

From the gossip of d'Argenson we have learned that Charles was no longer the same man as the gallant leader of the race to Derby, or the gay and resourceful young Ascanius who won the hearts of the Highlanders by his cheerful courage and contented endurance. He was now embittered by defeat; by suspicions of treachery which the Irish about him kindled and fanned, by the broken promises of Louis XV., by the indifference of Spain. He had become 'a wild man,' as his father's secretary, Edgar, calls him--'Our dear wild man.' He spelled the name 'L'ome sauvage.' He was, in brief, a desperate, a soured, and a homeless outcast. His chief French friends were ladies--Madame de Vasse, Madame de Talmond, and others. Montesquieu, living in their society, and sending wine from his estate to the Jacobite Lord Elibank; rejoicing, too, in an Irish Jacobite housekeeper, 'Mlle. Betti,' was well disposed, like Voltaire, in an indifferent well-bred way. Most of these people were, later, protecting and patronising the Prince when concealed from the view of Europe, but theirs was a vague and futile alliance. Charles and his case were desperate.

In this mood, and in this situation at Avignon, he carried into practice the counsel which d'Argenson had elaborated in a written memoir. 'I gave them' (Charles and Henry) 'the best possible advice,' says La Bete. 'My "Memoire" I entrusted to O'Brien at Antwerp. Therein I suggested that the two princes should never return to Italy, BUT THAT FOR SOME YEARS THEY SHOULD LEAD A HIDDEN AND WANDERING LIFE BETWEEN FRANCE AND SPAIN. Charles might be given a pension and the vicariat of Navarre. This should only be allowed to slip out by degrees, while England would grow accustomed to the notion that they were NOT in Rome, and would be reduced to mere doubts as to their place of residence. Now they would be in Spain, now in France, finally in some town of Navarre, where their authority would, by slow degrees, be admitted. Peace once firmly established, it would not be broken over this question. They would be in a Huguenot country, and able to pass suddenly into Great Britain.' {43}

This was d'Argenson's advice before Henry fled Rome to be made a cardinal, and before the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, closing Europe against Charles, was concluded. The object of d'Argenson is plain; he wished to keep Charles out of the Pope's domains, as England wanted to drive the Prince into the centre of 'Popery.' If he resided in Rome, Protestant England would always suspect Charles; moreover, he would be remote from the scene of action. To the Pope's domains, therefore, Charles would not go. But the scheme of skulking in France, Spain, and Navarre had ceased to be possible. He, therefore, adopted 'the fugitive and hidden life' recommended by d'Argenson; he secretly withdrew from Avignon, and for many months his places of residence were unknown.

'Charles,' says Voltaire, 'hid himself from the whole world.' We propose to reveal his hiding-places.

CHAPTER III--THE PRINCE IN FAIRYLAND--FEBRUARY 1749-SEPTEMBER 1750-- I. WHAT THE WORLD SAID

Europe after Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle--A vast gambling establishment- -Charles excluded--Possible chance in Poland--Supposed to have gone thither--'Henry Goring's letter'--Romantic adventures attributed to Charles--Obvious blunders--Talk of a marriage--Count Bruhl's opinion- -Proposal to kidnap Charles--To rob a priest--The King of Poland's ideas--Lord Hyndford on Frederick the Great--Lord Hyndford's mare's nest--Charles at Berlin--'Send him to Siberia'--The theory contradicted--Mischievous glee of Frederick--Charles discountenances plots to kill Cumberland--Father Myles Macdonnell to James--London conspiracy--Reported from Rome--The Bloody Butcher Club--Guesses of Sir Horace Mann--Charles and a strike--Charles reported to be very ill--Really on the point of visiting England--September 1750.

Europe, after the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, was like a vast political gambling establishment. Nothing, or nothing but the expulsion of Prince Charles from every secular State, had been actually settled. Nobody was really satisfied with the Peace. The populace, in France as in England, was discontented. Princes were merely resting and looking round for new combinations of forces. The various Courts, from St. Petersburg to Dresden, from London to Vienna, were so many tables where the great game of national faro was being played, over the heads of the people, by kings, queens, abbes, soldiers, diplomatists, and pretty women. Projects of new alliances were shuffled and cut, like the actual cards which were seldom out of the hands of the players, when Casanova or Barry Lyndon held the bank, and challenged all comers. It was the age of adventurers, from the mendacious Casanova to the mysterious Saint-Germain, from the Chevalier d'Eon to Charles Edward Stuart. That royal player was warned off the turf, as it were, ruled out of the game. Where among all these attractive tables was one on which Prince Charles, in 1749, might put down his slender stake, his name, his sword, the lives of a few thousand Highlanders, the fortunes of some faithful gentlemen? Who would accept Charles's empty alliance, which promised little but a royal title and a desperate venture? The Prince had wildly offered his hand to the Czarina; he was to offer that hand, vainly stretched after a flying crown, to a Princess of Prussia, and probably to a lady of Poland.

At this moment the Polish crown was worn by Augustus of Saxony, who was reckoned 'a bad life.' The Polish throne, the Polish alliance, had been, after various unlucky adventures since the days of Henri III. and the Duc d'Alencon, practically abandoned by France. But Louis XV. was beginning to contemplate that extraordinary intrigue in which Conti aimed at the crown of Poland, and the Comte de Broglie was employed (1752) to undermine and counteract the schemes of Louis's official representatives. {46a} As a Sobieski by his mother's side, the son of the exiled James (who himself had years before been asked to stand as a candidate for the kingdom of Poland), Charles was expected by politicians to make for Warsaw when he fled from Avignon. It is said, on the authority of a Polish manuscript, 'communicated by Baron de Rondeau,' that there was a conspiracy in Poland to unseat Augustus III. and give the crown to Prince Charles. {46b} In 1719, Charles's maternal grandfather had declined a Russian


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