Thursday, April 20, 2006

Louis Philippe

Rome: Jan. 20th.—I dined yesterday with Sir Coutts Trotter: so happening to talk of Louis Philippe, he told me an anecdote strongly illustrating the more amiable parts of his character. Sir Coutts said he had never lived in intimacy with the Duke of Orleans, but the Duke had had many transactions of business with their house. He then went on to relate, that, passing through Paris a few months ago, he left his name at the Tuileries: the next day, to his great astonishment, he received a message to say that the King was very anxious to see him, and that he must dine with him in private that day.

Sir Coutts of course obeyed, and found himself sitting at table with the King, Queen, Duke of Orleans and one of his brothers, and some of the Marechaux, without more form or ceremony than ' we have at this table,' said he. He was ordered to take the Queen in to dinner, and of course to sit next to her. The conversation turned chiefly on England, on those whom they had known there. The Queen spoke of the wonderful change in her situation since they had met in England, and added, 'Mais j’etais bien mieux, je me trouuais bien plus heureuse quand j’etais de Vautre cote, —meaning in the Palais Royal. Here the King, who was sitting exactly opposite on the other side of the table, interrupted the conversation with 'Mais, Sir Coutts, je vous assure ce n’est pas de ma faute si nous nous trouvons ici.'

He went on to say how often he had remonstrated with Charles X on his measures: how he had foretold exactly that which did happen afterwards; and all this was said in the presence of five or six other persons. I found that Sir Coutts, like myself, believed what they said to be true, that Louis Philippe had not sought the painful pre-eminence in which he finds himself.

There is one thing which must be allowed: of the very many English who were formerly thrown into contact with him, almost all speak highly of him. I have never heard of any one person who found that the Duke of Orleans at the Palais Royal, or Louis Philippe at the Tuileries, had forgotten the kindness or hospitality shown to the exiled son of Egalite. This is much more than can be said for those of the Branche ainee, who one and all ont tout oublie in this sense as well as
in that in which it was originally said.*

* Miss Wynn was probably alluding to the mot attributed to Talleyrand, but really written of the emigrants by Le Chevalier de Pauat to Mallet du Pan, from London, 1796: Personne n'est corrige: personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien, appraidre.

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