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Rue St. Honoré.



238 LA COMTESSE DE CHAENY.



CHAPTEE XXXVI.



THE DEPARTURE.



At eleven o'clock that evening, just as Mesdames Tourzel
and Brennier, after having undressed and put Madame
Eoyale and the dauphin to bed as usual, woke them up
again and proceeded to dress them in their travelling cos-
tumes, — greatly to the disgust of the dauphin, who stoutly
insisted upon putting on his own clothing instead of the
feminine habiliments provided for him, — the king, queen,
and Madame Elizabeth received a call from Lafayette and
his aides, Gouvion and Eomeuf.

This visit was the more alarming on account of the
warning Madame de Eochereul had given the authorities.
The queen and Madame Elizabeth had taken a drive in
the Bois de Boulogne that evening, returning about eight
o'clock. Lafayette inquired if the drive had been a
pleasant one, and remarked that he feared the queen had
been imprudent in remaining out so late, as the evening
fogs might be bad for her.

"Fog on a June evening!" exclaimed the queen, laugh-
ing. "I can't account for it, unless it was made expressly
to conceal our flight, for I suppose the rumour that we are
about to run away is still rife."

" The truth is, there is more talk than ever upon that
subject, madame," replied the general. "In fact, I have
been informed that your departure is certainly to take
place to-night."

" I suspect it is from Monsieur de Gouvion that you have
heard this piece of good news," retorted the queen.

"And why from me, madame?" inquired that young
officer, blushing.



THE DEPARTUKE. 239

"Because I hear you are well informed of all that goes on
here at the palace. Now, here is Monsieur Romeuf , who is
not so greatly favoured. He will vouch for us, I am sure."

"I should deserve no great credit if I did, madame,
inasmuch as the king has given the Assembly his word of
honour that he shall not leave Paris," responded the young
man.

It was the queen's turn to blush now, and the conver-
sation was promptly diverted into other channels. About
half-past eleven the general and his aides took leave of
the king and queen, whereupon Gouvion, by no means
reassured, returned to his room in the palace, where he
found his friends on the watch; but instead of relieving
them, he only urged them to increased vigilance.

As for Lafayette, he went to the Hôtel de Ville to relieve
Bailly's mind concerning the king's intentions, though
that was hardly necessary, as Bailly evidently felt no mis-
givings on that score.

As soon as Lafayette left them, the king and queen
summoned their attendants as usual, and after the custom-
ary services were rendered, dismissed them all at the
regular hour.

Then the queen and Madame Elizabeth assisted each
other to dress. Their gowns were exceedingly plain, and
both wore large bonnets that nearly concealed their faces
from view.

They had just finished dressing when the king came in.
He wore a grey coat and one of those bag periwigs named
after Jean Jacques Rousseau. He also wore grey knee-
breeches, grey stockings, and buckled shoes.

For a week Hue', the king's valet, dressed in a costume
identical in every respect, had been going in and out of
the apartments formerly occupied by M. de Villequier, who
had left the country several months before. This precau-
tion had been taken in order to accustom persons to seeing
a man in this garb moving about this locality, so that no
one would be likely to notice the king when he passed out.



240 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

The three couriers were brought from the queen's
boudoir into the parlour of the suite of apartments occupied
by Madame Royale. This suite of rooms adjoined the
apartments formerly occupied by Villequier; and as the
king was in possession of the keys of the vacant rooms,
there would probably be no difficulty in getting out of the
palace, especially as the sentinels were in the habit of see-
ing a good many persons leave the Tuileries shortly after
the clock struck eleven, for many of the royal attendants
did not sleep in the palace, and so repaired to their lodgings
after the duties of the day were over.

On assembling in Madame Royale's parlour, the final
arrangements for the journey were concluded. Isidore de
Charny, who had gone over the route with his brother and
knew all the dangerous places, was to ride on ahead and
notify the postilions, so that there should be only the least
possible delay in changing horses.

Maiden and Valory, who were to occupy the back seat
on the top of the coach, were to pay the postilions thirty
sous a piece, — five sous more than usual, on account of
the extra size and weight of the coach. They were also
to receive handsome pourboires if they made good time.

The elder Charny would be inside the vehicle, ready
for any emergency. He, as well as the three couriers,
would be well armed.

By paying the postilions extra, and thus insuring a
fairly good rate of speed, the party hoped to reach Chalons
in thirteen hours. Each person having promised to adhere
faithfully to his part of the programme, the candles were
extinguished, and the party entered the Villequier apart-
ments just as the clock struck twelve; hence the Comte
de Charny must have been at his post more than an hour
already.

Feeling his way cautiously along through the darkness,
the king at last found the door leading into the corridor.
He was about to insert the key in the lock when the queen
suddenly checked him.



THE DEPARTUKE. 241

They all listened, and could distinctly hear laughter and
footsteps in the corridor beyond. Something unusual was
going on. Madame de Tourzel, who lived in the palace
and whose presence in the corridor even at that hour was
not likely to arouse suspicion, volunteered to go back and
ascertain the cause of this unusual commotion.

The others awaited her return in breathless silence ; and
the more profound the stillness, the more evident it became
that the corridor was occupied by several persons.

Madame de Tourzel soon returned, and reported that she
had seen Gouvion and several other men in uniform in
the passage.

It was evidently not advisable to venture out into the
corridor, so Madame Elizabeth went back into Madame
Royale's bed-chamber to obtain a candle; and by its light
the party endeavoured to find some other place of egress.

For some time the search was fruitless, and at least a
quarter of an hour was lost in this way ; but at last they
discovered a narrow stairway leading to an isolated room
on the floor below. This room had been occupied by
Monsieur de Villequier's servant, and a door opened from
it into the servants' hall.

This door was locked. The king tried all the keys on
his ring, but not one would open it. Isidore attempted to
push the bolt back with the blade of his knife, but it resisted
his efforts.

The king took the candle from Madame Elizabeth's
hand, and, leaving the party in darkness, went back to his
bedroom, and thence by the private stairway to his work-
shop. There he secured a bunch of picks of different sizes
and shapes, and then came down again. Before rejoining
the party, he had decided which pick to try. It entered
the keyhole easily, caught the bolt, and then let it slip
twice; but the third time the king pressed it so hard that
after a second or two the bolt flew back, the latch yielded,
and everybody drew a long breath of relief.

VOL. II. — 16



242 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

"Is n't this something worth knowing, madame?" asked
Louis, turning to the queen, with a triumphant air.

"Yes," replied the queen, laughing. "I never, however,
said it was a bad thing to be a locksmith, but that it was
much better to be a king."

Madame Elizabeth ventured out first, leading Madame
Eoyale. They were followed at a distance of about twenty
yards by Madame de Tourzel and the dauphin. Between
these two couples walked Monsieur de Maiden, ready to
assist either party if necessary.

The poor children, with their protectors, went timidly
out on tiptoe into the circle of light made by the lamp burn-
ing over the door that led into the courtyard, and passed
the sentinel quietly and unnoticed.

"Good!" murmured Madame Elizabeth; "there is one
difficulty well over."

At the archway leading into Carrousel Square, they saw
a sentinel whose line of march directly crossed their path.
On seeing them, he paused.

"Aunt, we are lost; that man knows us," whispered
Madame Eoyale, pressing her companion's hand.

"Never mind, my child; we shall certainly be lost if we
hesitate," replied Madame Elizabeth; so they continued
on their way.

When they were within about four yards of the sentinel,
he turned his back upon them, and they hurried by.

Did this man really know them ? The ladies were con-
vinced that he did, and bestowed a thousand benedictions
on their unknown preserver as they hastened on.

They could see Charny's anxious face on the other side
of the wicket. The count was enveloped in a big riding-
coat.

"Thank God!" he exclaimed, "you are here at last!
But the king and queen, where are they?"

"They are following us."

"Come, then," said Charny, hastily leading the way to a
hack in waiting on the Rue St. Nicaise.



THE DEPARTURE. 243

During his absence another carriage had driven up and
stopped behind the first.

"Take that cab, Maiden," whispered Charny, "and go
straight to the Porte St. Martin. You will have no diffi-
culty in recognising the coach that is waiting for us there."

Maiden understood, and jumped into the carriage; and the
driver, supposing him to be some footman going to meet
his master at the play, for the opera was at the Porte St.
Martin in those days, drove off without further parley.

The carriage had hardly turned the corner of the Rue
de Rohan when a man dressed like a clerk emerged from
the same gate through which the others had passed. This
man wore a grey coat, his hat was pulled far down over his
eyes, and he kept his hands in his pockets as he sauntered
along. It was the king, closely followed by Valory.

Charny advanced a few steps to meet him. "This way,
sire," he said respectfully. "And the queen?" he added
to Valory, in a lower tone.

"She is coming with your brother Isidore."

"Very well; take the shortest cut, and wait for us at the
Porte St. Martin."

Valory hurried away, and the rest of the party waited
anxiously for the arrival of the queen.

A half hour passed. Charny, upon whom the burden of
responsibility rested, was almost crazy. He wanted to
return to the palace and make inquiries, but the king would
not permit it. The dauphin wept, and begged for his dear
mamma. Neither his sister, aunt, nor governess could
comfort him.

The alarm of the party increased when they saw La-
fayette's carriage, accompanied by torch-bearers, return-
ing that way.

This is what had happened. On reaching the courtyard,
the Vicomte de Charny, who had given his arm to the queen,
evinced an evident intention to turn to the left; but his
companion stopped him.

" Where are you going ? " she asked.



244 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

"To the corner of the Eue St. Nicaise, where my brother
is waiting for us."

"Is that on the bank of the river? "

"No, madame."

"But it is at the gate on the river-bank opposite the
quay that your brother is to wait for us."

Isidore tried to insist; but the queen seemed so sure of
what siie said that he began to distrust liis own memory.

"For God's sake be careful, madame," he exclaimed.
"A mistake might prove fatal."

" Let us go to the river-side. I am certain I heard your
brother say we were to meet him on the bank of the river."

"Very well, madame, for that is only on the other side
of the palace; but if we do not find the carriage there,
we will go to the Rue St. Nicaise at once, shall we
not ? "

"Yes, yes; but let us lose no time."

The queen led the way through the three courtyards,
which were separated, at that time, by thick walls, but
opened one into the other by narrow passageways close to
the palace, each passageway being protected by a chain and
guarded by a sentinel.

The queen and Isidore passed through one after another
of these openings. They were obliged to climb over the
chains, but no sentinel checked their progress. Why, in-
deed, should any one suppose for a moment that this young
woman attired like a servant in some respectable house-
hold, and accompanied by a handsome young fellow in the
Prince of Conde's livery, was the queen of France ?

When they reached the bank of the river they found the
pier deserted.

"The carriage must be on the other side of the river!"
exclaimed the queen.

Isidore wished to go back at once; but the queen, as
if seized by a sort of hallucination, persisted in leading
Isidore further on towards the Pont Royal.

But on crossing this bridge, they found the quay and



THE DEPARTURE. 245

the other bank of the Seine as lonely and deserted as the
spot they had just left.

"Let us try that street," said the queen, dragging
Isidore towards the Eue du Bac.

But after going a hundred yards she was obliged to
acknowledge that she must have been mistaken, after
all, and paused, panting for breath, for her strength was
beginning to fail her.

"I give it up. Take me where you please," she gasped.

"Courage, madame, in Heaven's name! "

"It is not courage I lack, but strength," panted Marie
Antoinette; and as she turned to retrace her steps she
murmured, " Good heavens ! it seems to me I shall never
recover my breath again."

Isidore knew that in such an emergency breath was as
essential to the queen's safety as it is to a fawn pursued
by the hounds, so he paused and said, —

"Stop and take breath, madame; we have plenty of
time. I will answer for my brother. He will wait until
daylight if necessary."

"You are sure then that he loves me ? " his companion
cried, quickly and imprudently.

"I know that his life, like my own, belongs to you,
madame, and that the love we both feel for you amounts to
positive adoration in him."

"Thank you. lean breathe again, now. Let us hasten."

She retraced her steps with feverish haste; but after
recrossing the bridge, Isidore led his companion into the
Place du Carrousel instead of through the courtyards.
Until midnight this big square was usually filled with
hackney coaches and stands for the sale of small articles;
but it was wellnigh deserted now, and correspondingly
gloomy.

They could distinctly hear the roll of carriage-wheels
and the clatter of hoofs, however, and when they reached
the Rue de l'Echelle it was evident that the equipage from
which these sounds proceeded was coming swiftly towards



246 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

them, for the light of the torches that accompanied the
carriage was already visible.

Isidore wanted to beat a retreat; but the queen insisted
on going forward, so Isidore sprang in front of her to pro-
tect her, just as the horses' heads appeared at the other
end of the arch. But though he pushed the queen close
back against the wall, the entire archway was flooded with
light from the torches.

In the midst of this imposing cavalcade, half reclining
in his carriage, arrayed in the superb uniform of Com-
mander-in-Chief of the National Guards, Lafayette could
be plainly seen.

Just as the carriage passed, Isidore felt himself pushed
aside by a determined, if not sturdy arm, — the left arm of
the queen.

In her right she had a small bamboo cane with a gold
handle, such as most fashionable women carried in those
days , and with this she gave the carriage-wheels a vigorous
rap, exclaiming as she did so, —

"Go thy way, gaoler; I'm out of thy prison-house
now."

"What are you doing, madame? Think of the risk you
are running! " gasped Isidore.

"I am avenging myself," responded the queen. "It is
worth risking a good deal to do that."

And as soon as the last torchbearer had passed, she sprang
out from her hiding-place, radiant as a goddess and joyous
as a child.



A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE. 247



CHAPTER XXXVII.

A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE.

The queen had not gone ten steps beyond the archway when
a man enveloped in a big coat seized her unceremoniously
by the arm and hurried her towards a hack that was stand-
ing at the corner of the Rue St. Nicaise.

This man was the Comte de Charny, and the hack was
one in which the rest of the royal family had been waiting
for more than half an hour. They had expected to see
the queen arrive half -fainting and terrified; but, instead,
she made her appearance laughing and even jubilant. The
dangers through which she had passed, the fatigue to which
she had been subjected, the alarming mistake she had made,
the time she had lost, the serious delay she had caused,
were all forgotten in the rap of the cane she had given
Lafayette's carriage-wheels; for it seemed to her almost
as if she had bestowed the blow upon him.

A servant was holding a horse by the bridle a few yards
from the carriage; and Charny had no sooner pointed the
animal out to Isidore than the viscount sprang upon his
back, and was off at full speed, for he was to ride on ahead
as far as Bondy in order to have horses in readiness there.

"Come, madame, we have not a second to lose," said
Charny, with that firmness mingled with deference which
really strong men display in an emergency.

The queen entered the carriage in which the other five
members of the party were already seated, and took the
dauphin on her lap. The king was beside her, and Madame
Elizabeth, Madame Royale, and Madame de Tourzel sat
facing them.



248 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

Charny closed the door and climbed upon the box; then,
to put spies on the wrong track, in case any should be
lurking about, he turned the horses around, drove up the
Rue Saint Honoré as far as the Madeleine, and then by
way of the boulevards to the Porte St. Martin.

On arriving there, tJie count jumped down and opened
the door of the hack. The door of the large coach which
had been built expressly for the journey was already open,
and Maiden and Valory , who had reached the spot nearly an
hour before, were standing by the steps on either side of
the vehicle.

In a second the six persons who had come in the hack
were on the ground, and Charny drove the hack to the
side of the road and dexterously overturned it into a
ditch.

Then he hastened back to the coach and attached his
horses to that. The king entered it first, then the queen,
then Madame Elizabeth; after Madame Elizabeth, the two
children stepped in, and after the two children, Madame
de Tourzel.

Maiden climbed to the back seat on the top of the coach,
and Valory seated himself beside Charny on the box.

It was a quarter past one by the clock in the Church of
St. Laurent when the four horses attached to the coach
started off at full speed.

It took just one hour to reach Bondy. There they found
fresh horses with harnesses on their backs, all ready to
be hitched to the coach. Isidore was standing by the horses'
heads.

On the other side of the road stood a cabriolet drawn by
two post-horses. In this cabriolet were two waiting-maids
in the service of the dauphin and Madame Royale. They
had expected to find a carriage for hire in Bondy, but fail-
ing to do so, they had purchased this cabriolet of its owner
and paid him a thousand francs for it.

This worthy, well pleased with his bargain, and anxious,
doubtless, to see the persons who were such simpletons as



A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE. 249

to give a thousand francs for such an old rattle-trap, was
hanging about the post-house.

He saw the king's coach arrive, driven by Charny, who
jumped down and approached the door of the carriage. He
wore his uniform under his big overcoat, and his hat was
in a box under the seat. It had been decided between the
king and queen and Charny that the latter was to take a
seat inside the vehicle at Bondy, in place of Madame de
Tourzel, who would then return to Paris.

But they had neglected to consult the lady in question
with regard to this arrangement.

The king now submitted the question to her. Despite
her devotion to the royal family, Madame de Tourzel was
as finical as old Madame de Noailles in all matters of
etiquette.

"Sire," she replied, "it is my duty to watch over the
royal children of France, and not to leave them for an
instant, except at the express order of your Majesty, — an
order which would be wholly unprecedented, however; so
I shall not leave them."

The queen was fairly trembling with impatience. She
wished to have Charny inside the coach, for two reasons.
As a queen, she felt him to be a most efficient protector; as
a woman, she found in him her greatest happiness in life.

"My dear Madame de Tourzel," she said, "we are really
very grateful to you, but you are not at all well, and you
are carrying your devotion too far. Eemain in Bondy,
and wherever we may be, you shall rejoin us later."

" Madame, if the king so commands, I am ready to alight
and remain in the middle of the road, if need be; buta
clearly expressed order of the king will alone make me
consent, not only to fail in my duty, but renounce my
rights."

"Sire! " exclaimed the queen, "sire!"

But Louis XVT. dared not decide so momentous a ques-
tion, and cast wildly around for some excuse, some loophole
of escape.



250 LA COMTESSE DE CHAENY.

" Can you not remain on the box, Monsieur de Charny ? "
he asked.

"I can do anything the king desires," replied Charny;
"only I shall either have to wear my uniform, — and every-
body along the route is familiar with that, having seen me
so often upon the road during the past year, — or else this
box-coat and oilcloth hat; and this last costume is much too
plain for such a stylish equipage."

*' Come inside, Monsieur de Charny, come inside, by all
means," urged the queen. "I will take the dauphin on
my lap, Madame Elizabeth can take little Marie Thérèse
on hers, and we shall get along very well. We shall be a
trifle crowded, that is all."

Charny waited for the king to decide, however.

" Impossible, my dear, impossible ! " exclaimed his
Majesty. " You forget that we have a journey of ninety
leagues before us ! "

Madame de Tourzel arose from her seat, ready to obey the
king's order and alight, if his Majesty so decided; but the
king dared not give the order, so great is the importance
court people attach to such trifles.

"Can't you take your brother Isidore's place, count,"
suggested the king, "and ride on ahead to order the
horses?"

"I am ready and willing to do anything, your Majesty,
as I said before; only I must beg your Majesty to recollect
that post-horses are generally ordered by a courier, not
by a naval oflicer. This deviation from custom would be
likely to surprise the superintendents of the stations, and
might lead to serious difficulties."

"That is true," said the king.

" Good heavens ! " muttered the queen, almost beside
herself with impatience. Then, turning to Charny, she
added: "Arrange it as you please, count, but I should
much prefer you not to leave us."

" That is my wish also, but I see only one way to pre-
vent it."



A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE. 251

"And what is that? Tell me at once, I beg of you."

" It is this, that I should accompany you, or rather follow
your carriage, in the plain dress of a man who is travelling
by post. Continue your journey, madame, and before
you have gone ten leagues I shall not be more than five
hundred yards behind your coach."

"You intend returning to Paris?"

"Certainly, madame; but as far as Chalons your Majesty
has nothing to apprehend, and I shall rejoin you before
you reach that town."

"But how will you get back to Paris?"

"On the horse my brother has been riding. He is an
excellent roadster, and has had time to rest. I shall
reach Paris in less than half an hour."

"And then?"

"Then I shall put on suitable clothing, hire a post-horse,
and ride with a free rein until I overtake you."

"Is there no other way? " asked the queen, despairingly.

"It seems to be really the best plan under the circum-
stances," commented the king.

"We have no time to lose," exclaimed Charny. "The
horses are ready. Here, Jean and François, take your
places. Kide on ahead, Melchior! Postilions, to your
horses ! "

Madame de Tourzel reseated herself in triumph, and the
coach started off at a gallop, followed by the cabriolet.

Meanwhile, how were things progressing in Paris, whither
Charny was hastening ?

A wigmaker named Buseby , residing on the Eue de Bour-
bon, had chanced to spend the evening at the Tuileries
with a friend on guard there. He of course heard a good


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