A friend of Marie-Antoinette (Lady Atkyns)

By Frédéric Barbey

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Title: A friend of Marie-Antoinette (Lady Atkyns)

Author: Frédéric Barbey

Contributor: Victorien Sardou

Release date: September 19, 2023 [eBook #71679]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: Chapman & Hall, Ltd, 1906

Credits: MWS and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)


                              A FRIEND OF


                             (LADY ATKYNS)

                [Illustration: MADAME CHARLOTTE ATKYNS.

        (_After a miniature in the possession of Count Lair._)


                              A FRIEND OF

                             (LADY ATKYNS)

                       TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH


                            FRÉDÉRIC BARBEY

                             WITH A PREFACE


                            VICTORIEN SARDOU

                         OF THE FRENCH ACADEMY



                          CHAPMAN & HALL, LTD.



When I brought out at the Vaudeville in 1896 my play, entitled _Paméla,
Marchande de Frivolités_, in which I had grouped together dramatically,
with what verisimilitude I could, all the various Royalist attempts
at rescuing the son of Louis XVI., the Dauphin, from the prison of
the Temple, there were certain scholars who found fault with me for
representing an Englishwoman, Lady Atkyns, as the protagonist, or at
least the prime mover in the matter of his escape. Some of them went so
far as to accuse me of having invented this character for the purpose
of my piece.

Lady Atkyns, certainly, has left but few traces of her existence; she
was a Drury Lane actress, pretty, witty, impressionable, and good--it
seems there were many such among the English actresses of the time.
Married (we shall see presently how it came about) to a peer, who gave
her wealth at least, if not happiness, and who does not appear to have
counted for much in her life, Lady Atkyns became a passionate admirer
of Marie-Antoinette; she was presented to the Queen at Versailles, and
when the latter was taken to the Temple, the responsive Englishwoman
made every effort to find her way into the prison. She succeeded by the
use of guineas, which, in spite of the hatred professed for Pitt and
Coburg, were more to the taste of certain patriots than the paper-money
of the Republic.

Lady Atkyns suggested that the Queen should escape dressed in her
costume, but the Royal prisoner would not forsake her children. There
is a tradition that in refusing the offer of her enthusiastic friend,
Marie-Antoinette besought her good offices for the young Dauphin, while
putting her on her guard against the intrigues of the Comte de Provence
and the Comte d’Artois. However, most of these facts were still in
doubt, resting only on somewhat vague statements, elliptical allusions,
and intangible bits of gossip, picked up here and there, when, one day,
my friend Lenôtre, who is great at ferreting out old papers, came to
me, all excitement, with a document which he had come upon the evening
before in a portfolio among the Archives of the Police.

It was a letter, dated May, 1821, and addressed to the Minister by the
director of the penitential establishment of Gaillon. This official was
disturbed over the proceedings of a certain “Madame Hakins or Aquins.”
Since the false Dauphin, Mathurin Bruneau, sentenced by the Court
of Rouen to five years’ imprisonment, had become an inmate of that
institution, this foreigner had installed herself at Gaillon, and had
been seeking to get into communication with the prisoner. She seemed
even to be bent upon supplying him with the means of making his escape.

I drew from this the obvious conclusion that if in 1821, Lady Atkyns
could bring herself to believe in the possibility of Mathurin Bruneau
being the son of Louis XVI., it must be because she had good reasons
for being convinced that the Dauphin had escaped from the Temple. And
this conviction of hers became of considerable importance because of
the _rôle_ she herself had played (however little one knew of it) in
the story of the Royal captivity.

It was quite clear that after her promise to the Queen, the faithful
Englishwoman, who, as we have seen, was not afraid to compromise
herself, and who was generous with her money, must have kept
in touch at least with all the facts relating to the Dauphin’s
imprisonment, learning all that was to be learnt about the Temple,
questioning everybody who could have had any contact with the young
captive--warders, messengers, doctors, and servants. If after such
investigations, and in spite of the official records and of the
announcement of his death on June 9, 1798, she could still believe
twenty-six years later that the prince might be alive, it can only be
because she was satisfied that the dead youth was not the Dauphin.

Had she herself got the Dauphin out of prison? Or had she merely had
a hand in the rescue? By what process of reasoning had she been able
to persuade herself that an adventurer such as this Bruneau, whose
imposture was manifest, could be the Dauphin? Why, if she believed that
the Prince had been carried away from the Temple, had she kept silence
so long? If this was not her belief, why did she interest herself in
one of those who had failed most pitifully in the impersonation of the
prince? Lenôtre and I could find no answer to all these questions. To
throw light upon them, it would have been necessary to undertake minute
researches into the whole life of Lady Atkyns, following her about
from place to place, learning where she lived during the Revolution,
ascertaining the dates of all her sojourns in Paris, studying all the
facts of her existence after 1795, together with the place and date of
her death, the names of her heirs, the fate of her correspondence and
other papers--a very laborious piece of work, still further complicated
by the certainty that it would be necessary to start out upon one’s
investigations in England. We did not abandon all idea of the task,
however; but time lacked--time always lacks!--and we talked of it as a
task that must wait for a year of leisure, knowing only too well that
the year of leisure would never come.

Chance, upon which we should always count, settled the matter for us.
Chance brought about a meeting between Lenôtre and a young writer, just
out of the École des Chartes, M. Frédéric Barbey, very well informed,
both through his earlier studies and through family connections,
concerning what it is customary to designate “la Question Louis XVII.”
M. Barbey had the necessary leisure, and he was ready to undertake
any kind of journey that might be entailed; he revelled in the idea of
the difficulties to be coped with in what would be to him an absorbing
task. Lenôtre introduced him to me, and I felt certain from the first
that the matter was in good hands. M. Barbey, in truth, is endowed
with all the very rare qualities essential to this kind of research--a
boundless patience, the _flair_ of a collector, the _aplomb_ of an
interviewer, complete freedom from prejudice, and the indomitable
industry and ardent zeal of an apostle.

M. Barbey set out for England at once, and came back a fortnight later,
already possessed of a mass of valuable information regarding the
early life of our English Royalist, including this specific item: Lady
Atkyns died in Paris, in the Rue de Lille, in 1836. An application to
the _greffe de paix_ of the _arrondissement_ resulted in M. Barbey’s
obtaining the name of the notary who had the drawing up of the deeds of
succession. At the offices of the present courteous possessor of the
documents, after any amount of formalities and delays and difficulties,
over which his untiring pertinacity enabled him to triumph, he was at
last placed in possession of an immense pile of dusty papers, which had
not been touched for nearly seventy years: the entire correspondence
addressed to Lady Atkyns from 1792 down to the time of her death.

That was a red-letter day! From the very first letters that were looked
at, it seemed that henceforth all doubts would be at an end: the Royal
youth had assuredly been carried away from the Temple! Between the
lines, beneath all the studiously vague and discreet wording of the
correspondence, we were able to follow, in one letter after another,
all the plotting and planning of the escape, the anxieties of the
conspirators, the precautions they had to take, the disappointments,
the treacheries, the hopes.... At last, we were on the threshold of the
actual day of the escape! Another week would find us face to face with
the Dauphin! Three days more...! To-morrow...! Alas! our disappointment
was great--almost as great as that of Lady Atkyns’s fellow-workers. The
boy never came into their hands. _Did_ he escape? Everything points
to his having done so, but everything points also to his having been
spirited away out of their hands just as he was being embarked for
England, where Lady Atkyns awaited feverishly the coming of the child
she called her King--her King to whose cause she made her vows, but on
whose face she was destined probably never to set eyes, and whose fate
was for ever to remain to her unknown.

Such is the story we are told in this book of Frédéric Barbey’s--a
painful, saddening, exasperating story, extracted (is it necessary to
add?) from documents of incontestable authenticity, now made use of for
the first time.

But can it be said to satisfy fully our curiosity? Is it the last
word on this baffling “Question Louis XVII.,” the bibliography of
which runs already to several hundreds of volumes? Of course not! The
record of Lady Atkyns’s attempts at rescuing the Prince is a singularly
important contribution to the study of the problem, but does not solve
it. What became of the boy after he was released? Was this boy that
they released the real Prince, or is there question of a substitute
already at this stage? Did Marie-Antoinette’s devoted adherent succeed
merely in being the dupe of the people in her pay? At the period of her
very first efforts, may not the Dauphin have been already far from the
Temple--hidden away somewhere, perhaps gone obscurely to his death, in
the house of some disreputable person to whom his identity was unknown?
For must we not place some reliance upon the assertions of the wife of
Simon the shoemaker, who declared she had carried off the Prince at a
date seven months earlier than the first steps taken by Lady Atkyns? It
is all a still insoluble problem, the most complex, the most difficult
problem that the perspicacity of historians has ever been called upon
to solve.

The most important result of this new study is that it relegates to the
field of fiction the books of Beauchesne, Chantelauze, La Sicotière,
and Eckart among others; that it disproves absolutely the assertions
of the official history of these events--the assertion that there is
no room for doubt that the Dauphin never left his cell, that he lived
and suffered and died there. Henceforward, it is an established fact,
absolutely irrefutable, that during nearly five months, from November,
1794, to March, 1795, the child in the jailer’s hands was not the son
of Louis XVI., but a substitute, and mute. How did this deception end?
Was the issue what was expected? The matter is not cleared up; but that
this substitution of the Prince was effected is now beyond dispute,
and this revelation, instead of throwing light upon the impenetrable
obscurity of the drama, renders it still more dense. This mute boy
substituted for the boy in prison, who was himself possibly but a
substitute; these sly and foolish guardians who succeed to each other,
muddling their own brains and mystifying each other; these doctors who
are called to the bedside of the dying Prince, and who, like Pelletan,
long afterwards invent stories about his death-bed sufferings--though
at the actual time of his death they were either so careless or so
cunning as to draw up an unmeaning _procès-verbal_, as to the bearing
of which commentators for more than a century have been unable to
agree;--all these official statements which establish nothing; the
interment recorded in three separate ways by the three functionaries
who were witnesses; the obvious, manifest, admitted doubt, which
survived in the minds of Louis XVIII. and the Duchesse d’Angoulême; the
manœuvres of the Restoration Government, which could so easily have
elucidated the question, and which, by _maladresse_ or by guilefulness,
made it impenetrable, by removing the most important documents from the
national archives; finally, the foolish performances of the fifteen or
so lying adventurers who attempted to pass themselves off as so many
dauphins escaped from the Temple, and each of whom had his devoted
adherents, absolutely convinced of his being the real prince, and whose
absurd effusions, when not venal, combine to produce the effect of an
inextricable maze; these were the factors of the “Question Louis XVII.”
The worst of it all is that one must overlook no detail: it is only by
disproving and eliminating that we can succeed in bringing out isolated
facts--solid, indisputable facts that shall serve as stepping-stones to
future revelations.

It is necessary to study, scrutinize, and reflect. One opinion alone is
to be condemned as indubitably wrong: that of the historians who see
nothing in all this worthy of investigation and of discussion, to whom
the story of the Dauphin is all quite clear and intelligible, and who
go floundering about over the whole ground with the calm serenity of
the blind, assured of the freedom of their road from obstruction, and
that they cannot see the obstacles in their way. Frédéric Barbey’s work
unveils too many incontestable facts of history for it to be possible
henceforth for any one to see in this marvellous enigma nothing but
fantasies and inventions.

                                                       VICTORIEN SARDOU.


To tell once again the oft-told story of Queen Marie-Antoinette; to go
over anew all the familiar episodes of her sojourn at the Tuileries,
her captivity in the Temple, her appearance before the Revolutionary
tribunal, and her death; to append some hitherto undiscovered detail to
the endless piles of writings inspired by these events, and in our turn
sit in judgment alike upon her conduct and the conduct of her enemies,
and, as a natural sequence, upon the Revolution, its work and its
issues: to do any or all of these things has not been our intention.

This book has a less ambitious aim--that of restoring the picture
of a woman, a foreigner, who was brought by chance one day to
Versailles on the eve of the catastrophe, whom the Queen honoured
with her friendship, and who knew no rest until she had expended all
her energy and all her wealth in efforts to procure the liberty not
only of Marie-Antoinette herself, but of those belonging to her. How
Lady Atkyns set out upon her project, whom she got to help her, what
grounds for hope she had, and what hindrances and disappointments she
experienced, the degrees of success and of failure that attended all
her attempts--these are the matters we have sought to deal with.

In the maze of her plots and plans, necessarily mixed up with
the enterprises of the _émigrés_ and of the agents of the
counter-revolution--up above the network of all these machinations
within France and without--one luminous point shines forth always
as the goal of every project: the tower of the Temple. All around
the venerable building strain and struggle the would-be rescuers of
its prisoners. Its name, now famous, instils into the Royalist world
something of the terror that went forth of old from the Bastille. What
went on exactly inside the dungeon from 1792 to 1795? The question,
so often canvassed by contemporaries, is still where it was, crying
out for an answer. However hackneyed may seem the matter of the
Dauphin’s imprisonment, we have not felt warranted in deliberately
avoiding it. Had we been so minded when embarking upon this study (the
voluminous bibliography of the subject is calculated to discourage
the historian!), we should in any case have been forced into its
investigation by a heap of hitherto unpublished documents which we

This leads us to the enumeration of the sources whence we have drawn
the materials for our work.

All that has been hitherto known of Lady Atkyns amounts to very little.
M. de la Sicotière, coming upon her name in the course of his study of
the life of Louis de Frotté, refers to her merely in a brief note,
necessarily incomplete.[1] Four years later, M. V. Delaporte, on
the occasion of the centenary of Marie Antoinette, published in his
_Études_ a correspondence in which the name of the Queen’s English
friend repeatedly appeared. These papers caught our attention. Under
the friendly guidance of M. Delaporte we sought to recover the papers
which Lady Atkyns left behind her on her death. In the course of
systematic researches, into the nature of which we need not enter here,
we were enabled by an unlooked-for piece of good luck to lay hands upon
the entire collection of Lady Atkyns’s correspondence, covering her
whole life. This correspondence, docketed and arranged by the notary
entrusted with the regulating of the affairs of the deceased, was found
lying in the archives of the notary’s study, where, by the permission
of the present owner of the documents, I was able to consult them.

The letters are all originals. Some of them, of which copies had
been made by some one unidentified, had been destined probably for
use in supporting claims put forward by Lady Atkyns. Many letters,
unfortunately, are missing, having been confided by the too trustful
lady to members of the Royal Household or to Louis XVIII. himself.

To know what value to attach to these letters, it was necessary to
know something about the writers. Apart from General Louis de Frotté,
who has been made the subject of a detailed biography, the characters
mixed up with Lady Atkyns’s adventures appear for the first time upon
the stage of history.

The _Archives Nationales_, and those of the Ministry for War and the
Ministry for Foreign Affairs, enable us to recall these forgotten
worthies with sufficient accuracy. We have made use in the same way of
the Municipal Archives of Dunkerque in our account of the flight of
the Chevalier de Conterne and his companion out of the kingdom; of the
Archives of Lille; and of the Archives of the Grand Duchy of Baden,
preserved at Carlsbad.

This bald enumeration suffices to indicate the spirit in which our
task has been conceived and carried out. In a question such as
this, obscured and confused by any number of dubious second-hand
and third-hand testimonies and untrustworthy narratives, it was
necessary to get hold of absolutely irrefutable documents. Letters
from contemporaries seemed to us to fulfil better than anything else
the conditions thus imposed. They have made it possible for us to
supplement in large measure the information acquired from the Archives
of the State: many of these letters are derived from private family
archives which have most generously been placed at our disposal.

Thanks to these friendly helpers, we have succeeded in completing a
task undertaken in a spirit of filial affection. We cannot forget
her who guided and took part in our researches and helped with her
sympathy and encouragement. To her it is that we must make our first
acknowledgment of indebtedness, and then to the historian to whom this
book is inscribed, and whose valued and assiduous help we have never

We have to express our gratitude also to all those who have helped us
with their advice and good offices: the Duc de La Tremoïlle, Member of
the Institute; the Marquis de Frotté; Comte Lair; General de Butler;
our lamented _confrère_, M. Parfouru, archivist of the Department
of Ille-et-Vilaine; and to M. Coyecque; M. Lucien Lazard, assistant
archivist of the Department of the Seine; M. Schmidt, keeper of the
_Archives Nationales_; M. Desplanque, municipal librarian at Lille; M.
Georges Tassez, keeper of the Lille Archives; M. Edmond Biré; M. le
Dr. Obser, the learned editor of the political correspondence of Karl
Friedrichs von Baden; M. Léonce Pingaud; M. Barthélemy Pocquat; our
colleague and friend, M. E. L. Bruel; and to Mr. Freeman O’Donoghue, of
the Print Room of the British Museum.

                                                       _March 22, 1905_.


[1] The particulars given by O. Alger in _Englishmen in the French
Revolution_, London, 1889, pp. 125-126, reproducing and condensing
information already available, including that which we owe to the
Comtesse MacNamara, are not of any interest.


CHAPTER                                                             PAGE

I. THE CHEVALIER DE FROTTÉ                                             1

II. LONDON                                                            36

III. THE ODYSSEY OF A BRETON MAGISTRATE                               69

IV. THE MYSTERY OF THE TEMPLE                                         94

V. THE MYSTERY OF THE TEMPLE (_continued_)                           125

VI. THE FRIENDS OF LADY ATKYNS                                       139

VII. THE “LITTLE BARON”                                              166

VIII. AFTER THE STORM                                                206

EPILOGUE                                                             229

APPENDIX                                                             235


MADAME CHARLOTTE ATKYNS                                   _Frontispiece_

(_After a miniature in the possession of Count Lair._)

                                                            TO FACE PAGE

CHARLOTTE WALPOLE, IN “THE CAMP”                                      12

(_After an engraving in the British Museum._)

JEAN-GABRIEL PELTIER, 1765-1825                                       44

(_After an engraving in the British Museum._)

MARIE-PIERRE-LOUIS, COUNT DE FROTTÉ, 1766-1800                       140

(_After a portrait belonging to the Marquis de Frotté._)

                              A FRIEND OF


                             (LADY ATKYNS)

                               CHAPTER I

                        THE CHEVALIER DE FROTTÉ

At dawn, on April 7, 1790, a singular disturbance was going on in the
streets of Lille. In the northern districts, not far from the citadel,
troops of soldiers stood all along the avenues, filled the squares,
ransacked the courtyards of the houses. Shots went off every instant,
and the extraordinary thing was that this fusillade from the soldiers
was directed against other soldiers. In the midst of the smoke, the
deafening noise, and the cries of the awakened townsfolk, were to be
seen the blue uniforms, with sky-blue facings, of the Regiment of the
Crown, one of the four quartered in the garrison.[2]

Every horseman who appeared was greeted with successive volleys;
evidently the combat was to the death between the light cavalry of
Normandy, who charged upon the pavements or fought on foot with their
muskets, and the grenadiers of the Crown and of the Royal-Vaisseaux.

Moreover, there was no order in this street-fight. The officers on both
sides were absent, and if by any chance some _had_ been present, the
excitement and anger visible upon the assailants’ faces were a proof
that their intervention would have been useless.

Riot, in fact, was reigning in the city of Lille, the capital of
the province; and this time law and order were being upset by
those whose duty it was to make them respected. But the town,
with its 80,000 inhabitants, had for months been going, nervously
and anxiously, through a succession of anything but encouraging
episodes. The convocation of the States General, the formation of the
Garde Nationale, the creation of the Municipality, and, two months
earlier (in February), the administrative upset which thrilled the
province--all this, added to the distress of the kingdom, to the
general misery, to the exaggerated price of food, and to the ruin of
commerce, had brought about several outbreaks in this manufacturing
town, naturally dependent upon its trade for its well-being. And, at
the very moment that there came from Paris the most alarming news--that
is, on April 29, 1789 (coinciding almost day for day with the sacking
of the Reveillon factory) pillage had its first innings at Lille also;
the bakeries were invaded; and three months later four houses were
attacked by the mob and burnt down.

Of the troops which then composed the garrison of Lille, one part had
taken up their quarters in the town; these were the regiments of the
Crown and of the Royal-Vaisseaux. The other, consisting of the light
cavalry of Normandy and the infantry of Colonel-General, the leading
French regiment, were lodged at the citadel, that imposing fortress
which is Vauban’s masterpiece. Certain signs of insubordination had
crept into the two former regiments; the revolutionary spirit was
working actively in the men, and was favoured by the permanent contact
with the inhabitants in which these two regiments lived. More remote
from this influence, away off in the citadel, the “Colonel-Generals”
cherished sentiments of whole-hearted devotion to the King; moreover,
they had over them a body of officers whose unadulterated royalism was
to display itself in the events which we shall now endeavour to set
forth. As matters were, the least thing would let loose these warring
elements in the garrison upon one another. And what finally did it?
A mere nothing, a scuffle that broke out on the evening of April 8,
between the chasseurs and the grenadiers--some say a duel. At any
rate, two soldiers were killed on the spot.... Instantly cavalry and
infantry take sides for their respective comrades. During the night a
general attack is talked of, on both sides. The officers get wind of
it; but, unluckily, two of the colonels are on leave. The Marquis de
Livarot, commandant of the province, tries to restore peace by holding
a meeting of delegates from each corps; he believes he has succeeded,
but scarcely has he left them when the fusillade breaks out again in
every direction.

The “Colonel-Generals” had remained neutral until then; discipline,
so carefully maintained by the commanding officers, had prevailed
with the men. But when, in the evening, they saw the _chasseurs_ of
Normandy falling back on the citadel for refuge, these their comrades
of the infantry opened the gates to them, brought them in and joined
cause with them, refusing any longer to listen to their officers, who
still strove for peace. They carried things, indeed, even further
than that. M. de Livarot and M. de Montrosier--that last lieutenant
of the King--on coming out of the gate which led into the square, saw
that they were surrounded by a group of mutineers, whose attitude was
menacing. Despite the efforts of the few officers who were present,
these two were dragged into a casemate, where their situation was
simply that of prisoners.

During this time the most sinister rumours were circulating in the
town, kept alive by the infantry of the Crown and the Royal-Vaisseaux
regiments. People expected nothing less than to see the cannons of the
citadel open their throats and vomit down grape-shot on the populace.
Shortly, on the walls of the houses and in the _cafés_, the uneasy
citizens might read a strange proclamation, at the authorship of which
all the world could guess. It opened with this apostrophe:--



 _and thrice: Let us beware_. We are deceived, we are betrayed, we are
 sold!... But we are not yet ruined; we have our weapons! _The infernal
 Fitz-James_[3] is gone with all his crew ... they have contented
 themselves with keeping back a useless lot.

 “_Livaro, the infamous Livaro_, is said to be in our citadel;
 _Montrosier_, the atrocious author of all our ills, sleeps peacefully.

 “The soldiers, whom they have tried to corrupt, offer these men to
 us.... What are we waiting for? Why do we not show all France that we
 are _Citizens_, that we are _Patriots_? Is it for the orders of our
 Commandant that we look? But has not the _aristocrat_ of _Orgères_
 already shown us how unworthy he is of the place which we have blindly
 entrusted to him?... He commands us only that he may lead us into the
 abyss. Seconded by his sycophant, _Carette_, and by the traitors whom
 our cowardice leaves in command over us; leagued with the heads of
 all the aristocratic intrigues, he now seeks to alienate from us our
 brave comrades of the Crown, and of Royal-des-Vaisseaux. Shall we let
 them go? No; ... but we will march with them.... We will go and seize
 _Livarot_, _Montrosier_, and deliver them up, bound hand and foot, to
 the utmost severity of the august National Assembly!

 “Why are not our conscript Fathers convoked? Is the General Council of
 the Commune a mere phantom? Is the blood of our citizens less precious
 than vile pecuniary interests? Would not our secret enemies flinch
 before the enlightenment and the patriotism of our Notables? _Ah!
 Citizens! Let us beware, and once more let us beware!_”

At an extraordinary meeting at the Maison de Ville, the Municipality
had convoked the General Council; and, in the interval they received a
deputation from the troops of the citadel, assuring the inhabitants of
Lille of their good intentions: “The regiments of the Colonel-General,
and of the Chasseurs de Normandie” (said the envoys) “protest to the
townsfolk that it has never entered into their heads to cause the least
alarm to the citizens, of whom until now they have known nothing that
was not admirable;” and they also announced that two delegates had been
sent to Paris, on a mission to the National Assembly and to the King.

The whole night went by, and no solution had been found. Towards
four o’clock the two regiments which had stayed in town were about
to leave it on the persuasion of the town councillors; but the City
Guard would not let them go, and thus, on the morning of April 10, the
same difficulties had to be faced anew. But this situation could not
continue. Messengers are despatched to Paris, and with them are sent
denunciators of the “infamous” Livarot, whose conduct is considered
suspicious; and for eight days he is kept under surveillance at the
citadel, in defiance of the Royal authority with which he is invested.

Meanwhile, the officer delegated by the “Colonel-Generals” was making
his way to Paris. Despite the importance of the mission, it was a
young lieutenant who had been chosen for it; but the coolness he
had shown all through the episode, and his determined and energetic
attitude, had designated him at once as the man to be selected. Louis
de Frotté was born at Alençon on August 5, 1766.[4] Of noble lineage
(his family had been established in Normandy since the fifteenth
century), he had inherited the sentiments of duty and fidelity to his
King and of devotion to that King’s cause. Left motherless at the
age of six,[5] educated first at Caen, then at Versailles, in the
school of Gorsas,[6] he had entered as supernumerary sub-lieutenant,
in 1781, the regiment of “Colonel-General,” then garrisoned at Lille.
The young officer attracted every one by his generous, liberal, and
affectionate character, and by his strong sense of comradeship. It was
in the regiment that he contracted those solid friendships which were
afterwards so beneficial to him, such, for instance, as that of the
Prince de la Tremoïlle, and of a Norman gentleman named Vallière.

A short stay at Besançon had broken up the long months in garrison at
Lille; then he had returned to that town, where the disturbances of
which we are speaking had come to diversify the somewhat monotonous way
of existence which is inseparable from garrison life.

Filled with hope for the result of his mission, Frotté rode swiftly to
Paris. The prospect of seeing the King, of narrating to him, as well as
to the War Minister, Le Tour du Pin, the recent occurrences at Lille,
of assuring him of the fidelity of the regiment, of obtaining some
tolerably satisfactory solution of the critical situation--all this
was spurring on our cavalier. And the thought of soon getting back to
Lille, his mission crowned with success, of reappearing before certain
eyes to which he was not insensible--everything combined to make him
forget the length of the journey.

His stay at Paris was a short one. The future chief of the _chouans_
of Normandy realized one of his greatest wishes in being admitted to
an audience with the King; but the position of the Royal Family in the
midst of the prevailing effervescence of feeling, and the atmosphere
of hostility which surrounded them, filled his heart with foreboding
thoughts. Burning with devotion, powerless to make valid offers to
the King, Frotté--who had suggested the bringing together at Lille of
a nucleus of reliable troops, absolutely to be trusted--regained the
garrison at the end of a few days, for it had been made clear to him
that Louis XVI. did not wish to share in his youthful ardour and its
projects. He had, however, succeeded thoroughly in the official part of
his task. When confronted with a deputation from the hostile regiments
of the Crown and of the Royal-Vaisseaux, who came in their turn to
plead their cause, the representative of the Colonel-Generals had been
able to cope with them in defence of his own interests; he came back,
bringing with him an order for the alteration of the whole garrison.
The Colonel-Generals were transferred to Dunkirk, the three others were
sent out of the province. As to the unfortunate Marquis de Livarot,
who was still a prisoner at the citadel, a mandate from the Minister
summoned him to Paris, there to answer for his conduct. Needless
to say, he cleared himself of every accusation, and was entirely

Frotté did not spend in idleness the few days which preceded the
departure of his regiment. Besides the ordinary arrangements--the
giving up of his place of abode, the packing of his affairs, the paying
of his debts; besides the friends to whom he had to bid farewell;
in short, besides the thousand ties that are contracted during a
stay of nine years in a town which is not among the smallest in the
kingdom, there was, in the Rue Princesse, at a few minutes’ walk from
the citadel, a one-storeyed house of unimposing exterior, whose door
had often opened to receive the young officer. The prospect of not
returning there for a long time filled his heart with distress and
regret. For some months this house had been inhabited by a foreigner,
an English lady, who had come to Lille with a reputation for grace and
beauty which had proved to be not unmerited. At that time there was
already in Lille quite a colony of English people, who were attracted
there either by the proximity of their own country and the closeness of
Paris, or by the commercial prosperity of the place and its numerous
industries. In the census returns of the town at the beginning of the
Revolution, and also in the taxation assessments, we have come across
many names of evident British origin. But the remarkable thing about
the new-comers at the Rue Princesse, was that they had not arrived from
England, but from Versailles. They were very soon received by the best
society of Lille, and questions began to circulate about them, every
one trying to penetrate a certain mystery which hung about their past

Let us, in our turn, attempt to lift the veil, and to find out
something about the English lady who is to be the heroine of this work.

Charlotte Walpole, who was born probably about 1758,[7] bore a name
that in the United Kingdom is illustrious among the illustrious. Was
she a direct descendant of Sir Robert Walpole, Earl of Oxford, the
celebrated statesman who administered English politics for some years
under George I.? It is difficult to ascertain.

The youngest of three daughters,[8] Charlotte probably passed all
her youth in the county of Norfolk, the cradle of her family, under
that gloomy sky, in that ever-moist climate, in the midst of those
emerald green pastures which make that part of England one of the
great agricultural districts. The tranquil, melancholy charm of the
scenery there, the immense flocks of sheep and goats browsing in the
pastures, the wide horizon, unlimited except by the heavy clouds which
hang eternally over the land--all this fastened upon the imagination of
the girl, naturally of a very enthusiastic temperament, and developed
in her that indefinable charm which struck all who knew her. Her
large eyes, enhanced by very marked eyebrows, had an infinitely sweet
expression. The only existing portrait of her depicts her with her hair
dressed in the fashion of the time--her dark curls lightly tied with
a slender ribbon, and falling back, carelessly, on her forehead. She
had a most original mind, a face which changed and lit up with every
passing mood, and an expression all her own, which made her, as it
were, a unique personality. All this is enough explanation of why, at
nineteen, Charlotte Walpole went to London, with the idea of making use
of her talents on the stage.

The capital of England could then boast of only three theatres, of
which the most frequented, Drury Lane, which ranked as Theatre Royal,
is still in existence, and preserves intact its ancient reputation. It
was there that, on October 2, 1777, at the opening of the theatrical
season, Miss Walpole made her first appearance in a piece called _Love
in a Village,_[9] a comedy probably in the same _genre_ as those of
O’Keefe, and then very much to the public taste, which was growing
weary of the brutal and licentious farces of the preceding centuries.
Five days later Miss Walpole reappeared in _The Quaker,_ and the week
after she was seen in the _role_ of “Jessica” in _The Merchant of
Venice_, one of Shakespeare’s masterpieces. After having played, in the
spring of 1778, in _The Waterman_, her success seemed assured; on May
2, _Love in a Village_ was given again for her benefit, and she then
filled to perfection the part of “Rosetta”; the season terminated ten
days later with a representation of _The Beggars’ Opera_, by John Gay.
There can be no doubt that the young actress had found her vocation,
and that, moreover, with the consent of her family. But, as a matter of
fact, there did not then prevail in England the sort of disfavour that
so often attaches to a theatrical career in a certain set of society.
Miss Walpole’s experience is a proof of this. During the summer, which
she most probably spent in the country, she sought to cultivate her
talents, and so well did she succeed that in the season, which reopened
on September 15, 1778, she was seen again in London, eager to gather
fresh laurels. This time she appeared in costume, in a sort of operetta
entitled _The Camp_, which had a tremendous success all that winter.
The piece, an imitation of Sheridan by Tickell, represented the arsenal
and the camp at Coxheath, and Miss Walpole, as “Nancy,” took the part
of a young soldier, and filled it most admirably, a contemporary author
informs us.[10] We have found an engraving which represents her in
this costume, doubtless a souvenir of the plaudits which she then
received. In the month of April, 1779, she appears again in other
pieces by Farquhar. After this, the bills for us have nothing to say;
Miss Walpole’s name is not to be found in them.


          _W H Bunbury Delinᵗ._ _Watson & Dickinson Excudᵗ._

                   CHARLOTTE WALPOLE, IN “THE CAMP.”

             (_After an engraving in the British Museum._)

                         [_To face page 12._]

To what must one attribute this sudden silence, this disappearance
from the stage, just when so fair a future seemed opening before the
actress? To a determination brought about by her very success itself
and by the charm she exercised. Several times during the winter a young
man had been seen at Drury Lane, who occupied a front stall and watched
very keenly the acting of the graceful young recruit of Coxheath; so
that there was no very great astonishment expressed when, on June 18,
1779, _The Gentleman’s Magazine_, in its society column, announced
the marriage of Sir Edward Atkyns with Miss Charlotte Walpole, of the
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.[11] “The pretty Miss Atkyns”--that was
henceforth to be her appellation in London, and all over Norfolk!

If the Walpoles could boast of an illustrious descent, the Atkyns’ in
this respect were in no wise inferior to them. In this family, where
the Christian names are handed down from generation to generation,
that of Edward is, as it were, immutable! Illustrious personages are
by no means wanting. An Atkyns had been Chancellor of the Exchequer
in the seventeenth century; his son had built a splendid manor-house,
Ketteringham, in the same county of Norfolk; at his death he left it
to his grand-nephew, who, in his turn, bequeathed it to the fortunate
husband of Miss Walpole.

The young couple took up their abode in this antique mansion of
Ketteringham Hall, the name of which will often recur in this
narrative. They appear to have lived peacefully there for some years,
coming only for a few weeks in mid-winter to London. “Happy is the
nation that has no history,” says the proverb; and it is equally true
that happy folk have none. So we will certainly not, in the absence of
any material, create one for these young people.

Nevertheless, it is well to mention the account given of them by a
friend of our heroine, the Countess MacNamara, who seems to have been
very well acquainted with the different particulars of her life. She
tells us that the young couple, who, if we are to believe her, had not
many friends in England, decided to go to the Continent, and live at
Versailles.[12] (The explanation does not seem a very plausible one.)
There the charm of the young wife, her pretty voice, the receptions
which she soon began to give, and to which, thanks to her husband’s
wealth, she was able to lend so much brilliancy, opened to her quickly
the doors of all the society connected with the Court. In the Queen’s
set, the beautiful Duchess de Polignac, in particular, took a great
fancy to this graceful foreigner; and was desirous, in her turn, to
make her known to her august friend. Thus it came about that Lady
Atkyns was introduced into the circle of Marie-Antoinette’s intimates.
Even more completely than the others, the new-comer fell under the
Queen’s spell. A current of ardent sympathy established itself
between the two women. They were united by a deep and intimate mutual
comprehension and sympathy. For any one who knew Lady Atkyns, it was
certain that these first impressions would not fade, but that they
would prove to be, on the contrary, the first-fruits of an unalterable
friendship. These are the only materials one has for the details of
that sojourn at Versailles. When exactly did the Atkynses resolve upon
this move? Their only child, a son, must have been born before it took
place. What were their plans in coming to the Court? All these are
insoluble problems.

They were probably at Versailles when the first revolutionary troubles
broke out. They were present, perhaps, at the opening of the States
General, that great national function; and they were among those who
shuddered at the taking of the Bastille. When the October days brought
back the Royal family in a mournful procession to Paris, the young
couple were already gone--already too far away to enter into the
anxieties and sufferings of those whom they loved.

A brief mention, a few words found after patient research, in dusty
registers, tell us enough to make us certain of their fate. This is
one of the joys of the explorer in this sort--to find buried under the
waste of years of accumulated official papers, a feeble light, a tiny,
isolated indication, which opens, none the less, an infinite horizon
before him.

In the autumn of the year 1789, an Englishwoman, named by the officials
charged with the collection of a special poll-tax, Milady Charlotte,
arrived at Lille with one servant.[13]

In December, she installed herself in the parish of St. André, in a
house in the Rue Princesse, then numbered 337, which belonged to a
gentleman named De Drurez. Of her husband there is no mention, nor is
her surname given. Probably she had stayed some time at an inn, before
settling down in Rue Princesse; but what is to be concluded from so
vague an appellation as “Milady Charlotte”? Why did she conceal half
her name? Nevertheless, at Lille there is some information to be had
about her. We know that she was pensioned upon the Royal Treasury,
since she is described as a French pensioner.

In the following year she increases her establishment, keeping one more
servant; her poll-tax, which had been 14 louis, now rises to 16. We may
add here that, in order to satisfy our curiosity, we have examined--but
in vain--the lists of the pensioners from the Royal Treasury at that
period; there is no mention anywhere either of Milady Charlotte
or of Lady Atkyns--not even in those which relate to the Queen’s

By what right did she enjoy this pension? By the same, probably,
as so many of those favoured folk whose names fill the famous
_red-books_--the books whose publication was to let loose the fury of
the half of France upon the Court and the nobility, because they showed
so plainly what treasures had been swallowed up in that abyss.

As we have said, the documents say nothing of the presence of Edward
Atkyns at Lille--nothing, that is, with one exception, which, delicate
as it is, cannot be passed over in silence. Had disunion already
crept into the household? Had the pretty girl from Drury Lane found
out too late that he to whom she had given her heart and her life
was no longer entirely worthy of her gifts? Perhaps. At any rate, on
March 20, 1791, the curate of the parish of St. Catherine at Lille
baptized a male child, son “of Geneviève Leglen, native of Lille,”
whose father declared himself to be Edward Atkyns.[15] Henceforth this
last individual disappears completely from the scene in which we are
interested; we shall merely learn that in 1794 Charlotte Atkyns was
left a widow.

       *       *       *       *       *

This somewhat lengthy digression was necessary in order to portray
the lady whom Frotté was to designate as “That heroic and perfect
being,” and who was to take such a hold upon his life. How did they
become acquainted? Probably very quickly, in one of the numerous
drawing-rooms where Lille society congregated, at balls, at the
theatre, in the concert-hall. The white tunic, with red facings, of
the “Colonel-Generals” was eagerly welcomed everywhere. As one of
his friends wrote to Frotté: “All the decent people in the town will
be delighted to see the uniform, if you wear it there!” And one can
imagine the long talks that the young officer had with his fair friend
in that winter of ’89--talks that circled always around one precious
topic. Already full of Royalist feeling, Frotté grew enthusiastic for
the Queen’s cause, as he listened to the stories about Versailles, to
the reminiscences of her kindness, her charm, her affectionate ways--of
the thousand characteristics, so faithfully recounted by the friend who
had come under her influence.[16]

One can divine all the advice, all the prudent counsels which were
impressed upon our young lieutenant on his departure for Paris.
Everything combined to make him eager to offer his services to the King
and his belongings. We have seen that his efforts were unsuccessful;
but the journey had not been entirely fruitless, since it had enabled
him to bring back to his friend some news of the woman she so loved.

At the end of April the good folk of Lille were to bid farewell
to the regiments which had caused them so much anxiety. While the
Colonel-Generals were leaving the town by the Dunkirk Gate, the
townspeople were watching the long columns of the Normandy _chasseurs_,
the grenadiers of the Crown, and the Royal-Vaisseaux disappearing in
different directions. What had been a partial failure in Lille was to
break out again three months later, in another part of the kingdom,
for the affray there was but the prelude to the revolt of the troops
of Chateauvieux, at Nancy, and to many other risings. The army, in
fact, was every day becoming more and more infected by the spirit of
revolution, which crept in somehow, despite all discipline and all
respect for the commanding officers. And the army was no untilled
field; it was well prepared for the seed of the Revolution, which lost
no time in taking root there.

This explains the discouragement which nearly all the officers felt.
They were gentlemen of unflinching Royalist sympathies, but they
perceived the fruitlessness of their efforts to re-establish discipline
and to preserve their authority. Frotté was especially a prey to
this feeling. We shall see that during his time at Dunkirk he found
it impossible to conquer the hopeless lassitude that was growing on
him. And yet Dunkirk is not far from Lille, and he knows that he has
left behind him there a friend who will console and guide him. But
his restless, questioning turn of mind makes it difficult for him to
reconcile himself to accomplished facts. He can feel no sympathy for
this Revolution, which now strides over France as with seven-leagued
boots; he has, indeed, an instinctive repulsion for it. Frotté is an
indefatigable scribbler, and in the long idle hours of his soldier-life
he confides to paper all his fears and discouragements, while keeping
up, at the same time, a regular correspondence, especially with his
friends Vallière and Lamberville. It is a curious fact, already
commented on by his biographer, M. de la Sicotière, that this intrepid
and active officer, this flower of partisans, who spent three-fourths
of his time in warfare, was yet the most prolific of writers and

At Dunkirk he encountered among the officers of the regiment Viennois,
which shared with his own the garrison of the place, a very favourable
disposition towards his plans. His Royalist zeal, fostered by his
friendships, was to find an outlet. Already the National Assembly,
eager to secure the army on its side, had issued a decree obliging the
officers to take the oath not only to the King, but to the nation, and
to whatever Constitution might be given to France. Nothing would induce
our young gentleman to take such an oath as that. He never hesitated
for a moment, and he succeeded in influencing several of his brother
officers to think as he did. It was thus that he announced his decision
to his father:--

 “You already know, my dear father, that an oath is now exacted from
 us officers which disgusts every honourable and decent feeling that
 I have. I _could_ not take it. I know you too well, father, not to
 be certain that you would have advised me to do just what I have
 done. And of course I did not depend only on my own poor judgment; I
 consulted most of my brother officers, and amongst those whom I esteem
 and love, I have not found _one_ who thinks differently from myself.
 Our dear chief, too, M. de Théon, has been just the good fellow we
 always thought him.”[17]

His friend Vallière, on hearing of his conduct and his intentions,
wrote to him in enthusiastic admiration.

 “I am truly delighted to hear” (he wrote some days before his arrival
 at Dunkirk) “that the regiment Viennois is almost of the same way of
 thinking as our own, so that we are sure to get on well with them.
 Then there _are_ still some decent Frenchmen, and some subjects who
 are faithful to their one and lawful master! Alas! there are not
 many of them, and one can only groan when one thinks how many old
 and hitherto courageous legions ... have stained irretrievably their
 ancient glory by this betrayal of their sovereign. Well, my dear
 fellow, we must hope that you will have some peace now to make up for
 all that you have been going through. Unfortunately, the immediate
 future does not seem likely to make us forget the past, or to promise
 us much happiness. If the scoundrels who are persecuting us, and
 ruining all the best things in Europe, take it into their heads to
 disband the Army (as one hears that they may), be sure to come here
 for refuge. Everything is still quiet here.... If their fury still
 pursues us, we will leave a country that has become hateful to us, and
 go to some foreign shore, where there will perhaps be found some kind
 folk to pity us and give us a home in their midst.”[18]

The first hint at emigration! Frotté was already thinking of it; often
he had envisaged the idea, but, before giving up all hope, he wanted to
make one last effort.

The proximity of Lille enabled him to keep up unbroken relations,
during the summer and winter of 1790, with the officers of the garrison
he had just left. A plot had even been roughly sketched out with
Lady Atkyns’ assistance; but a thousand obstacles retarded from day
to day any attempt at carrying it out, and once more our poor young
soldier was totally discouraged. Despairing of success, disgusted with
everything, he began to meditate escape from an existence which yielded
him nothing but vexations, and, little by little, he ceased to brood
seriously over the thought of suicide. He spoke of it openly and at
length to his friend Lamberville, in a strange composition which he
called _My profession of faith_, and which has been almost miraculously
preserved for us.[19] This confession is dated February 20, 1791. We
should have given it in its entirety if it were not so long.[20] After
a quasi-philosophical preamble--Frotté was addicted to that kind of
thing--he described to his friend the miserable state of mind that he
was in, with all his troubles and his griefs. In his opinion, a man who
had fallen to such depths of ill-fortune could do but one thing, and
that was, to give back to God the life which he had received from Him.

 “My ideas about suicide are not” (he added) “the outcome of reading
 nor of example; they are the result of much reflection. I have long
 since familiarized myself with the idea of death; it no longer seems
 to me a sad thing, but rather a certain refuge from the troubles of
 life.... When I consider my own situation, and that of my country;
 when I think of what I have been, what I am, and what I may become, I
 can find no reason for valuing my own life. Moreover, I live in an age
 of crime, and it is my native land that is most subjected to its sway.”

And Frotté went on to describe his past life to his friend, telling him
of the way he had behaved hitherto, of the principles that had guided
him, the hopes he had cherished in the brighter opening days of life;
then the disappointments and the discomfitures that had overwhelmed
him. The events he had lived through filled his mind with bitterness.

 “I was born to be a good son and a good friend, a tender lover, a good
 soldier, a loyal subject--in a word, a decent fellow. But it breaks my
 heart to see how my compatriots have altered from kindly human beings
 to crazy ruffians, and have so accustomed themselves to slaughter,
 incendiarism, murder, and robbery, that they can never again be what
 they used to be. They have trampled every virtue under foot; they
 torture the hearts that still love them.... And my own profession,
 soldiering, is dishonoured; there is no glory about it now; my country
 is in a state of anarchy which appals me.”

Very evident in these pages, written in a delicate cramped handwriting,
is the continual bent towards self-analysis, towards minute details
of feeling, towards a lofty and remote attitude, so markedly
characteristic of Frotté’s prose.

Many pages of the thick, ribbed paper, fastened together with a
sky-blue ribbon, are filled with the same kind of reflections; then he
suddenly breaks off altogether. Had he carried out his intention? Was
that why he ceased to write? Not at all; for two months later, on April
10, there is a further confession, and the young soldier-philosopher
begins by admitting that he has changed his mind; he defends himself
on that point, and says that reflection has made him resolve to give
up such gloomy views for himself. First of all, the fear of causing
irreparable grief to his father had made him pause (and yet their
relations do not seem to have been so affectionate as of yore);[21] and
then the desire to settle certain debts, considerable enough, that he
would leave behind him.

 “In fact,” (he says) “since fresh troubles are overwhelming me, I have
 decided not to choose this moment for suicide. _I want to be quite
 calm, on the day that I set out on the Great Journey._... The month
 of August saw my birth; it shall see my death.... But I don’t want to
 play for effect. I try my best to seem just the same and to let no
 one guess what I am thinking of.... Then there’s another reason for
 my going on with life. Since I was born a nobleman of France, I want
 to do my duty as one.... My sword may still be of some use to my King
 and to my friends; and since I must die, I want my death to benefit
 my family and my country.... I shall fasten up this confession, until
 the moment comes for me to die. If I have the good luck to fight, and
 die in the cause of honour, this, my dear Lamberville, will console
 you a little, for it will prove to you that death was a comfort to me.
 If disorder and dissolution are still reigning in France when August
 comes, if there has been no attempt to restore order--then I shall
 lose all hope, and all the reasons that I give you here will acquire
 full force. I shall not be able to hesitate. I shall then take up my
 pen again to add my last wishes, and my last farewell to my tenderest
 and dearest friend.”

In spite of the melancholy tone of these pages, their author had
finally taken the advice which came to him from all directions, from
people who loved him and were in his confidence, and who deeply grieved
to hear of such a state of mind. There was none more loyal than that
young Vallière of whom we have already spoken. At that time he was
on leave in the Caux district. Frotté and he were very intimate, and
Vallière knew every step that was made towards the carrying out of the
plot which had been arranged simultaneously at Lille and at Dunkirk.

 “I am very sorry,” he wrote to his friend on November 13, 1790, “that
 the things you had to tell me could only be entrusted to me verbally.
 However, in the absence of further knowledge, there was nothing for me
 to do but simply come here,[22] where in any case I had business, and
 where I am now waiting quietly for the carrying out of the promises
 you made me, being, as you know, fully prepared. But, my dear fellow,
 I see with amazement that nothing as yet is happening to verify your
 forecast. Can you possibly have been prematurely sanguine, or has the
 plan miscarried? Perhaps it is merely a question of delay--Well! That
 is all right, and I hope that’s what it is.”[23]

Two months later, Vallière, who had doubtless gone to Paris to make
inquiries, gave the following account of his journey:--

 “I came back on the 3rd instant; and I shall have no difficulty in
 telling you of all my doings in Paris, for I did nothing in the least
 out-of-the-way. I lived there like a good quiet citizen, who confines
 himself to groaning (since he can do nothing better) over all the
 afflicting things he sees. I went from time to time to see our ‘August
 Ones,’ and they always put me in a furious temper.”

Our “August Ones,” as Vallière mockingly called them, were the
members of the Constituent Assembly, and they were busied with the
elaboration of that gigantic piece of work, the Constitution, which was
to substitute the new order for the old traditions of France. Little
by little the edifice was growing, built upon the ruins of the past.
The sight of it filled with vexation and fury those who, like Frotté,
deplored the fallen Royalty, the lost privileges, the dispossessed
nobility, of the old order. For the rest, our chevalier, during his
stay at Dunkirk, had frequent news about his fair friend at Lille. One
day it would be a brother officer who would write, “I played cards
yesterday with your fair lady, who looked as pretty as an angel, if
angels ever _are_ so pretty as were told they are. She is going to have
her portrait painted in oils by my favourite artist. I dare say she’ll
manage somehow to get a copy done in miniature for her Chevalier!”[24]

Or another time he would be told to come to a concert at which a place
had been taken for him.... In a word, the time went on; and, kicking
against the pricks, our young soldier awaited the moment when he might
bring his plans to realization.

From month to month the spirit of insubordination which had crept into
the regiment with the events at Lille was gaining ground, and showing
itself more and more overtly. The Garde Nationale recently formed at
Dunkirk showed signs of it. At the head of this was an enterprising
officer, of the “new order,” named Emmery, who sought persistently to
win the troops of the garrison over to his own way of thinking. But
he found his match in the colonel of the regiment, the Chevalier de
Théon, a staunch Royalist, who had no intention of pandering with the
enemy. In a small place like Dunkirk, shut up between its ramparts--the
barracks were in the middle of the town--it was physically impossible
to prevent the soldiers from coming in contact with the townsfolk.
M. de Théon and his officers (the majority of whom were on his side)
had seen that very clearly; and suddenly, in the month of June, they
resolved to try a bold stroke. Dunkirk was only five leagues from the
Austrian frontier, which was some hours’ distance from Brussels, where
already the forces of resistance of the anti-revolutionary party were
concentrating. They resolved on winning Belgium to their cause, on
gaining over the troops, and on offering their services to the Prince’s
Army, which was forming beyond the frontier.

Before executing this scheme, Louis de Frotté is secretly sent to
Brussels. He there sees the Marquis de la Queville, formerly a member
of the Constitutional Assembly, and deputy of Riom, who has become
agent for the Princes; but little attention is paid to Frotté’s
proposals, and no promises of any kind are made. Frotté returns
somewhat discouraged to Dunkirk.

Suddenly, like a clap of thunder, resounds the news which is to
throw the kingdom into confusion for three days. During the night of
June 20-21 the Royal Family have escaped from the Tuileries, despite
Lafayette’s guards, and the berlin which holds them is driving rapidly
towards the frontier. Directly the exploit is known messengers set
off in all directions, despatched by the National Assembly; they take
chiefly the northerly roads, where everything points to the probable
finding of the fugitives. The authorities at Dunkirk, in their turn,
receive despatches from Paris, and take extra precautions.

This was quite enough to let loose the thunderstorm that was gathering
in the garrison.

On June 23, at 11 a.m., the grenadiers of the Colonel-General, who
had been skilfully worked upon by some of the agitators, signed the
following protestation, and refused to follow their officers. They
actually succeeded in raising the whole garrison.

 “When the Commonwealth is in danger” (so one may read in their
 manifest), “when the enemies of our blessed revolution raise an
 audacious resistance, when a cherished King abandons his people and
 flies to his enemies’ side--the duty of all true Frenchmen is to
 unite, to join forces! There should be but one cry--Liberty! Resolute
 to conquer, we should confront our enemies with a body of men who are
 ready to dare all at the lightest sign, and to wash off with the blood
 of traitors the insult done to a free people!”[25]

Then came the announcement of a federative compact, to which were
summoned the representatives of the municipality, the National Guards,
and the Club of the Friends of the Constitution.

And here arises a question. Were Frotté and his friends aware of the
King’s intentions? It is difficult to be sure; but, hasty as their
decision apparently was, it had really been fixed for some time, as is
clearly shown by the following lines written by Frotté to his father at
that very time:

 “It was arranged this morning that I am to go to Furnes with several
 of my comrades, on Saturday; and there, dear father, I shall await
 your wise decision as to whether I shall return home to you or go to
 join the Prince de Condé.”

Furnes is a small village about fifteen kilometres from Dunkirk. It was
then on Austrian territory, and had been chosen as the rendezvous for
the fugitive officers.

On Friday, June 24, in the afternoon, each of these “gentlemen”
received a secret message from Colonel de Théon, giving them his

 “Set out for Furnes” (he told them) “immediately on reading this;
 make no preparations; just take whatever money you may have, and do
 not worry about your other possessions; they will be seen to later.
 I invoke the aid of Heaven upon our enterprise--may we all meet that
 same night at Furnes.

                                                  “Your friend for life,

At the same time, he made to his soldiers a last supreme appeal,
conjuring them to respond to it, and to come back to the path of duty.

 “Soldiers, your King was put in irons and the news of his capture
 is false. Surely it is impossible that the leading regiment should
 fail to join him, to form his bodyguard, and to shield him from the
 knives of the assassins who have, of course, been sent after him. We,
 who bear the ensign of the General of Infantry, shall find all good
 Frenchmen and true patriots ... rallying round our colours. Believe
 me, when that happens, the Royalist party, which is very numerous,
 will declare itself, and when it sees that it can do so without
 endangering its sovereign’s life, will flaunt the white cockade.
 Let us, too, wear this as our symbol of France--not the colours of
 a regicide and factious prince, the scandal of his country and the
 author of all the evils which are now rending it. Your officers, your
 real friends, await you at Furnes, where the august brother of your
 Queen has given orders (as on all the frontiers) that the faithful
 servants of the unhappy Louis XVI. are to be received, when they
 arrive there on his service....

 “Come there, then--meet there, renew your early oath of fidelity to
 the most upright of kings. But as for such as you as are infected with
 the maxims of the Club, such of you as think you are patriots, because
 you have neither faith, nor law, nor honour--such as these had better
 stay in their dens. Only those are adjured to come whose hearts still
 tell them they are Frenchmen. Long live the King!”[26]

But it was too late. The hour for such an appeal had gone by.

Towards five o’clock on the evening of the same day, just as
the roll-call was ending in the barracks, the officers of the
Colonel-Generals (and several brother-soldiers from the Viennois
regiment) left the town in groups of three. They took with them the
white _cornette_ of the infantry, and the flags of their regiments,
which they had torn from the handles. They had not been able to make
up their minds to leave their colours behind. When they had passed
the ramparts some of them went to the right over the downs which run
along the coast, and which the fugitives intended to use as their path
to the frontier; the others struck into the open country, and crossed
the canal; as soon as they were out of sight, however, they rejoined
the first lot. At eight o’clock that evening the boatmen on the Furnes
ferry took over two more, and these were MM. d’Averton and De La Motte.

Now, at that hour, the Royal berlin and its freight had just left la
Ferti-sous-Jouarre, on the high-road to Châlons, and was proceeding
slowly through the dust, followed and accompanied by a noisy, drunken
crowd, towards Meaux. It was caught at Varennes; and the fugitives,
foiled in their attempt, went back to Paris, from that day forth to be
their prison.

The news of their capture, so unluckily contradicted by de Théon in his
manifesto, might possibly have altered the plans of the officers from
Dunkirk. But we hardly think so. Their arrangements had long since been
made, and the Varennes episode gave them, suddenly, an opportunity to
carry them out. But imagine their discomfiture when they heard of the
dramatic ending of the attempt.

It was again Frotté who had been sent to Brussels, to carry to his
King the standard of the regiment.

He arrived there at night, met the Marquis de la Queville, and learnt
the truth from him. Instead of the King, it was the King’s brother,
the Comte de Provence, whom Frotté found there; for _Monsieur_, more
fortunate than the others, had reached the frontier without any trouble.

Thus the affair had partly failed. There was nothing for the fugitive
officers to do but go and join the ever-increasing tribe of _émigrés_
who lined the frontier. They withdrew to Ath, in Hainault, the
rendezvous of many exiles.[27]

What happened at Dunkirk when their absence was discovered? On the
25th, at 5 a.m., a “good patriot,” M. François, awoke the commandant
of the Garde Nationale, M. Emmery, and presented to him the manifesto
of the “Sieur de Théon.” The alarm spread instantly through the town;
it was with indignation that people heard the news of the desertion
of the officers, who had even been so infamous as to carry off the
regimental colours. The soldiers chose new officers, and held a meeting
on the parade-ground. M. Emmery came to them, and tried to pacify them
by offering them one of the colours of the Garde Nationale, to replace
those which had been filched from them. He was enthusiastically
received. Hopes rose high once more. Grenadiers and _gardes nationaux_
met in warmest comradeship; and the tricolour was sent for, and
presented to the regiment, which was drawn up in battle-array.
Vengeance was vowed against traitors and enemies of the Republic.
“From that moment there reigned boundless confidence, perfect joy, and
assured tranquillity.”

But this was not all. It had to be ascertained whether the runaways
had left anything behind them. The Justice of the Peace for the
Quartier-du-Midi, Pierre Taverne, betook himself to the officers’
quarters in the barracks. On the first storey, under the landing,
there was a door which led into the room that was known to have
been Frotté’s. That door was sealed, as were those of all his
brother-officers’ rooms. Five days later the seals were broken. The
inspection brought nothing noteworthy to light. In Frotté’s room they
found two helmets, a cross-belt, and a gorget. The others were still
less exciting; a cap and two portmanteaus, “containing a little music,”
were found in M. Derampan’s quarters; a cap and a double-barrelled gun
in M. Metayer’s; a trunk in M. de Dreuille’s; a cap and a cross-belt
in M. Demingin’s, and so on. The Royal tent contained a cabriolet
belonging to M. de Théon; the stables, “near the fuel-stores,” yielded
another old cabriolet, the property of M. de Frotté. Everything was
confiscated, and taken to the Municipality.

The only thing which interested the authorities was a trunk full of
papers, which had been seized in Frotté’s quarters. It was examined,
but no proofs were found of the suspected conspiracy. It was then
tied up, sealed, and sent to the Research Committee of the National
Assembly, with a curt account of the occurrence. On the evening of
June 28 this was read to the Deputies of the Assembly, some of whom
were very angry on hearing the defiant appeal of de Théon to his

       *       *       *       *       *

Was Lady Atkyns at Lille to hear the issue of the adventure? She had
more probably left France by that time, terrified by all that was going
on around her, and the more so that she was alone, for her friends on
every side had left her.

While her lover was languishing among the _émigrés_ (made miserable
by their inaction and selfishness) she regained her old home at
Ketteringham, uneasy in her mind, but not despairing. She saw plainly
what her own path was to be; for her love for the Queen and the Queen’s
people was henceforth to rule her life, and carry her on from one
devoted action to another.


[2] Victor Derode, _Histoire de Lille et de la Flandre Wallonne_, 1848,
in 8vo, vol. iii. p. 26. For the account of these military disturbances
at Lille, we have also made use of a MS. narrative by the Chevalier
de Frotté, _Archives Nationales_ D. XXIX., 36; and of a statement
addressed to the King by the Marquis de Livarot, regarding his conduct,
a printed copy of which is at the Bibliothèque Nationale, L.K. 4008.

[3] These words are underlined in the text.

[4] L. de la Sicotière, _Louis de Frotté et les Insurrections
Normandes_, 1793-1832, Paris, 1889, two volumes in 8vo.

[5] His father married again, a Dumont de Lamberville, whose brother
was one of the best friends of Louis de Frotté.

[6] The future journalist, founder of the _Courrier de Versailles_.

[7] This approximate date is furnished us by the death certificate of
Lady Atkyns; but these certificates are known to have been for the most
part very inaccurately made out, especially with regard to the date of
birth, when they had reference to a foreigner dying at Paris.

[8] Will of Robert Walpole of March 14, 1803, by which he bequeathed
all his worldly goods to his wife, Blancy Walpole, and to his three
daughters, Mary, Frances, and Charlotte. Inventory after death of the
effects of Lady Atkyns.--_Unpublished Papers of Lady Atkyns._

[9] Genest: _History of the Stage_.

[10] Genest: _History of the Stage_. “This musical entertainment
was written for the sake of exhibiting a representation of the camp
at Coxheath.... Miss Walpole, as a young recruit, went through her
exercises adroitly.”

[11] _The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle_, by Sylvanus
Urban, Gent., London, vol. xlix., for the year 1779, p. 326.

[12] _Diaries of a Lady of Quality, from 1797 to 1814_, edited, with
notes, by A. Hayward, Esq. London: Longman, Green & Co., 1864, pp.

[13] “Milady Charlotte, English, pensioner of France, twelve livres;
for one servant in 1789, two livres; twelve livres, two servants for
1790, four livres.”--_Register of the Poll-tax of the Seven Parishes_,
1790. _Parish of St. André, Rue Princesse, No. 337_, p. 46. _Municipal
Archives of Lille._

[14] “To-day, October 28, 1790, in the Assembly of the General Council
of the town of Lille ... having heard the solicitor for the Commune,
the Council proceeded to the continuation of the work of sur-taxation,
and of taxation for the patriotic contribution.... After which, it
proceeded to the taxation of those able to contribute, having an
income of more than 400 livres, as follows:--Parish of St. André ...
Rue Princesse, Milady Charlotte, because of her pension from the Royal
Treasury ... 300 livres....”--_Register No. 1 of the Deliberations of
the Corporation of Lille. Archives of Lille._

[15] “On the 20th March, 1791, I the undersigned, Curate of this
Parish, baptized Antoine-Quentin Atkyns, born yesterday at 8 o’clock
a.m., the illegitimate son of Edward, native of England, and of
Geneviève Leglen, native of Lille; attested by M. Warocquier, junior,
registered _accoucheur_; verified by Derousseaux, clerk. God parents:
Antoine-Quentin Derobois, and Therése Cordier, the undersigned,

                                             Signed: “Derobois. Cordier,
                                             “F. Dutheil, Curate.”

_Civil Registers. Parish of St. Catherine. Baptisms. Archives of Lille._

[16] “After having loved and served the unhappy Marie-Antoinette with
a love that was almost idolatry.”--_Mémoires manuscrits de Frotté_;
La Sicotière, _Louis de Frotté_, etc., vol. i. p. 49. “O exquisite
woman, let our Revolution end as it may, and even if you should have
no part in it, you will still and for ever be to me the tender and
devoted friend of Antoinette ... and she to whom I hope some day to owe
all my happiness.”--Letter from de Frotté to Lady Atkyns, November,
1794. V. Delaporte, _Centenaire de la mort de Marie-Antoinette. Études
religieuses_, October, 1893, p. 265.

[17] _National Archives_, D. XXIX. 36.

[18] Unpublished letter to Frotté, May 7, 1790. _National Archives_, D.
XXIX. 36.

[19] In the course of a search made at Dunkirk, in Frotté’s
dwelling-place (in circumstances of which we shall speak directly),
the greater part of the articles seized were sent to the Committee of
Research of the National Assembly, and it was in the Archives of this
Committee that we discovered them. _National Archives_, D. XXIX. 36.

[20] The entire text will be found, published by M. A. Savine, in the
_Nouvelle Revue Retrospective_, 1900, vol. xiii. pp. 217-233.

[21] “You will have got a letter from me, explaining my apparent
neglect; I wrote it the day before I went to Vaux, as well as I
remember. Your father, who may have told you in a moment of irritation
that you were a burden to him (it was only a letter after all), charged
me then to send you his love. My sister has often spoken of you with
the most sincere and tender affection. You would be most unkind if you
did not write to her; she would have every reason to be angry with
you; you would pain her, and that would pain your father.... Dear
fellow, don’t, _don’t_ despair; you make me very uneasy by the way you
write.”--Letter from Lamberville to Frotté. April 5, 1791. _National
Archives_, D. XXIX. 36.

[22] To Fours, in the Eure district, whence the letter comes.

[23] Letter from Vallière to Frotté, November 13, 1790. _National
Archives_, D. XXIX. 36.

[24] Letter dated “Lille, December 14” (1790). The address runs: “To
M. le Vicomte de Frotté, officer in the Regiment Colonel-General of
infantry at Dunkirk.” _National Archives_, D. XXIX. 36.

[25] _Municipal Archives of Dunkirk_, p. 60.

[26] _Municipal Archives of Dunkirk_, p. 60.

[27] It was from that place that they addressed, on July 3, 1791, a
petition for the restoration of their effects left in the garrison,
and also asked for the liberation of their regimental chaplain, whom
the Corporation had had arrested, on the charge of having aided the
plot.--_Archives of Dunkirk_, p. 60.

[28] _Moniteur_, June 30, 1791.

                              CHAPTER II


While the Court and the Army of the _émigrés_ were being organized at
Coblentz and Worms, under the direction of Monsieur, Comte de Provence,
of the Comte d’Artois, and of the Prince de Condé, and while rivalry
and jealousies and a thousand other causes of dissension were already
cropping up in that environment (so often and always so unfavourably
depicted), other troops of similar fugitives were leaving the eastern
coast and, embarking from the Channel port, or stopping first on the
islands of Jersey and Guernsey, were gradually arriving on English
soil, there to find an assured refuge. In the last months of 1791, and
in the beginning of 1792, they came thither in thousands. Bretons,
Normans, nobles, ecclesiastics, journalists, young officers, fleeing
persecution, pillage, arbitrary arrests, came hastening to enjoy the
hospitality of Great Britain.

London was soon full of refugees; but the majority of these unfortunate
folk, despite their illustrious names, were in a state almost of

The more prosperous ones, those who had been able to rescue something
from the shipwreck, succeeded in finding homes in the suburbs--modest
boarding-houses, or little cottages--where they installed their
families. But these were the exceptions; and in every street French
gentlefolk were to be met with who had no property but what they
carried on their backs. Many of them knew no English; and still
overwhelmed by the dangers they had passed through, and thus suddenly
plunged into strange surroundings, without resources, without even a
handicraft, went wandering despairingly about the city, in search of

They were not allowed to starve. Most admirably did English charity
accept this influx of new inhabitants.

The last years of the reign of Louis XVI., together with the War of
Independence in the United States, had markedly chilled the relations
between France and her neighbours across the Channel. Revolutionary
ideas from the frontiers had at first met with some sympathy amongst
this favoured people, who had been in the enjoyment of true liberty
for a century. But when English folk came to know of the excess which
these ideas had resulted in, of the anarchy which had been let loose in
all directions, of the violence which was the order of the day--their
distrust, indignation, and horror effaced that earlier sympathy.

King George III., supported by his Minister, Pitt, felt from that time
an aversion which grew to implacable hatred for anything even remotely
connected with the French Revolution.[29]

On the other hand, he (and, indeed, almost the whole of the
aristocracy) welcomed the refugees, and encouraged their sojourn in the
kingdom--glad, no doubt, of the opportunity for displaying his opinion
of the new ideas, by helping on the exodus of a part of the inhabitants
of France, an exodus which would contribute to the weakening of that

Whatever the reason may have been, there is abundant evidence of
the inexhaustible charity that the new-comers met with in English
society. Benevolent committees were formed, presided over by dukes and
duchesses, marquises and marchionesses.[30] When the first necessities
of the poor creatures had been provided for by the establishment of
cheap restaurants, hotels, and bazaars, their friends sought out
occupations for them, so that they might be in a position to earn
their own livelihood. The clergy were the first to profit by this
solicitude. The decree of August 26, 1792, ordaining the deportation
of non-juring priests, had driven them in a body from the continent.
It was well for those who were thus driven out, for of their comrades
who remained the most part were in the end persecuted and entrapped.
The greater number chose England for their place of refuge. They
came thither in crowds--so much so that, at the Terror, there were
as many as 8000.[31] Many were Bretons. One of them, Carron, came to
London preceded by a reputation for holiness. He had founded at Rennes
a cotton-cloth factory which gave employment to more than 2000 poor
people. The famous Decree of August 26 affected him, and thus forced
him to abandon his enterprise. He went to Jersey, and recommenced his
work there; but left the island at the end of some time, and came to
settle in England. There he set up an alms-house for his destitute
coreligionists, and acted the part of a sort of Providence to them. Nor
was he the only one they had.

Jean-François de la Marche, Bishop of Saint-Pol-de-Léon, had, ever
since the early months of 1791, incurred the wrath and fury of the
Attorney-General of the department of Finisterre. This prelate, who
was profoundly loved in his diocese, refused to give up his bishopric,
which had recently been suppressed by the National Assembly. He was
accused of fomenting agitation in the department, and of inciting
the curés to resistance. He was violently denounced at the National
Assembly, and treated as a disturber of the public peace. Summoned to
Paris to exculpate himself, together with his colleagues, the Bishops
of Tréguier and Morbihan, he took no notice of the order, and to
escape arrest, which threatened him, and for which he was being pursued
by the Cavalry Police, he had but one resource--to get right away from
Brittany. He came to London in the first batch of _émigrés_. From the
outset he had but one idea: to look after his companions in misfortune,
to help them in their need, to find employment for them. To this end he
served as intermediary between the Government and the priests, pleading
the cause of these latter, and keeping registers of the names and
qualifications of all with whom he became concerned.

In spite of so many reasons for melancholy, one thing that struck the
English people was the extraordinary gaiety of nature displayed by most
of the _émigrés_ so soon as they found themselves in security. These
good folk, many of whom landed half-starved, exhausted and ragged,
were somehow not entirely disheartened, and, indeed, on commencing
life afresh, displayed an extraordinary spirit and cheerfulness. Very
quickly, even in the alien country, they formed into circles of friends
who saw each other every day,[32] eager to exchange impressions,
reminiscences, and hopes, to get news from the Homeland and from those
members of their families who had not been able to leave it; they felt
keenly the need of a common existence, in which they could cheer and
encourage one another. And what a kindly grace they showed, what a
brave spirit, amid all the little disagreeables of a way of life so
different from that of the good old days! At the dinners which they
gave one another, each would bring his own dish. “’Twas made,” says the
Count d’Haussonville, “into a little attention to the visitors of the
house for a man to take a taper from his pocket, and put it, lighted,
on the chimney-piece!” In the daytime the men-folk gave lessons or
worked as secretaries (or bookbinders, like the Count de Caumont, for
instance). The women did needlework, which the English ladies, their
patronesses, busied themselves in selling at bazaars.[33]

But side by side with the gentlemen who took their exile so patiently
and philosophically, there was a whole group of _émigrés_ who longed
to play a less passive part. These were the men and women who had fled
from France and brought their illusions with them--those inconceivable
illusions which mistook so entirely the true character, importance,
and extent of the Revolution, and could still, therefore, cherish the
hope of some kind of revenge. Totally misunderstanding the feelings
of the English Government, unable to comprehend the line taken by
Pitt and his Cabinet, and blinded by their stubborn hatred, these men
and women actually imagined that, to their importunate appeals, Great
Britain could respond by furnishing them with arms, soldiers, and
money to equip a fleet, form an army, and go back to France as the
avengers of the “hideous Revolution.” They assailed the Minister with
offers, counsels, and schemes--for the most part quite impracticable;
were refused, but still cherished their delusion. Some of them were
honest, but many were of that class of adventurer with which the
Emigration was swarming, and which was the thorn in the side of all
the anti-revolutionary agencies. The well-warned Government could give
them but one reception. Pitt had not the least idea of listening to the
proposals of these gentry and personally intervening in favour of the
Royalists of France.[34]

England at that time was deeply concerned with Indian affairs; and, in
spite of the lively sympathy inspired by the grievous situation of the
Royal Family at the Tuileries, she could not dream of departing, at any
rate just then, from an attitude of benevolent neutrality.

In her manor-house of Ketteringham, where she spent the winter of
1791-92, Lady Atkyns was not forgetful of her French friends. The
_Gazette_ brought her week by week news of the events in Paris, of
the troubles in the provinces, of the deliberations of the National
Assembly. But what she looked for first of all was intelligence about
the inhabitants of the Tuileries, whose agitated and anguished lives
she anxiously followed. Separation redoubled her sympathetic adoration
of the lady whom she had seen and worshipped at Versailles. Thus we
can imagine what her grief must have been on hearing the details of
that 20th of June--the invaded palace, the interminable line of the
people defiling before the King, the attitude of Marie-Antoinette,
protecting her son against the ferocious curiosity of the petitioners,
and surrounded only by a few faithful allies who made a rampart for her
with their bodies. Lady Atkyns’ heart had failed her as she read of all
this. The day of the Tenth of August, the massacre of the Swiss Guards,
the flight of the King and Queen, their transfer to the Temple Prison,
and incarceration there--these things redoubled her anguish. She went
frequently to London for information, and returned, sad and anxious, to
her dear Norfolk home, made miserable by her impotence to do anything
that might save the Queen.

With her great love for the Royalist cause, she naturally associated
herself warmly with the benevolent efforts of English society to help
the _émigrés_. She knew many of the names, and when she heard talk
of D’Harcourts, Beauvaus, Veracs, Fitz-Jameses, Mortemarts, all the
life at Versailles must have come back to her--the Queen’s “set,” the
receptions, the festivities.

It was during one of her visits to London that she made the
acquaintance of a man whom she had long wished to know, and whose
articles she always eagerly read--I allude to Jean-Gabriel Peltier,
the editor of the _Acts of the Apostles_, that extravagantly Royalist
sheet which had such an immense vogue in a certain circle since the
days of ’89. Peltier was born near Angers;[35] his real name was
Dudoyer--of a business family. After an adventurous youth, and a
sojourn at Saint-Domingo (where, it seems, he did not lead a blameless
life), he came to Paris at the beginning of the Revolution. According
to a police report of doubtful authenticity, he flung himself heart
and soul into the revolutionary cause, speechifying side by side with
Camille Desmoulins at the Palais-Royal, flaunting one of the first
rebel flags, and marching to the Taking of the Bastille. Then, all of
a sudden, he turns his coat, becomes a blazing Royalist, and founds a
newspaper with the curious title of _The Acts of the Apostles_. For the
space of two years he then attacks violently, recklessly, everything
and everybody so mistaken as not to agree with his own ideas. The style
of the paper is sarcastic, and frequently licentious. The author has
been found fault with for his insults and his invectives; his sheet
has been styled “infamous;” but when we remember the prevailing tone
of the Press at that time, and the condition of the public mind, is
it not only fair to grant some indulgence to the quartette--Peltier,
Rivarol, Champcnetz, and Sulau--who took in hand so ardently and
enthusiastically the interests of the King?

On August 10, when he had dismissed the other editors of the _Acts of
the Apostles_, and stopped the publication of the paper, Peltier,
feeling no longer safe in Paris, took the step of emigrating. He came
to London with the idea of founding a new periodical, which was to be
called _The Political Correspondence of the True Friends of the King_.

                        [Illustration: PELTIER.

                   JEAN-GABRIEL PELTIER, 1765-1825.

             (_After an engraving in the British Museum._)

                         [_To face page 44._]

Tall and thin, with powdered hair, and a lofty bald forehead, always
inveighing fervently against something or other (so Chateaubriand
depicts him), Peltier answered in some degree to the traditional type
of journalist in those days, when “journalist” meant at once gazetteer,
lampoonist, and pamphleteer. Judging by his writings alone, one can
understand the small confidence that his English acquaintances placed
in him; but under his somewhat eccentric mode of expression Peltier
concealed a very real and deep devotion to the King’s cause.

His acquaintance with Lady Atkyns dates from November, 1792. This
lady spent a great part of her long leisurely days in the country
in reading. She was told of the recent publications by Peltier; she
had known only of some of these, and instantly off she writes to the
journalist, asking him for the first numbers of the book which he is
bringing out. Needless to say, her desire is at once gratified.[36]
She devours the writings of the author of _The Acts of the Apostles_;
she joins in his anger, shares his admirations, and a regular
correspondence begins between these two persons, drawn together as
they were by a common sympathy for the Royal Family of France.

When they have exchanged reminiscences of past days, they come to
consider the present. Lady Atkyns has been fretting for weeks over her
inaction. A thousand thoughts disturb her, all converging towards the
same idea: can she do anything to save the King and the Queen? Does
she not possess a considerable fortune, and who is to prevent her from
arranging to devote a part of it to the realization of her dream? And
in truth this woman, who was a foreigner, who was bound by no real tie
of any kind to the inmates of the Tuileries, _was_ actually to attempt,
through the strength alone of her love and her heroic devotion, what
no one had yet succeeded in. A superhuman energy sustained her; one
thought only was henceforth to rule her life, and not once did she
falter, nor doubt, nor lose the ardour of her feeling.

To whom better could she address herself than to him who seemed to
understand her so well? Peltier was told of her intentions. Their
letters grew more frequent, their project begins to take shape.

 “In truth, madame” (Peltier writes), “the more I read you, the more
 your zeal astonishes and moves me. You are more intrepid and more
 ardent than any Frenchman, even among those who are most attached to
 their King. But have you reflected upon the dozen doors, the dozen
 wickets and tickets that must be arranged for, before you can get into
 Court? I know that to tell you of difficulties is but to inflame your
 desire to overcome them; moreover, I do not doubt that your new scheme
 has taken all these difficulties into account.”

When this plan had been modified and approved by Peltier, it stood
thus: First of all, to find two safe correspondents in Paris, to whom
letters and a statement of the scheme could be sent. And these two
men were there, ready to hand--both whole-heartedly Royalists, both
tried men. They were MM. Goguelat and Gougenot. The first, who was M.
de Bouillé’s aide-de-camp, had taken an active part in the Varennes
affair, but he had not shown the greatest discretion, for all he had
succeeded in doing was to get wounded. The second, who was the King’s
steward, had been in the secret of the flight. The plotters also meant
to get into relations with the two physicians of Louis XVI., MM.
Lemonnier and Vicq d’Azyr, who would give most valuable aid in the
passing of notes into the Temple Prison, for and to the prisoners. But
the great difficulty would be the King. How was _he_ to be brought to
their way of thinking? Would he consent to listen to the proposals they
were to transmit to him? “That” (declares Peltier) “is what no one can
be sure of, considering the state of prostration that he must be in
after such terrible and incessant misfortunes.”

Nor was this all. They had to find an intelligent and nimble agent,
who could cross from England to France once, twice, many times if
necessary; who could have interviews with the persons indicated, and,
above all, who could manage to procure detailed plans of the Temple
Prison. An ordinary courier would not do. Well, it just happened that
Peltier _had_ relations with a foreign nobleman, Hungarian by birth,
whom he had come to know by chance, and who even helped him with his
publications. He had, in fact, made this gentleman his collaborator.
His name was d’Auerweck, and as he happened to be in France at that
very moment, he could easily betake himself to Paris, and, in Peltier’s
opinion, would fill most admirably the delicate post with which he was
to be entrusted.

Finally, throughout the plot, they were to make use in correspondence
of a “sympathetic” ink, “which could only be read when held near the

Here is the cost of the first preparations:--

                                             £ _s._ _d._

    Journey to Paris by diligence             5  5  0
    Return                                    5  5  0
    Travelling expenses, etc. (at least)      6  6  0
    Expenses at Paris for, say fifteen days   3  3  0
    Tips to servants                          6  6  0
                                             26  5  0

That is a sum of about 650 francs. Needless to say, the journalist
_émigré_, like most of his compatriots, was entirely unable to give
the smallest contribution to the expenses of the enterprise; but Lady
Atkyns was there, ready for any sacrifice; they were to apply to her
for everything necessary.

In conclusion, Peltier pointed out again the difficulties of a general

 “Above all, madame, do not forget that I foresee a great difficulty
 in bringing out the three principal members of the family. They may
 possibly think themselves safer in the Temple than on the high-road.
 The personal risk which you are running makes me shudder. Your courage
 is worthy of the admiration of all Europe, and if any harm comes to
 you, as the result of so heroic an enterprise, I shall be among those
 who will deplore it most.”

Three days later another letter came to Ketteringham, telling of the
good progress of the attempt. Peltier was going to despatch his servant
to Amiens, whither the Baron d’Auerweck had gone, and the latter would
in this way receive his instructions.

But there was no time to lose. The storm was muttering in Paris.
Pressed by the “Forward” groups, frightened by the redoubled
insurrections, the Convention had been compelled to proceed to the
trial of the King. “Circumstances are becoming so urgent,” wrote
Peltier, “that we have not a moment to lose; they talk of trying
the King so as to calm down the insurrections that are breaking out

And, indeed, it was necessary to make haste. After the discovery of
the papers in the famous “Iron Press” in the Tuileries, the Convention
had agreed that the King should appear before them. On December 10
Robert Lindet made his report, and the next day Barbaroux presented
“the deed enunciating the crimes of Louis Capet.” On the same day the
King appeared before the bar of the Convention, there to answer the
thirty-one questions which were put to him.

Like lightning, this terrifying news crossed the Channel, and reached
London in a few hours. Peltier’s rooms filled with horrified people,
“who met there all day long to weep and despair.”

 “I cannot conceal from you, madame,” wrote Peltier that evening to his
 friend, “that the danger to the Royal Family is very great at this
 moment. Truly I cannot hope that they will still be alive at the end
 of the fortnight. It is heartrending. You will have seen the English
 papers. You will have read Robespierre’s abominable speech, and how
 it was applauded by the Tribunes; and, above all, you will have seen
 about these new documents, which have been twisted into a crime of the
 unhappy King’s because people _will not_ see that all the steps he
 took to regain his authority were taken for the good of his people,
 and that his sole object was to save them by force if necessary from
 the evils which are destroying them, now that they no longer have a

But even yet all was not lost. If they arrived too late to save the
King, there was still the Dauphin, “to whom every one should look.” In
a few days the Baron d’Auerweck would be in Paris, and they would know
exactly how much they might still hope for.

“A Transylvanian nobleman,” was the description Peltier had given when
writing about this new collaborator.[37] The epithet, although most
attractive--suggestive as it was of that land of great forests all
wildness and mystery--was not perfectly exact. The family of Auerweck,
though perhaps of Hungarian origin, had established itself at Vienna,
where the father of our Baron died as a captain in the Austrian
service. His wife--whose maiden-name had been Scheltheim--had borne him
four children, two boys and two girls. The two latter were married and
settled in Austria. The elder son, who was born at Vienna about 1766,
was named Louis (Aloys) Gonzago; he added to his family name that of an
estate, Steilenfels, and the title of Baron--so that the whole thing,
when given out with the proper magniloquence, was quite effective.

“By the particular favour of Marie-Thérèse,” Louis d’Auerweck entered
very young the Military Academy of Neustadt, near Vienna. On leaving
it, he spent four years in a Hungarian regiment, the “Renfosary;” but
garrison-life bored him, and, independent and ambitious, he longed to
shake off the yoke of militarism which hampered him in his schemes.

Unfortunately, we have only his own record of his younger days,[38] and
it is matter for regret that no more trustworthy information is to be
had. For very curious and interesting is the life of this adventurer,
who was undeniably intelligent and clever, but who was also an
intriguer and a braggart; who knew French well, and therefore posed as
a finished diplomatist, with pretentions to philosophy and literature;
who, in a word, was filled with a sense of his own importance, and
fatally addicted to “playing to the gallery.” Some quotations from his
writings will give a better idea of him than any description.

Hardly has he left Austria--his reason for doing so we shall learn from
himself--than he sets off on a sort of educational tour, beginning at
Constantinople and going on to the Mediterranean. He visits, one after
the other, Greece, Malta, Sicily, Spain, the South of France; he even
goes so far as Chambéry and Lyons. An opportunity turns up, and off he
sets for Paris.

 “The innovations made by Joseph II., such as the introduction of the
 Register and military conscription, caused him to be employed as an
 engineer, and as a member of the administrative body formed to carry
 out these different schemes. His independent character instantly
 displayed itself in a sphere where it was no longer repressed by
 that duty of blind obedience which is the very being of the Army.
 He could now venture to have an opinion and to express it, he could
 criticise the root-idea on the form of an enterprise by displaying
 its difficulties or foretelling its non-success (forecasts, moreover,
 which time has proved to be sound); he could speak of the violation of
 national justice, of a legitimate resistance to arbitrary power. His
 experiences under fire, his activity, and his oratorical talent gave
 him a position among the malcontents which he had not sought in any
 way. In consequence, he ventured on something more than mere speaking
 and writing. His travels, his qualities, his independent and decided
 character have won for him friendships and acquaintanceships which
 have given him the advantage of never finding himself out of place in
 any important centre of affairs. To this he owes that knowledge of
 the hereditary prejudices and the sudden caprices of Cabinets, which
 when joined to an equal knowledge of the character of their chiefs,
 ministers, constitutes _diplomacy_. To assiduous study he attributes
 that understanding of the true interests of Governments, and of their
 respective powers, which constitutes _international politics_.”

Such was the personage to whom Lady Atkyns and Peltier entrusted their
enterprise. If they looked after him carefully, granted him only a
limited discretion, and took the fullest advantage of his intelligence
and his talents, they would probably make something of the Hungarian
nobleman. This was not the Baron’s first visit to Paris; he knew the
capital well. He had come there at the beginning of the Revolution, in
1789, and, if we are to believe his own account, “he saw the results
of all these horrors, but was merely laughed at. If all mankind could
have been armed against the Revolution, he would have armed them!”
Moreover, he had kept up many connections in Paris. By his own account,
the Austrian Minister, Thugut, whom he had formerly met at Naples, had
taken him into his confidence. In short, his friends in London could
not have made a better choice, as he wrote from Amiens to Peltier on
the receipt of his proposal.

 “I start for Paris at full speed at five o’clock to-morrow morning.
 I need not tell you that from this moment I shall devote myself to
 the business of which you have spoken to me, nor need I add that
 this devotion is entirely disinterested. If I had not already proved
 those two things to you, I should not be the man you require. But,
 just because I feel that I _have_ the head and the heart necessary
 for your enterprise, I tell you frankly that it can only be carried
 out at great expense. The business of getting information--which is
 only a preparatory measure--is made difficult, if not impossible,
 unless a considerable sum of money can be spent.... I believe
 myself authorized to speak to you in this way, because I have the
 advantage--rare enough amongst men--of being above suspicion with
 regard to my own interests.”[39]

On Wednesday, December 19, d’Auerweck entered Paris, and put up at
a hotel in the Rue Coq-Héron, where he gave his name as Scheltheim.
He instantly set to work to get the letters he had brought with him
delivered at their addresses, and to make certain of the co-operation
which was essential to him. But there was a disappointment in store;
Goguelat, upon whom so much depended, was away from Paris, and, as it
happened, in London. It was necessary to act without him, and this was
no easy matter. The excitement caused by the trial of the King enforced
upon the plotters a redoubled caution. D’Auerweck got uneasy when he
found no letters coming from Peltier in answer to his own. He went more
frequently to Versailles, and to Saint-Germain, and kept on begging for
funds. On December 25, the day before M. de Sèze was to present the
King’s defence to the Convention, d’Auerweck wrote to Peltier--

 “The persons (you know whom I mean) do not care to arrive here before
 Thursday, which is very natural, for there is all sorts of talk as to
 what may happen to-morrow.... You promised me to write by each post;
 but there can be no doubt that you forgot me on Tuesday, the 18th,
 for otherwise I must have had your letters by this time. One thing I
 cannot tell you too often: it is that I consider it essential to take
 to you in person any documents that I may be able to procure.”[40]

The documents in question were those which Peltier had alluded to, some
days before, in a letter to Lady Atkyns: “I heard to-day that there was
some one in Paris who had all the plans that you want in the greatest
detail;”[41] and at the end of the month he returned to the subject--

 “I am expecting, too, a most exact plan of the Temple Prison, taken
 in November; and not only of the Temple, but also of the caves that
 lie under the tower--caves that are not generally known of, and which
 were used from time immemorial for the burial of the ancient Templars.
 I know a place where the wall is only eighteen inches thick, and
 debouches on the next street.”

It becomes evident that Peltier and Lady Atkyns, almost abandoning
any hope of saving the King, whose situation appeared to them to
be desperate, now brought all their efforts to bear upon the other
prisoners of the Temple.

 “If His Majesty persists in his reluctance to be rescued from prison,
 at least we may still save his poor son from the assassins’ knives.
 A well-informed man told me, the day before yesterday, when we were
 talking of this deplorable business, that people were to be found in
 Paris ready, for a little money, to carry off the Dauphin. They would
 bring him out of the Temple in a basket, or else disguised in some
 way.... I believe that to save the son is to save the father also.
 For, after all, this poor child cannot be made the pretext for any
 sort of trial, and as the Crown belongs to him by law on his father’s
 death, I believe that they would keep the latter alive, if it were
 only to checkmate those who would rally round the Dauphin. But, in the
 interval, things may have time to alter, and circumstances may at last
 bring about a happy change in this disastrous state of things.”

The month of December went by in this painful state of suspense. What
anxiety must have fretted the heart of the poor lady, as she daily
followed in the _Gazette_ the course of the Royal Trial! On New Year’s
Day she had some further words of encouragement from her friend in
London. All was not lost; Louis XVI. could still reckon, even in the
heart of Paris, upon many brave fellows who would not desert him; and
besides, what about the fatal consequences that would follow on the
crime of regicide? The Members of Convention would never dare--never....

Fifteen days later comes another missive; and this time but little hope
is left. The “Little Baron”--this was what they called d’Auerweck--was
not being idle. Peltier had made an opportunity for him of seeing De
Sèze, the King’s counsel.

 “This latter ought to know for certain whether the King does or does
 not intend to await his sentence or to expose himself to the hazards
 of another flight; but there seems to be very little chance of his
 consenting to it. Whatever happens” (added Peltier), “your desires
 and your efforts, madam, will not be wasted, either for yourself or
 for history. I possess, in your correspondence, a monument of courage
 and devotion which will endure longer than London Bridge.... A trusty
 messenger who starts to-morrow for Paris affords me a means of opening
 my mind to De Sèze for the third time.”

But it was too late. On January 15 the nominal appeal upon the
thirty-three questions presented to the Members of Convention had been
commenced; two days later the capital sentence was voted by a majority
of fifty-three.

On January 21, at the hour when the guillotine had just done its work,
the following laconic note reached Ketteringham to say that all was

 “My honoured friend, all we can do now is to weep. The crime is
 consummated. Judgment of death was pronounced on Thursday evening.
 D’Orleans voted for it, and he is to be made Protector. We have
 nothing now to look forward to but revenge; and our revenge shall be

Think of the look that must have fallen upon that date, “January
21!” The postmark of the letter still shows it quite clearly, on the
yellowed sheet.

Could they possibly have succeeded if the King _had_ listened
favourably to their proposal? It is difficult to say. But it is
certainly a fact, that during the last six months of 1792 there had
been on the water, near Dieppe, a cruising vessel which kept up a
constant communication with the English coast. The truth was that,
finding the Rouen route too frequented, Peltier had judged the Dieppe
one to be infinitely preferable. It was that way that the fish
merchants came to Paris. If they had succeeded in getting the King
outside the Temple gates it is probable that his escape would have been
consummated. But the prison was heavily guarded at that time, and
during the trial these precautions were redoubled.

At any rate, there is no doubt that Louis knew of the attempts to
save him from death. Some time after the event of January 21, Clery,
speaking of the King to the Municipal, Goret, remarked--

 “Alas! my dear good master could have been saved if he had chosen.
 The windows in that place are only fifteen or sixteen feet above the
 ground. Everything had been arranged for a rescue, while he was still
 there, but he refused, because they could not save his family with

There can be no doubt that these words refer to the attempt of Lady
Atkyns and Peltier.[42] The assent of the King had alone been wanting
to its execution.

It is well known what a terrible and overwhelming effect was produced
in the European Courts by the news of the King’s execution. In London
it was received with consternation. Not merely the _émigrés_ (who had
added to their numbers there since the beginning of the Revolution)
were thunderstruck by the blow, but the Court of King George was
stupefied at the audacity of the National Assembly. The Court went
instantly into mourning, and the King ordered the French Ambassador,
Chauvelin, to leave London on the spot. Some days later war was
officially declared against France.[43]

The King’s death caused the beginning of that struggle which was to
last so many years and be so implacably, ferociously waged on both

       *       *       *       *       *

Any one but Lady Atkyns would have lost heart, but that heroic woman
did not allow herself to be cast down for an instant. Amid the general
mourning, she still cherished her hopes; moreover, those who had been
helping her had not abandoned her. The “Little Baron” was still in
Paris, awaiting orders, but the gravity of the situation had obliged
him to leave the Hotel Coq-Héron, where his life was no longer in
safety. Well, they had failed with the King; now they must tempt
fortune, and save the Queen and her children. The lady at Ketteringham
was quite sure of that.

 “Nothing is yet decided about the Queen’s fate” (Peltier had written
 to her at the end of January), “but it has been proposed at the
 Commune of Paris to transfer her either to the prison of La Force or
 of La Conciergerie.”

Then Lady Atkyns had an idea. Why should she not go in person to
Paris and try her chance? Probably the surveillance which had been so
rigorously kept over the King would be far less severe for the Queen.
And one might profit by the relative tranquillity, and manage to get
into the Temple, and then--who could tell what one might not devise in
the way of carrying the Queen off, or of substituting some one else
for her? She never thought of all the dangers around her, and of the
enormously increased difficulties in the path for a foreign lady who
knew only a little French. Peltier, to whom she confided her plan,
tried to dissuade her.

 “You will hardly have arrived before innumerable embarrassments will
 crop up; if you leave your hotel three times in the day, or if you see
 the same person thrice, you will become a suspect.”

But his friend’s persistence ended by half convincing him, and he
admitted that the moment was relatively favourable, and that it was
well to take advantage of it, if she wished to attempt anything.

Unluckily, things were moving terribly fast in Paris. There came the
days of May 31 and June 2, the efforts of the sections against the
Commune, civil war let loose. In the midst of this storm, Lady Atkyns
feared that the whole affair might come to nought; her arrangements,
moreover, were not completed. Money, which can do so much, decide so
much, and which had already proved so powerful--money, perhaps, was not
sufficiently forthcoming. Suddenly there is a rumour that a conspiracy
to favour the Queen’s escape has been discovered. Two members of the
Commune, Lepitre and Toulan, who had been won over to the cause by a
Royalist, the Chevalier de Jarjays, had almost succeeded in carrying
out their scheme, when the irresolution of one of them had ruined
everything; nevertheless, they were denounced.[44] Public attention,
which had been averted for a moment, now was fixed again upon the
Temple Prison.

And the days go by, and Lady Atkyns sees no chance of starting on her

We come here to an episode in her life which seems to be enveloped
in mystery. One fact is proved, namely, that Lady Atkyns succeeded
in reaching Marie Antoinette, disguised, and at the price of a large
sum of money. But when did this take place? Was the Queen still at
the Temple, or was it after she had been taken to the Conciergerie?
The most reliable witnesses we have--and they are two of Lady Atkyns’
confidants--seem to contradict one another.[45] A careful weighing
of testimony and an attentive study of the letters which Lady Atkyns
received at this time lead us to conclude, with much probability, that
the attempt was made _after_ the Queen had been transferred to the
Conciergerie; that is to say, after August 2, 1793.[46]

Some days before this Peltier had again brought her to give up her
resolve, assuring her that she was vainly exposing herself to risk--

 “If you wish to be useful to that family, you can only be so by
 directing operations from here (instead of going there to get
 guillotined), and by making those sacrifices which you have already
 resolved to make.”

It was of no use. The brave lady listened only to her heart’s
promptings, and set out for Paris. If we are to believe her friend, the
Countess MacNamara[47]--and her testimony is valuable--she succeeded
in winning over a municipal official, who consented to open the doors
of the Conciergerie for her, on the condition that no word should be
exchanged between her and the Royal prisoner. Moreover, the foreign
lady must wear the uniform of a National Guard. It was Drury Lane
over again! She promised everything, and was to content herself with
offering a bouquet to the Queen; but under the stress of the intense
emotion she experienced on meeting once more the eyes of the lady whom
she had not seen since the days at Versailles, she let fall a note
which she held, and which was to have been put into the Queen’s hand
with the bouquet. The Municipal officer was about to take possession
of it, but, more prompt than he, Lady Atkyns rushed forward, picked
it up, and swallowed it. She was turned out brutally. Such was the
result of the interview. But the English lady did not stop there. By
more and more promises and proceedings, by literally strewing her path
with gold, she bought over fresh allies, and this time she obtained the
privilege of spending an hour alone with the Queen--at what a price
may be imagined! It is said that she had to pay a thousand louis for
that single hour. Her plan was this: to change clothes with the Queen,
who would then leave the Conciergerie instead of her. But she met with
an obstinate refusal. Marie-Antoinette would not, under any pretext,
sacrifice the life of another, and to abandon her imprisoned children
was equally impossible to her. But what emotion she must have felt at
the sight of such a love, so simple, so whole-hearted, and so pure!
She could but thank her friend with tearful eyes and commend her son,
the Dauphin, to that friends tender solicitude. She also gave her some
letters for her friends in England.[48]

On leaving the Conciergerie, one thought filled the mind of Lady
Atkyns: she would do for the son what she had not been able to do for
the mother--she would drag the little Dauphin out of the Temple Prison.

       *       *       *       *       *

Did she return to England immediately afterwards? Probably. For one
thing, she had not lost all hope, and, like the rest of her friends,
she did not as yet fear instant danger for the Queen’s life. This is
proved by a note from Peltier, written in the course of the month of
September, which reveals the existence of a fresh plan.

 “They must set out on Thursday morning at latest; if they delayed any
 longer, the approach of the Austrian troops, and the movements which
 have taken place at Paris, might, we fear, determine the members of
 the Convention to fly and take with them the two hostages whom we want
 to save. One day’s, two days’ delay may make all the difference. If
 they are to start on Thursday morning, and go to Brighton and charter
 a neutral vessel, they have only Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to
 spend, day and night, in getting everything ready. First of all, we
 must get some louis d’or, and sew them in their belts. Then we must
 get some paper-money, if it’s only for the journey along the coast
 to Paris, so that they may not be suspected.... We must have time to
 prepare passports that will do for the three persons who are to go.
 These passports must be made to look like the letters that Mr. Dundas
 is sending for the Jacobins who are being deported from France. They
 are thus less likely to be suspected.... The Temple affair is all
 arranged; but, as to the Conciergerie one, nothing is known as yet;
 the last letters from the Paris agents are dated July 26th. We are
 sure that the persons interested have taken measures, but we do not
 know what they are. It would not be a bad plan to have some money in
 reserve for this purpose. It would be dreadful to think we had missed
 our chance for the sake of two or three hundred louis, which would
 make 1500 guineas. Therefore each man ought to carry on his person
 about 450 louis, or 200 double-louis, because about 50 louis would be
 spent in paper-money.

 “There will also be a line of communication between France and
 England, by means of M----, who resides near Dieppe, on the coast,
 and who up to now has received and passed on constant communications.
 We shall have to know of all the movements either of the armies,
 or of the fleets, so as to direct our operations accordingly....
 Circumstances have made it very dangerous to employ foreigners,
 since the Decree of August 5 has banished them from France. But what
 difference is there between doing a thing one’s self and causing it
 to be done? The glory which one shares with others is glory none the
 less so long as the great purpose is attained.... How can I be sure
 if this plan does succeed, it will not be displeasing to the lady who
 would have liked to carry off her friends with her own hands, and then
 to lead them in triumph, etc., etc.?... But as we are concerned, not
 with an opera, but an operation, the best proof of affection will be
 to sacrifice that glory and that joy. And, besides, that lady will
 not then be running the risks which formerly made existence hateful
 to me. If my friends perish in this affair, I shall at least not have
 to listen to a son’s and a mother’s reproaches for the loss of their

It is clear from these lines that the communications established with
the Temple and outside it were still kept in working order against a
favourable opportunity. The agents in question were probably those
who have been already mentioned, two of whom were the bodyguards of
the Queen. But Lady Atkyns’ money had also had its effect, even among
those “Incorruptibles” which the Revolution created in such numbers;
and the events which we shall now read of can only be explained by
the co-operation, not only of one or two isolated persons, but of a
quantity of willing helpers, cleverly won over, and belonging to a
circle in which it could scarcely have been hoped that they were to be

In the midst of all this, the Baron d’Auerweck (whom we last saw in
Paris), judging, doubtless, that his presence there was unavailing,
went back to London. The situation in France was more than critical.
The formation of a fresh Committee of Public Safety, the activity of
the Revolutionary Tribunals, in a word, the Terror in full blast,
rendered any stay in Paris impossible for already suspected foreigners,
and our Baron made haste to bring to his friends all the latest

Peltier, who was impatiently awaiting him, on communicating his arrival
to Lady Atkyns, wrote thus:--

 “My heart is too full of it for me to speak to you of anything but
 the arrival of my friend, the Baron d’Auerweck. He left France two
 days ago, and is now here, after having run every imaginable risk, and
 lost everything that could be lost.... We have the Paris news from
 him up to the 23rd; the Queen was still safe then. The Baron does not
 think she will be sacrificed. Danton and the Cordeliers are for her,
 Robespierre and the Jacobins against. Her fate will depend upon which
 of the two parties triumphs. The Queen is being closely guarded--the
 King, hardly at all. The Queen maintains a supernatural strength and

It was in London itself, at the Royal Hotel, that Lady Atkyns received
these lines. She had hastened there so as to be better able to make

But the Decree issued by the Convention, on October 3, ordering the
indictment of the “Widow Capet,” give a curious contradiction to the
assurances given by d’Auerweck. After all, though, who could dare to
forecast the future, and the intentions of those who were now in power?
The ultra-jacobin politicians knew less than any one else whither
Destiny was to lead them. Had there not been some talk, a few weeks
earlier, of getting the Queen to enter into the plan of a negotiation
with Austria? So it was not surprising that illusions with regard to
her reigned in Paris as well as among the _émigrés_ in London.

Eleven days later Marie-Antoinette underwent a preliminary examination
at the bar of the Revolutionary Tribunal. The suit was heard quickly,
and there were no delays. Of the seven witnesses called, the last,
Hébert, dared to bring the most infamous accusations against her, to
which the accused replied only by a disdainful silence. Then came the
official speeches of Chaveau-Lagarde and of Tronson-Ducoudray--a mere
matter of form, for the “Austrian woman” was irrevocably doomed.

On the third day, October 16, at 4.30 a.m., in the smoky hall of the
Tribunal, by the vague light of dawn, the jury gave their verdict,
“Guilty”; and sentence of death was immediately pronounced. Just on
eleven o’clock the cart entered the courtyard of the Conciergerie
Prison, the Queen ascended, and, after the oft-described journey,
reached the Place de la Revolution. At a quarter past twelve the knife
fell upon her neck.

All was over this time--all the wondrous hopes, the last,
long-cherished illusions of Lady Atkyns. The poor lady heard of the
terrible ending from Peltier. Her friend’s letter was one cry of rage
and despair, more piercing even than that of January 21.

 “It has killed me. I can see your anguish from here, and it doubles
 my own. My anger consumes me. I have not even the relief of tears; I
 cannot shed one. I abjure for ever the name of Frenchman. I wish I
 could forget their language. I am in despair; I know not what I do, or
 say, or write. O God! What barbarity, what horror, what evils are with
 us, and what miseries are still to come! I dare not go to you. Adieu,
 brave, unhappy lady!”[51]

Many tears must have fallen on that treasured sheet. And still, to
this day, traced by Lady Atkyns’ hand, one can read on it these words:
“_Written after the murder of the Queen of France._”

Were all her efforts, then, irremediably wasted? She refused to believe
it. And at that moment two fresh actors appeared on the scene, whose
help she could utilize. From the friendship of one, the Chevalier de
Frotté (who came to London just then), she could confidently hope for
devoted aid. The other, a stranger to her until then, and only recently
landed from the Continent, was destined to become one of the principal
actors in the game that was now to be played.


[29] Albert Sorel, _L’Europe et la Revolution Française_, vol. ii. p.

[30] Forneron, _Histoire Générale des Émigrés_, Paris, 1884, vol. ii.
p. 50.

[31] Abbé de Lubersac, _Journal historique et réligieux, de
l’émigration et déportation du clergé de France en Angleterre_,
dedicated to His Majesty the King of England, London, 1802, 8vo, p. 12.
(The author styles himself: Vicar-General of Narbonne, Abbé of Noirlac
and Royal Prior of St.-Martin de Brivé, French _émigré_.)

[32] Count d’Haussonville, _Souvenirs et Mélanges_, Paris, 1878, 8vo.

[33] Gauthier de Brecy, _Mémoires véridiques et ingenus de la vie
privée, morale et politique d’un homme de bien_, written by himself in
the eighty-first year of his age, Paris, 1834, 8vo, p. 286.

[34] Sorel, _L’Europe et la Révolution Française_, vol. iii. pp. 288,

[35] On October 21, 1765, at Gonnord, Maine-et-Loire, _Canton_ of
Touarcé, _arrondissement_ of Angers.

[36] Letter from Peltier to Lady Atkyns, dated from London, November
15, 1792.--_Unpublished Papers of Lady Atkyns._

[37] “In case of our not being able to find M. Goguelat, I have my eye
upon a very useful man whom I have known for many years, and who was,
indeed, a collaborator in some of my political works--he is the Baron
d’Auerweck, a Transylvanian nobleman, a Royalist like ourselves, of
firm character, and very clever.”--Letter from Peltier, Dec. 3, 1792.

[38] In two autobiographical memoirs, one written at Hamburg, June,
1796, and annexed to a despatch from the French Minister there,
Reinhard (_Archives of the Foreign Office_, Hamburg, v. 109, folio
367). The other was written at Paris, July 25, 1807 (_National
Archives_, F. 6445). Both naturally aim at presenting the author in the
most favourable light.

[39] Letter from Baron d’Auerweck, December 17, 1792. It is addressed
to Peltier under the name of Jonathan Williams.--_Unpublished Papers of
Lady Atkyns._

[40] Letter from d’Auerweck to Peltier, Paris, Hotel Coq-Héron, No. 16
December 25, 1792.--_Unpublished Papers of Lady Atkyns._

[41] Letter from Peltier to Lady Atkyns, London, December 7,

[42] Narrative of the Municipal, Charles Goret, in G. Lenôtre’s book,
_La Captivité et la Mort de Marie-Antoinette_, Paris, 1902, 8vo, p. 147.

[43] February 1, 1793.

[44] On this plot, see Paul Gaulot, _Un Complot sous la Terreur_,
Paris, 1902, duodecimo.

[45] These are the Chevalier de Frotté and the Countess MacNamara.

[46] In the narrative of the Chevalier de Frotté, who mentions the
Temple Prison (published by L. de la Sicotière, _Louis de Frotté et
les Insurrections Normandes_, vol. i. p. 429), we consider that a
somewhat natural confusion has arisen. It is, in fact, very difficult
to assign any date earlier than August 6 for an attempt at the Temple;
for on that date there is a letter from Peltier addressed to Lady
Atkyns at Ketteringham, and there can be no doubt that if the lady
had already left England, Peltier would have been aware of it. On the
other hand, the letter published by V. Delaporte (p. 256), and given
as written at the end of July, 1793, _must be subsequent to August 2_.
These phrases: “They will not promise for more than the King and the
two female prisoners of the Temple; they will do what is possible for
the Queen; _but everything is changed_, and they cannot answer for
anything, and, as to the Queen, they can say nothing as yet, for they
have tried the Temple Prison only”--these phrases plainly show that the
Queen was no longer at the Temple then. Finally, since in his letter at
the beginning of August Peltier once more tried to dissuade Lady Atkyns
from coming to Paris, it seems rational to conclude that the lady had
not yet carried out her plan.

[47] The testimony of the Countess MacNamara was obtained by Le
Normant des Varannes, _Histoire de Louis XVII._, Orleans, 1890, 8vo,
pp. 10-14, and he had it from the Viscount d’Orcet, who had known the
Countess. Although we cannot associate ourselves with the writer’s
conclusions, we must acknowledge that whenever we have been able to
examine comparatively the statements of Viscount d’Orcet relating to
Lady Atkyns we have always found them verified by our documents.

[48] It has been sought to establish a connection between this story
and the conspiracy of the Municipal, Michouis (the “Affair of the
Carnation”), aided by the Chevalier de Pougevide, which failed by the
fault of one of the two gendarmes who guarded the Queen. There may be
some connection between the principal actors in these simultaneous
attempts, but we admit that we have been unable to get any proof of
it. It was necessary to take so many precautions, to avoid as far
as possible any written allusions, and to veil so impenetrably the
machinery of the plots, that it is not surprising that the documents,
curt and dry as they are, reveal to us so few details.

[49] Note in Peltier’s handwriting.--_Unpublished Papers of Lady

[50] Undated letter from Peltier to Lady Atkyns.--_Unpublished Papers
of Lady Atkyns._

[51] _Unpublished Papers of Lady Atkyns._

                              CHAPTER III


On December 8, 1740, in the Rue de Montfort, at Rennes, there were
great rejoicings in one of the finest houses of that provincial
capital. Monsieur Yves-Gilles Cormier, one of the rich citizens, had
become the father of an heir the night before; and this heir was to be
named Yves-Jean-François-Marie. The delighted father was getting ready
to go to the Church of Saint-Sauveur (about two steps from his abode),
there to present his son for the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.

He had invited to this solemnity his relative, Master (Messire)
Jean-François Cormier, Prior and Rector of Bazouges-du-Desert,[52]
and his neighbour, the Director of the Treasury in the States of
Brittany, M. de Saint-Cristan. Madame Françoise Lecomte, wife of the
_Sieur_ Imbault, Chief Registrar of the Chamber of La Tournelle, in
the Parliament of Brittany, and Dame Marie-Anne Lardoul were also
among the guests, who enhanced by their presence the splendour of the
ceremony.[53] When the bells rang out the _cortège_ was entering the
church porch; shortly afterwards it reissued thence, and went towards
the house attached to the Treasury of Brittany, where Mme. Cormier
(formerly au Egasse du Boulay) was impatiently awaiting their return.

The Cormiers were a family highly respected at Rennes. By his
own labours, Yves Cormier had made a fine fortune, which placed
him and his above any kind of need. Four years later a second
child, a daughter this time, was born. She was given the names of

Yves-François grew up, a worker like his father, a sage follower of
parental advice, and both intelligent end gifted. After leaving school
he entered the Law Schools at Rennes, and before he was twenty he had
got his degree and been entered (on August 18, 1760) as a barrister.
Less than a year later the position of Crown Counsel at Rennes falling
vacant, the young barrister applied for it, his youth notwithstanding,
and obtained it (by Lettres de provision) on August 10, 1761.

This was a rapid advance in his career, and his parents might justly
be proud of it; but fortune meant to lavish very special favours
on the young magistrate, for on October 27 in the following year,
another position falling vacant in the same department--that of Crown
Prosecutor--Yves Cormier, exchanging the sitting magistracy for the
standing, obtained the place. Crown Prosecutor at twenty-two! This was
a good beginning.

For fifteen years he practised at Rennes. That town was going
through troublous times. The arrival of the Duc d’Aiguillon as
Governor, and his conduct in that position, created an uproar in
the ancient city, jealous, as it had always been, of its liberties.
The states proclaimed themselves injured in their rights. Led by La
Chalotais, they obstinately fought against the claims of the King’s
representative, the Duke d’Aiguillon. And there ensued an interminable
paper-war--pamphlets, libels, insults--which did not cease even with
the imprisonment of La Chalotais and his followers. Ancient quarrels
against the Jesuits were mixed up with these complaints of the
encroachments of Royal; and the angry Chalotistes ended by accusing
them of being the cause of all their misfortunes.

It was naturally impossible for the Crown Prosecutor to escape being
mixed up in a business which caused such rivers of ink to flow, and
created such an endless succession of lawsuits. A police report accused
him “of having ‘done a job’ in the La Chalotais affair.” But he had
only played a very passive part in it. His name only figures once[54]
in the voluminous _dossiers_ so meticulously rummaged through of late
years; and that is in a defamatory pamphlet (which, moreover, was torn
and burnt by parliamentary decree), denouncing him as a participator
in those Jesuit Assemblies, upon which the full wrath of the Breton
parliamentarians descended.[55] The utmost one can say is that Cormier
perhaps inclined towards the Duc d’Aiguillon’s party, which, moreover,
his position as Crown Prosecutor more or less obliged him to do.

Was it at that time that he began to pay repeated visits to Paris?
Very likely. At all events, from 1776 Yves Cormier practised only
intermittently. His father was dead. He lived with his mother on the
second floor of the Rue de Montfort house. Tired of bachelor life,
the young magistrate, who was then entering his thirty-sixth year,
resolved to marry. He had met in Paris a young lady from Nantes, who
belonged to a family of rich landowners in Saint-Domingo. Her name was
Suzanne-Rosalie de Butler; she was a little younger than he, and had
rooms in the La Tour du Pin Hotel, Rue Vieille-du-Temple.

On July 10, 1776, in presence of notaries of the Du Châtelet
district, M. Cormier and Mademoiselle de Butler signed their marriage
contract.[56] By a rather unusual clause, the future husband and wife,
“departing in this respect from the custom of Paris,” declared that
they didn’t intend to sign the usual _communauté de biens_, but that
each would retain as his and her own property whatever they brought to
the marriage.

The husband’s property consisted of his appointment as Crown Prosecutor
at Rennes, and, further, of different lands and estates which his
father had bequeathed to him, at and near Rennes, and, finally, in
“his furniture, linen, wearing-apparel, etc., which were stored in
his place of abode.” The magistrate’s wardrobe was remarkably well
stocked, to judge by the enumeration we give below.[57] It must have
been a difficult matter to choose between the “winter, spring, autumn,
and summer garments;” the breeches of “velvet patterned with large
flowers,” or with “little bouquets”; the coats of purple cloth, grey
cloth, embroidered _gourgouran_, black-and-olive taffetas, or green
_musulmane_! And then there were jewels, and there were carriages for
one person called _désobligeantes_, to say nothing of hats, frills, and
lace cuffs.

Nor did Mlle. de Butler fall in any way below this standard. Her
father, Count Jean-Baptiste Butler, deceased, had bequeathed her, in
joint tenancy with her brother, Patrice, a rich state in Saint-Domingo,
one of the most flourishing colonies at that time. This state was the
farm and dwelling-house of Bois-de-Lance in the parish of Sainte-Anne
de Limonade, “with the negroes, negresses, negro-boys and negro-girls;
pieces of furniture; utensils, riggings, horses, beasts, and all
other effects of any kind whatever, being on the said estate.” This
document recalls the state of slavery in which the Colony then was. By
a second marriage Comte de Butler had had a son, Jean-Pantaléon, who
was thus the half-brother of the future Mme. Cormier, and who had also
some liens on the property in question.[58] Suzanne de Butler further
brought her husband some estates in France, arising from her father’s
succession; and a very complete array of household furniture, which was
enriched by articles in “mahogany, tulip-wood, and the wood peculiar to
the island,” etc.

The marriage was celebrated some days later. Once settled at Paris, it
became difficult for the Crown Prosecutor to keep his appointment at
Rennes. Nevertheless, he did not resign it until January 23, 1779. Two
years earlier their first child had been born, a boy, who was baptized
at the Madeleine in Paris, and named Achille-Marie. The parents were
probably at that time living in the enormous house which Mme. Cormier
bought in the following year, No. 15 in the Rue Basse-du-Rempart. It
was a handsome house with a courtyard and several entrances.

On March 10, 1779, arrived another son, who was called Patrice, after
his maternal uncle. His godmother was a sister of Mme. Cormier, married
to a former naval officer.

The management of his own estates, and, more particularly, those of
his wife, occupied the greater part of Cormier’s time in the years
preceding the Revolution. Of middle height, inclining to stoutness,
with greyish hair and an energetic type of face, the sometime Breton
magistrate was quite a personality, for he spoke remarkably well,
and, besides being most intelligent, had a real gift of persuasion.
The times that were now at hand seemed likely to provide him with a
prominent position on the revolutionary scene.

We know that, in view of the elections to the States-General, a Royal
Ordinance of April 13, 1789, had decreed the provisional division of
Paris into sixty districts.[59] A year later this mode of division,
being no longer useful, was replaced by a division into forty-eight
sections--those sections which, from August 10 onwards, were to
exercise so potent a political influence. Cormier was active from the
very first. The section of the Place Vendôme had scarcely been formed
before he occupied a prominent position therein. We see him first as
Commissary of the Section, then as President of its Civil Committee.
The General Assembly held its meetings in the old Church of the
Capuchins in the Place Vendôme; and Cormier, whose home was close by,
took part in the deliberations. He would have played a more active part
if other business had not taken up most of his time.

Amongst the numerous monarchical clubs which then sprang up in
Paris, one had just been founded whose members, for the most part
rich planters from Saint-Domingo, used to meet in the Place des
Victoires, at the Hôtel Massiac. Their object was to counterbalance
what they held to be the pernicious influence exercised by a new
society originating in England. This was the _Friends of the Blacks_,
and had for its principal object the amelioration of the coloured
race.[60] The movement, begun by Wilberforce across the Channel, met
with many adherents in France, for it accorded well with the new ideas
of enfranchisement and liberty proclaimed by the National Assembly.
This very soon became clear to the landowners of the Leeward Islands,
who lived on the labour of their slaves, and whose whole well-being
depended on their continued existence as such. Saint-Domingo was then
in a state of astonishing prosperity. The sugar plantations and the
cultivation of indigo and cotton had made it one of the chief colonies.
If Wilberforce’s theories were to prevail there, it was all over with
the planters and the white people, who formed the minority of the

Founded on August 20, 1789, the Hôtel Massiac Club intended to oppose
with all its strength the current of sympathy for the blacks, which
threatened to overflow the Assembly. Its members meant to prevent
at any cost the concession of rights to the mulattos inhabiting the
island, which would be the preliminary to granting similar rights to
the slaves. And for three years the planters devoted all their energies
to this task.

Cormier, as a landowner in Saint-Domingo, was, of course, in accord
with his compatriots. On August 24, 1789, he was made a member of
the club, and a fortnight later he was occupying the position of
vice-president. After a period of absence--his name disappeared from
the proceedings for several months--he reappeared at the sittings at
the commencement of 1791. From that time forth he played a foremost
part in the club; had charge of all its correspondence and papers;
and these, now lying in the National Archives, have yielded us a
quantity of letters and speeches, and many memoranda covered with
his microscopic handwriting. In the spring he was made president of
the club; and the position was no sinecure. Tragic news arrived from
Saint-Domingo during the summer. At the end of August there was a
rising of the mulattos and negroes, and the angry populace burned and
pillaged the plantations, and massacred the white folk, male and female.

The Colonists, very inferior in numbers as they were, were powerless
to resist them, and clamoured for help from their compatriots and for
support from the Assembly. Letters came to the club, more terrifying
every day; the planters were in despair. Many of them had their
families out there, and they shuddered to think of their dear ones at
the mercy of the blacks.

The club held many extra meetings and discussions, but every effort
that was made by its members met with furious opposition in the
Assembly. At last, in desperation, they resolved to write and despatch
an address to the King, pointing out to him the deplorable state of
the Colony, and appealing for his intervention. The address, which was
probably the work of Cormier, after having depicted the calamities
which were overwhelming Saint-Domingo, hinted at the cause of these
woes; they were (it pointed out) a direct sequence from the recent
Decrees of the Assembly.

 “For three years it has been the untiring aim of the Assembly to
 sow broadcast in our midst the seeds of trouble and revolt. In vain
 we multiply our efforts to escape their snares; and now a society
 founded by foreigners and cranks for our ruin and the humiliation of
 France, and using ignorance and credulity for its pernicious ends, is
 inundating us with incendiary writings, and flaunting its emissaries
 in our very workshops.”

The planters, for all their impassioned denunciation, had proved
powerless to avert the detested action of the Friends of the Blacks;
therefore they now brought the King to take their part.

 “Our cause is that of all the American Colonies; our cause is that of
 French Commerce, which must inevitably be ruined if we are ruined; our
 cause is that of the creditors of the State, whom these events will
 bring to bankruptcy; our cause is that of six millions of men employed
 directly or indirectly in the navigation, the commerce, and the
 victualling of the Colonies; our cause is that of the monarchy, which
 will lose all splendour when we are no longer wealthy, which will lose
 all power on the sea if we are to perish. Sire, you are the Supreme
 Head of the Executive, you are the preserver of the Public Peace, and
 the guardian of the public rights. We beseech your Majesty to take
 the French Colonies under your protection. We beseech you, while our
 total ruin is not yet consummated, to oppose your authority to the
 new designs of these men, who will never be satisfied until they have
 filled our cup of misery to the brim. We ask for powerful aid for our
 almost despairing brethren; we ask for the most searching inquiries,
 and the most elaborate justice upon the authors of these cabals.”

There were a hundred signatures of Colonists and members of the club to
this bold and convincing manifesto of Cormier’s, when it was read at
the session of November. First, it “was decided to print 3000 copies to
be sent broadcast throughout France.”

On the next day, Wednesday, towards eleven o’clock a.m., a group of
black-garbed men assembled at the Tuileries Palace, in the Hall of the
Nobles. As each arrived, he was presented by one of their party--a
broad-shouldered, energetic-looking personage--to a gentleman before
whom each bowed respectfully: this was M. Bertrand de Molleville,
Minister of the King, and head of the Naval Department. The men thus
severally presented to him were none other than the members of the
Massiac Club, _headed_ by their President, M. Cormier. When every one
had arrived, they set off towards the Royal apartments. The King was
in his study. The Colonists were permitted to enter, and were then
presented one after the other to His Majesty, after which Cormier began
to speak:--

 “Sire, the news from Saint-Domingo has caused consternation among
 the Colonists of that unhappy land. But confident of your Majesty’s
 sentiments towards them, and assured of that fatherly solicitude of
 which France has already enjoyed so many touching evidences, they have
 set forth their fears and their desires in the address which they have
 the honour to present to you. They implore your Majesty’s gracious
 consideration of it.”

The King, when he had been informed of the calamitous events in the
Colony, tried, in a voice full of emotion, to calm the anxiety which he
saw in every face. “I still hope, gentlemen,” he said to them, “that
the evils are not so great as rumour would have them. I shall see that
all measures are taken to give powerful help to the Colonists in the
shortest possible time.” And in speaking privately to one or two of the
delegates he reaffirmed these promises of succour.

Their business finished, the planters were about to withdraw, when
somebody suggested a further appeal, this time to the Queen. The
proposal was eagerly acclaimed, and Count de Duras brought almost
directly an affirmative reply. Without going back to the courtyard,
but by way of the Royal apartments, the visitors were conducted to the
ground-floor, and found themselves in presence of the Queen. Cormier

 “Madame, in our time of great misfortune, we felt the need of seeing
 your Majesty, that by so doing we might both find consolation and
 study an example of lofty courage.”

Marie-Antoinette, more moved than even the King had been, replied in a
broken voice, striving to repress her tears--

 “Gentlemen, be assured of the interest that we take in your
 misfortunes, and assure ... the Colony also ... that the King will
 leave no stone unturned to send them----”[61]

She was unable to finish; the anguish of those before her, the thought
that they also were watching in agonizing uncertainty the ruin of their
dearest hopes--such a communion of kindred suffering was too much
for the Queen. Moreover, what now could be done by the fugitives of
Varennes? Every day it was growing clearer that they were prisoners in
this Tuileries Palace.

The Queen left them, to hear Mass. During her absence Mme. de Tourzel,
the Dauphin’s governess, happened to enter the apartment where the
planters still lingered, thrilled and touched by the scene that had
just taken place. She presented the little Dauphin to them. He opened
his eyes wide at the sight of all the black coats. “Monseigneur was
very, very sorry,” said Mme. de Tourzel, “when he was told of all the
sad things that are happening in the Colony; he feels very deeply for
all the sorrows of the gentlemen.”

“Yes, indeed I do,” said the Dauphin, in his little voice.

One can imagine the impression which would have been left by this
picture upon these serious men, come to invoke their Sovereign’s aid,
and most of whom were ardent defenders of the Royalist cause. Their
president, in particular, was never to forget this reception; and the
vision of the little Duke of Normandy, with his fair curling hair, his
clear eyes, and his ineffably sweet expression, was to remain for ever
in the man’s heart. Perhaps he heard, later on, the charming story that
Mme. de Tourzel tells in her memoirs, of how, when the delegates were
gone, and the Dauphin alone with his mother, he was told in a few words
of the Colonists’ misfortunes, and forthwith begged her to give him
their address.

“What are you going to do with it?” the Queen asked him.

“I want to put it in my left pocket, because that’s the nearest to my

Before finally withdrawing, the delegates went also to Mme. Elizabeth,
who received them with equal sympathy. They were leaving the palace,
when, on passing in front of the chapel, they met with the Queen, who
was returning to her apartments, after having heard Mass. “Gentlemen,”
she said to them, “I was not able to answer you just now, but the cause
of my silence will have spoken to you eloquently enough.”

On the evening of the same day, in their night-session, the planters
broke into applause at the reading of the account of their visit to the
Tuileries. What a memory it was! And yet, how much they had still to
fear! They had been able to read between the lines of the kindly Royal
speeches; they knew that the goodwill of their Sovereigns would have
to encounter the hostile intentions of the National Assembly, and that
the promised help would be long in coming. And, in fact, the Decree of
December 7, while ordering the despatch of troops, put a very stringent
limitation to their powers, and confirmed the rights accorded to the
coloured races.

Nevertheless, the club did not lose heart. Its activity during the
winter and spring of 1792 is proved by a copious correspondence, and
many reports of sessions, presided over with praiseworthy care and
regularity by the sometime magistrate of Rennes. These strenuous
functions, however, did not prevent him from fulfilling his civil
duties. We find him mounting guard, like others, at the guard-house of
the headquarters of his section,[62] and attending the meetings of
that section where he is a member of the Civil Committee.

Another winter, that of 1792, goes by, and alarming symptoms in the
spring of ’93 seem to indicate that the year is not to end tranquilly.
In Paris political life is the only life; the effervescence grows
and grows. The difficulty of provisioning the capital, the dearness
of food, and the consequent great distress, bring about a state of
instability and demoralization which is bound to express itself in
action, and which will break out on the slightest pretext. Moreover,
the people, already indignant, are exasperated by the flight of so
many nobles from the kingdom--a flight which serves to reinforce the
_émigré_ contingent.

Cormier perceives the gravity of the situation. Two alternatives
present themselves to him--either to leave Paris and the country
and join those who are working at the frontiers for the restoration
of the Monarchy, or to win over the Western Department, in which,
however, revolt is already brewing. If this breaks out it will be a
most formidable insurrection. The second plan will have the advantage
of taking him to the neighbourhood of Rennes, where he still has
interests; and, after a period of waiting, he can, according to the
course of events, either place his abilities at the service of the
Royalist cause, or retire definitely from active life.

And there is nothing to keep him in Paris. The members of the Massiac
Club are the objects of daily-increasing suspicion on the part of the
“patriots.” These “aristocrats” have got themselves detested for their
obstinate self-defence, for their tenacious hold upon their properties,
and for their continued struggle for the maintenance of slavery. If
things go on as they are doing now, in a few months the club will be so
universally attacked that its only course will be to close its doors.
In these circumstances Cormier does not hesitate. He will leave his
wife at Paris; she is a sensible woman, full of resource--_she_ will
know how to take care of the house in the Rue Basse-du-Rempart, and,
supported by her younger son, she may in the future be of the greatest
assistance to the party.

Desirous of completing their elder son’s education, the Cormiers had
sent him, a year before this, to Hamburg; he there spent six months
with a worthy citizen of the Place Schaarmarkt;[63] and then left, to
go to the little town of Itzehoë, in Holstein, where he continued his

So everything seemed to confirm Cormier in his intention. On June 25,
1792, he begged his colleague, M. de Grandchamp, to represent him as
President--“for a fortnight;” and, by way of excuse, he pointed out
that it was the first time he had been away for four years. We then
lose sight of him for some days, and when we next encounter him, he
is settled, from the end of July onwards, in Brittany, at Gaël, near
Montfort. It would be difficult to account for this sojourn in a remote
locality if we did not recollect that the sometime Crown Prosecutor had
inherited several estates from his father in that neighbourhood; and
where could he have found a safer or more tranquil retreat than in one
of these, during that troublous period which followed June 20, when the
proclamation of the “Country in Danger” disturbed the whole of France,
and drums were beating in all the towns and countrysides--when, in a
word, the _Tenth of August_ was at hand? Just before that bloody dawn,
there arrived at Madame Cormier’s house an official-looking personage,
escorted by a quartermaster of the National Gendarmerie. She had been
anticipating something of the kind for so long that she knew at once
what her visitors wanted. In reply to her questions, the stranger,
who was no other than a Commissary of the Place Vendôme section,
displayed a warrant for arrest from the Surveillance Committee of the
National Assembly, issued in due form against the President of the
Colonial Club. “He had not expected any such visit, and was away from
home, at Calais,” answered “the lady his wife;” and that being so, the
Commissary, to make up for it, had to request that he might be taken
to M. Cormier’s room, and, once there, proceeded to make a thorough
search in every corner of it. When he had made a clean sweep of all the
papers he found, tied them up in bundles, and deposited them in two
band-boxes, he took it into his head to move away the fire-screen. In
the grate a heap of blackened paper was still smoking. He had been too
late for that, also.

Cormier had clearly been happily inspired to get off in time. Although
he could not exactly have been accused of conspiring against the public
safety, still the mere fact of his position makes it doubtful that,
once arrested, he would have escaped the “Septemberers,” who in a few
weeks’ time were to commence the chapter of their exploits.

He judged it prudent not to leave his retreat at Gaël before the
spring of 1793. At Paris, the tempest still raged, most assuredly
not calmed by the King’s death; in the provinces--added to other
causes, such as the general rising and the application of the Civil
Constitution to the clergy--the execution of “Louis Capet” led to an
outbreak of “Chouannerie:” it was at that very moment, indeed, that
the Insurrection in La Vendée exploded, captained by those brilliant
chiefs, Stofflet, Cathelineau, Bonchamp, and Larochejaquelein. At the
news of their rapid successes, Cormier, called on by them, quitted
Gaël; and if we are to believe the certificates “of presence” given
by the Vendean generals, it was he who directed the correspondence of
the Royalist Army during the early operations.[64] The former President
of the Massiac Club was very much in his element among such active and
varied functions, requiring a systematic brain. His pen never rests;
his letters, addresses, orders, teem in the insurgent districts, and
yet his name remains unknown; one scarcely comes across it even in
the abundant publications devoted to the history of Chouannerie. The
defeat of Mans in December, 1793, when a part of the Catholic and Royal
Army was routed, did not cool Cormier’s zeal. The theatre of war was
altered, that was all. He went nearer to Rennes, and “worked” in the
districts of Fougères and of Rennes. If we believe the aforementioned
certificates, he did not desist from his labours during the months
and years that followed. Both before and after the pacification of La
Mabilais, Cormier, according to them, had continued to live in the
revolted departments, fighting in the ranks of the Chouans. But we must
not confide too much in these testimonials, which were for the most
part written and produced for a certain very definite purpose--that of
clearing the subject of them from a charge of emigration. By proving
his share in the operations of the Vendean Army, he proved also his
presence in France. Now, the famous “lists of the _émigrés_” contained
the name of “Cormier, father and son.” So the necessity is evident for
our magistrate to insist in any and every fashion upon the part which
he had taken in the rising at La Vendée, even if this insistence were
in absolute opposition to the truth.

By a lucky chance there is other testimony to be had (and that of
undoubted authenticity), which enables us to get at the truth of the
matter. It consists of Cormier’s own letters, written at that time.
While he, some years later, maintained that he had never quitted French
soil, we know for certain that, at the beginning of 1794, perhaps soon
after the Queen’s death, he landed in England, and, instantly joining
the restless throng around the Princes, was soon playing a prominent
part in its midst.

We meet him with de Puisaye, with the Bishop of Arras, with Dutheil,
hovering around the English Ministers and associating himself with the
leaders of the _émigrés_ in trying to induce England to agree to an
effective, that is to say, an armed, intervention.

The history of these attempts is inextricably complex. Ministers’ halls
and corridors were crammed with unemployed soldiers, needy nobles,
agents, spies--each with a scheme more dazzling than the others. There
were many adventurers who were never taken at any other valuation,
and whose incessant activity deceived nobody. But there were also
personages of considerable importance, and of illustrious name, who
came there with undeniable reputations, and who could not easily be
repulsed. In the variety of their schemes and the abundance of their
offers, it is necessary to disentangle and take into consideration
all kinds of secret motives, petty views, personal grudges, or even
jealousies, against their compatriots. Every one wanted to act,
and every one wanted the best part; and as their various rivalries
displayed themselves, the general confusion increased.

One of the favourite meeting-places of this set of people was the
office of Peltier, the journalist. All the news came there; they could
get the latest information from France, and discuss the chances of the
parties, the military operations on the frontiers, and, above all, the
intentions of the British Government.

A quartette was soon formed in the office of the sometime editor of the
_Acts of the Apostles_. It was made up of Peltier and his second in
command, the Baron d’Auerweck (whom we have already met); of Cormier,
and of a fourth arrival, who is no stranger to us--the Chevalier Louis
de Frotté.

After his exploits at Dunkirk, the ex-officer of the Colonel-Generals
had spent many months in the Army of the Emigration. Accompanied by
his friend and inseparable, La Tremoïlle, he had taken part in the
first campaign of 1792, under the Duke of Brunswick. The inexplicable
retreat of this last with his 80,000 men, the lack of sympathy that
the two officers felt with the Austrians, and the incessant squabbles
that went on, disgusted them with the whole affair. They left for
Italy, and reached Milan and Turin--not without adventures on the way;
then, in the spring following, they re-entered Condé’s army, which was
now in the Emperor’s pay.[65] Fresh vexations awaited them there--for
the general Royalist rising that had been arranged to come off
simultaneously at Lyons, in the South, and in the Jura, fell through in
a pitiable fashion. And from La Vendée there came, on the other hand,
the news of many successes by the Chouans.

Frotté made up his mind. He would go and rejoin his compatriots; he
would come to France itself and fight the Revolution there. To do this,
a short stay in England was indispensable. He could obtain resources
there, and he had none at the moment. Who could say that he might not
even be entrusted with an official command? At any rate, that was
how, in the early months of 1794, the Chevalier de Couterne came to
disembark at London like the rest. We shall not be surprised, knowing
as we do his relations with Lady Atkyns, and _her_ relations with
Peltier and d’Auerweck, to find Frotté very quickly made free of that
little circle of intimates.

His admiration for his fair friend of Lille was far from having
decreased; and he now listened to the details, by her own lips, of her
repeated offers for, and her unalterable devotion to, the Royal family.
He even came, under her influence, to share the hopes which she, brave
lady! still cherished.


[52] Bazouges-du-Desert, Ile-et-Vilaine, _arrondissement_ of Fougères,
district of Louvigné-du-Désert.

[53] Here is the baptismal certificate of Yves Cormier:--

 “Yves-Jean-François-Marie, son of M. Yves-Gilles and Dame
 Marie-Anne-Françoise Egasse (_alias_ Egace), born yesterday, baptized
 this day, December 8, 1740, by me the Rector undersigned; and held to
 the Holy Baptismal Font by M. Jean-François Cormier, Prior-Rector of
 Bassouge-du-Desert, and by Dame Marie-Anne Lardoul; the father being
 present, and others undersigned:--

                           Marie-Anne Lardoul.
                            Perrine Cormier.
                            De Saint Cristan.

                  Cormier, Prior-Rector of la Baionges.
                       Françoise Lecomte--Imbault.
                       P. F. d’Oultremer, Rector.”

_Municipal Archives of Rennes_, series G.G., _Parish of Saint-Sauveur,
Register of Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials for 1740_. We owe the
greater part of our information relative to the sojourn of Cormier
at Rennes to the kindness of our lamented _confrère_, M. Parfouru,
departmental archivist.

[54] Barthélemy Pocquet, _Le pouvoir absolu et l’esprit provincial: Le
Duc d’Aiguillon et La Chalotais_, Paris, 1900-1901, 3 vols. 8vo.

[55] It was entitled, _Tableau des assemblées secrètes et fréquentes
des Jesuites et leurs affilés a Rennes_.

[56] _Archives of Maitre Motel, notary, of Paris._

[57] “Memo. of the effects belonging to M. Cormier.--_Winter, spring,
and autumn garments_: A coat, vest, and breeches of velvet with figured
stripes. A coat, vest, and breeches of reddish-brown satin, with
diamond buttons. A coat, vest, and breeches of velvet patterned with
large flowers; and also of velvet patterned with small bouquets. Two
pairs of black satin breeches. A coat in purple embroidered cloth, with
coloured braid, the vest of gold striped cloth, embroidered same. A
grey cloth dress-coat, lined crimson satin, vest of gold ribbed cloth.
A green cloth dress-coat and vest, braided with gold. A grey quilted
coat, vest, and breeches. Two quilted vests, one green, the other fawn.
A redingote in best napped cloth. A knitted coat, lined plush; the vest
of quilted grey satin. Coat, vest, and breeches in pale yellow velvet.
Coat, vest, and breeches in black velvet. A hazel-coloured cloth,
coat striped blue, lined blue, vest silver ground, ribbed. A coat of
_gourgouran_, embroidered lined marten fur, vest of satin embroidered
_en gay_, breeches of _gourgouran_, with garter embroidered. Silk
waistcoat, striped blue and white. Two reddish-brown pelisses, one
with gold bugles, lined white fur. Riding-coat and vest of Silesian
cloth, embroidered in gold, steel buttons. _Summer garments_:
Black-and-olive silk coat and embroidered vest. Coat of _musulmane_,
vest and breeches embroidered gold. Blue lustrine coat, vest, and
breeches, silver buttons. Grey _musulmane_ dress-coat and breeches,
lined pink-and-green muslin, embroidered gold. Dress-coat grey-and-blue
ribbed cloth, embroidered silver and lilac, and two pairs of breeches.
Dress-coat grey _musulmane_, _ditto_ breeches, vest of _gourgouran_,
embroidered lilac, and muslin vest, embroidered gold, lined lilac.
Reddish-brown dress-coat, lined green; _ditto_ breeches.... Grey camlet
dress-coat, embroidered bronze spangles, white vest, embroidered black.
Coat in lilac _éternelle_, white dimity vest, embroidered and piped
cold. White-and-lilac silk vest. Coat, vest, and breeches crimson
_gourgouran_, embroidered white, with tassels. Dress-coat, purple
_gourgouran_. Grey-and-white striped camlet riding-coat. Two vests
and two pairs breeches. Striped _circaça_ (old). Two vests and two
pairs breeches white _circaça_, striped white. White quilted vest.
Vest and breeches, yellow-and-white _circaça_. Pair of trousers,
grey cotton ribbed. Grey silk trousers. White cotton-cloth trousers.
Damask dressing-gown and vest. Taffetas dressing-gown and vest. Three
hats.”--_Archives of Maître Motel, notary, of Paris._

[58] Jean Baptiste Butler had married firstly, at Rochelle, in
1741, his wife being Suzanne Bonfils, by whom he had one son,
Jacques-Pierre-Charles _Patrice_ (born at Rochelle, 1743, died 1793,
married in 1769, Germaine-Marie-Félicité de Butler); and one daughter,
Marie-Anne-Suzanne-Rosalie Butler, who became Mme. Cormier. He married,
secondly, at Saint-Domingo, Julie de Trousset d’Héricourt, by whom he
had a son, Jean-Pantaléon, born at Saint-Domingo, 1753; captain of
dragoons in the Militia of the Colony from 1768 to 1772; musketeer,
2nd company, May 24, 1772; sub-lieutenant, January 14, 1777; captain,
February 28, 1778, promoted December 5, 1784; captain commanding, May
1, 1788; chief of squadron, June 12, 1790.--_Archives of War Office._

[59] Ernst Mellié, _Les sections de Paris pendant la Revolution
française_, 1898, p. 7.

[60] A. Challamel, _Les clubs contre-révolutionnaires_. A collection of
documents relating to the history of Paris. Paris, 1895, 8vo, pp. 67
_et seq._

[61] _Mémoires de Mme. la Duchesse de Tourzel_, published by the Duc
Des Cars, Paris, 3rd edition, 1893, vol. ii. p. 16.

[62] “Section armed with pikes.

“National Guard, fourth legion, seventh section, second company.

  “Citizen and dear comrade--

 “You will be good enough to report yourself at headquarters on
 Friday, March 29, at eleven a.m., to mount guard for 24 hours in the
 guard-room there. I am, dear comrade, your fellow-citizen,

                                                      _Signed_: “THOMAS.

 “Paris, March 27, 1792.

“You are informed that, according to law, this service must be
performed personally, and punctually. To the Citizen Cormier, 15, Rue
Basse.”--_National Archives_, F⁷ 5152.

[63] “To the Administrative Citizens of the Municipality of the 1st

                                                 “9th Messidor, year VI.

“Marie-Achille Cornier, junior, informs you, in compliance with his
parents’ wishes, and in pursuance of his own desire of acquiring
knowledge which will enable him to be independent of his family (whose
property was situated at Saint-Domingo), he left France in the month
of March, 1791, and has now gone to Holstein, in order to learn the
German language there and to continue his other studies, which he hopes
will afford him the opportunity of becoming useful to his family, whose
estates in the Colonies had been burnt down almost immediately before
his departure.”--_National Archives_, F⁷ 5621.

[64] Literal copy of a certificate given to the Cornouaille, on the
3rd Prairial, 4th year of the Republic, on paper stamped in red with
the stamp of said 4th year, by the citizen Scepeaux to the citizen
Yves-J.-F.-M. Cormier:--

“We, the inhabitants of the lands formerly insurgent, but now tranquil,
and subject to the Laws of the Republic of France, certify to all
whom it may concern, that the Citizen Yves-J.-F.-M. Cormier, native
of the Commune of Rennes, Department Ile-et-Vilaine, born December 7,
1740, height 5 feet 2 inches, grey hair, medium mouth, round chin,
full face, has constantly been entrusted with correspondence of the
Vendean Army, from its formation to its defeat at the town of Mans; and
that, since then, he has held consecutively the same office in those
Communes formerly insurgent, classed under the head of ‘Chouans;’ and
we further declare that the Citizen Yves ... Cormier has never hindered
submission to the Laws of the Republic, in virtue of which we give
him the present certificate to be to him of whatever use and value it
may with the constituted authorities, the misfortunes of the country
making it impossible to procure any other testimonials.... (Executed at
the Cornouaille, the 3rd Prairial, 4th year of the Republic) [May 22,
1796]. Given in duplicate, at Paris, 10th Messidor, VIII.

                                      _Signed_: “D’Autichamp. Scepeaux.”

(_National Archives_, F⁷ 5152.)

[65] L. de la Sicotière, _Louis de Frotté_, vol. i. pp. 34, _et seq._

                              CHAPTER IV

                       THE MYSTERY OF THE TEMPLE

Amidst the medley of feelings produced upon her mind by all the
events happening in Paris--all the insurrectionary outbreaks, all the
plottings and arrests--neither Lady Atkyns nor her friends withdrew
their gaze from the prison of the Temple. As though this edifice with
its four towers exercised some mysterious attraction, extending far and
wide, their thoughts returned persistently to this one spot, hidden
away in the enclosures of the old palace and closed in by a network of
other structures. What news was there of the happenings within those
sinister high walls? Baron d’Auerweck, who was the best-informed,
having just come from the Continent, retailed all that he had gathered
from public rumours and from personal inquiries which his relations
with people inside the prison enabled him to make.

Madame Elizabeth and her niece still lived in the suite occupied by the
Queen. The little Dauphin had been snatched away from his mother on the
night of July 3, 1793, and handed over to the care of the bootmaker,
Antoine Simon. Simon and his wife--as a recent work has made quite
clear--were very far from being guilty of the cruelties to the child
attributed to them by tradition. Chosen for his task by Chaumette,
whose authority at the Temple was supreme, and looking up to him as
his master, Simon was a rough specimen, uncouth somewhat in his ways,
and too fond of the bottle, violently republican in his sentiments,
but at bottom a decent fellow, and not wantonly cruel nor ill-natured.
His wife is shown to have had a good heart; she had been seen at the
bootmakers’ hospital, where her conduct won the praise of all, working
very actively and thoroughly at her task. She was known to be a great
chatterbox. Such as she was, Madame Simon undoubtedly felt much
sympathy with the child confided to her care.

What did Simon and his wife do with the young Dauphin? Did he fade away
in their hands, into the living spectre, the martyr succumbing to blows
and bruises that the Eckards and de Beauchesnes and Chantelauzes would
have us believe? Assuredly not. Doubtless the complete change in his
existence, the sense of being closed in and confined, must have told
upon the small prisoner. After the splendours of Versailles, it must
have been hard upon him to be subjected at once to so severe a _régime_
and to have for company a household of vulgar, common people, without
education. And tears must have coursed down his cheeks. But there is a
gulf between this and the stories of systematic cruelties, and we may
well refuse to believe in anything of this kind until ample proof is

Suddenly, on January 19, 1794, it became known in the Temple _quartier_
that the Simons were giving up their functions and settling down
somewhere else.[66] What was the reason of this? Explanations differ.
It is certain that Simon had no heart for his duties, and that he
must have emitted a sigh of satisfaction when he left the Temple. He
showed the child before he quitted to the four men who were told off to
replace him, and received from them a voucher to the effect that he was
in good health.

Henceforth, for the next six months, the Dauphin is to be immured in
his prison, and no one is to penetrate within; the door of his cell is
to be bolted and barred, and food is to be ministered to him through a
grille. The four Commissioners of the Commune entrusted with his care
will take it turn about to spy at him through the peep-hole in the
door, but none of them will set foot inside.

What are we to think of this confinement? What was the meaning of it?
We feel that it is out of the question at this time of day to formulate
any clear-cut explanation of it. So great an air of mystery hangs
over all that happened in the Temple during this year of 1794 and
down to June 8, 1795, that it would be vain to attempt to elucidate
this imbroglio of deeds plotted in the dark, and performed by actors
each of whom played his part independently of the others. The various
personages mixed up in them were so situated that they could not see
the goal towards which they were called upon to work. What we desire
to do, with the help of the correspondence at our disposal, is to show
that Lady Atkyns was the leading spirit of a Royalist Committee, formed
for the purpose of securing the Dauphin’s escape, and that not only his
escape was practicable, thanks to the intervention of people high in
authority--probably of Barras--but that it was, in fact, carried out.

A sort of bureau had been instituted at Paris for turning to account
the sources of information contrived within the Temple, and for
keeping _au courant_ with the prison regulations and the methods
adopted for watching over the Royal captive. There was a house in Rue
Basse-du-Rempart in which M. Cormier lived formerly, and which, on
setting out for La Vendée, he left to the care of his wife.[67] In
this house they had a _pied à terre_ ready to their hands, and in Mme.
Cormier, _née_ de Butler, a person on whom they could absolutely rely,
active-minded, enterprising, the very person of all others to help the
projects of the Royalists in London. It is she who, during these first
weeks of the year 1794, will be keeping her husband and his friends _au
courant_ with all she can find out about the Dauphin and his gaolers,
and the way in which he and his now numerous partisans in Paris
are kept under watch. It is impossible for her, we may be sure, to
correspond direct with London, and we are in the dark as to her methods
of communication; but in these days there are any number of couriers
carrying news and despatches from the Continent to England. Soon, to
avoid suspicion and work in greater safety, Mme. Cormier, henceforth
referred to always by her maiden name, will secure a decree of divorce
from her husband on the ground that he is _émigré_, thus apparently
breaking up all connection with the former president of the Club
Massiac.[68] Had she not had her name removed already, a year earlier,
from the ill-fated list of _émigrés_?

It is time for us now to make fuller acquaintance with the members
of this circle of intimate friends surrounding Lady Atkyns, and
concentrating all their efforts upon the furthering of her plans.

Two figures stand out conspicuously: M. de Cormier and the Chevalier
de Frotté. These alone have been let into the secret of the first
operations; these alone can claim to have full knowledge of the
desires and hopes of the Queens friend. Cormier, “our big friend,”
as he is designated in their correspondence, is a strong support. His
experience, his good sense, his relations with the English Government,
inspire confidence at first sight in all who are brought into contact
with the corpulent Breton, and all are quickly won over by the charm
of his fluent and persuasive speech. Despite authentic certificates of
residence, according to which his son has not quitted Holstein, where
he is by way of pursuing his studies during this and the following
year, the ex-magistrate has not been willing to forego his son’s
companionship, and there are constant allusions to him in his letters.
A prey to frequent attacks of gout, Cormier requires to have some one
at hand to look after him affectionately.

Frotté, a man of some intellect, with a fine presence and a martial
air about him, and with the advantage of being acquainted with the
recent happenings in Normandy and La Vendée, is well fitted for helping
Lady Atkyns in her plans. He also has been able to get into intimate
relations with the Government, to secure a hearing for his views, and
thus to acquire real influence. In these two men Lady Atkyns possesses
powerful lieutenants, who henceforth will be indispensable to her, and
to whom she will have to unfold her ideas impartially and equally.
For while each of them is eager to devote himself entirely to her
enterprise, little by little, imperceptibly almost, and according as
difficulties crop up in their path, feelings of jealousy and envy will
make themselves evident between the two.

By length of service, and by reason of so many tender remembrances
therewith connected, Frotté considers himself entitled to the premier
place in the confidence and regard of his fair friend. His letters are
full of burning affection and admiration for her, to whom he is ready
to sacrifice everything.

 “It is only in your society,” he writes, “that I am my real self. You
 are in possession of all my secrets, and you share all those feelings
 which cause me to have any joy in life and for which none the less
 I should be ready to die. Adieu! Do you understand me? What am I to
 think of the heroine to whom I devote my entire future and who may
 make all my life’s happiness? Do you understand me? Adieu! If I speak
 to ears and to a heart that refuse to listen to me ... then I am not
 at the end of my troubles. Oh, most charming of women, whatever may be
 the outcome of this Revolution of ours--even though you should have no
 share in it--you will ever be in my eyes the tender and devoted friend
 of Antoinette, the woman who would have sacrificed everything for the
 Queen’s son, the woman to whom I would fain owe all my happiness.”[69]

Side by side with these two men we find a third individual, whose name
recurs very often in the conversation, and who will also play his part.
The Baron d’Auerweck, the “little baron,” comes to offer his services
to Lady Atkyns, and to profit by her generosity, which he knows to be
inexhaustible. He is not to be admitted into all the secrets of the
committee--he is to be spoken to in general terms. D’Auerweck, with his
philosophical whims and unceasing chatter, bombards his benefactress
with his letters, in which he retails to her all the rumours current
in London regarding the child in the Temple. On intimate terms with the
journalist Peltier, d’Auerweck acts as his collaborator, so to speak,
keeping him _au courant_ with the progress of the enterprise as far as
he is in a position to do so.

Finally, there is the Bishop of Saint-Pol-de-Léon. The bishop has
not broken off his relations with the indefatigable lady, for whom
he professes an immense admiration. His assistance is by no means to
be despised, for among the ever-increasing crowds of _émigrés_ now
pressing to London there are quite a number of persons who are under
obligations to him. When Lady Atkyns leaves Ketteringham and comes
to stay for a time among her friends, we find the venerable prelate
visiting her on several occasions.[70]

She entertains him with an account of the steps she is taking. Little
by little her money will be exhausted; but what matter provided she
succeeds? Not content with seeing her gold dispensed at Paris by her
paid supporters, the generous Englishwoman has made up her mind to
acquire a ship which she has had secured for herself by an _émigré_,
the Baron de Suzannet, and which had been entirely rigged out at her
expense.[71] This vessel plies continually between the English coast
and the continent, after January, 1794; her captain is instructed to
communicate by means of signs agreed upon with people stationed along
the French coast, generally at Dieppe. In this way news can always be
conveyed from Paris, while the ship will be ready at the right moment
to pick up the young Dauphin and carry him off into security.

This was the condition of things at the beginning of 1794, when, on
Monday, March 24, Cormier received a piece of news which at first
unbalanced him. His wife had been arrested in Paris, and there was
nothing to indicate how this mishap had come about.

 “What terrible news, Madame!” he wrote to Lady Atkyns; “my wife has
 been arrested! I am inconsolable. I know no details as yet.”

On reflection, however, he realizes that the nature of his former
duties, taken in conjunction with his present position as an _émigré_,
suffice to account for what had taken place.

 “There is every reason to believe,” he proceeds, “that nothing has
 been discovered regarding our plot, and that it is merely as the wife
 of the President of the Massiac Club that she has been put under
 arrest. At least, I flatter myself that this is so. If I get no news
 here, I shall set out for the place where news will be forthcoming
 soonest. Nothing will ever make me abandon our project and the object
 of our desires. You shall have my news at the earliest possible
 moment, either from here or from Choram.”

Now, on this very day Hébert was mounting the scaffold, a victim to
the accusations of Robespierre, whose despotism was triumphant. He who
had been to a great extent responsible for looking after Louis XVII.
had now fallen in his turn, to be followed a few weeks later (April
13) by his friend Chaumette. Here is what Cormier had to say on the
subject--the news had reached him with wonderful speed--

 “Robespierre has triumphed over the others, and he has had Hébert,
 Vincent, etc., arrested and guillotined. Robespierre had declared
 himself anxious to stop the flow of blood ...; he had spoken up for
 the prisoners in the Temple. Fresh letters are arriving here. It is
 certain, I think, that my wife has not yet been charged with anything,
 or even suspected of anything in regard to the prisoners.”

The event was inopportune. Cormier had just decided to leave London
for the coast, where he was to receive certain information and to take
counsel with his agents. Now his plans were all upset. He would have to
postpone the journey and redouble his precautions.

At the end of five days there was ground for taking a hopeful view of
things. There was every reason to believe that Mme. Cormier’s arrest
would not have any grave results.

 “What annoys me most,” writes Cormier to Lady Atkyns on March 28, “is
 the fact that the news had got back to Paris, with commentaries which
 may do harm both to my wife and to our affairs.”

As a matter of fact, Peltier and d’Auerweck hastened, on hearing of
what had happened, to convey their sympathy to their friend, and,
like true journalists, spread the tidings in every direction, thus
intensifying Cormier’s uneasiness.

 “But I must only try and put aside this anxiety,” he continues, “as I
 have so many others. I have not yet started; I shall not start before
 Monday or Tuesday, because I must wait for replies from Dieppe, which
 cannot arrive before Sunday or Monday. Have no fears; my courage will
 not fail me--indeed, at present it is taking the shape of a feeling
 of rage, which I am trying to keep down. You will have learnt from
 the public prints that the statement has gone out that the King has
 been carried off to the army of the Prince of Saxe-Coburg. This false
 report has troubled me a good deal. I don’t want attention to be
 directed that way just now, especially as something has happened which
 would increase our confidence--something which I cannot at present
 confide to paper. Do not exert yourself too much, madame; do not
 measure your efforts by your courage. Your friends beg this of you.”

In all these letters of the Breton magistrate there is a real ring of
sincerity. The admiration he feels for this interesting woman resolves
itself into a whole-hearted devotion to her cause, and if, later, her
large fortune and her generosity seem to have too large a part in
Cormier’s thoughts and too great an influence upon his actions, at
least he must be credited with absolute frankness throughout.

The death of Sir Edward Atkyns on March 27, 1794, gave Cormier an
opportunity for expressing his sympathy with the widow, and of
enlarging still further upon his feelings. The scant mention made
of Sir Edward, indeed, in the correspondence of this little circle
suggests that the relations between husband and wife must have become
perceptibly colder of late. It is probable that the baronet looked with
disfavour upon his wife’s schemes and the heavy outlay they entailed.

 “A score of times,” writes Cormier, “I have taken pen in hand this
 morning to express to you the intense interest with which I have
 learnt of the sad event which occurred, and as often my courage has
 failed me. Truly you have been the victim of many misfortunes. Will
 the Fates never have done pursuing you? You must only make use of the
 great qualities Providence has given you to bear up against what has
 befallen. Your courage is exceptional. Make the most of a quality
 which is rare with men, but rarer still in women. As for me, I vow I
 shall not give in under my misfortune, and shall not be put off by
 any perils.... I have not started yet, and shall not start to-morrow,
 not having yet received the letters I was expecting. If they come
 to-morrow, I shall start on Thursday. So that this delay may not cause
 you anxiety, I may mention that in the last letters which have come to
 me, he who left last ... asks me not to start until I heard again from
 him. He has not been beyond D(ieppe), and the others have returned
 from P(aris) to take counsel with him--I don’t know on what.”

These last words show that something was already happening on the
Breton coast, and that it was desired to send news of interest to
Cormier. But the departure postponed so often was still impracticable,
and Cormier began to lose patience.

 “I am still kept here,” he writes. “It is becoming incensing. I feel
 as though I were being chained up, but prudence and common sense keep
 me quiet. I get news regularly from D(ieppe). I have just received a
 third letter enjoining me to make no movement until they give me the
 word, and insisting that the success of our project and the safety of
 him who is so precious to us depend upon this. I don’t understand,
 however, their not telling us why and how.... I have lost patience,
 and have sent one of these gentlemen.[72] (That is not the same as
 myself.) I am afraid that Hamelin may really have been killed; I can’t
 make it out at all.”

Who was Hamelin? It is difficult to guess. It is difficult to identify
a great many of the individuals of whom there is question in these
letters, and who are designated by borrowed names. The most elementary
prudence called for absolute secrecy concerning the names of the agents
who were working for our committee, and although the messages were
carried by the most trustworthy emissaries, it was always possible
that one of them might be arrested _en route_. This doubles our
difficulty in clearing up the imbroglio, and enhances a mystery already
sufficiently troublesome.

Failing Mme. Cormier, who was still under arrest, and whose absence had
been making itself felt more and more, another arrangement had been
made for securing news from Paris. At what expense? Heaven knows! But
once again money had set tongues going and procured the needed help.
Cormier, coming back to the question of his departure, writes again
(April 14, 1794) to his friend to tell her of the messages he has sent
from England:--

 “I shall not start until this evening,” he tells her. “You can guess
 why. I have just despatched two messengers. Things are moving, but
 very slowly. However, let us not lose heart. If we go slowly we go
 all the more surely, and every day achieve something which helps to
 advance our schemes and to keep us in security. Therefore do not be

The weeks passed by, and that fateful day “9th Thermidor,” which
was to bring with it such a _bouleversement_ in Paris, was drawing
nigh. At the Temple there had been no change--the Dauphin was still
sequestrated from the outside world.

On May 11, 1794, Robespierre visited the prison, and had a brief
interview with Marie-Therèse, but we have no information as to what

The 9th Thermidor arrives and throws the dictator down from his
pedestal, thereby proclaiming the end of his reign of terror. General
Barras, invested with the command of the armed forces within the city,
begins to take an important part in the management of affairs. One of
his first acts, it will be remembered, after he had triumphed over
Robespierre’s party, was to go to the prison of the Temple, on July
the 28th, accompanied by his brilliant staff, bedecked with gold. The
miserable aspect of the child after being shut up for months caused the
general to take immediate steps, and by his order of July 29, 1794,
a special guardian, chosen by himself, named Laurent, a native of
Martinique, was brought to the prison, there to be entrusted with the
sole care for nearly five months of the young Capet.

A careful study of the documents bearing upon this period of the
captivity of the Dauphin makes it quite clear that in the hands of his
new guardian he was looked after in a fashion which contrasted strongly
with the previous neglect, and that he soon became attached to Laurent,
who proved himself good-natured, kind, and even affectionate in his
attitude towards his charge. If strange things came about in the Temple
at that time, we may be certain that Laurent knew about them, and we
may assume that Barras was the prime mover in all that happened.

It is impossible, as we have said before, to recapitulate all the
arguments which tend to bring home to the general some complicity in
the fate of Louis XVII., and which implicate a large number of persons,
most of them people of influence in the world of the Convention.
Other writers, notably M. Henri Provins,[73] have done this so
conscientiously and thoroughly that there is no need for us to attempt
it. We may content ourselves with making public a series of documents
and newly ascertained matters, the gist of which bears out exactly all
that we knew already of Laurent’s conduct at the Temple. Lady Atkyns
and her friends could not have done without him. It is true that his
name never appears in their communications, for reasons already given,
but the striking connection between the events within the prison
walls and their effects in London upon the Royalist Committee proves
beyond doubt the relations subsisting between them. Between the lines
of these documents we get to understand what Cormier meant by “new
combinations.” Lady Atkyns has been at pains to say it herself in one
of her notes which she used to make upon her correspondence, and which
often serve to explain her actions.

In his anxiety about the future, did Cormier entertain fears lest all
remembrance of his heroine’s devotion would vanish with her if by some
mischance her enterprise should fail, or if she herself should lose her
life? Who knows? However that may be, it is the case that on August 1,
1794, he had two statements drawn up (the text of which, unluckily,
is not forthcoming), in which Lady Atkyns recorded all that she had
achieved down to that date for the safety of those who were so dear to

 “These records are to my knowledge the absolute truth,” attested
 Cormier at the foot of the deposition, “and I declare that ever
 since I first knew Lady Atkyns, she has always shown the same purity
 of principles, and that all she has here stated is true in every

These documents were to have been handed over for preservation, with a
number of others, to a solicitor or some trustworthy person in London.

Meanwhile, renewed efforts were being made to bring about a good
service of news to the Continent and Paris. As time passed, Lady
Atkyns’ friends realized more and more that it would have been madness
to proceed with a regular attempt at a sudden rescue in the actual
conditions of things. In truth, the calm which had followed the 9th
Thermidor, and which gave Paris time to take breath, was making itself
felt within the Temple. Laurent’s nomination was evidence of this.
Any attempt to act at once would have been sheer folly. What was to
be done was to “get at” those who had any kind of influence within
the Temple or without, whilst taking care not to let too many people
into the secret of the enterprise. Here, again, unluckily, the wise
secretiveness of all their papers prevents us from ascertaining any
names. Those who were tempted by Lady Atkyns’ gold to compromise
themselves in any way, took too many precautions against being found

Lady Atkyns, however, was not idle. Two sailing vessels were
continually plying between different points on the French coast. A
third, which she had recently purchased, had orders to keep close to
land between Nantes and La Rochelle, ready at any moment to receive the

The cost of keeping these three ships was considerable, and Lady Atkyns
had great difficulty in providing the money. She was in the hands of
agents whose services, indispensable to her, could be depended upon
only so long as the sums they demanded were forthcoming. We can imagine
the feelings of anxiety and despondency with which she must have read
the following letter from Cormier. What answer was she to make to him?
(The person to whom she had applied for financial help appears on
several occasions in their correspondence under the designation of “le
diable noir.”)

 “Your _diable noir’s_ reply is very little consolation to me,” writes
 Cormier; “he has promised and postponed so often. For Heaven’s
 sake, see to it that he does not promise us this time also to no
 purpose!... I gather that you were to have two definite replies
 to-day--I shall be in Purgatory until five o’clock. Mon Dieu! Mon
 Dieu! I wonder what you will send me, or rather what you will be able
 to send me? Our own courage alone does not suffice--we have to keep up
 the courage of others, and they are losing heart. Worst of all, there
 is that avaricious Jew of a captain! We are absolutely dependent upon
 him. If we lost him where should we get another to take his place? I
 beg of you, in the name of the one you know, to do all you possibly
 can, to exert all your resources, to prevent his having to leave me

And to excuse the ultimatum-like tone of his letter, Cormier adds--

 “Forgive the urgent persistent style in which I write! But when one is
 writing about business matters and matters of this importance, one has
 to forget one is writing to a woman--especially when it is a question
 of a Lady Atkyns, who is different from the rest of her sex.”

The occasions for entering into communication with their agents on
the Continent are more propitious now than ever, but many efforts are
frustrated owing to the sharp watch which is kept along the coast.

 “They have tried eleven times to land since Saturday last,” writes
 Cormier, “and failed every time. There were always either people in
 sight or else there were transports sailing from Havre to Dieppe or
 from Dieppe to Saint-Valery, etc., etc. There has been a lot going on
 evidently, for signals have been given on fifteen or twenty different
 occasions. That shows how important it is to effect a landing. They
 returned simply to make this fact known to me, and went back again
 without coming on shore--except the captain, who came for an hour and
 who is positive they have something to hand over to him. I believe
 this myself, for I learn also this morning that the Government boat
 which plies along the coast of Brittany has made thirty vain attempts
 during the last three weeks.”

We can imagine the mental condition of poor Lady Atkyns on receiving
letter after letter in this strain. She no longer goes away from London
at this period, feeling too remote in the country from the centre of
news. She stays either at the Royal Hotel or else with friends at 17,
Park Lane. Here it is that she receives Cormier, Frotté, Peltier.
When there is a long interval between their visits her fears grow
apace. What would she not give to take an active part herself in the
enterprise! “No messenger arrived--no news, therefore, from France,”
that is the message that comes to her only too often. And Cormier
writes, full of excuses for his persistent appeals--

 “Forgive my tone,” he writes. “I apologize a thousand times for being
 such a worry to you, but I can’t help it in regard to so important a
 matter, calling for so much energy and hurry. You have voluntarily
 abandoned the position ensured you by your sex and great advantages in
 order to play the _rôle_ of a great and high-minded statesman. There
 are discomforts and disadvantages attached to this new estate, and it
 is my misfortune to have to bring this home to you. I can but console
 myself with the thought of your goodness and of the great cause which
 we have embraced and which is the subject of all our anxieties. May
 God prosper it, and may it bring you glory and me happiness!”

In the mouth of any one but Cormier these protestations would arouse
one’s distrust; but what we already know of him, and what we are to
learn presently of his later conduct, serve to reassure us in regard to

In spite of all his good will, however, Cormier is constantly being
interrupted in his work. Now it is the health of his son, Achille,
which disquiets him, now he is a prey to terrible attacks of gout which
will give him no rest.

 “I have been bent double for two nights and a day,” he writes to
 his friend on September 1, 1794, “without being able to change my
 position. It takes four persons to move this great body of mine. I am
 a little more free from pain at present, and I take up my pen at the
 earliest possible moment to send you this explanation of my silence.”

It is at this moment that Louis de Frotté, who has been a little in the
background, comes again to the front of the stage. Since his arrival
in London, the young officer, without neglecting the society of the
Royalist Committee, has been spending most of his time in the offices
of the English Government, endeavouring to impress upon Windham “the
desirability of carrying out his ideas, and the ease with which they
may be brought to fruit, as he has made up his mind to devote himself
to them.” One project he has specially at heart, that of receiving some
kind of official mission from the Government which will enable him to
land in Normandy with adequate powers and to give new life there to
the Royalist insurrection. Should he succeed, the help he “would thus
obtain would lead to the execution of our cherished plans,” he writes
to Lady Atkyns, and she will reap at last “all the honour that will be
due to the generous sacrifices that she has made.”

But in his interview with the Minister he does not think it necessary
to speak of their relations with the Temple. This secret is too
important for him to confide it to any one. “Too many people know it
already.” These words, hinting a delicate reproach, are meant, perhaps,
to put his fair friend upon her guard. Perhaps they mean more than
that. Read in the light of subsequent letters from the young _émigré_,
they serve as a key to his private feelings--to his dislike at having
to share her confidence with so many others, and to his jealousy later
of the man who has so large a place in her heart. These feelings, still
slight, soon become more marked, and presently we find that they are

For the time being, however, both Frotté and Cormier worked with the
same ardour at their allotted tasks. Frotté, proceeding with his
negotiation with Windham, counted now upon support from Puisaye, his
famous compatriot recently come to England. Cormier writes to her to
report that, despite apparent dilatoriness, their agents have not been

 “I have received letters through the captain,” he tells her on October
 1, 1794, “which satisfy me, brief as they are. Here is what they have
 to tell me: ‘Be at ease in your mind; they imagine they are working
 for themselves, and really they are working for us, and we shall have
 the profit. Be patient and don’t lose trust.’ The captain had orders
 to return at once to-day, but he will not start until to-night or
 to-morrow morning, and we have news by the packet-boats meanwhile that
 order reigns in Paris.”

Day after day passed by, bringing new reports, none of them positive,
of the death of the little Dauphin. Lady Atkyns knew not what to make
of the situation. Presently--eight days after the last--there came
another letter from Cormier, to reassure her.

 “I have great faith in your judgment,” he declares, “and your
 presentiments are almost always right, but I really do not think that
 you have ground for disquiet now. Three agents of ours at the Temple
 are either at work silently or else they are in hiding. All we know
 for certain is that they have not been guillotined, as they have not
 been mentioned in any of the lists.”

His wife was still unfortunately detained, but there was prospect of
her being shortly at liberty, and then she would write to him. If the
agents had taken it upon themselves to modify their project--the one
thing that was to be feared--they could not possibly have succeeded in
sending particulars yet of this. But an explanation of the mystery was
soon to be forthcoming.

“The Dauphin is not to be got out by main force or in a balloon,”
Cormier had once written. Any attempt at carrying him off under the
very nose of his warders and of the delegates of the Commune would have
been madness. All idea of such a rescue had long been put aside. How,
then, was the matter to be dealt with? By such means as circumstances
might dictate--by finding a substitute for the young prisoner, a mute
who should play the _rôle_ until an occasion should offer for smuggling
away the real Dauphin, concealed meanwhile somewhere in the upper
chambers of the Tower. Mme. Atkyns did not herself approve of this plan.

 “I was strongly opposed to it,” she notes at the foot of a letter
 from Cormier dated June 3, 1795, “as I pointed out to my friends that
 it might have an undesirable result, and that those who were being
 entrusted with the carrying off of the Dauphin, after getting the
 money, might declare afterwards that he had not been got out of the

She saw reason to fear that at the last moment she would be done out of
the recompense of all her efforts, and that the Royal child would not
be entrusted to her care.

However, it was clear that once the plan was agreed upon it was
necessary in order to carry it out to secure the help of the gaoler
Laurent, who had had the Dauphin under his charge during the last
four months. Laurent’s complicity may be traced through the documents
bearing upon the whole episode.

Let us examine first of all Laurent’s own famous letters, the first of
which, dated November 7, 1794, synchronizes with the events we have
been following.

It is well known that only copies of these letters are in
existence--the originals have never been discovered. They were
published first in a book which appeared in 1835, _Le Véritable Duc
de Normandie_, the work of an adherent of the pretender, Nauendorff,
Bourbon-Leblanc, whose real name was Gabriel de Bourbon-Russet, dit
Leblanc. From the fact of the originals being missing, the authenticity
of these letters has long been a matter for debate. A close
examination of them, side by side with all the other documents upon
which we have come in the course of our researches, results, we think,
in justifying our belief in their genuineness.

Cormier, then, was not mistaken in supposing that his agents had
modified their plan. The letter in which he confided his suspicion to
Lady Atkyns was dated October 8, 1794. On the last day of the same
month he wrote to her again:--

 “I have to thank you cordially for your kind letter of yesterday. I
 have had no time to answer it properly, not because of the gout, for
 that has left me. In fact, my mind is so fully occupied that I have no
 time to trouble about any kind of malady, and am, in fact, at my wits’
 end with excitement. However, I must just send you this brief note in
 haste (for it is just post time) to bid you not merely be at rest but
 to rejoice! _I am able to assure you positively that the Master and
 his belongings are saved! There is no doubt about it._ But say nothing
 of this, keep it absolutely secret, do not let it be suspected even by
 your bearing. _Moreover, nothing will happen to-day, or to-morrow, or
 the day after, nor for more than a month, but I am quite sure of what
 I say, and I was never more at my ease in my own mind._ I can give you
 no details now, and can only tell you all when we meet; but you can
 share my feeling of security. I am glad to say I have good news of my
 wife, but I must continue to keep a sharp look out all round me.”

This letter evidently alludes to what had happened at the Temple. The
young Dauphin, we may conclude, was halfway on his road to liberty.
Lodged in the garrets of the Temple tower, and with the little mute
as his substitute down below, he was not yet out of peril. But an
important step had been taken towards the ultimate goal.

It seemed clear that Laurent, _l’homme de Barras_, was having a share
in this, and had at least rendered possible the execution of the
project. The letter which he wrote eight days later to a general, whose
identity has never been established, bore out exactly what Cormier had
said; here it is:--


 “Your letter of the 6th came too late, for your first plan had been
 carried out already--there was no time to lose. To-morrow a new warder
 is to enter upon his duties--a Republican named Gommier, a good fellow
 from what B---- tells me, but I have no confidence in such people. I
 shall find it very difficult to convey food to our P----. But I shall
 take care of him; you need not be anxious. The assassins have been
 duped, and the new municipal people have no idea that the little mute
 has been substituted for the Dauphin. The thing to be done now is to
 get him out of this cursed tower--but how? B---- tells me he cannot
 do anything on account of the way he is watched. If there were to be
 a long delay I should be uneasy about his health, for there is not
 much air in his _oubliette_--the _bon Dieu_ would not find him there
 if he were not almighty! He has promised me to die rather than betray
 himself, and I have reason to believe that he would. His sister knows
 nothing; I thought it prudent to pass the little mute off on her as
 her real brother. Meanwhile, this poor little fellow seems quite
 happy, and plays his part so well, all unconsciously, that the new
 guard is convinced that he is merely refusing to speak. So there is no
 danger. Please send back our faithful messenger to me, as I have need
 of your help. Follow the advice he will convey to you orally, for that
 is the only way to our success.

 “The Temple Tower, November 7, 1794.”

The contents of this letter, taken together with its date, accord in a
remarkable way with Cormier’s communication to Lady Atkyns.

There is another striking argument in favour of the authenticity of
Laurent’s letters. When they were produced by the pretender Nauendorff,
they were for the most part in complete contradiction to all that
was known of the Dauphin’s captivity and the testimonies of those
connected with it. Certain facts to which they made allusion were
known to nobody. Thus Laurent states clearly on November 7 that a new
warder--whom he calls Gommier instead of Gomin--is to come to the
Temple next day and to be associated with him. Now, in 1835, when this
letter was published, what was known of Gomin? Next to nothing, and the
little that was known did not tally with Laurent’s statements. Simeon
Despreaux, author of a book entitled “Louis XVIII.,” published in 1817,
did not even know of Gomin’s existence. Gomin himself made a formal
declaration before the magistrates that he entered the Temple about
July 27, 1794, before Laurent was there at all. Many years later it was
found, on examining all the documents referring to the Temple that were
kept in the National Archives, that Laurent’s statements were quite

Some days after this letter to Lady Atkyns, Cormier informed Frotté of
the great news, in the course of a visit paid him by the latter.

 “I know all about it,” he said, according to Frotté’s account of the
 interview afterwards in a letter to Lady Atkyns, “because they could
 do nothing without me; but everything is now ready, and I give you my
 word that the King and France are saved. All the necessary steps have
 been taken. I can tell you no more.... Do not question me, don’t try
 to go further into the matter. Already I have told you more than I had
 any right to, and from Mr. Pitt down to myself there is now no one who
 knows more about it than you do. So I beg of you to keep it absolutely
 to yourself.”

From November 8, then, Laurent is no longer sole guardian of the
young Prince. His duties are henceforth shared with Gomin. What kind
of relations subsisted between the two? It is hard to say, for it is
even more difficult to find out the truth about the Temple during the
subsequent months than during those which went before.

We find one innovation introduced during these months which is worth
noting. It is no longer the delegates of the Commune who have to pay
the daily visit to the prison, but the representatives of the _Comités
Civils_ of the forty-eight divisions of Paris. Now, among all those
who visited the Dauphin none left any record, with one exception, to
which we shall come presently. All that we can learn from Gomin’s own
statements, so often contradictory, is that throughout the period
the child placed under his care uttered no word. The warder takes
no further notice of this strange conduct, Laurent having satisfied
him that if the Dauphin will not open his mouth it is because of the
infamous deposition against his mother that he was made to sign. It
is unnecessary to point out how improbable was this explanation, the
Dauphin’s examination having taken place on October 6, 1793, and
Laurent not having come to the Temple until July 29, 1794. Gomin,
however, asked no further questions, and Laurent experiencing no
further anxiety in regard to him, sought what means he could of
bringing about the desired end.

Six weeks pass, however, without further progress, and then on November
5 Laurent hears, to his great satisfaction, that his master has become
a member of the Committee of Public Safety. This new office would
surely enable the general to carry out his plan and relieve the anxious
guardian from the heavy responsibility lying on his shoulders.

It was, therefore, not without surprise that on December 19 Laurent
and Gomin saw three Commissioners of the Committee of Public Safety
make their way into the prison and up the stairway of the Tower to
the Dauphin’s cell. These three visitors--Harmand la Meuse, Matthieu,
and Reverchon--asked to see the Dauphin, so that they might question
him and satisfy themselves as to the way in which he was kept under
supervision. At a time when there were so many rumours current about
the Temple, and when rescues were openly talked about, when every day
brought forth some new sensational report, it was only natural that the
Convention, in order to silence these rumours and calm public opinion,
should institute an official inspection of the prison in this way.

In a work which he published twenty years later, Harmand de la Meuse
tells us all that we know of this visit, and of the impression made
upon the delegates by the little mute ushered into their presence.
Suffice it here to record that this narrative (written with an eye to
the good graces of Louis XVIII.) makes it quite clear that it was a
mute whom they saw, and that all efforts to extract replies were quite
in vain.

Harmand repeats the explanation of this persistent silence which had
been furnished by Laurent. He ignores the fact that the Dauphin had
talked with the Simons, had been interviewed by Barras, and had been
heard to speak on several other occasions.

Assuredly, Harmand and his colleagues--his narrative allows it to
be seen on every page--very soon realized that they were not in the
presence of the Dauphin. This is proved by the fact that, despite the
very distinct terms of the resolution of the Committee entrusting them
with this mission, and the object of which was to dispel the rumours
current in Paris, “they decided they would make no public report, but
would confine themselves to a secret record of their experience to the
Committee itself.”

However natural and intelligible all this may have been to those who
knew what was in the mind of the Convention and the exigencies of the
situation at this period, to Laurent it was a matter of stupefaction.
Barras had sent him no warning, and his position was getting more and
more difficult, for his colleague, who had, of course, to be taken into
his confidence, was beginning to be nervous about participating any
further in the intrigue, and might betray him any day. At last he loses
patience, and expresses himself as follows to his friend the unknown

 “I have just received your letter. Alas, your request is impossible.
 It was easy enough to get the ‘victim’ upstairs, but to get him down
 again is for the moment impossible, for so sharp a watch is being kept
 and I am afraid of being betrayed. The Committee of Public Safety
 sent those monsters Matthieu and Reverchon, as you know, to establish
 the fact that our mute is really the son of Louis XVI. General, what
 does it all mean? I don’t know what to make of B----’s conduct. He
 talks now of getting rid of our mute and replacing him by another boy
 who is ill. Were you aware of this? Is it not a trap of some kind.
 I am getting very much alarmed, for great care is being taken not
 to let any one into the prison of our mute, lest the substitution
 should become known, for if any one examined him they would discover
 that he was deaf from birth, and in consequence naturally mute. But
 to substitute some one else for him! The new substitute will talk,
 and will do both for our half-rescued P---- and for myself with him.
 Please send back our messenger at once with your written reply.

 “The Temple Tower, February 5, 1795.”

Let us note the date of this letter--February 5. Therefore the visit
referred to must have taken place before February 5. Now, Eckard, one
of the earliest biographers of the Dauphin, having in the first edition
of his book made the date December 2, 1794, altered it afterwards to
February 13, 1795. De Beauchesne makes it February 27. Chantelauze,
February 26.

On referring to the original documents at our disposal, however, we
find that Laurent’s letter is borne out. In his book, _Le dernier roi
legitime de France_, M. Provins shows that the visit must have taken
place between November 5, 1794, and January 4, 1795, as it was only
during this period that the three delegates were all members of the
Committee. A recent discovery of documents in the National Archives
establishes the fact that it took place on December 19, 1794.


[66] G. Lenôtre, _Vielles Maisons_, _Vieux Papiers_, 2nd series.

[67] A curious plan of this house is to be found at the Bibliothèque
Nationale, Print Department, Paris topography, the Madeleine quarter.

[68] The decree of divorce of Marie-Anne-Suzanne-Rosalie Butler,
forty-nine years old, born at La Rochelle, resident in Paris, Rue
Basse, section des Piques, daughter of Jean-Baptiste Butler and
of Suzanne Bonfils; and Yves-Jean-François-Marie Cormier, aged
fifty-six, born at Rennes, department d’Ile-et-Vilaine, son of the late
Yves-Gilles Cormier and of Marie-Anne-Françoise Egasse.

[69] V. Delaporte, article already quoted, _Études_, October, 1893, p.

[70] _Unpublished Papers of Lady Atkyns._

[71] Note in Lady Atkyns’ own handwriting at the end of a letter of
Cormier’s, dated March 24, 1794.

[72] M. M. de Corbin (note on the letter in Lady Atkyns’ handwriting).

[73] Henri Provins, _Le dernier roi légitime de France_, Paris, 1889, 2

[74] Note in Lady Atkyns’ handwriting at the foot of a letter from
Cormier, dated June 3, 1795.

                               CHAPTER V

                THE MYSTERY OF THE TEMPLE (_continued_)

Meanwhile the feelings of jealousy and suspicion which had sprung
up between Cormier, still Lady Atkyns’s principal lieutenant and
confidant, and the Chevalier de Frotté were becoming more and more
marked. At the beginning of October, 1794, Cormier learns of a
correspondence in progress between Lady Atkyns and a person whom he
imagines to be his rival (but who turns out to be merely the “little
baron”), and his ill-humour breaks out in the form of reproaches.

 “Chance has willed that I should become acquainted with the fact that
 some one has been getting up a correspondence with you,” he writes to
 Lady Atkyns, “in such a way as to prevent me from hearing of it....
 You will admit that I am justified in assuming there are reasons why
 this correspondence is being kept secret from me.”

But he proceeds to assure Lady Atkyns that she still retains all his
admiration and respect, and to protest that he only acquaints her
with the discovery that he has made because of his attachment to her.
Filled with mistrust of Frotté, Cormier withholds from him particulars
as to the progress of affairs at the Temple, and only vouchsafes his
information now and again in vague terms. “I refused to give Frotté
the names of the agents,” he wrote to Lady Atkyns some months later.
“Please remember that. I shall always be proud of that.”

It is not astonishing that Frotté should show some surprise at the way
in which he was being treated, though he was prevented by other causes
of annoyance--his failure to get any satisfaction out of the British
Government and the repeated postponements of his departure--from taking
his position in this respect too much to heart.

Lady Atkyns herself was keeping him at a distance at this time and
avoiding him when she came to London. When he asks for an interview,
she refuses on the pretext of her widowed state and public opinion.

 “I wished to avoid seeing or writing M. de Frotté,” she herself
 records at a later period, “as I was not in a position to talk to him
 about the means being taken for the rescue of the King.”

However, on the eve of setting out from England into the unknown, the
Chevalier makes one more effort to see her.

 “You do not write to me,” he begins his letter (December 27, 1794),
 “and I should be angry with you if I could be angry with any one, now
 that I have all my wishes fulfilled. In three days everything has
 changed, and I have nothing more to ask for in England. The longed-for
 moment has come. P[uisaye] wants me. I go with him, and all my
 requests are granted. We start on Thursday at latest. It is important
 that I should see you. I beg of you to set out at once and spend
 twenty-four hours here, but without any one knowing of your journey,
 lest its object should be suspected. Try to be here by Monday evening,
 and let me know where I could see you.”

This time the appeal was too strong to be resisted. It was in the
depths of winter, and the letter arrived at Ketteringham in the
evening; but Lady Atkyns hired a post-chaise at once, and set out a
few hours later, and travelled all night in stormy weather to London,
arriving there in the morning. She seems, however, to have resisted the
temptation to let Frotté into the secret of the Temple doings. Perhaps
she had a presentiment that the Chevalier, for all his protestations
of fidelity now, would fall away later and pass into the camp of some
other pretendant to the throne.

We have spoken already of the endless intrigues which were being
hatched round the British Government by the hordes of _émigrés_ and
broken-down exiles from the Continent. For these gentry, mostly
penniless and forced to beg their livelihood, no resource was too
base by which they could get into favour with the Ministers. Besides
scheming in a thousand different fashions against the common enemy, the
Revolution, they stuck at nothing in their efforts to throw suspicion
upon each other. The little court which had gathered round the Comte
D’Artois on the Continent was also a hotbed of plots and schemes, the
influence of which made itself felt in London. Every one spied on every
one else.

In the midst of this world of intruders a sort of industrial
association came into being in the course of the year 1794, for the
purpose of inundating France with false paper-money. It was hoped
that in this way a severe blow would be dealt at the hated Jacobins
and their friends. These nefarious proceedings soon became known, and
called forth the indignation of some of the better class of _émigrés_,
among them the honest Cormier.

His position among his compatriots was not at this time of the best.
They had no love for this man of firm character, faithful to his
principles and incapable of lending his countenance to such doings. He
himself soon came to realize this.

 “One doesn’t know whom to trust,” he wrote to Lady Atkyns. “I am sure
 some one has furnished the Government with a long report upon my
 projects. I am on the track of the man who I think is guilty. There
 is no reason for you to be anxious on the subject. I shall soon know
 what has been done, and both the traitor and the Government shall be

About this time a flood of memorials of all sorts poured in by
mysterious channels upon the British Government, maintaining that “the
general desire of the French was for a change in the ruling family.”
Cormier discovered that they all were traceable to the same source, and
we find him declaring energetically that “the blasphemous scoundrels”
who were responsible for them all belonged to one clique.

His indignation, in which he found few sympathizers, made him a number
of enemies, and the disfavour with which he was already regarded in
French circles soon changed into downright hatred. The fact that he
denounced the false paper-money to the British Government--and not in
vain--was a cause of special bitterness against him. By way of revenge,
they could think of nothing better than to accuse him of being himself
guilty of the very offences against which he had set his face.

 “They are trying to make out that I am the owner of ships which I use
 for the purpose of conveying this false paper-money to Brittany,”
 he writes to Lady Atkyns. “They have stated this to the Government.
 Fortunately, my whole conduct and reputation, and all that I have done
 to destroy this shameful traffic, serve to show the improbability of
 such accusations.”

But, in spite of all his energy and determination, Cormier’s enemies
were too strong for him. It was in vain that he demonstrated his good
faith. Calumny had done its work.

The British Government had decided, in concert with the Comte
d’Artois, to send an important mission to the Netherlands, with a
view, doubtless, to establishing relations with the Stadtholder, whose
position was becoming critical owing to the sequel to the Revolution.
The man to be entrusted with this mission would have to be some one
who had given proof of his qualifications. Cormier seemed cut out for
the post, and he stood in readiness for it, enjoying the prospect of
thus getting into touch again with France, and of perhaps being able
to serve the interests that were so dear to him. But he had reckoned
without his foes. Their efforts were redoubled, and in the course
of November Cormier learnt that another had been entrusted with the
mission. His anger and disappointment can be imagined. He decided
that, in spite of all, he would leave England and betake himself to
Holland on private business. Doubtless he imagined also that it would
be an advantage to be near the French frontier, and that he would be
the better able to follow the course of events at the Temple. It was
a risky step to take, for there was nothing to guarantee his complete
security in the Netherlands.

However that might be, his decision was taken, and on November 25,
1794, Baron d’Auerweck wrote to Lady Atkyns to acquaint her with the
news of Cormier’s departure, conveying to her at the same time many
apologies for his having himself neglected to write to her to take
farewell. During the months that follow the “little baron” replaces the
Breton magistrate as principal correspondent of Lady Atkyns.

It is a strange personality that stands revealed in these letters of
Baron d’Auerweck. Keen and resourceful, the baron lays himself out to
exploit to the utmost the valuable friendship of the English lady,
thus bequeathed to him, as it were, by Cormier. Trained by Peltier,
d’Auerweck seems to have modelled himself upon his master, and to have
become in his turn the accomplished publicist, plausible, fluent,
supple, with a gift of raillery and sarcasm, together with a turn
for philosophy. Lady Atkyns, though not unappreciative of his copious
epistles, shows clearly that she estimates him at his real value, and
is careful not to take him too much into her confidence. It must be
enough for him to know that there is still reason to hope that the
Dauphin may be saved. D’Auerweck himself is not in a position to give
her much information in return. His letters consist rather of a bright
and lively commentary upon the political situation and the course of
events generally in France.

Upon Cormier’s decision to leave England the Baron expresses himself
in downright language, and makes it a text for a disquisition upon his
elder’s character.

 “Cormier’s departure has disturbed me a good deal,” he writes to
 Lady Atkyns, “the more so that, with a little prudence, he could
 have spared himself this unpleasantness, and might have succeeded
 in getting what he wanted. A man who has passed his whole life in
 the magistracy ought, at the age of fifty-six, to know something
 about men, but Cormier has never got further than the A B C of such
 knowledge. I have had some rather hot disputes with him over his rash
 confidence, his purposeless explosions, his sudden friendships that
 ended in ruptures, thus increasing the number of his enemies.... But
 we both of us felt the parting. I must do him the justice of admitting
 that there is a lot of kindness and sympathy in his character. I think
 he has the same feeling of friendship for me that I have for him. It
 is my wish to serve him whenever the opportunity may arrive.”

By an unfortunate coincidence, the political situation in Holland was
undergoing a disquieting change at the moment of Cormier’s arrival.
Until then England had exercised a decisive influence there, both
by reason of the presence of her army and through counsels of the
Stadtholder. But in the autumn of 1794 a popular feeling in favour
of the Revolution began to make itself felt, fanned by the hostility
aroused against the undisciplined English troops, with their looting
and pillaging, and intensified by an unlooked-for piece of news: the
French, led by Pichegru, had crossed the frontier and were advancing
by long marches, and seizing all the places they passed through on
their way. In a few weeks the power of the Stadtholder would have
gone! Though clothed in rags, the soldiers of the National Convention
were welcomed with transports of delight. Never did troops show such
discipline, it should be added.

But Pichegru was not alone. Beside him marched representatives of the
Convention, eager to institute in the United Provinces the principles
of the Revolution and to establish the guarantees of order and security
inseparable therefrom.

Therein lay the danger for those who, like Cormier, were to be found in
_flagrante delicto_ of emigration. On November 8, 1794, an order came
from the Committee of Public Safety to the representatives with the
army, commanding them to seize the Stadtholder, together with his wife
and children, as well as to arrest immediately all _émigrés_ who might
fall into their hands.

Knowledge of this important decree had not come to London on December
15, for on this date we find d’Auerweck writing to Lady Atkyns that
he has had news of Cormier, “who is now at La Haye in good health and

The extreme cold which prevailed this year contributed in a remarkable
degree, as is well known, to the success of Pichegru’s operations
in Holland. Shut in by the ice, the powerless fleet was obliged to
surrender to the French cavalry--a memorable incident in the military
annals of the Republic. The famous dams, which were to be opened and
to flood the country and submerge the French, became useless by reason
of the frost. In short, Pichegru triumphed throughout. He made his
entry into Amsterdam on January 10, 1795, and eight days later the
Stadtholder embarked for England. The Dutch Republic had come into

Cormier’s fate throughout this period must have been a matter for
anxiety to Lady Atkyns, but the absence of anything in the shape of
definite news from Paris as to the state of things at the Temple
continued to be to her a source of far greater disquietude. The vague
assurance as to the Dauphin’s well-being, which d’Auerweck transmitted
to her from time to time, counted for nothing, as she knew herself to
be better informed as to what had been under way.

What had been happening? A third letter, addressed by Laurent to his
correspondent, under date of March 3, 1795, enlightens us a little:--

 “Our little mute has now been smuggled away into the palace of the
 Temple and well concealed. There he will remain, and if need be
 can be passed off as the Dauphin. The triumph is altogether yours,
 general. You can now be quite at ease in your mind--send me your
 orders and I shall carry them out. Lasne will take my place now as
 soon as he likes. The best and safest steps have been taken to ensure
 the Dauphin’s safety. Consequently I shall be able to get to you in a
 few days, and shall be able to tell you all further details orally.”

These lines herald a momentous alteration in the _régime_ of the
prison. First of all, there is the question of Laurent’s leaving it.
Presumably his presence is no longer needed there. This suggests that
success is assured. And Lasne--how is it that his name makes its
appearance here for the first time? We shall find him declaring in
1834 that his service in the Temple began in Fructidor year II., that
is to say, between August 18 and September 16, 1794.[75] In that case
Laurent would have had him as his colleague for several months already!
The Temple documents preserved in the National Archives, and examined
fifteen years later, establish the fact that Lasne did not, indeed,
enter upon his duties until March 31, 1795, thus bearing out the
accuracy of Laurent’s statement.

We see, then, that the little mute has been transferred to the palace
of the Temple--that is to say, into one of the many empty suites in the
great maze of buildings that surrounded the Tower. Here he has been,
or perhaps will soon be, joined by the Dauphin himself, for means of
retreat from this labyrinth of buildings are infinitely greater than
from the fourth storey of the Tower.

To replace the mute, another substitute has been found, a scrofulous
boy who may be expected soon to die. All barriers to the Dauphin’s
escape will thus be removed. So much we gather from Laurent, and all
his statements are borne out by documents which have been left by
Royalist agents.

This second substitution effected, Laurent was able to quit his post
with an easy mind, and we find that he did actually leave the Temple on
March 29, 1795. His successor, Lasne, arrives two days later. Gomin,
who perhaps knows part of the truth through Laurent (and, moreover,
his _rôle_ is more especially to attend to Marie Thérèse), is careful
not to confide in him, knowing well the risk he would run by so doing.
Lasne finds in the prison a boy who is evidently very ill, in great
suffering, whose death is soon to be expected. What would be the use of
asking questions? It is enough for him to attend to the child as best
he may during the few weeks of life that still remain to him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Spring had passed and June had arrived before Lady Atkyns was again to
see the familiar handwriting, rounded and minute, of her friend the
Breton magistrate. The letter bore the postmark of Hamburg. What was
Cormier doing on the banks of the Elbe? He would seem to have had some
perilous adventures. Probably he had been arrested as an _émigré_ and
had escaped the guillotine by some happy chance. However that may be,
the news he had to tell of events in France came as a great relief to
his correspondent.

 “We have been better served, my dear friend, than we ourselves
 arranged. Our agents have not kept to our plan, but they have done
 wisely.... But we must have patience. Things are in such a condition
 at present that they can be neither hastened nor delayed. A false move
 might have very bad results.”

Within a week of the arrival of this letter, an announcement, that came
to many as a surprise, found its way round London. It was officially
reported that the Dauphin had died in prison on June 8, 1795. Had not
Cormier’s assurances come in time to buoy her up, so categorical a
statement might well have given Lady Atkyns a severe shock. She knew
now, however, that it could not be of _her_ boy that there was question.

Some weeks pass in silence, and Lady Atkyns, impatient for news, urges
the “little baron” to set out for Hamburg. He starts in the first week
of July, but is delayed at Ocfordnese, whence he writes to her on the
16th. At last he reaches his destination, but means of communication
are so uncertain that several more weeks elapse before she hears
anything further. September finds d’Auerweck returning to London with
a letter from Cormier to Lady Atkyns. In October, again unable to
curb her anxiety, she had just decided to send d’Auerweck to Paris,
when, to her deep grief and dismay, she learnt suddenly from Cormier
that everything had gone wrong--that “they had all been deceived,
shamefully deceived.” The child that had died on June 8 was, indeed,
the second substitute, and the Dauphin had undoubtedly escaped, but
others had got possession of him, and the boy handed over to Lady
Atkyns’ agents was the young mute.

 “Yes,” he writes, “we have been taken in totally and completely. That
 is quite certain. But how have they managed to do it? And did we take
 every step that could be taken to make this impossible? These are
 matters you will want me to go into in detail, and I shall not fail
 to do so; but I must wait until I have time to trace the sequence of
 events from a diary day by day for a year past. The entries for the
 first two months are missing for the present--the least interesting
 period certainly, since down to that time, and for several months
 afterwards, only the project of carrying off the Dauphin was being
 kept in view, the project which had to be abandoned afterwards in
 favour of another which seemed simpler and more feasible, as well as
 less perilous.”

Cormier’s long letter left Lady Atkyns completely in the dark as to
what exactly had happened. They had been tricked somehow--that was all
she knew.

To us, as to her, the names of most of the many participants in this
mysterious intrigue remain unknown. Laurent went off to San Domingo in
the following year, where he died on August 22, 1807. Gomin, to some
extent his accomplice in the matter of the substitution, followed Marie
Antoinette’s daughter to Austria, and was careful to keep what he knew
to himself. As for our three friends, Cormier, Frotté, and d’Auerweck,
we shall learn presently the reasons for their silence.

The one person who has tried to clear up the obscurity of these
happenings inside the Temple is the wife of the bootmaker, Antoine
Simon, the Dauphin’s first warder. Considerations of space prevent
us from entering here upon any detailed examination of her evidence,
but we must not pass it by without a word. Mme. Simon, after her
husband’s death during the Reign of Terror--he was guillotined in
Thermidor--withdrew to the asylum for incurables in the Rue de Sèvres,
where she was to spend the remainder of her existence. Here she was
heard on many occasions to assert that she was convinced the Dauphin
was alive, having seen him carried off when she and her husband were
leaving the Temple, on the evening of January 19, 1794. If this were
true, it would result that that child looked after by Laurent was not
the Dauphin at all! This does not fit in with the version that we have
put together from Laurent’s own letters and the various other documents
which we have been able to examine. But even if it were true, the
poignant question would still call for an answer--what became of the
young Dauphin after his escape? Into whose hands did he fall?


[75] His deposition at the Richemont trial.--PROVINS.

                              CHAPTER VI

                      THE FRIENDS OF LADY ATKYNS

What was the Chevalier de Frotté doing all this time? What steps was he
taking towards the realization of what he had called so often the goal
of his life, and towards the execution of the promises he had made with
so much ardour and enthusiasm?

Transported with joy on hearing that the British Government at last
contemplated listening to his projects and sending him to Normandy,
Frotté, when leaving London, betook himself with four comrades-in-arms
to Jersey--the great _rendezvous_ at that time for the insurgents
engaged in dangerous enterprises on the Continent, and seeking to find
landing-places on the French coast.

It was the middle of winter--snow was falling heavily, and there were
strong winds. Several weeks passed, during which the patience of our
_émigrés_ was severely taxed. Nothing was more difficult than to
effect a landing in Normandy under such conditions. Apart from the
difficulty of finding a vessel to make the crossing, it was necessary
to choose some spot where they might succeed in escaping the vigilance
of the troops stationed all along the cliffs, whose forts presented a
formidable barrier. In short, Frotté and his friends found themselves
confronted with serious obstacles.

On January 11, 1795, they were observed to leave Guernsey in a small
sailing-vessel manned by English sailors, taking with them three
_émigrés_ who were to act as guides. What happened to them? No one
knows exactly. Certain it is merely that the boat returned rudderless
and disabled, with Frotté and his four companions. According to their
own account, they took a wrong direction in the dark, and sailed
along the coast in the midst of rocks. Their guides landed first, and
disappeared from sight under a hail of bullets, and it was with great
difficulty that they themselves had been able to get back to Guernsey.

At the beginning of February they made another effort, and succeeded
in landing near Saint-Brieuc. Frotté at once made his way inland to
join the insurgents, but ill fortune followed him. He had not been a
fortnight in the country when he learned, to his surprise, that the
Chouans under Cormatin had just concluded a truce to prepare the way
for peace. His feelings may be imagined. To have waited so long for
this! So much for his hopes and castles in the air! But there was no
help for it. On February 17, 1795, the treaty of Tannaye was concluded,
and a month later Frotté, who had kept moving about over La Vendée
and Normandy unceasingly to survey the ground, established himself at
Rennes, where he assisted at the conference of La Mabilais, which was
to confirm the truce already agreed to.

    [Illustration: MARIE-PIERRE-LOUIS, COUNT DE FROTTÉ, 1766-1800.

      (_After a portrait belonging to the Marquis de Frotté._)]

If the turn taken by events had led him off temporarily in a different
direction, his mind never abandoned the secret purpose which had
brought him to France. Nevertheless, a change, at first imperceptible,
but afterwards obvious enough, was coming over him.

The reader will not have forgotten the way in which a feeling of
antagonism had grown up between Cormier and the Chevalier. The ill-will
cherished by the latter for his quondam friend had not disappeared.
On the contrary, the belief that Lady Atkyns was keeping him
deliberately at arm’s length had intensified the jealousy. The result
was inevitable. Chagrined at being thus left on one side, and at being
supplanted, as he felt, in his fair lady’s affections, he soon began
to devote himself entirely to his new _rôle_ as a Chouan leader, and
ceased to interest himself any longer in the drama of the Temple. In
truth, he was not without pretexts for this semi-desertion of the cause.

On March 16, anxious to explain himself to Lady Atkyns, he writes
to tell her just how he is feeling on the subject. He would have
her realize that there is no longer any ground for hopes as to the
Dauphin’s safety. When in touch with the representatives of the
Convention who took part in the conference at La Mabilais, he had
taken one of them aside, it seems, and questioned him frankly as to
whether the Republican Government would consent to listen to any
proposal regarding the young Prince, and whether he, Frotté, would
be allowed to write to the Temple. The member of the Convention made
reply, after taking a day to consider the matter and to consult his
colleagues, that what Frotté suggested was out of the question.

 “Your devotion,” he said, “would be fruitless, for under Robespierre
 the unhappy boy was so demoralized, mentally and physically, that he
 is now almost an imbecile, and can’t live much longer. Therefore you
 may as well dismiss any such idea from your head--you can form no
 notion of the hopeless condition the poor little creature has sunk

These lines, reflecting the view then current among the official
representatives of the Convention, stand out strikingly when we recall
the situation at the Temple in this very month of March, 1795, and the
absolute order given to Frotté not to allow the child to be seen. They
tally at all points with what we know of the substitution that had been
effected. To this substitution, indeed, Frotté himself proceeds to make
an explicit allusion towards the end of the letter.

 “Perhaps the Convention is anxious,” he writes, “to bring about the
 death of the child whom they have substituted for the young King, so
 that they may be able to make people believe that the latter is not
 really the King at all.”

As for himself, he has made up his mind. He will make no further
efforts for the deliverance of the Dauphin.

On April 25, 1795, the La Mabilais Treaty was signed, and Frotté, who
refused to subscribe to it, went off again to Normandy, confident
of seeing the struggle recommence, and impatient to set going a new
insurrection. Had he received any reply from Lady Atkyns to his
outspoken missive? Assuredly not. If she gave any credence to his
statements at the time, they must soon have passed out of her memory,
for, thanks to Cormier, June found her quite confident again of the
success of their plans. Not knowing, therefore, what to say to her old
admirer--Cormier having forbidden her to tell him the names of their
agents--she determined to keep silent.

Shortly afterwards, on the day after June 8, the report of the
Dauphin’s death reached Normandy. The proclamation of the Comte de
Provence--for how many weeks must he not have been waiting impatiently
for it to be made--as successor to the throne of France in his nephew’s
place was read to the insurgents. Frotté, who for some time already
had been responding to the advances made to him by the pretendant, now
formally placed his sword at the service of the new King.

What would have prevented him from taking this step? Would a personal
interview with Lady Atkyns have had this effect? Perhaps; but devoted
now to his new mission, passing from fight to fight, Frotté was no
longer his own master.

Nevertheless, at the end of 1795, some feeling of remorse, or else
the desire to renew his old place in the goodwill of Lady Atkyns, who
had twice asked him to write and tell her about himself, moved Frotté
to take pen in hand once again. He had been engaged in fighting for
several months, concerting surprises and ambuscades, always on the _qui
vive_. He had twice narrowly escaped capture by the enemy. In spite
of this he managed to keep up an interesting correspondence with his
companions operating more to the south and to the west, in La Vendée
and in Le Bocage, and with the chiefs of his party in London, who
supplied the sinews of war, as well as with Louis XVIII. himself, in
whose cause he had sworn to shed the last drop of his blood. There
is no reason to be astonished at finding our “Général des Chouans”
expressing himself thus, or at the changed attitude adopted by him,
dictated by circumstances and the new situation in which he has now
found himself. Here is how he seeks to disabuse Lady Atkyns of the hope
to which she is still clinging:--

 “No, dear lady, I shall not forget my devotion to you before I forget
 my allegiance to the blood of my kings. I have broken faith in no
 way, but, unfortunately, I have none but untoward news to give you. I
 have been grieved to find that we have been deceived most completely.
 For nearly a month after landing I was in the dark, but at last I
 got to the bottom of the affair. I was not able to get to see the
 unfortunate child who was born to rule over us. He was not saved.
 The regicides--regicides twice over--having first, like the monsters
 they are, allowed him to languish in his prison, brought about his
 end there. He never left it. Just reflect how we have all been duped.
 I don’t know how it is that without having ever received my letters
 you are still labouring under this delusion. Nothing remains for you
 but to weep for our treasure and to punish the miscreants who are
 responsible for his death. Madame alone remains, and it is almost
 certain that she will be sent to the Emperor, if this has not been
 done already.”

These lines but confirmed what Frotté had written in the preceding
March, after his talk with the representative of the Convention. The
news of the Dauphin’s death having been proclaimed shortly after that,
there had been no longer any difficulty in persuading the Chevalier
to take up arms in the service of the Comte de Provence. He discloses
himself the change that has come over his sentiments.

 “How is it,” he writes to Lady Atkyns, “that you are still under
 the delusion, when all France has resounded with the story of the
 misfortunes of our young, unhappy King? The whole of Europe has now
 recognized His Royal Highness, his uncle, as King of France.... The
 rights of blood have given me another master, and I owe him equally
 my zeal and the service of my arm, happy in having got a number of
 gallant Royalists together. I have the honour of being in command of
 those fighting in Normandy. That is my position, madame. You will
 readily understand how I have suffered over the terrible destiny of my
 young King, and nothing intensifies my sorrow so much as the thought
 of the sadness you yourself will feel when you learn the truth. But
 moderate your grief, my friend. You owe yourself to the sister not
 less than to the brother.”

And to enforce this advice, Frotté recalls to her the memory of the
Queen, which should serve, he thinks, to remove all scruples.

 “Remember the commands of your august friend, and you will be able to
 bear up under your misfortunes. You will keep up your spirits for the
 sake of Madame. You will live for her and for your friends, to whom,
 moreover, you should do more justice. Adieu, my unhappy friend. Accept
 the homage of a true Royalist, who will never cease to be devoted to
 you, who will never cease either to deplore this deception of which we
 have been victims. Adieu.”

Was this farewell, taken in so nonchalant a fashion, to denote a final
sundering of two hearts united by so many memories in common? It would
appear so. Lady Atkyns was so strong in her convictions that the only
effect of such words would be to make her feel that all was over
between her and the Chevalier. Later, when he made an effort to renew
relations with her and asked her to return the letters he had written
to her, she would seem to have refused point blank, from what she wrote
to a confidant.

He must, however, have got hold of some portion of their
correspondence, for on his return to his château of Couterne, this
indefatigable penman, in the scant leisure left him by his military
duties, filled several note-books with reminiscences and political
reflections tending to justify his conduct. In one of these note-books,
which have been carefully preserved, he transcribed fragments of his
letters to his friend--fragments carefully selected in such a way as
not to implicate him in the affair of the Temple, once the death of
the Dauphin had been announced. Had he lived, he would doubtless have
learned what had really happened, as set forth in the documents we have
been studying; but his days were numbered.

His end is well known: how, having fallen into an ambush, he and six
of his companions were shot by Napoleon’s orders, in despite of a
safe-conduct with which he was furnished, on February 18, 1800, at
Verneuil. If in the course of these five years he did learn the full
truth about the Dauphin, he doubtless abstained from any reference to
it out of regard for the King. He carried his private convictions in
silence to the grave.

The news of his death was received with emotion in London. Peltier, who
had had good opportunities for forming an opinion of him, gave out a
cry of horror. “This act,” he wrote in his gazette, “covers Bonaparte
for ever with shame and infamy.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The small circle of Lady Atkyns’ London friends lost thus one of its
members. Meanwhile, Lady Atkyns had been making the acquaintance of a
French woman who had been living in England for some years, and whose
feelings corresponded to a remarkable degree with her own. This lady
had found a warm welcome at Richmond, near London, on her arrival as an
_émigré_ from France.

Pale, thin, anxious-looking, the victim of a sombre sorrow which almost
disfigured her face, Louise de Chatillon, Princesse de Tarente, wife
of the Duc de la Tremoïlle, had escaped death in a marvellous way. A
follower of Marie-Antoinette, from whom she had been separated only
by force, she had been arrested on the day after August 10 as having
been the friend of the Princesse de Lamballe. Shut up in the sinister
prison of l’Abbaye, she had felt that death was close at hand. From her
dungeon she could see the men of September at their work and hear the
cries of agony given forth by their victims. At last, after ten days of
imprisonment, she was liberated, thanks to an unexpected intervention,
and in the month of September, 1792, she succeeded in finding a ship to
take her to England.

Hers was a strikingly original personality, and it is not without
a feeling of surprise that one studies the portrait of her which
accompanies the recent work, _Souvenirs de la Princesse de Tarente_.
The drama in which she had taken part, and the bloody spectacle of
which she had been a witness, seem to have left their mark on her
countenance, with its aspect of embittered sadness. Her eyes give out
a look of fierceness. Save for the thin hair partially covering her
forehead, there is almost nothing feminine in her face. Seeing her for
the first time, Lady Atkyns must have received an impression for which
she was unprepared. They took to each other, however, very quickly,
having a bond in common in their memories of the Queen. Both had come
under the charm of Marie-Antoinette, their devotion to whom was ardent
and sincere. The Queen was their one great topic of conversation. Few
of their letters lack some allusion to her.

Knowledge of Lady Atkyns’ devotion to the Royal House of France, of
the sacrifices she had made, was widespread in the world of English
society, and the Princess, having heard of her, was anxious to meet
the woman, who, more fortunate than herself, had been able to afford
some balm to the sufferings, to prevent which she would so willingly
have given her life. The Duke of Queensberry brought about a meeting
between the two ladies. What passed between them on this occasion? What
questions did they exchange in their eager anxiety to learn something
new about the Queen? Doubtless the most eager inquiries came from the
Princess, and bore upon the achievements of Lady Atkyns, her visit to
the Conciergerie, her talks with the illustrious prisoner. For weeks
afterwards there was an interchange of letters between the two, in
which is clearly disclosed the state of affectionate anxiety of the
Princess’s mind. They address each other already by their Christian
names, Louise and Charlotte. Lady Atkyns shows Mme. de Tarente the few
souvenirs of the Queen she still possessed, the last lines the Queen
wrote to her. It is touching to note, in reading their correspondence,
how every day is to them an anniversary of some event in the life of
the Queen, full of sweet or anguishing memories.

 “How sad I was yesterday!” writes the Princess. “It was the
 anniversary of a terrible day, when the Queen escaped assassination
 only by betaking herself to the King’s apartments in the middle of the
 night. Why did she escape? _To know you_--but for that the Almighty
 would surely have been kind enough to her to have let her fall a
 victim then.”

For all the affection which surrounds her, Mme. de Tarente constantly
bemoans her solitude.

 “I am in the midst of the world,” she writes, “yet all alone.
 Yesterday I longed so to talk of that which filled my poor heart, but
 there was none who would have understood me. So I kept my trouble to
 myself. I was like one of those figures you wind up which go for a
 time and then stop again. I kept falling to pieces and pulling myself
 together again. Ah, how sad life is!”

In the summer of 1797 the Princess came to a momentous decision. The
Emperor and Empress of Russia, whom she had known formerly at the
French Court, having heard of her trials and of the not very enviable
condition in which she was living, pressed her to come to Russia, where
she would be cordially greeted. After long hesitation she decided to
accept, but it was not without genuine heartburnings that she separated
from her English friends, from her Charlotte most of all. She left
London at the end of July, and arrived at St. Petersburg a fortnight
later. Very soon afterwards she wrote Lady Atkyns an account of the
journey and of her first impressions of her new surroundings.

The Emperor and Empress received her in their Peterhof palace with
the utmost consideration. Appointed at once a lady-in-waiting on the
Empress, she found herself in enjoyment of many privileges attached to
this post. The house in which she was to live had been prepared for her
specially by the Emperor’s command. Finally, she was decorated with the
Order of St. Catherine, and the Empress on her _fête_ day presented
her with her portrait. Different indeed is her position from what it
had been at Richmond.

 “I never drive out without four horses, and even this is my own doing,
 for I ought not, as a lady-in-waiting, to have less than six. They
 tell me I shall be obliged to get myself made the uniform of the Order
 of St. Catherine, and that would cost me 1200 roubles, that is, 150

But the very marked favour met with by the Princess could not but
disquiet some of the courtiers at the Palace. Within a week of her
arrival, one of the ladies in attendance upon the Empress, Mme. de
Nelidoff, at the instigation of Prince Alexandre Kourakine, hastened
to represent Mme. de Tarente’s conduct and the unusual honour that had
been shown her under the most unfavourable light to her Majesty the
Empress; and her jealousy thus aroused (so one of Mme. de Tarente’s
friends tells the tale), she had no difficulty in settling matters with
her husband, and when the Princess next entered the imperial presence,
the Emperor neither spoke to her nor looked at her.

The snub was patent, but the Princess seems to have taken it
nonchalantly enough. The friendly welcome accorded to her by St.
Petersburg society, the kindness and affection she met with from the
Golowine family, in whose house she soon installed herself, there to
remain until her death, enabled her speedily to forget the intrigue
of her enemies at the Court. The incident is barely alluded to in her
letters to Lady Atkyns, which continue to be taken up chiefly with
reminiscences of their beloved Queen.

Towards the end of 1798 the two friends are sundered by Lady Atkyns’
decision to return to France, impelled by the desire to be near those
who had played so important a _rôle_ in her life, and to meet again
those friends who had co-operated in her work--perhaps also to meet and
question those who might be in a position to enlighten her regarding
the fate of the Dauphin. This decision she communicates to the
Princess, who opposes it strongly, warning her against the imprudence
she is about to commit. Lady Atkyns persists, and the Princess at last
loses patience. “I have so often combated your mad idea,” she writes
nobly, “that I don’t wish to say anything more on the subject.”

In the spring of 1814 the news came to St. Petersburg of the defeat of
the armies of Napoleon and the accession of Louis XVIII. Immediately
large numbers of exiles, who were but waiting for this, made haste back
to France. Mme. de Tarente contemplated being of their number, but
before she could even make arrangements for the journey, death came to
her on January 22, 1814.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hamburg, where our friends Mme. Cormier and the “little Baron” took
refuge in 1795, was already a powerful city, rich by reason of its
commerce, and its governing body, conscious of its strength, were not
the less jealous of its independence. Its unique position, in the
midst of the other German states, the neutrality to which it clung
and which it was determined should be respected, sufficed to prevent
it hitherto from looking askance at the ever-growing triumphs of the
armies of the French Republic, and the Convention, too much taken up
with its own frontiers, had done nothing to threaten the independence
of the Hanseatic town.

This fact did not escape the _émigrés_, who were finding it more and
more difficult to evade the rigorous look-out of the Revolutionary
Government, and soon Hamburg was filled with nobles, ecclesiastics,
Chouans, conspirators, Royalist agents, just as London had been some
years earlier. Safe from surprises, and in constant communication with
England, Germany, and Italy, this world of wanderers had discovered
an ideal haven in which to hatch all their divers plots. Clubs were
started by them, called after celebrated men. Rivarol was the centre of
one set, noted for its intellectual stamp and its verve and wit. The
publications also that saw the light in Hamburg enjoyed a wide liberty,
and this it was that opened the eyes of the Republican Government to
the state of things.

On September 28, 1795, there arrived at Hamburg, Citoyen
Charles-Frédéric Reinhard, official representative of the Convention,
formerly head of a department in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in
Paris. There could be no mistake about the nature of the instructions
with which this personage was provided. If the condition of the
commercial relations between the two states was the official pretext
for his embassy, an investigation into the affairs of the _émigrés_ was
its real object. The Senate of the town were quick to realize this.
However, Reinhard’s conciliatory bearing and his expressed dislike for
the police duties imposed upon him by the Directoire prevented his
mission from having too uncompromising an aspect. He could not shut his
eyes, of course, to what was going on, and, in spite of his repugnance
to such methods, he was forced to employ some of the tale-bearers and
spies always numerous among the _émigrés_. In a short period a complete
system of espionage was organized. It did not attain to the state of
perfection secured by Bourienne later under the direction of Fouché,
but its existence was enough to enhance the uneasiness of the Hamburg
Senate. Their refusal to acquiesce in certain steps taken by the
Directoire forced Reinhard to quit the town previously, in the month
of February, and to take up his abode at Bremen, afterwards at Altona.
This suburb of Hamburg, separated from it only by an arm of the river,
was yet outside the limits of the little republic, and suited his
purpose excellently as a place from which to conduct his observations.
Everything that went on in Hamburg was known there within a few hours.

It was at this period that Reinhard received a visit from a somewhat
sinister individual, named Colleville, who came to offer his services
to the Directoire. He volunteered to keep Reinhard informed as to the
doings of the _émigrés_, to whom he had easy access. On March 5, 1796,
he turned up with a lengthy document containing a wealth of particulars
regarding one of the principal agents of the princes--no other than our
friend d’Auerweck, for the moment a long way from Hamburg, but soon
expected back. “He is one of the best-informed men to be met anywhere,”
Colleville reports. “He has travelled a great deal, and is _au courant_
with the feeling of the various courts and ministers.”

It must be admitted that the spy was well informed as to the character
and record of the “little Baron.” D’Auerweck would seem in intimate
relations with a certain Pictet, “Windham’s man.” Through him he was in
correspondence with Verona. He was known to be the “friend of the Baron
de Wimpfen and of a M. de Saint-Croix, formerly Lieutenant-General in
the Bayeux district. In his report upon d’Auerweck, Colleville had
occasion inevitably to mention his friend Cormier. He stated, in fact,
that at the moment d’Auerweck was located at Mme. Cormier’s house in
Paris in the Rue Basse-du-Rempart.

Colleville could not have begun his work better. D’Auerweck was not
unknown to Reinhard, who, five months before, in a letter to Delacroix,
the Minister for Foreign Affairs, had mentioned the fact of his
presence in London, “where he was in frequent touch with du Moustier
and the former minister Montciel.”

By a curious coincidence, on the same day that Reinhard got his
information, the Minister of Police in Paris, the Citoyen Cochon, had
been made aware that a congress of _émigrés_ was shortly to be held at
Hamburg. The agent who sent him this announcement drew his attention at
the same time to the presence at Hamburg of a person named Cormier.

 “It should be possible to find out through him the names of those who
 will be taking part in the Congress. He is a magistrate of Rennes who
 has been continually mixed up in intrigue. His wife has remained in
 Paris.... The correspondence of this Cormier ought to be amusing, for
 he is daring and has _esprit_.”

Reference is made in the same communication to “the baron Varweck, a
Hungarian, passing himself off as an American, living in Paris for the
past five months.”

This was enough to arouse the attention of the Directoire. The
persistence with which the two names reappeared proved that their
efforts had not slackened. By force of what circumstances had they been
drawn into the great intrigue against the Revolutionary Party? It is
difficult to say. For some months past Cormier’s letters to Lady Atkyns
had been gradually becoming fewer, at last to cease altogether. Having
lost all hope in regard to the affair of the Temple, the ex-magistrate,
placing trust in the general belief as to what had happened, came to
the conclusion that it was vain to attempt to penetrate further into
the mystery, and he decided to place his services at the disposal of
the Princes.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs lost no time about sending
instructions to Reinhard, charging him to keep a sharp watch on the
meeting of the _émigrés_ and to learn the outcome of their infamous
manœuvres. He should get Colleville, moreover, to establish relations
with Cormier, “that very adroit and clever individual.” In the course
of a few days Reinhard felt in a position to pull the strings of his
system of espionage.

Two very different parties were formed among the _émigrés_ at Hamburg.
That of the “Old Royalists,” or of the “_ancien régime_,” would hear
of nothing but the restoration of the ancient monarchy; that of the
“new _régime_” felt that it was necessary, in order to reinstate the
monarchy, to make concessions to Republican ideas. Cormier would seem
to have belonged to the former, of which he was the only enterprising
member. His brother-in-law, Butler, kept on the move between Paris and
Boulogne, and Calais and Dunkirk, with letters and supplies of money
from England. D’Auerweck had left Paris now and was in England, eager
to join Cormier at Hamburg, but prevented by illness.

Cormier was now in open correspondence with the King, to whom he had
proposed the publication of a gazette in the Royalist interest. He was
in frequent communication, too, with the Baron de Roll, the Marquis de
Nesle, Rivarol, and the Abbé Louis, and all the “monarchical fanatics.”
Despite his age, in short, he was becoming more active and enterprising
than ever. Too clever not to perceive that he was being specially
watched, he was not long in getting the spy into his own service by
means of bribes, and making him collaborate in the hoodwinking of
the Minister. The report that had got about concerning his actions,
however, disquieted the Princes, and at the end of June Cormier is
said to have received a letter from the Comte d’Artois forbidding him
“to have anything more to say to his affairs,” and reproaching him
in very sharp terms. At the same period, Butler, to whose ears the
same report had found its way, wrote to rebuke him severely for his
indiscretion, and broke off all communication with him. Meanwhile, he
was in pecuniary difficulties, and borrowing money from any one who
would lend, so altogether his position was becoming critical. Soon he
would have to find a refuge elsewhere.

When, in the autumn, Baron d’Auerweck managed to get to Hamburg, he
found his old friend in a state of great discouragement, and with but
one idea in his head--that of getting back somehow to Paris and living
the rest of his days there in obscurity.

The arrival of the “18th Brumaire” and the establishment of the
Consulate facilitated, probably, the realization of this desire. There
is no record of how he brought his sojourn at Hamburg to an end.
D’Auerweck we find offering his services to Reinhard, who formed a high
estimate of his talents. His offer, however, was not entertained. At
this point the “little Baron” also disappears for a time from our sight.

It is about this period that Cormier and d’Auerweck fall definitively
apart, never again to cross each other’s path.

Reassured by the calm that began to reign now in Paris, and by the
fact that other _émigrés_ who had returned to the capital were being
left unmolested, Cormier made his way back furtively one day to the
Rue Basse-du-Rempart, where the Citoyenne Butler still resided. The
former president of the Massiac Club returned to his ancient haunts
a broken-down old man. Like so many others, he found it difficult to
recognize the Paris he now saw, transformed as it was, and turned
inside out by the Revolution. Wherever he turned, his ears were
met with the sound of one name--Bonaparte, the First Consul. What
did it all matter to him? His return had but one object, that of
re-establishing his health and letting his prolonged absence sink into
oblivion. The continual travelling and his ups and downs in foreign
countries had brought him new maladies in addition to his old enemy
the gout. He had lost half his fortune, through the pillaging of his
estates in San Domingo. Thus, such of his acquaintances as had known
him in the old days, seeing him now on his return, sympathized with him
in his misfortunes and infirmities.

He seemed warranted, therefore, in counting upon security in Paris. The
one thing that threatened him was that unfortunate entry in the list
of _émigrés_, in which his name figured with that of his son. In the
hope of getting the names erased, he set out one day early in November,
1800, for the offices of the Prefecture of the Seine. There he took the
oath of fidelity to the Constitution. It was a step towards getting
the names definitely erased. His long stay in Hamburg was a serious
obstacle in the way, but both he and his son looked forward confidently
now to the success of their efforts.

Suddenly, on August 21, 1801, a number of police officials made their
appearance at Cormier’s abode to arrest him by order of the Minister
of Police. His first feeling was one of stupefaction. With what was
he charged? Had they got wind of his doings in England? Had some
indiscretion betrayed him? He recovered himself, however, and led his
visitors into all the various apartments, they taking possession of
all the papers discovered, and sealing up the glass door leading into
Achille’s bedroom, he being absent at the time. This investigation
over, Cormier and the officials proceeded to the Temple, and a few
hours later he found himself imprisoned in the Tower.

What thoughts must have passed through his mind as he traversed
successively those courts and alleys, and then mounted the steps of the
narrow stairway leading to the upper storeys of the dungeon!

In the anguish of his position had he room in his mind for thoughts of
those days in London when the name of the grim edifice was so often on
his lips?

Three days passed before he could learn any clue as to the cause of
his arrest. At last, on August 24, he was ordered to appear before a
police magistrate to undergo his trial. An account of this trial, or
_interrogatoire_, is in existence, and most curious it is to note the
way in which it was conducted. The warrant for his arrest recorded
that he was accused “of conspiracy, and of being in the pay of the
foreigner.” These terms suggested that Cormier’s residence in England,
or at least in Hamburg, was known to his accusers. Had not the Minister
of Police in one of his portfolios a _dossier_ of some importance, full
of all kinds of particulars calculated to “do” for him? Strange to
relate, there is to be found no allusion to this doubtful past of his
in the examination.

After the usual inquiries as to name, age, and dwelling-place, the
magistrate proceeds--

 “What is your occupation?”

 “I have none except trying to get rid of gout and gravel.”

 “Have you not been away from France during the Revolution?”

 “I have served in the war in La Vendée against the Republic from the
 beginning down to the capitulation. You will find my deed of amnesty
 among my papers.”

 “What was your grade?”

 “I was entrusted with correspondence.”

 “With whom did you correspond abroad?”

 “With the different agents of the Prince--the Bishop of Arras, the Duc
 d’Harcourt, Gombrieul, etc.”

 “Did you not keep up this correspondence after you were amnested?”

 “I gave up all the correspondence eight months before peace was

 “Do you recognize this sealed cardboard box?”

 “Yes, citoyen.”

And that was all! Cormier’s replies, however, so innocent on the
surface, seem to have evoked suspicion, for on August 30 (12
Fructidor) he was brought up again for a second examination.

 “With whom did you correspond especially in the West?” he was asked.

 “With Scépeaux, d’Antichamp, Boigny, and Brulefort.”

 “And now what correspondence have you kept in this country?”

 “None whatever.”

 “What are your relations with the Citoyen Butler?”

 “I have had no communication these last two years, though he is my

 “Where is he now?”

 “I have no idea. I know he passed through Philadelphia on his way to
 San Domingo. I don’t know whether he ever got there or whether he

 “When was he at Philadelphia?”

 “He must have been there or somewhere in the United States not more
 than two years ago.”

Thus no effort was made in the second inquiry any more than in the
first to search into his past. It should be mentioned that immediately
on his return Cormier had made haste to destroy all documents that
could compromise him in any way.

After a detention of three weeks he was set free, his age and
infirmities doubtless having won him some sympathy. He and his son--for
Achille had been arrested at the same time--were, however, not accorded
complete liberty, being placed _en surveillance_, and obliged to live
outside Paris. On September 20 they were provided with a passport
taking them to Etampes, whence they were not to move away without
permission from the police.

At this period Fouché had immense powers, and was organizing and
regulating the enormous administrative machine which developed under
his rule into the Ministry of Police. The prisons overflowed with men
under arrest who had never appeared before the ordinary tribunal, “on
account of the danger there was of their being acquitted in the absence
of legal evidence against them.” He was reduced to keeping the rest
under what was styled “_une demi-surveillance_.” His army of spies and
secret agents enabled him to keep _au courant_ with their every step.

The reports furnished as to Cormier’s behaviour seem to have satisfied
the authorities, for at the end of a certain time he was enabled to
return to Paris. Having learnt by experience how unsatisfactory it
was to be continually at the mercy of informers, he now set himself
energetically to trying to secure a regular and complete amnesty. His
petition was addressed to the First Consul on June 18, 1803, and in it
he described himself as “crippled with infirmities,” and it was covered
with marginal notes strongly recommending him to the mercy of the chief
of the state.

At last, on October 10, the Minister of Police acceded to his
request, and Cormier received a certificate of amnesty, freeing him
henceforth from all prosecution “on the score of emigration.” With
what a sense of relief must not this document have been welcomed in
the Rue Basse-du-Rempart! Bent under the weight of his sufferings,
Cormier enjoyed the most devoted care at the hands of his family.
His younger son, Patrice, had returned to Paris after an existence
not less adventurous than his father’s. He had thrown himself into
the insurrection in La Vendée, and for three years had served in the
Royalist army of the Maine. Benefiting, like his father, by the general
amnesty, he found his way back to the paternal roof in Paris, and went
into business, so as to throw a veil over his past, until the day
should come when he might appear in uniform again.

Achille, the elder, devoted himself entirely to his father, but the old
man was not to enjoy much longer the peace he had at length secured for
himself. The loss of almost all his income forced him, moreover, to
quit his residence in the Rue Basse-du-Rempart, and to betake himself
to a modest pension in the Faubourg Saint Antoine, in which he occupied
a single room, in which he kept only a few items from the furniture
of his old home--some rose-wood chairs, a writing-table, a desk with
a marble top, a _prie-dieu_, and a small wooden desk, “_dit à la
Tronchin_.” The rest of his furniture he sold. It was in this humble
lodging that he died on April 16, 1805, aged sixty-five. Some months
later Mme. Cormier died at the house in Rue Basse-du-Rempart.

It is strange to reflect that Lady Atkyns, in the course of her many
visits to Paris, should not have ever sought to meet again her old
friend. The Emperor’s rule was gaining in strength from day to day.
Of those who had played notable parts in the Revolution, some, won
over to the new Government, were doing their utmost to merit by their
zeal the confidence reposed in them; the others, irreconcilable, but
crushed by the remorseless watchfulness of a police force unparalleled
in its powers, lived on forgotten, and afraid to take any step that
might attract attention to them. This, perhaps, is the explanation of
the silence of the various actors in the drama of the Temple, once the
Empire had been established.

                              CHAPTER VII

                          THE “LITTLE BARON”

Cormier’s departure did not for a single moment interrupt the fiery
activity of Baron d’Auerweck, nor his co-operation in the most
audacious enterprises of the agents of Princes and of the Princes
themselves. He lost, it is true, a mentor whose advice was always
worthy of attention, and who had guided him up to the present time with
a certain amount of success; but the ingenious fellow was by no means
at the end of his resources. The life which he had led for the past
five years was one which exactly suited him. A practically never-ending
list might be drawn up of acquaintances made in the course of his
continual comings and goings, of encounters in this army of emissaries
serving the counter-Revolution, and of particularly prosperous seasons.
Besides the d’Antraigues, the Fauche-Borels, and the Dutheils, there
was a regular army of subordinates, bustling about Europe as though it
were a vast anthill.

Amongst them d’Auerweck could not fail to be prominent, and he was
soon marked as a clever and resourceful agent. His sojourn in Hamburg
also continued to arouse curiosity and observation on the part of the
representatives of the Directoire. They recognized now that he was
employed and paid by England. “He serves her with an activity worthy
of the Republican Government,” Reinhard wrote to Talleyrand; and it
was well known that Peltier’s former collaborator, always an energetic
journalist, assisted in editing the _Spectateur du Nord_.

An unlooked-for opportunity to exploit his talent soon offered itself
to d’Auerweck.

The Deputies of the ten states, which at that time formed the Empire,
had been brought together by the congress which opened at Rastadt on
December 9, 1797, and for eighteen months there was an extraordinary
amount of visits to and departures from the little town in Baden.
The presence of Bonaparte, who had arrived some days before the
commencement of the conference in an eight-horse coach, with a
magnificent escort, and welcomed throughout his journey as the victor
of Arcole, increased the solemnity and scope of the negotiations. All
the diplomatists, with their advisers, their secretaries, and their
clerks, crowded anxiously round him. Agents from all the European
Powers came to pick up greedily any scraps of information, and to
try to worm out any secrets that might exist. Rastadt was full to
overflowing of spies and plotters, and the name of this quiet, peaceful
city, hitherto so undisturbed, was in every one’s mouth.

From Hamburg the “little Baron” followed attentively the first
proceedings of the Congress through the medium of the newspapers, but
the sedentary life which he was leading began to worry him. In vain
he wrote out all day long never-ending political treatises, crammed
with learned notes on the European situation, wove the most fantastic
systems, and drew up “a plan for the partition of France, which he
proposed to a certain M. du Nicolay;” all this was not sufficient
for him. D’Auerweck was on friendly terms with the Secretary of the
French Legation, Lemaître by name (who, by the way, had no scruples
about spying on him some years later, and informed against him without
a blush), and, giving full play “to his romantic imagination and to
his taste for sensational enterprises,” he one day submitted to his
confidant a scheme to “kidnap the Minister, Reinhard, and carry him off
to London; his attendants were to be made intoxicated, his coachman to
be bribed, ten English sailors to be hidden on the banks of the Elbe!”
At the back of these schemes of mystery there figured a certain “Swiss
and Genevan Agency,” which at the proper time would, he declared,
generously reimburse them for all their expenditure. But, for all these
foolish imaginings, d’Auerweck displayed a knowledge of the world and
a sound judgment which struck all those who came in contact with him,
and it was certain that with strong and firm guidance he was capable
of doing much good and useful work. In the winter of 1798 we are told
that “he left Hamburg secretly” for an unknown destination. Lemaître
believed that he had buried himself “in the depths of Silesia,” but
he had no real knowledge of his man. For, as a matter of course,
d’Auerweck was bound to be attracted to such a centre of affairs as
Rastadt then was, in order to make the most profitable use of his
ingenuity, seeing that, according to report, the British Government,
which was making use of his services, in fear of being kept in the dark
as to what was going on, had begged him “to go and exercise his wits in
another place.”

He made Baden his headquarters, for the proximity of Rastadt, and his
intimacy with the de Gelb family, which has already been mentioned,
led him to prefer Baden to the actual field of battle, at which place
he must have come under suspicion as an old English agent. One of the
Austrian envoys at the Congress was Count Lehrbach; and d’Auerweck
managed to get into relations with him, and even to be allowed to do
secretarial work for him, on the strength of the connection which he
declared he had possessed with Minister Thugut during the early days of
the Revolution and the confidence which had lately been reposed in him.
He had reason to hope that with the help of his ability and his gift
of languages he would soon be able to secure active employment. And,
indeed, it was in this way that d’Auerweck succeeded in re-establishing
himself at once, to his great satisfaction, as an active agent, with
a footing in the highest places, ferreting out the secrets of the
Ambassadors, and carrying on an underhand correspondence openly. His
intention was, doubtless, to return to Austria as soon as the Congress
was over, by the help of Count Lehrbach, and there to regain the
goodwill of his former patron, the Minister Thugut.

But the sanguinary drama which brought the Conference to such an abrupt
conclusion completely spoiled his plans and undid his most brilliant
combinations. We can realize the universal feeling of consternation
throughout the whole of Europe which was caused by the news that on the
evening of April 28, 1799, the French Ministers, Bonnier, Roberjot,
and Debry, who had just made up their minds to betake themselves
to Strasburg, along with their families, their servants, and their
records--a party filling eight carriages--had been openly attacked
as they were leaving Rastadt by Barbaczy’s Hussars; that the two
first-mentioned gentlemen had been dragged from their carriages and
treacherously murdered, and that the third, Debry, had alone escaped by
a miracle. Even if the outrage of Rastadt was “neither the cause nor
the pretext of the war of 1799,” its consequences were, nevertheless,
very serious.

One of these consequences, and not the least important, was that
Bonaparte’s police, magnificently reorganized by Fouché, redoubled
its shepherding of _émigrés_ and agents of the Princes, who swarmed
in the country-side between Basle, the general headquarters of the
spies, and Mayence. Once an arrest took place, the accused was certain
to be suspected of having had a hand in the assassination of the
plenipotentiaries, and if by any bad luck he was unable to deny having
been present in the district, he found it a very difficult task to
escape from the serious results of this accusation.

A few months after this stirring event, Baron d’Auerweck, tired of
such a stormy existence, and seeing, perhaps, a shadow of the sword
of Damocles hanging over his head, determined himself to break away
from this life of agitation, and to settle down with a wife. During
the last days of the year 1799 he was married at Baden to Mademoiselle
Fanny de Gelb, a native of Strasburg, whose father had lately served
under Condé; she also had a brother who was an officer in the army of
the Princes. But, in spite of a pension which the mother, Madame de
Gelb, was paid by England on account of her dead husband’s services,
the available resources of the future establishment were very meagre
indeed, for the “little Baron” had not learned to practise economy
while rushing about Europe; so, as soon as the marriage had been
celebrated, the turn of the wheel of fortune forced the young wife
to leave the Grand Duchy of Baden and to wander from town to town in
Germany and Austria.

They travelled first to Munich and then to Nuremburg, but d’Auerweck’s
plans were to establish himself in Austria close to all his belongings.
He had the fond hope of obtaining employment from Minister Thugut,
to whom he reintroduced himself. But he experienced a bitter
disappointment, for on his first attempt to submit to his Excellency
the greater part of his last work (in which he had embodied, as the
result of desperate toil, his views on the present political situation,
the outcome of his conversations with the representatives of the
different European states, his reflections and his forecast of events)
d’Auerweck found himself unceremoniously dismissed. Thugut flatly
refused, if the story is to be believed, to have anything further to
do with a man who was still suspected of being an English emissary.
Consequently he was obliged to abandon his idea of establishing himself
in Austria, and to hunt for other means of existence, more particularly
as Madame d’Auerweck had just presented him with his first child at
Nuremburg. He turned his steps once again in the direction of the Grand
Duchy, and after successive visits to Friburg, Basle, and Baden, he
decided to make his home in Schutterwald, a village on the outskirts
of the town of Offenburg. There he determined to lead the life of a
simple, honest citizen, and renting a very humble peasant’s cottage,
he installed his wife and his mother-in-law therein. He himself set to
work on the cultivation of his garden, devoting his spare moments to
writing, so as not to lose the knack, the sequel to his _Philosophical
and Historical Reflections_.

He soon got to know his neighbours and all the inhabitants of the
country very well. He was considered to be a quiet, unenterprising
man, “with a positive dislike for politics, although loquacious and
vain.” It was impossible to find out anything about his past life, for
the prudent Baron considered it inadvisable to talk of this subject,
but he was always looked upon “as an argumentative man, who wanted to
know all that was going on, whether in reference to agriculture, to
thrift, or to politics.” In spite of the apparent tranquillity in which
he was allowed to remain, d’Auerweck followed with a certain amount
of anxiety all the events which were happening not far from him, on
the frontier of the Rhine. Troops were continually passing to and fro
in this district; the French were close at hand, and their arrival at
Offenburg inspired a feeling of vague unrest in him, although he never
recognized, to tell the truth, the danger which threatened him. He had
taken the precaution to destroy, before coming to Switzerland, his vast
collection of papers: all that mass of correspondence which had been
accumulating for the last few years, those reports and instructions,
all of which constituted a very compromising record. At last, after a
residence of some months, to make matters safe, he contrived, thanks to
his marriage, to be enrolled as a freeman of the Grand Duchy; for it
seemed to him that as a subject of Baden he would be relieved of all
further cause of alarm.

But all d’Auerweck’s fears were reawakened by the much-talked-of news
of the Duc d’Enghien’s arrest on March 15, 1804, and by the details of
how the Prince had been captured openly in the jurisdiction of Baden,
at Ettenheim, that is to say, only a short distance from Offenburg. He
absented himself for some days from Schutterwald, so the story goes,
and took himself to the mountains.

Just at the same time there arrived at the offices of the Ministry of
Police in Paris a succession of memoranda, mostly anonymous, referring
to Baron d’Auerweck, and to his presence in the neighbourhood of the

Some of them came from Lemaître, Reinhard’s former secretary at
Hamburg. Many of them, inexact and inaccurate as they were with regard
to the details of the alleged facts, agreed on this point, viz. that
the individual “was one of those men, who are so powerful for good
or bad, that the security of every Government requires complete
information as to their resting-places and their doings.” Then followed
a medley of gossiping insinuations, the precise import of which it was
difficult to discover.

 “I shall never forget,” said one, “that, when d’Auerweck left Hamburg
 two months before the assassination of the French Ministers in order
 to take up his quarters only three leagues away from Rastadt, he
 said: ‘_I am about to undertake an operation which will make a great
 sensation, and which will render great service to the cause of the

 “Now supervenes a whole year, during which his doings and his
 whereabouts are most carefully concealed,” wrote another; “however,
 I am certain that he is acting and working pertinaciously against
 the interests of France. I have heard him make this remark: ‘_We
 shall take some time doing it, but at last we shall conquer you_.’” A
 third added: “His tranquillity and his silence are but masks for his
 activity, and I, for one, could never be persuaded that he has all of
 a sudden ceased to correspond with _Lord Grenville_ in London, with
 the _Count de Romanzof_, with a certain _Nicolai_ in St. Petersburg,
 with _Prince Belmonte_, with the _Chevalier de Saint-Andre_, with
 _Roger de Damas_ in Italy, with _Dumoustier_, who is, I believe, a
 Hohenlohe Prince in Berlin, and directly with the Count de Lille.”
 Finally, d’Auerweck, according to the same report, “complaisantly
 displayed a spot in the shape of the fleur-de-lys, inside his
 fist, declaring that ‘this is a sign of descent; it is a mark of
 predestination; I of all men am bound to devote myself and assist in
 the return of the Bourbons!’”

It would be a fatal mistake to believe that these fairy tales, all
vague and absurd as they often were, remained lost and forgotten in
the despatch-boxes of the Ministry of Police. The region, near as
it was to Rastadt, where d’Auerweck was reported to have made his
appearance, was a valuable and important indication, which of itself
was sufficient to make the man an object for watchful suspicion. The
ominous nature of the times must, of course, be remembered. Fouché, who
had just been restored to favour, and had been placed for the second
time at the head of the Ministry of Police, was anxious to prove his
zeal afresh, to please the Emperor and to deserve his confidence, while
his mind was still troubled by the execution of the Duc d’Enghien, by
the exploits of Georges Cadoudal, and by the discovery of the English
Agency at Bordeaux, which were all fitting reasons for attracting
the Minister’s attention and for exciting his curiosity. So, when on
October 11, 1804, his Excellency decided to make further searching
investigations into d’Auerweck’s case, and gave precise orders to the
prefects of the frontier departments of the Grand Duchy, it is doubtful
whether he was careful to note in his charge the principal reasons for
attaching suspicion upon the Baron, viz. those which had to do with the
assassination of the plenipotentiaries at Rastadt.

It was some time before the required information could be obtained,
and though the first inquiries about d’Auerweck made by Desportes,
the prefect of the Upper Rhine, added little in the way of news, they
agreed, nevertheless, in certifying that the Baron lived very quietly
in the outskirts of Offenburg--

 “that he there devoted himself entirely to his agricultural
 occupations, and that the kind of life he led did not foster any
 suspicion that he kept up his old campaigns of intrigue.”

Six months later, Desportes, in returning to the subject, showed
himself more positive than ever, for he affirmed--

 “that no active correspondence can be traced to d’Auerweck, and that
 he saw scarcely any one. He is a man of a caustic and critical turn
 of mind, who often lets himself go in conversation without reflection
 in his anxiety to talk brilliantly. A point which is particularly
 reassuring about him is that he is without credit, without fortune,
 and of no personal account, and that if he wanted to mix himself up
 afresh in intrigues he would choose some other place than Offenburg,
 where there are now only three _émigrés_, the youngest of whom is
 seventy-seven years of age.”

But, in spite of these very positive statements, the Minister preserved
his attitude of mistrust, which was strengthened by the arrival of
fresh notes, in which the same denunciations of the “little Baron” were
repeated. He was described as being “restless by inclination, violently
fanatical in all his opinions, and longing to make himself notorious
by some startling act.” But his position was made worse by the
information which was received, that in the autumn of 1805 d’Auerweck
had absented himself from home for several days, frightened, no doubt,
by the proximity of the French armies, which were dotted about on the
banks of the Rhine. How could this sudden flight be accounted for? And
his alarm at the sight of the Emperor’s soldiers at close quarters?
Such conduct struck Fouché as being very suspicious. He ordered a
supplementary inquiry, and this time he did not content himself with
the information afforded by the prefect of the Upper Rhine, but let
loose one of his best bloodhounds on his scent. At the time, two years
ago, when preparations were being made for the kidnapping of the Duc
d’Enghien and for watching his residence at Ettenheim, recourse was
had to the services of the Commissary of Police, Popp by name, who was
stationed at Strasburg. In this frontier town near Basle an active and
intelligent man was needed, who could maintain a constant watch on the
underhand practices of the Royalist agents. Commissary Popp seemed to
be made for the job. His handling of the Duc d’Enghien’s affairs earned
the approval of Napoleon; and Fouché, since his reinstatement in the
Ministry, recognized in him a clever and expert functionary, on whom
he could always count.

This was the man who was charged with the task of spying on d’Auerweck,
and throughout the whole of 1806 Popp was hard at work on this mission.
His original authentications differed very little from what Desportes
had written, and there was nothing to prove that the Baron had in any
way departed from his passive attitude.

 “I have not discovered,” wrote Popp on April 22, 1806, “that he is
 in correspondence with the English agitation, or that he shows any
 inclination to excite and embitter people’s tempers. I believe that
 he, like many others, is more to be pitied than to be feared.”

Some weeks later Popp managed to loosen the tongue of an ecclesiastic,
a dweller in those parts, and from him he got information about the
business and movements of the Baron. “He is quite absorbed in rural
economy, which is his chief thought to all appearances,” he reported
to Fouché; but then, stung to the quick by the repeated orders of
his chief (who never ceased from impressing upon him the necessity
for the closest watch on d’Auerweck’s traffickings), Popp, impatient
for an opportunity to prove his zeal, began to magnify his words by
introducing subtle insinuations.

By this time d’Auerweck had come to the conclusion that his stay at
Schutterwald was too uncomfortable, and having heard of a bit of land
at a reasonable price in Elgersweier, which was not far from Offenburg,
indeed about the same distance from the town, he made up his mind to
take shelter there and to build a little house, which would be his own
property. The question was asked how could he, whom every one looked
upon as a penniless man, obtain the funds required to complete this
bargain? Without doubt he borrowed from his mother-in-law, Madame de
Gelb, who had always lived with him, and whose modest income was so
pleasantly augmented by the pension which she received from the English
Government. And so, in the middle of the summer of 1806, the “little
Baron” transported his penates to Elgersweier, where he settled his
belongings very comfortably. By this time two other sons, Armand and
Louis, had been added to the one born at Munich, and shortly after
arriving at the new home Madame d’Auerweck gave birth to a daughter,
who was named Adelaide.

Commissary Popp knew all about these happenings, and his supervision
never slackened for an instant. Encouraged by his success in arranging
the preliminaries for the affair at Ettenheim, he was perfectly
prepared to repeat the operation. With this in view, he began to
show the Minister, in ambiguous language at first, his very good and
sufficient reasons for desiring d’Auerweck’s presence in France. If
necessary, he urged, we could easily get permission from the Grand Duke
of Baden to arrest him in his own home. This suggestion was expressed
very cautiously at first, but was soon made more explicit, although
there was not the slightest shadow of an excuse for such violence, for
all his statements “agreed in demonstrating the perfectly peaceful
nature of the “little Baron’s” existence.

 “It would be advisable to make certain of his person,” wrote Popp,
 “and my opinion will always be the same if certain difficulties with
 the House of Austria happen to be renewed; for d’Auerweck, posted as a
 sentinel on the opposite bank, and doubtless possessing friends on our
 side, would be one of the very first bearers of information about our
 military position and political topography.”

About the same time, Bourrienne, one of Minister Reinhard’s successors
at Hamburg, arrested an _émigré_ who had lately landed from London, and
who was supposed to be in possession of important secrets. This was the
Viscount de Butler, Cormier’s half-brother, who, after having “worked,”
as we have seen, for the Royalist Committee in London, now found
himself stranded in Hamburg in the greatest misery. It was decided
to send him to Paris, as he offered to give up certain documents.
He was imprisoned in the Temple, and there questioned by Desmarets,
who extracted from him all kinds of information with regard to his
missions. Naturally, Butler related all he knew about d’Auerweck, how
he had made his acquaintance, and what sort of terms he was on with
Dutheil and with Lord Grenville. As his answers proved satisfactory he
was sent back to Hamburg, where Bourrienne continued to make use of him
for many years.

Finally, to complete the bad luck, the police were warned of a certain
Sieur de Gelb, a former officer in the army of the Princes, whose
behaviour had been discovered to be very mysterious, and who paid
frequent visits to the frontier. Now, this _émigré_ was no other than
Baron d’Auerweck’s brother-in-law.

All these stories, cleverly made the most of and carefully improved
upon, served to greatly excite the curiosity of the Minister of
Police, all the more as the Royalists were showing much increased
activity in many places. To add to the effect, Normandy became the
theatre of several audacious surprises, such as coaches being robbed,
convoys plundered, and attacks on the high road, many of which were
the handiwork of the inhabitants of the castle of Tournebut, led by
the Viscount d’Aché and the famous Chevalier. Besides, the Emperor was
waging war in Prussia at the head of his armies, a thousand leagues
from Paris, and in his absence the conspirators’ audacity redoubled;
but he did not lose sight of them, and from his distant camps he kept
so closely in touch with all that was happening in France that he
compelled Fouché’s incessant vigilance. An event which took place next
year, when war with Germany broke out afresh, clearly demonstrated
once more the danger of attracting for too long the attention of his
Excellency the Minister of Police.

One evening, in the month of June, 1807, a policeman on his rounds
noticed in one of the squares in the town of Cassel a young man
behaving very strangely, and speechifying in the middle of a crowd. He
drew near, and ascertained that the individual, who was very excited,
was pouring forth a stream of insults and threats against Napoleon,
whom he went so far as to call “a good-for-nothing scamp.” This
was quite enough to decide the representative of public order upon
arresting the silly fellow. He was taken off to the police station
and questioned. He stated that his name was Jean-Rodolphe Bourcard,
“formerly a ribbon manufacturer,” aged twenty-three years, and that he
was a native of Basle, in Switzerland. In the course of his examination
it was discovered that he had arrived the same day from Hamburg, and
that he was full of some very suspicious projects. His story caused him
to be suspected, and a report was promptly drawn up for transmission
to Paris. Cassel was destined before very long to become the capital
of the new kingdom of Westphalia, created for Jerome Bonaparte, and
the police supervision of _émigrés_ was exercised as strictly there as
in every other part of France. While waiting for orders a search was
made in the lodging-house whence the prisoner had come. Nothing much
was found in his scanty luggage; some papers, one of which was “a plan
and a description of the battle of Austerlitz,” and besides this two
or three apparently mysterious notes. One of them contained the words:
“_Must see Louis--without Louis nothing can be done_.” Everything was
minutely collected together, and some days later Bourcard was sent off
for a compulsory visit to Paris.

He was put in the Temple, and, although it was easy to see from his
talk and his strange behaviour that he was a madman, subject to fits
of violence, Fouché could not make up his mind to let him go. The
examination of his record and the papers which were found in his
possession had suddenly given the Minister an ingenious idea. Who could
this _Louis_ be who was obviously connected with Bourcard? Certainly a
Royalist spy, since the man of Basle had just come from Hamburg, the
headquarters of these people. And the Record Office of the Ministry
contained many notes referring to a “well-known agent of England and
of Austria,” Baron Louis d’Auerweck of Steilengels, who was known to
be living on the banks of the Rhine. There was no room for doubt: this
person “had assumed the name of Louis in the various missions which he
had undertaken.” Was not this the man who was denoted by Bourcard’s

Fouché was fascinated by this solution, and, anxious to have it
verified, he seized upon the unhoped-for opportunity which had
presented itself. And that was why an order was sent from Paris on
July 17, 1807, to immediately effect the arrest of the “little Baron.”
It would, however, have been impolitic and almost impossible to make
use of the same violent measures which had been employed in the Duc d’
Enghien’s case. Besides, Massias, the French Chargé d’Affaires at the
Grand Duke of Baden’s court at Carlsruhe, when he received Fouché’s
letter, considered it necessary, in order to carry out his chiefs
commands, to obtain the Grand Duke’s permission and assistance before
moving in the matter.

 “But,” he wrote to Fouché, “my seven years’ experience had firmly
 convinced me that, if I ask for this person’s arrest by the ordinary
 process of an official letter, he will be warned and will manage to
 make his escape, so I think I should set off the same day for Baden,
 where the Baron de Gemmingen, the Cabinet Minister, is now staying
 with his Royal Highness, for I have on several occasions received
 proofs of his kindly disposition towards me.”

Massias was not mistaken; his application to the Sovereign of Baden
met with immediate and complete success. For the latter, who knew
none of the details of the case--not even that d’Auerweck was his
own subject--and did not want to offend the Emperor, listened to his
representatives petition, and the same day issued orders, from his
palace of La Favorite in the outskirts of Baden, to M. Molitor, the
Grand Ducal Commissary, to act in concert with Massias, and with the
help of the police of Baden to arrest Baron d’Auerweck. For Massias
had pointed out that if the order were sent in the first place to
the bailiff of Offenburg, “where d’Auerweck must have formed many
friendships,” there were a thousand reasons for fearing that the latter
would receive warning, “for he is a vigilant man and is on his guard.”
At Elgersweier no one had the slightest inkling of the impending
danger. The “little Baron” had just returned from one of those
expeditions which the police were watching so carefully, and had gone
in to see his wife, who had lately given birth to her fourth child. For
d’Auerweck had settled down a short time before in his new home, and
was perfectly content to enjoy the peaceful existence, which allowed
him to move about and finish his _Historical Notes on Hugues Capet_,
and his _Dissertation upon the Secularization of Germany under French

So it can be imagined what a crushing blow was dealt him when
Commissary Molitor and his assistants appeared at Elgersweier
unexpectedly on the evening of July 23, 1807. We can picture the
“little Baron’s” agitation, his distorted face, as he went himself to
admit the police officers; his wife’s despair; the house rummaged from
cellar to garret; the cries of the children woken up by the hubbub;
Madame de Gelb’s indignation; and then the setting forth, in the midst
of the police, of the unhappy head of the family, in spite of his
useless protestations, and the broken-hearted family, overwhelmed by
stupefaction, in their ravished home.

The prisoner soon recovered his presence of mind, and at Offenburg,
where he was taken, he set to work to prepare his defence to the best
of his ability, and he soon drew up a justificatory document, which
was designed to confound his accusers. At the same time--luckily for
d’Auerweck--the Grand Duke found out that it was one of his subjects
who was concerned, and he withdrew the authority for arrest which he
had given, and issued orders to keep the Baron and his papers for
his disposal. The preliminary examination of these documents plainly
demonstrated the flimsy nature of the charge, and that there was no
justification for the outrage which had been committed.

The day after the fateful event, Madame de Gelb went to La Favorite,
and, throwing herself at her Sovereign’s feet, implored him to protect
her son-in-law. She described the falsity of the charges brought
against him, the distress of the mother and of the four children. The
Grand Duke could not but be touched by this petition, although he was
anxious not to displease M. Fouché.

 “I am transported with delight,” Massias said to Councillor Gemmingen,
 “at having so successfully executed the commands of the Minister of
 Police, for they were not easy of accomplishment;” and he added, in
 order to appease the Grand Duke’s fears and regrets, “This affair
 seems to have taken a turn, which is very fortunate for the prisoner;
 and I have already advised his Excellency the Minister about it. You
 can assure his Royal Highness that I will do my very best to finish
 off the case in a way that shall be agreeable to both Governments.”

But such a result seemed very unlikely, for it would have required very
strong compulsion to make Fouché renounce his plan, more especially
now that the arrest was an accomplished fact. It seemed absolutely
necessary to him to extradite d’Auerweck and to fetch him to Paris;
and he had already, by August 5, warned the Prefect of the department
of Mont Tonnerre and Moncey, the Inspector-General of Police, to be in
readiness “to take charge of and to escort Lord d’Auerweck.”

It was just at this time that Commissary Popp, whose assistance had
not been utilized as much as he hoped it would be, began to be worried
by the silence which was observed as far as he was concerned, and he
entreated his Minister not to allow the Baron to slip out of his hands.

 “It was very distasteful to have to make this arrest,” he said, “and
 it was only effected because it was necessary; and you can guess how
 carefully, under these circumstances, we have examined his papers,
 which it was of supreme importance to lay our hands upon.”

However, these papers, which Popp so confidently reckoned would expose
the Baron’s intrigues, were found to consist only of purely private
correspondence, altogether wanting in political interest; besides the
historical works undertaken by d’Auerweck, the search of his house had
only brought to light some insignificant letters, amongst which were
“a bundle of love letters which d’Auerweck had exchanged with a young
_émigrée_ now settled in London. It appears that this entanglement did
not meet with the approval of the young lady’s uncle, the girl having
lost her parents when she was fifteen years of age.”

The Grand Duke, having heard these particulars, was all the more
unwilling to hand over his unfortunate subject to Fouché and his
myrmidons. He was convinced “of his perfect innocence.” Therefore the
Baron de Dalberg, his Ambassador in Paris, was charged “to urge His
Excellency, Minister Fouché, most forcibly to cease from troubling
these persons, who were very sincerely to be pitied.” But he only
encountered the most obstinate resistance. Fouché had received the
plea of exculpation, which d’Auerweck had drawn up two days after his
arrest, but he decided it was insufficient, “because it only touched
lightly on many of the principal details of his intrigues, and it did
not refer at all to his doings before 1800,” and in the margin of the
sheet he recorded his sentiments in a kind of cross-examination.

 “With whom had he had dealings since his second journey to Paris?
 Where did he lodge? To whom in London had he written? Did he not hide
 himself in a house in the Rue Basse-du-Rempart?

 “What commission had he been charged with at Rastadt? Had he not made
 this extraordinary remark to some one before he left Hamburg: ‘_I am
 going to Rastadt; you will soon hear of a great event, in which I
 shall have had a hand_’”?

And Fouché went on to allude to the Baron’s hurried flight at the time
when the French troops were drawing near.

 “Why did you fly at the time of the commencement of hostilities? You
 are not a Frenchman? If you had not intrigued against France, or even
 if you had ceased to intrigue, why did you leave your wife because
 our troops were about to arrive, since you were a German and settled
 in Germany on the territory of a Prince, who is on good terms with
 this same France? But we have reason to believe that you were still
 carrying on your intrigues. We have reason to think that you came
 secretly to Paris five or six months ago. You were seen in the Rue
 de Richelieu. Further, we have reason to think that, stationed as
 you were on our frontier, you were perilously inclined by your long
 experience as a spy to continue to spy on us, and that you did not
 confine yourself to a correspondence with our enemies, but actually
 controlled men of the class of those whom you directed at Rastadt
 according to your own acknowledgment.”

Such were the complaints formulated by the Minister, and they were
sufficient, it must be admitted, to convince him of the importance
of his capture. Even if the Baron’s past life since 1800 could be
voluntarily ignored--although this past life could not fail to arouse
a host of just suspicions--there still remained his complicity in
the drama of Rastadt, and also the coincidence--though not a very
convincing one--of Bourcard’s arrest with the Baron’s presence on the
banks of the Rhine. So Fouché, in his reply to Baron de Dalberg, who
had begged him to comply with his requests, wished to show that he had
made up his mind.

 “You understand, monsieur, from what has passed,” he wrote on August
 29, “that Baron d’Auerweck cannot be set free, and that it is
 necessary to convey him to Paris in order to give his explanation
 of the fresh and singular information which has been received about
 him. Your Excellency may rest assured that his examination will be
 conducted with perfect impartiality, such as he may desire, and that
 he will obtain the fullest justice, if he can clear himself.”

The unfortunate Baron had now been kicking his heels for more than a
month in the jail at Offenburg, where he was kept under observation
day and night by a sentinel. The heat was intense, and d’Auerweck,
suffering as he was from an internal complaint, which made his
detention all the harder to bear, cursed his bad luck. He reproached
his Sovereign in picturesque language with having allowed him to be
imprisoned without any proof of crime upon “knavish accusations,” him--

 “a citizen, a man of valour, whose honour no man doubts; whose
 fair dealing every one confides in; who is not ashamed to show his
 love of religion, and whose life is by no means a useless one; who
 has sufficient brains to have principles, and sufficient heart to
 sacrifice himself for his principles when they demand it; whose head
 and heart are in harmony; who has taken no part in political events
 except according to his oath and his duty; who, in short, has for the
 past five years lived as a peasant in a little house, which he had
 built himself, there tending his garden and rearing his children.”

The Grand Duke, touched by the truth of these reproaches, did his
best to avoid granting Fouché’s demand. He believed he had hit upon
an expedient when he proposed to the Minister to send the prisoner
only as far as Strasburg, where the French Justiciary could examine
him comfortably. But Fouché showed himself unmanageable, so fifteen
days later the Grand Duke, tired of the struggle, and with the excuse
of “the ties of friendship and the peculiar harmony which existed
with the French Court,” at last consented to the extradition of Baron
D’Auerweck, although--

 “His Highness considered that he had the right to expect to be spared
 the unpleasantness of having to hand over to a foreign jurisdiction
 one of his subjects, against whom there did not exist any properly
 established suspicions, and whose papers furnished no proof against

Once again the wrathful spectre of Napoleon, ready to crush the man who
opposed his will, had succeeded in triumphing over everything which
could be hoped for from justice and good laws.

On September 22 Commissary Molitor took d’Auerweck out of the prison of
Offenburg and brought him to Strasburg to hand him over to the French
police. In order to preserve precedent and to save his face, the Grand
Duke had ordered his councillor to announce that--

 “although His Royal Highness, in his particular condescension, had
 allowed his subject Auerweck to be extradited so as to facilitate the
 information and accusations which were brought against him this was
 done in full confidence that he would be treated as considerately as
 possible, and that he would not be subjected to any unpleasant or
 harsh treatment in consideration of the peculiar circumstances of his

But what M. Fouché’s instructions were was well known, and no one had
any misconception on the subject, least of all the Grand Duke. The
pitiful letter which Madame d’Auerweck sent to him next day, and in
which she appealed to his kind heart and his pity, must certainly have
aroused some feeling of remorse.

After a stay of forty-eight hours in Strasburg, d’Auerweck started on
his journey on September 25. In the post-chaise which carried him were
a junior officer and a policeman, charged with his care. After crossing
the Vosges, they travelled by way of Nancy and Chalons, and reached
Epernay on the 28th; in a few hours they would arrive in Paris. Taking
advantage of a short halt in the inn, the Baron hurriedly scribbled the
following note, which was intended to reassure his family:--

 “I have arrived here, my good and tender friend, as well in health as
 I could hope to be, and much less tired than I feared. I write these
 few words to you to calm your mind, and to beg you again to take care
 of yourself. To-morrow, by eight o’clock in the morning, we shall
 be in Paris, whence, as I hope, I shall be able to write to you. I
 embrace you, and beg you to kiss Charles, Louis, Armand, and your
 mother for me.

 “May God guard you.

 “Epernai, 28th September.”

The post-chaise entered Paris in the morning of the 29th, and passed
along the quays till it stopped in front of the general office of the
Minister of Police, where the prisoner had to be delivered. Where
would they take him? For certain to the Temple tower, where at this
time political prisoners were kept. And there it was that d’Auerweck
was conducted and locked up. The order in the gaol-book directed that
he should be placed in solitary confinement until further notice. It
was now the Baron’s turn to enter the gloomy dungeon, which he had so
often, twelve years before, gazed at curiously from afar. It was his
fate, like his “big friend” Cormier, to closely inspect this building,
the name of which evoked such reminiscences of mystery.

Six days were allowed him in which to prepare, without disturbance, his
reply to the questions which were to be put to him. On October 5, 1807,
a commissary, sent by the Minister of Police, came to see him and to
hear what he had to say. A curious thing was that the same proceeding
which was employed with Cormier at the time of his imprisonment was
renewed for d’Auerweck’s benefit; no reference whatever was made
to the whole period antecedent to 1800. Whatever might have been
d’Auerweck’s conduct during the Revolution and under the Directoire,
what his actions were, in what direction he went and came, who were his
friends, all these points were held of no importance by his Excellency
M. Fouché, and by Desmarets, who was on special duty in connection
with the case. What they were most concerned with was to find out the
object of d’Auerweck’s frequent absences during the last few years, and
to extort a confession from him of his participation in the murder of
the plenipotentiaries of Rastadt. They came to the point without any
concealment, but d’Auerweck was on his guard. He flatly denied that
he had paid a visit to Paris in the months of April and May, as was

 “I did not travel at all in France, and I have not been in Paris since
 the year when the Directoire was installed. I can furnish the clearest
 proofs of this fact. I was warned two years ago that the French police
 were watching me, and that they accused me of a number of intrigues,
 the greater part of which I had nothing whatever to do with, for I
 declare most solemnly that since the July or September of 1799 I have
 taken no part in any matter against France. I challenge the world to
 allege a single proceeding of mine, or a single line, against the
 interests of the French Government. The person who warned me that
 the French were watching me was the late Abbe Desmares, who lived in
 Offenburg; the warning was conveyed in an anonymous letter, to which
 he never owned up, but which I am convinced came from him.”

As regards his sudden flight from Baden at the time of the approach of
the French armies, the Baron explained that it was due to his desire
to appease the fears of his mother-in-law, Madame de Gelb. Besides,
they had only to question the authorities of Rothenburg, of Ulm, and of
Nuremberg, and to obtain from them the counterfoils of his passports,
in order to find an absolute confirmation of his statements. Then
there was the question of his connection with Bourcard. What could
the accused reply to that? Was it not at Ulm itself that he had met
“Monsieur Bourcard, the father, who was an official from the Canton of
Basle?” D’Auerweck’s answer was ready:--

 “I have not spent more than twenty-four hours in Ulm. I had my dinner
 and supper there. The Austrian army had not at that time been forced
 back upon the town, which was being fortified. I only saw three
 officers at the _table d’hôte_, two of them Croatians and one German
 captain. I had no kind of business with any one. The man called
 Bourcard, a Swiss official, is quite unknown to me.”

All his denials were very precise--and they were easily to be verified
by the means he had suggested--so that there was now very little left
of the terrible evidence which weighed so heavily upon the “little
Baron,” or of “the crime of conspiracy against the security of the
State,” with which he was charged. The slight clue, indicated by
Bourcard’s arrest, but damaged by the papers seized at Elgersweier,
was completely destroyed when the latter was declared to be mentally
afflicted. In short, the tragic adventure which had overtaken
d’Auerweck seemed to have been the result of the most vexatious
misunderstanding; at least, that is what his cross-examiner expressed
to him when he left him.

 “You can now consider your case to be finished, and you can see
 how it is possible to find one’s self compromised by unfortunate
 coincidences, _without any one being to blame_.”

Encouraged by this assurance, the Baron suffered patiently in spite
of the passing of much time. He knew that he was not forgotten at the
Grand Duke’s Court. Dalberg, the Ambassador, had already managed to
convey to him some money, with which to defray the first expense of his
visit to the Temple, and yonder, at Elgersweier, Madame d’Auerweck was
in receipt of assistance from Carlsruhe; for, as a matter of fact, the
mother, grandmother, and children, robbed as they were of the head of
the family, had been suddenly plunged into the most terrible state of

The poor woman, in spite of her condition, desired only one thing: to
obtain a passport so as to be able to get to Paris. With this object
she overwhelmed the Ambassador of Baden with letters, in which she also
implored him to help to set her husband free.

 “I know that he is innocent, your Excellency,” she continually wrote
 to him, “and if your Excellency wants any more proofs of my husband’s
 peaceful habits, I will rout out all the available evidence to prove
 it. My husband can only benefit by the search ... and I am sure that
 your Excellency has pity for my terrible plight and that of my poor
 little children.”

Dalberg ended by getting annoyed with these letters.

 “I receive frequent epistles from Madame d’Auerweck,” he wrote to
 Carlsruhe; “but this _wifely impatience_ is waste of time, because I
 can do nothing as long as the presence of the prisoner is necessary
 for the conduct of the case.”

In the mean time, the Baron, by way of killing time, drew up a
second justificatory memorandum, which must doubtless have staggered
Desmarets. In it he exposed all the hiatus in his cross-examination,
and the absence of any proof against him. Why was it that he was not
set at liberty, now that the falsity of the accusations brought against
him had been so completely demonstrated? For he had just heard that
the Minister of Police had received a very detailed report, which
proved his residence, in succession, in the Grand Duchy of Baden from
1798 to 1800, in Offenburg from 1802 to 1803, and in Schutterwald up
to September, 1806; it mentioned his journey to Rothenburg and to
Nuremberg in 1805, and declared that--

 “wherever the said d’Auerweck had lived, he had always conducted
 himself peacefully and with decency, and had never meddled in
 politics; that, on the contrary, he had always been occupied with
 building, agriculture, botany, and rural economy, which had been
 partly proved by many of the papers found upon him at the time of his

So M. Desmarets and his master were in possession of an unquestionable
justification of the Baron’s protests. It was, indeed, inconceivable
that they would continue to keep him in confinement, and, what is
worse, without putting any fresh questions to him.

However, early in the month of March, 1808--and d’Auerweck had now
been nearly seven months in the Temple--Baron de Dalberg was informed
that Fouché’s intervention was not enough by itself, and that a pardon
for the prisoner had been submitted to the Emperor, who was about to
leave Paris for a campaign in Spain, but he had refused to sign it.
The situation became serious. Dalberg fully recognized the difficulty
which he would experience in delivering the unfortunate Baron from
prison; for he was looked upon as “an English Agent,” and, as such,
infinitely more an object of suspicion than if he had been an emissary
of any other Power. The hatred of England was then at its height, and
Napoleon’s sentiment was that an English spy deserved to be taken care
of, and, indeed, well taken care of. D’Auerweck could not deny that he
had at one time been in the service of the hated nation; for all that,
he laid claim to being a subject of Baden.

The weeks rolled by, and d’Auerweck began to despair. He had, perhaps,
a momentary glimmer of hope that his deliverance was at hand, when he
became aware of an unexpected confusion and tumult in the Temple. What
had happened? Was Paris once more agitated by a change of Government?
Had the Emperor met with defeat? Alas! It was nothing of the kind.
But Napoleon had ordered the Temple tower to be demolished, and the
seventeen prisoners who were kept there had to be carted off to another
lodging. They were taken to Vincennes, and d’Auerweck’s faint hope
was blighted. He was more miserable than ever, and, as soon as he had
settled down in his new quarters, despatched a vehement protest to

 “What is the reason, in the name of God, that I find myself dragged
 from one place to another six months after the arrival of written
 statements which ought to have proved my innocence? If my character
 had again been blackened by spite, at least give me the opportunity
 of fixing the lie. I cannot think that any one in this world has ever
 been placed in a more unhappy case than I. My eyesight is impaired,
 my health ruined, and my wits are worn out. I can only think of my
 unfortunate children, ruined and deprived of every necessity, and this
 in the case of a man who is absolutely innocent of all wrong-doing.”

It never once occurred to him that his rigorous imprisonment might be
due to some indiscretion connected with his past and with his conduct
in 1795, or with the part which he had taken in the “Temple affair.”
Why should these old times, which were wrapped in a mist of obscurity,
be remembered? And, besides, there was no reason for suspecting
anything of the kind.

Neither the Grand Duke nor his Ambassador in Paris relaxed in any
degree their efforts to help the Baron, and a voluminous correspondence
was carried on between Paris and the Court at Baden about him during
the following years; but, to all Dalberg’s demands, Fouché replied that
no one denied Baron d’Auerweck’s “perfect loyalty;” the matter depended
on the Emperor’s will, and he refused to pass any final order. In order
to soften Madame d’Auerweck’s affliction--for she never left them
alone--supplies were regularly sent to the prisoner at Vincennes, and
he was assured that his family were not being neglected or in want.

 “My detention is the outcome of a lengthy series of slanderous
 informations,” the Baron declared over and over again, “which has been
 woven and pieced together, more or less cleverly, but the falseness of
 which has already been demonstrated to those who have been bribed to
 utter it.”

He was then informed that yet another accusation had been added to the
former charges against him: an accusation of having published in the
_Moniteur_, in 1799, certain letters dated from Naples, which were
insulting to the First Consul: Now, the _Journal Politique de l’Europe_
had at once, in the name of d’Auerweck, given the lie direct to these
statements. But what had he to say for himself?

 “You know perfectly well, monsieur, that for the last two years, less
 ten or twelve days, I have only heard the voice of the Government
 through the medium of the bolts which have been shot in my face.”

In this way three years slipped by, in the course of which Madame
d’Auerweck (who, by the way, does not appear to have led a very
virtuous life in her husband’s absence) never stopped pestering the
Ambassador of Baden in Paris with her entreaties; de Ferrette, who,
on his arrival in France, had succeeded Baron de Dalberg, took up the
unfortunate Baron’s case, and determined to bring it to a conclusion.
So as to increase the authority of his demands, he managed to interest
the Minister of the King of Bavaria on d’Auerweck’s behalf, and the
two combined to present a very urgent memorandum, in the summer of
1810, to the Minister of Police. This was not Fouché, for he had been
degraded for the second time, and his post was occupied by Savary, the
Duc de Rovigo. The two Ministers made their application to the latter.

 “Yesterday, at this unpleasant ball,” Ferrette wrote on July 2, “I
 importuned the Duke of Rovigo to let Lord Auerweck out from Vincennes;
 this was just before the Emperor arrived. He said to me: ‘His case is
 not unpardonable, but you may rest assured that we are not keeping him
 locked up like this without very good reasons. You must wait.’”

At last, on October 16, Savary presented to Napoleon the
anxiously-looked-for report, which advised the prisoner’s discharge.
To every one’s astonishment, the Emperor only made the following
observation: _Better keep him until universal peace is declared_. There
was nothing to be done but to submit to this merciless imprisonment,
and to accept the explanation which was given, viz. that d’Auerweck was
“a bold intriguer, who was to be found everywhere: sometimes in the
interests of Austria, sometimes in England’s.”

Afterwards, as though to find an excuse for this prolonged detention,
the Baron was brought in contact with one of those persons who are
known as _Moutons_; his line of action was to get on friendly terms
with the prisoner, and to try to get him to talk, the result of these
conversations being handed on to the police. A man called Rivoire was
chosen for this purpose. He was formerly a naval officer, but had been
arrested and imprisoned for conspiracy; he escaped, but was caught and
put in prison for the fourth or fifth time. The “Chevalier de Rivoire”
was at the end of his resources, and hoped to obtain a remission of his
sentence by spying on his companions in misfortune. It was impressed
on him that he must specially pump Baron d’Auerweck on the subject of
the Rastadt assassination. The two reports, which he sent to Desmarets
during the year 1811, give a rather amusing account of the success of
his enterprise: a success, of course, skilfully exaggerated.

 “D’Auerweck is very suspicious when one begins to put questions to
 him, so I adopted the ruse of contradicting him and of only grudgingly
 giving in to him. Then, after having started him in the right
 direction, if I resign myself to listening patiently, he obligingly
 begins to overwhelm me with confidences, both false and true, and with
 all the rubbish which his conceit and his insatiate garrulity inspire
 in him.... He boasted of having rendered the most important services
 to the English, both on the Continent and in their own country, where
 he had exposed and baffled many plots, and had been the cause of the
 arrest and punishment of many French agents.... When we began to talk
 about the Rastadt affair, he at first repeated the story which had
 been manufactured in order to divert suspicion from the real culprits.

 “_Rivoire_: ‘Only children will believe such a fairy tale.’

 “_D’Auerweck_ (laughing): ‘That’s true; but we must always tell it,
 and by dint of many repetitions they will begin to believe it. The
 matter concerns other people’s interests. I only left Austria when I
 saw that its Government was fatally weak; so much so that it has to be
 treated like a spoilt child that does not want to take its medicine.
 Besides myself, there are not more than two people who are acquainted
 with the correct details of this affair.’

 “Seeing that he had said too much, he then, like a fool, began to
 retract, saying, ‘Besides, I was attached to a certain Prince’s
 Minister, who was not there with reason, and I was perfectly neutral
 in all that happened.’”

Rivoire concluded by saying, “D’Auerweck was the leader, or one of the
leaders, in this crime, which was committed at the instigation of the
English Government; and he forthwith went off to give his report; and
he was at this time in London, travelling _viâ_ France.”

These fresh accusations, however flimsy their foundation, were not
neglected, and succeeded in so increasing the gravity of the Baron’s
case that his durance was prolonged indefinitely. At the same time
they served to maintain the harshness of his imprisonment. Using
the Ambassador of Baden in Paris as the go-between, d’Auerweck, who
declared himself to be seriously ill, had begged that he might for the
time being be sent to a private hospital, where he could be attended
to. But they questioned whether his illness was only a pretext, and
that he was plotting some plan of escape. Accordingly the Minister of
Police refused his request.

 “The reasons for the detention of this prisoner,” the Duke of Rovigo
 declared to his colleague of Foreign Affairs, “do not admit of his
 being transferred to a private hospital. But I have just given the
 adequate order that the doctor, whose business it is to attend the
 invalids in the prison of Vincennes, should visit this prisoner as
 often as his state of health may require it.”

On May 31, 1812, d’Auerweck was told that no instructions as to his
fate had been given, so, bearing his troubles patiently, he sent a
fresh request, couched in the following humorous style, to Desmarets:--

 “The regular annual announcement that I am still to be kept in the
 dungeon of Vincennes was made to me yesterday; will you at least have
 the condescension to pass an order that it may not be in this celler,
 in which I have lived for three and a half months.”

Two more years passed before the tribulations of d’Auerweck were
completed. But in 1814, when the now victorious Allied Armies drew
close to Paris, it was decided to send the inmates of the prison
of Vincennes to Saumur. How d’Auerweck must have prayed for his
countrymen’s speedy arrival, and that this second change of residence
might be the prelude to his deliverance!

He had not been two months at Saumur when he heard a rumour that the
Allies had entered Paris on March 31. He was not forgotten in his
dungeon, for three days later the Grand Duke urgently demanded that
his subject might be given back to him, “one of the many victims
of the reign which has just come to an end;” and the next day the
Minister replied that the order to set the Baron at liberty had been
issued three days ago. April 16 was a day never to be forgotten by
d’Auerweck and his companions. They were overcome with emotion, as can
be guessed from the following lines, written by Baron de Kolli, the
most extraordinary adventurer of the Imperial epoch. This person had
been confined for four years at Vincennes on account of an attempt to
deliver King Ferdinand VII. from Valençay, and at Vincennes he no doubt
met our Hungarian. The two of them could exchange their impressions
as captives by the good pleasure of the Emperor, both imprisoned
without trial, and condemned to an endless captivity, thanks to regular
_lettres-de-cachet_ dug up for this occasion only.

 “I will try, though in vain, to describe this scene, which will be for
 ever engraven upon my heart,” Kolli relates. “In the intoxication of
 happiness and in tears, each one throws himself upon any one he meets,
 and clasps him in his arms; there are forty persons, all strangers to
 each other, and in a second they are united by the bonds of the most
 tender friendship. As we emerge from our tombs, the townsmen press
 around us, and, undismayed by the sight of our miserable state, drag
 us to the bosoms of their families. In a single day we pass from want
 to opulence.”

Those who witnessed d’Auerweck’s return to Elgersweier, prematurely
aged as he was by these seven years of misfortune, could hardly
recognize in him the talkative and active man of former days. They all
had a vivid recollection of that night in the month of July, 1807, when
trouble hurled itself upon this family.

However, in spite of confinement and the want of fresh air, the Barons
health was not as severely injured as one might have imagined. He lived
on in his village for fourteen years, and delightedly took up again the
old tasks of an agriculturist, a botanist, and a husbandman.... In his
leisure hours he related episodes of his strange past to his family
and his neighbours, and, when bragging got the upper hand of him, he
recalled the happy time when he had been raised by Fortune to the post
of “Ambassador to his Majesty the King of Great Britain!”

He left Elgersweier in 1828 to return to Offenburg, where he had
formerly resided, and there he died two years later, on June 8,
1830. Three of his children survived him. Charles, the eldest, had a
distinguished military career; as general in the army of Baden, he was
governor of the fortified town of Germersheim. Adelaide d’Auerweck
lived to be a very old woman, as she only died in 1881, at Munich.
Finally, Armand d’Auerweck left four children, one of whom, Ferdinand,
emigrated to America, where he is still living.

The descendants of the “little Baron” cherish the memory of this life,
so rich in incidents, so extravagant, and so surprising; but the part
which he played in the Temple adventure at the time of the great
Revolution would have been for ever hidden had not an unforeseen chance
served to connect him with one of the threads of this astonishing
intrigue, which attracted so much curious attention.

                             CHAPTER VIII

                            AFTER THE STORM

We have seen that in spite of the announcement of the Dauphin’s death,
and of all that the Chevalier de Frotté had written to her on the
subject, Lady Atkyns still held persistently to her conviction that the
real proof of the matter had yet to be discovered, and remained still
determined to solve the mystery. If, as she continued to believe, the
young King had been spirited away, it might still be possible to find

But there were new difficulties in the way. Money, for one thing, was
lacking now, and she knew only too well how necessary money was. Now,
too, she was alone. To whom was she to apply for assistance? Of all her
old associates, Peltier alone was accessible, and he was absorbed in
his work, as journalist and man of letters.

Why, she asked herself, should she not seek the help of a member of the
Royal Family of France? The Comte d’Artois, who had taken in his turn
the titles of _Monsieur_ and of Comte de Provence, since his brother’s
proclamation as King, was living in England. Why not apply to him?
The ingenuous lady did not think of the very weighty reasons why such
an appeal must be in vain. Convinced that the Dauphin still lived, she
imagined that she could convert the Comte to her way of thinking, and
induce him to join her in her search after the truth.

Encouraged by the attitude taken up by the British Government towards
her project of inquiring minutely into the matter on the Continent,
Lady Atkyns decided before leaving England to approach the Comte,
hoping to secure not merely his approval, but also some material
assistance. Had she not sacrificed a large portion of her own worldly
goods for the benefit of his family? Thus reasoning, she did not
conceive the possibility of a refusal. But _Monsieur_ could not regard
as anything short of fantastic the supposition upon which her project
was based--the supposition that his nephew still survived. To present
this hypothesis either to him or to his brother the King was to put
one’s self out of court at once.

We can imagine how her application was received. She chose as her
intermediary with the Prince the Baron de Suzannet, who had facilitated
the purchase of the ships and equipages which were procured in
readiness for the rescue of the Queen and the Dauphin.

Having the _entrée_ to the Court, and being one of the most notable of
the _émigrés_ in London, he consented to submit his friend’s request to
_Monsieur_. Did he foresee the issue? Apparently not. Here is what he
writes to her on August 19, 1797:--

 “After the decision _M[onsieur]_ has come to, my dear lady, not to
 give his countenance to your affair until it has been taken up by
 others, and after speaking to him so often on the subject, I cannot
 carry the matter any further, and could not ask him for money. But I
 see no reason why you should not yourself write to him more or less
 what you have told me, viz. that you were about to return to France
 with the consent of the Government, that you ought to be provided with
 the same amount for returning as you have been for going, but that
 fifty louis is very scant provision for that--especially considering
 that you have had to hide yourself away here so long--and that you
 are afraid you will not have sufficient to enable you to remain long
 enough in Paris to get together all the particulars required by the
 Government, and to pay the messenger for bringing them here; and
 you might point out that you have acted throughout entirely in the
 interests of the Royal Family, that you do not regret the £1000[76]
 which your attachment has cost you, or regret them only because you no
 longer have the money to devote to the cause; and that if _M[onsieur]_
 for his part could give you £50, it would free you from anxiety as to
 ways and means....

 “I shall tell _M[onsieur]_ that I am aware you have written to him,
 and that I shall convey his answer to you. He has been taking medicine
 to-day and can see no one. To-morrow he is to see some people at the
 Duc d’Harcourt’s, if well enough. He will not be going away before
 Wednesday. His address is 55, Welbeck Street. I think you would do
 well to send your letter to him by hand, sealed and addressed ‘_À
 Monsieur Seul_,’ enclosed in an outer envelope with his ordinary
 address: ‘_Son Altesse Royale Monsieur, frère du Roi_.’ Send me a line
 to tell me what you have done. _Adieu._”

It was not till after a long delay that Lady Atkyns at last succeeded
in meeting the Prince at an inn, only to meet with a point-blank
refusal. But she was not to be discouraged. The very next day she wrote
again to the Comte asking for an audience. This time it was another
member of his suite, the Bishop of Saint-Pol de Léon, who replied to
her communication--

 “The moment I saw _M[onsieur]_ yesterday, my dear lady, he told me
 about your letter, which gave him great pleasure, though it is a
 matter for great regret to him that he is quite unable to do as you
 wish, and as he himself would wish. Since his recent attack he has
 been unable to dress or go out; he has not been able to receive any
 ladies, anxious though he is to welcome those who are here and who
 were attached to the Princess. He could not receive one without its
 being known, and then he would be expected to receive a number of
 others. You know how things get about and what a close watch is kept
 on Princes, and how careful our Prince must be to do nothing that
 would lay him open to criticism or even to suspicion. If his stay
 here were prolonged, and he found he could see other ladies also, the
 thing might be managed; but there would be difficulties even then, in
 view of your secret being perhaps of a compromising nature. I am but
 expressing to you the Prince’s own views. I hope to see you to-morrow
 between midday and three o’clock.”

The great of this world are never at a loss for pretexts for refusing
requests. _Monsieur_ was particularly anxious to evade an interview
which he felt to be undesirable, and therefore confined himself to
sending her these amiable phrases.

About the same time M. de Thauvenay, one of the King’s most devoted
courtiers, who happened to be in London, seems to have promised to use
his good offices with his master on her behalf, telling him of her
record and perhaps of her hopes.

Having exhausted all the means at her disposal in England, Lady Atkyns
saw that she must manage her journey as best she could from her own
resources, and resolved to make yet another sacrifice to this end.
She had obtained a considerable loan already once upon a mortgage on
her beautiful estate of Ketteringham. As this was her only source of
revenue, there was no alternative to raising a further mortgage on it,
and this she managed, though with greater difficulty than before. (The
property was not, in fact, her own at this time, being entailed on her
son Edward.)

She seems to have raised in all about £3000 in this way in 1799 and the
three following years.

Some weeks before the “18th Brumaire” and Bonaparte’s _coup d’état_,
she set out for the Continent. What exactly was her purpose? What use
was she going to make of her money? It is impossible to say. To clothe
her errand in the greater mystery, she decided to land in France under
an assumed name, and to veil her personality under the designation of
the “Little Sailor” (_le petit matelot_).

 “I feel I must again send my good wishes for a pleasant journey to the
 charming ‘Little Sailor,’” some unidentified friend writes to her on
 September 7, “and I cannot too often beg him to bear in mind that he
 leaves behind him in England friends who take a deep interest in his
 welfare, and who will learn with pleasure that he has arrived safely
 at his destination, and, above all, that after fulfilling his mission
 he has escaped all the unpleasantness and dangers to which his truly
 admirable devotion and zeal will expose him. I hope one day to prove
 to the ‘Little Sailor’ how he has long filled me with the most genuine
 sentiments--sentiments which I have refrained from expressing for
 reasons of which the ‘Little Sailor’ will approve. I cannot say too
 often to the amiable ‘Little Sailor’ what pleasure I shall have in
 repeating to him in France--and in France preferably to elsewhere--the
 assurance of eternal and tender attachment that I have vowed him for
 ever and ever.”

It is difficult to know what the “Petit Matelot” did on arriving
in Paris. It was a moment of crisis, for the Consulate was being
established. Most of those who had been mixed up in the Temple affair
were inaccessible, and yet it was important to get into touch with them
if anything was to be ascertained about the Dauphin. It would not have
done, however, to provoke suspicion, or Fouché would have been on her

Certain only it is that for several months she seems to have
disappeared from sight. At last she was run to earth and hunted out by
Fouché’s agents, and was obliged to make away to the Loire, where she
had devoted friends.

The Verrière family lived in the country six miles from Saumur, in
Anjou, where many nobles, fleeing from the storm, had found a safe
refuge. The vicinity of the forest of Fontevrault enabled them to
gain the Vendée, and thus escape the fury of the Revolutionists. Mme.
Verrière had met Lady Atkyns in Paris years before, perhaps during the
golden days of Versailles. Recalling their former friendliness, Lady
Atkyns went to them in her trouble. The welcome they extended to her
justified her hopes, and she dwelt with them for some time, until the
police had lost all trace of her.

About this period, vague reports began to be spread about with
reference to the imprisonment of the children of Louis XVI. in the
Temple. The obscurity which had cloaked the last hours of the Dauphin
was still keeping certain brains at work. And a book which was
published in 1800 helped to reawaken public curiosity. In _Le Cimetière
de la Madeleine_, a romance written by an author until then little
known, Regnault-Warin deliberately questioned the alleged death of the
Dauphin, and, in fact, based a story of adventure upon the supposition
of his being still alive. Written in the fashion of the time, full of
surprising episodes, and bristling with more or less untrustworthy
anecdotes touching on the captivity of the Royal Family in the Temple,
this novel had an immense success. If it came before Lady Atkyns it
must have served to stimulate her anxiety to solve the problem she had
so much at heart.

In the summer of 1801 Lady Atkyns appears to have addressed herself to
Louis XVIII., unwarned by her failure with _Monsieur_. In this case
also failure was to be her portion.

 “Your letter,” ran the reply, signed by M. de Thauvenay (whom she had
 met some years before), and addressed, as a precaution, to Monsieur
 James Brown, dated October 2, “would have been enigmatic to me had I
 not placed it before my master, who, by a curious series of accidents,
 had received only a few days before the communication you sent him
 on the 12th of July. In requesting me to reply to you, monsieur, he
 charges me to express to you his recognition of your constant interest
 and indefatigable zeal for his welfare, and his regret that he is
 prevented by his present position from learning the particulars of the
 speculation that your heart has formed, and that he cannot have any
 share in it.”

Six weeks later Lady Atkyns received a second letter, despatched, like
the first, from Varsovie, reinforcing the above:--

 “I wish,” writes M. de Thauvenay, “that I could convey to you the deep
 and tender feeling with which my dear and venerated master has read
 these new and touching testimonies of your interest and friendship,
 and his deep regret at being unable to enjoy the consolations that
 your sympathetic and generous nature has proffered him! No, monsieur,
 I swear to you, no other house has offered him any kind of interest
 in the speculation you have proposed to him. I should add that there
 is no one with whom he would rather have shared the chances than with
 you; but his position is such that, for the moment at least, he can
 only display passive courage in the face of misfortune. I need not
 remind you, monsieur, that the most appreciative and most generous of
 hearts has eternal claim upon a heart such as yours. Never, I feel
 convinced, will your noble and moving sentiment be modified by time
 or place. This conviction is sweet to me, and it is with the utmost
 sincerity that I render you once again my tender (if I may use the
 word) and admiring respect.”

It is not easy at first to understand what M. de Thauvenay means
by this “speculation,” in which the King refuses to take part. On
reflection it seems probable that Lady Atkyns’s proposal, thus
described, had reference to the affair of the Temple, for it seems
impossible that she should have flattered herself that she could see a
way to the return of the exiled King.

However that may be, these two letters convinced her that it would
be useless to prolong her stay in France, and she returned to
Ketteringham, after an absence of three years, without having effected
her purpose.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two tragic events occurred in the year 1804 to startle the French who
were still taking refuge in England. The first was the arrest and
shooting of the Duc d’Enghien at Vincennes. If Bonaparte had punished
one of the many schemers who had plotted against him on English soil,
his action would have found defenders. But this execution of a Prince,
who was absolutely innocent and who had held apart from all political
intrigues, aroused the same kind of horror that had been evoked eleven
years earlier by the death of Louis XVI. and Marie-Antoinette.

The Prince de Condé, the Duc d’Enghien’s grandfather, was staying in
England at this time, like _Monsieur_, the King’s brother, and their
residences were naturally the centre of the excitement over this
event. The Baron de Suzannet describes the state of things in their
_entourage_ in a letter to Lady Atkyns:--

 “It would seem, madame,” he writes to her on April 14, “that the
 murder of the Duc d’Enghien has horrified not merely all true
 Frenchmen, as was to be expected, but also Englishmen of every class,
 the perfidy as well as the cruelty of it is so revolting to all in
 whom the sentiment of justice and honour is not extinct. I shall not
 speak of the courageous and heroic death of this ill-fated Prince,
 but of the condition of his unhappy relatives. Since the day when
 _Monsieur_ carried him the terrible news, the Prince de Condé (save
 for two journeys to London necessitated by his anxiety) has not left
 his room or been down to dinner. Plunged in grief, he sees no one,
 and it is much feared that his death may follow that of the Duc
 d’Enghien. He loved the Duc as his grandson and his pupil, and perhaps
 even more as one qualified by Providence to add still further to the
 glory of his illustrious name. The sorrow of the Duc de Bourbon is not
 less deep and intense.”

At the same moment, the news of the arrest of Cadoudal in Paris, the
discovery of his plot, the sensational trial of his twelve accomplices,
together with a number of insurgents--forty-seven prisoners in all--and
finally the execution of the famous brigand on the morning of June 25,
came to intensify the agitation of the French in England.

Of these events Lady Atkyns heard particulars from the Comte de Frotté,
father of her friend the General. Throughout five years the venerable
Comte had followed with joy or anguish the career of his son as a
leader of the insurrection in Normandy. Repeatedly he had come to
his aid with money and encouragement. Suddenly the fatal bullet had
ended everything. Henceforth the unhappy father had followed eagerly
everything that could bring back the memory of the Chevalier, and he
had been drawn to Lady Atkyns by his knowledge of the long-standing
friendship that had existed between her and him.

To add to his sorrow, Charles de Frotté, half-brother to Louis, had
been arrested and imprisoned by Napoleon’s police soon after the
execution at Verneuil. He was kept at the Temple for two years, without
apparent reason, then sent to the Fort of Toux, in Jura.

 “I learnt yesterday,” writes the Comte de Frotté to Lady Atkyns, “that
 my unhappy son has been transferred from the Temple to a château
 in Franche Comté. How cruel is this persecution! How terrible this
 imprisonment, not only for himself, but for us who are bound to him by
 ties of kinship and for his friends.”

Thus Lady Atkyns, though in the seclusion of the country, far from
London and the Continent, remained bound in thought to her life of
earlier days. She had no one now to love except her son, who was an
officer in the first regiment of Royal Dragoons. Owing to the delicacy
of his health, young Edward Atkyns had been obliged to go on leave
for a time, and his mother invited the son of Baron de Suzannet to
Ketteringham to keep him company. But the visit did not come off, and
two months later the young soldier died of the malady from which he had
been suffering for some years.

Two years earlier a somewhat strange incident had occurred in France.
On February 17, 1802, the police court at Vitry-le-Françoi had to sit
in judgment upon a young man named Jean-Marie Hervagault, charged
with swindling, passing under a false name, and vagabondage. This
individual, arrested and imprisoned for the first time in 1799, claimed
to be the Dauphin, escaped miraculously from the Temple. The son of
a tailor of Saint-Lo, Hervagault, in the course of his wanderings,
had managed to convince a certain number of people that he really
was the Prince. Public curiosity was aroused. Many people went to
visit the youth in prison. To put a stop to this movement, the Vitry
Tribunal condemned the adventurer to four years’ imprisonment. His
trial disclosed the fact that amongst his dupes were many persons of
distinction, including M. Lafont de Savines. Some weeks later the Vitry
sentence was ratified at Rouen, and Hervagault was incarcerated in the
prison of Bicêtre in Paris. But the feelings of sympathy and pity that
had been called forth, Hervagault’s assertions and his circumstantial
accounts of the way in which he had been carried off from the
Temple--all these things attracted the more attention by reason of the
appearance a short time before of Beauchamp’s work, _Le faux Dauphin
actuellement en France_.

Lady Atkyns was quick to secure details as to the story of the prisoner
at Bicêtre. There were many contradictions in it that must have come
home to her. And Hervagault mentions the name of the General Louis de
Frotté as that of one of his liberators, whereas, in his letters to
her, the Chevalier had made it quite clear that this could not be so.
However, it seemed worth her while to write to the old Comte de Frotté
on the subject.

 “I have just received your letter,” he replies, August 16, 1804, “and
 I hasten to send you a line. I have spent a whole week rummaging among
 papers. I can assure you that what is stated in the book you have sent
 me is all fiction. Louis and Duchale are mentioned in 1802 because
 they were both dead. I am almost certain that in 1795 (in the month in
 question) Louis was fighting in Normandy, and that he did not leave
 his companions once all that year. But we shall go into all this on
 your return, and no doubt will be left in your mind. If you arrive
 towards the end of the month, tell me at once. I shall call on you
 and tell you all I can, and make you see why I am convinced that this
 fellow is a puppet in some one else’s hands.”

Lady Atkyns was reluctant to give up the faint hope that there might be
something in this Hervagault narrative, but after some conversations
with the Comte de Frotté, and after comparing the pretender’s statement
with documents left by the Chevalier, she was at last convinced that
the whole thing was a fraud.

We hear of her again in October, 1809, taking a prominent part in the
celebrations being held in her neighbourhood in honour of the jubilee
of George III. Then we lose sight of her until 1814, and the triumphant
return to Paris of Louis XVIII. Lady Atkyns hastens now to secure the
good offices of the Duc de Bourbon, with a view to drawing attention to
all her sacrifices and the sums of money she has expended.

She is delayed, however, over her contemplated journey to France for
this purpose, and Napoleon’s escape postpones for two years more all
hope of accomplishing her return to Paris.

When at last the monarchy is restored once more, she finds that her
aspirations are destined to be disappointed, despite all the kind words
with which she was soothed in England, and we find her uttering the
word “ingratitude,” which is henceforth to be so often on her tongue.
There were so many who held themselves entitled to gratitude and
recognition at the hands of Louis XVIII.--_émigrés_ returned to France
after twenty years of sorrow and indignities, and now counting upon the
recovery of their possessions or on being reimbursed in some way by the
act of the Sovereign. What an awakening they met with when the time
came to formulate their applications and they found themselves obliged
to condescend to the drafting of innumerable documents, and to put up
with interminable delays!

On September 27, 1816, Lady Atkyns writes to her friend Mme. de
Verrière an account of her disappointing experiences. She had been well
received at Court, but that was all.

 “The kind of ingratitude I have been meeting with is not very
 consoling. They give me plenty of kind words, but nothing more. I
 have written a long letter to the man of business, begging of him to
 get the employer to reimburse me a little for the moment, but I have
 received nothing yet, and this puts me out greatly. Perhaps something
 will turn up between now and the end of the week. If not I must go and
 see my poor mother and beg to get my affairs into order.”

The state of her affairs, for long precarious, was now giving the
poor lady very serious anxiety. By recourse to various expedients
she had managed to hold out until the return of the Bourbons, and to
stave off her creditors. But she was now at her last gasp. If the King
refused to help her, to “reimburse” her, she was ruined. The Comte de
la Châtre had assured her that her application was under favourable
consideration, that the King regarded it approvingly, that the Comte
de Pradel, the head of the King’s household, had it in hand; but, in
spite of this, there was a series of delays.

At last, worn out with waiting, she writes in her naïve style to the
Comte on October 10, 1816--

 “I beg of you to be good enough to get the King to decide this matter
 as soon as ever possible. I must get away to England in three weeks
 to see my mother, who is ill, and I can’t possibly do this until I
 know the King’s decision in regard to me. I know his Majesty is too
 good to injure one who has given so many proofs of boundless devotion
 to the Royalist cause and to the entire Royal Family. Although I
 have a splendid estate in England, I am now in great difficulties by
 reason of this devotion. I tell you all this, Monsieur le Comte, so
 that, like the good Frenchman you are, you may do me this kindness of
 getting the King to give you his orders. I have run every conceivable
 kind of evils during these twenty-four years. I beg of you to excuse
 all the trouble I am giving you, and I have the honour to be, Monsieur
 le Comte,

                                            “Your very obedient servant,

                                                     “CHARLOTTE ATKYNS.”

This appeal seems to have been no more successful than the preceding
ones, for three months later we find Lady Atkyns still awaiting the
promised audience. To distract her thoughts from the subject, she
goes about Paris--a new city now to her--is present at sittings of
the Chamber of Deputies, and hears the speech from the Throne. On All
Souls’ Day she joins in the solemn pilgrimage to the Conciergerie. Who
could have been more in place on such an occasion? But with the sad
thoughts evoked by the sight of the Queen’s prison were mingled regrets
that the sanctuary had not been left as it was. The place had been
enlarged, and a massive, heavy-looking tomb stood now where the bed
had been.

 “I knelt before this tomb,” she writes to Mme. de Verrière, “but I
 should have preferred to have seen the prison room unaltered, and the
 tomb placed where the Queen used to kneel down to pray. The place has
 been made to look too nice, and a simple elegance has been imparted
 to it which takes away all idea of the misfortunes of that time. I
 would have left the bed, the table, and the chair. There is a portrait
 of the Queen seated on the bed, her eyes raised heavenwards with
 the resignation of a martyr. This portrait is very like, especially
 the eyes, with that look of angelic sweetness which she had. There
 is another tomb with a crucifix on it, as on hers, upon which are
 inscribed the words: ‘_Que mon fils n’oublie jamais les derniers mot
 de son père, que je lui répète expressément; qu’il ne cherche jamais
 à venger notre mort_.’ You go in by the chapel, and behind the altar,
 to get to where the Queen used to be.... I repeated on the tomb what
 I vowed to the Queen--never to abandon the cause of her children. It
 is true that only Madame remains now, but she one day will be Queen of
 France, and if she has need of a faithful friend she will find one in

These last lines seem a strange avowal. Lady Atkyns seems to be
renouncing her faith. What is the explanation? It is simple enough.
She has realized that as long as she puts forward her inopportune plea
regarding the child in the Temple she must expect to find nothing but
closed doors. Yet she has by her proofs of what she alleges, and she is
prepared in substantiation of her memorials to hand over a selection
of the precious letters from her friends which she has received in the
course of her enterprise. These, doubtless, would be accepted, but
would never be given back. What, then, is she to do? Threatened on the
one side by the distress which is at her heels; a prey, on the other
hand, to her inalterable conviction, the luckless lady comes for a
moment to have doubts about her entire past. However, this disavowal,
as it seems, is but momentary; a calmer mood supervenes, and she
returns to her former point of view, unable ever to free her mind from
doubts as to the real fate of the Dauphin.

The King’s generosity in this year, 1816, does not appear to have given
her much satisfaction.

“At last I have received a little money,” she writes to Mme. de
Verrière just before Christmas, when preparing to return to England,
“but so little that it is really shameful.”

The following spring she is back again in France, still carrying on
her campaign. From 1817 to 1821 her letters pour in upon the Ministry
of the Royal Household. Did they contain indiscreet allusions to the
affair of the Temple? Perhaps. In any case, with a single exception,
all these letters have disappeared.

We find a curious reference to Lady Atkyns in a letter dated January
11, 1818, preserved in the archives of the Comte de Lair--

 “She is still in Paris,” says the writer. “For the last two months she
 has been going every week! She declares now she will start without
 fail on Tuesday morning, but the Lord knows whether she will keep her
 word.... She is still taken up with the affair in question, and passes
 all her time in the company of those who are mixed up in it. I assure
 you I don’t know what to make of it all myself, but it is certain that
 a number of people believe it.”

The “affair in question” was the detention at Bicêtre of an individual
about whom the most sensational stories were current. A maker of
_sabots_, come over--no one quite knew how--from America, Mathurin
Bruneau, playing anew the Hervagault comedy, had been passing himself
off as the Dauphin. Arrested and imprisoned on January 21, by order of
Decazes, the Minister of Police, Bruneau had for two years been leading
a very extraordinary life for a prisoner.

He was by way of being in solitary confinement, but there was in
reality a never-ending succession of visitors to him in his prison.
A certain Branzon, formerly a customs-house officer at Rouen, who
had been condemned to five years’ imprisonment with hard labour, had
become his inseparable companion. With the support of a woman named
Sacques and a lady named Dumont, Branzon got together a species of
little court round the adventurer, issuing proclamations, carrying on
a regular correspondence with friends outside, and playing cards until
three o’clock in the morning--finally composing, with the help of large
slices out of _Le Cimetière de la Madeleine_, a work entitled _Mémoires
du Prince_. Some unknown painter executed a portrait of the prisoner as
“a lieutenant-colonel or colonel-general of dragoons,” and a mysterious
baron, come from Rouen to set eyes upon his Sovereign, took the oath
of fidelity to him on the Holy Scriptures in the jailer’s own room! On
April 29, 1817, the walls of Maromme, Darnétal, and Boudeville, near
Rouen, were covered with placards calling upon France to proclaim its
legitimate King. And all this happened under the nose of Libois, the
Governor of Bicêtre.

There seems, in fact, to be no room for doubt that, as has been well
said, “in this prison, in which there has been a constant procession
of comtes and abbés, and a whole pack of women, there has been enacted
in the years 1816-1818 a farce of which his Excellence Decazes is the
author.” The object of this mystification was simply to baffle the
Duchesse d’Angoulême in the first instance, and to prevent public
opinion from being led astray in another direction. Bruneau did not
stand alone. Six months earlier another pretendant, Nauendorff, a
clockmaker at Spandau, had written to the Duchesse d’Angoulême to
solicit an interview. It was all important to put a stop to this
dangerous movement. Therefore when on February 9, 1818, the proceedings
were opened at Rouen, no pains had been spared to give the affair the
appearance of a frivolous vaudeville. On February 19 Mathurin was
condemned to five years’ imprisonment. The court was crowded with all
kinds of loafers and queer characters, many of them from Paris, drawn
by the rumours so industriously spread about.

Lady Atkyns would seem to have given some attention to this new alleged
Dauphin without being carried off her feet. She lost no opportunity of
endeavouring to get at the truth, it is clear, and this, as we learn
from a police report, involved a number of visits to the house in
which Gaillon was imprisoned, and to which Bruneau was transferred
after his condemnation. It was even stated that she had offered sums
of money to enable Bruneau to escape. She soon had her eyes opened,
however, to this new fraud.

The accession of _Monsieur_ to the throne, in 1824, does not seem to
have had any favourable result for Lady Atkyns, for we find her at
last reduced in this year to taking a step, long contemplated but
dreaded--the handing over of Ketteringham to her sister-in-law, Mary
Atkyns, in consideration of a life annuity.

She continues, however, to make her way every year to France, buoyed
up by the assurances of interest in her which she has received from
officials of the Royal Household. At first she stays with friends,
the Comte and Comtesse de Loban. Then in 1826, when her mother dies,
aged eighty-six, she establishes herself definitively in Paris, taking
up her abode in a house in the Rue de Lille, No. 65, where she rents
a small _appartement_ on the first floor. Here she gets together the
few souvenirs she has saved from Ketteringham--some mahogany furniture
covered with blue cloth, a sofa covered with light blue silk, and
portraits on the walls of the Dauphin, his father, his uncle, and the
Duc de Berry.

It was while residing here that Lady Atkyns lived through the
revolution of Italy, after witnessing in turn the reign of Louis XVI.,
the Terror, the Empire, the Restoration, and the reign of Charles X.
What an eventful progress from the careless, happy days when she
played her part in the dizzying gaieties of Versailles!

Some weeks before the fall of Charles X., Lady Atkyns drew up yet
another petition for presentation to the chief of the King’s household.
She did not mince her words in this document.

 “I little thought that lack of funds would be advanced as a reason
 for delaying the execution of the King’s orders. I will not enlarge
 upon the strangeness of such an avowal, especially as a reimbursement
 of so sacred a character is in question, sanctioned by the Royal
 will. I would merely point out to you, Monsieur le Marquis, that I
 have contrived to find considerable sums (thereby incurring great
 losses) when it was to the interest of France, and of her King, and
 of her august family. Failing a sufficiency of money to liquidate
 this debt, I have the honour to propose to your Excellency that you
 should make out an order for the payment, and I shall find means
 of getting it discounted. In your capacity as a Minister to the
 King, your Excellency will be able, without delay, to obtain the
 amount necessary, minus a discount, from the Court bankers. Will
 you not deign, monseigneur, to ask them to do this, and I shall
 willingly forego the discount that may be stipulated for.... Finally,
 monseigneur, I beg of you to tell me immediately the day and the hour
 when I may present myself at the Ministry to terminate this matter. I
 must venture to remind you that the least delay will involve my ruin,
 and therefore I cannot consent to it.”

Lady Atkyns’s persistence and the King’s procrastination seem
intelligible enough when one learns that the sums expended by her, from
the time when Louis XVI.’s reign was projected down to the last year of
the Consulate, amounted to more than £80,000. The Englishwoman might
well speak of the sacrifices she had made and the loss of her fortune
at the dictates of her heart.

One other letter we find amongst Lady Atkyns’s papers--a letter
notable for its fine, regular penmanship. It evidently reached her
about this date. The writer was yet another _soi-disant_ Dauphin, the
third serious pretendant. The Baron de Richemont--his real name was
Hebert--had published in 1831 his _Mémoires du Duc de Normandie, fils
de Louis XVI. écrits et publiés par lui-même_, and he was not long in
convincing a number of people as to his identity. He probably owed most
of his particulars as to his alleged escape from the Temple to the wife
of Simon, whom he had visited at the Hospital for Incurables in the
Rue de Sèvres. Possibly it was through her also that he heard of Lady
Atkyns. At all events, he thought it worth while to approach her.

 “Revered lady,” he writes to her, “I am touched by your kind
 remembrance.... The idea that I have found again in you the friend who
 was so devoted to my unhappy family consoles me, and enables me the
 better to bear up under the ills that Providence has sent me. I shall
 never forget your good deeds; ever present to my memory, they make me
 cherish an existence which I owe to you. I cannot tell what the future
 may have in store for me, but whatever my fate you may count upon all
 my gratitude. May the Lord be with you and send prosperity to all your
 enterprises! He will surely do so, for to whatever country you may
 take your steps, you will set an example of all the virtues.

 “We shall see you, I hope, in a better world. Then and in the company
 of the august and ill-fated author of my sad days, you will be in
 enjoyment of all the good you have done, and will receive your due
 recompense from the Sovereign Dispenser of all things.

 “There being no other end to look for, I beg of God, most noble lady,
 to take you under His protection.

                                                        “LOUIS CHARLES.”

Richemont shows some aptness and cleverness in the way he touches the
note of sensibility, and attains to the diapason appropriate to the
_rôle_ he is playing. Had his letter the effect desired? It is hardly
likely, but it is the last item in Lady Atkyns’s correspondence, and we
have no means of finding an answer to the question.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the night of February 2, 1836, Lady Atkyns died. By her bedside
one person watched--her devoted servant, Victoire Ilh, whose conduct,
according to her mistress’s own statement, “had at all times been
beyond praise.”

The few friends who could attend gathered together in due course to pay
the last honours to the dead. Her remains were conveyed to England for
burial at Ketteringham, in accordance with the wish she herself had

Time passed inexorably over her memory, and twenty years later there
was nothing to recall the life of love and devotion of this loyal and
unselfish Englishwoman.


[76] This is far below the actual figure.


Not more than two or three generations separate us from the period
through which we have seen come and go the various actors involved in
the enterprise of which the prisoners in the Temple were the stake.
The _rôle_ that was played by Lady Atkyns and her confidants, forming
as it did a minor episode in the changeful story of the emigration and
of the fortunes of the Royalists during the Revolution, deserved to be
set forth. But the interest attached to such narratives becomes greatly
intensified the more completely the records of those mentioned in it
can be traced to the end. It seems well, therefore, to see what became
of the principal performers who have passed before our eyes in this
slight study.

Of Cormier’s two sons, Achille, the elder, disappears from the scene
completely, and all our efforts to trace him have been in vain. In the
case of his brother we have been more fortunate. Having served as an
officer in the army of Vendée, Patrice de Cormier, from the moment of
the Restoration, sought to return to active service. Being on terms
of intimacy with Prince de la Tremoïlle, Frotté’s old friend, who
was then presiding over the commission inquiring into the claims of
Royalist officers with a view to according recompense to them, Cormier
petitioned for employment in the company of light horse. His loyalty
was not in doubt, for a memorandum supporting his application recorded
that “when the allies entered Paris, he secured a drum of the National
Guard by purchase, and beating it in front of a white flag, made his
way through the streets of Paris.” The “Hundred Days” interfered with
his ambitions, and he was obliged to betake himself to England, whence
he made his way back to France in July, 1815. The warmth with which
Prince de la Tremoïlle recommended him to the favour of Louis XVIII.
showed what value he attached to his friendship.

 “He has accompanied me constantly as my aide-de-camp,” said the
 Prince, “on my mission, at the time of my arrest and during my
 escape, and he has never failed to give me new proofs daily of his
 intelligence and zeal, of his boundless devotion to the King, and
 of his capacity. If ever services rendered could justify me in
 recommending any one to the favour of the King, this estimable officer
 would be the first I should venture to recommend.”

These words produced their effect. On February 24, 1816, Cormier was
appointed “_chef de bataillon_” in the first regiment of infantry of
the Royal Guard. Three years later he became a lieutenant-colonel,
and as such he took part in the Spanish expedition of 1823, under the
command of the Duc d’Angoulême. Charged with the carrying out of an
order to the Royal Spanish troops before Figuières, he fell into an
ambuscade of thirty Constitutional soldiers, and received their volley
at a distance of a few yards. By a miracle he escaped with a wound on
the hip, and succeeded in fulfilling his mission.

Promoted to the rank of colonel, November 1, 1823, Cormier was
stationed at the Garrison at Rochefort at the outbreak of the
Revolution of July. Refusing to serve under the new _régime_, he sent
in his resignation to the Minister for War, August 5, 1830. This is the
last we hear of him. He died in a suburb of Paris.

His uncle, de Butler, after living for some time in Hamburg, where he
doubtless was regarded by the other _émigrés_ with suspicion by reason
of his intimate relations with Bourrienne, Minister to the Emperor,
returned to England, where he is lost sight of. He died at Gothenburg
in Sweden in 1815.

Bereft of his two sons, Comte Henri de Frotté remained in England
entirely alone for a time, but returned to France on the restoration
of the Bourbons, obtained the rank of _maréchal de camp_, and died
in Paris, February 28, 1823. An enthusiastic Royalist, active and
keen, the Comte de Frotté had never ceased to interest himself in the
welfare of the _émigrés_ in England, and came to be regarded as their

The career of Jean-Gabriel Peltier was of a more singular description.
This energetic pamphleteer had been editing in London ever since 1802
a journal entitled _L’Ambigu_, in which he unceasingly vented his
spleen against the “Premier Consul.” His violence went to such lengths
that in 1803, on the reiterated demand of the incensed Napoleon, he
was brought before an English tribunal. He was defended by the famous
counsel, James Mackintosh, and received only a mild sentence, with the
result that he left the court in triumph, and attained wide celebrity
throughout Europe over the affair. In addition to his newspaper work,
Peltier was interested in a number of publishing enterprises, which
helped to make a livelihood for him.

Some years later the Fates made him _chargé d’affaires_ to the Emperor
of Haïti. The amusement produced by this strange appointment may be
imagined. What made the thing still funnier was the fact that His
Haïtian Majesty paid his representative not in money but in kind,
transmitting to him cargoes of sugar and coffee. Peltier negotiated
these from time to time for the benefit of his creditors.

On the return of the Bourbons, Peltier returned to France, hoping,
like every one else, for his share of recompense, but only to be
disillusioned. He consoled himself with the reflection that if his King
treated him like a nigger, at least his nigger (the Emperor of Haïti!)
treated him like a king--

    “Mon roi me traite comme un nègre
    Mais mon nègre a son tour me traite comme un roi.”

Unfortunately, the “_nègre_” soon had enough of his epigrams, and
abandoned him, and this brought about his ruin. Haying lost all his
means of subsistence, he went back once more to Paris to implore pity
from the King, but in vain, and on March 29 he died miserably in an
attic in the Rue Montmartre, aged sixty-five.


We print here a certain number of letters and documents found for the
most part among the unpublished papers of Lady Atkyns, not used in the
body of this book, yet too interesting to be entirely omitted. The
letters of the Princess de Tarente, in particular, seem to deserve
inclusion in their entirety.

_Letter from Jean-Gabriel Peltier to Lady Atkyns._

                                               “London, January 1, 1803.

 “I have the honour of sending you, Madame, a letter which I received
 yesterday from my friend.[77] The ferment Paris is now in makes me
 fear that he may have been obliged to leave the night of December
 27-28, and it must have been very stormy.

 “I have at last managed to get at Mr. Burke in the House of Commons.
 He has promised me an interview at as early a date as possible. I
 introduced M. Goguelat to him, and he seemed very glad to make his
 acquaintance. He had been driving the evening before with M. de
 Choiseul, Mr. Pitt, Lord Grenville, and Lord Loughborough, at Lord
 Hawkesbury’s. We had time only for a word.

 “I cannot close my letter, January 1, without sending you _à la
 Française_, my good wishes for the New Year. I know well what the
 object is that you yourself would wish most to see achieved.”

_Letter from Louis de Frotté to Lady Atkyns._

                                             “London, December 10, 1794.

 “Lovers and Ministers who don’t realize their opportunities often
 regret them afterwards when they are gone, never to be found again.
 This is what I fear is happening to us ... for your Government is
 allowing precious days to pass by without profiting by them, and
 by its dilatoriness may perhaps lose all the advantages that are
 calculated to put an end to our troubles. Could you believe, dear
 friend of mine, that it is proposed to put off the expedition for
 some weeks!... However, I feel less disquieted over it all when I
 reflect that we must have a great many supporters, and very powerful
 ones, among those who are playing the _rôle_ of the enemy, for all
 these troubles in the interior not to have produced more effect in the
 Assembly. Indeed, if some advantage is not derived from this, those at
 fault in the matter should be placed in a lunatic asylum. For myself,
 without knowing Puisage, I should certainly give my vote for his
 being made Constable if he succeeds in spite of all that can be said,
 because it will be to him that the King will be under the greatest
 obligations. And if any one were to ask me the name of the woman whom
 the King has most reason to love, I should tell him to become my
 rival, and should declare that, King though he was, he could never
 repay the heart that has suffered so much for him.

 “I have seen M. W[indham], and after giving me a number of evasive
 replies, at last, on my insisting that I wanted to be off, he answered
 rather warmly: ‘Oh, I can send you off at once if you like; but what
 do you propose to do? I have nothing definite to put in your hands.
 I have others to carry my packets, and I have no one except yourself
 to carry out the mission I have in my mind for you. Do have a little
 patience, and if you follow my advice you will be all right. Be sure
 that I have my eye on you all the time.’ So you see I am still in this
 state of suspense. If only you had been able to remain I should not
 have found the time so long. Unable to get away to serve my King, I
 should have consoled myself as much as possible in the presence of

_Letter from Reinhard, Representative of the Directoire in the
Hanseatic Towns, to the Foreign Minister, Delacroix._[78]

 Very private.
 Extract to be made for the
 Directoire and Police;
 name of Colleville to be
 kept secret.

 (14th Prairial)          Altona. This 1st Prairial, Year IV. of
                          the French Republic,
 Citizen Giraudet         one and undivisible.
 To be sent at once to    (May 20th, 1796).
 the Minister of Police.


 “I hasten to reply to your despatch, dated the 20th floréal, which
 accords remarkably with one I sent you from here on the 21st. It
 even seems that we have had the same sources of inspiration, and
 I shall not be surprised to find that the same Baron d’Auerweck,
 whom I denounced to you, had been in his turn the denouncer of Le
 Cormier. From the impressions I have been given of his character and
 principles, it is quite possible. However that may be, I have lost no
 time in having an interview with Colleville, who had already told me
 of the arrival of the Bishop of Arras, and who then further informed
 me (before he knew what my business with him was) that this person
 had written to him yesterday that his arrival was postponed, and that
 perhaps it would not take place at all, on account of the prolonged
 stay of the King of Verona with Condé’s army. The King (Colleville
 assured me) would not leave this army, as it had been averred that he

 “I began by telling Colleville that I had had a favourable reply from
 you about his affairs. He assured me of his gratitude, and at once
 spoke to me of his favourite idea of obtaining permission to serve you
 elsewhere than at Hamburg--a very natural desire, whether one explains
 it by his conviction that he would play a more active part somewhere
 else, or by his possible apprehension that his relations with us may
 be in the end discovered.

 “I thought it better not to tell the man all I knew. I told him that
 before leaving Hamburg he would have to throw some light upon the
 things that were going on in that town; and I said enough to him to
 explain what I meant and to put him on his mettle. He replied that
 he knew nothing whatever of the meeting I had mentioned; that he was
 sure that if there was a question of it, Le Cormier, whom he saw
 every day, would have told him; and that the latter had been thinking
 for some days past of going into the country with M. de Bloom (who
 was formerly Danish Minister in Paris), but that it seemed that he
 would not now go. He added that he knew enough of the emigrants at
 Hamburg to be certain that, with the exception of Le Cormier, there
 was not an enterprising man in the ‘Ancien Régime’ section; that if
 such a plan had existed, he thought it was more than likely that the
 King of Verona’s change of position would have caused another to be
 substituted for it; and that, in any case, he would investigate and
 explain, and might depend on his giving me all the information he
 could get. He further said that the Prince of Carawey, whom he knew
 privately, was expected at Hamburg from Lucerne within the fortnight,
 and if there was anything to be learnt from him, he (Colleville) would
 make it his business to learn it. I asked him what Lord Mc. Cartally
 had come here for. He did not know. I hope that I shall have found out
 whether he has left or not before the courier goes.

 “In fact, Citizen Minister, Colleville’s absolute ignorance of the
 meeting you speak of leads me to have some doubt of its reality. But I
 shall not leave it at that. I have already taken measures to get hold
 of my man, and also to have the plotters whom you indicate to me well
 watched from other quarters. I am aware that with men of Colleville’s
 stamp there is always the evil, if not of being spied on in our
 turn--which is easily avoided with a little prudence--at any rate of
 being given information with a double purpose. It was as such that I
 regarded what he told me of a general plan of the _émigrés_, which was
 to operate in the very heart of the Republic, and to re-establish the
 Monarchy by the organs of the Law itself. He thought himself sure
 of a man in the Legislative body (he told me his name was Madier).
 He knew all the details of the system they were to follow, and the
 details of the prosecution of the 2nd of September were actually to
 enter into it. As to the 2nd of September, I answered, every Frenchman
 regards it with horror, and the scoundrel ought to be punished. The
 Government will certainly take care that an act of justice does not
 become an anti-revolutionary instrument.

 “Le Cormier has a brother-in-law called Buter (_sic_), who goes and
 comes from Paris to Boulogne, Calais, and Dunkirk, carrying despatches
 and money from England. Dr. Theil, who is settled in London, continues
 to serve as go-between for the Princes’ correspondence. At Hamburg a
 man named Thouvent does the business.

 “The prime mover in the new Royalist manœuvres, and the designer of
 the plan they are conducting in the interests of the Republic, is (so
 Colleville says) the Duc de le Vanguyon. Maduron, that brother of de
 la Garre, whom I once denounced to you, said that he had been arrested
 once or twice at Paris, and taken before the police, but that he had
 got out of it by means of his Swiss passport. It is certain that the
 _émigrés_, when they talk of a journey to France, do not anticipate
 any more dangers than if they were going from Hamburg to Altona. An
 Abbé de Saint-Far, residing at Hamburg, has, it is said, a quantity
 of arms in his house. I told you some time ago that he had contracted
 for some millions of guns. I suppose it was at that time for England.
 My next despatch, Citizen Minister, shall contain more positive
 information on the matter you desire me to investigate. If the meeting
 is actually to take place, I think I shall certainly be able to solve
 the problem you suggest to me.

                                                “Greetings and respects,


_Letter of the Princess de Tarente to Lady Atkyns._

                                    “St. Petersburg, August 14-25, 1797.

 “To-day, dearest Charlotte, is, by the old style, the birthday of the
 King of France, and also that of one of his most devoted, though
 least useful subjects--myself. This month is one of sad memories. It
 was in this month that _her_ birthday also fell; that she left the
 Tuileries and entered the Temple prison; indeed, August is filled
 with dates unforgettable at all times to the faithful, remembered the
 more poignantly when the day itself recalls them. I had your letter
 yesterday: it gave me pleasure, dear Charlotte. When I read it I was
 nearly asleep, for it was three in the morning, and I had come back
 from a stupid ball that I had been obliged to go to.

 “You are always talking to me about a diary, my dear, but I have not
 the courage to tell you the wretched history of my life. I am just a
 machine wound up. I go on for ever, but without pleasure or interest
 in what I do. I live on in anguish, and my letters would be very
 doleful if they were a faithful portrait of myself; but we are so
 far apart, my dear, you and I, and letters pass through so very many
 hands, that we must only guess at one another’s meaning--we cannot
 speak out. You know my heart--it will always be the same, and despite
 appearances, my feelings have not altered, I swear to you. But one has
 to be careful, when one can’t speak face to face. It is a sacrifice;
 but who has not sacrifices to make? How many I’ve made in the last two
 months! I’ve left everything to come to a country where I know nobody.
 Here I am friendless among strangers; naturally I am criticised, and
 severely. All the kindness of LL.MM.II. has aroused great expectations
 in society; I feel that, and, shy as I always am, I get shyer and
 shyer. But indeed I ought to be grateful, for I am received and
 treated with consideration by many people here; they take a pleasure
 in showing their admiration for my conduct. My conduct! Ah! when fate
 brought one into contact with _Her_, was it possible to help adoring
 her? What merit was there in being faithful to Her, when one could not
 possibly have been anything else?

 “I am sorry, dear Charlotte, for all the worries that the storm caused
 you on shore; to tell the truth, I felt best at sea. Do believe that
 I am not a coward, and that I was scarcely frightened at all. The
 weather was rough only twice, when we were entering the Cattegat,
 before the Sound; I think it must have been a tribute to the shock
 caused by the encounter of the two seas. Then on Friday, or rather
 Thursday the 27th, when we were arriving at Cronstadt, the weather
 was very bad, and I must confess that that evening and night I did
 feel uneasy. It wasn’t cowardice. The captain himself was anxious,
 and, indeed, the heavy rain and the darkness of the night, besides the
 number of small rocks that stick out of the water here, and could not
 be seen at all on account of the darkness, made our situation pretty
 serious, I assure you. Thank Heaven, though, I got on very well.
 When the captain came to say we were at anchor, I felt a wonderful
 gladness, and yet, all of a sudden, I began to cry, for I could not
 help saying to myself: ‘Yes, I’m here! And what have I come for? Where
 shall I find any friends?’

 “Well, Heaven has not forsaken me. If it had not found friends for
 me, at any rate it _has_ found benefactors, and I am as comfortable
 as I could possibly have expected to be. At Court, while I stayed
 there, every one, beginning at the very top, was eager to show me
 respect and interest; and, here in the town, many people help to make
 my life happy and tranquil. There are little groups in which I am
 certain I shall enjoy myself when I am more at my ease. I am received
 most cordially and flatteringly; it seems a kindly, quiet sort of
 set; every one is eager to be nice to me, and there are not too many
 people. Ease, without which there is no such thing as society, is the
 dominant note in this set. But, Charlotte dear, don’t imagine that
 I’m already devoted to these folk. I shall never care deeply for any
 one again, nor make any other close friendship. It was _She_ who drew
 us together, Charlotte; my love for you shall be my last and dearest
 devotion, I promise you. Good-bye, my dear; I think of you a thousand
 times a day; I am happy now, for I am doing something for you, and
 to prove my love for you is one of the ways to make me happy. If you
 see H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, lay my respectful homage at his feet,
 and tell him that my prayers follow him always. Yesterday I bought a
 carriage which is really quite new, and yet it only cost me 115 louis;
 I drove to my ball in it last night (about 13 miles from here) over a
 pavement that no one could imagine if they had not driven over it! My
 dear, in one minute I spent as much money as I did in the whole of the
 last year I lived in England. I use only four horses, and that shows
 how moderate I am, for a lady in my position ought not to have less
 than six. They threaten me with having to order the ‘St. Catherine’
 liveries, which would cost 1200 roubles, that is, 150 louis. Compare
 this picture, dear Charlotte, with that of two months ago, when, with
 my linen frock tucked up under my arm, I was going about alone in the
 streets, knocking at Charlotte’s door--and now, driving about in my
 own carriage, drawn by four horses, with two lackeys behind, dressed
 out, feathers in my hair--in short, a lady of fashion! Doesn’t it seem
 like a dream, Charlotte? I assure you it does to me; and I assure you
 also, my dear, that the idea of coming seemed impossible--this world
 is not like the one we lived in then. The sacrifice was necessary; it
 had to be made; that was inevitable for both of us. I believed, at any
 rate, that I had to make it; and every minute I congratulate myself on
 having done so. Adieu! I hope you will have noticed the date of one
 of my letters; I am the more particular about this, since receiving
 yours of yesterday. Send my letters under cover to M. Withworth, your
 Minister here; and don’t let them be quite so thick, so as not to tax
 your Government too severely.

       *       *       *       *       *

 “P.S.--A thousand loving remembrances to your mother and your son.
 What a mania for marriage you’ve got, all of a sudden, and where are
 all your husbands? You hid them very well from me, for a whole year.
 I never beheld one of them; and you have two, my dear! I _had_ a good
 laugh, I can tell you! What are their names? And when is either of the
 two marriages to come off?”

                                       St. Petersburg, October 15, 1797.

 “I am alone to-day, my Charlotte; a year ago this very day I was with
 you; I had the relief of speech, but I could not feel more deeply
 than I do now the terrible anniversary which this shameful day marks
 for us. At this hour we were on the Richmond Road. Yes, Charlotte
 dear, I am thinking sadly of _her_, whom I loved more than all the
 world besides, to whom I would have sacrificed anything. That thought
 is my one solace now; that thought stays with me still, the thought
 of _Her_, of _Her alone_.... It is eleven o’clock now. Where was
 _She_ then? I evoke it all--the whole scene, afresh; I have read
 again the lamentable story of her final sufferings, and my heart is
 oppressed--I feel almost crazy--I know not what I want to say! I
 assure you, Charlotte, that it makes me happier to tell you all this;
 particularly to-day, when I’m so miserable, my friendship with you is
 a consolation--ah! you see I cannot write coherently. I feel so ill I
 wish I could talk to somebody, and tell them about myself; but how can
 I? There is no one at all to listen to me. For who can understand all
 that we feel about _her_? No one, no one. It’s better to say nothing,
 and I have said nothing; I haven’t spoken of the anniversary, not even
 to M. de C. If I wasn’t feeling so serious, I’d tell you that he bores
 me to death. He’s the most exacting creature in the world, and I am
 only sorry that I brought him with me. He has done not a bit of good
 here, and he is going back to you. Don’t tell him that I’ve spoken of
 him like this; he would be horrified. Now enough of him!

 “For a whole week I’ve been thinking sadly of to-morrow. The little
 circle of people I know best were to play a little comedy for the King
 of Poland. I thought that the 16th was the day they had fixed on.
 The idea came into my head at a party--a supper-party, on Thursday
 evening, at the Prince Kowakin’s. I never like to speak of my feelings
 and my memories; one must suffer in silence. I was quite determined
 not to go, Charlotte; you won’t, I hope, imagine that I debated _that_
 for a moment; but I was worried, for I didn’t quite know how I was
 going to get out of it without saying why. A lady, who is always very
 very kind to me, saw by my face that I was unhappy about something.
 ‘What is it, _chou_?’ she said to me. ‘You’re sad.’ I said, ‘Oh no!
 it’s nothing.’ ‘But I see you; I see there’s something wrong.’ And
 at last I _had_ to tell her.... The little entertainment came off
 yesterday. It was charming, but it made me so sad that I could not
 hide my sadness. All things of that kind have a most curious effect
 upon me quite different from what they have of other people. Still, I
 must admit (the Comedy was well acted, by people whom I see a great
 deal of), I was interested--very much insulted; and yet, when it
 was over, there was nothing but melancholy in my heart. I came home
 to bed, and to thoughts of Her and you; and this morning, I had an
 immense letter from you which I’ll answer to-morrow. I have read it;
 and I was very near being late for a long long mass--it took two
 hours. This evening, I had intended to spend here, all by myself. I
 refused a supper invitation from a kind young woman of whom M. de Cl.
 will tell you; and I meant to return here. Another lady (the one I
 mentioned first) sent her husband to tell me that she was ill, and
 that she would be alone and would I not come? So when I had been to
 a tea-party that I was engaged for, I did go there, but indeed I was
 very sad, and more silent than usual. (How people can treat me as they
 do in this country, I don’t know--they are certainly most kind). I
 was determined, at any rate, to leave the party before ten o’clock.
 They tried to prevent me, but I insisted. At ten o’clock I put on my
 gloves, but they said: ‘You shan’t go!’ and at last the mistress of
 the house, thinking of what I had confided to her a couple of days
 before, said to me: ‘What day is to-day?’... Seeing that she had
 guessed, I said, turning away with my poor heart swelling: ‘Don’t
 speak to me of the day!’... I came back here alone to weep for my
 Queen, and to implore God to make me worthy to be with her again, and
 that soon--if he will indeed permit me to see her again, where _she_
 surely is. I have much to atone for--I feel it, know it; but I _do_ in
 truth even now atone for much. I swear to you, Charlotte, I have never
 dared to put into words with you what you speak of to me to-day,--and
 with an ‘_again_’ underlined. Do you think that _I_ wished it to be
 so--tell me, _do_ you? No, no; Charlotte could never think that! If
 I _did_ ever tell you, Charlotte, all that I could tell you, it’s
 because I love you with all my heart, and because I’m sad, and haunted
 by memories.... To-morrow, I shall be alone all day; I won’t see my
 brother-in-law, or any one else. My door will be fast shut, and I
 shall return to you, and tell you all I am feeling.”

                                       St. Petersburg, October 16, 1797.

 “The date, my dear Charlotte, will be enough to tell you what I am
 mournfully thinking of. I began my day by going to church to hear a
 mass for Her; and to listen there to those dear sacred names of Hers.
 The mass was said by two Trappists, and I was very sorry that I had
 not asked the Abbé to say it.... What odd incidents there are in the
 history of our revolution! I await the portrait with a respectful
 interest, and I thank you in advance for all the pleasure it will give
 me. Ah, my dear Charlotte, what a sad day! My heart aches so deeply
 and feels so heavy that it’s as if I were carrying a load, and if I
 don’t think clearly, I am soon enough reminded of everything by the
 pain of it. I can’t speak of anything but Her. To-day is mail-day; so
 I must defer until next time my answer to your last letter, for I must
 go and talk about her to some other friends, who loved her too. I have
 the dress, and it’s charming. That’s all I can say about it, Adieu. I
 love you for Her and for yourself, with all my heart.”

                                       St. Petersburg, October 16, 1797.

 “When I stopped writing to you last night, I went to bed and to rest
 my poor head. I read for half an hour that lovely romance of _Paul
 and Virginia_. My candle went out. Just like that, four years ago,
 some hours earlier--one of the world’s choicest treasures went out
 to.... I gave myself up to sad thoughts; I imagined to myself all
 that she, so lowly tormented, must have suffered then. But somehow I
 fell asleep, and I slept on until the fatal hour when _She_ must have
 realized how few more hours were left to her on that earth where she
 was so worshipped. All my thoughts were fixed on her, I lay awake
 for several hours in great agitation; then I went to sleep again,
 and at eight o’clock I was awakened so as to go to hear the mass
 where her loved name should fall once more upon my ears. I set off,
 accompanied by a French nobleman, whom I love and esteem, because he
 regrets his Sovereigns as I do. His kind heart comforted mine; the
 time I spent with him instilled solace into my soul, and I was not so
 unhappy when I came back from mass. I constantly read over with him
 all that I have written, especially all that I remember _her_ having
 said in and before the days of her long martyrdom. He will put it
 all in order, and make these fragments as interesting as they ought
 to be. I was interrupted in this occupation by a man who belongs to
 this place, and whom I met in France, when LL.MM.II. came there to
 see the objects of my love and sorrow. This man--whom I like better
 than any other I have met here--has given me a thousand proofs of
 his interest in me, which I prize as coming from a heart like his.
 He knew the anniversary, and spoke to me reverently of it; he is the
 only person I have seen to-day. But my dear Charlotte, I must shut out
 all extraneous thoughts and think only that She exists no more, and
 that her end was hastened by the villany and foul revenge of human
 beings, formerly her subjects, formerly her worshippers, beings with
 hearts--no! they had no hearts, since they shed ... since they put an
 end to that existence ... when her rank, her character, her face....

 “Last year I was with you all through this day; we wept together for
 the Queen of Love; to-day, alone with my sad heart, I can only write
 to you. Distance separates our bodies; but our souls and our thoughts
 and our feelings are the same, and I know that Charlotte and Louise
 are together to-day.”

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                         _After dinner._

 “I dined alone. I ate little, Charlotte. Last year, I dined at your
 bedside, and I remember that when our dinner had been served, you told
 me an anecdote about the little Prince which made me cry. This year I
 did not cry at dinner; but I felt even sadder than I had felt then.
 The solitude and isolation, and the want of intimate friends, made me
 doubly sad. But I must not let myself think of myself. A voice ordered
 me to do as I did and I was bound to follow it--’twas the voice of
 Right and Well-doing.”

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                  _Before going to bed._

 “I want to talk to you one moment longer about this sad day, now that
 it is wrapped in night’s shadows. The crime is committed, and I bury
 it in the bottom of my heart; the memory of it lives there for ever;
 but I will speak no more of it, Charlotte. All to-day I was Her’s
 alone; I forgot every one else, and I lived only for my old friends,
 just as if I were not in Russia at all. M. de Crussol came while I
 was at supper, and at half-past eleven he told me, without my in the
 least wanting to know, where he had supped....”

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                  _Morning of the 17th._

 “Many things have happened to distract me since I came here, my
 Charlotte, as you may see from the fact of my having written to you
 on the tenth, 7th August, without noticing the date. I should never
 forgive myself for it, if I had really forgotten, if those events had
 not been as present to my poor heart as they always are, and always
 will be, I should be angry with myself; and I should tell you the
 truth quite frankly, even if I were to lose by doing so what I should
 not wish to have on false pretences--but that fault (if it was one)
 was not through want of heart. No! I can answer for my heart; it is
 good and true. Since you wished it, I wish I had written to you on
 St. Louis’ day; but I would swear that I never _did_ write to you
 unless it was mail-day; and that that was the first time I wrote to
 you several days running. The sad circumstance was certainly enough
 for one to do something out of the way. Don’t scold me, if you can
 help it. You’re really too fond of scolding. To-day it’s about a
 watch; the next, about yourself! My dear, you are very good at curing
 one of little fancies; you’ve quite cured me of mine for my little
 watch, and I no longer think at all of the pleasure it used to give
 me; but only of what it gives you, since it comes from me. You must
 admit that that’s a very nice way of speaking about a sacrifice, for I
 won’t conceal from you that it _was_ one for me. And as to your watch,
 Charlotte, I think the watchmaker must have sold it--I’ve been vainly
 asking for it, for the last six weeks. When you write several sheets
 _do_ number them....”

                                     “St. Petersburg, November 6 (1797).

 “Mr. Keith has arrived, my dear Charlotte, and the morning of the very
 day of his arrival (Friday) he sent me your letters; and this evening
 he sent the case, which I think charming, especially the top. I assure
 you that it gave me intense pleasure; but what sacrifice have you made
 me--where did you get all that hair? It can’t be of recent cutting;
 there are so few white hairs that I should scarcely recognize them for
 those dear tresses. In London you showed me only a tiny bit. Where
 did you get these? I thank you most gratefully for such a sacrifice;
 I confess that it would have been beyond me, and so I feel all the
 more grateful. I’m so afraid of breaking either of the glasses; the
 case is so high. I must have seen her like that, but I do not remember
 it; the earliest memory I have of her is seeing her twenty-one years
 ago at some races; and I remember her dress better than her charming
 face. The copy is very well done, and I have had the pleasure of
 examining it twice. It was given to me by artificial light, and next
 day it seemed quite different, the daylight improved it ever so much;
 I thank you a thousand times. It is the most delightful gift I could
 have had. The cameo is very pretty. I imagine it would fain be your
 portrait, and is really the portrait of Thor’s daughter; she is rather
 elongated, poor little lady, but apparently the qualities of her heart
 atone for the defects of her face. My dear, you’re mad with your
 ‘fashions’! Let me tell you that, except when I go to Court, I’m just
 as I was in London, almost always in black-and-white linen gown. All
 the women, you know, dress themselves up, if you please, nearly every
 day. I never cared about that kind of thing--indeed, I detested it;
 and having to dress myself up four times a week makes me incredibly
 lazy on the days that, with joy untold, I can rest from all that
 bother. My friends are always laughing at me for my dowdiness--so you
 see what I’ve come to. As to having to wear warm clothing in Russia,
 as you think one has, you are quite mistaken. Once inside the street
 door, the houses are so warm that a very thin dress is by far the best
 to wear. So muslin is better than warm materials. One has to wear
 fur-cloaks, and well padded ones too, when one is going out, even from
 one house to another. That is necessary here; but indoors one would be
 suffocated in padded clothes. I used to think the same as you. I had
 a dress made in London, and I’ve only worn it once or twice, and then
 I thought I would die of heat; so you see it will hang in my wardrobe
 for a long time.

 “Yes, I like caricatures; why not? I don’t see anything wrong about
 them. And I don’t care whether they’re of Bonaparte, or any other of
 those gentlemen. To tell you the truth, I wish they would do something
 worse to them than only make fun of them; but now, with the way Lord
 Nelson of the Nile has disposed of Bonaparte, one certainly can have a
 good laugh at him. _He_ doesn’t carry the austerity of his principles
 as far as you do, my dear Charlotte.

 “I shall have the inscription of the Queen’s portrait changed;
 her name is wrong. It ought to be ‘M. A. de Lorraine, Archduchess
 of Austria.’ The portrait is charming, but all the same it is not
 the Queen _we_ knew; and I loved her so much better than when that
 portrait was done. Adorable lady! She was always beautiful and sweet.
 My dear, I’m ashamed to say I’ve forgotten to tell you that the
 portrait, though it didn’t come on our day of mourning, did arrive on
 November 2, her natal day. I thought of Her all day long; and when Mr.
 Keith came, it quite distracted me, for everything that reminds me of
 England puts me in such a state of mind. I talked to him about the
 case; and he tells me that he had given it to the captain and begged
 him to put it in his pocket, and that he was to see him again in the
 afternoon. Imagine my uneasiness and impatience! I made a lackey wait
 at my house all day, and about eight o’clock the precious case was
 brought to me. I thank you for it with all my heart. I wish I could
 send you something as precious, but I haven’t an idea what to send.
 For the rest, I haven’t got anything, not even the black glass for
 my friend. My dear Charlotte, you will never cure yourself of giving
 little _coups de patte_; you know that I never guess anything; but
 still...! That black glass must be for some one who draws, and since I
 take the trouble of doing your commissions, it must be for some one I
 like. Adieu, my dear! Forgive this small reflection. But though you’re
 so used to liberty, you don’t allow me many liberties, I think. Well,
 it’s better to give them back than to have them stolen--and so I do,
 you see! A thousand kisses!”

_Letter from Count Henri de Frotté to Lady Atkyns._

                                              “Tuesday, January 1, 1805.

 “Nobody does you more justice than I do, madame; nobody reveres you
 more. The devotion which the French people displayed during the
 Revolution was no more than their duty. They owed the sacrifice of
 their lives to the cause of the restoration of the Monarchy, and of
 order to the country.

 “But you, madam, a native of England, _you_, with your feeling heart,
 have undertaken for this just cause more than could have been hoped
 for from a lady, and a lady who was a foreigner, and whom nothing
 bound in any way to our sovereigns, our country, and our troubles. By
 risking your life, as you have done several times, you have acquired a
 right to the respectful gratitude of all honourable Frenchmen.

 “My own present troubles may make me more unhappy in certain
 circumstances, but shall never make me unjust. Appearances may be
 against me. On your return I shall open my heart to you, and you shall
 judge. All I can say here is, that I have lost everything. I have a
 son still, but he is in the enemy’s chains, and that enemy has means
 of intelligence everywhere, which informs him both of what is and of
 what is not. I ought to be more circumspect than others; but, all the
 same, no consideration shall prevent me from keeping my promises. If
 I meet unjust men as I go along, so much the worse for the master
 whom they serve, and for the faithful subjects who may have relations
 with them, particularly in these critical times. What I now have the
 honour to write to you, will be an enigma to you for the present. I
 will explain to you when you return, but I think I may presume that
 your discernment will have given you an indication to the solution.
 No, madam, it was not because the money was not delivered to me at
 the time you arranged that I had ceased to ask for it. I remember
 very well that you were kind enough to say you would lend the 200
 francs which I asked you for, if it was possible for you to do so.
 The impulse which moved me in that matter was natural in an unhappy
 father, deserted and mourned for by those who ought to have protected
 him. I added, in speaking to you then, that I had inherited some means
 from my father, which would put me in a position to be able to pay
 this debt; but that heritage was in reality such a small affair I dare
 not run the risk of embarrassing my friends if God were to cut short
 my career. And _that_ is why I ask you not to do anything further in
 that affair.

 “Accept my deep regrets for having troubled you at a moment which must
 be so painful to you. I have shared your too-just regrets, and all
 through my life I shall sympathize with anything that concerns your
 affections. It is the natural consequence of my respectful and undying
 attachment for the friend of my unfortunate son.

 “My friend assures you of his respect, and of the sympathy he felt in
 the cruel loss which you have suffered.”

_Will of Lady Atkyns._

                                                       “January 6, 1835.

 “I, Charlotte Atkyns, give to Victoire Ilh, my maid-servant,
 at present in my service, all effects of furniture, linen,
 wearing-apparel and silver that I possess; and, generally, all objects
 which may be found in my room, in my house, or lodging, at the date
 of my decease, whatever they may be; and also my carriage. I give
 moreover to the said Victoire Ilh, the sum of £120 sterling, which is
 due to me to-day from Nathaliel William Peach, of 13, Saville Street,
 London, and of Ketteringham in the County of Norfolk, or from his
 heirs, which sum shall be payed on demand to the said Victoire Ilh,
 after my decease. I further give to Victoire Ilh the sum of £1000
 sterling, which shall be paid to her within three months of my death.

 “I charge these gifts on the Norfolk property, which is at present
 in the possession of the said Nathaliel W. Peach as a guarantee for
 all my debts, I having mortgaged the said property in favour of my
 sister-in-law, the late Mary Atkyns, for £18,000 sterling, and in
 addition for an annuity of £500 sterling payable quarterly each year;
 and as in consequence the freehold belongs to me, I charge it with the
 payment of my lawful debts, and of my funeral expenses.

 “I desire that my body be taken to Ketteringham and interred in the
 family vault; and that my name and age be inscribed on a plain marble
 stone, near the monument of my late dear son. I have mentioned in
 another will the names of some friends from whom I beg acceptance of
 some souvenirs of my consideration and esteem. I give the box which I
 have left with Messrs. Barnard and Co., N. Bankers, Cornhill, London,
 to Mr. Nathaliel W. Peach. It contains some pieces of silver. I left
 it there, I think, on November 10, 1832. I give the freehold of all
 my properties in Norfolk to Nathaliel W. Peach for the payment of all
 charges and debts, present and future. I give £100 sterling to my
 servant, Jean-Baptiste Erard, native of Switzerland, who has served me
 faithfully for five years, and whose conduct has always been regular.
 As to that of Victoire Ilh, ever since she came into my service,
 it has been beyond all praise. This girl was not born to wait upon
 others; she belonged to a very respectable family of Munich. I appoint
 Nathaliel W. Peach my executor. I request that immediately after my
 death the Counsel for the British Embassy, Mr. Okey (or whoever may be
 Counsel at the time) be sent for; and I desire him to be good enough
 to act for Mr. Nathaliel W. Peach here at Paris.

 “In the name of God, I sign the present testament.”


[77] Baron d’Auerweck.

[78] Note in Lady Atkyns’ handwriting at the foot of a letter from
Cormier, dated June 3, 1795.

                                THE END


                          Transcriber’s Notes

A few minor inconsistencies or omissions in punctuation have been

Page 26: “pot which had been arranged” changed to “plot which had been

Page 149: “Mme. de Tarante” changed to “Mme. de Tarente”

Page 172: “for his on first attempt” changed to “for on his first

Page 194: “of Rothemburg” changed to “of Rothenburg”

Page 214: “the year 1604” changed to “the year 1804”

Page 246: “made be doubly sad” changed to “made me doubly sad”



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