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Chapter 18


May 3, 1848.

The Orleans family in England are literally in poverty;
they are twenty-two at table and drink water. There is
not the slightest exaggeration in this. Absolutely all they
have to live upon is an income of about 40,000 francs made
up as follows: 24,000 francs a year from Naples, which
came from Queen Marie Amélie, and the interest on a sum
of 340,000 francs which Louis Philippe had forgotten under
the following circumstances: During his last triumphal
voyage made in October, 1844, with the Prince de Joinville,
he had a credit of 500,000 francs opened for him with
a London banker. Of this sum he spent only 160,000
francs. He was greatly amazed and very agreeably surprised
on arriving in London to find that the balance of
the 500,000 francs remained at his disposal.

M. Vatout is with the Royal Family. For the whole of
them there are but three servants, of whom one, and one
only, accompanied them from the Tuileries. In this state
of destitution they demanded of Paris the restitution of
what belongs to them in France; their property is under
seizure, and has remained so notwithstanding their
reclamations. For different reasons. One of the motives put
forward by the Provisional Government is the debt of the
civil list, which amounts to thirty millions. Queer ideas
about Louis Philippe were entertained. He may have been
covetous, but he certainly was not miserly; he was the most
prodigal, the most extravagant and least careful of men:
he had debts, accounts and arrears everywhere. He owed
700,000 francs to a cabinet-maker; to his market gardener
he owed 70,000 francs *for butter*.

Consequently none of the seals placed on the property
could be broken and everything is held to secure the
creditors--everything, even to the personal property of the
Prince and Princess de Joinville, rentes, diamonds, etc.,
even to a sum of 198,000 francs which belongs in her own
right to the Duchess d'Orleans.

All that the Royal Family was able to obtain was their
clothing and personal effects, or rather what could be found
of these. Three long tables were placed in the theatre of
the Tuileries, and on these were laid out all that the
revolutionists of February had turned over to the governor of
the Tuileries, M. Durand Saint-Amand. It formed a queer
medley--court costumes stained and torn, grand cordons of
the Legion of Honour that had been trailed through the
mud, stars of foreign orders, swords, diamond crowns, pearl
necklaces, a collar of the Golden Fleece, etc. Each legal
representative of the princes, an aide-de-camp or secretary,
took what he recognised. It appears that on the whole
little was recovered. The Duke de Nemours merely asked
for some linen and in particular his heavy-soled shoes.

The Prince de Joinville, meeting the Duke de Montpensier,
greeted him thus: "Ah! here you are, Monsieur;
you were not killed, you have not had good luck!"

Gudin, the marine painter, who went to England, saw
Louis Philippe. The King is greatly depressed. He said
to Gudin: "I don't understand it. What happened in
Paris? What did the Parisians get into their heads? I
haven't any idea. One of these days they will recognise
that I did not do one thing wrong." He did not, indeed,
do one thing wrong; he did all things wrong!

He had in fact reached an incredible degree of optimism;
he believed himself to be more of a king than Louis XIV.
and more of an emperor than Napoleon. On Tuesday the
22nd he was exuberantly gay, and was still occupied
solely with his own affairs, and these of the pettiest
character. At 2 o'clock when the first shots were being
fired, he was conferring with his lawyers and business
agents, MM. de Gérante, Scribe and Denormandie, as to
what could best be done about Madame Adelaide's will. On
Wednesday, at 1 o'clock, when the National Guard was
declaring against the government, which meant revolution,
the King sent for M. Hersent to order of him a picture of
some kind.

Charles X. was a lynx.

Louis Philippe in England, however, bears his misfortune
worthily. The English aristocracy acted nobly; eight
or ten of the wealthiest peers wrote to Louis Philippe
to offer him their châteaux and their purses. The King
replied: "I accept and keep only your letters."

The Duchess d'Orleans is also in straitened circumstances.
She is on bad terms with the d'Orleans family
and the Mecklenburg family is on bad terms with her. On
the one hand she will accept nothing, and on the other she
can expect nothing.

At this time of writing (May, 1848) the Tuileries have
already been repaired, and M. Empis remarked to me this
morning: "They are going to clean up and nothing of the
damage done will be apparent." Neuilly and the Palais-Royal,
however, have been devastated. The picture gallery of the
Palais-Royal, a pretty poor one by the by, has
practically been destroyed. Only a single picture remains
perfectly intact, and that is the Portrait of Philippe Egalité.
Was it purposely respected by the riot or is its preservation
an irony of chance? The National Guards amused, and
still amuse, themselves by cutting out of the canvases that
were not entirely destroyed by fire faces to which they take
a fancy.

Victor Hugo