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suspense with the expectation of some perhaps, had any human heart beaten great event. Victor, his son, and the higher with hope and ambition than the ministers assembled first in the royal Marchesa's on this eventful third of cabinet, where, amidst the tears of all September, when she took her place present, the king affixed his signature among the other ladies assembled in to the act of abdication ; and, proceed- Polyxena's apartment. The fair bevy ing into the great hall of the palace, of dames and damsels must have endured where the nobility and the diplomatic an agony of curiosity; and, though concorps were assembled, he commanded jecture and whisper were silenced by Di Borgo to read the document in a the presence of the princess, whose calm, loud voice, and to betray no weakness. proud face betrayed no sign that she Then, amid the deep hush of expecta- held the secret of the hour, a whole tion and astonishment, the marquis read battery of significant glances was opened before all the formal abdication of Victor upon the Marchesa, who awaited, with Amadeus. The breathless silence which ill-concealed impatience, the announceensued when the voice of the reader had ment which she dared to hope would ceased, was broken by the sobs of the place her higher than her mistress. At old nobles, who now learnt for the first length distant sounds of the breakingtime that the master they had so long up of the assembly were heard—at served was about, by withdrawing him- length footsteps approached the door; self from his people, to forestall the the king entered, followed by his son; inevitable separation of the grave. proclaimed that he had accomplished After Charles had, with the deepest his abdication, and saluted Polyxena as emotion, kissed his father's hand, the Queen of Sardinia. In the first anguish nobles did homage to the two kings, of a disappointment as cruel as it was when Victor took the opportunity of unlooked for, Theresa turned pale, and saying a last gracious word to each, and seemed ready to faint; but on a lady recounting their several merits and inquiring if the Marchesa felt ill, she services to his son ; to the end he be- summoned enough self-command to trayed not the slightest sign of feeling, reply, to the malicious courtesy, that the but stood enjoying all the excitement pleasure she experienced in offering her and tears of which he was the object. duty to the new queen had overpowered For so strangely mingled is the web of her for the moment. human nature, that it offers us here the Victor spent the rest of the day in spectacle of a sovereign, prosperous, arranging his plans, and discussing with wise, and rich in the experiences of a child-like eagerness the new life upon long life, delighting in the pageant of which he was about to enter. He was this scene where he was chief actor, and persuaded with some difficulty to retain not less blind to all its consequences the title of king; but he steadily refused than the simplest novice, who plays her both guards and retinue; declaring that part as the bride of Heaven, fluttered by henceforth he would be simply a counthe interest she excites, and thoughtless try gentleman, living in retirement on of the years which lie, heavy and dark, his estate. He entreated Charles to behind the veil.
fulfil faithfully the trust committed into Up to this hour the king had kept his hands, and renewed recommendahis wife in complete ignorance of the tions he had before made of certain great change he contemplated; and ministers, especially begging him to rely Theresa, divining some mystery, and on the Marquis D'Ormea, an able statesbelieving, naturally enough, that it con- man, whom Victor had lately created cerned herself, had solved it according Minister of the Interior. It is curious to her own desires, imagining herself to note that the old king, in the midst of already a queen, and lavishing every pious protestations that he had done art and fascination of which she was with this world, and should spend the mistress to secure her promotion. Never, rest of his days in preparation for a
better, did not forget to stipulate for a although too proud to complain of the weekly bulletin of all political news, omission. Meantime, as the spring adboth foreign and domestic.
vanced, fresh misunderstandings broke Not until he was on the point of quit- out between the court of Rome and Sarting Rivoli next morning for Chambery, dinia. The dispute waxed warm; and which he had chosen as his retreat, did Charles, acting under the guidance of Victor's spirits give way. Then, in the D'Ormea, not only refused any concesmidst of his adieus, he faltered and burst sion, but broke off diplomatic relations into tears. Even at this eleventh hour with Rome, and caused one of his theoCharles entreated him to resume the logians to put forth a defence of his consovereignty; but, recovering himself, he duct, a copy of which he despatched to hastily entered the carriage, accompanied Chambery. In the midst of the exby his wife. The Marchesa claims our king's anger that this step had been repity, for her wrong was as great as her solved upon without his concurrence, he disappointment. Setting her ambition was struck with the promptitude and aside, a woman of less spirit would have energy, so foreign to Charles's character, been stung to the quick on finding her- which it exhibited, and gave
the credit self thus duped by her husband-at the where it was really due—to the Marquis. utter selfishness and careless contempt This embroilment with Rome served to with which he had entirely ignored her heighten the discontent which had of in an affair so important to them both. late been growing upon Victor; he was Such considerations served to swell the angry and sore at the meagre news retide of grief and rage which Theresa ceived from Turin, while the despatches, could hardly keep within bounds through when they did arrive, filled as they were that journey, where every league of the with debates in which he had had no road seemed a fresh separation from the share, and affairs concluded without his world of life and pleasure she loved, till counsel, only fed the irritated mood in it was lost in mountain passes, frowning which, from his retreat at Chambery, he as a barrier to her return.
had watched others playing the game of On the sixth of October the corona- power, till he grew fevered with longing tion of the new sovereign was celebrated to take it out of their hands. Nor could with extraordinary pomp; and the sim- it have been otherwise; war, political plicity which had hitherto prevailed intrigue, the pursuit of fame and gave place at once to a magnificence power—these objects, and these alone, more accordant to the tastes of Charles had been for half a century the very Emmanuel. For some time an active breath of life to this man, who went into correspondence was maintained between his retirement with a disposition as Turin and Chambery ; Victor, kept restless and eager as ever, with a mind informed of the minutest affairs, and utterly unfurnished by those tastes consulted on every occasion, however which sweeten solitude. Unlike Charles trivial, found his political appetite grow V., whom he proposed as his model, by what it fed on. The Marquis there was little of the religious element D'Ormea, who soon acquired unbounded in the nature of the Italian, who, in influence over Charles, ill-brooked his believing his heart set on forsaking the old master's constant interference, and world to serve his Maker, had interwatched every token that his ruling preted a mere impulse as a fixed mental passion was still strong with a jealous condition, as he had taken the Martineye. In the February of 1731, he took mas summer of passion in his blood for the occasion of an apoplectic fit with that steady, serene affection which is the which the ex-king was seized, to discon- true sunshine of declining life. A continue the weekly despatches; and, in temporary historian says that Theresa consequence, when Charles paid a visit turned the reaction which had come to his father at the end of March, he upon
her husband to her own purpose ;
mous letters against the Government, founded, and that the innovation prowhich continually exasperated his mood. posed would be fraught with peril. This seems likely enough, although the One courier took this answer to king's own discontent was sufficient in Chambery, while another delivered to itself to goad him on to the attempt Charles, who, with the queen, was by which, by the end of June, he had fully this time in Savoy, his father's letter, determined to make. The Marquis and a copy of the reply. When in their D'Ormea, who, as he imagined, would progress the royal couple visited Chambe of all men most willing and able to bery, Victor received Polyxena with every aid him in the resumption of power,
mark of affection-a demonstration which was during July to accompany Charles those who recal the fearful fondness of to the baths of Evian, in Savoy; and Lear's greeting to Regan can readily unVictor, thinking this a favourable oc- derstand. Charles, on the contrary, he casion for unfolding his plans, wrote, treated with great coldness, and threw requesting him to proceed at once to out the most insulting criticisms on his Chambery. The minister, however, per- administration, expecting to find him haps with some inkling of his old master's still the submissive prince who was mood, or really detained, as he professed wont tu tremble at his father's anger, to be, by the increasing differences with and yield him unquestioning obedience. Rome, did not leave Turin; and the ex- But Charles, after nearly a year of inking growing inpatient, disclosed his dependent sovereignty, had become scheme by letter. After bitter com- unused to the paternal violence, and plaints of Charles's unfitness for govern- brooked it so ill that he set forth at ment, and against the ministers, he went once for Evian. Thither, in the course on to say that it behoved him, both as king of a few days, arrived Bogino, the and father, to check such manifest evils, bearer of important despatches from and save the state ; therefore, he had Turin. Clement the Twelfth having, in determined to return to Turin and the most solemn form, annulled the conestablish a council of state on the model cordat between Sardinia and the Papal of that at Vienna, to be composed of mem- See, D'Ormea had issued a declaration of bers chosen from every department, civil the Senate for the maintenance of the conand military. Charles was to sink into a cordat, and proclaimed null the ordinances simple member of this assembly, of which of the Pope, to whom he addressed, in his D'Ormea himself was to be president. master's name, a remonstrance at once The letter concluded with injunctions of dignified and resolute, which he sent secrecy and expressions of good will to for the king's approval into Savoy. the Marquis, who was thunderstruck on Charles returned to Chambery; and the receiving it, and quite at a loss how to two kings held a conference with Bogino answer so perilous a confidence. In and others on the matter then pendaddressing himself to D'Ormea, Victoring, when Victor made a few objechad entirely mistaken his man; no one tions to the measures proposed, but was was less likely than that minister to easily convinced of their expediency, entertain a proposal which involved a and offered to write himself to the Ponbreach of honour, a betrayal of the tiff. He then announced that, finding trust committed to him by the ex-king the climate of Savoy prejudicial to his himself, and, above all, a capital offence health, he should return at once to against the worship of the rising sun Piedmont, for that nothing short of his —that natural religion of Persians and presence there would check the precourtiers.
sumption of Rome, and bring her parD'Ormea's reply, though couched in the tisans in Turin to their senses. And, most respectful language, could not have before the whole assembly, he broke out encouraged Victor to hope for his co- into a storm of complaints and invecoperation. It plainly set forth that the tives against his son, declaring that the ex-king's reasons for change were un- experiment of the past year had fully
proved Charles incapable to govern, and a long life to achieve it, and then, by his that it was high time to correct the own act, disappear from the scene of his mistake he himself had made in allowing prosperity. And now, he had left his the power to pass out of his own hands. retreat to find himself shrunk to a mere The ministers stood aghast at this most shadow of royalty, as one come from the unexpected ebullition; and Charles, al- tomb to see his honours and wealth deready informed of his father's designs, scended to others. He had come back kept silence that he might not add fuel with his appetite for power sharpened to the fire—retiring as soon as the con- by repose, and it had passed away from ference was over to his own apartments, him for ever. He had crossed the Alps, when the queen's entreaties, joined to believing that his reappearance among the representations of his ministers, so his people would cause universal joy, to roused his sense of what was due to his find himself solitary and unsought. He dignity, that he proceeded to Turin the had returned to learn, by bitter expesame evening without taking leave of rience, that “the divinity which doth the ex-king. Victor likewise prepared hedge a king” forsakes him with his to cross the Alps, and, accompanied by crown; that it is the attribute, not of the Marchesa and a small retinue, the sovereign's person, but of the regal followed his son in the course of a few office. days. As the carriage halted on the Victor's arrival in Piedmont was folsummit of Mount Cenis, the like irreso- lowed by a series of stormy interviews lution overtook the monarch which he between himself, Charles, and D'Ormea. had experienced a twelvemonth before He accused them both of the blackest inin his last moments at Rivoli. Turning gratitude to him, renewed his reproaches to his wife, as a man about to make a of mal-administration, and threatened to desperate throw, he asked, “Shall I recal his abdication, which, he declared, return at once, or pursue my journey ?” hung only by a thread - working himself The Marchesa remained silent: the up to such a pitch of violence on more question was repeated; she still gave no than one occasion, as to brandish his reply. "In God's name, speak, Madam ;" cane, and gesticulate like a madman. cried Victor; “what am I to do ?” “I More than once, the Marchesa waylaid cannot venture to offer advice," was the D'Ormea after these conferences—an incautious answer ; “it is for your Majesty terference which added weight to the susto command.” At these words Victor, picions already strong against her. The sighing deeply, fell back in the carriage, ex-king grew daily more unreasonable, which now began to descend the slope in spite of the tone, respectful, firm, and of the mountain.
temperate, maintained both by Charles In the last days of August, the ex- and his minister, and, in spite of the just king re-installed himself in the suburban reasonings of Caisotti, who, when sumpalace of Montcalieri. The minute record moned on the 16th of September, dealt extant of his behaviour during the faithfully with his old patron, to whom following month, leaves, through its tears, he recalled the magnanimity which had its reproaches , its passionate complaints
, led him to resign the crown, and said through all the signs of the helplessness in plain terms that, as his abdicaand indecision of old age, a deeply tragic tion had been entirely his own act, he impression on the mind. Perhaps of all was bound to abide by its consequences. the tokens, both in ourselves and others, At the word abdication, the king started by which we know that no man can from his seat, exclaiming that there was trust himself to the last, the suicide of no abdication in the case—that he had a great career is the most sad, as the not himself sworn to the deed, and, most significant; and this darkens the moreover, that, foreseeing the troubles history of the prince, richly endowed which had arisen, he had especially prowith the great qualities which ensure vided that the act should not free his To this Caisotti replied that the king's single partisan. The nobles loved hin oath was not needed; for he himself had not, for he had despoiled them of power; done away
with oaths in contracts—such he was in ill odour with the clergy, for forms being a device of the Court of he had always opposed their claims; the Rome to draw causes into its jurisdiction; people, to whom his impartial justice had and, with respect to the people, his act endeared him, were completely powerless; of renunciation, and the oath taken to and D’Ormea had secured the army by Charles as sole sovereign, implied their placing it under officers devoted to the absolution. Victor cut short these re- new sovereign. presentations by saying that all he had On the 29th of September the exhimself done, he both could and would king sent for the Abbé Boggio, to whom, undo; and, turning to D'Ormea, who had after his customary harangue against just entered, without further preface, he Charles, he said that his son's conduct ordered him to set on foot a fresh assess- left him no choice-he must proceed at ment of Piedmont, and to acquaint once to Milan to lay his grievances beCharles that, by his father's express fore the Emperor, and make him arbiter command, he was to quit Turin on the between them. Then, pointing to writmorrow for an inspection of the fortifi- ing materials, he insisted that Boggio cations of Fenestrelles.
should immediately draw up a deed reFrom this peremptory mood, the mi- voking his abdication. The Abbé argued, nisters augured that the catastrophe of expostulated, and then refused downthe drama must be close at hand, and right; but, when Victor locked the door, came to the conclusion that Victor in- protesting that he should not leave the tended, during his son's absence, to put apartment till the order had been obeyed, himself at the head of the troops, and Boggio, finding resistance useless, drew either modify or revoke his abdication. up the paper from his old master's dicIn this crisis, the ex-king fully calculated tation, and, his task accomplished, hasupon his great influence over his son; tened with the news to Turin. Charles, and, had Charles been left to himself, it after examining him, took counsel at is not unlikely that his pliant nature and once with D’Ormea ; and it was then that long habits of deference to his father the minister, who had looked forward to might have inclined him to yield. But some such emergency, threw out the in the back-ground were D'Ormea and momentous suggestion of Victor's arrest. his colleagues, who well knew that their The discussion was long, and Charles master's submission would involve their fearfully agitated throughout; but the ruin,--and by his side was a royal lady, Marquis gained his point by working determined that her husband should upon the fears of the king, who consented never descend from his throne. Among at last to give his father up into them they persuaded Charles for the D'Ormea's hands should a final attempt present to hold no personal communica- at reconciliation prove fruitless. This tion with his father; to whom D’Ormea was made next morning; but Victor, was despatched to convey, in the most angry and inflexible, refused to listen to delicate and respectful manner, the king's any overture ; and in the evening a refusal to leave Turin. Victor turned Council of State was convoked, at which pale at this unlooked for resistance, and, Charles, pale and worn with his inward bursting into a fit of impotent rage, struggles, presided. D'Ormea opened reiterated the command, warning the the deliberations by a speech at once minister at his peril not to interfere artful and eloquent; he represented between him and his son. By this time, the ex-king as a tool in the Marchesa's both the court and the capital had got hands, who, to gratify her own ambition, wind of the discord in the royal family, had led him to assume a hostile attitude and every sort of rumour prevailed; yet, towards his son and the Government. among all his former subjects, the ex- He dwelt upon the disasters which must king does not appear to have found a arise were no check placed upon the