Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 133.djvu/193

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about the same length as the Duke of Berry's unfortunate production, but much more successful. Louis XIV. was extremely kind to his personal attendants, but when he was, so to say, in his official character of king, "aussitôt qu'il prenait son attitude de souverain," as Madame Campan puts it, his aspect would strike awe into the beholders, and persons who had seen him every day of their lives were apt to be as much intimidated as a young lady at her first drawing-room. Now it chanced that the members of the king's household claimed certain privileges which were disputed them by the corporation of the town of Saint Germain's. Anxious to obtain the king's decision on the matter, the members of the household resolved to send a deputation to his Majesty to urge their claims. Bazire and Soulaigre, two of the king's valets, undertook to act as deputies, and obtained without difficulty an audience of the sovereign. The next morning, after the early levee, Louis ordered the deputation to be introduced, and at the same time assumed his most imposing look. Bazire, who was to speak, began to have an uncomfortable sinking at the pit of the stomach, and his knees were loosened with terror; he just managed to stammer out the word "Sire." Having repeated this word two or three times, he was seized with a felicitous inspiration. "Sire," he once more began (and concluded), "here is Soulaigre." Soulaigre, looking unutterably wretched, commenced in his turn, "Sire . . . sire . . . sire," — then (oh, happy thought!) ended like his colleague, "Sire, here is Bazire." The king smiled, and made answer, "Gentlemen, I know the motive which has brought you here; I will see that your petition is granted, and I am very well satisfied with the manner in which you have fulfilled your mission as deputies." Exeunt Bazire and Soulaigre, lost in admiration of the royal grace and condescension. What power, what prestige, and what treasures of loyalty must have been fooled away by the successors of Louis, before the France of 1715 could be changed into the France of 1793!

From The Pall Mall Gazette.


It might well be imagined, by any one who had given no particular heed to the matter, that, outside the limits of the royal family at home and the kingly or princely houses abroad with which it has become allied by marriage, legitimate descent from the sovereigns of England was a very rare distinction indeed. But everybody who has paid even passing attention to genealogical questions is aware that it is, in fact, exceedingly common, and that the persons of all ranks and conditions of life, who share in it are to be reckoned by thousands rather than by hundreds. As Mr. Long says in his well-known work on "Royal Descents" — a leading authority on the subject — "when once you are enabled to place your client in a current of decent blood, you are certain (by a slight Hibernicism) to carry him up to some one of the three great fountains of honor, Edward III., Edward I., or Henry III.; and in families of good, or even partially good descent, the deducing of a husband and wife from all the children of Edward III. and all the children of Edward I. has been successfully established by perseverance and research." Still, although mere royal descents are thus numerous, only a minority of them are of the kind which convey a title to quarter the royal arms. All the males and females of a family have a right to bear the paternal coat of their ancestors. But the paternal coat of one family can be added to the paternal coat of another family only when the ancestress bearing it was an heiress or a co-heiress of some male of the family originally entitled to it. And heiresses or co-heiresses cannot exist unless there are no males of the generation to which they belong, and neither males nor females nor the descendants of males of that or any subsequent generation in the same line. But even the more select class of royal descents are very plentiful, and the right to quarter the royal arms is participated in by what maybe called, with little or no exaggeration, a vast and heterogeneous multitude. Sir Bernard Burke enumerates over sixty members of the peerage who have it, and they with their various relations, lineal and collateral, would of themselves make a formidable array. But it also belongs to a great many families which are not noble in every grade of society, down to those in the humblest circumstances. Yet from the number of those descendants from our old stock of kings who are privileged by inheritance to quarter their arms one very singular exception is to be made — namely, the present royal family. The descent of the House of Brunswick from the Plantagenets through the Tudors and the Stuarts, derives from the electress Sophia, mother