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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/229

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LORD CLANCHARLIE.

failed to understand what one owes to circumstances. While the nation was overwhelming with acclamations the king who had come to resume possession of England; while a united parliament was recording its verdict; while the people were rapturously saluting the monarchy; while the dynasty was rising anew amidst a glorious and triumphant recantation,—at the moment when the past was becoming the future, and the future was becoming the past, that nobleman remained obdurate. He turned his head resolutely away from all these temptations and voluntarily exiled himself. Though he might have been a peer, he preferred being an outlaw. Years had passed, and he had grown old in his fidelity to the dead republic, and was therefore loaded with the ridicule which is the natural reward of such folly.

Lord Clancharlie had retired to Switzerland, where he inhabited a sort of lofty ruin on the banks of Lake Geneva. He had chosen his abode in the most rugged nook of the lake, between Chillon, Bonnivard's dungeon, and Vevay, Ludlow's burial-place. The rugged Alps, filled with winds and clouds, were around him: and he lived there, hidden in the wide shadows cast by the mountains. He was rarely seen by any one. The man was out of his country, almost out of his century. At that time no resistance to the established power was considered justifiable. England was happy. A restoration is like the reconciliation of husband and wife; prince and nation return to each other,—no state of things can be more gracious or more pleasant. Great Britain beamed with joy; to have a king at all was a great deal; but it was a great deal more to have such a charming one. Charles II. was an amiable man, fond of pleasure, yet able to govern; a great man, too,—at least in the opinion of Louis XIV. He was essentially a gentleman. Charles II. was greatly admired by his sub-