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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Louis Philippe and his Family

By John Sanderson (1783–1844)

[Born near Carlisle, Penn., 1783. Died in Philadelphia, Penn., 1844. The American in Paris. 1838.]

I CALLED a few days ago upon the king. We Yankees went to congratulate his majesty for not being killed on the 28th. We were overwhelmed with sympathy—and the staircase which leads up to the royal apartments, is very beautiful, and has two Ionic columns just on the summit. You first enter through a room of white and plain ground, then through a second hung round with awful field-marshals, and then you go through a room very large, and splendid with lustres, and other elegant furniture, which conducts into a fourth with a throne and velvet canopy. The king was very grateful, at least he made a great many bows, and we too were very grateful to Providence for more than a couple of hours.—There was the queen, and the two little princesses—but I will write this so that by embroidering it a little you may put it in the newspapers.

The chamber of Peers and Deputies and other functionaries of the State were pouring in, to place, at the foot of the throne, the expression of their loyalty. This killing of the king has turned out very much to his advantage. There was nothing anywhere but laudatory speeches, and protestations of affection—foreigners from all the countries of Europe uniting in sympathy with the natives. So we got ashamed of ourselves, we Americans, and held a meeting in the Rue Rivoli, where we got up a procession, too, and waited upon his majesty for the purpose above stated, and were received into the presence—the royal family being ranged around the room to get a sight of us. Modesty forbids me to speak of the very eloquent manner in which we pronounced our address; to which the king made a very appropriate reply. “Gentlemen, you can better guess,” said he, “than I can express to you the gratification,” etc.—I missed all the rest by looking at the Princess Caroline’s most beautiful of all faces, except the conclusion, which was as follows: “And I am happy to embrace this occasion of expressing to you all, and through you, to your countrymen, the deep gratitude I have ever felt for the kindness and hospitality I experienced in America during my misfortunes.” The king spoke in English, and with an affectionate and animated expression, and we were pleased all to pieces. So was Louis Philippe, and so was Marie-Amelie, princess of the two Sicilies, his wife; and so were Marie-Christine-Caroline-Adelaide-Françoise-Leopoldine, and Marie-Clementine-Caroline-Leopoldine-Clotilde, her two daughters, and the rest of the family.

A note from the king’s aid-de-camp required the presence of our consul at the head of the deputation, which our consul refused. He did not choose, he said, to see the Republic make a fool of herself, running about town, and tossing up her cap because the king was not killed, and he would not go. “Then,” said the king (a demur being made by his officers), “I will receive the Americans, as they received me, without fuss or ceremony.” So we got in without any head, but not without a long attendance in the ante-chamber, very inconvenient to our legs. How we strolled about during this time, looking over the knick-knacks, and how some of us took out our handkerchiefs, and knocked the dust off off our boots in the salle des marechaux, and how we reclined upon the royal cushions, and set one leg to ride impatiently on the other, I leave to be described by Major Downing, who was one of our party. I will bring up the rear of this paragraph with an anecdote, which will make you laugh. One of our deputation had brought along a chubby little son of his, about sixteen. He returned (for he had gone ahead to explore), and said in a soft voice, “Tommy, you can go in to the throne, but don’t go too near.” And then Tommy set off with velvet steps, and approached, as you have seen timid old ladies to a blunderbuss;—he feared it might go off.

The king is a bluff old man with more firmness of character, sense and activity, than is indicated by his plump and rubicund features. The queen has a very unexceptionable face: her features are prominent, and have a sensible, benevolent expression—a face not of the French cut, but such as you often meet amongst the best New England faces. Any gentleman would like to have such a woman for his mother. The eldest daughter is married to the King of Belgium; the second and third are grown up to “manhood,” but not yet married. They would be thought pretty girls even by your village beaux, and with you ladies, except two or three (how many are you?), they would be “stuck up things, no prettier than their neighbors.” The Duke of Orleans is a handsome young man, and so spare and delicate as almost to call into question his mother’s reputation. He assumes more dignity of manner than is natural to a Frenchman at his age; he is not awkward, but a little stiff; his smile seems compulsory and more akin to the lips than to the heart. Anybody else would have laughed out on this occasion. He has been with the army in Africa, and has returned moderately covered with laurels. The Duke of Némours is just struggling into manhood, and is shaving to get a beard as assiduously as his father to get rid of it. He also has fought valiantly somewhere—I believe in Holland. Among the ladies there is one who pleases me exceedingly; it is Madame Adelaide, the king’s sister. She has little beauty, but a most affable and happy expression of countenance. She was a pupil of Madame Genlis, who used to call her “cette belle et bonne Princesse.” She was married secretly to General Athelin, her brother’s secretary, during their residence in England. She revealed this marriage, with great fear of his displeasure, to her brother, after his accession to the throne, throwing herself on her knees.—After some pause he said, embracing her tenderly: “Domestic happiness is the main thing after all; and now that he is a king’s brother-in-law we must make him a duke.” Madame Adelaide is in the Indian summer of her charms.