CHAPTER VI. NEGOTIATIONS WITH ANNE MARIA.
Our Prince Charles now becomes, by the death of his father, King Charles the Second, both of England and of Scotland. That is, he becomes so in theory, according to the principles of the English Constitution, though, in fact, he is a fugitive and an exile still. Notwithstanding his exclusion, however, from the exercise of what he considered his right to reign, he was acknowledged as king by all true Royalists in England, and by all the continental powers. They would not aid him to recover his throne, but in the courts and royal palaces which he visited he was regarded as a king, and was treated, in form at least, with all the consideration and honor which belonged to royalty. Queen Henrietta was overwhelmed with grief and despair when she learned the dreadful tidings of the execution of her husband. At the time when these tidings came to her, she was involved, also, in many other sufferings and trials. As was intimated in the last chapter, serious difficulties had occurred between the royal family of France and the government and people of the city of Paris, from which a sort of insurrection had resulted, and the young king and his mother, together with all the principal personages of the court, had been compelled to fly from the city, in the night, to save their lives. They went in a train of twenty or thirty carriages, by torch light, having kept their plan a profound secret until the moment of their departure. The young king was asleep in his bed until the time arrived, when they took him up and put him into the carriage. Anne Maria, whose rank and wealth gave her a great deal of influence and power, took sides, in some degree, with the Parisians in this contest, so that her aunt, the queen regent, considered her as an enemy rather than a friend. She, however, took her with them in their flight; but Anne Maria, being very much out of humor, did all she could to tease and torment the party all the way. When they awoke her and informed her of their proposed escape from Paris, she was, as she says in her memoirs, very much delighted, for she knew that the movement was very unwise, and would get her aunt, the queen regent, and all their friends, into serious difficulties.
She dressed herself as quick as she could, came down stairs, and proceeded to enter the queen regent's coach, saying that she wanted to have one or the other of certain seats - naming the best places - as she had no idea, she said, of being exposed to cold, or riding uncomfortably on such a night. The queen told her that those seats were for herself and another lady of high rank who was with her, to which Anne Maria replied, "Oh, very well; I suppose young ladies ought to give up to old people."
In the course of conversation, as they were preparing to ride away, the queen asked Anne Maria if she was not surprised at being called up to go on such an expedition. "Oh no," said she; "my father" (that is, Gaston, the duke of Orleans) "told me all about it beforehand." This was not true, as she says herself in her own account of these transactions. She knew nothing about the plan until she was called from her bed. She said this, therefore, only to tease her aunt by the false pretension that the secret had been confided to her. Her aunt, however, did not believe her, and said, "Then why did you go to bed, if you knew what was going on?" "Oh," replied Anne Maria, "I thought it would be a good plan to get some sleep, as I did not know whether I should even have a bed to lie upon to-morrow night."
The party of fugitives exhibited a scene of great terror and confusion, as they were assembling and crowding into their carriages, before they left the court of the Palais Royal. It was past midnight, in the month of January, and there was no moon. Called up suddenly as they were from their beds, and frightened with imaginary dangers, they all pressed forward, eager to go; and so hurried was their departure, that they took with them very scanty supplies, even for their most ordinary wants. At length they drove away. They passed rapidly out of the city. They proceeded to an ancient palace and castle called St. Germain's, about ten miles northeast of Paris. Anne Maria amused herself with the fears, and difficulties, and privations which the others suffered, and she gives an account of the first night they spent in the place of their retreat, which, as it illustrates her temperament and character, the reader will like perhaps, to see.
"I slept in a very handsome room, well painted, well gilded, and large, with very little fire, and no windows, [Footnote: That is, with no glass to the windows.] which is not very agreeable in the month of January. I slept on mattresses, which were laid upon the floor, and my sister, who had no bed, slept with me. I was obliged to sing to get her to sleep, and then her slumber did not last long, so that she disturbed mine. She tossed about, felt me near her, woke up, and exclaimed that she saw the beast, so I was obliged to sing again to put her to sleep, and in that way I passed the night. Judge whether this was an agreeable situation for one who had had little or no sleep the night before, and who had been ill all winter with colds. However, the fatigue and exposure of this expedition cured me.