CHAPTER VI. NEGOTIATIONS WITH ANNE MARIA.
"In a short time my father gave me his room, but as nobody knew I was there, I was awoke in the night by a noise. I drew back my curtain, and was astonished to find my chamber filled with men in large buff skin collars, and who appeared surprised to see me, and knew me as little as I did them. I had no change of linen, and when I wanted any thing washed, it was done in the night, while I was in bed. I had no women to arrange my hair and dress me, which is very inconvenient. Still I did not lose my gayety, and they were in admiration at my making no complaint; and it is true that I am a creature that can make the most of every thing, and am greatly above trifles."
To feel any commiseration for this young lady, on account of the alarm which she may be supposed to have experienced at seeing all those strange men in her chamber, would be sympathy thrown away, for her nerves were not of a sensibility to be affected much by such a circumstance as that. In fact, as the difficulties between the young king's government and the Parisians increased, Anne Maria played quite the part of a heroine. She went back and forth to Paris in her carriage, through the mob, when nobody else dared to go. She sometimes headed troops, and escorted ladies and gentlemen when they were afraid to go alone. Once she relieved a town, and once she took the command of the cannon of the Bastille, and issued her orders to fire with it upon the troops, with a composure which would have done honor to any veteran officer of artillery. We can not go into all these things here in detail, as they would lead us too far away from the subject of this narrative. We only allude to them, to give our readers some distinct idea of the temperament and character of the rich and blooming beauty whom young King Charles was wishing so ardently to make his bride.
During the time that these difficulties continued in Paris, Queen Henrietta's situation was extremely unhappy. She was shut up in the palace of the Louvre, which became now her prison rather than her home. She was separated from the royal family; her son, the king, was generally absent in Holland or in Jersey, and her palace was often surrounded by mobs; whenever she ventured out in her carriage, she was threatened with violence and outrage by the populace in such a manner as to make her retreat as soon as possible to the protection of the palace walls. Her pecuniary means, too, were exhausted. She sold her jewels, from time to time, as long as they lasted, and then contracted debts which her creditors were continually pressing her to pay. Her friends at St. Germain's could not help her otherwise than by asking her to come to them. This she at last concluded to do, and she made her escape from Paris, under the escort of Anne Maria, who came to the city for the purpose of conducting her, and who succeeded, though with infinite difficulty, in securing a safe passage for Henrietta through the crowds of creditors and political foes who threatened to prevent her journey. These troubles were all, however, at last settled, and in the autumn (1649) the whole party returned again to Paris.
In the mean time the young King Charles was contriving schemes for getting possession of his realm. It will be recollected that his sister Mary, who married the Prince of Orange, was at this time residing at the Hague, a city in Holland, near the sea. Charles went often there. It was a sort of rendezvous for those who had been obliged to leave England on account of their attachment to his father's fortunes, and who, now that the father was dead, transferred their loyalty to the son. They felt a very strong desire that Charles's plans for getting possession of his kingdom should succeed, and they were willing to do every thing in their power to promote his success. It must not be supposed, however, that they were governed in this by a disinterested principle of fidelity to Charles himself personally, or to the justice of his cause. Their own re-establishment in wealth and power was at stake as well as his, and they were ready to make common cause with him, knowing that they could save themselves from ruin only by reinstating him.
Charles had his privy council and a sort of court at the Hague, and he arranged channels of communication, centering there, for collecting intelligence from England and Scotland, and through these he watched in every way for the opening of an opportunity to assert his rights to the British crown. He went, too, to Jersey, where the authorities and the inhabitants were on his side, and both there and at the Hague he busied himself with plans for raising funds and levying troops, and securing co-operation from those of the people of England who still remained loyal. Ireland was generally in his favor too, and he seriously meditated an expedition there. His mother was unwilling to have him engage in these schemes. She was afraid he would, sooner or later, involve himself in dangers from which he could not extricate himself, and that he would end by being plunged into the same pit of destruction that had engulfed his father.