CHAPTER VI. NEGOTIATIONS WITH ANNE MARIA.
Amid all these political schemes, however, Charles did not forget Anne Maria. He was sager to secure her for his bride; for her fortune, and the power and influence of her connections, would aid him very much in recovering his throne. Her hope of marrying the Emperor of Germany, too, was gone, for that potentate had chosen another wife. Charles therefore continued his attentions to the young lady. She would not give him any distinct and decisive answer, but kept the subject in a state of perpetual negotiation. She was, in fact, growing more and more discontented and unhappy in disposition all the time. Her favorite plan of marrying the emperor had been thwarted, in part, by the difficulties which her friends - her father and her aunt especially - had contrived secretly to throw in the way, while outwardly and ostensibly they appeared to be doing all in their power to promote her wishes. They did not wish to have her married at all, as by this event the management of her vast fortune would pass out of their hands. She discovered this, their double dealing, when it was too late, and she was overwhelmed with vexation and chagrin.
Things being in this state, Charles sent a special messenger, at one time, from the Hague, with instructions to make a formal proposal to Anne Maria, and to see if he could not bring the affair to a close. The name of this messenger was Lord Germain.
The queen regent and her father urged Anne Maria now to consent to the proposal. They told her that Charles's prospects were brightening - that they themselves were going to render him powerful protection - that he had already acquired several allies - that there were whole provinces in England that were in his favor; and that all Ireland, which was, as it were, a kingdom in itself, was on his side. Whether they seriously desired that Anne Maria would consent to Charles's proposals, or only urged, for effect, what they knew very well she would persist in refusing, it is impossible to ascertain. If this latter were their design, it seemed likely to fail, for Anne Maria appeared to yield. She was sorry, she said, that the situation of affairs in Paris was not such as to allow of the French government giving Charles effectual help in gaining possession of the throne; but still, not withstanding that, she was ready to do what ever they might think best to command.
Lord Germain then said that he should proceed directly to Holland and escort Charles to France, and he wanted Anne Maria to give him a direct and positive reply; for if she would really accept his proposal, he would come at once to court and claim her as his bride; otherwise he must proceed to Ireland, for the state of his affairs demanded his presence there. But if she would accept his proposal, he would immediately come to Paris, and have the marriage ceremony performed, and then he would remain afterward some days with her, that she might enjoy the honors and distinctions to which she would become entitled as the queen consort of a mighty realm. He would then, if she liked the plan, take her to Saint Germain's, where his mother, her aunt, was then residing, and establish her there while he was recovering his kingdom; or, if she preferred it, she might take up her residence in Paris, where she had been accustomed to live.
To this the young lady replied that the last mentioned plan, that is, that she should continue to live at Paris after being married to Charles, was one that she could not think of. She should feel altogether unwilling to remain and enjoy the gayeties and festivities of Paris while her husband was at the head of his armies, exposed to all the dangers and privations of a camp; nor should she consider it right to go on incurring the expenses which a lady of her rank and position must necessarily bear in such a city, while he was perhaps embarrassed and distressed with the difficulties of providing funds for his own and his followers' necessities. She should feel, in fact, bound, if she were to become his wife, to do all in her power to assist him; and it would end, she foresaw, in her having to dispose of all her property, and expend the avails in aiding him to recover his kingdom. This, she said, she confessed alarmed her. It was a great sacrifice for her to make, reared as she had been in opulence and luxury. Lord Germain replied that all this was doubtless true, but then, on the other hand, he would venture to remind her that there was no other suitable match for her in Europe. He then went on to name the principal personages. The Emperor of Germany and the King of Spain were both married. Some other monarch was just about to espouse a Spanish princess. Others whom he named were too young; others, again, too old; and a certain prince whom he mentioned had been married, he said, these ten years, and his wife was in excellent health, so that every species of hope seemed to be cut off in that quarter.