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rationalist and utilitarian view of monarchy, would deal just in that way with his share in the Revolution and the Napoleonic era. It was a minor comfort to the epicurean to leave a rounded version of his life to posterity.

The literary aspect of the memoirs may be briefly dismissed. Their authenticity is now beyond dispute, but it is acknowledged that Talleyrand did not write the connected narrative. He had the habit of jotting down his ideas on scraps of paper, and leaving it to his secretaries to weave them together. This was done by M. Bacourt with the memoirs. M. Pierre Bertrand has, in his preface to the "Lettres inédites de Talleyrand à Napoleon," sufficiently disposed of the insinuation that Talleyrand could not write. By comparison of the Prince's notes with the secretary's drafts and the finished letters he has shown that Talleyrand counted for far more than was supposed in the composition. He might have shown, by internal evidence, that many of the letters were wholly written by Talleyrand. However, we know that Talleyrand dictated letters, or left it to his secretaries to compose them, whenever it was safe to do so. It was a sound economy; and it was not unconnected with his heavy foot-gear, which led him to prefer the couch to sitting at a table. Of the literary quality of his writing there is not much to be said. He could do "fine writing" at times, as Sainte-Beuve said; and Lord Acton admits that much of the characterisation in the memoirs is very clever. But the bulk of the work is without distinction.

Talleyrand's position in Paris during the year after his resignation was a curious one. The Hotel St. Florentin continued to be a resort of the most distinguished foreigners and many of the ablest French politicians, but the strange conflicts of the time put the Prince (Benevento had returned to the Papacy, but he had now a French title) in a peculiar attitude. The King and the Cabinet were now engaged in a struggle to defend constitutional monarchy against the excesses of the extreme Royalists. Talleyrand claimed to be at once "constitutional and anti-ministerial." The positive ground for this attitude was that the King had annulled the elections and ordered fresh ones, to give the Liberals the chance of undoing the triumph of the reactionaries. As a result of this novel situation Talleyrand found himself using almost the same language as his bitterest Royalist enemies, and declaiming against “a Cabinet that enslaved and degraded France.” It is quite clear that there was an element of calculation and of prejudice in his position. His opposition became so exasperating that the King forbade him to come to the Court for some months.

After this we have a period of four years of political silence. Indeed, only three incidents call for our notice during the next fourteen years. He resigned himself once more to the position of a mere spectator, and was content to throw a light jet of sarcasm on the panorama that passed before him. English visitors to Paris, who eagerly sought to enter the Hotel St. Florentin, describe


him sitting in his favourite chair by the open window in the summer, looking across to the Tuileries. The long and luxuriant hair now bore the snow of more than sixty winters, but was curled and perfumed every morning with no less care than when he was the Abbé de Périgord. The bluish shade had passed from his grey eyes, and as age wore on his eyelids drooped more and more, so that he seemed at times to sleep during conversation. when the moment came the old fire would flash from under his shaggy eye-brows, and his sepulchral voice would give forth a phrase that would reverberate through all the salons of Paris. The freshness and transparency of his younger complexion gave place in time to a deathlike greyness. Lady Morgan, who saw him at this period, said his face was like that of a sleeping child. was a superficial tribute to the art of the two valets who spent hours in preparing it every day. Most visitors who visited him at his hotel, or met him in the picture galleries, leaning heavily on his long stick, dressed in his long blue overcoat, and with his chin sunk in his large muslin cravat, thought they saw the face of a dead or dying man, or a piece of yellow wax-work—until his eye pierced them.


His temperate habits had spared his health and energy. In the later years he would rise about eleven, spend two or three hours in leisurely dressing and chatting to privileged visitors, take only one meal a day, and spend the evening-and far into the morningin whist or billiards or conversation or writing. He

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