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In 1829 an incident occurred that has furnished his critics with the last of their graver charges against him-if we except his "desertion" of Charles X. On January 21st he was present at the mass in Notre Dame in commemoration of the death of Louis XVI. Suddenly a man sprang a man sprang from the crowd, and felled the aged prince to the ground with a heavy blow on the face. This man was that famous Marquis de Maubreuil, whose adventures have lately been presented by Mr. Vizetelly. He had adopted this brutal means of bringing a grievance before the public. His story was that Taylleyrand had engaged him in 1814 to assassinate Napoleon, and had afterwards disowned the contract. For serious and impartial readers it is enough to learn the character of this unprincipled adventurer. It is clear that he did in 1814 obtain some kind of secret mission, money, and a passport from the provisional government. Talleyrand says that a large number of men were needed for missions in the provinces, and in the stress and confusion of the time there was not a strict discrimination. At all events Maubreuil left Paris with an armed company and regular passports. In the forest of Fontainebleau he overtook the Queen of Westphalia, who was flying from France. Maubreuil stopped her equipage, ransacked her luggage, and made off with her jewellery and a considerable sum of money. He was caught and sentenced to five years' imprisonment in 1818, but escaped to England, where he had a fine market for his stories. He returned to France in 1827,

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and drew public attention by his attack on Talleyrand, then in his seventy-third year. I will only add that, after serving five years for the assault, he, at the age of eighty-three, married a prostitute (the daughter of his former coachman) for the sake of her money.

Serious history would not listen for a second to the unsupported word of such a man. The life of Talleyrand lies on a peculiar plane, and Maubreuil's accusation, that he engaged him to murder Napoleon, has been treated with the usual hypocritical gravity. The only attempt at confirmation is found by the diligent Sainte-Beuve in a floating rumour that one of Talleyrand's confidants was heard to ask: "How many millions do you ask?" As Maubreuil did not pretend to have treated with either Louis or De Pradt, and as the likelihood of such a contract being heard by others is inconceivable, the rumour would be worth little even if it were better grounded. The only other attempt at confirmation is made by the amiable Pasquier, who says that Dalberg told him men had been found who would get access to the Emperor in the uniform of chasseurs of the guard and do away with him. As Maubreuil spoke of a design of using this uniform, Pasquier concluded he was the proposed leader of the band, and Talleyrand the instigator. On this kind of evidence Sainte-Beuve is vaguely sure that we may connect Talleyrand with the idea of assassination, just as he has a "terrible doubt" whether we may not connect him. with the death of Mirabeau. Thus has the mythical

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