Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/46

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should be wanting, as far as his power extended. But he was by no means disposed to listen to the political and military projects of his unlucky guest. James recommended an immediate descent on England. That kingdom, he said, had been drained of troops by the demands of Ireland. The seven or eight thousand regular soldiers who were left would be unable to withstand a great French army. The people were ashamed of their error and impatient to repair it. As soon as their rightful King showed himself, they would rally round him in multitudes.[1] Lewis was too polite and goodnatured to express what he must have felt. He contented himself with answering coldly that he could not decide upon any plan about the British islands till he had heard from his generals in Ireland. James was importunate, and seemed to think himself ill used, because, a fortnight after he had run away from one army, he was not entrusted with another. Lewis was not to be provoked into uttering an unkind or uncourteous word: but he was resolute and, in order to avoid solicitation which gave him pain, he pretended to be unwell. During some time, whenever James came to Versailles, he was respectfully informed that His Most Christian Majesty was not equal to the transaction of business. The highspirited and quickwitted nobles who daily crowded the antechambers could not help sneering while they bowed low to the royal visitor, whose poltroonery and stupidity had a second time made him an exile and a mendicant. They even whispered their sarcasms loud enough to call up the haughty blood of the Guelphs in the cheeks of Mary of Modena. But the insensibility of James was of no common kind. It had long been found proof against reason and against pity. It now sustained a still harder trial, and was found proof even against contempt.[2]

While he was enduring with ignominious fortitude the polite scorn of the French aristocracy, and doing his best to weary

  1. It was not only on this occasion that James held this language. From one of the letters quoted in the last note it appears that on his road front Brest to Paris he told every body that the English were impatiently expecting him. "Ce pauvre prince croit que ses sujets l'aiment encore."
  2. Life of James, ii. 411, 412; Burnet, ii. 57; and Dartmouth's note.