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Title: Hortense, Makers of History Series
Author: Abbott, John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot), 1805-1877
Language: English
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Internet Archive)



 Makers of History

 Hortense

 BY JOHN S. C. ABBOTT

 WITH ENGRAVINGS

 NEW YORK AND LONDON
 HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
 1902



 Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by

 HARPER & BROTHERS,

 In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
 Southern District of New York.

 Copyright, 1898, by LAURA A. BUCK.


[Illustration: HORTENSE.]



PREFACE.


The French Revolution was perhaps as important an event as has occurred
in the history of nations. It was a drama in three acts. The first was
the Revolution itself, properly so called, with its awful scenes of
terror and of blood--the exasperated millions struggling against the
accumulated oppression of ages.

The second act in the drama was the overthrow of the Directory by
Napoleon, and the introduction of the Consulate and the Empire; the
tremendous struggle against the combined dynasties of Europe; the
demolition of the Empire, and the renewed crushing of the people by the
triumph of the nobles and the kings.

Then came the third act in the drama--perhaps the last, perhaps not--in
which the French people again drove out the Bourbons, re-established the
Republican Empire, with its principle of equal rights for all, and
placed upon the throne the heir of the great Emperor.

No man can understand the career of Napoleon I. without being acquainted
with those scenes of anarchy and terror which preceded his reign. No man
can understand the career of Napoleon III. unless familiar with the
struggle of the people against the despots in the Revolution, their
triumph in the Empire, their defeat in its overthrow, and their renewed
triumph in its restoration.

Hortense was intimately associated with all these scenes. Her father
fell beneath the slide of the guillotine; her mother was imprisoned and
doomed to die; and she and her brother were turned penniless into the
streets. By the marriage of her mother with Napoleon, she became the
daughter of the Emperor, and one of the most brilliant and illustrious
ladies of the imperial court. The triumph of the Allies sent her into
exile, where her influence and her instruction prepared her son to
contribute powerfully to the restoration of the Empire, and to reign
with ability which is admired by his friends and acknowledged by his
foes. The mother of Napoleon III. never allowed her royally-endowed son
to forget, even in the gloomiest days of exile and of sorrow, that it
might yet be his privilege to re-establish the Republican Empire, and to
restore the dynasty of the people from its overthrow by the despotic
Allies.

In this brief record of the life of one who experienced far more than
the usual vicissitudes of humanity, whose career was one of the saddest
upon record, and who ever exhibited virtues which won the enthusiastic
love of all who knew her, the writer has admitted nothing which can not
be sustained by incontrovertible evidence, and has suppressed nothing
sustained by any testimony worthy of a moment's respect. This history
will show that Hortense had her faults. Who is without them? There are
not many, however, who will read these pages without profound admiration
for the character of one of the noblest of women, and without finding
the eye often dimmed, in view of her heart-rending griefs.

This volume will soon be followed by the History of Louis Philippe.



 CONTENTS.


 CHAPTER                                                          PAGE

    I. PARENTAGE AND BIRTH                                          15

   II. MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE AND GENERAL BONAPARTE                  49

  III. HORTENSE AND DUROC                                           80

   IV. THE MARRIAGE OF HORTENSE                                    110

    V. THE BIRTH OF LOUIS NAPOLEON AND THE DIVORCE OF JOSEPHINE    148

   VI. THE DEATH OF JOSEPHINE                                      179

  VII. THE SORROWS OF EXILE                                        211

 VIII. PEACEFUL DAYS, YET SAD                                      239

  IX. LIFE AT ARENEMBERG                                           293

   X. LETTER FROM LOUIS NAPOLEON TO HIS MOTHER                     322

  XI. DEATH OF HORTENSE, AND THE ENTHRONEMENT OF HER SON           358



ENGRAVINGS.


                                                                  PAGE

 HORTENSE                                              _Frontispiece._

 JOSEPHINE TAKING LEAVE OF HER CHILDREN                             38

 THE RECONCILIATION                                                 76

 THE LOVE-LETTER                                                   104

 THE LITTLE PRINCE NAPOLEON                                        129

 THE DIVORCE ANNOUNCED                                             165

 THE DEATH OF MADAME BROC                                          194

 HORTENSE AND HER CHILDREN                                         218

 HORTENSE AT ARENEMBERG                                            248

 INTERVIEW IN THE COLISEUM                                         271

 THE STUDY OF LOUIS NAPOLEON                                       307

 THE ARREST                                                        336



HORTENSE.



CHAPTER I.

PARENTAGE AND BIRTH.

1776-1794

Josephine's voyage to France.--Viscount de Beauharnais.--Josephine's
reluctance.--Marriage.--Birth of Eugene.--Birth of Hortense.--Separation
from Beauharnais.--Return to Martinique.--Revisits France.--The jewel
caskets.--The old pair of shoes.--Commencement of the Reign of
Terror.--Arrest of Beauharnais.--Domiciliary visit.--Beauharnais in
prison.--Affecting interview.--Scene in prison.--Trial of
Beauharnais.--Anguish of Josephine.--Arrest of Josephine.--Impulsiveness
of Hortense.--Letter from Josephine.--Letter from Beauharnais.--Execution
of Beauharnais.--Josephine to her children.


In the year 1776 a very beautiful young lady, by the name of Josephine
Rose Tascher, was crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the island of
Martinique to France. She was but fifteen years of age; and, having been
left an orphan in infancy, had been tenderly reared by an uncle and
aunt, who were wealthy, being proprietors of one of the finest
plantations upon the island. Josephine was accompanied upon the voyage
by her uncle. She was the betrothed of a young French nobleman by the
name of Viscount Alexander de Beauharnais, who had recently visited
Martinique, and who owned several large estates adjoining the property
which Josephine would probably inherit.

It was with great reluctance that Josephine yielded to the importunities
of her friends and accepted the proffered hand of the viscount. Her
affections had long been fixed upon a play-mate of her childhood by the
name of William, and her love was passionately returned. William was
then absent in France, pursuing his education. De Beauharnais was what
would usually be called a very splendid man. He was of high rank, young,
rich, intelligent, and fascinating in his manners. The marriage of
Josephine with the viscount would unite the properties. Her friends, in
their desire to accomplish the union, cruelly deceived Josephine. They
intercepted the letters of William, and withheld her letters to him, and
represented to her that William, amidst the gayeties of Paris, had
proved a false lover, and had entirely forgotten her. De Beauharnais,
attracted by the grace and beauty of Josephine, had ardently offered her
his hand. Under these circumstances the inexperienced maiden had
consented to the union, and was now crossing the Atlantic with her uncle
for the consummation of the nuptials in France.

Upon her arrival she was conducted to Fontainebleau, where De
Beauharnais hastened to meet her. Proud of her attractions, he took
great pleasure in introducing her to his high-born friends, and
lavished upon her every attention. Josephine was grateful, but sad, for
her heart still yearned for William. Soon William, hearing of her
arrival, and not knowing of her engagement, anxiously repaired to
Fontainebleau. The interview was agonizing. William still loved her with
the utmost devotion. They both found that they had been the victims of a
conspiracy, though one of which De Beauharnais had no knowledge.

Josephine, young, inexperienced, far from home, and surrounded by the
wealthy and powerful friends of her betrothed, had gone too far in the
arrangements for the marriage to recede. Her anguish, however, was so
great that she was thrown into a violent fever. She had no friend to
whom she could confide her emotions. But in most affecting tones she
entreated that her marriage might be delayed for a few months until she
should regain her health. Her friends consented, and she took refuge for
a time in the Convent of Panthemont, under the tender care of the
sisters.

It is not probable that De Beauharnais was at all aware of the real
state of Josephine's feelings. He was proud of her, and loved her as
truly as a fashionable man of the world could love. It is also to be
remembered that at that time in France it was not customary for young
ladies to have much influence in the choice of their husbands. It was
supposed that their parents could much more judiciously arrange these
matters than the young ladies themselves.

Josephine was sixteen years of age at the time of her marriage. Her
attractions were so remarkable that she immediately became a great
favorite at the French court, to which the rank of her husband
introduced her. Marie Antoinette was then the youthful bride of Louis
XVI. She was charmed with Josephine, and lavished upon her the most
flattering attentions. Two children were born of this marriage, both of
whom attained world-wide renown. The first was a son, Eugene. He was
born in September, 1781. His career was very elevated, and he occupied
with distinguished honor all the lofty positions to which he was raised.
He became duke of Leuchtenberg, prince of Eichstedt, viceroy of Italy.
He married the Princess Augusta, daughter of the King of Bavaria.

"Prince Eugene, under a simple exterior, concealed a noble character and
great talents. Honor, integrity, humanity, and love of order and
justice were the principal traits of his character. Wise in the council,
undaunted in the field, and moderate in the exercise of power, he never
appeared greater than in the midst of reverses, as the events of 1813
and 1814 prove. He was inaccessible to the spirit of party, benevolent
and beneficent, and more devoted to the good of others than his own."[A]

[Footnote A: Encyclopædia Americana.]

The second child was a daughter, Hortense, the subject of this brief
memoir. She was born on the 10th of January, 1783. In the opening scenes
of that most sublime of earthly tragedies, the French Revolution, M. de
Beauharnais espoused the popular cause, though of noble blood, and
though his elder brother, the Marquis de Beauharnais, earnestly
advocated the cause of the king and the court.

The entire renunciation of the Christian religion was then popular in
France. Alexander de Beauharnais, like most of his young pleasure-loving
companions, was an infidel. His conduct soon became such that the heart
of poor Josephine was quite broken. Her two children, Eugene and
Hortense, both inherited the affectionate and gentle traits of their
mother, and were her only solace. In her anguish she unguardedly wrote
to her friends in Martinique, who had almost forced her into her
connection with Beauharnais:

"Were it not for my children, I should, without a pang, renounce France
forever. My duty requires me to forget William. And yet, if _we_ had
been united together, I should not to-day have been troubling you with
my griefs."

Viscount Beauharnais chanced to see this letter. It roused his jealousy
fearfully. A sense of "honor" would allow him to lavish his attentions
upon guilty favorites, while that same sense of "honor" would urge him
to wreak vengeance upon his unhappy, injured wife, because, in her
neglect and anguish, with no false, but only a true affection, her
memory turned to the loved companion of her childhood. According to the
standard of the fashionable world, Beauharnais was a very honorable man.
According to the standard of Christianity, he was a sinner in the sight
of God, and was to answer for this conduct at the final judgment.

He reproached his wife in the severest language of denunciation. He took
from her her son Eugene. He applied to the courts for a divorce,
demanding his daughter Hortense also. Josephine pleaded with him in
vain, for the sake of their children, not to proclaim their disagreement
to the world. Grief-stricken, poor Josephine retired to a convent to
await the trial. The verdict was triumphantly in her favor. But her
heart was broken. She was separated from her husband, though the legal
tie was not severed.

Her friends in Martinique, informed of these events, wrote, urging her
to return to them. She decided to accept the invitation. Hortense was
with her mother. M. de Beauharnais had sent Eugene, whom he had taken
from her, to a boarding-school. Before sailing for Martinique she
obtained an interview with M. de Beauharnais, and with tears entreated
that she might take Eugene with her also. He was unrelenting; Josephine,
with a crushed and world-weary heart, folded Hortense to her bosom, then
an infant but three years of age, and returned to her tropical home,
which she had sadly left but a few years before. Here, on the retired
plantation, soothed by the sympathy of her friends, she strove to
conceal her anguish.

There was never a more loving heart than that with which Josephine was
endowed. She clung to Hortense with tenderness which has rarely been
equalled. They were always together. During the day Hortense was ever by
her side, and at night she nestled in her mother's bosom. Living amidst
the scenes of tropical luxuriance and beauty, endeared to her by the
memories of childhood, Josephine could almost have been happy but for
the thoughts of her absent Eugene. Grief for her lost child preyed ever
upon her heart.

Her alienated husband, relieved from all restraint, plunged anew into
those scenes of fashionable dissipation for which Paris was then
renowned. But sickness, sorrows, and misfortunes came. In those dark
hours he found that no earthly friend can supply the place of a virtuous
and loving wife. He wrote to her, expressing bitter regret for his
conduct, and imploring her to return. The wounds which Josephine had
received were too deep to be easily healed. Forgiving as she was by
nature, she said to her friends that the memory of the past was so
painful that, were it not for Eugene, she should very much prefer not to
return to France again, but to spend the remainder of her days in the
seclusion of her native island. Her friends did every thing in their
power to dissuade her from returning. But a mother's love for her son
triumphed, and with Hortense she took ship for France.

An event occurred upon this voyage which is as instructive as it is
interesting. Many years afterwards, when Josephine was Empress of
France, and the wealth of the world was almost literally at her feet, on
one occasion some young ladies who were visiting the court requested
Josephine to show them her diamonds. These jewels were almost of
priceless value, and were kept in a vault, the keys of which were
confided to the most trusty persons. Josephine, who seldom wore jewels,
very amiably complied with their request. A large table was brought into
the saloon. Her maids in waiting brought in a great number of caskets,
of every size and form, containing the precious gems.

As these caskets were opened, they were dazzled with the brilliancy, the
size, and the number of these ornaments. The different sets composed
probably by far the most brilliant collection in Europe. In Napoleon's
conquering career, the cities which he had entered lavished their gifts
upon Josephine. The most remarkable of these jewels consisted of large
white diamonds. There were others in the shape of pears formed of
pearls of the richest colors. There were opals, rubies, sapphires, and
emeralds of such marvellous value that the large diamonds that encircled
them were considered as mere mountings not regarded in the estimation
made of the value of the jewels.

As the ladies gazed upon the splendor of this collection, they were lost
in wonder and admiration. Josephine, after enjoying for a while their
expressions of delight, and having allowed them to examine the beautiful
gems thoroughly, said to them kindly:

"I had no other motive, in ordering my jewels to be opened before you,
than to spoil your fancy for such ornaments. After having seen such
splendid sets, you can never feel a wish for inferior ones; the less so
when you reflect how unhappy I have been, although with so rare a
collection at my command. During the first dawn of my extraordinary
elevation, I delighted in these trifles, many of which were presented to
me in Italy. I grew by degrees so tired of them that I no longer wear
any, except when I am in some respects compelled to do so by my new rank
in the world. A thousand accidents may, besides, contribute to deprive
me of these brilliant, though useless objects. Do I not possess the
pendants of Queen Marie Antoinette? And yet am I quite sure of retaining
them? Trust to me, ladies, and do not envy a splendor which does not
constitute happiness. I shall not fail to surprise you when I relate
that I once felt more pleasure at receiving an old pair of shoes than at
being presented with all the diamonds which are now spread before you."

The young ladies could not help smiling at this observation, persuaded
as they were that Josephine was not in earnest. But she repeated her
assertions in so serious a manner that they felt the utmost curiosity to
hear the story of this _wonderful pair of shoes_.

"I repeat it, ladies," said her majesty, "it is strictly true, that the
present which, of all others, has afforded me most pleasure was a pair
of old shoes of the coarsest leather; and you will readily believe it
when you have heard my story.

"I had set sail from Martinique, with Hortense, on board a ship in which
we received such marked attentions that they are indelibly impressed on
my memory. Being separated from my first husband, my pecuniary resources
were not very flourishing. The expense of my return to France, which
the state of my affairs rendered necessary, had nearly drained me of
every thing, and I found great difficulty in making the purchases which
were indispensably requisite for the voyage. Hortense, who was a smart,
lively child, sang negro songs, and performed negro dances with
admirable accuracy. She was the delight of the sailors, and, in return
for their fondness, she made them her favorite company. I no sooner fell
asleep than she slipped upon deck and rehearsed her various little
exercises, to the renewed delight and admiration of all on board.

"An old mate was particularly fond of her, and whenever he found a
moment's leisure from his daily occupations, he devoted it to his little
friend, who was also exceedingly attached to him. My daughter's shoes
were soon worn out with her constant dancing and skipping. Knowing as
she did that I had no other pair for her, and fearing lest I should
prevent her going upon deck if I should discover the plight of those she
was fast wearing away, she concealed the trifling accident from my
knowledge. I saw her once returning with bleeding feet, and asked her,
in the utmost alarm, if she had hurt herself; 'No, mamma.' 'But your
feet are bleeding.' 'It really is nothing.' I insisted upon ascertaining
what ailed her, and found that her shoes were all in tatters, and her
flesh dreadfully torn by a nail.

"We had as yet only performed half the voyage; a long time would
necessarily elapse before I could procure a fresh pair of shoes; I was
mortified at the bare anticipation of the distress my poor Hortense
would feel at being compelled to remain confined in my wretched little
cabin, and of the injury her health might experience from the want of
exercise. At the moment when I was wrapped up in sorrow, and giving free
vent to my tears, our friend the mate made his appearance, and inquired,
with his honest bluntness, the cause of our _whimperings_. Hortense
replied, in a sobbing voice, that she could no longer go upon deck
because she had torn her shoes, and I had no others to give her.

"'Is that all?' said the sailor. 'I have an old pair in my trunk; let me
go for them. You, madame, will cut them up, and I shall sew them over
again to the best of my power; every thing on board ship shall be turned
to account; this is not the place for being too nice or particular; we
have our most important wants gratified when we have the needful.'

"He did not wait for our reply, but went in quest of his old shoes,
which he brought to us with an air of exultation, and offered them to
Hortense, who received the gift with every demonstration of delight.

"We set to work with the greatest alacrity, and my daughter was enabled,
towards the close of the day, to enjoy the pleasure of again amusing the
ship's company. I repeat it, that no present was ever received by me
with more sincere gratitude. I greatly reproach myself for having
neglected to make inquiries after the worthy seaman, who was only known
on board by the name of James. I should have felt a sincere satisfaction
in rendering him some service, since it was afterwards in my power to do
so."

Josephine had spent three years in Martinique. Consequently, upon her
return to France, Hortense was six years of age. Soon after her arrival
the Reign of Terror commenced. The guillotine was erected, and its knife
was busy beheading those who were suspected of not being in full
sympathy with the reformers whom revolution had brought into power.
Though Viscount Beauharnais had earnestly espoused the popular cause;
though he had been president of the National Assembly, and afterwards
general of the Army of the Rhine, still he was of noble birth, and his
older brother was an aristocrat, and an emigrant. He was consequently
suspected, and arrested. Having conducted him to prison, a committee of
the Convention called at the residence of Josephine to examine the
children, hoping to extort from them some evidence against their father.
Josephine, in a letter to her aunt, thus describes this singular scene:

"You would hardly believe, dear aunt, that my children have just
undergone a long and minute examination. That wicked old man, the
member of the committee whom I have already mentioned to you, called
upon me, and, affecting to feel uneasy in regard to my husband, and to
converse with me respecting him, opened a conversation with my children.
I acknowledge that I at first fell into the snare. What surprised me,
however, was the sudden affability of the man. But he soon betrayed
himself by the malignity and even bitterness which he displayed when the
children replied in such a manner as to give him no advantage over
their unhappy parents. I soon penetrated his artful intentions.

"When he found me on my guard, he threw off the mask, and admitted that
he was desired to procure information from my children, which, he said,
might be more relied on, as it would bear the stamp of candor. He then
entered into a formal examination. At that moment I felt an
indescribable emotion; and the conflicting effects of fear, anger, and
indignation alternately agitated me. I was even upon the point of openly
giving vent to my feelings against the hoary revolutionist, when I
reflected that I might, by so doing, materially injure M. de
Beauharnais, against whom that atrocious villain appeared to have vowed
perpetual enmity. I accordingly checked my angry passions. He desired me
to leave him alone with my children; I attempted to resist, but his
ferocious glance compelled me to give way.

"He confined Hortense in the closet, and began to put questions to her
brother. My daughter's turn came next. As for this child, in whom he
discovered a premature quickness and penetration far above her age, he
kept questioning her for a great length of time. After having sounded
them respecting our common topics of conversation, our opinions, the
visits and letters we were in the habit of receiving, but more
particularly the occurrences they might have witnessed, he came to the
main point--I mean, to the expressions used by Alexander. My children
gave very proper replies; such, in fact, as were suited to their
respective dispositions. And notwithstanding the artfulness of a
mischievous man whose object is to discover guilt, the frankness of my
son and the quick penetration of my daughter disconcerted his low
cunning, and even defeated the object he had in view."

Viscount Beauharnais, when arrested, was conveyed to the palace of the
Luxembourg, where he was imprisoned with many other captives. To spare
the feelings of the children, the fact of his imprisonment was concealed
from them by Josephine, and they were given to understand that their
father, not being very well, had placed himself under the care of a
celebrated physician, who had recommended him to take up his residence
at the Luxembourg, where there was much vacant space, and consequently
purer air. The imprisoned father was very anxious to see his wife and
children. The authorities consented, allowing the children to go in
first under the care of an attendant, and afterwards their mother.

Hortense, child as she was, was bewildered by the scene, and her
suspicions were evidently excited. As she came out, she said to her
mother, "I think papa's apartments are very small, and the patients are
very numerous."

After the children had left, Josephine was introduced. She knew that her
husband's life was in imminent peril. His penitence and grateful love
had produced entire reconciliation, and had won back Josephine's heart.
She was not willing that the children should witness the tender and
affecting interview which, under such circumstances, must take place.

Beauharnais had but little hope that he should escape the guillotine. As
Josephine, bathed in tears, rushed into his arms, all his fortitude
forsook him. His emotion was so great that his wife, struggling against
her own anguish, used her utmost endeavors to calm and console him.

In the midst of this heart-rending scene, to their consternation, the
children, by some misunderstanding, were again led into the apartment.
The father and mother struggled to disguise from them the cause of that
emotion which they could not conceal. For a time the children were
silent and bewildered; then Hortense, though with evident misgivings,
attempted to console her parents. The events of her saddened life had
rendered her unusually precocious. Turning to her mother, she begged her
not to give way to so much sorrow, assuring her that she could not think
that her father was dangerously ill. Then addressing Eugene, she said,
in a peculiar tone which her parents felt as a reproach,

"I do not think, brother, that papa is very sick. At any rate, it is not
such a sickness as doctors can cure." Josephine felt the reproach, and
conscious that it was in some degree deserved, said:

"What do you mean, my child? Do you think your father and I have
combined to deceive you?"

"Pardon me, mamma, but I do think so."

"Oh, sister," exclaimed Eugene, "how can you speak so strangely?"

"On the contrary," Hortense replied, "it is very plain and natural.
Surely affectionate parents may be allowed to deceive their children
when they wish to spare their feelings."

Josephine was seated in the lap of her husband. Hortense sprang into
her mother's arms, and encircled the neck of both father and mother in a
loving embrace. Eugene caught the contagion, and by his tears and
affecting caresses added to this domestic scene of love and woe.

It is the universal testimony that Eugene and Hortense were so lovely in
person and in character that they instantly won the affection of all who
saw them. The father was conscious that he was soon to die. He knew that
all his property would be confiscated. It was probable that Josephine
would also be led to her execution. The guillotine spared neither sex
who had incurred the suspicions of enthroned democracy. Both parents
forgot themselves, in their anxiety for their children. The execution of
Beauharnais would undoubtedly lead to the arrest and execution of
Josephine. The property of the condemned was invariably confiscated.
There was thus danger that the children would be turned in beggary into
the streets. It is difficult to conceive the anguish which must have
rent the hearts of affectionate parents in hours of woe so awful.

The prisons were crowded with victims. Brief as were the trials, and
rapid as was the execution of the guillotine, there was some
considerable delay before Beauharnais was led before the revolutionary
tribunal. In the mean time Josephine made several calls, with her
children, upon her imprisoned husband. Little Hortense, whose suspicions
were strongly excited, watched every word, and soon became so convinced
that her father was a prisoner that it became impossible for her parents
any longer to conceal the fact.

"What has papa done," inquired Hortense, "that they will not let him
come home?"

"He has done nothing wrong," said Josephine, timidly, for she knew not
what spies might be listening. "He is only accused of being unfriendly
to the Government."

Holding the hand of Eugene, Hortense exclaimed impetuously, "Oh, we will
punish your accusers as soon as we are strong enough."

"Be silent, my child," said her father anxiously. "If you are overheard
I am lost. Both your mother and I may be made to suffer for any
imprudent remark which you may make."

"But, papa, have you not often told us," said Eugene, "that it was
proper to resist an act of oppression?"

"Yes," said the father proudly, though conscious that his words might be
reported and misrepresented to his merciless judges. "And I repeat it.
Our conduct, however, must be guided by rules of prudence; and whoever
attempts to defeat the views of tyranny must beware of awaking it from
its slumbers."

No philosophy has yet been able to explain the delicate mechanism of the
human soul; its fleeting and varying emotions of joy and sadness, its
gleams of hope and shades of despair come and go, controlled by
influences which entirely elude human scrutiny. In these days of gloom,
rays of hope occasionally penetrated the cell of Beauharnais.

At last the hour of dread came. Beauharnais was led before the terrible
tribunal. He was falsely accused of having promoted the surrender of
Mentz to the Allies. He was doomed to death, and was sent to the
Conciergerie, whence he was to be conducted to his execution. This was
in July, 1794. Beauharnais was then thirty-four years of age.

[Illustration: JOSEPHINE TAKING LEAVE OF HER CHILDREN.]

It seems that the conversation which we have reported as having taken
place in the cell of Beauharnais had been overheard by listening ears,
and reported to the committee as a conspiracy for the overthrow of
the Republic. The arrest of Josephine was ordered. A warning letter from
some friend reached her a few moments before the officers arrived,
urging her to fly. It was an early hour in the morning. There was little
sleep for Josephine amidst those scenes of terror, and she was watching
by the side of her slumbering children. What could she do? Should she
abandon her children, and seek to save her own life by flight? A
mother's love rendered that impossible. Should she take them with her in
her flight? That would render her arrest certain; and the fact of her
attempting to escape would be urged as evidence of her guilt.

While distracted with these thoughts, the clatter of armed men was heard
at her door. With anguish which none but a mother can comprehend, she
bent over her children and imprinted, as she supposed, a last kiss upon
their cheeks. The affectionate little Hortense, though asleep, was
evidently agitated by troubled dreams. As she felt the imprint of her
mother's lips, she threw her arms around her neck and exclaimed, "Come
to bed, dear mamma; they shall not take you away to-night. I have prayed
to God for you."

Josephine, to avoid waking the children, stepped softly from the room,
closed the door, and entered her parlor. Here she was rudely seized by
the soldiers, who regarded her as a hated aristocrat. They took
possession of the house and all its furniture in the name of the
Republic, left the children to suffer or to die as fate might decide,
and dragged the mother to imprisonment in the Convent of the Carmelites.

When the children awoke in the morning, they found themselves alone and
friendless in the heart of Paris. The wonderful events of their lives
thus far had rendered them both unusually precocious. Eugene in
particular seemed to be endowed with all the thoughtfulness and wisdom
of a full-grown man. After a few moments of anguish and tears, in view
of their dreadful situation, they sat down to deliberate upon the course
to be pursued. Hortense suggested that they should repair to the
Luxembourg and seek the protection of their father in his imprisonment
there. But Eugene, apprehensive that such a step might in some way
compromise the safety of their father, recalled to mind that they had a
great-aunt, far advanced in life, who was residing at Versailles in deep
retirement. He proposed that they should seek refuge with her. Finding
a former domestic of the family, she kindly led them to their aunt,
where the desolate children were tenderly received.

Beauharnais was now in the Conciergerie, doomed to die, and awaiting his
execution. Josephine was in the prison of the Carmelites, expecting
hourly to be led to the tribunal to receive also her doom of death.

Hortense, an affectionate child, ardent and unreflecting in her
impatience to see her mother, one morning left her aunt's house at
Fontainebleau, to which place her aunt had removed, and in a market-cart
travelled thirty miles to Paris. Here the energetic child, impelled by
grief and love, succeeded in finding her mother's maid, Victorine. It
was however impossible for them to obtain access to the prison, and
Hortense the next day returned to Fontainebleau. Josephine, upon being
informed of this imprudent act, to which affection had impelled her
child, wrote to her the following letter:

"I should be entirely satisfied with the good heart of my Hortense, were
I not displeased with her bad head. How is it, my daughter, that,
without permission from your aunt, you have come to Paris? 'But it was
to see me, you will say.' You ought to be aware that no one can see me
without an order, to obtain which requires both means and precautions.
And besides, you got upon M. Dorset's cart, at the risk of incommoding
him, and retarding the conveyance of his merchandise. In all this you
have been very inconsiderate. My child, observe: it is not sufficient to
do good, you must also do good properly. At your age, the first of all
virtues is confidence and docility towards your relations. I am
therefore obliged to tell you that I prefer your tranquil attachment to
your misplaced warmth. This, however, does not prevent me from embracing
you, but less tenderly than I shall do when I learn that you have
returned to your aunt."

On the evening of the 24th of July M. de Beauharnais received the
announcement in his cell, that with the dawn of the next morning he was
to be led to the guillotine. Under these circumstances he wrote the
following farewell letter to his wife:

"I have yet a few minutes to devote to affection, tears, and regret, and
then I must wholly give myself up to the glory of my fate and to
thoughts of immortality. When you receive this letter, my dear
Josephine, your husband will have ceased to live, and will be tasting
true existence in the bosom of his Creator. Do not weep for him. The
wicked and senseless beings who survive him are more worthy of your
tears, for they are doing mischief which they can never repair. But let
us not cloud the present moments by any thoughts of their guilt. I wish,
on the contrary, to brighten these hours by the reflection that I have
enjoyed the affection of a lovely woman, and that our union would have
been an uninterrupted course of happiness, but for errors which I was
too late to acknowledge and atone for. This thought wrings tears from my
eyes, though your generous heart pardons me. But this is no time to
revive the recollection of my errors and of your wrongs. What thanks I
owe to Providence, who will reward you.

"That Providence disposes of me before my time. This is another
blessing, for which I am grateful. Can a virtuous man live happy when he
sees the whole world a prey to the wicked? I should rejoice in being
taken away, were it not for the thought of leaving those I love behind
me. But if the thoughts of the dying are presentiments, something in my
heart tells me that these horrible butcheries are drawing to a close;
that the executioners will, in their turn, become victims; that the
arts and sciences will again flourish in France; that wise and moderate
laws will take the place of cruel sacrifices, and that you will at
length enjoy the happiness which you have deserved. Our children will
discharge the debt for their father.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I resume these incoherent and almost illegible lines, which were
interrupted by the entrance of my jailer. I have submitted to a cruel
ceremony, which, under any other circumstances, I would have resisted at
the sacrifice of my life. Yet why should we rebel against necessity?
Reason tells us to make the best of it we can. My hair has been cut off.
I had some idea of buying a part of it, in order to leave to my wife and
children an unequivocal pledge of my last recollection of them. Alas! my
heart breaks at the very thought, and my tears bedew the paper on which
I am writing. Adieu, all that I love. Think of me, and do not forget
that to die the victim of tyrants and the martyrs of liberty sheds
lustre on the scaffold."

Josephine did not receive this letter until after her husband's
execution. The next afternoon one of the daily papers was brought into
the prison of the Carmelites. Josephine anxiously ran her eye over the
record of the executions, and found the name of her husband in the fatal
list. She fell senseless to the floor in a long-continued swoon. When
consciousness returned, she exclaimed at first, in the delirium of her
anguish, "O God, let me die! let me die! There is no peace for me but in
the grave." And then again a mother's love, as she thought of her orphan
children, led her to cling to the misery of existence for their sake.
Soon, however, the unpitying agents of the revolutionary tribunal came
to her with the announcement that in two days she was to be led to the
Conciergerie, and thence to her execution.

In the following letter Josephine informed her children of the death of
their father, and of her own approaching execution. It is a letter
highly characteristic of this wonderful woman in the attempt, by the
assumption of calmness, to avoid as far as possible lacerating the
feelings of Eugene and Hortense.

"The hand which will deliver this to you is faithful and sure. You will
receive it from a friend who knows and has shared my sorrows. I know not
by what accident she has hitherto been spared. I call this accident
fortunate; she regards it as a calamity. 'Is it not disgraceful to
live,' said she yesterday, 'when all who are good have the honor of
dying?' May Heaven, as the reward of her courage, refuse her the fatal
honor she desires.

"As to me, I am qualified for that honor, and I am preparing myself for
receiving it. Why has disease spared me so long? But I must not murmur.
As a wife, I ought to follow the fate of my husband, and can there now
be any fate more glorious than to ascend the scaffold? It is a patent of
immortality, purchased by a prompt and pleasing death.

"My children, your father is dead, and your mother is about to follow
him. But as before that final stroke the assassins leave me a few
moments to myself, I wish to employ them in writing to you. Socrates,
when condemned, philosophized with his disciples. A mother, on the point
of undergoing a similar fate, may discourse with her children.

"My last sigh will be for you, and I wish to make my last words a
lasting lesson. Time was, when I gave you lessons in a more pleasing
way. But the present will not be the less useful, that it is given at so
serious a moment. I have the weakness to water it with my tears. I
shall soon have the courage to seal it with my blood.

"Hitherto it was impossible to be happier than I have been. While to my
union with your father I owed my felicity, I may venture to think and to
say that to my character I was indebted for that union. I found in my
heart the means of winning the affection of my husband's relations.
Patience and gentleness always succeed in gaining the good-will of
others. You also, my dear children, possess natural advantages which
cost little, and are of great value. But you must learn how to employ
them, and that is what I still feel a pleasure in teaching you by my
example.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Here I must record the gratitude I owe to my excellent brother-in-law,
who has, under various circumstances, given me proofs of the most
sincere friendship, though he was of quite a different opinion from your
father, who embraced the new ideas with all the enthusiasm of a lively
imagination. He fancied liberty was to be secured by obtaining
concessions from the king, whom he venerated. But all was lost, and
nothing gained but anarchy. Who will arrest the torrent? O God! unless
thy powerful hand control and restrain it, we are undone.

"For my part, my children, I am about to die, as your father died, a
victim of the fury he always opposed, but to which he fell a sacrifice.
I leave life without hatred of France and its assassins, whom I despise.
But I am penetrated with sorrow for the misfortunes of my country. Honor
my memory in sharing my sentiments. I leave for your inheritance the
glory of your father and the name of your mother, whom some who have
been unfortunate will bear in remembrance."



CHAPTER II.

THE MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE AND GENERAL BONAPARTE.

1794-1799

Release of Josephine.--Apprenticeship of Eugene and Hortense.--Napoleon
Bonaparte.--Josephine and Napoleon.--Josephine to her aunt.--Marriage of
Josephine.--Letter to Eugene.--Rising greatness of Napoleon.--Expedition
to Egypt.--Letter to Bonaparte.--Madame Campan.--School-girl
days.--Letter from Josephine.--Napoleon's return from
Egypt.--Josephine's anguish.--Jealousy of Napoleon.--The meeting in
Paris.--The cruel repulse.--The reconciliation.--Napoleon First
Consul.--The Luxembourg.


The day before Josephine was to be led to her execution there was a new
revolution in Paris. Robespierre and the party then in power were
overthrown. From condemning others, they were condemned themselves. They
had sent hundreds, in the cart of the executioner, to the guillotine.
Now it was their turn to take that fatal ride, to ascend the steps of
the scaffold, and to have their own heads severed by the keen edge of
the knife. Those whom they had imprisoned were set at liberty.

As Josephine emerged from the gloom of her prison into the streets of
Paris, she found herself a widow, homeless, almost friendless, and in
the extreme of penury. But for her children, life would have been a
burden from which she would have been glad to be relieved by the
executioner's axe. The storms of revolution had dispersed all her
friends, and terror reigned in Paris. Her children were living upon the
charity of others. It was necessary to conceal their birth as the
children of a noble, for the brutal threat of Marat ever rang in her
ears, "We must exterminate all the whelps of aristocracy."

Hoping to conceal the illustrious lineage of Eugene and Hortense, and
probably also impelled by the necessities of poverty, Josephine
apprenticed her son to a house carpenter, and her daughter was placed,
with other girls of more lowly birth, in the shop of a milliner. But
Josephine's beauty of person, grace of manners, and culture of mind
could not leave her long in obscurity. Every one who met her was charmed
with her unaffected loveliness. New friends were created, among them
some who were in power. Through their interposition, a portion of her
husband's confiscated estates was restored to her. She was thus provided
with means of a frugal support for herself and her children. Engaging
humble apartments, she devoted herself entirely to their education. Both
of the children were richly endowed; inheriting from their mother and
their father talents, personal loveliness, and an instinctive power of
attraction. Thus there came a brief lull in those dreadful storms of
life by which Josephine had been so long buffeted.

But suddenly, like the transformations of the kaleidoscope, there came
another and a marvellous change. All are familiar with the circumstances
of her marriage to the young and rising general, Napoleon Bonaparte.
This remarkable young man, enjoying the renown of having captured
Toulon, and of having quelled a very formidable insurrection in the
streets of Paris, was ordered by the then existing Government to disarm
the whole Parisian population, that there might be no further attempt at
insurrection. The officers who were sent, in performance of this duty,
from house to house, took from Josephine the sword of her husband, which
she had preserved as a sacred relic. The next day Eugene repaired to the
head-quarters of General Bonaparte to implore that the sword of his
father might be restored to him. The young general was so much impressed
with the grace and beauty of the boy, and with his artless and touching
eloquence, that he made many inquiries respecting his parentage, treated
him with marked tenderness, and promptly restored the sword. Josephine
was so grateful for the kindness of General Bonaparte to Eugene, that
the next day she drove to his quarters to express a mother's thanks.
General Bonaparte was even more deeply impressed with the grace and
loveliness of the mother than he had been with the child. He sought her
acquaintance; this led to intimacy, to love, and to the proffer of
marriage.

In the following letter to a friend Josephine expressed her views in
reference to her marriage with General Bonaparte:

"I am urged, my dear, to marry again by the advice of all my friends,
and I may almost say, by the commands of my aunt and the prayers of my
children. Why are you not here to help me by your advice, and to tell me
whether I ought or not to consent to a union which certainly seems
calculated to relieve me from the discomforts of my present situation?
Your friendship would render you clear-sighted to my interests, and a
word from you would suffice to bring me to a decision.

"Among my visitors you have seen General Bonaparte. He is the man who
wishes to become a father to the orphans of Alexander de Beauharnais,
and husband to his widow.

"'Do you love him?' is naturally your first question. My answer is
perhaps '_no_.' 'Do you dislike him?' 'No,' again. But the sentiments I
entertain towards him are of that lukewarm kind which true devotees
think worst of all, in matters of religion. Now love being a sort of
religion, my feelings ought to be very different from what they really
are. This is the point on which I want your advice, which would fix the
wavering of my irresolute disposition. To come to a decision has always
been too much for my Creole inertness, and I find it easier to obey the
wishes of others.

"I admire the general's courage, the extent of his information on every
subject on which he converses; his shrewd intelligence, which enables
him to understand the thoughts of others before they are expressed. But
I confess that I am somewhat fearful of that control which he seems
anxious to exercise over all about him. There is something in his
scrutinizing glance that can not be described. It awes even our
Directors. Therefore it may well be supposed to intimidate a woman. He
talks of his passion for me with a degree of earnestness which renders
it impossible to doubt his sincerity. Yet this very circumstance, which
you would suppose likely to please me, is precisely that which has
withheld me from giving the consent which I have often been upon the
point of uttering.

"My spring of life is past. Can I then hope to preserve for any length
of time that ardor of affection which in the general amounts almost to
madness? If his love should cool, as it certainly will after our
marriage, will he not reproach me for having prevented him from forming
a more advantageous connection? What, then, shall I say? What shall I
do? I may shut myself up and weep. Fine consolation truly, methinks I
hear you say. But unavailing as I know it is, weeping is, I assure you,
my only consolation whenever my poor heart receives a wound. Write to me
quickly, and pray scold me if you think me wrong. You know every thing
is welcome that comes from you.

"Barras[B] assures me that if I marry the general, he will get him
appointed commander-in-chief of the Army of Italy. This favor, though
not yet granted, occasions some murmuring among Bonaparte's
brother-officers. When speaking to me on the subject yesterday, General
Bonaparte said:

[Footnote B: Barras, a leading member of the Directory, and a strong
friend of General Bonaparte.]

"'Do they think that I can not get forward without their patronage? One
day or other they will all be too happy if I grant them mine. I have a
good sword by my side, which will carry me on.'

"What do you think of this self-confidence? Does it not savor of
excessive vanity? A general of brigade to talk of patronizing the chiefs
of Government? It is very ridiculous. Yet I know not how it happens, his
ambitious spirit sometimes wins upon me so far that I am almost tempted
to believe in the practicability of any project he takes into his head;
and who can foresee what he may attempt?

"Madame Tallien desires me to present her love to you. She is still fair
and good as ever. She employs her immense influence only for the benefit
of the unfortunate. And when she performs a favor, she appears as
pleased and satisfied as though she herself were the obliged party. Her
friendship for me is most affectionate and sincere. And of my regard for
her I need only say that it is equal to that which I entertain for you.

"Hortense grows more and more interesting every day. Her pretty figure
is fully developed, and, if I were so inclined, I should have ample
reason to rail at Time, who confers charms on the daughter at the
expense of the mother. But truly I have other things to think of. I try
to banish gloomy thoughts, and look forward to a more propitious future,
for we shall soon meet, never to part again.

"But for this marriage, which harasses and unsettles me, I could be
cheerful in spite of every thing. Were it once over, happen what might,
I could resign myself to my fate. I am inured to suffering, and, if I be
destined to taste fresh sorrow, I can support it, provided my children,
my aunt, and you remain to comfort me.

"You know we have agreed to dispense with all formal terminations to our
letters. So adieu, my friend,

                    "JOSEPHINE."

In March, 1796, Josephine became the bride of Napoleon Bonaparte, then
the most promising young general in France, and destined to become, in
achievements and renown, the foremost man in all the world. Eugene was
immediately taken into the service of his stepfather.

In the following letter to Eugene we have a pleasing revelation of the
character of Hortense at that time, and of the affectionate relations
existing between the mother and her children:

"I learn with pleasure, my dear Eugene, that your conduct is worthy of
the name you bear, and of the protector under whom it is so easy to
learn to become a great captain. Bonaparte has written to me that you
are every thing that he can wish. As he is no flatterer, my heart is
proud to read your eulogy sketched by a hand which is usually far from
being lavish in praise. You well know that I never doubted your
capability to undertake great things, or the brilliant courage which you
inherit. But you, alas! know how much I dislike your removal from me,
fearing that your natural impetuosity might carry you too far, and that
it might prevent you from submitting to the numerous petty details of
discipline which must be very disagreeable when the rank is only
subaltern.

"Judge, then, of my joy on learning that you remember my advice, and
that you are as obedient to your superiors in command as you are kind
and humane to those beneath you. This conduct, my child, makes me quite
happy, and these words, I know, will reward you more than all the favors
you can receive. Read them often, and repeat to yourself that your
mother, though far from you, complains not of her lot, since she knows
that yours will be brilliant, and will deserve so to be.

"Your sister shares all my feelings, and will tell you so herself. But
that of which I am sure she will not speak, and which is therefore my
duty to tell, is her attention to me and her aunt. Love her, my son, for
to me she brings consolation, and she overflows with affection for you.
She prosecutes her studies with uncommon success, but music, I think,
will be the art she will carry to the highest perfection. With her sweet
voice, which is now well cultivated, she sings romances in a manner that
would surprise you. I have just bought her a new piano from the best
maker, Erard, which redoubles her passion for that charming art which
you prefer to every other. That perhaps accounts for your sister
applying to it with so much assiduity.

"Were you here, you would be telling me a thousand times a day to beware
of the men who pay particular attention to Hortense. Some there are who
do so whom you do not like, and whom you seem to fear she may prefer.
Set your mind at rest. She is a bit of a coquette, is pleased with her
success, and torments her victims, but her heart is free. I am the
confidante of all her thoughts and feelings, which have hitherto been
just what they ought to be. She now knows that when she thinks of
marrying, it is not my consent alone she has to seek, and that my will
is subordinate to that of the man to whom we owe every thing. The
knowledge of this fact must prevent her from fixing her choice in a way
that may not meet the approval of Bonaparte, and the latter will not
give your sister in marriage to any one to whom you can object."

There was now an end to poverty and obscurity. The rise of Napoleon was
so brilliant and rapid that Josephine was speedily placed at the head of
society in Paris, and vast crowds were eager to do her homage. Never
before did man move with strides so rapid. The lapse of a few months
transformed her from almost a homeless, friendless, impoverished widow,
to be the bride of one whose advancing greatness seemed to outvie the
wildest creations of fiction. The unsurpassed splendor of Napoleon's
achievements crowded the saloons of Josephine with statesmen,
philosophers, generals, and all who ever hasten to the shrine of rising
greatness.

After the campaign of Italy, which gave Napoleon not only a French but a
European reputation for military genius and diplomatic skill, he took
command of the Army of Egypt. Josephine accompanied him to Toulon.
Standing upon a balcony, she with tearful eyes watched the receding
fleet which bore her husband to that far-distant land, until it
disappeared beneath the horizon of the blue Mediterranean. Eugene
accompanied his father. Hortense remained with her mother, who took up
her residence most of the time during her husband's absence at
Plombières, a celebrated watering-place.

Josephine, anxious in every possible way to promote the popularity of
her absent husband, and thus to secure his advancement, received with
cordiality all who came to her with their congratulations. She was
endowed with marvellous power of pleasing. Every one who saw her was
charmed with her. Hortense was bewitchingly beautiful and attractive.

Josephine had ample means to indulge her taste in entertainments, and
was qualified eminently to shine in such scenes. The consequence was
that her saloons were the constant resort of rank and wealth and
fashion. Some enemy wrote to Napoleon, and roused his jealousy to a very
high degree, by representing Josephine as forgetting her husband,
immersed in pleasure, and coquetting with all the world.

Napoleon was exceedingly disturbed, and wrote Josephine a very severe
letter. The following extract from her reply fully explains the nature
of this momentary estrangement:

"Is it possible, general, that the letter I have just received comes
from you? I can scarcely credit it when I compare that letter with
others to which your love imparts so many charms. My eyes, indeed, would
persuade me that your hands traced these lines, but my heart refuses to
believe that a letter from you could ever have caused the mortal anguish
I experience on perusing these expressions of your displeasure, which
afflict me the more when I consider how much pain they must have caused
you.

"I know not what I have done to provoke some malignant enemy to destroy
my peace by disturbing yours. But certainly a powerful motive must
influence some one in continually renewing calumnies against me, and
giving them a sufficient appearance of probability to impose on the man
who has hitherto judged me worthy of his affection and confidence. These
two sentiments are necessary to my happiness. And if they are to be so
soon withdrawn from me, I can only regret that I was ever blest in
possessing them or knowing you.

"On my first acquaintance with you, the affliction with which I was
overwhelmed led me to believe that my heart must ever remain a stranger
to any sentiment resembling love. The sanguinary scenes of which I had
been a witness and a victim constantly haunted my thoughts. I therefore
apprehended no danger to myself from the frequent enjoyment of your
society. Still less did I imagine that I could for a single moment fix
your choice.

"I, like every one else, admired your talents and acquirements. And
better than any one else I foresaw your future glory. But still I loved
you only for the services you rendered to my country. Why did you seek
to convert admiration into a more tender sentiment, by availing yourself
of all those powers of pleasing with which you are so eminently gifted,
since, so shortly after having united your destiny with mine, you
regret the felicity you have conferred upon me?

"Do you think I can ever forget the love with which you once cherished
me? Can I ever become indifferent to the man who has blest me with the
most enthusiastic and ardent passion? Can I ever efface from my memory
your paternal affection for Hortense, the advice and example you have
given Eugene? If all this appears impossible, how can you, for a moment,
suspect me of bestowing a thought upon any but yourself?

"Instead of listening to traducers, who, for reasons which I can not
explain, seek to disturb our happiness, why do you not silence them by
enumerating the benefits you have bestowed on a woman whose heart could
never be reached with ingratitude? The knowledge of what you have done
for my children would check the malignity of these calumniators; for
they would then see that the strongest link of my attachment for you
depends on my character as a mother. Your subsequent conduct, which has
claimed the admiration of all Europe, could have no other effect than to
make me adore the husband who gave me his hand when I was poor and
unfortunate. Every step you take adds to the glory of the name I bear.
Yet this is the moment which has been selected for persuading you that I
no longer love you! Surely nothing can be more wicked and absurd than
the conduct of those who are about you, and are jealous of your marked
superiority.

"Yes, I still love you, and no less tenderly than ever. Those who allege
the contrary know that they speak falsely. To those very persons I have
frequently written to inquire about you, and to recommend them to
console you, by their friendship, for the absence of her who is your
best and truest friend.

"I acknowledge that I see a great deal of company; for every one is
eager to compliment me on your success, and I confess that I have not
resolution to close my door against those who speak of you. I also
confess that a great portion of my visitors are gentlemen. Men
understand your bold projects better than women; and they speak with
enthusiasm of your glorious achievements, while my female friends only
complain of you for having carried away their husbands, brothers, or
fathers.

"I take no pleasure in their society if they do not praise you. Yet
there are some among them whose hearts and understandings claim my
highest regard, because they entertain sincere friendship for you. In
this number I may mention ladies Arquillon, Tallien, and my aunt. They
are almost constantly with me; and they can tell you, ungrateful as you
are, whether _I have been coquetting with every body_. These are your
words. And they would be hateful to me were I not certain that you had
disavowed them, and are sorry for having written them.

"I sometimes receive honors here which cause me no small degree of
embarrassment. I am not accustomed to this sort of homage. And I see
that it is displeasing to our authorities, who are always suspicious and
fearful of losing their newly-gotten power. If they are envious now,
what will they be when you return crowned with fresh laurels? Heaven
knows to what lengths their malignity will then carry them. But you will
be here, and then nothing can vex me.

"But I will say no more of them, nor of your suspicions, which I do not
refute one by one, because they are all equally devoid of probability.
And to make amends for the unpleasant commencement of this letter, I
will tell you something which I know will please you.

"Hortense, in her efforts to console me, endeavors as far as possible to
conceal her anxiety for you and her brother. And she exerts all her
ingenuity to banish that melancholy, the existence of which you doubt,
but which I assure you never forsakes me. If by her lively conversation
and interesting talents she sometimes succeeds in drawing a smile, she
joyfully exclaims, 'Dear mamma, that will be known at Cairo.' The fatal
word immediately calls to my mind the distance which separates me from
you and my son, and restores the melancholy which it was intended to
divert. I am obliged to make great efforts to conceal my grief from my
daughter, who, by a word or a look, transports me to the very place
which she would wish to banish from my thoughts.

"Hortense's figure is daily becoming more and more graceful. She dresses
with great taste; and though not quite so handsome as your sisters, she
may certainly be thought agreeable when even they are present.

"Heaven knows when or where you may receive this letter. May it restore
you to that confidence which you ought never to have lost, and convince
you, more than ever, that, long as I live, I shall love you as dearly as
I did on the day of our separation. Adieu. Believe me, love me, and
receive a thousand kisses.

                    "JOSEPHINE."

There was at that time a very celebrated female school at St. Germain,
under the care of Madame Campan. This illustrious lady was familiar with
all the etiquette of the court, and was also endowed with a superior
mind highly cultivated. At the early age of fifteen she had been
appointed reader to the daughter of Louis XV. Maria Antoinette took a
strong fancy to her, and made her a friend and companion. The crumbling
of the throne of the Bourbons and the dispersion of the court left
Madame Campan without a home, and caused what the world would call her
ruin.

But in the view of true intelligence this reverse of fortune only
elevated her to a far higher position of responsibility, usefulness, and
power. Impelled by necessity, she opened a boarding-school for young
ladies at St. Germain. The school soon acquired celebrity. Almost every
illustrious family in France sought to place their daughters under her
care. She thus educated very many young ladies who subsequently occupied
very important positions in society as the wives and mothers of
distinguished men. Some of her pupils attained to royalty. Thus the
boarding-school of Madame Campan became a great power in France.

Hortense was sent to this school with Napoleon's sister Caroline, who
subsequently became Queen of Naples, and with Stephanie Beauharnais, to
whom we shall have occasion hereafter to refer as Duchess of Baden.
Stephanie was a cousin of Hortense, being a daughter of her father's
brother, the Marquis de Beauharnais.

In this school Hortense formed many very strong attachments. Her most
intimate friend, however, whom she loved with affection which never
waned, was a niece of Madame Campan, by the name of Adèle Auguié,
afterwards Madame de Broc, whose sad fate, hereafter to be described,
was one of the heaviest blows which fell upon Hortense. It would seem
that Hortense was not at all injured by the flattery lavished upon her
in consequence of the renown of her father. She retained, unchanged, all
her native simplicity of character, which she had inherited from her
mother, and which she ever saw illustrated in her mother's words and
actions. Treating the humblest with the same kindness as the most
exalted, she won all hearts, and made herself the friend of every one in
the school.

But her cousin Stephanie was a very different character. Her father, the
Marquis, had fled from France an emigrant. He was an aristocrat by
birth, and in all his cherished sentiments. In his flight with the
nobles, from the terrors of the revolution, he had left his daughter
behind, as the protégée of Josephine. Inheriting a haughty disposition,
and elated by the grandeur which her uncle was attaining, she assumed
consequential airs which rendered her disagreeable to many of her
companions. The eagle eye of Josephine detected these faults in the
character of her niece. As Stephanie returned to school from one of her
vacations, Josephine sent by her the following letter to Madame Campan:

"In returning to you my niece, my dear Madame Campan, I send you both
thanks and reproof:--thanks for the brilliant education you have given
her, and reproof for the faults which your acuteness must have noticed,
but which your indulgence has passed over. She is good-tempered, but
cold; well-informed, but disdainful; lively, but deficient in judgment.
She pleases no one, and it gives her no pain. She fancies the renown of
her uncle and the gallantry of her father are every thing. Teach her,
but teach her plainly, without mincing, that in reality they are
nothing.

"We live in an age when every one is the child of his own deeds. And if
they who fill the highest ranks of public service enjoy any superior
advantage or privilege, it is the opportunity to be more useful and more
beloved. It is thus alone that good fortune becomes pardonable in the
eyes of the envious. This is what I would have you repeat to her
constantly. I wish her to treat all her companions as her equals. Many
of them are better, or at least quite as deserving as she is herself,
and their only inferiority is in not having had relations equally
skillful or equally fortunate.

                    "JOSEPHINE BONAPARTE."

On the 8th of October, 1799, Napoleon landed at Fréjus, on his return
from Egypt. His mind was still very much disturbed with the reports
which had reached him respecting Josephine. Fréjus was six hundred miles
from Paris--a long journey, when railroads were unknown. The
intelligence of his arrival was promptly communicated to the metropolis
by telegraph. Josephine received the news at midnight. Without an hour's
delay she entered her carriage with Hortense, taking as a protector
Napoleon's younger brother Louis, who subsequently married Hortense, and
set out to meet her husband. Almost at the same hour Napoleon left
Fréjus for Paris.

When Josephine reached Lyons, a distance of two hundred and forty-two
miles from Paris, she learned, to her consternation, that Napoleon had
left the city several hours before her arrival, and that they had passed
each other by different roads. Her anguish was dreadful. For many months
she had not received a line from her husband, as all communication had
been intercepted by the British cruisers. She knew that her enemies
would be busy in poisoning the mind of her husband against her. She had
traversed the weary leagues of her journey without a moment's
intermission, and now, faint, exhausted, and despairing, she was to
retrace her steps, to reach Paris only many hours after Napoleon would
have arrived there. Probably in all France there was not then a more
unhappy woman than Josephine.

The mystery of human love and jealousy no philosophy can explain. Secret
wretchedness was gnawing at the heart of Napoleon. He loved Josephine
with intensest passion, and all the pride of his nature was roused by
the conviction that she had trifled with him. With these conflicting
emotions rending his soul, he entered Paris and drove to his dwelling.
Josephine was not there. Even Josephine had bitter enemies, as all who
are in power ever must have. These enemies took advantage of her absence
to fan the flames of that jealousy which Napoleon could not conceal. It
was represented to him that Josephine had fled from her home, afraid to
meet the anger of her injured husband. As he paced the floor in anguish,
which led him to forget all his achievements in the past and all his
hopes for the future, an enemy maliciously remarked,

"Josephine will soon appear before you with all her arts of fascination.
She will explain matters, you will forgive all, and tranquillity will be
restored."

Napoleon, striding nervously up and down the floor, replied with pallid
cheek and trembling lip,

"Never! never! Were I not sure of my resolution, I would tear out this
heart and cast it into the fire."

Eugene had returned with Napoleon. He loved his mother to adoration.
Anxiously he sat at the window watching, hour after hour, for her
arrival. At midnight on the 19th the rattle of her carriage-wheels was
heard, as she entered the court-yard of their dwelling in the Rue
Chantereine. Eugene rushed to his mother's arms. Napoleon had ever been
the most courteous of husbands. Whenever Josephine returned, even from
an ordinary morning drive, he would leave any engagements to greet her
as she alighted from her carriage. But now, after an absence of eighteen
months, he remained sternly in his chamber, the victim of almost
unearthly misery.

In a state of terrible agitation, with limbs tottering and heart
throbbing, Josephine, assisted by Eugene and accompanied by Hortense,
ascended the stairs to the parlor where she had so often received the
caresses of her husband. She opened the door. Napoleon stood before her,
pale, motionless as a marble statue. Without one kind word of greeting
he said sternly, in words which pierced her heart,

"Madame, it is my wish that you retire immediately to Malmaison."

The meek and loving Josephine uttered not a word. She would have fallen
senseless to the floor, had she not been caught in the arms of her son.
It was midnight. For a week she had lived in her carriage almost without
sleep. She was in a state of utter exhaustion, both of body and of mind.
It was twelve miles to Malmaison. Napoleon had no idea that she would
leave the house until the morning. Much to his surprise, he soon heard
the carriage in the yard, and Josephine, accompanied by Eugene and
Hortense, descending the stairs. The naturally kind heart of Napoleon
could not assent to such cruelty. Immediately going down into the yard,
though his pride would not permit him to speak to Josephine, he
addressed Eugene, and requested them all to return for refreshment and
repose.

In silent submission, Eugene and Hortense conducted their mother to her
apartment, where she threw herself upon her couch in abject misery. In
equally sleepless woe, Napoleon retired to his cabinet. Two days of
wretchedness passed away. On the third, the love for Josephine, which
still reigned in the heart of Napoleon, so far triumphed that he
entered her apartment. Josephine was seated at a toilette-table, with
her head bowed, and her eyes buried in her handkerchief. The table was
covered with the letters which she had received from Napoleon, and which
she had evidently been perusing. Hortense, the victim of grief and
despair, was standing in the alcove of a window.

[Illustration: THE RECONCILIATION.]

Apparently Josephine did not hear the approaching footsteps of her
husband. He advanced softly to her chair, placed his hand upon it, and
said, in tones almost of wonted kindness, "Josephine." She started at
the sound of that well-known and dearly-loved voice, and turning towards
him her swollen and flooded eyes, responded, "My dear." The words of
tenderness, the loving voice, brought back with resistless rush the
memory of the past. Napoleon was vanquished. He extended his hand to
Josephine. She rose, threw her arms around his neck, rested her
throbbing, aching head upon his bosom, and wept in convulsions of
anguish. A long explanation ensued. Napoleon again pressed Josephine to
his loving heart, satisfied, perfectly satisfied that he had deeply
wronged her; that she had been the victim of base traducers. The
reconciliation was perfect.

Soon after this Napoleon overthrew the Directory, and established the
Consulate. This was on the ninth of November, 1799, usually called 18th
Brumaire. Napoleon was thirty years of age, and was now First Consul of
France. After the wonderful achievements of this day of peril, during
which Napoleon had not been able to send a single line to his wife, at
four o'clock in the morning he alighted from his carriage at the door of
his dwelling at the Rue Chantereine. Josephine, in a state of great
anxiety, was watching at the window for his approach. She sprang to meet
him. Napoleon encircled her in his arms, and briefly recapitulated the
memorable scenes of the day. He assured her that since he had taken the
oath of office, he had not allowed himself to speak to a single
individual, for he wished the beloved voice of his Josephine might be
the first to congratulate him upon his virtual accession to the Empire
of France. Throwing himself upon a couch for a few moments of repose, he
exclaimed gayly, "Good-night, my Josephine. To-morrow we sleep in the
palace of the Luxembourg."

This renowned palace, with its vast saloons, its galleries of art, its
garden, is one of the most attractive of residences. Napoleon was now
virtually the monarch of France. Josephine was a queen, Eugene and
Hortense prince and princess. Strange must have been the emotions of
Josephine and her children as, encompassed with regal splendor, they
took up their residence in the palace. But a few years before,
Josephine, in poverty, friendlessness, and intensest anguish of heart,
had led her children by the hand through those halls to visit her
imprisoned husband. From one of those apartments the husband and father
had been led to his trial, and to the scaffold, and now this mother
enters this palace virtually a queen, and her children have opening
before them the very highest positions of earthly wealth and honor.



CHAPTER III.

HORTENSE AND DUROC.

1799-1804

Calumnies.--Testimony of the Berkeley men.--Remarks of Napoleon at St.
Helena.--The voice of slander.--Testimony of the Duchess of
Abrantes.--Portrait of Hortense.--Testimony of Bourrienne.--Napoleon at
the Tuileries.--Beauty of Josephine.--Malmaison.--Remarkable testimony
of Napoleon.--The infernal machine.--The royalist conspiracy.--Letter
from Josephine.--Michel Duroc.--General Duroc at Bautzen.--Death of
Duroc.--Grief of Napoleon.--Affecting scene.--Quotation from J. T.
Headley.--Character of Duroc.--Family complications.--The divorce
suggested.--Character of Louis Bonaparte.--Testimony of
Bourrienne.--Disappointed lovers.


It is a very unamiable trait in human nature, that many persons are more
eager to believe that which is bad in the character of others than that
which is good. The same voice of calumny, which has so mercilessly
assailed Josephine, has also traduced Hortense. It is painful to witness
the readiness with which even now the vilest slanders, devoid of all
evidence, can be heaped upon a noble and virtuous woman who is in her
grave.

In the days of Napoleon's power, he himself, his mother, his wife, his
sisters, and his stepdaughter, Hortense, were assailed with the most
envenomed accusations malice could engender. These infamous assaults,
which generally originated with the British Tory press, still have
lingering echoes throughout the world. There are those who seem to
consider it no crime to utter the most atrocious accusations, even
without a shadow of proof, against those who are not living. Well do the
"Berkeley men" say:

"The Bonapartes, especially the women of that family, have always been
too proud and haughty to degrade themselves. Even had they lacked what
is technically called moral character, their virtue has been intrenched
behind their ancestry, and the achievements of their own family. Nor was
there at any time an instant when any one of the Bonapartes could have
overstepped, by a hair's-breadth, the line of decency, without being
fatally exposed. None of them pursued the noiseless tenor of their way
along the vale of obscurity. They were walking in the clear sunshine, on
the topmost summits of the earth, and millions of enemies were watching
every step they took. The highest genius of historians, the bitterest
satire of dramatists, the meanest and most malignant pen of the
journalists have assailed them for half a century. We have written these
words because a Republican is the only man likely to speak well of the
Bonaparte family. It was, and is, and will be the dynasty of the people,
standing there from 1804, a fearful antagonism against the feudal age
and its souvenirs of oppression and crime."

Napoleon at St. Helena said: "Of all the libels and pamphlets with which
the English ministers have inundated Europe, there is not one which
will reach posterity. When there shall not be a trace of those libels to
be found, the great monuments of utility which I have reared, and the
code of laws which I have formed, will descend to the remotest ages; and
future historians will avenge the wrongs done me by my contemporaries.
There was a time when all crimes seemed to belong to me of right. Thus I
poisoned Hoche, strangled Pichegru in his cell, I caused Kleber to be
assassinated in Egypt, I blew out Desaix's brains at Marengo, I cut the
throats of persons who were confined in prison, I dragged the Pope by
the hair of his head, and a hundred similar abominations. And yet I have
not seen one of those libels which is worthy of an answer. These are so
contemptible and so absurdly false, that they do not merit any other
notice than to write _false_, _false_, on every page."

It is well known, by every one acquainted with the past history of our
country, that George Washington was assailed in the severest possible
language of vituperation. He was charged with military inability,
administrative incapacity, mental weakness, and gross personal
immorality. He was denounced as a murderer, and a hoary-headed traitor.
This is the doom of those in power. And thousands of men in those days
believed those charges.

It is seldom possible to prove a negative. But no evidence has ever been
brought forward to substantiate the rumors brought against Hortense.
These vile slanderers have even gone so far as to accuse Napoleon of
crimes, in reference to the daughter of Josephine and the wife of his
brother, which, if true, should consign him to eternal infamy. The
"Berkeley men," after making the most thorough historic investigations
in writing the life both of Louis Bonaparte and Hortense, say:

"Louis was a little over twenty-three years of age at the time of his
marriage. Hortense was nineteen. In his memoirs Louis treats with scorn
and contempt the absurd libels respecting his domestic affairs,
involving the purity of his wife's character and the legitimacy of his
children. Napoleon, also, in his conversations at St. Helena, thought
proper to allude to the subject, and indignantly to repel the charges
which had been made against Hortense, at the same time showing the
entire improbability of the stories about her and her offspring. _We
have found nothing, in our investigations on this subject to justify
even a suspicion against the morals or integrity of Louis or Hortense;
and we here dismiss the subject with the remark that, there is more
cause for sympathy with the parties to this unhappy union than of
censure for their conduct._"

The Duchess of Abrantes, who was intimately acquainted with Hortense
from her childhood and with the whole Bonaparte family, in her
interesting memoirs writes: "Hortense de Beauharnais was fresh as a
rose; and though her fair complexion was not relieved by much color, she
had enough to produce that freshness and bloom which was her chief
beauty. A profusion of light hair played in silky locks round her soft
and penetrating blue eyes. The delicate roundness of her slender figure
was set off by the elegant carriage of her head. Her feet were small and
pretty, her hands very white, with pink, well-rounded nails. But what
formed the chief attraction of Hortense was the grace and suavity of her
manners. She was gay, gentle, amiable. She had wit which, without the
smallest ill-temper, had just malice enough to be amusing. A polished
education had improved her natural talents. She drew excellently, sang
harmoniously, and performed admirably in comedy. In 1800 she was a
charming young girl. She afterwards became one of the most amiable
princesses in Europe. I have seen many, both in their own courts and in
Paris, but I have never known one who had any pretensions to equal
talents. Her brother loved her tenderly. The First Consul looked upon
her as his child. And it is only in that country so fertile in the
inventions of scandal, that so foolish an accusation could have been
imagined, as that any feeling less pure than paternal affection actuated
his conduct towards her. The vile calumny met the contempt it merited."

The testimony of Bourrienne upon this point is decisive. Bourrienne had
been the private secretary of Napoleon, had become his enemy, and had
joined the Bourbons. Upon the downfall of the Emperor he wrote a very
hostile life of Napoleon, being then in the employment of the Bourbons.
In those envenomed pages, Bourrienne says that he has written severely
enough against Napoleon, to have his word believed when he makes any
admission in his favor. He then writes:

"Napoleon never cherished for Hortense any feeling but a real paternal
tenderness. He loved her, after his marriage with her mother, as he
would have loved his own child. For three years at least I was witness
to all their most private actions. I declare that I never saw any thing
which could furnish the least ground for suspicion or the slightest
trace of culpable intimacy. This calumny must be classed with those
which malice delights to take with the character of men who become
celebrated; calumnies which are adopted lightly and without reflection.

"I freely declare that, did I retain the slightest doubt with regard to
this odious charge, I would avow it. But it is not true. Napoleon is no
more. Let his memory be accompanied only by that, be it good or bad,
which really took place. Let not this complaint be made against him by
the impartial historian. I must say, in conclusion, on this delicate
subject, that Napoleon's principles were rigid in the extreme; and that
any fault of the nature charged neither entered his mind, nor was in
accordance with his morals or taste."

Notwithstanding this abundant testimony, and notwithstanding the fact
that no contradictory testimony can be adduced, which any historian
could be pardoned for treating with respect, there are still men to be
found who will repeat those foul slanders, which ought long since to
have died away.

Napoleon remained but two months in the palace of the Luxembourg. In the
mean time the palace of the Tuileries, which had been sacked by
revolutionary mobs, was re-furnished with much splendor. In February the
Court of the Consuls was transferred to the Tuileries. Napoleon had so
entirely eclipsed his colleagues that he alone was thought of by the
Parisian populace. The royal apartments were prepared for Napoleon. The
more humble apartments, in the Pavilion of Flora, were assigned to the
two other consuls. The transfer from the Luxembourg was made with great
pomp, in one of those brilliant parades which ever delight the eyes of
the Parisians. Six thousand picked soldiers, with a gorgeous train of
officers, formed his escort. Twenty thousand troops with all the
concomitants of military parade, lined the streets. A throng, from city
and country, which could not be numbered, gazed upon the scene. Napoleon
took his seat in a magnificent carriage drawn by six beautiful white
horses. The suite of rooms assigned to Josephine consisted of two large
parlors furnished with regal splendor, and several adjoining private
rooms. Here Hortense, a beautiful girl of about eighteen, found herself
at home in the apartments of the ancient kings of France.

In the evening a brilliant assembly was gathered in the saloons of
Josephine. As she entered, with queenly grace, leaning upon the arm of
Talleyrand, a murmur of admiration rose from the whole multitude. She
wore a robe of white muslin. Her hair fell in ringlets upon her neck and
shoulders, through which gleamed a necklace of priceless pearls. The
festivities were protracted until a late hour in the morning. It was
said that Josephine gained a social victory that evening, corresponding
with that which Napoleon had gained in the pageant of the day. In these
scenes Hortense shone with great brilliance. She was young, beautiful,
graceful, amiable, witty, and very highly accomplished. In addition to
this, she was the stepdaughter of the First Consul, who was ascending in
a career of grandeur which was to terminate no one could tell where.

During Napoleon's absence in Egypt Josephine had purchased the beautiful
estate of Malmaison. This was their favorite home. The chateau was a
very convenient, attractive, but not very spacious rural edifice,
surrounded with extensive grounds, ornamented with lawns, shrubbery, and
forest-trees. With the Tuileries for her city residence, Malmaison for
her rural retreat, Napoleon for her father, Josephine for her mother,
Eugene for her brother; with the richest endowments of person, mind, and
heart, with glowing health, and surrounded by admirers, Hortense seemed
now to be placed upon the very highest pinnacle of earthly happiness.

Josephine and Hortense resided at Malmaison when Napoleon made his ten
months' campaign into Italy, which was terminated by the victory of
Marengo. They both busily employed their time in making those
improvements on the place which would create a pleasant surprise for
Napoleon on his return. Here they opened a new path through the forest;
here they spanned a stream with a beautiful rustic bridge; upon a gentle
eminence a pavilion rose; and new parterres of flowers gladdened the
eye. Every charm was thrown around the place which the genius and taste
of Josephine and Hortense could suggest. At midnight, on the second of
July, Napoleon returned to Paris, and immediately hastened to the arms
of his wife and daughter at Malmaison. He was so pleased with its
retirement and rural beauty that, forgetting the splendors of
Fontainebleau and Saint Cloud, he ever after made it his favorite
residence. Fortunate is the tourist who can obtain permission to saunter
through those lovely walks, where the father, the wife, and the
daughter, for a few brief months, walked almost daily, arm in arm, in
the enjoyment of nearly all the happiness which they were destined on
earth to share. The Emperor, at the close of his career, said upon his
dying bed at St. Helena,

"I am indebted for all the little happiness I have enjoyed on earth to
the love of Josephine."

Hortense and her mother frequently rode on horseback, both being very
graceful riders, and very fond of that recreation. At moments when
Napoleon could unbend from the cares of state, the family amused
themselves, with such guests as were present, in the game of "prisoners"
on the lawn. For several years this continued to be the favorite pastime
at Malmaison. Kings and queens were often seen among the pursuers and
the pursued on the green sward.

It was observed that Napoleon was always solicitous to have Josephine on
his side. And whenever, in the progress of the game, she was taken
prisoner, he was nervously anxious until she was rescued. Napoleon, who
had almost lived upon horseback, was a poor runner, and would often, in
his eagerness, fall, rolling head-long over the grass, raising shouts of
laughter. Josephine and Hortense were as agile as they were graceful.

On the 24th of December, 1800, Napoleon, Josephine, and Hortense were
going to the opera, to hear Haydn's Oratorio of the Creation. It was
then to be performed for the first time. Napoleon, busily engaged in
business, went reluctantly at the earnest solicitation of Josephine.
Three gentlemen rode with Napoleon in his carriage. Josephine, with
Hortense and other friends, followed in her private carriage. As the
carriages were passing through the narrow street of St. Nicaire, a
tremendous explosion took place, which was heard all over Paris. An
infernal machine, of immense power, had been conveyed to the spot,
concealed beneath a cart, which was intended, at whatever sacrifice of
the lives of others, to render the assassination of the First Consul
certain. Eight persons were instantly killed; more than sixty were
wounded. Several buildings were nearly demolished. The windows of both
carriages were dashed in, and the shattered vehicles were tossed to and
fro like ships in a storm. Napoleon almost miraculously escaped
unharmed. Hortense was slightly wounded by the broken glass. Still they
all heroically went on to the opera, where, in view of their
providential escape, they were received with thunders of applause.

It was at first supposed that the Jacobins were the authors of this
infamous plot. It was afterwards proved to be a conspiracy of the
Royalists. Josephine, whose husband had bled beneath the slide of the
guillotine, and who had narrowly escaped the axe herself, with
characteristic humanity forgot the peril to which she and her friends
had been exposed, in sympathy for those who were to suffer for the
crime. The criminals were numerous. They were the nobles with whom
Josephine had formerly lived in terms of closest intimacy. She wrote to
Fouché, the Minister of Police, in behalf of these families about to be
plunged into woe by the merited punishment of the conspirators. This
letter reflects such light upon the character of Josephine, which
character she transmitted to Hortense, that it claims insertion here.

"CITIZEN MINISTER,--While I yet tremble at the frightful event which has
just occurred, I am disquieted and distressed through fear of the
punishment necessarily to be inflicted on the guilty, who belong, it is
said, to families with whom I once lived in habits of intercourse. I
shall be solicited by mothers, sisters, and disconsolate wives, and my
heart will be broken through my inability to obtain all the mercy for
which I would plead.

"I know that the clemency of the First Consul is great; his attachment
to me extreme. But the crime is too dreadful that a terrible example
should not be necessary. The chief of the Government has not been alone
exposed. It is that which will render him severe, inflexible. I conjure
you, therefore, to do all in your power to prevent inquiries being
pushed too far. Do not detect all those persons who may have been
accomplices in these odious transactions. Let not France, so long
overwhelmed in consternation by public executions, groan anew beneath
such inflictions. It is even better to endeavor to soothe the public
mind than to exasperate men by fresh terrors. In short, when the
ringleaders of this nefarious attempt shall have been secured, let
severity give place to pity for inferior agents, seduced, as they may
have been, by dangerous falsehoods or exaggerated opinions.

"When just invested with supreme power, the First Consul, as seems to
me, ought rather to gain hearts, than to be exhibited as ruling slaves.
Soften by your counsels whatever may be too violent in his just
resentment. Punish--alas! that you must certainly do--but pardon still
more. Be also the support of those unfortunate men who, by frank avowal
or repentance, shall expiate a portion of their crime.

"Having myself narrowly escaped perishing in the Revolution, you must
regard as quite natural my interference on behalf of those who can be
saved without involving in new danger the life of my husband, precious
to me and to France. On this account do, I entreat you, make a wide
distinction between the authors of the crime and those who, through
weakness or fear, have consented to take part therein. As a woman, a
wife, a mother, I must feel the heart-rendings of those who will apply
to me. Act, citizen minister, in such a manner that the number of these
may be lessened. This will spare me much grief. Never will I turn away
from the supplications of misfortune. But in the present instance you
can do infinitely more than I, and you will, on this account, excuse my
importunity. Rely on my gratitude and esteem."

There was a young officer about twenty-nine years of age, by the name of
Michel Duroc, who was then a frequent visitor at the Tuileries and
Malmaison. He was a great favorite of Napoleon, and was distinguished
alike for beauty of person and gallantry upon the field of battle. Born
of an ancient family, young Duroc, having received a thorough military
education, attached himself, with enthusiastic devotion, to the fortunes
of Napoleon. He attracted the attention of General Bonaparte during his
first Italian campaign, where he was appointed one of his aides.
Following Napoleon to Egypt, he gained renown in many battles, and was
speedily promoted to the rank of chief of battalion, and then to general
of brigade. At Jaffa he performed a deed of gallantry, which was
rewarded by the applauding shouts of nearly the whole army. At Jean
d'Acre he led one of the most bloody and obstinate assaults recorded in
the military annals of France, where he was severely wounded by the
bursting of a howitzer. At the battle of Aboukir he won great applause.
Napoleon's attachment to this young officer was such, that he took him
to Paris on his return from Egypt. In the eventful day of the 18th
Brumaire, Duroc stood by the side of Napoleon, and rendered him eminent
service. The subsequent career of this very noble young man brilliantly
reflects his worth and character. Rapidly rising, he became grand
marshal of the palace and Duke of Friuli.

The memorable career of General Duroc was terminated at the battle of
Bautzen, in Germany, on the 23d of May, 1813. He was struck by the last
ball thrown from the batteries of the enemy. The affecting scene of his
death was as follows:

"In the early dawn of the morning of the 23d of May, Napoleon was on
horseback directing the movements of his troops against the routed foe.
He soon overtook the rear-guard of the enemy, which had strongly posted
its batteries on an eminence to protect the retreat of the discomfited
army. A brief but fierce conflict ensued, and one of Napoleon's aides
was struck dead at his feet. Duroc was riding by the side of the
Emperor. Napoleon turned to him and said, 'Duroc, fortune is determined
to have one of us to-day.' Hour after hour the incessant battle raged,
as the advance-guard of the Emperor drove before it the rear-guard of
the Allies. In the afternoon, as the Emperor, with a portion of the
Imperial Guard, four abreast, was passing through a ravine, enveloped in
a blinding cloud of dust and smoke, a cannon-ball, glancing from a tree,
killed one officer, and mortally wounded Duroc, tearing out his
entrails. The tumult and obscurity were such that Napoleon did not
witness the casualty. When informed of it, he seemed for a moment
overwhelmed with grief, and then exclaimed, in faltering accents,

"Duroc! gracious Heaven, my presentiments never deceive me. This is a
sad day, a fatal day."

Immediately alighting from his horse, he walked to and fro for a short
time absorbed in painful thoughts, while the thunders of the battle
resounded unheeded around him. Then turning to Caulaincourt, he said,

"Alas! when will fate relent? When will there be an end of this? My
eagles will yet triumph, but the happiness which accompanies them is
fled. Whither has he been conveyed? I must see him. Poor, poor Duroc!"

The Emperor found the dying marshal in a cottage, still stretched upon
the camp litter by which he had been conveyed from the field. Pallid as
marble from the loss of blood, and with features distorted with agony,
he was scarcely recognizable. The Emperor approached the litter, threw
his arms around the neck of the friend he so tenderly loved, and
exclaimed, in tones of deepest grief, "Alas! then is there no hope?"

"None whatever," the physicians replied.

The dying man took the hand of Napoleon, and gazing upon him
affectionately, said, "Sire, my whole life has been devoted to your
service, and now my only regret is that I can no longer be useful to
you." Napoleon, in a voice almost inarticulate with emotion, said,

"Duroc, there is another life. There you will await me."

"Yes, sire," the marshal faintly replied, "but that will be thirty years
hence. You will then have triumphed over your enemies, and realized the
hopes of our country. I have lived an honest man. I have nothing to
reproach myself with. I have a daughter, to whom your Majesty will be a
father."

Napoleon was so deeply affected that he remained for some time in
silence, incapable of uttering a word, but still affectionately holding
the hand of his dying friend.

Duroc was the first to break the silence. "Sire," he said, "this sight
pains you. Leave me."

The Emperor pressed his hand to his lips, embraced him affectionately,
and saying sadly, "Adieu, my friend," hurried out of the room.

Supported by Marshal Soult and Caulaincourt, Napoleon, overwhelmed with
grief, retired to his tent, which had been immediately pitched in the
vicinity of the cottage. "This is horrible," he exclaimed. "My
excellent, my dear Duroc! Oh, what a loss is this!"

His eyes were flooded with tears, and for the moment, forgetting every
thing but his grief, he retired to the solitude of his inner tent.

The squares of the Old Guard, sympathizing in the anguish of their
commander and their sovereign, silently encamped around him. Napoleon
sat alone in his tent, wrapped in his gray great-coat, his forehead
resting upon his hand, absorbed in painful musings. For some time none
of his officers were willing to intrude upon his grief. At length two of
the generals ventured to consult him respecting arrangements which it
seemed necessary to make for the following day. Napoleon shook his head
and replied, "Ask me nothing till to-morrow," and again covering his
eyes with his hand, he resumed his attitude of meditation. Night came.
One by one the stars came out. The moon rose brilliantly in the
cloudless sky. The soldiers moved with noiseless footsteps, and spoke in
subdued tones. The rumbling of wagons and the occasional boom of a
distant gun alone disturbed the stillness of the scene.

"Those brave soldiers," says J. T. Headley, "filled with grief to see
their beloved chief bowed down by such sorrows, stood for a long time
silent and tearful. At length, to break the mournful silence, and to
express the sympathy they might not speak, the band struck up a requiem
for the dying marshal. The melancholy strains arose and fell in
prolonged echoes over the field, and swept in softened cadences on the
ear of the fainting, dying warrior. But still Napoleon moved not. They
changed the measure to a triumphant strain, and the thrilling trumpets
breathed forth their most joyful notes till the heavens rang with the
melody. Such bursts of music welcomed Napoleon as he returned, flushed
with victory, till his eye kindled with exultation. But now they fell on
a dull and listless ear. It ceased, and again the mournful requiem
filled all the air. But nothing could rouse him from his agonizing
reflections. His friend lay dying, and the heart that he loved more than
his life was throbbing its last pulsations. What a theme for a painter,
and what a eulogy was that scene! That noble heart, which the enmity of
the world could not shake, nor the terrors of the battle-field move from
its calm repose, nor even the hatred nor the insults of his at last
victorious enemies humble, here sank in the moment of victory before the
tide of affection. What military chieftain ever mourned thus on the
field of victory, and what soldiers ever loved their leader so!"

Before the dawn of the morning Duroc expired. When the event was
announced to Napoleon, he said sadly, "All is over. He is released from
his misery. Well, he is happier than I." The Emperor ordered a monument
to be reared to his memory, and, when afterwards dying at St. Helena,
left to the daughter of Duroc one of the largest legacies bequeathed in
his will. That Duroc was worthy of this warm affection of the Emperor,
may be inferred from the following testimony of Caulaincourt, Duke of
Vicenza:

"Marshal Duroc was one of those men who seem too pure and perfect for
this world, and whose excellence helps to reconcile us to human nature.
In the high station to which the Emperor had wisely raised him, the
grand marshal retained all the qualities of the private citizen. The
splendor of his position had not power to dazzle or corrupt him. Duroc
remained simple, natural, and independent; a warm and generous friend, a
just and honorable man. I pronounce on him this eulogy without fear of
contradiction."

It is not strange that Hortense, a beautiful girl of eighteen, should
have fallen deeply in love with such a young soldier, twenty-nine years
of age. It would seem that Duroc was equally inspired with love and
admiration for Hortense. Though perhaps not positively engaged, there
was such an understanding between the young lovers that a brisk
correspondence was kept up during one of Duroc's embassies to the north.

[Illustration: THE LOVE-LETTER.]

Bourrienne, at that time the private secretary of Napoleon, says that
this correspondence was carried on by consent through his hands. With
the rapidly rising greatness of the family, there was little retirement
to be enjoyed at the Tuileries or at Malmaison. The saloons of the First
Consul were every evening crowded with guests. Youthful love is the same
passion, and the young heart throbs with the same impulses, whether in
the palace or in the cottage. When Bourrienne whispered to Hortense that
he had a letter for her from Duroc, and slipped it unperceived into her
hand, she would immediately retire to her room for its perusal; and the
moistened eyes with which she returned to the saloon testified to the
emotions with which the epistle from her lover had been read.

But Josephine had the strongest reasons which can well be imagined for
opposing the connection with Duroc. She was a very loving mother. She
wished to do every thing in her power to promote the happiness of
Hortense, but she probably was not aware how deeply the affections of
her daughter were fixed upon Duroc. Her knowledge of the world also
taught her that almost every young lady and every young gentleman have
several loves before reaching the one which is consummated by marriage.
She had another match in view for Hortense which she deemed far more
eligible for her, and far more promotive of the happiness of the family.

Napoleon had already attained grandeur unsurpassed by any of the ancient
kings of France. Visions of still greater power were opening before him.
It was not only to him a bitter disappointment but apparently it might
prove a great national calamity that he had no heir to whom he could
transmit the sceptre which France had placed in his hands. Upon his
downfall, civil war might ravage the kingdom, as rival chieftains
grasped at the crown. It was earnestly urged upon him that the interests
of France imperiously demanded that, since he had no prospect of an heir
by Josephine, he should obtain a divorce and marry another. It was urged
that the welfare of thirty millions of people should not be sacrificed
to the inclinations of two individuals.

Josephine had heard these rumors, and her life was embittered by their
terrible import. A pall of gloom shrouded her sky, and anguish began to
gnaw at her heart amidst all the splendors of the Tuileries and the
lovely retirement of Malmaison.

Napoleon's younger brother, Louis, was of nearly the same age with
Hortense. He was a young man of fine personal appearance, very
intelligent, of scholarly tastes, and of irreproachable character.
Though pensive in temperament, he had proved himself a hero on the field
of battle, and he possessed, in all respects, a very noble character.
Many of the letters which he had written from Egypt to his friends in
Paris had been intercepted by the British cruisers, and were published.
They all bore the impress of the lofty spirit of integrity and humanity
with which he was inspired. Napoleon was very fond of his brother Louis.
He would surely place him in the highest positions of wealth and power.
As Louis Bonaparte was remarkably domestic in his tastes and
affectionate in his disposition, Josephine could not doubt that he would
make Hortense happy. Apparently it was a match full of promise,
brilliant, and in all respects desirable. Its crowning excellence,
however, in the eye of Josephine was, that should Hortense marry Louis
Bonaparte and give birth to a son, Napoleon would recognize that child
as his heir. Bearing the name of Bonaparte, with the blood of the
Bonapartes in his veins, and being the child of Hortense, whom he so
tenderly loved as a daughter, the desires of Napoleon and of France
might be satisfied. Thus the terrible divorce might be averted.

It is not probable that at this time Napoleon seriously thought of a
divorce, though the air was filled with rumors put in circulation by
those who were endeavoring to crowd him to it. He loved Josephine
tenderly, and of course could not sympathize with her in those fears of
which it was impossible for her to speak to him. Bourrienne testifies
that Josephine one day said to him in confidence, veiling and at the
same time revealing her fears, "This projected marriage with Duroc
leaves me without support. Duroc, independent of Bonaparte's friendship,
is nothing. He has neither fortune, rank, nor even reputation. He can
afford me no protection against the enmity of the brothers. I must have
some more certain reliance for the future. My husband loves Louis very
much. If I can succeed in uniting my daughter to him, he will prove a
strong counterpoise to the calumnies and persecutions of my
brothers-in-law."

These remarks were repeated to Napoleon. According to Bourrienne, he
replied,

"Josephine labors in vain. Duroc and Hortense love each other, and they
shall be married. I am attached to Duroc. He is well born. I have given
Caroline to Murat, and Pauline to Le Clerc. I can as well give Hortense
to Duroc. He is as good as the others. He is general of division.
Besides, I have other views for Louis."

Josephine, however, soon won the assent of Napoleon to her views, and he
regarded with great satisfaction the union of Hortense with Louis. The
contemplated connection with Duroc was broken off. Two young hearts were
thus crushed, with cruelty quite unintentional. Duroc was soon after
married to an heiress, who brought him a large fortune, and, it is said,
a haughty spirit and an irritable temper, which embittered all his days.

Hortense, disappointed, heart-broken, despairing, was weary of the
world. She probably never saw another happy day. Such is life.

           "Sorrows are for the sons of men,
              And weeping for earth's daughters."



CHAPTER IV.

THE MARRIAGE OF HORTENSE.

1804-1807

Stephanie Beauharnais.--Love of Louis Bonaparte for
Stephanie.--Objections to the marriage.--Unavailing
remonstrances.--Marriage of Hortense.--Testimony of Louis
Bonaparte.--Statement of Napoleon.--Letter from Josephine to
Hortense.--The ball of Madame Montesson.--Birth of Napoleon
Charles.--Hortense Queen of Holland.--Composition of the
"Romances."--Madame de Staël.--Anecdote of Napoleon Charles.--Letter
from Josephine.--Campaigns of Jena and Friedland.--Anecdote.--Death of
Napoleon Charles.--Anguish of Hortense.--Letter of
condolence.--Josephine to Hortense.--Napoleon to Hortense.--The need of
charity.


It will be remembered that Hortense had a cousin, Stephanie, the
daughter of her father's elder brother, Marquis de Beauharnais. Though
Viscount de Beauharnais had espoused the popular cause in the desperate
struggle of the French Revolution, the marquis was an undisguised
"aristocrat." Allying himself with the king and the court, he had fled
from France with the emigrant nobles. He had joined the allied army as
it was marching upon his native land in the endeavor to crush out
popular liberty and to reinstate the Bourbons on their throne of
despotism. For this crime he was by the laws of France a traitor, doomed
to the scaffold should he be captured.

The marquis, in his flight from France, had left Stephanie with her aunt
Josephine. She had sent her to the school of Madame Campan in company
with Hortense and Caroline Bonaparte. Louis Bonaparte was consequently
often in the company of Stephanie, and fell desperately in love with
her. The reader will recollect the letter which Josephine wrote to
Madame Campan relative to Stephanie, which indicated that she had some
serious defects of character. Still she was a brilliant girl, with great
powers of pleasing when she condescended to use those powers.

Louis Bonaparte was a very pensive, meditative young man, of poetic
temperament, and of unsullied purity of character. With such persons
love ever becomes an all-absorbing passion. It has been well said that
love is represented as a little Cupid shooting tiny arrows, whereas it
should be presented as a giant shaking the world. The secrets of the
heart are seldom revealed to others. Neither Napoleon nor Josephine were
probably at all aware how intense and engrossing was the affection of
Louis for Stephanie.

Regenerated France was then struggling, with all its concentrated
energies, against the combined aristocracies of Europe. Napoleon was the
leader of the popular party. The father of Stephanie was in the counsels
and the army of the Allies. Already advances had been made to Napoleon,
and immense bribes offered to induce him, in treachery to the people, to
restore to the exiled Bourbons the sceptre which the confiding people
had placed in his hands. Napoleon, like all men in power, had bitter
enemies, who were ever watching for an opportunity to assail him. Should
his brother Louis marry a daughter of one of the old nobility, an avowed
aristocrat, an emigrant, a pronounced "traitor," doomed to death, should
he be captured, for waging war against his native land, it would expose
Napoleon to suspicion. His enemies would have new vantage-ground from
which to attack him, and in the most tender point.

Under these circumstances Napoleon contemplated with well-founded
anxiety the idea of his brother's union with Stephanie. He was therefore
the more ready to listen to Josephine's suggestion of the marriage of
Louis and Hortense. This union in every respect seemed exceedingly
desirable. Napoleon could gratify their highest ambition in assigning to
them posts of opulence and honor. They could also be of great service to
Napoleon in his majestic plan of redeeming all Europe from the yoke of
the old feudal despotisms, and in conferring upon the peoples the new
political gospel of equal rights for all men.

Napoleon had perceived this growing attachment just before he set out on
the expedition to Egypt. To check it, if possible, he sent Louis on a
very important mission to Toulon, where he kept him intensely occupied
until he was summoned to embark for Egypt. But such love as animated the
heart of Louis is deepened, not diminished, by absence. A naval officer,
who was a friend of Louis, and who was aware of his attachment for
Stephanie, remonstrated with him against a connection so injudicious.

"Do you know," said he, "that a marriage of this description might be
highly injurious to your brother, and render him an object of suspicion
to the Government, and that, too, at a moment when he is setting out on
a hazardous expedition?"

But Louis was in no mood to listen to such suggestions. It would appear
that Stephanie was a young lady who could very easily transfer her
affections. During the absence of Louis a match was arranged between
Stephanie and the Duke of Baden. The heart of Louis was hopelessly
crushed. He never recovered from the blow. These were the two saddened
hearts, to whom the world was shrouded in gloom, which met amidst the
splendors of the Tuileries.

The genius of Napoleon and the tact of Josephine were combined to unite
in marriage the disappointed and despairing lovers, Louis and Hortense.
After a brief struggle, they both sadly submitted to their fate. The
melancholy marriage scene is minutely described by Constant, one of the
officers in the household of Napoleon. The occasion was invested with
all possible splendor. A brilliant assembly attended. But as Louis led
his beautiful bride to the altar, the deepest dejection marked his
countenance. Hortense buried her eyes in her handkerchief and wept
bitterly.

From that hour the alienation commenced. The grief-stricken bride,
young, inexperienced, impulsive, made no attempt to conceal the
repugnance with which she regarded the husband who had been forced upon
her. On the other hand, Louis had too much pride to pursue with his
attentions a bride whom he had reluctantly received, and who openly
manifested her aversion to him. Josephine was very sad. Her maternal
instincts revealed to her the true state of the case. Conscious that
the union, which had so inauspiciously commenced, had been brought about
by her, she exerted all her powers to promote friendly relations between
the parties. But her counsels and her prayers were alike in vain. Louis
Bonaparte, in his melancholy autobiography, writes:

"Never was there a more gloomy wedding. Never had husband and wife a
stronger presentiment of a forced and ill-suited marriage. Before the
ceremony, during the benediction, and ever afterwards, we both and
equally felt that we were not suited to each other."

"I have seen," writes Constant, "a hundred times Madame Louis Bonaparte
seek the solitude of her apartment and the bosom of a friend, there to
shed her tears. She would often escape from her husband in the midst of
the saloon of the First Consul, where one saw with chagrin this young
woman, formerly glittering in beauty, and who gracefully performed the
honors of the palace, retire into a corner or into the embrasure of a
window, with some one of her intimate friends, sadly to confide her
griefs. During this interview, from which she would return with her eyes
her husband would remain pensive and silent at the end of the saloon."

Napoleon at St. Helena, referring to this painful subject, said: "Louis
had been spoiled by reading the works of Rousseau. He contrived to agree
with his wife only for a few months. There were faults on both sides. On
the one hand, Louis was too teasing in his temper, and, on the other,
Hortense was too volatile. Hortense, the devoted, the generous Hortense,
was not entirely faultless in her conduct towards her husband. This I
must acknowledge, in spite of all the affection I bore her, and the
sincere attachment which I am sure she entertained for me. Though
Louis's whimsical humors were in all probability sufficiently teasing,
yet he loved Hortense. In such a case a woman should learn to subdue her
own temper, and endeavor to return her husband's attachment. Had she
acted in the way most conducive to her interest, she might have avoided
her late lawsuit, secured happiness to herself and followed her husband
to Holland. Louis would not then have fled from Amsterdam, and I should
not have been compelled to unite his kingdom to mine--a measure which
contributed to ruin my credit in Europe. Many other events might also
have taken a different turn. Perhaps an excuse might be found for the
caprice of Louis's disposition in the deplorable state of his health."

The following admirable letter from Josephine to Hortense throws
additional light upon this unhappy union:

"I was deeply grieved at what I heard a few days ago. What I saw
yesterday confirms and increases my distress. Why show this repugnance
to Louis? Instead of rendering it the more annoying, by caprice and
inequality of temper, why not endeavor to surmount it? You say he is not
amiable. Every thing is relative. If he is not so to you, he may be to
others, and all women do not see him through the veil of dislike. As for
myself, who am here altogether disinterested, I imagine that I behold
him as he is--more loving, doubtless, than lovable. But this is a great
and rare quality. He is generous, beneficent, affectionate. He is a good
father, and if you so will, he would prove a good husband. His
melancholy, and his taste for study and retirement, render him
disagreeable to you. But let me ask you, is this his fault? Do you
expect him to change his nature according to circumstances? Who could
have foreseen his altered fortune? But, according to you, he has not
even the courage to bear that fortune. This, I think, is a mistake. With
his secluded habits, and his invincible love of retirement and study, he
is out of place in the elevated rank to which he has been raised.

"You wish that he resembled his brother. But he must first have his
brother's temperament. You have not failed to remark that almost our
entire existence depends upon our health, and health upon digestion. If
poor Louis's digestion were better, you would find him much more
amiable. But as he is, there is nothing to justify the indifference and
dislike you evince towards him. You, Hortense, who used to be so good,
should continue so now, when it is most requisite. Take pity on a man
who is to be pitied for what would constitute the happiness of another.
Before you condemn him, think of others who, like him, have groaned
beneath the burden of their greatness, and bathed with tears their
diadem, which they believed had never been destined for their brow. When
I advise you to love, or at least not to repulse Louis, I speak to you
as an experienced wife, a fond mother, and a friend; and in these three
characters, which are all equally dear to me, I tenderly embrace you."

Madame Montesson gave the first ball that took place in honor of the
marriage of Louis Bonaparte and Hortense. Invitations were issued for
seven hundred persons. Though there was no imperial court at that time,
for Napoleon was but First Consul, yet every thing was arranged on a
scale of regal splendor. The foreign ambassadors were all present; and
the achievements of Napoleon had been so marvellous, and his increasing
grandeur was so sure, that all present vied alike in evincing homage to
the whole Bonaparte family. A lady who was a guest on the occasion
writes:

"Every countenance beamed with joy save that of the bride, whose
profound melancholy formed a sad contrast to the happiness which she
might have been expected to evince. She was covered with diamonds and
flowers, and yet her countenance and manner showed nothing but regret.
It was easy to foresee the mutual misery that would arise out of this
ill-assorted union. Louis Bonaparte showed but little attention to his
bride. Hortense, on her part, seemed to shun his very looks, lest he
should read in hers the indifference she felt towards him. This
indifference daily augmented in spite of the affectionate advice of
Josephine, who earnestly desired to see Hortense in the possession of
that happiness and peace of mind to which she was herself a stranger.
But all her endeavors were unavailing."

The first child the fruit of this marriage was born in 1803, and
received the name of Napoleon Charles. Both Napoleon and Josephine were
rendered very happy by his birth. He was an exceedingly beautiful and
promising child, and they hoped that parental endearments, lavished upon
the same object, would unite father and mother more closely. Napoleon
loved the child tenderly, was ever fond of caressing him, and distinctly
announced his intention of making him his heir. All thoughts of the
divorce were banished, and a few gleams of tremulous joy visited the
heart of Josephine. But alas! these joys proved of but short duration.
It was soon manifest to her anxious view that there was no hope of any
cordial reconciliation between Louis and Hortense. And nothing could
soothe the sorrow of Josephine's heart when she saw her daughter's
happiness apparently blighted forever.

Napoleon, conscious that he had been an instrument in the bitter
disappointments of Hortense and Louis, did every thing in his power to
requite them for the wrong. Upon attaining the imperial dignity, he
appointed his brother Louis constable of France, and soon after, in
1805, governor-general of Piedmont. In 1806, Schimmelpennink, grand
pensionary of Batavia, resigning his office as chief magistrate of the
United Netherlands, Napoleon raised Louis to the dignity of King of
Holland.

On the 18th of June, 1806, Louis and Hortense arrived in their new
dominions. The exalted station to which Hortense was thus elevated did
not compensate her for the sadness of separation from her beloved
mother, with whom she had been so intimately associated during her whole
life. The royal pair took up their residence at the Maison de Bois, a
rural palace about three miles from the Hague. Here they received the
various deputations, and thence made their public entrée into the
capital in the midst of a scene of universal rejoicing. The pensive air
of the queen did but add to the interest which she invariably excited.
For a time she endeavored to drown her griefs in yielding herself to the
festivities of the hour. Her fine figure, noble mien, and graceful
manners fascinated all eyes and won all hearts. Her complexion was of
dazzling purity, her eyes of a soft blue, and a profusion of fair hair
hung gracefully upon her shoulders. Her conversation was extremely
lively and vivacious, having on every occasion just the right word to
say. Her dancing was said to be the perfection of grace. With such
accomplishments for her station, naturally fond of society and gayety,
and with a disposition to recompense herself, for her heart's
disappointment, in the love of her new subjects, she secured in a very
high degree the admiration of the Hollanders.

It was at this time that Hortense composed that beautiful collection of
airs called _romances_ which has given her position among the ablest of
musical composers. "The saloons of Paris," says a French writer, "the
solitude of exile, the most remote countries, have all acknowledged the
charm of these most delightful melodies, which need no royal name to
enhance their reputation. It is gratifying to our pride of country to
hear the airs of France sung by the Greek and by the Russian, and united
to national poetry on the banks of the Thames and the Tagus. The homage
thus rendered is the more flattering because the rank of the composer is
unknown. It is their intrinsic merit which gives to these natural
effusions of female sensibility the power of universal success. If
Hortense ever experienced matrimonial felicity, it must have been at
this time."

When Madame de Staël was living in exile in the old Castle of
Chaumont-sur-Loire, where she was joined by her beautiful friend Madame
Récamier, one of their favorite songs was that exquisite air composed by
Queen Hortense upon her husband's motto, "Do what is right, come what
may."

The little son of Hortense was twining himself closely around his
mother's heart. He had become her idol. Napoleon was then in the zenith
of his power, and it was understood that Napoleon Charles was to inherit
the imperial sceptre. The warmth of his heart and his daily intellectual
development indicated that he would prove worthy of the station which he
was destined to fill.

Shortly after the queen's arrival at the Hague, she received a New
Year's present from Josephine for the young Napoleon Charles. It
consisted of a large chest filled with the choicest playthings which
Paris could present. The little boy was seated near a window which
opened upon the park. As his mother took one after another of the
playthings from the chest to exhibit to him, she was surprised and
disappointed to find that he regarded them with so much indifference.
His attention seemed to be very much occupied in looking out into the
park. Hortense said to him, "My son, are you not grateful to your
grandmamma for sending you so many beautiful presents?"

"Indeed I am, mamma," he replied. "But it does not surprise me, for
grandmamma is always so good that I am used to it."

"Then you are not amused with all these pretty playthings, my son?"

"Oh yes, mamma, but--but then I want something else."

"What is it, my darling? You know how much I love you. You may be sure
that I will give it to you."

"No, mamma, I am afraid you won't. I want you to let me run about
barefooted in that puddle in the avenue."

His mother of course could not grant this request, and the little fellow
mourned very justly over the misfortune of being a prince, which
prevented him from enjoying himself like other boys in playing in the
mud.

Hortense, absorbed in her new cares, wrote almost daily to her mother,
giving interesting recitals of the child. She did not, however, write as
frequently to her father. Josephine wrote to her from Aix-la-Chapelle,
under date of September 8th, 1804:

"The news which you give me of Napoleon affords me great pleasure, my
dear Hortense; for in addition to the very tender interest I feel for
him, I appreciate all the anxieties from which you are relieved; and you
know, my dear child, that your happiness will ever constitute a part of
mine. The Emperor has read your letter. He has at times appeared to me
wounded, in not hearing from you. He would not accuse your heart if he
knew you as well as I do. But appearances are against you. Since he may
suppose that you neglect him, do not lose a moment to repair the wrongs
which are not intentional. Say to him that it is through discretion
that you have not written to him; that your heart suffers from that law
which even respect dictates; that having always manifested towards you
the goodness and tenderness of a father, it will ever be your happiness
to offer to him the homage of gratitude.

"Speak to him also of the hope you cherish of seeing me at the period of
your confinement. I can not endure the thought of being absent from you
at that time. Be sure, my Hortense, that nothing can prevent me from
going to take care of you for your sake, and still more for my own. Do
you speak of this also to Bonaparte, who loves you as if you were his
own child. And this greatly increases my attachment for him. Adieu, my
good Hortense. I embrace you with the warmest affections of my heart."

Soon after this Hortense gave birth to her second child, Napoleon Louis.
The health of the mother not long after the birth of the child rendered
it necessary for her to visit the waters of St. Armand. It seems that
little Napoleon Louis was placed under the care of a nurse where
Josephine could often see him. The Empress wrote to Hortense from St.
Cloud on the 20th of July, 1805:

"My health requires that I should repose a little from the fatigues of
the long journey which I have just made, and particularly from the grief
which I have experienced in separating myself from Eugene in Italy. I
received yesterday a letter from him. He is very well, and works hard.
He greatly regrets being separated from his mother and his beloved
sister. Alas! there are unquestionably many people who envy his lot, and
who think him very happy. Such persons do not read his heart. In writing
to you, my dear Hortense, I would only speak to you of my tenderness for
you, and inform you how happy I have been to have your son Napoleon
Louis with me since my return.

"The Emperor, without speaking to me about it, sent to him immediately
on our arrival at Fontainebleau. I was much touched by this attention on
his part. He had perceived that I had need of seeing a second
_yourself_; a little charming being created by thee. The child is very
well. He is very happy. He eats only the soup which his nurse gives him.
He never comes in when we are at the table. The Emperor caresses him
very much. Eugene has given me, for you, a necklace of malachite,
engraved in relief. M. Bergheim will hand you one which I purchased at
Milan. It is composed of engraved amethysts, which will be very becoming
upon your beautiful white skin. Give my most affectionate remembrance to
your husband. Embrace for me Napoleon Charles, and rely, my dear
daughter, upon the tenderness of your mother,

                    "JOSEPHINE."

[Illustration: THE LITTLE PRINCE CHARLES NAPOLEON.]

At midnight, on the 24th of September, 1806, Napoleon left Paris to
repel a new coalition of his foes in the campaigns of Jena, Auerstadt,
Eylau, and Friedland. Josephine accompanied her husband as far as
Mayence, where she remained, that she might more easily receive tidings
from him. Just before leaving Paris, Napoleon reviewed the Imperial
Guard in the court-yard of the Tuileries. After the review he entered
the saloon of Josephine. Throwing down his hat and sword upon the sofa,
he took the arm of the Empress, and they together walked up and down the
room, earnestly engaged in conversation. Little Napoleon Charles, who
was on a visit to his grandmother, picked up the Emperor's cocked hat,
placed it upon his head, and putting the sword-belt over his neck,
with the dangling sword, began strutting behind the Emperor with a very
military tread, attempting to whistle a martial air. Napoleon, turning
around, saw the child, and catching him up in his arms, hugged and
kissed him, saying to Josephine, "What a charming picture!" Josephine
immediately ordered a portrait to be taken by the celebrated painter
Gerard of the young prince in that costume. She intended to send it a
present to the Emperor as a surprise.

The Empress remained for some time at Mayence and its environs, daily
writing to the Emperor, and almost daily, sometimes twice a day,
receiving letters from him. These notes were very brief, but always bore
the impress of ardent affection.

On the 13th of January, 1806, Eugene was very happily married to the
Princess Augusta Amélie, daughter of the Elector of Bavaria. When
Josephine heard of the contemplated connection, she wrote to Hortense:

"You know very well that the Emperor would not marry Eugene without my
knowledge. Still I accept the public rumor. I should love very much to
have her for a daughter-in-law. She is a charming character, and
beautiful as an angel. She unites to an elegant figure the most graceful
carriage I have ever known."

A few days after, on the 9th of January, she wrote from Munich: "I am
not willing to lose a moment, my dear Hortense, in informing you that
the marriage of Eugene with the daughter of the Elector of Bavaria is
just definitely arranged. You will appreciate, as I do, all the value of
this new proof of the attachment which the Emperor manifests for your
brother. Nothing in the world could be more agreeable to me than this
alliance. The young princess unites to a charming figure all the
qualities which can render a woman interesting and lovely. The marriage
is not to be celebrated here, but in Paris. Thus you will be able to
witness the happiness of your brother, and mine will be perfect, since I
shall find myself united to both of my dear children."

The arrangements were changed subsequently, and the nuptials were
solemnized in Munich. Napoleon wrote as follows to Hortense:

                    "Munich, January 9th, 1806.

"MY DAUGHTER,--Eugene arrives to-morrow, and is to be married in four
days. I should have been very happy if you could have attended his
marriage, but there is no longer time. The Princess Augusta is tall,
beautiful, and full of good qualities, and you will have, in all
respects, a sister worthy of you. A thousand kisses to M. Napoleon.

                    "NAPOLEON."

The Empress, after remaining some time at Mayence, as the campaign on
the banks of the Vistula was protracted, returned to Paris. In a state
of great anxiety with regard to her husband, she took up her residence
at St. Cloud. Under date of March, 1807, she wrote to her daughter, then
queen of Holland, residing at the Hague:

"I have received much pleasure in speaking of you with M. Jansens. I
perceive, from what he tells me respecting Holland, that the king is
very much beloved, and that you share in the general affection. This
renders me happy. My health is very good at the present moment, but my
heart is always sad.

"All the private letters which I have seen agree in the declaration that
the Emperor exposed himself very much at the battle of Eylau. I
frequently receive tidings from him, and sometimes two letters a day.
This is a great consolation, but it does not replace him."

That Napoleon, in the midst of the ten thousand cares of so arduous a
campaign, could have found time to write daily to Josephine, and often
twice a day, is surely extraordinary. There are not many husbands, it is
to be feared, who are so thoughtful of the anxieties of an absent wife.

Early in May the Empress received the portrait, of which we have spoken,
of her idolized grandchild, Napoleon Charles, in his amusing military
costume. She was intending to send it as a pleasing memorial to the
Emperor in his distant encampment.

Just then she received the dreadful tidings that little Napoleon Charles
had been taken sick with the croup, and, after the illness of but a few
hours, had died. It was the 5th of May, 1807. Josephine was in Paris;
Hortense at the Hague, in Holland; Napoleon was hundreds of leagues
distant in the north, with his army almost buried in snow upon the banks
of the Vistula.

The world perhaps has never witnessed the death of a child which has
caused so much anguish. Hortense did not leave her son for a moment, as
the terrible disease advanced to its termination. When he breathed his
last she seemed completely stunned. Not a tear dimmed her eye. Not a
word, not a moan was uttered. Like a marble statue, she sat upon the
sofa where the child had died, gazing around her with a look of wild,
amazed, delirious agony. With much difficulty she was taken from the
room, being removed on the sofa upon which she reclined. Her anguish was
so great that for some time it was feared that reason was dethroned, and
that the blow would prove fatal. Her limbs were rigid, and her dry and
glassy eye was riveted upon vacancy. At length, in the endeavor to bring
her out from this dreadful state, the lifeless body of the child,
dressed for the grave, was brought in and placed in the lap of its
mother. The pent-up anguish of Hortense now found momentary relief in a
flood of tears, and in loud and uncontrollable sobbings.

The anguish of Josephine surpassed, if possible, even that of Hortense.
The Empress knew that Napoleon had selected this child as his heir; that
consequently the terrible divorce was no longer to be thought of. In
addition to the loss of one she so tenderly loved, rose the fear that
his death would prove to her the greatest of earthly calamities. For
three days she could not leave her apartment, and did nothing but weep.

The sad intelligence were conveyed to Napoleon in his cheerless
encampment upon the Vistula. As he received the tidings he uttered not a
word. Sitting down in silence, he buried his face in his hand, and for a
long time seemed lost in painful musings. No one ventured to disturb his
grief with attempted consolation.

As soon as Josephine was able to move, she left Paris to visit her
bereaved, heart-broken daughter. But her strength failed her by the way,
and when she reached Luchen, a palace near Brussels, she was able to
proceed no farther. She wrote as follows to Hortense:

                    "Luchen, May 14th, 1807--10 o'clock P.M.

"I have arrived this moment at the chateau of Luchen, my dear daughter.
It is there I write to you, and there I await you. Come to restore me to
life. Your presence is necessary to me, and you must also feel the need
of seeing me, that you may weep with your mother. I earnestly wish to
proceed farther, but my strength has failed me, and moreover I have not
had time to apprise the Emperor. I have found strength to come thus far.
I hope you also will find strength to come and see your mother."

Hortense immediately repaired to Luchen to seek a mother's sympathy.
With Josephine she returned to Paris, and soon after, by the entreaties
of her physician, continued her journey to take the waters of a mineral
spring in the south of France, seeking a change of climate and of scene.
Josephine remained in the depths of sorrow at St. Cloud. On the same day
in which Josephine arrived at Luchen, the Emperor wrote to her from the
Vistula as follows:

                   "Finckenstein, May 14th, 1807.

"I can appreciate the grief which the death of poor Napoleon has caused.
You can understand the anguish which I experience. I could wish that I
were with you, that you might become moderate and discreet in your
grief. You have had the happiness of never losing any children. But it
is one of the conditions and sorrows attached to suffering humanity. Let
me hear that you have become reasonable and tranquil. Would you magnify
my anguish?"

Two days after Napoleon wrote the Empress:

"I have received your letter of the sixth of May. I see in it already
the injury which you are suffering, and I fear that you are not
reasonable, and that you afflict yourself too much from the calamity
which has befallen us.

"Adieu my love. Entirely thine,

                    "NAPOLEON."

Again, after the lapse of four days, he wrote:

"I have received your letter of the tenth of May. I see that you have
gone to Luchen. I think that you may rest there a fortnight. That will
give much pleasure to the Belgians, and will serve to divert your mind.
I see with pain that you are not wise. Grief has bounds which it should
not pass. Preserve yourself for your friend, and believe in all my
affection."

On the same day the Emperor wrote as follows to Hortense:

                    "Finckenstein, May 20th, 1807.

"MY DAUGHTER,--Every thing which reaches me from the Hague informs me
that you are unreasonable. However legitimate may be your grief, it
should have its bounds. Do not impair your health. Seek consolation.
Know that life is strewn with so many dangers, and may be the source of
so many calamities, that death is by no means the greatest of evils.

"Your affectionate father,

                    "NAPOLEON."

It is to be borne in mind that these brief epistles were written from
the midst of one of the most arduous of campaigns. Four days after this,
on the 24th, Napoleon wrote to Josephine:

"I have received your letter from Luchen. I see with pain that your
grief is still unabated, and that Hortense has not yet arrived. She is
unreasonable, and does not merit that one should love her, since she
loves only her children. Strive to calm yourself, and give me no more
pain. For every irremediable evil we should find consolation. Adieu, my
love.

"Wholly thine,

                    "NAPOLEON."

After two days again the Emperor wrote to Josephine:

"I have received your letter of the 16th, and see with pleasure that
Hortense has arrived at Luchen. I am indeed grieved by what you tell me
of the state of stupor in which she still continues. She should have
more fortitude, and should govern herself. I can not conceive why they
should wish her to go to the springs. Her attention would be much more
diverted at Paris, and she would find there more consolation. Control
yourself. Be cheerful, and take care of your health. Adieu, my love. I
share deeply in all your griefs. It is painful to me that I am not with
you.

                    "NAPOLEON."

It will be remembered that Hortense had another child, then but an
infant, by the name of Napoleon Louis. This child subsequently married a
daughter of Joseph Bonaparte, and died in a campaign in Italy, as he
espoused the popular cause in the endeavor to throw off the yoke of
Austria. The third and only surviving child, Louis Napoleon, now Emperor
of the French, was not then born.

We have previously alluded in this history to a niece of Madame Campan
by the name of Adèle Auguié, who was the intimate friend and companion
of Hortense in her school-days. School-girl attachments, though often
very ardent, are not generally very lasting. This one, however, proved
of life-long duration. Adèle became Madame de Broc. There is an allusion
to her in the following letter. We shall hereafter have occasion to
refer to her in describing the disaster which terminated her life. It
was the latter part of May when Hortense left her mother to journey to
the south of France. Soon after her departure Josephine wrote to her as
follows:

                    "St. Cloud, May 27th, 1807.

"I have wept much since your departure, my dear Hortense. This
separation has been very painful to me. Nothing can give me courage to
support it but the certainty that the journey will do you good. I have
received tidings from you, through Madame Broc. I pray you to thank her
for that attention, and to request her to write to me when you may be
unable to write yourself. I had also news from your son. He is at the
chateau of Luchen, very well, and awaiting the arrival of the king. He
shares very keenly in our griefs. I have need of this consolation, for I
have had none other since your departure. Always alone by myself, every
moment dwelling upon the subject of our affliction, my tears flow
incessantly. Adieu, my beloved child. Preserve yourself for a mother
who loves you tenderly."

Soon after this Josephine went for a short time to Malmaison. On the 2d
of June Napoleon wrote to her from that place the following letter,
inclosing also one for Hortense.

"MY LOVE,--I have learned of your arrival at Malmaison. I am displeased
with Hortense. She does not write me a word. Every thing which you say
to me of her gives me pain. Why is it that you have not been able a
little to console her? You weep. I hope that you will control your
feelings, that I may not find you overwhelmed with sadness. I have been
at Dantzic for two days. The weather is very fine, and I am well. I
think more of you than you can think of one who is absent. Adieu my
love. My most affectionate remembrance. Send the inclosed letter to
Hortense."

The letter to Hortense to which Napoleon refers, was as follows:

                    "Dantzic, June 2d, 1807.

"MY DAUGHTER,--You have not written me a word in your well-founded and
great affliction. You have forgotten every thing as if you had no other
loss to endure. I am informed that you no longer love; that you are
indifferent to every thing. I perceive it by your silence. This is not
right, Hortense. It is not what you promised me. Your child was every
thing to you. Had I been at Malmaison, I should have shared your
anguish. But I should also have wished that you would restore yourself
to your best friends. Adieu, my daughter. Be cheerful. We must learn
resignation. Cherish your health, that you may be able to fulfill all
your duties. My wife is very sad in view of your condition. Do not add
to her anguish."

The next day, June 3d, the Emperor wrote to Josephine:

"All the letters which come to me from St. Cloud say that you weep
continually. This is not right. It is necessary to control one's self
and to be contented. Hortense is entirely wrong. What you write me about
her is pitiful. Adieu, my love. Believe in the affection with which I
cherish you."

The next day Josephine wrote from the palace of St. Cloud to Hortense,
who was then at the waters of Cauterets:

"Your letter has greatly consoled me, my dear Hortense, and the tidings
of your health, which I have received from your ladies, contribute very
much to render me more tranquil. The Emperor has been deeply affected.
In all his letters he seeks to give me fortitude, but I know that this
severe affliction has been keenly felt by him.

"The king[C] arrived yesterday at St. Leu. He has sent me word that he
will come to see me to-day. He will leave the little one with me during
his absence. You know how dearly I love that child, and the solicitude I
feel for him. I hope that the king will follow the same route which you
have taken. It will be, my dear Hortense, a consolation to you both to
see each other again. All the letters which I have received from him
since his departure are full of his attachment for you. Your heart is
too affectionate not to be touched by this. Adieu, my dear child. Take
care of your health. Mine can never be established till I shall no
longer suffer for those whom I love. I embrace you tenderly.

                    "JOSEPHINE."

[Footnote C: The husband of Hortense, King of Holland. He was then very
sick, suffering from an attack of paralysis. St. Leu was a beautiful
estate he owned in France. He had with him his second and then only
living child, Napoleon Louis. Leaving him with his grandmother, he
repaired to Cauterets, where he joined Hortense, his wife.]

Two days after this, on the 6th, the Emperor wrote the Empress:

"I am very well, my love. Your letter of yesterday gave me much pain. It
appears that you are continually sad, and that you are not reasonable.
The weather is very bad. Adieu, my love. I love you and desire to hear
that you are cheerful and contented."

On the 11th of June, Josephine again wrote to Hortense:

"Your son is remarkably well. He amuses me much; he is so pleasant. I
find he has all the endearing manners of the poor child over whose loss
we weep."

Again she wrote, probably the next day, in answer to a letter from
Hortense:

"Your letter has affected me deeply, my dear daughter. I see how
profound and unvarying is your grief. And I perceive it still more
sensibly by the anguish which I experience myself. We have lost that
which in every respect was the most worthy to be loved. My tears flow as
on the first day. Our grief is too well-founded for reason to be able to
cause it to cease. Nevertheless, my dear Hortense, it should moderate
it. You are not alone in the world. There still remains to you a
husband and a mother, whose tender love you well know, and you have too
much sensibility to regard all that with coldness and indifference.
Think of us; and let that memory calm another well grounded and
grievous. I rely upon your attachment for me and upon the strength of
your mind. I hope also that the journey and the waters will do you good.
Your son is remarkably well. He is a charming child. My health is a
little better, but you know that it depends upon yours. Adieu. I embrace
you.

                    "JOSEPHINE."

On the 16th of June, Napoleon again wrote to Hortense from his distant
encampment:

"MY DAUGHTER,--I have received your letter dated Orleans. Your griefs
touch my heart, but I could wish that you would summon more fortitude.
To live is to suffer, and the sincere man suffers incessantly to retain
the mastery over himself. I do not love to see you unjust towards the
little Napoleon Louis, and towards all your friends. Your mother and I
had cherished the hope of being more than we are in your heart I have
gained a great victory on the 14th of June.[D] I am well and love you
very much. Adieu, my daughter. I embrace you with my whole heart."

[Footnote D: Victory of Friedland.]

The above extracts from the private correspondence of Napoleon and
Josephine reveal, more clearly than any thing else could possibly do,
the anguish with which Hortense was oppressed. They also exhibit, in a
very interesting light, the affectionate relationship which existed
between the members of the Imperial family. The authenticity of the
letters is beyond all possible question. How much more charitable should
we be could we but fully understand the struggles and the anguish to
which all human hearts are exposed.



CHAPTER V.

BIRTH OF LOUIS NAPOLEON AND THE DIVORCE OF JOSEPHINE.

1808-1809

Birth of Louis Napoleon.--Letter from Josephine.--Public announcement of
the birth.--Napoleon's attachment to his nephews.--Letter from
Napoleon.--Josephine to Hortense.--Remarks of the Duke of
Rovigo.--Testimony of Cambaceres.--The dreadful announcement.--Anguish
of the Imperial family.--Noble conduct of Eugene.--The divorce.--The
scene of the divorce.--The legal consummation.--Josephine, Eugene,
Hortense.--Affecting interview.--Grief of Napoleon.--Testimony of Baron
Meneval.--Letter from Napoleon to Josephine.--The retirement of
Josephine.--Josephine at Malmaison.--Interview between Napoleon and
Josephine.--Napoleon's remarks on his divorce.--Sin of the divorce.


The latter part of July, 1807, Hortense, in the state of anguish which
the preceding chapter develops, was, with her husband, at the waters of
Cauterets, in the south of France. They were united by the ties of a
mutual grief. Napoleon was more than a thousand miles away in the north
of Europe. In considerably less than a year from that date, on the 20th
of April, 1808, Hortense gave birth, in Paris to her third child, Louis
Napoleon, now Napoleon III., Emperor of the French. Josephine was then
at Bordeaux, and wrote as follows to Hortense:

                    "Bordeaux, April 23d, 1808.

"I am, my dear Hortense, in an excess of joy. The tidings of your happy
accouchement were brought to me yesterday by M. de Villeneuve. I felt my
heart beat the moment I saw him enter. But I cherished the hope that he
had only good tidings to bring me, and my presentiments did not deceive
me. I have received a second letter, which assures me that you are very
well, and also your son. I know that Napoleon will console himself in
not having a sister, and that he already loves very much his brother.
Embrace them both for me. But I must not write you too long a letter
from fear of fatiguing you. Take care of yourself with the utmost
caution. Do not receive too much company at present. Let me hear from
you every day. I await tidings from you with as much impatience as I
love you with tenderness.

                    "JOSEPHINE."

The birth of this prince, Louis Napoleon, whose renown as Napoleon III.
now fills the world, and respecting whose character and achievements
there is so wonderful a diversity of sentiment among intelligent men,
took place in Paris. Napoleon was at that time upon the highest pinnacle
of prosperity. The Allies, vanquished in every conflict, seemed disposed
to give up the attempt to reinstate the Bourbons upon the throne of
France. The birth of Louis Napoleon, as a prince of the Empire, in the
direct line of hereditary descent, was welcomed by the guns of the
Invalides, and by military salutes all along the lines of the Imperial
army, from Hamburg to Rome, and from the Pyrenees to the Danube. The
important event was thus announced in the Moniteur of April 21st:

"Yesterday, at one o'clock, her Majesty the Queen of Holland was safely
delivered of a prince. In conformity with Article 40, of the Act of the
Constitution of 28 Floreal, year 12, the Chancellor of the Empire
attested the birth, and wrote immediately to the Emperor, the Empress,
and the King of Holland, to communicate the intelligence. At five
o'clock in the evening, the act of birth was received by the arch
chancellor, assisted by his eminence, Reynault de St. Jean d'Angely,
minister of state and state secretary of the Imperial family. In the
absence of the Emperor, the new-born prince has not yet received his
name. This will be provided for by an ulterior act, according to the
orders of his Majesty."

By a decree of the Senate, these two children of Louis Bonaparte and
Hortense were declared heirs to the Imperial throne, should Napoleon and
his elder brother Joseph die without children. This decree of the
Senate was submitted to the acceptation of the French people. With
wonderful unanimity it was adopted. There were 3,521,675 votes in the
affirmative, and but 2599 in the negative.

Napoleon ever manifested the deepest interest in these two children. At
the time of the birth of Louis Napoleon he was at Bayonne, arranging
with the Spanish princes for the transfer of the crown of Spain to
Joseph Bonaparte. Josephine was at Bordeaux. From this interview he
passed, in his meteoric flight, to the Congress of Kings at Erfurt, but
a few miles from the battle-field of Jena. It was here that the
celebrated historian Müller met the Emperor and gave the following
testimony as to the impression which his presence produced upon his
mind:

"Quite impartially and truly, as before God, I must say, that the
variety of his knowledge, the acuteness of his observation, the solidity
of his understanding, filled me with astonishment. His manner of
speaking to me inspired me with love for him. It was one of the most
remarkable days of my life. By his genius and his disinterested goodness
he has conquered me also."

Hortense, with a saddened spirit, now lived in great seclusion, devoting
herself almost exclusively to the education of her two sons, Napoleon
Louis and Louis Napoleon. Her bodily health was feeble, and she was most
of the time deeply dejected. In May, 1809, Hortense, without consulting
the Emperor, who was absent in Germany, took the two princes with her to
the baths of Baden, where they were exposed to the danger of being
seized and held as hostages by the Austrians. The solicitude of the
Emperor for them may be seen in the following letter:

                    "Ebersdorf, May 28th, 1809.

"MY DAUGHTER,--I am very much displeased, (_très mécontent_) that you
should have left France without my permission, and particularly that you
should have taken my nephews from France. Since you are at the waters of
Baden, remain there. But in one hour after the reception of this letter,
send my two nephews to Strasbourg, near to the Empress. They ought never
to leave France. It is the first time that I have had occasion to be
dissatisfied with you. But you ought not to dispose of my nephews
without my permission. You ought to perceive the mischievous effects
which that may produce.

"Since the waters of Baden are beneficial to you, you can remain there
some days. But I repeat to you, do not delay for a moment sending my
nephews to Strasbourg. Should the Empress go to the waters of Plombières
they can accompany her there. But they ought never to cross the bridge
of Strasbourg. Your affectionate father,

                    "NAPOLEON."

This letter was sent to Josephine to be transmitted by her to Hortense.
She received it on the first of June, and immediately sent it to her
daughter, with a letter which implies that Hortense had already
anticipated the wishes of Napoleon, and had sent the princes, after a
brief visit, to Josephine at Strasbourg. Soon after this it would seem
that little Louis Napoleon, who was evidently the favorite of his
grandmother, perhaps because he was more with her, accompanied Josephine
to St Cloud. About a fortnight after this she wrote to Hortense from
that palace:

"I am happy to have your son with me. He is charming. I am attached to
him more and more, in thinking he will be a solace to you. His little
reasons amuse me much. He grows every day, and his complexion is very
fine. I am far from you, but I frequently embrace your son, and love to
imagine to myself that it is my dear daughter whom I embrace."

And now we approach that almost saddest of earth's tragedies, the
divorce of Josephine--the great wrong and calamity of Napoleon's life.
The event had so important a bearing upon the character and the destiny
of Hortense as to demand a brief recital here.

It is often difficult to judge of the _motives_ of human actions; but at
times circumstances are such that it is almost impossible to misjudge
the causes which lead to conduct. General Savary, Duke of Rovigo, the
intimate personal friend of the Emperor, and one better acquainted with
his secret thoughts than any other person, gives the following account
of this momentous and fatal act:

"A thousand idle stories have been related concerning the Emperor's
motives for breaking the bonds he had contracted upwards of fifteen
years before, and separating from one who was the partner of his life
during the most stormy events of his glorious career. It was ascribed
to his ambition to connect himself with royal blood; and malevolence has
delighted in spreading the report that to this consideration he had
sacrificed every other. This opinion was quite erroneous, and he was as
unfairly dealt with, upon the subject, as all persons are who happen to
be placed above the level of mankind.

"Nothing can be more true than that the sacrifice of the object of his
affections was the most painful that he experienced throughout his life;
and that he would have preferred adopting any course than the one to
which he was driven by the motives which I am about to relate. Public
opinion in general was unjust to the Emperor, when he placed the
imperial crown upon his head. A feeling of personal ambition was
supposed to be the main-spring of all his actions. This was, however, a
very mistaken impression. I have already mentioned with what reluctance
he had altered the form of government, and that if he had not been
apprehensive that the State would fall again a prey to those dissensions
which are inseparable from an elective form of government, he would not
have changed an order of things which appeared to have been the first
solid conquest achieved by the revolution. Ever since he had brought
back the nation to monarchical principles, he had neglected no means of
consolidating institutions which permanently secured those principles,
and yet firmly established the superiority of modern ideas over
antiquated customs. Differences of opinion could no longer create any
disturbance respecting the form of government, when his career should be
closed.

"But this was not enough. It was further requisite that the line of
inheritance should be defined in so clear a manner that, at his death,
no pretense might be made for the contention of any claimants to the
throne. For if such a misfortune were to take place, the least foreign
intervention would have sufficed to revive a spirit of discord among us.
This feeling of personal ambition consisted in this case, in a desire to
hand his work down to posterity, and to resign to his successor a state
resting upon his numerous trophies for its stability. He could not have
been blind to the fact, that the perpetual warfare into which a jealousy
of his strength had plunged him, had, in reality, no other object than
his own downfall, because with him must necessarily crumble that
gigantic power which was no longer upheld by the revolutionary energy
he himself had repressed.

"The Emperor had not any children. The Empress had two, but he never
could have entertained a thought of them without exposing himself to the
most serious inconveniences. I believe, however, that if the two
children of Josephine had been the only ones in his family, he would
have made some arrangement for securing the inheritance to Eugene. He
however dismissed the idea of appointing him his heir, because he had
nearer relations, and it would have given rise to dissensions which it
was his principal object to avoid. He also considered the necessity in
which he was placed of forming an alliance sufficiently powerful, in
order that, in the event of his system being at any time threatened,
that alliance might be a resting-point, and save it from total ruin. He
likewise hoped that it would be the means of putting to an end that
series of wars, of which he was desirous, above all things, to avoid a
recurrence. These were the motives which determined him to break a union
so long contracted. He wished it less for himself than for the purpose
of interesting a powerful state in the maintenance of the order of
things established in France. He reflected often on the mode of making
this communication to the Empress. Still he was reluctant to speak to
her. He was apprehensive of the consequences of her tenderness of
feeling. His heart was never proof against the shedding of tears."

The arch-chancellor Cambaceres states that Napoleon communicated to him
the resolution he had adopted; alluded to the reasons for the divorce,
spoke of the anguish which the stern necessity caused his affections,
and declared his intention to invest the act with forms the most
affectionate and the most honorable to Josephine.

"I will have nothing," said he, "which can resemble a repudiation;
nothing but a mere dissolution of the conjugal tie, founded upon mutual
consent; a consent itself founded upon the interests of the empire.
Josephine is to be provided with a palace in Paris, with a princely
residence in the country with an income of six hundred thousand dollars,
and is to occupy the first rank among the princesses, after the future
Empress. I wish ever to keep her near me as my best and most
affectionate friend."

Josephine was in some degree aware of the doom which was impending, and
her heart was consumed by unmitigated grief. Hortense, who also was
heart-stricken and world-weary, was entreated by the Emperor to prepare
her mother for the sad tidings. She did so, but very imperfectly. At
last the fatal hour arrived in which it was necessary for the Emperor to
make the dreaded announcement to the Empress. They were both at
Fontainebleau, and Hortense was with her mother. For some time there had
been much constraint in the intercourse between the Emperor and Empress;
he dreading to make the cruel communication, and her heart lacerated
with anguish in the apprehension of receiving it.

It was the last day of November, 1809, cold and cheerless. Napoleon and
Josephine dined alone in silence, not a word being spoken during the
repast. At the close of the meal, Napoleon, pale and trembling, took the
hand of the Empress and said:

"Josephine, my own good Josephine, you know how I have loved you. It is
to you alone that I owe the few moments of happiness I have known in the
world. Josephine, my destiny is stronger than my will. My dearest
affections must yield to the welfare of France."

All-expected as the blow was, it was none the less dreadful. Josephine
fell, apparently lifeless, to the floor. The Count de Beaumont was
immediately summoned, and, with the aid of Napoleon, conveyed Josephine
to her apartment. Hortense came at once to her mother, whom she loved so
tenderly. The anguish of the scene overcame her. In respectful, though
reproachful tones, she said to the Emperor, "My mother will descend from
the throne, as she ascended it, in obedience to your will. Her children,
content to renounce grandeurs which have not made them happy, will
gladly go and devote their lives to comforting the best and the most
affectionate of mothers."

Napoleon was entirely overcome. He sat down and wept bitterly. Raising
his eyes swimming in tears to his daughter, he said:

"Do not leave me, Hortense. Stay by me with Eugene. Help me to console
your mother and render her calm, resigned, and even happy in remaining
my friend, while she ceases to be my wife."

Eugene was summoned from Italy. Upon his arrival his sister threw
herself into his arms, and, after a brief interview of mutual anguish,
led him to their beloved mother. After a short interview with her, he
repaired to the cabinet of the Emperor. In respectful terms, but firm
and very sad, he inquired if Napoleon intended to obtain a divorce from
the Empress. Napoleon, who tenderly loved his noble son, could only
reply with the pressure of the hand. Eugene immediately recoiled and,
withdrawing his hand, said:

"In that case, Sire, permit me to retire from your service."

"How," exclaimed Napoleon, looking sadly upon him. "Will you, my adopted
son, forsake me?"

"Yes, Sire," Eugene replied. "The son of her who is no longer Empress,
can not remain viceroy. I will follow my mother into her retreat. She
must now find her consolation in her children."

Tears filled the eyes of the Emperor. "You know," said he, "the stern
necessity which compels this measure. Will you forsake me? Who then,
should I have a son, the object of my desires and preserver of my
interests, who will watch over the child when I am absent? If I die, who
will prove to him a father? Who will bring him up? Who is to make a man
of him?"

Napoleon and Eugene then retired to the garden, and for a long time
walked, arm in arm, up and down one of its avenues, engaged in earnest
conversation. Josephine, with a mother's love, could not forget the
interests of her children, even in her own anguish.

"The Emperor," she said to Eugene, "is your benefactor, your more than
father; to whom you are indebted for every thing, and to whom therefore
you owe boundless obedience."

A fortnight passed away and the 15th of December arrived; the day
appointed for the consummation of this cruel sacrifice. The affecting
scene transpired in the grand saloon of the palace of the Tuileries. All
the members of the imperial family were present. Eugene and Hortense
were with their mother, sustaining her with their sympathy and love. An
extreme pallor overspread the countenance of Napoleon, as he addressed
the assembled dignitaries of the empire.

"The political interests of my monarchy," said he, "and the wishes of my
people, which have constantly guided my actions, require that I should
transmit to an heir, inheriting my love for the people, the throne on
which Providence has placed me. For many years I have lost all hope of
having children by my beloved spouse the Empress Josephine. It is this
consideration which induces me to sacrifice the dearest affections of
my heart, to consult only the good of my subjects, and to desire the
dissolution of our marriage. Arrived at the age of forty years, I may
indulge the reasonable hope of living long enough to rear, in the spirit
of my own thoughts and disposition, the children with which it may
please Providence to bless me. God knows how much such a determination
has cost my heart. But there is no sacrifice too great for my courage
when it is proved to be for the interest of France. Far from having any
cause of complaint, I have nothing to say but in praise of the
attachment and tenderness of my beloved wife. She has embellished
fifteen years of my life, and the remembrance of them will be forever
engraven on my heart. She was crowned by my hand. She shall always
retain the rank and title of Empress. Above all, let her never doubt my
affection, or regard me but as her best and dearest friend."

Josephine now endeavored to fulfill her part in this sad drama.
Unfolding a paper, she vainly strove to read her assent to the divorce.
But tears blinded her eyes and emotion choked her voice. Handing the
paper to a friend and sobbing aloud, she sank into a chair and buried
her face in her handkerchief. Her friend, M. Reynaud, read the paper,
which was as follows:

[Illustration: THE DIVORCE ANNOUNCED.]

"With the permission of my august and dear spouse, I must declare that,
retaining no hope of having children who may satisfy the requirements of
his policy and the interests of France, I have the pleasure of giving
him the greatest proof of attachment and devotedness which was ever
given on earth. I owe all to his bounty. It was his hand that crowned
me, and on his throne I have received only manifestations of love and
affection from the French people. I respond to all the sentiments of the
Emperor, in consenting to the dissolution of a marriage which is now an
obstacle to the happiness of France, by depriving it of the blessing of
being one day governed by the descendants of that great man who was
evidently raised up by Providence to efface the evils of a terrible
revolution, and to restore the altar, the throne, and social order. But
the dissolution of my marriage will in no respect change the sentiments
of my heart. The Emperor will ever find in me his best friend. I know
how much this act, commanded by policy and exalted interests, has rent
his heart. But we both glory in the sacrifices we make for the good
of the country."

"After these words," says Thiers, "the noblest ever uttered under such
circumstances--for never, it must be confessed, did vulgar passions less
prevail in an act of this kind--Napoleon, embracing Josephine, led her
to her own apartment, where he left her, almost fainting, in the arms of
her children."

The next day the Senate was convened in the grand saloon to sanction the
legal consummation of the divorce. Eugene presided. As he announced the
desire of the Emperor and Empress for the dissolution of their marriage,
he said: "The tears of his Majesty at this separation are sufficient for
the glory of my mother." The description of the remaining scenes of this
cruel tragedy we repeat from "Abbott's Life of Napoleon."

"The Emperor, dressed in the robes of state, and pale as a statue of
marble, leaned against a pillar, careworn and wretched. Folding his arms
upon his breast, with his eyes fixed upon vacancy, he stood in gloomy
silence. It was a funereal scene. The low hum of mournful voices alone
disturbed the stillness of the room. A circular table was placed in the
centre of the apartment. Upon it there was a writing apparatus of gold.
A vacant arm-chair stood before the table. The company gazed silently
upon it as the instrument of the most soul-harrowing execution.

"A side door opened, and Josephine entered. Her face was as white as the
simple muslin robe which she wore. She was leaning upon the arm of
Hortense, who, not possessing the fortitude of her mother, was sobbing
convulsively. The whole assembly, upon the entrance of Josephine,
instinctively arose. All were moved to tears. With her own peculiar
grace, Josephine advanced to the seat provided for her. Leaning her pale
forehead upon her hand, she listened with the calmness of stupor to the
reading of the act of separation. The convulsive sobbings of Hortense,
mingled with the subdued and mournful tones of the reader's voice, added
to the tragic impressiveness of the scene. Eugene, pale and trembling,
stepped forward and took a position by the side of his adored mother, to
give her the moral support of his near presence.

"As soon as the reading of the act of separation was finished,
Josephine, for a moment, in anguish pressed her handkerchief to her
eyes, and rising, in tones clear, musical, but tremulous with repressed
emotion, pronounced the oath of acceptance. She sat down, took the pen,
and affixed her signature to the deed which sundered the dearest hopes
and the fondest ties which human hearts can feel. Eugene could endure
this anguish no longer. His brain reeled, his heart ceased to beat, and
fainting, he fell senseless to the floor. Josephine and Hortense
retired, with the attendants who bore out the inanimate form of the
affectionate son and brother. It was a fitting termination of the
heart-rending yet sublime tragedy.

"Josephine remained in her chamber overwhelmed with speechless grief. A
sombre night darkened over the city, oppressed by the gloom of this
cruel sacrifice. The hour arrived at which Napoleon usually retired for
sleep. The Emperor, restless and wretched, had just placed himself in
the bed from which he had ejected his faithful and devoted wife, when
the private door of his chamber was slowly opened, and Josephine
tremblingly entered.

"Her eyes were swollen with weeping, her hair disordered, and she
appeared in all the dishabille of unutterable anguish. Hardly conscious
of what she did, in the delirium of her woe, she tottered into the
middle of the room and approached the bed of her former husband. Then
irresolutely stopping, she buried her face in her hands and burst into a
flood of tears.

"A feeling of delicacy seemed, for a moment, to have arrested her
steps--a consciousness that she had _now_ no right to enter the chamber
of Napoleon. In another moment all the pent-up love of her heart burst
forth, and forgetting every thing in the fullness of her anguish, she
threw herself upon the bed, clasped Napoleon's neck in her arms, and
exclaiming, 'My husband! my husband!' sobbed as though her heart were
breaking. The imperial spirit of Napoleon was entirely vanquished. He
also wept convulsively. He assured Josephine of his love--of his ardent,
undying love. In every way he tried to soothe and comfort her. For some
time they remained locked in each other's embrace. The valet-de-chambre,
who was still present, was dismissed, and for an hour Napoleon and
Josephine continued together in this their last private interview.
Josephine then, in the experience of an intensity of anguish such as few
human hearts have ever known, parted forever from the _husband_ whom
she had so long and so faithfully loved."

Josephine having withdrawn, an attendant entered the apartment to remove
the lights. He found the Emperor so buried beneath the bedclothes as to
be invisible. Not a word was uttered. The lights were removed, and the
unhappy monarch was left alone in darkness and silence to the melancholy
companionship of his own thoughts. The next morning the death-like
pallor of his cheek, his sunken eye, and the haggard expression of his
countenance, attested that the Emperor had passed the night in
sleeplessness and in suffering.

The grief of Napoleon was unquestionably sincere. It could not but be
so. He was influenced by no vagrant passion. He had formed no new
attachment. He truly loved Josephine. He consequently resolved to retire
for a time to the seclusion of Trianon, at Versailles. He seemed
desirous that the externals of mourning should accompany an event so
mournful.

"The orders for the departure for Trianon," writes the Baron Meneval,
Napoleon's private secretary, "had been previously given. When in the
morning the Emperor was informed that his carriages were ready, he took
his hat and said, 'Meneval, come with me.' I followed him by the little
winding staircase which, from his cabinet, communicated with the
apartment of the Empress. Josephine was alone, and appeared absorbed in
the most melancholy reflections. At the noise which we made in entering,
she eagerly rose and threw herself sobbing upon the neck of the Emperor.
He pressed her to his bosom with the most ardent embraces.

"In the excess of her emotion she fainted. I rang the bell for succor.
The Emperor wishing to avoid the renewal of scenes of anguish which he
could no longer alleviate, placed the Empress in my arms as soon as she
began to revive. Directing me not to leave her, he hastily retired to
his carriage which was waiting for him at the door. The Empress,
perceiving the departure of the Emperor, redoubled her tears and moans.
Her women placed her upon a sofa. She seized my hands, and frantically
urged me to entreat Napoleon not to forget her, and to assure him that
her love would survive every event.

"She made me promise to write her immediately on my arrival at Trianon,
and to see that the Emperor wrote to her also. She could hardly consent
to let me go, as if my departure would break the last tie which still
connected her with the Emperor. I left her, deeply moved by the
exhibition of a grief so true and an attachment so sincere. I was
profoundly saddened during my ride, and I could not refrain from
deploring the rigorous exigencies of state which rudely sundered the
ties of a long-tried affection, to impose another union offering only
uncertainties. Having arrived at Trianon, I gave the Emperor a faithful
account of all that had transpired after his departure. He was still
oppressed by the melancholy scenes through which he had passed. He dwelt
upon the noble qualities of Josephine, and upon the sincerity of the
affection which she cherished for him. He ever after preserved for her
the most tender attachment. The same evening he wrote to her a letter to
console her solitude." The letter was as follows:

"My love, I found you to-day more feeble than you ought to be. You have
exhibited much fortitude, and it is necessary that you should still
continue to sustain yourself. You must not yield to funereal melancholy.
Strive to be tranquil, and, above, all, to preserve your health, which
is so precious to me. If you are attached to me, if you love me, you
must maintain your energy and strive to be cheerful. You can not doubt
my constancy and my tender affection. You know too well all the
sentiments with which I regard you to suppose that I can be happy if you
are unhappy, that I can be serene if you are agitated. Adieu, my love.
Sleep well. Believe that I wish it.

                    "NAPOLEON."

After the departure of the Emperor, at eleven o'clock in the morning all
the household of the Tuileries were assembled upon the grand staircase,
to witness the retirement of their beloved mistress from the scenes
where she had so long been the brightest ornament. Josephine descended
from her apartment veiled from head to foot. Her emotions were too deep
for utterance. Silently she waved an adieu to the affectionate and
weeping friends who surrounded her. A close carriage with six horses was
before the door. She entered it, sank back upon the cushions, buried her
face in her handkerchief, and, sobbing bitterly, left the Tuileries
forever.

After the divorce, Josephine spent most of her time at the beautiful
chateau of Malmaison, which had been assigned to her, or at the palace
of Navarre, which was embellished for her at an expense of two hundred
thousand dollars. She retained the title of Empress, and received a
jointure of about six hundred thousand dollars a year. Almost daily
letters were exchanged between her and the Emperor, and he frequently
visited her. But from motives of delicacy he never saw her alone. We
know of nothing more pathetic in history than the gleams we get of these
interviews, as revealed in the "Confidential letters of Napoleon and
Josephine," whose publication was authorized by Queen Hortense, after
the death of her mother. Josephine, in the following words, describes
one of these interviews at Malmaison. It was after the marriage with
Maria Louisa.

"I was one day painting a violet, a flower which recalled to my memory
my more happy days, when one of my women ran towards me and made a sign
by placing her finger upon her lips. The next moment I was
overpowered--I beheld Napoleon. He threw himself with transport into the
arms of his old friend. Oh, then I was convinced that he could still
love me; for that man really loved me. It seemed impossible for him to
cease gazing upon me, and his look was that of tender affection. At
length, in a tone of deepest compassion and love, he said:

"'My dear Josephine, I have always loved you. I love you still. Do you
still love me, excellent and good Josephine? Do you still love me, in
spite of the relations I have again contracted, and which have separated
me from you? But they have not banished you from my memory.'

"'Sire,' I replied--

"'Call me Bonaparte,' said he; 'speak to me, my beloved, with the same
freedom, the same familiarity as ever.'

"Bonaparte soon disappeared, and I heard only the sound of his retiring
footsteps. Oh, how quickly does every thing take place on earth. I had
once more felt the pleasure of being loved."

In reference to this melancholy event, Napoleon said, at Saint Helena:

"My divorce has no parallel in history. It did not destroy the ties
which united our families, and our mutual tenderness remained unchanged.
Our separation was a sacrifice, demanded of us by reason, for the
interests of my crown and of my dynasty. Josephine was devoted to me.
She loved me tenderly. No one ever had a preference over me in her
heart. I occupied the first place in it, her children the next. She was
right in thus loving me; and the remembrance of her is still
all-powerful in my mind. Josephine was really an amiable woman: she was
so kind, so humane. She was the best woman in France.

"A son, by Josephine, would have completed my happiness, not only in a
political point of view, but as a source of domestic felicity. As a
political result it would have secured to me the possession of the
throne. The French people would have been as much attached to the son of
Josephine as they were to the King of Rome, and I should not have set my
foot on an abyss covered with a bed of flowers. But how vain are all
human calculations! Who can pretend to decide on what may lead to
happiness or unhappiness in this life!"

The divorce of Josephine, strong as were the political motives which led
to it, was a violation of the immutable laws of God. Like all
wrong-doing, however seemingly prosperous for a time, it promoted final
disaster and woe. Doubtless Napoleon, educated in the midst of those
convulsions which had shaken all the foundations of Christian morality,
did not clearly perceive the extent of the wrong. He unquestionably felt
that he was doing right; that the interests of France demanded the
sacrifice. But the penalty was none the less inevitable. The laws of God
can not be violated with impunity, even though the violation be a sin of
ignorance.



CHAPTER VI.

THE DEATH OF JOSEPHINE.

1810-1816

Marriage of Napoleon and Maria Louisa.--Hortense goes to
Navarre.--Letter from Josephine.--Louis Bonaparte abdicates.--Madame
Broc.--"Partant pour la Syrie."--Illness of Napoleon Louis.--Letter from
Eugene.--Napoleon arrives in Paris.--Letter from Josephine.--Death of
Madame Broc.--Hortense at Aix.--Disasters to Napoleon.--Embarrassment of
Maria Louisa.--Napoleon's last interview with Josephine.--Josephine goes
to Navarre.--Letter from Napoleon.--Napoleon abdicates.--Kindness of
Alexander.--Illness of Josephine.--Death of Josephine.


From the sad scenes described in the last chapter, Eugene returned to
Italy. Hortense, in the deepest state of dejection, remained for a short
time in Paris, often visiting her mother at Malmaison. About five months
after the divorce, Napoleon was again married to Maria Louisa, daughter
of the Emperor of Austria. The marriage ceremony was first celebrated
with great pomp in Vienna, Napoleon being represented by proxy; and
again the ceremony was repeated in Paris. It devolved upon Hortense, as
the daughter of Napoleon, and the most prominent lady of his household,
to receive with smiles of welcome and cordiality of greeting the
princess who took the place of her mother. Seldom has it been the lot of
a woman to pass through a more painful ordeal. Josephine, that she might
be far removed from the tumult of Paris, rejoicing upon the arrival of
Maria Louisa, retired from Malmaison to the more distant palace of
Navarre. Soon after the marriage, Hortense hastened to join her mother
there. There was at this time but little sympathy between Hortense and
her husband. The power of a great sorrow in the death of their eldest
son had for a short time brought them more closely together. There was,
however, but little compatibility in their tastes and dispositions; and
Hortense, deeming it her duty to comfort her mother, and finding more
congeniality in her society than in that of her husband, made but brief
visits to Holland.

It is easy for the prosperous and the happy to be amiable. Hortense was
in a state of great physical debility, and almost every hope of her life
had been crushed out. The letters of Hortense to Josephine have not been
made public. We can only judge of their character from the replies which
her mother made. From these it would appear that scarcely did a ray of
joy illumine the gloomy path which she was destined to tread. On the 4th
of April, 1810, Josephine wrote to Hortense from Navarre:

"I am touched, my dear Hortense, with all the griefs which you
experience. I hope that there is no more question of your return to
Holland, and that you will have a little repose. I know how much you
must suffer from these disappointments, but I entreat you not to allow
yourself to be affected by them. As long as any thing remains to me you
shall be mistress of your destiny; grief and happiness--you know that I
share all with you.

"Take, then, a little courage, my dear daughter. We both of us have much
need of it. Often mine is too feeble, and sorrow makes me sick. But I
seek fortitude all the time, and with my utmost efforts."

Soon after this Hortense, taking her two children with her, rejoined her
husband, King Louis, in Holland. Josephine wrote to her on the 10th of
May, from Navarre:

"I have received your letter, my dear Hortense, and I see, with much
pain, that your health is not good. I hope that repose will re-establish
it; and I can not doubt that the king will contribute to it every thing
in his power, by his attentions and his attachments. Every day will lead
him to see more and more how much you merit. Take care of yourself, my
dear daughter; you know how much I have need of you. My heart has
suffered to a degree which has somewhat impaired my health. But
fortitude triumphs over sorrow, and I begin to be a little better."

Again, on the 15th, the Empress wrote to Hortense, who was still in
Amsterdam:

"I have been extremely anxious on account of your health, my dear
Hortense. I know that you have experienced several attacks of fever, and
I have need to be tranquilized.

"Your letter of the 10th has just reached me, but it has not given me
the consolation I had hoped for. I see in it an abandonment of yourself,
which gives me great pain. How many ties are there which should bind you
to life! And if you have so little affection for me, is it then, when I
am no longer happy, that you can think, with so much tranquillity, of
leaving me?

"Take courage, my daughter, and especially be careful of your health. I
am confident, as I have already sent you word, that the waters which
have been prescribed for you will do you good. Speak of it to the king
with frankness. He certainly will not refuse you any thing which may be
essential to your health. I am making all my arrangements to go to the
springs in the month of June. But I do not think that I shall go to
Aix-la-Chapelle, but rather to Aix in Savoy, which place I prefer.

"Diversion of mind is necessary for my health, and I have more hope of
finding that in a place which I have never seen, and whose situation is
picturesque. The waters of Aix are particularly efficacious for the
nerves. I earnestly recommend you to take them instead of those of
Plombières. We can pass the time together. Reply to me immediately upon
this subject. We can lodge together. It will not be necessary for you to
take many companions with you. I shall take but very few, intending to
travel incognito. To-morrow I go to Malmaison, where I shall remain
until I leave for the springs. I see with pleasure that the health of
Louis Napoleon is good, and that he has not suffered from the change of
air. Embrace him for me, my dear Hortense, and love me as tenderly as I
love you.

                    "JOSEPHINE.

"P. S.--Remember me to the king."

For some unexplained reason, Hortense repaired first to the waters of
Plombières. Her youngest son, Louis Napoleon, was sent to Malmaison, to
be with Josephine, who so fondly loved the child that she was quite
unwilling to be separated from him. Hortense took her elder child,
Napoleon Louis, with her to the springs. Here she was taken very sick.
On the 14th of June Josephine wrote her from Malmaison:

"I did not know how much you had suffered, my dear Hortense, until you
were better; but I had a presentiment of it, and my anxiety induced me
to write to one of your ladies, to indicate to her the telegraph from
Nancy, as a prompt resource to call a physician. You ask me what I am
doing. I had yesterday a day of happiness. The Emperor came to see me.
His presence made me happy, although it renewed my grief. These are
emotions such as one could wish often to experience.

"All the time he remained with me I had sufficient fortitude to restrain
the tears which I felt were ready to flow. But after he had left, I had
no longer power to restrain them, and I found myself very unhappy. He
was kind to me, and amiable as ever; and I hope that he will have read
in my heart all the affection and all the devotion with which I cherish
him.

"I spoke to him of your situation, and he listened to me with interest.
He is of opinion that you should not return to Holland, the king not
having conducted as he would wish to have him. The opinion of the
Emperor is that you should take the waters for the necessary time; that
you should then write to your husband that it is the opinion of your
physicians that you should reside in a warm climate for some time, and
that consequently you are going to Italy. As to your son, the Emperor
will give orders that he is not to leave France.

"I hope to see you, perhaps at Aix in Savoy, if the waters at Plombières
do not agree with you; perhaps in Switzerland, where the Emperor has
permitted me to journey. We shall be able to appoint for ourselves a
rendezvous where we may meet. Then I will relate to you with the living
voice those details which it would require too much time to write. I
intend to leave next Monday for Aix in Savoy. I shall travel incognito,
under the name of Madame d'Aubery. Your son (Louis Napoleon), who is now
here, is very well. He has rosy cheeks and a fair skin."

Immediately upon Josephine's arrival at Aix, she wrote again to
Hortense, who was still at Plombières, a letter expressive of great
anxiety for her health and happiness, and entreating her to come and
join her at Aix. "How I regret," she wrote, "not having known, before my
departure, the true state of your health. I should have been at
Plombières to take care of you, and I should not have experienced the
anxiety which tortures me at this great distance. My only consolation is
to think that you will soon come here. Let me soon see you. Alone,
desolate, far from all my friends, and in the midst of strangers, you
can judge how sad I am, and all the need I have of your presence."

In July, Louis Bonaparte abdicated the throne of Holland. Hortense wrote
to her mother all the details of the event. Josephine engaged a cottage
at Aix for herself and Hortense. She wrote to Hortense on the 18th of
July:

"I am delighted with the resolution you have taken to come here. I am
occupied, in preparing your lodgings, more pleasantly than I could have
hoped. A gentleman here has relinquished his house. I have accepted it,
for it is delightfully situated, and the view is enchanting. The houses
here are very small, but that which you will inhabit is larger. You can
ride anywhere in a calèche. You will be very glad to have your own. I
have mine, and I ride out in it every day. Adieu, my dear Hortense. I am
impatient for the moment when I can embrace you."

As it was not deemed proper for the young princes, the sons of Hortense,
to leave France, they were both left at the chateau of St. Cloud, while
Hortense visited her mother at Aix. The devoted friend of Hortense,
Madame Broc, to whom we have previously alluded, accompanied the
ex-queen to Aix. The two friends frequently enjoyed long walks together
in that region full of picturesque scenery. Hortense had a very keen
appreciation of the beauties of nature, and had attained much excellence
as a landscape painter. Aix, from its deep retirement and physical
grandeur, became quite a favorite retreat. She had but little heart for
any society but that of the solitudes of nature.

About the first of October Hortense returned, by the advice of the
Emperor, to Fontainebleau, where she was reunited to her two sons.
Josephine was, in the mean time, taking a short tour in Switzerland. We
have previously spoken of Hortense's taste for music, and her skill as a
composer. One of the airs, or _romances_, as they were called, composed
by Hortense still retains in Europe perhaps unsurpassed popularity. It
was termed familiarly _Beau Dunois_, or the Knight Errant. Its full
title was "_Partant pour la Syrie, le jeune et beau Dunois._"[E]

[Footnote E: The writer remembers that forty years ago this was a
favorite song in this country. At Bowdoin College it was the popular
college song. It is now, in France, one of the favorite national airs.]

Josephine, writing from Geneva to Hortense at Fontainebleau, says: "I
have heard sung all over Switzerland your romance of Beau Dunois! I have
even heard it played upon the piano with beautiful variations."
Josephine soon returned to Navarre, which at that time she preferred to
Malmaison, as it was farther removed from the capital, and from the
tumult of joy with which the birth of the child of Maria Louisa would be
received. On the 20th of March, 1811, all France resounded with
acclamations at the birth of the young King of Rome. Hortense, devoting
herself to her children, remained in Paris and its environs. In the
autumn of this year Josephine left Navarre, and returned to Malmaison to
spend the winter there. Hortense and her husband, though much estranged
from each other, and living most of the time apart, were still not
formally separated, and occasionally dwelt together. The ostensible
cause of the frequent absence of Hortense from her husband was the state
of her health, rendering it necessary for her to make frequent visits to
the springs, and the griefs of her mother requiring often the solace of
her daughter's presence.

Louis Bonaparte owned a very beautiful estate, called St. Leu, in
France. Early in May, 1812, Napoleon left Paris for the fatal campaign
to Moscow. Just before his departure, he called at Malmaison and took an
affectionate leave of Josephine. Hortense was at St. Leu, with her
children. After a short visit which Josephine made to St. Leu, and which
she describes as delightful, she returned to Malmaison, and Hortense
went to the springs of Aix-la-Chapelle, taking her two children with
her. Here Napoleon Louis was attacked with scarlet fever, which caused
his mother and the Empress great anxiety.

Josephine wrote to her, on the 28th of July: "You are very kind not to
have forgotten me in the midst of your anxiety for your son. Embrace for
me that dear child, and my little _Oui Oui_" (yes, yes).[F] Again she
wrote, two days after: "I hope that our dear Napoleon continues to
improve, and that the little _Oui Oui_ is doing well." Eugene, leaving
his amiable and much-loved wife and little family at Milan, had
accompanied Napoleon on his Russian campaign. During his absence
Josephine visited Milan, and there, as everywhere else, won the love of
all who saw her. Hortense, with her children, was most of the time in
Paris. Eugene, immediately after the terrible battle of Borodino, wrote
as follows to Josephine. His letter was dated September 8, 1812.

[Footnote F: Oui Oui was the pet name given to little Louis Napoleon.]

"MY GOOD MOTHER,--I write you from the field of battle. The Emperor has
gained a great victory over the Russians. The battle lasted thirteen
hours. I commanded the right, and hope that the Emperor will be
satisfied.

"I can not sufficiently thank you for your attentions and kindness to my
little family. You are adored at Milan, as everywhere else. They write
me most charming accounts of you, and you have won the love of every one
with whom you have become acquainted. Adieu! Please give tidings of me
to my sister. I will write her to-morrow. Your affectionate son,

                    "EUGENE."

The latter part of October of this year, 1812, Napoleon commenced his
awful retreat from Moscow. Josephine and Hortense were much of the time
together in a state of indescribable suspense and anguish. At midnight,
on the 18th of December, Napoleon arrived in Paris. The disasters in
Russia had caused a new coalition of all the dynasties against France.
The Emperor of Austria, unmindful of the marriage of his daughter with
Napoleon, had joined the coalition with all the military powers of his
empire. The majestic army with which Napoleon had invaded Russia was
almost annihilated, and nearly two millions of bayonets were now
directed against the Republican Empire.

All France rose with enthusiasm to co-operate with Napoleon in his
endeavors to resist the thronging foes. By the middle of April, nearly
three hundred thousand men were on the march from France towards
Germany, gallantly to meet the onswelling flood of more than a million
of bayonets. On the 15th of April, 1813, at four o'clock in the morning,
Napoleon left St. Cloud for the seat of war. The terrific campaign of
Lutzen, Bautzen, Dresden, and Leipsic ensued.

Days of darkness were lowering around the Empire. The health of Hortense
rendered it necessary for her to go to the springs of Aix in Savoy. Her
two children were left with her mother at Malmaison. Under date of June
11, 1813, the Empress wrote to her daughter:

"I have received your letter of the 7th, my dear Hortense. I see with
pleasure that you have already been benefited by the waters. I advise
you to continue them, in taking, as you do, a few days of repose. Be
very tranquil respecting your children. They are perfectly well. Their
complexion is of the lily and the rose. I can assure you that since they
have been here they have not had the slightest indisposition. I must
relate to you a very pretty response on the part of _Oui Oui_. The Abbé
Bertrand caused him to read a fable where there was a question about
_metamorphosis_. Being called to explain the word, he said to the abbé:

"'I wish I could change myself into a little bird, I would then fly away
at the hour of your lesson; but I would return when M. Hase (his teacher
of German) arrived.'

[Illustration: THE DEATH OF MADAME BROC.]

"'But, prince,' remarked the abbé, 'it is not very polite for you to say
that to me.' 'Oh,' replied _Oui Oui_, 'that which I say is only for
the lesson, not for the man.'

"Do you not think, with me, that that repartee was very _spirituelle_?
It was impossible for him to extricate himself from the embarrassment
with more delicacy and gracefulness. Your children were with me when I
received your letter. They were very happy to receive tidings from their
mamma. Continue to write often, my dear daughter, for their sake and for
mine. It is the only means to enable me to support your absence."

While upon this visit to Aix, Hortense was accompanied by her
inseparable friend, Madame Broc. One day Hortense and Adèle were
ascending a mountain, whose summit commanded a very magnificent view.
Their path led over a deep, dark, craggy ravine, which was swept by a
mountain torrent, foaming and roaring over the rocks. Alpine firs,
casting a gloomy shade, clung to its sides. A frail rustic bridge
crossed the chasm. Hortense with light step passed over in safety.
Madame Broc followed. A piercing shriek was heard, followed by a crash.
As Hortense turned round she saw that the bridge had given way, and her
companion was falling, torn and mangled, from rock to rock, till the
rushing torrent seized her and whirled her lifeless body down the gulf
in its wild waters. There was no possibility of rescue. For a moment the
fluttering robes of the unfortunate lady were seen in the midst of the
surging flood, and then the body was swept away far down the dismal
gorge.

The shock which this frightful accident gave to the nerves of Hortense
was like that which she experienced at the death of her son. For a time
she seemed stunned by the blow, and reason tottered on its throne.
Instead of flying from Aix, she lingered there. As soon as she partially
recovered tranquillity, she sought to divert her grief by entering the
abodes of sickness, sorrow, and suffering in the neighborhood,
administering relief with her own hands. She established a hospital at
Aix from her own private funds for the indigent, and, like an angel of
mercy, clothed the naked and fed the hungry, and, while her own heart
was breaking, spoke words of consolation to the world-weary.

In reference to this event Josephine wrote from Malmaison to Hortense at
Aix, under date of June 16, 1813:

"What a horrible accident, my dear Hortense! What a friend you have
lost, and by what a frightful calamity! Since yesterday, when I heard of
it, I have been so horror-struck as not to be able to write to you.
Every moment I have before my eyes the fate of that poor Adèle. Every
body is in tears for her. She was so beloved, so worthy of being
beloved, by her excellent qualities and by her attachment for you. I can
think of nothing but what condition you are in. I am so anxious, that I
send my chamberlain, M. Turpin, to you, that he may give me more certain
intelligence respecting your health. I shall make haste to leave myself
for a short time, that my presence and my care may be useful to you. I
feel keenly your grief. It is too well founded. But, my dear daughter,
think of your children, who are so worthy of your love. Preserve
yourself for them! Think also of your mother, who loves you tenderly.

                    "JOSEPHINE."

Thus blow after blow fell upon the heart of poor Hortense. Two days
after the above date Josephine wrote again, in reply to a letter from
her daughter:

"Your letter has reanimated me, my dear Hortense. In the dejection in
which I was, I experienced true consolation in seeing your hand-writing,
and in being assured by yourself that you try to conquer your grief. I
fully realize how much it must cost you. Your letter, so tender, so
touching, has renewed my tears. Ever since this frightful accident I
have been sick. Alas! my dear daughter, you did not need this new trial.

"I have embraced your children for you. They also are deeply afflicted,
and think of you very much. I am consoled in thinking that you will not
forget us. I thank you for it, my dear Hortense, my daughter tenderly
beloved."

Again, a few days after, this affectionate mother wrote to her
grief-stricken child:

"I can not permit your courier to leave without transmitting to you
intelligence from me; without letting you know how much I think of you.
I fear that you may surrender yourself too much to the grief which you
have experienced. I shall not feel reassured until M. Turpin shall have
returned. Think of your charming children, my dear Hortense. Think also
of a mother who adores you, and whom your life alone attaches to the
world. I hope that all these motives will give you courage to support
with more resignation the loss of a friend so tender.

"I have just received a letter from Eugene. He fully shares your grief,
and desires that you should go and pass some time with him, if you have
sufficient strength. I should be happy to know that you were with him.
Your children are enjoying perfect health. They are truly interesting.
It would, indeed, touch your feelings if you knew how much they think of
you. Life is very precious, and one clings to it when one has such good
children. Adieu! my daughter. Think often of a mother who loves you
tenderly, and who tenderly embraces you."

As nothing can more clearly reveal than do these confidential letters
the character of Hortense, and the domestic relations of this
illustrious and afflicted family, I insert them freely. They give us a
rare view of, those griefs of our suffering humanity which are found in
the palace no less than in the cottage. On the 29th of June, Josephine
wrote again to Hortense:

"M. De Turpin has brought me your letter, my dear daughter. I see with
pain how sad and melancholy you still are. But it is, at least, a great
consolation to me to be assured that your health has not severely
suffered. Take courage, my dear Hortense. I hope that happiness will yet
be your lot. You have passed through many trials. Have not all persons
their griefs? The only difference is in the greater or less fortitude of
soul with which one supports them. That which ought particularly to
soothe your grief is that every one shares it with you. There are none
who do not regret our poor Adèle as much for themselves as for you.

"Your children mourn over your sorrows. Every thing announces in them an
excellent character, and a strong attachment for you. The more I see of
them the more I love them. Nevertheless, I do not spoil them. Feel easy
on their account. We follow exactly what you have prescribed for their
regimen and their studies. When they have done well during the week, I
invite them to breakfast and dine with me on the Sabbath. The proof that
they are in good health is that they have grown much. Napoleon had one
eye slightly inflamed yesterday from the sting of a gnat. He was not,
however, on that account, less well than usual. To-day it is no longer
manifest. It would not be worth mentioning, were we not in the habit of
rendering you an exact account of every thing which concerns them."

On the 6th of August Josephine wrote as follows:

"The beautiful days of summer have at last come with the month of
August. I hope that they will strengthen you, my dear daughter. Your
lungs will feel the influence of them, and the baths will do you much
more good. I see with pleasure that you have not forgotten the years of
your childhood, and you are very kind to your mother in recalling them
to her. I did right in making happy, too, children so good and so
affectionate, and they have since abundantly recompensed me for it. Your
children will do the same for you, my dear Hortense. Their hearts
resemble yours. They will never cease to love you. Their health is
wonderfully good, and they have never been more fresh and vigorous.

"The little _Oui Oui_ is always gallant and amiable to me. Two days ago,
in seeing Madame Tascher leave us, who went to join her husband at the
springs, he said to Madame Boucheporn:

"'She must love her husband very much indeed, to be willing, for him, to
leave my grandmother!'

"Do you not think that was charming? On the same day he went to walk in
the woods of Butard. As soon as he was in the grand avenue, he threw his
hat in the air, shouting, 'Oh, how I love beautiful nature!'[G]

[Footnote G: All will read with interest the above anecdotes of the
childhood of Louis Napoleon, now Emperor of France. His manhood has more
than fulfilled even the great promise of his early days. The stories
which have been circulated in this country respecting his early
dissipation are entirely unfounded. They originated in an error by which
another Prince Bonaparte was mistaken for him.]

"Not a day passes in which some one is not amused by his amiability. The
children animate all around me. Judge if you have not rendered me happy
in leaving them with me. I can not be more happy until the day when I
shall see you."

Disaster now followed disaster as the allied armies, in resistless
numbers, crowded down upon France. The carnage of Dresden and Leipsic
compelled the Emperor, in November, to return to Paris to raise
reinforcements. Though he had been victorious in almost every battle,
still the surging billows of his foes, flowing in upon him from all
directions, could not be rolled back.

Maria Louisa was in a state of great embarrassment, and dreaded to see
her husband. Her father, the Emperor of Austria, at the head of an
immense army, was marching against France. When Napoleon, returning from
the terrific strife, entered her apartment, Maria Louisa threw herself
into his arms, and, unable to utter a word, burst into a flood of tears.
Napoleon, having completed his arrangements for still maintaining the
struggle, on the 25th of January, 1814, embraced his wife and child, and
returned to the seat of war. He never saw wife or child again.

As his carriage left the door of the palace, the Emperor, pressing his
forehead with his hand, said to Caulaincourt, who accompanied him, "I
envy the lot of the meanest peasant of my empire. At my age he has
discharged his debts to his country, and may remain at home enjoying the
society of his wife and children, while I--I must fly to the camp and
engage in the strife of war. Such is the mandate of my inexplicable
destiny."

After a moment's reverie, he added, "My good Louise is gentle and
submissive. I can depend on her. Her love and fidelity will never fail
me. In the current of events there may arise circumstances which will
decide the fate of an empire. In that case I hope that the daughter of
the Cæsars will be inspired by the spirit of her grandmother, Maria
Theresa."

The struggle which ensued was short but awful. In the midst of these
terrific scenes Napoleon kept up an almost daily correspondence with
Josephine. On one occasion, when the surgings of the battle brought him
within a few miles of Malmaison, he turned aside and sought a hurried
interview with his most faithful friend. It was their last meeting.
Napoleon took the hand of Josephine, and, gazing tenderly upon her,
said:

"Josephine, I have been as fortunate as ever was man upon the face of
this earth. But in this hour, when a storm is gathering over my head, I
have not in this wide world any one but you upon whom I can repose."

Soon after this, as the seat of war approached nearer to Paris,
Josephine found it necessary to retire to Navarre. She wrote to
Hortense, on the 28th of March: "To-morrow I shall leave for Navarre. I
have but sixteen men for a guard, and all wounded. I shall take care of
them; but in truth I have no need of them. I am so unhappy in being
separated from my children that I am indifferent respecting my fate."

At eight o'clock in the morning of the 29th Josephine took her carriage
for Navarre. The Allies were rapidly approaching Paris, and a state of
indescribable consternation filled the streets of the metropolis.
Several times on the route the Empress was alarmed by the cry that the
Cossacks were coming. The day was dark and stormy, and the rain fell in
torrents. The pole of the carriage broke as the wheels sunk in a rut.
Just at that moment a troop of horsemen appeared in the distance. The
Empress, in her terror, supposing them to be the barbarous Cossacks,
leaped from the carriage and fled through the fields. Was there ever a
more cruel reverse of fortune? Josephine, the Empress of France, the
admired of all Europe, in the frenzy of her alarm, rushing through the
storm and the rain to seek refuge in the woods! The troops proved to be
French. Her attendants followed and informed her of the mistake. She
again entered her carriage, and uttered scarcely a word during the rest
of her journey. Upon entering the palace of Navarre, she threw herself
upon a couch, exclaiming:

"Surely Bonaparte is ignorant of what is passing within sight of the
gates of Paris, or, if he knows, how cruel the thoughts which must now
agitate his breast."

In a hurried letter which the Emperor wrote Josephine from Brienne, just
after a desperate engagement with his vastly outnumbering foes, he said:

"On beholding the scenes where I had passed my boyhood, and comparing my
peaceful condition then with the agitation and terrors I now experience,
I several times said, in my own mind, 'I have sought to meet death in
many conflicts. I can no longer fear it. To me death would now be a
blessing. But I would once more see Josephine.'"

Immediately after Josephine's arrival at Navarre, she wrote to Hortense,
urging that she should join her at that place. In the letter she said:

"I can not tell you how sad I am. I have had fortitude in afflicted
positions in which I have found myself, and I shall have enough to bear
my reverses of fortune; but I have not sufficient to sustain me under
absence from my children, and uncertainty respecting their fate. For two
days I have not ceased to weep. Send me tidings respecting yourself and
your children. If you can learn any thing respecting Eugene and his
family, inform me."

Two days after this, Hortense, with her two sons, joined her mother at
Navarre. Paris was soon in the hands of the Allies. The Emperor
Alexander invited Josephine and Hortense to return to Malmaison, where
he established a guard for their protection. Soon after Napoleon
abdicated at Fontainebleau. Upon the eve of his departure for Elba, he
wrote to Josephine:

"I wrote to you on the 8th. Possibly you have not received my letter. It
may have been intercepted. At present communications must be
re-established. I have formed my resolution. I have no doubt that this
billet will reach you. I will not repeat what I said to you. Then I
lamented my situation. Now I congratulate myself thereon. My head and
spirit are freed from an enormous weight. My fall is great, but at least
is useful, as men say. Adieu! my dear Josephine. Be resigned as I am,
and ever remember him who never forgets and never will forget you."

Josephine returned to Malmaison, and Hortense repaired to Rambouillet,
to join Maria Louisa in these hours of perplexity and disaster. As soon
as Maria Louisa set out under an Austrian escort for Vienna, Hortense
rejoined her mother at Malmaison. Alexander was particularly attentive
to Josephine and Hortense. He had loved Napoleon, and his sympathies
were now deeply excited for his afflicted family. Through his kind
offices, the beautiful estate of St. Leu, which Louis Bonaparte had
owned, and which he had transferred to his wife, was erected into a
duchy for her advantage, and the right of inheritance was vested in her
children. The ex-Queen of Holland now took the title of the Duchess of
St. Leu.

On the 10th of May the Emperor Alexander dined with Josephine at
Malmaison. Grief, and a season unusually damp and cheerless, had
seriously undermined her health. Notwithstanding acute bodily suffering,
she exerted herself to the utmost to entertain her guests. At night she
was worse and at times was delirious. Not long after this, Alexander and
the King of Prussia were both guests to dine at Malmaison. The health
of Josephine was such that she was urged by her friends not to leave her
bed. She insisted, however, upon dressing to receive the allied
sovereigns. Her sufferings increased, and she was obliged to retire,
leaving Hortense to supply her place.

The next day Alexander kindly called to inquire for her health. Hour
after hour she seemed to be slowly failing. On the morning of the 28th
she fell into a lethargic sleep, which lasted for five hours, and her
case was pronounced hopeless. Eugene and Hortense were at her side. The
death-hour had come. The last rites of religion were administered to the
dying. The Emperor Alexander was also in this chamber of grief.
Josephine was perfectly rational. She called for the portrait of
Napoleon, and, gazing upon it long and tenderly, breathed the following
prayer:

"O God, watch over Napoleon while he remains in the desert of this
world. Alas! though he hath committed great faults, hath he not expiated
them by great sufferings? Just God, thou hast looked into his heart, and
hast seen by how ardent a desire for useful and durable improvements he
was animated. Deign to approve this my last petition, and may this
image of my husband bear me witness that my latest wish and my latest
prayer were for him and for my children."

Her last words were "_Island of Elba--Napoleon._" It was the 29th of
May, 1814. For four days her body remained laid out in state, surrounded
with numerous tapers. "Every road," writes a French historian, "from
Paris and its environs to Ruel was crowded with trains of mourners. Sad
groups thronged all the avenues; and I could distinguish tears even in
the splendid equipages which came rattling across the court-yard."

More than twenty thousand persons--monarchs, nobles, statesmen, and
weeping peasants--thronged the chateau of Malmaison to take the last
look of the remains of one who had been universally beloved. The funeral
took place at noon of the 2d of June. The remains were deposited in the
little church of Ruel. A beautiful mausoleum of white marble,
representing the Empress kneeling in her coronation robes, bears the
simple inscription:

                    EUGENE AND HORTENSE
                            TO
                        JOSEPHINE.



CHAPTER VII.

THE SORROWS OF EXILE.

1814-1815

Eugene meets Louis XVIII.--Hortense in Paris.--Interest of Napoleon in
the princes.--Anecdote of Louis Napoleon.--Removal of the remains of
Napoleon Charles.--Titles of the princes.--Conversation with the
princes.--Louis Bonaparte demands the children.--Hortense meets the
Emperor.--Reinauguration of the Emperor.--Hortense meets
Napoleon.--Departure of the Emperor.--Anger of the Royalists.--Hostility
of the Allies.--Driven into exile.--Takes refuge at Aix.--Separation of
the princes.--Continued persecutions.--Hospitality of the
Swiss.--Anguish of Hortense.--Retires to the Lake of Constance.--Prince
Eugene.--Testimony of Lady Blessington.


There probably never was a more tender, loving mother than Josephine.
And it is not possible that any children could be more intensely devoted
to a parent than were Eugene and Hortense to their mother. The grief of
these bereaved children was heart-rending. Poor Hortense was led from
the grave almost delirious with woe. Etiquette required that Eugene,
passing through Paris, should pay his respects to Louis XVIII. The king
had remarkable tact in paying compliments. Eugene announced himself
simply as General Beauharnais. He thanked the king for the kind
treatment extended by the allied monarchs to his mother and his sister.
Hortense was also bound, by the laws of courtesy, to call upon the king
in expression of gratitude. They were both received with so much
cordiality as to expose the king to the accusation of having become a
rank Bonapartist. On the other hand, Eugene and Hortense were censured
by the partisan press for accepting any favors from the Allies. After
the interview of Louis XVIII. with Hortense, in which she thanked him
for the Duchy of St. Leu, the king said to the Duke de Duras: "Never
have I seen a woman uniting such grace to such distinguished manners;
and I am a judge of women."

It is very difficult to ascertain with accuracy the movements of
Hortense during the indescribable tumult of the next few succeeding
months. The Duke of Rovigo says that Hortense reproached the Emperor
Alexander for turning against Napoleon, for whom he formerly had
manifested so much friendship. But the Emperor replied: "I was compelled
to yield to the wishes of the Allies. As for myself personally, I wash
my hands of every thing which has been done."

The death of Josephine and the departure of Eugene left Hortense,
bereaved and dejected, almost alone in Paris with her two children.
Their intelligence and vivacity had deeply interested Alexander and
other royal guests, who had cordially paid their tribute of respect and
sympathy to their mother. Napoleon had taken a deep interest in the
education of the two princes, as he was aware of the frailty of life,
and as the death of the King of Rome would bring them in the direct line
to the inheritance of the crown.

The Emperor generally breakfasted alone when at home, at a small table
in his cabinet. The two sons of Hortense were frequently admitted, that
they might interest him with their infant prattle. The Emperor would
tell them a story, and have them repeat it after him, that he might
ascertain the accuracy of their memory. Any indication of intellectual
superiority excited in his mind the most lively satisfaction.
Mademoiselle Cochelet, who was the companion and reader of Queen
Hortense, relates the following anecdote of Louis Napoleon:

"The two princes were in intelligence quite in advance of their years.
This proceeded from the care which their mother gave herself to form
their characters and to develop their faculties. They were, however, too
young to understand all the strange scenes which were transpiring around
them. As they had always beheld in the members of their own family, in
their uncles and aunts, kings and queens, when the Emperor of Russia and
the King of Prussia were first introduced to them, the little Louis
Napoleon asked if they were also their uncles, and if they were to be
called so.

"'No,' was the reply; 'they are not your uncles. You will simply address
them as sire.'

"'But are not all kings our uncles?' inquired the young prince.

"'Far from being your uncle,' was the reply, 'they have come, in their
turn, as conquerors.'

"'Then they are the enemies,' said Louis Napoleon, 'of our uncle, the
Emperor. Why, then, do they embrace us?'

"'Because the Emperor of Russia, whom you see, is a generous enemy. He
wishes to be useful to you and to your mamma. But for him you would no
longer have any thing; and the condition of your uncle, the Emperor,
would be more unhappy.'

"'We ought, then, to love this Emperor, ought we?'

"'Yes, certainly,' was the reply; 'for you owe him your gratitude.'

"The next time the Emperor Alexander called upon Hortense, little Louis
Napoleon, who was naturally very retiring and reticent, took a ring
which his uncle Eugene had given him, and, stealing timidly over to
Alexander, slipped the ring into his hand, and, half frightened, ran
away with all speed. Hortense called the child to her, and asked him
what he had done. Blushing deeply, the warm-hearted boy said:

"'I have nothing but the ring. I wanted to give it to the Emperor,
because he is good to my mamma.'

"Alexander cordially embraced the prince, and, putting the ring upon his
watch-chain, promised that he would always wear it."

The remains of Napoleon Charles, who had died in Holland, had been
deposited, by direction of Napoleon, in the vaults of St. Denis, the
ancient burial-place of the kings of France. So great was the jealousy
of the Bourbons of the name of Napoleon, and so unwilling were they to
recognize in any way the right of the people to elect their own
sovereign, that the government of Louis XVIII. ordered the body to be
immediately removed. Hortense transferred the remains of her child to
the church of St. Leu.

Notwithstanding this jealousy, Alexander and the King of Prussia could
not ignore the imperial character of Napoleon, whose government they had
recognized, and with whom they had exchanged ambassadors and formed
treaties: neither could they deny that the King of Holland had won a
crown recognized by all Europe. They and the other crowned heads, who
paid their respects to Hortense, in accordance with the etiquette of
courts, invariably addressed each of the princes as _Your Royal
Highness_. Hortense had not accustomed them to this homage. She had
always addressed the eldest as Napoleon, the youngest as Louis. It was
her endeavor to impress them with the idea that they could be nothing
more than their characters entitled them to be. But after this, when the
Bourbon Government assumed that Napoleon was an usurper, and that
popular suffrage could give no validity to the crown, then did Hortense,
in imitation of Napoleon at St. Helena, firmly resist the insolence.
Then did she teach her children that they were princes, that they were
entitled to the throne of France by the highest of all earthly
authority--the almost unanimous voice of the French people--and that the
Bourbons, trampling popular rights beneath their feet, and ascending the
throne through the power of foreign bayonets, were usurpers.

[Illustration: HORTENSE AND HER CHILDREN.]

Madame Cochelet, the reader of Queen Hortense, writes, in her
interesting memoirs: "I have often seen her take her two boys on her
knees, and talk with them in order to form their ideas. It was a curious
conversation to listen to, in those days of the splendors of the empire,
when those children were the heirs of so many crowns, which the Emperor
was distributing to his brothers, his officers, his allies. Having
questioned them on every thing they knew already, she passed in review
whatever they should know besides, if they were to rely upon their own
resources for a livelihood.

"'Suppose you had no money,' said Hortense to the eldest, 'and were alone
in the world, what would you do, Napoleon, to support yourself?'

"'I would become a soldier,' was the reply, 'and would fight so well that
I should soon be made an officer.'

"'And Louis,' she inquired of the younger, 'how would you provide for
yourself?'

"The little prince, who was then but about five years old, had listened
very thoughtfully to all that was said. Knowing that the gun and the
knapsack were altogether beyond his strength, he replied:

"'I would sell violet bouquets, like the little boy at the gate of the
Tuileries, from whom we purchase them every day.'"

The boy is father of the man. Such has been Louis Napoleon from that
hour to this; the quiet student--hating war, loving peace--all devoted
to the arts of utility and of beauty. He has been the great pacificator
of Europe. But for his unwearied efforts, the Continent would have been
again and again in a blaze of war. As all present at this conversation
smiled, in view of the unambitious projects of the prince, Hortense
replied:

"This is one of my lessons. The misfortune of princes born on the throne
is that they think every thing is their due; that they are formed of a
different nature from other men, and therefore never feel under any
obligations to them. They are ignorant of human miseries, or think
themselves beyond their reach. Thus, when misfortunes come, they are
surprised, terrified, and always remain sunk below their destinies."

The Allies retired, with their conquering armies. Hortense remained with
her children in Paris. Louis Bonaparte, sick and dejected, took up his
residence in Italy. He demanded the children. A mother's love clung to
them with tenacity which could not be relaxed. There was an appeal to
the courts. Hortense employed the most eminent counsel to plead her
cause. Eleven months passed away from the time of the abdication; and
upon the very day when the court rendered its decision, that the father
should have the eldest child, and the mother the youngest, Napoleon
landed at Cannes, and commenced his almost miraculous march to Paris.
The sublime transactions of the "One Hundred Days" caused all other
events, for a time, to be forgotten.

Hortense was at the Tuileries, one of the first to greet the Emperor as
he was borne in triumph, upon the shoulders of the people, up the grand
staircase. "Sire," said Hortense, "I had a presentiment that you would
return, and I waited for you here." The Allies had robbed the Emperor of
his son, and the child was a prisoner with his mother in the palaces of
Vienna. Very cordially Napoleon received his two nephews, and kept them
continually near him. With characteristic devotion to the principle of
universal suffrage, Napoleon submitted the question of his re-election
to the throne of the empire to the French people. More than a million of
votes over all other parties responded in the affirmative.

On the first of June, 1815, the Emperor was reinaugurated on the field
of Mars, and the eagles were restored to the banners. It was one of the
most imposing pageants Paris had ever witnessed. Hundreds of thousands
crowded that magnificent parade-ground. As the Emperor presented the
eagles to the army, a roar as of reverberating thunder swept along the
lines. By the side of the Emperor, upon the platform, sat his two young
nephews. He presented them separately to the departments and the army as
in the direct line of inheritance. This scene must have produced a
profound impression upon the younger child, Louis Napoleon, who was so
thoughtful, reflective, and pensive.

In the absence of Maria Louisa, who no longer had her liberty, Hortense
presided at the Tuileries. Inheriting the spirit of her mother, she was
unfailing in deeds of kindness to the many Royalists who were again
ruined by the return of Napoleon. Her audience-chamber was ever crowded
by those who, through her, sought to obtain access to the ear of the
Emperor. Napoleon was overwhelmed by too many public cares to give much
personal attention to private interests.

The evening before Napoleon left his cabinet for his last campaign,
which resulted in the disaster at Waterloo, he was in his cabinet
conversing with Marshal Soult. The door was gently opened, and little
Louis Napoleon crept silently into the apartment. His features were
swollen with an expression of the profoundest grief, which he seemed to
be struggling in vain to repress. Tremblingly he approached the Emperor,
and, throwing himself upon his knees, buried his face in his two hands
in the Emperor's lap, and burst into a flood of tears.

"What is the matter, Louis?" said the Emperor, kindly; "why do you
interrupt me, and why do you weep so?"

The young prince was so overcome with emotion that for some time he
could not utter a syllable. At last, in words interrupted by sobs, he
said,

"Sire, my governess has told me that you are going away to the war. Oh!
do not go! do not go!"

The Emperor, much moved, passed his fingers through the clustering
ringlets of the child, and said, tenderly,

"My child, this is not the first time that I have been to the war. Why
are you so afflicted? Do not fear for me. I shall soon come back
again."

"Oh! my dear uncle," exclaimed the child, weeping convulsively; "those
wicked Allies wish to kill you. Let me go with you, dear uncle, let me
go with you!"

The Emperor made no reply, but, taking Louis Napoleon upon his knee,
pressed him to his heart with much apparent emotion. Then calling
Hortense, the mother of the child, he said to her:

"Take away my nephew, Hortense, and reprimand his governess, who, by her
inconsiderate words, has so deeply excited his sympathies."

Then, after a few affectionate words addressed to the young prince, he
was about to hand him to his mother, when he perceived that Marshal
Soult was much moved by the scene.

"Embrace the child, Marshal," said the Emperor; "he has a warm heart and
a noble soul. _Perhaps he is to be the hope of my race!_"

Napoleon returned from the disaster at Waterloo with all his hopes
blighted. Hortense hastened to meet him, and to unite her fate with his.
"It is my duty," she said. "The Emperor has always treated me as his
child, and I will try, in return, to be his devoted and grateful
daughter." In conversation with Hortense, Napoleon remarked: "Give
myself up to Austria! Never. She has seized upon my wife and my son.
Give myself up to Russia! That would be to a single man. But to give
myself up to England, that would be to throw myself upon a _people_."
His friends assured him that, though he might rely upon the honor of the
British _people_, he could not trust to the British _Government_.
Hortense repaired to Malmaison with her two sons, where the Emperor soon
rejoined her. "She restrained her own tears," writes Baron Fleury,
"reminding us, with the wisdom of a philosopher and the sweetness of an
angel, that we ought to surmount our sorrows and regrets, and submit
with docility to the decrees of Providence."

It was necessary for Napoleon to come to a prompt decision. The Allies
now nearly surrounded Paris. On the 29th of June the Emperor sat in his
library at Malmaison, exhausted with care and grief. Hortense, though
with swollen eyes and a heart throbbing with anguish, did every thing
which a daughter's love could suggest to minister to the solace of her
afflicted father. Just before his departure to Rochefort, where he
intended to embark for some foreign land, he called for his nephews, to
take leave of them. It was a very affecting scene. Both of the children
wept bitterly. The soul of the little, pensive Louis Napoleon was
stirred to its utmost depths. He clung frantically to his uncle,
screaming and insisting that he should go and "fire off the cannon!" It
was necessary to take him away by force.

"The Emperor was departing almost without money. Hortense, after many
entreaties, succeeded in making him accept her beautiful necklace,
valued at eight hundred thousand francs. She sewed it up in a silk
ribbon, which he concealed in his dress. He did not, however, find
himself obliged to part with this jewel till on his death-bed, when he
intrusted it to Count Montholon, with orders to restore it to Hortense.
This devoted man acquitted himself successfully of this commission."[H]

[Footnote H: Life of Napoleon III., by Edward Roth.]

Upon the departure of Napoleon, Hortense, with her children, returned to
Paris. She was entreated by her friends to seek refuge in the interior
of France, as the Royalists were much exasperated against her in
consequence of her reception of the Emperor. They assured her that the
army and the people would rally around her and her children as the
representatives of the Empire. But Hortense replied:

"I must now undergo whatever fortune has in store for me. I am nothing
now. I can not pretend to make the people think that I rally the troops
around me. If I had been Empress of France, I would have done every
thing to prolong the defense. But now it does not become me to mingle my
destinies with such great interests, and I must be resigned."

In a few days the allied armies were again in possession of Paris. The
Royalists assumed so threatening an attitude towards her, that she felt
great solicitude for the safety of her children. Many persons kindly
offered to give them shelter. But she was unwilling to compromise her
friends by receiving from them such marks of attention. A kind-hearted
woman, by the name of Madame Tessier, kept a hose establishment on the
Boulevard Montmartre. The children were intrusted to her care, where
they would be concealed from observation, and where they would still be
perfectly comfortable.

Hortense had her residence in a hotel on the Rue Cerutti. The Austrian
Prince Schwartzenberg occupied the same hotel, and Hortense hoped that
this circumstance would add to her security. But the Allies were now
greatly exasperated against the French people, who had so cordially
received the Emperor on his return from Elba. Even the Emperor Alexander
treated Hortense with marked coldness. He called upon Prince
Schwartzenberg without making any inquiries for her.

The hostility of the Allies towards this unfortunate lady was so great,
that on the 19th of July Baron de Muffling, who commanded Paris for the
Allies, received an order to notify the Duchess of St. Leu that she must
leave Paris within two hours. An escort of troops was offered her, which
amounted merely to an armed guard, to secure her departure and to mark
her retreat. As Hortense left Paris for exile, she wrote a few hurried
lines to a friend, in which she said:

"I have been obliged to quit Paris, having been positively expelled from
it by the allied armies. So greatly am I, a feeble woman, with her two
children, dreaded, that the enemy's troops are posted all along our
route, as they say, to protect our passage, but in reality to insure our
departure."

Prince Schwartzenberg, who felt much sympathy for Hortense, accompanied
her, as a companion and a protector, on her journey to the frontiers of
France. Little Louis Napoleon, though then but seven years of age,
seemed fully to comprehend the disaster which had overwhelmed them, and
that they were banished from their native land. With intelligence far
above his years he conversed with his mother, and she found great
difficulty in consoling him. It was through the influence of such
terrible scenes as these that the character of that remarkable man has
been formed.

It was nine o'clock in the evening when Hortense and her two little
boys, accompanied by Prince Schwartzenberg, reached the Chateau de
Bercy, where they passed the night. The next morning the journey was
resumed towards the frontiers. It was the intention of Hortense to take
refuge in a very retired country-seat which she owned at Pregny, in
Switzerland, near Geneva. At some points on her journey the Royalists
assailed her with reproaches. Again she was cheered by loudly-expressed
manifestations of the sympathy and affection of the people. At Dijon the
multitude crowding around her carriage, supposing that she was being
conveyed into captivity, gallantly attempted a rescue. They were only
appeased by the assurance of Hortense that she was under the protection
of a friend.

Scarcely had this melancholy wanderer entered upon her residence at
Pregny, with the title of the Duchess of St. Leu, ere the French
minister in Switzerland commanded the Swiss government to issue an order
expelling her from the Swiss territory. Switzerland could not safely
disregard the mandate of the Bourbons of France, who were sustained in
their enthronement by allied Europe. Thus pursued by the foes of the
Empire, Hortense repaired to Aix, in Savoy. Here she met a cordial
welcome. The people remembered her frequent visits to those celebrated
springs, her multiplied charities, and here still stood, as an
ever-during memorial of her kindness of heart, the hospital which she
had founded and so munificently endowed. The magistrates at Aix formally
invited her to remain at Aix so long as the Allied powers would allow
her to make that place her residence.

It seemed as though Hortense were destined to drain the cup of sorrow to
its dregs. Aix was the scene of the dreadful death of Madame Broc,
which we have above described. Every thing around her reminded her of
that terrible calamity, and oppressed her spirits with the deepest
gloom. And, to add unutterably to her anguish, an agent arrived at Aix
from her husband, Louis Bonaparte, furnished with all competent legal
powers to take custody of the eldest child and convey him to his father
in Italy. It will be remembered that the court had decided that the
father should have the eldest and the mother the youngest child. The
stormy events of the "Hundred Days" had interrupted all proceedings upon
this matter.

This separation was a terrible trial not only to the mother, but to the
two boys. The peculiarities of their dispositions and temperaments
fitted them to assimilate admirably together. Napoleon Louis, the elder,
was bold, resolute, high-spirited. Louis Napoleon, the younger, was
gentle, thoughtful, and pensive. The parting was very affecting--Louis
Napoleon throwing his arms around his elder brother, and weeping as
though his heart would break. The thoughtful child, thus companionless,
now turned to his mother with the full flow of his affectionate nature.
A French writer, speaking of these scenes, says:

"The soul of Hortense had been already steeped in misfortune, but her
power of endurance seemed at length exhausted. When she had embraced her
son for the last time, and beheld the carriage depart which bore him
away, a deep despondency overwhelmed her spirits. Her very existence
became a dream; and it seemed a matter of indifference to her whether
her lot was to enjoy or to suffer, to be persecuted, respected, or
forgotten."

And now came another blow upon the bewildered brain and throbbing heart
of Hortense. The Allies did not deem it safe to allow Hortense and her
child to reside so near the frontiers of France. They knew that the
French people detested the Bourbons. They knew that all France, upon the
first favorable opportunity, would rise in the attempt to re-establish
the Empire. The Sardinian government was accordingly ordered to expel
Hortense from Savoy. Where should she go? It seemed as though all Europe
would refuse a home to this bereaved, heart-broken lady and her child.
She remembered her cousin, Stephanie Beauharnais, her schoolmate, whom
her mother and Napoleon had so kindly sheltered and provided for in the
days when the Royalists were in exile. Stephanie was the lady to whom
her father had been so tenderly attached. She was now in prosperity and
power, the wife of the Grand Duke of Baden. Hortense decided to seek a
residence at Constance, in the territory of Baden, persuaded that the
duke and duchess would not drive her, homeless and friendless, from
their soil, out again into the stormy world.

To reach Baden it was necessary to pass through Switzerland. The Swiss
government, awed by France, at first refused to give her permission to
traverse their territory. But the Duke of Richelieu intervened in her
favor, and, by remonstrating against such cruelty, obtained the
necessary passport. It was now the month of November. Cold storms swept
the snow-clad hills and the valleys. Hortense departed from Aix, taking
with her her son Louis Napoleon, his private tutor, the Abbé Bertrand,
her reader, Mademoiselle Cochelet, and an attendant. She wished to spend
the first night at her own house, at Pregny; but even this slight
gratification was forbidden her.

The police were instructed to watch her carefully all the way. At Morat
she was even arrested, and detained a prisoner two days, until
instructions should be received from the distant authorities. At last
she reached the city of Constance. But even here she found that her
sorrows had not yet terminated. Neither the Duke of Baden nor the
Duchess ventured to welcome her. On the contrary, immediately upon her
arrival, she received an official notification that, however anxious the
grand duke and duchess might be to afford her hospitable shelter, they
were under the control of higher powers, and they must therefore request
her to leave the duchy without delay. It was now intimated that the only
countries in Europe which would be allowed to afford her a shelter were
Austria, Prussia, or Russia.

The storms of winter were sweeping those northern latitudes. The health
of Hortense was extremely frail. She was fatherless and motherless,
alienated from her husband, bereaved of one of her children, and all her
family friends dispersed by the ban of exile. She had no kind friends to
consult, and she knew not which way to turn. Thus distracted and
crushed, she wrote an imploring letter to her cousins, the Duke and
Duchess of Baden, stating the feeble condition of her health, the
inclement weather, her utter friendlessness, and exhaustion from
fatigue and sorrow, and begging permission to remain in Constance until
the ensuing spring.

In reply she received a private letter from the grand duchess, her
cousin Stephanie, assuring her of her sympathy, and of the cordiality
with which she would openly receive and welcome her, if she did but dare
to do so. In conclusion, the duchess wrote: "Have patience, and do not
be uneasy. Perhaps all will be right by spring. By that time passions
will be calmed, and many things will have been forgotten."

Though this letter did not give any positive permission to remain, it
seemed at least to imply that soldiers would not be sent to transport
her, by violence, out of the territory. Somewhat cheered by this
assurance, she rented a small house, in a very retired situation upon
the western shore of the Lake of Constance. Though in the disasters of
the times she had lost much property, she still had an ample competence.
Her beloved brother, Eugene, it will be remembered, had married a
daughter of the King of Bavaria. He was one of the noblest of men and
the best of brothers. As soon as possible, he took up his residence near
his sister. He also was in the enjoyment of an ample fortune. Thus
there seemed to be for a short time a lull in those angry storms which
for so long had risen dark over the way of Hortense.

In this distant and secluded home, upon the borders of the lake,
Hortense and her small harmonious household passed the winter of 1815.
Though she mourned over the absence of her elder child, little Louis
Napoleon cheered her by his bright intelligence and his intense
affectionateness. Prince Eugene often visited his sister; and many of
the illustrious generals and civilians, who during the glories of the
Empire had filled Europe with their renown, were allured as occasional
guests to the home of this lovely woman, who had shared with them in the
favors and the rebuffs of fortune.

Hortense devoted herself assiduously to the education of her son. She
understood thoroughly the political position of France. Foreigners, with
immense armies, had invaded the kingdom, and forced upon the reluctant
people a detested dynasty. Napoleon was Emperor by popular election. The
people still, with almost entire unanimity, desired the Empire. And
Hortense knew full well that, so soon as the French people could get
strength to break the chains with which foreign armies had bound them,
they would again drive out the Bourbons and re-establish the Empire.

Hortense consequently never allowed her son to forget the name he bore,
or the political principles which his uncle, the Emperor, had borne upon
his banners throughout Europe. The subsequent life of this child has
proved how deep was the impression produced upon his mind, as pensively,
silently he listened to the conversation of the statesmen and the
generals who often visited his mother's parlor. Lady Blessington about
this time visited Hortense, and she gives the following account of the
impression which the visit produced upon her mind:

"Though prepared to meet in Hortense Bonaparte, ex-Queen of Holland, a
woman possessed of no ordinary powers of captivation, she has, I
confess, far exceeded my expectations. I have seen her frequently, and
spent two hours yesterday in her society. Never did time fly away with
greater rapidity than while listening to her conversation, and hearing
her sing those charming little French _romances_, written and composed
by herself, which, though I had often admired them, never previously
struck me as being so expressive and graceful as they now proved to be.

"I know not that I ever encountered a person with so fine a tact or so
quick an apprehension as the Duchess of St. Leu. These give her the
power of rapidly forming an appreciation of those with whom she comes in
contact, and of suiting the subjects of conversation to their tastes and
comprehensions. Thus, with the grave she is serious, with the lively
gay, and with the scientific she only permits just a sufficient extent
of her _savoir_ to be revealed to encourage the development of theirs.

"She is, in fact, all things to all men, without losing a single portion
of her own natural character; a peculiarity of which seems to be the
desire, as well as the power, of sending all away who approach her
satisfied with themselves and delighted with her. Yet there is no
unworthy concession of opinions made, or tacit acquiescence yielded, to
conciliate popularity. She assents to or dissents from the sentiments of
others with a mildness and good sense which gratifies those with whom
she coincides, or disarms those from whom she differs."



CHAPTER VIII.

PEACEFUL DAYS, YET SAD.

1816-1831

Visits the Baths of Geiss.--Watchfulness of the Allies.--The retreat of
Arenemberg.--The princes enter college.--Loveliness of Hortense.--Letter
from a visitor.--Social life at Arenemberg.--Scenery at
Arenemberg.--Pleasant neighbors.--An evening scene.--Theatric
entertainments.--Taste and culture.--Accomplishments of
Hortense.--Society at Arenemberg.--Amiability of Hortense.--The city
home of Hortense and her son.--Testimony of an English lady.--The
Duchess of St. Leu.--Pursuits of Prince Louis.--Madame Récamier meets
Hortense.--Interview with Madame Récamier.--Arrangements for
meeting.--Difficulty between Napoleon and Madame Récamier.--Banishment
of Madame de Staël.--Cause of Madame Récamier's banishment.--She returns
to Paris.--Hortense exiled.--Interview at the Coliseum.--Subsequent
meetings.--Letter from Hortense.--Disgrace of Chateaubriand.--Revolution
in France.--Attempt of the Italian patriots.--Escape of Louis
Napoleon.--They seek refuge in France.--The vicissitudes of
life.--Obligations of Louis Philippe to Hortense.--The Duchess of
Bourbon.--Letter to Hortense.


As the spring of the year 1816 opened upon Europe, Hortense was found
residing undisturbed, with her son, Louis Napoleon, in their secluded
home upon the shores of Lake Constance. The Allies seemed no longer
disposed to disturb her. Still, she had many indications that she was
narrowly watched. She was much cheered by a visit which she made to her
brother at Berg, on the Wurmsee, where she was received with that warmth
of affection which her wounded heart so deeply craved. Her health being
still very frail, she, by the advice of her physicians, spent the heat
of summer at the baths of Geiss, among the mountains of Appenzell. Her
son, Louis Napoleon, was constantly with her. Nearly the whole attention
of the mother was devoted to his education.

She had the general superintendence of all his studies, teaching him
herself drawing and dancing, often listening to his recitations and
guiding his reading. Her own highly-cultivated mind enabled her to do
this to great advantage. The young prince read aloud to his mother in
the evenings, the selections being regulated in accordance with his
studies in geography or history. Saturday Hortense devoted the entire
day to her son, reviewing all the reading and studies of the week. In
addition to the Abbé Bertrand, another teacher was employed, M. Lebas, a
young professor of much distinction from the Normal School of Paris.

Thus the summer and autumn of 1816 passed tranquilly away. But the eagle
eye of the Bourbons was continually upon Hortense. They watched every
movement she made, she could not leave her home, or receive a visit from
any distinguished stranger, without exciting their alarm. Their
uneasiness at length became so great that, early in the year 1817, the
Duke of Baden received peremptory orders that he must immediately expel
Hortense and her child from his territory. The Bourbons could not allow
such dangerous personages to dwell so near the frontiers of France.
Hortense was a feeble, heart-broken woman. Her child was but eight years
of age. But they were representatives of the Empire. And the Bourbons
were ever terror-stricken lest the French people should rise in
insurrection, and demand the restoration of that Empire, of which
foreign armies had robbed them.

In the extreme north-eastern portion of Switzerland, on the southern
shores of the Lake of Constance, there was the small Swiss canton of
Thurgovia. The gallant magistrates of the canton informed Hortense that
if she wished to establish herself in their country, she should be
protected by both the magistrates and the people. The ex-queen had
occasionally entered the canton in her drives, and had observed with
admiration a modest but very beautiful chateau called Arenemberg, very
picturesquely located on the borders of the lake. She purchased the
estate for about sixty thousand francs. This became a very delightful
summer residence, though in winter it presented a bleak exposure, swept
by piercing winds. Until the death of Hortense, Arenemberg continued to
be her favorite place of residence.

To add to this transient gleam of happiness, there was now a partial
reconciliation between Hortense and her husband; and, to the unspeakable
joy of the mother and Louis Napoleon, they enjoyed a visit of several
months from Napoleon Louis. It is not easy to imagine the happiness
which this reunion created, after a separation of nearly three years.

The judicious mother now thought it important that her sons should enjoy
the advantages of a more public education than that which they had been
receiving from private tutors at home. She accordingly took them both to
Augsburg, in Bavaria, where they entered the celebrated college of that
city. Hortense engaged a handsome residence there, that she might still
be with her sons, whom she loved so tenderly. A French gentleman of
distinction, travelling in that region, had the honor of an introduction
to her, and gives the following account of his visit:

"Returning to France in 1819, after a long residence in Russia, I
stopped at Augsburg, where the Duchess of St. Leu was then a resident. I
had hitherto only known her by report. Some Russian officers, who had
accompanied the Emperor Alexander to Malmaison in 1814, had spoken to me
of Hortense with so much enthusiasm, that for the first few moments it
appeared as if I saw her again after a long absence, and as if I owed my
kind reception to the ties of ancient friendship. Every thing about her
is in exact harmony with the angelic expression of her face, her
conversation, demeanor, and the sweetness of her voice and disposition.

"When she speaks of an affecting incident, the language becomes more
touching through the depths of her sensibility. She lends so much life
to every scene, that the auditor becomes witness of the transaction. Her
powers of instructing and delighting are almost magical; and her artless
fascination leaves on every heart those deep traces which even time can
never efface.

"She introduced me to her private circle, which consisted of the two
children and their tutors, some old officers of her household, two
female friends of her infancy, and that living monument of conjugal
devotion, Count Lavallette.[I] The conversation soon became general.
They questioned me about the Ukraine, where I long had resided, and
Greece and Turkey, through which I had lately travelled.

[Footnote I: Count Lavallette was one of the devoted friends of
Napoleon, who had long served in the armies of the Empire. For the
welcome he gave Napoleon on his return from Elba he was doomed, by the
Bourbons, to death. While preparations were being made for his
execution, his wife and daughter, with her governess, were permitted to
visit him. Very adroitly he escaped in his wife's clothes, she remaining
in his place. Irritated by this escape, the Government held his wife a
prisoner until she became a confirmed lunatic.]

"In return, they spoke of Bavaria, St. Leu, the Lake of Constance, and,
by degrees, of events deriving their chief interest from the important
parts played by the narrators themselves. We dined at five. I afterwards
accompanied the duchess into the garden, and, in the few moments then
enjoyed of intimate conversation, I saw that no past praises had ever
been exaggerated. How admirable were her feelings when she recalled the
death of her mother, and in her tragic recital of the death of Madame
Broc.

"But when she spoke of her children, her friends, and the fine arts, her
whole figure seemed to glow with the ardor of her imagination. Goodness
of heart was displayed in every feature, and gave additional value to
her other estimable qualities. In describing her present situation it
was impossible to avoid mentioning her beloved France.

"'You are returning,' said she, 'to your native country;' and the last
word was pronounced with a heartfelt sigh. I had been an exile from my
cradle, yet my own eager anxiety to revisit a birth-place scarcely
remembered, enabled me to estimate her grief at the thoughts of an
eternal separation. She spoke of the measures adopted for her banishment
with that true resignation which mourns but never murmurs. After two
hours of similar conversation, it was impossible to decide which was the
most admirable, her heart, her good sense, or her imagination.

"We returned to the drawing-room at eight, where tea was served. The
duchess observed that this was a habit learned in Holland, 'though you
are not to suppose,' she added, with a slight blush, 'that it is
preserved as a remembrance of days so brilliant, but now already so
distant. Tea is the drink of cold climates, and I have scarcely changed
my temperature.'

"Numerous visitors came from the neighborhood, and some even from
Munich. She may, indeed, regard this attention with a feeling of proud
gratification. It is based upon esteem alone, and is far more honorable
than the tiresome adulation of sycophants while at St. Cloud or the
Hague. In the course of the evening we looked through a suite of rooms
containing, besides a few master-pieces of the different schools, a
large collection of precious curiosities. Many of these elegant trifles
had once belonged to her mother; and nearly every one was associated
with the remembrance of some distinguished personage or celebrated
event. Indeed, her museum might almost be called an abridgment of
contemporary history. Music was the next amusement; and the duchess
sang, accompanying herself with the same correct taste which inspires
her compositions. She had just finished the series of drawings intended
to illustrate her collection of _romances_. How could I avoid praising
that happy talent which thus personifies thought? The next day I
received that beautiful collection as a remembrance.

"I took my leave at midnight, perhaps without even the hope of another
meeting. I left her as the traveller parts from the flowers of the
desert, to which he can never hope to return. But, wherever time,
accident, or destiny may place me, the remembrance of that day will
remain indelibly imprinted alike on my memory and heart. It is pleasing
to pay homage to the fallen greatness of one like Hortense, who joins
the rare gift of talents to the charms of the tenderest sensibility."

[Illustration: HORTENSE AT ARENEMBERG.]

The residence of Hortense in Augsburg was in a mansion, since called
Pappenheim Palace, in Holy Cross Street. After the graduation of her
children, Hortense, with Louis Napoleon, spent most of their time at
Arenemberg, interspersed with visits to Rome and Florence. The beautiful
chateau was situated upon a swell of land, with green lawns and a thick
growth of forest trees, through which there were enchanting views of the
mountain and of the lake. The spacious grounds were embellished with the
highest artistic skill, with terraces, trellis-work woodbines, and rare
exotics.

"The views," writes an English visitor, "which were in some places
afforded through the woods, and in others, by their rapid descent,
carried over them, were broken in a manner which represented them doubly
beautiful. From one peep you caught the small vine-clad island of
Reichman, with its cottage gleams trembling upon the twilighted lake.
From another you had a noble reach of the Rhine, going forth from its
brief resting-place to battle its way down the Falls of Schaffhausen;
and beyond it the eye reposed upon the distant outline of the Black
Forest, melting warmly in the west. In a third direction you saw the
vapory steeples of Constance, apparently sinking in the waters which
almost surrounded them; and far away you distinguish the little coast
villages, like fading constellations, glimmering fainter and fainter,
till land and lake and sky were blended together in obscurity."

Not far distant was the imposing chateau of Wolfberg, which had been
purchased by General Parguin, a young French officer of the Empire of
much distinction. He had married Mademoiselle Cochelet, and became one
of the most intimate friends of Louis Napoleon.

Prince Eugene had also built him a house in the vicinity, that he might
be near his sister and share her solitude. Just as the house was
finished, and before he moved into it, Eugene died. This was another
crushing blow to the heart of Hortense. She was in Rome at the time, and
we shall have occasion to refer to the event again.

Hortense, in her retirement, was no less a queen than when the diadem
was upon her brow. Though at the farthest possible remove from all
aristocratic pride, her superior mind, her extraordinary attainments,
and her queenly grace and dignity, invested her with no less influence
over the hearts of her friends than she enjoyed in her days of regal
power. A visitor at Wolfberg, in the following language, describes a
call which Hortense made upon Madame Parguin and her guests at the
chateau:

"One fine evening, as we were all distributed about the lawn at
Wolfberg, there was an alarm that Hortense was coming to visit Madame
Parguin. As I saw her winding slowly up the hill, with all her company,
in three little summer carriages, the elegance of the cavalcade, in
scenes where elegance was so rare, was exceedingly striking.

"The appearance of Hortense was such as could not fail to excite
admiration and kind feeling. Her countenance was full of talent, blended
with the mild expression of a perfect gentlewoman. Her figure, though
not beyond the middle height, was of a mould altogether majestic. She
lamented that she had not sooner known of the purposed length of our
stay in that part of Switzerland, as, having conceived that we were
merely passing a few days, she had been unwilling to occupy our time.
She then spoke of her regret at not being able to entertain us
according to her wishes. And, finally, she told us that she had in
agitation some little theatricals which, if we could bear with such
trifles, we should do her pleasure in attending. All this was said with
simple and winning eloquence."

The room for this little theatric entertainment was in a small building,
beautifully decorated, near the house. Many distinguished guests were
present; many from Constance; so that the apartment was crowded to its
utmost capacity. There were two short plays enacted. In one Hortense
took a leading part in scenes of trial and sorrow, in which her peculiar
powers were admirably displayed. Even making all suitable allowance for
the politeness due from guests to their host, it is evident that
Hortense possessed dramatic talent of a very high order.

From the theatre the guests returned to the chateau, where preparations
had been made for dancing. In the intervals between the dances there was
singing, accompanied by the piano. "Here, again," writes one of the
guests, "Hortense was perfectly at home. She sang several songs, of
which I afterwards found her to be the unacknowledged composer. Among
these was the beautiful air, _Partant pour la Syrie_, which will be a
fair guaranty that I do not say too much for the rest."

At the close of the evening, as the guests began to depart, the
remainder were dispersed through the suite of rooms, admiring the
various objects of curiosity and of beauty with which they are
decorated. There were some beautiful paintings, and several pieces of
exquisite statuary. Upon the tables there were engravings,
drawing-books, and works of _belles-lettres_.

"I chanced," writes the visitor from whom we have above quoted, "to
place my hand upon a splendid album, and had the further good-fortune to
seat myself beside a beautiful young _dame de compagnie_ of the duchess,
who gave me the history of all the treasures I found therein. Whatever I
found most remarkable was still the work of Hortense. Of a series of
small portraits, sketched by her in colors, the likeness of those of
which I had seen the subjects would have struck me, though turned upside
down. She had the same power and the same affectionate feeling for
fixing the remembrance of places likewise.

"The landscapes which she had loved in forbidden France, even the
apartments which she had inhabited, were executed in a manner that put
to shame the best amateur performances I had ever seen. There was a
minute attention to fidelity in them, too, which a recollection of her
present circumstances could not fail to bring home to the spectator's
heart.

"I know not when my interest would have cooled in this mansion of taste
and talent. Towards morning I was obliged to take my leave; and I doubt
if there were any individual who returned home by that bright moonlight,
without feeling that Hortense had been born some century and a half too
late. For an age of bigots and turncoats she, indeed, seemed unsuited.
In that of true poetry and trusty cavaliers, she would have been the
subject of the best rhymes and rencontres in romantic France.

"After this I saw her frequently, both at her own house and at Wolfberg,
and I never found any thing to destroy the impression which I received
on my introduction. Independently of the interest attached to herself,
she had always in her company some person who had made a noise in the
world, and had become an object of curiosity. At one time it was a
distinguished painter or poet; again, it was a battered soldier, who
preferred resting in retirement to the imputation of changing his
politics for advancement; then a grand duke or duchess who had undergone
as many vicissitudes as herself; and, finally, the widow of the
unfortunate Marshal Ney.

"There was something in the last of these characters, particularly when
associated with Hortense, more interesting than all the others. She was
a handsome, but grave and silent woman, and still clad in mourning for
her husband, whose death, so connected with the banishment of the
duchess, could not fail to render them deeply sympathetic in each
other's fortunes. The amusements provided for all this company consisted
of such as I have mentioned--expeditions to various beautiful spots in
the neighborhood, and music parties on the water. The last of these used
sometimes to have a peculiarly romantic effect; for on _fête_ days the
young peasant girls, all glittering in their golden tinsel bonnets,
would push off with their sweethearts, like mad things, in whatever
boats they could find upon the beach. I have seen them paddling their
little fleet round the duchess's boat with all the curiosity of savages
round a man-of-war.

"At length the time arrived for me to bid adieu to Switzerland. It was
arranged that I should set out for Italy with a small party of my
Wolfberg friends. An evening or two before we departed we paid a
leave-taking visit to the duchess. She expressed much polite regret at
our intention, and gave us a cordial invitation to renew our
acquaintance with her in the winter at Rome. Her care, indeed, to leave
a good impression of her friendly disposition upon our minds, was
exceedingly gratifying. She professed to take an interest in the plans
which each of us had formed, and, when her experience qualified her,
gave us instructions for our travels.

"When we rose to depart, the night being fine, she volunteered to walk
part of the way home with us. She came about a quarter of a mile to
where she could command an uninterrupted view of the lake, above which
the moon was just then rising, a huge red orb which shot a burning
column to her feet. 'I will now bid you adieu,' she said; and we left
her to the calm contemplation of grandeur which could not fade, and
enjoyments which could not betray. This was the last time I saw, and
perhaps shall ever see Hortense; but I shall always remember my brief
acquaintance with her as a dip into days which gave her country the
character of being the most polished of nations."

Hortense, with her son Louis Napoleon, had been in the habit of passing
the severity of the winter months in the cities of Augsburg or Munich,
spending about eight months of the year at Arenemberg. But after the
death of her brother Eugene, the associations which those cities
recalled were so painful that she transferred her winter residence to
Rome or Florence. An English lady who visited her at Arenemberg writes:

"The style of living of the Duchess of St. Leu is sumptuous, without
that freezing etiquette so commonly met with in the great. Her household
still call her _Queen_, and her son _Prince_ Napoleon or _Prince_ Louis.
The suite is composed of two ladies of honor, an equerry, and the tutor
of her younger son. She has a numerous train of domestics, and it is
among them that the traces are still observable of bygone pretensions,
long since abandoned by the true nobleness of their mistress. The former
queen, the daughter of Napoleon, the mother of the Imperial
heir-apparent, has returned quietly to private life with the perfect
grace of a voluntary sacrifice.

"The duchess receives strangers with inexpressible kindness. Ever
amiable and obliging, she is endowed with that charming simplicity which
inspires, at first sight, the confidence of intimate affection. She
speaks freely of the brilliant days of her prosperity. And history then
flows so naturally from her lips, that more may be learned as a
delighted listener, than from all the false or exaggerated works so
abundant everywhere. The deposed queen considers past events from such
an eminence that nothing can interpose itself between her and the truth.
This strict impartiality gives birth to that true greatness, which is a
thousand times preferable to all the splendors she lost in the flower of
her age.

"I have been admitted to the intimacy of the Duchess of St. Leu, both at
Rome and in the country. I have seen her roused to enthusiasm by the
beauties of nature, and have seen her surrounded by the pomp of
ceremony; but I have never known her less than herself; nor has the
interest first inspired by her character ever been diminished by an
undignified sentiment or the slightest selfish reflection.

"It is impossible to be a more ardent and tasteful admirer of the fine
arts than is the duchess. Every one has heard her beautiful _romances_,
which are rendered still more touching by the soft and melodious voice
of the composer. She usually sings standing; and, although a finished
performer on the harp and piano, she prefers the accompaniment of one of
her attendant ladies. Many of her leisure hours are employed in
painting. Miniatures, landscapes, and flowers are equally the subjects
of her pencil. She declaims well, is a delightful player in comedy, acts
proverbs with uncommon excellence, and I really know no one who can
surpass her in every kind of needle-work.

"The Duchess of St. Leu never was a regular beauty, but she is still a
charming woman. She has the softest and most expressive blue eyes in the
world. Her light flaxen hair contrasts beautifully with the dark color
of her long eyelashes and eyebrows. Her complexion is fresh and of an
even tint; her figure elegantly moulded; her hands and feet perfect. In
fine, her whole appearance is captivating in the extreme. She speaks
quickly with rapid gestures, and all her movements are easy and
graceful. Her style of dress is rich, though she has parted with most
of her jewels and precious stones."

Hortense was almost invariably accompanied by her son, Louis Napoleon,
whether residing in Italy or in Switzerland. When at Arenemberg, the
young prince availed himself of the vicinity to the city in pursuing a
rigorous course of study in physics and chemistry under the guidance of
a very distinguished French philosopher. He also connected himself, in
prosecuting his military studies, with a Baden regiment garrisoned at
Constance. He was here recognized as the Duke of St. Leu, and was always
received with much distinction. At Rome, the residence of Hortense was
the centre of the most brilliant and polished society of the city. Here
her son was introduced to the most distinguished men from all lands, and
especially to the old friends of the Empire, who kept alive in his mind
the memory of the brilliant exploits of him whose name he bore. Pauline
Bonaparte, who had married for her second husband Prince Borghese, and
who was immensely wealthy, also resided in the vicinity of Rome, in
probably the most magnificent villa in Europe. Hortense and her son were
constant visitors at her residence.

Madame Récamier, who had ever been the warm friend of the Bourbons, and
whom Hortense had befriended when the Bourbons were in exile, gives the
following account of an interview she had with Queen Hortense in Rome,
early in the year 1824. The two friends had not met since the "Hundred
Days" in 1815. We give the narrative in the words of Madame Récamier:

"I went one day to St. Peter's to listen to the music, so beautiful
under the vaults of that immense edifice. There, leaning against a
pillar, meditating under my veil, I followed with heart and soul the
solemn notes that died away in the depths of the dome. An
elegant-looking woman, veiled like myself, came and placed herself near
the same pillar. Every time that a more lively feeling drew from me an
involuntary movement my eyes met those of the stranger. She seemed to be
trying to recognize my features. And I, on my side, through the obstacle
of our veils, thought I distinguished blue eyes and light hair that were
not unknown to me. 'Madame Récamier!' 'Is it you, madame?' we said
almost at the same moment. 'How delighted I am to see you!' said Queen
Hortense, for she it was. 'You know,' she added, smiling, 'that I would
not have waited until now to find you out; but you have always been
ceremonious with me.'

"'Then, madame,' I replied, 'my friends were exiled and unfortunate. You
were happy and brilliant, and my place was not near you.'

"'If misfortune has the privilege of attracting you,' replied the queen,
'you must confess that my time has come and permit me to advance my
claims.'

"I was a little embarrassed for a reply. My connection with the Duke de
Laval, our ambassador at Rome, and with the French Government in
general, was a barrier to any visiting between us. She understood my
silence.

"'I know,' she said, sadly, 'that the inconveniences of greatness follow
us still, when even our prerogatives are gone. Thus, with loss of rank,
I have not acquired liberty of action. I can not to-day even taste the
pleasures of a woman's friendship, and peaceably enjoy society that is
pleasant and dear to me.'

"I bowed my head with emotion, expressing my sympathy only by my looks.

"'But I must talk to you,' said the queen, more warmly. 'I have so many
things to say to you. If we can not visit each other, nothing prevents
us from meeting elsewhere. We will appoint some place to meet. That will
be charming.'

"'Charming indeed, madame,' I replied, smiling; 'and especially for me.
But how shall we fix the time and place for these interviews?'

"'It is you,' Hortense replied, 'who must arrange that; for, thanks to
the solitude forced upon me, my time is entirely at my own disposal. But
it may not be the same with you. Sought for as you are, you mix, no
doubt, a great deal in society.'

"'Heaven forbid!' I replied. 'On the contrary, I lead a very retired
life. It would be absurd to come to Rome to see society, and people
everywhere the same. I prefer to visit what is peculiarly her own--her
monuments and ruins.'

"'Well, then, we can arrange every thing finely,' added Hortense; 'if it
is agreeable to you I will join you in these excursions. Let me know
each day your plans for the next; and we will meet, as if by accident,
at the appointed places.'

"I eagerly accepted this offer, anticipating much pleasure in making the
tour of old Rome with so gracious and agreeable a companion, and one
who loved and understood art. The queen, on her side, was happy in the
thought that I would talk to her of France; whilst to both of us the
little air of mystery thrown over these interviews gave them another
charm.

"'Where do you propose to go to-morrow?' asked the queen.

"'To the Coliseum.'

"'You will assuredly find me there,' Hortense replied. 'I have much to
say to you. I wish to justify myself in your eyes from an imputation
that distresses me.'

"The queen began to enter into explanations; and the interview
threatening to be a long one, I frankly reminded her that the French
ambassador, who had brought me to St. Peter's, was coming back for me;
for I feared that a meeting would be embarrassing to both.

"'You are right,' said the queen. 'We must not be surprised together.
Adieu, then. To-morrow at the Coliseum;' and we separated."

Madame Récamier, the bosom-friend of Chateaubriand, was in entire
political sympathy with the illustrious poet. She regarded legitimacy as
a part of her religion, and was intensely devoted to the interests of
the Bourbons. She was one of the most beautiful and fascinating women
who ever lived. Napoleon at St. Helena, in allusion to this remarkable
lady, said:

"I was scarcely First Consul ere I found myself at issue with Madame
Récamier. Her father had been placed in the Post-office Department. I
had found it necessary to sign, in confidence, a great number of
appointments; but I soon established a very rigid inspection in every
department A correspondence was discovered with the Chouans, going on
under the connivance of M. Bernard, the father of Madame Récamier. He
was immediately dismissed, and narrowly escaped trial and condemnation
to death. His daughter hastened to me, and upon her solicitation I
exempted M. Bernard from taking his trial, but was resolute respecting
his dismissal. Madame Récamier, accustomed to obtain every thing, would
be satisfied with nothing less than the reinstatement of her father.
Such were the morals of the times. My severity excited loud
animadversions. It was a thing quite unusual. Madame Récamier and her
party never forgave me."[J]

[Footnote J: Abbott's "Napoleon at St. Helena," p. 94.]

The home of Madame De Staël, who was the very intimate friend of Madame
Récamier, became, in the early stages of the Empire, the rendezvous of
all those who were intriguing for the overthrow of the government of
Napoleon. The Emperor, speaking upon this subject at St. Helena, said:

"The house of Madame De Staël had become quite an arsenal against me.
People went there to be armed knights. She endeavored to raise enemies
against me, and fought against me herself. She was at once Armida and
Clorinda. It can not be denied that Madame de Staël is a very
distinguished woman. She will go down to posterity. At the time of the
Concordat, against which Madame de Staël was violently inflamed, she
united at once against me the aristocrats and the republicans. Having at
length tired out my patience, she was sent into exile. I informed her
that I left her the universe for the theatre of her achievements; that I
reserved only Paris for myself, which I forbade her to approach, and
resigned the rest of the world to her."

The banishment of Madame de Staël from Paris excited as much bitterness
in the soul of Madame Récamier as it was possible for a lady of such
rare amiability and loveliness of character to feel. Madame Récamier, in
giving an account of this transaction, says:

"I had a passionate admiration for Madame de Staël; and this harsh and
arbitrary act showed me despotism under its most odious aspect. The man
who banished a woman, and such a woman,--who caused her such
unhappiness, could only be regarded by me as an unmerciful tyrant; and
from that hour I was against him."

The result was that Madame Récamier was forbidden to reside within one
hundred and twenty miles of Paris. The reason which Napoleon assigned
for these measures was, that Madame de Staël, with the most
extraordinary endowments of mind, and Madame Récamier, with charms of
personal loveliness which had made her renowned through all Europe, were
combining their attractions in forming a conspiracy which would surely
deluge the streets of Paris in blood. Napoleon affirmed that though the
Government was so strong that it could certainly crush an insurrection
in the streets, he thought it better to prohibit these two ladies any
further residence in Paris, rather than leave them to foment rebellion,
which would cost the lives of many thousands of comparatively innocent
persons.

When the Bourbons, at the first restoration, returned to Paris, in the
rear of the batteries of the Allies, Madame Récamier again took up her
residence in Paris. Her saloons were thronged with the partisans of the
old regime, and she was universally recognized as the queen of fashion
and beauty. She was in the enjoyment of a very large income, kept her
carriage, had a box at the opera, and on opera nights had receptions
after the performances. The wheel of fortune had turned, and she was now
in the ascendant. Lord Wellington was among her admirers. But the
brusque, unpolished duke disgusted the refined French lady by his boast
to her, "I have given Napoleon a good beating."

Still the wheel continued its revolution. Napoleon returned from Elba.
The Bourbons and their partisans fled precipitately from France. But, in
the interim, Madame Récamier and Madame de Staël had dined with the
Duchess of St. Leu, at her estate a few leagues from Paris. The return
of Napoleon plunged Madame Récamier and her friend into the utmost
consternation. She was very unwilling again to leave Paris. In this
emergency, Hortense, who was then at the Tuileries, wrote to her under
date of March 23, 1815:

"I hope that you are tranquil. You may trust to me to take care of your
interests. I am convinced that I shall not have occasion to show you how
delighted I should be to be useful to you. Such would be my desire. But
under any circumstances count upon me, and believe that I shall be very
happy to prove my friendship for you.

                    "HORTENSE."

The "Hundred Days" passed away. The Bourbons were re-enthroned. Madame
Récamier was again a power in Paris. Hortense, deprived of the duchy of
St. Leu, was driven an exile out of France. Fifteen years had rolled
away, and these two distinguished ladies had not met until the
accidental interview to which we have alluded beneath the dome of St.
Peter's Cathedral. They were friends, though one was the representative
of aristocracy and the other of the rights of the people.

According to the arrangement which they had made, Hortense and Madame
Récamier met the next day at the Coliseum. Though it is not to be
supposed that Madame Récamier would make any false representations, it
is evident that, under the circumstances, she would not soften any of
the expressions of Hortense, or represent the conversation which ensued
in any light too favorable to Napoleon. We give the narrative, however,
of this very interesting interview in the words of Madame Récamier:

"The next day, at the Ave Maria, I was at the Coliseum, where I saw the
queen's carriage, which had arrived a few minutes before me. We entered
the amphitheatre together, complimenting each other on our punctuality,
and strolled through this immense ruin as the sun was setting, and to
the sound of distant bells.

"Finally we seated ourselves on the steps of the cross in the centre of
the amphitheatre, while Charles Napoleon Bonaparte and M. Ampère, who
had followed us, walked about at a little distance. The night came
on--an Italian night. The moon rose slowly in the heavens, behind the
open arcades of the Coliseum. The breeze of evening sighed through the
deserted galleries. Near me sat this woman, herself the living ruin of
so extraordinary a fortune. A confused and undefinable emotion forced me
to silence. The queen also seemed absorbed in her reflections.

[Illustration: INTERVIEW IN THE COLISEUM.]

"'How many events have contributed to bring us together,' she said
finally, turning towards me, 'events of which I often have been the
puppet or the victim, without having foreseen or provoked them.'

"I could not help thinking that this pretension to the rôle of a victim
was a little hazardous. At that time I was under the conviction that she
had not been a stranger to the return from the island of Elba. Doubtless
the queen divined my thoughts, since it is hardly possible for me to
hide my sentiments. My bearing and face betray me in spite of myself.

"'I see plainly,'she said earnestly, 'that you share an opinion that has
injured me deeply; and it was to controvert it that I wanted to speak to
you freely. Henceforth you will justify me, I hope; for I can clear
myself of the charge of ingratitude and treason, which would abase me in
my own eyes if I had been guilty of them.'

"She was silent a moment and then resumed. 'In 1814, after the
abdication of Fontainebleau, I considered that the Emperor had renounced
all his rights to the throne, and that his family ought to follow his
example. It was my wish to remain in France, under a title that would
not give umbrage to the new Government. At the request of the Emperor of
Russia, Louis XVIII. gave me authority to assume the title of Duchess of
St. Leu, and confirmed me in the possession of my private property. In
an audience that I obtained to thank him, he treated me with so much
courtesy and kindness that I was sincerely grateful; and after having
freely accepted his favors I could not think of conspiring against him.

"'I heard of the landing of the Emperor only through public channels,
and it gave me much more annoyance than pleasure. I knew the Emperor too
well to imagine that he would have attempted such an enterprise without
having certain reasons to hope for success. But the prospect of a civil
war afflicted me deeply, and I was convinced that we could not escape
it. The speedy arrival of the Emperor baffled all my previsions.

"'On hearing of the departure of the king, and picturing him to myself
old, infirm, and forced to abandon his country again, I was sensibly
touched. The idea that he might be accusing me of ingratitude and
treason was insupportable to me; and, notwithstanding all the risk of
such a step, I wrote to him to exculpate myself from any participation
in the events which had just taken place.

"'On the evening of the 20th of March, being advised of the Emperor's
approach by his old minister, I presented myself at the Tuileries to
await his coming. I saw him arrive, surrounded, pressed, and borne
onward by a crowd of officers of all ranks. In all this tumult I could
scarcely accost him. He received me coldly, said a few words to me, and
appointed an interview for next day. The Emperor has always inspired me
with fear, and his tone on this occasion was not calculated to reassure
me. I presented myself, however, with as calm a bearing as was possible.
I was introduced into his private room; and we were scarcely alone when
he advanced toward me quickly, and said brusquely,

"'"Have you then so poorly comprehended your situation that you could
renounce your name, and the rank you held from me, to accept a title
given by the Bourbons?"

"'"My duty sire," I replied, summoning up all my courage to answer him,
"was to think of my children's future, since the abdication of your
Majesty left me no longer any other to fulfill."

"'"Your children," exclaimed the Emperor, "your children! Were they not
my nephews before they were your sons? Have you forgotten that? Had you
the right to strip them of the rank that belonged to them?" And as I
looked at him, all amazed, he added, with increasing rage, "Have you not
read the Code, then?"

"'I avowed my ignorance, recalling to myself that he had formerly
considered it reprehensible, in any woman, and especially in members of
his own family, to dare to avow that they knew any thing about
legislation. Then he explained to me with volubility the article in the
law prohibiting any change in the state of minors, or the making of any
renunciation in their name. As he talked he strode up and down the room,
the windows of which were open to admit the beautiful spring sun. I
followed him, trying to make him understand that, not knowing the laws,
I had only thought of the interests of my children, and taken counsel of
my heart. The Emperor stopped all of a sudden, and turning roughly
towards me, said,

"'"Then it should have told you, Madame, that when you shared the
prosperity of a family, you ought to know how to submit to its
misfortunes."

"'At these last words I burst into tears. But at this moment our
conversation was interrupted by a tremendous uproar which frightened me.
The Emperor, while talking, had unconsciously approached the window
looking upon the terrace of the Tuileries, which was filled with people,
who, upon recognizing him, rent the air with frantic acclamations. The
Emperor, accustomed to control himself, saluted the people electrified
by his presence, and I hastened to dry my eyes. But they had seen my
tears, without the slightest suspicion of their cause. For the next day
the papers vied with each other in repeating that the Emperor had shown
himself at the windows of the Tuileries, accompanied by Queen Hortense,
and that the Queen was so moved by the enthusiasm manifested at the
sight of her that she could scarcely restrain her tears.'

"This account," adds Madame Récamier, "had an air of sincerity about it,
which shook my previous convictions, and the regard I felt for the Queen
was heightened. From that time we became firm friends. We met each other
every day, sometimes at the Temple of Vesta, sometimes at the Baths of
Titus, or at the Tomb of Cecilia Metella; at others, in some one of the
numerous churches of the Christian city, in the rich galleries of its
palaces, or at one of the beautiful villas in its environs; and such was
our punctuality, that our two carriages almost always arrived together
at the appointed place.

"I found the queen a very fascinating companion. And she showed such a
delicate tact in respecting the opinions she knew I held, that I could
not prevent myself saying that I could only accuse her of the one fault
of not being enough of a Bonapartist. Notwithstanding the species of
intimacy established between us, I had always abstained from visiting
her, when news arrived of the death of Eugene Beauharnais. The Queen
loved her brother tenderly. I understood the grief she must feel in
losing her nearest relation and the best friend she had in the world,
and came quickly to a decision. I immediately went to her, and found her
in the deepest affliction. The whole Bonaparte family was there, but
that gave me little uneasiness. In such cases it is impossible for me to
consider party interests or public opinion. I have been often blamed for
this, and probably shall be again, and I must resign myself to this
censure, since I shall never cease to deserve it."

Hortense, immediately upon receiving the tidings of the dangerous
sickness of her brother, had written thus to Madame Récamier. The letter
was dated,

                    "Rome, Friday morning, April, 1824.

"MY DEAR MADAME,--It seems to be my fate not to be able to enjoy any
pleasures, diversions, or interest without the alloy of pain. I have
news of my brother. He has been ill. They kindly assure me that he was
better when the letter was sent, but I can not help being extremely
anxious. I have a presentiment that this is his last illness, and I am
far from him. I trust that God will not deprive me of the only friend
left me--the best and most honorable man on earth. I am going to St.
Peter's to pray. That will comfort me perhaps, for my very anxiety
frightens me. One becomes weak and superstitious in grief. I can not
therefore go with you to-day, but I shall be happy to see you, if you
would like to join me at St. Peter's. I know that you are not afraid of
the unhappy, and that you bring them happiness. To wish for you now is
enough to prove to you my regard for you.

                    "HORTENSE."

Soon after the death of Prince Eugene, Hortense returned to Arenemberg.
From that place she wrote to Madame Récamier, under date of June 10th,
1824:

"You were kind enough, Madame, to wish to hear from me. I can not say
that I am well, when I have lost every thing on this earth. Meanwhile I
am not in ill health. I have just had another heart-break. I have seen
all my brother's things. I do not recoil from this pain, and perhaps I
may find in it some consolation. This life, so full of troubles, can
disturb no longer the friends for whom we mourn. He, no doubt, is happy.
With your sympathies you can imagine all my feelings.

"I am at present in my retreat. The scenery is superb. In spite of the
lovely sky of Italy, I still find Arenemberg very beautiful. But I must
always be pursued by regrets. It is undoubtedly my fate. Last year I was
so contented. I was very proud of not repining, not wishing for any
thing in this world. I had a good brother, good children. To-day how
much need have I to repeat to myself that there are still some left to
whom I am necessary!

"But I am talking a great deal about myself, and I have nothing to tell
you, if it be not that you have been a great comfort to me, and that I
shall always be pleased to see you again. You are among those persons to
whom it is not needful to relate one's life or one's feelings. The heart
is the best interpreter, and they who thus read us become necessary to
us.

"I do not ask you about your plans, and nevertheless I am interested to
know them. Do not be like me, who live without a future, and who expect
to remain where fate puts me; for I may stay at my country-place all
winter, if I can have all the rooms heated. Sometimes the wind seems to
carry the house off, and the snow, I am told, is of frightful depth. But
it requires little courage to surmount these obstacles. On the contrary,
these great effects of nature are sometimes not without their charms.
Adieu. Do not entirely forget me. Believe me, your friendship has done
me good. You know what a comfort a friendly voice from one's native
country is, when it comes to us in misfortune and isolation. Be kind
enough to tell me that I am unjust if I complain too much of my destiny,
and that I have still some friends left.

                    "HORTENSE."

Just about this time M. de Chateaubriand, the illustrious friend of
Madame Récamier, was quite insultingly dismissed from the ministry for
not advocating a law of which the king approved. The disgrace of the
minister created a very deep sensation. In allusion to it, Hortense
wrote to Madame Récamier, from Arenemberg, Sept. 11, 1824, as follows:

"I expected to hear from you on your return from Naples, and as I have
not heard, I know not where to find you. I have fancied that you were on
the road to Paris, because I always imagine that we go where the heart
goes, and where we can be useful to our friends. It is curious to think
what a chain the affections are. Why, I myself, secluded from the world,
stranger to every thing, am sorry to see so distinguished a man shut out
from public life. Is it on account of the interest you have made me take
in that quarter, or is it, rather, because, like a Frenchwoman, I love
to see merit and superiority honored in my country?

"At present I am no longer alone. I have my cousin with me, the Grand
Duchess of Baden, a most accomplished person. The brilliancy of her
imagination, the vivacity of her wit, the correctness of her judgment,
together with the perfect balance of all her faculties, render her a
charming and a remarkable woman. She enlivens my solitude and softens my
profound grief. We converse in the language of our country. It is that
of the heart, you know, since at Rome we understood each other so well.

"I claim your promise to stop on the way at Arenemberg. It will always be
to me very sweet to see you. I can not separate you from one of my
greatest sorrows; which is to say that you are very dear to me, and that
I shall be happy to have an opportunity to assure you of my affection.

                    "HORTENSE."

Madame Récamier, after leaving Rome, kept up her friendly relations and
correspondence with Queen Hortense.

The winter of 1829 Hortense spent with her sons in Rome. Chateaubriand
was then French ambassador in that city. Upon his leaving, to return to
Paris, Hortense wrote to Madame Récamier the following letter, in which
she alludes to his departure:

                    "Rome, May 10, 1829.

"DEAR MADAME,--I am not willing that one of your friends should leave
the place where I am living, and where I have had the pleasure of
meeting you, without carrying to you a token of my remembrance. I also
wish you to convey to him my sentiments. Kindnesses show themselves in
the smallest things, and are also felt by those who are the object of
them, without their being equal to the expression of their feelings. But
the benevolence which has been able to reach me has made me regret not
being permitted to know him whom I have learned to appreciate, and who,
in a foreign land, so worthily represented to me my country, at least
such as I always should like to look upon her, as a friend and
protectress.

"I am soon to return to my mountains, where I hope to hear from you. Do
not forget me entirely. Remember that I love you, and that your
friendship contributed to soothe one of the keenest sorrows of my life.
These are two inseparable memories. Thus never doubt my tender love, in
again assuring you of which I take such pleasure.

                    "HORTENSE."

The year 1830 came. Louis Napoleon was then twenty-two years of age. An
insurrection in Paris overthrew the old Bourbon dynasty, and established
its modification in the throne of Louis Philippe. This revolution in
France threw all Europe into commotion. All over Italy the people rose
to cast off the yoke which the Allies, who had triumphed at Waterloo,
had imposed upon them. The exiled members of the Bonaparte family met at
Rome to decide what to do in the emergency. Hortense attended the
meeting with her two sons. The eldest, Napoleon Louis, had married his
cousin, the daughter of Joseph Bonaparte. Both of the young princes,
with great enthusiasm, joined the patriots. Hortense was very much
alarmed for the safety of her sons. She could see but little hope that
the insurrection could be successful in Italy, for the "Holy Alliance"
was pledged to crush it. She wrote imploringly to her children. Louis
Napoleon replied,

"Your affectionate heart will understand our determination. We have
contracted engagements which we can not break. Can we remain deaf to the
voice of the unfortunate who call to us? We bear a name which obliges us
to listen."

We have not here space to describe the conflict. The Italian patriots,
overwhelmed by the armies of Austria, were crushed or dispersed. The
elder of the sons of Hortense, Napoleon Louis, died from the fatigue and
exposure of the campaign, and was buried at Florence. The younger son,
Louis Napoleon, enfeebled by sickness, was in the retreat with the
vanquished patriots to Ancona, on the shores of the Adriatic. The
distracted mother was hastening to her children when she heard of the
death of the one, and of the sickness and perilous condition of the
other. She found Louis Napoleon at Ancona, in a burning fever. The
Austrians were gathering up the vanquished patriots wherever they could
be found in their dispersion, and were mercilessly shooting them.
Hortense was in an agony of terror. She knew that her son, if captured,
would surely be shot. The Austrians were soon in possession of Ancona.
They eagerly sought for the young prince, who bore a name which despots
have ever feared. A price was set upon his head. The sagacity of the
mother rescued the child. She made arrangements for a frail skiff to
steal out from the harbor and cross the Adriatic Sea to the shores of
Illyria. Deceived by this stratagem, the Austrian police had no doubt
that the young prince had escaped. Their vigilance was accordingly
relaxed. Hortense then took a carriage for Pisa. Her son, burning with
fever and emaciate from grief and fatigue, mounted the box behind in the
disguise of a footman. In this manner, exposed every moment to the
danger of being arrested by the Austrian police, the anxious mother and
her son traversed the whole breadth of Italy. As Louis Napoleon had,
with arms in his hands, espoused the cause of the people in their
struggle against Austrian despotism, he could expect no mercy, and there
was no safety for him anywhere within reach of the Austrian arm.

By a law of the Bourbons, enacted in 1816, which law was re-enacted by
the Government of Louis Philippe, no member of the Bonaparte family
could enter France but under the penalty of death. But Napoleon I., when
in power, had been very generous to the House of Orleans. Hortense,
also, upon the return of Napoleon from Elba, when the Royalists were
flying in terror from the kingdom, had protected and warmly befriended
distinguished members of the family. Under these circumstances,
distracted by the fear that her only surviving child would be arrested
and shot, and knowing not which way to turn for safety, the mother and
the son decided, notwithstanding the menace of death suspended over
them, to seek a momentary refuge, incognito, in France.

Embarking in a small vessel, still under assumed names, they safely
reached Cannes. At this port Napoleon had landed sixteen years ago, in
his marvellous return from Elba. The mother and son proceeded
immediately to Paris, resolved to cast themselves upon the generosity of
Louis Philippe. Louis Napoleon was still very sick, and needed his bed
rather than the fatigues of travel. It was the intention of his mother,
so soon as the health of her son was sufficiently restored, to continue
their journey and cross over to England.

Hortense, in her "Mémoires," speaking of these hours of adversity's
deepest gloom, writes:

"At length I arrived at the barrier of Paris. I experienced a sort of
self-love in exhibiting to my son, by its most beautiful entrance, that
capital, of which he could probably retain but a feeble recollection. I
ordered the postillion to take us through the Boulevards to the Rue de
la Paix, and to stop at the first hotel. Chance conducted us to the
Hotel D'Hollande. I occupied a small apartment on the third floor, _du
premier_, first above the entresol. From my room I could see the
Boulevard and the column in the Place Vendôme. I experienced a sort of
saddened pleasure, in my isolation, in once more beholding that city
which I was about to leave, perhaps forever, without speaking to a
person, and without being distracted by the impression which that view
made upon me."

Twenty-two years before, Hortense, in this city, had given birth to the
child who was now sick and a fugitive. Austria was thirsting for his
blood, and the Government of his own native land had laid upon him the
ban of exile, and it was at the peril of their lives that either mother
or son placed their feet upon the soil of France. And yet the birth of
this prince was welcomed by salvos of artillery, and by every
enthusiastic demonstration of public rejoicing, from Hamburg to Rome,
and from the Pyrenees to the Danube.

Louis Napoleon was still suffering from a burning fever. A few days of
repose seemed essential to the preservation of his life. Hortense
immediately wrote a letter to King Louis Philippe, informing him of the
arrival of herself and son, incognito, in Paris, of the circumstances
which had rendered the step necessary, and casting themselves upon his
protection. Louis Philippe owed Hortense a deep debt of gratitude. He
had joined the Allies in their war against France. He had come back to
Paris in the rear of their batteries. By French law he was a traitor
doomed to die. When Napoleon returned from Elba he fled from France in
terror, again to join the Allies. He was then the Duke of Orleans. The
Duchess of Orleans had slipped upon the stairs and broken her leg. She
could not be moved. Both Hortense and Napoleon treated her with the
greatest kindness. Of several letters which the Duchess of Orleans wrote
Hortense, full of expressions of obligation and gratitude, we will quote
but one.

_The Duchess of Orleans to Queen Hortense._

                    "April 19, 1815.

"MADAME,--I am truly afflicted that the feeble state of my health
deprives me of the opportunity of expressing to your majesty, as I could
wish, my gratitude for the interest she has manifested in my situation.
I am still suffering much pain, as my limb has not yet healed. But I can
not defer expressing to your majesty, and to his majesty, the Emperor,
to whom I beg you to be my interpreter, the gratitude I feel I am,
madame, your majesty's servant,

                    "LOUISE MARIE ADELAIDE DE BOURBON, DUCHESS D'ORLEANS."

The Emperor, in response to the solicitations of Hortense, had permitted
the Duchess of Orleans to remain in Paris, and also had assured her of a
pension of four hundred thousand francs ($80,000). The Duchess of
Bourbon, also, aunt of the Duke of Orleans, was permitted to remain in
the city. And she, also, that she might be able to maintain the position
due to her rank, received from the Emperor a pension of two hundred
thousand francs ($40,000). The Duchess of Bourbon had written to
Hortense for some great favors, which Hortense obtained for her. In
reply to the assurance of Hortense that she would do what she could to
aid her, the duchess wrote, under date of April 29th, 1815:

"I am exceedingly grateful for your kindness, and I have full confidence
in the desire which you express to aid me. I can hardly believe that the
Emperor will refuse a demand which I will venture to say is so just, and
particularly when it is presented by you. Believe me, madame, that my
gratitude equals the sentiments of which I beg you to receive, in
advance, the most sincere attestation."

Under these circumstances Hortense could not doubt that she might
venture to appeal to the magnanimity of the king.



CHAPTER IX.

LIFE AT ARENEMBERG.

1831-1836

Embarrassments of Louis Philippe.--The minister's interview with
Hortense.--Hortense ordered to leave France.--Letter from Louis
Napoleon.--Right of citizenship conferred.--Response of the
prince.--Permission to pass through France.--Louis Napoleon invited
to the throne of Poland.--Visit of Madame Récamier.--Accomplishments of
the Prince.--Heirs to the Empire.--Studious habits of Louis
Napoleon.--Testimony of an English gentleman.--Personal appearance of
Louis Napoleon.--His resemblance to the Emperor.--Letter to M.
Belmontet.--Letter to a friend.--Love of Hortense for her son.--Column
in the Place Vendôme.--Arc de l'Etoile.--First heir to the Empire.--The
throne of Louis Philippe menaced.--Remarks of Louis Napoleon.--Peril of
the movements.--Letter to Hortense.--Capture of Louis Napoleon.--Anguish
of Hortense.

It must be confessed that the position of Louis Philippe was painful
when he received the note from Hortense announcing that she and her son
were in Paris. An insurrection in the streets of Paris had overthrown
the throne of the Bourbons, and with it the doctrine of legitimacy.
Louis Philippe had been placed upon the vacant throne, not by the voice
of the French people, but by a small clique in Paris. There was danger
that allied Europe would again rouse itself to restore the Bourbons.
Louis Philippe could make no appeal to the masses of the people for
support, for he was not the king of their choice. Should he do any thing
indicative of friendship for the Bonapartes, it might exasperate all
dynastic Europe; and should the French people learn that an heir of the
Empire was in France, their enthusiasm might produce convulsions the end
of which no one could foresee.

Thus unstably seated upon his throne, Louis Philippe was in a state of
great embarrassment. He felt that he could not consult the impulses of
his heart, but that he must listen to the colder dictates of prudence.
He therefore did not venture personally to call upon Queen Hortense, but
sent Casimir Périer, president of his council, to see her. As Périer
entered her apartment, Hortense said to him:

"Sir, I am a mother. My only means of saving my son was to come to
France. I know very well that I have transgressed a law. I am well aware
of the risks we run. You have a right to cause our arrest. It would be
just."

"Just?" responded the minister, "no; legal? yes." The result of some
anxious deliberation was that, in consideration of the alarming sickness
of the young prince, they were to be permitted, provided they preserved
the strictest incognito, to remain in the city one week. The king also
granted Hortense a private audience. He himself knew full well the
sorrows of exile. He spoke feelingly of the weary years which he and his
family had spent in banishment from France.

"I have experienced," said he to Hortense, "all the griefs of exile. And
it is not in accordance with my wishes that yours have not yet ceased."
Hortense also saw the queen and the king's sister. There were but these
four persons who were allowed to know that Hortense was in Paris. And
but two of these, the king and his minister, knew that Prince Louis
Napoleon was in the city. But just then came the 5th of May. It was the
anniversary of the death of the Emperor at St. Helena. As ever, in this
anniversary, immense crowds of the Parisian people gathered around the
column on the Place Vendôme with their homage to their beloved Emperor,
and covering the railing with wreaths of immortelles and other flowers.
Had the populace known that from his window an heir of the great Emperor
was looking upon them, it would have created a flame of enthusiasm which
scarcely any earthly power could have quenched.

The anxiety of the king, in view of the peril, was so great, that
Hortense was informed that the public safety required that she should
immediately leave France, notwithstanding the continued sickness of her
son. The order was imperative. But both the king and the minister
offered her money, that she might continue her journey to London. But
Hortense did not need pecuniary aid. She had just cashed at the bank an
order for sixteen thousand francs. Before leaving the city, Louis
Napoleon wrote to the king a very eloquent and dignified letter, in
which he claimed his right, as a French citizen, who had never committed
any crime, of residing in his native land. He recognized the king as the
representative of a great nation, and earnestly offered his services in
defense of his country in the ranks of the army. He avowed that in Italy
he had espoused the cause of the people in opposition to aristocratic
usurpation, and he demanded the privilege of taking his position, as a
French citizen, beneath the tri-color of France.

No reply was returned to this letter. It is said that the spirit and
energy it displayed magnified the alarm of the king, and increased his
urgency to remove the writer, as speedily as possible, from the soil of
France.

On the 6th of May Hortense and her son left Paris, and proceeded that
day to Chantilly. Travelling slowly, they were four days in reaching
Calais, where they embarked for England. Upon their arrival in London,
both Hortense and her son met with a very flattering reception from
gentlemen of all parties. For some time they were the guests of the Duke
of Bedford, at Woburn Abbey. Talleyrand, who was then French ambassador
at the Court of St. James, with characteristic diplomatic caution called
himself, and by means of an agent sought to ascertain what were the
secret plans and purposes of Queen Hortense.

Several months were passed very profitably in England, and as pleasantly
as was possible for persons who had been so long buffetted by the storms
of adversity, who were exiles from their native land, and who knew not
in what direction to look for a home of safety. While in this state of
perplexity, both mother and son were exceedingly gratified by receiving
from the Canton of Thurgovia the following document, conferring the
rights of citizenship upon the young prince. The document bore the date
of Thurgovia, April 30th, 1832.

"We, the President of the Council of the Canton of Thurgovia, declare
that, the Commune of Sallenstein having offered the right of communal
citizenship to his highness, Prince Louis Napoleon, out of gratitude for
the numerous favors conferred upon the canton by the family of the
Duchess of St. Leu, since her residence in Arenemberg; and the grand
council having afterwards, by its unanimous vote of the 14th of April,
sanctioned this award, and decreed unanimously to his highness the right
of honorary burghership of the canton, with the desire of proving how
highly it honors the generous character of this family, and how highly
it appreciates the preference they have shown for the canton; declares
that his highness, Prince Louis Napoleon, son of the Duke and Duchess of
St. Leu, is acknowledged as a citizen of the Canton of Thurgovia."

The prince, in the response which he made in the name of his mother and
himself, expressed their gratitude for the kindness with which they had
ever been treated, and thanked them especially for the honor which they
had conferred upon him, in making him the "citizen of a free nation." As
a testimonial of his esteem he sent to the authorities of the canton two
brass six-pounder cannon, with complete trains and equipage. He also
founded a free school in the village of Sallenstein.

Encouraged by these expressions of kindly feeling, both Hortense and her
son were very desirous to return to their quiet and much-loved retreat
at Arenemberg. The prince, however, who never allowed himself to waste a
moment of time, devoted himself, during this short visit to England,
assiduously to the study of the workings of British institutions, and to
the progress which the nation had attained in the sciences and the arts.
It was not easy for Hortense and her son to return to Arenemberg. The
Government of Louis Philippe would not permit them to pass through
France. Austria vigilantly and indignantly watched every pathway through
Italy. They made application for permission to pass through Belgium, but
this was denied them. The Belgian throne, which was afterwards offered
to Leopold, was then vacant. It was feared that the people would rally
at the magic name of Napoleon, and insist that the crown should be
placed upon the brow of the young prince.

In this sore dilemma, Louis Philippe at last consented, very
reluctantly, that they might pass hurriedly through France, Hortense
assuming the name of the Baroness of Arenemberg, and both giving their
pledge not to enter Paris. Having obtained the necessary passports,
Hortense, with her son, left London in August, and, crossing the
Channel, landed at Calais, thus placing their feet once more upon the
soil of their native land, from which they were exiled by Bourbon power
simply because they bore the name of Bonaparte, which all France so
greatly revered. In conformity with their agreement they avoided Paris,
though they visited the tomb of Josephine, at Ruel.

They had scarcely reached Switzerland when a deputation of distinguished
Poles called upon the young prince, urging him to place himself at the
head of their nation, then in arms, endeavoring to regain independence.
The letter containing this offer was dated August 31, 1831. It was
signed by General Kniazewiez, Count Plater, and many other of the most
illustrious men of Poland.

"To whom," it was said, "can the direction of our enterprise be better
intrusted than to the nephew of the greatest captain of all ages? A
young Bonaparte appearing in our country, tri-color in hand, would
produce a moral effect of incalculable consequences. Come, then, young
hero, hope of our country. Trust to the waves, which already know your
name, the fortunes of Cæsar, and what is more, the destinies of liberty.
You will gain the gratitude of your brethren in arms and the admiration
of the world."

The chivalric spirit of the young prince was aroused. Notwithstanding
the desperation of the enterprise and the great anxiety of his mother,
Louis Napoleon left Arenemberg to join the Poles. He had not proceeded
far when he received the intelligence that Warsaw was captured and that
the patriots were crushed. Sadly he returned to Arenemberg. Again, as
ever, he sought solace for his disappointment in intense application to
study. In August, 1832, Madame Récamier with M. de Chateaubriand made a
visit to Hortense, at the chateau of Arenemberg. The biographer of
Madame Récamier in the following terms records this visit:

"In August, 1832, Madame Récamier decided to make a trip to Switzerland,
where she was to meet M. de Chateaubriand, who was already wandering in
the mountains. She went to Constance. The chateau of Arenemberg, where
the Duchess of St. Leu passed her summers, and which she had bought and
put in order, overlooks Lake Constance. It was impossible for Madame
Récamier not to give a few days to this kind and amiable person,
especially in her forlorn and isolated position. The duchess, too, had
lost, the year previous, her eldest son, Napoleon, who died in Italy.

"When M. de Chateaubriand joined Madame Récamier at Constance, he was
invited to dine with her at the castle. Hortense received him with the
most gracious kindness, and read to him some extracts from her own
memoirs. The establishment at Arenemberg was elegant, and on a large
though not ostentatious scale. Hortense's manners, in her own house,
were simple and affectionate. She talked too much, perhaps, about her
taste for a life of retirement, love of nature, and aversion to
greatness, to be wholly believed. After all these protestations, her
visitor could not perceive without surprise the care the duchess and her
household took to treat Prince Louis like a sovereign. He had the
precedence of every one.

"The prince, polite, accomplished, and taciturn, appeared to Madame
Récamier to be a very different person from his elder brother, whom she
had known in Rome, young, generous, and enthusiastic. The prince
sketched for her, in sepia, a view of Lake Constance, overlooked by the
chateau of Arenemberg. In the foreground a shepherd, leaning against a
tree, is watching his flock and playing on the flute. This design,
pleasantly associated with Madame Récamier's visit, is now historically
interesting. For the last ten years the signature of the author has
been affixed to very different things."

But a month before this visit, in July, 1832, Napoleon's only son, the
Duke of Reichstadt, died at the age of twenty-one years. All concur in
testifying to his noble character. He died sadly, ever cherishing the
memory of his illustrious sire, who had passed to the grave through the
long agony of St. Helena. The death of the Duke of Reichstadt brought
Louis Napoleon one step nearer to the throne of the Empire, according to
the vote of the French. There were now but two heirs between him and the
crown--his uncle Joseph and his father Louis. Both of these were
advanced in life, and the latter exceedingly infirm. The legitimists
denied that the people had any right to establish a dynasty; but it was
clear that whatever rights popular suffrage could confer would descend
to Louis Napoleon upon the death of Joseph and of Louis Bonaparte. Louis
Napoleon had no doubt that the immense majority of the French people
would improve the first possible opportunity to re-establish the Empire;
and consequently the conviction which he so confidently cherished, that
he was destined to be the Emperor of France, was not a vague and
baseless impression, but the dictate of sound judgment.

The Holy Alliance now contemplated Louis Napoleon with great anxiety,
and kept a very close watch upon all his movements. The Government of
Louis Philippe was even more unpopular in France than the Government of
the elder branch of the Bourbons had been. The crown had not been placed
upon his brow either by _legitimacy_ or by _popular suffrage_, and there
were but few whom he could rally to his support.

With never-flagging zeal the prince prosecuted his studies in the
peaceful retreat at Arenemberg, that he might be prepared for the high
destiny which he believed awaited him. He published several very
important treatises, which attracted the attention of Europe, and which
gave him a high position, not merely as a man of letters, but as a
statesman of profound views. The _Spectateur Militaire_, in the review
of the "Manual of Artillery," by Prince Louis Napoleon, says:

"In looking over this book, it is impossible not to be struck with the
laborious industry of which it is the fruit. Of this we can get an idea
by the list of authors, French, German, and English, which he has
consulted. And this list is no vain catalogue. We can find in the text
the ideas, and often the very expressions, of the authorities which he
has quoted. When we consider how much study and perseverance must have
been employed to succeed in producing only the literary part (for even
the illustrations scattered through the work are from the author's own
designs) of a book which requires such profound and varied attainments,
and when we remember that this author was born on the steps of a throne,
we can not help being seized with admiration for the man who thus
bravely meets the shocks of adversity."

A gentleman, in a work entitled "Letters from London," in the following
language describes the prince's mode of life at Arenemberg:

"From his tenderest youth Prince Louis Napoleon has despised the habits
of an effeminate life. Although his mother allowed him a considerable
sum for his amusements, these were the last things he thought of. All
this money was spent in acts of beneficence, in founding schools or
houses of refuge, in printing his military or political works, or in
making scientific experiments. His mode of life was always frugal, and
rather rude. At Arenemberg it was quite military.

"His room, situated not in the castle, but in a small pavilion beside
it, offered none of the grandeur or elegance so prevalent in Hortense's
apartment. It was, in truth, a regular soldier's tent. Neither carpet
nor arm-chair appeared there; nothing that could indulge the body;
nothing but books of science and arms of all kinds. As for himself, he
was on horseback at break of day, and before any one had risen in the
castle he had ridden several leagues. He then went to work in his
cabinet. Accustomed to military exercises, as good a rider as could be
seen, he never let a day pass without devoting some hours to sword and
lance practice and the use of infantry arms, which he managed with
extraordinary rapidity and address."

[Illustration: THE STUDY OF LOUIS NAPOLEON.]

His personal appearance at that time is thus graphically sketched. "He
is middle-sized, of an agreeable countenance, and has a military air. To
personal advantages he joins the more seductive distinction of manners
simple, natural, and full of good taste and ease. At first sight I was
struck with his resemblance to Prince Eugene, and to the Empress
Josephine, his grandmother. But I did not remark a like resemblance
to the Emperor. But by attentively observing the essential features,
that is those not depending on more or less fullness or on more or less
beard, we soon discover that the Napoleonic type is reproduced with
astonishing fidelity. It is, in fact, the same lofty forehead, broad and
straight, the same nose, of fine proportions, the same gray eyes,
though, the expression is milder. It is particularly the same contour
and inclination of the head. The latter especially, when the prince
turns, is so full of the Napoleon air, as to make a soldier of the Old
Guard thrill at the sight. And if the eye rests on the outline of these
forms, it is impossible not to be struck, as if before the head of the
Emperor, with the imposing grandeur of the Roman profile, of which the
lines, so defined, so grave, I will even add and so solemn, are, as it
were, the soul of great destinies.

"The distinguishing expression of the features of the young prince is
that of nobleness and gravity. And yet, far from being harsh, his
countenance, on the contrary, breathes a sentiment of mildness and
benevolence. It seems that the maternal type which is preserved in the
lower part of his face has come to correct the rigidity of the imperial
lines, as the blood of the Beauharnais seems to have tempered in him
the southern violence of the Napoleon blood. But what excites the
greatest interest is that indefinable tinge of melancholy and
thoughtfulness observable in the slightest movement, and revealing the
noble sufferings of exile.

"But after this portrait you must not figure to yourself one of those
elegant young men, those Adonises of romance who excite the admiration
of the drawing-room. There is nothing of effeminacy in the young
Napoleon. The dark shadows of his countenance indicate an energetic
nature. His assured look, his glance at once quick and thoughtful, every
thing about him points out one of those exceptional natures, one of
those great souls that live by meditating on great things, and that
alone are capable of accomplishing them."

About this time the young prince wrote as follows to his friend, the
poet Belmontet: "Still far from my country, and deprived of all that can
render life dear to a manly heart, I yet endeavor to retain my courage
in spite of fate, and find my only consolation in hard study. Adieu.
Sometimes think of all the bitter thoughts which must fill my mind when
I contrast the past glories of France with her present condition and
hopeless future. It needs no little courage to press on alone, as one
can, towards the goal which one's heart has vowed to reach. Nevertheless
I must not despair, the honor of France has so many elements of vitality
in it."

Some months later he wrote to the same friend: "My life has been until
now marked only by profound griefs and stifled wishes. The blood of
Napoleon rebels in my veins, in not being able to flow for the national
glory. Until the present time there has been nothing remarkable in my
life, excepting my birth. The sun of glory shone upon my cradle. Alas!
that is all. But who can complain when the Emperor has suffered so much?
Faith in the future, such is my only hope; the sword of the Emperor my
only stay; a glorious death for France my ambition. Adieu! Think of the
poor exiles, whose eyes are ever turned towards the beloved shores of
France. And believe that my heart will never cease to beat at the sound
of country, honor, patriotism, and devotion."

Hortense deeply sympathized in the sorrows of her son. Like the caged
eagle, he was struggling against his bars, longing for a lofty flight.
On the 10th of August, 1834, she wrote to their mutual friend, Belmontet
as follows:

"The state of my affairs obliges me to remain during the winter in my
mountain home, exposed to all its winds. But what is this compared with
the dreadful sufferings which the Emperor endured upon the rock of St.
Helena? I would not complain if my son, at his age, did not find himself
deprived of all society and completely isolated, without any diversion
but the laborious pursuits to which he is devoted. His courage and
strength of soul equal his sad and painful destiny. What a generous
nature! What a good and noble young man! I am proud to be his mother,
and I should admire him if I were not so. I rejoice as much in the
nobleness of his character, as I grieve at being unable to render his
life more happy. He was born for better things. He is worthy of them. We
contemplate passing a couple of months at Geneva. There he will at least
hear the French language spoken. That will be an agreeable change for
him. The mother-tongue, is it not almost one's country?"

It every day became more and more evident that the throne of Louis
Philippe, founded only upon the stratagem of a clique in Paris, could
not stand long. Under these circumstances, one of the leading
Republicans in Paris wrote to the prince as follows:

"The life of the king is daily threatened. If one of these attempts
should succeed, we should be exposed to the most serious convulsions;
for there is no longer in France any party which can lead the others,
nor any man who can inspire general confidence. In this position,
prince, we have turned our eyes to you. The great name which you bear,
your opinions, your character, every thing induces us to see in you a
point of rallying for the popular cause. Hold yourself ready for action,
and when the time shall come your friends will not fail you."

The Government of Louis Philippe had been constrained by the demand of
the French people to restore to the summit of the column in the Place
Vendôme the statue of Napoleon, which the Allies had torn from it. As
the colossal image of the Emperor was raised to its proud elevation on
that majestic shaft, the utmost enthusiasm pervaded not only the streets
of the metropolis, but entire France. Day after day immense crowds
gathered in the place, garlanding the railing with wreaths of
immortelles, and exhibiting enthusiasm which greatly alarmed the
Government.

Hortense and Louis, from their place of exile, watched these popular
demonstrations with intensest interest. All France seemed to be honoring
Napoleon. And yet neither Hortense nor her son were allowed by the
Government to touch the soil of France under penalty of death, simply
because they were relatives of Napoleon. The completion of the Arc de
l'Etoile, at the head of the avenue of the Champs Elysee, a work which
Napoleon had originated, was another reminder to the Parisians of the
genius of the great Emperor.

The Emperor, with dying breath, had said at St. Helena, "It is my wish
that my ashes may repose on the banks of the Seine, in the midst of the
French people whom I have loved so well." All France was now demanding
that this wish should be fulfilled. The Government dared not attempt to
resist the popular sentiment. The remains were demanded of England, and
two frigates were sent to transport them to France. And the whole
kingdom prepared to receive those remains, and honor them with a burial
more imposing than had ever been conferred upon a mortal before.

Louis Napoleon and his friends thought that the time had now arrived in
which it was expedient for him to present himself before the people of
France, and claim their protection from the oppression of the French
Government. It was believed that the French people, should the
opportunity be presented them, would rise at the magic name of Napoleon,
overthrow the throne of Louis Philippe, and then, by the voice of
universal suffrage, would re-establish the Empire.

This would place Joseph Bonaparte on the throne, and would at once annul
the decree of banishment against the whole Bonaparte family. Hortense
and Louis Napoleon could then return to their native land. As Louis
Napoleon was in the direct line of hereditary descent, the
re-establishment of the Empire would undoubtedly in the end secure the
crown for Louis Napoleon. The ever-increasing enthusiasm manifested for
the memory of Napoleon I., and the almost universal unpopularity of the
Government of Louis Philippe, led Louis Napoleon and his friends to
think that the time had come for the restoration of the Empire, or
rather to restore to the people the right of universal suffrage, that
they might choose a republic or empire or a monarchy, as the people
should judge best for the interests of France.

It so happened that there was, at that time, in garrison at Strasburg
the same regiment in which General Bonaparte so brilliantly commenced
his career at the siege of Toulon, and which had received him with so
much enthusiasm at Grenoble, on his return from Elba, and had escorted
him in his triumphant march to Paris. Colonel Vaudrey, a very
enthusiastic and eloquent young man who had great influence over his
troops, was in command of the regiment. It was not doubted that these
troops would with enthusiasm rally around an heir of the Empire. In
preparation for the movement, Louis Napoleon held several interviews
with Colonel Vaudrey at Baden. In one of these interviews the prince
said to the colonel:

"The days of prejudice are past. The prestige of divine right has
vanished from France with the old institutions. A new era has commenced.
Henceforth the people are called to the free development of their
faculties. But in this general impulse, impressed by modern
civilization, what can regulate the movement? What government will be
sufficiently strong to assure to the country the enjoyment of public
liberty without agitations, without disorders? It is necessary for a
free people that they should have a government of immense moral force.
And this moral force, where can it be found, if not in the right and the
will of all? So long as a general vote has not sanctioned a government,
no matter what that government may be, it is not built upon a solid
foundation. Adverse factions will constantly agitate society; while
institutions ratified by the voice of the nation will lead to the
abolition of parties and will annihilate individual resistances.

"A revolution is neither legitimate nor excusable except when it is made
in the interests of the majority of the nation. One may be sure that
this is the motive which influences him, when he makes use of moral
influences only to attain his ends. If the Government have committed so
many faults as to render a revolution desirable for the nation, if the
Napoleonic cause have left sufficiently deep remembrances in French
hearts, it will be enough, for me merely to present myself before the
soldiers and the people, recalling to their memory their recent griefs
and past glory, for them to flock around my standard.

"If I succeed in winning over a regiment, if the soldiers to whom I am
unknown are roused by the sight of the imperial eagle, then all the
chances will be mine. My cause will be morally gained, even if secondary
obstacles rise to prevent its success. It is my aim to present a popular
flag--the most popular, the most glorious of all,--which shall serve as
a rallying-point for the generous and the patriotic of all parties; to
restore to France her dignity without universal war, her liberty without
license, her stability without despotism. To arrive at such a result,
what must be done? One must receive from the people alone all his power
and all his rights."

The man who should undertake in this way to overthrow an established
government, must of course peril his life. If unsuccessful, he could
anticipate no mercy. Hortense perceived with anxiety that the mind of
her son was intensely absorbed in thoughts which he did not reveal to
her. On the morning of the 25th of October, 1836, Louis Napoleon bade
adieu to his mother, and left Arenemberg in his private carriage,
ostensibly to visit friends at Baden. A few days after, Hortense was
plunged into the deepest distress by the reception of the following
letter:

"MY DEAR MOTHER,--You must have been very anxious in receiving no
tidings from me--you who believed me to be with my cousin. But your
inquietude will be redoubled when you learn that I made an attempt at
Strasburg, which has failed. I am in prison, with several other
officers. It is for them only that I suffer. As for myself, in
commencing such an enterprise, I was prepared for every thing. Do not
weep, mother. I am the victim of a noble cause, of a cause entirely
French. Hereafter justice will be rendered me and I shall be
commiserated.

"Yesterday morning I presented myself before the Fourth Artillery, and
was received with cries of _Vive l'Empereur!_ For a time all went well.
The Forty-sixth resisted. We were captured in the court-yard of their
barracks. Happily no French blood was shed. This consoles me in my
calamity. Courage, my mother! I shall know how to support, even to the
end, the honor of the name I bear. Adieu! Do not uselessly mourn my lot.
Life is but a little thing. Honor and France are every thing to me. I
embrace you with my whole heart. Your tender and respectful son,

                    "LOUIS NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.
                 "Strasburg, November 1, 1836."

Hortense immediately hastened to France, to do whatever a mother's love
and anguish could accomplish for the release of her son, though in
crossing the frontiers she knew that she exposed herself to the penalty
of death. Apprehensive lest her presence in Paris might irritate the
Government, she stopped at Viry, at the house of the Duchess de Raguse.
Madame Récamier repaired at once to Viry to see Hortense, where she
found her in great agony. Soon, however, a mother's fears were partially
relieved, as the Government of Louis Philippe, knowing the universal
enthusiasm with which the Emperor and the Empire were regarded, did not
dare to bring the young prince to trial, or even to allow it to be known
that he was upon the soil of France. With the utmost precipitation they
secretly hurried their prisoner through France, by day and by night, to
the seaboard, where he was placed on board a frigate, whose captain had
sealed instructions respecting the destination of his voyage, which he
was not to open until he had been several days at sea.

Poor Hortense, utterly desolate and heart-broken, returned to
Arenemberg. She knew that the life of her son had been spared, and that
he was to be transported to some distant land. But she knew not where he
would be sent, or what would be his destiny there. It is however
probable that ere long she learned, through her numerous friends, what
were the designs of the Government respecting him. She however never saw
her son again until, upon a dying bed, she gave him her last embrace and
blessing. The hurried journey, and the terrible anxiety caused by the
arrest and peril of her son, inflicted a blow upon Hortense from which
she never recovered. Weary months passed away in the solitude of
Arenemberg, until at last the heart-stricken mother received a package
of letters from the exile. As the narrative contained in these letters
throws very interesting light upon the character of the mother as well
as of the son, we shall insert it in the next chapter.



CHAPTER X.

LETTER FROM LOUIS NAPOLEON TO HIS MOTHER.

1836-1837

The attempt at Strasburg.--The march through the streets.--Peril of the
prince.--Utter failure of the enterprise.--Examination of the
captive.--Anxiety of Louis Napoleon for his companions.--Severe
treatment.--Sympathy of the guard.--Hurried through France.--Statement
of Louis Napoleon.--Remarks to Colonel Vaudrey.--The Napoleonic
system.--Louis Napoleon's plea for his confederates.--Scenes at
sea.--Life on board the frigate.--Uncertainty of the
destination.--Reflections of the captive.--Crossing the equator.--Letter
to his mother.--Arrival at Rio Janeiro.--Remembrance of friends.


"My Mother,--To give you a detailed recital of my misfortunes is to
renew your griefs and mine. And still it is a consolation, both for you
and for me, that you should be informed of all the impressions which I
have experienced, and of all the emotions which have agitated me since
the end of October. You know what was the pretext which I gave when I
left Arenemberg. But you do not know what was then passing in my heart.
Strong in my conviction which led me to look upon the Napoleonic cause
as the only national cause in France, as the only civilizing cause in
Europe, proud of the nobility and purity of my intentions, I was fully
resolved to raise the imperial eagle, or to fall the victim of my
political faith.

"I left, taking in my carriage the same route which I had followed three
months before when going from Urkirch to Baden. Every thing was the
same around me. But what a difference in the impressions with which I
was animated! I was then cheerful and serene as the unclouded day. But
now, sad and thoughtful, my spirit had taken the hue of the air, gloomy
and chill, which surrounded me. I may be asked, what could have induced
me to abandon a happy existence, to encounter all the risks of a
hazardous enterprise. I reply that a secret voice constrained me; and
that nothing in the world could have induced me to postpone to another
period an attempt which seemed to me to present so many chances of
success.

"And the most painful thought for me at this moment is--now that reality
has come to take the place of suppositions, and that, instead of
imagining, I have seen--that I am firm in the belief that if I had
followed the plan which I had marked out for myself, instead of being
now under the Equator, I should be in my own country. Of what importance
to me are those vulgar ones which call me insensate because I have not
succeeded, and which would have exaggerated my merit had I triumphed? I
take upon myself all the responsibility of the movement, for I have
acted from conviction, and not from the influence of others. Alas! if I
were the only victim I should have nothing to deplore. I have found in
my friends boundless devotion, and I have no reproaches to make against
any one whatever.

"On the 27th I arrived at Lahr, a small town of the Grand-duchy of
Baden, where I awaited intelligence. Near that place the axle of my
carriage broke, and I was compelled to remain there for a day. On the
morning of the 28th I left Lahr, and, retracing my steps, passed through
Fribourg, Neubrisach, and Colmar, and arrived, at eleven o'clock in the
evening, at Strasburg without the least embarrassment. My carriage was
taken to the _Hotel de la Fleur_, while I went to lodge in a small
chamber, which had been engaged for me, in the _Rue de la Fontaine_.

"There I saw, on the 29th, Colonel Vaudrey, and submitted to him the
plan of operations which I had drawn up. But the colonel, whose noble
and generous sentiments merited a better fate, said to me:

"'There is no occasion here for a conflict with arms. Your cause is too
French and too pure to be soiled in shedding French blood. There is but
one mode of procedure which is worthy of you, because it will avoid all
collision. When you are at the head of my regiment we will march
together to General Voirol's.[K] An old soldier will not resist the
sight of you and of the imperial eagle when he knows that the garrison
follows you.'

[Footnote K: The commanding officer of the garrison.]

"I approved his reasons, and all things were arranged for the next
morning. A house had been engaged in a street in the neighborhood of the
quarter of Austerlitz, whence we all were to proceed to those barracks
as soon as the regiment of artillery was assembled.

"Upon the 29th, at eleven o'clock in the evening, one of my friends came
to seek me at the _Rue de la Fontaine_, to conduct me to the general
rendezvous. We traversed together the whole city. A bright moon
illuminated the streets. I regarded the fine weather as a favorable omen
for the next day. I examined with care the places through which I
passed. The silence which reigned made an impression upon me. By what
would that calm be replaced to-morrow!

"'Nevertheless,' said I to my companion, 'there will be no disorder if I
succeed. It is especially to avoid the troubles which frequently
accompany popular movements that I have wished to make the revolution by
means of the army. But,' I added, 'what confidence, what profound
conviction must we have of the nobleness of our cause, to encounter not
merely the dangers which we are about to meet, but that public opinion
which will load us with reproaches and overwhelm us if we do not
succeed! And still, I call God to witness that it is not to satisfy a
personal ambition, but because I believe that I have a mission to
fulfill, that I risk that which is more dear to me than life, the esteem
of my fellow-citizens.'

"Having arrived at the house in the _Rue des Orphelins_, I found my
friends assembled in two apartments on the ground floor. I thanked them
for the devotion which they manifested for my cause, and said to them
that from that hour we would share good and bad fortune together. One of
the officers had an eagle. It was that which had belonged to the seventh
regiment of the line. 'The eagle of Labédoyère,'[L] one exclaimed, and
each one of us pressed it to his heart with lively emotion. All the
officers were in full uniform. I had put on the uniform of the artillery
and the hat of a major-general.

[Footnote L: Colonel Labédoyère was a young man of fine figure and
elegant manners, descended from a respectable family, and whose heart
ever throbbed warmly in remembrance of the glories of the Empire. Upon
the abdication of Napoleon and his retirement to Elba, Labédoyère was
in command of the seventh regiment of the line, stationed at Grenoble.
He fraternized with his troops in the enthusiasm with which one and all
were swept away at the sight of the returning Emperor. Drawing a silver
eagle from his pocket, he placed it upon the flag-staff and embraced it
in the presence of all his soldiers, who, in a state of the wildest
excitement, with shouts of joy, gathered around Napoleon, crying _Vive
l'Empereur_!

After Waterloo and the exile to St. Helena, Labédoyère was arrested,
tried, and shot. It is said that the judges shed tears when they
condemned the noble young man to death. His young wife threw herself at
the feet of Louis XVIII., and, frantic with grief, cried out, "Pardon,
sire, pardon!" Louis replied, "My duty as a king ties my hands. I can
only pray for the soul of him whom justice has condemned."--_Abbott's
Life of Napoleon_, vol. ii. p. 110.]

"The night seemed to us very long. I spent it in writing my
proclamations, which I had not been willing to have printed in advance
for fear of some indiscretion. It was decided that we should remain in
that house until the colonel should notify me to proceed to the
barracks. We counted the hours, the minutes, the seconds. Six o'clock in
the morning was the moment indicated.

"How difficult it is to express what one experiences under such
circumstances. In a second one lives more than in ten years; for to
live is to make use of our organs, our senses, our faculties--of all the
parts of ourselves which impart the sentiment of our existence. And in
these critical moments our faculties, our organs, our senses, exalted to
the highest degree, are concentrated on one single point. It is the hour
which is to decide our entire destiny. One is strong when he can say to
himself, 'To-morrow I shall be the liberator of my country, or I shall
be dead.' One is greatly to be pitied when circumstances are such that
he can neither be one nor the other.

"Notwithstanding my precautions, the noise which a certain number of
persons meeting together can not help making, awoke the occupants of the
first story. We heard them rise and open their windows. It was five
o'clock. We redoubled our precautions, and they went to sleep again.

"At last the clock struck six. Never before did the sound of a clock
vibrate so violently in my heart. But a moment after the bugle from the
quarter of Austerlitz came to accelerate its throbbings. The great
moment was approaching. A very considerable tumult was heard in the
street. Soldiers passed shouting; horsemen rode at full gallop by our
windows. I sent an officer to ascertain the cause of the tumult. Had the
chief officer of the garrison been informed of our projects? Had we been
discovered? My messenger soon returned to say to me that the noise came
from some soldiers whom the colonel had sent to fetch their horses,
which were outside the quarter.

"A few more minutes passed, and I was informed that the colonel was
waiting for me. Full of hope, I hastened into the street. M. Parguin,[M]
in the uniform of a brigadier-general, and a commander of battalion,
carrying the eagle in his hand, are by my side. About a dozen officers
follow me.

[Footnote M: M. Parguin was the gentleman to whom we have before
alluded, who was a highly esteemed young officer under Napoleon I., and
who, having married Mademoiselle Cotelet, the reader of Queen Hortense,
had purchased the estate of Wolfberg, in the vicinity of Arenemberg, and
became one of the most intimate friends of Prince Louis Napoleon.]

"The distance was short; it was soon traversed. The regiment was drawn
up in line of battle in the barrack-yard, inside of the rails. Upon the
grass forty of the horse-artillery were stationed.

"My mother, judge of the happiness I experienced at that moment. After
twenty-years of exile, I touched again the sacred soil of my country. I
found myself with Frenchmen whom the recollection of the Empire was
again to electrify.

"Colonel Vaudrey was alone in the middle of the yard. I directed my
steps towards him. Immediately the colonel, whose noble countenance and
fine figure had at that moment something of the sublime, drew his sword
and exclaimed:

"'Soldiers of the Fourth Regiment of Artillery! A great revolution is
being accomplished at this moment. You see here before you the nephew of
the Emperor Napoleon. He comes to reconquer the rights of the people.
The people and the army can rely upon him. It is around him that all
should rally who love the glory and the liberty of France. Soldiers! you
must feel, as does your chief, all the grandeur of the enterprise you
are about to undertake, all the sacredness of the cause you are about to
defend. Soldiers! can the nephew of the Emperor rely upon you?'

"His voice was instantly drowned by unanimous cries of _Vive Napoleon!
Vive l'Empereur!_ I then addressed them in the following words:

"'Resolved to conquer or to die for the cause of the French people, it
is to you first that I wish to present myself, because between you and
me exist grand recollections. It is in your regiment that the Emperor,
my uncle, served as captain. It is with you that he made his name famous
at the siege of Toulon, and it is your brave regiment again which opened
to him the gates of Grenoble, on his return from the isle of Elba.
Soldiers! new destinies are reserved for you. To you belongs the glory
of commencing a great enterprise; to you the honor of first saluting the
eagle of Austerlitz and of Wagram.'

"I then seized the eagle-surmounted banner, which one of my officers, M.
de Carelles, bore, and presenting it to them, said,

"'Soldiers! behold the symbol of the glory of France. During fifteen
years it conducted our fathers to victory. It has glittered upon all the
fields of battle. It has traversed all the capitals of Europe. Soldiers!
will you not rally around this noble standard which I confide to your
honor and to your courage? Will you not march with me against the
traitors and the oppressors of our country to the cry, _Vive la France!
Vive la liberté!_?'

"A thousand affirmative cries responded to me. We then commenced our
march, music in front. Joy and hope beamed from every countenance. The
plan was, to hasten to the house of the general, and to present to him,
not a dagger at his throat, but the eagle before his eyes. It was
necessary, in order to reach his house, to traverse the whole city.
While on the way, I had to send an officer with a guard to publish my
proclamations; another to the prefect, to arrest him. In short, six
received special missions, so that when I arrived at the general's, I
had voluntarily parted with a considerable portion of my forces.

"But had I then necessity to surround myself with so many soldiers?
could I not rely upon the participation of the people? and, in fine,
whatever may be said, along the whole route which I traversed I received
unequivocal signs of the sympathy of the population. I had actually to
struggle against the vehemence of the marks of interest which were
lavished upon me; and the variety of cries which greeted me showed that
there was no party which did not sympathize with my feelings.

"Having arrived at the court of the hotel of the general, I ascended the
stairs, followed by Messieurs Vaudrey, Parguin, and two officers. The
general was not yet dressed. I said to him,

"'General, I come to you as a friend. I should be sorry to raise our old
tri-color banner without the aid of a brave soldier like you. The
garrison is in my favor. Decide and follow me.'

"The eagle was presented to him. He rejected it, saying, 'Prince, they
have deceived you. The army knows its duties, as I will prove to you
immediately.'

"I then departed, and gave orders to leave a file of men to guard him.
The general afterwards presented himself to his soldiers, to induce them
to return to obedience. The artillerymen, under the orders of M.
Parguin, disregarded his authority, and replied to him only by
reiterated cries of _Vive l'Empereur_. Subsequently the general
succeeded in escaping from his hotel by an unguarded door.

"When I left the hotel of the general, I was greeted with the same
acclamations of _Vive l'Empereur_. But this first check had already
seriously affected me. I was not prepared for it, convinced as I had
been that the sight alone of the eagle would recall to the general the
old souvenirs of glory, and would lead him to join us.

"We resumed our march. Leaving the main street, we entered the barracks
of Finkematt, by the lane which leads there through the Faubourg of
Pierre. This barrack is a large building, erected in a place with no
outlet but the entrance. The ground in front is too narrow for a
regiment to be drawn up in line of battle. In seeing myself thus hedged
in between the ramparts and the barracks, I perceived that the plan
agreed upon had not been followed out. Upon our arrival, the soldiers
thronged around us. I harangued them. Most of them went to get their
arms, and returned to rally around me, testifying their sympathy for me
by their acclamations.

"However, seeing them manifest a sudden hesitation, caused by the
reports circulated by some officers among them who endeavored to inspire
them with doubts of my identity, and as we were also losing precious
time in an unfavorable position, instead of hastening to the other
regiments who expected us, I requested the colonel to depart. He urged
me to remain a little longer. I complied with his advice.

[Illustration: THE ARREST.]

"Some infantry officers arrived, ordered the gates to be closed, and
strongly reprimanded their soldiers. The soldiers hesitated. I ordered
the arrest of the officers. Their soldiers rescued them. Then all was
confusion. The space was so contracted that each one was lost in the
crowd. The people, who had climbed upon the wall, threw stones at the
infantry. The cannoneers wished to use their arms, but we prevented it.
We saw clearly that it would cause the death of very many. I saw the
colonel by turns arrested by the infantry, and rescued by his soldiers.
I was myself upon the point of being slain by a multitude of men who,
recognizing me, crossed their bayonets upon me. I parried their thrusts
with my sabre, trying at the same time to calm them, when the cannoneers
rescued me from their guns, and placed me in the middle of themselves.

"I then pressed forward, with some subaltern officers, towards the
mounted artillery men, to seize a horse. All the infantry followed me. I
found myself hemmed in between the horses and the wall, without power to
move. Then the soldiers, arriving from all parts, seized me and
conducted me to the guard-house. On entering I found M. Parguin. I
extended my hand to him. He said to me, speaking in tones calm and
resigned, 'Prince, we shall be shot, but it will be in a good cause.'

"'Yes,' I replied, 'we have fallen in a grand and a glorious
enterprise.'

"Soon after General Voirol arrived. He said to me, upon entering,

"'Prince, you have found but one traitor in the French army.'

"'Say rather, general,' I replied, 'that I have found one Labédoyère.'
Some carriages were soon brought, and we were transported to the new
prison.

"Behold me, then, between four walls, with barred windows, in the abode
of criminals. Ah! those who know what it is to pass in an instant from
the excess of happiness, caused by the noblest illusions, to the excess
of misery, which leaves no hope, and to pass over this immense interval
without having one moment to prepare for it, alone can comprehend what
was passing in my heart.

"At the lodge we met again. M. de Querelles, pressing my hand, said to
me in a loud voice, 'Prince, notwithstanding our defeat, I am still
proud of what we have done.' They subjected me to an interrogation. I
was calm and resigned. My part was taken. The following questions were
proposed to me:

"'What has induced you to act as you have done?'

"'My political opinions,' I replied, 'and my desire to return to my
country, from which a foreign invasion has exiled me. In 1830, I
demanded to be treated as a simple citizen. They treated me as a
pretender. Well, I have acted as a pretender.'

"'Did you wish,' it was asked, 'to establish a military government?'

"'I wished,' was my reply, 'to establish a government based on popular
election.'

"'What would you have done if successful?'

"'I would have assembled a national Congress.'

"I declared then, that I alone having organized every thing, that I
alone having induced others to join me, the whole responsibility should
fall upon my head alone. Reconducted to prison, I threw myself upon a
bed which had been prepared for me, and, notwithstanding my torments,
sleep, which soothes suffering, in giving repose to the anguish of the
soul, came to calm my senses. Repose does not fly from the couch of the
unfortunate. It only avoids those who are consumed by remorse. But how
frightful was my awaking. I thought that I had had a dreadful nightmare.
The fate of the persons who were compromised caused me the greatest
grief and anxiety. I wrote to General Voirol, to say to him that his
honor obliged him to interest himself in behalf of Colonel Vaudrey; for
it was, perhaps, the attachment of the colonel for him, and the regard
with which he had treated him, which were the causes of the failure of
my enterprise. I closed in beseeching him that all the rigor of the law
might fall upon me, saying that I was the most guilty, and the only one
to be feared.

"The general came to see me, and was very affectionate. He said, upon
entering, 'Prince, when I was your prisoner, I could find no words
sufficiently severe to say to you. Now that you are mine, I have only
words of consolation to offer.' Colonel Vaudrey and I were conducted to
the citadel, where I, at least, was much more comfortable than in
prison. But the civil power claimed us, and at the end of twenty-four
hours we were conveyed back to our former abode.

"The jailer and the director of the prison at Strasburg did their duty;
but they endeavored to alleviate as much as possible my situation, while
a certain M. Lebel, who had been sent from Paris, wishing to show his
authority, prevented me from opening my windows to breathe the air, took
from me my watch, which he only restored to me at the moment of my
departure, and, in fine, even ordered blinds to intercept the light.

"On the evening of the 9th I was told that I was to be transferred to
another prison. I went out and met the general and the prefect, who took
me away in their carriage without informing me where I was to be
conducted. I insisted that I should be left with my companions in
misfortune. But the Government had decided otherwise. Upon arriving at
the hotel of the prefecture, I found two post-chaises. I was ordered
into one with M. Cuynat, commander of the gendarmerie of the Seine, and
Lieutenant Thiboutot. In the other there were four sub-officers.

"When I perceived that I was to leave Strasburg, and that it was my lot
to be separated from the other accused, I experienced anguish difficult
to be described. Behold me, then, forced to abandon the men who had
devoted themselves to me. Behold me deprived of the means of making
known in my defense my views and my intentions. Behold me receiving a
so-called favor from him upon whom I had wished to inflict the greatest
evil. I vented my sorrow in complaints and regrets. I could only
protest.

"The two officers who conducted me were two officers of the Empire,
intimate friends of M. Parguin. Thus they treated me with the kindest
attentions. I could have thought myself travelling with friends. Upon
the 11th, at two o'clock in the morning, I arrived at Paris, at the
hotel of the Prefecture of Police. M. Delessat was very polite to me. He
informed me that you had come to France to claim in my favor the
clemency of the king, and that I was to start again in two hours for
Lorient, and that thence I was to sail for the United States in a French
frigate.

"I said to the prefect that I was in despair in not being permitted to
share the fate of my companions in misfortune; that being thus withdrawn
from prison before undergoing a general examination (the first had been
only a summary one), I was deprived of the means of testifying to many
facts in favor of the accused. But my protestations were unavailing. I
decided to write to the king. And I said to him that, having been cast
into prison after having taken up arms against his Government, I dreaded
but one thing, and that was his generosity, since it would deprive me of
my sweetest consolation, the possibility of sharing the fate of my
companions in misfortune. I added that life itself was of little value
to me; but that my gratitude to him would be great if he would spare the
lives of a few old soldiers, the remains of our ancient army, who had
been enticed by me, and seduced by glorious souvenirs.

"At the same time I wrote to M. Odillon Barrot[N] the letter which I
send with this, begging him to take charge of the defense of Colonel
Vaudrey. At four o'clock I resumed my journey, with the same escort, and
on the 14th we arrived at the citadel of Port Louis, near Lorient. I
remained there until the twenty-first day of November, when the frigate
was ready for sea.

[Footnote N: A distinguished advocate in Paris.]

"After having entreated M. Odillon Barrot to assume the defense of the
accused, and in particular of Colonel Vaudrey, I added:

"'Monsieur, notwithstanding my desire to remain with my companions in
misfortune, and to partake of their lot, notwithstanding my entreaties
upon that subject, the king, in his clemency, has ordered that I should
be conducted to Lorient, to pass thence to America. Sensible as I ought
to be of the generosity of the king, I am profoundly afflicted in
leaving my co-accused, since I cherish the conviction that could I be
present at the bar, my depositions in their favor would influence the
jury, and enlighten them as to their decision. Deprived of the
consolation of being useful to the men whom I have enticed to their
loss, I am obliged to intrust to an advocate that which I am unable to
say myself to the jury.

"'On the part of my co-accused there was no plot. There was only the
enticement of the moment. I alone arranged all. I alone made the
necessary preparations. I had already seen Colonel Vaudrey before the
30th of October, but he had not conspired with me. On the 29th, at eight
o'clock in the evening, no person knew but myself that the movement was
to take place the next day. I did not see Colonel Vaudrey until after
this. M. Parguin had come to Strasburg on his own private business. It
was not until the evening of the 29th, that I appealed to him. The other
persons knew of my presence in France, but were ignorant of the object
of my visit. It was not until the evening of the 29th that I assembled
the persons now accused; and I did not make them acquainted with my
intentions until that moment.

"'Colonel Vaudrey was not present. The officers of the engineers had
come to join us, ignorant at first of what was to transpire. Certainly,
in the eyes of the established Government we are all culpable of having
taken up arms against it. But I am the most culpable. It is I who, for a
long time meditating a revolution, came suddenly to lure men from an
honorable social position, to expose them to the hazards of a popular
movement. Before the laws, my companions are guilty of allowing
themselves to be enticed. But never were circumstances more extenuating
in the eyes of the country than those in their favor. When I saw Colonel
Vaudrey and the other persons on the evening of the 29th, I addressed
them in the following language:

"'"GENTLEMEN,--You are aware of all the complaints of the nation against
the Government. But you also know that there is no party now existing
which is sufficiently strong to overthrow it; no one sufficiently strong
to unite the French of all parties, even if it should succeed in taking
possession of supreme power. This feebleness of the Government, as well
as this feebleness of parties, proceeds from the fact that each one
represents only the interests of a single class in society. Some rely
upon the clergy and nobility; others upon the middle-class aristocracy,
and others still upon the lower classes alone.

"'"In this state of things, there is but a single flag which can rally
all parties, because it is the banner of France, and not that of a
faction; it is the eagle of the Empire. Under this banner, which recalls
so many glorious memories, there is no class excluded. It represents the
interests and the rights of all. The Emperor Napoleon held his power
from the French people. Four times his authority received the popular
sanction. In 1814, hereditary right, in the family of the Emperor, was
recognized by four millions of votes. Since then the people have not
been consulted.

"'"As the eldest of the nephews of Napoleon, I can then consider myself
as the representative of popular election; I will not say of the Empire
because in the lapse of twenty years the ideas and wants of France may
have changed. But a principle can not be annulled by facts. It can only
be annulled by another principle. Now the principle of popular election
in 1804 can not be annulled by the twelve hundred thousand foreigners
who entered France in 1815, nor by the chamber of two hundred and
twenty-one deputies in 1830.

"'"The Napoleon system consists in promoting the march of civilization
without disorder and without excess; in giving an impulse to ideas by
developing material interests; in strengthening power by rendering it
respectable; in disciplining the masses according to their intellectual
faculties; in fine, in uniting around the altar of the country the
French of all parties by giving them honor and glory as the motives of
action."

"'"No," exclaimed my brave companions in reply, "you shall not die
alone. We will die with you, or we will conquer together for the cause
of the French people."

"'You see thus, sir, that it is I who have enticed them, in speaking to
them of every thing which could move the hearts of Frenchmen. They
spoke to me of their oaths. But I reminded them that, in 1815, they had
taken the oath to Napoleon II. and his dynasty. "Invasion alone," I said
to them, "released you from that oath. Well, force can re-establish that
which force alone has destroyed."'

"I went even so far as to say to them that the death of the king had
been spoken of. I inserted this, my mother, as you will understand, in
order to be useful to them. You see how culpable I was in the eyes of
the Government. Well, the Government has been generous to me. It has
comprehended that my position of exile, that my love for my country,
that my relationship to the great man were extenuating causes. Will the
jury be less considerate than the Government? Will it not find
extenuating causes far stronger in favor of my accomplices, in the
souvenirs of the Empire; in the intimate relations of many among them to
me; in the enticement of the moment; in the example of Labédoyère; in
fine, in that sentiment of generosity which rendered it inevitable that,
being soldiers of the Empire, they could not see the eagle without
emotion; they preferred to sacrifice their own lives rather than abandon
the nephew of the Emperor Napoleon, than to deliver him to his
executioners, for we were far from thinking of any mercy in case of
failure?

                    "In view of Madeira, December 12, 1836.

"I remained ten days at the citadel of Port Louis. Every morning I
received a visit from the sub-prefect of Lorient, from the commander of
the place, and from the officer of the gendarmerie. They were all very
kind to me, and never ceased to speak to me of their attachment to the
memory of the Emperor. The commander, Cuynat, and Lieutenant Thiboutot,
were unfailing in their attentions to me. I could ever believe myself in
the midst of my friends, and the thought that they were in a position
hostile to me gave me much pain.

"The winds remained contrary and prevented the frigate from leaving
port. At last, on the 21st, a steamer towed out the frigate. The
sub-prefect came to tell me that it was time to depart. The draw-bridge
of the citadel was lowered. I went forth, accompanied by the hospitable
officers of the place, in addition to those who brought me to Lorient. I
passed between two files of soldiers, who kept off the crowd of the
curious, which had gathered to see me.

"We all entered the boats which were to convey us to the frigate, which
was waiting for us outside of the harbor. I took leave of these
gentlemen with cordiality. I ascended to the deck, and saw with sadness
of heart the shores of France disappear behind me.

"I must now give you the details of the frigate. The commander has
assigned me a stateroom in the stern of the ship, where I sleep. I dine
with him, his son, the second officer, and the aide-de-camp. The
commander, captain of the ship, Henry de Villeneuve, is an excellent
man, frank and loyal as an old sailor. He pays me every attention. You
see that I have much less to complain of than my friends. The other
officers of the frigate are also very kind to me.

"There are two other passengers who are two types. The one, an M. D., is
a _savant_, twenty-six years of age. He has much intelligence and
imagination, mingled with originality, and even with a little
eccentricity. For example, he believes in fortune-telling, and
undertakes to predict to each one of us his fate. He has also great
faith in magnetism, and has told me that a somnambulist had predicted to
him, two years ago, that a member of the family of the Emperor would
return to France and would dethrone Louis Philippe. He is going to
Brazil to make some experiments in electricity. The other passenger is
an ancient librarian of Don Pedro, who has preserved all the manners of
the ancient court. Maltreated at Brazil, in consequence of his
attachment to the Emperor, he returns there to obtain redress.

"The first fifteen days of the voyage were very disagreeable. We were
continually tossed about by tempests and by contrary winds, which drove
us back almost to the entrance of the Channel. It was impossible during
that time to take a single step without clinging to whatever could be
seized with one's hand.

"For several days we did not know that our destination was changed. The
commander had sealed orders, which he opened and which directed him to
go to Rio Janeiro; to remain there as long as should be necessary to
re-provision the vessel; to retain me on board during the whole time the
frigate remained in the harbor, and then to convey me to New York. Now
you know that this frigate was destined to go to the southern seas,
where it will remain stationed for two years. It was thus compelled to
make an additional voyage of three thousand leagues; for from New York
it will be obliged to return to Rio, making a long circuit to the east
in order to take advantage of the trade-winds.

                    "In view of the Canaries, December 14th.

"Every man carries within himself a world, composed of all which he has
seen and loved, and to which he returns incessantly, even when he is
traversing foreign lands. I do not know, at such times, which is the
most painful, the memory of the misfortunes which you have encountered,
or of the happy days which are no more. We have passed through the
winter and are again in summer. The trade-winds have succeeded the
tempests, so that I can spend most of my time on deck. Seated upon the
poop, I reflect upon all which has happened to me, and I think of you
and of Arenemberg. Situations depend upon the affections which one
cherishes. Two months ago I asked only that I might never return to
Switzerland. Now, if I should yield to my impressions, I should have no
other desire than to find myself again in my little chamber in that
beautiful country, where it seems to me that I ought to be so happy.
Alas! when one has a soul which feels deeply, one is destined to pass
his days in the languor of inaction or in the convulsions of distressing
situations.

"When I returned, a few months ago, from conducting Matilde,[O] in
entering the park I found a tree broken by the storm, and I said to
myself, our marriage will be broken by fate. That which I vaguely
imagined has been realized. Have I, then, exhausted in 1836 all the
share of happiness which is to be allotted to me?

[Footnote O: The Princess Matilde, his cousin, daughter of Jerome, with
whom it is supposed that he then contemplated marriage.]

"Do not accuse me of feebleness if I allow myself to give you an account
of all my impressions. One can regret that which he has lost, without
repenting of that which he has done. Besides, our sensations are not so
independent of interior causes, but that our ideas should be somewhat
modified by the objects which surround us. The rays of the sun or the
direction of the wind have a great influence over our moral state. When
it is beautiful weather, as it is to-day, the sea being as calm as the
Lake of Constance when we used to walk upon its banks in the
evening--when the moon, the same moon, illumines us with the same
softened brilliance--when the atmosphere, in fine, is as mild as in the
month of August in Europe,--then I am more sad than usual. All memories,
pleasant or painful, fall with the same weight upon my heart. Beautiful
weather dilates the heart and renders it more impressible, while bad
weather contracts it. The passions alone are independent of the changes
of the seasons. When we left the barracks of Austerlitz, a flurry of
snow fell upon us. Colonel Vaudrey, to whom I made the remark, said to
me, 'Notwithstanding this squall, we shall have a fine day.'

                    "December 29th.

"We passed the line yesterday. The customary ceremony took place. The
commander, who is always very polite to me, exempted me from the
baptism. It is an ancient usage, but which, nevertheless, is not
sensible, to fête the passage of the line by throwing water over one's
self and aping a divine office. It was very hot. I have found on board
enough books to occupy my time. I have read again the works of M. de
Chateaubriand and of J. J. Rousseau. Still, the motion of the ship
renders all occupation fatiguing."

                    "January 1, 1837.

"MY DEAR MAMMA, MA CHÈRE MAMAN,--This is the first day of the year. I am
fifteen hundred leagues from you in another hemisphere. Happily, thought
traverses that space in less than a second. I am near you. I express to
you my profound regret for all the sorrows which I have occasioned you.
I renew to you the expression of my tenderness and of my gratitude.

"This morning the officers came in a body to wish me a happy new year. I
was much gratified by this attention on their part. At half-past four we
were at the table. As we were seventeen degrees of longitude west of
Constance, it was at that same time seven o'clock at Arenemberg. You
were probably at dinner. I drank, in thought, to your health. You
perhaps did the same for me. At least I flattered myself in believing so
at that moment. I thought, also, of my companions in misfortune. Alas! I
think continually of them. I thought that they were more unhappy than I,
and that thought renders me more unhappy than they.

"Present my very tender regards to good Madame Salvage, to the young
ladies, to that poor little Clairè, and to M. Cottrau, and to Arsène.

                    "January 5th.

"We have had a squall, which struck us with extreme violence. If the
sails had not been torn to pieces by the wind the frigate would have
been in great danger. One of the masts was broken. The rain fell so
impetuously that the sea was entirely white. To-day the sky is as serene
as usual, the damages are repaired, and the tempestuous weather is
forgotten. But it is not so with the storms of life. In speaking of the
frigate, the commander told me that the frigate which bore your name is
now in the South Sea, and is called _La Flora_.

                    "January 10.

"We have arrived at Rio Janeiro. The _coup d'oeil_ of the harbor is
superb. To-morrow I shall make a drawing of it. I hope that this letter
will soon reach you. Do not think of coming to join me. I do not yet
know where I shall settle. Perhaps I may find more inducements to live
in South America. The labor to which the uncertainty of my lot will
oblige me to devote myself, in order to create for myself a position,
will be the only consolation which I can enjoy. Adieu, my mother.
Remember me to the old servants, and to our friends of Thurgovia and of
Constance. I am very well. Your affectionate and respectful son,

                    "LOUIS NAPOLEON BONAPARTE."



CHAPTER XI.

THE DEATH OF HORTENSE, AND THE ENTHRONEMENT OF HER SON.

1837-1869

Cruel slanders.--Brief stay in this country.--Elevated personal
character.--Testimony to his private worth.--Letter from Hortense to her
son.--Anxieties, sorrows, and sickness of Hortense.--Letter to Madame
Récamier.--Hortense receives letters from her son.--Louis Napoleon
returns to Arenemberg.--Death of Hortense.--Action of the Government of
Louis Philippe.--Burial of Hortense.--Louis Napoleon's love for his
mother.--Account of the escape from Ham.--Louis Napoleon in
London.--Overthrow of Louis Philippe.--Walter Savage Landor.--Empress
Eugénie.--Testimony of General Dix.


After a short tarry at Rio Janeiro, during which the prince was not
permitted to land, the frigate again set sail, and on the 30th of March,
1837, reached Norfolk, Virginia. The prince proceeded immediately to New
York. By a cruel error, which has mistaken him for one of his cousins,
Pierre Bonaparte, a very wild young man, the reputation of Louis
Napoleon has suffered very severely in this country. The evidence is
conclusive that there has been a mistake. Louis Napoleon, thoughtful,
studious, pensive, has ever been at the farthest possible remove from
vulgar dissipation.

A writer in the _Home Journal_, whose reliability is vouched for by the
editor, says, in reference to his brief residence in New York: "He is
remembered as a quiet, melancholy man, winning esteem rather by the
unaffected modesty of his demeanor than by eclât of lineage or the
romantic incidents which had befallen him. In the words of a
distinguished writer, who well knew him at that day: 'So unostentatious
was his deportment, so correct, so pure his life, that even the ripple
of scandal can not appear plausibly upon its surface.' We have inquired
of those who entertained him as their guest, of those who tended at his
sick-bed, of the artist who painted his miniature, of his lady friends
(and he was known to some who yet adorn society), of politicians,
clergymen, editors, gentlemen of leisure, in fact, of every source
whence reliable information could be obtained, and we have gathered but
accumulated testimonials to his intrinsic worth and fair fame."

Prince Louis Napoleon remained in this country but seven weeks. The
testimony of all who knew him is uncontradicted, that he was peculiarly
winning in his attractions as a friend, and irreproachable as a man.
Rev. Charles S. Stewart, of the United States Navy, was intimately
acquainted with him during the whole period of his residence here. He
writes:

"The association was not that of hours only but of days, and on one
occasion, at least, of days in succession; and was characterized by a
freedom of conversation on a great variety of topics that could scarce
fail, under the ingenuousness and frankness of his manner, to put me in
possession of his views, principles, and feelings upon most points that
give insight to character.

"I never heard a sentiment from him and never witnessed a feeling that
could detract from his honor and purity as a man, or his dignity as a
prince. On the contrary, I often had occasion to admire the lofty
thought and exalted conceptions which seemed most to occupy his mind. He
was winning in the invariableness of his amiability, often playful in
spirits and manner, and warm in his affections. He was a most fondly
attached son and seemed to idolize his mother. When speaking of her, the
intonations of his voice and his whole manner were often as gentle and
feminine as those of a woman.

"In both eating and drinking he was, as far as I observed, abstemious
rather than self-indulgent. I repeatedly breakfasted, dined, and supped
in his company; and never knew him to partake of any thing stronger in
drink than the light wines of France and Germany, and of these in great
moderation. I have been with him early and late, unexpectedly as well
as by appointment, and never saw reason for the slightest suspicion of
any irregularity in his habits."

Such is the testimony, so far as can be ascertained, of every one who
enjoyed any personal acquaintance with Louis Napoleon while in this
country. He was the guest of Washington Irving, Chancellor Kent, and of
the Hamiltons, Clintons, Livingstons, and other such distinguished
families in New York.

While busily engaged in studying the institutions of our country and
making arrangements for quite an extensive tour through the States, he
received a letter from his mother which immediately changed all his
plans. The event is thus described by Mr. Stewart:

"With this expectation he consulted me and others as to the arrangement
of the route of travel, so as to visit the different sections of the
Union at the most desirable seasons. But his plans were suddenly changed
by intelligence of the serious illness of Queen Hortense, or, as then
styled, the Duchess of St. Leu. I was dining with him the day the letter
conveying this information was received. Recognizing the writing on the
envelope, as it was handed to him at the table, he hastily broke the
seal and had scarce glanced over half a page before he exclaimed:

"'My mother is ill, I must see her. Instead of a tour of the States, I
shall take the next packet for England. I will apply for passports for
the Continent at every embassy in London, and if unsuccessful, will make
my way to her without them.'"

The following was the letter which he received from his mother:

"MY DEAR SON,--I am about to submit to an operation which has become
absolutely necessary. If it is not successful I send you, by this
letter, my benediction. We shall meet again, shall we not? in a better
world, where may you come to join me as late as possible. In leaving
this world I have but one regret; it is to leave you and your
affectionate tenderness--the greatest charm of my existence here. It
will be a consolation to you, my dear child, to reflect that by your
attentions you have rendered your mother as happy as it was possible for
her, in her circumstances, to be. Think that a loving and a watchful eye
still rests on the dear ones we leave behind, and that we shall surely
meet again. Cling to this sweet idea. It is too necessary not to be
true. I press you to my heart, my dear son. I am very calm and resigned,
and hope that we shall again meet in this world. Your affectionate
mother,

                    "HORTENSE.
               "Arenemberg, April 3, 1837."

As we have mentioned, Queen Hortense, upon receiving news of the arrest
of her son, hastened to France to do what she could to save him. Madame
Récamier found her at Viry, in great anguish of spirit. When she
received tidings of his banishment she returned, overwhelmed with the
deepest grief, to her desolated home. It seems that even then an
internal disease, which, with a mother's love, she had not revealed to
her son, was threatening her life. Madame Récamier, as she bade her
adieu, was much moved by the great change in her appearance. The two
friends never met again.

Madame Salvage, a distinguished lady, who had devoted herself with
life-long enthusiasm to the Queen of Holland, accompanied her to France
and returned with her to Arenemberg. On the 13th of April, Madame
Salvage wrote the following letter from Arenemberg to Madame Récamier.

"I wrote you a long letter four days ago, dear friend, telling you of my
unhappiness. I received yesterday your letter of the 7th, for which I
thank you. I needed it much, and it is a consolation to me.

"I have informed Madame, the Duchess of St. Leu, of the lively interest
you take in her troubles, and have given her your message. She was much
touched by it, even to tears; and has begged me several times to tell
you how much she appreciated it.

"I have not replied to you sooner, because I hoped to give you better
tidings. Alas! it is quite the contrary. After a consultation of the
physicians of Constance and Zurich with Dr. Conneau, her own physician,
Professor Lisfranc, from Paris, was called in, on account of his skill,
and also because he is the recognized authority with regard to the
operation two of these gentlemen thought necessary.

"After a careful examination, the opinion of M. Lisfranc and that of the
three other consulting physicians was, that the operation was
impossible. They were unanimous in pronouncing an irrevocable sentence,
and they have left us no hope in human resources. I still like to trust
in the infinite goodness of God, whom I implore with earnest prayers.

"The mind of madame the duchess is as calm as one could expect in a
position like hers. They told her that they would not perform the
operation because it was not necessary, and because a mere treatment
would suffice, with time and patience, to produce a perfect cure. She
had been quite resigned to submit to the operation, showing a noble
courage. Now she is happy in not being obliged to undergo it, and is
filled with hope.

"In anticipation of the operation, of which, against my advice, she had
been told a fortnight before M. Lisfranc came, she made her will and
attended to the last duties of religion.

"On the 30th of March, an hour after she had partaken of the communion,
she had the joy, which she looked upon as a divine favor, of receiving a
large package from her son, the first since the departure from Lorient.
His letter, which is very long, contains a relation of all he has done,
all that has happened to him, and much that he has felt since he left
Arenemberg, until he wrote, the 10th of January, on board the frigate
Andromeda, lying in the harbor of Rio Janeiro, where he was not
permitted to go on shore. He had on board M. de Chateaubriand's works,
and re-read them during a frightful storm that lasted a fortnight, and
allowed of no other occupation, and scarcely that. Pray tell this to M.
de Chateaubriand, in recalling me personally to his kind remembrance.

"Think of me sometimes. Think of my painful position. To give to a
person whom we love, and whom we are soon to lose, a care that is
perfectly ineffectual; to seek to alleviate sharp and almost continual
suffering, and only succeed very imperfectly; to wear a calm countenance
when the heart is torn; to deceive, to try unceasingly to inspire hopes
that we no longer cherish,--ah, believe me, this is frightful, and one
would cheerfully give up life itself. Adieu, dear friend, you know how I
love you."

Louis Napoleon, hastening to the bedside of his dying mother, took ship
from New York for London. The hostility of the allied powers to him was
such that it was with great difficulty he could reach Arenemberg. He
arrived there just in time to receive the dying blessing of his mother
and to close her eyes in death. Just before she died, Hortense
assembled all her household in the dying chamber. She took each one
affectionately by the hand and addressed to each one a few words of
adieu. Her son, her devoted physician Dr. Conneau, and the ladies of her
household, bathed in tears, were kneeling by her bedside. Her mind, in
delirious dreams, had again been with the Emperor, sympathizing with him
in the terrible tragedy of his fall. But now, as death drew near, reason
was fully restored. "I have never," said she, "done wrong to any one.
God will have mercy upon me." Conscious that the final moment had
arrived, she made an effort to throw her arms around the neck of her son
in a mother's last embrace, when she fell, back upon her pillow dead. It
was October 5, 1837.

The prince, with his own hands, closed his mother's eyes in that sleep
which knows no earthly waking. He remained for some time upon his knees
at her bedside, with his weeping eyes buried in his hands. At last he
was led away from the precious remains from which it seemed impossible
for him to separate himself. His home and his heart were indeed
desolate. Motherless, with neither brother nor sister, his aged and
infirm father dying in Italy, where he could not be permitted to visit
him, banished from his native land, jealously watched and menaced by all
the allied powers, his fair name maligned, all these considerations
seemed to fill his cup of sorrow to the brim.

It was the dying wish of Hortense that she might be buried by the side
of Josephine, her mother, in the village church of Ruel, near Malmaison.
The Government of Louis Philippe, which had closed the gates of France
against Hortense while living, allowed her lifeless remains to sleep
beneath her native soil. But the son was not permitted to follow his
mother to her grave. It was feared that his appearance in France would
rouse the enthusiasm of the masses; that they would rally around him,
and, sweeping away the throne of Louis Philippe in a whirlwind of
indignation, would re-establish the Empire. Madame Récamier, speaking of
the death of Hortense, says:

"After the unfortunate attempt of Prince Louis, grief, anxiety and
perhaps the loss of a last and secret hope, put an end to the turbulent
existence of one who was little calculated to lead such a life of
turmoil. France, closed to her living, was open to her dead, and she
was carried to Ruel and laid beside her mother. A funeral service was
celebrated in her honor at the village church. All the relics of the
Empire were there; among them the widow of Murat,[P] who there witnessed
the ceremony that shortly afterwards was to be performed over herself.

[Footnote P: Caroline Bonaparte.]

"It was winter. A thick snow covered the ground. The landscape was as
silent and cold as the dead herself. I gave sincere tears to this woman
so gracious and so kind; and I learned shortly afterwards that she had
remembered me in her will. It is not without a profound and a religious
emotion that we receive these remembrances from friends who are no more;
these pledges of affection which come to you, so to say, from across the
tomb, as if to assure you that thoughts of you had followed them as far
as there. Judge, then, how touched I was in receiving the legacy
destined for me--that light, elegant, and mysterious gift, chosen to
recall to me unceasingly the tie that had existed between us. It was a
lace veil, the one she wore the day of our meeting in St. Peter's."

In reference to the mother and the son, Julie de Marguerittes writes:
"Louis Napoleon's love for his mother had in it a tenderness and
devotion even beyond that of a son. She had been his instructor and
companion; and from the hour of her change of position she had
manifested great and noble qualities, which the frivolity and prosperity
of a court might forever have left unrevealed. Hortense was a woman to
be loved and revered. And even at this distance of years, Napoleon's
love for his mother has suffered no change. He has striven, in all ways,
to associate her with his present high fortune. He has made an air of
her composition, 'Partant pour la Syrie,' the national air of France.
The ship which bore him from Marseilles to Genoa, on his Italian
expedition, is called _La Reine Hortense_, after his mother."

Scarcely were the remains of Hortense committed to the tomb, ere the
Swiss Government received an imperative command from the Government of
Louis Philippe to banish Louis Napoleon from the soil of Switzerland. To
save the country which had so kindly adopted him from war, the prince
retired to London. He could have no hopes of regaining his rights as a
French citizen until the Government of Louis Philippe should be
overthrown. Another attempt was made at Boulogne in August, 1840. It
proved a failure. Louis Napoleon was again arrested, tried, and
condemned to imprisonment for life. Six years he passed in dreary
captivity in the Castle of Ham. The following brief account of the
wonderful escape of the prince is given in his own words, contained in a
letter to the editor of the _Journal de la Somme_.

"MY DEAR M. DE GEORGE,--My desire to see my father once more in this
world made me attempt the boldest enterprise I ever engaged in. It
required more resolution and courage on my part than at Strasburg or
Boulogne; for I was determined not to bear the ridicule that attaches to
those who are arrested escaping under a disguise, and a failure I could
not have endured. The following are the particulars of my escape:

"You know that the fort was guarded by four hundred men, who furnished
daily sixty soldiers, placed as sentries outside the walls. Moreover,
the principal gate of the prison was guarded by three jailers, two of
whom were constantly on duty. It was necessary that I should first elude
their vigilance, afterwards traverse the inside court before the windows
of the commandant's residence, and arriving there, I should be obliged
to pass by a gate which was guarded by soldiers.

"Not wishing to communicate my design to any one, it was necessary to
disguise myself. As several of the rooms in the building I occupied were
undergoing repairs, it was not difficult to assume the dress of a
workman. My good and faithful valet, Charles Thelin, procured a
smock-frock and a pair of wooden shoes, and after shaving off my
mustaches I took a plank upon my shoulders.

"On Monday morning I saw the workmen enter at half-past eight o'clock.
Charles took them some drink, in order that I should not meet any of
them on my passage. He was also to call one of the turnkeys while De
Conneau conversed with the others. Nevertheless I had scarcely got out
of my room before I was accosted by a workman who took me for one of his
comrades; and at the bottom of the stairs I found myself in front of the
keeper. Fortunately, I placed the plank I was carrying before my face,
and succeeded in reaching the yard. Whenever I passed a sentinel or any
other person I always kept the plank before my face.

"Passing before the first sentinel, I let my pipe fall and stopped to
pick up the bits. There I met the officer on duty; but as he was reading
a letter he did not pay attention to me. The soldiers at the guard-house
appeared surprised at my dress, and a drummer turned around several
times to look at me. I placed the plank before my face, but they
appeared to be so curious that I thought I should never escape them
until I heard them cry, 'Oh, it is Bernard!'

"Once outside, I walked quickly towards the road of St. Quentin.
Charles, who the day before had engaged a carriage, shortly overtook me,
and we arrived at St. Quentin. I passed through the town on foot, after
having thrown off my smock-frock. Charles procured a post-chaise, under
pretext of going to Cambrai. We arrived without meeting with any
hindrance at Valenciennes, where I took the railway. I had procured a
Belgian passport, but nowhere was I asked to show it.

"During my escape, Dr. Conneau, always so devoted to me, remained in
prison, and caused them to believe that I was ill, in order to give me
time to reach the frontier. It was necessary to be convinced that the
Government would never set me at liberty if I would not consent to
dishonor myself, before I could be persuaded to quit France. It was also
a matter of duty that I should exert all my powers to be able to console
my father in his old age.

"Adieu, my dear M. de George. Although free, I feel myself to be most
unhappy. Receive the assurance of my sincere friendship; and if you are
able, endeavor to be useful to my kind Conneau."

It was the latter part of May, 1846, that Louis Napoleon escaped from
Ham. He repaired immediately to London. In accordance with his habits
and his tastes, he continued to devote himself earnestly to his studies,
still cherishing the unfaltering opinion that he was yet to be the
Emperor of France. In London he was cordially welcomed by his old
friends, Count d'Orsay and Lady Blessington. His cousin Maria of Baden,
then Lady Douglass, subsequently the Duchess of Hamilton, was proud to
receive him in her sumptuous abode, and to present him to her
aristocratic friends. To her, it is said that he confided his projects
and hopes more frankly than to any one else. In one of his notes he
wrote,

"MY DEAR COUSIN,--I do not belong to myself, I belong to my name and my
country. It is because my fortune has twice betrayed me, that my destiny
is nearer its accomplishment. I bide my time."

In the latter part of February, 1848, the throne of Philippe was
overturned, and he fled from France. Louis Napoleon immediately returned
to Paris after so many weary years of exile. This is not the place to
describe the scenes which ensued. It is sufficient simply to state that,
almost by acclamation, he was sent by the people of Paris to the
Assembly, was there elected president of the Republic, and then, by
nearly eight million of votes, the Empire was re-established and Louis
Napoleon was placed upon the imperial throne.

As soon as Louis Napoleon was chosen president of the French Republic,
Walter Savage Landor, a brilliant scholar, a profound, original thinker,
and a highly independent and honorable man, wrote as follows to Lady
Blessington, under date of January 9th, 1849:

"Possibly you may have never seen the two articles which I enclose. I
inserted another in the 'Examiner,' deprecating the anxieties which a
truly patriotic and, in my opinion, a singularly wise man, was about to
encounter, in accepting the presidency of France. Necessity will compel
him to assume the imperial power, to which the voice of the army and of
the people will call him. You know, who know not merely my writings but
my heart, how little I care for station. I may therefore tell you
safely, that I feel a great interest, a great anxiety for the welfare of
Louis Napoleon. I told him that if he were ever again in prison, I would
visit him there, but never if he were upon a throne would I come near
him. He is the only man living who would adorn one. But thrones are my
aversion and abhorrence. France, I fear, can exist in no other
condition. May God protect the virtuous Louis Napoleon, and prolong in
happiness the days of my dear kind friend Lady Blessington.

                    "WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.

"P.S.--I wrote a short letter to the President, and not of
congratulation. May he find many friends as disinterested and sincere."

Even the blunt Duke of Wellington wrote as follows to the Count d'Orsay
under date of April 9, 1849: "I rejoice at the prosperity of France and
of the success of the president of the Republic. Every thing tends
towards the permanent tranquillity of Europe," which is necessary for
the happiness of all.

If Hortense from the spirit-land can look down upon her son, her heart
must be cheered in view of the honors which his native land, with such
unprecedented unanimity, has conferred upon him. And still more must her
heart be cheered in view of the many, many years of peace, prosperity,
and happiness which France has enjoyed under his reign. Every
well-informed man will admit that the kingdom of France has never, since
its foundations were laid, enjoyed so many years of tranquillity, and of
mental and material advancement at home, and also of respect and
influence abroad, as during the reign of the son of Hortense.

The Emperor is eminently happy in his domestic relations. There are none
who know the Empress Eugénie who do not revere and love her. She is the
worthy successor of Josephine, upon the throne of the reinstated empire.
The following beautiful tribute to her virtues comes from the lips of
our former distinguished ambassador at the court of France, Hon. John A.
Dix. They were uttered in a speech which he addressed to the American
residents in Paris, upon the occasion of his surrendering the
ambassadorial chair to his successor, Hon. Mr. Washburne. It was in
June, 1869.

"Of her who is the sharer of the Emperor's honors and the companion of
his toils--who in the hospital, at the altar, or on the throne is alike
exemplary in the discharge of her varied duties, whether incident to her
position, or voluntarily taken upon herself, it is difficult for me to
speak without rising above the level of the common language of eulogism.

"But I am standing here to-day, as a citizen of the United States,
without official relations to my own Government, or any other. I have
taken my leave of the imperial family, and I know no reason why I may
not freely speak what I honestly think; especially as I know I can say
nothing which will not find a cordial response in your own breasts.

"As in the history of the ruder sex, great luminaries have from time to
time risen high above the horizon, to break and at the same time to
illustrate, the monotony of the general movement,--so in the annals of
hers, brilliant lights have at intervals shone forth, and shed their
lustre upon the stately march of regal pomp and power.

"When I have seen her taking part in the most imposing of all imperial
pageants--the opening of the Legislative Chambers--standing amid the
assembled magistracy of Paris, surrounded by the representatives of the
talent, the genius, and the piety of this great empire; or amidst the
resplendent scenes of the palace, moving about with a gracefulness all
her own, and with a simplicity of manner which has a double charm when
allied to exalted rank and station, I confess that I have more than once
whispered to myself, and I believe not always inaudibly, the beautiful
verse of the graceful and courtly Claudian, the last of the Roman poets,

          "'Divino semitu, gressu claruit;'

"or, rendered in our own plain English, and stripped of its poetic
hyperbole, '_The very path she treads is radiant with her unrivalled
step._'"

THE END.





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