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Title: Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete
Author: Wairy, Louis Constant, 1778-1845
Language: English
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Though this work was first published in 1830, it has never before been
translated into English. Indeed, the volumes are almost out of print.
When in Paris a few years ago the writer secured, with much difficulty,
a copy, from which this translation has been made. Notes have been added
by the translator, and illustrations by the publishers, which, it is
believed, will enhance the interest of the original work by Constant.

"To paint Caesar in undress is not to paint Caesar," some one has said.
Yet men will always like to see the great 'en deshabille'. In these
volumes the hero is painted in undress. His foibles, his peculiarities,
his vices, are here depicted without reserve. But so also are his
kindness of heart, his vast intellect, his knowledge of men, his
extraordinary energy, his public spirit. The shutters are taken down,
and the workings of the mighty machinery are laid bare.

The late Prince Napoleon (who was more truly "the nephew of his uncle"
than was Napoleon III.), in his Napoleon and His Detractors, bitterly
assails this work of Constants attacking both its authenticity and the
correctness of its statements. But there appears no good reason to doubt
its genuineness, and the truthfulness of many of its details is amply
supported by other authorities. Notwithstanding its excesses and
follies, the great French Revolution will ever have an absorbing interest
for mankind, because it began as a struggle for the advancement of the
cause of manhood, liberty, and equal rights. It was a terribly earnest
movement; and, after the lapse of a century, interest continues unabated
in the great soldier who restored order, and organized and preserved the
new ideas by means of his Civil Code and a firm government.

Countless memoirs have been published by those who lived in those heroic
times. Yet everything which will cast new light upon the chief actors in
that great drama of humanity is still seized upon with avidity,
especially whatever concerns the Emperor.

This is not merely because he was a great conqueror; for such were, after
their fashion, Genghis Khan and Timour, and hundreds of others. But it
is because of the human interest which attaches to the wonderful career
of Napoleon and the events of which he was the central figure.

Never did poet or novelist imagine scenes so improbable. The son of an
obscure lawyer in an unimportant island becomes Emperor of the French and
King of Italy. His brothers and sisters become kings and queens. The
sons of innkeepers, notaries; lawyers, and peasants become marshals of
the empire. The Emperor, first making a West India Creole his wife and
Empress, puts her away, and marries a daughter of the haughtiest and
oldest royal house in Europe, the niece of a queen whom the people of
France had beheaded a few years before. Their son is born a king--King
of Rome. Then suddenly the pageantry dissolves, and Emperor, kings, and
queens become subjects again. Has imagination ever dreamed anything
wilder than this? The dramatic interest of this story will always
attract, but there is a deeper one. The secret spring of all those rapid
changes, and the real cause of the great interest humanity will always
feel in the story of those eventful times, is to be found in Napoleon's
own explanation--"A career open to talents, without distinction of
birth." Till that day the accident of birth was the key to every honor
and every position. No man could hold even a lieutenancy in the army who
could not show four quarterings on his coat of arms.

It was as the "armed apostle of democracy" that Napoleon went forth
conquering and to conquer. He declared at St. Helena that he "had always
marched supported by the opinions of six millions of men."

The old woman who met him incognito climbing the hill of Tarare, and
replying to his assertion that "Napoleon was only a tyrant like the
rest," exclaimed, "It may be so, but the others are the kings of the
nobility, while he is one of us, and we have chosen him ourselves,"
expressed a great truth. As long as Napoleon represented popular
sovereignty he was invincible; but when, deeming himself strong enough to
stand alone, he endeavored to conciliate the old order of things, and,
divorcing the daughter of the people, took for a bride the daughter of
kings and allied himself with them--at that moment, like another Samson,
"his strength departed from him." Disasters came as they had come to him
before, but this time the heart of the people was no longer with him. He

This man has been studied as a soldier, a statesman, an organizer, a
politician. In all he was undeniably great. But men will always like to
know something about him as a man. Can he stand that ordeal? These
volumes will answer that question. They are written by one who joined
the First Consul at the Hospice on Mt. St. Bernard, on his way to
Marengo, in June, 1800, and who was with him as his chief personal
attendant, day and night, never leaving him "any more than his shadow"
(eight days only) excepted until that eventful day, fourteen years later,
when, laying aside the sceptre of the greatest empire the world had known
for seventeen centuries, he walked down the horseshoe steps at
Fontainebleau in the presence of the soldiers whom he had led to victory
from Madrid to Moscow, once more a private citizen.

That men of Anglo-Saxon speech may have an opportunity to see and judge
the Emperor from "close at hand," and view him as he appeared in the eyes
of his personal attendants, these volumes have been translated, and are
now submitted to the public. Though the remark of Frederick the Great
that "No man is a hero to his valet" is not altogether borne out in this
instance, still it will be seen that there is here nothing of that
"divinity which doth hedge a king." In these volumes Napoleon appears as
a man, a very great man, still a mere man, not, a demigod. Their perusal
will doubtless lead to a truer conception of his character, as manifested
both in his good and in his evil traits. The former were natural to him;
the latter were often produced by the exceptional circumstances which
surrounded him, and the extraordinary temptations to which he was

Certainly a truer and fuller light is cast by these volumes, upon the
colossal figure which will always remain one of the most interesting
studies in all human history.



By Constant.

The career of a man compelled to make his own way, who is not an artisan
or in some trade, does not usually begin till he is about twenty years of
age. Till then he vegetates, uncertain of his future, neither having,
nor being able to have, any well-defined purpose. It is only when he has
arrived at the full development of his powers, and his character and bent
of mind are shown, that he can determine his profession or calling. Not
till then does he know himself, and see his way open before him. In
fact, it is only then that he begins to live.

Reasoning in this manner, my life from my twentieth year has been thirty
years, which can be divided into equal parts, so far as days and months
are counted, but very unequal parts, considering the events which
transpired in each of those two periods of my life.

Attached to the person of the Emperor Napoleon for fifteen years, I have
seen all the men, and witnessed all the important events, which centered
around him. I have seen far more than that; for I have had under my eyes
all the circumstances of his life, the least as well as the greatest, the
most secret as well as those which are known to history,--I have had, I
repeat, incessantly under my eyes the man whose name, solitary and alone,
fills the most glorious pages of our history. Fifteen years I followed
him in his travels and his campaigns, was at his court, and saw him in
the privacy of his family. Whatever step he wished to take, whatever
order he gave, it was necessarily very difficult for the Emperor not to
admit me, even though involuntarily, into his confidence; so that without
desiring it, I have more than once found myself in the possession of
secrets I should have preferred not to know. What wonderful things
happened during those fifteen years! Those near the Emperor lived as if
in the center of a whirlwind; and so quick was the succession of
overwhelming events, that one felt dazed, as it were, and if he wished to
pause and fix his attention for a moment, there instantly came, like
another flood, a succession of events which carried him along with them
without giving him time to fix his thoughts.

Succeeding these times of activity which made one's brain whirl, there
came to me the most absolute repose in an isolated retreat where I passed
another interval of fifteen years after leaving the Emperor. But what a
contrast! To those who have lived, like myself, amid the conquests and
wonders of the Empire, what is left to-day? If the strength of our
manhood was passed amid the bustle of years so short, yet so fully
occupied, our careers were sufficiently long and fruitful, and it is time
to give ourselves up to repose. We can withdraw from the world, and
close our eyes. Can it be possible to see anything equal to what we have
seen? Such scenes do not come twice in the lifetime of any man; and
having seen them, they suffice to occupy his memory through all his
remaining years, and in retirement he can find nothing better to occupy
his leisure moments than the recollections of what he has witnessed.

Thus it has been with me. The reader will readily believe that I have
had no greater pleasure than that of recalling the memories of the years
passed in the service of the Emperor. As far as possible, I have kept
myself informed as to everything that has been written of my former
master, his family, and his court; and while listening to these
narrations read by my wife and sister at our fireside, the long evenings
have passed like an instant! When I found in these books, some of which
are truly only miserable rhapsodies, statements which were incorrect,
false, or slanderous, I, took pleasure in correcting such statements, or
in showing their absurdity. My wife, who lived, as I did, in the midst
of these events, also made her corrections, and, without other object
than our own satisfaction, made notes of our joint observations.

All who came to see us in our retreat, and took pleasure in having me
narrate what I had seen, were astonished and often indignant at the
falsehoods with which ignorance or malevolence had calumniated the
Emperor and the Empire, and expressing their gratitude for the correct
information I was able to give them, advised me also to furnish it to the
public. But I attached no importance to the suggestion, and was far from
dreaming that some day I should be the author of a book, until M.
Ladvocat came to our hermitage, and urged me earnestly to publish my
memoirs, offering himself to become the publisher.

At the very time my wife and I received this unexpected visit, we were
reading together the Memoirs of Bourrienne, which the Ladvocat
publishing-house had just issued; and we had remarked more than once how
exempt these Memoirs were from both that spirit of disparagement and of
adulation which we had noticed with disgust in other books on the same
subject. M. Ladvocat advised me to complete the sketch of the Emperor,
which, owing to his elevated position and habitual occupations,
Bourrienne had been able to make only from a political point of view; and
in accordance with his advice, I shall relate in simple words, and in a
manner suited to my relations with the Emperor, those things which
Bourrienne has necessarily omitted, and which no one could know so well
as I.

I candidly admit that my objections to M. Ladvocat's advice were entirely
overcome when he called my attention to this passage in the introduction
to Bourrienne's memoirs: "If every one who had any relations with
Napoleon, whatever the time and place, will accurately and without
prejudice record what he saw and heard, the future historian of his life
will be rich in materials. I hope that whoever undertakes that difficult
task will find in my notes some information which may be useful in
perfecting his work."

Having re-read these lines attentively, I said to myself that I could
furnish memoranda and information which would refute errors, brand
falsehoods, and bring to light what I knew to be the truth. In a word, I
felt that I could give in my testimony, and that it was my duty to do so,
in the long trial which has been held ever since the overthrow of the
Emperor; for I had been an eye-witness, had seen everything, and could
say, "I was there." Others also have been close to the Emperor and his
court, and I may often repeat what they have said, for the feats which
they describe I had the same opportunity of witnessing; but, on the other
hand, whatever I know of private matters, and whatever I may reveal which
was secret and unknown, no one till this time could possibly have known,
or consequently have related.

From the departure of the First Consul for the campaign of Marengo,
whither I went with him, until the departure from Fontainebleau, when I
was compelled to leave him, I was absent only twice, once for three days
and once for seven or eight days. Excepting these short leaves of
absence, the latter of which was on account of my health, I quitted the
Emperor no more than his shadow.

It has been said that no one is a hero to his valet de chambre. I beg
leave to dissent from this. The Emperor, as near as I was to him, was
always a hero; and it was a great advantage also to see the man as he
was. At a distance you were sensible only of the prestige of his glory
and his power; but on getting closer to him you enjoyed, besides, the
surprising charm of his conversation, the entire simplicity of his family
life, and I do not hesitate to say, the habitual kindliness of his

The reader, if curious to learn beforehand in what spirit these Memoirs
are written, will perhaps read with interest this passage of a letter
that I wrote to my publisher:

   "Bourrienne had, perhaps, reason for treating Napoleon, as a public
   man, with severity. But we view him from different standpoints, and
   I speak only of the hero in undress. He was then almost always
   kind, patient, and rarely unjust. He was much attached to those
   about him, and received with kindness and good nature the services
   of those whom he liked. He was a man of habit. It is as a devoted
   servant that I wish to speak of the Emperor, and in no wise as a
   critic. It is not, however, an apotheosis in several volumes that I
   wish to write: for I am on this point somewhat like fathers who
   recognize the faults of their children, and reprove them earnestly,
   while at the same time they are ready to make excuses for their

I trust that I shall be pardoned the familiarity, or, if you will, the
inappropriateness of this comparison, for the sake of the feeling which
dictates it. Besides, I do not propose either to praise or blame, but
simply to relate that which fell within my knowledge, without trying to
prejudice the opinion of any one.

I cannot close this introduction without a few words as to myself, in
reply to the calumnies which have not spared, even in his retirement, a
man who should have no enemies, if, to be protected from malice, it were
sufficient to have done a little good, and no harm to any one. I am
reproached with having abandoned my master after his fall, and not having
shared his exile. I will show that, if I did not follow the Emperor, it
was because I lacked not the will but the power to do so. God knows that
I do not wish to undervalue the devotion of the faithful servants who
followed the fortunes of the Emperor to the end. However, it is not
improper to say that, however terrible the fall of the Emperor was for
him, the situation (I speak here only of the personal advantages), in the
island of Elba, of those who remained in his service, and who were not
detained in France by an inexorable necessity, was still not without its
advantages; and it was not, therefore, my personal interests which caused
me to leave him. I shall explain hereafter my reasons for quitting his

I shall also give the truth as to the alleged abuse of confidence, of
which, according to others, I was guilty in respect to the Emperor.
A simple statement of the mistake which gave rise to this falsehood,
I trust, will clear me of every suspicion of indelicacy; but if it is
necessary to add other proofs, I could obtain them from those who lived
nearest to the Emperor, and who were in a condition to both know and
understand what passed between us; and lastly, I invoke fifty years of a
blameless life, and I can say: "When I was in a situation to render great
services, I did so; but I never sold them. I could have derived
advantages from the petitions that I made for people, who, in consequence
of my solicitations, have acquired immense fortunes; but I refused even
the proper acknowledgment which in, their gratitude (very deep at that
time) they felt compelled to offer me, by proposing an interest in their
enterprises. I did not seek to take advantage, for my own benefit, of
the generosity with which the Emperor so long deigned to honor me, in
order to enrich or secure places for my relatives; and I retired poor
after fifteen years passed in the personal service of the richest and
most powerful monarch of Europe."

Having made these statements, I shall await with confidence the judgment
of my readers.



I shall refer to myself very little in these memoirs, for I am aware the
public will examine them only for details concerning the great man to
whom fortune attached me for sixteen years, and whom I scarcely quitted
during the whole of that time. Notwithstanding, I ask permission to say
a few words as to my childhood, and the circumstances which made me valet
de chambre of the Emperor.

I was born Dec. 2, 1778, at Peruelz, a town which became French on the
annexation of Belgium to the Republic, and which then belonged to the
Department of Jemmapes. Soon after my birth at the baths of Saint Amand,
my father took charge of a small establishment called the Little Chateau,
at which visitors to the waters were boarding, being aided in this
enterprise by the Prince de Croi, in whose house he had been steward.
Business prospered beyond my father's hopes, for a great number of
invalids of rank came to his house. When I attained my eleventh year,
the Count de Lure, head of one of the chief families of Valenciennes,
happened to be one of the boarders at the Little Chateau; and as that
excellent man had taken a great fancy to me, he asked my parents
permission that I should become a companion to his son, who was about.
the same age. My family had intended me for the church, to gratify one
of my uncles, who was Dean of Lessine, a man of great wisdom and rigid
virtue; and thinking that the offer of the Count de Lure would not affect
my intended destination, my father accepted it, judging that some years
passed in a family so distinguished would give me a taste for the more
serious studies necessary to fit me for the priesthood. I set out,
therefore, with the Count de Lure, much grieved at leaving my parents,
but pleased also at the same time, as is usual with one at my age, with
new scenes. The count took me to one of his estates near Tours, where I
was received with the greatest kindness by the countess and her children,
with whom I was placed on a footing of perfect equality.

Unfortunately I did not profit very long by the kindness of the count and
the lessons. I was taught at his house, for hardly a year had passed at
the chateau when we learned of the arrest of the king at Varennes. The
count and his family were in despair; and child as I was, I remember that
I was deeply pained at the news, without knowing why, but doubtless
because it is natural to share the sentiments of those with whom you
live, when they treat you with as much kindness as the count and countess
had treated me. However, I continued to enjoy the happy freedom from
care natural to youth, till one morning I was awakened by a loud noise,
and was immediately surrounded by a great number of people, none of whom
I knew, and who asked me countless questions which I could not answer.
I then learned that the count and his family had emigrated. I was
carried to the town hall, where the same questions were renewed, with the
same fruitless result; for I knew nothing of the intentions of my late
protectors, and could only reply by a flood of tears when I saw myself
abandoned and left to my own resources, at a great distance from my

I was too young then to reflect on the conduct of the count; but I have
since thought that his abandonment of me was an act of delicacy on his
part, as he did not wish to make me an emigre without the consent of my
parents. I have always believed that, before his departure, the count
had committed me to the care of some one, who subsequently did not dare
to claim me, lest he should compromise himself, which was then, as is
well known, exceedingly dangerous. Behold me, then, at twelve years of
age, left without a guide, without means of support, without any one to
advise me, and without money, more than a hundred leagues from my home,
and already accustomed to the comforts of a luxurious life. It is hardly
credible that in this state of affairs I was regarded almost as a
suspect, and was required each day to present myself before the city
authorities for the greater safety of the Republic. I remember well that
whenever the Emperor was pleased to make me relate these tribulations of
my childhood, he never failed to repeat several times, "the fools,"
referring to these same city authorities. However that may be, the
authorities of Tours, coming to the conclusion, at last, that a child of
twelve was incapable of overthrowing the Republic, gave me a passport,
with the injunction to leave the city within twenty-four hours, which I
proceeded to do with a hearty good-will, but not without deep grief also
at seeing myself alone, and on foot, with a long journey before me.
After much privation and many hardships I arrived at last in the
neighborhood of Saint-Amand, which I found in the possession of the
Austrians, and that it was impossible for me to reach the town, as the
French surrounded it. In my despair I seated myself on the side of a
ditch and was weeping bitterly, when I was noticed by the chief of
squadron, Michau,

   [I afterwards had the happiness of obtaining for him, from the
   Emperor, a position he wished, as a place of retirement, having lost
   the use of his right arm.--CONSTANT.]

who afterwards became colonel and aide-de-camp to General Loison. Michau
approached me, questioned me with great interest, and made me relate my
sad adventures, which touched him deeply, while he did not conceal his
inability to send me back to my family. He had just obtained leave of
absence, which he was going to spend with his family at Chinon, and
proposed to me to accompany him, which invitation I accepted with
gratitude. I cannot say too much of the kindness and consideration shown
me by his household during the three or four months I spent with them.
At the end of that time he took me to Paris, where I was soon after
placed in the house of M. Gobert, a rich merchant, who treated me with
the greatest, kindness.

I lately visited M. Gobert; and he recalled to me that, when we traveled
together, he gave up to me one of the seats of his carriage, upon which I
was permitted to stretch myself out and sleep. I mention this
circumstance, otherwise unimportant, to show the kindness he always
showed me.

Some years later I made the acquaintance of Carrat, who was in the
service of Madame Bonaparte while the general was absent on the Egyptian
expedition. Before relating how I came to enter her household, it is
proper to mention how Carrat himself came into her service, and at the
same time narrate some anecdotes in regard to him, which will show what
were the pastimes of the inhabitants of Malmaison at that date.

Carrat happened to be at Plombieres when Madame Bonaparte

   [Madame Bonaparte, nee Marie Joseph Rose Tascher de la Pagerie,
   was born in Martinique, 1763; became the widow of Viscount Alexander
   de Beauharnais, 1794; married Napoleon Bonaparte March, 1796; became
   Empress May 18, 1804; was divorced Dec. 16, 1809; died at Malmaison,
   May 20, 1814.--TRANS.]

went there to take the waters. Every day he brought her bouquets, and
addressed to her little complimentary speeches, so singular and so droll,
that Josephine was much diverted, as were also the ladies who accompanied
her, among whom were Mesdames de Cambis and de Criguy, and especially
her own daughter Hortense, who was convulsed at his oddities. The truth
is, he was exceedingly amusing, by reason of a certain simplicity and
originality of character, which, however, did not prevent him from being
a person of intelligence; and his eccentricities did not displease Madame
Bonaparte. A sentimental scene took place when this excellent lady left
the springs. Carrat wept, bemoaned himself, and expressed his lasting
grief at not being able to see Madame Bonaparte daily, as he had been
accustomed; and Madame Bonaparte was so kind-hearted that she at once
decided to carry him to Paris with her. She taught him to dress hair,
and finally appointed him her hair-dresser and valet, at least such were
the duties he had to perform when I made his acquaintance. He was
permitted a most astonishing freedom of speech, sometimes even scolding
her; and when Madame Bonaparte, who was extremely generous and always
gracious towards every one, made presents to her women, or chatted
familiarly with them, Carrat would reproach her. "Why give that?" he
would say, adding, "See how you do, Madame; you allow yourself to jest
with your domestics. Some day they will show you a want of respect."
But if he thus endeavored to restrain the generosity of his mistress
towards those around her, he did not hesitate to stimulate her generosity
towards himself; and whenever he took a fancy to anything, would simply
say, "You ought to give me that."

Bravery is not always the inseparable companion of wit, and Carrat gave
more than once proof of this. Being endowed with a kind of simple and
uncontrollable poltroonery, which never fails in comedies to excite the
laughter of the spectators, it was a great pleasure to Madame Bonaparte
to play on him such pranks as would bring out his singular want of

It should be stated, first of all, that one of the greatest pleasures of
Madame Bonaparte, at Malmaison, was to take walks on the road just
outside the walls of the park; and she always preferred this outside
road, in spite of the clouds of dust which were constantly rising there,
to the delightful walks inside the park. One day, accompanied by her
daughter Hortense, she told Carrat to follow her in her walk; and he was
delighted to be thus honored until he saw rise suddenly out of a ditch; a
great figure covered with a white sheet, in fact, a genuine ghost, such
as I have seen described in the translations of some old English

It is unnecessary to say, that the ghost was some one placed there by
order of these ladies, in order to frighten Carrat; and certainly the
comedy succeeded marvelously well, for as soon as Carrat perceived the
ghost, he was very much frightened, and clutching Madame Bonaparte, said
to her in a tremor, "Madame, Madame, do you see that ghost? It is the
spirit of the lady who died lately at Plombieres."--"Be quiet, Carrat,
you are a coward."--"Ah, but indeed it is her spirit which has come
back." As Carrat thus spoke, the man in the white sheet advanced toward
him, shaking it; and poor Carrat, overcome with terror, fell backwards in
a faint, and it required all the attentions which were bestowed upon him
to restore him to consciousness.

Another day, while the general was still in Egypt, and consequently
before I was in the service of any member of his family, Madame Bonaparte
wished to give some of her ladies an exhibition of Carrat's cowardice;
and for this purpose there was concerted among the ladies of Malmaison
a plot, in which Mademoiselle Hortense

   [Hortense Beauharnais, born at Paris, 1783, was then just sixteen
   years of age. Married Louis Bonaparte and became Queen of Holland,
   1806. Died 1837. She was the mother of Napoleon III. --TRANS.]

was chief conspirator. This incident has been so often narrated in my
presence by Madame Bonaparte, that I am familiar with the ludicrous
details. Carrat slept in a room adjoining which there was a closet.
A hole was made in the wall between these rooms, and a string passed
through, at the end of which was tied a can filled with water, this
cooling element being suspended exactly over the head of the patient's
bed. This was not all, for they had also taken the precaution to remove
the slats which supported the mattress; and as Carrat was in the habit of
going to sleep without a light, he saw neither the preparations for his
downfall, nor the can of water provided for his new baptism. All the
members of the plot had been waiting for some moments in the adjoining
closet; when he threw himself heavily upon his bed, it crashed in, and at
the same instant the play of the string made the can of water do its
effective work. The victim at the same time of a fall, and of a
nocturnal shower-bath, Carrat cried out against his double misfortune.
"This is horrible," he yelled at the top of his voice; while Hortense
maliciously said aloud to her mother, Madame de Crigny (afterwards Madame
Denon), Madame Charvet, and to several others in the room, "Oh, Mamma,
those toads and frogs in the water will get on him." These words, joined
to the utter darkness, served only to increase the terror of Carrat, who,
becoming seriously frightened, cried out, "It is horrible, Madame, it is
horrible, to amuse yourself thus at the expense of your servants."

I do not say that the complaints of Carrat were entirely wrong, but they.
served only to increase the gayety of the ladies who had taken him for
the object of their pleasantries.

However that may be, such was the character and position of Carrat, whom
I had known for some time, when General Bonaparte returned from his
expedition into Egypt, and Carrat said to me that Eugene de Beauharnais
had applied to him for a confidential valet, his own having been detained
in Cairo by severe illness at the time of his departure. He was named
Lefebvre, and was an old servant entirely devoted to his master, as was
every one who knew Prince Eugene; for I do not believe that there has
ever lived a better man, or one more polite, more considerate, or indeed
more attentive, to those who served him.

Carrat having told me that Eugene de Beauharnais

   [Born 1781, viceroy of Italy 1805. In 1806 married the daughter
   of the King of Bavaria. Died 1824. Among his descendants are the
   present King of Sweden and the late Emperor of Brazil.--TRANS.]

desired a young man to replace Lefebvre, and having recommended me for
the place, I had the good fortune to be presented to Eugene, and to give
satisfaction; indeed, he was so kind as to say to me that my appearance
pleased him, and he wished me to enter upon my duties immediately. I was
delighted with this situation, which, I know not why, painted itself to
my imagination in the brightest colors, and without loss of time, went to
find my modest baggage, and behold me valet de chambre, ad interim, of M.
de Beauharnais, not dreaming that I should one day be admitted to the
personal service of General Bonaparte, and still less that I should
become the chief valet of an Emperor.


It was on Oct. 16, 1799, that Eugene de Beauharnais arrived in Paris on
his return from Egypt; and almost immediately thereafter I had the good
fortune to be taken into his service, M. Eugene being then twenty-one
years of age. I soon after learned a few particulars, which I think are
little known, relative to his former life, and the marriage of his mother
with General Bonaparte.

His father, as is well known, was one of the victims of the Revolution;
and when the Marquis de Beauharnais had perished on the scaffold, his
widow, whose property had been confiscated, fearing that her son,
although still very young, might also be in danger on account of his
belonging to the nobility, placed him in the home of a carpenter on the
rue de l'Echelle where, a lady of my acquaintance, who lived on that
street, has often seen him passing, carrying a plank on his shoulder. It
seems a long distance from this position to the colonelcy of a regiment
of the Consular guards, and the vice-royalty of Italy.

I learned, from hearing Eugene himself relate it, by what a singular
circumstance he had been the cause of the first meeting between his
mother and his step-father. Eugene, being then not more than fourteen or
fifteen years of age, having been informed that General Bonaparte had
become possessor of the sword of the Marquis de Beauharnais, took a step
which seemed hazardous, but was crowned with success. The general having
received him graciously, Eugene explained that he came to beg of him the
restoration of his father's sword. His face, his bearing, his frank
request, all made such a pleasant impression on Bonaparte, that he
immediately presented him with the sword which he requested. As soon as
this sword was in his hands he covered it with kisses and tears; and the
whole was done in so artless a manner, that Bonaparte was delighted with

Madame de Beauharnais, being informed of the welcome the general had
given her son, thought it her duty to make him a visit of gratitude.
Bonaparte, being much pleased with Josephine in this first interview,
returned her visit. They met again frequently; and as is well known, one
event led to another, until she became the first Empress of the French;
and I can assert from the numerous proofs that I have had of this fact,
that Bonaparte never ceased to love Eugene as well as if he, had been his
own son.

The qualities of Eugene were both attractive and solid. His features
were not regular, and yet his countenance prepossessed every one in his
favor. He had a well-proportioned figure, but did not make a
distinguished appearance, on account of the habit he had of swinging
himself as he walked. He was about five feet three or four inches
[About five feet six or seven inches in English measurement.--TRANS.]
in height. He was kind, gay, amiable, full of wit, intelligent,
generous; and it might well be said that his frank and open countenance
was the mirror of his soul. How many services he has rendered others
during the course of his life, and at the very period when in order to do
so he had often to impose privations on himself.

It will soon be seen how it happened that I passed only a month with
Eugene; but during this short space of time, I recall that, while
fulfilling scrupulously his duties to his mother and his step-father, he
was much addicted to the pleasures so natural to his age and position.
One of his greatest pleasures was entertaining his friends at breakfast;
which he did very often. This amused me much on account of the comical
scenes of which I was often a witness. Besides the young officers of
Bonaparte's staff, his most frequent guests, he had also frequently at
his table the ventriloquist Thiemet, Dugazon, Dazincourt, and Michau of
the Theatre Francais, and a few other persons, whose names escape me at
this moment. As may be imagined, these reunions were extremely gay;
these young officers especially, who had returned like Eugene from the
expedition to Egypt, seemed trying to indemnify themselves for the recent
privations they had had to suffer. At this time ventriloquists, among
whom Thiemet held a very distinguished position, were the fashion in
Paris, and were invited to private gatherings. I remember on one
occasion, at one of these breakfasts of Eugene's, Thiemet called by their
names several persons present, imitating the voices of their servants, as
if they were just outside the door, while he remained quietly in his
seat, appearing to be using his lips only to eat and drink, two duties'
which he performed admirably. Each of the officers called in this manner
went out, and found no one; and then Thiemet went out with them, under
the pretext of assisting them in the search, and increased their
perplexity by continuing to make them hear some well-known voice. Most
of them laughed heartily at the joke of which they had just been the
victims; but there was one who, having himself less under control than
his comrades, took the thing seriously, and became very angry, whereupon
Eugene had to avow that he was the author of the conspiracy.

I recall still another amusing scene, the two heroes of which were this
same Thiemet, of whom I have just spoken, and Dugazon. Several
foreigners were present at a breakfast given by Eugene, the parts having
been assigned, and learned in advance, and the two victims selected.
When each had taken his place at table, Dugazon, pretending to stammer,
addressed a remark to Thiemet, who, playing the same role, replied to
him, stammering likewise; then each of them pretended to believe that the
other was making fun of him, and there followed a stuttering quarrel
between the two parties, each one finding it more and more difficult to
express himself as his anger rose. Thiemet, who besides his role of
stammering was also playing that of deafness, addressed his neighbor, his
trumpet in his ear:

"Wha-wha-what-do-does he say?"--"Nothing," replied the officious
neighbor, wishing to prevent a quarrel, and to supply facts while
defending the other stammerer.--"So-so-he-he-he-he's mamaking fun of me!"
Then the quarrel became more violent still; they were about to come to
blows, when each of the two stammerers seizing a carafe of water, hurled
it at the head of his antagonist, and a copious deluge of water from the
bottles taught the officious neighbors the great danger of acting as
peacemakers. The two stammerers continued to scream as is the custom of
deaf persons, until the last drop of water was spilt; and I remember that
Eugene, the originator of this practical joke, laughed immoderately the
whole time this scene lasted. The water was wiped off; and all were soon
reconciled, glass in hand. Eugene, when he had perpetrated a joke of
this sort, never failed to relate it to his mother, and sometimes to his
stepfather, who were much amused thereby, Josephine especially.

I had led for one month a very pleasant life with Eugene, when Lefebvre,
the valet de chambre whom he had left sick at Cairo, returned in restored
health, and asked to resume his place. Eugene, whom I suited better on
account of my age and activity, proposed to him to enter his mother's
service, suggesting to him that he would there have an easier time than
with himself; but Lefebvre, who was extremely attached to his master,
sought Madame Bonaparte, and confided to her his chagrin at this

Josephine promised to assist him; and consoled him by assurances that she
would suggest to her son that Lefebvre should reassume his former
position, and that she would take me into her own service. This was done
according to promise; and one morning Eugene announced to me, in the most
gratifying manner, my change of abode. "Constant," he said to me,
"I regret very much that circumstances require us to part; but you know
Lefebvre followed me to Egypt, he is an old servant, and I feel compelled
to give him his former position. Besides, you will not be far removed,
as you will enter my mother's service, where you will be well treated,
and we will see each other often. Go to her this morning; I have spoken
to her of you. The matter is already arranged, and she expects you."

As may be believed, I lost no time in presenting myself to Madame
Bonaparte. Knowing that she was at Malmaison, I went there immediately,
and was received by her with a kindness which overwhelmed me with
gratitude, as I was not then aware that she manifested this same
graciousness to every one, and that it was as inseparable from her
character as was grace from her person. The duties required of me, in
her service, were altogether nominal; and nearly all my time was at my
own disposal, of which I took advantage to visit Paris frequently. The
life that I led at this time was very pleasant to a young man like
myself, who could not foresee that in a short while he would be as much
under subjection as he was then at liberty.

Before bidding adieu to a service in which I had found so much that was
agreeable, I will relate some incidents which belong to that period, and
which my situation with the stepson of General Bonaparte gave me the
opportunity of learning.

M. de Bourrienne has related circumstantially in his memoirs the events
of the 18th Brumaire; [The 18th Brumaire, Nov. 9, 1799, was the day
Napoleon overthrew the Directory and made himself First Consul.--TRANS.]
and the account which he has given of that famous day is as correct as it
is interesting, so that any one curious to know the secret causes which
led to these political changes will find them faithfully pointed out in
the narration of that minister of state. I am very far from intending to
excite an interest of this, kind, but reading the work of M. Bourrienne
put me again on the track of my own recollections. These memoirs relate
to circumstances of which he was ignorant, or possibly may have omitted
purposely as being of little importance; and whatever he has let fall on
his road I think myself fortunate in being permitted to glean.

I was still with Eugene de Beauharnais when General Bonaparte overthrew
the Directory; but I found myself in as favorable a situation to know all
that was passing as if I had been in the service of Madame Bonaparte, or
of the general himself, for my master, although he was very young, had
the entire confidence of his stepfather, and, to an even greater degree,
that of his mother, who consulted him on every occasion.

A few days before the 18th Brumaire, Eugene ordered me to make
preparations for a breakfast he wished to give on that day to his
friends, the number of the guests, all military men, being much larger
than usual. This bachelor repast was made very gay by an officer, who
amused the company by imitating in turn the manners and appearance of the
directors and a few of their friends. To represent the Director Barras,
he draped himself 'a la grecque' with the tablecloth, took off his black
cravat, turned down his shirt-collar, and advanced in an affected manner,
resting his left arm on the shoulder of the youngest of his comrades,
while with his right he pretended to caress his chin. Each person of the
company understood the meaning of that kind of charade; and there were
uncontrollable bursts of laughter.

He undertook then to represent the Abbe Sieyes, by placing an enormous
band of paper inside of his neckcloth, and lengthening thus indefinitely
a long, pale face. He made a few turns around the room, astraddle of his
chair, and ended by a grand somersault, as if his steed had dismounted
him. It is necessary to know, in order to understand the significance of
this pantomime, that the Abbe Sieges had been recently taking lessons in
horseback, riding in the garden of the Luxembourg, to the great amusement
of the pedestrians, who gathered in crowds to enjoy the awkward and
ungraceful exhibition made by this new master of horse.

The breakfast ended, Eugene reported for duty to General Bonaparte, whose
aide-de-camp he was, and his friends rejoined the various commands to
which they belonged.

I went out immediately behind them; for from a few words that had just
been dropped at my young master's, I suspected that something grave and
interesting was about to take place. M. Eugene had appointed a
rendezvous with his comrades at Pont-Tournant; so I repaired to that
spot, and found a considerable gathering of officers in uniform and on
horseback, assembled in readiness to escort General Bonaparte to

The commandant of each part of the army had been requested by General
Bonaparte to give a breakfast to their corps of officers; and they had
done so like my young master. Nevertheless, the officers, even the
generals, were not all in the secret; and General Murat himself, who
rushed into the Hall of the Five Hundred at the head of the grenadiers,
believed that it was only a question of exemption, on account of age,
that General Bonaparte intended to propose, in order that he might obtain
the place of director.

I have learned from an authoritative source, that when General Jube, who
was devoted to General Bonaparte, assembled in the court of the
Luxembourg, the guard of the directors of which he was commander, the
honest M. Gohier, president of the Directory, put his head out of the
window, and cried to Jube: "Citizen General, what are you doing down
there?"--"Citizen President, you can see for yourself I am mustering the
guard."--"Certainly, I see that very plainly, Citizen General; but why
are you mustering them?"--"Citizen President, I am going to make an
inspection of them, and order a grand maneuver. Forward--march!" And
the citizen general filed out at the head of his troop to rejoin General
Bonaparte at Saint-Cloud; while the latter was awaited at the house of
the citizen president, and the breakfast delayed to which General
Bonaparte had been invited for that very morning.

General Marmont had also entertained at breakfast the officers of the
division of the army which he commanded (it was, I think, the artillery).
At the end of the repast he addressed a few words to them, urging them
not to alienate their cause from that of the conqueror of Italy, and to
accompany him to Saint-Cloud. "But how can we follow him?" cried one of
his guests. "We have no horses."--"If that alone deters you, you will
find horses in the court of this hotel. I have seized all those of the
national riding-school. Let us go below and mount." All the officers
present responded to the invitation except General Allix, who declared he
would take no part in all this disturbance.

I was at Saint-Cloud on the two days, 18th and 19th Brumaire. I saw
General Bonaparte harangue the soldiers, and read to them the decree by
which he had been made commander-in-chief of all the troops at Paris, and
of the whole of the Seventeenth Military Division. I saw him come out
much agitated first from the Council of the Ancients, and afterwards from
the Assembly of the Five Hundred. I saw Lucien Bonaparte brought out of
the hall, where the latter assembly was sitting, by some grenadiers, sent
in to protect him from the violence of his colleagues. Pale and furious,
he threw himself on his horse and galloped straight to the troops to
address them; and when he pointed his sword at his brother's breast,
saying he would be the first to slay him if he dared to strike at
liberty, cries of "Vive Bonaparte! down with the lawyers!" burst forth
on all sides; and the soldiers, led by General Murat, rushed into the
Hall of the Five Hundred. Everybody knows what then occurred, and I will
not enter into details which have been so often related.

The general, now made First Consul, installed himself at the Luxembourg,
though at this time he resided also at Malmaison. But he was often on
the road, as was also Josephine; for their trips to Paris when they
occupied this residence were very frequent, not only on Government
business, which often required the presence of the First Consul, but also
for the purpose of attending the theater, of whose performances General
Bonaparte, was very fond, giving the preference always to the Theatre
Francais and the Italian Opera. This observation I make in passing,
preferring to give hereafter the information I have obtained as to the
tastes and habits of the emperor.

Malmaison, at the period of which I speak, was a place of unalloyed
happiness, where all who came expressed their satisfaction with the state
of affairs; everywhere also I heard blessings invoked upon the First
Consul and Madame Bonaparte. There was not yet the shadow of that strict
etiquette which it was necessary afterwards to observe at Saint-Cloud, at
the Tuileries, and in all the palaces in which the Emperor held his
court. The consular court was as yet distinguished by a simple elegance,
equally removed from republican rudeness and the luxuriousness of the
Empire. Talleyrand was, at this period, one of those who came most
frequently to Malmaison. He sometimes dined there, but arrived generally
in the evening between eight and nine o'clock, and returned at one, two,
and sometimes three in the morning.

All were admitted at Madame Bonaparte's on a footing of equality, which
was most gratifying. There came familiarly Murat, Duroc, Berthier, and
all those who have since figured as great dignitaries, and some even as
sovereigns, in the annals of the empire.

The family of General Bonaparte were assiduous in their attentions; but
it was known among us that they had no love for Madame Bonaparte, of
which fact I had many proofs. Mademoiselle Hortense never left her
mother, and they were devotedly attached to each other.

Besides men distinguished by their posts under the government or in the
army, there gathered others also who were not less distinguished by
personal merit, or the position which their birth had given them before
the Revolution. It was a veritable panorama, in which we saw the persons
themselves pass before our eyes. The scene itself, even exclusive of the
gayety which always attended the dinings of Eugene, had its attractions.
Among those whom we saw most frequently were Volney, Denon, Lemercier,
the Prince of Poix, de Laigle, Charles Baudin, General Beurnonville,
Isabey, and a number of others, celebrated in science, literature, and
art; in short, the greater part of those who composed the society of
Madame de Montesson.

Madame Bonaparte and Mademoiselle Hortense often took excursions on
horseback into the country. On these occasions her most constant escorts
were the Prince de Poix and M. de Laigle. One day, as this party was
reentering the court-yard at Malmaison, the horse which Hortense rode
became frightened, and dashed off. She was an accomplished rider, and
very active, so she attempted to spring off on the grass by the roadside;
but the band which fastened the end of her riding-skirt under her foot
prevented her freeing herself quickly, and she was thrown, and dragged by
her horse for several yards. Fortunately the gentlemen of the party,
seeing her fall, sprang from their horses in time to rescue her; and, by
extraordinary good fortune, she was not even bruised, and was the first
to laugh at her misadventure.

During the first part of my stay at Malmaison, the First Consul always
slept with his wife, like an ordinary citizen of the middle classes in
Paris; and I heard no rumor of any intrigue in the chateau. The persons
of this society, most of whom were young, and who were often very
numerous, frequently took part in sports which recalled college days.
In fact, one of the greatest diversions of the inhabitants of Malmaison
was to play "prisoners' base." It was usually after dinner; and
Bonaparte, Lauriston, Didelot, de Lucay, de Bourrienne, Eugene, Rapp,
Isabey, Madame Bonaparte, and Mademoiselle Hortense would divide
themselves into two camps, in which the prisoners taken, or exchanged,
would recall to the First Consul the greater game, which he so much
preferred. In these games the most active runners were Eugene, Isabey,
and Hortense. As to General Bonaparte, he often fell, but rose laughing

General Bonaparte and his family seemed to enjoy almost unexampled
happiness, especially when at Malmaison, which residence, though
agreeable at that time, was far from being what it has since become.
This estate consisted of the chateau, which Bonaparte found in bad
condition on his return from Egypt, a park already somewhat improved, and
a farm, the income of which did not with any certainty exceed twelve
thousand francs a year. Josephine directed in person all the
improvements made there, and no woman ever possessed better taste.

From the first, they played amateur comedy at Malmaison, which was a
relaxation the First Consul enjoyed greatly, but in which he took no part
himself except that of looker-on. Every one in the house attended these
representations; and I must confess we felt perhaps even more pleasure
than others in seeing thus travestied on the stage those in whose service
we were.

The Malmaison Troupe, if I may thus style actors of such exalted social
rank, consisted principally of Eugene, Jerome, Lauriston, de Bourrienne,
Isabey, de Leroy, Didelot, Mademoiselle Hortense, Madame Caroline Murat,
and the two Mademoiselles Auguie, one of whom afterwards married Marshal

   [Michel Ney, Styled by Napoleon the "bravest of the brave," was
   born 1769, at Sarre-Louis (now in Prussia), son of a cooper.
   Entered the army as a private 1787, adjutant-general 1794, general
   of brigade 1796, general of division 1799, marshal 1804, Duke of
   Elchingen 1805, Prince of Moskwa 1812, and commanded the rear-guard
   in the famous retreat from Russia. On the return from Elba he went
   over to Napoleon; was at Waterloo. Was afterwards taken, and in
   spite of the terms of the surrender of Paris was tried for treason,
   and shot in the gardens of the Luxembourg, Dec. 8, 1815.--TRANS.]

and the other M. de Broc. All four were very young and charming, and few
theaters in Paris could show four actresses as pretty. In addition to
which, they showed much grace in their acting, and played their parts
with real talent; and were as natural on the stage as in the saloon,
where they bore themselves with exquisite grace and refinement. At first
the repertoire contained little variety, though the pieces were generally
well selected. The first representation which I attended was the "Barber
of Seville" in which Isabey played the role of Figaro, and Mademoiselle
Hortense that of Rosine--and the "Spiteful Lover." Another time I saw
played the "Unexpected Wager," and "False Consultations." Hortense and
Eugene played this last piece perfectly; and I still recall that, in the
role of Madame le Blanc, Hortense appeared prettier than ever in the
character of an old woman, Eugene representing Le Noir, and Lauriston the
charlatan. The First Consul, as I have said, confined himself to the
role of spectator; but he seemed to take in these fireside plays, so to
speak, the greatest pleasure, laughed and applauded heartily, though
sometimes he also criticised.

Madame Bonaparte was also highly entertained; and even if she could not
always boast of the successful acting of her children, "the chiefs of the
troupe," it sufficed her that it was an agreeable relaxation to her
husband, and seemed to give him pleasure; for her constant study was to
contribute to the happiness of the great man who had united her destiny
with his own.

When the day for the presentation of a play had been appointed, there was
never any postponement, but often a change of the play; not because of
the indisposition, or fit of the blues, of an actress (as often happens
in the theaters of Paris), but for more serious reasons. It sometimes
happened that M. d'Etieulette received orders to rejoin his regiment, or
an important mission was confided to Count Almaviva, though Figaro and
Rosine always remained at their posts; and the desire of pleasing the
First Consul was, besides, so general among all those who surrounded him,
that the substitutes did their best in the absence of the principals, and
the play never failed for want of an actor.

   [Michau, of the Comedie Francaise, was the instructor of the
   troupe. Wherever it happened that an actor was wanting in
   animation, Michau would exclaim. "Warmth! Warmth! Warmth!"
   --Note by CONSTANT.]


I had been only a very short time in the service of Madame Bonaparte when
I made the acquaintance of Charvet, the concierge of Malmaison, and in
connection with this estimable man became each day more and more
intimate, till at last he gave me one of his daughters in marriage.
I was eager to learn from him all that he could tell me concerning Madame
Bonaparte and the First Consul prior to my entrance into the house; and
in our frequent conversations he took the greatest pleasure in satisfying
my curiosity. It is to him I owe the following details as to the mother
and daughter.

When General Bonaparte set out for Egypt, Madame Bonaparte accompanied
him as far as Toulon, and was extremely anxious to go with him to Egypt.
When the general made objections, she observed that having been born a
Creole, the heat of the climate would be more favorable than dangerous to
her. By a singular coincidence it was on 'La Pomone' that she wished to
make the journey; that is to say, on the very same vessel which in her
early youth had brought her from Martinique to France. General
Bonaparte, finally yielding to the wishes of his wife, promised to send
'La Pomone' for her, and bade her go in the meantime to take the waters
at Plombieres. The matter being arranged between husband and wife,
Madame Bonaparte was delighted to go to the springs of Plombieres which
she had desired to visit for a long time, knowing, like every one else,
the reputation these waters enjoyed for curing barrenness in women.

Madame Bonaparte had been only a short time at Plombieres, when one
morning, while occupied in hemming a turban and chatting with the ladies
present, Madame de Cambis, who was on the balcony, called to her to come
and see a pretty little dog passing along the street. All the company
hastened with Madame Bonaparte to the balcony, which caused it to fall
with a frightful crash. By a most fortunate chance, no one was killed;
though Madame de Cambis had her leg broken, and Madame Bonaparte was most
painfully bruised, without, however, receiving any fracture. Charvet,
who was in a room behind the saloon, heard the noise, and at once had a
sheep killed and skinned, and Madame Bonaparte wrapped in the skin. It
was a long while before she regained her health, her arms and her hands
especially being so bruised that she was for a long time unable to use
them; and it was necessary to cut up her food, feed her, and, in fact,
perform the same offices for her as for an infant.

I related above that Josephine thought she was to rejoin her husband in
Egypt, and consequently that her stay at the springs of Plombieres would
be of short duration but her accident led her to think that it would be
prolonged indefinitely; she therefore desired, while waiting for her
complete recovery, to have with her her daughter Hortense, then about
fifteen years of age, who was being educated in the boarding-school of
Madame Campan. She sent for her a mulatto woman to whom she was much
attached, named Euphemie, who was the foster-sister of Madame Bonaparte,
and passed (I do not know if the supposition was correct) as her natural
sister. Euphemie, accompanied by Charvet, made the journey in one of
Madame Bonaparte's carriages. Mademoiselle Hortense, on their arrival,
was delighted with the journey she was about to make, and above all with
the idea of being near her mother, for whom she felt the tenderest
affection. Mademoiselle Hortense was, I would not say, greedy, but she
was exceedingly fond of sweets; and Charvet, in relating these details,
said to me, that at each town of any size through which they passed the
carriage was filled with bonbons and dainties, of which mademoiselle
consumed a great quantity. One day, while Euphemie and Charvet were
sound asleep, they were suddenly awakened by a report, which sounded
frightful to them, and caused them intense anxiety, as they found when
they awoke that they were passing through a thick forest. This ludicrous
incident threw Hortense into fits of laughter; for hardly had they
expressed their alarm when they found themselves deluged with an
odoriferous froth, which explained the cause of the explosion. A bottle
of champagne, placed in one of the pockets of the carriage, had been
uncorked; and the heat, added to the motion of the carriage, or rather
the malice of the young traveler, had made it explode with a loud report.

When mademoiselle arrived at Plombieres, her mother's health was almost
restored; so that the pupil of Madame Campan found there all the
distractions which please and delight at the age which the daughter of
Madame Bonaparte had then attained.

There is truth in the saying that in all evil there is good, for had this
accident not happened to Madame Bonaparte, it is very probable she would
have become a prisoner of the English; in fact, she learned that
'La Pomone', the vessel on which she wished to make the voyage, had
fallen into the power of the enemies of France. General Bonaparte, in
all his letters, still dissuaded his wife from the plan she had of
rejoining him; and, consequently, she returned to Paris.

On her arrival Josephine devoted her attention to executing a wish
General Bonaparte had expressed to her before leaving. He had remarked
to her that he should like, on his return, to have a country seat; and he
charged his brother to attend to this, which Joseph, however, failed to
do. Madame Bonaparte, who, on the contrary, was always in search of what
might please her husband, charged several persons to make excursions in
the environs of Paris, in order to ascertain whether a suitable dwelling
could be found. After having vacillated long between Ris and Malmaison,
she decided on the latter, which she bought from M. Lecoulteux-Dumoley,
for, I think, four hundred thousand francs. Such were the particulars
which Charvet was kind enough to give me when I first entered the service
of Madame Bonaparte. Every one in the house loved to speak of her; and
it was certainly not to speak evil, for never was woman more beloved by
all who surrounded her, and never has one deserved it more. General
Bonaparte was also an excellent man in the retirement of private life.

After the return of the First Consul from his campaign in Egypt, several
attempts against his life had been made; and the police had warned him
many times to be on his guard, and not to risk himself alone in the
environs of Malmaison. The First Consul had been very careless up to
this period; but the discovery of the snares which were laid for him,
even in the privacy of his family circle, forced him to use precautions
and prudence. It has been stated since, that these pretended plots were
only fabrications of the police to render themselves necessary to the
First Consul, or, perhaps, of the First Consul himself, to redouble the
interest which attached to his person, through fear of the perils which
menaced his life; and the absurdity of these attempts is alleged as proof
of this. I could not pretend to elucidate such mysteries; but it seems
to me that in such matters absurdity proves nothing, or, at least, it
does not prove that such plots did not exist. The conspirators of that
period set no bounds to their extravagance; for what could be more
absurd, and at the same time more real, than the atrocious folly of the
infernal machine?

Be that as it may, I shall relate what passed under my own eyes during
the first month of my stay at Malmaison. No one there, or, at least, no
one in my presence, showed the least doubt of the reality of these

In order to get rid of the First Consul, all means appeared good to his
enemies: they noted everything in their calculations, even his absence of
mind. The following occurrence is proof of this:

There were repairs and ornamentations to be made to the mantel in the
rooms of the First Consul at Malmaison. The contractor in charge of this
work had sent marblecutters, amongst whom had slipped in, it seems, a few
miserable wretches employed by the conspirators. The persons attached to
the First Consul were incessantly on the alert, and exercised the
greatest watchfulness; and it was observed that among these workmen there
were men who pretended to work, but whose air and manner contrasted
strongly with their occupation. These suspicions were unfortunately only
too well founded; for when the apartments had been made ready to receive
the First Consul, and just as he was on the eve of occupying them, some
one making a final inspection found on the desk at which he would first
seat himself, a snuff-box, in every respect like one of those which he
constantly used. It was thought at first that this box really belonged
to him, and that it had been forgotten and left there by his valet; but
doubts inspired by the suspicious manner of a few of the marble-cutters,
leading to further investigation, the tobacco was examined and analyzed.
It was found to be poisoned.

The authors of this perfidy had, it is said, at this time, communication
with other conspirators, who engaged to attempt another means of ridding
themselves of the First Consul. They promised to attack the guard of the
chateau (Malmaison), and to carry off by force the chief of the
government. With this intention, they had uniforms made like those of
the consular guards, who then stood sentinel, day and night, over the
First Consul, and followed him on horseback in his excursions. In this
costume, and by the aid of signals, with their accomplices (the pretended
marble-cutters) on the inside, they could easily have approached and
mingled with the guard, who were fed and quartered at the chateau. They
could even have reached the First Consul, and carried him off. However,
this first project was abandoned as too uncertain; and the conspirators
flattered themselves that they would succeed in their undertaking more
surely, and with less danger, by taking advantage of the frequent
journeys of the First Consul to Paris. By means of their disguise they
planned to distribute themselves on the road, among the guides of the
escort, and massacre them, their rallying-point being the quarries of
Nanterre; but their plots were for the second time foiled. There was in
the park at Malmaison a deep quarry; and fears being entertained that
they would profit by it to conceal themselves therein, and exercise some
violence against the First Consul on one of his solitary walks, it was
decided to secure it with an iron door.

On the 19th of February, at one in the afternoon, the First Consul went
in state to the Tuileries, which was then called the Government palace,
to install himself there with all his household. With him were his two
colleagues; one of whom, the third consul, was to occupy the same
residence, and be located in the Pavilion de Flore. The carriage of the
consuls was drawn by six white horses, which the Emperor of Germany had
presented to the conqueror of Italy after the signature of the treaty of
peace of Campo-Formio. The saber that the First Consul wore at this
ceremony was magnificent, and had also been presented to him by this
monarch on the same occasion.

A remarkable thing in this formal change of residence was that the
acclamations and enthusiasm of the crowd, and even of the most
distinguished spectators, who filled the windows of rue Thionville and of
the quai Voltaire, were addressed only to the First Consul, and to the
young warriors of his brilliant staff, who were yet bronzed by the sun of
the Pyramids or of Italy. At their head rode General Lannes and Murat;
the first easy to recognize by his bold bearing and soldierly manners;
the second by the same qualities, and further by a striking elegance,
both of costume and equipments. His new title of brother-in-law of the
First Consul contributed, also, greatly to fix upon him the attention of
all. As for myself, all my attention was absorbed by the principal
personage of the cortege, whom, like every one around me, I regarded with
something like a religious reverence; and by his stepson, the son of my
excellent mistress, himself once my master,--the brave, modest, good
Prince Eugene, who at that time, however, was not yet a prince. On his
arrival at the Tuileries, the First Consul took possession at once of the
apartments which he afterwards occupied, and which were formerly part of
the royal apartments. These apartments consisted of a bed-chamber, a
bathroom, a cabinet, and a saloon, in which he gave audience in the
forenoon; of a second saloon, in which were stationed his aides-de-camp
on duty, and which he used as a dining-room; and also a very large
antechamber. Madame Bonaparte had her separate apartments on the ground
floor, the same which she afterwards occupied as Empress. Beneath the
suite of rooms occupied by the First Consul was the room of Bourrienne,
his private secretary, which communicated with the apartments of the
First Consul by means of a private staircase.

Although at this period there were already courtiers, there was not,
however, yet a court, and the etiquette was exceedingly simple. The
First Consul, as I believe I have already said, slept in the same bed
with his wife; and they lived together, sometimes at the Tuileries,
sometimes at Malmaison. As yet there were neither grand marshal, nor
chamberlains, nor prefects of the palace, nor ladies of honor, nor lady
ushers, nor ladies of the wardrobe, nor pages. The household of the
First Consul was composed only of M. Pfister, steward; Venard, chief
cook; Galliot, and Dauger, head servants; Colin, butler. Ripeau was
librarian; Vigogne, senior, in charge of the stables. Those attached to
his personal service were Hambard, head valet; Herbert, ordinary valet;
and Roustan, mameluke of the First Consul. There were, beside these,
fifteen persons to discharge the ordinary duties of the household. De
Bourrienne superintended everything, and regulated expenses, and,
although very strict, won the esteem and affection of every one.

He was kind, obliging, and above all very just; and consequently at the
time of his disgrace the whole household was much distressed. As for
myself, I retain a sincerely respectful recollection of him; and I
believe that, though he has had the misfortune to find enemies among the
great, he found among his inferiors only grateful hearts and sincere

Some days after this installation, there was at the chateau a reception
of the diplomatic corps. It will be seen from the details, which I shall
give, how very simple at that time was the etiquette of what they already
called the Court.

At eight o'clock in the evening, the apartments of Madame Bonaparte,
situated, as I have just said, on the ground floor adjoining the garden,
were crowded with people. There was an incredible wealth of plumes,
diamonds, and dazzling toilets. The crowd was so great that it was found
necessary to throw open the bedroom of Madame Bonaparte, as the two
saloons were so full there was not room to move.

When, after much embarrassment and difficulty, every one had found a
place as they could, Madame Bonaparte was announced, and entered, leaning
on the arm of Talleyrand. She wore a dress of white muslin with short
sleeves, and a necklace of pearls. Her head was uncovered; and the
beautiful braids of her hair, arranged with charming negligence, were
held in place by a tortoise-shell comb. The flattering murmur which
greeted her appearance was most grateful to her; and never, I believe,
did she display more grace and majesty.


   [Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, born at Paris, 1754, was
   descended from the counts of Perigord. Rendered lame by an
   accident, he entered the clergy, and in 1788 became Bishop of Autun.
   In the States-General he sided with the Revolution. During the
   Reign of Terror he visited England and the United States. Recalled
   in 1796, he became minister of foreign affairs under the Directory,
   which post he retained under the Consulate. In 1806 he was made
   Prince of Benevento. He soon fell into disgrace. Sided with the
   Bourbons in 1814, and was minister at the congress of Vienna,
   president of the council, and minister under the king. Died 1838.

giving his hand to Madame Bonaparte, had the honor of presenting to her,
one after another, the members of the Diplomatic Corps, not according to
their names, but that of the courts they represented. He then made with
her the tour of the two saloons, and the circuit of the second was only
half finished when the First Consul entered without being announced. He
was dressed in a very plain uniform, with a tricolored silk scarf, with
fringes of the same around his waist. He wore close-fitting pantaloons
of white cassimere, and top-boots, and held his hat in his hand. This
plain dress, in the midst of the embroidered coats loaded with cordons
and orders worn by the ambassadors and foreign dignitaries, presented a
contrast as striking as the toilette of Madame Bonaparte compared with
that of the other ladies present.

Before relating how I exchanged the service of Madame Bonaparte for that
of the chief of state, and a sojourn at Malmaison for the second campaign
of Italy, I think I should pause to recall one or two incidents which
belong to the time spent in the service of Madame Bonaparte. She loved
to sit up late, and, when almost everybody else had retired, to play a
game of billiards, or more often of backgammon. It happened on one
occasion that, having dismissed every one else, and not yet being sleepy,
she asked if I knew how to play billiards, and upon my replying in the
affirmative, requested me with charming grace to play with her; and I had
often afterwards the honor of doing so. Although I had some skill, I
always managed to let her beat me, which pleased her exceedingly. If
this was flattery, I must admit it; but I would have done the same
towards any other woman, whatever her rank and her relation to me, had
she been even half as lovely as was Madame Bonaparte.

The concierge of Malmaison, who possessed the entire confidence of his
employers, among other means of precaution and watchfulness conceived by
him in order to protect the residence and person of the First Consul from
any sudden attack, had trained for the chateau several large dogs, among
which were two very handsome Newfoundlands. Work on the improvements of
Malmaison went on incessantly, and a large number of workmen lodged there
at night, who were carefully warned not to venture out alone; but one
night as some of the watchdogs were with the workmen in their lodgings,
and allowed themselves to be caressed, their apparent docility encouraged
one of these men to attempt the imprudence of venturing out. Believing
that the surest way to avoid danger was to put himself under the
protection of one of those powerful animals, he took one of them with
him, and in a very friendly manner they passed out of the door together;
but no sooner had they reached the outside, than the dog sprang upon his
unfortunate companion and threw him down. The cries of the poor workman
brought some of the guard, who ran to his aid. Just in time; for the dog
was holding him fast to the ground, and had seized him by the throat. He
was rescued, badly wounded. Madame Bonaparte, when she was informed of
this accident, had him nursed till perfectly cured, and gave him a
handsome gratuity, but recommended him to be more prudent in the future.

Every moment that the First Consul could snatch from affairs of state he
passed at Malmaison. The evening of each decadii

   [Under the Republic, Sunday was abolished. A decade of ten days
   was substituted for the week; and the decadi, or tenth day, took the
   place of the Sabbath.--TRANS.]

was a time of expectation and joy at the chateau. Madame Bonaparte sent
domestics on horseback and on foot to meet her husband, and often went
herself, accompanied by her daughter and her Malmaison friends. When not
on duty, I went myself and alone: for everybody felt for the First
Consul the same affection, and experienced in regard to him the same
anxiety; and such was the bitterness and boldness of his enemies that the
road, though short, between Paris and Malmaison was full of dangers and
snares. We knew that many plans had been laid to kidnap him on this
road, and that these attempts might be renewed. The most dangerous spot
was the quarries of Nanterre, of which I have already spoken; so they
were carefully examined, and guarded by his followers each day on which
the First Consul was to pass, and finally the depressions nearest the
road were filled up. The First Consul was gratified by our devotion to
him, and gave us proofs of his satisfaction, though he himself seemed
always free from fear or uneasiness. Very often, indeed, he mildly
ridiculed our anxiety, and would relate very seriously to the good
Josephine what a narrow escape he had on the road; how men of a sinister
appearance had shown themselves many times on his way; how one of them
had had the boldness to aim at him, etc. And when he saw her well
frightened, he would burst out laughing, give her some taps or kisses on
her cheek and neck, saying to her, "Have no fear, little goose; they
would not dare." On these "days of furlough," as he called them, he was
occupied more with his private affairs than with those of state; but
never could he remain idle. He would make them pull down, put up again,
build, enlarge, set out, prune, incessantly, both in the chateau and in
the park, while he examined the bills of expenses, estimated receipts,
and ordered economies. Time passed quickly in all these occupations; and
the moment soon came when it was necessary to return, and, as he
expressed it, put on again the yoke of misery.


Towards the end of March, 1800, five or six months after my entrance into
the service of Madame. Bonaparte, the First Consul while at dinner one
day regarded me intently; and having carefully scrutinized and measured
me from head to foot, "Young man," said he, "would you like to go with me
on the campaign?" I replied, with much emotion, that I would ask nothing
better. "Very well, then, you shall go with me!" and on rising from the
table, he ordered Pfister, the steward, to place my name on the list of
the persons of his household who would accompany him. My preparations
did not require much time; for I was delighted with the idea of being
attached to the personal service of so great a man, and in imagination
saw myself already beyond the Alps. But the First Consul set out without
me. Pfister, by a defect of memory, perhaps intentional, had forgotten
to place my name on the list. I was in despair, and went to relate, with
tears, my misfortune to my excellent mistress, who was good enough to
endeavor to console me, saying, "Well, Constant, everything is not lost;
you will stay with me. You can hunt in the park to pass the time; and
perhaps the First Consul may yet send for you." However, Madame
Bonaparte did not really believe this; for she thought, as I did,
although out of kindness she did not wish to say this to me, that the
First Consul having changed his mind, and no longer wishing my services
on the campaign, had himself given the counter orders. However, I soon
had proof to the contrary. In passing through Dijon, on his way to Mt.
St. Bernard, the First Consul asked for me, and learning that they had
forgotten me, expressed his dissatisfaction, and directed Bourrienne to
write immediately to Madame Bonaparte, requesting her to send me on
without delay.

One morning, when my chagrin was more acute than ever, Madame Bonaparte
sent for me, and said, holding Bourrienne's letter in her hand,
"Constant, since you have determined to quit us to make the campaign, you
may rejoice, for you are now about to leave. The First Consul has sent
for you. Go to the office of Maret, and ascertain if he will not soon
send a courier. You will accompany him." I was inexpressibly delighted
at this good news, and did not try to conceal my pleasure. "You are very
well satisfied to leave us," said Madame Bonaparte with a kind smile.
"It is not leaving Madame, but joining the First Consul, which delights
me."--"I hope so," replied she. "Go, Constant; and take good care of
him." If any incentive had been needed, this injunction of my noble
mistress would have added to the zeal and fidelity with which I had
determined to discharge my new duties. I hurried without delay to the
office of Maret, secretary of state, who already knew me, and had shown
his good-will for me. "Get ready at once," said he; "a courier will set
out this evening or to-morrow morning." I returned in all haste to
Malmaison, and announced to Madame Bonaparte my immediate departure. She
immediately had a good post-chaise made ready for me, and Thibaut (for
that was the name of the courier I was to accompany) was directed to
obtain horses for me along the route. Maret gave me eight hundred francs
for the expenses of my trip, which sum, entirely unexpected by me, filled
me with wonder, for I had never been so rich. At four o'clock in the
morning, having heard from Thibaut that everything was ready, I went to
his house, where the post-chaise awaited me, and we set out.

I traveled very comfortably, sometimes in the postchaise, sometimes on
horseback; I taking Thibaut's place, and he mine. I expected to overtake
the First Consul at Martigny; but his traveling had been so rapid, that I
caught up with him only at the convent of Mt. St. Bernard. Upon our
route we constantly passed regiments on the march, composed of officers
and soldiers who were hastening to rejoin their different corps. Their
enthusiasm was irrepressible,--those who had made the campaign of Italy
rejoiced at returning to so fine a country; those who had not yet done so
were burning with impatience to see the battlefields immortalized by
French valor, and by the genius of the hero who still marched at their
head. All went as if to a festival, and singing songs they climbed the
mountains of Valais. It was eight o'clock in the morning when I arrived
at headquarters. Pfister announced me; and I found the general-in-chief
in the great hall, in the basement of the Hospice. He was taking
breakfast, standing, with his staff. As soon as he saw me, he said,
"Here you are, you queer fellow! why didn't you come with me?" I excused
myself by saying that to my great regret I had received a counter order,
or, at least, they had left me behind at the moment of departure. "Lose
no time, my friend; eat quickly; we are about to start." From this
moment I was attached to the personal service of the First Consul, in the
quality of ordinary valet; that is to say, in my turn. This duty gave me
little to do; Hambard, the head valet of the First Consul, being in the
habit of dressing him from head to foot.

Immediately after breakfast we began to descend the mountain, many
sliding down on the snow, very much as they coast at the garden Beaujon,
from top to bottom of the Montagnes Russes, and I followed their example.
This they called "sledding." The general-in-chief also descended in this
manner an almost perpendicular glacier. His guide was a young
countryman, active and courageous, to whom the First Consul promised a
sufficiency for the rest of his days. Some young soldiers who had
wandered off into the snow were found, almost dead with cold, by the
dogs sent out by the monks, and carried to the Hospice, where they
received every possible attention, and their lives were saved. The First
Consul gave substantial proof of his gratitude to the good fathers for a
charity so useful and generous. Before leaving the Hospice, where he had
found tables loaded with food already prepared awaiting the soldiers as
soon as they reached the summit of the mountain, he gave to the good
monks a considerable sum of money, in reward for the hospitality he and
his companions in arms had received, and an order on the treasury for an
annuity in support of the convent.

The same day we climbed Mount Albaredo; but as this passage was
impracticable for cavalry and artillery, he ordered them to pass outside
the town of Bard, under the batteries of the fort. The First Consul had
ordered that they should pass it at night, and on a gallop; and he had
straw tied around the wheels of the caissons and on the feet of the
horses, but even these precautions were not altogether sufficient to
prevent the Austrians hearing our troops. The cannon of the fort rained
grape-shot incessantly; but fortunately the houses of the town sheltered
our soldiers from the enemy's guns, and more than half the army passed
without much loss. I was with the household of the First Consul, which
under the care of General Gardanne flanked the fort.

The 23d of May we forded a torrent which flowed between the town and the
fort, with the First Consul at our head, and then, followed by General
Berthier and some other officers, took the path over the Albaredo, which
overlooked the fort and the town of Bard. Directing his field-glass
towards the hostile batteries, from the fire of which he was protected
only by a few bushes, he criticised the dispositions which had been made
by the officer in charge of the siege of the fort, and ordered changes,
which he said would cause the place to fall into our hands in a short
time. Freed now from the anxiety which this fort had caused him, and
which he said had prevented his sleeping the two days he had passed in
the convent of Maurice, he stretched himself at the foot of a fir-tree
and took a refreshing nap, while the army was making good its passage.
Rising from this brief interval of repose, he descended the mountain and
continued his march to Ivree, where we passed the night.

The brave General Lannes, who commanded the advance guard, acted somewhat
in the capacity of quartermaster, taking possession of all the places
which barred the road. Only a few hours before we entered he had forced
the passage of Ivree.

Such was this miraculous passage of St. Bernard. Horses, cannon,
caissons, and an immense quantity of army stores of all kinds,
everything, in fact, was drawn or carried over glaciers which appeared
inaccessible, and by paths which seemed impracticable even for a single
man. The Austrian cannon were not more successful than the snow in
stopping the French army. So true is it that the genius and perseverance
of the First Consul were communicated, so to speak, to the humblest of
his soldiers, and inspired them with a courage and a strength, the
results of which will appear fabulous to posterity.

On the 2d of June, which was the day after the passage of the Ticino, and
the day of our entrance into Milan, the First Consul learned that the
fort of Bard had been taken the evening before, showing that his
dispositions had led to a quick result, and the road of communication by
the St. Bernard was now free from all obstructions. The First Consul
entered Milan without having met much resistance, the whole population
turned out on his entrance, and he was received with a thousand
acclamations. The confidence of the Milanese redoubled when they learned
that he had promised the members of the assembled clergy to maintain the
catholic worship and clergy as already established, and had compelled
them to take the oath of fidelity to the cisalpine republic.

The First Consul remained several days in this capital; and I had time to
form a more intimate acquaintance with my colleagues, who were, as I have
said, Hambard, Roustan, and Hebert. We relieved each other every
twenty-four hours, at noon precisely. As has always been my rule when
thrown into association with strangers, I observed, as closely as
circumstances permitted, the character and temper of my comrades, so
that I could regulate my conduct in regard to them, and know in advance
what I might have to fear or hope from association with them.

Hambard had an unbounded devotion for the First Consul, whom he had
followed to Egypt, but unfortunately his temper was gloomy and
misanthropic, which made him extremely sullen and disagreeable; and the
favor which Roustan enjoyed perhaps contributed to increase this gloomy
disposition. In a kind of mania he imagined himself to be the object of
a special espionage; and when his hours of service were over, he would
shut himself up in his room, and pass in mournful solitude the whole time
he was not on duty. The First Consul, when in good humor, would joke
with him upon this savage disposition, calling him Mademoiselle Hambard.
"Ah, well, what were you doing there in your room all by yourself?
Doubtless you were reading some poor romances, or some old books about
princesses carried off and kept under guard by a barbarous giant." To
which Hambard would sullenly reply, "General, you no doubt know better
than I what I was doing," referring in this way to the spies by which he
believed himself to be always surrounded. Notwithstanding this
unfortunate disposition, the First Consul felt very kindly to him. When
the Emperor went to camp at Boulogne, Hambard refused to accompany him;
and the Emperor gave him, as a place of retreat, the charge of the palace
of Meudon. There he showed unmistakable symptoms of insanity, and his
end was lamentable. During the Hundred Days, after a conversation with
the Emperor, he threw himself against a carving-knife with such violence
that the blade came out two inches behind his back. As it was believed
at this time that I had incurred the anger of the Emperor, the rumor went
abroad that it was I who had committed suicide, and this tragic death was
announced in several papers as mine.

Hebert, ordinary valet, was a very agreeable young fellow, but very
timid, and was, like all the rest of the household, devotedly attached to
the First Consul. It happened one day in Egypt that the latter, who had
never been able to shave himself (it was I who taught him how to shave
himself, as I shall relate elsewhere at length), called Hebert to shave
him, in the absence of Hambard, who ordinarily discharged that duty. As
it had sometimes happened that Hebert, on account of his great timidity,
had cut his master's chin, on that day the latter, who held a pair of
scissors in his hand, when Hebert approached him, holding his razor,
said, "Take care, you scamp; if you cut me, I will stick my scissors into
your stomach." This threat, made with an air of pretended seriousness,
but which was in fact only a jest, such as I have seen the Emperor
indulge in a hundred times, produced such an impression on Hebert, that
it was impossible for him to finish his work. He was seized with
a convulsive trembling, the razor fell from his hand, and the
general-in-chief in vain bent his neck, and said to him many times,
laughing "Come, finish, you scamp." Not only was Hebert unable to
complete his task that day, but from that time he had to renounce the
duty of barber. The Emperor did not like this excessive timidity in the
servants of his household; but this did not prevent him, when he
restored the castle of Rambouillet, from giving to Hebert the place of
concierge which he requested.

Roustan, so well known under the name of Mameluke, belonged to a good
family of Georgia; carried off at the age of six or seven, and taken to
Cairo, he was there brought up among the young slaves who attended upon
the mamelukes, until he should be of sufficient age to enter this warlike
militia. The Sheik of Cairo, in making a present to General Bonaparte of
a magnificent Arab horse, had given him at the same time Roustan and
Ibrahim, another mameluke, who was afterwards attached to the service of
Madame Bonaparte, under the name of Ali. It is well known that Roustan
became an indispensable accompaniment on all occasions when the Emperor
appeared in public. He was with him in all his expeditions, in all
processions, and, which was especially to his honor, in all his battles.
In the brilliant staff which followed the Emperor he shone more than all
others by the richness of his Oriental costume; and his appearance made a
decided impression, especially upon the common people and in the
provinces. He was believed to have great influence with the Emperor;
because, as credulous people said, Roustan had saved his master's life by
throwing himself between him and the saber of an enemy who was about to
strike him. I think that this belief was unfounded, and that the
especial favor he enjoyed was due to the habitual kindness of his Majesty
towards every one in his service. Besides, this favor affected in no
wise his domestic relations; for when Roustan, who had married a young
and pretty French girl, a certain Mademoiselle Douville, whose father was
valet to the Empress Josephine, was reproached by certain journals in
1814 and 1815 with not having followed to the end of his fortunes the man
for whom he had always expressed such intense devotion, Roustan replied
that the family ties which he had formed prevented his leaving France,
and that he could not destroy the happiness of his own household.

Ibrahim took the name of Ali when he passed into the service of Madame
Bonaparte. He was of more than Arabic ugliness, and had a wicked look.
I recall in this connection a little incident which took place at
Malmaison, which will give an idea of his character. One day, while
playing on the lawn of the chateau, I unintentionally threw him down
while running; and furious at his fall, he rose up, drew his poniard,
which he always wore, and dashed after me to strike me. I laughed at
first, like every one else, at the accident, and amused myself by making
him run; but warned by the cries of my comrades, and looking back to see
how close he was, I perceived at the same time his dagger and his rage.
I stopped at once, and planted my foot, with my eye fixed upon his
poniard, and was fortunate enough to avoid his blow, which, however,
grazed my breast. Furious in my turn, as may be imagined, I seized him
by his flowing pantaloons, and pitched him ten feet into the stream of
Malmaison, which was barely two feet deep. The plunge brought him at
once to his senses; and besides, his poniard had gone to the bottom,
which made him much less dangerous. But in his disappointment he yelled
so loudly that Madame Bonaparte heard him; and as she had quite a fancy
for her mameluke, I was sharply scolded. However, this poor Ali was of
such an unsocial temperament that he got into difficulties with almost
every one in the household, and at last was sent away to Fontainebleau,
to take the place of manservant there.

I now return to our campaign. On the 13th of June the First Consul spent
the night at Torre-di-Galifolo, where he established his headquarters.
From the day of our entry into Milan the advance of the army had not
slackened; General Murat had passed the Po, and taken possession of
Piacenza; and General Lannes, still pushing forward with his brave
advance guard, had fought a bloody battle at Montebello, a name which he
afterwards rendered illustrious by bearing it. The recent arrival of
General Desaix, who had just returned from Egypt, completed the joy of
the general-in-chief, and also added much to the confidence of the
soldiers, by whom the good and modest Desaix was adored. The First
Consul received him with the frankest and most cordial friendship, and
they remained together three consecutive hours in private conversation.
At the end of this conference, an order of the day announced to the army
that General Desaix would take command of the division Boudet. I heard
some persons in the suite of General Desaix say that his patience and
evenness of temper were rudely tried during his voyage, by contrary
winds, forced delays, the ennui of quarantine, and above all by the bad
conduct of the English, who had kept him for some time a prisoner in
their fleet, in sight of the shores of France, although he bore a
passport, signed by the English authorities in Egypt, in consequence of
the capitulation which had been mutually agreed upon. Consequently his
resentment against them was very ardent; and he regretted much, he said,
that the enemy he was about to fight was not the English.

In spite of the simplicity of his tastes and habits, no one was more
ambitious of glory than this brave general. All his rage against the
English was caused by the fear that he might not arrive in time to gather
new laurels. He did indeed arrive in time, but only to find a glorious
death, alas, so premature!

It was on the fourteenth that the celebrated battle of Marengo took
place, which began early in the morning, and lasted throughout the day.
I remained at headquarters with all the household of the First Consul,
where we were almost within range of the cannon on the battlefield.
Contradictory news constantly came, one report declaring the battle
completely lost, the next giving us the victory. At one time the
increase in the number of our wounded, and the redoubled firing of the
Austrian cannon, made us believe that all was lost; and then suddenly
came the news that this apparent falling back was only a bold maneuver of
the First Consul, and that a charge of General Desaix had gained the
battle. But the victory was bought at a price dear to France and to the
heart of the First Consul. Desaix, struck by a bullet, fell dead on the
field; and the grief of his soldiers serving only to exasperate their
courage, they routed, by a bayonet charge, the enemy, who were already
shaken by the brilliant cavalry charge of General Kellermann. The First
Consul slept upon the field of battle, and notwithstanding the decisive
victory that he had gained, was very sad, and said that evening, in the
presence of Hambard and myself, many things which showed the profound
grief he experienced in the death of General Desaix. He said, "France
has lost one of her bravest defenders, and I one of my best friends; no
one knew how much courage there was in the heart of Desaix, nor how much
genius in his head." He thus solaced his grief by making to each and all
a eulogy on the hero who had died on the field of honor.

"My brave Desaix," he further said, "always wished to die thus;" and then
added, almost with tears in his eyes, "but ought death to have been so
prompt to grant his wish?"

There was not a soldier in our victorious army who did not share so just
a sorrow. Rapp and Savary, the aides-de-camp of Desaix, remained plunged
in the most despairing grief beside the body of their chief, whom they
called their father, rather to express his unfailing kindness to them
than the dignity of his character. Out of respect to the memory of his
friend, the general-in-chief, although his staff was full, added these
two young officers in the quality of aides-de-camp.

Commandant Rapp (for such only was his rank at that time) was then, as he
has ever been, good, full of courage, and universally beloved. His
frankness, which sometimes bordered on brusqueness, pleased the Emperor;
and I have many times heard him speak in praise of his aide-de-camp, whom
he always styled, "My brave Rapp." Rapp was not lucky in battle, for he
rarely escaped without a wound. While thus anticipating events, I will
mention that in Russia, on the eve of the battle of La Moskwa, the
Emperor said, in my presence, to General Rapp, who had just arrived from
Dantzic, "See here, my brave fellow, we will beat them to-morrow, but
take great care of yourself. You are not a favorite of fortune."--"That
is," said the general, "the premium to be paid on the business, but I
shall none the less on that account do my best."

Savary manifested for the First Consul the same fervid zeal and unbounded
devotion which had attached him to General Desaix; and if he lacked any
of the qualities of General Rapp, it was certainly not bravery. Of all
the men who surrounded the Emperor, no one was more absolutely devoted to
his slightest wishes. In the course of these memoirs, I shall doubtless
have occasion to recall instances of this unparalleled enthusiasm, for
which the Duke de Rovigo I was magnificently rewarded; but it is just to
say that he did not bite the hand which rewarded him, and that he gave to
the end, and even after the end, of his old master (for thus he loved to
style the Emperor) an example of gratitude which has been imitated by

A government decree, in the month of June following, determined that the
body of Desaix should be carried to the Hospice of St. Bernard, and that
a tomb should be erected on that spot, in the country where he had
covered himself with immortal glory, as a testimonial to the grief of
France, and especially that of the First Consul.


The victory of Marengo had rendered the conquest of Italy certain.
Therefore the First Consul, thinking his presence more necessary at Paris
than at the head of his army, gave the command in chief to General
Massena, and made preparations to repass the mountains. On our return to
Milan, the First Consul was received with even more enthusiasm than on
his first visit.

The establishment of a republic was in accordance with the wishes of a
large number of the Milanese; and they called the First Consul their
Savior, since he had delivered them from the yoke of the Austrians.
There was, however, a party who detested equally these changes, the
French army which was the instrument of them, and the young chief who was
the author. In this party figured a celebrated artist, the singer

During our former visit, the First Consul had sent for him; and the
musician had waited to be entreated, acting as if he were much
inconvenienced, and at last presented himself with all the importance of
a man whose dignity had been offended. The very simple costume of the
First Consul, his short stature, thin visage, and poor figure were not
calculated to make much of an impression on the hero of the theater; and
after the general-in-chief had welcomed him cordially, and very politely
asked him to sing an air, he replied by this poor pun, uttered in a tone
the impertinence of which was aggravated by his Italian accent: "Signor
General, if it is a good air which you desire, you will find an excellent
one in making a little tour of the garden." The Signor Marchesi was for
this fine speech immediately put out of the door, and the same evening an
order was sent committing the singer to prison. On our return the First
Consul, whose resentment against Marchesi the cannon of Marengo had
doubtless assuaged, and who thought besides that the penance of the
musician for a poor joke had been sufficiently long, sent for him again,
and asked him once more to sing; Marchesi this time was modest and
polite, and sang in a charming manner. After the concert the First
Consul approached him, pressed his hand warmly, and complimented him in
the most affectionate manner; and from that moment peace was concluded
between the two powers, and Marchesi sang only praises of the First

At this same concert the First Consul was struck with the beauty of a
famous singer, Madame Grassini. He found her by no means cruel, and at
the end of a few hours the conqueror of Italy counted one conquest more.

The following day she breakfasted with the First Consul and General
Berthier in the chamber of the First Consul. General Berthier was
ordered to provide for the journey of Madame Grassini, who was carried to
Paris, and attached to the concert-room of the court.

The First Consul left Milan on the 24th; and we returned to France by the
route of Mont Cenis, traveling as rapidly as possible. Everywhere the
Consul was received with an enthusiasm difficult to describe. Arches of
triumph had been erected at the entrance of each town, and in each canton
a deputation of leading citizens came to make addresses to and compliment
him. Long ranks of young girls, dressed in white, crowned with flowers,
bearing flowers in their hands, and throwing flowers into the carriage of
the First Consul, made themselves his only escort, surrounded him,
followed him, and preceded him, until he had passed, or as soon as he set
foot on the ground wherever he stopped.

The journey was thus, throughout the whole route, a perpetual fete; and
at Lyons it amounted to an ovation, in which the whole town turned out to
meet him. He entered, surrounded by an immense crowd, amid the most
noisy demonstrations, and alighted at the hotel of the Celestins. In the
Reign of Terror the Jacobins had spent their fury on the town of Lyons,
the destruction of which they had sworn; and the handsome buildings which
ornamented the Place Belcour had been leveled to the ground, the hideous
cripple Couthon, at the head of the vilest mob of the clubs, striking
the first blow with the hammer. The First Consul detested the Jacobins,
who, on their side, hated and feared him; and his constant care was to
destroy their work, or, in other words, to restore the ruins with which
they had covered France. He thought then, and justly too, that he could
not better respond to the affection of the people of Lyons, than by
promoting with all his power the rebuilding of the houses of the Place
Belcour; and before his departure he himself laid the first stone. The
town of Dijon gave the First Consul a reception equally as brilliant.

Between Villeneuve-le-Roi and Sens, at the descent to the bridge of
Montereau, while the eight horses, lashed to a gallop, were bearing the
carriage rapidly along (the First Consul already traveled like a king),
the tap of one of the front wheels came off. The inhabitants who lined
the route, witnessing this accident, and foreseeing what would be the
result, used every effort to stop the postilions, but did not succeed,
and the carriage was violently upset. The First Consul received no
injury; General Berthier had his face slightly scratched by the windows,
which were broken; and the two footmen, who were on the steps, were
thrown, violently to a distance, and badly wounded. The First Consul got
out, or rather was pulled out, through one of the doors. This occurrence
made no delay in his journey; he took his seat in another carriage
immediately, and reached Paris with no other accident. The night of the
2d of July, he alighted at the Tuileries; and the next day, as soon as
the news of his return had been circulated in Paris, the entire
population filled the courts and the garden. They pressed around the
windows of the pavilion of Flora, in the hope of catching a glimpse of
the savior of France, the liberator of Italy.

That evening there was no one, either rich or poor, who did not take
delight in illuminating his house or his garret. It was only a short
time after his arrival at Paris that the First Consul learned of the
death of General Kleber. The poniard of Suleyman had slain this great
captain the same day that the cannon of Marengo laid low another hero of
the army of Egypt. This assassination caused the First Consul the most
poignant grief, of which I was an eyewitness, and to which I can testify;
and, nevertheless, his calumniators have dared to say that he rejoiced at
an event, which, even considered apart from its political relations,
caused him to lose a conquest which had cost him so much, and France so
much blood and expense. Other miserable wretches, still more stupid and
more infamous, have even gone so far as to fabricate and spread abroad
the report that the First Consul had himself ordered the assassination of
his companion in arms, whom he had placed in his own position at the head
of the army in Egypt. To these I have only one answer to make, if it is
necessary to answer them at all; it is this, they never knew the Emperor.

After his return, the First Consul went often with his wife to Malmaison,
where he remained sometimes for several days. At this time it was the
duty of the valet de chambre to follow the carriage on horseback. One
day the First Consul, while returning to Paris, ascertained a short
distance from the chateau that he had forgotten his snuff-box, and sent
me for it. I turned my bridle, set off at a gallop, and, having found
the snuff-box on his desk, retraced my steps to overtake him, but did not
succeed in doing so till he had reached Ruelle. Just as I drew near the
carriage my horse slipped on a stone, fell, and threw me some distance
into a ditch. The fall was very severe; and I remained stretched on the
ground, with one shoulder dislocated, and an arm badly bruised. The
First Consul ordered the horses stopped, himself gave orders to have me
taken up, and cautioned them to be very careful in moving me; and I was
borne, attended by-him, to the barracks of Ruelle, where he took pains
before continuing his journey to satisfy himself that I was in no danger.
The physician of his household was sent to Ruelle, my shoulder set, and
my arm dressed; and from there I was carried as gently as possible to
Malmaison, where, good Madame, Bonaparte had the kindness to come to see
me, and lavished on me every attention.

The day I returned to service, after my recovery, I was in the
antechamber of the First Consul as he came out of his cabinet. He drew
near me, and inquired with great interest how I was. I replied that,
thanks to the care taken of me, according to the orders of my excellent
master and mistress, I was quite well again. "So much the better," said
the First Consul. "Constant, make haste, and get your strength back.
Continue to serve me well, and I will take care of you. Here," added he,
placing in my hand three little crumpled papers, "these are to replenish
your wardrobe;" and he passed on, without listening to the profuse thanks
which, with great emotion, I was attempting to express, much more for the
consideration and interest in me shown by him than for his present, for I
did not then know of what it consisted. After he passed on I unrolled my
papers: they were three bank-bills, each for a thousand francs! I was
moved to tears by so great a kindness. We must remember that at this
period the First Consul was not rich, although he was the first
magistrate of the republic. How deeply the remembrance of this generous
deed touches me, even to-day. I do not know if details so personal to me
will be found interesting; but they seem to me proper as evidence of the
true character of the Emperor, which has been so outrageously
misrepresented, and also as an instance of his ordinary conduct towards
the servants of his house; it shows too, at the same time, whether the
severe economy that he required in his domestic management, and of which
I will speak elsewhere, was the result, as has been stated, of sordid
avarice, or whether it was not rather a rule of prudence, from which he
departed willingly whenever his kindness of heart or his humanity urged
him thereto.

I am not certain that my memory does not deceive me in leading me to put
in this place a circumstance which shows the esteem in which the First
Consul held the brave soldiers of his army, and how he loved to manifest
it on all occasions. I was one day in his sleeping-room, at the usual
hour for his toilet, and was performing that day the duties of chief
valet, Hambard being temporarily absent or indisposed, there being in the
room, besides the body servants, only the brave and modest Colonel
Gerard Lacuee, one of the aides-de-camp of the First Consul. Jerome
Bonaparte, then hardly seventeen years of age, was introduced. This
young man gave his family frequent cause of complaint, and feared no one
except his brother Napoleon, who reprimanded, lectured, and scolded him
as if he had been his own son. There was a question at the time of
making him a sailor, less with the object of giving him a career, than of
removing him from the seductive temptations which the high position of
his brother caused to spring up incessantly around his path, and which he
had little strength to resist. It may be imagined what it cost him to
renounce pleasures so accessible and so delightful to a young man. He
did not fail to protest, on all occasions, his unfitness for sea-service,
going so far, it is said, that he even caused himself to be rejected by
the examining board of the navy as incompetent, though he could easily
have prepared himself to answer the few questions asked. However, the
will of the First Consul must be obeyed, and Jerome was compelled to
embark. On the day of which I have spoken, after some moments of
conversation and scolding, still on the subject of the navy, Jerome said
to his brother, "Instead of sending me to perish of ennui at sea, you
ought to take me for an aide-de-camp."--"What, take you, greenhorn,"
warmly replied the First Consul; "wait till a ball has furrowed your face
and then I will see about it," at the same time calling his attention to
Colonel Lacuee, who blushed, and dropped his eyes to the floor like a
young girl, for, as is well known, he bore on his face the scar made by a
bullet. This gallant colonel was killed in 1805 before Guntzbourg; and
the Emperor deeply regretted his loss, for he ways one of the bravest and
most skillful officers of the army.

It was, I believe, about this time that the First Consul conceived a
strong passion for a very intelligent and handsome young woman, Madame D.
Madame Bonaparte, suspecting this intrigue, showed jealousy; and her
husband did all he could to allay her wifely suspicions. Before going to
the chamber of his mistress he would wait until every one was asleep in
the chateau; and he even carried his precautions so far as to go from his
room to hers in his night-dress, without shoes or slippers. Once I found
that day was about to break before his return; and fearing scandal, I
went, as the First Consul had ordered me to do in such a case, to notify
the chambermaid of Madame D. to go to her mistress and tell her the hour.
It was hardly five minutes after this timely notice had been given, when
I saw the First Consul returning, in great excitement, of which I soon
learned the cause. He had discovered, on his return, one of Madame
Bonaparte's women, lying in wait, and who had seen him through the window
of a closet opening upon the corridor. The First Consul, after a
vigorous outburst against the curiosity of the fair sex, sent me to the
young scout from the enemy's camp to intimate to her his orders to hold
her tongue, unless she wished to be discharged without hope of return.
I do not know whether I added a milder argument to these threats to buy
her silence; but, whether from fear or for compensation, she had the good
sense not to talk. Nevertheless, the successful lover, fearing another
surprise, directed me to rent in the Allee des Ireuves a little house
where he and Madame D. met from time to time. Such were, and continued
to be, the precautions of the First Consul towards his wife. He had the
highest regard for her, and took all imaginable care to prevent his
infidelities coming to her knowledge. Besides, these passing fancies did
not lessen the tenderness he felt for her; and although other women
inspired him with love, no other woman had his confidence and friendship
to the same extent as Madame Bonaparte. There have been a thousand and
one calumnies repeated of the harshness and brutality of the First Consul
towards women. He was not always gallant, but I have never seen him
rude; and, however singular it may seem after what I have just related,
he professed the greatest veneration for a wife of exemplary conduct,
speaking in admiring terms of happy households; and he did not admire
cynicism, either in morals or in language. When he had any liaisons he
kept them secret, and concealed them with great care.


The 3d Nivose, year IX. (Dec. 21, 1800),

   [Under the Republican regime the years were counted from the
   proclamation of the Republic, Sept. 22, 1792. The year was divided
   into twelve months of thirty days each, re-named from some
   peculiarity, as Brumaire (foggy); Nivose (snowy); Thermidor (hot);
   Fructidor (fruit), etc.; besides five supplementary days of
   festivals, called 'sans-culottides'. The months were divided into
   three decades of ten days instead of weeks, the tenth day (decadi)
   being in lieu of Sunday. The Republican calendar lasted till Jan 1,
   1806, as to the years and months at least, though the Concordat
   had restored the weeks and Sabbaths.--TRANS.]

the Opera presented, by order, The Creation of Haydn; and the First
Consul had announced that he would be present, with all his household, at
this magnificent oratorio. He dined on that day with Madame Bonaparte,
her daughter, and Generals Rapp, Lauriston, Lannes, and Berthier. I was
on duty; but as the First Consul was going to the Opera, I knew that I
should not be needed at the chateau, and resolved, for my part, to go to
the Feydeau, occupying the box which Madame Bonaparte allowed us, and
which was situated under hers. After dinner, which the First Consul
bolted with his usual rapidity, he rose from the table, followed by his
officers, with the exception of General Rapp, who remained with Madame
Josephine and Hortense. About seven o'clock the First Consul entered his
carriage with Lannes, Berthier, and Lauriston, to go to the Opera. When
they arrived in the middle of Rue Sainte-Nicaise, the escort who preceded
the carriage found the road obstructed by a cart, which seemed to be
abandoned, and on which a cask was found fastened strongly with ropes.
The chief of the escort had this cart removed to the side of the street;
and the First Consul's coachman, whom this delay had made impatient,
urged on his horses vigorously, and they shot off like lightning.
Scarcely two seconds had passed when the barrel which was on the cart
burst with a frightful explosion. No one of the escort or of the
companions of the First Consul was slain, but several were wounded; and
the loss among the residents in the street and the passers-by near the
horrible machine was much greater. More than twenty of these were
killed, and more than sixty seriously wounded. Trepsat, the architect,
had his thigh broken. The First Consul afterwards decorated him, and
made him the architect of the Invalides, saying that he had long enough
been the most invalid of architects. All the panes of glass at the
Tuileries were broken, and many houses thrown down. All those of the
Rue Sainte-Nicaise, and even some in the adjacent streets, were badly
damaged, some fragments being blown into the house of the Consul
Cambaceres. The glass of the First Consul's carriage was shivered to
fragments. By a fortunate chance, the carriages of the suite, which
should have been immediately behind that of the First Consul, were some
distance in the rear, which happened in this way: Madame Bonaparte, after
dinner, had a shawl brought to wear to the opera; and when it came,
General Rapp jestingly criticised the color, and begged her to choose
another. Madame Bonaparte defended her shawl, and said to the general
that he knew as much about criticising a toilet as she did about
attacking a fort. This friendly banter continued for some moments; and
in the interval, the First Consul, who never waited, set out in advance,
and the miserable assassins and authors of the conspiracy set fire to the
infernal machine. Had the coachman of the First Consul driven less
rapidly, and thereby been two seconds later, it would have been all over
with his master; while, on the other hand, if Madame Bonaparte had
followed her husband promptly, it would have been certain death to her
and all her suite.

It was, in fact, the delay of an instant which saved her life, as well as
that of her daughter, her sister-in-law, Madame Murat, and all who were
to accompany them, since the carriage of these ladies, instead of being
immediately behind that of the First Consul, was just leaving the Place
Carrousel, when the machine exploded. The glass was shivered; and though
Madame Bonaparte received no injury except the terrible fright, Hortense
was slightly wounded in the face by a piece of glass, and Madame Caroline
Murat, who was then far advanced in pregnancy, was so frightened that it
was necessary to carry her back to the Tuileries. This catastrophe had
its influence, even on the health of her child; for I have been told that
Prince Achille Muratz is subject, to this day, to frequent attacks of
epilepsy. As is well known, the First Consul went on to the opera, where
he was received with tumultuous acclamations, the immobility of his
countenance contrasting strongly with the pallor and agitation of Madame
Bonaparte's, who had feared not so much for herself as for him. The
coachman who had driven the First Consul with such good fortune was named
Germain. He had followed him in Egypt, and in a skirmish had killed an
Arab, with his own hand, under the eyes of the general-in-chief, who,
struck with his courage, had cried out, "Diable! that's a brave man, he
is a Caesar." The name had clung to him. It has been said that this
brave man was drunk at the time of this explosion; but this is a mistake,
which his conduct under the circumstances contradicts in the most
positive manner. When the First Consul, after he became Emperor, went
out, incognito, in Paris, it was Caesar who was his escort, without
livery. It is said in the Memorial de Sainte Helene that the Emperor,
in speaking of Caesar, stated that he was in a complete state of
intoxication, and took the noise of the explosion for an artillery
salute, nor did he know until the next day what had taken place. This is
entirely untrue, and the Emperor was incorrectly informed in regard to
his coachman. Caesar drove the First Consul very rapidly because he had
been ordered to do so, and because he considered his honor interested in
not allowing the obstacle which the infernal machine placed in his way
before the explosion to delay him. The evening of the event I saw
Caesar, who was perfectly sober, and he himself related to me part of the
details that I have just given. A few days after, four or five hundred
hackney-coachmen clubbed together to honor him, and gave him a
magnificent dinner at twenty-four francs per head.

While the infernal plot was being executed, and costing the lies of many
innocent citizens, without attaining the object the assassins proposed,
I was, as I have said, at the Theatre Feydeau, where I had prepared
myself to enjoy at my leisure an entire evening of freedom, amid the
pleasures of the stage, for which I had all my life a great liking.
Scarcely had I seated myself comfortably, however, when the box-keeper
entered in the greatest excitement, crying out, "Monsieur Constant, it is
said that they have just blown up the First Consul; there has been a
terrible explosion, and it is asserted that he is dead." These terrible
words were like a thunderbolt-to me. Not knowing what I did, I plunged
down-stairs, and, forgetting my hat, ran like mad to the chateau. While
crossing Rue Vivienne and the Palais Royal, I saw no extraordinary
disturbance; but in Rue Sainte Honore there was a very great tumult, and
I saw, borne away on litters, many dead and wounded, who had been at
first carried into the neighboring houses of Rue Sainte Nicaise. Many
groups had formed, and with one voice all were cursing the still unknown
authors of this dastardly attempt. Some accused the Jacobins of this,
because three months before they had placed the poniard in the hands of
Cerrachi, of Arena, and of Topino Lebrun; whilst others, less numerous
perhaps, thought the aristocrats, the Royalists, could alone be guilty of
this atrocity. I could give no time to these various accusations, except
as I was detained in forcing my way through an immense and closely packed
crowd, and as rapidly as possible went on, and in two seconds was at the
Carrousel. I threw myself against the wicket, but the two sentinels
instantly crossed bayonets before my breast. It was useless to cry out
that I was valet de chambre of the First Consul; for my bare head, my
wild manner, the disorder, both of my dress and ideas, appeared to them
suspicious, and they refused energetically and very obstinately to allow
me to enter. I then begged them to send for the gatekeeper of the
chateau; and as soon as he came, I was admitted, or rather rushed into
the chateau, where I learned what had just happened. A short time after
the First Consul arrived, and was immediately surrounded by his officers,
and by all his household, every one present being in the greatest state
of anxiety. When the First Consul alighted from his carriage he appeared
calm and smiling; he even wore an air of gayety. On entering the
vestibule he said to his officers, rubbing his hands, "Well, sirs, we
made a fine escape!" They shuddered with indignation and anger. He then
entered the grand saloon on the ground floor, where a large number of
counselors of state and-dignitaries had already assembled; but hardly had
they begun to express their congratulations, when he interrupted them,
and in so vehement a manner that he was heard outside the saloon. We
were told that after this council he had a lively altercation with
Fouche, Minister of Police, whom he reproached with his ignorance of
this plot, openly accusing the Jacobins of being the authors.

That evening, on retiring, the First Consul asked me laughingly if I was
afraid. "More than you were, my general," I replied; and I related to
him how I had heard the fatal news at the Feydeau, and had run without my
hat to the very wicket of the Carrousel, where the sentinels tried to
prevent my entering. He was amused at the oaths and abusive epithets
with which they had accompanied their defense of the gate, and at last
said to me, "After all, my dear Constant, you should not be angry with
them; they were only obeying orders. They are brave men, on whom I can
rely." The truth is, the Consular Guard was at this period no less
devoted than it has been since as the Imperial Guard. At the first rumor
of the great risk which the First Consul had run, all the soldiers of
that faithful band had gathered spontaneously in the court of the

After this melancholy catastrophe, which carried distress into all
France, and mourning into so many families, the entire police were
actively engaged in searching for the authors of the plot. The dwelling
of the First Consul was first put under surveillance, and we were
incessantly watched by spies, without suspecting it. All our walks, all
our visits, all our goings and comings, were known; and attention was
especially directed to our friends, and even our liaisons. But such was
the devotion of each and all to the person of the First Consul, such was
the affection that he so well knew how to inspire in those around him,
that not one of the persons attached to his service was for an instant
suspected of having a hand in this infamous attempt. Neither at this
time, nor in any other affair of this kind, were the members of his
household ever compromised; and never was the name of the lowest of his
servants ever found mixed up in criminal plots against a life so valued
and so glorious.

The minister of police suspected the Royalists of this attempt; but the
First Consul attributed it to the Jacobins, because they were already
guilty, he said, of crimes as odious. One hundred and thirty of the most
noted men of this party were transported on pure suspicion, and without
any form of trial. It is now known that the discovery, trial, and
execution of Saint Regent and Carbon, the true criminals, proved that the
conjectures of the minister were more correct than those of the chief of

The 4th Nivose, at noon, the First Consul held a grand review in the
Place Carrousel, where an innumerable crowd of citizens were collected to
behold, and also to testify their affection for his person, and their
indignation against the enemies who dared attack him only by
assassination. Hardly had he turned his horse towards the first line of
grenadiers of the Consular Guard, when their innumerable acclamations
rose on all sides. He rode along the ranks, at a walk, very slowly,
showing his appreciation, and replying by a few simple and affectionate
words to this effusion of popular joy; and cries of "Vive Bonaparte!
Vive the First Consul!" did not cease till after he had re-entered his

The conspirators who obstinately persisted, with so much animosity, in
attacking the life of the First Consul, could not have chosen a period in
which circumstances would have been more adverse to their plans than in
1800 and 1801, for then the Consul was beloved not only for his military
deeds, but still more for the hope of peace that he gave to France, which
hope was soon realized. As soon as the first rumor spread abroad that
peace had been concluded with Austria, the greater part of the
inhabitants of Paris gathered under the windows of the Pavilion of Flora.
Blessings and cries of gratitude and joy were heard on all sides; then
musicians assembled to give a serenade to the chief of state, and
proceeded to form themselves into orchestras; and there was dancing the
whole night through. I have never seen a sight more striking or more
joyous than the bird's-eye view of this improvised jubilee.

When in the month of October, the, peace of Amiens having been concluded
with England, France found herself delivered from all the wars that she
had maintained through so many years, and at the cost of so many
sacrifices, it would be impossible to form an idea of the joy which burst
forth on all sides. The decrees which ordered either the disarmament of
vessels of war, or the placing of the forts on a peace footing, were
welcomed as pledges of happiness and security. The day of the reception
of Lord Cornwallis, Ambassador of England, the First Consul ordered that
the greatest magnificence should be displayed. "It is necessary," he had
said the evening before, "to show these proud Britons that we are not
reduced to beggary." The fact is, the English, before setting foot on
the French continent, had expected to find only ruins, penury, and
misery. The whole of France had been described to them as being in the
most distressing condition, and they thought themselves on the point of
landing in a barbarous country. Their surprise was great when they saw
how many evils the First Consul had already repaired in so short a time,
and all the improvements that he still intended to carry out; and they
spread through their own country the report of what they themselves
called the prodigies of the First Consul, by which thousands of their
compatriots were influenced to come and judge with their own eyes. At
the moment that Lord Cornwallis entered the great hall of the Ambassadors
with his suite, the eyes of all the English must have been dazzled by the
sight of the First Consul, surrounded by his two colleagues, with all the
diplomatic corps, and with an already brilliant military court.

In the midst of all these rich uniforms, his was remarkable for its
simplicity; but the diamond called the Regent, which had been put in pawn
under the Directory, and redeemed a few days since by the First Consul,
sparkled on the hilt of his sword.


In the month of May, 1801, there came to Paris, on his way to take
possession of his new kingdom, the Prince of Tuscany, Don Louis the
First, whom the First Consul had just made King of Etruria. He traveled
under the name of the Count of Leghorn, with his wife, who was the
infanta of Spain, Maria Louisa, third daughter of Charles the Fourth; but
in spite of the incognito, which, from the modest title he had assumed,
he seemed really anxious to preserve, especially, perhaps, on account of
the poor appearance of his small court, he was, notwithstanding, received
and treated at the Tuileries as a king. This prince was in feeble
health, and it was said had epilepsy. They were lodged at the residence
of the Spanish Embassy, formerly the Hotel Montessori; and he requested
Madame de Montessori, who lived in the next house, to reopen a private
communication between the houses which had long been closed. He, as well
as the Queen of Etruria, greatly enjoyed the society of this lady, who
was the widow of the Duke of Orleans, and spent many hours every day in
her house. A Bourbon himself, he doubtless loved to hear every
particular relating to the Bourbons of France, which could so well be
given by one who had lived at their court, and on intimate terms with the
royal family, with which she was connected by ties which, though not
official, were none the less well known and recognized.

Madame de Montesson received at her house all who were most distinguished
in Parisian society. She had reunited the remnants of the most select
society of former times, which the Revolution had dispersed. A friend of
Madame Bonaparte, she was also loved and respected by the First Consul,
who was desirous that they should speak and think well of him in the most
noble and elegant saloon of the capital. Besides, he relied upon the
experience and exquisite refinement of this lady, to establish in the
palace and its society, out of which he already dreamed of making a
court, the usages and etiquette customary with sovereigns.

The King of Etruria was not fond of work, and in this respect did not
please the First Consul, who could not endure idleness. I heard him one
day, in conversation with his colleague, Cambaceres, score severely his
royal protege (in his absence, of course). "Here is a prince," said he,
"who does not concern himself much with his very dear and well-beloved
subjects, but passes his time cackling with old women, to whom he dilates
in a loud tone on my good qualities, while he complains in a whisper of
owing his elevation to the chief of this cursed French Republic. His
only business is walking, hunting, balls, and theaters."--"It is
asserted," remarked Cambaceres, "that you wished to disgust the French
people with kings, by showing them such a specimen, as the Spartans
disgusted their children with drunkenness by exhibiting to them a drunken

"Not so, not so, my dear sir," replied the First Consul. "I have no desire
to disgust them with royalty; but the sojourn of the King of Etruria will
annoy a number of good people who are working incessantly to create a
feeling favorable to the Bourbons." Don Louis, perhaps, did not merit
such severity, although he was, it must be admitted, endowed with little
mind, and few agreeable traits of character. When he dined at the
Tuileries, he was much embarrassed in replying to the simplest questions
the First Consul addressed him. Beyond the rain and the weather, horses,
dogs, and other like subjects of conversation, he could not give an
intelligent reply on any subject. The Queen, his wife, often made signs
to put him on right road, and even whispered to him, what he should say
or do; but this rendered only the more conspicuous his absolute want of
presence of mind. People made themselves merry at his expense; but they
took good care, however, not to do this in the presence of the First
Consul, who would not have suffered any want of respect to a guest to
whom he had shown so much. What gave rise to the greatest number of
pleasantries, in regard to the prince, was his excessive economy, which
reached a point truly incredible. Innumerable instances were quoted,
which this is perhaps the most striking. The First Consul sent him
frequently during his stay, magnificent presents, such as Savonnerie
carpets, Lyons cloths, and Sevres porcelain; and on such occasions his
Majesty would give some small gratuity to the bearers of these precious
articles. One day a vase of very great value (it cost, I believe, a
hundred thousand crowns) was brought him which it required a dozen
workmen to place in the apartments of the king. Their work being
finished, the workmen waited until his Majesty should give them some
token of his satisfaction, and flattered themselves he would display a
truly royal liberality. As, notwithstanding, time passed, and the
expected gratuity did not arrive, they finally applied to one of his
chamberlains, and asked him to lay their petition at the feet of the King
of Etruria. His Majesty, who was still in ecstasy over the beauty of the
present, and the munificence of the First Consul, was astounded at such a
request. "It was a present," said he; "and hence it was for him to
receive, not to give;" and it was only after much persistence that the
chamberlain obtained six francs for each of these workmen, which were
refused by these good people. The persons of the prince's suite asserted
that to this extreme aversion to expense he added an excessive severity
towards themselves; however, the first of these traits probably disposed
the servants of the King of Etruria to exaggerate the second.

Masters who are too economical never fail to be deemed severe themselves,
and at the same time are severely criticised by their servants. For this
reason, perhaps (I would say in passing), there is current among some
people a calumny which represents the Emperor as often taking a fancy to
beat his servants. The economy of the Emperor Napoleon was only a desire
for the most perfect order in the expenses of his household. One thing I
can positively assert in regard to his Majesty, the King of Etruria, is
that he did not sincerely feel either all the enthusiasm or all the
gratitude which he expressed towards the First Consul, and the latter had
more than one proof of this insincerity. As to the king's talent for
governing and reigning, the First Consul said to Cambaceres at his levee,
in the same conversation from which I have already quoted, that the
Spanish Ambassador had complained of the haughtiness of this prince
towards him, of his extreme ignorance, and of the disgust with which all
kind of business inspired him. Such was the king who went to govern part
of Italy, and was installed in his kingdom by General Murat, who
apparently had little idea that a throne was in store for himself a few
leagues distant from that on which he seated Don Luis.

The Queen of Etruria was, in the opinion of the First Consul, more
sagacious and prudent than her august husband. This princess was
remarkable neither for grace nor elegance; she dressed herself in the
morning for the whole day, and walked in the garden, her head adorned
with flowers or a diadem, and wearing a dress, the train of which swept
up the sand of the walks; often, also, carrying in her arms one of her
children, still in long dresses, from which it can be readily understood
that by night the toilet of her Majesty was somewhat disarranged. She
was far from pretty, and her manners were not suited to her rank. But,
which fully atoned for all this, she was good-tempered, much beloved by
those in her service, and fulfilled scrupulously all the duties of wife
and mother; and in consequence the First Consul, who made a great point
of domestic virtues, professed for her the highest and most sincere

During the entire month which their Majesties spent in Paris, there was a
succession of fetes, one of which Talleyrand gave in their honor at
Neuilly, of great magnificence and splendor, and to which I, being on
duty, accompanied the First Consul. The chateau and park were
illuminated with a brilliant profusion of colored lights. First there
was a concert, at the close of which the end of the hall was moved aside,
like the curtain of a theater, and we beheld the principal square in
Florence, the ducal palace, a fountain playing, and the Tuscans giving
themselves up to the games and dances of their country, and singing
couplets in honor of their sovereigns. Talleyrand came forward, and
requested their Majesties to mingle with their subjects; and hardly had
they set foot in the garden than they found themselves in fairyland,
where fireworks, rockets, and Bengal fires burst out in every direction
and in every form, colonnades, arches of triumph, and palaces of fire
arose, disappeared, and succeeded each other incessantly. Numerous
tables were arranged in the apartments and in the garden, at which all
the spectators were in turn seated, and last of all a magnificent ball
closed this evening of enchantments. It was opened by the King of
Etruria and Madame Le Clerc (Pauline Borghese).

Madame de Montesson also gave to their Majesties a ball, at which the
whole family of the First Consul was present. But of all these
entertainments, I retain the most vivid recollection of that given by
Chaptal, Minister of the Interior, the day which he chose being the
fourteenth of June, the anniversary of the battle of Marengo. After the
concert, the theater, the ball, and another representation of the city
and inhabitants of Florence, a splendid supper was served in the garden,
under military tents, draped with flags, and ornamented with groupings of
arms and trophies, each lady being accompanied and served at table by an
officer in uniform. When the King and Queen of Etruria came out of their
tent, a balloon was released which carried into the heavens the name of
Marengo in letters of fire.

Their Majesties wished to visit, before their departure, the chief public
institutions, so they were taken to the Conservatory of Music, to a
sitting of the Institute, of which they did not appear to comprehend
much, and to the Mint, where a medal was struck in their honor. Chaptall
received the thanks of the queen for the manner in which he had
entertained and treated his royal guests, both as a member of the
Institute, as minister at his hotel, and in the visits which they had
made to the different institutions of the capital. On the eve of his
departure the king had a long private interview with the First Consul;
and though I do not know what passed, I observed that on coming out
neither appeared to be satisfied with the other. However, their
Majesties, on the whole, should have carried away a most favorable
impression of the manner in which they had been received.


In all the fetes given by the First Consul in honor of their Majesties,
the King and Queen of Etruria, Mademoiselle Hortense shone with that
brilliancy and grace which made her the pride of her mother, and the most
beautiful ornament of the growing court of the First Consul.

About this time she inspired a most violent passion in a gentleman of a
very good family, who was, I think, a little deranged before this mad
love affected his brain. This poor unfortunate roamed incessantly around
Malmaison; and as soon as Mademoiselle Hortense left the house, ran by
the side of her carriage with the liveliest demonstrations of tenderness,
and threw through the window flowers, locks of his hair, and verses of
his own composition. When he met Mademoiselle Hortense on foot, he threw
himself on his knees before her with a thousand passionate gestures,
addressing her in most endearing terms, and followed her, in spite of all
opposition, even into the courtyard of the chateau, and abandoned himself
to all kinds of folly. At first Mademoiselle Hortense, who was young and
gay, was amused by the antics of her admirer, read the verses which he
addressed to her, and showed them to the ladies who accompanied her. One
such poetical effusion was enough to provoke laughter (and can you blame
her?); but after the first burst of laughter, Mademoiselle Hortense, good
and charming as her mother, never failed to say, with a sympathetic
expression and tone, "The poor man, he is much to be pitied!" At last,
however, the importunities of the poor madman increased to such an extent
that they became insupportable. He placed himself at the door of the
theaters in Paris at which Mademoiselle Hortense was expected, and threw
himself at her feet, supplicating, weeping, laughing, and gesticulating
all at once. This spectacle amused the crowd too much to long amuse
Mademoiselle de Beauharnais; and Carrat was ordered to remove the poor
fellow, who was placed, I think, in a private asylum for the insane.

Mademoiselle Hortense would have been too happy if she could have known
love only from the absurd effects which it produced on this diseased
brain, as she thus saw it only in its pleasant and comic aspect. But the
time came when she was forced to feel all that is painful and bitter in
the experience of that passion. In January, 1802, she was married to
Louis Bonaparte, brother of the First Consul, which was a most suitable
alliance as regards age, Louis being twenty-four years old, and
Mademoiselle de Beauharnais not more than eighteen; and nevertheless it
was to both parties the beginning of long and interminable sorrows.

Louis, however, was kind and sensible, full of good feeling and
intelligence, studious and fond of letters, like all his brothers (except
one alone); but he was in feeble health, suffered almost incessantly, and
was of a melancholy disposition. All the brothers of the First Consul
resembled him more or less in their personal appearance, and Louis still
more than the others, especially at the time of the Consulate, and before
the Emperor Napoleon had become so stout. But none of the brothers of
the Emperor possessed that imposing and majestic air and that rapid and
imperious manner which came to him at first by instinct, and afterwards
from the habit of command. Louis had peaceful and modest tastes. It has
been asserted that at the time of his marriage he was deeply attached to
a person whose name could not be ascertained, and who, I think, is still
a mystery.

Mademoiselle Hortense was extremely pretty, with an expressive and mobile
countenance, and in addition to this was graceful, talented, and affable.
Kindhearted and amiable like her mother, she had not that excessive
desire to oblige which sometimes detracted from Madame Bonaparte's
character. This is, nevertheless, the woman whom evil reports,
disseminated by miserable scandal-mongers, have so outrageously
slandered! My heart is stirred with disgust and indignation when I hear
such revolting absurdities repeated and scattered broadcast. According
to these honest fabricators, the First Consul must have seduced his
wife's daughter, before giving her in marriage to his own brother.
Simply to announce such a charge is to comprehend all the falsity of it.
I knew better than any one the amours of the Emperor. In these
clandestine liaisons he feared scandal, hated the ostentations of vice,
and I can affirm on honor that the infamous desires attributed to him
never entered his mind. Like every one else, who was near Mademoiselle
de Beauharnais, and because he knew his step-daughter even more
intimately, he felt for her the tenderest affection; but this sentiment
was entirely paternal, and Mademoiselle Hortense reciprocated it by that
reverence which a wellborn young girl feels towards her father. She
could have obtained from her step-father anything that she wished, if her
extreme timidity had not prevented her asking; but, instead of addressing
herself directly to him, she first had recourse to the intercession of
the secretary, and of those around the Emperor. Is it thus she would
have acted if the evil reports spread by her enemies, and those of the
Emperor, had had the least foundation?

Before her marriage Hortense had an attachment for General Duroc, who was
hardly thirty years of age, had a fine figure, and was a favorite with
the chief of state, who, knowing him to be prudent and discreet, confided
to him important diplomatic missions. As aide-de-camp of the First
Consul, general of division, and governor of the Tuileries, he lived long
in familiar intimacy at Malmaison, and in the home life of the Emperor,
and during necessary absences on duty, corresponded with Mademoiselle
Hortense; and yet the indifference with which he allowed the marriage of
the latter with Louis to proceed, proves that he reciprocated but feebly
the affection which he had inspired. It is certain that he could have
had. Mademoiselle de Beauharnais for his wife, if he had been willing to
accept the conditions on which the First Consul offered the hand of his
step-daughter; but he was expecting something better, and his ordinary
prudence failed him at the time when it should have shown him a future
which was easy to foresee, and calculated to satisfy the promptings of an
ambition even more exalted than his. He therefore refused positively;
and the entreaties of Madame Bonaparte, which had already influenced her
husband, succeeded.

Madame Bonaparte, who saw herself treated with so little friendship by
the brothers of the First Consul, tried to make his family a defense for
herself against the plots which were gathering incessantly around her to
drive her away from the heart of her husband. It was with this design
she worked with all her might to bring about the marriage of her daughter
with one of her brothers-in-law.

General Duroc doubtless repented immediately of his precipitate refusal
when crowns began to rain in the august family to which he had had it in
his power to ally himself; when he saw Naples, Spain, Westphalia, Upper
Italy, the duchies of Parma, Lucca, etc., become the appendages of the
new imperial dynasty; when the beautiful and graceful Hortense herself,
who had loved him so devotedly, mounted in her turn a throne that she
would have been only too happy to have shared with the object of her
young affections. As for him, he married Mademoiselle Hervas d'Almenara,
daughter of the banker of the court of Spain. She was a little woman
with a very dark complexion, very thin, and without grace; but, on the
other hand, of a most peevish, haughty, exacting, and capricious temper.
As she was to have on her marriage an enormous dowry, the First Consul
had demanded her hand in marriage for his senior aide-de-camp. Madame
Duroc forgot herself, I have heard, so far as to beat her servants, and
to bear herself in a most singular manner toward people who were in no
wise her dependants. When M. Dubois came to tune her piano,
unfortunately she was at home, and finding the noise required by this
operation unendurable, drove the tuner off with the greatest violence.
In one of these singular attacks she one day broke all the keys of his
instrument. Another time Mugnier, clockmaker of the Emperor, and the
head of his profession in Paris, with Breguet, having brought her a watch
of very great value that madame, the Duchess of Friuli had herself
ordered, but which did not please her, she became so enraged, that, in
the presence of Mugnier, she dashed the watch on the floor, danced on it,
and reduced it to atoms. She utterly refused to pay for it, and the
marshal was compelled to do this himself. Thus Duroc's want of foresight
in refusing the hand of Hortense, together with the interested
calculations of Madame Bonaparte, caused the misery of two households.

The portrait I have sketched, and I believe faithfully, although not a
flattering picture, is merely that of a young woman with all the
impulsiveness of the Spanish character, spoiled as an only daughter, who
had been reared in indulgence, and with the entire neglect which hinders
the education of all the young ladies of her country. Time has calmed
the vivacity of her youth; and madame, the Duchess of Friuli, has since
given an example of most faithful devotion to duty, and great strength of
mind in the severe trials that she has endured. In the loss of her
husband, however grievous it might be, glory had at least some
consolation to offer to the widow of the grand marshal. But when her
young daughter, sole heiress of a great name and an illustrious title,
was suddenly taken away by death from all the expectations and the
devotion of her mother, who could dare to offer her consolation? If
there could be any (which I do not believe), it would be found in the
remembrance of the cares and tenderness lavished on her to the last by
maternal love. Such recollections, in which bitterness is mingled with
sweetness, were not wanting to the duchess.

The religious ceremony of marriage between Louis and Hortense took place
Jan. 7, in a house in the Rue de la Victoire; and the marriage of General
Murat with Caroline Bonaparte, which had been acknowledged only before
the civil authorities, was consecrated on the same day. Both Louis and
his bride were very sad. She wept bitterly during the whole ceremony,
and her tears were not soon dried. She made no attempt to win the
affection of her husband; while he, on his side, was too proud and too
deeply wounded to pursue her with his wooing. The good Josephine did all
she could to reconcile them; for she must have felt that this union,
which had begun so badly, was her work, in which she had tried to combine
her own interest, or at least that which she considered such, and the
happiness of her daughter. But her efforts, as well as her advice and
her prayers, availed nothing; and I have many a time seen Hortense seek
the solitude of her own room, and the heart of a friend, there to pour
out her tears. Tears fell from her eyes sometimes even in the midst of
one of the First Consul's receptions, where we saw with sorrow this young
woman, brilliant and gay, who had so often gracefully done the honors on
such occasions and attended to all the details of its etiquette, retire
into a corner, or into the embrasure of a window, with one of her most
intimate friends, there to sadly make her the a confidante of her trials.
During this conversation, from which she rose with red and swollen eyes,
her husband remained thoughtful and taciturn at the opposite end of the
room. Her Majesty, the Queen of Holland, has been accused of many sins;
but everything said or written against this princess is marked by
shameful exaggeration. So high a fortune drew all eyes to her, and
excited bitter jealousy; and yet those who envied her would not have
failed to bemoan themselves, if they had been put in tier place, on
condition that they were to bear her griefs. The misfortunes of Queen
Hortense began with life itself. Her father having been executed on a
revolutionary scaffold, and her mother thrown into prison, she found
herself, while still a child, alone, and with no other reliance than the
faithfulness of the old servants of the family. Her brother, the noble
and worthy Prince Eugene, had been compelled, it is said, to serve as an
apprentice. She had a few years of happiness, or at least of repose,
during the time she was under the care of Madame Campan, and just after
she left boarding-school. But her evil destiny was far from quitting
her; and her wishes being thwarted, an unhappy marriage opened for her a
new succession of troubles. The death of her first son, whom the Emperor
wished to adopt, and whom he had intended to be his successor in the
Empire, the divorce of her mother, the tragic death of her best-loved
friend, Madame de Brocq, who, before her eyes, slipped over a precipice;
the overturning of the imperial throne, which caused her the loss of her
title and rank as queen, a loss which she, however, felt less than the
misfortunes of him whom she regarded as her father; and finally, the
continual annoyance of domestic dissensions, of vexatious lawsuits, and
the agony she suffered in beholding her oldest surviving son removed from
her by order of her husband,--such were the principal catastrophes in a
life which might have been thought destined for so much happiness.

The day after the marriage of Mademoiselle Hortense, the First Consul set
out for Lyons, where there awaited him the deputies of the Cisalpine
Republic, assembled for the election of a president. Everywhere on his
route he was welcomed with fetes and congratulations, with which all were
eager to overwhelm him on account of the miraculous manner in which he
had escaped the plots of his enemies. This journey differed in no wise
from the tours which he afterwards made as Emperor. On his arrival at
Lyons, he received the visit of all the authorities, the constituent
bodies, the deputations from the neighboring departments, and the members
of the Italian councils. Madame Bonaparte, who accompanied him on this
journey, attended with him these public displays, and shared with him the
magnificent fete given to him by the city of Lyons. The day on which the
council elected and proclaimed the First Consul president of the Italian
Republic he reviewed, on the Place des Brotteaux, the troops of the
garrison, and recognized in the ranks many soldiers of the army of Egypt,
with whom he conversed for some time. On all these occasions the First
Consul wore the same costume that he had worn at Malmaison, and which I
have described elsewhere. He rose early, mounted his horse, and visited
the public works, among others those of the Place Belcour, of which he
had laid the corner-stone on his return from Italy, passed through the
Place des Brotteaux, inspected, examined everything, and, always
indefatigable, worked on his return as if he had been at the Tuileries.
He rarely changed his dress, except when he received at his table the
authorities or the principal inhabitants of the city. He received all
petitions most graciously, and before leaving presented to the mayor of
the city a scarf of honor, and to the legate of the Pope a handsome
snuff-box ornamented with his likeness.

The deputies of the council received presents, and were most generous in
making them, presenting Madame Bonaparte with magnificent ornaments of
diamonds and precious stones, and other most valuable jewelry.

The First Consul, on arriving at Lyons, had been deeply grieved at the
sudden death of a worthy prelate whom he had known in his first campaign
in Italy.

The Archbishop of Milan had come to Lyons, notwithstanding his great age,
in order to see the First Consul, whom he loved with such tenderness that
in conversation the venerable old man continually addressed the young
general as "my son." The peasants of Pavia, having revolted because
their fanaticism had been excited by false assertions that the French
wished to destroy their religion, the Archbishop of Milan, in order to
prove that their fears were groundless, often showed himself in a
carriage with General Bonaparte.

This prelate had stood the journey well, and appeared in good health and
fine spirits. Talleyrand, who had arrived at Lyons a few days before the
First Consul, gave a dinner to the Cisalpine deputies and the principal
notables of the city, at which the Archbishop of Milan sat on his right.
He had scarcely taken his seat, and was in the act of leaning forward to
speak to M. de Talleyrand, when he fell dead in his armchair.

On the 12th of January the town of Lyons gave, in honor of the First
Consul and Madame Bonaparte, a magnificent fete, consisting of a concert,
followed by a ball. At eight o'clock in the evening, the three mayors,
accompanied by the superintendents of the fete, called upon their
illustrious guests in the government palace. I can imagine that I see
again spread out before me that immense amphitheater, handsomely
decorated, and illuminated by innumerable lusters and candles, the seats
draped with the richest cloths manufactured in the city, and filled with
thousands of women, some brilliant in youth and beauty, and all
magnificently attired. The theater had been chosen as the place of the
fete; and on the entrance of the First Consul and Madame Bonaparte, who
advanced leaning on the arm of one of the mayors, there arose a thunder
of applause and acclamations. Suddenly the decorations of the theater
faded from sight, and the Place Bonaparte (the former Place Belcour)
appeared, as it had been restored by order of the First Consul. In the
midst rose a pyramid, surmounted by the statue of the First Consul, who
was represented as resting upon a lion. Trophies of arms and bas-reliefs
represented on one side, the other that of Marengo.

When the first, transports excited by this spectacle, which recalled at
once the benefits and the victories of the hero of the fete, had
subsided, there succeeded a deep silence, and delightful music was heard,
mingled with songs, dedicated to the glory of the First Consul, to his
wife, the warriors who surrounded him, and the representatives of the
Italian republics. The singers and the musicians were amateurs of Lyons.
Mademoiselle Longue, Gerbet, the postmaster, and Theodore, the merchant,
who had each performed their parts in a charming manner, received the
congratulations of the First Consul, and the most gracious thanks of
Madame Bonaparte.

What struck me most forcibly in the couplets which were sung on that
occasion, and which much resembled all verses written for such occasions,
was that incense was offered to the First Consul in the very terms which
all the poets of the Empire have since used in their turn. All the
exaggerations of flattery were exhausted during the consulate; and in the
years which followed, it was necessary for poets often to repeat
themselves. Thus, in the couplets of Lyons, the First Consul was the God
of victory, the conqueror of the Nile and of Neptune, the savior of his
country, the peacemaker of the world, the arbiter of Europe. The French
soldiers were transformed into friends and companions of Alcides, etc.,
all of which was cutting the ground from under the feet of the singers of
the future.

The fete of Lyons ended in a ball which lasted until daylight, at which
the First Consul remained two hours, which he spent in conversation with
the magistrates of the city. While the better class of the inhabitants
gave these grand entertainments to their guests, the people,
notwithstanding the cold, abandoned themselves on the public squares to
pleasure and dancing, and towards midnight there was a fine display of
fireworks on the Place Bonaparte.

After fifteen or eighteen days passed at Lyons, we returned to Paris, the
First Consul and his wife continuing to reside by preference at
Malmaison. It was, I think, a short time after the return of the First
Consul that a poorly dressed man begged an audience; an order was given
to admit him to the cabinet, and the First Consul inquired his name.
"General," replied the petitioner, frightened by his presence, "it is I
who had the honor of giving you writing lessons in the school of
Brienne."--"Fine scholar you have made!" interrupted vehemently the
First Consul; "I compliment you on it!" Then he began to laugh at his
own vehemence, and addressed a few kind words to this good man, whose
timidity such a compliment had not reassured. A few days after the
master received, from the least promising, doubtless, of all his pupils
at Brienne (you know how the Emperor wrote), a pension amply sufficient
for his needs.

Another of the old teachers of the First Consul, the Abbe Dupuis, was
appointed by him to the post of private librarian at Malmaison, and lived
and died there. He was a modest man, and had the reputation of being
well-educated. The First Consul visited him often in his room, and paid
him every imaginable attention and respect.


The day on which the First Consul promulgated the law of public worship,
he rose early, and entered the dressing-room to make his toilet. While
he was dressing I saw Joseph Bonaparte enter his room with Cambaceres.

"Well," said the First Consul to the latter, "we are going to mass. What
do they think of that in Paris?"--"Many persons," replied M. Cambaceres,
"will go to the representation with the intention of hissing the piece,
if they do not find it amusing."

"If any one thinks of hissing, I will have him put out-of-doors by the
grenadiers of the Consular Guard."

"But if the grenadiers begin to hiss like the others?"

"I have no fear of that. My old soldiers will go to Notre Dame exactly
as they went to the mosque at Cairo. They will watch me; and seeing
their general remain quiet and reverent, they will do as he does, saying
to themselves, 'That is the countersign!'"

"I am afraid," said Joseph Bonaparte, "that the general officers will not
be so accommodating. I have just left Augereau, who was vomiting fire
and fury against what he calls your capricious proclamations. He, and.
a few others, will not be easy to bring back into the pale of our holy
mother, the church."

"Bah! that is like Augereau. He is a bawler, who makes a great noise;
and yet if he has a little imbecile cousin, he puts him in the priests
college for me to make a chaplain of him.

"That reminds me," continued the First Consul, addressing his colleague,
"when is your brother going to take possession of his see of Rouen? Do
you know it has the finest archiepiscopal palace in France? He will be
cardinal before a year has passed; that matter is already arranged."

The second consul bowed. From that moment his manner towards the First
Consul was rather that of a courtier than an equal.

The plenipotentiaries who had been appointed to examine and sign the
Concordat were Joseph Bonaparte, Cruet, and the Abbe Bernier. This
latter, whom I saw sometimes at the Tuileries, had been a chief of the
Chouans, [The Chouans were Royalists in insurrection in Brittany.]
and took a prominent part in all that occurred. The First Consul, in
this same conversation, the opening of which I have just related,
discussed with his two companions the subject of the conferences on the
Concordat. "The Abby Bernier," said the First Consul, "inspired fear in
the Italian prelates by the vehemence of his logic. It might have been
said that he imagined himself living over again the days in which he led
the Vendeens to the charge against the blues. Nothing could be more
striking than the contrast of his rude and quarrelsome manner with the
polished bearing and honeyed tones of the prelates. Cardinal Caprara
came to me two days ago, with a shocked air, to ask if it is true that,
during the war of the Vendee, the Abbe Bernier made an altar on which to
celebrate mass out of the corpses of the Republicans. I replied that I
knew nothing of it, but that it was possible. 'General, First Consul,'
cried the frightened cardinal, 'it is not a red hat, but a red cap, which
that man should have?'

"I am much afraid," continued the First Consul, "that that kind of cap
would prevent the Abbe Bernier from getting the red hat."

These gentlemen left the First Consul when his toilet was finished, and
went to make their own. The First Consul wore on that day the costume of
the consuls, which consisted of a scarlet coat without facings, and with
a broad embroidery of palms, in gold, on all the seams. His sword, which
he had worn in Egypt, hung at his side from a belt, which, though not
very wide, was of beautiful workmanship, and richly embroidered. He wore
his black stock, in preference to a lace cravat, and like his colleagues,
wore knee-breeches and shoes; a French hat, with floating plumes of the
three colors, completed this rich costume.

The celebration of this sacrament at Notre Dame was a novel sight to the
Parisians, and many attended as if it were a theatrical representation.
Many, also, especially amongst the military, found it rather a matter of
raillery than of edification; and those who, during the Revolution, had
contributed all their strength to the overthrow of the worship which the
First Consul had just re-established, could with difficulty conceal their
indignation and their chagrin.

The common people saw in the Te Deum which was sung that day for peace
and the Concordat, only an additional gratification of their curiosity;
but among the middle classes there was a large number of pious persons,
who had deeply regretted the suppression of the forms of devotion in
which they had been reared, and who were very happy in returning to the
old worship. And, indeed, there was then no manifestation of
superstition or of bigotry sufficient to alarm the enemies of

The clergy were exceedingly careful not to appear too exacting; they
demanded little, condemned no one; and the representative of the Holy
Father, the cardinal legate, pleased all, except perhaps a few
dissatisfied old priests, by his indulgence, the worldly grace of his
manners, and the freedom of his conduct. This prelate was entirely in
accord with the First Consul, and he took great pleasure in conversing
with him.

It is also certain, that apart from all religious sentiment, the fidelity
of the people to their ancient customs made them return with pleasure to
the repose and celebration of Sunday. The Republican calendar was
doubtless wisely computed; but every one is at first sight struck with
the ridiculousness of replacing the legend of the saints of the old
calendar with the days of the ass, the hog, the turnip, the onion, etc.
Besides, if it was skillfully computed, it was by no means conveniently
divided. I recall on this subject the remark of a man of much wit, and
who, notwithstanding the disapprobation which his remark implied,
nevertheless desired the establishment of the Republican system,
everywhere except in the almanac. When the decree of the Convention
which ordered the adoption of the Republican calendar was published, he
remarked: "They have done finely; but they have to fight two enemies who
never yield, the beard, and the white shirt."

   [That is to say, the barber and the washerwoman, for whom ten days
   was too long an interval.--TRANS.]

The truth is, the interval from one decadi to another was too long for
the working-classes, and for all those who were constantly occupied.
I do not know whether it was the effect of a deep-rooted habit, but
people accustomed to working six days in succession, and resting on the
seventh, found nine days of consecutive labor too long, and consequently
the suppression of the decadi was universally approved. The decree which
ordered the publication of marriage bans on Sunday was not so popular,
for some persons were afraid of finding in this the revival of the former
dominance of the clergy over the civil authorities.

A few days after the solemn re-establishment of the catholic worship,
there arrived at the Tuileries a general officer, who would perhaps have
preferred the establishment of Mahomet, and the change of Notre Dame into
a mosque. He was the last general-in-chief of the army of Egypt, and was
said to have turned Mussulman at Cairo, ex-Baron de Menou. In spite of
the defeat by the English which he had recently undergone in Egypt,
General Abdallah-Menou was well received by the First Consul, who
appointed him soon after governor-general of Piedmont. General Menou was
of tried courage, and had given proof of it elsewhere, as well as on the
field of battle, and amid the most trying circumstances.

After the 10th of August, although belonging to the Republican party, he
had accompanied Louis Sixteenth to the Assembly, and had been denounced
as a Royalist by the Jacobins. In 1795 the Faubourg Saint Antoine having
risen en masse, and advanced against the Convention, General Menou had
surrounded and disarmed the seditious citizens; but he had refused to
obey the atrocious orders of the commissioners of the Convention, who
decreed that the entire faubourg should be burned, in order to punish the
inhabitants for their continued insurrections. Some time afterwards,
having again refused to obey the order these commissioners of the
Convention gave, to mow down with grapeshot the insurrectionists of
Paris, he had been summoned before a commission, which would not have
failed to send him to the guillotine, if General Bonaparte, who had
succeeded him in the command of the army of the interior, had not used
all his influence to save his life. Such repeated acts of courage and
generosity are enough, and more than enough, to cause us to pardon in
this brave officer, the very natural pride with which he boasted of
having armed the National Guards, and having caused the tricolor to be
substituted for the white flag. The tricolor he called my flag. From
the government of Piedmont he passed to that of Venice; and died in 1810
for love of an actress, whom he had followed from Venice to Reggio, in
spite of his sixty years.

The institution of the order of the Legion of Honor preceded by a few
days the proclamation of the Consulate for life, which proclamation was
the occasion of a fete, celebrated on the 15th of August. This was the
anniversary of the birth of the First Consul, and the opportunity was
used in order to make for the first time this anniversary a festival.
On that day the First Consul was thirty-three years old.

In the month of October following I went with the First Consul on his
journey into Normandy, where we stopped at Ivry, and the First Consul
visited the battlefield. He said, on arriving there, "Honor to the
memory of the best Frenchman who ever sat upon the throne of France," and
ordered the restoration of the column, which had been formerly erected,
in memory of the victory achieved by Henry the Fourth. The reader will
perhaps desire to read here the inscriptions, which were engraved by his
order, on the four faces of the pyramid.

              First Inscription.

            OF IVRY, 14TH MARCH, 1590.

             Second Inscription.


              Third Inscription.


             Fourth Inscription.


All these inscriptions have since been effaced, and replaced by this, "On
this spot Henry the Fourth stood the day of the battle of Ivry, 14th
March, 1590."

Monsieur Ledier, Mayor of Ivry, accompanied the First Consul on this
excursion; and the First Consul held a long conversation with him, in
which he appeared to be agreeably impressed. He did not form so good an
opinion of the Mayor of Evreux, and interrupted him abruptly, in the
midst of a complimentary address which this worthy magistrate was trying
to make him, by asking if he knew his colleague, the Mayor of Ivry. "No,
general," replied the mayor. "Well, so much the worse for you; I trust
you will make his acquaintance."

It was also at Evreux that an official of high rank amused Madame
Bonaparte and her suite, by a naivete which the First Consul alone did
not find diverting, because he did not like such simplicity displayed by
an official. Monsieur de Ch---- did the honors of the country town to
the wife of the First Consul, and this, in spite of his age, with much
zeal and activity; and Madame Bonaparte, among other questions which.
her usual kindness and grace dictated to her, asked him if he was
married, and if he had a family. "Indeed, Madame, I should think so,"
replied Monsieur de Ch---- with a smile and a bow, "j'ai cinq-z-enfants."
--"Oh, mon Dieu," cried Madame Bonaparte, "what a regiment! That is
extraordinary; what, sir, seize enfants?"--"Yes, Madame, cinq-z-enfants,
cinq-z-enfants," repeated the official, who did not see anything very
marvelous in it, and who wondered at the astonishment shown by Madame
Bonaparte. At last some one explained to her the mistake which la
liaison dangereuse of M. de Ch had caused her to make, and added with
comic seriousness, "Deign, Madame, to excuse M. de Ch----. The
Revolution has interrupted the prosecution of his studies." He was more
than sixty years of age.

From Evreux we set out for Rouen, where we arrived at three o'clock in
the afternoon. Chaptal, Minister of the Interior, Beugnot, Prefect of
the Department, and Cambaceres, Archbishop of Rouen, came to meet the
First Consul at some distance from the city. The Mayor Fontenay waited
at the gates, and presented the keys. The First Consul held them some
time in his hands, and then returned them to the mayor, saying to him
loud enough to be heard by the crowd which surrounded the carriage,

"Citizens, I cannot trust the keys of the city to any one better than the
worthy magistrate who so worthily enjoys my confidence and your own;" and
made Fontenay enter his carriage, saying he wished to honor Rouen in the
person of its mayor.

Madame Bonaparte rode in the carriage with her husband; General Moncey,
Inspector-general of the Constabulary, on horseback on the right; in the
second carriage was General Soult and his aides-de-camp; in the third
carriage, General Bessieres and M. de Lugay; in the fourth, General
Lauriston; then came the carriages of the personal attendants, Hambard,
Hebert, and I being in the first.

It is impossible to give an idea of the enthusiasm of the inhabitants of
Rouen on the arrival of the First Consul. The market-porters and the
boatmen in grand costume awaited us outside the city; and when the
carriage which held the two august personages was in sight, these brave
men placed themselves in line, two and two, and preceded thus the
carriage to the hotel of the prefecture, where the First Consul alighted.
The prefect and the mayor of Rouen, the archbishop, and the general
commanding the division dined with the First Consul, who showed a most
agreeable animation during the repast, and with much solicitude asked
information as to the condition of manufactures, new discoveries in the
art of manufacturing, in fact, as to everything relating to the
prosperity of this city, which was essentially industrial.

In the evening, and almost the whole night, an immense crowd surrounded
the hotel, and filled the gardens of the prefecture, which were
illuminated and ornamented with allegorical transparencies in praise of
the First Consul; and each time he showed himself on the terrace of the
garden the air resounded with applause and acclamations which seemed most
gratifying to him.

The next morning, after having made on horseback the tour of the city,
and visited the grand sites by which it is surrounded, the First Consul
heard mass, which was celebrated at eleven o'clock by the archbishop in,
the chapel of the prefecture. An hour after he had to receive the
general council of the department, the council of the prefecture, the
municipal council, the clergy of Rouen, and the courts of justice, and
was obliged to listen to a half-dozen discourses, all expressed in nearly
the same terms, and to which he replied in such a manner as to give the
orators the highest opinion of their own merit. All these bodies, on
leaving the First Consul, were presented to Madame Bonaparte, who
received them with her accustomed grace, in, the evening Madame Bonaparte
held a reception for the wives of the officials, at which the First
Consul was present, of which fact some availed themselves to present to
him several emigres, who had recently returned under the act of amnesty,
and whom he received graciously.

After which followed crowds, illuminations, acclamations, all similar to
those of the evening before. Every one wore an air of rejoicing which
delighted me, and contrasted strangely, I thought, with the dreadful
wooden houses, narrow, filthy streets, and Gothic buildings which then
distinguished the town of Rouen.

Monday, Nov. 1, at seven o'clock in the morning, the First Consul mounted
his horse, and, escorted by a detachment of the young men of the city,
forming a volunteer guard, passed the bridge of boats, and reached the
Faubourg Saint-Sever. On his return from this excursion, we found the
populace awaiting him at the head of the bridge, whence they escorted him
to the hotel of the prefecture, manifesting the liveliest joy.

After breakfast, there was a high mass by the archbishop, the occasion
being the fete of All Saints; then came the learned societies, the chiefs
of administration, and justices of the peace, with their speeches, one of
which contained a remarkable sentence, in which these good magistrates,
in their enthusiasm, asked the First Consul's permission to surname him
the great justice of the peace of Europe. As they left the Consul's
apartment I noticed their spokesman; he had tears in his eyes, and was
repeating with pride the reply he had just received.

I regret that I do not remember his name, but I was told that he was one
of the most highly esteemed men in Rouen. His countenance inspired
confidence, and bore an expression of frankness, which prepossessed me in
his favor.

In the evening the First Consul went to the theater, which was packed to
the ceiling, and offered a charming sight. The municipal authorities had
a delightful fete prepared, which the First Consul found much to his
taste, and upon which he complimented the prefect and the mayor on
several different occasions. After witnessing the opening of the ball,
he made two or three turns in the hall, and retired, escorted by the
staff of the National Guard.

On Tuesday much of the day was spent by the First Consul in visiting the
workshops of the numerous factories of the city, accompanied by the
minister of the interior, the prefect, the mayor, the general commanding
the division, the inspector-general of police, and the staff of the
Consular Guard. In a factory of the Faubourg Saint-Sever, the minister
of the interior presented to him the dean of the workmen, noted as having
woven the first piece of velvet in France; and the First Consul, after
complimenting this honorable old man, granted him a pension. Other
rewards and encouragements were likewise distributed to several parties
whose useful inventions commended them to public gratitude.

Wednesday morning early we left for Elbeuf, where we arrived at ten
o'clock, preceded by threescore young men of the most distinguished
families of the city, who, following the example of those of Rouen,
aspired to the honor of forming the guard of the First Consul.

The country around us was covered with an innumerable multitude, gathered
from all the surrounding communes. The First Consul alighted at Elbeuf,
at the house of the mayor, where he took breakfast, and then visited the
town in detail, obtaining information everywhere; and knowing that one of
the first wishes of the citizens was the construction of a road from
Elbeuf to a small neighboring town called Romilly, he gave orders to the
minister of the interior to begin work upon it immediately.

At Elbeuf, as at Rouen, the First Consul was overwhelmed with homage and
benedictions; and we returned from this last town at four o'clock in the

The merchants of Rouen had prepared a fete in the hall of the Stock
Exchange, which the First Consul and his family attended after dinner.
He remained a long time on the ground floor of this building, where there
were displayed magnificent specimens from the industries of this
Department. He examined everything, and made Madame Bonaparte do the
same; and she also purchased several pieces of cloth.

The First Consul then ascended to the first floor, where, in the grand
saloon, were gathered about a hundred ladies, married and single, and
almost all pretty, the wives and daughters of the principal merchants of
Rouen, who were waiting to compliment him. He seated himself in this
charming circle, and remained there perhaps a quarter of an hour; then
passed into another room, where awaited him the representation of a
little proverb, containing couplets expressing, as may be imagined, the
attachment and gratitude of the inhabitants of Rouen. This play was
followed by a ball.

Thursday evening the First Consul announced that he would leave for Havre
the next morning at daybreak; and exactly at five o'clock I was awakened
by Hebert, who said that at six o'clock we would set out. I awoke
feeling badly, was sick the whole day, and would have given much to have
slept a few hours longer; but we were compelled to begin our journey.
Before entering his carriage, the First Consul made a present to
Monseigneur, the archbishop, of a snuff-box with his portrait, and also
gave one to the mayor, on which was the inscription, 'Peuple Francais'.

We stopped at Caudebec for breakfast. The mayor of this town presented
to the First Consul a corporal who had made the campaign of Italy (his
name was, I think, Roussel), and who had received a sword of honor as a
reward for his brave conduct at Marengo. He was at Caudebec on a
half-year's furlough, and asked the First Consul's permission to be a
sentinel at the door of the apartment of the august travelers, which was
granted; and after the First Consul and Madame Bonaparte were seated at
the table, Roussel was sent for, and invited to breakfast with his
former general. At Havre and at Dieppe the First Consul invited thus to
his table all the soldiers or sailors who had received guns, sabers, or
boarding-axes of honor. The First Consul stopped an hour at Bolbec,
showing much attention and interest in examining the products of the
industries of the district, complimenting the guards of honor who passed
before him on their fine appearance, thanking the clergy for the prayers
in his behalf which they addressed to Heaven, and leaving for the poor,
either in their own hands, or in the hands of the mayor, souvenirs of
his stay. On the arrival of the First Consul at Havre, the city was
illuminated; and the First Consul and his numerous cortege passed
between two rows of illuminations and columns of fire of all kinds. The
vessels in the port appeared like a forest on fire; being covered with
colored lamps to the very top of their masts. The First Consul
received, the day of his arrival at Havre, only a part of the
authorities of the city, and soon after retired, saying that he was
fatigued; but at six o'clock in the morning of the next day he was on
horseback, and until two o'clock he rode along the seacoast and low
hills of Ingouville for more than a league, and the banks of the Seine
as far as the cliffs of Hoc. He also made a tour outside of the
citadel. About three o'clock the First Consul began to receive the
authorities. He conversed with them in great detail upon the work that
had, been done at this place in order that their port, which he always
called the port of Paris, might reach the highest degree of prosperity,
and did the sub-prefect, the mayor, the two presidents of the tribunals,
the commandant of the place, and the chief of the tenth demi-brigade of
light infantry the honor of inviting them to his table.

In the evening the First Consul went to the theater, where they played a
piece composed for the occasion, about as admirable as such pieces
usually are, but on which the First Consul and Madame Bonaparte
especially complimented the authors. The illuminations were more
brilliant even than on the evening before; and I remember especially that
the largest number of transparencies bore the inscription, 18th Brumaire,
year VIII.

Sunday, at seven o'clock in the morning, after having visited the Marine
Arsenal and all the docks, the weather being very fine, the First Consul
embarked in a little barge, and remained in the roadstead for several
hours, escorted by a large number of barges filled with men and elegantly
dressed women, and musicians playing the favorite airs of the First
Consul. Then a few hours were again passed in the reception of
merchants, the First Consul assuring them that he had taken the greatest
pleasure in conferring with them in regard to the commerce of Havre with
the colonies. In the evening, there was a fete prepared by the
merchants, at which the First Consul remained for half an hour; and on
Monday, at five o'clock in the morning, he embarked on a lugger for
Honfleur. At the time of his departure the weather was a little
threatening, and the First Consul was advised not to embark. Madame
Bonaparte, whose ears this rumor reached, ran after her husband, begging
him not to set out; but he embraced her, laughing, calling her a coward,
and entered the vessel which was awaiting him. He had hardly embarked
when the wind suddenly lulled, and the weather became very fine. On his
return to Havre, the First Consul held a review on the Place de la
Citadelle, and visited the artillery barracks, after which he received,
until the evening, a large number of public dignitaries and merchants;
and the next day, at six o'clock in the morning, we set out for Dieppe.

When we arrived at Fecamp, the town presented an extremely singular
spectacle. All the inhabitants of the town, and of the adjoining towns
and villages, followed the clergy, chanting a Te Deum for the anniversary
of the 18th Brumaire; and these countless voices rising to heaven for him
affected the First Consul profoundly. He repeated several times during
breakfast that he had felt more emotion on hearing these chants under the
dome of heaven than he had ever felt while listening to the most
brilliant music.

We arrived at Dieppe at six o'clock in the evening. The First Consul
retired, only after having received all their felicitations, which were
certainly very sincere there, as throughout all France at that time. The
next day, at eight o'clock, the First Consul repaired to the harbor,
where he remained a long while watching the return of the fishermen, and
afterwards visited the faubourg of Pollet, and the work on the docks,
which was then just beginning. He admitted to his table the sub-prefect,
the mayor, and three sailors of Dieppe who had been given boarding-axes
of honor for distinguishing themselves in the combat off Boulogne. He
ordered the construction of a breakwater in the inner port, and the
continuation of a canal for navigation, which was to be extended as far
as Paris, and of which, until this present time, only a few fathoms have
been made. From Dieppe we went to Gisors and to Beauvais; and finally
the First Consul and his wife returned to Saint-Cloud, after an absence
of two weeks, during which workmen had been busily employed in restoring
the ancient royal residence, which the First Consul had decided to
accept, as I have before stated.


The tour of the First Consul through the wealthiest and most enlightened
departments of France had removed from his mind the apprehension of many
difficulties which he had feared at first in the execution of his plans.
Everywhere he had been treated as a monarch, and not only he personally,
but Madame Bonaparte also, had been received with all the honors usually
reserved for crowned heads. There was no difference between the homage
offered them at this time, and that which they received later, even
during the Empire, when their Majesties made tours of their states at
different times. For this reason I shall give some details; and if they
should seem too long, or not very novel, the reader will remember that I
am not writing only for those who lived during the Empire. The
generation which witnessed such great deeds, and which, under their very
eyes, and from the beginning of his career, saw the greatest man of this
century, has already given place to another generation, which can judge
him only by what others may narrate of him. What may be familiar to
those who saw with their own eyes is not so to others, who can only take
at second-hand those things which they had no opportunity of seeing for
themselves. Besides, details omitted as frivolous or commonplace by
history, which makes a profession of more gravity, are perfectly
appropriate in simple memoirs, and often enable one to understand and
judge the epoch more correctly. For instance, it seems to me that the
enthusiasm displayed by the entire population and all the local
authorities for the First Consul and his wife during their tour in
Normandy showed clearly that the chief of the state would have no great
opposition to fear, certainly none on the part of the nation, whenever it
should please him to change his title, and proclaim himself Emperor.

Soon after our return, by a decree of the consuls four ladies were
assigned to Madame Bonaparte to assist her in doing the honors of the
palace. They were Mesdames de Remusat, de Tallouet, de Lucay, and de
Lauriston. Under the Empire they became ladies-in-waiting. Madame de
Lauriston often raised a smile by little exhibitions of parsimony, but
she was good and obliging. Madame de Remusat possessed great merit, and
had sound judgment, though she appeared somewhat haughty, which was the
more remarkable as M. de Remusat was exactly the reverse. Subsequently
there was another lady of honor, Madame de La Rochefoucault, of whom I
shall have occasion to speak later.

The lady of the robes, Madame de Lucay, was succeeded by Madame La
Vallette, so gloriously known afterwards by her devotion to her husband.
There were twenty-four French ladies-in-waiting, among whom were Mesdames
de Remusat, de Tallouet, de Lauriston, Ney, d'Arberg, Louise d'Arberg
(afterwards the Countess of Lobau), de Walsh-Serent, de Colbert, Lannes,
Savary, de Turenne, Octave de Segur, de Montalivet, de Marescot, de
Bouille Solar, Lascaris, de Brignole, de Canisy, de Chevreuse, Victor de
Mortemart, de Montmorency, Matignon, and Maret. There were also twelve
Italian ladies-in-waiting.

These ladies served in turn one month each, there being thus two French
and one Italian lady on duty together. The Emperor at first did not
admit unmarried ladies among the ladies-in-waiting; but he relaxed this
rule first in favor of Mademoiselle Louise d'Arberg (afterwards Countess
of Lobau), and then in favor of Mademoiselle de Lucay, who has since
married Count Philip de Segur, author of the excellent history of the
campaign in Russia; and these two young ladies by their prudence and
circumspect conduct proved themselves above criticism even at court.

There were four lady ushers, Mesdames Soustras, Ducrest-Villeneuve,
Felicite Longroy, and Egle Marchery.

Two first ladies' maids, Mesdames Roy and Marco de St. Hilaire, who had
under their charge the grand wardrobe and the jewel-box.

There were four ladies' maids in ordinary.

A lady reader.

The men on the staff of the Empress's household were the following:
A grand equerry, Senator Harville, who discharged the duties of a
chevalier of honor.

A head chamberlain, the general of division, Nansouty.

A vice-chamberlain, introducer of the ambassadors, de Beaumont.

Four chamberlains in ordinary, de Courtomer, Degrave, Galard de Bearn,
Hector d'Aubusson de la Feuillade.

Four equerries, Corbineau, Berckheim, d'Audenarde, and Fouler.

A superintendent-general of her Majesty's household, Hinguerlot.

A secretary of commands, Deschamps.

Two head valets, Frere and Douville.

Four valets in ordinary.

Four men servants.

Two head footmen, L'Esperance and d'Argens. Six ordinary footmen. The
staff of the kitchen and sanitation were the same as in the household of
the Emperor; and besides these, six pages of the Emperor were always in
attendance upon the Empress.

The chief almoner was Ferdinand de Rohan, former archbishop of Cambray.

Another decree of the same date fixed the duties of the prefects of the
palace. The four head prefects of the consular palace were de Remusat,
de Crayamel (afterwards appointed introduces of ambassadors, and master
of ceremonies), de Lugay, and Didelot. The latter subsequently became
prefect of the Department of the Cher.

Malmaison was no longer sufficient for the First Consul, whose household,
like that of Madame Bonaparte, became daily more numerous. A much larger
building had become necessary, and the First Consul fixed his choice upon

The inhabitants of Saint-Cloud addressed a petition to the Corps
Legislatif, praying that the First Consul would make their chateau his
summer residence; and this body hastened to transmit it to him, adding
their prayers to the same effect, and making comparisons which they
believed would be agreeable to him. The general refused formally, saying
that when he should have finished and laid down the duties with which the
people had charged him, he would feel honored by any recompense which the
popular will might award him; but that so long as he was the chief of the
Government he would accept nothing.

Notwithstanding the determined tone of this reply, the inhabitants of the
village of Saint-Cloud, who had the greatest interest in the petition
being granted, renewed it when the First Consul was chosen consul for
life; and he then consented to accept. The expenses of the repairs and
furnishing were immense, and greatly exceeded the calculations that had
been made for him; nevertheless, he was not satisfied either with the
furniture or ornaments, and complained to Charvet, the concierge at
Malmaison, whom he appointed to the same post in the new palace, and whom
he had charged with the general supervision of the furnishing and the
placing of the furniture, that he had fitted up apartments suitable only
for a mistress, and that they contained only gewgaws and spangles, and
nothing substantial. On this occasion, also, he gave another proof of
his habitual desire to do good, in spite of prejudices which had not yet
spent their force. Knowing that there were at Saint-Cloud a large number
of the former servants of Queen Marie Antoinette, he charged Charvet to
offer them either their old places or pensions, and most of them resumed
their former posts. In 1814 the Bourbons were far from acting so
generously, for they discharged all employees, even those who had served
Marie Antoinette.

The First Consul had been installed at Saint-Cloud only a short while,
when the chateau, which had thus again become the residence of the
sovereign at enormous expense, came near falling a prey to the flames.
The guard room was under the vestibule, in the center of the palace; and
one night, the soldiers having made an unusually large fire, the stove
became so hot that a sofa, whose back touched one of the flues which
warmed the saloon, took fire, and the games were quickly communicated to
the other furniture. The officer on duty perceiving this, immediately
notified the concierge, and together they ran to General Duroc's room and
awoke him. The general rose in haste, and, commanding perfect silence,
made a chain of men. He took his position at the pool, in company with
the concierge, and thence passed buckets of water to the soldiers for two
or three hours, at the end of which time the fire was extinguished, but
only after devouring all the furniture; and it was not until the next
morning that the First Consul, Josephine, Hortense, in short, all the
other occupants of the chateau, learned of the accident, all of whom, the
First Consul especially, expressed their appreciation of the
consideration shown in not alarming them.

To prevent, or at least to render such accidents less likely in future,
the First Consul organized a night-guard at Saint-Cloud, and subsequently
did the same at all his residences; which guard-was called "the watch."

During his early occupation of Saint-Cloud the First Consul slept in the
same bed with his wife; afterwards etiquette forbade this; and as a
result, conjugal affection was somewhat chilled, and finally the First
Consul occupied an apartment at some distance from that of Madame
Bonaparte. To reach her room it was necessary to cross a long corridor,
on the right and left of which were the rooms of the ladies-in-waiting,
the women of the service, etc. When he wished to pass the night with his
wife, he undressed in his own room, and went thence in his wrapper and
night-cap, I going before him with a candle. At the end of this corridor
a staircase of fifteen or sixteen steps led to the apartment of Madame
Bonaparte. It was a great joy to her to receive a visit from her
husband, and every one was informed of it next morning. I can see her
now rubbing her little hands, saying, "I rose late to-day; but, you see,
it is because Bonaparte spent the night with me." On such days she was
more amiable than ever, refused no one, and all got whatever they
requested. I experienced proofs of this myself many times.

One evening as I was conducting the First Consul on one of these visits
to his wife, we perceived in the corridor a handsome young fellow coming
out of the apartment of one of Madame Bonaparte's women servants. He
tried to steal away; but the First Consul cried in a loud voice, "Who
goes there? Where are you going? What do you want? What is your name?"
He was merely a valet of Madame Bonaparte, and, stupefied by these
startling inquiries, replied in a frightened voice that he had just
executed an errand for Madame Bonaparte. "Very well," replied the First
Consul, "but do not let me catch you again." Satisfied that the gallant
would profit by the lesson, the general did not seek to learn his name,
nor that of his inamorata. This reminds me of an occasion on which he
was much more severe in regard to another chambermaid of Madame
Bonaparte. She was young, and very pretty, and inspired very tender
sentiments in Rapp and E----, two aides-de-camp, who besieged her with
their sighs, and sent her flowers and billets-doux. The young girl, at
least such was the opinion of every one, gave them no encouragement, and
Josephine was much attached to her; nevertheless, when the First Consul
observed the gallantries of the young men, he became angry, and had the
poor girl discharged, in spite of her tears and the prayers of Madame
Bonaparte and of the brave and honest Colonel Rapp, who swore naively
that the fault was entirely on his side, that the poor child had not
listened to him, and that her conduct was worthy of all praise. Nothing
availed against the resolution of the First Consul, whose only reply was,
"I will have nothing improper in my household, and no scandal."

Whenever the First Consul made a distribution of arms of honor, there was
always a banquet at the Tuileries, to which were admitted, without
distinction, and whatever their grade, all who had a share in these
rewards. At these banquets, which took place in the grand gallery of the
chateau, there were sometimes two hundred guests; and General Duroc being
master of ceremonies on these occasions, the First Consul took care to
recommend him to intermingle the private soldiers, the colonels, the
generals, etc. He ordered the domestics to show especial attention to
the private soldiers, and to see that they had plenty of the best to eat
and to drink. These are the longest repasts I have seen the emperor
make; and on these occasions he was amiable and entirely unconstrained,
making every effort to put his guests entirely at their ease, though with
many of them this was a difficult task. Nothing was more amusing than to
see these brave soldiers sitting two feet from-the table, not daring to
approach their plates or the food, red to the ears, and with their necks
stretched out towards the general, as if to receive the word of command.
The First Consul made them relate the notable deeds which had brought
each his national recognition, and often laughed boisterously at their
singular narrations. He encouraged them to eat, and frequently drank to
their health; but in spite of all this, his encouragement failed to
overcome the timidity of some, and the servants removed the plates of
each course without their having touched them, though this constraint did
not prevent their being full of joy and enthusiasm as they left the
table. "Au revoir, my brave men," the First Consul would say to them;
"baptize for me quickly these new-born," touching with his fingers their
sabers of honor. God knows whether they spared themselves!

This preference of the First Consul for the private soldier recalls an
instance which took-place at Malmaison, and which furnishes, besides, a
complete refutal of the charges of severity and harshness which have been
brought against him.

The First Consul set out on foot one morning, dressed in his gray
riding-coat, and accompanied by General Duroc, on the road to Marly.
Chatting as they walked, they saw a plowman, who turned a furrow as he
came towards them.

"See here, my good man," said the First Consul, stopping him, "your
furrow is not straight. You do not know your business."--"It is not you,
my fine gentleman, who can teach me. You cannot do as well. No, indeed
-you think so; very well, just try it," replied the good man, yielding
his place to the First Consul, who took the plow-handle, and making the
team start, commenced to give his lesson. But he did not plow a single
yard of a straight line. The whole furrow was crooked. "Come, come,"
said the countryman, putting his hand on that of the general to resume
his plow, "your work is no good. Each one to his trade. Saunter along,
that is your business." But the First Consul did not proceed without
paying for the lesson he had received. General Duroc handed the laborer
two or three louis to compensate him for the loss of time they had caused
him; and the countryman, astonished by this generosity, quitted his plow
to relate his adventure, and met on the way a woman whom he told that he
had met two big men, judging by what he had in his hand.

The woman, better informed, asked him to describe the dress of the men,
and from his description ascertained that it was the First Consul and one
of his staff; the good man was overcome with astonishment. The next day
he made a brave resolution, and donning his best clothes, presented
himself at Malmaison, requesting to speak to the First Consul, to thank
him, he said, for the fine present he had given him the day before.

I notified the First Consul of this visit, and he ordered me to bring the
laborer in. While I was gone to announce him, he had, according to his
own expression, taken his courage in both hands to prepare himself for
this grand interview; and I found him on my return, standing in the
center of the antechamber (for he did not dare to sit upon the sofas,
which though very simple seemed to him magnificent), and pondering what
he should say to the First Consul in token of his gratitude. I preceded
him, and he followed me, placing each foot cautiously on the carpet; and
when I opened the door of the cabinet, he insisted with much civility on
my going first. When the First Consul had nothing private to say or
dictate, he permitted the door to stand open; and he now made me a sign
not to close it, so that I was able to see and hear all that passed.

The honest laborer commenced, on entering the cabinet, by saluting the
back of de Bourrienne, who could not see him, occupied as he was in
writing upon a small table placed in the recess of a window. The First
Consul saw him make his bows, himself reclining in his armchair, one of
the arms of which, according to habit, he was pricking with the point of
his knife. Finally he spoke. "Well, my brave fellow." The peasant
turned, recognized him, and saluted anew. "Well," continued the First
Consul, "has the harvest been fine this year?"--"No, with all respect,
Citizen General, but not so very bad."

"In order that the earth should produce, it is necessary that it should
be turned up, is it not so? Fine gentlemen are no good for such work."

"Meaning no offense, General, the bourgeois have hands too soft to handle
a plow. There is need of a hard fist to handle these tools."

"That is so," replied the First Consul, smiling. "But big and strong as
you are, you should handle something else than a plow. A good musket,
for instance, or the handle of a good saber."

The laborer drew himself up with an air of pride. "General, in my time I
have done as others. I had been married six or seven years when these
d---d Prussians (pardon me, General) entered Landrecies. The requisition
came. They gave me a gun and a cartridge-box at the Commune
headquarters, and march! My soul, we were not equipped like those big
gallants that I saw just now on entering the courtyard." He referred to
the grenadiers of the Consular Guard.

"Why did you quit the service?" resumed the First Consul, who appeared
to take great interest in the conversation.

"My faith, General, each one in his turn, and there are saber strokes
enough for every one. One fell on me there" (the worthy laborer bent
his head and divided the locks of his hair); "and after some weeks in the
field hospital, they gave me a discharge to return to my wife and my

"Have you any children?"

"I have three, General, two boys and a girl."

"You must make a soldier of the oldest. If he will conduct himself well,
I will take care of him. Adieu, my brave man. Whenever I can help you,
come to see me again." The First Consul rose, made de Bourrienne give
him some louis, which he added to those the laborer had already received
from him, and directed me to show him out, and we had already reached the
antechamber, when the First Consul called the peasant back to say to him,
"You were at Fleurus?"--"Yes, General."--"Can you tell me the name of
your general-in-chief?"--"Indeed, I should think so. It was General
Jourdan."--"That is correct. Au revoir;" and I carried off the old
soldier of the Republic, enchanted with his reception.


At the beginning of this year (1803), there arrived at Paris an envoy
from Tunis, who presented the First Consul, on the part of the Bey, with
ten Arab horses. The Bey at that time feared the anger of England, and
hoped to find in France a powerful ally, capable of protecting him; and
he could not have found a better time to make the application, for
everything announced the rupture of the peace of Amiens, over which all
Europe had so greatly rejoiced, for England had kept none of her
promises, and had executed no article of the treaty. On his side, the
First Consul, shocked by such bad faith, and not wishing to be a dupe,
openly prepared for war, and ordered the filling up of the ranks, and a
new levy of one hundred and twenty thousand conscripts. War was
officially declared in June, but hostilities had already begun before
this time.

At the end of this month the First Consul made a journey to Boulogne, and
visited Picardy, Flanders, and Belgium, in order to organize an
expedition which he was meditating against the English, and to place the
northern seacoast in a state of defense. He returned to Paris in August,
but set out in November for a second visit to Boulogne.

This constant traveling was too much for Hambard, who for a long time had
been in feeble health; and when the First Consul was on the point of
setting out for his first tour in the North, Hambard had asked to be
excused, alleging, which was only too true, the bad state of his health.
"See how you are," said the First Consul, "always sick and complaining;
and if you stay here, who then will shave me?"--"General," replied
Hambard, "Constant knows how to shave as well as I." I was present, and
occupied at that very moment in dressing the First Consul. He looked at
me and said, "Well, you queer fellow, since you are so skilled, you shall
make proof of it at once. We must see how you will do." I knew the
misadventure of poor Hebert, which I have already related; and not
wishing a like experience, I had been for some time practicing the art of
shaving. I had paid a hairdresser to teach me his trade; and I had even,
in my moments of leisure, served an apprenticeship in his shop, where I
had shaved, without distinction, all his customers. The chins of these
good people had suffered somewhat before I had acquired sufficient
dexterity to lay a razor on the consular chin; but by dint of repeated
experiments on the beards of the commonalty I had achieved a degree of
skill which inspired me with the greatest confidence; so, in obedience to
the order of the First Consul, I brought the warm water, opened the razor
boldly, and began operations. Just as I was going to place the razor
upon the face of the First Consul, he raised himself abruptly, turned,
and fastened both eyes upon me, with an expression of severity and
interrogation which I am unable to describe. Seeing that I was not at
all embarrassed, he seated himself again, saying to me in a mild tone,
"Proceed." This I did with sufficient skill to satisfy him; and when I
had finished, he said to me, "Hereafter you are to shave me;" and, in
fact, after that he was unwilling to be shaved by any one else. From
that time also my duties became much more exacting, for every day I had
to shave the First Consul; and I admit that it was not an easy thing to
do, for while he was being shaved, he often spoke, read the papers, moved
about in his chair, turned himself abruptly, and I was obliged to use the
greatest precautions in order not to cut him. Happily this never
occurred. When by chance he did not speak, he remained immobile and
stiff as a statue, and could not be made to lower, nor raise, nor bend
his head to one side, as was necessary to accomplish the task easily. He
also had a singular fancy of having one half of his face lathered and
shaved before beginning the other, and would not allow me to pass to the
other side of his face until the first half was completely finished, as
the First Consul found that plan suited him best.

Later, when I had become his chief valet, and he deigned to give me
proofs of his kindness and esteem, and I could talk with him as freely
as his rank permitted, I took the liberty of persuading him to shave
himself; for, as I have just said, not wishing to be shaved by any one
except me, he was obliged to wait till I could be notified, especially in
the army, when his hour of rising was not regular. He refused for a long
time to take my advice, though I often repeated it. "Ah, ha, Mr. Idler!"
he would say to me, laughing, "you are very anxious for me to do half
your work;" but at last I succeeded in satisfying him of my
disinterestedness and the wisdom of my advice. The fact is, I was most
anxious to persuade him to this; for, considering what would necessarily
happen if an unavoidable absence, an illness, or some other reason, had
separated me from the First Consul, I could not reflect, without a
shudder, of his life being at the mercy of the first comer. As for him,
I am sure he never gave the matter a thought; for whatever tales have
been related of his suspicious nature, he never took any precaution
against the snares which treason might set for him. His sense of
security, in this regard, amounted even to imprudence; and consequently
all who loved him, especially those who surrounded him, endeavored to
make up for this want of precaution by all the vigilance of which they
were capable; and it is unnecessary to assert that it was this solicitude
for the precious life of my master which had caused me to insist upon the
advice I had given him to shave himself.

On the first occasions on which he attempted to put my lessons into
practice, it was even more alarming than laughable to watch the Emperor
(for such he was then); as in spite of the lessons that I had given him
with repeated illustrations, he did not yet know how to hold his razor.
He would seize it by the handle, and apply it perpendicularly to his
cheek, instead of laying it flat; he would make a sudden dash with the
razor, never failing to give himself a cut, and then draw back his hand
quickly, crying out, "See there, you scamp; you have made me cut myself."
I would then take the razor and finish the operation The next day the
same scene would be repeated, but with less bloodshed; and each day the
skill of the Emperor improved, until at last, by dint of numberless
lessons, he became sufficiently an adept to dispense with me, though he
still cut himself now and then, for which he would always mildly reproach
me, though jestingly and in kindness. Besides, from the manner in which
he began, and which he would never change, it was impossible for him not
to cut his face sometimes, for he shaved himself downward, and not
upward, like every one else; and this bad method, which all my efforts
could not change, added to the habitual abruptness of his movements, made
me shudder every time I saw him take his razor in hand.

Madame Bonaparte accompanied the First Consul on the first of these
journeys; and there was, as on that to Lyons, a continued succession of
fetes and rejoicing.

The inhabitants of Boulogne had, in anticipation of the arrival of the
First Consul, raised several triumphal arches, extending from the
Montreuil gate as far as the great road which led to his barrack, which
was situated in the camp on the right. Each arch of triumph was
decorated with evergreens, and thereon could be read the names of the
skirmishes and battles in which he had been victorious. These domes and
arches of verdure and flowers presented an admirable coup-d'-oeil. One
arch of triumph, higher than the others, was placed in the midst of the
Rue de l'Ecu (the main street), and the elite of the citizens had
assembled around it; while more than a hundred young people with garlands
of flowers, children, old men, and a great number of brave men whom
military duty had not detained in the camp, awaited with impatience the
arrival of the First Consul. At his approach the joyful booming of
cannon announced to the English, whose fleet was near by in the sea off
Boulogne, the appearance of Napoleon upon the shore on which he had
assembled the formidable army he had determined to hurl against England.

The First Consul was mounted upon a small gray horse, which was active as
a squirrel. He dismounted, and followed by his brilliant staff,
addressed these paternal words to the citizens of the town: "I come to
assure the happiness of France. The sentiments which you express, and
all your evidences of gratitude, touch me; I shall never forget my
entrance into Boulogne, which I have chosen as the center of the reunion
of my armies. Citizens, do not be alarmed by this multitude. It is that
of the defenders of your country, soon to be the conquerors of haughty

The First Consul proceeded on his route, surrounded by the whole
populace, who accompanied him to the door of his headquarters, where more
than thirty generals received him, though the firing of cannon, the
ringing of bells, the cries of joy, ceased only when this great day

The day after our arrival, the First Consul visited the Pont de Brique, a
little village situated about half a league from Boulogne. A farmer read
to him the following complimentary address:--

"General, in the name of twenty fathers we offer you a score of fine
fellows who are, and always will be, at your command. Lead them,
General. They can strike a good blow for you when you march into
England. As to us, we will discharge another duty. We will till the
earth in order that bread may not be wanting to the brave men who will
crush the English."

Napoleon, smiling, thanked the patriotic countrymen, and glancing towards
the little country house, built on the edge of the highway, spoke to
General Berthier, saying, "This is where I wish my headquarters
established." Then he spurred his horse and rode off, while a general
and some officers remained to execute the order of the First Consul, who,
on the very night of his arrival at Boulogne, returned to sleep at Pont
de Brique.

They related to me at Boulogne the details of a naval combat which had
taken place a short time before our arrival between the French fleet,
commanded by Admiral Bruix, and the English squadron with which Nelson
blockaded the port of Boulogne. I will relate this as told to me,
deeming very unusual the comfortable mode in which the French admiral
directed the operations of the sailors.

About two hundred boats, counting gunboats and mortars, barges and
sloops, formed the line of defense, the shore and the forts bristling
with batteries. Some frigates advanced from the hostile line, and,
preceded by two or three brigs, ranged themselves in line of battle
before us and in reach of the cannon of our flotilla; and the combat
began. Balls flew in every direction. Nelson, who had promised the
destruction of the flotilla, re-enforced his line of battle with two
other lines of vessels and frigates; and thus placed en echelon, they
fought with a vastly superior force. For more than seven hours the sea,
covered with fire and smoke, offered to the entire population of Boulogne
the superb and frightful spectacle of a naval combat in which more than
eighteen hundred cannon were fired at the same time; but the genius of
Nelson could not avail against our sailors or soldiers. Admiral Bruix
was at his headquarters near the signal station, and from this position
directed the fight against Nelson, while drinking with his staff and some
ladies of Boulogne whom he had invited to dinner. The guests sang the
early victories of the First Consul, while the admiral, without leaving
the table, maneuvered the flotilla by means of the signals he ordered.
Nelson, eager to conquer, ordered all his naval forces to advance; but
the wind being in favor of the French, he was not able to keep the
promise he had made in London to burn our fleet, while on the contrary
many of his own boats were so greatly damaged, that Admiral Bruix, seeing
the English begin to retire, cried "Victory!" pouring out champagne for
his guests. The French flotilla suffered very little, while the enemy's
squadron was ruined by the steady fire, of our stationary batteries. On
that day the English learned that they could not possibly approach the
shore at Boulogne, which after this they named the Iron Coast (Cote de

When the First Consul left Boulogne, he made his arrangements to pass
through Abbeville, and to stop twenty four hours there. The mayor of the
town left nothing undone towards a suitable reception, and Abbeville was
magnificent on that day. The finest trees from the neighboring woods
were taken up bodily with their roots to form avenues in all the streets
through which the First Consul was to pass; and some of the citizens, who
owned magnificent gardens, sent their rarest shrubs to be displayed along
his route; and carpets from the factory of Hecquet-Dorval were spread on
the ground, to be trodden by his horses. But unforeseen circumstances
suddenly cut short the fete.

A courier, sent by the minister of police, arrived as we were
approaching the town, who notified the First Consul of a plot to
assassinate him two leagues farther on; the very day and hour were named.
To baffle the attempt that they intended against his person, the First
Consul traversed the city in a gallop, and, followed by some lancers,
went to the spot where he was to be attacked, halted about half an hour,
ate some Abbeville cakes, and set out. The assassins were deceived.
They had not expected his arrival until the next day.

The First Consul and Madame Bonaparte continued their journey through
Picardy, Flanders, and the Low Countries. Each day the First Consul
received offers of vessels of war from the different council-generals,
the citizens continued to offer him addresses, and the mayors to present
him with the keys of the cities, as if he exercised royal power. Amiens,
Dunkirk, Lille, Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, Liege, and Namur distinguished
themselves by the brilliant receptions they gave to the illustrious
travelers. The inhabitants of Antwerp presented the First Consul with
six magnificent bay horses. Everywhere also, the First Consul left
valuable souvenirs of his journey; and by his orders, works were
immediately commenced to deepen and improve the port of Amiens. He
visited in that city, and in all the others where he stopped, the
exposition of the products of industry, encouraging manufacturers by his
advice, and favoring them in his decrees. At Liege, he put at the
disposal of the prefect of the Our the the sum of three hundred thousand
francs to repair the houses burned by the Austrians, in that department,
during the early years of the Revolution. Antwerp owes to him the inner
port, a basin, and the building of carpenter-shops. At Brussels, he
ordered that the Rhine, the Meuse, and the Scheldt should be connected by
a canal. He gave to Givet a stone bridge over the Meuse, and at Sedan
the widow Madame Rousseau received from him the sum of sixty thousand
francs for the re-establishment of the factory destroyed by fire.
Indeed, I cannot begin to enumerate all the benefits, both public and
private, which the First Consul and Madame Bonaparte scattered along
their route.

A little while after our return to Saint-Cloud, the First Consul, while
riding in the park with his wife and Cambaceres, took a fancy to drive
the four horses attached to the carriage which had been given him by the
inhabitants of Antwerp. He took his place on the driver's seat, and took
the reins from the hands of Caesar, his coachman, who got up behind the
carriage. At that instant they were in the horse-shoe alley, which leads
to the road of the Pavilion Breteuil, and of Ville d'Avray. It is stated
in the Memorial of St. Helena, that the aide-de-camp, having awkwardly
frightened the horses, made them run away; but Caesar, who related to me
in detail this sad disaster a few moments after the accident had taken
place, said not a word to me about the aide-de-camp; and, in truth, there
was needed, to upset the coach, nothing more than the awkwardness of a
coachman with so little experience as the First Consul. Besides, the
horses were young and spirited, and Caesar himself needed all his skill
to guide them. Not feeling his hand on the reins, they set out at a
gallop, while Caesar, seeing the new direction they were taking to the
right, cried out, "To the left," in a stentorian voice. Consul
Cambaceres, even paler than usual, gave himself little concern as to
reassuring Madame Bonaparte, who was much alarmed, but screamed with all
his might, "Stop, stop! you will break all our necks!" That might well
happen, for the First Consul heard nothing, and, besides, could not
control the horses; and when he reached, or rather was carried with the
speed of lightning to, the very gate, he was not able to keep in the
road, but ran against a post, where the carriage fell over heavily, and
fortunately the horses stopped. The First Consul was thrown about ten
steps, fell on his stomach, and fainted away, and did not revive until
some one attempted to lift him up. Madame Bonaparte and the second
consul had only slight contusions; but good Josephine had suffered
horrible anxiety about her husband. However, although he was badly
bruised, he would not be bled, and satisfied himself with a few rubbings
with eau de Cologne, his favorite remedy. That evening, on retiring, he
spoke gayly of his misadventure, and of the great fright that his
colleague had shown, and ended by saying, "We must render unto Caesar
that which is Caesar's; let him keep his whip, and let us each mind his
own business."

He admitted, however, notwithstanding all his jokes, that he had never
thought himself so near death, and that he felt as if he had been dead
for a few seconds. I do not remember whether it was on this or another
occasion that I heard the Emperor say, that "death was only asleep
without dreams."

In the month of October of this year, the First Consul received in public
audience Haled-Effendi, the ambassador of the Ottoman Porte.

The arrival of the Turkish ambassador created a sensation at the
Tuileries, because he brought a large number of cashmere shawls to the
First Consul, which every one was sure would be distributed, and each
woman flattered herself that she would be favorably noticed. I think
that, without his foreign costume, and without his cashmere shawls, he
would have produced little effect on persons accustomed to seeing
sovereign princes pay court to the chief of the government at his
residence and at their own. His costume even was not more remarkable
than that of Roustan, to which we were accustomed; and as to his bows,
they were hardly lower than those of the ordinary courtiers of the First
Consul. At Paris, it is said, the enthusiasm lasted longer--"It is so
odd to be a Turk!" A few ladies had the honor of seeing the bearded
ambassador eat. He was polite and even gallant with them, and made them
a few presents, which were highly prized; his manners were not too
Mohammedan, and he was not much shocked at seeing our pretty Parisians
without veils over their faces. One day, which he had spent almost
entirely at Saint-Cloud, I saw him go through his prayers. It was in the
court of honor, on a broad parapet bordered with a stone balustrade. The
ambassador had carpets spread on the side of the apartments, which were
afterwards those of the King of Rome; and there he made his genuflexions,
under the eyes of many people of the house, who, out of consideration,
kept themselves behind their casements. In the evening he was present at
the theater, and Zaire or Mahomet, I think, was played; but of course he
understood none of it.


In the month of November of this year, the First Consul returned to
Boulogne to visit the fleet, and to review the troops who were already
assembled in the camps provided for the army with which he proposed to
descend on England. I have preserved a few notes and many recollections
of my different sojourns at Boulogne. Never did the Emperor make a
grander display of military power; nor has there ever been collected at
one point troops better disciplined or more ready to march at the least
signal of their chief; and it is not surprising that I should have
retained in my recollections of this period details which no one has yet,
I think, thought of publishing. Neither, if I am not mistaken, could any
one be in a better position than I to know them. However, the reader
will now judge for himself.

In the different reviews which the First Consul held, he seemed striving
to excite the enthusiasm of the soldiers, and to increase their
attachment for his person, by assiduously taking advantage of every
opportunity to excite their vanity.

One day, having especially noticed the excellent bearing of the
Thirty-sixth and Fifty-seventh regiments of the line, and Tenth of light
infantry, he made all the officers, from corporal to colonel, come
forward; and, placing himself in their midst, evinced his satisfaction by
recalling to them occasions when, in the past under the fire of cannon,
he had remarked the bearing of these three brave, regiments. He
complimented the sub-officers on the good drilling of the soldiers, and
the captains and chiefs of battalion on the harmony and precision of
their evolutions. In fine, each had his share of praise.

This flattering distinction did not excite the jealousy of the other
corps of the army, for each regiment had on that day its own share of
compliments, whether small or great; and when the review was over, they
went quietly back to their quarters. But the soldiers of the
Thirty-sixth, Fifty-seventh, and Tenth, much elated by having been so
specially favored, went in the afternoon to drink to their triumph in a
public house frequented by the grenadiers of the cavalry of the Guard.
They began to drink quietly, speaking of campaigns, of cities taken, of
the First Consul, and finally of that morning's review. It then
occurred to the young men of Boulogne, who were among the drinkers, to
sing couplets of very recent composition, in which were extolled to the
clouds the bravery and the exploits of the three regiments, without one
word of praise for the rest of the army, not even for the Guard; and it
was in the favorite resort of the grenadiers of the Guard that these
couplets were sung! These latter maintained at first a gloomy silence;
but soon finding it unendurable, they protested loudly against these
couplets, which they said were detestable. The quarrel became very
bitter; they shouted, heaped insults on each other, taking care not to
make too much noise; however, and appointed a meeting for the next day,
at four o'clock in the morning, in the suburbs of Marquise, a little
village about two leagues from Boulogne. It was very late in the
evening when these soldiers left the public house.

More than two hundred grenadiers of the Guard went separately to the
place of meeting, and found the ground occupied by an almost equal number
of their adversaries of the Thirty-sixth, Fifty-seventh, and Tenth.
Wasting no time in explanations, hardly a sound being heard, each soldier
drew his sword, and for more than an hour they fought in a cool,
deliberate manner which was frightful to behold. A man named Martin,
grenadier of the Guard, and of gigantic stature, killed with his own hand
seven or eight soldiers of the Tenth. They would probably have continued
till all were massacred if General Saint-Hilaire, informed too late of
this bloody quarrel, had not sent out in all haste a regiment of cavalry,
who put an end to the combat. The grenadiers had lost two men, and the
soldiers of the line thirteen, with a large number of wounded on both

The First Consul visited the camp next day, and had brought before him
those who had caused this terrible scene, and said to them in a severe
tone: "I know why you fought each other; many brave men have fallen in a
struggle unworthy of them and of you. You shall be punished. I have
given orders that the verses which have been the cause of so much trouble
shall be printed. I hope that, in learning your punishment, the ladies
of Boulogne will know that you have deserved the blame of your comrades
in arms."

However, the troops, and above all the officers, began to grow weary of
their sojourn at Boulogne, a town less likely, perhaps, than any other to
render such an inactive existence endurable. They did not murmur,
however, because never where the First Consul was did murmuring find a
place; but they fumed nevertheless under their breath at seeing
themselves held in camp or in fort, with England just in sight, only nine
or ten leagues distant. Pleasures were rare at Boulogne; the women,
generally pretty, but extremely timid, did not dare to hold receptions at
their own houses, for fear of displeasing their husbands, very jealous
men, as are all those of Picardy. There was, however, a handsome hall in
which balls and soirees could easily have been given; but, although very
anxious to do this, these ladies dared not make use of it. At last a
considerable number of Parisian beauties, touched by the sad fate of so
many brave and handsome officers, came to Boulogne to charm away the
ennui of so long a peace. The example of the Parisian women piqued those
of Abbeville, Dunkirk, Amiens; and soon Boulogne was filled with
strangers, male and female, who came to do the honors of the city. Among
all these ladies the one most conspicuous for style, intellect, and
beauty was a Dunkirk lady, named Madame F----, an excellent musician,
full of gayety, grace, and youth; it was impossible for Madame F----not
to turn many heads. Colonel Joseph, brother of the First Consul,
General Soult, who was afterwards Marshal, Generals Saint-Hilaire and
Andre Ossy, and a few other great personages, were at her feet; though
two alone, it is said, succeeded in gaining her affections, and of those
two, one was Colonel Joseph, who soon had the reputation of being the
preferred lover of Madame F----. The beautiful lady from Dunkirk often
gave soirees, at which Colonel Joseph never failed to be present. Among
all his rivals, and certainly they were very numerous, one alone bore him
ill-will; this was the general-in-chief, Soult. This rivalry did no
injury to the interests of Madame F----; but like a skillful tactician,
she adroitly provoked the jealousy of her two suitors, while accepting
from each of them compliments, bouquets, and more than that sometimes.

The First Consul, informed of the amours of his brother, concluded one
evening to go and make himself merry in the little salon of Madame F----,
who was very plainly domesticated in a room on the first floor in the
house of a joiner, in the Rue des Minimes. In order not to be
recognized, he was dressed as a citizen, and wore a wig and spectacles.
He took into his confidence General Bertrand, who was already in great
favor with him, and who did all in his power to render his disguise

Thus disguised, the First Consul and his companion presented themselves
at Madame F----'s, and asked for Monsieur the Superintendent Arcambal.
The most perfect incognito was impressed on Arcambal by the First Consul,
who would not for all the world have been recognized; and M. Arcambal
promising to keep the secret, the two visitors were announced under the
title of commissaries of war.

They were playing bouillotte; gold covered the tables, and the game and
punch absorbed the attention of the happy inmates to such a degree, that
none of them took note of the persons who had just entered. As for the
mistress of the lodging, she had never seen the First Consul except at a
distance, nor General Bertrand; consequently, there was nothing to be
feared from her. I myself think that Colonel Joseph recognized his
brother, but he gave no evidence of this.

The First Consul, avoiding as best he could all glances, spied those of
his brother and of Madame F----. Thinking signals were passing between
them, he was preparing to quit the salon of the pretty Dunkirkess, when
she, very anxious that the number of her guests should not yet be
diminished, ran to the two false commissaries of war, and detained them
gracefully, saying that all were going to play forfeits, and they must
not go away without having given pledges. The First Consul having first
consulted General Bertrand by a glance, found it agreeable to remain and
play those innocent games.

Indeed, at the end of a few moments, at the request of Madame F----, the
players deserted the bouillotte, and placed themselves in a circle around
her. They began by dancing the Boulangere; then the young innocents kept
the ball in motion. The turn of the First Consul came to give a forfeit.
He was at first very much embarrassed, having with him only a piece of
paper, on which he had written the names of a few colonels; he gave,
however, this paper to Madame F----, begging her not to open it.

The wish of the First Consul was respected, and the paper remained folded
on the lap of the beautiful woman until the time came to redeem the
forfeits. Then the queer penalty was imposed on the great captain of
making him doorkeeper, while Madame F----, with Colonel Joseph, made the
'voyage a Cythere' in a neighboring room. The First Consul acquitted
himself with a good grace of the role given him; and after the forfeits
had been redeemed, made a sign to General Bertrand to follow him, and
they went out. The joiner who lived on the ground floor soon came up to
bring a little note to Madame F----.

This was the note:

   I thank you, Madame, for the kind welcome you have given me. If you
   will come some day to my barracks, I will act as doorkeeper, if it
   seems good to you; but on that occasion I will resign to no, other
   the pleasure of accompanying you in the 'voyage a Cythre'.

             (Signed)  BONAPARTE

The pretty woman did not read the note aloud; neither did she allow the
givers of forfeits to remain in ignorance that she had received a visit
from the First Consul. At the end of an hour the company dispersed, and
Madame F---- remained alone, reflecting on the visit and the note of the
great man.

It was during this same visit that there occurred a terrible combat in
the roadstead of Boulogne to secure the entrance into the port of a
flotilla composed of twenty or thirty vessels, which came from Ostend,
from Dunkirk, and from Nieuport, loaded with arms for the national fleet.

A magnificent frigate, carrying thirty-six pounders, a cutter, and a
brig, detached themselves from the English fleet, in order to intercept
the route of the Dutch flotilla; but they were received in a manner which
took away all desire to return.

The port of Boulogne was defended by five forts; the Fort de la Creche,
the Fort en Bois, Fort Musoir, Castle Croi, and the Castle d'Ordre, all
fortified with large numbers of cannon and howitzers. The line of
vessels which barred the entrance was composed of two hundred and fifty
gunboats and other vessels; the division of imperial gunboats formed a
part of this.

Each sloop bore three pieces of cannon, twenty-four pounders,--two pieces
for pursuit, and one for retreat; and five hundred mouths of fire were
thus opened on the enemy, independently of all the batteries of the
forts, every cannon being fired more than three times a minute.

The combat began at one o'clock in the afternoon. The weather was
beautiful. At the first report of the cannon the First Consul left the
headquarters at the Pont de Brique, and came at a gallop, followed by his
staff, to give orders to Admiral Bruix; but soon wishing to examine for
himself the operations of the defense, and to share in directing them, he
threw himself, followed by the admiral and a few officers, into a launch
which was rowed by sailors of the Guard. Thus the First Consul was borne
into the midst of the vessels which formed the line of defense, through a
thousand dangers, amid a tempest of shells, bombs, and cannon-balls.
With the intention of landing at Wimereux, after having passed along the
line, he ordered them to steer for the castle of Croi, saying that he
must double it. Admiral Bruix, alarmed at the danger he was about to
incur, in vain represented to the First Consul the imprudence of doing
this. "What shall we gain," said he, "by doubling this fort? Nothing,
except to expose ourselves to the cannon-balls. General, by flanking it
we will arrive as soon." The First Consul was not of the admiral's
opinion, and insisted on doubling the fort. The admiral, at the risk of
being reprimanded, gave contrary orders to the sailors; and the First
Consul saw himself obliged to pass behind the fort, though much irritated
and reproaching the admiral.

This soon ceased, however; for, hardly had the launch passed, when a
transport, which had doubled the castle of Croi, was crashed into and
sunk by three or four shells.

The First Consul became silent, on seeing how correct the admiral's
judgment had been; and the rest of the journey, as far as the little port
of Wimereux, was made without hindrance from him. Arriving there, he
climbed upon the cliff to encourage the cannoneers, spoke to all of them,
patted them on the shoulder, and urged them to aim well. "Courage, my
friends," said he, "remember you are not fighting fellows who will hold
out a long time. Drive them back with the honors of war." And noticing
the fine resistance and majestic maneuvers of a frigate, he asked, "Can
you believe, my children, that captain is English? I do not think so."

The artillerymen, animated by the words of the First Consul, redoubled
their zeal and the rapidity of their fire. One of them said, "Look at
the frigate, General; her bowsprit is going to fall." He spoke truly,
the bowsprit was cut in two by his ball. "Give twenty francs to that
brave man," said the First Consul to the officers who were with him.
Near the batteries of Wimereux there was a furnace to heat the
cannon-balls; and the First Consul noticed them operating the furnaces,
and gave instructions. "That is not red enough, boys; they must be sent
redder than that, come, come." One of them had known him, when a
lieutenant of artillery, and said to his comrades, "He understands these
little matters perfectly, as well as greater ones, you see."

That day two soldiers without arms were on the cliff noticing the
maneuvers. They began a quarrel in this singular manner. "Look," said
one, "do you see the Little Corporal down there?" (they were both
Picards). "No; I don't see him."--"Do you not see him in his
launch?"--"Oh, yes, now I do; but surely he does not remember, that if
anything should strike him, it would make the whole army weep--why does
he expose himself like that?"

"Indeed, it is his place!"--"No, it's not "--"It is"--"It isn't.
Look here, what would you do to-morrow if the Little Corporal was
killed?"--"But I tell you it is his place!" And having no other
argument on either side, they commenced to fight with their fists.
They were separated with much difficulty.

The battle had commenced at one o'clock in the afternoon, and about ten
o'clock in the evening the Dutch flotilla entered the port under the most
terrible fire that I have ever witnessed. In the darkness the bombs,
which crossed each other in every direction, formed above the port and
the town a vault of fire, while the constant discharge of all this
artillery was repeated by echoes from the cliffs, making a frightful din;
and, a most singular fact, no one in the city was alarmed. The people of
Boulogne had become accustomed to danger, and expected something terrible
each day. They had constantly going on, under their eyes, preparations
for attack or defense, and had become soldiers by dint of seeing this so
constantly. On that day the noise of cannon was heard at dinner-time;
and still every one dined, the hour for the repast being neither advanced
nor delayed. Men went about their business, women occupied themselves
with household affairs, young girls played the piano, all saw with
indifference the cannonballs pass over their heads; and the curious, whom
a desire to witness the combat had attracted to the cliffs, showed hardly
any more emotion than is ordinarily the case on seeing a military piece
played at Franconi's.

I still ask myself how three vessels could have endured for nine hours so
violent a shock; for when at length the flotilla entered the fort, the
English cutter had foundered, the brig had been burnt by the red-hot
cannon-balls, and there was left only the frigate, with her masts
shivered and her sails torn, but she still remained there immovable as a
rock, and so near to our line of defense that the sailors on either side
could be seen and counted. Behind her, at a modest distance, were more
than a hundred English ships.

At length, after ten o'clock, a signal from the English admiral caused
the frigate to withdraw, and the firing ceased. Our line of ships was
not greatly damaged in this long and terrible combat, because the
broadsides from the frigate simply cut into our rigging, and did not
enter the body of our vessels. The brig and the cutter, however, did
more harm.


The First Consul left Boulogne to return to Paris, in order to be present
at the marriage of one of his sisters. Prince Camille Borghese,
descendant of the noblest family of Rome, had already arrived at Paris
to--marry Madame Pauline Bonaparte, widow of General Leclerc, who had
died of yellow fever in San Domingo. I recollect having seen this
unfortunate general at the residence of the First Consul some time before
his departure on the ill-starred expedition which cost him his life, and
France the loss of many brave soldiers and much treasure. General
Leclerc, whose name is now almost forgotten, or held in light esteem, was
a kind and good man. He was passionately in love with his wife, whose
giddiness, to put it mildly, afflicted him sorely, and threw him into a
deep and habitual melancholy painful to witness. Princess Pauline (who
was then far from being a princess) had married him willingly, and of her
own choice; but this did not prevent her tormenting her husband by her
innumerable caprices, and repeating to him a hundred times a day that he
was indeed a fortunate man to marry the sister of the First Consul. I am
sure that with his simple tastes and quiet disposition General Leclerc
would have preferred less distinction and more peace. The First Consul
required his sister to accompany her husband to San Domingo. She was
forced to obey, and to leave Paris, where she swayed the scepter of
fashion, and eclipsed all other women by her elegance and coquetry, as
well as by her incomparable beauty, to brave a dangerous climate, and the
ferocious companions of Christophe and Dessalines. At the end of the
year 1801 the admiral's ship, The Ocean, sailed from Brest, carrying to
the Cape (San Domingo) General Leclerc, his wife, and their son. After
her arrival at the Cape, the conduct of Madame Leclerc was beyond praise.
On more than one occasion, but especially that which I shall now attempt
to describe, she displayed a courage worthy of her name and the position
of her husband. I obtained these details from an eye-witness whom I had
known at Paris in the service of Princess Pauline.

The day of the great insurrection of the blacks in September, 1802, the
bands of Christophe and Dessalines, composed of more than twelve thousand
negroes, exasperated by their hatred against the whites, and the
certainty that if they yielded no quarter would be given, made an assault
on the town of the Cape, which was defended by only one thousand
soldiers; for only this small number remained of the large army which had
sailed from Brest a year before, in brilliant spirits and full of hope.
This handful of brave men, the most of them weakened by fever, led by the
general-in-chief of the expedition, who was even then suffering from the
malady which caused his death, repulsed by unheard of efforts and heroic
valor the repeated attacks of the blacks.

During this combat, in which the determination, if not the number and
strength, was equal on both sides, Madame Leclerc, with her son, was
under the guard of a devoted friend who had subject to his orders only a
weak company of artillery, which still occupied the house where her
husband had fixed his residence, at the foot of the low hills which
bordered the coast. The general-in-chief, fearing lest this residence
might be surprised by a party of the enemy, and being unable to foresee
the issue of the struggle which he was maintaining on the heights of the
Cape, and against which the blacks made their most furious assaults, sent
an order to convey his wife and son on board the fleet. Pauline would
not consent to this. Always faithful to the pride with which her name
inspired her (but this time there was in her pride as much greatness as
nobility), she spoke to the ladies of the city who had taken refuge with
her, and begged them to go away, giving them a frightful picture of the
horrible treatment to which they would be exposed should the negroes
defeat the troops. "You can leave. You are not the sisters of

However, as the danger became more pressing every moment, General Leclerc
sent an aide-de-camp to his residence, and enjoined on him, in case
Pauline still persisted in her refusal, to use force, and convey her on
board against her will. The officer was obliged to execute this order to
the letter. Consequently Madame Leclerc was forcibly placed in an
arm-chair which was borne by four soldiers, while a grenadier marched by
her side, carrying in his arms the general's son. During this scene of
flight and terror the child, already worthy of its mother, played with
the plume of the soldier who was carrying him. Followed by
her cortege of trembling, tearful women, whose only source of strength
during this perilous passage was in her courage, she was thus conveyed to
the seashore. Just as they were going to place her in the sloop,
however, another aide-de-camp of her husband brought news of the defeat
of the blacks. "You see now," said she, returning to her residence, "I
was right in not wishing to embark." She was not yet out of danger,
however; for a troop of negroes, forming part of the army which had just
been so miraculously repulsed, in trying to make good their retreat to
the dikes, met the small escort of Madame Leclerc. As they appeared
disposed to attack, it was necessary to scatter them by shots at short
range. Throughout this skirmish Pauline preserved a perfect equanimity.
All these circumstances, which reflected so much honor on Madame Leclerc,
were reported to the First Consul.

His self-love was flattered by it; and I believe that it was to Prince
Borghese that he said one day at his levee, "Pauline is predestined to
marry a Roman, for from head to foot she is every inch a Roman."

Unfortunately this courage, which a man might have envied, was not united
in the Princess Pauline with those virtues which are less brilliant and
more modest, and also more suitable for a woman, and which we naturally
expect to find in her, rather than boldness and contempt of danger.

I do not know if it is true, as has been written somewhere, that Madame
Leclerc, when she was obliged to set out for San Domingo, had a fancy for
an actor of the Theatre Francais. Nor am I able to say whether it is
true that Mademoiselle Duchesnois had the naivete to exclaim before a
hundred people in reference to this departure, "Lafon will never be
consoled; it will kill him!" but what I myself know of the frailty of
this princess leads me to believe that the anecdote is true.

All Paris knew the special favor with which she honored M. Jules de
Canouville, a young and brilliant colonel who was handsome and brave,
with a perfect figure, and an assurance which was the cause of his
innumerable successes with certain women, although he used little
discretion in respect to them. The liaison of Princess Pauline with this
amiable officer was the most lasting that she ever formed; and as,
unfortunately, neither of them was discreet, their mutual tenderness
acquired in a short while a scandalous publicity. I shall take occasion
later to relate in its proper place the incident which caused the
disgrace, banishment, and perhaps even the death, of Colonel de
Canouville. A death so premature, and above all so cruel, since it was
not an enemy's bullet which struck him, was deplored by the whole army.

   [Monsieur Bousquet was called to Neuilly (residence of the
   Princess Pauline) in order to examine the beautiful teeth of her
   Imperial Highness. Presented to her, he prepared to begin work.
   "Monsieur," said a charming young man in a wrapper, negligently
   lying on a sofa, "take care, I pray, what you do. I feel a great
   interest in the teeth of my Paulette, and I hold you responsible for
   any accident."--"Be tranquil, my Prince; I can assure your Imperial
   Highness that there is no danger." During all the time that
   Bousquet was engaged in working on the pretty mouth, these
   recommendations continued. At length, having finished what he had
   to do, he passed into the waiting-room, where he found assembled the
   ladies of the palace, the chamberlains, etc., who were awaiting to
   enter the apartments of the Princess.

   They hastened to ask Bousquet news of the princess, "Her Imperial
   Highness is very well, and must be happy in the tender attachment
   her august husband feels for her, which he has shown in my presence
   in so touching a manner. His anxiety was extreme. It was only with
   difficulty I could reassure him as to the result of the simplest
   thing in the world; I shall tell everywhere what I have just
   witnessed. It is pleasant to be able to cite such an example of
   conjugal tenderness in so high a rank. I am deeply impressed with
   it." They did not try to stop good M. Bousquet in these expressions
   of his enthusiasm. The desire to laugh prevented a single word; and
   he left convinced that nowhere existed a better household than that
   of the Prince and Princess Borghese. The latter was in Italy, and
   the handsome young man was M. de Canouville.

   I borrow this curious anecdote from the "Memoirs of Josephine," the
   author of which, who saw and described the Court of Navarre and
   Malmaison with so much truth and good judgment, is said to be a
   woman, and must be in truth a most intellectual one, and in a better
   position than any other person to know the private affairs of her
   Majesty, the Empress.--CONSTANT.

   He was slain by a ball from a French cannon, which was discharged
   after the close of an action in which he had shown the most
   brilliant courage.--CONSTANT.]

Moreover, however great may have been the frailty of Princess Pauline in
regard to her lovers, and although most incredible instances of this can
be related without infringing on the truth, her admirable devotion to the
person of the Emperor in 1814 should cause her faults to be treated with

On innumerable occasions the effrontery of her conduct, and especially
her want of regard and respect for the Empress Marie Louise, irritated
the Emperor against the Princess Borghese, though he always ended by
pardoning her; notwithstanding which, at the time of the fall of her
august brother she was again in disgrace, and being informed that the
island of Elba had been selected as a prison for the Emperor, she
hastened to shut herself up there with him, abandoning Rome and Italy,
whose finest palaces were hers. Before the battle of Waterloo, his
Majesty at the critical moment found the heart of his sister Pauline
still faithful. Fearing lest he might be in need of money, she sent him
her handsomest diamonds, the value of which was enormous; and they were
found in the carriage of the Emperor when it was captured at Waterloo,
and exhibited to the curiosity of the inhabitants of London. But the
diamonds have been lost; at least, to their lawful owner.


On the day of General Moreau's arrest the First Consul was in a state of
great excitement.

   [Jean Victor Moreau, born at Morlaix in Brittany, 1763, son of a
   prominent lawyer. At one time he rivaled Bonaparte in reputation.
   He was general-in-chief of the army of the Rhine, 1796, and again in
   1800, in which latter year he gained the battle of Hohenlinden.
   Implicated in the conspiracy of Pichegru, he was exiled, and went to
   the United States. He returned to Europe in 1813, and, joining the
   allied armies against France, was killed by a cannon-shot in the
   attack on Dresden in August of that year.]

The morning was passed in interviews with his emissaries, the agents of
police; and measures had been taken that the arrest should be made at the
specified hour, either at Gros-Bois, or at the general's house in the
street of the Faubourg Saint-Honore. The First Consul was anxiously
walking up and down his chamber, when he sent for me, and ordered me to
take position opposite General Moreau's house (the one in Paris), to see
whether the arrest had taken place, and if there was any tumult, and to
return promptly and make my report. I obeyed; but nothing extraordinary
took place, and I saw only some police spies walking along the street,
and watching the door of the house of the man whom they had marked for
their prey. Thinking that my presence would probably be noticed, I
retired; and, as I learned while returning to the chateau that General
Moreau had been arrested on the road from his estate of Gros-Bois, which
he sold a few months later to Marshal Berthier, before leaving for the
United States, I quickened my pace, and hastened to announce to the First
Consul the news of the arrest. He knew this already, made no response,
and still continued thoughtful, and in deep reflection, as in the

Since I have been led to speak of General Moreau, I will recall by what
fatal circumstances he was led to tarnish his glory. Madame Bonaparte
had given to him in marriage Mademoiselle Hulot, her friend, and, like
herself, a native of the Isle of France. This young lady, gentle,
amiable, and possessing those qualities which make a good wife and
mother, loved her husband passionately, and was proud of that glorious
name which surrounded her with respect and honor; but, unfortunately, she
had the greatest deference for her mother, whose ambition was great, and
who desired nothing short of seeing her daughter seated upon a throne.
The influence which she exercised over Madame Moreau soon extended to the
general himself, who, ruled by her counsels, became gloomy, thoughtful,
melancholy, and forever lost that tranquillity of mind which had
distinguished him. From that time the general's house was open to
intrigues and conspiracies; and it was the rendezvous of all the
discontented, of which there were many. The general assumed the task of
disapproving all the acts of the First Consul; he opposed the
reestablishment of public worship, and criticised as childish and
ridiculous mummery the institution of the Legion of Honor. These grave
imprudences, and indeed many others, came to the ears of the First
Consul, who refused at first to believe them; but how could he remain
deaf to reports which were repeated each day with more foundation, though
doubtless exaggerated by malice?

In proportion as the imprudent speeches of the general were depriving him
of the esteem of the First Consul, his mother-in-law, by a dangerous
obstinacy, was encouraging him in his opposition, persuaded, she said,
that the future would do justice to the present. She did not realize
that she spoke so truly; and the general rushed headlong into the abyss
which opened before him. How greatly his conduct was in opposition to
his character! He had a pronounced aversion to the English, and he
detested the Chouans, and everything pertaining to the old nobility; and
besides, a man like General Moreau, who had served his country so
gloriously, was not the one to bear arms against her. But he was
deceived, and he deceived himself, in thinking that he was fitted to play
a great political part; and he was destroyed by the flatteries of a party
which excited all possible hostility against the First Consul by taking
advantage of the jealousy of his former comrades in arms. I witnessed
more than one proof of affection shown by the First Consul to General
Moreau. In the course of a visit of the latter to the Tuileries, and
during an interview with the First Consul, General Carnot arrived from
Versailles with a pair of pistols of costly workmanship, which the
manufactory of Versailles had sent as a gift to the First Consul. He
took these handsome weapons from the hands of General Carnot, admired
them a moment, and immediately offered them to General Moreau, saying to
him, "Take them, truly they could not have come at a better time." All
this was done quicker than I can write it; the general was highly
flattered by this proof of friendship, and thanked the First Consul

The name and trial of General Moreau recall to me the story of a brave
officer who was compromised in this unfortunate affair, and who after
many years of disgrace was pardoned only on account of the courage with
which he dared expose himself to the anger of the Emperor. The
authenticity of the details which I shall relate can be attested, if
necessary, by living persons, whom I shall have occasion to name in my
narrative, and whose testimony no reader would dream of impeaching.

The disgrace of General Moreau extended at first to all those who
surrounded him; and as the affection and devotion felt for him by all
the officers and soldiers who had served under him was well known, his
aides-de-camp were arrested, even those who were not then in Paris. One
of them, Colonel Delelee, had been many months on furlough at Besancon,
resting after his campaigns in the bosom of his family, and with a young
wife whom he had recently married. Besides, he was at that time
concerning himself very little with political matters, very much with his
pleasures, and not at all with conspiracies. Comrade and brother in arms
of Colonels Guilleminot, Hugo, Foy,--all three of whom became generals
afterwards,--he was spending his evenings gayly with them at the
garrison, or in the quiet pleasures of his family circle. Suddenly
Colonel Delelee was arrested, placed in a postchaise, and it was not
until he was rolling along in a gallop on the road to Paris, that he
learned from the officer of the gendarmes who accompanied him, that
General Moreau had conspired, and that in his quality as aide-de-camp he
was counted among the conspirators.

Arrived at Paris, the colonel was put in close confinement, in La Force
I believe. His wife, much alarmed, followed his footsteps; but it was
several days before she obtained permission to communicate with the
prisoner, and then could do so only by signs from the courtyard of the
prison while he showed himself, for a few moments, and put his hands
through the bars of the window. However, the rigor of these orders was
relaxed for the colonel's young child three or four years of age, and his
father obtained the favor of embracing him. He came each morning in his
mother's arms, and a turnkey carried him in to the prisoner, before which
inconvenient witness the poor little thing played his role with all the
skill of a consummate actor. He would pretend to be lame, and complain
of having sand in his shoes which hurt him and the colonel, turning his
back on the jailer, and taking the child in his lap to remove the cause
of the trouble, would find in his son's shoe a note from his wife,
informing him in a few words of the state of the trial, and what he had
to hope or fear for himself. At length, after many months of captivity,
sentence having been pronounced against the conspirators, Colonel
Delelee, against whom no charge had been made, was not absolved as he had
a right to expect, but was struck off the army list, arbitrarily put
under surveillance, and prohibited from coming within forty leagues of
Paris. He was also forbidden to return to Besancon, and it was more than
a year after leaving prison before he was permitted to do so.

Young and full of courage, the Colonel saw, from the depths of his
retirement, his friends and comrades make their way, and gain upon the
battlefield fame, rank, and glory, while he himself was condemned to
inaction and obscurity, and to pass his days in following on the map the
triumphant march of those armies in which he felt himself worthy to
resume his rank. Innumerable applications were addressed by him and his
friends to the head of the Empire, that he might be allowed to go even as
a common volunteer, and rejoin his former comrades with his knapsack on
his shoulder; but these petitions were refused, the will of the Emperor
was inflexible, and to each new application he only replied, "Let him
wait." The inhabitants of Besancon, who considered Colonel Delelee as
their fellow-citizen, interested themselves warmly in the unmerited
misfortunes of this brave officer; and when an occasion presented itself
of recommending him anew to the clemency, or rather to the justice, of
the Emperor, they availed themselves of it.

It was, I believe, on the return from Prussia and Poland that from all
parts of France there came deputations charged with congratulating the
Emperor upon his several victories. Colonel Delelee was unanimously
elected member of the deputation of Doubs, of which the mayor and prefect
of Besancon were also members, and of which the respectable Marshal
Moncey was president, and an opportunity was thus at last offered Colonel
Delelee of procuring the removal of the long sentence which had weighed
him down and kept his sword idle. He could speak to the Emperor, and
complain respectfully, but with dignity, of the disgrace in which he had
been so long kept without reason. He could render thanks, from the
bottom of his heart, for the generous affection of his fellow-citizens,
whose wishes, he hoped would plead for him with his Majesty.

The deputies of Besancon, upon their arrival at Paris, presented
themselves to the different ministers. The minister of police took the
president of the deputation aside, and asked him the meaning of the
presence among the deputies of a man publicly known to be in disgrace,
and the sight of whom could not fail to be disagreeable to the chief of
the Empire.

Marshal Moncey, on coming out from this private interview, pale and
frightened, entered the room of Colonel Delelee:

"My friend," said he, "all is lost, for I have ascertained at the bureau
that they are still hostile to you. If the Emperor sees you among us, he
will take it as an open avowal of disregard for his orders, and will be

"Ah, well, what have I to do with that?"

"But in order to avoid compromising the department, the deputation, and,
indeed, in order to avoid compromising yourself, you would perhaps do
well "--the Marshal hesitated. "I will do well?" demanded the Colonel.

"Perhaps to withdraw without making any display"--

Here the colonel interrupted the president of the deputation: "Marshal,
permit me to decline this advice; I have not come so far to be
discouraged, like a child, before the first obstacle. I am weary of a
disgrace which I have not deserved, and still more weary of enforced
idleness. Let the Emperor be irritated or pleased, he shall see me; let
him order me to be shot, if he wishes. I do not count worth having such
a life as I have led for the last four years. Nevertheless, I will be
satisfied with whatever my colleagues, the deputies of Besancon, shall

These latter did not disapprove of the colonel's resolution, and he
accompanied them to the Tuileries on the day of the solemn reception of
all the deputations of the Empire. All the halls of the Tuileries were
packed with a crowd in richly embroidered coats and brilliant uniforms.
The military household of the Emperor, his civil household, the generals
present at Paris, the diplomatic corps, ministers and chiefs of the
different administrations, the deputies of the departments with their
prefects, and mayors decorated with tricolored scarfs, were all assembled
in numerous groups, and conversed in a low tone while awaiting the
arrival of his Majesty.

In one of these groups was seen a tall officer dressed in a very simple
uniform, cut in the fashion of several years past. He wore neither on
his collar, nor even on his breast the decoration which no officer of his
grade then lacked. This was Colonel Delelee. The president of the
deputation of which he was a member appeared embarrassed and almost
distressed. Of the former comrades of the colonel, very few dared to
recognize him, and the boldest gave him a distant nod which expressed at
the same time anxiety and pity, while the more prudent did not even
glance at him.

As for him, he remained unconcerned and resolute.

At last the folding doors were opened, and an usher cried "The Emperor,

The groups separated, and a line was formed, the colonel placing himself
in the first rank.

His Majesty commenced his tour of the room, welcoming the president of
each delegation with a few flattering words. Arrived before the
delegation from Doubs, the Emperor, having addressed a few words to the
brave marshal who was president, was about to pass on to the next, when
his eyes fell upon an officer he had not yet seen. He stopped in
surprise, and addressed to the deputy his familiar inquiry, "Who are

"Sire, I am Colonel Delelee, former aide-de-camp of General Moreau."

These words were pronounced in a firm voice, which resounded in the midst
of the profound silence which the presence of the sovereign imposed.

The Emperor stepped back, and fastened both eyes on the colonel. The
latter showed no emotion, but bowed slightly.

Marshal Moncey was pale as death.

The Emperor spoke. "What do you come to ask here?"

"That which I have asked for many years, Sire: that your Majesty will
deign to tell me wherein I have been in fault, or restore to me my rank."

Among those near enough to hear these questions and replies, few could
breathe freely. At last a smile half opened the firmly closed lips of
the Emperor; he placed his finger on his mouth, and, approaching the
colonel, said to him in a softened and almost friendly tone, "You have
reason to complain a little of that, but let us say no more about it,"
and continued his round. He had gone ten steps from the group formed by
the deputies of Bescancon, when he came back, and, stopping before the
colonel, said, "Monsieur Minister of War, take the name of this officer,
and be sure to remind me of him. He is tired of doing nothing, and we
will give him occupation."

As soon as the audience was over, the struggle was, who should be most
attentive to the colonel. He was surrounded, congratulated, embraced,
and pulled about. Each of his old comrades wished to carry him off, and
his hands were not enough to grasp all those extended to him. General
Savary, who that very evening had added to the fright of Marshal Moncey,
by being astonished that any one could have the audacity to brave the
Emperor, extended his arm over the shoulders of those who pressed around
the colonel, and shaking his hand in the most cordial manner possible,
"Delelee," cried he, "do not forget that I expect you to-morrow to

Two days after this scene at court, Colonel Delelee received his
appointment as chief of staff of the army of Portugal, commanded by the
Duke d'Abrantes. His preparations were soon made; and just before
setting out he had a last interview with the Emperor, who said to him,
"Colonel, I know that it is useless to urge you to make up for lost time.
In a little while I hope we shall both be satisfied with each other."

On coming out from this last audience, the brave Delelee said there was
nothing wanting to make him happy except a good opportunity to have
himself cut to pieces for a man who knew so well how to close the wounds
of a long disgrace. Such was the sway that his Majesty exercised over
the minds of men.

The colonel had soon crossed the Pyrenees, passed through Spain, and been
received by Junot with open arms. The army of Portugal had suffered much
in the two years during which it had struggled against both the
population and the English with unequal forces. Food was secured with
difficulty, and the soldiers were badly clothed, and half-shod. The new
chief of staff did all that was possible to remedy this disorder; and the
soldiers had just begun to feel the good effects of his presence, when he
fell sick from overwork and fatigue, and died before being able,
according to the Emperor's expression, to "make up for lost time."

I have said elsewhere that upon each conspiracy against the life of the
First Consul all the members of his household were at once subjected to a
strict surveillance; their smallest actions were watched; they were
followed outside the chateau; their conduct was reported even to the
smallest details. At the time the conspiracy of Pichegru was discovered,
there was only a single guardian of the portfolio, by the name of
Landoire; and his position was very trying, for he must always be present
in a little dark corridor upon which the door of the cabinet opened, and
he took his meals on the run, and half-dressed. Happily for Landoire,
they gave him an assistant; and this was the occasion of it.

Angel, one of the doorkeepers of the palace, was ordered by the First
Consul to place himself at the barrier of Bonshommes during the trial of
Pichegru, to recognize and watch the people of the household who came and
went in the transaction of their business, no one being allowed to leave
Paris without permission. Augel's reports having pleased the First
Consul, he sent for him, was satisfied with his replies and intelligence,
and appointed him assistant to Landoire in the custody of the portfolio.
Thus the task of the latter became lighter by half. In 1812 Angel was in
the campaign of Russia, and died on the return, when within a few leagues
of Paris, in consequence of the fatigue and privations which we shared
with the army.

However, it was not only those attached to the service of the First
Consul, or the chateau, who were subject to this surveillance.

When Napoleon became Emperor, the custodians of all the imperial palaces
were furnished with a register upon which all persons from outside, and
all strangers who came to visit any one in the palace were obliged to
inscribe their names, with that of the persons whom they came to see.
Every evening this register was carried to the grand marshal of the
palace, and in his absence to the governor, and the Emperor often
consulted it. He once found there a certain name which, as a husband, he
had his reasons, and perhaps good ones, to suspect. His Majesty had
previously ordered the exclusion of this person; and finding this unlucky
name again upon the custodian's register, he was angry beyond measure,
believing that they had dared on both sides to disobey his orders.
Investigation was immediately made; and it was fortunately ascertained
that the visitor was a most insignificant person, whose only fault was
that of bearing a name which was justly compromised.


The year 1804, which was so full of glory for the Emperor, was also the
year which brought him more care and anxiety than all others, except
those of 1814 and 1815. It is not my province to pass judgment on such
grave events, nor to determine what part was taken in them by the
Emperor, or by those who surrounded and counseled him, for it is my
object to relate only what I saw and heard. On the 21st of March of that
year I entered the Emperor's room at an early hour, and found him awake,
leaning on his elbow. He seemed gloomy and tired; but when I entered he
sat up, passed his hand many times over his forehead, and said to me,
"Constant, I have a headache." Then, throwing off the covering, he
added, "I have slept very badly." He seemed extremely preoccupied and
absorbed, and his appearance evinced melancholy and suffering to such a
degree that I was surprised and somewhat anxious. While I was dressing
him he did not utter a word, which never occurred except when something
agitated or worried him. During this time only Roustan and I were
present. His toilet being completed, just as I was handing him his
snuff-box, handkerchief, and little bonbon box, the door opened suddenly,
and the First Consul's wife entered, in her morning negligee, much
agitated, with traces of tears on her cheeks. Her sudden appearance
astonished, and even alarmed, Roustan and myself; for it was only an
extraordinary circumstance which could have induced Madame Bonaparte to
leave her room in this costume, before taking all necessary precautions
to conceal the damage which the want of the accessories of the toilet did
her. She entered, or rather rushed, into the room, crying, "The Duke
d'Enghien is dead! Ah, my friend! what have you done?" Then she fell
sobbing into the arms of the First Consul, who became pale as death, and
said with extraordinary emotion, "The miserable wretches have been too
quick!" He then left the room, supporting Madame Bonaparte, who could
hardly walk, and was still weeping. The news of the prince's death
spread consternation in the chateau; and the First Consul remarked this
universal grief, but reprimanded no one for it. The fact is, the
greatest chagrin which this mournful catastrophe caused his servants,
most of whom were attached to him by affection even more than by duty,
came from the belief that it would inevitably tarnish the glory and
destroy the peace of mind of their master.

The First Consul probably understood our feelings perfectly; but however
that may be, I have here related all that I myself saw and know of this
deplorable event. I do not pretend to know what passed in the cabinet
meeting, but the emotion of the First Consul appeared to me sincere and
unaffected; and he remained sad and silent for many days, speaking very
little at his toilet, and saying only what was necessary.

During this month and the following I noticed constantly passing,
repassing, and holding frequent interviews with the First Consul, many
persons whom I was told were members of the council of state, tribunes,
or senators. For a long time the army and a great number of citizens,
who idolized the hero of Italy and Egypt, had manifested openly their
desire to see him wear a title worthy of his renown and the greatness of
France. It was well known, also, that he alone performed all the duties
of government, and that his nominal colleagues were really his
subordinates. It was thought proper, therefore, that he should become
supreme head of the state in name, as he already was in fact. I have
often since his fall heard his Majesty called an usurper: but the only
effect of this on me is to provoke a smile of pity; for if the Emperor
usurped the throne, he had more accomplices than all the tyrants of
tragedy and melodrama combined, for three-fourths of the French people
were in the conspiracy. As is well known, it was on May 18 that the
Empire was proclaimed, and the First Consul (whom I shall henceforward
call the Emperor) received at Saint-Cloud the Senate, led by Consul
Cambaceres, who became, a few hours later, arch-chancellor of the Empire;
and it was by him that the Emperor heard himself for the first time
saluted with the title of Sire. After this audience the Senate went to
present its homage to the Empress Josephine. The rest of the day was
passed in receptions, presentations, interviews, and congratulations;
everybody in the chateau was drunk with joy; each one felt that he had
been suddenly promoted in rank, so they embraced each other, exchanged
compliments, and confided to each other hopes and plans for the future.
There was no subaltern too humble to be inspired with ambition; in a
word, the antechamber, saving the difference of persons, furnished an
exact repetition of what passed in the saloon. Nothing could be more
amusing than the embarrassment of the whole service when it was necessary
to reply to his Majesty's questions. They would begin with a mistake,
then would try again, and do worse, saying ten times in the same minute,
"Sire, general, your Majesty, citizen, First Consul." The next morning
on entering as usual the First Consul's room, to his customary questions,
"What o'clock is it? What is the weather?" I replied, "Sire, seven
o'clock; fine weather." As I approached his bed, he seized me by the
ear, and slapped me on the cheek, calling me "Monsieur le drole," which
was his favorite expression when especially pleased with me. His Majesty
had kept awake, and worked late into the night, and I found him serious
and preoccupied, but well satisfied. How different this awakening to
that of the 21st of March preceding! On this day his Majesty went to
hold his first grand levee at the Tuileries, where all the civil and
military authorities were presented to him. The brothers and sisters of
the Emperor were made princes and princesses, with the exception of
Lucien, who had quarreled with his Majesty on the occasion of his
marriage with Madame Jouberton. Eighteen generals were raised to the
dignity of marshals of the empire. Dating from this day, everything
around their Majesties took on the appearance of a court and royal power.
Much has been said of the awkwardness of the first courtiers, not yet
accustomed to the new duties imposed upon them, and to the ceremonials of
etiquette; and there was, indeed, in the beginning some embarrassment
experienced by those in the immediate service of the Emperor, as I have
said above; but this lasted only a short while, and the chamberlains and
high officials adapted themselves to the new regime almost as quickly as
the valets de chambre. They had also as instructors many personages of
the old court, who had been struck out of the list of emigres by the
kindness of the Emperor, and now solicited earnestly for themselves and
their wives employment in the new imperial court.

His majesty had no liking for the anniversaries of the Republic; some of
which had always seemed to him odious and cruel, others ridiculous; and I
have heard him express his indignation that they should have dared to
make an annual festival of the anniversary of the 21st of January, and
smile with pity at the recollection of what he called the masquerades of
the theo-philanthropists, who, he said, "would have no Jesus Christ, and
yet made saints of Fenelon and Las Casas--Catholic prelates."

Bourrienne, in his Memoirs, says that it was not one of the least
singular things in the policy of Napoleon, that during the first years of
his reign he retained the festival of 14th July. I will observe, as to
this, that if his Majesty used this annual solemnity to appear in pomp in
public, on the other hand, he so changed the object of the festival that
it would have been difficult to recognize in it the anniversary of the
taking of the Bastile and of the First Federation. I do not think that
there was one word in allusion to these two events in the whole ceremony;
and to confuse still further the recollections of the Republicans, the
Emperor ordered that the festival should be celebrated on the 15th,
because that was Sunday, and thus there would result no loss of time to
the inhabitants of the capital. Besides, there was no allusion made to
honoring the, captors of the Bastile, this being made simply the occasion
of a grand distribution of the cross of the Legion of Honor.

It was the first occasion on which their Majesties showed themselves to
the people in all the paraphernalia of power.

The cortege crossed the grand alley of the Tuileries on their way to the
Hotel des Invalides, the church of which (changed during the Revolution
into a Temple of Mars) had been restored by the Emperor to the Catholic
worship, and was used for the magnificent ceremonies of the day. This
was also the first time that the Emperor had made use of the privilege of
passing in a carriage through the garden of the Tuileries. His cortege
was superb, that of the Empress Josephine not less brilliant; and the
intoxication of the people reached such a height, that it was beyond
expression. By order of the Emperor I mingled in the crowd, to learn in
what spirit the populace would take part in the festival; and I heard not
a murmur, so great was the enthusiasm of all classes for his Majesty at
that time, whatever may have been said since. The Emperor and Empress
were received at the door of the Hotel des Invalides by the governor and
by Count de Segur, grand-master of ceremonies, and at the entrance of the
church by Cardinal du Belloy at the head of a numerous clergy. After the
mass, de Lacepede, grand chancellor of the Legion of Honor, delivered a
speech, followed by the roll-call of the grand officers of the Legion,
after which the Emperor took his seat, and putting on his hat, repeated
in a firm voice the formula of the oath, at the end of which all the
members of the Legion cried, "Je le jure!" (I swear it); and immediately
shouts of "Vive l'Empereur," repeated a thousand times, were heard in the
church and outside.

A singular circumstance added still more to the interest which the
ceremony excited. While the chevaliers of the new order were passing one
by one before the Emperor, who welcomed them, a man of the people,
wearing a roundabout, placed himself on the steps of the throne. His
Majesty showed some astonishment, and paused an instant, whereupon the
man, being interrogated, showed his warrant. The Emperor at once and
with great cordiality bade him advance, and gave him the decoration,
accompanied by a sharp accolade. The cortege, on its return, followed
the same route, passing again through the garden of the Tuileries.

On the 18th of July, three days after this ceremony, the Emperor set out
from Saint-Cloud for the camp of Boulogne. Believing that his Majesty
would be willing to dispense with my presence for a few days, and as it
was a number of years since I had seen my family, I felt a natural desire
to meet them again, and to review with my parents the singular
circumstances through which I had passed since I had left them.

I should have experienced, I confess, great joy in talking with them of
my present situation and my hopes; and I felt the need of freely
expressing myself, and enjoying the confidences of domestic privacy, in
compensation for the repression and constraint which my position imposed
on me. Therefore I requested permission to pass eight days at Perueltz.
It was readily granted, and I lost no time in setting out; but my
astonishment may be imagined when, the very day after my arrival, a
courier brought me a letter from the Count de Remusat, ordering me to
rejoin the Emperor immediately, adding that his Majesty needed me, and I
should have no other thought than that of returning without delay. In
spite of the disappointment induced by such orders, I felt flattered
nevertheless at having become so necessary to the great man who had
deigned to admit me into his service, and at once bade adieu to my
family. His Majesty had hardly reached Boulogne, when he set out again
immediately on a tour of several days in the departments of the north.
I was at Boulogne before his return, and had organized his Majesty's
service so that he found everything ready on his arrival; but this did
not prevent his saying to me that I had been absent a long time.

While I am on this subject, I will narrate here, although some years in
advance, one or two circumstances which will give the reader a better
idea of the rigorous confinement to which I was subjected. I had
contracted, in consequence of the fatigues of my continual journeyings in
the suite of the Emperor, a disease of the bladder, from which I suffered
horribly. For a long time I combated the disease with patience and
dieting; but at last, the pain having become entirely unbearable, in 1808
I requested of his Majesty a month's leave of absence in order to be
cured, Dr. Boyer having told me that a month was the shortest time
absolutely necessary for my restoration, and that without it my disease
would become incurable. I went to Saint-Cloud to visit my wife's family,
where Yvan, surgeon of the Emperor, came to see me every day. Hardly a
week had passed, when he told me that his Majesty thought I ought to be
entirely well, and wished me to resume my duties. This wish was
equivalent to an order; it was thus I understood it, and returned to the
Emperor, who seeing me pale, and suffering excruciatingly, deigned to say
to me many kind things, without, however, mentioning a new leave of
absence. These two were my only absences for sixteen years; therefore,
on my return from Moscow, and during the campaign of France, my disease
having reached its height, I quitted the Emperor at Fontainebleau,
because it was impossible for me, in spite of all my attachment to so
kind a master, and all the gratitude which I felt towards him, to perform
my duties longer. Even after this separation, which was exceedingly
painful to me, a year hardly sufficed to cure me, and then not entirely.
But I shall take occasion farther on to speak of this melancholy event.
I now return to the recital of facts, which prove that I could, with more
reason than many others, believe myself a person of great importance,
since my humble services seemed to be indispensable to the master of
Europe, and many frequenters of the Tuileries would have had more
difficulty than I in proving their usefulness. Is there too much vanity
in what I have just said? and would not the chamberlains have a right to
be vexed by it? I am not concerned with that, so I continue my
narrative. The Emperor was tenacious of old habits; he preferred, as we
have already seen, being served by me in preference to all others;
nevertheless, it is my duty to state that his servants were all full of
zeal and devotion, though I had been with him longest, and had never left
him. One day the Emperor asked for tea in the middle of the day. M.
Seneschal was on duty, consequently made the tea, and presented it to his
Majesty, who declared it to be detestable, and had me summoned. The
Emperor complained to me that they were trying to poison him (this was
his expression when he found a bad taste in anything); so going into the
kitchen, I poured out of the same teapot, a cup, which I prepared and
carried to his Majesty, with two silver-gilt spoons as usual, one to
taste the tea in the presence of the Emperor, and the other for him.
This time he said the tea was excellent, and complimented me on it with a
kind familiarity which he deigned at times to use towards his servants.
On returning the cup to me, he pulled my ears, and said, "You must teach
them how to make tea; they know nothing about it." De Bourrienne, whose
excellent Memoirs I have read with the greatest pleasure, says somewhere,
that the Emperor in his moments of good humor pinched the tip of the ears
of his familiars. I myself think that he pinched the whole ear, often,
indeed, both ears at once, and with the hand of a master. He also says
in these same Memoirs, that the Emperor gave little friendly slaps with
two fingers, in which De Bourrienne is very moderate, for I can bear
witness in regard to this matter, that his Majesty, although his hand was
not large, bestowed his favors much more broadly; but this kind of
caress, as well as the former, was given and received as a mark of
particular favor, and the recipients were far from complaining then. I
have heard more than one dignitary say with pride, like the sergeant in
the comedy,--

   "Sir, feel there, the blow upon my cheek is still warm."

In his private apartments the Emperor was almost always cheerful and
approachable, conversing freely with the persons in his service,
questioning them about their families, their affairs, and even as to
their pleasures. His toilet finished, his appearance suddenly changed;
he became grave and thoughtful, and assumed again the bearing of an
emperor. It has been said, that he often beat the people of his
household, which statement is untrue. I saw him once only give himself
up to a transport of this kind; and certainly the circumstances which
caused it, and the reparation which followed, ought to render it, if not
excusable, at least easily understood: This is the incident, of which I
was a witness, and which took place in the suburbs of Vienna, the day
after the death of Marshal Lannes. The Emperor was profoundly affected,
and had not spoken a word during his toilet. As soon as he was dressed
he asked for his horse; and as an unlucky chance would have it, Jardin,
superintendent of the stables, could not be found when the horse was
saddled, and the groom did not put on him his regular bridle, in
consequence of which his Majesty had no sooner mounted, than the animal
plunged, reared, and the rider fell heavily to the ground. Jardin
arrived just as the Emperor was rising from the ground, beside himself
with anger; and in his first transport of rage, he gave Jardin a blow
with his riding-whip directly across his face. Jardin withdrew,
overwhelmed by such cruel treatment, so unusual in his Majesty; and: few
hours after, Caulaincourt, grand equerry, finding himself alone with his
Majesty, described to him Jardin's grief and mortification. The Emperor
expressed deep regret for his anger, sent for Jardin, and spoke to him
with a kindness which effaced the remembrance of his ill treatment, and
sent him a few days afterward three thousand francs. I have been told
that a similar incident happened to Vigogne, senior, in Egypt. But
although this may be true, two such instances alone in the entire life of
the Emperor, which was passed amid surroundings so well calculated to
make a man, even though naturally most amiable, depart from his usual
character, should not be sufficient to draw down upon Napoleon the odious
reproach of beating cruelly those in his service.


In his headquarters at the Pont des Briques the Emperor worked as
regularly as in his cabinet at the Tuileries. After his rides on
horseback, his inspections, his visits, his reviews, he took his meals in
haste, and retired into his cabinet, where he often worked most of the
night, thus leading the same life as at Paris. In his horseback rides
Roustan followed him everywhere, always taking with him a little silver
flask of brandy for the use of his Majesty, who rarely asked for it.

The army of Boulogne was composed of about one hundred and fifty thousand
infantry and ninety thousand cavalry, divided into four principal camps,
the camp of the right wing, the camp of the left wing, the camp of
Wimereux, and the camp of Ambleteuse.

His Majesty the Emperor had his headquarters at Pont de Briques; thus
named, I was told, because the brick foundations of an old camp of
Caesar's had been discovered there. The Pont de Briques, as I have said
above, is about half a league from Boulogne; and the headquarters of his
Majesty were established in the only house of the place which was then
habitable, and guarded by a detachment of the cavalry of the Imperial

The four camps were on a very high cliff overlooking the sea, so situated
that in fine weather the coast of England could be seen.

In the camp on the right they had established barracks for the Emperor,
Admiral Bruix, Marshal Soult, and Decres, who was then minister of the

The Emperor's barrack was constructed under the direction of Sordi,
engineer, performing the functions of engineer-in-chief of military
roads; and his nephew, Lecat de Rue, attached at that time to the staff
of Marshal Soult as aide-de-camp, has been kind enough to furnish me with
information which did not come within my province.

The Emperor's barrack was built of plank, like the booths of a country
fair; with this difference, that the planks were neatly planed, and
painted a grayish white. In form it was a long square, having at each
end two pavilions of semicircular shape. A fence formed of wooden
lattice inclosed this barrack, which was lighted on the outside by lamps
placed four feet apart, and the windows were placed laterally. The
pavilion next to the sea consisted of three rooms and a hall, the
principal room, used as a council-chamber, being decorated with
silver-gray paper. On the ceiling were painted golden clouds, in the
midst of which appeared, upon the blue vault of the sky, an eagle
holding the lightning, and guided towards England by a star, the
guardian star of the Emperor. In the middle of this chamber was a large
oval table with a plain cover of green cloth; and before this table was
placed only his Majesty's armchair, which could be taken to pieces, and
was made of natural wood, unpainted, and covered with green morocco
stuffed with hair, while upon the table was a boxwood writing-desk.
This was the entire furniture of the council-chamber, in which his
Majesty alone could be seated. The generals stood before him, and had
during these councils, which sometimes lasted three or four hours, no
other support than the handles of their sabers.

The council-chamber was entered from a hall. On the right of this hall
was his Majesty's bedroom, which had a glass door, and was lighted by a
window which looked out upon the camp of the right wing, while the sea
could be seen on the left. In this room was the Emperor's iron bed, with
a large curtain of plain green sarsenet fastened to the ceiling by a
gilded copper ring; and upon this bed were two mattresses, one made of
hair, two bolsters, one at the head, the other at the foot, no pillow,
and two coverlets, one of white cotton, the other of green sarsenet,
wadded and quilted; by the side of the bed two very simple folding-seats,
and at the window short curtains of green sarsenet.

This room was papered with rose-colored paper, stamped with a pattern in
lace-work, with an Etruscan border.

Opposite the-bedroom was a similar chamber, in which was a peculiar kind
of telescope which had cost twelve thousand francs. This instrument was
about four feet long, and about a foot in diameter, and was mounted on a
mahogany support, with three feet, the box in which it was kept being
almost in the shape of a piano. In the same room, upon two stools, was a
little square chest, which contained three complete suits and the linen
which formed the campaign wardrobe of his Majesty. Above this was a
single extra hat, lined with white satin, and much the worse for wear;
for the Emperor, as I shall say later in speaking of his personal
peculiarities, having a very tender scalp, did not like new hats, and
wore the same a long time.

The main body of the imperial barrack was divided into three rooms, a
saloon, a vestibule, and a grand dining-room, which communicated with the
kitchens by a passage parallel to that I have just mentioned. Outside
the barrack, and connected with the kitchen, was a little shed, covered
with thatch, which served as a washroom, and which was also used as a
butler's pantry.

The barrack of Admiral Bruix was arranged like that of the Emperor, but
on a smaller scale.

Near this barrack was the semaphore of the signals, a sort of marine
telegraph by which the fleet was maneuvered. A little farther on was the
Tour d'Ordre, with a powerful battery composed of six mortars, six
howitzers, and twelve twenty-four pounders.

These six mortars, the largest that had ever been made, were six inches
thick, used forty-five pounds of powder at a charge, and threw bombs
fifteen hundred toises [A toise is six feet, and a league is three
miles] in the air, and a league and a half out to sea, each bomb thrown
costing the state three hundred francs. To fire one of these fearful
machines they used port-fires twelve feet long; and the cannoneer
protected himself as best he could by bowing his head between his legs,
and, not rising until after the shot was fired. The Emperor decided to
fire the first bomb himself.

To the right of the headquarters battery was the barrack of Marshal
Soult, which was constructed in imitation of the but of a savage, and
covered with thatch down to the ground, with glass in the top, and a door
through which you descended into the rooms, which were dug out like
cellars. The principal chamber was round; and in it was a large
work-table covered with green cloth, and surrounded with small leather

The last barrack was that of Decres, minister of the navy, which was
furnished like that of Marshal Soult. From his barrack the Emperor could
observe all the maneuvers at sea; and the telescope, of which I have
spoken, was so good that Dover Castle, with its garrison, was, so to
speak, under the very eyes of his Majesty. The camp of the right wing,
situated upon the cliff, was divided into streets, each of which bore the
name of some distinguished general; and this cliff bristled with
batteries from Cologne to Ambleteuse, a distance of more than two

In order to go from Boulogne to the camp of the right wing, there was
only one road, which began in the Rue des Vieillards, and passed over the
cliff, between the barrack of his Majesty and those of Bruix, Soult, and
Decres, so that if at low tide the Emperor wished to go down upon the
beach, a long detour was necessary. One day when he was complaining
greatly of this, it occurred to Bonnefoux, maritime prefect of Boulogne,
to apply to Sordi, engineer of military roads, and ascertain if it was
not possible to remedy this great inconvenience.

The engineer replied that it was feasible to provide a road for his
Majesty directly from his barrack to the beach; but that in view of the
great height of the cliff it would be necessary to moderate the rapidity
of the descent by making the road zigzag. "Make it as you wish," said
the Emperor, "only let it be ready for use in three days." The skillful
engineer went to work, and in three days and three nights the road was
constructed of stone, bound together with iron clamps; and the Emperor,
charmed with so much diligence and ingenuity, had the name of Sordi
placed on the list for the next distribution of the cross of the Legion
of Honor, but, owing to the shameful negligence of some one, the name of
this man of talent was overlooked. The port of Boulogne contained about
seventeen hundred vessels, such as flatboats, sloops, turkish boats,
gunboats, prairies, mortar-boats, etc.; and the entrance to the port was
defended by an enormous chain, and by four forts, two on the right, and
two on the left.

Fort Husoir, placed on the left, was armed with three formidable
batteries ranged one above the other, the lower row bearing twenty-four
pounders, the second and third, thirty-six pounders. On the right of
this fort was the revolving bridge, and behind this bridge an old tower
called Castle Croi, ornamented with batteries which were both handsome
and effective. To the left, about a quarter of a league from Fort
Musoir, was Fort La Creche, projecting boldly into the sea, constructed
of cut stone, and crowned by a terrible battery; and finally, on the
right of Fort La Creche, was the Fort en Bois, perfectly manned, and
pierced by a large opening which was uncovered at low tide.

Upon the cliff to the left of the town, at nearly the same elevation as
the other, was the camp of the left wing. Here was situated the barrack
of Prince Joseph, at that time colonel of the Fourth Regiment of the
line; this barrack was covered with thatch. Below the camp, at the foot
of the cliff, the Emperor had a basin hollowed out, in which work a part
of the troops were employed.

It was in this basin that one day a young soldier of the Guard, who had
stuck in the mud up to his knees, tried with all his strength to pull out
his wheelbarrow, which was even worse mired than himself; but he could
not succeed, and covered with sweat, swore and stormed like an angry
grenadier. By chance lifting his eyes, he suddenly perceived the
Emperor, who was passing by the works on his way to visit his brother
Joseph in the camp on the left. The soldier looked at him with a
beseeching air and gesture, singing in a most sentimental tone, "Come,
oh, come, to my aid." His Majesty could not help smiling, and made signs
to the soldier to approach, which the poor fellow did, after extricating
himself with great difficulty. "What is your regiment"--"Sire, the First
of the Guard."--"How long have you been a soldier?"--"Since you have been
Emperor, Sire."--"Indeed, that is not a long time! It is not long enough
for me to make you an officer, is it? But conduct yourself well, and I
will have you made sergeant-major. After that, the cross and epaulets on
the first battlefield. Are you content?"--"Yes, Sire."--"Chief of
Staff," continued the Emperor, addressing General Berthier, "take the
name of this young man. You will give him three hundred francs to clean
his pantaloons and repair his wheelbarrow." And his Majesty rode on in
the midst of the acclamations of the soldiers.

At the inside extremity of the port, there was a wooden bridge which they
called the Service bridge. The powder magazines were behind it,
containing an immense amount of ammunition; and after nightfall no one
was allowed to go upon this bridge without giving the countersign to the
second sentinel, for the first always allowed him to pass. He was not
allowed to pass back again, however; for if any person entering the
bridge was ignorant of the countersign, or had happened to forget it, he
was stopped by the second sentinel, and the first sentinel at the head of
the bridge had express orders to pass his bayonet through the body of the
rash man if he was unable to answer the questions of this last sentinel.
These rigorous precautions were rendered necessary by the vicinity of
these terrible powder magazines, which a single spark might blow up, and
with it the town, the fleet, and the two camps.

At night the port was closed with the big chain I have mentioned, and the
wharves were picketed by sentinels placed fifteen paces from each other.
Each quarter of an hour they called, "Sentinels, look out!" And the
soldiers of the marine, placed in the topsails, replied to this by,
"All's well," pronounced in a drawling, mournful tone. Nothing could be
more monotonous or depressing than this continual murmur, this lugubrious
mingling of voices all in the same tone, especially as those making these
cries endeavored to make them as inspiring as possible.

Women not residing in Boulogne were prohibited from remaining there
without a special permit from the minister of police. This measure had
been judged necessary on account of the army; for otherwise each soldier
perhaps would have brought a woman to Boulogne, and the disorder would
have been indescribable. Strangers were admitted into the town with
great difficulty.

In spite of all these precautions, spies from the English fleet each day
penetrated into Boulogne. When they were discovered no quarter was
given; and notwithstanding this, emissaries who had landed, no one knew
where, came each evening to the theater, and carried their imprudence so
far as to write their opinion of the actors and actresses, whom they
designated by name, and to post these writings on the walls of the
theater, thus defying the police. One day there were found on the shore
two little boats covered with tarpaulin, which these gentry probably used
in their clandestine excursions.

In June, 1804, eight Englishmen, perfectly well dressed, in white silk
stockings, etc., were arrested, and on them was found sulphurated
apparatus with which they had intended to burn the fleet. They were shot
within an hour, without any form of trial.

There were also traitors in Boulogne. A schoolmaster, the secret agent
of Lords Keith and Melville, was surprised one morning on the cliff above
the camp of the right wing, making telegraphic signals with his arms; and
being arrested almost in the act by the sentinels, he protested his
innocence, and tried to turn the incident into a jest, but his papers
were searched, and correspondence with the English found, which clearly
proved his guilt. He was delivered to the council of war, and shot the
next day.

One evening between eleven o'clock and midnight, a fire-ship, rigged like
a French ship, flying French colors, and in every respect resembling a
gunboat, advanced towards the line of battle and passed through. By
unpardonable negligence the chain had not been stretched that evening.
This fire-ship was followed by a second, which exploded, striking a
sloop, which went down with it. This explosion gave the alarm to the
whole fleet; and lights instantly shone in every direction, revealing the
first fire-ship advancing between the jetties, a sight which was
witnessed with inexpressible anxiety. Three or four pieces of wood
connected by cables fortunately stopped her progress; but she blew up
with such a shock that the glasses of all the windows in town were
shattered, and a great number of the inhabitants, who for want of beds
were sleeping upon tables, were thrown to the floor, and awakened by the
fall without comprehending what had happened. In ten minutes everybody
was stirring, as it was thought that the English were in the port; and
there ensued such confusion, such a mingled tumult of noises and screams,
that no one could make himself understood, until criers preceded by drums
were sent through the town to reassure the inhabitants, and inform them
that all danger was past.

The next day songs were composed on this nocturnal alarm, and were soon
in every mouth.

Another alarm, but of an entirely different kind, upset all Boulogne in
the autumn of 1804. About eight o'clock in the evening a chimney caught
fire on the right of the port; and the light of this fire, shining
through the masts of the flotilla, alarmed the commandant of a post on
the opposite shore. At this time all the vessels had powder and
ammunition on board; and the poor commandant, beside himself with terror,
cried, "Boys, the fleet is on fire;" and immediately had the alarm
beaten. The frightful news spread like lightning; and in less than half
an hour more than sixty thousand men appeared upon the wharves, the
tocsin was sounded in all the churches, the forts fired alarm guns, while
drums and trumpets sounded along the streets, the whole making an
infernal tumult.

The Emperor was at headquarters when this terrible cry, "The fleet is on
fire," came to his ears. "It is impossible!" he immediately exclaimed,
but, nevertheless, rushed out instantly.

On entering the town, what a frightful spectacle we beheld. Women in
tears, holding their children in their arms, ran like lunatics, uttering
cries of despair, while men abandoned their houses, carrying off whatever
was most valuable, running against and knocking each other over in the
darkness. On all sides was heard, "Mauve qui peat; we are going to be
blown up, we are all lost;" and the maledictions, lamentations,
blasphemies, were sufficient to make your hair stand on end.

The aides-de-camp of his Majesty and those of Marshal Soult galloped in
every direction, forcing their way through the crowds, stopping the
drummers, and asking them, "Why do you beat the alarm? Who has ordered
you to beat the alarm?"--"We don't know," they replied; and the drums
continued to beat, while the tumult kept on increasing, and the crowd
rushed to the gates, struck by a terror which a moment's reflection would
have dissipated. But, unfortunately, fear gives no time for reflection.

It is true, however, that a considerable number of inhabitants, less
excitable than these I have described, remained quietly at home, well
knowing that if the fleet had really been on fire, there would have been
no time to give an alarm. These persons made every effort to quiet the
excited crowd. Madame F----, the very pretty and very amiable wife of a
clockmaker, was in her kitchen making preparations for supper, when a
neighbor, thoroughly frightened, entered, and said to her, "Save yourself
Madame; you have not a moment to lose!"--"What is the matter?"--"The
fleet is on fire!"--"Ah-pshaw!"--"Fly then, Madame, fly! I tell you the
fleet is on fire." And the neighbor took Madame F---- by the arm, and
endeavored to pull her along. Madame F---- held at the moment a
frying-pan in which she was cooking some fritters. "Take care; you will
make me burn my fritters," said she, laughing. And with a few half
serious, half jesting words she reassured the poor fellow, who ended by
laughing at himself.

At last the tumult was appeased, and to this great fright a profound calm
succeeded. No explosion had been heard; and they saw that it must have
been a false alarm, so each returned home, thinking no longer of the
fire, but agitated by another fear. The robbers may have profited by the
absence of the inhabitants to pillage the houses, but as luck would have
it no mischance of this kind had taken place.

The next day the poor commandant who had so inopportunely taken and given
the alarm was brought before the council of war. He was guilty of no
intentional wrong; but the law was explicit, and he was condemned to
death. His judges, however, recommended him to the mercy of the Emperor,
who pardoned him.


Many of the brave soldiers who composed the army of Boulogne had earned
the cross (of the Legion of Honor) in these last campaigns, and his
Majesty desired that this distribution should be made an impressive
occasion, which should long be remembered. He chose the day after his
fete, Aug. 16, 1804. Never has there been in the past, nor can there be
in the future, a more imposing spectacle.

At six o'clock in the morning, more than eighty thousand men left the
four camps,--at their head drums beating and bands playing,--and advanced
by divisions towards the "Hubertmill" field, which was on the cliff
beyond the camp of the right wing. On this plain an immense platform had
been erected, about fifteen feet above the ground, and with its back
toward the sea. It was reached by three flights of richly carpeted
steps, situated in the middle and on each side. From the stage thus
formed, about forty feet square, rose three other platforms, the central
one bearing the imperial armchair, decorated with trophies and banners,
while that on the left held seats for the brothers of the Emperor, and
for the grand dignitaries, and that on the right bore a tripod of antique
form, surmounted by a helmet (the helmet of Duguesclin, I think), covered
with crosses and ribbons. By the side of the tripod had been placed a
seat for the arch-chancellor.

About three hundred steps from the throne, the land rose in a slight and
almost circular ascent; and on this ascent the troops were arranged as in
an amphitheater. To the right of the throne, on an eminence, were placed
sixty or eighty tents made of naval flags; these tents were intended for
the ladies of the city, and made a charming picture, but they were so far
from the throne that the spectators who filled them were obliged to use
glasses. Between these tents and the throne a part of the Imperial Guard
was ranged in line of battle.

The weather was perfect; there was not a cloud in the sky; the English
cruisers had disappeared; and on the sea could be seen only our line of
vessels handsomely decorated with flags.

At ten o'clock in the morning, a discharge of artillery announced the
departure of the Emperor; and his Majesty left his barrack, surrounded by
more than eighty generals and two hundred aides-decamp, all his household
following him. The Emperor was dressed in the uniform of the
colonel-general of the infantry of the guard. He rode at a gallop to
the foot of the throne, in the midst of universal acclamations and the
most deafening uproar made by drums, trumpets, and cannon, beating,
blowing, and roaring all together.

His Majesty mounted the throne, followed by his brothers and the grand
dignitaries; and when he was seated each one took his designated place,
and the distribution of the crosses began in the following manner:
An aide-de-camp of the Emperor called by name the soldiers to be honored,
who one by one stopped at the foot of the throne, bowed, and mounted the
steps on the right. There they were received by the arch-chancellor, who
delivered to them their commissions; and two pages, placed between the
Emperor and the tripod, took the decoration from the helmet of
Duguesclin, and handed it to his Majesty, who fastened it himself on the
breast of the brave fellow. Instantly more than eight hundred drums beat
a tattoo; and when the soldier thus decorated descended from the throne
by the steps on the left, as he passed before the brilliant staff of the
Emperor a burst of music from more than twelve hundred musicians signaled
the return to his company of the Knight of the Legion of Honor. It is
needless to say that the cry of 'Vive l'Empereur' was repeated twice at
each decoration.

The distribution began at ten o'clock, and ended about three. Then,
according to orders borne by the aides-decamp to the divisions, a volley
of artillery was heard, and eighty thousand men advanced in close columns
to within twenty or thirty steps of the throne. The most profound
silence succeeded the noise of drums; and, the Emperor having given his
orders, the troops executed maneuvers for about an hour, at the end of
which each division defiled before the throne as they returned to the
camp. Each chief, on passing, saluted by lowering the point of his
sword. Specially noticeable among them was Prince Joseph, newly
appointed colonel of the Fourth Regiment of the line, who made his
brother a salute more graceful than military. The Emperor frowned
slightly at the somewhat critical remarks which his old companions in
arms seemed inclined to make on this subject; but except for this slight
cloud, the countenance of his Majesty was never more radiant.

Just as the troops were filing off, the wind, which for two or three
hours had been blowing violently, became a perfect gale, and an orderly
officer came in haste to inform his Majesty that four or five gunboats
had just been driven ashore. The Emperor at once left the plain at a
gallop, followed by some of the marshals, and took his position on the
shore until the crews of the gunboats were saved, and the Emperor then
returned to the Pont des Briques.

This immense army could not regain its quarters before eight o'clock in
the evening. The next day the camp of the left wing gave a military
fete, at which the Emperor was present.

From early in the morning, launches mounted on wheels ran at full speed
through the streets of the camp, driven by a favorable wind. Officers
amused themselves riding after them at a gallop, and rarely overtaking
them. This exercise lasted an hour or two; but, the wind having changed,
the launches upset, amid shouts of laughter.

This was followed by a horseback race, the prize being twelve hundred
francs. A lieutenant of dragoons, very popular in his company, asked as
a favor to be allowed to compete; but the haughty council of superior
officers refused to admit him, under the pretext that his rank was not
sufficiently high, but, in reality, because he had the reputation of
being a splendid horseman. Stung to the quick by this unjust refusal,
the lieutenant of dragoons applied to the Emperor, who gave him
permission to race with the others, after having learned that this brave
officer supported by his own exertions a numerous family, and that his
conduct was irreproachable.

At a given signal the races began. The lieutenant of dragoons soon
passed his antagonists, and had almost reached the goal, when, by an
unfortunate mischance, a little poodle ran between the legs of his horse,
and threw him down. An aide-de-camp who came immediately after was
proclaimed victor. The lieutenant picked himself up as well as he could,
and was preparing, very sadly, to retire, somewhat consoled by the signs
of interest which the spectators manifested, when the Emperor summoned
him, and said, "You deserve the prize, and you shall have it; I make you
captain." And addressing himself to the grand marshal of the palace,
"You will pay twelve hundred francs to the Captain" (the name does not
occur to me), while all cried, "Vive l'Empereur," and congratulated the
new captain on his lucky fall.

In the evening there were fireworks, which could be seen from the coast
of England. Thirty thousand soldiers executed all sorts of maneuvers,
firing sky-rockets from their guns. The crowning piece, which
represented the arms of the Empire, was so fine that for five minutes
Boulogne, the country, and all the coast, were lighted up as if it were
broad daylight.

A few days after these fetes, as the Emperor was passing from one camp to
the other, a sailor who was watching for him in order to hand him a
petition was obliged, as the rain was falling in torrents, and he was
afraid of spoiling the sheet of paper, to place himself under shelter in
an isolated barrack on the shore, used to store rigging. He had been
waiting a long time, and was wet to the skin, when he saw the Emperor
coming from the camp of the left wing at a gallop. Just as his Majesty,
still galloping, was about to pass before the barrack, the brave sailor,
who was on the lookout, sprang suddenly from his hiding place, and threw
himself before the Emperor, holding out his petition in the attitude of a
fencing-master defending himself. The Emperor's horse, startled by this
sudden apparition, stopped short; and his Majesty, taken by surprise,
gave the sailor a disapproving glance, and passed on without taking the
petition which was offered him in so unusual a manner.

It was on this day, I think, that Monsieur Decres, minister of the navy,
had the misfortune to fall into the water, to the very great amusement of
his Majesty. To enable the Emperor to pass from the quay to a gunboat,
there had been a single plank thrown from the boat to the quay. Napoleon
passed, or rather leaped, over this light bridge, and was received on
board in 'the arms of a soldier of the guard; but M. Decres, more stout,
and less active than the Emperor, advanced carefully over the plank that
he found to his horror was bending under his feet, until just as he
arrived in the middle, the weight of his body broke the plank, and the
minister of the navy was precipitated into the water, midway between the
quay and the boat. His Majesty turned at the noise that M. Decres made
in falling, and leaning over the side of the boat, exclaimed, "What! Is
that our minister of the navy who has allowed himself to fall in the
water? Is it possible it can be he?" The Emperor during this speech
laughed most uproariously. Meanwhile, two or three sailors were engaged
in getting M. Decres out of his embarrassing position. He was with much
difficulty hoisted on the sloop, in a sad state, as may be believed,
vomiting water through his nose, mouth, and ears, and thoroughly ashamed
of his accident, which the Emperor's jokes contributed to render still
more exasperating.

Towards the end of our stay the generals gave a magnificent ball to the
ladies of the city, at which the Emperor was present.

For this purpose a temporary hall had been erected, which was tastefully
decorated with garlands, flags, and trophies.

General Bertrand was appointed master of ceremonies by his colleagues;
and General Bisson. I was put in charge of the buffet, which employment
suited General Bisson perfectly, for he was the greatest glutton in camp,
and his enormous stomach interfered greatly with his walking. He drank
not less than six or seven bottles of wine at dinner, and never alone;
for it was a punishment to him not to talk while eating, consequently he
usually invited his aides-de-camp, whom, through malice no doubt, he
chose always from among the most delicate and abstemious in the army.
The buffet was worthy of the one who had it in charge.

The orchestra was composed of musicians from twenty regiments, who played
in turn. But on the opening of the ball the entire orchestra executed a
triumphal march, during which the aides-de-Camp, most elegantly attired,
received the ladies invited, and presented them with bouquets.

In order to be admitted to this ball, it was necessary to have at least
the rank of commandant. It is, impossible to give an idea of the scene
presented by this multitude of uniforms, each vying in brilliancy with
the other. The fifty or sixty generals who gave the ball had ordered
from Paris magnificently embroidered uniforms, and the group they formed
around his Majesty as he entered glittered with gold and diamonds. The
Emperor remained an hour at this fete, and danced the Boulanyere with
Madame Bertrand. He wore the uniform of colonel-general of the cavalry
of the guard.

The wife of Marshal Soult was queen of the ball. She wore a black velvet
dress besprinkled with the kind of diamonds called rhinestones.

At midnight a splendid supper was served, the preparation of which
General Bisson had superintended, which is equivalent to saying that
nothing was wanting thereto.

The ladies of Boulogne, who had never attended such a fete, were filled
with amazement, and when supper was served advised each other to fill up
their reticules with dainties and sweets. They would have carried away,
I think, the hall, with the musicians and dancers; and for more than a
month this ball was the only subject of their conversation.

About this time his Majesty was riding on horseback near his barracks,
when a pretty young girl of fifteen or sixteen, dressed in white, her
face bathed in tears, threw herself on her knees in his path. The
Emperor immediately alighted from his horse, and assisted her to rise,
asking most compassionately what he could do for her. The poor girl had
come to entreat the pardon of her father, a storekeeper in the commissary
department, who had been condemned to the galleys for grave crimes. His
Majesty could not resist the many charms of the youthful suppliant, and
the pardon was granted.


At Boulogne, as everywhere else, the Emperor well knew how to win all
hearts by his moderation, his justice, and the generous grace with which
he acknowledged the least service. All the inhabitants of Boulogne, even
all the peasants of the suburbs, would have died for him, and the
smallest particulars relating to him were constantly repeated. One day,
however, his conduct gave rise to serious complaints, and he was
unanimously blamed; for his injustice was the cause of a terrible
tragedy. I will now relate this sad event, an authentic account of which
I have never seen in print.

One morning, as he mounted his horse, the Emperor announced that he would
that day review the naval forces, and gave orders that the boats which
occupied the line of defense should leave their position, as he intended
to hold the review in the open sea. He set out with Roustan for his
morning ride, and expressed a wish that all should be ready on his
return, the hour of which he designated. Every one knew that the
slightest wish of the Emperor was law; and the order was transmitted,
during his absence, to Admiral Bruix, who replied with imperturbable
'sang froid', that he much regretted it, but the review would not take
place that day, and in consequence no boat stirred.

On his return from his ride, the Emperor asked if everything was ready,
and the admiral's answer was reported to him. Astonished by its tone, so
different from what he was accustomed to, he had it repeated to him
twice, and then, with a violent stamp of his foot, ordered the admiral to
be summoned. He obeyed instantly; but the Emperor, thinking he did not
come quickly enough, met him half-way from his barracks. The staff
followed his Majesty, and placed themselves silently around him, while
his eyes shot lightning.

"Admiral Bruix," said the Emperor in a tone showing great excitement,
"why have you not obeyed my orders?"

"Sire," responded Bruix with respectful firmness, "a terrible storm is
gathering. Your Majesty can see this as well as I; are you willing to
uselessly risk the lives of so many brave men?" In truth, the heaviness
of the atmosphere, and the low rumbling which could be heard in the
distance, justified only too well the admiral's fears. "Monsieur,"
replied the Emperor, more and more irritated, "I gave the orders; once
again, why have you not executed them? The consequences concern me
alone. Obey!"--"Sire, I will not obey!"--"Monsieur, you are insolent!"
And the Emperor, who still held his riding-whip in his hand, advanced on
the admiral, making a threatening gesture. Admiral Bruix retreated a
step, and placed his hand on the hilt of his sword: "Sire," said he,
growing pale, "take care!" All those present were paralyzed with terror.
The Emperor remained for some time immovable, with his hand raised, and
his eyes fixed on the admiral, who still maintained his defiant attitude.
At last the Emperor threw his whip on the ground. Admiral Bruix relaxed
his hold on his sword, and, with uncovered head, awaited in silence the
result of this terrible scene.

"Rear-admiral Magon!" said the Emperor, "you will see that the orders
which I have given are executed instantly. As for you, sir," continued
he, turning to Admiral Bruix, "you will leave Boulogne within twenty-four
hours, and retire to Holland. Go!" His Majesty returned at once to
headquarters; some of the officers, only a small number, however, pressed
in parting the hand that the admiral held out to them.

Rear-admiral Magon immediately ordered the fatal movement commanded by
the Emperor; but hardly had the first dispositions been made when the sea
became frightful to behold, the sky, covered with black clouds, was
furrowed with lightning, the thunder roared incessantly, and the wind
increased to a gale. In fact, what Admiral Bruix had foreseen occurred;
a frightful tempest scattered the boats in every direction, and rendered
their condition desperate. The Emperor, anxious and uneasy, with lowered
head and crossed arms, was striding up and down the shore, when suddenly
terrible cries were heard. More than twenty gunboats, filled with
soldiers and sailors, had just been driven on the shore; and the poor
unfortunates who manned them, struggling against furious waves, were
imploring help which none could venture to render. The Emperor was
deeply touched by this sight, while his heart was torn by the
lamentations of an immense crowd which the tempest had collected on the
shore and the adjoining cliffs. He beheld his generals and officers
stand in shuddering horror around him, and wishing to set an example of
self-sacrifice, in spite of all efforts made to restrain him, threw
himself into a lifeboat, saying, "Let me alone; let me alone! They must
be gotten out of there." In an instant the boat filled with water, the
waves dashed over it, and the Emperor was submerged, one wave stronger
than the others threw his Majesty on the shore, and his hat was swept

Electrified by such courage, officers, soldiers, sailors, and citizens
now began to lend their aid, some swimming, others in boats; but, alas!
they succeeded in saving--only a very small number of the unfortunate men
who composed the crews of the gunboats, and the next day the sea cast
upon the shore more than two hundred men, and with them the hat of the
conqueror of Marengo.

The next was a day of mourning and of grief, both in Boulogne and the
camp. The inhabitants and soldiers covered the beach, searching
anxiously among the bodies which the waves incessantly cast upon the
shore; and the Emperor groaned over this terrible calamity, which in his
inmost heart he could not fail to attribute to his own obstinacy. By his
orders agents entrusted with gold went through the city and camp,
stopping the murmurs which were ready to break forth.

That day I saw a drummer, who had been among the crew of the shipwrecked
vessels, washed upon the shore upon his drum, which lie had used as a
raft. The poor fellow had his thigh broken, and had remained more than
twenty hours in that horrible condition.

In order to complete in this place my recollections of the camp of
Boulogne, I will relate the following, which did not take place, however,
until the month of August, 1805, after the return of the Emperor from his
journey to Italy, where he had been crowned.

Soldiers and sailors were burning with impatience to embark for England,
but the moment so ardently desired was still delayed. Every evening they
said to themselves, "Tomorrow there will be a good wind, there will also
be a fog, and we shall start," and lay down with that hope, but arose
each day to find either an unclouded sky or rain.

One evening, however, when a favorable wind was blowing, I heard two
sailors conversing together on the wharf, and making conjectures as to
the future. "The Emperor would do well to start tomorrow morning," said
one; "he will never have better weather, and there will surely be a fog."
--"Bah!" said the other, "only he does not think so. We have now waited
more than fifteen days, and the fleet has not budged; however, all the
ammunition is on board, and with one blast of the whistle we can put to

The night sentinels came on, and the conversation of the old sea-wolves
stopped there; but I soon had to acknowledge that their nautical
experience had not deceived them. In fact, by three o'clock in the
morning, a light fog was spread over the sea, which was somewhat stormy,
the wind of the evening before began to, blow again, and at daylight the
fog was so thick as to conceal the fleet from the English, while the most
profound silence reigned everywhere. No hostile sails had been signaled
through the night, and, as the sailors had predicted, everything favored
the descent.

At five o'clock in the morning, signals were made from the semaphore; and
in the twinkling of an eye all the sailors were in motion, and the port
resounded with cries of joy, for the order to depart had just been
received. While the sails were being hoisted, the long roll was beaten
in the four camps, and the order was given for the entire army to take
arms; and they marched rapidly into the town, hardly believing what they
had just heard. "We are really going to start," said all the soldiers;
"we are actually going to say a few words to those Englishmen," and the
joy which animated them burst forth in acclamations, which were silenced
by a roll of the drums. The embarkation then took place amid profound
silence, and in such perfect order that I can hardly give an idea of it.
At seven o'clock two hundred thousand soldiers were on board the fleet;
and when a little after midday this fine army was on the point of
starting amidst the adieus and good wishes of the whole city, assembled
upon the walls and upon the surrounding cliffs, and at the very moment
when all the soldiers standing with uncovered heads were about to bid
farewell to the soil of France, crying, "Vive l'Empereur!" a message
arrived from the imperial barrack, ordering the troops to disembark, and
return to camp. A telegraphic dispatch just then received by his Majesty
had made it necessary that he should move his troops in another
direction; and the soldiers returned sadly to their quarters, some
expressing in a loud tone, and in a very energetic manner, the
disappointment which this species of mystification caused them.

They had always regarded the success of the enterprise against England as
assured, and to find themselves stopped on the eve of departure was, in
their eyes, the greatest misfortune which could happen to them.

When order had again been restored, the Emperor repaired to the camp of
the right wing, and made a proclamation to the troops, which was sent
into the other camps, and posted everywhere. This was very nearly the
tenor of it: "Brave soldiers of the camp of Boulogne! you will not go to
England. English gold has seduced the Emperor of Austria, who has just
declared war against France. His army has passed the line which he
should have respected, and Bavaria is invaded. Soldiers! new laurels
await you beyond the Rhine. Let us hasten to defeat once more enemies
whom you have already conquered." This proclamation called forth
unanimous acclamations of joy, and every face brightened, for it mattered
little to these intrepid men whether they were to be led against Austria
or England; they simply thirsted for the fray, and now that war had been
declared, every desire was gratified.

Thus vanished all those grand projects of descent upon England, which had
been so long matured, so wisely planned. There is no doubt now that with
favorable weather and perseverance the enterprise would have been crowned
with the greatest success; but this was not to be.

A few regiments remained at Boulogne; and while their brethren crushed
the Austrians, they erected upon the seashore a column destined to recall
for all time the memory of Napoleon and his immortal army.

Immediately after the proclamation of which I have just spoken, his
Majesty gave orders that all should prepare for immediate departure; and
the grand marshal of the palace was charged to audit and pay all the
expenses which the Emperor had made, or which he had ordered to be made,
during his several visits, not without cautioning him, according to
custom, to be careful not to pay for too much of anything, nor too high a
price. I believe that I have already stated that the Emperor was
extremely economical in everything which concerned him personally, and
that he was afraid of spending twenty francs unless for some directly
useful purpose. Among many other accounts to be audited, the grand
marshal of the palace received that of Sordi, engineer of military roads,
whom he had ordered to decorate his Majesty's barrack, both inside and
out. The account amounted to fifty thousand francs. The grand marshal
exclaimed aloud at this frightful sum. He was not willing to approve the
account of Sordi, and sent it back to him, saying that he could not
authorize the payment without first receiving the orders of the Emperor.
The engineer assured the grand marshal that he had overcharged nothing,
and that he had closely followed his instructions, and added, that being
the case, it was impossible for him to make the slightest reduction. The
next day Sordi received instructions to attend his Majesty. The Emperor
was in his barrack, which was the subject under discussion, and spread
out before him was, not the account of the engineer, but a map, upon
which he was tracing the intended march of his army. Sordi came, and was
admitted by General Caffarelli. The half-open door permitted the
general, as well as myself, to hear the conversation which followed.
"Monsieur," said his Majesty, "you have spent far too much money in
decorating this miserable barrack. Yes; certainly far too much. Fifty
thousand francs! Just think of it, monsieur! That is frightful; I will
not pay you!" The engineer, silenced by this abrupt entrance upon
business, did not at first know how to reply. Happily the Emperor, again
casting his eyes on the map which lay unrolled before him, gave him time
to recover himself; and he replied, "Sire, the golden clouds which
ornament this ceiling" (for all this took place in the council-chamber),
"and which surround the guardian star of your Majesty, cost twenty
thousand francs in truth; but if I had consulted the hearts of your
subjects, the imperial eagle which is again about to strike with a
thunderbolt the enemies of France and of your throne, would have spread
its wings amid the rarest diamonds."--"That is very good," replied the
Emperor, laughing, "very good; but I will not have you paid at present,
and since you tell me that this eagle which costs so dear will strike the
Austrians with a thunderbolt, wait until he has done so, and I will then
pay your account in rix dollars of the Emperor of Germany, and the gold
frederics of the King of Prussia." His Majesty, resuming his compass,
began to move his armies upon the map; and truth to tell, the account of
the engineer was not paid until after the battle of Austerlitz, and then,
as the Emperor had said, in rix dollars and frederics.

About the end of July (1804), the Emperor left Boulogne in order to make
a tour through Belgium before rejoining the Empress, who had gone direct
to Aix-la-Chapelle. Everywhere on this tour he was welcomed, not only
with the honors reserved for crowned heads, but with hearty acclamations,
addressed to him personally rather than to his official position. I will
say nothing of the fetes which were given in his honor during this
journey, nor of the remarkable things which occurred. Descriptions of
these can easily be found elsewhere; and it is my purpose to relate only
what came peculiarly under my own observation, or at least details not
known to the general public. Let it suffice, then, to say that our
journey through Arras, Valenciennes, Mons, Brussels, etc., resembled a
triumphal progress. At the gate of each town the municipal council
presented to his Majesty the wine of honor and the keys of the place.
We stopped a few days at Lacken; and being only five leagues from Alost,
a little town where my relatives lived, I requested the Emperor's
permission to leave him for twenty-four hours, and it was granted, though
reluctantly. Alost, like the remainder of Belgium at this time,
professed the greatest attachment for the Emperor, and consequently I had
hardly a moment to myself. I visited at the house of Monsieur D----, one
of my friends, whose family had long held positions of honor in the
government of Belgium. There I think all the town must have come to meet
me; but I was not vain enough to appropriate to myself all the honor of
this attention, for each one who came was anxious to learn even the most
insignificant details concerning the great man near whom I was placed.
On this account I was extraordinarily feted, and my twenty-four hours
passed only too quickly. On my return, his Majesty deigned to ask
innumerable questions regarding the town of Alost and its inhabitants,
and as to what was thought there of his government and of himself. I was
glad to be able to answer without flattery, that he was adored. He
appeared gratified, and spoke to me most kindly of my family and of my
own small interests.

We left the next day for Lacken, and passed through Alost; and had I
known this the evening before, I might perhaps have rested a few hours
longer. However, the Emperor found so much difficulty in granting me
even one day, that I would not probably have dared to lose more, even had
I known that the household was to pass by this town.

The Emperor was much pleased with Lacken; he ordered considerable repairs
and improvements to be made there, and the palace, owing to this
preference, became a charming place of sojourn.

This journey of their Majesties lasted nearly three months; and we did
not return to Paris, or rather to Saint-Cloud, until November. The
Emperor received at Cologne and at Coblentz the visits of several German
princes and princesses; but as I know only from hearsay what passed in
these interviews, I shall not undertake to describe them.


Nothing is too trivial to narrate concerning great men; for posterity
shows itself eager to learn even the most insignificant details
concerning their manner of life, their tastes, their slightest
peculiarities. When I attended the theater, whether in my short
intervals of leisure or in the suite of his Majesty, I remarked how
keenly the spectators enjoyed the presentation on the stage, of some
grand historic personage; whose costume, gestures, bearing, even his
infirmities and faults, were delineated exactly as they have been
transmitted to us by contemporaries. I myself always took the greatest
pleasure in seeing these living portraits of celebrated men, and well
remember that on no occasion did I ever so thoroughly enjoy the stage as
when I saw for the first time the charming piece of The Two Pages.
Fleury in the role of Frederick the Great reproduced so perfectly the
slow walk, the dry tones, the sudden movements, and even the
short-sightedness of this monarch, that as soon as he appeared on the
stage the whole house burst into applause. It was, in the opinion of
persons sufficiently well informed to judge, a most perfect and faithful
presentation; and though for my own part, I was not able to say whether
the resemblance was perfect or not, I felt that it must be. Michelot,
whom I have since seen in the same role, gave me no less pleasure than
his predecessor; and it is evident that both these talented actors must
have studied the subject deeply, to have learned so thoroughly and
depicted so faithfully the characteristics of their model.

I must confess a feeling of pride in the thought that these memoirs may
perhaps excite in my readers some of the same pleasurable emotions which
I have here attempted to describe; and that perhaps in a future, which
will inevitably come, though far distant now perhaps, the artist who will
attempt to restore to life, and hold up to the view of the world, the
greatest man of this age, will be compelled, in order to give a faithful
delineation, to take for his model the portrait which I, better than any
one else, have been able to draw from fife. I think that no one has done
this as yet; certainly not so much in detail.

On his return from Egypt the Emperor was very thin and sallow, his skin
was copper-colored, his eyes sunken, and his figure, though perfect, also
very thin. The likeness is excellent in the portrait which Horace Vernet
drew in his picture called "A Review of the First Consul on the Place
du Carrousel." His forehead was very high, and bare; his hair thin,
especially on the temples, but very fine and soft, and a rich brown
color; his eyes deep blue, expressing in an almost incredible manner the
various emotions by which he was affected, sometimes extremely gentle and
caressing, sometimes severe, and even inflexible. His mouth was very
fine, his lips straight and rather firmly closed, particularly when
irritated. His teeth, without being very regular, were very white and
sound, and he never suffered from them. His nose of Grecian shape, was
well formed, and his sense of smell perfect. His whole frame was
handsomely proportioned, though at this time his extreme leanness
prevented the beauty of his features being especially noticed, and had an
injurious effect on his whole physiognomy.

It would be necessary to describe his features separately, one by one, in
order to form a correct idea of the whole, and comprehend the perfect
regularity and beauty of each. His head was very large, being twenty-two
inches in circumference; it way a little longer than broad, consequently
a little flattened on the temples; it was so extremely sensitive, that I
had his hats padded, and took the trouble to wear them several days in my
room to break them. His ears were small, perfectly formed, and well set.
The Emperor's feet were also very tender; and I had his shoes broken by a
boy of the wardrobe, called Joseph, who wore exactly the same size as the

His height was five feet, two inches, three lines. He had a rather short
neck, sloping shoulders, broad chest, almost free from hairs, well shaped
leg and thigh, a small foot, and well formed fingers, entirely free from
enlargements or abrasions; his arms were finely molded, and well hung to
his body; his hands were beautiful, and the nails did not detract from
their beauty. He took the greatest care of them, as in fact of his whole
person, without foppishness, however. He often bit his nails slightly,
which was a sign of impatience or preoccupation.

Later on he grew much stouter, but without losing any of the beauty of
his figure; on the contrary, he was handsomer under the Empire than under
the Consulate; his skin had become very white, and his expression

The Emperor, during his moments, or rather his long hours, of labor and
of meditation, was subject to a peculiar spasmodic movement, which seemed
to be a nervous affection, and which clung to him all his life. It
consisted in raising his right shoulder frequently and rapidly; and
persons who were not acquainted with this habit sometimes interpreted
this as a gesture of disapprobation and dissatisfaction, and inquired
with anxiety in what way they could have offended him. He, however, was
not at all affected by it, and repeated the same movement again and again
without being conscious of it.

One most remarkable peculiarity was that the Emperor never felt his heart
beat. He mentioned this often to M. Corvisart, as well as to me; and
more than once he made us pass our hands over his breast, in order to
prove this singular exception. Never did we feel the slightest
pulsation. [Another peculiarity was that his pulse was only forty to the

The Emperor ate very fast, and hardly spent a dozen minutes at the table.
When he had finished he arose, and passed into the family saloon; but the
Empress Josephine remained, and made a sign to the guests to do the same.
Sometimes, however, she followed his Majesty; and then, no doubt, the
ladies of the palace indemnified themselves in their apartments, where
whatever they wished was served them.

One day when Prince Eugene rose from the table immediately after the
Emperor, the latter, turning to him, said, "But you have not had time to
dine, Eugene."--"Pardon me," replied the Prince, "I dined in advance!"
The other guests doubtless found that this was not a useless precaution.
It was before the Consulate that things happened thus; for afterwards the
Emperor, even when he was as yet only First Consul, dined tete-a-tete
with the Empress, except when he invited some of the ladies of the
household, sometimes one, sometimes another, all of whom appreciated
highly this mark of favor. At this time there was already a court.

Most frequently the Emperor breakfasted alone, on a little mahogany
candle-stand with no cover, which meal, even shorter than the other,
lasted only eight or ten minutes.

I will mention, later on, the bad effects which the habit of eating too
quickly often produced on the Emperor's health. Besides this, and due in
a great measure to his haste, the Emperor lacked much of eating decently;
and always preferred his fingers to a fork or spoon. Much care was taken
to place within his reach the dish he preferred, which he drew toward him
in the manner I have just described, and dipped his bread in the sauce or
gravy it contained, which did not, however, prevent the dish being handed
round, and those eating from it who could; and there were few guests who
could not.

I have seen some who even appeared to consider this singular act of
courage a means of making their court. I can easily understand also that
with many their admiration for his Majesty silenced all repugnance, for
the same reason that we do not scruple to eat from the plate, or drink
from the glass, of a person whom we love, even though it might be
considered doubtful on the score of refinement; this is never noticed
because love is blind. The dish which the Emperor preferred was the kind
of fried chicken to which this preference of the conqueror of Italy has
given the name of poulet a la Marengo. He also ate with relish beans,
lentils, cutlets, roast mutton, and roast chicken. The simplest dishes
were those he liked best, but he was fastidious in the article of bread.
It is not true, as reported, that he made an immoderate use of coffee,
for he only took half a cup after breakfast, and another after dinner;
though it sometimes happened when he was much preoccupied that he would
take, without noticing it, two cups in succession, though coffee taken in
this quantity always excited him and kept him from sleeping.

It also happened frequently that he took it cold, or without sugar, or
with too much sugar. To avoid all which mischances, the Empress
Josephine made it her duty to pour out the Emperor's coffee herself; and
the Empress Marie Louise also adopted the same custom. When the Emperor
had risen from the table and entered the little saloon, a page followed
him, carrying on a silvergilt waiter a coffee-pot, sugar-dish and cup.
Her Majesty the Empress poured out the coffee, put sugar in it, tried a
few drops of it, and offered it to the Emperor.

The Emperor drank only Chambertin wine, and rarely without water; for he
had no fondness for wine, and was a poor judge of it. This recalls that
one day at the camp of Boulogne, having invited several officers to his
table, his Majesty had wine poured for Marshal Augereau, and asked him
with an air of satisfaction how he liked it. The Marshal tasted it,
sipped it critically, and finally replied, "There is better," in a tone
which was unmistakable. The Emperor, who had expected a different reply,
smiled, as did all the guests, at the Marshal's candor.

Every one has heard it said that his Majesty used great precautions
against being poisoned, which statement must be placed beside that
concerning the cuirass proof against bullet and dagger. On the contrary,
the Emperor carried his want of precaution only too far. His breakfast
was brought every day into an antechamber open to all to whom had been
granted a private audience, and who sometimes waited there for several
hours, and his Majesty's breakfast also waited a long time. The dishes
were kept as warm as possible until he came out of his cabinet, and took
his seat at the table. Their Majesties' dinner was carried from the
kitchen to the upper rooms in covered, hampers, and there was every
opportunity of introducing poison; but in spite of all this, never did
such an idea enter the minds of the people in his service, whose devotion
and fidelity to the Emperor, even including the very humblest, surpassed
any idea I could convey.

The habit of eating rapidly sometimes caused his Majesty violent pains in
his stomach, which ended almost always in a fit of vomiting.

One day the valet on duty came in great haste to tell me that the Emperor
desired my presence immediately. His dinner had caused indigestion, and
he was suffering greatly. I hurried to his Majesty's room, and found him
stretched at full length on the rug, which was a habit of the Emperor
when he felt unwell. The Empress Josephine was seated by his side, with
the sick man's head on her lap, while he groaned or stormed alternately,
or did both at once: for the Emperor bore this kind of misfortune with
less composure than a thousand graver mischances which the life of a
soldier carries with it; and the hero of Arcola, whose life had been
endangered in a hundred battles, and elsewhere also, without lessening
his fortitude, showed himself unequal to the endurance of the slightest
pain. Her Majesty the Empress consoled and encouraged him as best she
could; and she, who was so courageous herself in enduring those headaches
which, on account of their excessive violence, were a genuine disease,
would, had it been possible, have taken on herself most willingly the
ailment of her husband, from which she suffered almost as much as he did,
in witnessing his sufferings. "Constant," said she, as I entered, "come
quick; the Emperor needs you; make him some tea, and do not go out till
he is better." His Majesty had scarcely taken three cups before the pain
decreased, while she continued to hold his head on her knees, pressing
his brow with her white, plump hands, and also rubbing his breast. "You
feel better, do you not? Would you like to lie down a little while? I
will stay by your bed with Constant." This tenderness was indeed
touching, especially in one occupying so elevated a rank.

My intimate service often gave me the opportunity of enjoying this
picture of domestic felicity. While I am on the subject of the Emperor's
ailments, I will say a few words concerning the most serious which he
endured, with the exception of that which caused his death.

At the siege of Toulon, in 1793, the Emperor being then only colonel of
artillery, a cannoneer was killed at his gun; and Colonel Bonaparte
picked up the rammer and rammed home the charge several times. The
unfortunate artilleryman had an itch of the most malignant kind, which
the Emperor caught, and of which he was cured only after many years; and
the doctors thought that his sallow complexion and extreme leanness,
which lasted so long a time, resulted from this disease being improperly
treated. At the Tuileries he took sulphur baths, and wore for some time
a blister plaster, having suffered thus long because, as he said, he had
not time to take care of himself. Corvisart warmly insisted on a
cautery; but the Emperor, who wished to preserve unimpaired the
shapeliness of his arm, would not agree to this remedy.

It was at this same siege that he was promoted from the rank of chief of
battalion to that of colonel in consequence of a brilliant affair with
the English, in which he received a bayonet wound in the left thigh, the
scar of which he often showed me. The wound in the foot which he
received at the battle of Ratisbonne left no trace; and yet, when the
Emperor received it, the whole army became alarmed.

We were about twelve hundred yards from Ratisbonne, when the Emperor,
seeing the Austrians fleeing on all sides, thought the combat was over.
His dinner had been brought in a hamper to a place which the Emperor had
designated; and as he was walking towards it, he turned to Marshal
Berthier, and exclaimed, "I am wounded!" The shock was so great that the
Emperor fell in a sitting posture, a bullet having, in fact, struck his
heel. From the size of this ball it was apparent that it had been fired
by a Tyrolean rifleman, whose weapon easily carried the distance we were
from the town. It can well be understood that such an event troubled and
frightened the whole staff.

An aide-de-camp summoned me; and when I arrived I found Dr. Yvan cutting
his Majesty's boot, and assisted him in dressing the wound. Although the
pain was still quite severe, the Emperor was not willing to take time to
put on his boot again; and in order to turn the enemy, and reassure the
army as to his condition, he mounted his horse, and galloped along the
line accompanied by his whole staff. That day, as may be believed, no
one delayed to take breakfast, but all dined at Ratisbonne.

His Majesty showed an invincible repugnance to all medicine; and when he
used any, which was very rarely, it was chicken broth, chicory, or cream
of tartar.

Corvisart recommended him to refuse every drink which had a bitter or
disagreeable taste, which he did, I believe, in the fear that an attempt
might be made to poison him.

At whatever hour the Emperor had retired, I entered his room at seven or
eight o'clock in the morning; and I have already said that his first
questions invariably were as to the hour and the kind of weather.
Sometimes he complained to me of looking badly; and if this was true, I
agreed with him, and if it were not, I told him the truth. In this case
he pulled my ears, and called me, laughing, "grosse bete," and asked for
a mirror, sometimes saying he was trying to fool me and that he was very
well. He read the daily papers, asked the names of the people in the
waiting-room, named those he wished to see, and conversed with each one.
When Corvisart came, he entered without waiting for orders; and the
Emperor took pleasure in teasing him by speaking of medicine, which he
said was only a conjectural art, that the doctors were charlatans, and
cited instances in proof of it, especially in his own experience, the
doctor never yielding a point when he thought he was right. During these
conversations, the Emperor shaved himself; for I had prevailed on him to
take this duty on himself, often forgetting that he had shaved only one
side of his face, and when I called his attention to this, he laughed,
and finished his work. Yvan, doctor-in-ordinary, as well as Corvisart,
came in for his share in the criticisms and attacks on his profession;
and these discussions were extremely amusing. The Emperor was very gay
and talkative at such times, and I believe, when he had at hand no
examples to cite in support of his theories, did not scruple to invent
them; consequently these gentlemen did not always rely upon his
statements. One day his Majesty pulled the ears of one of his physicians
(Halle, I believe). The doctor abruptly drew himself away, crying,
"Sire, you hurt me." Perhaps this speech was tinged with some
irritation, and perhaps, also, the doctor was right. However that may
be, his ears were never in danger again.

Sometimes before beginning my labors, his Majesty questioned me as to
what I had done the evening before, asked me if I had dined in the city,
and with whom, if I had enjoyed myself, and what we had for dinner. He
often inquired also what such or such a part of my clothing cost me; and
when I told him he would exclaim at the price, and tell me that when he
was a sub-lieutenant everything was much cheaper, and that he had often
during that time taken his meals at Roze's restaurant, and dined very
well for forty cents. Several times he spoke to me of my family, and of
my sister, who was a nun before the Revolution, and who had been
compelled to leave her convent; and one day asked me if she had a
pension, and how much it was. I told him, and added, that this not being
sufficient for her wants, I myself gave an allowance to her, and also to
my mother. His Majesty told me to apply to the Duke of Bassano, and
report the matter to him, as he wished to treat my family handsomely.
I did not avail myself of this kind intention of his Majesty; for at that
time I had sufficient means to be able to assist my relatives, and did
not foresee the future, which I thought would not change my condition,
and felt a delicacy in putting my people, so to speak, on the charge of
the state. I confess that I have been more than once tempted to repent
this excessive delicacy, which I have seen few persons above or below my
condition imitate. On rising, the Emperor habitually took a cup of tea
or orange water; and if he desired a bath, had it immediately on getting
out of bed, and while in it had his dispatches and newspapers read to him
by his secretary (Bourrienne till 1804). If he did not take a bath, he
seated himself by the fire, and had them read to him there, often reading
them himself. He dictated to the secretary his replies, and the
observations which the reading of these suggested to him; as he went
through each, throwing it on the floor without any order. The secretary
afterwards gathered them all up, and arranged them to be carried into the
Emperor's private room. His Majesty, before making his toilet, in
summer, put on pantaloons of white pique and a dressing-gown of the same,
and in winter, pantaloons and dressing-gown of swanskin, while on his
head was a turban tied in front, the two ends hanging down on his neck
behind. When the Emperor donned this headdress, his appearance was far
from elegant. When he came out of the bath, we gave him another turban;
for the one he wore was always wet in the bath, where he turned and
splashed himself incessantly. Having taken his bath and read his
dispatches, he began his toilet, and I shaved him before he learned to
shave himself. When the Emperor began this habit, he used at first, like
every one, a mirror attached to the window; but he came up so close to
it, and lathered himself so vigorously with soap, that the mirror,
window-panes, curtains, his dressing-gown, and the Emperor himself, were
all covered with it. To remedy this inconvenience, the servants
assembled in council, and it was decided that Roustan should hold the
looking-glass for his Majesty. When the Emperor had shaved one side, he
turned the other side to view, and made Roustan pass from left to right,
or from right to left, according to the side on which he commenced.
After shaving, the Emperor washed his face and hands, and had his nails
carefully cleaned; then I took off his flannel vest and shirt, and rubbed
his whole bust with an extremely soft silk brush, afterwards rubbing him
with eau-de-cologne, of which he used a great quantity, for every day he
was rubbed and dressed thus. It was in the East he had acquired this
hygienic custom, which he enjoyed greatly, and which is really excellent.
All these preparations ended, I put on him light flannel or cashmere
slippers, white silk stockings, the only kind he ever wore, and very fine
linen or fustian drawers, sometimes knee-breeches of white cassimere,
with soft riding-boots, sometimes pantaloons of the same stuff and color,
with little English half-boots which came to the middle of the leg, and
were finished with small silver spurs which were never more than six
lines in length. All his, boots were finished with these spurs. I then
put on him his flannel vest and shirt, a neck-cloth of very fine muslin,
and over all a black silk stock; finally a round vest of white pique, and
either a chasseur's or grenadier's coat, usually the former. His toilet
ended, he was presented with his handkerchief, his tobacco-box, and a
little shell bog filled with aniseed and licorice, ground very fine. It
will be seen by the above that the Emperor had himself dressed by his
attendants from head to foot. He put his hand to nothing, but let
himself be dressed like an infant, his mind filled with business during
the entire performance.

I had forgotten to say that he used boxwood toothpicks, and a brush
dipped in some opiate. The Emperor was born, so to speak, to be waited
on (homme d valets de chambre). When only a general, he had as many as
three valets, and had himself served with as much luxury as at the height
of his fortunes, and from that time received all the attentions I have
just described, and which it was almost impossible for him to do without;
and in this particular the etiquette was never changed. He increased the
number of his servants, and decorated them with new titles, but he could
not have more services rendered him personally. He subjected himself
very rarely to the grand etiquette of royalty, and never, for example,
did the grand chamberlain hand him his shirt; and on one occasion only,
when the city of Paris gave him a dinner at the time of his coronation,
did the grand marshal hand him water to wash his hands. I shall give a
description of his toilet on the day of his coronation; and it will be
seen that even on that day his Majesty, the Emperor of the French, did
not require any other ceremonial than that to which he had been
accustomed as general and First Consul of the Republic.

The Emperor had no fixed hour for retiring: sometimes he retired at ten
or eleven o'clock in the evening; oftener he stayed awake till two,
three, or four o'clock in the morning. He was soon undressed; for it was
his habit, on entering the room, to throw each garment right and
left,--his coat on the floor, his grand cordon on the rug, his watch
haphazard at the bed, his hat far off on a piece of furniture; thus with
all his clothing, one piece after another. When he was in a good humor,
he called me in a loud voice, with this kind of a cry: "Ohe, oh! oh!"
at other times, when he was not in good humor, "Monsieur, Monsieur

At all seasons his bed had to be warmed with a warming-pan, and it was
only during the very hottest weather that he would dispense with this.
His habit of undressing himself in haste rarely left me anything to do,
except to hand him his night-cap. I then lighted his night-lamp, which
was of gilded silver, and shaded it so that it would give less light.
When he did not go to sleep at once, he had one of his secretaries
called, or perhaps the Empress Josephine, to read to him; which duty no
one could discharge better than her Majesty, for which reason the Emperor
preferred her to all his readers, for she read with that especial charm
which was natural to her in all she did. By order of the Emperor, there
was burnt in his bedroom, in little silver perfume-boxes, sometimes aloes
wood, and sometimes sugar or vinegar; and almost the year round it was
necessary to have a fire in all his apartments, as he was habitually very
sensitive to cold. When he wished to sleep, I returned to take out his
lamp, and went up to my own room, my bedroom being just above that of his
Majesty. Roustan and a valet on service slept in a little apartment
adjoining the Emperor's bedroom; and if he needed me during the night,
the boy of the wardrobe, who slept in an antechamber, came for me. Water
was always kept hot for his bath, for often at any hour of the night as
well as the day he might suddenly be seized with a fancy to take one.

Doctor Yvan appeared every morning and evening, at the rising and
retiring of his Majesty.

It is well known that the Emperor often had his secretaries, and even his
ministers, called during the night. During his stay at Warsaw, the
Prince de Talleyrand once received a message after midnight; he came at
once, and had a long interview with the Emperor, and work was prolonged
late into the night, when his Majesty, fatigued, at last fell into a deep
slumber. The Prince of Benevento, who was afraid to go out, fearing lest
he might awaken the Emperor or be recalled to continue the conversation,
casting his eyes around, perceived a comfortable sofa, so he stretched
himself out on it, and went to sleep. Meneval, secretary to his
Majesty, not wishing to retire till after the minister had left, knowing
that the Emperor would probably call for him as soon as Talleyrand had
retired, became impatient at such a long interview; and as for me, I was
not in the best humor, since it was impossible for me to retire without
taking away his Majesty's lamp. Meneval came a dozen times to ask me if
Prince Talleyrand had left. "He is there yet," said I. "I am sure of
it, and yet I hear nothing." At last I begged him to place himself in
the room where I then was, and on which the street-door opened, whilst I
went to act as sentinel in a vestibule on which the Emperor's room had
another opening; and it was arranged that the one of us who saw the
prince go out would inform the other. Two o'clock sounded, then three,
then four; no one appeared, and there was not the least movement in his
Majesty's room. Losing patience at last, I half opened the door as
gently as possible; but the Emperor, whose sleep was very light, woke
with a start, and asked in a loud tone: "Who is that? Who comes there?"
"What is that?" I replied, that, thinking the Prince of Benevento had
gone out, I had come for his Majesty's lamp. "Talleyrand! Talleyrand!"
cried out his Majesty vehemently. "Where is he, then?" and seeing him
waking up, "well, I declare he is asleep! Come, you wretch; how dare you
sleep in my room! ah! ah!" I left without taking out the lamp; they
began talking again, and Meneval and I awaited the end of the
tete-a-tete, until five o'clock in the morning.

The Emperor had a habit of taking, when he thus worked at night, coffee
with cream, or chocolate; but he gave that up, and under the Empire no
longer took anything, except from time to time, but very rarely, either
punch mild and light as lemonade, or when he first awoke, an infusion of
orange-leaves or tea.

The Emperor, who so magnificently endowed the most of his generals, who
showed himself so liberal to his armies, and to whom, on the other hand,
France owes so many and such handsome monuments, was not generous, and it
must even be admitted was a little niggardly, in his domestic affairs.
Perhaps he resembled those foolishly vain rich persons, who economize
very closely at home, and in their own households, in order to shine more
outside. He made very few, not to say no, presents to members of his
household; and the first day of the year even passed without loosening
his purse-strings. While I was undressing him the evening before, he
said, pinching my ear, "Well, Monsieur Constant, what will you give me
for my present?" The first time he asked this question I replied I would
give him whatever he wished; but I must confess that I very much hoped it
would not be I who would give presents next day. It seemed that the idea
never occurred to him; for no one had to thank him for his gifts, and he
never departed afterwards from this rule of domestic economy. Apropos of
this pinching of ears, to which I have recurred so often, because his
Majesty repeated it so often, it is necessary that I should say, while I
think of it, and in closing this subject, that any one would be much
mistaken in supposing that he touched lightly the party exposed to his
marks of favor; he pinched, on the contrary, very hard, and pinched as
much stronger in proportion as he happened to be in a better humor.

Sometimes, when I entered his room to dress him, he would run at me like
a mad man, and saluting me with his favorite greeting, "Well, Monsieur le
drole," would pinch my ears in such a manner as to make me cry out; he
often added to these gentle caresses one or two taps, also well applied.
I was then sure of finding him all the rest of the day in a charming
humor, and full of good-will, as I have seen him, so often. Roustan, and
even Marshal Berthier, received their due proportion of these imperial


The allowance made by his Majesty for the yearly expenses of his dress
was twenty thousand francs; and the year of, the coronation he became
very angry because that sum had been exceeded. It was never without
trepidation that the various accounts of household expenses were
presented to him; and he invariably retrenched and cut down, and
recommended all sort of reforms. I remember after asking for some one a
place of three thousand francs, which he granted me, I heard him exclaim,
"Three thousand francs! but do you understand that this is the revenue
of one of my communes? When I was sub-lieutenant I did not spend as much
as that." This expression recurred incessantly in his conversations with
those with whom he was familiar; and "when I had the honor of being
sub-lieutenant" was often on his lips, and always in illustration of
comparisons or exhortations to economy.

While on the subject of accounts, I recall a circumstance which should
have a place in my memoirs, since it concerns me personally, and moreover
gives an idea of the manner in which his Majesty understood economy. He
set out with the idea, which was, I think, often very correct, that in
private expenses as in public ones, even granting the honesty of agents
(which the Emperor was always, I admit, very slow to do), the same things
could have been done with much less money. Thus, when he required
retrenchment, it was not in the number of objects of expense, but only in
the prices charged for these articles by the furnishers; and I will
elsewhere cite some examples of the effect which this idea produced on
the conduct of his Majesty towards the accounting agents of his
government. Now I am relating only private matters. One day when
investigating various accounts, the Emperor complained much of the
expenses of the stables, and cut off a considerable sum; and the grand
equerry, in order to put into effect the required economy, found it
necessary to deprive several persons in the household of their carriages,
mine being included in this number. Some days after the execution of
this measure, his Majesty charged me with a commission, which
necessitated a carriage; and I was obliged to inform him that, no longer
having mine, I should not be able to execute his orders. The Emperor
then exclaimed that he had not intended this, and M. Caulaincourt must
have a poor idea of economy. When he again saw the Duke of Vicenza, he
said to him that he did not wish anything of mine to be touched.

The Emperor occasionally read in the morning the new works and romances
of the day; and when a work displeased him, he threw it into the fire.
This does not mean that only improper books were thus destroyed; for if
the author was not among his favorites, or if he spoke too well of a
foreign country, that was sufficient to condemn the volume to the flames.
On this account I saw his Majesty throw into the fire a volume of the
works of Madame de Stael, on Germany. If he found us in the evening
enjoying a book in the little saloon, where we awaited the hour for
retiring, he examined what we were reading; and if he found they were
romances, they were burned without pity, his Majesty rarely failing to
add a little lecture to this confiscation, and to ask the delinquent "if
a man could not find better reading than that." One morning he had
glanced over and thrown in the fire a book (by what author I do not
know); and when Roustan stooped down to take it out the Emperor stopped
him, saying, "Let that filthy thing burn; it is all that it deserves."

The Emperor mounted his horse most ungracefully, and I think would not
have always been very safe when there, if so much care had not been taken
to give him only those which were perfectly trained; but every precaution
was taken, and horses destined for the special service of the Emperor
passed through a rude novitiate before arriving at the honor of carrying
him. They were habituated to endure, without making the least movement,
torments of all kinds; blows with a whip over the head and ears; the drum
was beaten; pistols were fired; fireworks exploded in their ears; flags
were shaken before their eyes; heavy weights were thrown against their
legs, sometimes even sheep and hogs. It was required that in the midst
of the most rapid gallop (the Emperor liked no other pace), he should be
able to stop his horse suddenly; and in short, it was absolutely
necessary to have only the most perfectly trained animals.

M. Jardin, senior, equerry of his Majesty, acquitted himself of this
laborious duty with much skill and ability, as the Emperor attached such
importance to it; he also insisted strongly that his horses should be
very handsome, and in the last years of his reign would ride only Arab

There were a few of those noble animals for which the Emperor had a great
affection; among others, Styria, which he rode over the St. Bernard and
at Marengo. After this last campaign, he wished his favorite to end his
days in the luxury of repose, for Marengo and the great St. Bernard were
in themselves a well-filled career. The Emperor rode also for many years
an Arab horse of rare intelligence, in which he took much pleasure.
During the time he was awaiting his rider, it would have been hard to
discover in him the least grace; but as soon as he heard the drums beat
the tattoo which announced the presence of his Majesty, he reared his
head most proudly, tossed his mane, and pawed the ground, and until the
very moment the Emperor alighted, was the most magnificent animal

His Majesty made a great point of good equerries, and nothing was
neglected in order that the pages should receive in this particular the
most careful education. To accustom them to mount firmly and with grace,
they practiced exercises in vaulting, for which it seemed to me they
would have no use except at the Olympic circus. And, in fact, one of the
horsemen of Messieurs Franconi had charge of this part of the pages'

The Emperor, as has been said elsewhere, took no pleasure in hunting,
except just so far as was necessary to conform to the usage which makes
this exercise a necessary accompaniment to the throne and the crown; and
yet I have seen him sometimes continue it sufficiently long to justify
the belief that he did not find it altogether distasteful. He hunted one
day in the forest of Rambouillet from six in the morning to eight in the
evening, a stag being the object of this prolonged excursion; and I
remember they returned without having taken him. In one of the imperial
hunts at Rambouillet, at which the Empress Josephine was present, a stag,
pursued by the hunters, threw himself under the Empress's carriage; which
refuge did not fail him, for her Majesty, touched by the misery of the
poor animal, begged his life of the Emperor. The stag was spared; and
Josephine placed round its neck a silver collar to attest its
deliverance, and protect it against the attacks of all hunters.

One of the ladies of the Empress one day showed less humanity than she,
however; and the reply which she made to the Emperor displeased him
exceedingly, for he loved gentleness and pity in women. When they had
hunted for several hours in the Bois de Boulogne, the Emperor drew near
the carriage of the Empress Josephine, and began talking with a lady who
bore one of the most noble and most ancient names in all France, and who,
it is said, had been placed near the Empress against her wishes. The
Prince of Neuchatel (Berthier) announced that the stag was at bay.
"Madame," said the Emperor gallantly to Madame de C---- , "I place his
fate in your hands."--"Do with him, Sire," replied she, "as you please.
It is no difference to me." The Emperor gave her a glance of disapproval,
and said to the master of the hounds, "Since the stag in his misery does
not interest Madame C----, he does not deserve to live; have him put to
death;" whereupon his Majesty turned his horse's bridle, and rode off.
The Emperor was shocked by such an answer, and repeated it that evening,
on his return from the hunt, in terms by no means flattering to Madame
de C----.

It is stated in the Memorial of Saint-Helena that the Emperor, while
hunting, was thrown and wounded by a wild boar, from which one of his
fingers bore a bad scar. I never saw this, and never knew of such an
accident having happened to the Emperor. The Emperor did not place his
gun firmly to his shoulder, and as he always had it heavily loaded and
rammed, never fired without making his arm black with bruises; but I
rubbed the injured place with eau de Cologne, and he gave it no further

The ladies followed the hunt in their coaches; a table being usually
arranged in the forest for breakfast, to which all persons in the hunt
were invited.

The Emperor on one occasion hunted with falcons on the plain of
Rambouillet, in order to make a trial of the falconry that the King of
Holland (Louis) had sent as a present to his Majesty. The household made
a fete of seeing this hunt, of which we had been hearing so much; but the
Emperor appeared to take less pleasure in this than in the chase or
shooting, and hawking was never tried again.

His Majesty was exceedingly fond of the play, preferring greatly French
tragedy and the Italian opera. Corneille was his favorite author; and he
had always on his table some volume of the works of this great poet. I
have often heard the Emperor declaim, while walking up and down in his
room, verses of Cinna, or this speech on the death of Caesar:

   "Caesar, you will reign; see the august day
   In which the Roman people, always unjust to thee," etc.

At the theater of Saint-Cloud, the piece for the evening was often made
up of fragments and selections from different authors, one act being
chosen from one opera, one from another, which was very vexatious to the
spectators whom the first piece had begun to interest. Often, also,
comedies were played; on which occasions there was great rejoicing in the
household, and the Emperor himself took much pleasure in them. How many
times have I seen him perfectly overcome with laughter, when seeing
Baptiste junior in 'les Heritiers', and Michaut also amused him in 'la
Partie de Chasse de Henry IV'.

I cannot remember in what year, but it was during one of the sojourns of
the court at Fontainebleau, that the tragedy of the Venetians was
presented before the Emperor by Arnault, senior. That evening, as he was
retiring, his Majesty discussed the piece with Marshal Duroc, and gave
his opinion, adducing many reasons, in support of it. These praises,
like the criticisms, were all explained and discussed; the grand marshal
talking little, and the Emperor incessantly. Although a poor judge
myself of such matters, it was very entertaining, and also very
instructive, to hear the Emperor's opinion of pieces, ancient and modern,
which had been played before him; and his observations and remarks could
not have failed, I am sure, to be of great profit to the authors, had
they been able like myself to hear them. As for me, if I gained anything
from it, it is being enabled to speak of it here a little (although a
very little), more appropriately than a blind man would of colors;
nevertheless, for fear of saying the wrong thing, I return to matters
which are in my department.

It has been said that his Majesty used a great quantity of tobacco, and
that in order to take it still more frequently and quickly, he put it in
a pocket of his vest, lined with skin for that purpose. This is an
error. The Emperor never took tobacco except in his snuff-boxes; and
although he wasted a great quantity of it, he really used very little, as
he took a pinch, held it to his nose simply to smell it, and let it fall
immediately. It is true that the place where he had been was covered
with it; but his handkerchiefs, irreproachable witnesses in such matters,
were scarcely stained, and although they were white and of very fine
linen, certainly bore no marks of a snuff-taker. Sometimes he simply
passed his open snuff-box under his nose in order to breathe the odor of
the tobacco it contained. These boxes were of black shell, with hinges,
and of a narrow, oval shape; they were lined with gold, and ornamented
with antique cameos, or medallions, in gold or silver. At one time he
used round tobacco-boxes; but as it took two hands to open them, and in
this operation he sometimes dropped either the box or the top, he became
disgusted with them. His tobacco was grated very coarse, and was usually
composed of several kinds of tobacco mixed together. Frequently he
amused himself by making the gazelles that he had at Saint-Cloud eat it.
They were very fond of it, and although exceedingly afraid of every one
else, came close to his Majesty without the slightest fear.

The Emperor took a fancy on one occasion, but only one, to try a pipe, as
I shall now relate. The Persian ambassador (or perhaps it was the
Turkish ambassador who came to Paris under the Consulate) had made his
Majesty a present of a very handsome pipe such as is used by the
Orientals. One day he was seized with a desire to try it, and had
everything necessary for this purpose prepared. The fire having been
applied to the bowl, the only question now was to light the tobacco; but
from the manner in which his Majesty attempted this it was impossible for
him to succeed, as he alternately opened and closed his lips repeatedly
without drawing in his breath at all. "Why, what is the matter?" cried
he; "it does not work at all." I called his attention to the fact that
he was not inhaling properly, and showed him how it ought to be done; but
the Emperor still continued his performances, which were like some
peculiar kind of yawning. Tired out by his fruitless efforts at last, he
told me to light it for him, which I did, and instantly handed it back to
him. But he had hardly taken a whiff when the smoke, which he did not
know how to breathe out again, filled his throat, got into his windpipe,
and came out through his nose and eyes in great puffs. As soon as he
could get his breath, he panted forth, "Take it away! what a pest! Oh,
the wretches! it has made me sick." In fact, he felt ill for at least an
hour after, and renounced forever the "pleasure of a habit, which," said
he, "is only good to enable do-nothings to kill time."

The only requirements the Emperor made as to his clothing was that it
should be of fine quality and perfectly comfortable; and his coats for
ordinary use, dress-coats, and even the famous gray overcoat, were made
of the finest cloth from Louviers. Under the Consulate he wore, as was
then the fashion, the skirts of his coat extremely long; afterwards
fashion changed, and they were worn shorter; but the Emperor held with
singular tenacity to the length of his, and I had much trouble in
inducing him to abandon this fashion, and it was only by a subterfuge
that I at last succeeded. Each time I ordered a new coat for his
Majesty, I directed the tailor to shorten the skirts by an inch at least,
until at last, without his being aware of it, they were no longer
ridiculous. He did not abandon his old habits any more readily on this
point than on all others; and his greatest desire was that his clothes
should not be too tight, in consequence of which there were times when he
did not make a very elegant appearance. The King of Naples, the man in
all France who dressed with the most care, and nearly always in good
taste, sometimes took the liberty of bantering the Emperor slightly about
his dress. "Sire," said he to the Emperor, "your Majesty dresses too
much like a good family man. Pray, Sire, be an example to your faithful
subjects of good taste in dress."--"Would you like me, in order to please
you," replied the Emperor, "to dress like a scented fop, like a dandy, in
fine, like the King of Naples and the Two Sicilies. As for me, I must
hold on to my old habitudes."--"Yes, Sire, and to your 'habits tues',"
added the king on one occasion. "Detestable!" cried the Emperor; "that
is worthy of Brunet;" and they laughed heartily over this play on words,
while declaring it what the Emperor called it.

However, these discussions as to his dress being renewed at the time of
his Majesty's marriage to the Empress Marie Louise, the King of Naples
begged the Emperor to allow him to send him his tailor. His Majesty, who
sought at that time every means of pleasing his young wife, accepted the
offer of his brother-in-law; and that very day I went for Leger, King
Joachim's tailor, and brought him with me to the chateau, recommending
him to make the suits which would be ordered as loose as possible,
certain as I was in advance, that, Monsieur Jourdain [a character in a
Moliere comedy] to the contrary, if the Emperor could not get into them
easily, he would not wear them. Leger paid no attention to my advice,
but took his measure very closely. The two coats were beautifully made;
but the Emperor pronounced them uncomfortable, and wore them only once,
and Leger did no more work for his Majesty. At one time, long before
this, he had ordered a very handsome coat of chestnut brown velvet, with
diamond buttons, which he wore to a reception of her Majesty the Empress,
with a black cravat, though the Empress Josephine had prepared for him an
elegant lace stock, which all my entreaties could not induce him to put

The Emperor's vest and breeches were always of white cassimere; he
changed them every morning, and they were washed only three or four
times. Two hours after he had left his room, it often happened that his
breeches were all stained with ink, owing to his habit of wiping his pen
on them, and scattering ink all around him by knocking his pen against
the table. Nevertheless, as he dressed in the morning for the whole day,
he did not change his clothes on that account, and remained in that
condition the remainder of the day. I have already said that he wore
none but white silk stockings, his shoes, which were very light and thin,
being lined with silk, and his boots lined throughout inside with white
fustian; and when he felt an itching on one of his legs, he rubbed it
with the heel of his shoe or the boot on the other leg, which added still
more to the effect of the ink blotches. His shoe-buckles were oval,
either plain gold or with medallions, and he also wore gold buckles on
his garters. I never saw him wear pantaloons under the Empire.

Owing to the Emperor's tenacity to old customs, his shoemaker in the
first days of the Empire was still the same he employed at the military
school; and as his shoes had been made by the same measure, from that
time, and no new one ever taken, his shoes, as well as his boots, were
always badly made and ungraceful. For a long time he wore them pointed;
but I persuaded him to have them 'en bec de canne', as that was the
fashion. At last his old measure was found too small, and I got his
Majesty's consent to have a new one-taken; so I summoned the shoemaker,
who had succeeded his father, and was exceedingly stupid. He had never
seen the Emperor, although he worked for him; and when he learned that he
was expected to appear before his Majesty, his head was completely
turned. How could he dare to present himself before the Emperor? What
costume must he wear? I encouraged him, and told him he would need a
black French coat, with breeches, and hat, etc.; and he presented himself
thus adorned at the Tuileries. On entering his Majesty's chamber he made
a deep bow, and stood much embarrassed. "It surely cannot be you who
made shoes for me at the l'ecole militaire?"--"No, your Majesty, Emperor
and King, it was my father."--"And why don't he do so now?"--"Sire, the
Emperor and King, because he is dead."--"How much do you make me pay for
my shoes?"--"Your Majesty, Emperor and King, pays eighteen francs for
them."--"That is very dear."--"Your Majesty, Emperor and King, could pay
much more for them if he would." The Emperor laughed heartily at this
simplicity, and let him take his measure; but the Emperor's laughter had
so completely disconcerted the poor man that, when he approached him,
his hat under his arm, making a thousand bows, his sword caught between
his legs, was broken in two, and made him fall on his hands and knees,
not to remain there long, however, for his Majesty's roars of laughter
increasing, and being at last freed from his sword, the poor shoemaker
took the Emperor's measure with more ease, and withdrew amidst profuse

All his Majesty's linen was of extremely fine quality, marked with an "N"
in a coronet; at first he wore no suspenders, but at last began using
them, and found them very comfortable. He wore next his body vests made
of English flannel, and the Empress Josephine had a dozen cashmere vests
made for his use in summer.

Many persons have believed that the Emperor wore a cuirass under his
clothes when walking and while in the army. This is entirely false: the
Emperor never put on a cuirass, nor anything resembling one, under his
coat any more than over it.

The Emperor wore no jewelry; he never had in his pockets either purse or
silver, but only his handkerchief, his snuff-box, and his bonbon-box.

He wore on his coat only a star and two crosses, that of the Legion of
Honor, and that of the Iron Crown. Under his uniform and on his vest he
wore a red ribbon, the ends of which could just be seen.

When there was a reception at the chateau, or he held a review, he put
this grand cordon outside his coat.

His hat, the shape of which it will be useless to describe while
portraits of his Majesty exist, was-extremely fine and very light, lined
with silk and wadded; and on it he wore neither tassels nor plumes, but
simply a narrow, flat band of silk and a little tricolored cockade.

The Emperor purchased several watches from Breguet and Meunier,--very
plain repeaters, without ornamentation or figures, the face covered with
glass, the back gold. M. Las Casas speaks of a watch with a double gold
case, marked with the cipher "B," and which never left the Emperor. I
never saw anything of the sort, though I was keeper of all the jewels,
and even had in my care for several days the crown diamonds. The Emperor
often broke his watch by throwing it at random, as I have said before, on
any piece of furniture in his bedroom. He had two alarm-clocks made by
Meunier, one in his carriage, the other at the head of his bed, which he
set with a little green silk cord, and also a third, but it was old and
wornout so that it would not work; it is this last which had belonged to
Frederick the Great, and was brought from Berlin.

The swords of his Majesty were very plain, with gold mountings, and an
owl on the hilt.

The Emperor had two swords similar to the one he wore the day of the
battle of Austerlitz. One of these swords was given to the Emperor
Alexander, as the reader will learn later, and the other to Prince Eugene
in 1814. That which the Emperor wore at Austerlitz, and on which he
afterwards had engraved the name and date of that memorable battle, was
to have been inclosed in the column of the Place Vendome; but his Majesty
still had it, I think, while he was at St. Helena.

He had also several sabers that he had worn in his first campaigns, and
on which were engraved the names of the battles in which he had used
them. They were distributed among the various general officers of his
Majesty the Emperor, of which distribution I will speak later.

When the Emperor was about to quit his capital to rejoin his army, or for
a simple journey through the departments, we never knew the exact moment
of his departure. It was necessary to send in advance on various roads a
complete service for the bedroom, kitchen, and stables; this sometimes
waited three weeks, or even a month, and when his Majesty at length set
out, that which was waiting on the road he did not take was ordered to
return. I have often thought that the Emperor acted thus in order to
disconcert those who spied on his proceedings, and to baffle their

The day he was to set out no one could discover that fact from him, and
everything went on as usual. After a concert, a play, or any other
amusement which had collected a large number of people, his Majesty would
simply remark on retiring, "I shall leave at two o'clock!" Sometimes the
time was earlier, sometimes later; but he always began his journey at the
designated hour. The order was instantly announced by each of the head
servants; and all were ready at the appointed time, though the chateau
was left topsy-turvy, as may be seen from the picture I have given
elsewhere of the confusion at the chateau which preceded and followed the
Emperor's departure. Wherever his Majesty lodged on the journey, before
leaving he had all the expenses of himself and of his household paid,
made presents to his hosts, and gave gratuities to the servants of the
house. On Sunday the Emperor had mass celebrated by the curate of the
place, giving always as much as twenty napoleons, sometimes more, and
regulating the gift according to the needs of the poor of the parish. He
asked many questions of the cures concerning their resources, that of
their parishioners, the intelligence and morality of the population, etc.
He rarely failed to ask the number of births, deaths, marriages, and if
there were many young men and girls of a marriageable age. If the cure
replied to these questions in a satisfactory manner, and if he had not
been too-long in saying mass, he could count on the favor of his Majesty;
his church and his poor would find themselves well provided for; and as
for himself, the Emperor left on his departure, or had sent to him, a
commission as chevalier of the Legion of Honor. His Majesty preferred to
be answered with confidence and without timidity; he even endured
contradiction; and one could without any risk reply inaccurately; this
was almost always overlooked, for he paid little attention to the reply,
but he never failed to turn away from those who spoke to him in a
hesitating or embarrassed manner. Whenever the Emperor took up his
residence at any place, there were on duty, night and day, a page and an
aide-decamp, who slept on sacking beds. There was also constantly in
attendance, in an antechamber, a quartermaster and sergeant of the
stables prepared to order, when necessary, the equipages, which they took
care to keep always in readiness to move; horses fully saddled and
bridled, and carriages harnessed with two horses, left the stables on the
first signal of his Majesty. These attendants were relieved every two
hours, like sentinels.

I said above that his Majesty liked prompt replies, and those which
showed vivacity and sprightliness. I will give two anecdotes in support
of this assertion. Once, while the Emperor was holding a review on the
Place du Carrousel, his horse reared, and in the efforts his Majesty made
to control him, his hat fell to the ground; a lieutenant (his name, I
think, was Rabusson), at whose feet the hat fell, picked it up, and came
out from the front ranks to offer it to his Majesty. "Thanks, Captain,"
said the Emperor, still engaged in quieting his horse. "In what
regiment?"--"Sire?" asked the officer. The Emperor, then regarding him
more attentively, and perceiving his mistake, said to him, smiling, "Ah,
that is so, monsieur; in the Guard."

The new captain received the commission which he owed to his presence of
mind, but which he had in fact well earned by his bravery and devotion to

At another review, his Majesty perceived in the ranks of a regiment of
the line an old soldier, whose arms were decorated with three chevrons.
He recognized him instantly as having seen him in the army of Italy, and
approaching him, said, "Well, my brave fellow, why have you not the
cross? You do not look like a bad fellow."--"Sire," replied the old
soldier, with sorrowful gravity, "I have three times been put on the list
for the cross."--"You shall not be disappointed a fourth time," replied
the Emperor; and he ordered Marshal Berthier to place on the list, for
the next promotion, the brave soldier, who was soon made a chevalier of
the Legion of Honor.


Pope Pius VII. had left Rome early in November, 1804; and his Holiness,
accompanied by General Menou, administrator of Piedmont, arrived at Mont
Cenis, on the morning of Nov. 15. The road of Mont Cenis had been
surveyed and smoothed, and all dangerous points made secure by barriers.
The Holy Father was received by M. Poitevin-Maissemy, prefect of Mont
Blanc, and after a short visit to the hospice, crossed the mountain in a
sedan chair, escorted by an immense crowd, who knelt to receive his
blessing as he passed.

Nov. 17 his Holiness resumed his carriage, in which he made the remainder
of the journey, accompanied in the same manner. The Emperor went to meet
the Holy Father, and met him on the road to Nemours in the forest of
Fontainebleau. The Emperor dismounted from his horse, and the two
sovereigns returned to Fontainebleau in the same carriage. It is said
that neither took precedence over the other, and that, in order to avoid
this, they both entered the carriage at the same instant, his Majesty by
the door on the right, and his Holiness by that on the left.

I do not know whether it is true that the Emperor used devices and
stratagems in order to avoid compromising his dignity, but I do know that
it would have been impossible to show more regard and attention to the
venerable old man. The day after his arrival at Fontainebleau, the Pope
made his entrance into Paris with all the honors usually rendered to the
head of the Empire. Apartments had been prepared for him at the
Tuileries in the Pavilion of Flora; and as a continuation of the delicate
and affectionate consideration which his Majesty had shown from the
beginning in welcoming the Holy Father, he found his apartments, in
arrangement and furniture, an exact duplicate of those he occupied at
Rome. He evinced much surprise and gratitude at this attention, which he
himself, it is said, with his usual delicacy, called entirely filial;
desiring thus to acknowledge the respect which the Emperor had shown him
on every occasion, and the new title of eldest son of the Church, which
his Majesty was about to assume with the imperial crown.

Every morning I went, by order of his Majesty, to inquire after the
health of the Holy Father. Pius VII. had a noble and handsome
countenance, an air of angelic sweetness, and a gentle, well modulated
voice; he spoke little, and always slowly, but with grace; his tastes
were extremely simple, and his abstemiousness incredible; he was
indulgent to others and most lenient in his judgments. I must admit that
on the score of good cheer the persons of his suite made no pretense of
imitating the Holy Father, but, on the contrary, took most unbecoming
advantage of the Emperor's orders, that everything requested should be
furnished. The tables set for them were abundantly and even
magnificently served; which, however; did not prevent a whole basket of
Chambertin being requested each day for the Pope's private table, though
he dined alone and drank only water.

The sojourn of nearly five months which the Holy Father made at Paris was
a time of edification for the faithful; and his Holiness must have
carried away a most flattering opinion of the populace, who, having
ceased to practice, and not having witnessed for more than ten years, the
ceremonies of the Catholic religion, had returned to them with
irrepressible zeal. When the Pope was not detained in his apartments by
his delicate health in regard to which the difference in the climate,
compared with that of Italy, and the severity of the winter, required
him to take great precautions, he visited the churches, the museum, and
the establishments of public utility; and if the severe weather prevented
his going out, the persons who requested this favor were presented to
Pius VII. in the grand gallery of the Museum Napoleon. I was one day
asked by some ladies of my acquaintance to accompany them to this
audience of the Holy Father, and took much pleasure in doing so.

The long gallery of the museum was filled with ladies and gentlemen,
arranged in double lines, the greater part of whom were mothers of
families, with their children at their knees or in their arms, ready to
be presented for the Holy Father's blessing; and Pius VII. gazed on these
children with a sweetness and mildness truly angelic. Preceded by the
governor of the museum, and followed by the cardinals and lords of his
household, he advanced slowly between these two ranks of the faithful,
who fell on their knees as he passed, often stopping to place his hand on
the head of a child, to address a few words to the mother, or to give his
ring to be kissed. His dress was a plain white cassock without ornament.
Just as the Pope reached us, the director of the museum presented a lady
who, like the others, was awaiting the blessing of his Holiness on her
knees. I heard the director call this lady Madame, the Countess de
Genlis, upon which the Holy Father held out to her his ring, raised her
in the most affable manner, and said a few flattering words complimenting
her on her works, and the happy influence which they had exercised in
re-establishing the Catholic religion in France.

Sellers of chaplets and rosaries must have made their fortunes during
this winter, for in some shops more than one hundred dozen were sold per
day. During the month of January, by this branch of industry alone, one
merchant of the Rue Saint-Denis made forty thousand francs. All those
who presented themselves at the audience of the Holy Father, or who
pressed around him as he went out, made him bless chaplets for
themselves, for all their relations, and for their friends in Paris or in
the provinces. The cardinals also distributed an incredible quantity in
their visits to the various hospitals, to the Hotel des Invalides, etc.,
and even at private houses.

It was arranged that the coronation of their Majesties should take place
on Dec. 2. On the morning of this great day all at the chateau were
astir very early, especially the persons attached to the service of the
wardrobe. The Emperor himself arose at eight o'clock. It was no small
affair to array his Majesty in the rich costume which had been prepared
for the occasion; and the whole time I was dressing him he uttered
unlimited maledictions and apostrophes against embroiderers, tailors, and
furnishers generally. As I passed him each article of his dress, "Now,
that is something handsome, Monsieur le drole," said he (and my ears had
their part in the play), "but we shall see the bills for it." This was
the costume: silk stockings embroidered in gold, with the imperial
coronet on the clocks; white velvet boots laced and embroidered with
gold; white velvet breeches embroidered in gold on the seams; diamond
buckles and buttons on his garters; his vest, also of white velvet,
embroidered in gold with diamond buttons; a crimson velvet coat, with
facings of white velvet, and embroidered on all the seams, the whole
sparkling with gold and gems. A short cloak, also of crimson, and lined
with white satin, hung from his left shoulder, and was caught on the
right over his breast with a double clasp of diamonds. On such occasions
it was customary for the grand chamberlain to pass the shirt; but it
seems that his Majesty did not remember this law of etiquette, and it was
I alone who performed that office, as I was accustomed. The shirt was
one of those ordinarily worn by his Majesty, but of very beautiful
cambric, for the Emperor would wear only very fine linen; but ruffles of
very handsome lace had been added, and his cravat was of the most
exquisite muslin, and his collar of superb lace. The black velvet cap
was surmounted by two white aigrettes, and surrounded with a band of
diamonds, caught together by the Regent. The Emperor set out, thus
dressed, from the Tuileries; and it was not till he had reached
Notre-Dame, that he placed over his shoulders the grand coronation mantle.
This was of crimson velvet, studded with golden bees, lined with white
satin, and fastened with a gold cord and tassel. The weight of it was at
least eighty pounds, and, although it was held up by four grand
dignitaries, bore him down by its weight. Therefore, on returning to the
chateau, he freed himself as soon as possible from all this rich and
uncomfortable apparel; and while resuming his grenadier uniform, he
repeated over and over, "At last I can get my breath." He was certainly
much more at his ease on the day of battle.

The jewels which were used at the coronation of her Majesty the Empress,
and which consisted of a crown, a diadem, and a girdle, came from the
establishment of M. Margueritte. The crown had eight branches, which
supported a golden globe surmounted by a cross, each branch set with
diamonds, four being in the shape of palm and four of myrtle leaves.
Around the crown ran a band set with eight enormous emeralds, while the
bandeau which rested on the brow shone with amethysts.

The diadem was composed of four rows of magnificent pearls entwined with
leaves made of diamonds, each of which matched perfectly, and was mounted
with a skill as admirable as the beauty of the material. On her brow
were several large brilliants, each one alone weighing one hundred and
forty-nine grains. The girdle, finally, was a golden ribbon ornamented
With thirty-nine rose-colored stones. The scepter of his Majesty the
Emperor had been made by M. Odiot; it was of silver, entwined with a
golden serpent, and surmounted by a globe on which Charlemagne was
seated. The hand of Justice and the crown, as well as the sword, were of
most exquisite workmanship, but it would take too long to describe them;
they were from the establishment of M. Biennais.

At nine o'clock in the morning the Pope left the Tuileries for Notre
Dame, in a carriage drawn by eight handsome gray horses. From the
imperial of the coach rose a tiara surrounded by the insignia of the
papacy in gilt bronze, while the first chamberlain of his Holiness,
mounted on a mule, preceded the carriage, bearing a silver gilt cross.

There was an interval of about one hour between the arrival of the Pope
at Notre Dame and that of their Majesties, who left the Tuileries
precisely at eleven o'clock, which fact was announced by numerous salutes
of artillery. Their Majesties' carriage, glittering with gold and
adorned with magnificent paintings, was drawn by eight bay horses
superbly caparisoned.

Above the imperial of this coach was a crown supported by four eagles
with extended wings. The panels of this carriage, which was the object
of universal admiration, were of glass instead of wood; and it was so
built that the back was exactly like the front, which similarity caused
their Majesties, on entering it, to make the absurd mistake of placing
themselves on the front seat. The Empress was first to perceive this,
and both she and her husband were much amused.

I could not attempt to describe the cortege, although I still retain most
vivid recollections of the scene, because 1 should have too much to say.
Picture to yourself, then, ten thousand cavalry superbly mounted,
defiling between two rows of infantry equally imposing, each body
covering a distance of nearly half a league. Then think of the number of
the equipages, of their magnificence, the splendor of the trappings of
the horses, and of the uniforms of the soldiers; of the crowds of
musicians playing coronation marches, added to the ringing of bells and
booming of cannon; then to all this add the effect produced by this
immense multitude of from four to five hundred thousand spectators; and
still one would be very far from obtaining a correct idea of this
astonishing magnificence.

In the month of December it is very rare that the weather is fine, but on
that day the heavens seemed auspicious to the Emperor and just as he
entered the archiepiscopal church, quite a heavy fog, which had lasted
all the morning, was suddenly dissipated, and a brilliant flood of
sunlight added its splendor to that of the cortege. This singular
circumstance was remarked by the spectators, and increased the

All the streets through which the cortege passed were carefully cleared
and sanded; and the inhabitants decorated the fronts of their houses
according to their varied taste and means, with drapery, tapestry,
colored paper, and some even with garlands of yew-leaves, almost all the
shops on the Quai des Orfevres being ornamented with festoons of
artificial flowers.

The religious ceremony lasted nearly four hours, and must have been
extremely fatiguing to the principal actors. The personal attendants
were necessarily on duty continually in the apartment prepared for the
Emperor at the archiepiscopal palace; but the curious (and all were so)
relieved each other from time to time, and each thus had an opportunity
of witnessing the ceremony at leisure.

I have never heard before or since such imposing music: it was the
composition of Messieurs Paesiello, Rose, and Lesueur, precentors of
their Majesties; and the orchestra and choruses comprised the finest
musicians of Paris. Two orchestras with four choruses, including more
than three hundred musicians, were led, the one by M. Persuis, the other
by M. Rey, both leaders of the Emperor's bands. M. Lais, first singer to
his Majesty, M. Kreutzer, and M. Baillot, first violinists of the same
rank, had gathered the finest talent which the imperial chapel, the
opera, and the grand lyric theaters possessed, either as instrumental
players or male and female singers. Innumerable military bands, under
the direction of M. Lesuem, executed heroic marches, one of which,
ordered by the Emperor from M. Lesueur for the army of Boulogne, is still
to-day, according to the judgment of connoisseurs, worthy to stand in the
first rank of the most beautiful and most imposing musical compositions.
As for me, this music affected me to such an extent that I became pale
and trembling, and convulsive tremors ran through all my body while
listening to it.

His Majesty would not allow the Pope to touch the crown, but placed it on
his head himself. It was a golden diadem, formed of oak and laurel
leaves. His Majesty then took the crown intended for the Empress, and,
having donned it himself for a few moments, placed it on the brow of his
august wife, who knelt before him. Her agitation was so great that she
shed tears, and, rising, fixed on the Emperor a look of tenderness and
gratitude; and the Emperor returned her glance without abating in the
least degree the dignity required by such an imposing ceremony before so
many witnesses.

In spite of this constraint their hearts understood each other in the
midst of the brilliancy and applause of the assembly, and assuredly no
idea of divorce entered the Emperor's mind at that moment; and, for my
part, I am very sure that this cruel separation would never have taken
place if her Majesty the Empress could have borne children, or even if
the young Napoleon, son of the King of Holland and Queen Hortense, had
not died just at the time the Emperor had decided to adopt him. Yet I
must admit that the fear, or rather the certainty, of Josephine not
bearing him an heir to the throne, drove the Emperor to despair; and I
have many times heard him pause suddenly in the midst of his work, and
exclaim with chagrin, "To whom shall I leave all this?"

After the mass, his Excellency, Cardinal Fesch, grand almoner of France,
bore the Book of the Gospels to the Emperor, who thereupon, from his
throne, pronounced the imperial oath in a voice so firm and distinct that
it was heard by all present. Then, for the twentieth time perhaps, the
cry of 'Vive l'Empereur' sprang to the lips of all, the 'Te Deum' was
chanted, and' their Majesties left the church in the same manner as they
had entered. The Pope remained in the church about a quarter of an hour
after the sovereigns; and, when he rose to withdraw, universal
acclamations accompanied him from the choir to the portal.

Their Majesties did not return to the chateau until half-past six, and
the Pope not till nearly seven. On their entrance to the church, their
Majesties passed through the archbishop's palace, the buildings of which,
as I have said, communicated with Notre Dame by means of a wooden
gallery. This gallery, covered with slate, and hung with magnificent
tapestry, ended in a platform, also of wood, erected before the principal
entrance, and made to harmonize perfectly with the gothic architecture of
this handsome metropolitan church. This platform rested upon four
columns, decorated with inscriptions in letters of gold, enumerating the
names of the principal towns of France, whose mayors had been deputized
to attend the coronation. Above these columns was a painting in relief,
representing Clovis and Charlemagne seated on their thrones, scepter in
hand; and in the center of this frontispiece were presented the arms of
the Empire, draped with the banners of the sixteen cohorts of the Legion
of Honor, while on each side were towers, surmounted by golden eagles.
The inside of this portico, as well as the gallery, was shaped like a
roof, painted sky-blue, and sown with stars.

The throne of their Majesties was erected on a stage in the shape of a
semicircle, and covered with a bluff carpet studded with bees, and was
reached by twenty-two steps. The throne, draped in red velvet, was also
covered by a pavilion of the same color, the left wing of which extended
over the Empress, the princesses, and their maids of honor, and the right
over the two brothers of the Emperor, with the arch-chancellor and the

Nothing could be grander than the bird's-eye view of the garden of the
Tuileries on the evening of this auspicious day, the grand parterre,
encircled by illuminated colonnades from arch to arch of which were
festooned garlands of rose-colored lights; the grand promenade outlined
by columns, above which stars glittered; the terraces on each side filled
with orange-trees, the branches of which were covered with innumerable
lights; while every tree on the adjoining walks presented as brilliant a
spectacle; and finally, to crown all this magnificent blaze of light, an
immense star was suspended above the Place de la Concorde, and outshone
all else. This might in truth be called a palace of fire.

On the occasion of the coronation his Majesty made magnificent presents
to the metropolitan church. I remarked, among other things, a chalice
ornamented with bas-reliefs, designed by the celebrated Germain, a pyx,
two flagons with the waiter, a holy-water vessel, and a plate for
offerings, the whole in silver gilt, and beautifully engraved. By the
orders of his Majesty, transmitted through the minister of the interior,
there was also presented to M. d'Astros, canon of Notre Dame, a box
containing the crown of thorns, a nail, and a piece of the wood of the
true cross, and a small vial, containing, it was said, some of the blood
of our Lord, with an iron scourge which Saint Louis had used, and a tunic
which had also belonged to that king.

In the morning Marshal Murat, Governor of Paris, had given a magnificent
breakfast to the princes of Germany who had come to Paris in order to be
present at the coronation; and after breakfast the marshal-governor
conveyed them to Notre Dame in four carriages, each drawn by six horses,
accompanied by an escort of a hundred men on horseback, and commanded by
one of his aides-de-camp. This escort was especially noticeable for the
elegance and richness of its uniforms.

The day after this grand and memorable solemnity was one of public
rejoicing. From the early morning an immense crowd of the populace,
enjoying the magnificent weather, spread itself over the boulevards, the
quays, and the public squares, on which were prepared an infinite variety
of amusements.

The heralds-at-arms went at an early hour through all the public places,
throwing to the crowd, which pressed around them, medals struck in memory
of the coronation. These medals represented on one side the likeness of
the Emperor, his brow encircled with the crown of the Caesars, with this
motto: Napoleon, Empereur. On the reverse side was the figure of a
magistrate, with the attributes of his office around him, and that of an
ancient warrior, bearing on a shield a hero crowned, and covered with the
imperial mantle. Above was written: The Senate and the People. Soon
after the passage of the heralds-at-arms the rejoicings commenced, and
were prolonged far into the evening.

There had been erected on the Place Louis XV., which was called then the
Place de la Concorde, four large square rooms of temporary woodwork, for
dancing and waltzing. Stages for the presentation of pantomimes and
farces were placed on the boulevards here and there; groups of singers
and musicians executed national airs and warlike marches; greased poles,
rope-dancers, sports of all kinds, attracted the attention of promenaders
at every step, and enabled them to await without impatience the
illuminations and the fireworks.

The display of fireworks was most admirable. From the Place Louis XV.
to the extreme end of the Boulevard Saint-Antoine, ran a double line of
colored lights in festoons. The palace of the Corps-Legislatif, formerly
the Garde-Meuble, was resplendent with lights, and the gates of
Saint-Denis and Saint-Martin were covered with lamps from top to bottom.

In the evening all those interested betook themselves to the quays and
bridges, in order to witness the fireworks which were set off from the
Bridge de la Concorde (now called Bridge Louis XVI.), and which far
surpassed in magnificence all that had ever been seen.


Wednesday, Dec. 5, three days after the coronation, the Emperor made a
distribution of the colors on the Champ-de-Mars.

In front of Ecole-Militaire a balcony was erected, covered with awnings,
and placed on a level with the apartments on the first floor. The middle
awning, supported by four columns, each one of which was a gilded figure
representing Victory, covered the throne on which their Majesties were
seated. A most fortunate precaution, for on that day the weather was
dreadful; the thaw had come suddenly, and every one knows what a Paris
thaw is.

Around the throne were ranged princes and princesses, grand dignitaries,
ministers, marshals of the Empire, grand officers of the crown, the
ladies of the court, and the council of state.

This balcony was divided on the right and left into sixteen compartments,
decorated with banners, and crowned with eagles, these divisions
representing the sixteen cohorts of the Legion of Honor. Those on the
right were occupied by the Senate, the officers of the Legion of Honor,
the court of appeals, and the chiefs of the national treasury, and those
on the left by the Tribunate and the Corps-Legislatif.

At each end of the balcony was a pavilion. That on the side next the
city was styled the imperial tribune, and intended for foreign princes,
while the diplomatic corps and foreign personages of distinction filled
the other pavilion.

From this gallery an immense staircase descended into the Champ-de-Mars,
the first step of which formed a bench below the tribunes, and was
occupied by the presidents of the cantons, the prefects, the
sub-prefects, and the members of the municipal council. On each side of
this staircase were placed the colossal figures of France making peace
and France making war. Upon the steps were seated the colonels of
regiments, and the presidents of the electoral colleges of the
department, holding aloft the imperial eagles.

The cortege of their Majesties set out at noon from the chateau of the
Tuileries, in the same order adopted at the coronation: the chasseurs of
the guard and the squadrons of mamelukes marching in front, the Legion
d' Elite and the mounted grenadiers following the municipal guard; while
the grenadiers of the guard closed up the line. Their Majesties having
entered l'Ecole-Militaire, received the homage of the diplomatic corps,
who were stationed for this purpose in the reception-rooms. Then the
Emperor and Empress, having donned their insignia of royalty, took their
seats upon the throne, while the air was rent with reiterated discharges
of artillery and universal acclamations. At a given signal the
deputations of the army, scattered over the Champ-de-Mars, placed
themselves in solid column, and approached the throne amid a flourish of
trumpets. The Emperor then rose, and immediately a deep silence ensued,
while in a loud, clear tone he pronounced these words, "Soldiers, behold
your standards! These eagles will serve you always as a rallying point.
They will go wherever your Emperor may judge their presence necessary for
the defense of his throne and of his people. Will you swear to sacrifice
even your lives in their defense, and to keep them always by your valor
in the path to victory? Do you swear it?"--"We swear it," repeated all
the colonels in chorus, while the presidents of the colleges waved the
flags they bore. "We swear it," said in its turn the whole army, while
the bands played the celebrated march known as "The March of the

This intense enthusiasm was communicated to the spectators, who, in spite
of the rain, pressed in crowds upon the terraces which surrounded the
enclosure of the Champ-de-Mars. Soon the eagles took their designated
places, and the army defiled in divisions before the throne of their

Although nothing had been spared to give this ceremony every possible
magnificence, it was by no means brilliant. It is true, the object of
the occasion was imposing; but how could an impressive ceremony be held
in a deluge of melted snow, and amid a sea of mud, which was the
appearance the Champ-de-Mars presented that day? The troops were under
arms from six in the morning, exposed to rain, and forced to endure it
with no apparent necessity so at least they regarded it. The
distribution of standards was to these men nothing more than a review;
and surely it must strike a soldier as a very different matter to brave
the weather on the field of battle, from what it is to stand idle,
exposed to it for hours, with shining gun and empty cartridge-box, on a

The cortege returned to the Tuileries at five o'clock, after which there
was a grand banquet in the gallery of Diana, at which the Pope, the
sovereign elector of Ratisbonne, the princes and princesses, the grand
dignitaries, the diplomatic corps, and many other persons were guests.
Their Majesties' table was placed in the midst of the gallery, upon a
platform, and covered with a magnificent canopy, under which the Emperor
seated himself on the right of the Empress, and the Pope on her left.
The serving was done by the pages. The grand chamberlain, the grand
equerry, and the colonel-general of the guard stood before his Majesty;
the grand marshal of the palace on his right, and in front of the table,
and lower down, the prefect of the palace; on the left, and opposite the
grand marshal, was the grand master of ceremonies; all these also
standing. On either side of their Majesties' table were those of their
imperial highnesses, of the diplomatic corps, of the ministers and grand
officers, and lastly that of the ladies of honor. At night there was
given a reception, concert, and ball. The day after the distribution of
the eagles, his imperial highness Prince Joseph presented to his Majesty
the presidents of the electoral colleges of the departments; and the
presidents of the colleges of the arrondissements and their prefects were
next introduced, and received by his Majesty.

The Emperor conversed with the greater part of these officials on the
needs of each department, and thanked them for their zeal in assisting
him. Then he recommended to them especially the execution of the
conscript law. "Without conscription," said his Majesty, "we should have
neither power nor national independence. All Europe is subject to
conscription. Our success and the strength of our position depend on our
having a national army, and it is necessary to maintain this advantage
with the greatest care."

These presentations occupied several days, during which his Majesty
received in turn, and always with the same ceremonial, the presidents of
the high courts of justice, the presidents of the councils-general of
departments, the subprefects, the deputies of the colonies, the mayors
of the thirty-six principal cities, the presidents of the cantons, the
vice-presidents of the chambers of commerce, and the presidents of the

Some days later the city of Paris gave, in honor of their Majesties, a
fete whose brilliance and magnificence surpassed any description that
could possibly be given. On this occasion the Emperor, the Empress, and
the princes Joseph and Louis, rode together in the coronation carriage;
and batteries placed upon the Pont-Neuf announced the moment at which
their Majesties began to ascend the steps of the Hotel de Ville. At the
same time, buffets with pieces of fowl and fountains of wine attracted an
immense crowd to the chief squares of each of the twelve municipalities
of Paris, almost every individual of which had his share in the
distribution of eatables, thanks to the precaution which the authorities
took of distributing to none except those who presented tickets. The
front of the Hotel de Ville was brilliant with colored lamps; but what
seemed to me the finest part of the whole display was a vessel pierced
for eighty cannon, whose decks, masts, sails, and cordage were distinctly
outlined in colored lights. The crowning piece of all, which the Emperor
himself set off, represented the Saint-Bernard as a volcano in eruption,
in the midst of glaciers covered with snow. In it appeared the Emperor,
glorious in the light, seated on his horse at the head of his army,
climbing the steep summit of the mountain. More than seven hundred
persons attended the ball, and yet there was no confusion. Their
Majesties withdrew early. The Empress, on entering the apartment
prepared for her at the Hotel de Ville, had found there a most
magnificent toilets-service, all in gold. After it was brought to the
Tuileries it was for many days her Majesty's chief source of
entertainment and subject of conversation. She wished every one to see
and admire it; and, in truth, no one who saw it could fail to do so.
Their Majesties gave permission that this, with a service which the city
had presented to the Emperor, should be placed on exhibition for several
days, for the gratification of the public.

After the fireworks a superb balloon was sent up, the whole circumference
of which, with the basket, and the ropes which attached it to the
balloon, were decorated with countless festoons of colored lights. This
enormous body of colored fire rising slowly and majestically into the air
was a magnificent spectacle. It remained suspended for a while exactly
over the city of Paris, as if to wait till public curiosity was fully
satisfied, then, having reached a height at which it encountered a more
rapid current of air, it suddenly disappeared, driven by the wind towards
the south. After its disappearance it was thought of no more, but
fifteen days later a very singular incident recalled it to public

While I was dressing the Emperor the first day of the year, or the day
before, one of his ministers was introduced; and the Emperor having
inquired the news in Paris, as he always did of those whom he saw early
in the morning, the minister replied, "I saw Cardinal Caprara late
yesterday evening, and I learned from him a very singular circumstance."
--"What was it? about what?" and his Majesty, imagining doubtless that it
was some political incident, was preparing to carry off his minister into
his cabinet, before having completed his toilet, when his Excellency
hastened to add, "Oh, it is nothing very serious, Sire! Your Majesty
doubtless remembers that they have been discussing lately in the circle
of her Majesty the Empress the chagrin of poor Garnerin, who has not
succeeded up to this time in finding the balloon which he sent up on the
day of the fete given to your Majesty by the city of Paris. He has at
last received news of his balloon."--"Where did it fall?" asked the
Emperor. "At Rome, Sire!"--"Ah, that is really very singular."--"Yes,
Sire; Garnerin's balloon has thus, in twenty-four hours, shown your
imperial crown in the two capitals of the world." Then the minister
related to his Majesty the following details, which were published at the
time, but which I think sufficiently interesting to be repeated here.

Garnerin had attached to his balloon the following notice:
"The balloon carrying this letter was sent up at Paris on the evening of
the 25th Frimaire (Dec. 16) by Monsieur Garnerin, special aeronaut of his
Majesty the Emperor of Russia, and ordinary aeronaut of the French
government, on the occasion of a fete given by the city of Paris to the
Emperor Napoleon, celebrating his coronation. Whoever finds this balloon
will please inform M. Garnerin, who will go to the spot."

The aeronaut expected, doubtless, to receive notice next day that his
balloon had fallen in the plain of Saint-Denis, or in that of Grenelle;
for it is to be presumed that he hardly dreamed of going to Rome when he
engaged to go to the spot. More than fifteen days passed before he
received the expected notice; and he had probably given up his balloon as
lost, when there came the following letter from the nuncio of his

   "Cardinal Caprara is charged by his Excellency Cardinal Gonsalvi,
   Secretary of State of His Holiness, to remit to M. Garnerin a copy
   of a letter dated Dec. 18. He hastens to send it, and also to add a
   copy of the note which accompanied it. The cardinal also takes this
   occasion to assure Monsieur Garnerin of his highest esteem."

To this letter was added a translation of the report made to the
cardinal, secretary of state at Rome, by the Duke of Mondragone, and
dated from Anguillora, near Rome, Dec. 18:

   "Yesterday evening about twenty-four o'clock there passed through
   the air a globe of astonishing size, which fell upon Lake Bracciano,
   and had the appearance of a house. Boatmen were sent to bring it to
   land; but they were not able to do so, as a high wind prevailed,
   accompanied by snow. This morning early they succeeded in bringing
   it ashore. This globe is of oiled silk, covered with netting, and
   the wire gallery is a little broken. It seems to have been lighted
   by lamps and colored lanterns, of which much debris remains.
   Attached to the globe was found the following notice." (Which is
   given above).

Thus we see that this balloon, which left Paris at seven o'clock on the
evening of Dec. 16, had fallen next day, the 17th, near Rome, at
twenty-four o'clock, that is to say, at sunset. It had crossed France,
the Alps, etc., and passed over a space of more than three hundred
leagues in twenty-two hours, its rate of speed being then fifteen
leagues (45 miles) per hour; and, what renders this still more
remarkable, is the fact that its weight was increased by decorations
weighing five hundred pounds.

An account of the former trips of this balloon will not be without
interest. Its first ascension was made in the presence of their Prussian
Majesties and the whole court, upon which occasion it carried M.
Garnerin, his wife, and M. Gaertner, and descended upon the frontiers of

The second ascension was at St. Petersburg, in the presence of the
Emperor, the two Empresses, and the court, carrying Monsieur and Madame
Garnerin; and it fell a short distance off in a marsh. This was the
first balloon ascension ever seen in Russia.

The third trial was also at St. Petersburg, in the presence of the
imperial family. M. Garnerin ascended, accompanied by General Suolf;
and the two travelers were transported across the Gulf of Friedland in
three-quarters of an hour, and descended at Krasnoe-selo, twenty-five
versts from St. Petersburg. The fourth trial took place at Moscow, and
Garnerin ascended more than four thousand toises [24,000 ft.] He had
many harrowing experiences, and at the end of seven hours descended
three hundred and thirty versts [200 miles] from Moscow, in the
neighborhood of the old frontiers of Russia. This same balloon was
again used at the ascension which Madame Garnerin made at Moscow with
Madame Toucheninolf, in the midst of a frightful storm, and amid flashes
of lightning which killed three men within three hundred paces of the
balloon, at the very instant of the ascension. These ladies descended
without accident twenty-one versts from Moscow.

The city of Paris gave a gratuity of six hundred francs to the boatmen
who had drawn out of Lake Bracciano the balloon, which was brought back
to Paris, and placed in the museum of the Hotel de Ville.

I was a witness that same day of the kindness with which the Emperor
received the petition of a poor woman, a notary's wife, I believe, whose
husband had been condemned on account of some crime, I know not what, to
a long imprisonment. As the carriage of their Imperial Majesties passed
before the Palais-Royal, two women, one already old, the other sixteen or
seventeen years of age, sprang to the door, crying, "Pardon for my
husband, pardon for my father."

The Emperor immediately, in a loud tone, gave the order to stop his
carriage, and held out his hand for the petition which the older of the
two women would give to no one but him, at the same time consoling her
with kind words, and showing a most touching interest lest she might be
hurt by the horses of the marshals of the empire, who were on each side
of the carriage. While this kindness of his august brother was exciting
to the highest pitch the enthusiasm and sensibilities of the witnesses of
this scene, Prince Louis, seated on the front seat of the carriage, also
leaned out, trying to reassure the trembling young girl, and urging her
to comfort her mother, and count with certainty on the Emperor's
favorable consideration. The mother and daughter, overcome by their
emotion, could make no reply; and as the cortege passed on, I saw the
former on the point of falling in a swoon. She was carried into a
neighboring house, where she revived, and with her daughter shed tears of
gratitude and joy.

The Corps Legislatif had decreed that a statue, in white marble, should
be erected to the Emperor in their assembly hall, to commemorate the
completion of the Civil Code. On the day of the unveiling of this
monument, her Majesty the Empress, the princes Joseph, Louis, Borghese,
Bacciochi, and their wives, with other members of the imperial family,
deputations of the principal orders of the state, the diplomatic corps,
and many foreigners of distinction, the marshals of the empire, and a
considerable number of general officers, assembled at seven o'clock in
the evening at the palace of the Legislative Corps.

As the Empress appeared in the hall, the entire assembly rose, and a band
of music, stationed in the neighboring stand, rendered the well-known
chorus from Gluck, "How many charms! What majesty!" Scarcely had the
first strains of this chorus been heard than each one was struck with the
happy coincidence, and applause burst forth from all sides.

By invitation of the president, Marshals Murat and Massena unveiled the
statue; and all eyes were fixed on this image of the Emperor, his brows
encircled with a crown of laurel, and entwined with oak and olive leaves.
When silence had succeeded to the acclamations excited by this sight,
M. de Vaublanc mounted the tribune, and pronounced a discourse, which was
loudly applauded in the assembly, whose sentiments it faithfully

"Gentlemen," said the orator, "you have celebrated the completion of the
Civil Code of France by an act of admiration and of gratitude; you have
awarded a statue to the illustrious prince whose firmness and
perseverance have led to the completion of that grand work, while at the
same time his vast intelligence has shed a most glorious light over this
noble department of human institutions. First Consul then, Emperor of
the French to-day, he appears in the temple of the laws, his head adorned
with a triumphal crown as victory has so often adorned it, while
foretelling that this should change to the diadem of kings, and covered
with the imperial mantle, noble attribute of the highest of dignities.

"Doubtless, on this solemn day, in presence of the princes and the great
of the state, before the august person whom the Empire honors for her
beautiful character even more than for the high rank of which her virtues
render her so worthy, in this glorious fete in which we would reunite all
France, you will permit my feeble voice to be raised a moment, and to
recall to you by what immortal actions Napoleon entered upon this
wonderful career of power and honor.

"If praise corrupts weak minds, it is the nourishment of great souls;
and the grand deeds of heroes are ties which bind them to their country.
To recapitulate them is to say that we expect from them a combination of
those grand thoughts, those generous sentiments, those glorious deeds, so
nobly rewarded by the admiration and gratitude of the public.

"Victorious in the three quarters of the world, peacemaker of Europe,
legislator of France, having bestowed and added provinces to the Empire,
does not this glorious record suffice to render him worthy at one and the
same time both of this august title of Emperor of the French, and this
monument erected in the temple of the laws? And yet I would wish to make
you forget these brilliant recollections which I have just recalled.
With a stronger voice than that which sounded his praises, I would say to
you: erase from your minds this glory of the legislator, this glory of
the warrior, and say to yourselves, before the 18th Brumaire, when fatal
laws were promulgated, and when the destructive principles proclaimed
anew were already dragging along men and things with a rapidity which it
would soon have been impossible to arrest--who appeared suddenly like a
beneficent star, who came to abrogate these laws, who filled up the
half-open abyss? You have survived, each one of you, through those
threatening scenes; you live, and you owe it to him whose image you now
behold. You, who were miserable outlaws, have returned, you breathe
again the gentle air of your native land, you embrace your children, your
wives, your friends; and you owe it to this great man. I speak no longer
of his glory, I no longer bear witness to that; but I invoke humanity on
the one side, gratitude on the other; and I demand of you, to whom do you
owe a happiness so great so extraordinary, so unexpected? . . . And
you, each and all, reply with me--to the great man whose image we

The president repeated in his turn a similar eulogium, in very similar
terms; and few persons then dreamed of thinking these praises
exaggerated, though their opinions have perhaps changed since.

After the ceremony the Empress, on the arm of the president, passed into
the hall of conference, where her Majesty's table had been prepared under
a magnificent dais of crimson silk, and covers for nearly three hundred
guests had been laid by the caterer Robert, in the different halls of the
palace. To the dinner succeeded a brilliant ball. The most remarkable
thing in this fete was the indescribable luxury of flowers and shrubs,
which must doubtless have been collected at great expense, owing to the
severity of the winter. The halls of Lucrece and of La Reunion, in which
the dancing quadrilles were formed, resembled an immense parterre of
roses, laurel, lilac, jonquils, lilies, and jessamine.


It was the 2d of January, 1805, exactly a month after the coronation,
that I formed with the eldest daughter of M. Charvet a union which has
been, and will I trust ever be, the greatest happiness of my life. I
promised the reader to say very little of myself; and, in fact, how could
he be interested in any details of my own private life which did not
throw additional light upon the character of the great man about whom I
have undertaken to write? Nevertheless, I will ask permission to return
for a little while to this, the most interesting of all periods to me,
and which exerted such an influence upon my whole life. Surely he who
recalls and relates his souvenirs is not forbidden to attach some
importance to those which most nearly concern himself. Moreover, even in
the most personal events of my life, there were instances in which their
Majesties took a part, and which, from that fact, are of importance in
enabling the reader to form a correct estimate of the characters of both
the Emperor and the Empress.

My wife's mother had been presented to Madame Bonaparte during the first
campaign in Italy, and she had been pleased with her; for Madame
Bonaparte, who was so perfectly good, had, in her own experience, also
endured trials, and knew how to sympathize with the sorrows of others.

She promised to interest the General in the fate of my father-in-law, who
had just lost his place in the treasury. During this time Madame Charvet
was in correspondence with a friend of her husband, who was, I think, the
courier of General Bonaparte; and the latter having opened and read these
letters addressed to his courier, inquired who was this young woman that
wrote such interesting and intelligent letters, and Madame Charvet well
deserved this double praise. My father-in-law's friend, while replying
to the question of the General-in-chief, took occasion to relate the
misfortunes of the family, and the General remarked that, on his return
to Paris, he wished to meet M. and Madame Charvet; in consequence of
which they were presented to him, and Madame Bonaparte rejoiced to learn
that her protegees had also become those of her husband. It had been
decided that M. Charvet should follow the General to Egypt; but when my
father-in-law arrived at Toulon, Madame Bonaparte requested that he
should accompany her to the waters of Plombieres. I have previously
related the accident which occurred at Plombieres, and that M. Charvet
was sent to Saint-Germain to bring Mademoiselle Hortense from the
boarding-school to her mother. On his return to Paris, M. Charvet
searched through all the suburbs to find a country-seat, as the General
had charged his wife to purchase one during his absence.

When Madame Bonaparte decided on Malmaison, M. Charvet, his wife, and
their three children were installed in this charming residence.

My father-in-law was very faithful to the interests of these benefactors
of his family, and Madame Charvet often acted as private secretary to
Madame Bonaparte.

Mademoiselle Louise, who became my wife, and Mademoiselle Zoe, her
younger sister, were favorites of Madame Bonaparte, especially the
latter, who passed more time than Louise at Malmaison. The condescension
of their noble protectress had rendered this child so familiar, that she
said thou habitually to Madame Bonaparte. One day she said to her, "Thou
art happy. Thou hast no mamma to scold thee when thou tearest thy

During one of the campaigns that I made while in the service of the
Emperor, I wrote to my wife, inquiring about the life that her sister led
at Malmaison. In her answer, among other things, she said (I copy a
passage from one of her letters): "Sometimes we take part in performances
such as I had never dreamed of. For instance, one evening the saloon was
divided in half by a gauze curtain, behind which was a bed arranged in
Greek style, on which a man lay asleep, clothed in long white drapery.
Near the sleeper Madame Bonaparte and the other ladies beat in unison
(not in perfect accord, however) on bronze vases, making, as you may
imagine, a terrible kind of music. During this charivari, one of the
gentlemen held me around the waist, and raised me from the ground, while
I shook my arms and legs in time to the music. The concert of these
ladies awoke the sleeper, who stared wildly at me, frightened at my
gestures, then sprang up and ran with all his might, followed by my
brother, who crept on all fours, representing a dog, I think, which
belonged to this strange person. As I was then a mere child, I have only
a confused idea of all this; but the society of Madame Bonaparte seemed
to be much occupied with similar amusements."

When the First Consul went to live at Saint-Cloud, he expressed his high
opinion of my father-in-law in the most flattering manner, and made him
concierge of the chateau, which was a confidential position, the duties
and responsibilities of which were considerable.

M. Charvet was charged with organizing the household; and, by orders of
the First Consul, he selected from among the old servants of the queen
those to whom he gave places as porters, scrubbers, and grooms of the
chateau, and he gave pensions to those unable to work.

When the chateau took fire in 1802, as I have related previously, Madame
Charvet, being several months pregnant, was terribly frightened; and as
it was not thought best to bleed her, she became very ill, and died at
the age of thirty years. Louise had been at a boarding-school for
several years; but her father now brought her home to keep house for him,
though she was then only twelve years old. One of her friends has kindly
allowed me to see a letter which Louise addressed to her a short time
after our marriage, and from which I have made the following extracts:

   "On my return from boarding-school I went to see her Majesty the
   Empress (then Madame Bonaparte) at the Tuileries. I was in deep
   mourning. She took me on her knee, and tried to console me, saying
   that she would be a mother to me, and would find me a husband. I
   wept, and said that I did not wish to marry. Not at present,'
   replied her Majesty, I but that will come; be sure of it. I was,
   however, by no means persuaded that this would be the case. She
   caressed me a while longer, and I withdrew. When the First Consul
   was at Saint-Cloud, all the chiefs of the different departments of
   the household service assembled in the apartments of my father, who
   was the most popular, as well as the eldest, member of the
   household. M. Constant, who had seen me as a child at Malmaison,
   found me sufficiently attractive at Saint-Cloud to ask me of my
   father, subject to the approval of their Majesties; and it was
   decided that we should be married after the coronation. I was
   fourteen years old fifteen days after our marriage.

   "Both my sister and I are always received with extreme kindness by
   her Majesty the Empress; and whenever, for fear of annoying her, we
   let some time pass without going to see her, she complains of it to
   my father. She sometimes admits us to her morning toilet, which is
   conducted in our presence, and to which are admitted in her
   apartments only her women; and a few persons of her household, who,
   like us, count among their happiest moments those in which they can
   thus behold this adored princess. The conversations are almost
   always delightful, and her Majesty frequently relates anecdotes
   which a word from one or another of us recalls to her."

Her Majesty the Empress had promised Louise a dowry; but the money which
she intended for that she spent otherwise, and consequently my wife had
only a few jewels of little value and two or three pieces of stuff.

M. Charvet was too refined to recall this promise to her Majesty's
recollection. However, that was the only way to get anything from her;
for she knew no better how to economize than how to refuse. The Emperor
asked me a short time after my marriage what the Empress had given my
wife, and on my reply showed the greatest possible vexation; no doubt
because the sum that had been demanded of him for Louise's dowry had been
spent otherwise. His Majesty the Emperor had the goodness, while on this
subject, to assure me that he himself would hereafter look after my
interests, and that he was well satisfied with my services, and would
prove it to me.

I have said above that my wife's younger sister was the favorite of her
Majesty the Empress; and yet she received on her marriage no richer dowry
than Louise, nevertheless, the Empress asked to have my sister-in-law's
husband presented to her, and said to him in the most maternal tone,
"Monsieur, I recommend my daughter to you, and I entreat you to make her
happy. She deserves it, and I earnestly hope that you know how to
appreciate her!" When my sister-in-law, fleeing from Compiegne, in 1814,
went with her husband's mother to Evreux for her confinement, the Empress
sent by her first valet de chambre every thing necessary for a young
woman in that condition, and, even reproached her with not having come to

My sister-in-law had been reared in the same boarding-school as
Mademoiselle Josephine Tallien, god-daughter of the Empress, who has
since married M. Pelet de la Lozere, and another daughter of Madame
Tallien, Mademoiselle Clemence Cabarus. The school was conducted by
Madame Vigogne, widow of the colonel of that name, and an old friend of
the Empress, who had advised her to take a boarding-school, and promised
to procure for her as many pupils as she could. This institution
prospered under the direction of this lady, who was distinguished for her
intelligence and culture; and she frequently brought to the Empress these
protegees, with other young persons who by good conduct had earned this
reward; and this was made a powerful means of exciting the emulation of
these children, whom her Majesty overwhelmed with caresses, and presented
with little gifts.

One morning just as Madame Vigogne was about to visit the Empress, and
was descending the staircase to enter her carriage, she heard piercing
cries in one of the schoolrooms, and, hastening to the spot, saw a young
girl with her clothing on fire. With a presence of mind worthy of a
mother, Madame Vigogne wrapped her pupil in the long train of her dress,
and thus extinguished the flames, not, however, until the hands of the
courageous instructress had been most painfully burned. She made the
visit to her Majesty in this condition, and related to her the sad
accident which had occurred; while her Majesty, who was easily moved by
everything noble and generous, overwhelmed her with praises for her
courage, and was so deeply touched that she wept with admiration, and
ordered, her private physician to give his best services to Madame
Vigogne and her young pupil.


The Empress Josephine was of medium height, with an exquisite figure; and
in all her movements there was an airiness and grace which gave to her
walk something ethereal, without detracting from the majesty of the
sovereign. Her expressive countenance portrayed all the emotions of her
soul, while retaining the charming sweetness which was its ruling
expression. In pleasure, as in grief, she was beautiful, and even
against your will you would smile when she smiled; if she was sad, you
would be also. Never did a woman justify better than she the expression
that the eyes are the mirror of the soul. Hers were of a deep blue, and
nearly always half closed by her long lids, which were slightly arched,
and fringed with the most beautiful lashes in the world; in regarding her
you felt yourself drawn to her by an irresistible power. It must have
been difficult for the Empress to give severity to that seductive look;
but she could do this, and well knew how to render it imposing when
necessary. Her hair was very beautiful, long and silken, its nut-brown
tint contrasting exquisitely with the dazzling whiteness of her fine
fresh complexion. At the commencement of her supreme power, the Empress
still liked to adorn her head in the morning with a red madras
handkerchief, which gave her a most piquant Creole air, and rendered her
still more charming.

But what more than all else constituted the inexpressible charm of the
Empress's presence were the ravishing tones of her voice. How many times
have I, like many others, stopped suddenly on hearing that voice; simply
to enjoy the pleasure of listening to it. It cannot perhaps be said that
the Empress was a strictly beautiful woman; but her lovely countenance,
expressing sweetness and good nature, and the angelic grace diffused
around her person, made her the most attractive of women.

During her stay at Saint-Cloud, the Empress rose habitually at nine
o'clock, and made her first toilet, which lasted till ten; then she
passed into a saloon, where she found assembled those persons who had
solicited and obtained the favor of an audience; and sometimes also at
this hour, and in the same saloon, her Majesty received her tradespeople;
and at eleven o'clock, when the Emperor was absent, she breakfasted with
her first lady of honor and a few others. Madame de la Rochefoucauld,
first lady of honor to the Empress, was a hunchback, and so small that it
was necessary, when she was to have a place at the table, to heighten the
seat of her chair by another very thick cushion made of violet satin.
Madame de la Rochefoucauld knew well how to efface, by means of her
bright and sparkling, though somewhat caustic wit, her striking elegance,
and her exquisite court manners, any unpleasant impression which might be
made by her physical deformity.

Before breakfast the Empress had a game of billiards; or, when the
weather was good, she walked in the gardens or in the inclosed park,
which recreation lasted only a short while, and her Majesty soon returned
to her apartments, and occupied herself with embroidery, while talking
with her ladies, like herself, occupied with some kind of needlework.
When it happened that they were not interrupted by visits, between two
and three o'clock in the afternoon the Empress took a drive in an open
barouche; and on her return from this the grand toilet took place, at
which the Emperor was sometimes present.

Now and then, also, his Majesty surprised the Empress in her saloon; and
we were sure to find him, on those occasions, amusing, amiable, and in
fine spirits.

At six o'clock dinner was served; this the Emperor frequently forgot, and
delayed it indefinitely, in consequence of which dinner was more than
once eaten at nine or ten o'clock in the evening. Their Majesties dined
together alone, or in the company of a few invited guests, princes of the
imperial family, or ministers, after which there was a concert,
reception, or the theater; and at midnight every one retired except the
Empress, who greatly enjoyed sitting up late, and then played backgammon
with one of the chamberlains. The Count de Beaumont was thus honored
most frequently.

On the days of the chase the Empress and her ladies followed in the
coach. They had a special costume for this occasion, consisting of a
kind of green riding-habit, and a hat ornamented with white plumes. All
the ladies who followed the chase dined with their Majesties.

When the Empress spent the night in the Emperor's apartment, I entered in
the morning, as usual, between seven and eight o'clock, and nearly always
found the august spouses awake. The Emperor usually ordered tea, or an
infusion of orange flowers, and rose immediately, the Empress saying to
him, with a laugh, "What, rising already? Rest a little longer."--"Well,
you are not asleep, then?" replied his Majesty, rolling her over in the
covering, giving her little slaps on her cheeks and shoulders, laughing,
and kissing her.

At the end of a few moments the Empress rose also, put on a wrapper, and
read the journals, or descended by the little communicating stairway to
her own apartment, never leaving the Emperor without a few words
expressing the most touching affection and good-will.

Elegant and simple in her dress, the Empress submitted with regret to the
necessity of toilets of state. Jewels, however, were much to her taste;
and, as she had always been fond of them; the Emperor presented her with
them often and in great quantities; and she greatly enjoyed adorning
herself with them, and still more exhibiting them to the admiration of

One morning, when my wife was present at her toilet, her Majesty related
that, being newly married to M. de Beauharnais, and much delighted with
the ornaments he had given her, she was in the habit of carrying them
around in her reticule (reticules were then an essential part of a
woman's dress), and showing them to her young friends.

As the Empress spoke of her reticule, she ordered one of her ladies to
hunt for one to show my wife. The lady whom the Empress addressed could
scarcely repress a laugh at this singular request, and assured her
Majesty that there was nothing similar to that now in her wardrobe; to
which the Empress replied, with an air of regret, that she would have
really liked to see again one of her old reticules, and that the years
hall brought great changes. The jewels of the Empress Josephine could
hardly have been contained in the reticule of Madame de Beauharnais,
however long or deep it might have been; for the jewel case which had
belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette, and which had never been quite full,
was too small for the Empress. One day, when she wished to exhibit all
her ornaments to several ladies who expressed a desire to see them, it
was necessary to prepare a large table on which to place the caskets;
and, as this table was not sufficient, several other pieces of furniture
were also covered with them.

Good to excess, as everyone knows, sympathetic beyond all expression,
generous even to prodigality, the Empress made the happiness of all who
surrounded her; loving her husband with a devotion which nothing ever
changed, and which was as deep in her last moments as at the period when
Madame Beauharnais and General Bonaparte made to each other a mutual
avowal of their love. Josephine was long the only woman loved by the
Emperor, as she well deserved to have ever been; and for several years
the harmony of this imperial household was most touching. Attentive,
loving, and entirely devoted to Josephine, the Emperor took pleasure in
embracing her neck, her figure, giving her taps, and calling her 'ma
grosse bete'; all of which did not prevent, it is true, his being guilty
of some infidelities, but without failing otherwise in his conjugal
duties. On her side the Empress adored him, sought by every means to
please him, to divine his wishes, and to forestall his least desires.

At first she gave her husband cause for jealousy. Having been strongly
prejudiced against her by indiscreet reports, during the campaign of
Egypt, the Emperor on his return had explanations with her, which did not
always end without lamentations and violent scenes; but peace was soon
restored, and was thereafter very rarely broken, for the Emperor could
not fail to feel the influence of so many attractions and such

The Empress had a remarkable memory, of which the Emperor often availed
himself; she was also an excellent musician, played well on the harp, and
sang with taste. She had perfect tact, an exquisite perception of what
was suitable, the soundest, most infallible judgment imaginable, and,
with a disposition always lovely, always the same, indulgent to her
enemies as to her friends, she restored peace wherever there was quarrel
or discord. When the Emperor was vexed with his brothers or other
persons, which often happened, the Empress spoke a few words, and
everything was settled. If she demanded a pardon, it was very rare that
the Emperor did not grant it, however grave the crime committed; and I
could cite a thousand examples of pardons thus solicited and obtained.
One occurrence which is almost personal to me will sufficiently prove how
all-powerful was the intercession of this good Empress.

Her Majesty's head valet being one day a little affected by the wine he
had taken at a breakfast with some friends, was obliged, from the nature
of his duties, to be present at the time of their Majesties' dinner, and
to stand behind the Empress in order to take and hand her the plates.
Excited by the fumes of the champagne, he had the misfortune to utter
some improper words, which, though pronounced in a low tone, the Emperor
unfortunately overheard. His Majesty cast lightning glances at M. Frere,
who thus perceived the gravity of his fault; and, when dinner was over,
gave orders to discharge the impudent valet, in a tone which left no hope
and permitted no reply.

Monsieur Frere was an excellent servant, a gentle, good, and honest man;
it was the first fault of this kind of which he could be accused, and
consequently he deserved indulgence. Application was made to the grand
marshal, who refused to intercede, well knowing the inflexibility of the
Emperor; and many other persons whom the poor man begged to intercede for
him having replied as the grand marshal had done, M. Frere came in
despair to bid us adieu. I dared to take his cause in hand, with the
hope that by seizing a favorable moment I might succeed in appeasing his
Majesty. The order of discharge required M. Frere to leave the palace in
twenty-four hours; but I advised him not to obey it, but to keep himself,
however, constantly concealed in his room, which he did. That evening on
retiring, his Majesty spoke to me of what had passed, showing much anger,
so I judged that silence was the best course to take; and therefore
waited; but the next day the Empress had the kindness to tell me that she
would be present at her husband's toilet, and that, if I thought proper
to open the matter, she would sustain me with all her influence.
Consequently, finding the Emperor in a good humor, I spoke of M. Frere;
and depicting to his Majesty the despair of this poor man, I pointed out
to him the reasons which might excuse the impropriety of his conduct.
"Sire," said I, "he is a good man, who has no fortune, and supports a
numerous family; and if he has to quit the service of her Majesty the
Empress, it will not be believed that it was on account of a fault for
which the wine was more to be blamed than he, and he will be utterly
ruined." To these words, as well as to many other suggestions, the
Emperor only replied by interruptions, made with every appearance of a
decided opposition to the pardon which I had requested. Fortunately the
Empress was good enough to come to my assistance, and said to her husband
in her own gentle tones, always so touching and full of expression, "Mon
ami, if you are willing to pardon him, you will be doing me a favor."
Emboldened by this powerful patronage, I renewed my solicitations; to
which the Emperor at last replied abruptly, addressing himself to both
the Empress and myself, "In short, you wish it; well, let him stay then."

Monsieur Frere thanked me with his whole heart, and could hardly believe
the good news which I brought him; and as for the Empress, she was made
happy by the joy of this faithful servant, who gave her during the
remainder of his life every proof of his entire devotion. I have been
assured that, in 1814, on the departure of the Emperor for the Island of
Elba, Monsieur Frere was by no means the last to blame my conduct, the
motive of which he could not possibly know; but I am not willing to
believe this, for it seems to me that in his place, if I thought I could
not defend an absent friend, I should at least have kept silence.

As I have said, the Empress was extremely generous, and bestowed much in
alms, and was most ingenious in finding occasions for their bestowal.
Many emigres lived solely on her benefactions; she also kept up a very
active correspondence with the Sisters of Charity who nursed the sick,
and sent them a multitude of things. Her valets were ordered to go in
every direction, carrying to the needy the assistance of her
inexhaustible benevolence, while numerous other persons also received
each day similar commissions; and all these alms, all these multiplied
gifts which were so widely diffused, received an inestimable value from
the grace with which they were offered, and the good judgment with which
they were distributed. I could cite a thousand instances of this
delicate generosity.

Monsieur de Beauharnais had at the time of his marriage to Josephine a
natural daughter named Adele. The Empress reared her as if she had been
her own daughter, had her carefully educated, gave her a generous dowry,
and married her to a prefect of the Empire.

If the Empress showed so much tenderness for a daughter who was not her
own, it is impossible to give an idea of her love and devotion to Queen
Hortense and Prince Eugene, which devotion her children fully returned;
and there was never a better or happier mother. She was very proud of
her children, and spoke of them always with an enthusiasm which seemed
very natural to all who knew the Queen of Holland and the Vice-King of
Italy. I have related how, having been left an orphan at a very early
age by the Revolutionary scaffold, young Beauharnais had gained the heart
of General Bonaparte by an interview in which he requested of him his
father's sword, and that this action inspired in the General a wish to
become acquainted with Josephine, and the result of that interview, all
of which events are matters of history. When Madame de Beauharnais had
become the wife of General Bonaparte, Eugene entered on a military
career, and attached himself immediately to the fortunes of his
step-father, whom he accompanied to Italy in the capacity of
aide-de-camp. He was chief of squadron in the chasseurs of the Consular
Guard, and at the immortal battle of Marengo shared all the dangers of
the one who took so much pleasure in calling him his son. A few years
later the chief of squadron had become Vice-King of Italy, the
presumptive heir of the imperial crown (a title which, in truth, he did
not long preserve), and husband of the daughter of a king.

The vice-queen (Augusta Amelia of Bavaria) was handsome and good as an
angel. I happened to be at Malmaison on the day the Empress received the
portrait of her daughter-in-law, surrounded by three or four children,
one upon her shoulder, another at her feet, and a third in her arms, all
of whom had most lovely faces. The Empress, seeing me, deigned to call
me to admire with her this collection of charming heads; and I perceived
that, while speaking, her eyes were full of tears. The portraits were
well painted, and I had occasion later to find that they were perfect
likenesses. From this time the only question was playthings and rare
articles of all sorts to be bought for these dear children, the Empress
going in person to select the presents she desired for them, and having
them packed under her own eyes.

The prince's valet has assured me that, at the time of the divorce,
Prince Eugene wrote his wife a very desponding letter, and perhaps
expressed in it some regret at not being an adopted son of the Emperor,
to which the Princess replied most tenderly, saying, among other things,
"It is not the heir of the Emperor whom I married and whom I love, but it
is Eugene de Beauharnais." The Prince read this sentence and some others
in the presence of the person from whom I have these facts, and who was
touched even to tears. Such a woman deserved more than a throne.

After that event, so grievous to the heart of the Empress, and for which
she never found consolation, she left Malmaison no more, except to make a
few visits to Navarre.

Each time that I returned to Paris with the Emperor, I had no sooner
arrived than my first duty was to go to Malmaison, though I was rarely
the bearer of a letter from the Emperor, as he wrote to Josephine only on
extraordinary occasions. "Tell the Empress I am well, and that I wish
her to be happy," were almost invariably the parting words of the Emperor
as I set out. The moment I arrived the Empress quitted everything to
speak to me; and I frequently remained an hour and often two hours with
her; during which time there was no question of anything save the
Emperor. I must tell her all that he had suffered on the journey, if he
had been sad or gay, sick or well; while she wept over the details as I
repeated them, and gave me a thousand directions regarding his health,
and the cares with which she desired I should surround him. After this
she deigned to question me about myself, my prospects, the health of my
wife, her former protegee; and at last dismissed me, with a letter for
his Majesty, begging me to say to the Emperor how happy she would be if
he would come to see her.

Before his departure for Russia, the Empress, distressed at this war, of
which she entirely disapproved, again redoubled her recommendations
concerning the Emperor, and made me a present of her portrait, saying to
me, "My good Constant, I rely on you; if the Emperor were sick, you would
inform me of it, would you not? Conceal nothing from me, I love him so

Certainly the Empress had innumerable means of hearing news of his
Majesty; but I am persuaded that, had she received each day one hundred
letters from those near the Emperor, she would have read and reread them
with the same avidity.

When I had returned from Saint-Cloud to the Tuileries, the Emperor asked
me how Josephine was, and if I found her in good spirits; he received
with pleasure the letters I brought, and hastened to open them. All the
time I was traveling, or on the campaign in the suite of his Majesty, in
writing to my wife, I spoke of the Emperor, and the good princess was
delighted that she showed my letters to her. In fact, everything having
the least connection with her husband interested the Empress to a degree
which proved well the singular devotion that she still felt for him
after, as before, their separation. Too generous, and unable to keep her
expenses within her income, it often happened that the Empress was
obliged to send away her furnishers unpaid the very day she had herself
fixed for the settlement of their bills; and as this reached the ears of
the Emperor on one occasion, there ensued a very unpleasant scene between
the Empress and himself, ending in a decision, that in future no merchant
or furnisher should come to the chateau without a letter from the lady of
attire or secretary of orders; and this plan, once decided upon, was
followed very closely until the divorce. During this explanation the
Empress wept freely, and promised to be more economical, upon which the
Emperor pardoned and embraced her, and peace was made, this being, I
think, the last quarrel of this nature which disturbed the imperial

I have heard that after the divorce, the allowance of the Empress having
been exceeded, the Emperor reproached the superintendent of Malmaison
with this fact, who in turn informed Josephine. His kind-hearted
mistress, much distressed at the annoyance which her steward had
experienced, and not knowing how to establish a better order of things,
assembled a council of her household, over which she presided in a linen
dress without ornament; this dress had been made in great haste, and was
used only this once. The Empress, whom the necessity for a refusal
always reduced to despair, was continually besieged by merchants, who
assured her that they had made such or such a thing expressly for her own
use, begging her not to return it because they would not be able to
dispose of it; in consequence of which the Empress kept everything they
brought, though they afterwards had to be paid for.

The Empress was always extremely polite in her intercourse with the
ladies of her household; and a reproach never came from those lips which
seemed formed to say only pleasant things; and if any of her ladies gave
her cause of dissatisfaction, the only punishment she inflicted was an
absolute silence on her part, which lasted one, two, three, or even eight
days, the time being longer or shorter according to the gravity of the
fault. And indeed this penalty, apparently so mild, was really very
cruel to many, so well did the Empress know how to make herself adored by
those around her.

In the time of the Consulate, Madame Bonaparte often received from cities
which had been conquered by her husband, or from those persons who
desired to obtain her intercession with the First Consul, quantities of
valuable furniture, curiosities of all kinds, pictures, stuffs, etc. At
first these presents delighted Madame Bonaparte greatly; and she took a
childish pleasure in having the cases opened to find what was inside,
personally assisting in unpacking them, and rummaging through all these
pretty things. But soon these consignments became so considerable, and
were so often repeated, that it was found necessary to place them in an
apartment, of which my father-in-law kept the key, and where the boxes
remained untouched until it pleased Madame Bonaparte to have them opened.

When the First. Consul decided that he would take up his residence at
Saint-Cloud, my father-in-law was obliged to leave Malmaison, and install
himself in the new palace, as the master wished him to take charge there.

Before leaving Malmaison, my father-in-law rendered an account to Madame
Bonaparte of everything committed to his care, and all the cases which
were piled up from floor to ceiling in two rooms were opened in her
presence. Madame Bonaparte was astonished at such marvelous riches,
comprising marbles, bronzes, and magnificent pictures, of which Eugene,
Hortense, and the sisters of the First Consul received a large part, and
the remainder was used in decorating the apartments of Malmaison.

The Empress's love of ornaments included for a while antique curiosities,
cut stones, and medals. M. Denon flattered this whim, and ended by
persuading the good Josephine that she was a perfect connoisseur in
antiques, and that she should have at Malmaison a cabinet, a keeper for
it, etc. This proposition, which flattered the self-love of the Empress,
was favorably received; the room was selected, M. de M---- made keeper,
and the new cabinet enriched by diminishing in the same proportion the
rich furniture of the apartments of the chateau. M. Denon, who had
originated this idea, took upon himself to make a collection of medals;
but this idea, which came so suddenly, vanished as suddenly; the cabinet
was changed into a saloon for guests, and the antiques relegated to the
antechamber of the bathing hall, while M. de M----, having no longer
anything to keep, remained constantly in Paris.

A short time after this, two ladies of the palace took a fancy to
persuade the Empress that nothing could be handsomer or more worthy of
her than a necklace of Greek and Roman antique stones perfectly matched.
Several chamberlains approved the idea, which, of course, pleased the
Empress, for she was very fond of anything unique; and consequently one
morning, as I was dressing the Emperor, the Empress entered, and, after a
little conversation, said, "Bonaparte, some ladies have advised me to
have a necklace made of antique stones, and I came to ask you to urge M.
Denon to select only very handsome ones." The Emperor burst out
laughing, and refused flatly at first; but just then the grand marshal of
the palace arrived, and the Emperor informed him of this request of the
Empress, asking his opinion. M. le due de Frioul thought it very
reasonable, and joined his entreaties to those of the Empress. "It is an
egregious folly," said the Emperor; "but we are obliged to grant it,
because the women wish it, so, Duroc, go to the cabinet of antiques, and
choose whatever is necessary."

M. le due de Frioul soon returned with the finest stones in the
collection, which the crown jeweler mounted magnificently; but this
ornament was of such enormous weight that the Empress never wore it.

Though I may be accused of making tiresome repetitions, I must say that
the Empress seized, with an eagerness which cannot be described, on all
occasions of making benefactions. For instance, one morning when she was
breakfasting alone with his Majesty, the cries of an infant were suddenly
heard proceeding from a private staircase. The Emperor was annoyed at
this, and with a frown, asked sharply what that meant. I went to
investigate, and found a new-born child, carefully and neatly dressed,
asleep in a kind of cradle, with a ribbon around its body from which hung
a folded paper. I returned to tell what I had seen; and the Empress at
once exclaimed, "O Constant! bring me the cradle." The Emperor would
not permit this at first, and expressed his surprise and disapprobation
that it should have been thus introduced into the interior of his
apartments, whereupon her Majesty, having pointed out to him that it must
have been done by some one of the household, he turned towards me, and
gave me a searching look, as if to ask if it was I who had originated
this idea. I shook my head in denial. At that moment the baby began to
cry, and the Emperor could not keep from smiling, still growling, and
saying, "Josephine, send away that monkey!"

The Empress, wishing to profit by this return of good humor, sent me for
the cradle, which I brought to her. She caressed the little new-born
babe, quieted it, and read the paper attached to which was a petition
from its parents. Then she approached the Emperor, insisting on his
caressing the infant himself, and pinching its fat little cheeks; which
he did without much urging, for the Emperor himself loved to play with
children. At last her Majesty the Empress, having placed a roll of
napoleons in the cradle, had the little bundle in swaddling clothes
carried to the concierge of the palace, in order that he might restore it
to its parents.

I will now give another instance of the kindness of heart of her Majesty
the Empress, of which I had the honor to be a witness, as well as of the

A few days before the coronation, a little girl four and a half years old
had been rescued from the Seine; and a charitable lady, Madame Fabien
Pillet, was much interested in providing a home for the poor orphan. At
the time of the coronation, the Empress, who had been informed of this
occurrence, asked to see this child, and having regarded it a few moments
with much emotion, offered her protection most gracefully and sincerely
to Madame Pillet and her husband, and announced to them that she would
take upon herself the care of the little girl's future; then, with her
usual delicacy and in the affectionate tone which was so natural to her,
the Empress added, "Your good action has given you too many claims over
the poor little girl for me to deprive you of the pleasure of completing
your work, I therefore beg your permission to furnish the expenses of her
education. You have the privilege of putting her in boarding-school, and
watching over her; and I wish to take only a secondary position, as her
benefactress." It was the most touching sight imaginable to see her
Majesty, while uttering these delicate and generous words, pass her hands
through the hair of the poor little girl, as she had just called her, and
kiss her brow with the tenderness of a mother. M. and Madame Pillet
withdrew, for they could no longer bear this touching scene.


The appointment of General Junot as ambassador to Portugal recalled to my
recollection a laughable anecdote concerning him, which greatly amused
the Emperor. While in camp at Boulogne, the Emperor had published in the
order of the day that every soldier should discard powder, and arrange
his hair 'a la Titus', on which there was much murmuring; but at last all
submitted to the order of the chief, except one old grenadier belonging
to the corps commanded by General Junot. Not being able to decide on the
sacrifice of his oily tresses or his queue, the old soldier swore he
would submit to it only in case his general would himself cut off the
first lock; and all the officers interested in this affair having
succeeded in getting no other reply, at last reported him to the general.
"That can be managed; bring the idiot to me!" replied he. The grenadier
was called, and General Junot himself applied the scissors to an oiled
and powdered lock; after which he gave twenty francs to the grumbler, who
went away satisfied to let the barber of the regiment finish the

The Emperor having been informed of this adventure, laughed most
heartily, and praised Junot, complimenting him on his condescension.

I could cite a thousand similar instances of the kindness of heart joined
to military brusqueness which characterized General Junot, and could also
cite those of another kind, which would do less honor to his name. The
slight control he had over himself often threw him into transports of
rage, the most ordinary effect of which was forgetfulness of his rank and
the dignity of demeanor which it demanded of him. Every one has heard
the adventure of the gambling-house, when he tore up the cards, upset the
furniture, and beat both bankers and croupiers, to indemnify himself for
the loss of his money; and the worst of it was, he was at that very time
Governor of Paris. The Emperor, informed of this scandal, sent for him,
and demanded of him (he was still very angry), if he had sworn to live
and die mad. This might have been, from the sequel, taken as a
prediction; for the unfortunate general died at last in a fit of mental
aberration. He replied in such improper terms to the reprimands of the
Emperor that he was sent, perhaps in order that he might have time to
calm himself, to the army of England. It was not only in gaming-houses,
however, that the governor thus compromised his dignity; for I have heard
other stories about him of a still more shocking character, which I will
not allow myself to repeat. The truth is, General Junot prided himself
much less on respecting the proprieties than on being one of the best
pistol-shots in the army. While riding in the country, he would often
put his horse into a gallop, and with a pistol in each hand, never fail
to cut off, in passing, the heads of the ducks or chickens which he took
as his target. He could cut off a small twig from a tree at twenty-five
paces; and I have even heard it said (I am far from guaranteeing the
truth of this) that on one occasion, with the consent of the party whose
imprudence thus put his life in peril, he cut half in two the stem of a
clay pipe, hardly three inches long, which a soldier held between his

In the first journey which Madame Bonaparte made into Italy to rejoin her
husband, she remained some time at Milan. She had at that time in her
service a 'femme de chambre' named Louise, a large and very beautiful
woman, and who showed favors, well remunerated however, to the brave
Junot. As soon as her duties were ended, Louise, far more gorgeously
attired than Madame Bonaparte, entered an elegant carriage, and rode
through the city and the principal promenades, often eclipsing the wife
of the General-in-chief. On his return to Paris, the latter obliged his
wife to dismiss the beautiful Louise, who, abandoned by her inconstant
lover, fell into great destitution; and I often saw her afterwards at the
residence of Josephine begging aid, which was always most kindly granted.
This young woman, who had dared to rival Madame Bonaparte in elegance,
ended by marrying, I think, an English jockey, led a most unhappy life,
and died in a miserable condition.

The First Consul of the French Republic, now become Emperor of the
French, could no longer be satisfied with the title of President of
Italy. Therefore, when new deputies of the Cisalpine Republic passed
over the mountains, and gathered at Paris for consultation, they
conferred on his Majesty the title of King of Italy, which he accepted,
and a few days after his acceptance he set out for Milan, where he was to
be crowned.

I returned with the greatest pleasure to that beautiful country, of
which, notwithstanding the fatigues and dangers of war, I retained the
most delightful recollections. How different the circumstances now! As
a sovereign the Emperor was now about to cross the Alps, Piedmont, and
Lombardy, each gorge, each stream, each defile of which we had been
obliged in a former visit to carry by force of arms. In 1800 the escort
of the First Consul was a warlike army; in 1805 it was a peaceful
procession of chamberlains, pages, maids of honor, and officers of the

Before his departure the Emperor held in his arms at the baptismal font,
in company with Madame his mother, Prince Napoleon Louis, second son of
his brother Prince Louis. [The third son lived to become Napoleon III.]
The three sons of Queen Hortense had, if I am not much mistaken, the
Emperor as godfather; but he loved most tenderly the eldest of the three,
Prince Napoleon Charles, who died at the age of five years, Prince Royal
of Holland. I shall speak afterwards of this lovely child, whose death
threw his father and mother into the most overwhelming grief, was the
cause of great sorrow to the Emperor, and may be considered as the source
of the gravest events.

After the baptismal fetes we set out for Italy, accompanied by the
Empress Josephine. Whenever it was convenient the Emperor liked to take
her with him; but she always desired to accompany her husband, whether or
not this was the case.

The Emperor usually kept his journey a profound secret up to the moment
of his departure, and ordered at midnight horses for his departure to
Mayence or Milan, exactly as if a hunt at Saint-Cloud or Rambouillet was
in question.

On one of his journeys (I do not remember which), his Majesty had decided
not to take the Empress Josephine. The Emperor was less disturbed by
this company of ladies and women who formed her Majesty's suite, than he
was by the annoyance of the bandboxes and bundles with which they were
usually encumbered, and wished on this occasion to travel rapidly, and
without ostentation, and spare the towns on his route an enormous
increase of expense.

He therefore ordered everything to be in readiness for his departure, at
one o'clock in the morning, at which hour the Empress was generally
asleep; but, in spite of all precautions, some slight noise warned the
Empress of what was taking place. The Emperor had promised her that she
should accompany him on his first journey; but he had deceived her,
nevertheless, and was about to set out without her! She instantly called
her women; but vexed at their slowness, her Majesty sprang out of bed,
threw on the first clothing she found at hand, and ran out of her room in
slippers and without stockings. Weeping like a little child that is
being taken back to boarding-school, she crossed the apartments, flew
down the staircase, and threw herself into the arms of the Emperor, as he
was entering his carriage, barely in time, however, for a moment later he
set out. As almost always happened at the sight of his wife's tears, the
Emperor's heart was softened; and she, seeing this, had already entered
the carriage, and was cowering down in the foot, for the Empress was
scantily clad. The Emperor covered her with his cloak, and before
starting gave the order in person that, with the first relay, his wife
should receive all she needed.

The Emperor, leaving his wife at Fontainebleau, repaired to Brienne,
where he arrived at six o'clock in the evening, and found Mesdames de
Brienne and Lomenie, with several ladies of the city, awaiting him at the
foot of the staircase to the chateau. He entered the saloon, and
received most graciously all persons who were presented to him, and then
passed into the garden, conversing familiarly with Mesdames Brienne and
Lomenie, and recalling with surprising accuracy the smallest particulars
of the stay which he made during his childhood at the military school of

His Majesty invited to his table at dinner his hostesses and a few of
their friends, and afterwards made a party at a game of whist with
Mesdames de Brienne, de Vandeuvre, and de Nolivres. During this game, as
also at the table, his conversation was animated and most interesting,
and he displayed such liveliness and affability that every one was

His Majesty passed the night at the chateau of Brienne, and rose early to
visit the field of la Rothiere, one of his favorite walks in former days.
He revisited with the greatest pleasure those spots where his early youth
had been passed, and pointed them out with a kind of pride, all his
movements, all his reflections, seeming to say, "See whence I set out,
and where I have arrived."

His Majesty walked in advance of the persons who accompanied him, and
took much pleasure in being first to call by their names the various
localities he passed. A peasant, seeing him thus some distance from his
suite, cried out to him familiarly, "Oh, citizen, is the Emperor going to
pass soon?"--"Yes," replied the Emperor, "have patience."

The Emperor had inquired the evening before, of Madame Brienne, news of
Mother Marguerite. Thus was styled a good woman who dwelt in a cottage,
in the midst of the forest, and on whom the, pupils of the military
academy were accustomed to make frequent visits. He had not forgotten
her name, and learning, with as much joy as surprise, that she still
lived, the Emperor, extended his morning ride, and galloping up to the
door of the cottage, alighted from his horse, and entered the home of the
good old peasant. Her sight was impaired by age; and besides, the
Emperor had changed so much since she had seen him that it would have
been difficult even for the best eyes to recognize him. "Good-day,
Mother Marguerite," said his Majesty, saluting the old woman; "so you are
not curious to see the Emperor?"--"Yes, indeed, my good sir; I am very
curious to see him; so much so, that here is a little basket of fresh
eggs that I am going to carry to Madame; and I shall then remain at the
chateau, and endeavor to see the Emperor. But the trouble is, I shall
not be able to see him so well to-day as formerly, when he came with his
comrades to drink milk at Mother Marguerite's. He was not Emperor then;
but that was nothing, he made the others step around! Indeed, you should
have seen him! The milk, the eggs, the brown bread, the broken dishes
though he took care to have me paid for everything, and began by paying
his own bill."--"What! Mother Marguerite," replied his Majesty, smiling,
"you have not forgotten Bonaparte!"--"Forgotten! my good sir; you think
that any one would forget such a young man as he, who was wise, serious,
and sometimes even sad, but always good to poor people? I am only a poor
peasant woman, but I could have predicted that this young man would make
his way. He has not done it very badly, has he? Ah, no, indeed!"

During this short dialogue, the Emperor had at first turned his back to
the door, and consequently to the light, which entered the cottage only
by that means. But, by degrees; the Emperor approached the good woman;
and when he was quite near her, with the light shining full on his face
from the door, he began to rub his hands and say, trying to recall the
tone and manner of the days of his early youth, when he came to the
peasant's house, "Come, Mother Marguerite, some milk and fresh eggs; we
are famishing." The good old woman seemed trying to revive her memories,
and began to observe the Emperor with the closest attention. "Oh, yes,
Mother, you were so sure a while ago of knowing Bonaparte again. Are we
not old acquaintances, we two?" The peasant, while the Emperor was
addressing these last words to her, had fallen at his feet; but he raised
her with the most touching kindness, and said to her, "The truth is,
Mother Marguerite, I have still a schoolboy's appetite. Have you nothing
to give me?" The good woman, almost beside herself with happiness,
served his Majesty with eggs and milk; and when this simple repast was
ended, his Majesty gave his aged hostess a purse full of gold, saying to
her, "You know, Mother Marguerite, that I believe in paying my bills.
Adieu, I shall not forget you." And while the Emperor remounted his
horse, the good old woman, standing on the threshold of her door,
promised him, with tears of joy, to pray to the good God for him.

One morning, when he awoke, his Majesty was speaking of the possibility
of finding some of his old acquaintances; and an anecdote concerning
General Junot was related to him, which amused him greatly. The General
finding himself, on his return from Egypt, at Montbard, where he had
passed several years of his childhood, had sought with the greatest care
for his companions in school and mischief, and had found several, with
whom he had talked gayly and freely of his early frolics and his
schoolboy excursions. As they went together to revisit the different
localities, each of which awakened in them some memory of their youth,
the general saw an old man majestically promenading on the public square
with a large cane in his hand. He immediately ran up to him, threw his
arms around him, and embraced him many times, almost suffocating him.
The promenader disengaged himself with great difficulty from his warm
embraces, regarded General Junot with an amazed air, and remarked that he
was ignorant to what he could attribute such excessive tenderness from a
soldier wearing the uniform of a superior officer, and all the
indications of high rank. "What," cried he, "do you not recognize
me?"--"Citizen General, I pray you to excuse me, but I have no
idea"--"Ah, morbleu, my dear master, have you forgotten the most idle,
the most lawless, the most incorrigible of your scholars?"--"A thousand
pardons, you are Monsieur Junot."--"Himself!" replied Junot, renewing
his embraes, and laughing with his friends at the singular
characteristics by which he had caused himself to be recognized. As for
his Majesty the Emperor, if any of his old masters had failed to
recognize him, it could not be by reminiscences of this kind that he
could have recalled himself to them; for every one knows that he was
distinguished at the military school for his application to work, and
the regularity and sobriety of his life.

A meeting of the same nature, saving the difference in recollections,
awaited the Emperor at Brienne. While he was visiting the old military
school, now falling to ruin, and pointing out to the persons who
surrounded him the situation of the study halls, dormitories,
refectories, etc., an ecclesiastic who had been tutor of one of the
classes in the school was presented to him. The Emperor recognized him
immediately; and, uttering an exclamation of surprise, his Majesty
conversed more than twenty minutes with this gentleman, leaving him full
of gratitude.

The Emperor, before leaving Brienne to return to Fontainebleau, required
the mayor to give him a written account of the most pressing needs of the
commune, and left on his departure a considerable sum for the poor and
the hospitals.

Passing through Troyes, the Emperor left there, as everywhere else,
souvenirs of his generosity. The widow of a general officer, living in
retirement at Joinville (I regret that I have forgotten the name of this
venerable lady, who was more than an octogenarian), came to Troyes,
notwithstanding her great age, to ask aid from his Majesty. Her husband
having served only before the Revolution, the pension which she had
enjoyed had been taken from her under the Republic, and she was in the
greatest destitution. The brother of General Vouittemont, mayor of a
commune in the suburbs of Troyes, was kind enough to consult me as to
what should be done in order to present this lady to the Emperor; and I
advised him to have her name placed on the list of his Majesty's private
audiences. I myself took the liberty of speaking of Madame de to the
Emperor; and the audience was granted, though I do not pretend to
attribute the merit of it to myself, for in traveling the Emperor was
always very accessible.

When the good lady came to attend the audience with M. de Vouittemont, to
whom his municipal scarf gave the right of entrance, I happened to meet
them, and she stopped to thank me for the little service which she
insisted I had rendered her, and mentioned that she had been obliged to
pawn the six silver plates which alone remained to her, in order to pay
the expenses of her journey; that, having arrived at Troyes in a poor
farm wagon, covered with a cloth thrown over a hoop, and which had shaken
her terribly, she could find no place in the inns, all of which were
filled on account of the arrival of their Majesties; and she would have
been obliged to sleep in her wagon had it not been for the kind
consideration of M. de Vouittemont, who had given up his room to her, and
offered his services. In spite of her more than eighty years, and her
distress, this respectable lady related her story with an air of gentle
gayety, and at the close threw a grateful glance at her guide, on whose
arm she was leaning.

At that moment the usher came to announce that her turn had come, and she
entered the saloon of audience. M. de Vouittemont awaited her return
while conversing with me; and on her return she related to us, scarcely
able to control her emotion, that the Emperor had in the kindest manner
received the memorial she presented to him, had read it attentively, and
passed it to a minister who was near him, with the order to do her
justice this very day.

The next day she received the warrant for a pension of three thousand
francs, the first year's pay being handed her at once.

At Lyons, of which Cardinal Fesch was archbishop, the Emperor lodged in
the archiepiscopal palace. [Joseph Fesch, born in Corsica, 1763, was
half-brother to Napoleon's mother. Archbishop of Lyons 1801, cardinal
1803, died 1839]

During the stay of their Majesties the cardinal exerted himself to the
utmost to gratify every wish of his nephew; and in his eagerness to
please, monseigneur applied to me many times each day to be assured that
nothing was lacking; so everything passed off admirably. The zeal of the
cardinal was remarked by all the household; but for my part I thought I
perceived that the zeal displayed by monseigneur in the reception of
their Majesties took on an added strength whenever there was a question
of all the expenses incurred by this visit, which were considerable,
being paid by them. His eminence, I thought, drew very fine interest on
his investment, and his generous hospitality was handsomely compensated
by the liberality of his guests.

The passage of Mont Cenis was by no means so difficult as had been that
of Mont St. Bernard; although the road, which has since been made by the
Emperor's orders, was not then commenced. At the foot of the mountain
they were obliged to take the carriage to pieces, and transport
it on the backs of mules; and their Majesties crossed the mountain partly
on foot, partly in very handsome sedan chairs which had been made at
Turin, that of the Emperor lined with crimson satin, and ornamented with
gold lace and fringes, and that of the Empress in blue satin, with silver
lace and fringes. The snow had been carefully swept off and removed. On
their arrival at the convent they were most warmly received by the good
monks; and the Emperor, who had a singular affection for them, held a
long conversation with them, and did not depart without leaving rich and
numerous tokens of his liberality. As soon as he arrived at Turin he
gave orders for the improvement of their hospice, which he continued to
support till his fall.

Their Majesties remained several days at Turin, where they occupied the
former palace of the kings of Sardinia, constituted the imperial
residence by a decree of the Emperor during our stay, as was also the
castle of Stupinigi, situated a short distance from the town.

The Pope rejoined their Majesties at Stupinigi; the Holy Father had left
Paris almost at the same time as ourselves, and before his departure had
received from the Emperor magnificent presents. Among these was a golden
altar with chandeliers, and holy vessels of the richest workmanship, a
superb tiara, Gobelin tapestries, and carpets from the Savonnerie, with a
statue of the Emperor in Sevres porcelain. The Empress also made to his
Holiness a present of a vase of the same manufacture, adorned with
paintings by the best artists. This masterpiece was at least four feet
in height, and two feet and a half in diameter at the mouth, and was made
expressly to be offered to the Holy Father, the painting representing, if
my memory is correct, the ceremony of the coronation.

Each of the cardinals in the suite of the Pope had received a box of
beautiful workmanship, with the portrait of the Emperor set in diamonds;
and all the persons attached to the service of Pius VII. had presents
more or less considerable, all these various articles being brought by
the furnishers to the apartments of his Majesty, where I took a list of
them, by order of his Majesty, as they arrived.

The Holy Father also made in return very handsome presents to the
officers of the Emperor's household whose duties had brought them near
his person during his stay at Paris.

From Stupinigi we went to Alexandria. The Emperor, the next day after
his arrival, rose early, visited the fortifications of the town, reviewed
all the positions of the battlefield of Marengo, and returned only at
seven o'clock, and after having broken down five horses. A few days
after he wished the Empress to see this famous plain, and by his orders
an army of twenty-five or thirty thousand men was assembled. The morning
of the day fixed for the review of these troops, the Emperor left his
apartment dressed in a blue coat with long skirts, much worn, and even
with holes in some places. These holes were the work of moths and not of
balls, as has been said in certain memoirs. On his head his Majesty wore
an old hat edged with gold lace, tarnished and frayed, and at his side a
cavalry saber, such as the generals of the Republic wore; this was the
coat, hat, and sword that he had worn on the day of the battle of
Marengo. I afterwards lent these articles to Monsieur David, first
painter to his Majesty, for his picture of the passage of Mont St.
Bernard. A vast amphitheater had been raised on this plain for the
Empress and the suite of their Majesties; the day was perfect, as is each
day of the month of May in Italy. After riding along the ranks, the
Emperor took his seat by the side of the Empress, and made to the troops
a distribution of the cross of the Legion of Honor, after which he laid
the corner stone of a monument, which he had directed to be raised on the
plain to the memory of the soldiers who had fallen on the battlefield.
When his Majesty, in the short address which he made to the army on this
occasion, pronounced in a strong voice, vibrating with emotion, the name
of Desaix, who here died gloriously for his country, a murmur of grief
ran through the ranks of the soldiers. As for me, I was moved to tears;
and as my eyes fell on this army, on its banners, on the costume of the
Emperor, I was obliged to turn from time to time towards the throne of
her Majesty the Empress, to realize that this was not the 14th of June in
the year 1800.

I think it was during this stay at Alexandria, that Prince Jerome
Bonaparte had an interview with the Emperor, in which the latter
seriously and earnestly remonstrated with his brother, and Prince Jerome
left the cabinet visibly agitated. This displeasure of the Emperor arose
from the marriage contracted by his brother, at the age of nineteen, with
the daughter of an American merchant.

His Majesty had this union annulled on the plea of minority, and made a
decree forbidding the officers of the civil state to receive, on their
registers, the record of the certificate of the celebration of the
marriage of Monsieur Jerome with Mademoiselle Patterson. For some time
the Emperor treated him with great coolness, and kept him at a distance;
but a few days after the interview at Alexandria, he sent him to Algiers
to claim as subjects of the Empire two hundred Genoese held as slaves.
The young prince acquitted himself handsomely of this mission of
humanity, and returned in the month of August to the port of Genoa, with
the captives whom he had just released. The Emperor was well satisfied
with the manner in which his brother had carried out his instructions,
and said on this occasion, that "Prince Jerome was very young and very
thoughtless, that he needed more weight in his head, but that,
nevertheless, he hoped to make something of him."

This brother of his Majesty was one among the few persons whom he really
loved, although he had often given him just cause for anger.


Their Majesties remained more than a month at Milan, and I had ample
leisure to acquaint myself with this beautiful capital of Lombardy. This
visit was a continual succession of fetes and gayeties; and it seemed
that the Emperor alone had time to give to work, for he shut himself up,
as was his custom, with his ministers, while all the persons of his suite
and of his household, whose duties did not detain them near his Majesty,
were eagerly taking part in the sports and diversions of the Milanese. I
will enter into no details of the coronation, as it was almost a
repetition of what had taken place at Paris a few months before; and as
all solemnities of this sort are alike, every one is familiar with the
least details. Amid all these fete days there was one day of real
happiness to me: it was that on which Prince Eugene, whose kindness to me
I have never forgotten, was proclaimed viceroy of Italy. Truly, no one
could be more worthy than he of a rank so elevated, if to attain it only
nobility, generosity, courage, and skill in the art of governing, were
needed; for never did prince more sincerely desire the prosperity of the
people confided to his care. I have often observed how truly happy he
was, and what genuine delight beamed from his countenance when he had
shed happiness around him.

The Emperor and Empress went one day to breakfast in the environs of
Milan, on a little island called Olona. While walking over it, the
Emperor met a poor woman, whose cottage was near the place where their
Majesties' table had been set, and he addressed to her a number of
questions. "Monsieur," replied she (not knowing the Emperor), "I am very
poor, and the mother of three children, whom I have great difficulty in
supporting, because my husband, who is a day laborer, has not always
work."--"How much would it take," replied his Majesty, "to make you
perfectly happy?"--"O Sire, it would take a great deal of money."--"But
how much, my good woman, how much would be necessary?"--"Ah, Monsieur,
unless we had twenty louis, we would not be above want; but what chance
is there of our ever having twenty louis?"

The Emperor gave her, on the spot, the sum of three thousand francs in
gold, and ordered me to untie the rolls and pour them all into the good
woman's lap.

At the sight of so much gold the latter grew pale, reeled, and I saw she
was fainting. "All, that is too much, Monsieur, that is indeed too much.
Surely you could not be making sport of a poor woman!"

The Emperor assured her that it was indeed all hers, and that with this
money she could buy a little field, a flock of goats, and raise her
children well.

His Majesty did not make himself known; for he liked, in dispensing his
benefits, to preserve his incognito, and I knew, during his life, a large
number of instances similar to the foregoing. It seems that historians
have made it a point to pass them over in silence; and yet it is, I
think, by the rehearsal of just such deeds that a correct idea of the
Emperor's character can and should be formed.

Deputations from the Ligurian Republic, with the Doge at their head, had
come to Milan to entreat the Emperor to annex Genoa and its territory to
the Empire, which demand his Majesty took care not to refuse, and by a
decree formed of the Genoese states three departments of his Italian
kingdom. The Emperor and Empress set out from Milan to visit these
departments and some others.

We had been at Mantua a short time, when one evening, about six o'clock,
Grand Marshal Duroc gave me an order to remain alone in a little room
adjoining that of the Emperor, and informed me that Count Lucien
Bonaparte would arrive soon. He came in a few moments; and as soon as he
announced himself, I introduced him into, the Emperor's bedroom, and then
knocked at the door of the Emperor's cabinet, to inform him of his
arrival. After saluting each other, the two brothers shut themselves up
in the room, and there soon arose between them a very animated
discussion; and being compelled to remain in the little saloon, much
against my will, I overheard a great part of the conversation. The
Emperor was urging his brother to get a divorce, and promised him a crown
if he would do this; but Lucien replied that he would never abandon the
mother of his children, which refusal irritated the Emperor so greatly,
that his expressions became harsh and even insulting. When this
altercation had lasted more than an hour, M. Lucien came out from it in a
deplorable condition, pale and disheveled, his eyes red and filled with
tears; and we did not see him again, for, on quitting his brother, he
returned to Rome.

The Emperor was greatly troubled by this refusal of his brother, and did
not open his mouth on retiring. It has been maintained that the
disagreement between the brothers was caused by the elevation of the
First Consul to the Empire, and Lucien's disapproval of this step; but
that is a mistake. It is indeed true that the latter had proposed to
continue the Republic under the government of two consuls, who were to be
Napoleon and Lucien, one to be at the head of the department of war and
foreign relations, the other of everything connected with the affairs of
the interior; but although the failure of this plan must have
disappointed Lucien, the avidity with which he accepted the titles of
senator and count of the Empire proved that he cared very little for a
republic of which he was not to be one of the heads. I am sure that the
marriage of Monsieur Lucien to Madame Jouberthon was the only cause of
this disagreement. The Emperor disapproved of this union because the
lady's reputation was somewhat doubtful, and she was also divorced from
her husband, who had become insolvent, and had fled to America. This
insolvency, and the divorce especially, offended Napoleon deeply, who
always felt a great repugnance for divorced people.

Before this, the Emperor had wished to raise his brother to the rank of
sovereign, by making him marry the Queen of Etruria, who had lost her
husband. Lucien had refused this alliance on several different
occasions; and at last the Emperor became angry, and said to him, "You
see how far you are carrying your infatuation and your foolish love for a
femme galante."--"At least," replied Lucien, "mine is young and pretty,"
alluding to the Empress Josephine, who had been both the one and the

The boldness of this reply excited the Emperor's anger beyond all bounds.
At that moment he held in his hands his watch, which he dashed with all
his might on the floor, crying out, "Since you will listen to nothing,
see, I will break you like this watch."

Differences had arisen between the brothers before the establishment of
the Empire; and among the acts which caused the disgrace of Lucien, I
have often heard the following cited.

Lucien, being minister of the interior, received the order of the First
Consul to let no wheat go out of the territory of the Republic. Our
warehouses were filled, and France abundantly supplied; but this was not
the case in England, and the scarcity of it was beginning to be felt
there. It was never known how it happened; but the larger part of this
grain passed the Strait of Calais, and it was stated positively that the
sum of twenty millions was received for it. On learning this, the First
Consul took away the portfolio of the interior from his brother, and
appointed him ambassador to Spain.

At Madrid, Monsieur Lucien was well received by the king and the royal
family, and became the intimate friend of Don Manuel Godoy, Prince de la
Paix. It was during this mission, and by agreement with the Prince de la
Paix, that the treaty of Badajos was concluded, in order to procure which
it is said that Portugal gave thirty millions. It has been also declared
that more than this sum, paid in gold and diamonds, was divided between
the two plenipotentiaries, who did not think it necessary to render an
account of this transaction to their respective courts.

Charles IV. loved Lucien tenderly, and felt for the First Consul the
greatest veneration. After examining carefully several Spanish horses
which he intended for the First Consul, he said to his head groom: "How
fortunate you are, and how I envy your happiness! you are going to see
the great man, and you will speak to him; how I should like to take your

During his embassage Lucien had paid his court to a person of most
elevated rank, and had received her portrait in a medallion surrounded
with very fine brilliants. I have seen a hundred times this portrait
which he wore suspended from his neck by a chain of most beautiful black
hair; and far from making a mystery of it, he endeavored, on the
contrary, to show it, and bent over so that the rich medallion could be
seen hanging on his breast.

Before his departure from Madrid, the king likewise made him a present of
his own portrait in miniature, also set in diamonds.

These stones, remounted and set in the form of a hat buckle, passed to
the second wife of Lucien. I will now give an account of his marriage
with Madame Jouberthon, as related to me by a person who resided in the
same house.

The First Consul was informed each day, and very promptly, of all that
took place in the interior of the homes of his brothers, a circumstantial
account being rendered, even as to the smallest particulars and the
slightest details. Lucien, wishing to marry Madame Jouberthon, whom he
had met at the house of the Count de L----, an intimate friend of his,
wrote between two and three o'clock in the afternoon to Duquesnoy, mayor
of the tenth arrondissement, requesting him to come to his residence, Rue
Saint Dominique, about eight o'clock in the evening, and bring the
marriage register.

Between five and six o'clock Monsieur Duquesnoy, mayor of the tenth
arrondissement, received from the chateau of the Tuileries an order not
to take the register out of the municipality, and above all not to
celebrate any marriage whatever, unless, in accordance with the law, the
names of the parties thereto had been published for eight days.

At the hour indicated Duquesnoy arrived at the residence, and asked to
speak in private to the count, to whom he communicated the order
emanating from the chateau.

Beside himself with anger, Lucien immediately hired a hundred post-horses
for himself and friends; and without delay he and Madame Jouberthon, with
these friends and the people of his household, took carriages for the
chateau of Plessis-Chamant, a pleasure-house half a league beyond Senlis.
The cure of the place, who was also associate mayor, was summoned, and at
midnight pronounced the civil marriage; then, putting on his sacerdotal
robes over the scarf he wore as an officer of the civil state, he
bestowed on the fugitives the nuptial benediction. A good supper was
then served, at which the assistant and cure were present; but, as he
returned to his vicarage about six o'clock in the morning, he saw at his
gate a post-chaise, guarded by two soldiers, and on entering his house,
found there an officer of the armed police, who invited him politely to
be kind enough to accompany him to Paris. The poor curate thought
himself lost; but he was compelled to obey, under penalty of being
carried to Paris from one guard-house to another by the police.

Nothing was left for him but to enter the fatal chaise, which was drawn
at a gallop by two good horses, and soon arrived at the Tuileries, where
he was brought into the cabinet of the First Consul, who said to him in a
voice of thunder, "It is you, then, Monsieur, who marry members of my
family without my consent, and without having published the bans, as is
your duty in your double character of cure and assistant mayor. You well
know that you deserve to be deprived of your office, excommunicated, and
tried before the courts." The unfortunate priest believed himself
already in prison; but after a severe lecture he was sent back to his
curacy, and the two brothers were never reconciled.

In spite of all these differences, Lucien always counted on the affection
of his brother to obtain him a kingdom. I guarantee the authenticity of
the following incident, which was related to me by a reliable person:
Lucien had in charge of his establishment a friend of his early youth,
the same age as himself, and like him born in Corsica, who was named
Campi, and enjoyed the most confidential relations in the count's
household. On the day that the 'Moniteur' gave a list of the new French
princes, Campi was promenading in the handsome gallery of pictures
collected by Lucien, with the latter's young secretary, when the
following conversation occurred between them. "You have no doubt read
the 'Moniteur' of to-day?"--"Yes."--"You have seen that all the members
of the family have had the title of French princes bestowed on them, and
the name of monsieur le count alone is wanting to the list."--"What
matters that? There are kingdoms."--"Considering the care
that sovereigns take to keep them, there will hardly be any
vacancy."--"Ah, well, they will be made. All the royal families of
Europe are worn out, and we must have new ones." Thereupon Campi was
silent, and advised the young man to hold his tongue, if he wished to
preserve the favor of the count. However, it was not long after this
before the young secretary repeated this confidential conversation,
which, without being singularly striking, gives, however, an idea of the
amount of confidence which should be placed in the pretended moderation
of Count Lucien, and in the epigrams against his brother and his family
which have been attributed to him.

No one in the chateau was ignorant of the hostility which existed between
Lucien Bonaparte and the Empress Josephine; and to make their court to
the latter the former habitues of Malmaison, now become the courtiers of
the Tuileries; were in the habit of relating to her the most piquant
anecdotes they could collect relative to the younger brother of the
Emperor. Thus it happened that by chance one day I heard a dignified
person and a senator of the Empire give the Empress, in the gayest manner
imaginable, very minute details as to one of the temporary liaisons of
Count Lucien. I do not guarantee the authenticity of the anecdote, and I
experience in writing it more embarrassment than the senator displayed in
relating it, and omit, indeed, a mass of details which the narrator gave
without blushing, and without driving off his audience; for my object is
to throw light upon the family secrets of the imperial household, and on
the habits of the persons who were nearest the Emperor, and not to
publish scandal, though I could justify myself by the example of a
dignitary of the Empire.

Count Lucien (I do not know in what year) established himself in the good
graces of Mademoiselle Meserai, an actress of the Theatre Francais, who
was both pretty and sprightly. The conquest was not difficult, in the
first place, because this had never been her character towards any one,
and, secondly, because the artiste knew the great wealth of the count,
and believed him to be prodigal. The first attentions of her lover
confirmed her in this opinion, and she demanded a house. He at once
presented her with one richly and elegantly furnished, the deed being put
in her hands on the day she took possession; and each visit of the count
added to the actress's wardrobe or jewel-case some new gifts. This
lasted some months, at the end of which Lucien became disgusted with his
bargain, and began to consider by what means to break it without losing
too much. Among other things, he had made mademoiselle a present of a
pair of girandoles, containing diamonds of great value. In one of the
last interviews, before the count had allowed any signs of coldness to be
seen, he perceived the girandoles on the toilet-table of his mistress,
and, taking them in his hands, said, "Really, my dear, you do me
injustice; why do you not show more confidence in me? I do not wish you
to wear jewelry so much out of date as these."--"Why, it has been only
six months since you gave them to me."--"I know it; but a woman of good
taste, a woman who respects herself, should never wear anything six
months old. I will take the ear-rings and send them to de Villiers [he
was the count's jeweler] with orders to mount them as I wish." The count
was tenderly thanked for so delicate an attention, and put the girandoles
in his pocket, with one or two necklaces which had also been his gift,
and which did not appear to him sufficiently new in style, and the breach
took place before any of these had been returned.

Notwithstanding this, Mademoiselle believed herself well provided for
with her furniture and her house, until one morning the true proprietor
came to ask her wishes as to making a new lease. She ran to examine her
deed, which she had not yet thought to do, and found that it was simply a
description of the property, at the end of which was a receipt for two
years' rent.

During our stay at Genoa the heat was insupportable; from this the
Emperor suffered greatly, saying he had never experienced the like in
Egypt, and undressed many times a day. His bed was covered with a
mosquito netting, for the insects were numerous and worrying. The
windows of the bedroom looked out upon a grand terrace on the margin of
the sea, and from them could be seen the gulf and all the surrounding
country. The fetes given by the city were superb. An immense number of
vessels were fastened together, and filled with orange and citrontrees
and shrubs, some covered with flowers, some with fruits, and all combined
formed a most exquisite floating garden which their Majesties visited on
a magnificent yacht.

On his return to France, the Emperor made no halt between Turin and
Fontainebleau. He traveled incognito, in the name of the minister of the
interior, and went at such speed that at each relay they were obliged to
throw water on the wheels; but in spite of this his Majesty complained of
the slowness of the postilions, and cried continually, "Hurry up! hurry
up! we are hardly moving." Many of the servants' carriages were, left
in the rear; though mine experienced no delay, and I arrived at each
relay at the same time as the Emperor.

In ascending the steep hill of Tarare, the Emperor alighted from the
carriage, as did also Berthier, who accompanied him; the carriages of the
suite being some distance behind, as the drivers had stopped to breathe
their horses.

His Majesty saw, climbing the hill a few steps before him, an old,
decrepit woman, who hobbled along with great difficulty. As the Emperor
approached her he inquired why, infirm as she was, and apparently so
fatigued, she should attempt to travel so difficult a road.

"Sir," replied she, "they tell me the Emperor is to pass along here, and
I wish to see him before I die." His Majesty, who liked to be amused,
said to her, "Ah, but why trouble yourself about him? He is a tyrant,
like all the rest." The good woman, indignant at this remark, angrily
replied, "At least, Sir, he is our choice; and since we must have a
master, it is at least right that we should choose him." I was not an
eye-witness of this incident; but I heard the Emperor himself relate it
to Dr. Corvisart, with some remarks upon the good sense of the masses,
who, according to the opinion of his Majesty and his chief doctor, had
generally formed very correct opinions.


His Majesty the Emperor passed the month of January, 1806, at Munich and
Stuttgard, during which, in the first of these two capitals, the marriage
of the vice-king and the Princess of Bavaria was celebrated. On this
occasion there was a succession of magnificent fetes, of which the
Emperor was always the hero, and at which his hosts tried, by every
variety of homage, to express to this great man the admiration with which
his military genius inspired them.

The vice-king and vice-queen had never met before their marriage, but
were soon as much attached to each other as if they had been acquainted
for years, for never were two persons more perfectly congenial. No
princess, and indeed no mother, could have manifested more affection and
care for her children than the vice-queen; and she might well serve as a
model for all women. I have been told an incident concerning this
admirable princess which I take pleasure in relating here. One of her
daughters, who was quite young, having spoken in a very harsh tone to her
maid, her most serene highness the vice-queen was informed of it, and in
order to give her daughter a lesson, forbade the servants to render the
young princess any service, or to reply to any of her demands, from that
time. The child at once complained to her mother, who told her gravely
that when any one received, like her, the care and attention of all
around them, it was necessary to merit this, and to show her appreciation
by consideration and an obliging politeness. Then she required her to
ask pardon of the 'femme de chambre', and henceforward to speak to her
politely, assuring her that by this means she would always obtain
compliance with all reasonable and just requests she might make.

The child obeyed; and the lesson was of such benefit to her that she
became, if general report is to be believed, one of the most accomplished
princesses of Europe. The report of her perfections spread abroad even
to the New World, which contended for her with the Old, and has been
fortunate enough to obtain her. She is at this time, I think, Empress of

His Majesty the King of Bavaria, Maximilian Joseph, then about fifty
years of age, was very tall, with a noble and attractive physiognomy and
fascinating manners. Before the Revolution he had been colonel of an
Alsatian regiment in the service of France, under the name of Prince
Maximilian, or Prince Max as the soldiers called him, and stationed at
Strasburg, where he left a reputation for elegance and chivalrous
gallantry. His subjects, his family, his servants, everybody, adored
him. He often took long walks through the city of Munich in the morning,
went to the market, inquired the price of grain, entered the shops, spoke
to every one, especially the children, whom he persuaded to go to school.
This excellent prince did not fear to compromise his dignity by the
simplicity of his manners; and he was right, for I do not think any one
ever failed to show him respect, and the love which he inspired lessened
in no wise the veneration which was felt for him. Such was his devotion
to the Emperor, that his kindly feelings extended even to the persons who
by their functions approached nearest to his Majesty, and were in the
best position to know his needs and wishes. Thus (I do not relate it out
of vanity, but in proof of what I have just said) his Majesty the King of
Bavaria never came to see the Emperor, that he did not take my hand and
inquire first after the health of his Imperial Majesty, then after my
own, adding many things which plainly showed his attachment for the
Emperor and his natural goodness.

His Majesty the King of Bavaria is now in the tomb, like him who gave him
a throne; but this tomb is still a royal tomb, and the loyal Bavarians
can come to kneel and weep over it. The Emperor, on the contrary--

   [Constant wrote this before the return, in 1840, of the ashes of
   Napoleon to rest on "the banks of the Seine, amid the French people
   whom he loved so well," where in a massive urn of porphyry, and
   beneath the gilded dome of the Invalides, in the most splendid tomb
   of the centuries, sleeps now the soldier of Lodi, Marengo,
   Austerlitz, Wagram, and Waterloo.--TRANS.]

The virtuous Maximilian was able to leave to a worthy son the scepter
which he had received from him who perished an exile at St. Helena.
Prince Louis, the present King of Bavaria, and to-day perhaps the best
king in Europe, was not so tall as his august father, neither was his
face so handsome; and, unfortunately, he was afflicted with an extreme
deafness, which made him raise his voice without knowing it, and in
addition to this his utterance was impeded by a slight stammering. This
prince was grave and studious; and the Emperor recognized his merit, but
did not rely upon his friendship. This was not because he thought him
wanting in loyalty, for the prince royal was above such suspicion; but
the Emperor was aware that he belonged to a party which feared the
subjection of Germany, and who suspected that the French, although they
had so far attacked only Austria, had ideas of conquest over all the
German powers.

However, what I have just stated in regard to the prince royal relates
only to the years subsequent to 1806; for I am certain that at that epoch
his sentiments did not differ from those of the good Maximilian, who was,
as I have said, full of gratitude to the Emperor. Prince Louis came to
Paris at the beginning of this year; and I saw him many times at the
court theater in the box of the prince arch-chancellor, where they both
slept in company and very profoundly. This was also such a habit with
Cambaceres, that when the Emperor asked for him, and was told that
monseigneur was at the theater, he replied, "Very well, very well; he is
taking his siesta; let us not disturb him!"

The King of Wurtemburg was large, and so fat that it was said of him God
had put him in the world to prove how far the skin of a man could be
stretched. His stomach was of such dimensions that it was found
necessary to make a broad, round incision in front of his seat at the
table; and yet, notwithstanding this precaution, he was obliged to hold
his plate on a level with his chin to drink his soup. He was very fond
of hunting, either on horseback, or in a little Russian carriage drawn by
four horses, which he often drove himself. He was fond of horseback
riding, but it was no easy task to find a mount of size and strength
sufficient to carry so heavy a burden. It was necessary that the poor
animal should be progressively trained; and in order to accomplish this
the king's equerry fastened round the horse a girth loaded with pieces of
lead, increasing the weight daily till it equalled that of his Majesty.
The king was despotic, hard, and even cruel, ever ready to sign the
sentence of the condemned, and in almost all cases, if what is said at
Stuttgart be true, increased the penalty inflicted by the judges. Hard
to please, and brutal, he often struck the people of his household; and
it is even said that he did not spare her Majesty the queen, his wife,
who was a sister of the present King of England. Notwithstanding all
this, he was a prince whose knowledge and brilliant mind the Emperor
esteemed; for they had a mutual affection for each other, and he found
him faithful to his alliance to the very end. King Frederic of
Wurtemburg had a brilliant and numerous court, at which he displayed
great magnificence.

The hereditary prince was much beloved; he was less haughty and more
humane than his father, and was said to be just and liberal.

Besides those crowned by his hand, the Emperor, while in Bavaria,
received a great number of the princes of the Confederation; and they
usually dined with his Majesty. In this crowd of royal courtiers the
prince primate was noticeable, who differed in nothing as to manners,
bearing, and dress from the most fashionable gentlemen of Paris. The
Emperor paid him special attention. I cannot pay the same eulogy to the
toilet of the princesses, duchesses, and other noble ladies; for most of
them dressed in exceedingly bad taste, and, displaying neither art nor
grace, covered their heads with plumes, bits of gold, and silver gauze,
fastened with a great quantity of diamond-headed pins.

The equipages the German nobility used were all very large coaches, which
were a necessity from the enormous hoops still worn by those ladies; and
this adherence to antiquated fashions was all the more surprising,
because at that time Germany enjoyed the great advantage of possessing
two fashion journals. One was the translation of the magazine published
by Mesangere; and the other, also edited at Paris, was translated and
printed at Mannheim. These ridiculous carriages, which much resembled
our ancient diligences, were drawn by very inferior horses, harnessed
with ropes, and placed so far apart that an immense space was needed to
turn the carriage.

The Prince of Saxe-Gotha was long and thin. In spite of his great age,
he was enough of a dandy to order at Paris, from our hairdresser
Michalon, some pretty little wigs of youthful blonde, curled like the
hair of Cupid; but, apart from this, he was an excellent man. I
recollect, a propos of the noble German ladies, to have seen at the court
theater at Fontainebleau a princess of the Confederation who was being
presented to their Majesties. The toilet of her Highness announced an
immense progress in the elegance of civilization beyond the Rhine; for,
renouncing the Gothic hoops, the princess had adopted the very latest
fashions, and, though nearly seventy years of age, wore a dress of black
lace over red satin, and her coiffure consisted of a white muslin veil,
fastened by a wreath of roses, in the style of the vestals of the opera.
She had with her a granddaughter, brilliant with the charm of youth, and
admired by the whole court, although her costume was less stylish than
that of her grandmother.

I heard her Majesty, the Empress Josephine, relate one day that she had
much difficulty in repressing a smile when, among a number of German
princesses presented to her, one was announced under the name of
Cunegonde [Cunegonde was the mistress of Candide in Voltaire's novel of
Candide.] Her Majesty added that, when she saw the princess take her
seat, she imagined she saw her lean to one side. Assuredly the Empress
had read the adventures of Candide and the daughter of the very noble
baron of Thunder-Ten-Trunck.

At Paris, in the spring of 1806, I saw almost as many members of the
Confederation as I had seen in the capitals of Bavaria and Wurtemburg.
A French name had the precedence among these names of foreign princes.
It was that of Prince Murat, who in the month of March was made
Grand-duke of Berg and Cleves. After Prince Louis of Bavaria, arrived
the hereditary prince of Baden, who came to Paris to marry a niece of
the Empress.

At the beginning this union was not happy. The Princess Stephanie (de
Beauharnais) was a very pretty woman, graceful and witty; and the Emperor
had wished to make a great lady of her, and had married her without
consulting her wishes. Prince Charles-Louis-Frederic was then twenty
years of age, and though exceedingly good, brave, and generous, and
possessing many admirable traits, was heavy and phlegmatic, ever
maintaining an icy gravity, and entirely destitute of the qualities which
would attract a young princess accustomed to the brilliant elegance of
the imperial court.

The marriage took place in April, to the great satisfaction of the
prince, who that day appeared to do violence to his usual gravity, and
even allowed a smile to approach his lips. The day passed off very well;
but, when the time came for retiring, the princess refused to let him
share her room, and for eight days was inexorable.

He was told that the princess did not like the arrangement of his hair,
and that nothing inspired her with more aversion than a queue; upon which
the good prince hastened to have his hair cut close, but when she saw him
thus shorn, she laughed immoderately, and exclaimed that he was more ugly
a la Titus than he was before. It was impossible that the intelligence
and the kind heart of the princess could fail to appreciate the good and
solid qualities of her husband; she learned to love him as tenderly as
she was loved, and I am assured that the august couple lived on excellent

Three months after this marriage, the prince left his wife to follow the
Emperor, first on the campaign in Prussia, and afterwards in Poland. The
death of his grandfather, which happened some time after the Austrian
campaign of 1809, put him in possession of the grand duchy, whereupon he
resigned the command of his troops to his uncle the Count of Hochberg,
and returned to his government, never more to leave it.

I saw him again with the princess at Erfurt, where they told me he had
become jealous of the Emperor Alexander, who paid assiduous court to his
wife; at which the prince took alarm and abruptly left Erfurt, carrying
with him the princess, of whom it must in justice be said that there had
been on her part not the slightest imprudence to arouse this jealousy,
which seems very pardonable, however, in the husband of so charming a

The prince's health was always delicate, and from his earliest youth
alarming symptoms had been noticed in him; and this physical condition
was no doubt, in a great measure, the main source of the melancholy which
marked his character. He died in 1818, after a very long and painful
illness, during which his wife nursed him with the most affectionate
care, leaving four children, two sons and two daughters. The two sons
died young, and would have left the grand duchy of Baden without heirs,
if the Counts Hochberg had not been recognized as members of the
ducal family. The grand-duchess is to-day devoting her life to the
education of her daughters, who promise to equal her in graces and
virtues. The nuptials of the Prince and Princess of Baden were
celebrated by brilliant fetes; at Rambouillet took place a great
hunting-party, in which their Majesties, with many members of their
family, and all the princes of Baden, Cleves, etc., traversed on foot
the forests of Rambouillet.

I recollect another hunting-party, which took place about the same time
in the forest of Saint-Germain, to which the Emperor invited the
ambassador of the Sublime Porte, then just arrived at Paris. His Turkish
Excellency followed the chase with ardor, but without moving a muscle of
his austere countenance. The animal having been brought to bay, his
Majesty had a gun handed to the Turkish ambassador, that he might have,
the honor of firing the first shot; but he refused, not conceiving,
doubtless, that any pleasure could be found in slaying at short range a
poor, exhausted animal, who no longer had the power to protect itself,
even by flight.


The Emperor remained only a few days at Paris, after our return from
Italy, before setting out again for the camp of Boulogne. The fetes of
Milan had not prevented him from maturing his political plans, and it was
suspected that not without good reason had he broken down his horses
between Turin and Paris. These reasons were plainly evident, when it was
learned that Austria had entered secretly into the coalition of Russia
and England against the Emperor. The army collected in the camp of
Boulogne received orders to march on the Rhine, and his Majesty departed
to rejoin his troops about the end of September. As was his custom, he
informed us only an hour in advance of his departure; and it was curious
to observe the contrast of the confusion which preceded this moment with
the silence that followed it. Hardly was the order given, than each one
busied himself hastily with his own wants and those of his Majesty; and
nothing could be heard in the corridors but the sound of domestics coming
and going, the noise of cases being nailed down, and boxes being carried
out. In the courts appeared a great number of carriages and wagons, with
men harnessing them, the scene lighted by torches, and everywhere oaths
and cries of impatience; while the women, each in her own room, were
sadly occupied with the departure of husband, son, or brother. During
all these preparations the Emperor was making his adieux to her Majesty
the Empress, or taking a few moments of repose; but at the appointed hour
he rose, was dressed, and entered his carriage. Soon after everything
was silent in the chateau, and only a few isolated persons could be seen
flitting about like shadows; silence had succeeded to noise, solitude to
the bustle of a brilliant and numerous court. Next morning this deep
silence was broken only by a few scattered women who sought each other
with pale faces and eyes full of tears, to communicate their grief and
share their apprehensions. Many courtiers, who were not of the party,
arrived to make their court, and were stupefied on learning of his
Majesty's absence, feeling as if the sun could not have risen that day.

The Emperor went without halting as far as Strasburg; and the day after
his arrival in this town, the army began to file out over the bridge of

On the evening before this march, the Emperor had ordered the general
officers to be on the banks of the Rhine on the following day, at exactly
six in the morning. An hour before that set for the rendezvous, his
Majesty, notwithstanding the rain which fell in torrents, went alone to
the head of the bridge, to assure himself of the execution of the orders
he had given, and stood exposed to this rain without moving, till the
first divisions commenced to file out over the bridge. He was so
drenched that the drops which fell from his clothing ran down under his
horse, and there formed a little waterfall; and his cocked hat was so wet
that the back of it drooped over his shoulders, like the large felt hats
of the coal-burners of Paris. The generals whom he was awaiting gathered
around him; and when he saw them assembled, he said, "All goes well,
messieurs; this is a new step taken in the direction of our enemies; but
where is Vandamme? Why is he not here? Can he be dead?" No one said a
word. "Answer me, what has become of Vandamme?" General Chardon,
general of the vanguard, much loved by the Emperor, replied, "I think,
Sire, that General Vandamme is still asleep; we drank together last
evening a dozen bottles of Rhine wine, and doubtless"--"He does very well
to drink, sir; but he is wrong to sleep when I am waiting for him."
General Chardon prepared to send an aide-de-camp to his companion in
arms; but the Emperor prevented him, saying, "Let Vandamme sleep; I will
speak to him later." At this moment General Vandamme appeared. "Well,
here you are, sir; you seem to have forgotten the order that I gave
yesterday."--"Sire, this is the first time this has happened,
and"--"And to avoid a repetition of it, you will go and fight under the
banner of the King of Wurtemburg; I hope you will give them lessons in

General Vandamme withdrew, not without great chagrin, and repaired to the
army of Wurtemburg, where he performed prodigies of valor. After the
campaign he returned to the Emperor, his breast covered with decorations,
bearing a letter from the King of Wurtemburg to his Majesty, who, after
reading it, said to Vandamme: "General, never forget that, if I admire
the brave, I do not admire those who sleep while I await them." He
pressed the general's hand, and invited him to breakfast, in company with
General Chardon, who was as much gratified by this return to favor as was
his friend.

On the journey to Augsburg, the Emperor, who had set out in advance, made
such speed that his household could not keep up with him; and
consequently he passed the night, without attendants or baggage, in the
best house of a very poor village. When we reached his Majesty next day,
he received us laughing, and threatened to have us taken up as stragglers
by the provost guard.

From Augsburg the Emperor went to the camp before Ulm, and made
preparations to besiege that place.

A short distance from the town a fierce and obstinate engagement took
place between the French and Austrians, and had lasted two hours, when
cries of 'Vive l'Empereur!' were suddenly heard. This name, which
invariably carried terror into the enemy's ranks, and always imparted
fresh courage to our soldiers, now electrified them to such an extent
that they put the Austrians to flight, while the Emperor showed himself
in the front ranks, crying "Forward," and making signs to the soldiers to
advance, his Majesty's horse disappearing from time to time in the smoke
of the cannon. During this furious charge, the Emperor found himself
near a grenadier who was terribly wounded; and yet this brave fellow
still shouted with the others, "Forward! forward!"

The Emperor drew near him, and threw his military cloak over him, saying,
"Try to bring it back to me, and I will give you in exchange the cross
that you have just won." The grenadier, who knew that he was mortally
wounded, replied that the shroud he had just received was worth as much
as the decoration, and expired, wrapped in the imperial mantle.

At the close of the battle, the Emperor had this grenadier, who was also
a veteran of the army of Egypt, borne from the field, and ordered that he
should be interred in the cloak.

Another soldier, not less courageous than the one of whom I have just
spoken, also received from his Majesty marks of distinction. The day
after the combat before Ulm, the Emperor, in visiting the ambulances, had
his attention attracted by a, cannoneer of light artillery, who had lost
one leg, but in spite of this was still shouting with all his might,
'Vive l'Empereur!' He approached the soldier and said to him, "Is this,
then, all that you have to say to me?"--"No, Sire, I can also tell you
that I, I alone, have dismounted four pieces of the Austrian cannon; and
it is the pleasure of seeing them silenced which makes me forget that I
must soon close my eyes forever." The Emperor, moved by such fortitude,
gave his cross to the cannoneer, noted the names of his parents, and said
to him, "If you recover, the Hotel des Invalides is at your service."
"Thanks, Sire, but the loss of blood has been too great; my pension will
not cost you very dear; I know well that I must soon be off duty, but
long live the Emperor all the same!" Unfortunately this brave man
realized his real condition only too well, for he did not survive the
amputation of his leg.

We followed the Emperor into Ulm after the occupation of that place, and
saw a hostile army of more than thirty thousand men lay down their arms
at the feet of his Majesty, as they defiled before him; and I have never
beheld a more imposing sight. The Emperor was seated on his horse, a few
steps in front of his staff, his countenance wearing a calm and grave
expression, in spite of which the joy which filled his heart was apparent
in his glance.

He raised his hat every moment to return the salutes of the superior
officers of the Austrian troops. When the Imperial Guard entered
Augsburg, eighty grenadiers marched at the head of the columns, each
bearing a banner of the enemy.

The Emperor, on his arrival at Munich, was welcomed with the greatest
respect by his ally, the Elector of Bavaria. His Majesty went several
times to the theater and the hunt, and gave a concert to the ladies of
the court. It was, as has been since ascertained, during this stay of
the Emperor at Munich that the Emperor Alexander and the King of Prussia
pledged themselves at Potsdam, on the tomb of Frederick the Great, to
unite their efforts against his Majesty.

A year later Napoleon also made a visit to the tomb of the great

The taking of Ulm had finished the conquest of the Austrians, and opened
to the Emperor the gates of Vienna: but meanwhile the Russians were
advancing by forced marches to the help of their allies; his Majesty
hastened to meet them, and the 1st of December the two hostile armies
found themselves face to face. By one of those happy coincidences made
only for the Emperor, the day of the battle of Austerlitz was also the
anniversary of the coronation.

I do not remember why there was no tent for the Emperor at Austerlitz;
but the soldiers made a kind of barrack of limbs of trees, with an
opening in the top for the passage of the smoke. His Majesty, though he
had only straw for his bed, was so exhausted after having passed the day
on horseback on the heights of Santon, that on the eve of the battle he
was sleeping soundly, when General Savary, one of his aides-de-camp,
entered, to give an account of the mission with which he had been
charged; and the general was obliged to touch his shoulder, and shake
him, in order to rouse him. He then rose, and mounted his horse to visit
his advance posts. The night was dark; but the whole camp was lighted up
as if by enchantment, for each soldier put a bundle of straw on the end
of his bayonet, and all these firebrands were kindled in less time than
it takes to describe it. The Emperor rode along the whole line, speaking
to those soldiers whom he recognized. "Be to-morrow what you have always
been, my brave fellows," said he, "and the Russians are ours; we have
them!" The air resounded with cries of 'Vive l'Empereur', and there was
neither officer nor soldier who did not count on a victory next day.

His Majesty, on visiting the line of battle, where there had been no
provisions for forty-eight hours (for that day there had been distributed
only one loaf of ammunition bread for every eight men), saw, while
passing from bivouac to bivouac, soldiers roasting potatoes in the ashes.
Finding himself before the Fourth Regiment of the line, of which his
brother was colonel, the Emperor said to a grenadier of the second
battalion, as he took from the fire and ate one of the potatoes of the
squad, "Are you satisfied with these pigeons?"--"Humph! They are at least
better than nothing; though they are very much like Lenten food."--"Well,
old fellow," replied his Majesty to the soldier, pointing to the fires of
the enemy, "help me to dislodge those rascals over there, and we will
have a Mardi Gras at Vienna."

The Emperor returned to his quarters, went to bed again, and slept until
three o'clock in the morning, while his suite collected around a bivouac
fire near his Majesty's barracks, and slept on the ground, wrapped in
their cloaks, for the night was extremely cold. For four days I had not
closed my eyes, and I was just falling asleep, when about three o'clock
the Emperor asked me for punch. I would have given the whole empire of
Austria to have rested another hour; but notwithstanding this, I carried
his Majesty the punch, which I made by the bivouac fire, and the Emperor
insisted that Marshal Berthier should also partake of it; the remainder I
divided with the attendants. Between four and five o'clock the Emperor
ordered the first movements of his army, and all were on foot in a few
moments, and each at his post; aides-de-camp and orderly officers were
seen galloping in all directions, and the battle was begun.

I will not enter into the details of this glorious day, which, according
to the expression of the Emperor himself, terminated the campaign by a
thunderbolt. Not one of the plans of the Emperor failed in execution,
and in a few hours the French were masters of the field of battle and of
the whole of Germany.

The brave General Rapp was wounded at Austerlitz, as he was in every
battle in which he took part, and was carried to the chateau of
Austerlitz, where the Emperor visited him in the evening, and returned to
pass the night in the chateau.

Two days after, the Emperor Francis sought an audience of his Majesty, to
demand peace; and before the end of December a treaty was concluded, by
which, the Elector of Bavaria and the Duke of Wurtemburg, faithful allies
of the Emperor Napoleon, were made kings. In return for this elevation,
of which he alone was the author, his Majesty demanded and obtained for
Prince Eugene, viceroy of Italy, the hand of the Princess Augusta Amelia
of Bavaria.

During his sojourn at Vienna, the Emperor had established his
headquarters at Schoenbrunn, the name of which has become celebrated by
the numerous sojourns of his Majesty there, and is to-day, by a singular
coincidence, the residence of his son. [The Duke de Reichstadt, born
King of Rome, died July, 1832, soon after Constant wrote.]

I am not certain whether it was during this first sojourn at Schoenbrunn
that his Majesty had the extraordinary encounter that I shall now relate.
His Majesty, in the uniform of colonel of the chasseurs of the guard,
rode every day on horseback, and one morning, while on the road to
Vienna, saw approaching a clergyman, accompanied by a woman weeping
bitterly, who did not recognize him. Napoleon approached the carriage,
and inquired the cause of her grief, and the object and end of her
journey. "Monsieur," replied she, "I live at a village two leagues from
here, in a house which has been pillaged by soldiers, and my gardener has
been killed. I am now on my way to demand a safeguard from your Emperor,
who knew my family well, and is under great obligations to them."--"What
is your name, Madame?"--"De Bunny. I am the daughter of Monsieur de
Marbeuf, former governor of Corsica."--"I am charmed, Madame," replied
Napoleon, "to find an opportunity of serving you. I am the Emperor."
Madame de Bunny remained speechless with astonishment; but Napoleon
reassured her, and continuing his route, requested her to go on and await
him at his headquarters. On his return he received her, and treated her
with remarkable kindness, gave her an escort of the chasseurs of the
guard, and dismissed her happy and satisfied.

As soon as the day of Austerlitz was gained, the Emperor hastened to send
the courier Moustache to France to announce the news to the Empress, who
was then at the chateau of Saint-Cloud. It was nine o'clock in the
evening when loud cries of joy were suddenly heard, and the galloping of
a horse at full speed, accompanied by the sound of bells, and repeated
blows of the whip which announced a courier. The Empress, who was
awaiting with the greatest impatience news from the army, rushed to the
window, opened it hurriedly, and the words victory and Austerlitz fell on
her ears. Eager to know the details, she ran down the steps, followed by
her ladies; and Moustache in the most excited manner related the
marvelous news, and handed her Majesty the Emperor's letter, which
Josephine read, and then drawing a handsome diamond ring from her finger,
gave it to the courier. Poor Moustache had galloped more than fifty
leagues that day, and was so exhausted that he had to be lifted from his
horse and placed in bed, which it required four persons to accomplish.
His last horse, which he had doubtless spared less than the others, fell
dead in the court of the chateau.


The Emperor having left Stuttgard, stopped only twenty-four hours at
Carlsruhe, and forty-eight hours at Strasburg, and between that place and
Paris made only short halts, without manifesting his customary haste,
however, or requiring of the postilions the break-neck speed he usually

As we were ascending the hill of Meaux, and while the Emperor was so
engrossed in reading a book that he paid no attention to what was passing
on the road, a young girl threw herself against the door of his Majesty's
carriage, and clung there in spite of the efforts to remove her, not very
vigorous in truth, made by the cavaliers of the escort. At last she
succeeded in opening the door, and threw herself at the Emperor's feet.
The Emperor, much surprised, exclaimed, "What the devil does this foolish
creature want with me?" Then recognizing the young lady, after having
scrutinized her features more closely, he added in very evident anger,
"Ah, is it you again? will you never let me alone?" The young girl,
without being intimidated by this rude welcome, said through her sobs
that the only favor she now came to ask for her father was that his
prison might be changed, and that he might be removed from the Chateau
d'If, the dampness of which was ruining his health, to the citadel of
Strasburg. "No, no," cried the Emperor, "don't count on that. I have
many other things to do beside receiving visits from you. If I granted
you this demand, in eight days you would think of something else you
wished." The poor girl insisted, with a firmness worthy of better
success; but the Emperor was inflexible, and on arriving at the top of
the hill he said to her, "I hope you will now alight and let me proceed
on my journey. I regret it exceedingly, but what you demand of me is
impossible." And he thus dismissed her, refusing to listen longer.

While this was occurring I was ascending the hill on foot, a few paces
from his Majesty's carriage; and when this disagreeable scene was over,
the young lady, being forced to leave without having obtained what she
desired, passed on before me sobbing, and I recognized Mademoiselle
Lajolais, whom I had already seen in similar circumstances, but where her
courageous devotion to her parents had met with better success.

General Lajolais had been arrested, as well as all his family, on the
18th Fructidor. After being confined for twenty-eight months, he had
been tried at Strasburg by a council of war, held by order of the First
Consul, and acquitted unanimously.

Later, when the conspiracy of Generals Pichegru, Moreau, George Cadoudal,
and of Messieurs de Polignac, de Riviere, etc., were discovered, General
Lajolais, who was also concerned therein, was condemned to death. His
daughter and his wife were transferred from Strasburg to Paris by the
police, and Madame Lajolais was placed in the most rigorous close
confinement, while her daughter, now separated from her, took refuge with
friends of her family. It was then that this young person, barely
fourteen years old, displayed a courage and strength of character unusual
at her age; and on learning that her father was condemned to death, she
set out at four o'clock in the morning, without confiding her resolution
to any one, alone, on foot, and without a guide, with no one to introduce
her, and presented herself weeping at the chateau of Saint-Cloud, where
the Emperor then was.

She succeeded in gaining an entrance into the chateau only after much
opposition; but not allowing herself to be rebuffed by any obstacle, she
finally presented herself before me, saying, "Monsieur, I have been
promised that you would conduct me instantly to the Emperor" (I do not
know who had told her this). "I ask of you only this favor; do not
refuse it, I beg!" and moved by her confidence and her despair, I went to
inform her Majesty the Empress.

She was deeply touched by the resolution and the tears of one so young,
but did not dare, nevertheless, to promise her support at once, for fear
of awakening the anger of the Emperor, who was very much incensed against
those who were concerned in this conspiracy, and ordered me to say to the
young daughter of Lajolais that she was grieved to be able to do nothing
for her just then; but that she might return to Saint-Cloud the next day
at five o'clock in the morning, and meanwhile she and Queen Hortense
would consult together as to the best means of placing her in the
Emperor's way. The young girl returned next day at the appointed hour;
and her Majesty the Empress had her stationed in the green saloon, and
there she awaited ten hours, the moment when the Emperor, coming out from
the council-chamber, would cross this room to enter his cabinet.

The Empress and her august daughter gave orders that breakfast, and then
dinner, should be served to her, and came in person to beg her to take
some nourishment; but their entreaties were all in vain, for the poor
girl had no other thought, no other desire, than that of obtaining her
father's life. At last, at five o'clock in the afternoon, the Emperor
appeared; and a sign being made to Mademoiselle Lajolais by which she
could designate the Emperor, who was surrounded by several councilors of
state and officers of his household, she sprang towards him; and there
followed a touching scene, which lasted a long while. The young girl,
prostrating herself at the feet of the Emperor, supplicated him with
clasped hands, and in the most touching terms, to grant her father's
pardon. The Emperor at first repulsed her, and said in a tone of great
severity, "Your father is a traitor; this is the second time he has
committed a crime against the state; I can grant you nothing."
Mademoiselle Lajolais replied to this outburst of the Emperor, "The first
time my father was tried and found innocent; this time it is his pardon I
implore!" Finally the Emperor, conquered by so much courage and
devotion, and a little fatigued besides by an interview which the
perseverance of the young girl would doubtless have prolonged
indefinitely, yielded to her prayers, and the life of General Lajolais
was spared.

   [It is well known that the sentence of General Lajolais was
   commuted to four years detention in a prison of state, that his
   property was confiscated and sold, and that he died in the Chateau
   d'If much beyond the time set for the expiration of his captivity.--
   Note by CONSTANT.]

Exhausted by fatigue and hunger, the daughter fell unconscious at the
Emperor's feet; he himself raised her, gave her every attention, and
presenting her to the persons who witnessed this scene, praised her
filial piety in unmeasured terms.

His Majesty at once gave orders that she should be reconducted to Paris,
and several superior officers disputed with each other the pleasure of
accompanying her. Generals Wolff, aide-de-camp of Prince Louis, and
Lavalette were charged with this duty, and conducted her to the
conciergerie where her father was confined. On entering his cell, she
threw herself on his neck and tried to tell him of the pardon she had
just obtained; but overcome by so many emotions, she was unable to utter
a word, and it was General Lavalette

   [Marie Chamans, Count de Lavalette, was born in Paris, 1769.
   Entered the army 1792, made Captain at Arcola 1796, and served in
   Egyptian campaign. Married Emilie de Beauharnais, a niece of
   Josephine. Postmaster-general, 1800-1814. Condemned to death
   during the Hundred Days, he escaped from prison in his wife's dress.
   His wife was tried, but became insane from excitement. He was
   pardoned 1822, and died 1830, leaving two volumes of Memoirs.]

who announced to the prisoner what he owed to the brave persistence of
his daughter. The next day she obtained, through the favor of the
Empress Josephine, the liberty of her mother, who was to have been

Having obtained the life of her father and the liberty of her mother, as
I have just related, she still further exerted herself to save their
companions in misfortune, who had been condemned to death, and for this
purpose joined the ladies of Brittany, who had been led to seek her
cooperation by the success of her former petitions, and went with them to
Malmaison to beg these additional pardons.

These ladies had succeeded in getting the execution of the condemned
delayed for two hours, with the hope that the Empress Josephine would be
able to influence the Emperor; but he remained inflexible, and their
generous attempt met with no success, whereupon Mademoiselle Lajolais
returned to Paris, much grieved that she had not been able to snatch a
few more unfortunates from the rigor of the law.

I have already said two things which I am compelled to repeat here: the
first is, that, not feeling obliged to relate events in their
chronological order, I shall narrate them as they present themselves to
my memory; the second is, that I deem it both an obligation and a duty
which I owe to the Emperor to relate every event which may serve to make
his true character better known, and which has been omitted, whether
involuntarily or by design, by those who have written his life. I care
little if I am accused of monotony on this subject, or of writing only a
panegyric; but, if this should be done, I would reply: So much the worse
for him who grows weary of the recital of good deeds! I have undertaken
to tell the truth concerning the Emperor, be it good or bad; and every
reader who expects to find in my memoirs of the Emperor only evil, as
well as he who expects to find only good, will be wise to go no farther,
for I have firmly resolved to relate all that I know; and it is not my
fault if the kind acts performed by the Emperor are so numerous that my
recitals should often turn to praises.

I thought it best to make these short observations before giving an
account of another pardon granted by his Majesty at the time of the
coronation, and which the story of Mademoiselle Lajolais has recalled to
my recollection.

On the day of the last distribution of the decoration of the Legion of
Honor in the Church of the Invalides, as the Emperor was about to retire
at the conclusion of this imposing ceremony, a very young man threw
himself on his knees on the steps of the throne, crying out, "Pardon,
pardon for my father." His Majesty, touched by his interesting
countenance and deep emotion, approached him and attempted to raise him;
but the young man still retained his beseeching posture, repeating his
demand in moving tones. "What is your father's name?" demanded the
Emperor. "Sire," replied the young man, hardly able to make himself
heard, "it is well known, and has been only too often calumniated by the
enemies of my father before your Majesty; but I swear that he is
innocent. I am the son of Hugues Destrem."--"Your father, sir, is
gravely compromised by his connection with incorrigible revolutionists;
but I will consider your application. Monsieur Destrem is happy in
having so devoted a son." The Emperor added a few consoling words, and
the young man retired with the certainty that his father would be
pardoned; but unfortunately this pardon which was granted by the Emperor
came too late, and Hugues Destrem, who had been transported to the Island
of Oleron after the attempt of the 3d Nivose, [The affair of the
infernal machine in the Rue Sainte Nicaise] in which he had taken no
part, died in his exile before he had even learned that the solicitations
of his son had met with such complete success.

On our return from the glorious campaign of Austerlitz, the commune of
Saint-Cloud, so favored by the sojourn of the court, had decided that it
would distinguish itself on this occasion, and take the opportunity of
manifesting its great affection for the Emperor.

The mayor of Saint-Cloud was Monsieur Barre, a well informed man, with a
very kind heart. Napoleon esteemed him highly, and took much pleasure in
his conversation, and he was sincerely regretted by his subordinates when
death removed him.

M. Barre had erected an arch of triumph, of simple but noble design, in
excellent taste, at the foot of the avenue leading to the palace, which
was adorned with the following inscription:


The evening on which the Emperor was expected, the mayor and his
associates, armed with the necessary harangue, passed a part of the night
at the foot of the monument. M. Barre, who was old and feeble, then
retired, after having placed as sentinel one of his associates, whose
duty it was to inform him of the arrival of the first courier; and a
ladder was placed across the entrance of the arch of triumph, so that no
one might pass under it before his Majesty. Unfortunately, the municipal
argus went to sleep; and the Emperor arrived in the early morning, and
passed by the side of the arch of triumph, much amused at the obstacle
which prevented his enjoying the distinguished honor which the good
inhabitants of Saint-Cloud had prepared for him.

On the day succeeding this event, a little drawing was circulated in the
palace representing the authorities asleep near the monument, a prominent
place being accorded the ladder, which barred the passage, and underneath
was written the arch barre, alluding to the name of the mayor. As for
the inscription, they had travestied it in this manner:


Their Majesties were much amused by this episode.

While the court was at Saint-Cloud, the Emperor, who had worked very late
one evening with Monsieur de Talleyrand, invited the latter to sleep at
the chateau; but the prince, who preferred returning to Paris, refused,
giving as an excuse that the beds had a very disagreeable odor. There
was no truth whatever in this statement, for there was, as may be
believed, the greatest care taken of the furniture, even in the
store-rooms of the different imperial palaces; and the reason assigned
by M. de Talleyrand being given at random, he could just as well have
given any other; but, nevertheless, the remark struck the Emperor's
attention, and that evening on entering his bedroom he complained that
his bed had an unpleasant odor. I assured him to the contrary, and told
his Majesty that he would next day be convinced of his error; but, far
from being persuaded, the Emperor, when he rose next morning, repeated
the assertion that his bed had a very disagreeable odor, and that it was
absolutely necessary to change it. M. Charvet, concierge of the palace,
was at once summoned; his Majesty complained of his bed, and ordered
another to be brought.

M. Desmasis, keeper of the furniture-room, was also called, who examined
mattress, feather-beds, and covering, turned and returned them in every
direction; other persons did the same, and each was convinced that there
was no odor about his Majesty's bed. In spite of so many witnesses to
the contrary, the Emperor, not because he made it a point of honor not to
have what he had asserted proved false, but merely from a caprice to
which he was very subject, persisted in his first idea, and required his
bed to be changed. Seeing that it was necessary to obey, I sent this bed
to the Tuileries, and had the one which was there brought to the chateau
of Saint-Cloud. The Emperor was now satisfied, and, on his return to the
Tuileries, did not notice the exchange, and thought his bed in that
chateau very good; and the most amusing part of all was that the ladies
of the palace, having learned that the Emperor had complained of his bed,
all found an unbearable odor in theirs, and insisted that everything must
be overhauled, which created a small revolution. The caprices of
sovereigns are sometimes epidemic.


His Majesty was accustomed to say that one could always tell an honorable
man by his conduct to his wife, his children, and his servants; and I
hope it will appear from these memoirs that the Emperor conducted himself
as an honorable man, according to his own definition. He said, moreover,
that immorality was the most dangerous vice of a sovereign, because of
the evil example it set to his subjects. What he meant by immorality was
doubtless a scandalous publicity given to liaisons which might otherwise
have remained secret; for, as regards these liaisons themselves, he
withstood women no more than any other man when they threw themselves at
his head. Perhaps another man, surrounded by seductions, attacks, and
advances of all kinds, would have resisted these temptations still less.
Nevertheless, please God, I do not propose to defend his Majesty in this
respect. I will even admit, if you wish, that his conduct did not offer
an example in the most perfect accord with the morality of his
discourses; but it must be admitted also that it was somewhat to the
credit of a sovereign that he concealed, with the most scrupulous care,
his frailties from the public, lest they should be a subject of scandal,
or, what is worse, of imitation; and from his wife, to whom it would have
been a source of the deepest grief.

On this delicate subject I recall two or three occurrences which took
place, I think, about the period which my narrative has now reached.

The Empress Josephine was jealous, and, notwithstanding the prudence
which the Emperor exercised in his secret liaisons, could not remain in
entire ignorance of what was passing.

The Emperor had known at Genoa Madame Gazani, the daughter of an Italian
dancer, whom he continued to receive at Paris; and one day, having an
appointment with her in his private apartments, ordered me to remain in
his room, and to reply to whoever asked for him, even if it was her
Majesty the Empress herself, that he was engaged in his cabinet with a

The place of the interview was the apartment formerly occupied by
Bourrienne, communicating by a staircase which opened on his Majesty's
bedroom. This room had been arranged and decorated very plainly, and had
a second exit on the staircase called the black staircase, because it was
dark and badly lighted, and it was through this that Madame Gazani
entered, while the Emperor came in by the other door. They had been
together only a few moments when the Empress entered the Emperor's room,
and asked me what her husband was doing. "Madame, the Emperor is very
busy just now; he is working in his cabinet with a minister."--"Constant,
I wish to enter."--"That is impossible, Madame. I have received a formal
order not to disturb his Majesty, not even for her Majesty the Empress;"
whereupon she went away dissatisfied and somewhat irritated, and at the
end of half an hour returned; and, renewing her demand, I was obliged to
repeat my reply, and, though much distressed in witnessing the chagrin of
her Majesty the Empress, I could not disobey my orders. That evening on
retiring the Emperor said to me, in a very severe tone, that the Empress
had informed him she had learned from me, that, at the time she came to
question me in regard to him, he was closeted with a lady. Not at all
disturbed, I replied to the Emperor, that of course he could not believe
that. "No," replied the Emperor, returning to the friendly tone with
which he habitually honored me, "I know you well enough to be assured of
your discretion; but woe to the idiots who are gossiping, if I can get
hold of them." The next night the Empress entered, as the Emperor was
retiring, and his Majesty said to her in my presence, "It is very bad to
impute falsehood to poor Monsieur Constant; he is not the man to make up
such a tale as that you told me." The Empress, seated on the edge of the
bed, began to laugh, and put her pretty little hand over her husband's
mouth; and, as it was a matter concerning myself, I withdrew. For a few
days the Empress was cool and distant to me; but, as this was foreign to
her nature, she soon resumed the gracious manner which attached all
hearts to her.

The Emperor's liaison with Madame Gazani lasted nearly a year, but they
met only at long intervals.

The following instance of jealousy is not as personal to me as that which
I have just related.

Madame de Remusat, [Authoress of the well-known Memoirs. Born in Paris,
1780, died 1821. Her husband was first chamberlain to the Emperor.]
wife of one of the prefects of the palace, and one of the ladies of honor
to whom the Empress was most attached, found her one evening in tears and
despair, and waited in silence till her Majesty should condescend to tell
her the cause of this deep trouble. She had not long to wait, however;
for hardly had she entered the apartment than her Majesty exclaimed, "I
am sure that he is now with some woman. My dear friend," added she,
continuing to weep, "take this candle and let us go and listen at his
door. We will hear much." Madame de Remusat did all in her power to
dissuade her from this project, representing to her the lateness of the
hour, the darkness of the passage, and the danger they would run of being
surprised; but all in vain, her Majesty put the candle in her hand,
saying, "It is absolutely necessary that you should go with me, but, if
you are afraid, I will go in front." Madame de Remusat obeyed; and
behold the two ladies advancing on their tiptoes along the corridor, by
the light of a single candle flickering in the air. Having reached the
door of the Emperor's antechamber, they stopped, hardly daring to
breathe, and the Empress softly turned the knob; but, just as she put her
foot into the apartment, Roustan, who slept there and was then sleeping
soundly, gave a formidable and prolonged snore. These ladies had not
apparently remembered that they would find him there; and Madame de
Remusat, imagining that she already saw him leaping out of bed saber and
pistol in hand, turned and ran as fast as she could, still holding the
candle in her hand, and leaving the Empress in complete darkness, and did
not stop to take breath until she reached the Empress's bedroom, when she
remembered that the latter had been left in the corridor with no light.
Madame de Remusat went back to meet her, and saw her returning, holding
her sides with laughter, and forgetting her chagrin in the amusement
caused by this adventure. Madame de Remusat attempted to excuse herself.
"My dear friend," said her Majesty, "you only anticipated me, for that
pigheaded Roustan frightened me so that I should have run first, if you
had not been a greater coward than I."

I do not know what these ladies would have discovered if their courage
had not failed them before reaching the end of their expedition, but
probably nothing at all, for the Emperor rarely received at the Tuileries
any one for whom he had a temporary fancy. I have already stated that,
under the consulate, he had his meetings in a small house in the allee
des Veuves; and after he became Emperor, such meetings still took place
outside the chateau; and to these rendezvous he went incognito at night,
exposing himself to all the chances that a man runs in such adventures.

One evening, between eleven o'clock and midnight, the Emperor called me,
asked for a black frock coat and round hat, and ordered me to follow him;
and with Prince Murat as the third party, we entered a close carriage
with Caesar as driver, and only a single footman, both without livery.
After a short ride, the Emperor stopped in the rue de ---, alighted, went
a few steps farther, and entered a house alone, while the prince and I
remained in the carriage. Some hours passed, and we began to be uneasy;
for the life of the Emperor had been so often menaced, that it was very
natural to fear some snare or surprise, and imagination takes the reins
when beset by such fears. Prince Murat swore and cursed with all his
might, sometimes the imprudence of his Majesty, then his gallantry, then
the lady and her complaisance. I was not any better satisfied than he,
but being calmer I tried to quiet him; and at last, unable longer to
restrain his impatience, the prince sprang out of the carriage, and I
followed; but, just as his hand was on the knocker of the door, the
Emperor came out. It was then already broad daylight, and the Prince
informed him of our anxiety, and the reflections we had made upon his
rashness. "What childishness!" said his Majesty; "what is there to
fear? Wherever I am, am I not in my own house?"

It was as volunteers that any courtiers mentioned to the Emperor any
young and pretty persons who wished to make his acquaintance, for it was
in no wise in keeping with his character to give such commissions. I was
not enough of a courtier to think such an employment honorable, and never
voluntarily took part in any business of the kind.

It was not, however, for want of having been indirectly sounded, or even
openly solicited, by certain ladies who were ambitious of the title of
favorites, although this title would have given very few rights and
privileges with the Emperor; but I would never enter into such bargains,
restricting myself to the duties which my position imposed on me, and not
going beyond them; and, although his Majesty took pleasure in reviving
the usages of the old monarchy, the secret duties of the first valet de
chambre were not re-established, and I took care not to claim them.

Many others (not valets de chambre) were less scrupulous than I. General
L---- spoke to the Emperor one day of a very pretty girl whose mother
kept a gambling-house, and who desired to be presented to him; but the
Emperor received her once only, and a few days afterwards she was
married. Some time later his Majesty wished to see her again, and asked
for her; but the young woman replied that she did not belong to herself
any longer, and refused all the invitations and offers made to her. The
Emperor seemed in no wise dissatisfied, but on the contrary praised
Madame D---- for her fidelity to duty, and approved her conduct highly.

In 1804 her imperial highness Princess Murat had in her household a young
reader named Mademoiselle E----, seventeen or eighteen years of age,
tall, slender, well made, a brunette, with beautiful black eyes,
sprightly, and very coquettish. Some persons who thought it to their
interest to create differences between his Majesty and the Empress, his
wife, noticed with pleasure the inclination of this young reader to try
the power of her glances upon the Emperor, and his disposition to
encourage her; so they stirred up the fire adroitly, and one of them took
upon himself all the diplomacy of this affair. Propositions made through
a third party were at once accepted; and the beautiful E---- came to the
chateau secretly, but rarely, and remained there only two or three,
hours. When she became enceinte, the Emperor had a house rented for her
in the Rue Chantereine, where she bore a fine boy, upon whom was settled
at his birth an income of thirty thousand francs. He was confided at
first to the care of Madame I----, nurse of Prince Achille Murat, who
kept him three or four years, and then Monsieur de Meneval, his Majesty's
secretary, was ordered to provide for the education of this child; and
when the Emperor returned from the Island of Elba; the son of
Mademoiselle E---- was placed in the care of her Majesty, the
Empress-mother. The liaison of the Emperor with Mademoiselle E---- did
not last long. She came one day with her mother to Fontainebleau, where
the court then happened to be, went up to his Majesty's apartment, and
asked me to announce her; and the Emperor, being exceedingly displeased
by this step, directed me to say to Mademoiselle E---- that he forbade
her to present herself before him again without his permission, and not
to remain a moment longer at Fontainebleau. In spite of this harshness
to the mother, the Emperor loved the son tenderly; and I brought him to
him often, on which occasions he caressed the child, gave him a great
many dainties, and was much amused by his vivacity and repartees, which
showed remarkable intelligence for his age.

This child and that of the Polish beauty, of whom I will speak later,

   [This son of Countess Walewska became Count Walewski, a leading
   statesman of the Second Empire, ambassador to London, 1852, minister
   of foreign affairs, 1855, minister of state, 1860, president of
   Corps Legislatif, 1865. Born 1810, died 1868.--TRANS.]

and the King of Rome, were the only children of the Emperor. He never
had a daughter, and I believe he desired none.

I have seen it stated, I know not where, that the Emperor, during the
long stay we made at Boulogne, indemnified himself at night for the
labors of the day with a beautiful Italian, and I will now relate what I
know of this adventure. His Majesty complained one morning, while I was
dressing him, in the presence of Prince Murat, that he saw none but
moustached faces, which he said was very tiresome; and the prince, ever
ready on occasions of this kind to offer his services to his
brother-in-law, spoke to him of a handsome and attractive Genoese lady,
who had the greatest desire to see his Majesty. The Emperor laughingly
granted a tete-a-tete, the prince himself offering to send the message;
and two days later, by his kind assistance, the lady arrived, and was
installed in the upper town. The Emperor, who lodged at Pont des
Briques, ordered me one evening to take a carriage, and find this
protegee of Prince Murat. I obeyed, and brought the beautiful Genoese,
who, to avoid scandal, although it was a dark night, was introduced
through a little garden behind his Majesty's apartments. The poor woman
was much excited, and shed tears, but controlled herself quickly on
finding that she was kindly received, and the interview was prolonged
until three o'clock in the morning, when I was called to carry her back.
She returned afterwards four or five times, and was with the Emperor
afterwards at Rambouillet. She was gentle, simple, credulous, and not
at all intriguing, and did not try to draw any benefit from a liaison
which at best was only temporary.

Another of these favorites of the moment, who threw themselves so to
speak into the arms of the Emperor without giving him time to make his
court to them, was Mademoiselle L. B----, a very pretty girl. She was
intelligent, and possessed a kind heart, and, had she received a less
frivolous education, would doubtless have been an estimable woman; but I
have reason to believe that her mother had from the first the design of
acquiring a protector for her second husband, by utilizing the youth and
attractions of the daughter of her first. I do not now recall her name,
but she was of a noble family, of which fact the mother and daughter were
very proud, and the young girl was a good musician, and sang agreeably;
but, which appeared to me as ridiculous as indecent, she danced the
ballet before a large company in her mother's house, in a costume almost
as light as those of the opera, with castanets or tambourines, and ended
her dance with a multiplicity of attitudes and graces. With such an
education she naturally thought her position not at all unusual, and was
very much chagrined at the short duration of her liaison with the
Emperor; while the mother was in despair, and said to me with disgusting
simplicity, "See my poor Lise, how she has ruined her complexion in her
vexation at seeing herself neglected, poor child. How good you will be,
if you can manage to have her sent for." To secure an interview for
which the mother and daughter were both so desirous, they came together
to the chapel at Saint-Cloud, and during mass the poor Lise threw glances
at the Emperor which made the young ladies blush who witnessed them, and
were, nevertheless, all in vain, for the Emperor remained unmoved.

Colonel L. B---- was aide-de-camp to General L----, the governor of
Saint-Cloud; and the general was a widower, which facts alone furnish an
excuse for the intimacy of his only daughter with the family of L. B----,
which astonished me greatly. One day, when I was dining at the house of
the colonel, with his wife, his step-daughter, and Mademoiselle L----,
the general sent for his aides-de-camp, and I was left alone, with the
ladies; who so earnestly begged me to accompany them on a visit to
Mademoiselle le Normand, that it would have been impolite to refuse,
consequently we ordered a carriage and went to the Rue de Tournon.
Mademoiselle L. B---- was first to enter the Sybil's cave, where she
remained a long while, but on her return was very reserved as to any
communications made to her, though Mademoiselle L---- told us very
frankly that she had good news, and would soon marry the man she loved,
which event soon occurred. These ladies having urged me to consult the
prophetess in my turn, I perceived plainly that I was recognized; for
Mademoiselle le Normand at once discovered in my hand that I had the
happiness of being near a great man and being highly esteemed by him,
adding much other nonsense of the same kind, which was so tiresome that I
thanked her, and made my adieux as quickly as possible.


While the Emperor was giving crowns to his brothers and sisters,--to
Prince Louis, the throne of Holland; Naples to Prince Joseph; the Duchy
of Berg to Prince Murat; to the Princess Eliza, Lucca and Massa-Carrara;
and Guastalla to the Princess Pauline Borghese; and while, by means of
treaties and family alliances, he was assuring still more the
co-operation of the different states which had entered into the
Confederation of the Rhine,--war was renewed between France and Prussia.
It is not my province to investigate the causes of this war, nor to
decide which first gave cause of offense.

All I can certify is this, frequently at the Tuileries, and on the
campaign, I heard the Emperor, in conversation with his intimate friends,
accuse the old Duke of Brunswick, whose name had been so odious in France
since 1792, and also the young and beautiful Queen of Prussia, of having
influenced King Frederic William to break the treaty of peace. The Queen
was, according to the Emperor, more disposed to war than General Blucher
himself. She wore the uniform of the regiment to which she had given her
name, appeared at all reviews, and commanded the maneuvers.

We left Paris at the end of September. I will not enter into the details
of this wonderful campaign, in which the Emperor in an incredibly short
time crushed to pieces an army of one hundred and fifty thousand men,
perfectly disciplined, full of enthusiasm and courage, and fighting in
defense of their country. In one of the first battles, the young Prince
Louis of Prussia, brother of the king, was killed at the head of his
troops by Guinde, quartermaster of the Tenth Hussars. The prince fought
hand to hand with this brave sub-officer, who said to him, "Surrender,
Colonel, or you are a dead man," to which Prince Louis replied only by a
saber stroke, whereupon Guinde plunged his own into the body of his
opponent, and he fell dead on the spot.

On this campaign, as the roads had become very rough from the continual
passage of artillery, my carriage was one day upset, and one of the
Emperor's hats fell out of the door; but a regiment which happened to
pass along the same road having recognized the hat from its peculiar
shape, my carriage was immediately set up again, "For," said these brave
soldiers, "we cannot leave the first valet of the little corporal in
trouble;" and the hat, after passing through many hands, was at last
restored to me before my departure.

On the Emperor's arrival at the plateau of Weimar, he arranged his army
in line of battle, and bivouacked in the midst of his guard. About two
o'clock in the morning he arose and went on foot to examine the work on a
road that was being cut in the rock for the transportation of artillery,
and after remaining nearly an hour with the workmen, decided to take a
look at the nearest advance posts before returning to his bivouac.

This round, which the Emperor insisted on making alone and with no
escort, came near costing him his life. The night was so dark that the
sentinels of the camp could not see ten steps in front of them; and the
first, hearing some one in the darkness approaching our line, called out
"Qui vive?" and prepared to fire. The Emperor being lost in thought, as
he himself told me afterwards, did not notice the sentinel's challenge,
and made no reply until a ball, whistling by his ears, woke him from his
reverie, when immediately perceiving his danger, he threw himself face
downwards on the ground, which was a very wise precaution; for hardly had
his Majesty placed himself in this position, than other balls passed over
his head, the discharge of the first sentinel having been repeated by the
whole line. This first fire over, the Emperor rose, walked towards the
nearest post, and made himself known.

His Majesty was still there when the soldier who had fired on him joined
them, being just relieved at his post; he was a young grenadier of the
line. The Emperor ordered him to approach, and, pinching his cheeks
hard, exclaimed, "What, you scamp, you took me for a Prussian! This
rascal does not throw away his powder on sparrows; he shoots only at
emperors." The poor soldier was completely overcome with the idea that
he might have killed the little corporal, whom he adored as much as did
the rest of the army; and it was with great difficulty he could say,
"Pardon, Sire, but I was obeying orders; and if you did not answer, it
was not my fault. I was compelled to have the countersign, and you would
not give it." The Emperor reassured him with a smile, and said, as he
left the post, "My brave boy, I do not reproach you. That was pretty
well aimed for a shot fired in the dark; but after awhile it will be
daylight; take better aim, and I will remember you."

The results of the Battle of Jena, fought on the 14th of October (1806),
are well known. Almost all the Prussian generals, at least the bravest
among them, were there taken prisoners, or rendered unable to continue
the campaign.

The king and queen took flight, and did not halt till they had reached

A few moments before the attack, the Queen of Prussia, mounted on a
noble, graceful steed, had appeared in the midst of the soldiers; and,
followed by the elite of the youth of Berlin, this royal Amazon had
galloped down the front rank of the line of battle. The numerous banners
which her own hands had embroidered to encourage her troops, with those
of the great Frederick, blackened by the smoke of many battles, were
lowered at her approach, amid shouts of enthusiasm which rang through the
entire ranks of the Prussian army. The atmosphere was so clear, and the
two armies so near each other, that the French could easily distinguish
the costume of the queen.

This striking costume was, in fact, one great cause of the danger she
encountered in her flight. Her head was covered with a helmet of
polished steel, above which waved a magnificent plume, her cuirass
glittered with gold and silver, while a tunic of silver cloth completed
her costume and fell to her feet, which were shod in red boots with gold
spurs. This dress heightened the charms of the beautiful queen.

When the Prussian army was put to flight, the queen was left alone with
three or four young men of Berlin, who defended her until two hussars,
who had covered themselves with glory during the battle, rushed at a
gallop with drawn sabers on this little group, and they were instantly
dispersed. Frightened by this sudden onset, the horse which her Majesty
rode fled with all the strength of his limbs; and well was it for the
fugitive queen that he was swift as a stag, else the two hussars would
infallibly have made her a prisoner, for more than once they pressed so
close that she heard their rude speeches and coarse jests, which were of
such a nature as to shock her ears.

The queen, thus pursued, had arrived in sight of the gate of Weimar, when
a strong detachment of Klein's dragoons were perceived coming at full
speed, the chief having orders to capture the queen at any cost; but, the
instant she entered the city, the gates swung to behind her, and the
hussars and the detachment of dragoons returned disappointed to the

The particulars of this singular pursuit soon reached the Emperor's ears,
and he summoned the hussars to his presence, and having in strong terms
testified his disapproval of the improper jests that they had dared to
make regarding the queen; at a time when her misfortunes should have
increased the respect due both to her rank and her sex, the Emperor then
performed the duty of rewarding these two brave fellows for the manner in
which they had borne themselves on the field of battle. Knowing that
they had dons prodigies of valor, his Majesty gave them the cross, and
ordered three hundred francs to be given each one as gratuity.

The Emperor exercised his clemency toward the Duke of Weimar, who had
commanded a Prussian division. The day after the battle of Jena, his
Majesty, having reached Weimar, lodged at the ducal palace, where he was
received by the duchess regent, to whom he said, "Madame, I owe you
something for having awaited me; and in appreciation of the confidence
you have manifested in me, I pardon your husband."

While we were in the army I slept in the Emperor's tent, either on a
little rug, or on the bearskin which he used in his carriage; or when it
happened that I could not make use of these articles, I tried to procure
a bed-of straw, and remember one evening having rendered a great service
to the King of Naples, by sharing with him the bundle of straw which was
to have served as my bed.

I here give a few details from which the reader can form an idea of the
manner in which I passed the nights on the campaign.

The Emperor slept on his little iron bedstead, and I slept where
I could. Hardly did I fall asleep before the Emperor called me,
"Constant."--"Sire."--"See who is on duty" (it was the aides-de-camp to
whom he referred).--"Sire, it is M.----"--"Tell him to come to me." I
then went out of the tent to summon the officer, and brought him back
with me. On his entrance the Emperor said to him, "Report to such a
corps, commanded by such a marshal; you will request him to send such a
regiment to such a position; you will ascertain the position of the
enemy, then you will return to report." The aide-de-camp, having left
on horseback to execute these orders, I lay down again, and the Emperor
now seemed to be going to sleep; but, at the end of a few moments,
I heard him call again, "Constant."--"Sire."--"Have the Prince de
Neuchatel summoned." I sent for the prince, who came at once; and during
the conversation I must remain at the door of the tent, until the prince
wrote several orders and withdrew. These interruptions took place many
times during the night, and at last towards morning his Majesty slept,
when I also had a few moments of repose.

When aides-de-camp arrived, bringing any news to the Emperor, I awoke
him, by shaking him gently.

"What is it?" said his Majesty, waking with a start; "what o'clock is it?
Let him enter." The aide-de-camp made his report; and if it was
necessary, his Majesty rose immediately, and left the tent, his toilet
never occupying much time. If a battle was in contemplation the Emperor
scanned the sky and the horizon carefully, and often remarked, "We are
going to have a beautiful day."

Breakfast was prepared and served in five minutes, and at the end of a
quarter of an hour the cloth was removed. The Prince de Neuchatel
breakfasted and dined every day with his Majesty; and, in eight or ten
minutes, the longest meal was over. "To horse," then exclaimed the
Emperor, and set out, accompanied by the Prince de Neuchatel, and an
aide-de-camp or two, with Roustan, who always carried a silver flask of
brandy, which, however, the Emperor rarely ever used. His Majesty passed
from one corps to the other, spoke to the officers and soldiers,
questioned them, and saw with his own eyes all that it was possible to

If a battle was on hand, dinner was forgotten, and the Emperor ate only
after his return; but, if the engagement lasted too long, there was
carried to him, without his ordering it, a crust of bread and a little

M. Colin, chief of the culinary department, many times braved the cannon
to carry a light repast to the Emperor.

At the close of the combat, his Majesty never failed to visit the
battle-field, where he had aid given the wounded, and encouraged them
with cheering words.

The Emperor sometimes returned overcome by fatigue; he then took a light
repast, and lay down again to begin his interrupted sleep.

It was remarkable, that, each time that unexpected circumstances forced
the aides-de-camp to have the Emperor waked, he was as ready for work as
he would have been at the beginning or in the middle of the day, and his
awaking was as amiable as his manner was pleasant. The report of an
aide-de-camp being finished, Napoleon went to sleep again as easily as if
his sleep had not been interrupted.

During the three or four hours preceding an engagement, the Emperor spent
most of the time with large maps spread out before him, the places on
which he marked with pins with heads of different colored wax.

I have already said that all the persons of the Emperor's household
emulated each other in seeking the surest and promptest means of carrying
out his wishes; and everywhere, whether in traveling or on the campaign,
his table, his coffee, his bed, or even his bath could be prepared in
five minutes. How many times were we obliged to remove, in still less
time, corpses of men and horses, to set up his Majesty's tent.

In one of the campaigns beyond the Rhine we were delayed in a poor
village, and, in order to prepare the Emperor's lodging, were obliged to
use a peasant's hut, which had served as a field hospital; and we began
preparations by carrying away the dismembered limbs, and washing up the
stains of blood, this labor being finished, and everything almost in
order, in less than-half an hour.

The Emperor, sometimes slept a quarter or half an hour on the field of
battle when he was fatigued, or wished to await more patiently the result
of the orders he had given.

While on the road to Potsdam, we were overtaken by a violent storm, which
became so severe, and the rain so heavy, that we were obliged to stop and
take refuge in a neighboring house on the road. Well wrapped in his gray
overcoat, and not thinking that he could be recognized, the Emperor was
much surprised to see, as he entered the house, a young woman who seemed
to tremble at his presence. He ascertained that she was an Egyptian, who
had retained for my master the religious veneration which all the Arabs
bore him, and was the widow of an officer of the army of Egypt, whom
chance had led to the same house in Saxony where he had been welcomed.
The Emperor granted her a pension of twelve hundred francs, and took upon
himself the education of her son, the only legacy left her by her
husband. "This is the first time," said Napoleon, "that I have alighted
to avoid a storm; I had a presentiment that an opportunity of doing good
awaited me here."

The loss of the battle of Jena had struck the Prussians with such terror,
and the court had fled with such precipitation, that everything had been
left in the royal residences; and, consequently, on his arrival at
Potsdam, the Emperor found there the sword of the great Frederick, his
gorget, the grand cordon of his order, and his alarm-clock, and had them
carried to Paris, to be preserved at the Hotel des Invalides. "I prefer
these trophies," said his Majesty, "to all the treasures of the King of
Prussia; I will send them to my old soldiers of the campaign of Hanover,
who will guard them as a trophy of the victories of the grand army, and
of the revenge that it has taken for the disaster of Rosbach." The
Emperor the same day ordered the removal to his capital of the column
raised by the great Frederick to perpetuate the remembrance of the defeat
of the French at Rosbach. [At Rosbach, November, 1757, the French, under
Prince de Soubise, had been shamefully defeated by Frederick the Great]
He might have contented himself with changing the inscription.

Napoleon remained at the chateau of Charlottenburg, where he had
established his headquarters, until the regiments of the guard had
arrived from all points; and as soon as they were assembled, orders were
given to put themselves in full uniform, which was done in the little
wood before the town. The Emperor made his entry into the capital of
Prussia between ten and eleven o'clock in the morning, surrounded by his
aides-de-camp, and the officers of his staff, all the regiments filing
before him in the most perfect order, drums and music at their head; and
the fine appearance of the troops excited the admiration of the

Having entered Berlin in the suite of the Emperor, we arrived at the town
square, in the midst of which a bust of the great Frederick had been
placed. The name of this monarch is so popular at Berlin, and, in fact,
throughout all Prussia, that on many occasions, when any one by chance
pronounced it, either in a cafe or in any other public place, or even in
private assemblies, I have seen every one present rise, and lift his hat
with an air of the most profound respect and genuine adoration.

When the Emperor arrived in front of the bust, he described a semicircle
at a gallop, followed by his staff, and lowering the point of his sword,
while uncovering his head, was the first to salute the image of Frederick
II. His staff followed his example; and all the general and other
officers who composed it ranged themselves in a semicircle around the
bust, with the Emperor in the center. His Majesty gave orders that each
regiment should present arms in defiling before the bust, which maneuver
was not to the taste of some grumblers of the first regiment of the
Guard, who, with moustaches scorched, and faces still blackened with the
powder of Jena, would have better liked an order for lodgings with the
bourgeois than all this parade, and took no pains to conceal their
ill-humor. There was one, among others, who, as he passed in front of
the bust and before the Emperor, exclaimed between his teeth, without
moving a muscle of his face, but still loud enough to be heard by his
Majesty, "Damn the bust." His Majesty pretended not to hear, but that
evening he repeated with a laugh the words of the old soldier.

His Majesty alighted at the chateau, where his lodging was prepared, and
the officers of his household had preceded him. Having learned that the
electoral princess of Hesse-Cassel, sister of the king, was still ill at
the end of her confinement, the Emperor ascended to the apartment of this
princess, and, after quite a long visit, gave orders that she should be
treated with all the deference due to her rank and unfortunate situation.



I left the Emperor at Berlin, where each day, and each hour of the day,
he received news of some victory gained, or some success obtained by his
generals. General Beaumont presented to him eighty flags captured from
the enemy by his division, and Colonel Gerard also presented sixty taken
from Blucher at the battle of Wismar. Madgeburg had capitulated, and a
garrison of sixty thousand men had marched out under the eyes of General
Savary. Marshal Mortier occupied Hanover in the name of France, and
Prince Murat was on the point of entering Warsaw after driving out the

War was about to recommence, or rather to be continued, against the
latter; and since the Prussian army could now be regarded as entirely
vanquished, the Emperor left Berlin in order to personally conduct
operations against the Russians.

We traveled in the little coaches of the country; and as was the rule
always on our journeys, the carriage of the grand marshal preceded that
of the Emperor. The season, and the passage of such large numbers of
artillery, had rendered the roads frightful; but notwithstanding this we
traveled very rapidly, until at last between Kutow and Warsaw, the grand
marshal's carriage was upset, and his collarbone broken. The Emperor
arrived a short time after this unfortunate accident, and had him borne
under his own eyes into the nearest post-house. We always carried with
us a portable medicine-chest in order that needed help might be promptly
given to the wounded. His Majesty placed him in the hands of the
surgeon, and did not leave him till he had seen the first bandage

At Warsaw, where his Majesty passed the entire month of January, 1807, he
occupied the grand palace. The Polish nobility, eager to pay their court
to him, gave in his honor magnificent fetes and brilliant balls, at which
were present all the wealthiest and most distinguished inhabitants of

At one of these reunions the Emperor's attention was drawn to a young
Polish lady named Madame Valevska, twenty-two years of age, who had just
married an old noble of exacting temper and extremely harsh manners, more
in love with his titles than with his wife, whom, however, he loved
devotedly, and by whom he was more respected than loved. The Emperor
experienced much pleasure at the sight of this lady, who attracted his
attention at the first glance. She was a blonde, with blue eyes, and
skin of dazzling whiteness; of medium height, with a charming and
beautifully proportioned figure. The Emperor having approached her,
immediately began a conversation, which she sustained with much grace and
intelligence, showing that she had received a fine education, and the
slight shade of melancholy diffused over her whole person rendered her
still more seductive.

His Majesty thought he beheld in her a woman who had been sacrificed, and
was unhappy in her domestic relations; and the interest with which this
idea inspired him caused him to be more interested in her than he had
ever been in any woman, a fact of which she could not fail to be
conscious. The day after the ball, the Emperor seemed to me unusually
agitated; he rose from his chair, paced to and fro, took his seat and
rose again, until I thought I should never finish dressing him.
Immediately after breakfast he ordered a person, whose name I shall not
give, to pay a visit to Madame Valevska, and inform her of his
subjugation and his wishes. She proudly refused propositions which were
perhaps too brusque, or which perhaps the coquetry natural to all women
led her to repulse; and though the hero pleased her, and the idea of a
lover resplendent with power and glory revolved doubtless over and over
in her brain, she had no idea of surrendering thus without a struggle.
The great personage returned in confusion, much astonished that he had
not succeeded in his mission; and the next day when the Emperor rose I
found him still preoccupied, and he did not utter a word, although he was
in the habit of talking to me at this time. He had written to Madame
Valevska several times, but she had not replied; and his vanity was much
piqued by such unaccustomed indifference. At last his affecting appeals
having touched Madame Valevska's heart, she consented to an interview
between ten and eleven o'clock that evening, which took place at the
appointed time. She returned a few days after at the same hour, and her
visits continued until the Emperor's departure.

Two months after the Emperor sent for her; and she joined him at his
headquarters in Finkenstein, where she remained from this time, leaving
at Warsaw her old husband, who, deeply wounded both in his honor and his
affections, wished never to see again the wife who had abandoned him.
Madame Valevska remained with the Emperor until his departure, and then
returned to her family, constantly evincing the most devoted and, at the
same time, disinterested affection. The Emperor seemed to appreciate
perfectly the charms of this angelic woman, whose gentle and
self-abnegating character made a profound impression on me. As they took
their meals together, and I served them alone, I was thus in a position
to enjoy their conversation, which was always amiable, gay, and animated
on the Emperor's part; tender, impassioned, and melancholy on that of
Madame Valevska. When his Majesty was absent, Madame Valevska passed all
her time, either in reading, or viewing through the lattice blinds of the
Emperor's rooms the parades and evolutions which took place in the court
of honor of the chateau, and which he often commanded in person. Such
was her life, like her disposition, ever calm and equable; and this
loveliness of character charmed the Emperor, and made him each day more
and more her slave.

After the battle of Wagram, in 1809, the Emperor took up his residence at
the palace of Schoenbrunn, and sent immediately for Madame Valevska, for
whom a charming house had been rented and furnished in one of the
faubourgs of Vienna, a short distance from Schoenbrunn. I went
mysteriously to bring her every evening in a close carriage, with a
single servant, without livery; she entered by a secret door, and was
introduced into the Emperor's apartments. The road, although very short,
was not without danger, especially in rainy weather, on account of ruts
and holes which were encountered at every step; and the Emperor said to
me almost every day, "Be very careful, Constant, it has rained to-day;
the road will be bad. Are you sure you have a good driver? Is the
carriage in good condition?" and other questions of the same kind, which
evidenced the deep and sincere affection he felt for Madame Valevska.
The Emperor was not wrong, besides, in urging me to be careful; for one
evening, when we had left Madame Valevska's residence a little later than
usual, the coachman upset us, and in trying to avoid a rut, drove the
carriage over the edge of the road. I was on the right of Madame
Valevska and the carriage fell on that side, in such a position that I
alone felt the shock of the fall, since Madame Valevska falling on me,
received no injury. I was glad to be the means of saving her, and when I
said this she expressed her gratitude with a grace peculiarly her own.
My injuries were slight; and I began to laugh the first, in which Madame
Valevska soon joined, and she related our accident to his Majesty
immediately on our arrival.

I could not undertake to describe all the care and attentions which the
Emperor lavished upon her. He had her brought to Paris, accompanied by
her brother, a very distinguished officer, and her maid, and gave the
grand marshal orders to purchase for her a pretty residence in the
Chaussee-d'Antin. Madame Valevska was very happy, and often said to me,
"All my thoughts, all my inspirations, come from him, and return to him;
he is all my happiness, my future, my life!" She never left her house
except to come to the private apartments at the Tuileries, and when this
happiness could not be granted, went neither to the theater, the
promenade, nor in society, but remained at home, seeing only very few
persons, and writing to the Emperor every day. At length she gave birth
to a son, [Count Walewski, born 1810; minister to England, 1852;
minister of foreign affairs, 1855-1860; died 1868.] who bore a striking
resemblance to the Emperor, to whom this event was a source of great joy;
and he hastened to her as soon as it was possible to escape from the
chateau, and taking the child in his arms, and caressing him, as he had
just caressed the mother, said to him, "I make you a count." Later we
shall see this son receiving at Fontainebleau a final proof of affection.

Madame Valevska reared her son at her residence, never leaving him, and
carried him often to the chateau, where I admitted them by the dark
staircase, and when either was sick the Emperor sent to them Monsieur
Corvisart. This skillful physician had on one occasion the happiness of
saving the life of the young count in a dangerous illness.

Madame Valevska had a gold ring made for the Emperor, around which she
twined her beautiful blonde hair, and on the inside of the ring were
engraved these words:

"When you cease to love me, do not forget that I love you."

The Emperor gave her no other name but Marie.

I have perhaps devoted too much space to this liaison of the Emperor: but
Madame Valevska was entirely different from the other women whose favor
his Majesty obtained; and she was worthy to be named the La Valliere of
the Emperor, who, however, did not show himself ungrateful towards her,
as did Louis XIV. towards the only woman by whom he was beloved. Those
who had, like myself, the happiness of knowing and seeing her intimately
must have preserved memories of her which will enable them to comprehend
why in my opinion there exists so great a distance between Madame
Valevska, the tender and modest woman, rearing in retirement the son she
bore to the Emperor, and the favorites of the conqueror of Austerlitz.


The Russians, being incited to this campaign by the remembrance of the
defeat of Austerlitz, and by the fear of seeing Poland snatched from
their grasp, were not deterred by the winter season, and resolved to open
the attack on the Emperor at once; and as the latter was not the man to
allow himself to be forestalled, he consequently abandoned his winter
quarters, and quitted Warsaw at the end of January. On the 8th of
February the two armies met at Eylau; and there took place, as is well
known, a bloody battle, in which both sides showed equal courage, and
nearly fifteen thousand were left dead on the field of battle, equally
divided in number between the French and Russians. The gain, or rather
the loss, was the same to both armies; and a 'Te Deum' was chanted at St.
Petersburg as well as at Paris, instead of the 'De Profundis', which
would have been much more appropriate. His Majesty complained bitterly
on returning to his headquarters that the order he had sent to General
Bernadotte had not been executed, and in consequence of this his corps
had taken no part in the battle, and expressed his firm conviction that
the victory, which remained in doubt between the Emperor and General
Benningsen, would have been decided in favor of the former had a fresh
army-corps arrived during the battle, according to the Emperor's
calculations. Most unfortunately the aide-de-camp bearing the Emperor's
orders to the Prince of Ponte-Corvo had fallen into the hands of a party
of Cossacks; and when the Emperor was informed of this circumstance the
day after the battle, his resentment was appeased, though not his
disappointment. Our troops bivouacked on the field of battle, which his
Majesty visited three times, for the purpose of directing the assistance
of the wounded, and removal of the dead.

Generals d'Hautpoult, Corbineau, and Boursier were mortally wounded at
Eylau; and it seems to me I can still hear the brave d'Hautpoult saying
to his Majesty, just as he dashed off at a gallop to charge the enemy:
"Sire, you will now see my great claws; they will pierce through the
enemy's squares as if they were butter" An hour after he was no more.
One of his regiments, being engaged in the interval with the Russian
army, was mowed down with grape-shot, and hacked to pieces by the
Cossacks, only eighteen men being left. General d'Hautpoult, forced to
fall back three times with his division, led it back twice to the charge;
and as he threw himself against the enemy the third time shouted loudly,
"Forward, cuirassiers, in God's name! forward, my brave cuirassiers?"
But the grapeshot had mowed down too many of these brave fellows; very
few were left to follow their chief, and he soon fell pierced with wounds
in the midst of a square of Russians into which he had rushed almost

I think it was in this battle also that General Ordenerl killed with his
own hands a general officer of the enemy. The Emperor asked if he could
not have taken him alive. "Sire," replied the general with his strong
German accent, "I gave him only one blow, but I tried to make it a good
one."  On the very morning of the battle, General Corbineau, the
Emperor's aide-de-camp, while at breakfast with the officers on duty,
declared to them that he was oppressed by the saddest presentiments; but
these gentlemen, attempting to divert his mind, turned the affair into a
joke. General Corbineau a few moments after received an order from his
Majesty, and not finding some money he wished at Monsieur de Meneval's
quarters, came to me, and I gave it to him from the Emperor's private
purse; at the end of a few hours I met Monsieur de Meneval, to whom I
rendered an account of General Corbineau's request, and the sum I had
lent him. I was still speaking to Monsieur de Meneval, when an officer
passing at a gallop gave us the sad news of the general's death. I have
never forgotten the impression made on me by this sad news, and I still
find no explanation of the strange mental distress which gave warning to
this brave soldier of his approaching end.

Poland was relying upon the Emperor to re-establish her independence, and
consequently the Poles were filled with hope and enthusiasm on witnessing
the arrival of the French army. As for our soldiers, this winter
campaign was most distasteful to them; for cold and wretchedness, bad
weather and bad roads, had inspired them with an extreme aversion to this

In a review at Warsaw, at which the inhabitants crowded around our
troops, a soldier began to swear roundly against the snow and mud, and,
as a consequence, against Poland and the Poles. "You are wrong, Monsieur
soldier," replied a young lady of a good bourgeois family of the town,
"not to love our country, for we love the French very much."--"You are
doubtless very lovable, mademoiselle," replied the soldier; "but if you
wish to persuade me of the truth of what you say, you will prepare us a
good dinner, my comrade and I."--"Come, then, messieurs," said the
parents of the young Pole now advancing, "and we will drink together to
the health of your Emperor." And they really carried off with them the
two soldiers, who partook of the best dinner the country afforded.

The soldiers were accustomed to say that four words formed the basis of
the Polish language,--kleba? niema; "bread? there is none;" voia?
sara; "water? they have gone to draw it."

As the Emperor was one day passing through a column of infantry in the
suburbs of Mysigniez, where the troops endured great privations since the
bad roads prevented the arrival of supplies, "Papa, kleba," cried a
soldier.  "Niema," immediately replied the Emperor. The whole column
burst into shouts of laughter, and no further request was made.

During the Emperor's somewhat extended stay at Finkenstein, he received a
visit from the Persian ambassador, and a few grand reviews were held in
his honor. His Majesty sent in return an embassy to the Shah, at the
head of which he placed General Gardanne, who it was then said had an
especial reason for wishing to visit Persia. It was rumored that one of
his relations, after a long residence at Teheran, had been compelled,
having taken part in an insurrection against the Franks, to quit this
capital, and before his flight had buried a considerable treasure in a
certain spot, the description of which he had carried to France. I will
add, as a finale to this story, some facts which I have since learned.
General Gardanne found the capital in a state of confusion; and being
able neither to locate the spot nor discover the treasure, returned from
his embassy with empty hands.

Our stay at Finkenstein became very tiresome; and in order to while
away the time, his Majesty sometimes played with his generals and
aides-de-camp. The game was usually vingt-et-un; and the Great Captain
took much pleasure in cheating, holding through several deals the cards
necessary to complete the required number, and was much amused when he
won the game by this finesse. I furnished the sum necessary for his
game, and as soon as he returned to his quarters received orders to make
out his account. He always gave me half of his gains, and I divided the
remainder between the ordinary valets de chambre.

I have no intention, in this journal, of conforming to a very exact order
of dates; and whenever there recurs to my memory a fact or an anecdote
which seems to me deserving of mention, I shall jot it down, at whatever
point of my narrative I may have then reached, fearing lest, should I
defer it to its proper epoch, it might be forgotten. In pursuance of
this plan I shall here relate, in passing, some souvenirs of Saint-Cloud
or the Tuileries, although we are now in camp at Finkenstein. The
pastimes in which his Majesty and his general officers indulged recalled
these anecdotes to my recollection. These gentlemen often made wagers or
bets among themselves; and I heard the Duke of Vicenza one day bet that
Monsieur Jardin, junior, equerry of his Majesty, mounted backwards on his
horse, could reach the end of the avenue in front of the chateau in the
space of a few moments; which bet the equerry won.

Messieurs Fain, Meneval, and Ivan once played a singular joke on Monsieur
B. d'A----, who, they knew, was subject to frequent attacks of
gallantry. They dressed a young man in woman's clothes, and sent him to
promenade, thus disguised, in an avenue near the chateau. Monsieur
B. d'A---- was very near-sighted, and generally used an eyeglass. These
gentlemen invited him to take a walk; and as soon as he was outside the
door, he perceived the beautiful promenader, and could not restrain an
exclamation of surprise and joy at the sight.

His friends feigned to share his delight, and urged him, as the most
enterprising, to make the first advances, whereupon, in great excitement,
he hastened after the pretended young lady, whom they had taught his role
perfectly. Monsieur d'A---- outdid himself in politeness, in attentions,
in offers of service, insisting eagerly on doing the honors of the
chateau to his new conquest. The other acted his part perfectly; and
after many coquettish airs on his side, and many protestations on the
part of Monsieur d'A, a rendezvous was made for that very evening; and
the lover, radiant with hope, returned to his friends, maintaining much
discretion and reserve as to his good fortune, while he really would have
liked to devour the time which must pass before the day was over. At
last the evening arrived which was to put an end to his impatience, and
bring the time of his interview; and his disappointment and rage may be
imagined when he discovered the deception which had been practiced on
him. Monsieur d'A---- wished at first to challenge the authors and
actors in this hoax, and could with great difficulty be appeased.

It was, I think, on the return from this campaign, that Prince Jerome saw
at Breslau, at the theater of that town, a young and very pretty actress,
who played her part badly, but sang very well. He made advances, which
she received coolly: but kings do not sigh long in vain; they place too
heavy a weight in the balance against discretion. His Majesty, the King
of Westphalia, carried off his conquest to Cassel, and at the end of a
short time she was married to his first valet de chambre, Albertoni,
whose Italian morals were not shocked by this marriage. Some
disagreement, the cause, of which I do not know, having caused Albertoni
to quit the king, he returned to Paris with his wife, and engaged in
speculations, in which he lost all that he had gained, and I have been
told that he returned to Italy. One thing that always appeared to me
extraordinary was the jealousy of Albertoni towards his wife--an exacting
jealousy which kept his eyes open towards all men except the king; for I
am well convinced that the liaison continued after their marriage.

The brothers of the Emperor, although kings, were sometimes kept waiting
in the Emperor's antechamber. King Jerome came one morning by order of
the Emperor, who, having not yet risen, told me to beg the King of
Westphalia to wait. As the Emperor wished to sleep a little longer, I
remained with the other servants in the saloon which was used as an
antechamber, and the king waited with us; I do not say in patience, for
he constantly moved from chair to chair, promenaded back and forth
between the window and the fireplace, manifesting much annoyance, and
speaking now and then to me, whom he always treated with great kindness.
Thus more than half an hour passed; and at last I entered the Emperor's
room, and when he had put on his dressing-gown, informed him that his
Majesty was waiting, and after introducing him, I withdrew. The Emperor
gave him a cool reception, and lectured him severely, and as he spoke
very loud, I heard him against my will; but the king made his excuses in
so low a tone that I could not hear a word of his justification. Such
scenes were often repeated, for the prince was dissipated and prodigal,
which displeased the Emperor above all things else, and for which he
reproved him severely, although he loved him, or rather because he loved
him so much; for it is remarkable, that notwithstanding the frequent
causes of displeasure which his family gave him, the Emperor still felt
for all his relations the warmest affection.

A short time after the taking of Dantzig (May 24, 1807), the Emperor,
wishing to reward Marshal Lefebvre for the recent services which he had
rendered, had him summoned at six o'clock in the morning. His Majesty
was in consultation with the chief-of-staff of the army when the arrival
of the marshal was announced. "Ah!" said he to Berthier, "the duke does
not delay." Then, turning to the officer on duty, "Say to the Duke of
Dantzig that I have summoned him so early in order that he may breakfast
with me." The officer, thinking that the Emperor had misunderstood the
name, remarked to him, that the person who awaited his orders was not the
Duke of Dantzig, but Marshal Lefebvre. "It seems, monsieur, that you
think me more capable of making a count [faire un conte] than a duke."

The officer was somewhat disconcerted by this reply; but the Emperor
reassured him with a smile, and said, "Go, give the duke my invitation,
and say to him that in a quarter of an hour breakfast will be served."
The officer returned to the marshal, who was, of course, very anxious to
know why the Emperor had summoned him. "Monsieur le Due, the Emperor
invites you to breakfast with him, and begs you to wait a quarter of an
hour." The marshal, not having noticed the new title which the officer
gave him, replied by a nod, and seated himself on a folding chair on the
back of which hung the Emperor's sword, which the marshal inspected and
touched with admiration and respect. The quarter of an hour passed, when
another ordnance officer came to summon the marshal to the Emperor, who
was already at table with the chief-of-staff; and as he entered, the
Emperor saluted him with, "Good-day, Monsieur le Due; be seated next to

The marshal, astonished at being addressed by this title, thought at
first that his Majesty was jesting; but seeing that he made a point of
calling him Monsieur le, Due he was overcome with astonishment. The
Emperor, to increase his embarrassment, said to him, "Do you like
chocolate, Monsieur le Duc?"--"But--yes, Sire."--"Well, we have none for
breakfast, but I will give you a pound from the very town of Dantzig; for
since you have conquered it, it is but just that it should make you some
return." Thereupon the Emperor left the table, opened a little casket,
took therefrom a package in the shape of a long square, and handed it to
Marshal Lefebvre, saying to him, "Duke of Dantzig, accept this chocolate;
little gifts preserve friendship." The marshal thanked his Majesty, put
the chocolate in his pocket, and took his seat again at table with the
Emperor and Marshal Berthier. A 'pate' in the shape of the town of
Dantzig was in the midst of the table; and when this was to be served the
Emperor said to the new duke, "They could not have given this dish a form
which would have pleased me more. Make the attack, Monsieur le Duc;
behold your conquest; it is yours to do the honors." The duke obeyed;
and the three guests ate of the pie, which they found much to their
taste. On his return, the marshal, Duke of Dantzig, suspecting a
surprise in the little package which the Emperor had given him, hastened
to open it, and found a hundred thousand crowns in bank-notes. In
imitation of this magnificent present, the custom was established in the
army of calling money, whether in pieces or in bank-notes, Dantzig
chocolate; and when the soldiers wished to be treated by any comrade who
happened to have a little money in his pocket, would say to him, "Come,
now, have you no Dantzig chocolate in your pocket?"

The almost superstitious fancy of his Majesty the Emperor in regard to
coincidences in dates and anniversaries was strengthened still more by
the victory of Friedland, which was gained on June 14, 1807, seven years
to the very day after the battle of Marengo. The severity of the winter,
the difficulty in furnishing supplies (for which the Emperor had however
made every possible provision and arrangement), added to the obstinate
courage of the Russians, had made this a severe campaign, especially to
conquerors whom the incredible rapidity of their successes in Prussia had
accustomed to sudden conquests. The division of glory which he had been
compelled to make with the Russians was a new experience in the Emperor's
military career, but at Friedland he regained his advantage and his
former superiority. His Majesty, by a feigned retreat, in which he let
the enemy see only a part of his forces, drew the Russians into a decoy
on the Elbe, so complete that they found themselves shut in between that
river and our army. This victory was gained by troops of the line and
cavalry; and the Emperor did not even find it necessary to use his
Guards, while those of the Emperor Alexander was almost entirely
destroyed in protecting the retreat, or rather the flight, of the
Russians, who could escape from the pursuit of our soldiers only by the
bridge of Friedland, a few narrow pontoons, and an almost impassable

The regiments of the line in the French army covered the plain; and the
Emperor, occupying a post of observation on a height whence he could
overlook the whole field of battle, was seated in an armchair near a
mill, surrounded by his staff. I never saw him in a gayer mood, as he
conversed with the generals who awaited his orders, and seemed to enjoy
eating the black Russian bread which was baked in the shape of bricks.
This bread, made from inferior rye flour and full of long straws, was the
food of all the soldiers; and they knew that his Majesty ate it as well
as themselves. The beautiful weather favored the skillful maneuvers of
the army, and they performed prodigies of valor. The cavalry charges
especially were executed with so much precision that the Emperor sent his
congratulations to the regiments.

About four o'clock in the afternoon, when the two armies were pressing
each other on every side, and thousands of cannon caused the earth to
tremble, the Emperor exclaimed, "If this continues two hours longer, the
French army will be left standing on the plain alone." A few moments
after he gave orders to the Count Dorsenne, general of the foot
grenadiers of the Old Guard, to fire on a brick-yard, behind which masses
of Russians and Prussians were intrenched; and in the twinkling of an eye
they were compelled to abandon this position, and a horde of
sharpshooters set out in pursuit of the fugitives.

The Guard made this movement at five o'clock, and at six the battle was
entirely won. The Emperor said to those who were near him, while
admiring the splendid behavior of the Guard, "Look at those brave
fellows, with a good-will they would run over the stone-slingers and
pop-guns of the line, in order to teach them to charge without waiting
for them; but it would have been useless, as the work has been well done
without them."

His Majesty went in person to compliment several regiments which had
fought the whole day. A few words, a smile, a salute of the hand, even a
nod, was sufficient recompense to these brave fellows who had just been
crowned with victory.

The number of the dead and prisoners was enormous; and seventy banners,
with all the equipments of the Russian army, were left in the hands of
the French.

After this decisive day, the Emperor of Russia, who had rejected the
proposals made by his Majesty after the battle of Eylau, found himself
much disposed to make the game on his own account; and General Bennigsen
consequently demanded an armistice in the name of his Emperor, which his
Majesty granted; and a short time after a treaty of peace was signed, and
the famous interview between the two sovereigns held on the banks of the
Niemen. I shall pass over rapidly the details of this meeting, which
have been published and repeated innumerable times. His Majesty and the
young Czar conceived a mutual affection from the first moment of their
meeting, and each gave fetes and amusements in honor of the other. They
were in inseparable in public and private, and passed hours together in
meetings for pleasure only, from which all intruders were carefully
excluded. The town of Tilsit was declared neutral; and French, Russians,
and Prussians followed the example set them by their sovereigns, and
lived together in the most intimate brotherhood.

The King and Queen of Prussia soon after joined their Imperial Majesties
at Tilsit; though this unfortunate monarch, to whom there remained hardly
one town of the whole kingdom he had possessed, was naturally little
disposed to take part in so much festivity. The queen was beautiful and
graceful, though perhaps somewhat haughty and severe, which did not
prevent her being adored by all who surrounded her. The Emperor sought
to please her, and she neglected none of the innocent coquetries of her
sex in order to soften the heart of the conqueror of her husband. The
queen several times dined with the sovereigns, seated between the two
Emperors, who vied with each other in overwhelming her with attentions
and gallantries. It is well known that the Emperor Napoleon offered her
one day a splendid rose, which after some hesitation she accepted, saying
to his Majesty with a most charming smile, "With Magdeburg, at least."
And it is well known also that the Emperor did not accept the condition.

The princess had among her ladies of honor a very old woman, who was most
highly esteemed. One evening as the queen was being escorted into the
dining-hall by the two Emperors, followed by the King of Prussia, Prince
Murat, and the Grand Duke Constantine, this old lady of honor gave way to
the two latter princes. Grand Duke Constantine would not take precedence
of her, but entirely spoiled this act of politeness by exclaiming in a
rude tone, "Pass, madame, pass on!" And turning towards the King of
Naples, added, loud enough to be heard, this disgraceful exclamation,
"The old woodcock!"

One may judge from this that Prince Constantine was far from exhibiting
towards ladies that exquisite politeness and refined gallantry which
distinguished his august brother.

The French Imperial Guard on one occasion gave a dinner to the guard of
the Emperor Alexander. At the end of this exceedingly gay and fraternal
banquet, each French soldier exchanged uniforms with a Russian, and
promenaded thus before the eyes of the Emperors, who were much amused by
this impromptu disguise.

Among the numerous attentions paid by the Russian Emperor to our own,
I would mention a concert by a troop of Baskir musicians, whom their
sovereign brought over the Niemen for this purpose, and never certainly
did more barbarous music resound in the ears of his Majesty; and this
strange harmony, accompanied by gestures equally as savage, furnished one
of the most amusing spectacles that can be imagined. A few days after
this concert, I obtained permission to make the musicians a visit, and
went to their camp, accompanied by Roustan, who was to serve as
interpreter. We enjoyed the pleasure of being present at a repast of the
Baskirs, where around immense wooden tubs were seated groups consisting
of ten men, each holding in his hand a piece of black bread which he
moistened with a ladleful of water, in which had been diluted something
resembling red clay. After the repast, they gave us an exhibition of
shooting with the bow; and Roustan, to whom this exercise recalled the
scenes of his youth, attempted to shoot an arrow, but it fell at a few
paces, and I saw a smile of scorn curl the thick lips of our Baskirs. I
then tried the bow in my turn, and acquitted myself in such a manner as
to do me honor in the eyes of our hosts, who instantly surrounded me,
congratulating me by their gestures on my strength and skill; and one of
them, even more enthusiastic and more amicable than the others, gave me a
pat on the shoulder which I long remembered.

The day succeeding this famous concert, the treaty of peace between the
three sovereigns was signed, and his Majesty made a visit to the Emperor
Alexander, who received him at the head of his guard. The Emperor
Napoleon asked his illustrious ally to show him the bravest grenadier of
this handsome and valiant troop; and when he was presented to his
Majesty, he took from his breast his own cross of the Legion of Honor,
and fastened it on the breast of the Muscovite soldier, amid the
acclamations and hurrahs of all his comrades. The two Emperors embraced
each other a last time on the banks of the Niemen, and his Majesty set
out on the road to Koenigsberg.

At Bautzen the King of Saxony came out to meet him, and their Majesties
entered Dresden together. King Frederick Augustus gave a most
magnificent reception to the sovereign who, not content with giving him a
scepter, had also considerably increased the hereditary estates of the
elector of Saxony. The good people of Dresden, during the week we passed
there, treated the French more as brothers and compatriots than as

But it was nearly ten months since we had left Paris; and in spite of all
the charms of the simple and cordial hospitality of the Germans, I was
very eager to see again France and my own family.


It was during the glorious campaign of Prussia and Poland that the
imperial family was plunged in the deepest sorrow by the death of the
young Napoleon, eldest son of King Louis of Holland. This child bore a
striking resemblance to his father, and consequently to his uncle. His
hair was blond, but would probably have darkened as he grew older. His
eyes, which were large and blue, shone with extraordinary brilliancy when
a deep impression was made on his young mind. Gentle, lovable, and full
of candor and gayety, he was the delight of the Emperor, especially on
account of the firmness of his character, which was so remarkable that,
notwithstanding his extreme youth, nothing could make him break his word.
The following anecdote which I recall furnishes an instance of this.

He was very fond of strawberries; but they caused him such long and
frequent attacks of vomiting that his mother became alarmed, and
positively forbade his eating them, expressing a wish that every
precaution should be taken to keep out of the young prince's sight a
fruit which was so injurious to him. The little Napoleon, whom the
injurious effects of the strawberries had not disgusted with them, was
surprised to no more see his favorite dish; but bore the deprivation
patiently, until one day he questioned his nurse, and very seriously
demanded an explanation on this subject, which the good woman was unable
to give, for she indulged him even to the point of spoiling him. He knew
her weakness, and often took advantage of it, as in this instance for
example. He became angry, and said to his nurse in a tone which had as
much and even more effect on her than the Emperor or the King of Holland
could have had, "I will have the strawberries. Give them to me at once."
The poor nurse begged him to be quiet, and said that she would give them
to him, but she was afraid that if anything happened he would tell the
queen who had done this. "Is that all?" replied Napoleon eagerly.
"Have no fear; I promise not to tell."

The nurse yielded, and the strawberries had their usual effect.
The queen entered while he was undergoing the punishment for his
self-indulgence; and he could not deny that he had eaten the forbidden
fruit, as the proofs were too evident. The queen was much incensed, and
wished to know who had disobeyed her; she alternately entreated and
threatened the child, who still continued to reply with the greatest
composure, "I promised not to tell." And in spite of the great
influence she had over him, she could not force him to tell her the
name of the guilty person.

Young Napoleon was devoted to his uncle, and manifested in his presence a
patience and self-control very foreign to his usual character. The
Emperor often took him on his knee during breakfast, and amused himself
making him eat lentils one by one. The pretty face of the child became
crimson, his whole countenance manifested disgust and impatience; but his
Majesty could prolong this sport without fearing that his nephew would
become angry, which he would have infallibly done with any one else.

At such a tender age could he have been conscious of his uncle's
superiority to all those who surrounded him? King Louis, his father,
gave him each day a new plaything, chosen exactly to suit his fancy: but
the child preferred those he received from his uncle; and when his father
said to him, "But, see here, Napoleon, those are ugly things; mine are
prettier."--"No," said the young prince, "they are very nice; my uncle
gave them to me."

One morning when he visited his Majesty, he crossed a saloon where amid
many great personages was Prince Murat, at that time, I think, Grand Duke
of Berg. The child passed through without saluting any one, when the
prince stopped him and said, "Will you not tell me goodmorning?"--"No,"
replied Napoleon, disengaging himself from the arms of the Grand Duke;
"not before my uncle the Emperor."

At the end of a review which had taken place in the court of the
Tuileries, and on the Place du Carrousel, the Emperor went up to his
apartments, and threw his hat on one sofa, his sword on another. Little
Napoleon entered, took his uncle's sword, passed the belt round his neck,
put the hat on his head, and then kept step gravely, humming a march
behind the Emperor and Empress. Her Majesty, turning round, saw him, and
caught him in her arms, exclaiming, "What a pretty picture!" Ingenious
in seizing every occasion to please her husband, the Empress summoned M.
Gerard, and ordered a portrait of the young prince in this costume; and
the picture was brought to the palace of Saint-Cloud the very day on
which the Empress heard of the death of this beloved child.

He was hardly three years old when, seeing his shoemaker's bill paid with
five-franc pieces, he screamed loudly, not wishing that they should give
away the picture of his Uncle Bibiche. The name of Bibiche thus given by
the young prince to his Majesty originated in this manner. The Empress
had several gazelles placed in the park of Saint-Cloud, which were very
much afraid of all the inhabitants of the palace except the Emperor, who
allowed them to eat tobacco out of his snuff-box, and thus induced them
to follow him, and took much pleasure in giving them the tobacco by the
hands of the little Napoleon, whom he also put on the back of one of
them. The latter designated these pretty animals by no other name than
that of Bibiche, and amused himself by giving the same name to his uncle.

This charming child, who was adored by both father and mother, used his
almost magical influence over each in order to reconcile them to each
other. He took his father by the hand, who allowed himself to be thus
conducted by this angel of peace to Queen Hortense, and then said to him,
"Kiss her, papa, I beg you;" and was perfectly overjoyed when he had thus
succeeded in reconciling these two beings whom he loved with an equal

How could such a beautiful character fail to make this angel beloved by
all who knew him? How could the Emperor, who loved all children, fail to
be devoted to him, even had he not been his nephew, and the godson of
that good Josephine whom he never ceased to love for a single instant?
At the age of seven years, when that malady, the croup, so dangerous to
children, snatched him from his heart-broken family, he already gave
evidence of remarkable traits of character, which were the foundation of
most brilliant hopes. His proud and haughty character, while rendering
him susceptible of the noblest impressions, was not incompatible with
obedience and docility. The idea of injustice was revolting to him; but
he readily submitted to reasonable advice and rightful authority.

First-born of the new dynasty, it was fitting he should attract as he did
the deepest tenderness and solicitude of the chief. Malignity and envy,
which ever seek to defame and villify the great, gave slanderous
explanations of this almost paternal attachment; but wise and thoughtful
men saw in this adoptive tenderness only what it plainly evinced,--the
desire and hope of transmitting his immense power, and the grandest name
in the universe, to an heir, indirect it is true, but of imperial blood,
and who, reared under the eyes, and by the direction of the Emperor,
would have been to him all that a son could be. The death of the young
Napoleon appeared as a forerunner of misfortunes in the midst of his
glorious career, disarranging all the plans which the monarch had
conceived, and decided him to concentrate all his hopes on an heir in a
direct line.

It was then that the first thoughts of divorce arose in his mind, though
it did not take place until two years later, and only began to be the
subject of private conversation during the stay at Fontainebleau. The
Empress readily saw the fatal results to her of the death of this godson,
and from that time she dwelt upon the idea of this terrible event which
ruined her life. This premature death was to her an inconsolable grief;
and she shut herself up for three days, weeping bitterly, seeing no one
except her women, and taking almost no nourishment. It even seemed that
she feared to be distracted from her grief, as she surrounded herself
with a sort of avidity with all that could recall her irreparable loss.
She obtained with some difficulty from Queen Hortense some of the young
prince's hair, which his heart-broken mother religiously preserved; and
the Empress had this hair framed on a cushion of black velvet, and kept
it always near her. I often saw it at Malmaison, and never without deep

But how can I attempt to describe the despair of Queen Hortense, of that
woman who became as perfect a mother as she had been a daughter. She
never left her son a moment during his illness; and when he expired in
her arms, still wishing to remain near his lifeless body, she fastened
her arms through those of her chair, in order that she might not be torn
from this heartrending scene. At last nature succumbed to such poignant
grief: the unhappy mother fainted; and the opportunity was taken to
remove her to her own apartment, still in the chair which she had not
left, and which her arms clasped convulsively. On awaking, the queen
uttered piercing screams, and her dry and staring eyes and white lips
gave reason to fear that she was near her end. Nothing could bring tears
to her eyes, until at last a chamberlain conceived the idea of bringing
the young prince's body, and placing it on his mother's knees; and this
had such an effect on her that her tears burst forth and saved her life,
while she covered with kisses the cold and adored remains. All France
shared the grief of the Queen of Holland.


We arrived at Saint-Cloud on the 27th of July; and the Emperor passed the
summer partly in this residence, and partly at Fontainebleau, returning
to Paris only on special occasions, and never remaining longer than
twenty-four hours. During his Majesty's absence, the chateau of
Rambouillet was restored and furnished anew, and the Emperor spent a few
days there. The first time he entered the bathroom, he stopped short at
the door and glanced around with every appearance of surprise and
dissatisfaction; and when I sought the cause of this, following the
direction of his Majesty's eyes, I saw that they rested on various family
portraits which the architect had painted on the walls of the room. They
were those of madame his mother, his sisters, Queen Hortense, etc.; and
the sight of such a gallery, in such a place, excited the extreme
displeasure of the Emperor. "What nonsense!" he cried. "Constant,
summon Marshal Duroc!" And when the grand marshal appeared, his Majesty
inquired, "Who is the idiot that could have conceived such an idea?
Order the painter to come and efface all that. He must have little
respect for women to be guilty of such an indecency."

When the court sojourned at Fontainebleau, the inhabitants indemnified
themselves amply for his Majesty's long absences by the high price at
which they sold all articles of food. Their extortions became scandalous
impositions, and more than one foreigner making an excursion to
Fontainebleau thought himself held for ransom by a troop of Bedouins.
During the stay of the court; a wretched sacking-bed in a miserable inn
cost twelve francs for a single night; the smallest meal cost an
incredible price, and was, notwithstanding, detestable; in fact, it
amounted to a genuine pillage of travelers. Cardinal Caprara,

   [Giovanni Battista Caprara, born of a noble family at Bologna,
   1733; count and archbishop of Milan; cardinal, 1792; Negotiated the
   Concordat, 1801; died 1810]

whose rigid economy was known to all Paris, went one day to Fontainebleau
to pay his court to the Emperor, and at the hotel where he alighted took
only a single cup of bouillon, and the six persons of his suite partook
only of a very light repast, as the cardinal had arranged to return in
three hours; but notwithstanding this, as he was entering his carriage,
the landlord had the audacity to present him with a bill for six hundred
francs! The prince of the church indignantly protested, flew into a
rage, threatened, etc., but all in vain; and the bill was paid.

Such an outrageous imposition could not fail to reach the Emperor's ears,
and excited his anger to such a degree that he at once ordered a fixed
schedule of prices, which it was forbidden the innkeepers to exceed.
This put an end to the exactions of the bloodsuckers of Fontainebleau.

On the 21st of August, there arrived at Paris the Princess Catharine of
Wurtemberg, future wife of Prince Jerome Napoleon, King of Westphalia.
This princess was about twenty-four years of age, and very beautiful,
with a most noble and gracious bearing; and though policy alone had made
this marriage, never could love or voluntary choice have made one that
was happier.

The courageous conduct of her Majesty the Queen of Westphalia in 1814,
her devotion to her dethroned husband, and her admirable letters to her
father, who wished to tear her from the arms of King Jerome, are matters
of history. I have seen it stated that this prince never ceased, even
after this marriage, which was so flattering to his ambition, to
correspond with his first wife, Mademoiselle Patterson, and that he often
sent to America his valet de chambre, Rico, to inquire after this lady
and their child. If this is true, it is no less so that these attentions
to his first wife, which were not only very excusable, but even,
according to my opinion, praiseworthy in Prince Jerome, and of which her
Majesty the Queen of Westphalia was probably well aware, did not
necessarily prevent her being happy with her husband.

No testimony more reliable than that of the queen her self can be given;
and she expresses herself as follows in her second letter to his Majesty,
the King of Wurtemburg:--

   "Forced by policy to marry the king, my husband, fate has willed
   that I should find myself the happiest woman in the universe. I
   feel towards my husband the united sentiments of love, tenderness,
   and esteem. In this painful moment can the best of fathers wish to
   destroy my domestic happiness, the only kind which now remains to
   me? I dare to say that you, my dear father, you and all my family,
   do great injustice to the king, my husband; and I trust the time
   will come when you will be convinced that you have done him
   injustice, and then you will ever find in him, as well as in myself,
   the most respectful and affectionate of children."

Her Majesty then spoke of a terrible misfortune to which she had been
exposed. This event, which was indeed terrible, was nothing less than
violence and robbery committed on a fugitive woman defenseless and alone,
by a band at the head of which was the famous Marquis de Maubreuil,
[A French political adventurer, born in Brittany, 1782; died 1855.]
who had been equerry of the King of Westphalia. I will recur in treating
of the events of 1814 to this disgraceful affair, and will give some
particulars, which I think are not generally known, in regard to the
principal authors and participants in this daring act of brigandage.

In the following month of September, a courier from the Russian cabinet
arrived from St. Petersburg, bearing a letter to his Majesty from the
Emperor Alexander; and among other magnificent gifts were two very
handsome fur pelisses of black fox and sable martin.

During their Majesties residence at Fontainebleau, the Emperor often went
out in his carriage with the Empress in the streets of the city with
neither escort nor guards. One day, while passing before the hospital of
Mont Pierreux, her Majesty the Empress saw at a window a very aged
clergyman, who saluted their Majesties. The Empress, having returned the
old man's salutation with her habitual grace, pointed him out to the
Emperor, who himself saluted him, and ordering his coachman to stop, sent
one of the footmen with a request to the old priest to come and speak to
them a moment, if it were not too great an exertion. The old man, who
still walked with ease, hastened to descend; and in order to save him a
few steps the Emperor had his carriage driven very close to the door of
the hospital.

His Majesty conversed for some time with the good ecclesiastic,
manifesting the greatest kindness and respect. He informed their
Majesties that he had been, previous to the Revolution, the regular
priest of one of the parishes of Fontainebleau, and had done everything
possible to avoid emigrating; but that terror had at length forced him to
leave his native land, although he was then more than seventy-five years
old; that he had returned to France at the time of the proclamation of
the Concordat, and now lived on a modest pension hardly sufficient to pay
his board in the hospital. "Monsieur l'Abbe," said his Majesty after
listening to the old priest attentively, "I will order your pension to be
doubled; and if that is not sufficient I hope you will apply to the
Empress or to me." The good ecclesiastic thanked the Emperor with tears
in his eyes. "Unfortunately, Sire," said he among other things, "I am
too old to long enjoy your Majesty's reign or profit by your
kindness."--"YOU?" replied the Emperor, smiling, "why, you are a young
man. Look at M. de Belloy; he is much your senior, and we hope to keep
him with us for a long time yet." Their Majesties then took leave of
the old man, who was much affected, leaving him in the midst of a crowd
of the inhabitants who had collected before the hospital during this
conversation, and who were much impressed by this interesting scene and
the generous kindness of the Emperor.

M. de Belloy, cardinal and archbishop of Paris, whose name the Emperor
mentioned in the conversation I have just related, was then ninety-eight
years of age, though his health was excellent; and I have never seen an
old man who had as venerable an air as this worthy prelate. The Emperor
had the profoundest respect for him, and never failed to give evidence of
it on every occasion. During this same month of September, a large
number of the faithful having assembled according to custom on Mount
Valerien, the archbishop likewise repaired to the spot to hear mass. As
he was about to withdraw, seeing that many pious persons were awaiting
his benediction, he addressed them before bestowing it in a few words
which showed his kindness of heart and his evangelical simplicity: "My
children, I know that I must be very old from the loss of my strength,
but not of my zeal and my tenderness for you. Pray God, my children, for
your old archbishop, who never fails to intercede on your behalf each

During his stay at Fontainebleau, the Emperor enjoyed more frequently
than ever before the pleasures of the chase. The costume necessary was a
French coat of green dragon color, decorated with buttons and gold lace,
white cashmere breeches, and Hessian boots without facings; this was the
costume for the grand hunt which was always a stag hunt; that for a hunt
with guns being a plain, green French coat with no other ornament than
white buttons, on which were cut suitable inscriptions. This costume was
the same for all persons taking part in this hunt, with no distinguishing
marks, even for his Majesty himself.

The princesses set out for the rendezvous in a Spanish carriage with
either or four six horses, and thus followed the chase, their costume
being an elegant riding-habit, and a hat with white or black plumes.

One of the Emperor's sisters (I do not now recall which) never failed to
follow the hunt, accompanied by many charming ladies who were always
invited to breakfast at the rendezvous, as was always the custom on
similar occasions with the persons of the court. One of these ladies,
who was both beautiful and intelligent, attracted the attention of the
Emperor, a short correspondence ensued, and at last the Emperor again
ordered me to carry a letter.

In the palace of Fontainebleau is a private garden called the garden of
Diana, to which their Majesties alone had access. This garden is
surrounded on four sides by buildings; on the left was the chapel with
its gloomy gallery and Gothic architecture; on the right the grand
gallery (as well as I can remember); in the middle the building which
contained their Majesties' apartments; finally, in front of and facing
the square were broad arcades, and behind them the buildings intended for
the various persons attached to household of the princes or the Emperor.
Madame de B----, the lady whom the Emperor had remarked, lodged in an
apartment situated behind these arcades on the ground floor; and his
Majesty informed me that I would find a window open, through which I must
enter cautiously, in the darkness, and give his note to a person who
would ask for it. This darkness was necessary, because this window
opened on the garden, and though behind the arcades, would have been
noticed had there been a light. Not knowing the interior of these
apartments, I entered through the window, thinking I could then walk on a
level, but had a terrible fall over a high step which was in the
embrasure of the window. I heard some one scream as I fell, and a door
was suddenly closed. I had received severe bruises on my knee, elbow,
and head, and rising with difficulty, at once began a search around the
apartment, groping in the dark; but hearing nothing more, and fearing to
make some fresh noise which might be heard by persons who should not know
of my presence there, I decided to return to the Emperor, and report to
him my adventures.

Finding that none of my injuries were serious, the Emperor laughed most
heartily, and then added, "Oh, oh, so there is a step; it is well to know
that. Wait till Madame B---- is over her fright; I will go to her, and
you will accompany me." At the end of an hour, the Emperor emerged with
me from the door of his cabinet which opened on the garden. I conducted
him in silence towards the window which was still open and assisted him
to enter, and having obtained to my cost a correct idea of the spot,
directed him how to avoid a fall.

His Majesty, having entered the chamber without accident, told me to
retire. I was not without some anxiety as I informed the Emperor; but he
replied that I was a child, and there could be no danger. It appeared
that his Majesty succeeded better than I had done,--as he did not return
until daybreak, and then jested about my awkwardness, admitting, however,
that if he had not been warned, a similar accident would have befallen

Although Madame de B---- was worthy of a genuine attachment, her liaison
with the Emperor lasted only a short while, and was only a passing fancy.
I think that the difficulties surrounding his nocturnal visits cooled his
Majesty's ardor greatly; for the Emperor was not enough in love to be
willing to brave everything in order to see his beautiful mistress. His
Majesty informed me of the fright which my fall had caused her, and how
anxious this amiable lady had been on my account, and how he had
reassured her; this did not, however, prevent her sending next day to
know how I was, by a confidential person, who told me again how
interested Madame de B---- had been in my accident.

Often at Fontainebleau there was a court representation, in which the
actors of the first theaters received orders to play before their
Majesties scenes selected from their various repertoires. Mademoiselle
Mars was to play the evening of her arrival; but at Essonne, where she
was obliged to stop a moment on account of the road being filled with
cattle going or returning from Fontainebleau, her trunk had been stolen,
a fact of which she was not aware until she had gone some distance from
the spot. Not only were her costumes missing, but she had no other
clothing except what she wore; and it would be at least twelve hours
before she could get from Paris what she needed. It was then two o'clock
in the afternoon, and that very evening she must appear in the brilliant
role of Celimene. Although much disturbed by this accident, Mademoiselle
Mars did not lose her presence of mind, but visited all the shops of the
town, and in a few hours had cut and made a complete costume in most
excellent taste, and her loss was entirely repaired.


In the month of November of this year I followed their Majesties to
Italy. We knew a few days in advance that the Emperor would make this
journey; but as happened on all other occasions, neither the day nor the
hour was fixed, until we were told on the evening of the 15th that we
would set out early on the morning of the 16th. I passed the night like
all the household of his Majesty; for in order to carry out the
incredible perfection of comfort with which the Emperor surrounded
himself on his journeys, it was necessary that everybody should be on
foot as soon as the hour of departure was known; consequently I passed
the night arranging the service of his Majesty, while my wife packed my
own baggage, and had but just finished when the Emperor asked for me,
which meant that ten minutes after we would be on the road. At four
o'clock in the morning his Majesty entered his carriage.

As we never knew at what hour or in what direction the Emperor would
begin his journey, the grand marshal, the grand equerry, and the grand
chamberlain sent forward a complete service on all the different roads
which they thought his Majesty might take. The bedroom service comprised
a valet de chambre and a wardrobe boy. As for me, I never left his
Majesty's person, and my carriage always followed immediately behind his.
The conveyance belonging to this service contained an iron bed with its
accessories, a dressing-case with linen, coats, etc. I know little of
the service of the stables, but that of the kitchen was organized as
follows: There was a conveyance almost in the shape of the coucous on the
Place Louis XV. at Paris, with a deep bottom and an enormous body. The
bottom contained wines for the Emperor's table and that of the high
officers, the ordinary wine being bought at the places where we stopped.
In the body of the wagon were the kitchen utensils and a portable
furnace, followed by a carriage containing a steward, two cooks, and a
furnace-boy. There was besides this, a baggage-wagon full of provisions
and wine to fill up the other as it was emptied; and all these
conveyances set out a few hours in advance of the Emperor. It was the
duty of the grand marshal to designate the place at which breakfast
should be taken. We alighted sometimes at the archbishop's, sometimes at
the hotel de ville, sometimes at the residence of the sub-prefect, or
even at that of the mayor, in the absence of any other dignitaries.
Having arrived at the designated house, the steward gave orders for the
provisions, the furnaces were lighted, and spits turned; and if the
Emperor alighted and partook of the repast prepared, the provisions which
had been consumed were immediately replaced as far as possible, and the
carriages filled again with poultry, pastry, etc.; before leaving all
expenses were paid by the controller, presents were made to the master of
the house, and everything which was not necessary for the service left
for the use of their servants. It sometimes happened that the Emperor,
finding that it was too soon for breakfast, or wishing to make a longer
journey, gave orders to pass on, and everything was packed up again and
the service continued its route. Sometimes also the Emperor, halting in
the open field, alighted, took his seat under a tree, and ordered his
breakfast, upon which Roustan and the footmen obtained provisions from
his Majesty's carriage, which was furnished with small cooking utensils
with silver covers, holding chickens, partridges, etc., while the other
carriages furnished their proportion. M. Pfister served the Emperor, and
every one ate a hasty morsel. Fires were lighted to heat the coffee; and
in less than half an hour everything had disappeared, and the carriages
rolled on in the same order as before.

The Emperor's steward and cooks had nearly all been trained in the
household of the king and the princes. These were Messieurs Dunau,
Leonard, Rouff, and Gerard. M. Colin was chief in command, and became
steward-controller after the sad affliction of M. Pfister, who became
insane during the campaign of 1809. All were capable and zealous
servants; and, as is the case in the household of all sovereigns, each
department of the domestic affairs had its chief. Messieurs Soupe and
Pierrugues were in charge of the wines, and the sons of these gentleman
continued to hold the same office with the Emperor.

We traveled with great speed as far as Mont-Cenis, but were compelled to
go more slowly after reaching this pass, as the weather had been very bad
for several days, and the road was washed out by the rain, which still
fell in torrents. The Emperor arrived at Milan at noon on the 22d; and,
notwithstanding our delay at Mont-Cenis, the rest of the journey had been
so rapid that no one was expecting the Emperor. The vice-king only
learned of the arrival of his step-father when he was half a league
from the town, but came in haste to meet us escorted only by a few
persons. The Emperor gave orders to halt, and, as soon as the door was
opened, held out his hand to Prince Eugene, saying in the most
affectionate manner: "Come, get up with us, my fine prince; we will enter

Notwithstanding the surprise which this unexpected arrival caused, we had
hardly entered the town before all the houses were illuminated, and the
beautiful palaces, Litta, Casani, Melzi, and many others, shone with a
thousand lights. The magnificent cupola of the cathedral dome was
covered with garlands of colored lights; and in the center of the
Forum-Bonaparte, the walks of which were also illuminated, could be seen
the colossal equestrian statue of the Emperor, on both sides of which
transparencies had been arranged, in the shape of stars, bearing the
initials S M I and R. By eight o'clock all the populace had collected
around the chateau, where superb fireworks were discharged, while
spirited and warlike music was performed. All the town authorities were
admitted to the Emperor's presence.

On the morning of the next day there was held at the chateau a council of
ministers, over which the Emperor presided; and at noon he mounted his
horse to take part in the mass celebrated by the grand chaplain of the
kingdom. The square of the cathedral was covered by an immense crowd,
through which the Emperor advanced on horseback, accompanied by his
imperial Highness, the vice-king, and his staff. The noble countenance
of Prince Eugene expressed the great joy he felt in the presence of his
step-father, for whom he had always so much respect and filial affection,
and in hearing the incessant acclamations of the people, which grew more
vociferous every moment.

After the 'Te Deum', the Emperor held a review of the troops on the
square, and immediately after set out with the viceroy for Monza, the
palace at which the queen resided. For no woman did the Emperor manifest
more sincere regard and respect than for Princess Amelia; but, indeed
there has never been a more beautiful or purer woman. It was impossible
to speak of beauty or virtue in the Emperor's presence without his giving
the vice-queen as an example. Prince Eugene was very worthy of so
accomplished a wife, and justly appreciated her exalted character; and I
was glad to see in the countenance of the excellent prince the reflection
of the happiness he enjoyed. Amidst all the care he took to anticipate
every wish of his step-father, I was much gratified that he found time to
address a few words to me, expressing the great pleasure he felt at my
promotion in the service and esteem of the Emperor. Nothing could have
been more grateful to me than these marks of remembrance from a prince
for whom I had always retained a most sincere, and, I made bold to say,
most tender, attachment.

The Emperor remained a long while with the vicequeen, whose intelligence
equaled her amiability and her beauty, but returned to Milan to dine; and
immediately afterwards the ladies who were received at court were
presented to him. In the evening, I followed his Majesty to the theater
of la Scala. The Emperor did not remain throughout the play, but retired
early to his apartment, and worked the greater part of the night; which
did not, however, prevent our being on the road to Verona before eight
o'clock in the morning.

His Majesty made no stop at Brescia and Verona. I would have been very
glad to have had time on the route to examine the curiosities of Italy;
but that was not an easy thing to do in the Emperor's suite, as he halted
only for the purpose of reviewing troops, and preferred visiting
fortifications to ruins.

At Verona his Majesty dined, or rather supped (for it was very late),
with their Majesties, the King and Queen of Bavaria, who arrived at
almost exactly the same time as ourselves; and very early the next day we
set out for Vicenza.

Although the season was already advanced, I found great pleasure in the
scene which awaits the traveler on' the road from Verona to Vicenza.
Imagine to yourself an immense plain, divided into innumerable fields,
each bordered with different kinds of trees with slender trunks,--mostly
elms and poplars,--which form avenues as far as the eye can reach. Vines
twine around their trunks, climb each tree, and droop from each limb;
while other branches of these vines, loosening their hold on the tree
which serves as their support, droop clear to the ground, and hang in
graceful festoons from tree to tree. Beyond these, lovely natural bowers
could be seen far and wide, splendid fields of wheat; or, at least, this
had been the case on my former journey, but at this time the harvest had
been gathered for several months.

At the end of a day which I passed most delightfully amid these fertile
plains, I entered Vicenza, where the authorities of the town, together
with almost the entire population, awaited the Emperor under a superb
arch of triumph at the entrance of the town. We were exceedingly hungry;
and his Majesty himself said, that evening as he retired, that he felt
very much like sitting down to the table when he entered Vicenza. I
trembled, then, at the idea of those long Italian addresses, which I had
found even longer than those of France, doubtless because I did not
understand a single word; but, fortunately, the magistrates of Vicenza
were sufficiently well-informed not to take advantage of our position,
and their speeches occupied only a few moments.

That evening his Majesty went to the theater; and I was so much fatigued
that I would have gladly profited by the Emperor's absence to take some
repose, had not an acquaintance invited me to accompany him to the
convent of the Servites, in order to witness the effect of the
illumination of the town, which I did, and was repaid by the magnificent
spectacle which met my eyes. The whole town seemed one blaze of light.
On returning to the palace occupied by his Majesty, I learned that he had
given orders that everything should be in readiness for departure two
hours after midnight; consequently I had one hour to sleep, and I enjoyed
it to the utmost.

At the appointed moment, the Emperor entered his carriage; and we were
soon rolling along with the rapidity of lightning over the road to Stra,
where we passed the night. Very early next morning we set out, following
a long causeway raised through marshes. The landscape is almost the
same, and yet not so beautiful, as that we passed before reaching
Vicenza. We still saw groves of mulberry and olive trees, from which the
finest oil is obtained, and fields of maize and hemp, interspersed with
meadows. Beyond Stra the cultivation of rice commences; and, although
the rice-fields must render the country unhealthy, still it has not the
reputation of being more so than any other. On the right and left of the
road are seen elegant houses, and cabins which, though covered with
thatch, are very comfortable, and present a charming appearance. The
vine is little cultivated in this part of the country, where it would
hardly succeed, as the land is too low and damp; but there are,
nevertheless, a few small vineyards on the slopes, and the vegetation in
the whole country is incredibly rich and luxuriant. The late wars have
left traces which only a long peace can efface.


On his arrival at Fusina the Emperor found the Venetian authorities
awaiting him, embarked on the 'peote' or gondola of the village, and
advanced towards Venice, accompanied by a numerous floating cortege. We
followed, the Emperor in little black gondolas, which looked like
floating coffins, with which the Brenta was covered; and nothing could be
stranger than to hear, proceeding from these coffins of such gloomy
aspect, delicious vocal concerts. The boat which carried his Majesty,
and the gondolas of the principal persons of his suite, were handsomely

When we arrived at the mouth of the river we were obliged to wait nearly
half an hour until the locks were opened, which was done by degrees, and
with every precaution; without which the waters of the Brenta, held in
their canal and raised considerably above the level of the sea, would
have rushed out suddenly, and in their violent descent have driven our
gondolas along before them, or sunk them. Released at last from the
Brenta, we found ourselves in the gulf, and saw at a distance, rising
from the midst of the sea, the wonderful city of Venice. Barks,
gondolas, and vessels of considerable size, filled with all the wealthy
population, and all the boatmen of Venice in gala dress, appeared on
every side, passing, repassing, and crossing each other, in every
direction, with the most remarkable skill and speed.

The Emperor was standing at the back of the peote, and, as each gondola
passed near his own, replied to the acclamations and cries of "Viva
Napoleone imperatore e re!" by one of those profound bows which he made
with so much grace and dignity, taking off his hat without bending his
head, and carrying it along his body almost to his knees.

Escorted by this innumerable flotilla, of which the peote of the city
seemed to be the admirals vessel, his Majesty entered at last the Grand
Canal, which flowed between magnificent palaces, hung with banners and
filled with spectators. The Emperor alighted before the palace of the
procurators, where he was received by a deputation of members of the
Senate and the Venetian nobility. He stopped a moment in the square of
St. Mark, passed through some interior streets, chose the site for a
garden, the plans for which the architect of the city then presented to
him, and which were carried out as if it had been in the midst of the
country. It was a novel sight to the Venetians to see trees planted in
the open air, while hedges and lawns appeared as if by magic. The entire
absence of verdure and vegetation, and the silence which reigns in the
streets of Venice, where is never heard the hoof of a horse nor the
wheels of a carriage, horses and carriages being things entirely unknown
in this truly marine city, must give it usually a sad and abandoned air;
but this gloom entirely disappeared during his Majesty's visit.

The prince viceroy and the grand marshal were present in the evening when
the Emperor retired; and, while undressing him, I heard a part of their
conversation, which turned on the government of Venice before the union
of this republic with the French Empire. His Majesty was almost the only
spokesman, Prince Eugene and Marshal Duroc contenting themselves with
throwing a few words into the conversation, as if to furnish a new text
for the Emperor, and prevent his pausing, and thus ending too soon his
discourse; a genuine discourse, in fact, since his Majesty took the lead,
and left the others but little to say. Such was often his habit; but no
one thought of complaining of this, so interesting were nearly always the
Emperor's ideas, and so original and brilliantly expressed. His Majesty
did not converse, as had been truthfully said in the journal which I have
added to my memoirs, but he spoke with an inexpressible charm; and on
this point it seems to me that the author of the "Journal of
Aix-la-Chapelle" has done the Emperor injustice.

As I said just now, his Majesty spoke of the ancient State of Venice, and
from what he said on this occasion I learned more than I could have done
from the most interesting book. The viceroy having remarked that a few
patricians regretted their former liberty, the Emperor exclaimed,
"Liberty, what nonsense! liberty no longer existed in Venice, and had,
indeed, never existed except for a few families of the nobility, who
oppressed the rest of the population. Liberty, with a Council of Ten!
Liberty, with the inquisitors of state! Liberty, with the very lions as
informers, and Venetian dungeons and bullets!" Marshal Duroc remarked
that towards the end these severe regulations were much modified. "Yes,
no doubt,"--replied the Emperor. "The lion of St. Mark had gotten old;
he had no longer either teeth or nails! Venice was only the shadow of
her former self, and her last doge found that he rose to a higher rank in
becoming a senator of the French Empire." His Majesty, seeing that this
idea made the vice-king smile, added very gravely, "I am not jesting,
gentlemen. A Roman senator prided himself on being more than a king; a
French senator is at least the equal of a doge. I desire that foreigners
shall accustom themselves to show the greatest respect towards the
constituted authorities of the Empire, and to treat with great
consideration even the simple title of French citizen. I will take care
to insure this. Good-night, Eugene. Duroc, take care to have the
reception to-morrow all that it should be. After the ceremony we will
visit the arsenal. Adieu, Messieurs. Constant, come back in ten minutes
to put out my light; I feel sleepy. One is cradled like an infant on
these gondolas."

The next day his Majesty, after receiving the homage of the Venetian
authorities, repaired to the arsenal. This is an immense building,
fortified so carefully that it was practically impregnable. The
appearance of the interior is singular on account of several small
islands which it incloses, joined together by bridges. The magazines and
numerous buildings of the fortress thus appear to be floating on the
surface of the water. The entrance on the land side, by which we were
introduced, is over a very handsome bridge of marble, ornamented with
columns and statues. On the side next the sea, there are numerous rocks
and sandbanks, the presence of which is indicated by long piles. It is
said that in time of war these piles were taken up, which exposed the
foreign vessels, imprudent enough to entangle themselves among these
shoals, to certain destruction. The arsenal could formerly equip eighty
thousand men, both infantry and cavalry, independent of complete
armaments for war vessels.

The arsenal is bordered with raised towers, from which the view extends
in all directions. On the tallest of these towers, which is placed in
the center of the building, as well as all the others, sentinels were
stationed, both day and night, to signal the arrival of vessels, which
they could see at a very great distance. Nothing can be finer than the
dockyards for building vessels, in which ten thousand men can work with
ease. The sails are made by women, over whom other elderly women
exercise an active surveillance.

The Emperor delayed only a short time to look at the 'Bucentaure'; which
is the title of the magnificent vessel in which the Doge of Venice was
accustomed to celebrate his marriage with the sea; and a Venetian never
sees without deep chagrin this old monument of the former glory of his
country. I, in company with some persons of the Emperor's suite, had as
our guide an old mariner, whose eyes filled with tears as he related to
us in bad French that the last time he witnessed the marriage of the Doge
with the Adriatic Sea was in 1796, a year before the capture of Venice.
He also told us that he was at that time in the service of the last Doge
of the republic, Lord Louis Manini, and that the following year (1797),
the French entered Venice at the exact time when the marriage of the Doge
to the sea, which took place on Ascension Day, was usually celebrated,
and ever since the sea had remained a widow. Our good sailor paid a most
touching tribute of praise to his old master, who he said had never
succeeded in forcing himself, to take the oath of allegiance to the
Austrians, and had swooned away while resigning to them the keys of the

The gondoliers are at the same time servants, errand boys, confidants,
and companions in adventures to the person who takes them into his
service; and nothing can equal the courage, fidelity, and gayety of these
brave seamen. They expose themselves fearlessly in their slender
gondolas to tempests; and their skill is so great that they turn with
incredible rapidity in the narrowest canals, cross each other, follow,
and pass each other incessantly, without ever having an accident.

I found myself in a position to judge of the skill of these hardy
mariners the day after our visit to the arsenal. His Majesty was
conducted through the lagoons as far as the fortified gate of Mala-Mocca,
and the gondoliers gave as he returned a boat-race and tournament on the
water. On that day there was also a special representation at the grand
theater, and the whole city was illuminated. In fact, one might think
that there is a continual fete and general illumination in Venice; the
custom being to spend the greater part of the night in business or
pleasure, and the streets are as brilliant and as full of people as in
Paris at four o'clock in the afternoon. The shops, especially those of
the square of Saint Mark, are brilliantly lighted, and crowds fill the
small decorated pavilions where coffee, ices, and refreshments of all
kinds are sold.

The Emperor did not adopt the Venetian mode of life, however, and retired
at the same hour as in Paris; and when he did not pass the day working
with his ministers, rode in a gondola through the lagoons, or visited the
principal establishments and public buildings of Venice; and I thus saw,
in company with his Majesty, the church of Saint Mark, and the ancient
palace of the Doge.

The church of Saint Mark has five entrances, superbly decorated with
marble columns; the gates are of bronze and beautifully carved. Above
the middle door were formerly the four famous bronze horses, which the
Emperor carried to Paris to ornament the Arch of Triumph on the Place du
Carrousel. The tower is separated from the church by a small square,
from the midst of which it rises to a height of more than three hundred
feet. It is ascended by an inclined platform without steps, which is
very convenient; and on arriving at the summit the most magnificent
panorama is spread out before you, Venice with its innumerable islands
covered with palaces, churches, and buildings, and extending at a
distance into the sea; also the immense dike, sixty feet broad, several
fathoms deep, and built of great blocks of stone, which enormous work
surrounds Venice and all its islands, and defends it against the rising
of the sea.

The Venetians have the greatest admiration for the clock placed in the
tower bearing its name, and the mechanism of which shows the progress
of the sun and moon through the twelve signs of the zodiac. In a niche
above the dialplate is an image of the Virgin, which is gilded and
lifesize; and it is said that on certain fete days, each blow of the
pendulum makes two angels appear, trumpet in hand, followed by the Three
Wise Men, who prostrate themselves at the feet of the Virgin Mary. I saw
nothing of all that, but only two large black figures striking the hour
on the clock with iron clubs.

The Doge's palace is a gloomy building; and the prisons, which are
separated from it only by a narrow canal, render the aspect still more

At Venice one finds merchants from every nation, Jews and Greeks being
very numerous. Roustan, who understood the language of the latter, was
sought after by the most distinguished among them; and the heads of a
Greek family came one day to invite him to visit them at their residence
on one of the islands which lie around Venice. Roustan confided to me
his desire to accept this invitation, and I was delighted with his
proposition that I should accompany him. On our arrival at their island,
we were received by our hosts, who were very wealthy merchants, as if we
had been old friends. The apartment, a kind of parlor into which we were
ushered, not only evinced cultivation and refinement, but great elegance;
a large divan extended around the hall, the inlaid floor of which was
covered with artistically woven mats. Our hosts were six men who were
associated in the same trade. I would have been somewhat embarrassed had
not one of them who spoke French conversed with me, while the others
talked to Roustan in their native tongue. We were offered coffee,
fruits, ices, and pipes; and as I was never fond of smoking, and knew
besides the disgust inspired in the Emperor by odors in general, and
especially that of tobacco, I refused the pipe, and expressed a fear that
my clothes might be scented by being so near the smokers. I thought I
perceived that this delicacy lowered me considerably in the esteem of my
hosts, notwithstanding which, as we left, they gave us most urgent
invitations to repeat our visit, which it was impossible to do, as the
Emperor soon after left Venice.

On my return, the Emperor asked me if I had been through the city, what I
thought of it, and if I had entered any residences; in fact, what seemed
to me worthy of notice. I replied as well as I could; and as his Majesty
was just then in a mood for light conversation, spoke to him of our
excursion, and visit to the Greek family. The Emperor asked me what
these Greeks thought of him. "Sire," replied I, "the one who spoke
French seemed entirely devoted to your Majesty, and expressed to me the
hope which he and also his brothers entertained, that the Emperor of the
French, who had successfully combated the mamelukes in Egypt, might also
some day make himself the liberator of Greece."

"Ah, Monsieur Constant," said the Emperor to me, pinching me sharply,
"you are meddling with politics."--"Pardon me, Sire, I only repeated what
I heard, and it is not astonishing that all the oppressed count on your
Majesty's aid. These poor Greeks seem to love their country
passionately, and, above all, detest the Turks most cordially."--"That is
good," said his Majesty; "but I must first of all attend to my own
business. Constant!" continued his Majesty suddenly changing the
subject of this conversation with which he had deigned to honor me, and
smiling with an ironical air, "what do you think of the appearance of the
beautiful Greek women? How many models have you seen worthy of Canova or
of David?" I was obliged to admit to his Majesty that what had
influenced me most in accepting Roustan's proposition was the hope of
seeing a few of these much vaunted beauties, and that I had been cruelly
disappointed in not having seen the shadow of a woman. At this frank
avowal the Emperor, who had expected it in advance, laughed heartily, and
took his revenge on my ears, calling me a libertine: "You do not know
then, Monsieur le Drole, that your good friends the Greeks have adopted
the customs of those Turks whom they detest so cordially, and like them
seclude their wives and daughters in order that they may never appear
before bad men like yourself."

Although the Greek ladies of Venice may be carefully watched by their
husbands, they are neither secluded nor guarded in a seraglio like the
Turkish women; for during our stay at Venice, a great person spoke to his
Majesty of a young and beautiful Greek, who was an enthusiastic admirer
of the Emperor of the French. This lady was very ambitious of being
received by his Majesty in his private rooms, and although carefully
watched by a jealous husband, had found means to send to the Emperor a
letter in which she depicted the intensity of her love and admiration.
This letter, written with real passion and in an exalted strain, inspired
in his Majesty a desire to see and know the author, but it was necessary
he should use precautions, for the Emperor was not the man to abuse his
power to snatch a woman from her husband; and yet all the care that he
took in keeping the affair secret did not prevent her husband from
suspecting the plans of his wife, and before it was possible for her to
see the Emperor, she was carried away far from Venice, and her prudent
husband carefully covered her steps and concealed her flight. When her
disappearance was announced to the Emperor: "He is an old fool," said his
Majesty, laughing, "who thinks he is strong enough to struggle against
his destiny." His Majesty formed no other liaison during our stay at

Before leaving this city, the Emperor rendered a decree which was
received with inexpressible enthusiasm, and added much to the regret
which his Majesty's departure caused the inhabitants of Venice. The
department of the Adriatic, of which Venice was the chief city, was
enlarged in all its maritime coasts, from the town of Aquila as far as
Adria. The decree ordered, moreover, that the port should be repaired,
the canals deepened and cleaned, the great wall of Palestrina of which I
have spoken above, and the jetties in front of it, extended and
maintained; that a canal of communication between the arsenal of Venice
and the Pass of Mala-Mocco should be dug; and finally that this passage
itself should be cleared and deepened sufficiently for vessels of the
line of seventy-four tons burthen to pass in and out.

Other articles related to benevolent establishments, the administration
of which was given to a kind of council called the Congregation of
Charities, and the cession to the city from the royal domain of the
island of Saint Christopher, to be used as a general cemetery; for until
then here, as in the rest of Italy, they had the pernicious custom of
interring the dead in churches. Finally the decree ordered the adoption
of a new mode of lighting the beautiful square of Saint Mark, the
construction of new quays, gateways, etc.

When we left Venice the Emperor was conducted to the shore by a crowd of
the population fully as numerous as that which welcomed his arrival.
Trevise, Undine, and Mantua rivaled each other in their eagerness to
receive his Majesty in a becoming manner. King Joseph had left the
Emperor to return to Naples; but Prince Murat and the vice-king
accompanied his Majesty.

The Emperor stopped only two or three days at Milan, and continued his
journey. On reaching the plains of Marengo, he found there the entire
population of Alexandria awaiting him, and was received by the light of
thousands of torches. We passed through Turin without stopping, and on
the 30th of December again descended Mont Cenis, and on the evening of
the 1st of January arrived at the Tuileries.


We arrived in Paris on the 1st of January at nine o'clock in the evening;
and as the theater of the palace of the Tuileries was now completed, on
the Sunday following his Majesty's return the Griselda of M. Paer was
presented in this magnificent hall. Their Majesties' boxes were situated
in front of the curtain, opposite each other, and presented a charming
picture, with their hangings of crimson silk draped above, and forming a
background to broad, movable mirrors, which reflected at will the
audience or the play. The Emperor, still impressed with the
recollections of the theaters of Italy, criticised unsparingly that of
the Tuileries, saying that it was inconvenient, badly planned, and much
too large for a palace theater; but notwithstanding all these criticisms,
when the day of inauguration came, and the Emperor was convinced of the
very great ingenuity M. Fontaine had shown in distributing the boxes so
as to make the splendid toilets appear to the utmost advantage, he
appeared well satisfied, and charged the Duke of Frioul to present to M.
Fontaine the congratulations he so well deserved.

A week after we saw the reverse of the medal. On that day Cinna was
presented, and a comedy, the name of which I have forgotten. It was such
extremely cold weather that we were obliged to leave the theater
immediately after the tragedy, in consequence of which the Emperor
exhausted himself in invectives against the hall, which according to him
was good for nothing but to be burnt. M. Fontaine [Born at Pontoise,
1762; erected the arch of the Carrousel; died 1853] was summoned, and
promised to do everything in his power to remedy the inconveniences
pointed out to him; and in fact, by means of new furnaces placed under
the theater, with pipes through the ceiling, and steps placed under the
benches of the second tier of boxes, in a week the hall was made warm and

For several weeks the Emperor occupied himself almost exclusively with
buildings and improvements. The arch of triumph of the Place du
Carrousel, from which the scaffolding had been removed in order to allow
the Imperial Guard to pass beneath it on their return from Prussia, first
attracted his Majesty's attention. This monument was then almost
completed, with the exception of a few bas-reliefs which were still to be
put in position. The Emperor took a critical view of it from one of the
palace windows, and said, after knitting his brows two or three times,
that this mass resembled much more a pavilion than a gate, and that he
would have much preferred one constructed in the style of the porte

After visiting in detail the various works begun or carried on since his
departure, his Majesty one morning sent for M. Fontaine, and having
discoursed at length on what he thought worthy of praise or blame in all
that he had seen, informed him of his intentions with regard to the plans
which the architect had furnished for joining the Tuileries to the
Louvre. It was agreed by the Emperor and M. Fontaine that these
buildings should be united by two wings, the first of which should be
finished in five years, a million to be granted each year for this
purpose; and that a second wing should also be constructed on the
opposite side, extending from the Louvre to the Tuileries, forming thus a
perfect square, in the midst of which would be erected an opera house,
isolated on all sides, and communicating with the palace by a
subterranean gallery.

The gallery forming the court in front of the Louvre was to be opened to
the public in winter, and decorated with statues, and also with all the
shrubbery now in boxes in the garden of the Tuileries; and in this court
he intended to erect an arch of triumph very similar to that of the
Carrousel. Finally, all these beautiful buildings were to be used as
lodgings for the grand officers of the crown, as stables, etc. The
necessary expense was estimated as approximating forty-two millions.

The Emperor was occupied in succession with a palace of arts; with a new
building for the Imperial library, to be placed on the spot now occupied
by the Bourse; with a palace for the stock-exchange on the quay Desaix;
with the restoration of the Sorbonne and the hotel Soubise; with a
triumphal column at Neuilly; with a fountain on the Place Louis XV.; with
tearing down the Hotel-Dieu to enlarge and beautify the Cathedral
quarter; and with the construction of four hospitals at Mont-Parnasse, at
Chaillot, at Montmartre, and in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, etc. All
these plans were very grand; and there is no doubt that he who had
conceived them would have executed them; and it has often been said that
had he lived, Paris would have had no rival in any department in the

At the same time his Majesty decided definitely on the form of the arch
of triumph de l'Etoile, which had been long debated, and for which all
the architects of the crown had submitted plans. It was M. Fontaine
whose opinion prevailed; since among all the plans presented his was the
simplest, and at the same time the most imposing.

The Emperor was also much interested in the restoration of the palace of
Versailles. M. Fontaine had submitted to his Majesty a plan for the
first repairs, by the terms of which, for the sum of six millions, the
Emperor and Empress would have had a comfortable dwelling. His Majesty,
who liked everything grand, handsome, superb, but at the same time
economical, wrote at the bottom of this estimate the following note,
which M. de Bausset reports thus in his Memoirs:--

   "The plans in regard to Versailles must be carefully considered.
   Those which M. Fontaine submits are very reasonable, the estimate
   being six millions; but this includes dwellings, with the
   restoration of the chapel and that of the theater, only sufficiently
   comfortable for present use, not such as they should be one day.

   "By this plan, the Emperor and Empress would have their apartments;
   but we must remember that this sum should also furnish lodgings for
   princes, grand and inferior officers.

   "It is also necessary to know where will be placed the factory of
   arms, which will be needed at Versailles, since it puts silver in

   "It will be necessary out of these six millions to find six lodgings
   for princes, twelve for grand officers, and fifty for inferior

   "Then only can we decide to make Versailles our residence, and pass
   the summers there. Before adopting these plans, it will be
   necessary that the architect who engages to execute them should
   certify that they can be executed for the proposed sum."

A few days after their arrival their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress,
went to visit the celebrated David

   [Jacques Louis David, born in Paris, 1748, celebrated historical
   painter, member of convention, 1792, and voted for the death of the
   king. Died in Brussels, 1825.]

at his studio in the Sorbonne, in order to see the magnificent picture of
the coronation, which had just been finished. Their Majesties' suite was
composed of Marshal Bessieres, an aide-de-camp of the Emperor, M. Lebrun,
several ladies of the palace, and chamberlains. The Emperor and Empress
contemplated with admiration for a long while this beautiful painting,
which comprised every species of merit; and the painter was in his glory
while hearing his Majesty name, one by one, all the different personages
of the picture, for the resemblance was really miraculous. "How grand
that is!" said the Emperor; "how fine! how the figures are brought out
in relief! how truthful! This is not a painting; the figures live in
this picture!" First directing his attention to the grand tribune in the
midst, the Emperor, recognized Madame his mother, General Beaumont, M. de
Cosse, M. de La Ville, Madame de Fontanges, and Madame Soult. "I see in
the distance," said he, "good M. Vien." M. David replied, "Yes, Sire; I
wished to show my admiration for my illustrious master by placing him in
this picture, which, on account of its subject, will be the most famous
of my works." The Empress then took part in the conversation, and
pointed out to the Emperor how happily M. David had seized upon and
represented the interesting moment when the Emperor is on the point of
being crowned. "Yes," said his Majesty, regarding it with a pleasure
that he did not seek to disguise, "the moment is well chosen, and the
scene perfectly represented; the two figures are very fine," and speaking
thus, the Emperor looked at the Empress.

His Majesty continued the examination of the picture in all its details,
and praised especially the group of the Italian clergy near the altar,
which episode was invented by the painter. He seemed to wish only that
the Pope had been represented in more direct action, appearing to give
his blessing, and that the crown of the Empress had been borne by the
cardinal legate. In regard to this group, Marshal Bessieres made the
Emperor laugh heartily, by relating to him the very amusing discussion
which had taken place between David and Cardinal Caprara.

It is well known that the artist had a great aversion to dressed figures,
especially to those clothed in the modern style. In all his paintings,
there may be remarked such a pronounced love for the antique that it even
shows itself in his manner of draping living persons. Now, Cardinal
Caprara, one of the assistants of the Pope at the ceremony of the
coronation, wore a wig; and David, in giving him a place in his picture,
thought it more suitable to take off his wig, and represent him with a
bald head, the likeness being otherwise perfect. The Cardinal was much
grieved, and begged the artist to restore his wig, but received from
David a formal refusal. "Never," said he, "will I degrade my pencil so
far as to paint a wig." His Eminence went away very angry, and
complained to M. de Talleyrand, who was at this time Minister of Foreign
Affairs, giving, among other reasons, this, which seemed to him
unanswerable, that, as no Pope had ever worn a wig, they would not fail
to attribute to him, Cardinal Caprara, an intention of aspiring to the
pontifical chair in case of a vacancy, which intention would be clearly
shown by the suppression of his wig in the picture of the coronation.
The entreaties of his Eminence were all in vain; for David would not
consent to restore his precious wig, saying, that "he ought to be very
glad he had taken off no more than that."

After hearing this story, the particulars of which were confirmed by the
principal actor in the scene, his Majesty made some observations to M.
David, with all possible delicacy. They were attentively noted by this
admirable artist, who, with a bow, promised the Emperor to profit by his
advice. Their Majesties' visit was long, and lasted until the fading
light warned the Emperor that it was time to return. M. David escorted
him to the door of his studio; and there, stopping short, the Emperor
took off his hat, and, by a most graceful bow, testified to the honor he
felt for such distinguished talent. The Empress added to the agitation
by which M. David seemed almost overcome by a few of the charming words
of appreciation she so well knew how to say, and said so opportunely.

Opposite the picture of the coronation was placed that of the Sabines.
The Emperor, who perceived how anxious M. David was to dispose of this,
gave orders to M. Lebrun, as he left, to see if this picture could not be
placed to advantage in the grand gallery at the Tuileries. But he soon
changed his mind when he reflected that most of the figures were
represented in naturalibus, which would appear incongruous in an
apartment used for grand diplomatic receptions, and in which the Council
of Ministers usually sat.


The last of January, Mademoiselle de Tascher, niece of her Majesty the
Empress, was married to the Duke of Aremberg. The Emperor on this
occasion raised Mademoiselle de Tascher to the dignity of a princess, and
deigned, in company with the Empress, to honor with his presence the
marriage, which took place at the residence of her Majesty the Queen of
Holland, in the Rue de Ceriltti, and was celebrated with a splendor
worthy of the august guests. The Empress remained some time after
dinner, and opened the ball with the Duke of Aremberg. A few days after
this the Prince of Hohenzollern married the niece of the Grand Duke of
Berg and Cleves, Mademoiselle Antoinette Murat.

His Majesty honored her as he had done Mademoiselle Tascher, and, in
company with the Empress, also attended the ball which the Grand Duke of
Berg gave on the occasion of this marriage, and at which Princess
Caroline presided.

This was a brilliant winter at Paris, owing to the great number of fetes
and balls which were given. The Emperor, as I have already said, had an
aversion to balls, and especially masked balls, which he considered the
most senseless things in the world, and this was a subject on which he
was often at war with the Empress; but, notwithstanding this, on one
occasion he yielded to the entreaties of M. de Marescalchi, the Italian
ambassador, noted for his magnificent balls, which the most distinguished
personages of the kingdom attended. These brilliant reunions took place
in a hall which the ambassador had built for the purpose, and decorated
with extraordinary luxury and splendor; and his Majesty, as I have said,
consented to honor with his presence a masked ball given by this
ambassador, which was to eclipse all others.

In the morning the Emperor called me, and said, "I have decided to dance
this evening at the house of the ambassador of Italy; you will carry,
during the day, ten complete costumes to the apartments he has prepared
for me." I obeyed, and in the evening accompanied his Majesty to the
residence of M. Marescalchi, and dressed him as best I could in a black
domino, taking great pains to render him unrecognizable; and everything
went well, in spite of numerous observations on the Emperor's part as to
the absurdity of a disguise, the bad appearance a domino makes, etc.
But, when it was proposed to change his shoes, he rebelled absolutely, in
spite of all I could say on this point; and consequently he was
recognized the moment he entered the ballroom. He went straight to a
masker, his hands behind his back, as usual, and attempted to enter into
an intrigue, and at the first question he asked was called Sire, in
reply. Whereupon, much disappointed, he turned on his heel, and came
back to me. "You are right, Constant; I am recognized. Bring me
lace-boots and another costume." I put the boots on his feet, and
disguised him anew, advising him to let his arms hang, if he did not
wish to be recognized at once; and his Majesty promised to obey in every
particular what he called my instructions. He had hardly entered the
room in his new costume, however, before he was accosted by a lady, who,
seeing him with his hands again crossed behind his back, said, "Sire,
you are recognized!" The Emperor immediately let his arms fall; but it
was too late, for already every one moved aside respectfully to make
room for him. He then returned to his room, and took a third costume,
promising me implicitly to pay attention to his gestures and his walk,
and offering to bet that he would not be recognized. This time, in
fact, he entered the hall as if it were a barrack, pushing and elbowing
all around him; but, in spite of this, some one whispered in his ear,
"Your Majesty is recognized." A new disappointment, new change of
costume, and new advice on my part, with the same result; until at last
his Majesty left the ambassador's ball, persuaded that he could not be
disguised, and that the Emperor would be recognized whatever mask he
might assume.

That evening at supper, the Prince de Neuchatel, the Duke de Trevise, the
Duke de Frioul, and some other officers being present, the Emperor
related the history of his disguises, and made many jests on his
awkwardness. In speaking of the young lady who had recognized him the
evening before, and who had, it appeared, puzzled him greatly, "Can you
believe it, Messieurs," said he, "I never succeeded in recognizing the
little wretch at all?" During the carnival the Empress expressed a wish
to go once to the masked ball at the opera; and when she begged the
Emperor to accompany her he refused, in spite of all the tender and
enticing things the Empress could say, and all the grace with which, as
is well known, she could surround a petition. She found that all was
useless, as the Emperor said plainly that he would not go. "Well, I will
go without you."--"As you please," and the Emperor went out.

That evening at the appointed hour the Empress went to the ball; and the
Emperor, who wished to surprise her, had one of her femmes de chambre
summoned, and obtained from her an exact description of the Empress's
costume. He then told me to dress him in a domino, entered a carriage
without decorations, and accompanied by the grand marshal of the palace,
a superior officer, and myself, took the road to the opera. On reaching
the private entrance of the Emperor's household, we encountered some
difficulty, as the doorkeeper would not let us pass till I had told my
name and rank. "These gentlemen are with you?"--"As you see."--"I beg
your pardon, Monsieur Constant; but it is because in such times as these
there are always persons who try to enter without paying."--"That is
good! That is good!" and the Emperor laughed heartily at the
doorkeeper's observations. At last we entered, and having got as far as
the hall, promenaded in couples, I giving my arm to the Emperor, who said
thou to me, and bade me reply in the same way. We gave each other
fictitious names, the Emperor calling himself Auguste; the Duke de
Frioul, Francois; the superior officer, whose name escapes me, Charles;
while I was Joseph. As soon as his Majesty saw a domino similar to the
one the femme de chambre had described, he pressed my arm and said, "Is
that she?"--"No, Si--- no, Auguste," replied I, constantly correcting
myself; for it was impossible to accustom myself to calling the Emperor
otherwise than Sire or your Majesty. He had, as I have said, expressly
ordered me to tutoy him; but he was every moment compelled to repeat this
order to me, for respect tied my tongue every time I tried to say tu. At
last, after having gone in every direction, explored every corner and
nook of the saloon, the green-room, the boxes, etc., in fact, examined
everything, and looked each costume over in detail, his Majesty, who was
no more successful in recognizing her Majesty than were we, began to feel
great anxiety, which I, however, succeeded in allaying by telling him
that doubtless the Empress had gone to change her costume. As I was
speaking, a domino arrived who seemed enamoured of the Emperor, accosted
him, mystified him, tormented him in every way, and with so much vivacity
that Auguste was beside himself; and it is impossible to give even a
faint idea of the comical sight the Emperor presented in his
embarrassment. The domino, delighted at this, redoubled her wit and
raillery until, thinking it time to cease, she disappeared in the crowd.

The Emperor was completely exasperated; he had seen enough, and we left
the ball.

The next morning when he saw the Empress, he remarked, "Well, you did not
go to the opera ball, after all!"--"Oh, yes, indeed I did."--"Nonsense!"
--"I assure you that I went. And you, my dear, what did you do all the
evening?"--"I worked."--"Why, that is very singular; for I saw at the
ball last night a domino who had exactly your foot and boots. I took him
for you, and consequently addressed him." The Emperor laughed heartily
on learning that he had been thus duped; the Empress, just as she left
for the ball, had changed her costume, not thinking the first
sufficiently elegant.

The carnival was extremely brilliant this year, and there were in Paris
all kinds of masquerades. The most amusing were those in which the
theory advocated by the famous Doctor Gall [Franz Joseph Gall, founder
of the system of phrenology. Born in Baden, 1758; died in Paris, 1825]
was illustrated. I saw a troop passing the Place du Carrousel, composed
of clowns, harlequins, fishwives, etc., all rubbing their skulls, and
making expressive grimaces; while a clown bore several skulls of
different sizes, painted red, blue, or green, with these inscriptions:
Skull of a robber, skull of an assassin, skull of a bankrupt, etc.; and a
masked figure, representing Doctor Gall, was seated on an ass, his head
turned to the animal's tail, and receiving from the hands of a woman who
followed him, and was also seated on an ass, heads covered with wigs made
of long grass.

Her Majesty Queen Caroline gave a masked ball, at which the Emperor and
Empress were present, which was one of the most brilliant I have ever

The opera of la Vestale was then new, and very much the fashion; it
represented a quadrille of priests and vestals who entered to the sound
of delicious music on the flute and harp, and in addition to this there
were magicians, a Swiss marriage, Tyrolian betrothals, etc. All the
costumes were wonderfully handsome and true to nature; and there had been
arranged in the apartments at the palace a supply of costumes which
enabled the dancers to change four or five times during the night, and
which had the effect of renewing the ball as many times.

As I was dressing the Emperor for this ball, he said to me, "Constant,
you must go with me in disguise. Take whatever costume you like,
disguise yourself so that you cannot possibly be recognized, and I will
give you instructions." I hastened to do as his Majesty ordered, donned a
Swiss costume which suited me very well, and thus equipped awaited his
Majesty's orders.

He had a plan for mystifying several great personages, and two or three
ladies whom the Emperor designated to me with such minute details that it
was impossible to mistake them, and told me some singular things in
regard to them, which were not generally known, and were well calculated
to embarrass them terribly. As I was starting, the Emperor called me
back, saying, "Above all, Constant, take care to make no mistake, and do
not confound Madame de M---- with her sister; they have almost exactly
the same costume, but Madame de M--- is larger than she, so take care."
On my arrival at the ball, I sought and easily found the persons whom his
Majesty had designated, and the replies which they made afforded him much
amusement when I narrated them as he was retiring.

There was at this time a third marriage at the court, that of the Prince
de Neuchatel and the Princess of Bavaria, which was celebrated in the
chapel of the Tuileries by Cardinal Fesch.

A traveler just returned from the Isle of France presented to the Empress
a female monkey of the orang-outang species; and her Majesty gave orders
that the animal should be placed in the menagerie at Malmaison. This
baboon was extremely gentle and docile, and its master had given it an
excellent education. It was wonderful to see her, when any one
approached the chair on which she was seated, take a decent position,
draw over her legs and thighs the fronts of a long redingote, and, when
she rose to make a bow, hold the redingote carefully in front of her,
acting, in fact, exactly as would a young girl who had been well reared.
She ate at the table with a knife and fork more properly than many
children who are thought to be carefully trained, and liked, while
eating, to cover her face with her napkin, and then uncover it with a cry
of joy. Turnips were her favorite food; and, when a lady of the palace
showed her one, she began to run, caper, and cut somersaults, forgetting
entirely the lessons of modesty and decency her professor had taught her.
The Empress was much amused at seeing the baboon lose her dignity so
completely under the influence of this lady.

This poor beast had inflammation of the stomach, and, according to the
directions of the traveler who brought her, was placed in bed and a
night-dress put on her. She took great care to keep the covering up to
her chin, though unwilling to have anything on her head; and held her
arms out of the bed, her hands hidden in the sleeves of the night-dress.
When any one whom she knew entered the room, she nodded to them and took
their hand, pressing it affectionately. She eagerly swallowed the
medicines prescribed, as they were sweet; and one day, while a draught of
manna was being prepared, which she thought too long delayed, she showed
every sign of impatience, and threw herself from side to side like a
fretful child; at last, throwing off the covering, she seized her
physician by the coat with so much obstinacy that he was compelled to
yield. The instant she obtained possession of the eagerly coveted cup
she manifested the greatest delight, and began to drink, taking little
sips, and smacking her lips with all the gratification of an epicure who
tastes a glass of wine which he thinks very old and very delicious. At
last the cup was emptied, she returned it, and lay down again. It is
impossible to give an idea of the gratitude this poor animal showed
whenever anything was done for her. The Empress was deeply attached to


After remaining about a week at the chateau of Saint-Cloud, his Majesty
set out, on the 2d of April, at 11 o'clock in the morning, to visit the
departments of the South; and as this journey was to begin at Bordeaux,
the Emperor requested the Empress to meet him there. This publicly
announced intention was simply a pretext, in order, to mislead the
curious, for we knew that we were going to the frontier of Spain.

The Emperor remained barely ten days there, and then left for Bayonne
alone, leaving the Empress at Bordeaux, and reaching Bayonne on the night
of the 14-15th of April, where her Majesty the Empress rejoined him two
or three days afterwards.

The Prince of Neuchatel and the grand marshal lodged at the chateau of
Marrac, the rest of their Majesties' suite lodged at Bayonne and its
suburbs, the guard camped in front of the chateau on a place called the
Parterre, and in three days all were comfortably located.

On the morning of the 15th of April, the Emperor had hardly recovered
from the fatigue of his journey, when he received the authorities of
Bayonne, who came to congratulate him, and questioned them, as was his
custom, most pointedly. His Majesty then set out to visit the fort and
fortifications, which occupied him till the evening, when he returned to
the Government palace, which he occupied temporarily while waiting till
the chateau of Marrac should be ready to receive him.

On his return to the palace the Emperor expected to find the Infant Don
Carlos, whom his brother Ferdinand, the Prince of the Asturias, had sent
to Bayonne to present his compliments to the Emperor; but he was informed
that the Infant was ill, and would not be able to come. The Emperor
immediately gave orders to send one of his physicians to attend upon him,
with a valet de chambre and several other persons; for the prince had
come to Bayonne without attendants, and incognito, attended only by a
military service composed of a few soldiers of the garrison. The Emperor
also ordered that this service should be replaced by one more suitable,
consisting of the Guard of Honor of Bayonne, and sent two or three times
each day to inquire the condition of the Infant, who it was freely
admitted in the palace was very ill.

On leaving the Government palace to take up his abode at Marrac, the
Emperor gave all necessary orders that it should be in readiness to
receive the King and Queen of Spain, who were expected at Bayonne the
last of the month; and expressly recommended that everything should be
done to render to the sovereigns of Spain all the honors due their
position. Just as the Emperor entered the chateau the sound of music was
heard, and the grand marshal entered to inform his Majesty that a large
company of the inhabitants in the costume of the country were assembled
before the gate of the chateau. The Emperor immediately went to the
window; and, at sight of him, seventeen persons (seven men and ten women)
began with inimitable grace a dance called 'la pamperruque', in which the
women kept time on tambourines, and the men with castanets, to an
orchestra composed of flutes and guitars. I went out of the castle to
view this scene more closely. The women wore short skirts of blue silk,
and pink stockings likewise embroidered in silver; their hair was tied
with ribbons, and they wore very broad black bracelets, that set off to
advantage the dazzling whiteness of their bare arms. The men wore
tight-fitting white breeches, with silk stockings and large epaulettes,
a loose vest of very fine woolen cloth ornamented with gold, and their
hair caught up in a net like the Spaniards.

His Majesty took great pleasure in witnessing this dance, which is
peculiar to the country and very ancient, which the custom of the country
has consecrated as a means of rendering homage to great personages. The
Emperor remained at the window until the 'pamperruque' was finished, and
then sent to compliment the dancers on their skill, and to express his
thanks to the inhabitants assembled in crowds at the gate.

His Majesty a few days afterward received from his Royal Highness, the
Prince of the Asturias, a letter, in which he announced that he intended
setting out from Irun, where he then was, at an early day, in order to
have the pleasure of making the acquaintance of his brother (it was thus
Prince Ferdinand called the Emperor); a pleasure which he had long
desired, and which he would at last enjoy if his good brother would allow
him. This letter was brought to the Emperor by one of the aides-de-camp
of the prince, who had accompanied him from Madrid, and preceded him to
Bayonne by only ten days. His Majesty could hardly believe what he read
and heard; and I, with several other persons, heard him exclaim, "What,
he is coming here? but you must be mistaken; he must be deceiving us;
that cannot be possible!" And I can certify that, in these words, the
Emperor manifested no pleasure at the announcement.

It was necessary, however, to make preparations to receive the prince,
since he was certainly coming; consequently the Prince of Neuchatel, the
Duke of Frioul, and a chamberlain of honor, were selected by his Majesty.
And the guard of honor received orders to accompany these gentlemen, and
meet the Prince of Spain just outside the town of Bayonne; the rank which
the Emperor recognized in Ferdinand not rendering it proper that the
escort should go as far as the frontier of the two empires. The Prince
made his entrance into Bayonne at noon, on the 20th of April. Lodgings
which would have been considered very inferior in Paris, but which were
elegant in Bayonne, had been prepared for him and his brother, the Infant
Don Carlos, who was already installed there. Prince Ferdinand made a
grimace on entering, but did not dare to complain aloud; and certainly it
would have been most improper for him to have done so, since it was not
the Emperor's fault that Bayonne possessed only one palace, which was at
this time reserved for the king, and, besides, this house, the handsomest
in the town, was large and perfectly new. Don Pedro de Cevallos, who
accompanied the prince, thought it horrible, and unfit for a royal
personage. It was the residence of the commissariat. An hour after
Ferdinand's arrival, the Emperor visited him. He was awaiting the
Emperor at the door, and held out his arms on his approach; they
embraced, and ascended to his apartments, where they remained about half
an hour, and when they separated the prince wore a somewhat anxious air.
His Majesty on his return charged the grand marshal to convey to the
prince and his brother, Don Carlos, the Duke of San-Carlos, the Duke of
Infantado, Don Pedro de Cevallos, and two or three other persons of the
suite, an invitation to dine with him; and the Emperor's carriages were
sent for these illustrious guests at the appointed hour, and they were
conveyed to the chateau. His Majesty descended to the foot of the
staircase to receive the prince; but this was the limit of his deference,
for not once during dinner did he give Prince Ferdinand, who was a king
at Madrid, the title of your majesty, nor even that of highness; nor did
he accompany him on his departure any farther than the first door of the
saloon; and he afterwards informed him, by a message, that he would have
no other rank than that of Prince of the Asturias until the arrival of
his father, King Charles. Orders were given at the same time to place on
duty at the house of the princes, the Bayonnaise guard of honor, with the
Imperial Guard in addition to a detachment of picked police.

On the 27th of April the Empress arrived from Bordeaux at seven o'clock
in the evening, having made no stay at Bayonne, where her arrival excited
little enthusiasm, as they were perhaps displeased that she did not stop
there. His Majesty received her with much tenderness, and showed much
solicitude as to the fatigue she must have experienced, since the roads
were so rough, and badly washed by the rains. In the evening the town
and chateau were illuminated.

Three days after, on the 30th, the King and Queen of Spain arrived at
Bayonne; and it is impossible to describe the homage which the Emperor
paid them. The Duke Charles de Plaisance went as far as Irun, and the
Prince de Neuchatel even to the banks of the Bidassoa, in order to pay
marked respect to their Catholic Majesties on the part of their powerful
friend; and the king and queen appeared to appreciate highly these marks
of consideration. A detachment of picked troops, superbly uniformed,
awaited them on the frontier, and served as their escort; the garrison of
Bayonne was put under arms, all the buildings of the port were decorated,
all the bells rang, and the batteries of both the citadel and the port
saluted with great salvos. The Prince of the Asturias and his brother,
hearing of the arrival of the king and queen, had left Bayonne in order
to meet their parents, when they encountered, a short distance from the
town, two or three grenadiers who had just left Vittoria, and related to
them the following occurrence:

When their Spanish Majesties entered Vittoria, they found that a
detachment of the Spanish body guards, who had accompanied the Prince of
the Asturias and were stationed in this town, had taken possession of the
palace which the king and queen were to occupy as they passed through,
and on the arrival of their Majesties had put themselves under arms. As
soon as the king perceived this, he said to them in a severe tone, "You
will understand why I ask you to quit my palace. You have failed in your
duty at Aranjuez. I have no need of your services, and I do not wish
them. Go!" These words, pronounced with an energy far from habitual to
Charles IV., met with no reply. The detachment of the guards retired;
and the king begged General Verdier to give him a French guard, much
grieved, he said, that he had not retained his brave riflemen, whose
colonel he still kept near him as captain of the guards.

This news could not give the Prince of the Asturias a high opinion of the
welcome his father had in store for him; and indeed he was very coolly
received, as I shall now relate.

The King and Queen of Spain, on alighting at the governmental palace,
found awaiting them the grand marshal, the Duke de Frioul, who escorted
them to their apartments, and presented to them General Count Reille, the
Emperor's aide-de-camp, performing the duties of governor of the palace;
M. d'Audenarde, equerry, with M. Dumanoir and M. de Baral, chamberlains
charged with the service of honor near their Majesties.

The grandees of Spain whom their Majesties found at Bayonne were the same
who had followed the Prince of the Asturias, and the sight of them, as
may well be imagined, was not pleasant to the king; and when the ceremony
of the kissing of the hand took place, every one perceived the painful
agitation of the unfortunate sovereigns. This ceremony, which consists
of falling on your knees and kissing the hand of the king and queen, was
performed in the deepest silence, as their Majesties spoke to no one but
the Count of Fuentes, who by chance was at Bayonne.

The king hurried over this ceremony, which fatigued him greatly, and
retired with the queen into his apartments, where the Prince of the
Asturias wished to follow them; but his father stopped him at the door,
and raising his arm as if to repulse him, said in a trembling tone,
"Prince, do you wish still to insult my gray hairs?" These words had,
it is said, the effect of a thunderbolt on the prince. He was overcome
by his feelings for a moment, and withdrew without uttering a word.

Very different was the reception their Majesties gave to the Prince de la

   [Manuel Godoi, born at Badajos, 1767. A common soldier, he
   became the queen's lover, and the virtual ruler of Spain; died in
   Paris, 1851.]

when he joined them at Bayonne, and he might have been taken for the
nearest and dearest relative of their Majesties. All three wept freely
on meeting again; at least, this is what I was told by a person in the
service--the same, in fact, who gave me all the preceding details.

At five o'clock his Majesty the Emperor came to visit the King and Queen
of Spain; and during this interview, which was very long, the two
sovereigns informed his Majesty of the insults they had received, and the
dangers they had encountered during the past month. They complained
greatly of the ingratitude of so many men whom they had overwhelmed with
kindness, and above all of the guard which had so basely betrayed them.
"Your Majesty," said the king, "does not know what it is to be forced to
commiserate yourself on account of your son. May Heaven forbid that such
a misfortune should ever come to you! Mine is the cause of all that we
have suffered."

The Prince de la Paix had come to Bayonne accompanied by Colonel Martes,
aide-de-camp of Prince Murat, and a valet de chambre, the only servant
who had remained faithful to him. I had occasion to talk with this
devoted servant, who spoke very good French, having been reared near
Toulouse; and he told me that he had not succeeded in obtaining
permission to remain with his master during his captivity, and that this
unfortunate prince had suffered indescribable torments; that not a day
passed without some one entering his dungeon to tell him to prepare for
death, as he was to be executed that very evening or the next morning.
He also told me that the prisoners were left sometimes for thirty hours
without food; that he had only a bed of straw, no linen, no books, and no
communication with the outside world; and that when he came out of his
dungeon to be sent to Colonel Marts, he presented a horrible appearance,
with his long beard, and emaciated frame, the result of mental distress
and insufficient food. He had worn the same shirt for a month, as he had
never been able to prevail on his captors to give him others; and his
eyes had been so long unaccustomed to the light that he was obliged to
close them, and felt oppressed in the open air.

On the road from Bayonne, there was handed to the prince a letter from
the king and queen which was stained with tears. The prince said to his
valet de chambre after reading it, "These are the first consoling words I
have received in a month, for every one has abandoned me except my
excellent masters. The body guards, who have betrayed and sold their
king, will also betray and sell his son; and as for myself, I hope for
nothing, except to be permitted to find an asylum in France for my
children and myself." M. Marts having shown him newspapers in which it
was stated that the prince possessed a fortune of five hundred million,
he exclaimed vehemently that it was an atrocious calumny, and he defied
his most cruel enemies to prove that.

As we have seen, their Majesties had not a numerous suite; but they were,
notwithstanding, followed by baggage-wagons filled with furniture, goods,
and valuable articles, and though their carriages were old-fashioned,
they found them very comfortable--especially the king, who was much
embarrassed the day after his arrival at Bayonne, when, having been
invited to dine with the Emperor, it was necessary to enter a modern
carriage with two steps. He did not dare to put his foot on the frail
things, which he feared would break under his weight; and the oscillating
movement of the body of the carriage made him terribly afraid that it
would upset.

At the table I had an opportunity of observing at my leisure the king and
queen. The king was of medium height, and though not strictly handsome
had a pleasant face. His nose was very long, his voice high-pitched and
disagreeable; and he walked with a mincing air in which there was no
majesty, but this, however, I attributed to the gout. He ate heartily of
everything offered him, except vegetables, which he never ate, saying
that grass was good only for cattle; and drank only water, having it
served in two carafes, one containing ice, and poured from both at the
same time. The Emperor gave orders that special attention should be paid
to the dinner, knowing that the king was somewhat of an epicure. He
praised in high terms the French cooking, which he seemed to find much to
his taste; for as each dish was served him, he would say, "Louise, take
some of that, it is good;" which greatly amused the Emperor, whose
abstemiousness is well known.

The queen was fat and short, dressed very badly, and had no style or
grace; her complexion was very florid, and her expression harsh and
severe. She held her head high, spoke very loud, in tones still more
brusque and piercing than those of her husband; but it is generally
conceded that she had more character and better manners than he.

Before dinner that day there was some conversation on the subject of
dress; and the Empress offered the services of M. Duplan, her
hairdresser, in order to give her ladies some lessons in the French
toilet. Her proposition was accepted; and the queen came out soon after
from the hands of M. Duplan, better dressed, no doubt, and her hair
better arranged, but not beautified, however, for the talent of the
hairdresser could not go as far as that.

The Prince of the Asturias, now King Ferdinand VII., made an unpleasant
impression on all, with his heavy step and careworn air, and rarely ever

Their Spanish Majesties as before brought with them the Prince de la
Paix, who had not been invited by the Emperor, and whom for this reason
the usher on duty detained outside of the dining-hall. But as they were
about to be seated, the king perceived that the prince was absent. "And
Manuel," said he quickly to the Emperor, "and Manuel, Sire!" Whereupon
the Emperor, smiling, gave the signal, and Don Manuel Godoi was
introduced. I was told that he had been a very handsome man; but he
showed no signs of this, which was perhaps owing to the bad treatment he
had undergone.

After the abdication of the princes, the king and queen, the Queen of
Etruria, and the Infant Don Franciso, left Bayonne for Fontainebleau,
which place the Emperor had selected as their residence while waiting
until the chateau of Compiegne should be put in a condition to make them
comfortable. The Prince of the Asturias left the same day, with his
brother Don Carlos and his uncle Don Antonio, for the estates of Valencay
belonging to the Prince of Benevento. They published, while passing
through Bordeaux, a proclamation to the Spanish people, in which they
confirmed the transmission of all their rights to the Emperor Napoleon.

Thus King Charles, freed from a throne which he had always regarded as a
heavy burden, could hereafter give himself up unreservedly in retirement
to his favorite pursuits. In all the world he cared only for the Prince
de la Paix, confessors, watches, and music; and the throne was nothing to
him. After what had passed, the Prince de la Paix could not return to
Spain; and the king would never have consented to be separated from him,
even if the remembrance of the insults which he had personally received
had not been powerful enough to disgust him with his kingdom. He much
preferred the life of a private individual, and could not be happier than
when allowed without interruption to indulge his simple and tranquil
tastes. On his arrival at the chateau of Fontainebleau, he found there
M. Remusat, the first chamberlain; M. de Caqueray, officer of the hunt;
M. de Lugay, prefect of the palace; and a household already installed.
Mesdames de la Rochefoucault, Duchatel, and de Lugay had been selected by
the Emperor for the service of honor near the queen.

The King of Spain remained at Fontainebleau only until the chateau of
Compiegne could be repaired, and as he soon found the climate of this
part of France too cold for his health, went, at the end of a few months,
to Marseilles with the Queen of Etruria, the Infant Don Francisco, and
the Prince de la Paix. In 1811 he left France for Italy, finding his
health still bad at Marseilles, and chose Rome as his residence.

I spoke above of the fondness of the King of Spain for watches. I have
been told that while at Fontainebleau, he had half a dozen of his watches
worn by his valet de chambre, and wore as many himself, giving as a
reason that pocket watches lose time by not being carried. I have also
heard that he kept his confessor always near him, in the antechamber, or
in the room in front of that in which he worked, and that when he wished
to speak to him he whistled, exactly as one would whistle for a dog. The
confessor never failed to respond promptly to this royal call, and
followed his penitent into the embrasure of a window, in which improvised
confessional the king divulged what he had on his conscience, received
absolution, and sent back the priest until he felt himself obliged to
whistle for him again.

When the health of the king, enfeebled by age and gout, no longer allowed
him to devote himself to the pleasures of the chase, he began playing on
the violin more than ever before, in order, he said, to perfect himself
in it. This was beginning rather late. As is well known, he had for his
first violin teacher the celebrated Alexander Boucher, with whom he
greatly enjoyed playing; but he had a mania for beginning first without
paying any attention to the measure; and if M. Boucher made any
observation in regard to this, his Majesty would reply with the greatest
coolness, "Monsieur, it seems to me that it is not my place to wait for

Between the departure of the royal family and the arrival of Joseph, King
of Naples, the time was passed in reviews and military fetes, which the
Emperor frequently honored with his presence. The 7th of June, King
Joseph arrived at Bayonne, where it had been known long in advance that
his brother had summoned him to exchange his crown of Naples for that of

The evening of Joseph's arrival, the Emperor invited the members of the
Spanish Junta, who for fifteen days had been arriving at Bayonne from all
corners of the kingdom, to assemble at the chateau of Marrac, and
congratulate the new king. The deputies accepted this somewhat sudden
invitation without having time to concert together previously any course
of action; and on their arrival at Marrac, the Emperor presented to them
their sovereign, whom they acknowledged, with the exception of some
opposition on the part of the Duke of Infantado, in the name of the
grandees of Spain. The deputations from the Council of Castile, from the
Inquisition, and from the army, etc., submitted most readily. A few days
after, the king formed his ministry, in which all were astonished to find
M. de Cevallos, who had accompanied the Prince of the Asturias to
Bayonne, and had made such a parade of undying attachment to the person
of the one whom he called his unfortunate master; while the Duke of
Infantado, who had opposed to the utmost any recognition of the foreign
monarch, was appointed Captain of the Guard. The king then left for
Madrid, after appointing the Grand Duke of Berg lieutenant-general of the


At this time it was learned at Bayonne that M. de Belloy, Archbishop of
Paris, had just died of a cold, contracted at the age of more than
ninety-eight years. The day after this sad news arrived, the Emperor,
who was sincerely grieved, was dilating upon the great and good qualities
of this venerable prelate, and said that having one day thoughtlessly
remarked to M. de Belloy, then already more than ninety-six years old,
that he would live a century, the good old archbishop had exclaimed,
smiling, "Why, does your Majesty think that I have no more than four
years to live?"

I remember that one of the persons who was present at the Emperor's levee
related the following anecdote concerning M. de Belloy, which seemed to
excite the Emperor's respect and admiration.

The wife of the hangman of Genoa gave birth to a daughter, who could not
be baptized because no one would act as godfather. In vain the father
begged and entreated the few persons whom he knew, in vain he even
offered money; that was an impossibility. The poor child had
consequently remained unbaptized four or five months, though fortunately
her health gave no cause for uneasiness. At last some one mentioned this
singular condition of affairs to the archbishop, who listened to the
story with much interest, inquired why he had not been informed earlier,
and having given orders that the child should be instantly brought to
him, baptized her in his palace, and was himself her godfather.

At the beginning of July the Grand Duke of Berg returned from Spain,
fatigued, ill, and out of humor. He remained there only two or three
days, and held each day an interview with his Majesty, who seemed little
better satisfied with the grand duke than the grand duke was with him,
and left afterwards for the springs of Bareges.

Their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress, left the chateau of Marrac the
20th of July, at six o'clock in the evening. This journey of the Emperor
was one of those which cost the largest number of snuff-boxes set in
diamonds, for his Majesty was not economical with them.

Their Majesties arrived at Pau on the 22d, at ten o'clock in the morning,
and alighted at the chateau of Gelos, situated about a quarter of a
league from the birthplace of the good Henry IV., on the bank of the
river. The day was spent in receptions and horseback excursions, on one
of which the Emperor visited the chateau in which the first king of the
house of Bourbon was reared, and showed how much this visit interested
him, by prolonging it until the dinner-hour.

On the border of the department of the Hautes-Pyrenees, and exactly in
the most desolate and miserable part, was erected an arch of triumph,
which seemed a miracle fallen from heaven in the midst of those plains
uncultivated and burned up by the sun. A guard of honor awaited their
Majesties, ranged around this rural monument, at their head an old
marshal of the camp, M. de Noe, more than eighty years of age. This
worthy old soldier immediately took his place by the side of the
carriage, and as cavalry escort remained on horseback for a day and two
nights without showing the least fatigue.

As we continued our journey, we saw, on the plateau of a small mountain,
a stone pyramid forty or fifty feet high, its four sides covered with
inscriptions to the praise of their Majesties. About thirty children
dressed as mamelukes seemed to guard this monument, which recalled to the
Emperor glorious memories. The moment their Majesties appeared,
balladeers, or dancers, of the country emerged from a neighboring wood,
dressed in the most picturesque costumes, bearing banners of different
colors, and reproducing with remarkable agility and vigor the traditional
dance of the mountaineers of the south.

Near the town of Tarbes was a sham mountain planted with firs, which
opened to let the cortege pass through, surmounted by an imperial eagle
suspended in the air, and holding a banner on which was inscribed--
"He will open our Pyrenees."

On his arrival at Tarbes, the Emperor immediately mounted his horse to
pay a visit to the Grand Duke of Berg, who was ill in one of the suburbs.
We left next day without visiting Bareges and Bagneres, where the most
brilliant preparations had been made to receive their Majesties.

As the Emperor passed through Agen, there was presented to him a brave
fellow named Printemps, over a hundred years old, who had served under
Louis XIV., XV., and XVI., and who, although bending beneath the weight
of many years and burdens, finding himself in the presence of the
Emperor, gently pushed aside two of his grandsons by whom he had been
supported, and exclaimed almost angrily that he could go very well alone.
His Majesty, who was much touched, met him half-way, and most kindly bent
over the old centenarian, who on his knees, his white head uncovered, and
his eyes full of tears, said in trembling tones, "Ah, Sire, I was afraid
I should die without seeing you." The Emperor assisted him to rise, and
conducted him to a chair, in which he placed him with his own hands, and
seated himself beside him on another, which he made signs to hand him.
"I am glad to see you, my dear Printemps, very glad. You have heard from
me lately?" (His Majesty had given this brave man a pension, which his
wife was to inherit after his death.) Printemps put his hand on his
heart, "Yes, I have heard from you." The Emperor took pleasure in making
him speak of his campaigns, and bade him farewell after a long
conversation, handing him at the same time a gift of fifty napoleons.

There was also presented to his Majesty a soldier born at Agen, who had
lost his sight in consequence of the campaign in Egypt. The Emperor gave
him three hundred francs, and promised him a pension, which was
afterwards sent him.

The day after their arrival at Saint-Cloud, the Emperor and Empress went
to Paris in order to be present at the fetes of the 15th of August, which
it is useless to say were magnificent. As soon as he entered the
Tuileries, the Emperor hastened through the chateau to examine the
repairs and improvements which had been made during his absence, and, as
was his habit, criticised more than he praised all that he saw. Looking
out of the hall of the marshals, he demanded of M. de Fleurieu, governor
of the palace, why the top of the arch of triumph on the Carrousel was
covered with a cloth; and his Majesty was told that it was because all
the arrangements had not yet been made for placing his statue in the
chariot to which were attached the Corinthian horses, and also because
the two Victories who were to guide the four horses were not yet
completed. "What!" vehemently exclaimed the Emperor; "but I will not
allow that! I said nothing about it! I did not order it!" Then turning
to M. Fontaine, he continued, "Monsieur Fontaine, was my statue in the
design which was presented to you?"--"No, Sire, it was that of the god
Mars."--"Well, why have you put me in the place of the god of
war?"--"Sire, it was not I, but M. the director-general of the museum."

"The director-general was wrong," interrupted the Emperor impatiently.
"I wish this statue removed; do you hear, Monsieur Fontaine? I wish it
taken away; it is most unsuitable. What! shall I erect statues to
myself! Let the chariot and the Victories be finished; but let the
chariot let the chariot remain empty." The order was executed; and the
statue of the Emperor was taken down and placed in the orangery, and is
perhaps still there. It was made of gilded lead, was a fine piece of
work, and a most excellent likeness.

The Sunday following the Emperor's arrival, his Majesty received at the
Tuileries the Persian ambassador, Asker-Khan; M. Jaubert accompanied him,
and acted as interpreter. This savant, learned in Oriental matters, had
by the Emperor's orders received his excellency on the frontiers of
France, in company with M. Outrey, vice-consul of France at Bagdad.
Later his excellency had a second audience, which took place in state at
the palace of Saint-Cloud.

The ambassador was a very handsome man, tall, with regular features, and
a noble and attractive countenance; his manners were polished and
elegant, especially towards ladies, with even something of French
gallantry. His suite, composed of select personages all magnificently
dressed, comprised, on his departure from Erzeroum, more than three
hundred persons; but the innumerable difficulties encountered on the
journey compelled his excellency to dismiss a large part of his retinue,
and, though thus reduced, this suite was notwithstanding one of the most
numerous ever brought by an ambassador into France. The ambassador and
suite were lodged in the rue de Frejus, in the residence formerly
occupied by Mademoiselle de Conti.

The presents which he brought to the Emperor in the name of his sovereign
were of great value, comprising more than eighty cashmere shawls of all
kinds; a great quantity of fine pearls of various sizes, a few of them
very large; an Eastern bridle, the curb adorned with pearls, turquoise,
emeralds, etc.; and finally the sword of Tamerlane, and that of
Thamas-Kouli-Khan, the former covered with pearls and precious stones,
the second very simply mounted, both having Indian blades of fabulous
value with arabesques of embossed gold.

I took pleasure at the time in inquiring some particulars about this
ambassador. His character was very attractive; and he showed much
consideration and regard for every one who visited him, giving the ladies
attar of roses, the men tobacco, perfumes, and pipes. He took much
pleasure in comparing French jewels with those he had brought from his
own country, and even carried his gallantry so far as to propose to the
ladies certain exchanges, always greatly to their advantage; and a
refusal of these proposals wounded him deeply. When a pretty woman
entered his residence he smiled at first, and heard her speak in a kind
of silent ecstasy; he then devoted his attention to seating her, placed
under her feet cushions and carpets of cashmere (for he had only this
material about him). Even his clothing and bed-coverings were of an
exceedingly fine quality of cashmere. Asker-Khan did not scruple to wash
his face, his beard, and hands in the presence of everybody, seating
himself for this operation in front of a slave, who presented to him on
his knees a porcelain ewer.

The ambassador had a decided taste for the sciences and arts, and was
himself a very learned man. Messieurs Dubois and Loyseau conducted near
his residence an institution which he often visited, especially
preferring to be present at the classes in experimental physics; and the
questions which he propounded by means of his interpreter evinced on his
part a very extensive knowledge of the phenomena of electricity. Those
who traded in curiosities and objects of art liked him exceedingly, since
he bought their wares without much bargaining. However, on one occasion
he wished to purchase a telescope, and sent for a famous optician, who
seized the opportunity to charge him an enormous price. But Asker-Khan
having examined the instrument, with which he was much pleased, said to
the optician, "You have given me your long price, now give me your short

He admired above all the printed calicoes of the manufactures of Jouy,
the texture, designs, and colors of which he thought even superior to
cashmere; and bought several robes to send to Persia as models.

On the day of the Emperor's fete, his Excellency gave in the garden of
his residence an entertainment in the Eastern style, at which the Persian
musicians attached to the embassy executed warlike pieces, astonishing
both for vigor and originality. There were also artificial fireworks,
conspicuous among which were the arms of the Sufi, on which were
represented most ingeniously the cipher of Napoleon.

His Excellency visited the Imperial library, M. Jaubert serving as
interpreter; and the ambassador was overcome with admiration on seeing
the order in which this immense collection of books was kept. He
remained half an hour in the hall of the manuscripts, which he thought
very handsome, and recognized several as being copied by writers of much
renown in Persia. A copy of the Koran struck him most of all; and he
said, while admiring it, that there was not a man in Persia who would not
sell his children to acquire such a treasure.

On leaving, the library, Asker-Khan presented his compliments to the
librarians, and promised to enrich the collection by several precious
manuscripts which he had brought from his own country.

A few days after his presentation, the ambassador went to visit the
Museum, and was much impressed by a portrait of his master, the King of
Persia; and could not sufficiently express his joy and gratitude when
several copies of this picture were presented to him. The historical
pictures, especially the battle-scenes, then engrossed his attention
completely; and he remained at least a quarter of an hour in front of the
one representing the surrender of the city of Vienna.

Having arrived at the end of the gallery of Apollo, Asker-Khan seated
himself to rest, asked for a pipe, and indulged in a smoke; and when he
had finished, rose, and seeing around him many ladies whom curiosity had
attracted, paid them, through M. Jaubert, exceedingly flattering
compliments. Then leaving the Museum, his Excellency went to promenade
in the garden of the Tuileries, where he was soon followed by an immense
crowd. On that day his Excellency bestowed on Prince de Benevento, in
the name of his sovereign, the Grand Order of the Sun, a magnificent
decoration consisting of a diamond sun attached to a cordon of red cloth
covered with pearls.

Asker-Khan made a greater impression at Paris than the Turkish
ambassador. He was generous and more gallant, paid his court with more
address, and conformed more readily to French customs and manners. The
Turk was irascible, austere, and irritable, while the Persian was fond of
and well understood a joke. One day, however, he became red with anger,
and it must be admitted not without good reason.

At a concert given in the apartments of the Empress Josephine,
Asker-Khan, whom the music evidently did not entertain very highly, at
first applauded by ecstatic gestures and rolling his eyes in admiration,
until at last nature overcame politeness, and the ambassador fell sound
asleep. His Excellency's position was not the best for sleeping,
however, as he was standing with his back against the wall, with his
feet braced against a sofa on which a lady was seated. It occurred to
some of the officers of the palace that it would be a good joke to take
away suddenly this point of support, which they accomplished with all
ease by simply beginning a conversation with the lady on the sofa, who
rising suddenly, the seat slipped over the floor; his Excellency's feet
followed this movement, and the ambassador, suddenly deprived of the
weight which had balanced him, extended his length on the floor. On
this rude awakening, he tried to stop himself in his fall by clutching
at his neighbors, the furniture, and the curtains, uttering at the same
time frightful screams. The officers who had played this cruel joke upon
him begged him, with the most ridiculously serious air, to place himself
on a stationary chair in order to avoid the recurrence of such an
accident; while the lady who had been made the accomplice in this
practical joke, with much difficulty stifled her laughter, and his
Excellency was consumed with an anger which he could express only in
looks and gestures.

Another adventure of Asker-Khan's was long a subject of conversation, and
furnished much amusement. Having felt unwell for several days, he
thought that French medicine might cure him more quickly than Persian; so
he sent for M. Bourdois, a most skillful physician whose name he well
knew, having taken care to acquaint himself with all our celebrities of
every kind. The ambassador's orders were promptly executed; but by a
singular mistake it was not Dr. Bourdois who was requested to visit
Asker-Khan, but the president of the Court of Accounts, M. Marbois, who
was much astonished at the honor the Persian ambassador did him, not
being able to comprehend what connection there could be between them.
Nevertheless, he repaired promptly to Asker-Khan, who could scarcely
believe that the severe costume of the president of the Court of Accounts
was that of a physician. No sooner had M. Marbois entered than the
ambassador held out his hand and stuck out his tongue, regarding him very
attentively. M. Marbois was a little surprised at this welcome; but
thinking it was doubtless the Oriental manner of saluting magistrates, he
bowed profoundly, and timidly pressed the hand presented to him, and he
was in this respectful position when four of the servants of the
ambassador brought a vessel with unequivocal signs. M. Marbois
recognized the use of it with a surprise and indignation that could not
be expressed, and drew back angrily, inquiring what all this meant.
Hearing himself called doctor, "What!" cried he, "M. le Docteur!"--
"Why; yes; le Docteur Bourdois!" M. Marbois was enlightened. The
similarity between the sound of his name and that of the doctor had
exposed him to this disagreeable visit.


The day preceding the Emperor's fete, or the day following, the colossal
bronze statue which was to be placed on the monument in the Place Vendome
was removed from the studio of M. Launay. The brewers of the Faubourg
Saint-Antoine offered their handsomest horses to draw the chariot on
which the statue was carried, and twelve were selected, one from each
brewer; and as their masters requested the privilege of riding them,
nothing could be more singular than this cortege, which arrived on the
Place Vendome at five o'clock in the evening, followed by an immense
crowd, amid cries of "Vive l'Empereur." A few days before his Majesty's
departure for Erfurt, the Emperor with the Empress and their households
played prisoner's base for the last time. It was in the evening; and
footmen bore lighted torches, and followed the players when they went
beyond the reach of the light. The Emperor fell once while trying to
catch the Empress, and was taken prisoner; but he soon broke bounds and
began to run again, and when he was free, carried off Josephine in spite
of the protests of the players; and thus ended the last game of
prisoner's base that I ever saw the Emperor play.

It had been decided that the Emperor Alexander and the Emperor Napoleon
should meet at Erfurt on the 27th of September; and most of the
sovereigns forming the Confederation of the Rhine had been invited to be
present at this interview, which it was intended should be both
magnificent and imposing. Consequently the Duke of Frioul, grand marshal
of the palace, sent M. de Canouville, marshal of lodgings of the palace,
M. de Beausset, prefect of the palace, and two quartermasters to prepare
at Erfurt lodgings for all these illustrious visitors, and to organize
the grand marshal's service.

The government palace was chosen for the Emperor Napoleon's lodgings, as
on account of its size it perfectly suited the Emperor's intention of
holding his court there; for the Emperor Alexander, the residence of M.
Triebel was prepared, the handsomest in the town; and for S. A. L, the
Grand Duke Constantine, that of Senator Remann. Other residences were
reserved for the Princes of the Confederation and the persons of their
suite; and a detachment of all branches of the service of the Imperial
household was established in each of these different lodgings.

There had been sent from the storehouse of the crown a large quantity of
magnificent furniture, carpets and tapestry, both Gobelin and la
Savonnerie; bronzes, lusters, candelabras, girondoles, Sevres china; in
fine, everything which could contribute to the luxurious furnishing of
the two Imperial palaces, and those which were to be occupied by the
other sovereigns; and a crowd of workmen came from Paris. General
Oudinot was appointed Governor of Erfurt, and had under his orders the
First regiment of hussars, the Sixth of cuirassiers, and the Seventeenth
of light infantry, which the major-general had appointed to compose the
garrison. Twenty select police, with a battalion chosen from the finest
grenadiers of the guard, were put on duty at the Imperial palaces.

The Emperor, who sought by every means to render this interview at Erfurt
as agreeable as possible to the sovereigns for whom he had conceived an
affection at Tilsit, wished to have the masterpieces of the French stage
played in their honor. This was the amusement most worthy of them that
he could procure, so he gave orders that the theater should be
embellished and repaired. M. Dazincourt was appointed director of the
theater, and set out from Paris with Messieurs Talma, Lafon, Saint-Prix,
Damas, Despres, Varennes, Lacave; Mesdames Duchesnoir, Raucourt, Talma,
Bourgoin, Rose Dupuis, Grosand, and Patrat; and everything was in order
before the arrival of the sovereigns.

Napoleon disliked Madame Talma exceedingly, although she displayed most
remarkable talent, and this aversion was well known, although I could
never discover the cause; and no one was willing to be first to place her
name on the list of those selected to go to Erfurt, but M. Talma made so
many entreaties that at last consent was given. And then occurred what
everybody except M. Talma and his wife had foreseen, that the Emperor,
having seen her play once, was much provoked that she had been allowed to
come, and had her name struck from the list.

Mademoiselle Bourgoin, who was at that time young and extremely pretty,
had at first more success; but it was necessary, in order to accomplish
this, that she should conduct herself differently from Madame Talma. As
soon as she appeared at the theater of Erfurt she excited the admiration,
and became the object of the attentions, of all the illustrious
spectators; and this marked preference gave rise to jealousies, which
delighted her greatly, and which she increased to the utmost of her
ability by every means in her power. When she was not playing, she took
her seat in the theater magnificently dressed, whereupon all looks were
bent on her, and distracted from the stage, to the very great displeasure
of the actors, until the Emperor at last perceived these frequent
distractions, and put an end to them by forbidding Mademoiselle Bourgoin
to appear in the theater except on the stage.

This measure, which was very wisely taken by his Majesty, put him in the
bad graces of Mademoiselle Bourgoin; and another incident added still
more to the displeasure of the actress. The two sovereigns attended the
theater together almost every evening, and the Emperor Alexander thought
Mademoiselle Bourgoin charming. She was aware of this, and tried by
every means to increase the monarch's devotion. One day at last the
amorous Czar confided to the Emperor his feelings for Mademoiselle
Bourgoin. "I do not advise you to make any advances," said the Emperor
Napoleon. "You think that she would refuse me?"--"Oh, no; but to-morrow
is the day for the post, and in five days all Paris would know all about
your Majesty from head to foot." These words singularly cooled the ardor
of the autocrat, who thanked the Emperor for his advice, and said to him,
"But from the manner in which your Majesty speaks, I should be tempted to
believe that you bear this charming actress some ill-will."--"No, in
truth," replied the Emperor, "I do not know anything about her." This
conversation took place in his bedroom during the toilet. Alexander left
his Majesty perfectly convinced, and Mademoiselle Bourgoin ceased her
ogling and her assurance.

His Majesty made his entrance into Erfurt on the morning of the 27th of
September, 1808. The King of Saxony, who had arrived first, followed by
the Count de Marcolini, the Count de Haag, and the Count de Boze, awaited
the Emperor at the foot of the stairs in the governor's palace; after
them came the members of the Regency and the municipality of Erfurt, who
congratulated him in the usual form. After a short rest, the Emperor
mounted his horse, and left Erfurt by the gate of Weimar, making, in
passing, a visit to the King of Saxony, and found outside the city the
whole garrison arranged in line of battle,--the grenadiers of the guard
commanded by M. d'Arquies; the First regiment of hussars by M. de Juniac;
the Seventeenth infantry by M. de Cabannes-Puymisson; and the Sixth
cuirassiers, the finest body of men imaginable, by Colonel
d'Haugeranville. The Emperor reviewed these troops, ordered a change in
some dispositions, and then continued on his way to meet the Emperor

The latter had set out from Saint Petersburg on the 17th of September;
and the King and Queen of Prussia awaited him at Koenigsberg, where he
arrived on the 18th. The Duke of Montebello had the honor of receiving
him at Bromberg amid a salute of twenty-one cannon. Alighting from his
carriage, the Emperor Alexander mounted his horse, accompanied by the
Marshals of the Empire, Soult, Duke of Dalmatia, and Lannes, Duke of
Montebello, and set off at a gallop to meet the Nansouty division, which
awaited him arranged in line of battle. He was welcomed by a new salute,
and by oft repeated cries of "Long live the Emperor Alexander." The
monarch, while reviewing the different corps which formed this fine
division, said to the officers, "I think it a great honor, messieurs, to
be amongst such brave men and splendid soldiers."

By orders of Marshal Soult, who simply executed those given by Napoleon,
relays of the post had been arranged on all the roads which the Monarch
of the North would pass over, and they were forbidden to receive any
compensation. At each relay were escorts of dragoons or light cavalry,
who rendered military honors to the Czar as he passed.

After having dined with the generals of the Nansouty division, the
Emperor of Russia re-entered his carriage, a barouche with two seats, and
seated the Duke of Montebello beside him, who afterwards told me with how
many marks of esteem and kind feeling the Emperor overwhelmed him during
the journey, even arranging the marshal's cloak around his shoulders
while he was asleep.

His Imperial Russian Majesty arrived at Weimar the evening of the 26th,
and next day continued his journey to Erfurt, escorted by Marshal Soult,
his staff, and the superior officers of the Nansouty division, who had
not left him since he had started from Bromberg, and met Napoleon a
league and a half from Erfurt, to which place the latter had come on
horseback for this purpose.

The moment the Czar perceived the Emperor, he left his carriage, and
advanced towards his Majesty, who had also alighted from his horse. They
embraced each other with the affection of two college friends who meet
again after a long absence; then both mounted their horses, as did also
the Grand Duke Constantine, and passing at a gallop in front of the
regiments, all of which presented arms at their approach, entered the
town, while the troops, with an immense crowd collected from twenty
leagues around, made the air resound with their acclamations. The
Emperor of Russia wore on entering Erfurt the grand decoration of the
Legion of Honor, and the Emperor of the French that of Saint Andrew of
Russia; and the two sovereigns during their stay continued to show each
other these marks of mutual deference, and it was also remarked that in
his palace the Emperor always gave the right to Alexander. On the
evening of his arrival, by his Majesty's invitation, Alexander gave the
countersign to the grand marshal, and it was afterwards given alternately
by the two sovereigns.

They went first to the palace of Russia, where they remained an hour; and
later, when Alexander came to return the visit of the Emperor, he
received him at the foot of the staircase, and accompanied him when he
left as far as the entrance of the grand hall. At six o'clock the two
sovereigns dined at his Majesty's residence, and it was the same each
day. At nine o'clock the Emperor escorted the Emperor of Russia to his
palace; and they then held a private conversation, which continued more
than an hour, and in the evening the whole city was illuminated. The day
after his arrival the Emperor received at his levee the officers of the
Czar's household, and granted them the grand entry during the rest of
their Stay.

The two sovereigns gave to each other proofs of the most sincere
friendship and most confidential intimacy. The Emperor Alexander almost
every morning entered his Majesty's bedroom, and conversed freely with
him. One day he was examining the Emperor's dressing-case in silver
gilt, which cost six thousand francs, and was most conveniently arranged
and beautifully carved by the goldsmith Biennais, and admired it
exceedingly. As soon as he had gone, the Emperor ordered me to have a
dressing-case sent to the Czar's palace exactly similar to that which had
just been received from Paris.

Another time the Emperor Alexander remarked on the elegance and
durability of his Majesty's iron bedstead; and the very next day by his
Majesty's orders, conveyed by me, an exactly similar bed was set up in
the room of the Emperor of Russia, who was delighted with these polite
attentions, and two days after, as an evidence of his satisfaction,
ordered M. de Remusat to hand me two handsome diamond rings.

The Czar one day made his toilet in the Emperor's room, and I assisted.
I took from the Emperor's linen a white cravat and cambric handkerchief,
which I handed him, and for which he thanked me most graciously; he was
an exceedingly gentle, good, amiable prince, and extremely polite.

There was an exchange of presents between these illustrious sovereigns.
Alexander made the Emperor a present of three superb pelisses of
martin-sable, one of which the Emperor gave to his sister Pauline,
another to the Princess de Ponte-Corvo; and the third he had lined with
green velvet and ornamented with gold lace, and it was this cloak which
he constantly wore in Russia. The history of the one which I carried
from him to the Princess Pauline is singular enough to be related here,
although it may have been already told.

The Princess Pauline showed much pleasure in receiving the Emperor's
present, and enjoyed displaying her cloak for the admiration of the
household. One day, when she was in the midst of a circle of ladies, to
whom she was dilating on the quality and excellence of this fur, M. de
Canouville arrived, and the princess asked his opinion of the present she
had received from the Emperor. The handsome colonel not appearing as
much struck with admiration as she expected, she was somewhat piqued, and
exclaimed, "What, monsieur, you do not think it exquisite?"--
"No, madame."--"In order to punish you I wish you to keep this cloak; I
give it to you, and require you to wear it; I wish it, you understand."
It is probable that there had been some disagreement between her Imperial
highness and her protege, and the princess had seized the first means of
establishing peace; but however that may be, M. de Canouville needed
little entreaty, and the rich fur was carried to his house. A few days
after, while the Emperor was holding a review on the Place du Carrousel,
M, de Canouville appeared on an unruly horse, which he had great
difficulty in controlling. This caused some confusion, and attracted his
Majesty's attention, who, glancing at M. de Canouville, saw the cloak
which he had given his sister metamorphosed into a hussar's cape. The
Emperor had great difficulty in controlling his anger. "M. de
Canouville," he cried, in a voice of thunder, "your horse is young, and
his blood is too warm; you will go and cool it in Russia." Three days
after M. de Canouville had left Paris.


The Emperor Alexander never tired of showing his regard for actors by
presents and compliments; and as for actresses, I have told before how
far he would have gone with one of them if Napoleon had not deterred.
him. Each day the Grand Duke Constantine got up parties of pleasure with
Murat and other distinguished persons, at which no expense was spared,
and some of these ladies did the honors. And what furs and diamonds they
carried away from Erfurt! The two Emperors were not ignorant of all
this, and were much amused thereby; and it was the favorite subject of
conversation in the morning. Constantine had conceived an especial
affection for King Jerome; the king even carried his affection so far as
to 'tutoy' him, and wished him to do the same. "Is it because I am a
king," he said one day, "that you are afraid to say thou to me? Come,
now, is there any need of formality between friends?" They performed all
sorts of college pranks together, even running through the streets at
night, knocking and ringing at every door, much delighted when they had
waked up some honest bourgeois. As the Emperor was leaving, King Jerome
said to the grand duke: "Come, tell me what you wish me to send you from
Paris."--"Nothing whatever," replied the grand duke; "your brother has
presented me with a magnificent sword; I am satisfied, and desire nothing
more."--"But I wish to send you something, so tell me what would give you
pleasure."--"Well, send me six demoiselles from the Palais Royal."

The play at Erfurt usually began at seven o'clock; but the two Emperors,
who always came together, never arrived till half-past seven. At their
entrance, all the pit of kings rose to do them honor, and the first piece
immediately commenced.

At the representation of Cinna, the Emperor feared that the Czar, who was
placed by his side in a box facing the stage, and on the first tier,
might not hear very well, as he was somewhat deaf; and consequently gave
orders to M. de Remusat, first chamberlain, that a platform should be
raised on the floor of the orchestra, and armchairs placed there for
Alexander and himself; and on the right and left four handsomely
decorated chairs for the King of Saxony and the other sovereigns of the
Confederation, while the princes took possession of the box abandoned by
their Majesties. By this arrangement the two Emperors found themselves
in such a conspicuous position that it was impossible for them to make a
movement without being seen by every one. On the 3d of October AEdipus
was presented. "All the sovereigns," as the Emperor called them, were
present at this representation; and just as the actor pronounced these
words in the first scene:

   "The friendship of a great man is a gift from the gods:"

the Czar arose, and held out his hand with much grace to the Emperor; and
immediately acclamations, which the presence of the sovereigns could not
restrain, burst forth from every part of the hall.

On the evening of this same day I prepared the Emperor for bed as usual.
All the doors which opened into his sleeping-room were carefully closed,
as well as the shutters and windows; and there was consequently no means
of entering his Majesty's room except through the chamber in which I
slept with Roustan, and a sentinel was also stationed at the foot of the
staircase. Every night I slept very calmly, knowing that it was
impossible any one could reach Napoleon without waking me; but that
night, about two o'clock, while I was sleeping soundly, a strange noise
woke me with a start. I rubbed my eyes, and listened with the greatest
attention, and, hearing nothing whatever, thought this noise the illusion
of a dream, and was just dropping to sleep again, when my ear was struck
by low, smothered screams, such as a man might utter who was being
strangled. I heard them repeated twice, and in an instant was sitting up
straight in bed, my hair on end, and my limbs covered with a cold sweat.
Suddenly it occurred to me that the Emperor was being assassinated, and
I sprang out of bed and woke Roustan; and as the cries now recommenced
with added intensity, I opened the door as cautiously as my agitation
allowed, and entered the sleeping-room, and with a hasty glance assured
myself that no one could have entered. On advancing towards the bed, I
perceived his Majesty extended across it, in a position denoting great
agony, the drapery and bed-covering thrown off, and his whole body in a
frightful condition of nervous contraction. From his open mouth escaped
inarticulate sounds, his breathing appeared greatly oppressed, and one of
his hands, tightly clinched, lay on the pit of his stomach. I was
terrified at the sight, and called him. He did not reply; again, once,
twice even, still no reply. At last I concluded to shake him gently; and
at this the Emperor awoke with a loud cry, saying, "What is it? What is
it?" then sat up and opened his eyes wide; upon which I told him that,
seeing him tormented with a horrible nightmare, I had taken the liberty
of waking him. "And you did well, my dear Constant," interrupted his
Majesty. "Ah, my friend, I have had a frightful dream; a bear was
tearing open my breast, and devouring my heart!" Thereupon the Emperor
rose, and, while I put his bed in order, walked about the room. He was
obliged to change his shirt, which was wet with perspiration, and at
length again retired.

The next day, when he woke, he told me that it was long before he could
fall to sleep again, so vivid and terrible was the impression made on
him. He long retained the memory of this dream, and often spoke of it,
each time trying to draw from it different conclusions, according to

As to myself, I avow I was struck with the coincidence of the compliment
of Alexander at the theater and this frightful nightmare, especially as
the Emperor was not subject to disturbances of this kind. I do not know
whether his Majesty related his dream to the Emperor of Russia.

On the 6th of October their Majesties attended a hunting-party which the
Grand Duke of Weimar prepared for them in the forest of Ettersbourg. The
Emperor set out from Erfurt at noon, with the Emperor of Russia in the
same coach. They arrived in the forest at one o'clock, and found
prepared for them a hunting-pavilion, which had been erected expressly
for this occasion, and was very handsomely decorated. This pavilion was
divided into three parts, separated by open columns; that in the middle,
raised higher than the others, formed a pretty room, arranged and
furnished for the two Emperors. Around the pavilion were placed numerous
orchestras, which played inspiriting airs, with which were mingled the
acclamations of an immense crowd, who had been attracted by a desire to
see the Emperor.

The two sovereigns were received on their descent from their carriage by
the Grand Duke of Weimar and his son, the hereditary prince, Charles
Frederic; while the King of Bavaria, King of Saxony, King of Wurtemberg,
Prince William of Prussia, the Princes of Mecklenburg, the Prince
Primate, and the Duke of Oldenburg awaited them at the entrance to the

The Emperor had in his suite the Prince of Neuchatel; the Prince of
Benevento; the grand marshal of the palace, Duke de Frioul; General
Caulaincourt, Duke of Vicenza; the Duke of Rovigo; General Lauriston, his
Majesty's aide-de-camp; General Nansouty, first equerry; the chamberlain,
Eugene de Montesquiou; the Count de Beausset, prefect of the palace; and
M. Cavaletti.

The Emperor of Russia was accompanied by the Grand Duke Constantine; the
Count Tolstoi, grand marshal; and Count Oggeroski, aide-de-camp to his

The hunt lasted nearly two hours, during which time about sixty stags and
roebucks were killed. The space in which these poor animals had to run
was inclosed by netting, in order that the monarchs might shoot them at
pleasure, without disturbing themselves while seated in the windows of
the pavilion. I have never seen anything more absurd than hunts of this
sort, which, nevertheless, give those who engage in them a reputation as
fine shots. What skill is there in killing an animal which the
gamekeepers, so to speak, take by the ears and place in front of your

The Emperor of Russia was near-sighted, and this infirmity had deterred
him from an amusement which he would have enjoyed very much; but that
day, however, he wished to make the attempt, and, having expressed this.
wish, the Duke of Montebello handed him a gun, and M. de Beauterne had
the honor of giving the Emperor his first lesson. A stag was driven so
as to pass within about eight steps of Alexander, who brought him down at
the first shot.

After the hunt their Majesties repaired to the palace of Weimar; and the
reigning duchess received them, as they alighted from their carriages,
accompanied by her whole court. The Emperor saluted the duchess
affectionately, remembering that he had seen her two years before under
very different circumstances, which I mentioned in its place.

The Duke of Weimar had requested from the grand marshal French cooks to
prepare the Emperor's dinner, but the Emperor preferred being served in
the German style.

Their Majesties invited to dine with them the Duke and Duchess of Weimar,
the Queen of Westphalia, the King of Wurtemberg, the King of Saxony, the
Grand Duke Constantine, Prince William of Prussia, the Prince Primate,
the Prince of Neuchatel, Prince Talleyrand, the Duke of Oldenburg, the
hereditary Prince of Weimar, and the Prince of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

After this dinner there was a play, followed by a ball, the play being at
the town theater, where the ordinary comedians of his Majesty presented
the death of Caesar; and the ball, at the ducal palace. The Emperor
Alexander opened the ball with the Queen of Westphalia, to the great
astonishment of every one; for it was well known that this monarch had
never danced since his accession to the throne, conduct which the older
men of the court thought very praiseworthy, holding the opinion that a
sovereign occupies too high a place to share in the tastes and take
pleasure in amusements common to the rest of mankind. Except this,
however, there was nothing in the ball of Weimar to scandalize them, as
they did not dance, but promenaded in couples, whilst the orchestra
played marches.

The morning of the next day their Majesties entered carriages to visit
Mount Napoleon, near Jena, where a splendid breakfast was prepared for
them under a tent which the Duke of Weimar had erected on the identical
spot where the Emperor's bivouac stood on the day of the battle of Jena.
After breakfast the two Emperors ascended a temporary pavilion which had
been erected on Mount Napoleon; this pavilion, which was very large, had
been decorated with plans of the battle. A deputation from the town and
university of Jena arrived, and were received by their Majesties; and the
Emperor inquired of the deputies the most minute particulars relating to
their town, its resources, and the manners and character of its
inhabitants; questioned them on the approximate damages which the
military hospital, which had been so long left with them, had caused the
inhabitants of Jena; inquired the names of those who had suffered most
from fire and war, and gave orders that a gratuity should be distributed
among them, and the small proprietors entirely indemnified. His Majesty
informed himself with much interest of the condition of the Catholic
worship, and promised to endow the vicarage in perpetuity, granting three
hundred thousand francs for immediate necessities, and promising to give
still more.

After having visited, on horseback, the positions which the two armies
had held the evening before, and on the day of, the battle of Jena, as
well as the plain of Aspolda, on which the duke had prepared a hunt with
guns, the two Emperors returned to Erfurt, which they reached at five
o'clock in the evening, almost at the very moment the grand hereditary
duke of Baden and the Princess Stephanie arrived.

During the entire visit of the sovereigns to the battlefield, the Emperor
most graciously made explanations to the young Czar, to which he listened
with the greatest interest. His Majesty seemed to take pleasure in
explaining at length, first, the plan which he had formed and carried out
at Jena, and afterwards the various plans of his other campaigns, the
maneuvers which he had executed, his usual tactics, and, in fine, his
whole ideas on the art of war. The Emperor thus, for several hours,
carried on the whole conversation alone; and his royal audience paid him
as much attention as scholars, eager to learn, pay to the instructions of
their teacher.

When his Majesty returned to his apartment, I heard Marshal Berthier say
to him, "Sire, are you not afraid that the sovereigns may some day use to
advantage against you all that you have just taught them? Your Majesty
just now seemed to forget what you formerly told us, that it is necessary
to act with our allies as if they were afterwards to be our enemies."--
"Berthier," replied the Emperor, smiling, "that is a good observation on
your part, and I thank you for it; I really believe I have made you think
I was an idiot. You think, then," continued his Majesty, pinching
sharply one of the Prince de Neuchatel's ears, "that I committed the
indiscretion of giving them whips with which to return and flog us? Calm
yourself, I did not tell them all."

The Emperor's table at Erfurt was in the form of a half-moon; and at the
upper end, and consequently at the rounded part, of this table their
Majesties were seated, and on the right and left the sovereigns of the
Confederation according to their rank. The side facing their Majesties
was always empty; and there stood M. de Beausset, the prefect of the
palace, who relates in his Memoirs that one day he overheard the
following conversation:

   "On that day the subject of conversation was the Golden Bull, which,
   until the establishment of the Confederation of the Rhine, had
   served as a constitution, and had regulated the law for the election
   of emperors, the number and rank of the electors, etc. The Prince
   Primate entered into some details regarding this Golden Bull, which
   he said was made in 1409; whereupon the Emperor Napoleon pointed out
   to him that the date which was assigned to the Golden Bull was not
   correct, and that it was proclaimed in 1336, during the reign of the
   Emperor Charles IV. 'That is true, Sire,' replied the Prince
   Primate I was mistaken; but how does it happen that your Majesty is
   so well acquainted with these matters?'--'When I was a mere
   sub-lieutenant in the artillery, said Napoleon,--at this beginning,
   there was on the part of the guests a marked movement of interest,
   and he continued, smiling,--when I had the honor to be simply
   sub-lieutenant in the artillery I remained three years in the garrison
   at Valence, and, as I cared little for society, led a very retired
   life. By fortunate chance I had lodgings with a kind and
   intelligent bookseller. I read and re-read his library during the
   three years I remained in the garrison and have forgotten nothing,
   even matters which have had no connection with my position. Nature,
   besides, has given me a good memory for figures, and it often
   happens with my ministers that I can give them details and the sum
   total of accounts they presented long since.'"

A few days before his departure from Erfurt, the Emperor bestowed the
cross of the Legion of Honor on M. de Bigi, commandant of arms at this
place; M. Vegel, burgomaster of Jena; Messrs. Weiland and Goethe; M.
Starlk, senior physician at Jena. He gave to General Count Tolstoi,
ambassador from Russia, who had been recalled from this post by his
sovereign to take a command in the army, the grand decoration of the
Legion of Honor; to M. the dean Meimung, who had said mass twice at the
palace, a ring of brilliants, with the cipher N surmounted by a crown;
and a hundred napoleons to the two priests who had assisted him; finally,
to the grand marshal of the palace, Count Tolstoi, the beautiful Gobelin
tapestry, Savonnerie carpets, and Sevres porcelain, which had been
brought from Paris to furnish the palace of Erfurt. The minister's grand
officers, and officers of Alexander's suite, received from his Majesty
magnificent presents; and the Emperor Alexander did likewise in regard to
the persons attached to his Majesty. He gave the Duke of Vicenza the
grand cordon of Saint Andrew, and a badge of the same order set in
diamonds to the Princes of Benevento and Neuchatel.

Charmed by the talent of the French comedians, especially that of Talma,
the Emperor Alexander sent very handsome presents to her as well as all
her companions; he sent compliments to the actresses, and to the
director, M. Dazincourt, whom he did not forget in his distribution of

This interview at Erfurt, which was so brilliant with illuminations,
splendor, and luxury, ended on the 14th of October; and all the great
personages whom it had attracted left between the 8th and the 14th of

The day of his departure the Emperor gave an audience, after his toilet,
to Baron Vincent, envoy extraordinary of Austria, and sent by him a
letter to his sovereign. At eleven o'clock the Emperor of Russia came to
his Majesty, who received him, and reconducted him to his residence with
great ceremony; and soon after his Majesty repaired to the Russian
palace, followed by his whole suite. After mutual compliments they
entered the carriage together, and did not part till they reached the
spot on the road from Weimar where they had met on their arrival. There
they embraced each other affectionately and separated; and the 18th of
October, at half-past nine in the evening, the Emperor was at
Saint-Cloud, having made the whole trip incognito.


His Majesty remained only ten days at Saint-Cloud, passed two or three of
these in Paris at the opening of the session of the Corps Legislatif, and
at noon on the 29th set out a second time for Bayonne.

The Empress, who to her great chagrin could not accompany the Emperor,
sent for me on the morning of his departure, and renewed in most touching
accents the same recommendations which she made on all his journeys, for
the character of the Spaniards made her timid and fearful as to his

Their parting was sad and painful; for the Empress was exceedingly
anxious to accompany him, and the Emperor had the greatest difficulty in
satisfying her, and making her understand that this was impossible. Just
as he was setting out he returned to his dressing-room a moment, and told
me to unbutton his coat and vest; and I saw the Emperor pass around his
neck between his vest and shirt a black silk ribbon on which was hung a
kind of little bag about the size of a large hazel-nut, covered with
black silk. Though I did not then know what this bag contained, when he
returned to Paris he gave it to me to keep; and I found that this bag had
a pleasant feeling, as under the silk covering was another of skin. I
shall hereafter tell for what purpose the Emperor wore this bag.

I set out with a sad heart. The recommendations of her Majesty the
Empress, and fears which I could not throw off, added to the fatigue of
these repeated journeys, all conspired to produce feelings of intense
sadness, which was reflected on almost all the countenances of the
Imperial household; while the officers said among themselves that the
combats in the North were trifling compared with those which awaited us
in Spain.

We arrived on the 3d of November at the chateau of Marrac, and four days
after were at Vittoria in the midst of the French army, where the Emperor
found his brother and a few grandees of Spain who had not yet deserted
his cause.

The arrival of his Majesty electrified the troops; and a part of the
enthusiasm manifested, a very small part it is true, penetrated into the
heart of the king, and somewhat renewed his courage. They set out almost
immediately, in order to at once establish themselves temporarily at
Burgos, which had been seized by main force and pillaged in a few hours,
since the inhabitants had abandoned it, and left to the garrison the task
of stopping the French as long as possible.

The Emperor occupied the archiepiscopal palace, a magnificent building
situated in a large square on which the grenadiers of the Imperial Guard
bivouacked. This bivouac presented a singular scene. Immense kettles,
which had been found in the convents, hung, full of mutton, poultry,
rabbits, etc., above a fire which was replenished from time to time with
furniture, guitars, or mandolins, and around which grenadiers, with pipes
in their mouths, were gravely seated in gilded chairs covered with
crimson damask, while they intently watched the kettles as they simmered,
and communicated to each other their conjectures on the campaign which
had just opened.

The Emperor remained ten or twelve days at Burgos, and then gave orders
to march on Madrid, which place could have been reached by way of
Valladolid, and the road was indeed safer and better; but the Emperor
wished to seize the Pass of Somo-Sierra, an imposing position with
natural fortifications which had always been regarded as impregnable.
This pass, between two mountain peaks, defended the capital, and was
guarded by twelve thousand insurgents, and twelve pieces of cannon placed
so advantageously that they could do as much injury as thirty or forty
elsewhere, and were, in fact, a sufficient obstacle to delay even the
most formidable army; but who could then oppose any hindrance to the
march of the Emperor?

On the evening of the 29th of November we arrived within three leagues of
this formidable defile, at a village called Basaguillas; and though the
weather was very cold, the Emperor did not lie down, but passed the night
in his tent, writing, wrapped in the pelisse which the Emperor Alexander
had given him. About three o'clock in the morning he came to warm
himself by the bivouac fire where I had seated myself, as I could no
longer endure the cold and dampness of a cellar which had been assigned
as my lodging, and where my bed was only a few handfuls of straw, filled
with manure.

At eight o'clock in the morning the position was attacked and carried,
and the next day we arrived before Madrid.

The Emperor established his headquarters at the chateau of Champ-Martin,
a pleasure house situated a quarter of a league from the town, and
belonging to the mother of the Duke of Infantado; and the army camped
around this house. The day after our arrival, the owner came in tears to
entreat of his Majesty a revocation of the fatal decree which put her son
outside the protection of the law; the Emperor did all he could to
reassure her, but he could promise her nothing, as the order was general.

We had some trouble in capturing this town; in the first place, because
his Majesty recommended the greatest moderation in making the attack, not
wishing, as he said, to present to his brother a burned-up city; in the
second place, because the Grand Duke of Berg during his stay at Madrid
had fortified the palace of Retiro, and the Spanish insurgents had
intrenched themselves there, and defended it most courageously. The town
had no other defense, and was surrounded only by an old wall, almost
exactly similar to that of Paris, consequently at the end of three days
it was taken; but the Emperor preferred not to enter, and still resided
at Champ-Martin, with the exception of one day when he came incognito and
in disguise, to visit the queen's palace and the principal districts.

One striking peculiarity of the Spaniards is the respect they have always
shown for everything relating to royalty, whether they regard it as
legitimate or not. When King Joseph left Madrid the palace was closed,
and the government established itself in a passably good building which
had been used as the post-office. From this time no one entered the
palace except the servants, who had orders to clean it from time to time;
not a piece of furniture even, not a book, was moved. The portrait of
Napoleon on Mont St. Bernard, David's masterpiece, remained hanging in
the grand reception hall, and the queen's portrait opposite, exactly as
the king had placed them; and even the cellars were religiously
respected. The apartments of King Charles had also remained untouched,
and not one of the watches in his immense collection had been removed.

The act of clemency which his Majesty showed toward the Marquis of
Saint-Simon, a grandee of Spain, marked in an especial manner the
entrance of the French troops into Madrid. The Marquis of Saint-Simon,
a French emigrant, had been in the service of Spain since the
emigration, and had the command of a part of the capital. The post
which he defended was exactly in front of that which the Emperor
commanded at the gates of Madrid, and he had held out long after all the
other leaders had surrendered.

The Emperor, impatient at being so long withstood at this point, gave
orders to make a still more vigorous charge; and in this the marquis was
taken prisoner. In his extreme anger the Emperor sent him to be tried
before a military commission, who ordered him to be shot; and this order
was on the point of being executed, when Mademoiselle de Saint-Simon, a
charming young person, threw herself at his Majesty's feet, and her
father's pardon was quickly granted.

The king immediately re-entered his capital; and with him returned the
noble families of Madrid, who had withdrawn from the stirring scenes
enacted at the center of the insurrection; and soon balls, fetes,
festivities, and plays were resumed as of yore.

The Emperor left Champ-Martin on the 22d of December, and directed his
march towards Astorga, with the intention of meeting the English, who had
just landed at Corunna; but dispatches sent to Astorga by a courier from
Paris decided him to return to France, and he consequently gave orders to
set out for Valladolid.

We found the road from Benavente to Astorga covered with corpses, slain
horses, artillery carriages, and broken wagons, and at every step met
detachments of soldiers with torn clothing, without shoes, and, indeed,
in a most deplorable condition. These unfortunates were all fleeing
towards Astorga, which they regarded as a port of safety, but which soon
could not contain them all. It was terrible weather, the snow falling so
fast that it was almost blinding; and, added to this, I was ill, and
suffered greatly during this painful journey.

The Emperor while at Tordesillas had established his headquarters in the
buildings outside the convent of Saint-Claire, and the abbess of this
convent was presented to his Majesty. She was then more than sixty-five
years old, and from the age of ten years back never left this place. Her
intelligent and refined conversation made a most agreeable impression on
the Emperor, who inquired what were her wishes, and granted each one.

We arrived at Valladolid the 6th of January, 1809, and found it in a
state of great disorder. Two or three days after our arrival, a cavalry
officer was assassinated by Dominican monks; and as Hubert, one of our
comrades, was passing in the evening through a secluded street, three men
threw themselves on him and wounded him severely; and he would doubtless
have been killed if the grenadiers of the guard had not hastened to his
assistance, and delivered him from their hands. It was the monks again.
At length the Emperor, much incensed, gave orders that the convent of the
Dominicans should be searched; and in a well was found the corpse of the
aforesaid officer, in the midst of a considerable mass of bones, and the
convent was immediately suppressed by his Majesty's orders; he even
thought at one time of issuing the same rigorous orders against all the
convents of the city. He took time for reflection, however, and
contented himself by appointing an audience, at which all the monks of
Valladolid were to appear before him. On the appointed day they came;
not all, however, but deputations from each convent, who prostrated
themselves at the Emperor's feet, while he showered reproaches upon them,
called them assassins and brigands, and said they all deserved to be
hung. These poor men listened in silence and humility to the terrible
language of the irritated conqueror whom their patience alone could
appease; and finally, the Emperor's anger having exhausted itself, he
grew calmer, and at last, struck by the reflection that it was hardly
just to heap abuse on men thus prostrate on their knees and uttering not
a word in their own defense, he left the group of officers who surrounded
him, and advanced into the midst of the monks, making them a sign to rise
from their supplicating posture; and as these good men obeyed him, they
kissed the skirts of his coat, and pressed around him with an eagerness
most alarming to the persons of his Majesty's suite; for had there been
among these devotees any Dominican, nothing surely could have been easier
than an assassination.

During the Emperor's stay at Valladolid, I had with the grand marshal a
disagreement of which I retain most vivid recollections, as also of the
Emperor's intervention wherein he displayed both justice and good-will
towards me. These are the facts of the case: one morning the Duke de
Frioul, encountering me in his Majesty's apartments, inquired in a very
brusque tone (he was very much excited) if I had ordered the carriage to
be ready, to which I replied in a most respectful manner that they were
always ready. Three times the duke repeated the same question, raising
his voice still more each time; and three times I made him the same
reply, always in the same respectful manner. "Oh, you fool!" said he at
last, "you do not understand, then."--"That arises evidently,
Monseigneur, from your Excellency's imperfect explanations!" Upon which
he explained that he was speaking of a new carriage which had come from
Paris that very day, a fact of which I was entirely ignorant. I was on
the point of explaining this to his Excellency; but without deigning to
listen, the grand marshal rushed out of the room exclaiming, swearing,
and addressing me in terms to which I was totally unaccustomed. I
followed him as far as his own room in order to make an explanation; but
when he reached his door he entered, and slammed it in my face.

In spite of all this I entered a few moments later; but his Excellency
had forbidden his valet de chambre to introduce me, saying that he had
nothing to say to me, nor to hear from me, all of which was repeated to
me in a very harsh and contemptuous manner.

Little accustomed to such experiences, and entirely unnerved, I went to
the Emperor's room; and when his Majesty entered I was still so agitated
that my face was wet with tears. His Majesty wished to know what had
happened, and I related to him the attack which had just been made upon
me by the grand marshal. "You are very foolish to cry," said the
Emperor; "calm yourself, and say to the grand marshal that I wish to
speak to him."

His Excellency came at once in response to the Emperor's invitation, and
I announced him. "See," said he, pointing to me, "see into what a state
you have thrown this fellow! What has he done to be thus treated?" The
grand marshal bowed without replying, but with a very dissatisfied air;
and the Emperor went on to say that he should have given me his orders
more clearly, and that any one was excusable for not executing an order
not plainly given. Then turning toward me, his Majesty said, "Monsieur
Constant, you may be certain this will not occur again."

This simple affair furnishes a reply to many false accusations against
the Emperor. There was an immense distance between the grand marshal of
the palace and the simple valet de chambre of his Majesty, and yet the
marshal was reprimanded for a wrong done to the valet de chambre.

The Emperor showed the utmost impartiality in meting out justice in his
domestic affairs; and never was the interior of a palace better governed
than his, owing to the fact that in his household he alone was master.

The grand marshal felt unkindly toward me for sometime after; but, as I
have already said, he was an excellent man, his bad humor soon passed
away, and so completely, that on my return to Paris he requested me to
stand for him at the baptism of the child of my father-in-law, who had
begged him to be its godfather; the godmother was Josephine, who was kind
enough to choose my wife to represent her. M. le Duke de Frioul did
things with as much nobility and magnanimity as grace; and afterwards I
am glad to be able to state in justice to his memory, he eagerly seized
every occasion to be useful to me, and to make me forget the discomfort
his temporary excitement had caused me.

I fell ill at Valladolid with a violent fever a few days before his
Majesty's departure. On the day appointed for leaving, my illness was at
its height; aid as the Emperor feared that the journey might increase, or
at any rate prolong, my illness, he forbade my going, and set out without
me, recommending to the persons whom he left at Valladolid to take care
of my health. When I had gotten somewhat better I was told that his
Majesty had left, whereupon I could no longer be controlled, and against
my physician's orders, and in spite of my feebleness, in spite of
everything, in fact, had myself placed in a carriage and set out. This
was wise; for hardly had I put Valladolid two leagues behind me, than I
felt better, and the fever left me. I arrived at Paris five or six days
after the Emperor, just after his Majesty had appointed the Count
Montesquiou grand chamberlain in place of Prince Talleyrand, whom I met
that very day, and who seemed in no wise affected by this disgrace,
perhaps he was consoled by the dignity of vice-grand elector which was
bestowed on him in exchange.


The Emperor arrived at Paris on the 23d of January, and passed the
remainder of the winter there, with the exception of a few days spent at
Rambouillet and Saint-Cloud.

On the very day of his arrival in Paris, although he must have been much
fatigued by an almost uninterrupted ride from Valladolid, the Emperor
visited the buildings of the Louvre and the rue de Rivoli.

His mind was full of what he had seen at Madrid, and repeated suggestions
to M. Fontaine and the other architects showed plainly his desire to make
the Louvre the finest palace in the world. His Majesty then had a report
made him as to the chateau of Chambord, which he wished to present to the
Prince of Neuchatel. M. Fontaine found that repairs sufficient to make
this place a comfortable residence would amount to 1,700,000 francs, as
the buildings were in a state of decay, and it had hardly been touched
since the death of Marshal Sage.

His Majesty passed the two months and a half of his stay working in his
cabinet, which he rarely left, and always unwillingly; his amusements
being, as always, the theater and concerts. He loved music passionately,
especially Italian music, and like all great amateurs was hard to please.
He would have much liked to sing had he been able, but he had no voice,
though this did not prevent his humming now and then pieces which struck
his fancy; and as these little reminiscences usually recurred to him in
the mornings, he regaled me with them while he was being dressed. The
air that I have heard him thus mutilate most frequently was that of The
Marseillaise. The Emperor also whistled sometimes, but very rarely; and
the air, 'Malbrook s'en va-t-en guerre', whistled by his Majesty was an
unerring announcement to me of his approaching departure for the army.
I remember that he never whistled so much, and was never so gay, as just
before he set out for the Russian campaign.

His Majesty's, favorite singer were Crescentini and Madame Grassini.
I saw Crescentini's debut at Paris in the role of Romeo, in Romeo and
Juliet. He came preceded by a reputation as the first singer of Italy;
and this reputation was found to be well deserved, notwithstanding all
the prejudices he had to overcome, for I remember well the disparaging
statements made concerning him before his debut at the court theater.
According to these self-appointed connoisseurs, he was a bawler without
taste, without method, a maker of absurd trills, an unimpassioned actor
of little intelligence, and many other things besides. He knew, when he
appeared on the stage, how little disposed in his favor his audience
were, yet he showed not the slightest embarrassment; this, and his noble,
dignified mien, agreeably surprised those who expected from what they had
been told to behold an awkward man with an ungainly figure. A murmur of
approbation ran through the hall on his appearance; and electrified by
this welcome, he gained all hearts from the first act. His movements
were full of grace and dignity; he had a perfect knowledge of the scene,
modest gestures perfectly in harmony with the dialogue, and a countenance
on which all shades of passion were depicted with the most astonishing
accuracy; and all these rare and precious qualities combined to give to
the enchanting accents of this artist a charm of which it is impossible
to give an idea.

At each scene the interest he inspired became more marked, until in the
third act the emotion and delight of the spectator were carried almost to
frenzy. In this act, played almost solely by Crescentini, this admirable
singer communicated to the hearts of his audience all that is touching
and, pathetic in a love expressed by means of delicious melody, and by
all that grief and despair can find sublime in song.

The Emperor was enraptured, and sent Crescentini a considerable
compensation, accompanied by most flattering testimonials of the pleasure
he had felt in hearing him.

On this day, as always when they played together afterwards, Crescentini
was admirably supported by Madame Grassini, a woman of superior talent,
and who possessed the most astonishing voice ever heard in the theater.
She and Madame Barilli then divided the admiration of the public.

The very evening or the day after the debut of Crescentini, the French
stage suffered an irreparable loss in the death of Dazincourt, only sixty
years of age. The illness of which he died had begun on his return from
Erfurt, and was long and painful; and yet the public, to whom this great
comedian had so long given such pleasure, took no notice of him after it
was found his sickness was incurable and his death certain. Formerly
when a highly esteemed actor was kept from his place for some time by
illness (and who deserved more esteem than Dazincourt?), the pit was
accustomed to testify its regret by inquiring every day as to the
condition of the afflicted one, and at the end of each representation the
actor whose duty it was to announce the play for the next day gave the
audience news of his comrade. This was not done for Dazincourt, and the
pit thus showed ingratitude to him.

I liked and esteemed sincerely Dazincourt, whose acquaintance I had made
several years before his death; and few men better deserved or so well
knew how to gain esteem and affection. I will not speak of his genius,
which rendered him a worthy successor of Preville, whose pupil and
friend he was, for all his contemporaries remember Figaro as played by
Dazincourt; but I will speak of the nobility of his character, of his
generosity, and his well-tested honor. It would seem that his birth and
education should have kept him from the theater, where circumstances
alone placed him; but he was able to protect himself against the
seductions of his situation, and in the greenroom, and in the midst of
domestic intrigues, remained a man of good character and pure manners.
He was welcomed in the best society, where he soon became a favorite by
his piquant sallies, as much as by his good manners and urbanity, for he
amused without reminding that he was a comedian.

At the end of February his Majesty went to stay for some time at the
palace of the Elysee; and there I think was signed the marriage contract
of one of his best lieutenants, Marshal Augereau, recently made Duke of
Castiglione, with Mademoiselle Bourlon de Chavanges, the daughter of an
old superior officer; and there also was rendered the imperial decree
which gave to the Princess Eliza the grand duchy of Tuscany, with the
title of grand duchess.

About the middle of March, the Emperor passed several days at
Rambouillet; there were held some exciting hunts, in one of which his
Majesty himself brought to bay and killed a stag near the pool of
Saint-Hubert. There was also a ball and concert, in which appeared
Crescentini, Mesdames Grassini, Barelli, and several celebrated
virtuosos, and lastly Talma recited.

On the 13th of April, at four o'clock in the morning, the Emperor having
received news of another invasion of Bavaria by the Austrians, set out
for Strasburg with the Empress, whom he left in that city; and on the
15th, at eleven o'clock in the morning, he passed the Rhine at the head
of his army. The Empress did not long remain alone, as the Queen of
Holland and her sons, the Grand Duchess of Baden and her husband, soon
joined her.

The splendid campaign of 1809 at once began. It is known how glorious it
was, and that one of its least glorious victories was the capture of

At Ratisbon, on the 23d of April, the Emperor received in his right foot
a spent ball, which gave him quite a severe bruise. I was with the
service when several grenadiers hastened to tell me that his Majesty was
wounded, upon which I hastened to him, and arrived while M. Yvan was
dressing the contusion. The Emperor's boot was cut open, and laced up,
and he remounted his horse immediately; and, though several of the
generals insisted on his resting, he only replied: "My friends, do you
not know that it is necessary for me to see everything?" The enthusiasm
of the soldiers cannot be expressed when they learned that their chief
had been wounded, though his wound was not dangerous. "The Emperor is
exposed like us," they said; "he is not a coward, not he." The papers
did not mention this occurrence.

Before entering a battle, the Emperor always ordered that, in case he was
wounded, every possible measure should be taken to conceal it from his
troops. "Who knows," said he, "what terrible confusion might be produced
by such news? To my life is attached the destiny of a great Empire.
Remember this, gentlemen; and if I am wounded, let no one know it, if
possible. If I am slain, try to win the battle without me; there will be
time enough to tell it afterwards."

Two weeks after the capture of Ratisbon, I was in advance of his Majesty
on the road to Vienna, alone in a carriage with an officer of the
household, when we suddenly heard frightful screams in a house on the
edge of the road. I gave orders to stop at once, and we alighted; and,
on entering the house, found several soldiers, or rather stragglers, as
there are in all armies, who, paying no attention to the alliance between
France and Bavaria, were treating most cruelly a family which lived in
this house, and consisted of an old grandmother, a young man, three
children, and a young girl.

Our embroidered coats had a happy effect on these madmen, whom we
threatened with the Emperor's anger; and we succeeded in driving them out
of the house, and soon after took our departure, overwhelmed with thanks.
In the evening I spoke to the Emperor of what I had done; and he approved
highly, saying, "It cannot be helped. There are always some cowardly
fellows in the army; and they are the ones who do the mischief. A brave
and good soldier would blush to do such things!"

I had occasion, in the beginning of these Memoirs, to speak of the
steward, M. Pfister, one of his Majesty's most faithful servants, and
also one of those to whom his Majesty was most attached. M. Pfister had
followed him to Egypt, and had faced countless dangers in his service.
The day of the battle of Landshut, which either preceded or followed very
closely the taking of Ratisbon this poor man became insane, rushed out of
his tent, and concealed himself in a wood near the field of battle, after
taking off all his clothing. At the end of a few hours his Majesty asked
for M. Pfister. He was sought for, and every one was questioned; but no
one could tell what had become of him. The Emperor, fearing that he
might have been taken prisoner, sent an orderly officer to the Austrians
to recover his steward, and propose an exchange; but the officer
returned, saying that the Austrians had not seen M. Pfister. The
Emperor, much disquieted, ordered a search to be made in the
neighborhood; and by this means the poor fellow was discovered entirely
naked, as I have said, cowering behind a tree, in a frightful condition,
his body torn by thorns. He was brought back, and having become
perfectly quiet, was thought to be well, and resumed his duties; but a
short time after our return to Paris he had a new attack. The character
of his malady was exceedingly obscene; and he presented himself before
the Empress Josephine in such a state of disorder, and with such indecent
gestures, that it was necessary to take precautions in regard to him.
He was confided to the care of the wise Doctor Esquirol, who, in spite of
his great skill, could not effect a cure. I went to see him often. He
had no more violent attacks; but his brain was diseased, and though he
heard and understood perfectly, his replies were those of a real madman.
He never lost his devotion to the Emperor, spoke of him incessantly, and
imagined himself on duty near him. One day he told me with a most
mysterious air that he wished to confide to me a terrible secret, the
plot of a conspiracy against his Majesty's life, handing me at the same
time a note for his Majesty, with a package of about twenty scraps of
paper, which he had scribbled off himself, and thought were the details
of the plot. Another time he handed me, for the Emperor, a handful of
little stones, which he called diamonds of great value. "There is more
than a million in what I hand you," said he. The Emperor, whom I told of
my visits, was exceedingly touched by the continued monomania of this
poor unfortunate, whose every thought, every act, related to his old
master, and who died without regaining his reason.

On the 10th of May, at nine o'clock in the morning, the first line of
defense of the Austrian capital was attacked and taken by Marshal Oudinot
the faubourgs surrendering at discretion. The Duke of Montebello then
advanced on the esplanade at the head of his division; but the gates
having been closed, the garrison poured a frightful discharge from the
top of the ramparts, which fortunately however killed only a very small
number. The Duke of Montebello summoned the garrison to surrender the
town, but the response of the Archduke Maximilian was that he would
defend Vienna with his last breath; which reply was conveyed to the

After taking counsel with his generals, his Majesty charged Colonel
Lagrange to bear a new demand to the archduke; but the poor colonel had
hardly entered the town than he was attacked by the infuriated populace.
General O'Reilly saved his life by having him carried away by his
soldiers; but the Archduke Maximilian, in order to defy the Emperor still
further, paraded in triumph in the midst of the national guard the
individual who has struck the first blow at the bearer of the French
summons. This attempt, which had excited the indignation of many of the
Viennese themselves, did not change his Majesty's intentions, as he
wished to carry his moderation and kindness as far as possible; and he
wrote to the archduke by the Prince of Neuchatel the following letter, a
copy of which accidentally fell into my hands:

   "The Prince de Neuchatel to his Highness the Archduke Maximilian,
   commanding the town of Vienna,

   "His Majesty the Emperor and King desires to spare this large and
   worthy population the calamities with which it is threatened, and
   charges me to represent to your Highness, that if he continues the
   attempt to defend this place, it will cause the destruction of one
   of the finest cities of Europe. In every country where he has waged
   war, my sovereign has manifested his anxiety to avoid the disasters
   which armies bring on the population. Your Highness must be
   persuaded that his Majesty is much grieved to see this town, which
   he has the glory of having already saved, on the point of being
   destroyed. Nevertheless, contrary to the established usage of
   fortresses, your Highness has fired your cannon from the city walls,
   and these cannon may kill, not an enemy of your sovereign, but the
   wives or children of his most devoted servants. If your Highness
   prolongs the attempt to defend the place, his Majesty will be
   compelled to begin his preparations for attack; and the ruin of this
   immense capital will be consummated in thirty-six hours, by the
   shells and bombs from our batteries, as the outskirts of the town
   will be destroyed by the effect of yours. His Majesty does not
   doubt that these considerations will influence your Highness to
   renounce a determination which will only delay for a short while the
   capture of the place. If, however, your Highness has decided not to
   pursue a course which will save the town from destruction, its
   population plunged by your fault into such terrible misfortunes will
   become, instead of faithful subjects, the enemies of your house."

This letter did not deter the grand duke from persisting in his defense;
and this obstinacy exasperated the Emperor to such a degree that he at
last gave orders to place two batteries in position, and within an hour
cannonballs and shells rained upon the town. The inhabitants, with true
German indifference, assembled on the hillsides to watch the effect of
the fires of attack and defense, and appeared much interested in the
sight. A few cannonballs had already fallen in the court of the Imperial
palace when a flag of truce came out of the town to announce that the
Archduchess Marie Louise had been unable to accompany her father, and was
ill in the palace, and consequently exposed to danger from the artillery;
and the Emperor immediately gave orders to change the direction of the
firing so that the bombs and balls would pass over the palace. The
archduke did not long hold out against such a sharp and energetic attack,
but fled, abandoning Vienna to the conquerors.

On the 12th of May the Emperor made his entrance into Vienna, one month
after the occupation of Munich by the Austrians. This circumstance made
a deep impression, and did much to foster the superstitious ideas which
many of the troops held in regard to the person of their chief. "See,"
said one, "he needed only the time necessary for the journey. That man
must be a god."--"He is a devil rather," said the Austrians, whose
stupefaction was indescribable. They had reached a point when many
allowed the arms to be taken out of their hands without making the least
resistance, or without even attempting to fly, so deep was their
conviction that the Emperor and his guard were not men, and that sooner
or later they must fall into the power of these supernatural enemies.


The Emperor did not remain in Vienna, but established his headquarters at
the chateau of Schoenbrunn, an imperial residence situated about half a
league from the town; and the ground in front of the chateau was arranged
for the encampment of the guard. The chateau of Schoenbrunn, erected by
the Empress Maria Theresa in 1754, and situated in a commanding position,
is built in a very irregular, and defective, but at the same time
majestic, style of architecture. In order to reach it, there has been
thrown over the little river, la Vienne, a broad and well-constructed
bridge, ornamented with four stone sphinxes; and in front of the bridge
is a large iron gate, opening on an immense court, in which seven or
eight thousand men could be drilled. This court is square, surrounded by
covered galleries, and ornamented with two large basins with marble
statues; and on each side of the gateway are two large obelisks in
rose-colored stone, surmounted by eagles of gilded lead.

'Schoenbrunn', in German, signifies beautiful fountain; and this name
comes from a clear and limpid spring, which rises in a grove in the park,
on a slight elevation, around which has been built a little pavilion,
carved on the inside to imitate stalactites. In this pavilion lies a
sleeping Naiad, holding in her hand a shell, from which the water gushes
and falls into a marble basin. This is a delicious retreat in summer.

We can speak only in terms of admiration regarding the interior of the
palace, the furniture of which was handsome and of an original and
elegant style. The Emperor's sleeping-room, the only part of the
building in which there was a fireplace, was ornamented with wainscoting
in Chinese lacquer work, then very old, though the painting and gilding
were still fresh, and the cabinet was decorated like the bedroom; and all
the apartments, except this, were warmed in winter by immense stoves,
which greatly injured the effect of the interior architecture. Between
the study and the Emperor's room was a very curious machine, called the
flying chariot, a kind of mechanical contrivance, which had been made for
the Empress Maria Theresa, and was used in conveying her from one story
to the other, so that she might not be obliged to ascend and descend
staircases like the rest of the world. This machine was operated by
means of cords, pulleys, and weights, like those at the theater.

The beautiful grove which serves as park and garden to the palace of
Schoenbrunn is much too small to belong to an imperial residence; but,
on the other hand, it would be hard to find one more beautiful or better
arranged. The park of Versailles is grander and more imposing; but it
has not the picturesque irregularity, the fantastic and unexpected
beauties, of the park of Schoenbrunn, and more closely resembles the park
at Malmaison. In front of the interior facade of the palace was a
magnificent lawn, sloping down to a broad lake, decorated with a group of
statuary representing the triumph of Neptune. This group is very fine;
but French amateurs (every Frenchman, as you are aware, desires to be
considered a connoisseur) insisted that the women were more Austrian than
Grecian, and that they did not possess the slender grace belonging to
antique forms; and, for my part, I must confess that these statues did
not appear to me very remarkable.

At the end of the grand avenue, and bounding the horizon, rose a hill,
which overlooked the park, and was crowned by a handsome building, which
bore the name of la Gloriette. This building was a circular gallery,
inclosed with glass, supported by a charming colonnade, between the
arches of which hung various trophies. On entering the avenue from the
direction of Vienna, la Gloriette rose at the farther end, seeming almost
to form a part of the palace; and the effect was very fine.

What the Austrians especially admired in the palace of Schoenbrunn was a
grove, containing what they called the Ruins, and a lake with a fountain
springing from the midst, and several small cascades flowing from it; by
this lake were the ruins of an aqueduct and a temple, fallen vases,
tombs, broken bas-reliefs, statues without heads, arms, or limbs, while
limbs, arms, and heads lay thickly scattered around; columns mutilated
and half-buried, others standing and supporting the remains of pediments
and entablatures; all combining to form a scene of beautiful disorder,
and representing a genuine ancient ruin when viewed from a short
distance. Viewed more closely, it is quite another thing: the hand of
the modern sculptor is seen; it is evident that all these fragments are
made from the same kind of stone; and the weeds which grow in the hollows
of these columns appear what they really are, that is to say, made of
stone, and painted to imitate verdure.

But if the productions of art scattered through the park of Schoenbrunn
were not all irreproachable, those of nature fully made up the
deficiency. What magnificent trees! What thick hedges! What dense and
refreshing shade! The avenues were remarkably high and broad, and
bordered with trees, which formed a vault impenetrable to the sun, while
the eye lost itself in their many windings; from these other smaller
walks diverged, where fresh surprises were in store at every step. At
the end of the broadest of these was placed the menagerie, which was one
of the most extensive and varied in Europe, and its construction, which
was very ingenious, might well serve as a model; it was shaped like a
star, and in the round center of this star had been erected a small but
very elegant kiosk, placed there by the Empress Maria Theresa as a
resting-place for herself, and from which the whole menagerie could be
viewed at leisure.

Each point of this star formed a separate garden, where there could be
seen elephants, buffaloes, camels, dromedaries, stags, and kangaroos
grazing; handsome and substantial cages held tigers, bears, leopards,
lions, hyenas, etc; and swans and rare aquatic birds and amphibious
animals sported in basins surrounded by iron gratings. In this menagerie
I specially remarked a very extraordinary animal, which his Majesty had
ordered brought to France, but which had died the day before it was to
have started. This animal was from Poland, and was called a 'curus'; it
was a kind of ox, though much larger than an ordinary ox, with a mane
like a lion, horns rather short and somewhat curved, and enormously large
at the base.

Every morning, at six o'clock, the drums beat, and two or three hours
after the troops were ordered to parade in the court of honor; and at
precisely ten o'clock his Majesty descended, and put himself at the head
of his generals.

It is impossible to give an idea of these parades, which in no particular
resembled reviews in Paris. The Emperor, during these reviews,
investigated the smallest details, and examined the soldiers one by one,
so to speak, looked into the eyes of each to see whether there was
pleasure or work in his head, questioned the officers, sometimes also the
soldiers themselves; and it was usually on these occasions that the
Emperor made his promotions. During one of these reviews, if he asked a
colonel who was the bravest officer in his regiment, there was no
hesitation in his answer; and it was always prompt, for he knew that the
Emperor was already well informed on this point. After the colonel had
replied, he addressed himself to all the other officers, saying, "Who is
the bravest among you?"--"Sire, it is such an one;" and the two answers
were almost always the same. "Then," said the Emperor, "I make him a
baron; and I reward in him, not only his own personal bravery, but that
of the corps of which he forms a part. He does not owe this favor to me
alone, but also to the esteem of his comrades." It was the same case
with the soldiers; and those most distinguished for courage or good
conduct were promoted or received rewards, and sometimes pensions, the
Emperor giving one of twelve hundred francs to a soldier, who, on his
first campaign, had passed through the enemy's squadron, bearing on his
shoulders his wounded general, protecting him as he would his own father.

On these reviews the Emperor could be seen personally inspecting the
haversacks of the soldiers, examining their certificates, or taking a gun
from the shoulders of a young man who was weak, pale; and suffering, and
saying to him, in a sympathetic tone, "That is too heavy for you." He
often drilled them himself; and when he did not, the drilling was
directed by Generals Dorsenne, Curial, or Mouton. Sometimes he was
seized with a sudden whim; for example, one morning, after reviewing a
regiment of the Confederation, he turned to the ordnance officers, and
addressing Prince Salm, who was among them, remarked "M. de Salm, the
soldiers ought to get acquainted with you; approach, and order them to
make a charge in twelve movements." The young prince turned crimson,
without being disconcerted, however, bowed, and drawing his sword most
gracefully, executed the orders of the Emperor with an ease and precision
which charmed him.

Another day, as the engineer corps passed with about forty wagons, the
Emperor cried, "Halt!" and pointing out a wagon to General Bertrand,
ordered him to summon one of the officers. "What does that wagon
contain?"--"Sire, bolts, bags of nails, ropes, hatchets, and saws."--
"How much of each?" The officer gave the exact account. His Majesty, to
verify this report, had the wagon emptied, counted the pieces, and found
the number correct; and in order to assure himself that nothing was left
in the wagon, climbed up into it by means of the wheel, holding on to the
spokes. There was a murmur of approbation and cries of joy all along the
line. "Bravo!" they said; "well and good! that is the way to make sure
of not being deceived." All these things conspired to make the soldiers
adore the Emperor.


At one of the reviews which I have just described, and which usually
attracted a crowd of curious people from Vienna and its suburbs, the
Emperor came near being assassinated. It was on the 13th of October,
his Majesty had just alighted from his horse, and was crossing the court
on foot with the Prince de Neuchatel and General Rapp beside him, when a
young man with a passably good countenance pushed his way rudely through
the crowd, and asked in bad French if he could speak to the Emperor. His
Majesty received him kindly, but not understanding his language, asked
General Rapp to see what the young man wanted, and the general asked him
a few questions; and not satisfied apparently with his answers, ordered
the police-officer on duty to remove him. A sub-officer conducted the
young man out of the circle formed by the staff, and drove him back into
the crowd. This circumstance had been forgotten, when suddenly the
Emperor, on turning, found again near him the pretended suppliant, who
had returned holding his right hand in his breast, as if to draw a
petition from the pocket of his coat. General Rapp seized the man by the
arm, and said to him, "Monsieur, you have already been ordered away; what
do you want?" As he was about to retire a second time the general,
thinking his appearance suspicious, gave orders to the police-officer to
arrest him, and he accordingly made a sign to his subalterns. One of
them seizing him by the collar shook him slightly, when his coat became
partly unbuttoned, and something fell out resembling a package of papers;
on examination it was found to be a large carving knife, with several
folds of gray paper wrapped around it as a sheath; thereupon he was
conducted to General Savary.

This young man was a student, and the son of a Protestant minister of
Naumbourg; he was called Frederic Stabs, and was about eighteen or
nineteen years old, with a pallid face and effeminate features. He did
not deny for an instant that it was his intention to kill the Emperor;
but on the contrary boasted of it, and expressed his intense regret that
circumstances had prevented the accomplishment of his design.

He had left his father's house on a horse which the want of money had
compelled him to sell on the way, and none of his relatives or friends
had any knowledge of his plan. The day after his departure he had
written to his father that he need not be anxious about him nor the
horse; that he had long since promised some one to visit Vienna, and his
family would soon hear of him with pride. He had arrived at Vienna only
two days before, and had occupied himself first in obtaining information
as to the Emperor's habits, and finding that he held a review every
morning in the court of the chateau, had been there once in order to
acquaint himself with the locality. The next day he had undertaken to
make the attack, and had been arrested.

The Duke of Rovigo, after questioning Stabs, sought the Emperor, who had
returned to his apartments, and acquainted him with the danger he had
just escaped. The Emperor at first shrugged his shoulders, but having
been shown the knife which had been taken from Stabs, said, "Ah, ha!
send for the young man; I should like very much to talk with him." The
duke went out, and returned in a few moments with Stabs. When the latter
entered, the Emperor made a gesture of pity, and said to the Prince de
Neuchatel, "Why, really, he is nothing more than a child!" An interpreter
was summoned and the interrogation begun.

His Majesty first asked the assassin if he had seen him, anywhere before
this. "Yes; I saw you," replied Stabbs, "at Erfurt last year."--"It
seems that a crime is nothing in your eyes. Why did you wish to kill
me?"--"To kill you is not a crime; on the contrary, it is the duty of
every good German. I wished to kill you because you are the oppressor of
Germany."--"It is not I who commenced the war; it is your nation. Whose
picture is this?" (the Emperor held in his hands the picture of a woman
that had been found on Stabs). "It is that of my best friend, my
father's adopted daughter."--"What! and you are an assassin! and have
no fear of afflicting and destroying beings who are so dear to you?"--"I
wished to do my duty, and nothing could have deterred me from it."--"But
how would you have succeeded in, striking me?"--"I would first have
asked you if we were soon to have peace; and if you had answered no, I
should have stabbed you."--"He is mad!" said the Emperor; "he is
evidently mad! And how could you have hoped to escape, after you had
struck me thus in the midst of my soldiers?"--"I knew well to what I was
exposing myself, and am astonished to be still alive." This boldness
made such a deep impression on the Emperor that he remained silent for
several moments, intently regarding Stabs, who remained entirely unmoved
under this scrutiny. Then the Emperor continued, "The one you love will
be much distressed."--"Oh, she will no doubt be distressed because I did
not succeed, for she hates you at least as much as I hate you myself."--
"Suppose I pardoned you?"--"You would be wrong, for I would again try to
kill you." The Emperor summoned M. Corvisart and said to him, "This
young man is either sick or insane, it cannot be otherwise."--"I am
neither the one nor the other," replied the assassin quickly.
M. Corvisart felt Stabs's pulse. "This gentleman is well," he said.
"I have already told you so," replied Stabs with a triumphant air.--
"Well, doctor," said his Majesty, "this young man who is in such good
health has traveled a hundred miles to assassinate me."

Notwithstanding this declaration of the physician and the avowal of
Stabs, the Emperor, touched by the coolness and assurance of the
unfortunate fellow, again offered him his pardon, upon the sole condition
of expressing some repentance for his crime; but as Stabs again asserted
that his only regret was that he had not succeeded in his undertaking,
the Emperor reluctantly gave him up to punishment.

After he was conducted to prison, as he still persisted in his
assertions, he was immediately brought before a military commission,
which condemned him to death. He did not undergo his punishment till the
17th; and after the 13th, the day on which he was arrested, took no food,
saying that he would have strength enough to go to his death. The
Emperor had ordered that the execution should be delayed as long as
possible, in the hope that sooner or later Stabs would repent; but he
remained unshaken. As he was being conducted to the place where he was
to be shot, some one having told him that peace had just been concluded,
he cried in a loud voice, "Long live liberty! Long live Germany!"
These were his last words.


During his stay at Schoenbrunn the Emperor was constantly engaged in
gallant adventures. He was one day promenading on the Prater in Vienna,
with a very numerous suite (the Prater is a handsome promenade situated
in the Faubourg Leopold), when a young German, widow of a rich merchant,
saw him, and exclaimed involuntarily to the ladies promenading with her,
"It is he!" This exclamation was overheard by his Majesty, who stopped
short, and bowed to the ladies with a smile, while the one who had spoken
blushed crimson; the Emperor comprehended this unequivocal sign, looked
at her steadfastly, and then continued his walk.

For sovereigns there are neither long attacks nor great difficulties, and
this new conquest of his Majesty was not less rapid than the others. In
order not to be separated from her illustrious lover, Madame B----
followed the army to Bavaria, and afterwards came to him at Paris, where
she died in 1812.

His Majesty's attention was attracted by a charming young person one
morning in the suburbs of Schoenbrunn; and some one was ordered to see
this young lady, and arrange for a rendezvous at the chateau the
following evening. Fortune favored his Majesty on this occasion. The
eclat of so illustrious a name, and the renown of his victories, had
produced a deep impression on the mind of the young girl, and had
disposed her to listen favorably to the propositions made to her. She
therefore eagerly consented to meet him at the chateau; and at the
appointed hour the person of whom I have spoken came for her, and I
received her on her arrival, and introduced her to his Majesty. She did
not speak French, but she knew Italian well, and it was consequently easy
for the Emperor to converse with her; and he soon learned with
astonishment that this charming young lady belonged to a very honorable
family of Vienna, and that in coming to him that evening she was inspired
alone by a desire to express to him her sincere admiration. The Emperor
respected the innocence of the young girl, had her reconducted to her
parents' residence, and gave orders that a marriage should be arranged
for her, and that it should be rendered more advantageous by means of a
considerable dowry.

At Schoenbrunn, as at Paris, his Majesty dined habitually at six o'clock;
but since he worked sometimes very far into the night, care was taken to
prepare every evening a light supper, which was placed in a little locked
basket covered with oil-cloth. There were two keys to this basket; one
of which the steward kept, and I the other. The care of this basket
belonged to me alone; and as his Majesty was extremely busy, he hardly
ever asked for supper. One evening Roustan, who had been busily occupied
all day in his master's service, was in a little room next to the
Emperor's, and meeting me just after I had assisted in putting his
Majesty to bed, said to me in his bad French, looking at the basket with
an envious eye, "I could eat a chicken wing myself; I am very hungry."
I refused at first; but finally, as I knew that the Emperor had gone to
bed, and had no idea he would take a fancy to ask me for supper that
evening, I let Roustan have it. He, much delighted, began with a leg,
and next took a wing; and I do not know if any of the chicken would have
been left had I not suddenly heard the bell ring sharply. I entered the
room, and was shocked to hear the Emperor say to me, "Constant, my
chicken." My embarrassment may be imagined. I had no other chicken; and
by what means, at such an hour, could I procure one! At last I decided
what to do. It was best to cut up the fowl, as thus I would be able to
conceal the absence of the two limbs Roustan had eaten; so I entered
proudly with the chicken replaced on the dish Roustan following me, for I
was very willing, if there were any reproaches, to share them with him.
I picked up the remaining wing, and presented it to the Emperor; but he
refused it, saying to me, "Give me the chicken; I will choose for
myself." This time there was no means of saving ourselves, for the
dismembered chicken must pass under his Majesty's eyes. "See here," said
he, "since when did chickens begin to have only one wing and one leg?
That is fine; it seems that I must eat what others leave. Who, then,
eats half of my supper?" I looked at Roustan, who in confusion replied,
"I was very hungry, Sire, and I ate a wing and leg."--"What, you idiot!
so it was you, was it?"

"Ah, I will punish you for it." And without another word the Emperor ate
the remaining leg and wing.

The next day at his toilet he summoned the grand marshal for some
purpose, and during the conversation said, "I leave you to guess what I
ate last night for my supper. The scraps which M. Roustan left. Yes,
the wretch took a notion to eat half of my chicken." Roustan entered at
that moment. "Come here, you idiot," continued the Emperor; "and the
next time this happens, be sure you will pay for it." Saying this, he
seized him by the ears and laughed heartily.


On the 22d of May, ten days after the triumphant entry of the Emperor
into the Austrian capital, the battle of Essling took place, a bloody
combat lasting from four in the morning till six in the evening. This
battle was sadly memorable to all the old soldiers of the Empire, since
it cost the life of perhaps the bravest of them all,--the Duke of
Montebello, the devoted friend of the Emperor, the only one who shared
with Marshal Augereau the right to speak to him frankly face to face.

The evening before the battle the marshal entered his Majesty's
residence, and found him surrounded by several persons. The Duke of----
always undertook to place himself between the Emperor and persons who
wished to speak with him. The Duke of Montebello, seeing him play his
usual game, took him by the lappet of his coat, and, wheeling him around,
said to him: "Take yourself away from here! The Emperor does not need
you to stand guard. It is singular that on the field of battle you are
always so far from us that we cannot see you, while here we can say
nothing to the Emperor without your being in the way." The duke was
furious. He looked first at the marshal, then at the Emperor, who simply
said, "Gently Lannes."

That evening in the domestic apartments they were discussing this
apostrophe of the marshal's. An officer of the army of Egypt said that
he was not surprised, since the Duke of Montebello had never forgiven the
Duke of ---- for the three hundred sick persons poisoned at Jaffa.

Dr. Lannefranque, one of those who attended the unfortunate Duke of
Montebello, said that as he was mounting his horse on starting to the
island of Lobau, the duke was possessed by gloomy presentiments. He
paused a moment, took M. Lannefranque's hand, and pressed it, saying to
him with a sad smile, "Au revoir; you will soon see us again, perhaps.
There will be work for you and for those gentlemen to-day," pointing to
several surgeons and doctors standing near. "M. le Duc," replied
Lannefranque, "this day will add yet more to your glory."--"My glory,"
interrupted the marshal eagerly; "do you wish me to speak frankly? I do
not approve very highly of this affair; and, moreover, whatever may be
the issue, this will be my last battle." The doctor wished to ask the
marshal his reasons for this conviction; but he set off at a gallop, and
was soon out of sight.

On the morning of the battle, about six or seven o'clock, the Austrians
had already advanced, when an aide-de-camp came to announce to his
Majesty that a sudden rise in the Danube had washed down a great number
of large trees which had been cut down when Vienna was taken, and that
these trees had driven against and broken the bridges which served as
communication between Essling and the island of Lobau; and in consequence
of this the reserve corps, part of the heavy cavalry, and Marshal
Davoust's entire corps, found themselves forced to remain inactive on the
other side. This misfortune arrested the movement which the Emperor was
preparing to make, and the enemy took courage.

The Duke of Montebello received orders to hold the field of battle, and
took his position, resting on the village of Essling, instead of
continuing the pursuit of the Austrians which he had already begun, and
held this position from nine o'clock in the morning till the evening; and
at seven o'clock in the evening the battle was gained. At six o'clock
the unfortunate marshal, while standing on an elevation to obtain a
better view of the movements, was struck by a cannon-ball, which broke
his right thigh and his left knee.

He thought at first that he had only a few moments to live, and had
himself carried on a litter to the Emperor, saying that he wished to
embrace him before he died. The Emperor, seeing him thus weltering in
his blood, had the litter placed on the ground, and, throwing himself on
his knees, took the marshal in his arms, and said to him, weeping,
"Lannes, do you know me?"--"Yes, Sire; you are losing your best friend."
--"No! no! you will live. Can you not answer for his life, M.
Larrey?" The wounded soldiers hearing his Majesty speak thus, tried to
rise on their elbows, and cried, "Vive l'Empereur!"

The surgeons carried the marshal to a little village called Ebersdorf, on
the bank of the river, and near the field of battle. At the house of a
brewer they found a room over a stable where the heat was stifling, and
was rendered still more unendurable from the odor of the corpses by which
the house was surrounded.

But as no other place could be found, it was necessary to make the best
of it. The marshal bore the amputation of his limb with heroic courage;
but the fever which came on immediately was so violent that, fearing he
would die under the operation, the surgeons postponed cutting off his
other leg. This fever was caused partly by exhaustion, for at the time
he was wounded the marshal had eaten nothing for twenty-four hours.
Finally Messieurs Larrey,

   [Baron Dominique Jean Larrey, eminent surgeon, born at
   Bagneres-de -Bigorre, 1766. Accompanied Napoleon to Egypt.
   Surgeon-in-chief of the grand army, 1812. Wounded and taken
   prisoner at Waterloo. In his will the Emperor styles him the best
   man he had ever known. Died 1842.]

Yvan, Paulet, and Lannefranque decided on the second amputation; and
after this had been performed the quiet condition of the wounded man made
them hopeful of saving his life. But it was not to be. The fever
increased, and became of a most alarming character; and in spite of the
attentions of these skillful surgeons, and of Doctor Frank, then the most
celebrated physician in Europe, the marshal breathed his last on the 31st
of May, at five o'clock in the morning, barely forty years of age.

During his week of agony (for his sufferings may be called by that name)
the Emperor came often to see him, and always left in deep distress. I
also went to see the marshal each day for the Emperor, and admired the
patience with which he endured these sufferings, although he had no hope;
for he knew well that he was dying, and saw these sad tidings reflected
in every face. It was touching and terrible to see around his house, his
door, in his chamber even, these old grenadiers of the guard, always
stolid and unmoved till now, weeping and sobbing like children. What an
atrocious thing war seems at such moments.

The evening before his death the marshal said to me, "I see well, my dear
Constant, that I must die. I wish that your master could have ever near
him men as devoted as I. Tell the Emperor I would like to see him." As
I was going out the Emperor entered, a deep silence ensued, and every one
retired; but the door of the room being half open we could hear a part of
the conversation, which was long and painful. The marshal recalled his
services to the Emperor, and ended with these words, pronounced in tones
still strong and firm: "I do not say this to interest you in my family; I
do not need to recommend to you my wife and children. Since I die for
you, your glory will bid you protect them; and I do not fear in
addressing you these last words, dictated by sincere affection, to change
your plans towards them. You have just made a great mistake, and
although it deprives you of your best friend you will not correct it.
Your ambition is insatiable, and will destroy you. You sacrifice
unsparingly and unnecessarily those men who serve you best; and when they
fall you do not regret them. You have around you only flatterers; I see
no friend who dares to tell you the truth. You will be betrayed and
abandoned. Hasten to end this war; it is the general wish. You will
never be more powerful, but you may be more beloved. Pardon these truths
in a dying man--who, dying, loves you."

The marshal, as he finished, held out his hand to the Emperor, who
embraced him, weeping, and in silence.

The day of the marshal's death his body was given to M. Larrey and M.
Cadet de Gassicourt, ordinary chemist to the Emperor, with orders to
preserve it, as that of Colonel Morland had been, who was killed at the
battle of Austerlitz. For this purpose the corpse was carried to
Schoenbrunn, and placed in the left wing of the chateau, far from the
inhabited rooms. In a few hours putrefaction became complete, and they
were obliged to plunge the mutilated body into a bath filled with
corrosive sublimate. This extremely dangerous operation was long and
painful; and M. Cadet de Gassicourt deserves much commendation for the
courage he displayed under these circumstances; for notwithstanding every
precaution, and in spite of the strong disinfectants burned in the room,
the odor of this corpse was so fetid, and the vapor from the sublimate so
strong, that the distinguished chemist was seriously indisposed.

Like several other persons, I had a sad curiosity to see the marshal's
body in this condition. It was frightful. The trunk, which had been
covered by the solution, was greatly swollen; while on the contrary, the
head, which had been left outside the bath, had shrunk remarkably, and
the muscles of the face had contracted in the most hideous manner, the
wide-open eyes starting out of their sockets. After the body had
remained eight days in the corrosive sublimate, which it was necessary to
renew, since the emanations from the interior of the corpse had
decomposed the solution, it was put into a cask made for the purpose, and
filled with the same liquid; and it was in this cask that it was carried
from Schoenbrunn to Strasburg. In this last place it was taken out of
the strange coffin, dried in a net, and wrapped in the Egyptian style;
that is, surrounded with bandages, with the face uncovered. M. Larrey
and M. de Gassicourt confided this honorable task to M. Fortin, a young
chemist major, who in 1807 had by his indefatigable courage and
perseverance saved from certain death nine hundred sick, abandoned,
without physicians or surgeons, in a hospital near Dantzic, and nearly
all suffering from an infectious malady. In the month of March, 1810
(what follows is an extract from the letter of M. Fortin to his master
and friend M. Cadet de Gassicourt), the Duchess of Montebello, in passing
through Strasburg, wished to see again the husband she loved so tenderly.

"Thanks to you and M. Larrey (it is M. Fortin who speaks), the embalming
of the marshal has succeeded perfectly. When I drew the body from the
cask I found it in a state of perfect preservation. I arranged a net in
a lower hall of the mayor's residence, in which I dried it by means of a
stove, the heat being carefully regulated. I then had a very handsome
coffin made of hard wood well oiled; and the marshal wrapped in bandages,
his face uncovered, was placed in an open coffin near that of General
Saint-Hilaire in a subterranean vault, of which I have the key. A
sentinel watches there day and night. M. Wangen de Gueroldseck, mayor of
Strasburg, has given me every assistance in my work.

"This was the state of affairs when, an hour after her Majesty the
Empress's arrival, Madame, the Duchess of Montebello, who accompanied her
as lady of honor, sent M. Cretu, her cousin at whose house she was to
visit, to seek me. I came in answer to her orders; and the duchess
questioned and complimented me on the honorable mission with which I was
charged, and then expressed to me, with much agitation, her desire to see
for the last time the body of her husband. I hesitated a few moments
before answering her, and foreseeing the effect which would be produced
on her by the sad spectacle, told her that the orders which I had
received would prevent my doing what she wished; but she insisted in such
a pressing manner that I yielded. We agreed (in order not to compromise
me, and that she might not be recognized) that I would-go for her at
midnight, and that she would be accompanied by one of her relatives.

"I went to the duchess at the appointed hour; and as soon as I arrived,
she rose and said that she was ready to accompany me. I waited a few
moments, begging her to consider the matter well. I warned her of the
condition in which she would find the marshal, and begged her to reflect
on the impression she would receive in the sad place she was about to
visit. She replied that she was well, prepared for this, and felt that
she had the necessary, courage, and she hoped to find in this last visit
some amelioration of the bitter sorrow she endured. While speaking thus,
her sad and beautiful countenance was calm and pensive. We then started,
M. Cretu giving his arm to his cousin. The duchess's carriage followed
at a distance, empty; and two servants followed us.

"The city was illuminated; and the good inhabitants were all taking
holiday, and in many houses gay music was inspiriting them to the
celebration of this memorable day. What a contrast between this gayety
and the quest in which we were engaged! I saw that the steps of the
duchess dragged now and then, while she sighed and shuddered; and my own
heart seemed oppressed, my ideas confused.

"At last we arrived at the mayor's residence, where Madame de Montebello
gave her servants orders to await her, and descended slowly, accompanied
by her cousin and myself, to the door of the lower hall. A lantern
lighted our way, and the duchess trembled while she affected a sort of
bravery; but when she entered a sort of cavern, the silence of the dead
which reigned in this subterranean vault, the mournful light which filled
it, the sight of the corpse extended in its coffin, produced a terrible
effect on her; she gave a piercing scream, and fainted. I had foreseen
this, and had watched her attentively; and as soon as I saw her strength
failing, supported her in my arms and seated her, having in readiness
everything necessary to restore her. I used these remedies, and she
revived at the end of a few moments; and we then begged her to withdraw,
but she refused; then rose, approached the coffin, and walked around it
slowly in silence; then stopping and letting her folded hands fall by her
side, she remained for some time immovable, regarding the inanimate
figure of her husband, and watering it with her tears. At last she in a
measure regained her self-control and exclaimed in stifled tones through
her sobs, Mon Dieu, mon Dieu! how he is changed!' I made a sign to M.
Cretu that it was time to retire; but we could drag the duchess away only
by promising her to bring her back next day,--a promise which could not
be kept. I closed the door quickly, and gave my arm to the duchess,
which she gratefully accepted. When we left the mayoralty I took leave
of her; but she insisted on my entering her carriage, and gave orders to
carry me to my residence. In this short ride she shed a torrent of
tears; and when the carriage stopped, said to me with inexpressible
kindness, 'I shall never forget, Monsieur, the important service you have
just rendered me.'"

Long after this the Emperor and Empress Marie Louise visited together
the manufacture of Sevres porcelain, and the Duchess of Montebello
accompanied the Empress as lady of honor. The Emperor, seeing a fine
bust of the marshal, in bisque, exquisitely made, paused, and, not
noticing the pallor which overspread the countenance of the duchess,
asked her what she thought of this bust, and if it was a good likeness.
The widow felt as if her old wound was reopened; she could not reply, and
retired, bathed in tears, and it was several days before she reappeared
at court. Apart from the fact that this unexpected question renewed her
grief, the inconceivable thoughtlessness the Emperor had shown wounded
her so deeply that, her friends had much difficulty in persuading her to
resume her duties near the Empress.


The battle of Essling was disastrous in every respect. Twelve thousand
Frenchmen were slain; and the source of all this trouble was the
destruction of the bridges, which could have been prevented, it seems to
me, for the same accident had occurred two or three days before the
battle. The soldiers complained loudly, and several corps of the
infantry cried out to the generals to dismount and fight in their midst;
but this ill humor in no wise affected their courage or patience, for
regiments remained five hours under arms, exposed to the most terrible
fire. Three times during the evening the Emperor sent to inquire of
General Massena if he could hold his position; and the brave captain, who
that day saw his son on the field of battle for the first time, and his
friends and his bravest officers falling by dozens around him, held it
till night closed in. "I will not fall back," said he, "while there is
light. Those rascally Austrians would be too glad." The constancy of
the marshal saved the day; but, as he himself said, he was always blessed
with good luck. In the beginning of the battle, seeing that one of his
stirrups was too long, he called a soldier to shorten it, and during this
operation placed his leg on his horse's neck; a cannon-ball whizzed by,
killed the soldier, and cut off the stirrup, without touching the marshal
or his horse. "There," said he, "now I shall have to get down and change
my saddle;" which observation the marshal made in a jesting tone.

The surgeon and his assistants conducted themselves admirably on this
terrible day, and displayed a zeal equal to every emergency, combined
with an activity which delighted the Emperor so much, that several times,
in passing near them, he called them "my brave surgeons." M. Larrey
above all was sublime. After having attended to all the wounded of the
guard, who were crowded together on the Island of Lobau, he asked if
there was any broth to give them. "No," replied the assistants. "Have
some made," said he, "have some made of that group," pointing to several
horses near him; but these horses belonged to a general, and when it was
attempted to carry out M. Larrey's orders, the owner indignantly refused
to allow them to be taken. "Well, take mine then," said the brave
soldier, "and have them killed, in order that my comrades may have
broth." This was done; and as no pots could be found on the island it
was boiled in helmets, and salted with cannon powder in place of salt.
Marshal Massena tasted this soup, and thought it very good. One hardly
knows which to admire most,--the zeal of the surgeons, the courage with
which they confronted danger in caring for the wounded on the field of
battle, and even in the midst of the conflict; or the stoical constancy
of the soldiers, who, lying on the ground, some without an arm, some
without a leg, talked over their campaigns with each other while waiting
to be operated on, some even going so far as to show excessive
politeness. "M. Docteur, begin with my neighbor; he is suffering more
than I. I can wait."

A cannoneer had both legs carried away by a ball; two of his comrades
picked him up and made a litter with branches of trees, on which they
placed him in order to convey him to the island. The poor mutilated
fellow did not utter a single groan, but murmured, "I am very thirsty,"
from time to time, to those who bore him. As they passed one of the
bridges, he begged them to stop and seek a little wine or brandy to
restore his strength. They believed him, and did as he requested, but
had not gone twenty steps when the cannoneer called to them, "Don't go so
fast, my comrades; I have no legs, and I will reach the end of my journey
sooner than you. 'Vive la France;'" and, with a supreme effort, he
rolled off into the Danube.

The conduct of a surgeon-major of the guard, some time after, came near
compromising the entire corps in his Majesty's opinion. This surgeon, M.
M----, lodged with General Dorsenne and some superior officers in a
pretty country seat, belonging to the Princess of Lichtenstein, the
concierge of the house being an old German who was blunt and peculiar,
and served them with the greatest repugnance, making them as
uncomfortable as possible. In vain, for instance, they requested of him
linen for the beds and table; he always pretended not to hear.

General Dorsenne wrote to the princess, complaining of this condition of
affairs; and in consequence she no doubt gave orders, but the general's
letter remained unanswered, and several days passed with no change of
affairs. They had had no change of napkins for a month, when the general
took a fancy to give a grand supper, at which Rhenish and Hungarian wine
were freely indulged in, followed by punch. The host was highly
complimented; but with these praises were mingled energetic reproaches on
the doubtful whiteness of the napery, General Dorsenne excusing himself
on the score of the ill-humor and sordid economy of the concierge, who
was a fit exponent of the scant courtesy shown by the princess. "That is
unendurable!" cried the joyous guests in chorus. "This hostess who so
completely ignores us must be called to order. Come, M----, take pen and
paper and write her some strong epigrams; we must teach this princess of
Germany how to live. French officers and conquerors sleeping in rumpled
sheets, and using soiled napkins! What an outrage!" M. M was only too
faithful an interpreter of the unanimous sentiments of these gentlemen;
and under the excitement of the fumes of these Hungarian wines wrote the
Princess of Lichtenstein a letter such as during the Carnival itself one
would not dare to write even to public women. How can I express what
must have been Madame Lichtenstein's horror on reading this
production,--an incomprehensible collection of all the low expressions
that army slang could furnish! The evidence of a third person was
necessary to convince her that the signature, M----, Surgeon-major of
the Imperial French Guard, was not the forgery of some miserable
drunkard. In her profound indignation the princess hastened to General
Andreossy, his Majesty's Governor of Vienna, showed him this letter, and
demanded vengeance. Whereupon the general, even more incensed than she,
entered his carriage, and, proceeding to Schoenbrunn, laid the wonderful
production before the Emperor. The Emperor read it, recoiled three
paces, his cheeks reddened with anger, his whole countenance was
disturbed, and in a terrible tone ordered the grand marshal to summon
M. M----, while every one waited in trembling suspense.

"Did you write this disgusting letter?"--"Sire."--"Reply, I order you;
was it you?"--"Yes, Sire, in a moment of forgetfulness, after a supper."
--"Wretch!" cried his Majesty, in such a manner as to terrify all who
heard him. "You deserve to be instantly shot! Insult a woman so basely!
And an old woman too. Have you no mother? I respect and honor every old
woman because she reminds me of my mother!"--"Sire, I am guilty, I admit,
but my repentance is great. Deign to remember my services. I have
followed you through eighteen campaigns; I am the father of a family."
These last words only increased the anger of his Majesty. "Let him be
arrested! Tear off his decorations; he is unworthy to wear them. Let
him be tried in twenty-four hours." Then turning to the generals, who
stood stupefied and immovable around him, he exclaimed, "Look, gentlemen!
read this! See how this blackguard addresses a princess, and at the very
moment when her husband is negotiating a peace with me."

The parade was very short that day; and as soon as it was ended, Generals
Dorsenne and Larrey hastened to Madame Lichtenstein, and, describing to
her the scene which had just taken place, made her most humble apologies,
in the name of the Imperial Guard, and at the same time entreated her to
intercede for the unfortunate fellow, who deserved blame, no doubt, but
who was not himself when he wrote the offensive epistle. "He repents
bitterly, Madame," said good M. Larrey; "he weeps over his fault, and
bravely awaits his punishment, esteeming it a just reparation of the
insult to you. But he is one of the best officers of the army; he is
beloved and esteemed; he has saved the life of thousands, and his
distinguished talents are the only fortune his family possesses. What
will become of them if he is shot?"--"Shot!" exclaimed the princess;
"shot! Bon-Dieu! would the matter be carried as far as that?" Then
General Dorsenne described to her the Emperor's resentment as
incomparably deeper than her own; and the princess, much moved,
immediately wrote the Emperor a letter, in which she expressed herself as
grateful, and fully satisfied with the reparation which had already been
made, and entreated him to pardon M. M----

His Majesty read the letter, but made no reply. The princess was again
visited; and she had by this time become so much alarmed that she
regretted exceedingly having shown the letter of M. M---- to the general;
and, having decided at any cost to obtain the surgeon's pardon, she
addressed a petition to the Emperor, which closed with this sentence,
expressing angelic forgiveness: "Sire, I am going to fall on my knees in
my oratory, and will not rise until I have obtained from Heaven your
Majesty's pardon." The Emperor could no longer hold out; he granted the
pardon, and M. M---- was released after a month of close confinement.
M. Larrey was charged by his Majesty to reprove him most severely, with a
caution to guard more carefully the honor of the corps to which he
belonged; and the remonstrances of this excellent man were made in so
paternal a manner that they doubled in M. M----'s eyes the value of the
inestimable service M. Larrey had rendered him.

M. le Baron Larrey was always most disinterested in his kind services, a
fact which was well known and often abused. General d'A----, the son of
a rich senator, had his shoulder broken by a shell at Wagram; and an
exceedingly delicate operation was found necessary, requiring a skilled
hand, and which M. Larrey alone could perform. This operation was a
complete success; but the wounded man had a delicate constitution, which
had been much impaired, and consequently required the most incessant care
and attention. M. Larrey hardly ever left his bedside, and was assisted
by two medical students, who watched by turns, and assisted him in
dressing the wound. The treatment was long and painful, but a complete
cure was the result; and when almost entirely recovered, the general took
leave of the Emperor to return to France. A pension and decorations
canceled the debt of the head of the state to him, but the manner in
which he acquitted his own towards the man who had saved his life is
worthy of consideration.

As he entered his carriage he handed to one of his friends a letter and a
little box, saying to this general, "I cannot leave Vienna without
thanking M. Larrey; do me the favor of handing to him for me this mark of
my gratitude. Good Larrey, I will never forget the services he has
rendered me." Next day the friend performed his commission; and a
soldier was sent with the letter and the present, and, as he reached
Schoenbrunn during the parade, sought M. Larrey in the line. "Here is a
letter and a box which I bring from General A----." M. Larrey put both
in his pocket, but after the parade examined them, and showed the package
to Cadet de Gassicourt, saying, "Look at it, and tell me what you think
of it." The letter was very prettily written; as for the box, it
contained a diamond worth about sixty francs.

This pitiful recompense recalls one both glorious and well-earned which
M. Larrey received from the Emperor during the campaign in Egypt. At the
battle of Aboukir, General Fugieres was operated on by M. Larrey under
the enemies' fire for a dangerous wound on the shoulder; and thinking
himself about to die, offered his sword to General Bonaparte, saying
to him, "General, perhaps one day you may envy my fate." The
general-in-chief presented this sword to M. Larrey, after having
engraved on it the name of M. Larrey and that of the battle. However,
General Fugieres did not die; his life was saved by the skillful
operation he had undergone, and for seventeen years he commanded the
Invalids at Avignon.


It is not in the presence of the enemy that differences in the manner and
bearing of soldiers can be remarked, for the requirements of the service
completely engross both the ideas and time of officers, whatever their
grade, and uniformity of occupation produces also a kind of uniformity of
habit and character; but, in the monotonous life of the camp, differences
due to nature and education reassert themselves. I noted this many times
after the truces and treaties of peace which crowned the most glorious
campaigns of the Emperor, and had occasion to renew my observations on
this point during the long sojourn which we made at Schoenbrunn with the
army. Military tone in the army is a most difficult thing to define, and
differs according to rank, time of service, and kind of service; and
there are no genuine soldiers except those who form part of the line, or
who command it. In the soldiers' opinion, the Prince de Neuchatel and
his brilliant staff, the grand marshal, Generals Bertrand, Bacler d'Albe,
etc., were only men of the cabinet council, whose experience might be of
some use in such deliberations, but to whom bravery was not

The chief generals, such as Prince Eugene, Marshals Oudinot, Davoust,
Bessieres, and his Majesty's aides-decamp, Rapp, Lebrun, Lauriston,
Mouton, etc., were exceedingly affable, and every one was most politely
received by them; their dignity never became haughtiness, nor their ease
an excessive familiarity, though their manners were at all times slightly
tinged by the austerity inseparable from the character of a warrior.
This was not the idea held in the army in regard to a few of the ordnance
and staff officers (aides-de-camp); for, while according them all the
consideration due both to their education and their courage, they called
them the jay-birds of the army; receiving favors which others deserved;
obtaining cordons and promotions for carrying a few letters into camp,
often without having even seen the enemy; insulting by their luxury the
modest temperance of the braver officers; and more foppish in the midst
of their battalions than in the boudoirs of their mistresses. The
silver-gilt box of one of these gentlemen was a complete portable
dressing-case, and contained, instead of cartridges, essence bottles,
brushes, a mirror, a tongue-scraper, a shell-comb, and--I do not know
that it lacked even a pot of rouge. It could not be said that they were
not brave, for they would allow themselves to be killed for a glance;
but they were very, rarely exposed to danger. Foreigners would be right
in maintaining the assertion that the French soldier is frivolous,
presumptuous, impertinent, and immoral, if they formed their judgment
alone from these officers by courtesy, who, in place of study and
faithful service, had often no other title to their rank than the merit
of having emigrated.

The officers of the line, who had served in several campaigns and had
gained their epaulettes on the field of battle, held a very different
position in the army. Always grave, polite, and considerate, there was a
kind of fraternity among them; and having known suffering and misery
themselves, they were always ready to help others; and their
conversation, though not distinguished by brilliant information, was
often full of interest. In nearly every case boasting quitted them with
their youth, and the bravest were always the most modest. Influenced by
no imaginary points of honor, they estimated themselves at their real
worth; and all fear of being suspected of cowardice was beneath them.
With these brave soldiers, who often united to the greatest kindness of
heart a mettle no less great, a flat contradiction or even a little hasty
abuse from one of their brothers in arms was not obliged to be washed out
in blood; and examples of the moderation which true courage alone has a
right to show were not rare in the army. Those who cared least for
money, and were most generous, were most exposed, the artillerymen and
the hussars, for instance. At Wagram I saw a lieutenant pay a louis for
a bottle of brandy, and immediately divide it among the soldiers of his
company; and brave officers often formed such an attachment to their
regiment, especially if it had distinguished itself, that they sometimes
refused promotion rather than be separated from their children, as they
called them. In them we behold the true model of the French soldier; and
it is this kindness, mingled with the austerity of a warrior, this
attachment of the chief to the soldier, which the latter is so capable of
appreciating, and an impregnable honor, which serve to distinguish our
soldiers from all others, and not, as foreigners think, presumption,
braggadocio, and libertinage, which latter are ever the characteristics
of the parasites of glory alone.

In the camp of Lobau on the evening before the battle of Wagram, the
Emperor, as he was walking outside his tent, stopped a moment watching
the grenadiers of his guard who were breakfasting. "Well, my children,
what do you think of the wine?"--"It will not make us tipsy, Sire; there
is our cellar," said a soldier pointing to the Danube. The Emperor, who
had ordered a bottle of good wine to be distributed to each soldier, was
surprised to see that they were so abstemious the evening before a
battle. He inquired of the Prince de Neuchatel the cause of this; and
upon investigation, it was learned that two storekeepers and an employee
in the commissary department had sold forty thousand bottles of the wine
which the Emperor had ordered to be distributed, and had replaced it with
some of inferior quality. This wine had been seized by the Imperial
Guard in a rich abbey, and was valued at thirty thousand florins. The
culprits were arrested, tried, and condemned to death.

There was in the camp at Lobau a dog which I think all the army knew by
the name of corps-de-garde. He was old, emaciated, and ugly; but his
moral qualities caused his exterior defects to be quickly lost sight of.
He was sometimes called the brave dog of the Empire; since he had
received a bayonet stroke at Marengo, and had a paw broken by a gun at
Austerlitz, being at that time attached to a regiment of dragoons. He
had no master. He was in the habit of attaching himself to a corps, and
continuing faithful so long as they fed him well and did not beat him.
A kick or a blow with the flat of a sword would cause him to desert this
regiment, and pass on to another. He was unusually intelligent; and
whatever position of the corps in which he might be the was serving, he
did not abandon it, or confound it with any other, and in the thickest of
the fight was always near the banner he had chosen; and if in the camp he
met a soldier from the regiment he had deserted, he would droop his ears,
drop his tail between his legs, and scamper off quickly to rejoin his new
brothers in arms. When his regiment was on the march he circled as a
scout all around it, and gave warning by a bark if he found anything
unusual, thus on more than one occasion saving his comrades from ambush.

Among the officers who perished at the battle of Wagram, or rather in a
small engagement which took place after the battle had ended, one of
those most regretted by the soldiers was General Oudet. He was one of
the bravest generals of the army; but what brings his name especially to
mind, among all those whom the army lost on that memorable day, is a note
which I have preserved of a conversation I held several years after this
battle with an excellent officer who was one of my sincerest friends.

In a conversation with Lieutenant-colonel B---- in 1812, he remarked, "I
must tell you, my dear Constant, of a strange adventure which happened to
me at Wagram. I did not tell you at the time, because I had promised to
be silent; but since at the present time no one can be compromised by my
indiscretion, and since those who then had most to fear if their singular
ideas (for I can call them by no other name) had been revealed, would now
be first to laugh at them, I can well inform you of the mysterious
discovery I made at that period.

"You well know that I was much attached to poor F---- whom we so much
regretted; and he was one of our most popular and attractive officers,
his good qualities winning the hearts of all, especially of those who
like himself had an unfailing fund of frankness and good humor. All at
once I noticed a great change in his manner, as well as in that of his
habitual companions; they appeared gloomy, and met together no more for
gay conversation, but on the contrary spoke in low tones and with an air
of mystery. More than once this sudden change had struck me; and if by
chance I met them in retired places, instead of receiving me cordially as
had always been their custom, they seemed as if trying to avoid me. At
last, weary of this inexplicable mystery, I took F---- aside, and asked
him what this strange conduct meant. 'You have forestalled me, my dear
friend,' said he. 'I was on the point of making an important disclosure;
I trust you will not accuse me of want of confidence, but swear to me
before I confide in you that you will tell no living soul what I am now
going to reveal.' When I had taken this oath, which he demanded of me in
a tone of gravity which surprised me inexpressibly, he continued, 'If I
have not already told you of the 'Philadelphi', it is only because I knew
that reasons which I respect would prevent your ever joining them; but
since you have asked this secret, it would be a want of confidence in
you, and at the same time perhaps an imprudence, not to reveal it. Some
patriots have united themselves under the title of 'Philadelphi', in
order to save our country from the dangers to which it is exposed. The
Emperor Napoleon has tarnished the glory of the First Consul Bonaparte;
he had saved our liberty, but he has since destroyed it by the
reestablishment of the nobility and by the Concordat. The society of the
'Philadelphi' has as yet no well-defined plans for preventing the evils
with which ambition will continue to overwhelm France; but when peace is
restored we shall see if it is impossible to force Bonaparte to restore
republican institutions, and meanwhile we are overcome by grief and
despair. The brave chief of the 'Philadelphi', the pure Oudet, has been
assassinated, and who is worthy to take his place? Poor Oudet! never
was one braver or more eloquent than he! With a noble haughtiness and an
immovable firmness of character, he possessed an excellent heart. His
first battle showed his intrepid spirit. When cut down at Saint
Bartholomew by a ball, his comrades wished to bear him away, "No, no,"
cried he; "don't waste time over me. The Spaniards! the Spaniards!"--
"Shall we leave you to the enemy?" said one of those who had advanced
towards him. "Well, drive them back if you do not wish me to be left
with them." At the beginning of the campaign of Wagram, he was colonel
of the Ninth regiment of the line, and was made general of brigade on the
evening before the battle, his corps forming part of the left wing
commanded by Massena. Our line was broken on this side for a moment, and
Oudet made heroic efforts to reform it; and after he had been wounded by
three bayonet strokes, with the loss of much blood, and dragged away by
those of us who were forced to fall back, still had himself fastened on
his horse in order that he might not be forced to leave the battlefield.

"After the battle, he received orders to advance to the front, and to
place himself with his regiment in an advantageous position for
observation, and then return immediately to headquarters, with a certain
number of his officers, to receive new orders. He executed these orders,
and was returning in the night, when a discharge of musketry was suddenly
heard, and he fell into an ambush; he fought furiously in the darkness,
knowing neither the number nor character of his adversaries, and at break
of day was found, covered with wounds, in the midst of twenty officers
who had been slain around him. He was still breathing, and lived three
days; but the only words he pronounced were those of commiseration for
the fate of his country. When his body was taken from the hospital to
prepare it for burial, several of the wounded in their despair tore the
bandages from their wounds, a sergeant-major threw himself on his sword
near the grave, and a lieutenant there blew out his brains. Behold,'
said F----, 'a death that plunges us into the deepest despair!' I tried
to prove to him that he was mistaken, and that the plans of the
'Philadelphi' were mad, but succeeded very imperfectly; and though he
listened to my advice, he again earnestly recommended secrecy."

The day after the battle of Wagram, I think, a large number of officers
were breakfasting near the Emperor's tent, the generals seated on the
grass, and the officers standing around them. They discussed the battle
at length, and related numerous remarkable anecdotes, some of which
remain engraven on my memory. A staff-officer of his Majesty said, "I
thought I had lost my finest horse. As I had ridden him on the 5th and
wished him to rest, I gave him to my servant to hold by the bridle; and
when he left him one moment to attend to his own, the horse was stolen in
a flash by a dragoon, who instantly sold him to a dismounted captain,
telling him he was a captured horse. I recognized him in the ranks, and
claimed him, proving by my saddle-bags and their contents that he was not
a horse taken from the Austrians, and had to repay the captain the five
louis which he had paid to the dragoon for this horse which had cost me

The best anecdote, perhaps, of the day was this: M. Salsdorf, a Saxon,
and surgeon in Prince Christian's regiment, in the beginning of the
battle had his leg fractured by a shell. Lying on the ground, he saw,
fifteen paces from him, M. Amedee de Kerbourg, who was wounded by a
bullet, and vomiting blood. He saw that this officer would die of
apoplexy if something was not done for him, and collecting all his
strength, dragged himself along in the dust, bled him, and saved his

M. de Kerbourg had no opportunity to embrace the one who had saved his
life; for M. de Salsdorf was carried to Vienna, and only survived the
amputation four days.


At Schoenbrunn, as elsewhere, his Majesty marked his presence by his
benefactions. I still retain vivid recollections of an occurrence which
long continued to be the subject of conversation at this period, and the
singular details of which render it worthy of narration.

A little girl nine years old, belonging to a very wealthy and highly
esteemed family of Constantinople, was carried away by bandits as she was
promenading one day with her attendant outside the city. The bandits
carried their two captives to Anatolia, and there sold them. The little
girl, who gave promise of great beauty, fell to the lot of a rich
merchant of Broussa, the harshest, most severe, and intractable man of
the town; but the artless grace of this child touched even his ferocious
heart. He conceived a great affection for her, and distinguished her
from his other slaves by giving her only light employment, such as the
care of flowers, etc. A European gentleman who lived with this merchant
offered to take charge of her education; to which the man consented, all
the more willingly since she had gained his heart, and he wished to make
her his wife as soon as she reached a marriageable age. But the European
had the same idea; and as he was young, with an agreeable and intelligent
countenance, and very rich, he succeeded in winning the young slave's
affection; and she escaped one day from her master, and, like another
Heloise, followed her Abelard to Kutahie, where they remained concealed
for six months.

She was then ten years old. Her preceptor, who became more devoted to
her each day, carried her to Constantinople, and confided her to the care
of a Greek bishop, charging him to make her a good Christian, and then
returned to Vienna, with the intention of obtaining the consent of his
family and the permission of his government to marry a slave.

Two years then passed, and the poor girl heard nothing from her future
husband. Meanwhile the bishop had died, and his heirs had abandoned
Marie (this was the baptismal name of the convert); and she, with no
means and no protector, ran the risk of being at any moment discovered by
some relation or friend of her family--and it is well known that the
Turks never forgive a change of religion.

Tormented by a thousand fears, weary of her retreat and the deep
obscurity in which she was buried, she took the bold resolution of
rejoining her benefactor, and not deterred by dangers of the road set out
from Constantinople alone on foot. On her arrival in the capital of
Austria, she learned that her intended husband had been dead for more
than a year.

The despair into which the poor girl was plunged by this sad news can be
better imagined than described. What was to be done? What would become
of her? She decided to return to her family, and for this purpose
repaired to Trieste, which town she found in a state of great commotion.
It had just received a French garrison; but the disturbances inseparable
from war were not yet ended, and young Marie consequently entered a Greek
convent to await a suitable opportunity of returning to Constantinople.
There a sub-lieutenant of infantry, named Dartois, saw her, became madly
in love, won her heart, and married her at the end of a year.

The happiness which Madame Dartois now enjoyed did not cause her to
renounce her plan of visiting her own family; and, as she now had become
a Frenchwoman, she thought this title would accelerate her return to her
parents' favor. Her husband's regiment received orders to leave Trieste;
and this gave Madame Dartois the opportunity to renew her entreaties to
be allowed to visit Constantinople, to which her husband gave his
consent, not without explaining to her, however, all she had to fear, and
all the dangers to which this journey would again expose her. At last
she started, and a few days after her arrival was on the point of making
herself known to her family, when she recognized on the street through
her veil, the Broussan merchant, her former master, who was seeking her
throughout Constantinople, and had sworn to kill her on sight.

This terrible 'rencontre' threw her into such a fright, that for three
days she lived in constant terror, scarcely daring to venture out, even
on the most urgent business, and always fearing lest she should see again
the ferocious Anatolian. From time to time she received letters from her
husband, who still marched with the French army; and, as it was now
advancing, he conjured her in his last letters to return to France,
hoping to be able soon to rejoin her there.

Deprived of all hope of a reconciliation with her family, Madame Dartois
determined to comply with her husband's request; and, although the war
between Russia and Turkey rendered the roads very unsafe, she left
Constantinople in the month of July, 1809.

After passing through Hungary and the midst of the Austrian camp, Madame
Dartois bent her steps towards Vienna, where she had the sorrow to learn
that her husband had been mortally wounded at the battle of Wagram, and
was now in that town; she hastened to him, and he expired in her arms.

She mourned her husband deeply, but was soon compelled to think of the
future, as the small amount of money remaining to her when she left
Constantinople had been barely sufficient for the expenses of her
journey, and M. Dartois had left no property. Some one having advised
the poor woman to go to Schoenbrunn and ask his Majesty's assistance, a
superior officer gave her a letter of recommendation to M. Jaubert,
interpreting secretary of the Emperor.

Madame Dartois arrived as his Majesty was preparing to leave Schoenbrunn,
and made application to M. Jaubert, the Duke of Bassano, General Lebrun,
and many other persons who became deeply interested in her misfortunes.

The Emperor, when informed by the Duke of Bassano of the deplorable
condition of this woman, at once made a special order granting Madame
Dartois an annual pension of sixteen hundred francs, the first year of
which was paid in advance. When the Duke of Bassano announced to the
widow his Majesty's decision, and handed her the first year's pension,
she fell at his feet, and bathed them with her tears.

The Emperor's fete was celebrated at Vienna with much brilliancy; and as
all the inhabitants felt themselves obliged to illumine their windows,
the effect was extraordinarily brilliant. They had no set illuminations;
but almost all the windows had double sashes, and between these sashes
were placed lamps, candles, etc., ingeniously arranged, the effect of
which was charming. The Austrians appeared as gay as our soldiers; they
had not feted their own Emperor with so much ardor, and, though deep down
in their hearts they must have experienced a feeling of constraint at
such unaccustomed joy, appearances gave no sign of this.

On the evening of the fete, during the parade, a terrible explosion was
heard at Schoenbrunn, the noise of which seemed to come from the town;
and a few moments afterwards a gendarme appeared, his horse in a gallop.
"Oh, oh!" said Colonel Mechnem, "there must be a fire at Vienna, if a
gendarme is galloping." In fact, he brought tidings of a very deplorable
event. While an artillery company had been preparing, in the arsenal of
the town, numerous fireworks to celebrate his Majesty's fete, one of
them, in preparing a rocket, accidentally set the fuse on fire, and
becoming frightened threw it away from him. It fell on the powder which
the shop contained, and eighteen cannoneers were killed by the explosion,
and seven wounded.

During his Majesty's fete, as I entered his cabinet one morning, I found
with him M. Charles Sulmetter, commissary general of the police of
Vienna, whom I had seen often before. He had begun as head spy for the
Emperor; and this had proved such a profitable business that he had
amassed an income of forty thousand pounds. He had been born at
Strasburg; and in his early life had been chief of a band of smugglers,
to which vocation he was as wonderfully adapted by nature as to that
which he afterwards pursued. He admitted this in relating his
adventures, and maintained that smuggling and police service had many
points of similarity, since the great art of smuggling was to know how to
evade, while that of a spy was to know how to seek. He inspired such
terror in the Viennese that he was equal to a whole army-corps in keeping
them in subjection. His quick and penetrating glance, his air of
resolution and severity, the abruptness of his step and gestures, his
terrible voice, and his appearance of great strength, fully justified his
reputation; and his adventures furnish ample materials for a romance.
During the first campaigns of Germany, being charged with a message from
the French government to one of the most prominent persons in the
Austrian army, he passed among the enemy disguised as a German peddler,
furnished with regular passports, and provided with a complete stock of
diamonds and jewelry. He was betrayed, arrested, and searched; and the
letter concealed in the double bottom of a gold box was found, and very
foolishly read before him. He was tried and condemned to death, and
delivered to the soldiers by whom he was to be executed; but as night had
arrived by this time, they postponed his execution till morning. He
recognized among his guards a French deserter, talked with him, and
promised him a large sum of money: he had wine brought, drank with the
soldiers, intoxicated them, and disguised in one of their coats, escaped
with the Frenchman. Before re-entering the camp, however, he found means
to inform the person for whom the letter was intended, of its contents,
and of what had happened.

Countersigns difficult to remember were often given in the army in order
to attract the soldiers' attention more closely. One day the word was
Pericles, Persepolis; and a captain of the guard who had a better
knowledge of how to command a charge than of Greek history and geography,
not hearing it distinctly, gave as the countersign, 'perce l'eglise',
which mistake furnished much amusement. The old captain was not at all
angry, and said that after all he was not very far wrong.

The secretary of General Andreossy, Governor of Vienna, had an
unfortunate passion for gambling; and finding that he did not gain enough
to pay his debts, sold himself to the enemy. His correspondence was
seized; he admitted his treachery, and was condemned to death, and
in confronting death evinced astonishing self-possession. "Come nearer,"
said he to the soldiers who were to shoot, "so that you may see me
better, and I will have less to suffer."

In one of his excursions in the environs of Vienna, the Emperor met a
very young conscript who was rejoining his corps. He stopped him, asked
his name, his age, regiment, and country. "Monsieur," said the soldier,
who did not know him, "my name is Martin; I am seventeen years old, and
from the Upper Pyrenees."--"you are a Frenchman, then?"--"yes, Monsieur."
--"Ah, you are a miserable' Frenchman. Disarm this man, and hang him!"--
"Yes, you fool, I am French," repeated the conscript; "and Vive
l'Empereur!" His Majesty was much amused; the conscript was undeceived,
congratulated, and hastened to rejoin his comrades, with the promise of a
reward,--a promise which the Emperor was not slow to perform.

Two or three days before his departure from Schoenbrunn, the Emperor
again came near being assassinated. This time the attack was to have
been made by a woman.

The Countess at this time was well known, both on account of her
astonishing beauty and the scandal of her liaisons with Lord Paget, the
English ambassador.

It would be hard to find words which would truthfully describe the grace
and charms of this lady, whom the best society of Vienna admitted only
with the greatest repugnance, but who consoled herself for their scorn by
receiving at her own house the most brilliant part of the French army.

An army contractor conceived the idea of procuring this lady for the
Emperor, and, without informing his Majesty, made propositions to the
countess through one of his friends, a cavalry officer attached to the
military police of the town of Vienna.

The cavalry officer thought he was representing his Majesty, and in good
faith said to the countess that his Majesty was exceedingly anxious to
see her at Schoenbrunn. One morning, accordingly, he made propositions
for that evening, which, appearing somewhat abrupt to the countess, she
did not decide at once, but demanded a day for reflection, adding that
she must have good proof that the Emperor was really sincere in this
matter. The officer protested his sincerity, promised, moreover, to give
every proof she required, and made an appointment for that evening.
Having given the contractor an account of his negotiation, the latter
gave orders that a carriage, escorted by the cavalry officer, should be
ready for the countess on the evening indicated. At the appointed hour
the officer returned to the countess, expecting her to accompany him, but
she begged him to return next day, saying that she had not yet decided,
and needed the night for longer reflection. At the officer's
solicitations she decided, however, and appointed the next day, giving
her word of honor to be ready at the appointed hour.

The carriage was then sent away, and ordered for the next evening at the
same hour. This time the contractor's envoy found the countess well
disposed; she received him gayly, eagerly even, and told him that she had
given orders in regard to her affairs as if she were going on a journey;
then, regarding him fixedly, said, tutoying him, "You may return in an
hour and I will be ready; I will go to him, you may rely upon it.
Yesterday I had business to finish, but to-day I am free. If you are a
good Austrian, you will prove it to me; you know how much harm he has
done our country! This evening our country will be avenged! Come for
me; do not fail!"

The cavalry officer, frightened at such a confidence as this, was
unwilling to accept the responsibility, and repeated everything at the
chateau; in return for which the Emperor rewarded him generously, urged
him for his own sake not to see the countess again, and expressly forbade
his having anything more to do with the matter. All these dangers in no
wise-depressed the Emperor; and he had a habit of saying, "What have I to
fear? I cannot be assassinated; I can die only on the field of battle."
But even on the field of battle he took no care of himself, and at
Essling, for example, exposed himself like a chief of battalion who wants
to be a colonel; bullets slew those in front, behind, beside him, but he
did not budge. It was then that a terrified general cried, "Sire, if
your Majesty does not retire, it will be necessary for me to have you
carried off by my grenadiers." This anecdote proves took any precautions
in regard to himself. The signs of exasperation manifested by the
inhabitants of Vienna made him very watchful, however, for the safety of
his troops, and he expressly forbade their leaving their cantonments in
the evening. His Majesty was afraid for them.

The chateau of Schoenbrunn was the rendezvous of all the illustrious
savants of Germany; and no new work, no curious invention, appeared, but
the Emperor immediately gave orders to have the author presented to him.
It was thus that M. Maelzel, the famous inventor of metronomy, was
allowed the honor of exhibiting before his Majesty several of his own
inventions. The Emperor admired the artificial limbs intended to replace
more comfortably and satisfactorily than wooden ones those carried off by
balls, and gave him orders to have a wagon constructed to convey the
wounded from the field of battle. This wagon was to be of such a kind
that it could be folded up and easily carried behind men on horseback,
who accompanied the army, such as surgeons, aides, servants, etc. M.
Maelzel had also built an automaton known throughout Europe under the
name of the chess player, which he brought to Schoenbrunn to show to his
Majesty, and set it up in the apartments of the Prince de Neuchatel. The
Emperor visited the Prince; and I, in company with several other persons,
accompanied him, and found this automaton seated before a table on which
the chessmen were arranged. His Majesty took a chair, and seating himself
in front of the automaton, said, with a laugh, "Come, my comrade, we are
ready." The automaton bowed and made a sign with his hand to the
Emperor, as if to tell him to begin, upon which the game commenced. The
Emperor made two or three moves, and intentionally made a wrong one. The
automaton bowed, took the piece, and put it in its proper place. His
Majesty cheated a second time; the automaton bowed again, and took the
piece. "That is right," said the Emperor; and when he cheated a third
time, the automaton, passing his hand over the chess-board, spoiled the

The Emperor complimented the inventor highly. As we left the room,
accompanied by the Prince de Neuchatel we found in the antechamber two
young girls, who presented to the prince, in the name of their mother, a
basket of beautiful fruit. As the prince welcomed them with an air of
familiarity, the Emperor, curious to find out who they were, drew near
and questioned them; but they did not understand French: Some one then
told his Majesty that these two pretty girls were daughters of a good
woman, whose life Marshal Berthier had saved in 1805. On this occasion
he was alone on horseback, the cold was terrible, and the ground covered
with snow, when he perceived, lying at the foot of a tree, a woman who
appeared to be dying, and had been seized with a stupor. The marshal
took her in his arms, and placed her on his horse with his cloak wrapped
around her, and thus conveyed her to her home, where her daughters were
mourning her absence. He left without making himself known; but they
recognized him at the capture of Vienna, and every week the two sisters
came to see their benefactor, bringing him flowers or fruit as a token of
their gratitude.


Towards the end of September the Emperor made a journey to Raab; and, as
he was mounting his horse to return to his residence at Schoenbrunn, he
saw the bishop a few steps from him. "Is not that the bishop?" said he
to M. Jardin, who was holding his horse's head. "No, Sire, it is
Soliman."--"I asked you if that was not the bishop," repeated his
Majesty, pointing to the prelate. M. Jardin, intent on business, and
thinking only of the Emperor's horse which bore the name of Bishop, again
replied, "Sire, you forget that you rode him on the last relay." The
Emperor now perceived the mistake, and broke into a laugh. I was witness
at Wagram of an act which furnished a fine illustration of the Emperor's
kindness of heart and consideration for others, of which I have already
given several instances; for, although in the one I shall now relate, he
was forced to refuse an act of clemency, his very refusal challenges
admiration as an exhibition of the generosity and greatness of his soul.

A very rich woman, named Madame de Combray, who lived near Caen, allowed
her chateau to be occupied by a band of royalists, who seemed to think
they upheld their cause worthily by robbing diligences on the highway.
She constituted herself treasurer of this band of partisans, and
consigned the funds thus obtained to a pretended treasurer of Louis
XVIII. Her daughter, Madame Aquet, joined this troop, and, dressed in
men's clothing, showed most conspicuous bravery. Their exploits,
however, were not of long duration; and pursued and overcome by superior
forces, they were brought to trial, and Madame Aquet was condemned to
death with her accomplices. By means of a pretended illness she obtained
a reprieve, of which she availed herself to employ every means in her
power to obtain a pardon, and finally, after eight months of useless
supplications, decided to send her children to Germany to intercede with
the Emperor. Her physician, accompanied by her sister and two daughters,
reached Schoenbrunn just as the Emperor had gone to visit the field of
Wagram, and for an entire day awaited the Emperor's return on the steps
of the palace; and these children, one ten, the other twelve, years old,
excited much interest. Notwithstanding this, their mother's crime was a
terrible one; for although in political matters opinions may not be
criminal, yet under every form of government opinions are punished, if
thereby one becomes a robber and an assassin. The children, clothed in
black, threw themselves at the Emperor's feet, crying, "Pardon, pardon,
restore to us our mother." The Emperor raised them tenderly, took the
petition from the hands of the aunt, read every word attentively, then
questioned the physician with much interest, looked at the children,
hesitated--but just as I, with all who witnessed this touching scene,
thought he was going to pronounce her pardon, he recoiled several steps,
exclaiming, "I cannot do it!" His changing color, eyes suffused with
tears, and choking voice, gave evidence of the struggle through which he
was passing; and witnessing this, his refusal appeared to me an act of
sublime courage.

Following upon the remembrance of these violent crimes, so much the more
worthy of condemnation since they were the work of a woman, who, in order
to abandon herself to them, was forced to begin by trampling under foot
all the gentle and modest virtues of her sex, I find recorded in my notes
an act of fidelity and conjugal tenderness which well deserved a better
result. The wife of an infantry colonel, unwilling to be parted from her
husband, followed the march of his regiment in a coach, and on the days
of battle mounted a horse and kept herself as near as possible to the
line. At Friedland she saw the colonel fall, pierced by a ball, hastened
to him with her servant, carried him from the ranks, and bore him away in
an ambulance, though too late, for he was already dead. Her grief was
silent, and no one saw her shed a tear. She offered her purse to a
surgeon, and begged him to embalm her husband's corpse, which was done as
well as possible under the circumstances; and she then had the corpse
wrapped in bandages, placed in a box with a lid, and put in a carriage,
and seating herself beside it, the heart-broken widow set out on her
return to France. A grief thus repressed soon affected her mind; and at
each halt she made on the journey, she shut herself up with her precious
burden, drew the corpse from its bog, placed it on a bed, uncovered its
face, and lavished on it the most tender caresses, talking to it as if it
was living, and slept beside it. In the morning she replaced her husband
in the box, and, resuming her gloomy silence, continued her route. For
several days her secret remained unknown, and was discovered only a few
days before she reached Paris.

The body had not been embalmed in such a manner as to preserve it long
from decay; and this soon reached such a point, that, when she arrived at
an inn, the horrible odor from the box aroused suspicion, and the unhappy
wife's room was entered that evening, and she was found clasping in her
arms the already sadly disfigured corpse of her husband. "Silence," she
cried to the frightened innkeeper. "My husband is asleep, why do you
come to disturb his glorious rest?" With much difficulty the corpse was
removed from the arms of the insane woman who had guarded it with such
jealous care, and she was conveyed to Paris, where she afterward died,
without recovering her reason for an instant.

There was much astonishment at the chateau of Schoenbrunn because the
Archduke Charles never appeared there; for he was known to be much
esteemed by the Emperor, who never spoke of him except with the highest
consideration. I am entirely ignorant what motives prevented the prince
from coming to Schoenbrunn, or the Emperor from visiting him; but,
nevertheless, it is a fact, that, two or three days before his departure
from Munich, his Majesty one morning attended a hunting-party, composed
of several officers and myself; and that we stopped at a hunting-box
called la Venerie on the road between Vienna and Bukusdorf, and on our
arrival we found the Archduke Charles awaiting his Majesty, attended by a
suite of only two persons. The Emperor and the archduke remained for a
long while alone in the pavilion; and we did not return to Schoenbrunn
until late in the evening.

On the 16th of October at noon the Emperor left this residence with his
suite, composed of the grand marshal, the Duke of Frioul; Generals Rapp,
Mouton, Savary, Nansouty, Durosnell and Lebrun; of three chamberlains; of
M. Labbe, chief of the topographical bureau; of M. de Meneval, his
Majesty's secretary, and M. Yvan; and accompanied by the Duke of Bassano,
and the Duke of Cadore, then minister of foreign relations.

We arrived at Passau on the morning of the 18th; and the Emperor passed
the entire day in visiting Forts Maximilian and Napoleon, and also seven
or eight redoubts whose names recalled the principal battles of the
campaign. More than twelve thousand men were working on these important
fortifications, to whom his Majesty's visit was a fete. That evening we
resumed our journey, and two days after we were at Munich.

At Augsburg, on leaving the palace of the Elector of Treves, the Emperor
found in his path a woman kneeling in the dust, surrounded by four
children; he raised her up and inquired kindly what she desired. The
poor woman, without replying, handed his Majesty a petition written in
German, which General Rapp translated. She was the widow of a German
physician named Buiting, who had died a short time since, and was well
known in the army from his faithfulness in ministering to the wounded
French soldiers when by chance any fell into his hands. The Elector of
Treves, and many persons of the Emperor's suite, supported earnestly this
petition of Madame Buiting, whom her husband's death had reduced almost
to poverty, and in which she besought the Emperor's aid for the children
of this German physician, whose attentions had saved the lives of so many
of his brave soldiers. His Majesty gave orders to pay the petitioner the
first year's salary of a pension which he at once allowed her; and when
General Rapp had informed the widow of the Emperor's action, the poor
woman fainted with a cry of joy.

I witnessed another scene which was equally as touching. When the
Emperor was on the march to Vienna, the inhabitants of Augsburg, who had
been guilty of some acts of cruelty towards the Bavarians, trembled lest
his Majesty should take a terrible revenge on them; and this terror was
at its height when it was learned that a part of the French army was to
pass through the town.

A young woman of remarkable beauty, only a few months a widow, had
retired to this place with her child in the hope of being more quiet than
anywhere else, but, frightened by the approach of the troops, fled with
her child in her arms. But, instead of avoiding our soldiers as she
intended, she left Augsburg by the wrong gate, and fell into the midst of
the advance posts of the French army. Fortunately, she encountered
General Decourbe, and trembling, and almost beside herself with terror,
conjured him on her knees to save her honor, even at the expense of her
life, and immediately swooned away. Moved even to tears, the general
showed her every attention, ordered a safe-conduct given her, and an
escort to accompany her to a neighboring town, where she had stated that
several of her relatives lived. The order to march was given at the same
instant; and, in the midst of the general commotion which ensued, the
child was forgotten by those who escorted the mother, and left in the
outposts. A brave grenadier took charge of it, and, ascertaining where
the poor mother had been taken, pledged himself to restore it to her at
the earliest possible moment, unless a ball should carry him off before
the return of the army. He made a leather pocket, in which he carried
his young protege, arranged so that it was sheltered from the weather.
Each time he went into battle the good grenadier dug a hole in the
ground, in which he placed the little one, and returned for it when the
battle was over; and though his comrades ridiculed him the first day,
they could not but fail to admire the nobility of his conduct. The child
escaped all danger, thanks to the incessant care of its adopted father;
and, when the march to Munich was again begun, the grenadier, who was
singularly attached to the little waif, almost regretted to see the
moment draw near when he must restore it to its mother.

It may easily be understood what this poor woman suffered after losing
her child. She besought and entreated the soldiers who escorted her to
return; but they had their orders, which nothing could cause them to
infringe. Immediately on her arrival she set out again on her return to
Augsburg, making inquiries in all directions, but could obtain no
information of her son, and at last being convinced that he was dead,
wept bitterly for him. She had mourned thus for nearly six months, when
the army re-passed Augsburg; and, while at work alone in her room one
day, she was told that a soldier wished to see her, and had something
precious to commit to her care; but he was unable to leave his corps, and
must beg her to meet him on the public square. Little suspecting the
happiness in store for her, she sought the grenadier, and the latter
leaving the ranks, pulled the "little good man" out of his pocket, and
placed him in the arms of the poor mother, who could not believe the
evidence of her own eyes. Thinking that this lady was probably not rich,
this excellent man had collected a sum of money, which he had placed in
one of the pockets of the little one's coat.

The Emperor remained only a short time at Munich; and the day of his
arrival a courier was sent in haste by the grand marshal to M. de Lucay
to inform him that his Majesty would be at Fontainebleau on the 27th of
October, in the evening probably, and that the household of the Emperor,
as well as that of the Empress, should be at this residence to receive
his Majesty. But, instead of arriving on the evening of the 27th, the
Emperor had traveled with such speed, that, on the 26th at ten o'clock in
the morning, he was at the gates of the palace of Fontainebleau; and
consequently, with the exception of the grand marshal, a courier, and the
gate-keeper of Fontainebleau, he found no one to receive him on his
descent from the carriage. This mischance, which was very natural, since
it had been impossible to foresee an advance of more than a day in the
time appointed, nevertheless incensed the Emperor greatly. He was
regarding every one around him as if searching for some one to scold,
when, finding that the courier was preparing to alight from his horse, on
which he was more stuck than seated, he said to him: "You can rest
to-morrow; hasten to Saint-Cloud and announce my arrival," and the poor
courier recommenced his furious gallop.

This accident, which vexed his Majesty so greatly, could not be
considered the fault of any one; for by the orders of the grand marshal,
received from the Emperor, M. de Lucay had commanded their Majesties'
service to be ready on the morning of the next day. Consequently, that
evening was the earliest hour at which the service could possibly be
expected to arrive; and he was compelled to wait until then.

During this time of waiting, the Emperor employed himself in visiting the
new apartments that had been added to the chateau. The building in the
court of the Cheval-Blanc, which had been formerly used as a military
school, had been restored, enlarged, and decorated with extraordinary
magnificence, and had been turned entirely into apartments of honor, in
order, as his Majesty said, to give employment to the manufacturers of
Lyons, whom the war deprived of any, outside market. After repeated
promenades in all directions, the Emperor seated himself with every mark
of extreme impatience, asking every moment what time it was, or looking
at his watch; and at last ordered me to prepare writing materials, and
took his seat all alone at a little table, doubtless swearing internally
at his secretaries, who had not arrived.

At five o'clock a carriage came from Saint-Cloud; and as the Emperor
heard it roll into the court he descended the stairs rapidly, and while a
footman was opening the door and lowering the steps, he said to the
persons inside: "Where is the Empress?" The answer was given that her
Majesty the Empress would arrive in a quarter of an hour at most. "That
is well," said the Emperor; and turning his back, quickly remounted the
stairs and entered a little study, where he prepared himself for work.

At last the Empress arrived, exactly at six o'clock. It was now dark.
The Emperor this time did not go down; but listening until he learned
that it was her Majesty, continued to write, without interrupting himself
to go and meet her. It was the first time he had acted in this manner.
The Empress found him seated in the cabinet. "Ah!" said his Majesty,
"have you arrived, Madame? It is well, for I was about to set out for
Saint-Cloud." And the Emperor, who had simply lifted his eyes from his
work to glance at her Majesty, lowered them again, and resumed his
writing. This harsh greeting, distressed Josephine exceedingly, and she
attempted to excuse herself; but his Majesty replied in such a manner as
to bring tears to her eyes, though he afterwards repented of this, and
begged pardon of the Empress, acknowledging that he had been wrong.


It is not, as has been stated in some Memoirs, because and as a result of
the slight disagreement which I have related above, that the first idea
of a divorce came to his Majesty. The Emperor thought it necessary for
the welfare of France that he should have an heir of his own line; and as
it was now certain that the Empress would never bear him one, he was
compelled to think of a divorce. But it was by most gentle means, and
with every mark of tender consideration, that he strove to bring the
Empress to this painful sacrifice. He had no recourse, as has been said,
to either threats or menaces, for it was to his wife's reason that he
appealed; and her consent was entirely voluntary. I repeat that there
was no violence on the part of the Emperor; but there was courage,
resignation, and submission on that of the Empress. Her devotion to the
Emperor would have made her submit to any sacrifice, she would have given
her life for him; and although this separation might break her own heart,
she still found consolation in the thought that by this means she would
save the one she loved more than all beside from even one cause of
distress or anxiety. And when she learned that the King of Rome was
born, she lost sight of her own disappointment in sympathizing with the
happiness of her friend; for they had always treated each other with all
the attention and respect of the most perfect friendship.

The Emperor had taken, during the whole day of the 26th, only a cup of
chocolate and a little soup; and I had heard him complain of hunger
several times before the Empress arrived. Peace being restored, the
husband and wife embraced each other tenderly, and the Empress passed on
into her apartments in order to make her toilet. During this time the
Emperor received Messieurs Decres and De Montalivet, whom he had
summoned in the morning by a mounted messenger; and about half-past seven
the Empress reappeared, dressed in perfect taste. In spite of the cold,
she had had her hair dressed with silver wheat and blue flowers, and wore
a white satin polonaise, edged with swan's down, which costume was
exceedingly becoming. The Emperor interrupted his work to regard her:
"I did not take long at my toilet, did I?" said she, smiling; whereupon
his Majesty, without replying, showed her the clock, then rose, gave her
his hand, and was about to enter the dining-room, saying to Messieurs De
Montalivet and Decres, "I will be with you in five minutes."--"But," said
the Empress, "these gentlemen have perhaps not yet dined, as they have
come from Paris."--"Ah, that is so!..." and the ministers entered the
dining-room with their Majesties. But hardly had the Emperor taken his
seat, than he rose, threw aside his napkin, and re-entered his cabinet,
where these gentlemen were compelled to follow him, though much against
their inclinations.

The day ended better than it had begun. In the evening there was a
reception, not large, but most agreeable, at which the Emperor was very
gay, and in excellent humor, and acted as if anxious to efface the memory
of the little scene with the Empress. Their Majesties remained at
Fontainebleau till the 14th of November. The King of Saxony had arrived
the evening before at Paris; and the Emperor, who rode on horseback
nearly all the way from Fontainebleau to Paris, repaired on his arrival
to the Palace de l'Elysee. The two monarchs appeared very agreeably
impressed with each other, and went in public together almost every day,
and one morning early left the Tuileries on foot, each accompanied by a
single escort. I was with the Emperor. They directed their steps,
following the course of the stream, towards the bridge of Jena, the work
on which was being rapidly carried to completion, and reached the Place
de la Revolution, where fifty or sixty persons collected with the
intention of accompanying the two sovereigns; but as this seemed to annoy
the Emperor, agents of the police caused them to disperse. When he had
reached the bridge, his Majesty examined the work attentively; and
finding some defects in the construction, had the architect called, who
admitted the correctness of his observations, although, in order to
convince him, the Emperor had to talk for some time, and often repeated
the same explanations. His Majesty, turning then towards the King of
Saxony, said to him, "You see, my cousin, that the master's eye is
necessary everywhere."--"Yes," replied the King of Saxony; "especially an
eye so well trained as your Majesty's."

We had not been long at Fontainebleau, when I noticed that the Emperor in
the presence of his august spouse was preoccupied and ill at ease. The
same uneasiness was visible on the countenance of the Empress; and this
state of constraint and mutual embarrassment soon became sufficiently
evident to be remarked by all, and rendered the stay at Fontainebleau
extremely sad and depressing. At Paris the presence of the King of
Saxony made some diversion; but the Empress appeared more unhappy than
ever, which gave rise to numerous conjectures, but as for me, I knew only
too well the cause of it all. The Emperor's brow became more furrowed
with care each day, until the 30th of November arrived.

On that day the dinner was more silent than ever. The Empress had wept
the whole day; and in order to conceal as far as possible her pallor, and
the redness of her eyes, wore a large white hat tied under her chin, the
brim of which concealed her face entirely. The Emperor sat in silence,
his eyes fastened on his plate, while from time to time convulsive
movements agitated his countenance; and if he happened to raise his eyes,
glanced stealthily at the Empress with unmistakable signs of distress.
The officers of the household, immovable as statues, regarded this
painful and gloomy scene with sad anxiety; while the whole repast was
simply a form, as their Majesties touched nothing, and no sound was heard
but the regular movement of plates placed and carried away, varied sadly
by the monotonous tones of the household officers, and the tinkling sound
made by the Emperor's striking his knife mechanically on the edge of his
glass. Once only his Majesty broke the silence by a deep sigh, followed
by these words addressed to one of the officers: "What time is it?" An
aimless question of the Emperor's, it seemed, for he did not hear, or at
any rate did not seem to hear, the answer; but almost immediately he rose
from the table, and the Empress followed him with slow steps, and her
handkerchief pressed against her lips as if to suppress her sobs. Coffee
was brought, and, according to custom, a page presented the waiter to the
Empress that she might herself pour it out; but the Emperor took it
himself, poured the coffee in the cup, and dissolved the sugar, still
regarding the Empress, who remained standing as if struck with a stupor.
He drank, and returned the cup to the page; then gave a signal that he
wished to be alone, and closed the door of the saloon. I remained
outside seated by the door; and soon no one remained in the dining-room
except one of the prefects of the palace, who walked up and down with
folded arms, foreseeing, as well as I, terrible events. At the end of a
few moments I heard cries, and sprang up; just then the Emperor opened
the door quickly, looked out, and saw there no one but us two. The
Empress lay on the floor, screaming as if her heart were breaking: "No;
you will not do it! You would not kill me!" The usher of the room had
his back turned. I advanced towards him; he understood, and went out.
His Majesty ordered the person who was with me to enter, and the door was
again closed. I have since learned that the Emperor requested him to
assist him in carrying the Empress to her apartment. "She has," he said,
"a violent nervous attack, and her condition requires most prompt
attention." M. de B----- with the Emperor's assistance raised the
Empress in his arms; and the Emperor, taking a lamp from the mantel,
lighted M. de B----- along the passage from which ascended the little
staircase leading to the apartments of the Empress. This staircase was
so narrow, that a man with such a burden could not go down without great
risk of falling; and M. de B-----, having called his Majesty's attention
to this, he summoned the keeper of the portfolio, whose duty it was to be
always at the door of the Emperor's cabinet which opened on this
staircase, and gave him the light, which was no longer needed, as the
lamps had just been lighted. His Majesty passed in front of the keeper,
who still held the light, and carrying the feet of the Empress himself,
descended the staircase safely with M. de B-----; and they thus reached
the bedroom. The Emperor rang for her women, and when they entered,
retired with tears in his eyes and every sign of the deepest emotion.
This scene affected him so deeply that he said to M. de B----- in a
trembling, broken tone, some words which he must never reveal under any
circumstances. The Emperor's agitation must have been very great for him
to have informed M. de B----- of the cause of her Majesty's despair, and
to have told him that the interests of France and of the Imperial Dynasty
had done violence to his heart, and the divorce had become a duty,
deplorable and painful, but none the less a duty.

Queen Hortense and M. Corvisart soon reached the Empress, who passed a
miserable night. The Emperor also did not sleep, and rose many times to
ascertain Josephine's condition. During the whole night her Majesty did
not utter a word. I have never witnessed such grief.

Immediately after this, the King of Naples, the King of Westphalia, the
King of Wurtemberg, and the king and princesses of the Imperial family,
arrived at Paris to be present at the fetes given by the city of Paris to
his Majesty in commemoration of the victories and the pacification of
Germany, and at the same time to celebrate the anniversary of the
coronation. The session of the legislative corps was also about to open.
It was necessary, in the interval between the scene which I have just
described and the day on which the decree of divorce was signed, that the
Empress should be present on all these occasions, and attend all these
fetes, under the eyes of an immense crowd of people, at a time when
solitude alone could have in any degree alleviated her sorrow; it was
also necessary that she should cover up her face with rouge in order to
conceal her pallor and the signs of a month passed in tears. What
tortures she endured, and how much she must have bewailed this elevation,
of which nothing remained to her but the necessity of concealing her

On the 3d of December their Majesties repaired to Notre Dame, where a
'Te Deum' was sung; after which the Imperial cortege marched to the
palace of the Corps Legislatif, and the opening of the session was held
with unusual magnificence. The Emperor took his place amidst
inexpressible enthusiasm, and never had his appearance excited such
bursts of applause: even the Empress was more cheerful for an instant,
and seemed to enjoy these proofs of affection for one who was soon to be
no longer her husband; but when he began to speak she relapsed into her
gloomy reflections.

It was almost five o'clock when the cortege returned to the Tuileries,
and the Imperial banquet was to take place at half-past seven. During
this interval, a reception of the ambassadors was held, after which the
guests passed on to the gallery of Diana.

The Emperor held a grand dining in his coronation robes, and wearing his
plumed hat, which he did not remove for an instant. He ate more than was
his custom, notwithstanding the distress under which he seemed to be
laboring, glanced around and behind him every moment, causing the grand
chamberlain continually to bend forward to receive orders which he did
not give. The Empress was seated in front of him, most magnificently
dressed in an embroidered robe blazing with diamonds; but her face
expressed even more suffering than in the morning.

On the right of the Emperor was seated the King of Saxony, in a white
uniform with red facings, and collar richly embroidered in silver,
wearing a false cue of prodigious length.

By the side of the King of Saxony was the King of Westphalia, Jerome
Bonaparte, in a white satin tunic, and girdle ornamented with pearls and
diamonds, which reached almost up to his arms. His neck was bare and
white, and he wore no whiskers and very little beard; a collar of
magnificent lace fell over his shoulders; and a black velvet cap
ornamented with white plumes, which was the most elegant in the assembly,
completed this costume. Next him was the King of Wurtemberg with his
enormous stomach, which forced him to sit some distance from the table;
and the King of Naples, in so magnificent a costume that it might almost
be considered extravagant, covered with crosses and stars, who played
with his fork, without eating or drinking.

On the right of the Empress was Madame Mere, the Queen of Westphalia, the
Princess Borghese, and Queen Hortense, pale as the Empress, but rendered
only more beautiful by her sadness, her face presenting a striking
contrast on this occasion to that of the Princess Pauline, who never
appeared in better spirits. Princess Pauline wore an exceedingly
handsome toilet; but this did not increase the charms of her person
nearly so much as that worn by the Queen of Holland, which, though
simple, was elegant and full of taste.

Next day a magnificent fete was held at the Hotel de Ville, where the
Empress displayed her accustomed grace and kind consideration. This was
the last time she appeared on occasions of ceremony.

A few days after all these rejoicings, the Vice-king of Italy, Eugene de
Beauharnais, arrived, and learned from the lips of the Empress herself
the terrible measure which circumstances were about to render necessary.
This news overcame him: agitated and despairing, he sought his Majesty;
and, as if he could not believe what he had just heard asked the Emperor
if it was true that a divorce was about to take place. The Emperor made
a sign in the affirmative, and, with deep grief depicted on his
countenance, held out his hand to his adopted son. "Sire, allow me to
quit your service."--"What!"--"Yes, Sire; the son of one who is no longer
Empress cannot remain vice-king. I wish to accompany my mother to her
retreat, and console her."--"Do you wish to leave me, Eugene? You? Ah,
you do not know how imperious are the reasons which force me to pursue
such a course. And if I obtain this son, the object of my most cherished
wishes, this son who is so necessary to me, who will take my place with
him when I shall be absent? Who will be a father to him when I die? Who
will rear him, and who will make a man of him?" Tears filled the
Emperor's eyes as he pronounced these words; he again took Eugene's hand,
and drawing him to his arms, embraced him tenderly. I did not hear the
remainder of this interesting conversation.

At last the fatal day arrived; it was the 16th of December. The Imperial
family were assembled in ceremonial costume, when the Empress entered in
a simple white dress, entirely devoid of ornament; she was pale, but
calm, and leaned on the arm of Queen Hortense, who was equally as pale,
and much more agitated than her august mother. The Prince de Beauharnais
stood beside the Emperor, and trembled so violently that it was thought
he would fall every moment. When the Empress entered, Count Regnaud de
Saint-Jean d'Angely read the act of separation.

This was heard in the midst of profound silence, and the deepest concern
was depicted on every face. The Empress appeared calmer than any one
else in the assemblage, although tears incessantly flowed from her eyes.
She was seated in an armchair in the midst of the saloon, resting her
elbow on a table, while Queen Hortense stood sobbing behind her. The
reading of the act ended, the Empress rose, dried her eyes, and in a
voice which was almost firm, pronounced the words of assent, then seated
herself in a chair, took a pen from the hand of M. Regnaud de Saint-Jean
d'Angely, and signed the act. She then withdrew, leaning on the arm of
Queen Hortense; and Prince Eugene endeavored to retire at the same moment
through the cabinet, but his strength failed, and he fell insensible
between the two doors. The cabinet usher immediately raised him up, and
committed him to the care of his aide-de-camp, who lavished on him every
attention which his sad condition demanded.

During this terrible ceremony the Emperor uttered not a word, made not a
gesture, but stood immovable as a statue, his gaze fixed and almost wild,
and remained silent and gloomy all day. In the evening, when he had just
retired, as I was awaiting his last orders, the door opened, and the
Empress entered, her hair in disorder, and her countenance showing great
agitation. This sight terrified me. Josephine (for she was now no more
than Josephine) advanced towards the Emperor with a trembling step, and
when she reached him, paused, and weeping in the most heartrending
manner, threw herself on the bed, placed her arms around the Emperor's
neck, and lavished on him most endearing caresses. I cannot describe my
emotions. The Emperor wept also, sat up and pressed Josephine to his
heart, saying to her, "Come, my good Josephine, be more reasonable!
Come, courage, courage; I will always be your friend." Stifled by her
sobs, the Empress could not reply; and there followed a silent scene, in
which their tears and sobs flowed together, and said more than the
tenderest expressions could have done. At last his Majesty, recovering
from this momentary forgetfulness as from a dream, perceived that I was
there, and said to me in a voice choked with tears, "Withdraw, Constant."
I obeyed, and went into the adjoining saloon; and an hour after Josephine
passed me, still sad and in tears, giving me a kind nod as she passed.
I then returned to the sleeping-room to remove the light as usual; the
Emperor was silent as death, and so covered with the bedclothes that his
face could not be seen.

The next morning when I entered the Emperor's room he did not mention
this visit of the Empress; but I found him suffering and dejected, and
sighs which he could not repress issued from his breast. He did not
speak during the whole time his toilet lasted, and as soon as it was
completed entered his cabinet. This was the day on which Josephine was
to leave the Tuileries for Malmaison, and all persons not engaged in
their duties assembled in the vestibule to see once more this dethroned
empress whom all hearts followed in her exile. They looked at her
without daring to speak, as Josephine appeared, completely veiled, one
hand resting on the shoulder of one of her ladies, and the other holding
a handkerchief to her eyes. A concert of inexpressible lamentations
arose as this adored woman crossed the short space which separated her
from her carriage, and entered it without even a glance at the palace she
was--quitting--quitting forever;--the blinds were immediately lowered,
and the horses set off at full speed.


The marriage of the Emperor to Marie Louise was the first step in a new
career. He flattered himself that it would be as glorious as that he had
just brought to a close, but it was to be far otherwise. Before entering
on a recital of the events of the year 1810, I shall narrate some
recollections, jotted down at random, which, although I can assign them
no precise date, were, nevertheless, anterior to the period we have now

The Empress Josephine had long been jealous of the beautiful Madame
Gazani, one of her readers, and treated her coldly; and when she
complained to the Emperor, he spoke to Josephine on the subject, and
requested her to show more consideration for her reader, who deserved it
on account of her attachment to the person of the Empress, and added that
she was wrong in supposing that there was between Madame Gazani and
himself the least liaison. The Empress, without being convinced by this
last declaration of the Emperor, had nevertheless become much more
cordial to Madame Gazani, when one morning the Emperor, who apparently
was afraid the beautiful Genoese might obtain some ascendency over her,
suddenly entered the Empress's apartment, and said to her, "I do not wish
to see Madame Gazani here longer; she must return to Italy." This time
it was the good Josephine who defended her reader. There were already
rumors of a divorce; and the Empress remarked to his Majesty, "You know
well, my friend, that the best means of being rid of Madame Gazani's
presence is to allow her to remain with me. Let me keep her, then.
We can weep together; she and I understand each other well."

From this time the Empress was a firm friend of Madame Gazani, who
accompanied her to Malmaison and Navarre. What increased the kind
feelings of the Empress for this lady was that she thought her distressed
by the Emperor's inconstancy. For my part, I have always believed that
Madame Gazani's attachment to the Emperor was sincere, and her pride must
have suffered when she was dismissed; but she had no difficulty in
consoling herself in the midst of the homage and adoration which
naturally surrounded such a pretty woman.

The name of the Empress Josephine recalls two anecdotes which the Emperor
himself related to me. The outrageous extravagance in the Empress's
household was a continual vexation to him, and he had dismissed several
furnishers of whose disposition to abuse Josephine's ready credulity he
had ample proof.

One morning he entered the Empress's apartments unannounced, and found
there assembled several ladies holding a secret toilet council, and a
celebrated milliner making an official report as to all the handsomest
and most elegant novelties. She was one of the very persons whom the
Emperor had expressly forbidden to enter the palace; and he did not
anticipate finding her there. Yet he made no outburst; and Josephine,
who knew him better than any one else, was the only one who understood
the irony of his look as he retired, saying, "Continue ladies; I am sorry
to have disturbed you." The milliner, much astonished that she was not
put rudely out of the door, hastened to retire; but when she reached the
last step of the stairs leading to the apartments of her Majesty the
Empress, she encountered an agent of the police, who requested her as
politely as possible to enter a cab which awaited her in the Court of the
Carrousel. In vain she protested that she much preferred walking; the
agent, who had received precise instructions, seized her arm in such a
manner as to prevent all reply, and she was obliged to obey, and to take
in this unpleasant company the road to Bicetre.

Some one related to the Emperor that this arrest had caused much talk in
Paris, and that he was loudly accused of wishing to restore the Bastile;
that many persons had visited the prisoner, and expressed their sympathy,
and there was a procession of carriages constantly before the prison.

His Majesty took no notice of this, and was much amused by the interest
excited in this seller of topknots, as he called her. "I will," said his
Majesty on this subject, "let the gossips talk, who think it a point of
honor to ruin themselves for gewgaws; but I want this old Jewess to learn
that I put her inside because she had forgotten that I told her to stay

Another celebrated milliner also excited the surprise and anger of his
Majesty one day by observations which no one in France except this man
would have had the audacity to make. The Emperor, who was accustomed, as
I have said, to examine at the end of every month the accounts of his
household, thought the bill of the milliner in question exorbitant, and
ordered me to summon him. I sent for him; and he came in less than ten
minutes, and was introduced into his Majesty's apartment while he was at
his toilet. "Monsieur," said the Emperor, his eyes fixed on the account,
"your prices are ridiculous, more ridiculous, if possible, than the
silly, foolish people who think they need your goods. Reduce this to a
reasonable amount or I will do it myself." The merchant, who held in his
hand the duplicate of his bill, began to explain article by article the
price of his goods, and concluded the somewhat long narration with a mild
surprise that the sum total was no more. The Emperor, whom I was
dressing during all this harangue, could hardly restrain his impatience;
and I had already foreseen that this singular scene would end
unpleasantly, when the milliner filled up the measure of his assurance by
taking the unparalleled liberty of remarking to his Majesty that the sum
allowed for her Majesty's toilet was insufficient, and that there were
simple citizens' wives who spent more than that. I must confess that at
this last impertinence I trembled for the shoulders of this imprudent
person, and watched the Emperor's movements anxiously. Nevertheless, to
my great astonishment, he contented himself with crumpling in his hand
the bill of the audacious milliner, and, his arms folded on his breast,
made two steps towards him, pronouncing this word only, "Really!" with
such an accent and such a look that the merchant rushed to the door, and
took to his heels without waiting for a settlement.

The Emperor did not like me to leave the chateau, as he wished always to
have me within call, even when my duties were over and he did not need
me; and I think it was with this idea of detaining me that his Majesty
several times gave me copying to do. Sometimes, also, the Emperor wished
notes to be taken while he was in bed or in his bath, and said to me,
"Constant, take a pen and write;" but I always refused, and went to
summon M. de Meneval. I have already stated that the misfortunes of the
Revolution had caused my education to be more imperfect than it should
have been; but even had it been as good as it is defective, I much doubt
whether I would ever have been able to write from the Emperor's
dictation. It was no easy thing to fill this office, and required that
one should be well accustomed to it; for he spoke quickly, all in one
breath, made no pause, and was impatient when obliged to repeat.

In order to have me always at hand, the Emperor gave me permission to
hunt in the Park of Saint-Cloud, and was kind enough to remark that since
I was very fond of hunting, in granting me this privilege he was very
glad to have combined my pleasure with his need of me. I was the only
person to whom permission was given to hunt in the park. At the same
time the Emperor made me a present of a handsome double-barreled gun
which had been presented to him at Liege, and which I have still in my
possession. His Majesty himself did not like double-barreled guns, and
used in preference the simple, small guns which had belonged to Louis
XVI., and on which this monarch, who was an excellent gunsmith, had
worked, it is said, with his own hands.

The sight of these guns often led the Emperor to speak of Louis XVI.,
which he never did except in terms of respect and pity. "That
unfortunate prince," said the Emperor, "was good, wise, and learned. At
another period he would have been an excellent king, but he was worth
nothing in a time of revolution. He was lacking in resolution and
firmness, and could resist neither the foolishness nor the insolence of
the Jacobins. The courtiers delivered him up to the Jacobins, and they
led him to the scaffold. In his place I would have mounted my horse,
and, with a few concessions on one side, and a few cracks of my whip on
the other, I would have reduced things to order."

When the diplomatic corps came to pay their respects to the Emperor at
Saint-Cloud (the same custom was in use at the Tuileries), tea, coffee,
chocolate, or whatever these gentlemen requested, was served in the
saloon of the ambassadors. M. Colin, steward controller, was present at
this collation, which was served by the domestics of the service.

There was at Saint-Cloud an apartment which the Emperor fancied very
much; it opened on a beautiful avenue of chestnut-trees in the private
park, where he could walk at any hour without being seen. This apartment
was surrounded with full-length portraits of all the princesses of the
Imperial family, and was called the family salon. Their Highnesses were
represented standing, surrounded by their children; the Queen of
Westphalia only was seated. She had, as I have said, a very fine bust,
but the rest of her figure was ungraceful. Her Majesty the Queen of
Naples was represented with her four children; Queen Hortense with only
one, the oldest of her living sons; the Queen of Spain with her two
daughters; Princess Eliza with hers, dressed like a boy; the Vice-Queen
alone, having no child at the time this portrait was made; Princess
Pauline was also alone.

The theater and hunting were my chief amusements at Saint-Cloud. During
my stay at this chateau I received a visit from a distant cousin whom I
had not seen for many years. All that he had heard of the luxury which
surrounded the Emperor, and the magnificence of the court, had vividly
excited his curiosity, which I took pleasure in gratifying; and he was
struck with wonder, at every step. One evening when there was a play at
the chateau, I took him into my box, which was near the pit; and the view
which the hall offered when filled so delighted my cousin, that I was
obliged to name each personage in order to satisfy his insatiable
curiosity, which took them all in succession, one by one. It was a short
time before the marriage of the Emperor to the Archduchess of Austria,
and the court was more brilliant than ever. I showed my cousin in
succession their Majesties, the King and Queen of Westphalia, the King
and Queen of Naples, the Queen of Holland, King of Bavaria, their
Highnesses the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Prince and Princess Borghese,
the Princess of Baden, the Grand Duke of Wurzburg, etc., besides the
numerous dignitaries, princes, marshals, ambassadors, etc., by whom the
hall was filled. My cousin was in ecstasy, and thought himself at least
a foot taller from being in the midst of this gilded multitude, and
consequently paid no attention to the play, being much more interested in
the interior of the hall; and when we left the theater could not tell me
what piece had been played. His enthusiasm, however, did not carry him
so far as to make him forget the incredible tales that had been related
to him about the pickpockets of the capital, and the recommendations
which had been made to him on this subject. In the promenades at the
theater, in every assemblage whatever, my cousin watched with anxious
solicitude over his purse, watch, and handkerchief; and this habitual
prudence did not abandon him even at the court theater, for just as we
were leaving our box, to mingle with the brilliant crowd which came out
of the pit and descended from the boxes, he said to me with the utmost
coolness, covering with his hand his chain and the seals of his watch,
"After all, it is well to take precautions; one does not know every one

At the time of his marriage the Emperor was more than ever overwhelmed
with petitions, and granted, as I shall relate farther on, a large number
of pardons and petitions.

All petitions sent to the Emperor were handed by him to the aide-de-camp
on duty, who carried them to his Majesty's cabinet, and received orders
to make a report on them the next day; and not even as many as ten times
did I find any petitions in his Majesty's pockets, though I always
examined them carefully, and even these rare instances were owing to the
fact that the Emperor had no aide-de-camp near him when they were
presented. It is then untrue, as has been so often said and written,
that the Emperor placed in a private pocket, which was called the good
pocket, the petitions he wished to grant, without even examining them.
All petitions which deserved it received an answer, and I remember that I
personally presented a large number to his Majesty; he did not put these
in his pocket, and in almost every instance I had the happiness of seeing
them granted. I must, however, make an exception of some which I
presented for the Cerf-Berr brothers, who claimed payment for supplies
furnished the armies of the republic; for to them the Emperor was always
inexorable. I was told that this was because Messieurs Cerf-Berr had
refused General Bonaparte a certain sum which he needed during the
campaign of Italy.

These gentlemen interested me deeply in their cause; and I several times
presented their petition to his Majesty, and in spite of the care I took
to place it in his Majesty's hands only when he was in good humor,
I received no reply. I nevertheless continued to present the petition,
though I perceived that when the Emperor caught a glimpse of it he always
became angry; and at length one morning, just as his toilet was
completed, I handed him as usual his gloves, handkerchief, and snuff-box,
and attached to it again this unfortunate paper. His Majesty passed on
into his cabinet, and I remained in the room attending to my duties, and
while busied with these saw the Emperor re-enter, a paper in his hand.
He said to me, "Come, Constant, read this; you will see that you are
mistaken, and the government owes nothing to the Cerf-Berr brothers; so
say nothing more to me about it; they are regular Arabs." I threw my
eyes on the paper, and read a few words obediently; and though I
understood almost nothing of it, from that moment I was certain that the
claim of these gentlemen would never be paid. I was grieved at this, and
knowing their disappointment, made them an offer of services which they
refused. The Cerf-Berr brothers, notwithstanding my want of success,
were convinced of the zeal I had manifested in their service, and thanked
me warmly. Each time I addressed a petition to the Emperor, I saw M. de
Meneval, whom I begged to take charge of it. He was very obliging, and
had the kindness to inform me whether my demands could hope for success;
and he told me that as for the Cerf-Berr brothers, he did not think the
Emperor would ever compensate them.

In fact, this family, at one time wealthy, but who had lost an immense
patrimony in advances made to the Directory, never received any
liquidation of these claims, which were confided to a man of great
honesty, but too much disposed to justify the name given him.

Madame Theodore Cerf-Berr on my invitation had presented herself several
times with her children at Rambouillet and Saint-Cloud, to beseech the
Emperor to do her justice. This respectable mother of a family whom
nothing could dismay, again presented herself with the eldest of her
daughters at Compiegne. She awaited the Emperor in the forest, and
throwing herself in the midst of the horses, succeeded in handing him her
petition; but this time what was the result? Madame and Mademoiselle
Cerf-Berr had hardly re-entered the hotel where they were staying, when
an officer of the secret police came and requested them to accompany him.
He made them enter a mean cart filled with straw, and conducted them
under the escort of two gens d'armes to the prefecture of police at
Paris, where they were forced to sign a contract never to present
themselves again before the Emperor, and on this condition were restored
to liberty.

About this time an occasion arose in which I was more successful.
General Lemarrois, one of the oldest of his Majesty's aides-de-camp, a
soldier of well-known courage, who won all hearts by his excellent
qualities, was for some time out of favor with the Emperor, and several
times endeavored to obtain an audience with him; but whether it was that
the request was not made known to his Majesty, or he did not wish to
reply, M. Lemarrois received no answer. In order to settle the matter he
conceived the idea of addressing himself to me, entreating me to present
his petition at an opportune moment. I did this, and had the happiness
to succeed; and in consequence M. Lemarrois obtained an audience with
such gratifying results that a short time after he obtained the
governorship of Magdeburg.

The Emperor was absent-minded, and often forgot where he had put the
petitions which were handed to him, and thus they were sometimes left in
his coats, and when I found them there I carried them to his Majesty's
cabinet and handed them to M. de Meneval or M. Fain; and often, too,
the, papers for which he was hunting were found in the apartments of the
Empress. Sometimes the Emperor gave me papers to put away, and those I
placed in a box of which I alone had the key. One day there was a great
commotion in the private apartments over a paper which could not be
found. These were the circumstances:

Near the Emperor's cabinet was a small room in which the secretaries
stayed, furnished with a desk, on which notes or petitions were--often
placed. This room was usually occupied by the cabinet usher, and the
Emperor was accustomed to enter it if he wished to hold a private
conversation without being overheard by the secretaries. When the
Emperor entered this room the usher withdrew and remained outside the
door; he was responsible for everything in this room, which was never
opened except by express orders from his Majesty.

Marshal Bessieres had several days before presented to the Emperor a
request for promotion from a colonel of the army which he had warmly
supported. One morning the marshal entered the little room of which I
have just spoken, and finding his petition already signed lying on the
desk, he carried it off, without being noticed by my wife's uncle who was
on duty. A few hours after, the Emperor wished to examine this petition
again, and was very sure he had left it in this small room; but it was
not there, and it was thought that the usher must have allowed some one
to enter without his Majesty's orders. Search was made everywhere in
this room and in the Emperor's cabinet, and even in the apartments of the
Empress, and at last it was necessary to announce to his Majesty that the
search had been in vain; whereupon the Emperor gave way to one of those
bursts of anger which were so terrible though fortunately so rare, which
terrified the whole chateau, and the poor usher received orders never to
appear in his sight again. At last Marshal Bessieres, having been told
of this terrible commotion, came to accuse himself. The Emperor was
appeased, the usher restored to favor, and everything forgotten; though
each one was more careful than ever that nothing should be disturbed, and
that the Emperor should find at his finger's end whatever papers he

The Emperor would not allow any one to be introduced without his
permission, either into the Empress's apartments or his own; and this was
the one fault for which the people of the household could not expect
pardon. Once, I do not exactly remember when, the wife of one of the
Swiss Guard allowed one of her lovers to enter the apartments of the
Empress; and this unfortunate woman, without the knowledge of her
imprudent mistress, took in soft wax an impression of the key of the
jewel-box which I have already mentioned as having belonged to Queen
Marie Antoinette, and, by means of a false key made from this impression,
succeeded in stealing several articles of jewelry. The police soon
discovered the author of the robbery who was punished as he deserved,
though another person was also punished who did not deserve it, for the
poor husband lost his place.


After his divorce from the Empress Josephine, the Emperor appeared much
preoccupied; and as it was known that he thought of marrying again, all
persons at the chateau and in his Majesty's service were greatly
concerned about this marriage, though all our conjectures concerning the
princess destined to share the Imperial crown proved to be wrong. Some
spoke of a Russian princess, while others said the Emperor would marry
none but a French woman; but no one thought of an Austrian archduchess.
When the marriage had been decided, nothing was spoken of at the court
but the youth, grace, and native goodness of the new Empress. The
Emperor was very gay, and paid more attention to his toilet, giving me
orders to renew his wardrobe, and to order better fitting coats, made in
a more modern style. The Emperor also sat for his portrait, which the
Prince de Neuchatel carried to Marie Louise; and the Emperor received at
the same time that of his young wife, with which he appeared delighted.

The Emperor, in order to win Marie Louise's affection, did more
undignified things than he had ever done for any woman. For instance,
one day when he was alone with Queen Hortense and the Princess Stephanie,
the latter mischievously asked him if he knew how to waltz; and his
Majesty replied that he had never been able to go beyond the first
lesson, because after two or three turns he became so dizzy that he was
compelled to stop. "When I was at l'ecole militaire," added the Emperor,
"I tried again and again to overcome dizziness which waltzing produced,
but I could not succeed. Our dancing-master having advised us, in
learning to waltz, to take a chair in our arms instead of a lady, I never
failed to fall with the chair, which I pressed so lovingly that it broke;
and thus the chairs in my room, and that of two or three of my
companions, were destroyed, one after the other." This tale told in the
most animated and amusing manner by his Majesty excited bursts of
laughter from the two princesses.

When this hilarity had somewhat subsided, Princess Stephanie returned to
the charge, saying, "It really is a pity that your Majesty does not know
how to waltz, for the Germans are wild over waltzing, and the Empress
will naturally share the taste of her compatriots; she can have no
partner but the Emperor, and thus she will be deprived of a great
pleasure through your Majesty's fault."--"You are right!" replied the
Emperor; "well, give me a lesson, and you will have a specimen of my
skill." Whereupon he rose, took a few turns with Princess Stephanie,
humming the air of the Queen of Prussia; but he could not take more than
two or three turns, and even this he did so awkwardly that it increased
the amusement of these ladies. Then the Princess of Baden stopped,
saying, "Sire, that is quite enough to convince me that you will never be
anything but a poor pupil. You were made to give lessons, not to take

Early in March the Prince de Neuchatel set out for Vienna commissioned to
officially request the hand of the Empress in marriage. The Archduke
Charles, as proxy of the Emperor, married the Archduchess Marie Louise,
and she set out at once for France, the little town of Brannan, on the
frontier between Austria and Bavaria, having been designated as the place
at which her Majesty was to pass into the care of a French suite. The
road from Strasburg was soon filled with carriages conveying to Brannan.
the household of the new Empress. Most of these ladies had passed from
the household of the Empress Josephine into that of Marie Louise.

The Emperor wished to see for himself if the trousseau and wedding
presents intended for his new wife were worthy of him and of her,
consequently all the clothing and linen were brought to the Tuileries,
spread out before him, and packed under his own eyes. The good taste and
elegance of each article were equaled only by the richness of the
materials. The furnishers and modistes of Paris had worked according to
models sent from Vienna; and when these models were presented to the
Emperor he took one of the shoes, which were remarkably small, and with
it gave me a blow on the cheek in the form of a caress. "See, Constant,"
said his Majesty, "that is a shoe of good augury. Have you ever seen a
foot like that? This is made to be held in the hand."

Her Majesty the Queen of Naples had been sent to Brannan, by the Emperor
to receive the Empress. Queen Caroline, of whom the Emperor once said
that she was a man among her sisters, as Prince Joseph was a woman among
his brothers, mistook, it is said, the timidity of Marie Louise for
weakness, and thought that she would only have to speak and her young
sister-in-law would hasten to obey. On her arrival at Brannan the formal
transfer was solemnly made; and the Empress bade farewell to all her
Austrian household, retaining in her service only her first lady of
honor, Madame de Lajanski, who had reared her and never been absent from
her. Etiquette required that the household of the Empress should be
entirely French, and the orders of the Emperor were very precise in this
regard; but I do not know whether it is true, as has been stated, that
the Empress had demanded and obtained from the Emperor permission to
retain for a year this lady of honor. However that may be, the Queen of
Naples thought it to her interest to remove a person whose influence over
the mind of the Empress she so much feared; and as the ladies of the
household of her Imperial Majesty were themselves eager to be rid of the
rivalry of Madame de Lajanski, and endeavored to excite still more the
jealousy of her Imperial highness, a positive order was demanded from the
Emperor, and Madame de Lajanski was sent back from Munich to Vienna.
The Empress obeyed without complaint, but knowing who had instigated the
blow, cherished a profound resentment against her Majesty the Queen of
Naples. The Empress traveled only by short stages, and was welcomed by
fetes in each town through which she passed. Each day the Emperor sent
her a letter from his own hand, and she replied regularly. The first
letters of the Empress were very short, and probably cold, for the
Emperor said nothing about them; but afterwards they grew longer and
gradually more affectionate, and the Emperor read them in transports of
delight, awaiting the arrival of these letters with the impatience of a
lover twenty years of age, and always saying the couriers traveled
slowly, although they broke down their horses.

The Emperor returned from the chase one day holding in his hands two
pheasants which he had himself killed, and followed by footmen bearing in
their hands the rarest flowers from the conservatory of Saint-Cloud. He
wrote a note, and immediately said to his first page, "In ten minutes be
ready to enter your carriage. You will find there this package which you
will give with your own hand to her Majesty the Empress, with the
accompanying letter. Above all do not spare the horses; go as fast as
possible, and fear nothing. The Duke of Vicenza shall say nothing to
you." The young man asked nothing better than to obey his Majesty; and
strong in this authority, which gave him perfect liberty, he did not
grudge drink money to the postilions, and in twenty-four hours had
reached Strasburg and delivered his message.

I do not know whether he received a reprimand from the grand equerry on
his return; but if there was any cause for this, the latter would not
have failed to bestow it, in spite of the Emperor's assurance to the
first page. The Duke of Vicenza had organized and kept in admirable
order the service of the stables, where nothing was done except by his
will, which was most absolute; and it was only with the greatest
difficulty that the Emperor himself could change an order which the grand
equerry had given. For instance, his Majesty was one day en route to
Fontainebleau, and being very anxious to arrive quickly, gave orders to
the outrider who regulated the gait of the horses, to go faster. This
order he transmitted to the Duke of Vicenza whose carriage preceded that
of the Emperor; and finding that the grand equerry paid no attention to
this order, the Emperor began to swear, and cried to the outrider through
the door, "Let my carriage pass in front, since those in front will not
go on." The outriders and postilions were about to execute this maneuver
when the grand equerry also put his head out of the door and exclaimed,
"Keep to a trot, the first man who gallops I will dismiss on arriving."
It was well known that he would keep his word, so no one dared to pass,
and his carriage continued to regulate the pace of the others. On
reaching Fontainebleau the Emperor demanded of the Duke of Vicenza an
explanation of his conduct. "Sire," replied the duke to his Majesty,
"when you allow me a larger sum for the expenses of the stables, you can
kill your horses at your pleasure."

The Emperor cursed every moment the ceremonials and fetes which delayed
the arrival of his young wife. A camp had been formed near Soissons for
the reception of the Empress. The Emperor was now at Compiegne, where he
made a decree containing several clauses of benefits and indulgences on
the occasion of his marriage, setting at liberty many condemned, giving
Imperial marriage dowries to six thousand soldiers, amnesties,
promotions, etc. At length his Majesty learned that the Empress was not
more than ten leagues from Soissons, and no longer able to restrain his
impatience, called me with all his might, "Ohe ho, Constant! order a
carriage without livery, and come and dress me." The Emperor wished to
surprise the Empress, and present himself to her without being announced;
and laughed immoderately at the effect this would produce. He attended
to his toilet with even more exquisite care than usual, if that were
possible, and with the coquetry of glory dressed himself in the gray
redingote he had worn at Wagram; and thus arrayed, the Emperor entered a
carriage with the King of Naples. The circumstances of this first
meeting of their Imperial Majesties are well known.

In the little village of Courcelles, the Emperor met the last courier,
who preceded by only a few moments the carriages of the Empress; and as
it was raining in torrents, his Majesty took shelter on the porch of the
village church. As the carriage of the Empress was passing, the Emperor
made signs to the postilions to stop; and the equerry, who was at the
Empress's door, perceiving the Emperor, hastily lowered the step, and
announced his Majesty, who, somewhat vexed by this, exclaimed, "Could you
not see that I made signs to you to be silent?" This slight ill-humor,
however, passed away in an instant; and the Emperor threw himself on the
neck of Marie Louise, who, holding in her hand the picture of her
husband, and looking attentively first at it, then at him, remarked with
a charming smile, "It is not flattered." A magnificent supper had been
prepared at Soissons for the Empress and her cortege; but the Emperor
gave orders to pass on, and drove as far as Compiegne, without regard to
the appetites of the officers and ladies in the suite of the Empress.


On their Majesties' arrival at Compiegne, the Emperor presented his hand
to the Empress, and conducted her to her apartment. He wished that no
one should approach or touch his young wife before himself; and his
jealousy was so extreme on this point that he himself forbade the senator
de Beauharnais, the Empress's chevalier of honor, to present his hand to
her Imperial Majesty, although this was one of the requirements of his
position. According to the programme, the Emperor should have occupied a
different residence from the Empress, and have slept at the hotel of the
Chancellerie; but he did nothing of the sort, since after a long
conversation with the Empress, he returned to his room, undressed,
perfumed himself with cologne, and wearing only a nightdress returned
secretly to the Empress.

The next morning the Emperor asked me at his toilet if any one noticed
the change he had made in the programme; and I replied that I thought
not, though at the risk of falsehood. Just then one of his Majesty's
intimate friends entered who was unmarried, to whom his Majesty, pulling
his ears, said, "My dear fellow, marry a German. They are the best wives
in the world; gentle, good, artless, and fresh as roses." From the air
of satisfaction with which the Emperor said this, it was easy to see that
he was painting a portrait, and it was only a short while since the
painter had left the model. After making his toilet, the Emperor
returned to the Empress, and towards noon had breakfast sent up for her
and him, and served near the bed by her Majesty's women. Throughout the
day he was in a state of charming gayety, and contrary to his usual
custom, having made a second toilet for dinner, wore the coat made by the
tailor of the King of Naples; but next day he would not allow it to be
put on again, saying it was much too uncomfortable.

The Emperor, as may be seen from the preceding details, loved his new
wife most tenderly. He paid her constant attentions, and his whole
conduct was that of a lover deeply enamoured. Nevertheless, it is not
true, as some one has said, that he remained three months almost without
working, to the great astonishment of his ministers; for work was not
only a duty with the Emperor, it was both a necessity and an enjoyment,
from which no other pleasure, however great, could distract him; and on
this occasion, as on every other, he knew perfectly well how to combine
the duties he owed to his empire and his army with those due to his
charming wife.

The Empress Marie Louise was only nineteen years old at the period of her
marriage. Her hair was blond, her eyes blue and expressive, her carriage
noble, and her figure striking, while her hand and foot might have served
as models; in fact, her whole person breathed youth, health, and
freshness. She was diffident, and maintained a haughty reserve towards
the court; but she was said to be affectionate and friendly in private
life, and one fact I can assert positively is that she was very
affectionate toward the Emperor, and submissive to his will. In their
first interview the Emperor asked her what recommendations were made to
her on her departure from Vienna. "To be entirely devoted to you, and to
obey you in all things," which instructions she seemed to find no
difficulty in obeying.

No one could resemble the first Empress less than the second, and except
in the two points of similarity of temperament, and an extreme regard for
the Emperor, the one was exactly the opposite of the other; and it must
be confessed the Emperor congratulated himself on this difference, in
which he found both novelty and charm. He himself drew a parallel
between his two wives in these terms: "The one [Josephine] was all art
and grace; the other [Marie Louise] innocence and natural simplicity. At
no moment of her life were the manners or habits of the former other than
agreeable and attractive, and it would have been impossible to take her
at a disadvantage on these points; for it was her special object in life
to produce only advantageous impressions, and she gained her end without
allowing this effort to be seen. All that art can furnish to supplement
attractions was practiced by her, but so skillfully that the existence of
this deception could only be suspected at most. On the contrary, it
never occurred to the mind of the second that she could gain anything by
innocent artifices. The one was always tempted to infringe upon the
truth, and her first emotion was a negative one. The other was ignorant
of dissimulation, and every deception was foreign to her. The first
never asked for anything, but she owed everywhere. The second did not
hesitate to ask if she needed anything, which was very rarely, and never
purchased anything without feeling herself obliged to pay for it
immediately. To sum it all up, both were good, gentle wives, and much
attached to their husband." Such, or very nearly these, were the terms
in which the Emperor spoke of his Empresses. It can be seen that he drew
the comparison in favor of the second; and with this idea he gave her
credit for qualities which she did not possess, or at least exaggerated
greatly those really belonging to her.

The Emperor granted Marie Louise 500,000 francs for her toilet, but she
never spent the entire amount. She had little taste in dress, and would
have made a very inelegant appearance had she not been well advised.
The Emperor was present at her toilet those days on which he wished her
to appear especially well, and himself tried the effect of different
ornaments on the head, neck, and arms of the Empress, always selecting
something very handsome. The Emperor was an excellent husband, of which
he gave proof in the case of both his wives. He adored his son, and both
as father and husband might have served as a model for all his subjects;
yet in spite of whatever he may have said on the subject himself, I do
not think he loved Marie Louise with the same devoted affection as
Josephine. The latter had a charming grace, a kindness, an intelligence,
and a devotion to her husband which the Emperor knew and appreciated at
its full value; and though Marie Louise was younger, she was colder, and
had far less grace of manner. I think she was much attached to her
husband; but she was reserved and reticent, and by no means took the
place of Josephine with those who had enjoyed the happiness of being near
the latter.

Notwithstanding the apparent submission with which she had bidden
farewell to her Austrian household, it is certain that she had strong
prejudices, not only against her own household, but also against that of
the Emperor, and never addressed a gracious word to the persons in the
Emperor's personal service. I saw her frequently, but not a smile, a
look, a sign, on the part of the Empress showed me that I was in her eyes
anything more than a stranger. On my return from Russia, whence I did
not arrive until after the Emperor, I lost no time in entering his room,
knowing that he had already asked for me, and found there his Majesty
with the Empress and Queen Hortense. The Emperor condoled with me on the
sufferings I had recently undergone, and said many flattering things
which proved his high opinion of me; and the queen, with that charming
grace of which she is the only model since the death of her august
mother, conversed with me for some time in the kindest manner. The
Empress alone kept silence; and noticing this the Emperor said to her,
"Louise, have you nothing to say to poor Constant?"--"I had not
perceived him," said the Empress. This reply was most unkind, as it was
impossible for her Majesty not to have "perceived" me, there being at
that moment present in the room only the Emperor, Queen Hortense, and I.

The Emperor from the first took the severest precautions that no one, and
especially no man, should approach the Empress, except in the presence of

During the time of the Empress Josephine, there were four ladies whose
only duty was to announce the persons received by her Majesty. The
excessive indulgence of Josephine prevented her repressing the jealous
pretensions of some persons of her household, which gave rise to endless
debates and rivalries between the ladies of the palace and those of
announcement. The Emperor had been much annoyed by all these bickerings,
and, in order to avoid them in future, chose, from the ladies charged
with the education of the daughters of the Legion of Honor in the school
at Rouen, four new ladies of announcement for the Empress Marie Louise.
Preference was at first given to the daughters or widows of generals; and
the Emperor decided that the places becoming vacant belonged by right to
the best pupils of the Imperial school of Rouen, and should be given as a
reward for good conduct. A short time after, the number of these ladies
now being as many as six, two pupils of Madame de Campan were named, and
these ladies changed their titles to that of first ladies of the Empress.

This change, however, excited the displeasure of the ladies of the
palace, and again aroused their clamors around the Emperor; and he
consequently decided that the ladies of announcement should take the
title of first ladies of the chamber. Great clamor among the ladies of
announcement in their turn, who came in person to plead their cause
before the Emperor; and he at last ended the matter by giving them the
title of readers to the Empress, in order to reconcile the requirements
of the two belligerent parties.

These ladies of announcement, or first ladies of the chamber, or readers,
as the reader may please to call them, had under their orders six femmes
de chambre, who entered the Empress's rooms only when summoned there by a
bell. These latter arranged her Majesty's toilet and hair in the
morning; and the six first ladies took no part in her toilet except the
care of the diamonds, of which they had special charge. Their chief and
almost only employment was to follow the steps of the Empress, whom they
left no more than her shadow, entering her room before she arose, and
leaving her no more till she was in bed. Then all the doors opening into
her room were closed, except that leading into an adjoining room, in
which was the bed of the lady on duty, and through which, in order to
enter his wife's room, the Emperor himself must pass.

With the exception of M. de Meneval, secretary of orders of the Empress,
and M. Ballouhai, superintendent of expenses, no man was admitted into
the private apartments of the Empress without an order from the Emperor;
and the ladies even, except the lady of honor and the lady of attire,
were received only after making an appointment with the Empress. The
ladies of the private apartments were required to observe these rules,
and were responsible for their execution; and one of them was required to
be present at the music, painting, and embroidery lessons of the Empress,
and wrote letters by her dictation or under her orders.

The Emperor did not wish that any man in the world should boast of having
been alone with the Empress for two minutes; and he reprimanded very
severely the lady on duty because she one day remained at the end of the
saloon while M. Biennais, court watchmaker, showed her Majesty a secret
drawer in a portfolio he had made for her. Another time the Emperor was
much displeased because the lady on duty was not seated by the side of
the Empress while she took her music-lesson with M. Pier.

These facts prove conclusively the falsity of the statement that the
milliner Leroy was excluded from the palace for taking the liberty of
saying to her Majesty that she had beautiful shoulders. M. Leroy had the
dresses of the Empress made at his shop by a model which was sent him;
and they were never tried on her Majesty, either by him, or any person of
her Majesty's household, and necessary alterations were indicated by her
femmes de chambre. It was the same with the other merchants and
furnishers, makers of corsets, the shoemaker, glovemaker, etc.; not one
of whom ever saw the Empress or spoke to her in her private apartments.


Their Majesties' civil marriage was celebrated at Saint-Cloud on Sunday,
the 1st of April, at two o'clock in the afternoon. The religious
ceremony was solemnized the next day in the grand gallery of the Louvre.
A very singular circumstance in this connection was the fact that Sunday
afternoon at Saint-Cloud the weather was beautiful, while the streets of
Paris were flooded with a heavy shower lasting some time, and on Monday
there was rain at Saint-Cloud, while the weather was magnificent in
Paris, as if the fates had decreed that nothing should lessen the
splendor of the cortege, or the brilliancy of the wonderful illuminations
of that evening. "The star of the Emperor," said some one in the
language of that period, "has borne him twice over equinoctial winds."

On Monday evening the city of Paris presented a scene that might have
been taken from the realms of enchantment: the illuminations were the
most brilliant I have ever witnessed, forming a succession of magic
panorama in which houses, hotels, palaces, and churches, shone with
dazzling splendor, the glittering towers of the churches appeared like
stars and comets suspended in the air. The hotels of the grand
dignitaries of the empire, the ministers, the ambassadors of Austria and
Russia, and the Duke d'Abrantes, rivaled each other in taste and beauty.
The Place Louis XV. was like a scene from fairyland; from the midst of
this Place, surrounded with orange-trees on fire, the eye was attracted
in succession by the magnificent decorations of the Champs-Elysees, the
Garde Meuble, the Temple of Glory, the Tuileries, and the Corps
Legislatif. The palace of the latter represented the Temple of Hymen,
the transparencies on the front representing Peace uniting the august
spouses. Beside them stood two figures bearing shields, on which were
represented the arms of the two empires; and behind this group came
magistrates, warriors, and the people presenting crowns. At the two
extremities of the transparencies were represented the Seine and the
Danube, surrounded by children-image of fecundity. The twelve columns of
the peristyle and the staircase were illuminated; and the columns were
united by garlands of colored lights, the statues on the peristyle and
the steps also bearing lights. The bridge Louis XV., by which this
Temple of Hymen was reached, formed in itself an avenue, whose double
rows of lamps, and obelisks and more than a hundred columns, each
surmounted by a star and connected by spiral festoons of colored lights,
produced an effect so brilliant that it was almost unendurable to the
naked eye. The cupola of the dome of Saint Genevieve was also
magnificently lighted, and each side outlined by a double row of lamps.
At each corner were eagles, ciphers in colored glass, and garlands of
fire suspended between torches of Hymen. The peristyle of the dome was
lighted by lamps placed between each column, and as the columns were not
lighted they seemed as if suspended in the air. The lantern tower was a
blaze of light; and all this mass of brilliancy was surmounted by a
tripod representing the altar of Hymen, from which shot tongues of flame,
produced by bituminous materials. At a great elevation above the
platform of the observatory, an immense star, isolated from the platform,
and which from the variety of many-colored glasses composing it sparkled
like a vast diamond, under the dome of night. The palace of the senate
also attracted a large number of the curious; but I have already extended
too far the description of this wonderful scene which unfolded itself at
every step before us.

The city of Paris did homage to her Majesty the Empress by presenting her
with a toilet set even more magnificent than that formerly presented to
the Empress Josephine. Everything was in silver gilt, even the arm chair
and the cheval glass. The paintings on the exquisite furniture had been
made by the first artists, and the elegance and finish of the ornaments
surpassed even the rich ness of the materials.

About the end of April their Majesties set out together to visit the
departments of the North; and the journey was an almost exact repetition
of the one I made in 1804 with the Emperor, only the Empress was no
longer the good, kind Josephine. While passing again through all these
towns, where I had seen her welcomed with so much enthusiasm, and who now
addressed the same adoration and homage to a new sovereign, and while
seeing again the chateaux of Lacken, Brussels, Antwerp, Boulogne, and
many other places where I had seen Josephine pass in triumph, as at
present Marie Louise passed, I thought with chagrin of the isolation of
the first wife from her husband, and the suffering which must penetrate
even into her retreat, as she was told of the honors rendered to the one
who had succeeded her in the Emperor's heart and on the Imperial throne.

The King and Queen of Westphalia and Prince Eugene accompanied their
Majesties. We saw a vessel with eighty cannon launched at Antwerp, which
received, before leaving the docks, the benediction of M. de Pradt,
Archbishop of Malines. The King of Holland, who joined the Emperor at
Antwerp, felt most unkindly towards his Majesty, who had recently
required of him the cession of a part of his states, and soon after
seized the remainder. He was, however, present in Paris at the marriage
fetes of the Emperor, who had even sent him to meet Marie Louise; but the
two brothers had not ceased their mutual distrust of each other, and it
must be admitted that that of King Louis had only too good foundation.
What struck me as very singular in their altercations was that the
Emperor, in the absence of his brother, gave vent to the most terrible
bursts of rage, and to violent threats against him, while if they had an
interview they treated each other in the most amicable and familiar and
brotherly manner. Apart they were, the one, Emperor of the French, the
other, King of Holland, with opposite interests and views; together they
were no more than, if I may be permitted to so express myself, Napoleon
and Louis, companions and friends from childhood.

Prince Louis was habitually sad and melancholy. The annoyances he
experienced on the throne, where he had been placed against his will,
added to his domestic troubles, made him evidently very unhappy, and all
who knew him pitied him sincerely; for King Louis was an excellent
master, and an honest man of much merit. It has been said that when the
Emperor had decided on the union of Holland and France, King Louis
resolved to defend himself in the town of Amsterdam to the last
extremity, and to break the dikes and inundate the whole country if
necessary, in order to arrest the invasion of the French troops. I do
not know whether this is true; but from what I have seen of this prince's
character, I am very sure that, while having enough personal courage to
expose his own person to all the chances of this desperate alternative,
his naturally kind heart and his humanity would have prevented the
execution of this project.

At Middleburg the Emperor embarked on board the Charlemagne to visit the
mouth of the Scheldt and the port and island of Flushing. During this
excursion we were assailed by a terrible tempest, three anchors were
broken in succession; we met with other accidents, and encountered great

The Emperor was made very sick, and every few moments threw himself on
his bed, making violent but unsuccessful efforts to vomit, which rendered
his sickness more distressing. I was fortunate enough not to be at all
inconvenienced, and was thus in a position to give him all the attention
he required; though all the persons of his suite were sick, and my uncle,
who was usher on duty, and obliged to remain standing at the door of his
Majesty's cabin, fell over continually, and suffered agony. During this
time of torment, which lasted for three days, the Emperor was bursting
with impatience. "I think," said he, "that I would have made a pretty

A short time after our return from this voyage, the Emperor wished her
Majesty the Empress to learn to ride on horseback; and for this purpose
she went to the riding-hall of Saint-Cloud. Several persons of the
household were in the gallery to see her take her first lesson, I among
the number; and I noticed the tender solicitude of the Emperor for his
young wife, who was mounted on a gentle, well-broken horse, while the
Emperor held her hand and walked by her side, M. Jardin, Sr., holding the
horse's bridle. At the first step the horse made, the Empress screamed
with fright, whereupon the Emperor said to her, "Come, Louise, be brave.
What have you to fear? Am I not here?" And thus the lesson passed, in
encouragement on one side and fright on the other. The next day the
Emperor ordered the persons in the gallery to leave, as they embarrassed
the Empress; but she soon overcame her timidity, and ended by becoming a
very good horsewoman, often racing in the park with her ladies of honor
and Madame the Duchess of Montebello, who also rode with much grace. A
coach with some ladies followed the Empress, and Prince Aldobrandini, her
equerry, never left her in her rides.

The Empress was at an age in which one enjoys balls and fetes; but the
Emperor feared above all things her becoming tired, and consequently
rejoicings and amusements were given up at the court and in the city.
A fete given in honor of their Majesties by the Prince of Schwartzenberg,
ambassador from Austria, ended in a frightful accident.

The prince occupied the former Hotel de la Montesson in the rue de la
Chaussee d'Antin; and in order to give this ball had added to this
residence a broad hall and wooden gallery, decorated with quantities of
flowers, banners, candelabra, etc. Just as the Emperor, who had been
present at the fete for two or three hours, was about to retire, one of
the curtains, blown by the breeze, took fire from the lights, which had
been placed too near the windows, and was instantly in flames. Some
persons made ineffectual efforts to extinguish the fire by tearing down
the drapery and smothering the flames with their hands; but in the
twinkling of an eye the curtains, papers, and garlands caught, and the
wood-work began to burn.

The Emperor was one of the first to perceive the rapid progress of the
fire, and foresee the results. He approached the Empress, who had
already risen to join him, and got out with her, not without some
difficulty, on account of the crowd which rushed towards the doors; the
Queens of Holland, Naples, Westphalia, the Princess Borghese, etc.,
following their Majesties, while the Vice-queen of Italy, who was
pregnant, remained in the hall, on the platform containing the Imperial
boxes. The vice-king, fearing the crowd as much as the fire for his
wife, took her out through a little door that had been cut in the
platform in order to serve refreshments to their Majesties. No one had
thought of this opening before Prince Eugene, and only a few persons went
out with him. Her Majesty the Queen of Westphalia did not think herself
safe, even when she had reached the terrace, and in her fright rushed
into the rue Taitbout, where she was found by a passer-by.

The Emperor accompanied the Empress as far as the entrance of the
Champs-Elysees, where he left her to return to the fire, and did not
re-enter Saint-Cloud until four o'clock in the morning. From the time
of the arrival of the Empress we were in a state of terrible
apprehension, and every one in the chateau was a prey to the greatest
anxiety in regard to the Emperor. At last he arrived unharmed, but very
tired, his clothing all in disorder, and his face blackened with smoke,
his shoes and stockings scorched and burned by the fire. He went
directly to the chamber of the Empress to assure himself if she had
recovered from the fright she had experienced; and then returned to his
room, and throwing his hat on the bed, dropped on a sofa, exclaiming,
"Mon Dieu! What a fete!" I remarked that the Emperor's hands were all
blackened, and he had lost his gloves at the fire. He was much
dejected, and while I was undressing him, asked if I had attended the
prince's fete, and when I replied in the negative, deigned to give me
some details of this deplorable event. The Emperor spoke with an
emotion which I saw him manifest only two or three times in his life,
and which he never showed in regard to his own misfortunes. "The fire,"
said his Majesty, "has to-night devoured a heroic woman. The
sister-in-law of the Prince of Schwartzenberg, hearing from the burning
hall cries which she thought were uttered by her eldest daughter, threw
herself into the midst of the flames, and the floor, already nearly
burned through, broke under her feet, and she disappeared. After all
the poor mother was mistaken, and all her children were out of danger.
Incredible efforts were made, and at last she was recovered from the
flames; but she was entirely dead, and all the attentions of the
physicians have been unsuccessful in restoring her to life." The
emotion of the Emperor increased at the end of this recital. I had
taken care to have his bath in readiness, foreseeing he would need it on
his return; and his Majesty now took it, and after his customary
rubbing, found himself in much better condition. Nevertheless, I
remember his expressing fear that the terrible accident of this night
was the precursor of some fatal event, and he long retained these
apprehensions. Three years after, during the deplorable campaign of
Russia, it was announced to the Emperor one day, that the army-corps
commanded by the Prince of Schwartzenberg had been destroyed, and that
the prince himself had perished; afterwards he found fortunately that
these tidings were false, but when they were brought to his Majesty, he
exclaimed as if replying to an idea that had long preoccupied him, "Then
it was he whom the bad omen threatened."

Towards morning the Emperor sent pages to the houses of all those who had
suffered from the catastrophe with his compliments, and inquiries as to
their condition. Sad answers were brought to his Majesty. Madame the
Princess de la Layen, niece of the Prince Primate, had died from her
wounds; and the lives of General Touzart, his wife, and daughter were
despaired of,--in fact, they died that same day. There were other
victims of this disaster; and among a number of persons who recovered
after long-continued sufferings were Prince Kourakin and Madame Durosnel,
wife of the general of that name.

Prince Kourakin, always remarkable for the magnificence as well as the
singular taste of his toilet, wore at the ball a coat of gold cloth, and
it was this which saved his life, as sparks and cinders slipped off his
coat and the decorations with which he was covered like a helmet; yet,
notwithstanding this, the prince was confined to his bed for several
months. In the confusion he fell on his back, was for some time,
trampled under foot and much injured, and owed his life only to the
presence of mind and strength of a musician, who raised him in his arms
and carried him out of the crowd.

General Durosnel, whose wife fainted in the ball-room, threw himself in
the midst of the flames, and reappeared immediately, bearing in his arms
his precious burden. He bore Madame Durosnel into a house on the
boulevard, where he placed her until he could find a carriage in which to
convey her to his hotel. The Countess Durosnel was painfully burned, and
was ill more than two years. In going from the ambassador's hotel to the
boulevard he saw by the light of the fire a robber steal the comb from
the head of his wife who had fainted in his arms. This comb was set with
diamonds, and very valuable.

Madame Durosnel's affection for her husband was equal to that he felt for
her; and when at the end of a bloody combat, in the second campaign of
Poland, General Durosnel was lost for several days, and news was sent to
France that he was thought to be dead, the countess in despair fell ill
of grief, and was at the point of death. A short time after it was
learned that the general was badly but not mortally wounded, and that he
had been found, and his wounds would quickly heal. When Madame Durosnel
received this happy news her joy amounted almost to delirium; and in the
court of her hotel she made a pile of her mourning clothes and those of
her people, set fire to them, and saw this gloomy pile turn to ashes amid
wild transports of joy and delight.

Two days after the burning of the hotel of the Prince of Schwartzenberg,
the Emperor received the news of the abdication of his brother Louis, by
which event his Majesty seemed at first much chagrined, and said to some
one who entered his room just as he had been informed of it, "I foresaw
this madness of Louis, but I did not think he would be in such haste."
Nevertheless, the Emperor soon decided what course to take; and a few
days afterwards his Majesty, who during the toilet had not opened his
mouth, came suddenly out of his preoccupation just as I handed him his
coat, and gave me two or three of his familiar taps. "Monsieur
Constant," said he, "do you know what are the three capitals of the
French Empire?" and without giving me time to answer, the Emperor
continued, "Paris, Rome, and Amsterdam. That sounds well, does it not?"


In the latter part of July large crowds visited the Church of the Hotel
des Invalides, in which were placed the remains of General Saint-Hilaire
and the Duke de Montebello, the remains of the marshal being placed near
the tomb of Turenne. The mornings were spent in the celebration of
several masses, at a double altar which was raised between the nave and
the dome; and for four days there floated from the spire of the dome a
long black banner or flag edged with white.

The day the remains of the marshal were removed from the Invalides to the
Pantheon, I was sent from Saint-Cloud to Paris with a special message for
the Emperor. After this duty was attended to, I still had a short time
of leisure, of which I availed myself to witness the sad ceremony and bid
a last adieu to the brave warrior whose death I had witnessed. At noon
all the civil and military authorities assembled at the Invalides; and
the body was transferred from the dome into the church, and placed on a
catafalque in the shape of a great Egyptian pyramid, raised on an
elevated platform, and approached through four large arches, the posts of
which were entwined with garlands of laurels interlaced with cypress.
At the corners were statues in the attitude of grief, representing Force,
Justice, Prudence, and Temperance, virtues characteristic of the hero.
This pyramid ended in a funeral urn surmounted by a crown of fire. On
the front of the pyramid were placed the arms of the duke, and medallions
commemorating the most remarkable events of his life borne by genii.
Under the obelisk was placed the sarcophagus containing the remains of
the marshal, at the corners of which were trophies composed of banners
taken from his enemies, and innumerable silver candelabra were placed on
the steps by which the platform was reached. The oaken altar, in the
position it occupied before the Revolution, was double, and had a double
tabernacle, on the doors of which were the commandments, the whole
surmounted by a large cross, from the intersection of which was suspended
a shroud. At the corners of the altar were the statues of St. Louis and
St. Napoleon. Four large candelabra were placed on pedestals at the
corners of the steps, and the pavement of the choir and that of the nave
were covered with a black carpet. The pulpit, also draped in black and
decorated with the Imperial eagle, and from which was pronounced the
funeral oration over the marshal, was situated on the left in front of
the bier; on the right was a seat of ebony decorated with Imperial arms,
bees, stars, lace, fringes, and other ornaments in silver, which was
intended for the prince arch-chancellor of the Empire, who presided at
the ceremony. Steps were erected in the arches of the aisles, and
corresponded to the tribunes which were above; and in front of these
steps were seats and benches for the civil and military authorities, the
cardinals, archbishops, bishops, etc. The arms, decorations, baton, and
laurel crown of the marshal were placed on the bier.

All the nave and the bottom of the aisles were covered with black with a
white bordering, as were the windows also, and the draperies displayed
the marshal's arms, baton, and cipher.

The organ was entirely concealed by voluminous hangings which in no wise
lessened the effect of its mournful tones. Eighteen sepulchral silver
lamps were suspended by chains from lances, bearing on their points flags
taken from the enemy. On the pilasters of the nave were fastened
trophies of arms, composed of banners captured in the numerous
engagements which had made the marshal's life illustrious. The railing
of the altar on the side of the esplanade was draped in black, and above
this were the arms of the duke borne by two figures of Fame holding palms
of victory; above was written: "Napoleon to the Memory of the Duke of
Montebello, who died gloriously on the field of Essling, 22d. May, 1809."

The conservatory of music executed a mass composed of selections from the
best of Mozart's sacred pieces. After the ceremony the body was carried
as far as the door of the church and placed on the funeral car, which was
ornamented with laurel and four groups of the banners captured from the
enemy by his army-corps in the numerous battles in which the marshal had
taken part, and was preceded by a military and religious procession,
followed by one of mourning and honor. The military cortege was composed
of detachments from all branches of the army, cavalry, and light
infantry, and the line, and artillery both horse and foot; followed by
cannon, caissons, sappers, and miners, all preceded by drums, trumpets,
bands, etc.; and the general staff, with the marshal, Prince of Wagram,
at its head, formed of all the general officers, with the staff of the
division and of the place.

The religious procession was composed of children and old men from the
hospitals, clergy from all the parishes and from the metropolitan church
of Paris, bearing crosses and banners, with singers and sacred music, and
his Majesty's chaplain with his assistants. The car on which was placed
the marshal's body followed immediately after. The marshals, Duke of
Conegliano, Count Serrurier, Duke of Istria, and Prince of Eckmuhl, bore
the corners of the pall. On each side of the car two of the marshal's
aides-de-camp bore a standard, and on the bier were fastened the baton of
the marshal and the decorations of the Duke of Montebello.

After the car came the cortege of mourning and of honor; the marshal's
empty carriage, with two of his aides-de-camp on horseback at the door,
four mourning carriages for the marshal's family, the carriages of the
princes, grand dignitaries, marshals, ministers, colonel-generals, and
chief inspectors. Then came a detachment of cavalry preceded by
trumpets, and bands on horseback followed the carriages and ended the
procession. Music accompanied the chants, all the bells of the churches
tolled, and thirteen cannon thundered at intervals.

On arriving at the subterranean entrance of the church of
Saint-Genevieve, the body was removed from the car by grenadiers who had
been decorated and wounded in the same battles as the marshal. His
Majesty's chaplain delivered the body to the arch-priest. The Prince of
Eckmuhl addressed to the new Duke of Montebello the condolences of the
army, and the prince arch-chancellor deposited on the bier the medal
destined to perpetuate the memory of these funeral honors of the warrior
to whom they were paid, and of the services which so well merited them.
Then all the crowd passed away, and there remained in the church only a
few old servants of the marshal, who honored his memory as much and even
more by the tears which they shed in silence than did all this public
mourning and imposing ceremony. They recognized me, for we had been