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Archive for February, 2011

If the old reachs can swear as, the unaware thinking may disappear more gangs.

of her hostile
brothers-in-law. She felt that her whole existence, her entire future,
was imperilled, should she not succeed in making friends and allies in
the family of Bonaparte itself. There was only one of Bonaparte’s
brothers who was not hostile to her, but loved her as the wife of his
brother, to whom he was, at that time, still devoted with the most
enthusiastic and submissive tenderness.

This one was Bonaparte’s brother Louis, a young man of serious and
sedate disposition, more of a scholar than a warrior, more a man of
science than fit for the council-chamber and the drawing-room. His was
a reserved, quiet, somewhat timid character, which, notwithstanding its
apparent gentleness, developed an inflexible determination and energy at
the right, decisive moment, and then could not be shaken by either
threats or entreaties. His external appearance was little calculated to
please, nay, was even somewhat sinister, and commanded the respect of
others only in moments of excitement, through the fierce blaze of his
large blue eyes, that seemed rather to look inward than outward.

Louis Bonaparte was one of those deep, self-contained, undemonstrative,
and by no means showy natures which are too rarely understood, because,
in the noisy bustle of life, we

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this position, in order
to serve his country with his sword instead of his tongue. With the rank
of adjutant-general, he repaired to the Army of the North, accompanied
by Josephine’s blessings and tears. A dread premonition told her that
she would never see the general again, and this premonition did not
deceive her. The spirit of anarchy and insurrection not only raged among
the people of Paris, but also in the army. The aristocrats, who were
given over to the guillotine in Paris, were also regarded with distrust
and hatred in the army, and Viscount Beauharnais, who, for his gallantry
on the battle-field of Soissons, had been promoted to the position of
commanding general, was accused by his own officers of being an enemy of
France and of the new order of things. He was arrested, taken back to
Paris, and thrown into the prison of the Luxembourg, where so many other
victims of the revolution lay in confinement.

The sad intelligence of her husband’s misfortune soon reached Josephine,
and aroused her love to energetic action in his behalf. She mentally
vowed to liberate her husband, the father of her children, or to die
with him. She courageously confronted all dangers, all suspicions, and
was happy when she found him in his prison, where she visited him,
whispering words of consolation and hope in his ear.

But at that time love a

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that the heir of the throne of the Bourbons
should assume the obligations into which a Bourbon had entered with
her father.

She had once called Napoleon a god descended from heaven; and she even
now wished that he might still prove a god for her, namely, the god
Pluto, who should pour out a million upon her from his horn of plenty.

As she could not go to France herself, she sent her son to plead with
the emperor, for herself and her children.

Well knowing, however, how difficult it would be, even for her son to
secure an audience of the emperor, she addressed herself to Queen
Hortense in eloquent letters imploring her to exert her influence in her
son’s behalf.

Hortense, ever full of pity for misfortune, felt the warmest sympathy
and admiration for the genius of the great poetess, and interceded for
Madame de Stael with great courage and eloquence. She alone ventured,
regardless of Napoleon’s frowns and displeasure, to plead the cause of
the poor exile again and again, and to solicit her recall to France, as
a simple act of justice; she even

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date of the
occurrence of which they were speaking, remarked to the marquis, "It was
in the year in which I had my _liaison_ with your wife."

"Ah, yes," replied the marquis, with perfect composure, "that was in the
year 1776."

Neither of the gentlemen found anything strange in this allusion to the
past. The _liaison_ in question had been a perfectly commonplace matter,
and it would have been as ridiculous in the duke to deny it as for the
marquis to have shown any indignation.

The wisest and most enlightened of all these gentlemen was their head,
King Louis XVIII. himself.

He was well aware of the errors of those who surrounded him, and placed
but little confidence in the representatives of the old court. But he
was nevertheless powerless to withdraw himself from their influence, and
after he had accorded the people the charter, in opposition to the will
and opinion of the whole royal family, of his whole court and of his
ministers, and had sworn to support it in spite of the opposition of
"Monsieur" and the Prince de Conde, who was in the habit of calling the
charter "_Mademoiselle la Constitution de 1791,_" Louis withdrew to the
retirement of his apartments in the Tuileries, and left his minister
Blacas to attend to the little details of government, the king deeming
the great ones only worthy of his attention.



King Louis XVIII. was, however, in the retirement of his palace, still
the most enlightened and unprejudiced of the representatives of the old
era; he clearly saw many things to which his advisers purposely closed
their eyes. To his astonishment, he observed that the men who had risen
to greatness under Bonaparte, and who had fallen to the

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But the presence of the duchess, although kept a secret, began to cause
the king and his premier Casimir Perrier more and more uneasiness. The
latter had already once informed her through M. de Houdetot that her
departure was absolutely necessary and must take place at once, and he
had only been moved to consent to her further sojourn by the condition
of the prince, whose inflammation of the throat had rendered a second
application of leeches necessary.

They were now, however, on the eve of a great and dangerous day, of the
5th of May[68]. The people of Paris were strangely moved, and the new
government saw with much apprehension the dawn of this day of such great
memories for France. There seemed to be some justification for this
apprehension. Since the break of day, thousands of people had flocked to
the column on the _Place Vendome_. Silently and gravely they approached
the monument, in order to adorn with wreaths of flowers the eagles, or
to lay them at the foot of the column, and then

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my daughter."

"What shall I sing?" asked another and more youthful voice.

"Sing the beautiful, touching song your brother brought you from Paris
yesterday. The song of Delphine Gay, set to music by M. de Beauplan."

"Ah, you mean the song about Queen Hortense, who comes to Paris as a
pilgrim? You are right, mamma, it is a beautiful and touching song, and
I will sing it!"

And the young lady struck the keys more forcibly, and began to play the

Outside on the stone bench sat she who was once Queen Hortense, but was
now the poor, solitary pilgrim. Nothing remained to her of the glorious
past, but her son, who sat at her side! Hand in hand, both breathless
with emotion, both pale and tearful, they listened until the young girl
concluded her touching song.

[Footnote 73: The duchess’s own words. See Voyage en Italie, etc., p.



This sorrowful pilgrimage was at last at an end. Hortense was once more
in her mountain-home, in the charming villa overlooking the Lake of
Constance, and commanding a lovely view of the majestic lake, with its
island and its surrounding cities and villages.

Honor to the Canton Thurgau, which, when all the world turned its back
on the queen upon whom all the governments and destiny alike
frowned–when even her nearest relatives, the Grand-duke and the
Grand-duchess Stephanie of Baden, were compelled to forbid her residence
in their territory–still had the courage to offer the Duchess of St.
Leu an asylum, and to accord her, on the free soil of the little

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on his own!



A cry of tremendous import reverberated through Paris, all France, and
all Europe, in the first days of March, 1815. Napoleon, it was said, had
quitted Elba, and would soon arrive in France!

The royalists heard it with dismay, the Bonapartists with a delight that
they hardly took the pains to conceal.

Hortense alone took no part in the universal delight of the
imperialists. Her soul was filled with profound sadness and dark
forebodings. "I lament this step," said she; "I would have sacrificed
every thing to prevent his return to France, because I am of the belief
that no good can come of it. Many will declare for, and many against
him, and we shall have a civil war, of which the emperor himself may be
the victim[46]."

[Footnote 46: Cochelet, vol. ii., p. 348.]

In the meanwhile the general excitement was continually increasing; it
took possession of every one, and at this time none would have been
capable of giving cool and sensible advice.

Great numbers of the emperor’s friends came to the Duchess of St. Leu,
and demanded of her counsel, assistance, and encouragement, accusing her
of indifference and want of sympathy, because she did not share their
hopes, and was sad instead of rejoicing with them.

But the spies of the still ruling government, who lay in wait around the
queen’s dwelling, did not hear her words; they only saw that

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mountain ever before his eyes, strains every nerve to attain it, ever
toiling painfully upward, and allowing his progress to be arrested by no
obstacle whatever. "All the worse for those," said he, "who meet me on
my course–I can show them no consideration."’

"’You met him on his course, madame; perhaps he would have extended you
a helping hand, after having reached the summit of his mountain.’

"’I must speak with him,’ said Madame de Stael; ‘I have been injured in
his opinion.’

"’I think so too,’ replied the queen, ‘but you would judge him ill, if
you considered him capable of hating any one. He believed you to be his
enemy, and he feared you, which was something very unusual for him,’
added she, with a smile. ‘Now that he is unfortunate, you will show
yourself his friend, and prove yourself to be such, and I am satisfied
that he will receive you well.’

"Madame de Stael also occupied herself a great deal with the young
princes, but she met with worse success with them than with us. It was
perhaps in order to judge of their mental capacity, that she showered
unsuitable questions upon them.

"’Do you love your uncle?’

"’Very much, madame!’

"’And will you also be as fond of war as he is?’

"’Yes, if it did not cause so much misery.’

‘Is it true that he often made you repeat a fable commencing with the
words, "The strongest is always in the right?"’

"’Madame, he often made us repeat fables, but this one not oftener than
any other.’

"Young Prince Napoleon, a boy of astounding mental capacity and
precocious judgment, answered all these questions with the greatest
composure, and, at the conclusion of

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whom the whole world
now bowed, almost quailed.

"Hortense," said he, "we are now called on to decide an important
matter, and it is our duty not to recoil. The nation has done so much
for me and my family, that I owe them the sacrifice which they demand of
me. The tranquillity and welfare of France require that I shall choose a
wife who can give the country an heir to the throne. Josephine has been
living in suspense and anguish for six months, and this must end. You,
Hortense, are her dearest friend and her confidante; she loves you more
than all else in the world. Will you undertake to prepare your mother
for this step? You would thereby relieve my heart of a heavy burden."

Hortense had the strength to suppress her tears, and fasten her eyes on
the emperor’s countenance in a firm, determined gaze. His glance again
quailed, as the lion recoils from the angry glance of a pure, innocent
woman. Hortense had the courage to positively refuse the
emperors request.

"How, Hortense!" exclaimed Napoleon with emotion. "You then refuse my

"Sire," said she, hardly able longer to restrain her tears, "sire, I
have not the strength to stab my mother to the heart[16]."

[Footnote 16: Schelten, vol. ii., p. 45.]

And regardless of etiquette, Hortense turned away and left the emperor’s
cabinet, the tears pouring in streams from her eyes.



Napoleon made one other attempt to impart to Josephine, through a third
person, the distressing tidings of his determination with regard to
herself. He begged Eugene, the Viceroy of Italy, to come to Paris, and
on his arrival informed him

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her son.

"Let us spend an hour with recollections of the past," said she. "In the
presence of this foaming sea and of this proud column, I will show you
a picture of the past. Do you wish to see it?"

His gaze fastened on the imperial column, Louis Napoleon silently nodded

Hortense went to her room, and soon returned to the balcony with a book,
bound in red velvet. Often, during the quiet days of Arenenberg, the
prince had seen her writing in this book, but never had Hortense yielded
to his entreaties and permitted him to read any part of her memoirs.
Unsolicited it was her intention to unfold before him to-day a brilliant
picture; in view of the sad and desolate present, she wished to portray
to him the bright and glittering past, perhaps only for the purpose of
entertaining him, perhaps in order to console him with the hope that all
that is passes away, and that the present would therefore also come to
an end, and that which once was, again become reality for him, the heir
of the emperor.

She seated herself at her son’s side, on a little sofa that stood on the
balcony, and, opening her book, began to read.



"The emperor had returned from Italy. The beautiful ceremony of the
distribution of the crosses of the Legion of Honor had taken place
before his departure, and I had been present on the occasion; the
emperor now repaired to Boulogne, in order to make a second
distribution of the order in the army on his birthday. He had made my
husband general of the army of the reserve, and sent him a courier, with
the request that he should come with me and our son to the camp at
Boulogne. My husband did not wish to interrupt the baths he was taking
at St. Amand, but he requested me to go to Boulogne, to spend a week
with the emperor.

"The emperor resided at Boulogne in a little villa called _Pont de
Brigue_. His sister, Caroline, and Murat, lived in another little villa
near by. I live

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