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Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica by John Kendrick Bangs

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This etext was produced from the 1902 Harper and Brothers edition by
David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk


by John Kendrick Bangs


Napoleon's father, Charles Bonaparte, was the honored progenitor of
thirteen children, of whom the man who subsequently became the
Emperor of the French, by some curious provision of fate, was the
second. That the infant Napoleon should have followed rather than
led the procession is so foreign to the nature of the man that many
worthy persons unfamiliar with the true facts of history have
believed that Joseph was a purely apocryphal infant, or, as some have
suggested, merely an adopted child; but that Napoleon did upon this
occasion content himself with second place is an incontrovertible
fact. Nor is it entirely unaccountable. It is hardly to be supposed
that a true military genius, such as Napoleon is universally conceded
to have been, would plunge into the midst of a great battle without
first having acquainted himself with the possibilities of the future.
A reconnoitre of the field of action is the first duty of a
successful commander; and hence it was that Napoleon, not wishing to
rush wholly unprepared into the battle of life, assigned to his
brother Joseph the arduous task of first entering into the world to
see how the land lay. Joseph having found everything to his
satisfaction, Napoleon made his appearance in the little island of
Corsica, recently come under French domination the 15th day August,
1769. Had he been born two months earlier, we are told, he would
have been an Italian. Had he been born a hundred years later, it is
difficult to say what he would have been. As it was, he was born a
Frenchman. It is not pleasant to contemplate what the man's future
would have been had he been born an Italian, nor is it easy to
picture that future with any confidence born of certainty. Since the
days of Caesar, Italy had not produced any great military commander,
and it is not likely that the powers would have changed their scheme,
confirmed by sixteen centuries of observance, in Napoleon's behalf--a
fact which Napoleon himself realized, for he often said in his latter
days, with a shudder: "I hate to think how inglorious I should have
become had I been born two months earlier and entered the world as an
Italian. I should have been another Joseph--not that Joseph is not a
good man, but he is not a great man. Ah! Bourrienne, we cannot be
too careful in the selection of our birthdays."

It is the testimony of all who knew him in his infancy that Napoleon
was a good child. He was obedient and respectful to his mother, and
sometimes at night when, on account of some indigestible quality of
his food or other cause, it was necessary for his father to make a
series of forced marches up and down the spacious nursery in the
beautiful home at Ajaccio, holding the infant warrior in his arms,
certain premonitions of his son's future career dawned upon the
parent. His anguish was voiced in commanding tones; his wails, like
his subsequent addresses to his soldiers, were short, sharp, clear,
and decisive, nor would he brook the slightest halt in these midnight
marches until the difficulties which stood in his path had been
overcome. His confidence in himself at this early period was
remarkable. Quick to make up his mind, he was tenacious of his
purpose to the very end.

It is related that when barely seven months old, while sitting in his
nurse's lap, by means of signs which she could not fail to
comprehend, he expressed the desire, which, indeed, is characteristic
of most healthy Children of that age, to possess the whole of the
outside world, not to mention the moon and other celestial bodies.
Reaching his little hands out in the direction of the Continent,
lying not far distant over the waters of the Mediterranean, he made
this demand; and while, of course, his desire was not granted upon
the instant, it is the testimony of history that he never lost sight
of that cherished object.

After providing Napoleon with eleven other brothers and sisters,
Charles Bonaparte died, and left his good and faithful wife Letitia
to care for the future greatness of his family, a task rendered
somewhat the more arduous than it might otherwise have been by the
lack of income; but the good woman, who had much of Napoleon's nature
in her make-up, was equal to the occasion. She had her sons to help
her, and was constantly buoyed up by the expressed determination of
her second child to place her beyond the reach of want in that future
day when the whole world lay grovelling at his feet.

"Do not worry, mother," Napoleon said. "Let Joseph and Lucien and
Louis and Jerome and the girls be educated; as for me, I can take
care of myself. I, who at the age of three have mastered the Italian
language, have a future before me. I will go to France, and then--"

"Well! what then?" his mother asked.

"Nous verrons!" Napoleon replied, turning on his heel and walking out
of the house whistling a military march.

From this it will be seen that even in his in fancy Napoleon had his
ideas as to his future course. Another anecdote, which is taken from
the unpublished memoirs of the grandson of one of his Corsican
nurses, illustrates in an equally vivid manner how, while a mere
infant in arms, he had a passion for and a knowledge of military
terms. Early one morning the silence was broken by the incipient
Emperor calling loudly for assistance. His nurse, rushing to him,
discovered that the point of a pin was sticking into his back.
Hastily removing the cause of the disturbance, she endeavored to
comfort him:

"Never mind, sweetheart," she said, "it's only a nasty pin."

"Nasty pin!" roared Napoleon. "By the revered name of Paoli, I swear
I thought it was a bayonet!"

It was, no doubt, this early realization of the conspicuous part he
was to play in the history of his time that made the youthful
Bonaparte reserved of manner, gloomy, and taciturn, and prone to
irritability. He felt within him the germ of future greatness, and
so became impatient of restraint. He completely dominated the
household. Joseph, his elder brother, became entirely subject to the
imperious will of the future Emperor; and when in fancy Napoleon
dreamed of those battles to come, Joseph was always summoned to take
an active part in the imaginary fight. Now he was the bridge of
Lodi, and, lying flat on his back, was forced to permit his
bloodthirsty brother to gallop across him, shouting words of
inspiration to a band of imaginary followers; again he was forced to
pose as a snow-clad Alp for Napoleon to climb, followed laboriously
by Lucien and Jerome and the other children. It cannot be supposed
that this was always pleasing to Joseph, but he never faltered when
the demand was made that he should act, because he did not dare.

"You bring up the girls, mother," Napoleon had said. "Leave the boys
to me and I'll make kings of them all, if I have to send them over to
the United States, where all men will soon be potentates, and their
rulers merely servants--chosen to do their bidding."

Once, Joseph venturing to assert himself as the eldest son, Napoleon
smiled grimly.

"And what, pray, does that mean?" he asked, scornfully.

"That I and not you am the head of the family," replied Joseph.

"Very well," said Napoleon, rushing behind him, and, by a rapidly
conceived flank movement, giving Joseph a good sound kick. "How does
the head of the family like the foot of the family? Don't ever prate
of accidents of birth to me."

From that time on Joseph never murmured again, but obeyed blindly his
brother's slightest behest. He would have permitted Napoleon to mow
him down with grape-shot without complaint rather than rebel and
incur the wrath which he knew would then fall upon his head.

At school the same defiance of restraint and contempt for superior
strength characterized Napoleon. Here, too, his taciturn nature
helped him much. If he were asked a question which he could not
answer, he would decline to speak, so that his instructors were
unable to state whether or not he was in ignorance as to the point
under discussion, and could mark him down conscientiously as
contumelious only. Hence it was that he stood well in his studies,
but was never remarkable for deportment. His favorite plaything,
barring his brother Joseph, was a small brass cannon that weighed
some thirty odd pounds, and which is still to be seen on the island
of Corsica. Of this he once said: "I'd rather hear its report than
listen to a German band; though if I could get them both playing at
the same time there'd be one German band less in the world."

This remark found its parallel later on when, placed by Barras in
command of the defenders of the Convention against the attacks of the
Sectionists, Napoleon was asked the chairman of the Assembly to send
them occasional reports as to how matters progressed. His reply was

"Legislators," he said, "you ask me for an occasional report. If you
listen you will hear the report of my cannon. That is all you'll
get, and it will be all you need. I am here. I will save you."

"It is a poor time for jokes," said a representative.

"It is a worse time for paper reports," retorted Napoleon. "It would
take me longer to write out a legislative report than it will to
clean out the mob. Besides, I want it understood at this end of my
career that autograph-hunters are going to get left."

As he turned, Barras asked him as to his intentions.

"Where are you going?" he asked.

"To make a noise in the world," cried Napoleon; "au revoir."

That he had implanted in him the essential elements of a great
fighter his school-companions were not long in finding out.

When not more than five years of age he fell in love with a little
schoolmate, and, being jeered at for his openly avowed sentiments, he
threatened to thrash the whole school, adding to the little maiden
that he would thrash her as well unless she returned his love, a line
of argument which completely won her heart, particularly in view of
the fact that he proved his sincerity by fulfilling that part of his
assumed obligations which referred to the subjugation of the rest of
the school. It was upon this occasion that in reference to his
carelessness of dress, his schoolmates composed the rhyme,

"Napoleon di mezza calzetta
Fa l'amore a Giacominetta."

which, liberally translated, means,

"Hi! Look at Nap! His socks down of his shin,
Is making love to little Giacomin."

To this Napoleon, on the authority of the Memoirs of his Father's
Hired Man, retorted:

"I would advise you, be not indiscreet,
Or I will yank YOUR socks right of your feet."

All of which goes to show that at no time in his youth was he to be
trifled with. In poetry or a pitched battle he was quite equal to
any emergency, and his companions were not long in finding it out.

So passed the infancy of Mr. Bonaparte, of Corsica. It was, after
all, much like the extreme youth of most other children. In
everything he undertook he was facile princeps, and in nothing that
he said or did is there evidence that he failed to appreciate what
lay before him. A visitor to the family once ventured the remark, "I
am sorry, Napoleon, for you little Corsicans. You have no Fourth of
July or Guy Fawkes Day to celebrate."

"Oh, as for that," said Napoleon, "I for one do not mind. I will
make national holidays when I get to be a man, and at present I can
get along without them. What's the use of Fourth of July when you
can shoot off fireworks everyday?"

It was a pertinent question, the visitor departed much impressed with
the boy's precocity, which was rendered doubly memorable by
Napoleon's humor in discharging fifteen pounds of wadding from his
cannon into the visitor's back as he went out of the front gate.

At the age of six Napoleon put aside all infantile pleasures, and at
eight assumed all the dignity of that age. He announced his
intention to cease playing war with his brother Joseph.

"I am no longer a child, Joseph," he said; "I shall no longer thrash
you in play. Here-after I shall do it in sober earnest."

Which no doubt is why, in 1779, Napoleon having stuck faithfully to
his promise, Joseph heartily seconded his younger brother's demand
that he should leave Corsica and take a course of military
instruction at Brienne.

"I shall no doubt miss my dear brother Napoleon," Joseph said to his
mother; "but I would not stand in the way of his advancement. Let
him go, even though by his departure I am deprived of all opportunity
to assist him in his pleasing games of war."


As we have seen, the young Corsican was only ten years of age when,
through the influence of Count Marboeuf, an old friend of the
Bonaparte family, he was admitted to the military school at Brienne.
Those who were present at the hour of his departure from home say
that Napoleon would have wept like any other child had he yielded to
the impulses of his heart, and had be not detected a smile of
satisfaction upon the lips of his brother Joseph. It was this smile
that drove all tender emotions from his breast. Taking Joseph to one
side, he requested to know the cause of his mirth.

"I was thinking of something funny," said Joseph, paling slightly as
he observed the stern expression of Napoleon's face.

"Oh, indeed," said Napoleon; "and what was that something? I'd like
to smile myself."

"H'm!--ah--why," faltered Joseph, "it may not strike you as funny,
you know. What is a joke for one man is apt to be a serious matter
for another, particularly when that other is of a taciturn and
irritable disposition."

"Very likely," said Napoleon, dryly; "and sometimes what is a joke
for the man of mirth is likewise in the end a serious matter for that
same humorous person. This may turn out to be the case in the
present emergency. What was the joke? If I do not find it a
humorous joke, I'll give you a parting caress which you won't forget
in a hurry."

"I was only thinking," said Joseph, uneasily, "that it is a very good
thing for that little ferry-boat you are going away on that you are
going on it."

Here Joseph smiled weakly, but Napoleon was grim as ever.

"Well," he said, impatiently, "what of that?"

"Why," returned Joseph, "it seemed to me that such a tireless little
worker as the boat is would find it very restful to take a Nap."

For an instant Napoleon was silent.

"Joseph," said he, as he gazed solemnly out of the window, "I thank
you from the bottom of my heart for this. I had had regrets at
leaving home. A moment ago I was ready to break down for the sorrow
of parting from my favorite Alp, from my home, from my mother, and my
little brass cannon; but now--now I can go with a heart steeled
against emotion. If you are going in for humor of that kind, I'm
glad I'm going away. Farewell."

With this, picking Joseph up in his arms and concealing him beneath
the sofa cushions, Napoleon imprinted a kiss upon his mother's cheek,
rushed aboard the craft that was to bear him to fame, and was soon
but a memory in the little house at Ajaccio. "Parting is such sweet
sorrow," murmured Joseph, as he watched the little vessel bounding
over the turquoise waters of the imprisoned sea. "I shall miss him;
but there are those who wax fat on grief, and, if I know myself, I am
of that brand."

Arrived at Paris, Napoleon was naturally awe-stricken by the
splendors of that wonderful city.

"I shall never forget the first sight I had of Paris," he said, years
later, when speaking of his boyhood to Madame Junot, with whom he was
enjoying a tete-a-tete in the palace at Versailles. "I wondered if I
hadn't died of sea-sickness on the way over, as I had several times
wished I might, and got to heaven. I didn't know how like the other
place it was at that time, you see. It was like an enchanted land, a
World's Fair forever, and the prices I had to pay for things quite
carried out the World's Fair idea. They were enormous. Weary with
walking, for instance, I hired a fiacre and drove about the city for
an hour, and it cost me fifty francs; but I fell in with pleasant
enough people, one of whom gave me a ten-franc ticket entitling me to
a seat on a park bench--for five francs."

Madame Junot laughed.

"And yet they claim that bunco is a purely American institution," she

"Dame!" cried Napoleon, rising from the throne, and walking excitedly
up and down the palace floor, "I never realized until this moment
that I had been swindled! Bourrienne, send Fouche to me. I remember
the man distinctly, and if he lives he has yet to die."

Calming down, he walked to Madame Junot's side, and, taking her by
the hand, continued:

"And then the theatres! What revelations of delight they were! I
used to go to the Theatre Francais whenever I could sneak away and
had the money to seat me with the gods in the galleries. Bernhardt
was then playing juvenile parts, and Coquelin had not been heard of.
Ah! my dear Madame Junot," he added, giving her ear a delicate pinch,
"those were the days when life seemed worth the living--when one of a
taciturn nature and prone to irritability could find real pleasure in
existence. Oh to be unknown again!"

And then, Madame Junot's husband having entered the room, the Emperor
once more relapsed into a moody silence.

But to return to Brienne. Napoleon soon found that there is a gulf
measurable by no calculable distance between existence as the
dominating force of a family and life as a new boy at a boarding-
school. He found his position reversed, and he began for the first
time in his life to appreciate the virtues of his brother Joseph. He
who had been the victorious general crossing the Alps now found
himself the Alp, with a dozen victorious generals crossing him; he
who had been the gunner was now the target, and his present inability
to express his feelings in language which his tormentors could
understand, for he had not yet mastered the French tongue, kept him
in a state of being which may well be termed volcanic.

"I simply raged within in those days," Napoleon once said to Las
Casas. "I could have swallowed my food raw and it would have been
cooked on its way down, I boiled so. They took me for a snow-clad
Alp, when, as a matter of fact, I was a small Vesuvius, with a
temperature that would have made Tabasco sauce seem like iced water
by contrast."

His treatment at the hands of his fellow-students did much to
increase his irritability, but he kept himself well in hand, biding
the time when he could repay their insults with interest. They
jeered him because he was short--short of stature and short of funds;
they twitted him on being an alien, calling him an Italian, and
asking him why he did not seek out a position in the street-cleaning
bureau instead of endeavoring to associate with gentlemen. To this
the boy made a spirited reply.

"I am fitting myself for that," he said. "I'll sweep your Parisian
streets some day, and some of you particles will go with the rest of
the dust before my broom."

He little guessed how prophetic were these words.

Again, they tormented Napoleon on being the son of a lawyer, and
asked him who his tailor was, and whether or not his garments were
the lost suits of his father's clients, the result of which was that,
though born of an aristocratic family, the boy became a pronounced
Republican, and swore eternal enmity to the high-born. Another
result of this attitude towards him was that he retired from the
companionship of all save his books, and he became intimate with
Homer and Ossian and Plutarch--familiar with the rise and fall of
emperors and empires. Challenged to fight a duel with one of his
classmates for a supposititious insult, he accepted, and, having the
choice in weapons, chose an examination in mathematics, the one first
failing in a demonstration to blow his brains out. "That is the
safer for you," he said to his adversary. "You are sure to lose; but
the after-effects will not be fatal, because you have no brains to
blow out, so you can blow out a candle instead."

Whatever came of the duel we are not informed; but it is to be
presumed that it did not result fatally for young Bonaparte, for he
lived many years after the incident, as most of our readers are
probably aware. Had he not done so, this biography would have had to
stop here, and countless readers of our own day would have been
deprived of much entertaining fiction that is even now being
scattered broadcast over the world with Napoleon as its hero. His
love of books combined with his fondness for military life was never
more beautifully expressed than when he wrote to his mother: "With
my sword at my side and my Homer in my pocket, I hope to carve my way
through the world."

The beauty and simplicity of this statement is not at all affected by
Joseph's flippant suggestion that by this Napoleon probably meant
that he would read his enemies to sleep with his Homer, and then use
his sword to cut their heads off. Joseph, as we have already seen,
had been completely subjugated by his younger brother, and it is not
to be wondered at, perhaps, that, with his younger brother at a safe
distance, he should manifest some jealousy, and affect to treat his
sentiments with an unwarranted levity.

For Napoleon's self-imposed solitude everything at Brienne arranged
itself propitiously. Each of the students was provided with a small
patch of ground which he could do with as he pleased, and Napoleon's
use of his allotted share was characteristic. He converted it into a
fortified garden, surrounded by trees and palisades.

"Now I can mope in peace," he said--and he did.

It has been supposed by historians that it was here that Napoleon did
all of his thinking, mapping out his future career, and some of them
have told us what he thought. He dreamed of future glory always, one
of them states; but whether upon the authority of a palisade or a
tiger-lily is not mentioned. Others have given us his soliloquies as
he passed to and fro in this little retreat alone, and heard only by
the stars at night; but for ourselves, we must be accurate, and it is
due to the reader at this point that we should confess--having no
stars in our confidence--our entire ignorance as to what Napoleon
Bonaparte said, did, or thought when sitting in solitude in his
fortified bower; though if our candid impression is desired we have
no hesitation in saying that we believe him to have been in Paris
enjoying the sights of the great city during those periods of
solitude. Boys are boys in all lands, and a knowledge of that
peculiar species of human beings, the boarding-school boy, is
convincing that, given a prospect of five or six hours of
uninterrupted solitude, no youth of proper spirit would fail to avail
himself of the opportunities thus offered to see life, particularly
with a city like Paris within easy "hooky" distance.

It must also be remembered that the French had at this time abolished
the hereafter, along with the idea of a Deity and all pertaining
thereto, so that there was nothing beyond a purely temporal
discipline and lack of funds to interfere with Bonaparte's enjoyment
of all the pleasures which Paris could give. Of temporal discipline
he need have had no fear, since, it was perforce relaxed while he was
master of his solitude; as for the lack of funds, history has shown
that this never interfered with the fulfilment of Napoleon's hopes,
and hence the belief that the beautiful pictures, drawn by historians
and painted by masters of the brush, of Napoleon in solitude should
be revised to include a few accessories, drawn from such portions of
Parisian life as will readily suggest themselves.

In his studies, however, Napoleon ranked high. His mathematical
abilities were so marked that it was stated that he could square the
circle with his eyes closed and both hands tied behind his back.

"The only circle I could not square at that time," said he, "was the
family circle, being insufficiently provided with income to do so. I
might have succeeded better had not Joseph's appetite grown too fast
for the strength of my pocket; that was the only respect, however, in
which I ever had any difficulty in keeping up with my dear elder
brother." It was here, too, that he learned the inestimably
important military fact that the shortest distance between two points
is in a straight line; and that he had fully mastered that fact was
often painfully evident to such of his schoolmates as seemed to force
him to measure with his right arm the distance between his shoulder
and the ends of their noses. Nor was he utterly without wit. Asked
by a cribbing comrade in examination what a corollary was, Napoleon
scornfully whispered back:

"A mathematical camel with two humps."

In German only was he deficient, much to the irritation of his

"Will you ever learn anything?" asked M. Bouer, the German teacher.

"Certainly," said Napoleon; "but no more German. I know the only
word I need in that language."

"And what, pray, is that?"

"Surrender; that's all I'll ever wish to say to the Germans. But
lest I get it wrong, pray tell me the imperative form of surrender in
your native tongue."

M. Bouer's reply is not known to history, but it was probably not one
which the Master of Etiquette at Brienne could have entirely

So he lived at Brienne, thoroughly mastering the science of war;
acquiring a military spirit; making no friends, but commanding
ultimately the fearsome respect of his school-mates. One or two
private interviews with little aristocrats who jeered at him for his
ancestry convinced them that while he might not have had illustrious
ancestors, it was not unlikely that he would in time develop
illustrious descendants, and the jeerings and sneerings soon ceased.
The climax of Bonaparte's career at Brienne was in 1784, when he
directed a snowball fight between two evenly divided branches of the
school with such effect that one boy had his skull cracked and the
rest were laid up for weeks from their wounds.

"It was a wonderful fight," remarked Napoleon, during his campaign in
Egypt. "I took good care that an occasional missent ball should bowl
off the hat of M. Bouer, and whenever any particularly aristocratic
aristocrat's head showed itself above the ramparts, an avalanche fell
upon his facade with a dull, sickening thud. I have never seen an
American college football game, but from all I can learn from
accounts in the Paris editions of the American newspapers the effects
physical in our fight and that game are about the same."

In 1784, shortly after this episode, Napoleon left Brienne, having
learned all that those in authority there could teach him, and in
1785 he applied for and received admission to the regular army, much
to the relief of Joseph.

"If he had flunked and come back to Corsica to live," said Joseph, "I
think I should have emigrated. I love him dearly, but I'm fonder of
myself, and Corsica, large as it is, is too small to contain Napoleon
Bonaparte and his brother Joseph simultaneously, particularly as
Joseph is distinctly weary of being used as an understudy for a gory


The feeling among the larger boys at Brienne at Napoleon's departure
was much the same as that experienced by Joseph when his soon to-be-
famous brother departed from Corsica. The smaller boys regretted his
departure, since it had been one of their greatest pleasures to watch
Napoleon disciplining the upper classmen, but Bonaparte was as glad
to go as the elders were to have him.

"Brienne is good enough in its way," said he; "but what's the use of
fighting children? It's merely a waste of time cracking a
youngster's skull with a snowball when you can go out into the real
world and let daylight into a man's whole system with a few ounces of

He had watched developments at Paris, too, with the keenest interest,
and was sufficiently far-seeing to know that the troubles of the King
and Queen and their aristocratic friends boded well for a man fond of
a military life who had sense enough to be on the right side. That
it took an abnormal degree of intelligence to know which was the
right side in those troublous days he also realized, and hence he
cultivated that taciturnity and proneness to irritability which we
have already mentioned.

"If it had not been for my taciturnity, Talleyrand," he observed,
when in the height of his power, "I should have got it in the neck."

"Got what in the neck?" asked Talleyrand.

"The guillotine," rejoined the Emperor. "It was the freedom of
speech which people of those sanguinary days allowed themselves that
landed many a fine head in the basket. As for me, I simply held my
tongue with both hands, and when I wearied of that I called some one
in to hold it for me. If I had filled the newspapers with
'Interviews with Napoleon Bonaparte,' and articles on 'Where is
France at?' with monographs in the leading reviews every month on
'Why I am what I am,' and all such stuff as that, I'd have condensed
my career into one or two years, and ended by having my head divorced
from my shoulders in a most commonplace fashion. Taciturnity is a
big thing when you know how to work it, and so is proneness to
irritability. The latter keeps you from making friends, and I didn't
want any friends just then. They were luxuries which I couldn't
afford. You have to lend money to friends; you have to give them
dinners and cigars, and send bonbons to their sisters. A friend in
those days would have meant bankruptcy of the worst sort.
Furthermore, friends embarrass you when you get into public office,
and try to make you conspicuous when you'd infinitely prefer to saw
wood and say nothing. I took my loneliness straight, and that is one
of the reasons why I am now the Emperor of France, and your master."

Before entering the army a year at a Parisian military school kept
Bonaparte busy. There, as at Brienne, he made his influence felt.
He found his fellow-pupils at Paris living in a state of luxury that
was not in accord with his ideas as to what a soldier should have.
Whether or not his new school-mates, after the time-honored custom,
tossed him in a blanket on the first night of his arrival, history
does not say, but Bonaparte had hardly been at the school a week when
he complained to the authorities that there was too much luxury in
their system for him.

"Cadets do not need feather-beds and eider-down quilts," he said;
"and as for the sumptuous viands we have served at mealtime, they are
utterly inappropriate. I'd rather have a plate of Boston baked beans
or steaming buckwheat cakes to put my mind into that state which
should characterize the thinking apparatus of a soldier than a dozen
of the bouchees financieres and lobster Newburgs and other made-
dishes which you have on your menu. Made-dishes and delicate
beverages make one mellow and genial of disposition. What we need is
the kind of food that will destroy our amiability and put us in a
frame of mind calculated to make willing to kill our best friends--
nay, our own brothers and sisters--if occasion arises, with a smiling
face. Look at me. I could kill my brother Joseph, dear as he is to
me, and never shed a tear, and it's buckwheat-cakes and waffles that
have done it!"

Likewise he abhorred dancing.

"Away with dancing men!" he cried, impatiently, at one time when in
the height of his power, to his Minister of War. "Suppose when I was
crossing the Alps my soldiers had been of your dancing sort. How far
would I have got if every time the band played a two-step my
grenadiers had dropped their guns to pirouette over those snow-white
wastes? Let the diplomats do the dancing. For soldiers give me men
to whom the polka is a closed book and the waltz an abomination."

Holding these views, he naturally failed to win the sympathy of his
fellows at the Paris school who, young nobles for the most part,
could not understand his point of view. So, having nothing else to
do, he applied himself solely to his studies and to reflection, and
it was the happiest moment of his life up to that time when, having
passed his examinations for entrance to the regular army, he received
his commission as a second lieutenant.

"Now we're off!" he said to himself, as he surveyed himself in the
mirror, after donning his uniform.

"It does not set very well in the back," remarked one of the maids of
the pension in which he lived, glancing in at the door.

"It does not matter," returned Bonaparte, loftily. "As long as it
sets well in front I'm satisfied; for you should know, madame, that a
true soldier never shows his back, and that is the kind of a military
person I am. A false front would do for me. I am no tin soldier,
which in after-years it will interest you to remember. When you are
writing your memoirs this will make an interesting anecdote."

From this it is to be inferred that at this time he had no thought of
Moscow. Immediately after his appointment Bonaparte repaired to
Valence, where his regiment was stationed and where he formed a
strong attachment for the young daughter of Madame du Colombier, with
whom, history records, he ate cherries before breakfast. This was
his sole dissipation at that time, but his felicity was soon to be
interrupted. His regiment was ordered to Lyons, and Bonaparte and
his love were parted.

"Duty calls me, my dear," he said, on leaving her. "I would stay if
I could, but I can't, and, on the whole, it is just as well. If I
stayed I should marry you, and that would never do. You cannot
support me, nor I you. We cannot live on cherries, and as yet my
allowance is an ingrowing one--which is to say that it goes from me
to my parent, and not from my parent to me. Therefore, my only love,
farewell. Marry some one else. There are plenty of men who are fond
of cherries before breakfast, and there is no reason why one so
attractive as you should not find a lover."

The unhappy girl was silent for a moment. Then, with an ill-
suppressed sob, she bade him go.

"You are right, Napoleon," she said. "Go. Go where duty calls you,
and if you get tired of Lyons--"

"Yes?" he interrupted, eagerly.

"Try leopards!" she cried, rushing from his embrace into the house.

Bonaparte never forgave this exhibition of flippancy, though many
years after, when he learned that his former love, who had married,
as he had bade her do, and suffered, was face to face with
starvation, it is said, on the authority of one of his ex-valet's
memoirs, that he sent her a box of candied cherries from one of the
most expensive confectionery-shops of Paris.

After a brief sojourn at Lyons, Napoleon was summoned with his
regiment to quell certain popular tumults at Auxonne. There he
distinguished himself as a handler of mobs, and learned a few things
that were of inestimable advantage to him later. Speaking of it in
after-years, he observed: "It is my opinion, my dear Emperor Joseph,
that grape-shot is the only proper medicine for a mob. Some people
prefer to turn the hose on them, but none of that for me. They fear
water as they do death, but they get over water. Death is more
permanent. I've seen many a rioter, made respectable by a good
soaking, return to the fray after he had dried out, but in all my
experience I have never known a man who was once punctured by a
discharge of grape-shot who took any further interest in rioting."

About this time he began to regulate his taciturnity. On occasions
he had opinions which he expressed most forcibly. In 1790, having
gone to an evening reception at Madame Neckar's, he electrified his
hostess and her guests by making a speech of some five hundred words
in length, too long to be quoted here in full, but so full of import
and delivered with such an air of authority that La Fayette, who was
present, paled visibly, and Mirabeau, drawing Madame de Stael to one
side, whispered, trembling with emotion, "Who is that young person?"

Whether this newly acquired tendency to break in upon the reserve
which had hitherto been the salient feature of his speech had
anything to do with it or not we are not aware, but shortly
afterwards Napoleon deemed it wise to leave his regiment for a while,
and to return to his Corsican home on furlough. Of course an
affecting scene was enacted by himself and his family when they were
at last reunited. Letitia, his fond mother, wept tears of joy, and
Joseph, shaking him by the hand, rushed, overcome with emotion, from
the house. Napoleon shortly after found him weeping in the garden.

"Why so sad, Joseph?" he inquired. "Are you sorry I have returned?"

"No, dear Napoleon," said Joseph, turning away his head to hide his
tears, "it is not that. I was only weeping because--because, in the
nature of things, you will have to go away again, and--the--the idea
of parting from you has for the moment upset my equilibrium."

"Then we must proceed to restore it," said Napoleon, and, taking
Joseph by the right arm, he twisted it until Joseph said that he felt
quite recovered.

Napoleon's stay at Corsica was quite uneventful. Fearing lest by
giving way to love of family, and sitting and talking with them in
the luxuriously appointed parlor below-stairs, he should imbibe too
strong a love for comfort and ease, and thus weaken his soldierly
instincts, as well as break in upon that taciturnity which, as we
have seen, was the keynote of his character, he had set apart for
himself a small room on the attic floor, where he spent most of his
time undisturbed, and at the same time made Joseph somewhat easier in
his mind.

"When he's up-stairs I am comparatively safe," said Joseph. "If he
stayed below with us I fear I should have a return of my nervous

Meantime, Napoleon was promoted to a first lieutenancy, and shortly
after, during the Reign of Terror in Paris, having once more for the
moment yielded to an impulse to speak out in meeting, he denounced
anarchy in unmeasured terms, and was arrested and taken to Paris.

"It was a fortunate arrest for me," he said. "There I was in Corsica
with barely enough money to pay my way back to the capital.
Arrested, the State had to pay my fare, and I got back to active
political scenes on a free pass. As for the trial, it was a farce,
and I was triumphantly acquitted. The jury was out only fifteen
minutes. I had so little to say for myself that the judges began to
doubt if I had any ideas on any subject--or, as one of them said,
having no head to mention, it would be useless to try and cut it off.
Hence my acquittal and my feeling that taciturnity is the mother of

Then came the terrible attack of the mob upon the Tuileries on the
20th of June, 1792. Napoleon was walking in the street with
Bourrienne when the attack began.

"There's nothing like a lamp-post for an occasion like this, it
broadens one's views so," he said, rapidly climbing up a convenient
post, from which he could see all that went on. "I didn't know that
this was the royal family's reception-day. Do you want to know what
I think?"

"Mumm is the word," whispered Bourrienne. "This is no time to have

"Mumm may be the word, but water is the beverage. Mumm is too dry.
What this crowd needs is a good wetting down," retorted Bonaparte.
"If I were Louis XVI. I'd turn the hose on these tramps, and keep
them at bay until I could get my little brass cannon loaded. When I
had that loaded, I'd let them have a few balls hot from the bat.
This is what comes of being a born king. Louis doesn't know how to
talk to the people. He's all right for a state-dinner, but when it
comes to a mass-meeting he is not in it."

And then as the King, to gratify the mob, put the red cap of
Jacobinism upon his head, the man who was destined before many years
to occupy the throne of France let fall an ejaculation of wrath.

"The wretches!" he cried. "How little they know! They've only given
him another hat to talk through! They'll have to do their work all
over again, unless Louis takes my advice and travels abroad for his

These words were prophetic, for barely two months later the second
and most terrible and portentous attack upon the palace took place--
an attack which Napoleon witnessed, as he had witnessed the first,
from a convenient lamp-post, and which filled him with disgust and
shame; and it was upon that night of riot and bloodshed that he gave
utterance to one of his most famous sayings.

"Bourrienne," said he, as with his faithful companions he laboriously
climbed the five flights of stairs leading to his humble apartment,
"I hate the aristocrats, as you know; and to-day has made me hate the
populace as well. What is there left to like?"

"Alas! lieutenant, I cannot say," said Bourrienne, shaking his head

"What," continued Napoleon, "is the good of anything?"

"I give it up," returned Bourrienne, with a sigh. "I never was good
at riddles. What IS the good of anything?"

"Nothing!" said Napoleon, laconically, as he took off his uniform and
went to bed.


Greatness now began to dawn for Napoleon. Practically penniless, in
a great and heartless city, even the lower classes began to perceive
that here was one before whom there lay a brilliant future.
Restaurateurs, laundresses, confectioners--all trusted him. An
instance of the regard people were beginning to have for him is shown
in the pathetic interview between Napoleon and Madame Sans Gene, his

"Here is your wash, lieutenant," said she, after climbing five
flights of stairs, basket in hand, to the miserable lodging of the
future Emperor.

Napoleon looked up from his books and counted the clothes.

"There is one sock missing," said he, sternly.

"No," returned Sans Gene. "Half of each sock was washed away, and I
sewed the remaining halves into one. One good sock is better than
two bad ones. If you ever lose a leg in battle you may find the odd
one handy."

"How can I ever repay you?" cried Napoleon, touched by her friendly

"I'm sure I don't know," returned Madame Sans Gene, demurely, "unless
you will escort me to the Charity Ball--I'll buy the tickets."

"And, pray, what good will that do?" asked Bonaparte.

"It will make Lefebvre jealous," said Madame Sans Gene, "and maybe
that will bring him to the point. I want to marry him, but,
encourage him as I will, he does not propose, and as in revising the
calendar the government has abolished leap-year, I really don't know
what to do."

"I cannot go to the ball," said Napoleon, sadly. "I don't dance,
and, besides, I have loaned my dress-suit to Bourrienne. But I will
flirt with you on the street if you wish, and perhaps that will

It is hardly necessary to tell the reader that the ruse was
successful, and that Lefebvre, thus brought to the point, married
Madame Sans Gene, and subsequently, through his own advancement, made
her the Duchess of Dantzig. The anecdote suffices to show how
wretchedly poor and yet how full of interest and useful to those
about him Napoleon was at the time.

In February, 1793, a change for the better in his fortunes occurred.
Bonaparte, in cooperation with Admiral Turget, was ordered to make a
descent upon Sardinia. What immediately followed can best be told in
Bonaparte's own words. "My descent was all right," he said
afterwards, "and I had the Sardines all ready to put in boxes, when
Turget had a fit of sea-sickness, lost his bearings, and left me in
the lurch. There was nothing left for me but to go back to Corsica
and take it out of Joseph, which I did, much to Joseph's unhappiness.
It was well for the family that I did so, for hardly had I arrived at
Ajaccio when I found my old friend Paoli wrapping Corsica up in a
brown-paper bundle to send to the King of England with his
compliments. This I resisted, with the result that our whole family
was banished, and those fools of Corsicans broke into our house and
smashed all of our furniture. They little knew that that furniture,
if in existence to-day, would bring millions of francs as curios if
sold at auction. It was thus that the family came to move to France
and that I became in fact what I had been by birth--a Frenchman. If
I had remained a Corsican, Paoli's treachery would have made me an
Englishman, to which I should never have become reconciled, although
had I been an Englishman I should have taken more real pleasure out
of the battle of Waterloo than I got.

"After this I was ordered to Toulon. The French forces here were
commanded by General Cartaux, who had learned the science of war
painting portraits in Paris. He ought to have been called General
Cartoon. He besieged Toulon in a most impressionistic fashion. He'd
bombard and bombard and bombard, and then leave the public to guess
at the result. It's all well enough to be an impressionist in
painting, but when it comes to war the public want more decided
effects. When I got there, as a brigadier-general, I saw that
Cartaux was wasting his time and ammunition. His idea seemed to be
that by firing cannon all day he could so deafen the enemy that at
night the French army could sneak into Toulon unheard and capture the
city, which was, to say the least, unscientific. I saw at once that
Cartaux must go, and I soon managed to make life so unbearable for
him that he resigned, and a man named Doppet, a physician, was placed
in command. Doppet was worse than Cartaux. Whenever anybody got
hurt he'd stop the war and prescribe for the injured man. If he
could have prescribed for the enemy they'd have died in greater
numbers I have no doubt, but, like the idiot he was, he practised on
his own forces. Besides, he was more interested in surgery than in
capturing Toulon. He always gave the ambulance corps the right of
line, and I believe to this day that his plan of routing the English
involved a sudden rush upon them, taking them by surprise, and the
subsequent amputation of their legs. The worst feature of the
situation, as I found it, was that these two men, falling back upon
their rights as my superior officers, refused to take orders from me.
I called their attention to the fact that rank had been abolished,
and that in France one man was now as good as another; but they were
stubborn, so I wrote to Paris and had them removed. Then came
Dugommier, who backed me up in my plans, and Toulon as a consequence
immediately fell with a dull, sickening thud."

It was during this siege that Bonaparte first encountered Junot.
Having occasion to write a note while under fire from the enemy's
batteries, Napoleon called for a stenographer. Junot came to him.

"Do you know shorthand?" asked the general, as a bomb exploded at his

"Slightly," said Junot, calmly.

"Take this message," returned the general, coolly, dictating.

Junot took down Bonaparte's words, but just as he finished another
bomb exploded near by, scattering dust and earth and sand all over
the paper.

"Confounded boors, interrupting a gentleman at his correspondence!"
said Bonaparte, with an angry glance at the hostile gunners. "I'll
have to dictate that message all over again."

"Yes, general," returned Junot, quickly, "but you needn't mind that.
There will be no extra charge. It's really my fault. I should have
brought an umbrella."

"You are a noble fellow," said Napoleon, grasping his hand and
squeezing it warmly. "In the heyday of my prosperity, if my
prosperity ever goes a-haying, I shall remember you. Your name?"

"Junot, General," was the reply.

Bonaparte frowned. "Ha! ha!" he laughed, acridly. "You jest, eh?
Well, Junot, when I am Jupiter I'll reward you."

Later on, discovering his error, Bonaparte made a memorandum
concerning Junot, which was the first link in the chain which
ultimately bound the stenographer to fame as a marshal of France.

There have been various other versions of this anecdote, but this is
the only correct one, and is now published for the first time on the
authority of M. le Comte de B--, whose grandfather was the bass
drummer upon whose drum Junot was writing the now famous letter, and
who was afterwards ennobled by Napoleon for his services in Egypt,
where, one dark, drizzly night, he frightened away from Bonaparte's
tent a fierce band of hungry lions by pounding vigorously upon his

About this time Napoleon, who had been spelling his name in various
ways, and particularly with a "u," as Buonaparte, decided to settle
finally upon one form of designation.

"People are beginning to bother the life out of me with requests for
my autograph," he said to Bourrienne, "and it is just as well that I
should settle on one. If I don't, they'll want me to write out a
complete set of them, and I haven't time to do that."

"Buonaparte is a good-looking name," suggested Bourrienne. "It is
better than Bona Parte, as you sometimes call yourself. If you
settle on Bona Parte, you'd have really three names; and as you don't
write society verse for the comic papers, what's the use? Newspaper
reporters will refer to you as Napoleon B. Parte or N. Bona Parte,
and the public hates a man who parts his name in the middle. Parte
is a good name in its way, but it's too short and abrupt. Few men
with short, sharp, decisive names like that ever make their mark.
Let it be Buonaparte, which is sort of high-sounding--it makes a
mouthful, as it were."

"If I drop the 'u' the autograph will be shorter, and I'll gain time
writing it," said Napoleon. "It shall be Bonaparte without 'u.'"

"Humph!" ejaculated Bourrienne. "Bonaparte without me! I like that.
Might as well talk of Dr. Johnson without Boswell."

Bonaparte now went to Nice as chief of batallion in the army of
Italy; but having incurred the displeasure of a suspicious home
government, he was shortly superseded, and lived in retirement with
his family at Marseilles for a brief time. Here he fell in love
again, and would have married Mademoiselle Clery, whom he afterwards
made Queen of Sweden, had he not been so wretchedly poor.

"This, my dear," he said, sadly, to Mademoiselle Clery, "is the
beastly part of being the original ancestor of a family instead of a
descendant. I've got to make the fortune which will enrich
posterity, while I'd infinitely prefer having a rich uncle somewhere
who'd have the kindness to die and leave me a million. There's
Joseph--lucky man. He's gone and got married. He can afford it. He
has me to fall back on, but I--I haven't anybody to fall back on, and
so, for the second time in my life, must give up the only girl I ever

With these words Napoleon left Mademoiselle Clery, and returned to
Paris in search of employment.

"If there's nothing else to do, I can disguise myself as a Chinaman
and get employment in Madame Sans Gene's laundry," he said. "There's
no disgrace in washing, and in that way I may be able to provide
myself with decent linen, anyhow. Then I shall belong to the
laundered aristocracy, as the English have it."

But greater things than this awaited Napoleon at Paris. Falling in
with Barras, a member of the Convention which ruled France at this
time, he learned that the feeling for the restoration of the monarchy
was daily growing stronger, and that the royalists of Paris were a
great menace to the Convention.

"They'll mob us the first thing we know," said Barras. "The members
look to me to save them in case of attack, but I must confess I'd
like to sublet the contract."

"Give it to me, then. I'm temporarily out of a job," said Napoleon,
"and the life I'm leading is killing me. If it weren't for Talma's
kindness in letting me lead his armies on the stage at the Odeon,
with a turn at scene-shifting when they are not playing war dramas, I
don't know what I'd do for my meals; and even when I do get a
sandwich ahead occasionally I have to send it to Marseilles to my
mother. Give me your contract, and if I don't save your Convention
you needn't pay me a red franc. I hate aristocrats, and I hate mobs;
and this being an aristocratic mob, I'll go into the work with

"You!" cried Barras. "A man of your size, or lack of it, save the
Convention from a mob of fifty thousand? Nonsense!"

"Did you ever hear that little slang phrase so much in vogue in
America," queried Napoleon, coldly fixing his eye on Barras--"a
phrase which in French runs, 'Petit, mais O Moi'--or, as they have
it, 'Little, but O My'? Well, that is me. {1} Besides, if I am
small, there is less chance of my being killed, which will make me
more courageous in the face of fire than one of your bigger men would

"I will put my mind on it," said Barras, somewhat won over by
Napoleon's self-confidence.

"Thanks," said Napoleon; "and now come into the cafe and have dinner
with me."

"Save your money, Bonaparte," said Barras. "You can't afford to pay
for your own dinner, much less mine."

"That's precisely why I want you to dine with me," returned Napoleon.
"If I go alone, they won't serve me because they know I can't pay.
If I go in with you, they'll give me everything they've got on the
supposition that you will pay the bill. Come! En avant!"

"Vous etes un bouchonnier, vraiment!" said Barras, with a laugh.

"A what?" asked Napoleon, not familiar with the idiom.

"A corker!" explained Barras.

"Very good," said Napoleon, his face lighting up. "If you'll order a
bottle of Burgundy with the bird I will show you that I am likewise
something of an uncorker."

This readiness on Napoleon's part in the face of difficulty
completely captured Barras, and as a result the young adventurer had
his first real chance to make an impression on Paris, where, on the
13th Vendemiaire (or October 4, 1795), he literally obliterated the
forces of the Sectionists, whose success in their attack upon the
Convention would have meant the restoration of the Bourbons to the
throne of France. Placed in command of the defenders of the
Convention, Napoleon with his cannon swept the mob from the four
broad avenues leading to the palace in which the legislators sat.

"Don't fire over their heads," said he to his gunners, as the mob
approached. "Bring our arguments right down to their comprehension,
and remember that the comprehension of a royalist is largely affected
by his digestion. Therefore, gunners, let them have it there. If
these assassins would escape appendicitis they would better avoid the
grape I send them."

The result is too well known to need detailed description here.
Suffice it to say that Bonaparte's attentions to the digestive
apparatus of the rioters were so effective that, in token of their
appreciation of his services, the Convention soon afterwards placed
him in command of the Army of the Interior.

Holding now the chief military position in Paris, Bonaparte was much
courted by every one, but he continued his simple manner of living as
of yore, overlooking his laundry and other bills as unostentatiously
as when he had been a poor and insignificant subaltern, and daily
waxing more taciturn and prone to irritability.

"You are becoming gloomy, General," said Barras one morning, as the
two men breakfasted. "It is time for you to marry and become a
family man."

"Peste!" said Napoleon, "man of family! It takes too long--it is
tedious. Families are delightful when the children are grown up; but
I could not endure them in a state of infancy."

"Ah!" smiled Barras, significantly. "But suppose I told you of a
place where you could find a family ready made?"

Napoleon at once became interested.

"I should marry it," he said, "for truly I do need some one to look
after my clothing, particularly now that, as a man of high rank, my
uniforms hold so many buttons."

Thus it happened that Barras took the young hero to a reception at
the house of Madame Tallien, where he introduced him to the lovely
widow, Josephine de Beauharnais, and her two beautiful children.

"There you are, Bonaparte," he whispered, as they entered the room;
"there is the family complete--one wife, one son, one daughter. What
more could you want? It will be yours if you ask for it, for Madame
de Beauharnais is very much in love with you."

"Ha!" said Napoleon. "How do you know that?"

"She told me so," returned Barras.

"Very well," said Napoleon, making up his mind on the instant. "I
will see if I can involve her in a military engagement."

Which, as the world knows, he did; and on the 9th of March, 1796,
Napoleon and Josephine were united, and the happy groom, writing to
his mother, announcing his marriage to "the only woman he ever
loved," said: "She is ten years older than I, but I can soon
overcome that. The opportunities for a fast life in Paris are
unequalled, and I have an idea that I can catch up with her in six
months if the Convention will increase my salary."


After a honeymoon of ten days Napoleon returned to work. Assuming
command of the army of Italy, he said: "I am at last in business for
myself. Keep your eyes on me, Bourrienne, and you'll wear blue
goggles. You'll have to, you'll be so dazzled. We will set off at
once for Italy. The army is in wretched shape. It lacks shoes,
clothes, food. It lacks everything. I don't think it even has
sense. If it had it would strike for lower wages."

"Lower wages?" queried Bourrienne. "You mean higher, don't you?"

"Not I," said Bonaparte. "They couldn't collect higher wages, but if
their pay was reduced they might get it once in a while. We can
change all this, however, by invading Italy. Italy has all things to
burn, from statuary to Leghorn hats. In three months we shall be at
Milan. There we can at least provide ourselves with fine collections
of oil-paintings. Meantime let the army feed on hope and wrap
themselves in meditation. It's poor stuff, but there's plenty of it,
and it's cheap. On holidays give the poor fellows extra rations, and
if hope does not sustain them, cheer them up with promises of drink.
Tell them when we get to Italy they can drink in the scenery in
unstinted measure, and meanwhile keep the band playing merrily.
There's nothing like music to drive away hunger. I understand that
the lamented king's appetite was seriously affected by the

To his soldiers he spoke with equal vigor.

"Soldiers," he said, "sartorially speaking, you are a poor lot; but
France does not want a tailor-made army at this juncture. We are not
about to go on dress parade, but into grim-visaged war, and the
patches on your trousers, if you present a bold front to the enemy,
need never be seen. You are also hungry, but so am I. I have had no
breakfast for four hours. The Republic owes you much; but money is
scarce, and you must whistle for your pay. The emigres have gone
abroad with all the circulating medium they could lay their hands on,
and the Government has much difficulty in maintaining the gold
reserve. For my part, I prefer fighting for glory to whistling for
money. Fighting is the better profession. You are men. Leave
whistling to boys. Follow me into Italy, where there are fertile
plains--plains from whose pregnant soil the olive springs at the rate
of a million bottles a year, plains through whose lovely lengths
there flow rivers of Chianti. Follow me to Italy, where there are
opulent towns with clothing-stores on every block, and churches
galore, with their poor-boxes bursting with gold. Soldiers, can you
resist the alluring prospect?"

"Vive l'Empereur!" cried the army, with one voice.

Napoleon frowned.

"Soldiers!" he cried, "Remember this: you are making history;
therefore, pray be accurate. I am not yet Emperor, and you are
guilty of an anachronism of a most embarrassing sort. Some men make
history in a warm room with pen and ink, aided by guide-books and
collections of anecdotes. Leave anachronisms and inaccuracies to
them. For ourselves, we must carve it out with our swords and
cannon; we must rubricate our pages with our gore, and punctuate our
periods with our bayonets. Let it not be said by future ages that we
held our responsibilities lightly and were careless of facts, and to
that end don't refer to me as Emperor until you are more familiar
with dates. When we have finished with Italy I'll take you to the
land where dates grow. Meanwhile, restez tranquille, as they say in
French, and breathe all the air you want. France can afford you that
in unstinted measure."

"Vive Bonaparte!" cried the army, taking the rebuke in good part.

"Now you're shouting," said Napoleon, with a smile. "You're a good
army, and if you stick by me you'll wear diamonds."

"We have forgotten one thing," said Barras a few days later, on the
eve of Napoleon's departure. "We haven't any casus belli."

"What's that?" said Napoleon, who had been so busy with his
preparations that he had forgotten most of his Greek and Latin.

"Cause for war," said Barras. "Where were you educated? If you are
going to fight the Italians you've got to have some principle to
fight for."

"That's precisely what we are going to fight for," said Napoleon.
"We're a bankrupt people. We're going to get some principal to set
us up in business. We may be able to float some bonds in Venice."

"True," returned Barras; "but that, after all, is mere highway

"Well, all I've got to say," retorted Napoleon, with a sneer--"all
I've got to say is that if your Directory can't find something in the
attitude of Italy towards the Republic to take offence at, the sooner
it goes out of business the better. I'll leave that question
entirely to you fellows at Paris. I can't do everything. You look
after the casus, and I'll take care of the belli."

This plan was adopted. The Directory, after discussing various
causes for action, finally decided that an attack on Italy was
necessary for three reasons. First, because the alliance between the
kings of Sardinia and Austria was a menace to the Republic, and must
therefore be broken. Second, the Austrians were too near the Rhine
for France's comfort, and must be diverted before they had drunk all
the wine of the country, of which the French were very fond; and,
third, His Holiness the Pope had taken little interest in the now
infidel France, and must therefore be humiliated. These were the
reasons for the war settled upon by the government, and as they were
as satisfactory to Napoleon as any others, he gave the order which
set the army of Italy in motion.

"How shall we go, General?" asked Augereau, one of his subordinates.
"Over the Alps?"

"Not this time," returned Napoleon. "It is too cold. The army has
no ear-tabs. We'll skirt the Alps, and maybe the skirt will make
them warmer."

This the army proceeded at once to do, and within a month the first
object of the war was accomplished.

The Sardinian king was crushed, and the army found itself in
possession of food, drink, and clothes to a surfeit. Bonaparte's
pride at his success was great but not over-weening.

"Soldiers!" he cried, "you have done well. So have I. Hannibal
crossed the Alps. We didn't; but we got here just the same. You
have provided yourselves with food and clothes, and declared a
dividend for the Treasury of France which will enable the Directory
to buy itself a new hat through which to address the people. You
have reason to be proud of yourselves. Pat yourselves on your backs
with my compliments, but remember one thing. Our tickets are to
Milan, and no stop-overs are allowed. Therefore, do not as yet relax
your efforts. Milan is an imperial city. The guide-books tell us
that its cathedral is a beauty, the place is full of pictures, and
the opera-house finished in 1779 is the largest in the world. It can
be done in two days, and the hotels are good. Can you, therefore,
sleep here?"

"No, no!" cried the army.

"Then," cried Napoleon, tightening his reins and lifting his horse on
to its hind-legs and holding his sword aloft, "A Milan!"

"How like a statue he looks," said Lannes, admiringly.

"Yes," replied Augereau, "you'd think he was solid brass."

The Austrian troops were now concentrated behind the Po, but Napoleon
soon outgeneralled their leaders, drove them back to the Adda, and
himself pushed on to the Bridge of Lodi, which connected the east and
west branches of that river.

"When I set out for the P. O. P. E.," said Napoleon, "I'm not going
to stop halfway and turn back at the P. O. We've got the Austrians
over the Adda, and that's just where we want them. I had a dream
once about the Bridge of Lodi, and it's coming true now or never.
We'll take a few of our long divisions, cross the Adda, and subtract
a few fractions of the remainder now left the Austrians. This will
destroy their enthusiasm, and Milan will be ours."

The words were prophetic, for on the 10th of May the French did
precisely what their commander had said they would do, and on the
fourteenth day of May the victorious French entered Milan, the
wealthy capital of Lombardy.

"Curious fact," said Napoleon. "In times of peace if a man needs a
tonic you give him iron, and it builds him up; but in war if you give
the troops iron it bowls 'em down. Look at those Austrians; they've
got nervous prostration of the worst sort."

"They got too much iron," said Lannes.

"Too much tonic is worse than none. A man can stand ten or twenty
grains of iron, but forty pounds is rather upsetting."

"True," acquiesced Napoleon. "Well, it was a great fight, and I have
only one regret. I do wish you'd had a Kodak to take a few snap-
shots of me at that Bridge of Lodi. I'd like to send some home to
the family. It would have reminded brother Joseph of old times to
see me dashing over that bridge, prodding its planks with my heels
until it fairly creaked with pain. It would have made a good
frontispiece for Bourrienne's book too. And now, my dear Lannes,
what shall we do with ourselves for the next five days? Get out your
Baedecker and let us see this imperial city of the Lombards."

"There's one matter we must arrange first," said Augereau; "we
haven't any stable accommodations to speak of."

"What's the matter with the stalls at the opera-house?" suggested
Napoleon. "As I told the troops the other day, it's the biggest
theatre in the world. You ought to be able to stable the horses
there and lodge the men in the boxes."

"The horses would look well sitting in orchestra chairs, wouldn't
they?" said Augereau. "It's not feasible. As for the boxes, they're
mostly held by subscribers."

"Then stable them in the picture-galleries," said the general. "It
will be good discipline."

"The people will call that sacrilege," returned Augereau.

"Not if we remove the pictures," said Bonaparte. "We'll send the
pictures to Paris."

Accordingly this was done, and the galleries of France were thereby
much enriched. We mention these details at length, because Napoleon
has been severely criticised for thus impoverishing Italy, as well as
for his so-called contempt of art--a criticism which, in the face of
this accurate version, must fall to the ground. The pictures were
sent by him to Paris merely to preserve them, and, as he himself
said, a propos of the famous Da Vinci, beneath which horses and men
alike were quartered: "I'd have sent that too, but to do it I'd have
had to send the whole chapel or scrape the picture off the wall.
These Italians should rather thank than condemn me for leaving it
where it was. Mine was not an army of destruction, but a Salvation
Army of the highest type."

"You made mighty few converts for a Salvation Army," said Talleyrand,
to whom this remark was addressed.

"That's where you are wrong," said Napoleon. "I made angels of
innumerable Austrians, and converted quite a deal of Italian into
French territory."

It was hardly to be doubted that Napoleon's successes would arouse
jealousies in Paris, and the Directory, fearing the hold the
victorious general was acquiring upon the people, took steps to limit
his powers. Bonaparte instantly resigned his command and threatened
to return to Paris, which so frightened the government that they
refused to accept his resignation.

From this time on for nearly a year Napoleon's career was a
succession of victories. He invaded the Papal States, and acquired
millions of francs and hundreds of pictures. He chastised all who
opposed his sway, and, after pursuing the Austrians as far as Leoben,
within sight of Vienna, he humbled the haughty Emperor Joseph.

"I'll recognize your Republic," said the Emperor at last, finding
that there was nothing else to be done.

"Thanks," said Napoleon--"I thought you would; but I don't know
whether the Republic will recognize you. She doesn't even know you
by sight."

"Is that all you want?" asked the Emperor, anxiously.

"For the present, yes. Some day I may come back for something else,"
returned Napoleon, significantly. "And, by-the-way, when you are
sending your card to the French people just enclose a small
remittance of a few million francs, not necessarily for publication,
but as a guarantee of good faith. Don't send all you've got, but
just enough. You may want to marry off one of your daughters some
day, and it will be well to save something for her dowry."

It was in little acts of this nature that Napoleon showed his
wonderful foresight. One would almost incline to believe from this
particular incident that Bonaparte foresaw the Marie-Louise episode
in his future career.

The Austrians humbled, Napoleon turned his attention to Venice.
Venice had been behaving in a most exasperating fashion, and the
conqueror felt that the time had come to take the proud City of the
Sea in hand.

"If the Venetians have any brains," said he to Bourrienne, who joined
him about this time, secretly representing, it is said, a newspaper-
syndicate service, "they'll put on all the sail they've got and take
their old city out to sea. They're in for the worst ducking they
ever got."

"I'm afraid you'll find them hard to get at," said Bourrienne. "That
lagoon is a wet place."

"Oh, as for that," said Bonaparte, "a little water will do the army
good. We've been fighting so hard it's been months since they've had
a good tubbing, and a swim won't hurt them. Send Lannes here." In a
few minutes Lannes entered Bonaparte's tent.

"Lannes, we're off for Venice. Provide the army with overshoes, and
have our luggage checked through," said Bonaparte.

"Yes, General."

"Can Augereau swim?"

"I don't know, General."

"Well, find out, and if he can't we'll get him a balloon."

Thus, taking every precaution for the comfort of his men and the
safety of his officers, Napoleon set out. Venice, hearing of his
approach, was filled with consternation, and endeavored to temporize.
The Doges offered millions if Bonaparte would turn his attention to
others, to which Napoleon made this spirited reply: "Venetians, tell
the Doges, with my compliments, that I am coming. The wealth of the
Indies couldn't change my mind. They offer me stocks and bonds;
well, I believe their stocks and bonds to be as badly watered as
their haughty city, and I'll have none of them. I'll bring my stocks
with me, and your Doges will sit in them. I'll bring my bonds, and
your nobles shall put them on and make them clank. You've been
drowning Frenchmen every chance you've had. It will now be my
pleasing duty to make you do a little gurgling on your own account.
You'll find out for the first time in your lives what it is to be in
the swim. Put on your bathing-suits and prepare for the avenger.
The lions of St. Marc must lick the dust."

"We have no dust, General," said one of the messengers.

"Then you'd better get some," retorted Napoleon, "for you will have
to come down with it to the tune of millions."

True to his promise, Napoleon appeared at the lagoon on the 31st of
May, and the hitherto haughty Venice fell with a splash that could be
heard for miles, first having sent five ships of war, 3,000,000
francs, as many more in naval stores, twenty of her best pictures,
the bronze horses of the famous church, five hundred manuscripts, and
one apology to the French Republic as the terms of peace. The bronze
horses were subsequently returned, but what became of the manuscripts
we do not know. They probably would have been returned also--a large
portion of them, at least--if postage-stamps had been enclosed. This
is mere theory, of course; but it is rendered reasonable by the fact
that this is the usual fate of most manuscripts; nor is there any
record of their having been published in the Moniteur, the only
periodical which the French government was printing at that time.

As for Bonaparte, it was as balm to his soul to humble the haughty
Doges, whose attitude towards him had always been characterized by a
superciliousness which filled him with resentment.

"It did me good," he said, many years after, with a laugh, "to see
those Doges swimming up and down the Grand Canal in their state
robes, trying to look dignified, while I stood on the sidewalk and
asked them why they didn't come in out of the wet."


Josephine now deemed it well to join her lord at Milan. There had
been so many only women he had ever loved that she was not satisfied
to remain at Paris while he was conducting garden-parties at the
Castle of Montebello. Furthermore, Bonaparte himself wished her to
be present.

"This Montebello life is, after all, little else than a dress
rehearsal for what is to come," he said, confidentially, to
Bourrienne, "and Josephine can't afford to be absent. It's a great
business, this being a Dictator and having a court of your own, and
I'm inclined to think I shall follow it up as my regular profession
after I've conquered a little more of the earth."

Surrounded by every luxury, and in receipt for the first time in his
life of a steady income, Bonaparte carried things with a high hand.
He made treaties with various powers without consulting the
Directory, for whom every day he felt a growing contempt.

"What is the use of my consulting the Directory, anyhow?" he asked.
"If it were an Elite Directory it might be worth while, but it isn't.
I shall, therefore, do as I please, and if they don't like what I do
I'll ratify it myself."

Ambassadors waited upon him as though he were a king, and when one
ventured to disagree with the future Emperor he wished he hadn't.
Cobentzel, the envoy of the Austrian ruler, soon discovered this.

"I refuse to accept your ultimatum," said he one day to Napoleon,
after a protracted conference.

"You do, eh?"--said Napoleon, picking up a vase of delicate
workmanship. "Do you see this jug?"

"Yes," said Cobentzel.

"Well," continued Napoleon, dropping it to the floor, where it was
shattered into a thousand pieces, "do you see it now?"

"I do," said Cobentzel; "what then?"

"It has a mate," said Napoleon, significantly; "and if you do not
accept my ultimatum I'll smash the other one upon your plain but
honest countenance."

Cobentzel accepted the ultimatum.

Bonaparte's contempt for the Directory was beginning to be shared by
a great many of the French, and, to save themselves, the "Five Sires
of the Luxembourg," as the Directory were called, resolved on a
brilliant stroke, which involved no less a venture than the invasion
of England. Bonaparte, hearing of this, and anxious to see London,
of which he had heard much, left Italy and returned to Paris.

"If there's a free tour of England to be had, Josephine," said he, "I
am the man to have it. Besides, this climate of Italy is getting
pretty hot for an honest man. I've refused twenty million francs in
bribes in two weeks. If they'd offered another sou I'm afraid I'd
have taken it. I will therefore go to Paris, secure the command of
the army of England, and pay a few of my respects to George Third,
Esq. I hear a great many English drop their h's; I'll see if I can't
make 'em drop their l. s. d.'s as well."

Arrived in Paris, Bonaparte was much courted by everybody.

"I have arrived," he said, with a grim smile. "Even my creditors are
glad to see me, and I'll show them that I have not forgotten them by
running up a few more bills."

This he did, going to the same tradesmen that he had patronized in
his days of poverty. To his hatter, whom he owed for his last five
hats, he said:

"They call me haughty here; they say I am cold. Well, I am cold.
I've shivered on the Alps several times since I was here last, and it
has chilled my nature. It has given me the grip, so to speak, and
when I lose my grip the weather will be even colder. Give me a hat,
my friend."

"What size?" asked the hatter.

"The same," said Bonaparte, with a frown. "Why do you ask?"

"I was told your head had swelled," returned the hatter, meekly.

"They shall pay for this," murmured Napoleon, angrily.

"I am glad," said the hatter, with a sigh. "I was wondering who'd
pay for it."

"Oh, you were, eh?" said Napoleon. "Well, wonder no more. Get out
your books."

The hatter did so.

"Now charge it," said Napoleon.

"To whom?" asked the hatter.

"Those eminent financiers, Profit & Loss," said Napoleon, with a
laugh, as he left the shop. "That's what I call a most successful
hat-talk," he added, as he told Bourrienne of the incident later in
the day.

"How jealous they all are!" said Bourrienne. "The idea of your
having a swelled head is ridiculous."

"Of course," said Napoleon; "all I've got is a proper realization of
'Whom I Am,' as they say in Boston. But wait, my boy, wait. When I
put a crown on my head--"

What Bonaparte would have said will never be known, for at that
moment the general's servant announced Mme. Sans Gene, his former
laundress, and that celebrated woman, unconventional as ever, stalked
into the room. Napoleon looked at her coldly.

"You are--?" he queried.

"Your former laundress," she replied.

"Ah, and you want--?"

"My pay," she retorted.

"I am sorry, madame," said the General, "but the expenses of my
Italian tour have been very great, and I am penniless. I will,
however, assist you to the full extent of my power. Here are three
collars and a dress-shirt. If you will launder them I will wear them
to the state ball to-morrow evening, and will tell all my rich and
influential friends who did them up, and if you wish I will send you
a letter saying that I patronized your laundry once two years ago,
and have since used no other."

These anecdotes, unimportant in themselves, are valuable in that they
refute the charges made against General Bonaparte at this time--
first, that he returned from Egypt with a fortune, and, second, that
he carried himself with a hauteur which rendered him unapproachable.

For various reasons the projected invasion of England was abandoned,
and the expedition to Egypt was substituted. This pleased Napoleon
equally as well.

"I wasn't stuck on the English invasion, anyhow," he said, in writing
to Joseph. "In the first place, they wanted me to go in October,
when the London season doesn't commence until spring, and, in the
second place, I hate fogs and mutton-chops. Egypt is more to my
taste. England would enervate me. Egypt, with the Desert of Sahara
in its backyard, will give me plenty of sand, and if you knew what
projects I have in mind--which, of course, you don't, for you never
knew anything, my dear Joseph--you'd see how much of that I need."

The Directory were quite as glad to have Napoleon go to Egypt as he
was to be sent. Their jealousy of him was becoming more painful to
witness every day.

"If he goes to England," said Barras, "he'll conquer it, sure as
fate; and it will be near enough for excursion steamers to take the
French people over to see him do it. If that happens we are lost."

"He'll conquer Egypt, though, and he'll tell about it in such a way
that he will appear twice as great," suggested Carnot. "Seems to me
we'd better sell out at once and be done with it."

"Not so," said Moulin. "Let him go to Egypt. Very likely he'll fall
off a pyramid there and break his neck."

"Or get sunstruck," suggested Barras.

"There's no question about it in my mind," said Gohier. "Egypt is
the place. If he escapes the pyramids or sunstroke, there are still
the lions and the simoon, not to mention the rapid tides of the Red
Sea. Why, he just simply can't get back alive. I vote for Egypt."

Thus it happened that on the 19th day of May, 1798, with an army of
forty thousand men and a magnificant staff of picked officers,
Napoleon embarked for Egypt.

"I'm glad we're off," said he to the sailor who had charge of his
steamer-chair. "I've got to hurry up and gain some more victories or
these French will forget me. A man has to make a three-ringed circus
of himself to keep his name before the public these days."

"What are you fightin' for this time, sir?" asked the sailor, who had
not heard that war had been declared--"ile paintin's or pyramids?"

"I am going to free the people of the East from the oppressor," said
Napoleon, loftily.

"And it's a noble work, your honor," said the sailor. "Who is it
that's oppressin' these people down East?"

"You'll have to consult the Directory," said Napoleon, coldly.
"Leave me; I have other things to think of."

On the 10th of June Malta was reached, and the Knights of St. John,
long disused to labor of any sort, like many other knights of more
modern sort, surrendered in most hospitable fashion, inviting
Napoleon to come ashore and accept the freedom of the island or
anything else he might happen to want. His reply was characteristic:

"Tell the Knights of Malta to attend to their cats. I'm after
continents, not islands," said he; and with this, leaving a
detachment of troops to guard his new acquisition, he proceeded to
Alexandria, which he reached on the 1st of July. Here, in the midst
of a terrible storm and surf, Napoleon landed his forces, and
immediately made a proclamation to the people.

"Fellahs!" he cried, "I have come. The newspapers say to destroy
your religion. As usual, they prevaricate. I have come to free you.
All you who have yokes to shed prepare to shed them now. I come with
the olive-branch in my hand. Greet me with outstretched palms. Do
not fight me for I am come to save you, and I shall utterly
obliterate any man, be he fellah, Moujik, or even the great Marmalade
himself, who prefers fighting to being saved. We may not look it,
but we are true Mussulmen. If you doubt it, feel our muscle. We
have it to burn. Desert the Mamelukes and be saved. The Pappylukes
are here."

On reading this proclamation Alexandria immediately fell, and
Bonaparte, using the Koran as a guide-book, proceeded on his way up
the Nile. The army suffered greatly from the glare and burning of
the sun-scorched sand, and from the myriads of pestiferous insects
that infested the country; but Napoleon cheered them on. "Soldiers!"
he cried, when they complained, "if this were a summer resort, and
you were paying five dollars a day for a room at a bad hotel, you'd
think yourselves in luck, and you'd recommend your friends to come
here for a rest. Why not imagine this to be the case now? Brace up.
We'll soon reach the pyramids, and it's a mighty poor pyramid that
hasn't a shady side. On to Cairo!"

"It's easy enough for you to talk," murmured one. "You've got a
camel to ride on and we have to walk."

"Well, Heaven knows," retorted Napoleon, pointing to his camel,
"camel riding isn't like falling off a log. At first I was carried
away with it, but for the last two days it has made me so sea-sick I
can hardly see that hump."

After this there was no more murmuring, but Bonaparte did not for an
instant relax his good-humor.

"The water is vile," said Dessaix, one morning.

"Why not drink milk, then?" asked the commander.

"Milk! I'd love to," returned Dessaix; "but where shall I find

"At the dairy," said Napoleon, with a twinkle in his eye.

"What dairy?" asked Dessaix, not observing the twinkle.

"The dromedary," said Napoleon, with a roar.

Little incidents like this served to keep the army in good spirits
until the 21st of July, when they came in sight of the pyramids.
Instantly Napoleon called a halt, and the army rested. The next day,
drawing them up in line, the General addressed them. "Soldiers!" he
cried, pointing to the pyramids, "from the summits of those pyramids
forty centuries look down upon you. You can't see them, but they are
there. No one should look down upon the French, not even a century.
Therefore, I ask you, shall we allow the forces of the Bey, his
fellahs and his Tommylukes, to drive us into the desert of Sahara,
bag and baggage, to subsist on a sea-less seashore for the balance of
our days, particularly when they haven't any wheels on their cannon?"

"No, no!" cried the army.

"Then up sail and away!" cried Bonaparte. "This is to be no naval
affair, but the army of the Bey awaits us."

"Tell the band to play a Wagner march," he whispered, hastily, to his
aide-de-camp. "It'll make the army mad, and what we need now is

So began the battle of the Pyramids. The result is too well known to
readers of contemporary history to need detailed statement here. All
day long it raged, and when night fell Cairo came with it. Napoleon,
worn out with fatigue, threw himself down on a pyramid to rest.

"Ah!" he said, as he breathed a sigh of relief, "what a glorious day!
We've beat 'em! Won't the Directory be glad? M. Barras will be more
M. Barrassed than ever." Then, turning and tapping on the door of
the massive pile, he whispered, softly: "Ah! Ptolemy, my man, it's
a pity you've no windows in this tomb. You'd have seen a pretty
sight this day. Kleber," he added, turning to that general, "do you
know why Ptolemy inside this pyramid and I outside of it are alike?"

"I cannot guess, General," said Kleber. "Why?"

"We're both 'in it'!" returned Napoleon, retiring to his tent.

Later on in the evening, summoning Bourrienne, the victor said to

"Mr. Secretary, I have a new autograph. If Ptolemy can spell his
name with a 'p,' why shouldn't I? I'm not going to have history say
that a dead mummy could do things I couldn't. Pnapoleon would look
well on a state paper."

"No doubt," said Bourrienne; "but every one now says that you copy
Caesar. Why give them the chance to call you an imitator of Ptolemy

"True, my friend, true," returned Napoleon, in a tone of
disappointment. "I had not thought of that. When you write my
autographs for the children of these Jennylukes--"

"Mamelukes, General," corrected Bourrienne.

"Ah, yes--I always get mixed in these matters--for the children of
these Mamelukes, you may stick to the old form. Good-night."

And with that the conqueror went to sleep as peacefully as a little

Had Bonaparte now returned to France he would have saved himself much
misery. King of fire though he had become in the eyes of the
vanquished, his bed was far from being one of roses.

"In a climate like that," he observed, sadly, many years after, "I'd
rather have been an ice baron. Africa got entirely too hot to cut
any ice with me. Ten days after I had made my friend Ptolemy turn
over in his grave, Admiral Nelson came along with an English fleet
and challenged our Admiral Brueys to a shooting-match for the
championship of Aboukir Bay. Brueys, having heard of what magazine
writers call the ships of the desert in my control, supposing them to
be frigates and not camels, imagined himself living in Easy Street,
and accepted the challenge. He expected me to sail around to the
other side of Nelson, and so have him between two fires. Well, I
don't go to sea on camels, as you know, and the result was that after
a twenty-four-hour match the camels were the only ships we had left.
Nelson had won the championship, laid the corner-stone of monuments
to himself all over English territory, cut me off from France, and
added three thousand sea-lubbers to my force, for that number of
French sailors managed to swim ashore during the fight. I manned the
camels with them immediately, but it took them months to get their
land legs on, and the amount of grog they demanded would have made a
quick-sand of the Desert of Sahara, all of which was embarrassing."

But Napoleon did not show his embarrassment to those about him. He
took upon himself the government of Egypt, opened canals, and
undertook to behave like a peaceable citizen for a while.

"I needed rest, and I got it," he said. "Sitting on the apex of the
pyramids, I could see the whole world at my feet, and whatever others
may say to the contrary, it was there that I began to get a clear
view of my future. It seemed to me that from that lofty altitude,
chumming, as I was, with the forty centuries I have already alluded
to, I could see two ways at once, that every glance could penetrate
eternity; but I realize now that what I really got was only a bird's-
eye view of the future. I didn't see that speck of a St. Helena. If
I had, in the height of my power I should have despatched an
expedition of sappers and miners to blow it up."

Quiescence might as well be expected of a volcano, however, as from a
man of Bonaparte's temperament, and it was not long before he was
again engaged in warfare, but not with his old success; and finally,
the plague having attacked his army, Bonaparte, too tender-hearted to
see it suffer, leaving opium for the sick and instructions for
Kleber, whom he appointed his successor, set sail for France once
more in September, 1799.

"Remember, Kleber, my boy," he said, in parting, "these Mussulmen are
a queer lot. Be careful how you treat them. If you behave like a
Christian you're lost. I don't want to go back to France, but I
must. I got a view of the next three years from the top of Cheops
last night just before sunset, and if that view is to be carried out
my presence in Paris is positively required. The people are tired of
the addresses given by the old Directory, and they're seriously
thinking of getting out a new one, and I want to be on hand either to
edit it or to secure my appointment to some lucrative consulship."

"You!--a man of your genius after a consulship?" queried Kleber,

"Yes, I have joined the office-seekers, General; but wait till you
hear what consulship it is. The American consul-generalship at
London is worth $70,000 a year, but mine--mine in contrast to that is
as golf to muggins."

"And what shall I tell the reporters about that Jaffa business if
they come here? That poison scandal is sure to come up," queried

"Treat them well. Tell the truth if you know it, and--ah--invite
them to dinner," said Bonaparte. "Give them all the delicacies of
the season. When you serve the poisson, let it be with one 's,' and,
to make assurance doubly sure, flavor the wines with the quickest you

"Quickest what?" asked Kleber, who was slightly obtuse.

"Humph!" sneered Napoleon. "On second thoughts, if reporters bother
you, take them swimming where the crocodiles are thickest--only
either don't bathe with them yourself, or wear your mail bathing-
suit. Furthermore, remember that what little of the army is left are
my children."

"What?" cried the obtuse Kleber. "All those?"

"They are my children, Kleber," said Napoleon, his voice shaking with
emotion. "I am young to be the head of so large a family, but the
fact remains as I have said. They may feel badly at my going away
and leaving them even with so pleasing a hired man as yourself, but
comfort them, let them play in the sand all they please, and if they
want to know why papa has gone away, tell them I've gone to Paris to
buy them some candy."

With these words Napoleon embarked, and on the 16th of October Paris
received him with open arms. That night the members of the Directory
came down with chills and fever.


"There is no question about my greatness now," said Napoleon, as he
meditated upon his position. "Even if the Directory were not jealous
and the people enthusiastic, the number of relatives I have
discovered in the last ten days would show that things are going my
way. I have had congratulatory messages from 800 aunts, 950 uncles,
and about 3800 needy cousins since my arrival. It is queer how big a
family a lonely man finds he has when his star begins to twinkle.
Even Joseph is glad see me now, and I am told that the ice-cream men
serve little vanilla Napoleons at all the swell dinners. Bourrienne,
our time has come! Get out my most threadbare uniform, fray a few of
my collars at the edges, and shoot a few holes in my hat. I'll go
out and take a walk along the Avenue de l'Opera, where the people can
see me."

"There isn't any such street in Paris yet, General," said Bourrienne,
getting out his Paris guide-book.

"Well, there ought to be," said Napoleon.

"What streets are there? I must be seen or I'll be forgotten."

"What's the matter with a lounge in front of the Luxembourg? That
will make a contrast that can't help affect the populace. You, the
conqueror, ill-clad, unshaven, and with a hat full of bullet-holes,
walking outside the palace, with the incompetent Directors lodged
comfortably inside, will make a scene that is bound to give the
people food for thought."

"Well said!" cried Bonaparte. "Here are the pistols go out into the
woods and prepare the hat. I'll fray the collars."

This was done, and the effect was instantaneous. The public
perceived the point, and sympathy ran so high that a public dinner
was offered to the returned warrior.

"I have no use for pomp, Mr. Toast-master," he said, as he rose to
speak at this banquet. "I am not a good after-dinner speaker, but I
want the people of France to know that I am grateful for this meal.
I rise only to express the thanks of a hungry man for this timely
contribution to his inner self, and I wish to add that I should not
willingly have added to the already heavy tax upon the pockets of a
patriotic people by accepting this dinner, if it were not for the
demands of nature. It is only the direst necessity that brings me
here; for one must eat, and I cannot beg."

These remarks, as may well be imagined, sent a thrill of enthusiasm
throughout France and filled the Directory with consternation. The
only cloud upon Bonaparte's horizon was a slight coldness which arose
between himself and Josephine. She had gone to meet him on his
arrival at Frejus, but by some odd mistake took the road to Burgundy,
while Napoleon came by way of Lyons. They therefore missed each

"I could not help it," she said, when Napoleon jealously chided her.
"I've travelled very little, and the geography of France always did
puzzle me."

"It is common sense that should have guided you, not knowledge of
geography. When I sail into Port, you sail into Burgundy--you, the
only woman I ever loved!" cried Napoleon, passionately. "Hereafter,
madame, for the sake of our step-children, be more circumspect. At
this time I cannot afford a trip to South Dakota for the purpose of a
quiet divorce, nor would a public one pay at this juncture; but I
give you fair warning that I shall not forget this escapade, and once
we are settled in the--the Whatistobe, I shall remember, and another
only woman I have ever loved will dawn upon your horizon."

Bonaparte was now besieged by all the military personages of France.
His home became the Mecca of soldiers of all kinds, and in order to
hold their interest the hero of the day found it necessary to draw
somewhat upon the possessions which the people were convinced he was
without. Never an admirer of consistency, France admired this more

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