Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica by John Kendrick Bangs

Part 2 out of 2

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

than ever. It was a paradox that this poverty-stricken soldier
should entertain so lavishly, and the people admired the nerve which
prompted him to do it, supposing, many of them, that his creditors
were men of a speculative nature, who saw in the man a good-paying
future investment.

Thus matters went until the evening of the 17th Brumaire, when
Napoleon deemed that he had been on parade long enough, and that the
hour demanded action.

"This is the month of Bromide," he said.

"Brumaire," whispered Bourrienne.

"I said Bromide," retorted Napoleon, "and the people are asleep.
Bromide has that effect. That is why I call it Bromide, and I have
as much right to name my months as any one else. Wherefore I repeat,
this is the month of Bromide, and the people are asleep! I will now
wake them up. The garrisons of Paris and the National Guard have
asked me to review them, and I'm going to do it, and I've a new set
of tictacs."

"Tactics, General, tactics," implored Bourrienne.

"There is no use discussing words, Mr. Secretary," retorted
Bonaparte. "It has always been the criticism of my opponents that I
didn't know a tactic from a bedtick--well, perhaps I don't; and for
that reason I am not going to talk about tactics with which I am not
familiar, but I shall speak of tictacs, which is a game I have played
from infancy, and of which I am a master. I'm going to get up a new
government, Bourrienne. Summon all the generals in town, including
Bernadotte. They're all with me except Bernadotte, and he'll be so
unpleasant about what I tell him to do that he'll make all the others
so mad they'll stick by me through thick and thin. If there's any
irritating work to be done, let Joseph do it. He has been well
trained in the art of irritation. I have seen Sieyes and Ducos, and
have promised them front seats in the new government which my tictacs
are to bring about. Barras won't have the nerve to oppose me, and
Gohier and Moulin have had the ague for weeks. We'll have the
review, and my first order to the troops will be to carry humps; the
second will be to forward march; and the third will involve the
closing of a long lease, in my name, of the Luxembourg Palace, with a
salary connected with every room in the house."

It is needless for us to go into details. The review came off as
Napoleon wished, and his orders were implicitly obeyed, with the
result that on the 19th of Brumaire the Directory was filed away, and
Napoleon Bonaparte, with Sieyes and Ducos as fellow-consuls, were
called upon to save France from anarchy.

"Well, Josephine," said Bonaparte, on the evening of the 19th, as he
put his boots outside of the door of his new apartment in the
Luxembourg, "this is better than living in a flat, and I must confess
I find the feather-beds of the palace more inviting than a couch of
sand under a date-tree in Africa."

"And what are you going to do next?" asked Josephine.

"Ha!" laughed Napoleon, blowing out the candle. "There's a woman's
curiosity for you! The continuation of this entertaining story, my
love, will be found in volume two of Bourrienne's attractive history,
From the Tow-path to the Tuileries, now in course of preparation, and
for sale by all accredited agents at the low price of ten francs a

With this remark Napoleon jumped into bed, and on the authority of M.
le Comte de Q-, at this time Charge a Affaires of the Luxembourg, and
later on Janitor of the Tuileries, was soon dreaming of the Empire.

The Directory overthrown, Bonaparte turned his attention to the
overthrow of the Consulate.

"Gentlemen," he said to his fellow-consuls, "I admire you personally
very much, and no doubt you will both of you agree in most matters,
but as I am fearful lest you should disagree on matters of
importance, and so break that beautiful friendship which I am pleased
to see that you have for each other, I shall myself cast a deciding
vote in all matters, large or small. This will enable you to avoid
differences, and to continue in that spirit of amity which I have
always so much admired in your relations. You can work as hard as
you please, but before committing yourselves to anything, consult me,
not each other. What is a Consul for if not for a consultation?"

Against this Sieyes and Ducos were inclined to rebel, but Bonaparte
soon dispelled their opposition. Ringing his bell, he summoned an
aide-de-camp, whispered a few words in his ear, and then leaned
quietly back in his chair. The aide-de-camp retired, and two minutes
later the army stationed without began shouting most enthusiastically
for Bonaparte. The General walked to the window and bowed, and the
air was rent with huzzas and vivas.

"I guess he's right," whispered Sieyes, as the shouting grew more and
more vigorous.

"Guess again," growled Ducos.

"You were saying, gentlemen--?" said Bonaparte, returning.

"That we are likely to have rain before long," said Sieyes, quickly.

"I shouldn't be surprised," returned Napoleon, "and I'd advise you
laymen to provide yourselves with umbrellas when the rain begins. I,
as a soldier, shall not feel the inclemency of the weather that is
about to set in. And, by-the-way, Sieyes, please prepare a new
Constitution for France, providing for a single-headed commission to
rule the country. Ducos, you need rest. Pray take a vacation until
further notice; I'll attend to matters here. On your way down-stairs
knock at Bourrienne's door, and tell him I want to see him. I have a
few more memoirs for his book."

With these words Bonaparte adjourned the meeting. Sieyes went home
and drew up the Constitution, and M. Ducos retired to private life
for rest. The Constitution of Sieyes was a clever instrument, but
Bonaparte rendered it unavailing. It provided for three consuls, but
one of them was practically given all the power, and the others
became merely his clerks.

"This is as it should be," said Bonaparte, when by 4,000,000 votes
the Constitution was ratified by the people. "These three-headed
governments are apt to be failures, particularly when two of the
heads are worthless. Cambaceres makes a first-rate bottle-holder,
and Lebrun is a competent stenographer, but as for directing France
in the line of her destiny they are of no use. I will now move into
the Tuileries. I hate pomp, as I have often said, but Paris must be
dazzled. We can't rent the palace for a hotel, and it's a pity to
let so much space go to waste. Josephine, pack up your trunk, and
tell Bourrienne to have a truckman here at eleven sharp. To-morrow
night we will dine at the Tuileries, and for Heaven's sake see to it
that the bottles are cold and the birds are hot. For the sake of the
Republic also, that we may not appear too ostentatious in our living,
you may serve cream with the demi-tasse."

Once established in the Tuileries, Bonaparte became in reality the
king, and his family who had for a long time gone a-begging began to
assume airs of importance, which were impressive. His sisters began
to be invited out, and were referred to by the society papers as most
eligible young persons. Their manner, however, was somewhat in
advance of their position. Had their brother been actually king and
themselves of royal birth they could not have conducted themselves
more haughtily. This was never so fully demonstrated as when, at a
ball given in their honor at Marseilles, an old friend of the family
who had been outrageously snubbed by Caroline, asked her why she wore
her nose turned up so high.

"Because my brother is reigning in Paris," she retorted.

In this she but voiced the popular sentiment, and the remark was
received with applause; and later, Murat, who had distinguished
himself as a military man, desirous of allying himself with the
rising house, demanded her hand in marriage.

"You?" cried the First Consul. "Why, Murat, your father kept an

"I know it," said Murat. "But what of that?"

"My blood must not be mixed with yours, that's what," said Bonaparte.

"Very well, Mr. Bonaparte," said Murat, angrily, "let it be so; but I
tell you one thing: When you see the bills Caroline is running up
you'll find it would have been money in your pocket to transfer her
to me. As for the inn business, my governor never served such
atrocious meals at his table-d'hote as you serve to your guests at
state banquets, and don't you forget it."

Whether these arguments overcame Bonaparte's scruples or not is not
known, but a few days later he relented, and Caroline became the wife
of Murat.

"I never regretted it," said Bonaparte, some years later. "Murat was
a good brother-in-law to me, and he taught me an invaluable lesson in
the giving of state banquets, which was that one portion is always
enough for three. And as for parting with my dear sister, that did
not disturb me very much; for, truly, Talleyrand, Caroline was the
only woman I never loved."


"Observe," said Bonaparte, now that he was seated on the consular
throne, "that one of my biographers states that, under a man of
ordinary vigor this new Constitution of Sieyes and another our
government would be free and popular, but that under myself it has
become an unlimited monarchy. That man is right. I am now a
potentate of the most potent kind. I got a letter from the Bourbons
last night requesting me to restore them to the throne. Two years
ago they wouldn't have given me their autographs for my collection,
but now they want me to get up from my seat in this car of state and
let them sit down."

"And you replied--?" asked Josephine.

"That I didn't care for Bourbon--rye suits me better," laughed the
Consul, "unless I can get Scotch, which I prefer at all times.
Feeling this way, I cannot permit Louis to come back yet awhile.
Meantime, in the hope of replenishing our cellars with a few bottles
of Glenlivet, I will write a letter of pacification to George III.,
one of the most gorgeous rex in Madame Tussaud's collection of living

This Bonaparte did, asking the English king if he hadn't had enough
war for the present. George, through the eyes of his ministers,
perceived Bonaparte's point, and replied that he was very desirous
for peace himself, but that at present the market seemed to be
cornered, and that therefore the war must go on. This reply amused

"It suits me to the ground," he said, addressing Talleyrand. "A year
of peace would interfere materially with my future. If Paris were
Philadelphia, it would be another thing. There one may rest--there
is no popular demand for excitement--Penn was mightier than the
sword--but here one has to be in a broil constantly; to be a chef one
must be eternally cooking, and the results must be of the kind that
requires extra editions of the evening papers. The day the newsboys
stop shouting my name, my sun will set for the last time. Even now
the populace are murmuring, for nothing startling has occurred this
week, which reminds me, I wish to see Fouche. Send him here."

Talleyrand sent for the Minister of Police, who responded to the

"Fouche," said Bonaparte, sternly, "what are we here for, salary or

"Glory, General."

"Precisely. Now, as head of the Police Department, are you aware
that no attempt to assassinate me has been made for two weeks?"

"Yes, General, but--"

"Has the assassin appropriation run out? Have the assassins struck
for higher wages, or are you simply careless?" demanded the First
Consul. "I warn you, sir, that I wish no excuses, and I will add
that unless an attempt is made on my life before ten o'clock to-
night, you lose your place. The French people must be kept
interested in this performance, and how the deuce it is to be done
without advertising I don't know. Go, and remember that I shall be
at home to assassins on Thursdays of alternate weeks until further

"Your Consulship's wishes shall be respected," said Fouche, with a
low bow. "But I must say one word in my own behalf. You were to
have had a dynamite bomb thrown at you yesterday by one of my
employes, but the brave fellow who was to have stood between you and
death disappointed me. He failed to turn up at the appointed hour,
and so, of course, the assault didn't come off."

"Couldn't you find a substitute?" demanded Bonaparte.

"I could not," said Fouche. "There aren't many persons in Paris who
care for that kind of employment. They'd rather shovel snow."

"You are a gay stage-manager, you are!" snapped Bonaparte. "My
brother Joseph is in town, and yet you say you couldn't find a man to
be hit by a bomb. Leave me, Fouche. You give me the ennuis."

Fouche departed with Talleyrand, to whom he expressed his indignation
at the First Consul's reprimand.

"He insists upon an attempted assassination every week," he said;
"and I tell you, Talleyrand, it isn't easy to get these things up.
The market is long on real assassins, fellows who'd kill him for the
mere fun of hearing his last words, but when it comes to playing to
the galleries with a mock attempt with real consequences to the
would-be murderers, they fight shy of it."

Nevertheless, Fouche learned from the interview with Bonaparte that
the First Consul was not to be trifled with, and hardly a day passed
without some exciting episode in this line, in which, of course,
Napoleon always came out unscathed and much endeared to the populace.
This, however, could not go on forever. The fickle French soon
wearied of the series of unsuccessful attempts on the Consul's life,
and some began to suspect the true state of affairs.

"They're on to our scheme, General," said Fouche, after a while.
"You've got to do something new."

"What would you suggest?" asked Napoleon, wearily.

"Can't you write a book of poems, or a three-volume novel?" suggested

"Or resign, and let Sieyes run things for a while?" said Fouche. "If
they had another Consul for a few months, they'd appreciate what a
vaudeville show they lost in you."

"I'd rather cross the Alps," said Bonaparte. "I don't like to
resign. Moving is such a nuisance, and I must say I find the
Tuileries a very pleasant place of abode. It's more fun than you can
imagine rummaging through the late king's old bureau-drawers.
Suppose I get up a new army and lead it over the Alps."

"Just the thing," said Talleyrand. "Only it will be a very snowy

"I'm used to snow-balls," said Napoleon, his mind reverting to the
episode which brought his career at Brienne to a close. "Just order
an army and a mule and I'll set out. Meanwhile, Fouche, see that the
Bourbons have a conspiracy to be unearthed in time for the Sunday
newspapers every week during my absence. I think it would be well,
too, to keep a war-correspondent at work in your office night and
day, writing despatches about my progress. Give him a good book on
Hannibal's trip to study, and let him fill in a column or two every
day with anecdotes about myself, and at convenient intervals
unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Josephine may come in handy.
Let it be rumored often that I have been overwhelmed by an avalanche-
-in short, keep the interest up."

So it was that Bonaparte set out upon his perilous expedition over
the Great St. Bernard. On the 15th day of May, 1800, the task of
starting the army in motion was begun, and on the 18th every column
was in full swing. Lannes, with an advance guard armed with snow-
shovels, took the lead, and Bonaparte, commanding the rear guard of
35,000 men and the artillery, followed.

"Soldiers!" he cried, as they came near to the snow-bound heights,
"we cannot have our plum-cake without its frosting. Like children,
we will have the frosting first and the cake later. Lannes and his
followers have not cleaned the snow off as thoroughly as I had hoped,
but I fancy he has done the best he can, and it is not for us to
complain. Let us on. The up-trip will be cold and tedious, but once
on the summit of yonder icy ridge we can seat ourselves comfortably
on our guns and slide down into the lovely valleys on the other side
like a band of merry school-boys on toboggans. Above all, do not
forget the chief duty of a soldier in times of peril. In spite of
the snow and the ice, in spite of the blizzard and the sleet, keep
cool; and, furthermore, remember that in this climate, if your ears
don't hurt, it's a sign they are freezing. En avant! Nous sommes le

The army readily responded to such hopeful words, and as Bonaparte
manifested quite as much willingness to walk as the meanest soldier,
disdaining to ride, except occasionally, and even then on the back of
a mule, he became their idol.

"He does not spare himself any more than he does us," said one of his
soldiers, "and he can pack a snow-ball with the best of us."

The General catered, too, to the amusement of his troops, and the
brasses of the band broke the icy stillness of the great hills

"Music's the thing," he cried, many years later, "and when we got to
the top we had the most original roof-garden you ever saw. It was
most inspiring, and the only thing that worried me at all was as to
how Fouche was conducting our anecdote and assassination enterprise
at home. Once on top of the Alps, the descent was easy. We simply
lay down on our arms and slid. Down the mountain-side we thundered,
and the Austrians, when they observed our impetus, gave way before
us, and the first thing I knew I skated slam-bang into the Empire.
Our avalanchian descent subjugated Italy; frightened the Englishmen
to Alexandria, where, in the absence of a well-organized force, they
managed to triumph; scared the Pope so thoroughly that he was willing
to sign anything I wished; and, best of all, after a few petty
delays, convinced the French people that I was too big a man for a
mere consulship. It was my chamois-like agility in getting down the
Alps that really made me Emperor. As for the army, it fought nobly.
It was so thoroughly chilled by the Alpine venture that it fought
desperately to get warm. My grenadiers, congealed to their very
souls, went where the fire was hottest. They seized bomb-shells
while they were yet in the air, warmed their hands upon them, and
then threw them back into the enemy's camp, where they exploded with
great carnage. They did not even know when they were killed, so
benumbed by the cold had they become. In short, those days on the
Alps made us invincible. No wonder, then, that in 1804, when I got
permanently back to Paris, I found the people ready for an emperor!
They were bloody years, those from 1800 to 1804, but it was not
entirely my fault. I shed very little myself, but the English and
the Austrians and the royalist followers would have it so, and I had
to accommodate them. I did not wish to execute the Duc d'Enghien,
but he would interfere with Fouche by getting up conspiracies on his
own account, when I had given the conspiracy contract to one of my
own ministers. The poor fellow had to die. It was a case of no die,
no Empire, and I thought it best for the French people that they
should have an Empire."

Those who criticise Bonaparte's acts in these years should consider
these words, and remember that the great warrior in no case did any
of the killing himself.

It was on the 18th of May, 1804, that the Empire was proclaimed and
Napoleon assumed his new title amid great rejoicing.

"Now for the coronation," he said. "This thing must go off in style,
Fouche. Whom shall I have to crown me?"

"Well," said Fouche, "if you are after a sensation, I'd send for
Louis de Bourbon; if you want it to go off easily, I'd send for your
old hatter in the Rue de Victoire; if you want to give it a
ceremonial touch, I'd send for the Pope, but, on the whole, I rather
think I'd do it myself. You picked it up yourself, why not put it on
your own head?"

"Good idea," returned Bonaparte. "And highly original. You may
increase your salary a hundred francs a week, Fouche. I'll crown
myself, but I think it ought to come as a surprise, don't you?"

"Yes," said Fouche. "That is, if you can surprise the French people-
-which I doubt. If you walked into Notre Dame to-morrow on your
hands, with the crown of France on one foot and the diadem of Italy
on the other, the people wouldn't be a bit surprised--you're always
doing such things."

"Nevertheless," said Napoleon, "we'll surprise them. Send word to
the Pope that I want to see him officially on December 2d at Notre
Dame. If he hesitates about coming, tell him I'll walk over and
bring him myself the first clear day we have."

This plan was followed out to the letter, and the Pope, leaving Rome
on the 5th of November, entered Paris to crown the Emperor and
Empress of the French on December 2, 1804, as requested. What
subsequently followed the world knows. Just as the Pope was about to
place the imperial diadem on the brow of Bonaparte, the Emperor
seized it and with his own hands placed it there.

"Excuse me, your Holiness," he said, as he did so, "but the joke is
on you. This is my crown, and I think I'm a big enough man to hang
it up where it belongs."

Pius VII. was much chagrined, but, like the good man that he was, he
did not show it, nor did he resent the Emperor's second interference
when it came to the crowning of Josephine. The coronation over,
Napoleon and Josephine turned to the splendid audience, and marched
down the centre aisle to the door, where they entered a superb golden
carriage in which, amid the plaudits of the people, they drove to the

"Ah--at last!" said Bonaparte, as he entered the Palace. "I have got
there. The thing to do now is to stay there. Ah, me!" he added,
with a sigh. "These French--these French! they are as fickle as the
only woman I have ever loved. By-the-way, Josephine, what was it you
asked me on the way down the aisle? The people howled so I couldn't
hear you."

"I only asked you if"--here the Empress hesitated.

"Well? If what?" frowned the Emperor.

"If my crown was on straight," returned Josephine.

"Madame," said the Emperor, sternly, "when you are prompted to ask
that question again, remember who gave you that crown, and when you
remember that it was I, remember also that when I give anything to
anybody I give it to them straight."

Here the Emperor's frown relaxed, and he burst out into laughter.

"But that was a bad break of the organist!" he said.

"Which was that?" asked Josephine.

"Why--didn't you notice when the Pope came in he played 'Tiara Boom-
de-ay'?" said Bonaparte, with a roar. "It was awful--I shall have to
send him a pourboire."


"What next?" asked Fouche, the morning after the coronation, as he
entered the Emperor's cabinet.

"Breakfast," returned Bonaparte, laconically; "what did you suppose?
You didn't think I was going swimming in the Seine, did you?"

"I never think," retorted Fouche.

"That's evident," said Napoleon. "Is the arch-treasurer of my empire
up yet? The Empress is going shopping, and wants an appropriation."

"He is, Your Majesty," said Fouche, looking at his memorandum-book.
"He rose at 7:30, dressed as usual, parted his hair on the left-hand
side, and breakfasted at eight. At 8:15 he read the Moniteur, and
sneezed twice while perusing the second column of the fourth page--"

"What is the meaning of these petty details?" cried the Emperor,

"I merely wished to show Your Majesty that as the Sherlock Holmes of
this administration I am doing my duty. There isn't a man in France
who is not being shadowed in your behalf," returned the minister of

The Emperor looked out of the window; then, turning to Fouche, he
said, the stern, impatient look fading into softness, "Pardon my
irritability, Fouche. You are a genius, and I appreciate you, though
I may not always show it. I didn't sleep well last night, and in
consequence I am not unduly amiable this morning."

"Your Majesty is not ill, I trust?" said Fouche, with a show of

"No," replied the Emperor. "The fact is, old man, I--ah--I forgot to
take the crown off when I went to bed."

Thus began that wonderful reign which forms so many dazzling pages in
modern history. Bonaparte's first act after providing lucrative
positions for his family was to write another letter, couched in
language of a most fraternal nature, to the King of England, asking
for peace.

"Dear Cousin George," he wrote, "you have probably read in the
newspapers by this time that I'm working under a new alias, and I
hope you will like it as well as I do. It's great fun, but there is
one feature of it all that I don't like. I hate to be fighting with
my new cousins all the time, and particularly with you whom I have
always loved deeply, though secretly. Now, my dear George, let me
ask you what's the use of a prolonged fight? You've waxed fat in ten
years, and so have I. We've painted the earth red between us. Why
can't we be satisfied? Why should our relations continue to be
strained? I've got some personal relations I'd like to have
strained, but I can attend to them myself. Let US have peace. I
don't want too big a piece. Give me enough, and you can have the
rest. Let us restore the entente cordiale and go about our business
without any further scrapping. 'Let dogs delight to bark and bite,'
as your illustrious poet hath it, 'for 'tis their nature to.' As for
us, the earth is large enough for both. You take the Western
Hemisphere and I'll keep this. Russia and the others can have what

Yours truly,
Emperor of the French.

"P.S.--I enclose a stamped and directed envelope for a reply, and if
I don't get it inside of two weeks I'll come over and smoke you out."

To this peace-seeking communication England, through her ministers,
replied to the effect that she wanted peace as much as France did,
but that she could not enter into it without the consent of Russia.

"That settles it," said Napoleon. "It's to be war. I'm willing to
divide creation with England, but two's company and three's a crowd,
and the Russian Bear must keep his paws off. I will go to Italy,
Bourrienne, collect a few more thrones, and then we'll get to work on
a new map of Europe. Russia never did look well or graceful on the
existing maps. It makes the continent look lop-sided, and Germany
and Austria need trimming down a bit. I propose to shove Russia over
into Asia, annex Germany and Austria to France, drop Turkey into the
Bosporus, and tow England farther north and hitch her on to the north
pole. Wire the Italians to get out their iron crown and dust it off.
I'll take a run down to Milan, in May, and give my coronation
performance there. Such a good show as that of December 2nd ought to
be taken on the road."

The latter part of this plan was fulfilled to the letter, and on the
20th of May, 1805, Bonaparte and Josephine were crowned King and
Queen of Italy at Milan.

"Now, my dear," said Bonaparte, after the ceremony, "hereafter we
must drop the first person singular I and assume the dignity of the
editorial WE. Emperors and editors alike are entitled to the
distinction. It's a sign of plurality which is often quite as
effective as a majority. Furthermore, you and We can do it
logically, for we are several persons all at once, what with the
assortment of thrones that we have acquired in the second-hand shops
of the earth, all of which must be sat on."

Crowned King of Italy, leaving Eugene de Beauharnais as Viceroy at
Milan, Napoleon returned to Paris.

"Now that We have replenished our stock of crowns," he said to his
generals, "We will make a tour of Germany. We've always had a great
desire to visit Berlin, and now's our imperial chance. Tell the
arch-treasurer to telephone Frederick to reserve his best palace for
our occupancy."

Then began a series of war-clouds which kept the European
correspondents of the American Sunday newspapers in a state of
anxious turmoil for years. In our own time a single war-cloud is
enough to drive a capable correspondent to the verge of desperation,
but when we consider that Bonaparte was letting loose the clouds of
war in all sections of Europe simultaneously, it is easy to
understand how it has come about that we of to-day, who study history
in the daily press, have the most vague ideas as to the motives of
the quarrelling potentates at the beginning of this century.

For instance, after starting for Berlin, Bonaparte makes a diversion
at Ulm, and ends for the moment by capturing Vienna and taking up his
abode in the castle of Schonbrunn, the home of the Austrian Caesars.
Then the scene of activity is transferred to Cape Trafalgar, where
Nelson routs the French fleet, and Bonaparte is for an instant
discomfited, but above which he rises superior.

"If We had been there ourself We'd have felt worse about it," he
said. "But We were not, and therefore it is none of our funeral--
and, after all, what has it accomplished? The hoard of aldermen of
London have named a square in London after the cape, and stuck up a
monument to Nelson in the middle of it, which is the rendezvous of
all the strikers and socialists of England. Some day We'll go over
to Trafalgar Square ourself and put a new face on that statue, and it
will bear some resemblance to us, unless We are mistaken. When We
get back to Paris, likewise, We will issue an imperial decree
ordering a new navy for these capable admirals of ours more suited to
their abilities, and M. Villeneuve shall have his choice between a
camel and a gravy-boat for his flag-ship."

Nevertheless, the Emperor realized that his prestige had received a
blow which it was necessary to retrieve.

"Paris doesn't like it," wrote Fouche, "and the general sentiment
seems to be that your show isn't what it used to be. You need a
victory just about now, and if you could manage to lose a leg on the
field of battle it would strengthen your standing with your

"Good Fouche," murmured the Emperor to himself as he read the
despatch. "You are indeed watchful of our interests. It shall be
done as you suggest, even if it costs a leg. We will engage the
Russians at Austerlitz."

On the 2d of December this battle of the Emperors was fought, and
resulted in a most glorious victory for the French arms.

"We scored seven touch-downs in the first five minutes, and at the
end of the first half were ten goals to the good," said Bonaparte,
writing home to Josephine, "and all without my touching the ball.
The Emperor of Germany and the excessively smart Alexander of Russia
sat on dead-head hill and watched the game with interest, but in
spite of my repeated efforts to get them to do so, were utterly
unwilling to cover my bets on the final result. The second half
opened brilliantly. Murat made a flying wedge with our centre-rush,
threw himself impetuously upon Kutusoff, the Russian half-back,
pushed the enemy back beyond the goal posts, and the game was
practically over. The emperors on dead-head hill gave it up then and
there, and the championship of 1805 is ours. We understand England
disputes this, but we are willing to play them on neutral ground at
any time. They can beat us in aquatic sports, but given a good,
hard, real-estate field, we can do them up whether Wellington plays
or not."

"It was a glorious victory," wrote Fouche to the Emperor, "and it has
had a great effect on Paris. You are called the Hinkey of your time,
but I still think you erred in not losing that leg. Can't you work
in another coronation somewhere? You haven't acquired a new throne
in over six months, and the people are beginning to murmur."

Bonaparte's reply was immediate.

"Am too busy to go throne-hunting. Send my brother Joseph down to
Naples as my agent. There's a crown there. Let him put it on, and
tell Paris that he is my proxy. Joseph may not want to go because of
the cholera scare, but tell him We wish it, and if he still demurs
whisper the word 'Alp' in his ear. He'll go when he hears that word,
particularly if you say it in that short, sharp, and decisive manner
to which it so readily lends itself."

These instructions were carried out, and Paris was for the time being
satisfied; but to clinch matters, as it were, the Emperor went still
further, and married Eugene de Beauharnais to the daughter of the
King of Bavaria, conferred a few choice principalities upon his
sister Eliza, and, sending for Prince Borghese, one of the most
aristocratic gentlemen of Italy, gave him in marriage to his sister

"We're getting into good society by degrees," wrote the Emperor to
the Empress, "and now that you are the mother-in-law of a real
prince, kindly see that your manner is imperious to the extreme
degree, and stop serving pie at state banquets."

The succeeding two years were but repetitions of the first year of
the Empire. Bonaparte proceeded from one victory to another.
Prussia was humbled. The French Emperor occupied Berlin, and, as he
had done in Italy, levied upon the art treasures of that city for the
enrichment of Paris.

"We'll have quite a Salon if we go on," said Bonaparte.

"Anybody'd think you were getting up a corner in oil," said
Frederick, ruefully, as he watched the packers at work boxing his
most treasured paintings for shipment.

"We am getting up a corner in all things," retorted Bonaparte.
"Paris will soon be the Boston of Europe--it will be the Hub of the

"You might leave me something," said the Prussian king. "I haven't
an old master left."

"Well, never mind," said Napoleon, soothingly. "We'll be a young
master to you. Now go to bed, like a good fellow, and take a good
rest. There's a delegation of Poles waiting for me outside. They
think We am going to erect a telegraph system to Russia, and they
want employment."

"As operators?" asked Frederick, sadly.

"No, stupid," returned Napoleon, "as Poles."

The Prussian left the room in tears. To his great regret policy
compelled Bonaparte to decline the petition of the Polanders to be
allowed to rehabilitate themselves as a nation. As we have seen, he
was a man of peace, and many miles away from home at that, and hence
had no desire to further exasperate Russia by meddling in an affair
so close to the Czar's heart. This diplomatic foresight resulted in
the Peace of Tilsit. The Czar, appreciating Bonaparte's delicacy in
the matter of Poland, was quite won over, and consented to an
interview by means of which a basis might be reached upon which all
might rest from warfare. Tilsit was chosen as the place of meeting,
and fearing lest they might be interrupted by reporters, the two
emperors decided to hold their conference upon a raft anchored in the
middle of the river Niemen. It must be remembered that tugs had not
been invented at this time, so that the raft was comparatively safe
from those "Boswells of the news," as reporters have been called.
Fouche was very anxious about this decision however.

"Look out for yourself, my dear Emperor," he wrote. "Wear a cork
suit, or insist that the raft shall be plentifully supplied with
life-preservers. Those Eastern emperors would like nothing better
than to have you founder in the Niemen."

"We are not afraid," Napoleon replied. "If the craft sinks We shall
swim ashore on Alexander's back." Nevertheless, all other historians
to the contrary, Bonaparte did wear a cork suit beneath his uniform.
We have this on the authority of the nephew of the valet of the late
Napoleon III., who had access to the private papers of this wonderful

Nothing disastrous occurred upon this occasion in spite of the
temptation thrown in Alexander's way to sink the raft and thus rid
the world of a dangerous rival to his supremacy. The conference
resulted in a treaty of peace, concluded on the 7th of July, 1807,
and by it a few more thrones were added to the Bonaparte collection.
Jerome, who had been trying to make a living as a music teacher in
America, having been divorced from his American wife and married to
another, was made King of Westphalia.

"Having made a failure in the West, my dear brother," said Bonaparte,
"what could be more appropriate?"

Louis was made King of Holland, and Joseph's kingship of Naples was
fully recognized, and, further, Bonaparte was enabled to return to
Paris and show himself to the citizens of that fickle city, who were
getting restive under Josephine's rule.

"They like Josephine well enough," wrote Fouche, "but the men prefer
to have you here. The fact that things run smoothly under a woman's
rule is giving the female suffragists a great boom, and the men say
that domestic life is being ruined. Cooks are scarce, having
deserted the kitchen for the primaries, and altogether the outlook is
effeminate. Therefore, come back as soon as you can, for if you
don't the first thing we know the women will be voting, and you'll
find you'll have to give up your seat to a lady."

The Emperor's return to Paris was marked by great rejoicing,
particularly by the large number of hatters and laundresses and
stable-boys whom he had in the meantime paid for their early services
by making them dukes and duchesses. The court was magnificent, and
entirely new. No second-hand nobles were allowed within the sacred
circle, and the result was one of extreme splendor. In a small way,
to maintain the interest which he had inspired, as well as to keep up
the discipline of his army, a few conquests, including those of Spain
and Portugal, were indulged in. Joseph was removed from a
comfortable, warm throne at Naples and made King of Spain, and Murat
was substituted for him at Naples. The Emperor's elder brother did
not like the change, but submitted as gracefully as ever.

"Naples was extremely comfortable," he said, "but this Madrid
position is not at all to my taste. I prefer macaroni to garlic, and
I cannot endure these Carmencita dances--they remind me too much of
the green-apple season in the old Corsican days. However, what my
brother wills I do, merely from force of habit--not that I fear him
or consider myself bound to obey him, mind you, but because I am
averse to family differences. One must yield, and I have always been
the self-sacrificing member of the family. He's put me here, and I
hope to remain."

This promotion of Joseph was a misstep for one who desired peace, and
Bonaparte soon found another war with Austria on the tapis because of
it. Emperor Francis Joseph, jealous perhaps of the copyright on his
name, declined to recognize King Joseph of Spain. Whereupon
Bonaparte again set out for Austria, where, on the 6th of July, 1809,
Austria having recognized the strength of Bonaparte's arguments,
backed up, as they were, by an overwhelming force of men, each worthy
of a marshal's baton, and all confident, under the new regime, of
some day securing it, an armistice was agreed upon, and on the 14th
of October a treaty satisfactory to France was signed.

"If I have to come back again, my dear Emperor Joseph," Bonaparte
said, as he set out for Paris, "it will be for the purpose of giving
you a new position, which you may not like so well as the neat and
rather gaudy sinecure you now hold."

"Which is--?" added the Austrian.

"I'll bring you a snow-shovel and set you to clearing off the steps."

"What steps?" queried the Austrian anxiously.

"The back-steppes of Russia," replied Napoleon, sternly. "The only
thing that keeps me from doing it now is that I--ah--I hate to do
anything unkind to the father of--ah--your daughter Marie-Louise,
whom I met at the dance last night, and who, between you and me,
looks remarkably like the only woman I ever loved."


Just before the opening of the year 1810, which marked the beginning
of Bonaparte's decay, Fouche demanded an audience.

"Well, Fouche," said the Emperor, "what now?"

"This Empire can't go much further, Your Majesty, unless more novelty
is introduced. I've had my men out all through France taking notes,
and there's but one opinion among 'em all. You've got to do
something new or stop the show. If you'd only done what I suggested
at Austerlitz, and lost a leg, it would have been different. The
people don't ask much song-and-dance business from a one-legged man."

"We compromised with you there," retorted Napoleon. "At Ratisbon our
imperial foot was laid up for a week."

"Yes--but you didn't lose it," returned Fouche. "Can't you see the
difference? If you'd lost it, and come home without it, there'd have
been evidence of your suffering. As it is, do you know what your
enemies are saying about your foot?"

"We do not," said the Emperor, sternly. "What do they say?"

"Well, the Bourbons say you stepped on it running away from the
enemy's guns, and the extreme Republicans say your wound is nothing
but gout and the result of high, undemocratic living. Now, my dear
sir--Sire, I mean--I take a great deal of interest in this Empire.
It pays me my salary, and I've had charge of the calcium lights for
some time, and I don't want our lustre dimmed, but it will be dimmed
unless, as I have already told you a million times, we introduce some
new act on our programme. 1492 didn't succeed on its music, or its
jokes, or its living pictures. It was the introduction of novelties
every week that kept it on the boards for four hundred years."

"Well--what do you propose?" asked Bonaparte, recognizing the truth
of Fouche's words.

"I--ah--I think you ought to get married," said Fouche.

"We am married, you--you--idiot," cried Bonaparte.

"Well, marry again," said Fouche. "You've been giving other people
away at a great rate for several years--what's the matter with
acquiring a real princess for yourself?"

"You advise bigamy, do you?" asked Bonaparte, scornfully.

"Not on your life," returned Fouche, "but a real elegant divorce,
followed by an imperial wedding, would rattle the bones of this blase
old Paris as they haven't been rattled since Robespierre's day."

Bonaparte reddened, then, rising from the throne and putting his hand
to the side of his mouth, he said, in a low, agitated tone:

"Close the door, Fouche. Close the door and come here. We want to
whisper something to you."

The minister did as he was bidden.

"Fouche, old boy," chuckled the Emperor in the ear of his rascally
aide--"Fouche, you're a mind-reader. We've been thinking of just
that very thing for some time--in fact, ever since We met that old
woman Emperor Francis Joseph. He'd make an elegant mother-in-law."

"Precisely," said Fouche. "His daughter Marie-Louise, an archduchess
by birth, is the one I had selected for you. History will no doubt
say that I oppose this match, and publicly perhaps I may seem to do
so, but you will understand, my dear Sire, that this opposition will
serve, as it is designed to serve, as an advertisement of our
enterprise, and without advertising we might as well put up the
shutters. Shall we--ah--announce the attraction to the public?"

"Not yet," said Napoleon. "We must get rid of our leading lady
before we bring on the understudy."

It is a sad chapter in the history of this eminent man wherein is
told the heart-breaking story of his sacrifice--the giving up through
sheer love of his country of the only woman he had ever loved, and we
should prefer to pass it over in silence. We allude to it here
merely to show that it was brought about by the exigencies of his
office, and that it was nothing short of heroic self-abnegation which
led this faithful lover of his adopted native land to put the
beautiful Josephine away from him. He had builded an Empire for an
opera bouffe people, and he was resolved to maintain it at any cost.

In March, 1810, Bonaparte, having in his anxiety to spare the
feelings of the divorced Josephine, wooed Marie-Louise by proxy in
the person of Marshal Berthier, met his new fiancee at Soissons.

"It is three months since we lost our beloved Josephine," he said to
Fouche, with tears in his voice, "but the wound is beginning to heal.
We fear we shall never love again, but for the sake of the Empire we
will now begin to take notice once more. We will meet our bride-
elect at Soissons, and escort her to Paris ourself."

This was done, and on the 2nd of April, 1810, Marie-Louise became
Empress of France. Josephine, meanwhile, had retired to Malmaison
with alimony of 3,000,000 francs.

Fouche was delighted; Paris was provided with conversation enough for
a year in any event, and Bonaparte found it possible to relax a
little in his efforts to inspire interest. His main anxiety in the
ensuing year was as to his family affairs. His brothers did not turn
out so highly successful as professional kings as he had hoped, and
it became necessary to depose Louis the King of Holland and place him
under arrest. Joseph, too, desired to resign the Spanish throne,
which he had found to be far from comfortable, and there was much
else to restore Bonaparte's early proneness to irritability; nor was
his lot rendered any more happy by Marie-Louise's expressed
determination not to go to tea with Josephine at Malmaison on Sunday
nights, as the Emperor wished her to do.

"You may go if you please," said she, "but I shall not. Family
reunions are never agreeable, and the circumstances of this are so
peculiar that even if they had redeeming features this one would be

"We call that rebellion--don't you?" asked Bonaparte of Fouche.

"No," said Fouche. "She's right, and it's for your good. If she and
Josephine got chumming and compared notes, I'm rather of the opinion
that there'd be another divorce."

Fouche's reply so enraged the Emperor that he dismissed him from his
post, and the Empire began to fall.

"I leave you at your zenith, Sire," said Fouche. "You send me to
Rome as governor in the hope that I will get the Roman fever and die.
I know it well; but let me tell you that the reaction is nearly due,
and with the loss of your stage manager the farce begins to pall.
Farewell. If you can hook yourself on to your zenith and stay there,
do so, but that you will I don't think."

It was as Fouche said. Perplexities now arose which bade fair to
overwhelm the Emperor. For a moment they cleared away when the
infant son of Marie-Louise and Bonaparte was born, but they broke out
with increasing embarrassment immediately after.

"What has your son-in-law named his boy, Francis Joseph?" asked
Alexander of Russia.

"King of Rome," returned the Austrian.

"What!" cried Alexander, "and not after you--or me? The coxcomb! I
will make war upon him."

This anecdote is here given to the world for the first time. It is
generally supposed that the rupture of friendly relations between
Alexander and Bonaparte grew out of other causes, but the truth is as
indicated in this story. Had Fouche been at hand, Bonaparte would
never have made the mistake, but it was made, and war was declared.

After a succession of hard-fought battles the invading army of the
Emperor entered Moscow, but Napoleon's spirit was broken.

"These Russian names are giving us paresis!" he cried. "How I ever
got here I don't know, and I find myself unprovided with a return
ticket. The names of the Russian generals, to say nothing of those
of their rivers and cities, make my head ache, and have ruined my
teeth. I fear, Davoust, that I have had my day. It was easy to call
on the Pollylukes to surrender in Africa; it never unduly taxed my
powers of enunciation to speak the honeyed names of Italy; the
Austrian tongue never bothered me; but when I try to inspire my
soldiers with remarks like, 'On to Smolensko!' or 'Down with
Rostopchin!' and 'Shall we be discouraged because Tchigagoff, and
Kutusoff, and Carrymeoffski, of the Upperjnavyk Cgold Sdream Gards,
oppose us?' I want to lie down and die. What is the sense of these
barbed-wire names, anyhow? Why, when I was told that Barclay de
Tolly had abandoned Vitepsk, and was marching on Smolensko with a
fair chance of uniting with Tormagoff and Wittgenstein, I was so
mixed that I couldn't tell whether Vitepsk was a brigadier-general or
a Russian summer-resort. Nevertheless, we have arrived, and I think
we can pass a comfortable winter in Moscow. Is Moscow a cold place,
do you know?"

Marshal Ney looked out of the window.

"No, Your Majesty," he said; "I judge from appearances that it's the
hottest place in creation, just now. Look!"

Bonaparte's heart sank within him. He looked and saw the city in

"Well," he cried, "why don't you do something? What kind of
theatrical soldiers are you? Ring up the fire department! Ah,
Fouche, Fouche, if you were only here now! You could at least arrest
the flames."

It was too late. Nothing could be done, and the conquering hero of
nearly twenty years now experienced the bitterness of defeat.
Rushing through the blazing town, he ordered a retreat, and was soon
sadly wending his way back to Paris.

"We are afraid," he murmured, "that that Moscow fire has cooked our
imperial goose."

Then, finding the progress of the army too slow, and anxious to hear
the news of Paris, Napoleon left his troops under the command of Ney
and pushed rapidly on, travelling incognito, not being desirous of
accepting such receptions and fetes in his honor as the enemy had in
store for him.

"I do not like to leave my army in such sore straits," he said, "but
I must. I am needed at the Tuileries. The King of Rome has fallen
in love with his nurse, and I understand also that there is a
conspiracy to steal the throne and sell it. This must not be.
Reassure the army of my love. Tell them that they are, as was the
army of Egypt, my children, and that they may play out in the snow a
little while longer, but must come in before they catch cold."

With these words he was off. Paris, as usual, received him with open
arms. Things had been dull during his absence, and his return meant
excitement. The total loss of the French in this campaign was
450,000 men, nearly a thousand cannon, and seventy-five eagles and

"It's a heavy loss," said the Emperor, "but it took a snow-storm to
do it. I'd rather fight bears than blizzards; but the French must
not be discouraged. Let them join the army. The Russians have
captured three thousand and forty-eight officers whose places must be
filled. If that isn't encouragement to join the army I expect to
raise next spring I don't know what is. As for the eagles--you can
get gold eagles in America for ten dollars apiece, so why repine! On
with the dance, let joy be unconfined!"

It was too late, however. The Empire had palled. Bonaparte could
have started a comic paper and still have failed to rouse Paris from
its lethargy, and Paris is the heart of France. Storms gathered,
war-clouds multiplied, the nations of the earth united against him,
the King of Rome began cutting his teeth and destroyed the Emperor's
rest. The foot-ball of fate that chance had kicked so high came down
to earth with a sickening thud, and Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica yielded
to the inevitable.

"Fouche," he said, sending for the exiled minister in his extremity,
"when I lost you I lost my leading man--the star of my enterprise.
During your absence the prompter's box has been empty, and I don't
know what to do. The world is against me--even France. I see but
one thing left. Do you think I could restore confidence by divorcing
Marie-Louise and remarrying Josephine? It strikes me that an annual
shaking-up of that nature would sort of liven matters up.

"No!" said Fouche, "it won't do. They've had one divorce. You
mustn't repeat yourself now. You forget the thing I've always tried
to impress upon you. Be New; not parvenu or ingenue, but plain up
and down New is what you need to be. It would have been just the
same if you'd thrashed Russia. They'd have forced you to go on and
conquer China; then they'd have demanded a war with Japan, after
which they'd have dethroned you if you didn't annex the Sandwich
Islands to the United States, and then bag the whole thing for
France. This is what you get for wanting to rule the French people.
You can't keep quiet--you've got to have a move on you constantly or
they won't have you. Furthermore, you mustn't make 'em laugh except
at the other man. You've had luck in that respect, but there's no
telling how long it will continue now that you have a son. He's
beginning to say funny things, and they're generally at your expense,
and one or two people hereabouts have snickered at you already."

"What do you mean?" said Napoleon, with a frown. "What has the boy
said about me?"

"He told the Minister of Finance the other night that now that you
were the father of a real Emperor's grandson, you had a valid claim
to respectability, and he'd bite the head off the first person who
said you hadn't," said Fouche.

"Well--that certainly was standing up for his daddy," said the
Emperor, fondly.

"Ye-e-es," said Fouche, "but it's one of those double back-action
remarks that do more harm than good."

"Well," said Bonaparte, desperately, "let the boy say what he
pleases; he's my son, and he has that right. The thing for us to
decide is, what shall we do now?"

"There are three things left," said Fouche.

"And they?" asked the Emperor.

"Write Trilby, abdicate, or commit suicide. The first is beyond you.
You know enough about Paris, but your style is against you. As for
the second, abdication--if you abdicate you may come back, and the
trouble will begin all over again. If you commit suicide, you won't
have any more rows. The French will be startled, and say that it's a
splendid climax, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that
some other man will try to please them with the same result."

"It shall be abdication," said the Emperor, with a sigh. "I don't
mind suicide, but, hang it, Fouche, if I killed myself I could not
read what the papers said about it. As for writing Trilby, it would
do more for royalty than for me. Therefore I will go to
Fontainebleau and abdicate. I will go into exile at Elba. Exiles
are most interesting people, and it may be that I'll have another

This course was taken, and on the 20th of April, 1814, Bonaparte
abdicated. His speech to his faithful guard was one of the most
affecting farewells in history, and had much to do with the encore
which Napoleon received less than a year after. Escorted by four
commissioners, one from each of the great allied powers, Austria,
Russia, England, and Prussia, and attended by a few attached friends
and servants, Bonaparte set out from Paris. The party occupied
fourteen carriages, Bonaparte in the first; and as they left the
capital the ex-Emperor, leaning out of the window, looked back at the
train of conveyances and sighed.

"What, Sire? You sigh?" cried Bertrand.

"Yes, Bertrand, yes. Not for my departed glory, but because I am a
living Frenchman, and not a dead Irishman."

"And why so, Sire?" asked Bertrand.

"Because, my friend, of the carriages. There are fourteen in this
funeral. Think, Bertrand," he moaned, in a tone rendered doubly
impressive by the fact that it reminded one of Henry Irving in one of
his most mannered moments. "Think how I should have enjoyed this
moment had I been a dead Irishman!"


Bonaparte's spirits rose as the party proceeded. There were
remarkable evidences all along the line of march that his greatness,
while dimmed in one sense, had not diminished in others. A series of
attacks upon him had been arranged, much to the fallen Emperor's

"If you want to make a fellow popular, Bertrand," he remarked after
one of them, "kick him when he's down. I'll wager I am having a
better time now than Louis XVIII., and, after all, I regard this
merely as a vacation. I'll have a good rest at Elba while Louis is
pushing the button of government at Paris. After a while I'll come
back and press the buttons and Louis will do the rest. There's some
honey in the old Bees yet."

At Valence, however, the Emperor had a bitter cup to drain. Meeting
Augereau there, with whom he had fallen out, he addressed him in his
old-time imperial style, asking him what right he had to still live,
and requesting him to stand out of his light. Augereau, taking
advantage of the Emperor's fallen estate, replied in a spirited
manner, calling Napoleon an ex-Emperor and a tin soldier, as well as
applying several other epithets to his dethroned majesty which might
be printed in a French book, but can have no place in this.

"We shall meet again," retorted Bonaparte, with a threatening

"Not if I see you first," replied Augereau. "If we do, however, it
will be under a new system of etiquette."

"I'll bet you a crown you'll be singing a new tune inside of a year,"
cried the exasperated Bonaparte.

"I'll go you," said Augereau, snapping his fingers. "Put up your

Napoleon felt keenly the stinging satire of this retort. Bowing his
head with a groan, he had to acknowledge that he had no crown, but in
an instant he recovered.

"But I have a Napoleon left in my clothes!" he cried, with a dry
laugh at his own wit. "I'll bet it against your income for the next
forty centuries, which is giving you large odds, that I shall return,
and when I do, Monsieur Augereau, your name will be Denis."

The appreciation of those about them of this sally so enraged
Augereau that he was discomfited utterly, and he left Bonaparte's
presence muttering words which are fortunately forgotten.

Arrived at Cannes, Bonaparte had his choice of vessels upon which to
make his voyage to Elba, one English and one French. "I'll take the
English. I shall not trust my life to a Bourbon ship if I know
myself. I'd rather go to sea in a bowl," said he.

Hence it was that an English vessel, the Undaunted, had the honor of
transporting the illustrious exile to his island dominion. On the
4th of May he landed, and immediately made a survey of his new

"It isn't large," he observed, as he made a memorandum of its
dimensions, "but neither is a canvas-back duck. I think we can make
something of it, particularly as the people seem glad to see me."

This was indeed the truth. The Elbese were delighted to have
Bonaparte in their midst. They realized that excursion steamers
which had hitherto passed them by would now come crowded from main-
top to keel with persons desirous of seeing the illustrious captive.
Hotel rates rose 200 per cent., and on the first Sunday of his stay
on the island the receipts of the Island Museum, as it was now
called, were sufficient to pay its taxes to the French government,
which had been in arrears for some time, ten times over.

"I feel like an ossified man or a turtle-boy," said the Emperor to
Bertrand, as the curious visitors gaped awe-stricken at the caged
lion. "If I only had a few pictures of myself to sell these people I
could buy up the national debt, foreclose the mortgage, and go back
to France as its absolute master."

The popularity of Bonaparte as an attraction to outsiders so endeared
him to the hearts of his new subjects that he practically had greater
sway here than he ever had in the palmy days of the Empire. The
citizens made him master of everything, and Bonaparte filled the role
to the full. Provided with guards and servants, he surrounded
himself with all the gaud and glitter of a military despotism, and,
in default of continents to capture, he kept his hand in trim as a
commander by the conquest of such small neighboring islands as nature
had placed within reach, but it could hardly be expected that he
could long remain tranquil. His eyes soon wearied of the
circumscribed limits of Elba.

"It's all very well to be monarch of all you survey, Bertrand," said
he, mournfully, "but as for me, give me some of the things that can't
be seen. I might as well be that old dried-up fig of a P. T. Olemy
over there in Egypt as Emperor of a vest-pocket Empire like this.
Isn't there any news from France?"

"Yes," returned Bertrand, "Paris is murmuring again. Louis hasn't
stopped eating yet, and the French think it's time his dinner was

"Ha!" cried Bonaparte in ecstasy. "I thought so. He's too much of a
revivalist to suit Paris. Furthermore, I'm told he's brought out his
shop-worn aristocracy to dazzle France again. They're all wool and a
yard wide, but you needn't think my handmade nobility is going to
efface itself just because the Montmorencies and the Rohans don't ask
it out to dine. My dukes and duchesses will have something to say, I
fancy, and if my old laundress, the Duchess of Dantzig, doesn't take
the starch out of the old regime I'll be mightily mistaken."

And this was the exact situation. As Bonaparte said, the old regime
by their hauteur so enraged the new regime that by the new year of
1815 it was seen by all except those in authority that the return of
the exile, Corporal Violet, as he was now called, was inevitable. So
it came about that on the 20th of February, his pockets stuffed with
impromptu addresses to the people and the army, Bonaparte, eluding
those whose duty it was to watch him, set sail, and on the 1st of
March he reached Cannes, whence he immediately marched, gaining
recruits at every step, to Paris.

At Lyons he began to issue his impromptu addresses, and they were in
his best style.

"People of France," ran one, "I am refreshed, and have returned to
resume business at the old stand. March 21st will be bargain day,
and I have on hand a select assortment of second-hand goods. One
king, one aristocracy, much worn and slightly dog-eared, and a
monarchy will be disposed of at less than cost. Come early and avoid
the rush. A dukedom will be given away with every purchase. Do not
forget the address--The Tuileries, Paris."

This was signed "Napoleon, Emperor." Its effect was instantaneous,
and the appointment was faithfully kept, for on the evening of March
20th the Emperor, amid great enthusiasm, entered the Tuileries, where
he was met by all his old friends, including Fouche.

"Fouche," he said, as he entered the throne-room, "give my card to
Louis the XVIII., and ask him if his luggage is ready. Make out his
bill, and when he has paid it, tell him that I have ordered the 6:10
train to start at 9:48. He can easily catch it."

"He has already departed, Sire," returned Fouche. "He had an
imperative engagement in the Netherlands. In his haste he left his
crown hanging on the hat-rack in the hall."

"Well, send it to him," replied Bonaparte. "I don't want HIS crown.
I want my own. It shall never be said that I robbed a poor fellow
out of work of his hat."

Settled once more upon his imperial throne, the main question which
had previously agitated the Emperor and his advisers, and
particularly his stage-manager, Fouche, whom he now restored to his
old office, came up once more. "What next?" and it was harder to
answer than ever, for Bonaparte's mind was no longer alert. He was
listless and given to delay, and, worst of all, invariably sleepy.
It was evident that Elba had not proved as restful as had been hoped.

"You should not have returned," said Fouche, firmly. "America was
the field for you. That's where all great actors go sooner or later,
and they make fortunes. A season in New York would have made you a
new man. As it is you are an old man. It seems to me that if an
Irishman can leave Queenstown with nothing but his brogue and the
clothes on his back and become an alderman of New York or Chicago
inside of two years, you with all the advertising you've had ought to
be able to get into Congress anyhow--you've got money enough for the

"But they are not my children, those Americans," remonstrated
Napoleon, rubbing his eyes sleepily.

"Well, France isn't the family affair it once was, either," retorted
Fouche, "and you'll find it out before long. However, we've got to
do the best we can. Swear off your old ways and come out as a man of
Peace. Flatter the English, and by all means don't ask your mother-
in-law Francis Joseph to send back the only woman you ever loved.
He's got her in Vienna, and he's going to keep her if he has to put
her in a safe-deposit vault."

It would have been well for Napoleon had he heeded this advice, but
as he walked about the Tuileries alone, and listened in vain for the
King of Rome's demands for more candy, and failed to see that
interesting infant sliding down the banisters and loading his toy
cannons with his mother's face-powder, he was oppressed by a sense of
loneliness, and could not resist the temptation to send for them.

"This will be the last chip I'll put on my shoulder, Fouche," he

"Very well," returned Fouche. "Put it there, but I warn you. This
last chip will break the Empire's back."

The demand was made upon Austria, and, as Fouche had said, the answer
was a most decided refusal, and the result was war. Again the other
powers allied against Napoleon. The forces of the enemy were placed
under Wellington. Bonaparte led his own in person, buying a new
uniform for the purpose. "We can handle them easily enough," said
he, "if I can only keep awake. My situation at present reminds me so
much of the old Bromide days that I fall asleep without knowing it by
a mere association of ideas. Still, we'll whip 'em out of their

"What boots?" demanded Fouche.

"Their Wellingtons and their Bluchers," retorted the Emperor, thereby
showing that, sleepy as he was, he had not lost his old-time ability
at repartee.

For once he was over-confident. He fought desperately and
triumphantly for three or four days, but the fates held Waterloo in
store. Routing the enemy at Ligny and Quatre Bras, he pushed on to
where Wellington stood in Belgium, where, on the 18th of June, was
fought the greatest of his battles.

"Now for the transformation scene," said Bonaparte on the eve of the
battle. "If the weather is good we'll make these foreigners wish
they had worn running-shoes instead of Wellingtons."

But the weather was not clear. It was excessively wet, and by
nightfall Bonaparte realized that all was over. His troops were in
fine condition, but the rain seemed to have put out the fires of the
Commander's genius. As the Imperial Guard marched before him in
review the Emperor gazed upon them fondly.

"They're like a picture!" he cried, enthusiastically. "Just see that

"Yes," returned Ney. "Very like a picture; they remind me in a way
of a comic paper print, but that is more suitable for framing than
for fighting."

The Emperor making no response, Ney looked up and observed that his
Majesty had fallen asleep. "That settles it," he sighed. "To-day is
the Waterloo of Napoleon Bonaparte. When a man sleeps at a moment
like this his friends would better prepare for a wake."

And Ney was right. Waterloo was the Waterloo of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The opposing armies met in conflict, and, as the world knows, the
star of the great soldier was obscured forever, and France was
conquered. Ruined in his fortunes, Bonaparte at once returned to

"Is there a steamer for New York to-night, Fouche?" he asked, as,
completely worn out, he threw himself upon his throne and let his
chin hang dejectedly over his collar.

"No, Sire," returned Fouche, with an ill-concealed chuckle. "There
is not. You've missed your chance by two days. Then isn't another
boat for ten days."

"Then I am lost," sobbed Napoleon.

"Yes, Sire, you are," returned Fouche. "Shall I offer a reward to
anybody who will find you and return you in good order?"

"No," replied the Emperor. "I will give myself up."

"Wise man!" said Fouche, unsympathetically. "You're such a
confounded riddle that I wonder you didn't do it long ago."

"Ah, Fouche!" sighed the Emperor, taking his crown out of his
wardrobe and crushing it in his hands until the diamonds fell out
upon the floor, "this shows the futility of making war without
preparing for it by study. When I was a young man I was a student.
I knew the pages of history by heart, and I learned my lessons well.
While I was the student I was invincible. In mimic as in real war I
was the conqueror. Everything I undertook came about as I had willed
because I was the master of facts--I dealt in facts, and I made no
mistakes. To-day I am a conquered man, and all because I have
neglected to continue the study of the history of my people--of my
adopted native land."

"Humph!" retorted Fouche. "I don't see how that would have helped
matters any. All the history in creation could not have won the
battle of Waterloo for you."

"Fool that you are!" cried Napoleon, desperately, rising. "Can't you
see? Anybody who knows anything about the history of France knows
that the battle of Waterloo resulted fatally for me. Had I known
that, do you suppose I'd have gone there? Not I! I'd have gone
fishing in the South of France instead, and this would not have
happened. Leave me! I wish to be alone."

Left to his own reflections Bonaparte paced his room for hours.
Then, tapping his bell, he summoned one of his faithful adherents.

"Monsieur le B-," he said, as the attendant entered, "you have heard
the news?"

"Yes, Sire," sobbed Le B-.

"Do I not carry myself well in the hour of defeat?"

"You do, Your Majesty."

"Am I pale, Le B-?"

"No--no--oh, no, not at all, Sire."

"Tell me the truth, Le B-. We must not let the enemy find us broken
when they arrive. How do I look? Out with it."

"Out of sight, Sire!" replied Le B-, bending backward as far as he
could, and gazing directly at the ceiling.

"Then bring on your invader, and let us hear the worst," ordered
Napoleon, encouraged by Le B-'s assurances.

A few days later, Bonaparte, having nothing else to do, once more
abdicated, and threw himself upon the generosity of the English

"I was only fooling, anyhow," he said, with a sad smile. "If you
hadn't sent me to Elba I wouldn't have come back. As for the
fighting, you all said I was outside of the pale of civilization, and
I had to fight. I didn't care much about getting back into the pail,
but I really objected to having it said that I was in the tureen."

This jest completely won the hearts of the English who were used to
just such humor, who loved it, and who, many years later, showed that
love by the establishment of a comic journal as an asylum for bon-
mots similarly afflicted. The result was, not death, but a new
Empire, the Island of St. Helena.

"This," said Wellington, "will serve to make his jokes more far-
fetched than ever; so that by sending him there we shall not only be
gracious to a fallen foe, but add to the gayety of our nation."

CHAPTER XII: 1815-1821-1895

It is with St. Helena that all biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte
hitherto published have ended, and perhaps it is just as well that
these entertaining works, prepared by purely finite minds, should end
there. It is well for an historian not to tell more than he knows, a
principle which has guided our pen from the inception of this work to
this point, and which must continue to the bitter end. We shall be
relentless and truthful to the last, even though in so doing we are
compelled to overthrow all historical precedent.

Bonaparte arrived at St. Helena in October, 1815. He had embarked,
every one supposed, with the impression that he was going to America,
and those about him, fearing a passionate outbreak when he learned
the truth, tried for a time to convince him that he had taken the
wrong steamer; then when they found that he could not be deceived in
this way, they made allusions to the steering-gear having got out of
order, but the ex-Emperor merely smiled.

"You cannot fool me," he said. "I know whither I am drifting. I
went to a clairvoyant before leaving Paris, who cast a few dozen
horoscopes for me and they all ended at St. Helena. It is
inevitable. I must go there, and all these fairy tales about wrong
steamers and broken rudders and so on are useless. I submit. I
could return if I wished, but I do not wish to return. By a mere
speech to these sailors I could place myself in command of this ship
to-day, turn her about and proclaim myself Emperor of the Seas; but I
don't want to. I prefer dry land and peace to a coup de tar and the
throne of Neptune."

All of which shows that the great warrior was weary.

Then followed a dreary exile of uneventful years, in which the ex-
Emperor conducted paper campaigns of great fierceness against the
English government, which with unprecedented parsimony allowed him no
more than $60,000 a year and house rent.

"The idea of limiting me to five thousand dollars a month," he
remarked, savagely, to Sir Hudson Lowe. "It's positively low."

"It strikes me as positively high," retorted the governor. "You know
well enough that you couldn't spend ten dollars a week in this place
if you put your whole mind on it, if you hadn't insisted on having
French waiters in your dining-room, whom you have to tip every time
they bring you anything."

"Humph!" said Bonaparte. "That isn't any argument. I'm a man used
to handling large sums. It isn't that I want to spend money; it's
that I want to have it about me in case of emergency. However, I
know well enough why they keep my allowance down to $60,000."

"Why is it?" asked Sir Hudson.

"They know that you can't be bought for $60,000, but they wouldn't
dare make it $60,000 and one cent," retorted the captive. "Put that
in your cigarette and smoke it, Sir Harlem, and hereafter call me
Emperor. That's my name, Emperor N. Bonaparte."

"And I beg that you will not call me Sir Harlem," returned the
governor, irritated by the Emperor's manner. "My name is Hudson, not

"Pray excuse the slip," said the Emperor, scornfully. "I knew you
were named after some American river, I didn't know which. However,
I imagined that the Harlem was nearer your size than the Hudson,
since the latter has some pretensions to grandeur. Now please flow
down to the sea and lose yourself, I'm getting sleepy again."

So, in constant conflict with Sir Hudson, who refused to call him by
his title, and whom in consequence he refused to call by his proper
name, answering such epithets as "Corporal" and "Major" with a
savagely-spoken "Delaware" or an ironically respectful "Mohawk,"
Bonaparte dwelt at St. Helena until the 5th of May, 1821, when,
historians tell us, he died. This is an error, for upon that date
Bonaparte escaped. He had fought death too many times to succumb to
him now, and, while the writers of history have in a sense stated the
truth when they say that he passed away in the night, their readers
have gained a false impression. It is the fact that Napoleon
Bonaparte, like Dante and Virgil, passed over the dark river Styx as
the honored leader of the rebellious forces of Hades. He did pass
away in the night, but he went as he went from Elba, and, as we shall
see, with more successful results.

For years the Government of Erebus had been unsatisfactory to many of
its subjects, mainly on account of the arbitrary methods of the
Weather Department.

"We are in a perpetual broil here," Caesar had said, "and I for one
am getting tired of it. The country demands a change. This
administration doesn't give us anything but dog-days."

For this the Roman warrior had been arrested and kept in an oven at
the rear of the Erebian Tuileries, as Apollyon's Palace was called,
for two centuries.

"The next rebel gets a gridiron, and the third will be served to
Cerberus en brochette," cried Apollyon.

Thus matters had gone on for five or six hundred years, and no one
had ventured to complain further, particularly in view of Caesar's
comments upon the horrid details of his incarceration published
several years after his release, under the title of "Two Centuries in
an Oven; or, Four Thousand and Six in the Shade."

At the end of the eighteenth century, however, the aspect of affairs
had changed. Apollyon had spent a great deal of his time abroad, and
had failed to note how the revolution in America, the Reign of Terror
in France, and the subsequent wars in Europe had materially increased
the forces of the Republican Party in Hades. The French arrivals
alone should have been sufficient to convince Apollyon that his
attention to domestic affairs was needed, and that the
Americanization of his domain was gaining a most considerable
headway. All the movement really needed was a leader, but there was
none to lead.

"Caesar's book has made us timid. I don't want any of it," said

"I've had enough of public life," said Charlemagne.

"It's hot enough for us as it is," said all four of the "Three

"We'll have to get somebody who is not aware of the possibilities of
our climate," observed Frederick the Great.

"Try Napoleon Bonaparte," suggested Louis XIV., with a chuckle,
feeling that here was an opportunity to do one of two things, to get
even with Apollyon, or, in case of the failure of the rebellion, to
be revenged upon Bonaparte for his treatment of the Bourbons by
securing for him the warmest reception the Kingdom of Hades could

The suggestion, according to documents at hand which seem to be
veracious, was adopted with enthusiasm. The exile was communicated
with, and joy settled upon the people of Hades when word was received
that Bonaparte was on his way. As we have seen, on the night of the
5th of May he left St. Helena, and on the 10th he landed on the right
bank of the Styx. A magnificent army awaited him. To the Old Guard,
many of whom had preceded him, was accorded the position of honor,
and as Bonaparte stepped ashore the roof of Erebus was rent with
vivas. Such a scene has never been witnessed before, and may never
be witnessed again. The populace flocked about him, and strove to
kiss his hand; some went so far as to clip off samples of his uniform
to treasure in their homes. It was evident that the government must
look to itself.

"What is this noise?" asked Apollyon, who had returned to his domain
only the night before.

"Bonaparte has arrived," returned the head Imp, "and the people are
in revolt."

Apollyon paled and summoned his ministers.

Meanwhile Bonaparte had held a council of war, appointing Caesar,
Pompey, Alcibiades, and Charlemagne marshals of Hades.

"The first thing to be done is to capture the coal-yards," he said,
taking in the situation at a glance. "Caesar, let the coal-yards be
your care. Alcibiades will take the Three Musketeers, and by night
will make a detour to the other side of the palace and open the
sluices of the vitriol reservoir, which I understand run into the
Styx. Pompey will surprise the stokers in the national engine-room
with a force of ten thousand, put out the fires, and await further
orders. Charlemagne will accompany me with the army to the palace,
where I shall demand an audience with the king."

It will be seen at once that, granting the success of all these
manoeuvres, Apollyon could not possibly hold out. As the Hollanders
had only water with which to flood their country and rout their
enemies, so Apollyon had only fire with which to wither an invader or
a rebellious force. The quick mind of Bonaparte took this in on the
instant. He was no longer listless and sleepy, for here was the
grandest opportunity of his life, and he knew it.

Fortune favored him. In Hades fortune was a material personality,
and not an abstract idea as she is with us, and when she met
Bonaparte on his triumphal march along the Styx, she yielded to that
fascination which even phlegmatic Englishmen could not deny that he
possessed; and when at this meeting the man of the hour took her by
the hand and breathed softly into her ear that she was in very truth
the only woman he had ever loved, she instinctively felt that he had
at last spoken from his heart of hearts.

"I believe you, Bonaparte," she murmured softly, "and I think I have
shown you in the past that I am not indifferent to you. I am with
you--Apollyon is doomed."

Thus encouraged, Bonaparte, followed by his constantly growing army,
proceeded to the palace.

Apollyon received him with dignity.

"I am glad to receive so distinguished a person," he said.

"Thank you," said Bonaparte, "but this is not a society function,
Your Highness--I have come here on business, so spare me your

Apollyon turned purple with rage.

"Insolent!" he cried. "Consider yourself under arrest."

"Certainly," said Bonaparte, calmly. "Will you kindly hand me your

Apollyon rose in his wrath, and ordered his aides to arrest
Bonaparte, and to cast him into the furnace. "Make it a million
degrees Farenheit," he roared.

"I regret to inform your majesty," said the chief aide, "that word
has just been received that the fires are out, the coal-yard has been
captured by the rebels, and five adventurous spirits have let all the
vitriol out of the reservoir into the Styx."

"Summon my guards, and have this man boned, then!" raged Apollyon.

"It is also with regret that I have to tell you," returned the aide,
"that the Royal Guard has gone over to the enemy, having been
promised higher wages."

"We have Cerberus left," cried Apollyon, "let him take this base
intruder and tear him limb from limb."

Napoleon burst out into a laugh. "You will excuse me, Your Majesty,"
he said. "But Cerberus is already fixed. We poisoned two of his
heads, and he is even now whining for his life with the third."

"Then am I undone," moaned Apollyon, covering his face with his

"You are," said Bonaparte, "but we'll tie you up again in short
order. We'll put you on one of your own gridirons and do you to a

Of course this was the end.

In three days Napoleon had made himself master of the kingdom, had
proclaimed the Empire with himself at its head. Apollyon was treated
with consideration. His life was spared, but he was shorn of his
power. Bonaparte sent him into exile at Paris, where, according to
report, he still lives.

"Now for a new coronation," said the victor. "Send for the pope."

"Not this tune!" cried Caesar with a laugh. "The popes have always
studiously avoided this place."

"Then," said Napoleon with a smile, "let Fortune crown me. After
all, it has always been she who did it--why not now?"

Hence it was that at the dawning of New Year's day of 1822, Napoleon
Bonaparte opened a new and most highly successful career. His power
has increased day by day until now, when there is evidence that he
has the greater part of the world in his firm grasp.

Some years later his beloved Bourrienne arrived.

"Remember, Bourrienne," he said, as he installed his old and faithful
secretary in his new office, "you have always written my autographs
for me, and shall still continue to do so, only please note the
change. It is no longer Bonaparte, or Napoleon, Emperor of the
French, it has become Napollyon, Emperor of Hades."

And to Fouche, when that worthy arrived, he said:

"Fouche, this is different from the old show. That original Empire
of mine was ruined by just one thing. I was eternally anxious to
provide for the succession, and out of that grew all my troubles; but
here, as the little girl said about the apple-core, there ain't a-
goin' to be no succession. I am here to stay. Meanwhile, Fouche, I
have an impression that you and Augureau took more pleasure out of my
misfortunes than I did; wherefore I authorize you to send for
Augereau and take him swimming in the vitriol tank. It will do you
both good."

As for Joseph, when he heard of his brother's new acquisition he
reformed at once, led an irreproachable life in America, whither he
had fled, and when he died went to the other place.


{1} Napoleon's English at this time was not of the best quality

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest