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The Court of the Empress Josephine by Imbert de Saint-Amand

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after an affectionate farewell to the Electoral family.

At seven that evening she made a similar formal entrance into the capital
of Würtemberg, passing under an arch of triumph bearing her name
surmounted by an Imperial crown. Soldiers lined the way from the gate to
the Elector's castle. The main street was decorated with Egyptian altars,
and was brilliantly illuminated, as was the castle also. The Elector, his
wife, a daughter of the King of England, and all the court received the
Empress at the castle door and escorted her to her rooms, where she
supped. The next day she sat on a platform at a state dinner in the white
hall. Afterwards the company went to the Opera House, where _Achilles_ was
given. After they had returned to the castle there were some fine
fireworks. These festivities continued until December 2, when _Romeo and
Juliet_ was given for the first time, and the 3d, at seven in the morning,
Josephine, after bidding the family farewell, pushed on towards Munich,
while the troops presented arms and cannon were fired.

The Empress was not to stop between Stuttgart and Munich, but on her way
she saw many places that had just become famous in the war. As she drew
near them she looked at the plain where, a few days before, the enemy's
army had marched out before Napoleon and laid down its arms. From Augsburg
to Munich, everything made her journey most brilliant; arches of triumph,
bands of music so numerous that often their notes mingled with one
another, wreaths of leaves, successive guards of honor who joined her,
composed of the Royal Guard of Italy, at nearly every parting station. As
a letter in the _Moniteur_ says, "Enthusiasm succeeded to fear, the whirl
of festivities to the lamentation of battle; all that had been said of the
Empress's benevolence seemed still to make part of her suite, and it was
as if the Angel of Peace had come to visit these countries."

The Empress reached Munich December 5, eight days after leaving
Strassburg. A salute of a hundred guns welcomed her. In almost every
street even houses were draped, windows adorned with transparent and
complimentary figures; the illuminations of private houses rivalled in
expense and splendor those of the public buildings. State carriages were
sent out to the city gates for the Empress and her suite, but Josephine
did not get into any of them; she kept on her travelling dress. This did
not mar the brilliancy of the entrance, which was conspicuous for
universal joy. December 7, she went to the theatre, where Mozart's _Don
Juan_ was given, and she was greeted with sound of trumpets and the
applause of the audience.

The Empress had scarcely reached Munich before people began to talk about
an early marriage between her son, Eugene de Beauharnais, and the Princess
Augusta, the daughter of the Elector, but it was still merely a faint
rumor. The French minister, M. Otto, wrote December 16, 1805, the
following despatch on the subject to M. de Talleyrand: "My Lord,--
Immediately after the arrival of Her Majesty the Empress, the rumor spread
that His Most Serene Highness Prince Eugene was likewise on his way to
Munich, there to conclude a marriage with Princess Augusta of Bavaria. The
rumor has taken such shape in the last few days that a foreign lady, who
has been most kindly received by the Electoral family, ventured to ask the
Elector if she might congratulate him on so desirable a marriage. This
Prince replied that he knew nothing about it; that his daughter was
promised to the Prince of Baden; that the two young people had the
strongest attachment for each other; and that only day before yesterday
the Electress had received from Baden a most affectionate letter on the
subject; and that he loved his daughter too much to wish to oppose her
inclinations. This is the first time that mention has been made at court
of a matter which the public supposed settled quite differently. The
Electress was present at this conversation, and corroborated everything
that was said concerning her brother's attachment to the Princess. This
anecdote, which comes to me straight from the castle, proves that the
Baden marriage is not broken, as has been said at Carlsruhe, unless the
Elector wished to conceal the truth from the lady who questioned him on
this subject. Inquisitive people have tried to make out the true state of
things by watching the conduct of Her Majesty the Empress and the persons
of her suite. The relations of the two courts are confined to politeness
on each side, to social attentions, in which Her Majesty exhibits all her
natural amiability, which wins every heart. Beyond that, there prevails
the greatest reserve."

Maximilian Joseph, Elector of Bavaria, was born in 1756, and was then
fifty years old. He had lost his first wife, who had borne him one
daughter, the Princess Augusta Louisa, who was born in 1788. His second
wife, Caroline, a Princess of Baden, sister of the hereditary Prince of
Baden, to whom the Princess Augusta was betrothed, was then thirty years
old. Though not handsome, she was not devoid of charm, her figure was
good, her manners were amiable and dignified. The young Princess Augusta
was the ornament of the Munich court. She had all the freshness,
brilliancy, and charm of a young German girl of eighteen. As for the
Elector, he was an attractive, sympathetic man, who combined frank
joviality with tact, wit, and delicacy. He was tall; his face was noble
and regular. He liked the French, and they liked him; it was in France
that he had spent many years of his youth. As a younger prince of the
house of Deux Ponts he became Elector only by the extinction of the branch
of his family that reigned in Bavaria, In his early life he had no
fortune. In the reign of Louis XVI. he served in the French armies,
commanding the regiment of Alsace. At the court of Versailles, as in the
garrison at Strassburg, he had left behind him a reputation of good
manners and chivalrous gallantry. His soldiers, who adored him, called him
Prince Max. At that time he might have married a daughter of the Prince of
Condé, but his father and his uncle objected to this match, because, since
he was not rich, he would doubtless have been compelled to make some of
his daughters canonesses, and certain chapters would have been unwilling
to receive them on account of their illegitimate descent from Louis XIV.
and Madame de Montespan. He was fond of recalling the last years of the
old régime in France, and spoke most affectionately of that country, in
which he had been very happy. He was worshipped by his family, his
servants, and his subjects. There was never a kinder, more amiable prince.
Often he would stroll unaccompanied through the streets of Munich, going
to the markets, bargain over grain, enter the shops, talking to every one,
especially to the children, whom he urged to go to their schools. He was
at once familiar and full of dignity, and he was as much respected as
loved. There were many points of resemblance between his character and
that of the Empress Josephine, and they had a very strong sympathy for
each other.

The Empress was ailing during a good part of her stay in Munich, and
whether for this reason or because Napoleon, who was always moving from
place to place, did not get his letters regularly, he was for some time
without news from his wife. He wrote to her from Brunn, December 10, 1805:
"It is a long time since I have heard from you. Have the grand festivities
of Baden, Stuttgart, and Munich made you forget the poor soldier who lives
covered with mud, rain, and blood? I am going to leave soon for Vienna.
They are trying to make peace. The Russians have left and are fleeing far
from here, going back to Russia badly beaten and sorely humiliated. I am
anxious to be with you once more. Good by, my dear; my eyes are well

Napoleon wrote again December 19, renewing his complaint: "Great Empress,
not a letter from you since I left Strassburg. You have passed through
Baden, Stuttgart, Munich, without writing us a word. That is not very kind
or very affectionate! I am still at Brunn. The Russians are gone; we have
a truce. In a few days I shall see what is to become of me. Deign from the
giddy height of your grandeur to interest yourself a little in your

From Schönbrunn he wrote to Josephine, December 20, 1805 (29th Frimaire,
Year XIV.): "I have your letter of the 25th [Frimaire]. I am sorry to hear
that you are not well; that is not a good preparation for a journey of a
hundred leagues at this time of year. I don't know what I shall do; that
depends on what happens. I have no will of my own; I am waiting to see how
matters settle themselves. Stay at Munich, amuse yourself; that is not
hard, amid so many pleasant people, in such a charming country. I am
tolerably busy. In a few days I shall have made up my mind. Good by, my

December 26, peace was signed at Pressburg between France and Austria. The
treaty gave to the Kingdom of Italy, Istria, Dalmatia, and Friuli; to the
Elector of Würtemberg, the title of King and the Suabian territory; to the
Elector of Baden, the Breisgau, Ortenau, and the town of Constanz; to the
Elector of Bavaria, the title of King, the Vorarlburg, and the Tyrol. But
Napoleon had determined that these indemnifications should be paid for by
three marriages,--that of his step-son, Prince Eugene, with the daughter
of the King of Bavaria; that of a relative of his wife, Mademoiselle
Stéphanie de Beauharnais, with the hereditary Prince of Baden; that of his
brother Jerome with the daughter of the King of Würtemberg.

Napoleon, accompanied by Murat, entered Munich beneath an arch of triumph,
December 31, 1805, at a quarter to two in the morning. This entrance in
the night, lit up by torches, was very impressive. The next day, January
1, 1806, a herald-at-arms, escorted by numerous horsemen, passed through
the different quarters of the city, and read the following proclamation,
after a flourish of drums and trumpets, while an immense crowd gathering
in every street and crossway loudly applauded: "By the grace of God, the
dignity of the sovereign of Bavaria having recovered its old-time
splendor, and this State having resumed the rank it formerly held for the
happiness of its subjects and the glory of the country, be it known that
His Most Serene Highness the powerful Prince and Lord Maximilian Joseph
is, by these presents, solemnly proclaimed King of Bavaria and of all the
countries on it dependent. Long live and happily Maximilian Joseph, our
very gracious King! Long live, and happily, Caroline, our very gracious
Queen!" That evening the whole city was full of joy, and the next day was
celebrated as a national festivity.

Napoleon, having recaptured the twenty-nine cannon and the twenty-one
Bavarian flags that had fallen into the hands of the Austrians by the
chances of war and the occupation of the country, had decided to restore
to his faithful allies the trophies which they had valiantly defended and
whose loss they mourned. In the morning of January 2, all citizen soldiery
was under arms, lining the streets through which was to pass the
procession and their precious burden. The cannon were placed on carts
adorned with festoons and garlands, each cart was drawn by two horses
belonging to the citizens; the houses were also decorated with different
colored ribbons. All the young people in the city accompanied these carts.
The students of the Royal College of Cadets carried the flags. When the
procession reached the grand square, a large chorus, accompanied by a
large band, sang a song of thanksgiving and victory. The populace and the
soldiers mingled their cheers with this song. The procession then made its
way to the Church of Our Lady, where a _Te Deum_ was sung with great

January 4, Napoleon wrote to Prince Eugene: "My Cousin,--Within twelve
hours at the most, after the receipt of this letter, you will start with
all speed for Munich. Try to get here as soon as possible, so that you may
be sure to see me. Leave your command in the hands of the general of
division whom you judge to be most capable and upright. You need not bring
a large suite. Start at once, and _incognito_, and so avoid both dangers
and delays. Send me a messenger to give me twenty-four hours' notice of
your arrival." The Emperor had decreed the marriage of his step-son with
Princess Augusta of Bavaria, but he had to go through certain formalities
to overcome the objections of the Queen of Bavaria, who wanted her
brother, the hereditary Prince of Baden, to marry the young Princess. Her
family pride and her inmost feelings revolted against the admission into
her family of a young man whom she looked on as an upstart. She sought for
pretexts and devices to delay, if not to prevent, this alliance. No one
would have dared to say at Munich that the Emperor's step-son was not
great enough to marry a king's daughter, but she found fictitious excuses:
it was said that the young Princess was ailing, and at another time that
she was suffering from a sprain. Napoleon, who sometimes played the
diplomatist, feigned to believe in these alleged ailments, and said that
he would send his own surgeon to heal her. He would gladly have returned
speedily to Paris, where he deemed that his presence was necessary, but
his Chamberlain, M. de Thiard, whom his previous negotiations had made
familiar with the secrets of the Bavarian court, advised him to stay in
Munich until the marriage was absolutely settled. "Very well," said the
Emperor; "but do you know that while I am here, your Faubourg Saint
Germain is making a run on my bank, and that my stay in Munich costs me
fifteen hundred thousand francs a day?" M. de Thiard insisted, and dared
to show Napoleon the Queen of Bavaria's ever-present recollection of the
Duke of Enghien, which was the secret cause of her aversion to the
projected alliance. But this opposition could hold out for only a few
hours; no one then dared to brave the Imperial wrath. The Queen, fearing
that Napoleon's surgeon would discover that the Princess's alleged
sufferings were only an excuse, yielded to the wishes of the hero of
Austerlitz. The marriage was announced even before the couple had met.
Everything was done in military fashion. Orders were issued that they
should love, and they loved.

There is this to be said in behalf of Napoleon; that in the whole matter
he made no use of harsh words or rough manners. He appeared in an
attractive, not in a threatening light, and by dint of appearing smitten
with the Queen of Bavaria, even aroused Josephine's jealousy.

Prince Eugene arrived, as commanded, January 10. He had the good fortune
to please; but even if he had not pleased it would have made no
difference. As soon as he reached Munich, after travelling day and night,
the Emperor took possession of him and never left him. The Empress was
still in bed when her son's arrival was announced. She was much moved, and
began to cry at the thought that his first visit was not to her. A moment
later, while she was still agitated, she saw the Emperor burst into her
room, holding the young Prince by the hand, and pushing him forward as he
exclaimed: "Here, Madame, is your great booby of a son whom I'm bringing
to you." Josephine burst into tears, and pressed her son to her heart.

Eugene de Beauharnais, a French Prince, and Viceroy of Italy, was then
twenty-four years old. Mademoiselle Avrillon, reader to the Empress, thus
draws his portrait: "Prince Eugene's face, although in no way remarkable,
was rather well than ill favored; he was of medium height, well
proportioned, and stoutly made. He excelled in all sorts of corporeal
exercises, and was an accomplished dancer. Kind, frank, simple in his
manners, without haughtiness or reserve, he was courteous to every one;
and although he was not devoid of deep feelings, his most striking trait
was persistent good spirits. He was very fond of music, and sang very
well, especially Italian songs, which all his family preferred. As he was
young, he naturally paid many women attention, as I have often seen, but
he always treated them with great respect." Napoleon was very fond of him,
and looked upon him as his pupil, as his own child. He was delighted with
the way Eugene discharged his duties as Viceroy, and when he received his
despatches he exclaimed in the presence of several marshals, "I knew very
well to whom I had entrusted my sword in Italy." He often gratified
Josephine by saying, "Eugene may serve as a model to all the young men of
his age."

The young Prince showed great tact and intelligence in his first meetings
with his future wife. He sought every means of pleasing her, paid her
assiduous court, as if their marriage was still undetermined. He was able
to overcome the Princess's prejudices, for she had given her consent only
at the last moment, as a victim sacrificed for reasons of state. Her
father, the King, dreading the excitement of an interview, had written to
her a letter, in which he set out all the advantages of the match desired
by the Emperor, vaunted the good qualities of the young and dashing
Viceroy of Italy, an to prove that it was a brilliant match, revealed to
her what was then unknown, that at Pressburg the Austrian Minister had
offered to Napoleon for his step-son the hand of one of their
Archduchesses. "Consider, dear Augusta, that a refusal would make the
Emperor as much the enemy as he has been hitherto the friend of our
house." And he ended his letter with a last appeal to his daughter's
patriotic devotion. The young Princess replied by writing: "I place my
fate in your hands; however cruel it may be, it will be softened by the
knowledge that I am sacrificed for my father, my family, and my country.
On her knees your daughter prays for your blessing; it will aid me to bear
my sad lot with resignation." The girl's unhappiness soon gave way to joy.
The Empress had spoken to her most warmly of Eugene's qualities, his
bravery, loyalty, and gallantry, and the Princess found out that Josephine
was right. She forgot her cousin, the Prince of Baden, fell
instantaneously in love with Eugene, and this marriage for reasons of
state turned out to be a love match. It was celebrated with great pomp in
the Royal Chapel, January 14, four days after the bridegroom's arrival at
Munich. The Emperor adopted Prince Eugene, and gave in the marriage
contract the name of Napoleon Eugene of France. This adoption wrought a
great change in their correspondence; previously the Emperor when he wrote
to the Viceroy addressed him as, "My Cousin"; henceforth he always wrote,
"My Son." Madame Murat, who was then at Munich, was pained to see that the
new Vice-Queen, as wife of the Emperor's adopted son, took precedence of
her at all ceremonies, and she feigned an illness to avoid what seemed to
her an affront.

On her wedding day the Princess charmed every one by her grace. She was
tall, well shaped, with the figure of a nymph, and a face in which
sweetness was blended with dignity. Moreover, she was very well educated,
was pious and modest, and the possessor of all the family virtues. In
short, she was a model wife and mother. She wrote to the Emperor a letter
of thanks that touched him. He answered it, January 27: "My Daughter,--
Your letter is as amiable as you are yourself. My feelings for you will
only grow from day to day; this I know from my pleasure in recalling your
fine qualities, and from the need I feel for your frequent assurance that
you are satisfied with every one and happy with your husband. Amid all I
have to do, nothing will be dearer to me than the chance to assure my
children's happiness. Be sure, Augusta, that I love you like a father, and
that I count on a daughter's affection for me. Travel slowly, and be
careful in the new climate when you get there, and take plenty of rest."

January 21, Prince Eugene left Munich with his young wife for Milan. The
next day M. Otto, the French Minister, wrote to M. de Talleyrand: "His
Imperial Highness Prince Eugene left yesterday morning with his young
wife. The King escorted them to their carriage with every indication of
affection. It was noticed that in taking leave of the Prince he embraced
him several times. The separation cost the Princess some tears. Their
departure was announced by firing a hundred guns. The best wishes of all
good Bavarians accompanied the pair. The stay of the French court at
Munich has left the deepest and most lasting impression. The Emperor's
greatness and power were known, but the effect of his extreme kindness and
magnificence had to be seen at a closer view to be appreciated. I feel
able to assure His Majesty that the Bavarian nation will always be his
faithful and devoted allies. So many happy memories are attached to this
period of our history that His Majesty can flatter himself that he has
accomplished the most difficult of all conquests,--that of the love of the
people who have witnessed his successes."

While the Viceroy and Vice-Queen of Italy were proceeding towards Milan,
the Emperor and the Empress were on their way to France, stopping at
Stuttgart and Carlsruhe, where they were warmly greeted. January 20, 1806,
they found an arch of triumph built on a Roman model at Entzberg, in
Baden. It bore this inscription: _Imperatori Napoleoni triumphatori
augusto_. The bas-relief represented the capture of Ulm and the delivery
of the keys of Vienna. Columns and obelisks had been erected at Carlsruhe
with these inscriptions: _Hostium victori.--Patriam servavit.--Pacem
restituit_. In front of the castle had been built a temple of Peace. At
the French frontier stood an arch of triumph with this inscription: _Heroi
reduci Galliae plaudunt_,--"Gaul applauds the returning hero." The bas-
reliefs represented the battle of Austerlitz and the interview between the
two Emperors. In the night of January 26, Napoleon and Josephine were back
at the Tuileries. Prince Eugene's marriage put a happy ending to the
campaign just finished. To create a king and to give to his step-son the
hand of this king's daughter was a stroke of imagination on Napoleon's
part that did honor to his omnipotence. The accounts of the triumphal
festivities in Munich, Stuttgart, and Carlsruhe followed close upon the
bulletins announcing the victories of the Grand Army, and produced a great
impression in both Germany and France.



Napoleon arranged his return with the utmost skill. His prolonged stay at
Munich kept alive the impatience of the Parisians for his return, and
meanwhile there was a constant stream of flattery and enthusiasm. January
1, 1806, had just put an end to the Republican calendar, which had existed
for thirteen years, three months, and a few days. The Year XIV. found
itself suddenly interrupted by the return to the Gregorian calendar. Thus
vanished the last trace of the Republic. The same day the new year was
inaugurated with a patriotic ceremony. The Tribune carried with great
solemnity to the Senate the forty-four Russian and Austrian flags which
the hero of Austerlitz had entrusted to its care. All the houses in the
streets through which the procession was to pass were decorated. In front
of many of them were to be seen the Emperor's bust crowned with laurels.
The ever lyrical _Moniteur_ said: "At the sight of these noble spoils,
these startling proofs of the heroism of the French army, all hearts
seemed to meet in a common feeling of admiration and gratitude which was
but faintly expressed by the shouts issuing from the crowd and from every
window, of 'Long live the Emperor!' 'Hurrah for the Grand Army!' 'Victory,
victory!' 'Long live the Emperor!' It was in this way that the people of
Paris, of all classes, of both sexes, of all ages, manifested in the most
vivid and unanimous way their devotion and gratitude to His Majesty and
his victorious armies."

One Tribune, M. Joubert, exclaimed: "Is not Napoleon the man of history,
the man of all ages? May we not say that there is something supernatural
in him, since it is true that God disposes of the fate of empires, and
that Napoleon the Great gladly submits everything to Providence and
ascribes everything to religion?" In their official enthusiasm the
Tribunes, as accomplished courtiers, made one motion after another. One
proposed that the Emperor on his return should receive triumphal honors,
like those of ancient Rome, and the city of Paris should go to meet him.
Another suggested that the sword which he wore at the battle of Austerlitz
should be solemnly consecrated and placed in some public monument. Another
expressed a desire that on one of the principal places in the city a
column should be set up, bearing the Emperor's statue, with this
inscription: "To Napoleon the Great, the grateful country." The Senate,
with similar zeal, hastened to carry out the plan by a decree.

The Parisians, who always worship success of monarches, generals, or
artists, then felt the wildest admiration for the victorious Napoleon. The
_Moniteur_ was full of dithyrambic eulogies, in prose and verse. Flattery
appeared as it had never appeared before. Bishops became conspicuous for
their ardent praise; some phrases from their charges may be quoted. Thus
the Bishop of Versailles said: "God says: 'No one shall resist him, whom I
have clothed with a special mission to re-establish my worship, to lead my
chosen people; no one will resist him because I am with him, and he is
with me. _Dem cum eo_.'"

The Bishop of Bayonne; "Behold our enemies ones more defeated. Let
incredulity be silent and the atheist confounded. Our annals will be the
story of the wonders of Providence... Widows, cease to bemoan the loss of
a loved husband; you are not left alone; you belong to the country.
Orphans, you have found another father; Napoleon has adopted you."

The Bishop of Rennes: "Did not those kings know, or did they forget in
their delirium, that the French nation is now the first nation in the
world? Did they not know that the man who governs it is the most
astounding man in the world, and the greatest warrior history has ever

The Bishop of Coutances: "The Almighty wishes Napoleon to attain this new
glory and hence impresses upon him a sort of divine character. He wishes
him to attain it on the day and at the same hour that the Sovereign
Pontiff, one year ago, poured on his brow the holy oil."

The Bishop of Montpellier: "Let the earth be shaken, and the mountains
cast into the bosom of the seas; our God blesses the views, the wisdom,
the talents, and the courage of our august monarch."

The Emperor, in dividing the flags which he had captured from Russia and
Austria, had given fifty-four to the Senate, eight to the Tribunes, eight
to the city of Paris, and fifty to the church of Notre Dame, which he
wished to adorn with his trophies as the Marshal of Luxembourg had done in
the reign of Louis XIV. The day when these fifty flags were given to the
Cathedral the Cardinal Archbishop of France said, "O Posterity, when you
read our history you will imagine that you are reading anew the fall of
the walls of Jericho, and listening to the miraculous deeds of Joshua,
David, and Judas Maccabaeus. _Benedictus Dominus qui facit mirabilia
solus_.... God of Marengo, you declare yourself the God of Austerlitz; and
the German eagle, the Russian eagle, abandoned by you, became the prey of
the French eagle, which you never cease to protect." A singular piece of
flattery this, to call the Creator of the universe--of which this earth is
not a millionth part--the God of a village, because near this village a
man has wrought the death of many other men!

Paris seemed to have recovered its ardor of the first days of the
Revolution in order to salute the triumphant hero. The day of his arrival,
January 27, 1806, the managers of the bank, anxious that his presence
should be the signal for public prosperity, ordered the resumption of
specie payments. The Opera celebrated his return and that of the Empress
by a grand performance which took place February 4. The bills announced
the _Prétendus_ and a divertisement, The public knew that this
divertisement was to be a sort of apotheosis in honor of the Imperial
glories. The house was crowded, and the passages themselves were crammed
by the enthusiastic crowd. During the second act of the _Prétendus_ there
was great excitement over the arrival of Napoleon and Josephine. Applause
resounded from every side. Ladies distributed laurel branches, which all
the spectators waved, shouting, "Long live the Emperor!" Musicians played
the chorus of the _Caravan_. Meanwhile, the scenery of the _Prétendus_
disappeared, and applause began over the magnificent decorations that took
its place. It was a semicircular enclosure with trophies forming a
colonnade showing the course of the Seine from the Pont Neuf to the
western limit of Paris, showing the Louvre, which Napoleon had promised to
complete, the Pont des Arts, the Palais de la Monnaie, the Tuileries, and
in the misty distance the Champs Elysées overlooking this fine view. The
interior of the enclosure was adorned with garlands and crowded with
people, awaiting the return of the Grand Army. This appeared with a
military march: the sappers in front with their axes and white aprons; the
grenadiers of the Guard with their high fur caps; the artillerymen with
their black caps; the dragoons with their double armor; the Mamelukes with
their scimetars. Then came the Bavarians, worthy comrades of Napoleon's
soldiers. The people applauded their defenders. Pupils of the military
schools sprang into the ranks to welcome their fathers, while old men
embraced their children. A general chorus was heard. Then a warrior came
to the front of the stage and celebrated in a hymn the marvels of the
campaign of Austerlitz. This was followed by a ballet of foreign nations,
in which joined French peasants and girls in the dress of their provinces,
from Caux and Alsace, Provence, Béarn, Auvergne, and the Alps. After the
dances came songs,--the words by Esménard, author of the _Navigation_, the
music by Stobelt. The marches, evolutions, and ballet were arranged by
Gardel. The principal stanzas were sung by the most distinguished artists,
Lainez, Laïs, Madame Armand, Madame Branchu. When it was all over, the
Emperor and the Empress withdrew amid applause, and there was sung the
_Vivat_ of Abbé Rose which had made such a success at Notre Dame on
Coronation Day, and was as warmly applauded at the Opera as it had been in
the Cathedral.



If anything is capable of proving the admiration, terror, and fascination
that the hero of Austerlitz exercised over Europe, and especially over
Germany, in 1806, it is certainly the marriage of the hereditary Prince of
Baden with Mademoiselle Stéphanie de Beauharnais. It was a curious sight!
A Prince belonging to one of the oldest and most illustrious families in
the world, whose three sisters had married, one, the Emperor of Russia;
another, the King of Sweden; the third, the King of Bavaria; a Prince who
might have allied himself with the oldest reigning houses had come to
regard as an honor a marriage with, the plain daughter of a French
senator,--a girl not united by any ties of blood with Napoleon, but only
by adoption; that is to say, by a whim. One might have supposed that the
Empire of the new Charlemagne was centuries old, and the German Princes
bowed before it like devoted vassals before their suzerain. What a vast
power he had attained, and how easily he could have kept it, if he had
limited his ambition, and put bounds to his power, and had not asked of
docile Germany more than it could give him!

The marriage of Mademoiselle Stéphanie de Beauharnais with the hereditary
Prince of Baden was at first warmly opposed by the Margravine, this
Prince's mother. M. Massias, French chargé d'affaires at Baden, had
written on this matter to M. de Talleyrand, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
January 6, 1806: "My Lord,--For some days there has been a rumor quietly
circulating among the principal persons of the court of Carlsruhe that the
object of M. de Thiard's last journey was to arrange the marriage of the
Electoral Prince of Baden with the daughter of Senator Beauharnais. Last
evening arrived a messenger from the Electress of Bavaria for the
Margravine, the mother of this Prince. I have learned by chance the
contents of this missive to his mother. She says substantially that she
has had a talk of more than an hour with the Emperor Napoleon; that His
Majesty promised that the marriage of the Electoral Prince of Baden with
Mademoiselle Beauharnais should never take place without the consent of
the Margravine; and in case of her refusal of this consent, he would only
reserve to himself the right of being consulted on the choice of the wife
to be given to this young Prince.... The Electoral Prince called on his
mother after she had received this despatch, and was with her alone for
two hours; he came away in great dejection. When he got to his
grandfather's, he exclaimed, involuntarily, 'That woman is lost; she wants
to ruin herself!'"

The chargé d'affaires ended his letter with this sketch of the Margravine:
"I have known the Margravine for six years, and I think I can say that if
she judges the match in question opposed to the pride inspired by the
first ideas of her education, no persuasion can move her. She possesses to
a very marked degree the confident obstinacy of feeble and timid spirits.
She does not dare to dismiss an incompetent footman; and when she has once
made up her mind, which is only possible in matters about which her
opinions are rigidly formed, neither force nor persuasion can modify her.
That is my reading of her character, and I think it the true one."

The more the Margravine opposed this match which the Emperor had
suggested, the more the young Prince of Baden and his grandfather, the
Elector, desired it. M. Massias wrote again to M. de Talleyrand, January
9, 1806: "His Most Serene Highness, the Prince Electoral of Baden, is to
leave tomorrow for Ulm and Augsburg, to invite, in his grandfather's name,
His Majesty the Emperor and King to honor Carlsruhe with his presence, and
to stay at the castle on his way back to France. But, he tells me himself,
the main object of his journey is to convince His Majesty that the
marriage of which I had the honor to speak to Your Excellency in my last
letter, is far from opposing his desires; and he hopes to dissipate
without difficulty the doubts which it has been sought to raise regarding
this in the mind of His Majesty, for whom he always manifested a profound
devotion and a sincere attachment."

What was the origin of this young girl whose hand was thus sought by the
hereditary Prince of Baden? The Marquis of Beauharnais, the father of the
Viscount of Beauharnais, the first husband of the Empress Josephine, had a
brother, Count Claude de Beauharnais, who was a commodore, and married
Mademoiselle Fanny Mouchard. Countess Fanny, a friend of Dorat and
Cubières, took much interest in literature and wrote many novels. She was
a blue-stocking, and it was about her that Lebrun wrote the malicious

"Eglé, fair and a poetess, has then two slight faults:
She makes her face and does not make her verses."

By her marriage with Count Claude de Beauharnais, the Countess Fanny (born
in 1738, died in 1813) had one son, named Claude after his father, who
married the daughter of the Count of Lezay-Marnésia. They had a daughter,
Stéphanie de Beauharnais, born August 28, 1789, who was adopted by
Napoleon, married the hereditary Prince of Baden, became the grandduchess
of this country, and died in 1860, much loved by her family and the people
of Baden. Her father, Claude de Beauharnais, was a senator in the Empire,
a peer of France at the Restoration, and died in 1819.

During the childhood of Mademoiselle Stéphanie de Beauharnais no one would
have predicted the lofty destiny that awaited her. Her father, having lost
his wife, entrusted her to a pious old aunt, who lived at Montauban, and
there she remained in obscurity until it occurred to her uncle, M. de
Lezay-Marnésia, to take her to Paris, and present her to the wife of the
First Consul. Josephine, her cousin once removed, thought her pretty and
bright, became very fond of her, and sent her to finish her education at
Madame Campan's boarding-school at Saint Germain. Madame Campan wrote to
Madame Louis about her young pupil as follows: "I am certainly surprised
at the way Mademoiselle Stéphanie has turned out since she returned from
Saint Leu. She may become a very charming woman, but not if she stays at
Saint Cloud. Royal palaces have never been good schools; pleasures, the
taste for excitement and flattery, corrupt not merely those who are young,
but even those who go there already matured, unless they are protected by
the highest principles. If you have the power, do try to let me keep
Stéphanie until she marries; you will thereby render her a great service,
and to me, too; for the result will condemn me in the eyes of the Emperor,
who will say, with a sharp glance, 'That's very bad'; and will not have
time to ascertain the real reason. I can assure you that in a year she
will be very charming, if I can only keep my hand on her."

In the letter Madame Campan thus describes her pupil's character: "It is a
curious compound of ease at learning, self-love, emulation, idleness,
amiability, clear-mindedness, levity, haughtiness, and piety. There are a
good many qualities to dispose of, and on this proper arrangement depends
her happiness or unhappiness, and my success or failure." In personal
appearance Mademoiselle de Beauharnais was very charming; she had a good
figure, an expressive countenance, a brilliant complexion, bright blue
eyes, light hair, and an agreeable voice. Moreover, her manners were good,
she had keen mother wit, much gaiety and enthusiasm, and was, in short, a
very attractive young person.

The Emperor had a sort of infatuation for her, and treated her with
exceptional kindness that did not fail to excite comment. Although her
father was still living, he decided to adopt her, and this was thought a
singular thing to do. The young Stéphanie became an Imperial Highness and
took precedence of the Emperor's sisters, while her father was merely one
of the herd of senators. In the decree of March 3, 1806, it was said: "Our
intention being that our daughter the Princess Stéphanie Napoleon, shall
enjoy all the prerogatives due to her rank; at receptions, festivities,
and at table she shall sit at our side, and in our absence she shall take
her place at the right of Her Majesty the Empress." Josephine possibly
thought that her young relative was a little too well treated by the
Emperor, and that his feelings for her were not wholly paternal. Evil
tongues asserted that Napoleon was in love with his adopted daughter, but
in spite of those malicious insinuations, no serious charge can be brought
against her innocence. Her betrothed, the Prince of Baden, was madly in
love with her, and showed by his conduct that it was he who was making a
fine marriage. Mademoiselle de Beauharnais from the moment that she
assumed the name of Napoleon imagined that nothing was too good for her.
It was only by condescension that she married the son of an elector, for
she was never tired of saying, to her adopted father's great delight, that
an emperor's daughter could marry either a king or a king's son.

The marriage was celebrated with great pomp in the chapel of the Palace of
the Tuileries, April 8, 1806, at eight in the evening. The witnesses for
the bridegroom were the Crown Prince of Bavaria, Baron de Gueusau, and M.
de Dalberg; those of the bride were M. de Talleyrand, M. de Champagny, and
M. de Ségur. The procession went from the grand apartments to the chapel
in the following order: the Empress, preceded by the officers of the
Princesses, accompanied by the Prince of Baden, the Princesses, and the
Crown Prince of Bavaria, and followed by the ladies of her household and
of those of the Princesses; the Emperor, conducting the bride, and
preceded by the officers of the Princes, his own officers, the Grand
Dignitaries of the Empire, the Ministers, the High Officers of the Crown,
and followed by the colonel-general of the guard on duty. At the chapel
door the clergy received Napoleon and Josephine beneath a canopy, and they
took their places on two small thrones in front of the altar, while the
Prince of Baden and the bride took their places on two stools at the foot
of its steps. The ceremony began with the blessing of thirteen pieces of
gold which the Cardinal Caprara, Legate _a latere_, gave to the Prince of
Baden, who presented them to his bride. The Cardinal gave them the nuptial
blessing. Meanwhile Monsignor Charier-Lavoche, Bishop of Versailles, the
Emperor's First Almoner, and Monsignor de Broglie, Bishop of Acqui, his
Almoner in Ordinary, were holding a canopy of silver brocade over the head
of the kneeling Prince and Princess. These two prelates wore a camail and
rochet. Cardinal Caprara and his assistant, Monsignor de Rohan, the
Empress's Almoner, wore the golden cape.

During the ceremony, which lasted about an hour, the front of the
Tuileries and the garden were illuminated. At nine o'clock there were
fireworks on the Place de la Concorde, which the Emperor and Empress
watched from the balcony of the Hall of the Marshals. As they appeared on
the balcony with the young people, they were greeted with warm applause
from the dense crowd in the garden. The Empress, who was clad in a dress
embroidered with gold, wore on her head, besides the Imperial crown, a
million francs' worth of pearls. Princess Stéphanie was charming in her
white tulle dress, with silver stars, trimmed with orange flowers, and her
diamond frontlet. After the fireworks came a concert and ballet in the
Hall of the Marshals. But little attention was paid to the concert,
although silence prevailed; the ballet, which was rendered by the best
dancers from the Opera, was very successful. Then the company went to the
Gallery of Diana, where tables had been set for two hundred ladies, and a
magnificent supper was served. The grace and distinction of the bride
aroused general admiration. Her father, Senator Beauharnais, kept silence
and wept for joy.

Never had the court been more dazzling with its glittering uniforms,
gorgeous dresses, and sumptuous pomp. The Emperor in his gala dress, the
Empress in her Imperial splendor, the Princesses vying in luxury, the new
Queen of Naples staggering under her load of precious stones, the Princess
Louis covered with turquoises set in diamonds. Princess Caroline Murat
decked with a thousand rubies, Princess Pauline with all the Borghese
diamonds besides her own, the ambassadors, grand dignitaries, marshals,
generals, with their coats covered with gold and decorations, the
chamberlains in red, the master of ceremonies in violet, the masters of
the hounds in green, the equerries in blue, all the ladies in dresses with
long trains; the two fashionable women, Madame Maret and Madame Savary,
who each spent fifty thousand francs a year in dress; Madame de Canisy,
tall, black-haired, bright-eyed, with her aquiline nose and her impressive
air; Madame Lannes, with her gentle face like one of Raphael's Madonnas;
Madame Duchâtel, fair, with blue eyes; and that proud duchess of the
Faubourg Saint Germain, a lady of the palace in spite of herself, the
Duchess of Chevreuse, who, if not the most beautiful woman there, had
perhaps the grandest air. It was a most animated festivity, with its
flowers, lights, and splendor. The Hall of the Marshals was radiant with
its military portraits, its chandeliers, and air of triumph.... Now
consider the ruins of this palace of Caesar, this Olympus of Jupiter, this
sanctuary of glory, majesty, and dominion. See and reflect! Nothing is
left of all that pomp and grandeur! The proudest buildings have vanished!
Such is the end of human splendor!



At the beginning of 1804, Napoleon regarded himself the absolute master of
fortune. His twofold title of Emperor of the French and King of Italy no
longer sufficed him; he yearned for that of Emperor of the West. He
created kings, grand dukes, sovereign princes. He made his brother Joseph
King of the Two Sicilies; his brother-in-law Murat Grand Duke of Berg and
Cleves; his sister Pauline Princess of Guastalla; he conferred the
principality of Massa upon his sister Elisa, who was already in possession
of the Duchy of Lucca; his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Talleyrand, became
Prince of Benevento; his Major-General, Berthier, Prince of Neufchâtel;
and his brother Joseph's brother-in-law, Bernadotte, Prince of Ponte
Corvo. He also elevated members of his wife's family as well as of his own
to high positions. Josephine's son was Viceroy and son-in-law of a king.
Josephine's daughter was about to become a queen.

France, which, fourteen years before, had wanted to convert every monarchy
into a republic, was now endeavoring to turn the oldest republics into
monarchies. The illustrious republics of Genoa and Venice had become an
integral part, the one of the French Empire, the other of the Kingdom of
Italy. The Batavian Republic was about to be transformed into the Kingdom
of Holland. When it became known in Paris that this new kingdom was to be
created by the Emperor's will, people wondered who was to fill the throne;
some were betting on Louis Bonaparte; others on his brother Jerome; still
others on Murat. The Emperor, however, had settled the question, and
without even consulting him, had decided that Louis was to be King of

This new monarch, who was born September 2, 1778, was then twenty-seven
years old. Four years before he had married Josephine's daughter, Hortense
de Beauharnais, but the marriage had been an unhappy one. As he himself
wrote, his marriage was celebrated in sadness. The author of a very
remarkable study, _Holland and King Louis_, M. Albert Réville, says with
great truth: "Like Hortense, Louis had literary tastes; but there the
resemblance ceases. It was not that there was nothing romantic in
Hortense's character; she was among the first to become interested in the
Middle Ages, the Gothic revival, the imitation of the troubadours; but her
romanticism was wholly different from that of her husband. Her ideal was,
perhaps, a young and handsome soldier, pensive when away from the lady of
his thoughts, but not when in her company." M. Réville goes on: "Such a
character could not understand the sensitiveness, the shrinking, morbid
melancholy of the husband thrust upon her. Her gaiety, her devotion to
pleasure, the frivolity of her talk, could only pain more and more a man
of a gloomy temperament, who took the greatest care of his health, who
fretted himself over the most trivial details, and whose distrust amounted
to injustice."

Hortense was expansive, merry, ardent, enthusiastic, young in heart and
mind, a thoroughly open nature. Her husband, on the other hand, was of a
morose, sombre, melancholy, reserved nature. In spite of her superior
intelligence Hortense had a sort of childlike air; but Louis, though young
in years, had the character and appearance of an old man. As much as
Hortense loved liberty, her suspicious husband wished to hold firmly the
reins of conjugal authority. He was prematurely afflicted with various
infirmities, almost always morbidly nervous and impressionable, disposed
to take a dark view of everything, and bore no resemblance to the type of
hero which Hortense had imagined. Moreover, the unhappy husband endured a
hidden anguish which he had to conceal from every one and which tortured
his heart; he imagined that his rival with his wife was his own brother,
Napoleon. Thiers says in discussing this delicate subject: "Louis, ill,
puffed-up with pride, assuming virtue and really upright, pretended that
he was sacrificed to the infamous necessity of covering, by his marriage,
the weakness of Hortense de Beauharnais for Napoleon,--an odious calumny,
invented by the émigrés, spread abroad in a thousand pamphlets, about
which Louis did wrong to betray such anxiety that he seemed to believe it

In a word, there existed between husband and wife a real incompatibility
of temper, and the constraint of their position only added to the mutual
repulsion which they felt for each other in private, though they did not
dare confess it through fear of Napoleon's reproaches. They were married
January 4, 1802, and had a son born the next October, whom their enemies
asserted was the son of the Emperor, and the greater the interest and
affection the Emperor showed to this child, the more freely were calumnies
circulated. Louis Bonaparte imagined his honor tainted, and suffered

As for Hortense, she was unhappy, but she had consolations. Her mother's
love, the society of her old schoolmates, her interest in art, worldly
successes, the distractions of Paris life, made her forget some of her
domestic troubles. The thought of leaving that congenial spot to live
alone with her husband in the cold dampness of Holland filled her with
gloom. She did not care for a throne, for she felt that a royal palace
would be for her nothing but a prison.

Louis, too, seemed devoid of ambition for the crown that was held before
him. Annoyed at not being consulted in the negotiations on which depended
his call to the throne, he maintained a passive attitude. But as he was
accustomed to comply with every wish of a brother who had taken charge of
his education, and thereby acquired special authority over him, he
invariably obeyed his orders. The Batavian deputation, of which the most
important member was Admiral Verhuel, had just arrived in Paris, and with
it the Emperor was settling the fate of Holland. Baron Ducasse, in an
interesting paper In the _Revue Historique_ for February, 1880, has
recounted all the unfortunate Louis Bonaparte's attempts to escape having
royalty forced upon him. He gave as a pretext, for his reluctance, the
rights of the old Stadtholder. The Batavian deputation in reply announced
to him the death of that official, "The hereditary Prince," they said,
"has received in compensation Fulda; hence you can have no reasonable
objection. We come, in accordance with the votes of nine-tenths of the
nation, to beg of you to ally your fate with ours, and to prevent our
falling into other hands." Napoleon used even plainer language. He
declared to his brother without beating the bush that he had accepted for
him, and that, even if he had not consulted him, a subject could not
refuse obedience.

A few days later, Talleyrand, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, went to
Saint Cloud and read to Louis and Hortense the treaty with Holland, and
the constitution of that country. It was of no use for the King to say
that he could not judge such important documents from a simple reading, he
was not granted a moment's reflection. In vain he pleaded his health,
which could not fail to suffer from the damp climate of Holland. Napoleon
was inflexible, and said, "It is better to die on a throne than to live a
French Prince." There was nothing for him to do but to give his consent.

The new King's proclamation was delivered at the Palace of the Tuileries
in the Throne Room, June 5, 1806. Early in the same day, the Emperor had
formally received Mahib Effendi, Ambassador of the Sultan Selim. The
Oriental diplomatist had greeted him as "the first and greatest of
Christian monarchs, the bright star of glory of the western nations, the
one who held in a firm hand the sword of valor and the sceptre of
justice." Napoleon had replied: "Whatever good or bad fortune may befall
the Ottomans will be fortunate or unfortunate for France. Report, I beg of
you, my words to the Sultan Selim. Bid him never to forget that my
enemies, who are also his, would like to get at him. He has nothing to
fear from me; united with me, he need not fear the power of any of his
enemies." When the audience was over, the Ambassador made three deep bows
and withdrew, but stopped in the next room, where the presents of the
Grand Porte were set out on a table; they consisted of an aigret of
diamonds, and a costly box set with gems and adorned with the monogram of
the Sultan. Mahib Effendi, after offering the presents to the Emperor,
showed him those sent to the Empress. They were a pearl necklace,
perfumes, and Oriental stuffs. Napoleon examined them, and then went to
the window to see some superbly harnessed Arabian horses, presented to him
in the name of the Sultan.

The proclamation of the King of Holland was read a few moments later.
Admiral Verhuel took the floor and began to speak of the happiness assured
to his country when it should have made fast the ties that bound it to the
"immense and immortal Empire." The Emperor said to the Dutch
representatives: "France has been so generous as to renounce all the
rights over you which were given it by the events of the war, but I cannot
confide the fortresses that guard my northern frontiers to any unfaithful
or even uncertain hands. Representatives of the Batavian people, I grant
the prayer you present to me, and proclaim Prince Louis King of Holland."
Then turning to his brother, he said: "You, Prince, reign over this
people; their fathers acquired their independence only by the constant aid
of France. Since then Holland was the ally of England; it was conquered;
and still owes its existence to us. She will owe to us the kings who
protect its laws, its liberties, its religion! But do not ever cease to be
a Frenchman. The dignity of Constable of the Empire will ever belong to
you and to your descendants; it will define for you your duties towards me
and the importance I attach to the guard of the fortresses protecting the
north of my states, which I confide to you. Prince, maintain among your
troops that spirit which I have seen in them on the field of battle.
Encourage in your new subjects the feelings of union and love which they
ought always to have for France. Be the terror of evil-doers and the
father of the upright; that is the character of a great king."

The vassalage of the new monarch was thus definitely established; he
remained Constable of the Empire; he was ordered to be French and not
Dutch. His first duties were to the Emperor, his brother and suzerain. He
respectfully approached the throne, and said with evident emotion: "Sire,
I have made it my highest ambition to sacrifice my life to Your Majesty's
service. I have made my happiness consist in admiring all those qualities
which make you so dear to those who, like me, have so often witnessed the
power and the effects of your genius; I may then be permitted to express
my regrets in leaving, but my life and my wishes belong to you. I shall go
to reign over Holland, since that nation desires it and Your Majesty
commands it. I shall be proud to reign over it; but, however glorious may
be the career thus opened to me, the assurance of Your Majesty's constant
protection, the love and patriotism of my new subjects, can alone inspire
me with the hope of healing the wounds of the many wars and events that
have crowded into a few years." After the royal speech the usher threw
open the door, and as in the time of Louis XIV., at the acceptation of the
Spanish accession, the new King was announced to the assembled crowd.

As M. Albert Réville says, no one in France regretted the Batavian
Republic when it was stricken from the roll of history by the will of a
despot; or, rather, the Parisians, in their occasionally exaggerated
infatuation, fancied that the Dutch would be overjoyed to have a French

The next day, after breakfast, the Emperor was playing with the new King's
oldest son, the little Napoleon, who was only three years and a half old,
but was very bright for his age, and already knew by heart La Fontaine's
fables. The Emperor made him recite the fable about the frogs who wanted a
king, and listened to it, laughing loudly. He pinched the Queen's ear, and
asked her, "What do you say to that, Hortense?" The allusions to the poor
king and to his poor people were only too clear. The melancholy monarch,
or rather, the crowned monarch, was to be, according to the Emperor's
plan, a mere tool in the hands of his powerful brother. He was condemned
to discharge the functions of receiver of dues and of recruiting officer
in the Emperor's service. He had a presentiment of this degraded position,
and took his departure with much anxiety.

For Hortense, leaving was sadder. No exile ever turned towards foreign
parts with heavier sorrow. Her diadem was a crown of thorns. Her mother's
grief augmented her own. Without her children, Josephine, naturally
unambitious, found no consolation in the thought that her son was a
Viceroy, her daughter a Queen. Before she left Paris Hortense, in terror
before the thought that the Emperor would no longer be near to defend her,
told her all her domestic unhappiness, and said that if her husband
treated her too ill, she would abandon her throne for a convent.

Nevertheless she had to obey. June 15, 1806, Louis started from Saint Leu
to go to his kingdom. He was accompanied by his wife and his two sons, the
elder, Charles Napoleon, who died in Holland the 5th of the next May, and
the other, Louis Napoleon, who died at Forte, in 1831, in the insurrection
of the States of the Church against the Pope. His third son, later
Napoleon III., was born in 1808. The new King entered The Hague June 23,
1806. He countermanded a body of French troops which the Emperor had
designed for his escort at his entrance into the capital, being unwilling
to appear before his subjects as a sovereign imposed upon them by actual
force. "You may be sure," he said to them, "that from the moment I set
foot on the soil of this kingdom, I became a Dutchman." The same day
General Dupont Chaumont, French Minister at The Hague, wrote to Prince
Talleyrand: "To-day, June 23, His Majesty made his formal entrance into
his capital. He went to the Assembly where he received the oath of the
representatives of the people and made a speech which was much applauded.
The French camp obtained permission from the Governor of the Palace to
surprise Their Majesties by fireworks and military music. These
festivities naturally put a stop to all business, except for His Majesty,
who finds time to examine and decide the most urgent matters, the ease
with which he works greatly surprising a nation unaccustomed to such
activity. Already the King and Queen are spoken of most enthusiastically
by those who have had the honor to be presented to Their Majesties. The
satisfaction will be general, when many shall have had the opportunity to
approach the throne."

In spite of the optimisms of this despatch, the new King was to have an
unhappy reign. His loyal and upright intentions were to be shattered
against the inflexible will of his formidable brother. Louis was a just
man and sincerely devoted to his people. He was called, and is still
called, "the good King Louis": but the Emperor, who ironically reproached
him with trying to win the affection of shopkeepers, was to write to him
in 1807: "A monarch who is called a good king, is a king that's ruined."
As for Queen Hortense, more and more tormented by her husband's
suspicions, with her health impaired by the moist climate, and her ever-
growing melancholy, she was to feel like a condemned exile in her kingdom.
No woman ever gave a complete lie to the expression, "As happy as a



In spite of all the honors that encompassed her, the Empress was ever more
and more unhappy. The departure of her daughter Hortense left a void in
her life that nothing could fill. She wrote to the new Queen from Saint
Cloud, July 15, 1806: "Since you left I have been ill, sad, and unhappy; I
have even been feverish and have had to keep my bed. I am now well again,
but my sorrow remains. How could it be otherwise when I am separated from
a daughter like you, loving, gentle, and amiable, who was the charm of my
life?... How is your husband? Are my grandchildren well? Heavens, how sad
it makes me not to see them! and how is your health, dear Hortense? If you
are ever ill, let me know, and I will hasten to you at once.... Good by,
my dear Hortense, think often of your mother, and be sure that never was a
daughter more loved than you are. Many kind messages to your husband; kiss
the children for me. It would be very kind of you to send me some of your

Josephine was about to have another cause for grief. A new war was
imminent, but the Empress hid her uneasiness in order not to distance
Hortense. "All your letters," she wrote to her, "are charming, and you are
kind to write so often. I have heard from Eugene and his wife; they are
evidently very happy, and so am I, for I am going with the Emperor, and am
already packing. I assure you, that even if this war breaks out, I have no
fear; the nearer I am to the Emperor, the less I shall care, and I feel
that I should die if I stayed here. Another joy to me is our meeting at
Mayence. The Emperor has bidden me tell you that he has just given to the
King of Holland an army of eighty thousand men, and his command will
extend to Mayence. He thinks that you can come then and stay with me. Is
not that an agreeable bit of news for a mother who loves you so dearly?
Every day we shall have news of the Emperor and your husband; we will be
happy together. The Grand Duke of Berg spoke to me about you and the
children; kiss them for me till I can kiss them for myself, as well as my
daughter; this will be soon, I hope. My best regards to the King."

Napoleon was about to begin a gigantic war against Prussia and Russia. In
spite of his confidence in his star, he was not without some
apprehensions, and he left reluctantly. A cloud seemed to hang over Saint
Cloud. "Why are you so gloomy?" the Emperor asked Madame de Rémusat, whose
husband, the First Chamberlain, had just been sent to Mayence to prepare
the Emperor's quarters. "I am gloomy," she replied, "because my husband
has left me." And as Napoleon sneered at her conjugal devotion, she added:
"Sire, I take no part in heroic joys, and for my part, I had placed my
glory in happiness." Then the Emperor burst out laughing and said:
"Happiness? Oh yes, happiness has a great deal to do with this century!"

The Empress hoped to accompany her husband as far as Mayence, and remain
there during the war, with her daughter. At the last moment she came near
missing even this. Napoleon wanted to go off alone, but she wept so much,
besought him so earnestly, that he took pity on her and gave her leave to
enter his carriage; she had but a single chambermaid with her. Her
household was to join her some days later.

Napoleon and Josephine left Saint Cloud in the night of September 24,
1806. After stopping for some hours at Metz, they reached Mayence the
28th. The Emperor started again, October 2, at nine in the evening, for
the head of the army. At this moment he had an access of affection and a
revival of his old tenderness for the woman who long since had inspired
him with much love. Seeing that she was weeping bitterly, he, too, shed
tears, and was even attacked by convulsions. They made him sit down and
gave him a few drops of orange-flower water. In a few moments he
controlled his emotion, gave Josephine a farewell kiss, and said: "The
carriages are ready, are they not? Tell those gentlemen and let us be

The Empress remained at Mayence. Napoleon wrote to her October 5, 1806:
"There is no reason why the Princess of Baden should not go to Mayence. I
don't know why you are so distressed; it is wrong of you to grieve so
much. Hortense is inclined to pedantry; she is liberal with advice. She
wrote to me, and I answered her. She should be happy and gay. Courage and
gaiety, that is the recipe." It is plain that the Emperor's gloom had been
of brief duration. When he was once more at war, in his element, he had
quickly resumed his customary eagerness. He wrote to his wife from
Bamberg, October 7: "I leave this evening for Kronach. The whole army is
in motion. All goes on well; my health is perfect. I have not yet received
any letters from you, but I have heard from Eugene and Hortense. Stephanie
ought to be with you. Her husband [the Prince of Baden] wishes to take
part in the war; he is with me. Good by. A thousand kisses and good
health!" Again, October 18: "Today I am at Gera. Everything goes on as
well as I could hope. With God's aid, the poor King of Prussia will be in
a lamentable state, I think. I am personally sorry for him, because he is
a good man. The Queen is at Erfurt with the King. If she wants to see a
battle, she will have that cruel pleasure. I am wonderfully well, and have
gained flesh since I left; and yet I go twenty or twenty-five leagues
every day, on horseback or in a carriage,--in every possible way. I go to
bed at eight and get up at midnight, sometimes, I think, before you have
gone to bed. Ever yours."

In these campaigns Napoleon was not yet surrounded by the comforts which
later made war less fatiguing for him, perhaps too easy. He endured all
the toil and privation of a private soldier. In five minutes his table,
his coffee, his bed were prepared. Often in less time than that the bodies
of men and horses had to be removed to make room for his tent. His longest
meal lasted no more than eight or ten minutes. The Emperor would then call
for horses and leave in company with Berthier, one or two riders, and
Roustan, his faithful Mameluke. At night, when lying on his little iron
bed, he took but little rest. Hardly had he fallen asleep when he would
call his valet de chambre who slept in the same tent: "Constant!" "Sire."
"See what aide-de-camp is on duty." "Sire, it is so-and-so." "Tell him to
come and speak to me." The aide-de-camp would arrive: "You must go to such
a corps, commanded by Marshal so-and-so; you will tell him to place such a
regiment in such a position; you will ascertain the position of the enemy,
then you will report to me." The Emperor seemed to fall asleep again, but
in a few moments he was calling again: "Constant!" "Sire." "Summon the
Prince of Neufchâtel." The Major-General would appear in a great hurry,
and Napoleon would dictate some orders to him. That is the way his nights
were passed.

The night before the battle of Jena was an exception, and the Emperor
slept soundly, "Yet," says General de Ségur, "our position was so perilous
that some of us said the enemy could have thrown a bullet across all our
lines with the hand. This was so true that the first cannon-ball fired the
next day passed over our heads and killed a cook at his canteen far behind
us." At about five o'clock Napoleon asked of Marshal Soult: "Shall we beat
them?" "Yes, if they are there." answered the Marshal; "I am only afraid
they have left." At that moment, the first musketry fire was heard, "There
they are!" said the Emperor, joyfully; "there they are! the business is
beginning." Then he went to address the infantry, encouraging them to
crush the famous Prussian cavalry. "This cavalry," he said, "must be
destroyed here, before our squares, as we crushed the Russian infantry at
Austerlitz." The victory was overwhelming. Napoleon thus recounted it in a
letter to the Empress, dated Jena, October 15, at three in the morning:
"My dear, I have done some good manoeuvring against the Prussians.
Yesterday I gained a great victory. They were one hundred and fifty
thousand men; I have made twenty thousand prisoners, captured one hundred
cannon and flags. I was facing the King of Prussia and very near him; I
just missed capturing him and the Queen. I have been bivouacking for two
days. I am wonderfully well. Good by, my dear, keep well and love me. If
Hortense is at Mayence, give her a kiss as well as Napoleon and the little
one." And again from Weimar, October 16: "M. Talleyrand will have shown
you the bulletin and you will have seen our success. Everything has turned
out as I planned, and never was an army more thoroughly beaten and
destroyed. I will only add that I am well; that fatigue, watching, and the
bivouac have made me stouter. Good by, my dear, much love to Hortense and
the great Napoleon."

Hortense had joined her mother at Mayence with her two sons, meeting there
her relative, Princess Stéphanie of Baden, the Princess of Nassau and her
daughters, many generals' wives, who had desired to be near the scene of
war to get early news. With what impatience tidings were awaited! With
what curiosity and respect were read and discussed the two or three words
scrawled by the hand of the Emperor or of his lieutenants! A lookout had
been placed a league away on the high-road, who announced the coming of a
messenger by blowing on a horn. At the same time the files of prisoners
were seen passing on their way to France. Josephine, ever kind and
pitiful, tried to soften their lot and gave aid and comfort to officers
and soldiers.

Meanwhile Napoleon continued his triumphal march. From Wittenberg he wrote
to his wife, October 23: "I have received a number of letters from you. I
write but a word: everything goes on well. To-morrow I shall be at
Potsdam, the 25th at Berlin. I am perfectly well; fatigue agrees with me.
I am glad to hear of you in company together with Hortense and Stéphanie.
The weather has so far been very pleasant. Much love to Stéphanie and to
every one, including M. Napoleon. Good by, my dear. Ever yours."

At Potsdam the Emperor visited the celebrated palace of Sans Souci and
found the room of Frederick the Great as it had been in his lifetime, and
guarded by one of his old servants. He then went to the Protestant church
which contained the hero's tomb. "The door of the monument was open," says
General de Ségur. "Napoleon paused at the entrance, in a grave and
respectful attitude. He gazed into the shadow enclosing the hero's ashes,
and stood thus for nearly ten minutes, motionless, silent, as if buried in
deep thought. There were five or six of us with him: Duroc, Caulaincourt,
an aide-de-camp, and I. We gazed at this solemn and extraordinary scene,
imagining the two great men face to face, identifying ourselves with the
thoughts we ascribed to our Emperor before that other genius whose glory
survived the overthrow of his work, who was as great in extreme adversity
as in success." The eighteenth bulletin said of this tomb: "The great
man's remains are enclosed in a wooden coffin covered with copper, and are
placed in a vault, with no ornaments, trophies, or other distinction
recalling his great actions." The Emperor presented to the Invalides in
Paris Frederick's sword, his ribbon of the Black Eagle, his general's
sash, as well as the flags carried by his guard in the Seven Years' War.
The old veterans of the army of Hanover received with religious respect
everything which had belonged to one of the first captains whose memory is
recorded in history. When he saw that the Prussian court had not thought
of making those relics safe from invasion, the hero of Jena, who on this
occasion abused his victory, exclaimed as he pointed to the famous sword:
"I prefer that to twenty millions." In his letters to Josephine, Napoleon
made no mention of his impressions in the house of Frederick. He simply
wrote, October 24: "I have been at Potsdam since yesterday, and shall
spend to-day here. I continue to be satisfied with everything. My health
is good; the weather is fine. I find Sans Souci very agreeable. Good by,
my dear. Much love to Hortense and M. Napoleon."

October 27, 1806, the Emperor made his formal entrance into Berlin,
surrounded by his guard and followed by the cuirassiers of the divisions
of Hautpoul and Nansouty. He proceeded in triumph from the
Charlottenburger gate to the King's Palace, of which he was to take
possession. The populace crowded the streets, but uttered no cries of hate
or flattery for the conqueror. "Prussia was happy," says Thiers, "at not
being divided, and at retaining its dignity in its disasters. The enemy's
entrance was not first the overthrow of one party and the triumph of
another; it contained no unworthy faction, indulging in odious joy and
applauding the presence of foreign soldiers! We Frenchmen, unhappier in
our defeats, have known this abominable joy; for we have seen everything
in this century: the extremes of victory and of defeat, of grandeur and of
abasement, of the purest devotion and of the blackest treachery!" Alas!
What Frenchman could have foretold in 1806 the disasters of 1814 and 1815?
The army deemed itself invincible and was wild with joyful pride. Davout,
whose men the Emperor had just congratulated, wrote to him in great
enthusiasm: "Sire, we are your tenth legion. Everywhere and at all times
the third corps will be for you what that legion was for Caesar." Never
did soldiers have greater enthusiasm or more confidence in their leader.

One might have said that Josephine, amid all these triumphs, had a
presentiment of the future. Victories could not dispel her sadness. Her
husband wrote to her November 1: "Talleyrand has come, and tells me that
you do nothing but cry. But what do you want? You have your daughters,
your grandchildren, and good news; certainly you have the materials for
happiness and content. The weather here is superb; not a drop of rain has
fallen in the whole campaign, I am in good health, and everything is
progressing favorably. Good by. I have received a letter from M. Napoleon;
I don't think it is from him but from Hortense. Love to all."

Napoleon was not modest in his triumph. He pursued with sarcasms the
nobility of Prussia and Queen Louise who had warmly counselled war. This
fair sovereign, the mother of the late Emperor William, was then thirty
years old; she was the daughter of a Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and of a
Princess of Hesse-Darmstadt. She was a most thorough German, hated France,
and especially the French Revolution. She was a fearless horsewoman, and
had been seen facing great dangers at the battle of Jena. When she rode
before her troops in her helmet of polished steel, shaded by a plume, in
her glittering golden cuirass, her tunic of silver stuff, her red boots
with gold spurs, she resembled Tasso's heroines. The soldiers burst into
cries of enthusiasm, as they saw their warlike Queen; before her were
bowed the flags she had embroidered with her own hands, and the old, torn,
and battle-stained standards of Frederick the Great. After the battle she
was obliged to take flight, at full gallop, to avoid being captured by the
French hussars.

In his bulletins the Emperor had made the serious blunder of speaking of
Queen Louise in a manner wanting in proper respect for a woman, and
especially for a woman in misfortune. Josephine, who was full of tact, was
much pained by this lack of generosity, and reproached her husband for it.
Napoleon sought to excuse himself, writing, November 6: "I have received
your letter in which you seem pained by the evil I say of women. It is
true that I hate, more than anything, intriguing women. I am used to
kindly, gentle, conciliating women; those are the ones I love. If they
have spoiled me, it is not my fault, but yours. Now I will show you that I
have been very good for one who has shown herself sensible and kind,
Madame Hatzfeld. When I showed her her husband's letter, bursting into
tears, she said to me with, great emotion, and simplicity: 'It is
certainly his hand-writing!' As she read it, her accent touched my heart
and gave me real distress, I said to her: 'Well, Madame, throw that letter
into the fire, I shall not be strong enough to punish your husband,' She
burned the letter and seemed to be very happy, Her husband has ever since
been very calm; two hours more, and he would have been a ruined man. You
see then that I love kind, simple, gentle women; but it's because they are
like you. Good by, my dear, I am well."

The kingdom of Prussia was conquered, but the war was not over, After
fighting the Prussians he had to fight the Russians; the war in Poland was
beginning. Napoleon wrote to the King of Prussia: "Your Majesty has
announced to me that you have thrown yourself into the arms of the
Russians. The future will decide whether this is the best and wisest
choice. You have taken the dice-box and thrown the dice; the dice will
decide it." At Paris, in spite of the splendors of the Imperial glory,
there existed a vague uneasiness. Peace had been expected after Jena, and
some apprehension was felt about the renewal of the struggle in the
northern steppes. Madame de Rémusat wrote, November 9, to her husband, who
was at Mayence with the Empress, "There is something in the Emperor's
career which confounds ordinary calculations, and, so to speak, goes
beyond them. It is most impressive, and, I might say, alarming, and yet he
seems so far above customary conditions that there is no need of fear
about the points to which he exposes himself, and still less, draw the
line at which he shall stop. But I shudder to think how far he is from us
at this moment. May God be with him, I am ever praying, and preserve him!
While this great part of the French nation which is under his orders, is
marching to great victories, we are vegetating here in complete dulness.
There is very little society, and no houses are open."

Josephine was very anxious to join her husband who held it before her as a
possibility, but never permitted it. He had written to her, November 16:
"I am glad to see that my views please you. You were wrong to think I was
flattering; I spoke of you as you seem to me. I am sorry to think that you
are bored at Mayence. If the journey was not so long you might come here,
for the enemy has left, and is beyond the Vistula; that is to say, one
hundred and twenty leagues from here. I will await your decision. I shall
be glad to see M. Napoleon. Good by, my dear. Ever yours." And November
22: "Be satisfied and happy in my friendship, in all I feel for you. In a
few days I shall decide to summon you or to send you to Paris. Good by.
You may go now, if you wish, to Darmstadt and Frankfort; that will amuse
you. Much love to Hortense." After signing the decree establishing the
continental blockade, Napoleon had left Berlin November 25. The next day
he again held before Josephine the prospect of a speedy meeting. "I am at
Custrin," he said in his letter, "to make some reconnoissances; I shall
see you in two days if you are to come. You can hold yourself in
readiness. I shall be glad to have the Queen of Holland come too. The
Grand Duchess of Baden must write to her husband about coming. It is two
o'clock in the morning; I have just got up. That is the way at war. Much
love to you and every one." A letter from Meseritz, March 27, was still
more explicit: "I am going to make a trip through Poland; this is the most
important city here. I shall be at Posen this evening, after which I
summon you to Berlin, that you may arrive there the same day. My health is
good, the weather rather bad; it has been raining for three days. Matters
are in a good condition. The Russians are in flight." Josephine, who had
trembled with joy at the thought of seeing her husband, fell into great
gloom when she saw that she had been deceived by a vain hope. The tortures
of, alas! too well-founded jealousy were to be added to her sufferings!

Napoleon reached Posen November 28, and wrote the next day to his wife: "I
am at Posen, the capital of Great Poland, The cold is beginning; I am
well. I am going to make a trip in Poland. My troops are at the gates of
Warsaw. Good by, my dear, much love. I kiss you with all my heart. To-day
is the anniversary of Austerlitz. I have been at a ball given by the city.
It is raining. I am well. I love you and long for you. My troops are at
Warsaw. It has not yet been cold. All the Polish women are Frenchwomen,
but there is only one woman for me. Do you know her? I should draw her
portrait for you; but I should have to flatter it too much for you to
recognize it; nevertheless, to tell the truth, my heart would have only
good things to tell you. I find the nights long in my solitude. Ever
yours." Perhaps Napoleon would not have been so amiable to Josephine had
it not been that he was going to be very unfaithful to her in Poland, and
in a movement of pity wanted to console her in advance. From there he sent
her, December 3, two letters, one at noon, the other at six in the
evening. This is the first: "I have your letter of November 26. I notice
two things: you say, don't read your letters; that is unjust. I am sorry
for your bad opinion. You tell me you are not jealous. I have long
observed that people who are angry always say that they are not angry,
that people who are afraid say they are not afraid; so you are convicted
of jealousy; I am delighted! Besides, you are mistaken, and in the deserts
of fair Poland one thinks but little about pretty women. Yesterday I was
at a ball of the nobility of the province; rather pretty women, rather
rich, rather ill dressed, although in the Paris fashion." Perhaps Napoleon
said that to reassure the Empress; I imagine that the Polish women, with
all their elegance and grace, were scarcely so ill-dressed as he

This is the second letter, dated December 3, 6 P.M.: "I have your letter
of November 27, and I see that your little head is much excited. I
remember the line: 'A woman's wish is a devouring flame,' and I must calm
you. I wrote to you that I was in Poland, that when we should have got
into winter-quarters you might come; so you must wait a few days. The
greater one becomes, the less will one must have; one depends on events
and circumstances. You may go to Frankfort or Darmstadt, I hope to summon
you in a few days, but events must decide. The warmth of your letter
convinces me that you pretty women take no account of obstacles; what you
want must be; but I must say that I am the greatest slave that lives; my
master has no heart, and this master is the nature of things." Napoleon
should have said: Providence. Man proposes, but God disposes.

Napoleon again spoke a little of having Josephine come. He wrote to her
December 10: "An officer has brought me a rug from you; it is a little
short and narrow, but I am no less grateful to you for it. I am fairly
well. The weather is very changeable. Everything is in good condition. I
love you and am very anxious to see you. Good by, my dear: I shall write
to you to come with more pleasure than you will come."

December 12 he spoke once more of this projected journey which became ever
more and more remote, like a mirage in the desert: "My health is good, the
weather very mild; the bad season has not begun, but the roads are bad in
a country where there are no highways. So Hortense will come with
Napoleon; I am delighted. I am impatient to have things settle themselves
so that you can come. I have made peace with Saxony. The Elector is King
and belongs to the confederation. Good by, my dearest Josephine. Yours
ever. A kiss to Hortense, to Napoleon, and to Stéphanie. Paër, the famous
musician, his wife, whom you saw at Milan twelve years ago, and Brizzi,
are here; they give me some music every evening." Napoleon left Posen in
the middle of December. The evening before his departure he wrote a letter
to his wife which showed the unlikelihood of her joining him, as she hoped
to do; "I am leaving for Warsaw, and shall be back in a fortnight. I hope
then to have you here. Still, if that is too long I should be glad to have
you return to Paris where you are needed. You know that I have to depend
on events." The unhappy Josephine already had a foreboding of his devotion
to a great Polish lady.

Napoleon reached Warsaw December 18, 1806. He was to stay there till the
23d, return there January 2, 1807, and not to go away till the 31st of
that month. He was greeted there with enthusiasm. He had said to his
soldiers in his proclamation on entering Poland: "The French eagle is
soaring above the Vistula. The brave and unfortunate Pole, when he sees
you, imagines that he sees the legions of Sobieski returning from their
memorable expedition." No one understood better than the Emperor how to
impress the imagination of a people. At sight of him the inhabitants of
Warsaw were thrilled with patriotic joy. It seemed to them that their
grand nation was rising from the tomb. The Polish women, with their
lively, poetic, ardent nature, regarded Napoleon as a sort of Messiah. In
the intoxication of their ecstatic admiration, the most beautiful of
them--and Poland is the country of beauty--turned towards him, like
sirens, their most seductive smiles. This coquetry they regarded as a
patriotic duty. Josephine had good grounds for jealousy.

Napoleon was in the field during the last days of December. War at that
time was particularly fatiguing. The dampness, worse than any cold,
saddened the eyes and wearied the body. The temperature was forever
changing between frost and thaw. Fighting took place in the most
unfavorable conditions. But the Emperor, pitiless for himself and every
one else, uttered no complaint. He wrote from Golimin to the Empress,
December 29, at five in the morning: "I write but a word, from a wretched
barn. I have beaten the Russians, captured thirty cannon, their baggage,
and six thousand prisoners; but the weather is frightful; it pours, and we
are knee deep in mud." And from Pultusk, December 31: "I have laughed a
good deal over your last two letters. You have formed a very inaccurate
notion of the beautiful Polish women. Two or three days I have had great
pleasure in hearing Paër and two women who have given me some very good
music. I received your letter in a wretched barn, with mud, wind, and
straw for my only bed." In spite of what her husband said, Josephine was
right about the charm of the Polish ladies, and Napoleon, on his return to
Warsaw, January 2, 1807, was to become seriously interested in one of

Soon there was no question of sending for the Empress, who would only have
been in the way. Napoleon wrote to her, January 3: "I have received your
letter. Your regret touches me, but we must submit to events. It is too
long a journey from Mayence to Warsaw; we must wait till events permit my
going to Berlin before I can write for you to come. Meanwhile, the enemy
is withdrawing, defeated, but I have a good many things to settle here. I
should advise your returning to Paris, where you are needed. Send back
those ladies who have anything to do there; you will be better for getting
rid of people who tire you. I am well; the weather is bad. I love you
much." The Emperor, utterly taken up by his love for the Polish lady, was
anxious that Josephine, instead of coming to him, should at once return
promptly to France. "My dear," he wrote to her, January 7, "I am touched
by all you say, but the cold season, the bad, unsafe roads prevent my
giving my consent to your facing so many fatigues. Return to Paris for the
winter. Go to the Tuileries, hold your receptions, and live as you do when
I am there: that is my wish. Perhaps I shall join you there without delay;
but you must give up the plan of travelling three hundred leagues at this
season, through hostile countries, in the rear of the army. Be sure that
it is more painful to me than to you to postpone for a few weeks the
pleasure of seeing you; but this is commanded by events and the state of
affairs. Good by, my dear, be happy and brave." The next day he wrote
again on the same subject: "I have yours of the 27th, with those of
Hortense and M. Napoleon enclosed. I have asked you to go back to Paris;
the season is too bad, the roads too insecure and detestable, the distance
too great for me to allow you to come so far to me when my affairs detain
me. It would take you at least a month to get here. You. would be sick
when you got here, and then, perhaps, you would have to start back; it
would be madness. Your sojourn at Mayence is too dull. Paris calls for
you; go there; that is my desire. I am more disappointed than you; but we
must bow to circumstances." In a letter of January 11, he says; "I see
very few people here." But he saw the Polish lady, and that was enough.

Josephine, who suspected a rival, was in despair. Her husband wrote to
console her, January 16: "I have received yours of January 5. All that you
say of your disappointment saddens me. Why these tears and lamentations?
Have you not more courage? I shall soon see you; do not doubt my feelings,
and if you wish to be still dearer to me, show character and strength of
soul. I am humiliated to think that my wife can doubt my destinies. Good
by, my dear, I love you and long to see you, and want to hear that you are
contented and happy." In another letter, January 18, Napoleon tried to
cheer up Josephine, who was even more anxious and uneasy: "I fear you are
unhappy about our separation which must last some weeks yet, and about
returning to Paris. I beg of you to have more courage. I hear that you are
always crying. Fie, that is very bad! Your letter of January 7 gives me
much pain. Be worthy of me and show more character. Make a proper
appearance at Paris, and above all, be contented. I am very well, and I
love you much; but if you are always in tears, I shall think you have no
courage and no character. I do not love cowards; an Empress ought to have
some spirit."

Napoleon's will was not to be altered. Josephine was forced to leave her
daughter and to return to Paris. Her husband wrote to her from Warsaw: "I
have your letter of January 15. It is impossible for me to let women
undertake such a journey: bad roads, unsafe, and a slough of mud. Go back
to Paris; be happy and contented there; perhaps I shall be there soon. I
laugh at what you say, that you married to be with your husband. I had
thought in my ignorance that the wife was created for the husband, the
husband for the country, the family, and glory. Forgive my ignorance. Good
by, my dear, believe that I regret that I cannot have you come. Say to
yourself, 'It is a proof how dear I am to him.'" All these fine words
could not console Josephine, who knew from experience that Napoleon, like
many unfaithful husbands, had a smooth, tongue when he needed forgiveness.
In vain she had waited four months at Mayence for permission to rejoin her
husband. She at last, found herself obliged to leave this town where she
had no other pleasure than the sight of her daughter and her
grandchildren, from whom she parted with pain. January 27 she was at
Strassburg, and the 31st. at Paris.



The Empress Josephine was much loved in France, and especially in Paris,
where her gentleness, amiability, and great kindliness had won for her all
sympathies, even those of people who were hostile to the Emperor. Her
return to the capital was greeted with pleasure, and her presence awakened
it from its previous gloom. The _Moniteur_ thus describes her passage
through the chief town of the department of the Lower Rhine. "Strassburg,
January 23, 1807. Her Majesty the Empress and Queen arrived within our
walls yesterday, the 27th, on her way from Mayence to Paris. Her Majesty
having consented to notify the Counsellor of State, Prefect Shée, that she
would accept a modest entertainment, this news spread lively joy
throughout this city. This proof of the Empress's kindness, accompanied by
the gracious memory she wished to testify for the people of Strassburg,
made the preparations for this impromptu event easy, and in spite of the
brief time between the announcement and the arrival of Her Majesty, a
numerous and brilliant company was soon assembled at the Prefecture. The
hall was elegantly decorated; the emblems and mottoes recalled the object
of the festivity. After a square dance and a waltz. Her Majesty passed
through the company, addressing a kind word to every lady present." The
next day, January 28, at seven in the morning, the Empress started, amid
cries of "Long live Josephine!" She reached the Tuileries January 31, at
eight in the evening. The next day, at noon, guns were fired at the
Invalides, to announce her return. The great bodies of the state solicited
the honor of offering her their homages. She was a little tired by her
journey, and was unable to receive them till February 5.

At this reception she was the object of almost as much flattery as was the
Emperor. We quote a few of the phrases:--

_M. Monge, President of the Senate_: "Madame, the Senate lays at the feet
of Your Imperial and Royal Majesty the tribute of its profound respect and
the homage of the administration with which it is animated for all your
virtues.... It congratulates itself on seeing again, in the capital, the
august spouse to whom our adored ruler has given all his confidence and
who deserves it in so many ways."

_M. de Fontanes, President of the Legislative Body_: "Half of our wishes
are granted. The presence of Your Majesty will make us attend less
impatiently another return that the French desire with you. ... Paris
consoles itself for not seeing him who gives such glory to the throne, by
finding in you her who has always lent to Sovereignty so much charm, so
much gentleness and kindness."

_M. Fabre, President of the Tribunal_: "Madame, your return has aroused
the keenest joy. The memory of that delicate kindness which knew how to
temper so many woes; of that active beneficence which repaired so many
misfortunes, is imprinted on every heart. Every one says: 'Providence in
giving to us the hero, whose vast designs are crowned with the most
constant and prompt success, desired to complete his kindness, by placing
near him her to whom every stricken heart turns, who is the most agreeable
object of gratitude, and who, moreover, throughout France is called the
friend of misfortune.'"

_M. Lejean, First Vicar-General of the Chapter of Notre Dame_ (speaking in
the place of the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, who was ill): "Madame, His
Eminence the Archbishop, our worthy prelate, has commanded me to convey to
Your Imperial and Royal Majesty his regrets at not being able himself to
present to you the chapter and clergy of Paris. 'Go,' that venerable old
man said to me, 'and assure the benevolent Empress from me that I
thoroughly share the joy which every one feels at her return. Tell her
that never a moment passes that I do not address to Heaven the most
fervent prayers for the happiness of France and of our invincible Emperor,
and for the success of his arms. The Lord has deigned to grant my prayers;
in a very short time astounding prodigies have been wrought by Napoleon,
and I offer my thanks.' The chapter and the clergy of Paris pray for Your
Majesty to be sure that their feelings for your sacred person and for that
of your august husband are like those of His Eminence."

_The Prefect of the Seine_: "You are far from the Emperor, Madame, but
Paris, too, is far from him. Well, to mitigate this separation, equally
painful for Paris and for Your Majesty, Paris and Your Majesty will talk
to one another much about the Emperor. You will take pleasure in hearing
that his subjects of the good city of Paris are ever faithful to him; that
they are prepared for every act of devotion which may be demanded by his
glory, the honor of the Empire, and the resolution he has formed of not
laying down his arms until he has assured the peace of nations. You will
take pleasure in seeing us follow in thought, even to the most distant
climes, his ever victorious eagles. In short, Madame, at every exploit of
the Grand Army, you will be glad to hear the loud applause which we have
often wished could reach you, even in the camps of the founder of the
Empire, and then touched by the sincerity of our prayers, you will deign
to listen to them, and sometimes even to be their interpreter."

In spite of these official flatteries, and more or less interested
compliments, the Empress was far from happy. Possibly she imagined that
soon, even in her lifetime, the same homage would be addressed by the same
persons, in the same palace, to another woman. Besides this, however, she
had many causes for distress. She suffered from the absence of her
children, from her daughter's domestic unhappiness, from the Emperor's
remoteness, his infidelities in Poland, from the dangers threatening him
in this relentless and distant war. She wrote to her daughter February 3:
"I got here, dear Hortense, the evening of the 31st, as I expected. My
journey was pleasant, if I can call it so when it separated me further
from the Emperor. I have received five letters from him since my
departure. I need to hear from you now that you are no longer with me to
console me. Tell me how you are; write to me about your husband and
children. Although I see more people here than at Mayence, I am quite as
lonely, and you will seem to be with me if you write. Good by, my dear, I
love you tenderly." Josephine yearned all the more eagerly for happiness
as a mother, because as wife she suffered cruelly, and the torments of
jealousy were added to her grief at the Emperor's absence.

To one of the last letters his wife had written from Mayence Napoleon
answered in an undated letter which she received in Paris: "My dear, your
letter of January 20, has pained me much; it is too sad. That is the
result of excessive piety! You tell me that your happiness makes your
glory. That is ungenerous; you ought to say, the happiness of others makes
my glory. It is not like a mother; you ought to say, the happiness of my
children is my glory. It is not like a wife; you ought to say, my
husband's happiness makes my glory. Now, since the nation, your husband,
your children cannot be happy without a little glory, you should not
despise it. Josephine, you have a good heart, but a weak head; your
feelings are most admirable; you reason less well. But that is enough
squabbling; I want you to be merry, content with your lot, and to obey,
not grumbling and crying, but cheerfully and happily. Good by, my dear.
I'm off to-night, to inspect my outposts." It must be confessed that to be
as merry as the Emperor demanded, Josephine would have needed a very
exceptional character. Her husband was at the other end of Europe, never
interrupting the intense emotions and great risks of a colossal struggle
except for brief distractions, which, however, could not be agreeable, so
suspicious and jealous as she was.

Constant, the Emperor's valet de chambre, has recounted in his Memoirs,
the passion with which a beautiful Polish lady inspired his master, early
in 1807. Napoleon spent the whole month of January at Warsaw in a great
palace. The Polish nobility gave him magnificent balls, and at one of them
he noticed a young woman of twenty-two, Madame V., who had recently
married an old nobleman, a most worthy man of stern principles and severe
nature. By the side of her aged husband, this young woman, whose sadness
and melancholy only added to her beauty, was like a victim in waiting for
a consoler. She was a charming person, with light hair, blue eyes, a
brilliant complexion, a graceful figure, and dignified carriage. The
Emperor went up to her, addressed her, and was soon delighted by her
conversation. He imagined that she was unhappily married and he at once
conceived a warm love for her, intenser and far more serious than any he
had ever felt for one of his favorites. The next day he was noticeably
restless. He would get up and walk about, then sit down only to get on his
feet again. "I thought," Constant goes on, "that I should never get him
dressed that day. Immediately after breakfast he despatched a great
personage, whose name I shall not give, to pay a visit to Madame V., and
carry his regards and entreaties. She proudly refused to listen to his
propositions, possibly on account of their suddenness, or, it may be, by
natural coquetry. The hero had pleased her; the thought of having a lover
resplendent with power and glory fascinated her, but she had no idea of
yielding without a struggle. The grand personage returned in great
surprise and compassion at the failure of his negotiation."

Constant says that he found his master the next morning very busy. The
Emperor had written many letters the previous evening to the Polish lady,
who had made no reply. His pride was wounded by a resistance to which he
had not been accustomed since he had become great. At last, however, he
had written so many, and such ardent and touching letters, that she
consented to visit him one evening between ten and eleven. The grand
personage who had tried to make the negotiations, was ordered to go to a
remote spot and receive the lady in a carriage. Napoleon paced the room
while awaiting her, betraying emotion and impatience. "At last Madame V.
arrived," says Constant, whose master kept asking him what time it was.
"She was in a most pitiable condition, pale, silent, her eyes full of
tears. As soon as she appeared, I led her to the Emperor's room. She could
scarcely stand and she was trembling as she leaned on my arm. Then I
withdrew with the great personage who had brought her. During her
interview with the Emperor, Madame V. wept and sobbed so that I could
overhear her even at a great distance. At about two in the morning, the
Emperor called me. I went to him and saw Madame V. going away, with her
handkerchief at her eyes, weeping freely. The same personage carried her
away. I thought she would never come back." But, contrary to his
expectations, Madame V. came back two or three days later at about the
same hour; she seemed calmer, her eyes were less red, her face not so
pale, and she continued her visits during the Emperor's stay. Evidently
Josephine had good grounds for jealousy.

Napoleon interrupted these distractions by going forth to fight the battle
of Eylau, one of the bloodiest and most obstinate combats known to
history. He described it in two letters to the Empress, written in the
same day. This is the first:--

"Eylau, February 9, 1803, 3 A.M. MY DEAR: We had a great battle yesterday.
I was victorious, but our loss was heavy; that of the enemy, which was
even greater, is no consolation for me. I write you these few lines
myself, though I am very tired, to tell you that I am well and love you.
Ever yours."

This is the second:--

"Eylau, February 9, 6 P.M. I write a word lest you should be anxious. The
evening lost the battle; forty cannon, ten flags, twelve thousand
prisoners, suffering horribly. I lost sixteen hundred killed and three to
four thousand wounded. Your cousin, Tascher, is unhurt. I have placed him
on my staff as artillery officer. Corbineau was killed by a shell. I was
exceedingly attached to him; he was an excellent officer, and I am deeply
distressed. My Horse Guard covered itself with glory. D'Allemagne is
dangerously wounded. Good by, my dear."

The Emperor did not tell everything to Josephine; he said nothing about
the terrible vicissitudes of the battle, a victory scarcely to be
distinguished from a defeat; he kept silence about the cruel sufferings of
his army which, without having eaten, had fought amid blinding snow
beneath a leaden sky; he said no word about the regiments destroyed, one
in particular, from colonel to drummers, all killed or wounded; he did not
mention his own danger in the cemetery on the hill, where he had stood
surrounded by his Guard, his last resource, anxiously watching the fight
from its beginning, slashing the snow with his whip, and exclaiming at the
approach of the Russian Grenadiers as they advanced towards him, "What
audacity!" He did not say that after the terrible and fruitless bloodshed,
which both armies claimed as a victory, he had been obliged to withdraw,
and that Bennigsen had taken possession of the hotly disputed battle-
field. He did not say what he was about to say in his bulletins: "Imagine,
on a space a league square, nine or ten thousand corpses; four or five
thousand dead horses; lines of Russian knapsacks; fragments of guns and
sabres: the earth covered with bullets, shells, supplies; twenty-four
cannon, surrounded by their artillery-men, slain just as they were trying
to take their guns away; and all that in plainest relief on the stretch of
snow." He did not quote the words he uttered in the biting frost, in face
of thousands of dead and dying, when the gloomy day was sinking into a
night of anguish: "This sight is one to fill rulers with a love of peace
and a horror of war." No; the Emperor did not tell her everything.

In another letter, dated Eylau, February 11, 8 A.M., the Emperor tried to
reassure the Empress: "I send you a line: you must have been very anxious,
I fought the enemy on a memorable day which cost me many brave men. The
bad weather drove me into winter quarters. Do not distress yourself, I beg
of you; it will all be over soon, and my delight at seeing you once more
will soon make me forget my fatigue. Besides, I have never been better.
Little Tascher, of the fourth of the line, did well; and he had a hard
experience. I have given him a place near me, in the artillery; so his
troubles are over. The young man interests me. Good by, my dear; a
thousand kisses."

From this moment the Emperor's letters to his wife became cold, short,
dull, and utterly insignificant; speaking of nothing but the rain, or the
good weather, and perpetually bidding her to be cheerful. A clear-witted
person ought to see readily that Napoleon, who was otherwise occupied,
wrote to the Empress only from a sense of duty. Here are four letters; the
first from Landsberg, the other three from Liebstadt. February 18: "I
write a line. I am well. I am busy putting the army into winter quarters.
It is raining and thawing like April. We have not yet had a cold day. Good
by, my dear. Yours ever." February 20: "I write a line that you may not be
anxious. My health is good, and everything is in good condition. I have
put the army into winter quarters. It is a curious season, freezing and
thawing, damp and changeable. Good by, my dear." February 21: "I have
yours of February 4, and am glad to hear that you are well. Paris will
give you cheerfulness and rest; the return to your usual habits will
restore your health. I am wonderfully well. The weather and the country
are wretched. Everything is in good condition; it freezes and thaws every
day; it is a most singular winter. Good by, my dear. I think of you, and
am anxious to hear that you are contented, cheerful, and happy. Ever
yours." February 22: "I have your letter of the 8th. I am glad to hear
that you have been to the Opera, and that you mean to receive every week.
Go to the theatre occasionally, and always sit in the grand box. I am
pleased with the festivities given to you. I am very well. The weather
continues unsettled, freezing and thawing. I have put the army into winter
quarters to rest it. Don't be sad, and believe that I love you."

Towards the end of February Napoleon had established his headquarters at
Osterode, where he lived in a sort of barn, from which he governed his
Empire and controlled Europe. He wrote to his brother Joseph, March 1,
about the sufferings of this severe campaign in Poland. "The staff-
officers have not taken off their clothes for two months, and some not for
four, I have myself been a fortnight without taking off my boots.... We
are deep in the snow and mud, without wine, brandy, or bread, living on
meat and potatoes, making long marches and counter-marches, without any
comforts, and generally fighting with the bayonets under grape-shot; the
wounded have to be carried in open sleighs for fifty leagues.... We are
making war in all its excitement and horror." It is easy to see that
Josephine, who knew all this, had good grounds for anxiety. Paris was
empty and gloomy; every face was sad. France is easily tired of
everything, even of glory. The auditors of the Council of State, who were
sent to Osterode to carry to the Emperor the reports of the different
ministers, returned to Paris in deep distress at the sights they had seen,
and spread alarm in official circles. Napoleon consequently decided that
those reports should be brought to him by staff-officers, who were more
inured to scenes of distress.

From headquarters at Osterode the Emperor sent eleven letters to the
Empress between February 23 and April 1, 1807, but he said nothing of
importance in them. Thus: "Try to pass your time agreeably; don't be
anxious. I am in a wretched village where I shall be some time; it's not
so pleasant as a large city. I tell you again, I have never been so well;
you will find me much stouter.... I have ordered what you want for
Malmaison; be happy and cheerful; that's what I desire. I am waiting for
good weather, which must come soon. I love you, and want to hear that you
are contented and cheerful. You will hear a good deal of nonsense about
the battle of Eylau; the bulletin tells everything; its report of the
losses is rather exaggerated than cut down." At the same time he somewhat
reproved his wife: "I am sorry to hear that there is a renewal of the
mischievous talk such as there was in your drawing-room at Mayence; put a
stop to it. I shall be much annoyed if you don't find some clue. You let
yourself be distressed by the talk of people who ought to cheer you up. I
recommend to you a little firmness, and to learn how to put everybody in
his place. My dear, you must not go to the small theatres in private
boxes; it does not suit your rank; you ought to go only to the four large
theatres and always sit in the Imperial box. If you want to please me, you
must live as you did when I was in Paris. Then you did not go to the small
theatres or such places. You ought always to go to the Imperial box. For
your life at home, you must have regular receptions; that is the only way
of winning my approval. Greatness has its inconveniences. An Empress can't
go about everywhere like a commoner."

The greatness which the Emperor spoke about was no consolation to
Josephine. She was unhappier beneath the gilded ceilings of the Tuileries
than a peasant woman in a hovel. She besought her husband to let her join
him in Poland, and wrote to him despairing letters.

Napoleon answered from Osterode, March 27: "My dear, I am much pained by
your letters. You must not die: you are well and have no real cause of
grief. I think you ought to go to Saint Cloud in May. but you ought to
spend April in Paris.... You must not think of travelling this summer; all
that is impossible. You couldn't be racing through inns and camps. I am as
anxious as you can be to see you and be quiet. I understand other things
than war; but duty is before everything. All my life I have sacrificed
everything--peace, interest, happiness--to my destiny." These phrases in
no way consoled Josephine who knew very well that her husband, in spite of
his assumption of Spartan austerity; occasionally indulged in

In the month of March something occurred which somewhat moderated the
Empress's sufferings. Her daughter-in-law, the Vice-Queen of Italy, gave
birth at Milan, on the 17th, to a daughter who was named Josephine
Maximilienne Augusta. She it was who was to marry, in 1827, Oscar, Crown
Prince and later King of Sweden. "You will hear with pleasure," the
Empress wrote Queen Hortense, "of the Princess Augusta's happy delivery.
Eugene is delighted with his daughter; his only complaint is that she
sleeps too much, so that he can't see her as much as he would like."
Josephine would gladly have gone to Milan to congratulate her son and to
kiss her granddaughter, but her grandeur kept her in Paris, where the
prolongation of her husband's absence and the torments of too well
justified jealousy plunged her into the deepest gloom.

Napoleon became tired of the monotonous and excessively disagreeable stay
at Osterode, where he could not receive the Polish lady to whom he became
continually more and more attached. Early in April he installed himself at
Finkenstein, in a pretty castle belonging to a Prussian crown official,
and there he was very comfortably quartered with his staff and military
household. It was from thence that he wrote, April 2, the following short
letter to Josephine: "My dear, I send you a line. I have just moved my
headquarters to a very pretty castle, like that of Bessières, where I have
a number of open fireplaces, which is very pleasant for me, as I get up
often in the night; I like to see the fire. My health is perfect, the
weather is fine, but still cold. The thermometer is but a few degrees from
freezing. Good by, my dear. Ever yours." As soon as Napoleon was settled
in this castle his first thought was to send for the Polish lady, for whom
he had fitted up an apartment near his own. She left at Warsaw her old
husband, who never consented to see her again, and spent three weeks with
the Emperor. "They took all their meals together," says Constant. "I was
the only one in attendance, so I was able to overhear their talk which was
always amiable, lively, and eager on the part of the Emperor, always
tender, affectionate and melancholy on the part of Madame V. When His
Majesty was away Madame V. spent all her time in reading or looking
through the blinds of the Emperor's room at the parades and drills going
on in the courtyard of the castle, which he often directed in person."
Constant, who felt bound to admire his master's choice, adds with some
feeling: "The Emperor appeared, to appreciate perfectly the interesting
qualities of this angelic woman, whose gentle, unselfish character left on
me an impression that can never fade... Her life, like her nature, was
calm and uniform. Her character fascinated the Emperor and bound him down
to her." This loving idyl, a sort of interlude in the tragedy of war, may
have suited Constant's taste, but it was hardly of a nature to please
Josephine, who, like most jealous people, knew almost always what she
wanted to know, and from the Tuileries found means to watch what was going
on in this distant castle.

Napoleon's letters to Josephine during the reign of Madame V. were shorter
and more stupid than usual. They were merely a few lines on the weather,
the Emperor's health, or his desire to hear that his wife was "cheerful
and happy." But, alas! cheerfulness and happiness were not for her! Too
astute to be hoodwinked, she understood that her husband still had a
friendly feeling for her but that his love was dead. In the eyes of a
jealous woman, friendship is a slight thing. What does she care for the
esteem and attentions of a friend who was once her lover? To all the good
services of friendship she would a thousand times prefer the anger, fury,
violence, of love.



Queen Hortense was no happier in her Holland palaces than was the Empress
in the Tuileries. She had to endure all the grief, deception, and misery
of an ill-assorted marriage. The incompatibility of disposition which
existed between her husband and herself from the first days of their
married life, made itself continually more felt. King Louis blamed his
wife not merely for her faults, but also for her good qualities. He was
sometimes annoyed because she was gracious, amiable, charming; and the
general sympathy she aroused in Holland, as in France, excited the fears
of this irritable and sullen husband. Hortense looked upon herself as a
victim. She had a lively imagination, and exaggerated her grief to
herself, suffering more keenly on account of her excitement, which was
often very great. One day she said to Madame de Rémusat, her intimate and
admiring friend, that her life was so painful and apparently so hopeless
that when she was at one of her villas near the sea, and looked out on the
ocean where were the English fleets blockading her ports, she wished that
chance might bring a ship to where she was, and she might be carried off a

The conjugal infelicities of Louis and his wife attracted the attention of
the Emperor, who kept as strict a guard over his family as over his
Empire, and was as prompt to exercise control in private, as in political
matters. He wanted his brother to obey him, both as King and husband, and
in his discontent at seeing his orders disobeyed, he wrote to him, from
the depths of Poland, April 4, 1807, this reproachful letter, which is a
real reprimand: "Your quarrels with the Queen have become public. Show,
then, in private life some of that paternal and effeminate character which
you display in matters of government, and in business the same rigor you
exercise in your household. You treat a young woman as we treat a
regiment.... You have an excellent and most virtuous wife and you make her
unhappy. Let her dance as much as she pleases; she is young. My wife is
forty; I wrote to her from the battle-field to go to a ball. And you want
a young woman of twenty, who sees her life flitting, and has every
illusion, to live in a cloister, or to be always washing her baby like a
nurse. You are too much _you_ in your household, and not enough in your
administration. I should not say all this to you except for the interest I
have for you. Make the mother of your children happy; you have one way to
do this: that is, by showing her esteem and confidence. Unfortunately your
wife is too virtuous; if you had married a coquette she would lead you by
the end of your nose. But you have a proud wife who is afflicted and
distressed by the mere thought that you may have a bad opinion of her. You
ought to have married any one of a number of women whom I know in Paris;
she would have had no difficulty in getting ahead of you and would have
kept you at her feet. It is not my fault, I have often told your wife so."
Thus the Emperor, by taking part in behalf of his daughter-in-law and
against his brother, took a position as arbiter in their domestic
quarrels. This interference was all the more galling to Louis,--who would
have liked to be master in both his own kingdom and in his own house,--
that calumny, as he well knew, persisted in representing the Emperor as
his rival in Hortense's love, and as the father of the Crown Prince.

This child was named Napoleon Charles. He was born in Paris, October 10,
1802. His grandmother, Josephine, nourished the hope that some day he
might be heir to the Empire, and she regarded his birth as a pledge of
final reconciliation between the Bonapartes and the Beauharnaises. She
believed that his cradle saved her from divorce. The Emperor, who always
liked children, was especially fond of his nephew. He watched his growth
with the keenest interest, admiring his amiability, his precocity, his
excellent disposition, The boy was really remarkable for intelligence and
beauty. His large blue eyes reflected every mood of his mind. Good,
loving, frank, and merry, he needed only to appear and all sadness was
banished. His mother had brought him up to revere the Emperor. His father,
the King, gave him new toys every day, choosing those he thought most
attractive. The boy preferred those he received from his uncle, and when
his father said, "But just see, Napoleon, those are ugly; mine are
prettier." "No," said the young Prince, "those are very pretty, my uncle
gave them to me." One morning on his way to see the Emperor, he passed
through a drawing-room where happened to be among others, Murat, then
Grand Duke of Berg. The young Napoleon walked straight ahead without
paying attention to any one, and when Murat stopped him and said, "Don't
you mean to say good-morning to me?" the child replied, "No; not before my
uncle the Emperor." Who knows? if this little Prince had lived the Emperor
might have desired no other heir, and perhaps the divorce would never have
taken place.

This boy was his mother's hope and pride, her joy and consolation. His
father, too, loved him much. He was a light in the darkness, a rainbow
after the storm. Sometimes when his parents were quarrelling he succeeded
in reconciling them. He used to take his father by the hand, who gladly
let himself be led by this little angel, and then he would say in a
caressing tone: "Kiss her, papa, I beg of you"; then he was perfectly
happy when his father and mother exchanged a kiss of peace.

The little Prince had a sudden attack of croup in the night of May 4,
1807. He was thought to be lost, but in the evening he was a little
better, and the physicians had some hope of saving him. The improvement
lasted but a few minutes. In the course of the day he was given some
English powders, which lent him a feverish strength, so that at six in the
evening he asked for some cards and pictures to play with, but the fever
only gave way to his death agony. Towards ten in the evening the child
drew his last breath.

No words can describe the unhappy Queen's despair; she became stony with
grief, and fears were felt for her reason. Josephine's grief was
boundless. She did not dare to leave the Empire without the Emperor's
authorization, and so did not go to The Hague, but went in all haste to
the Castle of Laeken, near Brussels, whence she wrote to Hortense in the
evening of May 14: "I have just readied the Castle of Laeken, my dear
daughter, and await you here. Come and give me life; your presence is
necessary for me, and you must have need of seeing me and of weeping with
your mother. I should have liked to go further, but I was too weak, and
besides I had not time to send word to the Emperor. I have summoned
courage to come thus far; I hope that you will have enough to come to your
mother. Good by, my dear daughter, I am worn out with fatigue and
especially with grief." In the evening of May 15, Hortense arrived at the
Castle of Laeken, accompanied by her husband and her sole surviving son.
She was motionless, apathetic, the figure of despair. M. de Rémusat, who
was with the Empress, wrote the next day to his wife: "The Queen has but
one thought, the loss she has suffered; she speaks of only one thing, of
_him_. Not a tear, but a cold calm, an almost absolute silence about
everything, and when she speaks she wrings every one's heart. If she sees
any one whom she has ever seen with her son, she looks at him with
kindliness and interest, and says, 'You know he is dead.' When she first
saw her mother, she said to her: 'It's not long since he was here with me.
I held him on my knees thus.' Seeing me a few minutes later, she made a
sign for me to come forward. 'Do you remember Mayence? He acted with us.'
She heard ten o'clock strike; she turned to one of the ladies and said,
'You know it was at ten that he died.' That is the only way she breaks her
almost continual silence. With all that, she is kind, sensible, perfectly
reasonable; she thoroughly understands her condition, and even speaks of
it. She says she is glad that she has fallen into this numb state,
otherwise her sufferings would have been too intense. Some one asked her
if she was much moved when she saw her mother: 'No,' she answered; 'but I
am very glad to have seen her.' Mention was made of Josephine's surprise
at her lack of emotion on seeing her; 'Oh, Heavens!' she said, 'she must
not mind it; that's the way I am.' To anything that is asked her on any
other subject, she says, 'It's all the same to me; do as you please.'"

A messenger had been sent to carry the news to the Emperor, who was much
affected by hearing it. He wrote to Josephine, May 14: "I can well imagine
the grief which Napoleon's death, must cause. You can understand what I
suffer. I should like to be with you, that you might be moderate and
discreet in your grief. You were happy enough never to lose a child, but
that is one of the conditions and penalties attached to our human misery.
Let me hear that you are calm and well! Do you want to add to my regret?
Good by, my dear."

May 17 an imposing ceremony took place in Paris--the carrying of the sword
of Frederick the Great to the Tuileries. A triumphal chariot, richly
decorated, carried the one hundred and eighty flags captured in the last
campaign. Marshal Moncey, on horseback, held the hero's sword. The chariot
proceeded to the iron gate of the Invalides, which it was too lofty to
pass under. Then the veterans came to take the flags and to carry them
into the church. The ceremony began with a song of triumph. Marshal
Sérurier, Governor of the Invalides, spoke: "We are here," he said, "to
the number of more than nine hundred of those who fought against the great
king whose warlike spoils our children have just won. At that time fortune
did not always smile upon our valor. The fathers were no less brave than
their sons, but they had not the same leader. Yet we can only recall with
pride the words of that great man: 'If I were at the head of the French
people, not a cannon would be fired in Europe without my permission'--
honorable proof of his esteem for the soldiers who were fighting him. But
it was in the reign of a sovereign even greater by his genius, his feats,
his moderation, that the French people was to rise to such a height of
power and glory. We swear faithfully to guard the treasure which his
Imperial and Royal Majesty has entrusted to us." Then the old church
echoed with cries of "We swear it!"

At this ceremony, the eloquent President of the Legislative Body, M. de
Fontanes, made a fine speech full of enthusiasm for Napoleon, but
respectful to the memory of the great Frederick and to the misfortunes of
his successor. He closed with a few words on the grief that the death of
the Crown Prince must have caused the Emperor: "Perhaps, at this moment,"
he said, "the hero who has saved us is weeping in his tent at the head of
three hundred thousand victorious French, and of all the confederate kings
and princes who march under his banner. He weeps, and neither the trophies
heaped about him, nor the glory of the twenty sceptres he holds so firmly,
which even Charlemagne failed to grasp, can distract his thoughts from the
coffin of that boy, whose first steps he aided with his triumphant hands,
whose promising intelligence he hoped one day to guide. Let him not forget
that his domestic woes have been felt like a public calamity, and may a
tender expression of the national interest bring him some slight
consolation. All our alarm for the future is a more ardent expression of
our homage. May fortune be satisfied with this one victim, and while she
always favors the plans of the greatest of monarchs, may she not make him
pay for his glory by similar misfortunes!"

Doubtless the death of this young child altered the face of things. If he
had lived, it would have been for him, and not his brother, to bear the
name of Napoleon III., or possibly even of Napoleon II., and apparently
the destiny of the world would have been very different. Kingdoms and
empires, on what does their fate depend! May 5 was to be a fatal date; the
young Prince died May 5, 1807, and fourteen years later to a day his uncle
was to die on the rock of Saint Helena.



The Empress brought her daughter Hortense and her grandson Napoleon Louis,
a boy a little over two, back to Paris with her, but she had not long the
consolation of their presence; before the end of May Hortense was obliged
to leave for Cauterets to repair her shattered health. Her mother wrote to
her from Saint Cloud, May 27: "I have wept much since your departure; this
separation is very painful for me, and the only thing that could enable me

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