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The Happy Days of the Empress Marie Louise by Imbert De Saint-Amand

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impression made upon the populace was one of surprise which amounted to
disbelief. People stopped in the streets to ask one another if the thing
was possible.

Marie Louise had given her consent more with resignation than with
pleasure. Metternich recounts in his Memoirs his speech to Francis II.:
"In the life of a state, as in that of a private citizen, there are
cases in which a third person cannot put himself in the place of one
who is responsible for the resolutions he has to take. These cases are
especially such as cannot be decided by calculation. Your Majesty is a
monarch and a father; and Your Majesty alone can weigh his duties as
father and emperor." "It is my daughter who must decide," answered
Francis II. "Since I shall never compel her, I am anxious, before I
consider my duties as a sovereign, to know what she means to do. Go find
the Archduchess, and then let me know what she says. I am unwilling to
speak to her of the demand of the French Emperor, lest I should seem to
be trying to influence her decision."

M. de Metternich betook himself at once to the Archduchess Marie Louise,
and set the matter before her very simply and briefly, without beating
about the bush, without a word for or against the proposition. The
Archduchess listened with her usual calmness, and, after a moment's
reflection, asked him, "What are my father's wishes?" "The Emperor," the
minister answered, "has commissioned me to ask Your Imperial Highness
what decision she means to take in a matter concerning her whole life.
Do not ask what the Emperor wishes; tell me what you yourself wish."
"I wish only what my duty commands me to wish," answered Marie Louise.
"When the interests of the Empire are at stake, they must be consulted,
not my feelings. Beg of my father to regard only his duty as a
sovereign, without subordinating it to my personal interests."

When M. de Metternich had reported to Francis II. the result of his
interview, the Emperor said: "What you tell me does not surprise me. I
know my daughter too well not to expect just such an answer. While you
were with her, I have been considering what I have to do. My consent to
this marriage will assure to the kingdom a few years of political peace,
which I can devote to healing its wounds. I owe myself solely to the
happiness of my people; I cannot hesitate."

We shall now make some extracts from the despatches of Count Otto, the
French Ambassador at Vienna in 1810, which we have found in the archives
of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The documents, which have never been
published, are well worthy of our readers' attention, and they throw a
full light on the Emperor Napoleon's relations with the Austrian court.
M. Otto wrote to the Duke of Cadore, February 16, 1810, that the news of
the marriage was beginning to spread through the city: "Business people
are much excited. Merchants are entreating me to tell them what I know.
Couriers are despatched in every direction. In short, I have never had
occasion to use more reserve than at this moment, when the real feeling
of this nation, which has long been compelled to be our enemy, reveals
itself in a way most flattering to us. The French officers who are
returning from different missions assure me that they have found the
same spirit in the army. 'Arrange,' they say, 'that we can fight on your
side; you will find us worthy.' Every one agrees that this alliance will
insure lasting tranquillity to Europe, and compel England to make
peace; that it will give the Emperor all the leisure he requires for
organizing, in accordance with his lofty plans, the vast empire he has
created; that it cannot fail to have an influence on the destiny of
Poland, Turkey, and Sweden; and finally, that it cannot fail to give
lasting glory to Your Excellency's ministry. The news of the conclusion
of this marriage will be received with tumultuous joy throughout the
Austrian dominions. France and the greater part of Europe will share
this joy. As to the English government, I do not think it possible
for it to avert the blow which this important event will deal it; the
national party will finally triumph over the avarice of usurers, the
rancorous passions of the ministry, and the bellicose and constitutional
fury of their king. All humanity will find repose beneath the laurels of
our August Emperor and, after having conquered half of Europe, he
will add to his long list of victories the most difficult and most
consolatory of all,--the conquest of general peace."

The first feeling that prevailed in all classes of Viennese society, on
hearing of the Archduchess's marriage, was, as has been said, one of
surprise, which soon gave way to almost universal joy. Count Metternich
wrote to Prince Schwarzenberg under date of February 19, 1810: "It would
be difficult to judge at a distance the emotion that the news of the
marriage has aroused here. The secret of the negotiations had been so
well kept, that it was not till the day of M. de Floret's arrival that
any word of it came to the ears of the public. The first effect on
'Change was such that the currency would be to-day at three hundred and
less, if the government had not been interested in keeping it higher,
and it was only by buying a million of specie in two days that it
succeeded in keeping it at three hundred and seventy. Seldom has
anything been so warmly approved by the whole nation."

M. de Metternich was most delighted, and took especial satisfaction in
the thought that it was his work. "All Vienna," he wrote to his wife,
"is interested in nothing but this marriage. It would be hard to form an
idea of the public feeling about it, and of its extreme popularity. If
I had saved the world, I could not receive more congratulations or more
homage for the part I am supposed to have played in the matter. In the
promotions that are to follow I am sure to have the Golden Fleece. If
it comes to me now, it will not be for nothing; but it is none the less
true that it required a very extraordinary and improbable combination of
circumstances to set me far beyond my most ambitious dreams, although in
fact I have no ambitions. All the balls and entertainments here will be
very fine, and although everything will have to be brought from the ends
of the earth, everything will be here. I sent the order of arrangements
a few days ago to Paris; Schwarzenberg will have shown it to you. The
new Empress will please in Paris, and she ought to please with her
kindness and her great gentleness and simplicity. Her face is rather
plain than pretty, but she has a beautiful figure, and when she is
properly dressed and put into shape, she will do very well. I have
begged her to engage a dancing-master as soon as she arrives, and not to
dance until she has learned how. She is very anxious to please, and that
is the surest way of pleasing."

The Austrian court did everything with the best possible grace, knowing
that Napoleon set great store by the details of etiquette. Everything
was exhumed from the archives which bore on the weddings of Louis XIV.,
Louis XV., the great Dauphin, the father of Louis XVI., of Louis XVI.
himself. The old gentlemen of the court of Versailles, and especially M.
de Dreux-Breze, the master of ceremonies at the end of the old regime,
were consulted at every step. Napoleon was very anxious that in pomp and
majesty the wedding of Marie Louise should not only be quite equal, but
even superior to that of Marie Antoinette, for he thought himself of far
more importance than a dauphin of France. He was given what he wanted.
Speaking of the Princess's escort, Count Otto said in despatch to the
Duke of Cadore, dated February 19, 1810: "In order to give the part
its full importance, the Emperor of Austria has appointed to it Prince
Trautmannsdorff, who on all great occasions holds the highest rank in
the kingdom. The Dauphiness had been accompanied by a nobleman of no
very lofty position. Moreover, the Emperor has given orders to
deepen all the tints: the suite of the Dauphiness consisted of six
ladies-in-waiting and six chamberlains; the future Empress will have
twelve of each. The Emperor will choose the most distinguished and
best-known personages of the Empire for these functionaries, and the
Empress has reserved for herself the right of naming the ladies most
prominent for their old families and their position in society. In a
word, the Minister has assured me that no pains will be spared to make
the train most brilliant."

Points of etiquette kept the French Ambassador very busy. He wrote,
February 21, 1810, to the Duke of Cadore: "In reading carefully the
historic summary enclosed in Your Excellency's despatch, I found but
few matters requiring comment, but these seemed to me of sufficient
importance to warrant my calling your attention to them. They are as

"1. Since the religious ceremony is the most solemn, it seems that it
is here that the distinction between the Dauphiness and the new Empress
should be most distinctly marked. The first-named sat in an armchair,
placed in front of the altar, but without a canopy, the Queen Marie
Leczinska, daughter of King Stanislas, having a place, under a canopy,
between the King and Queen of Poland.

"2. The representative and personal rank of His Highness the Prince of
Neufchatel being much higher than that of the Marquis de Durfort, who
held a similar position in 1770, it has seemed to me desirable to make
the reception more formal. Count Metternich has given me complete
satisfaction on both these points. He has told me that the Emperor would
give the most positive orders to pay to the Empress of France the same
honors that were paid to the Empress of Austria at the celebration of
the last marriage. The canopy and all the paraphernalia of royalty will
be assigned to the new Empress, and the Emperor will furthermore make a
concession on this occasion which is without precedent in the annals of
the realm: at table he will resign the first place to his daughter, and
take the second place himself. Nothing will be left undone to give these
ceremonies their full splendor and to show the interest with which these
new ties are regarded here. The Emperor is so well pleased with this
alliance that he speaks about it even with private persons who have the
honor to be admitted to his presence. He loudly denounces those who led
him into the last war, and asserts that if he had earlier known the
loyalty and magnanimity of the Emperor Napoleon, he should have been on
his guard against their counsels."

The Viennese, who in their amiability and fickleness closely resemble
the Parisians, passed in a moment from an apparently deep-seated hatred
of Napoleon, to the most unbounded confidence. The still bleeding wounds
of Wagram were forgotten; every one thought of nothing but the brilliant
festivals that were preparing. Smiles took the place of tears, and it
seemed as if the French and the Austrians had always been brothers.

The French Ambassador wrote to the Duke of Cadore, February 21, 1810:
"Since the 16th the whole city has thought of nothing but the great
marriage for which the preparations are now under way. All eyes are
turned on the Archduchess. Those who have the honor of being admitted to
her presence are closely questioned, and every one is glad to hear that
she is in the best spirits, and does not try to conceal the satisfaction
she takes in this alliance. Funds continue to rise in a surprising way,
and the price of food is falling in the same proportion. A great many
people have found it hard to sell their gold. Never has public opinion
spoken more clearly or more unanimously. A great many people who had
hoarded their silver in the hope of selling it or of sending it abroad,
are now carrying it to the mint, and consider the government paper
which they get for it as good as gold. The stewards of great houses are
ordering new silverware to take the place of that which they have had
to give to the government. Every one shows a readiness to offer all his
fortune, being convinced that after such an alliance the government
cannot fail to meet its engagements."

The Viennese have a very lively imagination, and bounding from one
extreme to another, they began to form visions of the Austrians waging
wars of ambition and conquest along with the French. They fancied that
their Emperor and his son-in-law would have all Europe at their feet.
"The greater their enthusiasm about the French," wrote Count Otto in
the same despatch, "the more evident the old animosity of the Austrians
against Prussia and Russia. The coffee-house politicians are already
busy with devising a thousand combinations according to which the
Emperor of Austria will be able to recover Silesia and to extend his
dominions towards the east. The disappointed Russians, of whom there are
very many here, are much astonished at this sudden change. One of them
was heard to say, 'A few days ago we were very highly thought of in
Vienna, but now the French are adored, and everybody wants to make war
on us.' Count Shouvaloff himself keeps very quiet. Sensible people do
not share this warlike feeling; they want a general peace, and bless an
alliance which seems to secure it for a few years. In their eyes even a
successful war is a great calamity. Peace, too, has its triumphs, and
this last negotiation is one of the finest known to history."

The official _Gazette_, which was eagerly read by a noisy multitude in
the streets of Vienna, published the official announcement of the
great news. The number of February 24, 1810, contained the following
paragraph: "The formal betrothal of the Emperor of the French, King of
Italy, and Her Imperial and Royal Highness the Archduchess Marie Louise,
the oldest daughter of His Imperial and Royal Majesty, our very Gracious
Sovereign, was signed at Paris, on the 7th, by the Prince Schwarzenberg,
Ambassador, and the Duke of Cadore, Minister of Foreign Affairs. The
exchange of ratifications of this contract took place on the 21st of
this month, at Vienna, between Count Metternich Winneburg, Minister of
State and of Foreign Affairs, and the Imperial Ambassador of France,
Count Otto de Mesloy. All the nations of Europe see in this event a gage
of peace, and look forward with delight to a happy future after so many
wars." On the day that this paragraph appeared in the official journal,
the French Ambassador wrote to the Duke of Cadore: "The Emperor loves
the Princess, and is very happy in her brilliant good fortune. It is
long since he has seemed so happy, so interested, so busy. Everything
which furthers the sumptuousness of the festivals now in preparation is
a matter of great interest to him, and all his subjects, with very few
exceptions, share their sovereign's amiable anxiety."

The French Ambassador was beside himself with delight; he saw everything
in glowing colors,--Marie Louise, the court, all Austria. His despatch
of February 17 was full of enthusiasm. In it he drew with trembling
hand the portrait of the August lady, and we may readily conceive the
eagerness with which Napoleon must have devoured it: "Every one agrees
that the Archduchess combines with a very amiable disposition sound
sense and all the qualities that can be given by a careful education.
She is liked by all at court, and is spoken of as a model of gentleness
and kindness. She has a fine bearing, yet it is perfectly simple; she is
modest without shyness; she can converse very well in many languages,
and combines affability with dignity. As she acquires familiarity
with the world, which is all very new to her, her fine qualities will
doubtless develop further, and endow her whole being with even more
grace and interest. She is tall and well made, and her health is
excellent. Her features seemed to me regular and full of sweetness."

Even the Empress of Austria, who recently had been conspicuous for her
dislike of the French, so that there had been felt some dread of her
dissatisfaction, if not of direct opposition, thoroughly shared her
husband's joy. On this subject, Count Otto, in a despatch of February
19, expressed himself as follows: "The Empress shows herself extremely
favorable to this marriage. In spite of her wretched health she has
expressed her desire to be present at all the festivities, and she takes
every occasion to speak of them with delight."

The Ambassador carried his optimism so far as to look upon Marie
Antoinette's marriage as a happy precedent. In the same despatch he
wrote to the Duke of Cadore: "The names of Kaunitz and Choiseul are on
every one's lips, and every one hopes to see a renewal of the peaceful
days that followed the alliance concluded by those two ministers. They
had both been ambassadors, in France, and in Austria, exactly like Your
Excellency and Count Metternich." The French diplomatist's satisfaction
was only equalled by the vexation of the Russian Ambassador. "The
Russian coteries," added Count Otto, "are the only ones that take no
part in the general rejoicing. When the news reached a ball at a Russian
house, the violins were stopped at once, and a great many of the guests
left before supper. I must observe that Count Shouvaloff has not come to
offer his congratulations." The good humor of the Viennese grew from day
to day, especially in business circles. The French Ambassador concluded
his letter thus: "It is at the Bourse that public opinion has declared
itself in the most amazing way. In less than two hours funds went up
thirty per cent. A feeling of security established itself and at once
affected the price of imported provisions, which immediately began to
fall. Yesterday there was a large crowd gathered at the palace to see
the Archduchess go to mass. The populace was delighted to see her
radiant with health and happiness. Two artists are painting her
portrait. The better one will be sent to Paris." Everything had moved
smoothly without the slightest jar. "In the whole course of the
negotiation," Count Otto had written, February 17, "I have not heard
a word about any pecuniary consideration, or the slightest objection
except as to the legality of the divorce. A mere word from me was
sufficient to overcome that." Consequently nothing troubled the
composure of the happy Ambassador.



The marriage was officially announced, when suddenly an incident
arose which caused the greatest anxiety to Napoleon's ambassador, and
threatened, if not to prevent, at least to delay, the wedding. The
unexpected difficulty which arose at the last moment was of a religious
nature, and in a court as pious as that of Austria it could not fail to
make a very deep impression.

Even in Paris, the annulment of the religious marriage ceremony of
Napoleon and Josephine had aroused serious objections, and the Emperor
had shown much surprise when he was told by his uncle, Cardinal Fesch,
the Grand Almoner, that there were obstacles in the way. In a matter of
this sort, which concerns crowned heads, and is inspired by reasons of
state, it is the Pope who must make the decision. Louis XII. had secured
the dissolution of his marriage with Jane of France from Pope Alexander
VI. Henry IV. had applied to Pope Clement VIII. to annul his marriage
with Margaret of Valois. Napoleon himself had likewise had recourse,
though without success, to Pope Pius VII., in the matter of his
brother Jerome's marriage with Miss Paterson. Now, when the Pope was
his prisoner, Napoleon could not apply to him; and since the sovereign
pontiff had taken part in the coronation of the Empress Josephine, and
profoundly sympathized with her, could he dare to say, like the diocesan
officials of Paris, that she, from the religious point of view, was only
the Emperor's mistress?

At the beginning of 1810 there was an ecclesiastic commission,
consisting of Cardinal Fesch, President; Cardinal Maury, famous at
the time of the Constituent Assembly, and later, one of the Imperial
courtiers; the Archbishop of Tours; the bishops of Nantes, Treves,
Evreux, and Verceil; and the Abbe Emery, Superior of the Seminary of
Saint Sulpice. The Emperor put to this committee the question whether
the diocesan officials were competent to proceed to the canonical
dissolution of his marriage with Josephine.

January 2, 1810, the committee decided that the diocesan officials were
competent, but neither Cardinal Fesch nor the Abbe Emery signed the
report. The Cardinal could not forget that it was he who, by the special
authorization of Pius VII., had, on the night of December 1-2, 1804,
given to the couple the nuptial blessing.

The very day that the Ecclesiastical Committee had affirmed
the competence of the diocesan officials, it received from the
Archchancellor Cambaceres a petition stating that the nuptial blessing
given to Napoleon and Josephine had not been preceded, accompanied, or
followed by the formalities prescribed by the Canon laws; that is to
say, it lacked the presence of the proper priest--as the parish priest
was termed--and of witnesses. To these two grounds for annulment a third
was added, a new one, which could not fail to surprise the officials. It
was one which in general is applicable only to a minor, wrought upon
by surprise and violence; namely, lack of consent,--yes, lack of the
Emperor's consent. Napoleon saw very clearly that the first two points
were mere quibbles, and that the moment when he intended that his uncle,
the Grand Almoner, should bless his marriage with Marie Louise, was, to
say the least, a singular one to choose for denouncing his incapacity
for consecrating his union with Josephine. As to the absence of
witnesses, that is to be explained as due to a special dispensation of
the Pope, who wished to avoid the scandal of announcing to the whole
world that Napoleon, who had been married by civil, but not by religious
rites, had in the eyes of the Church been living for eight years in
concubinage, in spite of the entreaties of the Empress to put an end
to a state of things which pained her conscience and filled her with
constant dread of divorce. The Emperor consequently laid the chief
weight on his lack of consent. Count d'Haussonville in his remarkable
book, _The Church of Rome and the First Empire_, says on this subject:
"Setting aside the religious feeling with regard to the sanctity of
marriage, it is hard to understand how such a man could have been
willing to represent himself as having desired, on the eve of this great
ceremony of consecration, to deceive at the same time his uncle who
married him, his wife whom he seemed pleased to associate with
his glory, and the venerable pontiff who, in spite of his age and
infirmities, had come from a long distance, to call down upon him the
blessing of the Most High. This argument offended not only every feeling
of delicacy, but also the plainest principles of honest and fair

The officials were not moved by such scruples. They exercised a twofold
jurisdiction,--as a diocesan and as a metropolitan tribunal,--and both
affirmed the nullity of the marriage. The metropolitan tribunal, while
admitting the first two grounds,--namely, the absence of witnesses and
of the proper priest,--based its decision principally on the non-consent
of the Emperor. The diocesan tribunal had declared that to atone for the
infringement of the laws of the Church, Napoleon and Josephine should be
compelled to bestow a sum of money to the poor of the parish of Notre
Dame. The metropolitan tribunal struck this clause out as disrespectful.

This decision was sent to Count Otto, the French Ambassador at Vienna;
in fact, the original draft of the two papers, that is to say, the
judgment of the metropolitan tribunal, was forwarded to him. The
Ambassador spoke about it to the Emperor Francis, to satisfy that
monarch's scruples, but he did not show him the papers themselves, and
three days after the ratification of the marriage contract he sent them
back to Paris. "I confess," he wrote to the Duke of Cadore, in his
despatch of February 28, 1810, "that in returning these papers so
speedily to Paris, I had a presentiment of the discussion which they
might cause among the foreign ecclesiastics. Everything was settled, the
Emperor of Austria was satisfied, the marriage contract was ratified,
the ratification of the marriage had been exchanged for three days, when
the first mention was made of these documents which have aroused the
curiosity and interest of some too influential prelates. I am the more
authorized to say that no one had before that thought of these papers,
by the fact that the Minister, when on the 15th he asked me to give
him, on my honor, my personal opinion with regard to the nullity of His
Majesty's first marriage, would not have failed to add that he had asked
for proof from the Prince of Schwarzenberg, and that he awaited his
reply. My declaration was sufficient to determine the ratification of
the contract on the next day."

Whence came these tardy scruples, this unexpected delay? What had
happened? The objections did not come from the Emperor Francis, or from
Count Metternich, but from a priest, the Archbishop of Vienna, who was
to celebrate the marriage by proxy in the Church of the Augustins in
Vienna. This prelate, who shared all the opinions of the French emigres,
and had much more respect for the Pope than for Napoleon, deemed it his
duty to examine for himself the judgment of the Parisian authorities,
and stoutly demanded the originals. This filled the French Ambassador
with despair, and he wrote to the Duke of Cadore in great distress: "For
three days the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been in negotiation with
the Archbishop, trying to overcome his scruples with regard to the
nullity of the first marriage of His Majesty. This prelate persists in
saying to-day that he cannot give the nuptial blessing until he has seen
the document which I have sent back to Your Excellency, of which, too,
M. de Metternich did not speak in the course of our negotiations. It is
very strange that since the Archbishop was consulted some time ago, no
mention was made to me of his scruples. I have every reason to believe
that he did nothing until he heard that I had received documents, the
validity of which he might discuss. Now the French clergy will hardly
care to submit its decision to a foreign prelate. Your Excellency's
intention has been to satisfy the Emperor of Austria, the only authority
which, in a question of this importance, we can consider competent,
because it concerns the lot of his daughter. What would happen, sir, if
this prelate, adopting other principles than those which determined the
judgment of our officials, should presume to invalidate them? How can we
submit to a new discussion of a treaty ratified before the eyes of all
Europe, and made public by the order of the Emperor of Austria himself?
May we not suppose that the Archbishop, who in the first instance
approved of this alliance, to-day is moved only by scruples and inspired
by a foreign faction which is ready to seize any pretext to oppose the
genius of peace? I am told that the former Bishop of Carcassonne is
living with the Archbishop. Possibly the Nuncio, who is still here, has
brought some influence to bear on this occasion. That there is something
of the sort behind it all is proved by the prominence that some of the
intriguers give to an alleged excommunication of His Majesty the Emperor
by the Pope. Count Metternich assures me that both the Nuncio and the
Archbishop disclaim all knowledge of any obstacle of this sort. The
Emperor himself, who is keenly alive to the insult to crowned heads
which it implies, repels the indecent objection with the scorn which it

"The Minister has had many fruitless interviews with the Archbishop, who
seems to wish to lay the matter before his tribunal. The Emperor himself
is very uneasy; they are trying to gain time, and are to-day very
anxious lest the Prince of Neufchatel should arrive too soon. If he
should not get here till the 3d of March, they will manage to postpone
the nuptial blessing till the 11th, when it is hoped that the documents
will have come back again. But even in this case, the Ambassador
Extraordinary will need all the firmness of his character to overrule
this cabal which brings uneasiness to the Emperor's family and uses the
Archbishop as a tool. I have done everything that I could to impress
upon the Minister how much the present state of affairs compromises the
dignity of our court. He has shown me a list of questions presented by
the Archbishop, which it is impossible to answer without seeming to
recognize a tribunal with which we ought to have nothing to do. Never
has so important a negotiation been hampered by a stranger incident."
(Despatch of Count Otto to the Duke of Cadore, February 28, 1810.)

The Ambassador was in great perplexity, and he would have been much more
uneasy if the documents demanded had been in his possession. In fact,
would he have been justified in submitting to a foreign ecclesiastical
tribunal papers which he could only show to the Emperor of Austria, to
remove that sovereign's personal objections? Count Metternich had told
the Ambassador, February 24, that the ceremony would take place in spite
of the Archbishop's objection, but the next day M. de Metternich was
convinced that he was mistaken.

In order to gain time, Count Otto had written to Napoleon's Ambassador
Extraordinary, the Prince of Neufchatel, to ask him to delay his
arrival at Vienna until March 4. The carnival would end with brilliant
festivities, for which great preparations were making. Ash Wednesday and
the three following days would be consecrated to devotion; and on the
11th the church ceremonies would take place, if, as was hoped, the
required documents should have arrived from Paris.

After a few days of uncertainty, as painful for the court of Vienna as
for the French Ambassador, the difficulties began to settle themselves.
Count Otto wrote to the Duke of Cadore, March 3, 1810: "My long silence
must have surprised Your Excellency, but it was caused by the strangest
circumstances that I have known for many years.... It is only to-day
that we are secure from the attack of the ecclesiastical committee,
and from its scruples. Seven long days and nights have been spent in
ransacking the volumes of the _Moniteur_ and the _Official Bulletin_ in
order to prove the nullity of His Majesty the Emperor's first marriage.
Nothing could pacify the alarmed conscience of the Archbishop. At
first I refused, and held out for twenty-four hours. After protracted
discussion, and insisting on a complete recasting of the paper which I
was desired to sign, I to-day consented to hand in the paper, of which I
have the honor to enclose a copy, but on the express condition, which I
have under the minister's signature, that it is only to be shown to the
Archbishop and in no case to be made public."

This is the text of the paper mentioned by Count Otto: "I, the
undersigned, Ambassador of his Majesty the Emperor of the French, affirm
that I have seen and read the originals of the two decisions of the
two diocesan official boards, concerning the marriage between their
Majesties, the Emperor and the Empress Josephine, and that it
follows from these decisions that, in conformity with the Catholic
ecclesiastical laws established in the French Empire, the said marriage
has been declared null and void, because at the celebration of this
marriage the most essential formalities required by the laws of the
Church, and always regarded in France as necessary for the validity of
a Catholic marriage, had been omitted. I affirm, moreover, that
in conformity with the civic laws in existence at the time of the
celebration of this marriage, every conjugal union was founded on the
principle that it could be dissolved by the consent of the contracting
parties. In testimony whereof I have signed the present declaration, and
have set my seal to it."

In his despatch of March 3, 1810, the Ambassador said, in speaking of
the document just cited: "The only thing that persuaded me to adopt
this course was the conviction that the Archbishop would not consent
to pronounce the blessing until he had seen the two decisions; and it
appeared to me very dangerous to expose these two documents to the whims
of an old man who was controlled by two refugee priests. At any rate,
this method has proved successful, and the delay in the Prince of
Neufchatel's arrival prevents the public from forming any suspicions
about this discussion which has given us so much anxiety. The Archbishop
is satisfied; all the ceremonies will take place according to the
programme, except the interruption due to the heavy roads. The wedding
will take place March 11; and to make up the time lost, the Archduchess
will travel a little faster, and can easily reach Paris by the 27th. Now
the postponement of the nuptial blessing can be ascribed only to
the circumstances which have prolonged the journey of the Prince of
Neufchatel. In Lent Sunday is considered the only proper day for
weddings; and since Ash Wednesday is so near, the religious ceremony
cannot possibly take place before the 11th."

The last difficulties had vanished, and the festivities were free to



In Vienna the animation was very great. The great event which was now
in preparation was the sole subject of conversation in all classes of
society. "The ceremonies and the festivities," the French Ambassador
wrote, March 2, 1810, "will be in every respect the same as those that
took place at the marriage of the Emperor with the present Empress.
Every inhabitant of Vienna is doing his utmost to testify his joy on
this occasion. Painters are at work night and day on transparencies and
designs. The festivities will be thoroughly national. Every morning
thousands of people station themselves before the palace to see the
Archduchess pass by on her way to mass. Her portraits are in constant
demand. The Emperor and the archdukes never miss a ball; they are
surrounded by a crowd of maskers who say a number of pleasant things
to them, and it really appears as if this alliance had added to the
Emperor's already great popularity." The next day, March 3, Count Otto
wrote: "I to-day presented the Count of Narbonne to the Emperor,
the Empress, and the Archduchess, and I profited by the occasion to
strengthen my conviction of the joy which the Count feels at this
happy alliance. The Empress spoke with the greatest warmth of her
step-daughters, conversed with a keen interest about France, Paris, and
what she hopes to cultivate in that interesting city."

It was with impatience that was awaited the arrival of the Ambassador
Extraordinary, who had been chosen by the Emperor of the French to make
the formal demand for the hand of the Archduchess, to attend to the
celebration of the marriage which was to be celebrated by proxy at the
Church of the Augustins in Vienna, and to escort the bride to France.
This Ambassador Extraordinary was Marshal Berthier, sovereign Prince of
Neufchatel, the husband of the Princess Marie Elizabeth Amelia Frances
of Bavaria, Vice-Constable of France, Master of the Hounds, commander of
the first cohort of the Legion of Honor, etc., etc. The most brilliant
reception was prepared for him. Count Otto wrote to the Duke of Cadore,
February 21, 1810: "As to the honors which I have considered due to His
Most Serene Highness, the Prince of Neufchatel, Count Metternich assures
me that he regarded him not merely as Ambassador Extraordinary, but as
a Sovereign Prince, a great dignitary of the Empire, as a friend and
fellow-soldier of the Emperor; that there would be no more comparison
between him and the Marquis of Durfort than between the future Empress
and the Dauphiness; and that consequently Prince Paul Esterhazy had
been designated to proceed to the frontier to congratulate His Highness;
and that, moreover, an Imperial Commissary would be sent to look after
his journey, and to see that proper honor was paid to him on the way;
that he would be lodged and entertained by the court, and that pains
would be taken to furnish him with everything he might require; for in
such a severe season, at so brief a notice, he could not possibly have
supplied himself with all the articles ha needed."

The Prince of Neufchatel's formal entrance into Vienna was accompanied
with great pomp. Count Otto thus describes it in his despatch of March
6, 1810: "The Prince of Neufchatel has just made his entrance. The
ceremony was most magnificent. The court had despatched their finest
carriages, and the highest noblemen sent their equipages in their
grandest array. The Prince lacked only couriers and footmen. I had
twelve of my servants accompanying his carriage, all in the Emperor's
grand livery. The sovereign himself could not have had a warmer
welcome, or one more sumptuous and enthusiastic than did our Ambassador
Extraordinary, and the contrast with many fresh memories made the
spectacle a very touching one. To shorten the Prince's triumphal march
from the summer palace of Schwarzenberg to the Kaerthnerstrasse, many
thousand workmen had been busily throwing a bridge over the very
fortifications that our soldiers had blown up. Cheers and applause
accompanied the Vice-Constable to the door of the Audience Chamber, and
from there to his house. The court has given him most sumptuous quarters
in the Imperial Chancellor's offices, where he is treated like the
Emperor himself."

Count Otto in the same despatch thus describes the evening of that
brilliant 10th of March, 1810; "That evening there was a grand ball in
the Hall of Apollo; the whole city was there. The Prince was greeted as
enthusiastically as in the morning. The Emperor himself was present,
together with the Archdukes, and received the congratulations and
blessings of a populace beside itself with joy. The Prince scarcely left
the Emperor, who talked with him most amiably and most cordially. The
Emperor and the Vice-Constable attracted the eyes of the whole multitude
that surrounded them, and every one rejoiced to see the friend and
fellow-soldier of Napoleon by the side of the ruler of Austria. It was
noticed that this was the first appearance of the Archduke Charles
in the Hall of Apollo along with the Emperor; he will figure in the
marriage ceremony, and shows the liveliest satisfaction in the event.
The Vice-Constable was charmed with the Prince's conversation, and is
going to dine with him to-morrow."

General the Count of Lauriston had just arrived in Vienna, bringing
letters from Napoleon to the Emperor and Empress of Austria. We have
found the replies in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
They are as follows:--

The letter of the Emperor of Austria to the Emperor of the French:--

"March 6, 1810. MY BROTHER: General the Count of Lauriston has given to
me Your Imperial Majesty's letter of February 23. Entrusting to your
hands, my brother, the fate of my beloved daughter, I give to Your
Majesty the strongest possible proof that I could give of my confidence
and esteem. There are moments when the holiest of the affections
outweighs every other consideration which is foreign to it. May Your
Imperial Majesty find nothing in this letter but the feelings of a
father, attached, by eighteen years of pleasant intercourse, to a
daughter whom Providence has endowed with all the qualities that
constitute domestic happiness. Though called far away from me, she
will continue to be worthy of my most enduring affections only by
contributing to the felicity of the husband whose throne she is to
share, and to the happiness of his subjects. You will kindly receive the
assurance of my sincere friendship, as well as of the high consideration
with which I am, my brother, Your Imperial and Royal Majesty's
affectionate brother FRANCIS."

The letter of the Empress of Austria to the Emperor Napoleon:--

"March 6,1810. MY BROTHER: I hasten to thank Your Imperial Majesty for
the many proofs of confidence contained in the letter which Your Majesty
has kindly sent to me through the Count of Lauriston. The tender
attachment of the best of fathers for a beloved child has had no need
of counsels. Our wishes are the same. I share his confidence in the
happiness of Your Majesty and of our daughter. But it is from me that
Your Imperial Majesty must receive the assurance of the many qualities
of mind and heart that distinguish the latter. What might seem the
exaggerated affection of a father cannot be suspected from the pen of
a stepmother. Be sure, my brother, that my happiest days will be those
that come to you in consequence of the alliance that is about to unite
us. Accept the friendship and high esteem with which I am Your Imperial
Majesty's affectionate sister MARIE LOUISE."

The different provinces of the Empire sent deputations to Vienna to bear
their good wishes to the Archduchess. They were received on the 6th of
March, and the ceremony was thus described by Count Otto: "Yesterday's
festival was very brilliant. In the morning, the deputations of the
Austrian states drove, in a procession of more than thirty carriages,
to the Palace to pay their compliments to the Archduchess, who received
them under a canopy. In spite of the shyness natural to her youth,
the Princess replied to them in a speech which amazed and touched her
hearers. She is likewise to receive deputations from Hungary, Bohemia,
and Moravia. It is thought that to the first she will reply in Latin. At
one o'clock we went to the Palace to dine with their Majesties and the
Imperial family. The only guests were the Prince Vice-Constable, the
Count of Lauriston, and myself. The Empress was in better health,
and more affable than I have ever seen her. The two Ambassadors took
precedence of the Archduchess. The Prince Vice-Constable was placed at
the Empress's left, and I sat at the Archduchess's right; the Emperor
sat in the middle and took part in the conversation on both sides.
This conversation was very animated. The Archduchess asked a good many
questions which displayed the soundness of her tastes." According to
the Ambassador's despatch, these were the questions which Marie Louise
asked: "Is the Napoleon Museum near enough to the Tuileries for me to
go there and study the antiques and monuments it contains?" "Does the
Emperor like music?" "Shall I be able to have a teacher on the harp?
It is an instrument I am very fond of." "The Emperor is so kind to me;
doubtless he will let me have a botanical garden. Nothing would please
me more." "I am told that the country around Fontainebleau is very wild
and picturesque. I like nothing better than beautiful scenery." "I am
very grateful to the Emperor for letting me take Madame Lazansky with
me, and for choosing the Duchess of Montebello; they are two excellent
women." "I hope the Emperor will be considerate; I don't know how to
dance quadrilles; but if he desires it, I will take dancing-lessons."
"Do you think Humboldt will soon finish the account of his travels? I
have read all that has appeared with great interest."

Count Otto adds, in his faithful report: "I told Her Imperial Highness
that the Emperor was anxious to know her tastes and ways. She told me
that she was easily pleased; that her tastes were very simple; that she
was able to adapt herself to anything, and would do her best to conform
to His Majesty's wishes, her only desire being to please him.... I
must say, that during the whole hour of my interview with Her Imperial
Highness, she did not once speak of the Paris fashions or theatres."

That evening there was a ball at which the Emperor was present with his
whole family, and the Ambassador thus describes the occasion: "More than
six thousand persons, of all ranks, were invited by the court, and they
filled two immense halls which were richly decorated and illuminated. At
the end of the first hall there was a most magnificent sideboard, in the
shape of a temple lit by a thousand ingeniously hidden lamps. The Genius
of Victory, surmounting an altar, was placing a laurel wreath on the
escutcheons of the bride and groom. The N and L were displayed in all
the decoration of the columns and pediments. To the right, a tent made
of French flags covered a sideboard-laden with refreshments; and on the
left there was another under a tent made of Austrian flags. There
were large tables in the neighboring rooms, covered with food for the
citizens who regarded it as an important duty to pledge the health of
the Imperial couple in Tokay. The Archduchess, who had never been to a
ball before in her life, passed through every room on the Emperor's arm.
She was most warmly cheered, and the crowd followed her with a joyous
enthusiasm that can scarcely be described. This ball presented the most
perfect combination of grandeur, wealth, and good taste; it was further
remarkable for the bond of fraternity which seemed to unite the two
nations." The next day but one, March 8, the formal demand for the hand
of the Archduchess Marie Louise was made at the Palace, with great pomp,
by Marshal Berthier, Prince of Neufchatel. As soon as he had delivered
his speech, the Archduchess entered in magnificent attire, accompanied
by all the members of the household. Count Anatole de Montesquiou, an
orderly officer of the Emperor Napoleon, had just arrived in Vienna,
bringing a miniature portrait of his sovereign. This officer was to
be present at the wedding, and to take to Paris the first news of
its conclusion. As soon as the Archduchess appeared, the Prince of
Neufchatel offered her Napoleon's portrait, which she at once had
fastened on the front of her dress by the Mistress of the Robes. The
Ambassador Extraordinary then went to the apartments of the Empress of
Austria, whence he went to visit the Archduke Charles to tell him that
Napoleon wished to be represented by him at the wedding to be celebrated
by proxy, March 11, by the Archbishop of Vienna, at the Church of the
Augustins. The Prince of Neufchatel continued to be treated with a
consideration such as perhaps had never before fallen to the lot of an
envoy in Vienna. From morning till night his quarters were surrounded by
an inquisitive multitude who were anxious to see and salute Napoleon's
friend and fellow-soldier. On the 9th of March he gave a grand dinner
to the most distinguished gentlemen and ladies of the city. "After the
dinner," Count Otto wrote to the Duke of Cadore, "other ladies came in
to pay the first visit to him, a distinction which probably no foreign
prince has ever before enjoyed here. At the grand performance given at
the court theatre that same evening, the Prince again had precedence of
the Archdukes. He was given a seat by the side of the Empress, who
all the evening said the most flattering things to him.... Among the
unprecedented honors which have been paid to him, I have always found it
easy to distinguish such as were personal attentions. His Highness has
had the greatest success here, especially with the Archdukes, who, in
order to overcome his objections to take precedence of them, said in the
most obliging way, 'We are all soldiers, and you are our senior.' The
Archduke Charles has especially displayed a grace and delicacy that have
extremely touched the Prince.... The Emperor has presented the Prince
with his portrait in a costly medallion, and His Highness has taken care
to wear it on various occasions."

Napoleon, who a few days before had been so hated by the Viennese,
appeared to them, as if by sudden endowment, a sort of divine being. On
all sides were heard outbursts of praise, allegories, and cantatas, in
his honor. The poets of the city rivalled one another in celebrating
the union of myrtles and laurels, of grace and strength, of beauty and
genius. "Love," they sang in their dithyrambs, "weaves flowery chains
to unite forever Austria and Gaul. Peoples shed tears, but tears of
enthusiasm and gratitude. Long live Louise and Napoleon!" In every
street, in every square, there were transparencies, mottoes, flags,
mythological emblems, temples of Hymen, angels of peace and concord,
Fame with her trumpet.

At that moment there happened to be in Vienna a great many French
officers and soldiers, detained there to recover from the wounds they
had received in the course of the last war. All those who were able to
leave their beds were anxious to have the happiness of seeing their new
Empress, and thronged to the Palace doors. As soon as Marie Louise heard
that they were there, she made her appearance before them, and spoke to
them most graciously a few kind words. Then these veterans, wild with
joy, shouted at the top of their lungs, "Long live the Princess! Long
live the House of Austria!" And the good people of Vienna, enchanted at
the sight, both wondered and rejoiced to see their Emperor's daughter so
warmly greeted by the French soldiers of Essling and Wagram.



Before proceeding to the account of the wedding, celebrated by proxy in
Vienna, at the Church of the Augustins, March 11, 1810, it may be well
to enumerate the members, at that time, of the Imperial family.

The Emperor, Francis II., head of the house of Hapsburg-Lorraine, who
was born February 12, 1768, had just entered his forty-third year;
consequently, he was only eighteen months older than his son-in-law, the
Emperor Napoleon, who was born August 15, 1769. The Austrian monarch
had taken for his third wife his cousin Marie Louise Beatrice of Este,
daughter of the Archduke Ferdinand, Duke of Modena. This Princess, who
had no children, was born December 14, 1787, four years, almost to a
day, before her step-daughter, the Archduchess Marie Louise, Napoleon's
wife, who was born December 11, 1791. The new Empress of the French, at
the time of the celebration of her wedding in Vienna, was consequently
eighteen years and three months old, and twenty-two years younger than
her husband.

Francis II. had eight children, three boys and five girls, all by
his second wife, Marie Theresa, of the Two Sicilies, and born in the
following order: In 1791, Marie Louise; in 1793, Ferdinand, the Prince
Imperial; in 1797, Leopoldine, who became the wife of Dom Pedro, Emperor
of Brazil; in 1798, Marie Clementine, who married the Prince of Salerno,
and was the mother-in-law of the Duke of Aumale, the son of Louis
Philippe; in 1801, Caroline, who married Prince Frederick of Saxony; in
1802, Francis Charles Joseph; in 1804, Marie Anne, who became Abbess of
the Chapter of Noble Ladies in Prague; in 1805, John.

He had one sister and eight brothers, to wit: Marie Theresa Josepha,
born 1767, who married Antoine Clement, brother of Frederic Augustus,
King of Saxony; Ferdinand, born 1769, who, after having been Grand
Duke of Tuscany, became Grand Duke of Wuerzburg, and a great friend
of Napoleon; Charles Louis, born 1771, the famous Archduke Charles,
Napoleon's rival on the battle-field; Joseph Antoine, born 1776,
Palatine of Hungary; Antoine Victor, born 1779, who became Bishop of
Bamberg; John, born 1782, who presided over the parliament at Frankfort
in 1848; Reinhardt, born 1783, who was Viceroy of the Kingdom of
Lombardy and Venetia when it became an Austrian province; Louis, born
1784; Rudolph, born 1788, who became a Cardinal. Consequently, at the
time of Marie Louise's marriage, there were eleven Archdukes, three sons
and eight brothers of the Emperor. The wedding ceremony was preceded,
March 10, 1810, by a rite called the renunciation. At one in the
afternoon, Marshal Berthier, Prince of Neufchatel, Ambassador
Extraordinary of France, drove to the Palace with his suite, in a state
carriage drawn by six horses, and was conducted to the hall of the Privy
Council, to witness this ceremony. As soon as Francis II. and Marie
Louise had taken their seats beneath the canopy, the Emperor, as head of
the family, spoke as follows: "Inasmuch as the customs of the Imperial
family require that the Imperial Princesses and Archduchesses shall
before marriage recognize the Pragmatic Sanction of Austria, and the
order of succession, by a solemn act of renunciation, Her Imperial
Highness the Archduchess Marie Louise, who is betrothed to His Imperial
Majesty the Emperor of the French, King of Italy, is about to take
the usual oath, and proceed to the formal rite of renunciation." The
Archduchess then went up to a table on which stood a crucifix between
two lighted candles, and the holy Gospels. Count Hohenwart, Prince
Archbishop of Vienna, opened the book of the Gospel according to St.
John, and the Archduchess, having placed upon it two fingers of
the right hand, read aloud the act of renunciation of the right of
succession to the crown, and took the oath. That evening, Gluck's
_Iphigenia among the Taurians_ was given at the Royal opera-house.
The stairway to the boxes was brilliantly lighted, and lined with
orange-trees. The next day, Sunday, the wedding was celebrated with
great pomp at the Church of the Augustins. The procession filed through
the apartments of the Palace, which had been covered with rugs and
filled with chandeliers and candelabra. Grenadiers were drawn up in a
double line from the Palace to the church. This was the order of the
procession: Two stewards of the court, the pages, the stewards of the
chamber, the carvers, the chamberlains, the privy councillors, the
ministers, the principal officers of the court, the French Ambassador
Extraordinary, the Archdukes Rudolph, Louis, Reinhardt, John, Antoine,
Joseph, preceded by the Archduke Charles, accompanied by the Grand
Master of the Court; the Emperor and King, followed by the Captain of
the Noble Hungarian Guard, the Captain of the Yeomen, and the Grand
Chamberlain; the Empress Queen holding the bride by the hand. The train
of the Empress's dress was carried by the grand mistresses of the court
as far as the second ante-chamber, by pages to the church, and then
again by the grand mistresses. On each side of the Emperor, the Empress,
and the Archdukes, marched twelve archers and as many body-guards; at
some distance the same number of yeomen bearing halberds. Kettledrums
and trumpets announced the arrival of the Emperor and the Empress at
the church, where the Prince Archbishop of Vienna, accompanied by the
clergy, met them at the door and presented them with holy water; that
done, he proceeded with his bishops to the foot of the altar, on the
gospel-side. The Imperial family took their place in the choir. The
Archduke Charles, as Napoleon's representative, and the Archduchess
Marie Louise, kneeled at the prayer-desks before the altar. When the
Archbishop had blessed the wedding-ring, which was presented to him in a
cup, the Archduke Charles and the bride advanced to the altar, where the
ceremony took place in German, according to the Viennese rite. After the
exchange of rings, the bride took the one destined for Napoleon, which
she was to give herself to her husband. Then while those present
remained on their knees the _Te Deum_ was sung. Six pages carried
flaming torches; salvos of artillery were fired; the bells of the city
announced to the populace the completion of the rite. After the _Te
Deum_ the Archbishop pronounced the benediction. Then the procession
returned to the Palace in the order of its going forth.

The French Ambassador wrote to the Duke of Cadore: "The marriage of His
Majesty the Emperor with the Archduchess Marie Louise was celebrated
with a magnificence that it would be hard to surpass, by the side of
which even the brilliant festivities that have preceded it are not to be
mentioned. The vast multitude of spectators, who had gathered from all
quarters of the realm and from foreign parts, so packed the church, and
the halls and passage-ways of the Palace, that the Emperor and Empress
of Austria were often crowded. The really prodigious display of pearls
and diamonds; the richness of the dresses and the uniforms; the
numberless lights that illuminated the whole Palace; the joy of the
participants, gave to the ceremony a splendor worthy of this grand and
majestic solemnity. The richest noblemen of the country made a most
brilliant display, and seemed to rival even with the Emperor. The ladies
who accompanied the two Empresses, who were for the most part Princesses
and women of the highest rank, seemed borne down by the weight of the
diamonds and pearls they wore. But all eyes were fixed on the principal
person of the solemnity, on this adored Princess who soon will make the
happiness of our Sovereign."

When the procession had re-entered the Palace, the Imperial family and
the court assembled in the room called the Room of the Mirror. The
Emperor of Austria and the two Empresses received the congratulations of
all the nobility. By the side of Marie Louise stood the grand mistress
of the household and twelve ladies-in-waiting. "Her modesty," Count Otto
continues in the same report, "the nobility of her bearing, the ease
with which she replied to the speeches addressed to her, enchanted
every one.... I was the first to be introduced to her. She answered my
congratulations by saying that she would spare no pains to please His
Majesty the Emperor Napoleon and to contribute to the happiness of the
French nation which had now become her own. Her Majesty then received
all the noblemen of the court, and spoke to them with an affability that
delighted them. When the reception was over, I was presented to the
Emperor, who spoke to me most amiably and most cordially. He told me
that, in spite of his delicate health, he was unwilling to lose any
opportunity of testifying his high esteem of my master, the Emperor. 'He
will always find in me,' he went on, 'the loyalty and zeal which you
must have noticed in this last negotiation. I give to your Emperor my
beloved daughter. She deserves to be happy. You see joy on every face.
We have neglected nothing to show our satisfaction with this alliance.
Our nations require rest; they applaud what we have done. I am sure that
the best intelligence will reign between us, and that our union will
become only closer.' All these gratifying things that the Emperor said
to me were made even more marked by the voice and the smile which
accompanied them. This monarch, in fact, has a charm of manner which
accounts for his great popularity. During and after the ceremony, the
Empress held her stepdaughter by her right hand, leading her in this
way in the church and through the halls and rooms. The large crowd of
spectators, which almost blocked the inside of the Palace and all the
approaches, seemed to belong to the Imperial family, so great was its
emotion on seeing the new Empress pass by. All the Frenchmen who were
near me confessed that they had never seen a grander or more touching
sight. The court has had a large number of medals struck off in memory
of this event. Many hundred of these have been sent to the Prince of
Neufchatel, who, to the last, has been treated with the most marked

After the wedding and the reception a grand state dinner was given at
the Palace. A splendid table was set upon a platform covered with costly
carpets, over which there was a canopy in the shape of a horseshoe. The
Grand Master of the Court announced to their Majesties that the dinner
was served. Carvers and pages brought in the meats. After the _lavabo_
the Archbishop asked the blessing, and the Imperial family took their
places in the following order; in the middle, the Empress of the French;
on her right, the Emperor of Austria; on her left, the Empress; on the
two sides the Archdukes Charles, Joseph, Antoine, John, Reinhardt,
Louis, Rudolph, the Prince of Neufchatel, the Ambassador Extraordinary.
The Grand Master of the Court sat on the right, behind the Emperor's
chair; near him were the Captain of the Yeomen, and on the left the
Captain of the Noble Hungarian Guard. The ministers of state and the
representatives of foreign courts sat on the right, and the two grand
mistresses of the court on the left below the platform. The rest were
opposite the table, next to the body-guard. The Emperor's children had a
place assigned to them in the gallery from which they could look down on
the feast. A concert, vocal and instrumental, accompanied the dinner. At
the end the officiating bishop said grace in a low voice.

There was much comment on the presence of the Prince of Neufchatel at
the Imperial table, where he sat from the beginning to the end of the
dinner. This was a modification of the ceremonial of the Viennese court,
which admitted Ambassadors to the monarch's table only on very rare
occasions, as at the marriage of an Archduchess; but even in this case,
required that they should leave the table when the dessert was served,
to move about among the noblemen admitted to the banquet-hall. It was
recalled that at the marriage of the French Dauphin to the Archduchess
Marie Antoinette, the Marquis of Durfort, the Ambassador of Louis
XV., was not invited to the dinner in order to avoid the question of
precedence between him and Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen, who was present
at the banquet. This same Duke, as well as the brothers of the young
Empress of the French, did not attend the state dinner of March 11,
1810; and the reason given was the desire to show a particular honor to
Napoleon's Ambassador Extraordinary.

The same day, the Archduke Charles who had just represented the French
Emperor at the wedding, wrote to him this letter:--

"March 11, 1810. SIRE: The functions which Your Imperial Majesty has
been kind enough to impose on me have been infinitely agreeable.
Flattered at being chosen to represent a sovereign who, by his exploits,
will live eternally in the annals of history, and convinced of the
mutual happiness which must ensue from the union of Your Imperial
Majesty with a Princess endowed with so many qualities as my dear niece,
I have felt happy at being called on to cement this bond. I beg Your
Imperial Majesty to receive the most earnest assurances of this feeling,
as well as of the profound consideration with which I shall never cease
to be, sire, Your Majesty's very humble and very obedient servant and
cousin, CHARLES."

That evening there were free performances at every theatre. The Emperor
and Empress drove through the city with the bride, who had that day sent
one gold napoleon to every wounded Frenchman, and five napoleons to
every one who had lost a limb. The same thing had been done for the
wounded German allies of France in the last war. This exhibition of
generosity produced the most favorable impression, and much gratitude
was felt towards the new Empress, who in the hours of her triumph had
thought of the suffering soldiers. She was everywhere cheered. The city
and suburbs were rivals in the brilliancy of the illuminations. In front
of the Chancellor's office, where the Prince of Neufchatel was staying,
were shown the initials of Napoleon and Marie Louise amid a circle
of lights. On one window was this motto, _Ex unione pax, opes,
tranquillitas populorum_, "This union brings to the people peace,
wealth, tranquillity." The dwelling of the Superintendent of Public
Buildings represented a temple with this illuminated inscription,
_Vota publica fausto hymeneo_, "The wishes of the public for the happy

The famous engineer Melzel had devised an ingenious decoration. Above an
excellent portrait of the new Empress there appeared a rainbow; on one
side, his happiest invention, an automaton, which the Viennese called
the War Trumpet. But a Genius was silencing it by pointing to this
motto, _Tace, mundus concors_, "Silence, the world is at peace."

To be sure there were a few satires, and some insulting placards posted
secretly, but the police took pains to remove them. Unfortunately the
weather was unfavorable, and scarcely one light out of ten held out
to burn. Was not this a token of the enthusiasm of the Viennese for
Napoleon, an enthusiasm which had succeeded hatred as if by magic, and
which, after flaring up so speedily, was soon to expire? VIII.


Marie Louise was to pass but one day more in Vienna. The ceremony had
taken place March 11, 1810, and on the 13th the new Empress of the
French was to leave the Austrian capital to join her husband in France.
After all these festivities and great excitement, the 12th was devoted
to peace and quiet. The Emperor Francis profited by it to write to
Napoleon the following letter:--

"March 12, 1810. MY BROTHER AND MY DEAR SON-IN-LAW: I appoint my
Chamberlain, the Count of Clary, the bearer of this letter to Your
Imperial Majesty. The great bond which forever unites our two thrones
was completed yesterday. I wish to be the first to congratulate Your
Majesty on an event which it has deserved, and which my wishes in
harmony with your own, my brother, have crowned, for I regard it as the
most precious as well as the surest pledge of our common happiness, and
consequently of that of our subjects. If the sacrifice I make is very
great, if my heart is bleeding at the loss of this beloved daughter, the
thought, and, I do not hesitate to say, the firmest conviction of her
happiness, is alone able to console me. Count Metternich, who in a few
days will follow Count Clary, will be commissioned to express by word of
mouth to Your Imperial Majesty the attachment which I consecrated to
the monarch who yesterday became one of the members of my family. Now I
confine myself to begging him to receive the assurances of my esteem and
unalterable friendship. Your Imperial and Royal Majesty's affectionate
brother and father-in-law,


March 12, the Marshal Berthier, Prince of Neufchatel, left Vienna for
Braunan, on the Austrian and Bavarian frontier. There he was to join the
Empress of the French, who was to be conducted thither by the Austrian
escort and then be entrusted to the French escort with which she was
to continue her journey. "Before the Prince of Neufchatel left," wrote
Count Otto, March 10, "a great many Archdukes called on him, including
even the high officers of the crown. His Highness started at two
o'clock, amid the acclamations of a large multitude. No embassy has ever
been more warmly received or filled with more dignity and nobility. The
Prince left sixty thousand francs to be divided among the household
where he had stayed. He was most discreet in everything that he did,
and in spite of the various honors heaped upon him, I do not think that
there is a single person at the court whose pride has been wounded." As
the moment drew near when the young Empress was to leave her beloved
family and country, to plunge into the unknown future that was awaiting
her, various emotions crowded upon her. At heart a German and an
Austrian, she could not accustom herself to the thought that probably
she would never see again her revered and beloved father; the family who
adored her; the good people of Vienna, who had always shown the kindest
interest in her; the Burg and Schoenbrunn, where had been spent so many
happy years of her infancy; the dear Church of the Augustins, where she
had so often earnestly offered up her prayers. Could all the praise of
Napoleon which she had been hearing for the last few days wipe out
the memory of the abuse she had so often heard? She had been promised
wealth, grandeur, power; but do those constitute happiness?

The 13th of March came; the hour of her departure struck. That same day
the French Ambassador wrote: "Her Majesty the Empress of the French left
this morning with a large suite. On leaving her loved family and the
land she will never see again, she for the first time felt all the
anguish of the cruel separation. At eight o'clock in the morning the
whole court was assembled in the reception-rooms. About nine, the
Austrian Empress appeared, again leading her step-daughter by her right
hand. She tried to speak to me, but her voice was choked by sobs. The
young Empress was accompanied to her carriage by her step-mother and
the Archdukes, and there they kissed her for the last time. Here the
affectionate mother broke down, and she was supported to her own room by
two chamberlains. The young Empress burst into tears, and her distress
moved even foreigners who witnessed it."

The procession started in the following order: a division of
cuirassiers, a squadron of mounted militia, three postilions, the Prince
of Paar, Director of the Posts, in a carriage with six horses; following
came four carriages, each with six horses, containing Count Edelinck,
Grand Master of the Court, and the chamberlains; Counts Eugene
of Hangevitz; Domenic of Urbua; Joseph Metternich, Landgrave of
Fuerstenberg; Counts Ernest of Hoyes and Felix of Mier; Count Haddick,
Field-Marshal; the Count of Wurmbrand; Count Francis Zichy; Prince
Zinzendorf; Prince Paul Esterhazy; Count Antony Bathiani; then the
Prince of Trautmannsdorf, First Grand Master of the Court, and
Quartermaster, in a carriage with six horses; then, in one with eight
horses, the Empress of the French, having with her the Countess of
Lazansky, grand mistress of her household; finally, in three carriages
with six horses each, her ladies-in-waiting,--the Princess of
Trautmannsdorf, Countesses O'Donnell, of Sauran, d'Appony, of Blumeyers,
of Traun, of Podstalzky, of Kaunitz, of Hunyady, of Chotek, of Palfy,
of Zichy. A detachment of cavalry brought up the rear. The procession
passed slowly through Saint Michael's Place, the Kohlmarkt, the Graben,
Kaerthnerstrasse, the Glacis, and the Mariahuelfestrasse. The troops and
national guard lined both sides of the way.

"The Empress," wrote Count Otto, in his despatch of March 13, "passed
through the main streets of the city and the suburbs, amid the ringing
of bells and the roar of cannon, followed by an immense concourse of
persons who uttered affectionate wishes and farewells. The inhabitants
had decorated their houses and even the palace gate with tricolored
flags. The regimental bands played French marches for the first time. A
general salvo from the ramparts finally announced that the Empress had
crossed the bridge. Her Majesty will be received with the same honors
in all the Austrian cities she passes through. The procession, which
consists of eighty-three carriages, will probably be delayed by the bad
roads, and the rain which fell heavily last night."

The Ambassador thus concluded his despatch: "The tumultuous joy which
has prevailed in Vienna during this last week, which has gratified Her
Majesty as much as any one, has been dimmed for a moment by a feeling
which does honor to the kindness of her heart, and can only endear her
the more to us. She has a great affection for her parents, and this
feeling they return. She has been called Louise the Pious, and it has
been said to be only right that she should share the throne of Saint
Louis. The Emperor started an hour before Her Majesty for Linz, where he
will embrace his beloved daughter for the last time. During these last
few days it has been very obvious that his feelings as a father have had
more weight with him than his position as a sovereign. This monarch's
amiable disposition has appeared in the most favorable light on this
occasion, and everything promises the happiest results from this

On leaving Vienna, Marie Louise doubtless thought that she would
never see it again; but she was to return to it very soon and in very
different circumstances. In four years the Viennese were to see
her again, but how changed the condition of things! Events cruelly
disappointed the hopes of peace and happiness evoked by her marriage. It
was a bitter deception. The hatred of the Austrians for Napoleon, whom
in 1810 they had so much admired, became once more as intense as in the
days of Austerlitz and Wagram. They ceased to greet Marie Louise with
applause; they simply pitied her. Her father himself ceased to regard
her as a sovereign. "As my daughter," he said to her, "everything that
I possess is yours, my blood and my life; I do not know you as a
sovereign." The time seemed very remote when she had precedence of the
Empress of Austria, and her father, the head of the house of Hapsburg,
respectfully gave her place at his right hand. After losing the double
Imperial and Royal crown, that of France and that of Italy, she was
obliged to beg of the implacable Coalition a petty duchy, the possession
of which had been promised her by a treaty signed after the fall of the
great Empire. There were again festivities in Vienna, but not for her,
the dethroned sovereign. Once she was curious to see one, and she
watched it hiding behind a curtain. On the evening of a court ball given
by her father in honor of the members of the Congress of Vienna, she
concealed herself near an opening made in the attic of the great hall
of the palace,--where the festivities of her wedding had been
celebrated,--and from there the wife of the prisoner of Elba watched the
men dancing who were condemning her to widowhood even in the lifetime of
her husband.



Marie Louise's journey was one long ovation; in every town and in every
village she passed through the young Empress received the homage of the
authorities. Groups of girls, dressed in white, offered her flowers;
bells were rung; and the enthusiasm of the country people was quite as
warm as that of the Viennese. Marie Louise spent the night at Saint
Poelten, where she met her father, who had gone thither incognito,
in order to embrace her for the last time. The Empress, the bride's
stepmother, went there also unexpectedly, and threw herself for the last
time into the arms of the Empress of the French. Ried she reached the
15th of March, 1810, and thence Marie Louise started on the 16th, at
eight in the morning, after hearing mass. By eleven she had reached
Altheim, close to the Bavarian frontier, and here she made a stop for
the purpose of exchanging her travelling-dress for a finer one. Bavaria,
as part of the Confederation of the Rhine, could be regarded as a
province of the French Emperor, since Napoleon was the Protector of the
Confederation. It had hence been decided that on the frontier, between
Austria and Bavaria, close to Braunau, should take place the ceremony of
handing her over to her French escort with all formality. The scene was
a close imitation of what had taken place forty years before, on the
occasion of the marriage of Marie Antoinette. On the frontier line
between Austria and Bavaria three pavilions were set up, opening from
one to the other: the first of these was regarded as Austrian; the
second, as neutral; and the third, as French. These three connected
buildings formed a wooden edifice in three compartments, and was placed
between Altheim and Braunau. It was furnished with care, and provided
with fireplaces. The central pavilion, or hall, which was destined for
the ceremony, was adorned with a canopy, beneath which, on a platform,
there was an armchair for the Empress, covered with a cloth of gold. To
the left of the canopy, on the Bavarian side, towards Braunau, was set a
large table with a velvet cloth, on which the plenipotentiaries were to
write their signatures. Two lines of young green trees had been set out,
one leading to the French hall, the other to the Austrian. On the side
of the first, towards Braunau, were drawn three regiments, in full
uniform, two of infantry and one of cavalry, under the command of
Generals Friant and Pajol. On the other, the Austrian, side, towards
Altheim, there were neither troops nor sentinels, in token of the
temporary neutrality of the territory. The French Commissioner was
Marshal Berthier, the Prince of Neufchatel, and his secretary, Count
Alexandre de La Borde. The Austrian Commissioner was the Prince of
Trautmannsdorf: M. Thedelitz was his secretary. The French party, which
was to meet Marshal Berthier at Braunau, and to serve as an escort to
the Empress for the rest of the journey, was composed of the following
people: Caroline, Queen of Naples, Murat's wife and Napoleon's sister;
the Duchess of Montebello, lady of honor, the widow of Marshal Lannes;
the Countess of Lucay, lady of the bed-chamber; the Duchess of Bassano,
the Countesses of Montmorency, of Mortemart, and of Bouille, maids of
honor; the Bishop of Metz, Monsignor Jauffret, almoner; the Count of
Beauharnais, lord-in-waiting; the Prince Aldobrandini Borghese, chief
equerry; the Counts d'Aubusson, of Bearn, d'Angosse, and of Barol,
chamberlains; Philip de Segur, lord steward; the Baron of Saluces and
the Baron d'Audenarde, equerries; the Count of Seyssel, master of
ceremonies; M. de Bausset, steward.

March 16, at half-past one, the Prince of Neufchatel, with the rest of
his company, made their way to the French division of the building; they
were all, men and women, in full dress. Towards two o'clock Marie Louise
entered the Austrian room, and after resting a moment she was ushered
into the middle room, the neutral one, by the Austrian master of
ceremonies; there a throne had been set, and the formal ceremony was to
take place. Marie Louise seated herself on the throne. The Prince of
Trautmannsdorf took his station before the table where the papers were
to be signed, with the Aulic Counsellor, Hudelitz, the secretary, behind
him. The men and women of the Austrian party ranged themselves around
the Empress. At the back and on the two sides of the hall were twelve
Noble Hungarian Guards and twelve German guardsmen, armed and in full

While the Austrians were thus getting ready, the French were waiting in
the next room, and displayed great impatience to get a sight of their
new sovereign. M. de Bausset, an eye-witness of the ceremony, tells us
in his Memoirs: "I was naturally anxious to see the Empress as soon as
she should reach the middle room to take a place on the throne, and
give her courtiers time to arrange themselves about her, before we were
introduced. I had brought a gimlet, and with this I had bored a good
many holes in the door of our room. This little indiscretion, which
was not mentioned in our report, gave us an opportunity to inspect the
appearance of our young sovereign at our ease. I need not say that it
was the ladies of our party who were most anxious to make use of the
little holes I had provided. The impression produced by the grace
and majesty of the Empress upon these inquisitive peepers was very
favorable. Marie Louise," M. de Bausset goes on, "sat straight on the
throne. Her erect figure was fine; her hair was blond and very pretty;
her blue eyes beamed with all the candor and innocence of her soul. Her
face was soft and kindly. She wore a dress of gold brocade, caught up
with large flowers of different colors, which must have tired her by its
weight. Hanging from her neck was a portrait of Napoleon surrounded by
sixteen magnificent solitaire diamonds, which together had cost five
hundred thousand francs."

Baron von Lohr, the Austrian master of ceremonies, having knocked at
the door of the next room, where were the Prince of Neufchatel and the
Empress's French court, announced to the Count of Seyssel, the French
master of ceremonies, that the ceremony might begin; thereupon the
Prince of Neufchatel entered the neutral room, followed by Count de
Laborde, his secretary for this occasion. After them entered the Duchess
of Montebello, the Count of Beauharnais, and the rest of the French
party, who stationed themselves at the end of the hall opposite the
Austrians. The two commissioners, the Prince of Neufchatel and the
Prince of Trautmannsdorf, after an exchange of compliments, signed and
sealed the two documents, each retaining one of the copies. Then the
Prince of Trautmannsdorf approached the Empress, bowing, and asked
permission to kiss her hand in bidding her farewell. This permission
was readily granted to him, and to all the ladies and gentlemen who had
accompanied her from Vienna.

While the French and Austrian secretaries were counting the
dowry--five hundred thousand francs in new golden ducats--and verifying
the Empress's jewels and precious stones, the French commissioners
giving a receipt for the dowry and jewels as enumerated in an inventory
attached to the document, the Austrian party drew up before the throne
of Marie Louise, and each one, according to his or her rank, went up
and kissed her hand with deep emotion. Even the humblest servants were
admitted to present their respects and best wishes. "Her Majesty's eyes
were filled with tears," M. de Bausset tells us, "and this emotion
touched every heart."

When they had all regained their places, Prince Trautmannsdorf offered
his hand to the Empress, to help her down from the platform and to lead
her to the Prince of Neufchatel, who took her by the hand and led her
towards the French courtiers. He named them all to the Empress; then the
door of the French room was opened, and the Queen of Naples, who had
been standing there during the whole ceremony, went up to her, and the
two sisters-in-law kissed each other and chatted for a few moments. Then
the Archduke Antoine was announced; he had been sent by the Emperor of
Austria to present his compliments to the Queen of Naples, and was to
return at once to Vienna to bring tidings of the Empress Marie Louise.
After the Queen had welcomed and thanked the Archduke, the two
sisters-in-law got into a carriage and drove to Braunau, followed by the
Prince of Neufchatel and all the court. On both sides of the way troops
were drawn up in order of battle, and artillery salutes were fired.

The Prince of Neufchatel, on the suggestion of the Emperor Napoleon,
invited the ladies and gentlemen of the Austrian party to spend the day
at Braunau, to take part in the rejoicings which were to be celebrated
there. Marie Louise also invited them in her own name. General de
Segur, who was present, thus describes the mingling of the French and
Austrians: "The only thing that I remember is that the men moved about
together and exchanged words very politely; but I never saw a company of
women sitting more constrainedly, with less ease, than on this occasion,
when the Austrian ladies were haughtily cold and silent. These ladies,
who had been compelled to offer up the Princess as their part of the war
indemnity, seemed to take no part in the submission which the government
had forced upon them. They handed over to us the pledge of defeat with
a bad grace which their husbands, who were weary of war, did not show."
Generals Friant and Pajol gave a grand dinner to the Austrian officers
in the citadel of Braunau, and the courtesy of both sides was worthy of
note. Three toasts were drunk,--the first to the Emperor Napoleon, the
second to the Empress Marie Louise, the third to the Emperor of Austria.
There was a salute of thirty guns after each toast.

At Braunau the Empress occupied the house of a rich wine-merchant
opposite the town-hall. The house was decorated with flags, and before
it a triumphal arch was set up. Marie Louise rested there, and changed
everything she had on, according to the custom, which demands that a
foreign princess on entering her new country must leave behind her
everything that attaches her to the country, the people and the ways she
has left. The Parisian shopkeepers had made everything for her from
measures and models sent from Vienna. Napoleon had had these models
shown him, and taking one of the shoes, which were remarkably small, he
had sportively stroked his valet's cheek with it, and said, "See there,
Constant; here's a shoe that will bring good luck with it. Did you ever
see feet like those?"

After the Empress had received the authorities of Braunau and the
generals commanding the French troops, she sought retirement, and
wrote to her father this touching letter, of which M. von Helfert has
published the German text: this is the translation:--

"DEAR FATHER--Excuse me for not writing yesterday, as I should have
done. The journey, which was long and very fatiguing, prevented me.
It is with pleasure that I seize this occasion to give to Prince
Trautmannsdorf for you the assurance that my thoughts are always with
you. God has endowed me with strength to endure the cruel emotion which
this separation from all my family calls forth. In Him I confide. He
will sustain me and give me courage to fulfil my mission. My consolation
shall be the thought that the sacrifice is in your behalf. I reached
Ried very late, and I was much distressed by the thought that I was
departing from you perhaps forever. At two o'clock I arrived at the
French camp at Braunau. I stopped a few minutes in the Austrian
pavilion, and there I had to listen to the reading of the documents
about the limits of the neutral zone, in which a throne had been set.
All my people then came up to kiss my hand, and I could hardly control
myself. I shuddered, and I was so much moved that the Prince of
Neufchatel had tears in his eyes. Prince Trautmannsdorf delivered me to
him, and my household was presented. Heavens, what a difference between
the French and the Austrian ladies!... The Queen of Naples came to greet
me, threw her arms about me, and was most kind; but yet I have not
perfect confidence in her: I can't think she took this long journey
merely to be of use to me. She came to Braunau with me, and then I
had to spend two hours in arraying myself. I assure you that now I am
already as much perfumed as the Frenchwomen. Napoleon sent me a superb
golden dress. He has not yet written. Now that I have had to leave you,
I had rather be with him than travel longer with these ladies. Heavens!
how I miss the happy moments I spent with you! Now, alone, I value
them at their true worth. I assure you, dear papa, that I am sad and
inconsolable. I hope you have got over your cold. Every day I pray
for you. Excuse my scrawl. I have so little time. I kiss your hands a
thousand times, and have the honor to be, dear papa, your obedient,
humble daughter,


"BRAUNAU, March 16, 1810."

That evening the Empress appeared again before the party that had
accompanied her from Vienna, to take a last farewell.

"Among them," we read in the Memoirs of Madame Durand, one of the suite
of the new Empress, "were many ladies who had known Marie Antoinette.
They all understood with what a heavy heart Marie Louise would come to
occupy a throne on which her great-aunt had suffered so sorely.... At
the moment when she was getting into the carriage that was to take her
to Munich, the grand master of the household, a man sixty-five years
old, who had accompanied her to this point, raised his joined hands
towards heaven, as if praying for a happy fate for his young mistress,
and blessing her as her own father might have done. His eyes indicated
a mind full of great thoughts and sad memories. His tears moistened the
eyes of all who witnessed this touching sight."

The Empress, with her French escort, started from Braunau for Munich
early March 17, in frightful weather; Only one of the Austrian suite
remained with her, the grand mistress, Countess Lazansky. She hoped that
this lady, whom she much loved, would remain another year with her. But
this hope was doomed to disappointment.



In the course of the 17th the Empress reached Haag, where the Bavarian
Crown Prince received her, and at ten in the evening she was in Munich.
The next day, M. de Boyne, the French _charge d'affaires_, wrote to the
Duke of Cadore: "Her Majesty the Empress has received all along her
route, and yesterday, on her arrival in Munich, countless expressions
of love and respect. This capital was illuminated with a taste and
magnificence that had never been seen here. The Crown Prince went as
far as Haag to pay his respects to her. The troops and the militia were
under arms, and the King and Queen, with the whole court, met her at the
foot of the staircase of honor." Marie Louise was not to leave Munich
till the 19th of March. On the 18th she received a letter from her
husband, brought by one of his equerries, the Baron of Saint Aignan.
That evening there was a state dinner at the palace, a levee, and a
theatrical representation. The next day, the 19th, the Empress was
destined to suffer a heavy blow. She had brought with her from Vienna to
Braunau, and from Braunau to Munich, her grand mistress, a confidential
friend, a woman who had had faithful charge of her infancy and
youth,--the Countess Lazansky. When she reached the Bavarian capital,
she was sure that this woman was not to leave her. Since the Countess
had not gone away at Braunau, she had every reason to suppose that she
would accompany her to Paris, and Marie Louise fully intended to keep
her with her at least a year. The Austrian court showed this belief, and
the French Ambassador had written March 6th to the Duke of Cadore: "I
shall not, even indirectly, oppose Madame Lazansky's going, since
His Majesty is willing to permit her accompanying the Empress. This
attention will be gratefully received." But that did not at all suit
Napoleon's sister, the Queen of Naples, who had not pleased the Austrian
lady, and who wished to control the new Empress without a rival.

The Queen of Naples was a very agreeable, very charming woman; but Count
Otto was mistaken when he wrote that the Austrian court was flattered
by hearing that Napoleon had chosen his sister Caroline to meet the new
Empress; the choice was not a happy one, and the Emperor would doubtless
have done better to send some other princess of his family. Could it be
forgotten that there was another woman, also a queen, and also bearing
the name of Caroline, Marie Louise's grandmother, whom Marie Louise
tenderly loved, and whose throne was occupied by Murat's wife? It should
have been remembered that in the eyes of the court of Vienna, the true,
the legitimate, queen of the Two Sicilies was not Caroline, Napoleon's
sister, but another Caroline, the daughter of the great Marie Therese,
the sister of Marie Antoinette.

This is what the widow of General Durand says on the subject, in her
interesting Memoirs: "Princess Caroline, Madame Murat, then Queen of
Naples, had gone to Braunau to meet her sister-in-law. The Duchess of
Montebello, a beautiful, sensible woman, the mother of five children,
who had lost her husband in the last war, had been appointed a
maid-of-honor,--a feeble compensation on the part of the Emperor for
her sad bereavement. The Countess of Lucay, a gentle, kindly woman,
thoroughly familiar with the customs of good society, was lady of the
bedchamber. I shall speak later of the other ladies of the suite, whose
functions, as established by etiquette, brought them very little into
personal relations with the Empress. Each one of them had pretensions to
which the presence of Madame Lazansky was an obstacle. They complained
to Queen Caroline, and she decided on an act of despotism which deeply
wounded her sister-in-law." This act was the dismissal of Madame
Lazansky. By this course the Queen of Naples expected to add to her
influence over the Empress; but, on the contrary, she only diminished it

"Madame Murat," continues Madame Durand, "was very anxious to acquire
great power over Marie Louise, and she might have been successful had
she taken, more precautions. Talleyrand said of her that she had the
head of a Cromwell on the body of a pretty woman. Endowed by nature with
a marked character, great intelligence, far-reaching ideas, a supple and
crafty mind, with a grace and amiability that made her very charming,
she lacked nothing but the power of hiding her love of rule; and when
she missed her aim, it was because she had been too eager. The moment
she saw the Austrian Princess, she imagined that she had read her
character; but she was utterly mistaken. She took her timidity for
weakness, her embarrassment for awkwardness; and, fancying that she
needed only to give her orders, she hardened against her for all time
the heart of the woman whom she expected to control."

Madame Durand thus describes the conspiracy which these women formed:
"The presence of the Countess Lazansky had excited the jealousy and the
fears of all the ladies of the household. They intrigued and caballed,
telling the Queen of Naples that she could never win her sister-in-law's
confidence or affection so long as she kept with her a person whose
influence rested on so many years of devotion and intimacy. Her
maid-of-honor lamented that her functions would amount to nothing, if
the Princess were to keep near her this foreigner who looked after
everything. Finally they persuaded the Queen to ask Marie Louise to send
back her grand mistress, although she had been promised that she could
keep her for a year."

The Empress might have resisted. They showed her no order from the
Emperor; they merely said that the presence of the Austrian lady with a
French sovereign was something anomalous,--an infringement of the laws
of etiquette,--and that the best way for the Empress to please the
Emperor was by this voluntary sacrifice. Marie Louise yielded for the
sake of peace, and gave up her friend, as later she was to give up her
husband, out of weakness. Her decision gave her great pain, and it was
not without a pang that she parted from the Countess Lazansky. "How
agonizing this separation is!" she wrote to her father. "I really could
not make a greater sacrifice for my husband, and still I do not think
that this sacrifice was intended by him."

Another thing that added to the grief of the new Empress was that she
was compelled to part with a pet dog which she was very fond of: the
Countess was to carry it back to Vienna. They told Marie Louise that
Napoleon disliked dogs, that he could not endure Josephine's, and that
they were perpetual subjects of discord. Besides, was it not her duty,
on entering France, to give up everything that came from her former
home? General de Segur, who had been part of the Empress's escort since
leaving Braunau, makes no mention of the Countess Lazansky, but
he speaks of the dog: "The complete change of dress was simply an
entertainment: that of the escort had been anticipated; it was
necessary to endure it. This painful change would have taken place
without too much evidence of grief, if the superfluously jealous
interference of Napoleon's sister had not extended itself to a little
dog from Vienna, which, it was insisted, must be sent back, though this
cost Marie Louise many tears." The acquisition of a colossal empire did
not console the sovereign for the loss of a little dog.

March 19, in the morning, Marie Louise and Countess Lazansky parted.
"The worst thing in the conduct of the Queen of Naples," writes Madame
Durand, who did not like her, "was that after having demanded the
Empress's consent to Madame Lazansky's departure, she gave orders to the
ladies-in-waiting not to admit that lady to the Empress if she came to
say good by. This order was not obeyed; the two ladies admitted her by
a secret door; she spent two hours with the Empress, and the ladies who
admitted her never regretted what they had done, in spite of the many
reproaches of the Queen of Naples."

While the Empress, leaving Munich March 19, continued her journey to
France, her old friend was journeying back to Vienna, where she arrived
March 22. Her unexpected return made a most unfavorable impression on
all classes of society.

The report that the Countess Lazansky was to accompany the Empress
to Paris had spread everywhere, and it was regarded as a proof of
confidence and cordiality that was most welcome to the Viennese with
their devotion to the reigning family. Consequently their delight and
interest, which had been fed by the festivities and all the details of
the journey, made the sudden return of the mistress of the robes a cause
of surprise and even of anxiety. There were riotous assemblies, and the
affair was the subject of most unfavorable comment. As the Baron of
Meneval has said, "The reconciliation on the part of the aristocracy and
people of Austria was not sincere. Marie Louise's departure from Vienna
was followed by many regrets. Instigated by English and Russian agents,
the populace of Vienna gathered in the streets and public places, and
began to murmur about the sacrifice which they said had been required
of the Emperor. The authorities were obliged to take active measures
against these assemblages." The Emperor of Austria spoke of them himself
to the French Ambassador. Count Otto wrote, March 24, to the Duke of
Cadore: "The Emperor having returned from Linz, I asked for a private
audience to congratulate him on his happy return. Audiences of this sort
are only accorded here to ambassadors of powers related by marriage, and
I took advantage of this occasion to enjoy this honorable distinction.
His Majesty received with his wonted kindness; he had been thoroughly
satisfied with all that took place at Braunau, and with the delicate
attentions paid to Her Majesty the Empress from the moment of her
arrival. 'But what have you done to Madame Lazansky?' the Emperor
went on, 'Why is she sent back? Your master had given my daughter leave
to take a companion with her; and if an exception was to be made, Madame
Lazansky deserved to be the object of it, for she has always been
well disposed towards France. But I must assure you that I attach no
importance to the matter, although the public amuses itself with a
thousand absurd conjectures; last night there were tumults in the city
and the suburbs.' I told His Majesty, in reply, that these disturbances
of the public peace were doubtless the last efforts of a few foreign
intriguers who are always on hand in this city; that since the escorts
were changed at Braunau, nothing was simpler or more natural than Madame
Lazansky's return; and that to allay the excitement, nothing more was
necessary than to spread abroad the rumor that orders had been received
from here recalling that lady as soon as the Empress was accustomed
to her new court. 'That's just what I have already done,' resumed the
Emperor, 'and it is to be hoped that the same things will be said in
France, as the best way of silencing discontent.'"

A few hours later Prince Metternich, the father of the celebrated
minister, who in his son's absence had charge of the Ministry, had an
interview with the Ambassador about this painful incident. "Prince
Metternich," Count Otto adds in the same despatch, "came to see me to
give me some fuller details about the events of the previous night. He
had been kept up until three in the morning, receiving the reports of
the police, and having the ringleaders arrested. They had gone about in
the coffee-houses, and had carried their effrontery so far as to say
that the French army was again in motion, and that Napoleon's sole aim
had been to distract the attention of this court."

Meanwhile Marie Louise was continuing her triumphal journey. At
Stuttgart she found the court and the population as enthusiastic as
at Munich; there, too, even illuminations, a state dinner, a levee, a
theatrical representation. At Stuttgart the Empress received a letter
from Napoleon, brought by the Count of Beauvau. Another letter from the
Emperor was delivered to her by the Count of Bondy at Carlsruhe, where
her reception was no less brilliant than at Munich and Stuttgart.

March 23, Marie Louise was at Rastadt, where the Hereditary Grand Duke
of Baden, who had married Stephanie de Beauharnais, Napoleon's adopted
daughter, gave her a breakfast. At the bridge over the Rhine, which the
Empress reached at five in the evening, she was met by twenty French
generals and several divisions under arms. The bridge was decorated with
flags; bells were pealing; salvos of artillery were roaring. At the
entrance of the bridge the sovereign was welcomed by the Prefect of the
Lower Rhine, and at the city gates by the Mayor. "It was at Strasbourg,"
says General de Segur, "that France, in its turn, greeted Marie Louise.
The enthusiasm on this German and military frontier was all the more
lively, sincere, and wide-spread, because the Archduchess was regarded
as the most brilliant trophy of the success of our arms, and it was
thought that after eighteen years of warfare they had in her a pledge of
certain peace."

March 23, Marie Louise wrote to her father, from Strasbourg, a long
letter, in which she apologized for her long silence, pleading the
excessive fatigue of a long journey, during which she had to get up
every morning at five, travel all day, and spend every evening at
receptions and theatrical performances. She added that the programme of
the festivities at Strasbourg had just been submitted to her for her
orders. "I can't tell you, dear papa," she said, "how funny it seems to
me, who have never had any will of my own, to have to give orders." At
Strasbourg she had the pleasure of meeting Count Metternich, who had
left Vienna March 12, and after stopping at many German courts, was
about to push on to Paris. The festivities there were very brilliant. A
newspaper of the town said, March 24, "Among the guests was the Austrian
general, Count Neipperg, who was here on a mission from his government,
as also many officers." Who could have foreseen that this unknown
general would one day be Marie Louise's consort, Napoleon's successor?

It was at Strasbourg that the Empress received her first letter from her
father since her departure from Vienna. She answered it at once: "I beg
of you, dear father, pray for me most warmly. Be sure that I shall try
with all my strength to perform the duty you have assigned to me. I am
easy about my fate. I am sure that I shall be happy. I wish you could
read Napoleon's letter: it is full of kindness." With every step she
made on French soil, Marie Louise became reconciled with her lot. For
his part, the Emperor awaited his new companion with all the impatience
of a youth of twenty, "Every day," says his valet Constant, "he sent a
letter, and she answered regularly. Her first letters were very short
and probably very cool, for the Emperor never mentioned them; but the
later ones were longer and gradually more affectionate, and the Emperor
used to read them with transports of delight.... He complained that his
couriers were lazy though they killed their horses. One day he came back
from hunting, carrying two pheasants in his hand, and followed by some
footmen bearing the rarest flowers from the conservatory at Saint Cloud.
He wrote a note, summoned his first page, and said to him: 'Be ready to
start in ten minutes, by coach. In it you will find these things, which
you will deliver to the Empress with your own hands. And above all,
don't spare the horses. Go as fast as you can, and fear nothing.'
The young man asked nothing better than to obey His Majesty. Thus
authorized, he hurried at full speed, giving his postilions double pay,
and in twenty-four hours he had reached Strasbourg." According to Madame
Durand, "It was evident that Marie Louise read the Emperor's letters
with ever-increasing interest. She awaited them with impatience; and if
the courier was behind time, she asked frequently if he had not come,
and what could have delayed him. This correspondence must have been
charming, since it evoked a feeling destined to acquire great strength.
Napoleon, on his side, was burning with desire to see his young wife;
he was more flattered by this marriage than he would have been by the
conquest of an empire. What most delighted him was to know that she had
given her consent of her own free will."

The Baron de Meneval also tells about Napoleon's correspondence with
this new wife, whom he had not seen and was so impatient to know: "He
wrote to her every day as soon as she had set foot on French soil; he
sent bouquets of the most beautiful flowers along with the letters, and
sometimes game. He was delighted with the answers, some of which were
long, that he received. These replies were written in good French; the
Empress expressed herself with delicacy and decorum: perhaps the Queen
of Naples aided her. She wrote many details, which interested the
Emperor very much."

The Empress left Strasbourg, March 25, in the direction of Nancy. She
dined at Bar-le-Duc, and at Vitry-le-Francois received the Prince of
Schwarzenberg, the Austrian Ambassador, and the Countess Metternich. She
had just made up her mind to hurry her journey, and thus to hasten the
moment set by etiquette for meeting her husband. The hour which Napoleon
had awaited so impatiently was now drawing near. XI.


Since the 20th of March, Napoleon had been at Compiegne, denouncing the
cumbrous machinery of etiquette which was retarding the happy moment
when he should at last see his new wife and enfold her in his arms.
He had had the castle repaired and richly furnished, that it might be
worthy to receive a daughter of the Caesars. The grand gallery had been
decorated with gilded ceilings and stucco columns; the garden had been
replanted and adorned with statues. The waters of the Oise had been
carried there by a system of water-works. All the members of the
Imperial family had arrived; the court was most brilliant. The Emperor
wished to dazzle his young wife with unheard-of splendor.

The minutest details of the meeting of the Imperial couple had been
carefully arranged beforehand; it was settled that this should take
place in all formality, March 28, between Soissons and Compiegne.
The Emperor was to leave the last-named place with the princes and
princesses of his family, preceded and followed by detachments of the
mounted Imperial Guard. Two leagues from Soissons they would find a
pavilion composed of three tents, entered by two flights of steps, one
on the side towards Compiegne, the other on that towards Soissons; the
first one was for Napoleon, the other for Marie Louise. The pavilion,
which was richly decorated with flags, was surrounded by trees; near
it flowed a brook. The central tent, the one in which the Emperor and
Empress were to meet for the first time, was decorated with purple and
gold. It had been settled that Marie Louise should fall on her knees as
soon as she saw her husband, that he should help her to her feet and
kiss her; then that both should get into a state carriage, and both the
escorts should unite and form one.

The preparations were completed March 27. Everything--horses,
carriages, escort, pavilion--was ready. That morning Prince Charles of
Schwarzenberg, the Austrian Ambassador, and the Countess Metternich,
the Minister's wife, arrived at the castle of Compiegne from
Vitry-le-Francois, where they had seen the Empress, of whom they could
bring news to Napoleon. At noon the Emperor received a letter from Marie
Louise, in which she said that in order to make greater haste she was
leaving Vitry-le-Francois that very morning for Soissons. When this
letter was handed to him, Napoleon was walking up and down in the
park, as if to overcome the impatience which this interminable waiting
produced. When he learned that his wife was so near, he could wait no
longer, and he decided to turn his back on the etiquette which had been
so laboriously prepared for the next day, and to hasten to meet Marie
Louise. He summoned Murat, whom he wished to have as his sole
companion, and leaving the park secretly by a hidden gate, he and his
brother-in-law got into a modest, undecorated carriage, which was driven
by a coachman not in livery towards Soissons as fast as the horses could
carry it.

Never had the Emperor known time to drag so slowly. A double feeling--of
curiosity and love--set his heart beating as if he were a youth of
twenty. When he had got beyond Soissons, he judged that Marie Louise
could not be far distant, and he alighted at a village called

The Empress meanwhile had been journeying ever since the morning in the
same carriage as her sister-in-law, Queen Caroline, with no idea of what
was going to happen. She had passed through Chalons and Rheims, and
proposed to dine at Soissons, where she expected to pass the night; for
the meeting with the Emperor was set down for the next day, March 28,
at the pavilion erected two leagues from that town. It was raining
in torrents when Napoleon reached there, and he got down with his
brother-in-law and sought shelter under the porch of the church opposite
the posting-station. No one in the village had a suspicion that the two
strangers seeking refuge from the rain were the great Emperor and
the King of Naples. Suddenly the clatter of wheels was heard, and a
carriage, preceded by an outrider and followed by a great many vehicles,
rolled up. It was she, at last,--Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria,
Empress of the French, Queen of Italy, the woman who would bring him a
son and heir to the vast empire! Pride and the intoxication of triumph
mingled with the conqueror's joy.

The carriage stopped, and the men began to change the horses. Napoleon
hastened to the carriage-door. He did not want to be recognized for a
few moments yet, but the equerry, d'Audenarde, scarcely believing his
eyes, shouted, "The Emperor!" The happy husband flung himself into the
arms of his wife, who was overcome with surprise and emotion. The first
glance delighted him. That fine young woman, fresh and young, full of
strength and health, with her blonde hair, her blue eyes, her air of
innocence and candor, was the wife he wanted, the Empress of his dreams;
and the words she said to him flattered and touched him, went straight
to his heart! After looking at him for some time, she said timidly and
gently: "You are much better-looking than your portrait."

A courier was despatched to carry the news at full speed to Compiegne,
that the Emperor and Empress would arrive there at about two o'clock,
and the carriage containing Napoleon and Marie Louise, with the King and
Queen of Naples, started in the direction of Soissons, followed by the
carriages containing the Empress's suite. They stopped but a moment at
Soissons. "I had the honor," says M. de Bausset, "to be in the carriage
with Mesdames de Montmorency and de Montemart and the Bishop of Metz. It
seemed to me that these ladies were more contented than I was to leave
the excellent dinner which was awaiting us there." Soissons, which
had made many expensive preparations, had no return for its money and
trouble. As to the ceremonious meeting in the pavilion two leagues off,
which had been prepared for the next day at some expense, it was not to
be thought of. Napoleon showed tact and courtesy by relieving his wife
of this alarming formality, and especially of the necessity of kneeling
before him. He was happily inspired in setting feeling before etiquette,
and in yielding to his impatience to see the face and hear the voice of
his long-awaited wife.

As soon as the courier, sent in advance, reached Compiegne, and
announced the great news, the town was in commotion. The illuminations
were got ready, the triumphal arches were decked with flags, orders were
given to greet the entry of the Emperor and Empress with a salute of a
hundred and one cannon. Marshal Bessieres made ready the mounted guard.
In spite of the rain, the inhabitants assembled in crowds to meet the
sovereigns at the stone bridge where Louis XV. had met the Dauphiness,
Marie Antoinette. The courts and galleries of the castle, which were
open to the public, were thronged with inquisitive visitors. A hard
rain was falling, and the night was so dark that nothing could be seen
without torches. At ten o'clock the cannon announced the arrival of
the Imperial couple, who rapidly ascended the Avenue. The princes and
princesses were waiting at the foot of the staircase, and the Emperor
presented them to the Empress. The town authorities were assembled in
a gallery where was the Prince of Schwarzenberg; a band of young girls
dressed in white paid their respects to the Empress, and offered her
flowers. The Emperor then conducted her to her apartments, where she was
delighted, as she was surprised, to find her little dog and her
birds from Vienna, as well as a piece of tapestry which she had left
unfinished at the Burg. This delicate attention of Napoleon's moved her
to tears. She was also pleased to see a magnificent piano. After a quiet
supper, at which the Queen of Naples was the only guest, the Emperor
conducted his wife to the room of his sister Pauline, the Princess
Borghese, who had been prevented by illness from taking part in the
reception. Then he showed her to her own room.

The portrait of the Empress which the Baron de Meneval has drawn, is
as follows: "Marie Louise had all the charm of youth; her figure was
perfectly regular; the waist of her dress was rather longer than was
generally worn at that time, and this added to her natural dignity and
contrasted favorably with the short waists of our ladies; her coloring
was deepened by her journey and her timidity; her fine and thick hair,
of a light chestnut, set off a fresh, full face, to which her gentle
eyes lent a very attractive expression; her lips, which were a little
thick, recalled the type of the Austrian Imperial line, just as a
slightly aquiline nose distinguishes the Bourbon princes; her whole
appearance expressed candor and innocence, and her plumpness, which she
lost after the birth of her son, indicated good health."

The next day, after breakfast, the ladies and officers of the household
who had not met her at Braunau were presented to the Empress, and they
took the oath of allegiance. Then followed the presentation of the
Generals and Colonels of the Guards, of the Ministers and high officers
of the crown, and of the officers and ladies who were to attend her on
leaving Compiegne. She had the pleasure of meeting at the castle her
uncle, the Grand Duke of Wuerzburg, her father's brother, with whom
she talked for a long time about her country and her family. She
also chatted with the Prince of Schwarzenberg and with the Countess
Metternich. All day Napoleon was in charming humor. Contrary to his
usual custom he dressed for dinner, putting on a coat which his sister
Pauline, an authority on fashions, had commanded of Leger, the tailor of
the King of Naples, who was fond of expensive and handsome clothes. This
coat and a white tie were not becoming to Napoleon; his simple uniforms
and black tie suited him much better. This was the only time he wore the
coat which the Princess Pauline had ordered; on ordinary occasions he
appeared in the green uniform of the Chasseurs of the Guard; and on
Sundays and reception days in his blue uniform with white facings.

March 29, the Count of Praslin set out from Compiegne for Vienna,
carrying two letters, one from Napoleon, the other from Marie Louise,
to the Emperor Francis II. In his letter Napoleon said to his
father-in-law, "Allow me to thank you for the present you have made me.
May your paternal heart rejoice in your daughter's happiness!" Marie
Louise, too, expressed content and joy; after telling her father with
what delicacy her husband had lessened the embarrassment of the first
interview, she went on: "Since that moment I feel almost at home with
him; he loves me sincerely, and I return his affection. I am sure that I
shall have a happy life with him. My health continues good. I am
quite rested from the journey.... I assure you that the Emperor is as
solicitous as you were about my health. If I have the least cold, he
will not let me get up before two o'clock. I only need your presence to
be perfectly happy, and my husband would also be very glad to see you. I
assure you that he desires it as sincerely as I do." Five days later she
wrote: "I am able to tell you, my dear father, that your prophecy has
come true: I am as happy as I can be. The more friendship and confidence
I give my husband, the more he heaps upon me attentions of every
kind.... The whole family are very kind to me, and I can't believe all
the evil that is said of them. My mother-in-law is a very amiable and
most respectable princess who has welcomed me most kindly. The Queens
of Naples, Holland, and Westphalia and the King of Holland are very
amiable. I have also made the acquaintance of the Viceroy of Italy and
his wife. She is very pretty."

The court left Compiegne March 31. At the entrance of the Bois de
Boulogne the Emperor and Empress were met by Count Frochot, Prefect of
the Seine, and a crowd of Parisians. The Prefect made a speech which
concluded with these words: "Escorted from Vienna to this point by the
love of the people, Your Majesty now knows that by the prominence of her
virtues as well as by the graces of her person, her destiny is to rule
over all hearts. Our own, Madame, shall be to make you find again here
in your customary abode, the country that you most love, where you were
most cherished, and to succeed in making worthy of Your Majesty the
homage of our allegiance, of our respect, and of our love."

At half-past six in the evening Napoleon and Marie Louise arrived at
Saint Cloud, where were assembled in full dress the marshals, the
cardinals, the great dignitaries of the Empire, the senators and the
state councillors. At the palace there was a family dinner, and after
it the ladies of the Palace of the Italian Crown, Countesses Porro,
Visconti, Thiene, Trivulci, and Mesdames Gonfalonieri, Trotti, de Rava,
Fe, Mocenigo, Montecuculli, were presented by the Italian maid-of-honor,
the Duchess Litta, and they all took the oath of allegiance. The civil
marriage was appointed for the next day, April 1, at Saint Cloud, and
the religious ceremony for the next but one, April 2, in the _Salon
Carre_ of the Louvre, between the long gallery of the Museum and the
Apollo Gallery. The formal entry of the Emperor and Empress into their
capital on the day of the religious marriage was to be an occasion
of great pomp. Strangers had gathered from all quarters of Europe to
witness this impressive sight, and as much as six hundred francs was
paid for the smallest room from which the passage of the Imperial
procession could be seen. Never, perhaps, in France or anywhere else,
had any ceremony excited so much curiosity. The Royalists themselves
had come to believe that Napoleon, the miraculous being, had forever
fastened fortune to his triumphal chariot. There was a truce to
recriminations. For a moment the caustic wit of the Parisians turned
into profound admiration. The great conqueror, in light of his
apotheosis, was more like a demigod than a man. Every one was eager to
look upon him and his young Empress.



The civil wedding of Napoleon and Marie Louise was celebrated at Saint
Cloud, Sunday, April 1,1810. At the end of the Apollo Gallery, which was
adorned with Mignard's frescoes, and still full of reminiscences of the
great century, had been placed on a platform two armchairs, each under a
canopy; the one to the right for the Emperor, the other for the Empress.
Below the platform, and to one side, was a table covered with a costly
cloth, on which were an inkstand and the civil registers. At two in the
afternoon the Colonel of the Guard on duty and the high officers of the
crown of France and Italy went to escort Their Majesties. The procession
formed and made its way through the Emperor's study, the Princes'
drawing-room, the throne-room, the Mars room, to the Gallery of Apollo,
in the following order: ushers, heralds-at-arms, pages, assistants to
the masters of ceremonies, the masters of ceremonies, the officers of
the household of the King of Italy, the equerries of the Emperor, his
aides-de-camp, the two equerries on duty, the aide on duty, the Governor
of the Palace, the Secretary of State of the Imperial family, the high
officers of the crown of Italy, the High Chamberlain of France and the
one of Italy, the Grand Master of Ceremonies and the Chief Equerry of
Italy, the Princes who were high dignitaries, the Princes of the family,
the Emperor, the Empress; and behind Their Majesties, the Colonel of the
Guard on duty, the Chief Marshal of the Palace, the Grand Master of
the House of Italy, the Grand Almoner of France, the one of Italy, the
Knight of Honor and the Prince Equerry of the Empress, carrying the
train of her cloak, the maids-of-honor of France and Italy and the Lady
of the Bedchamber, the Princesses of the family, the ladies of the
palace, the maids-of-honor of the Princesses, the officers on duty of
the households of the Princes and Princesses.

When the procession had reached the Apollo Gallery, the ushers, the
heralds-at-arms, and the pages drew up in line to the right and left in
the Mars room, near the door. The officers and high officers of France
and Italy, the maids-of-honor and the Lady of the Bedchamber took their
places behind Their Majesties' chairs, in order of rank. The Emperor and
Empress seated themselves on the throne, the Princes and Princesses on
the right and left of the platform in the following order and according
to their family rank: To the right of the Emperor:

His mother;
Prince Louis Napoleon, King of Holland;
Prince Jerome Napoleon, King of Westphalia;
Prince Borghese, Duke of Guastalla;
Prince Joachim Napoleon, King of Naples;
Prince Eugene, Viceroy of Italy;
The Prince Archchancellor;
The Prince Vice-Grand Elector.

On the Empress's left:--

Princess Julia, Queen of Spain;
Princess Hortense, Queen of Holland;
Princess Catherine, Queen of Westphalia;
Princess Elisa, Grand Duchess of Tuscany;
Princess Pauline, Duchess of Guastalla;
Princess Caroline, Queen of Naples;
The Grand Duke of Wuerzberg;
Princess Augusta, Vice-Queen of Italy;
Princess Stephanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Baden;
The Hereditary Grand Duke of Baden;
The Prince Archtreasurer;
The Prince Vice-Constable.

As soon as the Emperor was seated, the Prince Archchancellor of the
Empire, followed by the Secretary of State of the Imperial family,
approached the throne, bowed low, and said: "In the name of the Emperor
(at those words Their Majesties rose), Sire, does Your Imperial and
Royal Majesty declare that he takes in marriage Her Imperial and Royal
Highness Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria, here present?" Napoleon
replied: "I declare that I take in marriage Her Imperial and Royal
Highness Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria, here present." The same
question was then put to Marie Louise in these terms: "Does Her Imperial
Highness Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria, declare that she takes in
marriage His Majesty the Emperor and King, Napoleon, here present?" She
answered: "I declare that I take in marriage His Majesty the Emperor
and King, Napoleon, here present." Then the Archchancellor, Prince
Cambaceres, announced the marriage in these words: "In the name of the
Emperor and of the Law, I declare that His Imperial and Royal Majesty
Napoleon, Emperor of the French and King of Rome, and Her Imperial and
Royal Highness, the Archduchess Marie Louise, are united in marriage."
At the same instant the ceremony was proclaimed by salvos of artillery
fired at Saint Cloud and repeated in Paris by the cannon of the
Invalides. Napoleon must have felt a thrill of pride at this moment.
The Apollo Gallery, where the rite was celebrated, was full of pleasant
memories; there it was that the Ancients were sitting on that eventful
19th Brumaire when the foundations of his vast power were laid, and
there it was that he had uttered that ringing sentence, "Remember that I
march in the company of the God of Fortune and the God of War." There it
was that, May 18, 1804, he had said to the Senators who came to proclaim
the Empire: "I accept the title which you deem of service to the
nation's glory. I hope that France will never repent the honors with

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