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

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which it loads my family." And in this same gallery he was marrying in
triumph the daughter of the Germanic Caesars. The Palace of Saint Cloud
brought him good luck. And yet it was from this palace that he set out
two years later on the disastrous Russian campaign; and from there his
successor, sixty years later, started for a still more ruinous war. And
as for this Palace of Saint Cloud, so brilliant and radiant, what was
to become of it? But in 1810 no one could have felt such fears for the

The marriage proclaimed, the document had to be signed. The Secretary of
State of the Imperial family presented the pen to the Emperor and then
to the Empress, who signed (without leaving their places or rising) on
a table brought up before the throne. The Princes and Princesses then
walked up to the table, and after bowing to Their Majesties, signed
in the order fixed by the order of ceremonies. When, finally, the
Archchancellor and the Secretary had affixed their signatures, the
procession, in the same order as before, reconducted Their Majesties to
the Empress's apartments.

Possibly only one thing gave Napoleon a vague uneasiness: fourteen of
the Italian cardinals had approved as regular and satisfactory the
judgment of the officials of Paris concerning the invalidity of the
religious marriage with Josephine; while thirteen others, among whom
was Consalvi, thought that the Pope alone was competent to decide
so important a matter. The rumor had spread that these thirteen
recalcitrant cardinals would not be present at the nuptial benediction
to be given to Napoleon and Marie Louise the next day in the _Salon
Carre_ of the Louvre. But Napoleon in his wrath had exclaimed, "Bah!
they will never dare to stay away!"

That evening after dinner Their Majesties went into the family
drawing-room. The company that was to accompany them to the play
assembled in the neighboring rooms. The orange-house, which had been
converted into a court theatre, was illuminated. The piece to be given
was _Iphigenia in Aulis_, one of the favorite operas of the unhappy
Marie Antoinette, the new Empress's great-aunt. The choice of this piece
seemed an unhappy one; for Iphigenia recalled the idea of a sacrifice,
and the aristocracy of Europe thought that Marie Louise had been
sacrificed. General de Segur, in spite of his admiration for the
Imperial glories, says in his Memoirs: "The feeling that prevailed in
Paris, along with the general curiosity, was surprise at the presence of
a princess ascending a throne reared so near the scaffold stained with
the blood of one of her near relatives. This cruel memory offended
the feeling of propriety peculiar to the French and especially to the
Parisians. They were insensibly pained by this reminder which made too
evident the sacrifice extorted from Austria, and they felt that their
victory had been carried too far. They condemned the imitation of Louis
XVI., whose sad fate was attributed to a similar selection." But the
fickle crowd which assembled, eager for pleasure in the park of Saint
Cloud, made no such reflections. "The illumination of the park," says
the _Moniteur_, "had been arranged with infinite art; the fountains
were rendered more brilliant by the lights which were thrown upon the
cascades. The great waterfall especially produced a magical effect.
Poets, in their description of enchanted gardens, have given but a
feeble idea of such an appearance and of such an effect of light.
Throughout the park sports of all kinds had been prepared. An immense
crowd, from Paris and the suburbs, took part in the festival, which was
most gay and animated. The arrangements were novel and far exceeded
general expectations."

At Saint Cloud, Sunday, April 1, 1810, when the civil marriage was
celebrated, the weather was pleasant, while in Paris the streets were
flooded by a heavy rain. The next day, that of the religious marriage,
it rained at Saint Cloud, but the weather in Paris was magnificent, so
that nothing was lost of the magnificence of the procession or of the
brilliancy of the illuminations. The Emperor's good fortune, it
was said, had twice triumphed over the equinoctial storms. In the
ever-flattering _Moniteur_ it was said: "April 2 had been chosen for
Their Majesties' entrance into the capital and the wedding rites. One
strange circumstance aroused universal attention and called forth much
favorable comment. A tempest had raged almost all of the previous
night.... It was hence natural to suppose that all the preparations
which for a month had excited general interest would have to be kept
until a more favorable day; but such was not the case, and what has
often happened occurred once more. The agreeable temperature which
the sunshine produced was the more remarkable because it lasted only
while the festivities were going on, beginning and ending with them, and
never was one more strongly reminded of the two familiar lines of
Virgil when, recalling the tempest in the night and the calm of the day
appointed for a great entertainment, he represents the heavens under the
divided control of Augustus and Jupiter:--

"'Nocte pluit tota, redeunt spectacula mane,
Divisum imperium cum Jove Caesar habet.'"



Monday, April 2, 1810, as soon as day began to break, Paris and all the
country round about set forth towards the Saint Cloud road. From
eight in the morning the windows were filled with women. Everywhere
scaffolding had been put up; fences, roofs, and trees were crowded with
numberless spectators. At the base of the side openings of the great
Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile, steps had been set in the form of an
amphitheatre, where a great many persons had taken their place by
invitation of the Prefect of the Seine. Of the arch itself, which was to
be built in stone, only the bases had been built to a height of about
twenty feet, but the rest of the structure was raised in canvas over
a framework for the Emperor's formal entry into Paris. The speed with
which the work had been done seemed magical; nearly five thousand
laborers had been employed, and the temporary structure, imitating the
real one, had been finished in less than twenty days. At the summit was
this inscription: "To Napoleon and Marie Louise, the city of Paris."
The top of the arch, where the vaulting started, was decorated with
bas-reliefs, and with sunk panels in the middle of which were eagles.

There were twelve medallions--six towards Passy, six on the other side;
namely, the portrait of the Emperor, with this motto, "The happiness of
the world is in his hands" (the address of the Senate); a laurel with
many sprouts, and these words, "He has made our glory"; a roaring
leopard, with this motto, "He laughed at our discords, he weeps at
our reunion"; the monograms of Napoleon and Marie Louise, with this
inscription, "We love her through our love for him, we shall love her
for herself"; a Love placing a wreath of myrtles and roses on the helmet
of Mars, with this motto, "She will charm the hero's leisure"; the sun
and a rainbow, and these words, "She announces happy days to the world";
the Empress's portrait, and this inscription, "To her we owe the
happiness of the August spouse who has set her so high in his thoughts";
the figure of the Danube, and this line, "He enriches us with what
is most precious"; the Austrian coat-of-arms; the monogram of Their
Majesties, and the motto, "She will be a true mother to the French"; the
figure of the Seine, motto, "Our love will be grateful for the gift he
makes to us"; and last, the French coat-of-arms.

The six bas-reliefs represented the following subjects: Legislation--the
Emperor in his robes, seated upon the throne, points towards the tables
on which is inscribed the Code, while Innocence, in the form of a
young maiden, is sleeping at the foot of the Imperial throne; National
Industry--merchants presenting to the Emperor various products from
their warehouses; the Arrival of the Empress in Paris; the Decorations
of the Capital; the Emperor's Clemency--Napoleon seated, with his hand
on his sword, is crowned by Victory, while he generously pardons his
vanquished enemies; union of the Emperor and Empress--Napoleon and Marie
Louise hand-in-hand, in token of alliance, before an altar placed at the
foot of the statue of Peace.

The salvos of artillery were heard, announcing the departure of the
Emperor and Empress from Saint Cloud. At the same moment, as if in
obedience to the signal, the sun appeared on the horizon, to shine
all day, and just when the procession reached the Arc de Triomphe, it
appeared with greater brilliancy. The cavalry of the Imperial Guard
headed the procession, the lancers in front, then the chasseurs,
followed by the dragoons, with the bands in advance; the heralds-at-arms
came next; and after them the carriages, the one containing the Emperor
drawn by eight horses, the others by six. Napoleon and Marie Louise were
in the famous coronation coach. Its four sides consisted of four large
pieces of clear glass, set in slender, gilded and wrought corner-posts,
giving as unimpeded view of those within as if the coach was open.
The Emperor was to be seen in his cloak of red and white velvet; the
Empress, in court dress and wearing the crown diamonds. The top of this
magnificent coach consisted of a sort of golden dome, upheld by four
eagles with outspread wings, and surmounted by a huge crown. The
Marshals of France and the colonels in command of the Guard rode on each
side, near the doors of the carriage, the aides near the horses, the
equerries near the hind wheels. According to the etiquette prescribed
for the occasions when the Emperor used this state carriage, as many
pages as possible got on the footboard and on the seat near the driver.

The procession reached the Arc de Triomphe at one o'clock. Twelve cannon
had been placed on the high ground near by, twelve others in the garden
of the Tuileries, on the terrace by the riverside, and their salutes
were repeated by the cannon of the Invalides. Bands which had been
stationed along the routes played triumphal marches. All the church
bells were rung at full peal. The Imperial coach stopped beneath the
arch, where the Governor of Paris, the Prefect of the Seine, the Prefect
of the Police, and the twelve mayors received the sovereigns.

Count Frochot, Prefect of the Seine, then pronounced the following
speech: "Sire, Your Majesty has at last interested himself in his own
happiness, and has succeeded in this as in all he undertakes. If never
in the world's annals did any sovereign's marriage have such grandeur,
never could love and glory better unite their interests or more happily
inspire Your Majesty. From the shouts of joy which have echoed beneath
the arches of the monument erected in honor of your triumphs, Your
Majesty may judge that the wishes of his good city of Paris, that all
the wishes of his people, are satisfied. And it is not in the vast
extent of your empire alone that this joy prevails; Sire, a whole
continent celebrates with equal delight the alliance made by the
greatest of its monarchs, and a hundred different nations bless in
unison these August bonds, secretly woven by Providence, these bonds,
so dear to our hearts, since they give us at once a pledge of Your
Majesty's happiness, and of the fairest hopes of the country."

Then turning to the Empress, the Prefect went on: "You, Madame, will
realize this double hope; and, seated on the first throne of the
universe, you will adorn it for the prince; you will thus make it dearer
to his subjects; you will ensure its durability for posterity. The mere
presence, Madame, of Your Majesty, reveals to every eye the precious
gifts of the Providence who called you to this throne. No longer, in
order to admire you, are we forced to content ourself with the report of
fame, and already are verified those words of your immortal spouse, that
loved first on his account, you will soon be loved for yourself. May it
be permitted, Madame, to apply these words to the city of Paris! May you
honor it at first with your good-will, and soon love for itself this
great part of the immense family of Frenchmen, which on this solemn day
proudly attaches itself to Your Majesty's destiny by all the ties of
its allegiance, its respect, and its love!"

The Empress replied that she loved the city of Paris because she knew
how attached were its inhabitants to the Emperor. Young girls, clad in
white, offered her baskets of flowers, which she accepted graciously,
and the procession moved on.

Then Marie Louise, after passing between a double line of picked troops
before an enthusiastic crowd, through the brilliant avenue of the Champs
Elysees, reaches the fatal Place at its further end. Could all the roar
of artillery, the peals of church bells, the music, so far distract the
young Empress as to make her forget that here for two years stood the
hideous guillotine, on which more than fifteen hundred people were
murdered? Could all the happy cheers drive from her thoughts that
beating of the drums which drowned the voice of Louis XVI. at the moment
when that descendant of Saint Louis essayed to speak a few last words
to his people? The place was full of horrid memories, haunted by gloomy
ghosts. But sixteen years before, cattle would not traverse it, repelled
by the smell of blood. The terraces of the Tuileries were crowded, and,
as the _Moniteur_ put it, the stone images of fame above the garden
gates seemed ready to fly away to proclaim the glories of that great
day. Well, sixteen years and a half before, the same terraces were quite
as densely crowded. Yes, a huge throng gathered in the cool, foggy
morning of October 16, 1793, to get a good view of the death of a woman
whose grand-niece this new Empress was in two ways: on the father's
side by her father, the son of Emperor Leopold II.; and again, on the
maternal side, through her mother, the daughter of Marie Caroline, Queen
of Naples. Yes, on the very spot over which the Imperial procession
passed with so much pomp, in front of the gateway of the Tuileries,
thirty metres from the middle of the Place, where stood the base on
which had been set first the equestrian statue of Louis XIV. and then
the statue of Liberty, there had been raised, sixteen and a half years
before, the scaffold of Marie Antoinette. Could that gorgeous state
carriage drive from her mind the memory of the martyred queen's tumbrel?
And when Marie Louise first saw the Tuileries, must she not have thought
of the last glance which that queen, her near relation, cast on that
fateful palace before she bowed her August and charming head upon the
block? All the flattery and homage of courtiers, the hymns of poets,
the marriage songs, the whole chorus of adulation, cannot drown the
inexorable lamentations of the voice of history!



The procession reached the entrance of the Tuileries gardens, passed
beneath a triumphal arch, wound around the basin of water, by the side
of the flower-beds, which the crowd had respected, and drew near to
the palace walls. The central pavilion had been decorated with a large
orchestra, divided by a passage leading to the vestibule. In the middle
of the orchestra was an arch, on top of which was set a tribune in the
shape of a tent. On all the bas-reliefs the panels and other ornaments
were initials surrounded with flowers and various emblems and
allegories. The carriages passed under this arch; the Emperor and
Empress alighted in the vestibule and ascended the grand staircase.
Marie Louise entered the bedroom of the grand apartment by the great
door, which was thrown wide open. The maids-of-honor of France and
Italy, as well as the ladies of the bedchamber, were shown thither from
the throne-room through the dressing-room. They removed the Empress's
court cloak, and put on her the Imperial cloak. Meanwhile the procession
was forming again in the Gallery of Diana, and as soon as Their
Majesties had arrived, it started again, entered the long Gallery of the
Louvre, passing through its entire length, to the _Salon Carre_, which
had been turned into a chapel for the religious ceremony.

This magnificent gallery presented a fine appearance, divided, as it is,
into nine unequal compartments by arches rising from columns of rare
marble with gilded bases and capitals. It is the famous gallery in which
are gathered the finest pictures of the masters of every school. The
invited guests had been gathering there since ten o'clock. They ascended
thither by two staircases, one leading from the quay, the other from the
Place du Carrousel to the central pavilion. The Imperial party alone was
to enter by the door of the Pavilion of Flora. Two rows of benches had
been placed the whole length of the gallery for the ladies, and two rows
of men were to stand behind them, so that there was room for about eight
thousand persons without crowding. Bars had been placed in front of
the first line of benches to leave an unencumbered passage-way for the
Emperor and Empress. Thanks to the exertions of the officers of the
Imperial Guard, who discharged their duty with perfect courtesy, four
thousand women, in their most brilliant dresses, without trouble,
without confusion, and as many men, all chosen from the highest society,
took their places when the procession was to pass. They had to wait not
less than five hours, but the order was so good that every one could
easily leave and resume his place. The gallery was turned with a
magnificent promenade in which Paris was treated to a display of the
elegance and luxury of its leading men and most fashionable women.
Refreshments of various kinds were handed about while orchestras played
marches or pieces composed by Paer, the famous leader of the Emperor's
music. The waiting was thus a long entertainment. At three in the
afternoon the whole company was standing in place; the doors of the
Pavilion of Flora opened, and the heralds-at-arms appeared, followed
by the Imperial procession. The spectacle is thus described by the
_Moniteur_ with its accustomed enthusiasm:--

"The sound of the music was drowned in the roar of applause which rang
through all parts of the gallery. At times the applause ceased, when the
spectators silently regarded the Emperor and the Empress. This silence
was eloquent; it was a respectful homage that attested the solemn
thoughts which the spectacle evoked, and the deep impressions it made on
every soul; this keen emotion, this silent expression of an irresistible
feeling, gave way to heartfelt enthusiasm, to cries of joy, to
transports of delight. Their Majesties acknowledged this enthusiasm
most courteously as they passed through this long and brilliant gallery
leading to the chapel, which was a sort of nave of the temple where
their August union was to be consecrated anew."

The chapel was the _Salon Carre_, which lies between the
picture-gallery and the Apollo gallery. Two rows of seats had been
placed all around it. The altar, which was placed in front of the
picture-gallery had been adorned with a large bas-relief and many rich
ornaments. The six candelabra and the crucifix were masterpieces. Thirty
feet from the altar, on a platform, and beneath a canopy, were the two
armchairs and the prayer desks of the Emperor and the Empress. Near the
altar, on two chandeliers, had been placed the two candles designed for
offerings; in each one had been set twenty pieces of gold. The Cardinal,
Grand Almoner of France, assisted by the Grand Almoner of Italy, went
to receive the sovereigns at the door, and to offer them holy water and
incense. Their Majesties then took their places on the platform, the
Empress on the Emperor's left. The rest of the procession arranged
themselves in the following order: on the Emperor's right, below
the platform, Prince Louis Napoleon, King of Holland; Prince Jerome
Napoleon, King of Westphalia; Prince Borghese, Duke of Guastalla; Prince
Joachim Murat, King of Naples; Prince Eugene de Beauharnais, Viceroy of
Italy; the Hereditary Grand Duke of Baden; the Prince Arch-chancellor
Cambaceres; the Prince Archtreasurer Lebrun; the Prince Vice-Constable
Berthier; the Prince Vice-Grand Elector Talleyrand;--on the Empress's
left, below the platform, Napoleon's mother; 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 Wuerzburg; the Princess Augusta, Vice-Queen of Italy; Princess
Stephanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Baden. The Colonel commanding
the Guard on duty, the Grand Marshal, the High Chamberlain, the First
Equerry, the First Almoner of the Emperor, the high officers of Italy,
the French Maid-of-Honor, the Italian Maid-of-Honor, the Lady of the
Bedchamber, the Knight-of-Honor, the First Equerry and the First Almoner
of the Empress, stationed themselves behind Their Majesties' chairs.

On his way through the gallery Napoleon seemed perfectly radiant with
joy, but suddenly his face clouded. "Where are the cardinals?" he asked,
in a tone of annoyance, of his chaplain, the Abbe de Pradt; "I don't
see them." He saw them very well, but he noticed that they were not
all there. "A great many of them are here," timidly replied the Abbe;
"besides, many of them are old and feeble." "No, they are not there,"
the Emperor repeated, casting his eye on some empty benches. "Fools!
fools!" he said angrily, his face growing darker. It was true! The
thirteen cardinals who had declared that they would not come, had had
the singular audacity to keep their word. What! they had dared to
persist in a factious opposition which he, the Emperor, had defied them
to exhibit! They had dared to brave him, to offer him a public insult!
They were to receive one in their turn. They did not want to be present
at the marriage; very well, he would expel them in disgrace from his
court on the very next day!

Nevertheless, the ceremony began, but the Emperor was absorbed, and
found it difficult to forget the sudden annoyance. The Grand Almoner,
after a deep bow to Their Majesties, intoned the _Veni Creator_, and
then proceeded to bless the thirteen pieces of gold and the ring.
Napoleon and Marie Louise arose, advanced to the altar, and clasped
their bared right hands. The priest then addressed the Emperor, "Sire,
do you acknowledge and swear before God and His Holy Church that you now
take for your lawful wife Her Imperial and Royal Highness, Madame Marie
Louise, Archduchess of Austria, here present?" Napoleon answered, "Yes,
sir." Then turning to the Empress, "Madame, do you acknowledge and swear
before God and His Holy Church that you now take for your lawful husband
the Emperor Napoleon here present?" "Yes, sir." "Do you promise and
swear to show to him the fidelity in all things which a faithful wife
owes to her husband, according to God's holy commandment?" "Yes, sir."
The priest then gave the Emperor the pieces of gold and the ring; he
presented the pieces of gold to the Empress and placed the ring on her
finger, saying, "This ring I give unto you in token of the marriage we
are contracting." The priest made the sign of the cross upon the hand
of the Empress, and said, "_In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus
Sancti, Amen_." Then mass was said. After the Gospel the First Bishop
carried the holy volume to Their Majesties to kiss, and waved incense
before them. After the benediction, the Grand Almoner offered them holy
water, and gave them the corporal kiss; then he turned towards the altar
and intoned the _Te Deum_, which was sung by the chapel choir, producing
a deep impression.

The procession formed anew after the ceremony, and retraced its steps.
The Emperor gave the Empress his hand, and it was observed with surprise
that in passing through the long gallery, his face, which had been so
triumphant and joyous, no longer wore the same expression. Could
the absence of the thirteen cardinals have been enough to mar
this magnificent ceremony? The procession after leaving the long
picture-gallery reached the Gallery of Diana by the Pavilion of Flora,
and then it stopped. The sovereigns and the Imperial family entered
the Emperor's drawing-room, which opened on this gallery. Marie Louise
withdrew to her own room. The maid-of-honor and the Lady of the
Bedchamber removed her Imperial cloak and the crown, to give them to the
Chamberlain, who had carried them in ceremony to Notre Dame. Then Their
Majesties appeared on the balcony of the Hall of the Marshals and
watched the infantry and cavalry of the Imperial Guard march by.
Officers and men waved their weapons, and filled the air with their loud
cheers, which were repeated by an enthusiastic multitude. The Imperial
dinner took place at seven in the theatre of the Tuileries. The stage
had been decorated like the rest of the hall, so that instead of
being separate divisions, there was but one huge, unbroken room. The
decoration consisted of two cupolas upheld by double arches with the
intermediate vaults adorned with columns. One of the two parallel
divisions contained the table destined for the Imperial banquet, which
stood on a platform beneath a magnificent canopy. As soon as the dinner
was ready, the Grand Chamberlain offered the Emperor a basin in which to
wash his hands. The First Equerry offered him a chair. The Grand Marshal
of the Palace gave him a napkin. The First Prefect, the First Equerry,
and the First Chamberlain of the Empress had similar duties. The Grand
Almoner stood up by the table, asked a blessing, and withdrew. During
the repast the Grand Marshal of the Palace offered the Emperor wine. It
was an imposing sight. According to the _Moniteur:_ "Here again it is
impossible to do justice to the extraordinary magnificence of this
imposing occasion. Pen and pencil can describe but faintly the majestic
order, the admirable regularity, the blaze of diamonds, the beauty of a
brilliant illumination, the gorgeous dresses, and above all the noble
ease, the indefinable grace, and perfect elegance which have always
characterized the court of France."

After the banquet Napoleon and Marie Louise went to the Hall of the
Marshals and appeared on the balcony. A vast crowd had gathered in the
garden, under the walls of the palace, around the amphitheatre which
had been built for the public concert. They greeted the sovereigns with
repeated calls and cheers. The following cantata was given, with words
by Arnault and Mehul's music:--


"Mars himself has yielded the earth
To the only god peace cannot disarm.
Beneath serener skies see all revive,
All grow tender, all take fire.
On the oak, beneath the heather,
See, yielding to the call of love,
The proud eagle itself forgetting his thunder.


"See the many warriors mingling with the citizens,
Hiding their old laurels beneath the new myrtles,
For the first time forgetful of their conquests.
See the Frenchman, see the German,
Clasping each other's hand
And inviting you to the same festivals.


"Hear the voice resounding
From the banks of the Danube to the banks of the Seine;
Hear the voice that promises
A long reign to the happiness which this day brings."

Then was given the chorus from _Iphigenia:_ "What grace, what majesty!"
a chorus which Glueck, said the _Moniteur_, "could not have made more
beautiful, even if he had foreseen this occasion." Alas! the
same thing had been said, in the same words, for the unhappy Marie
Antoinette; but away with these gloomy presentiments! After the concert
the discharge of a rocket from the palace gave the signal for the
fireworks. These had been arranged for the whole length of the Avenue of
the Champs Elysees. The illumination brought out the impressiveness of
the vast architectural lines of the Tuileries. The main avenues of the
gardens were richly decorated; around the flower-beds were one hundred
and twenty-eight porticoes and twenty-eight arches from which hung
transparencies and garlands; and at the entrance of this enchanted
garden there was a graceful triumphal arch with twenty-four columns
and eight pilasters illuminated with colored lanterns. The Place de
la Concorde was surrounded by pyramids of fire and lights arranged to
resemble orange-trees; the Champs Elysees, the Garde Meuble, the Temple
of Glory, the Tuileries, the Palace of the Corps Legislatif, were all
ablaze. This last-named building, with a hastily constructed front to
show how it was to be finished, represented on that occasion the Temple
of Hymen. A transparency represented in front Peace blessing the August
couple; on each side were genii carrying bucklers on which were to be
seen the arms of the two Empires. Behind this group were magistrates,
soldiers, and people, offering crowns, and at the ends of the
transparency, the Seine and the Danube, surrounded with children, in
token of fecundity. The twelve columns in front, the steps, the
stone statues of Sully, of l'Hopital, of Colbert, of d'Aguesseau, as
well as those of Themis and Minerva, were most brilliant. The bridge
Louis XV., leading from the Place de la Concorde to the Temple of Hymen,
resembled a triumphal avenue with its double row of lights, its colored
glass, its obelisks, its hundreds of blazing columns, each one topped
by a star. The calmness of a lovely spring night was favorable to the
illuminations; all Paris seemed a sea of flame with waves of fire.

The festival continued till late into the night. "All the happy
families," says the _Moniteur_, "returned to their peaceful homes after
a long absence. Every one had had the happiness of gazing at the Emperor
and his August spouse, and all could feel that they too had been seen of
them, so thoroughly did the feeling of the benevolence and affability
with which their homage had been received by Their Majesties, repay
the most enthusiastic testimonials of love and gratitude which a great
nation has ever been able to present to its rulers."

Tuesday, April 3, was the day for the presentation at the Tuileries to
the Emperor and Empress, seated on their throne, of the great bodies of
the State. The Emperor replied to the address of the Senate in these
words, "I and the Empress merit the sentiments which you express by the
love we nourish for our people." The President of the deputation from
the Kingdom of Italy spoke in Italian. "Our people of Italy,"
replied the Emperor, "know how much we love them. As soon as possible,
I and the Empress wish to go to our good cities of Milan, Venice, and
Bologna, to give new pledges of our love for our Italian people."

The thirteen Italian cardinals who were unwilling to be present at the
wedding the day before were in the Hall of the Marshals, where, amid a
throng of prelates, officers, functionaries, and court ladies, they were
waiting for the moment to pass before their formidable master. They
had been there for three hours, in great anxiety, when aides appeared,
bidding them depart at once, the Emperor being unwilling to receive
them. Much disconcerted, they made their way with difficulty through the
crowd to their carriages. When the other cardinals, who had been present
at the wedding, presented themselves in the throne-room, Napoleon stood
up and violently denounced their expelled colleagues. Cardinal Consalvi,
formerly Secretary of State to Pius VII., was especially attacked.
"The others," he said, "may perhaps be excused on the score of their
theological prejudices, but he has offended me from political motives.
He is my enemy, and he seeks to revenge himself for my driving him from
the ministry. That is why he has made this deep plot against me, raising
against my dynasty a pretext of illegitimacy, a pretext which my enemies
will be sure to lay hold of when my death shall have freed them from
the fear that restrains them to-day." It was in vain that the offending
thirteen cardinals wrote together an apologetic letter in which they
said that they had never wished to judge the validity of the Emperor's
first marriage or to throw any doubts on the lawfulness of the second.
Napoleon remained implacable. He turned them out of their office,
stripped them of their cardinals' robes, bade them resume their attire
as simple priests, so that afterwards they were known as the black
cardinals, in distinction from the others, the red cardinals. He
deprived them of all their estates, ecclesiastic or inherited, and
placed them under sequestration. He made them live in bands of two, in
various cities of France, dependent on the charity of the faithful.
The contest with the Pope began: but the Pope, though defeated in the
beginning, was to conquer in the end, and the persecutor of one day was
himself persecuted the next. The captive of Savona and of Fontainebleau
was to re-enter the eternal city in triumph, and the all-powerful
Emperor, the Pope's jailer, was to die, a prisoner of the English, on
the rock of Saint Helena.



Napoleon was happy; his new wife pleased him; he found that she was what
he had wanted her to be,--gentle, kindly, timid, modest. It seemed sure
that she would bring him heirs. Being neither ambitious nor prone to
intrigue, she did not meddle with politics. She was religious, moral,
and her principles were most sound. She would never oppose her husband,
whose slightest wish she regarded as a command. She would appease his
few stubborn foes of the French aristocracy, and put a stop to the last
surviving backbiting of the Faubourg Saint Germain. As a bond of union
between the past and the present, she brought not to France alone, but
to all Europe, stability and repose, and rendered the foundations of the
Imperial edifice firm and indestructible. The Emperor's marriage seemed
his greatest triumph. For her part, Marie Louise was pleased with her
new throne. Surrounded as she was by a chosen society, having in her
service the proudest names of the French, the Belgian, the Italian
nobility; flattered by the attention of a court in which elegance,
wit, politeness, followed all the most brilliant traditions of the old
regime, the daughter of the German Caesars could not imagine that France,
with its tranquillity, its profound respect, its affection for the
monarchy, in which she was treated more like a goddess than a sovereign,
had, a few years earlier, been governed by the Jacobins.

Marie Louise found more luxury and pleasure at the Tuileries and at
Compiegne than at the Burg or at Schoenbrunn. Modest as she was, the
ingenious flattery, the delicate homage, she received from all quarters
could not fail to affect her. The sympathy with which her maid-of-honor,
the Duchess of Montebello, inspired her, soon grew into a warm and firm

Napoleon had particular regard for his young wife, and in his love there
was a shade of fatherly protection. He was not yet forty-one. Success
and glory had given to his mature face a greater beauty than it had worn
in his youth. His manners, formerly harsh and almost violent, had become
much softer. To the Republican general had succeeded a majestic monarch
familiar with all the usages of courts, all the laws of etiquette,
maintaining his rank like a Louis XIV., and playing his royal part with
the ease and dignity of a great actor. Successful in everything he
undertook, never exposed to contradiction, surrounded by people whose
most anxious desire was to forestall his wishes, to anticipate his
commands, he seldom had occasion to give way to the outbursts of anger,
sometimes real, oftener assumed, in which he formerly indulged. He
liked to talk, and his conversation was easy and witty, and full of an
irresistible charm. His dress, which in old times he neglected, became
elegant. His expression and voice acquired gentleness and an almost
caressing quality. Not only did he try to fascinate the young and
handsome Empress, he spared no pains to please her. Being much honored
and flattered in his vanity as a Corsican gentleman,--for this man of
Vendemiaire, the saviour of the Convention, always had a weakness for
coats-of-arms and for titles,--he was proud as well as happy in having
for his wife a woman belonging to so old and illustrious a race; and
this sensation of gratified pride inspired an equability of temper, a
serenity, a gayety, which delighted his courtiers, who were glad to see
his happiness, for they enjoyed its agreeable results. It was in this
spirit that Napoleon and Marie Louise started, April 5, 1810, from Saint
Cloud for Compiegne, whence they set forth on the 27th for a triumphal
progress in the departments of the North.

In short, this wedded life began under the happiest auspices. At Vienna,
the Emperor Francis was perfectly satisfied. Count Otto, the French
Ambassador, wrote to the Duke of Cadore, March 31, 1810, as follows:
"The events of the 29th were celebrated here yesterday by a general
illumination, and by a grand court levee where His Majesty received
again the congratulations of the Diplomatic Body, the nobility, and of
many foreigners. The Emperor seemed thoroughly contented; he spoke to
me very warmly of his satisfaction, which is shared by all his subjects
with but few exceptions. Both when I came in and when I was leaving, he
spoke to me in the most gracious manner possible, and especially
about the incomparable benefit His Majesty had rendered to European
civilization by restoring France to its real basis. He praised our army,
and added that he would do what he could to aid those of our soldiers
who still remained in the hospitals here. 'Henceforth,' the Emperor
continued, 'we have but one and the same interest, to work together for
the peace of Europe and the furtherance of the arts of use for society.
Everything can be made good, except the loss of so many excellent men
killed or maimed in the last war.' His Majesty's example in addressing
me before any one else was followed by his brother."

The Emperor Francis was very happy to learn that his daughter was
pleased with Napoleon and the French. The French Ambassador wrote from
Vienna to the Duke of Cadore, April 8, 1810: "The letters which the
Emperor and Empress of Austria have received from Their Majesties have
given them the greatest satisfaction, and especially those brought two
evenings ago by the Count of Praslin. The Emperor was moved by them to
tears. This sentence, 'We suit each other perfectly,' made the deepest
impression, as well as two letters from Her Majesty the Empress, written
in German, in which, among other things, she said, 'I am as happy as it
is possible to be; my father's words have come true, I find the Emperor
very lovable.' Prince Metternich wept for joy when he gave me these
details, and put his arms round my neck and kissed me. The court is
perfectly happy since it has heard of this meeting, and of the affection
and confidence each has felt for the other."

Count Metternich sent to the Emperor Francis the minutest details about
the magnificent way in which the marriage was celebrated, and the French
Ambassador thus described that monarch's satisfaction: "The Emperor
of Austria received to-day from Count Metternich most circumstantial
accounts of what took place in Paris, April 5, and he expressed to me
his great delight. The unprecedented honors paid to his daughter did not
touch him so much as the delicacy displayed by His Majesty the Emperor
Napoleon. I am especially bidden to convey to Your Excellency the
expression of his gratitude for the consideration His Majesty showed in
relieving the Empress of the ceremony of the first interview. By urging
Her Majesty to talk freely with Count Metternich, the Emperor has also
delighted his August father-in-law, who thoroughly appreciates his noble
conduct. The Empress said that on this occasion she received from
the Emperor not only the most delicate consideration, but also the
attentions and instructions of an affectionate father. That report
called forth many happy tears, and I cannot too strongly express to Your
Excellency the happiness that exists here, and the desire that it should
be known in Paris.... The Emperor of Austria is much flattered by
the marked distinction with which his Minister of Foreign Affairs
[Metternich] is treated in Paris, and he certainly seems to deserve it
by his unflagging zeal and his unbounded devotion to the principles of
the alliance." (Count Otto's despatch of April 15, 1810.)

The famous Prince Metternich, who was then only a count, and had left
his father the Prince in charge of the ministry in Vienna, had intended
to stay only four weeks in Paris, but he was detained there nearly six
months. "I went thither," he states in his Memoirs, "not to study the
past, but to try to forecast the future, and I was anxious to succeed
speedily. I said one day to the Emperor Napoleon that my stay in Paris
could not be a long one. 'Your Majesty,' I said to him, 'had me carried
to Austria, almost like a prisoner; now I have come back to Paris of my
own free will, but with great duties to perform. To-day I am recalled to
Vienna and entrusted with an immense responsibility. The Emperor Francis
wanted me to be present at his daughter's entry into France; I have
obeyed his orders; but I tell you frankly, Sire, that I have a loftier
ambition. I am anxious to find the line to follow in politics in a
remote future.' 'I understand you,' the Emperor replied; 'your wishes
coincide with mine. Remain with us a few weeks longer, and you will be
perfectly satisfied.'"

Metternich held a privileged position at the French court; for he was
very amiable and charming, a perfect man of the world, an accomplished
diplomatist, and thoroughly familiar with France and the French,
moreover, very intimate with Napoleon and the whole Imperial family.
"Napoleon asked me one day," he says in his Memoirs, "why I never went
to see the Empress Marie Louise except on reception days and other more
or less formal occasions. I answered that I had no reason for doing
otherwise, and indeed had many good reasons for doing as I had done."

"By breaking the customary rule," Metternich continued, "I should arouse
comment; people would say that I was intriguing; I should do harm to the
Empress and injustice to my own character. 'Bah!' interrupted Napoleon,
'I want you to see the Empress; call on her to-morrow morning; I will
tell her to expect you.' The next day I went to the Tuileries and found
the Emperor with the Empress. We were talking commonplaces when Napoleon
said to me, 'I want the Empress to talk to you freely, and to tell you
what she thinks of her position; you are her friend, and she ought to
have no secrets from you.' Therewith Napoleon locked the drawing-room
door, put the key in his pocket, and went out by another door. I asked
the Empress what this meant, and she asked me the same question. Since
I saw that she had not been primed by Napoleon, I conjectured that he
evidently wished me to receive from her own lips a satisfactory idea
of her domestic relations, in order to give a favorable account to her
father, the Emperor, The Empress was of the same opinion. We remained
closeted together more than an hour. When Napoleon came back, laughing,
he said, 'Well, have you had a good talk? Has the Empress been abusing
me? Has she been laughing or crying? But I don't ask you to tell me;
those things are your secrets, which do not concern any third person,
not even if that third person is her husband.' We carried on the
conversation in that vein, and I took my leave. The next day Napoleon
sought for an opportunity to talk with me. 'What did the Empress say
yesterday?' he asked. 'You told me,' I replied, 'that our interview did
not concern any third person; let me keep my secret.' 'The Empress told
you,' Napoleon interrupted, 'that she is happy with me, that she has
nothing to complain of. I hope you will tell the Emperor, and that he
will believe you more than any one else.'"

In fact, Metternich told the Emperor Francis, and he believed
Metternich. Moreover, he had every reason to believe him; for the
Empress Marie Louise was then perfectly happy, and no clouds were yet to
be seen on the sky which was later to be torn by terrible tempests.

We will end this chapter by copying the curious letter which Marie
Louise's step-mother, the Empress of Austria, wrote to Napoleon, April
10, 1810, which expresses in a tone almost of familiarity the favorable
impressions of the Viennese court: "My brother,--I cannot express to
Your Majesty the feeling of gratitude I have experienced on receiving
your last letter, which has filled me with joy by the assurance it
contains of your satisfaction with the being we have confided to you.
My maternal heart was the more open to this emotion because I had felt
doubtful about the result. Now, however, that I am reassured by Your
Majesty, I have no further fear, and I cheerfully share my daughter's
happiness. She has described it to me with touching sincerity, and is
never tired of telling me how gratified she is by the many attentions
she has received since your meeting. Her sole desire is to make Your
Majesty happy, and I venture to flatter myself that she will succeed;
for I know her character well, and it is excellent. Louise promises to
write to me regularly, and this somewhat consoles me for a real loss.
It is pleasant to be able to keep up one's relations with a person one
loves, and I am sure that I feel for her the tenderness of a mother, so
kind has she been to me, treating me like a real friend. Your Majesty
is good enough to say that your wife has spoken about me. I am not
surprised; for I know that she, like me, has a very loving heart. But
with due regard to truth, I cannot leave Your Majesty under any mistake
with regard to her obligations towards me. From what she says you may
form a favorable opinion of her candor. If I can boast of anything, it
is that I have tried to preserve this candor, which may at first have
made her seem timid, while in fact it renders her only the more worthy
of Your Majesty's esteem and friendship.

"Some may blame me because my daughter has so few ideas, such a meagre
education. I acknowledge it; but as to the world and its perils, one
learns them only too soon, and I will say frankly she was only eighteen,
and I wanted to preserve her innocence, and cared only that she should
have a loving heart, an honest nature, and clear ideas about what she
did know. I have entrusted her to Your Majesty. I beg you, as her
mother, to be my daughter's friend and guide, as she is your devoted
wife. She will be happy if Your Majesty will always confidently appeal
to her; for, I say once more, she is young and too inexperienced to face
the world's dangers and to fill her position understandingly. But I
perceive that I am wearying Your Majesty with this long letter. You will
pardon this outpouring of a mother's heart, which knows no bounds when a
beloved daughter's happiness is concerned. I must say one thing more.
Your Majesty sets too high a value on my eagerness to satisfy you by
letting you have the portrait of my dear Louise. I was too anxious to
please you as soon as possible, not to be selfish in this matter, but I
shall certainly thoroughly appreciate the portrait you promise me. It
will have this advantage, that it will show me how happy she is."

It must be said that seldom has a step-mother spoken of her
step-daughter in a more tender and more touching way. No letter could
have better pleased Napoleon; it was not written in official style, with
all the formal compliments, but rather with affectionate sincerity. When
he read it, Napoleon must have felt that he had at last really entered
the brotherhood of kings. Everything she had said of her step-daughter
was true. The young Empress of the French had a candor, a simplicity, a
freshness of mind and body, which delighted her husband. Doubtless the
feeling she inspired was not a fiery, romantic passion such as he had
felt for his first wife; and Marie Louise, with her northern beauty,
had not the same charm as Josephine, the bewitching creole. Napoleon
certainly would not have written to his second wife burning letters, in
the style of the _Nouvelle Heloise_, such as he sent to Josephine during
the first Italian campaign. His love for Marie Louise was less fervent,
but he esteemed her more highly. He thought that the society of the
Austrian court was after all a better school for a wife than the society
of the Directory, and he had found in Marie Louise, a girl worthy of all
regard, one invaluable blessing, one treasure which a widow, charming,
it is true, but a coquette, lacked; namely, innocence.



"Napoleon and Marie Louise left Compiegne April 27, 1810, at seven
o'clock in the morning, to make a journey in several of the northern
departments, which was one long ovation. In their suite were the Grand
Duke of Wuerzburg, brother of the Emperor of Austria, the Queen of
Naples, the King and Queen of Westphalia, Prince Eugene de Beauharnais,
Prince Schwarzenberg, and Count Metternich. The last-named says in his
Memoirs: 'I was an eye-witness of the enthusiasm with which the young
Empress was everywhere greeted by the populace. At Saint Quentin
Napoleon formally expressed his desire that I should be present at an
audience to which he had summoned the authorities of the city. 'I should
like to show you,' he said, 'how I am accustomed to speak to these
people.' I saw that the Emperor was anxious to let me see the extent and
variety of his knowledge of matters of administration.'"

Those who care to know the adulation offered to Napoleon and Marie
Louise on this expedition should read the following passage from M.
de Bausset's Memoirs: "Their Majesties went off to visit some of the
northern departments, in order to give Paris and all the great bodies
of the State the time required for preparing the festivities which
circumstances made necessary. It was a triumphal march. The provinces
greeted their young and beautiful Empress with enthusiasm. Amid all the
brilliant tokens of respect, one attracted especial notice. It was a
little hamlet, with a triumphal arch, bearing the simplest inscriptions.
On the front was written _Pater Noster_; on the reverse, _Ave Maria,
gratia plena_. The mayor and the village priest presented wild-flowers.
Flattery could have devised no more delicate attention." Thus we have M.
de Bausset finding it simple to compare the Emperor to the Almighty and
the Empress to the Blessed Virgin. Was not this a sign of the times?

Thiers says of this journey: "The populace, glad of a break in their
monotonous lives, hasten to meet their princes, whoever they may be, and
are often lavish of their applause on the very brink of a catastrophe.
Whenever Napoleon appeared anywhere, curiosity and admiration were
strong enough to gather a multitude; and when he had rounded out
his wonderful destiny by marrying an archduchess, the interest and
enthusiasm were all the greater. Indeed, everywhere he appeared, their
raptures were warm and unanimous."

Starting from Compiegne April 27, the Emperor and Empress reached Saint
Quentin the same day. The canal connecting the Seine with the Scheldt
was illuminated, and Napoleon and his court sailed over it in gondolas
richly decked with flags. On the 30th of April they embarked on the
canal which goes from Brussels to the Ruppel, and by the Ruppel to the
Scheldt. The First Lord of the Admiralty and Admiral Missiessy were in
command of the Imperial flotilla. When they arrived in sight of the
squadron of Antwerp, which Napoleon had created, all the ships,
frigates, corvettes, gunboats, were drawn up in line, and Marie Louise
passed under the fire of a thousand cannon thundering in her honor.
When the sovereigns entered the city, the throng was most dense. "It
expressed," the _Moniteur_ tells us, "the gratitude of the inhabitants
for its second founder. It was impossible not to make a comparison
between the present condition of the port and city of Antwerp with its
condition seven years before, on His Majesty's first visit."

At Antwerp they made a stay of five days, which the Emperor, who was
on his horse at sunrise, spent in visiting the works of the port, the
arsenal, the fortifications, in holding reviews, in inspecting the
fleet. May 2 there was launched a ship of eighty guns, the largest ship
that had ever been built on the stocks of this port. It was blessed
by the Archbishop of Mechlin. According to the Baron de Meneval, "the
Empress was affable, simple, and unpretentious. Possibly the memory of
Josephine's charm and earnest desire to please was a misfortune to Marie
Louise. Her reserve might have been attributed to German family pride,
but that would have been a mistake; no one was ever simpler or less
haughty. Her natural timidity and her unfamiliarity with the part she
had to play, alone gave her an air of stiffness. She was so thoroughly
identified with her new position and so touched by the regard and
affection with which the Emperor was treated, that when he proposed to
her to stay at Antwerp while he was visiting the islands of the Zuyder
Zee, she besought him to take her with him, undeterred by any fear of
the fatigues of the journey." Consequently Napoleon started with her to
visit Bois-le-Duc, Berg-op-Zoom, Breda, Middelburg, Flushing, and the
island of Walcheren, which the English had evacuated four months before.

At Breda the Emperor soundly abused a deputation of the Catholic clergy
whom he knew to be opposed to him. "Gentlemen," he broke out, "why
are you not in sacerdotal garments? Are you attorneys, notaries, or
physicians? ... Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's. The
Pope is not Caesar; I am. It is not to the Pope, but to me, that God has
given a sceptre and a sword.... Ah, you are unwilling to pray for me. Is
it because a Roman priest has excommunicated me? But who gave him any
such power? Who has the power to release subjects from their oath of
allegiance to the legally appointed ruler? No one; and you ought to know
it.... Renounce the hope of putting me in a convent and of shaving
my head, like Louis the Debonair, and submit yourselves; for I am
Caesar! If you don't, I shall banish you from my empire, and scatter
you over the surface of the earth like the Jews.... You belong to the
diocese of Mechlin; go to your bishop; take your oath before him, obey
the Concordat, and then I will see what commands I shall have to give

After visiting the towns on the frontier, as well as the islands of
Tholen, Schomven, North and South Beveland, and Walcheren, Napoleon,
constantly accompanied by Marie Louise, ascended the Scheldt once more,
merely passed through Antwerp, made a brief stop at Brussels, spent
three days at the castle of Lacken, and hastily ran through Ghent,
Bruges, Ostend, Dunkirk, Lille, Calais, Dieppe, Havre, and Rouen.

June 1, 1810, they were back at Saint Cloud. The Baron de Meneval tells
us that Marie Louise was extremely delighted with the way she had been
greeted throughout this journey. Everywhere she had been received under
arches of triumph, with countless festivities, balls, illuminations, and
every token of the popular enthusiasm and affection, so that "she was
able to appreciate the French character, and to decide that she would
readily grow accustomed to a country where the devotion of the people to
their sovereign, the enormous influence he wielded, and the affection he
bore to them, as well as theirs for his cause, filled her with hopes for
a happy life." Napoleon's life at that time was one long deification.
Louis XIV. himself, the Sun-King, had never received more flattery in
prose and verse. All the official poets had tuned their lyres to sing
his marriage, and the _Moniteur_ was full of dithyrambs. It also
published a translation of an Italian cantata entitled, "_La Jerogamia
di Creta, Inno del Cavaliere Vincenzo Monti_," which began thus: "The
silence of Olympus is broken up by the noisy neighing of coursers and by
the prolonged and disturbing rattle of swift chariots. The Immortals
descend to the banks of the Gnossus to celebrate with fitting rites the
new marriage of the ruler of the gods." It ended thus: "The waves of two
seas, in motion, though no wind blows, roar in terror, and Neptune,
alarmed, feels with surprise his trident tremble in his hand. If such is
the sport of the monarch of thunder when he yields to the sweets of
Hymen, what will it be when he again grasps the thunderbolt? Divine
nurses of Jove, bees of Mount Panacra, ah! distil upon my verses, from
the summit of Dicte, one drop of the sweet-savored honey, food of the
King of Heaven, that my August sovereign, whose soul is like Jupiter's,
may find some pleasure in hearing them!"

Napoleon seemed to rule the present and the future. Even those who had
fought against him had become his courtiers. The most illustrious of
these, the Archduke Charles, to whom he had just sent the broad ribbon
of the Legion of Honor, as well as a simple cross of a knight, which was
more precious because he himself had worn it, wrote to him: "Sire, Your
Majesty's Ambassador has transmitted to me the decorations of the Legion
of Honor, and the affectionate letter with which you have honored me.
Being deeply impressed by these tokens of your goodwill, I hasten to
express to Your Majesty my sincere gratitude, which is only equalled by
my admiration for Your Majesty's great qualities. The esteem of a great
man is the fairest flower of the field of honor, and I have always
jealously desired, Sire, to merit yours."

A stranger thing yet: even the Spanish Bourbons, the victims of the
Bayonne treachery, the princes whom Napoleon had ousted, set no limits
to their adulation. Nowhere was the Emperor's marriage with Marie
Louise celebrated with greater show of enthusiasm than at the castle of
Valencay, where Ferdinand III. was living. The Spanish Prince had a _Te
Deum_ sung in the chapel; he gave a banquet, at which he proposed this
toast: "To the health of our August Sovereigns, the great Napoleon and
Marie Louise, his August spouse." In the evening there were magnificent
fireworks. He chose that moment when his subjects were exposing
themselves to every danger, welcoming every sacrifice in their bitter
war in his name, against the French, to beg Napoleon to adopt him as his
son and to concede to him the honor of letting him appear at court.



The whole month of June was filled with a succession of brilliant
festivities. Under the Empire things were not done by halves; battles or
balls, everything was on a vast scale. "Never," says Alfred de Musset,
"were there so many sleepless nights as during this man's lifetime;
never was there such a silence when any one spoke of death: and yet,
never was there so much joy, so much life, so much warlike feeling in
every heart; never had there been a brighter sun than that which dried
so much blood. It was said that God had created it for this man, and
it was called the sun of Austerlitz; but he made it himself with his
ever-roaring cannon, that dispelled the clouds on the morrow of his

The entertainment given to the Emperor and Empress by the city of Paris,
June 10, was magnificent. There were great rejoicings in the capital
on that day. In the afternoon there were public sports in the Champs
Elysees, and dancing in the open places and the long walks. With
nightfall the illuminations began. A troupe of mountebanks performed
on a huge stage a ballet in pantomime, called the "Union of Mars and
Flora." There were as many as five hundred performers. There were bands
playing in every direction, and food was distributed to the contented
multitude. From the Arc to the Tuileries, from the Tuileries to the
Louvre, from the Louvre to the Hotel de Ville, the spectacle was really
fairy-like. Napoleon and Marie Louise, starting from Saint Cloud at
eight in the evening, made their way, in torchlight, through a countless
multitude. Their approach was announced to the people by the sudden
ascent of a balloon, from which fireworks were discharged. At half-past
nine they reached the Hotel de Ville. Nearly a thousand persons had
gathered in the concert hall, almost three thousand in the record room,
the Hall of Saint John, and in the semicircular place in front, opposite
the spot, on the left bank of the Seine, where the fireworks were to be
set off at a signal of Napoleon and Marie Louise. These fireworks were
divided into three parts, representing a military scene, the Temple of
Peace, and the Temple of Hymen. In the first there were two forts which
soldiers were assaulting, firing their guns amid the sound of trumpets
and the rattle of drums. The forts were discharging shells and bullets,
which burst into flame, and were reflected in the water before they fell
into the river. When the two forts were captured, they disappeared in a
great blaze. Then the ship, the symbol of the city of Paris, appeared
and took its station between two columns of light. The decoration
changed, and first the Temple of Peace was seen, then that of
Hymen--a real pyrotechnic masterpiece. After the fireworks the Emperor
and Empress went first into the record room, then into the concert hall,
where was sung a cantata, with words by Arnault and music by Mehul,
which began with this apostrophe to the Empress:--

"From the throne where our homage rises to you,
From the throne where beauty reigns by the side of courage,
And Minerva by the side of Mars,
On these shores of which love has made you sovereign,
On these happy shores adorned by the Seine,
Louise, cast thy glance."

After the cantata a ball began. Napoleon did not dance, but Marie Louise
did. The first quadrille was thus made up: the Empress and the King
of Westphalia, the Queen of Naples and the Viceroy of Italy, Princess
Pauline Borghese and Prince Esterhazy, Mademoiselle de Saint-Gilles and
M. de Nicolai. The second quadrille: the Queen of Westphalia and Prince
Borghese, the Princess of Baden and Count Metternich, the Princess
Aldobrandini and M. de Montaran, Madame Blaque de Belair and M. Mallet.
The Emperor descended from his throne and walked through the room,
exchanging a few words with a great many people. About midnight he
withdrew with the Empress. At two o'clock supper was served: at this
fifteen hundred ladies were present, and the ball went on till daybreak.

Princess Pauline Borghese gave a very brilliant entertainment June 14,
at the castle of Neuilly. At the end of an illuminated lawn appeared
the Austrian palace of Laxenburg, and the ballet consisted of dancers
arrayed like peasants of the neighborhood of Vienna. June 21, another
great ball was given by the Duke of Feltre, the Minister of War. But
the finest, the most original, the grandest ball, was that given by the
Imperial Guard at the Champ de Mars and the Military School, at that
time called the Napoleon quarter. Marie Louise was thoroughly delighted
with it; she said she had never seen anything so magnificent. Never had
Rome under the Caesars seen a more gorgeous spectacle. For many months
the public had been watching the vast preparations for this event. Two
wings had been added to the Military School, large enough to hold eight
thousand persons. The main courtyard had been transformed into a garden
in which were set out numberless orange-trees, shrubs, and flowers. The
officers of the Guard, who were models of French politeness, received
the ladies at the entrance of this garden, offering each one a
bouquet, and escorted them to the galleries which led to the two newly
constructed buildings, one of which was the ball-room; the other, the
supper-room. The ball-room was shaped like a tent, and the ceiling was
decorated with the signs of the Zodiac and allegorical representation of
a triumph. A throne was set there, above seven rows of seats. All around
the room hung muslin draperies, on which were embroidered gold bees and
branches of myrtle and laurel. When the Emperor and Empress appeared at
seven o'clock, three thousand women, each with a bouquet in her hand,
rose at once. It seemed like a living flower-garden. The wives of the
most illustrious officers of the Guard, the Duchess of Dalmatia, of
Treviso, of Istria, Countess Walter, Dorsenne, Curial, Saint-Sulpice,
Lefebore, Desnonettes, Krasenska, Baronesses Kirgener, Lubenska, Guiot,
Gros, Delaistre and Lepic, had been chosen to escort the Empress.
Marshal Bessieres, Duke of Istria, presented her with a magnificent

Meanwhile the Champ de Mars, which was covered with flags, was filled
with three or four hundred thousand spectators, who had assembled
quietly, without crowding, on the terrace, the amphitheatres, and in the
walks. When Napoleon and Marie Louise showed themselves on the balcony
of the Military School, there broke out loud applause. Afterwards dinner
was served to the Imperial family. When that was finished, they gave the
signal for the horse and chariot races. Franconi's equestrian troupe
gave performances in the intervals. When all the prizes had been given,
a balloon, carrying a woman, Madame Blanchard, made an ascent. She
saluted the Imperial pair, waved a flag, threw down flowers, and
speedily attained a great height. Then there were fireworks. Amid
rockets, bombs, and shooting-stars, two pretty young women walked up and
down on the tight rope, like magical apparitions, amid the encircling
flames. After the fireworks a ballet was performed by the dancers from
the Opera, under the direction of Gardel; it represented the different
nations of Europe in their national dress. After the ballet came the
ball, which was most animated. Napoleon and Marie Louise left towards
midnight, escorted to their carriage by most of the guests, who cheered,
and did not return to the ball-room until the Emperor and Empress
had gone out of sight. This exceptional entertainment was favored by
pleasant weather and a bright night; the moon and the stars seemed to
rival the illuminations. The main courtyard, filled with trees and
flowers, was like the enchanted garden of Armida, where one walked amid
delicious music. At two in the morning the doors of the supper-room were
opened, a large bower of gilded trellis work, with Corinthian columns,
and a roof covered with frescoes representing groups of children
sporting in the air amid flowers and garlands. About fifteen hundred
people sat down to table.

The Imperial Guard had every reason to be proud of its entertainment.
The officers, young, brilliant, devoted to pleasure as to glory,
found their life more joyous as war threatened to make it short. They
displayed the same ardor, the same enthusiasm, in the ball-room as on
the battle-field. They loved the smell of flowers as much as the smell
of gunpowder. Every form of conquest tempted them, and they revived the
customs of chivalry. In the language of the time, there flourished the
twofold reign of Mars and Venus. In those heroic days courage was set
higher than wealth. The women, with few exceptions, were indifferent to
money; they did not think that an honorable scar disfigured a soldier's
face, and the disinterested kindness of a beauty was the reward of



The series of grand entertainments which had been given in Paris was
to be concluded by a ball, which Prince Schwarzenberg, the Austrian
Ambassador, was to give at the Embassy, July 1, 1810, to the Emperor and
Empress; it had been announced that this was to be a marvel of luxury,
elegance, and good taste. The Ambassador lived in the rue de la
Chaussee d'Antin, in a mansion formerly belonging to the Marchioness
of Montesson, widow of the Duke of Orleans, to whom this lady had been
united by a morganatic marriage. Great preparations had been made with
extraordinary magnificence. Since the ground floor of the house was too
small, a large ball-room of wood had been built, reached by a gallery,
also of wood, leading from the body of the house. The ceiling of this
gallery was covered with varnished paper, decorated and painted; the
floor-boards, which were supported on a framework, were raised to the
same height as the floors of the house. A large chandelier hung from the
ceiling of the ball-room. The sides and the circuit of the gallery were
lit by candelabra fastened to the walls. A high platform was reserved
for the Imperial family, in the centre of the right-hand side of the
ball-room, directly opposite a large door opening on the garden.
Behind the platform was a small door reserved for the sovereigns.
The Ambassador and his wife had staying with them his brother and
sister-in-law, Prince Joseph and Princess Pauline Schwarzenberg, who
were to help him in doing the honors of the ball.

Napoleon and Marie Louise, who started from Saint Cloud, reached the
gates of Paris at quarter to ten; there they got into another carriage,
and soon after ten were at the door of the Embassy, where the Ambassador
received them. The Emperor wore over his coat the broad Austrian ribbon
of Saint Stephen.

The grand ball was opened; a troupe of musicians in the court of honor
sounded a flourish of trumpets at the entrance of Their Majesties, who
passed through the concert hall into the garden, where they stopped a
moment before the Temple of Apollo. There women, dressed to resemble the
Muses, sang a joyous chorus. Napoleon and Marie Louise passed slowly
along a water-walk, where hidden music issued from a subterranean
grotto, to a vine-clad arbor adorned with mirrors, monograms, flowers,
and wreaths, and listened to a concert of vocal and instrumental music,
French and German; then they went further into the garden, stopping
before a Temple of Glory, where were four handsome women representing
Victory, the muse Clio, and Renown; then trumpets sounded, triumphal
songs were sung, and perfumes were burning on golden tripods. Then they
turned to see a delightful ballet danced on the greensward, with a view
of the Palace of Laxenburg--so dear to Marie Louise--in the background;
that done, they entered the wooden gallery just put up before the front
of the mansion, and finally entered the ball-room, which was large
enough to hold about fifteen hundred people.

It was midnight, and so far everything had gone on without a hitch. The
Emperor and Empress seemed delighted; the Ambassador was radiant; every
one was enchanted with the magic of the spectacle. The ball was opened
with a quadrille, in which the Queen of Naples danced with Prince
Esterhazy, and Prince Eugene de Beauharnais with Princess Pauline de
Schwarzenberg. When that was over, the Emperor descended from his throne
to walk through the room; while the Empress, the Queen of Naples, and
the Vice-Queen of Italy remained in their places on the platform.
Napoleon had just come up to Princess Pauline de Schwarzenberg, who had
presented to him the princesses, her daughters, when suddenly the flame
of a candle set fire to the curtains of a window. Count Dumanoir, the
Emperor's chamberlain, and several officers tried to tear the curtains
down; but the flames continued to spread, and in less than three minutes
they had reached the ceiling, and all the light decorations which hung
from it were ablaze. Count Metternich, who happened to be at the foot of
the platform, at once ran up to tell the Empress what had happened, and
to persuade her to follow him as soon as possible. As to the Emperor,
who was as cool as if he were on the battle-field, he was able to reach
the platform to join Marie Louise, and to escape with her to the garden,
urging every one to be calm in order to avoid disorder.

Fortunately the means of exit were wide, and the greater part of the
guests were able to find refuge in the garden; but, alas! there were
many accidents and many victims. It so happened that just when the fire
started a great many young girls had left their mothers to dance a
schottische; their mothers tried to find them, and they tried to find
their mothers, amid wild shrieks and the most desperate confusion. Wives
called for their husbands, parents for their children. The officers of
the Imperial Guard gathered about Napoleon with drawn swords, for at
first they suspected treachery and waited for some further development
of a malicious plot. Prince Schwarzenberg, who did not leave the
Emperor, said to him: "I know how this room is built; it is doomed; but
there are so many exits that every one can escape. Sire, I shall cover
you with my body." Napoleon, under his protection, reached the platform
with composure, took the Empress by the hand, and succeeded in going out
with her. They passed through the garden, got into a carriage, and drove
to the Place Louis XV., where they separated, the Empress pushing on to
Saint Cloud, while the Emperor, retracing his steps, went back to the
Austrian Embassy, where he hoped to be able to help extinguish the fire.

The Ambassador, who had accompanied Napoleon and Marie Louise to their
carriage, went back to the house, then a hideous scene of destruction. A
storm had arisen, and a violent wind had spread the ravaging flames
in every direction. The Queen of Westphalia had fainted and had been
rescued by Count Metternich; the Queen of Naples, Prince Eugene, and his
wife, who was in a delicate condition, had remained on the platform. The
Queen tried to escape by the main door, by which the Emperor and the
Empress had left; but this was speedily so blocked up by the crowd that
she, who was behind every one, would certainly have been caught by the
flames, like many others, had it not been for the assistance of the
Grand Duke of Wuerzburg and of Marshal Marcey, who seized her and forced
a way for her. Prince Eugene saw the chandelier fall, and the passage
across the room wholly blocked; but, fortunately, he noticed the little
door which led into the house, and through that he escaped with his
wife. The Ambassador beheld the calamity with despair. His wife was
brought out senseless, but untouched by the flames. He saw his brother,
Prince Joseph de Schwarzenberg, running to and fro, wild with grief
and disquiet; he was looking for his wife, Princess Pauline de
Schwarzenberg, and could not find her. What had become of the unhappy
mother? When the fire broke out, knowing her eldest daughter, Eleonore,
to be safe, she had run to the assistance of her second daughter,
Pauline, who was dancing the schottische, and led her speedily to the
steps of the entrance, where the crowd was surging amid the flames. A
moment more, and mother and daughter were safe: they had but a few steps
to take to be on the staircase and then in the garden, but suddenly a
falling beam separated mother and child, and the staircase broke down
beneath the weight of the struggling crowd. Missing her daughter, the
courageous princess plunged once more into the ballroom. No one knew
what had become of her; in the cruel, heart-wringing uncertainty the
stern face of the Ambassador was wet with tears.

Napoleon returned to the Embassy, and directing everything, supervising
everything as on a battlefield, there he stayed more than two hours,
exposed to a heavy rain which began after the fire, and to all the
heat and smoke. Alone, unguarded, evidently anxious to dispel all
misinterpretation which malevolence could draw from the unhappy event,
he displayed great energy and perfect self-possession.

It was not till four in the morning that he returned to Saint Cloud,
where he had been most anxiously awaited. "From the time that the
Empress arrived," we read in Constant's Memoirs, "we had felt the
keenest anxiety; every one in the palace had been most uneasy about the
Emperor. At last he arrived, unharmed, but very tired; his dress in
disorder, his face scorched, his clothes and stockings all blackened and
singed by the fire. He went straight to the Empress's room, to console
her for the fright she had had; then he went to his own room, flung his
hat on the bed, dropped into an easy-chair, saying, 'Heavens! what a
festivity!' I noticed that his hands were all blackened; he had lost his
gloves at the fire. He was overwhelmed with sadness, and he spoke with
an emotion such as I had seen in him only two or three times in his
life, and never about his own misfortunes. I remember that he expressed
a fear that the terrible event of that night betokened future
calamities. Three years later, in the Russian campaign, he was told one
day that Prince Schwarzenberg's army corps had been destroyed, and that
the Prince himself had perished. It happened that the news was false;
but when it was brought to the Emperor, he said, as if in accordance
with a thought that had long haunted him, 'It was he then whom that evil
omen threatened!'"

The morning of the next day Napoleon sent his pages to learn the news.
The accounts they brought back were most gloomy: the Princess de la
Leyen had died from her injuries; General Touzart was in a desperate
condition, as well as his wife and daughter, who, in fact, died the same
day. Prince Kourakine, the Russian Ambassador, was seriously injured;
he had made a misstep on the staircase leading to the garden, and had
fallen senseless into the flames, which, fortunately, had been unable to
get through his coat of cloth of gold and the decorations which
covered him like a cuirass; nevertheless, it was many months before he
recovered. "Prince Joseph de Schwarzenberg," says the _Moniteur_ of July
3, 1810, "spent the night in looking for his wife, whom he could not
find at the Embassy or at Madame Metternich's. He was still ignorant
of his loss when at daybreak there was found in the ball-room a corpse
which Dr. Gall thought that he recognized as that of the Princess
Pauline de Schwarzenberg. Further doubt was impossible when her jewels
with her children's initials, which she wore about her neck, were
recognized. Princess Pauline de Schwarzenberg was the daughter of the
Senator von Avenberg, and the mother of eight children. She was as
renowned for her personal charms as for the distinction of her mind and
heart. The act of devotion which cost her her life shows how much her
loss is to be regretted, for death was certain amid the fury of the
flames. Only a mother would have dared to face the danger."

The _Moniteur_ adds to this pathetic account: "The Austrian Ambassador
during the whole night displayed the zeal, the activity, the calmness,
and the presence of mind to be expected of him. The members of the
Embassy and the Austrians who were present were tireless in their
courage and devotion. The public has been most grateful to the
Ambassador for insisting on accompanying the Emperor and the Empress to
their carriage, without regard to the dangers to which his family was
exposed. The Emperor left the spot at about three in the morning. During
the rest of the night he sent several times for information about the
fate of the Princess Schwarzenberg. It was not until five o'clock that
he received word of her death. His Majesty, who held this princess in
the highest esteem, sincerely regrets her sad lot. The Empress exhibited
the most perfect calmness throughout the evening. When she heard this
morning of the death of Princess Pauline de Schwarzenberg, she burst
into tears."

The young Princess Pauline, the daughter of the woman who had perished,
was for a long time in a state that caused the utmost anxiety. Her
mother's death was concealed from her, but she became uneasy at her
absence, and read on her father's face the marks of the grief which
he tried to conceal. At last she recovered; later she married Prince
Schoenburg; but her wounds reopened, and she died a few years later, a
victim, like her mother, of the fatal ball.

The day after these occurrences Marie Louise wrote a letter in German
to her father, in which she said: "I did not lose my head. Prince
Schwarzenberg led the Emperor and me out of the place, through the
garden. I am the more grateful because he left his wife and son in the
burning room. The panic and confusion were terrible. If the Grand Duke
of Wuerzburg had not carried the Queen of Naples away, she would have
been burned alive. My sister-in-law Catherine, who thought her husband
was in the midst of the fire, swooned away. The Viceroy had to carry his
wife off. Not a single one of my ladies or of my officers was by me.
General Lauriston, who adores his wife, cried out in the most lamentable
way, and impeded us in our flight. I was calmer then than when the
Emperor left me again. We sat up with Caroline until four in the
morning, when he came back, wet through with the rain. The Duchess of
Rovigo, one of my ladies, is seriously burned. The Countesses Bucholz
and Loewenstein, the Queen of Westphalia's ladies, are also injured....
Lauriston, in saving his wife, had his hair and forehead singed. Prince
Kourakine was so severely injured that he lost consciousness; in the
panic the crowd trampled upon him, and he was dragged out half dead.
Prince Metternich is hardly hurt at all. Prince Charles Schwarzenberg,
who insisted on staying until every one had got out, is badly burned.
The poor Ambassador is beside himself, though he is in no way
responsible for the calamity."

Marie Louise, who had been interrupted at this point, continued as
follows: "I have just come from the Emperor, where I heard a terrible
piece of news. Princess Pauline Schwarzenberg has been found, burned to
a crisp.... Her diamonds were lying near her. She wore on her neck
a heart in brilliants, on which were engraved the names of her two
daughters, Eleonore and Pauline, and it was by this that she was
recognized. She leaves eight children, and was expecting another. Her
family is inconsolable. Kourakine is very low; so is Madame Durosnel,
the general's wife. I am so distressed that I cannot stir."

The Emperor Francis wrote to his son-in-law about this distressing
event: "July 15. My Brother and very dear Son-in-law,--It is with the
greatest satisfaction that I have heard that Your Imperial Majesty, as
well as the Empress, my beloved daughter, has escaped the melancholy
accidents that occurred at the ball of my Ambassador, Prince
Schwarzenberg. I cannot express to you, my brother, my gratitude for the
tokens of your interest which you manifested on that occasion, and for
your personal exertions, as noble as they were courageous, to arrest
the progress of the disaster. Count Metternich and Prince Schwarzenberg
cannot find words to express their profound gratitude for your kindness
and anxiety, and I beg Your Majesty to receive this expression of all
that I have experienced in reading their reports."

The calamity produced a most melancholy impression. It recalled to
every one the disasters that attended the festivities given to Marie
Antoinette forty years before. This ball, followed by a horrid
catastrophe, this grand drawing-room, vanishing in flames, were they not
omens of evil? Was not the great empire to perish in the same way? This
fire, bursting forth in a night of revelry and triumph, was it not like
a prophecy of a still more terrible fire, that which laid Moscow in
ashes? But nations have short memories; gloomy presentiments soon
vanish. The Empire was then so glorious that a passing incident could
not seriously disturb it, and a few days after the catastrophe it was
forgotten. Every one, even the enemies of France, felt the fascination
of this most wonderful career which formed the strangest and most
improbable of romances.



Napoleon and Marie Louise grew fonder and fonder of each other as time
went on. The Empress wrote to her father: "I assure you, dear papa, that
people have done great injustice to the Emperor. The better one knows
him, the better one appreciates and loves him." Napoleon's satisfaction
was even greater when he learned that his young wife was to bring him an
heir; he redoubled his solicitous attention and regards; he never blamed
her, he uttered only words of praise and tenderness. This extract from
Metternich's Memoirs will serve to show how anxious the Emperor was at
this time to spare his wife every form of annoyance: "In the summer of
1810, Napoleon asked me to wait after one of his levees at Saint Cloud.
When we were alone, he asked me, with some embarrassment, if I would do
him a great favor. 'It's about the Empress,' he said; 'you see she is
young and inexperienced, and she does not understand the ways of this
country or the French character. I have given her the Duchess of
Montebello for a companion; she is an excellent woman, but sometimes a
little indiscreet. Yesterday, for example, when she was walking with
the Empress in the park, she presented one of her cousins to her. The
Empress talked with him, and that was a mistake. If she is going to have
young men, and second and third cousins, presented to her, she will
become the tool of intrigues. Every one in France has always some favor
to ask. The Empress will be besieged, and will be exposed to a thousand
annoyances, without being able to do anything for anybody.' I told
Napoleon that I quite agreed with him, but that I did not see why he
confided this matter to me. 'It is,' said Napoleon, 'because I want you
to speak about it to the Empress.' I expressed my surprise that he did
not do that himself. 'Your opinion is sound and wise, and the Empress is
too intelligent not to regard it.' 'I prefer,' said Napoleon,'that you
should do this. The Empress is young, and she might think that I am
merely a cross husband; you are her father's minister and an old friend;
what you may say will have a great deal more weight with her than any
words of mine.'"

Napoleon manifested great regard, not for his wife alone, but also for
his father-in-law, of whom he always spoke with warm sympathy. When
Count Metternich came to bid farewell before returning to Vienna, at the
end of September, 1810, Napoleon charged him to convey to the Emperor
Francis the most positive assurances of his friendship and devotion.
"The Emperor must be sure," he said, "that my only wish is for his
happiness and prosperity. He must reject any idea of my encroaching on
his monarchy. That cannot fail to grow, and speedily too, through our
alliance. Assure him that anything which he may hear to the contrary
is false. I had rather have him than any one of my own brothers on the
Austrian throne, and I don't see any cause for quarrel between us."

Early in July, when their hopes were still vague, Marie Louise wrote to
her father: "Heaven grant that they may prove true! The Emperor would
be so happy!" And later she wrote: "I can assure you, dear papa, that
I look forward without dread to this event, which will be a great
happiness." The official notification of her condition was not made till
November, when Napoleon sent the Baron de Mesgrigny to Vienna with two
letters, one from himself and one from the Empress, to the Emperor
Francis. "This letter," Marie Louise wrote, "is to announce to you, dear
papa, the great news. I take this opportunity to ask your blessing for
me and for your grandchild. You may imagine my delight. It will be
complete if the event shall bring you to Paris." The hope of seeing her
father soon was continually present with her, and Napoleon encouraged
it. As she wrote to her father, "My husband often speaks of you and is
anxious to see you again."

The Emperor Francis answered his son-in-law, December 3, 1810, in these
terms: "My Brother and very Dear Son-in-law,--The letter which M. de
Mesgrigny has handed to me fills me with the liveliest joy. The
happy event which it mentions arouses my fullest sympathy. My best
wishes go out to you, my brother, and the present condition of things
which your letter announces, is too intimately connected with our
reciprocal satisfaction for me not to set the greatest store, as friend
and father, by the news you give me. Everything which Your Majesty says
about your domestic happiness is corroborated by my daughter; in no way
can you, my brother, contribute more directly to my own. I knew the
excellent traits of my daughter when I entrusted her to you, and
Your Imperial Majesty must be sure that my only consolation for the
separation is her happiness, which is inseparable from that of her

Napoleon asked of the Bishops and Archbishops special prayers in behalf
of the Empress. December 2, the anniversary of his coronation, and of
the battle of Austerlitz, he gave an audience to the Senate, who came
to thank him for the notification of the Empress's expectations. At the
Tuileries that day was celebrated by mass a _Te Deum_, an illumination,
and a play. Twelve young girls, who were dowered by the Empress, were
married in the Cathedral, and there was a generous distribution of alms.

The Emperor founded a society of Maternal Charity, to aid poor women
during their confinement. The Empress was appointed patroness of the
society, and Mesdames de Segur and de Pastoret Vice-Presidents; a
thousand ladies joined it, and fifteen held offices; there was a Grand
Council which sat in Paris, and administrative councils were appointed
for the provinces. The Grand Almoner was made secretary, and there was a
general treasurer. The capital of the society amounted to five hundred
thousand francs, raised in part from the public funds, and in part by
voluntary subscriptions, which soon furnished the required sum.

New Year's Day was approaching, and Marie Louise desired a set of
Brazilian rubies, costing forty-six thousand francs. As she wanted to
make some presents to her sisters, and these cost twenty-five thousand
francs, she saw that only fifteen thousand francs would be left of her
December allowance. Consequently she denied herself the rubies, and
forbore to say anything about them to the Emperor. But Napoleon happened
to hear of it, and was delighted with his wife's economy and sense
of order, which he rewarded in the most delicate manner. He secretly
ordered of the crown-jeweller a set of rubies like the one she had
wanted, but worth between three and four hundred thousand francs,
and surprised her with these, an attention by which she was highly
gratified. He asked her at the same time if she had thought of sending
any New Year's presents to her sisters, the Archduchesses. She answered
yes, and that she had ordered for the young Princesses presents worth
together something like twenty-five thousand francs. Napoleon thought
that a rather small sum; but she told him that they were not so spoiled
as she was, and that they would think their presents superb. Then the
Emperor presented her with a hundred thousand francs.

In January, 1811, the Emperor thus thanked Napoleon for a portrait of
his daughter, the Empress:--

"My Brother,--The delicate way in which Your Imperial Majesty has
fulfilled my wishes by sending me the portrait of the Empress, your dear
wife, lends a new value to the letter you have written to me. I hasten
to give expression to the joy which I feel in seeing the features of my
beloved daughter, which seem to add to a perfect likeness the merit of
expressing her happiness in a congenial marriage."

The Countess of Montesquiou, a most worthy woman, was appointed
Governess of the Imperial children, with two assistants, Mesdames de
Mesgrigny and de Boubers, and later a third, Madame Soufflot. A nurse
was chosen,--a sturdy, healthy woman, wife of a joiner at Fontainebleau;
and two cribs were prepared,--a blue one for a prince, a pink one for
a princess. The baby-linen, which was valued at three hundred thousand
francs, aroused the admiration of all the ladies of the court.

In January and February, 1811, Marie Louise still went about. She drove
to the hunt in the forest of Vincennes, in that of Saint Germain, and
at Versailles. She used to walk in the Bois de Boulogne with Napoleon.
Towards the middle of February great preparations began to be made for
the happy event. Dr. Dubois was installed at the Tuileries, in the
apartments of the Grand Marshal of the Palace, and the Duchess of
Montebello, lady-in-waiting, took up her quarters in the palace. Marie
Louise, who had gone to a fancy ball at the Duchess of Rovigo's,
February 10, was present on the 25th at a quiet ball given at
the Tuileries, at which were present only two strangers,--Prince
Schwarzenberg, the Austrian Ambassador, and Prince Leopold of Coburg.

March 5 Count Frochot, Prefect of the Seine, came to the Tuileries, at
the head of the Municipal Council, to present, in the name of the city
of Paris, a magnificent red cradle, shaped like a ship, the emblem of
the capital. This cradle, a real masterpiece, had been designed by
Prudhon the artist, and is now in the Imperial Treasury of Vienna, to
which it was given by the King of Rome when Duke of Reichstadt. The
ornamentation, which is in mother-of-pearl and vermilion, is set on
a ground of orange-red velvet. It is formed of a pillar of
mother-of-pearl, on which are set gold bees, and is supported by four
cornucopias, near which are set the figures of Force and Justice. At the
top there is a shield with the Emperor's initials, surrounded by three
rows of ivy and laurel. A figure representing Glory overhanging the
world, holds a crown, in the middle of which shines Napoleon's star. A
young eagle at the foot of the cradle is gazing at the conqueror's star,
with wings spread as if about to take flight. A curtain of lace, covered
with stars and ending in rich gold embroidery, hangs over each side.

When Marie Louise's walks were limited to the terrace of the Tuileries,
by the side of the sheet of water that bounds the garden, a small
doorway with an iron grating was thrown open into the first floor of the
palace, to make easier her access to the spot. Around the grating the
crowd used to gather to watch the Empress and respectfully to offer her
their best wishes.

At nine o'clock in the evening of March 19th, 1811, the great bell of
Notre Dame and all the church bells sounded, bidding the faithful spend
the night in prayer and to invoke the blessings of Heaven on their
Empress and the child which was about to enter the world. With Marie
Louise there were M. Dubois, the Duchess of Montebello, the Countess of
Lucay, Mesdames Durand and Ballant, ladies-in-waiting, ladies of the
bedchamber, etc., and Madame Blaise. The Emperor, his mother and
sisters, and two physicians, Drs. Corvisart and Bourdier, were in
the next room. Napoleon kept going in and out of his wife's chamber,
encouraging her with kind and cheery words. At five in the morning
Dubois thought that the birth was not immediate, and the Emperor sent
away the princesses, and, tired out by anxiety and his prolonged watch,
went to take a bath. But Dubois soon found that he was mistaken, and ran
to get Napoleon. He was trembling with anxiety when he burst open the
door of the Emperor's room, finding him in his bath, and told him that
he feared that he should not be able to save both the mother and the
child. "Come, come, Mr. Dubois," exclaimed Napoleon, "don't lose your
head; save the mother; think only of the mother.... Imagine she's some
shopkeeper's wife in the Rue Saint Denis, that's all I ask of you; and,
in any case,--I repeat it,--save the mother.... I shall be with you in
a moment." Thereupon he sprang out of his bath, threw himself into a
dressing-gown, and hastened to Marie Louise's bedside. He found her in
great suffering, and grew very pale. Never on the field of battle had he
displayed such emotion; but he tried to hide his anguish, and kissed
his wife very gently, reassuring her with tender words. But, unable to
control himself, and fearful of adding to her already excessive alarm,
he hurriedly went into the next room, and there, listening to every
sound, as pale as death, trembling from head to foot, he passed a
quarter of an hour in intense anxiety. At last, and with difficulty,
the child was born; at first it was supposed to be dead, and for seven
minutes it gave no sign of life. The Emperor hastened to Marie Louise
and kissed her most tenderly. He thought only of her; he did not give
a look to the child. He had decided to care for nothing if only the
Empress was saved. A few drops of brandy were poured into the prince's
mouth; he was gently slapped all over and wrapped in hot towels, and he
came to life with a little cry. Napoleon, wild with joy, kissed him. The
thought that he had a son filled him with rapture such as none of his
triumphs had given him. "Well, gentlemen," he said, when he went back
to his own room, "we have got a fine, healthy boy. We had to urge him a
little, to persuade him to come, but there he is at last!" And then he
added, with deep emotion: "My dear wife! What courage she has, and how
she has suffered! I had rather never have any more children than see her
suffer so much again."

All this while the people of Paris were in a state of expectancy,
wondering whether the child was to be a boy or a girl. If a boy, he
would have a fine-sounding name. According to a decree calling the
Eternal City the second city of the French Empire, which had become the
capital of a simple department,--the department of the Tiber,--and in
accordance with old usages of the Holy German Empire, by which the
prince destined to succeed the Germanic Caesar, was called King of the
Romans before bearing the title of Emperor, Napoleon's son was to be
called the King of Rome. But would Napoleon have a son? Would Heaven
crown his unexampled prosperity with this new favor? That was the
subject of conversation everywhere, in the grandest mansions as in the
humblest garrets. From daybreak of March 20th the Tuileries garden was
crowded with people of all ages and conditions. The courtyards and quays
were thronged. In the garden, along the terrace, in front of the palace,
a rope was stretched from the grating by the Pont Royal to the Pavilion
de l'Horloge. The crowd was so fearful of disturbing the Empress that
this frail barrier, this simple rope, was more respected than would have
been a lofty wall. The assemblage, which had been growing ever since six
o'clock, remained at some distance from the rope, and only spoke in a
low voice. They waited in extreme impatience, yet in perfect quiet,
for the sound of the cannon of the Invalides. If it was a girl, only
twenty-one guns would be fired; if a boy, there would be a hundred and
one.... Every window was opened; in the squares and streets everything
stood still,--foot-passengers, horses, carriages. The cannon of the
Invalides was heard, and the anxious multitudes in deep emotion began to
count, at first very low, but gradually louder--one, two, three, four,
and so on up to twenty. Then the excitement was tremendous. Twenty-one.
Is that all? No; there is the twenty-second, and the rest of the hundred
and one are to follow; but there was no more need of counting: Napoleon
had a son! At once the enthusiasm of the multitude broke forth like a
volcano. Cheers, hats tossed in the air, loud cries of joy, universal,
noisy delight, what a sight for the Emperor, as he stood at one of the
Empress's windows, gazing in silence at the rapturous crowd! Tears
flowed down his cheeks. "Never had his glory brought a tear to his
eyes," Constant informs us; "but the happiness of fatherhood softened
this soul which the most brilliant victories, the sincerest tributes
of public adoration, had left untouched. Indeed, if Napoleon ever had
reason to believe in his good fortune, it was on the day when the
Archduchess of Austria made him the father of a king, him who had begun
as the younger son of a Corsican family. In a few hours the event which
France and Europe had been awaiting was a festival in every family."

At half-past ten the aeronaut, Madame Blanchard, set forth in a balloon
from the Champ de Mars, to throw down papers announcing the great news
to the populace. The telegraph, unimpeded by any mist,--for it was a
lovely spring day,--began to work in every direction, and by two o'clock
answers had been received from Lyons, Brussels, Antwerp, Brest, and
other large towns of the Empire. All of course gave expression to the
wildest enthusiasm. In the course of the day Napoleon wrote to his
father-in-law, the Emperor of Austria, to inform him of the happy event.
"These are very good letters," he said; "I have never written better
ones." Officers of the Emperor's household, pages, and couriers were
despatched with letters and messages for the great bodies of the State,
for the towns and cities, for the Ambassadors and Ministers of France
and other powers. The Empress Josephine was not forgotten; Napoleon sent
a page to her in her castle of Navarre, in Normandy.

On the very day of his birth the King of Rome was privately christened
at nine o'clock in the evening, in the chapel of the Tuileries,
surrounded by his family and the court; the Emperor took his place in
the middle of the chapel, on a chair with a prayer desk before it,
beneath a canopy. Between the altar and the rail, on a granite base
covered with white velvet, had been set a superb vermilion vase which
served for the baptismal font. When Napoleon approached to present his
son, there was a moment of religious silence, which contrasted with the
noisy gayety of the vast crowd which had gathered near the Tuileries
from every quarter of the city to see the fireworks and the magnificent
illumination. "The houses," Constant says in his Memoirs, "were
illuminated voluntarily. Those who try to make out from the outside
appearance the real thoughts of a people on occasions like this,
observed that the highest stories in the remotest quarters were as
bright as the most sumptuous mansions. The public buildings, which
are generally most brilliant in contrast with the darkness of the
neighboring houses, now were scarcely to be distinguished in the
profusion of lights which the rejoicing public had set in every window.
The boatmen improvised a festival which lasted nearly all night, and
attracted a huge and happy crowd to the banks of the river. The populace
who had been through so many emotions, had celebrated so many victories
in the last thirty years, displayed as much enthusiasm as if this were
the first of its festivities in honor of a happy change in its destiny,"

March 22, Napoleon received in the throne-room at the Tuileries the
great bodies of the State.

"Your people," said the President of the Senate, "greet with unanimous
applause this new star rising above the horizon of France, whose first
ray scatters every shadow of future gloom."

When we think of the end of this matter, and reflect that this King of
Rome was to be deprived not merely of his title of Prince Imperial and
of King, but of the name of Napoleon and of Bonaparte, that he was
destined to be known as Francis, Duke of Reichstadt, and to be buried
in the Church of the Capuchins in Vienna, in Austrian uniform, is it
possible to repress a sad smile at the simple optimism of courts? In
1811 illusions were universal. "Amid all our triumphs," says General de
Segur, "when even our enemies, at last resigning themselves to their
fate, seemed hopeless, or had rallied to the side of our Emperor, what
pretext was there for gloom, or for any foreboding of a total or partial
eclipse? It was pleasanter to trust in his star, which dazzled us from
its height, so many wonders had it wrought!... And how many of us,
despite the ever-shifting sky of France, when we see it clear, are
tempted to think that no change threatens, and are every day surprised
by some sudden storm! Who, when he hears that some apparently healthy
person has dropped dead, is not astonished? We were in just such case,
when, March 20, 1811, Heaven, feeding our pride to make our humiliation
deeper, vouchsafed the conclusion of the fairy-show and completed the
illusion with the birth of the King of Rome." Napoleon, in the enjoyment
of every happiness and of every triumph, had reached the lofty summit of
glory and prosperity; from this he was soon to fall in a swift, giddy
flight, at the end of which opened a terrible abyss, full of blood and



Marie Louise made a quick recovery, and her restoration to health
delighted both her husband and herself. Her father, the Emperor of
Austria, sympathized with their happiness, as is shown by the following
letter of his to Napoleon, dated March 27, 1811: "My Dear Brother and
Son-in-Law,--It is impossible for me to express in a formal letter of
this sort the satisfaction I feel at the good news you have sent to me
about my daughter. Your Majesty must already know my keen interest in an
event of such importance, both for her and for France, as the birth of a
prince, and the fact that this is safely over only augments my joy. May
Heaven preserve this new pledge of the ties uniting us! Nothing could be
more precious or surer to unite firmly the happy bonds existing between
the two Empires."

Napoleon, on the 20th of March, had despatched to Vienna Count Nicolai,
who arrived there on the 28th. On that day Francis wrote to his
son-in-law: "My Brother and Dear Son-in-Law,--Count Nicolai has this
moment delivered to me the two letters of Your Majesty. Since I am
unwilling to delay a courier, who is on the point of departure, and will
carry to Your Majesty and to the Empress the first expressions of
my delight at the happy event, I postpone my formal answer to Your
Majesty's invitation to hold his son at the baptismal font, but I hasten
to take this opportunity to say that I accept so agreeable a duty.

"All the details which Your Majesty gives me about the birth of the
prince arouse my sincerest interest. Your letter proves your kindness
towards a wife who returns it with affection as deserved as it is
sincere, and for this I hereby express all my gratitude. I thank you,
too, for the full details you have written to me. I know the Empress
well enough to be sure that, though her sufferings were great, the
happiness of satisfying the wishes of Your Majesty and of your people is
an ample compensation. I am sure that Your Majesty's presence must
have given her strength and her attendant confidence in difficult
circumstances. Your Majesty has already so many claims upon my
friendship that these details were not needed to induce me to cherish
more and more the bonds that unite us, and which I charge my daughter
and her son to make even closer."

The health of Marie Louise and of the King of Rome was perfect. In order
to respond to the eagerness of the crowd that was ever thick at the
doors of the Tuileries in search of news about the Empress and the young
prince, it had been decided that one of the chamberlains should be
present all day in the first drawing-room of the grand apartment, to
receive all who came and report to them the bulletin issued twice a day
by the physicians. But soon that was stopped, and there were no more
bulletins, the mother and child being perfectly well. April 6, Marie
Louise got up and wrote six lines to her father. The 17th she walked on
the terrace by the water, amid the applause of the crowd. The next day
Prince Clary, whom the Emperor of Austria had sent from Vienna, was
received. Napoleon spoke for a long time about the courage, the virtue,
the kindness, the excellent education, the exquisite tact, and the
perfect dignity of the Empress. "Moreover," he added, "every one admires
her." The same day, April 18, the Empress drove in the Bois de Boulogne,
and was present at a reception to receive the congratulations of the
Diplomatic Body. The churching took place the next day, the 19th, in the
chapel of the Tuileries. Prince Rohan officiated.

April 21, Marie Louise and the Emperor went to Saint Cloud, whence, two
days later, she wrote to her father the following letter, published by
M. von Helfert in German: "My dear Father,--You may imagine my great
bliss. I never could have imagined that I could be so happy. My love
for my husband has grown, if that is possible, since my son's birth. I
cannot think of his tenderness without tears. It would make me love him
now, if I had never loved him before, for all his kind qualities. He
tells me to speak to you about him. He often asks after you, and says,
'Your father ought to be very happy to have a grandson.' When I tell him
that you already love my child, he is delighted. I am going to send you
a portrait of the boy. I think you will see how much he looks like the
Emperor. He is very strong for only five weeks. When he was born he
weighed nine pounds. He is very well, and is in the garden all day long.
The Emperor takes the greatest interest in him. He carries him about in
his arms, plays with him, and tries to give him his bottle, but he does
not succeed. You know from my uncle's letter how much I suffered for
twenty-two hours, but my happiness in being a mother makes me forget it.
The baptism is set for the month of June. I am sorry that you are too
busy to come. Heaven grant that you may come soon! I was glad to hear
from Prince Clary that you are well. I hope that God will hear my
prayers, and that dear mamma will soon be quite recovered. You may
imagine how many questions I asked about you; for talking about you,
about your kindness, is my greatest pleasure."

The return of summer induced Napoleon to go to Rambouillet for a few
days with the Empress, for the hunt. In this residence, which was
simpler and smaller than the other Imperial castles, the Emperor had a
taste of domestic life. He reached there May 13, and left on the 22d, to
make a trip through Normandy. Marie Louise was so urgent that at last he
decided to take her with him. The departments of Calvados and La Manche
greeted them with the utmost enthusiasm. The Emperor celebrated his stay
at Caen by granting favors and conferring benefits. Many young men of
good family were appointed ensigns; one hundred and thirty thousand
francs were distributed in charity. From Caen the Emperor and Empress
went to Cherbourg to visit the works in the harbor, which had just been
dug out of the granite rocks to the depth of fifty feet.

"What delight," General de Segur writes in his Memoirs concerning this
trip, "What delight, what admiration was ours! Great must have been
Napoleon's pride, judging from our own satisfaction which we received as
old and trusted companions of so great a man!... I saw Cherbourg for the
first time. This port, which Louis XVI. had designed simply for one of
refuge, had been transformed by Napoleon into one from which an attack
could be made. In those days of prodigies, however incapable of
amazement I might have been, this roadstead, won by superhuman exertion
from the ocean, this vast basin hewn to a depth of fifty feet in the
granite, with accommodations for fifty men-of-war, for their building,
for their repair, for their armament, filled me with an admiration such
as I had felt at the first sight of the grandeur of the Alps."

The day after his arrival at Cherbourg, Napoleon rode out early, visited
the heights about the town and inspected different ships. The next day
he presided at several meetings and visited the works of the navy-yard;
then he went down to the bottom of the basin hewn out of the rock, which
was to contain the ships-of-the-line, and to be covered by the water to
a depth of fifty-five feet. "During our stay," says M. de Bausset, "the
Emperor wanted to breakfast on the dyke, or jetty, which had been begun
in the unhappy reign of the most virtuous of kings. I got there before
Their Majesties, on a most lovely day, and had everything arranged. The
table was set in view of the sea; the English ships were plainly
visible on the distant horizon; certainly they were far from suspecting
Napoleon's presence. There was still a strong battery on the breakwater
to protect the roadstead and the harbor. I do not think that our
neighbors would have ventured to salute us at closer quarters, even if
they had been better informed. At a signal from the Emperor the squadron
lying in the roadstead, consisting of three large ships, under the
command of Admiral Tronde, put out under full sail and passed in front
of the jetty on which we were.... The Admiral's ship came up as close as
it could; the Rear-Admiral came in his gig to fetch Their Majesties and
their suite, and took us on board, amid the cheers of the crew, who were
all in full uniform. While the Empress and her ladies were resting in
the ward-room, Napoleon inspected the rest of the ship. Just when we
least expected it, he ordered all the cannon to be fired together; never
in my life did I hear such a noise: I thought that the ship was blowing

Napoleon and Marie Louise were back at Saint Cloud June 4, 1811. The
Empress, then in the full flower of her beauty, and radiant with
happiness, had responded to the profuse manifestations of public
enthusiasm by her gracious reception of the authorities and the people
of the departments.

It would be hard to imagine all the homage paid at this time to the
Imperial pair. Dithyrambs upon the birth of the King of Rome were
composed in every language of Europe except the English. There was a
real avalanche of poems, odes, epistles; in less than a week the Emperor
received more than two thousand of these tributes. Probably he read very
few of these extravagant compositions, which were crammed panegyrics
and allegories of the Greek mythology. The sum of one hundred thousand
francs was divided among the authors of these official poems. "Of all
these memorials, the most curious that flattery ever elevated," Madame
Durand writes, "is a collection of French and Latin verses, entitled,
'The Marriage and the Birth,' which was printed at the Imperial press,
and appointed by the University to be given as a prize to the pupils
of the four grammar schools of Paris, and of those in the provinces,
thereby assuring a ready sale. In this heap of trash figures the names
of all the authors who, when the giant had fallen, insulted his remains
and burned their incense before the new deity who took his place.

"As Beranger said about those poets:--
"They are, like the confectioners,
Friends of every baptism."

The _Moniteur_, in its number of June 9, 1811, the day of the King of
Rome's baptism, spoke as follows: "The happy event which, at the moment
of writing these lines, is throughout this vast Empire the object of the
thanksgivings which a great people can offer to Heaven; which inspire
songs of happiness in our temples, our public places, our peaceful
cities, our fertile fields, and in the camps of our invincible warriors;
which fulfils at once the wishes of the people for the happiness of
their Sovereign, and those of the Sovereign for the firm establishment
of the institutions he has consecrated to the prosperity of his people,
ought more than any other to kindle the fervor of our poets and fill
them with a lively and noble inspiration. Yet no one of them has been
able to disguise the difficulty of his task; all have recognized that
their greatest efforts would be required, not only to rise to the height
of a subject of which its greatness is the first peril, but even to
attune their lyre to the pitch of the enthusiasm that fires us, an
enthusiasm of which the mighty voice, filling all France and heard in
the remotest corner of Europe, is itself the grandest hymn of poetry and
the most harmonious music. But no such obstacle has discouraged their
muse; admiration, gratitude, love, furnish a happy inspiration, and our
poets have felt it; they have faithfully transcribed the language of the
populace in the language ascribed to the gods."

In proof of this we quote some of the verses inserted in the official

"Sion, rejoice! The voice of the prophets
Announces again the days of the Eternal One.
Before a young child, dear hope of Israel,
The cedars of Lebanon will bow their heads.
Of the oppressed he will become the support:
He will punish crime, and will brand vice;
His words will be the voice of justice,
And the Spirit of the Lord will march before him."

That is the Biblical style, which was used freely a few years later
to celebrate the baptism of the Duke of Bordeaux. Mythology, too, was
called in:--

"Do you see the leopard, weary of carnage,
Sated with blood, towards his savage lair
Run roaring?
Seized by an invincible, unknown terror,
He announces his death, and flees at the sight
Of a new-born Alcides."

The poet Millevoye exclaimed:--

"With your head encircled with laurel and flowers,
Come to reopen henceforth the progress of the year,
Month long since consecrated to the lover of Venus!
Triumph, and seize again thy faded garland,
Which the friend of Egeria placed
On the double brow of Janus."

M. Le Sur spoke about the Tiber in these terms:--

"The Tiber, too long drowsing on its urn,
Lets grow in its bosom the silent reed.
It awakens at the resonant noise of brass,
And with a proud wave washing its shore'
Of its old heritage
It offers the remains to the Young Sovereign."

A poet who was destined to become famous, and at that time was a scholar
in the Lycee Napoleon, Casimir Delavigne, tried his muse, a youthful
muse, according to the _Moniteur_:--

"Receive, royal child, the vows of the country.
May thy father's laurel shadow thy cradle!
May glory and the arts, adorning thy life,
Consecrate forever the happiest reign!
Child beloved of heaven, awaited by the earth,
Promised to posterity,
May thou, under the eyes of thy August father,
Grow to immortality!"

A professor famous for his Latin verses, M. Lemaire, was so fired by his
lyrical enthusiasm that he compared Marie Louise to another Mary, the
Queen of Heaven. Of the two queens,--one, he said, rules in Heaven; the
other on earth:--

"Haec coelo regina micat; micat altera terris."



The baptism of the King of Rome was celebrated with great pomp, Sunday,
June 7, 1811, at Notre Dame. The festivities began the evening before,
when, at seven o'clock, Napoleon and Marie Louise and their son arrived
from Saint Cloud with a grand retinue. The courtyard of the palace, the
garden, and the terraces were filled with applauding spectators. Free
performances were given at all the theatres, at which songs referring
to the event were loudly cheered. Paris was illuminated, and in all the
public places food was given away to the populace. Wine flowed in the
fountains, and everywhere was drunk the health of the young king and of
his happy parents.

The baptism took place at seven o'clock the next evening; at two in the
afternoon troops of the line and the Imperial Guard formed a double row
from the Tuileries to Notre Dame. Many public buildings and private
houses were decorated with tapestry, leaves, and designs.

At four the Senate started from the Luxembourg, the Council of State
from the Tuileries, the Court of Appeal, the Court of Accounts, the
Council of the University, from their respective places of meeting. From
the Hotel de Ville started the Prefect of the Seine, the Mayors and the
Municipal Council of Paris, the Mayors and Deputies of forty-nine more
or less important cities of the Empire. It was said that the Mayor of
Rome and the Mayor of Hamburg happened to be placed side by side, and
greeted one another with, "Good day, neighbor!"

Before the facade of Notre Dame had been built a large, tent-shaped
portal, supported by columns and decorated with draperies and garlands.
The interior of the Cathedral was brilliantly lit, and adorned with
flags. The seats in the choir to the right had been reserved for foreign
princes; those to the left, for the Diplomatic Body; the outer edge, for
the wives of the ministers of the high crown officers, as well as for
the households of the Imperial family; the sanctuary, for the twenty
cardinals, and the hundred archbishops and bishops; the choir, for the
Senate, the Council of State, the Mayors and Deputies of the forty-nine
cities; the upper part of the nave, for the civil and military
authorities; the rest of the nave, and the triforiums, for invited

At five o'clock the mounted chasseurs of the Guard, who were at the
head of the procession, began to move. But let us rather yield to the
_Moniteur_, which is always lyrical and enthusiastic, whatever the
Prince, imperial or royal, who is to be baptized: "At half-past five,"
says the official organ, "the cannon, which had been firing at a certain
distance ever since the evening before, announced the departure of Their
Majesties from the Palace of the Tuileries, accompanied by their suite
in the order prescribed by the programme. For the first time the
public was able to behold the August infant whose royal name was to be
consecrated under the auspices of religion. The effect that this sight
produced upon every soul defies description. 'Long live the King of
Rome!' was the uninterrupted acclamation all along the route. Their
Majesties were greeted in the same way; their August names united in
every mouth, with accents of love, respect, and gratitude. They seemed
to appreciate this double homage, which was, in fact, but one alone, and
they deigned to express their feeling in the most touching way to the
attendant multitude."

As the legendary grandmother says in Beranger's _Memories of the
People_, the weather was perfect, the Emperor radiant:--

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