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The Private Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete by Constant

Part 6 out of 15

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with me. On his entrance the Emperor said to him, "Report to such a
corps, commanded by such a marshal; you will request him to send such a
regiment to such a position; you will ascertain the position of the
enemy, then you will return to report." The aide-de-camp, having left
on horseback to execute these orders, I lay down again, and the Emperor
now seemed to be going to sleep; but, at the end of a few moments,
I heard him call again, "Constant."--"Sire."--"Have the Prince de
Neuchatel summoned." I sent for the prince, who came at once; and during
the conversation I must remain at the door of the tent, until the prince
wrote several orders and withdrew. These interruptions took place many
times during the night, and at last towards morning his Majesty slept,
when I also had a few moments of repose.

When aides-de-camp arrived, bringing any news to the Emperor, I awoke
him, by shaking him gently.

"What is it?" said his Majesty, waking with a start; "what o'clock is it?
Let him enter." The aide-de-camp made his report; and if it was
necessary, his Majesty rose immediately, and left the tent, his toilet
never occupying much time. If a battle was in contemplation the Emperor
scanned the sky and the horizon carefully, and often remarked, "We are
going to have a beautiful day."

Breakfast was prepared and served in five minutes, and at the end of a
quarter of an hour the cloth was removed. The Prince de Neuchatel
breakfasted and dined every day with his Majesty; and, in eight or ten
minutes, the longest meal was over. "To horse," then exclaimed the
Emperor, and set out, accompanied by the Prince de Neuchatel, and an
aide-de-camp or two, with Roustan, who always carried a silver flask of
brandy, which, however, the Emperor rarely ever used. His Majesty passed
from one corps to the other, spoke to the officers and soldiers,
questioned them, and saw with his own eyes all that it was possible to

If a battle was on hand, dinner was forgotten, and the Emperor ate only
after his return; but, if the engagement lasted too long, there was
carried to him, without his ordering it, a crust of bread and a little

M. Colin, chief of the culinary department, many times braved the cannon
to carry a light repast to the Emperor.

At the close of the combat, his Majesty never failed to visit the
battle-field, where he had aid given the wounded, and encouraged them
with cheering words.

The Emperor sometimes returned overcome by fatigue; he then took a light
repast, and lay down again to begin his interrupted sleep.

It was remarkable, that, each time that unexpected circumstances forced
the aides-de-camp to have the Emperor waked, he was as ready for work as
he would have been at the beginning or in the middle of the day, and his
awaking was as amiable as his manner was pleasant. The report of an
aide-de-camp being finished, Napoleon went to sleep again as easily as if
his sleep had not been interrupted.

During the three or four hours preceding an engagement, the Emperor spent
most of the time with large maps spread out before him, the places on
which he marked with pins with heads of different colored wax.

I have already said that all the persons of the Emperor's household
emulated each other in seeking the surest and promptest means of carrying
out his wishes; and everywhere, whether in traveling or on the campaign,
his table, his coffee, his bed, or even his bath could be prepared in
five minutes. How many times were we obliged to remove, in still less
time, corpses of men and horses, to set up his Majesty's tent.

In one of the campaigns beyond the Rhine we were delayed in a poor
village, and, in order to prepare the Emperor's lodging, were obliged to
use a peasant's hut, which had served as a field hospital; and we began
preparations by carrying away the dismembered limbs, and washing up the
stains of blood, this labor being finished, and everything almost in
order, in less than-half an hour.

The Emperor, sometimes slept a quarter or half an hour on the field of
battle when he was fatigued, or wished to await more patiently the result
of the orders he had given.

While on the road to Potsdam, we were overtaken by a violent storm, which
became so severe, and the rain so heavy, that we were obliged to stop and
take refuge in a neighboring house on the road. Well wrapped in his gray
overcoat, and not thinking that he could be recognized, the Emperor was
much surprised to see, as he entered the house, a young woman who seemed
to tremble at his presence. He ascertained that she was an Egyptian, who
had retained for my master the religious veneration which all the Arabs
bore him, and was the widow of an officer of the army of Egypt, whom
chance had led to the same house in Saxony where he had been welcomed.
The Emperor granted her a pension of twelve hundred francs, and took upon
himself the education of her son, the only legacy left her by her
husband. "This is the first time," said Napoleon, "that I have alighted
to avoid a storm; I had a presentiment that an opportunity of doing good
awaited me here."

The loss of the battle of Jena had struck the Prussians with such terror,
and the court had fled with such precipitation, that everything had been
left in the royal residences; and, consequently, on his arrival at
Potsdam, the Emperor found there the sword of the great Frederick, his
gorget, the grand cordon of his order, and his alarm-clock, and had them
carried to Paris, to be preserved at the Hotel des Invalides. "I prefer
these trophies," said his Majesty, "to all the treasures of the King of
Prussia; I will send them to my old soldiers of the campaign of Hanover,
who will guard them as a trophy of the victories of the grand army, and
of the revenge that it has taken for the disaster of Rosbach." The
Emperor the same day ordered the removal to his capital of the column
raised by the great Frederick to perpetuate the remembrance of the defeat
of the French at Rosbach. [At Rosbach, November, 1757, the French, under
Prince de Soubise, had been shamefully defeated by Frederick the Great]
He might have contented himself with changing the inscription.

Napoleon remained at the chateau of Charlottenburg, where he had
established his headquarters, until the regiments of the guard had
arrived from all points; and as soon as they were assembled, orders were
given to put themselves in full uniform, which was done in the little
wood before the town. The Emperor made his entry into the capital of
Prussia between ten and eleven o'clock in the morning, surrounded by his
aides-de-camp, and the officers of his staff, all the regiments filing
before him in the most perfect order, drums and music at their head; and
the fine appearance of the troops excited the admiration of the

Having entered Berlin in the suite of the Emperor, we arrived at the town
square, in the midst of which a bust of the great Frederick had been
placed. The name of this monarch is so popular at Berlin, and, in fact,
throughout all Prussia, that on many occasions, when any one by chance
pronounced it, either in a cafe or in any other public place, or even in
private assemblies, I have seen every one present rise, and lift his hat
with an air of the most profound respect and genuine adoration.

When the Emperor arrived in front of the bust, he described a semicircle
at a gallop, followed by his staff, and lowering the point of his sword,
while uncovering his head, was the first to salute the image of Frederick
II. His staff followed his example; and all the general and other
officers who composed it ranged themselves in a semicircle around the
bust, with the Emperor in the center. His Majesty gave orders that each
regiment should present arms in defiling before the bust, which maneuver
was not to the taste of some grumblers of the first regiment of the
Guard, who, with moustaches scorched, and faces still blackened with the
powder of Jena, would have better liked an order for lodgings with the
bourgeois than all this parade, and took no pains to conceal their
ill-humor. There was one, among others, who, as he passed in front of
the bust and before the Emperor, exclaimed between his teeth, without
moving a muscle of his face, but still loud enough to be heard by his
Majesty, "Damn the bust." His Majesty pretended not to hear, but that
evening he repeated with a laugh the words of the old soldier.

His Majesty alighted at the chateau, where his lodging was prepared, and
the officers of his household had preceded him. Having learned that the
electoral princess of Hesse-Cassel, sister of the king, was still ill at
the end of her confinement, the Emperor ascended to the apartment of this
princess, and, after quite a long visit, gave orders that she should be
treated with all the deference due to her rank and unfortunate situation.



I left the Emperor at Berlin, where each day, and each hour of the day,
he received news of some victory gained, or some success obtained by his
generals. General Beaumont presented to him eighty flags captured from
the enemy by his division, and Colonel Gerard also presented sixty taken
from Blucher at the battle of Wismar. Madgeburg had capitulated, and a
garrison of sixty thousand men had marched out under the eyes of General
Savary. Marshal Mortier occupied Hanover in the name of France, and
Prince Murat was on the point of entering Warsaw after driving out the

War was about to recommence, or rather to be continued, against the
latter; and since the Prussian army could now be regarded as entirely
vanquished, the Emperor left Berlin in order to personally conduct
operations against the Russians.

We traveled in the little coaches of the country; and as was the rule
always on our journeys, the carriage of the grand marshal preceded that
of the Emperor. The season, and the passage of such large numbers of
artillery, had rendered the roads frightful; but notwithstanding this we
traveled very rapidly, until at last between Kutow and Warsaw, the grand
marshal's carriage was upset, and his collarbone broken. The Emperor
arrived a short time after this unfortunate accident, and had him borne
under his own eyes into the nearest post-house. We always carried with
us a portable medicine-chest in order that needed help might be promptly
given to the wounded. His Majesty placed him in the hands of the
surgeon, and did not leave him till he had seen the first bandage

At Warsaw, where his Majesty passed the entire month of January, 1807, he
occupied the grand palace. The Polish nobility, eager to pay their court
to him, gave in his honor magnificent fetes and brilliant balls, at which
were present all the wealthiest and most distinguished inhabitants of

At one of these reunions the Emperor's attention was drawn to a young
Polish lady named Madame Valevska, twenty-two years of age, who had just
married an old noble of exacting temper and extremely harsh manners, more
in love with his titles than with his wife, whom, however, he loved
devotedly, and by whom he was more respected than loved. The Emperor
experienced much pleasure at the sight of this lady, who attracted his
attention at the first glance. She was a blonde, with blue eyes, and
skin of dazzling whiteness; of medium height, with a charming and
beautifully proportioned figure. The Emperor having approached her,
immediately began a conversation, which she sustained with much grace and
intelligence, showing that she had received a fine education, and the
slight shade of melancholy diffused over her whole person rendered her
still more seductive.

His Majesty thought he beheld in her a woman who had been sacrificed, and
was unhappy in her domestic relations; and the interest with which this
idea inspired him caused him to be more interested in her than he had
ever been in any woman, a fact of which she could not fail to be
conscious. The day after the ball, the Emperor seemed to me unusually
agitated; he rose from his chair, paced to and fro, took his seat and
rose again, until I thought I should never finish dressing him.
Immediately after breakfast he ordered a person, whose name I shall not
give, to pay a visit to Madame Valevska, and inform her of his
subjugation and his wishes. She proudly refused propositions which were
perhaps too brusque, or which perhaps the coquetry natural to all women
led her to repulse; and though the hero pleased her, and the idea of a
lover resplendent with power and glory revolved doubtless over and over
in her brain, she had no idea of surrendering thus without a struggle.
The great personage returned in confusion, much astonished that he had
not succeeded in his mission; and the next day when the Emperor rose I
found him still preoccupied, and he did not utter a word, although he was
in the habit of talking to me at this time. He had written to Madame
Valevska several times, but she had not replied; and his vanity was much
piqued by such unaccustomed indifference. At last his affecting appeals
having touched Madame Valevska's heart, she consented to an interview
between ten and eleven o'clock that evening, which took place at the
appointed time. She returned a few days after at the same hour, and her
visits continued until the Emperor's departure.

Two months after the Emperor sent for her; and she joined him at his
headquarters in Finkenstein, where she remained from this time, leaving
at Warsaw her old husband, who, deeply wounded both in his honor and his
affections, wished never to see again the wife who had abandoned him.
Madame Valevska remained with the Emperor until his departure, and then
returned to her family, constantly evincing the most devoted and, at the
same time, disinterested affection. The Emperor seemed to appreciate
perfectly the charms of this angelic woman, whose gentle and
self-abnegating character made a profound impression on me. As they took
their meals together, and I served them alone, I was thus in a position
to enjoy their conversation, which was always amiable, gay, and animated
on the Emperor's part; tender, impassioned, and melancholy on that of
Madame Valevska. When his Majesty was absent, Madame Valevska passed all
her time, either in reading, or viewing through the lattice blinds of the
Emperor's rooms the parades and evolutions which took place in the court
of honor of the chateau, and which he often commanded in person. Such
was her life, like her disposition, ever calm and equable; and this
loveliness of character charmed the Emperor, and made him each day more
and more her slave.

After the battle of Wagram, in 1809, the Emperor took up his residence at
the palace of Schoenbrunn, and sent immediately for Madame Valevska, for
whom a charming house had been rented and furnished in one of the
faubourgs of Vienna, a short distance from Schoenbrunn. I went
mysteriously to bring her every evening in a close carriage, with a
single servant, without livery; she entered by a secret door, and was
introduced into the Emperor's apartments. The road, although very short,
was not without danger, especially in rainy weather, on account of ruts
and holes which were encountered at every step; and the Emperor said to
me almost every day, "Be very careful, Constant, it has rained to-day;
the road will be bad. Are you sure you have a good driver? Is the
carriage in good condition?" and other questions of the same kind, which
evidenced the deep and sincere affection he felt for Madame Valevska.
The Emperor was not wrong, besides, in urging me to be careful; for one
evening, when we had left Madame Valevska's residence a little later than
usual, the coachman upset us, and in trying to avoid a rut, drove the
carriage over the edge of the road. I was on the right of Madame
Valevska and the carriage fell on that side, in such a position that I
alone felt the shock of the fall, since Madame Valevska falling on me,
received no injury. I was glad to be the means of saving her, and when I
said this she expressed her gratitude with a grace peculiarly her own.
My injuries were slight; and I began to laugh the first, in which Madame
Valevska soon joined, and she related our accident to his Majesty
immediately on our arrival.

I could not undertake to describe all the care and attentions which the
Emperor lavished upon her. He had her brought to Paris, accompanied by
her brother, a very distinguished officer, and her maid, and gave the
grand marshal orders to purchase for her a pretty residence in the
Chaussee-d'Antin. Madame Valevska was very happy, and often said to me,
"All my thoughts, all my inspirations, come from him, and return to him;
he is all my happiness, my future, my life!" She never left her house
except to come to the private apartments at the Tuileries, and when this
happiness could not be granted, went neither to the theater, the
promenade, nor in society, but remained at home, seeing only very few
persons, and writing to the Emperor every day. At length she gave birth
to a son, [Count Walewski, born 1810; minister to England, 1852;
minister of foreign affairs, 1855-1860; died 1868.] who bore a striking
resemblance to the Emperor, to whom this event was a source of great joy;
and he hastened to her as soon as it was possible to escape from the
chateau, and taking the child in his arms, and caressing him, as he had
just caressed the mother, said to him, "I make you a count." Later we
shall see this son receiving at Fontainebleau a final proof of affection.

Madame Valevska reared her son at her residence, never leaving him, and
carried him often to the chateau, where I admitted them by the dark
staircase, and when either was sick the Emperor sent to them Monsieur
Corvisart. This skillful physician had on one occasion the happiness of
saving the life of the young count in a dangerous illness.

Madame Valevska had a gold ring made for the Emperor, around which she
twined her beautiful blonde hair, and on the inside of the ring were
engraved these words:

"When you cease to love me, do not forget that I love you."

The Emperor gave her no other name but Marie.

I have perhaps devoted too much space to this liaison of the Emperor: but
Madame Valevska was entirely different from the other women whose favor
his Majesty obtained; and she was worthy to be named the La Valliere of
the Emperor, who, however, did not show himself ungrateful towards her,
as did Louis XIV. towards the only woman by whom he was beloved. Those
who had, like myself, the happiness of knowing and seeing her intimately
must have preserved memories of her which will enable them to comprehend
why in my opinion there exists so great a distance between Madame
Valevska, the tender and modest woman, rearing in retirement the son she
bore to the Emperor, and the favorites of the conqueror of Austerlitz.


The Russians, being incited to this campaign by the remembrance of the
defeat of Austerlitz, and by the fear of seeing Poland snatched from
their grasp, were not deterred by the winter season, and resolved to open
the attack on the Emperor at once; and as the latter was not the man to
allow himself to be forestalled, he consequently abandoned his winter
quarters, and quitted Warsaw at the end of January. On the 8th of
February the two armies met at Eylau; and there took place, as is well
known, a bloody battle, in which both sides showed equal courage, and
nearly fifteen thousand were left dead on the field of battle, equally
divided in number between the French and Russians. The gain, or rather
the loss, was the same to both armies; and a 'Te Deum' was chanted at St.
Petersburg as well as at Paris, instead of the 'De Profundis', which
would have been much more appropriate. His Majesty complained bitterly
on returning to his headquarters that the order he had sent to General
Bernadotte had not been executed, and in consequence of this his corps
had taken no part in the battle, and expressed his firm conviction that
the victory, which remained in doubt between the Emperor and General
Benningsen, would have been decided in favor of the former had a fresh
army-corps arrived during the battle, according to the Emperor's
calculations. Most unfortunately the aide-de-camp bearing the Emperor's
orders to the Prince of Ponte-Corvo had fallen into the hands of a party
of Cossacks; and when the Emperor was informed of this circumstance the
day after the battle, his resentment was appeased, though not his
disappointment. Our troops bivouacked on the field of battle, which his
Majesty visited three times, for the purpose of directing the assistance
of the wounded, and removal of the dead.

Generals d'Hautpoult, Corbineau, and Boursier were mortally wounded at
Eylau; and it seems to me I can still hear the brave d'Hautpoult saying
to his Majesty, just as he dashed off at a gallop to charge the enemy:
"Sire, you will now see my great claws; they will pierce through the
enemy's squares as if they were butter" An hour after he was no more.
One of his regiments, being engaged in the interval with the Russian
army, was mowed down with grape-shot, and hacked to pieces by the
Cossacks, only eighteen men being left. General d'Hautpoult, forced to
fall back three times with his division, led it back twice to the charge;
and as he threw himself against the enemy the third time shouted loudly,
"Forward, cuirassiers, in God's name! forward, my brave cuirassiers?"
But the grapeshot had mowed down too many of these brave fellows; very
few were left to follow their chief, and he soon fell pierced with wounds
in the midst of a square of Russians into which he had rushed almost

I think it was in this battle also that General Ordenerl killed with his
own hands a general officer of the enemy. The Emperor asked if he could
not have taken him alive. "Sire," replied the general with his strong
German accent, "I gave him only one blow, but I tried to make it a good
one." On the very morning of the battle, General Corbineau, the
Emperor's aide-de-camp, while at breakfast with the officers on duty,
declared to them that he was oppressed by the saddest presentiments; but
these gentlemen, attempting to divert his mind, turned the affair into a
joke. General Corbineau a few moments after received an order from his
Majesty, and not finding some money he wished at Monsieur de Meneval's
quarters, came to me, and I gave it to him from the Emperor's private
purse; at the end of a few hours I met Monsieur de Meneval, to whom I
rendered an account of General Corbineau's request, and the sum I had
lent him. I was still speaking to Monsieur de Meneval, when an officer
passing at a gallop gave us the sad news of the general's death. I have
never forgotten the impression made on me by this sad news, and I still
find no explanation of the strange mental distress which gave warning to
this brave soldier of his approaching end.

Poland was relying upon the Emperor to re-establish her independence, and
consequently the Poles were filled with hope and enthusiasm on witnessing
the arrival of the French army. As for our soldiers, this winter
campaign was most distasteful to them; for cold and wretchedness, bad
weather and bad roads, had inspired them with an extreme aversion to this

In a review at Warsaw, at which the inhabitants crowded around our
troops, a soldier began to swear roundly against the snow and mud, and,
as a consequence, against Poland and the Poles. "You are wrong, Monsieur
soldier," replied a young lady of a good bourgeois family of the town,
"not to love our country, for we love the French very much."--"You are
doubtless very lovable, mademoiselle," replied the soldier; "but if you
wish to persuade me of the truth of what you say, you will prepare us a
good dinner, my comrade and I."--"Come, then, messieurs," said the
parents of the young Pole now advancing, "and we will drink together to
the health of your Emperor." And they really carried off with them the
two soldiers, who partook of the best dinner the country afforded.

The soldiers were accustomed to say that four words formed the basis of
the Polish language,--kleba? niema; "bread? there is none;" voia?
sara; "water? they have gone to draw it."

As the Emperor was one day passing through a column of infantry in the
suburbs of Mysigniez, where the troops endured great privations since the
bad roads prevented the arrival of supplies, "Papa, kleba," cried a
soldier. "Niema," immediately replied the Emperor. The whole column
burst into shouts of laughter, and no further request was made.

During the Emperor's somewhat extended stay at Finkenstein, he received a
visit from the Persian ambassador, and a few grand reviews were held in
his honor. His Majesty sent in return an embassy to the Shah, at the
head of which he placed General Gardanne, who it was then said had an
especial reason for wishing to visit Persia. It was rumored that one of
his relations, after a long residence at Teheran, had been compelled,
having taken part in an insurrection against the Franks, to quit this
capital, and before his flight had buried a considerable treasure in a
certain spot, the description of which he had carried to France. I will
add, as a finale to this story, some facts which I have since learned.
General Gardanne found the capital in a state of confusion; and being
able neither to locate the spot nor discover the treasure, returned from
his embassy with empty hands.

Our stay at Finkenstein became very tiresome; and in order to while
away the time, his Majesty sometimes played with his generals and
aides-de-camp. The game was usually vingt-et-un; and the Great Captain
took much pleasure in cheating, holding through several deals the cards
necessary to complete the required number, and was much amused when he
won the game by this finesse. I furnished the sum necessary for his
game, and as soon as he returned to his quarters received orders to make
out his account. He always gave me half of his gains, and I divided the
remainder between the ordinary valets de chambre.

I have no intention, in this journal, of conforming to a very exact order
of dates; and whenever there recurs to my memory a fact or an anecdote
which seems to me deserving of mention, I shall jot it down, at whatever
point of my narrative I may have then reached, fearing lest, should I
defer it to its proper epoch, it might be forgotten. In pursuance of
this plan I shall here relate, in passing, some souvenirs of Saint-Cloud
or the Tuileries, although we are now in camp at Finkenstein. The
pastimes in which his Majesty and his general officers indulged recalled
these anecdotes to my recollection. These gentlemen often made wagers or
bets among themselves; and I heard the Duke of Vicenza one day bet that
Monsieur Jardin, junior, equerry of his Majesty, mounted backwards on his
horse, could reach the end of the avenue in front of the chateau in the
space of a few moments; which bet the equerry won.

Messieurs Fain, Meneval, and Ivan once played a singular joke on Monsieur
B. d'A----, who, they knew, was subject to frequent attacks of
gallantry. They dressed a young man in woman's clothes, and sent him to
promenade, thus disguised, in an avenue near the chateau. Monsieur
B. d'A---- was very near-sighted, and generally used an eyeglass. These
gentlemen invited him to take a walk; and as soon as he was outside the
door, he perceived the beautiful promenader, and could not restrain an
exclamation of surprise and joy at the sight.

His friends feigned to share his delight, and urged him, as the most
enterprising, to make the first advances, whereupon, in great excitement,
he hastened after the pretended young lady, whom they had taught his role
perfectly. Monsieur d'A---- outdid himself in politeness, in attentions,
in offers of service, insisting eagerly on doing the honors of the
chateau to his new conquest. The other acted his part perfectly; and
after many coquettish airs on his side, and many protestations on the
part of Monsieur d'A, a rendezvous was made for that very evening; and
the lover, radiant with hope, returned to his friends, maintaining much
discretion and reserve as to his good fortune, while he really would have
liked to devour the time which must pass before the day was over. At
last the evening arrived which was to put an end to his impatience, and
bring the time of his interview; and his disappointment and rage may be
imagined when he discovered the deception which had been practiced on
him. Monsieur d'A---- wished at first to challenge the authors and
actors in this hoax, and could with great difficulty be appeased.

It was, I think, on the return from this campaign, that Prince Jerome saw
at Breslau, at the theater of that town, a young and very pretty actress,
who played her part badly, but sang very well. He made advances, which
she received coolly: but kings do not sigh long in vain; they place too
heavy a weight in the balance against discretion. His Majesty, the King
of Westphalia, carried off his conquest to Cassel, and at the end of a
short time she was married to his first valet de chambre, Albertoni,
whose Italian morals were not shocked by this marriage. Some
disagreement, the cause, of which I do not know, having caused Albertoni
to quit the king, he returned to Paris with his wife, and engaged in
speculations, in which he lost all that he had gained, and I have been
told that he returned to Italy. One thing that always appeared to me
extraordinary was the jealousy of Albertoni towards his wife--an exacting
jealousy which kept his eyes open towards all men except the king; for I
am well convinced that the liaison continued after their marriage.

The brothers of the Emperor, although kings, were sometimes kept waiting
in the Emperor's antechamber. King Jerome came one morning by order of
the Emperor, who, having not yet risen, told me to beg the King of
Westphalia to wait. As the Emperor wished to sleep a little longer, I
remained with the other servants in the saloon which was used as an
antechamber, and the king waited with us; I do not say in patience, for
he constantly moved from chair to chair, promenaded back and forth
between the window and the fireplace, manifesting much annoyance, and
speaking now and then to me, whom he always treated with great kindness.
Thus more than half an hour passed; and at last I entered the Emperor's
room, and when he had put on his dressing-gown, informed him that his
Majesty was waiting, and after introducing him, I withdrew. The Emperor
gave him a cool reception, and lectured him severely, and as he spoke
very loud, I heard him against my will; but the king made his excuses in
so low a tone that I could not hear a word of his justification. Such
scenes were often repeated, for the prince was dissipated and prodigal,
which displeased the Emperor above all things else, and for which he
reproved him severely, although he loved him, or rather because he loved
him so much; for it is remarkable, that notwithstanding the frequent
causes of displeasure which his family gave him, the Emperor still felt
for all his relations the warmest affection.

A short time after the taking of Dantzig (May 24, 1807), the Emperor,
wishing to reward Marshal Lefebvre for the recent services which he had
rendered, had him summoned at six o'clock in the morning. His Majesty
was in consultation with the chief-of-staff of the army when the arrival
of the marshal was announced. "Ah!" said he to Berthier, "the duke does
not delay." Then, turning to the officer on duty, "Say to the Duke of
Dantzig that I have summoned him so early in order that he may breakfast
with me." The officer, thinking that the Emperor had misunderstood the
name, remarked to him, that the person who awaited his orders was not the
Duke of Dantzig, but Marshal Lefebvre. "It seems, monsieur, that you
think me more capable of making a count [faire un conte] than a duke."

The officer was somewhat disconcerted by this reply; but the Emperor
reassured him with a smile, and said, "Go, give the duke my invitation,
and say to him that in a quarter of an hour breakfast will be served."
The officer returned to the marshal, who was, of course, very anxious to
know why the Emperor had summoned him. "Monsieur le Due, the Emperor
invites you to breakfast with him, and begs you to wait a quarter of an
hour." The marshal, not having noticed the new title which the officer
gave him, replied by a nod, and seated himself on a folding chair on the
back of which hung the Emperor's sword, which the marshal inspected and
touched with admiration and respect. The quarter of an hour passed, when
another ordnance officer came to summon the marshal to the Emperor, who
was already at table with the chief-of-staff; and as he entered, the
Emperor saluted him with, "Good-day, Monsieur le Due; be seated next to

The marshal, astonished at being addressed by this title, thought at
first that his Majesty was jesting; but seeing that he made a point of
calling him Monsieur le, Due he was overcome with astonishment. The
Emperor, to increase his embarrassment, said to him, "Do you like
chocolate, Monsieur le Duc?"--"But--yes, Sire."--"Well, we have none for
breakfast, but I will give you a pound from the very town of Dantzig; for
since you have conquered it, it is but just that it should make you some
return." Thereupon the Emperor left the table, opened a little casket,
took therefrom a package in the shape of a long square, and handed it to
Marshal Lefebvre, saying to him, "Duke of Dantzig, accept this chocolate;
little gifts preserve friendship." The marshal thanked his Majesty, put
the chocolate in his pocket, and took his seat again at table with the
Emperor and Marshal Berthier. A 'pate' in the shape of the town of
Dantzig was in the midst of the table; and when this was to be served the
Emperor said to the new duke, "They could not have given this dish a form
which would have pleased me more. Make the attack, Monsieur le Duc;
behold your conquest; it is yours to do the honors." The duke obeyed;
and the three guests ate of the pie, which they found much to their
taste. On his return, the marshal, Duke of Dantzig, suspecting a
surprise in the little package which the Emperor had given him, hastened
to open it, and found a hundred thousand crowns in bank-notes. In
imitation of this magnificent present, the custom was established in the
army of calling money, whether in pieces or in bank-notes, Dantzig
chocolate; and when the soldiers wished to be treated by any comrade who
happened to have a little money in his pocket, would say to him, "Come,
now, have you no Dantzig chocolate in your pocket?"

The almost superstitious fancy of his Majesty the Emperor in regard to
coincidences in dates and anniversaries was strengthened still more by
the victory of Friedland, which was gained on June 14, 1807, seven years
to the very day after the battle of Marengo. The severity of the winter,
the difficulty in furnishing supplies (for which the Emperor had however
made every possible provision and arrangement), added to the obstinate
courage of the Russians, had made this a severe campaign, especially to
conquerors whom the incredible rapidity of their successes in Prussia had
accustomed to sudden conquests. The division of glory which he had been
compelled to make with the Russians was a new experience in the Emperor's
military career, but at Friedland he regained his advantage and his
former superiority. His Majesty, by a feigned retreat, in which he let
the enemy see only a part of his forces, drew the Russians into a decoy
on the Elbe, so complete that they found themselves shut in between that
river and our army. This victory was gained by troops of the line and
cavalry; and the Emperor did not even find it necessary to use his
Guards, while those of the Emperor Alexander was almost entirely
destroyed in protecting the retreat, or rather the flight, of the
Russians, who could escape from the pursuit of our soldiers only by the
bridge of Friedland, a few narrow pontoons, and an almost impassable

The regiments of the line in the French army covered the plain; and the
Emperor, occupying a post of observation on a height whence he could
overlook the whole field of battle, was seated in an armchair near a
mill, surrounded by his staff. I never saw him in a gayer mood, as he
conversed with the generals who awaited his orders, and seemed to enjoy
eating the black Russian bread which was baked in the shape of bricks.
This bread, made from inferior rye flour and full of long straws, was the
food of all the soldiers; and they knew that his Majesty ate it as well
as themselves. The beautiful weather favored the skillful maneuvers of
the army, and they performed prodigies of valor. The cavalry charges
especially were executed with so much precision that the Emperor sent his
congratulations to the regiments.

About four o'clock in the afternoon, when the two armies were pressing
each other on every side, and thousands of cannon caused the earth to
tremble, the Emperor exclaimed, "If this continues two hours longer, the
French army will be left standing on the plain alone." A few moments
after he gave orders to the Count Dorsenne, general of the foot
grenadiers of the Old Guard, to fire on a brick-yard, behind which masses
of Russians and Prussians were intrenched; and in the twinkling of an eye
they were compelled to abandon this position, and a horde of
sharpshooters set out in pursuit of the fugitives.

The Guard made this movement at five o'clock, and at six the battle was
entirely won. The Emperor said to those who were near him, while
admiring the splendid behavior of the Guard, "Look at those brave
fellows, with a good-will they would run over the stone-slingers and
pop-guns of the line, in order to teach them to charge without waiting
for them; but it would have been useless, as the work has been well done
without them."

His Majesty went in person to compliment several regiments which had
fought the whole day. A few words, a smile, a salute of the hand, even a
nod, was sufficient recompense to these brave fellows who had just been
crowned with victory.

The number of the dead and prisoners was enormous; and seventy banners,
with all the equipments of the Russian army, were left in the hands of
the French.

After this decisive day, the Emperor of Russia, who had rejected the
proposals made by his Majesty after the battle of Eylau, found himself
much disposed to make the game on his own account; and General Bennigsen
consequently demanded an armistice in the name of his Emperor, which his
Majesty granted; and a short time after a treaty of peace was signed, and
the famous interview between the two sovereigns held on the banks of the
Niemen. I shall pass over rapidly the details of this meeting, which
have been published and repeated innumerable times. His Majesty and the
young Czar conceived a mutual affection from the first moment of their
meeting, and each gave fetes and amusements in honor of the other. They
were in inseparable in public and private, and passed hours together in
meetings for pleasure only, from which all intruders were carefully
excluded. The town of Tilsit was declared neutral; and French, Russians,
and Prussians followed the example set them by their sovereigns, and
lived together in the most intimate brotherhood.

The King and Queen of Prussia soon after joined their Imperial Majesties
at Tilsit; though this unfortunate monarch, to whom there remained hardly
one town of the whole kingdom he had possessed, was naturally little
disposed to take part in so much festivity. The queen was beautiful and
graceful, though perhaps somewhat haughty and severe, which did not
prevent her being adored by all who surrounded her. The Emperor sought
to please her, and she neglected none of the innocent coquetries of her
sex in order to soften the heart of the conqueror of her husband. The
queen several times dined with the sovereigns, seated between the two
Emperors, who vied with each other in overwhelming her with attentions
and gallantries. It is well known that the Emperor Napoleon offered her
one day a splendid rose, which after some hesitation she accepted, saying
to his Majesty with a most charming smile, "With Magdeburg, at least."
And it is well known also that the Emperor did not accept the condition.

The princess had among her ladies of honor a very old woman, who was most
highly esteemed. One evening as the queen was being escorted into the
dining-hall by the two Emperors, followed by the King of Prussia, Prince
Murat, and the Grand Duke Constantine, this old lady of honor gave way to
the two latter princes. Grand Duke Constantine would not take precedence
of her, but entirely spoiled this act of politeness by exclaiming in a
rude tone, "Pass, madame, pass on!" And turning towards the King of
Naples, added, loud enough to be heard, this disgraceful exclamation,
"The old woodcock!"

One may judge from this that Prince Constantine was far from exhibiting
towards ladies that exquisite politeness and refined gallantry which
distinguished his august brother.

The French Imperial Guard on one occasion gave a dinner to the guard of
the Emperor Alexander. At the end of this exceedingly gay and fraternal
banquet, each French soldier exchanged uniforms with a Russian, and
promenaded thus before the eyes of the Emperors, who were much amused by
this impromptu disguise.

Among the numerous attentions paid by the Russian Emperor to our own,
I would mention a concert by a troop of Baskir musicians, whom their
sovereign brought over the Niemen for this purpose, and never certainly
did more barbarous music resound in the ears of his Majesty; and this
strange harmony, accompanied by gestures equally as savage, furnished one
of the most amusing spectacles that can be imagined. A few days after
this concert, I obtained permission to make the musicians a visit, and
went to their camp, accompanied by Roustan, who was to serve as
interpreter. We enjoyed the pleasure of being present at a repast of the
Baskirs, where around immense wooden tubs were seated groups consisting
of ten men, each holding in his hand a piece of black bread which he
moistened with a ladleful of water, in which had been diluted something
resembling red clay. After the repast, they gave us an exhibition of
shooting with the bow; and Roustan, to whom this exercise recalled the
scenes of his youth, attempted to shoot an arrow, but it fell at a few
paces, and I saw a smile of scorn curl the thick lips of our Baskirs. I
then tried the bow in my turn, and acquitted myself in such a manner as
to do me honor in the eyes of our hosts, who instantly surrounded me,
congratulating me by their gestures on my strength and skill; and one of
them, even more enthusiastic and more amicable than the others, gave me a
pat on the shoulder which I long remembered.

The day succeeding this famous concert, the treaty of peace between the
three sovereigns was signed, and his Majesty made a visit to the Emperor
Alexander, who received him at the head of his guard. The Emperor
Napoleon asked his illustrious ally to show him the bravest grenadier of
this handsome and valiant troop; and when he was presented to his
Majesty, he took from his breast his own cross of the Legion of Honor,
and fastened it on the breast of the Muscovite soldier, amid the
acclamations and hurrahs of all his comrades. The two Emperors embraced
each other a last time on the banks of the Niemen, and his Majesty set
out on the road to Koenigsberg.

At Bautzen the King of Saxony came out to meet him, and their Majesties
entered Dresden together. King Frederick Augustus gave a most
magnificent reception to the sovereign who, not content with giving him a
scepter, had also considerably increased the hereditary estates of the
elector of Saxony. The good people of Dresden, during the week we passed
there, treated the French more as brothers and compatriots than as

But it was nearly ten months since we had left Paris; and in spite of all
the charms of the simple and cordial hospitality of the Germans, I was
very eager to see again France and my own family.


It was during the glorious campaign of Prussia and Poland that the
imperial family was plunged in the deepest sorrow by the death of the
young Napoleon, eldest son of King Louis of Holland. This child bore a
striking resemblance to his father, and consequently to his uncle. His
hair was blond, but would probably have darkened as he grew older. His
eyes, which were large and blue, shone with extraordinary brilliancy when
a deep impression was made on his young mind. Gentle, lovable, and full
of candor and gayety, he was the delight of the Emperor, especially on
account of the firmness of his character, which was so remarkable that,
notwithstanding his extreme youth, nothing could make him break his word.
The following anecdote which I recall furnishes an instance of this.

He was very fond of strawberries; but they caused him such long and
frequent attacks of vomiting that his mother became alarmed, and
positively forbade his eating them, expressing a wish that every
precaution should be taken to keep out of the young prince's sight a
fruit which was so injurious to him. The little Napoleon, whom the
injurious effects of the strawberries had not disgusted with them, was
surprised to no more see his favorite dish; but bore the deprivation
patiently, until one day he questioned his nurse, and very seriously
demanded an explanation on this subject, which the good woman was unable
to give, for she indulged him even to the point of spoiling him. He knew
her weakness, and often took advantage of it, as in this instance for
example. He became angry, and said to his nurse in a tone which had as
much and even more effect on her than the Emperor or the King of Holland
could have had, "I will have the strawberries. Give them to me at once."
The poor nurse begged him to be quiet, and said that she would give them
to him, but she was afraid that if anything happened he would tell the
queen who had done this. "Is that all?" replied Napoleon eagerly.
"Have no fear; I promise not to tell."

The nurse yielded, and the strawberries had their usual effect.
The queen entered while he was undergoing the punishment for his
self-indulgence; and he could not deny that he had eaten the forbidden
fruit, as the proofs were too evident. The queen was much incensed, and
wished to know who had disobeyed her; she alternately entreated and
threatened the child, who still continued to reply with the greatest
composure, "I promised not to tell." And in spite of the great
influence she had over him, she could not force him to tell her the
name of the guilty person.

Young Napoleon was devoted to his uncle, and manifested in his presence a
patience and self-control very foreign to his usual character. The
Emperor often took him on his knee during breakfast, and amused himself
making him eat lentils one by one. The pretty face of the child became
crimson, his whole countenance manifested disgust and impatience; but his
Majesty could prolong this sport without fearing that his nephew would
become angry, which he would have infallibly done with any one else.

At such a tender age could he have been conscious of his uncle's
superiority to all those who surrounded him? King Louis, his father,
gave him each day a new plaything, chosen exactly to suit his fancy: but
the child preferred those he received from his uncle; and when his father
said to him, "But, see here, Napoleon, those are ugly things; mine are
prettier."--"No," said the young prince, "they are very nice; my uncle
gave them to me."

One morning when he visited his Majesty, he crossed a saloon where amid
many great personages was Prince Murat, at that time, I think, Grand Duke
of Berg. The child passed through without saluting any one, when the
prince stopped him and said, "Will you not tell me goodmorning?"--"No,"
replied Napoleon, disengaging himself from the arms of the Grand Duke;
"not before my uncle the Emperor."

At the end of a review which had taken place in the court of the
Tuileries, and on the Place du Carrousel, the Emperor went up to his
apartments, and threw his hat on one sofa, his sword on another. Little
Napoleon entered, took his uncle's sword, passed the belt round his neck,
put the hat on his head, and then kept step gravely, humming a march
behind the Emperor and Empress. Her Majesty, turning round, saw him, and
caught him in her arms, exclaiming, "What a pretty picture!" Ingenious
in seizing every occasion to please her husband, the Empress summoned M.
Gerard, and ordered a portrait of the young prince in this costume; and
the picture was brought to the palace of Saint-Cloud the very day on
which the Empress heard of the death of this beloved child.

He was hardly three years old when, seeing his shoemaker's bill paid with
five-franc pieces, he screamed loudly, not wishing that they should give
away the picture of his Uncle Bibiche. The name of Bibiche thus given by
the young prince to his Majesty originated in this manner. The Empress
had several gazelles placed in the park of Saint-Cloud, which were very
much afraid of all the inhabitants of the palace except the Emperor, who
allowed them to eat tobacco out of his snuff-box, and thus induced them
to follow him, and took much pleasure in giving them the tobacco by the
hands of the little Napoleon, whom he also put on the back of one of
them. The latter designated these pretty animals by no other name than
that of Bibiche, and amused himself by giving the same name to his uncle.

This charming child, who was adored by both father and mother, used his
almost magical influence over each in order to reconcile them to each
other. He took his father by the hand, who allowed himself to be thus
conducted by this angel of peace to Queen Hortense, and then said to him,
"Kiss her, papa, I beg you;" and was perfectly overjoyed when he had thus
succeeded in reconciling these two beings whom he loved with an equal

How could such a beautiful character fail to make this angel beloved by
all who knew him? How could the Emperor, who loved all children, fail to
be devoted to him, even had he not been his nephew, and the godson of
that good Josephine whom he never ceased to love for a single instant?
At the age of seven years, when that malady, the croup, so dangerous to
children, snatched him from his heart-broken family, he already gave
evidence of remarkable traits of character, which were the foundation of
most brilliant hopes. His proud and haughty character, while rendering
him susceptible of the noblest impressions, was not incompatible with
obedience and docility. The idea of injustice was revolting to him; but
he readily submitted to reasonable advice and rightful authority.

First-born of the new dynasty, it was fitting he should attract as he did
the deepest tenderness and solicitude of the chief. Malignity and envy,
which ever seek to defame and villify the great, gave slanderous
explanations of this almost paternal attachment; but wise and thoughtful
men saw in this adoptive tenderness only what it plainly evinced,--the
desire and hope of transmitting his immense power, and the grandest name
in the universe, to an heir, indirect it is true, but of imperial blood,
and who, reared under the eyes, and by the direction of the Emperor,
would have been to him all that a son could be. The death of the young
Napoleon appeared as a forerunner of misfortunes in the midst of his
glorious career, disarranging all the plans which the monarch had
conceived, and decided him to concentrate all his hopes on an heir in a
direct line.

It was then that the first thoughts of divorce arose in his mind, though
it did not take place until two years later, and only began to be the
subject of private conversation during the stay at Fontainebleau. The
Empress readily saw the fatal results to her of the death of this godson,
and from that time she dwelt upon the idea of this terrible event which
ruined her life. This premature death was to her an inconsolable grief;
and she shut herself up for three days, weeping bitterly, seeing no one
except her women, and taking almost no nourishment. It even seemed that
she feared to be distracted from her grief, as she surrounded herself
with a sort of avidity with all that could recall her irreparable loss.
She obtained with some difficulty from Queen Hortense some of the young
prince's hair, which his heart-broken mother religiously preserved; and
the Empress had this hair framed on a cushion of black velvet, and kept
it always near her. I often saw it at Malmaison, and never without deep

But how can I attempt to describe the despair of Queen Hortense, of that
woman who became as perfect a mother as she had been a daughter. She
never left her son a moment during his illness; and when he expired in
her arms, still wishing to remain near his lifeless body, she fastened
her arms through those of her chair, in order that she might not be torn
from this heartrending scene. At last nature succumbed to such poignant
grief: the unhappy mother fainted; and the opportunity was taken to
remove her to her own apartment, still in the chair which she had not
left, and which her arms clasped convulsively. On awaking, the queen
uttered piercing screams, and her dry and staring eyes and white lips
gave reason to fear that she was near her end. Nothing could bring tears
to her eyes, until at last a chamberlain conceived the idea of bringing
the young prince's body, and placing it on his mother's knees; and this
had such an effect on her that her tears burst forth and saved her life,
while she covered with kisses the cold and adored remains. All France
shared the grief of the Queen of Holland.


We arrived at Saint-Cloud on the 27th of July; and the Emperor passed the
summer partly in this residence, and partly at Fontainebleau, returning
to Paris only on special occasions, and never remaining longer than
twenty-four hours. During his Majesty's absence, the chateau of
Rambouillet was restored and furnished anew, and the Emperor spent a few
days there. The first time he entered the bathroom, he stopped short at
the door and glanced around with every appearance of surprise and
dissatisfaction; and when I sought the cause of this, following the
direction of his Majesty's eyes, I saw that they rested on various family
portraits which the architect had painted on the walls of the room. They
were those of madame his mother, his sisters, Queen Hortense, etc.; and
the sight of such a gallery, in such a place, excited the extreme
displeasure of the Emperor. "What nonsense!" he cried. "Constant,
summon Marshal Duroc!" And when the grand marshal appeared, his Majesty
inquired, "Who is the idiot that could have conceived such an idea?
Order the painter to come and efface all that. He must have little
respect for women to be guilty of such an indecency."

When the court sojourned at Fontainebleau, the inhabitants indemnified
themselves amply for his Majesty's long absences by the high price at
which they sold all articles of food. Their extortions became scandalous
impositions, and more than one foreigner making an excursion to
Fontainebleau thought himself held for ransom by a troop of Bedouins.
During the stay of the court; a wretched sacking-bed in a miserable inn
cost twelve francs for a single night; the smallest meal cost an
incredible price, and was, notwithstanding, detestable; in fact, it
amounted to a genuine pillage of travelers. Cardinal Caprara,

[Giovanni Battista Caprara, born of a noble family at Bologna,
1733; count and archbishop of Milan; cardinal, 1792; Negotiated the
Concordat, 1801; died 1810]

whose rigid economy was known to all Paris, went one day to Fontainebleau
to pay his court to the Emperor, and at the hotel where he alighted took
only a single cup of bouillon, and the six persons of his suite partook
only of a very light repast, as the cardinal had arranged to return in
three hours; but notwithstanding this, as he was entering his carriage,
the landlord had the audacity to present him with a bill for six hundred
francs! The prince of the church indignantly protested, flew into a
rage, threatened, etc., but all in vain; and the bill was paid.

Such an outrageous imposition could not fail to reach the Emperor's ears,
and excited his anger to such a degree that he at once ordered a fixed
schedule of prices, which it was forbidden the innkeepers to exceed.
This put an end to the exactions of the bloodsuckers of Fontainebleau.

On the 21st of August, there arrived at Paris the Princess Catharine of
Wurtemberg, future wife of Prince Jerome Napoleon, King of Westphalia.
This princess was about twenty-four years of age, and very beautiful,
with a most noble and gracious bearing; and though policy alone had made
this marriage, never could love or voluntary choice have made one that
was happier.

The courageous conduct of her Majesty the Queen of Westphalia in 1814,
her devotion to her dethroned husband, and her admirable letters to her
father, who wished to tear her from the arms of King Jerome, are matters
of history. I have seen it stated that this prince never ceased, even
after this marriage, which was so flattering to his ambition, to
correspond with his first wife, Mademoiselle Patterson, and that he often
sent to America his valet de chambre, Rico, to inquire after this lady
and their child. If this is true, it is no less so that these attentions
to his first wife, which were not only very excusable, but even,
according to my opinion, praiseworthy in Prince Jerome, and of which her
Majesty the Queen of Westphalia was probably well aware, did not
necessarily prevent her being happy with her husband.

No testimony more reliable than that of the queen her self can be given;
and she expresses herself as follows in her second letter to his Majesty,
the King of Wurtemburg:--

"Forced by policy to marry the king, my husband, fate has willed
that I should find myself the happiest woman in the universe. I
feel towards my husband the united sentiments of love, tenderness,
and esteem. In this painful moment can the best of fathers wish to
destroy my domestic happiness, the only kind which now remains to
me? I dare to say that you, my dear father, you and all my family,
do great injustice to the king, my husband; and I trust the time
will come when you will be convinced that you have done him
injustice, and then you will ever find in him, as well as in myself,
the most respectful and affectionate of children."

Her Majesty then spoke of a terrible misfortune to which she had been
exposed. This event, which was indeed terrible, was nothing less than
violence and robbery committed on a fugitive woman defenseless and alone,
by a band at the head of which was the famous Marquis de Maubreuil,
[A French political adventurer, born in Brittany, 1782; died 1855.]
who had been equerry of the King of Westphalia. I will recur in treating
of the events of 1814 to this disgraceful affair, and will give some
particulars, which I think are not generally known, in regard to the
principal authors and participants in this daring act of brigandage.

In the following month of September, a courier from the Russian cabinet
arrived from St. Petersburg, bearing a letter to his Majesty from the
Emperor Alexander; and among other magnificent gifts were two very
handsome fur pelisses of black fox and sable martin.

During their Majesties residence at Fontainebleau, the Emperor often went
out in his carriage with the Empress in the streets of the city with
neither escort nor guards. One day, while passing before the hospital of
Mont Pierreux, her Majesty the Empress saw at a window a very aged
clergyman, who saluted their Majesties. The Empress, having returned the
old man's salutation with her habitual grace, pointed him out to the
Emperor, who himself saluted him, and ordering his coachman to stop, sent
one of the footmen with a request to the old priest to come and speak to
them a moment, if it were not too great an exertion. The old man, who
still walked with ease, hastened to descend; and in order to save him a
few steps the Emperor had his carriage driven very close to the door of
the hospital.

His Majesty conversed for some time with the good ecclesiastic,
manifesting the greatest kindness and respect. He informed their
Majesties that he had been, previous to the Revolution, the regular
priest of one of the parishes of Fontainebleau, and had done everything
possible to avoid emigrating; but that terror had at length forced him to
leave his native land, although he was then more than seventy-five years
old; that he had returned to France at the time of the proclamation of
the Concordat, and now lived on a modest pension hardly sufficient to pay
his board in the hospital. "Monsieur l'Abbe," said his Majesty after
listening to the old priest attentively, "I will order your pension to be
doubled; and if that is not sufficient I hope you will apply to the
Empress or to me." The good ecclesiastic thanked the Emperor with tears
in his eyes. "Unfortunately, Sire," said he among other things, "I am
too old to long enjoy your Majesty's reign or profit by your
kindness."--"YOU?" replied the Emperor, smiling, "why, you are a young
man. Look at M. de Belloy; he is much your senior, and we hope to keep
him with us for a long time yet." Their Majesties then took leave of
the old man, who was much affected, leaving him in the midst of a crowd
of the inhabitants who had collected before the hospital during this
conversation, and who were much impressed by this interesting scene and
the generous kindness of the Emperor.

M. de Belloy, cardinal and archbishop of Paris, whose name the Emperor
mentioned in the conversation I have just related, was then ninety-eight
years of age, though his health was excellent; and I have never seen an
old man who had as venerable an air as this worthy prelate. The Emperor
had the profoundest respect for him, and never failed to give evidence of
it on every occasion. During this same month of September, a large
number of the faithful having assembled according to custom on Mount
Valerien, the archbishop likewise repaired to the spot to hear mass. As
he was about to withdraw, seeing that many pious persons were awaiting
his benediction, he addressed them before bestowing it in a few words
which showed his kindness of heart and his evangelical simplicity: "My
children, I know that I must be very old from the loss of my strength,
but not of my zeal and my tenderness for you. Pray God, my children, for
your old archbishop, who never fails to intercede on your behalf each

During his stay at Fontainebleau, the Emperor enjoyed more frequently
than ever before the pleasures of the chase. The costume necessary was a
French coat of green dragon color, decorated with buttons and gold lace,
white cashmere breeches, and Hessian boots without facings; this was the
costume for the grand hunt which was always a stag hunt; that for a hunt
with guns being a plain, green French coat with no other ornament than
white buttons, on which were cut suitable inscriptions. This costume was
the same for all persons taking part in this hunt, with no distinguishing
marks, even for his Majesty himself.

The princesses set out for the rendezvous in a Spanish carriage with
either or four six horses, and thus followed the chase, their costume
being an elegant riding-habit, and a hat with white or black plumes.

One of the Emperor's sisters (I do not now recall which) never failed to
follow the hunt, accompanied by many charming ladies who were always
invited to breakfast at the rendezvous, as was always the custom on
similar occasions with the persons of the court. One of these ladies,
who was both beautiful and intelligent, attracted the attention of the
Emperor, a short correspondence ensued, and at last the Emperor again
ordered me to carry a letter.

In the palace of Fontainebleau is a private garden called the garden of
Diana, to which their Majesties alone had access. This garden is
surrounded on four sides by buildings; on the left was the chapel with
its gloomy gallery and Gothic architecture; on the right the grand
gallery (as well as I can remember); in the middle the building which
contained their Majesties' apartments; finally, in front of and facing
the square were broad arcades, and behind them the buildings intended for
the various persons attached to household of the princes or the Emperor.
Madame de B----, the lady whom the Emperor had remarked, lodged in an
apartment situated behind these arcades on the ground floor; and his
Majesty informed me that I would find a window open, through which I must
enter cautiously, in the darkness, and give his note to a person who
would ask for it. This darkness was necessary, because this window
opened on the garden, and though behind the arcades, would have been
noticed had there been a light. Not knowing the interior of these
apartments, I entered through the window, thinking I could then walk on a
level, but had a terrible fall over a high step which was in the
embrasure of the window. I heard some one scream as I fell, and a door
was suddenly closed. I had received severe bruises on my knee, elbow,
and head, and rising with difficulty, at once began a search around the
apartment, groping in the dark; but hearing nothing more, and fearing to
make some fresh noise which might be heard by persons who should not know
of my presence there, I decided to return to the Emperor, and report to
him my adventures.

Finding that none of my injuries were serious, the Emperor laughed most
heartily, and then added, "Oh, oh, so there is a step; it is well to know
that. Wait till Madame B---- is over her fright; I will go to her, and
you will accompany me." At the end of an hour, the Emperor emerged with
me from the door of his cabinet which opened on the garden. I conducted
him in silence towards the window which was still open and assisted him
to enter, and having obtained to my cost a correct idea of the spot,
directed him how to avoid a fall.

His Majesty, having entered the chamber without accident, told me to
retire. I was not without some anxiety as I informed the Emperor; but he
replied that I was a child, and there could be no danger. It appeared
that his Majesty succeeded better than I had done,--as he did not return
until daybreak, and then jested about my awkwardness, admitting, however,
that if he had not been warned, a similar accident would have befallen

Although Madame de B---- was worthy of a genuine attachment, her liaison
with the Emperor lasted only a short while, and was only a passing fancy.
I think that the difficulties surrounding his nocturnal visits cooled his
Majesty's ardor greatly; for the Emperor was not enough in love to be
willing to brave everything in order to see his beautiful mistress. His
Majesty informed me of the fright which my fall had caused her, and how
anxious this amiable lady had been on my account, and how he had
reassured her; this did not, however, prevent her sending next day to
know how I was, by a confidential person, who told me again how
interested Madame de B---- had been in my accident.

Often at Fontainebleau there was a court representation, in which the
actors of the first theaters received orders to play before their
Majesties scenes selected from their various repertoires. Mademoiselle
Mars was to play the evening of her arrival; but at Essonne, where she
was obliged to stop a moment on account of the road being filled with
cattle going or returning from Fontainebleau, her trunk had been stolen,
a fact of which she was not aware until she had gone some distance from
the spot. Not only were her costumes missing, but she had no other
clothing except what she wore; and it would be at least twelve hours
before she could get from Paris what she needed. It was then two o'clock
in the afternoon, and that very evening she must appear in the brilliant
role of Celimene. Although much disturbed by this accident, Mademoiselle
Mars did not lose her presence of mind, but visited all the shops of the
town, and in a few hours had cut and made a complete costume in most
excellent taste, and her loss was entirely repaired.


In the month of November of this year I followed their Majesties to
Italy. We knew a few days in advance that the Emperor would make this
journey; but as happened on all other occasions, neither the day nor the
hour was fixed, until we were told on the evening of the 15th that we
would set out early on the morning of the 16th. I passed the night like
all the household of his Majesty; for in order to carry out the
incredible perfection of comfort with which the Emperor surrounded
himself on his journeys, it was necessary that everybody should be on
foot as soon as the hour of departure was known; consequently I passed
the night arranging the service of his Majesty, while my wife packed my
own baggage, and had but just finished when the Emperor asked for me,
which meant that ten minutes after we would be on the road. At four
o'clock in the morning his Majesty entered his carriage.

As we never knew at what hour or in what direction the Emperor would
begin his journey, the grand marshal, the grand equerry, and the grand
chamberlain sent forward a complete service on all the different roads
which they thought his Majesty might take. The bedroom service comprised
a valet de chambre and a wardrobe boy. As for me, I never left his
Majesty's person, and my carriage always followed immediately behind his.
The conveyance belonging to this service contained an iron bed with its
accessories, a dressing-case with linen, coats, etc. I know little of
the service of the stables, but that of the kitchen was organized as
follows: There was a conveyance almost in the shape of the coucous on the
Place Louis XV. at Paris, with a deep bottom and an enormous body. The
bottom contained wines for the Emperor's table and that of the high
officers, the ordinary wine being bought at the places where we stopped.
In the body of the wagon were the kitchen utensils and a portable
furnace, followed by a carriage containing a steward, two cooks, and a
furnace-boy. There was besides this, a baggage-wagon full of provisions
and wine to fill up the other as it was emptied; and all these
conveyances set out a few hours in advance of the Emperor. It was the
duty of the grand marshal to designate the place at which breakfast
should be taken. We alighted sometimes at the archbishop's, sometimes at
the hotel de ville, sometimes at the residence of the sub-prefect, or
even at that of the mayor, in the absence of any other dignitaries.
Having arrived at the designated house, the steward gave orders for the
provisions, the furnaces were lighted, and spits turned; and if the
Emperor alighted and partook of the repast prepared, the provisions which
had been consumed were immediately replaced as far as possible, and the
carriages filled again with poultry, pastry, etc.; before leaving all
expenses were paid by the controller, presents were made to the master of
the house, and everything which was not necessary for the service left
for the use of their servants. It sometimes happened that the Emperor,
finding that it was too soon for breakfast, or wishing to make a longer
journey, gave orders to pass on, and everything was packed up again and
the service continued its route. Sometimes also the Emperor, halting in
the open field, alighted, took his seat under a tree, and ordered his
breakfast, upon which Roustan and the footmen obtained provisions from
his Majesty's carriage, which was furnished with small cooking utensils
with silver covers, holding chickens, partridges, etc., while the other
carriages furnished their proportion. M. Pfister served the Emperor, and
every one ate a hasty morsel. Fires were lighted to heat the coffee; and
in less than half an hour everything had disappeared, and the carriages
rolled on in the same order as before.

The Emperor's steward and cooks had nearly all been trained in the
household of the king and the princes. These were Messieurs Dunau,
Leonard, Rouff, and Gerard. M. Colin was chief in command, and became
steward-controller after the sad affliction of M. Pfister, who became
insane during the campaign of 1809. All were capable and zealous
servants; and, as is the case in the household of all sovereigns, each
department of the domestic affairs had its chief. Messieurs Soupe and
Pierrugues were in charge of the wines, and the sons of these gentleman
continued to hold the same office with the Emperor.

We traveled with great speed as far as Mont-Cenis, but were compelled to
go more slowly after reaching this pass, as the weather had been very bad
for several days, and the road was washed out by the rain, which still
fell in torrents. The Emperor arrived at Milan at noon on the 22d; and,
notwithstanding our delay at Mont-Cenis, the rest of the journey had been
so rapid that no one was expecting the Emperor. The vice-king only
learned of the arrival of his step-father when he was half a league
from the town, but came in haste to meet us escorted only by a few
persons. The Emperor gave orders to halt, and, as soon as the door was
opened, held out his hand to Prince Eugene, saying in the most
affectionate manner: "Come, get up with us, my fine prince; we will enter

Notwithstanding the surprise which this unexpected arrival caused, we had
hardly entered the town before all the houses were illuminated, and the
beautiful palaces, Litta, Casani, Melzi, and many others, shone with a
thousand lights. The magnificent cupola of the cathedral dome was
covered with garlands of colored lights; and in the center of the
Forum-Bonaparte, the walks of which were also illuminated, could be seen
the colossal equestrian statue of the Emperor, on both sides of which
transparencies had been arranged, in the shape of stars, bearing the
initials S M I and R. By eight o'clock all the populace had collected
around the chateau, where superb fireworks were discharged, while
spirited and warlike music was performed. All the town authorities were
admitted to the Emperor's presence.

On the morning of the next day there was held at the chateau a council of
ministers, over which the Emperor presided; and at noon he mounted his
horse to take part in the mass celebrated by the grand chaplain of the
kingdom. The square of the cathedral was covered by an immense crowd,
through which the Emperor advanced on horseback, accompanied by his
imperial Highness, the vice-king, and his staff. The noble countenance
of Prince Eugene expressed the great joy he felt in the presence of his
step-father, for whom he had always so much respect and filial affection,
and in hearing the incessant acclamations of the people, which grew more
vociferous every moment.

After the 'Te Deum', the Emperor held a review of the troops on the
square, and immediately after set out with the viceroy for Monza, the
palace at which the queen resided. For no woman did the Emperor manifest
more sincere regard and respect than for Princess Amelia; but, indeed
there has never been a more beautiful or purer woman. It was impossible
to speak of beauty or virtue in the Emperor's presence without his giving
the vice-queen as an example. Prince Eugene was very worthy of so
accomplished a wife, and justly appreciated her exalted character; and I
was glad to see in the countenance of the excellent prince the reflection
of the happiness he enjoyed. Amidst all the care he took to anticipate
every wish of his step-father, I was much gratified that he found time to
address a few words to me, expressing the great pleasure he felt at my
promotion in the service and esteem of the Emperor. Nothing could have
been more grateful to me than these marks of remembrance from a prince
for whom I had always retained a most sincere, and, I made bold to say,
most tender, attachment.

The Emperor remained a long while with the vicequeen, whose intelligence
equaled her amiability and her beauty, but returned to Milan to dine; and
immediately afterwards the ladies who were received at court were
presented to him. In the evening, I followed his Majesty to the theater
of la Scala. The Emperor did not remain throughout the play, but retired
early to his apartment, and worked the greater part of the night; which
did not, however, prevent our being on the road to Verona before eight
o'clock in the morning.

His Majesty made no stop at Brescia and Verona. I would have been very
glad to have had time on the route to examine the curiosities of Italy;
but that was not an easy thing to do in the Emperor's suite, as he halted
only for the purpose of reviewing troops, and preferred visiting
fortifications to ruins.

At Verona his Majesty dined, or rather supped (for it was very late),
with their Majesties, the King and Queen of Bavaria, who arrived at
almost exactly the same time as ourselves; and very early the next day we
set out for Vicenza.

Although the season was already advanced, I found great pleasure in the
scene which awaits the traveler on' the road from Verona to Vicenza.
Imagine to yourself an immense plain, divided into innumerable fields,
each bordered with different kinds of trees with slender trunks,--mostly
elms and poplars,--which form avenues as far as the eye can reach. Vines
twine around their trunks, climb each tree, and droop from each limb;
while other branches of these vines, loosening their hold on the tree
which serves as their support, droop clear to the ground, and hang in
graceful festoons from tree to tree. Beyond these, lovely natural bowers
could be seen far and wide, splendid fields of wheat; or, at least, this
had been the case on my former journey, but at this time the harvest had
been gathered for several months.

At the end of a day which I passed most delightfully amid these fertile
plains, I entered Vicenza, where the authorities of the town, together
with almost the entire population, awaited the Emperor under a superb
arch of triumph at the entrance of the town. We were exceedingly hungry;
and his Majesty himself said, that evening as he retired, that he felt
very much like sitting down to the table when he entered Vicenza. I
trembled, then, at the idea of those long Italian addresses, which I had
found even longer than those of France, doubtless because I did not
understand a single word; but, fortunately, the magistrates of Vicenza
were sufficiently well-informed not to take advantage of our position,
and their speeches occupied only a few moments.

That evening his Majesty went to the theater; and I was so much fatigued
that I would have gladly profited by the Emperor's absence to take some
repose, had not an acquaintance invited me to accompany him to the
convent of the Servites, in order to witness the effect of the
illumination of the town, which I did, and was repaid by the magnificent
spectacle which met my eyes. The whole town seemed one blaze of light.
On returning to the palace occupied by his Majesty, I learned that he had
given orders that everything should be in readiness for departure two
hours after midnight; consequently I had one hour to sleep, and I enjoyed
it to the utmost.

At the appointed moment, the Emperor entered his carriage; and we were
soon rolling along with the rapidity of lightning over the road to Stra,
where we passed the night. Very early next morning we set out, following
a long causeway raised through marshes. The landscape is almost the
same, and yet not so beautiful, as that we passed before reaching
Vicenza. We still saw groves of mulberry and olive trees, from which the
finest oil is obtained, and fields of maize and hemp, interspersed with
meadows. Beyond Stra the cultivation of rice commences; and, although
the rice-fields must render the country unhealthy, still it has not the
reputation of being more so than any other. On the right and left of the
road are seen elegant houses, and cabins which, though covered with
thatch, are very comfortable, and present a charming appearance. The
vine is little cultivated in this part of the country, where it would
hardly succeed, as the land is too low and damp; but there are,
nevertheless, a few small vineyards on the slopes, and the vegetation in
the whole country is incredibly rich and luxuriant. The late wars have
left traces which only a long peace can efface.


On his arrival at Fusina the Emperor found the Venetian authorities
awaiting him, embarked on the 'peote' or gondola of the village, and
advanced towards Venice, accompanied by a numerous floating cortege. We
followed, the Emperor in little black gondolas, which looked like
floating coffins, with which the Brenta was covered; and nothing could be
stranger than to hear, proceeding from these coffins of such gloomy
aspect, delicious vocal concerts. The boat which carried his Majesty,
and the gondolas of the principal persons of his suite, were handsomely

When we arrived at the mouth of the river we were obliged to wait nearly
half an hour until the locks were opened, which was done by degrees, and
with every precaution; without which the waters of the Brenta, held in
their canal and raised considerably above the level of the sea, would
have rushed out suddenly, and in their violent descent have driven our
gondolas along before them, or sunk them. Released at last from the
Brenta, we found ourselves in the gulf, and saw at a distance, rising
from the midst of the sea, the wonderful city of Venice. Barks,
gondolas, and vessels of considerable size, filled with all the wealthy
population, and all the boatmen of Venice in gala dress, appeared on
every side, passing, repassing, and crossing each other, in every
direction, with the most remarkable skill and speed.

The Emperor was standing at the back of the peote, and, as each gondola
passed near his own, replied to the acclamations and cries of "Viva
Napoleone imperatore e re!" by one of those profound bows which he made
with so much grace and dignity, taking off his hat without bending his
head, and carrying it along his body almost to his knees.

Escorted by this innumerable flotilla, of which the peote of the city
seemed to be the admirals vessel, his Majesty entered at last the Grand
Canal, which flowed between magnificent palaces, hung with banners and
filled with spectators. The Emperor alighted before the palace of the
procurators, where he was received by a deputation of members of the
Senate and the Venetian nobility. He stopped a moment in the square of
St. Mark, passed through some interior streets, chose the site for a
garden, the plans for which the architect of the city then presented to
him, and which were carried out as if it had been in the midst of the
country. It was a novel sight to the Venetians to see trees planted in
the open air, while hedges and lawns appeared as if by magic. The entire
absence of verdure and vegetation, and the silence which reigns in the
streets of Venice, where is never heard the hoof of a horse nor the
wheels of a carriage, horses and carriages being things entirely unknown
in this truly marine city, must give it usually a sad and abandoned air;
but this gloom entirely disappeared during his Majesty's visit.

The prince viceroy and the grand marshal were present in the evening when
the Emperor retired; and, while undressing him, I heard a part of their
conversation, which turned on the government of Venice before the union
of this republic with the French Empire. His Majesty was almost the only
spokesman, Prince Eugene and Marshal Duroc contenting themselves with
throwing a few words into the conversation, as if to furnish a new text
for the Emperor, and prevent his pausing, and thus ending too soon his
discourse; a genuine discourse, in fact, since his Majesty took the lead,
and left the others but little to say. Such was often his habit; but no
one thought of complaining of this, so interesting were nearly always the
Emperor's ideas, and so original and brilliantly expressed. His Majesty
did not converse, as had been truthfully said in the journal which I have
added to my memoirs, but he spoke with an inexpressible charm; and on
this point it seems to me that the author of the "Journal of
Aix-la-Chapelle" has done the Emperor injustice.

As I said just now, his Majesty spoke of the ancient State of Venice, and
from what he said on this occasion I learned more than I could have done
from the most interesting book. The viceroy having remarked that a few
patricians regretted their former liberty, the Emperor exclaimed,
"Liberty, what nonsense! liberty no longer existed in Venice, and had,
indeed, never existed except for a few families of the nobility, who
oppressed the rest of the population. Liberty, with a Council of Ten!
Liberty, with the inquisitors of state! Liberty, with the very lions as
informers, and Venetian dungeons and bullets!" Marshal Duroc remarked
that towards the end these severe regulations were much modified. "Yes,
no doubt,"--replied the Emperor. "The lion of St. Mark had gotten old;
he had no longer either teeth or nails! Venice was only the shadow of
her former self, and her last doge found that he rose to a higher rank in
becoming a senator of the French Empire." His Majesty, seeing that this
idea made the vice-king smile, added very gravely, "I am not jesting,
gentlemen. A Roman senator prided himself on being more than a king; a
French senator is at least the equal of a doge. I desire that foreigners
shall accustom themselves to show the greatest respect towards the
constituted authorities of the Empire, and to treat with great
consideration even the simple title of French citizen. I will take care
to insure this. Good-night, Eugene. Duroc, take care to have the
reception to-morrow all that it should be. After the ceremony we will
visit the arsenal. Adieu, Messieurs. Constant, come back in ten minutes
to put out my light; I feel sleepy. One is cradled like an infant on
these gondolas."

The next day his Majesty, after receiving the homage of the Venetian
authorities, repaired to the arsenal. This is an immense building,
fortified so carefully that it was practically impregnable. The
appearance of the interior is singular on account of several small
islands which it incloses, joined together by bridges. The magazines and
numerous buildings of the fortress thus appear to be floating on the
surface of the water. The entrance on the land side, by which we were
introduced, is over a very handsome bridge of marble, ornamented with
columns and statues. On the side next the sea, there are numerous rocks
and sandbanks, the presence of which is indicated by long piles. It is
said that in time of war these piles were taken up, which exposed the
foreign vessels, imprudent enough to entangle themselves among these
shoals, to certain destruction. The arsenal could formerly equip eighty
thousand men, both infantry and cavalry, independent of complete
armaments for war vessels.

The arsenal is bordered with raised towers, from which the view extends
in all directions. On the tallest of these towers, which is placed in
the center of the building, as well as all the others, sentinels were
stationed, both day and night, to signal the arrival of vessels, which
they could see at a very great distance. Nothing can be finer than the
dockyards for building vessels, in which ten thousand men can work with
ease. The sails are made by women, over whom other elderly women
exercise an active surveillance.

The Emperor delayed only a short time to look at the 'Bucentaure'; which
is the title of the magnificent vessel in which the Doge of Venice was
accustomed to celebrate his marriage with the sea; and a Venetian never
sees without deep chagrin this old monument of the former glory of his
country. I, in company with some persons of the Emperor's suite, had as
our guide an old mariner, whose eyes filled with tears as he related to
us in bad French that the last time he witnessed the marriage of the Doge
with the Adriatic Sea was in 1796, a year before the capture of Venice.
He also told us that he was at that time in the service of the last Doge
of the republic, Lord Louis Manini, and that the following year (1797),
the French entered Venice at the exact time when the marriage of the Doge
to the sea, which took place on Ascension Day, was usually celebrated,
and ever since the sea had remained a widow. Our good sailor paid a most
touching tribute of praise to his old master, who he said had never
succeeded in forcing himself, to take the oath of allegiance to the
Austrians, and had swooned away while resigning to them the keys of the

The gondoliers are at the same time servants, errand boys, confidants,
and companions in adventures to the person who takes them into his
service; and nothing can equal the courage, fidelity, and gayety of these
brave seamen. They expose themselves fearlessly in their slender
gondolas to tempests; and their skill is so great that they turn with
incredible rapidity in the narrowest canals, cross each other, follow,
and pass each other incessantly, without ever having an accident.

I found myself in a position to judge of the skill of these hardy
mariners the day after our visit to the arsenal. His Majesty was
conducted through the lagoons as far as the fortified gate of Mala-Mocca,
and the gondoliers gave as he returned a boat-race and tournament on the
water. On that day there was also a special representation at the grand
theater, and the whole city was illuminated. In fact, one might think
that there is a continual fete and general illumination in Venice; the
custom being to spend the greater part of the night in business or
pleasure, and the streets are as brilliant and as full of people as in
Paris at four o'clock in the afternoon. The shops, especially those of
the square of Saint Mark, are brilliantly lighted, and crowds fill the
small decorated pavilions where coffee, ices, and refreshments of all
kinds are sold.

The Emperor did not adopt the Venetian mode of life, however, and retired
at the same hour as in Paris; and when he did not pass the day working
with his ministers, rode in a gondola through the lagoons, or visited the
principal establishments and public buildings of Venice; and I thus saw,
in company with his Majesty, the church of Saint Mark, and the ancient
palace of the Doge.

The church of Saint Mark has five entrances, superbly decorated with
marble columns; the gates are of bronze and beautifully carved. Above
the middle door were formerly the four famous bronze horses, which the
Emperor carried to Paris to ornament the Arch of Triumph on the Place du
Carrousel. The tower is separated from the church by a small square,
from the midst of which it rises to a height of more than three hundred
feet. It is ascended by an inclined platform without steps, which is
very convenient; and on arriving at the summit the most magnificent
panorama is spread out before you, Venice with its innumerable islands
covered with palaces, churches, and buildings, and extending at a
distance into the sea; also the immense dike, sixty feet broad, several
fathoms deep, and built of great blocks of stone, which enormous work
surrounds Venice and all its islands, and defends it against the rising
of the sea.

The Venetians have the greatest admiration for the clock placed in the
tower bearing its name, and the mechanism of which shows the progress
of the sun and moon through the twelve signs of the zodiac. In a niche
above the dialplate is an image of the Virgin, which is gilded and
lifesize; and it is said that on certain fete days, each blow of the
pendulum makes two angels appear, trumpet in hand, followed by the Three
Wise Men, who prostrate themselves at the feet of the Virgin Mary. I saw
nothing of all that, but only two large black figures striking the hour
on the clock with iron clubs.

The Doge's palace is a gloomy building; and the prisons, which are
separated from it only by a narrow canal, render the aspect still more

At Venice one finds merchants from every nation, Jews and Greeks being
very numerous. Roustan, who understood the language of the latter, was
sought after by the most distinguished among them; and the heads of a
Greek family came one day to invite him to visit them at their residence
on one of the islands which lie around Venice. Roustan confided to me
his desire to accept this invitation, and I was delighted with his
proposition that I should accompany him. On our arrival at their island,
we were received by our hosts, who were very wealthy merchants, as if we
had been old friends. The apartment, a kind of parlor into which we were
ushered, not only evinced cultivation and refinement, but great elegance;
a large divan extended around the hall, the inlaid floor of which was
covered with artistically woven mats. Our hosts were six men who were
associated in the same trade. I would have been somewhat embarrassed had
not one of them who spoke French conversed with me, while the others
talked to Roustan in their native tongue. We were offered coffee,
fruits, ices, and pipes; and as I was never fond of smoking, and knew
besides the disgust inspired in the Emperor by odors in general, and
especially that of tobacco, I refused the pipe, and expressed a fear that
my clothes might be scented by being so near the smokers. I thought I
perceived that this delicacy lowered me considerably in the esteem of my
hosts, notwithstanding which, as we left, they gave us most urgent
invitations to repeat our visit, which it was impossible to do, as the
Emperor soon after left Venice.

On my return, the Emperor asked me if I had been through the city, what I
thought of it, and if I had entered any residences; in fact, what seemed
to me worthy of notice. I replied as well as I could; and as his Majesty
was just then in a mood for light conversation, spoke to him of our
excursion, and visit to the Greek family. The Emperor asked me what
these Greeks thought of him. "Sire," replied I, "the one who spoke
French seemed entirely devoted to your Majesty, and expressed to me the
hope which he and also his brothers entertained, that the Emperor of the
French, who had successfully combated the mamelukes in Egypt, might also
some day make himself the liberator of Greece."

"Ah, Monsieur Constant," said the Emperor to me, pinching me sharply,
"you are meddling with politics."--"Pardon me, Sire, I only repeated what
I heard, and it is not astonishing that all the oppressed count on your
Majesty's aid. These poor Greeks seem to love their country
passionately, and, above all, detest the Turks most cordially."--"That is
good," said his Majesty; "but I must first of all attend to my own
business. Constant!" continued his Majesty suddenly changing the
subject of this conversation with which he had deigned to honor me, and
smiling with an ironical air, "what do you think of the appearance of the
beautiful Greek women? How many models have you seen worthy of Canova or
of David?" I was obliged to admit to his Majesty that what had
influenced me most in accepting Roustan's proposition was the hope of
seeing a few of these much vaunted beauties, and that I had been cruelly
disappointed in not having seen the shadow of a woman. At this frank
avowal the Emperor, who had expected it in advance, laughed heartily, and
took his revenge on my ears, calling me a libertine: "You do not know
then, Monsieur le Drole, that your good friends the Greeks have adopted
the customs of those Turks whom they detest so cordially, and like them
seclude their wives and daughters in order that they may never appear
before bad men like yourself."

Although the Greek ladies of Venice may be carefully watched by their
husbands, they are neither secluded nor guarded in a seraglio like the
Turkish women; for during our stay at Venice, a great person spoke to his
Majesty of a young and beautiful Greek, who was an enthusiastic admirer
of the Emperor of the French. This lady was very ambitious of being
received by his Majesty in his private rooms, and although carefully
watched by a jealous husband, had found means to send to the Emperor a
letter in which she depicted the intensity of her love and admiration.
This letter, written with real passion and in an exalted strain, inspired
in his Majesty a desire to see and know the author, but it was necessary
he should use precautions, for the Emperor was not the man to abuse his
power to snatch a woman from her husband; and yet all the care that he
took in keeping the affair secret did not prevent her husband from
suspecting the plans of his wife, and before it was possible for her to
see the Emperor, she was carried away far from Venice, and her prudent
husband carefully covered her steps and concealed her flight. When her
disappearance was announced to the Emperor: "He is an old fool," said his
Majesty, laughing, "who thinks he is strong enough to struggle against
his destiny." His Majesty formed no other liaison during our stay at

Before leaving this city, the Emperor rendered a decree which was
received with inexpressible enthusiasm, and added much to the regret
which his Majesty's departure caused the inhabitants of Venice. The
department of the Adriatic, of which Venice was the chief city, was
enlarged in all its maritime coasts, from the town of Aquila as far as
Adria. The decree ordered, moreover, that the port should be repaired,
the canals deepened and cleaned, the great wall of Palestrina of which I
have spoken above, and the jetties in front of it, extended and
maintained; that a canal of communication between the arsenal of Venice
and the Pass of Mala-Mocco should be dug; and finally that this passage
itself should be cleared and deepened sufficiently for vessels of the
line of seventy-four tons burthen to pass in and out.

Other articles related to benevolent establishments, the administration
of which was given to a kind of council called the Congregation of
Charities, and the cession to the city from the royal domain of the
island of Saint Christopher, to be used as a general cemetery; for until
then here, as in the rest of Italy, they had the pernicious custom of
interring the dead in churches. Finally the decree ordered the adoption
of a new mode of lighting the beautiful square of Saint Mark, the
construction of new quays, gateways, etc.

When we left Venice the Emperor was conducted to the shore by a crowd of
the population fully as numerous as that which welcomed his arrival.
Trevise, Undine, and Mantua rivaled each other in their eagerness to
receive his Majesty in a becoming manner. King Joseph had left the
Emperor to return to Naples; but Prince Murat and the vice-king
accompanied his Majesty.

The Emperor stopped only two or three days at Milan, and continued his
journey. On reaching the plains of Marengo, he found there the entire
population of Alexandria awaiting him, and was received by the light of
thousands of torches. We passed through Turin without stopping, and on
the 30th of December again descended Mont Cenis, and on the evening of
the 1st of January arrived at the Tuileries.


We arrived in Paris on the 1st of January at nine o'clock in the evening;
and as the theater of the palace of the Tuileries was now completed, on
the Sunday following his Majesty's return the Griselda of M. Paer was
presented in this magnificent hall. Their Majesties' boxes were situated
in front of the curtain, opposite each other, and presented a charming
picture, with their hangings of crimson silk draped above, and forming a
background to broad, movable mirrors, which reflected at will the
audience or the play. The Emperor, still impressed with the
recollections of the theaters of Italy, criticised unsparingly that of
the Tuileries, saying that it was inconvenient, badly planned, and much
too large for a palace theater; but notwithstanding all these criticisms,
when the day of inauguration came, and the Emperor was convinced of the
very great ingenuity M. Fontaine had shown in distributing the boxes so
as to make the splendid toilets appear to the utmost advantage, he
appeared well satisfied, and charged the Duke of Frioul to present to M.
Fontaine the congratulations he so well deserved.

A week after we saw the reverse of the medal. On that day Cinna was
presented, and a comedy, the name of which I have forgotten. It was such
extremely cold weather that we were obliged to leave the theater
immediately after the tragedy, in consequence of which the Emperor
exhausted himself in invectives against the hall, which according to him
was good for nothing but to be burnt. M. Fontaine [Born at Pontoise,
1762; erected the arch of the Carrousel; died 1853] was summoned, and
promised to do everything in his power to remedy the inconveniences
pointed out to him; and in fact, by means of new furnaces placed under
the theater, with pipes through the ceiling, and steps placed under the
benches of the second tier of boxes, in a week the hall was made warm and

For several weeks the Emperor occupied himself almost exclusively with
buildings and improvements. The arch of triumph of the Place du
Carrousel, from which the scaffolding had been removed in order to allow
the Imperial Guard to pass beneath it on their return from Prussia, first
attracted his Majesty's attention. This monument was then almost
completed, with the exception of a few bas-reliefs which were still to be
put in position. The Emperor took a critical view of it from one of the
palace windows, and said, after knitting his brows two or three times,
that this mass resembled much more a pavilion than a gate, and that he
would have much preferred one constructed in the style of the porte

After visiting in detail the various works begun or carried on since his
departure, his Majesty one morning sent for M. Fontaine, and having
discoursed at length on what he thought worthy of praise or blame in all
that he had seen, informed him of his intentions with regard to the plans
which the architect had furnished for joining the Tuileries to the
Louvre. It was agreed by the Emperor and M. Fontaine that these
buildings should be united by two wings, the first of which should be
finished in five years, a million to be granted each year for this
purpose; and that a second wing should also be constructed on the
opposite side, extending from the Louvre to the Tuileries, forming thus a
perfect square, in the midst of which would be erected an opera house,
isolated on all sides, and communicating with the palace by a
subterranean gallery.

The gallery forming the court in front of the Louvre was to be opened to
the public in winter, and decorated with statues, and also with all the
shrubbery now in boxes in the garden of the Tuileries; and in this court
he intended to erect an arch of triumph very similar to that of the
Carrousel. Finally, all these beautiful buildings were to be used as
lodgings for the grand officers of the crown, as stables, etc. The
necessary expense was estimated as approximating forty-two millions.

The Emperor was occupied in succession with a palace of arts; with a new
building for the Imperial library, to be placed on the spot now occupied
by the Bourse; with a palace for the stock-exchange on the quay Desaix;
with the restoration of the Sorbonne and the hotel Soubise; with a
triumphal column at Neuilly; with a fountain on the Place Louis XV.; with
tearing down the Hotel-Dieu to enlarge and beautify the Cathedral
quarter; and with the construction of four hospitals at Mont-Parnasse, at
Chaillot, at Montmartre, and in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, etc. All
these plans were very grand; and there is no doubt that he who had
conceived them would have executed them; and it has often been said that
had he lived, Paris would have had no rival in any department in the

At the same time his Majesty decided definitely on the form of the arch
of triumph de l'Etoile, which had been long debated, and for which all
the architects of the crown had submitted plans. It was M. Fontaine
whose opinion prevailed; since among all the plans presented his was the
simplest, and at the same time the most imposing.

The Emperor was also much interested in the restoration of the palace of
Versailles. M. Fontaine had submitted to his Majesty a plan for the
first repairs, by the terms of which, for the sum of six millions, the
Emperor and Empress would have had a comfortable dwelling. His Majesty,
who liked everything grand, handsome, superb, but at the same time
economical, wrote at the bottom of this estimate the following note,
which M. de Bausset reports thus in his Memoirs:--

"The plans in regard to Versailles must be carefully considered.
Those which M. Fontaine submits are very reasonable, the estimate
being six millions; but this includes dwellings, with the
restoration of the chapel and that of the theater, only sufficiently
comfortable for present use, not such as they should be one day.

"By this plan, the Emperor and Empress would have their apartments;
but we must remember that this sum should also furnish lodgings for
princes, grand and inferior officers.

"It is also necessary to know where will be placed the factory of
arms, which will be needed at Versailles, since it puts silver in

"It will be necessary out of these six millions to find six lodgings
for princes, twelve for grand officers, and fifty for inferior

"Then only can we decide to make Versailles our residence, and pass
the summers there. Before adopting these plans, it will be
necessary that the architect who engages to execute them should
certify that they can be executed for the proposed sum."

A few days after their arrival their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress,
went to visit the celebrated David

[Jacques Louis David, born in Paris, 1748, celebrated historical
painter, member of convention, 1792, and voted for the death of the
king. Died in Brussels, 1825.]

at his studio in the Sorbonne, in order to see the magnificent picture of
the coronation, which had just been finished. Their Majesties' suite was
composed of Marshal Bessieres, an aide-de-camp of the Emperor, M. Lebrun,
several ladies of the palace, and chamberlains. The Emperor and Empress
contemplated with admiration for a long while this beautiful painting,
which comprised every species of merit; and the painter was in his glory
while hearing his Majesty name, one by one, all the different personages
of the picture, for the resemblance was really miraculous. "How grand
that is!" said the Emperor; "how fine! how the figures are brought out
in relief! how truthful! This is not a painting; the figures live in
this picture!" First directing his attention to the grand tribune in the
midst, the Emperor, recognized Madame his mother, General Beaumont, M. de
Cosse, M. de La Ville, Madame de Fontanges, and Madame Soult. "I see in
the distance," said he, "good M. Vien." M. David replied, "Yes, Sire; I
wished to show my admiration for my illustrious master by placing him in
this picture, which, on account of its subject, will be the most famous
of my works." The Empress then took part in the conversation, and
pointed out to the Emperor how happily M. David had seized upon and
represented the interesting moment when the Emperor is on the point of
being crowned. "Yes," said his Majesty, regarding it with a pleasure
that he did not seek to disguise, "the moment is well chosen, and the
scene perfectly represented; the two figures are very fine," and speaking
thus, the Emperor looked at the Empress.

His Majesty continued the examination of the picture in all its details,
and praised especially the group of the Italian clergy near the altar,
which episode was invented by the painter. He seemed to wish only that
the Pope had been represented in more direct action, appearing to give
his blessing, and that the crown of the Empress had been borne by the
cardinal legate. In regard to this group, Marshal Bessieres made the
Emperor laugh heartily, by relating to him the very amusing discussion
which had taken place between David and Cardinal Caprara.

It is well known that the artist had a great aversion to dressed figures,
especially to those clothed in the modern style. In all his paintings,
there may be remarked such a pronounced love for the antique that it even
shows itself in his manner of draping living persons. Now, Cardinal
Caprara, one of the assistants of the Pope at the ceremony of the
coronation, wore a wig; and David, in giving him a place in his picture,
thought it more suitable to take off his wig, and represent him with a
bald head, the likeness being otherwise perfect. The Cardinal was much
grieved, and begged the artist to restore his wig, but received from
David a formal refusal. "Never," said he, "will I degrade my pencil so
far as to paint a wig." His Eminence went away very angry, and
complained to M. de Talleyrand, who was at this time Minister of Foreign
Affairs, giving, among other reasons, this, which seemed to him
unanswerable, that, as no Pope had ever worn a wig, they would not fail
to attribute to him, Cardinal Caprara, an intention of aspiring to the
pontifical chair in case of a vacancy, which intention would be clearly
shown by the suppression of his wig in the picture of the coronation.
The entreaties of his Eminence were all in vain; for David would not
consent to restore his precious wig, saying, that "he ought to be very
glad he had taken off no more than that."

After hearing this story, the particulars of which were confirmed by the
principal actor in the scene, his Majesty made some observations to M.
David, with all possible delicacy. They were attentively noted by this
admirable artist, who, with a bow, promised the Emperor to profit by his
advice. Their Majesties' visit was long, and lasted until the fading
light warned the Emperor that it was time to return. M. David escorted
him to the door of his studio; and there, stopping short, the Emperor
took off his hat, and, by a most graceful bow, testified to the honor he
felt for such distinguished talent. The Empress added to the agitation
by which M. David seemed almost overcome by a few of the charming words
of appreciation she so well knew how to say, and said so opportunely.

Opposite the picture of the coronation was placed that of the Sabines.
The Emperor, who perceived how anxious M. David was to dispose of this,
gave orders to M. Lebrun, as he left, to see if this picture could not be
placed to advantage in the grand gallery at the Tuileries. But he soon
changed his mind when he reflected that most of the figures were
represented in naturalibus, which would appear incongruous in an
apartment used for grand diplomatic receptions, and in which the Council
of Ministers usually sat.


The last of January, Mademoiselle de Tascher, niece of her Majesty the
Empress, was married to the Duke of Aremberg. The Emperor on this
occasion raised Mademoiselle de Tascher to the dignity of a princess, and
deigned, in company with the Empress, to honor with his presence the
marriage, which took place at the residence of her Majesty the Queen of
Holland, in the Rue de Ceriltti, and was celebrated with a splendor
worthy of the august guests. The Empress remained some time after
dinner, and opened the ball with the Duke of Aremberg. A few days after
this the Prince of Hohenzollern married the niece of the Grand Duke of
Berg and Cleves, Mademoiselle Antoinette Murat.

His Majesty honored her as he had done Mademoiselle Tascher, and, in
company with the Empress, also attended the ball which the Grand Duke of
Berg gave on the occasion of this marriage, and at which Princess
Caroline presided.

This was a brilliant winter at Paris, owing to the great number of fetes
and balls which were given. The Emperor, as I have already said, had an
aversion to balls, and especially masked balls, which he considered the
most senseless things in the world, and this was a subject on which he
was often at war with the Empress; but, notwithstanding this, on one
occasion he yielded to the entreaties of M. de Marescalchi, the Italian
ambassador, noted for his magnificent balls, which the most distinguished
personages of the kingdom attended. These brilliant reunions took place
in a hall which the ambassador had built for the purpose, and decorated
with extraordinary luxury and splendor; and his Majesty, as I have said,
consented to honor with his presence a masked ball given by this
ambassador, which was to eclipse all others.

In the morning the Emperor called me, and said, "I have decided to dance
this evening at the house of the ambassador of Italy; you will carry,
during the day, ten complete costumes to the apartments he has prepared
for me." I obeyed, and in the evening accompanied his Majesty to the
residence of M. Marescalchi, and dressed him as best I could in a black
domino, taking great pains to render him unrecognizable; and everything
went well, in spite of numerous observations on the Emperor's part as to
the absurdity of a disguise, the bad appearance a domino makes, etc.
But, when it was proposed to change his shoes, he rebelled absolutely, in
spite of all I could say on this point; and consequently he was
recognized the moment he entered the ballroom. He went straight to a
masker, his hands behind his back, as usual, and attempted to enter into
an intrigue, and at the first question he asked was called Sire, in
reply. Whereupon, much disappointed, he turned on his heel, and came
back to me. "You are right, Constant; I am recognized. Bring me
lace-boots and another costume." I put the boots on his feet, and
disguised him anew, advising him to let his arms hang, if he did not
wish to be recognized at once; and his Majesty promised to obey in every
particular what he called my instructions. He had hardly entered the
room in his new costume, however, before he was accosted by a lady, who,
seeing him with his hands again crossed behind his back, said, "Sire,
you are recognized!" The Emperor immediately let his arms fall; but it
was too late, for already every one moved aside respectfully to make
room for him. He then returned to his room, and took a third costume,
promising me implicitly to pay attention to his gestures and his walk,
and offering to bet that he would not be recognized. This time, in
fact, he entered the hall as if it were a barrack, pushing and elbowing
all around him; but, in spite of this, some one whispered in his ear,
"Your Majesty is recognized." A new disappointment, new change of
costume, and new advice on my part, with the same result; until at last
his Majesty left the ambassador's ball, persuaded that he could not be
disguised, and that the Emperor would be recognized whatever mask he
might assume.

That evening at supper, the Prince de Neuchatel, the Duke de Trevise, the
Duke de Frioul, and some other officers being present, the Emperor
related the history of his disguises, and made many jests on his
awkwardness. In speaking of the young lady who had recognized him the
evening before, and who had, it appeared, puzzled him greatly, "Can you
believe it, Messieurs," said he, "I never succeeded in recognizing the
little wretch at all?" During the carnival the Empress expressed a wish
to go once to the masked ball at the opera; and when she begged the
Emperor to accompany her he refused, in spite of all the tender and
enticing things the Empress could say, and all the grace with which, as
is well known, she could surround a petition. She found that all was
useless, as the Emperor said plainly that he would not go. "Well, I will
go without you."--"As you please," and the Emperor went out.

That evening at the appointed hour the Empress went to the ball; and the
Emperor, who wished to surprise her, had one of her femmes de chambre
summoned, and obtained from her an exact description of the Empress's
costume. He then told me to dress him in a domino, entered a carriage
without decorations, and accompanied by the grand marshal of the palace,
a superior officer, and myself, took the road to the opera. On reaching
the private entrance of the Emperor's household, we encountered some
difficulty, as the doorkeeper would not let us pass till I had told my
name and rank. "These gentlemen are with you?"--"As you see."--"I beg
your pardon, Monsieur Constant; but it is because in such times as these
there are always persons who try to enter without paying."--"That is
good! That is good!" and the Emperor laughed heartily at the
doorkeeper's observations. At last we entered, and having got as far as
the hall, promenaded in couples, I giving my arm to the Emperor, who said
thou to me, and bade me reply in the same way. We gave each other
fictitious names, the Emperor calling himself Auguste; the Duke de
Frioul, Francois; the superior officer, whose name escapes me, Charles;
while I was Joseph. As soon as his Majesty saw a domino similar to the
one the femme de chambre had described, he pressed my arm and said, "Is
that she?"--"No, Si--- no, Auguste," replied I, constantly correcting
myself; for it was impossible to accustom myself to calling the Emperor
otherwise than Sire or your Majesty. He had, as I have said, expressly
ordered me to tutoy him; but he was every moment compelled to repeat this
order to me, for respect tied my tongue every time I tried to say tu. At
last, after having gone in every direction, explored every corner and
nook of the saloon, the green-room, the boxes, etc., in fact, examined
everything, and looked each costume over in detail, his Majesty, who was
no more successful in recognizing her Majesty than were we, began to feel
great anxiety, which I, however, succeeded in allaying by telling him
that doubtless the Empress had gone to change her costume. As I was
speaking, a domino arrived who seemed enamoured of the Emperor, accosted
him, mystified him, tormented him in every way, and with so much vivacity
that Auguste was beside himself; and it is impossible to give even a
faint idea of the comical sight the Emperor presented in his
embarrassment. The domino, delighted at this, redoubled her wit and
raillery until, thinking it time to cease, she disappeared in the crowd.

The Emperor was completely exasperated; he had seen enough, and we left
the ball.

The next morning when he saw the Empress, he remarked, "Well, you did not
go to the opera ball, after all!"--"Oh, yes, indeed I did."--"Nonsense!"
--"I assure you that I went. And you, my dear, what did you do all the
evening?"--"I worked."--"Why, that is very singular; for I saw at the
ball last night a domino who had exactly your foot and boots. I took him
for you, and consequently addressed him." The Emperor laughed heartily
on learning that he had been thus duped; the Empress, just as she left
for the ball, had changed her costume, not thinking the first
sufficiently elegant.

The carnival was extremely brilliant this year, and there were in Paris
all kinds of masquerades. The most amusing were those in which the
theory advocated by the famous Doctor Gall [Franz Joseph Gall, founder
of the system of phrenology. Born in Baden, 1758; died in Paris, 1825]
was illustrated. I saw a troop passing the Place du Carrousel, composed
of clowns, harlequins, fishwives, etc., all rubbing their skulls, and
making expressive grimaces; while a clown bore several skulls of
different sizes, painted red, blue, or green, with these inscriptions:
Skull of a robber, skull of an assassin, skull of a bankrupt, etc.; and a
masked figure, representing Doctor Gall, was seated on an ass, his head
turned to the animal's tail, and receiving from the hands of a woman who
followed him, and was also seated on an ass, heads covered with wigs made
of long grass.

Her Majesty Queen Caroline gave a masked ball, at which the Emperor and
Empress were present, which was one of the most brilliant I have ever

The opera of la Vestale was then new, and very much the fashion; it
represented a quadrille of priests and vestals who entered to the sound
of delicious music on the flute and harp, and in addition to this there

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