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The Private Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete by Constant

Part 5 out of 15

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which had been conquered by her husband, or from those persons who
desired to obtain her intercession with the First Consul, quantities of
valuable furniture, curiosities of all kinds, pictures, stuffs, etc. At
first these presents delighted Madame Bonaparte greatly; and she took a
childish pleasure in having the cases opened to find what was inside,
personally assisting in unpacking them, and rummaging through all these
pretty things. But soon these consignments became so considerable, and
were so often repeated, that it was found necessary to place them in an
apartment, of which my father-in-law kept the key, and where the boxes
remained untouched until it pleased Madame Bonaparte to have them opened.

When the First. Consul decided that he would take up his residence at
Saint-Cloud, my father-in-law was obliged to leave Malmaison, and install
himself in the new palace, as the master wished him to take charge there.

Before leaving Malmaison, my father-in-law rendered an account to Madame
Bonaparte of everything committed to his care, and all the cases which
were piled up from floor to ceiling in two rooms were opened in her
presence. Madame Bonaparte was astonished at such marvelous riches,
comprising marbles, bronzes, and magnificent pictures, of which Eugene,
Hortense, and the sisters of the First Consul received a large part, and
the remainder was used in decorating the apartments of Malmaison.

The Empress's love of ornaments included for a while antique curiosities,
cut stones, and medals. M. Denon flattered this whim, and ended by
persuading the good Josephine that she was a perfect connoisseur in
antiques, and that she should have at Malmaison a cabinet, a keeper for
it, etc. This proposition, which flattered the self-love of the Empress,
was favorably received; the room was selected, M. de M---- made keeper,
and the new cabinet enriched by diminishing in the same proportion the
rich furniture of the apartments of the chateau. M. Denon, who had
originated this idea, took upon himself to make a collection of medals;
but this idea, which came so suddenly, vanished as suddenly; the cabinet
was changed into a saloon for guests, and the antiques relegated to the
antechamber of the bathing hall, while M. de M----, having no longer
anything to keep, remained constantly in Paris.

A short time after this, two ladies of the palace took a fancy to
persuade the Empress that nothing could be handsomer or more worthy of
her than a necklace of Greek and Roman antique stones perfectly matched.
Several chamberlains approved the idea, which, of course, pleased the
Empress, for she was very fond of anything unique; and consequently one
morning, as I was dressing the Emperor, the Empress entered, and, after a
little conversation, said, "Bonaparte, some ladies have advised me to
have a necklace made of antique stones, and I came to ask you to urge M.
Denon to select only very handsome ones." The Emperor burst out
laughing, and refused flatly at first; but just then the grand marshal of
the palace arrived, and the Emperor informed him of this request of the
Empress, asking his opinion. M. le due de Frioul thought it very
reasonable, and joined his entreaties to those of the Empress. "It is an
egregious folly," said the Emperor; "but we are obliged to grant it,
because the women wish it, so, Duroc, go to the cabinet of antiques, and
choose whatever is necessary."

M. le due de Frioul soon returned with the finest stones in the
collection, which the crown jeweler mounted magnificently; but this
ornament was of such enormous weight that the Empress never wore it.

Though I may be accused of making tiresome repetitions, I must say that
the Empress seized, with an eagerness which cannot be described, on all
occasions of making benefactions. For instance, one morning when she was
breakfasting alone with his Majesty, the cries of an infant were suddenly
heard proceeding from a private staircase. The Emperor was annoyed at
this, and with a frown, asked sharply what that meant. I went to
investigate, and found a new-born child, carefully and neatly dressed,
asleep in a kind of cradle, with a ribbon around its body from which hung
a folded paper. I returned to tell what I had seen; and the Empress at
once exclaimed, "O Constant! bring me the cradle." The Emperor would
not permit this at first, and expressed his surprise and disapprobation
that it should have been thus introduced into the interior of his
apartments, whereupon her Majesty, having pointed out to him that it must
have been done by some one of the household, he turned towards me, and
gave me a searching look, as if to ask if it was I who had originated
this idea. I shook my head in denial. At that moment the baby began to
cry, and the Emperor could not keep from smiling, still growling, and
saying, "Josephine, send away that monkey!"

The Empress, wishing to profit by this return of good humor, sent me for
the cradle, which I brought to her. She caressed the little new-born
babe, quieted it, and read the paper attached to which was a petition
from its parents. Then she approached the Emperor, insisting on his
caressing the infant himself, and pinching its fat little cheeks; which
he did without much urging, for the Emperor himself loved to play with
children. At last her Majesty the Empress, having placed a roll of
napoleons in the cradle, had the little bundle in swaddling clothes
carried to the concierge of the palace, in order that he might restore it
to its parents.

I will now give another instance of the kindness of heart of her Majesty
the Empress, of which I had the honor to be a witness, as well as of the

A few days before the coronation, a little girl four and a half years old
had been rescued from the Seine; and a charitable lady, Madame Fabien
Pillet, was much interested in providing a home for the poor orphan. At
the time of the coronation, the Empress, who had been informed of this
occurrence, asked to see this child, and having regarded it a few moments
with much emotion, offered her protection most gracefully and sincerely
to Madame Pillet and her husband, and announced to them that she would
take upon herself the care of the little girl's future; then, with her
usual delicacy and in the affectionate tone which was so natural to her,
the Empress added, "Your good action has given you too many claims over
the poor little girl for me to deprive you of the pleasure of completing
your work, I therefore beg your permission to furnish the expenses of her
education. You have the privilege of putting her in boarding-school, and
watching over her; and I wish to take only a secondary position, as her
benefactress." It was the most touching sight imaginable to see her
Majesty, while uttering these delicate and generous words, pass her hands
through the hair of the poor little girl, as she had just called her, and
kiss her brow with the tenderness of a mother. M. and Madame Pillet
withdrew, for they could no longer bear this touching scene.


The appointment of General Junot as ambassador to Portugal recalled to my
recollection a laughable anecdote concerning him, which greatly amused
the Emperor. While in camp at Boulogne, the Emperor had published in the
order of the day that every soldier should discard powder, and arrange
his hair 'a la Titus', on which there was much murmuring; but at last all
submitted to the order of the chief, except one old grenadier belonging
to the corps commanded by General Junot. Not being able to decide on the
sacrifice of his oily tresses or his queue, the old soldier swore he
would submit to it only in case his general would himself cut off the
first lock; and all the officers interested in this affair having
succeeded in getting no other reply, at last reported him to the general.
"That can be managed; bring the idiot to me!" replied he. The grenadier
was called, and General Junot himself applied the scissors to an oiled
and powdered lock; after which he gave twenty francs to the grumbler, who
went away satisfied to let the barber of the regiment finish the

The Emperor having been informed of this adventure, laughed most
heartily, and praised Junot, complimenting him on his condescension.

I could cite a thousand similar instances of the kindness of heart joined
to military brusqueness which characterized General Junot, and could also
cite those of another kind, which would do less honor to his name. The
slight control he had over himself often threw him into transports of
rage, the most ordinary effect of which was forgetfulness of his rank and
the dignity of demeanor which it demanded of him. Every one has heard
the adventure of the gambling-house, when he tore up the cards, upset the
furniture, and beat both bankers and croupiers, to indemnify himself for
the loss of his money; and the worst of it was, he was at that very time
Governor of Paris. The Emperor, informed of this scandal, sent for him,
and demanded of him (he was still very angry), if he had sworn to live
and die mad. This might have been, from the sequel, taken as a
prediction; for the unfortunate general died at last in a fit of mental
aberration. He replied in such improper terms to the reprimands of the
Emperor that he was sent, perhaps in order that he might have time to
calm himself, to the army of England. It was not only in gaming-houses,
however, that the governor thus compromised his dignity; for I have heard
other stories about him of a still more shocking character, which I will
not allow myself to repeat. The truth is, General Junot prided himself
much less on respecting the proprieties than on being one of the best
pistol-shots in the army. While riding in the country, he would often
put his horse into a gallop, and with a pistol in each hand, never fail
to cut off, in passing, the heads of the ducks or chickens which he took
as his target. He could cut off a small twig from a tree at twenty-five
paces; and I have even heard it said (I am far from guaranteeing the
truth of this) that on one occasion, with the consent of the party whose
imprudence thus put his life in peril, he cut half in two the stem of a
clay pipe, hardly three inches long, which a soldier held between his

In the first journey which Madame Bonaparte made into Italy to rejoin her
husband, she remained some time at Milan. She had at that time in her
service a 'femme de chambre' named Louise, a large and very beautiful
woman, and who showed favors, well remunerated however, to the brave
Junot. As soon as her duties were ended, Louise, far more gorgeously
attired than Madame Bonaparte, entered an elegant carriage, and rode
through the city and the principal promenades, often eclipsing the wife
of the General-in-chief. On his return to Paris, the latter obliged his
wife to dismiss the beautiful Louise, who, abandoned by her inconstant
lover, fell into great destitution; and I often saw her afterwards at the
residence of Josephine begging aid, which was always most kindly granted.
This young woman, who had dared to rival Madame Bonaparte in elegance,
ended by marrying, I think, an English jockey, led a most unhappy life,
and died in a miserable condition.

The First Consul of the French Republic, now become Emperor of the
French, could no longer be satisfied with the title of President of
Italy. Therefore, when new deputies of the Cisalpine Republic passed
over the mountains, and gathered at Paris for consultation, they
conferred on his Majesty the title of King of Italy, which he accepted,
and a few days after his acceptance he set out for Milan, where he was to
be crowned.

I returned with the greatest pleasure to that beautiful country, of
which, notwithstanding the fatigues and dangers of war, I retained the
most delightful recollections. How different the circumstances now! As
a sovereign the Emperor was now about to cross the Alps, Piedmont, and
Lombardy, each gorge, each stream, each defile of which we had been
obliged in a former visit to carry by force of arms. In 1800 the escort
of the First Consul was a warlike army; in 1805 it was a peaceful
procession of chamberlains, pages, maids of honor, and officers of the

Before his departure the Emperor held in his arms at the baptismal font,
in company with Madame his mother, Prince Napoleon Louis, second son of
his brother Prince Louis. [The third son lived to become Napoleon III.]
The three sons of Queen Hortense had, if I am not much mistaken, the
Emperor as godfather; but he loved most tenderly the eldest of the three,
Prince Napoleon Charles, who died at the age of five years, Prince Royal
of Holland. I shall speak afterwards of this lovely child, whose death
threw his father and mother into the most overwhelming grief, was the
cause of great sorrow to the Emperor, and may be considered as the source
of the gravest events.

After the baptismal fetes we set out for Italy, accompanied by the
Empress Josephine. Whenever it was convenient the Emperor liked to take
her with him; but she always desired to accompany her husband, whether or
not this was the case.

The Emperor usually kept his journey a profound secret up to the moment
of his departure, and ordered at midnight horses for his departure to
Mayence or Milan, exactly as if a hunt at Saint-Cloud or Rambouillet was
in question.

On one of his journeys (I do not remember which), his Majesty had decided
not to take the Empress Josephine. The Emperor was less disturbed by
this company of ladies and women who formed her Majesty's suite, than he
was by the annoyance of the bandboxes and bundles with which they were
usually encumbered, and wished on this occasion to travel rapidly, and
without ostentation, and spare the towns on his route an enormous
increase of expense.

He therefore ordered everything to be in readiness for his departure, at
one o'clock in the morning, at which hour the Empress was generally
asleep; but, in spite of all precautions, some slight noise warned the
Empress of what was taking place. The Emperor had promised her that she
should accompany him on his first journey; but he had deceived her,
nevertheless, and was about to set out without her! She instantly called
her women; but vexed at their slowness, her Majesty sprang out of bed,
threw on the first clothing she found at hand, and ran out of her room in
slippers and without stockings. Weeping like a little child that is
being taken back to boarding-school, she crossed the apartments, flew
down the staircase, and threw herself into the arms of the Emperor, as he
was entering his carriage, barely in time, however, for a moment later he
set out. As almost always happened at the sight of his wife's tears, the
Emperor's heart was softened; and she, seeing this, had already entered
the carriage, and was cowering down in the foot, for the Empress was
scantily clad. The Emperor covered her with his cloak, and before
starting gave the order in person that, with the first relay, his wife
should receive all she needed.

The Emperor, leaving his wife at Fontainebleau, repaired to Brienne,
where he arrived at six o'clock in the evening, and found Mesdames de
Brienne and Lomenie, with several ladies of the city, awaiting him at the
foot of the staircase to the chateau. He entered the saloon, and
received most graciously all persons who were presented to him, and then
passed into the garden, conversing familiarly with Mesdames Brienne and
Lomenie, and recalling with surprising accuracy the smallest particulars
of the stay which he made during his childhood at the military school of

His Majesty invited to his table at dinner his hostesses and a few of
their friends, and afterwards made a party at a game of whist with
Mesdames de Brienne, de Vandeuvre, and de Nolivres. During this game, as
also at the table, his conversation was animated and most interesting,
and he displayed such liveliness and affability that every one was

His Majesty passed the night at the chateau of Brienne, and rose early to
visit the field of la Rothiere, one of his favorite walks in former days.
He revisited with the greatest pleasure those spots where his early youth
had been passed, and pointed them out with a kind of pride, all his
movements, all his reflections, seeming to say, "See whence I set out,
and where I have arrived."

His Majesty walked in advance of the persons who accompanied him, and
took much pleasure in being first to call by their names the various
localities he passed. A peasant, seeing him thus some distance from his
suite, cried out to him familiarly, "Oh, citizen, is the Emperor going to
pass soon?"--"Yes," replied the Emperor, "have patience."

The Emperor had inquired the evening before, of Madame Brienne, news of
Mother Marguerite. Thus was styled a good woman who dwelt in a cottage,
in the midst of the forest, and on whom the, pupils of the military
academy were accustomed to make frequent visits. He had not forgotten
her name, and learning, with as much joy as surprise, that she still
lived, the Emperor, extended his morning ride, and galloping up to the
door of the cottage, alighted from his horse, and entered the home of the
good old peasant. Her sight was impaired by age; and besides, the
Emperor had changed so much since she had seen him that it would have
been difficult even for the best eyes to recognize him. "Good-day,
Mother Marguerite," said his Majesty, saluting the old woman; "so you are
not curious to see the Emperor?"--"Yes, indeed, my good sir; I am very
curious to see him; so much so, that here is a little basket of fresh
eggs that I am going to carry to Madame; and I shall then remain at the
chateau, and endeavor to see the Emperor. But the trouble is, I shall
not be able to see him so well to-day as formerly, when he came with his
comrades to drink milk at Mother Marguerite's. He was not Emperor then;
but that was nothing, he made the others step around! Indeed, you should
have seen him! The milk, the eggs, the brown bread, the broken dishes
though he took care to have me paid for everything, and began by paying
his own bill."--"What! Mother Marguerite," replied his Majesty, smiling,
"you have not forgotten Bonaparte!"--"Forgotten! my good sir; you think
that any one would forget such a young man as he, who was wise, serious,
and sometimes even sad, but always good to poor people? I am only a poor
peasant woman, but I could have predicted that this young man would make
his way. He has not done it very badly, has he? Ah, no, indeed!"

During this short dialogue, the Emperor had at first turned his back to
the door, and consequently to the light, which entered the cottage only
by that means. But, by degrees; the Emperor approached the good woman;
and when he was quite near her, with the light shining full on his face
from the door, he began to rub his hands and say, trying to recall the
tone and manner of the days of his early youth, when he came to the
peasant's house, "Come, Mother Marguerite, some milk and fresh eggs; we
are famishing." The good old woman seemed trying to revive her memories,
and began to observe the Emperor with the closest attention. "Oh, yes,
Mother, you were so sure a while ago of knowing Bonaparte again. Are we
not old acquaintances, we two?" The peasant, while the Emperor was
addressing these last words to her, had fallen at his feet; but he raised
her with the most touching kindness, and said to her, "The truth is,
Mother Marguerite, I have still a schoolboy's appetite. Have you nothing
to give me?" The good woman, almost beside herself with happiness,
served his Majesty with eggs and milk; and when this simple repast was
ended, his Majesty gave his aged hostess a purse full of gold, saying to
her, "You know, Mother Marguerite, that I believe in paying my bills.
Adieu, I shall not forget you." And while the Emperor remounted his
horse, the good old woman, standing on the threshold of her door,
promised him, with tears of joy, to pray to the good God for him.

One morning, when he awoke, his Majesty was speaking of the possibility
of finding some of his old acquaintances; and an anecdote concerning
General Junot was related to him, which amused him greatly. The General
finding himself, on his return from Egypt, at Montbard, where he had
passed several years of his childhood, had sought with the greatest care
for his companions in school and mischief, and had found several, with
whom he had talked gayly and freely of his early frolics and his
schoolboy excursions. As they went together to revisit the different
localities, each of which awakened in them some memory of their youth,
the general saw an old man majestically promenading on the public square
with a large cane in his hand. He immediately ran up to him, threw his
arms around him, and embraced him many times, almost suffocating him.
The promenader disengaged himself with great difficulty from his warm
embraces, regarded General Junot with an amazed air, and remarked that he
was ignorant to what he could attribute such excessive tenderness from a
soldier wearing the uniform of a superior officer, and all the
indications of high rank. "What," cried he, "do you not recognize me?"--
"Citizen General, I pray you to excuse me, but I have no idea"--
"Ah, morbleu, my dear master, have you forgotten the most idle, the most
lawless, the most incorrigible of your scholars?"--"A thousand pardons,
you are Monsieur Junot."--"Himself!" replied Junot, renewing his
embraces, and laughing with his friends at the singular characteristics
by which he had caused himself to be recognized. As for his Majesty the
Emperor, if any of his old masters had failed to recognize him, it could
not be by reminiscences of this kind that he could have recalled himself
to them; for every one knows that he was distinguished at the military
school for his application to work, and the regularity and sobriety of
his life.

A meeting of the same nature, saving the difference in recollections,
awaited the Emperor at Brienne. While he was visiting the old military
school, now falling to ruin, and pointing out to the persons who
surrounded him the situation of the study halls, dormitories,
refectories, etc., an ecclesiastic who had been tutor of one of the
classes in the school was presented to him. The Emperor recognized him
immediately; and, uttering an exclamation of surprise, his Majesty
conversed more than twenty minutes with this gentleman, leaving him full
of gratitude.

The Emperor, before leaving Brienne to return to Fontainebleau, required
the mayor to give him a written account of the most pressing needs of the
commune, and left on his departure a considerable sum for the poor and
the hospitals.

Passing through Troyes, the Emperor left there, as everywhere else,
souvenirs of his generosity. The widow of a general officer, living in
retirement at Joinville (I regret that I have forgotten the name of this
venerable lady, who was more than an octogenarian), came to Troyes,
notwithstanding her great age, to ask aid from his Majesty. Her husband
having served only before the Revolution, the pension which she had
enjoyed had been taken from her under the Republic, and she was in the
greatest destitution. The brother of General Vouittemont, mayor of a
commune in the suburbs of Troyes, was kind enough to consult me as to
what should be done in order to present this lady to the Emperor; and I
advised him to have her name placed on the list of his Majesty's private
audiences. I myself took the liberty of speaking of Madame de to the
Emperor; and the audience was granted, though I do not pretend to
attribute the merit of it to myself, for in traveling the Emperor was
always very accessible.

When the good lady came to attend the audience with M. de Vouittemont, to
whom his municipal scarf gave the right of entrance, I happened to meet
them, and she stopped to thank me for the little service which she
insisted I had rendered her, and mentioned that she had been obliged to
pawn the six silver plates which alone remained to her, in order to pay
the expenses of her journey; that, having arrived at Troyes in a poor
farm wagon, covered with a cloth thrown over a hoop, and which had shaken
her terribly, she could find no place in the inns, all of which were
filled on account of the arrival of their Majesties; and she would have
been obliged to sleep in her wagon had it not been for the kind
consideration of M. de Vouittemont, who had given up his room to her, and
offered his services. In spite of her more than eighty years, and her
distress, this respectable lady related her story with an air of gentle
gayety, and at the close threw a grateful glance at her guide, on whose
arm she was leaning.

At that moment the usher came to announce that her turn had come, and she
entered the saloon of audience. M. de Vouittemont awaited her return
while conversing with me; and on her return she related to us, scarcely
able to control her emotion, that the Emperor had in the kindest manner
received the memorial she presented to him, had read it attentively, and
passed it to a minister who was near him, with the order to do her
justice this very day.

The next day she received the warrant for a pension of three thousand
francs, the first year's pay being handed her at once.

At Lyons, of which Cardinal Fesch was archbishop, the Emperor lodged in
the archiepiscopal palace. [Joseph Fesch, born in Corsica, 1763, was
half-brother to Napoleon's mother. Archbishop of Lyons 1801, cardinal
1803, died 1839]

During the stay of their Majesties the cardinal exerted himself to the
utmost to gratify every wish of his nephew; and in his eagerness to
please, monseigneur applied to me many times each day to be assured that
nothing was lacking; so everything passed off admirably. The zeal of the
cardinal was remarked by all the household; but for my part I thought I
perceived that the zeal displayed by monseigneur in the reception of
their Majesties took on an added strength whenever there was a question
of all the expenses incurred by this visit, which were considerable,
being paid by them. His eminence, I thought, drew very fine interest on
his investment, and his generous hospitality was handsomely compensated
by the liberality of his guests.

The passage of Mont Cenis was by no means so difficult as had been that
of Mont St. Bernard; although the road, which has since been made by the
Emperor's orders, was not then commenced. At the foot of the mountain
they were obliged to take the carriage to pieces, and transport
it on the backs of mules; and their Majesties crossed the mountain partly
on foot, partly in very handsome sedan chairs which had been made at
Turin, that of the Emperor lined with crimson satin, and ornamented with
gold lace and fringes, and that of the Empress in blue satin, with silver
lace and fringes. The snow had been carefully swept off and removed. On
their arrival at the convent they were most warmly received by the good
monks; and the Emperor, who had a singular affection for them, held a
long conversation with them, and did not depart without leaving rich and
numerous tokens of his liberality. As soon as he arrived at Turin he
gave orders for the improvement of their hospice, which he continued to
support till his fall.

Their Majesties remained several days at Turin, where they occupied the
former palace of the kings of Sardinia, constituted the imperial
residence by a decree of the Emperor during our stay, as was also the
castle of Stupinigi, situated a short distance from the town.

The Pope rejoined their Majesties at Stupinigi; the Holy Father had left
Paris almost at the same time as ourselves, and before his departure had
received from the Emperor magnificent presents. Among these was a golden
altar with chandeliers, and holy vessels of the richest workmanship, a
superb tiara, Gobelin tapestries, and carpets from the Savonnerie, with a
statue of the Emperor in Sevres porcelain. The Empress also made to his
Holiness a present of a vase of the same manufacture, adorned with
paintings by the best artists. This masterpiece was at least four feet
in height, and two feet and a half in diameter at the mouth, and was made
expressly to be offered to the Holy Father, the painting representing, if
my memory is correct, the ceremony of the coronation.

Each of the cardinals in the suite of the Pope had received a box of
beautiful workmanship, with the portrait of the Emperor set in diamonds;
and all the persons attached to the service of Pius VII. had presents
more or less considerable, all these various articles being brought by
the furnishers to the apartments of his Majesty, where I took a list of
them, by order of his Majesty, as they arrived.

The Holy Father also made in return very handsome presents to the
officers of the Emperor's household whose duties had brought them near
his person during his stay at Paris.

From Stupinigi we went to Alexandria. The Emperor, the next day after
his arrival, rose early, visited the fortifications of the town, reviewed
all the positions of the battlefield of Marengo, and returned only at
seven o'clock, and after having broken down five horses. A few days
after he wished the Empress to see this famous plain, and by his orders
an army of twenty-five or thirty thousand men was assembled. The morning
of the day fixed for the review of these troops, the Emperor left his
apartment dressed in a blue coat with long skirts, much worn, and even
with holes in some places. These holes were the work of moths and not of
balls, as has been said in certain memoirs. On his head his Majesty wore
an old hat edged with gold lace, tarnished and frayed, and at his side a
cavalry saber, such as the generals of the Republic wore; this was the
coat, hat, and sword that he had worn on the day of the battle of
Marengo. I afterwards lent these articles to Monsieur David, first
painter to his Majesty, for his picture of the passage of Mont St.
Bernard. A vast amphitheater had been raised on this plain for the
Empress and the suite of their Majesties; the day was perfect, as is each
day of the month of May in Italy. After riding along the ranks, the
Emperor took his seat by the side of the Empress, and made to the troops
a distribution of the cross of the Legion of Honor, after which he laid
the corner stone of a monument, which he had directed to be raised on the
plain to the memory of the soldiers who had fallen on the battlefield.
When his Majesty, in the short address which he made to the army on this
occasion, pronounced in a strong voice, vibrating with emotion, the name
of Desaix, who here died gloriously for his country, a murmur of grief
ran through the ranks of the soldiers. As for me, I was moved to tears;
and as my eyes fell on this army, on its banners, on the costume of the
Emperor, I was obliged to turn from time to time towards the throne of
her Majesty the Empress, to realize that this was not the 14th of June in
the year 1800.

I think it was during this stay at Alexandria, that Prince Jerome
Bonaparte had an interview with the Emperor, in which the latter
seriously and earnestly remonstrated with his brother, and Prince Jerome
left the cabinet visibly agitated. This displeasure of the Emperor arose
from the marriage contracted by his brother, at the age of nineteen, with
the daughter of an American merchant.

His Majesty had this union annulled on the plea of minority, and made a
decree forbidding the officers of the civil state to receive, on their
registers, the record of the certificate of the celebration of the
marriage of Monsieur Jerome with Mademoiselle Patterson. For some time
the Emperor treated him with great coolness, and kept him at a distance;
but a few days after the interview at Alexandria, he sent him to Algiers
to claim as subjects of the Empire two hundred Genoese held as slaves.
The young prince acquitted himself handsomely of this mission of
humanity, and returned in the month of August to the port of Genoa, with
the captives whom he had just released. The Emperor was well satisfied
with the manner in which his brother had carried out his instructions,
and said on this occasion, that "Prince Jerome was very young and very
thoughtless, that he needed more weight in his head, but that,
nevertheless, he hoped to make something of him."

This brother of his Majesty was one among the few persons whom he really
loved, although he had often given him just cause for anger.


Their Majesties remained more than a month at Milan, and I had ample
leisure to acquaint myself with this beautiful capital of Lombardy. This
visit was a continual succession of fetes and gayeties; and it seemed
that the Emperor alone had time to give to work, for he shut himself up,
as was his custom, with his ministers, while all the persons of his suite
and of his household, whose duties did not detain them near his Majesty,
were eagerly taking part in the sports and diversions of the Milanese. I
will enter into no details of the coronation, as it was almost a
repetition of what had taken place at Paris a few months before; and as
all solemnities of this sort are alike, every one is familiar with the
least details. Amid all these fete days there was one day of real
happiness to me: it was that on which Prince Eugene, whose kindness to me
I have never forgotten, was proclaimed viceroy of Italy. Truly, no one
could be more worthy than he of a rank so elevated, if to attain it only
nobility, generosity, courage, and skill in the art of governing, were
needed; for never did prince more sincerely desire the prosperity of the
people confided to his care. I have often observed how truly happy he
was, and what genuine delight beamed from his countenance when he had
shed happiness around him.

The Emperor and Empress went one day to breakfast in the environs of
Milan, on a little island called Olona. While walking over it, the
Emperor met a poor woman, whose cottage was near the place where their
Majesties' table had been set, and he addressed to her a number of
questions. "Monsieur," replied she (not knowing the Emperor), "I am very
poor, and the mother of three children, whom I have great difficulty in
supporting, because my husband, who is a day laborer, has not always
work."--"How much would it take," replied his Majesty, "to make you
perfectly happy?"--"O Sire, it would take a great deal of money."--"But
how much, my good woman, how much would be necessary?"--"Ah, Monsieur,
unless we had twenty louis, we would not be above want; but what chance
is there of our ever having twenty louis?"

The Emperor gave her, on the spot, the sum of three thousand francs in
gold, and ordered me to untie the rolls and pour them all into the good
woman's lap.

At the sight of so much gold the latter grew pale, reeled, and I saw she
was fainting. "All, that is too much, Monsieur, that is indeed too much.
Surely you could not be making sport of a poor woman!"

The Emperor assured her that it was indeed all hers, and that with this
money she could buy a little field, a flock of goats, and raise her
children well.

His Majesty did not make himself known; for he liked, in dispensing his
benefits, to preserve his incognito, and I knew, during his life, a large
number of instances similar to the foregoing. It seems that historians
have made it a point to pass them over in silence; and yet it is, I
think, by the rehearsal of just such deeds that a correct idea of the
Emperor's character can and should be formed.

Deputations from the Ligurian Republic, with the Doge at their head, had
come to Milan to entreat the Emperor to annex Genoa and its territory to
the Empire, which demand his Majesty took care not to refuse, and by a
decree formed of the Genoese states three departments of his Italian
kingdom. The Emperor and Empress set out from Milan to visit these
departments and some others.

We had been at Mantua a short time, when one evening, about six o'clock,
Grand Marshal Duroc gave me an order to remain alone in a little room
adjoining that of the Emperor, and informed me that Count Lucien
Bonaparte would arrive soon. He came in a few moments; and as soon as he
announced himself, I introduced him into, the Emperor's bedroom, and then
knocked at the door of the Emperor's cabinet, to inform him of his
arrival. After saluting each other, the two brothers shut themselves up
in the room, and there soon arose between them a very animated
discussion; and being compelled to remain in the little saloon, much
against my will, I overheard a great part of the conversation. The
Emperor was urging his brother to get a divorce, and promised him a crown
if he would do this; but Lucien replied that he would never abandon the
mother of his children, which refusal irritated the Emperor so greatly,
that his expressions became harsh and even insulting. When this
altercation had lasted more than an hour, M. Lucien came out from it in a
deplorable condition, pale and disheveled, his eyes red and filled with
tears; and we did not see him again, for, on quitting his brother, he
returned to Rome.

The Emperor was greatly troubled by this refusal of his brother, and did
not open his mouth on retiring. It has been maintained that the
disagreement between the brothers was caused by the elevation of the
First Consul to the Empire, and Lucien's disapproval of this step; but
that is a mistake. It is indeed true that the latter had proposed to
continue the Republic under the government of two consuls, who were to be
Napoleon and Lucien, one to be at the head of the department of war and
foreign relations, the other of everything connected with the affairs of
the interior; but although the failure of this plan must have
disappointed Lucien, the avidity with which he accepted the titles of
senator and count of the Empire proved that he cared very little for a
republic of which he was not to be one of the heads. I am sure that the
marriage of Monsieur Lucien to Madame Jouberthon was the only cause of
this disagreement. The Emperor disapproved of this union because the
lady's reputation was somewhat doubtful, and she was also divorced from
her husband, who had become insolvent, and had fled to America. This
insolvency, and the divorce especially, offended Napoleon deeply, who
always felt a great repugnance for divorced people.

Before this, the Emperor had wished to raise his brother to the rank of
sovereign, by making him marry the Queen of Etruria, who had lost her
husband. Lucien had refused this alliance on several different
occasions; and at last the Emperor became angry, and said to him, "You
see how far you are carrying your infatuation and your foolish love for a
femme galante."--"At least," replied Lucien, "mine is young and pretty,"
alluding to the Empress Josephine, who had been both the one and the

The boldness of this reply excited the Emperor's anger beyond all bounds.
At that moment he held in his hands his watch, which he dashed with all
his might on the floor, crying out, "Since you will listen to nothing,
see, I will break you like this watch."

Differences had arisen between the brothers before the establishment of
the Empire; and among the acts which caused the disgrace of Lucien, I
have often heard the following cited.

Lucien, being minister of the interior, received the order of the First
Consul to let no wheat go out of the territory of the Republic. Our
warehouses were filled, and France abundantly supplied; but this was not
the case in England, and the scarcity of it was beginning to be felt
there. It was never known how it happened; but the larger part of this
grain passed the Strait of Calais, and it was stated positively that the
sum of twenty millions was received for it. On learning this, the First
Consul took away the portfolio of the interior from his brother, and
appointed him ambassador to Spain.

At Madrid, Monsieur Lucien was well received by the king and the royal
family, and became the intimate friend of Don Manuel Godoy, Prince de la
Paix. It was during this mission, and by agreement with the Prince de la
Paix, that the treaty of Badajos was concluded, in order to procure which
it is said that Portugal gave thirty millions. It has been also declared
that more than this sum, paid in gold and diamonds, was divided between
the two plenipotentiaries, who did not think it necessary to render an
account of this transaction to their respective courts.

Charles IV. loved Lucien tenderly, and felt for the First Consul the
greatest veneration. After examining carefully several Spanish horses
which he intended for the First Consul, he said to his head groom: "How
fortunate you are, and how I envy your happiness! you are going to see
the great man, and you will speak to him; how I should like to take your

During his embassage Lucien had paid his court to a person of most
elevated rank, and had received her portrait in a medallion surrounded
with very fine brilliants. I have seen a hundred times this portrait
which he wore suspended from his neck by a chain of most beautiful black
hair; and far from making a mystery of it, he endeavored, on the
contrary, to show it, and bent over so that the rich medallion could be
seen hanging on his breast.

Before his departure from Madrid, the king likewise made him a present of
his own portrait in miniature, also set in diamonds.

These stones, remounted and set in the form of a hat buckle, passed to
the second wife of Lucien. I will now give an account of his marriage
with Madame Jouberthon, as related to me by a person who resided in the
same house.

The First Consul was informed each day, and very promptly, of all that
took place in the interior of the homes of his brothers, a circumstantial
account being rendered, even as to the smallest particulars and the
slightest details. Lucien, wishing to marry Madame Jouberthon, whom he
had met at the house of the Count de L----, an intimate friend of his,
wrote between two and three o'clock in the afternoon to Duquesnoy, mayor
of the tenth arrondissement, requesting him to come to his residence, Rue
Saint Dominique, about eight o'clock in the evening, and bring the
marriage register.

Between five and six o'clock Monsieur Duquesnoy, mayor of the tenth
arrondissement, received from the chateau of the Tuileries an order not
to take the register out of the municipality, and above all not to
celebrate any marriage whatever, unless, in accordance with the law, the
names of the parties thereto had been published for eight days.

At the hour indicated Duquesnoy arrived at the residence, and asked to
speak in private to the count, to whom he communicated the order
emanating from the chateau.

Beside himself with anger, Lucien immediately hired a hundred post-horses
for himself and friends; and without delay he and Madame Jouberthon, with
these friends and the people of his household, took carriages for the
chateau of Plessis-Chamant, a pleasure-house half a league beyond Senlis.
The cure of the place, who was also associate mayor, was summoned, and at
midnight pronounced the civil marriage; then, putting on his sacerdotal
robes over the scarf he wore as an officer of the civil state, he
bestowed on the fugitives the nuptial benediction. A good supper was
then served, at which the assistant and cure were present; but, as he
returned to his vicarage about six o'clock in the morning, he saw at his
gate a post-chaise, guarded by two soldiers, and on entering his house,
found there an officer of the armed police, who invited him politely to
be kind enough to accompany him to Paris. The poor curate thought
himself lost; but he was compelled to obey, under penalty of being
carried to Paris from one guard-house to another by the police.

Nothing was left for him but to enter the fatal chaise, which was drawn
at a gallop by two good horses, and soon arrived at the Tuileries, where
he was brought into the cabinet of the First Consul, who said to him in a
voice of thunder, "It is you, then, Monsieur, who marry members of my
family without my consent, and without having published the bans, as is
your duty in your double character of cure and assistant mayor. You well
know that you deserve to be deprived of your office, excommunicated, and
tried before the courts." The unfortunate priest believed himself
already in prison; but after a severe lecture he was sent back to his
curacy, and the two brothers were never reconciled.

In spite of all these differences, Lucien always counted on the affection
of his brother to obtain him a kingdom. I guarantee the authenticity of
the following incident, which was related to me by a reliable person:
Lucien had in charge of his establishment a friend of his early youth,
the same age as himself, and like him born in Corsica, who was named
Campi, and enjoyed the most confidential relations in the count's
household. On the day that the 'Moniteur' gave a list of the new French
princes, Campi was promenading in the handsome gallery of pictures
collected by Lucien, with the latter's young secretary, when the
following conversation occurred between them. "You have no doubt read
the 'Moniteur' of to-day?"--"Yes."--"You have seen that all the members
of the family have had the title of French princes bestowed on them, and
the name of monsieur le count alone is wanting to the list."--"What
matters that? There are kingdoms."--"Considering the care that
sovereigns take to keep them, there will hardly be any vacancy."--
"Ah, well, they will be made. All the royal families of Europe are worn
out, and we must have new ones." Thereupon Campi was silent, and advised
the young man to hold his tongue, if he wished to preserve the favor of
the count. However, it was not long after this before the young
secretary repeated this confidential conversation, which, without being
singularly striking, gives, however, an idea of the amount of confidence
which should be placed in the pretended moderation of Count Lucien, and
in the epigrams against his brother and his family which have been
attributed to him.

No one in the chateau was ignorant of the hostility which existed between
Lucien Bonaparte and the Empress Josephine; and to make their court to
the latter the former habitues of Malmaison, now become the courtiers of
the Tuileries; were in the habit of relating to her the most piquant
anecdotes they could collect relative to the younger brother of the
Emperor. Thus it happened that by chance one day I heard a dignified
person and a senator of the Empire give the Empress, in the gayest manner
imaginable, very minute details as to one of the temporary liaisons of
Count Lucien. I do not guarantee the authenticity of the anecdote, and I
experience in writing it more embarrassment than the senator displayed in
relating it, and omit, indeed, a mass of details which the narrator gave
without blushing, and without driving off his audience; for my object is
to throw light upon the family secrets of the imperial household, and on
the habits of the persons who were nearest the Emperor, and not to
publish scandal, though I could justify myself by the example of a
dignitary of the Empire.

Count Lucien (I do not know in what year) established himself in the good
graces of Mademoiselle Meserai, an actress of the Theatre Francais, who
was both pretty and sprightly. The conquest was not difficult, in the
first place, because this had never been her character towards any one,
and, secondly, because the artiste knew the great wealth of the count,
and believed him to be prodigal. The first attentions of her lover
confirmed her in this opinion, and she demanded a house. He at once
presented her with one richly and elegantly furnished, the deed being put
in her hands on the day she took possession; and each visit of the count
added to the actress's wardrobe or jewel-case some new gifts. This
lasted some months, at the end of which Lucien became disgusted with his
bargain, and began to consider by what means to break it without losing
too much. Among other things, he had made mademoiselle a present of a
pair of girandoles, containing diamonds of great value. In one of the
last interviews, before the count had allowed any signs of coldness to be
seen, he perceived the girandoles on the toilet-table of his mistress,
and, taking them in his hands, said, "Really, my dear, you do me
injustice; why do you not show more confidence in me? I do not wish you
to wear jewelry so much out of date as these."--"Why, it has been only
six months since you gave them to me."--"I know it; but a woman of good
taste, a woman who respects herself, should never wear anything six
months old. I will take the ear-rings and send them to de Villiers [he
was the count's jeweler] with orders to mount them as I wish." The count
was tenderly thanked for so delicate an attention, and put the girandoles
in his pocket, with one or two necklaces which had also been his gift,
and which did not appear to him sufficiently new in style, and the breach
took place before any of these had been returned.

Notwithstanding this, Mademoiselle believed herself well provided for
with her furniture and her house, until one morning the true proprietor
came to ask her wishes as to making a new lease. She ran to examine her
deed, which she had not yet thought to do, and found that it was simply a
description of the property, at the end of which was a receipt for two
years' rent.

During our stay at Genoa the heat was insupportable; from this the
Emperor suffered greatly, saying he had never experienced the like in
Egypt, and undressed many times a day. His bed was covered with a
mosquito netting, for the insects were numerous and worrying. The
windows of the bedroom looked out upon a grand terrace on the margin of
the sea, and from them could be seen the gulf and all the surrounding
country. The fetes given by the city were superb. An immense number of
vessels were fastened together, and filled with orange and citrontrees
and shrubs, some covered with flowers, some with fruits, and all combined
formed a most exquisite floating garden which their Majesties visited on
a magnificent yacht.

On his return to France, the Emperor made no halt between Turin and
Fontainebleau. He traveled incognito, in the name of the minister of the
interior, and went at such speed that at each relay they were obliged to
throw water on the wheels; but in spite of this his Majesty complained of
the slowness of the postilions, and cried continually, "Hurry up! hurry
up! we are hardly moving." Many of the servants' carriages were, left
in the rear; though mine experienced no delay, and I arrived at each
relay at the same time as the Emperor.

In ascending the steep hill of Tarare, the Emperor alighted from the
carriage, as did also Berthier, who accompanied him; the carriages of the
suite being some distance behind, as the drivers had stopped to breathe
their horses.

His Majesty saw, climbing the hill a few steps before him, an old,
decrepit woman, who hobbled along with great difficulty. As the Emperor
approached her he inquired why, infirm as she was, and apparently so
fatigued, she should attempt to travel so difficult a road.

"Sir," replied she, "they tell me the Emperor is to pass along here, and
I wish to see him before I die." His Majesty, who liked to be amused,
said to her, "Ah, but why trouble yourself about him? He is a tyrant,
like all the rest." The good woman, indignant at this remark, angrily
replied, "At least, Sir, he is our choice; and since we must have a
master, it is at least right that we should choose him." I was not an
eye-witness of this incident; but I heard the Emperor himself relate it
to Dr. Corvisart, with some remarks upon the good sense of the masses,
who, according to the opinion of his Majesty and his chief doctor, had
generally formed very correct opinions.


His Majesty the Emperor passed the month of January, 1806, at Munich and
Stuttgard, during which, in the first of these two capitals, the marriage
of the vice-king and the Princess of Bavaria was celebrated. On this
occasion there was a succession of magnificent fetes, of which the
Emperor was always the hero, and at which his hosts tried, by every
variety of homage, to express to this great man the admiration with which
his military genius inspired them.

The vice-king and vice-queen had never met before their marriage, but
were soon as much attached to each other as if they had been acquainted
for years, for never were two persons more perfectly congenial. No
princess, and indeed no mother, could have manifested more affection and
care for her children than the vice-queen; and she might well serve as a
model for all women. I have been told an incident concerning this
admirable princess which I take pleasure in relating here. One of her
daughters, who was quite young, having spoken in a very harsh tone to her
maid, her most serene highness the vice-queen was informed of it, and in
order to give her daughter a lesson, forbade the servants to render the
young princess any service, or to reply to any of her demands, from that
time. The child at once complained to her mother, who told her gravely
that when any one received, like her, the care and attention of all
around them, it was necessary to merit this, and to show her appreciation
by consideration and an obliging politeness. Then she required her to
ask pardon of the 'femme de chambre', and henceforward to speak to her
politely, assuring her that by this means she would always obtain
compliance with all reasonable and just requests she might make.

The child obeyed; and the lesson was of such benefit to her that she
became, if general report is to be believed, one of the most accomplished
princesses of Europe. The report of her perfections spread abroad even
to the New World, which contended for her with the Old, and has been
fortunate enough to obtain her. She is at this time, I think, Empress of

His Majesty the King of Bavaria, Maximilian Joseph, then about fifty
years of age, was very tall, with a noble and attractive physiognomy and
fascinating manners. Before the Revolution he had been colonel of an
Alsatian regiment in the service of France, under the name of Prince
Maximilian, or Prince Max as the soldiers called him, and stationed at
Strasburg, where he left a reputation for elegance and chivalrous
gallantry. His subjects, his family, his servants, everybody, adored
him. He often took long walks through the city of Munich in the morning,
went to the market, inquired the price of grain, entered the shops, spoke
to every one, especially the children, whom he persuaded to go to school.
This excellent prince did not fear to compromise his dignity by the
simplicity of his manners; and he was right, for I do not think any one
ever failed to show him respect, and the love which he inspired lessened
in no wise the veneration which was felt for him. Such was his devotion
to the Emperor, that his kindly feelings extended even to the persons who
by their functions approached nearest to his Majesty, and were in the
best position to know his needs and wishes. Thus (I do not relate it out
of vanity, but in proof of what I have just said) his Majesty the King of
Bavaria never came to see the Emperor, that he did not take my hand and
inquire first after the health of his Imperial Majesty, then after my
own, adding many things which plainly showed his attachment for the
Emperor and his natural goodness.

His Majesty the King of Bavaria is now in the tomb, like him who gave him
a throne; but this tomb is still a royal tomb, and the loyal Bavarians
can come to kneel and weep over it. The Emperor, on the contrary--

[Constant wrote this before the return, in 1840, of the ashes of
Napoleon to rest on "the banks of the Seine, amid the French people
whom he loved so well," where in a massive urn of porphyry, and
beneath the gilded dome of the Invalides, in the most splendid tomb
of the centuries, sleeps now the soldier of Lodi, Marengo,
Austerlitz, Wagram, and Waterloo.--TRANS.]

The virtuous Maximilian was able to leave to a worthy son the scepter
which he had received from him who perished an exile at St. Helena.
Prince Louis, the present King of Bavaria, and to-day perhaps the best
king in Europe, was not so tall as his august father, neither was his
face so handsome; and, unfortunately, he was afflicted with an extreme
deafness, which made him raise his voice without knowing it, and in
addition to this his utterance was impeded by a slight stammering. This
prince was grave and studious; and the Emperor recognized his merit, but
did not rely upon his friendship. This was not because he thought him
wanting in loyalty, for the prince royal was above such suspicion; but
the Emperor was aware that he belonged to a party which feared the
subjection of Germany, and who suspected that the French, although they
had so far attacked only Austria, had ideas of conquest over all the
German powers.

However, what I have just stated in regard to the prince royal relates
only to the years subsequent to 1806; for I am certain that at that epoch
his sentiments did not differ from those of the good Maximilian, who was,
as I have said, full of gratitude to the Emperor. Prince Louis came to
Paris at the beginning of this year; and I saw him many times at the
court theater in the box of the prince arch-chancellor, where they both
slept in company and very profoundly. This was also such a habit with
Cambaceres, that when the Emperor asked for him, and was told that
monseigneur was at the theater, he replied, "Very well, very well; he is
taking his siesta; let us not disturb him!"

The King of Wurtemburg was large, and so fat that it was said of him God
had put him in the world to prove how far the skin of a man could be
stretched. His stomach was of such dimensions that it was found
necessary to make a broad, round incision in front of his seat at the
table; and yet, notwithstanding this precaution, he was obliged to hold
his plate on a level with his chin to drink his soup. He was very fond
of hunting, either on horseback, or in a little Russian carriage drawn by
four horses, which he often drove himself. He was fond of horseback
riding, but it was no easy task to find a mount of size and strength
sufficient to carry so heavy a burden. It was necessary that the poor
animal should be progressively trained; and in order to accomplish this
the king's equerry fastened round the horse a girth loaded with pieces of
lead, increasing the weight daily till it equalled that of his Majesty.
The king was despotic, hard, and even cruel, ever ready to sign the
sentence of the condemned, and in almost all cases, if what is said at
Stuttgart be true, increased the penalty inflicted by the judges. Hard
to please, and brutal, he often struck the people of his household; and
it is even said that he did not spare her Majesty the queen, his wife,
who was a sister of the present King of England. Notwithstanding all
this, he was a prince whose knowledge and brilliant mind the Emperor
esteemed; for they had a mutual affection for each other, and he found
him faithful to his alliance to the very end. King Frederic of
Wurtemburg had a brilliant and numerous court, at which he displayed
great magnificence.

The hereditary prince was much beloved; he was less haughty and more
humane than his father, and was said to be just and liberal.

Besides those crowned by his hand, the Emperor, while in Bavaria,
received a great number of the princes of the Confederation; and they
usually dined with his Majesty. In this crowd of royal courtiers the
prince primate was noticeable, who differed in nothing as to manners,
bearing, and dress from the most fashionable gentlemen of Paris. The
Emperor paid him special attention. I cannot pay the same eulogy to the
toilet of the princesses, duchesses, and other noble ladies; for most of
them dressed in exceedingly bad taste, and, displaying neither art nor
grace, covered their heads with plumes, bits of gold, and silver gauze,
fastened with a great quantity of diamond-headed pins.

The equipages the German nobility used were all very large coaches, which
were a necessity from the enormous hoops still worn by those ladies; and
this adherence to antiquated fashions was all the more surprising,
because at that time Germany enjoyed the great advantage of possessing
two fashion journals. One was the translation of the magazine published
by Mesangere; and the other, also edited at Paris, was translated and
printed at Mannheim. These ridiculous carriages, which much resembled
our ancient diligences, were drawn by very inferior horses, harnessed
with ropes, and placed so far apart that an immense space was needed to
turn the carriage.

The Prince of Saxe-Gotha was long and thin. In spite of his great age,
he was enough of a dandy to order at Paris, from our hairdresser
Michalon, some pretty little wigs of youthful blonde, curled like the
hair of Cupid; but, apart from this, he was an excellent man. I
recollect, a propos of the noble German ladies, to have seen at the court
theater at Fontainebleau a princess of the Confederation who was being
presented to their Majesties. The toilet of her Highness announced an
immense progress in the elegance of civilization beyond the Rhine; for,
renouncing the Gothic hoops, the princess had adopted the very latest
fashions, and, though nearly seventy years of age, wore a dress of black
lace over red satin, and her coiffure consisted of a white muslin veil,
fastened by a wreath of roses, in the style of the vestals of the opera.
She had with her a granddaughter, brilliant with the charm of youth, and
admired by the whole court, although her costume was less stylish than
that of her grandmother.

I heard her Majesty, the Empress Josephine, relate one day that she had
much difficulty in repressing a smile when, among a number of German
princesses presented to her, one was announced under the name of
Cunegonde [Cunegonde was the mistress of Candide in Voltaire's novel of
Candide.] Her Majesty added that, when she saw the princess take her
seat, she imagined she saw her lean to one side. Assuredly the Empress
had read the adventures of Candide and the daughter of the very noble
baron of Thunder-Ten-Trunck.

At Paris, in the spring of 1806, I saw almost as many members of the
Confederation as I had seen in the capitals of Bavaria and Wurtemburg.
A French name had the precedence among these names of foreign princes.
It was that of Prince Murat, who in the month of March was made Grand-
duke of Berg and Cleves. After Prince Louis of Bavaria, arrived the
hereditary prince of Baden, who came to Paris to marry a niece of the

At the beginning this union was not happy. The Princess Stephanie (de
Beauharnais) was a very pretty woman, graceful and witty; and the Emperor
had wished to make a great lady of her, and had married her without
consulting her wishes. Prince Charles-Louis-Frederic was then twenty
years of age, and though exceedingly good, brave, and generous, and
possessing many admirable traits, was heavy and phlegmatic, ever
maintaining an icy gravity, and entirely destitute of the qualities which
would attract a young princess accustomed to the brilliant elegance of
the imperial court.

The marriage took place in April, to the great satisfaction of the
prince, who that day appeared to do violence to his usual gravity, and
even allowed a smile to approach his lips. The day passed off very well;
but, when the time came for retiring, the princess refused to let him
share her room, and for eight days was inexorable.

He was told that the princess did not like the arrangement of his hair,
and that nothing inspired her with more aversion than a queue; upon which
the good prince hastened to have his hair cut close, but when she saw him
thus shorn, she laughed immoderately, and exclaimed that he was more ugly
a la Titus than he was before. It was impossible that the intelligence
and the kind heart of the princess could fail to appreciate the good and
solid qualities of her husband; she learned to love him as tenderly as
she was loved, and I am assured that the august couple lived on excellent

Three months after this marriage, the prince left his wife to follow the
Emperor, first on the campaign in Prussia, and afterwards in Poland. The
death of his grandfather, which happened some time after the Austrian
campaign of 1809, put him in possession of the grand duchy, whereupon he
resigned the command of his troops to his uncle the Count of Hochberg,
and returned to his government, never more to leave it.

I saw him again with the princess at Erfurt, where they told me he had
become jealous of the Emperor Alexander, who paid assiduous court to his
wife; at which the prince took alarm and abruptly left Erfurt, carrying
with him the princess, of whom it must in justice be said that there had
been on her part not the slightest imprudence to arouse this jealousy,
which seems very pardonable, however, in the husband of so charming a

The prince's health was always delicate, and from his earliest youth
alarming symptoms had been noticed in him; and this physical condition
was no doubt, in a great measure, the main source of the melancholy which
marked his character. He died in 1818, after a very long and painful
illness, during which his wife nursed him with the most affectionate
care, leaving four children, two sons and two daughters. The two sons
died young, and would have left the grand duchy of Baden without heirs,
if the Counts Hochberg had not been recognized as members of the
ducal family. The grand-duchess is to-day devoting her life to the
education of her daughters, who promise to equal her in graces and
virtues. The nuptials of the Prince and Princess of Baden were
celebrated by brilliant fetes; at Rambouillet took place a great hunting-
party, in which their Majesties, with many members of their family, and
all the princes of Baden, Cleves, etc., traversed on foot the forests of

I recollect another hunting-party, which took place about the same time
in the forest of Saint-Germain, to which the Emperor invited the
ambassador of the Sublime Porte, then just arrived at Paris. His Turkish
Excellency followed the chase with ardor, but without moving a muscle of
his austere countenance. The animal having been brought to bay, his
Majesty had a gun handed to the Turkish ambassador, that he might have,
the honor of firing the first shot; but he refused, not conceiving,
doubtless, that any pleasure could be found in slaying at short range a
poor, exhausted animal, who no longer had the power to protect itself,
even by flight.


The Emperor remained only a few days at Paris, after our return from
Italy, before setting out again for the camp of Boulogne. The fetes of
Milan had not prevented him from maturing his political plans, and it was
suspected that not without good reason had he broken down his horses
between Turin and Paris. These reasons were plainly evident, when it was
learned that Austria had entered secretly into the coalition of Russia
and England against the Emperor. The army collected in the camp of
Boulogne received orders to march on the Rhine, and his Majesty departed
to rejoin his troops about the end of September. As was his custom, he
informed us only an hour in advance of his departure; and it was curious
to observe the contrast of the confusion which preceded this moment with
the silence that followed it. Hardly was the order given, than each one
busied himself hastily with his own wants and those of his Majesty; and
nothing could be heard in the corridors but the sound of domestics coming
and going, the noise of cases being nailed down, and boxes being carried
out. In the courts appeared a great number of carriages and wagons, with
men harnessing them, the scene lighted by torches, and everywhere oaths
and cries of impatience; while the women, each in her own room, were
sadly occupied with the departure of husband, son, or brother. During
all these preparations the Emperor was making his adieux to her Majesty
the Empress, or taking a few moments of repose; but at the appointed hour
he rose, was dressed, and entered his carriage. Soon after everything
was silent in the chateau, and only a few isolated persons could be seen
flitting about like shadows; silence had succeeded to noise, solitude to
the bustle of a brilliant and numerous court. Next morning this deep
silence was broken only by a few scattered women who sought each other
with pale faces and eyes full of tears, to communicate their grief and
share their apprehensions. Many courtiers, who were not of the party,
arrived to make their court, and were stupefied on learning of his
Majesty's absence, feeling as if the sun could not have risen that day.

The Emperor went without halting as far as Strasburg; and the day after
his arrival in this town, the army began to file out over the bridge of

On the evening before this march, the Emperor had ordered the general
officers to be on the banks of the Rhine on the following day, at exactly
six in the morning. An hour before that set for the rendezvous, his
Majesty, notwithstanding the rain which fell in torrents, went alone to
the head of the bridge, to assure himself of the execution of the orders
he had given, and stood exposed to this rain without moving, till the
first divisions commenced to file out over the bridge. He was so
drenched that the drops which fell from his clothing ran down under his
horse, and there formed a little waterfall; and his cocked hat was so wet
that the back of it drooped over his shoulders, like the large felt hats
of the coal-burners of Paris. The generals whom he was awaiting gathered
around him; and when he saw them assembled, he said, "All goes well,
messieurs; this is a new step taken in the direction of our enemies; but
where is Vandamme? Why is he not here? Can he be dead?" No one said a
word. "Answer me, what has become of Vandamme? "General Chardon,
general of the vanguard, much loved by the Emperor, replied, "I think,
Sire, that General Vandamme is still asleep; we drank together last
evening a dozen bottles of Rhine wine, and doubtless"--"He does very well
to drink, sir; but he is wrong to sleep when I am waiting for him."
General Chardon prepared to send an aide-de-camp to his companion in
arms; but the Emperor prevented him, saying, "Let Vandamme sleep; I will
speak to him later." At this moment General Vandamme appeared. "Well,
here you are, sir; you seem to have forgotten the order that I gave
yesterday."--"Sire, this is the first time this has happened, and"--
"And to avoid a repetition of it, you will go and fight under the banner
of the King of Wurtemburg; I hope you will give them lessons in

General Vandamme withdrew, not without great chagrin, and repaired to the
army of Wurtemburg, where he performed prodigies of valor. After the
campaign he returned to the Emperor, his breast covered with decorations,
bearing a letter from the King of Wurtemburg to his Majesty, who, after
reading it, said to Vandamme: "General, never forget that, if I admire
the brave, I do not admire those who sleep while I await them." He
pressed the general's hand, and invited him to breakfast, in company with
General Chardon, who was as much gratified by this return to favor as was
his friend.

On the journey to Augsburg, the Emperor, who had set out in advance, made
such speed that his household could not keep up with him; and
consequently he passed the night, without attendants or baggage, in the
best house of a very poor village. When we reached his Majesty next day,
he received us laughing, and threatened to have us taken up as stragglers
by the provost guard.

From Augsburg the Emperor went to the camp before Ulm, and made
preparations to besiege that place.

A short distance from the town a fierce and obstinate engagement took
place between the French and Austrians, and had lasted two hours, when
cries of 'Vive l'Empereur!' were suddenly heard. This name, which
invariably carried terror into the enemy's ranks, and always imparted
fresh courage to our soldiers, now electrified them to such an extent
that they put the Austrians to flight, while the Emperor showed himself
in the front ranks, crying "Forward," and making signs to the soldiers to
advance, his Majesty's horse disappearing from time to time in the smoke
of the cannon. During this furious charge, the Emperor found himself
near a grenadier who was terribly wounded; and yet this brave fellow
still shouted with the others, "Forward! forward!"

The Emperor drew near him, and threw his military cloak over him, saying,
"Try to bring it back to me, and I will give you in exchange the cross
that you have just won." The grenadier, who knew that he was mortally
wounded, replied that the shroud he had just received was worth as much
as the decoration, and expired, wrapped in the imperial mantle.

At the close of the battle, the Emperor had this grenadier, who was also
a veteran of the army of Egypt, borne from the field, and ordered that he
should be interred in the cloak.

Another soldier, not less courageous than the one of whom I have just
spoken, also received from his Majesty marks of distinction. The day
after the combat before Ulm, the Emperor, in visiting the ambulances, had
his attention attracted by a, cannoneer of light artillery, who had lost
one leg, but in spite of this was still shouting with all his might,
'Vive l'Empereur!' He approached the soldier and said to him, "Is this,
then, all that you have to say to me?"--"No, Sire, I can also tell you
that I, I alone, have dismounted four pieces of the Austrian cannon; and
it is the pleasure of seeing them silenced which makes me forget that I
must soon close my eyes forever." The Emperor, moved by such fortitude,
gave his cross to the cannoneer, noted the names of his parents, and said
to him, "If you recover, the Hotel des Invalides is at your service."
"Thanks, Sire, but the loss of blood has been too great; my pension will
not cost you very dear; I know well that I must soon be off duty, but
long live the Emperor all the same!" Unfortunately this brave man
realized his real condition only too well, for he did not survive the
amputation of his leg.

We followed the Emperor into Ulm after the occupation of that place, and
saw a hostile army of more than thirty thousand men lay down their arms
at the feet of his Majesty, as they defiled before him; and I have never
beheld a more imposing sight. The Emperor was seated on his horse, a few
steps in front of his staff, his countenance wearing a calm and grave
expression, in spite of which the joy which filled his heart was apparent
in his glance.

He raised his hat every moment to return the salutes of the superior
officers of the Austrian troops. When the Imperial Guard entered
Augsburg, eighty grenadiers marched at the head of the columns, each
bearing a banner of the enemy.

The Emperor, on his arrival at Munich, was welcomed with the greatest
respect by his ally, the Elector of Bavaria. His Majesty went several
times to the theater and the hunt, and gave a concert to the ladies of
the court. It was, as has been since ascertained, during this stay of
the Emperor at Munich that the Emperor Alexander and the King of Prussia
pledged themselves at Potsdam, on the tomb of Frederick the Great, to
unite their efforts against his Majesty.

A year later Napoleon also made a visit to the tomb of the great

The taking of Ulm had finished the conquest of the Austrians, and opened
to the Emperor the gates of Vienna: but meanwhile the Russians were
advancing by forced marches to the help of their allies; his Majesty
hastened to meet them, and the 1st of December the two hostile armies
found themselves face to face. By one of those happy coincidences made
only for the Emperor, the day of the battle of Austerlitz was also the
anniversary of the coronation.

I do not remember why there was no tent for the Emperor at Austerlitz;
but the soldiers made a kind of barrack of limbs of trees, with an
opening in the top for the passage of the smoke. His Majesty, though he
had only straw for his bed, was so exhausted after having passed the day
on horseback on the heights of Santon, that on the eve of the battle he
was sleeping soundly, when General Savary, one of his aides-de-camp,
entered, to give an account of the mission with which he had been
charged; and the general was obliged to touch his shoulder, and shake
him, in order to rouse him. He then rose, and mounted his horse to visit
his advance posts. The night was dark; but the whole camp was lighted up
as if by enchantment, for each soldier put a bundle of straw on the end
of his bayonet, and all these firebrands were kindled in less time than
it takes to describe it. The Emperor rode along the whole line, speaking
to those soldiers whom he recognized. "Be to-morrow what you have always
been, my brave fellows," said he, "and the Russians are ours; we have
them!" The air resounded with cries of 'Vive l'Empereur', and there was
neither officer nor soldier who did not count on a victory next day.

His Majesty, on visiting the line of battle, where there had been no
provisions for forty-eight hours (for that day there had been distributed
only one loaf of ammunition bread for every eight men), saw, while
passing from bivouac to bivouac, soldiers roasting potatoes in the ashes.
Finding himself before the Fourth Regiment of the line, of which his
brother was colonel, the Emperor said to a grenadier of the second
battalion, as he took from the fire and ate one of the potatoes of the
squad, "Are you satisfied with these pigeons?"--"Humph! They are at least
better than nothing; though they are very much like Lenten food."--"Well,
old fellow," replied his Majesty to the soldier, pointing to the fires of
the enemy, "help me to dislodge those rascals over there, and we will
have a Mardi Gras at Vienna."

The Emperor returned to his quarters, went to bed again, and slept until
three o'clock in the morning, while his suite collected around a bivouac
fire near his Majesty's barracks, and slept on the ground, wrapped in
their cloaks, for the night was extremely cold. For four days I had not
closed my eyes, and I was just falling asleep, when about three o'clock
the Emperor asked me for punch. I would have given the whole empire of
Austria to have rested another hour; but notwithstanding this, I carried
his Majesty the punch, which I made by the bivouac fire, and the Emperor
insisted that Marshal Berthier should also partake of it; the remainder I
divided with the attendants. Between four and five o'clock the Emperor
ordered the first movements of his army, and all were on foot in a few
moments, and each at his post; aides-de-camp and orderly officers were
seen galloping in all directions, and the battle was begun.

I will not enter into the details of this glorious day, which, according
to the expression of the Emperor himself, terminated the campaign by a
thunderbolt. Not one of the plans of the Emperor failed in execution,
and in a few hours the French were masters of the field of battle and of
the whole of Germany.

The brave General Rapp was wounded at Austerlitz, as he was in every
battle in which he took part, and was carried to the chateau of
Austerlitz, where the Emperor visited him in the evening, and returned to
pass the night in the chateau.

Two days after, the Emperor Francis sought an audience of his Majesty, to
demand peace; and before the end of December a treaty was concluded, by
which, the Elector of Bavaria and the Duke of Wurtemburg, faithful allies
of the Emperor Napoleon, were made kings. In return for this elevation,
of which he alone was the author, his Majesty demanded and obtained for
Prince Eugene, viceroy of Italy, the hand of the Princess Augusta Amelia
of Bavaria.

During his sojourn at Vienna, the Emperor had established his
headquarters at Schoenbrunn, the name of which has become celebrated by
the numerous sojourns of his Majesty there, and is to-day, by a singular
coincidence, the residence of his son. [The Duke de Reichstadt, born
King of Rome, died July, 1832, soon after Constant wrote.]

I am not certain whether it was during this first sojourn at Schoenbrunn
that his Majesty had the extraordinary encounter that I shall now relate.
His Majesty, in the uniform of colonel of the chasseurs of the guard,
rode every day on horseback, and one morning, while on the road to
Vienna, saw approaching a clergyman, accompanied by a woman weeping
bitterly, who did not recognize him. Napoleon approached the carriage,
and inquired the cause of her grief, and the object and end of her
journey. "Monsieur," replied she, "I live at a village two leagues from
here, in a house which has been pillaged by soldiers, and my gardener has
been killed. I am now on my way to demand a safeguard from your Emperor,
who knew my family well, and is under great obligations to them."--"What
is your name, Madame?"--"De Bunny. I am the daughter of Monsieur de
Marbeuf, former governor of Corsica."--"I am charmed, Madame," replied
Napoleon, "to find an opportunity of serving you. I am the Emperor."
Madame de Bunny remained speechless with astonishment; but Napoleon
reassured her, and continuing his route, requested her to go on and await
him at his headquarters. On his return he received her, and treated her
with remarkable kindness, gave her an escort of the chasseurs of the
guard, and dismissed her happy and satisfied.

As soon as the day of Austerlitz was gained, the Emperor hastened to send
the courier Moustache to France to announce the news to the Empress, who
was then at the chateau of Saint-Cloud. It was nine o'clock in the
evening when loud cries of joy were suddenly heard, and the galloping of
a horse at full speed, accompanied by the sound of bells, and repeated
blows of the whip which announced a courier. The Empress, who was
awaiting with the greatest impatience news from the army, rushed to the
window, opened it hurriedly, and the words victory and Austerlitz fell on
her ears. Eager to know the details, she ran down the steps, followed by
her ladies; and Moustache in the most excited manner related the
marvelous news, and handed her Majesty the Emperor's letter, which
Josephine read, and then drawing a handsome diamond ring from her finger,
gave it to the courier. Poor Moustache had galloped more than fifty
leagues that day, and was so exhausted that he had to be lifted from his
horse and placed in bed, which it required four persons to accomplish.
His last horse, which he had doubtless spared less than the others, fell
dead in the court of the chateau.


The Emperor having left Stuttgard, stopped only twenty-four hours at
Carlsruhe, and forty-eight hours at Strasburg, and between that place and
Paris made only short halts, without manifesting his customary haste,
however, or requiring of the postilions the break-neck speed he usually

As we were ascending the hill of Meaux, and while the Emperor was so
engrossed in reading a book that he paid no attention to what was passing
on the road, a young girl threw herself against the door of his Majesty's
carriage, and clung there in spite of the efforts to remove her, not very
vigorous in truth, made by the cavaliers of the escort. At last she
succeeded in opening the door, and threw herself at the Emperor's feet.
The Emperor, much surprised, exclaimed, "What the devil does this foolish
creature want with me?" Then recognizing the young lady, after having
scrutinized her features more closely, he added in very evident anger,
"Ah, is it you again? will you never let me alone?" The young girl,
without being intimidated by this rude welcome, said through her sobs
that the only favor she now came to ask for her father was that his
prison might be changed, and that he might be removed from the Chateau
d'If, the dampness of which was ruining his health, to the citadel of
Strasburg. "No, no," cried the Emperor, "don't count on that. I have
many other things to do beside receiving visits from you. If I granted
you this demand, in eight days you would think of something else you
wished." The poor girl insisted, with a firmness worthy of better
success; but the Emperor was inflexible, and on arriving at the top of
the hill he said to her, "I hope you will now alight and let me proceed
on my journey. I regret it exceedingly, but what you demand of me is
impossible." And he thus dismissed her, refusing to listen longer.

While this was occurring I was ascending the hill on foot, a few paces
from his Majesty's carriage; and when this disagreeable scene was over,
the young lady, being forced to leave without having obtained what she
desired, passed on before me sobbing, and I recognized Mademoiselle
Lajolais, whom I had already seen in similar circumstances, but where her
courageous devotion to her parents had met with better success.

General Lajolais had been arrested, as well as all his family, on the
18th Fructidor. After being confined for twenty-eight months, he had
been tried at Strasburg by a council of war, held by order of the First
Consul, and acquitted unanimously.

Later, when the conspiracy of Generals Pichegru, Moreau, George Cadoudal,
and of Messieurs de Polignac, de Riviere, etc., were discovered, General
Lajolais, who was also concerned therein, was condemned to death. His
daughter and his wife were transferred from Strasburg to Paris by the
police, and Madame Lajolais was placed in the most rigorous close
confinement, while her daughter, now separated from her, took refuge with
friends of her family. It was then that this young person, barely
fourteen years old, displayed a courage and strength of character unusual
at her age; and on learning that her father was condemned to death, she
set out at four o'clock in the morning, without confiding her resolution
to any one, alone, on foot, and without a guide, with no one to introduce
her, and presented herself weeping at the chateau of Saint-Cloud, where
the Emperor then was.

She succeeded in gaining an entrance into the chateau only after much
opposition; but not allowing herself to be rebuffed by any obstacle, she
finally presented herself before me, saying, "Monsieur, I have been
promised that you would conduct me instantly to the Emperor" (I do not
know who had told her this). "I ask of you only this favor; do not
refuse it, I beg!" and moved by her confidence and her despair, I went to
inform her Majesty the Empress.

She was deeply touched by the resolution and the tears of one so young,
but did not dare, nevertheless, to promise her support at once, for fear
of awakening the anger of the Emperor, who was very much incensed against
those who were concerned in this conspiracy, and ordered me to say to the
young daughter of Lajolais that she was grieved to be able to do nothing
for her just then; but that she might return to Saint-Cloud the next day
at five o'clock in the morning, and meanwhile she and Queen Hortense
would consult together as to the best means of placing her in the
Emperor's way. The young girl returned next day at the appointed hour;
and her Majesty the Empress had her stationed in the green saloon, and
there she awaited ten hours, the moment when the Emperor, coming out from
the council-chamber, would cross this room to enter his cabinet.

The Empress and her august daughter gave orders that breakfast, and then
dinner, should be served to her, and came in person to beg her to take
some nourishment; but their entreaties were all in vain, for the poor
girl had no other thought, no other desire, than that of obtaining her
father's life. At last, at five o'clock in the afternoon, the Emperor
appeared; and a sign being made to Mademoiselle Lajolais by which she
could designate the Emperor, who was surrounded by several councilors of
state and officers of his household, she sprang towards him; and there
followed a touching scene, which lasted a long while. The young girl,
prostrating herself at the feet of the Emperor, supplicated him with
clasped hands, and in the most touching terms, to grant her father's
pardon. The Emperor at first repulsed her, and said in a tone of great
severity, "Your father is a traitor; this is the second time he has
committed a crime against the state; I can grant you nothing."
Mademoiselle Lajolais replied to this outburst of the Emperor, "The first
time my father was tried and found innocent; this time it is his pardon I
implore!" Finally the Emperor, conquered by so much courage and
devotion, and a little fatigued besides by an interview which the
perseverance of the young girl would doubtless have prolonged
indefinitely, yielded to her prayers, and the life of General Lajolais
was spared.

[It is well known that the sentence of General Lajolais was
commuted to four years detention in a prison of state, that his
property was confiscated and sold, and that he died in the Chateau
d'If much beyond the time set for the expiration of his captivity.--
Note by CONSTANT.]

Exhausted by fatigue and hunger, the daughter fell unconscious at the
Emperor's feet; he himself raised her, gave her every attention, and
presenting her to the persons who witnessed this scene, praised her
filial piety in unmeasured terms.

His Majesty at once gave orders that she should be reconducted to Paris,
and several superior officers disputed with each other the pleasure of
accompanying her. Generals Wolff, aide-de-camp of Prince Louis, and
Lavalette were charged with this duty, and conducted her to the
conciergerie where her father was confined. On entering his cell, she
threw herself on his neck and tried to tell him of the pardon she had
just obtained; but overcome by so many emotions, she was unable to utter
a word, and it was General Lavalette

[Marie Chamans, Count de Lavalette, was born in Paris, 1769.
Entered the army 1792, made Captain at Arcola 1796, and served in
Egyptian campaign. Married Emilie de Beauharnais, a niece of
Josephine. Postmaster-general, 1800-1814. Condemned to death
during the Hundred Days, he escaped from prison in his wife's dress.
His wife was tried, but became insane from excitement. He was
pardoned 1822, and died 1830, leaving two volumes of Memoirs.]

who announced to the prisoner what he owed to the brave persistence of
his daughter. The next day she obtained, through the favor of the
Empress Josephine, the liberty of her mother, who was to have been

Having obtained the life of her father and the liberty of her mother, as
I have just related, she still further exerted herself to save their
companions in misfortune, who had been condemned to death, and for this
purpose joined the ladies of Brittany, who had been led to seek her
cooperation by the success of her former petitions, and went with them to
Malmaison to beg these additional pardons.

These ladies had succeeded in getting the execution of the condemned
delayed for two hours, with the hope that the Empress Josephine would be
able to influence the Emperor; but he remained inflexible, and their
generous attempt met with no success, whereupon Mademoiselle Lajolais
returned to Paris, much grieved that she had not been able to snatch a
few more unfortunates from the rigor of the law.

I have already said two things which I am compelled to repeat here: the
first is, that, not feeling obliged to relate events in their
chronological order, I shall narrate them as they present themselves to
my memory; the second is, that I deem it both an obligation and a duty
which I owe to the Emperor to relate every event which may serve to make
his true character better known, and which has been omitted, whether
involuntarily or by design, by those who have written his life. I care
little if I am accused of monotony on this subject, or of writing only a
panegyric; but, if this should be done, I would reply: So much the worse
for him who grows weary of the recital of good deeds! I have undertaken
to tell the truth concerning the Emperor, be it good or bad; and every
reader who expects to find in my memoirs of the Emperor only evil, as
well as he who expects to find only good, will be wise to go no farther,
for I have firmly resolved to relate all that I know; and it is not my
fault if the kind acts performed by the Emperor are so numerous that my
recitals should often turn to praises.

I thought it best to make these short observations before giving an
account of another pardon granted by his Majesty at the time of the
coronation, and which the story of Mademoiselle Lajolais has recalled to
my recollection.

On the day of the last distribution of the decoration of the Legion of
Honor in the Church of the Invalides, as the Emperor was about to retire
at the conclusion of this imposing ceremony, a very young man threw
himself on his knees on the steps of the throne, crying out, "Pardon,
pardon for my father." His Majesty, touched by his interesting
countenance and deep emotion, approached him and attempted to raise him;
but the young man still retained his beseeching posture, repeating his
demand in moving tones. "What is your father's name?" demanded the
Emperor. "Sire," replied the young man, hardly able to make himself
heard, "it is well known, and has been only too often calumniated by the
enemies of my father before your Majesty; but I swear that he is
innocent. I am the son of Hugues Destrem."--"Your father, sir, is
gravely compromised by his connection with incorrigible revolutionists;
but I will consider your application. Monsieur Destrem is happy in
having so devoted a son." The Emperor added a few consoling words, and
the young man retired with the certainty that his father would be
pardoned; but unfortunately this pardon which was granted by the Emperor
came too late, and Hugues Destrem, who had been transported to the Island
of Oleron after the attempt of the 3d Nivose, [The affair of the
infernal machine in the Rue Sainte Nicaise] in which he had taken no
part, died in his exile before he had even learned that the solicitations
of his son had met with such complete success.

On our return from the glorious campaign of Austerlitz, the commune of
Saint-Cloud, so favored by the sojourn of the court, had decided that it
would distinguish itself on this occasion, and take the opportunity of
manifesting its great affection for the Emperor.

The mayor of Saint-Cloud was Monsieur Barre, a well informed man, with a
very kind heart. Napoleon esteemed him highly, and took much pleasure in
his conversation, and he was sincerely regretted by his subordinates when
death removed him.

M. Barre had erected an arch of triumph, of simple but noble design, in
excellent taste, at the foot of the avenue leading to the palace, which
was adorned with the following inscription:


The evening on which the Emperor was expected, the mayor and his
associates, armed with the necessary harangue, passed a part of the night
at the foot of the monument. M. Barre, who was old and feeble, then
retired, after having placed as sentinel one of his associates, whose
duty it was to inform him of the arrival of the first courier; and a
ladder was placed across the entrance of the arch of triumph, so that no
one might pass under it before his Majesty. Unfortunately, the municipal
argus went to sleep; and the Emperor arrived in the early morning, and
passed by the side of the arch of triumph, much amused at the obstacle
which prevented his enjoying the distinguished honor which the good
inhabitants of Saint-Cloud had prepared for him.

On the day succeeding this event, a little drawing was circulated in the
palace representing the authorities asleep near the monument, a prominent
place being accorded the ladder, which barred the passage, and underneath
was written the arch barre, alluding to the name of the mayor. As for
the inscription, they had travestied it in this manner:


Their Majesties were much amused by this episode.

While the court was at Saint-Cloud, the Emperor, who had worked very late
one evening with Monsieur de Talleyrand, invited the latter to sleep at
the chateau; but the prince, who preferred returning to Paris, refused,
giving as an excuse that the beds had a very disagreeable odor. There
was no truth whatever in this statement, for there was, as may be
believed, the greatest care taken of the furniture, even in the store-
rooms of the different imperial palaces; and the reason assigned by M. de
Talleyrand being given at random, he could just as well have given any
other; but, nevertheless, the remark struck the Emperor's attention, and
that evening on entering his bedroom he complained that his bed had an
unpleasant odor. I assured him to the contrary, and told his Majesty
that he would next day be convinced of his error; but, far from being
persuaded, the Emperor, when he rose next morning, repeated the assertion
that his bed had a very disagreeable odor, and that it was absolutely
necessary to change it. M. Charvet, concierge of the palace, was at once
summoned; his Majesty complained of his bed, and ordered another to be

M. Desmasis, keeper of the furniture-room, was also called, who examined
mattress, feather-beds, and covering, turned and returned them in every
direction; other persons did the same, and each was convinced that there
was no odor about his Majesty's bed. In spite of so many witnesses to
the contrary, the Emperor, not because he made it a point of honor not to
have what he had asserted proved false, but merely from a caprice to
which he was very subject, persisted in his first idea, and required his
bed to be changed. Seeing that it was necessary to obey, I sent this bed
to the Tuileries, and had the one which was there brought to the chateau
of Saint-Cloud. The Emperor was now satisfied, and, on his return to the
Tuileries, did not notice the exchange, and thought his bed in that
chateau very good; and the most amusing part of all was that the ladies
of the palace, having learned that the Emperor had complained of his bed,
all found an unbearable odor in theirs, and insisted that everything must
be overhauled, which created a small revolution. The caprices of
sovereigns are sometimes epidemic.


His Majesty was accustomed to say that one could always tell an honorable
man by his conduct to his wife, his children, and his servants; and I
hope it will appear from these memoirs that the Emperor conducted himself
as an honorable man, according to his own definition. He said, moreover,
that immorality was the most dangerous vice of a sovereign, because of
the evil example it set to his subjects. What he meant by immorality was
doubtless a scandalous publicity given to liaisons which might otherwise
have remained secret; for, as regards these liaisons themselves, he
withstood women no more than any other man when they threw themselves at
his head. Perhaps another man, surrounded by seductions, attacks, and
advances of all kinds, would have resisted these temptations still less.
Nevertheless, please God, I do not propose to defend his Majesty in this
respect. I will even admit, if you wish, that his conduct did not offer
an example in the most perfect accord with the morality of his
discourses; but it must be admitted also that it was somewhat to the
credit of a sovereign that he concealed, with the most scrupulous care,
his frailties from the public, lest they should be a subject of scandal,
or, what is worse, of imitation; and from his wife, to whom it would have
been a source of the deepest grief.

On this delicate subject I recall two or three occurrences which took
place, I think, about the period which my narrative has now reached.

The Empress Josephine was jealous, and, notwithstanding the prudence
which the Emperor exercised in his secret liaisons, could not remain in
entire ignorance of what was passing.

The Emperor had known at Genoa Madame Gazani, the daughter of an Italian
dancer, whom he continued to receive at Paris; and one day, having an
appointment with her in his private apartments, ordered me to remain in
his room, and to reply to whoever asked for him, even if it was her
Majesty the Empress herself, that he was engaged in his cabinet with a

The place of the interview was the apartment formerly occupied by
Bourrienne, communicating by a staircase which opened on his Majesty's
bedroom. This room had been arranged and decorated very plainly, and had
a second exit on the staircase called the black staircase, because it was
dark and badly lighted, and it was through this that Madame Gazani
entered, while the Emperor came in by the other door. They had been
together only a few moments when the Empress entered the Emperor's room,
and asked me what her husband was doing. "Madame, the Emperor is very
busy just now; he is working in his cabinet with a minister."--"Constant,
I wish to enter."--"That is impossible, Madame. I have received a formal
order not to disturb his Majesty, not even for her Majesty the Empress;"
whereupon she went away dissatisfied and somewhat irritated, and at the
end of half an hour returned; and, renewing her demand, I was obliged to
repeat my reply, and, though much distressed in witnessing the chagrin of
her Majesty the Empress, I could not disobey my orders. That evening on
retiring the Emperor said to me, in a very severe tone, that the Empress
had informed him she had learned from me, that, at the time she came to
question me in regard to him, he was closeted with a lady. Not at all
disturbed, I replied to the Emperor, that of course he could not believe
that. "No," replied the Emperor, returning to the friendly tone with
which he habitually honored me, "I know you well enough to be assured of
your discretion; but woe to the idiots who are gossiping, if I can get
hold of them." The next night the Empress entered, as the Emperor was
retiring, and his Majesty said to her in my presence, "It is very bad to
impute falsehood to poor Monsieur Constant; he is not the man to make up
such a tale as that you told me." The Empress, seated on the edge of the
bed, began to laugh, and put her pretty little hand over her husband's
mouth; and, as it was a matter concerning myself, I withdrew. For a few
days the Empress was cool and distant to me; but, as this was foreign to
her nature, she soon resumed the gracious manner which attached all
hearts to her.

The Emperor's liaison with Madame Gazani lasted nearly a year, but they
met only at long intervals.

The following instance of jealousy is not as personal to me as that which
I have just related.

Madame de Remusat, [Authoress of the well-known Memoirs. Born in Paris,
1780, died 1821. Her husband was first chamberlain to the Emperor.]
wife of one of the prefects of the palace, and one of the ladies of honor
to whom the Empress was most attached, found her one evening in tears and
despair, and waited in silence till her Majesty should condescend to tell
her the cause of this deep trouble. She had not long to wait, however;
for hardly had she entered the apartment than her Majesty exclaimed, "I
am sure that he is now with some woman. My dear friend," added she,
continuing to weep, "take this candle and let us go and listen at his
door. We will hear much." Madame de Remusat did all in her power to
dissuade her from this project, representing to her the lateness of the
hour, the darkness of the passage, and the danger they would run of being
surprised; but all in vain, her Majesty put the candle in her hand,
saying, "It is absolutely necessary that you should go with me, but, if
you are afraid, I will go in front." Madame de Remusat obeyed; and
behold the two ladies advancing on their tiptoes along the corridor, by
the light of a single candle flickering in the air. Having reached the
door of the Emperor's antechamber, they stopped, hardly daring to
breathe, and the Empress softly turned the knob; but, just as she put her
foot into the apartment, Roustan, who slept there and was then sleeping
soundly, gave a formidable and prolonged snore. These ladies had not
apparently remembered that they would find him there; and Madame de
Remusat, imagining that she already saw him leaping out of bed saber and
pistol in hand, turned and ran as fast as she could, still holding the
candle in her hand, and leaving the Empress in complete darkness, and did
not stop to take breath until she reached the Empress's bedroom, when she
remembered that the latter had been left in the corridor with no light.
Madame de Remusat went back to meet her, and saw her returning, holding
her sides with laughter, and forgetting her chagrin in the amusement
caused by this adventure. Madame de Remusat attempted to excuse herself.
"My dear friend," said her Majesty, "you only anticipated me, for that
pigheaded Roustan frightened me so that I should have run first, if you
had not been a greater coward than I."

I do not know what these ladies would have discovered if their courage
had not failed them before reaching the end of their expedition, but
probably nothing at all, for the Emperor rarely received at the Tuileries
any one for whom he had a temporary fancy. I have already stated that,
under the consulate, he had his meetings in a small house in the allee
des Veuves; and after he became Emperor, such meetings still took place
outside the chateau; and to these rendezvous he went incognito at night,
exposing himself to all the chances that a man runs in such adventures.

One evening, between eleven o'clock and midnight, the Emperor called me,
asked for a black frock coat and round hat, and ordered me to follow him;
and with Prince Murat as the third party, we entered a close carriage
with Caesar as driver, and only a single footman, both without livery.
After a short ride, the Emperor stopped in the rue de ---, alighted, went
a few steps farther, and entered a house alone, while the prince and I
remained in the carriage. Some hours passed, and we began to be uneasy;
for the life of the Emperor had been so often menaced, that it was very
natural to fear some snare or surprise, and imagination takes the reins
when beset by such fears. Prince Murat swore and cursed with all his
might, sometimes the imprudence of his Majesty, then his gallantry, then
the lady and her complaisance. I was not any better satisfied than he,
but being calmer I tried to quiet him; and at last, unable longer to
restrain his impatience, the prince sprang out of the carriage, and I
followed; but, just as his hand was on the knocker of the door, the
Emperor came out. It was then already broad daylight, and the Prince
informed him of our anxiety, and the reflections we had made upon his
rashness. "What childishness!" said his Majesty; "what is there to
fear? Wherever I am, am I not in my own house?"

It was as volunteers that any courtiers mentioned to the Emperor any
young and pretty persons who wished to make his acquaintance, for it was
in no wise in keeping with his character to give such commissions. I was
not enough of a courtier to think such an employment honorable, and never
voluntarily took part in any business of the kind.

It was not, however, for want of having been indirectly sounded, or even
openly solicited, by certain ladies who were ambitious of the title of
favorites, although this title would have given very few rights and
privileges with the Emperor; but I would never enter into such bargains,
restricting myself to the duties which my position imposed on me, and not
going beyond them; and, although his Majesty took pleasure in reviving
the usages of the old monarchy, the secret duties of the first valet de
chambre were not re-established, and I took care not to claim them.

Many others (not valets de chambre) were less scrupulous than I. General
L---- spoke to the Emperor one day of a very pretty girl whose mother
kept a gambling-house, and who desired to be presented to him; but the
Emperor received her once only, and a few days afterwards she was
married. Some time later his Majesty wished to see her again, and asked
for her; but the young woman replied that she did not belong to herself
any longer, and refused all the invitations and offers made to her. The
Emperor seemed in no wise dissatisfied, but on the contrary praised
Madame D---- for her fidelity to duty, and approved her conduct highly.

In 1804 her imperial highness Princess Murat had in her household a young
reader named Mademoiselle E----, seventeen or eighteen years of age,
tall, slender, well made, a brunette, with beautiful black eyes,
sprightly, and very coquettish. Some persons who thought it to their
interest to create differences between his Majesty and the Empress, his
wife, noticed with pleasure the inclination of this young reader to try
the power of her glances upon the Emperor, and his disposition to
encourage her; so they stirred up the fire adroitly, and one of them took
upon himself all the diplomacy of this affair. Propositions made through
a third party were at once accepted; and the beautiful E---- came to the
chateau secretly, but rarely, and remained there only two or three,
hours. When she became enceinte, the Emperor had a house rented for her
in the Rue Chantereine, where she bore a fine boy, upon whom was settled
at his birth an income of thirty thousand francs. He was confided at
first to the care of Madame I----, nurse of Prince Achille Murat, who
kept him three or four years, and then Monsieur de Meneval, his Majesty's
secretary, was ordered to provide for the education of this child; and
when the Emperor returned from the Island of Elba; the son of
Mademoiselle E---- was placed in the care of her Majesty, the Empress-
mother. The liaison of the Emperor with Mademoiselle E---- did not last
long. She came one day with her mother to Fontainebleau, where the court
then happened to be, went up to his Majesty's apartment, and asked me to
announce her; and the Emperor, being exceedingly displeased by this step,
directed me to say to Mademoiselle E---- that he forbade her to present
herself before him again without his permission, and not to remain a
moment longer at Fontainebleau. In spite of this harshness to the
mother, the Emperor loved the son tenderly; and I brought him to him
often, on which occasions he caressed the child, gave him a great many
dainties, and was much amused by his vivacity and repartees, which showed
remarkable intelligence for his age.

This child and that of the Polish beauty, of whom I will speak later,

[This son of Countess Walewska became Count Walewski, a leading
statesman of the Second Empire, ambassador to London, 1852, minister
of foreign affairs, 1855, minister of state, 1860, president of
Corps Legislatif, 1865. Born 1810, died 1868.--TRANS.]

and the King of Rome, were the only children of the Emperor. He never
had a daughter, and I believe he desired none.

I have seen it stated, I know not where, that the Emperor, during the
long stay we made at Boulogne, indemnified himself at night for the
labors of the day with a beautiful Italian, and I will now relate what I
know of this adventure. His Majesty complained one morning, while I was
dressing him, in the presence of Prince Murat, that he saw none but
moustached faces, which he said was very tiresome; and the prince, ever
ready on occasions of this kind to offer his services to his brother-in-
law, spoke to him of a handsome and attractive Genoese lady, who had the
greatest desire to see his Majesty. The Emperor laughingly granted a
tete-a-tete, the prince himself offering to send the message; and two
days later, by his kind assistance, the lady arrived, and was installed
in the upper town. The Emperor, who lodged at Pont des Briques, ordered
me one evening to take a carriage, and find this protegee of Prince
Murat. I obeyed, and brought the beautiful Genoese, who, to avoid
scandal, although it was a dark night, was introduced through a little
garden behind his Majesty's apartments. The poor woman was much excited,
and shed tears, but controlled herself quickly on finding that she was
kindly received, and the interview was prolonged until three o'clock in
the morning, when I was called to carry her back. She returned
afterwards four or five times, and was with the Emperor afterwards at
Rambouillet. She was gentle, simple, credulous, and not at all
intriguing, and did not try to draw any benefit from a liaison which at
best was only temporary.

Another of these favorites of the moment, who threw themselves so to
speak into the arms of the Emperor without giving him time to make his
court to them, was Mademoiselle L. B----, a very pretty girl. She was
intelligent, and possessed a kind heart, and, had she received a less
frivolous education, would doubtless have been an estimable woman; but I
have reason to believe that her mother had from the first the design of
acquiring a protector for her second husband, by utilizing the youth and
attractions of the daughter of her first. I do not now recall her name,
but she was of a noble family, of which fact the mother and daughter were
very proud, and the young girl was a good musician, and sang agreeably;
but, which appeared to me as ridiculous as indecent, she danced the
ballet before a large company in her mother's house, in a costume almost
as light as those of the opera, with castanets or tambourines, and ended
her dance with a multiplicity of attitudes and graces. With such an
education she naturally thought her position not at all unusual, and was
very much chagrined at the short duration of her liaison with the
Emperor; while the mother was in despair, and said to me with disgusting
simplicity, "See my poor Lise, how she has ruined her complexion in her
vexation at seeing herself neglected, poor child. How good you will be,
if you can manage to have her sent for." To secure an interview for
which the mother and daughter were both so desirous, they came together
to the chapel at Saint-Cloud, and during mass the poor Lise threw glances
at the Emperor which made the young ladies blush who witnessed them, and
were, nevertheless, all in vain, for the Emperor remained unmoved.

Colonel L. B---- was aide-de-camp to General L----, the governor of
Saint-Cloud; and the general was a widower, which facts alone furnish an
excuse for the intimacy of his only daughter with the family of L. B----,
which astonished me greatly. One day, when I was dining at the house of
the colonel, with his wife, his step-daughter, and Mademoiselle L----,
the general sent for his aides-de-camp, and I was left alone, with the
ladies; who so earnestly begged me to accompany them on a visit to
Mademoiselle le Normand, that it would have been impolite to refuse,
consequently we ordered a carriage and went to the Rue de Tournon.
Mademoiselle L. B---- was first to enter the Sybil's cave, where she
remained a long while, but on her return was very reserved as to any
communications made to her, though Mademoiselle L---- told us very
frankly that she had good news, and would soon marry the man she loved,
which event soon occurred. These ladies having urged me to consult the
prophetess in my turn, I perceived plainly that I was recognized; for
Mademoiselle le Normand at once discovered in my hand that I had the
happiness of being near a great man and being highly esteemed by him,
adding much other nonsense of the same kind, which was so tiresome that I
thanked her, and made my adieux as quickly as possible.


While the Emperor was giving crowns to his brothers and sisters,--to
Prince Louis, the throne of Holland; Naples to Prince Joseph; the Duchy
of Berg to Prince Murat; to the Princess Eliza, Lucca and Massa-Carrara;
and Guastalla to the Princess Pauline Borghese; and while, by means of
treaties and family alliances, he was assuring still more the co-
operation of the different states which had entered into the
Confederation of the Rhine,--war was renewed between France and Prussia.
It is not my province to investigate the causes of this war, nor to
decide which first gave cause of offense.

All I can certify is this, frequently at the Tuileries, and on the
campaign, I heard the Emperor, in conversation with his intimate friends,
accuse the old Duke of Brunswick, whose name had been so odious in France
since 1792, and also the young and beautiful Queen of Prussia, of having
influenced King Frederic William to break the treaty of peace. The Queen
was, according to the Emperor, more disposed to war than General Blucher
himself. She wore the uniform of the regiment to which she had given her
name, appeared at all reviews, and commanded the maneuvers.

We left Paris at the end of September. I will not enter into the details
of this wonderful campaign, in which the Emperor in an incredibly short
time crushed to pieces an army of one hundred and fifty thousand men,
perfectly disciplined, full of enthusiasm and courage, and fighting in
defense of their country. In one of the first battles, the young Prince
Louis of Prussia, brother of the king, was killed at the head of his
troops by Guinde, quartermaster of the Tenth Hussars. The prince fought
hand to hand with this brave sub-officer, who said to him, "Surrender,
Colonel, or you are a dead man," to which Prince Louis replied only by a
saber stroke, whereupon Guinde plunged his own into the body of his
opponent, and he fell dead on the spot.

On this campaign, as the roads had become very rough from the continual
passage of artillery, my carriage was one day upset, and one of the
Emperor's hats fell out of the door; but a regiment which happened to
pass along the same road having recognized the hat from its peculiar
shape, my carriage was immediately set up again, "For," said these brave
soldiers, "we cannot leave the first valet of the little corporal in
trouble;" and the hat, after passing through many hands, was at last
restored to me before my departure.

On the Emperor's arrival at the plateau of Weimar, he arranged his army
in line of battle, and bivouacked in the midst of his guard. About two
o'clock in the morning he arose and went on foot to examine the work on a
road that was being cut in the rock for the transportation of artillery,
and after remaining nearly an hour with the workmen, decided to take a
look at the nearest advance posts before returning to his bivouac.

This round, which the Emperor insisted on making alone and with no
escort, came near costing him his life. The night was so dark that the
sentinels of the camp could not see ten steps in front of them; and the
first, hearing some one in the darkness approaching our line, called out
"Qui vive?" and prepared to fire. The Emperor being lost in thought, as
he himself told me afterwards, did not notice the sentinel's challenge,
and made no reply until a ball, whistling by his ears, woke him from his
reverie, when immediately perceiving his danger, he threw himself face
downwards on the ground, which was a very wise precaution; for hardly had
his Majesty placed himself in this position, than other balls passed over
his head, the discharge of the first sentinel having been repeated by the
whole line. This first fire over, the Emperor rose, walked towards the
nearest post, and made himself known.

His Majesty was still there when the soldier who had fired on him joined
them, being just relieved at his post; he was a young grenadier of the
line. The Emperor ordered him to approach, and, pinching his cheeks
hard, exclaimed, "What, you scamp, you took me for a Prussian! This
rascal does not throw away his powder on sparrows; he shoots only at
emperors." The poor soldier was completely overcome with the idea that
he might have killed the little corporal, whom he adored as much as did
the rest of the army; and it was with great difficulty he could say,
"Pardon, Sire, but I was obeying orders; and if you did not answer, it
was not my fault. I was compelled to have the countersign, and you would
not give it." The Emperor reassured him with a smile, and said, as he
left the post, "My brave boy, I do not reproach you. That was pretty

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