The Private Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete

Part 2 out of 15

out, incognito, in Paris, it was Caesar who was his escort, without
livery. It is said in the Memorial de Sainte Helene that the Emperor,
in speaking of Caesar, stated that he was in a complete state of
intoxication, and took the noise of the explosion for an artillery
salute, nor did he know until the next day what had taken place. This is
entirely untrue, and the Emperor was incorrectly informed in regard to
his coachman. Caesar drove the First Consul very rapidly because he had
been ordered to do so, and because he considered his honor interested in
not allowing the obstacle which the infernal machine placed in his way
before the explosion to delay him. The evening of the event I saw
Caesar, who was perfectly sober, and he himself related to me part of the
details that I have just given. A few days after, four or five hundred
hackney-coachmen clubbed together to honor him, and gave him a
magnificent dinner at twenty-four francs per head.

While the infernal plot was being executed, and costing the lies of many
innocent citizens, without attaining the object the assassins proposed,
I was, as I have said, at the Theatre Feydeau, where I had prepared
myself to enjoy at my leisure an entire evening of freedom, amid the
pleasures of the stage, for which I had all my life a great liking.
Scarcely had I seated myself comfortably, however, when the box-keeper
entered in the greatest excitement, crying out, "Monsieur Constant, it is
said that they have just blown up the First Consul; there has been a
terrible explosion, and it is asserted that he is dead." These terrible
words were like a thunderbolt-to me. Not knowing what I did, I plunged
down-stairs, and, forgetting my hat, ran like mad to the chateau. While
crossing Rue Vivienne and the Palais Royal, I saw no extraordinary
disturbance; but in Rue Sainte Honore there was a very great tumult, and
I saw, borne away on litters, many dead and wounded, who had been at
first carried into the neighboring houses of Rue Sainte Nicaise. Many
groups had formed, and with one voice all were cursing the still unknown
authors of this dastardly attempt. Some accused the Jacobins of this,
because three months before they had placed the poniard in the hands of
Cerrachi, of Arena, and of Topino Lebrun; whilst others, less numerous
perhaps, thought the aristocrats, the Royalists, could alone be guilty of
this atrocity. I could give no time to these various accusations, except
as I was detained in forcing my way through an immense and closely packed
crowd, and as rapidly as possible went on, and in two seconds was at the
Carrousel. I threw myself against the wicket, but the two sentinels
instantly crossed bayonets before my breast. It was useless to cry out
that I was valet de chambre of the First Consul; for my bare head, my
wild manner, the disorder, both of my dress and ideas, appeared to them
suspicious, and they refused energetically and very obstinately to allow
me to enter. I then begged them to send for the gatekeeper of the
chateau; and as soon as he came, I was admitted, or rather rushed into
the chateau, where I learned what had just happened. A short time after
the First Consul arrived, and was immediately surrounded by his officers,
and by all his household, every one present being in the greatest state
of anxiety. When the First Consul alighted from his carriage he appeared
calm and smiling; he even wore an air of gayety. On entering the
vestibule he said to his officers, rubbing his hands, "Well, sirs, we
made a fine escape!" They shuddered with indignation and anger. He then
entered the grand saloon on the ground floor, where a large number of
counselors of state and-dignitaries had already assembled; but hardly had
they begun to express their congratulations, when he interrupted them,
and in so vehement a manner that he was heard outside the saloon. We
were told that after this council he had a lively altercation with
Fouche, Minister of Police, whom he reproached with his ignorance of
this plot, openly accusing the Jacobins of being the authors.

That evening, on retiring, the First Consul asked me laughingly if I was
afraid. "More than you were, my general," I replied; and I related to
him how I had heard the fatal news at the Feydeau, and had run without my
hat to the very wicket of the Carrousel, where the sentinels tried to
prevent my entering. He was amused at the oaths and abusive epithets
with which they had accompanied their defense of the gate, and at last
said to me, "After all, my dear Constant, you should not be angry with
them; they were only obeying orders. They are brave men, on whom I can
rely." The truth is, the Consular Guard was at this period no less
devoted than it has been since as the Imperial Guard. At the first rumor
of the great risk which the First Consul had run, all the soldiers of
that faithful band had gathered spontaneously in the court of the

After this melancholy catastrophe, which carried distress into all
France, and mourning into so many families, the entire police were
actively engaged in searching for the authors of the plot. The dwelling
of the First Consul was first put under surveillance, and we were
incessantly watched by spies, without suspecting it. All our walks, all
our visits, all our goings and comings, were known; and attention was
especially directed to our friends, and even our liaisons. But such was
the devotion of each and all to the person of the First Consul, such was
the affection that he so well knew how to inspire in those around him,
that not one of the persons attached to his service was for an instant
suspected of having a hand in this infamous attempt. Neither at this
time, nor in any other affair of this kind, were the members of his
household ever compromised; and never was the name of the lowest of his
servants ever found mixed up in criminal plots against a life so valued
and so glorious.

The minister of police suspected the Royalists of this attempt; but the
First Consul attributed it to the Jacobins, because they were already
guilty, he said, of crimes as odious. One hundred and thirty of the most
noted men of this party were transported on pure suspicion, and without
any form of trial. It is now known that the discovery, trial, and
execution of Saint Regent and Carbon, the true criminals, proved that the
conjectures of the minister were more correct than those of the chief of

The 4th Nivose, at noon, the First Consul held a grand review in the
Place Carrousel, where an innumerable crowd of citizens were collected to
behold, and also to testify their affection for his person, and their
indignation against the enemies who dared attack him only by
assassination. Hardly had he turned his horse towards the first line of
grenadiers of the Consular Guard, when their innumerable acclamations
rose on all sides. He rode along the ranks, at a walk, very slowly,
showing his appreciation, and replying by a few simple and affectionate
words to this effusion of popular joy; and cries of "Vive Bonaparte!
Vive the First Consul!" did not cease till after he had re-entered his

The conspirators who obstinately persisted, with so much animosity, in
attacking the life of the First Consul, could not have chosen a period in
which circumstances would have been more adverse to their plans than in
1800 and 1801, for then the Consul was beloved not only for his military
deeds, but still more for the hope of peace that he gave to France, which
hope was soon realized. As soon as the first rumor spread abroad that
peace had been concluded with Austria, the greater part of the
inhabitants of Paris gathered under the windows of the Pavilion of Flora.
Blessings and cries of gratitude and joy were heard on all sides; then
musicians assembled to give a serenade to the chief of state, and
proceeded to form themselves into orchestras; and there was dancing the
whole night through. I have never seen a sight more striking or more
joyous than the bird's-eye view of this improvised jubilee.

When in the month of October, the, peace of Amiens having been concluded
with England, France found herself delivered from all the wars that she
had maintained through so many years, and at the cost of so many
sacrifices, it would be impossible to form an idea of the joy which burst
forth on all sides. The decrees which ordered either the disarmament of
vessels of war, or the placing of the forts on a peace footing, were
welcomed as pledges of happiness and security. The day of the reception
of Lord Cornwallis, Ambassador of England, the First Consul ordered that
the greatest magnificence should be displayed. "It is necessary," he had
said the evening before, "to show these proud Britons that we are not
reduced to beggary." The fact is, the English, before setting foot on
the French continent, had expected to find only ruins, penury, and
misery. The whole of France had been described to them as being in the
most distressing condition, and they thought themselves on the point of
landing in a barbarous country. Their surprise was great when they saw
how many evils the First Consul had already repaired in so short a time,
and all the improvements that he still intended to carry out; and they
spread through their own country the report of what they themselves
called the prodigies of the First Consul, by which thousands of their
compatriots were influenced to come and judge with their own eyes. At
the moment that Lord Cornwallis entered the great hall of the Ambassadors
with his suite, the eyes of all the English must have been dazzled by the
sight of the First Consul, surrounded by his two colleagues, with all the
diplomatic corps, and with an already brilliant military court.

In the midst of all these rich uniforms, his was remarkable for its
simplicity; but the diamond called the Regent, which had been put in pawn
under the Directory, and redeemed a few days since by the First Consul,
sparkled on the hilt of his sword.


In the month of May, 1801, there came to Paris, on his way to take
possession of his new kingdom, the Prince of Tuscany, Don Louis the
First, whom the First Consul had just made King of Etruria. He traveled
under the name of the Count of Leghorn, with his wife, who was the
infanta of Spain, Maria Louisa, third daughter of Charles the Fourth; but
in spite of the incognito, which, from the modest title he had assumed,
he seemed really anxious to preserve, especially, perhaps, on account of
the poor appearance of his small court, he was, notwithstanding, received
and treated at the Tuileries as a king. This prince was in feeble
health, and it was said had epilepsy. They were lodged at the residence
of the Spanish Embassy, formerly the Hotel Montessori; and he requested
Madame de Montessori, who lived in the next house, to reopen a private
communication between the houses which had long been closed. He, as well
as the Queen of Etruria, greatly enjoyed the society of this lady, who
was the widow of the Duke of Orleans, and spent many hours every day in
her house. A Bourbon himself, he doubtless loved to hear every
particular relating to the Bourbons of France, which could so well be
given by one who had lived at their court, and on intimate terms with the
royal family, with which she was connected by ties which, though not
official, were none the less well known and recognized.

Madame de Montesson received at her house all who were most distinguished
in Parisian society. She had reunited the remnants of the most select
society of former times, which the Revolution had dispersed. A friend of
Madame Bonaparte, she was also loved and respected by the First Consul,
who was desirous that they should speak and think well of him in the most
noble and elegant saloon of the capital. Besides, he relied upon the
experience and exquisite refinement of this lady, to establish in the
palace and its society, out of which he already dreamed of making a
court, the usages and etiquette customary with sovereigns.

The King of Etruria was not fond of work, and in this respect did not
please the First Consul, who could not endure idleness. I heard him one
day, in conversation with his colleague, Cambaceres, score severely his
royal protege (in his absence, of course). "Here is a prince," said he,
"who does not concern himself much with his very dear and well-beloved
subjects, but passes his time cackling with old women, to whom he dilates
in a loud tone on my good qualities, while he complains in a whisper of
owing his elevation to the chief of this cursed French Republic. His
only business is walking, hunting, balls, and theaters."--"It is
asserted," remarked Cambaceres, "that you wished to disgust the French
people with kings, by showing them such a specimen, as the Spartans
disgusted their children with drunkenness by exhibiting to them a drunken

"Not so, not so, my dear sir," replied the First Consul. "I have no desire
to disgust them with royalty; but the sojourn of the King of Etruria will
annoy a number of good people who are working incessantly to create a
feeling favorable to the Bourbons." Don Louis, perhaps, did not merit
such severity, although he was, it must be admitted, endowed with little
mind, and few agreeable traits of character. When he dined at the
Tuileries, he was much embarrassed in replying to the simplest questions
the First Consul addressed him. Beyond the rain and the weather, horses,
dogs, and other like subjects of conversation, he could not give an
intelligent reply on any subject. The Queen, his wife, often made signs
to put him on right road, and even whispered to him, what he should say
or do; but this rendered only the more conspicuous his absolute want of
presence of mind. People made themselves merry at his expense; but they
took good care, however, not to do this in the presence of the First
Consul, who would not have suffered any want of respect to a guest to
whom he had shown so much. What gave rise to the greatest number of
pleasantries, in regard to the prince, was his excessive economy, which
reached a point truly incredible. Innumerable instances were quoted,
which this is perhaps the most striking. The First Consul sent him
frequently during his stay, magnificent presents, such as Savonnerie
carpets, Lyons cloths, and Sevres porcelain; and on such occasions his
Majesty would give some small gratuity to the bearers of these precious
articles. One day a vase of very great value (it cost, I believe, a
hundred thousand crowns) was brought him which it required a dozen
workmen to place in the apartments of the king. Their work being
finished, the workmen waited until his Majesty should give them some
token of his satisfaction, and flattered themselves he would display a
truly royal liberality. As, notwithstanding, time passed, and the
expected gratuity did not arrive, they finally applied to one of his
chamberlains, and asked him to lay their petition at the feet of the King
of Etruria. His Majesty, who was still in ecstasy over the beauty of the
present, and the munificence of the First Consul, was astounded at such a
request. "It was a present," said he; "and hence it was for him to
receive, not to give;" and it was only after much persistence that the
chamberlain obtained six francs for each of these workmen, which were
refused by these good people. The persons of the prince's suite asserted
that to this extreme aversion to expense he added an excessive severity
towards themselves; however, the first of these traits probably disposed
the servants of the King of Etruria to exaggerate the second.

Masters who are too economical never fail to be deemed severe themselves,
and at the same time are severely criticised by their servants. For this
reason, perhaps (I would say in passing), there is current among some
people a calumny which represents the Emperor as often taking a fancy to
beat his servants. The economy of the Emperor Napoleon was only a desire
for the most perfect order in the expenses of his household. One thing I
can positively assert in regard to his Majesty, the King of Etruria, is
that he did not sincerely feel either all the enthusiasm or all the
gratitude which he expressed towards the First Consul, and the latter had
more than one proof of this insincerity. As to the king's talent for
governing and reigning, the First Consul said to Cambaceres at his levee,
in the same conversation from which I have already quoted, that the
Spanish Ambassador had complained of the haughtiness of this prince
towards him, of his extreme ignorance, and of the disgust with which all
kind of business inspired him. Such was the king who went to govern part
of Italy, and was installed in his kingdom by General Murat, who
apparently had little idea that a throne was in store for himself a few
leagues distant from that on which he seated Don Luis.

The Queen of Etruria was, in the opinion of the First Consul, more
sagacious and prudent than her august husband. This princess was
remarkable neither for grace nor elegance; she dressed herself in the
morning for the whole day, and walked in the garden, her head adorned
with flowers or a diadem, and wearing a dress, the train of which swept
up the sand of the walks; often, also, carrying in her arms one of her
children, still in long dresses, from which it can be readily understood
that by night the toilet of her Majesty was somewhat disarranged. She
was far from pretty, and her manners were not suited to her rank. But,
which fully atoned for all this, she was good-tempered, much beloved by
those in her service, and fulfilled scrupulously all the duties of wife
and mother; and in consequence the First Consul, who made a great point
of domestic virtues, professed for her the highest and most sincere

During the entire month which their Majesties spent in Paris, there was a
succession of fetes, one of which Talleyrand gave in their honor at
Neuilly, of great magnificence and splendor, and to which I, being on
duty, accompanied the First Consul. The chateau and park were
illuminated with a brilliant profusion of colored lights. First there
was a concert, at the close of which the end of the hall was moved aside,
like the curtain of a theater, and we beheld the principal square in
Florence, the ducal palace, a fountain playing, and the Tuscans giving
themselves up to the games and dances of their country, and singing
couplets in honor of their sovereigns. Talleyrand came forward, and
requested their Majesties to mingle with their subjects; and hardly had
they set foot in the garden than they found themselves in fairyland,
where fireworks, rockets, and Bengal fires burst out in every direction
and in every form, colonnades, arches of triumph, and palaces of fire
arose, disappeared, and succeeded each other incessantly. Numerous
tables were arranged in the apartments and in the garden, at which all
the spectators were in turn seated, and last of all a magnificent ball
closed this evening of enchantments. It was opened by the King of
Etruria and Madame Le Clerc (Pauline Borghese).

Madame de Montesson also gave to their Majesties a ball, at which the
whole family of the First Consul was present. But of all these
entertainments, I retain the most vivid recollection of that given by
Chaptal, Minister of the Interior, the day which he chose being the
fourteenth of June, the anniversary of the battle of Marengo. After the
concert, the theater, the ball, and another representation of the city
and inhabitants of Florence, a splendid supper was served in the garden,
under military tents, draped with flags, and ornamented with groupings of
arms and trophies, each lady being accompanied and served at table by an
officer in uniform. When the King and Queen of Etruria came out of their
tent, a balloon was released which carried into the heavens the name of
Marengo in letters of fire.

Their Majesties wished to visit, before their departure, the chief public
institutions, so they were taken to the Conservatory of Music, to a
sitting of the Institute, of which they did not appear to comprehend
much, and to the Mint, where a medal was struck in their honor. Chaptall
received the thanks of the queen for the manner in which he had
entertained and treated his royal guests, both as a member of the
Institute, as minister at his hotel, and in the visits which they had
made to the different institutions of the capital. On the eve of his
departure the king had a long private interview with the First Consul;
and though I do not know what passed, I observed that on coming out
neither appeared to be satisfied with the other. However, their
Majesties, on the whole, should have carried away a most favorable
impression of the manner in which they had been received.


In all the fetes given by the First Consul in honor of their Majesties,
the King and Queen of Etruria, Mademoiselle Hortense shone with that
brilliancy and grace which made her the pride of her mother, and the most
beautiful ornament of the growing court of the First Consul.

About this time she inspired a most violent passion in a gentleman of a
very good family, who was, I think, a little deranged before this mad
love affected his brain. This poor unfortunate roamed incessantly around
Malmaison; and as soon as Mademoiselle Hortense left the house, ran by
the side of her carriage with the liveliest demonstrations of tenderness,
and threw through the window flowers, locks of his hair, and verses of
his own composition. When he met Mademoiselle Hortense on foot, he threw
himself on his knees before her with a thousand passionate gestures,
addressing her in most endearing terms, and followed her, in spite of all
opposition, even into the courtyard of the chateau, and abandoned himself
to all kinds of folly. At first Mademoiselle Hortense, who was young and
gay, was amused by the antics of her admirer, read the verses which he
addressed to her, and showed them to the ladies who accompanied her. One
such poetical effusion was enough to provoke laughter (and can you blame
her?); but after the first burst of laughter, Mademoiselle Hortense, good
and charming as her mother, never failed to say, with a sympathetic
expression and tone, "The poor man, he is much to be pitied!" At last,
however, the importunities of the poor madman increased to such an extent
that they became insupportable. He placed himself at the door of the
theaters in Paris at which Mademoiselle Hortense was expected, and threw
himself at her feet, supplicating, weeping, laughing, and gesticulating
all at once. This spectacle amused the crowd too much to long amuse
Mademoiselle de Beauharnais; and Carrat was ordered to remove the poor
fellow, who was placed, I think, in a private asylum for the insane.

Mademoiselle Hortense would have been too happy if she could have known
love only from the absurd effects which it produced on this diseased
brain, as she thus saw it only in its pleasant and comic aspect. But the
time came when she was forced to feel all that is painful and bitter in
the experience of that passion. In January, 1802, she was married to
Louis Bonaparte, brother of the First Consul, which was a most suitable
alliance as regards age, Louis being twenty-four years old, and
Mademoiselle de Beauharnais not more than eighteen; and nevertheless it
was to both parties the beginning of long and interminable sorrows.

Louis, however, was kind and sensible, full of good feeling and
intelligence, studious and fond of letters, like all his brothers (except
one alone); but he was in feeble health, suffered almost incessantly, and
was of a melancholy disposition. All the brothers of the First Consul
resembled him more or less in their personal appearance, and Louis still
more than the others, especially at the time of the Consulate, and before
the Emperor Napoleon had become so stout. But none of the brothers of
the Emperor possessed that imposing and majestic air and that rapid and
imperious manner which came to him at first by instinct, and afterwards
from the habit of command. Louis had peaceful and modest tastes. It has
been asserted that at the time of his marriage he was deeply attached to
a person whose name could not be ascertained, and who, I think, is still
a mystery.

Mademoiselle Hortense was extremely pretty, with an expressive and mobile
countenance, and in addition to this was graceful, talented, and affable.
Kindhearted and amiable like her mother, she had not that excessive
desire to oblige which sometimes detracted from Madame Bonaparte's
character. This is, nevertheless, the woman whom evil reports,
disseminated by miserable scandal-mongers, have so outrageously
slandered! My heart is stirred with disgust and indignation when I hear
such revolting absurdities repeated and scattered broadcast. According
to these honest fabricators, the First Consul must have seduced his
wife's daughter, before giving her in marriage to his own brother.
Simply to announce such a charge is to comprehend all the falsity of it.
I knew better than any one the amours of the Emperor. In these
clandestine liaisons he feared scandal, hated the ostentations of vice,
and I can affirm on honor that the infamous desires attributed to him
never entered his mind. Like every one else, who was near Mademoiselle
de Beauharnais, and because he knew his step-daughter even more
intimately, he felt for her the tenderest affection; but this sentiment
was entirely paternal, and Mademoiselle Hortense reciprocated it by that
reverence which a wellborn young girl feels towards her father. She
could have obtained from her step-father anything that she wished, if her
extreme timidity had not prevented her asking; but, instead of addressing
herself directly to him, she first had recourse to the intercession of
the secretary, and of those around the Emperor. Is it thus she would
have acted if the evil reports spread by her enemies, and those of the
Emperor, had had the least foundation?

Before her marriage Hortense had an attachment for General Duroc, who was
hardly thirty years of age, had a fine figure, and was a favorite with
the chief of state, who, knowing him to be prudent and discreet, confided
to him important diplomatic missions. As aide-de-camp of the First
Consul, general of division, and governor of the Tuileries, he lived long
in familiar intimacy at Malmaison, and in the home life of the Emperor,
and during necessary absences on duty, corresponded with Mademoiselle
Hortense; and yet the indifference with which he allowed the marriage of
the latter with Louis to proceed, proves that he reciprocated but feebly
the affection which he had inspired. It is certain that he could have
had. Mademoiselle de Beauharnais for his wife, if he had been willing to
accept the conditions on which the First Consul offered the hand of his
step-daughter; but he was expecting something better, and his ordinary
prudence failed him at the time when it should have shown him a future
which was easy to foresee, and calculated to satisfy the promptings of an
ambition even more exalted than his. He therefore refused positively;
and the entreaties of Madame Bonaparte, which had already influenced her
husband, succeeded.

Madame Bonaparte, who saw herself treated with so little friendship by
the brothers of the First Consul, tried to make his family a defense for
herself against the plots which were gathering incessantly around her to
drive her away from the heart of her husband. It was with this design
she worked with all her might to bring about the marriage of her daughter
with one of her brothers-in-law.

General Duroc doubtless repented immediately of his precipitate refusal
when crowns began to rain in the august family to which he had had it in
his power to ally himself; when he saw Naples, Spain, Westphalia, Upper
Italy, the duchies of Parma, Lucca, etc., become the appendages of the
new imperial dynasty; when the beautiful and graceful Hortense herself,
who had loved him so devotedly, mounted in her turn a throne that she
would have been only too happy to have shared with the object of her
young affections. As for him, he married Mademoiselle Hervas d'Almenara,
daughter of the banker of the court of Spain. She was a little woman
with a very dark complexion, very thin, and without grace; but, on the
other hand, of a most peevish, haughty, exacting, and capricious temper.
As she was to have on her marriage an enormous dowry, the First Consul
had demanded her hand in marriage for his senior aide-de-camp. Madame
Duroc forgot herself, I have heard, so far as to beat her servants, and
to bear herself in a most singular manner toward people who were in no
wise her dependants. When M. Dubois came to tune her piano,
unfortunately she was at home, and finding the noise required by this
operation unendurable, drove the tuner off with the greatest violence.
In one of these singular attacks she one day broke all the keys of his
instrument. Another time Mugnier, clockmaker of the Emperor, and the
head of his profession in Paris, with Breguet, having brought her a watch
of very great value that madame, the Duchess of Friuli had herself
ordered, but which did not please her, she became so enraged, that, in
the presence of Mugnier, she dashed the watch on the floor, danced on it,
and reduced it to atoms. She utterly refused to pay for it, and the
marshal was compelled to do this himself. Thus Duroc's want of foresight
in refusing the hand of Hortense, together with the interested
calculations of Madame Bonaparte, caused the misery of two households.

The portrait I have sketched, and I believe faithfully, although not a
flattering picture, is merely that of a young woman with all the
impulsiveness of the Spanish character, spoiled as an only daughter, who
had been reared in indulgence, and with the entire neglect which hinders
the education of all the young ladies of her country. Time has calmed
the vivacity of her youth; and madame, the Duchess of Friuli, has since
given an example of most faithful devotion to duty, and great strength of
mind in the severe trials that she has endured. In the loss of her
husband, however grievous it might be, glory had at least some
consolation to offer to the widow of the grand marshal. But when her
young daughter, sole heiress of a great name and an illustrious title,
was suddenly taken away by death from all the expectations and the
devotion of her mother, who could dare to offer her consolation? If
there could be any (which I do not believe), it would be found in the
remembrance of the cares and tenderness lavished on her to the last by
maternal love. Such recollections, in which bitterness is mingled with
sweetness, were not wanting to the duchess.

The religious ceremony of marriage between Louis and Hortense took place
Jan. 7, in a house in the Rue de la Victoire; and the marriage of General
Murat with Caroline Bonaparte, which had been acknowledged only before
the civil authorities, was consecrated on the same day. Both Louis and
his bride were very sad. She wept bitterly during the whole ceremony,
and her tears were not soon dried. She made no attempt to win the
affection of her husband; while he, on his side, was too proud and too
deeply wounded to pursue her with his wooing. The good Josephine did all
she could to reconcile them; for she must have felt that this union,
which had begun so badly, was her work, in which she had tried to combine
her own interest, or at least that which she considered such, and the
happiness of her daughter. But her efforts, as well as her advice and
her prayers, availed nothing; and I have many a time seen Hortense seek
the solitude of her own room, and the heart of a friend, there to pour
out her tears. Tears fell from her eyes sometimes even in the midst of
one of the First Consul's receptions, where we saw with sorrow this young
woman, brilliant and gay, who had so often gracefully done the honors on
such occasions and attended to all the details of its etiquette, retire
into a corner, or into the embrasure of a window, with one of her most
intimate friends, there to sadly make her the a confidante of her trials.
During this conversation, from which she rose with red and swollen eyes,
her husband remained thoughtful and taciturn at the opposite end of the
room. Her Majesty, the Queen of Holland, has been accused of many sins;
but everything said or written against this princess is marked by
shameful exaggeration. So high a fortune drew all eyes to her, and
excited bitter jealousy; and yet those who envied her would not have
failed to bemoan themselves, if they had been put in tier place, on
condition that they were to bear her griefs. The misfortunes of Queen
Hortense began with life itself. Her father having been executed on a
revolutionary scaffold, and her mother thrown into prison, she found
herself, while still a child, alone, and with no other reliance than the
faithfulness of the old servants of the family. Her brother, the noble
and worthy Prince Eugene, had been compelled, it is said, to serve as an
apprentice. She had a few years of happiness, or at least of repose,
during the time she was under the care of Madame Campan, and just after
she left boarding-school. But her evil destiny was far from quitting
her; and her wishes being thwarted, an unhappy marriage opened for her a
new succession of troubles. The death of her first son, whom the Emperor
wished to adopt, and whom he had intended to be his successor in the
Empire, the divorce of her mother, the tragic death of her best-loved
friend, Madame de Brocq, who, before her eyes, slipped over a precipice;
the overturning of the imperial throne, which caused her the loss of her
title and rank as queen, a loss which she, however, felt less than the
misfortunes of him whom she regarded as her father; and finally, the
continual annoyance of domestic dissensions, of vexatious lawsuits, and
the agony she suffered in beholding her oldest surviving son removed from
her by order of her husband,--such were the principal catastrophes in a
life which might have been thought destined for so much happiness.

The day after the marriage of Mademoiselle Hortense, the First Consul set
out for Lyons, where there awaited him the deputies of the Cisalpine
Republic, assembled for the election of a president. Everywhere on his
route he was welcomed with fetes and congratulations, with which all were
eager to overwhelm him on account of the miraculous manner in which he
had escaped the plots of his enemies. This journey differed in no wise
from the tours which he afterwards made as Emperor. On his arrival at
Lyons, he received the visit of all the authorities, the constituent
bodies, the deputations from the neighboring departments, and the members
of the Italian councils. Madame Bonaparte, who accompanied him on this
journey, attended with him these public displays, and shared with him the
magnificent fete given to him by the city of Lyons. The day on which the
council elected and proclaimed the First Consul president of the Italian
Republic he reviewed, on the Place des Brotteaux, the troops of the
garrison, and recognized in the ranks many soldiers of the army of Egypt,
with whom he conversed for some time. On all these occasions the First
Consul wore the same costume that he had worn at Malmaison, and which I
have described elsewhere. He rose early, mounted his horse, and visited
the public works, among others those of the Place Belcour, of which he
had laid the corner-stone on his return from Italy, passed through the
Place des Brotteaux, inspected, examined everything, and, always
indefatigable, worked on his return as if he had been at the Tuileries.
He rarely changed his dress, except when he received at his table the
authorities or the principal inhabitants of the city. He received all
petitions most graciously, and before leaving presented to the mayor of
the city a scarf of honor, and to the legate of the Pope a handsome
snuff-box ornamented with his likeness.

The deputies of the council received presents, and were most generous in
making them, presenting Madame Bonaparte with magnificent ornaments of
diamonds and precious stones, and other most valuable jewelry.

The First Consul, on arriving at Lyons, had been deeply grieved at the
sudden death of a worthy prelate whom he had known in his first campaign
in Italy.

The Archbishop of Milan had come to Lyons, notwithstanding his great age,
in order to see the First Consul, whom he loved with such tenderness that
in conversation the venerable old man continually addressed the young
general as "my son." The peasants of Pavia, having revolted because
their fanaticism had been excited by false assertions that the French
wished to destroy their religion, the Archbishop of Milan, in order to
prove that their fears were groundless, often showed himself in a
carriage with General Bonaparte.

This prelate had stood the journey well, and appeared in good health and
fine spirits. Talleyrand, who had arrived at Lyons a few days before the
First Consul, gave a dinner to the Cisalpine deputies and the principal
notables of the city, at which the Archbishop of Milan sat on his right.
He had scarcely taken his seat, and was in the act of leaning forward to
speak to M. de Talleyrand, when he fell dead in his armchair.

On the 12th of January the town of Lyons gave, in honor of the First
Consul and Madame Bonaparte, a magnificent fete, consisting of a concert,
followed by a ball. At eight o'clock in the evening, the three mayors,
accompanied by the superintendents of the fete, called upon their
illustrious guests in the government palace. I can imagine that I see
again spread out before me that immense amphitheater, handsomely
decorated, and illuminated by innumerable lusters and candles, the seats
draped with the richest cloths manufactured in the city, and filled with
thousands of women, some brilliant in youth and beauty, and all
magnificently attired. The theater had been chosen as the place of the
fete; and on the entrance of the First Consul and Madame Bonaparte, who
advanced leaning on the arm of one of the mayors, there arose a thunder
of applause and acclamations. Suddenly the decorations of the theater
faded from sight, and the Place Bonaparte (the former Place Belcour)
appeared, as it had been restored by order of the First Consul. In the
midst rose a pyramid, surmounted by the statue of the First Consul, who
was represented as resting upon a lion. Trophies of arms and bas-reliefs
represented on one side, the other that of Marengo.

When the first, transports excited by this spectacle, which recalled at
once the benefits and the victories of the hero of the fete, had
subsided, there succeeded a deep silence, and delightful music was heard,
mingled with songs, dedicated to the glory of the First Consul, to his
wife, the warriors who surrounded him, and the representatives of the
Italian republics. The singers and the musicians were amateurs of Lyons.
Mademoiselle Longue, Gerbet, the postmaster, and Theodore, the merchant,
who had each performed their parts in a charming manner, received the
congratulations of the First Consul, and the most gracious thanks of
Madame Bonaparte.

What struck me most forcibly in the couplets which were sung on that
occasion, and which much resembled all verses written for such occasions,
was that incense was offered to the First Consul in the very terms which
all the poets of the Empire have since used in their turn. All the
exaggerations of flattery were exhausted during the consulate; and in the
years which followed, it was necessary for poets often to repeat
themselves. Thus, in the couplets of Lyons, the First Consul was the God
of victory, the conqueror of the Nile and of Neptune, the savior of his
country, the peacemaker of the world, the arbiter of Europe. The French
soldiers were transformed into friends and companions of Alcides, etc.,
all of which was cutting the ground from under the feet of the singers of
the future.

The fete of Lyons ended in a ball which lasted until daylight, at which
the First Consul remained two hours, which he spent in conversation with
the magistrates of the city. While the better class of the inhabitants
gave these grand entertainments to their guests, the people,
notwithstanding the cold, abandoned themselves on the public squares to
pleasure and dancing, and towards midnight there was a fine display of
fireworks on the Place Bonaparte.

After fifteen or eighteen days passed at Lyons, we returned to Paris, the
First Consul and his wife continuing to reside by preference at
Malmaison. It was, I think, a short time after the return of the First
Consul that a poorly dressed man begged an audience; an order was given
to admit him to the cabinet, and the First Consul inquired his name.
"General," replied the petitioner, frightened by his presence, "it is I
who had the honor of giving you writing lessons in the school of
Brienne."--"Fine scholar you have made!" interrupted vehemently the
First Consul; "I compliment you on it!" Then he began to laugh at his
own vehemence, and addressed a few kind words to this good man, whose
timidity such a compliment had not reassured. A few days after the
master received, from the least promising, doubtless, of all his pupils
at Brienne (you know how the Emperor wrote), a pension amply sufficient
for his needs.

Another of the old teachers of the First Consul, the Abbe Dupuis, was
appointed by him to the post of private librarian at Malmaison, and lived
and died there. He was a modest man, and had the reputation of being
well-educated. The First Consul visited him often in his room, and paid
him every imaginable attention and respect.


The day on which the First Consul promulgated the law of public worship,
he rose early, and entered the dressing-room to make his toilet. While
he was dressing I saw Joseph Bonaparte enter his room with Cambaceres.

"Well," said the First Consul to the latter, "we are going to mass. What
do they think of that in Paris?"--"Many persons," replied M. Cambaceres,
"will go to the representation with the intention of hissing the piece,
if they do not find it amusing."

"If any one thinks of hissing, I will have him put out-of-doors by the
grenadiers of the Consular Guard."

"But if the grenadiers begin to hiss like the others?"

"I have no fear of that. My old soldiers will go to Notre Dame exactly
as they went to the mosque at Cairo. They will watch me; and seeing
their general remain quiet and reverent, they will do as he does, saying
to themselves, 'That is the countersign!'"

"I am afraid," said Joseph Bonaparte, "that the general officers will not
be so accommodating. I have just left Augereau, who was vomiting fire
and fury against what he calls your capricious proclamations. He, and.
a few others, will not be easy to bring back into the pale of our holy
mother, the church."

"Bah! that is like Augereau. He is a bawler, who makes a great noise;
and yet if he has a little imbecile cousin, he puts him in the priests
college for me to make a chaplain of him.

"That reminds me," continued the First Consul, addressing his colleague,
"when is your brother going to take possession of his see of Rouen? Do
you know it has the finest archiepiscopal palace in France? He will be
cardinal before a year has passed; that matter is already arranged."

The second consul bowed. From that moment his manner towards the First
Consul was rather that of a courtier than an equal.

The plenipotentiaries who had been appointed to examine and sign the
Concordat were Joseph Bonaparte, Cruet, and the Abbe Bernier. This
latter, whom I saw sometimes at the Tuileries, had been a chief of the
Chouans, [The Chouans were Royalists in insurrection in Brittany.]
and took a prominent part in all that occurred. The First Consul, in
this same conversation, the opening of which I have just related,
discussed with his two companions the subject of the conferences on the
Concordat. "The Abby Bernier," said the First Consul, "inspired fear in
the Italian prelates by the vehemence of his logic. It might have been
said that he imagined himself living over again the days in which he led
the Vendeens to the charge against the blues. Nothing could be more
striking than the contrast of his rude and quarrelsome manner with the
polished bearing and honeyed tones of the prelates. Cardinal Caprara
came to me two days ago, with a shocked air, to ask if it is true that,
during the war of the Vendee, the Abbe Bernier made an altar on which to
celebrate mass out of the corpses of the Republicans. I replied that I
knew nothing of it, but that it was possible. 'General, First Consul,'
cried the frightened cardinal, 'it is not a red hat, but a red cap, which
that man should have?'

"I am much afraid," continued the First Consul, "that that kind of cap
would prevent the Abbe Bernier from getting the red hat."

These gentlemen left the First Consul when his toilet was finished, and
went to make their own. The First Consul wore on that day the costume of
the consuls, which consisted of a scarlet coat without facings, and with
a broad embroidery of palms, in gold, on all the seams. His sword, which
he had worn in Egypt, hung at his side from a belt, which, though not
very wide, was of beautiful workmanship, and richly embroidered. He wore
his black stock, in preference to a lace cravat, and like his colleagues,
wore knee-breeches and shoes; a French hat, with floating plumes of the
three colors, completed this rich costume.

The celebration of this sacrament at Notre Dame was a novel sight to the
Parisians, and many attended as if it were a theatrical representation.
Many, also, especially amongst the military, found it rather a matter of
raillery than of edification; and those who, during the Revolution, had
contributed all their strength to the overthrow of the worship which the
First Consul had just re-established, could with difficulty conceal their
indignation and their chagrin.

The common people saw in the Te Deum which was sung that day for peace
and the Concordat, only an additional gratification of their curiosity;
but among the middle classes there was a large number of pious persons,
who had deeply regretted the suppression of the forms of devotion in
which they had been reared, and who were very happy in returning to the
old worship. And, indeed, there was then no manifestation of
superstition or of bigotry sufficient to alarm the enemies of

The clergy were exceedingly careful not to appear too exacting; they
demanded little, condemned no one; and the representative of the Holy
Father, the cardinal legate, pleased all, except perhaps a few
dissatisfied old priests, by his indulgence, the worldly grace of his
manners, and the freedom of his conduct. This prelate was entirely in
accord with the First Consul, and he took great pleasure in conversing
with him.

It is also certain, that apart from all religious sentiment, the fidelity
of the people to their ancient customs made them return with pleasure to
the repose and celebration of Sunday. The Republican calendar was
doubtless wisely computed; but every one is at first sight struck with
the ridiculousness of replacing the legend of the saints of the old
calendar with the days of the ass, the hog, the turnip, the onion, etc.
Besides, if it was skillfully computed, it was by no means conveniently
divided. I recall on this subject the remark of a man of much wit, and
who, notwithstanding the disapprobation which his remark implied,
nevertheless desired the establishment of the Republican system,
everywhere except in the almanac. When the decree of the Convention
which ordered the adoption of the Republican calendar was published, he
remarked: "They have done finely; but they have to fight two enemies who
never yield, the beard, and the white shirt."

[That is to say, the barber and the washerwoman, for whom ten days
was too long an interval.--TRANS.]

The truth is, the interval from one decadi to another was too long for
the working-classes, and for all those who were constantly occupied.
I do not know whether it was the effect of a deep-rooted habit, but
people accustomed to working six days in succession, and resting on the
seventh, found nine days of consecutive labor too long, and consequently
the suppression of the decadi was universally approved. The decree which
ordered the publication of marriage bans on Sunday was not so popular,
for some persons were afraid of finding in this the revival of the former
dominance of the clergy over the civil authorities.

A few days after the solemn re-establishment of the catholic worship,
there arrived at the Tuileries a general officer, who would perhaps have
preferred the establishment of Mahomet, and the change of Notre Dame into
a mosque. He was the last general-in-chief of the army of Egypt, and was
said to have turned Mussulman at Cairo, ex-Baron de Menou. In spite of
the defeat by the English which he had recently undergone in Egypt,
General Abdallah-Menou was well received by the First Consul, who
appointed him soon after governor-general of Piedmont. General Menou was
of tried courage, and had given proof of it elsewhere, as well as on the
field of battle, and amid the most trying circumstances.

After the 10th of August, although belonging to the Republican party, he
had accompanied Louis Sixteenth to the Assembly, and had been denounced
as a Royalist by the Jacobins. In 1795 the Faubourg Saint Antoine having
risen en masse, and advanced against the Convention, General Menou had
surrounded and disarmed the seditious citizens; but he had refused to
obey the atrocious orders of the commissioners of the Convention, who
decreed that the entire faubourg should be burned, in order to punish the
inhabitants for their continued insurrections. Some time afterwards,
having again refused to obey the order these commissioners of the
Convention gave, to mow down with grapeshot the insurrectionists of
Paris, he had been summoned before a commission, which would not have
failed to send him to the guillotine, if General Bonaparte, who had
succeeded him in the command of the army of the interior, had not used
all his influence to save his life. Such repeated acts of courage and
generosity are enough, and more than enough, to cause us to pardon in
this brave officer, the very natural pride with which he boasted of
having armed the National Guards, and having caused the tricolor to be
substituted for the white flag. The tricolor he called my flag. From
the government of Piedmont he passed to that of Venice; and died in 1810
for love of an actress, whom he had followed from Venice to Reggio, in
spite of his sixty years.

The institution of the order of the Legion of Honor preceded by a few
days the proclamation of the Consulate for life, which proclamation was
the occasion of a fete, celebrated on the 15th of August. This was the
anniversary of the birth of the First Consul, and the opportunity was
used in order to make for the first time this anniversary a festival.
On that day the First Consul was thirty-three years old.

In the month of October following I went with the First Consul on his
journey into Normandy, where we stopped at Ivry, and the First Consul
visited the battlefield. He said, on arriving there, "Honor to the
memory of the best Frenchman who ever sat upon the throne of France," and
ordered the restoration of the column, which had been formerly erected,
in memory of the victory achieved by Henry the Fourth. The reader will
perhaps desire to read here the inscriptions, which were engraved by his
order, on the four faces of the pyramid.

First Inscription.

OF IVRY, 14TH MARCH, 1590.

Second Inscription.


Third Inscription.


Fourth Inscription.


All these inscriptions have since been effaced, and replaced by this, "On
this spot Henry the Fourth stood the day of the battle of Ivry, 14th
March, 1590."

Monsieur Ledier, Mayor of Ivry, accompanied the First Consul on this
excursion; and the First Consul held a long conversation with him, in
which he appeared to be agreeably impressed. He did not form so good an
opinion of the Mayor of Evreux, and interrupted him abruptly, in the
midst of a complimentary address which this worthy magistrate was trying
to make him, by asking if he knew his colleague, the Mayor of Ivry. "No,
general," replied the mayor. "Well, so much the worse for you; I trust
you will make his acquaintance."

It was also at Evreux that an official of high rank amused Madame
Bonaparte and her suite, by a naivete which the First Consul alone did
not find diverting, because he did not like such simplicity displayed by
an official. Monsieur de Ch---- did the honors of the country town to
the wife of the First Consul, and this, in spite of his age, with much
zeal and activity; and Madame Bonaparte, among other questions which.
her usual kindness and grace dictated to her, asked him if he was
married, and if he had a family. "Indeed, Madame, I should think so,"
replied Monsieur de Ch---- with a smile and a bow, "j'ai cinq-z-enfants."
--"Oh, mon Dieu," cried Madame Bonaparte, "what a regiment! That is
extraordinary; what, sir, seize enfants?"--"Yes, Madame, cinq-z-enfants,
cinq-z-enfants," repeated the official, who did not see anything very
marvelous in it, and who wondered at the astonishment shown by Madame
Bonaparte. At last some one explained to her the mistake which la
liaison dangereuse of M. de Ch had caused her to make, and added with
comic seriousness, "Deign, Madame, to excuse M. de Ch----. The
Revolution has interrupted the prosecution of his studies." He was more
than sixty years of age.

From Evreux we set out for Rouen, where we arrived at three o'clock in
the afternoon. Chaptal, Minister of the Interior, Beugnot, Prefect of
the Department, and Cambaceres, Archbishop of Rouen, came to meet the
First Consul at some distance from the city. The Mayor Fontenay waited
at the gates, and presented the keys. The First Consul held them some
time in his hands, and then returned them to the mayor, saying to him
loud enough to be heard by the crowd which surrounded the carriage,

"Citizens, I cannot trust the keys of the city to any one better than the
worthy magistrate who so worthily enjoys my confidence and your own;" and
made Fontenay enter his carriage, saying he wished to honor Rouen in the
person of its mayor.

Madame Bonaparte rode in the carriage with her husband; General Moncey,
Inspector-general of the Constabulary, on horseback on the right; in the
second carriage was General Soult and his aides-de-camp; in the third
carriage, General Bessieres and M. de Lugay; in the fourth, General
Lauriston; then came the carriages of the personal attendants, Hambard,
Hebert, and I being in the first.

It is impossible to give an idea of the enthusiasm of the inhabitants of
Rouen on the arrival of the First Consul. The market-porters and the
boatmen in grand costume awaited us outside the city; and when the
carriage which held the two august personages was in sight, these brave
men placed themselves in line, two and two, and preceded thus the
carriage to the hotel of the prefecture, where the First Consul alighted.
The prefect and the mayor of Rouen, the archbishop, and the general
commanding the division dined with the First Consul, who showed a most
agreeable animation during the repast, and with much solicitude asked
information as to the condition of manufactures, new discoveries in the
art of manufacturing, in fact, as to everything relating to the
prosperity of this city, which was essentially industrial.

In the evening, and almost the whole night, an immense crowd surrounded
the hotel, and filled the gardens of the prefecture, which were
illuminated and ornamented with allegorical transparencies in praise of
the First Consul; and each time he showed himself on the terrace of the
garden the air resounded with applause and acclamations which seemed most
gratifying to him.

The next morning, after having made on horseback the tour of the city,
and visited the grand sites by which it is surrounded, the First Consul
heard mass, which was celebrated at eleven o'clock by the archbishop in,
the chapel of the prefecture. An hour after he had to receive the
general council of the department, the council of the prefecture, the
municipal council, the clergy of Rouen, and the courts of justice, and
was obliged to listen to a half-dozen discourses, all expressed in nearly
the same terms, and to which he replied in such a manner as to give the
orators the highest opinion of their own merit. All these bodies, on
leaving the First Consul, were presented to Madame Bonaparte, who
received them with her accustomed grace, in, the evening Madame Bonaparte
held a reception for the wives of the officials, at which the First
Consul was present, of which fact some availed themselves to present to
him several emigres, who had recently returned under the act of amnesty,
and whom he received graciously.

After which followed crowds, illuminations, acclamations, all similar to
those of the evening before. Every one wore an air of rejoicing which
delighted me, and contrasted strangely, I thought, with the dreadful
wooden houses, narrow, filthy streets, and Gothic buildings which then
distinguished the town of Rouen.

Monday, Nov. 1, at seven o'clock in the morning, the First Consul mounted
his horse, and, escorted by a detachment of the young men of the city,
forming a volunteer guard, passed the bridge of boats, and reached the
Faubourg Saint-Sever. On his return from this excursion, we found the
populace awaiting him at the head of the bridge, whence they escorted him
to the hotel of the prefecture, manifesting the liveliest joy.

After breakfast, there was a high mass by the archbishop, the occasion
being the fete of All Saints; then came the learned societies, the chiefs
of administration, and justices of the peace, with their speeches, one of
which contained a remarkable sentence, in which these good magistrates,
in their enthusiasm, asked the First Consul's permission to surname him
the great justice of the peace of Europe. As they left the Consul's
apartment I noticed their spokesman; he had tears in his eyes, and was
repeating with pride the reply he had just received.

I regret that I do not remember his name, but I was told that he was one
of the most highly esteemed men in Rouen. His countenance inspired
confidence, and bore an expression of frankness, which prepossessed me in
his favor.

In the evening the First Consul went to the theater, which was packed to
the ceiling, and offered a charming sight. The municipal authorities had
a delightful fete prepared, which the First Consul found much to his
taste, and upon which he complimented the prefect and the mayor on
several different occasions. After witnessing the opening of the ball,
he made two or three turns in the hall, and retired, escorted by the
staff of the National Guard.

On Tuesday much of the day was spent by the First Consul in visiting the
workshops of the numerous factories of the city, accompanied by the
minister of the interior, the prefect, the mayor, the general commanding
the division, the inspector-general of police, and the staff of the
Consular Guard. In a factory of the Faubourg Saint-Sever, the minister
of the interior presented to him the dean of the workmen, noted as having
woven the first piece of velvet in France; and the First Consul, after
complimenting this honorable old man, granted him a pension. Other
rewards and encouragements were likewise distributed to several parties
whose useful inventions commended them to public gratitude.

Wednesday morning early we left for Elbeuf, where we arrived at ten
o'clock, preceded by threescore young men of the most distinguished
families of the city, who, following the example of those of Rouen,
aspired to the honor of forming the guard of the First Consul.

The country around us was covered with an innumerable multitude, gathered
from all the surrounding communes. The First Consul alighted at Elbeuf,
at the house of the mayor, where he took breakfast, and then visited the
town in detail, obtaining information everywhere; and knowing that one of
the first wishes of the citizens was the construction of a road from
Elbeuf to a small neighboring town called Romilly, he gave orders to the
minister of the interior to begin work upon it immediately.

At Elbeuf, as at Rouen, the First Consul was overwhelmed with homage and
benedictions; and we returned from this last town at four o'clock in the

The merchants of Rouen had prepared a fete in the hall of the Stock
Exchange, which the First Consul and his family attended after dinner.
He remained a long time on the ground floor of this building, where there
were displayed magnificent specimens from the industries of this
Department. He examined everything, and made Madame Bonaparte do the
same; and she also purchased several pieces of cloth.

The First Consul then ascended to the first floor, where, in the grand
saloon, were gathered about a hundred ladies, married and single, and
almost all pretty, the wives and daughters of the principal merchants of
Rouen, who were waiting to compliment him. He seated himself in this
charming circle, and remained there perhaps a quarter of an hour; then
passed into another room, where awaited him the representation of a
little proverb, containing couplets expressing, as may be imagined, the
attachment and gratitude of the inhabitants of Rouen. This play was
followed by a ball.

Thursday evening the First Consul announced that he would leave for Havre
the next morning at daybreak; and exactly at five o'clock I was awakened
by Hebert, who said that at six o'clock we would set out. I awoke
feeling badly, was sick the whole day, and would have given much to have
slept a few hours longer; but we were compelled to begin our journey.
Before entering his carriage, the First Consul made a present to
Monseigneur, the archbishop, of a snuff-box with his portrait, and also
gave one to the mayor, on which was the inscription, 'Peuple Francais'.

We stopped at Caudebec for breakfast. The mayor of this town presented
to the First Consul a corporal who had made the campaign of Italy (his
name was, I think, Roussel), and who had received a sword of honor as a
reward for his brave conduct at Marengo. He was at Caudebec on a
half-year's furlough, and asked the First Consul's permission to be a
sentinel at the door of the apartment of the august travelers, which was
granted; and after the First Consul and Madame Bonaparte were seated at
the table, Roussel was sent for, and invited to breakfast with his
former general. At Havre and at Dieppe the First Consul invited thus to
his table all the soldiers or sailors who had received guns, sabers, or
boarding-axes of honor. The First Consul stopped an hour at Bolbec,
showing much attention and interest in examining the products of the
industries of the district, complimenting the guards of honor who passed
before him on their fine appearance, thanking the clergy for the prayers
in his behalf which they addressed to Heaven, and leaving for the poor,
either in their own hands, or in the hands of the mayor, souvenirs of
his stay. On the arrival of the First Consul at Havre, the city was
illuminated; and the First Consul and his numerous cortege passed
between two rows of illuminations and columns of fire of all kinds. The
vessels in the port appeared like a forest on fire; being covered with
colored lamps to the very top of their masts. The First Consul
received, the day of his arrival at Havre, only a part of the
authorities of the city, and soon after retired, saying that he was
fatigued; but at six o'clock in the morning of the next day he was on
horseback, and until two o'clock he rode along the seacoast and low
hills of Ingouville for more than a league, and the banks of the Seine
as far as the cliffs of Hoc. He also made a tour outside of the
citadel. About three o'clock the First Consul began to receive the
authorities. He conversed with them in great detail upon the work that
had, been done at this place in order that their port, which he always
called the port of Paris, might reach the highest degree of prosperity,
and did the sub-prefect, the mayor, the two presidents of the tribunals,
the commandant of the place, and the chief of the tenth demi-brigade of
light infantry the honor of inviting them to his table.

In the evening the First Consul went to the theater, where they played a
piece composed for the occasion, about as admirable as such pieces
usually are, but on which the First Consul and Madame Bonaparte
especially complimented the authors. The illuminations were more
brilliant even than on the evening before; and I remember especially that
the largest number of transparencies bore the inscription, 18th Brumaire,
year VIII.

Sunday, at seven o'clock in the morning, after having visited the Marine
Arsenal and all the docks, the weather being very fine, the First Consul
embarked in a little barge, and remained in the roadstead for several
hours, escorted by a large number of barges filled with men and elegantly
dressed women, and musicians playing the favorite airs of the First
Consul. Then a few hours were again passed in the reception of
merchants, the First Consul assuring them that he had taken the greatest
pleasure in conferring with them in regard to the commerce of Havre with
the colonies. In the evening, there was a fete prepared by the
merchants, at which the First Consul remained for half an hour; and on
Monday, at five o'clock in the morning, he embarked on a lugger for
Honfleur. At the time of his departure the weather was a little
threatening, and the First Consul was advised not to embark. Madame
Bonaparte, whose ears this rumor reached, ran after her husband, begging
him not to set out; but he embraced her, laughing, calling her a coward,
and entered the vessel which was awaiting him. He had hardly embarked
when the wind suddenly lulled, and the weather became very fine. On his
return to Havre, the First Consul held a review on the Place de la
Citadelle, and visited the artillery barracks, after which he received,
until the evening, a large number of public dignitaries and merchants;
and the next day, at six o'clock in the morning, we set out for Dieppe.

When we arrived at Fecamp, the town presented an extremely singular
spectacle. All the inhabitants of the town, and of the adjoining towns
and villages, followed the clergy, chanting a Te Deum for the anniversary
of the 18th Brumaire; and these countless voices rising to heaven for him
affected the First Consul profoundly. He repeated several times during
breakfast that he had felt more emotion on hearing these chants under the
dome of heaven than he had ever felt while listening to the most
brilliant music.

We arrived at Dieppe at six o'clock in the evening. The First Consul
retired, only after having received all their felicitations, which were
certainly very sincere there, as throughout all France at that time. The
next day, at eight o'clock, the First Consul repaired to the harbor,
where he remained a long while watching the return of the fishermen, and
afterwards visited the faubourg of Pollet, and the work on the docks,
which was then just beginning. He admitted to his table the sub-prefect,
the mayor, and three sailors of Dieppe who had been given boarding-axes
of honor for distinguishing themselves in the combat off Boulogne. He
ordered the construction of a breakwater in the inner port, and the
continuation of a canal for navigation, which was to be extended as far
as Paris, and of which, until this present time, only a few fathoms have
been made. From Dieppe we went to Gisors and to Beauvais; and finally
the First Consul and his wife returned to Saint-Cloud, after an absence
of two weeks, during which workmen had been busily employed in restoring
the ancient royal residence, which the First Consul had decided to
accept, as I have before stated.


The tour of the First Consul through the wealthiest and most enlightened
departments of France had removed from his mind the apprehension of many
difficulties which he had feared at first in the execution of his plans.
Everywhere he had been treated as a monarch, and not only he personally,
but Madame Bonaparte also, had been received with all the honors usually
reserved for crowned heads. There was no difference between the homage
offered them at this time, and that which they received later, even
during the Empire, when their Majesties made tours of their states at
different times. For this reason I shall give some details; and if they
should seem too long, or not very novel, the reader will remember that I
am not writing only for those who lived during the Empire. The
generation which witnessed such great deeds, and which, under their very
eyes, and from the beginning of his career, saw the greatest man of this
century, has already given place to another generation, which can judge
him only by what others may narrate of him. What may be familiar to
those who saw with their own eyes is not so to others, who can only take
at second-hand those things which they had no opportunity of seeing for
themselves. Besides, details omitted as frivolous or commonplace by
history, which makes a profession of more gravity, are perfectly
appropriate in simple memoirs, and often enable one to understand and
judge the epoch more correctly. For instance, it seems to me that the
enthusiasm displayed by the entire population and all the local
authorities for the First Consul and his wife during their tour in
Normandy showed clearly that the chief of the state would have no great
opposition to fear, certainly none on the part of the nation, whenever it
should please him to change his title, and proclaim himself Emperor.

Soon after our return, by a decree of the consuls four ladies were
assigned to Madame Bonaparte to assist her in doing the honors of the
palace. They were Mesdames de Remusat, de Tallouet, de Lucay, and de
Lauriston. Under the Empire they became ladies-in-waiting. Madame de
Lauriston often raised a smile by little exhibitions of parsimony, but
she was good and obliging. Madame de Remusat possessed great merit, and
had sound judgment, though she appeared somewhat haughty, which was the
more remarkable as M. de Remusat was exactly the reverse. Subsequently
there was another lady of honor, Madame de La Rochefoucault, of whom I
shall have occasion to speak later.

The lady of the robes, Madame de Lucay, was succeeded by Madame La
Vallette, so gloriously known afterwards by her devotion to her husband.
There were twenty-four French ladies-in-waiting, among whom were Mesdames
de Remusat, de Tallouet, de Lauriston, Ney, d'Arberg, Louise d'Arberg
(afterwards the Countess of Lobau), de Walsh-Serent, de Colbert, Lannes,
Savary, de Turenne, Octave de Segur, de Montalivet, de Marescot, de
Bouille Solar, Lascaris, de Brignole, de Canisy, de Chevreuse, Victor de
Mortemart, de Montmorency, Matignon, and Maret. There were also twelve
Italian ladies-in-waiting.

These ladies served in turn one month each, there being thus two French
and one Italian lady on duty together. The Emperor at first did not
admit unmarried ladies among the ladies-in-waiting; but he relaxed this
rule first in favor of Mademoiselle Louise d'Arberg (afterwards Countess
of Lobau), and then in favor of Mademoiselle de Lucay, who has since
married Count Philip de Segur, author of the excellent history of the
campaign in Russia; and these two young ladies by their prudence and
circumspect conduct proved themselves above criticism even at court.

There were four lady ushers, Mesdames Soustras, Ducrest-Villeneuve,
Felicite Longroy, and Egle Marchery.

Two first ladies' maids, Mesdames Roy and Marco de St. Hilaire, who had
under their charge the grand wardrobe and the jewel-box.

There were four ladies' maids in ordinary.

A lady reader.

The men on the staff of the Empress's household were the following:
A grand equerry, Senator Harville, who discharged the duties of a
chevalier of honor.

A head chamberlain, the general of division, Nansouty.

A vice-chamberlain, introducer of the ambassadors, de Beaumont.

Four chamberlains in ordinary, de Courtomer, Degrave, Galard de Bearn,
Hector d'Aubusson de la Feuillade.

Four equerries, Corbineau, Berckheim, d'Audenarde, and Fouler.

A superintendent-general of her Majesty's household, Hinguerlot.

A secretary of commands, Deschamps.

Two head valets, Frere and Douville.

Four valets in ordinary.

Four men servants.

Two head footmen, L'Esperance and d'Argens. Six ordinary footmen. The
staff of the kitchen and sanitation were the same as in the household of
the Emperor; and besides these, six pages of the Emperor were always in
attendance upon the Empress.

The chief almoner was Ferdinand de Rohan, former archbishop of Cambray.

Another decree of the same date fixed the duties of the prefects of the
palace. The four head prefects of the consular palace were de Remusat,
de Crayamel (afterwards appointed introduces of ambassadors, and master
of ceremonies), de Lugay, and Didelot. The latter subsequently became
prefect of the Department of the Cher.

Malmaison was no longer sufficient for the First Consul, whose household,
like that of Madame Bonaparte, became daily more numerous. A much larger
building had become necessary, and the First Consul fixed his choice upon

The inhabitants of Saint-Cloud addressed a petition to the Corps
Legislatif, praying that the First Consul would make their chateau his
summer residence; and this body hastened to transmit it to him, adding
their prayers to the same effect, and making comparisons which they
believed would be agreeable to him. The general refused formally, saying
that when he should have finished and laid down the duties with which the
people had charged him, he would feel honored by any recompense which the
popular will might award him; but that so long as he was the chief of the
Government he would accept nothing.

Notwithstanding the determined tone of this reply, the inhabitants of the
village of Saint-Cloud, who had the greatest interest in the petition
being granted, renewed it when the First Consul was chosen consul for
life; and he then consented to accept. The expenses of the repairs and
furnishing were immense, and greatly exceeded the calculations that had
been made for him; nevertheless, he was not satisfied either with the
furniture or ornaments, and complained to Charvet, the concierge at
Malmaison, whom he appointed to the same post in the new palace, and whom
he had charged with the general supervision of the furnishing and the
placing of the furniture, that he had fitted up apartments suitable only
for a mistress, and that they contained only gewgaws and spangles, and
nothing substantial. On this occasion, also, he gave another proof of
his habitual desire to do good, in spite of prejudices which had not yet
spent their force. Knowing that there were at Saint-Cloud a large number
of the former servants of Queen Marie Antoinette, he charged Charvet to
offer them either their old places or pensions, and most of them resumed
their former posts. In 1814 the Bourbons were far from acting so
generously, for they discharged all employees, even those who had served
Marie Antoinette.

The First Consul had been installed at Saint-Cloud only a short while,
when the chateau, which had thus again become the residence of the
sovereign at enormous expense, came near falling a prey to the flames.
The guard room was under the vestibule, in the center of the palace; and
one night, the soldiers having made an unusually large fire, the stove
became so hot that a sofa, whose back touched one of the flues which
warmed the saloon, took fire, and the games were quickly communicated to
the other furniture. The officer on duty perceiving this, immediately
notified the concierge, and together they ran to General Duroc's room and
awoke him. The general rose in haste, and, commanding perfect silence,
made a chain of men. He took his position at the pool, in company with
the concierge, and thence passed buckets of water to the soldiers for two
or three hours, at the end of which time the fire was extinguished, but
only after devouring all the furniture; and it was not until the next
morning that the First Consul, Josephine, Hortense, in short, all the
other occupants of the chateau, learned of the accident, all of whom, the
First Consul especially, expressed their appreciation of the
consideration shown in not alarming them.

To prevent, or at least to render such accidents less likely in future,
the First Consul organized a night-guard at Saint-Cloud, and subsequently
did the same at all his residences; which guard-was called "the watch."

During his early occupation of Saint-Cloud the First Consul slept in the
same bed with his wife; afterwards etiquette forbade this; and as a
result, conjugal affection was somewhat chilled, and finally the First
Consul occupied an apartment at some distance from that of Madame
Bonaparte. To reach her room it was necessary to cross a long corridor,
on the right and left of which were the rooms of the ladies-in-waiting,
the women of the service, etc. When he wished to pass the night with his
wife, he undressed in his own room, and went thence in his wrapper and
night-cap, I going before him with a candle. At the end of this corridor
a staircase of fifteen or sixteen steps led to the apartment of Madame
Bonaparte. It was a great joy to her to receive a visit from her
husband, and every one was informed of it next morning. I can see her
now rubbing her little hands, saying, "I rose late to-day; but, you see,
it is because Bonaparte spent the night with me." On such days she was
more amiable than ever, refused no one, and all got whatever they
requested. I experienced proofs of this myself many times.

One evening as I was conducting the First Consul on one of these visits
to his wife, we perceived in the corridor a handsome young fellow coming
out of the apartment of one of Madame Bonaparte's women servants. He
tried to steal away; but the First Consul cried in a loud voice, "Who
goes there? Where are you going? What do you want? What is your name?"
He was merely a valet of Madame Bonaparte, and, stupefied by these
startling inquiries, replied in a frightened voice that he had just
executed an errand for Madame Bonaparte. "Very well," replied the First
Consul, "but do not let me catch you again." Satisfied that the gallant
would profit by the lesson, the general did not seek to learn his name,
nor that of his inamorata. This reminds me of an occasion on which he
was much more severe in regard to another chambermaid of Madame
Bonaparte. She was young, and very pretty, and inspired very tender
sentiments in Rapp and E----, two aides-de-camp, who besieged her with
their sighs, and sent her flowers and billets-doux. The young girl, at
least such was the opinion of every one, gave them no encouragement, and
Josephine was much attached to her; nevertheless, when the First Consul
observed the gallantries of the young men, he became angry, and had the
poor girl discharged, in spite of her tears and the prayers of Madame
Bonaparte and of the brave and honest Colonel Rapp, who swore naively
that the fault was entirely on his side, that the poor child had not
listened to him, and that her conduct was worthy of all praise. Nothing
availed against the resolution of the First Consul, whose only reply was,
"I will have nothing improper in my household, and no scandal."

Whenever the First Consul made a distribution of arms of honor, there was
always a banquet at the Tuileries, to which were admitted, without
distinction, and whatever their grade, all who had a share in these
rewards. At these banquets, which took place in the grand gallery of the
chateau, there were sometimes two hundred guests; and General Duroc being
master of ceremonies on these occasions, the First Consul took care to
recommend him to intermingle the private soldiers, the colonels, the
generals, etc. He ordered the domestics to show especial attention to
the private soldiers, and to see that they had plenty of the best to eat
and to drink. These are the longest repasts I have seen the emperor
make; and on these occasions he was amiable and entirely unconstrained,
making every effort to put his guests entirely at their ease, though with
many of them this was a difficult task. Nothing was more amusing than to
see these brave soldiers sitting two feet from-the table, not daring to
approach their plates or the food, red to the ears, and with their necks
stretched out towards the general, as if to receive the word of command.
The First Consul made them relate the notable deeds which had brought
each his national recognition, and often laughed boisterously at their
singular narrations. He encouraged them to eat, and frequently drank to
their health; but in spite of all this, his encouragement failed to
overcome the timidity of some, and the servants removed the plates of
each course without their having touched them, though this constraint did
not prevent their being full of joy and enthusiasm as they left the
table. "Au revoir, my brave men," the First Consul would say to them;
"baptize for me quickly these new-born," touching with his fingers their
sabers of honor. God knows whether they spared themselves!

This preference of the First Consul for the private soldier recalls an
instance which took-place at Malmaison, and which furnishes, besides, a
complete refutal of the charges of severity and harshness which have been
brought against him.

The First Consul set out on foot one morning, dressed in his gray
riding-coat, and accompanied by General Duroc, on the road to Marly.
Chatting as they walked, they saw a plowman, who turned a furrow as he
came towards them.

"See here, my good man," said the First Consul, stopping him, "your
furrow is not straight. You do not know your business."--"It is not you,
my fine gentleman, who can teach me. You cannot do as well. No, indeed
-you think so; very well, just try it," replied the good man, yielding
his place to the First Consul, who took the plow-handle, and making the
team start, commenced to give his lesson. But he did not plow a single
yard of a straight line. The whole furrow was crooked. "Come, come,"
said the countryman, putting his hand on that of the general to resume
his plow, "your work is no good. Each one to his trade. Saunter along,
that is your business." But the First Consul did not proceed without
paying for the lesson he had received. General Duroc handed the laborer
two or three louis to compensate him for the loss of time they had caused
him; and the countryman, astonished by this generosity, quitted his plow
to relate his adventure, and met on the way a woman whom he told that he
had met two big men, judging by what he had in his hand.

The woman, better informed, asked him to describe the dress of the men,
and from his description ascertained that it was the First Consul and one
of his staff; the good man was overcome with astonishment. The next day
he made a brave resolution, and donning his best clothes, presented
himself at Malmaison, requesting to speak to the First Consul, to thank
him, he said, for the fine present he had given him the day before.

I notified the First Consul of this visit, and he ordered me to bring the
laborer in. While I was gone to announce him, he had, according to his
own expression, taken his courage in both hands to prepare himself for
this grand interview; and I found him on my return, standing in the
center of the antechamber (for he did not dare to sit upon the sofas,
which though very simple seemed to him magnificent), and pondering what
he should say to the First Consul in token of his gratitude. I preceded
him, and he followed me, placing each foot cautiously on the carpet; and
when I opened the door of the cabinet, he insisted with much civility on
my going first. When the First Consul had nothing private to say or
dictate, he permitted the door to stand open; and he now made me a sign
not to close it, so that I was able to see and hear all that passed.

The honest laborer commenced, on entering the cabinet, by saluting the
back of de Bourrienne, who could not see him, occupied as he was in
writing upon a small table placed in the recess of a window. The First
Consul saw him make his bows, himself reclining in his armchair, one of
the arms of which, according to habit, he was pricking with the point of
his knife. Finally he spoke. "Well, my brave fellow." The peasant
turned, recognized him, and saluted anew. "Well," continued the First
Consul, "has the harvest been fine this year?"--"No, with all respect,
Citizen General, but not so very bad."

"In order that the earth should produce, it is necessary that it should
be turned up, is it not so? Fine gentlemen are no good for such work."

"Meaning no offense, General, the bourgeois have hands too soft to handle
a plow. There is need of a hard fist to handle these tools."

"That is so," replied the First Consul, smiling. "But big and strong as
you are, you should handle something else than a plow. A good musket,
for instance, or the handle of a good saber."

The laborer drew himself up with an air of pride. "General, in my time I
have done as others. I had been married six or seven years when these
d---d Prussians (pardon me, General) entered Landrecies. The requisition
came. They gave me a gun and a cartridge-box at the Commune
headquarters, and march! My soul, we were not equipped like those big
gallants that I saw just now on entering the courtyard." He referred to
the grenadiers of the Consular Guard.

"Why did you quit the service?" resumed the First Consul, who appeared
to take great interest in the conversation.

"My faith, General, each one in his turn, and there are saber strokes
enough for every one. One fell on me there" (the worthy laborer bent
his head and divided the locks of his hair); "and after some weeks in the
field hospital, they gave me a discharge to return to my wife and my

"Have you any children?"

"I have three, General, two boys and a girl."

"You must make a soldier of the oldest. If he will conduct himself well,
I will take care of him. Adieu, my brave man. Whenever I can help you,
come to see me again." The First Consul rose, made de Bourrienne give
him some louis, which he added to those the laborer had already received
from him, and directed me to show him out, and we had already reached the
antechamber, when the First Consul called the peasant back to say to him,
"You were at Fleurus?"--"Yes, General."--"Can you tell me the name of
your general-in-chief?"--"Indeed, I should think so. It was General
Jourdan."--"That is correct. Au revoir;" and I carried off the old
soldier of the Republic, enchanted with his reception.


At the beginning of this year (1803), there arrived at Paris an envoy
from Tunis, who presented the First Consul, on the part of the Bey, with
ten Arab horses. The Bey at that time feared the anger of England, and
hoped to find in France a powerful ally, capable of protecting him; and
he could not have found a better time to make the application, for
everything announced the rupture of the peace of Amiens, over which all
Europe had so greatly rejoiced, for England had kept none of her
promises, and had executed no article of the treaty. On his side, the
First Consul, shocked by such bad faith, and not wishing to be a dupe,
openly prepared for war, and ordered the filling up of the ranks, and a
new levy of one hundred and twenty thousand conscripts. War was
officially declared in June, but hostilities had already begun before
this time.

At the end of this month the First Consul made a journey to Boulogne, and
visited Picardy, Flanders, and Belgium, in order to organize an
expedition which he was meditating against the English, and to place the
northern seacoast in a state of defense. He returned to Paris in August,
but set out in November for a second visit to Boulogne.

This constant traveling was too much for Hambard, who for a long time had
been in feeble health; and when the First Consul was on the point of
setting out for his first tour in the North, Hambard had asked to be
excused, alleging, which was only too true, the bad state of his health.
"See how you are," said the First Consul, "always sick and complaining;
and if you stay here, who then will shave me?"--"General," replied
Hambard, "Constant knows how to shave as well as I." I was present, and
occupied at that very moment in dressing the First Consul. He looked at
me and said, "Well, you queer fellow, since you are so skilled, you shall
make proof of it at once. We must see how you will do." I knew the
misadventure of poor Hebert, which I have already related; and not
wishing a like experience, I had been for some time practicing the art of
shaving. I had paid a hairdresser to teach me his trade; and I had even,
in my moments of leisure, served an apprenticeship in his shop, where I
had shaved, without distinction, all his customers. The chins of these
good people had suffered somewhat before I had acquired sufficient
dexterity to lay a razor on the consular chin; but by dint of repeated
experiments on the beards of the commonalty I had achieved a degree of
skill which inspired me with the greatest confidence; so, in obedience to
the order of the First Consul, I brought the warm water, opened the razor
boldly, and began operations. Just as I was going to place the razor
upon the face of the First Consul, he raised himself abruptly, turned,
and fastened both eyes upon me, with an expression of severity and
interrogation which I am unable to describe. Seeing that I was not at
all embarrassed, he seated himself again, saying to me in a mild tone,
"Proceed." This I did with sufficient skill to satisfy him; and when I
had finished, he said to me, "Hereafter you are to shave me;" and, in
fact, after that he was unwilling to be shaved by any one else. From
that time also my duties became much more exacting, for every day I had
to shave the First Consul; and I admit that it was not an easy thing to
do, for while he was being shaved, he often spoke, read the papers, moved
about in his chair, turned himself abruptly, and I was obliged to use the
greatest precautions in order not to cut him. Happily this never
occurred. When by chance he did not speak, he remained immobile and
stiff as a statue, and could not be made to lower, nor raise, nor bend
his head to one side, as was necessary to accomplish the task easily. He
also had a singular fancy of having one half of his face lathered and
shaved before beginning the other, and would not allow me to pass to the
other side of his face until the first half was completely finished, as
the First Consul found that plan suited him best.

Later, when I had become his chief valet, and he deigned to give me
proofs of his kindness and esteem, and I could talk with him as freely
as his rank permitted, I took the liberty of persuading him to shave
himself; for, as I have just said, not wishing to be shaved by any one
except me, he was obliged to wait till I could be notified, especially in
the army, when his hour of rising was not regular. He refused for a long
time to take my advice, though I often repeated it. "Ah, ha, Mr. Idler!"
he would say to me, laughing, "you are very anxious for me to do half
your work;" but at last I succeeded in satisfying him of my
disinterestedness and the wisdom of my advice. The fact is, I was most
anxious to persuade him to this; for, considering what would necessarily
happen if an unavoidable absence, an illness, or some other reason, had
separated me from the First Consul, I could not reflect, without a
shudder, of his life being at the mercy of the first comer. As for him,
I am sure he never gave the matter a thought; for whatever tales have
been related of his suspicious nature, he never took any precaution
against the snares which treason might set for him. His sense of
security, in this regard, amounted even to imprudence; and consequently
all who loved him, especially those who surrounded him, endeavored to
make up for this want of precaution by all the vigilance of which they
were capable; and it is unnecessary to assert that it was this solicitude
for the precious life of my master which had caused me to insist upon the
advice I had given him to shave himself.

On the first occasions on which he attempted to put my lessons into
practice, it was even more alarming than laughable to watch the Emperor
(for such he was then); as in spite of the lessons that I had given him
with repeated illustrations, he did not yet know how to hold his razor.
He would seize it by the handle, and apply it perpendicularly to his
cheek, instead of laying it flat; he would make a sudden dash with the
razor, never failing to give himself a cut, and then draw back his hand
quickly, crying out, "See there, you scamp; you have made me cut myself."
I would then take the razor and finish the operation The next day the
same scene would be repeated, but with less bloodshed; and each day the
skill of the Emperor improved, until at last, by dint of numberless
lessons, he became sufficiently an adept to dispense with me, though he
still cut himself now and then, for which he would always mildly reproach
me, though jestingly and in kindness. Besides, from the manner in which
he began, and which he would never change, it was impossible for him not
to cut his face sometimes, for he shaved himself downward, and not
upward, like every one else; and this bad method, which all my efforts
could not change, added to the habitual abruptness of his movements, made
me shudder every time I saw him take his razor in hand.

Madame Bonaparte accompanied the First Consul on the first of these
journeys; and there was, as on that to Lyons, a continued succession of
fetes and rejoicing.

The inhabitants of Boulogne had, in anticipation of the arrival of the
First Consul, raised several triumphal arches, extending from the
Montreuil gate as far as the great road which led to his barrack, which
was situated in the camp on the right. Each arch of triumph was
decorated with evergreens, and thereon could be read the names of the
skirmishes and battles in which he had been victorious. These domes and
arches of verdure and flowers presented an admirable coup-d'-oeil. One
arch of triumph, higher than the others, was placed in the midst of the
Rue de l'Ecu (the main street), and the elite of the citizens had
assembled around it; while more than a hundred young people with garlands
of flowers, children, old men, and a great number of brave men whom
military duty had not detained in the camp, awaited with impatience the
arrival of the First Consul. At his approach the joyful booming of
cannon announced to the English, whose fleet was near by in the sea off
Boulogne, the appearance of Napoleon upon the shore on which he had
assembled the formidable army he had determined to hurl against England.

The First Consul was mounted upon a small gray horse, which was active as
a squirrel. He dismounted, and followed by his brilliant staff,
addressed these paternal words to the citizens of the town: "I come to
assure the happiness of France. The sentiments which you express, and
all your evidences of gratitude, touch me; I shall never forget my
entrance into Boulogne, which I have chosen as the center of the reunion
of my armies. Citizens, do not be alarmed by this multitude. It is that
of the defenders of your country, soon to be the conquerors of haughty

The First Consul proceeded on his route, surrounded by the whole
populace, who accompanied him to the door of his headquarters, where more
than thirty generals received him, though the firing of cannon, the
ringing of bells, the cries of joy, ceased only when this great day

The day after our arrival, the First Consul visited the Pont de Brique, a
little village situated about half a league from Boulogne. A farmer read
to him the following complimentary address:--

"General, in the name of twenty fathers we offer you a score of fine
fellows who are, and always will be, at your command. Lead them,
General. They can strike a good blow for you when you march into
England. As to us, we will discharge another duty. We will till the
earth in order that bread may not be wanting to the brave men who will
crush the English."

Napoleon, smiling, thanked the patriotic countrymen, and glancing towards
the little country house, built on the edge of the highway, spoke to
General Berthier, saying, "This is where I wish my headquarters
established." Then he spurred his horse and rode off, while a general
and some officers remained to execute the order of the First Consul, who,
on the very night of his arrival at Boulogne, returned to sleep at Pont
de Brique.

They related to me at Boulogne the details of a naval combat which had
taken place a short time before our arrival between the French fleet,
commanded by Admiral Bruix, and the English squadron with which Nelson
blockaded the port of Boulogne. I will relate this as told to me,
deeming very unusual the comfortable mode in which the French admiral
directed the operations of the sailors.

About two hundred boats, counting gunboats and mortars, barges and
sloops, formed the line of defense, the shore and the forts bristling
with batteries. Some frigates advanced from the hostile line, and,
preceded by two or three brigs, ranged themselves in line of battle
before us and in reach of the cannon of our flotilla; and the combat
began. Balls flew in every direction. Nelson, who had promised the
destruction of the flotilla, re-enforced his line of battle with two
other lines of vessels and frigates; and thus placed en echelon, they
fought with a vastly superior force. For more than seven hours the sea,
covered with fire and smoke, offered to the entire population of Boulogne
the superb and frightful spectacle of a naval combat in which more than
eighteen hundred cannon were fired at the same time; but the genius of
Nelson could not avail against our sailors or soldiers. Admiral Bruix
was at his headquarters near the signal station, and from this position
directed the fight against Nelson, while drinking with his staff and some
ladies of Boulogne whom he had invited to dinner. The guests sang the
early victories of the First Consul, while the admiral, without leaving
the table, maneuvered the flotilla by means of the signals he ordered.
Nelson, eager to conquer, ordered all his naval forces to advance; but
the wind being in favor of the French, he was not able to keep the
promise he had made in London to burn our fleet, while on the contrary
many of his own boats were so greatly damaged, that Admiral Bruix, seeing
the English begin to retire, cried "Victory!" pouring out champagne for
his guests. The French flotilla suffered very little, while the enemy's
squadron was ruined by the steady fire, of our stationary batteries. On
that day the English learned that they could not possibly approach the
shore at Boulogne, which after this they named the Iron Coast (Cote de

When the First Consul left Boulogne, he made his arrangements to pass
through Abbeville, and to stop twenty four hours there. The mayor of the
town left nothing undone towards a suitable reception, and Abbeville was
magnificent on that day. The finest trees from the neighboring woods
were taken up bodily with their roots to form avenues in all the streets
through which the First Consul was to pass; and some of the citizens, who
owned magnificent gardens, sent their rarest shrubs to be displayed along
his route; and carpets from the factory of Hecquet-Dorval were spread on
the ground, to be trodden by his horses. But unforeseen circumstances
suddenly cut short the fete.

A courier, sent by the minister of police, arrived as we were
approaching the town, who notified the First Consul of a plot to
assassinate him two leagues farther on; the very day and hour were named.
To baffle the attempt that they intended against his person, the First
Consul traversed the city in a gallop, and, followed by some lancers,
went to the spot where he was to be attacked, halted about half an hour,
ate some Abbeville cakes, and set out. The assassins were deceived.
They had not expected his arrival until the next day.

The First Consul and Madame Bonaparte continued their journey through
Picardy, Flanders, and the Low Countries. Each day the First Consul
received offers of vessels of war from the different council-generals,
the citizens continued to offer him addresses, and the mayors to present
him with the keys of the cities, as if he exercised royal power. Amiens,
Dunkirk, Lille, Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, Liege, and Namur distinguished
themselves by the brilliant receptions they gave to the illustrious
travelers. The inhabitants of Antwerp presented the First Consul with
six magnificent bay horses. Everywhere also, the First Consul left
valuable souvenirs of his journey; and by his orders, works were
immediately commenced to deepen and improve the port of Amiens. He
visited in that city, and in all the others where he stopped, the
exposition of the products of industry, encouraging manufacturers by his
advice, and favoring them in his decrees. At Liege, he put at the
disposal of the prefect of the Our the the sum of three hundred thousand
francs to repair the houses burned by the Austrians, in that department,
during the early years of the Revolution. Antwerp owes to him the inner
port, a basin, and the building of carpenter-shops. At Brussels, he
ordered that the Rhine, the Meuse, and the Scheldt should be connected by
a canal. He gave to Givet a stone bridge over the Meuse, and at Sedan
the widow Madame Rousseau received from him the sum of sixty thousand
francs for the re-establishment of the factory destroyed by fire.
Indeed, I cannot begin to enumerate all the benefits, both public and
private, which the First Consul and Madame Bonaparte scattered along
their route.

A little while after our return to Saint-Cloud, the First Consul, while
riding in the park with his wife and Cambaceres, took a fancy to drive
the four horses attached to the carriage which had been given him by the
inhabitants of Antwerp. He took his place on the driver's seat, and took
the reins from the hands of Caesar, his coachman, who got up behind the
carriage. At that instant they were in the horse-shoe alley, which leads
to the road of the Pavilion Breteuil, and of Ville d'Avray. It is stated
in the Memorial of St. Helena, that the aide-de-camp, having awkwardly
frightened the horses, made them run away; but Caesar, who related to me
in detail this sad disaster a few moments after the accident had taken
place, said not a word to me about the aide-de-camp; and, in truth, there
was needed, to upset the coach, nothing more than the awkwardness of a
coachman with so little experience as the First Consul. Besides, the
horses were young and spirited, and Caesar himself needed all his skill
to guide them. Not feeling his hand on the reins, they set out at a
gallop, while Caesar, seeing the new direction they were taking to the
right, cried out, "To the left," in a stentorian voice. Consul
Cambaceres, even paler than usual, gave himself little concern as to
reassuring Madame Bonaparte, who was much alarmed, but screamed with all
his might, "Stop, stop! you will break all our necks!" That might well
happen, for the First Consul heard nothing, and, besides, could not
control the horses; and when he reached, or rather was carried with the
speed of lightning to, the very gate, he was not able to keep in the
road, but ran against a post, where the carriage fell over heavily, and
fortunately the horses stopped. The First Consul was thrown about ten
steps, fell on his stomach, and fainted away, and did not revive until
some one attempted to lift him up. Madame Bonaparte and the second
consul had only slight contusions; but good Josephine had suffered
horrible anxiety about her husband. However, although he was badly
bruised, he would not be bled, and satisfied himself with a few rubbings
with eau de Cologne, his favorite remedy. That evening, on retiring, he
spoke gayly of his misadventure, and of the great fright that his
colleague had shown, and ended by saying, "We must render unto Caesar
that which is Caesar's; let him keep his whip, and let us each mind his
own business."

He admitted, however, notwithstanding all his jokes, that he had never
thought himself so near death, and that he felt as if he had been dead
for a few seconds. I do not remember whether it was on this or another
occasion that I heard the Emperor say, that "death was only asleep
without dreams."

In the month of October of this year, the First Consul received in public
audience Haled-Effendi, the ambassador of the Ottoman Porte.

The arrival of the Turkish ambassador created a sensation at the
Tuileries, because he brought a large number of cashmere shawls to the
First Consul, which every one was sure would be distributed, and each
woman flattered herself that she would be favorably noticed. I think
that, without his foreign costume, and without his cashmere shawls, he
would have produced little effect on persons accustomed to seeing
sovereign princes pay court to the chief of the government at his
residence and at their own. His costume even was not more remarkable
than that of Roustan, to which we were accustomed; and as to his bows,
they were hardly lower than those of the ordinary courtiers of the First
Consul. At Paris, it is said, the enthusiasm lasted longer--"It is so
odd to be a Turk!" A few ladies had the honor of seeing the bearded
ambassador eat. He was polite and even gallant with them, and made them
a few presents, which were highly prized; his manners were not too
Mohammedan, and he was not much shocked at seeing our pretty Parisians
without veils over their faces. One day, which he had spent almost
entirely at Saint-Cloud, I saw him go through his prayers. It was in the
court of honor, on a broad parapet bordered with a stone balustrade. The
ambassador had carpets spread on the side of the apartments, which were
afterwards those of the King of Rome; and there he made his genuflexions,
under the eyes of many people of the house, who, out of consideration,
kept themselves behind their casements. In the evening he was present at
the theater, and Zaire or Mahomet, I think, was played; but of course he
understood none of it.


In the month of November of this year, the First Consul returned to
Boulogne to visit the fleet, and to review the troops who were already
assembled in the camps provided for the army with which he proposed to
descend on England. I have preserved a few notes and many recollections
of my different sojourns at Boulogne. Never did the Emperor make a
grander display of military power; nor has there ever been collected at
one point troops better disciplined or more ready to march at the least
signal of their chief; and it is not surprising that I should have
retained in my recollections of this period details which no one has yet,
I think, thought of publishing. Neither, if I am not mistaken, could any
one be in a better position than I to know them. However, the reader
will now judge for himself.

In the different reviews which the First Consul held, he seemed striving
to excite the enthusiasm of the soldiers, and to increase their
attachment for his person, by assiduously taking advantage of every
opportunity to excite their vanity.

One day, having especially noticed the excellent bearing of the
Thirty-sixth and Fifty-seventh regiments of the line, and Tenth of light
infantry, he made all the officers, from corporal to colonel, come
forward; and, placing himself in their midst, evinced his satisfaction by
recalling to them occasions when, in the past under the fire of cannon,
he had remarked the bearing of these three brave, regiments. He
complimented the sub-officers on the good drilling of the soldiers, and
the captains and chiefs of battalion on the harmony and precision of
their evolutions. In fine, each had his share of praise.

This flattering distinction did not excite the jealousy of the other
corps of the army, for each regiment had on that day its own share of
compliments, whether small or great; and when the review was over, they
went quietly back to their quarters. But the soldiers of the
Thirty-sixth, Fifty-seventh, and Tenth, much elated by having been so
specially favored, went in the afternoon to drink to their triumph in a
public house frequented by the grenadiers of the cavalry of the Guard.
They began to drink quietly, speaking of campaigns, of cities taken, of
the First Consul, and finally of that morning's review. It then
occurred to the young men of Boulogne, who were among the drinkers, to
sing couplets of very recent composition, in which were extolled to the
clouds the bravery and the exploits of the three regiments, without one
word of praise for the rest of the army, not even for the Guard; and it
was in the favorite resort of the grenadiers of the Guard that these
couplets were sung! These latter maintained at first a gloomy silence;
but soon finding it unendurable, they protested loudly against these
couplets, which they said were detestable. The quarrel became very
bitter; they shouted, heaped insults on each other, taking care not to
make too much noise; however, and appointed a meeting for the next day,
at four o'clock in the morning, in the suburbs of Marquise, a little
village about two leagues from Boulogne. It was very late in the
evening when these soldiers left the public house.

More than two hundred grenadiers of the Guard went separately to the
place of meeting, and found the ground occupied by an almost equal number
of their adversaries of the Thirty-sixth, Fifty-seventh, and Tenth.
Wasting no time in explanations, hardly a sound being heard, each soldier
drew his sword, and for more than an hour they fought in a cool,
deliberate manner which was frightful to behold. A man named Martin,
grenadier of the Guard, and of gigantic stature, killed with his own hand
seven or eight soldiers of the Tenth. They would probably have continued
till all were massacred if General Saint-Hilaire, informed too late of
this bloody quarrel, had not sent out in all haste a regiment of cavalry,
who put an end to the combat. The grenadiers had lost two men, and the
soldiers of the line thirteen, with a large number of wounded on both

The First Consul visited the camp next day, and had brought before him
those who had caused this terrible scene, and said to them in a severe
tone: "I know why you fought each other; many brave men have fallen in a
struggle unworthy of them and of you. You shall be punished. I have
given orders that the verses which have been the cause of so much trouble
shall be printed. I hope that, in learning your punishment, the ladies
of Boulogne will know that you have deserved the blame of your comrades
in arms."

However, the troops, and above all the officers, began to grow weary of
their sojourn at Boulogne, a town less likely, perhaps, than any other to
render such an inactive existence endurable. They did not murmur,
however, because never where the First Consul was did murmuring find a
place; but they fumed nevertheless under their breath at seeing
themselves held in camp or in fort, with England just in sight, only nine
or ten leagues distant. Pleasures were rare at Boulogne; the women,
generally pretty, but extremely timid, did not dare to hold receptions at
their own houses, for fear of displeasing their husbands, very jealous
men, as are all those of Picardy. There was, however, a handsome hall in
which balls and soirees could easily have been given; but, although very
anxious to do this, these ladies dared not make use of it. At last a
considerable number of Parisian beauties, touched by the sad fate of so
many brave and handsome officers, came to Boulogne to charm away the
ennui of so long a peace. The example of the Parisian women piqued those
of Abbeville, Dunkirk, Amiens; and soon Boulogne was filled with
strangers, male and female, who came to do the honors of the city. Among
all these ladies the one most conspicuous for style, intellect, and
beauty was a Dunkirk lady, named Madame F----, an excellent musician,
full of gayety, grace, and youth; it was impossible for Madame F----not
to turn many heads. Colonel Joseph, brother of the First Consul,
General Soult, who was afterwards Marshal, Generals Saint-Hilaire and
Andre Ossy, and a few other great personages, were at her feet; though
two alone, it is said, succeeded in gaining her affections, and of those
two, one was Colonel Joseph, who soon had the reputation of being the
preferred lover of Madame F----. The beautiful lady from Dunkirk often
gave soirees, at which Colonel Joseph never failed to be present. Among
all his rivals, and certainly they were very numerous, one alone bore him
ill-will; this was the general-in-chief, Soult. This rivalry did no
injury to the interests of Madame F----; but like a skillful tactician,
she adroitly provoked the jealousy of her two suitors, while accepting
from each of them compliments, bouquets, and more than that sometimes.

The First Consul, informed of the amours of his brother, concluded one
evening to go and make himself merry in the little salon of Madame F----,
who was very plainly domesticated in a room on the first floor in the
house of a joiner, in the Rue des Minimes. In order not to be
recognized, he was dressed as a citizen, and wore a wig and spectacles.
He took into his confidence General Bertrand, who was already in great
favor with him, and who did all in his power to render his disguise

Thus disguised, the First Consul and his companion presented themselves
at Madame F----'s, and asked for Monsieur the Superintendent Arcambal.
The most perfect incognito was impressed on Arcambal by the First Consul,
who would not for all the world have been recognized; and M. Arcambal
promising to keep the secret, the two visitors were announced under the
title of commissaries of war.

They were playing bouillotte; gold covered the tables, and the game and
punch absorbed the attention of the happy inmates to such a degree, that
none of them took note of the persons who had just entered. As for the
mistress of the lodging, she had never seen the First Consul except at a
distance, nor General Bertrand; consequently, there was nothing to be
feared from her. I myself think that Colonel Joseph recognized his
brother, but he gave no evidence of this.

The First Consul, avoiding as best he could all glances, spied those of
his brother and of Madame F----. Thinking signals were passing between
them, he was preparing to quit the salon of the pretty Dunkirkess, when
she, very anxious that the number of her guests should not yet be
diminished, ran to the two false commissaries of war, and detained them
gracefully, saying that all were going to play forfeits, and they must
not go away without having given pledges. The First Consul having first
consulted General Bertrand by a glance, found it agreeable to remain and
play those innocent games.

Indeed, at the end of a few moments, at the request of Madame F----, the
players deserted the bouillotte, and placed themselves in a circle around
her. They began by dancing the Boulangere; then the young innocents kept
the ball in motion. The turn of the First Consul came to give a forfeit.
He was at first very much embarrassed, having with him only a piece of
paper, on which he had written the names of a few colonels; he gave,
however, this paper to Madame F----, begging her not to open it.

The wish of the First Consul was respected, and the paper remained folded
on the lap of the beautiful woman until the time came to redeem the
forfeits. Then the queer penalty was imposed on the great captain of
making him doorkeeper, while Madame F----, with Colonel Joseph, made the
'voyage a Cythere' in a neighboring room. The First Consul acquitted
himself with a good grace of the role given him; and after the forfeits
had been redeemed, made a sign to General Bertrand to follow him, and
they went out. The joiner who lived on the ground floor soon came up to
bring a little note to Madame F----.

This was the note:

I thank you, Madame, for the kind welcome you have given me. If you
will come some day to my barracks, I will act as doorkeeper, if it
seems good to you; but on that occasion I will resign to no, other
the pleasure of accompanying you in the 'voyage a Cythre'.


The pretty woman did not read the note aloud; neither did she allow the
givers of forfeits to remain in ignorance that she had received a visit
from the First Consul. At the end of an hour the company dispersed, and
Madame F---- remained alone, reflecting on the visit and the note of the
great man.

It was during this same visit that there occurred a terrible combat in
the roadstead of Boulogne to secure the entrance into the port of a
flotilla composed of twenty or thirty vessels, which came from Ostend,
from Dunkirk, and from Nieuport, loaded with arms for the national fleet.

A magnificent frigate, carrying thirty-six pounders, a cutter, and a
brig, detached themselves from the English fleet, in order to intercept
the route of the Dutch flotilla; but they were received in a manner which
took away all desire to return.

The port of Boulogne was defended by five forts; the Fort de la Creche,
the Fort en Bois, Fort Musoir, Castle Croi, and the Castle d'Ordre, all
fortified with large numbers of cannon and howitzers. The line of
vessels which barred the entrance was composed of two hundred and fifty
gunboats and other vessels; the division of imperial gunboats formed a
part of this.

Each sloop bore three pieces of cannon, twenty-four pounders,--two pieces
for pursuit, and one for retreat; and five hundred mouths of fire were
thus opened on the enemy, independently of all the batteries of the
forts, every cannon being fired more than three times a minute.

The combat began at one o'clock in the afternoon. The weather was
beautiful. At the first report of the cannon the First Consul left the
headquarters at the Pont de Brique, and came at a gallop, followed by his
staff, to give orders to Admiral Bruix; but soon wishing to examine for
himself the operations of the defense, and to share in directing them, he
threw himself, followed by the admiral and a few officers, into a launch
which was rowed by sailors of the Guard. Thus the First Consul was borne
into the midst of the vessels which formed the line of defense, through a
thousand dangers, amid a tempest of shells, bombs, and cannon-balls.
With the intention of landing at Wimereux, after having passed along the
line, he ordered them to steer for the castle of Croi, saying that he
must double it. Admiral Bruix, alarmed at the danger he was about to


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