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humor when he discovered that I knew what with the superintendence of this new establishwent on in his home.
ment. Pensions and rewards began to be beParis in the mean time began to side more and stowed on men of letters, and on these points more with the ugly actress. The beauty had Monsieur de Fontanes was constantly consulted. been hissed more than once. Monsieur de Ré- Bonaparte liked to converse with him, and these musat tried to accord an equal protection to these conversations were often very amusing. The two débutantes, but whatever he did for one or Consul delighted in attacking the pure and classic the other was received with discontent, either by taste of Monsieur de Fontanes, who defended our the public or by the Consul.
French chefs-d'œuvre with an ability which inAll this occasioned some disturbance in our duced lookers-on to regard him as possessed of circle. Bonaparte, without confiding to Monsieur a certain kind of courage. For there were alde Rémusat the secret of his interest, complained ready in this court people so adapted to the to him, and declared that I should not receive his métier of courtier that any one was regarded as wife's confidences, unless I promised to give her a Roman who ventured to express admiration sensible advice. My husband represented me to for “ Mérope” or “ Mithridate,” since the master be a reasonable person, who was by nature and had declared that he liked neither the one nor the education thoroughly versed in the proprieties of other of these works. life, and who could not possibly be guilty of the He was greatly amused by these literary conmistake of adding to Madame Bonaparte's exas- troversies, and even contemplated procuring this peration.
pleasure for himself twice each week, by inviting The Consul, who was pleasantly disposed certain men of letters to spend the evening with toward us, consented to suspend his opinion of Madame Bonaparte. Monsieur de Rémusat, who me. After this followed another inconvenience. knew many men of letters in Paris, was empowHe took me as umpire often into his conjugal dis- ered to gather them together at the château. putes, and insisted on appealing to what he called Some academicians and littérateurs were inmy common sense to support him in his con- vited one evening. Bonaparte was in a genial demnation of the jealous whims of which he humor; he talked well and freely; was animated complained, and of which he was weary. and agreeable. I was charmed that he was seen
As I had not acquired the habit of dissimu- to such advantage. I was extremely desirous lating my thoughts, I, when he talked to me of that he should please these persons, who did not the annoyance he felt at such scenes, told him know him, and that, by showing himself more, he frankly that I pitied Madame Bonaparte sincerely, should destroy the prejudices which were graduwhether her sufferings were needless or other- ally forming against him. Bonaparte's tact and wise—that it seemed to me that he should find wit were both unimpeachable when he chose to every excuse for her; but I admitted also that I exercise them, and he entered into an argument thought her lacking in dignity when she set her with old Abbé Morellet, who was clear and deservants to watch for proofs of the infidelities she cided, going always in logical sequence from suspected.
proof to proof, and never admitting the power of Bonaparte speedily informed Madame Bona- the imagination in the progress of human events. parte that I blamed her, and then I found myself Bonaparte contradicted this. He allowed his involved in endless explanations from husband imagination all the liberty it desired, and in this and wife; as a matter of course, I was carried case her flights were far. He touched on all away by the vivacity of my years, and by the subjects, frequently lost himself, but was delightsincere attachment I felt for the First Consul and ed to see that he was taxing the Abbé to keep up his wife.
with him. He was really extremely interesting. Then followed a succession of scenes, whose The next day he spoke with pleasure of this details are effaced from my memory, when I saw evening, and declared that he wished he could Bonaparte imperious, hard, and defiant, then all have many more like it. A similar reunion was at once softened, almost agitated, kind, and gen- then appointed about a week later, when some tle, hastening to repair the wrongs he had com- one, I do not know whom, expressed himself mitted, and which should never again occur. with some energy on the liberty of writing and
thinking, and on their advantage to nations. This This light storm blew over, and the winter led to a discussion which was much less easy passed peacefully. Several new institutions indi- than that of the previous evening. The Consul cated the return of order. Colleges were organ- relapsed into long silences which chilled the asized; robes and some importance were given to sembly. At a third soirée he made his appearthe magistrates. All the French pictures at the ance late, and was absent-minded, abstracted, Louvre were assembled together under the name and gloomy, and uttered only rare and disconof a museum, and Monsieur Denon was intrusted nected sentences.
Everybody was weary, and the following day announced that important discussions were pendBonaparte said that he saw nothing to like, after ing between the two governments, and comall, in these men of letters, that nothing was plained of the armament then preparing in the gained by admitting them to intimacy, and that ports of Holland. At the same time we were he did not care to have them invited again. witnesses of the scene where Bonaparte feigned,
He was never willing to submit to any re- or where he allowed himself to be carried away straint, and the necessity of showing himself in by, a violent rage in the presence of the ambasan agreeable mood at any fixed day and hour sadors. Shortly after this he left Paris and esstruck him as an intolerable restraint, which he tablished himself at Saint-Cloud. shook off as speedily as possible.
He was not so absorbed at this time by pub
lic affairs that he neglected to order one of his By this time faint rumors arose of war with préfets du palais to write a complimentary letEngland. Secret correspondence, in regard to ter to the celebrated musician, Paisiello, on the some attempts made in La Vendée were pub- opera of “Proserpine," which he wished brought lished. The English Government was accused out in Paris. Bonaparte was very eager to draw of sustaining these attempts, and George Cadou- thither distinguished people from all countries, dal was named as the agent between them and paying them liberally. Not long after this, the the Chouans. It was also said that Monsieur rupture between France and England burst out, d'André had returned secretly to France after and the English ambassador, before whose door having again, before the 18th Fructidor, tried to a crowd had daily assembled to rejoice or mourn serve the agents of royalty.
over his preparations for departure which they The Corps Législatif were assembled. The saw in his courtyard, suddenly departed. Monreport that was rendered of the state of the re- sieur de Talleyrand carried to the Senate a compublic was remarkable, and was remarked. At munication of the motives which forced the war. peace with all nations; the conclusum given at The Senate replied that they could only applaud Ratisbon on the new division of Germany, and the moderation and firmness of the First Consul, recognized by all the sovereigns; the constitution and sent a deputation to Saint-Cloud to carry the accepted by the Swiss; the Concordat; the sys- assurances of their gratitude and devotion. tem of public instruction; the formation of the Monsieur de Vaublanc, addressing the Corps Institute; justice better dispensed; financial im- Législatif, said with enthusiasm : provement; the Code Civil, of which a portion “What chief of a nation ever demonstrated a was submitted to this Assembly; the different greater love of peace? If it were possible to military works begun along our frontiers and in separate the history of the negotiations of the France; the projects for Anvers, the Mont Cenis, First Consul from that of his exploits, one would the shores of the Rhine, and the canal de l'Ourey; fancy one's self reading the life of a peaceful magthe acquisition of the island of Elba ; Saint Do- istrate who occupies himself with trying every mingo, which was still ours; projects of numerous method to insure peace.” laws for indirect taxation, for the formation of a The Tribunat added the hope that energetic chamber of commerce, for the practice of medi- measures would be taken, and, after these differcine, and for manufactures—all offered an hon- ent expressions of admiration and submission, orable and satisfactory picture of the Govern- the session of the Corps Législatif terminated. ment.
It was then that we, for the first time, saw in At the end of this report, a few words were “The Moniteur" the acrimonious and violent slipped in regarding a possible rupture with Eng- charges against the English Government, which land, and on the necessity of increasing the army. were endlessly multiplied, and which only too careThe Corps Législatif and the Tribunat made no fully replied to the articles freely and constantly opposition, and entire approval, which at this time appearing each day in London. Bonaparte often was unquestionably merited, was bestowed on so dictated these paragraphs, which Monsieur Maret many labors so well begun.
afterward corrected. It was most unfortunate Early in March bitter complaints appeared that the sovereign of a great empire should enin our journals on the publication by the English ter, as it were, into a personal contest with these press of certain libels against Bonaparte. It was journalists, and it was certainly undignified to preposterous to complain of this, since the Eng- show such irascibility, and to be so moved by lish press has absolute liberty, but these com- attacks which it would have been wiser to displaints were mere pretexts: the occupation of dain. Malta and our interference in the Government English journalists had no difficulty in disof Switzerland were the real causes of the rup- covering to what degree the First Consul and ture. On March 8, 1803, a letter addressed by afterward the Emperor of France was wounded the King of England to the British Parliament by the jests they permitted themselves in regard
to him, and, as soon as they made this discovery, sieur de Rémusat and myself, have never been they redoubled the activity of their pursuit. able to read one word of it, often as we have
How often he came in the blackest of humors tried ! and told Madame Bonaparte that he had been Monsieur Maret, Secretary of State, although reading articles in the “Sun” or the “Courier ” a man of very mediocre abilities—Bonaparte did against him! He did his best to excite a war not dislike such persons, because he said he had of pens between the different English journals; enough talent to give them what they lackedhe had men in his pay in London, spent much Monsieur Maret, I say, finished by acquiring quite money, and deceived no one either in England a reputation because of his quickness in writing. or in France.
He leaped at the meaning of Bonaparte's words, I stated that he often dictated articles in the and, without hazarding an observation, set them " Moniteur." Bonaparte had a singular manner down faithfully. This fact serves to show the of dictating. He never wrote anything with his cause of his success with his master in conjuncown hand. His writing was unformed and abso- tion with the fact that he affected for him the lutely undecipherable, to others as well as to him- greatest admiration and the most unbounded reself. He was totally lacking in the patience de- gard. Bonaparte could never resist flattery. manded by any manual labor, no matter what it This gentleman was so adroit in his flattery might be; and the extreme activity of his mind, that I have been told that, when starting on a jourcombined with his strict punctuality, never per- ney with the Emperor, he left with his wife models mitted any of those occupations where one part of letters which she was to copy carefully, and in of himself was under the control of the other. which she complained that her husband's devo
Those people who wrote for him, Monsieur tion to his master was such that she was jealous Bourrienne first, then Monsieur Maret, and his of him; and, as during these journeys the couriers private secretary Menneval, had each adopted a delivered the letters and dispatches only into the style of abbreviation by which their pens went as hands of the Emperor, who never hesitated to fast as his thoughts. He dictated as he walked break a seal if the fancy took him, these adroit up and down his cabinet. If he were at all ani- complaints produced precisely the effect he demated, his language became very violent, and was sired and anticipated. even at times intermingled with oaths, which, of When Monsieur Maret was made Minister of course, were suppressed by the writers, and Foreign Affairs, he took care not to follow Monwhich had the advantage of giving them a little sieur de Talleyrand's example, who often said more time. He never repeated what he said, that in this position it was more especially with even when he had not been heard, and, unfortu- Bonaparte that it was necessary to negotiate. nately for the secretary, he remembered what he But, on the contrary, entering into all his pashad said and detected any omissions.
sions, always ready to express surprise that forOne day he had just read a manuscript trage- eign potentates dared to show irritation when dy which had been sent to him; he was so struck they had been insulted, or ventured to offer any by it, that he took it into his head to make some opposition to their own ruin, he often strengthchanges in it.
ened his own fortune at the expense of Europe, “Take pen and ink,” he said to Monsieur de when a disinterested and skillful minister would Rémusat, “and write down what I am going to have taken a more just and accurate view. say."
He had, so to speak, always a courier booted And, almost without giving my husband time and spurred ready to bear to each sovereign the to establish himself at his table, he began to dic- first angry words which escaped Bonaparte's lips tate with such rapidity that Monsieur de Rému- when unpleasant intelligence exasperated him. sat, accustomed as he was to writing very quick- This culpable complaisance did infinite harm to ly, was covered with drops of perspiration in his his master, and caused more than one rupture attempts to follow him. Bonaparte saw this per- which was regretted after the first heat had fectly well, and checked himself several times passed. It contributed possibly to Bonaparte's only to say:
fall, for, in the last year of his reign, while he at " Come, now, try and understand me, for I Dresden hesitated in regard to the steps he shall not repeat a single word.”
should take, Maret retarded the retreat which He always enjoyed any discomfort which he was so important to be made by his inability to succeeded in inflicting upon any one. His great summon courage enough to inform the Emperor general principle, which he applied to small things of the defection of Bavaria, which he should have as well as to large, was that people were energetic known at the earliest possible moment. only when they were uncomfortable.
This is, perhaps, the place in which it will be He fortunately forgot to ask for the sheets he appropriate to relate an anecdote à propos of had dictated—I say fortunately, for we two, Mon- Monsieur de Talleyrand, which proves how well
this skillful minister knew how to manage Bona- These anecdotes, which I write down as they parte, and how thoroughly he was master of occur to me, were in reality unknown to me until himself.
later-not, in fact, until an intimate acquaintance Peace was negotiated at Amiens between with Monsieur de Talleyrand taught me to unEngland and France in the spring of 1802. New derstand certain characteristics of Bonaparte. questions arose nearly at the close of the nego- In the beginning, I was profoundly deceived tiations between the plenipotentiaries, which gave in him, and, at the same time, happy that that considerable uneasiness to Bonaparte, who await- was so. I recognized his talents : I saw him ed the arrival of the courier with impatience. disposed to repair the wrongs of which he was He came and brought to the Minister of Foreign guilty toward his wife. I looked on with pleaAffairs the signature so much desired. Monsieur sure at this friendship with Berthier ; he petted de Talleyrand put it in his pocket and went to the in my presence the boy—the little NapoleonConsul, appearing before him with that impassive whom he appeared to love. I believed him to face which he preserved on all occasions. He be accessible to all sweet and natural sentiments, was there an hour, going over with Bonaparte a and my youthful imagination adorned him with number of affairs which it was necessary to com- every good quality. plete, and when the work was finished he said It is only just to say here that he was intoxiwith a smile :
cated by his excess of power, that his passions “ And now I am about to give you a very were exasperated by the facility with which he great pleasure. The treaty is signed, and here could satisfy them. Young, and uncertain of his it is.”
future, he often hesitated at exhibiting certain Bonaparte was literally stupefied at this way vices, and less often at the affectation of certain of making the announcement.
virtues. “And why, pray, did you not tell me at
In the summer of this year a journey to * Because," answered Monsieur de Talley, Belgium was determined upon, which Bonaparte rand, “you would not have listened to anything wished to be on a scale of great magnificance. else. When you are happy you are not approach- He had little difficulty in persuading Madame able !"
Bonaparte to do everything in her power to im'This power of silence struck the Consul so press the people to whom she was to show herforcibly that he was not angry,” added Monsieur self. Madame Talhouet and myself were selected de Talleyrand, “ because he at once concluded to go with her, and the Consul gave me thirty that he could make this quality useful to him- thousand francs for our expenses. We left on self."
June 24, 1803, with a cortége of several carriages, Another man of this court devotedly attached two generals of his Guard, his aides-de-camp, to Bonaparte, whom he admired as well, was Duroc, two préfets du palais, Monsieur de RéMarshal Berthier, Prince of Wagram. He had musat and a Piedmontese named Salmatons, and made the Egyptian campaign, and there learned nothing was omitted to render this journey imto love his general. His friendship was so de- posing. monstrative that Bonaparte—although very indif- We were to pass a day at Mortefontaine, ferent to any sentiment which sprang from the which place had been purchased by Joseph Boheart-could not refrain from responding to it naparte; all the family were there assembled, in some degree. But their feelings toward each and a very odd incident took place. We had other continued to be unequal, and gave to Bo- spent the morning in the gardens, which were very naparte many occasions to exact all sacrifices beautiful. At dinner-time a question of precewhich sprung from sincere affection.
dence arose : Bonaparte's mother was at MorteOne day Monsieur de Talleyrand was talking fontaine. Joseph told his brother that on enterwith Bonaparte before he became emperor : ing the dining-room he must place his mother
“I really can not understand," he said, “how on his right, while Madame Bonaparte sat on Berthier and I fell into relations which have a his left. The Consul was wounded by this cerecertain air of intimacy. I never trouble myself monial, which placed his wife in a secondary much about useless sentiments ; and Berthier is position, and ordered Joseph to change the proso thoroughly commonplace that I am at a loss gramme. His brother refused, and nothing that to know why I am amused by him or feel any was said would induce him to yield. When dininterest in him, and yet it is true that I have a ner was announced Joseph took his mother's certain affection for him."
hand, and Lucien led in Madame Bonaparte. "If you love him," answered Monsieur de The Consul, irritated by this perseverance on the Talleyrand, “I can tell you why: it is because part of his brother, crossed the salon hastily, he believes in you."
seized his wife by the arm, preceded every one
into the dining-room, took his seat with his wife is a very convenient fashion of seeing things by in the chair next him, and then called me to take which we should all profit. We have our specthe seat on his other side. The assembly were tacles, and, if it is not through our passions that dumfounded - I, more than any one else; and we look at things, it is at least through our interMadame Joseph Bonaparte,* to whom we all ests." naturally owed every courtesy, was left at the end “But," I said, in reply, “ with such a system of the table, as if she were not a member of the of action, where would you place all these evifamily. As may easily be imagined, this arrange- dences of approval which now gratify you? For ment did not add ease or gayety to the repast. what class of men would you employ your life? The brothers were out of temper, Madame Bo- For whom would you undertake great and haznaparte sad, and I much disturbed by the promi- ardous enterprises?” nence into which I was forced.
“Oh, a man must follow out his destiny! He During dinner Bonaparte never once addressed who feels himself called must not resist. And a member of his family; he talked with his wife then human pride creates the public he desires and with me - and even took that occasion to in the ideal world which is called posterity. Let tell me that he had restored to my cousin, the him come to believe that in a hundred years a Vicomte de Vergennes, that very morning, cer- poem will recall some great act, some noble pictain woods which had been sequestrated in con- ture consecrate its memory, etc., etc., then his sequence of his emigration, but which had not imagination is stirred, the battle-field is without been sold.
danger, the cannon roars in vain, he regards it I was much touched by this kindness, but only as the sound which will hand the name of a also excessively annoyed that he had chosen such brave general down to his descendants.” a moment to convey to me this information, as “I can never understand," I answered, “ how the gratitude which at another time I would a man can risk his life for glory if he cherishes gladly have expressed to him, and the joy I felt, only contempt for the men of his time." gave me an air of gayety and ease which I knew Here Bonaparte interrupted me hastily: to be unbecoming under the circumstances, as “I feel contempt for no man, madame; it is well as strongly in contrast with the discomfort a word which should never be spoken. And I I experienced. The remainder of the day passed especially esteem Frenchmen.” uneasily, and we left the following morning. I smiled at this abrupt declaration, and he, as
if he divined the meaning of my smile, smiled in
return, and, coming up to me, he pulled my ear, It was at Ghent that he found the daughters which was a gesture common to him when in of the Duke de Villequier, one of the four First good humor, and repeated : Gentlemen of the Chamber, who were nieces of
“ Understand, madame, if you please, it must the Bishop. To these ladies he restored the fine not be said that I despise Frenchmen.” estate of Villequier with its considerable revenues. I had the pleasure of contributing to this restitution by urging it with all my power both
Our entry into Brussels was magnificent. Suwith Bonaparte and with his wife.
perb and numerous regiments surrounded the The evening after this kind act I made some
Consul, who mounted a horse. allusion to the gratitude felt by the two young town with a superb carriage; the city was deco
Madame Bonaparte was presented by the ladies. “Gratitude!” he exclaimed. Ah, that is a
rated; cannons were heard and bells were ringbeautiful word—a poetical word, but one that is ing. The numerous clergy of each church stood void of sense in revolutionary times. And all
on its steps in full ecclesiastical pomp. The that I have done would never prevent your two I was enchanted. There was a succession of
crowd was immense and the weather delightful. friends from rejoicing should some royal emissary succeed in assassinating me."
brilliant fêtes all the time we were in Brussels. I started, but he continued :
The French Minister, the Consul Lebrun, and “You are young-you know nothing of po
the attachés of foreign courts which had matlitical hatred. You see, it is a sort of spectacles ters to settle with us, crowded there. It was at
Brussels that I heard Monsieur de Talleyrand through which one sees individual opinions and sentiments. It follows, therefore, that nothing is reply in the most adroit and flattering manner to either bad or good in itself, but only according little sudden.
a question of Bonaparte's which was certainly a to the way in which one views it. In reality this
One evening the First Consul asked him ab* Joseph Bonaparte married Mademoiselle Julie ruptly how he had made his large fortune so Clary, daughter of a merchant at Marseilles.