CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY FROM Jo Jan Stambaugii Cornell University Ubrary DC 216.95.C53A5 A daughter of Napoleon:menioirs of Emilie -924 024 327 763 The original of this book is in the Cornell University Library. There are no known copyright restrictions in the United States on the use of the text. http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924024327763 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON PRINCESS DF. CHIMAY, DAUCnHER OF MAllAME DE PEI.I.APRA Hy Winterhaltcr A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON MEMOIRS OF EMILIE DE PELLAPRA COMTESSE DE BRIGODE PRINCESS DE CHIMAY ( ')^ITH AN l^if r'oDUCTION BY PRINCESS BIBESCO C hi- tie h 1 PREFACE BY FREDERIC MASSON DB L'ACADAmib PRAN9AISB TRANSLATED BY KATHERINE MILLER NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 1922 VJ J" irmctJJe COPKEIGHT, 1922, BY / CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS Printed in the United States of America Published April, 1923 CONTENTS PAGE Preface ix by frederic masson, of the academie francaise Introduction to the Life of Emilie de Pellapra, Comtesse DE Brigode, Princess de Chimay l BY princess BIBESCO Memoirs of Emilie de Pellapra, Princess de Chimay, 1849 29 ILLUSTRATIONS Princess de Chimay, daughter of Madame de Pellapra Frontispiece FACINO PAGE Madame de Pellapra, n^e Leroy 24 Miniature of Napoleon I, with the cockade worn by the Emperor at the battle of Austerlitz SO Mademoiselle Leroy at fifteen years of age 64 Miniature of Napoleon, for which the Emperor sat ... . 94 Bracelet given by the Emperor to Madame de Pellapra in 1815 . 94 The Princess de Chimay as a child 108 The blue-enamel watch presented to Emelie de Pellapra by the Empress Marie-Louise on her visit to Caen 144 Madame de Pellapra in 1856 160 PREFACE Princess Bibesco, nde Lahovary, has asked me to lay these brief memoirs before the public as the recollections of her husband's grandmother. Her choice falls on me because in one of my books, " Napo- leon and Women," there is an allusion to the heroine, or rather to her mother. I mentioned Mme. Pellapra, whose daughter, the subject of these memoirs, was first Comtesse de Brigode, and afterward Princess de Chimay ; and without stating directly that Mme. Pellapra became a mother, I did observe that she had attracted the attention of Napoleon. If the information that I was able to gather were not so slight, I should now give some details as to this intimacy, for my intention is to speak only of events in which the Emperor took part. Near as we are now to the centenary of his death, the thought of him evokes a religious respect. Some one has recently dared to say that this last war has dimmed the brightness of his glory, but in spite of detrac- tors, he remains the instructor of those whose achievements have value, whether as soldiers, jurists, administrators, or leaders of men. These all admit and proclaim, indeed, that without him and the impression received from his example, they would have been submerged in a colorless mass, and disappeared without honor or renown. During the century X PREFACE just ended he has been the inspirer, and men have thought, struggled, and acted with mind and eyes fixed on him. Life goes on, but he stands like an old bridge under which flows the stream; for how many ages to come will men van- ish beneath his arches? Can the face of such a man, so in harmony as it was with his mind, so expressive of human genius, be gone forever? Does nothing remain but the plaster mask which, even after decomposition set in, re- tained and multiplied the impression indefinitely? Napo- leon did not pass away without leaving children who are known, whom he acknowledged, like Leon and Walewski — and there are others who are suspected and noticed, whose faces betray them, for besides the marble skin gilded with the sun of Attica, their features bear a majesty not to be mistaken. Sometimes this imperial greatness has a touch of grace, and, without falling into a sort of prettiness foreign to its character, broadens into full beauty, radiant and al- most divine. With the passage of years this beauty may grow heavy, take on flesh, lose the harmonious slendemess which gave such incomparable elegance to his body, but besides the face which always remains, the shape lasts, and the extremities excel all statues by their perfection. The women who knew and conceived by such a lover, all had beauty, charm, or exquisite qualities in a superior degree, with the exception of one, for whose presence in this com- pany it is difficult to account, and excepting also the wife whose defects were marks of race, rendering her therefore desirable only to the great ambition which embraced in her PREFACE xi the dynasty from which she sprung. All the women with whom Napoleon had relations were full of dazzling youth and beauty, such as excites ardent longing by eyes, teeth^ hair, body, the whole being, but in which can be sometimes detected an eager desire far removed from love. If a child was born how could he fail to inherit from father and mother, reproduce the features and form of both, and revert to their type? No doubt in the course of life, vices, drunk- enness, drugs, even insanity, might blight his features, and the brute show through the angel; but in early days only what was angelic appeared, or at least the being, bom to power and love, proud of eye and brow, with body moulded by an artist in the likeness of the gods. Once at Saint-Gratien the Princess Matilde was speaking to me of the children of the Emperor Napoleon, and I went into ecstasies over the beauty of a woman whom I had seen when I was a child, and who seemed the living image of the Emperor. "What would you have thought of Prin- cess de Chimay?" said the Princess, and she described her to me as the incarnation of her father. As I was anxious to learn more about her, I applied to my brother-in-law, Lefebvre de Behaine, a man twenty years my senior, and who had lived in the great world. He had known her well, and could tell me much about her. There was no doubt as to her birth, he said, but the facts had never got into print. It was one of the secrets of so- ciety that every one conspired to keep, but which fades away after a generation, unless some old frequenter of the xii PREFACE polite world preserves it for posterity; nevertheless it is hard to understand why no mention was made of the story at the time of the Teste and Cubieres case as to the Gou- hanans mines, in which M. Pellapra was interested. The book of Revelations revealed nothing, though the devil himself confessed to being the author; a sure proof that communication between our drawing-rooms and the in- fernal regions is not, after all, so very direct. When a lady had not been too cruel, her sovereign often found a place in the Finance Department for her com- plaisant spouse; thus paying a debt without cost to the state. Under the empire we find among others, Madame Gazzani at the receivership of Evreux, Madame Sourdeau at Florence, and Madame Pellapra at Caen. In my book, "Napoleon and Women," I noticed that when the Emperor met Madame Pellapra, at Caen, in 1811, " it was probably not for the first time," but the question is settled by the arrival of a witness whose features put the matter beyond a doubt. At St. Cloud in the month of March, 1808, Napoleon first saw Franfoise Marie Emilie Leroy, who was married to Leu Henri Alain Pellapra. They met three or four times, first at St. Cloud, sometimes at the Tuileries, and on the 11th of November, 1808, Emilie Marie Fran- goise Josephine was born. It is easy to see that the good position which Madame Pellapra had obtained for her hus- band brought her again to the notice of the Emperor. In 1811 he renewed his relation with her at the time of his visit to Caen, but it was brief, and the secret so well kept PREFACE xiii that even in the household it was believed that their in- timacy did not begin till after his second marriage. Little Emilie, who was only two years old at the time of this trip to Caen, was too much of a baby to be seen, but her turn came when, in 1813, the Empress Marie Louise visited Cherbourg to open the Bassin Napoleon. Her Majesty was graciously pleased to be present at an open- air entertainment, where it would seem that she met with a pleasant surprise: "A cantata was performed in honor of her Majesty by nineteen ladies, chosen in the town for beauty and distinction. They wore the Normandy cos- tume, and carried baskets filled with fruits and flowers. Afterward came a young child, borne on a rich platform, where were two gilded barrels containing, one milk, the other cider; the child descended from the car holding two crystal goblets, from which she poured libations of these national productions at the feet of her Majesty. Several guards of honor, dressed as graziers from the valley of the Auge, made homage of a superb white bull, his horns gilded and wreathed with garlands and purple streamers, and finally the captain of the guard of honor presented to her Majesty the finest Normandy horse of the whole depart- ment. Then followed dancing, games, and trumpets. The Empress gave two watches, one of which was bestowed on Mile. Eugenie (sic) Pellapra, a child of four years old, who had acted in the pastoral play." Mile. Pellapra speaks herself of what she had probably been told of the scenes in which she took part, for it is im- xiv PREFACE probable that she remembered them, though the Journal of the Empire was at hand to refresh her memory. We now come to more serious assertions which are corroborated by graver testimony. What took place between 1813 and 181S? What was M. Pellapra's attitude toward his wife? Did she remain with him at Caen until the first days of 1815? It is certain that she was at Lyons on the 10th of March, for she is mentioned in a pamphlet entitled "Bona- parte at Lyons." More authentic information can be found in the mem- oirs of the Emperor's valet de chambre: "Mme, P.," he says, "was at Lyons with her family when the Emperor arrived, and she shared the enthusiasm of the populace with her whole heart and soul. The Emperor sent me to her, for as she had been some days at Lyons he could learn a great deal from a conversation with her, but the difficulty was to find time in the midst of the excitement around him. He was obliged to give her an audience late in the evening as the pressure of his affairs did not allow him to see her earlier." It is much to be doubted that he saw her again in Paris, but she was constantly in his thoughts. Marchand writes: "On the 11th of June at ten o'clock in the evening the Em- peror gave me two good-sized packages sealed with his arms. He told me to take one to Mme. Walewska, and the other to Mme. Pellapra." We may believe that she renewed acquaintance with the valet de chambre whom she had known familiarly when PREFACE XV with the Emperor, for when he left the Elysee, after Water- loo, he says: "Mme. P. expressed deep regret to me that she could not go to Malmaison without the orders of the Emperor; but when she wished to speak with him she met him in the neighborhood." " On the 28th June," he writes, "Mme. P., whom I had seen at Rueil, bade me tell the Em- peror that the Duke of Otranto was in treaty with M. de Vitrolles, and that the commissioners sent to the camp of the enemy had not been listened to." "Mme. P.," he says finally, "also came to Malmaison. bringing heartfelt consolation to the Emperor, which touched him deeply. The thought of her at St. Helena could some- times banish the weariness of captivity as he remembered her beauty and goodness of heart." Such is the fitting end of this liaison, sanctified by memory in the prison where the English held the Emperor captive to the last, and where past triumphs could alone bring back to him a little of their tenderness, their beauty, and their ^ ■ Frederic Masson. De l'Academie Francaise. INTRODUCTION BY PRINCESS BIBESCO INTRODUCTION " TKou of whom it was my mother's boast to be the child." —Racine (PMdre). I WAS fifteen years of age when, as her future daughter- in-law, I was placed in the care of my aunt. Princess Georges Bibesco,* and I, fortunately, understood at once that her rod was really a magic wand, that no fate could have suited me better, for if the fairies were not at my baptism I was sure of one at my wedding, since my mother-in-law was a fairy herself. She was conscious, I believe, of her powers of enchantment, in which she took a malicious plea- sure, and bewitched me by talking of Napoleon. She would let me see and handle things that had belonged to the Em- peror — a cambric handkerchief, a penknife, or a smelling- bottle — then, pointing to a locket she wore, she would show me that it contained a singularly expressive miniature, for which the Emperor had sat — he who rarely sat for his por- trait, he whose days were so full and who had so little pa- tience! For whose sake had he snatched these moments from his wonderful life, and why did he give them ? There was another miniature more like his official por- traits, taken in the green uniform of Colonel of the Guard, *Vaientine de Riquet, Comtesse de Caraman-Chimay, Princesse Bibesco, twrn at Menars, February, 1839, died at Bucharest, August 2Sth, 1914. A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON with the grand cordon of the Legion of Honor across his white waistcoat. It was framed in ebony with metal orna- ments, and surmounted by the Napoleonic eagle. Stuck in, the top of the frame was a red-white-and-blue cockade, faded and blackened with powder, and on the back of the picture was a label with these words in my mother-in-law's handwriting: "Cockade worn by the Emperor Napoleon at the battle of Austeriitz, taken from His Majesty's hat by Mme. de Pellapra, my grandmother." I was so dazzled I felt as if the sun were shining directly in my eyes, for I realized that my aunt, that remarkable person whom I should soon call mother, was united to the Emperor by some mysterious tie as yet unknown to me, but I was assured that when I became a woman the secret would be disclosed. In the meanwhile I was only a schoolgirl, with a govern- ess to rule over me, seeing my parents-in-law on Thursdays and Sundays, and receiving visits from my betrothed, which were a great interruption to my lessons. My studies were still incomplete, and my head was filled with history. I had just come to the French Empire, and, fond as I was of reading, there were few books considered proper for me; but 1 unearthed a work in six volumes of a reassuringly dull exterior, in which I delighted — it was the " Memoires d'Outre Tombe." 1 went about repeating its in- toxicating phrases to myself, especially this, showing the height to which Napoleon had brought the greatness of France, "At this time Rome was a French city, capital of INTRODUCTION the department of the Tiber," and another which expressed my own sentiments exactly: "The world belongs to Bona- parte; his renown usurps what the ravager could not con- quer; he lost all while living to possess all in death. Make what claim you will, the generations turn a deaf ear as they pass." Chateaubriand alone among his contemporaries has spoken of Napoleon with befitting splendor. I knew his "Act of Contrition" by heart— a rare proof of humility that Napo- leon forced from R6n6, the proudest of his century; but there is something lofty in a haughty submission, which Chateau- briand showed when he wrote: "To fall from Napoleon and his empire to that which followed is to drop from reality to nothingness, from a mountain-peak into a gulf. Does not everything come to an end with Napoleon? Perhaps I ought to have spoken of other things, but what personality can interest us beside his? In the other life, Dante only was great enough to associate with the poets whom he found there, and how mention Louis XVI II after the Emperor? I blush to think that we must now breathe amid a throng of petty creatures, myself among the number, vague insects of a dim world from which the great sun has withdrawn." "Napoleon's fate was a muse," that is why it will always reign in the hearts of children, for they are poets, and in the hearts of peoples, who are but children. I had watched too often the "great sun" set beneath the Arc de I'Etoile not to feel the force of Chateaubriand's image. In Paris Napoleon fills the field of vision. We lived in the A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON Rue de Rivoli when I was a child, and from my window I could see the dome of the Invalides over the tops of the trees. Then we moved to the Avenue Marceau, and finally to the Champs Elysees, so I could not go out of the house without seeing Napoleon at the end of the two avenues. He dominates the Rue de la Paix from the Place Vendome; he is rooted at the Louvre, where the Arc du Carrousel rises tinted like an almond flower; his bridges stride across the Seine, and he seems to overshadow even the Middle Ages, since we are reminded of his coronation when we go to Notre Dame. To put the finishing touch to his ascendancy over me, I was at last forced to defend him. I had great love, even admiration, for an uncle of mine, whose generous nature had thrown him into a kind of humanitarian idealism. One day he said to try me: "Which is the greater, Pasteur or Napo- leon? Speak quick now!" His fingers closed sharply on my arm, and his eyes held mine. I had to choose between a benefactor of the race and one whom he wished me to con- sider as a slaughterer of men. "Speak up; which was the greater?" With tears in my eyes 1 felt that 1 was lowering myself in the estimation of one whose good opinion 1 highly valued, but 1 stuck to my colors. "Napoleon," I answered, as distinctly as I could. From that day I was morally disinherited by my uncle, but I held firm. Heated discussions often took place, in which it was clearly proved that even from the military and political point of view Napoleon was criminal, since he left INTRODUCTION a diminished France. I replied that he had gained for her the illimitable frontiers of the soul, to which my uncle re- sponded conclusively: "Tertullian has defined man as a glorified animal, a description applicable perhaps to women or even to little girls." I knew that I was one of these ani- mals, and that is why my mother-in-law made me so happy when she told me of the Emperor some years later. I shall always be grateful to her for this imaginative delight. The traditional "corbeille" was sent to me the day before my wedding. It was not really a basket, but large boxes covered with satin or leather, containing jewels presented to me by my family-in-law. 1 was particularly touched by three Napoleonic gifts : one a blue-enamel watch with a fine chain and key, showing on one side the monogram of Marie Louise, and the bee on the other; "the Empress' watch"; then a heavy gold bracelet, set with rubies, brilliants, and emeralds, engraved with emblems of war in the antique style, "The bracelet sent by Napoleon to Mme. de Pellapra on his return from Elba"*; and, third, a diamond solitaire. My mother-in-law explained that this last "was the Em- peror's diamond, brought back from St. Helena by M. de la Cases and given by him to my mother. Mile, de Pellapra." "The return from Elba, St. Helena" — these words touched me deeply. I was not yet able to understand the full mean- ing of the presents which I had just received, but later on it was made clear to me. * This bracelet must have been in the packet sealed with Napoleon's arms that Marchand took to Mme. P from the Emperor, as we learn from M. Frederic Masson, in the passage above quoted. 8 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON My mother-in-law told the story of her grandmother's adventure in many different ways, and I seem now to hear her answer to a lady who questioned her somewhat too closely, with a touch of prudishness: "Dear madam," she said, "my grandmother was very beautiful, and the Em- peror, as you know, was fond of travel." She made no attempt to hide the source from whence she sprung, but was rather proud of it. I can imagine her in- voking the star of Napoleon, as Phedre did the sun, for like a ray of light she descended directly from the Emperor, through her mother, the beautiful Mile, de Pellapra, later Comtesse de Brigode and then Princesse de Chimay. As for the grandmother, Mme. de Pellapra, whose name was also Emilie, her granddaughter held her in the tenderest affection. Her portrait stood in the place of honor in the room where my mother-in-law liked best to sit. She is there depicted in an empire dress of white silk gauze, richly em- broidered in feather-stitch, with flowers in white silk. Through the light, almost transparent material the eye can easily follow the lines of her pliant, elastic young figure. One audacious little foot shows itself below the delicate skirt, clothed in pale-blue satin, the tiny slipper attached by rib- bons crossed around the leg, like the classic cothurn. The face is that of a pretty French bourgeoise, rather dark- skinned, but with blue eyes and a mocking smile, that shows the dimple in her cheek. In the fashion of the day, she wears an Indian shawl thrown over her arm, brought from Egypt and yellow in color, and the whole figure breathes a INTRODUCTION 9 coquettish air. Beside the lady, on the rock where she rather rechnes than sits, is her hat, with its long, rose- colored feather, evidently from the smartest milliner. In M. Frederic Masson's book, "Napoleon and Women," I do not find the particule "de" in Mme. de Pellapra's name, and I am therefore led to believe that it grew up later in the imagination of the princely descendants of the lady who was thus ennobled by her offspring, in the Chinese manner. Emilie Leroy, to call her by her maiden name, was born at Lyons, and it was there, according to an oral tradition handed down in the family, that for the first time Napoleon saw, desired, and, for a little while, even loved her. Later on he met her at St. Cloud, at Paris, and afterward at Caen. If Leda requires any greater excuse than that she was dazzled and bewildered by the swan and the Thunderer — if she must be pardoned for the weakness which made her yield to him to whom all the world yielded — justification will be found in the Memoirs of her daughter, where de Pellapra is represented as the worst and most detestable of men. A statesman once said of a young woman whose virtue was praised in his hearing, that she could only "fall up," and so it proved when a royal lover came in her way. Poor Leda, with how many tears and humiliations, harsh- ness and insults — for the pamphleteers of 1815 did not spare her— was she made to pay for her little day of glory, her fault, one lightning-flash of love ! The I ith of November, 1808, she brought a little girl into 10 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON the world, to whom she gave her own Christian name of Emilie.* M. de Pellapra did not repudiate his wife, but for four years she was separated from the child, whom he refused to see. It is during this period of her infancy that Mme. de Chimay begins her Memoirs. We see her at Lyons in the house of her maternal grand- mother, Mme. Leroy. She tells of watering the nasturtiums on the balcony, of an old nurse who danced sarabands to amuse her, and a younger maid who used to dress her. Even at four years old she was already so handsome that the passers-by stopped to tell her so. She speaks of this public admiration as the "usual accompaniment" of her walks. This remarkable beauty was hers through life; she wore it with dignity, even piously, as a sort of sacrament received from her birth. She impressed this so strongly on the mind of her daughter. Princess Bibesco, that the latter always re- fused to admire any of the young women of her circle; since the face which shone with unique perfection was eclipsed, they all seemed to her lost in a sort of twilight of beauty. "No other woman is worth looking at after you have seen my mother," she used to say. * The date of the birth of Emilie de Pellapra Is still uncertain. The register of birtiis in the city of Lyons bears the date 1806, accepted by the Almanack de Gotha. The death register of the parish and mairie of M§nars gives the date of 11th November, 1809. In her Memoirs the Princess de Chimay says that she and the King of Rome were of the same age. She states that she was four years old in 1815, which would place her birth in 1811 and make her twenty at the date of her second marriage in 1830. M. Frederic Masson, whose authority is final, thinks that she was born in 1808. INTRODUCTION 11 It was precisely this lovely face that seemed to exas- perate the father bestowed on little Emilie by the law, ran- corous and morose as he was. He often struck her in the face, as she tells us herself. " I can see myself in my father's study, hiding my bruised cheeks with my hands, . . . and I can also remember the loss of my beautiful long curls, that they cut off as if 1 had been a convict. . . ." The excuse for all this violence was that she was naughty at her music lesson ! But she had no ear. Napoleon sang false, and did not care for music. The beauty which she held so dear was inherited from her real father (for you have only to look at the mask in the Invalides to see that his features were like those attributed to the gods), but she only saw him once in her life. It was at the review of the Federates during the Hundred Days. She and her mother were at a window in the Tuileries, over- looking the Carrousel, and there she saw him on his white horse, riding along the front of his troops. She writes very simply and naturally, but though she com- plains that she is but ill equipped in her native tongue, stirred by this emotion, which lasted vividly for so many years, she finds the most striking expressions to render the effect that the presence of Napoleon had on all men. She says: "A living fascination sprang from him." In 1815, as Chateaubriand says, "Napoleon invaded France alone," when he found Mme. de Pellapra again by his side. She had just returned from the great military 12 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON highways, where in a sort of operetta disguise she had gone to distribute tricolor cockades to Ne/s army. Dressed as a peasant carrying her eggs to market, mounted on a don- key, she on one side and her three-colored eggs on the other, no one thought of stopping her ! She laughed and rode on, with no password but a joke. These things only happen in France and in French history. The soldiers threw away their white badges, crying: "Hooray for the hen that lays three<olored eggs !" During the Hundred Days the Emperor had to reconsti- tute the empire, to reanimate his genius, his mind filled with the task, striving to gather again in his mighty hands the usurped thunders, the scattered forces of France. But nev- ertheless he found time to order from his jeweller in Paris a bracelet to reward a woman's courage. He wished it to be ornamented only with shields, helmets, and swords, being destined for a woman who had reanimated the spirit of his soldiers and inspired them again to take up arms in his cause. Emilie, the writer of the Memoirs, and Valentine, Princess Bibesco, agree in saying that Mme. de Pellapra was nothing but a child all her life, kind but frivolous and laughter- loving, with, so to speak, no brains, and liking chiefly to dress and amuse herself; yet for Napoleon's sake she was now willing to do more and better than before; she throws herself into political life, with all its wearisome and ugly de- tails, while the wife, Marie Louise, disappoints expectation and remains away — it is said for the good reason that she is about to bear a child to M. de Niepperg ! INTRODUCTION 13 "This woman, this stranger," says M. Frederic Masson, "might absent herself, but others came, no matter from where — ^from France, from Ireland, from Poland — and in those last glorious days, during that short reign of three months, they surrounded the Emperor with faithfulness and beauty, and rejoiced his heart by their enthusiasm. Even those least adapted to it entered the secret service through devotion, and more by instinct than reasoning gave him advice that he would have done well to follow. A case in point is Georges, as to Fouche, and Mme. Pellapra, who hurried back from Lyons, where she had detected certain actions of the Duke of Otranto." From the side of the grave, from the sad willow-shaded geranium valley, where funeral iris grows, the diamond that I inherited was sent by Napoleon to the little Emilie. It shone under the melancholy sky of St. Helena; and when the Emperor made up his accounts at the last its value was deducted from the little that remained to him, that it might bear the remembrance of a father to his child. It was no doubt from interested motives, in the hope of retaining his place as receiver-general of Calvados, that M. de Pellapra obliged his wife to go to meet the Due de Berry on his return from England. Emilie gives an account of it: "I went with my mother in a barouche to meet the Due de Berry on his arrival at Caen." The child, all unconsciously, had her revenge, and that of the Emperor; for she saw "a dusty carriage, and out of it stepped an ugly, stout, heavy, common-looking person, not 14 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON at all my idea of a prince, so underbred and vulgar was his appearance. . . ." She also calls him "the Highness who came from England in the train of the Russians." She saw him again the next day in the gardens of the Pre- fecture, where he paid Mme. de Pellapra rather a clumsy compliment, somewhat at her daughter's expense. " She will never be as pretty as her mother," said he, as he looked at the little girl, and it is clear that this made her very angry. She detested the Due de Berry, and compares the poor effect he made on arriving with the triumphal entry of the Empress, all the pomp of which had passed before her so short a time since, in the same surroundings, when she had been the lit- tle queen of the day, had been caressed by Marie Louise, and had received the blue-enamel watch set with pearls. Writing of this in 1849 she says sadly: "A charming watch with the imperial monogram— 1 have kept it carefully, and it is better preserved now than 1 am !" I am positive that M. de Pellapra insisted that his wife should be present at the festivities at Caen given for the Due de Berry, and that she was not guilty of the moral in- fidelity. What confirms me in this idea is that as soon as the Emperor landed from Elba, Mme. de Pellapra flew to meet him at Lyons. After Waterloo and St. Helena the poor woman resigned herself to the joyless life under the Restoration, overshad- owed by her obnoxious husband. M. de Pellapra had a tal- ent for money-making, and by this time he had become very rich, and had begun to be an important person in the social INTRODUCTION 15 world. Thus the httle girl, now growing up, and her still beautiful mother were necessary to enhance the display of his wealth. A man who has well-turned-out carriages needs a woman to set them off properly. He had bought the for- mer Hotel de Bouillon, on the Quai Malaquais, once occu- pied by Marie Mancine,* and placed his pretty birds in this splendid cage. When his interest or his amusements required he did not allow his family to interfere with either, and he often left home. He mingled in circles where his wife and daughter were not received, and when he was in his own house made it disagreeable to every creature in it. In her Memoirs little Emilie tells of her unhappy child- hood and of her affection for Denis, her father's maitre d'h6tel. He seems to have been the only person in those days who showed her friendship and kindness, things with- out which a child cannot live. "True feeling is only found in the people," said Napoleon, when he heard the cheers of the crowd faithful to him in defeat, as he stood in the gar- den of the Elysee, deserted by all his high dignitaries. This love, first inspired by Denis, for the poor, for the servants- natural to children, who find in their inferiors consolation for their own subordinate position — this sort of feeling lasted with Emilie to the end of her life. After the death of her first husband, the Comte de Bri- gode, she retired'to the chateau of Menars. There in the evening she used to teach such of her servants as did not *Now the H6tel des Beaux Arts. 16 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON know how to read. Once, hearing a noise in her room, and suspecting the presence of a lover, her mother entered and surprised her in this occupation. Little Emilie was virtuous then and always. It seemed as if purity was in the character of her beauty, full of a sort of calm majesty. Her tenderness for her mother, which dominated her whole life, did not nevertheless blind her to the disadvantages of a damaged reputation, but she was closely united to this charming, imprudent mother, and re- mained with her up to the time of her marriage. She was engaged to young M. de Brigode, who died in Florence of a malignant fever, and she then married his father. After his death other young suitors presented themselves, but she en- couraged none of them. This part of her Memoirs betrays how ardently she longed both for herself and her mother to acquire consideration, a thing one must possess, as Beau- marchais says, and without which nothing is of value. At sixteen years of age she had but two ambitions: to gain a defender for her mother and herself against M. de Pellapra's evil tempers, and to find shelter from the calum- nies of the world under the protection of a man of good posi- tion, a peer of France, who loved her devotedly and accepted all her conditions, the first of which was that he would never separate her from her mother. Such were the motives which impelled her to this prudent marriage; and walking on the terrace of the ChS.teau de Noisel, which overhangs the Marne, she confessed them frankly to M. de Brigode with honest and touching sincerity. INTRODUCTION 17 From this time the lives of this mother and daughter were never parted, bound together as they were by the memory of him whom they dreamed of in secret. They were very different in character, as different as pos- sible — the mother gay, frivolous, and careless, with no reli- gious principles; courageous, as we have seen, and charming, but weak and foolish, losing her head in any emergency. Once, when she thought her daughter dying, she tried to poison herself, and again nearly killed her by some remedies she tried. On the other hand, the daughter, serious and pure, proud of her irreproachable conduct, loving God with- out having been taught, feeling deeply her maternal respon- sibilities, not only toward her children when they came but, above all, toward her child-mother, whom she never left, ac- cording to the vow she made to herself — and perhaps to the great shadow which hovered over them both. Fate sometimes draws people together in a way that seems more like irony than simple chance. Thus, when the daughter of Napoleon married for the second time, her mother-in-law was Thirezia Cabarrus, formerly Mme. Tal- lien, then Princess de Chimay. She also had settled down and was completely sunk in devotion. The friend of the gay days — ^perhaps somewhat too lively — ^under the Direc- tory, the companion of Josephine at Barras's little suppers, now by this marriage mingled her blood with that of Napo- leon. When she speaks of her first interview with poor Th6r6zia, Emilie's tone takes on instinctively the paternal severity; 18 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON but it must be said that she only knew her as "a Spanish matron, enormously stout, and without a trace of distinc- tion. . . ." Emilie is surprised that the Princess de Chimay is not as handsome as her son; but perhaps it was he who took his mother's beauty^ All women die for the first time with their youth; and cer- tainly she was no more of this world, that goddess, who had dared to show herself naked as truth, with no stone cast at her till long afterward, and by those who had not seen her. No, she was no more, the woman who wrote that fierce laconic note to Tallien: "To-morrow I appear before the Revolutionary Tribunal, and 1 am ready to die with the de- spair of belonging to a coward like you." She was no more, who tamed and stopped the Terror, for whose sake the guillotine was thrown down, lest her fair white throat should be hurt; the good Therezia was gone who received from the people of Paris absolution for her sins, and a nickname that rehabilitates and almost sanctifies her: "Notre Dame de Thermidor" ! To each age comes rescue in the shape which it deserves; a virgin saved France in the Middle Ages; the Revolution had only a " Merveilleuse." It was because Emilie had a sweet and noble nature that when she came to know her mother-in-law better she not only found excuses for her conduct but defended her against the forgetfulness and ingratitude of the Faubourg St. Ger- main. INTRODUCTION 19 She quotes a reply of Therezia's which is not without greatness. Some one threw the name of Tallien at her as an insult. "It is true, I was Mme. Tallien," she answered, "and under that name I was so fortunate as to save your life." Already at Bordeaux, when they began to throw the nobles into prison and send them to the guillotine, Citizeness The- rezia Cabarrus, born Fontenay, formerly a marchioness, raised to be Goddess of Reason, did not spare herself, but plotted to save them, good Spaniard and aristocrat as she was at bottom. She made use of the weapons that the Revolution could only deprive her of with life, and calmly staked her youth and beauty against death. All but one forgot the service rendered, but he never told his name. . . . One day when she was very near her end, she was all alone in the gloomy Chiteau de Chimay (St. Simon called Chimay "Chimera," and that was true as far as she was concerned), a poor old woman, deserted by a husband too young for her, and by neglectful children. A sealed packet was brought to her containing a letter, which she could still open with her feeble fingers. The packet contained what used to be called a "marquise" ring, in the style of the eighteenth century, a diamond set with emer- alds. This unexpected gift was accompanied by a letter from a man who desired to remain unknown. Possibly he was afraid that his present would not be accepted, and that the Princess de Chimay would reject this proof of gratitude, which, in fact, was meant for Tallien's mistress. 20 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON His letter recalled the service she had rendered him at Bordeaux, and his story differed from others in one detail only — he had not forgotten her. He was on board a ship loaded with emigrants, which was on the point of sailing, when the captain received orders to remain in port. All knew what this meant — it was the death-sentence of every one of the passengers. Therezia was able to obtain the recall of this order; the vessel set sail before dawn, and the emigrant and his family reached America in safety. He lived and worked there in peace and happiness, all through the Revolution, the Direc- tory, the Consulate, and the Empire; till having realized a comfortable fortune he returned to France, where his first thought on landing was for his benefactress. He was just in time: Therezia was near her end, and per- haps without this emerald ring she would have died without a shadow of hope, for how could she believe in the goodness of God who made men in his own image, when she had found them so unkind? This ring, bestowed by an unknown hand, inherited from the Princess de Chimay, has passed through three hands, and I am now the wearer. When she gave it to me, my mother-in-law called it Mme. Tallien's ring, and that is the name 1 have for it in my own mind. The Princess Bibesco was the granddaughter of Napoleon through her mother, and of Mme. Tallien through her father, and if she prized this descent more than all her titles, and valued it above her Walloon countship, or the three grandees INTRODUCTION 21 of Spain, it was because she had the true historic sense and a love for the picturesque. As I read the Memoirs of the little Emilie, who became Princess de Chimay, 1 notice that she made her mother-in- law tell her stories, just as mine used to do for me. " In the morning," she writes, "while Joseph* was practising with his father, I would beg my mother-in-law to let me hear some of her old stories. She told them so well, mingling the true and the false artistically, in such a way as to keep up the interest. . . ." Who can disentangle the truth in a grandmother's tales? How can a woman know what happened before she existed, since she can scarcely glance into her own heart, before the image becomes blurred? What Emilie loved to dwell on were those thrilling shades of old emotions, revived by a word. She cared not to know if time and distance trans- formed or colored these vague memories. The echoes of life may deceive, but they charm us, and we listen with delight, while those who close their ears pass into death having heard nothing. As long as my husband's mother was there to speak to me I continued to question her, but Princess Georges Bibesco was on the verge of old age at the time of my marriage. Her only son was her last child, and her eldest daughter was of the same age as my mother. Sometimes the Princess would * Prince Joseph de Chimay, son of Therezia Cabarrus, and second husband of Emilie de Pellapra. 22 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON say to me: "We have not long to see each other, my daugh- ter, so let us take a good look now." I reawakened, as 1 have said, the echo of the words that she, herself, had gathered from the lips of her grandmother, Mme. de Pellapra, lips dear and precious to me, because they had touched those of Napoleon and had smiled on him. From him to us the echo had only to pass through two hearts, and after a century we can still feel the vibration; Chateaubriand's prediction is now accomplished. "Bona'- parte exercised so absolute a sway that, after submitting to his personal despotism, we are now under the yoke of his memory. This last rule dominates us more than the first, for though Napoleon was resisted while he was on the throne, there is now universal acceptance of the chains with which his death has bound us. He is an obstacle to all future events. How can any armed power establish itself after him? In surpassing all military glory, has he not destroyed it? . . . He will be the last of the great individual exist- ences." The tomb of an unknown soldier under the Arc-de- Triomphe confirms this verdict. When 1 questioned my mother-in-law about her childhood and youth, which were entirely passed near Mme. de Pella- pra, what 1 particularly sought were new lights on her grand- mother's recollections of Napoleon; but, unfortunately, pro- priety threw a veil over the vision. Under Charles X a wave of austerity passed over French society. The King was melancholy and devout, owing to INTRODUCTION 23 the influence of Mme. de Polastrion. On her death-bed she, in despair at the thought of quitting this world and the Comte d'Artois, made him swear that henceforward he would belong only to God, that he would do penance for her and for himself. Then, secure in the thought that no other woman could now supplant her, she died consoled, leaving him in the arms of his religion. The reign of the Duchesse de Berry would, no doubt, have brought about some changes, but with Marie Amelie family life and strict morals resumed their sway and virtue came into fashion. At the Hotel de Chimay, with Mme. Tallien for a mother, no one joked on a question of morals; it was too much like talking of a rope, . . . etc. But Mme. de Pellapra liked to make a jest of serious things; her disposition was gay, even giddy. For example she made her grandchildren learn the following silly couplet: "Virtue is great, but be it understood Naught is so bad as to be over-good." This was her way of protesting against the prudish, over- serious atmosphere which prevailed in the hotel on the Quai Malaquais. I understood well enough, from what my mother-in-law said, that when Mme. de Pellapra began to talk about her past, her daughter and son-in-law hastened to turn the con- versation. . . . But when one has a Napoleon to look back upon, especially a Frenchwoman out of Beranger's songs, one is sure to talk about it in the end. When Mme. de 24 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON Pellapra was alone with her grandchildren, ^ay from " those glum grown-ups" who wanted her to b^ silent about her heart-history, she was apt to let that heart overflow. The Princesse Bibesco told me that when her mother went to a ball the grandmother was left with her and her brother Henry,* and such stories as she told, and what fun they all had over them ! Unfortunately, these stories were not all fit for my ears, so they were not repeated to me. All I ever heard were the words with which the stories generally ended, accompanied by a little tap on young de Brigode's cheek: "Henry is not good-looking, but his leg is like the Emperor's." In spite of discouragements I persisted in my questions: "What color were Napoleon's eyes?" "Blue," said my mother-in-law, who was sure of this, because her own were blue. "Was he really so short, or only about the middle height?" " Below the average. My mother was also very small, but her head was beautifully shaped, she had tiny feet, and her hands were perfect. My son is not tall, either; the giants in our family come from the Chimay side. . . ." The Emperor was as dainty as a woman, particularly in his scrupulous cleanliness; he practised in the utmost detail all the rites of the toilet, and liked the same refinements in others. In the care which my mother-in-law took of her person I could trace the influence of Mme. de Pellapra, who taught her these observances from a child. •Henry, Conite de Brigode, half-brother of Princess Bibesco. MADAME I)E PKLEAPRA, NEE LEROV INTRODUCTION 25 I let nothing slip in my investigations as to the Emperor, and being careful to examine all the things which had come down to us from him, I was struck by the intimate quality in all his love gifts, as the Persian poets, and especially Saadi, in his tales, made objects around them speak. Napoleon was not the man to throw his handkerchief. In his relations with women he was abrupt sometimes, but never a coxcomb, and the languors of the harem were not for him. We had a handkerchief of his, a big snuff-taker's handkerchief, of such fine lawn that it might have gone into a nutshell, like the linen woven by Finette or the Clever Princess. It had little blue stars around the hem, and in one of the corners was the crowned "N" in a laurel wreath. We had also his smelling-bottle, very small, of cut crystal, the silver-gilt top engraved with the warlike coat of arms he had chosen. The smelling-salts are there yet, but with all the virtue and aroma gone. One wonders if this handkerchief and the salts were em- ployed to recover Josephine from one of her pretended swoons, before they came into the hands of Mme. de Pella- pra ? Did he leave them with her at some parting, that she might revive and dry her tears? Or perhaps, just out of mischief, she may have felt in his pockets, found and kept these things ? I am inclined to believe the latter, from her familiarity with the god, of which her daughter, who knew her well, gives an example when she writes: "Cockade . . . taken from the Emperor's hat by my grandmother." Yes, I believe that she simply took and kept them. 26 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON I have heard them speak, also, of a pair of white-silk stockings, which doubtless set off the celebrated leg, in- herited by Henry. As 1 write, these things which speak of Napoleon are be- fore me. They were hidden for long years in drawers or secret chests by Mme. de Pellapra, guarded by her from the angry eyes of her dreaded husband. Later they were kept out of sight on account of her son-in-law, who was very par- ticular on a question of propriety. In early life he had been attached to the Dutch Legation, then had represented the interests of a prince, son-in-law of Marie Amelie, then was governor of Luxembourg, and at last envoy from the King of the Belgians to His Holiness — a great personage, in short ! From time to time, when she thought herself safe, she would take these souvenirs from their hiding-place and look at them — ^proofs of love from him who was the master of Popes and Kings, whose name she dared not breathe, but which she knew was echoed throughout the world. Sometimes she would show her treasures to her daughter or her grandchildren, with her proud, mocking smile, for it must be frankly confessed that she was a woman who had no regrets. Silent witnesses, these things have come down to our day, but the thought of the dangers that have threatened their existence suggested the idea of fixing their image on this page; they are perishable, but not more so than we our- selves. In order to escape the German investigations they were sent from Bucharest to Russia, and came near being INTRODUCTION 27 lost there. Little Emilie's manuscript escaped by miracle when, in 191 7, they picked the lock of the old lacquered cabinet in which it was kept. I have been led to speak more fully of Mme. de Pellapra than of her daughter in these pages, intended to serve as an introduction to the Memoirs of the Princess de Chimay; but it is because Emilie will now speak for herself, and also the mother and daughter should not be parted, bound, as they were, together, companions even to the grave. After the grief and disappointments which darkened the end of her life, Mme. de Chimay does not rest in Belgium near her husband and her sons, but lies beside her mother at M6nars, in the little chapel of a country churchyard, en- closed by a hedge of laurel. On the 1 6th of April, 1821, Napoleon bequeathed his body to France; his daughter's remains were returned to French soil the 22d of May, 1871. One cross rises above the twin stones under which the mother and daughter lie side by side. 1 went one morning and placed two branches of laurel there, like those which were spread on the grave at St. Helena. Princess Bibesco. Paris, March 11th, 1921. MEMOIRS OF EMILIE DE PELLAPRA PRINCESS DE CHIMAY 1849 MEMOIRS I WISH to write the story of my life, as a way of escape from the bitterness of my thoughts, and to occupy my troubled mind. I ought to call it the story of me, since it is for myself alone that I wish to look back on what I was, on what I am ! As my memory dwells on the deep suffering which actually marred my early youth, my aim above all is to persuade my- self that complaint is forbidden me, and since God has sent compensations for my unforgetable sorrows, 1 ought rather to bless than accuse him. I have suffered, indeed, but the faculty for suffering does not grow less; for after receiving a dagger thrust, one can still feel the prick of a pin. There are many diseases which may attack each one of our organs, as there are a thousand roads that lead to death; so the soul also has pains which affect it, and of which, less fortunate than the body, it can never be completely cured! . . . Each wound leaves its scar, a blow which divides you forever from your loved ones, or one dealt often by those on whom you had staked the hap- piness of your life. They all combine, and the fresh stroke may fall on a half-healed wound, or on the scar that time has not effaced. I can never think of the angel that I have lost,* nor of the * Femand de Brigode. 31 32 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON death of his father* without a sinking of the heart, and the memory of what I felt in the terrible moments of separation is ever present and full of pain. I used to cry to myself when I thought of them, "Oh, my God, anything but that !" and now I am ashamed to con- fess it, but I no longer have courage to bear everything. . . . When I turn to the past, my first memories are of my dear grandmother, t who took such good care of me. As in a dream I can see the room in which I slept by her side, in a deep alcove — ^the balcony where I used to water the nas- turtiums, the old woman who danced sarabandes to amuse me, and another younger maid, who came to help me dress. I can still seem to see our walks on a Sunday, our visits to my aunts, and the disagreeable impression the dirt in the house made on me. Above all, I remember distinctly — so deeply ingrained is vanity in our sex — ^that when I was only three years old I understood perfectly when I was admired for my beauty, and was flattered by this, which was the usual accompaniment of our walks. The days of which I speak are, alas, now far removed, and my recollections are naturally somewhat vague, but I re- member clearly my mother's t return, her sweet, attractive face glowing with all the charms of youth. I am struck by the fact that where my father § is con- cerned my memory fails me entirely. Neither his face nor ♦ Le Comte de Brlgode, first husband of Emllie. J Madame Leroy. Madame de Pellapra, n§e Leroy. I M. de Pellapra, whom she never saw till she was four years old. MEMOIRS 33 his figure remain in my mind; he reappears in my life when we went to Normandy, and then I was afraid of his scoldings. I do not know how long my father and mother re- mained at Lyons, but I remember the packing of some pieces of furniture, that my grandmother was unhappy at cur separation, and that for the first time I travelled with my parents. How my poor grandmother must have suffered when the child was taken from her whom she had brought up with so much care ! How empty her life must have been, and I can never sufficiently regret that I was unable to repay to her old age all that she had done for my babyhood. We passed through Paris, but I remember nothing of it, and I see myself now transplanted to Normandy. I have seen the house and the little garden since; they then seemed to me very large and handsome. There were my birds and rabbits that I was fond of, and I can feel still the weight of my father's anger, whom I feared. It was from him, or rather from my dread of him, that I learned to put a con- straint on myself, to hide and tell fibs. Between my moth- er's weakness and my father's tempers I got into the same habits as the servants; and if I have turned out fairly well it is owing to my good natural disposition. Driven to seek some refuge, I did as Mme. de Girardin so beautifully says: "L'effirol fait i I'enfant devlner la prISre." I prayed to God, at first like the poor little child that I was; I prayed that my reading-teacher should not come; 34 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON for my childish wishes and fancies; and then I begged my patron saint to save me from my father's anger, for I feared and did not love him. In spite of the entire want of religion in which I was brought up, I have prayed ever since. My father was of that school of atheism which sprung up before the Revolu- tion, and the lack of religious education in my mother de- prived me of all pious examples; but my heart was full of feeling that no one understood. I sought comfort and help in prayer; and so I learned to offer all my sufferings to God, and to thank his Providence for every blessing. All my enjoyments came from the family of the secretary to the receiver-general, M. Reveroy. Their daughter was older than I was, and painfully deformed, but she was always ready to play with me. She did not live long, as I have since known, but how many who were happier then have gone to join her without leaving behind them one tender recollection ! One of my troubles was that I was now sent to school as a day-boarder, and though 1 went with a little friend, Mme. de Lebarond'hev^s' daughter, I could never get used to it. 1 was at the same time lazy, affectionate, and fond of the house, and this catlike feeling is the only one to which I have always been constant. I was also much attached to my mother, and was vexed that I should be sent out of her way. Taken together these two things made my school hateful to me. The pangs which I endured on my way there amounted to MEMOIRS 35 real suffering, and I must say in this connection, with my experience of childhood, that the expression "children's troubles," as applied to small annoyances, is most inappro- priate. One can suffer at an early age quite as keenly as in latei life. Sometimes in my childhood I was so desperately unhappy, that I seriously thought of throwing myself out of the win- dow. I was distressed by something, trifling, perhaps, in the eyes of grown persons, but which appeared to me then as painful as anything that 1 had to bear in after years. Our reasoning powers are formed by comparisons which we can only make after long experience; therefore, children, who have not been able to reach either the one or the other, are as keenly sensitive as their elders, and lack the power to control their impressions. A serious illness, scarlet fever, I think, caused me to leave the school which made me so miserable. Nursed and petted by my mother, and quite unaware of my danger, I remember that 1 was perfectly satisfied with this state of things, and pleased with the beautiful figures that were cut out for me by kind Mme. Mechin, whose husband was prefect of Cal- vados. 1 have always thought of her with gratitude. About this time, when I was little more than four years old, I began to hear people talk of the approaching visit of the Empress Marie Louise. She was to pass through Caen, on her way to the opening of the port at Cherbourg. Every one about me was making preparations for the re- ception in which I was to take part. There were four lines 36 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON of verse to be learned, which I did readily enough when I saw the costume intended for me to wear ! It was to be a village festival in a garden; all the smartest ladies were dressed as Cauchoises, and the men as farmers, singing an appropriate chorus, which I remember perfectly well. The stage peasants brought baskets of fruit to deco- rate the flight of steps where the Empress stood with her court. Norman horse-dealers presented a magnificent horse, shod with silver, but he did not seem to relish greatly the lights and noises around him. There was also a white bull with gilded horns, on which it was first intended that I should make my entrance, dressed as the Genius of Nor- mandy, but as my mother refused to trust me, like the nymph Europa, to this animal, it was decided that the Department could dispense with its Genius, and they dressed me in a lit- tle Cauchoise costume, which, I am told, became me to ad- miration. I was carried in safely on a sort of litter wreathed with flowers, between two little gilded barrels. I held a cup in each hand, filled, one with milk, the other with cider, and when I reached the foot of the throne, without the slightest embarrassment I recited these verses, which were well enough received on account of my pretty face: "Les tr&ors de Pomone, un savoureux laitage, Sont des champs neustriens les tr&ors les plus doux. Reine, ce tribut simple est peu digne de vous, Mais il est tendre m6re, offert par le jeune age." Thereupon I made a beautiful courtesy, but they could not carry me off, as the Empress commanded my presence. A MEMOIRS 37 chamberlain came for me, and I remember that he wanted me to kneel when we came near the Empress, but 1 refused, telling him I had said my prayers that morning. With the exception of this slight rebellion I behaved very well, and the Empress gave me a beautiful watch with her monogram, which I have still, and which has worn much better than I have. I was too young to remember the persons and things around me, and so I cannot speak intelligently of events which took place. In 1813 I heard something said of an enemy who was advancing, and scared by this word, I pic- tured to myself a rider with big mustaches, galloping across country; the Cossacks that I saw later were not unlike this bogey. My father had bought a garden, and at this time he talked of burying money there; as all this was said before me, I naturally repeated it, which led to a terrible scene with my father, but he would have done better to hide it from me. At last the strangers arrived whom we had drawn in such dark colors, and the pretty Cauchoises who had sung of their devotion to the Empress and her august spouse made no objection to a waltz with the Russian staff-officers, and I saw their outlandish musicians playing in the same place where had stood the orchestra which greeted Marie Louise. Since then I have seen many similar things, which have made this, my first glimpse of the world's stage, clearer to me. I went in an open carriage with my mother to meet the Due de Berry on his arrival at Caen. 38 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON "C'6tait la mfime f6te et I'^cho de ces lieux, Retentissait encore des mfimes cris joyeux!" These verses have been written since, but they occur to me now and I quote them to express the fact that the same people who cried "Vive I'lmp^ratrice!" made themselves hoarse shouting "Vive le Due de Berry!"; that the trans- ports of loyalty were the same; only I was surprised to see> not a line of brilliant equipages filled with charming young women, but a dusty old barouche, out of which stepped an ugly, stout, heavy, common-looking person, not the least like my idea of a prince, so vulgar and ordinary was his appearance. The day after this untriumphal entry my nurse took me to the gardens of the Prefecture, where I saw all the people go by who had been lunching with the Royal Highness who had come from England in the train of the Russians. 1 went and stood by my mother, and the Due de Berry came and was very polite to her. He noticed me and said how pretty I was, but thinking to compliment my mother he added: " But she will never be as beautiful as madame !" I long ago forgave the poor duke for his awkward predic- tion, which did not even gratify my mother. My memory is less clear as to the time that followed, and probably our journey back to Lyons did not interest me very much, for it left no impression on my mind. I find myself again at Lyons, at my dear grandmother's: the same places, the same balcony where 1 used to look down MEMOIRS 39 on the bridges and the Brotteaux. There was a great deal of active work going on there, which amused me very much. I was told that they were fortifying this approach to the town against the usurper ! Before I went to bed I had seen them bringing great beams, cannon, and ammunition, but in the morning when I heard shouts and ran to look at what had seemed so formidable the night before, I was surprised to see nothing but trophies and wreaths of flowers ! The barricades were transformed into triumphal arches. The people from all the country round were pouring in to wel- come their Emperor, and every moment whole regiments passed, the Eagle once more at their head, hastening to join the train of their idol, who still from beyond the grave can thrill the heart of every Frenchman ! Child as I was, the memory of the enthusiasm, the life, and passion that filled the whole nation made so deep an impres- sion that I have seen nothing since to equal it; all other popular demonstrations were tame and colorless in compari- son. Historical narrative can have no place here; I must only speak of what I saw, and at four years old my eyes shut too eariy and looked at things from too low a level to supply interesting subjects for my pen. Almost immediately afterward we returned to Paris, where the only thing 1 remember during this visit was a grand review at the Carrousel, which I saw from a window of the Palace, 1 have learned since that it was the famous review of the Federations, but all 1 saw then was a vast space 40 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON filled with troops, lines of ordered ranks, a rider galloping on a white horse, and the long roar of acclamations that met and followed his passage, the living fascination which he aroused. Thus I saw and shall always remember Napoleon ! t After this episode I seem to have had a solitary, rather unhappy life. We lived in the Hotel des Colonies, where my only recreation was to play in a dull garden. Children often feel the troubles of their elders, even when they do not comprehend them, but are none the less affected. Too young, as 1 have said, to understand the gravity of passing events, as I only relate my own experiences, I could not describe the Hundred Days without borrowing the nar- ratives of others far better qualified than I am. I felt noth- ing when I heard the distant mutter of the cannon of Water- loo, and looked on all unconscious at the storm which swept away so many glorious hopes; but I saw the consternation of those around me and understood later that a thunderbolt had fallen on the Emperor and France. The trees in the Bois de Boulogne were cut down at this time, and the place turned into an enemies' camp. People went to Vincennes and looked in the distance at the chateau defended by General Daumesnil, and perhaps understood as little as I this loyal resistance in the midst of so much treach- ery. I heard and thought often, myself, of the poor little king, of my own age,* who refused to leave the chateau where • The King of Rome. MEMOIRS 41 he was born, when so many others deserted it before and after he left. What became of his golden cradle and his white rams ? My childish thoughts were full of little things which have passed into history, and so become great, like everything that had to do with the epic of the Hundred Days. Finally came our enemies, disguised as allies, and for the first time I saw the English, those people who always lied except when they took the tiger-cat for their emblem. False as the one, fierce as the other, they have always been traitors, from the stake of Joan of Arc to the rock of St. Helena I Shortly after this complete change in the political situa- tion we moved into a small house in the Rue de Joubert, where there were a great many visitors; but as 1 was too lit- tle to be allowed in the drawing-room, 1 can relate nothing of what occurred at this time. A governess was needed for me, and, unfortunately for my education, the choice fell on a person altogether incapable of educating any one. Mme. de Presle was vulgar, stupid, and almost totally ignorant; all that I remember about her was her excessive greediness, which made her ridiculous to those who were amused by it, but not to me. She ate up all my candies, and objected when I wanted my share. I cannot help smiling when I think of how she managed to pick out the most toothsome pieces without leaving any for me. If her plate was already full at dessert, she would pile sweet- meats all around the edge, and reach out after dishes that were not offered to her, or from which other people helped 42 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON themselves too liberally to suit her. These manceuvres made every one laugh except my father, who used to get very angry and frown in the most fearful manner, but the poor woman was so absorbed that she never noticed this in the least. My education began under unfortunate circumstances. I did have a good writing-master, and acquired a beautiful hand, but as for my French, in spite of all the pains I took in later years, I always felt the effect of this early bad teach- ing, which I could never overcome. I had a taste for drawing, but I was forced to learn the piano and was an unsatisfactory pupil of a poor teacher; I gained nothing from these lessons but vexation and igno- rance, but on looking back I regret my detestation of them. Sometimes I came to table or into the drawing-room and saw some of the friends of the family, especially when there was a big dinner-party. People liked to make me talk, and they laughed and repeated what I said, for I was quick- witted, and had an answer for everything; so I had my friends, whom I coaxed, and my enemies, on whom I liked to sharpen my tongue. My favorites were dear M. Kesner, who made me laugh; poor Casimir Housset, a bashful ad- mirer, whom my mother always snubbed; M. de Forbin, director of museums, a fine-looking, distinguished man; and M. de Chauvelin, a deputy; my father used to make long financial speeches about him, which I copied in my best handwriting, but never read, you may be sure. Then there were General Clary; M. and Mme. Goupil; M. Ducos; a very MEMOIRS 43 young man, M. Coleau Rothschild, whom we called the little Jew; the Bassanos, who had just returned to France after a long exile; the beautiful Mme. Gazzani; General de Cubieres and his wife, and a lot of others whom I have forgotten. I had no amusements, and my only pleasure was to walk with my dear Denis. It is high time to speak of him now, though 1 have not done so before, for he is chief among those whom I recall with affection. Our house then was modest enough, and he was maltre d'h&tel, but he dignified his humble posi- tion by his unusual integrity and the devotion and love he felt for us. The whole of my father's property in Normandy was in his hands when the Allies came in, and it was through his single-mindedness that it was saved and restored to our family. He really took the place of a nurse and governess, so great was his affection for me, and he was my protector when Mme. de Presle was thoughtless and cross, or my father in one of his furies. . . . My great and only joy was to get leave to go to walk with him: we would start off into the country — Montmartre was country then— and we would wander about in the beautiful big Tivoli gardens, now all rough and stony. There I was happy, free, and gay; re- leased from the sort of exhausted receiver, where I was shut in without air, sun, or pleasure. . . . Dear old Denis ! I have never been able to repay all that you did for me, for your old age, like my childhood, was crushed by the same iron hand which weighed so heavily upon us I . . . but at least your daughter is happy! . . . That daughter, who was always very dear to me, was expected at the time I 44 // DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON write of, and I was to be her godmother, I was very proud of my godchild, and counted all her little caps; when I was told of the great event I felt as if I were a mother myself, and laid by all my toys for my infant I The great day of the christening arrived, and kind M. Kes- ner was good enough to be godfather with me, and showed himself as generous as he was obliging. They made believe to lay the baby in my arms, and for a brief moment I held the dear little thing close to me. . , . She grew up to be my great friend; thirty-five years of affection have rewarded those early pledges and hopes. The dastardly assassination of the Due de Berry recalled him to my mind when I had almost forgotten him; the circle in which my parents moved was anything but royalist, and I had often heard jeers at the king and his family, but this terrible event and misfortune put an end to such jokes, and all mourned for this Frenchman struck down by his country- man! Since then, alas, we have seen many of such murderous assaults; one assassin after another has struck at the throne, as if God needed helpers to raise up or cast down. About this time my grandmother came from Lyons with her two eldest daughters, to make us a visit. She went home after a week or two, but left my aunts, Mina and Virginie, with my mother. They unfortunately contracted a fever, and I was separated from the family for fear of contagion. We lived, as 1 have said, in the Rue Joubert, near the parish of St. Louis. The view from my second-story win-* MEMOIRS 45 dow could scarcely be called entertaining, but my favorite diversion was to watch the de Riviere family, who lived opposite, when they came to dinner. Their house was a lit- tle lower than ours, so that I could look down into their par- lor and see the children gathered round their old grand- father, and their grandmother, who was blind. I knew the children, who were of my own age, and 1 liked to make friendly signals to them, for I was all alone and had only my birds to keep me company. When they had gone to sleep my sole refuge from boredom was to read. This time was sad enough and was made worse by my father, who grew more and more sharp and irritable toward me. I did not then realize this daily torment, which I shared with every one about me, but which was really unbearable. Being then ignorant of what has since been revealed to me, I saw without understanding the terror that followed my father's footsteps. The dreary atmosphere in which we lived was stifling; everj^hing was wrong, every one to blame; it was useless to try and alter what had displeased him; an outburst of anger would soon show the mistake. He often struck me, and his words hurt worse than his blows, but though I speak here of all the suffering he caused me and my mother, I must add that what dwells most in my mind is that I forgave him everything. Yes, when he lay dying I could cry from the bottom of my heart: may God pardon him as I do ! At this time Louis XVI II condemned two young men to be shot as conspirators, and their extreme youth made the 46 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON sentence odious, and added to the hatred already felt for this oppressive reign. There was no more joking, but every one had a horror of this bloody-minded king, and when General Labedoy^re was put to death, the following couplet was found affixed to his tomb; poor verse, but highly expressive: " II nous restait un bon abb§, C'etait I'abbe . . . doy&re; Grace a Louis il est tombg. Sous la faux meutridre. II sera vengS: Son clergg, Se charge de laffaire." My health at last was affected by want of air and happi- ness. I was so discouraged and tired of being scolded that I no longer made any effort to work. My music-teacher, Mme. Boucher, who was about to set out on a journey, came to de- clare that she could not conscientiously continue such useless lessons. Though this disinterestedness was rather overdone, I was cruelly blamed and punished on account of it. My new teacher, M. Bertini, only saw in his crushed and wretched pupil a child who would not learn, and at the end of a month he came with the same complaint. This was followed by a rain of blows ! I can see myself now in my father's study, hiding my bruised cheeks in my little hands, and I still feel the anger that secretly shook me and drove all filial affection from my heart. ... I remember, also, the loss of my beau- tiful long curls, which they cut short to my head as if I were a convict. ... I was shut up in my room for a long time after this; my little heart was quelled, but still rebellious. MEMOIRS 47 and I said to myself: "One good thing; 1 shall not have to see my father !" The celebrated Fualdes trial was going on while I was con- fined in this way, as I vaguely remember from the talk of my governess and writing-master; also I saw from my window the funeral procession of the Due de Choiseul, whose house was close to ours, and another funeral which also passed through our street was that of M. de Mamet, who was killed in a duel — 1 have since learned why and by whom. 1 became feverish, with a bad cough; my eyes were af- fected, and the physician, being sent for, thought me seriously ill, put me on a diet, and particularly prescribed plenty of fresh air, exercise, and amusement. After this they were obliged to let me out of prison; 1 could take breath and walk about, but that was not enough; I needed the open air, and when 1 was stronger and able to take long walks, I would leave in the morning with my faith- ful Denis, and go on foot to his house at Courbevoie to see my little goddaughter, her mother and her nurse; then there were the birds, the goat, and grapes to eat; all kinds of child- ish pleasures, of which I had been too long deprived. Under this treatment I grew taller, my bright, fresh looks came back to me, and by the end of the winter, toward spring, my hair had grown out again, and waved in long brown curls about my face, prettier than ever. I had a blue coat and a plain round hat, made of black beaver; when I walked in the Tuileries gardens I often heard people say: " Did you see that little girl ? Such a charming 48 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON face !" When I got home I would look at myself carefully in the glass, trying to find out if they were really speaking of me . • . and my big blue eyes, straight features, and sweet mouth satisfied my passing vanity, and proved that my ad- mirers were right ! These little attacks of conceit did not last long; I would forget myself the moment after, for I was already beginning to show the most salient trait of my character, which has al- ways been to think of others first. My mother's family arrived shortly after, and it was a joy to find in my two aunts, Ismenie and Amable, companions of my own age; for the first was two years older, the second two years younger, than myself. With the oldest I became very intimate, and the friendship then begun has never diminished. During the last thirty years the duties and oc- cupations of my life have often separated me from her, but my heart has always clung to this first friend of my childhood. My other aunts, who were then all young and handsome, looked down on us as children, and had nothing to do with us; but we did not care to be allowed in the drawing-room; any dark comer suited us better, and with our stories, our games, and even our disputes, we got along very well by ourselves. Amable was a pretty child, young for her age, and we treated her as we were treated down-stairs, as a little baby, too young for us to associate with; our very dolls were more grown-up than this noisy little girl. Our claims to reason- ableness sometimes ended in quarrels between her and me, in MEMOIRS 49 which Ismenie, as our elder, was obliged to interfere. After these duels, as I had more money than the others, I always sent out for some gingerbread, and it sometimes ended up with our overeating ourselves. Those were happy times for me on that second floor of the Quai d'Orsay; when there 1 forgot my own home, which was the best thing that could happen to me, but when 1 did have to go back, I took with me the hope of getting out again the next Sunday; that made a future for me, and after my dreary past the present appeared bright enough. My stout friend and fellow godparent, M. Kesner, liked sometimes to have us all three at his house, though Heaven alone knows what pleasure he could find in our society ! We would dine with him, then he would take us to the theatre, and bring us back to our mothers, like a careful nurse. One day I quarrelled with Amable about I don't know what, but it was more serious and violent than usual, so that the champions came, I must not say to their hands, for we had recourse to our shoes, which we pulled off to use as offensive weapons. To my great annoyance, this new form of rapier was too small, and 1 was mortified to find myself so inferior in means of defense. I had never been proud of my small foot, but now I was made to blush for it as a deformity ! How we laughed over it afterward, I as heartily as any one, for my anger was soon over. I grew up in the midst of this childish life, which was in no wise disturbed by the marriage of my aunt Virginie and M. de Rocheplate. The ceremony, which was more interest- 50 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON ing to my mother than to me, took place in the winter, and in the following spring we went to Chatenay, a charming country house near Paris. Here our girlhood really began, but Amable and I did not think it necessary to be much more reasonable in our behavior than before. We did not fight any longer, it is true, but any one who had seen us careering about on donkey-back would have been more apt to take us for romping boys than for young ladies ten to twelve years of age. My young aunt entered into everything with such zest that I delighted in following her example, and we did not let Mme. de Presle's objections stand in our way, for all she thought of was the danger of overloading our stomachs if we ate too much fruit, cake, or candy. To obviate this danger, as far as we were concerned, no doubt, she took care to eat all our desserts and titbits, to the despair of poor Amable, who could not bear it patiently, and hated to see our greedy governess skim the cream off our pot of milk every morning, of course, to make it more digestible for us! Sometimes Amable would do the same thing, herself, and then what a row there was ! We were now too old to be whipped, and madame would have been no match for us if it came to a struggle. These games and schoolgirl tricks could not last much longer. It was time for my first communion, and I medi- tated and worked for it in solitude, calmly and serenely. As 1 have said, my religious education had been entirely neg- lected. How often since, when I have been carefully in- ^^^:^;;^i^m. MINIATURE OF NAPOLEON I. WITH THE COCKADE WORN BY THE EMPEROR AT THE BATTLE OL AUSTERLITZ MEMOIRS 51. structing my children, I have sighed to think of all that I lacked to prepare me as I should have been for this great event in my life, but God, who sees our hearts, had pity on me, and bestowed the grace that he alone can give. All my resentment died out through the spirit of Christian charity, as I prayed to God from the depths of my soul. 1 tried to fulfil the hardest duties, and in the overflowing ten- derness of my heart I turned to my mother, who became the object of my strongest affection. She has been my tender- est friend, my companion in joy and sorrow, but I have never found support or advice from her. Though scarcely out of childhood, it was I who may be said to have been her protector; she was weak and gentle, full of feeling, and most lovable, but crushed under the heavy yoke that pressed on our necks, she could neither evade nor resist this pitiless strength, did not even know how best to endure or break the hard and painful chain that bound her. Perhaps a firmer, more reasonable character might have had dignity enough to control my father's temper and make it less difficult; but never were two people more opposed; two more dissimilar natures were never brought together; and, for our misfortune, the contrast had the worst effect, and I was like grain ground between the two millstones, ignorant of what set the wheels in motion. I was forward for my age, and vague ideas as to my future gave a precocious dignity to all 1 did, but without a trace of arrogance, for though not proud, I felt that 1 had the right to be. In small things, as in great, this sentiment has al- 52 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON ways guided me. Instinctively I inspired respect and often love, for I was gentle and kind with my inferiors, simple and reserved with those who thought themselves my equals, and held myself with dignity in all dealings with my superiors. My even temper hardly ever failed me, for my pride helped me to control my impatience or my anger, and moderate any outbursts of joy or pleasure, for I would not betray my secret thoughts to the vulgar herd, and felt that no one had the right to read my soul. What powers I might possess for ten- derness, passion, or love I did not myself know at that time. Childhood and youth mingled gently within me, prompting me to play and run about, and at the same time to dream; to be at once gay and serious, giddy and thoughtful. My disposition was already tinged with the color of my past, and though I yielded readily to the gaiety of others, I was nat- urally inclined to be melancholy — can it have been a presen- timent ? A good many people came to see us while we were at Cha- tenay, but I do not seem to remember any of them clearly. My mother occupied herself much more with me now, and kept me with her more. One day, when she took me to Ma- labry, to the house of M. de St. Just, they were acting cha- rades and proverbs, in which the famous Ciceri and Cheru- bini's daughters also took part, I think, but I was so little interested in what went on at this time that I cannot be cer- tain. At the end of our stay in the country Mme. de Presle left us; I saw her go without regret certainly, but, also, I bore her no malice. MEMOIRS 53 My mother now slept in the room next to mine, and we then entered on that tender life in common which has never been altered since, even by my marriage. I was indolent and worked little, but continued to have a taste for drawing, and as I wished to cultivate it further, my mother entered me in a class for young people, taught by M. Laurent, which had a great reputation. From this time I began to go about with my mother; and I have always remembered these first occasions because of the compliments bestowed on my mother and me, and also on account of the importance I attached to going into society. We visited at the house of the Duchesse de Bassano, and here, as was the case almost everywhere, there was much said of the Emperor. They spoke of St. Helena, where he was im- prisoned, and of those around him, his oppressors. When his illness and death became known, it caused pro- found grief and a thirst for vengeance. The " Memorial de St. H61^ne," by the Comte de Las Cases, made public the long sufferings of the martyred hero, and every one longed impatiently to see those who had stood by his death-bed. The thoughts of many also turned toward the so-called Na- poleon II, but the future was hid, and no one could have be- lieved how many with the same pretensions to the throne would follow this phantom of royalty into the same exile. We saw a great deal of General Duchamp, who had mar- ried a friend of my aunts. He was a fine-looking soldier of the empire, a little stiff and drum-majorish, as was the way in those martial times, but brave to recklessness. His con- 54 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON quering airs might have been taken for boastfulness, if his worth and bravery had not been equally beyond question. He pushed his battery so close to the enemies' lines at Water- loo, that the Emperor cried out: "Duchamp deserts!" — a splendid compliment. My father thought that the house we lived in at this time was too small, but as he could not at once obtain possession of the handsome hotel he wanted, he took a small lodging in the Rue Basse du Rempart, where we removed our household goods, but which has not left an agreeable impression on my mind. We were exceedingly uncomfortable, but that made no dif- ference to our lord and master; as long as we had a fine car- riage to show ourselves in, a drawing-room in which to enter- tain our visitors, nothing else mattered. We were like pranc- ing horses, who might live in any kind of a stable, provided their harness did credit to their owner. My mother's charm and my conspicuous beauty flattered my father's self-love, the only love of which he was capable. I was now fourteen, and no longer a child; my face and figure were adorned with the grace of young girlhood, and I could go nowhere without attracting attention. Our neigh- bors and friends, every one who saw me, felt the charm of my youthful bloom, so that young men who lived near us would stand for hours under my window, hoping to catch a glimpse of me, and those who were admitted to the house fell in love with me. As I have said, we were intimate with the Bassano family; MEMOIRS 55 the duchess was still superbly handsome, though the mother of five, two sons and three daughters. The eldest, who after- ward married the Comte de Bayet-Latour, was singularly plain, so that every one wondered how such a poor flower could have grown on so magnificent a plant ! The brother next to her in age — she was twenty five or six years old — ^was called Napoleon. He was as handsome as his mother, and a suitable age for me, so it was no wonder that the duchess's friends all recommended him to my parents as a good match. 1 liked him well enough, and all that spring I used to imagine long stories in which the heroes always had the dark eyes and general appearance of the Emperor's god- son. They may have had also a little more cleverness . . . but in these romances — somewhat in the style of Riquet a la Houppe — I was always clever enough for two. These visions did not keep me awake at night, nor spoil my appetite; above all, they did not prevent my observation of young Comte Em. de L , who had returned with his father from exile at St. Helena. He thought me very charm- ing, and made no secret of his sentiments, in verse and prose. It was also about this same time that 1 knew dear Anselme Rothschild, who had come to Paris to work with his uncle. He came in one day to visit my father, and caught sight of me ! Of course his visits were constantly repeated, and God alone knows the anxiety this caused his tutor, M. Berger. Poor Mentor was terribly alarmed when he saw that Telem- achus had discovered such a Eucharis ! We could scarcely be expected to throw him out of our 56 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON opera-box; and there he would sit behind my beautiful per- fumed brown tresses, entirely oblivious of the fact that he was engaged to a Jewess ! M. Berger was perfectly miser- able when we went on country excursions, and he would fidget about in the background while I ate his employer's delicious apricot tarts. His pupil's attentions left me perfectly calm; of course I knew that he admired — loved me, in fact, and that pleased me, but 1 really attached little importance to it, and felt none of the eager wish to attract. It would be impossible for me to draw up a list, or write the biographies of those who — as they say in romances — sighed for my charms, or of the parents who, knowing that I was an only daughter, desired a union with me, on account of my probable dot. All I can say is, that at the Duchess of Bassano's the Comte de Brigode took particular notice of me. He was a man of middle age, amiable, sprightly, and witty; but it was clear that his attentions to a little girl like me must have reference to his son, whom he had brought up with the most extreme care. This was spoken of in my hearing, and when spring brought back the drive to Longchamp — quite out of fashion now, but then considered delightful — it was not difficult to guess that the tall young man riding with the Comte de Brigode must be the son on whom my future welfare might depend. A few days aftei this the count, who had become quite in- timate with my father, told him that he meant to complete his son's education by travel, and that he should arrange a MEMOIRS 57 marriage for him when he returned from the tour of Europe. And when my father invited him to dinner, he and Arthur both came. The young man was fresh-colored, with a long face and blue eyes; he was timid and observant, even shy, not much air about him as yet, but not awkward in manner; such was my first impression. He was still a mere boy, but it was not long before he began to regret the journey before him, in which he should have taken so much pleasure. I think perhaps before he left his father meant to bind his heart by a thread strong enough to draw him back to France, in case he took a fancy while abroad of which his mentor did not approve; but such an idea was too middle-aged for either of us. Our respective positions made it natural for him to think of me with a tender hope, and on my part, when I saw how he was improved by the wish to please, and the charm of his young love, I looked forward to his return without reluctance. Happy age, when one can trust the future and count on to- morrow, when the sad experiences which await you have not yet blighted your dearest hopes and dreams ! For some days we met often when 1 went out to walk, and he could offer me his arm; he came to the house, too, some- times with his father. Then my mother and I left Paris, to spend some time at Camaldules, formeriy a convent, but at this time all that remained was an old building where M. de Rocheplates' mother lived. My mother wanted to persuade herself that she enjoyed country life, but that was an illusion that I did not share. 58 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON It was a queer old house, but even in its ruins there was nothing to recall the ancient religious glories of the place. The whole atmosphere was sordid and mean. We paid a high price for poor, untidy lodgings, and we only put up with it because anything was better for us than to stay at home. The monotony of our existence was broken by a letter from the Comte de Brigode; he wished to take leave of us, and asked to be allowed to come to Camaldules. We looked about at our broken-seated chairs, the dining-room — ^to call it so — ^where a slatternly cook made omelets on a worm- eaten table, the hole dignified by the name of parlor, the cab- bage-patch under the windows of the house that was neither a cottage nor a country-seat, and we answered that as we were not in our own house we could not have visitors there, but that we would meet them somewhere on their road to wish them good-by and good speed. We had our own carriage, so all that was necessary was to find something fit to wear when we went to meet our two agreeable gentlemen, and my inexperience and some strange notions of my mother's suggested the most singular arrange- ment. I can never think of it without laughing, but we set out in broad daylight, in an open carriage, with India muslins, then called "ecorce d'arbre," low neck and short sleeves, no scarf or fichu, and little gray silk aprons, like shepherdesses in a comic opera; we wore big straw hats, fit only for the garden. 1 was only fifteen, and anything is possible at that age, but MEMOIRS 59 fancy my poor mother ! It was in this theatrical guise that we parted from our two travellers, in the gayest spirits, with- out the shadow of a presentiment, full of confidence and hope. They put us in our carriage at the end of an hour, got into their own, and we watched them drive away. Six months had hardly elapsed when one returned alone, broken-hearted, bringing with him the remains of that son, the object of all his fondest thoughts and expectations. This tragic news reached us in November, after our dreary stay at Camaldules, and a still drearier autumn in our de- pressing apartment in the Rue Basse. Young de Brigode was taken ill in Florence of one of those climatic fevers so often fatal to foreigners, and had died in his father's arms after an illness of about three weeks. A letter from the un- happy count came soon after to confirm the sad tidings; he begged us to share his grief under this crushing blow, and spoke sadly of the future to which he had looked forward with the woman whom his son loved. Since that day many trials have taught me to understand what grief is, so that now 1 can realize all that passed in my heart. It was not that I felt so much pain, it was rather the shock, which startled and hurt me, more than actual suffer- ing; it was the first time that I had seen the tragedy of life, that the accents of sorrow had been addressed directly to me. A broken-hearted father turned to me for consolation, told me that because of his affection for me I had a part in his life — 1 had a duty to fulfil 1 This thought followed me every- where, and it was with the deepest emotion that 1 looked for- 60 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON ward to the meeting with the unhappy man whom I might have called father. In the victim of acute pain, grief shows itself according to the disposition of the sufferer; and instead of the profound inward sadness that I expected, I was now witness to the dis- tressing spectacle of the most dreadful transports of agony that could tear the human soul. To violent and extreme attacks of grief would succeed an equally excessive depression, so that I was in turn touched and alarmed, and wept for sympathy, while my heart was filled with the idea of help for this bitter sorrow, and I made it my duty to seek out every means of consolation. Our efforts— for my mother did all that she could — ^were without effect for a long time. The only result was that M. de Brigode was tenderly grateful, and had formed the habit, which soon became a necessity, of being with us as much as possible. Toward the end of the winter he asked my father to take a place for the summer where he could have the shooting, and so remain near us, his only friends and consolers. During our drives in the neighborhood of Paris we looked for such a retired spot as he wished, and quite by accident we came upon Noisel. What memories of youth are evoked by that name ! When I made a sad pilgrimage to the chateau later on, it seemed to partake of the same melancholy, but that first time how gay and bright it looked ! I was charmed too by the park, with the Marne flowing through it. Oh, for the golden light that shone upon my fifteenth year ! MEMOIRS 61 I have never been an enthusiast for the country; have never lost my way while dreamily wandering about the chateau. I did not walk out to look at the sunrise or the sunset; I had plenty of sentiment, but I liked it better in a handsome hotel than in a cottage, for 1 was not at all romantic and the farm- yard had no charm for me. I liked the gay world in modera- tion, but 1 was ready to change my tastes in accordance with my circumstances. As soon as we were settled at Noisel we began to exchange visits with our numerous neighbors, and M. de Brigode's friends came to shoot with him, and were presented to us. Our landlord, the Due de Levis, was soon devoted to us and to our cook, whose delicious pastry had at least as much charm for him as we ourselves. He was a witty old man, of the most lofty lineage, but dressed like a ragpicker— a type of the ancient voltigeur under Louis XV. I can see him now as he would come to lunch, with holes in his stockings and a shabby hat — but always provided with some charming verses as well as an enormous appetite. If it had not been for his rank no one would have put up with his strange ways, and at court he was called the " Pale Monkey," a nickname that de- scribed him fairiy well. He was gentleman in waiting to Madame, and used to say of her: "She has the reputation of being ill bred, but that is a mistake; she has no breeding at all." As a proof of this statement, there was a story that once when the old duke fell into a doze Madame stole his wig, and left him to wake up with his bald head bare, at the risk of catching cold. Another time, when he fainted at the little 62 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON chateau, they wanted to sprinkle him with vinegar, but some one took the wrong cruet and poured oil on him first, making a salad of the poor chevalier d'honneur. In spite of all this, I really liked him; my sympathies were with this great noble, who wore his rags with such proud distinction; then he was so high bred, with such a grand manner and the most innate politeness, rare enough in those days; fancy what it would be now ! His son, the Due de Ventadour, was not so much to my liking, and we seldom saw him. At the Chateau de Chenet we had for a neighbor Baron Roger, who was doing his best to bring up his son by his mar- riage with Mme. de Montholon, who had two living hus- bands, to say nothing of others ! Since M. de Montholon's return from St. Helena, she had gone back to him, but M. Roger did not object. Young Roger used to go to see her, shake hands with the Comte de Montholon, and then go home to his own papa, all in the most comfortable manner possible. Once when 1 was at Chenet I met the Comtesse de Guilleminot, wife of our ambassador to Turkey. She had just come back from Constantinople with her two daughters, one of whom married the younger Baron Roger. 1 felt the greatest interest in Mme. Guilleminot, who had been a Miss Fernic, aide-de-camp to Dumouriez; but 1 could never imagine this delicate little woman, with her gentle, timid manner, galloping about, brandishing sabres and pis- tols; I did not doubt it, of course, but it was a thing I should have liked to see with my own eyes. At the Chateau de la Lande we often saw the dear, good MEMOIRS 63 Due de Trevise, better known under the name of Marshal Mortier, the greatest man, I really think, that 1 had ever seen. If he had not been the hero of twenty battles I should simply call him a big man, for he was more than six feet in height. His family consisted of his wife — a plain, good- natured German, four daughters and a son. The eldest had married the Comte de Rumigny some time before; the other, lovely Malvina as she was called, became the wife of the Vicomte de Bellazone. Then came my contemporary, Lou- ise, who died young, and the beautiful Efienne, afterward Mme. Gudin. Young Trevise was so shy and kept himself so much in the background, that I was hardly aware of his existence until the marshal asked my hand for him ! But I was already engaged, and, in spite of the disappointment, these worthy people were always so kind and friendly to me that I not only felt honored by their proposal, but have ever since had a real affection for them. Among others in the neighborhood were, also, the Mon- tesquious and the Turets — or Turcarets, as they called them- selves — ^who lived at the Chateau de Ramilly; and, besides, we had many visitors, who came out from Paris; the Marquis de Bethisy, whose wife was lady in waiting to Madame, the Marquis de Seigneley, General Belliard, whose statue at Bris- sels is well known. I never should have thought in my wild- est dreams that this little fat man, with cheeks like a rosy apple, whom I compared, when 1 saw him in his queer shoot- ing-coat, to a "marchand de coco," on account of his powder- horns, which stuck out so strangely— I repeat I could never 64 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON have imagined that I should see him adorning a pubHc square, hke one of Homer's heroes. Another visitor was the Comte de Thermes, who had been a court page in his youth; I was undoubtedly his attrac- tion. He had the reputation of having been charming, and he still had talent, wit, and the smallest waist ever seen, which enabled him to play all sorts of tricks under a mask and dom- ino. I never knew exactly what happened, but in one of his feminine disguises there was some diificulty between him and M. de Brigode, who could not bear the sight of him. They were always laughing at one another, but in my opinion M. de Brigode surpassed him in everything, particularly in height, the little man's age making him look like an elderly woman. Colonel Brack, without being much younger, was a great deal more agreeable than the former page; his well-pre- served, charming face, his remarkable cleverness, and the amusing stories he told, made him a great success. In a short time he began to pay me the most devoted attention, so much so that it drew down on me the serious disapproval of M, de Brigode, who called me a flirt, and took the matter as a personal affront. The Lord only knows what he said of my conduct ! He drew a terrible picture of it, and I was hor- rified by the bad things he told me of my own character. 1 believed it all, and though I did not understand the jealousy that made him see everything I did through a magnifying- glass, I submitted, feeling that I could no longer tell right from wrong. He was forever making scenes — that is the only word — sometimes about one man, sometimes about another; TVKDEMOISELLE I.EROV AT I IFTEEX YEARS OF AGE MEMOIRS 65 it all seemed exaggerated to me, ignorant as I was of his un- derlying feelings; but I did think he might have been a little more indulgent, considering that I was almost his adopted child. I could not imagine why he showed so much irrita- tion, even anger, when any young man came near me. A proposal for me drove him beside himself. Could it be that he was jealous in memory, and for the sake of his son ? I was to find the answer to the questions later. We were all sorry to leave Noisel, for our first summer there had been very pleasant, and the presence of M. de Brigode had put a check on my father's outbursts of temper. The winter was passed in the hope of soon leaving the gloomy apartment for our fine new hotel. We had made the acquaintance of the four Montebello brothers at a garden-party we gave at Noisel, and two of these gentlemen did me the honor to think seriously of me. My father only laughed, but it did not seem to amuse M. de Brigode. He was positively rude to any suitor who re- quested his intervention, or he would plead his cause with such a bad grace that it looked as if he was trying to make away with the unfortunate pretender to my hand rather than seeking a happy marriage for him. There was only one that he favored, and he was the Marquis de la Briffe, and a very queer kind of a lover ! His nickname was Coco, and he would look at me sideways out of his little round eyes with a stupid stare, till my angora cat would frighten him into keeping his distance properly by jumping on his shoul- ders. 66 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON I was indolent, as I have said, but I was never idle. Some- times I worked for my father, writing from his dictation, or copying his letters. He had not only a very quick and bril- liant mind, but wrote extremely well, and it was his thorough knowledge of financial questions that had gained him a large fortune. His talents also enabled him to be of service to many people, who, however, did not boast of it. The Mar- quis de Chauvelin had a much higher reputation than he de- served, for not one of his speeches in the Chamber was writ- ten by himself; my father composed them all, and dictated them to me; they were too great a bore for me to forget them in a hurry, and M. de Chauvelin carried to his grave the ap- plause of the two Chambers. ... I trust that it will not weigh so heavily on him as his success did on me ! There was also Baron Louis, called L'abbe, who was minis- ter of finance for a long time; he was considered very remark- able as long as my father pulled the strings which moved him, and my father was also the moving spirit of the company of receivers-general; nothing went well from the moment of his retirement. I was still so young that it was not thought best that I should go regularly into society, but 1 did not care much about it, and saw my mother start out for a ball with an in- different eye; in spite of the fact that my summer in the country had greatly increased my good looks. My appear- ance this year at Longchamp was a real triumph, a flattering murmur rose from the crowd as we passed, and the papers all spoke of the lovely and charming Mile, de Pellapra. 1 can- MEMOIRS 67 not deny that this pleased me, but my precocious common sense and cleverness kept me from being vain; all this admira- tion was not necessary to me, and in spite of the almost ex- aggerated compliments which were lavished on me at differ- ent times, I never cared much for fashion or display; and I cannot remember, above all, an occasion on which I neglected a duty for the sake of amusement. It seemed foolish to me that one should leave one's own house just to show oneself in public, and at no time in my life would 1 neglect happiness for pleasure. I went back to Noisel as to an old friend, but did not find the same affectionate parent in our companion there. M. de Brigode was not the same, and though I redoubled my atten- tions toward him, he seemed to be weary of them. Formerly he encouraged what little talent I had for painting, lent me pictures to copy, made me show him my work, which he would praise or criticise, like the expert that he was; but now he always seemed constrained and watchful when he was with me; then all at once he would look at me so tenderly and sadly that it brought tears to my eyes. At last one day, when fresh proposals of marriage had fol- lowed us out to Noisel, he gave me his arm, and as we walked up and down in front of the house, he began to talk about these offers, which had already gone out of my head. " You must tell me. Mile. Mizi, which of these husbands you prefer, for you are so secretive about it that 1 cannot guess." "To tell you the truth, I don't care for any of them," said I ; "even if 1 were old enough to be married at once, it would be diffi- 68 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON cult for me to choose, for I am indifferent to all these gentle- men; any one of them is good enough to dance with me or go shooting with you, but as a husband and master, no !" " But I know you will have to come to it sooner or later, dear Mizi. I feel more unhappy about it than I can tell you, for the sake of the past, as well as for the future; your marriage will sep- arate me from you, who are my sole, my last blessing ! You ask why we must separate? Because your husband will not marry all those you love; a young man will want to keep you to himself, and if he should travel he would naturally take you with him. . . ." " Dear friend," I interrupted, " I shall never marry any one unless I am a^ured that he will not part me from my mother; you know our life so well that I need not tell you how much she needs me; we must have some support, and we only breathe freely when you are there; I will never leave my mother alone, helpless a? she would be without us !" "A young man could not manage your father; he would simply take you away." " I will not marry a young man, then, if that is the case I" M. de Brigode's emotion at this point was so strong that he was forced to stand still; I was struck by his agitated ex- pression, but when I asked him affectionately if he felt ill he went away, leaving me disturbed, and wondering what he could mean by his changeable conduct. All the rest of that day he was thoughtful, and when he spoke to me he seemed so moved that it was impossible for me to help seeing that whatever he was feeling, it had some- thing to do with me. The next day, when we were sitting together on the porch, overlooking the Marne, he asked me MEMOIRS 69 if I had not thought for some time that he was behaving strangely. I answered that I thought he had some trouble on his mind, which made him more irritable than usual. " Yes," said he, " I am in trouble, but I could never have believed that I could suffer so much, except for him whom 1 shall always mourn; I cannot endure my life any longer, if it is to be like this; the agony I feel at the thought of parting from you has opened my eyes as to my real sentiments, and I realize that my affection for you is not that of a father; I am madly in love with you ! The mere idea that I may lose you, that you may belong to another, drives me wild. I lose all control of myself when 1 think of my age, which stands between us, when my whole heart and soul cry out for you. Something that you said just now has given me a glimpse of heaven. Can it be true that you would not shrink from a man of my age?" I was not so surprised as one would have thought, and was able to reply. "No," I said, "it is not your age that would trouble me, but your character; I am afraid that you would never have confidence in one whom you look upon as a child, and if you were to keep me on edge all the tinie as you have done lately, I should be miserable." " If you cared enough for me to overlook the only thing that stands between us, I should have neither doubts nor fears; consequently, in me you would see only a man whose happiness would be as great as his devotion. I love you more passionately than you will ever be loved again, I live only in you, and my gratitude will be boundless. I will ask for no promise or engagement now, and if I have spoken it 70 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON was only because silence was death to me; my sufferings could no longer be concealed; I was becoming a burden to you as well as to myself. . . . Young as you are, alas, you are very reasonable. Think over what I have said. You are not quite sixteen, and I am forty-eight ! If you become my wife, you will have to appear much older than you are, if you would not make the man ridiculous who has placed his name and his honor in your hands ! 1 am more to be pitied than ever now, Mizi, for I am asking so much of you, and all 1 have to give in exchange is a tenderness which knows no bounds." I was very young, as he said, and the reflections aroused in my mind by his words were less serious than the decision at which I arrived in consequence. Even at sixteen I had seen and heard enough, perhaps too much, which made many things clear to me. Consider- ing the position in which I was placed I was kept sur- prisingly innocent by a natural disposition toward virtue and propriety, but I saw that there was something false in my mother's position, and guessed how little her character and surroundings had gained for her true respect. My whole soul rebelled against the situation, when to my great indignation I often saw my mother excluded from the houses of people of good standing, who were glad to receive my father. For example, he had acted in private theatricals at Comte Greffulhes's, and we were not even invited to see a performance in which her husband, my father, took part ! Again, it happened that very year that 1 heard some one ask with a sneer if M. de Brigode was running after MEMOIRS 71 the mother or the daughter ? . . . Much knowledge of the world is not needed when one has good common sense, and mine proved a suificient guide. . . . What could I do alone in our disordered existence? It was absolutely necessary to shake ourselves free, and that is what 1 did for my mother, for our future. I told M. de Brigode that far from being alarmed by the difference in our ages, I looked upon it as a fortunate circum- stance for our domestic life, and 1 authorized him to ask my hand of my father. I only begged him to promise to show no more uneasiness as to my conduct, for 1 now considered myself as belonging to him. I will not dwell on the happiness that my determination brought him, but 1 know that I brightened his last years with all the confidence and filial care that affection can bestow. It is sweet to think that I made him perfectly happy, and his memory will always be dear and sacred to me. My father was as much astonished as if M. de Brigode had not stayed so long in our house as to compromise me. He made every sort of objection, which was finally overcome by a settlement on me of forty thousand livres a year, and he tried to give less on his side, calming down at last by shaving something off my dot, and consenting to the marriage in the spring. I am sure it was with a mental reservation in case no more eligible offer presented itself in six months. Offers did pour in of all sorts and kinds — a procession which would have been funny if it had not also been contemptible. According to the expression of a female La Rochefoucauld, 72 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON t the entire noble Faubourg, carne to see if the pile was large enough ! My charms and virtues did not enter into the ques- tion any more than my talents; my education had not a feather's weight, either. The sight of our fine new house made the bidders at this matrimonial auction more and more eager, and I felt myself lucky to escape them. But, alas, that winter the dots and dowries came within a hair's breadth of remaining in the pockets of their owners. The dampness of the long-unoccupied rooms gave me a frightful cold, which I neglected, and it became inflammation of the lungs; in a few days I was at death's door. It would be impossible to express M. de Brigode's agony; to break for the second time the tie that bound him to life was a blow that reopened all the old wounds of his heart. My mother, who had completely lost her head, would let me take nothing from the doctors, for fear of its doing me harm. It needed all the strength of youth and a good constitution to resist the crazy treatment to which I was subjected. My aunts insisted on sitting up with me; everything was tried, but 1 only grew worse . . . till at last the Lord sent Doctor Dupuytren, who saved my life. He saw at once that the treatment was all wrong and, as he knew my parents, he was able to exert his authority, listen to no one, and see that his orders were car- ried out exactly, giving me with his own hand a dose of bella- donna, the good effects of which I shall always remember. After four spoonfuls I slept soundly for the first time in a week. My poor mother, seeing that calm had suddenly succeeded MEMOIRS 73 to my previous agitation, tried in vain to wake me, thought I must be dead, and shrieking out that her child was poisoned and that she would not live without her, she swallowed the whole contents of the bottle ! My guardian angel must have been watching over me, and the good doctor was delighted when he saw my mother stretched out on her bed fast asleep. He rubbed his hands and said: "The best thing that could have happened I Now she will be quiet for the next forty-eight hours at least, and we shall have a chance to save her daughter in peace; but for the love of Heaven let no one wake her up !" Her sleep did not last quite long enough, unfortunately, for two days after, when I was a little better, my poor dear mother, seeing them mix a mustard plaster for me, forgot that "enough is as good as a feast," and added so much vine- gar and mustard that in two minutes she burned the skin off. ... I shall never forget the pain and fever that re- sulted from this heroic treatment; I could get no rest for many nights, in spite of opiates, and I swore, now that it was too late, that I woxild never again trust myself to ama- teur nursing. However, after all this I did get well, and like flowers after a hard shower, I shone all the more for the storm, fresher and whiter than ever. Feeling now sincerely attached and full of gratitude to the man who had declared his love for me in such moving terms, I solemnly promised to unite my bril- liant youth to M. de Brigode's forty-eight years. I went to a few balls, and had more offers of marriage, but 74 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON I do not remember much about them, as they came from men who were almost strangers to me. It seemed to be my fate to attract middle-aged men. General de L was one of my admirers, and if I had chosen, the lovely Delphine Gay would have escaped the disappointment she afterward suffered through him. He was a tall, splendid-looking man, but his face was most unprepossessing, long and pale, with a cast in one eye, and he also dyed his hair. However, he had plenty of wit and sprightliness, if very little kindness of heart — so I had no reason to be proud of my brilliant con- quest. I do not think that M. de Brigode was at all Jealous of him, thought unfortunately he lost no opportunity of being so. In spite of my lack of coquetry and the proof I had given of my attachment, I often saw that he suffered from things of which he did not dare complain; he would turn pale because I laughed at a story of Colonel de Backs; and then there were young Comte Roger, the Bassanos, any and every one. Comte de Thermes especially got on his nerves, though by this time we were busy with my trousseau, which was nothing remarkable, and with the "corbeille" which he made me choose, and a large party in which my father took great pride, and on which he spent more than on my wedding itself. One day there drove to our door a singular equipage like a chariot in a fairy-story, and out of it got a little hunchbacked dame who asked to see my father. This out-of-the-way vehi- cle was exactly suited to the oddly dressed old dowager who appeared before us — bringing an offer of marriage ! The old MEMOIRS 75 fairy was called Madame de Clermont-Tonnere; she had a son, a mirror of all the virtues, whose existence she wished to gild with my dot, and she asked leave to present him, per- suaded that he had only to come, be seen, and conquer. The two first were granted by my father, partly because of her name, and a little from the wish to see what sort of a child could belong to this strange creature, who talked so glibly of marriage. When the nodding plumes and hood that cov- ered the venerable head-piece of the countess had disap- peared into the weird vehicle which had brought her, we burst out laughing. What kind of a monster would the son be, when he emerged in his turn from the shell, and how should we keep our countenance? It would be a sight worth paying for ! . . . We were all very witty, and made no end of jokes on the subject, and when, two days after, the bony nags were again driven into our courtyard, we each tried to look gravely polite. But the joke was turned against us at the sight of the handsome, well-bred young man, who respect- fully offered his hand to help the old lady out of her shabby box, with a modest confidence full of quiet dignity. No one could have appeared better in a difficult situation than M. de Clermont-Tonnere did that day; rather it was I who behaved foolishly; for 1 am ashamed to say that I was scarcely civil. Half vexed that our joke had fallen so flat, and sorry for my poor count, who found the truth so much finer than the ab- surdity he had expected, all I know is that I remained obsti- nately silent, and hardly answered when spoken to; no awk- ward schoolgirl could have behaved worse. The day of the grand ball came at last, bringing with it all 76 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON the annoyances which imprudent hosts draw down on them- selves. People whom we especially wanted refused our invitation, others were forgotten, which was equally annoying; there were extra expenses and upsets of all kinds . . . just that people should criticise and perhaps laugh at us the next day ! Finally, after infinite trouble, the rooms were lighted up, the band in place, and then we heard the first carriages drive into the court, bringing so many strangers that we might have asked ourselves why on earth we had taken so much pains for people we cared nothing about I One of the pleasantest things I remember about that ball is that we had the honor to receive the Due de Saxe-Cobourg, the not-inconsolable widower of the Queen of England. He enjoyed himself immensely, and spent the whole evening with one fair lady. I could not then have believed that he would ever be my king, and the idea of his being King of the Bel- gians or of my becoming one of his subjects would have been equally surprising to us both. He thought me very pretty, and, frankly, I must admit that he was right. When I think of the face that looked out from the wreath of roses, and the figure set off to the great- est advantage by my white dress, trimmed with the same flowers, I cannot help knowing that nothing more lovely was ever seen, or more carefully guarded than I was during that memorable evening. From that day my marriage was no longer a secret, and MEMOIRS 77 heavens ! what an amount of talk there was about it, and how many stories were invented about this ill-assorted union. I heard nothing of all this, and it was with entire confi- dence, without the least doubt, that I saw the day approach. 1 was not taken unawares, and knew what probably awaited me, for some weeks before our marriage M. de Brigode had a sharp attack of gout, but 1 felt no inclination to draw back. ... I had made the acquaintance of my brother-in-law, whose sneering, somewhat defensive attitude was soon changed to confidence and friendship, and I also met his excellent wife, whose noble, saintly life was just beginning; they already had two daughters, who are now dead. My other brother-in-law, de Kemlande, came to see me in his turn; he, too, was a very worthy man, for whom 1 have always had a sincere affection, which extended also to the children of both families for their fathers' sakes. At last the day of the contract arrived, after a great deal of trouble, my father having raised every obstacle he could think ofj but they were all surmounted, and on Saturday, the 9th of April, i8 — , this difficult contract was signed, and the civil marriage took place the same evening in the dry official manner which men have invented for themselves alone. How well 1 recollect that day, and how long ago it seems ! My high rose-colored dress, severely plain, and my childish objection to the kiss which 1 was expected to give my hus- band as a legal form; however, 1 was quite ready to kiss him as soon as we got home, rather too much like a daughter, I 78 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON am afraid, but with my arms round his neck and a heart full of affection. On Monday, the i ith, I was married at the Luxembourg, in the Chapel of the Peers, who were great nobles then, and not a group of senators as mixed as the Pharisees' seed. We had intended to leave that night for Noisel, but some one, perhaps my father, objected; I attached so little importance to the question that 1 do not remember much about it, and busy as I was with my new clothes and jewels, I scarcely no- ticed the annoyance and humiliation of my poor bridegroom, nor the way in which my father laughed at his youthful ardor. I had not interfered with plans for the spring, they were a matter of indifference, and my life did not appear to me to have undergone a change. 1 was to have a^kinder master, but knew nothing of his rights over me; all that was arranged between him and my father; 1 had nothing to do with it. What a funny little bride 1 must have been ! All the eve- ning my husband could not coax me away from my packing and arrangements, and at last he had to say good night sadly, and took himself off at eleven o'clock to his bachelor quar- ters, while 1 was so sleepy 1 could hardly wish him good night. The look on his face then has often come back to me, and the thought of it always makes me smile. I was glad to go to Noisel, and so woke up in a happy frame of mind, and when our wagons and carriages were ready we set off, encumbered by packages, cages of canaries and bullfinches, and also by two cats, much too well bred to trouble their fellow travellers. MEMOIRS 79 I could not attempt to enumerate or describe the foolish things that I did in those first days. My poor husband had need of great patience and care before the little goose, whom nevertheless he adored, could be transformed into a fairly reasonable woman! By dint of indefatigable kindness he succeeded in the difficult task, and if he was not the Pygma- lion to animate the statue, he inspired the proper and affec- tionate feeling with which she always regarded him. The initiation into the mystery of life demands much intel- ligence and delicacy ! Understood by few, though the future of so many hangs on it . . . but if men could only realize how important for their own happiness are the first steps of their young wives and how gently their eyes should be opened to their new existence, much suffering would be spared and many ties respected. Far from dropping at once all modest reserve and self- respect, I learned that Caesar's wife should avoid even the appearance of suspicion; and, seeing the attitude I ought to adopt, I understood with what dignity I should surround my- self, and the price necessary to be paid for my great hope and dream; the consideration and respect of the world. To my best friend and faithful guide 1 can say that 1 trust he has seen how his teachings and his memory are enshrined in my heart. To him I owe all that has ever been praised in me; my upright and irreproachable life and my old age hon- ored by my children. It was only a few days after our marriage that we heard with great pain that our friend and neighbor, young Count 80 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON de Las Cases, had been the victim of an attempted assassina- tion. At his father's door, near Passy, two men, whom he knew for Italians from their speech to each other, threw themselves upon him, and he only had time to parry their blows with a sword-cane which he carried. He was wounded in the thigh and in the breast, which might have been mortal, but fortunately the blade was turned by a leather case which he had in his pocket — strangely enough, a wedding- present from me. In this way he escaped with only a bad bruise. The trial which followed was one mass of iniquity, and clouded by a disgraceful party spirit; it dragged out to an interminable length, till I think the assassins were let off without any punishment at all ! This was the end of the famous affair with Sir Hudson Lowe; he had refused to fight, and in revenge for the horse-whipping he received, he em- ployed the dagger of a common bravo. But what else could you expect from a cowardly Englishman, the jailer of St. Helena? We spent this first spring after our marriage at Noisel, only leaving for a trip to the Pyrenees. I shall say nothing here of what is called a "honeymoon," for in our case it did not shine very brightly. Our union was always calm and sweet; if our joy did not blaze high at first, neither did it cool off later; we were loving friends from the very beginning, and such we remained as long as we lived together. I do not like moving about, and so our journey did not interest me much. MEMOIRS 81 but though I could not but admire the wild and beautiful country through which we moved, travelling did not appeal to me then, and it has now become a positive dislike; not on account of the fatigue — it was rather a natural aversion. M. de Brigode was anxious that we should see the splendid mountain scenery in which he delighted; so we rode a great deal on horseback, which did give me pleasure, for in those days nothing tired me. We passed a month at Barlges, but as my husband did not like me to go into the somewhat mixed society of the place, we kept ourselves apart, so that the smart young men hardly caught a glimpse of the lovely Comtesse de Brigode, who was much talked about — a fact of which she, herself, had some suspicion. There is not much for me to tell of those days. I made the acquaintance of Colonel de Liscours, a distinguished natural- ist, who wanted to teach me botany. We lodged in the same house with Madame de Coislin and her daughter, who was thought to be dying. The marquise was also mother to that M. de Coislin made so conspicuous by the Comtesse de Con- tades; then 1 also used to see at a distance the son of Marshal Maison, Vicomte Joseph, with his drawing portfolio always strapped to his back. Nothing very interesting happened to us. I only remem- ber that one night I was waked up by bits of plaster falling on my head from the ceiling, and hearing outcries from one of my neighbors, who was so obliging as to come down to my room from the floor above; however, M. de Brigode convinced him that nothing was the matter. There was also a disagree- 82 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON able episode when my husband's watch was stolen at a wretched inn near the Spanish bridge; the chief of police re- covered it after it had been carried off into Spain. When we left Bareges we went to Bagneres-de-Bigorre, and then to Toulouse, where it was so hot that we could not go to see anything, so that I have but little recollection of a place where we have so many interests now. Like the child I was, I looked indifferently at the fine Languedoc Canal, a great work of the celebrated Riquet,* and then, crossing the province, we stopped at Montpellier, to visit some relations of my father — Comte Richard, a peer of France, his mother, and his charming daughter, Lucie, a fair-haired, graceful, fresh young girl. Thirty years later I saw her again, . . . but how sadly faded was the lovely flower of youth ! In its place I saw a provincial old lady, badly dressed, dry and com- mon — well up on the market-price of provisions, and talking of meat and vegetables. Her hat was the worse for wear, but not more so than the head it covered. Though my mother was quite worn out by all this travel- ling, we took a short trip in Switzerland, the charms of which 1 shall always remember with delight, and in Geneva we saw again my old godfather, M. de Montonnat, and also the beautiful Delphine Gay and her mother, who were in the same hotel with us. At last we had to leave the lovely lake and go back to Paris, where we were greeted with the sad news of my poor grandmother's death, which touched me * Riquet, constructor of the Southern canal, made Comte Caraman by Louis XIV. MEMOIRS 83 very much. It was the first death in our family, but there have been many, many others since! As M. de Brigode wished to introduce me to his family, we set out for Ammappes early in November. In those days there were no railways to shorten the distance, and it took three days to reach Ammappes, over a dreary, muddy road, which the season made still worse. I do not know if it was a presentiment, or the thought of poor Arthur, whose grave we were to visit, but 1 can still remember the painful impres- sion made on me by this journey. Thus far 1 had had no experience of sorrow, but 1 felt within me a vague apprehen- sion of what the future might have in store for me. My brother-in-law, the Baron de Brigode, received us with the utmost kindness. The country around the Chateau of Ammappes is flat, but the house is good and cheerful-looking, and, like all places in the north, it was beautifully clean. We went to lunch at Luchen, where Comte de Kemlande lived, and saw my poor sister-in-law, Sylvie; she was in a state of extreme nervous prostration, owing to the death of her daugh- ter Eus^bie; later, she became quite insane. Her son Ray- mond was at home, but the younger one, Oscar, was studying at RoUin. We were nearly a fortnight at Ammappes, where 1 enjoyed seeing Georgine and Gabrielle, who were two sweet little girls, now, alas ! no more. Celestine, my sister-in-law, was expect- ing her confinement, and my husband sighed yet longed for the dangerous joy of paternity. 84 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON We came back to Paris, but my poor grandmother was no longer there; she had died of a stroke of apoplexy. Thus time had done its cruel work, and we should know each other no more; object of her tender care as I had been, what could I give in return ? Only remembrance ! Toward the end of November 1 found that my prayers were answered, and that I was about to have a baby; the great joys, cares, and consolations of motherhood were to come into my life. I did not look upon my state in the same way as most young women of my age; every thought and feeling turned toward this object, beloved and longed for, though still un- known. 1 resolved to be his mother and his nurse; he should owe me everything, and be all in all to me. How 1 worked for the little creature, already so dear ! A sweet occupation was now to fill th6 void in my life, which I felt, without knowing that my heart had yet to learn liow much it had to give. I thought I was only ignorant of maternal love. Being so absorbed in my new hopes, I could see nothing but the joy that was to light my future as a mother, and had no eyes for any cloud on my horizon. The storm, however, hung over my head, and the fate which held the golden thread of a dawning life hid from me the shears that menaced the existence of him who was at the same time husband and friend. Toward the end of July M. de Brigode's health began to MEMOIRS 85 give us great uneasiness; he suffered from restlessness, with severe pain and loss of memory, and a sort of dulness came over him. He was carefully treated and seemed to be get- ting better, when the premonitory symptoms of my confine- ment came to distract the attention of my mother and the whole household. After long days of agony, just at the mo- ment that was to compensate me for all that I had endured, I was seized with violent cerebral convulsions, so that my life was in great danger. In this terrible condition and com- pletely unconscious, I gave birth prematurely to two little boys, so feeble that they were simply wrapped up in blankets, no one thinking it possible to save their lives ! 1, of course, remember nothing of this forced deliverance, but 1 have since heard that, supposing me to be dying, they covered my face with a sheet to spare those around me the pain of witnessing my last convulsions. This frightful scene, as 1 have been told, was the death of my poor husband, who had an apoplectic stroke, and the next day became partially paralyzed. My little twins struggled through in spite of the small attention paid them, and when after some hours I recovered consciousness, 1 was so ex- hausted that 1 took the news of my double maternity with perfect calmness. They told me that my husband had one of his attacks of rheumatism, and I was so much taken up with my babies, and too inexperienced to feel uneasy ... it was only when I was able to get up and saw him stretched on his bed, un- able to move, and with his mind so much affected that he 86 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON answered my questions at random, that, though I did not fully comprehend his state, I was terribly shocked and over- come. The doctors recommended the waters at Bourbonne-Ies- Bains, which they thought would be beneficial to the paraly- sis of the left side, which was complete; and at last this plan was spoken of to me as a certain cure; so about the end of August my husband left, but in a most pitiful condition ! He was now a helpless, stupefied old man, not knowing what he said, and only liking to move about, so that it gave him a little pleasure to see post-horses put to his carriage, and to notice the bustle caused by this sad journey. He took two servants with him and Annette, my mother's maid, who had had a good deal of experience of sickness. It was my father who made all these arrangements, for I was still weak from my confinement, and, besides, was so much occupied with the two infants that I could only pray for my poor husband. I can still see the dear invalid as he was the day he left, carried on a mattress — his feverish impatience and abrupt good-byes, then — that last look ! I had not realized how little he understood, so I wrote to him regularly, receiving a few illegible lines in reply; then came news which they thought best to keep from me, but which were so grave that my father decided to go, leaving me a prey to vague presentiments. In the evening I went down to my mother's rooms, and finding her awake in much anxiety she could not resist my questions, and told me of MEMOIRS 87 my husband's dangerous condition; at that very time, as we spoke of him, he had already ceased to breathe ! General Belliard came to break the fatal news to us; a last violent attack had killed M. de Brigode, who expired on the 22d of September, leaving me a widow at an age when most women are not yet married. I was a mother, also, and must attend to business matters and be the guardian of my two sons. Poor babies, how much care they needed! They had hardly vitality enough between the two of them for one child. The oldest, dear little Henry, a peer of France in a bib, had taken cold, I may say, as soon as he came into this world, during the excitement caused by my bad confinement, and was so delicate that he seemed every moment on the point of following his poor father. His life was threatened by a chronic inflammation, he was too weak even to suck like his brother, so that his wet-nurse had to drop the milk into his mouth, and this at first dis- agreed with him, as the woman was too old. I engaged an- other, about my own age, who was equally unsatisfactory, so after two months 1 decided to nurse both babies, myself, and thus by binding myself down to the most incessant watchful- ness and care, I succeeded in bringing up my little twins, and bestowed a second life upon them. 1 cannot describe my grief and desolation; no one who did not understand my character and feelings could know how the whole future was darkened by my loss. It was the first time that I had come face to face with a real sorrow. My A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON helper and friend, he who had changed and brightened our whole sad Hfe, was gone. He was the kindest, most amiable companion, my first affection. ... I did not know or be- lieve that one could love more, or in a different way. I wept for him with all my strength, with all my heart, and ever since I have tried to follow step by step the path he traced for me, his memory becoming ever dearer and more sacred as I advanced in life. How heavy and bitter was that first year, how full of trouble! My delicate children so difficult to bring up, Henry's constant ailments, the mourning which surrounded everything I touched. Oh, what a winter ! My poor mother, who would let any one rule her, was so weak as to be led by her maid, who had more influence with my father and was better treated than we were. She made the worst of every- thing, could manage nothing; she shared my care and love, without understanding any more than I how children should be brought up, while every day showed me the extent of my ignorance and how destitute I was of any one on whom I could depend. I have not spoken of the little trips which I had made with M. de Brigode, which were, for the most part, uninteresting; but 1 must now mention that we went to Menars, which did not then seem so beautiful to me as I have since thought it, but the charming situation of the chateau, the park or "chase," all walled in, pleased my husband so much that he longed to own this fine property. He never saw it again, and only signed the deed of purchase a few days before MEMOIRS 89 he went to Bourbonne; I went there alone to take posses- sion! Toward the month of May my mother, the two children, and I set out on our journey; it took then fifteen hours and much fatigue to get to a place which can be reached now easily in four; so it was late in the evening when we arrived. ... It was all dreary and depressing and nothing in order, for I did not know any more than my poor mother did, how to keep house, make arrangements, or send servants on ahead to clean and put things in their places; so nothing had been thought of, the beds were not even made, and the sight of the desolate, dreary chateau struck a chill to our hearts, already sad enough. If it had not been for my little twins I would have gone straight back again, and it took several days before I could pluck up courage to get used to a place which I have since learned to love so much . . . which I shall always love, because it speaks to me of the past, of those bright days of love and joy; but how far 1 was at first from the thought of that future, which is now a reality and a recollection ! I established myself as well as I could in the wing of the house which my mother occupies now, my curtainless bed placed between the two cradles, the nurses in the comers. Everywhere I went 1 took the baby-carriage with my two boys, pushed by a footman, and when they were asleep I took up my embroidery, for my husband had taught me never to be idle, and to him 1 owe the knowledge of how to occupy my sad solitude. As my mother had sent for one of 90 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON her sisters, I gave embroidery lessons to Aunt Ismenie; my duties filled all my thoughts, and my life was really that of a recluse. The only event was the baptism of my children; the Comte de Kemlande, my husband's elder brother, and my mother were the godparents. All the grand arrangements we had made for the ceremony were spoiled by the stupidity of the clergyman. He poured so much water on my poor, delicate little Henry that he sent the child into fits of cry- ing, and we were obliged to take him out and resume this unfortunate baptismal ceremony in the afternoon. Oscar came with his father, and somehow managed to amuse him- self so much that thirty years after he still talked of it. The excitement about the christening had scarcely sub- sided when a question arose in connection with the Duchesse de Berry's visit to Chambord, which was soon to take place. I was requested to entertain the princess, and, accordingly, 1 invited her to luncheon, which she was graciously pleased to accept, and, though I was in no mood for this unexpected re- ception, we began our preparations, in which my father gave his assistance. Our task was an exceedingly difficult one, for the chateau was not then, as now, magnificently fitted up, inside and out. There were not even parquet floors in my wing of the house, the terrace wall was broken, so whenever it rained the three rooms that opened on it were flooded; the dirt and disorder may be imagined ! We had to stop up the holes, mend the curtains, and generally make the drawing-rooms where we were to receive look as well as possible. A seventeen-year- MEMOIRS 91 old hostess, good intentions, and a good lunch were all we had to offer. We took a drive on the terraces afterward in a four-horse carriage, which was as much as my deep mourning permitted me to do in the way of amusement. My father had been a great help, as he was sure to be in anything that catered to his vanity; but when the party was over he relapsed into his habitual manner, cross and hard to get on with. This first year was so monotonous that I have really noth- ing to say about it, and the only thing that I can remember is the meeting with our dear Doctor Desfray. Little Henry had been feverish, and as I did not myself know what to do, I asked M. Bellanger, the mayor of our village, to give me the name and address of the best doctor in Blois. I sent the carriage for him; and 1 cannot help smiling even now at the poor doctor's embarrassment, for when he saw two nursing babies, he took my mother for the young count- ess, and looked upon me as a child; he could not get it into his head that 1 was married, and it took us an hour to con- vince him that 1 was widow, mother, and wet-nurse ! I had called in a doctor, but when he came he proved to be a friend who will always be dear to me. As 1 have said, it is useless to dwell on that year, so empty yet filled with grief and worries, but 1 bore them all, seeing my two little boys grow and prosper, as 1 thought; for never having seen other children, 1 did not know that mine were backward. Occasionally I would meet a happy mother 92 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON whose baby at four months old was bigger than mine at a year; but, like the owl, whom I resembled in this respect only, my twins seemed to me the finest children in the world. My great joy was to dress them alike, all in white like the Virgin, to whom they were dedicated; every one said they were pretty, and by this time they began to speak, and soon would be walking. ... I thought of nothing else, and lived only for them. The next winter was nearly as sad as the summer, for Bar- oness d'Arnaud, one of my aunts, had lost her little girl, which we all felt deeply, so it was only in the spring, eighteen months after my husband's death, that I took the mourning off the carriage and allowed a touch of color on the servants' black coats. I put on half-mourning myself, and drove with my children in a landau with four horses, two men be- hind us, so that when we got out in the Bois de Boulogne, they could carry the dear little boys. Though I no longer shut myself up as I did at first, I saw very few people, and never received men in my own house. There was the Marquis d'Angosse, a friend of M. de Bri- gode's, who was very sweet to me, and my old ally. Las Cases; these 1 saw from time to time, and occasionally an acquaintance would come to see me, but not very often, and most people thought that I led a dreary life. My children took up all my time, and they were so often ailing that amuse- ment of any sort was impossible for me. Henry was so frequently ill that 1 held him constantly in MEMOIRS 93 my arms, but little Fernand was more healthy, so much gayer and brighter, that he was my mother's favorite. I was anxious to get them into the country air at Menars, so we went there in the month of May, and this time I moved into my new rooms. I took my own maid, who was married and going to have a baby; we left old Olivier, a good sick- nurse, in Paris, and had Victorine and another girl to help us in her place. This time 1 made some visits at Blois and saw a few people, among others an old acquaintance of my father's. General de Preval, who was living at Beauregard, his country-seat; he introduced us to his three daughters, only one of whom, the eldest, was married. The house was running over with youth and gaiety, and there was dancing on the least provocation. Here I was welcomed with open arms, and we exchanged dinners, which always ended up with a waltz or country-dance; they acted charades, also, and after much entreaty I ended by taking my place in this gay circle, where I was the youngest but much the most serious. We had also a visitor, a young man whom I had seen at Barlges, and who my father had brought to my house in Paris, but without his making much impression on me. He was the youngest son of Marshal Maison, and, be- sides, possessed a fine figure and a pretty talent for painting, to mark him off from the vulgar herd. When he arrived he asked if he might stay to dinner, but he ended by stopping with us ten days, stating that he was on his way to the Duchesse Decazes's, but after twenty-four hours it was clear to me that I was his object. Our life was so dull that any 94 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON one stood a good chance who came to break the monotony, and I had forgotten my age and my looks for so long that 1 felt grateful to a man who reminded me of them. 1 therefore welcomed this fine young man hospitably; he was reserved, polite, and of the most elegant appearance, but he set himself to work at once, and it would seem only lin- gered on till his picture should be finished; but my mother's excitement soon opened my eyes to the impropriety of keep- ing our guest longer. She could not understand that 1 was careless and indifferent, and that I could see a young man without falling in love with him, only the life I led was too sad and strict for my age. My evenings were unbearably dull, and by way of filling up the time, I had hit upon the idea of giving writing lessons to the maids; one of the foot- men asked as a favor to be included in the lessons, and the wish to learn spreading through the house, 1 soon had a regu- lar school, and some of my pupils made such good progress as to encourage me to continue. My class was not neglected even when I had guests in the house, for 1 corrected the exer- cises after going to my room. One evening while M. de Maison was with us, the door opened suddenly, and there stood my mother in her dressing-gown, a candle in her hand, evidently expecting to take me by surprise. She rather lost countenance as she saw me quietly seated in the room beside the nursery, where the children were asleep, busy in setting examples for five or six of my scholars. I understood, and words fail me to tell how deeply I was hurt. I asked to be told how 1 had deserved such a suspi- MIXIAI'l'KK (II'' NArilLl'.ON, InR W 1 1 1( II THE i;MrF.kiiR s\ r l.n, II l,^ liini In M.Hhniii- ,lr IMI.iiir.-i BRACELET I'.IAEX IIV THE EMPEROR TO MATiAME liE RELLAPRA IX ISIS MEMOIRS 95 cion. Why should any one suppose that I would admit to my apartment, and in secret, a young man almost a stranger to me? What folly did she attribute to me? Love? If I had felt it, I declared, I would have avowed it in the light of day. ... I was free, and much too proud to stoop to conceal anything, and take my servants into my con- fidence ! Nevertheless, this episode having opened my eyes, I soon found a polite excuse for sending my admirer back to Paris. While my aunts, Celanire and Amable, were staying with us that autumn, we had several visitors. Our kind doctor brought his daughter, who afterward married M. de Lamar- lier; my friend Las Cases came also, on his way from the springs where he had gone to recover from the attack upon him; then came young M. Bellanger, who had all the brains of his family, and the Count and Countess de Lezay, prefect of the department, and his wife, as well as some people from Blois. One day our neighbor, Comte de Montalivaux, ar- rived with his son Henry, a young field-officer, handsome as a god. From his father's appearance 1 was quite unprepared for the good looks of our visitor, and he was equally surprised to see such a widow as I was. He persuaded his father to prolong his visit, and somehow made my mother ask him to come again by himself. When he returned Amable was with me, and here was a fresh charm and surprise, for at that time she was astonish- 96 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON ingly beautiful ! The spot where we were became a Ma- hometan's paradise for the young officer. He could not tear himself away . . . and when a terrible thunder-storm came up, my mother, who was much attracted by him, urged him to stay. He was a perfect fascinator whom few could resist, and she, who was so hard on poor Maison, did everything to throw M. de Montalivaux in my way. It was the opinion of a great philosopher that the right way to save a drowning woman is to pull her in against the stream, owing to the contradictory nature of females, and though I do not think that my poor mother could have relied on so serious an explanation, she certainly acted in the man- ner advised by the philosopher, and her enthusiasm for the captivating Henry put me completely on my guard against this heart-breaker, with his white teeth and melting blue eyes. We accepted his attentions, put him through all his agreeable paces, and then, once out of sight, he was soon banished from our memories also. We had a ball, for which we embroidered our muslin dresses with branches of coral worked in red worsted — ^a long-remembered success — and after this my aunts left for Paris, where we followed them in a few days. When we got back to town we found that there was a mar- riage proposed for my young aunt Amable; which had been arranged by Monsieur Kesner, my kind fellow godparent, after a good deal of trouble. He took us all to the Op6ra Comique one evening, and there we met this M. de Graeb, a middle-aged man, who looked as if he would make a tolerable MEMOIRS 97 husband, that is, for a young lady without a dot. Poor Ama- ble had seen a young man at her sister's house who seemed very much attracted by her, and, besides, she could not get that hero of romance, the Comte de Montalivaux, out of her head. The contrast was painful between the brilliant but- terfly of Madame's balls and the stiff, formal under<ommis- sary; and though she did not dare to say anything, she looked doleful enough. It took a great deal of good advice and argu- ment to induce her to accept, and her future husband's court- ship was by no means graciously received; she avoided him as much as possible, and was so cold and shy that no one could have imagined that the time would come when she would play the part of Andromache in the most exaggerated manner. . . . While my aunts were trying to raise some enthusiasm in their young sister, and make the torch of Hymen blaze a lit- tle, I ventured to show myself out-of-doors after my children were in bed. I went sometimes to the theatre, and two or three times to balls at Court, where the King made me very welcome; also to the Duchesse d'Orleans's, who was so kind as to praise my life and conduct in a way as flattering as it was deserved. I saw my admirer Maison there again, and when he came up to bow to me, M. de Montalivaux stepped before him and offered me his arm ! 1 smoothed over mat- ters between them by clinging to the old Marquise d'Aignan, who was glad to be my chaperon, as she delighted in my com- fortable carriage, the attentions which I showed her, and the crowd of young men who flocked about her. That evening at the Palais Royal was particulariy pleasant A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON to me, for to be praised by Marie-Amelie was delightful flat- tery; 1 was gratified that she should know that I was a wise, good mother, and compliment me in public, and proud of the approbation of this virtuous princess; in the joy of my heart I said to my mother: "There is a woman who deserves a crown !" It was a foolish thing to wish for her ! Poor queen ! there were thorns enough in the one she wore, and she must often have regretted the time when she was Duchesse d'Orleans. But I wished her happiness in return for what she gave me; my dream of being respected had come true. I had not struggled in vain, and I was a happy woman when I went home that night. On a cold, dreary day, early in the year 1830, Amable was married. The sun refused to smile on this loveless union, and to make it worse, when we arrived at the Church of St. Thomas, it was still draped in black for a funeral. It was freezing cold, and we could see my old grandfather shivering under his black-silk skull-cap. The atmosphere affected Amable so much that as soon as we got home after the cere- mony she dragged me into her room, tore off her bridal wreath, and fell into a sort of nervous fit that looked very like despair ! So that it was only with the utmost difficulty that we could calm her and raise her spirits a little. My mother took my place at the wedding dinner, for 1 had to stay with the children, and had nothing to do, I am glad to say, with putting the bride to bed. MEMOIRS 99 1 was scarcely up the next morning when they came and told me that M. de Graeb wanted to speak to me, and, rather surprised, I went down to see the bridegroom, whose gloomy countenance prepared me for something disagreeable, but, none the less, 1 cannot help laughing when I think of his ex- pression of dismay, and the impossible questions he showered on me. His misfortune was not serious, but he took it very much to heart; my poor little aunt had behaved childishly; inex- perienced and frightened as she was, she had screamed for help, so as to rouse the whole house. I laughed at his griev- ance, and sent him to my mother to finish his confidences, for, unfortunately, I had not time after that to think much about them. Every one who saw that cruel winter must remember the deep snow and piercing cold. The Seine was frozen for three months, so that carriages could drive across on the ice. In those days it was impossible to keep out the cold in such weather; there were no furnaces to heat the houses, which were simply freezing at night, in spite of all the fires we kept up. Nearly every one who was ill or subject to inflammation succumbed to this terrible weather, and my fate was to suf- fer another heavy loss. My poor little Femand, the stronger of the twins, on whom every one counted, while Henry's case was thought hopeless by all — my dear little boy fell ill sud- denly one evening of a violent fever. The best doctor of the 100 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON day, M. G6radin, was hastily called in; he looked at the child, shook his head, ordered leeches, and went away, leav- ing us to follow his prescriptions, which did little good, for toward midnight my child was seized with a horrible convul- sion. Oh, can I ever forget that sight ! I was sitting on a chair with my head leaning against the foot of my bed, and had closed my eyes for a moment, when I was waked by a violent start from my mother, who was holding Fernand on her knees. The poor child was rigid -his little arms were twisted, and his mouth drawn, so that his pretty face was almost unrecognizable I And this lasted all night, in spite of all that the doctors — ^who never left him — could do. My tears, my agonized prayers and entreaties were in vain; he grew steadily worse, and there under my eyes I saw my darling little boy struggling against this mys- terious disease, which was rapidly killing him. My breaking heart told me that it was all, all useless, and, crushed by terror and pain, suffering acutely, but yet with a kind of dull resignation, I pressed a kiss on the brow of my dying child, as 1 murmured, "Give this to your father !" and then, almost distracted, I left the room where lay the corpse of my boy. They led me to my father's rooms, where my mother was screaming hysterically, but I was in a sort of frozen stupor, and could only walk up and down; feeling seemed dead within me, and yet there was a stifling oppression on my heart, an agony of suffering; it is all a blank — my mind was overwhelmed by pity, memories ... I do not know how I MEMOIRS 101 bore it all. Ah, what anguish I suffered, and through the black cloud that hung over me only a few things stand out distinctly in flashes of recollection. The morning after this horrible day, I remember, poor Amable came into my room; she looked so pale and changed, it was as if I saw my own face in a glass. They had been about to leave, and she begged her husband to let her stay with us, but we would not consent to ask such a sacrifice of him. Poor woman ! she also was to know the meaning of grief. A nervous fever brought on a complete breakdown and I was seriously ill, suffering torments, mentally and physi- cally. The day after his brother died Henry fell sick in his turn, and I thought that I was to lose them both, and prayed to God to take me also, but M. GIradin assured me that he was only overexcited and would be better the next day. He was old enough to understand and be frightened by the sad- ness around him, and I was warned that his health depended largely upon my courage. God knows 1 had courage enough ! More than I could have thought possible, but strength comes as long as one has anything to love. Henry was always weak and ailing, but he did, in fact, get through that hard January better than we expected, and as I lay on my sofa, slowly regaining strength, he would try to amuse himself by my side, but it was torture to hear him call his brother. He was so used to be near him, to eat with him, that he missed him at every turn. They tried to keep 102 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON him away from me, but when from one room to the other I heard him calling, I could only answer by my tears. The winter passed in this way; occasionally some friend would take pity on me and try to distract me a little. 1 was grateful for their kindness and would look and talk. I was young and life revived in me, but 1 was sick at heart. The Goubaut girls brought hats to trim, hoping to amuse me, and poor Las Cases, too, was most kind, but I could not be said to receive my friends; I only let them come. Little by little some few people began to drop in, and as the cold diminished and winter passed away my physical condition improved. Henry had a bad attack of croup, which frightened me ter- ribly, but it did not last long, and he was better the next day, when my mother was suddenly called for, as her father was very ill. We had to wake her and send her away as quickly as possible, but as she did not come back to luncheon I sent to inquire, and was told that my grandfather was still unconscious. A sad mistake ! for he was dead ! My poor mother was brought home to me utterly pros- trated by this fresh and unexpected blow, but overcome as she was, the loss of our little boy had so deadened her capacity for suffering that now she felt less, owing to what she had previously gone through. As for me, I did not enter deeply into this new sorrow. I sympathized with my aunts, but I had been aware for a long time that my grandfather's mind was failing, and so was not MEMOIRS 103 taken by surprise; and then we had never been on particu- larly affectionate terms; 1 wore mourning, of course, but it could not add much to what I wore already, and as spring approached Henry improved so much that, as was natural at my age, life once more began to have some charm for me. It had long been clear to every one but myself that it was my duty to form new ties; for at twenty years of age how could I be expected to renounce the hope of any future hap- piness ? So every one around me talked of my remarriage, and each day added to a list of names, to which I paid very little attention. Men whom 1 met at my father's surrounded me with at- tentions, and others asked to be admitted to our acquain- tance; parents coveted this glittering prize, much more than the first time, for those who had never thought of Mile, de Pellapra now sought the lovely Comtesse de Brigode; some were subjugated by my charms, others wished to console me and share in my griefs; my prudence, my maternal love, my patience and manner of living — all were extolled to the skies. It was a perfect concert of flattery, but doubtless the chimes would not have rung so loud if the bell had not been gilded. Once again I encountered the old Comtesse de Clermont- Tonnerre, but this time she did not plead the cause of her son — now married and a father; she came to speak for one of her friends. I will not attempt to enumerate the offers I received dur- ing the next three months. I will only say that the most 104 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON ardent of my suitors were those who had the least chance of success: Maison, Montalivaux, Charles de Lagrange — "more in love than ever !" as he said — young de Sparr, who was to inherit from M. de Senonville — ^how can I remember them all ? Even M. de Chasseloup-Laubat ! — these are the names that stick in my mind, but in justice to the different ways in which I was attacked, I ought to say that I was wrong to put M. de Montalivaux on the list of aspirants to my hand; that was not exactly his object; he never made me an offer of marriage, and, whatever were his secret wishes, he did not dare to express them in words. The expedition to Africa was talked of during this spring; recruiting went on, the fleet was got ready, and all the noble, warlike French ideas reawakened after the long torpor of the Restoration. M. de Montalivaux asked leave to go with the expedition, and from him 1 learned what was being done, for as I did not go into society I had heard but little of the enor- mous preparations that were made. I was so taken up with Henry, my small occupations, and the few people who were trying to advance in my good graces that politics and public affairs mattered little to me. I was still very much depressed, and, at her wits' end for something to amuse me, and perhaps to follow the fashion, my mother proposed that we should disguise ourselves and go to the celebrated Mile. Lenormand to have our fortunes told. I agreed, and certainly no one would have taken us for women of fashion from our dress; any working girl would have claimed us for sisters. We soon MEMOIRS 105 found ourselves in the presence of the sibyl; there was noth- ing diabolical about her but a hideous black velvet cap she wore, which made her coarse face look still more common. She began by looking at me very attentively, and then dealt out the cards with the greatest care; finally she said to me: "You have tried to disguise yourself, but without suc- cess, for 1 see that you are a woman of wealth and position; you are so young that any one might take you for an unmar- ried girl, but you are married and have children. . . . Trouble has come to you, but that is all over now; you are a widow, madame, but you will marry again before the autumn. Do not try to guess who your future husband will be, for you do not know him as yet; the sea now rolls between you, and he will cross two other oceans before he meets you. He is young, handsome, rich, and good; you will be as happy as you deserve to be; also you will travel a great deal and see many foreign courts." Then in answer to my questions she added that within two months I should make the acquain- tance of the man of whom she spoke. We laughed over my future good luck, I told them about it that evening, and forgot it the next day. My handsome admirer, M. de Montalivaux, came to bring me a bunch of violets and take a tender leave of me, to which I responded with my best wishes for his health and happi- ness, which were perfectly sincere and disinterested, as 1 had never had the slightest idea of sharing his lot. Once or twice I received very pleasant letters from him, and I think I an- swered one of them; then he passed out of my mind, and I 106 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON never saw him again, for he died shortly after his return from Africa. Admiral de Rigny also made love to me at a distance, and when absent confided his interests to his sister, but 1 do not think he was any more serious in his pursuit of me than I was in the way I took Mile, de Rigny's polite visits. The Comte de Latour-Maubourg also flew to my side, but on rather cautious wings. We received him kindly, and after several visits he wrote letters to my mother and me. Mine consisted of all the usual rigmarole of an offer of marriage, made to a fortune of from ten to fifty thousand livres a year ! My mother answered politely for us both, he paid us a fare- well visit in which 1 behaved awkwardly, and all was over. In the offices of lawyers and men of business there was much interest in my affairs; many came to spy out the land, and numbers asked for an introduction to me, of whom I saw very few, for, to tell the truth, they bored me to death. I was really obliged to receive M. de Semonville's grandson; they made a point of introducing him to me, though he cer- tainly gained nothing by it ! As long as he remained in the distance there was something imposing about a duke, peer of France, heir to the "Grand Referendary," but near by he was only an ugly, absurd-looking little man. His face was small and sad, with such poor teeth that you noticed them even at a distance, so I made up my mind to refuse him at the first word, in spite of the magnificent fruit and flowers that his grandfather sent every day from the Luxembourg. MEMOIRS 107 I told my father one evening how little 1 liked this new pretender to my hand. "Ah ! that reminds me !" he said; "there are two more who came to see Poignant the other day; one is X , quite out of the question, but Poignant is positively enthusiastic about the other, and insists on bringing him here; he is the son of an old acquaintance of mine, who was perhaps rather . . . rapid in her day, the Princess de Chimay." The name recalled so many stories about " La Cabarrus," as she used to be called, that I could not help making a face, as children say, when my father added: "Poignant says that he is young and very good-looking, and that no one could possibly express himself better than he did or be more agree- able; so to please him 1 said he could bring the young man to see me some morning." My mother declared that she should love to see the son of her old acquaintance, and 1 laughed and said that as I had no wish to be the daughter-in-law of Mme. Tallien I would rather not run the risk of being captivated like M. Poignant. No new names were added to the long list of my suitors, as the French fleet was now blockading Algiers; but there was no hero there in whom 1 took an interest, or in the siege it- self; I even ungratefully forgot the knight who was destined to wear my colors. My voice had grown weak, but I tried to sing, and though 1 did not play well on either the harp or the piano, 1 practised diligently, as my poor husband had so 108 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON often advised me to do; also I took up drawing, and tried to teach my poor little Henry to control his temper, for he was inclined to be peevish. My father had given me a room on the ground floor, and one April morning I was there, and was just saying my prayers when some one knocked at the door; I made the sign of the cross, and went to open it; there was my mother, and behind her I saw a tall young man leaning against the what-not in the dining-room; he had large eyes, and they took in the whole of my small person with a penetrating but tender glance. "The Prince de Chimay," said my mother, "the son of one of my old friends." "Friend?" said 1 to myself. "The other day it was only an acquaintance; mother is bewitched, like the notary. I must have a look at this lady-killer." We went out in the garden, where I could examine the great man at my ease, who presented himself all alone in a quiet, unembarrassed way, perfectly self-possessed, but with- out a trace of swagger about him. He was tall and hand- some, with particularly distinguished manners, and his sweet but penetrating voice would alone have explained the favor- able impression he made on every one. It appeared he was indifferent to ordinary methods of pleasing, for he wore a long English overcoat which rather hid his tall figure, and was not at all becoming, and, strangely enough, a wig was pulled down over his young forehead. In answer to a question of my mother's, he said that he had been ill of a fever in England, and as his head had been THE rRiNrF,s<; df, rum w a^ v ciiir,!! MEMOIRS 109 shaved, he was obliged to wear a wig, but that he meant to leave it off when the weather got warmer. He also told us that he had just come from Toulon, where he had seen the fleet when it set sail, and he said enthusiasti- cally that it was the finest thing that he had ever beheld . . . but I could no longer listen I ... he had come from England, he had seen the Mediterranean — Mile. Lenor- mand's two seas ! . . . 1 was silent during the rest of his visit, but before he left my mother invited him to a little party we were giving in a few days. After he had gone my mother praised his appearance, my father pronounced him charming, and 1 said that he was very distinguished. I don't know that I thought much about him, but I must confess that 1 looked forward to seeing him at our little entertainment with great interest. When he came in it was rather a shock to those who aspired more or less openly to my hand; they suspected a dangerous rival in this handsome, elegant young man. He had left off his ugly wig, so that you could see how the short hair grew down in points on his broad, open brow, and his tall, well-made figure was set off to admiration by his blue dress coat. In the glance of his fine eyes there was a caressing, gentle expression ! Altogether, I had never seen a more attractive, even fascinating young man. I shall remember that evening to my dying day: My music-master had brought a group of amateur singers, who sang to us in the garden, while we listened from the windows. Every one tried to get near me, but the Prince de Chimay no A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON felt himself too much a newcomer for such marked attentions, and had the good taste to devote himself to my mother, but without taking his eyes off me ! I do not know if he felt the same, but for me it was an attraction such as I had never known before. It was all so new and wonderful, and the men who fluttered about me seemed stupid and ridiculous. I felt that with a guest like this my evenings would begin to be really interesting, and how my dull days would be en- livened by this new charm ! 1 began to take interest in a thousand trifles which I had long neglected; dress became important to me, I thought a great deal of my looks, and tried hard to please. As a rule we were only at home in the evening, but after a little while the prince asked my mother if there was no way of seeing her in the morning? And 1 believe she an- swered that if the weather was bad she generally stayed in the house, so that one might possibly find her in on a rainy day. The very next day, though the sun was shining brightly, he arrived with an umbrella in his hand; and by way of ex- cuse he declared he had felt a few drops. He was already such a favorite that the joke was taken in good part, and on that day he displayed unsuspected talents; I discovered that he was a linguist, as well as a musician, when he played Weber's "Last Sigh," that sweet melan- choly air, like a swan song. ... 1 asked him to play it again every time he came. Had he not said that he hoped with all his heart that 1 would always listen to him ! Everything about me now seemed interesting; 1 lived MEMOIRS 111 every moment, and a new light shone on me. Not that my past was forgotten, or the memory of my lost ones effaced, but it was no longer the same bitter, solitary pain. The future, which had looked so dark, now blossomed again with youth and hope, and my heart swelled with sweet and tender joy. My darling Henry was never out of my thoughts, but now he seemed closer to me than ever, on account of the way he was drawn to the man, whom even in my thoughts I dared not yet call Joseph ! The winning manner which was one of his chief charms had touched even this sickly, peevish child, and though he had not tried to please the poor little creature, who could only be attractive in his mother's eyes, the boy was so completely won over that he was always asking for the prince, and held out his arms to him whenever he came ! The secret was that his charm came from the heart; he was full of feeling, kind and generous, and I began to long to find rest for my wounded heart in this noble nature, which would never fail me. When 1 went out with my little boy in the morning 1 would meet the prince riding his thoroughbred with the ease and grace he showed in all he did, and when he would take a car- nation from his buttonhole and offer it to me, I felt it was worth all the fine bouquets in the world. He came nearly every day and made no secret of his hopes. His formal offer was presented to my father, who asked an audience of the Prince de Polignac, now minister, but who had been for a long time French ambassador to England, and knew the prince well when he was there, attached to the Dutch Legation. 112 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON We had the best accounts of him from other quarters, but this was final and of the highest importance, so it may be imagined with what impatience I awaited my father's report. Though I had shown the prince marked favor, and my heart was his, I could only bestow my hand on a man whom 1 could entirely 'trust, for I was not only choosing a lord and master for myself, but a father for Henry, and as a mother I was ready to sacrifice my own happiness to my child. My father came back delighted with the way the Prince de Polignac had received him, and I had to listen to a great deal about politics and the graciousness of the minister before we came to what interested me the most. My heart beat fast as I waited till the warmth of my father's gratitude had spent itself, and he could come to the point. At last he could tell me of all the praises he had heard of the character, habits, talents, and intelligence of our young friend, and after having said a great deal on this subject, the Prince de Polignac had ended by declaring that if he had a daughter old enough to be married, he should be glad to give her to so remarkable a young man. How proud and glad I was to see my choice approved by a personage whose opinion carried such weight, and what happiness to be free to love him and to say to myself that he deserved all that I felt for him ! He talked to me a great deal of all the brightness that he hoped I would bring into his life, and spoke so tenderly of his mother that little by little I felt my prejudices against her melt away; after all, was he not her son? and was I not beginning to love him with all my heart? I knew that he MEMOIRS 113 had a young sister, and a brother who was an officer in the Dutch army, and he told me about their life at Chimay and in Brussels, and in all he said could be felt the bitterness with which he saw his mother excluded from Court, and realized how the errors of her youth were now to be expiated in later years. He expected that my good position would go far to remove these barriers. I listened, but I did not quite see how even the spotless reputation of a young woman of twenty could avert the in- evitable consequences of light conduct followed by a divorce. However, 1 promised peace, comfort, and every consideration due to the mother of one who was already so dear to me. Shall I tell of all the incidents on the threshold of the life which opened so brightly before me, and describe the jealous rage of poor Maison as he struggled to imitate his elegant namesake, with no more success than the ass in the fable who tried to take the place of the lap-dog ? Then there were those delicious Luxembourg strawberries, which my Joseph ate, with best wishes for the health of the Grand Ref6randaire, and the Comte C. de Lagrange, squinting worse and worse — to say nothing of poor dear Las Cases, who sighed deeply as he listened to my confidences. I should rather speak of one evening when I had secretly drawn a little portrait in crayons from nature; M. Maison took it out of my hand and complimented me so sarcastically that his rival was delighted, and I overcome by confusion; I could only get out of it by drawing the likeness of every per- son present. One night my father and 1 were invited to dine with M. 114 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON de Rothschild at Suresnes, in that chateau that has since been sacked; and as we were to stay overnight, we sent word to the usual visitors of our absence. When we came back we heard of a scene that had taken place in the house; M. Maison came, and in spite of what the servants told him, seeing lights in the windows, he felt sure that orders had been given to exclude him, and went home in such a state of excitement and jealousy that his mother offered to go her- self and see if I was really there. She drove to our door, and refusing to listen to the hall-porter, she forced her way in and found my mother in her dressing-gown with little Henry on her knee, teaching him a baby piece on the piano, and was obliged to make what excuses she could for her in- discreet visit and her son's foolish mistake. I found after- ward that Joseph had followed me at a distance, but had kept out of sight. He came in one morning and told us he was on his way to Brussels to see his parents and tell them of his happiness; he added that he feared that they would not believe him, so I gave him my portrait in miniature and permission to write to me, and my solemn promise to be his. So he went, tak- ing with him my hopes, my joy, and my love ! How dull and dreary everything seemed in his absence ! and what a bore it was to talk to indifferent people ! They made me go one day to see Mme. de Bourmont, wife of the minister of war, who had gone with the African expedition. It was said that he wished to efface in the service of France MEMOIRS 115 the sad memory of former treachery; and later this tardy reparation cost him his life. A few days after the prince left I received my first letter from him, and one from his mother, which I answered; then one day, when I was working by the window, suddenly I saw the orange liveries, and a few minutes later Joseph was at my side. He told me that his father wished to make the official offer for my hand, but above all wanted to see his future daughter. I left off mourning from that day, and well remember the pink ribbons that I put on to captivate my father-in-law; also, I have an amusing recollection of the surprised expres- sion of my friends when 1 appeared at the Opera with the two Chimays: M. de Lagrange especially looked so droll, I shall never forget him ! I had my share of public attention, though the politicians were much occupied, not only by the news from the army, but by the underhand dealings of the liberal and Orleanist parties. The taking of Algiers put a momentary stop to these wranglings; the king was cheered, Victory was the cry, and some grand balls were given in honor of the French ex- ploits and the arrival of the King of Naples. To use the picturesque expression of M. de Salvandy, we were dancing on a volcano. . . . The crater was deeper and the explosions worse than we imagined then. Our contract proved very difficult to draw up; the prince's lawyers tried to bargain with my father, and there were some painful moments which I will not dwell upon here. Joseph 116 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON had nothing to do with all this, for he understood nothing of business matters; but it was always so hard to deal with my father, that at one time I actually thought the negotiations would have to be given up, but the Lord had pity on me, and at last all was arranged. The prince went back to Brussels, promising to return with his mother to Menars, where we were to be married, far from the jealous, curious world, and from the places where 1 had known so much suffering. We set out about the ist of July for Menars, in the big landau; my mother, Henry, and I on the back seat, Joseph facing me, while the nurses and maids went in the caleche. The fourteen-hour drive did not seem long; it was a lovely day, the first of a long series of happy times that I owe to him, the object of my deepest, tenderest affections. As I have said, we were profoundly ignorant of good house- keeping and how to be comfortable, so nothing was ready for us when we arrived, as Joseph must have known at once, when he found dead birds on the floor ! They had put my bed in my mother's room, and while she was unpacking he and I sat in the green parlor and talked about our future, and I could not help crying, also, for the past lay heavy on my heart on coming back to this house I had left with my two little boys. I cannot begin to tell how sweetly he consoled me, as I listened to promises of future happiness uttered in his dear, tender voice. . . . Promises all so faithfully fulfilled I My choice was generally approved, and all my friends hastened to tell me how glad they were to see me entering on a new life with a companion so charming in looks and MEMOIRS 117 disposition. From the steward, M. Guerrier, up to Doctor Desfray, all joined in praising him. We revisited the places that had become dear to me; we rode, drove, and walked together, and together we taught my little Henry, who clung more and more to his future father. The wedding-day was fixed; we only waited now for the necessary papers and the arrival of Joseph's family. Only one week more ! One morning I received a letter from my father, enclosing a copy of the king's edicts just published; thinking that Joseph knew more about such things, 1 handed them to him and was surprised to hear him say in an agitated manner: " If this is true, there must be fighting now in Paris !" My mother and 1 were childish enough to laugh at him as a twenty-year-old politician, making light of his anxieties . . . but when we saw Comte de Leroy, prefect of the de- partment of Seine-et-Loire, he too seemed very unaasy. The postman did not come in the evening, but late at night a diligence arrived full of fugitives, with the news that the people were up in arms. Later in the day we heard that there was firing in the streets, and we sat up all night waiting for news which did not come till dawn. My father described the day's fighting, the defeat of the Court, and finally said that the king had fled with his family and body-guard. Fighting had ceased, and they were organizing a provisional government. The next day our prefect offered his resignation to the de- partment, but was requested to continue to rule over the 118 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON Loir-et-Cher, and shortly after we learned of events in Paris. The Due d'Orleans was named lieutenant-general of the kingdom . . . some had run away, others were starting on a new triumphal progress. They were singing the " Pari- sienne" and burying the dead; meanwhile the Bonapartists were taking heart, the Carlists stormed — and every one had had a fright ! As soon as he understood the course of events, Joseph had sent Philip, his valet, to Brussels to warn his parents and obtain the papers, and after a great deal of difficulty at the frontier, he came back with them, but when we showed them to President Bergevin he did not think them sufficient, and strongly advised us to return to Paris, where I had my legal domicile, rather than to risk having a flaw in our records. There was nothing for it but to submit; so we packed up again, and got into our carriage, unhappy at leaving Menars, and fearful of what awaited us in Paris. Our carriage broke down half-way, and we had to stop at a wretched little inn, where we were glad to find mattresses to lie on. 1 took my little boy with me, Joseph found some corner where he could sleep, and so did the nurse, and in this uncomfortable way we spent our first night as fellow trav- ellers. At break of day we started off again, and reached our own house tired out, and about twelve o'clock Joseph came to take me to his mother, who had arrived the evening before. Our imaginations sometimes lead us terribly astray; 1 had forgotten the flight of time, and the once beautiful There- zia's age, and in the old woman before me I had expected MEMOIRS 119 to find the celebrated Madame Tallien of whom I had heard so much. The first glance did not show me at all what I anticipated; she was not like her son, and, being enormously fat, the old- fashioned clothes she wore were very unbecoming to her. My young sister-in-law was pretty, but not as handsome as she afterward became, and what struck me most was the total absence of distinction. Louise welcomed me with childish delight as a new playfellow; she was grateful to me as the cause of her journey, and rubbed herself against me caressingly, like a pussy-cat. My mother-in-law seemed em- barrassed and timid, as if she did not dare to be motherly and protecting, and reproached herself. My father-in-law thought me pretty, and paid court to me like a man who was used to it, but not at all in a paternal manner. He was very agreeable and well turned out, but under these graces was concealed an insignificant character and a truly masculine egotism. He loved his children just as he did when they were little, taking no interest in their pleasures except to share them. My brother-in-law, Alphonse, was a big, jolly felloiv, hand- some and very thoughtless, showing already that sort of artificial good nature that is still characteristic of him. He is too indolent to make good use of his natural advantages; fond of good living, untruthful, selfish, and boastful, with only a semblance of affection for others, he lets his talents and his beauty rust, and simply vegetates, while the years drift by him. I also made the acquaintance of the tutor, 120 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON M. Moyne, and, though I earnestly wished to please every- body, in spite of my efforts I got, as the children say, a good many raps on the knuckles. In M. Moyne I came in contact with a person not easy to know, and not agreeable on first acquaintance. Underneath his surly manner was an aggressive devotion that I did not appreciate, and he was always on the defensive, believing in nothing and nobody. His experience of life had been such as to destroy all faith in feminine sincerity, and he did not reply to what you said to him, but to what he thought you thought. 1 could not count the number of disagreeable things that he found means to imply, but fortunately my perfect confidence in Joseph kept me from believing them. There was another person who did not impress me very favorably, Mme. de Narbonne-Pellet,* daughter of M. Tal- lien and my mother-in-law; she seemed rather touchy and plaintive, and not prepossessed by the newcomer in the family. The ten days that followed were not as sweet as those at Menars. Each one brought its small annoyance; business men with their difficulties, my father with his disagreeable way of acting, my mother-in-law and her . . . doubtful children, the hostile M. Moyne, always boring one by doubts and unpleasant stories about everybody; added together it made something that only my Joseph could successfully counteract. One evening, more for the sake of contradic- tion than to praise his pupil, the tutor insisted that Joseph ♦ThermldorTallien. MEMOIRS 121 did not like the country, adored the gay world, and could not live a week without society, and wound up by a bet not at all flattering to me, that we would come back to Paris this winter at the end of two months. I bet twelve bottles of gin against him and Mme. de Pellet. The nine happiest years of my life spent at Menars were a sufficient answer to these forebodings. Before my marriage it was necessary for me to transfer the guardianship of my son to my father; the day for this had not been fixed, as a family council was to be held, which was difficult just at this time of revolution. There were nu- merous delays, in spite of Joseph's impatience and my own desire to put an end to an embarrassing situation. On re- turning home this last time, I had moved back into my old room which I had left when 1 was so unhappy. 1 had received visits and polite letters from M. de Brigode's brothers; they could not rejoice at my marriage, and they thought my future husband very young, but they said all that was proper and affectionate. At last I signed the renunciation of my guardianship in favor of my father, and the next morning Joseph appeared before lunch in his riding-clothes; he was in the highest, most radiant spirits, and he rushed up to me, exclaiming: "Every- thing is arranged for this evening ! Oh, how happy I am ! But I must be off \" And away he went, without stopping to explain anything or even to kiss my hand. He left me so trembling and confused that I nearly ran away myself ! 122 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON Though he had said so Httle to me, he had not been silent toward the rest of the household; every one knew about it, as I found only too soon by the questions that poured in upon me from all directions. In my room the Lord only knows all the fuss they made to install the new guest in his small quarters ! They put candles everywhere, with a fes- tive spirit which I was unable to share. I remember when I was half dressed, my overzealous servants made me go down to the ground floor, so that I should not see all their preparations. Though our marriage had been talked of for so long, at the last the haste with which it was concluded seemed appro- priate to the time — to the torn-up streets and general dis- order of the revolution. We were too hurried to arrange for proper equipages; besides, to speak after the mob-manner, fine carriages would have been offensive to the people, and, on the contrary, we imitated cabs as much as possible. We went to church in the evening, but there was no mass, for we could not drive through the streets late at night. " Lib- erty" forbade that ! So we only received the nuptial bene- diction. The gay world had fled or was in hiding, and the little noise made by our marriage was lost in the sound of guns, for on the very day when being turned out of my own rooms I was running down to my father's, I came face to face with Vicomte Maison, coming as usual to visit us, and gazing with astonishment at the decorations and candles in the drawing- rooms. MEMOIRS 123 I never received any visitor with less pleasure; I dreaded lest a word should betray the state of things, and 1 saw also that he was dying to be asked to the party for which we were preparing, and longed with all my heart for his departure, till at last he rose reluctantly and with a final glance of sus- picion at the tall candelabra he took his leave. The day came to an end at last; my nice little father-in- law, — as 1 used to call him in joke — came to dinner with Joseph, whose appetite never failed; and then 1 went to dress. My gown was designed for "good luck," as 1 said, and was such an exquisite creation that it must have been successful if there was any truth in the superstition. The dress was made of magnificent lace, with a pearl girdle; 1 wore a wreath of white roses and pink buds, the whole covered with a veil of point d'Angleterre. 1 had put my little Henry to bed myself, and when 1 was dressed 1 came down, my heart throbbing with emotion. How beautiful 1 was then, and good ! My past life was like an aureole of purity about my head, and how proud I was to bring to the man 1 loved a heart without guile, and the respect of the world. We went first to the municipality, where M. Bassas de Lamegie married us himself; then we drove through streets as bumpy as in a country village, to St. Germain-des-Pr^s. The valuable altar ornaments had all been removed to a place of safety, but the choir was filled with orange-trees and lights, so though religious ceremonies in the evening are gen- erally rather dreary, this illumination and the flowers re- 124 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON lieved the solemn effect. I uttered the fateful "Yes" with- out a tremor, and without a thought of fear, for 1 leaned with perfect confidence on the young man in whose hands I joy- fully placed myself, on the friend who became ever dearer during twenty years of affection. I cannot stop to tell of the wedding-reception, where in spite of my shyness I received the attentions of my guests with a fairly good grace. There were the Due de Caraman, now my uncle; General Fagle, my husband's chief at the Dutch Legation, and our two cousins, Georges and Adolph de Caraman. I was too preoccupied to notice little things, but I have since been told that M. de Rocheplate, my aunt's husband, deafened poor Joseph with his political opinions; also M. de Ricard du Gard, who could not believe that one could be interested in anything but the situation of the moment. Some days afterward 1 heard of what the servants called the event of the evening, the arrival of Vicomte Maison, who had been puzzled by the preparations that he had seen in the morning. When he asked to come in they told him that we were not there, and when he pointed to the brilliantly lighted rooms, a servant answered that we had not yet come back from church. . . . The shock was so great that the poor young man fell down in a fit in the porter's lodge, who could think of nothing better than to bundle him into a cab, and send him back anyhow to his parents. I had no thoughts to waste on my unfortunate admirer, and after a somewhat awkward evening they all took leave. MEMOIRS 125 my parents-in-law also went away, leaving Joseph wild with joy, and the bride more and more embarrassed. I put as good a face on it as I could however, went up-stairs, took off my fine clothes, and came in to my pretty little boudoir, where I sat down between my husband and my mother. From the beginning of this happy day time seemed to have wings, and the hours passed so quickly that I did not realize how late it was till I saw Joseph's imploring looks and heard him whisper: "It is midnight." I kissed my mother and my dear little boy in his cradle, and breathed a prayer to God . . . but not with the trans- ports of gratitude that I would have felt if the future had then been revealed to me, if I could have seen the twenty- seven years of happiness that have since elapsed, and real- ized what a father I was giving to Henry, what a noble, good, delightful companion Heaven had bestowed on me as some compensation for my sad girlhood. I cannot say enough of those sweet, enchanting days, the fitting dawn of a honeymoon that never set; but if I regret that early time of joy and love, it is only because I fear that those in whom my whole heart and soul are centred, may quit this world before me. Beauty and springtime have fled, but love and tenderness, deep gratitude and affection have everlasting life, and grow stronger with every year; I only pray that I may be the first to leave the place where dwell all that are dear to me. The next day, and so early in the morning that the servants could not believe their eyes, we ordered the carriage to take 126 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON me to church and Joseph to see his parents, each of us seek- ing for guidance. The first step in my new Hfe was toward God, who had brought me safe to land through so many perils and sorrows. The world would smile to hear me speak as if marriage were the end of all things for a woman twenty years old; but for a character like mine the way was straight before me; 1 could never again be deceived or go astray; all 1 had to do was to walk by the side of my chosen companion. 1 had great duties to fulfil, but 1 could ask for nothing more in this world than the love of my husband and children. My parents-in-law had been ordered to Nice, on account of the Princess's health, but as they did not leave till the end of September we stayed on a little while longer in Paris. We went to the theatre, where the sovereign people played all kinds of tricks; calling for the " Parisienne," which is im- pressed on my mind, tiresome as it was, because nothing brings back an association so strongly as music; 1 could never hear that poor composition without a rush of feeling that would have greatly astonished the author. Sometimes the audience would be told to rise and listen respectfully to an actor dressed in the most ridiculous way and waving the tricolor flag. 1 remember Baroeillet, in a bailiff''s robe and Louis XIV wig, grasping his flag before beginning his famous air; he was so conscious of his own absurd appearance that after a moment's hesitation he tore his wig off and threw it on the floor. Another time the whole pit rose against a man who re- mained seated while one of the principal comic actors tried to touch our feelings by " Le convoi de nos freres." "Stand MEMOIRS 127 up !" cried the house, but the man stayed where he was, and no one could hear what he was trying to say in explanation, till after a long time and in the midst of a deafening clamor he succeeded in making himself heard. " I have lost both my legs 1" he shouted, with great applause, which did not, however, give him back his limbs. All sorts of things turned up during these political crises, some tragic, some amusing, for when one's interests are not seriously involved in the performance, one can always make jokes on the play. Those responsible for the situation are never satisfied, and the unlucky people, like rats, are sure to be caught in the baited trap. The provisional government tried hard to pull some chestnuts out of the fire, while the public could only revenge itself by jeers, particularly at the words put everywhere and in the most unlikely places: "Lib- erty, Equality, Fraternity." A wit or perhaps a philosopher added this: Equality In poverty Liberty to die of hunger. The fraternity of Cain, Behold what Is offered, By Citizen Ledru-Rollin. but the irony in these verses could not be compared to the absurdity of those three famous words painted on the doors of prisons; all Paris saw and laughed at them. These things, of course, passed over our heads, happy as we were in the new freedom of our love; I could hardly believe that there could be so much bliss in the world for me, and to add to our joy, Joseph's mother left for Nice, so we were able to go to 128 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON Menars and settle down in our own house. There, in that happy httle kingdom began the good understanding, the en- during sympathy which has lasted these twenty-seven years, comforting me in all troubles and adding tenfold to every pleasure. My poor little Henry needed constant watchfulness, for every day he seemed to have something the matter with him; he had no real childhood on account of his delicate health, for from the day of his birth he was nothing but an invalid. The whole of the winter following our marriage was spent in nursing him, and this brought out still more my Joseph's goodness of heart, for far from being repelled by the com- plaints of the little sufferer, who disturbed us day and night, my dear young husband helped me with the most adorable patience. In the middle of the night, sometimes, I have known him get up and play the violin, to quiet the poor, whining child, who must have annoyed him excessively. I cannot tell how often he was sent after the doctor; many a time I have wept for my poor baby . • • but now it was with my husband's arms around me. Toward the ist of January I began to feel the symptoms of pregnancy, and my condition was a great joy to Joseph, whose parents had begun to say that after the terrible time I had had at my first confinement, the chances were that I should never have another child. The happy event, how- ever, falsified this prediction and other anticipations of evil. However, this time a somewhat imprudent trip to Paris, a MEMOIRS 129 little overfatigue — one can never tell exactly, but fate did mingle a little bitter with my cup of happiness, and in spite of Doctor Desfray's care, and the tears we shed, for this time our hopes vanished, leaving only regrets. My recovery was rather slow, but never was any one so well taken care of! I really enjoyed my invalid life. I would lie and listen to charming melodies that Joseph played to me on the piano that he had had brought to my room; or I would take a few steps on my beautiful flora and zephyr terrace; and come back carried in the arms of him who was then and is now my life, my whole world ! It was sweet to be spoiled, to feel that 1 was loved, to be utterly happy. Joseph's parents came to see us in the spring; they admired Menars and we did everything we could to make them wel- come. The Republic, which had not been very well satisfied with itself after having got rid of Charles X, now knelt at the feet of Louis-Philippe, who with his crown on his head and an umbrella under his arm took his turn in that lodging which has proved but a temporary and precarious resting- place to so many kings. My new family took a great fancy to Menars, and stayed with us several months. They liked the fine climate and the comfortable life; besides, my mother-in-law's health was much improved, and her husband enjoyed being near his son. Alphonse rode about a great deal, stopping sometimes, as we heard, in the village, and sometimes under the windows of the pretty girls at Blois, and my young sister-in-law loved 130 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON to be with me, and particularly with my mother, who was nearly as much of a child as she was herself. We made a large family party, but every one was happy in our quiet life, which was not ruffled by the quarrels that took place over the card-table between my mother and M. Moyne. In the morning, while Joseph and his father were playing duets, I would beg my mother-in-law for one of the stories which she told admirably, enhancing the interest by njingling the true with the false in the most artistic manner. The days of her youth, her triumphs and glories, and, I may add, her weaknesses, all passed before me, and it must be confessed there was no pretense of modesty; but benevo- lence and large-mindedness were natural to her, and as I lis- tened I could well understand her reply to some one who threw the name of Tallien at her as an insult: " It is true," she said, "I was Madame Tallien, and it was under that name that I was so fortunate as to save your life." How clever she was ! If she had been a man she would have had a high place in history. My father-in-law played the violin exceedingly well, and. my dear little Henry compared him to Paganini, and would listen for hours perfectly entranced to the concerts given us by the father and sons. Our Collector-of-Taxes at that time was the young Baron Leberbier de Tinan; he was deep in the Young-France move- ment, wore gray trousers and no gloves, and though attached to the finance department he was brimful of sentiment, and belonged to that romantic school, now quite out of fashion. MEMOIRS 131 He came to the house, and Louise, whose eyes were every- where, laughed at him, but would give him a soft yet light- ning glance, nevertheless. As we shall see later on, the poor young man had his little secret romance, much encouraged, I must admit, by an outrageous flirt. Dear, kind Doctor Desfray often came, and through his treatment 1 had now entirely recovered. The Lezay-Marne- zias were frequent guests, as the prefect had taken a great fancy to my husband, and altogether we saw a great many people. Ah ! what a happy time it was, and how far away it all seems now ! One morning they came to tell us that M. de Tinan was very ill, and from the expression of the servant's face 1 saw that there was something queer about this illness. We finally heard that inspired by hopeless love — or perhaps by the story of Escousse and Lebas, — he had taken poison, just enough to be very sick and very interesting. To me this all seemed contemptible, and it was also an- noying to my family, and gave Louise the opportunity for various theatrical demonstrations, ending with cramps in the stomach, and putting her brother completely out of patience. After this foolish exhibition they all went away, and it was high time, for I was beginning to feel very poorly, though I did not mind it, as I knew that I was pregnant for the second time. My husband was much taken up with the idea of a college that he wished to found, and we kept Alphonse with us as a boarder; he and a young lawyer, our mayor's son, paid court 132 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON to my mother, which, devoted as it was, gave us no anxiety. This time I took the greatest care of myself; no more long walks and drives ... I had no need of amusement, but none the less enjoyed the winter, and what rapture it was to feel the child stir within me; my dear Joseph's child ! Noth- ing else in the world mattered to me then . . . and for this reason I will say little of a dispute that took place. We had a friend nicknamed "Boaster" on account of some problem- atic exploits at a barricade; he quarrelled with Alphonse, who made this little awkwardness an excuse to leave us and escape to Holland. I cannot speak much, either, of our college, a most learned and valuable foundation, no doubt, which possibly did us good, and certainly cost us a great deal of money, but 1 must mention that Joseph received the cross of St. Georges, which made his father very jealous. My husband loved decora- tions, and they were so becoming to him that I could not help liking them myself. At the time of our marriage, though a handsome youth, he was rather too slight and deli- cate-looking, but now, at the end of a year, his splendid fig- ure had filled out, he had an air of robust vigor, and his com- plexion glowed with the tints of health. He was more dis- tinguished than fine looking, with a courtesy beyond mere beauty. The Prytaneum of Menars was now being prepared, and I was working at my baby-clothes, with the help of little Henry, who loved to arrange the tiny shirts and caps. He played a great deal with a boy called Eugene, whose mother MEMOIRS 133 is still alive, at that time a farm-girl named Justine. Old father Guerrier, as we called our steward, had brought her in to take care of the chickens, and there was some gossip be- cause the boy looked so like him — a handsome little chap he was, while his official father was a coarse, rough carter. Eugene was rather rough, but 1 became attached to him, and he was my son's inseparable playmate. He was tall for his age, and 1 often envied his strength and his handsome face, and my pride as a mother was hurt when strangers complimented me on the beautiful boy whom they took for mine, while my poor Henry, small and rather plain, was supposed to be the humble companion of M. le Comte. Spring had hardly come, when a horrible disease ravaged Paris and the districts around Blois as well. The cholera had appeared in France at the same time as the Republic, but had lasted longer, and following its example had now returned to level all ranks and fortunes, which were reduced to a sad equality before this frightful scourge. The hospitals were as crowded as the cemeteries; there were not enough nurses, doctors, or priests, nor men enough for the sad and dreadful task of burying the dead. Great furniture-vans were pressed into the service to transport the piles of coffins, but were in- sufficient for the number of those struck down each day by the fell disease. Things were not quite so bad at Blois, but the place was panic-stricken; people shunned one another, and the physi- cians, forgetting that there were other sicknesses, ordered cholera medicines for every complaint. 134 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON Under these circumstances, on the 30th of April, 1832, I began to feel the first labor pains. Our good Prosper went for M. Desfray, and, though 1 suffered, Joseph was beside me; my poor mother, the nurse, and Clementine were there also. The doctor encouraged me, and I could see in his kind face how much he felt my sufferings. Judging by my recent experience, I thought that 1 had nights and days of agony before me. 1 could not believe that I should soon be de- livered. M. Desfray smiled when in an attack of pain I grasped at his beautiful white hair; he gently released him- self, while I kept crying that the baby would not come for a long time, but in the midst of horrible torture 1 heard the first faint cry, so sweet that it can never be forgotten, and that 1 had not heard before ! That first joy of motherhood in the midst of tears was followed by many, many others, but mercifully I could not foresee that this much-desired baby, given to us all as an added joy, would die some years before that brother who met her on the threshold of life with such touching, childlike pleasure. It was a girl, just as I had hoped, for there could be no rivalry with Henry; he would still be my only son. I sent for him, so that he should be the first to kiss his little sister, and it seems to me I can see him now as his stepfather car- ried him in. He had a little velvet cap embroidered in gold pulled down on his head, and seemed a little frightened, but looked tenderly at the new-born infant. "What do you think of it?" I asked him. "It is like the little brother 1 had," he said. MEMOIRS 135 I began to cry, and saw tears in the eyes of those around me. Dear Doctor Desfray was especially touched. It had been decided that I was to nurse my baby, and I entered at once on this sweet but exacting task. While my milli was coming I was quite ill, and then I caught a fever, which naturally affected the infant; Henry, too, was sick at the same time, and the cholera still raged, but in spite of all these adverse conditions, I recovered and was out of bed when we heard of my father's illness. As there was also a great deal of smallpox at this time in Blois, we hastily vac- cinated my little Emilia, and the day after my mother started for Paris. My father was suffering from an abscess, and the doctors in Paris and Blois had given him stimulants, supposing that he had contracted the epidemic. Inflammation set in, and he grew very much worse, but finally got better, and after six weeks or so mother came back and found us both in a flourishing condition. My daughter had been fat at first but was now three times the size; she had big eyes, with fine black eyebrows, and a pale Italian skin that Murillo would have loved to paint; but with all this I could see that my mother did not think her pretty, and could only hope for the future. The head master of our new school was to be M. Sauriac, a republican from Gascony, and a very witty, agreeable man, but perhaps not of the strictest moral character; however, we went to Paris about this time to engage professors to teach under him, and on our return we found that M. de 136 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON Graeb had been appointed military commissioner at Blois, so we hoped soon to see my aunt. Graeb himself was the first to arrive, as Amable and her little boy — now eighteen months old — had stopped at my grandmother's; Graeb set out in search of lodgings, but the first thing he picked up was an attack of gout so severe that he had to go to bed, at Menars, luckily for him ! In those days Amable was still ideally beautiful, and she literally dazzled Joseph, who never forgot her lovely face. She and her little Charles were like a Virgin of Albano with a Murillo in her arms. They stayed some time with us, and then settled down at Blois, where Amable was a charming recruit for the regiment of pretty women who were there then, more than 1 ever saw together before or since; even without counting us, the Blois drawing-rooms could well boast of their number. With the spring Joseph's mother came back to us with Louise, who was still handsomer than before; her skin was as white as ermine, and she had true Spanish eyes, which she took no pains to hide, but if my poor mama-in-law had her hands full with her own daughter, mine bade fa^r to be a joy to her, and she admitted that the child was like her, even to her dark complexion; she too, she said, had been as black as a plum in her babyhood. 1 was feeling excessively tired and run down just then, and, though the baby was weaned, that brought me no relief, so that at times 1 could hardly stand up. My mother had been to Paris, which was then no light undertaking, as it took from fourteen to fifteen hours, even MEMOIRS 137 if one's carriage did not break down on the frightfully bad Orleans road; 1 had something to do at Blois, so Louise and I went there, and though I was feeling wretchedly ill when I got back, I dressed and came down to dinner. I was suffering a great deal of pain, but fought against it till we all left the table, and 1 went out into the court to look for my husband, who was standing a short distance off, with M. Moyne. All at once a sharp pain shot through me, as if I were torn in two; 1 could resist no longer, and, losing consciousness completely, I fell insensible on the gravel walk. 1 came to myself in Joseph's arms, as he was trying to lift me, but he was so agitated that he was obliged to allow M. Moyne to carry me to my room. Our dear doctor was quickly sent for, but after some hours of anxiety and suffer- ing, I again miscarried. 1 had not known of my condition, but had thought merely that 1 was growing very stout. They had put me on a cot bed and were hoping that the worst was over, when most frightful and dangerous symp- toms alarmed the doctor beyond concealment. He promptly applied every remedy within reach, but within an hour I was in mortal danger. It would be impossible to tell of the strange thoughts that passed through my mind; while for some days 1 was seriously ill, nevertheless I can look back with pleasure on the care and affection lavished on me. Even the coquettish Louise, my mother, and above all my darling Joseph, nursed me with the utmost devotion, taking turns in sitting with me. 138 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON and thus tended I felt I should soon come back to life and health. At the end of a month I was weak and thin, it is true, but well enough to enjoy a grand birthday party given in my honor by the pupils of the two schools that we had founded — and handsomely endowed. Louise, unfortunately, was not a beginner, and as soon as she arrived anywhere, there was sure to be some story told of her in which a man figured, mixed up with a good deal of coquetry — to say no worse. . . . This time the hero did not poison himself, for the part was taken by our friend, Sauriac, who preferred an exchange of alluring glances to the finest poetry, and he and my sister-in-law — ^who was thoughtless and very much to blame — had got up a little romance be- tween them, which promised badly for the honor of the family. It was I who found — the Lord knows where ! — some scraps of paper covered with burning phrases, which must have been surprised at the end of their career. As I foresaw a disagree- able and possibly disgraceful termination to the affair, I showed my discovery to my mother-in-law. This was, un- fortunately, not her first experience of the sort, so she decided to leave at once, and we went with them. I must admit that I did all in my power to avoid unpleasant explanations of our sudden departure. We came back to M6nars at the end of ten days, and to me fell the task of conveying the idea gently to "our friend" Sauriac that admirable as his methods of education might be for boys, his manners with ladies did not recommend him to MEMOIRS 139 the respect of his subordinates; so he was obHged to seek some other spot where his hot southern blood and his ten- der heart might mature at leisure — though I doubt if the heart had much to do with it. Shortly before, my husband had engaged a young man named Blanchon as secretary, bookkeeper, and professor of commerce. He had a handsome face and curly hair, affected loud waistcoats, and wore many rings on hands not over- clean. He talked in an amiable, high-flown style — ^was, in short, the most perfect counter-jumper and drummer possi- ble to see. We sent him off to find us a new head master, for we had had them of every sort and kind of opinion, put- ting us through varied experiences. The list of our profes- sors, though long, would not be found interesting, with the exception of M. and Mme. Renard, who were my friends. M. Renard was our drawing-master, and his wife was a very clever, agreeable woman, whom 1 loved to have with me, though this aroused jealous feelings in the breast of Mme. Delisle, whose husband was our new Collector-of-Taxes, in the place of the too-sentimental M. de Tinan. The Delisles were a singular and comical couple; he was a sort of rose-water man of letters, looking like a superannu- ated pink-and-white cherub, while his wife — who had a per- ceptible beard — made a most absurd contrast, posing as a sentimental Juno. They had a H6tel-de-Rambouillet air about them, and M. Delisle would have liked to weave a poetic garland for his wife, but, unfortunately, her name of "Julienne" suggested soup more than flowers. 140 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON They were both inquisitive and familiar, so that my moth- er-in-law was sorry she had encouraged them at first, while I found nothing to like in either, and kept them at a distance. Our family-in-law had spent the winter at Chimay, greatly, to the annoyance of Louise, and we now heard from there that the Princess was very ill and kept her bed; her heart- disease, having increased, caused pain and swelling of the extremities, and she was anxious to see her son. We made our preparations and left our Eden, stopping a few days in Paris to get some new clothes, and then began our journey. In my landau were my mother, Joseph, myself, and old Minin, who held our two-years-old daughter, while Henry sat on our laps. The maids followed in a light car- riage, and it took us about three days to reach Chimay. By such roads as, I am glad to say, no longer exist, at four or five o'clock in the afternoon I first saw the place for which I was to change my smiling Menars, and the comparison was by no means flattering. The misty April evening threw a melancholy veil over the landscape, and we approached the house by the back way to avoid the noise of carriage-wheels, which might have disturbed the Princess, who was much more seriously ill than they had told us. A note was brought us from Louise to say that her mother was worse and unable to leave a mechanical bed which had been put up for her, so it was old Dawent, wearing the six stripes on his arm in proof of his sixty years of service, who was the first to bid me welcome. We left our carriages at MEMOIRS 141 Bergeau, and climbed up the steep ascent to the chiteau, while Louise waved to us from the tower. It was thought best for us not to see my mother-in-law that evening for fear of giving her a bad night, so we went to our rooms, where everything showed traces of Louise's thoughtful care. She had embroidered our initials on the curtains, and arranged our rooms and beds for the children. She was sincerely glad to see us, for it was her nature to be gracious and attentive, good-tempered and easy to get on with. We began to feel a real affection for her; no one could have believed that so charming a person had, unfortunately, no heart ! I recall my extreme surprise at the bareness and lack of comfort in that poor old castle of Chimay. Though my mother-in-law was so ill, she had no carpet, not even a good armchair in her bedroom, and there would not have been an eiderdown quilt on her bed if I had not given her one at Christmas that same year. When I compare what the chiteau is now with what it was on our first visit, I cannot understand how they stood it; you sat perched up on high, hard chairs, your feet chilled by cold drafts, and with a disgusting kitchen smell which blew right into the drawing-room. The Princess was glad to see us, and my father-in-law wanted at once to show me his park, of which he was justly proud. M. Moyne, doubtful as usual, held the scales, but not always with perfect justice, except for once when he nobly took the weaker side. Mme. de Pellet had come to see her 142 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON mother, and being certainly entitled to every attention, I am glad to remember that in spite of her touchiness and the dis- agreeable remarks she often made, 1 never vexed or thwarted her embittered temper by an impatient word. For my first walk at Chimay I went to church, to that fine cathedral of our "empire" where they now lie whose guests we then were, and I went all over the splendid, well-kept park, for which art and nature have done so much, where everything is picturesque, but full of a profound and tender sadness. On account of my mother-in-law's illness, the oflTicial re- ception which should have been given in our honor was post- poned; and, in point of fact, we never had any entertainment at all. We spent several weeks at Chimay, and I do not really remember why we did not stay longer yet, for we enjoyed ourselves part of the time, though nothing remarkable hap- pened. My father-in-law was very kind to little Henry, outsider though he was, and the Princess loved her grand- daughter and saw her every day, though she did regret the absence of a boy. She would have loved to see a little Jo- seph, but that joy was denied her. When I kissed her at parting I did not think that I should never see her again — but I do not pity her now, for God was good and took her the first. When we got back to Paris I engaged a new nurse for Henry, and just then he fell ill of a catarrhal fever, and as MEMOIRS 143 it was a fairly bad case I took care of him as well as 1 knew how, and was glad enough to bring him back to our dear Menars completely cured. Living as we did in the country, 1 did not often see any of the de Brigode family, but always kept up the correspon- dence with my brother-in-law; every year we exchanged lit- tle New Year's gifts, and my nieces Georgine and Gabrielle did fancy-work for me, to which 1 responded by some pres- ent. I planned that my godchild Noemie should be my future daughter-in-law, and Adrien, who was scarcely two years younger than Henry, was certainly to be his intimate friend. I went to see them whenever I was in Paris, and was not only well received, but they treated Joseph like a brother. Henry was a bond between us, and his uncles began to appre- ciate the character of the stepfather I had given him. After that little illness, the autumn passed off well for Henry; his sister, who was growing fast, was a nice playmate for him; he was very patient with her, and never cross, though she was often naughty, being extremely spoiled. My old nurse, whom we called Minin, indulged her so foolishly that I thought of putting her in the care of Henry's maid, while I sent my rival Minin for a visit to her family. In the middle of the winter we learned that Alphonse had fallen in love with his cousin, Rosalie de Caraman, and in- sisted on marrying her, though not long before he had done everything in the world to obtain the hand of Mile, de Beau- villiers. He was crazy about all women, and his passions. 144 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON more sudden than sincere, hurried him along so fast that the idea had occurred to him to change only the Christian name of one of his romances, as he had not really time to alter it for each one of his numerous flames. I thought that Rosalie, the last on the list, must have had at least half the calendar. His cousin's engagement had been broken off, leaving her free, so he obtained his wish this time, and we went to Paris for the wedding; unfortunately my mother-in-law was too ill to be present. I was not a gay companion, as I was feeling very poorly, and took to my bed as soon as we arrived, where I stayed for ten days and then went home without even having seen the wedding ! I did not like to say what was the matter with me, it was really too absurd — a carbuncle! But I had to receive my future sister-in-law in my bed. She was not pretty nor well made, but she had distinction and elegance; the restlessness of all the Caramans and their nervous, hur- ried way of speaking. They had a little the overexcited manner of a man who feels a flea, but I have since heard it called wit and liveliness ! I have come since then to think her very charming, and that first day I was in no condition to judge of her, in misery as I was, and all done up in poultices; it really was the worst of luck ! Louise had seized the opportunity to get away from Chi- may, where she was bored to death; she and her father were like two boys let out of school. They hinted that the Prin- cess was not as ill as people said, that she had stayed away fc \ h / / THE lilAE-EXAMEL WATCH PRESENTED TO EMH.IE HE PELLAPRA BY THE EMPRESS MARIE-LOITSE OX HER \ ISIT TO CAEX MEMOIRS 145 to avoid the awkwardness of mingling with a family party where she had never been welcome. I thought that I was going to have an abscess, and knew that I could not appear at the wedding, so we bought our present and left; but the day after we got back to Menars M. Desfray laughed at the Paris doctors, lanced the car- buncle, and I was able to walk immediately. Mother was enchanted to have me back, for she had slept in my place, between Henry's bed and little Minette's, and they had been very naughty. As soon as he woke up Henry called out to her: "Minette, Minette, Maman isn't here; it's Gane !" — and only half-awake she sat up, rubbing her eyes, and said in the coolest way : " Let's have a screaming match ! " "Yes, yes!" shouted Henry, who had tears in his eyes al- ready. "Come, begin!" said the little minx, and they lay and shrieked for an hour under their poor grandmother's nose. These two children adored each other; Henry's heart fairly leapt for joy at all her pranks, and she was much sharper and cleverer than he. He admired her so much that 1 have ac- tually seen tears in his eyes as he watched her running, and he would ask me to look at her lovely brown curls and notice how prettily they fell about her shoulders. " I do love my little Choum," he would often say. This was a pet name he had for her that he had picked up out of some song. We heard all about the wedding from Louise, and she wrote us, also, to our great surprise, that as her mother was much better she meant to borrow my father's carriage and 146 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON come to spend some months at Menars with me. This sud- den improvement seemed remarkable, but I was glad to wel- come my dear little sister-in-law, who was so lonely at Chi- may that I had been sorry for her. That was a very gay winter for the town of Blois. There were a great many balls given, and we did not miss a single one, and in a group of exceptionally pretty women our family made a good effect. Mme. de Graeb, Louise, and I would have ornamented any ballroom, but society was rich in beauty at that time. Oddly enough, the children of all these pretty mothers did not inherit their good looks; I was per- haps the only one fortunate enough to admire my daughter. This was the moment, I am sorry to say, when we really came to know poor Louise. Up to this time she had been imprudent and flirtatious, and it may be that her lack of principles and education had led her into graver errors, which might be viewed leniently; but a girl who concealed the con- dition of her dying mother and left her alone for the sake of amusing herself in society, who out of pure selfishness de- prived Mme. de Caraman of the consolation of having all her children around her in her last moments; such a girl was a bad daughter and would be a bad mother. Louise had many letters from Chimay, but she never showed them to us, and as she appeared free from anxiety and continued to enjoy herself, we were completely deceived. We came home one night from a dance and found a letter from M. Moyne, which Joseph opened without the faintest MEMOIRS 147 suspicion of its contents. All at once I saw him turn pale; he hid his face in his hands as he cried out: " My mother is dead !" The shock naturally was terrible, but even while I tried to console him as tenderly as I could, I had to give orders about the carriages, for we meant to go at once to my father-in- law, who was at Beaumont. I expected to find him in de- spair, and though I hated to leave the children, I felt that our place was by his side. There was little delay in starting, but our carriage broke down as usual at the gates of Paris, so we could not leave there until the next day. It was the middle of January, and such a night I The roads were covered with ice, and so slip- pery that we could only move at a foot's pace, and did not reach Mons till the middle of the second night. We had to wait there several hours before we could get horses, and the next morning, in a driving snow-storm, we arrived at Beau- mont. This was the house — I cannot call it a chilteau — of Count Maurice de Caraman. Our hearts were full, and we had come hoping to comfort the son and father, but when I threw myself impulsively into the arms of the latter, he was quite calm and composed. They sat down and talked of the bad weather and the roads; Alphonse devoted himself to his wife, and my father-in-law was evidently happy to be with my husband. Louise already began to make eyes at her cousin, Charles de Caraman, who tried his best to make us comfortable in that impossible house ! Nothing can give any idea of it. They made up a bed for me by putting a sofa 148 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON across the foot of a mattress, with table-cloths thrown over it, and a little hole next door had to do for Clementine. They brought me water in an old flower-vase, but luckily 1 had my dressing-case with me. M. Moyne could not believe in the unworthy trick that Louise had played on us, and accused Joseph of letting his mother die away from us all. This injustice infuriated my poor husband, who was the only one who truly grieved for his mother, and was already so unhappy because he had been unable to do anything for her. A violent quarrel ensued, and that is one of the few times I remember seeing my dear one really angry. 1 tried to heal these wounds, for my tender- ness could alone calm and soothe his pain. My poor mother- in-law would have been surprised if she could have seen us at dinner less than a week after her death; a stranger coming in would certainly have thought that Joseph was the only son of the deceased, while I would have passed for the daugh- ter of her who was gone and whose empty place was only felt by me. There was a lawsuit about some illegitimate children who tried to prove themselves Talliens in order to inherit a small part of the property, which was already much divided; but I must confess that 1 never understood much about a subject that was extremely unpleasant to me, and of which I only speak as part of my recollections. It was decided that we had better return to Paris, and we might have asked our- selves why we had come at all. MEMOIRS 149 From Paris we sent them all a general invitation to M6nars, where the family could spend the first months of mourning together; my mother had already set some repairs on foot in preparation for their arrival. It was delightful to me to get back and find my dear little ones well, and my rooms all put in order and done up like new. The gray room was now red, which gave it a festive air reflected by all the faces of our guests. Poor Princess ! how little you were re- gretted ! With the exception of Joseph, whom you used to call cold, there was not one who mourned for you in his heart. The Alphonses spent their day driving or in the saddle, and the evening at the piano, so they were not at all in our way. Louise was a great deal with my mother, and as usual I kept close to my husband and children. I saw much of Amable and her big girl, of whom I was very fond. She used to come over to M6nars with her brother Charles, but she said we had too many people in the house. Louise did not get on with her sister-in-law, Rosalie, with whom she often exchanged acrid remarks; and she also was crazy to get married, but all the same she never failed to cast encouraging glances at poor Blanchon, much to his astonish- ment. There was a story going about, partly false, and partly, 1 fear, true, in which a window and a rope-ladder figured, and this made my husband more than ever anxious to marry off a sister so difficult to manage. We had a neighbor — Count de Beaucorps-Crequi, formerly of the Body-Guard — who was a great marriage-monger; he came to see my father-in-law one day on behalf of a friend of 150 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON his, whom he highly recommended as a son-in-law. He was an officer of the Guards, Comte du Hallay-Coetquen, a Bre- ton gentleman of high birth; indeed, the Coetquens were de- scended from Gaelic kings ! So he was received and even encouraged. But, oh heavens ! through what horrible com- plications did this proposed marriage bring about the tor- ment, the misery of my life, and ruin the happiness of my unfortunate, dearly loved son. I know that I ought not to anticipate my story in this way, but I cannot keep my pen from recording the overflowing bit- terness of my heart; I will try to make no further allusion to this unhappy subject, and, indeed, I feel that this history has neither interest nor action; even my recollections are not all here, and for me alone can there be a melancholy pleasure in looking back at that past which now swells my heart with regret. These tentative proposals as to M. du Hallay must have been toward the end of March, for I remember a rather amusing trick that I made so bold as to play off on the family on the 1st of April, the fun of which comes back strangely enough to me now. Poor Mme. de Pellet had taken up a very unpleasant atti- tude toward us in the famous "bastard" suit, and was liked by no one; besides, apart from her touchy, difficult temper, she persisted in talking of things that happened forty or fifty years ago, to the intense annoyance of her stepfather, who wanted to be thought as young as he was well-turned-out. He was childish enough to dislike her more on account of MEMOIRS 151 this habit of hers than for any other reason, and my husband could not bear to have his father bothered; then, Louise's head was full of her future husband, and the Alphonses never allowed anything on earth to interfere with their comfort. Knowing all this, I laid my little plan all by myself, taking no one into my confidence, like a true conspirator. Poor, dear Joseph, my first victim, came home from his ride, and had hardly set foot to the ground when I called to him in a most excited manner: "Have you seen her? You were out and 1 didn't know what to do, so I put her in No. 8; 1 could not send her away ! You ought to go and speak to her, and then tell your father ! 1 really did not dare !" "Who is it? Who has come? I don't know what you are talking about !" said the bewildered Joseph. "Did no one tell you that Mme. de Pellet came by the early diligence?" "The devil ! I must go right up to papa !" And off he went, without listening to my entreaties that he would do the civil by his sister. Without losing a moment, I sent word to Louise to dress herself, because M. du Hallay was coming to lunch, and told them also to let my mother know that there was a large box from Paris waiting for her at the post-office. As for the Al- phonses, the fatal news of Mme. de Pellet's arrival had reached them through the disturbance in the house, and though no one had actually seen the enemy, they would all have sworn that she was in her room. Lunch was served, the two bells were rung, but 1 alone ap- peared, rubbing my hands with delight. No one else came 152 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON down. I sent up for my father-in-law; he was not feeling well, and Joseph had to take care of him, Rosalie too was in- disposed and needed Alphonse, Louise was dressing, and mama had gone to the village. I was laughing when she came in, perfectly furious; she had asked for her box, but no one knew anything about it. She could not guess what was in it? "Fresh sardines, perhaps?" said I gently. " You little wretch ! Just wait till 1 catch you ! But why pick out poor, unsuspecting me?" "You are not the only one. You will see! Where is Mile. Louise?" " She will not come down," whispered one of the servants. "Go up and tell her that the fish is all cooked, and that she must come and eat it with the family." Louise flew in, ready to beat me, and in escaping from her I ran into Joseph's arms, who could make nothing out of our shouts of laughter, and, like a coward at bay, wanted to avoid his sister at any price. We sent messages to the others, but finally had to go and fetch them, so great was my father-in- law's terror of Mme. de Pellet and her memory. When we got them all together at last, they ran after me and chased me like a hare; and the famous general April Fool is still remembered m the family. This silly joke of mine was prophetic, for from that day we were indeed April Fools in the sense that we were sadly and painfully deceived. The Alphonses had been gone but a short time when M. de Beaucorps-Crequi brought M. du Hallay to see us. The MEMOIRS 153 grimmest kind of a future husband ! It was impossible to imagine that the elegant, coquettish Louise could be induced to marry this Bluebeard, who had not even a fairy palace for her ! I asked myself how she could do it, while to my great astonishment I observed that the suspicious eyes of this fierce-looking gentleman were fixed on me with a most ad- miring expression. Thinking that I could have nothing to do with this soldier of the guard, I supposed merely that he was trying to win me over to his cause, and took no further notice of the eyes, which were not quite alike, and it was not till the end of the visit that I learned, though I was not much flattered, that he had mistaken me for the future lady of his thoughts, that I had appeared to him as the realization oj his fondest dreams (his exact words), and that they had had all the trouble in the world before they could persuade him to conceal his dis- appointment and exchange my blue eyes for a finer pair of large dark ones. "The Lord save me from such a man !" I cried from the bottom of my heart, but oh ! if he only would have saved me also from everything connected with him. M. du Hallay had married the beautiful and rich heiress of his older brother; they had several children, but only one survived, a little girl four or five years old, who would come into a handsome fortune, but in the meantime the father en- joyed the daughter's large income. 1 was strongly opposed to the match, which seemed to me positively revolting, and we said all we could to prevent 154 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON Louise from consenting. We represented to her the disparity in age, and then there was M. du Hallay's reputation as a duellist, his silly, boastful habits, his absurd vanity, the com- bination in a high degree of pretentiousness and insignifi- cance. It was all useless, and we were obliged to let her agree to a marriage bad enough in the present, but ten times worse for the future. I do not know what fatality, what fears, perhaps, urged her on, but she was engaged, and then began a series of un- lucky marriages for Menars. Mile. Thierry, the pretty daughter of the manager of the Prytaneum, a most charming, attractive girl, was to be mar- ried at the same time and place; so, in the month of May, at Menars, Louise left off mourning for her mother before the usual time, and was married. The chapel looked so beautiful all dressed with flowers that it would have brought good fortune to any people who loved one another. It was I who adorned the bride for the ceremony, and she looked wonder- fully handsome and charming — a houri, a peri, an enchant- ing woman she was, but in spite of all I could do, of the orange flowers and the white satin, here was no blushing maiden; the veil was there, but it did not hide modesty and innocence. After a hastily arranged party, I carried out my part as mother conscientiously, putting the bride to bed, where I left her, quite calm, in a room filled with flowers, and how glad I was to go back to my own, and throw myself into my dear husband's arms ! Great heavens ! what a difference, MEMOIRS 155 and how I blessed the fate that had smoothed the straight path where I walked hand in hand with him. The next morning I was scarcely awake, and Joseph was still sleeping, with his head on my shoulder, when I heard some one in the room, and there was Louise, who seated her- self on the side of our bed and talked to us without the slightest embarrassment about her husband and the wed- ding-night ! A little later came a message from M. du Hallay, asking us to send for the doctor, as he felt ill, was afraid he was going to have brain fever, and would stay in bed. We went up to him at once, but his face looked so strange that I could not make out what was the matter, or what had caused the excitement under which he was laboring. 1 was not to know till later what had passed that night, what dis- closures had crept into the marriage-bed, and what a per- spective Louise had opened before him. The married pair apparently got on as well as a great many others, and at least my father-in-law was glad to be rid of his daughter, and Joseph felt relieved that poor Louise no longer bore his name. As for me, I was happy enough, though rather weak and ailing, and in spite of the fine weather and the healthy country life 1 was still very thin; the fact is, I was paying for past imprudence. Mile. Thierry was married in her turn, and though not so richly dressed, her simple ornaments were more becoming to her; the white veil seemed made for the virginal head. Such a contrast ! We gave a little party later in honor of this marriage. 156 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON I do not know exactly why, but less than a fortnight after her marriage Louise began to put on all the airs, I rnight say affectations, of a woman who is going to have a baby, includ- ing, apparently, nausea and sickness in the morning. What idea was at the bottom of such precautions ? I do not know and 1 will not attempt to guess. This ill-matched couple soon left us, but we saw them again when we went to Paris in the autumn, and they seemed to get on together, or made believe to do so. They had a small house in the Rue du Helder, and there I saw for the first time Louise's stepchild, little Annette du Hallay.* She was large for her age, and very attractive and pretty, with a rather dark skin; I was sorry for the poor orphan, and she was as caressing as a kitten to me. I could not foresee that her little claws would one day tear my very heart. Our winter passed happily at M6nars, where 1 had a little girl under my care, a daughter of the Comtesse de Moore; there was a brother at school in our Prytaneum. Their mother had married again, and being obliged to go to Porto Rico, was much distressed at leaving her daughter in a poor boarding-school at Blois, so I offered to take charge of her. Though she was dirty and lazy, a perfect little savage, 1 undertook to civilize and teach her. Any one who saw the child when she first came to us would have taken her for a beggar; she was really a pitiable sight. It was hard to believe the state to which she had been reduced * She afterward married Comte Fleury de Brigode. MEMOIRS 157 by that wretched place where she lived, and her poor mother kissed my hands with gratitude when I said I would bring her to our house. The change in Adeline was something miraculous; at the end of three months no one would have recognized in the pretty ten-year-old child, fat, clean, and well dressed, the little pauper that I had brought back from Blois. She was a nice companion for Henry, and he liked her from the first; there was a great difference of age between them, but the little creole was no more advanced than he; she was gentle, kind, and sensible enough, but ignorant and excessively lazy. M. Laurent taught both the children, and how often he lost his temper with her ! I have found a jour- nal, something like the one written by Lydie de Gersin's mother in Berquin, and looked over the eighteen volumes in which my Henry had learned to read. I also gave him writ- ing lessons, but his right hand was very weak, and it needed the patience of a mother to teach him to move it freely. How 1 did work over that dear child ! Every hour of my life was marked by my care and love for him. My brother-in-law de Brigode used to say: " Henry, you owe your life to your mother, ten times over." But if I only could have made his last as long as mine ! My little girl was a great occupation to me by now, and since her nurse Minin had gone home, and Bdnne took care of her and Henry, they both slept in my room; their little beds are at Menars, where I saw them not long ago, but where are those who first slept there? To think that 1 still live ! that I am here in spite of all I 158 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON have had to crush me ! If God saw fit to give me my two first-born children, and let me bring them up, beloved and regretted as they are, why did he not take me in their place? Why does he leave me in my sorrow alone in the world they have left? But 1 must be silent and adore the hand that smites me. Do not four dear creatures remain for me to bless and love? My father was a sort of Cerberus at Paris, so we did not go there very often, but we did get the social and political news, and the liberty of the press enabled us to appreciate the position of King Louis-Philippe. Pamphlets, insults, and caricatures fell like hail on the so-called popular crown. Epi- thets such as "chicken" and "puppet" were bestowed on the young and charming Due d'Orleans, and Lord knows what fun was made of the pretended lack of dowry for Louise- Marie — a most attractive princess, betrothed to the Prince of Saxe-Cobourg, since King of the Belgians. There was every kind of criticism of the marriage, and unheard-of sto- ries were told about it. We had now arrived at New Year's Day, 1836, and ac- cording to our habit, to bring us good luck as we said, we put on rose-color during the first hours of the New Year. At midnight we all exchanged kisses, and children over seven were allowed to sit up for this ceremony. Henry was the only one old enough, and we went and kissed my little girl in her cradle; she was three years and a half then. All the good wishes 1 received at the beginning of this year MEMOIRS 159 were realized; I remember it with a grateful heart, but though a tear may fall as I think of my first-born, that does not dim the happiness which I associate with the year that gave me a second Joseph. Signs with which I was only too familiar announced that I was once more to be a mother, and it was for me to guard against the accidents that had ruined my hopes before; I could not take enough care of a life now become so precious, for in my secret heart I knew what a worthy, charming son God was about to give me. I did not mind any sacrifice necessary for the preservation of this new pledge of our love and happiness, and would lie on my couch or in bed, too weak for exertion, but supremely happy ! My poor friend and aunt, Ismenie, had been with us now for some time. She had taken a violent dislike to Paris, on account of a great but unreasonable sorrow, and was so sad and overexcited that I thought the change would be good for her. She had a room up in the top of the house, where she lived and ate by herself — really a prey to melancholia. Nev- ertheless, she began to work and read a little, so that Amable and I had hopes of finally rousing her from this painful situ- ation. She was interested in my condition, for she was fond of me, and the memories of our young days together had never been effaced. They have lasted till our riper years, and were a sharper grief when I came to lose her also. A young physician, the pupil of Doctor Desfray, had been married the year before, and he and his wife were established 160 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON at the village of Menars. I was drawn to her by her good manners and appearance, as well as by my Uking for her husband, and at this time she too was in the family way. I would sometimes go to see her in the little cottage where they lived while their house was being built; everything looked clean and in good order. She was the kind of woman of whom the saying goes that a handy young housekeeper carries good investments in her apron pockets. I have forgotten many episodes of those times, which al- ready seem so far away, but these are fragmentary recollec- tions, and later sorrows have clouded my life and my memory. I remember with pain the death of the poor boy, a com- panion of Henry's and about his age. This boy, who at seven years old made me envious of his health, strength, and handsome face, fell wretchedly ill; he could no longer play and could only look on at the sports of his companion. He developed fever, and both doctors, 'Desfray and Blanchet, devoted themselves to him. I, myself, went to him and saw that he had every care, as if he had been my own son. But, alas, science is helpless before the decrees of fate ! The poor child whom 1 loved and whom 1 had once thought so strong that I would gladly have seen him change with Henry, was carried off by a brain fever — nothing could save him. He died, and 1 can never think of him without the deepest pain. The winter before my pregnancy in 1836, I was present at the marriage of our dear doctor's daughter; she became Mme. Lemarlier, and had a little girl, who fell very ill, just a few days before my confinement. At this time also Com- MADAME DE PELLAPRA IN 1850 MEMOIRS 161 tesse de Moore returned from America and came for her daughter. The child was so completely transformed that neither her stepfather nor her older brother recognized her; they showered compliments and thanks on me, and then took Adeline away, to poor Henry's despair, and we had the great- est difficulty in consoling him. My mother, however, hit upon a great idea, in presenting him with a well-trained donkey, which he could ride, with good Prosper leading him by the bridle. When Henry saw his former playmate some years later, he said to her truly: "Ah, Adeline, I cried my eyes out when you went away; nothing could console me till they gave me a donkey in your place." After five or six months I had no further trouble, and could get up and go about as I liked; my appetite and my good looks came back together, and I entered on a new phase of youth and beauty. I grew stouter, also; even in my best days I had never looked more brilliant, and my happiness was written on my face. One evening, when mother had gone to her room a little earlier than usual, we had hardly gone to bed when she came back in her nightgown, with bare feet, pale and frightened, declaring that she had seen a burglar in her room, who had climbed in by the open window, and that as soon as she had caught sight of him she had run away. Joseph jumped up, and we called Philippe, his valet, who only stopping to throw his wife's petticoat around him, came hurrying down in pursuit of the thief. My husband put on 162 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON his dressing-gown and shouldered his gun in true military style; all the men about the house were called to arms, and each one appeared just as he was. This motley band formed in line and marched toward my mother's apartment, I fol- lowing at a discreet distance, and though I was not much frightened, I had prudently provided myself with a sword, which was really a joke, considering how few martial deeds were performed. No robber was discovered, but the broken branches of the climbing rose under the window showed that some one had been there, and the next morning footprints were found on the gravel walk. We chaffed mama, telling her that it must have been a lover trying to get into her window; but a little while after, repeated thefts drew attention to a man at MInars who, hav- ing bought a horse of my mother a few days before, had seen her put the money in her desk, and thought perhaps he might get it back at the expense of a little exertion. We often laughed at her invariable luck in a lottery; this horse had been won by her with a single number, and we had therefore given him the name of "Six Francs," which was what the ticket cost. Things that seem very amusing when one is happy are dull enough to look back upon in times of sadness and discourage- ment. Good old General Zewort was head of the Prytaneum at that time and everything went under military discipline; our fortune went, too, but though I knew the frightful holes that MEMOIRS 163 these schools had made in our purse, I was so happy then that I have neither regret nor ill feeling, and should be only too glad to go back to those blessed days that I can never forget. The dear general was the best of men; he loved us and our children, enjoyed our society, was interested in all we did, and, like us, wished that 1 might have a son, — the only thing lacking to our happiness. Mme. Blanchet was confined some time before I was; her little Bertha was like a pretty doll, and she would carry her about while I enjoyed the air on my beautiful terrace, but without being able to walk so far as the end. I was afraid that my excellent doctor might not be able to attend me, for his granddaughter was very ill just then, and I was by this time so enormous that 1 thought it would not be easy to rid myself of the dear being I felt within me. ... I linger with pleasure on the thought of those days, like the traveller who on a long and difficult road finds an oasis where he may rest. How sweet it is to look back to that time ! My God, how blessed I was ! I have indeed known more brilliant moments — satisfactions of vanity, delights of love, maternal joys — but nothing to compare with those days when young, beauti- ful, beloved, I was about to complete this perfect life by giv- ing birth to my darling second Joseph ! The time came at last ! It was a beautiful autumn. I have never known more perfect weather at Menars — I might say, in our paradise — and I had been waiting for some time. 164 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON Doctor Desfray, who was now at ease about his grandchild, slept in the house, and came every morning to see how I did. "Not for a little while, just a day or two more," I would say. I had grown accustomed to my elephantine condition, when on the evening of October 8th, 1836, 1 felt the uneasi- ness and preliminary pains of my confinement. There was no doubt about it, and after some hours, late in the evening, I myself opened the door of the doctor's room and called to him: "Get your sleep over as quickly as you can; it is not going to last long !" I had to wake my mother up, all upset at what was before her, and she lost her head so completely that she carried lit- tle Henry out of my room upside down ! It makes me laugh now when 1 think of the poor child's face, half-asleep as he was, when he was changed from one bed to another in this singular manner. At last the moment came when in the midst of indescrib- able agony I was delivered of my child; 1 felt relief from tor- ture, but heard nothing. "Why doesn't he cry?" 1 asked, and the doctor, who was busily working over the enormous baby, did'not answer, except by muttering quietly to him- self: "That's all right; just what he wants !" Immediately after 1 heard that first cry, always so pro- foundly moving, which filled all our hearts with joy. 1 fell back on my pillows. . . . The child was alive; that was all 1 asked, no matter what it was. " It's a boy !" cried my mother, throwing her arms round MEMOIRS 165 Joseph. They all came around me, but my strength was ex- hausted. " I have suflFered too much," I gasped. " I haven't energy enough left to be glad." However, the rest of them rejoiced for me. The beautiful morning of this 9th day of October had scarcely dawned when firecrackers and torpedoes began to be heard, every one celebrating the joyful event in his own particular way, and in the evening the whole village was illuminated. The little Jo, who was so wrapped up in woolly coverings that we called him "the lamb," was asleep in his cradle, and so fat and pretty! — the only new-born child 1 ever saw who de- served to be called so. Fresh, plump, and rosy, he lay there, fairly shining with prosperity ... so that Ismenie, who came down to look at him, with a rose in her hand, could not get over it. Henry had heard of the great event as soon as he woke up, and he roused his sister at once to tell her the news. She, being rather cross, because she had not quite had her sleep out, said she did not believe him, that there was no little brother, and called him a liar ! Whereupon dis- putes and confusion ensued at the sight of the baby in the cradle. One nocturnal episode was very amusing. Our good old general slept in No. 4 at the chateau, and near by his ser- vant, an ex-soldier from the African army, named Bagaut, who entered our service later. My mother had promised that whenever 1 was confined, at any hour of the day or night, she would let the general know; so about five in the 166 A DAUGHTER OF NAPOLEON morning, true to her word, she knocked at his door and called out: "General, it's a boy !" "Splendid !" cried the general. "Thank you so much; 1 will get up right away; never was so glad of anything in my life !" Bagaut, who was not far off, woke up with a start, and catching the general's words im- perfectly, thought the house was on fire, and rushed down to the courtyard in his nightshirt to help put it out ! — ^where he was laughed at and made to fire salutes in honor of the joyful event. How happy we all were together ! My beloved husband, glad of this longed-for son; mama, who was perfectly en- chanted; Henry, nine years old now, and able to enter into our joy; and darling Emilie, who was called Minette, because of her little snub nose, that made her look like a kitten. I can see her face plainly before me now, and Henry, too, in his English suit, holding his sister's hand. She was very tall for her age of four years and a half, her brown curls fell over her shoulders, and she wore a little pale-green merino dress, and a black-silk apron trimmed with lace. . . . Heav- ens ! how many are gone: Ismenie, both the doctors, Blan- chet and Desfray, my two dear children ! Then, also, the old general, who loved us so — ^Joseph was named after him — and my father and father-in-law — none, none are left ! Happy, indeed, are those who die first, and do not know what bitterness it is to survive one's children !