Tuesday, August 14, 2012






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. 


Hy Winterhaltcr 






( ')^ITH AN l^if r'oDUCTION BY 


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COPKEIGHT, 1922, BY / 


Printed in the United States of America 

Published April, 1923 



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 


Princess de Chimay, daughter of Madame de Pellapra Frontispiece 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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- 


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 


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. 





" 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. 


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 

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 


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 

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 


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 


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. 


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 


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 

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 


the world, to whom she gave her own Christian name of 

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. 


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 


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 ! 


"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 


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 


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. 


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. 


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- 

When she speaks of her first interview with poor Th6r6zia, 
Emilie's tone takes on instinctively the paternal severity; 


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- 


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 

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. 


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 


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. 


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- 

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 


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 

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 


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 

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 

"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. 



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. 


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 


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. 







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. 


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. 


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; 


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 

The pangs which I endured on my way there amounted to 


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 


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 


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 

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 

I went in an open carriage with my mother to meet the 
Due de Berry on his arrival at Caen. 


"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 

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 


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- 

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 


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 
Thus I saw and shall always remember Napoleon ! 


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. 


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 

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 


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 


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 


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- 

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-* 


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 


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. 


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 


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 

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 


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- 


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 

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- 




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- 


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. 


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- 


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 

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; 


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 


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 


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 

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. 


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 

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- 

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 


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- 


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 

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 ! 


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 


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 


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 


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; 



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- 


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 

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- 


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- 


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 


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 


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 

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 


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, 


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 

My poor mother, seeing that calm had suddenly succeeded 


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 


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- 

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 


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 


the annoyances which imprudent hosts draw down on them- 

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 


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 

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 


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. 


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 


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 

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. 

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. 


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- 


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. 


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. 


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 

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 

Toward the end of July M. de Brigode's health began to 


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 


answered my questions at random, that, though I did not 
fully comprehend his state, I was terribly shocked and over- 

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 


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 

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 


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 


he went to Bourbonne; I went there alone to take posses- 

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 


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- 


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 


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 

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 


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 


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 

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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 

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- 


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 


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 


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. 


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 


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 


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 

A nervous fever brought on a complete breakdown and I 
was seriously ill, suffering torments, mentally and physi- 

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 


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 

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 


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 

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 


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 


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 


never saw him again, for he died shortly after his return from 

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 

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. 


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. 

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 


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,!! 


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 


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 

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 


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. 


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 


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. 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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- 

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 


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, 


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 

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 


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 ! 


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 

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- 

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- 


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- 


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. 


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 


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 


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 


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 

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 


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- 

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 


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. 


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 

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 


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 

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 


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. 


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. 


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 

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 


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 


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 

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. 


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 

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 


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. 


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 


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 


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 

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 


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 

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. 


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 \ 






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 

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 


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 


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 


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. 


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 


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 

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 


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 


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 


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 


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 

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, 


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 


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. 


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 


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 


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 


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- 



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 

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 


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- 

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 


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 

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 

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. 


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 


Joseph. They all came around me, but my strength was ex- 

" 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 

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 


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 ! 

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