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Proposition Rejected.

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herself possessed in his eyes. He extolled its natural and graceful style, and added in a tone of comical enthusiasm, at which I could not forbear smiling

“ 'It is quite as good as the over-praised writing of Madame de Staël. Indeed, her talent will not bear comparison with that of Madame N

“Perhaps not, said I, yet I fear it would be useless to present this letter to the Emperor. I think it is probable he would not share your romantic admiration of our female diplomatist.

* An instinct of common sense inclined the Minister of Police to my opinion. We then agreed to say nothing to the Emperor on the subject, until Madame N—'s return. The Duke presented her with a hundred thousand francs out of the funds arising from the sale of gaming-house licenses, as a token of acknowledgment for

her unsuccessful mission. She returned to Paris quite in good spirits. We then broached the subject to the Emperor. By way of gilding the pill, we informed him that Cyprus and Candia had been positively rejected at Hartwell; but that if the negotiations were again renewed with the offer of the whole of Upper Italy, Illyria, Dalmatia, the Ionian Islands, Tuscany, and Lucca, it might be accepted, with the addition of two thousand millions of francs, payable in twenty years.

"On hearing this, Napoleon started with astonishment, and exclaimed:

“Are they mad? Why do they not ask for France? And I suppose

Genoa and Piedmont are to be included in the bargain? “Yes, Sire.

Well, then, we will remain as we are. We will not disturb the statu-quo. I shall be the gainer. All Italy! .... Two thousand millions of francs!. To have them touching my frontiers! . ... Why, we should hear news of them every day.'

“Sire,' said Savary, 'you forget the resource of conquest.'

""Oh! if they are to be driven away from the place I assign to them, it would be better to spare the

of a war, and the outlay of two or three millions which I

expense

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A Well-known Remark.

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should have to make before commencing it, and which would serve only to give me a few new difficulties to smoothe. Besides, it is necessary that the compact should be made in good faith, lest the question should hereafter become a matter of dispute. My dear Prince, you are not fortunate in your negotiations. Whom did you entrust with this affair?'

“A lady,” replied I, not without some degree of embarrassment. 6 A lady. and

pray

who selected her?' “1, Siret

" I compliment you. This was a trait of address on your part. You did well to send them a female ambassador. It was returning upon them, though somewhat late, the ridiculous mission which they addressed to me through the medium of the Duchess de Guise. Diplomatists of that sort are suited to the taste of the Bourbons.'

“But, Sire, said I, Poland still remembers the brilliant political embassy of Madame de Guebriant."

“ True!''But the exception proves the rule. And what says your ambassadress of the people at Hartwell?'

“Savary now thought it was his turn to speak. He informed the Emperor that Madame N— had described the Pretender as being an affable old gentleman in his dotage; that his brother was completely forgotten, being, in consequence of his debts, unable to stir out of a royal palace in Edinburgh, which had been allotted to him as his place of residence; that the sons of the Count d'Artois and the Duke de Bourbon were not objects of any personal consideration. The only person of whom he said Madame de N—had given a favourable report, was the Duchess d'Angoulême. It was in reply to this string of falsehoods, that the Emperor made the remark, which has since been often repeated, and which was suggested solely by the misrepresentations of the Minister of the Police. The Emperor, hearing so poor an account of the Princes of the house of Bourbon, and so much praise bestowed on Madame Royale, exclaimed:

« «That woman is the only man in the family!! ”

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CHAPTER VI.

Louis Sebastien Mercier-Details hitherto unpublished, relating to

the assassination of Marat-Trial and execution of Charlotte Corday—The source of her fanaticism explained - Napoleon's belief in fatality-His courage and disregard of personal danger-The Imperial Chamberlains Example of courtly meanness_--The gilded weathercock-An ungrateful chamberlain on the 20th of March-An anecdote for the edification of honest men-Wise maxims of Cambacérès-Adventures of a courtier from 1787 to 1830—Amusing letter from a provincial lady to a friend in ParisMissive from an ambitious poet-Literary dicussion-The classic school and the romantic school-Cause of literary failures and disappointments--Prevalence of suicide--Literary opinions of Cambacérès-Rétif de la Bretonne-Chenier and his Epistle to Voltaire--Napoleon's displeasure, and Chenier's punishment.

Among the distinguished men whose friendship I have had the good fortune to enjoy, and whose memory is indelibly engraven in my heart, I place, in the foremost rank, Louis Sebastien Mercier. He was a man of eminent talent;-eccentric no doubt; I may say, even absurd in his endeavours to depreciate Homer, Newton, Boileau and Racine; but his animated pictures of Paris are radiant with wit and fancy. His writings are characterized by a philosophic, humane and tolerant spirit. His detractors have said that he merely noted down on the posts the reflections which occurred to his mind in the streets. But this observation is equally satirical and unjust. He was certainly far superior to his antagonists Laharpe, Marmon

190

Assassination of Marat.

My

tel and Dorat. Mercier was a man of genius; they were mere arrangers of words.

I have already stated that he was a member of the National Convention, and that he was one of those who did not vote for the King's death. I have in my possession some of his autograph manuscripts, containing some unpublished particulars relating to the assassination of Marat by Charlotte Corday. I subjoin them, doubting not that the reader will peruse them with interest.

“On the 15th of July, 1793, I was dining at a restaurateur's in the Rue Saint-Honoré, which I was in the habit of frequenting on account of its proximity to my place of residence. attention was suddenly roused by an extraordinary noise in the street, and I saw a crowd of people rushing towards the house of a man named Duplay, where the Robespierres lodged. At that time, no disturbance in

. the streets could be regarded as a matter of indifference, and I hurried to the door. Addressing myself to a man, in the garb of a mechanic, I inquired what was the matter? He replied in breathless hurry and excitement: 66 Marat is dead. The aristocrats have murdered him

They have got young Capet out of the Temple, and are bearing him in triumph along the Boulevards. They mean to take him to the Tuileries.'

“All this appeared to me too absurd to deserve a moment's credit. I concluded that the riot was caused by some project for exciting the sections, and to get up another 31st of May. I, therefore, proposed going to the Hall in which we held the sittings of the Convention, where I knew I should obtain accurate information. As I passed along the streets, the report of the death of Marat gathered confirmation; but I heard nothing more about the liberation of the unfortunate Louis XVII. I heard, likewise, that the assassination had been committed by a female; but as to who or what she was I could learn nothing.

“The first deputy I met was Augustin Robespierre. Hi countenance sufficiently denoted the agitation of his mind. He repeated to me all that he had heard, and the intelligence was very soon communicated to us officially. I have collected together all the particulars of this extraordinary

Charlotte Corday,

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event. It was a case in which virtue was driven to the perpetration of crime, by beholding a great criminal screened from the punishment of human laws.

“Marie-Anne-Charlotte de Corday d’Armans was born at Saint-Saturnin, in the province of Normandy on the 23rd of January, 1768. She was of noble origin, well educated, beautiful, amiable, and endowed with extraordinary energy of mind. She entered into the political ex. citement of the time; but, instead of professing royalist opinions, like the rest of her family, she was an approver of the downfal of the old régime, and the establishment of republican power. Still she was too virtuous to descend to the extreme of Jacobinism. Marat and his incendiary writings had excited her indignation; and she conceived the project of ridding France of one whom she regarded as a monster in human form. Calumny has alleged that a liaison of a tender kind existed between her and Barbaroux, the Apollo of the Revolution; but this is untrue. Charlotte Corday was a woman of honour. It was patriotism only that armed her with the dagger of the assassin.

“The deputies, who had been proscribed after the 31st of May, took refuge in Calvados, where Charlotte Corday resided. She became acquainted with them, and their complaints afforded increased excitement to her ardent imagination. Being attached to their cause, she was naturally indignant at the treatment they had endured, and, as she could not help them to redress their injuries, she resolved at last to revenge them on one of their implacable enemies. Without communicating her design to any one, she quitted Normandy and came to Paris.

“Fauchet, one of our party, who was acquainted with her, procured her admittance to one of the tribunes of the Convention. This act of courtesy, which was rendered as a matter of course to any one by whom it was solicited, cost poor

Fauchet his life. Charlotte Corday listened attentively to our speeches, and expressed her surprise at the fury and violence manifested by some of the members of the Convention. She did not see Marat, who was confined at home by illness. He was the victim of a dreadful and incurable disorder, to which the most active medical remedies could afford only temporary relief.

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