Abbildungen der Seite


Love for Napoleon.

He kept his word. Having saluted me, he proceeded towards the Salle des gardes of Henry II. I remained rivetted to the spot, as if by enchantment.

On the departure of the Emperor, all my self-possession seemed to have forsaken me; and, but for an effort of physical strength, I should have been overcome by the excess of my joy.

The present generation, who see thrones filled merely by men of the ordinary stamp, are perhaps unable to comprehend such a state of feeling. Providence has not granted to them the favour which must ever be our pride and glory; namely, to have been face to face with Napoleon, to have heard his voice vibrated through our ears and hearts, and to have gazed on his placid and majestic countenance. To us, Napoleon was not a mere King or Emperor; he was a being of a higher order; one of those sublime creations, that perhaps help to exalt our idea of the Creator. Napoleon was our father, our master, and, in some degree, our idol. We young men cherished for him the affection and duty of sons. There existed between him and ourselves a positive sympathy which made us regard as a sacred and family duty, that which the present generation of young Frenchmen would pronounce to be servility and base vassalage. It is certain that we believed the Emperor's government to be the best of republics; and yet what a downright despotism it was!

It was sometime before I could restore my feelings to their ordinary level, and regulate my mind so as to render myself superior to my good fortune; for me it was a singularly good fortune to have been honoured by the notice of the Emperor, and to have acquired his special protection. I felt that thenceforward every object would appear to me under a new aspect, that I should no longer stand alone in the world, or require those supports which, like fragile reeds, snap when implicitly trusted to. I should now no longer need the protection of strangers

that protection which was such a burthen to me.

No one who saw me enter the Museum that day, would have recognized me when I came out. My walks

my looks .... all must have been changed. I felt as though I had been electrified by contact with the great man. I looked forward to the future with a pride and confidence which


[blocks in formation]

henceforth nothing could shake. Napoleon was our religion:our faith in him was like our faith in Providence. With his aid, we felt that nothing could fail us, and we set at defiance all hostile influence. Our sovereign was not a mere signing machine; and who in all the world could have morally countersigned Napoleon?

In the midst of my joy, I did not forget the injunction of profound silence which I had received from the Emperor. I should have considered myself criminal had I revealed a syllable to any person whatever, and you, Monseigneur, must pardon me for the reserve I maintained even to you.

Prince Cambacérès. I commend you for it. .... Ah! young enthusiast! you have drawn an accurate picture of the French youth at that time.

Réal.-And now it is affirmed that they were hostile to the Emperor.

Nothing can be more false than that assertion! exclaimed I. The conscription, that frightful tyranny, as it has been termed, was painfully felt by parents; but we. we gloried in our administrative embroidery, our magisterial fur, and our military epaulets! Napoleon justly understood and estimated the youth of France; he did not basely flatter us, but he opened to us the path of glory, in whicũ he himself triumphantly led the way.



Cambacérès and Carnot at the Palais Royal on the 10th of August,

1792—David the Painter–His disavowal of a phrase often attributed to him- Pretended list of the condemnedAlarm of the Jacobins— Théroigne de Méricourt-Unpublished details relating to the 10th of August-Count Ræderer's visit to the Tuileries-A mysterious message-A Conversation with Marie-AntoinetteLouis XVI.-Curious disclosures-Ræderer's account of the events of the 10th of August-Cambacérès relates the circumstances which preceded the 18th Fructidor-Consultation between Cambacérès, Talleyrand, Barras, Madame de Stael and Benjamin Constant-Dialogue between Cambacérès and Barras–An interview with Barthélemy-The Prince de C....-Anecdotes—The Royalists' plot discovered-Carnot's account of his escape-Details not published in his Memoirs-Interview between Napoleon and David the Painter–The picture of the coronation-Discussion between Napoleon and Count Fabre de l'Aude respecting the restoration of titles and armorial bearings—The cock and the eagle-Napoleon suggests the re-establishment of MonarchyCurious details.

The first time I dined with Prince Cambacérès, after the events of 1814, was at his country seat, and the party consisted of six guests, myself included. There were present Count Fabre de l'Aude, Carnot, Baron Dubois-Dubay, Baron Denon, and Baron Louis David, (the painter.) During dinner, the conversation was general, but, when we retired to the drawing-room, the party separated into several little groups. The Prince chatted with Carnot, and related to him how I had made his acquaintance. Cambacérès then said to the ex-director:

David the Painter.


[ocr errors]

“You and I did not see each other for a very long interval after the day when we met for the first time."

Carnot inquired whether they did not first meet at a sitting of the Committee of public safety.

“No,” replied the Prince, “our acquaintance is of older date. I first saw you on the 10th of August, 1792. We supped that evening at the Palais-Royal.”

I know not why Carnot's memory should have been at fault on such a point; but he never wished it to be understood that he had been on terms of familiarity with the Duke of Orleans.

“At all events,” resumed the Prince, apparently a little piqued, “our acquaintance was formed in very stormy times."

“Yes, it certainly was. First, during the trial of Capet, (here I looked at the ex-archchancellor, who made a sort of grimace, which Carnot did not perceive, or did not choose to notice,) then, on the 10th May, or the 1st Prairial, on the 9th Thermidor, and on the 18th Fructidor. After the latter period, I lost sight of

you." “It was lucky for you

that you got out of the way.” “Did you find yourself lucky in staying behind"

? “I proved my innocence. Those were sad times."

Count Ræderer was announced, and his entrance interrupted the colloquy. The salutations and introductions being ended, the Prince said, addressing himself to Count Roederer:-

“I was just now relating to M. Carnot some circumstances connected with the 18th Fructidor, with which he is unacquainted; but perhaps, Count, it would be more interesting if you would relate what took place on the 10th of August, which possibly we may all have forgotten.'

Roederer, at first, did not seem much inclined to accede to this suggestion; but, being acquainted with us all, he at Jength consented, and, pointing to David, he said: “There is one who can set me right, if my memory should fail

I assure you, replied the painter, that my memory is none of the best: besides, the fine arts are now the only subject to which I direct my attention."



The Hemlock Juice.


We all smiled at his scrupulous prudence, and Carnot, seating himself, turned towards David, and said:

Robespierre, I will drink the hemlock juice with you.

“Carnot,” said David, with some warmth, "you are repeating a calumny. My enemies thought proper to attribute that phrase to me, but I never uttered it. It is vexatious to think of the folly and wickedness that have been attributed to me. Ah! gentlemen, we were all more or less mad in 1798, and 1799."

Every one seemed to acknowledge the truth of this remark. David again positively denied the apostrophe to Robespierre. I may likewise observe that, on several other occasions, in my presence, he has made the same disavowal. When the warmth of feeling, occasioned by this little incident, had somewhat subsided, Roederer thus continued:

“For the space of a year, it had been a settled point that Royalty would henceforth be opposed to our interests. One of two things was inevitable; either Royalty must be overthrown, or, we must take to flight; for a re-action was near at hand. There were a great number of us who had reason to fear the vengeance of the Court. I recollect that, sometime between the 15th and the 20th of July, 1792, I was spending an evening at Mousseaux, when a list was produced, written, it was alleged, by the ex-minister of marine, Bertrand-Molleville, with notes in the hand of the Queen. This list contained three hundred names, classed in five divisions. To these divisions the following punishments were allotted: 1st execution, and the galleys, 3d imprisonment for life, 4th exile for life, 5th banishment, or imprisonment, for a certain period; and to all was affixed the additional punishment of total confiscation of property. The Dukes of Orleans, de Biron d’Aiguillon, and sixty members of the Constituent Assembly, were in the first class, together with Robespierre, Pétion, Lameth, and Marat. In the second division, which was equally well filled, I had the honour to be set down, with a long list of good company. The Duke de Liancourt was at the head of the third Division, and Monsieur, the King's brother, at the head of the fourth. This horrible document bore every appearance of being genuine. Pétion declared he had re



« ZurückWeiter »