[ocr errors]

it good to have Macdonald watched, and There were other marshals besides he appears to have suspected at one time Macdonald who had reasons to complain that the hero of Otricoli contemplated of Napoleon ; Victor's hatred of him was taking service in the English army. That very lively, and arose out of a practical overtures were made to Macdonald from joke. Victor was the vainest of men; he Pitt is very probable, * but the truth of had entered Louis XVI.'s service at fifthe matter can never be known, because teen as a drummer, but when be became there is no government that conducts ne- an officer under the republic he was weak gotiations of this sort with such perfect enough to be ashamed of his humble oriprudence and secrecy as the British gin and assumed his Christian name of besides which, we have had no revolution Victor as a surname instead of his patrohere to set all our public men by the ears nymic of Perrin. He might have pleaded, finging State archives at one another in to be sure, that Victor was a name of party recrimination. Macdonald would happy augury to a soldier, but he does have been more justified in returning to not appear to have behaved well towards serve in the land of his fathers than Mo. bis Perrin connections. He was a little reau was in taking service under Russia; man with a waist like a pumpkin, and a but it was contrary to his nature ever to round, rosy, jolly face, which had caused dream of such a thing. He knew that him to be nicknamed Beau Soleil. А his gardener was a spy, but kept this temperate fondness for red wine added knowledge to himself, and it was not till occasionally to the lustre of his complexe years afterwards, when he was grand ion. He was not a general of the first chancellor of the Legion of Honor under order, but brave and faithful in carrying the Bourbons, that the man's name com- out his master's plans; he had an honoring before him to be gazetted as member able share in the victory of Friedland, of the order“ for an act of civic courage,” and after this battle was promoted to the be sent for him and put some questions marshalate and to a dukedom. Now Vic. to him. The man stammered some apol. tor would have liked to be made Duke of ogies for his former profession. "Nay," Marengo;* but Napoleon's sister Pauline said Macdonald kindly, "you did me good suggested that his services in the two service if you sent in truthful reports; | Italian wars could be commemorated as but I should like to know what you are well by the title of Belluno - pronounced doing now before I countersign your ap. in French, Bellune. It was not until pointment as a knight; after all, my friend, after Napoleon had innocently acceded to your business is not a chivalrous one.'

this suggestion that he learnt bis faceIn the upshot the ex-spy received a tious sister had in choosing the title of lump of money instead of the cross of Bellune (Belle Lune) played upon the so: honor - an arrangement which probably briquet of Beau Soleil

. He was at first suited him quite as well. Doubtless his highly displeased at this, but Victor him. reports about his old master had been self took the joke so very badly that the truthful enough, for Macdonald was given emperor ended by joining in the laughter, a command at the battle of Wagram in and said that if the marshal did not like 1809, and for his share of this victory got the title that had been given him, he his bâton and the dukedom of Tarento. should have no other. Wounds in van. Napoleon, however, never forgave him ity seldom heal, and Victor, as soon as froin his heart, and could not forbear tri. he could safely exhibit his resentment, umphing over him with an ill.natured allu: showed himself one of Napoleon's bitsion to l'ami Morenu, after the latter bad terest enemies. During the hundred been killed in Alexander I.'s service. days he accompanied Louis XVIII. to Macdonald on his side selt absolved from Ghent, and he figured in full uniform at all allegiance to Napoleon alter the abdi- the Te Deum celebrated in the cathedral cation at Fontainebleau, and he was not of Saint Bavon in honor of Waterloo. one of those who joined the emperor during the hundred days, although he had Napoleon regarded Marengo and Austerlitz as two a personal interview with the emperor at the titles of them upon any of his soldiers, but he gave

victories specially his own, and he would never conier Lyons.

the name De Marengo to an officer named Capponi, who had fought heroically in that battle. Addressing

the officer, who lay wounded on the field, Bonaparte * Mr. Fox, speaking on the disabilities of Roman asked him his name; and having heard it, exclaimed: Catholics, made use of this expression : “ They have Capponi (capon) is no name for a bird of your sort, deprived us of men like General Macdonald, many of you shall be called Marengo.” This officer was inwhom might return and place their talents at the king's valided when he had reached the grade of colonel; service, if the stigma were removed from their reli- but he has living descendants who bear the name that gion."

was given him on the battle-field.

Marshal Jourdan's dislike of Napoleon can liberty cannot be remembered with was an old feeling which dated from the much sympathy, when it is borne in mind days of the republic. Jourdan was born that he subsequently became an impein 1762, and went out to America when rial marshal, a senator and count, then a quite a boy to serve under Lafayette. He peer of France under the restoration, and came back full of republican notions, and finally governor of the Invalides under was elected in 1791 to the colonelship of Louis Philippe. Jourdan served all gova battalion of volunteers. He was an ernments without giving a heartfelt loyo honest, prosy, pushing man, with a large alty to any; he was one of those Frenchnose, which he stroked in conversation men — and they are too common

who fly till it glowed, for he was a long-winded principles inflated like big balloons when talker. His soldiers bore him more re. there is anything to be gained by the disspect than affection, for though he was play, but who cannot find enough of the lenient in his punishments, he would balloon silk to make a party cockade of, scold delinquents in long, pompous peri- when that cockade becomes compromis. ods till there was no spirit left in them. ing. He was

one of those Frenchmen who A man like him in versatility, but not always prefaced their remarks by saying: in general character, was Augereau, Duc “Shall I tell you what I did, or am going de Castiglione. Augereau was of all the to do?”. Walter Scott meeting such a marshals the one in whom there is least one, used to relate how he had got from to admire; yet he was for a time the most him a valuable recipe for weakening coffee popular among the marshals, having been that was too strong: Voulez-vous que born in Paris and possessing the devil. je vous dise ce que je fais quand non impudence of Parisians. He café est trop fort ? Eh bien ! j'y was the son of a mason and of a street mets un peu d'eau." Official people hated fruit-vendor, and he began life as appren. Jourdan because he had always reforms to tice to his father's trade; but he soon left propose — excellent, well-considered re- it to become a footman in the Marquis de forms, of which he carried all the details Bassompierre's household. Losing his carefully drafted on rolls of paper which situation for excess of gallantry towards bulged out of the tails of his coat. His his mistress's maid, he took service as a fingers were generally smeared with ink, waiter at the Café de Valois, one of the which inade Murat say that he fought all gambling.houses of the Palais Royal; but his battles on paper, which was true in a here again he made too free with some manner, for he was a first-rate military damsel connected with the establishment, administrator, and never went into action and was literally kicked out. On the day without having thought of all the minutiæ when this misadventure befell him he en. of war.

There is a story of his going the listed, and soon proved a capital soldier; round of the cantinières' carts before the but his character was only good in the battle of Fleurus, and vexing the souls of military sense. Drinker, gamester, swag. those ladies by his inquisition into their gerer, swearer, puellis idoneus, a dark. barrels and bottles. One of them thought eyed jackanapes of a fellow, who cocked to mollify him by uncorking a bottle of his hat and twirled his moustache, he Chambertin in his honor; but he waved seemed to have nothing about him, except the insidious beverage away, and improved bravery, to mark him out for future disthe occasion by delivering an interminable tinction. He had that regard for truth harangue against luxury, saying that a which is shown by keeping at a respecful general ought to drink no better wine distance from it; and no Gascon ever than his soldiers. When he had finished, blew his own trumpet with such cool and a tall drum-major raised a laugh by ex. noisy persistency. He was thirty-two claiming: “Who is to drink the good when the Revolution broke out, and was wine then? Hand me the bottle.” Jour- then wearing a sergeant's chevrons; in dan was elected to the Council of Five the following year he got a commission; in Hundred under the Directorate, and was 1793 he was a colonel; in 1795 a general. the originator of the law which regulated His rapid promotion was not won by valor the conscription, and which with occa- only, but by sending to the War Office sional modifications remained in force for bombastic despatches in which he magnimore than seventy years. He naturally fied every achievement of his twenty-fold, disapproved of Bonaparte's coup d'état and related it with a rigmarole of patriat the 18th Brumaire, which swept him otic sentiments and compliments to the from his seat in the Assembly; but his Convention. There is a story of General garrulous protests on behalf of republi- Wolfe dining with Pitt before he set out

[ocr errors]


for Canada. After dinner, being excited night to the house of his favorite Jew by wine, he drew his sword and stamped receiver in the Rue Quincampois. The about the room, spouting in such Homeric Jew was out, but his wife sat at the re style that Pitt was dismayed, and began ceipt of custom, and she at once proto doubt whether he was fit to hold announced that the jewels on the robe were important command. Augereau's talk and sham: “Ah! ces brigands de prêtres !". manner when he had to deal with civil exclaimed the disgusted general. “I will commissioners, deputies, and such people, allow you ten louis for the lace," continwere even more exuberant than those of ued the Jewess, and a bargain was conHomer's heroes; but during the Revolu. cluded on those terms; but some months tionary period Frenchmeu's minds were afterwards Augereau ascertained beyond attuned to brag, and for a long time doubt that the jewels had been genuine, Augereau's valuation of himself was ac. and he went off in fury to make the Jewcepted without discount. Madame Tal-ess disgorge; she did nothing of the sort, lien used to say that with the exception but looking hard at him said, We'll of Murat none of the new generals could have the jewels appraised in a court of march into a drawing-room with such an justice, if you like.' The hero slunk out air of victorious self-possession as Auge in that state of mind defined by La

At one time he wore his hair Fontaine: “Honteux comme un renard dressed in the Hussar fashion, in plaited qu'une poule aurait pris." tails weighted with cadenettes of lead, It was politic of Napoleon to make of which fell over his forehead and the sides Augereau a marshal-duke, for apart from of his face, and must have made him look the man's intrepidity which was unqueslike a savage. Writing a vile hand, and tionable (though he was a poor general), without any knowledge of spelling, he the honors conferred upon him were a used to get his despatches indited for him compliment to the whole class of Parisian by educated subalterns; but in conversa- ouvriers. Augereau's mother, the costertion, being a Parisian, he never perpe. woman, lived to see him in all his glory, trated such deplorable cuirs and solecisms and he was good to her, for once, at a as his friend Masséna, whose semi-Italian state pageant, when he was wearing the jargon came upon Parisian ears like a plumed hat of a senator, and the purple nutmeg-grater.

velvet mantle with its semis of golden There was one great point of resem. bees, he gave her his arm in public. This blance between Augereau and Masséna: incident delighted all the market women they were both inveterate looters. In of Paris, and helped to make Napoleon's 1798 when Masséna was sent to Rome court popular; but in general respects to establish a republic, his own soldiers Augereau proved an unprofitable, ungratewere disgusted by the shameless way in ful servant. He was one of the first which he plundered palaces and churches, marshals to grumble against his master's and he actually had to resign his com repeated campaigns, and he deserted bim mand owing to their murmurs. Augereau in 1814 under circumstances which looked was a more wily spoiler, for he gave his suspicious. Napoleon accused him of men a good share of what he took, and having let himself be purposely beaten kept another share for Parisian museums, by the Allies. After the escape from Elbut he always reserved enough for him. ba, Augereau first pronounced himself self to make his soldiering a very profita. vehemently against the “usurper;" then ble business. To his eternal disgrace, he proffered him his services, which were robbed the châteaux of Breton noblemen contemptuously spurned. The Duc de during his campaign in the Vendée, and Castiglione's career ended then, for he he stripped some village churches of rel. retired to his estate at Houssaye, and ics which were their pride; but he was died a year afterwards, little regretted by so ignorant of the value of things which anybody. he took, that he sold pictures, jewelry, Masséna, who had been born the year and silver plate to Jews for anything that after Augereau, died the year after him was offered him in ready money: Upon in 1817. He too had enlisted very young, one occasion he was finely caught. Re- but finding he could get no promotion turning from Spain, he brought with him had asked his friends to buy his discharge, a robe, all encrusted with diamonds and and during the five years that preceded rubies, which had been stripped from a the Revolution, be served as potman in statue of the Blessed Virgin in a Biscayan his father's tavern at Leven. Re-enlist. church. Rolling up this precious garing in 1789 he became a general in less ment under his cloak, he went with it by than four years. After Rivoli, Bonaparte

[ocr errors]


dubbed him “the darling of victory:"| seemed to be clamped round it. For more but it was a curious feature in Masséna than half an hour they would not relax, that his talents only came out on the bat. and all this time, while the mud was being ilefield. Usually be was a dull dog with washed out of his eyes, his teeth were set no faculty for expressing his ideas, and as in lock-jaw. These symptoms of phys. he wore a morose look. Napoleon said ical distress, like Nelson's tendency to that “the noise of cannon cleared his sea-sickness, were never quite overcome, mind,” endowing him with penetration but in time Brune was able to conceal the and gaiety at the same time. The din of outward signs of them. He also learned war had just the contrary effect upon to master a quick temper which in his Brune, who, but for his tragic death, would youth made him boil up like soupe au lait have reinained the most obscure of the on the slightest provocation. Whilst he marshals, though he is conspicuous from was governor of the Hans Towns (1807), being almost the only one of the twenty. the burgomaster of Hamburg once had six who had no title of nobility. Brune audience of him to explain why certain was a notable example of what strong orders which he -- the marshal – had will-power can do to conquer innate ner issued were not being obeyed. The Ger.

He was the son of a barrister, man plodded on heavily in his explana. and having imbibed the hottest Revolution, and every now and then Brune, witli. tionary principles, vapored them off by out saying a word, poured himself out turning journalist. He went to Paris, half a tumbler of water and drank it. At and was introduced to Danton, for whom last the burgomaster, pausing, stretched he conceived an enthusiastic admiration. out his hand to the decanter and said, He became the demagogue's disciple, let. “Will you allow me?”

“ Hold !” exter-writer, and boon companion, and it is claimed Brune, " we had better ring for a pretty certain that he would eventually fresh supply. I always pour down water have kept him company on the guillotine, when I feel a fire rising, which might ex. had it not been for a lucky sneer from a plode!” Brune enjoyed the emperor's woman's lips which drove him into the esteem, but was no favorite of his; and he army: Brune had written a pamphlet on never got a dukedom because Napoleon, military operations and it was being talked remembering the extreme Terrorist opinof at Danion's table, when Mlle. Gerfault, ions which he had once professed, was

actress of the Palais Royal, better resolved that he should make application known as “ Eglé," said mockingly: “ Vous to be ennobled before such an honor were seres général quand on se battra avec des conferred upon him. This Brune would plumes.” Stung to the quick Brune ap. never do ; and it is probable that had a plied for a commission, was sent into the dukedom been tendered to him, he would army with the rank of major, and in about have declined it by way of showing that a year, through Danton's patronage, be- his republicanism was not extinct. On came a brigade-general; meanwhile poor this point, however, one need not feel too Eglé, having wagged her pert tongue at sure.* During the hundred days Brune Robespierre, lost her head in conse- was put in command of the troops in the quence. Brune showed a splendid nerve south of France; and soon after Waterloo in action, but he suffered tortures in his he was massacred by a royalist mob at first battles, for the noise of cannonading Avignon. He had first been asked to cry and the sight of blood made him sick. “ Vive le roi !” and declined; he was Every time a field-piece was discharged then called upon to cry A bas l'empenear him, he felt a shock in the pit of the reur !” but answered with spirit: “The stomach which would have made him bend emperor is low enough now; this is not double with pain if he had not stiffened the time when I can say aught against his legs in the stirrups and thrown his him.” He was struck on the head with a body rigidly back. To do this, however, shutter, and dropped on one knee. “To it required such an amount of nervous have escaped a hundred deaths for this !” tension, that sometimes his muscles re were his last words as his enemies de. mained as if paralyzed for hours. At the spatched him. battle of Arcola, where his masterly com

The marshal on whom ducal honors mand of a division helped to win the day, seemed to sit most queerly was François the rebound of a cannon-ball threw a clód Lefèbvre, Duc de Danizig. He was born of earth into his face and knocked him, blinded, off his horse. His sword got Napoleon, but both were of noble birth. The former

* Marshals Pérignon and Grouchy got no titles from snapped as he fell, but he continued to

was a viscount and received a marquisate from the grasp the hilt so tightly that his fingers | Bourbons. Grouchy was born heir to a marquisate.


[ocr errors]

in 1755, the son of a miller, and was a ser- | moirs" relates that the Duc d'Auerstadt, geant in the French Guards at the time of having some facial resemblance to Napothe Revolution. He had then just mar. leon, was fond of copying him in dress ried a vivandière. The anecdotes of and manners; but she adds that Napoleon Madame Lefèbvre's incongruous sayings himself was very neat.* This may be a at the consular and imperial courts are matter of opinion. The emperor took so many as to remind one of the proverb snuff which he carried loose in the right On ne prête qu'aux riches. Everything pocket of his white cashmere waistcoats, that could be imagined in the way of a so as not to be troubled with snuff-boxes, lapsus linguæ or a bull was attributed to but the arrangement caused his vest to be this good-natured Mrs. Malaprop, whose smeared with brown stains. He also had oddities amused Josephine, but not al. a superstition about wearing on great ocways Napoleon. At a state dinner, a foot casions the particular gray overcoat and man upset a dish of asparagus over the bat in which he was dressed at Auster. duchess's yellow satin lap. "Imbecile !!" | litz: consequently on the days when his exclaimed the lady, at the full pitch of her marshals looked their best, he, the emvoice; then perceiving the dismay of the peror, was most shabby. He must have man, she relented, and broke into a loud taken a great deal of wear out of all his laugh. But the affair ended badly, for the overcoats and bats, for the three of each footman a new servant probably — be that used to be exhibited in the Musée gan to laugh too, upon which the emperor des Souverains were all in sorry condimade an angry sign to the majordomo, and tion, the coats very greasy about the colthe fellow was shoved out of the room, lars and cuffs, the felt hats all scabbed by never to appear in it again. Lefebvre's marks of sun and rain. speech was not so uncouth as his wife's, A marshal, however, had no excuse for he was naturally taciturn; but he was for being untidy. Davoust had been at a man of very simple tastes, who could Brienne with Bonaparte, and had thus a never accommodate himself comfortably longer experience of his master's characto the luxuries of a high position. Ma- ter than any of the other marshals. Had dame Récamier said that he smelt horri. he been wise he would have turned it to bly of garlic. At the emperor's corona- account, not only by cultivating the graces, tion, having to wait for about an hour in but by giving the emperor that ungrudgthe cathedral before the court arrived, he ing, demonstrative loyalty which Napoleon drew a hunk of bread with a slice of valued above all things, and rewarded by cheese from the pocket of his gold-laced constant favor. But Davoust was a cabal. coat, and offered to share these dainties ler, a grievance-monger, and a grognard; with the other marshals.

and it must have been rather diverting to The popular account of the incident see him aping the manners of a master at which reached Napoleon's ears was that whom he was always carping in holes and the marshal had regaled himself with corners. On the other hand, it must be onions. Once Lefèbvre fell ill of ague, said that Davoust proved faithful in the and his servant, an old soldier, caught the hour of misfortune, and did not rally to malady at the same time. The servant the Bourbons till 1818; that is, when all was quickly cured; but the fever clung to chances of an imperial restoration were the marshal till it occurred to his ener- gone; moreover, every time he held an getic duchess that the doctor had blun- important command he did his duty with dered comme un âne by giving to a courage, talent, and fidelity. His affected marshal the same doses as to a private brusqueness of speech was an unfortunate soldier. She rapidly counted on her fin. mannerism, for it made him many enemies, gers the different rungs of the military and sometimes exposed him to odd repriladder. Ticns, bois ! en voilà pour ton sals. Whilst he was governor of Poland grade,” she said, putting a full tumbler to be once few into a temper with a young her husband's lips, and the duke having officer of the Polish Legion, Ladislas swallowed a dozen doses at one gulp, was Czartoriski, abusing him and his foresoon on his legs again. T'as beaucoup fathers for several generations up: “ Your à apprendre, mon garçon," was the lady's father must have been a mule, your grandsubsequent remark to the astonished doc. tor.

# The uniform which Napoleon habitually wore was Napoleon was a great stickler for ap- that of colonel of the Foot Chasseurs- a green taila pearances, and for this reason loathed the coat, with red facings, cut away in front so as to shvvy dirtiness and slovenliness of Davoust. I tions as a petit chapeau, was really an enormous bruja

His cocked hat, which Béranger merle Madame Junot in her amusing “Me dress -- as large as a court footmau's



white vest.

« VorigeDoorgaan »