[ocr errors]

Alone in his team

and trembling lip, striding nervously to and fro, of Representatives, The Council of Five Hundrabine de

through the room, “never! I forgive! never !" dred. The five Directors, as might have been exsince the best

Then stopping suddenly, and gazing the inter- pected, were ever quarreling among themselves, locutor wildly in the face, he exclaimed, with each wishing for the lion's share of power. The passionate gesticulation, “ You know me. Were Monarchist, the Jacobin, and the moderate Repub

I not sure of my resolution, I would tear out this lican could not harmoniously co-operate in govuns from the heart, and cast it into the fire.”

ernment. They only circumvented each other, How strange is the life of the heart of man. while the administration sank into disgrace and From this interview, Napoleon, two hours after ruin. The Abbé Sieyes was decidedly the most his arrival in Paris, with his whole soul agitated able man of the Executive. He was a proud paby the tumult of domestic woe, went to the pal-trician, and his character may be estimated from ace of the Luxembourg, to visit the Directory, to the following anecdote, which Napoleon has reform his plans for the overthrow of the govern-lated respecting him:

ment of France. Pale, pensive, joyless, his in- “The abbé, before the revolution, was chapDar

Aexible purposes of ambition wavered not-his lain to one of the princesses. One day, when iron energies yielded not. Josephine was an he was performing mass before herself, her atidol. He execrated her and he adored her. He tendants, and a large congregation, something ocloved her most passionately. He hated her most curred which rendered it necessary for the prinvirulently. He could clasp her one moment to cess to leave the room. The ladies in waiting his bosom with burning kisses; the next moment and the nobility, who attended church more out he would spurn her from him as the most loath-of complaisance to her than from any sense of some wretch. But glory was a still more cher- religion, followed her example. Sieyes was very ished idol, at whose shrine he bowed with un- busy reading his prayers, and, for a few moments, wavering adoration. He strove to forget his he did not perceive their departure. At last, domestic wretchedness by prosecuting, with new raising his eyes from his book, behold the prinvigor, his schemes of grandeur. As he ascended cess, the nobles, and all the ton had disappeared. the stairs of the Luxembourg, some of the guard, With an air of displeasure and contempt he shut who had been with him in Italy, recognized his the book, and descended from the pulpit, exclaimperson, and he was instantly greeted, with en- ing, “I do not read prayers for the rabble.' He thusiastic shouts, “Long live Bonaparte.” The immediately went out of the chapel, leaving the clamor rolled like a voice of thunder through the service half-finished.” spacious halls of the palace, and tell, like a death Napoleon arrived in Paris on the evening of the knell, upon the ears of the Directors. The pop- 17th of October, 1799. Two days and two nights ulace, upon the pavement, caught the sound and elapsed, ere Josephine was able to retrace the reechoed it from street to street. The plays at weary leagues over which she had passed. It the theatres, and the songs at the Opera, were was the hour of midnight un the 19th, when the stopped, that it might be announced, frożn the rattle of her carriage-wheels was heard enterstage, that Bonaparte had arrived in Paris. Men, ing the court-yard of their dwelling in the Rue women, and children simultaneously rose to their Chanteraine. Eugene, anxiously awaiting her feet, and a wild burst of enthusiastic joy swelled arrival, was instantly at his mother's side, folding upon the night air. All Paris was in commotion. her in his embrace. Napoleon also heard the The name of Bonaparte was upon every lip. The arrival, but he remained sternly in his chamber. enthusiasm was contagious. Illuminations be- He had ever been accustomed to greet Josephine gan to blaze, here and there, without concert, at the door of her carriage, even when she refrom the universal rejoicing, till the whole city turned from an ordinary morning ride. No matwas resplendent with light. One bell rang forth ter what employments engrossed his mind, no its merry peal of greeting, and then another, and matter what guests were present, he would im. another, till every steeple was vocal with its mediately leave every thing, and hasten to the clamorous welcome. One gun was heard, roll- door to assist Josephine to alight and to accoming its heavy thunders over the city. It was the pany her into the house. But now, after an absignal for an instantaneous, tumultuous roar, sence of eighteen months, the faithful Josephine, from artillery and musketry, from all the battal- half-dead with exhaustion, was at the door, and ions in the metropolis. The tidings of the great Napoleon, with pallid cheek and compressed lip, victories of Aboukir and Mount Tabor, reached and jealousy rankling in his bosom, remained Paris with Napoleon. Those Oriental names sternly in his room, preparing to overwhelm her were shouted through the streets, and blazed with his indignation. upon the eyes of the delighted people in letters Josephine was in a state of terrible agitation. of light. Thus in an hour the whole of Paris Her limbs tottered and her heart throbbed most was thrown into a delirium of joy, and, without violently. Assisted by Eugene, and accompanied any previous arrangements, there was displayed by Hortense, she tremblingly ascended the stairs the most triumphant and gorgeous festival. to the little parlor where she had so often re

The government of France was at this time ceived the caresses of her most affectionate organized somewhat upon the model of that of spouse. She opened the door. There stood the United States. Instead of one President, Napoleon, as immovable as a statue, leaning they had five, called Directors. Their Senate against the mantle, with his arms folded across was called The House of Ancients; their House his breast. Sternly and silently, he cast a withering look upon Josephine, and then exclaimed returned to his cabinet. Two days of utter misin tones, which, like a dagger pierced her heart, ery passed away, during which no intercourse “Madame! It is my wish that you retire im- took place between the estranged parties, each mediately to Malmaison.”

of whom loved the other with almost superhuJosephine staggered and would have fallen, as man intensity. if struck by a mortal blow, had she not been Love in the heart will finally triumph over all caught in the arms of her son. Sobbing bitterly obstructions. The struggle was long, but gradwith anguish, she was conveyed by Eugene to ually pride and passion yielded, and love regained her own apartment. Napoleon also was dread the ascendency. Napoleon so far surrendered fully agitated. The sight of Josephine had re-on the third day, as to enter the apartment of vived all his passionate love. But he fully be- Josephine. She was seated at a toilet-table, her lieved that Josephine had unpardonably trifled face buried in her hands, and absorbed in the with his affections, that she had courted the ad- profoundest woe. The letters, which she had remiration of a multitude of flatterers, and that she ceived from Napoleon, and which she had evi. had degraded herself and her husband by playing dently been reading, were spread upon the table. the coquette. The proud spirit of Napoleon could Hortense, the picture of grief and despair, was not brook such a requital for his fervid love. standing in the alcove of a window. Napoleon had With hasty strides he traversed the room, striv- opened the door softly, and his entrance had not ing to nourish his indignation. The sobs of Jo- been heard. With an irresolute step he advanced sephine had deeply moved him. He yearned to toward his wife, and then said, kindly and sadly, fold her again in fond love to his heart. But he "Josephine !” She started at the sound of that proudly resolved that he would not relent. Jo- well-known voice, and raising her swollen eyes, sephine, with that prompt obedience which ever swimming in tears, mournfully exclaimed, “Mon characterized her, prepared immediately to com- ami"-my friend. This was the term of endear. ply with his orders. It was midnight. For a ment with which she had invariably addressed week she had lived in her carriage almost with her husband. It recalled a thousand delightful out food or sleep. Malmaison was thirty miles reminiscences. Napoleon was vanquished. He from Paris. Napoleon did not suppose that she extended his hand. Josephine threw herself into would leave the house until morning. Much to his arms, pillowed her aching head upon his bohis surprise, in a few moments he heard Joseph- som, and in the intensity of blended joy and anine, Eugene, and Hortense descending the stairs guish, wept convulsively. A long explanation to take the carriage. Napoleon, even in his an- ensued. Napoleon became satisfied that Josephiger, could not be thus inhuman. “My heart," ine had been deeply wronged. The reconciliahe said, "was never formed to witness tears with tion was cordial and entire, and was never again out emotion." He immediately descended to the interrupted. court-yard, though his pride would not yet allow | Napoleon now, with a stronger heart, turned him to speak to Josephine. He, however, ad- to the accomplishment of his designs to rescue dressing Eugene, urged the party to return and France from anarchy. He was fully conscious obtain refreshment and repose. Josephine, all of his own ability to govern the nation. He submission, unhesitatingly yielded to his wishes, knew that it was the almost unanimous wish of and re-ascending the stairs, in the extremity of the people that he should grasp the reins of pow. -xhaustion and grief, threw herself upon a couch, er. He was confident of their cordial co-operan her apartment. Napoleon, equally wretched, tion in any plans he might adopt. Soll it was

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

an enterprise of no small difficulty to thrust the turned victorious from Egypt,” replied Moreau, five Directors from their thrones, and to get the " and I from Italy after a great defeat. It was control of the Council of Ancients and of The the month which General Joubert passed in Five Hundred. Never was a difficult achieve- Paris, after his marriage, which caused our disment more adroitly and proudly accomplished. asters. This gave the allies time to reduce

For many days Napoleon almost entirely se- Mantua, and to bring up the force which besiegcluded himself from observation, affecting a stu- ed it to take a part in the action. It is always dious avoidance of the public gaze. He laid the greater number which defeats the less." aside his military dress, and assumed the peace- " True," replied Napoleon, “it is always the ful costume of the National Institute. Occasion-greater number which beats the less” “And ally he wore a beautiful Turkish sabre, suspend- yet,” said Gohier, “with small armies you have ed by a silk ribbon. This simple dress trans- frequently defeated large ones.” “Even then," ported the imagination of the beholder to Aboukir, rejoined Napoleon, "it was always the inferior Mount Tabor, and the Pyramids. He studiously force which was defeated by the superior. When sought the society of literary men, and devoted with a small body of men I was in the presence to them his attention. He invited distinguished of a large one, collecting my little band, I fell men of the Institute to dine with him, and avoid- like lightning on one of the wings of the hostile ing political discussion, conversed only upon lit- army, and defeated it. Profiting by the disorder erary and scientific subjects.

which such an event never failed to occasion in Moreau and Bernadotte were the two rival their whole line, I repeated the attack, with simgenerals from whom Napoleon had the most to ilar success, in another quarter, still with my fear. Two days after his arrival in Paris Napo- whole force. I thus beat it in detail. The genleon said to Bourrienne, “I believe that I shall eral victory which was the result, was still an® have Bernadotte and Moreau against me. But example of the truth of the principle that the I do not fear Moreau. He is devoid of energy. greater force defeats the lesser." Napoleon, by He prefers military to political power. We shall those fascinations of mind and manner, which grin him by the promise of a command. But enabled him to win to him whom he would, soon Bernadotte has Moorish blood in his veins. He gained an ascendency over Moreau. And when, is bold and enterprising. He does not like me, two days after, in token of his regard, he sent and I am certain that he will oppose me. If he him a beautiful poniard set with diamonds, worth should become ambitious he will venture any two thousand dollars : the work was accomplishthing. Besides, this fellow is not to be seduced.ed, and Moreau was ready to do his bidding. He is disinterested and clever. But, after all, we Napoleon gave a small and very select dinner bare just arrived. We shall see.”

party. Gohier was invited. The conversation Napoleon formed no conspiracy. He confided turned on the turquoise used by the Orientals to no one his designs. And yet, in his own sol- to clasp their turbans. Napoleon, rising from itary mind, relying entirely upon his own capa- the table took from a private drawer, two very cious resources, he studied the state of affairs beautiful brooches, richly set with those jewels. and he matured his plans. Sieyes was the only One he gave to Gohier, the other to his tried one whose talents and influence Napoleon feared. friend Desaix. “ It is a little toy,” said he, The abbé also looked with apprehension upon which we republicans may give and receive his formidable rival. They stood aloof and eyed without impropriety.” The Director, flattered each other. Meeting at a dinner party, each by the delicacy of the compliment, and yet not was too proud to make advances. Yet each repelled by any thing assuming the grossness thought only of the other. Mutually exasperated, of a bribe, yielded his heart's homage to Napothey separated without having spoken. “ Did leon. you see that insolent little fellow ?" said Sieyes, Republican France was surrounded by mon- he would not even condescend to notice a mem- archies in arms against her. Their hostility was ber of the government, who, if they had done so inveterate, and, from the very nature of the right, would have caused him to be shot.” “What case, so inevitable, that Napoleon thought that on earth," said Napoleon, “ could have induced France should ever be prepared, for an attack, them to put that priest in the Directory. He is and that the military spirit should be carefully sold to Prussia. Unless you take care, he will fostered. Republican America, most happily, deliver you up to that power.” Napoleon dined has no foe to fear, and all her energies may be with Moreau, who afterward in hostility to Napo- devoted to filling the land with peace and plenty, icon pointed the guns of Russia against the col- But a republic in monarchical Europe must sleep ons of his countrymen. The dinner party was by the side of its guns. “Do you, really," said at Gohier's, one of the Directors. The following Napoleon, to Gohier, in this interview, " advocate interesting conversation took place between the a general peace? You are wrong. The Repubriral generals. When first introduced, they look-lic should never make but partial accommodations. el at each other a moment without speaking, It should always contrive to have some war on Napoleon, conscious of his own superiority, hand to keep alive the military spirit." We can, and solicitous to gain the powerful co-operation perhaps, find a little extenuation for this remark, of Moreau, made the first advances, and, with in its apparent necessity, and in the influences courtesy, expressed the earnest desire he of the martial ardor in which Napoleon from his ri: to make his acquaintance. “You have re- very infancy had been enveloped. Even now, it is to be feared that the time is far distant ere them, it would have been necessary almost imthe nations of the earth can learn war no more. mediately, to conquer against them. A club can

Lefebvre was commandant of the guard of the not endure a permanent chief. It wants one for two legislative bodies. His co-operation was im- every successive passion. Now to make use of portant. Napoleon sent a special invitation for a party one day, in order to attack it the next, an interview. “Lefebvre," said he, “will you, under whatever pretext it is done, is still an act one of the pillars of the Republic, suffer it to of treachery. It was inconsistent with my prinperish in the hands of these lawyers ? Join me ciples.” and assist to save it." Taking from his own Sieyes, the head of the moderate republicans, side the beautiful Turkish scimitar which he and Napoleon soon understood each other, and wore, he passed the ribbon over Lefebvre's neck, each admitted the necessity of co-operation. The saying, "accept this sword, which I wore at the government was in a state of chaos. “Our salbattle of the Pyramids. I give it to you as a vation now demands," said the wily diplomatist, token of my esteem and confidence.” “Yes,” |“ both a head and a sword.” Napoleon had both. replied Lefebvre, most highly gratified at this sig- In one fortnight from the time when he landed nal mark of confidence and generosity, “let us at Frejus, “the pear was ripe." The plan was throw the lawyers into the river."

all matured for the great conflict. Napoleon, in Napoleon soon had an interview with Berna- solitary grandeur, kept his own counsel. He had dotte. “He confessed,” said Napoleon to Bour secured the cordial co-operation, the unquestionrienne, “that he thought us all lost. He spoke ing obedience of all his subordinates. Like the of external enemies, of internal enemies, and, at general upon the field of battle, he was simply to that word he looked steadiiy in my face. I also give his orders, and columns marched, and gave him a glance. But patience; the pear will squadrons charged, and generals swept the field soon be ripe."

in unquestioning obedience. Though he had In this interview Napoleon inveighed against determined to ride over and to destroy the exist. the violence and lawlessness of the Jacobin club. ing government, he wished to avail himself, so “Your own brothers," Bernadotte replied, “ were far as possible, of the mysterious power of law, the founders of that club. And yet you reproach as a conqueror turns a captured battery upon the me with favoring its principles. It is to the in- foe from whom it had been wrested. Such a structions of some one, I know not who, that we plot, so simple, yet so bold and efficient, was are to ascribe the agitation which now prevails." never formed before. And no one, but another " True, general,” Napoleon replied, most vehe- Napoleon, will be able to execute another such mently, “and I would rather live in the woods, again. All Paris was in a state of intense er. than in a society which presents no security citement. Something great was to be done. against violence.” This conversation only Napoleon was to do it. But nobody knew when. strengthened the alienation already existing be- or what, or how. All impatiently awaited orders tween them.

The majority of the Senate, or Council of AnBernadotte, though a brave and efficient officer, cients, conservative in its tendencies, and having was a jealous braggadocio. At the first interview once seen, during the reign of terror, the horrors between these two distinguished men, when Na- of Jacobin domination, were ready, most obsequi. poleon was in command of the army of Italy, ously, to rally beneath the banner of so resolute they contemplated each other with mutual dislike. a leader as Napoleon. They were prepared, “ I have seen a man," said Bernadotte, "of twen- without question, to pass any vote which he ty-six or seven years of age, who assumes the should propose. The House of Representatives air of one of fifty; and he presages any thing or Council of Five Hundred, more democratic in but good to the Republic.” Napoleon summarily its constitution, contained a large number of vul. dismissed Bernadotte by saying, "he has a French gar, ignorant, and passionate demagogues, strughead and a Roman heart."

gling to grasp the reins of power. Carnot, There were three political parties now divid- whose co-operation Napoleon had entirely secured, ing France, the old royalist party, in favor of was President of the Senate. Lucien Bonaparte, the restoration of the Bourbons; the radical dem the brother of Napoleon, was Speaker of the ocrats, or Jacobins, with Barras at its head, sup- | House. The two bodies met in the palace of ported by the mob of Paris; and the moderate the Tuileries. The constitution conferred upon republicans led by Sieges. All these parties the Council of Ancients, the right to decide upon struggling together, and fearing each other, in the place of meeting for both legislative assemthe midst of the general anarchy which prevailed, blies. immediately paid court to Napoleon, hoping to All the officers of the garrison in Paris, and all secure the support of his all-powerful arm. Na- the distinguished military men in the metropolis, poleon determined to co-operate with the mode- had solicited the honor of a presentation to Na rate republicans. The restoration of the Bour-poleon. Without any public announcement, each bons was not only out of the question, but Na- one was privately informed that Napoleon would poleon had no more power to secure that result, see him on the morning of the 9th of November. than had Washington to bring the United States All the regiments in the city had also solicited into peaceful submission to George III. “Had the honor of a review by the distinguished conI joined the Jacobins," said Napoleon, “I should queror. They were also informed that Napoleon have risked nothing. But after conquering with 'would review them early on the morning of the

9th of November. The Council of Ancients was the mammoth metropolis there was heard, in the called to convene at six o'clock on the morning earliest twilight of the day, the music of martial of the same day. The Council of Five Hundred bands, the tramp of battalions, the clatter of iron were also to convene at 11 o'clock of the same hoofs, and the rumbling of heavy artillery wheels morning. This, the famous 18th of Brumaire, over the pavements, as regiments of infantry, was the destined day for the commencement of artillery, and cavalry, in the proudest array, the great struggle. These appointments were marched to the Boulevards to receive the honor given in such a way as to attract no public atten- of a review from the conqueror of Italy and of tion. The general-in-chief was thus silently ar- Egypt. The whole city was in commotion, ranging his forces for the important conflict. guided by the unseen energies of Napoleon in To none did he reveal those combinations, by the retirement of his closet. At eight o'clock Nawhich he anticipated a bloodless victory. poleon's house, in the Rue Chanteraine, was so

The sun rose with unwonted splendor over the brilliant uniform, that every room was filled and domes of the thronged city. A more brilliant even the street was crowded with the resplendent Jay never dawned. Through all the streets of guests. At that moment the Council of Ancients

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]
« VorigeDoorgaan »