Page images
PDF
EPUB

brance the 18th Brumaire, but you forget this man, whom they have regarded as a that the circumstances are not the same. monster of cruelty, wading through seas On the 18th Brumaire, the nation was of blood, refusing to save his crown, beunanimous in its desire of a change. A cause, in doing it, he must turn Frenchmen feeble effort only was necessary to effect against Frenchmen! Ah! not one of his what they so much desired. Now it would kingly foes would have done this; not one require oceans of French blood; and never was ever heard to utter so noble a sentishall a single drop be shed by me in the ment. defence of a cause altogether personal." Napoleon having retired to Malmaison, Singular language for a tyrant. After all General Beker was sent, by the provisionhad dispersed, Montholon, who gives this ary government to hasten his departure account, expostulated with the Emperor to America. While talking with him, for having arrested the hand of the peo- the former asked, “Well, what are they ple, strong enough in itself to save the saying and doing at Paris ?” He replied, capital from the enemy and punish the that opinions were very divided about his traitors who were negotiating to deliver it abdication, but the remnants of the army up. Napoleon replied in these words, have remained faithful to you, and are which should be written in gold, and are assembled under the walls of the capital. sufficient of themselves to repel half the A great proportion of the citizens, and the slanders his enemies have uttered against whole of the people of Paris seem deterhim. Note, he was speaking to an intimate mined to defend themselves, and if a friend in all the frankness of private inter- powerful hand could rally all these elecourse. “Putting the brute force of the ments to a last effort, nothing would be people,” said he, “into action, would hopeless, perhaps.” This plain hint, doubtless save Paris and insure me the thrown out by one who was sent to be his crown without incurring the horrors of civil keeper, was lost on him, and he inquired war, but it would likewise be risking thou- only for his passports. sands of French lives; for what power True enough the “remnants of the army could control so many various passions, so were assembled under the walls of the much hatred, and such vengeance ? No, capital, and there, too, was the remnant there is one thing, you see, I cannot for- of the Guard, still nearly twenty-six thouget: it is, that I have been escorted from sand strong, and filled with indignation at Cannes to Paris amid the bloody cries of the decision to surrender Paris to the down with the Bourbons ! Down with the enemy. Officers and soldiers cried out nobles! No, I like the regrets of France treason, and uttered threats of vengeance, better than her crown.

And when the order came to the battalions Noble words, uttered in a moment when to abandon their post, they refused to obey. his crown

was leaving him, and no- The old grenadiers broke their muskets thing but the sad fate of an exile before and tore off their uniform, and cursed the him—the crown glittering on the one authors of this great disgrace.

Paris had hand, together with the prospect of pun. fallen a year before, but had they been ishing his foes, banishment and disgrace, within its walls, the foot of the stranger on the other, and yet to say, “ I like the would not have polluted its streets. So regrets of France better than her crown” they, and every one else had believed ; and -to say it, too, when the saying was the now to surrender it without striking a doing, was the noblest proof that could be blow was a double disgrace, and an insult given of the truth he uttered. How strange to their bravery. Several officers proit must sound to those who have contem- tested against the capitulation, while the plated him only by the light, or rather old veterans swore that before quitting the darkness of English history, to hear I capital, they, at least, would take vengeance on the traitors, and thus do one act Government, offering to take the command of justice. Frightened at the terrible of the army under Napoleon II., as a aspect of those veterans, who were not yet simple general, promising after he bad rehumbled so low that they could not strike pulsed the enemy “to go to the United boldly for their country, the generals of the States, there to fulfil his destiny” In it army and the authorities prevailed on the he gave the plan he was to adopt, showed favourite commanders of the Guard to in bow feasible it was, and guaranteed that tercede. Docile at the voice of their be- in a few days he would drive the enemy loved Drouot and other favourite chiefs, beyond the frontiers of France, and “avenge they bowed in resignation. Being ordered the disasters of Waterloo."

“ Eighty beyond the Loire,where its tomb had already thousand men,” he said, “ were gathering been prepared, it took up its sorrowful | near Paris,” which was thirty thousand march. The bearing of all was mournful, more than he had in the campaign of 1814, but calm and resigned. Still, the Go- althongh he then fought three months vernment was in constant terror, lest Na- against the large armies of Russia, Austria, poleon might again put himself at the and Prussia; and France well knew that he head of his ancient braves, and sent Beker would have been victorious in the struggle to hurry his embarkation.

had it not been for the capitulation of Paris.

It While these things were passing at Paris,

was, moreover, forty-five thousand men

more that General Bonaparte had headed Napoleon was still at Malmaison, delaying

when he crossed ihe - Alps and conquered his departure till the last moment. One

Italy. The Government, instead of acmorning, just before he was to set out, he was aroused by shouts of « Vive l’Em- cepting the proposal, was terrified at it, pereur! down with the Bourbons !! down and urged, more vehemently than ever, his

speedy departure. with the traitors!!!" They 'arose from

Napoleon had not the slightest doubt bis Bruyer's division, which was returning from Vendee, where it had been stationed proposition would be accepted, and was during the fatal Belgian campaign. The preparing to take horse and join the army,

when the refusal was brought him. Withsoldiers had halted before the chateau, refusing to take another step until the Em-out exhibiting the lease emotion, calm and

as ever, he simply said, “ Those peror was at their head. The officers were compelled to submit, and General people do not know the state of public Bruyer went in and asked to see Napoleon. opinion when they refuse my proposalMonth lon went in search of him, and they will repent it ;” and added, “ Give found himn in the library, quietly reading

the necessary orders, then, for my depar

ture, and as soon as everything is ready Montaigne. While France was shaking to

let me know;" and in an hour after he its centre, and his imperial crown lay

was hurrying toward the seashore. “His broken at his feet, and the wrecks of his vast empire strewed the continent, and a forehead at this moment,” says Montholon, desolate future stretched before him, he

was sublime in its calmness and serenity." could compose himself and sit down quietly Along the whole route to Rochefort, and to his book, as if there was nothing to dis- after he arrived there, he was saluted with turb the equanimity of his feelings.

loud acclamations, and “Vive l'Empereur,"

heralded him to the coast, where he comGeneral Bruyer was admitted, and in a mitted the fatal mistake of trusting to the quarter of an hour the army was on its honour of the English Government. He march for Paris, shouting “Vive l'Empe- thought a great nation, like a great man, reur," in the full belief they should soon would be magnanimous, but discovered too follow Napoleon to the field of battle. late his error. Soon after, he sent a message to the

(To be continued.)

serene

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

quia

marci

reur,”

follow i

Soon

« PreviousContinue »