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ting on rouge on his bed of sickness, which proved to
be his death-bed."

One may well doubt whether these words foreshadowed
a resolution for the future to Louis Napoleon' s mind, but
they become interesting in connection with M. Zola's
late revelations in " La Debacle' ' as to the Emperbr hav-



i6 My Paris Note-Book.

ing put on rouge on the morning of Sedan. But for an
author's selfishness, I should have published that story
eighteen months ago.

I have already said that my uncles were very fond of
the Emperor, and to the day of their death maintained
that he could have given odds to the wittiest French
journalist of his time, if not with pen in hand, at any
rate in conversation. Making allowance for their par-
tiality, the notes I have by me of some of the Emperor's
sallies lend colour to their assertion. Here is one which,
until I gave it to a London paper while I was its Paris
correspondent, had never appeared in print. One morn-
ing shortly after the Emperor's accession, my uncle
Joseph — the elder of the two — found him in the bright-
est of spirits ; he was chuckling to himself, a thing of
rare occurrence, for, though Louis Napoleon frequently
smiled, *'his risible nerves seldom left their moorings,"
to use an expression which, albeit that it came from a
medical man, was nevertheless not scientifically 'accu-
rate. After they had been chatting for a little while,
the Emperor said suddenly — ''Those priests are very
funny now and then."

' ' Why date, Sire ?' ' replied my uncle, who had read
a good deal, and who remembered the mot of Mirabeau
when some one told him that the National Assembly had
been dull that day.

' ' You are right, they are funny always, when they are
not assommantSy^^ assented the Sovereign, who did not
mind using a popular locution in talking to his friends.
* ' I have been wasting my breath trying to persuade Si-
bour" (the then Archbishop of Paris, who was stabbed at
St. Etienne-du-Mont), "that I cannot remove the tombs
of, or rather the monuments to, Jean-Jacques and Vol-
taire from the Panth6on just to please some of his flock."



My Paris Note-Book. 17

* * Why do they wish them removed, Sire, seeing that
these monuments do not contain a pinch of Rousseau's
or Voltaire's ashes ?' '

"That's just what I have been asking him ; but he
would not answer the question, nor listen to my argu-
ment. He simply kept repeating that ' his flock felt
uncomfortable in the presence of these two atheists.' "

" How did you pacify him. Sire?"

*'I didn't pacify him at all. I got out of temper
myself in the end ; and then I exclaimed — ' Look you
here, Monseigneur, how do you think these two atheists
feel in the presence of your believers?' That settled
him, and he did not say another word. "

Here is another instance of Louis Napoleon's ten-
dency to take a ' ' topsy-turveydom' ' view of things in
general, and of serious things in particular. When
public opinion clamoured for the prosecution of the
author of "Madame Bovary," the Emperor consented,
though most reluctantly. He was one of the first who
had read the book, and in his inmost heart he admired
both the author and his work. "Then why prosecute
him, Sire ?' ' asked my uncle Mark. ' ' V 11 tell you why, ' '
replied the Emperor, smiling. " If we do not prosecute,
we shall have every cabman in Paris and in the provinces
asking for double his fare the moment an affectionate-
looking couple try to step into his vehicle. Flaubert
ought to have known better ; if it was absolutely neces-
sary to his plot to have Emma Bovary and L^on Dupuis
drive round Rouen for a whole day in a conveyance with
the blinds down, he ought to have made Leon go to a
livery stable for the carriage, and not have made him
take a mere hackney from the rank. This soi-disant,
unmolested drive round and round the city casts, to
begin with, and inferentially, a slur upon the vigilance
b 2*



i8 My Paris Note-Book.

of the Rouen police, who, stupid as they may be, would
not have allowed such a thing to pass unchallenged, and
who, to make up for their alleged neglect, will stop every
cab that has its blinds down. They have a perfect right
to do so in the matter of carriages plying for hire in the
public thoroughfares, and we shall have the innocent
uncle with his pretty niece, and the somewhat passee
aunt with her lamb-like nephew, hauled before the magis-
trate for outrage aux mceurs. There is, furthermore,
an outcry already that people cannot get into a hackney
cab without being fleeced. It is not my fault, after all,
that the spread of education has reached ^ cabby " — the
Emperor liked to use an English word now and then —
' ' and that he has read this masterpiece of realistic fiction.
No, Flaubert must be indicted ; there will be more scan-
dals if we do not than if we do."

I have often wondered since whether Mr. Gilbert
could have produced a more deliberately comical and
distorted view of a moral problem.

I need scarcely say that my uncle's notes, from which
I extracted the foregoing, were not left open to the
inspection of a somewhat precocious lad of thirteen, and
that my own ' ' note-book' ' was not begun until many
years afterwards. I would state once for all that these
pages are not exclusively personal recollections ; still I
claim the right to call myself the author of this book,
just as the custodian of Madame R6camier's notes
claimed to be the author of " Madame R6camier's Re-
collections. ' ' A bon entendeur salut. If I can possibly
help it, I shall not refer to the subject again, and merely
assure the reader that I have more precedents than one
for my claim.

During this, my first visit to my grand-uncles, which
was intended to last but a few weeks, but which lasted



My Paris Note-Book. 19

uninterruptedly for over four years, I saw many men
and things, of whom and which I have still a most vivid
recollection, but most vivid of all is the recollection of
the sensation produced by the first glimpse of the Boule-
vards, probably because that sensation is practically re-
vived whenever I set foot in Paris. Odd to relate, the
delight, if not the awe, at the sight of that magnificent
artery, has remained as keen in the man as it was in the
boy. It stirs something within me which I am not able
to define exactly, but which must be akin to the sensa-
tion of the poor old woman I once saw emerge from
one of the side streets on to the King's Road at
Brighton. * ' Well, old girl, what do you think of the
sea?" asked a young fellow, who was evidently her son.
''Think," replied the old dame, after a long pause ;
" I can't think, Jim ; I can only thank God for His hav-
ing shown me something in my life of which there seems
to be enough and to spare." Perhaps the definition of
an educated but very unworldly Yorkshireman is bet-
ter still. I met him on board the steamer, and he asked
me to recommend him an hotel. I took him to mine,
and brought him by way of the Rue Auber and the
Place de F Op6ra on to the Boulevards. It was early in
February 1882, and the temperature was as mild as that
of a mid-summer's day. We had driven to the hotel
by way of the Rue de Lafayette and the Boulevard
Haussmann. He had not caught a glimpse of the
Boulevards. After dinner I took him out. "What do
you think of this ?' ' I asked. He stood for a moment
as if transfixed, then he answered — " Cowper said that
'God made the country; man the town.' The devil
made the country-town, and the angels must have made
the Boulevards." But on his second visit, which hap-
pened about eighteen months later, the delight was not



20 My Paris Note-Book.

so keen. I merely note this to indicate that my sensa-
tion in that respect may be abnormal.

I was not struck to the same degree with the appear-
ance of the troops, albeit that, child as I was, I had
heard of their prowess from my father, whom I often
accompanied in the daytime to his caf^, where he and
his friends closely followed the various incidents of the
Crimean War. It was not because these troops were
travel-stained, and, as a matter of course, threadbare,
not to say ragged, that my childish admiration kept
merely **on the simmer, and refused to bubble up."
In fact, the four or five regiments of the Hne, in their
patched and worn greatcoats, with their far from bright
accoutrements, interested me more than the two or
three regiments of the Guards, in their spick and span
uniforms, who opened the march. The latter had re-
turned a few months previously, and been provided for
afresh. In spite of the magnificent drum-major, the
bearded sappers with their white leather aprons, the
inspiriting band headed by its "Jingling Jimmy," my
boyish mind fell a-criticising the men's physique, and
began to compare them to the crowds of disbanded
Englishmen — if Englishmen they were — whom I had
seen a few weeks before at Rotterdam. They were
the first red-coats I had beheld since I was a very little
urchin, and I remember them well now, tall, strapping
fellows, who seemed giants. The Frenchmen, in ap-
pearance at any rate, were no better than the ordinary
Dutch troops, and certainly not as good as the colonial
ones whom we frequently saw on their way to the ves-
sels. My scepticism with regard to the real value of the
French army if compelled to cope unaided with that of a
hardier race, may have taken root at that moment ; I am
not prepared to say. Certain is it, that during the many



My Paris Note-Book. 21

years which elapsed between that December day and
the army's utter collapse in 1870, I never implicitly
believed in its invincibility, and that notwithstanding
the gorgeous spectacles I witnessed now and then ;
notwithstanding the results of the Franco-Austrian
War. I should not like to express an opinion as
to the results of the next struggle between Germany
and France, but I intend at some future period to re-
produce some letters I have by me from uii volo7itaire
(TMn an, whose patriotism did not blind him to facts,
and from these the reader will be enabled to judge the
chances of either party, granting an equal degree of
valour and staying power to both sides.

One of the gorgeous spectacles to which I referred
just now was the return of the troops from Italy in
1859, on which occasion the Parisians were treated for
the first time to a sight of the Zouaves and Turcos.
The latter became even greater favourites with the
female population than the former ; they were magnifi-
cent, stalwart fellows, and for the next fortnight could
be seen with some of the prettiest women in Paris hang-
ing fondly on their arms. When the Emperor was told
of this, he smiled, and uttered a sentence which has
since become proverbial among the French, after Jules
Noriac had appropriated it in his " Betise Humaine."
*' Tous les gotits sont dans la nature." Not long after
that he happened to see a set of ebony brushes intended
as a birthday present for one of the ladies of the Em-
press's suite. *' A la bonne heure," he said, "le gotat
du noir se repand ; voila du Turco sur la table de toilette
maintenant ; quant ^ moi, en matiere d' amour et d' hy-
giene, je pr6fere I'ivoire."

In connection with the Zouaves and Turcos, I have
before me a note in the handwriting of my younger



22 My Paris Note-Book.

uncle, which, read by the light of later events, contains a
terrible prophecy, and shows once for all the real opinion
of Napoleon III., not only with regard to those over-
rated troops, but with regard to the whole of the French
army. The note is dated August 27th, 1859, conse-
quently less than a fortnight after the grandiose spectacle
on the Boulevards. It runs as follows: — ^'* Saw the
Emperor yesterday, and congratulated him on the mag-
nificent appearance of the Zouaves and Turcos. To my
great surprise, he did not seem to share my enthusiasm.
He hung his head and pulled at his moustache. * Oui, '
he said, after a while ; * ce sont, en effet, de tres beaux
soldats ; c'est le levain, peut-^tre, de I'arm^e fran9aise,
mais je n'ai guere besoin de vous dire que le levain qui
fermente trop pent g^ter toute une fournee. II faudrait
^tre sur, absolument star, de la nature, de la qualite et du
levain et de la p^te avant de les mettre ensemble. ' ' '

This was eleven years before the Franco-German War.
As in the case of his comment upon the service Bouff6
rendered him, I refrain from attributing to Louis Napo-
leon the gift of seeing into the future ; I simply wish to
add this. In 1870 the inhabitants of Nancy, whatever
the reaction may have been afterwards, hailed as a relief
the advent of the German troops, who delivered them
from the Zouaves.

Still in connection with the defeat of Francis Joseph
in 1859, I have a note, the substance of which has never
been published by the historians, and which, with many
other things, must have gone far to justify to Louis
Napoleon's own mind his belief in his star. "Louis
Napoleon," runs the note in my younger uncle's writing,
and dated September 1859, ''must have kept a close
watch on events in France even during the life of his
cousin the Due de Reichstadt, for about a fortnight ago



My Paris Note-Book. 23

he showed me a placard, the existence of which had
sHpped my memory, though I had seen a similar one on
the walls of Paris during the July Revolution (1830).
It is a proclamation emanating from some provisional
government evidently sitting at the Hotel de Ville, for
the bill is dated from there, calling upon the French to
raise the son of the great Napoleon to the throne. ' If
Francis I. (of Austria) had not been blinded by his
jealousy of one grandson, his other grandson would not
have been in the plight he is,' said the Emperor, ' for
my cousin the Due de Reichstadt would not have been
pledged to revolutionary Italy as I was ; and it is more
than probable that I should have gone to my grave as a
simple prince of the blood. It is by no means an un-
comfortable position, that of a prince of the blood, if, as
the English have it, ' ' blood be thicker than water, ' '
which unfortunately in a good many cases it is not.^
This," remarks my uncle, "was a sly allusion to Jerome
and his son. 'The Due de Reichstadt,' the Emperor
went on, * would have married, he might have had a
child, and even if he had died two years later, as he did,
I should not have ascended the throne of France ; but
it is my opinion, ' this very emphatically, ' that he would
have lived to a very ripe old age away from the Aus-
trian Court. ^

''On my remarking," continues the note, "that
Francis I. could not have sent a mere lad of nineteen,
and such a weak lad too, to Paris on the mere strength
of that bit of paper, the Emperor replied — ' My cousin
was not as weak as you imagine. Besides, there was no
need to send him on the mere strength of that bit of
paper. Some one had already been sent to fetch him,
and that some one was none other than Talleyrand. I
am perfectly certain of my facts, for careful inquiry has



24 My Paris Note-Book.

convinced me that he was absent from Paris for several
days.' "

So far the note of my uncle as relating to his con-
versation with the Emperor. When the "Talleyrand
Memoirs' ' appeared, I looked for some possible clue in
confirmation of the Emperor's statement, without much
hope of finding it, albeit that long before then I had
stumbled upon a paragraph to that effect in a work or
pamphlet, the title of which has entirely slipped my
memory. I do not think that it was in the ' * M^moires
de M. de Metternich." I have an idea that it was in
an interesting study of the Due de Reichstadt, emana-
ting from a French source. I repeat, however, that I
considered my search in the ' * Talleyrand Memoirs' ' as a
forlorn hope, for though I never had the honour of an
introduction to M. le Due de Broglie, I have watched
him at work for the last twenty-three years under the
Third Republic, and I know that he would not willingly
blacken the memory of Talleyrand needlessly. Still, I
feel confident that the Emperor was correctly informed,
and that Talleyrand made the attempt to bring the son
of the first Napoleon and Marie Louise to Paris during
the Revolution of 1830 ; hence, the younger branch of
the Bourbons owes him nothing. Perhaps none was
better aware of this than Louis Philippe himself when
he called him ' ' le commissaire-priseur du trone de
Francey When, after his flight to England in Feb-
ruary 1 848, Louis Philippe was told that the mob had
carried that throne to the Place de la Bastille and made
a bonfire of it, he said to his informant — " That's the
best thing they could have done with it, seeing that
Talleyrand is dead, and that he was the only man under
whose hammer it would have not only fetched its value
• — though that is not much — but a fancy price."



My Paris Note-Book. 25

To return for a moment to the Emperor. In subse-
quent years I was enabled to gather from my uncle's
conversation that Louis Napoleon felt by no means
grateful to the Hapsburgs for the service they had ap-
parently rendered him by ''suppressing" his cousin the
Due de Reichstadt ; I am quoting his own words. He
neither liked nor trusted them, though, of course, the
position in which he was placed prevented him from
giving vent openly to his dislike, especially after ' 59,
when he had defeated Francis Joseph. He was fully
cognisant of the political mistake he had committed in
allowing Austria to be crushed in 1866, but in his in-
most heart he rejoiced at Francis Joseph's humiliation.

It is not too much to say that the only members of
the family of the great Napoleon who were absolutely
loyal to his memory were, besides Madame Laetitia
Bonaparte, his two cousins, viz., Louis Napoleon and
Princess Mathilde. Lucien was not disloyal — this is all
that can be said of him in that respect ; but the rest
were all more or less indifferent to the man himself,
though not to his glory. The Emperor and Princess
Mathilde worshipped the memory of the man apart
from that of his genius. In their dislike of his enemies
they discriminated between Russia, England, Prussia,
and Austria, and their respective rulers. That the
treatment Napoleon received at St. Helena was never
entirely effaced from their minds, may be taken for
granted ; but Czar Nicholas' generous protection of the
Countess Demidoff against her husband, and Queen
Victoria's hospitality to Louis Napoleon, had done
much to take the edge off their resentment ; as for
Francis Joseph, they could never be brought to look
with any degree of cordiality upon him. They could
never forget that he was the grandson of Francis I. of
B 3



26 My Paris Note-Book.

Austria, and above all, the nephew of Marie Louise.
The latter' s name — to use plain language for once —
stank in their nostrils ; and during another conversa-
tion, still on the subject of Talleyrand's ascertained
mission to Vienna, the Emperor warmed to his subject,
and let out the following: — " My cousin the Due de
Reichstadt was by no means the weakling he has been
represented. The deception was a deliberate one on
the part of his grandfather, his mother, Metternich, and
the whole of the Austrian Court generally, and, I am
sorry to say, on the part of an eminent Frenchman too,
who, at the outset at any rate, abetted it with his eyes
open. I am alluding to Antoine (afterwards Baron)
Dubois, the great accoucheur, who brought my cousin
mto the world. ' ' Then the Emperor went off, appar-
ently at a tangent. " Have you read Balzac's ' Physi-
ologic du Mariage' ? " he asked. ' ' You have ; well, you
recollect that clever chapter on the Family Doctor, in
which the author warns husbands against him. Being
a medical man yourself, you will be able to appreciate
the truth and humour of it better than I can. Of course
the woman's wiles described must be as old as the hills,
or at any rate contemporaneous with the institution of
monogamy among Christians, and Balzac did, after all,
nothing more than draw attention to these wiles in his
admirable way ; but who would have suspected that
prim archduchess, who looked and acted as if butter
would not melt in her mouth, of having recourse to
them in order to get rid of the marital endearments of
a man she disliked ? For that was what she undoubt-
edly did do, and Dubois helped her — I repeat, with his
eyes open, for I am loath to believe that so great an au-
thority on those matters as he was could have been un-
consciously deceived. And yet, on the plea that Marie



My Paris Note-Book. 27

Louise's confinement had been a dangerous one, he
strictly forbade the Emperor all further cohabitation
with the woman who a few years later gave birth to
three children within a comparatively short period with-
out the least hurt to her health. It was Dubois who
sounded the first alarm with regard to the constitution
of the King of Rome. He was bound to a certain ex-
tent to do so — at first in order to justify his prohibition.
Did he ever find out that he had been beguiled, if be-
guiled he was ? It would be difiicult to say ; but be-
guiled or not, he was bound to keep up the fiction that
Napoleon's son was a weakling, to save his own reputa-
tion. That's how the report first spread ; but there
was absolutely nothing the matter with my cousin or-
ganically. He was as healthy as two out of the three
children Marie Louise bore the Count de Neipperg :
the first was still-born ; the other two are alive, and,
barring accidents, likely to live to a hundred. ' '

My uncle having remarked that, after all, a woman
could not force her inclinations, the Emperor nodded
his head. ' ' I quite agree with you, ' ' he said ; * ' and
if Marie Louise had simply and openly refused to co-
habit with my uncle after her son was born, I * would
have admired rather than blamed her. I would have
pitied my uncle for the unrequited affection he had con-
ceived for her, but not have considered her bound to
requite that affection, seeing the circumstances under
which the marriage was contracted. She might have
taken her stand on the fact that she had fulfilled the
mission for which she had been selected from political
considerations, namely, the givmg of an heir to the
Imperial crown, and that henceforth she had no duties
to perform in that respect. That would have been
worthy of a woman and of a princess who respects herself,



28 My Paris Note-Book.

and who resents the fact of having been sold like an
Eastern slave both upon the buyer and the seller,
though she was powerless to prevent the transaction.
But that she should have shown less concern for the
glory of a Napoleon than the merest female sutler of
one of his regiments , that she should have been less
moved by the downfall of such a giant than the merest
hind, is a thing I can never forgive nor forget."

" But is your Majesty so very sure that such was the
case?" objected my uncle. *' In most of the memoirs
of the time I seem to have read the contrary."

' ' Perfectly sure, ' ' repHed the Emperor. ' ' Every one
of the writers of these memoirs told a deliberate false-
hood in that respect, though one is bound to acknowl-
edge, with the most laudable intentions. They them-
selves were so anxious not to diminish the grandeur of
the fallen hero by a single inch, that they hesitated to
write the truth on the subject. They argued that the
callousness of Marie Louise with regard to the greatest
man of his time would breed a reaction in the public
mind with regard to that grandeur. Of course, I am
alluding to the genuine memoirs, and not to the works
of historians. But the fact is that Marie Louise did not
shed a tear either in public or in private from the mo-
ment she left Paris to that when the abdication of the
Emperor and his suspected attempt to commit suicide
was communicated to her. It was the Comte de Sainte-
Aulaire who undertook to announce the catastrophe to
her, and I have the tale from his own lips. I do not
think it has ever found its way in print. It was early
morning when he reached Blois, and the Empress was
still in bed. Nevertheless, he was admitted to her pres-
ence, and she rose into a sitting posture, her feet peep-
ing from under the coverlet. There was not a cry nor a



My Paris Note-Book. 29

word in response to the news, and the messenger, dread-
ing to look up, lest he should be considered indiscreet,
face to face with such intense, though silent, grief, kept
his eyes fixed on the floor. * You are looking at my
feet, M. de Sainte-Aulaire,' said Marie Louise, after a
long interval ; * I have always been told they are very



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