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hero who freed America from the yoke of the most impla-
cable enemies to our liberty; and may his illustrious
shade bear witness beyond the tomb to the glory which
accompanies the memory of liberators of their country ! "

Bonaparte came down from his platform, and in the
name of France was embraced by Berthier.

M. de Fontanes, who was to deliver the eulogy upon
Washington, allowed the torrent of applause which seemed
to rush like a cascade through the immense amphitheatre
to fall, even to the last drop, before he began to speak.
Among all these celebrities, M. de Fontanes was a political
and literary curiosity. After the 18th Fructidor he had


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been proscribed with Suard and Labarpe ; but ho had con-
cealed himself in a friend's house, never going out except
by night, and had therefore not been obliged to leave
Paris. An accident which it had been impossible to
foresee had denounced him. He was thrown out of a car-
riage on the Place du Carrousel, his horse ran away, and
he was recognized by a police agent, who hastened to his
aid. Fouch^, however, although he was not only informed
of his presence in Paris but of his hiding-place, pretended
to know nothing of him. A few days after the 18th
Brumaire, Maret (who afterwards became Due de Bassano),
Laplace (who was simply a man of science), and Regnault
de Saint-Jean-d*Angely (who died insane) spoke to the
First Consul of M. de Fontanes and of his presence in
Paris. " Present him to me," said the First Consul, briefly.
M. de Fontanes was presented to Bonaparte, who, know-
ing the supple character and the adroitly flattering
eloquence of the man, had chosen him to pronounce
Washington's eulogy, and perhaps to a certain extent his
own also. M. de Fontanes's speech is too long to be re-
produced here, but we may add that it was all that Bona-
parte had desired.

In the evening there was a grand reception at the Lux-
embourg. During the ceremony a report gained ground
that the First Consul was intending to transfer his resi*
dence to the Tuileries. The boldest and the most curious
ventured to question Josephine upon the subject; but the
poor woman, with the vision still before her eyes of Marie
Antoinette upon the cart on her way to the scafi'old, drew
back instinctively from everything which savored of roy-
alty, and she therefore hesitated to reply, referring all
questions to her husband.

Then another bit of news was circulated, which rivalled
the other in interest. Murat had asked the hand of Mile.
Caroline Bonaparte in marriage.


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Now, this marriage, if it took place, would be a signifi-
cant one. Bonaparte had been estranged for a year from
the man who now aspired to the honor of becoming his
brother-in-law. The motive for this estrangement may ap-
pear strange to our readers. Murat, the lion of the army ;
Murat, whose courage was proverbial ; Murat, who posed
to a sculptor as the god of war, — Murat, one day when
he had slept or breakfasted badly, had behaved like a
coward. It was before Mantua, when Wurmser, after the
battle of Rivoli, had been besieged with twenty-eight
thousand men. General Miollis, with four thousand only,
was to maintain the blockade ; and during a sortie which
the Austrians attempted, Murat, at the head of five hun-
dred men, was ordered to charge three thousand. He
charged, but the operation lacked vigor. Bonaparte, whose
aide-de'Camp he was, was so irritated that he removed him
from about his person. This was all the greater cause of
despair for Murat, because he already wished, if not hoped,
to become the general's brother-in-law. He was in love
with Caroline Bonaparte.

How had this love come about ) It may be told in a
few words. Perhaps those who read each one of our
books by itself are astonished to find in them certain de-
tails which seem hardly to belong to the work in hand.
But we do not write isolated books ; as we have already
said or tried to say, we are attempting to fill in an immense
outline. Our characters are not limited to the part that
they play in one book ; he who appears as an aide-de-camp
in this book, you will find a king in another, and pro-
scribed and shot in a third. Balzao has written a great
work entitled "The Human Comedy." Our work, begun
at the same time, may be entitled "The Drama of

Let us return to Murat. Let us relate how this love.


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which influenced his destiny in a manner so glorious and
possibly so fatal, came to him.

Murat, in 1 796, had been sent to Paris and charged to
present to the Directory the flags taken by the French
army in the battles of Dego and Mondovi. During this
journey he made the acquaintance of Mme. Bonaparte
and Mme. Tallien. At Mme. Bonaparte's house he met
again Mile. Caroline Bonaparte. We say met again,
for this was not the first time that he had met her
who was to share the crown of Naples with him ; he liad
already seen her at Rome^ at her brother Joseph's ; and
there, in spite of the rivalry of a young and handsome
Eoman prince, he had been favorably noticed by her.
The three women united in asking and obtaining from the
Directory the rank of general of brigade for Murat.

Murat returned to the army in Italy more deeply
in love than ever with Mile. Bonaparte, and in spite
of his rank as general of brigade, sought and obtained
the favor of remaining aide-de-camp to the general-in-
chief. Unhappily, there came the fatal sortie at Mantua,
in which he fell under the displeasure of Bonaparte. This
displeasure took for a time the form of genuine enmity.
Bonaparte thanked him for his services as aide-de-campf
and placed him in Neille's division, and then in that of
Baraguey d'Hilliers. The result was that when Bonaparte
came to Paris after the treaty of Tolentino, Murat did
not accompany him.

The feminine triumvirate who had taken the young
general of brigade under their protection started on a new
campaign ; and as the expedition to Egypt was being dis-
cussed, they obtained from the minister of war permission
for Murat to accompany the expedition. He embarked
upon the same ship as Bonaparte, the " Orient ; " but not
once during the journey did Bonaparte speak to him.


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When they landed at Alexandria, Miirat could not at first
break through the icy barrier* which separated him from
his general, who, more for the purpose of putting him at
a distance than for giving him an opportunity to distin-
guish himself, opposed him to Mourad Bey. But in this
campaign Murat performed such prodigies of valor, effaced
by such daring deeds the remembrance of a moment of
weakness, and made such an intrepid, even reckless
charge at Aboukir, that Bonaparte did not dare to show
any further dislike to him. Consequently Murat returned
to France with Bonaparte; co-operated powerfully with
him upon the 18th and particularly the 19th Brumaire;
was received once more into full favor, and appointed to
the command of the consul's guard.

Murat believed this to be a favorable moment to con-
fess his love for Mile. Bonaparte, — a love which was
perfectly well known to Josephine, who favored it.
Josephine had two reasons for this. In the first place
she was a woman, in the most charming acceptation of
the word, and all the gentle passions of a woman were
sympathized in by her. Murat loved Caroline, and Car-
oline loved him, which was reason enough why she should
protect their love. Then again, Josephine was detested
by Bonaparte's brothers ; she had bitter enemies in Joseph
and Lucien, and she was not sorry to attach to herself
two devoted friends in Murat and Caroline. She there-
fore encouraged Murat to speak to Bonaparte.

Three days before the ceremony which we have just
described, Murat had therefore entered Bonaparte's cabinet ;
and after long hesitations, and circumlocutions without
end, he had finally made his request. Probably the love
of the two young people for each other was no news to
the First Consul. He received the request with severe
gravity, and replied that he would think of it.


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The thing would certainly bear consideration. Bonaparte
came of a noble family, while Murat was the son of an inn-
keeper. The alliance at such a moment had great signifi-
cance. Was the First Consul, in spite of the nobility of
his family, in spite of the elevated rank which he had
attained, not only enough of a republican but enough of
a democrat to mingle plebeian blood with his own 1 He
did not take long to reflect ; his good sense and logical
mind told him that the thing was entirely for his interest,
and that very day he gave his consent to the marriage
<^ Murat and Caroline.

Thus the two items of news — of this marriage and of
the removal to the Tuileries — were launched upon the
public at the same time ; and one served as a counterpoise
for the other. The First Consul was about to occupy the
residence of kings, and sleep in the bed of the Bour-
bons ; but he was also about to give his sister in marriage
to the son of an inn-keeper.

And now, what dowry could the future queen of Naples
bring to the hero of Aboukir) Thirty thousand fraucs
in silver, and a diamond necklace which the First Consul
took from his wife, being too poor to buy one. Josephine
made up a little face at this, for she thought a great deal
of her diamond necklace ; but this was a sufficient reply
to those who had said that Bonaparte made his fortune in
Italy ; and then, why had Josephine taken the interests
of the lovers so much to heart ) She had wished for the
marriage, and therefore she must contribute to the dowry.

As a result of this clever combination, on the day that
the consuls left the Luxembourg (30th Pluvidse, year
VIII.) to go to the government palace, escorted by the
son of an inn-keeper who was about to become Bonaparte's
brother-in-law, those who saw them pass had only admir-
ation and applause for them. And in truth, a proces-


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sion which had iu its ranks such men as Bonaparte, Murat,
Moreau, Brune, Launes, Junot, Duroc, Augereau, and
Mass^na was well worthy of applause.

A grand review had been ordered for this day in the
courtyard of the Carrousel. Mme. Bonaparte was to wit-
ness it, — not from the clock balcony, which savored too
much of royalty, but from the apartments occupied by
Lebrun, in the pavilion of Flora.

Bonaparte left the palace of the Luxembourg at ex-
actly one o'clock, escorted by three thousand distinguished
men, among whom were the superb regiment of the
guides, created three years before on account of a danger
which Bonaparte had barely escaped in his Italian campaign.
After the passage of the Mincio he was resting, overcome
by fatigue, in a little chateau, and was just preparing to
take a bath, when an Austrian detachment in retreat,
having lost their way, invaded the chateau, which was
guarded by sentinels only, and Bonaparte had barely time
to escape in his shirt.

An embarrassment which is worthy of being reported
occurred on the morning of this day, the 30th Pluvi6se.
The generals had their horses and fhe ministers their car-
riages, but the other dignitaries had not yet indulged in
such an expense. There were not enough carriages. They
supplied the deficiency by hiring fiacres, and covering the
numbers with paper of the same color as the body of the
vehicle. The First Consul's carriage alone had six horses ;
but as the three consuls were all in the same carriage, —
Bonaparte and Cambacdrfes behind, and Lebrun in
front, — there were, after all, only two horses for each
consul Moreover, these six white horses, given by the
Emperor Francis to General-in-chief Bonaparte after the
treaty of Campo Formio, were in themselves a trophy.
The carriage crossed a part of Paris, following the Bue


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de Thionville, the quay Voltaire, and the Pont Royal.
From the gate of the Carrousel to the great door of the
Tuileries the consul's guard formed in two lines. When
he passed under the gateway Bonaparte raised his head
and read the inscription on it. It was as follows : —

" August 10, 1792,

Royalty is abolished in France,

Never to return."

An imperceptible smile contracted the First Consul's

At the door of the Tuileries Bonaparte descended from
his carriage and leaped into his saddle to review the troops.
When he was seen on his battle horse, loud shouts rent
the air. When the review was ended, he placed himself be-
fore the clock pavilion, with Murat at his right, Lannes
at his left, and before him the glorious staflf of the whole
army of Italy. Then began the parade. And then Bon-
aparte yielded to one of those inspirations which so
profoundly impressed his image upon the hearts of his
soldiers. When the flags of the Ninety-sixth, the Thir-
tieth, and the Thirty-third Brigade passed before him,
presenting only a staff surmounted by a few tattered
streamers riddled with balls and blackened with powder,
he took off his hat and bowed. When the parade was
finished, he dismounted, and with a bold step ascended
the staircase of the Valois and the Bourbons.

In the evening, when Bonaparte was alone with
Bourrienne, the latter asked : " Well, General, are you

" Yes," replied Bonaparte, vaguely. " It all went oflf
well, did it not r'


"I saw you with Mme. Bonaparte at the window of
the ground floor of the pavilion of Flora."


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** I saw you, too, General ; you were reading the inscrip-
tion over the gateway of the Carrousel/*

" Yes," said Bonaparte. " ' August 10, 1 792, Royalty is
abolished in France, never to return.' "

" Shall we bring it back. General ] " asked Bourrienne.

" It is useless," replied the First Consul ; " it would
fall again of its own weight.'* Then with a sigh, he
asked, " Bourrienne, do you know whom I missed

« No, General."

"Roland. What the devil can he be doing, that he
does not send us any news?''

What Roland was doing, we are about to know.


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The reader has not forgotten the situation in which the
escort of the Seventh Chasseurs found the mail-coach
from Chamhery. The first thing they did was to seek
for the obstacle which prevented Roland from leaving the
coach. They soon found the padlock, and opened the door.
Roland leaped from the carriage like a tiger from his cage.

As we have said, the ground was covered with snow.
Roland as a hunter and soldier had only one idea : it
was to track the companions of Jehu. He had seen
them disappear in the direction of Thoissey ; but he be-
lieved that they could not follow it for any great distance,
since between that little town and themselves rolled the
Sa6ne, and there were no bridges to cross the river except
at Belleville and at Macon. He ordered the escort and
the conductor to wait on the high-road ; and he himself,
on foot, without even stopping to reload his pistols, went
in search of Morgan and his companions.

Roland was not mistaken. A quarter of a league from
the road the fugitives had found the Saone. They had
stopped there and deliberated an instant, as -could be seen
by the stamping of the horses. Then they had separated
into two divisions; one had gone up the river towards
Macon, and the other had descended it towards Belle-
ville. This division had evidently been for the purpose
of throwing doubt upon those who pursued them, if they
were pursued.


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Roland had heard the rallying-cry of the chief, " To-
morrow evening at the place you know." He did not
doubt that whichever track he followed, whether that
which went up or that which descended the Sadiie, would
lead, if the snow did not melt too quickly, to the place of
meeting. Whether they went together or separately, the
companions of Jehu would meet in the end. He went
back, following his own tracks, and ordered the conductor
to put on the boots which had been thrown upon the
road by the false postilion, to get on the horse and take
the coach to the next stopping-place, which was Belle-
ville. The quartermaster of the Chasseurs and four of
the soldiers who knew how to write were to accompany
the conductor, to sign the report with him. He forbade
them absolutely to mention him or what had become of him,
for he did not wish to put the robbers on their guard
against his future plans. The remainder of the escort
were to take the body of the chief of brigade to Macon,
and make there another report which should agree with
that of the conductor, and in which there should be no
more mention of Roland than in the other.

This order given, the young man caused one of his
soldiers to dismount from the horse whose appearance
pleased him best Then he reloaded his pistols, which he
put into the saddle in place of those of the horse's
owner. After which, promising the conductor and the
soldiers a prompt vengeance, — dependent, however, upon
the manner in which they kept his secret, — he mounted
his horse and disappeared in the same direction that he
had already taken once before.

When Roland reached the point where the two divi-
sions separated, he had to make a choice between the trails.
He chose that which went down the Sa6ne towards Belle-
ville. He had an excellent reason for making this choice.


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In the first place, he was nearer Belleville than Macon.
Then again, he had stayed twenty-four hours in Macon,
and might be recognized there, while he had never been
at Belleville except to change horses when he had hap-
pened to pass through in a post-chaise.

All that we have just related had taken scarcely an
hour. Eight o'clock in the evening rang out from the
clock in Thoissey when Roland hastened in pursuit of the
fugitives. The road was well defined. Five or six horses
had left their tracks upon the snow. One of these horses
was a pacer. Roland jumped the two or three brooks
which intersected the plain that he was crossing to get to
Belleville. When near Belleville he stopped. A new
division had taken place there. Two of the six riders
had gone to the right; that is, away from the Sa6ne.
Four had gone to the left ; that is, they had continued on
the way towards Belleville. At the entrance of Belle-
ville a third division had taken place. Three riders had
gone around the town; one alone had followed the

Roland kept to the one who had followed the street,
very certain of being able to regain the track of the
others. The one who had followed the street had stopped
at a pretty house between a courtyard and garden, bear-
ing the number 67. He had rung, and some one had
come to open the gate. The steps of the person who had
come to open it for him could be seen through the gate,
and beside these footsteps was another track, — that of
the horse which they had taken to the stable. Evidently
one of the companions of Jehu had stopped there.

Roland, by going to the mayor and stating his author-
ity, could have the man arrested at once. But that was not
his desire. He did not care to arrest a single individual ;
he wanted to take the whole troop with one drawing of


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the net. He engraved upon hia memory the number 67,
and continued on his way. He crossed the whole town
and went a hundred paces beyond the last house without
seeing any other tracks. He was about to retrace his steps
when it occurred to him that these tracks, if they were to
reappear at all, would do so at the head of the bridge.
In truth, at the head of the bridge he recognized the
track of the three horses. They were the same, for one
of the horses paced.

Eoland galloped along the track of those whom he
was pursuing. When he got to Monceaux he found they
had taken the same precaution, — they had gone around
the village. But Roland was too good a bloodhound to
be uneasy at this, and kept upon his way, and at the
other end of Monceaux he found again the fugitives'
tracks. A little way before they reached Chdtillon one of
the three horses left the road, turned to the right, and
went towards a little chllteau situated upon a hill, a few
steps distant from the road from ChStillon to Tr^voux.
This time the remaining horsemen, thinking that they
had done enough to turn from the track any one who
might have followed them, had quietly crossed Chatillon
and taken the road to Neuville.

The direction followed by the fugitives delighted Ro-
land. They were evidently on the way to Bourg, for if
they were not going there they would have taken the road
to Marlieux. Now, Bourg was the headquarters which Ro-
land himself had chosen as the centre of his operations.
It was his own city ; and with the vividness of childish re-
membrance he knew every bush, every ruin, and every cave
in the neighborhood. At Neuville the fugitives had gone
around the village. Roland did not disturb himself at
this manoeuvre, which he had already met with and over-
come ; but on the other side of Neuville he found only


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grudge against them^ threw the animal into the ditch, and
fled across the fields, regaining the forest of Seillon.

" Hallo, Michel ! " cried Roland, more and more con-
vinced that it was his gardener.

Michel stopped short. The other man continued on his
way across the fields.

** Hallo, Jacques ! " cried Roland.

The other man stopped. If they had been recognized
it was useless to fly. Besides, the call had not been hos-
tile ; the voice was i-ather friendly than otherwise.

" Why," said Jacques, " it sounds like M. Roland."

" And it is himself," said Michel.

The two men stopped their flight towards the woods,
and returned to the road.

Roland had not heard what the two poachers said, but
he had guessed it. " Yes, it is I," he cried.

A moment more, and Michel and Jacques were with
him. Father and son both asked questions at once, and
it must be confessed that they were excusable. Roland
dressed as a citizen, and mounted upon a hunter at three
o'clock in the morning, on the road from Bourg to Noires-
Fontaines ! The young officer cut short the questions.

" Silence, you poachers!" he said, "put this deer up be-
hind me and lead the way to the house. No one must know
of my presence at Noires- Fontaines, not even my sister."

Roland spoke with the authority of a soldier, and they
each knew that when he gave an order there was no gain-
saying it. They picked up the deer and put it on the horse
behind Roland, and the two men, trotting briskly along, fol-
lowed the slow trot of the hprse. There was scarcely a
quarter of a league more to traverse. It took ten minutes.

At a hundred paces from the house Roland stopped.
The two men were sent ahead as scouts to make sure
that everything was quiet. When the exploration waa


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finished, they made a sign to Roland to come. He ad-
vanced, dismounted from his horse, found the door of
the pavilion open, and went in. Michel led the horse
to the stable, and brought the deer to the pantry ; for
Michel belonged to that honorable class of poachera who
hunt their game for the pleasure of killing it, and not for
the sake of selling it. They need not have disturbed
themselves either about the horse or the deer. Amdlie
paid no more attention to what was passing in the stable
than to what was set before her at table.

In the mean time Jacques lighted a fire. When he came
back, Michel brought the remnant of a leg of mutton and
a half-dozen eggs to make an omelet. Jacques made ready
a bed in a small room. Roland warmed himself, and ate
his supper without uttering a word.

The two men looked at him with an astonishment which
was not exempt from uneasiness. A report of the expedi-
tion to Seillon had got abroad, and it was suspected that it
was Roland who had led it. It was evident that he was
returning now from some expedition of the same kind.

When Roland had finished eating he raised his head
and called Michel. " Here ! are you there 1 " he said.

" I am waiting for orders."

"Here are my orders; listen attentively."

" I am all ears."

" It is a question of life or death. Nay, more : it is a

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Online LibraryAlexandre DumasThe companions of Jehu → online text (page 15 of 24)