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are fully acquainted with them . . . but "

M. de began to unriddle the mystery.

" But, you understand, M. le Comte, it is impossible we can say that
you are visiting Madame de Sartines at the hours when we are compelled
to pretend that we lose sight of you . . .. and yet we must speak. Either
permit us to invent a falsehood, or change your direction."

M. de looked at the chief speaker, and smiled.

" Thou art a clever fellow," said he, throwing him a purse filled with
gold. " There, divide that with thy comrades — I lose my wager."

He tried their discretion no further, as may be supposed, but admitted
the accuracy of their next report, and acknowledged himself vanquished ;
while M. de Sartines, rubbing his hands, repeated :

" I was confident of it ! Plow could you think, my dear fellow, that
anything could be concealed from a lieutenant-general of police ? " and
afterwards added : " I could only wish you were more regular in your
habits. Why, deuce take it, my good fellow, why can't you choose from
good society 1 "

TOL. III. — 13



194 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANXilS.

engraved with a fine head of Pescennius Niger, is in
silver. Next to this were medals of Eomulus; Alex-
ander, a tyrant in Africa; and the younger Antoninus.
If tliis last medal has been stolen, it is an irreparable
loss to art and to France, so indeed are all the others I
have mentioned above.

Amongst other parts of the National Library, we saw
the Cabinet of Manuscripts, [at the head of which at that
time was M. Langles] containing Chinese manuscripts,
those of the Arabian Tales, the " Thousand and One
Nights," so dear to all who have fertile and creative
imaginations ; an immense quantity of Hebrew, Tartar,
Greek, and Latin manuscripts, and amongst them perfect
copies of Propertius, Catullus, Tibullus, and Sappho, and
a poem by Claudian, etc. It is well known that the
library now occupies the Palais Mazarin, and that the
largest of its five rooms was formerly the Cardinal's
library. It is a hundred and forty feet long by twenty-
two in width. The ceiling was painted by Eomanelli.

The Cabinet of Engravings, water-colour drawings,
title-deeds, and genealogies is also very curious; the
collection of engravings made by the Abb^ Marolles
contains specimens from the year 1470, when the art
was first invented, up to the present day. I would par-
ticularly recommend to the attention of visitors a collec-
tion of engravings or stamps made to illustrate an edition
of Dante in the year 1481, only eleven years after the
first invention of the art.

At the time we thus visited, like foreign travellers,
this magnificent depot of human truth and error, the
number of its printed books, as we were informed by
the persons at the head of the establishment, was up-
wards of three hundred thousand ; of the manuscripts,
fifty thousand ; and the Cabinet of Engravings contained
about three hundred thousand subjects in ten thousand



CHARITABLE IXSTITUTIONS. 195

portfolios. We visited also the libraries of the various
public edifices, but after examining that which I had so
much admired it was mere waste of time. It must cer-
tainly be admitted that, in whatever advances the interests
of science, Paris is the most amply endowed city in the
world.

All the charitable institutions, of which I had partly
the superintendence, by virtue of Junot's office as Com-
mandant, of course occupied part of our attention, as well
as other establishments calculated to excite curiosity ; such
as the Orphan Asylum, the Museum of Natural History,
that temple of Nature, comprising an abridgment of the
universe, which the solicitous care of Messieurs Thibeau-
deau and Fourcroy rescued from the general destruction
of the days of terror ; and to which M. Chaptal, when he
rose to a place in the Ministry, afforded his special pro-
tection, as belonging to the science he professed.

We dedicated one day to a survey of the Barriers, those
proofs of the folly of M. de Calonne, and no less of M.
de Brienne, however he may have afterwards repented it.
Those Barriers, destined to promote the interests only of
the farmers -general of the revenue, excited complaints all
over the city. The new enclosure appeared to its inhab-
itants a species of prison, and even the imnecessary and
ridiculous pains bestowed on the decoration of the Bar-
riers could not reconcile them to their confinment; but
as the good citizens cannot even scold without a laugh,
ballads were composed on the subject — for what do we
not turn into ballads? Among other epigrams, the
following was produced :

" Le mur murant Paris rend Paris murmurant."

These excursions occupied altogether six weeks; the
party constantly varying with the engagements of our
friends, who had all occasionally other calls, some of



196 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANT4:S.

business, others of pleasure; for my own part, I have
preserved to the present moment an agreeable remem-
brance of those days which passed so rapidly, yet were
so well filled.

About this time an event occurred which made much
noise at Paris. Mademoiselle Chameroi, a famous dancer,
had died in childbed, greatly lamented by Vestris. The
Curd of Saint Roche deemed the profession of the deceased
and the mode of her death doubly scandalous, and refused
her admission within the pale of the Church.

The people of Paris were not yet, as in 1816, replaced
under the ecclesiastic sceptre ; they were discontented ;
the Curd did but augment the evil by grounding his
refusal on facts injurious to the memory of the unhappy
deceased ; the storm had begun to threaten, when it was
dispersed by Dazincourt, who acted in this emergency
with courage and firmness, and succeeded in preventing
a scandal still greater than that which the Curd sought
to avoid, for the people were beginning to talk of forcing
the church doors. Dazincourt prevailed on them to carry
the body to the church belonging to the Convent of the
Filles Saint Thomas, where the functionary performed
the funeral service, and the matter terminated.

Not so the First Consul's displeasure; his recent resti-
tution of the clergy to their churches, and provision for
their support, was accompanied by the implied condition
that intolerance and fanaticism should be expunged from
their creed ; and a sort of hostile declaration on their
part, following so closely upon the recovery of their im-
munities, extorted a frown, and excited him to let fall
some of those expressions which never escaped him but
when he was violently agitated.

" They were foolish to insist, " said he, in the presence
of a large company ; " if the Curd of Saint Roche was
determined to create scandal, they should have carried



THE ARCHBISHOP OF PARIS. 197

the corpse straight to the cemetery, and induced the first
wise and tolerant priest who passed near to bless the
grave ; there are still many good ones — the Archbishop
of Paris, for instance! He is a worthy clergyman.
What a venerable old age is his! That man may say
within himself :

" ' I have attained this advanced age without having
injured anyone : I have never done anything but good.'
And do you know why ? Because he acts upon the moral
precepts of the Gospel. Whenever in his former diocese
he wanted alms for the poor, and a ball or fete was given
in the neighbourhood, he appeared among the company to
plead the cause of charity, while their hearts were opened
by mirth and pleasure : he knew that they were then most
sensible to virtuous impressions, and his austerity did
not take alarm at a dance tune. Yes, he is a worthy
priest. "

The Curd of Saint Koche was condemned to do penance,
which was announced officially to his parishioners in the
Moniteur. The latter article is in a peculiar style which
betrays the hand, or at least the mind, of the First Con-
sul ; those who intimately knew him will recognize the
turn of his phraseology in the following copy :

" The Curd of Saint Roche, in a temporary forgetfulness
of reason, has refused to pray for Mademoiselle Chameroi,
and to admit her remains within the church. One of his
colleagues, a sensible man, versed in the true morality of
the Gospel, received the body into the Church of the
Filles Saint Thomas, where the service was performed
with all the usual solemnities. The Archbishop has
ordered the Curd of Saint Eoche three months' suspension
to remind him that Jesus Christ commands us to pray
even for our enemies ; and in order that, recalled to a
sense of his duty by meditation, he may learn that all
the superstitious practices preserved by some rituals, but



198 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTfcS.

which, begotten in times of ignorance, or created by the
over-heated imagination of zealots, degrade religion by
their frivolity, were proscribed by the Concordat, and by
the law of the 18th Germinal. "

Poor Mademoiselle Chameroi was a charming dancer,
and pirouetted delightfully ; ^ but how would her reputa-
tion fall off now, if compared with Mademoiselle Taglioni !
The career of the Opera has effaced that of all the other
theatres ; their glories are extinct while it has risen higher
— but in its company and decorations only ; such beauti-
ful ballets as Psyche and the Danso-Mania, Flora and
Zephyrus, and many other charming compositions of the
olden time, must no longer be looked for.

1 See vol. ii., p. 134.



CHAPTER XVIII.

The children to whom the First Consul stood sponsor
with Madame Bonaparte (for he did not admit anyone
else to share the of&ce with him, except, indeed, very
rarely, Madame Bonaparte the mother, and Madame
Louis, his sister-in-law) were always baptized with
imposing ceremony. Soon after the publication of the
Concordat, several children, and amongst them my
Josephine, the first god-daughter of Napoleon, and the
eldest son of Madame Lannes, were waiting till the First
Consul should appoint the time to be admitted to the
sacrament of regeneration.

I received with pleasure an intimation to hold myself
in readiness with my daughter, as in two days Cardinal
Caprara, the Apostolic Nuncio, would perform the cere-
mony for these little ones in the Consular Chapel at Saint
Cloud. I do not know whether Cardinal Caprara may be
very well remembered at present ; but he was one of the
most crafty emissaries that ever obtained, even from the
seat of Saint Peter, a temporary share in the commerce of
diplomacy. Notwithstanding the decrepitude of his
mien, the weak and subdued key of his musical voice,
the humility of his deportment, and the stealthy inquisi-
tiveness of his glance, that head concealed under its gray
hairs and the scarlet cap of his order more subtlety, more
cunning, more petty perfidy than can well be imagined.

The First Consul, at that time, liked him tolerably
well, seeing in his various artifices only a source of



200 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABKANT^S.

amusement; for, as nothing could tlien exceed the frank
simplicity of our diplomacy, the Nuncio's guarded reserve
and insidious scrutiny were equally waste of time.
General Lannes and Junot, ambassadors to Lisbon,
General Beurnonville to Madrid, General Hedouville
to St. Petersburg, Andrdossy to London, Sebastian! to
Constantinople; all these selections, made by Napoleon
from the military ranks, sufficiently proved that the mis-
sions with which they were charged required no other
enforcement than the will of him from whom they derived
their credentials. It is true, the national vanity suffered
a little from the proceedings of some of these personages,
a rather diverting register of which is in existence, ex-
hibiting sundry infringements of courtly etiquette ; not-
withstanding all which, this was, to my mind, the most
glorious era of French diplomacy. ^

^ The First Consul once related an anecdote which he considered favour-
able to the Prince Regent's good taste, and it was very unusual for
Napoleon to approve any word or act of the Prince of Wales, for whom
he certainly felt no partiality, and was aware that the dislike was
reciprocal.

General Andre'ossy had rei)laced M. Otto in London ; the General was
by no means deficient in politeness ; he had been very well educated, but
was unversed in the language of courts ; he had entered the military ser-
vice previously to the Revolution, and was then too young to have acquired,
from intercourse with the best society of that day, those polished and def-
erential manners which are exacted by the highest ranks in all countries.
England is, perhaps, of all the nations of Europe, the most rigorous in this
exaction. He was frequently in company with the Prince of Wales, then
the most amiable of heirs-apparent, the most liberal of men in all his
notions. He frequently met the French Ambassador at the Duchess of
Devonshire's and other tables, where the affability, easiness of access, and
apparently compliant and obliging disposition of a personage so near the
throne, could not fail of giving universal satisfaction ; while the profound
and ceremonious respect observed by all who approached the Prince, and
of which his utmost condescension never tolerated a moment's transgression,
imparted to his Royal Highness's popularity a tinge of aristocratic homage,
the singular effect of which cannot be thoroughly understood by a stranger
to English manners. General Andre'ossy, who was always politely saluted
by the Prince of Wales, perceiving that his Royal Highness accosted with



CARDINAL CAPRARA. 201

But where have I been wandering? From the keen,
wily, artful Cardinal Caprara, all reverential obsequious-
ness, coughing in the chapel of Saint Cloud, in full
canonicals, with his eyes, and great part of his cheeks,
concealed behind an immense pair of green spectacles.
A remedy, perhaps you imagine, for weakness of sight.
No such thing; but fearing the penetrating look of the
First Consul, that glance which was dreaded even by the
most crafty, he intrenched himself behind a redoubt as
the best means of escaping it. I have been told it was
but a repetition of the part his Eminence had enacted
at Florence during the negotiation of a treaty, in the
course of the Italian wars; but Napoleon, who knew
that the Cardinal was not weak sighted, rallied him so
effectually, in the present instance, that the spectacles
disappeared.

On the day appointed for the baptism, we ail went to
Saint Cloud with our children. Madame Lannes and I
were the two most advanced in our maternity. Her eldest
son, Napoleon, afterwards second Due de Montebello, was
only a few months older than my daughter. He was a
good and lovely child, and possessed a degree of sensi-



perfect familiarity several persons whom he (the General) considered
greatly his own inferiors, imagined he might use his discretion as to eti-
quette, and chatted accordingly with the Prince in a style of easy indiffer-
ence that soon became insupportable to one who prized above all things
that extreme elegance and polished high-breeding of which he was the
English model. Amongst his familiarities was a habit the General had
contracted of calling him mon Prince ! " Good God ! " said he one day, to
some one near him, " do pray tell General Andreossy to desist from calling
me mon Prince ! Why I shall be taken for a Russian Prince." To com-
prehend the full point of this repartee, it must be recollected that both
France and England were at that time inundated with foreigners, espe-
cially with Russians, the greater part of whom were called " my Prince,"
because their fathers, or perhaps their grandfathers, had been capital
horsemen on the banks of the Borysthenes, or the Yai'k, the only qualifica-
tion for nobility amongst the Cossacks.



202 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTiiS.

bility very rare at so tender an age ; his mother doted on
him, and not only punctually fulfilled all the maternal
duties imperiously enjoined by nature, but entirely
devoted herself to him with a self-denial highly merito-
rious in a young woman of such uncommon beauty and
attractions. The First Consul professed a high esteem
for her; and this was no slight distinction, for during
the fourteen years of Napoleon's power I have known but
two other females, Madame Devaisne and Madame de
Montesquiou, to whom he gave proofs of similar respect ;
though he may have felt a warmer friendship for others,
to say nothing of a more tender sentiment.

The conduct of Madame Lannes has on all occasions
justified the preference shown her by Napoleon over the
other ladies attached to his military Court, who were
highly affronted at seeing her seated more frequently
than themselves on the right of the First Consul at
table, chosen for a party at cards, at a hunt, or an ex-
cursion to Malmaison. These decided marks of favour
were no doubt partly ascribable to her husband, " that
Eolando of the French army, " as Napoleon called him,
but those who, like myself, have intimately known
Madame Lannes, can conscientiously certify that they
were as much due to her own character as to the General's
fame, and of this the Emperor gave her the strongest proof
in nominating her as lady of honour to his second wife —
to her who was the object of his tenderest solicitude, and
who, in return, conferred on him nothing but misfortunes,
fetters, and death.

My daughter at the period of her baptism promised all
the loveliness and grace which her advancing years
matured. I may be pardoned this effusion of maternal
pride, for that beauty, those graces, and, I may add, those
talents, and, dearest of all, those virtues, are buried within
a religious cloister, and my child has bid adieu to the



BAPTISM OF JUNOT'S DAUGHTER. 203

world. ^ Napoleon used to smile at the illusion I sought
to pass upon myself at that period in dressing my child
as a boy.

" What is your design ? " inquired he one day, rather
seriously, looking at my little girl, beautiful as a Cupid,
in a little dark gray sailor's jacket and black beaver hat.
" What object have you in putting that child into such a
dress ? Do you destine her for the superlative task of
regenerating her sex, and restoring the race of the Ama-
zons ? " The inflexion of his voice, his smile, the expres-
sion of his eye, all indicated a degree of satire which made
me cautious in my answer. " General, " replied I, " I
have no intention of making a Joan of Arc of my child.
The bronze circle of a helmet and its chin-piece would be
a very unsuitable mounting for those pretty cheeks, where
the lily and rose strive for mastery. " The First Consul
looked again at my daughter. " It is true that little
noisy pet of yours is very pretty, " said he, recollecting
the circumstances of her baptism, " and if she is not to
wear a helmet or set a lance in rest, I suppose it will one
day be her vocation to be popess. "^

This was in allusion to an amusing little scene which
took place at the time when with pride I carried my
beautiful child in my arms to the baptismal font. She
was then fifteen months old ; the chapel, the numerous
company, the clergy, and the bustle, so terrified the poor
little creature that, hiding her pretty face in my bosom,
she burst into tears. She had not yet seen Cardinal
Caprara; his toilet, on occasions of ceremony, was not
quickly completed.

He made his entrance at length from the sacristy, as

1 Mademoiselle .Josephine Junot in after years returned to the world
and married M. Amet.

2 This prediction was curiously borne out, the boy-girl mentioned above
becoming for a time a Canoness.



204: MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTiiS.

red as a ripe pomegranate, resplendent in the blaze of
many pastoral and cardinal rubies, and eminent in with-
ered ugliness sufficient to scare infantine minds accustomed
only to look upon gay smiles and merry faces. As soon
as Josephine saw him I felt her cling closer to me and
tremble in my arms, her rosy cheeks turning pale as
death.

When the service was nearly ended, and the First
Consul and Madame Bonaparte approached the font to
present the infants for the ceremony of sprinkling,
" Give me your child, Madame Junot, " said the First
Consul ; and he endeavoured to take her, but she uttered
a piercing cry, and, casting a look of anger on Napoleon,
twined her little arms closer round my neck. " What a
little devil ! Well, then, will you please to come to me.
Mademoiselle Demon ? " said he to the little one.

The little Josephine, however, did not understand his
words, but seeing his hands held out to take her, and
knowing that her will, whether negative or commanding,
was pretty generally absolute, she raised her pretty head,
fixed her bright eyes on him, and answered in her childish
prattle : " I will not. " The First Consul laughed. " Well,
keep her in your arms then, " said he to me ; " but do not
cry any more, " he added, threatening the child with his
finger, " or else — "

But his menaces were unnecessary. Josephine, now
brought nearer to the Cardinal, was no longer afraid of
him, but no doubt thought him something very extra-
ordinary; and her eyes, fixed on the Prelate, seemed to
inquire what sort of animal he was. The Cardinal
wore on his head the little black cap resembling those of
our advocates, and^ which is the sign that sanctifies the
purple, and the object of ambition to every man who en-
ters the ecclesiastical profession. Its whimsical form,
surmounting a face no less singular, captivated Josephine



THEFT OF THE CARDINAL'S CAP. 205

in the highest degree. She murmured no more, shed not
another tear, suffered the First Consul to take, and even
to embrace her, and imprint several kisses on her little
round cherry cheeks without any other mark of dissatis-
faction than vi^iping her cheek with the back of her little
plump hand after every kiss.

But her large eyes were meanwhile riveted upon the
person of the venerable Cardinal with an eager attention
, truly laughable. All at once, when no one could possibly
guess what the little plague was meditating, she raised
her round, fair, soft arm, and with her little hand seized
and carried off the cap or hirctta from his Eminence's
head, with a scream of triumph loud enough to be heard
in the courts of the castle.

The poor Cardinal, and all the assistants at the cere-
mony, male and female, were as much alarmed and sur-
prised as diverted by this achievement. Josephine alone
preser\'ed her gravity. She looked at us all round with
an inexpressibly comic air of triumph, and appeared deter-
mined to place the cap on her own head. " Oh no, my
child ! " said the First Consul, who had at last recovered
from his laughing fit ; " with your leave — no such thing.
Give me your plaything — for it is but a bauble, like so
many others, " added he, smiling — " and we will restore
it to the Cardinal. "

But Josephine was in no humour to surrender her
prize ; she would put it on my head, or on her godfather's
own, but she had no notion of restoring it to the cranium
to which it rightfully pertained, and when taken from
her by force her cries were tremendous. " Your daughter
is a perfect demon, " said the First Consul to Junot ; " by
heavens ! she has as stout a voice as the most masculine
boy in France ! But she is very pretty — she really is
pretty. " As he spoke he held her in his arms, and gazed
on that captivating face, which in fact was " really very



206 JIEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABEANTI:S.

pretty. " She looked at Bonaparte without resentment,
and talked no more of leaving him; she even made a
slight resistance when I took her from his arms.

" She is my godchild, my child, " said he, pressing her
father's hand. " I hope you rely on that — do you not,
Junot ? " Junot in such moments had not a word to offer ;
his heart was too full. He turned a moistened eye on the
First Consul, and, when able to speak, said in a faltering
voice : " General, I and all mine have long been accus-
tomed to owe all the blessings of our existence to your
bounty. My children will experience its effects, as their
parents have done; and, like their parents, they will
devote their blood and their lives to you. "

The day after my eldest daughter's baptism Madame
Bonaparte sent me a necklace, consisting of several rows
of fine pearls of the size of large currants ; the clasp was
composed of a single pearl of the purest whiteness, to
which the First Consul added a present of a different
kind — no other than the receipted purchase-contract of
our hotel in the Eue des Champs-Elysdes, which had been
paid by Napoleon's order as a baptismal gift. It cost two
hundred thousand francs.

I have not taken sufficient notice of an important event


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