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the Sistine Chapel, or in his promenades. But the meeting must always
appear to be the effect of chance.



CERVONI ADDRESSES THE POPE. 261

interest, independent of the respect which I, as a
Catholic, owed to the Head of the Church. He gave
me a very beautiful chaplet with a relique, and seemed
pleased to hear me thank him in Italian. On the Pope's
arrival in Paris all the constituted bodies, and all the
authorities, primary and secondary, paid their formal
respects to him. The generals were not the last to
observe this ceremony, though several among them
had evinced a reluctance which gave umbrage to the
Emperor.

On the occasion of the generals paying their visit to
the Pavilion de Plore, a question arose as to which of
them should harangue the Holy Father. Several among
them spoke Italian very fluently, and General Sebas-
tiani, who always had a taste for making speeches,
offered his services, but he was considered too young in
the scale of commanders, and the choice fell on General
Cervoni.

This selection, which was to all appearance perfectly
suitable and proper, gave rise to a droll incident. At
the time when the French entered Eome with Alexander
Berthier, Cervoni, who was then a brigadier-general, was
Military Commandant of the city. It was even said he
ordered the arrest of Pius VII. That, however, was not
the fact; but it was nevertheless believed at the time,
and consequently Cervoni was an object of terror in
Eome. The Pope feared him as he would his evil
genius.

When Cervoni delivered the address in the name of the
generals, the Pope was struck with the pure and elegant
accent with which he spoke Italian. " Come lei jyarla
hene Vltaliano. ..." said his Holiness. " Santo Padre,
sono quasi Italiano. " " Oh ! . . ." " So7io Cor so. "
" Oh! ... Oh! . . ." " Sono Cervoni. " " Oh! . . .
Oh ! . . . Oh ! . . . " And at each exclamation the



262 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTiiS.

Holy Father retreated a few paces backwards, until at
length he got close to the chimney and could go no
farther. The Pope probably thought he was going to be
seized and sent to Valence.

It was irresistibly humorous to hear Cervoni himself
describe this scene, the drollery of which must have been
heightened by the contrast between the voices of the
interlocutors. Cervoni had a clear, sonorous, and power-
ful voice; while the Pope, on the contrary, spoke in a
shrill soprano, and somewhat nasal tone. In person,
Cervoni was not unlike the Pope : he had the same pale
complexion, and the same form of countenance; but at
the period alluded to he was a young and handsome
man.



CHAPTER XXIII.

The formation of the new Court about to be established
now occupied the attention of every mind. The influence
which such a circumstance is sure to engender had already-
manifested itself in active intrigue. Madame Bonaparte,
who was of easy temper and kind disposition, was applied
to on all sides for the presentation of a dame die palais,
a chamberlain, or an equerry ; in short, she was assailed
by that numerous troop composed almost exclusively of
those whose influence was so fatal to the Emperor in
1814. At the time of the coronation this crowd of
expectants was still endurable by the true friends of
Napoleon, for among them were the wives of those men
who had shed their blood for France, and who were
devoted not only to their country, but to the Emperor.

Napoleon, however, was then dreaming of the accom-
plishment of an impossibility, viz., the system of fusion,
about which he said so much at Saint Helena ; and this
statesmanlike but unsuccessful policy is the only excuse
for the grievous error he committed, in surrounding him-
self by individuals who, but a few years before, had
spoken of his downfall as one of their dearest hopes.
The men who were really attached to him saw the error
and pointed it out, but the Emperor was deaf to their
remonstrances, wishing to make allies rather than
enemies, and vainly endeavouring to reunite all parties
for the good of France.



264 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABIlANTfeS.

The dames du palais were, at the period of the corona-
tion, selected from among the wives of the generals and
Grand Officers of the Empire. Madame de Lavalette was
appointed dame d'atours, or tire-woman, and Madame
de La Eochef oucauld, Lady of Honour. ^ The new Court
was refulgent with a species of glory, which women
regard with the same solicitude as men pursue theirs,
viz., elegance and beauty. Of the Princesses and the
young women who formed the Court of the Empress, it
would be difficult to mention one who was not dis-
tinguished for beauty.

Among these were Madame Maret, whose lovely face
and finely-turned figure were equally admired with her
purity of taste and elegance of manner, and Madame
Savary, who possessed a countenance and form of equal
beauty, but had one fault, which was, that, though she
dressed well, there was always some part of her costume
which did not harmonize thoroughly with the rest.
Madame Lannes' fine features resembled Eaphael's or
Correggio's most exquisite Madonnas. But perhaps the
brightest star in this dazzling constellation was Madame
de Ca . . . y. I often thought she might be compared
to one of the Muses. In her were combined perfect
regularity of features with an indescribable charm of
expression, a profusion of soft, rich silken hair, and a
shape replete with grace and elegance.

Madame Durosnel's attractions consisted in her fine



1 I never could comprehend the Emperor's intention in appointing
Madame de La Rochefoucauld to that important post ; it is certain that
she never wished for the situation. The Empress Josephine was indeed
obliged to press her to accept it, and, notwithstanding this, she fre-
quently wished to relinquish it. In person this lady was small and
ill-made, but she was a high-minded and sensible woman, and therefore
she was necessarily subject to some degree of restraint and annoyance in
the situation she held in the most pompous and fashionable Court in
Europe.



THE COURT OF THE EMPRESS. 265

blue eyes, overhung by long and glossy lashes; in her
fascinating smile, which discovered a set of the finest
ivory teeth in the world ; a profusion of fair hair, a hand
and foot cast in the finest proportion, and a general
elegance of manner which indicated a cultivated mind.
Madame Durosnel was married some years later than I,
and her husband was old enough to have passed as her
father.

The Households of the Princesses were formed with a
more direct view to the fusion S7jstem than even that of
the Empress Josephine ; for the individuals about them,
being Heads of Families, carried with them considerable
influence, and gave a colouring to the whole establish-
ment. For instance, the Princess Caroline had for her
Chamberlain M. d'Aligre, whose name and fortune
sufficed, in the Emperor's opinion, to form a banner
round which the most adverse parties might rally.
Indeed, the Faubourg Saint Germain at this period had
reason to be indebted to the Princess Caroline, for it was
through her mediation that the life of the Marquis de
Piivi^re was saved, as the Empress Josephine saved the
two Polignacs.

The Princess Eliza, whose austere temper rendered her
less pliant to her brother's will than other members of
the family, was surrounded by persons not so exclusively
attached to the Faubourg Saint Germain, with the excep-
tion, perhaps, of one of her ladies, Madame de Br . . . n,
who, however, did not remain long with her, but entered
the service of the Princess Borgh^se. Madame Laplace,
the wife of the geometrician, was disposed to join the
Princess in the pursuit of science ; for, in this respect,
Eliza pretty much resembled the Duchesse du Maine.
Nor did the similitude stop here. Her ambitious spirit,
and her imperious disposition, which reduced her hus-



266 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANXfcS.

band to the rank of first officer of her Household, were all
points of resemblance between the two women.

This parallel, however, is not mine, but the Emperor's.
He drew it one day at Saint Cloud, after a sharp dispute
with his sister, relative to a play of the time of Louis
XIV. — Kotrou's Wenceslaus. Talma, at the Emperor's
request, had just been reading an act of that tragedy, and
everyone knows how that celebrated man used to personate
the character of Ladislaus. After awarding due praise to
the admirable manner in which Talma had recited many
of the lines, the conversation turned upon the merits of
the piece itself. The Emperor declared very bluntly
that the play was good for nothing. Then referring to
Cinna, the Cid, and some other of Corneille's principal
works, he concluded by saying : " This is what tragedy
ought to be. "

The Princess Eliza had a great admiration for Voltaire,
and she immediately commenced an attack upon Corneille,
the grounds of which were taken from Voltaire's notes,
which certainly are neither impartial nor just from any
point of view. The Emperor probably felt a little irri-
tated at an attempt to refute him, which he knew to be
unreasonable. The discussion grew warm, and angry
words passed between them. At length Napoleon left
the room, exclaiming : " This is intolerable ; you are
absolutely the caricature of the Duchesse du Maine."
The expression struck me as being as droll as it was just.
It would seem that Napoleon was much pleased with it
himself, for one day at Neuilly, as he was ridiculing the
performance of Alzire, he said the Princess Eliza had
parodied the part of Alzire, and played it en caricature.

The drawing -room of Saint Cloud, in which the above
little dispute happened, presented on another occasion a
scene which subsequent circumstances rendered remark-
able. Madame Leclerc lost her husband at Saint Domingo ;



THE PRLNCESS BORGHi:SE. 267

she had his body embalmed, and she returned home with
his remains on board the same vessel which had conveyed
him to the island a few months before in perfect health.
The Emperor, who thoroughly knew her disposition, and
who was anxious that she should wear her weeds with
decorum, consigned the young widow to the care of his
brother Joseph and his amiable spouse.

Madame Leclerc was consequently lodged in the Hotel
Marboeuf, in the Eue du Faubourg Saint Honord, then
occupied by Joseph Bonaparte. Here I saw her on her
return from Saint Domingo. She had then a frightful
sore upon her hand, which, though it was healed for a
time, appeared again in spite of all the efforts of her phy-
sicians. She looked most angelic in her weeds, though
she was evidently impatient of the retirement they
imposed on her ! " I shall certainly sink under this,
Laurette, " said she to me one day. " If my brother
determines to shut me out from the world, I will put an
end to my existence at once. "

Junot observed that, though we had a Venus de
Medicis, a Venus of the Capitol, and a Venus Callipyge,
we had never before heard of a " Venus Suicide. " At
this compliment the features of Madame Leclerc instantly
brightened up, and extending her hand to Junot, she
said : " Come and see me often, Junot ; you are one of
my old friends. Laurette, you need not be jealous, for
you know I am going to be married. "

Accordingly, a short time after, Xapoleon, who was
then only First Consul, arranged a marriage between her
and Prince Camille Borghese. When I saw the Prince I
was struck with his handsome appearance ; I was not
then aware of his complete absence of intellect.

I reckon myself fortunate in having been a witness to
the wedding visit of the Princess Borghese to her sister-
in-law, Madame Bonaparte. I was well aware of the



268 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTi:S.

rivalry which existed between these two ladies, and had
observed many instances of the jealousy which Madame
Leclerc entertained of Madame Bonaparte. I well knew
Madame Leclerc's character, her excessive vanity, her
constant endeavour to be thought not only the most beau-
tiful, but the most brilliant of her sex. How often have
I seen her shed tears of vexation at beholding her sister-
in-law covered with diamonds and pearls of regal
splendour !

On the evening of her introduction as Princess Borgh^se
to Madame Bonaparte at Saint Cloud she exhibited one
of the most striking traits in her character. It may well
be conceived that her toilet that day was an affair of the
utmost importance. After considering every colour, and
consulting the opinion of all about her, she at last fixed
upon a robe of green velvet, upon which, with no great
regard to taste, were displayed all the diamonds of the
house of Borgh^se, forming what was then called a
MatUlde. Her head, her neck, her ears, and arms, were
loaded with diamonds; in short, she was a dazzling
mass of jewels, and the satisfaction she enjoyed in this
gaudy display was most amusing. Wlien she entered the
room she observed the sensation she created, and the flush
of triumph which overspread her countenance certainly
made her look extremely beautiful.

Her intention was obviously to mortify her sister-in-
law, and she seemed to revel in her triumph. She was a
Princess, the most beautiful of her sex, possessing a col-
lection of jewels more splendid than was possessed by
any private gentlewoman in Europe, and a settlement of
two millions a year. After she had passed round the
room, she came and sat next me. " Laurette, my little
Laurette ! only look at them, " said she ; " they are ready
to burst with envy ! But 't is no matter : I am a
Princess, and a real one. "



MARMONT'S DISGRACE AND ITS CAUSE. 269

I could not help recollecting this last expression when
I was at Eome in 1818 ; I then saw her at the Borghfese
Palace, enjoying the protection which the Pope had
extended to the Princess Borghfese. Thus she was not
only the first Princess of her family, but she contrived to
retain her rank amidst all the disasters of her relatives.

Although a general joy pervaded all minds at this
moment, Junot was vexed that the name of his friend
Marmont did not appear on the list of appointments
which had been made on the formation of the Empire ;
he was neither created a Grand Officer of the Empire nor
a Grand Officer of the Crown. Such a sincere friendship
attached Junot to his old college companion, and his
first brother-in-arms, that he was distressed at this evi-
dence of neglect.

Junot assured me that he knew the author of it, though
from motives of prudence he would not inform Marmont.
I pressed him to tell me, and though I was shocked I was
not surprised ; to accuse others was the constant practice
of the individual in question, who, holding as he did the
very highest rank in the army, should have preserved a
noble and honourable line of conduct instead of earning
for himself an odious reputation. Some time after the
coronation, when Prince Eugene was appointed Grand
Chancellor of State, the rank of Colonel-General of
Chasseurs was given to Marmont.

On the 1st of December the Conservative Senate pre-
sented to the Emperor the votes of the nation. It is
worthy of remark that for the Empire there were only
two thousand five hundred and seventy-nine negative
votes, and three millions five hundred and seventy-five
affirmative, while for the Consulate for life there were, I
believe, nearly nine thousand negative votes. I break-
fasted with the Empress on the very day of the presenta-
tion of the registers to the Emperor, and I can positively



270 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTfeS.

affirm, whatever may have been said to the contrary, that
Josephine had no gloomy presentiments either as regarded
herself or Napoleon.

She was in excellent spirits, and she told me that the
Emperor had that morning made her try on the crown
which next day he was to place on her head before the
eyes of France ; and she shed tears of joy while she men-
tioned this. She also spoke feelingly of the disappoint-
ment she had experienced on receiving the Emperor's
refusal to her solicitation for the return of Lucien. " I
wished to make to-morrow a day of grace," said she;
" but Bonaparte " (for she continued to call him by this
name long after his elevation to the Empire, " impatiently
rejected my suit, and I was compelled to be silent. I
wished to prove to Lucien that I can return good for evil.
If you should see him let him know it. "

I was astonished at Napoleon's inflexibility towards
his brother, and one, too, to whom he owed so much.
His marriage with Madame Jauberthon was alleged to be
the unpardonable offence he had committed ; but I am of
opinion that the republican sentiments entertained by
Lucien formed the real objection to his recall to France.
Another circumstance which augmented the hostility of
the Emperor towards his brother was the conduct of
Madame Lsetitia Bonaparte. She warmly espoused the
cause of her exiled son, and quitted Paris for the purpose
of conveying to him assistance and consolation.

The elder Madame Bonaparte's maternal feelings were
painfully lacerated at this period of general joy and fes-
tivity. Her youngest son, Jerome, was excluded from
the family circle which Napoleon had collected around
him, and to which he looked for the consolidation of his
future power. Jerome had married Miss Patterson in
America. Though he was at the time a mere boy, yet the
marriage was nevertheless valid, since it took place with



JEROME BONAPARTE EXCLUDED FROM FRANCE. 271

the consent of his mother and his elder brother. But the
First Consul was furiously indignant at the conduct of
the young enseigne de vaisseau, conceiving that as head
of the Government he was also the head of his family.

Jerome had left America to return to Europe. Madame
Lsetitia informed the Emperor of his departure; and
Napoleon immediately took measures to prevent his land-
ing, not only in any of the ports of France, but also
those of Holland and Belgium, and wherever he had
power to exclude him. I make no comment on this
severity; subsequent events may or may not have justi-
fied it; of that the reader will presently be able to judge.
Be this as it may, Madame Lsetitia Bonaparte was, at the
time of the coronation in Eome, without either title or
distinction. She was, however, introduced in David's
picture of the coronation. This must have been by com-
mand of the Emperor, for I cannot imagine that the idea
was suggested by herself.



CHAPTEK XXIV.

Befoee daybreak on the 2nd of December all Paris was
alive and in motion ; indeed, hundreds of persons had
remained up the whole of the night. Many ladies had
the courage to get their hair dressed at two o'clock in
the morning, and then sat quietly in their chairs until
the time arrived for arranging the other parts of their
toilet. We were all very much hurried, for it was
necessary to be at our posts before the procession moved
from the Tuileries, for which nine o'clock was the
appointed hour.

I was at that time as intimate with the Duchess of
Eagusa as Junot was with her husband, though she
afterwards quarrelled with me, for some reason that I
never could discover. We arranged to go together to
Notre Dame, and we set out at half-past seven in the
morning. Junot was to carry one of the honours of
Charlemagne — the ball or the hand of Justice, I do not
now recollect which. We accordingly left him busily
engaged in arraying himself in his peer's robes.

Who that saw Notre Dame on that memorable day can
ever forget it ? I have witnessed in that venerable pile
the celebration of sumptuous and solemn festivals ; but
never did I see anything at all approximating in splendour
to the coup (Z'eg^'Z' exhibited at Napoleon's coronation.
The vaulted roof re-echoed the sacred chanting of the
priests, who invoked the blessing of the Almighty on



CORONATION OF NAPOLEON. 273

the ceremony about to be celebrated, while they awaited
the arrival of the Vicar of Christ, whose throne was
prepared near the altar.

Along the ancient walls of tapestry were ranged,
according to their ranks, the different bodies of the State,
the deputies from every city ; in short, the representatives
of all France assembled to implore the benediction of
Heaven on the sovereign of the people's choice. The
waving plumes which adorned the hats of the Senators,
Councillors of State, and Tribunes ; the splendid uniforms
of the military ; the clergy in all their ecclesiastical
pomp ; and the multitude of young and beautiful women,
glittering in jewels, and arrayed in that style of grace
and elegance which is to be seen only in Paris — all
together presented a picture which has perhaps rarely
been equalled, and certainly never excelled.

The Pope arrived first; and at the moment of his
entering the cathedral the anthem T^i es Petrus was
chanted. His Holiness advanced from the door with an
air at once majestic and humble. Ere long the firing of
cannon announced the departure of the procession from
the Tuileries. Prom an early hour in the morning the
weather had been exceedingly unfavourable. It was cold
and rainy, and appearances seemed to indicate that the
procession would be anything but agreeable to those who
joined in it.

But, as if by the especial favour of Providence, of
which so many instances are observable in the career of
Napoleon, the clouds suddenly dispersed, the sky bright-
ened up, and the multitudes who lined the streets from
the Tuileries to the cathedral enjoyed the sight of the
procession without being, as they had anticipated,
drenched by a December rain. Napoleon, as he passed
along, was greeted by heart-felt expressions of enthusi-
astic love and attachment.
VOL. III. — 18



274 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTfeS.

On his arrival at ISTotre Dame, Napoleon ascended the
Throne, which was erected in front of the Grand Altar.
Josephine took her place beside him, surrounded by the
assembled sovereigns of Europe. ^ Napoleon appeared
singularly calm. I watched him narrowly, with the
view of discovering whether his heart beat more unsteadily
beneath the imperial trappings than under the uniform
of the Guards ; but I could observe no difference, and yet
I was only ten paces from him.

The length of the ceremony, however, seemed to
weary him ; and I saw him several times check a yawn.
Nevertheless, he did everything he was required to do
with propriety. "Wlien the Pope anointed him with the
triple unction on the head and both hands, I fancied
from the direction of his eyes that he was thinking of
wiping off the oil rather than of anything else ; and I
was so perfectly acquainted with the workings of his
countenance that I have no hesitation in saying that was
really the thought that crossed his mind at the moment.
During the ceremony of the anointing the Holy Father
delivered that impressive prayer which concluded with
these words :

" Diffuse, Lord, by my hands, the treasures of

your grace and benediction on your servant, Napoleon, whom,
in spite of our personal unworthiness, we this day anoint
Emperor in your name.^^

Napoleon listened to this prayer with an air of pious
devotion ; but just as the Pope was about to take the
crown, called the crown of Charlemagne, from the Altar,
Napoleon seized it and placed it on his own head. ^ At

1 This is an exaggeration on Madame Junot's part.

2 At that moment there occurred one of those incidents which pass
unheeded when they are not followed by any particular consequence,
but which, nevertheless, furnish food for superstition. For several



DEMEANOUR OF THE EMPRESS. 275

that moment he was really handsome, and his counte-
nance was lighted up with an expression of which no
words can convey an idea. He had removed the wreath
of laurel which he wore on entering the church, and
which encircles his brow in the fine picture of Gerard.
The crown was perhaps, in itself, less becoming to him ;
but the expression excited by the act of putting it on
rendered him perfectly handsome.

When the moment arrived for Josephine to take an
active part in the grand drama, she descended from the
Throne and advanced towards the Altar, where the
Emperor awaited her, followed by her retinue of Court
ladies, and having her train borne by the Princesses
Caroline, Julie, Eliza, and Louis. One of the chief
beauties of the Empress Josephine was riot merely her
fine figure, but the elegant turn of her neck, and the way
in which she carried her head ; indeed, her deportment
altogether was conspicuous for dignity and grace. I
have had the honour of being presented to many real
princesses, to use the phrase of the Faubourg Saint
Germain, but I never saw one who, to my eyes, presented


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