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so perfect a personification of elegance and majesty.

In Napoleon's countenance I could read the conviction
of all I have just said. He looked with an air of com-
placency at the Empress as she advanced towards him ;
and when she knelt down — when the tears which she

months previous to the coronation the ancient roof and walls of Notre
Dame had been unmercifully hammered l)y the workmen employed in
fixing up the decorations ; and several small particles of stone which
had been thus loosened fell during the ceremony into the nave and choir.
Just at the moment when Napoleon seized the crown and placed it on
his own head, a stone about the size of a nut fell from the roof, directly
over the Emperor's shoulder. There was no movement or gesture of
the Emperor which could enable me to guess whether or not he felt the
stone touch him ; but, small as it was, considering the vast height from
which it fell it is scarcely possible to believe he could be entirely uncon-
scious of the circumstance. — Duchesse d'Abrantes.



276 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTfeS.

could not repress fell upon her clasped hands, as they
were raised to Heaven, or rather to Napoleon — both
then appeared to enjoy one of those fleeting moments of
pure felicity which are unique in a lifetime, and serve
to fill up a lustrum of years. The Emperor performed
with peculiar grace every action required of him during
the ceremony ; but his manner of crowning Josephine
was most remarkable : after receiving the small Crown
surmounted by the cross, he had first to place it on
his own head, and then to transfer it to that of the
Empress.

When the moment arrived for placing the Crown on
the head of the woman whom popular superstition
regarded as his good genius, his manner was almost
playful. He took great pains to arrange this little
Crown, which was placed over Josephine's tiara of
diamonds ; he put it on, then took it off, and finally put
it on again, as if to promise her she should wear it
gracefully and lightly. My position enabled me fortu-
nately to see and observe every minute action and gesture
of the principal actors in this magical scene.

This part of the ceremony being ended, the Emperor
descended from the Altar to return to his Throne, while
the magnificent Vivat was performed by the full chorus.
At this moment the Emperor, whose keen eye had
hitherto glanced rapidly from one object to another,
recognized me in the corner which I occupied. He fixed
his eye upon me, and I cannot attempt to describe the
thoughts which this circumstance conjured up in my
mind. A naval officer once told me that during a ship-
wreck, when he had given himself up for lost, the whole
picture of his past- life seemed to unfold itself before him
in the space of a minute. May it not be presumed that
Napoleon, when he looked at me, was assailed by a host
of past recollections ; that he thought of the Eue des



I



CONVEESATION WITH NAPOLEON. 277

Filles Saint Thomas and of the hospitality he had shared
in my father's house, and the ride in a carriage with my
mother, when, returning from Saint Cyr, he exclaimed :
" Oh ! si j'ctais le maitre ! "

When I saw the Emperor a few days afterwards, he
said : " Why did you wear a black velvet dress at the
coronation ? " This question took me so by surprise that
I could not readily reply. " Was it a sign of mourning ? "
continued he. " Oh, Sire ! " I exclaimed, and the tears
started to my eyes. Napoleon looked at me as if he
would scan my very inmost thoughts. " But tell me, "
said he, " why did you make choice of that sombre, I
may almost say sinister, colour ? " " Your Majesty did
not observe that the front of my robe was richly embroid-
ered with gold, 1 and that I wore my diamonds. I did
not conceive that there was anything unsuitable in my
dress, not being one of those ladies whose situations
required them to appear in full Court costume. " " Is
that remark intended to convey an indirect reproach ?
Are you like certain other ladies, because they have not
been appointed dames du palais ? I do not like sulkiness
and ill-humour. " " Sire, I have shown no ill-humour ;
but for that I claim no merit, because I feel none. Junot
has informed me that your Majesty does not wish to
make double appointments in your Household and that
of the Empress, and that when the husband is one of the
military Household the wife cannot be a dame du
palais.'" " Junot told you so, did he ? And how hap-
pened he to mention that ? Were you complaining ? Are
you infected with ambition ? I hate ambitious women.
Unless they are Queens they are intriguers ; remember
that, Madame Junot. But now tell me, are you not

1 The fact is, that black or dark-coloured velvet dresses were mnch
worn at that time, especially with diamonds. There were a great many
at Napoleon's coronation.



278 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABUANT^S.

vexed at not being appointed dame du palais ? Answer
me candidly ; if a woman can be candid. " " I will,
Sire ; but your Majesty will not believe me. " " Come,
come, let me have an answer. " " Then I am not vexed. "
" Why ? " " Because I am not one of those persons who
can easily conform to absolute subjection ; and your
Majesty would probably wish that the protocol for regu-
lating the Court of the Empress should be framed on the
model of a military code. " Napoleon laughed. " Not
unlikely, " resumed he. " However, I am satisfied ; you
have given me a very good answer, and I shall remember
it. " Then, after a pause, he said : " Poor Junot ! did
you observe how his feelings were moved at the corona-
tion ? He is a faithful friend. Who could have fore-
seen, when we were both at Toulon ten years ago, that
we should live to see such a day as the 2nd of December ? "
" Perhaps Junot, Sire. "

Here I reminded him of a letter which my husband
wrote to his father in 1794, and in which he refuted the
objection of the old man who blamed him for leaving his
regiment to follow the fortune of an obscure and unknown
general like Bonaparte. Junot replied : " You ask me
who General Bonaparte is. He is one of those men
whom Nature creates sparingly, and who appear in the
world now and then in the lapse of ages. " My father-
in-law showed this letter to the First Co7isul when he
passed through Dijon after the Battle of Marengo, and
the Emperor appeared quite struck with the recollection
which I called to his mind. The conversation between
myself and Napoleon, which I have just described, took
place at a ball which was given either by the War
Minister or M. de Talleyrand, I forget which.



CHAPTEE XXV.

JuNOT returned home one day with, a thoughtful and
almost melancholy air. He told me that the Emperor
was desirous of giving him a proof of his confidence, of
which doubtless he was very sensible, but which, never-
theless, caused him some uneasy apprehensions. The
Emperor had proposed that he should proceed on an
embassy to Portugal. At first I beheld only the brilliant
side of the matter, and I said : " Well, why are you
dissatisfied ? "

" Because, " replied Junot, " I am not calculated for
diplomacy, and that brave and excellent fellow Lannes
tells me that the Court of Lisbon is a perfect bear-
garden, and that I should be sure to get into some scrape.
England is all-powerful at Lisbon ; Austria threatens to
turn her back upon us, as well as Prussia and Eussia ;
therefore you may well imagine that I am not much
inclined to go to take a siesta in Portugal amidst the
firing of cannon and musketry. "

I knew Junot's character, and I made no reply ; indeed,
this last objection closed my mouth. For my own part,
the bare idea of quitting Prance rendered me miserable.
However, as this was an affair which might place Junot
in a situation to show what he was capable of, I did not
wish to turn him from a path which might augment his
reputation as a man of merit and talent.

There was one very disagreeable circumstance connected
with it. Junot's predecessor. General Lannes, who was



280 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTfeS.

disliked at Lisbon and wished to return home, as it was
said, formed a plan for getting himself recalled. At that
time Lord Eobert Fitzgerald, who had been secretary to
the embassy in Paris in 1790, filled the office of English
Ambassador at Lisbon. No man could possess more
polished though cold manners, or a more dignified address.
His personal appearance, too, was in his favour, and
formed a singular contrast to that of his wife, who was
an extremely plain woman, and whose hatred of France
caused her to assume at intervals the air of a fury. She
spoke of the Emperor as a brigand, deserving of the
scaffold, and she always alluded to him in a strain of
invective.

It will easily be supposed that General Lannes, who
was devoted to Napoleon, was not very well pleased
either with the husband or the wife, though the conduct
of the former was strictly courteous. Lannes disliked all
the English embassy, ^ not excepting Lord Strangford,
who at that period seemed to divide his time between
sleeping and translating Camoens.

Only those who knew Lannes can form a just idea of
the hatred he bore to England. He did not understand
the art of dissembling his sentiments, and he expressed
them with all the frankness of his character. One may
readily suppose that in the midst of a foreign Court,
where obsequious manners are above all things consid-
ered a duty, Marshal Lannes would appear somewhat
singular. Madame Lannes, it is true, relieved the con-
ventional intercourse of diplomatic and courtly life by

^ Amongst other vexations, Lannes was greatly annoyed at Lord
Robert's taking precedence of him in all points of etiquette. This feeling
exploded in rather a roi>gh manner on the occasion of their respective
carriages meeting on the road to Queluz. Lannes's coachman, wishing to
humour his master's animosity, drove so violently against the lighter
vehicle, in which the English Ambassador was seated, that it was over-
turned in a ditch.



JUNOT'S EMBASSY TO LISBON. 281

the sweetness of her manner and her admirable beauty ;
but Lady Fitzgerald regarded those charms only as so
many faults in a Frenchwoman, and the warfare which
she waged against the French became the more active in
consequence.

Junot, who was the most frank and communicative of
men, had no desire to travel to Portugal to practise the
arts of policy and dissimulation. Besides, it was his
wish to remain in Paris, for he was desirous of either
serving as first aide-de-camp to the Emperor, or resuming
the command of the First Military Division which was
separated from the Governorship of Paris. He thought
that Murat, the Emperor's brother-in-law, would not
continue Governor of Paris, and in his heart he wished to
be once more at the head of the military administration
of the capital of France.

Not knowing how to decide, Junot resolved to take the
advice of the Arch-Chancellor, who had always professed
a regard for him, and whom Junot highly esteemed.
Cambacdrfes listened attentively to all Junot said, and
then told him he ought to set out on the embassy. " But, "
said Junot, " I shall only commit blunders. Do you
imagine that I can submit to all the contrivances and the
duplicity which diplomacy requires ? " " Do not make a
bugbear of that, " replied the Arch-Chancellor, " the more
especially as I have this bit of advice to give you : con-
tinue to be just what you are. Frankness is the most
able agent of diplomacy. Besides, my dear General,
you must obey his Majesty. "

I have already said that I could not at this period quit
Paris without the greatest mortification. I was young ;
Paris was then a sort of fairyland. All my friends were
there, my brother and my youngest daughter, whom I
should be compelled to leave behind me, because she was
of too tender an age to undertake so long a journey.



282 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTES.

These considerations distressed me. Besides, Madame
Lannes did not give me any very agreeable accounts of
Lisbon. It appeared that there was no society there,
except that which was under the influence of England.
Finally, the journey was decided upon, and Junot was
charged not only with the embassy to Lisbon, but with
a secret and important mission to the Court of Madrid,
where General Beurnonville was French Ambassador.

Affairs had assumed so serious an aspect that it was
necessary the Emperor should direct his whole attention
to his allies in the South. Portugal was neutral, but so
wily as to require close watching; and Spain was so
wretchedly governed that it was indispensable to keep an
eye on her motions also. England was dissatisfied, and
threatened to convulse Europe again. Spain, too, de-
clared war against England on the 12th or 15th of
December of this year; the question was, Would the
Spanish Government maintain faith towards us as long
as our interests required it ?

In the mean time a levy of sixty thousand men was
ordered in France. Another law directed the building
of a town in La Vendee. Napoleon not only tranquil-
lized these provinces, which were ravaged by burnings,
and inundated with blood, but he rebuilt their towns,
and restored life and fertility to the desolated plains.

A squadron also departed from Eochelle, notwithstand-
ing the severity of the season. It was freighted with
arms and ammunition for Martinique, and had on board
General Joseph Lagrange, a brave officer, and a faithful
friend of Junot, with whom he had served in Egypt. He
led his troops to the principal town of the English island,
Dominica, and effected a descent with all the success he
could have anticipated, seizing the garrison and artillery,
destroying the magazines, and carrying off the vessels at
anchor in the port.



PRUDENT COUNSEL. 283

All this was effected by the end of February, and the
squadron had only sailed from the He d'Aix on the 11th
of January of the same year — that is to say, five weeks
previously. The squadron consisted of one three-decker,
four vessels of the line, and three frigates. Admiral
Missiessi commanded it. ^

When Junot's departure was resolved upon — when I
learned that it was absolutely necessary for me to quit
France — I lost no time in making my preparations.
The Emperor one day spoke to me at considerable length
respecting the conduct which it would be necessary for
me to observe towards the Portuguese and Spanish
nobility.

" An Ambassadress, " said he, " is a more important
personage in diplomacy than is usually supposed. This
is the case everywhere, but more particularly with us, on
account of the prejudice which exists against France.
It must be your endeavour to give the Portuguese a just
idea of the manners of the Imperial Court. Be not
haughty — be not vain, but in your intercourse with the
female nobility of Portugal practise much reserve and
great dignity. You will find at Lisbon many emigrant
ladies who belonged to the Court of Louis XVI. ; you
will also see some of these at Madrid. Be scrupulously
cautious in your conduct towards them; be particularly
careful not to ridicule the customs of the country, or of
the Court, when you do not understand them.^ Bear in
mind the good lessons of your mother. It is said that
they may be both censured and ridiculed; but if you

1 Admiral Missiessi's squadron also included two corvettes, and
reached Martinique on the 20th of February. Part of the island of
Dominica was taken on the 2.3rd of February, and evacuated again by
the French on the 27th of February. Admiral Missiessi re-anchored his
fleet in the roads of Aix on the 20th of May, 1805. See James's " Naval
History of Great Britain," vol. iv., pp. 78 et serj.

2 This injunction will be present to the mind of the reader further on.



284 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANT4:S.

must do tlie one or the other, censure rather than ridicule.
Eemember that Sovereigns never pardon raillery. You
will be presented at the Court of Spain, Be circumspect,
while, at the same time, you appear to be frank, "

Here I looked at the Emperor as if to interrogate him,
and he added, with a certain degree of impatience :
" When I say circumspect, I mean that you must not
tattle and gossip. The Queen of Spain will ask you
many questions about the Empress and the Princesses ;
you must be prudent in your answers. The interior of
my family may be displayed to every eye, . . . Yet I do
not wish that the portraits of my sisters should be
sketched by a bad painter. " (I have never forgotten this
expression.) " Your Majesty, " replied I, " must be aware
that I cannot be accused of any intention to do what is
displeasing to you. "

" I know it. . , . I know it. . . . But you are sati-
rical, . . , You like to tell a good story. That is one
thing which you must avoid. The Queen of Spain will
be the more curious to question you, because the wife of
the French Ambassador at Madrid knows nothing at all
of the Imperial Court, and very little about France, hav-
ing passed all her girlhood as an emigrant. The Queen
will therefore ask you many questions about the Empress
and the Court. So long as these questions refer only to
the fashion of a gown or a hat, well and good ; but when-
ever the conversation may turn on more important topics,
which will happen, for the Queen of Spain is an intelli-
gent and artful woman . . . then be on your guard. As
to me, you know my name must never be pronounced
except as it is mentioned in the Moniteur. There is at
Madrid a person -who detests me; the Princess of the
Asturias. ... Be careful what you say before her.
She speaks French as well as you do. . , , But you
speak Italian, do you not ? . . . That is very lucky, . . .



FURTHER COUNSEL. 285

They speak very little French in Madrid and Lisbon, but
almost everybody speaks Italian. Let me hear how you
pronounce. ..."

I recited part of one of Petrarch's sonnets, and the
Emperor appeared* much pleased with my accent. " Ex-
cellent ! " he exclaimed, rubbing his hands. " You will
easily learn Portuguese, since you speak Italian so well.
. . . But be sure to recollect what I have said about
gossiping. . . . Are you on good terms with the Princess
Caroline ? " " Very good, Sire, as far as I know. " " And
wdth the Princess Pauline ? " I replied in the affirmative.

I could easily perceive that Pauline was the person to
whom he had intended to allude while he was impressing
upon me the necessity of not gossiping. I have fre-
quently observed that the Emperor, in spite of the
decision he manifested in important events, used some-
times to wind round about in the most circuitous way to
come to his point in the merest trifles ; as, for example,
in the case above mentioned.

At that time libels were written in England on the
personages of the Imperial Family. The Princess Pauline
and Madame Lsetitia Bonaparte in particular were repre-
sented in the most odious colours ; and these attacks were
totally unjust, as far as related to Madame Lsetitia, whose
character was irreproachable. The Emperor was fully
acquainted with all these libels, and they annoyed him
infinitely more than those which had been circulated by
the secret orders of the Prussian and Eussian Cabinets in
1802. Napoleon was susceptible on this point to a degree
which must appear incredible to those who did not know
him.

" Eeceive company, " he added, continuing his instruc-
tions to me ; " make your house in Lisbon as attractive as
it was in Paris when you were Madame la Comniandante.
. . . What you must have observed among the ladies of



286 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANT£S.

the Foreign Ministers in Paris may serve as a guide to
your conduct. In Madame de Gallo, Madame de Cetto,
Madame de Lucchesini, and the English Duchess, you
have seen both enough to copy and avoid. . . . Live in
good harmony with the wives of your husband's diplo-
matic colleagues ; but form no intimacies with any one.
They give rise to little female quarrels, in which the
husbands sometimes take part. Thus two States may go
to war because two women have disagreed, or because one
has a more elegant hat than the other, " I could not
forbear laughing.

" Do not imagine I am joking," resumed the Emperor.
" I enjoin you to be very circumspect in this intercourse.
Lady Fitzgerald is, I understand, a perfect drum-major in
petticoats. Leave her to make herself ridiculous. That
is revenge enough for us. " I had similar conversations
at various times with the Emperor on the subject of my
visit to Portugal. He evidently regarded it as a point of
great importance that one of the females of the new French
Court should appear in a favourable light in the eyes of
a people among whom the English maintained such high
credit and constant intercourse.

A circumstance which not a little augmented my disin-
clination to go to Portugal, was that it would place me
under the necessity of conforming to that most absurd of
all follies — viz. , the observance of old customs for no
other reason than because they are old. The custom of
wearing hoops at Court appeared to me the most stupid
thing imaginable. Madame Lannes had informed me
that in spite of all her efforts and those of the General
she had found it impossible to evade this formality. She
added that it was absolutely necessary that I should get
my hoops made in Paris ; for, to complete the absurdity,
there was no possibility of getting anything in the way
of dress properly made in Lisbon. I accordingly bespoke
my hoops from Leroy.



PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE. 287

As I was to be presented in the spring, I ordered two
Court dresses, such as might suitably be worn during the
two seasons succeeding the winter. One was composed
of white crape, embroidered with gold llama, and a hat
to coiTespond, adorned with a plume of white feathers ;
the other was of rose-coloured silk, embroidered with
silver llama, with a wreath of silver leaves, the latter not
embroidered, but merely laid on, and marking the contour
of the horrible hoop : the head-dress corresponded with
the robe. Mesdemoiselles 1' Olive and de Beuvry made
me a great many dresses, in a style of exquisite taste,
which contrasted singularly enough with the hoop, that
last remnant of the barbarism of the Middle Ages. As
for Junot, his presentation dress was ready : it consisted
of his uniform of Colonel-General of the hussars, which
he had worn at the coronation.

We had recently become acquainted with some Portu-
guese, who enabled us to form a more favourable opinion
of their countrymen than we had hitherto entertained;
for our judgment had been formed from the manners of
M. de Lima, the Portuguese Ambassador, then in Paris.
Among these new acquaintances was M. d'Araujo, who
■was about to fill the important post of Minister of Foreign
Affairs at Lisbon. He had been almost all his life absent
from Portugal on foreign embassies. He spoke French
and several other languages, and had an extensive ac-
quaintance with literature.

I had hoped that we should not set out until the spring,
but some orders which Junot received from the Emperor
accelerated our departure. Public affairs became more
and more involved, and everything foreboded a third
Continental coalition. The influence of England at the
Courts of Lisbon and Madrid threatened to become
dangerous in those moments of agitation which obviously
preceded a storm, and we were required to quit Paris in



288 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANT^IS.

the midst of the carnival of 1805, when all was festivity
and joy. It was not the balls and masquerades that Junot
regretted, but he was afraid that the war would be com-
menced without him, and with his natural directness he
went to the Emperor :

" Your Majesty, " observed he, " who has always been
so good to me, will not surely inflict on me a wound
which admits of no reparation? How severe was the
mortification I experienced on receiving intelligence of the
Battle of Marengo ! Sire, you have never been in battle
without me, and I entreat that you will promise to recall
me whenever hostilities are likely to commence. " " I
promise to do so," said the Emperor with emotion;
and, stretching out his hand to Junot, he added : " I give
you my word of honour that I will. " " I am satisfied, "
replied Junot ; " and I shall serve your Majesty with the
greater zeal, as my mind will be free from inquietude. "

We set out at midnight on Shrove Tuesday, a circum-
stance not a little tantalizing to a young woman of nine-
teen. But I can honestly declare that at the moment of
crossing the barrier I was far from thinking of the gaiety


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