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ence. M. Eecamier was at the head of one of the first
banking-houses of Paris ; his misfortunes were not then
foreseen. He had, therefore, the means of giving to his
charming consort all the enjoyments of wealth and
luxury, as a poor return for her tender attentions and the
happiness which she shed over his home and his life.
M. Eecamier's house was a delightful residence ; nothing
was comparable to the fetes he gave to foreigners recom-
mended to him, and whose choice of M. Eecamier for
their banker was no doubt fixed by the desire of an
introduction to his wife. Curiosity attracted them to
his house ; they were retained there by a charm which
acted equally upon old and young, male and female.



48 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTES.

Madame Eecamier is an indispensable figure in con-
temporary Memoirs. Not that she eitlier reflected or
impressed her era, but because she could have belonged
to that era alone. One cannot expect to find, in future
times, a woman like her — a woman whose friendship
has been courted by the most remarkable persons of the
age ; a woman whose beauty has thrown at her feet all
the men whose eyes have once been set upon her ; whose
love has been the object of universal desire, yet whose
virtue has remained pure ; whose unsullied reputation
never suffered from the attacks of jealousy or envy; a
woman who lost none of the affections which had been
pledged to her, because in her days of gaiety and splen-
dour she had the merit of being always ready to sacrifice
her own enjoyments to afford consolation — which no one
could do more sweetly and effectually — to any friend in
affliction. To the world Madame Eecamier is a cele-
brated woman ; to those who had the happiness to know
and to appreciate her she was a peculiar and gifted being,
formed by Nature as a perfect model in one of her most
beneficent moods.

Since the 18th Brumaire society had been reuniting and
grouping round a Government which offered it at length
not only security but prosperity. The peace with Ger-
many, that which was in progress with Eussia, and a
preliminary treaty already far advanced with Great
Britain, afforded a bright horizon to replace those
thick clouds which weighed upon the bosoms even of
individuals, oppressing all with fears, not only for their
possessions but their lives.

Paris once more became the abode of joy and pleasure.
In the two first years of the Consulate the finest fetes,
except those of the Government, the Ministers, and other
authorities, were given by the richest bankers, such as
M. Eecamier, M. Perregaux, and two or three others;



FOREIGNERS IN PARIS. 49

then followed MM. Seguin, Hainguerlot, and other
opulent persons, who returned to France in pleasures
the wealth she had bestowed upon them.

These fetes were soon rendered more brilliant by the
presence of numerous foreigners of distinction, who
crowded into France as soon as they were permitted
to travel. Italy, England, Switzerland, sent their con-
tributions of visitors who, in exchange for the gold with
which they enriched us, were taught the arts of refined
entertainments.

The Eussians followed the Germans as soon as their
new sovereign gave them permission to quit their frozen
regions. The Emperor Paul was just dead ; and Alex-
ander, the eldest of his sons, had mounted the throne at
twenty-three years of age. The despotic domination of
the Czars immediately gave place to a paternal govern-
ment, as much wiser as it was more gentle. I remember
that at this period the Eussians who came to Paris cher-
ished for their young sovereign a sentiment bordering upon
idolatry. Many kept his portrait in their inmost apart-
ment, beside that of the favourite saint, surrounded like
it with lights and gems, and as much venerated as St.
Alexander Newsky or St. Nicholas.

Our definitive arrangements with the Court of St.
Petersburg, however, did not proceed very rapidly. M.
Sprengporten was recalled and replaced by the Chevalier
Kalitscheff, who also had no diplomatic rank, but was
simply the bearer of a letter from the Emperor of Eussia
to the First Consul. One remarkable circumstance at-
tached to his mission was that, though sent by the Em-
peror Paul, before he could deliver his letter the throne
was already filled by Alexander. He was soon succeeded
by the Count Markoff, in quality of Minister Plenipo-
tentiary, which, however, he did not assume till two
months after his arrival here. General Hddouville was

VOL. III. — 4



50 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTfeS.

appointed by the First Consul to reside at St. Petersburg
in the same capacity : all appointments of this nature
were made with extreme caution; the Foreign Powers
feared even to form alliances with Prance, for the
Directory had rendered them suspicious of our good
intentions.



CHAPTEE VI.

One fine morning in the summer of 1801 Eapp joined
our breakfast-table, bringing an order to Junot to attend
the First Consul at Malmaison, and an invitation to me
to spend the day there. We set out immediately after
breakfast, and as Eapp was returning to Malmaison we
gave him a place in our carriage.

I have already spoken of Eapp as a brave and frank
soldier, but the quality which marked his character most
strongly at this moment was his ardent attachment to the
First Consul. Eapp, Duroc, Lannes, Bessieres, Lemar-
rois, and two or three others of the Army of Italy and
Egypt sympathized perfectly with Jvinot in this respect,
and uttered precisely the same language. The First
Consul was to them (as an adored mistress would be to
most young men) the thought which predominated over
every other.

On this occasion we remarked that Eapp was thought-
ful, and that a strong feeling seemed to oppress him.
We had scarcely reached the Barrifere de I'Etoile when
Junot, who had been contemplating Eapp's countenance,
caught the reflection of its melancholy, and before we
arrived at Nanterre he said to his brave brother-in-arms,
taking his hand :

" Eapp, there is something the matter yonder ... the
General — " And his eye, fixed upon the excellent young
man, seemed to fear a confirmation of his apprehensions.



52 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTfeS.

Eapp at first bowed his head without answering ; then
pressing Junot's hand, " I know nothing, " he said ; " but
the General has certainly received some painful news. I
know him as if I had spent my whole life by his side, and
when his forehead wrinkles and his eyelids fall. ..."
Here he knit his eyebrows as Napoleon was accustomed
to do when deep in thought. " Then when retaining this
melancholy air he pushes aw^ay his plate at dinner, throws
up his napkin, removes his chair, walks to and fro, and
orders three cups of coffee an hour hence, I say to myself
that he has met with some cause of distress. This is the
life he led all day yesterday, and this morning the same
course has recommenced. This is why I am returning to
Malmaison, though my attendance ended at noon. But I
should be miserable in Paris. "

Junot pressed Eapp's hand : the brave fellow had so
entirely expressed his own feelings • I looked at both of
them ; Junot's eyes were wet, and Eapp was looking out
of the coach window ashamed of his emotion.

" But, " said I to them, " permit me to tell you that you
are behaving like children. Wliat! because the First
Consul is perhaps out of humour, or, at the most, because
you believe him to be vexed, you are so unhappy as to be
absolutely ashamed of your feelings! I repeat it, you
are as unreasonable as two babies. "

Their two faces turned towards each other to take a
mutual survey; and I burst into a laugh. Eapp was
offended. " I may be ridiculous in expressing over-
anxiety, " said he; "but I who have seen the General's
altered physiognomy . . . you know, Junot, I who have
seen him know that it is not ill-humour; it is grief.
Yesterday morning, after rising from breakfast, which
he had not eaten, he ordered the horses, and we rode out
to the park of Bougival. We were alone with Jardin ; so
long as we were within sight of the house the General



RAFFS ANXIETY FOR HIS GENERAL. 53

walked his horse ; but we had no sooner passed the paling
than he spurred it, and the poor beast galloped up the
stony road of Bougival, where he might have been killed
ten times over ; for if the horse had stumbled upon one of
the round and polished stones the hill is strewn with he
might have rolled to the bottom without the possibility of
being saved. When we reached the summit, there, under
the line trees at the entrance of the wood, he stopped
short. The horse was blown and could not advance a
step.

" I rode up to the General : he was alone : Jardin was
still a long way behind. I then thought'no more of the
horse falling; but I pictured to myself in the dark and
desert wood assassins in waiting to dog my General's
steps. I saw that the most devoted guardianship cannot
be so active but that danger may outstrip it ; he had been
there two minutes, and alone ! The misfortunes which
might have been accomplished in this short time pre-
sented themselves so forcibly to me that for a moment I
forgot myself. I took the liberty to tell the First Consul
that he rode like a madman, and did not know what he
was about. " Why the devil. General, " said I, " do you
alarm those who are devoted to you in this way ? "

" What ! you spoke to him in that manner ! " said
Junot, with a look of astonishment.

" Certainly, " replied Eapp, " and why not ? You all
try to frighten me out of speaking frankly to the First
Consul ; but I cannot believe it would displease him : he
knows when the heart speaks. " Eapp accompanied this
speech with a collection of energetic words which may be
dispensed with here. His language had nothing coarse
in it, but he often introduced into it interjections and
exclamations to which it would be difficult to do jus-
tice in writing. " But to return to what I was saying
just now about the General ; when I pointed out to him



54 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTiiS.

the solitude which surrounded us, he smiled, so. . . ."
And Eapp smiled with an expression of disdain and bit-
terness, at the same time inclining his head in a manner
altogether peculiar to Napoleon, and which those only
who have known him well can figure to themselves or
understand.

" Then he said to me : ' Danger has no terrors for me,
Colonel Eapp ; there are even moments when I court it,
for some days of my life are heavy to bear. ' And there-
upon he recommenced his furious gallop, but this time,
if we were not in a level country, at least the road was
such that it wass practicable to follow him. Jardin and
I did not let him outride us, but kept our horses close on
the heels of his. We rode in this manner six leagues, I
think ; however, on our return, the First Consul seemed
much more calm than when we set out. "

Junot was thoughtful. All that Eapp had said did
indeed indicate that some great trouble affected the First
Consul. Junot questioned his comrade ; but Eapp, who
could easily remark the emotion which the countenance
of Napoleon exhibited, was wholly deficient in that fine
discrimination which could trace such emotion to its
cause. I was perfectly astonished at the style, almost
of eloquence, in which he had just related the particulars
of his preceding day's ride, and I recognized in it a new
proof that the eloquence of the heart is the most poetic ;
that of genius, when compared with it, appears cold and
formal.

When we arrived at Malmaison, the First Consul was
in his cabinet. He immediately sent for Junot, who, for
above an hour, was closeted with him. Some time before
dinner we saw them walking in the alley which leads
towards Jonchfere ^ and Bougival. Junot was serious, and
seemed to listen with great attention to the First Consul.
^ A country house, which afterwards belonged to Eugene.



Junot.

Photo-Etching. — After the Engraving by Maudiiison.



THE LOSS OF EGYPT. 55

Sometimes the countenance of Napoleon became animated ;
once he stopped opposite the house, and, as if he would
explain demonstratively to Junot what he was saying, he
traced some figures with his feet upon the sand, and pro-
bably finding this mode insufficient to his purpose, asked
Junot for his sword, and, without drawing it from the
scabbard, used it to trace his explanatory figures with
more ease.

^^lien we entered the dining-room the First Consul was
already at table ; he placed me by his side, and talked of
things so entirely indifferent that it was manifest he was
supporting a conversation to which he gave no attention
at all, only to avoid the awkwardness of total silence. I
examined him narrowly, and was convinced that he was
under the influence of a strong impression. Alas ! the
subject was but too serious ; we had lost Egypt !

In returning to Paris, Junot was strongly affected. He
told me all he had learned from the First Consul, and how
much he was himself distressed in seeing the affliction
which weighed upon a great mind whose every sentiment
was powerful and ardent.

" It is so long, " said Junot, " since I have known his
projects with respect to Egypt! When we walked upon
the Boulevards Neufs on one of those fine summer even-
ings which then afforded us all the pleasure we enjoyed ;
when we were at Paris, unhappy and unemployed, then it
was that the First Consul spoke to me of the East, of
Egypt, of Syria, and the Druses ; and when these brilliant
dreams subsequently became glorious realities, when Gen-
eral Bonaparte saw in his own hands the power of execut-
ing such important projects, I know that he considered
it the finest moment of his life, I know not what
Heaven may have in store for him ; but I may afi&rm
that to constitute Egypt the station from whence, at
some future day, the blow should be struck which should



56 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTJjS.

annihilate the prosperity of England was his most cher-
ished purpose, and was about to receive its accomplish-
ment. Wlien, then, he said to me to-day, ' Junot, we
have lost Egypt ! ' ^ I felt all the pain with which he
would receive the intelligence that Egypt was actually
lost : and my heart throbbed with anguish. Eapp was
right ! the General suffered cruelly yesterday ! "

Junot repeated to me all that had passed during the
two hours he had been alone with the Eirst Consul. Not
only had Napoleon, during this conference, spoken like a
patriot, and wept over the irreparable loss which the
commerce and prosperity of Erance had sustained, but
he had felt as the chief of the army and the friend of his
soldiers. He regretted the land which the blood of
thousands of Erenchmen had enriched! those burning
sands where their bones must wither ! " He had in-
tended, " said Junot, "to raise a monument to Sulkow-
sky, to Julien. . . . ' I would have erected at the foot
of Mount Tabor a pillar on which the names of the three
hundred brave men whom you commanded at Nazareth
should be inscribed. We also should have braved ages,
and posterity would have found our glory in the deserts
of Syria' — but as the Consul said," continued Junot,
" ' My projects, and my dreams, England has destroyed
them all. ' "

Junot then described to me a plan which had hitherto
only been sketched out, but which was about to receive
its completion. At the time of the famous action of
Nazareth, where Junot, cut off from the corps to which

1 It is necessary, in order to understand the ulterior objects of
Napoleon with respect to India after he should have conquered Egypt,
to read the instructions given by him to M. de Lascaris [which are to
be found in M. de Lamartine's " Pilgrimage to the Holy Land," vol. iii.,
p. 145]. This account, taken from the papers of M. de Lascaris,
furnishes proofs of the gigantic conception of Napoleon, and is highly
interesting.



THE BATTLE OF NAZARETH. 57

he belonged, found himself at the head of a few hundred
men opposed to the Grand Vizier's advanced guard of
three thousand, commanded by Ayoub-Bey, and obtained
a complete victory, one of the finest achievements in our
wars, the General-in-Chief immediately ordered that this
victory should be consecrated in the most glorious man-
ner. ^ The Order of the Day, then issued, had not yet
been executed, but the First Consul, in the most affec-
tionate terms, assured Junot that it should be forthwith.
I here insert that Order of the Day ; it is a noble trophy
to preserve ; my children are entitled to be proud of it.
They have no cause to fear that their hereditary nobility
should be contested, for they will always be the sons of
the conqueror of Nazareth.

Headquarters before Acre,
2 rioreal, Year vii.

ORDER OF THE DAY.

The General-in-Chief, desirous of giving a mark of his par-
ticular satisfaction to the three hundred brave soldiers, com-
manded by General Junot, who in the action of I^azareth
repulsed a Turkish corps of cavalry of three thousand men,
took five standards, and covered the field of battle with the
dead bodies of the enemy, Orders : —

Art. 1. That a medal of 12,000 francs shall be given as
a prize to the best picture representing the action of Nazareth.

Art. 2. The costume of the French in the picture shall be the
uniform of the 2nd light infantry and the 14th dragoons.
General Junot and the Chiefs of the Brigade Duvivier, and of
the 1 4th dragoons, shall be represented in it.

Art. 3. The General Staff shall cause our artists in Egypt to
draw the costumes of the Mamelukes, the Janissaries of Damas-

^ Two dukedoms, it is said, were on the point of creation by Napoleon
had it not been for disasters in the Peninsula: Junot, as Duke of
Nazareth, and Jourdan, as Duke of Fleurus.



58 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTfcS.

cus and Aleppo, the Maugrebins and the Arabs,^ and shall send
them to the Minister of the Interior, inviting him to cause
copies of them to be executed and transmitted to the principal
painters of Paris, Milan, Florence, Eome, and Naples, and to
name the judges who shall award the prize and the period when
it shall be announced.

Art. 4. The present Order of the Day shall be sent to the
municipality of the commune of all the soldiers who shared in
the action of Nazareth.

The General-in-Chief,

Bonaparte.
Alexander Berthier,

General-of-Division, Chief of the Staff.

I believe that this Order of the Day is unique in our
wars. The Directory, which was not fond of acknowledg-
ing the glory of our arms, was obliged to publish it, and
directions were given that General Bonaparte's orders
should be executed. The competition took place after
the return both of General Bonaparte and Junot, and the
prize was adjudged to M. le Gros, who received orders
for the picture, but never completed it. The magnificent
portrait of the Due d'Abrautfes, the immortal work I
may call it of M. le Gros, was destined for this picture
of the action of Nazareth. The portrait, of which the
head, or rather the face, only is complete, is a cluf
d'muvre, not only for the painting but the resemblance.
How often has my heart thanked M. le Gros !

1 These troops composed the Turkish corps opposed to Junot and his
brave division.



CHAPTEE VII

At this period, when strangers abounded in Paris, a
fashion existed which, in its various ramifications, served
for the daily amusement of society. This was the art of
mystification, anglice hoaxing, which had just sprung up
amongst us. To make game of one's friends was an
amusement of old standing ; but now, for the first time,
men made the art of mystification, as it was called, a
profession, a regular means of livelihood : for example,
an entertainment was to be provided in the best manner
for a party of friends ; M. or Madame N. must be mysti-
fied ; but how ? Send for Musson, Thidm^, or Legras ; it
was done with the same ease that you would send to
Corcelet, ^ the Chevet of that day, for a truffled turkey.

But there existed a more general species of mystifica-
tion in which a whole party were made actors, and that
without the help of the inimitable Musson ; I am about
to give a special instance of this kind presently. The
First Consul, who detested this diversion, was the cause
of its falling into disuse, by the expression of his dis-
pleasure. Junot and I were once warmly reprimanded
by him for having caused the mystification of a man by
the whole audience of a theatre, without any intention on
the part of the spectator-actors. But the scene which I
am now about to relate especially concerns the Eussian
Princess Dolgorouky, who arrived in Paris at the time

1 Corcelet was still well known at Paris in 1836, but the shop of
Chevet was more visited by the epicureans.



60 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTES.

when these follies were still rife, though fear of the First
Consul had rendered them less frequent than they had
once been.

This lady was by far the most distinguished amongst
the Eussians at Paris, for her qualifications of person,
mind, and manners. She was called impertinent, but as
I never found her so I can say nothing upon that subject ;
she was certainly stiff, with some bombast and more affec
tation; but her manners were nevertheless those of the
best society. She was polite, but distant ; she never con-
ferred an obligation without hesitating ; at a first intro-
duction she curtseyed even without smiling, nor was it
till she was certain of finding the person that pleased her
that she advanced graciously to offer her hand.

She was thought handsome by some, because she was
tall and finely formed ; but this striking figure was
surmounted by a countenance of harshness and severity
almost repulsive. La Harpe, the Abbd Delille, and others
of our literati, held her in high respect, and the superiority
of her intellectual acquirements could not be denied ; from
all this resulted the reputation not only of a witty but of
a learned lady — the character in the world the most
alarming. Some young people, or perhaps some ladies,
wearied and annoyed by the ceremonious airs of the noble
stranger, whose haughtiness was ill-placed in a country
where liberty, and especially equality, were at that
moment in their verdure and activity, determined to
make her the subject of a mystification. Her preten-
sions as a hel-esprit were well known, and were made the
text of the drama.

The Princess ^ occupied a very small house in the
Faubourg Saint Honor(^, where she could not dine more
than eight or ten persons; if she wished to entertain

1 She was a daughter of the Princess of Nassau-Usingen.



THE PRINCESS DOLGOROUKY. 61

twenty she was obliged to invite them to tea. The
Princess returned home one afternoon about five o'clock,
much fatigued by a traveller's visits to the curiosities of
Paris, and had just taken up a reclining position upon a
sofa when the folding-doors of her drawing-room opened,
and her groom of the chambers announced M. de
Lacdpfede.

M. de Lacdpfede would have been heartily welcome
to me or to any of my friends, because we were person-
ally acquainted with him ; but the Princess had never
seen him, and notwithstanding her learned reputation
it is by no means sure that she had read any of his
works. Be this as it may, there he was ; and as he was
the politest of men the compliments of the entree went
off very well. The gentleman was not under the smallest
embarrassment, but the lady thought the horn' he had
chosen for his visit a somewhat strange one. A few
minutes, however, only elapsed before the door was
opened again to admit M. de Lalande. He was presently
followed by M. Suard. At length, in about a quarter of
an hour, the most important Members of the Institute, the
greatest strangers to the world of fashion, from the soli-
tude to which their scientific studies confined them, were
all assembled in the Princess Dolgorouky 's little drawing-
room, except, indeed, those who happened to be acquain-
ted with the hostess, whose situation was every moment
becoming more uneasy from the increasing number of her
singular visitors.

This was, however, neither the place nor the occasion
for the exhibition of those stately airs which disconcert
inferiors. The princess had sense, and though incapable
of understanding the extraordinary situation in which she
found herself, she perfectly understood that she was at
home, and whatever might be the cause of this truly
eccentric meeting, it was for her to prove that her humour



62 MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE D'ABRANTfeS.

was not always so disagreeable as was reported. The con-
versation, nevertheless, became more and more difficult



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