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From The New Monthly Magazine. Paris, as it threatens to become again ere
long. On many occasions, however, JoseRECENTLY great sensation was excited phine was too poor to buy bread, and had to among English readers by the publication of depend for her supply on the charity of the life of that great and good woman, the friends. When her estates were restored Duchess of Orleans. In our present paper her, all this changed: Eugène doffed his we propose to run through the life-history blouse and gave up the carpentry trade to of another very remarkable woman, the begin his military education, while Hortense mother of the present emperor of the remained with her mother, and enjoyed the French, whose memory has been strangely advantage of the best masters Paris could disregarded in this country. We are there- produce. fore glad to see a memoir of her announced It was at Madame Tallien's house that Join the papers, and, en attendant, offer our sephine met Napoleon, and formed a strong readers the following details :
attachment for the young general, in spite Hortense was the daughter of Viscount de of the warnings of her friends, who saw in Beauharnois, who had married, against the him a soldier and nothing more. Napoleon wish of his relatives, Mademoiselle Tascher was anything but a lady's man, and paid de la Pagerie, of Martinique. The marriage them the quaintest compliments. Thus he was an unhappy one, and it was only the fact said once to the Duchess of Chevreuil, of two children being born to them that " What splendid red hair you have !” To prevented their separation. At last the dis- which the lady replied, “Very possibly, sire; putes became so violent that the wife deter- but it is the first time a man has told me mined to return to her island home, taking so.” But, for all that, he had eyes for Joher little daughter with her. Ere long, sephine's beauty, and was ready to give up however, the revolution reached Martinique, his ambitious dreams to live happy with her. and Josephine had to fly with Hortense, and A few weeks after the honeymoon was with great difficulty escaped on board a over the ambitious dreams returned, howmerchantman while the maternal house was ever, with full force, and Bonaparte started burning. On her return to Paris, the vis- for Italy, taking Eugène with him, while count for a long time refused to see her, but, Hortense was sent to Madame Campan's by the intercession of friends, they were school, where she spent several happy years brought together again, only to be parted with her aunt, Caroline Bonaparte, and her and forever by the revolution.
cousin, Stephanie de Beauharnois. When The viscount received a high command in the republican general left France again for the republican army, but, being denounced Egypt, Hortense's education was completed, as an aristocrat, was sent to prison and con- and she returned home to be a consolation demned to death. Josephine interceded on to her mourning mother. Napoleon's abhis behalf, and the result was that she in sence lasted six years, during which Horher turn was shut up in the prison of Sainte- tense grew in grace and beauty, knowing no Pélagie. The children would have starved, cares, and these were probably the happiest had it not been for the kindness of a Ma- days of her eventful life. dame Holstein, who, at her own peril, gave With Napoleon's return the fate of the them shelter. Josephine was herself con- revolution was sealed: he moved to the demned to the guillotine, and would doubt- Tuileries as first consul, and Josephine and less have shared her husband's fate, had it Hortense became the leaders of society. not been for the downfall of Robespierre. Ere long she fell a victim to love's young She quitted the prison, but it was as a dream : she became attached to Duroc, the beggar.
consul's aide-de-camp, and her father did Josephine found a kind friend, however, not object to the match. But Josephine in Madame Tallien, who interceded with her had other views for her daughter : she knew husband to remove the sequestration from the enmity Napoleon's brothers bore her, the Beauharnois estates, and in the mean and resolved to seek an ally among them. while invited the family frequently to dinner, This could be most easily effected by giving on the stipulation that they brought their Hortense as wife to Louis. own bread, which was an article of luxury in After repeated solicitations, Napoleon re
luctantly assented to the marriage, but only being your husband, or, at any rate, no longer on condition that Duroc's sincerity should hate me, for I shall be the father of your bebe first tested. A message was sent to the loved child." aide-de-camp through Bourrienne that Na- Had they been left to themselves they poleon consented to his marriage with Hor- might have learned to respect, even love tense, but he would be at once expected to each other, but calumny interfered. A ruleave Paris, as the first consul did not care mor spread through Paris that Napoleon to have a son-in-law in the house. Duroc himself was the father of Hortense's child. refused the alliance, and Josephine tri- It was expected that Napoleon would be so umphed. She worked on Hortense's pride horrified at this foul tale that he would at until she consented to give her hand to once send Louis and Hortense away, and Louis. The young couple hardly knew each thus Josephine would once again be left deother, but Napoleon's will was law, and they fenceless. When Hortense heard this ruwent to the altar with loathing in their mor, she fell insensible at her mother's feet, hearts. In his own case Napoleon had been and not long after gave birth to a still-born satisfied with a civil marriage, but the mar- child. riage of Hortense had to be blessed by the When Hortense again arose from her Church—perhaps to render it indissoluble, couch she sought relief in society, and in for Napoleon regarded Hortense's children her salons the most distinguished men of as his future heirs. As Providence had not France were wont to assemble. At length blessed him with children, he was resolved some degree of comfort was restored her, to act as a father to the family his beloved for at the period of the imperial coronation step-daughter might have.
a son was born to her—the future heir of From the outset they were an unhappy France. Ere long, too, and Louis became couple. Hortense wept the live-long day, a king, but this only increased the sorrow of while her husband was gloomy and ill-tem- the ill-assorted pair. In Paris they were pered. She detested him for accepting her enabled to forget, but in Holland they would hand while knowing that she loved another; be compelled to live together. Still Louis while he hated her, in his turn, for marrying was compelled to obey, and resolved that, him, although he had never spoken of love as destiny compelled him to be a king, he to her. They had both obeyed the iron will would perform his regal duties so that they that dictated laws not only to France, but to should prove a blessing to his subjects. his own family, and the conscience of com- While in Holland, Hortense gave birth to pulsion rose as an insurmountable barrier two more boys, Napoleon Louis and Louis between them. They made no attempt to Napoleon, but her first-born, her darling, love each other, or to find that happiness to- Napoleon Charles, died of the small-pox. gether which they were forbidden seeking This loss was too much for her : combined elsewhere.
with her husband's irritable temper it crushed In their strange confidence the young peo- her to the earth, and she sought shelter and ple even went so far as to tell one another consolation in her mother's arms. But Jothat they could never be lovers, but they sephine herself needed words of comfort to pitied each other so sincerely, that this pity be addressed to her, for her husband had remight have been converted with time into solved on carrying his long-meditated delove. Louis would sit for hours by his wife's sign of a divorce, and, as Lord Castlereagh side trying to dispel the cloud on her brow, wittily remarked, “A virgin was about to be while Hortense was beginning to regard it sacrificed to the Minotaur.” When the disas her most sacred duty to greet her hus- solution of the marriage was effected, Joseband kindly.
phine retired to Malmaison, and Hortense “ If I give you a son," Hortense would implored the emperor that she might be alsay, with a smile, “and when he addresses lowed to follow her example, in which wish you by the sweet name of father, you will Louis joined. But Napoleon was inexoraforgive me for being his mother.”
ble, and Louis returned to Holland more “And when you press your son to your gloomy than ever, while Hortense by the heart, and feel how madly you love him," emperor's express orders, remained in Paris Louis said, “ then you will pardon me for for a season with her two sons. At the new
marriage festivities she held the train of dame du Cayla, said, for instance, “What an Marie Louise, and was the only one of the interesting woman was that incomparable family who did so without a murmur. Josephine! What kindness, tact, and mod
Fresh troubles were in store for Hor- eration there was in all she did! It is extense: her husband, faithful to his duties as actly in accordance with good taste that she monarch, aroused the wrath of his brother, should die at this moment." who eventually drove him from the throne The queen had been removed almost by because he studied the prosperity of his new force to St. Leu, where Alexander spent his country more than the interests of France. last evening prior to his departure for EngKing Louis descended from his throne and land. He gave her much good advice how retired to Gratz, in Styria, where he lived to conduct herself, and, as he knew how adas the Count of St. Leu. But when misfor- verse Pozzo di Borgo was to all the Napotunes fell
his brother he forgot all pri- leons, he appointed a special secretary to the vate feelings, and returned to Paris to cast embassy, through whom her letters should in his lot with that of the other members of pass. But Hortense felt that her period of the family.
adversity had arrived, and that she would And Napoleon required assistance if he have to struggle against calumny to mainwas to maintain his throne. On his return tain the name of her family unstained. Her from Moscow he ordered Hortense to drown previsions did not deceive her. the memory of the past by brilliant balls, Strange events occurred in Paris during but the crippled, mutilated soldiers were not the abode of Napoleon at Elba. The Bourfitted for the joys of the revel. All Paris bons seemed to have awaked from a long suffered from a foreboding of what was about lethargy, and were quite astounded at findto happen, and Hortense, perhaps, was the ing the children they had left in arms grown most wretched of all in that great city, for up men. The king was the best of a bad she felt that all was lost, even before the cry lot, and did not at all stomach the homage ran through the streets, “The Cossacks are paid to his “ dear friends the enemy," as he coming !” But she could not be induced to sarcastically termed them. Still, he was leave Paris even when the emperor fled, and dreadfully embarrassed how to treat Eugène it was not till her husband threatened to and Hortense; the latter he tried to elevate tear her children from her if she remained, to the rank of Duchess of St. Leu, as a plain that she consented to join Josephine at her Mademoiselle de Beauharnois, while at his château of Navarre.
interview with Eugène, he addressed him as In her adversity, Queen Hortense had one Marshal of France. But both defeated him sincere friend, the Emperor Alexander. At by their straightforwardness, and Louis an early period he proceeded to Malmaison XVIII. was forced to recognize the fact that to see the two ladies, and promised to do all somebody had ruled in France during his in his power to alleviate their fate. He it absence, which he would have so gladly igwas who induced Hortense to give up her nored. idea of emigrating to Martinique with her In other respects nothing was altered, and two boys, and remain in France. But fresh the old court ceremonial flourished magnifitroubles were in store for her: ever since cently again. Nor was impudence wanting. Napoleon's exile to Elba, Josephine had At one of the first dinners Louis XVIII. slowly pined away, and she received her gave to the allies, the Duchess of Angoudeath-blow when the Duke of Blacas pro- lême, who was sitting next to the king of posed to remove the body of Hortense's first- Bavaria, pointed to the Grand-Duke of born son from Notre-Dame, and place it in Baden, and said, “Is not that the prince an ordinary cemetery.
who married a princess of Napoleon's manThe news of her death ran through Paris, ufacture? What weakness to ally one's self and created a profound sensation, for Jose- with that general !” Considering that the phine had made herself generally beloved. emperor of Austria, who sat on her other Carriages crowded the road to Malmaison, side, and the king of Bavaria were both althe owners of which testified their respect to lied to “ that general,” this remark displayed the ex-empress. Even the royalists had a profound ignorance, or consummate assurword in her favor: the king's favorite, Ma-1 ance.
The worst of the whole party were the for, from that time, the Desired one never wicked old émigrés, who returned with all ceased talking of the grace and beauty of his their vices unannealed. On one occasion visitor, to such an extent that his family the Marquis of Chimene and the Duke of spitefully suggested that he had better marry Lauraquais met in the king's ante-chamber her. -two old heroes of that frivolous age, when But Hortense had something else to think the boudoir and the petites maisons were the about at this moment, besides conspiring on battle-field, and the victor's crown was com- behalf of her father. A messenger had arposed of myrtles instead of laurels. Allud- rived from her husband, then residing at ing to some event of the ancient régime, the Florence, insisting on the immediate surduke said to the marquis, in his desire to in- render to him of her two sons. She refused, dicate the period more precisely, “It was and appealed to the laws for protection. about the year when I had my liaison with One trait, referring to this period, is noteyour wife.” “Ah!” the marquis replied, worthy: although Hortense never paid atwith perfect equanimity, "you allude to tention to the slightest calumny affecting 1776."
herself in the public press, she at once orThe king, as we said before, was the clev- dered an answer to be given to an insulting erest of all, and did not conceal his surprise article directed against her husband. To do at finding that Napoleon's generals, who had so at a moment when she was contending been described to him as peasants and ruf- with him for the dearest of her possessions, fians, were as polite as his own followers. is an act of magnanimity that needs no comTired of the constant squabbles, Louis with- ment at our hands. drew into the recesses of his palace, and left Hortense was not to be comforted even the cares of government to Blacas. In his when she heard of her step-father's return retirement he conversed with his “ lady from Elba, and the triumphant reception he friend,” a fashion which the royalists had had met with. She felt that his victory restored. Madame du Cayla held this hon- could not be permanent, and foresaw fresh orable post, and obtained the title of the troubles for herself. Still she did not swerve “ King's Snuff-box,” because his majesty from her duty. As she had remained in was fond of strewing some snuff on her France under the Bourbon rule for the sake round, plump shoulder, and inhaling it of her sons, she resolved not to alter now. thence. The king rewarded her nobly. The emperor received her unkindly, and Finding that she was not well versed in the blamed her for having remained in France Scriptures, he gave her a copy of an illus- among his enemies : she merely bowed her trated edition with one hundred and fifty head, and left it to time to justify her conduct. engravings, after Raphael. Instead of tis. The emperor was speedily appeased, and resue paper, each cut was protected by a thou- garded her with more affection than before. sand-franc bank-note. On another occasion During the Hundred Days, Hortense was he gave her a copy of the “Charte,” and really the empress, and her first act was to each page was interlined with a bank-note obtain from her father a pension for the of the same quality. But those who feel in- Duchess of Orleans, mother of Louis Philterested on this subject we may refer to the ippe, who had been unable to leave Paris lady's“ Mémoires d'une Femme de Qualité.” owing to the fracture of her leg. She shortly
During this period, Queen Hortense re-after extended the same favor to the Duchess sided in Paris, enjoying the society of the of Bourbon, who implored her intercession. few friends who remained faithful to her. Hortense was the queen at the Champ de But her presence caused great alarm to the Mars, and her salons were once again the Legitimists, who believed that she was con- resort of all the first men in France. Benspiring the return of Napoleon. Fouché, the jamin Constant read there his “ Adolphe," double-faced, was at the bottom of all the while Talleyrand seemed to have no other intrigues against the duchess, and sowed the occupation than inventing fresh social games seeds of dissension on either side. At length to amuse the queen and the ladies assembled Hortense felt it her duty to put a stop to all around her. this scandal, and requested an audience of We need not dwell on Waterloo : suffice the king. She went, saw, and conquered, it to say, that Napoleon, when he made up his mind to proceed to Rochefort and em- her fell upon her. She had lost her cause bark for America, resided for awhile at against her husband, and had been conMalmaison, where he took a last farewell of demned to give up to him her elder son NaHortense and her sons. The queen handed poleon Louis. He sent for the boy, and him a belt, which she requested him to wear Hortense surrendered him. All her hopes round his waist: he demanded what it con- were thenceforward concentrated in her tained, and, after long hesitation, Hortense second son, who has attained a position confessed that she had sewn up her diamonds which she could hardly have entreated for in it, which she hoped would be of use to him in her prayers. But Louis Napoleon him hereafter. At first the emperor de- cannot forget how much he owes to the clined to accept the costly gift, but, fearful teaching of that devoted mother, who was of wounding his daughter's feelings, he his guardian angel, and sacrificed herself so made her the happiest of women-for she repeatedly for him. had been able to requite a portion of the Fate at length appeared weary of persegenerosity Napoleon had ever displayed cuting the poor Duchess of St. Leu. She towards her.
was allowed a few peaceful years in the The last person the emperor saw at Mal- canton of Thurgau, at her pleasant château maison was his mother, and the interview of Arenenberg, but they were troubled by took place in the presence of Talma, who painful interludes. In 1821, the emperor had glided in, under the disguise of a Na- | died on the rock of St. Helena; in 1824, tional Guard, to bid farewell to his beloved Hortense lost her only brother, Eugène. master. He has recorded for us the parting Nothing was then left her to love but her scene of mother and son, worthy of the most two sons, who prospered in health and noble days of Sparta ; how Madame Letitia strength, although banished from their fastretched forth her hand, with the words, therland, and compelled to lead an inactive “Adieu, mon fils !” and Napoleon, after life. looking his mother fixedly in the face for a At length came the year 1830, and there few seconds, said, with the stoicism of a seemed a chance of revenge for the NapoRed Indian, " Adieu, ma mère !” and slowly leons. France hurled down the throne of quitted the room forever.
the Bourbons, but the nation feared the For the second time the Bourbons returned revolution too much to desire a republic. to France, but their resolve was, on this oc- They turned their eyes to the nearest relacasion, vengeance. Louis XVIII. re-entered tive of the throne, and Louis Philippe gratithe palace of his ancestors to punish and re- fied their pride by restoring the tricolor, ward, but the idea of mercy was banished which reminded them of such mighty deeds. from his thoughts. His whole fury was He brought back to Paris the ashes of Napoconcentrated on Hortense, whom he had leon, and replaced his statue on the Place Venbeen taught to regard as the head of the dôme, but his nephews must still remain in conspiracy that brought Napoleon back, and banishment. For such was the sole condihe requested it as a personal favor of Alex- tion on which the European powers would ander that he should not intercede in her recognize the new king, for, as Metternich behalf. She was compelled to quit Paris said, “it was a question of legitimacy, not by order of the Prussian general Von Muf- to suffer a Napoleon again on the throne of fling, and proceeded to Geneva, not without France.” So Louis Philippe very calmly danger of her life. But there was no rest- purchased his recognition by a renewed deing-place for her; the French envoy in cree of banishment against the NapoleonSwitzerland would not tolerate a defenceless ides. woman so near the French frontier, and This was a terrible blow for their ambiwhen asked whither she would proceed, she tion, and the two young men resolved to try replied, in her despair, “ Throw me into the their hand elsewhere. Although separated, lake, and there will be an end of all my they kept up an eager correspondence, and troubles."
when Hortense, in 1830, on her periodical But Hortense soon regained her equanim- visit to Rome, remained for awhile in Flority, and proceeded to Aix, in Savoy, where ence, the brothers agreed as to their future the most terrible blow that fate reserved for course. Louis Napoleon accompanied his