Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica
by John Kendrick Bangs
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Quiescence might as well be expected of a volcano, however, as from a man of Bonaparte's temperament, and it was not long before he was again engaged in warfare, but not with his old success; and finally, the plague having attacked his army, Bonaparte, too tender-hearted to see it suffer, leaving opium for the sick and instructions for Kleber, whom he appointed his successor, set sail for France once more in September, 1799.

"Remember, Kleber, my boy," he said, in parting, "these Mussulmen are a queer lot. Be careful how you treat them. If you behave like a Christian you're lost. I don't want to go back to France, but I must. I got a view of the next three years from the top of Cheops last night just before sunset, and if that view is to be carried out my presence in Paris is positively required. The people are tired of the addresses given by the old Directory, and they're seriously thinking of getting out a new one, and I want to be on hand either to edit it or to secure my appointment to some lucrative consulship."

"You!—a man of your genius after a consulship?" queried Kleber, astonished.

"Yes, I have joined the office-seekers, General; but wait till you hear what consulship it is. The American consul-generalship at London is worth $70,000 a year, but mine—mine in contrast to that is as golf to muggins."

"And what shall I tell the reporters about that Jaffa business if they come here? That poison scandal is sure to come up," queried Kleber.

"Treat them well. Tell the truth if you know it, and—ah—invite them to dinner," said Bonaparte. "Give them all the delicacies of the season. When you serve the poisson, let it be with one 's,' and, to make assurance doubly sure, flavor the wines with the quickest you have."

"Quickest what?" asked Kleber, who was slightly obtuse.

"Humph!" sneered Napoleon. "On second thoughts, if reporters bother you, take them swimming where the crocodiles are thickest—only either don't bathe with them yourself, or wear your mail bathing- suit. Furthermore, remember that what little of the army is left are my children."

"What?" cried the obtuse Kleber. "All those?"

"They are my children, Kleber," said Napoleon, his voice shaking with emotion. "I am young to be the head of so large a family, but the fact remains as I have said. They may feel badly at my going away and leaving them even with so pleasing a hired man as yourself, but comfort them, let them play in the sand all they please, and if they want to know why papa has gone away, tell them I've gone to Paris to buy them some candy."

With these words Napoleon embarked, and on the 16th of October Paris received him with open arms. That night the members of the Directory came down with chills and fever.


"There is no question about my greatness now," said Napoleon, as he meditated upon his position. "Even if the Directory were not jealous and the people enthusiastic, the number of relatives I have discovered in the last ten days would show that things are going my way. I have had congratulatory messages from 800 aunts, 950 uncles, and about 3800 needy cousins since my arrival. It is queer how big a family a lonely man finds he has when his star begins to twinkle. Even Joseph is glad see me now, and I am told that the ice-cream men serve little vanilla Napoleons at all the swell dinners. Bourrienne, our time has come! Get out my most threadbare uniform, fray a few of my collars at the edges, and shoot a few holes in my hat. I'll go out and take a walk along the Avenue de l'Opera, where the people can see me."

"There isn't any such street in Paris yet, General," said Bourrienne, getting out his Paris guide-book.

"Well, there ought to be," said Napoleon.

"What streets are there? I must be seen or I'll be forgotten."

"What's the matter with a lounge in front of the Luxembourg? That will make a contrast that can't help affect the populace. You, the conqueror, ill-clad, unshaven, and with a hat full of bullet-holes, walking outside the palace, with the incompetent Directors lodged comfortably inside, will make a scene that is bound to give the people food for thought."

"Well said!" cried Bonaparte. "Here are the pistols go out into the woods and prepare the hat. I'll fray the collars."

This was done, and the effect was instantaneous. The public perceived the point, and sympathy ran so high that a public dinner was offered to the returned warrior.

"I have no use for pomp, Mr. Toast-master," he said, as he rose to speak at this banquet. "I am not a good after-dinner speaker, but I want the people of France to know that I am grateful for this meal. I rise only to express the thanks of a hungry man for this timely contribution to his inner self, and I wish to add that I should not willingly have added to the already heavy tax upon the pockets of a patriotic people by accepting this dinner, if it were not for the demands of nature. It is only the direst necessity that brings me here; for one must eat, and I cannot beg."

These remarks, as may well be imagined, sent a thrill of enthusiasm throughout France and filled the Directory with consternation. The only cloud upon Bonaparte's horizon was a slight coldness which arose between himself and Josephine. She had gone to meet him on his arrival at Frejus, but by some odd mistake took the road to Burgundy, while Napoleon came by way of Lyons. They therefore missed each other.

"I could not help it," she said, when Napoleon jealously chided her. "I've travelled very little, and the geography of France always did puzzle me."

"It is common sense that should have guided you, not knowledge of geography. When I sail into Port, you sail into Burgundy—you, the only woman I ever loved!" cried Napoleon, passionately. "Hereafter, madame, for the sake of our step-children, be more circumspect. At this time I cannot afford a trip to South Dakota for the purpose of a quiet divorce, nor would a public one pay at this juncture; but I give you fair warning that I shall not forget this escapade, and once we are settled in the—the Whatistobe, I shall remember, and another only woman I have ever loved will dawn upon your horizon."

Bonaparte was now besieged by all the military personages of France. His home became the Mecca of soldiers of all kinds, and in order to hold their interest the hero of the day found it necessary to draw somewhat upon the possessions which the people were convinced he was without. Never an admirer of consistency, France admired this more than ever. It was a paradox that this poverty-stricken soldier should entertain so lavishly, and the people admired the nerve which prompted him to do it, supposing, many of them, that his creditors were men of a speculative nature, who saw in the man a good-paying future investment.

Thus matters went until the evening of the 17th Brumaire, when Napoleon deemed that he had been on parade long enough, and that the hour demanded action.

"This is the month of Bromide," he said.

"Brumaire," whispered Bourrienne.

"I said Bromide," retorted Napoleon, "and the people are asleep. Bromide has that effect. That is why I call it Bromide, and I have as much right to name my months as any one else. Wherefore I repeat, this is the month of Bromide, and the people are asleep! I will now wake them up. The garrisons of Paris and the National Guard have asked me to review them, and I'm going to do it, and I've a new set of tictacs."

"Tactics, General, tactics," implored Bourrienne.

"There is no use discussing words, Mr. Secretary," retorted Bonaparte. "It has always been the criticism of my opponents that I didn't know a tactic from a bedtick—well, perhaps I don't; and for that reason I am not going to talk about tactics with which I am not familiar, but I shall speak of tictacs, which is a game I have played from infancy, and of which I am a master. I'm going to get up a new government, Bourrienne. Summon all the generals in town, including Bernadotte. They're all with me except Bernadotte, and he'll be so unpleasant about what I tell him to do that he'll make all the others so mad they'll stick by me through thick and thin. If there's any irritating work to be done, let Joseph do it. He has been well trained in the art of irritation. I have seen Sieyes and Ducos, and have promised them front seats in the new government which my tictacs are to bring about. Barras won't have the nerve to oppose me, and Gohier and Moulin have had the ague for weeks. We'll have the review, and my first order to the troops will be to carry humps; the second will be to forward march; and the third will involve the closing of a long lease, in my name, of the Luxembourg Palace, with a salary connected with every room in the house."

It is needless for us to go into details. The review came off as Napoleon wished, and his orders were implicitly obeyed, with the result that on the 19th of Brumaire the Directory was filed away, and Napoleon Bonaparte, with Sieyes and Ducos as fellow-consuls, were called upon to save France from anarchy.

"Well, Josephine," said Bonaparte, on the evening of the 19th, as he put his boots outside of the door of his new apartment in the Luxembourg, "this is better than living in a flat, and I must confess I find the feather-beds of the palace more inviting than a couch of sand under a date-tree in Africa."

"And what are you going to do next?" asked Josephine.

"Ha!" laughed Napoleon, blowing out the candle. "There's a woman's curiosity for you! The continuation of this entertaining story, my love, will be found in volume two of Bourrienne's attractive history, From the Tow-path to the Tuileries, now in course of preparation, and for sale by all accredited agents at the low price of ten francs a copy."

With this remark Napoleon jumped into bed, and on the authority of M. le Comte de Q-, at this time Charge a Affaires of the Luxembourg, and later on Janitor of the Tuileries, was soon dreaming of the Empire.

The Directory overthrown, Bonaparte turned his attention to the overthrow of the Consulate.

"Gentlemen," he said to his fellow-consuls, "I admire you personally very much, and no doubt you will both of you agree in most matters, but as I am fearful lest you should disagree on matters of importance, and so break that beautiful friendship which I am pleased to see that you have for each other, I shall myself cast a deciding vote in all matters, large or small. This will enable you to avoid differences, and to continue in that spirit of amity which I have always so much admired in your relations. You can work as hard as you please, but before committing yourselves to anything, consult me, not each other. What is a Consul for if not for a consultation?"

Against this Sieyes and Ducos were inclined to rebel, but Bonaparte soon dispelled their opposition. Ringing his bell, he summoned an aide-de-camp, whispered a few words in his ear, and then leaned quietly back in his chair. The aide-de-camp retired, and two minutes later the army stationed without began shouting most enthusiastically for Bonaparte. The General walked to the window and bowed, and the air was rent with huzzas and vivas.

"I guess he's right," whispered Sieyes, as the shouting grew more and more vigorous.

"Guess again," growled Ducos.

"You were saying, gentlemen—?" said Bonaparte, returning.

"That we are likely to have rain before long," said Sieyes, quickly.

"I shouldn't be surprised," returned Napoleon, "and I'd advise you laymen to provide yourselves with umbrellas when the rain begins. I, as a soldier, shall not feel the inclemency of the weather that is about to set in. And, by-the-way, Sieyes, please prepare a new Constitution for France, providing for a single-headed commission to rule the country. Ducos, you need rest. Pray take a vacation until further notice; I'll attend to matters here. On your way down-stairs knock at Bourrienne's door, and tell him I want to see him. I have a few more memoirs for his book."

With these words Bonaparte adjourned the meeting. Sieyes went home and drew up the Constitution, and M. Ducos retired to private life for rest. The Constitution of Sieyes was a clever instrument, but Bonaparte rendered it unavailing. It provided for three consuls, but one of them was practically given all the power, and the others became merely his clerks.

"This is as it should be," said Bonaparte, when by 4,000,000 votes the Constitution was ratified by the people. "These three-headed governments are apt to be failures, particularly when two of the heads are worthless. Cambaceres makes a first-rate bottle-holder, and Lebrun is a competent stenographer, but as for directing France in the line of her destiny they are of no use. I will now move into the Tuileries. I hate pomp, as I have often said, but Paris must be dazzled. We can't rent the palace for a hotel, and it's a pity to let so much space go to waste. Josephine, pack up your trunk, and tell Bourrienne to have a truckman here at eleven sharp. To-morrow night we will dine at the Tuileries, and for Heaven's sake see to it that the bottles are cold and the birds are hot. For the sake of the Republic also, that we may not appear too ostentatious in our living, you may serve cream with the demi-tasse."

Once established in the Tuileries, Bonaparte became in reality the king, and his family who had for a long time gone a-begging began to assume airs of importance, which were impressive. His sisters began to be invited out, and were referred to by the society papers as most eligible young persons. Their manner, however, was somewhat in advance of their position. Had their brother been actually king and themselves of royal birth they could not have conducted themselves more haughtily. This was never so fully demonstrated as when, at a ball given in their honor at Marseilles, an old friend of the family who had been outrageously snubbed by Caroline, asked her why she wore her nose turned up so high.

"Because my brother is reigning in Paris," she retorted.

In this she but voiced the popular sentiment, and the remark was received with applause; and later, Murat, who had distinguished himself as a military man, desirous of allying himself with the rising house, demanded her hand in marriage.

"You?" cried the First Consul. "Why, Murat, your father kept an inn."

"I know it," said Murat. "But what of that?"

"My blood must not be mixed with yours, that's what," said Bonaparte.

"Very well, Mr. Bonaparte," said Murat, angrily, "let it be so; but I tell you one thing: When you see the bills Caroline is running up you'll find it would have been money in your pocket to transfer her to me. As for the inn business, my governor never served such atrocious meals at his table-d'hote as you serve to your guests at state banquets, and don't you forget it."

Whether these arguments overcame Bonaparte's scruples or not is not known, but a few days later he relented, and Caroline became the wife of Murat.

"I never regretted it," said Bonaparte, some years later. "Murat was a good brother-in-law to me, and he taught me an invaluable lesson in the giving of state banquets, which was that one portion is always enough for three. And as for parting with my dear sister, that did not disturb me very much; for, truly, Talleyrand, Caroline was the only woman I never loved."


"Observe," said Bonaparte, now that he was seated on the consular throne, "that one of my biographers states that, under a man of ordinary vigor this new Constitution of Sieyes and another our government would be free and popular, but that under myself it has become an unlimited monarchy. That man is right. I am now a potentate of the most potent kind. I got a letter from the Bourbons last night requesting me to restore them to the throne. Two years ago they wouldn't have given me their autographs for my collection, but now they want me to get up from my seat in this car of state and let them sit down."

"And you replied—?" asked Josephine.

"That I didn't care for Bourbon—rye suits me better," laughed the Consul, "unless I can get Scotch, which I prefer at all times. Feeling this way, I cannot permit Louis to come back yet awhile. Meantime, in the hope of replenishing our cellars with a few bottles of Glenlivet, I will write a letter of pacification to George III., one of the most gorgeous rex in Madame Tussaud's collection of living potentates."

This Bonaparte did, asking the English king if he hadn't had enough war for the present. George, through the eyes of his ministers, perceived Bonaparte's point, and replied that he was very desirous for peace himself, but that at present the market seemed to be cornered, and that therefore the war must go on. This reply amused Napoleon.

"It suits me to the ground," he said, addressing Talleyrand. "A year of peace would interfere materially with my future. If Paris were Philadelphia, it would be another thing. There one may rest—there is no popular demand for excitement—Penn was mightier than the sword—but here one has to be in a broil constantly; to be a chef one must be eternally cooking, and the results must be of the kind that requires extra editions of the evening papers. The day the newsboys stop shouting my name, my sun will set for the last time. Even now the populace are murmuring, for nothing startling has occurred this week, which reminds me, I wish to see Fouche. Send him here."

Talleyrand sent for the Minister of Police, who responded to the summons.

"Fouche," said Bonaparte, sternly, "what are we here for, salary or glory?"

"Glory, General."

"Precisely. Now, as head of the Police Department, are you aware that no attempt to assassinate me has been made for two weeks?"

"Yes, General, but—"

"Has the assassin appropriation run out? Have the assassins struck for higher wages, or are you simply careless?" demanded the First Consul. "I warn you, sir, that I wish no excuses, and I will add that unless an attempt is made on my life before ten o'clock to- night, you lose your place. The French people must be kept interested in this performance, and how the deuce it is to be done without advertising I don't know. Go, and remember that I shall be at home to assassins on Thursdays of alternate weeks until further notice."

"Your Consulship's wishes shall be respected," said Fouche, with a low bow. "But I must say one word in my own behalf. You were to have had a dynamite bomb thrown at you yesterday by one of my employes, but the brave fellow who was to have stood between you and death disappointed me. He failed to turn up at the appointed hour, and so, of course, the assault didn't come off."

"Couldn't you find a substitute?" demanded Bonaparte.

"I could not," said Fouche. "There aren't many persons in Paris who care for that kind of employment. They'd rather shovel snow."

"You are a gay stage-manager, you are!" snapped Bonaparte. "My brother Joseph is in town, and yet you say you couldn't find a man to be hit by a bomb. Leave me, Fouche. You give me the ennuis."

Fouche departed with Talleyrand, to whom he expressed his indignation at the First Consul's reprimand.

"He insists upon an attempted assassination every week," he said; "and I tell you, Talleyrand, it isn't easy to get these things up. The market is long on real assassins, fellows who'd kill him for the mere fun of hearing his last words, but when it comes to playing to the galleries with a mock attempt with real consequences to the would-be murderers, they fight shy of it."

Nevertheless, Fouche learned from the interview with Bonaparte that the First Consul was not to be trifled with, and hardly a day passed without some exciting episode in this line, in which, of course, Napoleon always came out unscathed and much endeared to the populace. This, however, could not go on forever. The fickle French soon wearied of the series of unsuccessful attempts on the Consul's life, and some began to suspect the true state of affairs.

"They're on to our scheme, General," said Fouche, after a while. "You've got to do something new."

"What would you suggest?" asked Napoleon, wearily.

"Can't you write a book of poems, or a three-volume novel?" suggested Talleyrand.

"Or resign, and let Sieyes run things for a while?" said Fouche. "If they had another Consul for a few months, they'd appreciate what a vaudeville show they lost in you."

"I'd rather cross the Alps," said Bonaparte. "I don't like to resign. Moving is such a nuisance, and I must say I find the Tuileries a very pleasant place of abode. It's more fun than you can imagine rummaging through the late king's old bureau-drawers. Suppose I get up a new army and lead it over the Alps."

"Just the thing," said Talleyrand. "Only it will be a very snowy trip."

"I'm used to snow-balls," said Napoleon, his mind reverting to the episode which brought his career at Brienne to a close. "Just order an army and a mule and I'll set out. Meanwhile, Fouche, see that the Bourbons have a conspiracy to be unearthed in time for the Sunday newspapers every week during my absence. I think it would be well, too, to keep a war-correspondent at work in your office night and day, writing despatches about my progress. Give him a good book on Hannibal's trip to study, and let him fill in a column or two every day with anecdotes about myself, and at convenient intervals unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Josephine may come in handy. Let it be rumored often that I have been overwhelmed by an avalanche- -in short, keep the interest up."

So it was that Bonaparte set out upon his perilous expedition over the Great St. Bernard. On the 15th day of May, 1800, the task of starting the army in motion was begun, and on the 18th every column was in full swing. Lannes, with an advance guard armed with snow- shovels, took the lead, and Bonaparte, commanding the rear guard of 35,000 men and the artillery, followed.

"Soldiers!" he cried, as they came near to the snow-bound heights, "we cannot have our plum-cake without its frosting. Like children, we will have the frosting first and the cake later. Lannes and his followers have not cleaned the snow off as thoroughly as I had hoped, but I fancy he has done the best he can, and it is not for us to complain. Let us on. The up-trip will be cold and tedious, but once on the summit of yonder icy ridge we can seat ourselves comfortably on our guns and slide down into the lovely valleys on the other side like a band of merry school-boys on toboggans. Above all, do not forget the chief duty of a soldier in times of peril. In spite of the snow and the ice, in spite of the blizzard and the sleet, keep cool; and, furthermore, remember that in this climate, if your ears don't hurt, it's a sign they are freezing. En avant! Nous sommes le peuple."

The army readily responded to such hopeful words, and as Bonaparte manifested quite as much willingness to walk as the meanest soldier, disdaining to ride, except occasionally, and even then on the back of a mule, he became their idol.

"He does not spare himself any more than he does us," said one of his soldiers, "and he can pack a snow-ball with the best of us."

The General catered, too, to the amusement of his troops, and the brasses of the band broke the icy stillness of the great hills continually.

"Music's the thing," he cried, many years later, "and when we got to the top we had the most original roof-garden you ever saw. It was most inspiring, and the only thing that worried me at all was as to how Fouche was conducting our anecdote and assassination enterprise at home. Once on top of the Alps, the descent was easy. We simply lay down on our arms and slid. Down the mountain-side we thundered, and the Austrians, when they observed our impetus, gave way before us, and the first thing I knew I skated slam-bang into the Empire. Our avalanchian descent subjugated Italy; frightened the Englishmen to Alexandria, where, in the absence of a well-organized force, they managed to triumph; scared the Pope so thoroughly that he was willing to sign anything I wished; and, best of all, after a few petty delays, convinced the French people that I was too big a man for a mere consulship. It was my chamois-like agility in getting down the Alps that really made me Emperor. As for the army, it fought nobly. It was so thoroughly chilled by the Alpine venture that it fought desperately to get warm. My grenadiers, congealed to their very souls, went where the fire was hottest. They seized bomb-shells while they were yet in the air, warmed their hands upon them, and then threw them back into the enemy's camp, where they exploded with great carnage. They did not even know when they were killed, so benumbed by the cold had they become. In short, those days on the Alps made us invincible. No wonder, then, that in 1804, when I got permanently back to Paris, I found the people ready for an emperor! They were bloody years, those from 1800 to 1804, but it was not entirely my fault. I shed very little myself, but the English and the Austrians and the royalist followers would have it so, and I had to accommodate them. I did not wish to execute the Duc d'Enghien, but he would interfere with Fouche by getting up conspiracies on his own account, when I had given the conspiracy contract to one of my own ministers. The poor fellow had to die. It was a case of no die, no Empire, and I thought it best for the French people that they should have an Empire."

Those who criticise Bonaparte's acts in these years should consider these words, and remember that the great warrior in no case did any of the killing himself.

It was on the 18th of May, 1804, that the Empire was proclaimed and Napoleon assumed his new title amid great rejoicing.

"Now for the coronation," he said. "This thing must go off in style, Fouche. Whom shall I have to crown me?"

"Well," said Fouche, "if you are after a sensation, I'd send for Louis de Bourbon; if you want it to go off easily, I'd send for your old hatter in the Rue de Victoire; if you want to give it a ceremonial touch, I'd send for the Pope, but, on the whole, I rather think I'd do it myself. You picked it up yourself, why not put it on your own head?"

"Good idea," returned Bonaparte. "And highly original. You may increase your salary a hundred francs a week, Fouche. I'll crown myself, but I think it ought to come as a surprise, don't you?"

"Yes," said Fouche. "That is, if you can surprise the French people- -which I doubt. If you walked into Notre Dame to-morrow on your hands, with the crown of France on one foot and the diadem of Italy on the other, the people wouldn't be a bit surprised—you're always doing such things."

"Nevertheless," said Napoleon, "we'll surprise them. Send word to the Pope that I want to see him officially on December 2d at Notre Dame. If he hesitates about coming, tell him I'll walk over and bring him myself the first clear day we have."

This plan was followed out to the letter, and the Pope, leaving Rome on the 5th of November, entered Paris to crown the Emperor and Empress of the French on December 2, 1804, as requested. What subsequently followed the world knows. Just as the Pope was about to place the imperial diadem on the brow of Bonaparte, the Emperor seized it and with his own hands placed it there.

"Excuse me, your Holiness," he said, as he did so, "but the joke is on you. This is my crown, and I think I'm a big enough man to hang it up where it belongs."

Pius VII. was much chagrined, but, like the good man that he was, he did not show it, nor did he resent the Emperor's second interference when it came to the crowning of Josephine. The coronation over, Napoleon and Josephine turned to the splendid audience, and marched down the centre aisle to the door, where they entered a superb golden carriage in which, amid the plaudits of the people, they drove to the Tuileries.

"Ah—at last!" said Bonaparte, as he entered the Palace. "I have got there. The thing to do now is to stay there. Ah, me!" he added, with a sigh. "These French—these French! they are as fickle as the only woman I have ever loved. By-the-way, Josephine, what was it you asked me on the way down the aisle? The people howled so I couldn't hear you."

"I only asked you if"—here the Empress hesitated.

"Well? If what?" frowned the Emperor.

"If my crown was on straight," returned Josephine.

"Madame," said the Emperor, sternly, "when you are prompted to ask that question again, remember who gave you that crown, and when you remember that it was I, remember also that when I give anything to anybody I give it to them straight."

Here the Emperor's frown relaxed, and he burst out into laughter.

"But that was a bad break of the organist!" he said.

"Which was that?" asked Josephine.

"Why—didn't you notice when the Pope came in he played 'Tiara Boom- de-ay'?" said Bonaparte, with a roar. "It was awful—I shall have to send him a pourboire."


"What next?" asked Fouche, the morning after the coronation, as he entered the Emperor's cabinet.

"Breakfast," returned Bonaparte, laconically; "what did you suppose? You didn't think I was going swimming in the Seine, did you?"

"I never think," retorted Fouche.

"That's evident," said Napoleon. "Is the arch-treasurer of my empire up yet? The Empress is going shopping, and wants an appropriation."

"He is, Your Majesty," said Fouche, looking at his memorandum-book. "He rose at 7:30, dressed as usual, parted his hair on the left-hand side, and breakfasted at eight. At 8:15 he read the Moniteur, and sneezed twice while perusing the second column of the fourth page—"

"What is the meaning of these petty details?" cried the Emperor, impatiently.

"I merely wished to show Your Majesty that as the Sherlock Holmes of this administration I am doing my duty. There isn't a man in France who is not being shadowed in your behalf," returned the minister of police.

The Emperor looked out of the window; then, turning to Fouche, he said, the stern, impatient look fading into softness, "Pardon my irritability, Fouche. You are a genius, and I appreciate you, though I may not always show it. I didn't sleep well last night, and in consequence I am not unduly amiable this morning."

"Your Majesty is not ill, I trust?" said Fouche, with a show of anxiety.

"No," replied the Emperor. "The fact is, old man, I—ah—I forgot to take the crown off when I went to bed."

Thus began that wonderful reign which forms so many dazzling pages in modern history. Bonaparte's first act after providing lucrative positions for his family was to write another letter, couched in language of a most fraternal nature, to the King of England, asking for peace.

"Dear Cousin George," he wrote, "you have probably read in the newspapers by this time that I'm working under a new alias, and I hope you will like it as well as I do. It's great fun, but there is one feature of it all that I don't like. I hate to be fighting with my new cousins all the time, and particularly with you whom I have always loved deeply, though secretly. Now, my dear George, let me ask you what's the use of a prolonged fight? You've waxed fat in ten years, and so have I. We've painted the earth red between us. Why can't we be satisfied? Why should our relations continue to be strained? I've got some personal relations I'd like to have strained, but I can attend to them myself. Let US have peace. I don't want too big a piece. Give me enough, and you can have the rest. Let us restore the entente cordiale and go about our business without any further scrapping. 'Let dogs delight to bark and bite,' as your illustrious poet hath it, 'for 'tis their nature to.' As for us, the earth is large enough for both. You take the Western Hemisphere and I'll keep this. Russia and the others can have what remains.

Yours truly, NAPOLEON, Emperor of the French.

"P.S.—I enclose a stamped and directed envelope for a reply, and if I don't get it inside of two weeks I'll come over and smoke you out."

To this peace-seeking communication England, through her ministers, replied to the effect that she wanted peace as much as France did, but that she could not enter into it without the consent of Russia.

"That settles it," said Napoleon. "It's to be war. I'm willing to divide creation with England, but two's company and three's a crowd, and the Russian Bear must keep his paws off. I will go to Italy, Bourrienne, collect a few more thrones, and then we'll get to work on a new map of Europe. Russia never did look well or graceful on the existing maps. It makes the continent look lop-sided, and Germany and Austria need trimming down a bit. I propose to shove Russia over into Asia, annex Germany and Austria to France, drop Turkey into the Bosporus, and tow England farther north and hitch her on to the north pole. Wire the Italians to get out their iron crown and dust it off. I'll take a run down to Milan, in May, and give my coronation performance there. Such a good show as that of December 2nd ought to be taken on the road."

The latter part of this plan was fulfilled to the letter, and on the 20th of May, 1805, Bonaparte and Josephine were crowned King and Queen of Italy at Milan.

"Now, my dear," said Bonaparte, after the ceremony, "hereafter we must drop the first person singular I and assume the dignity of the editorial WE. Emperors and editors alike are entitled to the distinction. It's a sign of plurality which is often quite as effective as a majority. Furthermore, you and We can do it logically, for we are several persons all at once, what with the assortment of thrones that we have acquired in the second-hand shops of the earth, all of which must be sat on."

Crowned King of Italy, leaving Eugene de Beauharnais as Viceroy at Milan, Napoleon returned to Paris.

"Now that We have replenished our stock of crowns," he said to his generals, "We will make a tour of Germany. We've always had a great desire to visit Berlin, and now's our imperial chance. Tell the arch-treasurer to telephone Frederick to reserve his best palace for our occupancy."

Then began a series of war-clouds which kept the European correspondents of the American Sunday newspapers in a state of anxious turmoil for years. In our own time a single war-cloud is enough to drive a capable correspondent to the verge of desperation, but when we consider that Bonaparte was letting loose the clouds of war in all sections of Europe simultaneously, it is easy to understand how it has come about that we of to-day, who study history in the daily press, have the most vague ideas as to the motives of the quarrelling potentates at the beginning of this century.

For instance, after starting for Berlin, Bonaparte makes a diversion at Ulm, and ends for the moment by capturing Vienna and taking up his abode in the castle of Schonbrunn, the home of the Austrian Caesars. Then the scene of activity is transferred to Cape Trafalgar, where Nelson routs the French fleet, and Bonaparte is for an instant discomfited, but above which he rises superior.

"If We had been there ourself We'd have felt worse about it," he said. "But We were not, and therefore it is none of our funeral— and, after all, what has it accomplished? The hoard of aldermen of London have named a square in London after the cape, and stuck up a monument to Nelson in the middle of it, which is the rendezvous of all the strikers and socialists of England. Some day We'll go over to Trafalgar Square ourself and put a new face on that statue, and it will bear some resemblance to us, unless We are mistaken. When We get back to Paris, likewise, We will issue an imperial decree ordering a new navy for these capable admirals of ours more suited to their abilities, and M. Villeneuve shall have his choice between a camel and a gravy-boat for his flag-ship."

Nevertheless, the Emperor realized that his prestige had received a blow which it was necessary to retrieve.

"Paris doesn't like it," wrote Fouche, "and the general sentiment seems to be that your show isn't what it used to be. You need a victory just about now, and if you could manage to lose a leg on the field of battle it would strengthen your standing with your subjects."

"Good Fouche," murmured the Emperor to himself as he read the despatch. "You are indeed watchful of our interests. It shall be done as you suggest, even if it costs a leg. We will engage the Russians at Austerlitz."

On the 2d of December this battle of the Emperors was fought, and resulted in a most glorious victory for the French arms.

"We scored seven touch-downs in the first five minutes, and at the end of the first half were ten goals to the good," said Bonaparte, writing home to Josephine, "and all without my touching the ball. The Emperor of Germany and the excessively smart Alexander of Russia sat on dead-head hill and watched the game with interest, but in spite of my repeated efforts to get them to do so, were utterly unwilling to cover my bets on the final result. The second half opened brilliantly. Murat made a flying wedge with our centre-rush, threw himself impetuously upon Kutusoff, the Russian half-back, pushed the enemy back beyond the goal posts, and the game was practically over. The emperors on dead-head hill gave it up then and there, and the championship of 1805 is ours. We understand England disputes this, but we are willing to play them on neutral ground at any time. They can beat us in aquatic sports, but given a good, hard, real-estate field, we can do them up whether Wellington plays or not."

"It was a glorious victory," wrote Fouche to the Emperor, "and it has had a great effect on Paris. You are called the Hinkey of your time, but I still think you erred in not losing that leg. Can't you work in another coronation somewhere? You haven't acquired a new throne in over six months, and the people are beginning to murmur."

Bonaparte's reply was immediate.

"Am too busy to go throne-hunting. Send my brother Joseph down to Naples as my agent. There's a crown there. Let him put it on, and tell Paris that he is my proxy. Joseph may not want to go because of the cholera scare, but tell him We wish it, and if he still demurs whisper the word 'Alp' in his ear. He'll go when he hears that word, particularly if you say it in that short, sharp, and decisive manner to which it so readily lends itself."

These instructions were carried out, and Paris was for the time being satisfied; but to clinch matters, as it were, the Emperor went still further, and married Eugene de Beauharnais to the daughter of the King of Bavaria, conferred a few choice principalities upon his sister Eliza, and, sending for Prince Borghese, one of the most aristocratic gentlemen of Italy, gave him in marriage to his sister Pauline.

"We're getting into good society by degrees," wrote the Emperor to the Empress, "and now that you are the mother-in-law of a real prince, kindly see that your manner is imperious to the extreme degree, and stop serving pie at state banquets."

The succeeding two years were but repetitions of the first year of the Empire. Bonaparte proceeded from one victory to another. Prussia was humbled. The French Emperor occupied Berlin, and, as he had done in Italy, levied upon the art treasures of that city for the enrichment of Paris.

"We'll have quite a Salon if we go on," said Bonaparte.

"Anybody'd think you were getting up a corner in oil," said Frederick, ruefully, as he watched the packers at work boxing his most treasured paintings for shipment.

"We am getting up a corner in all things," retorted Bonaparte. "Paris will soon be the Boston of Europe—it will be the Hub of the Universe."

"You might leave me something," said the Prussian king. "I haven't an old master left."

"Well, never mind," said Napoleon, soothingly. "We'll be a young master to you. Now go to bed, like a good fellow, and take a good rest. There's a delegation of Poles waiting for me outside. They think We am going to erect a telegraph system to Russia, and they want employment."

"As operators?" asked Frederick, sadly.

"No, stupid," returned Napoleon, "as Poles."

The Prussian left the room in tears. To his great regret policy compelled Bonaparte to decline the petition of the Polanders to be allowed to rehabilitate themselves as a nation. As we have seen, he was a man of peace, and many miles away from home at that, and hence had no desire to further exasperate Russia by meddling in an affair so close to the Czar's heart. This diplomatic foresight resulted in the Peace of Tilsit. The Czar, appreciating Bonaparte's delicacy in the matter of Poland, was quite won over, and consented to an interview by means of which a basis might be reached upon which all might rest from warfare. Tilsit was chosen as the place of meeting, and fearing lest they might be interrupted by reporters, the two emperors decided to hold their conference upon a raft anchored in the middle of the river Niemen. It must be remembered that tugs had not been invented at this time, so that the raft was comparatively safe from those "Boswells of the news," as reporters have been called. Fouche was very anxious about this decision however.

"Look out for yourself, my dear Emperor," he wrote. "Wear a cork suit, or insist that the raft shall be plentifully supplied with life-preservers. Those Eastern emperors would like nothing better than to have you founder in the Niemen."

"We are not afraid," Napoleon replied. "If the craft sinks We shall swim ashore on Alexander's back." Nevertheless, all other historians to the contrary, Bonaparte did wear a cork suit beneath his uniform. We have this on the authority of the nephew of the valet of the late Napoleon III., who had access to the private papers of this wonderful family.

Nothing disastrous occurred upon this occasion in spite of the temptation thrown in Alexander's way to sink the raft and thus rid the world of a dangerous rival to his supremacy. The conference resulted in a treaty of peace, concluded on the 7th of July, 1807, and by it a few more thrones were added to the Bonaparte collection. Jerome, who had been trying to make a living as a music teacher in America, having been divorced from his American wife and married to another, was made King of Westphalia.

"Having made a failure in the West, my dear brother," said Bonaparte, "what could be more appropriate?"

Louis was made King of Holland, and Joseph's kingship of Naples was fully recognized, and, further, Bonaparte was enabled to return to Paris and show himself to the citizens of that fickle city, who were getting restive under Josephine's rule.

"They like Josephine well enough," wrote Fouche, "but the men prefer to have you here. The fact that things run smoothly under a woman's rule is giving the female suffragists a great boom, and the men say that domestic life is being ruined. Cooks are scarce, having deserted the kitchen for the primaries, and altogether the outlook is effeminate. Therefore, come back as soon as you can, for if you don't the first thing we know the women will be voting, and you'll find you'll have to give up your seat to a lady."

The Emperor's return to Paris was marked by great rejoicing, particularly by the large number of hatters and laundresses and stable-boys whom he had in the meantime paid for their early services by making them dukes and duchesses. The court was magnificent, and entirely new. No second-hand nobles were allowed within the sacred circle, and the result was one of extreme splendor. In a small way, to maintain the interest which he had inspired, as well as to keep up the discipline of his army, a few conquests, including those of Spain and Portugal, were indulged in. Joseph was removed from a comfortable, warm throne at Naples and made King of Spain, and Murat was substituted for him at Naples. The Emperor's elder brother did not like the change, but submitted as gracefully as ever.

"Naples was extremely comfortable," he said, "but this Madrid position is not at all to my taste. I prefer macaroni to garlic, and I cannot endure these Carmencita dances—they remind me too much of the green-apple season in the old Corsican days. However, what my brother wills I do, merely from force of habit—not that I fear him or consider myself bound to obey him, mind you, but because I am averse to family differences. One must yield, and I have always been the self-sacrificing member of the family. He's put me here, and I hope to remain."

This promotion of Joseph was a misstep for one who desired peace, and Bonaparte soon found another war with Austria on the tapis because of it. Emperor Francis Joseph, jealous perhaps of the copyright on his name, declined to recognize King Joseph of Spain. Whereupon Bonaparte again set out for Austria, where, on the 6th of July, 1809, Austria having recognized the strength of Bonaparte's arguments, backed up, as they were, by an overwhelming force of men, each worthy of a marshal's baton, and all confident, under the new regime, of some day securing it, an armistice was agreed upon, and on the 14th of October a treaty satisfactory to France was signed.

"If I have to come back again, my dear Emperor Joseph," Bonaparte said, as he set out for Paris, "it will be for the purpose of giving you a new position, which you may not like so well as the neat and rather gaudy sinecure you now hold."

"Which is—?" added the Austrian.

"I'll bring you a snow-shovel and set you to clearing off the steps."

"What steps?" queried the Austrian anxiously.

"The back-steppes of Russia," replied Napoleon, sternly. "The only thing that keeps me from doing it now is that I—ah—I hate to do anything unkind to the father of—ah—your daughter Marie-Louise, whom I met at the dance last night, and who, between you and me, looks remarkably like the only woman I ever loved."


Just before the opening of the year 1810, which marked the beginning of Bonaparte's decay, Fouche demanded an audience.

"Well, Fouche," said the Emperor, "what now?"

"This Empire can't go much further, Your Majesty, unless more novelty is introduced. I've had my men out all through France taking notes, and there's but one opinion among 'em all. You've got to do something new or stop the show. If you'd only done what I suggested at Austerlitz, and lost a leg, it would have been different. The people don't ask much song-and-dance business from a one-legged man."

"We compromised with you there," retorted Napoleon. "At Ratisbon our imperial foot was laid up for a week."

"Yes—but you didn't lose it," returned Fouche. "Can't you see the difference? If you'd lost it, and come home without it, there'd have been evidence of your suffering. As it is, do you know what your enemies are saying about your foot?"

"We do not," said the Emperor, sternly. "What do they say?"

"Well, the Bourbons say you stepped on it running away from the enemy's guns, and the extreme Republicans say your wound is nothing but gout and the result of high, undemocratic living. Now, my dear sir—Sire, I mean—I take a great deal of interest in this Empire. It pays me my salary, and I've had charge of the calcium lights for some time, and I don't want our lustre dimmed, but it will be dimmed unless, as I have already told you a million times, we introduce some new act on our programme. 1492 didn't succeed on its music, or its jokes, or its living pictures. It was the introduction of novelties every week that kept it on the boards for four hundred years."

"Well—what do you propose?" asked Bonaparte, recognizing the truth of Fouche's words.

"I—ah—I think you ought to get married," said Fouche.

"We am married, you—you—idiot," cried Bonaparte.

"Well, marry again," said Fouche. "You've been giving other people away at a great rate for several years—what's the matter with acquiring a real princess for yourself?"

"You advise bigamy, do you?" asked Bonaparte, scornfully.

"Not on your life," returned Fouche, "but a real elegant divorce, followed by an imperial wedding, would rattle the bones of this blase old Paris as they haven't been rattled since Robespierre's day."

Bonaparte reddened, then, rising from the throne and putting his hand to the side of his mouth, he said, in a low, agitated tone:

"Close the door, Fouche. Close the door and come here. We want to whisper something to you."

The minister did as he was bidden.

"Fouche, old boy," chuckled the Emperor in the ear of his rascally aide—"Fouche, you're a mind-reader. We've been thinking of just that very thing for some time—in fact, ever since We met that old woman Emperor Francis Joseph. He'd make an elegant mother-in-law."

"Precisely," said Fouche. "His daughter Marie-Louise, an archduchess by birth, is the one I had selected for you. History will no doubt say that I oppose this match, and publicly perhaps I may seem to do so, but you will understand, my dear Sire, that this opposition will serve, as it is designed to serve, as an advertisement of our enterprise, and without advertising we might as well put up the shutters. Shall we—ah—announce the attraction to the public?"

"Not yet," said Napoleon. "We must get rid of our leading lady before we bring on the understudy."

It is a sad chapter in the history of this eminent man wherein is told the heart-breaking story of his sacrifice—the giving up through sheer love of his country of the only woman he had ever loved, and we should prefer to pass it over in silence. We allude to it here merely to show that it was brought about by the exigencies of his office, and that it was nothing short of heroic self-abnegation which led this faithful lover of his adopted native land to put the beautiful Josephine away from him. He had builded an Empire for an opera bouffe people, and he was resolved to maintain it at any cost.

In March, 1810, Bonaparte, having in his anxiety to spare the feelings of the divorced Josephine, wooed Marie-Louise by proxy in the person of Marshal Berthier, met his new fiancee at Soissons.

"It is three months since we lost our beloved Josephine," he said to Fouche, with tears in his voice, "but the wound is beginning to heal. We fear we shall never love again, but for the sake of the Empire we will now begin to take notice once more. We will meet our bride- elect at Soissons, and escort her to Paris ourself."

This was done, and on the 2nd of April, 1810, Marie-Louise became Empress of France. Josephine, meanwhile, had retired to Malmaison with alimony of 3,000,000 francs.

Fouche was delighted; Paris was provided with conversation enough for a year in any event, and Bonaparte found it possible to relax a little in his efforts to inspire interest. His main anxiety in the ensuing year was as to his family affairs. His brothers did not turn out so highly successful as professional kings as he had hoped, and it became necessary to depose Louis the King of Holland and place him under arrest. Joseph, too, desired to resign the Spanish throne, which he had found to be far from comfortable, and there was much else to restore Bonaparte's early proneness to irritability; nor was his lot rendered any more happy by Marie-Louise's expressed determination not to go to tea with Josephine at Malmaison on Sunday nights, as the Emperor wished her to do.

"You may go if you please," said she, "but I shall not. Family reunions are never agreeable, and the circumstances of this are so peculiar that even if they had redeeming features this one would be impossible."

"We call that rebellion—don't you?" asked Bonaparte of Fouche.

"No," said Fouche. "She's right, and it's for your good. If she and Josephine got chumming and compared notes, I'm rather of the opinion that there'd be another divorce."

Fouche's reply so enraged the Emperor that he dismissed him from his post, and the Empire began to fall.

"I leave you at your zenith, Sire," said Fouche. "You send me to Rome as governor in the hope that I will get the Roman fever and die. I know it well; but let me tell you that the reaction is nearly due, and with the loss of your stage manager the farce begins to pall. Farewell. If you can hook yourself on to your zenith and stay there, do so, but that you will I don't think."

It was as Fouche said. Perplexities now arose which bade fair to overwhelm the Emperor. For a moment they cleared away when the infant son of Marie-Louise and Bonaparte was born, but they broke out with increasing embarrassment immediately after.

"What has your son-in-law named his boy, Francis Joseph?" asked Alexander of Russia.

"King of Rome," returned the Austrian.

"What!" cried Alexander, "and not after you—or me? The coxcomb! I will make war upon him."

This anecdote is here given to the world for the first time. It is generally supposed that the rupture of friendly relations between Alexander and Bonaparte grew out of other causes, but the truth is as indicated in this story. Had Fouche been at hand, Bonaparte would never have made the mistake, but it was made, and war was declared.

After a succession of hard-fought battles the invading army of the Emperor entered Moscow, but Napoleon's spirit was broken.

"These Russian names are giving us paresis!" he cried. "How I ever got here I don't know, and I find myself unprovided with a return ticket. The names of the Russian generals, to say nothing of those of their rivers and cities, make my head ache, and have ruined my teeth. I fear, Davoust, that I have had my day. It was easy to call on the Pollylukes to surrender in Africa; it never unduly taxed my powers of enunciation to speak the honeyed names of Italy; the Austrian tongue never bothered me; but when I try to inspire my soldiers with remarks like, 'On to Smolensko!' or 'Down with Rostopchin!' and 'Shall we be discouraged because Tchigagoff, and Kutusoff, and Carrymeoffski, of the Upperjnavyk Cgold Sdream Gards, oppose us?' I want to lie down and die. What is the sense of these barbed-wire names, anyhow? Why, when I was told that Barclay de Tolly had abandoned Vitepsk, and was marching on Smolensko with a fair chance of uniting with Tormagoff and Wittgenstein, I was so mixed that I couldn't tell whether Vitepsk was a brigadier-general or a Russian summer-resort. Nevertheless, we have arrived, and I think we can pass a comfortable winter in Moscow. Is Moscow a cold place, do you know?"

Marshal Ney looked out of the window.

"No, Your Majesty," he said; "I judge from appearances that it's the hottest place in creation, just now. Look!"

Bonaparte's heart sank within him. He looked and saw the city in flames.

"Well," he cried, "why don't you do something? What kind of theatrical soldiers are you? Ring up the fire department! Ah, Fouche, Fouche, if you were only here now! You could at least arrest the flames."

It was too late. Nothing could be done, and the conquering hero of nearly twenty years now experienced the bitterness of defeat. Rushing through the blazing town, he ordered a retreat, and was soon sadly wending his way back to Paris.

"We are afraid," he murmured, "that that Moscow fire has cooked our imperial goose."

Then, finding the progress of the army too slow, and anxious to hear the news of Paris, Napoleon left his troops under the command of Ney and pushed rapidly on, travelling incognito, not being desirous of accepting such receptions and fetes in his honor as the enemy had in store for him.

"I do not like to leave my army in such sore straits," he said, "but I must. I am needed at the Tuileries. The King of Rome has fallen in love with his nurse, and I understand also that there is a conspiracy to steal the throne and sell it. This must not be. Reassure the army of my love. Tell them that they are, as was the army of Egypt, my children, and that they may play out in the snow a little while longer, but must come in before they catch cold."

With these words he was off. Paris, as usual, received him with open arms. Things had been dull during his absence, and his return meant excitement. The total loss of the French in this campaign was 450,000 men, nearly a thousand cannon, and seventy-five eagles and standards.

"It's a heavy loss," said the Emperor, "but it took a snow-storm to do it. I'd rather fight bears than blizzards; but the French must not be discouraged. Let them join the army. The Russians have captured three thousand and forty-eight officers whose places must be filled. If that isn't encouragement to join the army I expect to raise next spring I don't know what is. As for the eagles—you can get gold eagles in America for ten dollars apiece, so why repine! On with the dance, let joy be unconfined!"

It was too late, however. The Empire had palled. Bonaparte could have started a comic paper and still have failed to rouse Paris from its lethargy, and Paris is the heart of France. Storms gathered, war-clouds multiplied, the nations of the earth united against him, the King of Rome began cutting his teeth and destroyed the Emperor's rest. The foot-ball of fate that chance had kicked so high came down to earth with a sickening thud, and Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica yielded to the inevitable.

"Fouche," he said, sending for the exiled minister in his extremity, "when I lost you I lost my leading man—the star of my enterprise. During your absence the prompter's box has been empty, and I don't know what to do. The world is against me—even France. I see but one thing left. Do you think I could restore confidence by divorcing Marie-Louise and remarrying Josephine? It strikes me that an annual shaking-up of that nature would sort of liven matters up.

"No!" said Fouche, "it won't do. They've had one divorce. You mustn't repeat yourself now. You forget the thing I've always tried to impress upon you. Be New; not parvenu or ingenue, but plain up and down New is what you need to be. It would have been just the same if you'd thrashed Russia. They'd have forced you to go on and conquer China; then they'd have demanded a war with Japan, after which they'd have dethroned you if you didn't annex the Sandwich Islands to the United States, and then bag the whole thing for France. This is what you get for wanting to rule the French people. You can't keep quiet—you've got to have a move on you constantly or they won't have you. Furthermore, you mustn't make 'em laugh except at the other man. You've had luck in that respect, but there's no telling how long it will continue now that you have a son. He's beginning to say funny things, and they're generally at your expense, and one or two people hereabouts have snickered at you already."

"What do you mean?" said Napoleon, with a frown. "What has the boy said about me?"

"He told the Minister of Finance the other night that now that you were the father of a real Emperor's grandson, you had a valid claim to respectability, and he'd bite the head off the first person who said you hadn't," said Fouche.

"Well—that certainly was standing up for his daddy," said the Emperor, fondly.

"Ye-e-es," said Fouche, "but it's one of those double back-action remarks that do more harm than good."

"Well," said Bonaparte, desperately, "let the boy say what he pleases; he's my son, and he has that right. The thing for us to decide is, what shall we do now?"

"There are three things left," said Fouche.

"And they?" asked the Emperor.

"Write Trilby, abdicate, or commit suicide. The first is beyond you. You know enough about Paris, but your style is against you. As for the second, abdication—if you abdicate you may come back, and the trouble will begin all over again. If you commit suicide, you won't have any more rows. The French will be startled, and say that it's a splendid climax, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that some other man will try to please them with the same result."

"It shall be abdication," said the Emperor, with a sigh. "I don't mind suicide, but, hang it, Fouche, if I killed myself I could not read what the papers said about it. As for writing Trilby, it would do more for royalty than for me. Therefore I will go to Fontainebleau and abdicate. I will go into exile at Elba. Exiles are most interesting people, and it may be that I'll have another chance."

This course was taken, and on the 20th of April, 1814, Bonaparte abdicated. His speech to his faithful guard was one of the most affecting farewells in history, and had much to do with the encore which Napoleon received less than a year after. Escorted by four commissioners, one from each of the great allied powers, Austria, Russia, England, and Prussia, and attended by a few attached friends and servants, Bonaparte set out from Paris. The party occupied fourteen carriages, Bonaparte in the first; and as they left the capital the ex-Emperor, leaning out of the window, looked back at the train of conveyances and sighed.

"What, Sire? You sigh?" cried Bertrand.

"Yes, Bertrand, yes. Not for my departed glory, but because I am a living Frenchman, and not a dead Irishman."

"And why so, Sire?" asked Bertrand.

"Because, my friend, of the carriages. There are fourteen in this funeral. Think, Bertrand," he moaned, in a tone rendered doubly impressive by the fact that it reminded one of Henry Irving in one of his most mannered moments. "Think how I should have enjoyed this moment had I been a dead Irishman!"


Bonaparte's spirits rose as the party proceeded. There were remarkable evidences all along the line of march that his greatness, while dimmed in one sense, had not diminished in others. A series of attacks upon him had been arranged, much to the fallen Emperor's delight.

"If you want to make a fellow popular, Bertrand," he remarked after one of them, "kick him when he's down. I'll wager I am having a better time now than Louis XVIII., and, after all, I regard this merely as a vacation. I'll have a good rest at Elba while Louis is pushing the button of government at Paris. After a while I'll come back and press the buttons and Louis will do the rest. There's some honey in the old Bees yet."

At Valence, however, the Emperor had a bitter cup to drain. Meeting Augereau there, with whom he had fallen out, he addressed him in his old-time imperial style, asking him what right he had to still live, and requesting him to stand out of his light. Augereau, taking advantage of the Emperor's fallen estate, replied in a spirited manner, calling Napoleon an ex-Emperor and a tin soldier, as well as applying several other epithets to his dethroned majesty which might be printed in a French book, but can have no place in this.

"We shall meet again," retorted Bonaparte, with a threatening gesture.

"Not if I see you first," replied Augereau. "If we do, however, it will be under a new system of etiquette."

"I'll bet you a crown you'll be singing a new tune inside of a year," cried the exasperated Bonaparte.

"I'll go you," said Augereau, snapping his fingers. "Put up your crown."

Napoleon felt keenly the stinging satire of this retort. Bowing his head with a groan, he had to acknowledge that he had no crown, but in an instant he recovered.

"But I have a Napoleon left in my clothes!" he cried, with a dry laugh at his own wit. "I'll bet it against your income for the next forty centuries, which is giving you large odds, that I shall return, and when I do, Monsieur Augereau, your name will be Denis."

The appreciation of those about them of this sally so enraged Augereau that he was discomfited utterly, and he left Bonaparte's presence muttering words which are fortunately forgotten.

Arrived at Cannes, Bonaparte had his choice of vessels upon which to make his voyage to Elba, one English and one French. "I'll take the English. I shall not trust my life to a Bourbon ship if I know myself. I'd rather go to sea in a bowl," said he.

Hence it was that an English vessel, the Undaunted, had the honor of transporting the illustrious exile to his island dominion. On the 4th of May he landed, and immediately made a survey of his new kingdom.

"It isn't large," he observed, as he made a memorandum of its dimensions, "but neither is a canvas-back duck. I think we can make something of it, particularly as the people seem glad to see me."

This was indeed the truth. The Elbese were delighted to have Bonaparte in their midst. They realized that excursion steamers which had hitherto passed them by would now come crowded from main- top to keel with persons desirous of seeing the illustrious captive. Hotel rates rose 200 per cent., and on the first Sunday of his stay on the island the receipts of the Island Museum, as it was now called, were sufficient to pay its taxes to the French government, which had been in arrears for some time, ten times over.

"I feel like an ossified man or a turtle-boy," said the Emperor to Bertrand, as the curious visitors gaped awe-stricken at the caged lion. "If I only had a few pictures of myself to sell these people I could buy up the national debt, foreclose the mortgage, and go back to France as its absolute master."

The popularity of Bonaparte as an attraction to outsiders so endeared him to the hearts of his new subjects that he practically had greater sway here than he ever had in the palmy days of the Empire. The citizens made him master of everything, and Bonaparte filled the role to the full. Provided with guards and servants, he surrounded himself with all the gaud and glitter of a military despotism, and, in default of continents to capture, he kept his hand in trim as a commander by the conquest of such small neighboring islands as nature had placed within reach, but it could hardly be expected that he could long remain tranquil. His eyes soon wearied of the circumscribed limits of Elba.

"It's all very well to be monarch of all you survey, Bertrand," said he, mournfully, "but as for me, give me some of the things that can't be seen. I might as well be that old dried-up fig of a P. T. Olemy over there in Egypt as Emperor of a vest-pocket Empire like this. Isn't there any news from France?"

"Yes," returned Bertrand, "Paris is murmuring again. Louis hasn't stopped eating yet, and the French think it's time his dinner was over."

"Ha!" cried Bonaparte in ecstasy. "I thought so. He's too much of a revivalist to suit Paris. Furthermore, I'm told he's brought out his shop-worn aristocracy to dazzle France again. They're all wool and a yard wide, but you needn't think my handmade nobility is going to efface itself just because the Montmorencies and the Rohans don't ask it out to dine. My dukes and duchesses will have something to say, I fancy, and if my old laundress, the Duchess of Dantzig, doesn't take the starch out of the old regime I'll be mightily mistaken."

And this was the exact situation. As Bonaparte said, the old regime by their hauteur so enraged the new regime that by the new year of 1815 it was seen by all except those in authority that the return of the exile, Corporal Violet, as he was now called, was inevitable. So it came about that on the 20th of February, his pockets stuffed with impromptu addresses to the people and the army, Bonaparte, eluding those whose duty it was to watch him, set sail, and on the 1st of March he reached Cannes, whence he immediately marched, gaining recruits at every step, to Paris.

At Lyons he began to issue his impromptu addresses, and they were in his best style.

"People of France," ran one, "I am refreshed, and have returned to resume business at the old stand. March 21st will be bargain day, and I have on hand a select assortment of second-hand goods. One king, one aristocracy, much worn and slightly dog-eared, and a monarchy will be disposed of at less than cost. Come early and avoid the rush. A dukedom will be given away with every purchase. Do not forget the address—The Tuileries, Paris."

This was signed "Napoleon, Emperor." Its effect was instantaneous, and the appointment was faithfully kept, for on the evening of March 20th the Emperor, amid great enthusiasm, entered the Tuileries, where he was met by all his old friends, including Fouche.

"Fouche," he said, as he entered the throne-room, "give my card to Louis the XVIII., and ask him if his luggage is ready. Make out his bill, and when he has paid it, tell him that I have ordered the 6:10 train to start at 9:48. He can easily catch it."

"He has already departed, Sire," returned Fouche. "He had an imperative engagement in the Netherlands. In his haste he left his crown hanging on the hat-rack in the hall."

"Well, send it to him," replied Bonaparte. "I don't want HIS crown. I want my own. It shall never be said that I robbed a poor fellow out of work of his hat."

Settled once more upon his imperial throne, the main question which had previously agitated the Emperor and his advisers, and particularly his stage-manager, Fouche, whom he now restored to his old office, came up once more. "What next?" and it was harder to answer than ever, for Bonaparte's mind was no longer alert. He was listless and given to delay, and, worst of all, invariably sleepy. It was evident that Elba had not proved as restful as had been hoped.

"You should not have returned," said Fouche, firmly. "America was the field for you. That's where all great actors go sooner or later, and they make fortunes. A season in New York would have made you a new man. As it is you are an old man. It seems to me that if an Irishman can leave Queenstown with nothing but his brogue and the clothes on his back and become an alderman of New York or Chicago inside of two years, you with all the advertising you've had ought to be able to get into Congress anyhow—you've got money enough for the Senate."

"But they are not my children, those Americans," remonstrated Napoleon, rubbing his eyes sleepily.

"Well, France isn't the family affair it once was, either," retorted Fouche, "and you'll find it out before long. However, we've got to do the best we can. Swear off your old ways and come out as a man of Peace. Flatter the English, and by all means don't ask your mother- in-law Francis Joseph to send back the only woman you ever loved. He's got her in Vienna, and he's going to keep her if he has to put her in a safe-deposit vault."

It would have been well for Napoleon had he heeded this advice, but as he walked about the Tuileries alone, and listened in vain for the King of Rome's demands for more candy, and failed to see that interesting infant sliding down the banisters and loading his toy cannons with his mother's face-powder, he was oppressed by a sense of loneliness, and could not resist the temptation to send for them.

"This will be the last chip I'll put on my shoulder, Fouche," he pleaded.

"Very well," returned Fouche. "Put it there, but I warn you. This last chip will break the Empire's back."

The demand was made upon Austria, and, as Fouche had said, the answer was a most decided refusal, and the result was war. Again the other powers allied against Napoleon. The forces of the enemy were placed under Wellington. Bonaparte led his own in person, buying a new uniform for the purpose. "We can handle them easily enough," said he, "if I can only keep awake. My situation at present reminds me so much of the old Bromide days that I fall asleep without knowing it by a mere association of ideas. Still, we'll whip 'em out of their boots."

"What boots?" demanded Fouche.

"Their Wellingtons and their Bluchers," retorted the Emperor, thereby showing that, sleepy as he was, he had not lost his old-time ability at repartee.

For once he was over-confident. He fought desperately and triumphantly for three or four days, but the fates held Waterloo in store. Routing the enemy at Ligny and Quatre Bras, he pushed on to where Wellington stood in Belgium, where, on the 18th of June, was fought the greatest of his battles.

"Now for the transformation scene," said Bonaparte on the eve of the battle. "If the weather is good we'll make these foreigners wish they had worn running-shoes instead of Wellingtons."

But the weather was not clear. It was excessively wet, and by nightfall Bonaparte realized that all was over. His troops were in fine condition, but the rain seemed to have put out the fires of the Commander's genius. As the Imperial Guard marched before him in review the Emperor gazed upon them fondly.

"They're like a picture!" he cried, enthusiastically. "Just see that line."

"Yes," returned Ney. "Very like a picture; they remind me in a way of a comic paper print, but that is more suitable for framing than for fighting."

The Emperor making no response, Ney looked up and observed that his Majesty had fallen asleep. "That settles it," he sighed. "To-day is the Waterloo of Napoleon Bonaparte. When a man sleeps at a moment like this his friends would better prepare for a wake."

And Ney was right. Waterloo was the Waterloo of Napoleon Bonaparte. The opposing armies met in conflict, and, as the world knows, the star of the great soldier was obscured forever, and France was conquered. Ruined in his fortunes, Bonaparte at once returned to Paris.

"Is there a steamer for New York to-night, Fouche?" he asked, as, completely worn out, he threw himself upon his throne and let his chin hang dejectedly over his collar.

"No, Sire," returned Fouche, with an ill-concealed chuckle. "There is not. You've missed your chance by two days. Then isn't another boat for ten days."

"Then I am lost," sobbed Napoleon.

"Yes, Sire, you are," returned Fouche. "Shall I offer a reward to anybody who will find you and return you in good order?"

"No," replied the Emperor. "I will give myself up."

"Wise man!" said Fouche, unsympathetically. "You're such a confounded riddle that I wonder you didn't do it long ago."

"Ah, Fouche!" sighed the Emperor, taking his crown out of his wardrobe and crushing it in his hands until the diamonds fell out upon the floor, "this shows the futility of making war without preparing for it by study. When I was a young man I was a student. I knew the pages of history by heart, and I learned my lessons well. While I was the student I was invincible. In mimic as in real war I was the conqueror. Everything I undertook came about as I had willed because I was the master of facts—I dealt in facts, and I made no mistakes. To-day I am a conquered man, and all because I have neglected to continue the study of the history of my people—of my adopted native land."

"Humph!" retorted Fouche. "I don't see how that would have helped matters any. All the history in creation could not have won the battle of Waterloo for you."

"Fool that you are!" cried Napoleon, desperately, rising. "Can't you see? Anybody who knows anything about the history of France knows that the battle of Waterloo resulted fatally for me. Had I known that, do you suppose I'd have gone there? Not I! I'd have gone fishing in the South of France instead, and this would not have happened. Leave me! I wish to be alone."

Left to his own reflections Bonaparte paced his room for hours. Then, tapping his bell, he summoned one of his faithful adherents.

"Monsieur le B-," he said, as the attendant entered, "you have heard the news?"

"Yes, Sire," sobbed Le B-.

"Do I not carry myself well in the hour of defeat?"

"You do, Your Majesty."

"Am I pale, Le B-?"

"No—no—oh, no, not at all, Sire."

"Tell me the truth, Le B-. We must not let the enemy find us broken when they arrive. How do I look? Out with it."

"Out of sight, Sire!" replied Le B-, bending backward as far as he could, and gazing directly at the ceiling.

"Then bring on your invader, and let us hear the worst," ordered Napoleon, encouraged by Le B-'s assurances.

A few days later, Bonaparte, having nothing else to do, once more abdicated, and threw himself upon the generosity of the English people.

"I was only fooling, anyhow," he said, with a sad smile. "If you hadn't sent me to Elba I wouldn't have come back. As for the fighting, you all said I was outside of the pale of civilization, and I had to fight. I didn't care much about getting back into the pail, but I really objected to having it said that I was in the tureen."

This jest completely won the hearts of the English who were used to just such humor, who loved it, and who, many years later, showed that love by the establishment of a comic journal as an asylum for bon- mots similarly afflicted. The result was, not death, but a new Empire, the Island of St. Helena.

"This," said Wellington, "will serve to make his jokes more far- fetched than ever; so that by sending him there we shall not only be gracious to a fallen foe, but add to the gayety of our nation."

CHAPTER XII: 1815-1821-1895

It is with St. Helena that all biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte hitherto published have ended, and perhaps it is just as well that these entertaining works, prepared by purely finite minds, should end there. It is well for an historian not to tell more than he knows, a principle which has guided our pen from the inception of this work to this point, and which must continue to the bitter end. We shall be relentless and truthful to the last, even though in so doing we are compelled to overthrow all historical precedent.

Bonaparte arrived at St. Helena in October, 1815. He had embarked, every one supposed, with the impression that he was going to America, and those about him, fearing a passionate outbreak when he learned the truth, tried for a time to convince him that he had taken the wrong steamer; then when they found that he could not be deceived in this way, they made allusions to the steering-gear having got out of order, but the ex-Emperor merely smiled.

"You cannot fool me," he said. "I know whither I am drifting. I went to a clairvoyant before leaving Paris, who cast a few dozen horoscopes for me and they all ended at St. Helena. It is inevitable. I must go there, and all these fairy tales about wrong steamers and broken rudders and so on are useless. I submit. I could return if I wished, but I do not wish to return. By a mere speech to these sailors I could place myself in command of this ship to-day, turn her about and proclaim myself Emperor of the Seas; but I don't want to. I prefer dry land and peace to a coup de tar and the throne of Neptune."

All of which shows that the great warrior was weary.

Then followed a dreary exile of uneventful years, in which the ex- Emperor conducted paper campaigns of great fierceness against the English government, which with unprecedented parsimony allowed him no more than $60,000 a year and house rent.

"The idea of limiting me to five thousand dollars a month," he remarked, savagely, to Sir Hudson Lowe. "It's positively low."

"It strikes me as positively high," retorted the governor. "You know well enough that you couldn't spend ten dollars a week in this place if you put your whole mind on it, if you hadn't insisted on having French waiters in your dining-room, whom you have to tip every time they bring you anything."

"Humph!" said Bonaparte. "That isn't any argument. I'm a man used to handling large sums. It isn't that I want to spend money; it's that I want to have it about me in case of emergency. However, I know well enough why they keep my allowance down to $60,000."

"Why is it?" asked Sir Hudson.

"They know that you can't be bought for $60,000, but they wouldn't dare make it $60,000 and one cent," retorted the captive. "Put that in your cigarette and smoke it, Sir Harlem, and hereafter call me Emperor. That's my name, Emperor N. Bonaparte."

"And I beg that you will not call me Sir Harlem," returned the governor, irritated by the Emperor's manner. "My name is Hudson, not Harlem."

"Pray excuse the slip," said the Emperor, scornfully. "I knew you were named after some American river, I didn't know which. However, I imagined that the Harlem was nearer your size than the Hudson, since the latter has some pretensions to grandeur. Now please flow down to the sea and lose yourself, I'm getting sleepy again."

So, in constant conflict with Sir Hudson, who refused to call him by his title, and whom in consequence he refused to call by his proper name, answering such epithets as "Corporal" and "Major" with a savagely-spoken "Delaware" or an ironically respectful "Mohawk," Bonaparte dwelt at St. Helena until the 5th of May, 1821, when, historians tell us, he died. This is an error, for upon that date Bonaparte escaped. He had fought death too many times to succumb to him now, and, while the writers of history have in a sense stated the truth when they say that he passed away in the night, their readers have gained a false impression. It is the fact that Napoleon Bonaparte, like Dante and Virgil, passed over the dark river Styx as the honored leader of the rebellious forces of Hades. He did pass away in the night, but he went as he went from Elba, and, as we shall see, with more successful results.

For years the Government of Erebus had been unsatisfactory to many of its subjects, mainly on account of the arbitrary methods of the Weather Department.

"We are in a perpetual broil here," Caesar had said, "and I for one am getting tired of it. The country demands a change. This administration doesn't give us anything but dog-days."

For this the Roman warrior had been arrested and kept in an oven at the rear of the Erebian Tuileries, as Apollyon's Palace was called, for two centuries.

"The next rebel gets a gridiron, and the third will be served to Cerberus en brochette," cried Apollyon.

Thus matters had gone on for five or six hundred years, and no one had ventured to complain further, particularly in view of Caesar's comments upon the horrid details of his incarceration published several years after his release, under the title of "Two Centuries in an Oven; or, Four Thousand and Six in the Shade."

At the end of the eighteenth century, however, the aspect of affairs had changed. Apollyon had spent a great deal of his time abroad, and had failed to note how the revolution in America, the Reign of Terror in France, and the subsequent wars in Europe had materially increased the forces of the Republican Party in Hades. The French arrivals alone should have been sufficient to convince Apollyon that his attention to domestic affairs was needed, and that the Americanization of his domain was gaining a most considerable headway. All the movement really needed was a leader, but there was none to lead.

"Caesar's book has made us timid. I don't want any of it," said Alcibiades.

"I've had enough of public life," said Charlemagne.

"It's hot enough for us as it is," said all four of the "Three Musketeers."

"We'll have to get somebody who is not aware of the possibilities of our climate," observed Frederick the Great.

"Try Napoleon Bonaparte," suggested Louis XIV., with a chuckle, feeling that here was an opportunity to do one of two things, to get even with Apollyon, or, in case of the failure of the rebellion, to be revenged upon Bonaparte for his treatment of the Bourbons by securing for him the warmest reception the Kingdom of Hades could afford.

The suggestion, according to documents at hand which seem to be veracious, was adopted with enthusiasm. The exile was communicated with, and joy settled upon the people of Hades when word was received that Bonaparte was on his way. As we have seen, on the night of the 5th of May he left St. Helena, and on the 10th he landed on the right bank of the Styx. A magnificent army awaited him. To the Old Guard, many of whom had preceded him, was accorded the position of honor, and as Bonaparte stepped ashore the roof of Erebus was rent with vivas. Such a scene has never been witnessed before, and may never be witnessed again. The populace flocked about him, and strove to kiss his hand; some went so far as to clip off samples of his uniform to treasure in their homes. It was evident that the government must look to itself.

"What is this noise?" asked Apollyon, who had returned to his domain only the night before.

"Bonaparte has arrived," returned the head Imp, "and the people are in revolt."

Apollyon paled and summoned his ministers.

Meanwhile Bonaparte had held a council of war, appointing Caesar, Pompey, Alcibiades, and Charlemagne marshals of Hades.

"The first thing to be done is to capture the coal-yards," he said, taking in the situation at a glance. "Caesar, let the coal-yards be your care. Alcibiades will take the Three Musketeers, and by night will make a detour to the other side of the palace and open the sluices of the vitriol reservoir, which I understand run into the Styx. Pompey will surprise the stokers in the national engine-room with a force of ten thousand, put out the fires, and await further orders. Charlemagne will accompany me with the army to the palace, where I shall demand an audience with the king."

It will be seen at once that, granting the success of all these manoeuvres, Apollyon could not possibly hold out. As the Hollanders had only water with which to flood their country and rout their enemies, so Apollyon had only fire with which to wither an invader or a rebellious force. The quick mind of Bonaparte took this in on the instant. He was no longer listless and sleepy, for here was the grandest opportunity of his life, and he knew it.

Fortune favored him. In Hades fortune was a material personality, and not an abstract idea as she is with us, and when she met Bonaparte on his triumphal march along the Styx, she yielded to that fascination which even phlegmatic Englishmen could not deny that he possessed; and when at this meeting the man of the hour took her by the hand and breathed softly into her ear that she was in very truth the only woman he had ever loved, she instinctively felt that he had at last spoken from his heart of hearts.

"I believe you, Bonaparte," she murmured softly, "and I think I have shown you in the past that I am not indifferent to you. I am with you—Apollyon is doomed."

Thus encouraged, Bonaparte, followed by his constantly growing army, proceeded to the palace.

Apollyon received him with dignity.

"I am glad to receive so distinguished a person," he said.

"Thank you," said Bonaparte, "but this is not a society function, Your Highness—I have come here on business, so spare me your flatteries."

Apollyon turned purple with rage.

"Insolent!" he cried. "Consider yourself under arrest."

"Certainly," said Bonaparte, calmly. "Will you kindly hand me your crown?"

Apollyon rose in his wrath, and ordered his aides to arrest Bonaparte, and to cast him into the furnace. "Make it a million degrees Farenheit," he roared.

"I regret to inform your majesty," said the chief aide, "that word has just been received that the fires are out, the coal-yard has been captured by the rebels, and five adventurous spirits have let all the vitriol out of the reservoir into the Styx."

"Summon my guards, and have this man boned, then!" raged Apollyon.

"It is also with regret that I have to tell you," returned the aide, "that the Royal Guard has gone over to the enemy, having been promised higher wages."

"We have Cerberus left," cried Apollyon, "let him take this base intruder and tear him limb from limb."

Napoleon burst out into a laugh. "You will excuse me, Your Majesty," he said. "But Cerberus is already fixed. We poisoned two of his heads, and he is even now whining for his life with the third."

"Then am I undone," moaned Apollyon, covering his face with his hands.

"You are," said Bonaparte, "but we'll tie you up again in short order. We'll put you on one of your own gridirons and do you to a turn."

Of course this was the end.

In three days Napoleon had made himself master of the kingdom, had proclaimed the Empire with himself at its head. Apollyon was treated with consideration. His life was spared, but he was shorn of his power. Bonaparte sent him into exile at Paris, where, according to report, he still lives.

"Now for a new coronation," said the victor. "Send for the pope."

"Not this tune!" cried Caesar with a laugh. "The popes have always studiously avoided this place."

"Then," said Napoleon with a smile, "let Fortune crown me. After all, it has always been she who did it—why not now?"

Hence it was that at the dawning of New Year's day of 1822, Napoleon Bonaparte opened a new and most highly successful career. His power has increased day by day until now, when there is evidence that he has the greater part of the world in his firm grasp.

Some years later his beloved Bourrienne arrived.

"Remember, Bourrienne," he said, as he installed his old and faithful secretary in his new office, "you have always written my autographs for me, and shall still continue to do so, only please note the change. It is no longer Bonaparte, or Napoleon, Emperor of the French, it has become Napollyon, Emperor of Hades."

And to Fouche, when that worthy arrived, he said:

"Fouche, this is different from the old show. That original Empire of mine was ruined by just one thing. I was eternally anxious to provide for the succession, and out of that grew all my troubles; but here, as the little girl said about the apple-core, there ain't a- goin' to be no succession. I am here to stay. Meanwhile, Fouche, I have an impression that you and Augureau took more pleasure out of my misfortunes than I did; wherefore I authorize you to send for Augereau and take him swimming in the vitriol tank. It will do you both good."

As for Joseph, when he heard of his brother's new acquisition he reformed at once, led an irreproachable life in America, whither he had fled, and when he died went to the other place.


{1} Napoleon's English at this time was not of the best quality


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