Queen Hortense eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 285 pages of information about Queen Hortense.

True, King Louis had agreed, in the treaty of the 11th of April, that none of his subjects should be deprived of their titles and dignities; and the new dukes, princes, marshals, counts, and barons, could therefore appear at court, but they played but a sad and humiliating role, and they were made to feel that they were only tolerated, and not welcome.

The gentlemen who, before the revolution, had been entitled to seats in the royal equipages, still retained this privilege, but the doors of these equipages were never opened to the gentlemen of the new Napoleonic nobility.  “The ladies of the old era still retained their tabouret, as well as their grand and little entree to the Tuileries and the Louvre, and it would have been considered very arrogant if the duchesses of the new era had made claim to similar honors.”

It was the Duchess d’Angouleme who took the lead and set the Faubourg St. Germain an example of intolerance and arrogant pretensions in ignoring the empire.  She was the most unrelenting enemy of the new era, born of the revolution, and of its representatives; it is true, however, that she, who was the daughter of the beheaded royal pair, and who had herself so long languished in the Temple, had been familiar with the horrors of the revolution in their saddest and most painful features.  She now determined, as she could no longer punish, to at least forget this era, and to seem to be entirely oblivious of its existence.

At one of the first dinners given by the king to the allies, the Duchess d’Angouleme, who sat next to the King of Bavaria, pointed to the Grand-duke of Baden, and asked:  “Is not this the prince who married a princess of Bonaparte’s making?  What weakness to ally one’s self in such a manner with that general!”

The duchess did not or would not remember that the King of Bavaria, as well as the Emperor of Austria, who sat on her other side, and could well hear her words, had also allied themselves with General Bonaparte.

After she had again installed herself in the rooms she had formerly occupied in the Tuileries, the duchess asked old Dubois, who had formerly tuned her piano, and had retained this office under the empire, and who now showed her the new and elegant instruments provided by Josephine—­she asked him:  “What has become of my piano?”

This “piano” had been an old and worn-out concern, and the duchess was surprised at not finding it, as though almost thirty years had not passed since she had seen it last; as though the 10th of August, 1792, the day on which the populace demolished the Tuileries, had never been!

But the period from 1795 to 1814 was ignored on principle, and the Bourbons seemed really to have quite forgotten that more than one night lay between the last levee of King Louis XVI. and the levee of to-day of King Louis XVIII.  They seemed astonished that persons they had known as children had grown up since they last saw them, and insisted on treating every one as they had done in 1789.

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Queen Hortense from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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