And thus the years passed on, quiet and peaceful, though sometimes interrupted by new losses and sorrows. In the year 1821 the hero, the emperor, to whose laurel-crown the halo of a martyr had now also been added, died on the island-rock, St. Helena.
In the year 1824 Hortense lost her only brother, Eugene, the Duke of Leuchtenberg.
The only objects of Hortense’s love were now her two sons, who were prospering in mind and body, and were the pride and joy of their mother, and an object of annoyance and suspicion to all the princes of Europe. For these children bore in their countenance, in their name, and in their disposition, too plain an impress of the great past, which they could never entirely ignore while Bonaparte still lived to testify to it.
And they lived and prospered in spite of the Bourbons; they lived and prospered, although banished from their country, and compelled to lead an inactive life.
But at last it seemed as though the hour of fortune and freedom had come for these Bonapartes—as though they, too, were to be permitted to have a country to which they might give their devotion and services.
The thundering voice of the revolution of 1830 resounded throughout trembling Europe. France, on whom the allies had imposed the Bourbons, arose and shook its mane; with its lion’s paw it overthrew the Bourbon throne, drove out the Jesuits who had stood behind it, and whom Charles X. had advised to tear the charter to pieces, to destroy the freedom of the press, and to reintroduce the autos da fe of the olden time.
France had been treated as a child in 1815, and was now determined to assert its manhood; it resolved to break entirely with the past, and with its own strength to build up a future for itself.
The lilies of the Bourbons were to bloom no more; these last years of fanatical Jesuit tyranny had deprived them of life, and France tore the faded lily from her bosom in order to replace it with a young and vigorous plant. The throne of the Bourbons was overthrown, but the people, shuddering at the recollection of the sanguinary republic, selected a king in preference. It stretched out its hand after him it held dearest; after him who in the past few years had succeeded in winning the sympathy of France. It selected the Duke of Orleans, the son of Philippe Egalite, for its king.
Louis Philippe, the enthusiastic republican of 1790, who at that time had caused the three words “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” and the inscription “Vive la Republique," to be burnt on his arm, in order to prove his republicanism; the proscribed Louis Philippe, who had wandered through Europe a fugitive, earning his bread by teaching writing and languages—the same Louis Philippe now became King of France.
The people called him to the throne; they tore the white flag from the roof of the Tuileries, but they knew no other or better one with which to replace it than the tricolore of the empire.