Queen Hortense eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Queen Hortense.

Under the shadow of this tricolore Louis Philippe mounted the throne, and the people—­to whom the three colors recalled the glorious era of the empire—­the people shouted with delight, and in order to indulge their sympathies they demanded for France—­not the son of Napoleon, not Napoleon II.—­but the ashes of Napoleon, and the emperor’s statue on the Palace Vendome.  Louis Philippe accorded them both, but with these concessions he thought he had done enough.  He had accepted the tricolore of the empire; he had promised that the emperor should watch over Paris from the summit of the Vendome monument, and to cause his ashes to be brought to Paris—­these were sufficient proofs of love.

They might be accorded the dead Napoleon without danger, but it would be worse to accord them to living Napoleons; such a course might easily shake the new throne, and recall the allies to Paris.

The hatred of the princes of Europe against Napoleon was still continued against his family, and it was with them, as Metternich said, “a principle never to tolerate another Napoleon on the throne.”

The European powers had signified to the King of France, through their diplomatic agents, their readiness to acknowledge him, but they exacted one condition—­the condition that Louis Philippe should confirm or renew the decree of exile fulminated by the Bourbons against the Bonapartes.

Louis Philippe had accepted this condition; and the Bonapartes, whose only crime was that they were the brothers and relatives of the deceased emperor, before whom not only France, but all the princes of Europe, had once bent the knee—­the Bonapartes were once more declared strangers to their country, and condemned to exile!



It was a terrible blow to the Bonapartes, this new decree of banishment!  Like a stroke of lightning it entered their hearts, annihilating their holiest hopes and most ardent desires, and their joy over the glorious and heroic revolution of July gave place to a bitter sense of disappointment.

Nothing, therefore, remained for them but to continue the life to which they had become somewhat accustomed, and to console themselves, for their new disappointment, with the arts and sciences.

At the end of October, in the year 1830, Hortense determined to leave Arenenberg and go to Rome with her son, as she was in the habit of doing every year.

But this time she first went to Florence, where her elder son, Napoleon Louis, recently married to his cousin, the second daughter of King Joseph, was now living with his young wife.  The heart of the tender mother was filled with anxiety and care; she felt and saw that this new French Revolution was likely to infect all Europe, and that Italy, above all, would be unable to avoid this infection.  Italy was diseased to the core, and it was to be feared that it would grasp at desperate means in its agony, and proceed to the blood-letting of a revolution, in order to restore itself to health.  Hortense felt this, and feared for her sons.

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Queen Hortense from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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