Queen Hortense eBook

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

“I had interceded for several soldiers who were undergoing punishment for breaches of discipline, and was on this account received everywhere with the liveliest enthusiasm.  The entire mounted general staff escorted my carriage, and my approach was everywhere hailed by brilliant music.  It was on such an occasion that I saw for the first time the urn which a grenadier wore attached to his belt; I was told that the emperor, in order to do honor to the memory of the gallant Latour d’Auvergne[70], had caused his heart to be enclosed in a leaden casket, which he had intrusted to the oldest soldier of the regiment, commanding that his name should always be called at the roll-call, as though he were present.  He who bore the heart replied:  ‘Dead on the field of honor.’

[Footnote 70:  Latour d’Auvergne, a descendant of the celebrated Turenne, was known and honored throughout the whole army on account of the lion-hearted courage which he had exhibited on so many occasions.  As he invariably declined the many advancements and honors that were tendered him, Napoleon appointed him first grenadier of the army.  He fell in the action at Neuburg, and the Viceroy of Italy, Eugene Beauharnais, afterward caused a monument to be erected there in his memory.]

“One day, a breakfast was given me at the camp of Ambleteuse.  I desired to go by water, and, notwithstanding a contrary wind, the admiral took me.  I saw the English ships, and we passed so near them, that they might easily have captured our yacht.  I also visited the Dutch fleet commanded by Admiral Versuelt, where I was received with great applause, the sailors little dreaming that I would be their queen within the space of a year[71].

[Footnote 71:  In order to reach the harbor of Ambleteuse to which they had been assigned, the Dutch had first been compelled to do battle with the English fleet, and in this combat they had acquitted themselves with the greatest honor.]

“On another occasion, the emperor ordered a review.  The English, who felt disquieted, by the appearance of so many troops drawn up before them, approached nearer and nearer to our coasts, and even fired a few cannon-shots at us; the emperor was at the head of his French columns when they replied to these shots, and was thus placed between two fires.  As we had followed him, we were now compelled to remain at his side.  To his uncle’s great joy, my son exhibited no symptom of fear whatever.  But the generals trembled at seeing the emperor exposed to such danger.  The ramrod of some awkward soldier might prove as dangerous as a ball.  In the midst of this imposing spectacle, I was struck with astonishment at the contrast presented by the troops under different circumstances.  When drawn up in line of battle, they glowed with gallantry and determination, but, in the days of repose, they resembled well-behaved children, who could amuse themselves with a flower or a bird.  The most daring warrior was then often converted into the most diligent and submissive scholar.

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Queen Hortense from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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