Queen Hortense eBook

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

CHAPTER VI.

BONAPARTE IN ITALY.

Josephine, now the wife of General Bonaparte, had but a few weeks in which to enjoy her new happiness, and then remained alone in Paris, doubly desolate, because she had to be separated, not only from her husband, but from her children.  Eugene accompanied his young step-father to Italy, and Hortense went as a pupil to Madame Campan’s boarding-school.  The former, lady-in-waiting to Queen Marie Antoinette, had, at that time, opened an establishment for the education of young ladies, at St. Germain, and the greatest and most eminent families of newly-republicanized France liked to send their daughters to it, so that they might learn from the former court-lady the refined style and manners of old royalist times.

Hortense was, therefore, sent to that boarding-school, and there, in the society of her new Aunt Caroline—­the sister of Bonaparte, and afterward Queen of Naples—­and the young Countess Stephanie Beauharnais, her cousin, passed a few happy years of work, of varied study, and of youthful maiden-dreams.

Hortense devoted herself with iron diligence, and untiring enthusiasm, to her studies, which consisted, not only in the acquisition of languages, in music, and drawing, history and geography, but still more in the mastering the so-called bon ton and that aristocratic savoir vivre of which Madame Campan was a very model.  While Hortense was thus receiving instruction on the harp from the celebrated Alvimara, in painting from Isabey, dancing from Coulon, and singing from Lambert, and was playing on the stage of the amateur theatre at the boarding-school the parts of heroines and lady-loves; while she was participating in the balls and concerts that Madame Campan gave in order to show off the talent of her pupils to the friends she invited; while, in a word, Hortense was thus being trained up to the accomplishments of a distinguished woman of the world, she did not dream how useful all these little details, so trivial, apparently, at the time, would one day be to her, and how good a thing it was that she had learned to play parts at Madame Campan’s, and to appear in society as a great lady.

Meanwhile, Josephine was passing days of gratified pride and exulting triumph at Paris, for the star of her hero was ascending, brighter and brighter in its effulgence, above the horizon; the name of Bonaparte was echoing in louder and louder volume through the world, and filling all Europe with a sort of awe-inspired fear and trembling, as the sea becomes agitated when the sun begins to rise.  Victory after victory came joyfully heralded from Italy, as ancient states fell beneath the iron tread of the victor, and new ones sprang into being.  The splendid old Republic of Venice, once the terror of the whole world, the victorious Queen of the Adriatic, had to bow her haughty head, and her diadem fell in fragments at the feet

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Queen Hortense from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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