LOUIS BONAPARTE AND DUROC.
The brothers of Bonaparte went diligently to work then, above all things, to get Hortense out of the way. They told Bonaparte of the burning love of the young couple, of the letters which they sent to each other, and proposed to him that Duroc should be transferred to the Italian army with a higher command, and that Hortense should then be given to him. They persuaded the unsuspecting, magnanimous hero, who was easy to deceive in these minor matters and thus easy because he was occupied with grand designs and grand things; they persuaded him to keep the proposed union a secret for the present, and then on Duroc’s early return to surprise the young couple and Josephine alike.
But Josephine had, this time, seen through the plans of her hostile brothers-in-law. She felt that her whole existence, her entire future, was imperilled, should she not succeed in making friends and allies in the family of Bonaparte itself. There was only one of Bonaparte’s brothers who was not hostile to her, but loved her as the wife of his brother, to whom he was, at that time, still devoted with the most enthusiastic and submissive tenderness.
This one was Bonaparte’s brother Louis, a young man of serious and sedate disposition, more of a scholar than a warrior, more a man of science than fit for the council-chamber and the drawing-room. His was a reserved, quiet, somewhat timid character, which, notwithstanding its apparent gentleness, developed an inflexible determination and energy at the right, decisive moment, and then could not be shaken by either threats or entreaties. His external appearance was little calculated to please, nay, was even somewhat sinister, and commanded the respect of others only in moments of excitement, through the fierce blaze of his large blue eyes, that seemed rather to look inward than outward.
Louis Bonaparte was one of those deep, self-contained, undemonstrative, and by no means showy natures which are too rarely understood, because, in the noisy bustle of life, we have not the time and do not take the pains to analyze them. Only a sister or a mother is in a position to comprehend and love men of this stamp, because the confidential home relations of long years have revealed to them the hidden bloom of these sensitive plants which shrink back and close their leaves at every rude contact of the world. But rarely, however, do they find a loving heart outside, for, since their own hearts are too timid to seek for love, no one gives himself the trouble to discover them.
The young brother of her husband, now scarcely twenty-four, was the one who seemed destined in Josephine’s eyes to afford her a point of support in the Bonaparte family.