[Footnote 19: Memoires d’une Femme de Qualite, vol. v., p. 47.]
In Graetz, Louis Bonaparte, Count de St. Leu, lived a few peaceful, tranquil years, perhaps the first years of happiness he had enjoyed in his short and hitherto stormy life. Occupied with work and study, he easily forgot his former grandeur and importance. As it had once been his ambition to become a good king, it was now his ambition to become a good writer. He published his romance Marie, and, encouraged by the success which it met with in his circle of friends, he also gave his poems to the public—poems whose tender and passionate language proved that this so often misunderstood, so often repulsed, and, therefore, so timid and distrustful heart, could warm with a tenderness of love that Marie Pascal, the beautiful artist of the harp, could hardly have had the cruelty to withstand.
But a day came when Louis Bonaparte closed his ear to all these sweet voices of happiness, of peace, and of love, to listen only to the voice of duty, that appealed to him to return to France, to his brother’s side. While the sun of fortune shone over Napoleon, the king, who had voluntarily descended from a throne, remained in obscurity; but when the days of misfortune came upon the emperor, there could be but one place for his brave and faithful brother, and that was at Napoleon’s side.
Madame de St. Elme, who was at Graetz at this time, and who witnessed the farewell scene between Louis Bonaparte and the inhabitants of Graetz, says: “On the day when Austria so unexpectedly sundered its alliance with France, King Louis felt the necessity of abandoning an asylum, for which he would henceforth have been indebted to the enemies of France, and hastened to claim of the great unjust man who had repulsed him, the only place commensurate with the dignity of his character, the place at his side.
“This was a subject of profound sorrow and regret for the inhabitants of Graetz, and of all Styria, for there was not a pious or useful institution, or a poor family in Styria, that had not been the object of his beneficence, and yet it was well known that the king who had descended from his throne so hastily, and with so little preparation, had but small means, and denied himself many of the enjoyments of life, in order that he might lend a helping hand to others. He was entreated, conjured with tears, to remain, but he held firm to his resolution. And when the horses, that they had at first determined to withhold from him, were at last, at his earnest and repeated solicitation, provided, the people unharnessed these horses from his carriage, in order that they might take their places, and accompany him to the gates of the city with this demonstration of their love. This departure had the appearance of a triumphal procession; and this banished king, without a country, was greeted with as lively plaudits on leaving his place of exile as when he mounted his throne.”