Queen Hortense eBook

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

Josephine, now that she was dead, was once more enthroned as empress in the hearts of the French people and thousands poured into Malmaison, to pay their last homage to their deceased empress.  Even the Faubourg St. Germain mourned with the Parisians; these haughty and insolent royalists, who had returned with the Bourbons, may, perhaps, for a moment, have recalled the benefits which the empress had shown them, when, as the mighty Empress of France, she employed the half of her allowance for the relief of the emigrants.  They had returned without thinking of the thanks they owed their forgotten benefactress; now that she was dead, they no longer withheld the tribute of their admiration.

“Alas!” exclaimed Madame Ducayla, the king’s friend; “alas! how interesting a lady was this Josephine!  What tact, what goodness!  How well she knew how to do everything!  And she shows her tact and good taste to the last, in dying just at this moment!”

Immediately after the death of the empress, Eugene had conducted the queen from the death-chamber, almost violently, and had taken her and her children to St. Leu.  The body of the empress was interred in Malmaison, and followed to the grave by her two grandchildren only.  Grief had made both of her children severely ill, and the little princes were followed, not by her relatives, but by the Russian General Von Sacken, who represented the emperor, and by the equipages of all those kings and princes who had helped to hurl the Bonapartes from their thrones and restore the Bourbons.

The emperor passed his last night in France, before leaving for England, at St. Leu; and, on taking leave of Eugene and Hortense, who, at the earnest solicitation of her brother, had left her room for the first time since her mother’s death, for the purpose of seeing the emperor, he assured them of his unchangeable friendship and attachment.  As he knew that, among those whom he strongly suspected, Pozzo di Borgo[29], the ambassador he left behind him in Paris, was an irreconcilable enemy of Napoleon and his family, he had assigned to duty at the embassy as attache, a gentleman selected for this purpose by Louise de Cochelet—­M. de Boutiakin—­and it was through him that the emperor directed that the letters and wishes of the queen and of her faithful young lady friend should be received and answered.

[Footnote 29:  Upon receiving the intelligence of the death of the emperor at St. Helena, Pozzo di Borgo said:  “I did not kill him, but I threw the last handful of earth on his coffin, in order that he might never rise again.”]

A few days later Eugene also left St. Leu and his sister Hortense, to return, with the King of Bavaria, to his new home in Germany.  It was not until his departure that Hortense felt to its full extent the gloomy loneliness and dreary solitude by which she was surrounded.  She had not wept over the downfall of all the grandeur and magnificence by which she had formerly been surrounded; she had not complained when the whirlwind of fate hurled to the ground the crowns of all her relations, but had bowed her head to the storm with resignation, and smiled at the loss of her royal titles; but now, as she stood in her parlor at St. Leu and saw none about her but her two little boys and the few ladies who still remained faithful—­now, Hortense wept.

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Queen Hortense from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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