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

“Alas!” she cried, bursting into tears, as she extended her hand to Louise de Cochelet, “alas! my courage is at an end!  My mother is dead, my brother has left me, the Emperor Alexander will soon forget his promised protection, and I alone must contend, with my two children, against all the annoyances and enmities to which the name I bear will subject me!  I fear I shall live to regret that I allowed myself to be persuaded to abandon my former plan.  Will the love I bear my country recompense me for the torments which are in store for me?”

The queen’s dark forebodings were to be only too fully realized.  In the great and solemn hour of misfortune, Fate lifts to mortal vision the veil that conceals the future, and, like the Trojan prophetess, we see the impending evil, powerless to avert it.

BOOK III.

THE RESTORATION.

CHAPTER I.

THE RETURN OF THE BOURBONS.

On the 12th of April, Count d’Artois, whom Louis XVIII. had sent in advance, and invested with the dignity of a lieutenant-general of France, made his triumphal entry into Paris.  At the gates of the city, he was received by the newly-formed provisional government, Talleyrand at its head; and here it was that Count d’Artois replied to the address of that gentleman in the following words:  “Nothing is changed in France, except that from to-day there will be one Frenchman more in the land.”  The people received him with cold curiosity, and the allied troops formed a double line for his passage to the Tuileries, at which the ladies of the Faubourg St. Germain, adorned with white lilies and white cockades, received him with glowing enthusiasm.  Countess Ducayla, afterward the well-known friend of Louis XVIII., had been one of the most active instruments of the restoration, and she it was who had first unfolded again in France the banner of the Bourbons—­the white flag.  A few days before the entrance of the prince, she had gone, with a number of her royalist friends, into the streets, in order to excite the people to some enthusiasm for the legitimate dynasty.  But the people and the army had still preserved their old love for the emperor, and the proclamation of Prince Schwartzenberg, read by Bauvineux in the streets, was listened to in silence.  True, the royalists cried, "Vive le roi!" at the end of this reading, but the people remained indifferent and mute.

This sombre silence alarmed Countess Ducayla; it seemed to indicate a secret discontent with the new order of things.  She felt that this sullen people must be inflamed, and made to speak with energy and distinctness.  To awaken enthusiasm by means of words and proclamations had been attempted in vain; now the countess determined to attempt to arouse them by another means—­to astonish them by the display of a striking symbol—­to show them the white flag of the Bourbons!

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