“He has made himself the head of a singular nation,” said Bartolomeo, taking Lucien’s hand and pressing it. “But you have both recognized me in misfortune, and I am yours, henceforth, for life or death. You may dispose as you will of the Piombos.”
With these words his Corsican brow unbent, and he looked about him in satisfaction.
“You are not badly off here,” he said, smiling, as if he meant to lodge there himself. “You are all in red, like a cardinal.”
“Your success depends upon yourself; you can have a palace, also,” said Bonaparte, watching his compatriot with a keen eye. “It will often happen that I shall need some faithful friend in whom I can confide.”
A sigh of joy heaved the vast chest of the Corsican, who held out his hand to the First Consul, saying:—
“The Corsican is in you still.”
Bonaparte smiled. He looked in silence at the man who brought, as it were, a waft of air from his own land,—from that isle where he had been so miraculously saved from the hatred of the “English party”; the land he was never to see again. He made a sign to his brother, who then took Piombo away. Lucien inquired with interest as to the financial condition of the former protector of their family. Piombo took him to a window and showed him his wife and Ginevra, seated on a heap of stones.
“We came from Fontainebleau on foot; we have not a single penny,” he said.
Lucien gave his purse to his compatriot, telling him to come to him the next day, that arrangements might be made to secure the comfort of the family. The value of Piombo’s property in Corsica, if sold, would scarcely maintain him honorably in Paris.
Fifteen years elapsed between the time of Piombo’s arrival with his family in Paris and the following event, which would be scarcely intelligible to the reader without this narrative of the foregoing circumstances.
Servin, one of our most distinguished artists, was the first to conceive of the idea of opening a studio for young girls who wished to take lessons in painting.
About forty years of age, a man of the purest morals, entirely given up to his art, he had married from inclination the dowerless daughter of a general. At first the mothers of his pupils bought their daughters themselves to the studio; then they were satisfied to send them alone, after knowing the master’s principles and the pains he took to deserve their confidence.