It is possible that Louis Napoleon will live many years yet, or at least die a natural death, but there are those who have a reputation for shrewdness who do not believe it. They think that as he has taken the sword so he will perish by the sword, or in other words that a bullet will one day end his life. It would not be strange, for he has many bitter enemies, and there would be poetic justice in such a fate, to say the least.
The empress is quite popular in France, but not so much so as the journalists and letter-writers would make out. She is exceedingly handsome, and this fact goes a great way with the Parisians. Her conduct since her marriage has been irreproachable, which should always be mentioned to her credit. But that she is naturally a very lovely woman, gentle, and filled with all the virtues, few who know her early history will believe. She is, like the emperor, shrewd, and acts her part well. She is certainly equal to her position, and in goodness is satisfactory to the French people. It has been thought by many that if Louis Napoleon had married a French woman it would have better satisfied the people, but this is by no means certain.
The emperor and empress seem to live together happily, or at least rumor hath nothing to the contrary; and he would be a brute not to be satisfied with the woman who has presented him with what he desired above everything else—a male heir.
Portraits of the empress abound in all the shops and in private houses. Her great beauty is the passport to the French heart. It is not of the dashing, bold style, but is delicate and refined. Louis Napoleon has in his provisions for the prince calculated largely upon the popularity of the empress, in case of his own death.
He confides the boy-prince to the Empress Eugenia, and thinks her popularity is such, and the gallantry of the people so great, that they will gather round her in the day of trouble. But though the French are a gallant people they estimate some things higher than politeness or gallantry. There is no loyalty in France. The only feeling which approaches to it is the veneration which is felt in some of the provinces for the elder Napoleon. But that sentiment of loyalty which is felt in all ranks and circles in England is unknown to France. Who carries in his bosom that sentiment towards the man who procured his throne by perjury? Not a single Frenchman. Many admire his intellect, his daring, and many others accept his rule with pleasure, but nobody has the feeling of loyalty toward him. It has died out in France, and I must confess that this is a good sign. While it is true, France cannot really like a monarchical despotism, though she may for a long time endure it.
The 14th of June was a great day in Paris, for it witnessed the baptism of the prince and heir to the French throne. It was not because Paris was or is devoted to the present Napoleonic dynasty, not because the birth of an heir to Louis Napoleon was or is regarded with any remarkable enthusiasm, but simply for this reason: Paris loves gayety, and above all things is fond of a public fete.