“Victorious in the three quarters of the world, peacemaker of Europe, legislator of France, having bestowed and added provinces to the Empire, does not this glorious record suffice to render him worthy at one and the same time both of this august title of Emperor of the French, and this monument erected in the temple of the laws? And yet I would wish to make you forget these brilliant recollections which I have just recalled. With a stronger voice than that which sounded his praises, I would say to you: erase from your minds this glory of the legislator, this glory of the warrior, and say to yourselves, before the 18th Brumaire, when fatal laws were promulgated, and when the destructive principles proclaimed anew were already dragging along men and things with a rapidity which it would soon have been impossible to arrest—who appeared suddenly like a beneficent star, who came to abrogate these laws, who filled up the half-open abyss? You have survived, each one of you, through those threatening scenes; you live, and you owe it to him whose image you now behold. You, who were miserable outlaws, have returned, you breathe again the gentle air of your native land, you embrace your children, your wives, your friends; and you owe it to this great man. I speak no longer of his glory, I no longer bear witness to that; but I invoke humanity on the one side, gratitude on the other; and I demand of you, to whom do you owe a happiness so great so extraordinary, so unexpected? . . . And you, each and all, reply with me—to the great man whose image we behold.”
The president repeated in his turn a similar eulogium, in very similar terms; and few persons then dreamed of thinking these praises exaggerated, though their opinions have perhaps changed since.
After the ceremony the Empress, on the arm of the president, passed into the hall of conference, where her Majesty’s table had been prepared under a magnificent dais of crimson silk, and covers for nearly three hundred guests had been laid by the caterer Robert, in the different halls of the palace. To the dinner succeeded a brilliant ball. The most remarkable thing in this fete was the indescribable luxury of flowers and shrubs, which must doubtless have been collected at great expense, owing to the severity of the winter. The halls of Lucrece and of La Reunion, in which the dancing quadrilles were formed, resembled an immense parterre of roses, laurel, lilac, jonquils, lilies, and jessamine.
It was the 2d of January, 1805, exactly a month after the coronation, that I formed with the eldest daughter of M. Charvet a union which has been, and will I trust ever be, the greatest happiness of my life. I promised the reader to say very little of myself; and, in fact, how could he be interested in any details of my own private life which did not throw additional light upon the character of the great man about whom