The Empress, wishing to profit by this return of good humor, sent me for the cradle, which I brought to her. She caressed the little new-born babe, quieted it, and read the paper attached to which was a petition from its parents. Then she approached the Emperor, insisting on his caressing the infant himself, and pinching its fat little cheeks; which he did without much urging, for the Emperor himself loved to play with children. At last her Majesty the Empress, having placed a roll of napoleons in the cradle, had the little bundle in swaddling clothes carried to the concierge of the palace, in order that he might restore it to its parents.
I will now give another instance of the kindness of heart of her Majesty the Empress, of which I had the honor to be a witness, as well as of the preceding.
A few days before the coronation, a little girl four and a half years old had been rescued from the Seine; and a charitable lady, Madame Fabien Pillet, was much interested in providing a home for the poor orphan. At the time of the coronation, the Empress, who had been informed of this occurrence, asked to see this child, and having regarded it a few moments with much emotion, offered her protection most gracefully and sincerely to Madame Pillet and her husband, and announced to them that she would take upon herself the care of the little girl’s future; then, with her usual delicacy and in the affectionate tone which was so natural to her, the Empress added, “Your good action has given you too many claims over the poor little girl for me to deprive you of the pleasure of completing your work, I therefore beg your permission to furnish the expenses of her education. You have the privilege of putting her in boarding-school, and watching over her; and I wish to take only a secondary position, as her benefactress.” It was the most touching sight imaginable to see her Majesty, while uttering these delicate and generous words, pass her hands through the hair of the poor little girl, as she had just called her, and kiss her brow with the tenderness of a mother. M. and Madame Pillet withdrew, for they could no longer bear this touching scene.