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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 887 pages of information about Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon Complete.

The prince’s health was always delicate, and from his earliest youth alarming symptoms had been noticed in him; and this physical condition was no doubt, in a great measure, the main source of the melancholy which marked his character.  He died in 1818, after a very long and painful illness, during which his wife nursed him with the most affectionate care, leaving four children, two sons and two daughters.  The two sons died young, and would have left the grand duchy of Baden without heirs, if the Counts Hochberg had not been recognized as members of the ducal family.  The grand-duchess is to-day devoting her life to the education of her daughters, who promise to equal her in graces and virtues.  The nuptials of the Prince and Princess of Baden were celebrated by brilliant fetes; at Rambouillet took place a great hunting-party, in which their Majesties, with many members of their family, and all the princes of Baden, Cleves, etc., traversed on foot the forests of Rambouillet.

I recollect another hunting-party, which took place about the same time in the forest of Saint-Germain, to which the Emperor invited the ambassador of the Sublime Porte, then just arrived at Paris.  His Turkish Excellency followed the chase with ardor, but without moving a muscle of his austere countenance.  The animal having been brought to bay, his Majesty had a gun handed to the Turkish ambassador, that he might have, the honor of firing the first shot; but he refused, not conceiving, doubtless, that any pleasure could be found in slaying at short range a poor, exhausted animal, who no longer had the power to protect itself, even by flight.

CHAPTER XXVIII.

The Emperor remained only a few days at Paris, after our return from Italy, before setting out again for the camp of Boulogne.  The fetes of Milan had not prevented him from maturing his political plans, and it was suspected that not without good reason had he broken down his horses between Turin and Paris.  These reasons were plainly evident, when it was learned that Austria had entered secretly into the coalition of Russia and England against the Emperor.  The army collected in the camp of Boulogne received orders to march on the Rhine, and his Majesty departed to rejoin his troops about the end of September.  As was his custom, he informed us only an hour in advance of his departure; and it was curious to observe the contrast of the confusion which preceded this moment with the silence that followed it.  Hardly was the order given, than each one busied himself hastily with his own wants and those of his Majesty; and nothing could be heard in the corridors but the sound of domestics coming and going, the noise of cases being nailed down, and boxes being carried out.  In the courts appeared a great number of carriages and wagons, with men harnessing them, the scene lighted by torches, and everywhere oaths and cries of impatience; while

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