Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,044 pages of information about Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete.
on the stage as in the saloon, where they bore themselves with exquisite grace and refinement.  At first the repertoire contained little variety, though the pieces were generally well selected.  The first representation which I attended was the “Barber of Seville” in which Isabey played the role of Figaro, and Mademoiselle Hortense that of Rosine—­and the “Spiteful Lover.”  Another time I saw played the “Unexpected Wager,” and “False Consultations.”  Hortense and Eugene played this last piece perfectly; and I still recall that, in the role of Madame le Blanc, Hortense appeared prettier than ever in the character of an old woman, Eugene representing Le Noir, and Lauriston the charlatan.  The First Consul, as I have said, confined himself to the role of spectator; but he seemed to take in these fireside plays, so to speak, the greatest pleasure, laughed and applauded heartily, though sometimes he also criticised.

Madame Bonaparte was also highly entertained; and even if she could not always boast of the successful acting of her children, “the chiefs of the troupe,” it sufficed her that it was an agreeable relaxation to her husband, and seemed to give him pleasure; for her constant study was to contribute to the happiness of the great man who had united her destiny with his own.

When the day for the presentation of a play had been appointed, there was never any postponement, but often a change of the play; not because of the indisposition, or fit of the blues, of an actress (as often happens in the theaters of Paris), but for more serious reasons.  It sometimes happened that M. d’Etieulette received orders to rejoin his regiment, or an important mission was confided to Count Almaviva, though Figaro and Rosine always remained at their posts; and the desire of pleasing the First Consul was, besides, so general among all those who surrounded him, that the substitutes did their best in the absence of the principals, and the play never failed for want of an actor.

[Michau, of the Comedie Francaise, was the instructor of the troupe.  Wherever it happened that an actor was wanting in animation, Michau would exclaim.  “Warmth!  Warmth!  Warmth!” —­Note by constant.]


I had been only a very short time in the service of Madame Bonaparte when I made the acquaintance of Charvet, the concierge of Malmaison, and in connection with this estimable man became each day more and more intimate, till at last he gave me one of his daughters in marriage.  I was eager to learn from him all that he could tell me concerning Madame Bonaparte and the First Consul prior to my entrance into the house; and in our frequent conversations he took the greatest pleasure in satisfying my curiosity.  It is to him I owe the following details as to the mother and daughter.

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Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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