On the day succeeding this event, a little drawing was circulated in the palace representing the authorities asleep near the monument, a prominent place being accorded the ladder, which barred the passage, and underneath was written the arch barre, alluding to the name of the mayor. As for the inscription, they had travestied it in this manner:
“Toher beloved sovereign;
the SLEEPIEST of the communes.”
Their Majesties were much amused by this episode.
While the court was at Saint-Cloud, the Emperor, who had worked very late one evening with Monsieur de Talleyrand, invited the latter to sleep at the chateau; but the prince, who preferred returning to Paris, refused, giving as an excuse that the beds had a very disagreeable odor. There was no truth whatever in this statement, for there was, as may be believed, the greatest care taken of the furniture, even in the store-rooms of the different imperial palaces; and the reason assigned by M. de Talleyrand being given at random, he could just as well have given any other; but, nevertheless, the remark struck the Emperor’s attention, and that evening on entering his bedroom he complained that his bed had an unpleasant odor. I assured him to the contrary, and told his Majesty that he would next day be convinced of his error; but, far from being persuaded, the Emperor, when he rose next morning, repeated the assertion that his bed had a very disagreeable odor, and that it was absolutely necessary to change it. M. Charvet, concierge of the palace, was at once summoned; his Majesty complained of his bed, and ordered another to be brought.
M. Desmasis, keeper of the furniture-room, was also called, who examined mattress, feather-beds, and covering, turned and returned them in every direction; other persons did the same, and each was convinced that there was no odor about his Majesty’s bed. In spite of so many witnesses to the contrary, the Emperor, not because he made it a point of honor not to have what he had asserted proved false, but merely from a caprice to which he was very subject, persisted in his first idea, and required his bed to be changed. Seeing that it was necessary to obey, I sent this bed to the Tuileries, and had the one which was there brought to the chateau of Saint-Cloud. The Emperor was now satisfied, and, on his return to the Tuileries, did not notice the exchange, and thought his bed in that chateau very good; and the most amusing part of all was that the ladies of the palace, having learned that the Emperor had complained of his bed, all found an unbearable odor in theirs, and insisted that everything must be overhauled, which created a small revolution. The caprices of sovereigns are sometimes epidemic.