There was an exchange of presents between these illustrious sovereigns. Alexander made the Emperor a present of three superb pelisses of martin-sable, one of which the Emperor gave to his sister Pauline, another to the Princess de Ponte-Corvo; and the third he had lined with green velvet and ornamented with gold lace, and it was this cloak which he constantly wore in Russia. The history of the one which I carried from him to the Princess Pauline is singular enough to be related here, although it may have been already told.
The Princess Pauline showed much pleasure in receiving the Emperor’s present, and enjoyed displaying her cloak for the admiration of the household. One day, when she was in the midst of a circle of ladies, to whom she was dilating on the quality and excellence of this fur, M. de Canouville arrived, and the princess asked his opinion of the present she had received from the Emperor. The handsome colonel not appearing as much struck with admiration as she expected, she was somewhat piqued, and exclaimed, “What, monsieur, you do not think it exquisite?”— “No, madame.”—“In order to punish you I wish you to keep this cloak; I give it to you, and require you to wear it; I wish it, you understand.” It is probable that there had been some disagreement between her Imperial highness and her protege, and the princess had seized the first means of establishing peace; but however that may be, M. de Canouville needed little entreaty, and the rich fur was carried to his house. A few days after, while the Emperor was holding a review on the Place du Carrousel, M, de Canouville appeared on an unruly horse, which he had great difficulty in controlling. This caused some confusion, and attracted his Majesty’s attention, who, glancing at M. de Canouville, saw the cloak which he had given his sister metamorphosed into a hussar’s cape. The Emperor had great difficulty in controlling his anger. “M. de Canouville,” he cried, in a voice of thunder, “your horse is young, and his blood is too warm; you will go and cool it in Russia.” Three days after M. de Canouville had left Paris.
The Emperor Alexander never tired of showing his regard for actors by presents and compliments; and as for actresses, I have told before how far he would have gone with one of them if Napoleon had not deterred. him. Each day the Grand Duke Constantine got up parties of pleasure with Murat and other distinguished persons, at which no expense was spared, and some of these ladies did the honors. And what furs and diamonds they carried away from Erfurt! The two Emperors were not ignorant of all this, and were much amused thereby; and it was the favorite subject of conversation in the morning. Constantine had conceived an especial affection for King Jerome; the king even carried his affection so far as to ‘tutoy’ him, and wished him to do the same. “Is it because I am a king,” he said one day, “that