Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 887 pages of information about Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon Complete.
and you are an assassin! and have no fear of afflicting and destroying beings who are so dear to you?”—­“I wished to do my duty, and nothing could have deterred me from it.”—­“But how would you have succeeded in, striking me?”—­“I would first have asked you if we were soon to have peace; and if you had answered no, I should have stabbed you.”—­“He is mad!” said the Emperor; “he is evidently mad!  And how could you have hoped to escape, after you had struck me thus in the midst of my soldiers?”—­“I knew well to what I was exposing myself, and am astonished to be still alive.”  This boldness made such a deep impression on the Emperor that he remained silent for several moments, intently regarding Stabs, who remained entirely unmoved under this scrutiny.  Then the Emperor continued, “The one you love will be much distressed.”—­“Oh, she will no doubt be distressed because I did not succeed, for she hates you at least as much as I hate you myself.”—­ “Suppose I pardoned you?”—­“You would be wrong, for I would again try to kill you.”  The Emperor summoned M. Corvisart and said to him, “This young man is either sick or insane, it cannot be otherwise.”—­“I am neither the one nor the other,” replied the assassin quickly.  M. Corvisart felt Stabs’s pulse.  “This gentleman is well,” he said.  “I have already told you so,” replied Stabs with a triumphant air.—­ “Well, doctor,” said his Majesty, “this young man who is in such good health has traveled a hundred miles to assassinate me.”

Notwithstanding this declaration of the physician and the avowal of Stabs, the Emperor, touched by the coolness and assurance of the unfortunate fellow, again offered him his pardon, upon the sole condition of expressing some repentance for his crime; but as Stabs again asserted that his only regret was that he had not succeeded in his undertaking, the Emperor reluctantly gave him up to punishment.

After he was conducted to prison, as he still persisted in his assertions, he was immediately brought before a military commission, which condemned him to death.  He did not undergo his punishment till the 17th; and after the 13th, the day on which he was arrested, took no food, saying that he would have strength enough to go to his death.  The Emperor had ordered that the execution should be delayed as long as possible, in the hope that sooner or later Stabs would repent; but he remained unshaken.  As he was being conducted to the place where he was to be shot, some one having told him that peace had just been concluded, he cried in a loud voice, “Long live liberty!  Long live Germany!” These were his last words.

CHAPTER XVII.

During his stay at Schoenbrunn the Emperor was constantly engaged in gallant adventures.  He was one day promenading on the Prater in Vienna, with a very numerous suite (the Prater is a handsome promenade situated in the Faubourg Leopold), when a young German, widow of a rich merchant, saw him, and exclaimed involuntarily to the ladies promenading with her, “It is he!” This exclamation was overheard by his Majesty, who stopped short, and bowed to the ladies with a smile, while the one who had spoken blushed crimson; the Emperor comprehended this unequivocal sign, looked at her steadfastly, and then continued his walk.

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