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.
thus I would be able to conceal the absence of the two limbs Roustan had eaten; so I entered proudly with the chicken replaced on the dish Roustan following me, for I was very willing, if there were any reproaches, to share them with him.  I picked up the remaining wing, and presented it to the Emperor; but he refused it, saying to me, “Give me the chicken; I will choose for myself.”  This time there was no means of saving ourselves, for the dismembered chicken must pass under his Majesty’s eyes.  “See here,” said he, “since when did chickens begin to have only one wing and one leg?  That is fine; it seems that I must eat what others leave.  Who, then, eats half of my supper?” I looked at Roustan, who in confusion replied, “I was very hungry, Sire, and I ate a wing and leg.”—­“What, you idiot! so it was you, was it?”

“Ah, I will punish you for it.”  And without another word the Emperor ate the remaining leg and wing.

The next day at his toilet he summoned the grand marshal for some purpose, and during the conversation said, “I leave you to guess what I ate last night for my supper.  The scraps which M. Roustan left.  Yes, the wretch took a notion to eat half of my chicken.”  Roustan entered at that moment.  “Come here, you idiot,” continued the Emperor; “and the next time this happens, be sure you will pay for it.”  Saying this, he seized him by the ears and laughed heartily.

CHAPTER XVIII.

On the 22d of May, ten days after the triumphant entry of the Emperor into the Austrian capital, the battle of Essling took place, a bloody combat lasting from four in the morning till six in the evening.  This battle was sadly memorable to all the old soldiers of the Empire, since it cost the life of perhaps the bravest of them all,—­the Duke of Montebello, the devoted friend of the Emperor, the only one who shared with Marshal Augereau the right to speak to him frankly face to face.

The evening before the battle the marshal entered his Majesty’s residence, and found him surrounded by several persons.  The Duke of——­ always undertook to place himself between the Emperor and persons who wished to speak with him.  The Duke of Montebello, seeing him play his usual game, took him by the lappet of his coat, and, wheeling him around, said to him:  “Take yourself away from here!  The Emperor does not need you to stand guard.  It is singular that on the field of battle you are always so far from us that we cannot see you, while here we can say nothing to the Emperor without your being in the way.”  The duke was furious.  He looked first at the marshal, then at the Emperor, who simply said, “Gently Lannes.”

That evening in the domestic apartments they were discussing this apostrophe of the marshal’s.  An officer of the army of Egypt said that he was not surprised, since the Duke of Montebello had never forgiven the Duke of ——­ for the three hundred sick persons poisoned at Jaffa.

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