The day after the battle of Wagram, I think, a large number of officers were breakfasting near the Emperor’s tent, the generals seated on the grass, and the officers standing around them. They discussed the battle at length, and related numerous remarkable anecdotes, some of which remain engraven on my memory. A staff-officer of his Majesty said, “I thought I had lost my finest horse. As I had ridden him on the 5th and wished him to rest, I gave him to my servant to hold by the bridle; and when he left him one moment to attend to his own, the horse was stolen in a flash by a dragoon, who instantly sold him to a dismounted captain, telling him he was a captured horse. I recognized him in the ranks, and claimed him, proving by my saddle-bags and their contents that he was not a horse taken from the Austrians, and had to repay the captain the five louis which he had paid to the dragoon for this horse which had cost me sixty.”
The best anecdote, perhaps, of the day was this: M. Salsdorf, a Saxon, and surgeon in Prince Christian’s regiment, in the beginning of the battle had his leg fractured by a shell. Lying on the ground, he saw, fifteen paces from him, M. Amedee de Kerbourg, who was wounded by a bullet, and vomiting blood. He saw that this officer would die of apoplexy if something was not done for him, and collecting all his strength, dragged himself along in the dust, bled him, and saved his life.
M. de Kerbourg had no opportunity to embrace the one who had saved his life; for M. de Salsdorf was carried to Vienna, and only survived the amputation four days.
At Schoenbrunn, as elsewhere, his Majesty marked his presence by his benefactions. I still retain vivid recollections of an occurrence which long continued to be the subject of conversation at this period, and the singular details of which render it worthy of narration.
A little girl nine years old, belonging to a very wealthy and highly esteemed family of Constantinople, was carried away by bandits as she was promenading one day with her attendant outside the city. The bandits carried their two captives to Anatolia, and there sold them. The little girl, who gave promise of great beauty, fell to the lot of a rich merchant of Broussa, the harshest, most severe, and intractable man of the town; but the artless grace of this child touched even his ferocious heart. He conceived a great affection for her, and distinguished her from his other slaves by giving her only light employment, such as the care of flowers, etc. A European gentleman who lived with this merchant offered to take charge of her education; to which the man consented, all the more willingly since she had gained his heart, and he wished to make her his wife as soon as she reached a marriageable age. But the European had the same idea; and as he was young, with an agreeable and intelligent countenance, and very rich, he succeeded in winning the young slave’s affection; and she escaped one day from her master, and, like another Heloise, followed her Abelard to Kutahie, where they remained concealed for six months.