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.
support of his old age.  His Majesty assured him, through an interpreter, that he would not deprive him of his grandson, and Marshal Duroc was ordered to leave with the old man a testimonial of Imperial liberality.  In another little town in Friesland, the authorities made the Emperor this singular address:  “Sire, we were afraid you would come with the whole court; you are almost alone, and thereby we see you the better, and the more at our ease.”  The Emperor applauded this loyal compliment, and honored the orator by most touching thanks.  After this long journey, passed in fetes, reviews, and displays of all kinds, where the Emperor, under the guise of being entertained, had made profound observations on the moral, commercial, and military situation of Holland, observations which bore fruit after his return to Paris, and even while in the country, in wise and useful decrees, their Majesties left Holland, passing through Haarlem, The Hague, and Rotterdam, where they were welcomed, as they had been in the whole of Holland, by fetes.  They crossed the Rhine, visited Cologne and Aix-la-Chapelle, and arrived at Saint-Cloud early in November, 1811.

CHAPTER II.

Marie Louis was a very handsome woman.  She had a majestic figure and noble bearing, fresh complexion, blond hair, and blue eyes full of expression; her hands and feet were the admiration of the court.  Her figure was, perhaps, a trifle too stout; but she lost some of this superfluous flesh during her stay in France, though thereby she gained as much in grace and beauty.  Such was her appearance.  In her intercourse with those immediately around her she was affable and cordial; and the enjoyment she felt in the freedom of these conversations was depicted on her countenance, which grew animated, and took on an infinite grace.  But when she was obliged to appear in public she became extremely timid; formal society served of itself to isolate her; and as persons who are not naturally haughty always appear so with a poor grace, Marie Louise, being always much embarrassed on reception days, was often the subject of unjust criticism; for, as I have said, her coldness in reality arose from an excessive timidity.

Immediately after her arrival in France, Marie Louise suffered from this embarrassment to a very great degree, which can be easily understood in a young princess who found herself so suddenly transported into an entirely new society, to whose habits and tastes she felt obliged to conform, and in which, although her high position must naturally attract the world to her, the circumstances of this position rendered it necessary that she should take the initiative in any advances made, a fact which explains the awkwardness of her early relations with the ladies of her court.  After intimacies had been formed, and the young Empress had chosen her friends with all the abandon of her young heart, then haughtiness and constraint vanished, or reappeared only on occasions of ceremony.  Marie Louise was of a calm, thoughtful character; it took little to arouse her sensitive spirit; and yet, although easily moved, she was by no means demonstrative.  The Empress had received a very careful education, her mind was cultivated and her tastes very simple, and she possessed every accomplishment.

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