Madame de Montesson also gave to their Majesties a ball, at which the whole family of the First Consul was present. But of all these entertainments, I retain the most vivid recollection of that given by Chaptal, Minister of the Interior, the day which he chose being the fourteenth of June, the anniversary of the battle of Marengo. After the concert, the theater, the ball, and another representation of the city and inhabitants of Florence, a splendid supper was served in the garden, under military tents, draped with flags, and ornamented with groupings of arms and trophies, each lady being accompanied and served at table by an officer in uniform. When the King and Queen of Etruria came out of their tent, a balloon was released which carried into the heavens the name of Marengo in letters of fire.
Their Majesties wished to visit, before their departure, the chief public institutions, so they were taken to the Conservatory of Music, to a sitting of the Institute, of which they did not appear to comprehend much, and to the Mint, where a medal was struck in their honor. Chaptall received the thanks of the queen for the manner in which he had entertained and treated his royal guests, both as a member of the Institute, as minister at his hotel, and in the visits which they had made to the different institutions of the capital. On the eve of his departure the king had a long private interview with the First Consul; and though I do not know what passed, I observed that on coming out neither appeared to be satisfied with the other. However, their Majesties, on the whole, should have carried away a most favorable impression of the manner in which they had been received.
In all the fetes given by the First Consul in honor of their Majesties, the King and Queen of Etruria, Mademoiselle Hortense shone with that brilliancy and grace which made her the pride of her mother, and the most beautiful ornament of the growing court of the First Consul.
About this time she inspired a most violent passion in a gentleman of a very good family, who was, I think, a little deranged before this mad love affected his brain. This poor unfortunate roamed incessantly around Malmaison; and as soon as Mademoiselle Hortense left the house, ran by the side of her carriage with the liveliest demonstrations of tenderness, and threw through the window flowers, locks of his hair, and