Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,044 pages of information about Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete.
in his quality of master of requests.  It resulted that he was the mediator and counselor in all communications which were necessarily established between the lieutenant-general of the Emperor and Marshal Moncey, and the promptness of his decisions was a source of great benefit to that good and grave marshal.  He signed all letters, “The Marshal, Duke de Conegliano;” and wrote so slowly that M. Allent had, so to speak, time to write the correspondence while the marshal was signing his name.  The auditors to the council of state duties of the two were nothing, or nearly so; but these men were by no means nobodies, as has been asserted, though a few of that character of course slipped into the council, since the first condition for holding this office was simply to prove an income of at least six thousand francs.  These were Messieurs Ducancel, the dean of the auditors, and M. Robert de Sainte-Croix.  A shell had broken the latter’s leg during the return from Moscow; and this brave young man, a captain of cavalry, had returned, seated astride a cannon, from the banks of the Beresina to Wilna.  Having little physical strength, but gifted with a strong mind, M. Robert de Sainte-Croix owed it to his moral courage not to succumb; and after undergoing the amputation of his leg, left the sword for the pen, and it was thus he became auditor to the council of state.

The week after the National Guard of the city of Paris had been called into service, the chiefs of the twelve legions and the general staff were admitted to take the oath of fidelity at the Emperor’s hands.  The National Guard had already been organized into legions; but the want of arms was keenly felt, and many citizens could procure only lances, and those who could not obtain guns or buy them found themselves thereby chilled in their ardor to equip themselves.  Nevertheless, the Citizen Guard soon enrolled the desired number of thirty thousand men, and by degrees it occupied the different posts of the capital; and whilst fathers of families and citizens employed in domestic work were enrolled without difficulty, those who had already paid their debts to their country on the battlefield also demanded to be allowed to serve her again, and to shed for her the last drop of their blood.  Invalided soldiers begged to resume their service.  Hundreds of these brave soldiers forgot their sufferings, and covered with honorable wounds went forth again to confront the enemy.  Alas! very few of those who then left the Hotel des Invalides were fortunate enough to return.

Meanwhile the moment of the Emperor’s departure approached; but before setting out he bade a touching adieu to the National Guard, as we shall see in the next chapter, and confided the regency to the Empress as he had formerly intrusted it to her during the campaign in Dresden.  Alas this time it was not necessary to make a long journey before the Emperor was at the head of his army.


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