Now, it only remains for me to render an account of the bestowal I made of the first cross of honor the First Consul wore. The reader need not be alarmed; I did not make a bad use of it; it is on the breast of a brave soldier of our old army. In 1817 I made the acquaintance of M. Godeau, a former captain in the Imperial Guard. He had been severely wounded at Leipzig by a cannon-ball, which broke his knee. I found in him an admiration for the Emperor so intense and so sincere, he urged me so earnestly to give him something, whatever it might be, which had belonged to his Majesty, that I made him a present of the cross of honor of which I have spoken, as he had long ago been decorated with that order. This cross is, I might say, a historical memento, being the first, as I have stated, which his Majesty wore. It is of silver, medium size, and is not surmounted with the imperial crown. The Emperor wore it a year; it decorated his breast for the last time the day of the battle of Austerlitz. From that day, in fact, his Majesty wore an officer’s cross of gold with the crown, and no longer wore the cross of a simple member of the legion.
Here my souvenirs would end if, in re-reading the first volumes of my memoirs, the facts I have there related had not recalled to me some others which may be of interest. With the impossibility of presenting them in the proper order and connection, I have decided, in order that the reader may not be deprived of them, to offer them as detached anecdotes, which I have endeavored to class as far as possible, according to the order of time.
Anecdotes and incidents.
As I have often-had occasion to remark, the Emperor’s tastes were extremely simple in everything relating to his person; moreover, he manifested a decided aversion to the usages of fashion; he did not like, so to speak, to turn night into day, as was done in the most of the brilliant circles of society in Paris under the Consulate, and at the commencement of the Empire. Unfortunately, the Empress Josephine did not hold the same views, and being a submissive slave of fashion, liked to prolong her evenings after the Emperor had retired.