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.

The arrival of the Turkish ambassador created a sensation at the Tuileries, because he brought a large number of cashmere shawls to the First Consul, which every one was sure would be distributed, and each woman flattered herself that she would be favorably noticed.  I think that, without his foreign costume, and without his cashmere shawls, he would have produced little effect on persons accustomed to seeing sovereign princes pay court to the chief of the government at his residence and at their own.  His costume even was not more remarkable than that of Roustan, to which we were accustomed; and as to his bows, they were hardly lower than those of the ordinary courtiers of the First Consul.  At Paris, it is said, the enthusiasm lasted longer—­“It is so odd to be a Turk!” A few ladies had the honor of seeing the bearded ambassador eat.  He was polite and even gallant with them, and made them a few presents, which were highly prized; his manners were not too Mohammedan, and he was not much shocked at seeing our pretty Parisians without veils over their faces.  One day, which he had spent almost entirely at Saint-Cloud, I saw him go through his prayers.  It was in the court of honor, on a broad parapet bordered with a stone balustrade.  The ambassador had carpets spread on the side of the apartments, which were afterwards those of the King of Rome; and there he made his genuflexions, under the eyes of many people of the house, who, out of consideration, kept themselves behind their casements.  In the evening he was present at the theater, and Zaire or Mahomet, I think, was played; but of course he understood none of it.

CHAPTER XII.

In the month of November of this year, the First Consul returned to Boulogne to visit the fleet, and to review the troops who were already assembled in the camps provided for the army with which he proposed to descend on England.  I have preserved a few notes and many recollections of my different sojourns at Boulogne.  Never did the Emperor make a grander display of military power; nor has there ever been collected at one point troops better disciplined or more ready to march at the least signal of their chief; and it is not surprising that I should have retained in my recollections of this period details which no one has yet, I think, thought of publishing.  Neither, if I am not mistaken, could any one be in a better position than I to know them.  However, the reader will now judge for himself.

In the different reviews which the First Consul held, he seemed striving to excite the enthusiasm of the soldiers, and to increase their attachment for his person, by assiduously taking advantage of every opportunity to excite their vanity.

One day, having especially noticed the excellent bearing of the Thirty-sixth and Fifty-seventh regiments of the line, and Tenth of light infantry, he made all the officers, from corporal to colonel, come forward; and, placing himself in their midst, evinced his satisfaction by recalling to them occasions when, in the past under the fire of cannon, he had remarked the bearing of these three brave, regiments.  He complimented the sub-officers on the good drilling of the soldiers, and the captains and chiefs of battalion on the harmony and precision of their evolutions.  In fine, each had his share of praise.

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