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.
have it, Jardin, superintendent of the stables, could not be found when the horse was saddled, and the groom did not put on him his regular bridle, in consequence of which his Majesty had no sooner mounted, than the animal plunged, reared, and the rider fell heavily to the ground.  Jardin arrived just as the Emperor was rising from the ground, beside himself with anger; and in his first transport of rage, he gave Jardin a blow with his riding-whip directly across his face.  Jardin withdrew, overwhelmed by such cruel treatment, so unusual in his Majesty; and:  few hours after, Caulaincourt, grand equerry, finding himself alone with his Majesty, described to him Jardin’s grief and mortification.  The Emperor expressed deep regret for his anger, sent for Jardin, and spoke to him with a kindness which effaced the remembrance of his ill treatment, and sent him a few days afterward three thousand francs.  I have been told that a similar incident happened to Vigogne, senior, in Egypt.  But although this may be true, two such instances alone in the entire life of the Emperor, which was passed amid surroundings so well calculated to make a man, even though naturally most amiable, depart from his usual character, should not be sufficient to draw down upon Napoleon the odious reproach of beating cruelly those in his service.

CHAPTER XVI.

In his headquarters at the Pont des Briques the Emperor worked as regularly as in his cabinet at the Tuileries.  After his rides on horseback, his inspections, his visits, his reviews, he took his meals in haste, and retired into his cabinet, where he often worked most of the night, thus leading the same life as at Paris.  In his horseback rides Roustan followed him everywhere, always taking with him a little silver flask of brandy for the use of his Majesty, who rarely asked for it.

The army of Boulogne was composed of about one hundred and fifty thousand infantry and ninety thousand cavalry, divided into four principal camps, the camp of the right wing, the camp of the left wing, the camp of Wimereux, and the camp of Ambleteuse.

His Majesty the Emperor had his headquarters at Pont de Briques; thus named, I was told, because the brick foundations of an old camp of Caesar’s had been discovered there.  The Pont de Briques, as I have said above, is about half a league from Boulogne; and the headquarters of his Majesty were established in the only house of the place which was then habitable, and guarded by a detachment of the cavalry of the Imperial Guard.

The four camps were on a very high cliff overlooking the sea, so situated that in fine weather the coast of England could be seen.

In the camp on the right they had established barracks for the Emperor, Admiral Bruix, Marshal Soult, and Decres, who was then minister of the navy.

The Emperor’s barrack was constructed under the direction of Sordi, engineer, performing the functions of engineer-in-chief of military roads; and his nephew, Lecat de Rue, attached at that time to the staff of Marshal Soult as aide-de-camp, has been kind enough to furnish me with information which did not come within my province.

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