« ElőzőTovább »
A CHANGE of candidates at the eleventh hour is apt to be disastrous to the political party whose interests are at stake; and this may perhaps account for the result of the Kingscliff election, which placed Mr. Giles at the head of the poll by a narrow majority. Buswell thinks otherwise. He says that he approached victory much more nearly than Gilbert Segrave would have done, and attributes his defeat simply and solely to the fact that he was unable to hold out any immediate prospect of improvement to the borough by the addition to it of the Manor House property. He still asserts that he means to have that property, sooner or later, and has no doubt but that he will get it; which shows a sanguine spirit on his part, seeing that Mr. and Mrs. Brian Segrave have taken up their permanent residence there. His contention, however, is that the force of circumstances will drive them some day to Beckton, which has remained untenanted since Gilbert's departure, and that they will not then continue blind to the necessities and deaf to the entreaties of an entire town. Meanwhile, he is doing the best that he can for the said town and at the same time is not doing badly for himself. Quite recently he has received the honor of knighthood; nobody exactly knows why. But it has ceased to be necessary to assign reasons for the bestowal of these distinctions, and probably it is only due to Buswell's native modesty that he has not been made a baronet.
Brian and Beatrice were married at St. Michael's one winter morning, quite quietly; that is to say, that not more than three hundred persons witnessed the ceremony. Indeed, it is not easy to be married quietly anywhere out of London. The bridegroom's brother was not present, being abroad at the time; but Mr. Phipps was good enough to undertake the duties of best man, and Sir Joseph Huntley gave away the bride.
Lady Clementina, though not enchanted with her sister-in-law's choice, was fain to submit to it and to acknowledge that of the two Segrave brothers, Brian was at least the more desirable. "I can't understand why you are marrying him, Beatrice," she said, with engaging frankness; "but I have given up trying to understand why you do anything. He tells me he is not a Radical, which is some comfort, and to do him justice, I don't think he is a fortune-hunter. Indeed, it is rather an
unfortunate thing for him to have come into a fortune; for, of course, he will give up composing music now and will sink into obscurity."
Whether the latter part of this prediction will be fulfilled or not time alone can show; the first has not been and will not be. Brian will always compose for the pleasure of composing, and if he is not very ambitious, his wife has ambition enough for two.
Gilbert has not yet returned to England. He is visiting India and the colonies, and will doubtless have a store of valuable information relating to some of our more troublesome dependencies to lay before the next House of Commons. Beatrice trusts that he will not hurry back. She will find it easier to give him a sisterly welcome, she thinks, if before he reaches home she has been able to bring her scheme to a successful termination by marrying Kitty to Mitchell. It is not at all unlikely that her hopes will be realized. At any rate, Kitty is once more her bosom friend, and she has induced Captain Mitchell to pay a long visit to the Manor House.
Brian doubted the wisdom of this course, urging that a little longer time should be allowed to the poor girl to forget her old love; but he was promptly and even scorn. fully overruled by Mrs. Segrave.
Why, you goose!" she exclaimed, "she has been in love with Captain Mitchell all along; only she didn't know it. Now, my dear Brian, you really must not set up to be a judge of such matters you, of all people! You, who couldn't so much as see that I was in love with you, without knowing it, for a year before you proposed to me!"
was empty-which rarely happened-did not hesitate to ask him to replenish it; it never occurring to her that she could take anything she needed without immediate payment. For the rest, both were amiable and gentle, of equable temper, docile disposition, and much
attached to their husband.
These "two women 99 were, of course, the empress Josephine and Maria Louisa. In both of them Napoleon may, as he said, have been deeply interested; but it can scarcely be doubted that the deeper and tenderer interest always remained with the former. It was natural that it should be so. For though but little susceptible of the softer emotions, Napoleon was inspired by a deep and passionate love for Josephine when, a young man of twentysix, he married her. But at forty, when he sought, or accepted the hand of Maria Louisa, he was prompted only by the vain ambition of founding a dynasty, and of being received into the brotherhood of kings. Even when thus strongly influenced, what an effort it cost him to break the spell, what a pang to sever the tie, that for near fourteen years had bound him to the fascinating woman he loved! Her snperstitious feeling shared by him in this instance that fate had so mysteriously linked their destinies that what was prejudicial to one must be baneful to the other-led Josephine to predict that the tide of his prosperity would turn when his cruel repudiation of her was accomplished. Very surely, too, it did so. And the first step towards his downfall was taken when, striving to nerve himself to decide on their divorce, he exclaimed, "I have too long sacrificed great and powerful interests to a mere chimera - I yield!"
that by an act of gallantry he might spare a young lady's nerves. He doubtless well knew that the empress had left Schoenbrunn with the whole of the imperial family. Driven from place to place, as the Austrian troops were defeated, they had finally taken shelter in an old Schloss in Hungary. There, daily and hourly they prayed that "God would humble the usurper." Maria Louisa's girlish letters to her father are full of such expressions. She tells him also that "people who study the Apocalypse predict that the Corsican usurper will soon lose his head, or die of a surfeit of red crabs." One or other of "these predictions she trusts may be speedily realized." Three months later on, the peace of Vienna was signed. Napoleon was then at the very apogee of political power and military glory. He believed that an heir to his throne alone was wanting to ensure the stability of the vast empire he had founded; every means, therefore, were secretly tried by Count Metternich and his agents to turn the great man's thoughts towards Austria in his quest of an eligible bride.
On the 16th of October Napoleon left Vienna. The matrimonial question, if hinted at, was not openly broached. He chose to be fairly off with the old love before he was on with the new; for he could not even yet trust himself to speak of other ties until the divorce had become an accomplished fact. On returning to France he celebrated his victory by pompous Te Deums, public illuminations, and grand state festivities at the Tuileries. At the brilliant receptions, before whose splendor paled the boasted magnificence of Louis Quatorze, the empress JoseBefore the battle of Wagram had been phine appeared wearing the imperial manfought (July 6, 1809), when Napoleon for tle and seated beside Napoleon on his the third time entered Vienna as a con- throne. Smiles were on her face, but queror, it had been more than once mys- deep grief in her heart. The words "We teriously hinted to him by Austrian emis- must part, dear Josephine," had at last saries that a young archduchess was much been spoken. The divorce may indeed at his service. A doubtful anecdote, often be said to have actually taken place; yet repeated, states that when Napoleon was the cruel obligation was laid on her of bombarding Vienna he commanded the bearing a prominent part in ceremonies direction of the batteries to be changed, when deprived of her right, as a wife, to that Maria Louisa, who, he was informed, do so — of being, in fact, ad interim, the was indisposed at Schoenbrunn, might not deputy of her successor. Eugène Beaube disturbed by the roar of his cannon. harnais, summoned from Italy, had alIf false information of that kind really ready arrived publicly to announce reached him, it was indeed a very feeble arch-chamberlain of the empire — that ruse de guerre. For besides that no mat-"the welfare and happiness of France rerimonial alliance with Austria was then quired that the fourth dynasty should have on the tapis, and that the divorce was still a long existence, consequently that it in abeyance, Napoleon was very unlikely should be surrounded by an immediate to place his cannon less advantageously posterity," etc., etc. and imperil his chance of victory in order
When this act of repudiation was ac
"Count Metternich is in a delirium of joy," writes the political agent Von Gentz. His project having succeeded so well he does not scruple to take the whole credit of its accomplishment to himself; though circumstances unconnected with it have by chance favored the scheme."
Yet in his very untrustworthy autobiography the count makes it appear that the unhappy deserted Josephine first suggested the Austrian marriage. Napoleon said of Count Metternich, "He lies with so good a grace that he gives promise of becoming a great statesman." M. de Talleyrand replied, "He lies always, but never deceives."
complished Josephine retired to Malmai- | assurance of the emperor Francis's conson to indulge in weeping and melancholy. sent. Marshal Berthier, the newly-cre With difficulty she was dissuaded from ated Prince of Wagram, was despatched wearing deep mourning. Why not?" to Vienna officially to ask the archduchess she said. "This separation is death to my in marriage. happiness." But if sympathy could soothe her wounded feelings, some consolation she must have found in the eagerness of her numerous friends to pay her the same marks of respect in her humiliation as she had been accustomed to receive at the height of grandeur. Never had the courtyard of Malmaison been so thronged with carriages as since the divorce. Some few of the visitors may have been influenced by a desire to see how she bore her changed position. But the affectionate regard with which the kind-hearted Josephine had inspired all classes in France led them generally to sympathize with her in sorrow. Napoleon is said to have been really grateful to those ladies of the house- The Austrian alliance being determined hold who so promptly evinced that their upon, the count left Paris to prepare the regard and affection for her remained un- way for the gracious reception of Napochanged. Those who took a contrary leon's request that the emperor would course, thinking to please him, he did not confer on him the hand of his daughter. fail soon, and very unmistakably, to con- It was therefore well received, notwithvince of their error. It is certain, how-standing that a prince of the conquered ever, that the divorce occasioned the first territory of Wagram was so strangely, change in the sentiments of the mass of the people towards Napoleon. They were proud of his glory; but when, after diverging so greatly from the course he had himself traced out, they saw him also abandon the Josephine to whom he in some measure owed his first elevation, the heart of the people was wounded.
Two years before, at Erfurth, the emperor Alexander had voluntarily offered a second empress to France, in the person of his sister the grand-duchess Anne. When however the question of marriage was seriously contemplated he began to waver; returning very evasive replies to the letters addressed to him on the subject. The empress-mother, it was urged, was opposed to it, both on religious grounds and because of the extreme youth of her daughter. To a demand for a definite reply the answer was so long delayed that Napoleon's patience never very great was exhausted. Hastily he summoned a council to discuss the claims of the two other princesses, indirectly put forward by Saxony and Austria for the honor of giving an heir to the imperial throne. The political and other consider ations involved in so important a question having been duly weighed, Napoleon and his ministers decided in favor of the Austrian princess, the overtures of Austria, so long secretly urged upon him, being an
almost insultingly it would seem, the bearer of it. The archduchess was asked with what feeling she regarded the idea of becoming the wife of the man whom she had been brought up to consider the implacable enemy of her family and country. The fascinating count as Caroline Murat and other ladies of the French court thought him- was deputed to put the delicate question to her. Her young stepmother, who was also her cousin, would not. Her father shrank from it. Yet political views being the chief, if not sole, considerations of importance in all royal marriages, the decision rested with him rather than his daughter. Under ordinary circumstances she would not have been consulted at all. But this was an exceptional case. The idea of a daughter of the Cæsars marrying this Corsican parvenu emperor was a bitter pill to Francis. If he was ready to assent to the sacrifice for the sake of gaining time to prepare that parvenu's downfall, he yet was so far influenced by parental feeling as to refrain from speaking the final word till Maria Louisa herself had, as it were, authorized him. Naturally she heard with extreme dismay that "the dread usurper" had asked her hand in marriage. The count explained that the alliance would be advantageous to Austria, then exhausted by a long period of warfare, and looking
to the continuance of peace for returning | a wooden sword." Nurses, governesses, prosperity. To quell her personal fears, and attendants, with whom the young archhe set before her a pleasing picture of the duchess, until marriage, chiefly lived in gaiety and grandeur of the French court strict retirement, nurtured these feelings and the homage that awaited her there. of hatred and resentment. Affianced to He told her of the attentions of Napoleon" the tyrant," the young archduchess was to Josephine a woman several years his regarded by the domestic circle as a lamb senior of the pleasures with which he destined for the slaughter. Some doubted had surrounded her, and the happiness she the validity of the divorce; others whishad enjoyed with him. Now, however, pered that marriage with a man under the the nation demanded a divorce. In its ban of excommunication was a deadly sin. love for its emperor it yearned for the And doubtless in the eyes of the Church perpetuation of his line. Yielding, there- and of all good Catholics such a marriage fore, as in duty bound, to the unanimous was nuil. But into such matters it did voice of his people, he sought a youthful not then suit the views of the Austrian princess for his bride. court too closely to inquire; while, as regarded the archduchess, if Napoleon's classical features had lost by increasing embonpoint much of the severe beauty and refinement that distinguished them some years earlier, Isabey's fine portrait had revealed to her that "the dreaded minotaur" was not so hideous as she had been led to suppose. The preparations making for her reception, of whose splen
The archduchess asked what were her father's wishes. Being trained to implicit obedience in such matters, as soon as she was told that they were favorable to the marriage, for his country's and people's sake, she resigned herself-though with considerable misgiving to her fate and her father's will. Her ready acquiescence in his wishes would ensure him, she hoped, the peaceful possession of what yet re-dor wonders were reported, also greatly mained of his dismembered empire. Napoleon on being informed that he was an accepted suitor sent Count Anatole de Montesquieu to Vienna as the bearer of his portrait to the bride-elect. It was one of Isabey's exquisite miniatures, and was set in a border of large diamonds. After a few minutes' earnest scrutiny of it, the archduchess exclaimed, "He is not illlooking!" Probably she found some consolation in the discovery of that fact, as she had believed him to be a sort of ogre, both in person and character. Count Anatole was also charged to deliver an itinerary of the route to be taken on her journey to France, and the ceremonies to be observed at the various resting-places and at her reception at Compiègne.
Maria Louisa was the eldest of the seven children of Francis I., emperor of Austria, and his second wife, Maria Theresa, daughter of Ferdinand IV. of Naples. She had just entered her nineteenth year, having been born December 12th, 1791, when in February, 1810, she became the affianced bride of Napoleon. Hatred of the French had been instilled into the minds of the imperial brothers and sisters from their earliest years. They had an ugly doll in a French uniform, rep resenting the usurper. "In their childish pastimes it was stabbed with pins, shot at with a pop-gun, and well belabored with
• Until 1805, when Austerlitz was fought, he was emperor of Germany as Francis II.
tended to calm down her fears of any very terrible fate awaiting her. On the 9th of March the civil marriage took place. The bride's modest dowry, 500,000f. (£20,000), was then delivered to the Prince of Wagram in gold ducats enclosed in an elegant casket. On the 11th the religious ceremony was performed, the archduke Charles representing the bridegroom. A grand banquet followed, at which much of the formal etiquette of the Austrian court was relaxed in order to confer on the Prince of Wagram, ambassador extraordinary, the especial honor of dining at the imperial table.
On the 14th the bride took a tearful leave of her family. Her departure was announced by salvoes of artillery, ringing of bells, and Austrian military bands playing French airs. More unusual stillfor probably it was for the first time, and doubtless the last-the tricolor was seen floating from the windows side by side with the Austrian banner. The streets were thronged with spectators who gave the young bride their hearty benediction. But in spite of these outward signs of joy and cordiality the people murmured at the sacrifice exacted, as they supposed, of their emperor, and deplored the fate of the youthful archduchess, given up, as they said, to a monster who would overwhelm her with misery - her humiliation being necessarily reflected on the empire. Maria Louisa's journey to France was really a triumphal progress. The queen
of Naples, Caroline Bonaparte, attended | léon was also placed at her disposal when by a splendid retinue, welcomed her at the she had occasion to be in Paris. In thus frontier. At every town she stopped at, striving to console her, while silencing a page of the imperial household was in the reproaches of his own conscience for waiting with a letter and a bouquet from the wrong he had done her, he did but the bridegroom, while daily, by his order, embitter their final parting. a courier was despatched to the emperor A grand ceremonial had been arranged Francis with news of his daughter's health for the meeting of the imperial bride and and safe progress on her journey. Maria- bridegroom. Two leagues on her road to Louisa's replies to his letters seem to have Soissons an elegant tent was erected. greatly pleased Napoleon; though more There Napoleon was to await her arrival, or less they are said to have been sug- and the queen of Naples was to conduct gested or dictated by her Majesty of Na- her into the presence of her lord and masples. But it must be confessed that his ter. A large and magnificently embroiassiduously gallant attentions merited, dered cushion was placed in the centre of and would naturally inspire, a gracious the tent. The bride was to kneel upon it acknowledgment. That her first impres- on entering, and was, of course, to be imsions of his personal appearance might be more favorable to him, he yielded to the persuasions of King Joachim Murat so fond of feathers and finery that he would allow himself to be dressed by his tailors. For Napoleon would not be inconvenienced by a close-fitting dress, and this gave him at times a slovenly appearance, which as he became corpulent was more than ever disadvantageous to him. After being a few days in the hands of the king of Naples's artistes, he vowed he could bear it no longer; but that the question of his toilette should be left to Maria Louisa's decision. Madame Junot says, "She declared she was quite content that he should please himself in such matters, as she liked him just as well in one dress as another." This probably was the truth.
While the new empress was leisurely continuing her journey, Napoleon found time to bestow some attentions on her predecessor. He wrote to her in affectionate terms, visited her at Malmaison, where, in accordance with her tastes, he had ordered extensive alterations to be made in the château and grounds. He prevailed on her and Hortense to dine with him at Le Trianon, and in forming her new household placed it on the same liberal footing as before the divorce. It was no less numerous and splendid than Maria Louisa's, for, he said, "her title of empress was ineffaceable, being consecrated by receiving the crown from the hands of the pope." The Château de Navarre, a fine old mansion in the department of the Eure, built by Mansard, and standing in a park laid out and planted by Le Nôtre, was purchased for her. Her debts were paid, and her annual income fixed at 3,000,000f. (£120,000). Large as it was, it was not, as he well knew, too large for Josephine. The Elysée Napo
mediately raised and embraced by the bridegroom. The introduction ended, the happy pair were to enter the grand new nuptial carriage, and, accompanied by the Bonaparte princesses, and followed by pages, great officers of the household, and a detachment of cavalry, to proceed to Soissons, and thence to Compiègne. The weather, however, promised unfavorably for a state pageant. Napoleon, therefore, without countermanding the directions given for the next day, when informed that the bridal cortége was on the road to Soissons, privately ordered a plain_carriage, and with King Joachim left Compiègne incognito. At a short distance from Soissons the cortége was seen approaching. The private carriage drew up to the side of the road to allow it to pass - Napoleon intending to turn and slowly follow to Soissons. In the dusk of a rainy March evening he might have escaped recognition. But leaning forward, eager to get a glimpse of the bride as she passed, both he and Murat forgot their incognito, and immediately the escort saluted to the cry of "Vive l'empereur!" Great was the surprise and confusion of the bride, as Napoleon, hat in hand, approached her carriage, and entered it at the invitation of the queen of Naples. The rain was then descending in torrents, and couriers were ordered to ride on before with all haste to announce the speedy arrival of the imperial cortége. An attempt was made by the people to get their windows lighted up, and in spite of the weather, and want of time, to prepare a triumphal arch. Young girls ran off to the palace with flowers. The municipal authorities slipped on their robes and hastened to their places in the gallery. The people flocked into the courtyard and crowded around the entrances, unmindful of the drenching downpour. The Austrian am