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of death. She fainted, and when restored, her agony was dreadful. The next day they handed her the accusation, or indictment against herself—she was too much stupified to read it. She was then called out, with other French prisoners, and she rushed forward without knowing whether it was to her trial or execution. She was pushed, with the crowd, into the long corridors of the prison, where they awaited their approaching fate with bitter wailings. In the midst of the general lamentation, the Dutchess of K- suddenly cried out, as if by inspiration, " We should fear nothing—the future Queen of France is with us—the prediction that she will one day mount the throne can never be accomplished in this horrid place. I infer from it that we shall all escape!” Will it be believed, says Josephine, that at such a moment, the greater part of those who heard these words became so confident as to arrange themselves in a crowd about the weeping widow ? She was far from believing that in a few years she would have occasion to recollect, in favour of the companions of her captivity, the obliging promises she then delighted to make them! At ten at night, they received a note informing them that Robespierre and his accomplices were arrested, and they themselves would be saved; and in a few days they were set at liberty.
Josephine einbraced her children once more. Eugene had been adopted, during her incarceration, by an engraver, who taught him the trade, but at the same time, he indulged his natural bias and studied the military art. The fortune of Beauharnais having become the prey of the spoiler, his widow found herself compelled to submit to personal labour. Her surviving friends were all in the same condition, but they advised her to apply to Tallien for his assistance in procuring a repeal of the sequestration of her property. She did so, and he was struck with her appeal, which she herself says was really eloquentit procured her much honour in his estimation. But he advised her to have patience, for time alone could effect what she desired. Tallien became to her, as she says, a second Providence. He succeeded in procuring for her a small part of her claims, and her family having, by this time, sent her assistance, she was enabled to provide for her immediate necessities, and to educate her children. This deputy, she says, was among the small number of those who “do good by stealth and blush to find it fame.” His wife too was, in Josephine's eyes, perfectly allorable. She was a beneficent angel, incessantly employed in relieving the distressed. Barras also powerfully seconded them in their active benevolence. He had been one of the King's judges, but, she says, he had from fear consented to his
VOL. VI.-N0. 12.
condemnation, and when it was too late he repented of his crime. When the National Guard rose against the Convention, he commanded the troops of the division of Paris; but feeling his courage oozing out, he engaged Bonaparte, who had been introduced to him by Salicetti, the Corsican deputy, to take his place. This was the period at which this elève and rival of the celebrated Paoli, first saw himself in the road to glory and fortune. He wished, says Josephine, to fix public attention on himself, and to inspire confidence; and he was soon distinguished by his boldness and intelligence. Barras, alone, expressed his gratitude to Bonaparte, for the services he had rendered the Directory on the day of the Sections, when he overthrew the National Guard ; but the other Directors disliked him. “ Little leather breeches, (said one of them) would be quite capable of playing the part of a second Cromwell, if he could-he must be taken care of and watched.” “I'll take care to manage him,” replied Barras. “ Bonaparte will never deviate from my instructions. He is the man to be employed, and
do not consent to it, he will raise himself in spite of you!" Eugene had been placed by Josephine under the especial care of General Hoche, the pacificator, as he was called, of La Vendee ; and he was thus initiated in the art of war. Hoche was an uncommonly handsome man, and Josephine (as love was necessary to her existence, according to Miss Le Normand) became very much attached to him. She assures us there was no truth in the report that they were engaged, for she knew at the time, his heart was in the possession of Madame de PontBellan-whose life he had saved at La Vendee, and who afterwards married his aid. But she adds with a good deal of naiveté, “I presume, if his affections had been disengaged, I could easily have achieved the conquest. But I satisfied myself with being his friend and confidant, and, perhaps, I have had, on several occasions, the happiness to advise him to do some of those generous actions of which bis military career presents such numerous examples.” Hoche died prematurely, it is supposed, by poison. He was, (says our Sybil) struck with a prediction which Bonaparte uttered of him at Tallien's table, and he often repeated it. “He was right, I shall never pass my thirtieth year. I am a victim-as such I die—and I am not ignorant from whence the blow comes.” Some hours before he breathed his last, he wrote a letter to Josephine, (then Madame Bonaparte) and imparted to her an extraordinary secret, begging her by no means to omit making use of it, when circumstances called for it. What this was, we have not yet discovered.
The introduction of Josephine to Bonaparte, being one of the most important events in her life, we shall take the liberty to translate from her own words :
“I now approach the epoch in which I saw a change in my destiny. My heart, since the death of my husband, had dwelt on the recollection of the cruel events that had decimated France, and plunged so many families in mourning and oblivion. Sometimes, indeed, the remembrance of my past felicity appeared at the moments in which I recollected that M. de Beauharnais had wished to re-unite himself with me, and seemed to give me, in the bosom of misery, the sign of a happier future. I shunned all eclat; my situation was supportable. Happy in my liberty, I was repugnant to contract new engagements ; but at length fate overruled my designs. I saw, in fact, a more favourable change, whose aspect coincided with my destiny. Besides, I had sworn by the manes of my husband, never to bestow my hand on one unworthy of him, or of the rank I had filled in the world. I turned a deaf ear to proposals which tended to a connexion with a republican minister. Nevertheless, it was written in the heavens that I should be united to a mortal, who should one day chain Europe to liis car of victory, and that, following the example of Esther, I should prostrate myself at the knees of another Ahasuerus, to aid him in defending himself against the perfidious counses of those who would have wished him to exterminate whole races of such as remained faithful to their legitimate kings.
“One day, on a visit at Madame de Chat- Ren-, seated near a window, I was looking at some violets that my friend took great care of. Suddenly, the famous Bonaparte was announced. The name, without my being able to account for it, made me tremble; a violent shivering seized me on his approach: yet I was bold enough to look steadfastly on the man who had obtained so easy a victory over the Parisians. Every one gazed on him in silence. I was the first to speak. “It appears to me, citizen General,' said I, ' that it is deeply to be regretted that you have thrown the capital into consternation. If you could have reflected an instant on the frightful office you had undertaken, you would have trembled at the consequences.' . It is very possible,' answered he ; but what would you have, Madame ? Soldiers are automatons, which the government moves at will; all they know, is how to obey—the Sections of Paris are very lucky, I have managed them : most of my cannon were charged only with powder; I only wished to give the Parisians a little lesson. Besides, it is my seal which I have placed on France!' The calm tone and imperturbable sang-froid with which he mentioned the massacre of so many of the wretched inhabitants of the city, excited my indignation. He added, 'these light skirmishes are but the vespers of my glory!' “Ah!' said I to bim, 'if it is at such a price that you must acquire it, I would infinitely rather that you should be reckoned among the number of its victims!' Pichegru was present at this conversation. The subject soon changed, but his pensive and absent air sufficiently shewed that he did not approve of the direful hopes of this ambitious youth. Every one then expressed himself freely, and entered, without constraint, on the topics of the day.
• Apropos,' said a deputy, ‘have you heard the news of the salons of the faubourg Saint-Germain ? They have nominated a general of division to the command of the army of the Rhine and Moselle; a superior officer, J—, is to supply the place of S-; it is also presumed that a new army will be ordered towards Italy.' Bonaparte exhibited some surprise. He was not yet informed that he would be called by the Directory to fill this important post. It is a vast field to be cultivated,' cried this son of victory spontaneously; 'happy is he who shall undertake it.' Then, suddenly checking himself, as if he had committed some imprudence, he added, with a very polite tone, ‘Ladies, I do not believe that I shall long remain in France; I am tempted to undertake a pilgrimage to our Lady of Loretto.' He was, undoubtedly, unaware that he was announcing a remarkable prophecy. They joked him on his prospects, and the time slipped away in the most rapid and agreeable manner. At the moment he left us, he said again, 'I am a stranger to the crimes of the French revolution; I beg you to regard me only as the soldier of the thirteenth Vendemaire. I have invented, and I have executed the most skilful and complicated manæuvres; but in this case,
was obliged to have recourse to a trick. Here was no war of tactics, but a war of extermination : victims were necessary, and all I could do, was to diminish their number. Besides, great men who distinguish themselves in revolutions, ought never to abandon the work till it is perfectly consolidated; for there are always ambitious men, ready to overturn secretly, the moral edifice of good men. I have adopted as a maxim from my infancy, that he who fears being deceived, can never be too much on his guard : it is often when he is most so, that he suffers himself to be discovered.'” Vol. i. p. 276.
Immediately after the famous 13th Vendemaire, or day of the Sections, the Convention ordered the inhabitants of Paris to be disarmed-this was done, and the sword of Beauharnais was among the other arms delivered up. Josephine, wishing to recover it, dispatched her son to reclaim it, and Bonaparte restored it to him. The nature of the demand, and the graces of the youth, affected the rough soldier. The boy wept when he pressed against his lips and his heart that sword which was the most valuable inheritance he had derived from bis father. “I am interested in your fate, young man,” said Bonaparte, "you are the son of one of our best generals.” Eugene surprised, seemed to doubt the truth of what he heard. Bonaparte resumed," he who has entered on the path which must soon conduct him to the most astonishing fame of modern times, wishes to sustain a feeble reed prostrated by the tempest.” “General,” replied Eugene, "you seem to have great power-pray put a stop to the horrors of the famine, and mamma will offer up her vows for you.” This naiveté made Bonaparte smile, and he expressed towards the boy the greatest kindness. Josephine thought herself obliged to call on the general and thank him; and he very
shortly after returned the visit. The day after, Barras, in whose society and that of his colleagues in the Directory, Josephine was frequently to be found, pleading, as she says, the cause of the wretched emigrants, said to her rather abruptly, “I am going, Madame, to propose to you an advantageous offer. For a long time you have only thought of the affairs of others—it is time you should be occupied with your own. I wish to bring about your marriage with little Bonaparte, who I have caused to be nominated general-in-chief: I deliver to his care the conquest of Italy.” She was much surprised, and felt not at all disposed to assent to the proposition. “What do you think of it?" said she to the Director, “your project is inconceivable!" “Condescend to reflect on it," said Barras, “I give bim a new country to conquer. Bonaparte ought easily, and in a short time to make his fortune there-be has the Italian character and is consequently ambitious—he burns to gain a great military reputation-by marrying you he gains a name in the world and you a protector. No doubt of it, Madame, this young Corsican will go far, especially if he has the happiness of associating himself with a companion as good and as amiable as you are. I know that this man has all the qualities, public and private, which can render him worthy of the widow of M. de Beauharnais : he has not a single fault which can authorise a reasonable objection-disposition, manners, talents, character, reputation, he possesses all that the heart of a woman can desire." “All that the heart of a woman ought to fear!” replied she. “ Fear? and why?” exclaimed Barras. “In fact," says she, “the Director made me see a thousand objects replete with brilliant hopes, but the warrior who was to accomplish them had not the art to intoxicate me with their delusion! I found in him a tone of assurance and exaggerated pretensions which did him great injury in my mind. The more I studied his character, the plainer I perceived certain odd caprices that I could not comprehend: in fine, he inspired me with such an aversion that I ceased visiting at Madame Chat- Ren—'s, where he passed his evenings. We met several times at Tallien's, and the more I withdrew from his presence the more he persisted in throwing bimself in my way." She naturally began to think seriously of such a persevering little fellow, and she consulted her friend Madame Chat- Ren-, who awakened her ambition for herself and children, and assured her that Bonaparte's career would be glorious and would contribute to her happiness—that then, if she did not love him, the sentiment of gratitude would fill ber heart, &c. &c. to all which (as we are sure she had made up her mind to take him before she had asked advice,) Josephine