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[147] her husband, after such a seclusion, Bonaparte asked her, ‘Eh bien, ma belle Princesse d'eckmuhl, pour combien avez-vous vendu votre foin, cette annee?’

We fell accidentally into a discussion almost political, and as nothing touches the French and the Bonapartists like the loss of the battle of Waterloo, she began to give me reasons for it. I could have given her better, if it would have been polite; but one she gave was curious, as an authentic anecdote. To prove that the Emperor was ill that day, she said he did not rise until seven o'clock, and never spoke while he dressed. When his secretary gave him his sword, he drew it with a sigh, and then, thrusting it back into the scabbard, said with an air of weariness he had never shown before, ‘Encore une bataille!’ sprang upon his horse and hurried to the field, as if more impatient to finish the day than anxious how it should be finished. This singular conversation came at last to the most delicate of all topics,— the conduct of the Prince himself at Hamburg; and, as I had made up my mind upon the subject in Germany, I suppose she perceived my impression in spite of me, for she said that, as she should like to have me know the truth, she would send me the Marshal's defence. Just at this moment the Marshal met us in the avenue, with his rifle on his back, his collar unbuttoned, and his whole dress careless and dirty. He is a tall, stout man, with black hair and eyes, and very bald. There is little appearance of talent in his physiognomy, but there is something imposing in his air and manner, though perhaps it is nothing more than the remains of the command he exercised so long. With this there was politeness and even an air of mildness, that surprised me not a little in the man who commanded at Hamburg in 1813. In conversation he seemed moderate, talked freely on all subjects but politics; . . . . but, on leaving him, I remembered very little he had said, except that, in alluding to the troubles in South America, he said almost impatiently, ‘Je ne crois plus aux revolutions!’ A few days afterwards, the Marechale returned the visit of the ladies, and brought the defence of her husband presented to the king. It is plain and simple, and showed that his orders from the Emperor were such as would have justified any general oppressions and cruelty, though I think hardly such special instances of inhumanity as I have heard of.


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