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Read more Stanislas Freron remained eight years at the college of the Montagne Sainte-Genevieve, but did not shine at the prize-givings which closed 1 Raoul Arnaud, Journaliste, sans-culotte, et thermidonen, le Fils de Freron , based on unpublished documents, Paris, , p. To begin with, things went without too many hitches, thanks more particularly to young Stanislas' assistants.
In a notice of Jaloux sans Amour produced at the Comedie-Frangaise, a decidedly mediocre actor in the cast, Denis Deschanet, known as Des Essarts, 3 was roundly slated. The writer of the article, Freron's assistant Salaiin, called Des Essarts the " fat ventriloquist. He died at Bagneres-de-Bigorre, Oct. Georges Monval, archivist of the Theatre Franfais, Liste alphabetique des societaires depuis Moliere jusqu'd nos jours ; Paris, , p. Things went badly for him.
The Annee litter air e was suspended and, soon after, a royal writ cancelled Freron's rights in it, transmitting them to his stepmother, 1 who straightway became his enemy. Outcries and rages, applications and supplications, all were in vain. Stanislas remained dispossessed of what his father bequeathed him, and was forced to seek some other means of livelihood.
It was not till later that he took his revenge, which was not devoid of cleverness. Colla- borating as he did for a while with Camille Desmoulins in the Revolutions de France et de Brabant, Freron made use of his position to pillory his enemy, and belaboured with epigrams the " fat ventriloquist," whose complaint had had such unwelcome success. Catalogue de la collection de lettres autographes, manuscrits, du Comte de Mirabeau, documents historiques sur la Ligue, la Fronde, la Revolution, etc.
Lucas de Montigny, conseiller de prefecture du departement de la Seine ; Paris, , No. These latter ought therefore to be on their guard against things which might give rise to astonishment, repugnance, or fright. Chance has just brought under my notice a curious birth. A woman who wishes her name to be withheld, while allowing me to quote her case in view of the lesson it will teach, has just been delivered, after a troublesome confinement, of a species of shapeless lump, enormous in size, but pos- sessed of hardly any resemblance to humanity except in having a mouth ; the mouth is tre- mendous.
For a long time she racked her brains in vain to recall anything that could have ex- erted so much influence over her in such a way as to produce such an effect. Des Essarts emerging from underneath the table. It is unfortunately beyond doubt that this comedian, whose phy- sique is so lamentably unlike that of any other human being, has struck terror, or aver- sion, into the hearts of other persons likewise who saw him without being prepared for such a sight, and who had no idea that the French stage could compete with the fairs by having so monstrous a figure to bring forward.
Let us therefore suggest to the company that when, in future, M. Des Essarts is to appear, the public should be forewarned thereof on the posters in very large letters. In the interval Freron experienced the miseries of a penurious existence. He seems to have en- deavoured to free himself from this by associ- ating with those who had good positions at the 1 Revolutions de France et de Brabant, No.
To keep up appearances there he probably had recourse to money-lenders, of the kind who " accommo- date " gentlemen's sons. This is doubtless the explanation of his confession in a little revolu- tionary pamphlet, " I have long since with- drawn out of the range of my creditors' in- quisitiveness. Gourdan's private very private house, among others, where frolicsome ways were the usual thing.
Gourdan, known as the " little Countess," was housed on the site where now is No.
Alexandre Dumas (père)
Eugene Def ranee, Vieilles facades parisiennes ; la maison de Madame Gourdan, unpublished documents concerning the history of manners and customs at the end of the eighteenth century ; Paris, , p. Here, at any rate, we find him, descending into the lowest depths of debauchery and the most disreputable shifts, which will explain his friend Barras' expression of disgust later on, " The acquaintances we pick up in revolutionary times are not such as we should choose.
From the mire into which he dived he escaped in , though not for long. He regained his footing so far as the Annee litter air e was con- 1 Memoires de Barras, I. But this was only an interval. When the Revolution broke out, Stanislas Freron has fallen back again into the hell of low-class journalism and doubtful jobs, on the watch for a last chance.
When the Bastille fell he was there. And then, in the avalanche of pam- phlets which descends on Paris, comes his contribution, shrieking louder than the average, bitter to the point of frenzy, furious in its rage L'Orateur du Peuple. What a style, what language, what impudent audacity, and what sinister threats for ! The throne was as good as over- thrown when those who occupied it were being subjected to taunts brimming over with mur- derous rage, to insults obscene enough for the lowest of low resorts. He goes on to declaim that this " queen- criminal combines Messalina's lasciviousness with the Medicis' thirst for blood.
They had met again at the dawn of the Revolution, and kept to- gether in their participation in all the doings of the mob during With Danton and Marat they founded the Cordeliers' Club, and, still together, were to be found again in Danton's room that tragic evening of August Be- coming thus intimate with Desmoulins, Stanislas did not remain insensible to the gay and child- like charm of his friend's wife, little Lucile, to whom he addressed sprightly, hasty notes, such as the following : 1 For the rest, Freron's policy in the Orateur du Peuple can be summed up in a single line two musket-shots to each village : one for the priest, the other for the squire.
Raoul Arnaud, Le Fils de Fr6ron, p. That was Freron's nick- name in the Desmoulins circle, at those gay reunions which took place in the little house they owned at Bourg-Egalite, formerly Bourg-la- Reine. There Freron and Lucile went for long rambles together in the park at night, without any umbrage being taken by Camille, who had entire, and well- justified, confidence in his wife's virtue. Doubtless it was during one of those lazy, misty summer evenings which form one of the charms of the Ile-de-France that the People's spokesman declared his love for the young wife.
Here are some lines which she writes apropos of these days spent thus at Bourg-la-Reine, lines which depict Stanislas as deeply smitten : " Only one thing caused me any heart-search- ing Freron. Every day I see things going farther and farther, and I don't know what to do. I spoke to mother about it ; she agreed with me that the best way was to make light of it, and treat it all as a joke, and perhaps that is the most sensible course.
What else is there to do? So I thought I was being very discreet when I received him as a friend and nothing but a friend, just as of old. Then follow some tranquil days in Lucile's sentimental existence, but directly 1 Pierre Bliard, Fraternite revolutionnaire, etudes et recits d'apres des documents inedits ; Paris, , p. Poor devil! What hopes are you cherishing?
Quench this insane love in your heart. No, no, my friend ; no, my dear Camille, have no fear ; that friend- ship, that love so pure, will never exist but for you, and those whom I meet will never be dear to me except in so far as they are friends to you. As Lucile's advice was not sufficiently explicit, he did not give up hoping and waiting. Camille 1 Pierre Bliard, Fraternite revolutionnaire, p.
On September 14, , Paris elected him a member of the National Convention. In the impeachment of the King he voted for death within twenty-four hours, and the day that Louis XVTs head fell, he went on a shoot- ing expedition in the woods of Bourg-FEgalite, as his note to Lucile proves. Little more than a month afterwards March 9 he was commis- sioned to go with Barras to the Hautes and Basses Alpes, and subsequently to the army in Italy. Wherever he passed, horror and dread dogged his footsteps, with the bloody axe rising and falling throughout these departments.
On the igth he appealed for the deportation of all its inhabi- tants. On Nivose 16 he made up the balance- sheet of repressive procedure in Toulon conse- quent on its having been captured by the English ; eight hundred shot ; putting the finishing touch to his report on his successes by exclaiming, on Pluviose 6: "The intriguers are falling like hail under the sword of the Law.
Isnard to Freron, op. Freron's letters in the Notice sur la vie de Freron, prefacing the reissue of the Memoire historique sur la reaction royale, pp. In Ventose, year II, they were summoned to Paris, and, on their arrival, lost no time in hastening to the Rue Saint-Honore to exculpate themselves in the sight of the In- corruptible. That striking page of Barras' Memoir es 2 which depicts the two men, humble and obsequious, before Robespierre, silent and eyeing them in his glacial way, is well known.
Both were well aware, when paying that call, that their hour was come, that the scaffold was 1 Philodeme, Le dernier coup de tocsin de Freron [Paris, Pluviose 12, year III], p. A few days after the publication of the Dernier coup de tocsin the conventionalist Chales wrote : " A pamphlet entitled Le dernier coup de tocsin de Freron is being attributed to me. I am not the author of it, but I am too loyal, too true a republican, not to declare at the same time that the principles set forth in that pamphlet, written as it is with a fiery pen and a soul brimming over with patriotism, are graven on my heart, and that I shall be their defender till I die.
Then they hide away somewhere in fear and trembling ; and in the session of the Germinal nth, in which the Con- vention delivers Danton and Camille Des- moulins over to the guillotine, Freron is there, and Freron keeps silence, and Freron votes against his old school-friend, against the hus- band of that Lucile who will be a widow to- morrow.
That is the sort of man Freron was. From Germinal to Thermidor four months ; four months in which will be planned the ambush in which Robespierre is to be trapped. Freron assists in that, too ; with Barras. The guillotiners of Marseilles, the fusilladers of Toulon, are going to give the Incorruptible a lesson in humanity. With Thermidor 9 comes the fight by the brawlers and howlers of the Convention. Two days more, and omnipotence is conferred on the triumvirate of vice-riddled knaves Barras, Freron, Tallien whom Bonaparte's heel will crush one morning in Brumaire, as a trio of noxious beasts.
The 1 Ganoi, A Sa Majeste Freronienne, Stanislas i fr du nom, tres humbles et tres respectueuses remontrances de vingt-quatre millions de sans-culottes et d'un million de soldats victorieux [Paris, ] ; de I'imprimerie de la rue Joquelet, p. For the first series, cf. But these are the last of his oratorical ex- hibitions at Paris. This time he bears the olive-branch of peace and reconciliation in his hand, a mani- festation which he owes to the departments which had been swept by the blood-and-fire of the royalist reaction, and one that he is willing to fulfil.
No longer is there any question of burning, fusillading, plundering " with delirious joy " ; x but of calming, appeasing, re-establish- ing harmony. Accompanied by a dozen in- dividuals, orderlies or secretaries, one of them being Martainville, the ferocious royalist of the Restoration, 2 Freron sets out, carrying with 1 Raoul Arnaud, Le Fils de Freron, p. How did she come to know him? Various versions of their first meeting exist. The most probable states that during his first mission, he had occasion to render some service to Mme.
Bonaparte, whom he met two or three times at Bausset, where she was taking refuge during the siege of Toulon, and that he renewed his acquaintance with the family on his return in the year IV. There is no fault to find with these statements, but General Bonaparte's re- commendation may be assumed to have carried more weight. For the fact was that Freron left Paris with the following letter from Napo- leon dated Vendemiaire 19 Oct. Clary, 2 his brother 1 This second mission of Freron's in the Midi cost, to be exact, 1,, livres.
Clary, nee Rose Sonnis, was the second wife of Fran9ois Clary. Born at Marseilles, Aug. Leonce de Brotonne, Les Bonaparte et leurs alliances ; Paris, , p. You will find him a man very ready to oblige, loyal, and a good sort ; I have told him of the friendly feelings I have for your family, so he will look out for opportunities to make himself useful to you. See that it is due to you that his stay in Mar- seilles is a pleasant one, and introduce him to Mad.
Dejean 1 [i. Lejeans] and Pluvinal. Lejeans was Franfois Clary's daughter by his first marriage. I quote from the original in G. La Caille's collection, published in the Amateur d'autographes, , pp. If more important occupations did not keep me at Paris, I should be very glad to come to Marseilles, but the Convention has nominated me to the command of the Army of the Interior, subject to the orders of representa- tive Barras. Farewell, Madame ; my respects to Mme.
Pluvinal and to Mme. Sophie, likewise to your niece, and remember me to Clari, assuring him, and the rest of your family, that I shall ever take the same interest in them as I must certainly feel in you. If so, was he not likely to have received a welcome? Besides, it was no longer a home over which anguish and misery were casting their shadows that he entered, but a brilliant and gay interior, transformed into an elegant salon by virtue of the general's remit- tances from Paris.
And there, amid such sur- roundings, are three young girls to smile on their brother's envoy, a form of pleasure which Stanislas never shunned. At the period of his first mission the Jacobins took notice of his conduct in this respect. At the sitting of Brumaire i8th, year II Nov. Power has intoxicated him, he has abused it. Freron is no longer anything but an aristocrat and a fop. What she has to give him, at the moment and at the age when "he is experiencing a need to give himself up without reserve to a deep and lasting affection," 2 is all the graces of a new, fresh, youthful beauty.
From Mme. Gourdan's " private " house he has turned to the brothels of Palais-Egalite ; Lucile's gay and childlike grace has been denied him ; now he abandons himself to this fresh and dazzling mirror of precocious beauty. In his life of fever and fret, of violence and frenzy, here is the peaceful oasis, the blessed resting-place, the haven of love and beatitude, which remain for him to discover in a girl's heart.
He has passed his forty years, and the daily struggles tire him now. Not for his temperament are the contests on the grand scale in which, but a short while before, the austere virtue of Maximilien de Robespierre had been triumphant ; he remained 1 F. The golden apple of the gay Hesperides is there before him, and is he likely to hold his hand? Out upon these useless self-denials! And Freron takes his bite at the beautiful fruit. The fruit, too, is quite willing to be bitten.
Pauline is just on her sixteenth birthday, the age of all enthusiasms, all curiosities, all illu- sions. She comes from a land where the awaken- ing of love is sudden, and, besides, she lives in such a state of over-excitation, in so feverish an atmosphere, that the most level-headed would find it difficult to remain self-possessed. When misery was but just left behind, in the riotous enjoyment of brand-new prosperity, luxury even, Freron made his appearance wear- ing the halo of omnipotence.
Of his massacres, of the terror he had struck into departments what consciousness of this has she? What, except that he has power committed to him? Regally omnipotent, his antechambers are full, his reception-rooms are ablaze with light as no ballroom she has ever seen before ; a hundred women press round him, striving to attract his notice, lavish with their smiles, at his beck and call, perhaps, or who knows?
And then, to prevent her being deceived by these barren appearances, by these fleeting mirages, is Pauline's mother enlightening her? Whether in ignorance or of choice, she acquiesces. There is no doubt she thinks marriage possible. Freron is not so negligible a suitor as to be dismissed unceremoniously.
What matches, in fact, have her children made? He is basking in the sunshine of Fortune's favours. Was he not Bonaparte's benefactor once, under the walls of Toulon? In fact, he goes further still and roundly states that the two lovers live as husband and wife. Her correspondence with Freron shows that she even remains without seeing him for days together sometimes.
She whiles away these wearisome intervals with the help of locks of hair which Stanislas sends her. It is a romance a la Florian in which naive and puerile little presents are exchanged. Revue Retrospective, ou bibliothSque his- torique contenant des memoires et documents authentiques, inedits et originaux, pour servir a I'histoire proprement dite, a la bio- graphie, a I'histoire de la litter ature et des arts; Paris, , III.
Pauline has fallen into a brook in the course of a picnic : " The river- water which I swallowed has not chilled my heart so far as you are concerned ; no doubt it was nectar if that would increase its warmth. He formally intimates to Mme. Retrospective, III. There is some need, too, for him to hasten. Several times by now the Directoire announced his recall ; he has been violently attacked in Paris ; l he will have to leave Marseilles.
Leaving Paris on Ventose 21, after his mar- riage with Josephine, to take up his command with the Italy army at Nice, Bonaparte stopped at Marseilles a few days, lodging at the Hotel Beauvais. Far from opposing the match, the commander-in-chief approves of it. Your mother is standing in the way of my haste just a little. I still hope that the wedding may take place at Marseilles within four or five days ; in fact, all arrangements have been made to do this ; quite apart from the possession of that hand which I burn to join with mine, it is probable that the Directoire are going to appoint me to some distant field of action immediately, which will necessitate my prompt departure.
If I am obliged to return here I shall be losing precious time, and the Government, which, very naturally, pays but little attention to the affairs of the heart, will find fault with an absence which will delay the consummation of the work en- trusted to me. I implore you to write to your mother directly to waive all objections ; tell her to give me a free hand in deciding what date to fix for the happy moment. I have the full consent, I have the promise, of my young 1 Josephine remained behind at Paris. She did not rejoin her husband till more than four months and a half had elapsed.vingmarmentpicont.gq/map38.php
Pauline Ducruet | Revolvy
She reached Milan in the middle of Messidor, year IV. For this journey and her departure, cf. My dear Bonaparte, help me to overcome this new obstacle ; I rely on you. What has hap- pened? Has Bonaparte changed his mind? Or is it a maternal veto this time? No one knows exactly, but we may conjecture that events have introduced a discordant note by means of intervention of Freron 's mistress. Who was this woman?
Where did she come from? A mystery. It has been stated that Freron had married her, a manifest error, in view of Freron's own official statement. Freron gave his age as 39 years and 3 months ; birth-place, Paris ; bachelor : cf. Jules Guiffrey, Les Con- ventionnels ; listes par departements et par ordre alphabetique des deputes et des suppleants a la Convention nationale, dressees d'apres les documents originaux des archives nationales avec nombreux details biographiques inedits ; Paris, , p.
As the latest biographer of the People's Spokesman very sensibly puts it: "Nothing is known concerning this liaison except that it existed ; the name of the woman who lived with Freron is unknown to us ; unknown, too, the influence which she may have been able to exert over him. Was she a lady of high degree whom he visited secretly and whom he protected in the evil day, or a woman who had lost her reputation, stirring him up to take vengeance on the world from which she had been expelled?
Was she some simple middle-class girl content to love Stanislas for his own sake" without asking to share his public life, or a woman of the people in revolt against her former masters, some virago like Marat's mistress, 2 a girl picked up by Freron 1 Gilbert Stenger, La Societe franfaise pendant le Consulat Bonaparte, sa famille, le monde et les salons ; Paris, , III. Chevremont's Jean - Paul Marat, esprit politique, accompagne de sa vie scientifique, politique, et privee ; Paris, , II.
The most painstaking researches among the archives, careful reading of con- temporary journals and of private correspond- ence, have revealed nothing. It is a gap of some importance in our knowledge of Freron's career.
And yet does not history depend for its charm on a little mysteriousness, and, were it possible to know all, to learn everything with- out effort, would it not become as arid and as unpoetic as the sciences in which reasoning reigns supreme? She herself in- formed either Mme. Bonaparte or the General. Stanislas certainly undertook to arrange matters, since in Pauline's letters a reference to this mistress occurs in connexion with the measures that Freron proposes to take with regard to her.
Is the fickle lover being terrorized with menaces of vengeance and public exposure? I know the uprightness of your heart, and approve of the arrangements you are making with regard to her. The whole family leagued them- selves together against the marriage, even Josephine, who had never seen Pauline and did not know Freron. The General even wrote to Joseph that he is unwilling to hear anything further about this match.
Does he not, in fact, issue orders to Pauline accordingly? But is this to be his final decision? Suppose Pauline writes to him? She suggests the idea to Freron, but Freron rejects it why? You have given your consent to my union with Freron. After the promises you have made me to over- come all obstacles, my heart gave itself up to those cherished hopes and I thought of him as the man in whom my fate met its fulfilment. I send you his last letter ; you will see that all calumnies with which he is charged are not true.
You, my dear Napoleon, for whom I have ever had the tenderest of friendly feelings, if you were witness of the tears which your letter caused me to shed, you would be touched ; I am sure of it. It is on you that my happiness depends, yet you force me to renounce the only person whom I can love. I know my duty too well to set it aside ; but I know that I do not know how to change as circumstances bid me. What deductions are to be made from it? Pauline will not marry Freron, but she will remain faithful to him. What does that mean?
She will obey, and she will dis- obey Bonaparte at one and the same time? But quibbles are not in his line, nor is this kind of dialectic one that he cares for. Well then, is the above the letter of a woman hopelessly in love? She bows to the decision? She consents to the banishment of her sweetest dreams? She is in love, and does not rise swiftly up to cry : Who but I shall decide between my love and me? Yes, but she is sixteen, she is aware that Napoleon is the dispenser of the family's prosperity, the head of the clan, recognized, accepted ; from him comes all : comfort and security to-day ; and to-morrow, who knows?
That is settled, then. Freron must give way. A final point remains to be examined. What reasons did Bonaparte give for breaking off the match? Barras does not hesitate to attribute the rupture to the intervention of Freron's mistress. Not that he blames this intervention, but only the fact of Napoleon's taking notice of it. The evidence is irre- sistible ; Bonaparte's motive was disinterested. Behind his refusal there was, perhaps, a loftier reason Freron's ambiguous celebrity. Could he, in cold blood, receive into the family circle, and bind up with his own future, the man who personified all the atrocities, the guilt, the horror which was associated with the Terror?
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Was it not in consideration of Freron's immorality that he preferred the immorality which makes Barras so indignant? But whatever his reasons may have been, who would not commend them? A disreputable, vicious, abandoned man who depended on cynicism for his effective- ness and on low intrigue for his influence? At this time he was the General's aide-de-camp, and, as for Pauline, " he loved her passionately, deliriously. The General answered very wisely that Junot senior was not yet dead and that the net profit at present was nil, con- cluding, " You have nothing, she has nothing ; what is the total?
It is curious that Junot sub- sequently became a member of a family which the General had, at one time, thoughts of marry- ing into the Permons. Bonaparte had, in fact, proposed to Mme. Permon that he should marry her ; her son, Pauline ; and her daughter, either Louis or Jerome. Permon had a hearty laugh at his expense. Permon remained a widow, and the proposed bride of Louis or Jerome became the Duchesse d'Abrantes. But did Bonaparte entertain the idea of making Marmont do instead, as the latter boldly asserts in his Memoirs?
His memoirs would have been more valuable. It is certain that there was no lack of suitors, several of them possible ones. It is as well, however, to begin by striking General Duphot's name off the list, 1 the one who was assassinated at Rome, Nivose 8, year VI. He was betrothed, not to Pauline, but to her sister-in-law Desiree Clary, who became the wife of Marshal Ber- nadotte.
Bonaparte's beauty was a great temptation to him, but her deficiencies in the more solid qualities, and the general behaviour of the Bonaparte family, in which education was more honoured in the breach than in the observance, attracted him 1 The confusion was made by Rabbe, Vieilh de Boisjolin, and Sainte-Preuve, in the Biographie Universelle et portative des contempovains ; Paris, , I.
So, too, with one Mr. Billon, soap-manufacturer, " a rich man who would have married her if her mother had agreed to the match. Here is a contradiction from Napoleon himself, in a letter addressed to Joseph : " A citizen named Billon, an acquain- tance of yours I am told, asks for Paulette's hand. This citizen is not wealthy. I have written to mother to abandon the idea. Besides, who better fitted than he to choose a husband for Pauline? A few months later all is settled. Towards the end of Floreal, Mme. Bonaparte, Elisa, and Pauline rejoined the General, now 1 Joseph Turquan, Souverains et grandes dames ; les sceurs de Napoleon ; les -princesses Elisa, Pauline, et Caroline, d'apres les temoignages des contemporains ; Paris, n.
Amidst the new-found luxury of this improvised court, its troop of showily-dressed officers, its crowd of suitors and guests, they could make the most of the astounding freak of fate which had thrust prosperity on them. Their reunion there offers Bonaparte an opportunity for settling trouble- some questions. Elisa's marriage with Bacciochi is an accomplished fact ; but what to do with Pauline is still a problem. The solution is that she shall marry one of the army's excellent soldiers, Leclerc, promoted to be brigadier- general by a decree of the Directoire, Floreal 7, year V.
This is to be his wedding present ; fourteen days later, in the chapel of the chateau of Montebello, dedicated to St. Francis in , by Cardinal Puteobonello, 1 Leclerc marries Pauline. The bridegroom was twenty-five years old at the time, having been born at Pontoise, 2 1 Paul Marmottan, Elisa Bonaparte ; Paris, , pp. Connected with the salt warehouse at Pontoise, Jean Paul Leclerc had been a King's Councillor ; 2 and brought up six children respectably, whose good fortune is assured, thanks to Pauline's husband, and who are worthy of their name.
Emmanuel Leclerc enlisted in , and his profession was thenceforward that of a soldier. With the help of the entries against his name at the Ministry of War we can trace his career, step by step, though by no means so intimately as could Mr. Lewis Goldsmith, who is grieved to have to state that, during the Revolution, Leclerc picked up an income from the courtesans of the Palais- Egalite.
Physically Leclerc may have pleased Pauline. Appiani's fine portrait of him depicts a narrow bust, a high forehead, a delicate lip, well-shaped nose, eyes somewhat lifeless, but the general impression bears some resemblance to Bona- parte's, only fairer, more youthful, less serious. Educated as she had been at Mme. Campan's, she had acquired refined manners and the conventions of good society, which were lacking in her husband ; but she did not know how to make herself beloved, for she had little geniality. Concerning Leclerc's brothers and sisters, cf. Leonce de Brotonne, Les Bonapartes et leurs alliances, p.
He was a fluent speaker. Baron Mounier is particularly well in- formed on this point, according to his own account. General Bonaparte hears a noise, gets up and sees. The marriage was celebrated without losing a moment. How are we to believe that Bonaparte let himself be befooled and insulted in this way? How are we to admit that Leclerc would have dared to act thus under his chief's nose? We should be attributing a degree of complaisance to the latter which is certainly out of keeping with probability.
Furthermore, those who retail these little anecdotes have omitted to make this one harmonize with what we know of Leclerc's character. No doubt he was a very highly-strung man, 2 but to endow him with " a rough and brutal personality " is going a good deal farther. A final touch is given by a Prussian, 3 though his version really contains nothing but what Peltier, that immaculate royalist, affirmed, which makes out Leclerc to be jealous to a stagy degree.
Laquiante, Un hiver a Paris sous le Consulat , d'apres les lettres de J. Reichardt ; Paris, , p. Chief of the General Staff. In fact, after their return from Italy, Paulette and Leclerc received a visit from the acade- mician Arnault, author of Marius d Minturnes, 1 at their charming house in the rue de la Ville- TEveque, 2 and of his visit Arnault has left this jointly to enter into a marriage-agreement in conformity with the laws of the French Republic, and have signed with us. We, Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Italy, certify that the above declaration has been affixed, in conformity with the law, to the door of the General Staff office for the period decreed by the law, and that up to this day, Prairial 20, there has been no protest against it.
Hippo- lyte Lucas, Histoire philosophique et litteraire du Thedtre- Francais depuis son origine jusqu'a nos jours ; Paris, , p. Napoleon admired the play so much that he bequeathed the writer , francs in his will. Garnier, IV. Marchant, Le conducteur de I'etranger d Paris, contenant la description des palais, monumens, edifices, musees et bibliotheques de cette capitals ; Vindication de ses academies, societes savantes, PAULINE MARRIED 65 significant account : "I found Leclerc," he says, " at home and intoxicated with happi- ness ; amorous and ambitious, and both with reason.
His wife seemed to me very happy too, not only because she was married to him, but also just because she was married. Her new position had not increased her seriousness, as was the case with her husband ; he seemed more serious than usual. But as for her, she was just as much of a madcap as ever. This absence Paulette made some use of, completing her education, so far as she could, both socially and academically.
Certain details which were neg- lected, or even unknown, in Corsica, were of importance at Paris. To acquire this elemen- ecoles, etablissements de bienfaisance ; de ses curiosites, spectacles et amusements, precede d'un precis sur I'histoire de Paris el d'une instruction aux etrangers sur la maniere d'y suivre leurs affaires et d'y vivre convenablemenl a leur fortune ; suivi de la description des environs de Paris, avec I' indication des fetes cham- petres, et termine par la liste des rues, places, quais, etc.
Arnault, Souvenirs d'un Sexagenaire, new edition, with preface and notes by Auguste Dietrich ; Paris, n. Campan at Saint-Germain, then a fashionable one. Little Caroline was staying there at the time ; Desiree, Bernadotte's wife, was trying to learn spelling there ; Hortense de Beauharnais was winning golden opinions, and not much else. A whole bevy of princesses, duchesses, and marshals' wives, of the Empire, were enjoying themselves there amidst the rustle of skirts and the limpid echoes of youthful laughter.
Pauline seems to have been industrious. She has made astonishing progress in all respects, and she did not know how to read or write. Campan's zeal in defence of the excel- lence of her teaching. But what about the love-letters to Freron in the year IV? The pupil, however, interrupted her studies in order to lie in, giving birth to the child who was named Louis Napoleon Dermide, 1 Inventaire des autographes et des documents historiques composant la collection de M.
Benjamin Fillon ; Paris, , piece No. The reconquest of Hayti, where the revolt of the negroes had been successful, had been decided on, and Leclerc was put in com- mand. According to Bourrienne, the First Consul's advice to Leclerc, on giving him instructions, were, " Here you have a fine chance to get rich. Go, and don't worry me any more with your everlasting demands for money. Pauline felt no pleasure at hearing the news ; " Oh! I shall die before I get there!
In it we see, for the first time, the First Consul rebuking his sister for questionable behaviour, and, likewise for the first time, there is a reference to Pauline's lovers. Its date is July 17, , so that the agent is retailing ancient history : " When he [i. Bonaparte] sent General Leclerc to Hayti, Mme. Leclerc, his sister, had no desire to accompany her husband.
Baron A. Leclerc alleged that her health was unequal to it. Bonaparte obtained a certification from his doctor that she was in a condition to make the journey. She objected that, she being pregnant, 1 and the roads of Lower Brittany so bad, an accident might occur. On Bru- maire 30, on the ship the Ocean, the Staff put out to sea from Brest. The fate of Hayti was going to be decided. It is within narrower limits that our researches must be confined ; at a nearer horizon must our investigations come to a halt. What pre- faced the contest for the reconquest of this blissful, fertile island which, in , was yield- ing France a milliard a year, 2 is well known ; the manoeuvres of the English to compass the wresting of the colony from the Republic; 3 1 For the Hayti expedition, cf.
Three months of fierce hand-to- hand fighting reduced the colony once more under French control. To the spell of war succeeded a spell of organization, 1 without delay. Was this a time when Leclerc was rack- ing his brains as to how to ruin the colony by means of exactions? It obtained a very curious, and very persistent, currency.
Almost all were of English make. Tillage began to make headway and the outlook seemed bright. All this was due to repression by armed force, and also to Leclerc's ingenuity. This report charges Leclerc with stealing sugar from the colonists to sell it for his own advantage. HER LOVERS the richest member of her family ; and the wealth she has inherited from the general, whom she followed very reluctantly, will, it is said, speedily console her. Leclerc at his death left his wife , francs in personalty, and , francs in real estate.
Including debts to him, the whole amounted to , francs. The peace which proved so difficult to obtain in did not last long. The second day after the arrest of Toussaint-Louverture, 3 who was 1 A. Laquiante, Un hiver d Paris sous le Consulat, p. Concerning Toussaint-Louverture's captivity and last years in France, see the curious and im- portant, and previously unpublished, documents printed by Jean Destrem, Les deportations du Consulat et de I' Empire, d'apres des documents inedits ; index biographique des deportes ; Paris, , pp.
So, too, did the yellow fever, as if in co-operation. The hospitals were filled with sufferers ; the roads were strewn with corpses. The negro hordes drove the decimated troops from their last trenches. The savage energy of the natives and the epidemic were, together, irresistible.
Pauline had to fly from the Cape, where she had taken up her quarters to begin with, and take refuge in the Tortuga islet. How cruel were the disillusions that awaited her! Her mind once reconciled to the idea of departure, she abandoned herself to dreams of a fairy kingdom, imagining herself already queen in a marvellous land, where shone a miraculous sun on landscapes that bordered on the impossible.
On her arrival she found actualities disappointing. The negroes were not of a Paul-and- Virginia type, but cruel, crafty and treacherous, whose idea of war included ambuscades and men-traps ; the climate torrid and prostrating ; towns reduced to cinders, the bush to ashes ; and uninhabited ground ablaze. It was a country in ruins. Where now were the charming dreams of which she had prattled when paying calls on Mme. Where now were the hours of divine enjoyment in the even swing of the hammock, fanned by the waving, rustling palms?
Where now were the miraculous white- and-gold palaces of her day-dreams, set in valleys amid springs and gigantic creepers, facing mountains all aglow under a tropical sun? Instead, there were hospitals to visit, long rows of truckle-beds, lines of dying fever-patients ; or lazar-houses to pace through, consoling the sufferers, while the consoler's teeth chattered at the thought of dying as they were dying. Yet from Paris Pauline will receive Napoleon's encouragement : that her loving relations feel her absence keenly, that her name is ever on their lips ; x what is that compared to the resonant phrases which promise her immortality and fame?
During the night of Brumaire , year XI, he is in the grasp of the last agonies. In this torrid climate there is no time to spend in eloquence and meditation. Four hours after the general's death, the doctors arrive to institute a post-mortem. Five of them draw up a report beside the eviscerated body, which lies on the table in the principal hall of the Palais national in the island of Tortuga. This mournful, but unavoidable, business has lasted from 6 a.
The body is taken out of the bath of aromatic herbs and spirits-of-wine in which it has been laid for maceration purposes and they proceed to the embalming : " The body has been enveloped in an infinite number of bindings of two fingers' breadth, strongly impregnated with balm ; each finger, each limb separately, right to the top of the head, where the bandaging ends in a little cap, underneath which is some of Mme.
The whole weighs nine hundred livres. And outside, the cannon of the island batteries were awakening the seaward echoes with their funeral volleys. Now, how did Pauline behave at Hayti? In no very edifying way, judging by general report. According to Barras, she subjected Leclerc to an " ostentatious parade of the spectacle of the dishonoured husband.
Yet this does not explain everything away. We shall see her in the same state from to , dragging herself from watering-place to watering-place, a listless hypochondriac, sloth- fully morbid ; yet the fact of her having numer- ous lovers then is not open to question ; we 1 Joseph Turquan, Souveraines et grandes dames ; les sceurs de Napoleon, p. Well, then, what was possible in France under the Empire was just as possible in Hayti during this ex- pedition, wasn't it? Doubtless it is improper for anyone to make definite statements in a case when all the evidence is equally open to sus- picion, but, on the other hand, what we do know of Pauline's erotic career does not allow us to dismiss as incredible the whole crowd of tales which were going the round of the foreign news- papers and royalist pamphlets concerning the colonial behaviour of the First Consul's sister.
The earliest of these reports, so far as we can trace them, occurs under the date of January 28, , m the records of Louis XVIII's secret police. There is nothing vague about their accusations and the names are spelt in full : ' While her husband was alive " [at Hayti], " she had given him General de Belle as A. C- On the death of the latter during the epidemic at Hayti she replaced him by Boyer, chief of the general staff, concerning whom the newspapers have some pretty things to say. Who is going to fill the places of Boyer and Leclerc?
Nobody knows. This is the only occasion on which his name is mentioned, and there is no possibility of verifying how much truth the tale contains. Fouche, whose in- formation as regards this period of Pauline's life harmonizes so curiously with the reports of Louis XVIII's agents, mentions no names here, writing no more than this : " Victimized by the fiery intensity of the tropical climate, she aban- doned herself to every variety of sensual en- joyment.
Nor need the accusation cause us any excessive degree of amazement when we reflect that away back in the previous century Frenchwomen had been made the object of a similar charge. A news-sheet of September n, , refers to a royal proclamation which commands the re-embarkation of negroes domiciled in France, as the favour they had found among the ladies there had become a serious menace to the 1 Memoires de Joseph Fouche, due d'Otrante, II. Would strict justice have required that this severe decision should take effect on the General's own wife, Pauline?
Naturally there comes a chorus of " Yes, yes, yes! According to him, Pauline had adventures " not only in Europe and at Hayti with all the white men in the army, but also with the negroes. Anisson du Perron ; Paris, , P- It is noteworthy, however, that a similar charge has been brought by him against Josephine, in reference to the days of her youth at Martinique. In the opinion of this " French knight " as he terms himself every woman who went to the colonies was, d priori, likely to be too free with the local natives.
The Englishman Goldsmith does not go so far, contenting himself with the assertion that Pauline reserved " a strong dose of love for Petion and Christ ophe. Christophe, his rival, was a negro, born on the " plantation " of Limonade. He took an active part in the disturbances in the island, which brought him to the throne.
His consecration, with cocoa-nut oil, took place in , in the church of the Cape, whereby he became Henry I, King of San Domingo, at the hands of a Capuchin, who yielded to the entreaties of the black archbishop. At his recep- tions the usher announced the Count Lemonade, Baron Jeremiah, the Duke of Marmalade, the Prince of " Salle-Trone," and other important personages of the same calibre.
Peltier, a Frenchman, a contributor to the journal called the Ambigu, having published several articles which were favourable to this prince, was re- warded by, among other tokens of gratitude, a good-sized cargo of colonial produce ; this writer is generally considered as his representa- tive in London.
To conclude, the only lover with whom Pauline is not credited, will never be credited again, was Freron. He was there, too, at Hayti, but sadly lacking in the celebrity he formerly enjoyed.
He missed re-election to the Five Hundred, and dragged out a pitiable existence, boycotted on all sides, cut by his former friends, condemned to the disgrace and the bitterness of complete neglect. Everything gave way underneath him, while, in the dis- tance, in an interval between two dashing vic- tories, " la diva Paolina " married someone else, someone whom Freron had once met before Toulon when Leclerc was A.
Thereupon he turned to the mistress of bygone, happier days. She awaited him, faithful to her fickle lover, still the servant of his desires. Her he married in some hole-and-corner fashion ; no one knew anything of it. And he was holding out his hand now, asking help from Joseph, begging alms of Lucien. But what was become of the loot from Toulon? Where were the results of brigandage at Marseilles? Floundering about in his Slough of Despond he was clutching at anything which promised subsistence.
When Lucien came to be Minister of the In- terior, he nominated Freron managing director of the Paris hospitals. He was in luck again ; and he made haste to embark. Frimaire 5, year X, he reached Brest, sum- moned thither by the head of the colonial ad- ministration department, to take his place on board the admiral's ship Ocean.
What feeling kept him on the quay when the anchor was being weighed? He let the ship go without him. Was it her pity he feared? This further bitter experience he did not face. But, by way of consolation, had he not with him, next his ravaged heart, the dainty packet of highly- strung, ardent love-letters, posted at Marseilles in the year IV?
Four months did he spend at Brest, months of bitter despair, impotent rage, and misery. In time, towards the end of Ven- tose, he took his place on board the Zel'e, which 1 M. Joseph Turquan is in error when he writes Souveraines et grandes dames ; les sceurs de Napoleon, p. What forlorn recollections must have been those of the exile during the long, vacant hours of that voyage!
When he landed at Hayti he had barely a month more to live. In Messidor he was attacked by the yellow fever. He was alone ; his wife had not been able to obtain a passage on a Government ship. On Messidor 26, at four in the afternoon, all was over. Leclerc, informed immediately, wrote to Admiral De Cres ; " Freron is dead.
He dies poor. I recommend his wife and chil- dren to you. He was a good sort and a pleasant fellow, and he went out of his way to assist me when power was his, when he was the representa- 1 Isnard to Freron, in the appendix to the re-issue of the Memoire historique sur la reaction royale et les massacres du Midi, pp. Catalogue d'autographes Noel Charavay, No.
It was in a corner of the cemetery of the Cape, amid the rustling mangroves, that the corpse of the plague-stricken man was thrown, denied the land of his birth for his eternal and unheeded rest. Three months and a half later, it was Leclerc's turn to leave the land of the living. But he, at any rate, came to France to sleep the sleep of the just. The second day after his death a mortuary chapel was installed in state on board the Swiftsure. Leclerc ; a bord du Duguay-Trouin ; 2 pp. Catalogue d'autographes Etienne Charavay, Jan. On the ship had been arranged a sombre, warrior's chapelle ardente, adorned with trophies and standards ; and therein, on a pedestal, stood the great leaden vase which contained the dead man's heart, enclosed in a golden urn, bearing the following votive inscription : Paulette Bonaparte, married to General Leclerc, Prairial 20, year V, has enclosed in this urn her love together with the heart of her husband, whose perils and whose glory she had shared.
Her son will not receive this mournful and trea- sured legacy from his father without receiving that of his virtues. HER LOVERS Tripoli and Crete, and kept to serve, under the name given it by the enemy, in the French fleet, as a lively and ever-present symbol of victory P 1 She arrived at Toulon, Pluviose 7, amid salutes from the guns of the foreign vessels, and transferred the coffin to the Cornelie. Less than one month later the general's remains arrived at Paris, 3 whence, after the last honours had been paid, they were brought to Villers-Cotterets, and laid from Ventose in the church of the little town.
The tomb erected by Fontaine in the park of the chateau of Montgobert, which be- 1 A. The Swiftsure ended by taking part in the battle of Trafalgar, and, after being dismasted during the battle, was taken to Gibraltar by the English. She was then a vessel of seventy-four guns. Routes et voyages de Jacques-Louis Chieux, ser gent-major au 16' de ligne , edited by Commander Levi in the Memoires de la Societe Dunkerquoise, , pp.
Catalogue d'une precieuse collection de lettres autographes con- cernant Napoleon i er , sa famille, ses marechaux, ses generaux et ses ministres ; Paris, May, , No. A printer's error dates this letter, in the catalogue, " Pluvidse 7, year II. The news has just come of General Leclerc's death from disease at Hayti. Ventose 18 the shell of lead was placed beneath the marble monument ; the slab over the vault was sealed ; all was over.
Related Pauline de sa jeunesse (Litt.Generale) (French Edition)
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