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of the manners of the day, is the ball known by the name of le Bal des Victimes. No one was in a position to give parties or balls, still it was necessary that amusements should be recalled, and so they hit on the strange notion of getting up subscription balls, at which only those persons could be present who had lost relations on the scaffold, so that in order to make merry and enjoy the privilege of dancing, they had to produce the death certificate of father, mother, sister, or brother. We cannot understand now how the mind and heart could have fallen into such a state of aberration, and I do not know whether this spectacle, regarded from a moral point of view, is not more fearful than the measures themselves the latter were terrible, the result of unbridled passions, of the intoxication and fury of the populace; but in the other case they are persons belonging to the upper classes, people of gentle manners, who sport with the reminiscences of crime.
The winter passed pleasantly enough at Paris, what with soirées at the Luxembourg and dinners at Madame Tallien's Chaumière, the name she had given to a thatched house she lived in at the corner of the Allée des Veuves. Still they were anxious for war again, and were soon satisfied. General Scherer was continually sending dismal accounts of the state of the army in Italy, and Bonaparte was employed by the Directory to refute his arguments. At length Scherer declared that the person who found fault had better come and carry on the campaign. Bonaparte took him at his word, and, after marrying Josephine, with whom he had fallen madly in love, although our author cannot give the reason why, for she was passée, and five years the elder, Bonaparte started for Italy. Among those who accompanied him was Murat:
There was an officer of the 21st regiment of Chasseurs, stationed at Vincennes, to whom Junot and myself were much attached. It was Murat. Promoted provisionally to the rank of chef de brigade in the affair of Vendémiaire, his appointment had not been confirmed; and though wearing the distinctive mark of his step, he only performed the duties of major in his regiment. Junot had also been appointed major in the same way; so both wore distinctions to which they had no right. Murat heard of Bonaparte's departure for Italy, and expressed a desire to join us. I do not know whether men were better in those days than now, but this desire did not offend us, and we paved the way for him with our general. Murat presented himself to Bonaparte with that confidence peculiar to the Gascon alone, and said to him, "Mon général, you have no aide-de-camp colonel. You require one, and I offer myself to accompany you in that rank." Murat's appearance pleased Bonaparte: we spoke well of him, and he accepted his offer.
At the time of Bonaparte joining the army of Italy it was composed of four divisions, commanded by Generals Masséna, Augereau, Serrurier, and La Harpe, all of whom our author contrives to damn with faint praise, that he may add to the glorification of his own bright particular star. We must confess that this is the first time we have ever found anybody speak out so plainly on the subject of the French marshals. Our impression has hitherto been that the reason why Napoleon was so successful in his campaigns was, that he infused his generals with that de- · gree of confidence he felt himself, and had a species of prescience when he came across any man likely to be of use to him. To believe the Duc de Raguse, the great difficulty Napoleon had to contend with was repairing the faults committed by his subordinates; we only trust Marmont was never guilty of any mistake himself. To justify these remarks, we cannot do better than quote Marmont's account of Masséna:
Masséna was thirty-eight years of age; he had been a soldier in the Royal Italian regiment, and after serving fourteen years, without reaching the rank of non-commissioned adjutant, he left the army, and married at Antibes. The formation of the volunteer battalions aroused his warlike instincts. He was first adjutant-major in the third battalion of the Var, and, having distinguished himself in the army of Italy, he obtained rapid promotion, was made general of brigade in 1793, and general of division in 1794. He fought with glory before Toulon, in the right attack, and had played an important part through the whole campaign. His iron body encased a soul of fire, his glance was piercing, his activity extreme; no one was ever braver than he. He paid little attention to the maintenance of order among his troops, or providing for their wants; but, as soon as the battle had commenced, they became excellent, and through the advantages derived from his corps in action he quickly retrieved the faults he might have committed previously. His education was limited, but he had a good deal of natural sense, and a profound knowledge of the human heart, with an extreme degree of impassibility in danger, and was very trustworthy. He possessed all the qualities of a good companion, and he very rarely spoke ill of others. He loved money extremely; he was very greedy and avaricious, and obtained this reputation long before he became rich, because his avidity prevented him awaiting important and favourable circumstances, and thus he compromised his name in a multitude of petty matters, by raising small contributions. He loved women ardently, and his jealousy resembled that of the Italians of the fourteenth century. He enjoyed a great reputation among the troops, and it had been justly gained; he was on good terms with General Bonaparte, to whose capacity he rendered justice; but was far from believing him his equal as a soldier. The appointment of the latter must have been very painful to him, but he made no display of it openly, although he considered his obedience as very meritorious. Masséna has enjoyed a career well employed, in a manner natural, honourable, and glorious, and made himself a great name. He did not possess the necessary elements to make a commander-in-chief of the first class, but there never was a man superior to him in executing, on the largest scale, any operations of which he received the impulse. His mind could not embrace the future, and he could not foresee and prepare; but no one moved his troops with more talent, boldness, and courage on a terrain whose dimensions he could overlook. Such was Masséna.
To follow Napoleon through the brilliant campaign in Italy would be only waste of space-every British child knows or should know it by heart; but we come across suggestive passages now and then which give this book its peculiar value: thus, for instance, on the day when the French entered Milan, and just as Bonaparte was retiring to bed, he spoke much as follows to Marmont :*
"Well, Marmont, what do you think they will say about us in Paris? Will they be satisfied?" On my reply that their admiration for him and our success must be at its height, he added, "They have seen nothing as yet, and the future reserves for us successes far superior to those we have already gained. Fortune has not smiled to-day on me that I should spurn her favours: she is a woman, and the more she does for me the more I shall demand. In a few days we shall be on the Adige, and the whole of Italy will be subjugated. Perhaps then, if they only proportion the means at my command to the extent of my plans, we shall probably soon start to go further. During our time, no one has had a mag
*This expression is very Livian. Of course it is impossible for our author to attempt to remember the ipsissima verba of Bonaparte, and we like his modesty as a further recommendation of his veracity. It must have been a strong temptation for a Frenchman in such a case, jurare in verba magistri.
nificent conception; it is for me to give the example." Can we not see in these words the germ of future development?
While the French were occupying Milan, an insurrection broke out near Pavia, which menaced serious consequences. Bonaparte set out immediately with 2000 men and six guns to quell it. The first attack sufficed, and the town of Pavia was given up to plunder. The house of the town clerk being threatened, the unfortunate man thought to save his life by throwing his money out of window. Bonaparte, seeing his danger, ordered Marmont to go and take the money in his possession. At that period soldiers entertained great scruples of delicacy, so our author says, and in his fear of being accused of turning the adventure to his own profit, he counted the money he took in the presence of several officers, and handed it over, untouched, to the military chest. A short time afterwards, Bonaparte mildly reproached him for not appropriating the money, which he had ordered him take for his own use. A few pages on, our readers will find a similar instance, which makes us only wish that all Bonaparte's marshals had been so scrupulous as Marmont.
While staying for the night at Valleggio, in the Venetian territory, Napoleon had a very narrow escape from being captured-that is to say, if there had been any enemy to take him. There was a sudden but false alerte, and the general-in-chief bolted out on foot, found a dragoon running away, took his horse, and set off full speed for the rear. From this time he always had a strong escort with him; he formed the corps of Guides, who accompanied him everywhere, and were the nucleus of the regiment of Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard. Fortunately, this anecdote was not known at Paris, or it would have furnished a glorious theme for General Matthieu Dumas, who was waging a paper war against Napoleon for his inactivity; in the midst of the burly and brattle, Marmont was called upon to write a refutation which, as he modestly says, had some success in its day, and General Bonaparte was very satisfied with it. It is a pleasant feature to find, too, in a general's character, that Napoleon was incessantly thinking of his wife. He had begged her to join him, and her repeated delays painfully tormented him with a combined feeling of jealousy and superstition. Thus, one morning at Tartona, the glass of her picture, which he always wore, accidentally broke; he turned frightfully pale, and the impression which it made upon him was painful in the extreme. "Marmont," he remarked, "my wife is very ill, or unfaithful." At last she arrived, however, accompanied by Junot and Murat. Marmont was sent to meet her, and witnessed the attentions paid her at Turin by the court. The Sardinian monarch has always been wise in his generation. About this time, too, the Directory had the insane idea of sending Kellerman to share the command with Bonaparte, but the latter soon put a stop to it by offering his resignation. Soon after Marmont performed an exploit, which can only be justifiable on the argument that all is fair in war:
General Bonaparte wro from Modena to the commandant (of Urbino) to come and speak to him, and this worthy man, although informed that we were at war with his sovereign, accepted without hesitation; he even left without giving any instructions to his officers. General Bonaparte ordered me to set out at the head of all the troops, with a weak detachment of fifteen dragoons; another and stronger detachment followed a short distance in the rear. I was instructed to go quietly along, as if mine was a detachment looking out for
quarters; and if I saw the gate of the fort open, I was to rush in and cut down the guard. I should then be reinforced by the troops in my rear. Arriving at the spot where the road runs under the covered way, I found the officers of the garrison assembled outside the palisades, anxious for the fate of their commandant. They asked me for some information about him; I answered that he was a hundred yards behind me, and they could go and meet him. This answer led them a little further away. A few minutes after, having seen the gate was open, I went up at full gallop, not giving the guard time to put down the bar. In a moment the whole regiment of dragoons had entered the fort. The soldiers took refuge in their barracks, only to leave them as prisoners. There were more than eighty pieces of cannon, all loaded, mounted on the ramparts. The fort thus fell into our hands; the artillery was immediately carried to the army before Mantua, and served in the siege of that place.
Marmont speaks always in the highest terms of praise about Napoleon's magnanimity, and quotes many instances; among others, one in which he remonstrated very strongly against his being passed over on the flags being sent to Paris after the battle of the Mincio, when he fully anticipated the trip and his consequent step. The only revenge which Bonaparte took was to send him cruising for a week on the Lago di Garda to cool his hot blood, and amply repaid him by sending him to Paris after the battle of St. George, with two-and-twenty flags captured from the enemy, and the announcement of 15,000 prisoners being ready to send home. Granted that Napoleon was magnanimous to those who, to use a vulgar phrase, had the length of his foot, these instances do not compensate for the littlenesses of which he was at times guilty-such as the murder of the bookseller Palm. However, we must not forget the greatness of the man, and can only regret that he partook the nature of mankind, in being fallible, like the rest of us poor mortals.
Another point on which Marmont throws a curious light is the celebrated adventure of the bridge of Arcola, which has been the subject of painters, poets, and romancists. The following appear, from our author, to be the real facts. The country in the vicinity of the Adige was intersected by dykes, along one of which Augereau's division marched it was thrown into confusion by the enemy's fire, and Augereau, to re-form the ranks, took a flag and marched several paces along the dyke, but was not followed:
Such is the history of the flag, about which so much has been written, and with which it is supposed he crossed the bridge of Arcola, while repulsing the enemy; it is only reduced to a simple demonstration, without any result; and that is the way history is written! General Bonaparte, informed of this check, proceeded to this division with his staff, and tried to renew the attack by placing himself at the head of the column to encourage it. He seized a flag, and, on this occasion, the column rushed after him: on arriving at about two hundred paces from the bridge, we should probably have cleared it, in spite of the murderous fire of the enemy, had not an infantry officer seized the general-in-chief round the waist, saying: "Mon général, you will be killed, and in that case we shall be all lost; you shall not go further-this is not your place!" I was in advance of General Bonaparte; I turned to see if I was followed, when I perceived General Bonaparte in the arms of this officer, and fancied he was wounded; in a moment, a group surrounded him. When the head of a column is so near the enemy, and does not move on, it soon falls back; thus it retrograded, went over the other side of the dyke to protect itself from the enemy's fire, and broke in disorder. This disorder was so great, that General Bonaparte was hurled over the dyke, and fell into a ditch full of water. Louis Bonaparte
and myself drew the General from this dangerous position; he procured a horse from an aide-de-camp of General Dammartin, and returned to Ronco to change his clothes. Such is the history of the other flag, which the engravings have represented as carried by Bonaparte on the bridge of Arcola. This was the only occasion during the campaign in Italy that I saw the general-in-chief exposed to real and great personal danger.
After the close of the campaign and the signature of the negotiation, Bonaparte had time to think of his family affairs; the most important point being the marriage of his sister Pauline. He offered her to Marmont, but he had the good fortune to decline the dangerous lure. She was, however, at that period, enough to tempt an anchorite. Only sixteen years of age, she gave promise of what she would be. But Mar
mont was deaf to the voice of the charmer, and, as he naïvely writes, "Now, after the dénouement of the great drama, it is probable that I have more reason to congratulate myself than repent at the result."
The character which Marmont gives of Napoleon at the period of his commanding the army of Italy is so striking, that we cannot refrain from quoting it:
From the moment when Bonaparte placed himself at the head of the army, he had in his person an authority which overawed everybody; although he wanted a certain natural dignity, and was rather awkward in his carriage and movements, there was something masterly in his attitude, his glance, his way of speaking, which everybody felt and was disposed to obey. In public, he neglected nothing to keep up this feeling and augment it; but at home, with his staff, he displayed great ease, and a degree of bonhomie verging on gentle familiarity. He loved to jest, and yet his bons mots had no bitter twang with them; they were sparkling, and in good taste; he frequently took part in our sports, and his example more than once seduced the grave Austrian plenipotentiaries to join us. His labours were easy to him, his hours were not regulated, and he was always accessible in his periods of relaxation. But when he had retired to his cabinet no one was allowed to enter, except the interests of the service demanded it. When he was engaged with the movement of his troops, and giving orders to Berthier, the chief of his staff, or when he received important despatches, which might demand careful examination and discussions, he only kept near him those who were to take part in them, and sent away every one else, whatever his rank might be. It has been said that he slept little, but this is perfectly incorrect; on the contrary, he slept a great deal, and he required it, as is the case with all persons at all nervous, and whose mind is active. I have frequently known him spend from ten to eleven hours in his bed. But if watchfulness was necessary, he knew how to bear it and indemnify himself afterwards, or even take beforehand the repose wanted to endure fore-expected fatigue; and finally, he had the precious faculty of being able to sleep at will. Once disembarrassed from duties and business, he liked to indulge in conversation, certain to excel in it; no one has ever displayed a greater charm, or so easily shown such richness and abundance of ideas. He preferred choosing his subjects among moral and political topics rather than the sciences, in which his knowledge, whatever may have been said to the contrary, was very defective. He loved violent exercise, was fond of riding, and, though a bad rider, went at full speed; lastly, at this happy period, so long past, he possessed an unmistakable charm. Such was Bonaparte in the memorable Italian campaign.
This description of Marmont's possible brother-in-law reads very differently from what writers of the day have indulged us with, or caricaturists have painted in the most exaggerated colours. The character of Napoleon is becoming gradually brighter as it is handed over more and more