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• The nearest group of officers seemed to mistrust their eyes, and drew slowly nearer as though they would test the reality of this strange appearance; when they no longer could preserve any doubt about its being really the Emperor, they assumed military attitudes and took off their kepis.
“The mob who were there became attentive and stood still, greeting the Emperor, who also took off his kepi and bowed his head on all sides.
Formerly, when he stepped out at this place from the splendid saloon of the Imperial carriage, crashes of trumpets and cries of exultation had greeted him. To-day he was received with a severe, cold silence, and the looks of all these officers were directed darkly and in part hostilely upon him. The crown of laurels had fallen from the head of the Emperor, the sword had fallen from his hand.
Single soldiers now had their attention excited by the movement among the group of officers, and for a moment they looked silently at the Emperor; then there was heard a scornful laugh and a voice cries, “Badinguet! There's Badinguet-Badinguet! père et fils." The
ead far and wide among the soldiery, who, excited by the cry, came nearer; louder and louder grew the scornful laugh, and more frequent the cries which repeated the nickname of the Emperor.
Shrill whistles pierced the air; groans, hisses, threatening voices were heard on all sides. The excited soldiery pressed nearer and nearer; they were only a few paces distant from the Emperor, and men cried on all sides almost into his ears, “Badinguet! à bas Badinguet!"
'The Emperor became pale as death; he raised himself up from his bent posture; his eyes sent forth flashes against these undisciplined soldiery, who wore his uniform and had sworn fidelity to his eagles. He moved a step back, while he laid his arm on the shoulder of the Prince, who trembling pressed against him as though seeking assistance.
'A grey-headed officer in a colonel's uniform stepped out of the nearest group, and placed himself before the Emperor.
6“ Back !" he cried with a firm voice to the soldiers. “Forget not your duty to discipline and to the honour of the army." '
The arrival of Marshal MacMahon at the head of a guard of cuirassiers put an end to this disgraceful scene, and the Emperor was escorted to the pavilion of honour of the camp. On the next day was held the fatal council of war, presided over by the Marshal, consisting of General Castelnau, General Reille, the Prince de la Moskowa, and General Vauberg de Genlis, at which the Emperor and Prince Napoleon also were present. At this council it was resolved, according to the author, that Marshal MacMahon should bring the army of Chalons back to Paris, subject, however, to the approval of the council of the Regent, the Empress. An interview, however, with General Trochu, who had just arrived from Paris and was acquainted with the views of the ministry-shook the concurrence of the Emperor in this resolution, which he had indeed consented to with great unwillingness. Trochu too, accord
ing to these pages, was the true originator of the idea of the fatal march to Sedan-an assertion which we entirely disbelieve. But Herr Meding asserts that, inflated with conceit of his own capacity for the organisation of the defence and for uniting in harmonious and patriotic action the discordant factions of the capital, he managed to bring the Emperor over to his views and obtain the appointment of Governor of Paris. A despatch from Paris from the Comte Palikao settled the question. The • march back to Paris could not be approved of either from • strategical or political reasons.' While the Marshal and the Emperor were discussing the despatch Prince Napoleon joined them.
*Violently the door was opened, and Prince Napoleon with glaring look, and his visage red with excitement, burst into the room.
“Now,” he cried, hastening close up to the Emperor, “is the answer come from Paris ? What say the great strategists of the Regency ? "
They condemn the retreat to Paris as critical," answered the Emperor calmly, “and desire that the army should march northwards."
• The Prince lifted his clenched fist upwards, and shook it in the air, while he directed his look to the ceiling.
““ Then is France," he cried with a voice trembling with scorn, “ France and our dynasty given over to the destinies! Thus is alí our careful and prudent counsel thrown away.
And what will you do ?” he asked. Will you
sacrifice your fate, and the fate of all of us—the fate of the country and of the army-to these foolish dreamers in Paris, who move round and round in their narrow circle ?”
+“My dear cousin,” said the Emperor, with an expression of amiable and mild reproof, “ those to whom I have given over the government of France and its responsibility, and who at this moment are in the best position for reviewing the necessities of the whole situation, appear to me at least to have as much right as yourself to hold their judgment as the proper one. If we go against their opinion, and things take a bad turn, there will be a cry of accusation and condemnation raised against us through the whole land.”—“There was no need of asking questions, or of discussion; action was the thing wanted, and we should have acted—acted like our enemies, who press forward continually, while we lose our time in tiresome considerings and questionings and replyings. Well," said the Prince, while he suppressed one of those attacks of nervous quivering to which he was subject, “ if you will insist on taking the way which has been recognised as prejudicial, I will not be at least witness of the miserable and shameful catastrophe which will end all. I leave the army! I leave France, and give over to you and to the Marshal the responsibility for all which may happen."
6"I will bear the responsibility,” replied the Marshal coldly; "and if your Imperial Highness will quit the army, you will at least follow the traditions of your military past; since I remember that at another eventful time, which truly was not so serious or dangerous, and which
ended gloriously for our arms, the army was also deprived of your presence."
• The Prince started, his eyes flashed with scornful emotion. He stepped towards the Marshal. His lips opened, but only hissing sounds of breath came from them. He appeared to seek for the word that he would hurl forth.
· The Marshal stood still and immovable. The iron repose of his features did not change for a second, only his clear blue eyes looked at the Prince coldly and haughtily, as he trembled in passionate excitement.'
The Emperor put an end to this scene, and advised his cousin to leave the army since he had no faith in the operations about to be undertaken, and bespoke his good offices in Italy with the King Victor Emmanuel-and the two cousins parted never, we believe, to meet again.
Marshal MacMahon then began that disastrous march, which conducted the army to the north-east frontier of France, left the way open to the enemy to Paris, and gave over the capital, with the Empress and the Government, to the protection of General Trochu and his army, composed of the young mobiles and raw inexperienced troops, fresh from the plough and the workshops.
The Emperor during the last days in Chalons had remained sunk for the most part in deep silence. Scarcely a word passed his lips; he remained almost the whole day in his room bent over the maps and endeavouring to get a notion of the position and movements of the enemy by patching together the informations which reached him from scattered bodies of soldiers and from private fugitives.
Certain at last was the intelligence which arrived that Bazaine was beaten, that the line of his retreat cut off, and that he was thrown back on Metz. Nevertheless, since every despatch from Paris urged the necessity of the liberation of Bazaine, of a junction with Bazaine, and since the Emperor refused either to withdraw from the Regency its full powers or to take upon himself the command, Marshal MacMahon, in obedience to orders, began his march northwards. As he went he received almost every hour despatches from Paris in which the Minister of War assured him that his plan was succeeding excellently well. Nevertheless on the 31st of August, the Marshal was aware that hostile hosts were closing him in on every side, and he telegraphed to the Minister that he was compelled to make a stand at Sedan--and this was the last communication which passed between Marshal MacMahon and the Government in Paris.
The Marshal, the Emperor, and the army were thus enveveloped in a ring of foes, and the next intelligence of them which reached the capital was, that the Emperor and his whole army had been taken prisoners of war. The young
Prince at the commencement of the march had been despatched with his tutor to Mezières, with directions to pass over to Belgium in case of necessity. The parting between the Emperor and his son was of a most touching character. After it was over, melancholy indeed was his aspect as he stepped into his carriage; in the corner he sat crouching and smoking his cigarette, with a dull passionless look as he passed by the marching troops--few of whom raised the old cry of • Vive l'Empereur’--and thus in sorrowful wise he reached Sedan.
The description of the eventful day which succeeded the Emperor's arrival at Sedan provides matter of which Herr Meding has not unsuccessfully availed himself.
' After an unquiet night, more wearied than refreshed by a halfsleep full of unquiet dreams, which had scarcely let him forget for a moment the anxiety and painfulness of his situation, the Emperor Napoleon arose from his couch on which he had laid himself down half-dressed. Soon after six in the morning General Reille came into his room with the announcement that the French corps d'armée at Bazeilles was engaged
* For nearly an hour the Emperor found himself in the hands of Doctor Conneau and of his surgeon. He appeared to have some sense of alleviation of his sorrows. His looks became a little animated, his sunken features became somewhat fresher and more cheerful; he allowed himself to have his clothes put on, and he prepared his tea carefully on the small silver apparatus, while his servant handed him the blue undress coat of a general's uniform.
'The Emperor, with a certain laborious difficulty, drew on his .uniform, with the great silver star of the Legion of Honour and the medal for the Italian campaign on his breast.
6- The sword of the Swedish Order of the Sword,” he gave orders to his servant, while he lit a small cigarette at the taper which was burning on the table, and blew forth the light clouds with as much pleasure and enjoyment as though he found himself in his cabinet at the Tuileries. It seemed as though this Oriental source of enjoyment restored to his spirit that fatalistic repose of the people of the East, which during his whole life had formed a prominent trait of his character, and had never deserted him in the most difficult and most decisive moments of his career. His attendant entered again with the sword emblem of the Swedish Order, and attached it to the uniform of the Emperor under the star of the Legion of Honour.
• The Emperor looked contemplatingly down on his breast. ceived this military decoration of the warlike nation of Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII. for the battle of Solferino, which brought me to my height of power and influence. How short is the time since then, and yet what an abyss lies between this time and that,” said he, sighing deeply. “May the sword which followed then upon fortune and victory conduct me back to-day to fortune and victory." He let himself sink down slowly and painfully in his arm-chair, and drank a cup of the tea he had just prepared, whose fragrant aroma filled the room.
"The general adjutants, the Prince de la Moskowa, Reille and Vaubert entered his room.
"“Has any news come from the Marshal ?" asked the Emperor.
"“ The battle has commenced at Bazeilles," answered General Reille, “where a Bavarian corps advances against our positions, and the battle begins now to extend itself along the whole line. The Marshal is full of hope, and our troops behave excellently."
The Emperor determined to visit the field of battle.
““I will go out,” he said; "the place of the Emperor on a decisive day like the present is in the middle of his troops. Let us try," he added, with a faint smile, “ whether the star of my house still hovers over my head, and whether its glowing beam will bring victory to my eagles. Let the horses be brought to the door."
Napoleon buckled on his sword, put on his red gold-laced cap, and with a sorrowful sigh threw a look back on the room in which the painful hours of his long night had been passed; then he laid his arm in that of the Prince de la Moskowa, and stepped slowly down stairs, swaying as he went from side to side. The square in front of the mairie was empty. Before the door of the house the Generals Castelnau and Vaubert were waiting, and also the other officers of the staff of the Emperor. Napoleon saluted them lightly with his hand, then stepped to his horse, and carefully examined the saddle, which was provided with a special contrivance in order to lessen its pressure, and to make his being on horseback for a long time together more endurable. Then he set his foot in the stirrup and lifted himself up on his steed with a certain effort, but yet still with a lightness of motion which recalled his early days, and he rode at a walk followed by the officers of his suite, and by a division of the cent gardes, through the streets of the town, in which only a few groups of individuals were to be seen in anxious conversation, while terrified faces appeared at the windows, listening with disturbed aspect to the thunder of the cannon and to the roar of the battle, which were continually increasing,
* The Emperor, looking down to the ground, over the head of his horse, rode out of the town through the Porte Balan.
• A view of the battle-field opened itself out over the plain behind the Meuse. The thunders of the cannon sounded nearer and nearer. The positions of the troops were still distant, and the Emperor of warlike France, who bore the name of the victor of Austerlitz and Marengo, whose flags had waved triumphantly above the walls of Sebastopol, and whose arms had broken the might of Austria in Italy, rode almost in solitude along the road, and only at times a train of flying country people, who were endeavouring to take refuge in the