Infomotions, Inc.The Second Funeral of Napoleon / Thackeray, William Makepeace, 1811-1863

Author: Thackeray, William Makepeace, 1811-1863
Title: The Second Funeral of Napoleon
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): joinville; belle poule; poule; coffin; napoleon; helena; frigate; dub; imperial; emperor; prince; funeral
Contributor(s): Elwes, R. H. M. (Robert Harvey Monro), 1853- [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 20,164 words (really short) Grade range: 12-15 (college) Readability score: 52 (average)
Identifier: etext2645
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Second Funeral of Napoleon, by 
William Makepeace Thackeray (AKA "Michael Angelo Titmarch")

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Title: The Second Funeral of Napoleon

Author: William Makepeace Thackeray (AKA "Michael Angelo Titmarch")

Release Date: May 21, 2006 [EBook #2645]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Donald Lainson


by William Makepeace Thackeray

AKA Michael Angelo Titmarch.

I. On the Disinterment of Napoleon at St. Helena

II. On the Voyage from St. Helena to Paris

III. On the Funeral Ceremony


MY DEAR ----,--It is no en the Voyage from St. Helena asy task in this
world to distinguish between what is great in it, and what is mean; and
many and many is the puzzle that I have had in reading History (or the
works of fiction which go by that name), to know whether I should laud
up to the skies, and endeavor, to the best of my small capabilities, to
imitate the remarkable character about whom I was reading, or whether
I should fling aside the book and the hero of it, as things altogether
base, unworthy, laughable, and get a novel, or a game of billiards, or
a pipe of tobacco, or the report of the last debate in the House, or any
other employment which would leave the mind in a state of easy vacuity,
rather than pester it with a vain set of dates relating to actions which
are in themselves not worth a fig, or with a parcel of names of people
whom it can do one no earthly good to remember.

It is more than probable, my love, that you are acquainted with what is
called Grecian and Roman history, chiefly from perusing, in very
early youth, the little sheepskin-bound volumes of the ingenious Dr.
Goldsmith, and have been indebted for your knowledge of the English
annals to a subsequent study of the more voluminous works of Hume and
Smollett. The first and the last-named authors, dear Miss Smith, have
written each an admirable history,--that of the Reverend Dr. Primrose,
Vicar of Wakefield, and that of Mr. Robert Bramble, of Bramble Hall--in
both of which works you will find true and instructive pictures of human
life, and which you may always think over with advantage. But let me
caution you against putting any considerable trust in the other works of
these authors, which were placed in your hands at school and afterwards,
and in which you were taught to believe. Modern historians, for the most
part, know very little, and, secondly, only tell a little of what they

As for those Greeks and Romans whom you have read of in "sheepskin,"
were you to know really what those monsters were, you would blush all
over as red as a hollyhock, and put down the history-book in a fury.
Many of our English worthies are no better. You are not in a situation
to know the real characters of any one of them. They appear before you
in their public capacities, but the individuals you know not. Suppose,
for instance, your mamma had purchased her tea in the Borough from a
grocer living there by the name of Greenacre: suppose you had been asked
out to dinner, and the gentleman of the house had said: "Ho! Francois!
a glass of champagne for Miss Smith;"--Courvoisier would have served you
just as any other footman would; you would never have known that there
was anything extraordinary in these individuals, but would have thought
of them only in their respective public characters of Grocer and
Footman. This, Madam, is History, in which a man always appears dealing
with the world in his apron, or his laced livery, but which has not the
power or the leisure, or, perhaps, is too high and mighty to condescend
to follow and study him in his privacy. Ah, my dear, when big and little
men come to be measured rightly, and great and small actions to be
weighed properly, and people to be stripped of their royal robes,
beggars' rags, generals' uniforms, seedy out-at-elbowed coats, and
the like--or the contrary say, when souls come to be stripped of their
wicked deceiving bodies, and turned out stark naked as they were before
they were born--what a strange startling sight shall we see, and what a
pretty figure shall some of us cut! Fancy how we shall see Pride, with
his Stultz clothes and padding pulled off, and dwindled down to a forked
radish! Fancy some Angelic Virtue, whose white raiment is suddenly
whisked over his head, showing us cloven feet and a tail! Fancy
Humility, eased of its sad load of cares and want and scorn, walking
up to the very highest place of all, and blushing as he takes it!
Fancy,--but we must not fancy such a scene at all, which would be an
outrage on public decency. Should we be any better than our neighbors?
No, certainly. And as we can't be virtuous, let us be decent. Figleaves
are a very decent, becoming wear, and have been now in fashion for four
thousand years. And so, my dear, history is written on fig-leaves. Would
you have anything further? O fie!

Yes, four thousand years ago that famous tree was planted. At their
very first lie, our first parents made for it, and there it is still the
great Humbug Plant, stretching its wide arms, and sheltering beneath its
leaves, as broad and green as ever, all the generations of men. Thus,
my dear, coquettes of your fascinating sex cover their persons with
figgery, fantastically arranged, and call their masquerading, modesty.
Cowards fig themselves out fiercely as "salvage men," and make us
believe that they are warriors. Fools look very solemnly out from the
dusk of the leaves, and we fancy in the gloom that they are sages. And
many a man sets a great wreath about his pate and struts abroad a
hero, whose claims we would all of us laugh at, could we but remove the
ornament and see his numskull bare.

And such--(excuse my sermonizing)--such is the constitution of mankind,
that men have, as it were, entered into a compact among themselves to
pursue the fig-leaf system a l'outrance, and to cry down all who
oppose it. Humbug they will have. Humbugs themselves, they will respect
humbugs. Their daily victuals of life must be seasoned with humbug.
Certain things are there in the world that they will not allow to be
called by their right names, and will insist upon our admiring, whether
we will or no. Woe be to the man who would enter too far into the
recesses of that magnificent temple where our Goddess is enshrined, peep
through the vast embroidered curtains indiscreetly, penetrate the secret
of secrets, and expose the Gammon of Gammons! And as you must not peer
too curiously within, so neither must you remain scornfully without.
Humbug-worshippers, let us come into our great temple regularly and
decently: take our seats, and settle our clothes decently; open our
books, and go through the service with decent gravity; listen, and be
decently affected by the expositions of the decent priest of the place;
and if by chance some straggling vagabond, loitering in the sunshine out
of doors, dares to laugh or to sing, and disturb the sanctified dulness
of the faithful;--quick! a couple of big beadles rush out and belabor
the wretch, and his yells make our devotions more comfortable.

Some magnificent religious ceremonies of this nature are at present
taking place in France; and thinking that you might perhaps while away
some long winter evening with an account of them, I have compiled the
following pages for your use. Newspapers have been filled, for some days
past, with details regarding the St. Helena expedition, many pamphlets
have been published, men go about crying little books and broadsheets
filled with real or sham particulars; and from these scarce and valuable
documents the following pages are chiefly compiled.

We must begin at the beginning; premising, in the first place, that
Monsieur Guizot, when French Ambassador at London, waited upon Lord
Palmerston with a request that the body of the Emperor Napoleon should
be given up to the French nation, in order that it might find a final
resting-place in French earth. To this demand the English Government
gave a ready assent; nor was there any particular explosion of sentiment
upon either side, only some pretty cordial expressions of mutual
good-will. Orders were sent out to St. Helena that the corpse should
be disinterred in due time, when the French expedition had arrived in
search of it, and that every respect and attention should be paid to
those who came to carry back to their country the body of the famous
dead warrior and sovereign.

This matter being arranged in very few words (as in England, upon most
points, is the laudable fashion), the French Chambers began to debate
about the place in which they should bury the body when they got it;
and numberless pamphlets and newspapers out of doors joined in the talk.
Some people there were who had fought and conquered and been beaten with
the great Napoleon, and loved him and his memory. Many more were there
who, because of his great genius and valor, felt excessively proud in
their own particular persons, and clamored for the return of their
hero. And if there were some few individuals in this great hot-headed,
gallant, boasting, sublime, absurd French nation, who had taken a cool
view of the dead Emperor's character; if, perhaps, such men as Louis
Philippe, and Monsieur A. Thiers, Minister and Deputy, and Monsieur
Francois Guizot, Deputy and Excellency, had, from interest or
conviction, opinions at all differing from those of the majority; why,
they knew what was what, and kept their opinions to themselves, coming
with a tolerably good grace and flinging a few handfuls of incense upon
the altar of the popular idol.

In the succeeding debates, then, various opinions were given with
regard to the place to be selected for the Emperor's sepulture. "Some
demanded," says an eloquent anonymous Captain in the Navy who has
written an "Itinerary from Toulon to St. Helena," "that the coffin
should be deposited under the bronze taken from the enemy by the French
army--under the Column of the Place Vendome. The idea was a fine one.
This is the most glorious monument that was ever raised in a conqueror's
honor. This column has been melted out of foreign cannon. These same
cannons have furrowed the bosoms of our braves with noble cicatrices;
and this metal--conquered by the soldier first, by the artist
afterwards--has allowed to be imprinted on its front its own defeat and
our glory. Napoleon might sleep in peace under this audacious trophy.
But, would his ashes find a shelter sufficiently vast beneath this
pedestal? And his puissant statue dominating Paris, beams with
sufficient grandeur on this place: whereas the wheels of carriages and
the feet of passengers would profane the funereal sanctity of the spot
in trampling on the soil so near his head."

You must not take this description, dearest Amelia, "at the foot of
the letter," as the French phrase it, but you will here have a masterly
exposition of the arguments for and against the burial of the Emperor
under the Column of the Place Vendome. The idea was a fine one, granted;
but, like all other ideas, it was open to objections. You must not
fancy that the cannon, or rather the cannon-balls, were in the habit
of furrowing the bosoms of French braves, or any other braves, with
cicatrices: on the contrary, it is a known fact that cannon-balls
make wounds, and not cicatrices (which, my dear, are wounds partially
healed); nay, that a man generally dies after receiving one such
projectile on his chest, much more after having his bosom furrowed by
a score of them. No, my love; no bosom, however heroic, can stand such
applications, and the author only means that the French soldiers faced
the cannon and took them. Nor, my love, must you suppose that the column
was melted: it was the cannon was melted, not the column; but such
phrases are often used by orators when they wish to give a particular
force and emphasis to their opinions.

Well, again, although Napoleon might have slept in peace under "this
audacious trophy," how could he do so and carriages go rattling by all
night, and people with great iron heels to their boots pass clattering
over the stones? Nor indeed could it be expected that a man whose
reputation stretches from the Pyramids to the Kremlin, should find a
column of which the base is only five-and-twenty feet square, a shelter
vast enough for his bones. In a word, then, although the proposal to
bury Napoleon under the column was ingenious, it was found not to suit;
whereupon somebody else proposed the Madelaine.

"It was proposed," says the before-quoted author with his usual
felicity, "to consecrate the Madelaine to his exiled manes"--that is, to
his bones when they were not in exile any longer. "He ought to have, it
was said, a temple entire. His glory fills the world. His bones could
not contain themselves in the coffin of a man--in the tomb of a king!"
In this case what was Mary Magdalen to do? "This proposition, I am
happy to say, was rejected, and a new one--that of the President of the
Council adopted. Napoleon and his braves ought not to quit each other.
Under the immense gilded dome of the Invalides he would find a sanctuary
worthy of himself. A dome imitates the vault of heaven, and that vault
alone" (meaning of course the other vault) "should dominate above his
head. His old mutilated Guard shall watch around him: the last veteran,
as he has shed his blood in his combats, shall breathe his last sigh
near his tomb, and all these tombs shall sleep under the tattered
standards that have been won from all the nations of Europe."

The original words are "sous les lambeaux cribles des drapeaux cueillis
chez toutes les nations;" in English, "under the riddled rags of the
flags that have been culled or plucked" (like roses or buttercups) "in
all the nations." Sweet, innocent flowers of victory! there they are, my
dear, sure enough, and a pretty considerable hortus siccus may any man
examine who chooses to walk to the Invalides. The burial-place being
thus agreed on, the expedition was prepared, and on the 7th July the
"Belle Poule" frigate, in company with "La Favorite" corvette, quitted
Toulon harbor. A couple of steamers, the "Trident" and the "Ocean,"
escorted the ships as far as Gibraltar, and there left them to pursue
their voyage.

The two ships quitted the harbor in the sight of a vast concourse of
people, and in the midst of a great roaring of cannons. Previous to the
departure of the "Belle Poule," the Bishop of Frejus went on board,
and gave to the cenotaph, in which the Emperor's remains were to
be deposited, his episcopal benediction. Napoleon's old friends and
followers, the two Bertrands, Gourgaud, Emanuel Las Cases, "companions
in exile, or sons of the companions in exile of the prisoner of the
infame Hudson," says a French writer, were passengers on board the
frigate. Marchand, Denis, Pierret, Novaret, his old and faithful
servants, were likewise in the vessel. It was commanded by his Royal
Highness Francis Ferdinand Philip Louis Marie d'Orleans, Prince de
Joinville, a young prince two-and-twenty years of age, who was already
distinguished in the service of his country and king.

On the 8th of October, after a voyage of six-and-sixty days, the "Belle
Poule" arrived in James Town harbor; and on its arrival, as on its
departure from France, a great firing of guns took place. First, the
"Oreste" French brig-of-war began roaring out a salutation to the
frigate; then the "Dolphin" English schooner gave her one-and-twenty
guns; then the frigate returned the compliment of the "Dolphin"
schooner; then she blazed out with one-and-twenty guns more, as a
mark of particular politeness to the shore--which kindness the forts
acknowledged by similar detonations.

These little compliments concluded on both sides, Lieutenant Middlemore,
son and aide-de-camp of the Governor of St. Helena, came on board the
French frigate, and brought his father's best respects to his Royal
Highness. The Governor was at home ill, and forced to keep his room; but
he had made his house at James Town ready for Captain Joinville and his
suite, and begged that they would make use of it during their stay.

On the 9th, H. R. H. the Prince of Joinville put on his full uniform and
landed, in company with Generals Bertrand and Gourgaud, Baron Las Cases,
M. Marchand, M. Coquereau, the chaplain of the expedition, and M. de
Rohan Chabot, who acted as chief mourner. All the garrison were under
arms to receive the illustrious Prince and the other members of the
expedition--who forthwith repaired to Plantation House, and had a
conference with the Governor regarding their mission.

On the 10th, 11th, 12th, these conferences continued: the crews of
the French ships were permitted to come on shore and see the tomb of
Napoleon. Bertrand, Gourgaud, Las Cases wandered about the island and
revisited the spots to which they had been partial in the lifetime of
the Emperor.

The 15th October was fixed on for the day of the exhumation: that day
five-and twenty years, the Emperor Napoleon first set his foot upon the

On the day previous all things had been made ready: the grand coffins
and ornaments brought from France, and the articles necessary for the
operation were carried to the valley of the Tomb.

The operations commenced at midnight. The well-known friends of Napoleon
before named and some other attendants of his, the chaplain and his
acolytes, the doctor of the "Belle Poule," the captains of the French
ships, and Captain Alexander of the Engineers, the English Commissioner,
attended the disinterment. His Royal highness Prince de Joinville could
not be present because the workmen were under English command.

The men worked for nine hours incessantly, when at length the earth was
entirely removed from the vault, all the horizontal strata of masonry
demolished, and the large slab which covered the place where the stone
sarcophagus lay, removed by a crane. This outer coffin of stone was
perfect, and could scarcely be said to be damp.

"As soon as the Abbe Coquereau had recited the prayers, the coffin was
removed with the greatest care, and carried by the engineer-soldiers,
bareheaded, into a tent that had been prepared for the purpose. After
the religious ceremonies, the inner coffins were opened. The outermost
coffin was slightly injured: then came, one of lead, which was in good
condition, and enclosed two others--one of tin and one of wood. The last
coffin was lined inside with white satin, which, having become detached
by the effect of time, had fallen upon the body and enveloped it like a
winding-sheet, and had become slightly attached to it.

"It is difficult to describe with what anxiety and emotion those who
were present waited for the moment which was to expose to them all
that death had left of Napoleon. Notwithstanding the singular state of
preservation of the tomb and coffins, we could scarcely hope to find
anything but some misshapen remains of the least perishable part of the
costume to evidence the identity of the body. But when Doctor Guillard
raised the sheet of satin, an indescribable feeling of surprise and
affection was expressed by the spectators, many of whom burst into
tears. The Emperor was himself before their eyes! The features of the
face, though changed, were perfectly recognized; the hands extremely
beautiful; his well-known costume had suffered but little, and the
colors were easily distinguished. The attitude itself was full of ease,
and but for the fragments of the satin lining which covered, as with
a fine gauze, several parts of the uniform, we might have believed we
still saw Napoleon before us lying on his bed of state. General Bertrand
and M. Marchand, who were both present at the interment, quickly pointed
out the different articles which each had deposited in the coffin, and
remained in the precise position in which they had previously described
them to be.

"The two inner coffins were carefully closed again; the old leaden
coffin was strongly blocked up with wedges of wood, and both were once
more soldered up with the most minute precautions, under the direction
of Dr. Guillard. These different operations being terminated, the ebony
sarcophagus was closed as well as its oak case. On delivering the key
of the ebony sarcophagus to Count de Chabot, the King's Commissioner,
Captain Alexander declared to him, in the name of the Governor, that
this coffin, containing the mortal remains of the Emperor Napoleon, was
considered as at the disposal of the French Government from that
day, and from the moment at which it should arrive at the place of
embarkation, towards which it was about to be sent under the orders of
General Middlemore. The King's Commissioner replied that he was charged
by his Government, and in its name, to accept the coffin from the hands
of the British authorities, and that he and the other persons composing
the French mission were ready to follow it to James Town, where the
Prince de Joinville, superior commandant of the expedition, would be
ready to receive it and conduct it on board his frigate. A car drawn by
four horses, decked with funereal emblems, had been prepared before the
arrival of the expedition, to receive the coffin, as well as a pall, and
all the other suitable trappings of mourning. When the sarcophagus was
placed on the car, the whole was covered with a magnificent imperial
mantle brought from Paris, the four corners of which were borne by
Generals Bertrand and Gourgaud, Baron Las Cases and M. Marchand. At
half-past three o'clock the funeral car began to move, preceded by a
chorister bearing the cross, and by the Abbe Coquereau. M. de Chabot
acted as chief mourner. All the authorities of the island, all the
principal inhabitants, and the whole of the garrison, followed in
procession from the tomb to the quay. But with the exception of the
artillerymen necessary to lead the horses, and occasionally support the
car when descending some steep parts of the way, the places nearest
the coffin were reserved for the French mission. General Middlemore,
although in a weak state of health, persisted in following the whole way
on foot, together with General Churchill, chief of the staff in India,
who had arrived only two days before from Bombay. The immense weight
of the coffins, and the unevenness of the road, rendered the utmost
carefulness necessary throughout the whole distance. Colonel Trelawney
commanded in person the small detachment of artillerymen who conducted
the car, and, thanks to his great care, not the slightest accident took
place. From the moment of departure to the arrival at the quay, the
cannons of the forts and the 'Belle Poule' fired minute-guns. After an
hour's march the rain ceased for the first time since the commencement
of the operations, and on arriving in sight of the town we found a
brilliant sky and beautiful weather. From the morning the three French
vessels of war had assumed the usual signs of deep mourning: their yards
crossed and their flags lowered. Two French merchantmen, 'Bonne
Amie' and 'Indien,' which had been in the roads for two days, had put
themselves under the Prince's orders, and followed during the ceremony
all the manoeuvers of the 'Belle Poule.' The forts of the town, and the
houses of the consuls, had also their flags half-mast high.

"On arriving at the entrance of the town, the troops of the garrison
and the militia formed in two lines as far as the extremity of the quay.
According to the order for mourning prescribed for the English army, the
men had their arms reversed and the officers had crape on their arms,
with their swords reversed. All the inhabitants had been kept away from
the line of march, but they lined the terraces, commanding the town, and
the streets were occupied only by the troops, the 91st Regiment being
on the right and the militia on the left. The cortege advanced slowly
between two ranks of soldiers to the sound of a funeral march, while the
cannons of the forts were fired, as well as those of the 'Belle Poule'
and the 'Dolphin;' the echoes being repeated a thousand times by the
rocks above James Town. After two hours' march the cortege stopped at
the end of the quay, where the Prince de Joinville had stationed himself
at the head of the officers of the three French ships of war. The
greatest official honors had been rendered by the English authorities to
the memory of the Emperor--the most striking testimonials of respect had
marked the adieu given by St. Helena to his coffin; and from this moment
the mortal remains of the Emperor were about to belong to France. When
the funeral-car stopped, the Prince de Joinville advanced alone, and in
presence of all around, who stood with their heads uncovered, received,
in a solemn manner, the imperial coffin from the hands of General
Middlemore. His Royal Highness then thanked the Governor, in the name of
France, for all the testimonials of sympathy and respect with which the
authorities and inhabitants of St. Helena had surrounded the memorable
ceremonial. A cutter had been expressly prepared to receive the coffin.
During the embarkation, which the Prince directed himself, the bands
played funeral airs, and all the boats were stationed round with
their oars shipped. The moment the sarcophagus touched the cutter, a
magnificent royal flag, which the ladies of James Town had embroidered
for the occasion, was unfurled, and the 'Belle Poule' immediately
squared her masts and unfurled her colors. All the manoeuvers of the
frigate were immediately followed by the other vessels. Our mourning had
ceased with the exile of Napoleon, and the French naval division dressed
itself out in all its festal ornaments to receive the imperial coffin
under the French flag. The sarcophagus was covered in the cutter with
the imperial mantle. The Prince de Joinville placed himself at the
rudder, Commandant Guyet at the head of the boat; Generals Bertrand and
Gourgaud, Baron Las Cases, M. Marchand, and the Abbe Coquereau occupied
the same places as during the march. Count Chabot and Commandant Hernoux
were astern, a little in advance of the Prince. As soon as the cutter
had pushed off from the quay, the batteries ashore fired a salute
of twenty-one guns, and our ships returned the salute with all their
artillery. Two other salutes were fired during the passage from the quay
to the frigate; the cutter advancing very slowly, and surrounded by the
other boats. At half-past six o'clock it reached the 'Belle Poule,' all
the men being on the yards with their hats in their hands. The Prince
had had arranged on the deck a chapel, decked with flags and trophies of
arms, the altar being placed at the foot of the mizzen-mast. The coffin,
carried by our sailors, passed between two ranks of officers with
drawn swords, and was placed on the quarter-deck. The absolution was
pronounced by the Abbe Coquereau the same evening. Next day, at ten
o'clock, a solemn mass was celebrated on the deck, in presence of the
officers and part of the crews of the ships. His Royal Highness stood at
the foot of the coffin. The cannon of the 'Favorite' and 'Oreste'
fired minute-guns during this ceremony, which terminated by a solemn
absolution; and the Prince de Joinville, the gentlemen of the mission,
the officers, and the premiers maitres of the ship, sprinkled holy
water on the coffin. At eleven, all the ceremonies of the church were
accomplished, all the honors done to a sovereign had been paid to the
mortal remains of Napoleon. The coffin was carefully lowered between
decks, and placed in the chapelle ardente which had been prepared at
Toulon for its reception. At this moment, the vessels fired a last
salute with all their artillery, and the frigate took in her flags,
keeping up only her flag at the stern and the royal standard at the
maintopgallant-mast. On Sunday, the 18th, at eight in the morning, the
'Belle Poule' quitted St. Helena with her precious deposit on board.

"During the whole time that the mission remained at James Town, the best
understanding never ceased to exist between the population of the island
and the French. The Prince de Joinville and his companions met in all
quarters and at all times with the greatest good-will and the warmest
testimonials of sympathy. The authorities and the inhabitants must have
felt, no doubt, great regret at seeing taken away from their island
the coffin that had rendered it so celebrated; but they repressed their
feelings with a courtesy that does honor to the frankness of their


On the 18th October the French frigate quitted the island with its
precious burden on board.

His Royal Highness the Captain acknowledged cordially the kindness
and attention which he and his crew had received from the English
authorities and the inhabitants of the Island of St. Helena; nay,
promised a pension to an old soldier who had been for many years
the guardian of the imperial tomb, and went so far as to take into
consideration the petition of a certain lodging-house keeper, who prayed
for a compensation for the loss which the removal of the Emperor's body
would occasion to her. And although it was not to be expected that the
great French nation should forego its natural desire of recovering the
remains of a hero so dear to it for the sake of the individual interest
of the landlady in question, it must have been satisfactory to her to
find, that the peculiarity of her position was so delicately appreciated
by the august Prince who commanded the expedition, and carried away with
him animae dimidium suae--the half of the genteel independence which
she derived from the situation of her hotel. In a word, politeness and
friendship could not be carried farther. The Prince's realm and the
landlady's were bound together by the closest ties of amity. M. Thiers
was Minister of France, the great patron of the English alliance. At
London M. Guizot was the worthy representative of the French good-will
towards the British people; and the remark frequently made by our
orators at public dinners, that "France and England, while united, might
defy the world," was considered as likely to hold good for many years
to come,--the union that is. As for defying the world, that was neither
here nor there; nor did English politicians ever dream of doing any
such thing, except perhaps at the tenth glass of port at "Freemason's

Little, however, did Mrs. Corbett, the St. Helena landlady, little did
his Royal Highness Prince Ferdinand Philip Marie de Joinville know what
was going on in Europe all this time (when I say in Europe, I mean in
Turkey, Syria, and Egypt); how clouds, in fact, were gathering upon what
you call the political horizon; and how tempests were rising that were
to blow to pieces our Anglo-Gallic temple of friendship. Oh, but it
is sad to think that a single wicked old Turk should be the means of
setting our two Christian nations by the ears!

Yes, my love, this disreputable old man had been for some time past the
object of the disinterested attention of the great sovereigns of Europe.
The Emperor Nicolas (a moral character, though following the
Greek superstition, and adored for his mildness and benevolence of
disposition), the Emperor Ferdinand, the King of Prussia, and our
own gracious Queen, had taken such just offence at his conduct and
disobedience towards a young and interesting sovereign, whose authority
he had disregarded, whose fleet he had kidnapped, whose fair provinces
he had pounced upon, that they determined to come to the aid of Abdul
Medjid the First, Emperor of the Turks, and bring his rebellious vassal
to reason. In this project the French nation was invited to join; but
they refused the invitation, saying, that it was necessary for the
maintenance of the balance of power in Europe that his Highness Mehemet
Ali should keep possession of what by hook or by crook he had gotten,
and that they would have no hand in injuring him. But why continue this
argument, which you have read in the newspapers for many months past?
You, my dear, must know as well as I, that the balance of power in
Europe could not possibly be maintained in any such way; and though, to
be sure, for the last fifteen years, the progress of the old robber has
not made much difference to us in the neighborhood of Russell Square,
and the battle of Nezib did not in the least affect our taxes, our
homes, our institutions, or the price of butcher's meat, yet there is no
knowing what MIGHT have happened had Mehemet Ali been allowed to
remain quietly as he was: and the balance of power in Europe might have
been--the deuce knows where.

Here, then, in a nutshell, you have the whole matter in dispute. While
Mrs. Corbett and the Prince de Joinville were innocently interchanging
compliments at St. Helena,--bang! bang! Commodore Napier was pouring
broadsides into Tyre and Sidon; our gallant navy was storming breaches
and routing armies; Colonel Hodges had seized upon the green standard of
Ibrahim Pacha; and the powder-magazine of St. John of Acre was blown up
sky-high, with eighteen hundred Egyptian soldiers in company with it.
The French said that l'or Anglais had achieved all these successes, and
no doubt believed that the poor fellows at Acre were bribed to a man.

It must have been particularly unpleasant to a high-minded nation like
the French--at the very moment when the Egyptian affair and the balance
of Europe had been settled in this abrupt way--to find out all of a
sudden that the Pasha of Egypt was their dearest friend and ally. They
had suffered in the person of their friend; and though, seeing that the
dispute was ended, and the territory out of his hand, they could not
hope to get it back for him, or to aid him in any substantial way, yet
Monsieur Thiers determined, just as a mark of politeness to the Pasha,
to fight all Europe for maltreating him,--all Europe, England included.
He was bent on war, and an immense majority of the nation went with him.
He called for a million of soldiers, and would have had them too, had
not the King been against the project and delayed the completion of it
at least for a time.

Of these great European disputes Captain Joinville received a
notification while he was at sea on board his frigate: as we find by the
official account which has been published of his mission.

"Some days after quitting St. Helena," says that document, "the
expedition fell in with a ship coming from Europe, and was thus made
acquainted with the warlike rumors then afloat, by which a collision
with the English marine was rendered possible. The Prince de Joinville
immediately assembled the officers of the 'Belle Poule,' to deliberate
on an event so unexpected and important.

"The council of war having expressed its opinion that it was necessary
at all events to prepare for an energetic defence, preparations were
made to place in battery all the guns that the frigate could bring to
bear against the enemy. The provisional cabins that had been fitted up
in the battery were demolished, the partitions removed, and, with all
the elegant furniture of the cabins, flung into the sea. The Prince de
Joinville was the first 'to execute himself,' and the frigate soon found
itself armed with six or eight more guns.

"That part of the ship where these cabins had previously been, went by
the name of Lacedaemon; everything luxurious being banished to make way
for what was useful.

"Indeed, all persons who were on board agree in saying that Monseigneur
the Prince de Joinville most worthily acquitted himself of the great and
honorable mission which had been confided to him. All affirm not only
that the commandant of the expedition did everything at St. Helena
which as a Frenchman he was bound to do in order that the remains of the
Emperor should receive all the honors due to them, but moreover that he
accomplished his mission with all the measured solemnity, all the pious
and severe dignity, that the son of the Emperor himself would have shown
upon a like occasion. The commandant had also comprehended that the
remains of the Emperor must never fall into the hands of the stranger,
and being himself decided rather to sink his ship than to give up his
precious deposit, he had inspired every one about him with the same
energetic resolution that he had himself taken 'AGAINST AN EXTREME

Monseigneur, my dear, is really one of the finest young fellows it
is possible to see. A tall, broad-chested, slim-waisted, brown-faced,
dark-eyed young prince, with a great beard (and other martial qualities
no doubt) beyond his years. As he strode into the Chapel of the
Invalides on Tuesday at the head of his men, he made no small
impression, I can tell you, upon the ladies assembled to witness the
ceremony. Nor are the crew of the "Belle Poule" less agreeable to look
at than their commander. A more clean, smart, active, well-limbed set of
lads never "did dance" upon the deck of the famed "Belle Poule" in the
days of her memorable combat with the "Saucy Arethusa." "These five
hundred sailors," says a French newspaper, speaking of them in the
proper French way, "sword in hand, in the severe costume of board-ship
(la severe tenue du bord), seemed proud of the mission that they
had just accomplished. Their blue jackets, their red cravats, the
turned-down collars of blue shirts edged with white, ABOVE ALL their
resolute appearance and martial air, gave a favorable specimen of the
present state of our marine--a marine of which so much might be
expected and from which so little has been required."--Le Commerce: 16th

There they were, sure enough; a cutlass upon one hip, a pistol on the
other--a gallant set of young men indeed. I doubt, to be sure, whether
the severe tenue du bord requires that the seaman should be always
furnished with those ferocious weapons, which in sundry maritime
manoeuvers, such as going to sleep in your hammock for instance,
or twinkling a binnacle, or luffing a marlinspike, or keelhauling a
maintopgallant (all naval operations, my dear, which any seafaring
novelist will explain to you)--I doubt, I say, whether these weapons are
ALWAYS worn by sailors, and have heard that they are commonly and very
sensibly too, locked up until they are wanted. Take another example:
suppose artillerymen were incessantly compelled to walk about with a
pyramid of twenty-four pound shot in one pocket, a lighted fuse and a
few barrels of gunpowder in the other--these objects would, as you may
imagine, greatly inconvenience the artilleryman in his peaceful state.

The newspaper writer is therefore most likely mistaken in saying that
the seamen were in the severe tenue du bord, or by "bord" meaning
"abordage"--which operation they were not, in a harmless church, hung
round with velvet and wax-candles, and filled with ladies, surely called
upon to perform. Nor indeed can it be reasonably supposed that the
picked men of the crack frigate of the French navy are a "good specimen"
of the rest of the French marine, any more than a cuirassed colossus
at the gate of the Horse Guards can be considered a fair sample of the
British soldier of the line. The sword and pistol, however, had no doubt
their effect--the former was in its sheath, the latter not loaded, and
I hear that the French ladies are quite in raptures with these charming

Let the warlike accoutrements then pass. It was necessary, perhaps, to
strike the Parisians with awe, and therefore the crew was armed in this
fierce fashion; but why should the captain begin to swagger as well as
his men? and why did the Prince de Joinville lug out sword and pistol
so early? or why, if he thought fit to make preparations, should the
official journals brag of them afterwards as proofs of his extraordinary

Here is the case. The English Government makes him a present of the
bones of Napoleon: English workmen work for nine hours without ceasing,
and dig the coffin out of the ground: the English Commissioner hands
over the key of the box to the French representative, Monsieur Chabot:
English horses carry the funeral car down to the sea-shore, accompanied
by the English Governor, who has actually left his bed to walk in the
procession and to do the French nation honor.

After receiving and acknowledging these politenesses, the French captain
takes his charge on board, and the first thing we afterwards hear of
him is the determination "qu'il a su faire passer" into all his crew,
to sink rather than yield up the body of the Emperor aux mains de
l'etranger--into the hands of the foreigner. My dear Monseigneur, is not
this par trop fort? Suppose "the foreigner" had wanted the coffin,
could he not have kept it? Why show this uncalled-for valor, this
extraordinary alacrity at sinking? Sink or blow yourself up as much
as you please, but your Royal Highness must see that the genteel thing
would have been to wait until you were asked to do so, before you
offended good-natured, honest people, who--heaven help them!--have never
shown themselves at all murderously inclined towards you. A man knocks
up his cabins forsooth, throws his tables and chairs overboard, runs
guns into the portholes, and calls le quartier du bord ou existaient ces
chambres, Lacedaemon. Lacedaemon! There is a province, O Prince, in your
royal father's dominions, a fruitful parent of heroes in its time, which
would have given a much better nickname to your quartier du bord: you
should have called it Gascony.

     "Sooner than strike we'll all ex-pi-er
     On board of the Bell-e Pou-le."

Such fanfaronading is very well on the part of Tom Dibdin, but a person
of your Royal Highness's "pious and severe dignity" should have been
above it. If you entertained an idea that war was imminent, would it not
have been far better to have made your preparations in quiet, and when
you found the war rumor blown over, to have said nothing about what
you intended to do? Fie upon such cheap Lacedaemonianism! There is
no poltroon in the world but can brag about what he WOULD have done:
however, to do your Royal Highness's nation justice, they brag and fight

This narrative, my dear Miss Smith, as you will have remarked, is not a
simple tale merely, but is accompanied by many moral and pithy remarks
which form its chief value, in the writer's eyes at least, and the
above account of the sham Lacedaemon on board the "Belle Poule" has a
double-barrelled morality, as I conceive. Besides justly reprehending
the French propensity towards braggadocio, it proves very strongly
a point on which I am the only statesman in Europe who has strongly
insisted. In the "Paris Sketch Book" it was stated that THE FRENCH HATE
US. They hate us, my dear, profoundly and desperately, and there never
was such a hollow humbug in the world as the French alliance. Men get
a character for patriotism in France merely by hating England. Directly
they go into strong opposition (where, you know, people are always more
patriotic than on the ministerial side), they appeal to the people, and
have their hold on the people by hating England in common with them.
Why? It is a long story, and the hatred may be accounted for by many
reasons both political and social. Any time these eight hundred years
this ill-will has been going on, and has been transmitted on the French
side from father to son. On the French side, not on ours: we have had
no, or few, defeats to complain of, no invasions to make us angry;
but you see that to discuss such a period of time would demand a
considerable number of pages, and for the present we will avoid the
examination of the question.

But they hate us, that is the long and short of it; and you see how this
hatred has exploded just now, not upon a serious cause of difference,
but upon an argument: for what is the Pasha of Egypt to us or them but
a mere abstract opinion? For the same reason the Little-endians in
Lilliput abhorred the Big-endians; and I beg you to remark how his Royal
Highness Prince Ferdinand Mary, upon hearing that this argument was
in the course of debate between us, straightway flung his furniture
overboard and expressed a preference for sinking his ship rather than
yielding it to the etranger. Nothing came of this wish of his, to be
sure; but the intention is everything. Unlucky circumstances denied him
the power, but he had the will.

Well, beyond this disappointment, the Prince de Joinville had nothing to
complain of during the voyage, which terminated happily by the arrival
of the "Belle Poule" at Cherbourg, on the 30th of November, at five
o'clock in the morning. A telegraph made the glad news known at Paris,
where the Minister of the Interior, Tanneguy-Duchatel (you will read the
name, Madam, in the old Anglo-French wars), had already made "immense
preparations" for receiving the body of Napoleon.

The entry was fixed for the 15th of December.

On the 8th of December at Cherbourg the body was transferred from the
"Belle Poule" frigate to the "Normandie" steamer. On which occasion the
mayor of Cherbourg deposited, in the name of his town, a gold laurel
branch upon the coffin--which was saluted by the forts and dykes of the
place with ONE THOUSAND GUNS! There was a treat for the inhabitants.

There was on board the steamer a splendid receptacle for the coffin:
"a temple with twelve pillars and a dome to cover it from the wet and
moisture, surrounded with velvet hangings and silver fringes. At the
head was a gold cross, at the foot a gold lamp: other lamps were kept
constantly burning within, and vases of burning incense were hung
around. An altar, hung with velvet and silver, was at the mizzen-mast of
a compliment at once to Napoleon and--excuse me for saying so, but so
the facts are--to Napoleon and to God Almighty.

Three steamers, the "Normandie," the "Veloce," and the "Courrier,"
formed the expedition from Cherbourg to Havre, at which place they
arrived on the evening of the 9th of December, and where the
"Veloce" was replaced by the Seine steamer, having in tow one of the
state-coasters, which was to fire the salute at the moment when the body
was transferred into one of the vessels belonging to the Seine.

The expedition passed Havre the same night, and came to anchor at Val de
la Haye on the Seine, three leagues below Rouen.

Here the next morning (10th), it was met by the flotilla of steamboats
of the Upper Seine, consisting of the three "Dorades," the three
"Etoiles," the "Elbeuvien," the "Pansien," the "Parisienne," and the
"Zampa." The Prince de Joinville, and the persons of the expedition,
embarked immediately in the flotilla, which arrived the same day at

At Rouen salutes were fired, the National Guard on both sides of the
river paid military honors to the body; and over the middle of the
suspension-bridge a magnificent cenotaph was erected, decorated with
flags, fasces, violet hangings, and the imperial arms. Before the
cenotaph the expedition stopped, and the absolution was given by the
archbishop and the clergy. After a couple of hours' stay, the expedition
proceeded to Pont de l'Arche. On the 11th it reached Vernon, on the 12th
Mantes, on the 13th Maisons-sur-Seine.

"Everywhere," says the official account from which the above particulars
are borrowed, "the authorities, the National Guard, and the people
flocked to the passage of the flotilla, desirous to render the honors
due to his glory, which is the glory of France. In seeing its hero
return, the nation seemed to have found its Palladium again,--the
sainted relics of victory."

At length, on the 14th, the coffin was transferred from the "Dorade"
steamer on board the imperial vessel arrived from Paris. In the evening,
the imperial vessel arrived at Courbevoie, which was the last stage of
the journey.

Here it was that M. Guizot went to examine the vessel, and was very
nearly flung into the Seine, as report goes, by the patriots assembled
there. It is now lying on the river, near the Invalides, amidst the
drifting ice, whither the people of Paris are flocking out to see it.

The vessel is of a very elegant antique form, and I can give you on the
Thames no better idea of it than by requesting you to fancy an immense
wherry, of which the stern has been cut straight off, and on which a
temple on steps has been elevated. At the figure-head is an immense gold
eagle, and at the stern is a little terrace, filled with evergreens and
a profusion of banners. Upon pedestals along the sides of the vessel are
tripods in which incense was burned, and underneath them are garlands of
flowers called here "immortals." Four eagles surmount the temple, and a
great scroll or garland, held in their beaks, surrounds it. It is hung
with velvet and gold; four gold caryatides support the entry of it; and
in the midst, upon a large platform hung with velvet, and bearing the
imperial arms, stood the coffin. A steamboat, carrying two hundred
musicians playing funereal marches and military symphonies, preceded
this magnificent vessel to Courbevoie, where a funereal temple was
erected, and "a statue of Notre Dame de Grace, before which the seamen
of the 'Belle Poule' inclined themselves, in order to thank her for
having granted them a noble and glorious voyage."

Early on the morning of the 15th December, amidst clouds of incense,
and thunder of cannon, and innumerable shouts of people, the coffin
was transferred from the barge, and carried by the seamen of the "Belle
Poule" to the Imperial Car.

And, now having conducted our hero almost to the gates of Paris, I must
tell you what preparations were made in the capital to receive him.

Ten days before the arrival of the body, as you walked across the
Deputies' Bridge, or over the Esplanade of the Invalides, you saw on
the bridge eight, on the esplanade thirty-two, mysterious boxes erected,
wherein a couple of score of sculptors were at work night and day.

In the middle of the Invalid Avenue, there used to stand, on a kind of
shabby fountain or pump, a bust of Lafayette, crowned with some dirty
wreaths of "immortals," and looking down at the little streamlet which
occasionally dribbled below him. The spot of ground was now clear, and
Lafayette and the pump had been consigned to some cellar, to make way
for the mighty procession that was to pass over the place of their

Strange coincidence! If I had been Mr. Victor Hugo, my dear, or a poet
of any note, I would, in a few hours, have made an impromptu concerning
that Lafayette-crowned pump, and compared its lot now to the fortune
of its patron some fifty years back. From him then issued, as from his
fountain now, a feeble dribble of pure words; then, as now, some faint
circles of disciples were willing to admire him. Certainly in the
midst of the war and storm without, this pure fount of eloquence went
dribbling, dribbling on, till of a sudden the revolutionary workmen
knocked down statue and fountain, and the gorgeous imperial cavalcade
trampled over the spot where they stood.

As for the Champs Elysees, there was no end to the preparations; the
first day you saw a couple of hundred scaffoldings erected at intervals
between the handsome gilded gas-lamps that at present ornament that
avenue; next day, all these scaffoldings were filled with brick and
mortar. Presently, over the bricks and mortar rose pediments of statues,
legs of urns, legs of goddesses, legs and bodies of goddesses, legs,
bodies, and busts of goddesses. Finally, on the 13th December, goddesses
complete. On the 14th they were painted marble-color; and the basements
of wood and canvas on which they stood were made to resemble the
same costly material. The funereal urns were ready to receive the
frankincense and precious odors which were to burn in them. A vast
number of white columns stretched down the avenue, each bearing a bronze
buckler on which was written, in gold letters, one of the victories of
the Emperor, and each decorated with enormous imperial flags. On these
columns golden eagles were placed; and the newspapers did not fail to
remark the ingenious position in which the royal birds had been set:
for while those on the right-hand side of the way had their heads turned
TOWARDS the procession, as if to watch its coming, those on the left
were looking exactly the other way, as if to regard its progress. Do not
fancy I am joking: this point was gravely and emphatically urged in
many newspapers; and I do believe no mortal Frenchman ever thought it
anything but sublime.

Do not interrupt me, sweet Miss Smith. I feel that you are angry. I can
see from here the pouting of your lips, and know what you are going to
say. You are going to say, "I will read no more of this Mr. Titmarsh;
there is no subject, however solemn, but he treats it with flippant
irreverence, and no character, however great, at whom he does not

Ah, my dear! you are young now and enthusiastic; and your Titmarsh is
old, very old, sad, and gray-headed. I have seen a poor mother buy a
halfpenny wreath at the gate of Montmartre burying-ground, and go with
it to her little child's grave, and hang it there over the little humble
stone; and if ever you saw me scorn the mean offering of the poor shabby
creature, I will give you leave to be as angry as you will. They say
that on the passage of Napoleon's coffin down the Seine, old soldiers
and country people walked miles from their villages just to catch a
sight of the boat which carried his body and to kneel down on the shore
and pray for him. God forbid that we should quarrel with such prayers
and sorrow, or question their sincerity. Something great and good must
have been in this man, something loving and kindly, that has kept his
name so cherished in the popular memory, and gained him such lasting
reverence and affection.

But, Madam, one may respect the dead without feeling awe-stricken at the
plumes of the hearse; and I see no reason why one should sympathize with
the train of mutes and undertakers, however deep may be their mourning.
Look, I pray you, at the manner in which the French nation has performed
Napoleon's funeral. Time out of mind, nations have raised, in memory
of their heroes, august mausoleums, grand pyramids, splendid statues of
gold or marble, sacrificing whatever they had that was most costly and
rare, or that was most beautiful in art, as tokens of their respect and
love for the dead person. What a fine example of this sort of
sacrifice is that (recorded in a book of which Simplicity is the great
characteristic) of the poor woman who brought her pot of precious
ointment--her all, and laid it at the feet of the Object which, upon
earth, she most loved and respected. "Economists and calculators" there
were even in those days who quarrelled with the manner in which the poor
woman lavished so much "capital;" but you will remember how nobly and
generously the sacrifice was appreciated, and how the economists were
put to shame.

With regard to the funeral ceremony that has just been performed here,
it is said that a famous public personage and statesman, Monsieur Thiers
indeed, spoke with the bitterest indignation of the general style of the
preparations, and of their mean and tawdry character. He would have
had a pomp as magnificent, he said, as that of Rome at the triumph of
Aurelian: he would have decorated the bridges and avenues through which
the procession was to pass, with the costliest marbles and the finest
works of art, and have had them to remain there for ever as monuments of
the great funeral.

The economists and calculators might here interpose with a great deal of
reason; for, indeed, there was no reason why a nation should impoverish
itself to do honor to the memory of an individual for whom, after
all, it can feel but a qualified enthusiasm: but it surely might have
employed the large sum voted for the purpose more wisely and generously,
and recorded its respect for Napoleon by some worthy and lasting
memorial, rather than have erected yonder thousand vain heaps of tinsel,
paint, and plaster, that are already cracking and crumbling in the
frost, at three days old.

Scarcely one of the statues, indeed, deserves to last a month: some are
odious distortions and caricatures, which never should have been allowed
to stand for a moment. On the very day of the fete, the wind was shaking
the canvas pedestals, and the flimsy wood-work had begun to gape and
give way. At a little distance, to be sure, you could not see the
cracks; and pedestals and statues LOOKED like marble. At some distance,
you could not tell but that the wreaths and eagles were gold embroidery,
and not gilt paper--the great tricolor flags damask, and not striped
calico. One would think that these sham splendors betokened sham
respect, if one had not known that the name of Napoleon is held in real
reverence, and observed somewhat of the character of the nation. Real
feelings they have, but they distort them by exaggeration; real courage,
which they render ludicrous by intolerable braggadocio; and I think the
above official account of the Prince de Joinville's proceedings, of the
manner in which the Emperor's remains have been treated in their voyage
to the capital, and of the preparations made to receive him in it, will
give my dear Miss Smith some means of understanding the social and moral
condition of this worthy people of France.


Shall I tell you, my dear, that when Francois woke me at a very
early hour on this eventful morning, while the keen stars were still
glittering overhead, a half-moon, as sharp as a razor, beaming in the
frosty sky, and a wicked north wind blowing, that blew the blood out of
one's fingers and froze your leg as you put it out of bed;--shall I tell
you, my dear, that when Francois called me, and said, "V'la vot' cafe,
Monsieur Titemasse, buvez-le, tiens, il est tout chaud," I felt myself,
after imbibing the hot breakfast, so comfortable under three blankets
and a mackintosh, that for at least a quarter of an hour no man in
Europe could say whether Titmarsh would or would not be present at the
burial of the Emperor Napoleon.

Besides, my dear, the cold, there was another reason for doubting.
Did the French nation, or did they not, intend to offer up some of us
English over the imperial grave? And were the games to be concluded by
a massacre? It was said in the newspapers that Lord Granville had
despatched circulars to all the English resident in Paris, begging them
to keep their homes. The French journals announced this news, and warned
us charitably of the fate intended for us. Had Lord Granville written?
Certainly not to me. Or had he written to all EXCEPT ME? And was I THE
VICTIM--the doomed one?--to be seized directly I showed my face in the
Champs Elysees, and torn in pieces by French Patriotism to the frantic
chorus of the "Marseillaise?" Depend on it, Madam, that high and low
in this city on Tuesday were not altogether at their ease, and that the
bravest felt no small tremor! And be sure of this, that as his Majesty
Louis Philippe took his nightcap off his royal head that morning, he
prayed heartily that he might, at night, put it on in safety.

Well, as my companion and I came out of doors, being bound for the
Church of the Invalides, for which a Deputy had kindly furnished us with
tickets, we saw the very prettiest sight of the whole day, and I can't
refrain from mentioning it to my dear, tender-hearted Miss Smith.

In the same house where I live (but about five stories nearer the
ground) lodges an English family, consisting of--1. A great-grandmother,
a hale, handsome old lady of seventy, the very best-dressed and neatest
old lady in Paris. 2. A grandfather and grandmother, tolerably young
to bear that title. 3. A daughter. And 4. Two little great-grand, or
grandchildren, that may be of the age of three and one, and belong to a
son and daughter who are in India. The grandfather, who is as proud
of his wife as he was thirty years ago when he married, and pays her
compliments still twice or thrice in a day, and when he leads her into a
room looks round at the persons assembled, and says in his heart,
"Here, gentlemen, here is my wife--show me such another woman in
England,"--this gentleman had hired a room on the Champs Elysees, for he
would not have his wife catch cold by exposing her to the balconies in
the open air.

When I came to the street, I found the family assembled in the following
order of march:--

--No. 1, the great-grandmother walking daintily along, supported by No.
3, her granddaughter.

--A nurse carrying No. 4 junior, who was sound asleep: and a huge basket
containing saucepans, bottles of milk, parcels of infants' food, certain
dimity napkins, a child's coral, and a little horse belonging to No. 4

--A servant bearing a basket of condiments.

--No. 2, grandfather, spick and span, clean shaved, hat brushed, white
buckskin gloves, bamboo cane, brown great-coat, walking as upright and
solemn as may be, having his lady on his arm.

--No. 4, senior, with mottled legs and a tartan costume, who was
frisking about between his grandpapa's legs, who heartily wished him at

"My dear," his face seemed to say to his lady, "I think you might have
left the little things in the nursery, for we shall have to squeeze
through a terrible crowd in the Champs Elysees."

The lady was going out for a day's pleasure, and her face was full of
care: she had to look first after her old mother who was walking ahead,
then after No. 4 junior with the nurse--he might fall into all sorts of
danger, wake up, cry, catch cold; nurse might slip down, or heaven knows
what. Then she had to look her husband in the face, who had gone to such
expense and been so kind for her sake, and make that gentleman believe
she was thoroughly happy; and, finally, she had to keep an eye upon No.
4 senior, who, as she was perfectly certain, was about in two minutes to
be lost for ever, or trampled to pieces in the crowd.

These events took place in a quiet little street leading into the Champs
Elysees, the entry of which we had almost reached by this time. The four
detachments above described, which had been straggling a little in their
passage down the street, closed up at the end of it, and stood for
a moment huddled together. No. 3, Miss X--, began speaking to her
companion the great-grandmother.

"Hush, my dear," said that old lady, looking round alarmed at her
daughter. "SPEAK FRENCH." And she straightway began nervously to make a
speech which she supposed to be in that language, but which was as much
like French as Iroquois. The whole secret was out: you could read it in
the grandmother's face, who was doing all she could to keep from crying,
and looked as frightened as she dared to look. The two elder ladies
had settled between them that there was going to be a general English
slaughter that day, and had brought the children with them, so that they
might all be murdered in company.

God bless you, O women, moist-eyed and tender-hearted! In those gentle
silly tears of yours there is something touches one, be they never so
foolish. I don't think there were many such natural drops shed that day
as those which just made their appearance in the grandmother's eyes, and
then went back again as if they had been ashamed of themselves, while
the good lady and her little troop walked across the road. Think how
happy she will be when night comes, and there has been no murder of
English, and the brood is all nestled under her wings sound asleep, and
she is lying awake thanking God that the day and its pleasures and pains
are over. Whilst we were considering these things, the grandfather had
suddenly elevated No. 4 senior upon his left shoulder, and I saw the
tartan hat of that young gentleman, and the bamboo cane which had been
transferred to him, high over the heads of the crowd on the opposite
side through which the party moved.

After this little procession had passed away--you may laugh at it, but
upon my word and conscience, Miss Smith, I saw nothing in the course of
the day which affected me more--after this little procession had
passed away, the other came, accompanied by gun-banging, flag-waving,
incense-burning, trumpets pealing, drums rolling, and at the close,
received by the voice of six hundred choristers, sweetly modulated to
the tones of fifteen score of fiddlers. Then you saw horse and foot,
jack-boots and bear-skin, cuirass and bayonet, National Guard and Line,
marshals and generals all over gold, smart aides-de-camp galloping about
like mad, and high in the midst of all, riding on his golden buckler,
Solomon in all his glory, forsooth--Imperial Caesar, with his crown over
his head, laurels and standards waving about his gorgeous chariot, and a
million of people looking on in wonder and awe.

His Majesty the Emperor and King reclined on his shield, with his head
a little elevated. His Majesty's skull is voluminous, his forehead
broad and large. We remarked that his Imperial Majesty's brow was of a
yellowish color, which appearance was also visible about the orbits of
the eyes. He kept his eyelids constantly closed, by which we had
the opportunity of observing that the upper lids were garnished with
eyelashes. Years and climate have effected upon the face of this great
monarch only a trifling alteration; we may say, indeed, that Time has
touched his Imperial and Royal Majesty with the lightest feather in his
wing. In the nose of the Conqueror of Austerlitz we remarked very little
alteration: it is of the beautiful shape which we remember it possessed
five-and-twenty years since, ere unfortunate circumstances induced him
to leave us for a while. The nostril and the tube of the nose appear to
have undergone some slight alteration, but in examining a beloved object
the eye of affection is perhaps too critical. Vive l'Empereur! the
soldier of Marengo is among us again. His lips are thinner, perhaps,
than they were before! how white his teeth are! you can just see three
of them pressing his under lip; and pray remark the fulness of his
cheeks and the round contour of his chin. Oh, those beautiful white
hands! many a time have they patted the cheek of poor Josephine, and
played with the black ringlets of her hair. She is dead now, and cold,
poor creature; and so are Hortense and bold Eugene, than whom the world
"never saw a curtier knight," as was said of King Arthur's Sir Lancelot.
What a day would it have been for those three could they have lived
until now, and seen their hero returning! Where's Ney? His wife sits
looking out from M. Flahaut's window yonder, but the bravest of the
brave is not with her. Murat too is absent: honest Joachim loves the
Emperor at heart, and repents that he was not at Waterloo: who knows
but that at the sight of the handsome swordsman those stubborn English
"canaille" would have given way. A king, Sire, is, you know, the
greatest of slaves--State affairs of consequence--his Majesty the King
of Naples is detained no doubt. When we last saw the King, however, and
his Highness the Prince of Elchingen, they looked to have as good
health as ever they had in their lives, and we heard each of them calmly
calling out "FIRE!" as they have done in numberless battles before.

Is it possible? can the Emperor forget? We don't like to break it to
him, but has he forgotten all about the farm at Pizzo, and the garden of
the Observatory? Yes, truly: there he lies on his golden shield, never
stirring, never so much as lifting his eyelids, or opening his lips any

O vanitas vanitatum! Here is our Sovereign in all his glory, and they
fired a thousand guns at Cherbourg and never woke him!

However, we are advancing matters by several hours, and you must give
just as much credence as you please to the subjoined remarks concerning
the Procession, seeing that your humble servant could not possibly be
present at it, being bound for the church elsewhere.

Programmes, however, have been published of the affair, and your vivid
fancy will not fail to give life to them, and the whole magnificent
train will pass before you.

Fancy then, that the guns are fired at Neuilly: the body landed at
daybreak from the funereal barge, and transferred to the car; and fancy
the car, a huge Juggernaut of a machine, rolling on four wheels of an
antique shape, which supported a basement adorned with golden eagles,
banners, laurels, and velvet hangings. Above the hangings stand twelve
golden statues with raised arms supporting a huge shield, on which the
coffin lay. On the coffin was the imperial crown, covered with violet
velvet crape, and the whole vast machine was drawn by horses in superb
housings, led by valets in the imperial livery.

Fancy at the head of the procession first of all--

The Gendarmerie of the Seine, with their trumpets and Colonel.

The Municipal Guard (horse), with their trumpets, standard, and Colonel.

Two squadrons of the 7th Lancers, with Colonel, standard, and music.

The Commandant of Paris and his Staff.

A battalion of Infantry of the Line, with their flag, sappers, drums,
music, and Colonel.

The Municipal Guard (foot), with flag, drums, and Colonel.

The Sapper-pumpers, with ditto.

Then picture to yourself more squadrons of Lancers and Cuirassiers. The
General of the Division and his Staff; all officers of all arms
employed at Paris, and unattached; the Military School of Saint Cyr, the
Polytechnic School, the School of the Etat-Major; and the Professors
and Staff of each. Go on imagining more battalions of Infantry, of
Artillery, companies of Engineers, squadrons of Cuirassiers, ditto of
the Cavalry, of the National Guard, and the first and second legions of

Fancy a carriage, containing the Chaplain of the St. Helena expedition,
the only clerical gentleman that formed a part of the procession.

Fancy you hear the funereal music, and then figure in your mind's eye--

THE EMPEROR'S CHARGER, that is, Napoleon's own saddle and bridle (when
First Consul) upon a white horse. The saddle (which has been kept
ever since in the Garde Meuble of the Crown) is of amaranth velvet,
embroidered in gold: the holsters and housings are of the same rich
material. On them you remark the attributes of War, Commerce, Science,
and Art. The bits and stirrups are silver-gilt chased. Over the
stirrups, two eagles were placed at the time of the empire. The horse
was covered with a violet crape embroidered with golden bees.

After this came more Soldiers, General Officers, Sub-Officers, Marshals,
and what was said to be the prettiest sight almost of the whole, the
banners of the eighty-six Departments of France. These are due to the
invention of M. Thiers, and were to have been accompanied by federates
from each Department. But the government very wisely mistrusted this
and some other projects of Monsieur Thiers; and as for a federation, my
dear, IT HAS BEEN TRIED. Next comes--

His Royal Highness, the Prince de Joinville.

The 600 sailors of the "Belle Poule" marching in double file on each
side of


[Hush! the enormous crowd thrills as it passes, and only some few voices
cry Vive l'Empereur! Shining golden in the frosty sun--with hundreds of
thousands of eyes upon it, from houses and housetops, from balconies,
black, purple, and tricolor, from tops of leafless trees, from behind
long lines of glittering bayonets under schakos and bear-skin caps,
from behind the Line and the National Guard again, pushing, struggling,
heaving, panting, eager, the heads of an enormous multitude stretching
out to meet and follow it, amidst long avenues of columns and statues
gleaming white, of standards rainbow-colored, of golden eagles, of pale
funereal urns, of discharging odors amidst huge volumes of pitch-black


The cords of the pall are held by two Marshals, an Admiral and General
Bertrand; who are followed by--

The Prefects of the Seine and Police, &c.

The Mayors of Paris, &c.

The Members of the Old Guard, &c.

A Squadron of Light Dragoons, &c.

Lieutenant-General Schneider, &c.

More cavalry, more infantry, more artillery, more everybody; and as the
procession passes, the Line and the National Guard forming line on each
side of the road fall in and follow it, until it arrives at the Church
of the Invalides, where the last honors are to be paid to it.]

Among the company assembled under the dome of that edifice, the casual
observer would not perhaps have remarked a gentleman of the name of
Michael Angelo Titmarsh, who nevertheless was there. But as, my dear
Miss Smith, the descriptions in this letter, from the words in page 298,
line 20--THE PARTY MOVED--up to the words PAID TO IT, on this page, have
purely emanated from your obedient servant's fancy, and not from
his personal observation (for no being on earth, except a newspaper
reporter, can be in two places at once), permit me now to communicate to
you what little circumstances fell under my own particular view on the
day of the 15th of December.

As we came out, the air and the buildings round about were tinged with
purple, and the clear sharp half-moon before-mentioned was still in the
sky, where it seemed to be lingering as if it would catch a peep of the
commencement of the famous procession. The Arc de Triomphe was shining
in a keen frosty sunshine, and looking as clean and rosy as if it had
just made its toilette. The canvas or pasteboard image of Napoleon, of
which only the gilded legs had been erected the night previous, was now
visible, body, head, crown, sceptre and all, and made an imposing show.
Long gilt banners were flaunting about, with the imperial cipher and
eagle, and the names of the battles and victories glittering in gold.
The long avenues of the Champs Elysees had been covered with sand for
the convenience of the great procession that was to tramp across it that
day. Hundreds of people were marching to and fro, laughing, chattering,
singing, gesticulating as happy Frenchmen do. There is no pleasanter
sight than a French crowd on the alert for a festival, and nothing more
catching than their good-humor. As for the notion which has been put
forward by some of the opposition newspapers that the populace were on
this occasion unusually solemn or sentimental, it would be paying a bad
compliment to the natural gayety of the nation, to say that it was,
on the morning at least of the 15th of December, affected in any
such absurd way. Itinerant merchants were shouting out lustily their
commodities of segars and brandy, and the weather was so bitter cold,
that they could not fail to find plenty of customers. Carpenters and
workmen were still making a huge banging and clattering among the sheds
which were built for the accommodation of the visitors. Some of
these sheds were hung with black, such as one sees before churches in
funerals; some were robed in violet, in compliment to the Emperor whose
mourning they put on. Most of them had fine tricolor hangings with
appropriate inscriptions to the glory of the French arms.

All along the Champs Elysees were urns of plaster-of-Paris destined to
contain funeral incense and flames; columns decorated with huge flags of
blue, red, and white, embroidered with shining crowns, eagles, and N's
in gilt paper, and statues of plaster representing Nymphs, Triumphs,
Victories, or other female personages, painted in oil so as to represent
marble. Real marble could have had no better effect, and the appearance
of the whole was lively and picturesque in the extreme. On each pillar
was a buckler, of the color of bronze, bearing the name and date of a
battle in gilt letters: you had to walk through a mile-long avenue
of these glorious reminiscences, telling of spots where, in the great
imperial days, throats had been victoriously cut.

As we passed down the avenue, several troops of soldiers met us: the
garde-muncipale a cheval, in brass helmets and shining jack-boots,
noble-looking men, large, on large horses, the pick of the old army, as
I have heard, and armed for the special occupation of peace-keeping: not
the most glorious, but the best part of the soldier's duty, as I fancy.
Then came a regiment of Carabineers, one of Infantry--little, alert,
brown-faced, good-humored men, their band at their head playing
sounding marches. These were followed by a regiment or detachment of the
Municipals on foot--two or three inches taller than the men of the Line,
and conspicuous for their neatness and discipline. By-and-by came a
squadron or so of dragoons of the National Guards: they are covered with
straps, buckles, aguillettes, and cartouche-boxes, and make under their
tricolor cock's-plumes a show sufficiently warlike. The point which
chiefly struck me on beholding these military men of the National Guard
and the Line, was the admirable manner in which they bore a cold that
seemed to me as sharp as the weather in the Russian retreat, through
which cold the troops were trotting without trembling and in the utmost
cheerfulness and good-humor. An aide-de-camp galloped past in white
pantaloons. By heavens! it made me shudder to look at him.

With this profound reflection, we turned away to the right towards the
hanging-bridge (where we met a detachment of young men of the Ecole de
l'Etat Major, fine-looking lads, but sadly disfigured by the wearing
of stays or belts, that make the waists of the French dandies of a most
absurd tenuity), and speedily passed into the avenue of statues leading
up to the Invalides. All these were statues of warriors from Ney to
Charlemagne, modelled in clay for the nonce, and placed here to meet the
corpse of the greatest warrior of all. Passing these, we had to walk to
a little door at the back of the Invalides, where was a crowd of persons
plunged in the deepest mourning, and pushing for places in the chapel

The chapel is spacious and of no great architectural pretensions, but
was on this occasion gorgeously decorated in honor of the great person
to whose body it was about to give shelter.

We had arrived at nine; the ceremony was not to begin, they said, till
two: we had five hours before us to see all that from our places could
be seen.

We saw that the roof, up to the first lines of architecture, was hung
with violet; beyond this with black. We saw N's, eagles, bees, laurel
wreaths, and other such imperial emblems, adorning every nook and corner
of the edifice. Between the arches, on each side of the aisle, were
painted trophies, on which were written the names of some of Napoleon's
Generals and of their principal deeds of arms--and not their deeds of
arms alone, pardi, but their coats of arms too. O stars and garters!
but this is too much. What was Ney's paternal coat, prithee, or honest
Junot's quarterings, or the venerable escutcheon of King Joachim's
father, the innkeeper?

You and I, dear Miss Smith, know the exact value of heraldic bearings.
We know that though the greatest pleasure of all is to ACT like a
gentleman, it is a pleasure, nay a merit, to BE one--to come of an old
stock, to have an honorable pedigree, to be able to say that centuries
back our fathers had gentle blood, and to us transmitted the same. There
IS a good in gentility: the man who questions it is envious, or a coarse
dullard not able to perceive the difference between high breeding and
low. One has in the same way heard a man brag that he did not know the
difference between wines, not he--give him a good glass of port, and he
would pitch all your claret to the deuce. My love, men often brag about
their own dulness in this way.

In the matter of gentlemen, democrats cry, "Psha! Give us one of
Nature's gentlemen, and hang your aristocrats." And so indeed Nature
does make SOME gentlemen--a few here and there. But Art makes most.
Good birth, that is, good handsome well-formed fathers and mothers, nice
cleanly nursery-maids, good meals, good physicians, good education,
few cares, pleasant easy habits of life, and luxuries not too great
or enervating, but only refining--a course of these going on for a few
generations are the best gentleman-makers in the world, and beat Nature

If, respected Madam, you say that there is something BETTER than
gentility in this wicked world, and that honesty and personal wealth are
more valuable than all the politeness and high-breeding that ever wore
red-heeled pumps, knights' spurs, or Hoby's boots, Titmarsh for one is
never going to say you nay. If you even go so far as to say that the
very existence of this super-genteel society among us, from the slavish
respect that we pay to it, from the dastardly manner in which we attempt
to imitate its airs and ape its vices, goes far to destroy honesty of
intercourse, to make us meanly ashamed of our natural affections and
honest, harmless usages, and so does a great deal more harm than it is
possible it can do good by its example--perhaps, Madam, you speak with
some sort of reason. Potato myself, I can't help seeing that the tulip
yonder has the best place in the garden, and the most sunshine, and the
most water, and the best tending--and not liking him over well. But I
can't help acknowledging that Nature has given him a much finer dress
than ever I can hope to have, and of this, at least, must give him the

Or say, we are so many cocks and hens, my dear (sans arriere pensee),
with our crops pretty full, our plumes pretty sleek, decent picking here
and there in the straw-yard, and tolerable snug roosting in the barn:
yonder on the terrace, in the sun, walks Peacock, stretching his proud
neck, squealing every now and then in the most pert fashionable voice
and flaunting his great supercilious dandified tail. Don't let us be too
angry, my dear, with the useless, haughty, insolent creature, because
he despises us. SOMETHING is there about Peacock that we don't possess.
Strain your neck ever so, you can't make it as long or as blue as
his--cock your tail as much as you please, and it will never be half so
fine to look at. But the most absurd, disgusting, contemptible sight
in the world would you and I be, leaving the barn-door for my lady's
flower-garden, forsaking our natural sturdy walk for the peacock's
genteel rickety stride, and adopting the squeak of his voice in the
place of our gallant lusty cock-a-doodle-dooing.

Do you take the allegory? I love to speak in such, and the above
types have been presented to my mind while sitting opposite a gimcrack
coat-of-arms and coronet that are painted in the Invalides Church, and
assigned to one of the Emperor's Generals.

Ventrebleu! Madam, what need have THEY of coats-of-arms and coronets,
and wretched imitations of old exploded aristocratic gewgaws that they
had flung out of the country--with the heads of the owners in them
sometimes, for indeed they were not particular--a score of years before?
What business, forsooth, had they to be meddling with gentility and
aping its ways, who had courage, merit, daring, genius sometimes, and
a pride of their own to support, if proud they were inclined to be? A
clever young man (who was not of high family himself, but had been bred
up genteelly at Eton and the university)--young Mr. George Canning, at
the commencement of the French Revolution, sneered at "Roland the Just,
with ribbons in his shoes," and the dandies, who then wore buckles,
voted the sarcasm monstrous killing. It was a joke, my dear, worthy of a
lackey, or of a silly smart parvenu, not knowing the society into which
his luck had cast him (God help him! in later years, they taught him
what they were!), and fancying in his silly intoxication that simplicity
was ludicrous and fashion respectable. See, now, fifty years are gone,
and where are shoebuckles? Extinct, defunct, kicked into the irrevocable
past off the toes of all Europe!

How fatal to the parvenu, throughout history, has been this respect
for shoebuckles. Where, for instance, would the Empire of Napoleon
have been, if Ney and Lannes had never sported such a thing as a
coat-of-arms, and had only written their simple names on their shields,
after the fashion of Desaix's scutcheon yonder?--the bold Republican who
led the crowning charge at Marengo, and sent the best blood of the
Holy Roman Empire to the right-about, before the wretched misbegotten
imperial heraldry was born, that was to prove so disastrous to the
father of it. It has always been so. They won't amalgamate. A country
must be governed by the one principle or the other. But give, in a
republic, an aristocracy ever so little chance, and it works and plots
and sneaks and bullies and sneers itself into place, and you find
democracy out of doors. Is it good that the aristocracy should so
triumph?--that is a question that you may settle according to your own
notions and taste; and permit me to say, I do not care twopence how you
settle it. Large books have been written upon the subject in a variety
of languages, and coming to a variety of conclusions. Great statesmen
are there in our country, from Lord Londonderry down to Mr. Vincent,
each in his degree maintaining his different opinion. But here, in the
matter of Napoleon, is a simple fact: he founded a great, glorious,
strong, potent republic, able to cope with the best aristocracies in
the world, and perhaps to beat them all; he converts his republic into
a monarchy, and surrounds his monarchy with what he calls aristocratic
institutions; and you know what becomes of him. The people estranged,
the aristocracy faithless (when did they ever pardon one who was not of
themselves?)--the imperial fabric tumbles to the ground. If it teaches
nothing else, my dear, it teaches one a great point of policy--namely,
to stick by one's party.

While these thoughts (and sundry others relative to the horrible cold of
the place, the intense dulness of delay, the stupidity of leaving a warm
bed and a breakfast in order to witness a procession that is much better
performed at a theatre)--while these thoughts were passing in the
mind, the church began to fill apace, and you saw that the hour of the
ceremony was drawing near.

Imprimis, came men with lighted staves, and set fire to at least ten
thousand wax-candles that were hanging in brilliant chandeliers in
various parts of the chapel. Curtains were dropped over the upper
windows as these illuminations were effected, and the church was left
only to the funereal light of the spermaceti. To the right was the dome,
round the cavity of which sparkling lamps were set, that designed the
shape of it brilliantly against the darkness. In the midst, and where
the altar used to stand, rose the catafalque. And why not? Who is
God here but Napoleon? and in him the sceptics have already ceased to
believe; but the people does still somewhat. He and Louis XIV. divide
the worship of the place between them.

As for the catafalque, the best that I can say for it is that it
is really a noble and imposing-looking edifice, with tall pillars
supporting a grand dome, with innumerable escutcheons, standards, and
allusions military and funereal. A great eagle of course tops the whole:
tripods burning spirits of wine stand round this kind of dead man's
throne, and as we saw it (by peering over the heads of our neighbors in
the front rank), it looked, in the midst of the black concave, and under
the effect of half a thousand flashing cross-lights, properly grand and
tall. The effect of the whole chapel, however (to speak the jargon of
the painting-room), was spoiled by being CUT UP: there were too many
objects for the eye to rest upon: the ten thousand wax-candles, for
instance, in their numberless twinkling chandeliers, the raw tranchant
colors of the new banners, wreaths, bees, N's, and other emblems dotting
the place all over, and incessantly puzzling, or rather BOTHERING the

High overhead, in a sort of mist, with the glare of their original
colors worn down by dust and time, hung long rows of dim ghostly-looking
standards, captured in old days from the enemy. They were, I thought,
the best and most solemn part of the show.

To suppose that the people were bound to be solemn during the ceremony
is to exact from them something quite needless and unnatural. The very
fact of a squeeze dissipates all solemnity. One great crowd is always,
as I imagine, pretty much like another. In the course of the last few
years I have seen three: that attending the coronation of our present
sovereign, that which went to see Courvoisier hanged, and this which
witnessed the Napoleon ceremony. The people so assembled for hours
together are jocular rather than solemn, seeking to pass away the weary
time with the best amusements that will offer. There was, to be sure,
in all the scenes above alluded to, just one moment--one particular
moment--when the universal people feels a shock and is for that second

But except for that second of time, I declare I saw no seriousness here
beyond that of ennui. The church began to fill with personages of all
ranks and conditions. First, opposite our seats came a company of fat
grenadiers of the National Guard, who presently, at the word of command,
put their muskets down against benches and wainscots, until the arrival
of the procession. For seven hours these men formed the object of the
most anxious solicitude of all the ladies and gentlemen seated on our
benches: they began to stamp their feet, for the cold was atrocious, and
we were frozen where we sat. Some of them fell to blowing their fingers;
one executed a kind of dance, such as one sees often here in cold
weather--the individual jumps repeatedly upon one leg, and kicks out the
other violently, meanwhile his hands are flapping across his chest. Some
fellows opened their cartouche-boxes, and from them drew eatables of
various kinds. You can't think how anxious we were to know the qualities
of the same. "Tiens, ce gros qui mange une cuisse de volaille!"--"Il a
du jambon, celui-la." "I should like some, too," growls an Englishman,
"for I hadn't a morsel of breakfast," and so on. This is the way, my
dear, that we see Napoleon buried.

Did you ever see a chicken escape from clown in a pantomime, and hop
over into the pit, or amongst the fiddlers? and have you not seen the
shrieks of enthusiastic laughter that the wondrous incident occasions?
We had our chicken, of course: there never was a public crowd without
one. A poor unhappy woman in a greasy plaid cloak, with a battered
rose-colored plush bonnet, was seen taking her place among the stalls
allotted to the grandees. "Voyez donc l'Anglaise," said everybody, and
it was too true. You could swear that the wretch was an Englishwoman:
a bonnet was never made or worn so in any other country. Half an hour's
delightful amusement did this lady give us all. She was whisked from
seat to seat by the huissiers, and at every change of place woke a peal
of laughter. I was glad, however, at the end of the day to see the old
pink bonnet over a very comfortable seat, which somebody had not claimed
and she had kept.

Are not these remarkable incidents? The next wonder we saw was the
arrival of a set of tottering old Invalids, who took their places under
us with drawn sabres. Then came a superb drum-major, a handsome smiling
good-humored giant of a man, his breeches astonishingly embroidered
with silver lace. Him a dozen little drummer-boys followed--"the little
darlings!" all the ladies cried out in a breath: they were indeed pretty
little fellows, and came and stood close under us: the huge drum-major
smiled over his little red-capped flock, and for many hours in the most
perfect contentment twiddled his moustaches and played with the tassels
of his cane.

Now the company began to arrive thicker and thicker. A whole covey of
Conseillers-d'Etat came in, in blue coats, embroidered with blue silk,
then came a crowd of lawyers in toques and caps, among whom were sundry
venerable Judges in scarlet, purple velvet, and ermine--a kind of
Bajazet costume. Look there! there is the Turkish Ambassador in his red
cap, turning his solemn brown face about and looking preternaturally
wise. The Deputies walk in in a body. Guizot is not there: he passed by
just now in full ministerial costume. Presently little Thiers saunters
back: what a clear, broad sharp-eyed face the fellow has, with his gray
hair cut down so demure! A servant passes, pushing through the crowd a
shabby wheel-chair. It has just brought old Moncey the Governor of the
Invalids, the honest old man who defended Paris so stoutly in 1814. He
has been very ill, and is worn down almost by infirmities: but in his
illness he was perpetually asking, "Doctor, shall I live till the 15th?
Give me till then, and I die contented." One can't help believing that
the old man's wish is honest, however one may doubt the piety of another
illustrious Marshal, who once carried a candle before Charles X. in a
procession, and has been this morning to Neuilly to kneel and pray at
the foot of Napoleon's coffin. He might have said his prayers at home,
to be sure; but don't let us ask too much: that kind of reserve is not a
Frenchman's characteristic.

Bang--bang! At about half-past two a dull sound of cannonading was heard
without the church, and signals took place between the Commandant of
the Invalids, of the National Guards, and the big drum-major. Looking to
these troops (the fat Nationals were shuffling into line again) the two
Commandants tittered, as nearly as I could catch them, the following


At once all the National bayonets were on the present, and the sabres
of the old Invalids up. The big drum-major looked round at the
children, who began very slowly and solemnly on their drums,
Rub-dub-dub--rub-dub-dub--(count two between each)--rub-dub-dub, and a
great procession of priests came down from the altar.

First, there was a tall handsome cross-bearer, bearing a long gold
cross, of which the front was turned towards his grace the Archbishop.
Then came a double row of about sixteen incense-boys, dressed in white
surplices: the first boy, about six years old, the last with whiskers
and of the height of a man. Then followed a regiment of priests in black
tippets and white gowns: they had black hoods, like the moon when she is
at her third quarter, wherewith those who were bald (many were, and fat
too) covered themselves. All the reverend men held their heads meekly
down, and affected to be reading in their breviaries.

After the Priests came some Bishops of the neighboring districts, in
purple, with crosses sparkling on their episcopal bosoms.

Then came, after more priests, a set of men whom I have never seen
before--a kind of ghostly heralds, young and handsome men, some of them
in stiff tabards of black and silver, their eyes to the ground, their
hands placed at right angles with their chests.

Then came two gentlemen bearing remarkable tall candlesticks, with
candles of corresponding size. One was burning brightly, but the wind
(that chartered libertine) had blown out the other, which nevertheless
kept its place in the procession--I wondered to myself whether the
reverend gentleman who carried the extinguished candle, felt disgusted,
humiliated, mortified--perfectly conscious that the eyes of many
thousands of people were bent upon that bit of refractory wax. We all of
us looked at it with intense interest.

Another cross-bearer, behind whom came a gentleman carrying an
instrument like a bedroom candlestick.

His Grandeur Monseigneur Affre, Archbishop of Paris: he was in black and
white, his eyes were cast to the earth, his hands were together at right
angles from his chest: on his hands were black gloves, and on the black
gloves sparkled the sacred episcopal--what do I say?--archiepiscopal
ring. On his head was the mitre. It is unlike the godly coronet that
figures upon the coach-panels of our own Right Reverend Bench. The
Archbishop's mitre may be about a yard high: formed within probably of
consecrated pasteboard, it is without covered by a sort of watered silk
of white and silver. On the two peaks at the top of the mitre are two
very little spangled tassels, that frisk and twinkle about in a very
agreeable manner.

Monseigneur stood opposite to us for some time, when I had the
opportunity to note the above remarkable phenomena. He stood opposite me
for some time, keeping his eyes steadily on the ground, his hands before
him, a small clerical train following after. Why didn't they move? There
was the National Guard keeping on presenting arms, the little drummers
going on rub-dub-dub--rub-dub-dub--in the same steady, slow way, and the
Procession never moved an inch. There was evidently, to use an elegant
phrase, a hitch somewhere.

[Enter a fat priest who bustles up to the drum-major.]

Fat priest--"Taisez-vous."

Little drummer--Rub-dub-dub--rub-dub-dub--rub-dub-dub, &c.

Drum-major--"Qu'est-ce donc?"

Fat priest--"Taisez-vous, dis-je; ce n'est pas le corps. Il n'arrivera
pas--pour une heure."

The little drums were instantly hushed, the procession turned to the
right-about, and walked back to the altar again, the blown-out candle
that had been on the near side of us before was now on the off side,
the National Guards set down their muskets and began at their sandwiches
again. We had to wait an hour and a half at least before the great
procession arrived. The guns without went on booming all the while at
intervals, and as we heard each, the audience gave a kind of "ahahah!"
such as you hear when the rockets go up at Vauxhall.

At last the real Procession came.

Then the drums began to beat as formerly, the Nationals to get under
arms, the clergymen were sent for and went, and presently--yes, there
was the tall cross-bearer at the head of the procession, and they came

They chanted something in a weak, snuffling, lugubrious manner, to the
melancholy bray of a serpent.

Crash! however, Mr. Habeneck and the fiddlers in the organ loft pealed
out a wild shrill march, which stopped the reverend gentlemen, and in
the midst of this music--

And of a great trampling of feet and clattering,

And of a great crowd of Generals and Officers in fine clothes,

With the Prince de Joinville marching quickly at the head of the

And while everybody's heart was thumping as hard as possible,


It was done in an instant. A box covered with a great red cross--a
dingy-looking crown lying on the top of it--Seamen on one side and
Invalids on the other--they had passed in an instant and were up the

A faint snuffling sound, as before, was heard from the officiating
priests, but we knew of nothing more. It is said that old Louis Philippe
was standing at the catafalque, whither the Prince de Joinville advanced
and said, "Sire, I bring you the body of the Emperor Napoleon."

Louis Philippe answered, "I receive it in the name of France." Bertrand
put on the body the most glorious victorious sword that ever has been
forged since the apt descendants of the first murderer learned how to
hammer steel; and the coffin was placed in the temple prepared for it.

The six hundred singers and the fiddlers now commenced the playing and
singing of a piece of music; and a part of the crew of the "Belle
Poule" skipped into the places that had been kept for them under us, and
listened to the music, chewing tobacco. While the actors and fiddlers
were going on, most of the spirits-of-wine lamps on altars went out.

When we arrived in the open air we passed through the court of the
Invalids, where thousands of people had been assembled, but where the
benches were now quite bare. Then we came on to the terrace before the
place: the old soldiers were firing off the great guns, which made a
dreadful stunning noise, and frightened some of us, who did not care to
pass before the cannon and be knocked down even by the wadding. The guns
were fired in honor of the King, who was going home by a back door. All
the forty thousand people who covered the great stands before the Hotel
had gone away too. The Imperial Barge had been dragged up the river, and
was lying lonely along the Quay, examined by some few shivering people
on the shore.

It was five o'clock when we reached home: the stars were shining keenly
out of the frosty sky, and Francois told me that dinner was just ready.

In this manner, my dear Miss Smith, the great Napoleon was buried.


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William Makepeace Thackeray (AKA "Michael Angelo Titmarch")


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