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The Happy Days of the Empress Marie Louise   By: (1834-1900)

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First Page:

THE HAPPY DAYS

OF

THE EMPRESS MARIE LOUISE

BY

IMBERT DE SAINT AMAND

TRANSLATED BY THOMAS SERGEANT PERRY

ILLUSTRATED

CONTENTS.

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER

I. EARLY YEARS

II. 1809

III. THE PRELIMINARIES OP THE WEDDING

IV. THE BETROTHAL

V. THE RELIGIOUS DIFFICULTY

VI. THE AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY

VII. THE WEDDING AT VIENNA

VIII. THE DEPARTURE

IX. THE TRANSFER

X. THE JOURNEY

XI. COMPIÈGNE

XII. THE CIVIL WEDDING

XIII. THE ENTRANCE INTO PARIS

XIV. THE RELIGIOUS CEREMONY

XV. THE HONEYMOON

XVI. THE TRIP IN THE NORTH

XVII. THE MONTH OF JUNE, 1810

XVIII. THE BALL AT THE AUSTRIAN EMBASSY

XIX. THE BIRTH OF THE KING OF ROME

XX. THE RECOVERY

XXI. THE BAPTISM

XXII. SAINT CLOUD AND TRIANON

XXIII. THE TRIP TO HOLLAND

XXIV. NAPOLEON AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS POWER

XXV. MARIE LOUISE IN 1812

XXVI. THE EMPRESS'S HOUSEHOLD

XXVII. DRESDEN

XXVIII. PRAGUE

THE HAPPY DAYS

OF

THE EMPRESS MARIE LOUISE

INTRODUCTION.

In 1814, while Napoleon was banished in the island of Elba, the Empress Marie Louise and her grandmother, Marie Caroline, Queen of Naples, happened to meet at Vienna. The one, who had been deprived of the French crown, was seeking to be put in possession of her new realm, the Duchy of Parma; the other, who had fled from Sicily to escape the yoke of her pretended protectors, the English, had come to demand the restitution of her kingdom of Naples, where Murat continued to rule with the connivance of Austria. This Queen, Marie Caroline, the daughter of the great Empress, Maria Theresa, and the sister of the unfortunate Marie Antoinette, had passed her life in detestation of the French Revolution and of Napoleon, of whom she had been one of the most eminent victims. Well, at the very moment when the Austrian court was doing its best to make Marie Louise forget that she was Napoleon's wife and to separate her from him forever, Marie Caroline was pained to see her granddaughter lend too ready an ear to their suggestions. She said to the Baron de Méneval, who had accompanied Marie Louise to Vienna: "I have had, in my time, very good cause for complaining of your Emperor; he has persecuted me and wounded my pride, I was then at least fifteen years old, but now I remember only one thing, that he is unfortunate." Then she went on to say that if they tried to keep husband and wife apart, Marie Louise would have to tie her bedclothes to her window and run away in disguise. "That," she exclaimed, "that's what I should do in her place; for when people are married, they are married for their whole life!"

If a woman like Queen Marie Caroline, a sister of Marie Antoinette, a queen driven from her throne by Napoleon, could feel in this way, it is easy to understand the severity with which those of the French who were devoted to the Emperor, regarded the conduct of his ungrateful wife. In the same way, Josephine, in spite of her occasionally frivolous conduct, has retained her popularity, because she was tender, kind, and devoted, even after she was divorced; while Marie Louise has been criticised, because after loving, or saying that she loved, the mighty Emperor, she deserted him when he was a prisoner. The contrast between her conduct and that of the wife of King Jerome, the noble and courageous Catherine of Wurtemberg, who endured every danger, and all sorts of persecutions, to share her husband's exile and poverty, has set in an even clearer light the faults of Marie Louise. She has been blamed for not having joined Napoleon at Elba, for not having even tried to temper his sufferings at Saint Helena, for not consoling him in any way, for not even writing to him. The former Empress of the French has been also more severely condemned for her two morganatic marriages, one with Count Neipperg, an Austrian general and a bitter enemy of Napoleon, the other with Count de Bombelles, a Frenchman who left France to enter the Austrian service. Certainly Marie Louise was neither a model wife nor a model widow, and there is nothing surprising in the severity with which her contemporaries judged her, a severity which doubtless history will not modify... Continue reading book >>




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