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قراءة كتاب Napoleon Bonaparte

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‏اللغة: English
Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 10

Cenis, he met the carriage of Madame Kellerman, who was going to Italy to join her husband. Napoleon ordered his carriage to be stopped, and alighting, greeted the lady with great courtesy, and congratulated her upon the gallant conduct of her husband at Marengo. As he was riding along one day, Bourrienne spoke of the world-wide renown which the First Consul had attained.

"Yes," Napoleon thoughtfully replied. "A few more events like this campaign, and my name may perhaps go down to posterity."

"I think," Bourrienne rejoined, "that you have already done enough to secure a long and lasting fame."

"Done enough!" Napoleon replied. "You are very good! It is true that in less than two years I have conquered Cairo, Paris, Milan. But were I to die to-morrow, half a page of general history would be all that would be devoted to my exploits."

Napoleon's return to Paris, through the provinces of France, was a scene of constant triumph. The joy of the people amounted almost to frenzy. Bonfires, illuminations, the pealing of bells, and the thunders of artillery accompanied him all the way. Long lines of young maidens, selected for their grace and beauty, formed avenues of loveliness and smiles through which he was to pass, and carpeted his path with flowers. He arrived in Paris at midnight the 2d of July, having been absent but eight weeks.

The enthusiasm of the Parisians was unbounded and inexhaustible. Day after day, and night after night, the festivities continued. The Palace of the Tuileries was ever thronged with a crowd, eager to catch a glimpse of the preserver of France. All the public bodies waited upon him with congratulations. Bells rung, cannon thundered, bonfires and illuminations blazed, rockets and fire-works, in meteoric splendor filled the air, bands of music poured forth their exuberant strains, and united Paris, thronging the garden of the Tuileries and flooding back into the Elysian Fields, rent the heavens with deafening shouts of exultation. As Napoleon stood at the window of his palace, witnessing this spectacle of a nation's gratitude, he said, "The sound of these acclamations is as sweet to me, as the voice of Josephine. How happy I am to be beloved by such a people." Preparations were immediately made for a brilliant and imposing solemnity in commemoration of the victory. "Let no triumphal arch be raised to me," said Napoleon. "I wish for no triumphal arch but the public satisfaction."

It is not strange that enthusiasm and gratitude should have glowed in the ardent bosoms of the French. In four months Napoleon had raised France from an abyss of ruin to the highest pinnacle of prosperity and renown. For anarchy he had substituted law, for bankruptcy a well-replenished treasury, for ignominious defeat resplendent victory, for universal discontent as universal satisfaction. The invaders were driven from France, the hostile alliance broken, and the blessings of peace were now promised to the war-harassed nation.