There is a theory held by some observers that the man who fails in his duty to a woman who has claims upon his love and his protection, never afterwards prospers; and perhaps the most striking illustration of this theory may be found in the career of the Emperor Napoleon. Nothing went well with him after his divorce from Josephine. His only son died. The children of his brothers, with the exception of Louis Napoleon, and the Prince de Canino, the son of Lucien, were all ordinary men, inclined to the fast life of their period; while the descendants of Josephine, honored and respected, are now connected with many European thrones.

The son of Napoleon, called by his grandfather, the Austrian emperor, the Duc de Reichstadt, but by his own Bonaparte family Napoleon II., died at Vienna, July 22, 1832. The person from whom, during his short, sad life, he had received most kindness, and to whom, during his illness, he was indebted for almost maternal care, was the young wife of his cousin Francis, the Princess Sophia of Bavaria, who in the same week that he died, became the mother of Maximilian, the unfortunate Emperor of Mexico, who, exactly thirty-five years after, on July 22, 1867, was shot at Queretaro.

The Emperor Napoleon had made a decree that if male heirs failed him, his dynasty should be continued by the sons of his brother Joseph. Lucien, the republican, was passed over, as well as his descendants; and Joseph failing of male heirs, the throne of France was to devolve on Louis, king of Holland, and his heirs. Joseph left only daughters, Zenaide and Charlotte. Louis Bonaparte when he died, left but one son.

Louis Bonaparte was nine years younger than his brother Napoleon, who by no right of primogeniture, but by right of success, was early looked upon as the head of the family of Bonaparte. He assumed the place of father to his little brother Louis, and a very unsatisfactory father he proved. Louis was studious, poetical, solid, honorable, and unambitious. His brother was resolved to make him a distinguished general and an able king. He succeeded in making him a brave soldier and a very good general; but Louis had no enthusiasm for the profession of arms. He hated bloodshed, and above all he hated sack and pillage. He had no genius, and crooked ways of any kind were abhorrent to him. When a very young man he fell passionately in love with a lady, whom he called his Sophie. But his brother and the world thought the real name of the object of his affection was Emilie de Beauharnais, the Empress Josephine's niece by marriage. This lady became afterwards the wife of M. de La Vallette, Napoleon's postmaster-general, who after the return of the Bourbons in 1815, was condemned to death with Ney and Labedoyere. His wife saved him by changing clothes with him in prison; but the fearful strain her nerves suffered until she was sure of his escape, unsettled her reason. She was not sent to an asylum, but lived to a great age in an appartement in Paris, carefully tended and watched over by her friends.[1]

[Footnote 1: Jerrold's Life of Napoleon III.]

But whether it was with a Sophie or an Emilie, Louis Bonaparte fell in love, and Hortense de Beauharnais, the daughter of Josephine, gay, lively, poetical, and enthusiastic, had given her heart to General Duroc, the Emperor Napoleon's aide-de-camp; therefore both the young people resisted the darling project of Napoleon and Josephine to marry them to each other. By such a marriage Josephine hoped to avert the divorce that she saw to be impending. She fancied that if sons were born to the young couple, Napoleon would be content to leave his throne to the heir of his brother Louis, whom he had adopted, and of his step-daughter, of whom he was very fond. But Louis would not marry Hortense, and Hortense would not have Louis. At last, however, in the excitement of a ball, a reluctant consent was wrung from Louis; then Hortense was coerced into being a good French girl, and giving up Duroc. She and Louis were married. A more unhappy marriage never took place. Husband and wife were separated by an insurmountable (or at least unsurmounted) incompatibility of temperament. Louis was a man whose first thought was duty. Hortense loved only gayety and pleasure. He particularly objected to her dancing; she was one of the most graceful dancers ever seen, and would not give it up to please him. In short, she was all graceful, captivating frivolity; he, rigid and exacting. Both had burning memories in their hearts of what "might have been," and above all, after Louis became king of Holland, each took opposite political views. Louis wanted to govern Holland as the good king of the Dutch; Napoleon expected him to govern it in the interests of his dynasty, and as a Frenchman. The brothers disagreed most bitterly. Napoleon wrote indignant, unjust letters to Louis. Hortense took Napoleon's side in the quarrel, and led a French party at the Dutch court.

Intense was the grief of Louis and Hortense, Napoleon and Josephine, when the eldest son of this marriage, the child on whom their hopes were set, died of the croup at an early age. Hortense was wholly prostrated by her loss. She had still one son, and was soon to have another. The expected child was Charles Louis Napoleon, who was to become afterwards Napoleon III.

Soon after Louis Napoleon's birth, King Louis abdicated the throne of Holland. He said he could not do justice to the interests and wishes of his people, and satisfy his brother at the same time. He retired to Florence, where he lived for many years, only once more coming back to public life, viz., in 1814, to offer his help to his brother Napoleon, when others were deserting him.

Napoleon was very fond of Hortense's little boys, though in 1811 he had completed his divorce, had married the Austrian archduchess, and had a son of his own.

Louis Napoleon has left us some fragmentary reminiscences of his childhood, which have a curious interest.

"My earliest recollections," he says, "go back to my baptism, and I hasten to remark that I was three years old when I was baptized, in 1810, in the chapel at Fontainebleau. The emperor was my godfather, and the Empress Marie Louise was my godmother. Then my memory carries me back to Malmaison. I can still see my grandmother, the Empress Josephine, in her salon, on the ground floor, covering me with her caresses, and, even then, flattering my vanity by the care with which she retailed my bons mots; for my grandmother spoiled me in every particular, whereas my mother, from my tenderest years, tried to correct my faults and to develop my good qualities. I remember that once arrived at Malmaison, my brother and I were masters to do as we pleased. The empress, who passionately loved flowers and conservatories, allowed us to cut her sugar-canes, that we might suck them, and she always told us to ask for anything we might want.

"One day, when she wished to know as usual, what we would like best, my brother, who was three years older than I, and consequently more full of sentiment, asked for a watch, with a portrait of our mother; but I, when the empress said: 'Louis, ask for whatever will give you the greatest pleasure,' begged to be allowed to go out and paddle in the gutter with the little boys in the street. Indeed, until I was seven years old it was a great grief to me to have to ride always in a carriage with four or six horses. When, in 1815, just before the arrival of the allied army in Paris, we were hurried by our tutor to a hiding-place, and passed on foot along the Boulevards, I felt the keenest sensations of happiness within my recollection. Like all children, though perhaps even more than most children, soldiers fixed my attention. Whenever at Malmaison I could escape from the salon, I was off to the great gates, where there were always grenadiers of the Garde Imperiale. One day, from a ground-floor window I entered into conversation with one of these old grognards who was on duty. He answered me laughing. I called out: 'I know my drill. I have a little musket!' Then the grenadier asked me to put him through his drill, and thus we were found, I shouting, 'Present arms! Carry arms! Attention!' the old grenadier obeying, to please me. Imagine my happiness! I often went with my brother to breakfast with the emperor. When he entered the room, he would come up to us, take our heads in his hands, and so lift us on the table. This frightened my mother very much, Dr. Corvisart having told her that such treatment was very bad for children."

The day before the Emperor Napoleon left Paris for the campaign of Waterloo, Hortense carried her boys to the Tuileries to take leave of him. Little Louis Napoleon contrived to run alone to his uncle's cabinet, where he was closeted with Marshal Soult. As soon as the boy saw the emotion in the emperor's face, he ran up to him, and burying his head in his lap, sobbed out: "Our governess says you are going to the wars, - don't go; don't go, Uncle." "And why not, Louis? I shall soon come back." "Oh, Uncle, those wicked allies will kill you! Let me go with you." The emperor took the boy upon his knee and kissed him. Then, turning to Soult, who was moved by the little scene, he said, "Here, Marshal, kiss him; he will have a tender heart and a lofty spirit; he is perhaps the hope of my race."

After Waterloo, the emperor, who passed one night in Paris, kissed the children at the last moment, with his foot upon the step of the carriage that was to carry him the first stage of his journey to St. Helena.

After this, Hortense and her boys were not allowed to live in France. Protected by an aide-de-camp of Prince Schwartzenberg, they reached Lake Constance, on the farthest limits of Switzerland. There, after a while, Queen Hortense converted a gloomy old country seat into a refined and beautiful home. A great trial, however, awaited her. King Louis demanded the custody of their eldest son, and little Napoleon was taken from his mother, leaving her only Louis. Louis had always been a "mother's boy," frail in health, thoughtful, grave, loving, and full of sentiment.

Hortense's life at Arenenberg was varied in the winter by visits to Rome. Her husband lived in Florence, and they corresponded about their boys. But though they met once again in after years, they were husband and wife no more. Indeed, charming as Hortense was to all the circle that surrounded her, tender as a mother, and devoted as a friend, her conduct as a wife was not free from reproach. She was a coquette by nature, and it is undeniable that more than one man claimed to have been her lover.

After a while her son Louis went for four years to college at Heidelberg. Mother and son never forget the possibilities that might lie before them. When the Italian revolution broke out, in 1832, Hortense went to Rome, both her sons being at that time in Florence with their father. Although the elder was newly married to his cousin, the daughter of King Joseph, both he and Louis were full of restlessness, and caught the revolutionary fervor. They contrived to escape from their father's house and to join the insurgents, to the great displeasure of both father and mother; but they were fired by enthusiasm for Italian liberty, and took the oaths as Carbonari.

King Louis and Queen Hortense were exceedingly distressed; both foresaw the hopelessness of the Italian rising. Queen Hortense went at once to Florence to consult her husband, and it was arranged that she should go in pursuit of her sons, inducing them, if possible, to give up all connection with so hopeless a cause. But before she reached them, the insurgents, who seem to have had no fixed plan and no competent leader, had come to the conclusion that Bonapartes were not wanted in a struggle for republicanism; they therefore requested the young men to withdraw, and their mother went after them to Ancona. On her way she was met by her son Louis, who was coming to tell her that his brother was dead. There has always been mystery concerning the death of this young Napoleon. The accredited account is that he sickened with the measles, and died at a roadside inn on his way to Ancona. The unhappy mother went into that little town upon the Adriatic with her youngest son; but she soon found that the Austrians, having come to the help of the Pope, were at its gates. Louis, too, had sickened with the measles. She hid him in an inner chamber, and spread a report that he had escaped to Corfu. She had with her an English passport for an English lady, travelling to England with her two sons. She was obliged to substitute a young Italian, who was compromised, for her dead son; and as soon as Louis could rise from his bed, they set out, meeting With many adventures until they got beyond the boundaries of Italy. Under cover of their English passport they crossed France, and visited the Chateau of Fontainebleau, where the mother pointed out to her son the scenes of his childhood.

The death of the Duc de Reichstadt in July, 1832, caused Louis Napoleon to consider himself the head of the Napoleonic family. According to M. Claude, the French Minister of Police, he came on this occasion into Paris, and remained there long enough to dabble in conspiracy.

After spending a few months in England, mother and son went back to Arenenberg, where they kept up a close correspondence with all malcontents in France. The Legitimists preferred them the house of Orleans, and the republicans of that period - judging from their writings as well as their acts - evidently believed that Louis Napoleon, now head of the house of Bonaparte, represented republican principles based on universal suffrage, as well as the glories of France.

One fine morning in October, 1836, Louis took leave of his mother at Arenenberg, telling her that he was going to visit his cousins at Baden. Stephanie de Beauharnais in the days of the Empire had been married to the Grand Duke of that little country. Queen Hortense knew her son's real destination, no doubt, for she took leave of him with great emotion, and hung around his neck a relic which Napoleon had taken from the corpse of the Emperor Charlemagne when his tomb was opened at Aix-la-Chapelle. It was a tiny fragment of wood, said to be from the True Cross, set beneath a brilliant emerald. It seems possible that this may have been the little ornament found on the neck of the Prince Imperial after his corpse was stripped by savages in Zululand.

With this talisman against evil, and with the wedding-ring with which Napoleon had married Josephine, upon his finger, Prince Louis Napoleon set out upon an expedition so rash that we can hardly bring ourselves to associate it with the character popularly ascribed to the Third Emperor Napoleon.

His plan was to overturn the government of Louis Philippe, and then appeal to the people by a plebiscite, - i. e., a question to be answered yes or no by universal suffrage. This same plan he carried out successfully several times during his reign.

He went from Arenenberg to Baden-Baden,[1] where he made his final arrangements. Strasburg was to be the scene of his first attempt, and at Baden-Baden he had an interview with Colonel Vambery, who commanded the Fourth Regiment of Artillery, part of the Strasburg garrison.

[Footnote 1: Louis Blanc, Dix Ans.]

Louis Blanc, the republican and socialist historian, writing in 1843, speaks thus of Louis Napoleon: -

"Brought up in exile, unfamiliar with France, Louis Bonaparte had assumed that the bourgeoisie remembered only that the Empire had curbed the Revolution, established social order, and given France the Code Napoleon. He fancied that the working-classes would follow the eagle with enthusiasm the moment it appeared, borne, as of old, at the head of regiments, and heralded by the sound of trumpets. A twofold error! The things the bourgeoisie in 1836 remembered most distinctly about Napoleon were his despotism and his taste for war; and the most lasting impression of him amongst the most intelligent in the working-classes was that whilst sowing the seeds of democratic aspiration throughout Europe, he had carefully weeded out all democratic tendencies in his own dominions."

But though Louis Blanc is right in saying that the evil that Napoleon did, lived after him in the memories of thinking men, it is also true that those born since the fall of the Second Empire can have no idea of the general enthusiasm that still lingered in France in Louis Philippe's reign, round memories of the glories of Napoleon. Men might not wish him back again, but they worshipped him as the national demigod. After Sedan he was pulled down literally and metaphorically from his pedestal; and the old feelings about him which half a century ago even foreign nations seemed to share, now seem obsolete and extravagant to readers of Lanfrey and the books of Erckmann-Chatrian.

Even in 1836, when Louis Napoleon in secret entered Strasburg, he was surprised and disappointed to find that those on whom he had counted to assist him in making the important "first step" in his career, were very doubtful of its prudence. He had counted on the co-operation of General Voirol, an old soldier of the Empire who was in command of the Department in which Strasburg was situated; but when he wrote him a letter, in the most moving terms appealing to his affection for the emperor, the old general not only declined to join the plot, but warned the Prefect of Strasburg that mischief was on foot, though he did not mention in what quarter. The Government in Paris seems, however, to have concluded that it would be best to let a plot so very rash come to a head. There was a public singer, calling herself Madame Gordon, at Baden, who flung herself eagerly into the conspiracy. Louis Napoleon on quitting Arenenberg had expected to meet several generals of distinction, who had served under his uncle, at a certain trysting-place between Arenenberg and Strasburg. He waited for them three days, but they never came. He then resolved to continue his campaign without their aid or encouragement, and entered Strasburg secretly on the night of Oct. 28, 1836. The next morning he had an interview with Colonel Vambery, who endeavored to dissuade him from his enterprise.

Vambery's prudent reasons made no impression on the prince, and he then promised his assistance. Having done so, Louis Napoleon offered him a paper, securing a pension of 10,000 francs to each of his two children, in case he should be killed. The colonel tore it up, saying, "I give, but do not sell, my blood." Major Parquin, an old soldier of the Empire, who was in the garrison, had been already won. On the night of the prince's arrival the conspirators met at his lodging.

Three regiments of infantry, three regiments of artillery, and a battalion of engineers formed the garrison at Strasburg. The wisest course would have been to appeal first to the third regiment of artillery; but other counsels prevailed. The fourth artillery, whose adhesion to the cause was doubtful, was chosen for the first attempt. All depended upon the impression made upon this regiment, which was the one in which Napoleon had served when captain of artillery at Toulon.

The night was spent in making preparations. Proclamations were drawn up addressed to the soldiers, to the city, and to France; and the first step was to be the seizure of a printing-office.

At five o'clock in the morning the signal was given. The soldiers of the fourth regiment of artillery were roused by the beating of the assemblee. They rushed, half-dressed, on to their parade-ground. Louis Napoleon, whose fate it was never to be ready, was not prompt even on this occasion; he was finishing two letters to his mother. One was to be sent to her at once if he succeeded, the other if he failed.

On entering the barrack-yard he found the soldiers waiting, drawn up in line. On his arrival the colonel (Vambery) presented him to the troops as the nephew of Napoleon. He wore an artillery uniform. A cheer rose from the line. Then Louis Napoleon, clasping a gilt eagle brought to him by one of the officers, made a speech to the men, which was well received. His cause seemed won.

Next, followed by the troops, but exciting little enthusiasm in the streets of Strasburg as he passed along them in the gray dawn of a cloudy day, Louis Napoleon made his way to the quarters of General Voirol. The general emphatically refused to join the movement, and a guard was at once set over him.

Up to this moment all had smiled upon the enterprise. The printing of the proclamations was going rapidly on, the third regiment of artillery was bringing out its guns and horses, and the inhabitants of Strasburg, roused from their beds, were watching the movement as spectators, prepared to assist it or to oppose it, according as it made its way to success or failure.

The prince, and the troops who supported him, next marched to the barracks of the infantry. On their road they lost their way, and approached the barracks in such a manner that they left themselves only a narrow alley to retreat by, in case of failure.

On the prince presenting himself to the guard, an old soldier of the army of Napoleon kneeled and kissed his hand, when suddenly one of the officers, who had his quarters in the town, rushed upon the scene with his sword drawn, crying: "Soldiers, you are deceived! This man is not the nephew of the Emperor Napoleon, he is an impostor, - a relative of Colonel Vambery!"

This turned the tide. Whilst the soldiers stood irresolute, the colonel of the regiment arrived. For a few moments he was in danger from the adherents of the prince. His own soldiers rushed to his rescue. A tumult ensued. The little band of Imperialists was surrounded, and their cause was lost.

Louis Napoleon yielded himself a prisoner. One or two of the conspirators, among them Madame Gordon, managed to escape; the rest were captured.

News was at once sent by telegraph to Paris; but the great wooden-armed telegraph-stations were in those days uncertain and unmanageable. Only half of the telegram reached the Tuileries, where the king and his ministers sat up all night waiting for more news. At daybreak of October 30 a courier arrived, and then they learned that the rising had been suppressed, and that the prince and his confederates were in prison.

Meantime the young officer in charge of Louis Napoleon's two letters to Queen Hortense had prematurely come to the conclusion that the prince was meeting with success, and had hurried off the letter announcing the good news to his mother.

How to dispose of such a capture as the head of the house of Bonaparte was a great puzzle to Louis Philippe's ministers. They dared not bring him to trial; they dared not treat him harshly. In the end he was carried to Paris, lodged for a few days in the Conciergerie, and then sent off, without being told his destination, to Cherbourg, where he was put on board a French frigate which sailed with orders not to be opened till she reached the equator. There it was found that her destination was Rio Janeiro, where she was not to suffer the prince to land, but after a leisurely voyage she was to put him ashore in the United States.

As the vessel was about to put to sea, an official personage waited on the prince, and after inquiring if he had funds enough to pay his expenses on landing, handed him, on the the part of Louis Philippe, a considerable sum.

On reaching Norfolk, Virginia, the prince landed, and learned, to his very great relief, that all his fellow-conspirators had been tried before a jury at Strasburg, and acquitted!

He learned too, shortly afterwards, that his mother was very ill. The shock of his misfortune, and the great exertions she had made on his behalf when she thought his life might be in danger, had proved too much for her. Louis Napoleon recrossed the ocean, landed in England, and made his way to Arenenberg. He was just in time to see Queen Hortense on her death-bed, to receive her last wishes, and to hear her last sigh.

After her death the French Government insisted that the Swiss Confederacy must compel Louis Napoleon to leave their territory. The Swiss refused, repaired the fortifications of Geneva, and made ready for a war with France; but Louis Napoleon of his own free will relieved the Swiss Government from all embarrassment by passing over into England, where it was not long before he made preparations for a new attempt to overthrow Louis Philippe's government.

He lived quietly in London at that period, visiting few persons except Count D'Orsay at Gore House, the residence of Lady Blessington, and occupying himself a great deal with writing. He had already completed a Manual of Artillery, and was engaged on a book that he called "Les Idees napoleoniennes." Its principal "idea" was that France wanted an emperor, a definite head, but that she also needed extreme democratic principles. Therefore an empire ought to be founded on an expression of the will of the people, - in plain words, on universal suffrage. The mistake Napoleon III. made in his after career, as well as in his "Idees napoleoniennes," was in not perceiving that an empire without military glory would become a pool of corruption, while vast military efforts, which would embroil France with all Europe, would lose the support of the bourgeoisie. "In short," as Louis Blanc has said, "he imagined a despotism without its triumphs; a throne surrounded by court favorites, but without Europe at its footstool; a great name, with no great man to bear it, - the Empire, in short, minus its Napoleon!"

During the months that Louis Napoleon passed in London he was maturing the plot of a new enterprise. He was collecting round him his adherents, some of them Carbonaro leaders, with whom he had been associated in Italy. Some were his personal friends; some were men whose devotion to the First Napoleon made them ashamed to refuse to support his nephew, even in an insurrection that they disapproved; while some were mere adventurers.

Very few persons were admitted to his full confidence; the affair was managed by a clique, "the members of which had been previously sounded; and in general those were set aside who could not embark in the undertaking heart and hand."

By all these men Louis Napoleon was treated as an imperial personage. To the Italians he stood pledged, and had stood pledged since 1831, that if they helped him to ascend the throne of France, he would fight afterwards for the cause of Italy. This pledge he redeemed at Solferino and Magenta, but not till after some impatient, rash Italians (believing him forsworn) had attempted his assassination.

In vain he was advised to wait, to let Louis Philippe's Government fall to the ground for want of a foundation. He had made his decision, and was resolved to adhere to it, not fearing to make that step which lies between the sublime and the ridiculous.

The attempt had been in preparation ever since Louis Napoleon had arrived in England. There were about forty of his adherents living in London at his expense, awaiting the moment for action. What form that action was to take, none of them knew.[1] It was resolved to make the movement in the month of August, 1840. The prince calculated that the remains of his great uncle, restored by England to France, being by that time probably on their way from St. Helena, public enthusiasm for the great emperor would be at its height, and that he would have the honor of receiving those revered remains when they had been brought back from exile by Louis Philippe's son. Besides this, the garrisons of northern France happened at that moment to contain the two regiments whose fidelity he had tampered with at Strasburg four years before.

[Footnote 1: In this account I am largely indebted to the interesting narrative of Count Joseph Orsi, an Italian banker, Prince Louis Napoleon's stanch personal friend.]

Of course there were French agents of police (detectives, as we call them) watching the prince in London; and this made it necessary that he should be very circumspect in making his preparations. A steamer, the "Edinburgh Castle," was secretly engaged. The owners and the captain were informed that she was chartered by some young men for a pleasure-trip to Hamburg.

On Tuesday, Aug. 4, 1840, the "Edinburgh Castle" came up the Thames, and was moored alongside a wharf facing the custom-house. As soon as she was at the wharf, Count Orsi, who seems to have been the most business-like man of the party, shipped nine horses, a travelling carriage, and a large van containing seventy rifles and as many uniforms. Proclamations had been printed in advance; they were placed in a large box, together with a little store of gold, which formed the prince's treasure.

At dawn all this was done, and the "Edinburgh Castle" started down the river. At London Bridge she took in thirteen men, and at Greenwich three more. At Blackwall some of the most important conspirators came on board. The boat reached Gravesend about two o'clock, where twelve more men joined them. Only three or four of those on board knew where they were going, or what was expected of them. They were simply obeying orders.

At Gravesend the prince was to have joined his followers, and the "Edinburgh Castle" was at once to have put to sea, touching, however, at Ramsgate before crossing the Channel. Those on board waited and waited, but no prince came. Only five persons in the vessel (one of whom was Charles Thelin, the prince's valet) knew what they were there for.

For some time the passengers were kept quiet by breakfast. Then, having no one at their head, they began to grow unruly. Those in the secret were terribly afraid that the river police might take notice of the large number of foreigners on board, especially as the vessel claimed to be an excursion-boat, and not a petticoat was visible. It was all important to catch the tide, - all important to reach Boulogne before sunrise on the 5th of August, when their friends expected them. But no prince came.

Major Parquin, who had been one of the Strasburg conspirators, was particularly unmanageable; and late in the afternoon he insisted on going ashore to buy some cigars, saying that those on board were detestable. In vain Persigny and Orsi, who in the prince's absence considered themselves to be in command, assured him that to land was impossible; Parquin would not recognize their authority. The rest of the story I will tell in Count Orsi's own words. He wrote his account in "Fraser's Magazine," 1879: -

"The wrath of the major was extreme. There was danger in his anger. I consulted Persigny on the advisability of letting him go on shore, with the distinct understanding that he should be accompanied by me or by Charles Thelin."

The truth, it may be suspected, was that Parquin was drunk, or that, having suspected the object of the expedition, he had some especial object in going ashore, which he would not reveal to his fellow-conspirators.

"Persigny," continues Count Orsi, "consented to the idea, and Parquin and I got into the boat. The vessel was lying in the stream. Thelin was with us. As we were walking to the cigar-shop, the major remarked a boy sitting on a log of wood and feeding a tame eagle with shreds of meat. The eagle had a chain fastened to one of its claws. The major turned twice to look at it, and went on without saying a word. On our way back to the boat, however, we saw the boy within two yards of the landing-place. The major went up to him, and looking at the eagle, said in French, 'Is it for sale?' The boy did not understand him. 'My dear Major,' I said, 'I hope you do not intend to buy that eagle. We have other things to attend to. For Heaven's sake, come away!' 'Why not? I will have it. Ask him what he asks for it.'"

The major paid a sovereign for the eagle, and this unlucky purchase was the cause that endless ridicule was cast on the expedition. It has always been supposed that the eagle was one of the "properties" provided for the occasion, and that it was intended to perch on the Napoleon Column at Boulogne. It may well be supposed that this is not far from the truth, and that Major Parquin had the eagle waiting for him at Gravesend. Eagles are so very uncommon in England that it is unlikely that a boy, without set purpose, would be waiting with a tame one on a wharf at Gravesend. The unfortunate bird became in the end the property of a butcher in Boulogne.

By six P. M. the party in the "Edinburgh Castle" grew very uneasy; the prince had not arrived. Count Orsi took a post-chaise and drove overland to Ramsgate, where Count Montholon (Napoleon's fellow-exile at St. Helena) and two colonels were waiting the arrival of the steamer. Only one of these gentlemen had been let into the plot, and Montholon was subsequently deeply wounded by having been excluded.

About dawn, when this party had just gone to bed, the "Edinburgh Castle" steamed up to the beautiful Ramsgate pier; but it was already the hour when she should have been off Boulogne.

A second time Louis Napoleon had damaged his chances and risked his friends by his want of punctuality. He had not taken proper precautions as to his mode of leaving London. He found that the police were on the alert, and it was late in the day before he contrived to leave his house unseen. He might have made more exertion, but he had quite forgotten the importance of the tide!

What was now to be done? Four hours is the passage from Ramsgate to Boulogne. It would not do to arrive there in broad daylight. They dared not stay at Ramsgate. It became necessary to put to sea, and to steam about aimlessly till night arrived. The captain and the crew had to be told the object of the expedition, the van had to be opened, and the arms and uniforms distributed. This was done after dark, and no light was allowed on board the steamer.

At three o'clock A. M. of Aug. 6, 1840, the "Edinburgh Castle" was off Wimereux, a little landing-place close to Boulogne. The disembarkation was begun at once. The steamer was ill provided with boats. She had but one, and could only land eight men at a time. This was one of the many oversights of the expedition.

At five A. M. the little troop, clad as French soldiers, marched up to the barracks at Boulogne. The gates were thrown open by friends within, and the prince and his followers entered the yard. The reason why it had been so important to reach Boulogne twenty-four hours earlier, was that a certain Colonel Piguellier, who was a strong republican, was sure to be against them. Some French friends of the prince, who were in the secret, had therefore invited Colonel Piguellier to a shooting-party on the 4th, the invitation including one to pass the night at a house in the country; but by the evening of the 5th he had returned to his quarters in Boulogne.

At the moment of the prince's entrance, with his little troop, into the yard of the barracks, the soldiers of the garrison were just getting out of their beds. The few who were already afoot on different duties were soon made to understand who the prince was, and what his party had come for. At the name of Napoleon they rushed up to the dormitories to spread the news. In a short time all the men were formed in line in the barrack-yard.

The prince, at the head of his little troop, addressed them. His speech was received with enthusiasm. At that moment Colonel Piguellier, in full uniform, appeared upon the scene. One of the prince's party threatened to fire on him with a revolver. His soldiers at once took his part. It was the affair of Strasburg over again.

In vain, threats and promises were urged upon the colonel. All he would say was: "You may be Prince Louis Napoleon, or you may not. Napoleon, your predecessor, overthrew legitimate authority, and it is not right for you to attempt to do the same thing in this place. Murder me if you like, but I will do my duty to the last."

The soldiers took the side of their commander. Resistance was of no avail. The prince and his party were forced to leave the barracks, the gates of which were shut at once by Colonel Piguellier's order. The only concession the prince had been able to obtain was that he and his followers should not be pursued by the troops, but be left to be dealt with by the civil authorities.

The failure was complete. The day before, a party of the prince's friends had been at Boulogne on the lookout for his arrival; but when they found he did not come, they had left the city. All that remained to be done was to attempt to save the prince. He was almost beside himself. Apparently he lost his self-command, and men of more nerve and experience did with him what they would.

He and his party reached the sea at last. The National Guard of Boulogne began firing on them. The prince, Count Persigny, Colonel Voisin, and Galvani, an Italian, were put into a boat. As they pushed off, a fire of musketry shattered the little skiff, and threw them into the water. Colonel Voisin's arm was broken at the elbow, and Galvani was hit in the body. The prince and Persigny came up to the surface at some distance from the land. Colonel Voisin and Galvani, being nearer to the shore, were immediately rescued. Count Orsi says that as the prince swam towards the steamer, still fired on by the National Guard stationed on the heights, a custom-house boat headed him off. But in Boulogne it was reported and believed that he was captured and brought to land in a bathing machine.

The prisoners were tried by a royal decree. No one was sentenced to death, but the prince, Count Montholon, Count Persigny, Colonel Voisin, Major Parquin, and another officer were sent to the fortress of Ham, on the frontier of Belgium, where they occupied the same quarters as Prince Polignac and the other ministers of Charles X. had done. Count Montholon, four months after, made piteous appeals to be let out on parole for one day, that he might be present when the body of Napoleon was brought back to the capital.

The prince passed five years in prison, reading much, and doubtless meditating much on the mistakes of his career. Many plans of escape had been secretly proposed to him, but he rejected all of them, fearing they were parts of a trap laid for him by the authorities. It has always been believed, however, and it is probably true, that Louis Philippe would have been very willing to have the jailers shut their eyes while Louis Napoleon walked out of their custody, believing that the ridicule that had attended his two attempts at revolution had ruined his chances as a pretender to the throne.

During the years Louis Napoleon was imprisoned at Ham, he received constant marks of sympathy, especially from foreigners. He was known to favor the project of an interoceanic canal by the Nicaragua route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and the Government of Nicaragua proposed to him to become president of a company that would favor its views, expressing the hope that he would make himself as great in America by undertaking such a work, as his uncle has made himself by his military glory.

The illness of his father in Florence gave Prince Louis Napoleon a good reason for asking enlargement on parole from the French Government. Louis Philippe was willing to grant this; but his ministers demurred, unless Louis Napoleon would ask pardon loyalement. This Louis Napoleon refused to do; and having by this time managed to extract a loan of L6,000 from the rich and eccentric Duke of Brunswick, he resolved to attempt an escape.

Here is the story as he told it himself when he reached England. The governor of Ham, it must be premised, was a man wholly uncorruptible. He was kind to his prisoner, with whom he played whist every evening, but he was bent on fulfilling his duty.

This duty obliged him to See the prince twice a day, and at night to turn the key upon him, which he put into his pocket.

The fortress of Ham forms a square, with a round tower at each of the angles. There is only one gate. Between the towers are ramparts, on one of which the prince daily walked, and in one corner had made a flower-garden. A canal ran outside the ramparts on two sides; barracks were under the others. Thelin, the prince's valet, was suffered to go in and out of the fortress at his pleasure. On the 23d of May, 1845, Thelin went to St. Quentin, the nearest large town, and hired a cabriolet, which was to meet him the next day at an appointed place upon the high-road. The prince's plan depended on there being workmen in the prison, and he had been about to make a request to have his rooms papered and painted, when the governor informed him that the staircase was to be repaired. The day before the one chosen for the attempt, two English gentlemen, probably by a previous understanding, had visited the prisoner, and he asked one of them to lend his passport to the valet Thelin.

"Very early on the morning of May 25th, the prince, Dr. Conneau, and Thelin were looking out eagerly for the arrival of the workmen. A private soldier whose vigilance they had reason to dread had been placed on guard that morning, but by good luck he was called away to attend a dress parade.

"The workmen arrived. They proved to be all painters and masons, - which was a disappointment to the prince, who had hoped to go out as a carpenter. But at once he shaved off his long moustache, and put over his own clothes a coarse shirt, a workman's blouse, a pair of blue overalls much worn, and a black wig. His hands and face he also soiled with paint; then, putting on a pair of wooden shoes and taking an old clay pipe in his mouth, and throwing a board over his shoulder, he prepared to leave the prison. He had with him a dagger, and two letters from which he never parted, - one written by his mother, the other by his uncle, the emperor.

"It was seven o'clock by the time these preparations were made. Thelin called to the workmen on the staircase to come in and have a glass of wine. On the prince's way downstairs he met two warders. One Thelin skilfully drew apart, pretending to have something to say to him; the other was so intent on getting out of the way of the board carried by the supposed workman that he did not look in the prince's face, and the prince and Thelin passed safely into the yard."

As he was passing the first sentinel, the prince let his pipe fall from his mouth. He stooped, picked it up, and re-lighted it deliberately.

"Close to the door of the canteen he came upon an officer reading a letter. A little farther on, a few privates were sitting on a bench in the sun. The concierge at the gate was in his lodge, but his attention was given to Thelin, who was following the prince, accompanied by his dog Ham. The sergeant, whose duty it was to open and shut the gate, turned quickly and looked at the supposed workman; but a movement the prince made at that moment with his board caused him to step aside. He opened the gate: the prince was free.

"Between the two drawbridges the prince met two workmen coming towards him on the side his face was exposed. He shifted his board like a man weary of carrying a load upon one shoulder. The men appeared to eye him with suspicion, as if surprised at not knowing him. Suddenly one said: 'Oh! it is Berthon;' and they passed on into the fortress."

The prince hastened with Thelin to the place where the cabriolet engaged the day before was waiting for them. As Louis Napoleon was about to fling away the board he had been carrying, another cabriolet drove by. As soon as it was out of sight, the prince jumped into his own, shook the dust off his clothes, kicked off his wooden shoes, and seized the reins. The fifteen miles to St. Quentin were soon accomplished. The prince got out at some distance from the town, and Thelin entered it alone, to exchange the cabriolet for a postchaise. The mistress of the post-house offered him a large piece of pie, which he thankfully accepted, knowing that it would be a godsend to his master. A woman, whom they had passed upon the highway on entering the town, took Thelin aside and asked him how he came to be driving with such a shabby, common man that morning; for Thelin was well known in the neighborhood.

Before he rejoined the prince with the pie and the postchaise, Louis Napoleon had become very impatient. Seeing a carriage approach, he stopped it, and asked the occupant if he had seen anything of a postchaise coming from St. Quentin. The traveller proved afterwards to have been the prosecuting attorney of the district (le procureur du roi).

It was nine in the evening when the prince, Thelin, and the dog Ham were safely in the carriage. They reached Valenciennes at a quarter to three A. M., and had to wait more than an hour at the station for the train. The prince had discarded his working clothes, but still wore his black wig. The train arrived at last. By help of the Englishman's passport the prince safely crossed the frontier, and soon reached Brussels. Thence he went by way of Ostend to London.

He was not in time to see his father, who died in Florence before he could get permission from the German States to cross the continent.

All the French papers treated his escape as a matter of no consequence. Immediately on reaching London, he wrote a letter to Louis Philippe, pledging himself to make no further attempt to disturb the peace of France during his reign. He probably judged that the end of the Orleans dynasty might be near.

His escape from prison was not known until the evening. Dr. Conneau gave out that he had been very ill during the night, but under the influence of opiates was sleeping quietly. The governor insisted on remaining all day in the sitting-room, and finally upon seeing him. In the dim light of the sick chamber he saw only a figure, with its face turned to the wall, covered up in the bed-clothes.

At last he became suspicious. Thelin's prolonged absence seemed unaccountable. A closer examination was insisted on, and the truth was discovered. Nobody was punished except Dr. Conneau, who suffered a few months' imprisonment.