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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 sympathise 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 honour 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 fête, 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 tricolour flags damask, and not striped calico. One would think
that these sham splendours 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.
HALL I tell you, my dear, that when François
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 François called me, and said, “V'là vot' café, 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
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 Elysées, 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 storeys 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 grand-children, 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 Elysées, 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: