« PreviousContinue »
to return to camp, Napoleon, in a after she got back to camp, put most polite and easy manner, re
them into a small tin-box, and prequested we would all stay and dine served them safely for some years. with him, and in this instance broke On that evening Bonaparte played through the rule he usually made of several games at chess with his inviting husbands and wives sepa. Generals; and after he retired, they rately; and as for “ La Petite,” amused themselves with making a pointing to E-y," she will like to large bowl of excellent punch, of stay and dine with the children of which all the ladies tasted; we then Madame Bertrand.”
walked back to our camp, which His barouche, drawn by four fiery was very near, and within sight of horses, now drew up to the door, Longwood-House. and he invited Madame Bertrand and myself to get into it with him, I was one morning walking with and accompany him in a drive round my little daughter before breakfast Longwood, saying, that while the to visit the lady of an officer of our Capitaine returned to camp, pour regiment who was ill, and to whom faire sa toilette, and to faire apporter belonged a small cottage, close to la toilette de madame to the ladies' Longwood, on the borders of the apartments, we would take the air.
camp. Behold me then seated in the ba- On entering this cottage, I saw rouche next to the Ex-Emperor, the Bonaparte and his secretary, Count great Bonaparte. The three French Las Casas, approach the door ; the Generals, Bertrand, Montholon, and Ex-Emperor began very considerateGourgaud,wereinsplendid uniforms; ly to scrape his boots on the scraper the horses went like fury, and the road that he might not soil the floor, for, being extremely rough, I thought it be it known, we had no carpets withnot improbable that I should have my in the camp at St Helena. He then sat neck broken in company with the himself down to rest, and taking up Conqueror of the World. Bonaparte a book, which happened to be a nowas rather abstracted during this vel, he began to try to read it aloud, drive, but he talked a little of the for he had then been studying singular appearance of the gumwood English under the Count Las Casas, trees, which compose the heads of who had passed many years in Longwood and Deadwood Camp. England. "Bonaparte's mode of At dinner he conversed a great deal reading was in the Italian style of about different ladies of St Helena. pronunciation, sounding the final The young ladies born in that island vowels, which had a very singular are extremely pretty. One of them effect; and upon hearing him read in he had named the Rose Bud, and that style, we all began to laugh. another“ La Nymphe;" this last was
“ Ah ha!” said he, “I dare say you a Miss R-n, a very beautiful all think I read very ill, but, for young lady, who shortly after mar- my part, I think I read very well; I ried a captain of an Indiaman. understand it, and that is enough for
He then asked me if I understood me,” said he, laughing. housekeeping; “For example,” said He then rose from his chair, he,“ do you know how to make a and proceeded to examine some pudding yourself ?"
prints which were hung round the I told him that since I had been room, taken from the story of Cinencamped at St Helena I had learn- derella, which he perceived at once, ed to make a pudding and a pie; although there was no inscription also, that having no servant but a under them. “Bon !” said he, when soldier's wife, and she not always he came to the picture where Cinable to attend on us, I was obliged derella is represented trying on the to learn to do a number of things Little Glass Slipper, “few ladies myself. When the dessert came on have such small feet nowadays.” the table, Bonaparte took a large He then walked into a room plateful of glittering sugar-plums where were a number of spruce-beer and crystallized sweetmeats--and bottles, which had just been filled calling to a servant, said, “ Take with spruce-beer, made by the magthese to the young lady who sings ter of the house. so well.”
When E-y got them, Bonaparte imagining them wine, she wrapped them carefully up; and exclaimed, “ Ab, monsieur, so much
wine is too much extravagance for We were staying at Plantation a subaltern officer."
House, the country residence of the In this sort of easy, pleasant man. Governors of St Helena, with Governer he often conversed with the nor and Mrs Wilks, about a fortnight ladies of our regiment. I say our just before the arrival of Sir Hudson regiment, for no military lady has a Lowe from England, who succeeded proper esprit de corps until she often Colonel Wilks in the government of catches herself saying our regiment. the Island.
Mrs Wilks one morning entered As I pursued my way through the my dressingroom before breakfast, garden at Longwood, one day, to- saying she came to ask a favour of wards camp, accompanied by my « What is it?" said I, “ for I am little daughter, I met the great Na- sure I shall be but too happy to poleon walking there with General grant you any in my power.' Bertrand. The first question Bona- “ It is this,” replied she, “that you parte always put to Ey was this, will chaperone Miss Wilks on her * Etes vous sage?" To which she visit to Longwood. She is going to instantly answered, “ No!"
see Bonaparte with her father, but He began on that day to discourse wishes a lady to accompany her.” with me respecting religion. “I I was delighted to chaperone so understand, madame,” said he, “that elegant, amiable, and beautiful a you are a Puritan ?”
young lady as Miss Wilks, i* and felt “ From what circumstance,” re- proud thai Napoleon should see so plied I, “has this denomination ari. perfect a specimen of my fair coun
trywomen. Miss Wilks was then in “Why," returned he, “ I am in- the first bloom of youth, and her formed by persons who have at- whole demeanour, affability, and eletended church in your barracks, that gant, modest appearance, conspired you are often seen kneeling on the to render her the most charming and bare floor.”
admirable young person I ever be“My reason for so doing," replied fore or have since met with in all my I, “is that there are no cushions, peregrinations in Europe, Asia, and or hassocks, in the barracks, and ha- Africa, for the space of thirty years. ving from infancy been accustomed Governor Wilks was a Colonel in to kneel during particular parts of the East India Company's service at divine service, I took to the floor, Madras. He was a tall, handsome, without minding the want of cu- venerable-looking man, with white shions."
curling locks, and a courtier-like “ Bon,” replied he; "and, pray, manner. He had been employed in what is your opinion of us Catholics India in the diplomatic line, and was Do you think that we have any also an author, having published the chance of going to Heaven ?” History of the Mahratta War, which
I replied I did think it possible. he had submitted to the perusal of
"Excellent-well! You are much the Ex-Emperor, who, besides admore tolerant than we Catholics miring his literary performances, refor we all think that you Protestants spected his character as a man and must all burn.” This he said laugh- as a Governor; and never had the ingly, and in a manner which shew- Island of St Helena, since its first ed that he was not of so harsh an possession by the English, been unopinion. He then asked me if I ever der the government of a man so en. rode on horseback, and then, with lightened, so judicious, so mild and out stopping for an answer, he be- affable, or so much beloved. His gan to exclaim on his own delight kindness, firmness, and philanthropy, in riding on horseback. “ I have caused his departure to be regretted frequently,” said he, “ rode sixty by all ranks on that Island, where he miles before breakfast
. But at pre- had made so many wise and lasting sent I have not quite so much room improvemenis. to do so." This he said in a half- The Governor, his daughter, and angry, half-joking tone of voice. myself, set forth from Plantation
House in the Government carriage,
* Now Lady Buchan
a huge vehicle, drawn by six bul- His Majesty's 53d regiment being locks; for in the steep precipitous relieved by his Majesty's 66th regiroads up and across the Ísland of St ment, prepared to embark in July, Helena, to proceed in a carriage 1817. Part of the officers, and most drawn by horses would be dreadful of the privates, proceeded to join the ly dangerous, nay almost impossi. other battalion in the East Indies; ble. These bullocks, therefore, were and part returned to England, under drawn and driven by three men; and command of Major Fafter some hours going across the A few days previous to their sevemost dangerous uarrow roads, or ral embarkations, the officers, in a rather paths, sharp turnings, and pre. body, waited on the Ex-Emperor, cipitous horrors beneath, enough to at Longwood House, to take leave terrify the stoutest heart, and turn of their mighty prisoner. Bonaparte giddy the strongest head, we arrived had always expressed his unquaat Longwood House. We proceed- lified approbation of the conduct ed first to visit Countess Bertrand, both of the officers and privates of and the Countess de Montholon. the 53d regiment. They had never
The Countess Bertrand accompa- shown any impertinent curiosity nied us into the drawingroom at when he came within their view, nor Longwood. We found Bonaparte had ever looked or stared at him full dressed, and standing to receive like a wild-beast, or Bajazet in a Governor Wilks with etiquette. He cage. On the contrary, they all rewas arrayed in a green coat, with spected his feelings ; so he was well all his stars, orders, and ribbons, pleased wben they paid him the silk stockings, small shoes with gold compliment of taking leave of him in buckles, and a chapeau-bras under a body. his arm.
The next day the married officers His secretary and interpreter, waited on him again, accompanied Count Las Casas, stood by his side by their wives and children.
Governor Wilks having introduced On this occasion he took his usual his charming daughter to Bonaparte, kind notice of E -y; and put the the Ex-Emperor looking at her with usual question to her of “ Etes vous a pleasing smile, addressed her in sage ?" which, in the French idiom, these words :-"I have long heard signifies, “ Are you a good girl ?” from various quarters of the supe
To which she as usual replied, rior elegance and beauty of Miss
« No." Wilks; but now I am convinced, “ How old are you now ” said from my own eyes, that report has Bonaparte. scarcely done her sufficient justice.” “ Ten years old,” replied she. Saying this, he bowed politely.
“ Well," said he, "you have now And now a most animated conver attained the age of reason, you are sation took place, through means of no longer a child." his interpreter, between Bonaparte Saying these words, he placed his and Governor Wilks.
hand kindly on her head, and smiled This most curious and interesting most benevolently; and no one can conversation lasted two hours, du deny, who has ever seen Bonaparte ring which time Bonaparte became smile, that the expression conveyed animated to excess, and appeared was of the finest and most benevolent almost a supernatural being.
nature. This conversation was committed He then pointed out to the ladies a to paper, separately, by Miss Wilks bust of his son Napoleon, which he and myself, we having been pre. had lately received. It was of white viously requested to note all' we marble, and beautifully executed. heard by Colonel Wilks. I gave my The ladies all expressed their admi. notes of the conversation to the Go- ration of the bust, and pronounced vernor the same evening on our re- its likeness to Bonaparte ; upon turn to Plantation-house, and Miss which he said, “ Oui; mais il a le Wilks likewise presented hers; but nez de l’Imperatrice.” he did not return them to us again. We soon after took our leave, with Therefore farther the deponent say- an indefinable sensation of regret, eth not.
mingled with a pleasing awe, at our having had for two years so near a
view of that wonderful being whose female friends, that I was at this pename must ever cause astonishment riod Prima Donna; or, as we say in to future ages.
Bengal, Burrah Betee; or, in plain
English, Lady of the first rank in I must not forget to give my fe- the regiment, in absence of Lady male friends an account of Countess B-m, who did not join her husBertrand.
band, our colonel, until some months She was the daughter of a noble- afterwards ; consequently, I had ofman of the name of Dillon—by his ten the honour of doing the honours wife, an American lady,
to the French Countesses, at Sir The Countess Bertrand was a G-n's house, and in most engaging fascinating woman. tents. She had resided many years in Eng- After dinner, Sir G-Cland with her aunt, an English lady said to me of quality. She spoke our language “ I wish you would go to-morrow, with perfect fluency, but with a slight and call on the Countesses Bertrand French accent. Her figure was ex and Montholon, and shew them every tremely tall and commanding; but attention in your power." a slight elegant bend took from her “I will do so," said I. Accord. height, and added to her interesting ingly, the next morning I waited up. appearance ;-her eyes black, sparks on them. ling, soft, and animated ;-her de- I was instantly struck with the eleportment that of a lovely young gance, kindness, and dignity of CounQueen, accustomed to command ad- tess Bertrand. The General, her husmiration-yet winning to preserve it. band, who was likewise Grand Maré
She had, in fact, been a sort of chal, presently entered, leading in queen at Trieste, when her husband, two of the most exquisitely beautiful General Bertrand, was viceroy; and children I ever beheld, Hortense and when she held a regular court, her Henri. The latter had a profusion dress was well chosen, splendid and of the most luxuriant fair ringlets, elegant. We had been invited the day hanging from his face nearly to his of our landing at St Helena, to dine feet-his hazel eyes were laughing with Admiral Sir
GeC- --n, and soft-his snowy shoulders and (who came from England in charge of bare arms were only adorned by a Bonaparte,) at his residence in the slight sleeve of rich lace-his dress Castle James Town. He had arrived consisted of scarlet silk trowsers, in the Northumberland, in charge of with a frock body; he appeared the noble captive, some days before about five years of age. us, with the rest of the squadron; Hortense was about six or seven but the frigate, in which was a large years old. She was a brilliant bruportion of His Majesty's53d regiment, nette, with a sweetness and archness under the command of Captain Y - in her countenance I have seldom being constrained, from distress for seen equalled. An elder boy soon want of water, to put into the Por- after entered the 'room, about ten tuguese settlement of Bingweeta, on years of age. General Bertrand was the Guinea coast, he did not arrive a fine martial veteran-looking man, at St Helena until some time after apparently about forty ; his manners the squadron.
were open, natural, and dignified. Sir G-C- -n, as I before The pleasing impression of that observed, invited my husband and morning was never effaced. They myself, the captain of the frigate, seemed to like us, and we soon beand some of our officers, to dine at came acquainted--for military men the Castle the day we disembarked. and women seem all brothers and
He banded me to table; for be it sisters. kdown, for the information of my
VOYAGE FROM LEGHORN TO CEPHALONIA WITH LORD BYRON, AND A NARRATIVE
OF A VISIT, IN 1823, TO THE SEAT OF WAR IN GREECE.
BY JAMES HAMILTON BROWNE, ESQ.
I had resided about a year at Pisa, Messrs Jackson and Lloyd, who de. when I was seized with a sudden parted immediately after seeing me ardour and enthusiasm in favour of safe on board, as I was apprehensive the cause of Greece, then exciting, that Lord Byron might have conceithroughout Europe, the strongest ved that they had come for the pursympathy. Intending to embark for pose of catching a glimpse of him. the Ionian Islands, on my way to the He put to me some interrogatory reMorea, I requested a friend at Le- lative to them, regretting that I had ghorn to look out for a vessel bound hurried them off. On my informto Zante, or Cephalonia. He inform- ing him that the former gentleman ed me that there was not likely to was son to the Rev. Dr Jacksonbe any opportunity for some time; who, so unfortunately for his family, but be strongly recommended me to rashly engaged in the Irish Rebellion, apply for a passage to Lord Byron, and would have suffered the death of who had just chartered an English a traitor; only escaping so disgracebrig, for that destination. As his ful an end, by having anticipated the Lordship, and I had some mutual sentence of the law, in terminating friends, I ventured, but with some his existence by poison, conveyed to reluctance, to write to him on the him, it was alleged, by his lady, a subject; he returned a very polite very high-spirited woman, who afteranswer, stating, that he should feel wards, with her family, retired to much pleasure in acceding to my re- France, where Bonaparte conferred quest, and that I might either join a small pension on her-Lord Byron his party at Genoa, or he would appeared quite conversant with the direct the vessel to touch off Le- particulars of this unbappy affair, ghorn and take me on board. As I and said he should have felt a great was desirous of purchasing some sea- interest in conversing with young stock, and had other business at Le- Jackson, ghorn, I preferred the latter plan, as His Lordship’s mode of address I told his Lordship in a letter of was peculiarly fascinating and inthanks for his kindness; the vessel sinuating-au premier abord” it accordingly, at the appointed time, was next to impossible for a stranger made her appearance, when I imme- to refrain from liking him. diately joined her in the Roads, and The contour of his countenance bad the honour of becoming person- was noble and striking; the forehead, ally known to him. My first person- particularly so, was nearly white as al introduction to Lord Byron thus alabaster. His delicately formed featook place at Leghorn, on board of the tures were cast rather in an effemi. Hercules, which vessel he had caused nate mould, but their soft expression to be chartered at Genoa, for the was in some degree relieved by the purpose of conveying himself and mustaches of a light chestnut, and suite to the lonian Íslands, or perhaps small tuft" à la houssard,” which he direct to Greece.
at that time sported. His eyes were He had kindly promised to touch rather prominent and full, of a dark off the port and take me on board, it blue, having that melting character being understood between us, that if which I have frequently observed in he did not intend to communicate females, said to be a proof of exwith Leghorn, certain signals should treme sensibility. The texture of be displayed, when I was to lose no his skin was so fine and transparent, time in joining him.
that the blue veins, rising like small I was accompanied to the ship, threads around his temples, were riding at anchor in the Roads, by clearly discernible. All who ever