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Chapter 28

LOUIS BONAPARTE.

HIS DEBUTS.

Upon his arrival in Paris Louis Bonaparte took up his
residence in the Place Vendome. Mlle. Georges went to
see him. They conversed at some length. In the course
of the conversation Louis Bonaparte led Mlle. Georges to
a window from which ,the column with the statue of Napoleon
I. upon it was visible and said:

"I gaze at that all day long."

"It's pretty high!" observed Mlle. George.

September 24, 1848.

Louis Napoleon appeared at the National Assembly today. He
seated himself on the seventh bench of the third
section on the left, between M. Vieillard and M. Havin.

He looks young, has a black moustache and goatee, and
a parting in his hair, a black cravat, a black coat buttoned
up, a turned-down collar, and white gloves. Perrin and
Leon Faucher, seated immediately below him, did not once
turn their heads. In a few minutes the galleries began to
turn their opera-glasses upon the prince, and the prince
gazed at the galleries through his own glass.

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September 26.

Louis Bonaparte ascended the tribune (3.15 P.M.). Black
frock-coat, grey trousers. He read from a crumpled paper
in his hand. He was listened to with deep attention. He
pronounced the word "compatriots" with a foreign accent.
When he had finished a few cries of "Long live the Republic!"
were raised.

He returned leisurely to his place. His cousin Napoleon,
son of Jerome, who so greatly resembles the Emperor,
leaned over M. Vieillard to congratulate him.

Louis Bonaparte seated himself without saying a word
to his two neighbours. He is silent, but he seems to be
embarrassed rather than taciturn.

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October 9.

While the question of the presidency was being raised
Louis Bonaparte absented himself from the Assembly.
When the Antony Thouret amendment, excluding members
of the royal and imperial families was being debated,
however, he reappeared. He seated himself at the
extremity of his bench, beside his former tutor, M. Vieillard,
and listened in silence, leaning his chin upon his hand, or
twisting his moustache.

All at once he rose and, amid extraordinary agitation,
walked slowly towards the tribune. One half of the
Assembly shouted: "The vote!" The other half shouted:
"Speak!"

M. Sarrans was in the tribune. The president said:

"M. Sarrans will allow M. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte
to speak."

He made a few insignificant remarks and descended from
the tribune amid a general laugh of stupefaction.

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November 1848.

On November 19 I dined at Odilon Barrot's at Bougival.

There were present MM. de Rémusat, de Tocqueville,
Girardin, Leon Faucher, a member of the English Parliament
and his wife, who is ugly but witty and has beautiful
teeth, Mme. Odilon Barrot and her mother.

Towards the middle of the dinner Louis Bonaparte arrived
with his cousin, the son of Jerome, and M. Abbatucci, Representative.

Louis Bonaparte is distinguished, cold, gentle, intelligent,
with a certain measure of deference and dignity, a
German air and black moustache; he bears no resemblance
whatever to the Emperor.

He ate little, spoke little, and laughed little, although
the party was a merry one.

Mme. Odilon Barrot seated him on her left. The Englishman
was on her right.

M. de Rémusat, who was seated between the prince and
myself, remarked to me loud enough for Louis Bonaparte
to hear:

"I give my best wishes to Louis Bonaparte and my vote
to Cavaignac."

Louis Bonaparte at the time was feeding Mme. Odilon
Barrot's greyhound with fried gudgeons.

Victor Hugo