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Chapter 32

FEELING HIS WAY.

January, 1849.

At Odilon Barrot's ball on January 28 M. Thiers went
up to M. Leon Faucher and said: "Make So-and-So a prefect."
M. Leon Faucher made a grimace, which is an easy
thing for him to do, and said: "Monsieur Thiers, there
are objections." "That's funny!" retorted Thiers, "it is
precisely the answer the President of the Republic gave
to me the day I said: 'Make M. Faucher a Minister!'"

At this ball it was remarked that Louis Bonaparte sought
Berryer's company, attached himself to him and led him
into quiet corners. The Prince looked as though he were
following Berryer, and Berryer as though he were trying
to avoid the Prince.

At 11 o'clock the President said to Berryer: "Come
with me to the Opera."

Berryer excused himself. "Prince," said he, "it would
give rise to gossip. People would believe I am engaged in
a love affair!"

"Pish!" replied Louis Bonaparte laughingly,
"Representatives are inviolable!"

The Prince went away alone, and the following quatrain
was circulated:

~En vain l'empire met du fard,
On baisse ses yeux et sa robe.
Et Berryer-Joseph so derobe
A Napoléon-Putiphar~.

----------

February, 1849.

Although he is animated with the best intentions in the
world and has a very visible quantity of intelligence and
aptitude, I fear that Louis Bonaparte will find his task too
much for him. To him, France, the century, the new
spirit, the instincts peculiar to the soil and the period are
so many closed books. He looks without understanding
them at minds that are working, Paris, events, men,
things and ideas. He belongs to that class of ignorant persons
who are called princes and to that category of foreigners
who are called ~êmigrês~. To those who examine him
closely he has the air of a patient rather than of a
governing man.

There is nothing of the Bonapartes about him, either in
his face or manner. He probably is not a Bonaparte. The
free and easy ways of Queen Hortense are remembered.
"He is a memento of Holland!" said Alexis de Saint
Priest to me yesterday. Louis Bonaparte certainly possesses
the cold manner of the Dutch.

Louis Bonaparte knows so little about Paris that the first
time I saw him he said to me:

"I have been hunting for you. I went to your former
residence. What is this Place des Vosges?"

"It is the Place Royale," I said.

"Ah!" he continued, "is it an old place?"

He wanted to see Beranger. He went to Passy twice
without being able to find him at home. His cousin
Napoleon timed his visit more happily and found Béranger by
his fireside. He asked him:

"What do you advise my cousin to do?"

"To observe the Constitution."

"And what ought he to avoid?"

"Violating the Constitution."

Béranger could not be induced to say anything else.

----------

Yesterday, December 5, 1850, I was at the Français.
Rachel played "Adrienne Lecouvreur." Jerome Bonaparte
occupied a box next to mine. During an entr'acte I paid
him a visit. We chatted. He said to me:

"Louis is mad. He is suspicious of his friends and delivers
himself into the hands of his enemies. He is suspicious of
his family and allows himself to be bound hand
and foot by the old Royalist parties. On my return to
France I was better received by Louis Philippe at the
Tuileries than I am at the Elysee by my nephew. I said
to him the other day before one of his ministers (Fould):
'Just remember a little! When you were a candidate for
the presidency, Monsieur here (I pointed to Fould) called
upon me in the Rue d'Alger, where I lived, and begged
me in the name of MM. Thiers, Mole, Duvergier de Hauranne,
Berryer, and Bugeaud to enter the lists for the presidency.
He told me that never would you get the
"Constitutionnel;" that in Mole's opinion you were an idiot,
and that Thiers looked upon you as a blockhead; that I
alone could rally everybody to me and win against
Cavaignac. I refused. I told them that you represented
youth and the future, that you had a quarter of a century
before you, whereas I could hardly count upon eight or ten
years; that I was an invalid and wanted to be let alone.
That is what these people were doing and that is what I
did. And you forget all this! And you make these gentlemen
the masters! And you show the door to your cousin,
my son, who defended you in the Assembly and devoted
himself to furthering your candidacy! And you are
strangling universal suffrage, which made you what you
are! I' faith I shall say like Mole that you are an idiot,
and like Thiers that you are a blockhead!'"

The King of Westphalia paused for a moment, then continued:

"And do you know, Monsieur Victor Hugo, what he replied to
me? 'You will see!' No one knows what is at
the bottom of that man!"

Victor Hugo