Thursday, March 22, 2018

Anecdotes about the Court of Napoleon Bonaparte

From Geri Walton:
One day whilst he was breakfasting with the Empress, [Napoleon] asked one of the ladies-in-waiting, what might be the expense of a páte, which was upon the table. ‘Twelve francs to your majesty,’ replied the lady, good-humouredly, ‘and six francs to a citizen of Paris.’ ‘That is only saying I am imposed upon!’ returned Napoleon. ‘No Sire, it has always been customary for Sovereigns to pay more than their subjects.’ ‘I do not understand that,’ exclaimed the Emperor, emphatically, ‘I must inquire into this business.’ In short, he frequently entered into details of domestic economy, which are sometimes neglected by private individuals.

On another occasion, being in the Empress’s apartments, [Napoleon] found he had forgotten his handkerchief, and one belonging to Marie Louise, which was elegantly embroidered and trimmed with lace, was presented to him. He asked one of the ladies what it might cost: ‘Sire,’ said she, ‘it is worth between 80 and 90 francs.’ He made her repeat the words a second time, as though he had misunderstood her. ‘Well,’ said he, ‘if I were a lady in the service of the Empress, I would steal one of these handkerchiefs every day: why it would be worth all the emoluments of your situation!’ ‘It is fortunate, Sire,’ replied the lady, with a smile, ‘that her Majesty is surrounded by persons less disinterested than you seem to imagine.’ (Read more.)

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