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"it is a suspected paper." Our informant replied that he thought so too, and that the merchants had been followed by a gendarme and taken to the prefect; who however, upon examining their paper, had suffered them to depart. The fact was the more unaccountable, as the telegraph at Lyons had that morning announced a second victory, gained over the allies, in which their cavalry had been nearly annihilated. Our informant assigned no cause for the event, but said there had been some insigne trahison at the bottom of it, so the merchants had averred. He did not believe the story, but was evidently much disturbed, and accompanied us to the next stage to meet the courier from Paris. At Tournus we were stopped in the streets for the examination of our passports, and found every one in extreme anxiety. The post-house was surrounded with crowds, who, although they knew we came from the opposite quarter, wished to know our opinion on the subject; and who were not a little pleased at hearing our arguments on the improbability of the fact. Tournus is one of the towns which distinguished itself last year, in the defence made against the allies. At Sennecy, the next stage, in the road to which place we met the courier, the truth burst upon us. We paused, but did not still altogether resign our in
credulity, for we could only see a paper called Le Journal des Campagnes in a small tavern, where some country fellows, and people of the town, were dining, and joined with us in still wishing to wait for the Moniteur itself, of which however an extract was given in this journal. The fatal intelligence was read aloud-Napoleon had gained victories on the 16th and 17th, attacked the English on the 18th, and beat them up to halfpast eight in the evening, when a desperate charge being made on some English batteries by four battalions of the middle guard, and these battalions being thrown into confusion by a charge of cavalry, a route took place. The French army thought the old guard had been repulsed, la vieille garde est repoussée was the cry, which was followed up by shouts of sauve qui peut; the whole army began to run; in vain the old guard tried to stop them, and was itself borne down by the mass of fugitives; even the squadrons of the body guard about the Emperor were borne backwards; all rushed to the point of communication, and a complete defeat ensued. Cannons, carriages, all the park of artillery, all the reserve of the whole army, was left and taken on the field of battle. The Emperor returned to Paris*. His abdication was not mentioned.
* See Appendix.
At the close of the recital the persons present said it was not, could not be true. One added, "if so, the Bourbons will come back-they may-but they shall reign over stones; the "men will die, or depart to some happier country."
We spoke to the postmaster, and asked him if the Emperor had really been defeated; it will require some time to forget the air and accent with which he replied, mais, oui-completement battu. At Chalons sur Saone we read the Journal de l'Empire of the 22d. All was confirmed relative to the total defeat of the French army at Mont St. Jean. But we travelled all that night and the next day, and the following night, before we saw the paper of the 23d, at Sens, which indeed contained the abdication of Napoleon, in a declaration to the French people, dated the 22d of the month. I know not how you feel, but his expression, ma vie politique est terminée, cut me to the heart. I recalled him to my mind at the opening of his parliament, at the commencement of a new career so glorious, now so terminated; and in witnessing the close of such a life, felt the sensations which the great author of the Idler describes as attendant upon the contemplation of the last in any effort. The news however was known to be true as far to the
southward as Autun. We witnessed no disturbances in any of the towns, but were informed that 1500 troops of the line had passed Sens yesterday morning, shouting vive l'Empereur, and à bas les Royalistes. At Melun we saw, in the Journal de l'Empire, that Napoleon Bonaparte had retired provisionally to Malmaison. The change of style spoke a volume to us. They had told us at Montereau that he was gone, or going, to England. We had before, as far down as Villeneuve, met with soldiers individually and in small parties, without arms, and some wounded in the hand or head, returning from the beaten army. Advancing a little further, we learnt who were the nominal masters of France, and that we were now in the empire of the Duke of Otranto, administered in the name of the French people. At Charenton we passed through soldiers who were receiving their rations; and entering Paris by the gate of Marengo, saw in the crowds, and charlatans, and theatres, and coffee-houses of the boulevards, no sign of the fall, although some people might from such a sight conjecture the moral degradation, of France. This morning I presented myself at the police, and was surprised by being asked gaily, and aloud, whether I was not returned to see my countrymen; and by being told "it is
"decided-Wellington will be here in a day or "two." The fellows who said this were in the employ of the Emperor; and their base indifference to the misfortunes of their countrymen, convinces me of the truth of what I have before mentioned respecting the dishonesty of the government agents in this country. A change of dynasty, in France, is like a change of ministry in England; the wheels of the machine are, for the most part, untouched; the main spring alone is changed. I have observed the faces in the populous departments of the public offices to have been the same under several alterations of the supreme power. As revolutions become more frequent, it is contrived, by the silent necessities of human nature, that they should affect fewer individuals; and we have witnessed two instances in fifteen months, even of a minister's surviving the fall of his monarch. The next masters, whoever they may be, of this unfortunate country, may wish to give a distaste for any future change of a chief, by showing that the fall of a dynasty is not a matter of such indifference: if so, let them look to themselves.
Napoleon is fallen for ever! Incredible as you may think it, he is almost forgotten! No one, except the immediate friends of the government, pretends to know for certain whether he is still