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THE GRAND DUCAL COURT.
period of prosperity, before the last war, when a gay old Prussian officer who resided there, told me, that it was enlivened with clubs, cassinos, and balls, when every family of common respectability could regale its friends with the choicest Johannis-Berg Hockein-Rheideshein wine. The princes of Germany differ very much from those of our own country, in the plain and unostentatious manner in which they move about. One morning, when I was crossing the court of my inn to go to breakfast, I saw a little boy fencing with a stick with one of the ostlers: as I was pleased with his appearance, I asked him if he was the son of the maitre d'hotel, to which he replied, “ No Sir, I am the hereditary prince Von Salm." The prince and princess, his father and aunt, were at the same hotel, having come to Dusseldorf to pay their respects to Prince Murat. The grand ducal court was, as I was informed, kept up with considerable splendor, in the circle of which the grand duchess, one of the sisters of Napoleon, had not yet made her appearance. It was generally believed, notwithstanding the use my worthy host made of her approaching entry, that no great attachment existed between the grand ducal pair ; and that the gaiety of the imperial court of Paris possessed more prevailing attractions to the Grand Duchess than her own. Murat, Grand Duke of Berg, is an instance of the astonishing results of great ability and good fortune. Ilis origin was so very obscure, 356
ANECDOTES OF MURAT. that very little of it is known. The following anecdote will, however, throw a some light upon the extreme humility of his early condition in life. After his elevation to the rank of a prince of the French empire, he halted, in the close of the last war, at a small town in Germany, where he stayed for two or three days; and on finding the bread prepared for his table of an inferior kind, he dispatched one of his suite to order the best baker in the town to attend him, to receive from him his directions respecting this precious article of life. A baker who had been long established in the place was selected for this purpose ; and upon the aide-de-camp ordering him to wait upon the prince immediately, he observed, to the no little surprise of the officer-" It is useless my going, the prince “ will never employ me.” Upon being pressed to state his reasons, he declined assigning any ; but as the order of the messenger was peremptory, he followed him, and was immediately adınitted to Murat, with whom he stayed about ten minutes, and then retired. As he quitted the house in which the prince lodged, he observed to the aidede-camp, “ I told you the prince would not employ me “ he has dismissed me with this,” displaying a purse of ducats. Upon being again pressed to explain the reason of this singular conduct, he replied, “ The Prince Murat, “ when a boy, was apprenticed to a biscuit baker in the ** south of France, at the time I was a journeyman to him,
ANECDOTES OF MURAT.
357 “ and I have often threshed him for being idle—the mo“ment he saw me just now, he instantly remembered me, " and without entering into the subject of our antient ac“ quaintance, or of that which led me to his presence, he “ hastily took this purse of ducats from the drawer of the “ table where he sat, gave it to me, and ordered me to “ retire.” 1 ...: Les lits bus tv
sto jos de A!!! Sosiale menu Staples The heroic courage which Murat displayed in the campaign of 1797, when in conjunction with Duphoz, at the head of their respective divisions, they plunged into the deep and impetuous stream of Tagliamento, gained the opposite banks, and drove the Austrians, headed by their able and amiable general, the Archduke Charles, as far as the confines of Carnithia and Carniola. The numerous battles in which he distinguished himself in Egypt, and afterwards at Montebello and Marengo, where, at the head of his cavalry, he successfully supported the brilliant and eventful movement of Dessaix, will rank him in the page of history amongst the most illustrious of those consummate generals, which the fermentation of the French revolution has elevated from the depths of obscurity. In Egypt he was high in the confidence of Napoleon, whom he accompanied with Lasnes, Andreossi, Bessieres, and several members of the Egyptian Institute, when Buonaparte effected his memorable passage from his army to Frejus, in
· DOUBLE ENTENDRE.. August 1799. Upon the death of General Le Clerc, who was united to a sister of Napoleon, Murat paid his addresses to, and espoused his widow, with the entire approbation of his great comrade in arms, by whom he was, upon his elevation to the imperial throne, created a prince of the empire, and at length raised to the rank of a sovereign. He is reserved and unostentatious, and is seldom visible to his people. Some of the Westphalians, who are attached to the antient order of things, have a joke amongst themselves at the expence of their new prince, whose christian name being Joachim, they pronounce it with an accompanying laugh, Jachim, which means “ drive him away;" and there is very little difference in the pronunciation.
As Dusseldorf had infinitely less charms for me than it had for the Grand Duchess, I was as well pleased to quit it, as she was disinclined to enter it ; so mounting my cabriolet, for which I was obliged to make the best bargain I could with the postmaster, I set off for Cologne, the road to which is far more pleasant than any other part of the duchy which I saw, though the whole is very flat. About six miles from Dusseldorf, I passed a beautiful country palace of the Grand Duke, called Benrad, composed of a range of semicircular buildings detached from each other, standing upon the summit of a gentle slope, at the bottom of which is a