It was in 1817, while Napoleon was still a captive at St. Helena, that Hortense, exiled from France by the decision of the allied Powers, came to this quiet resting-place, hoping to end her troubled life with a few years of such tranquil happiness, as it had not yet been her fortune to enjoy. Here, in her exile, that devoted mother welcomed as guests the famous men, who, during the first empire, had filled the world with their renown; and they, in turn, in this comparatively humble home of the ex-Queen of Holland, loved to recall the triumphs of their Emperor, and tell the stories of his wonderful campaigns. This chateau, therefore, was a school for Louis Napoleon's ambition; and since it was from this, his mother's residence, that he went forth to become President of the French Republic, and finally the acknowledged sovereign of France, Arenenberg may be regarded as the starting-point of that astonishing political cycle, in which Napoleon the Little strove to imitate Napoleon the Great.

The Chateau Of Arenenberg

The Chateau Of Arenenberg.

The Boudoir Of Hortense

The Boudoir Of Hortense.

One summer, several years ago, I visited this mansion of Napoleonic memories, and was admitted to what had been the boudoir of Queen Hortense. It seemed as if she still must be residing here, for everything recalled her presence. Her portrait hung upon the wall; the writing-desk she used stood in its accustomed place; and near it was the harp her skillful hands had often waked to melody. The musical accomplishments of Hortense were remarkable, and it was she who composed the words and music of that celebrated melody which has become one of the national airs of France: Par-taut pour la Syrie.

In a pretty chapel near the chateau is a kneeling marble statue, upon the pedestal of which is the simple inscription, "To Queen Hortense, by her son Napoleon III." There is a look of patient resignation on the sculptured face, well suited to the character of her whom it represents; for her brave and uncomplaining spirit rose above her trials with such heroism as to force admiration of her character even from her enemies. Napoleon frequently exclaimed of her, "Hortense makes me believe in virtue." As a child, she had seen her father die upon the guillotine amid the horrors of the Revolution; a maiden, she had at the command of her mother sacrificed her own affections to a political marriage which had proved one long agony to endure; a mother, she had lost the dearly loved child whom Napoleon intended to make his heir, and whose little life had been the only barrier to the divorce of Josephine; a queen, she had watched the hopes and fortunes of herself and friends go down in ruin with the empire; a daughter, she had seen her mother die broken-hearted at Malmaison, and Napoleon wear out his life in anguish on the barren rock of St. Hel-What wonder, then, that wearied of the past and almost hopeless of the future she often sought relief in prayer?

The Chapel Of Arenenberg

The Chapel Of Arenenberg.

Statue Of Hortense

Statue Of Hortense.

Leaving the chateau, I lingered in its pretty garden. Here, seated in the shade of the historic trees whose branches had so often sheltered the daughter and the grandchild of Josephine, I realized the fact that truth is sometimes stranger than the wildest fiction. For, when the star of Napoleon had apparently forever sunk behind the sea-girt rock of St. Helena, a youth, whose only fortune was the fact that he bore his uncle's name, sat here and dreamed of an empire that he would one day rule. Through intrigue, chance, and the notorious coup d'etat of 1851, that dream was realized; but the empire, after enduring twenty years, went down in shame and exile; and now, when all is changed, to this chateau, so haunted with sad memories, the ex-Empress Eugenie, its present owner, still occasionally comes, to wander sadly through its solitudes, throneless, childless, and a widow.

The Rhine is cosmopolitan. It is not satisfied to linger in a single country. The narrow boundaries of Switzerland cannot contain its rapidly expanding volume. Hence, leaving soon the land of its nativity, it enters Germany, to which thenceforth its splendor and its fame belong. It is, however, changed. Its sojourn in Lake Constance, which is of enormous depth, has had that influence upon the river which education and experience impress upon a youth. Its character, like its river-bed, seems to have deepened and broadened. It moves more steadily and with less uproar and excitement. It has gained power and volume; but it will need them both, for it is about to encounter trial and resistance. As if it had received warning of the approaching struggle, the river, at some distance from the town, seems to be making preparation for the coming conflict. Its waves grow agitated, and its current swifter. A murmur of defiance rises from its depths. Whatever is to be the trial, we plainly see that the young Rhine will meet it like a hero. At last the crisis comes; for, at Schaffhausen, Nature, as if to test the strength of her ambitious child, has reared directly in its path a monstrous ledge of rock, three hundred feet in width. It is useless ! With a shout of triumph in its leap for life the Rhine bounds over the cliff, falls eighty-five feet, extricates itself from the seething depths below, shakes from its brow a billion glittering drops, which sparkle in the sun like clouds of diamonds, and sweeps along unharmed and free. It is plain that there has been a conflict. The few remaining rocks that still oppose the river stand like grim veterans who have thus far managed to survive the onset, while scores of their companions have long since disappeared from view, their huge, dismembered bodies buried in the triumphant stream. But our sympathy is not with them. It is rather with the freedom-seeking Rhine, which will bear no restraint, and hurls itself against the enemy with a roar of anger and a shout of victory that can be heard for miles. Yet, this is not for every traveler a place of romance; or even if it be, the terribly prosaic claims of hunger and of thirst inevitably silence, for a time, his dreams and fancies. Thus, in the hotel register at Schaffhausen are these practical lines, composed by one who certainly did not believe in total abstinence: