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THE LÍON and THE ASS
i Napoleon^ Last Days at Longwood
By HELENA CASS
IJ»X«£|N his Interesting article last
(P|t|i j Saturday about the sale in New \£| s£! York of a lock of Napoleon's TCIOT! hair given to Betsy Balcombe,
?r *ír I at St- Holcna' Professor Ernest íaEH&j Scott refers to the suspicions |C=? vü\ and jealousies of the Gover-
nor, Sir Hudson Lowe. No more unfortunate choice could have been made than this man, who lacked the chief ' characteristic of the Briton-considera-1 tion for the vanquished. It seems
singularlv unfortu nate that one whose onlv com maud had been renegade Corsicans and Sicilian mercenaries should have been placed in charge of the great Cor«ican In an English copj of
^Esop s Fables
which Napoleon was reading to im prove his English
was an Illustration of the sick lion kicked in the face by an ass. "It is me and your Governor," said Napoleon.
When, shortly after the battle of Waterloo, Napoleon went on board the British ship Bellerophon with members of his suite and a large number of ser- vants, he placed himself under the protec- tion of the Prince Regent, hoping to settle in England. The ship sailed for Ply- mouth, cast anchor there, and waited for orders. It Is Interesting to see the change of tone in the English press during the few days in which the ship lny at Plymouth, when Napoleon was not even permitted to land. His personal dominance was so great that of the thousands of interested specta- tors in small craft about the Bellerophon who saw him not one remained with his head covered. Even the officers of the ship remained bareheaded while he was on deck, a fact which "The Times" records with two exclamation marks. From being a "monster" and "an example of every crime," Napoleon becomes "this ex- traordinary man," mid a reporter from Plymouth writes that "It is high time that he was removed, as it is shocking to see the court and attention paid to him." In four days Napoleon's fate was decided; he was to be taken as a prisoner to St. Helena. He issued a bitter, formal pro- test against the disposal of his person and his liberty. He protested also against the rank of "General" allotted to him: "You have sent ambassadors to mc as n foreign potentate; you have acknowledged me as First Consul."
Protests were unavailing; the ship and her escort set sail. The press became interested in the building and furnishing of Longwood, It was intended that Long- wood should be a comfortable home of 24 rooms, each measuring 24ft. by 18ft., and the framework of the house was ordered from the Ordnance department, Wool- wich. Exquisite glass, china, domestic furniture, personal clothing of every de- scription for Napoleon himself nnd his suite, musical instruments - "everything, in short, for the ease and elegance of the ex-Emperor"-were ordered, regardless of expense. "It is right to add," remarks "The Times," "that this extraordinary man, for whom this extraordinary order is fitting up, has no knowledge whatever of the preparations."
At The Briars
So quickly was the decision executed, however, for his removal to St. Helena, that Napoleon arrived there before any ar- rangements had been made for his ac- commodation, He rode out with his suite
rite room m n Inch Napoleon died al I anuri oud ilte bust is that of his
son, the Àinç of Rome
to sec the diearj', wind-swept tableland vvhcie the troops wcie htuiicdlj running up a house on the site of an old stable He noticed about a mile and a half fiom Jamestown, a eomfortablc house, delight- fully situated in extensive gardens It was The Bruns belonging to Mr Bal
A v/eil' of Longwood, Napoleon's home on St. Helena.
combe who for some j cat s had been pin vcjor to the ships which tailed on the long run from the Cape On its return to Jamestown the little cavalcade turned into the beautiful avenue of ban}an trees Betsy Balcombe in her memoirs writes that Napoleon rode a superb animal jet i black in colour and that his vppeaiance on horseback was noble and imposing 'He wore a gieen unlfoini coveted with
oiders and his saddle and housings were of ctimson velvet richly cmbioidered with gold When he began to speak, his fas- cinating smile and kind manner removed cverv vestige of fear which Betsy, and all Enplish children, felt of ' The Ogre "
'ihcie he stajed while the 53rd Regiment
was building Lonewood The shadj I garden walls the lioplcal fruits and al vv ata fall which tooled the au on the' mostsultiv dujs made The Briars a little i
Eden on that gloomy mass of volcanic! rock He was a most considerate guest j
and he attended a partj given while he was theie delightint, evervone with his social gifts and tact Oceasionallj he coirected the childrens Fiench exercises
and he okked Betsy to impiove his
English, ' the oddest in the world ' I
His ícmoval to Longwood annojed him' euiemelj, he had hoped that The Biiais would be bought for him, or that he would be allowed to buy it himself 'Hie cottage which he inhabited dining his si\ veais of captlvitj, and «Ililli is now being made into a museum, was very different from the Longwood planned in London ' Come and see my palace, ' he welcomed Mrs Balcombe, kissing her on both cheeks and tweaking Betsj's cal It is a one-stoiied building with drawing and dining rooms, and Napoleon's bed- room, with bath and dressing loom ad Joining The bedroom, hung with white nankeen had the small tent bed, with gieen silk hangings, which he used on all his campaigns His own personal ai tides were of gold or silver, there was a beautiful silver lamp and magnificent silver washbasin and ewer He even «how ed them the kitchen, in a building apart The Admiral in charge until the arrival of Lowe, Sir George Cockburn, had added a billiard-room, the onlj lal go room The members of Napol-on's suite were housed separately, but they dined formally with the Emperor, the servants wearing tile Napoleonic green and white
The Tyranny of Lowe
Sir George Cockburn was a very differ- j
ent man from Sir Hudson Lowe Napoleon admired the I *vy, and liked the Admiral
'The English," he said, "ate kings upon i the sea " Once he nsked the admiral '
'jokingly what he thought of his chanecs
of escape, and w as told ' I don t know what jon may be tempted to do on shoie, sir, but keep away from the sea, foi that
is my province ' With the anlval of Sir > Hudson Lowe a icign of petty tjrannv began The riding which Napoleon so enjojed, and which was necessary to his health, came to an end, for he refused to have an English escort, upon which the Goveinoi was insistent His every move- ment was watched through a télescopa,
semaphores constantly reported, "He is , accompanied", "he is alone " The strict-1 est surveillance was maintained over the [
whole household The wife or a member of his staff took lier baby ¡on to Napoleon ' Pcimlt me to present to jour majesty a subject who has dared to enter the gates or Longwood without u pel mit from Sir Hudson Lowe" she said 'Hie Ficnch Commissioner the Marquis de Montchcnu, was warned that he should not receive both green and white beans from a f i lend s «arden, gi een was the colour or Napoleons unifoims, white of lils standaid "Je dois vous îemcrcler," îeplled the marquis "parceque l'lle le plus | sinistre devient l'Ile le plus jojeusc" A marble bust or the Emperors little son
reached tile island, and Lowe contení-1
plated destroving it "A message may be I hidden w Ullin," he said Even little Betsy I was reprimanded, her birthday cake, sent I rrom England, bore an eagle j
Lowes tyraimv, the unhealthy climate,
'or personal claims drove away in tuin most ot Napoleon's entourage Among the last few followers vveic two Coisic.m servants, linking up the island of his birth ' with the island of his lattei dajs When
the tiagedy was ended a gi ave was dug | in a secluded vallcv, beside a spring shaded
bv two weeping willows Tor many jeais | ships sailing to Australia called at St i Helena foi vv at«, and some of them 1 brought slips of those willows which vou | will find in different parts of Australia, ¡ grown into beautiful trees '
Britain did honour to the dead roi 19 j ears a sentrv was posted at Napo- leons çiave Then the Emperoi was buried where he had asked to be-on the binks ot the Seine, in his beloved Pails