第 12 节
作者:精灵王      更新:2024-03-30 10:52      字数:9322
  One day; having especially noticed the excellent bearing of the Thirty…
  sixth and Fifty…seventh regiments of the line; and Tenth of light
  infantry; he made all the officers; from corporal to colonel; come
  forward; and; placing himself in their midst; evinced his satisfaction by
  recalling to them occasions when; in the past under the fire of cannon;
  he had remarked the bearing of these three brave; regiments。  He
  complimented the sub…officers on the good drilling of the soldiers; and
  the captains and chiefs of battalion on the harmony and precision of
  their evolutions。  In fine; each had his share of praise。
  This flattering distinction did not excite the jealousy of the other
  corps of the army; for each regiment had on that day its own share of
  compliments; whether small or great; and when the review was over; they
  went quietly back to their quarters。  But the soldiers of the Thirty…
  sixth; Fifty…seventh; and Tenth; much elated by having been so specially
  favored; went in the afternoon to drink to their triumph in a public
  house frequented by the grenadiers of the cavalry of the Guard。  They
  began to drink quietly; speaking of campaigns; of cities taken; of the
  First Consul; and finally of that morning's review。  It then occurred to
  the young men of Boulogne; who were among the drinkers; to sing couplets
  of very recent composition; in which were extolled to the clouds the
  bravery and the exploits of the three regiments; without one word of
  praise for the rest of the army; not even for the Guard; and it was in
  the favorite resort of the grenadiers of the Guard that these couplets
  were sung!  These latter maintained at first a gloomy silence; but soon
  finding it unendurable; they protested loudly against these couplets;
  which they said were detestable。  The quarrel became very bitter; they
  shouted; heaped insults on each other; taking care not to make too much
  noise; however; and appointed a meeting for the next day; at four o'clock
  in the morning; in the suburbs of Marquise; a little village about two
  leagues from Boulogne。  It was very late in the evening when these
  soldiers left the public house。
  More than two hundred grenadiers of the Guard went separately to the
  place of meeting; and found the ground occupied by an almost equal number
  of their adversaries of the Thirty…sixth; Fifty…seventh; and Tenth。
  Wasting no time in explanations; hardly a sound being heard; each soldier
  drew his sword; and for more than an hour they fought in a cool;
  deliberate manner which was frightful to behold。  A man named Martin;
  grenadier of the Guard; and of gigantic stature; killed with his own hand
  seven or eight soldiers of the Tenth。  They would probably have continued
  till all were massacred if General Saint…Hilaire;  informed too late of
  this bloody quarrel; had not sent out in all haste a regiment of cavalry;
  who put an end to the combat。  The grenadiers had lost two men; and the
  soldiers of the line thirteen; with a large number of wounded on both
  The First Consul visited the camp next day; and had brought before him
  those who had caused this terrible scene; and said to them in a severe
  tone: 〃I know why you fought each other; many brave men have fallen in a
  struggle unworthy of them and of you。  You shall be punished。  I have
  given orders that the verses which have been the cause of so much trouble
  shall be printed。  I hope that; in learning your punishment; the ladies
  of Boulogne will know that you have deserved the blame of your comrades
  in arms。〃
  However; the troops; and above all the officers; began to grow weary of
  their sojourn at Boulogne; a town less likely; perhaps; than any other to
  render such an inactive existence endurable。  They did not murmur;
  however; because never where the First Consul was did murmuring find a
  place; but they fumed nevertheless under their breath at seeing
  themselves held in camp or in fort; with England just in sight; only nine
  or ten leagues distant。  Pleasures were rare at Boulogne; the women;
  generally pretty; but extremely timid; did not dare to hold receptions at
  their own houses; for fear of displeasing their husbands; very jealous
  men; as are all those of Picardy。  There was; however; a handsome hall in
  which balls and soirees could easily have been given; but; although very
  anxious to do this; these ladies dared not make use of it。  At last a
  considerable number of Parisian beauties; touched by the sad fate of so
  many brave and handsome officers; came to Boulogne to charm away the
  ennui of so long a peace。  The example of the Parisian women piqued those
  of Abbeville; Dunkirk; Amiens; and soon Boulogne was filled with
  strangers; male and female; who came to do the honors of the city。  Among
  all these ladies the one most conspicuous for style; intellect; and
  beauty was a Dunkirk lady; named Madame F; an excellent musician;
  full of gayety; grace; and youth; it was impossible for Madame Fnot
  to turn many heads。  Colonel Joseph;  brother of the First Consul;
  General Soult; who was afterwards Marshal; Generals Saint…Hilaire and
  Andre Ossy; and a few other great personages; were at her feet; though
  two alone; it is said; succeeded in gaining her affections; and of those
  two; one was Colonel Joseph; who soon had the reputation of being the
  preferred lover of Madame F。  The beautiful lady from Dunkirk often
  gave soirees; at which Colonel Joseph never failed to be present。  Among
  all his rivals; and certainly they were very numerous; one alone bore him
  ill…will; this was the general…in…chief; Soult。  This rivalry did no
  injury to the interests of Madame F; but like a skillful tactician;
  she adroitly provoked the jealousy of her two suitors; while accepting
  from each of them compliments; bouquets; and more than that sometimes。
  The First Consul; informed of the amours of his brother; concluded one
  evening to go and make himself merry in the little salon of Madame F;
  who was very plainly domesticated in a room on the first floor in the
  house of a joiner; in the Rue des Minimes。  In order not to be
  recognized; he was dressed as a citizen; and wore a wig and spectacles。
  He took into his confidence General Bertrand; who was already in great
  favor with him; and who did all in his power to render his disguise
  Thus disguised; the First Consul and his companion presented themselves
  at Madame F's; and asked for Monsieur the Superintendent Arcambal。
  The most perfect incognito was impressed on Arcambal by the First Consul;
  who would not for all the world have been recognized; and M。 Arcambal
  promising to keep the secret; the two visitors were announced under the
  title of commissaries of war。
  They were playing bouillotte; gold covered the tables; and the game and
  punch absorbed the attention of the happy inmates to such a degree; that
  none of them took note of the persons who had just entered。  As for the
  mistress of the lodging; she had never seen the First Consul except at a
  distance; nor General Bertrand; consequently; there was nothing to be
  feared from her。  I myself think that Colonel Joseph recognized his
  brother; but he gave no evidence of this。
  The First Consul; avoiding as best he could all glances; spied those of
  his brother and of Madame F。  Thinking signals were passing between
  them; he was preparing to quit the salon of the pretty Dunkirkess; when
  she; very anxious that the number of her guests should not yet be
  diminished; ran to the two false commissaries of war; and detained them
  gracefully; saying that all were going to play forfeits; and they must
  not go away without having given pledges。  The First Consul having first
  consulted General Bertrand by a glance; found it agreeable to remain and
  play those innocent games。
  Indeed; at the end of a few moments; at the request of Madame F; the
  players deserted the bouillotte; and placed themselves in a circle around
  her。  They began by dancing the Boulangere; then the young innocents kept
  the ball in motion。  The turn of the First Consul came to give a forfeit。
  He was at first very much embarrassed; having with him only a piece of
  paper; on which he had written the names of a few colonels; he gave;
  however; this paper to Madame F; begging her not to open it。
  The wish of the First Consul was respected; and the paper remained folded
  on the lap of the beautiful woman until the time came to redeem the
  forfeits。  Then the queer penalty was imposed on the great captain of
  making him doorkeeper; while Madame F; with Colonel Joseph; made the
  'voyage a Cythere' in a neighboring room。  The First Consul acquitted
  himself with a good grace of the role given him; and after the forfeits
  had been redeemed; made a sign to General Bertrand to follow him; and
  they went out。  The joiner who lived on the ground floor soon came up to
  bring a little note to Madame F。
  This was the note:
  I thank you; Madame; for the kind welcome you have given me。  If you
  will come some day to my barracks; I will act as doorkeeper; if it
  seems good to you; but on that occasion I will resign to no; other
  the pleasure of accompanying you in the 'voyage a Cythre'。
  (Signed)   BONAPARTE