From the park, the court and guests gathered up and walked down the tree lined pathway to Chateau de Malmaison. We were allowed passage through the front gate by the guards who held back the mob of locals come to have a look at their Emperor. We were lead up the gravel drive to the front of the house where we flanked either side of the main entry.
Bonaparte and Josephine arrived at Chateau de Malmaison that afternoon in grand fashion, they were in a fine black carriage followed by soldiers on horseback. The court and guests assembled at the entrance of the house.
Bonaparte and Josephine took an afternoon walk about the grounds with the court and guests en tow. They were long, meandering affairs through lovely gardens, the soldiers had every corner and path covered. It was nearly impossible to get close to him and I began to despair that my mission would be a failure.
There was a good deal of walking punctuated occasionally by some standing and sitting. We were, of course, completely at the mercy of Bonaparte and his whims. If he decided to stop and comment on a particular flower with Josephine, the entire party would come to a halt. If he decided to stop to kiss Josephine's hand, leaving us to stand in the full afternoon sun, he would do so. At one point I commented to my wife that it never seemed to occur to the Emperor to stop in the shade.
Finally, they found a lovely little grassy area beneath a tree in the back of the gardens to come to a stop and sit. The ladies of the court drew up close around Bonaparte and Josephine, followed by the gentlemen, guests and then the guards. I was so close to my goal, but with all these people swarming about, he might as well have been a hundred miles away.
…to be continued
Have you spotted the little green bottle yet? Keep looking!
Special thanks to the photographers who have allowed me to make use of their amazing pictures:
So close, and yet so far!ReplyDelete
And in case you were wondering, sir, this is so much fun to follow!