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List Of Contents | Contents of Murat, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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put it at our disposal until events enable the king to come to some
decision."

"It is at your service," said Marouin.

"Right.  My uncle shall sleep there to-night."

"But at least give me time to make some preparations worthy of my
royal guest."

"My poor Marouin, you are giving yourself unnecessary trouble, and
making a vexatious delay for us: King Joachim is no longer accustomed
to palaces and courtiers; he is only too happy nowadays to find a
cottage with a friend in it; besides, I have let him know about it,
so sure was I of your answer.  He is counting on sleeping at your
house to-night, and if I try to change his determination now he will
see a refusal in what is only a postponement, and you will lose all
the credit for your generous and noble action.  There--it is agreed:
to-night at ten at the Champs de Mars."

With these words the captain put his horse to a gallop and
disappeared.  Marouin turned his horse and went back to his country
house to give the necessary orders for the reception of a stranger
whose name he did not mention.

At ten o'clock at night, as had been agreed, Marouin was on the
Champs de Mars, then covered with Marshal Brune's field-artillery.
No one had arrived yet.  He walked up and down between the gun-
carriages until a functionary came to ask what he was doing.  He was
hard put to it to find an answer: a man is hardly likely to be
wandering about in an artillery park at ten o'clock at night for the
mere pleasure of the thing.  He asked to see the commanding officer.
The officer came up: M.  Marouin informed him that he was an avocat,
attached to the law courts of Toulon, and told him that he had
arranged to meet someone on the Champs de Mars, not knowing that it
was prohibited, and that he was still waiting for that person.  After
this explanation, the officer authorised him to remain, and went back
to his quarters.  The sentinel, a faithful adherent to discipline,
continued to pace up and down with his measured step, without
troubling any more about the stranger's presence.

A few moments later a group of several persons appeared from the
direction of Les Lices.  The night was magnificent, and the moon
brilliant.  Marouin recognised Bonafoux, and went up to him.  The
captain at once took him by the hand and led him to the king, and
speaking in turn to each of them--

"Sire," he said, "here is the friend.  I told you of."

Then turning to Marouin--

"Here," he said, "is the King of Naples, exile and fugitive, whom I
confide to your care.  I do not speak of the possibility that some
day he may get back his crown, that would deprive you of the credit
of your fine action....  Now, be his guide--we will follow at a
distance.  March!"

The king and the lawyer set out at once together.  Murat was dressed
in a blue coat-semi-military, semi-civil, buttoned to the throat; he
wore white trousers and top boots with spurs; he had long hair,
moustache, and thick whiskers, which would reach round his neck.

As they rode along he questioned his host about the situation of his
country house and the facility for reaching the sea in case of a
surprise.  Towards midnight the king and Marouin arrived at Bonette;
the royal suite came up in about ten minutes; it consisted of about
thirty individuals.  After partaking of some light refreshment, this
little troop, the last of the court of the deposed king, retired to
disperse in the town and its environs, and Murat remained alone with
the women, only keeping one valet named Leblanc.

Murat stayed nearly a month in this retirement, spending all his time
in answering the newspapers which accused him of treason to the
Emperor.  This accusation was his absorbing idea, a phantom, a
spectre to him; day and night he tried to shake it off, seeking in
the difficult position in which he had found himself all the reasons
which it might offer him for acting as he had acted.  Meanwhile the
terrible news of the defeat at Waterloo had spread abroad.  The
Emperor who had exiled him was an exile himself, and he was waiting
at Rochefort, like Murat at Toulon, to hear what his enemies would
decide against him.  No one knows to this day what inward prompting
Napoleon obeyed when, rejecting the counsels of General Lallemande
and the devotion of Captain Bodin, he preferred England to America,
and went like a modern Prometheus to be chained to the rock of St.
Helena.

We are going to relate the fortuitous circumstance which led Murat to
the moat of Pizzo, then we will leave it to fatalists to draw from
this strange story whatever philosophical deduction may please them.
We, as humble annalists, can only vouch for the truth of the facts we
have already related and of those which will follow.

King Louis XVIII remounted his throne, consequently Murat lost all
hope of remaining in France; he felt he was bound to go.  His nephew
Bonafoux fitted out a frigate for the United States under the name of
Prince Rocca Romana.  The whole suite went on board, and they began
to carry on to the boat all the valuables which the exile had been
able to save from the shipwreck of his kingdom.  First a bag of gold
weighing nearly a hundred pounds, a sword-sheath on which were the
portraits of the king, the queen, and their children, the deed of the
civil estates of his family bound in velvet and adorned with his
arms.  Murat carried on his person a belt where some precious papers
were concealed, with about a score of unmounted diamonds, which he
estimated himself to be worth four millions.

When all these preparations for departing were accomplished, it was
agreed that the next day, the 1st of August, at five o'clock, a boat
should fetch the king to the brig from a little bay, ten minutes'
walk from the house where he was staying.  The king spent the night
making out a route for M. Marouin by which he could reach the queen,
who was then in Austria, I think.

It was finished just as it was time to leave, and on crossing the
threshold of the hospitable house where he had found refuge he gave
it to his host, slipped into a volume of a pocket edition of
Voltaire.  Below the story of 'Micromegas' the king had written:
[The volume is still in the hands of M.  Marouin, at Toulon.]

Reassure yourself, dear Caroline; although unhappy, I am free.  I am
departing, but I do not know whither I am bound.  Wherever I may be
my heart will be with you and my children.  "J. M."

Ten minutes later Murat and his host were waiting on the beach at
Bonette for the boat which was to take them out to the ship.

They waited until midday, and nothing appeared; and yet on the
horizon they could see the brig which was to be his refuge, unable to
lie at anchor on account of the depth of water, sailing along the
coast at the risk of giving the alarm to the sentinels.

At midday the king, worn out with fatigue and the heat of the sun,
was lying on the beach, when a servant arrived, bringing various
refreshments, which Madame Marouin, being very uneasy, had sent at
all hazards to her husband.  The king took a glass of wine and water
and ate an orange, and got up for a moment to see whether the boat he
was expecting was nowhere visible on the vastness of the sea.  There
was not a boat in sight, only the brig tossing gracefully on the
horizon, impatient to be off, like a horse awaiting its master.

The king sighed and lay down again on the sand.

The servant went back to Bonette with a message summoning
M. Marouin's brother to the beach.  He arrived in a few minutes, and
almost immediately afterwards galloped off at full speed to Toulon,
in order to find out from M. Bonafoux why the boat had not been sent
to the king.  On reaching the captain's house, he found it occupied
by an armed force.  They were making a search for Murat.

The messenger at last made his way through the tumult to the person
he was in search of, and he heard that the boat had started at the
appointed time, and that it must have gone astray in the creeks of
Saint Louis and Sainte Marguerite.  This was, in fact, exactly what
had happened.

By five o'clock M. Marouin had reported the news to his brother and
the king.  It was bad news.  The king had no courage left to defend
his life even by flight, he was in a state of prostration which
sometimes overwhelms the strongest of men, incapable of making any
plan for his own safety, and leaving M. Marouin to do the best he
could.  Just then a fisherman was coming into harbour singing.
Marouin beckoned to him, and he came up.

Marouin began by buying all the man's fish; then, when he had paid
him with a few coins, he let some gold glitter before his eyes, and
offered him three louis if he would take a passenger to the brig
which was lying off the Croix-des-Signaux.  The fisherman agreed to
do it.  This chance of escape gave back Murat all his strength; he
got up, embraced Marouin, and begged him to go to the queen with the
volume of Voltaire.  Then he sprang into the boat, which instantly
left the shore.

It was already some distance from the land when the king stopped the
man who was rowing and signed to Marouin that he had forgotten
something.  On the beach lay a bag into which Murat had put a
magnificent pair of pistols mounted with silver gilt which the queen
had given him, and which he set great store on.  As soon as he was
within hearing he shouted his reason for returning to his host.
Marouin seized the valise, and without waiting for Murat to land he
threw it into the boat; the bag flew open, and one of the pistols
fell out.  The fisherman only glanced once at the royal weapon, but
it was enough to make him notice its richness and to arouse his
suspicions.  Nevertheless, he went on rowing towards the frigate.
M. Marouin seeing him disappear in the distance, left his brother on
the beach, and bowing once more to the king, returned to the house to
calm his wife's anxieties and to take the repose of which he was in
much need.

Two hours later he was awakened.  His house was to be searched in its
turn by soldiers.  They searched every nook and corner without
finding a trace of the king.  Just as they were getting desperate,

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