By Emil Ludwig
This can be the good vintage biography of Napoleon. What makes Emil Ludwig's paintings the most is his literary kind and presentation.
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At length, at five in the morning, he hears the rattling wheels of his old friends the big guns. Murat's men were mounted, and they have won the prize. Forward! Within two hours, everything must be ready. In well-armed companies, the crowd advances threateningly. The lawyers in the Convention are shaking in their shoes. Speech after speech is made from the tribune, urging a parley, advocating the withdrawal of the troops. In the daylight, the situation is so menacing that the civilians utterly lose heart.
The minutes are passing. — Buonaparte was entrusted with the defence of the government, a fortnight after his name had been erased from the list of general officers. For seven years the Parisian populace, when roused to action, has had to encounter nothing more than extemporised opposition. That is why the revolution has always made headway. Buonaparte is the first to prepare for the struggle. In one night, he transforms the Convention into a fortress. Even the alarmed deputies are supplied with weapons.
General Buonaparte ! He has just been on a secret mission to hostile Genoa. Lay the traitor by the heels ! He was colloguing with Robespierre to bring about the destruction of our southern army. Hale him to Paris for trial! Napoleon is in Fort Carrée near Nice. All his papers have been seized. It is his birthday. " To-day I am twenty-five," he thinks, as he glances seaward through the grating. If he could lean out of the window, he would catch a glimpse of Corsica. How many attempts he has made there, only to be defeated!