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The Companions of Jehu

21. The Schedule Of The Directory
We have said that Moreau, furnished no doubt with instructions, left the little
house in the Rue de la Victoire, while Bonaparte returned alone to the salon.
Everything furnished an object of comment in such a company as was there
assembled; the absence of Moreau, the return of Bonaparte unaccompanied,
and the visible good humor which animated his countenance, were all remarked
upon.
The eyes which fastened upon him most ardently were those of Josephine and
Roland. Moreau for Bonaparte added twenty chances to the success of the plot;
Moreau against Bonaparte robbed him of fifty. Josephine's eyes were so
supplicating that, on leaving Lucien, Bonaparte pushed his brother toward his
wife. Lucien understood, and approached Josephine, saying: "All is well."
"Moreau?"
"With us."
"I thought he was a Republican."
"He has been made to see that we are acting for the good of the Republic."
"I should have thought him ambitious," said Roland.
Lucien started and looked at the young man.
"You are right," said he.
"Then," remarked Josephine, "if he is ambitious he will not let Bonaparte seize
the power."
"Why not?"
"Because he will want it himself."
"Yes; but he will wait till it comes to him ready-made, inasmuch as he doesn't
know how to create it, and is afraid to seize it."
During this time Bonaparte had joined the group which had formed around Talma
after dinner, as well as before. Remarkable men are always the centre of
attraction.
"What are you saying, Talma?" demanded Bonaparte. "It seems to me they are
listening to you very attentively."
"Yes, but my reign is over," replied the artist.
"Why so?"
"I do as citizen Barras has done; I abdicate?"
"So citizen Barras has abdicated?"
"So rumor says."
"Is it known who will take his place?"
"It is surmised."
"Is it one of your friends, Talma?"
"Time was," said Talma, bowing, "when he did me the honor to say I was his."
"Well, in that case, Talma, I shall ask for your influence."
"Granted," said Talma, laughing; "it only remains to ask how it can serve you."
"Get me sent back to Italy; Barras would not let me go."
"The deuce!" said Talma; "don't you know the song, general, 'We won't go back
to the woods when the laurels are clipped'?"
 
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