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The Companions of Jehu

22. The Outline Of A Decree
Lucien was evidently expected. Bonaparte had not mentioned his name once
since entering the study; but in spite of this silence he had turned his head three
or four times with increasing impatience toward the door, and when the young
man appeared an exclamation of contentment escaped his lips.
Lucien, the general's youngest brother, was born in 1775, making him now barely
twenty-five years old. Since 1797, that is, at the age of twenty-two and a half, he
had been a member of the Five Hundred, who, to honor Bonaparte, had made
him their president. With the projects he had conceived nothing could have been
more fortunate for Bonaparte.
Frank and loyal, republican to the core, Lucien believed that, in seconding his
brother's plans, he was serving the Republic better than the future First Consul.
In his eyes, no one was better fitted to save it a second time than he who had
saved it the first. It was with these sentiments in his heart that he now came to
confer with his brother.
"Here you are," said Bonaparte. "I have been waiting for you impatiently."
"So I suspected. But I was obliged to wait until I could leave without being
noticed."
"Did you manage it?"
"Yes; Talma was relating a story about Marat and Dumouriez. Interesting as it
was, I deprived myself of the pleasure, and here I am."
"I have just heard a carriage driving away; the person who got in it couldn't have
seen you coming up my private stairs, could he?"
"The person who drove off was myself, the carriage was mine. If that is not seen
every one will think I have left."
Bonaparte breathed freer.
"Well," said he, "let us hear how you have spent your day."
"Oh! I haven't wasted my time, you may be sure."
"Are we to have a decree or the Council?"
"We drew it up to-day, and I have brought it to you--the rough draft at least--so
that you can see if you want anything added or changed."
"Let me see it," cried Bonaparte. Taking the paper hastily from Lucien's hand, he
read:
Art. I. The legislative body is transferred to the commune of Saint-Cloud; the two
branches of the Council will hold their sessions in the two wings of the palace.
"That's the important article," said Lucien. "I had it placed first, so that it might
strike the people at once."
"Yes, yes," exclaimed Bonaparte, and he continued:
Art. II. They will assemble there to-morrow, the 20th Brumaire--
"No, no," said Bonaparte, "to-morrow the 19th. Change the date, Bourrienne;"
and he handed the paper to his secretary.
"You expect to be ready for the 18th?"
"I shall be. Fouché said day before yesterday, 'Make haste, or I won't answer for
the result.'"
 
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