Palace of Fontainebleau France about 1892

Palace of Fontainebleau France about 1892

PALACE OF FONTAINEBLEAU FRANCE — This is one of the most interesting as well as the most elegantly decorated of all the Chateaux of France. Situated about forty miles from Paris, it was the favorite residence of Francis I (died 1547), of Henry IV (died 1610), and particularly of the first Napoleon. Here for some months he kept Pope Pius VII his prisoner. Here after the long and deadly duel between France and Europe he signed his abdication in 1814; and one may see the room in which in his despair he attempted then to commit suicide by taking poison prepared for him during the Russian campaign. The Palace courtyard has associated with itself some most pathetic souvenirs. It is called the “Court of the Adieux,” because it was here that Napoleon on the 20th of April, 1814, after his abdication, said farewell to his Old Guard. It was at the hour of noon that a solitary figure appeared at the head of the main staircase and descended its steps to meet his faithful grenadiers. It was the figure of Napoleon about to depart into exile. Embracing one or two of the officers, and pressing the “Eagle” of France repeatedly to his lips, he uttered to his Old Guard those impressive words of farewell with which every reader of French history is familiar. Then amid the sobs of his old soldiers, who were faithful to him in adversity as in prosperity, unlike so many whom the Emperor had enriched with honors, titles and estates, Napoleon (once more apparently their “Little Corporal”), entered a carriage and was driven away from this palace where he had been so recently the most powerful sovereign in the world. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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