The Twin Lieutenants

Alexandre Dumas, père

The Twin Lieutenants
by Alexander Dumas
AT about eighteen leagues from Munich (which the Guide in Germany of Messieurs Richard and Quetinde signates as one of the most eminent cities not only of Bavaria, but of Europe; at nine leagues from Augsburg, made famous by the diet in which Melancthon, in 1530, digested the formula of the Lutheran law, at twenty-five leagues from Ratisbon which, in the obscurest rooms of its town-hall, saw, from 1662 to 1806, an assembly of the states of the German Empire) rose, like an advanced sentinel, overlooking the course of the Danube, the little town of Donauwerth.
Four roads led to the ancient city where Louis the Severe, upon an unjust suspicion of unfaithfulness, had the unfortunate Marie de Brabant decapitated; two that come from Stuttgard,that is to say from France, those of Nordlingen and Dillingen; and two that come from Austria, those of Augsburg and of Aichach. The two first follow the left bank of the Danube; the two others, situated upon the right bank of the stream, cross it, on reaching Donauwerth, over a simple wooden bridge.
At the present time, as a railroad passes to Donauwerth, and as steamboats descend the Danube from Ulm to the Black Sea, the city has become somewhat important, and affects a certain activity; but it was not thus at the commencement of this century.
And yet the old free city which, in ordinary times, seems a temple raised to the goddess Solitude and the god Silence, presented, upon the 17th of April, 1809, a spectacle so unusual to its two thousand five hundred inhabitants, that with the exception of the infants in the cradle, and infirm old men, who, the latter from their infirmity, the former from their weakness, were forced to remain at home, all the population encumbered its streets and squares, and particularly the street into which led the two streets coming from Stuttgard and the Place du Chateau.
In short, since the evening of the 13th of April, at the moment when three post-chaises, accompanied by wagons and carts, had stopped at the Hotel de l'Ecrevisse, and from the first had descended a general officer wearing, like the Emperor, a little hat and a frock-coat under his uniform, and from the two others, staff-officers; the rumor bad spread around that the victor of Marengo and Austerlitz had chosen the little town of Donauwerth as a point of departure of his operations in the new campaign which he was to open against Austria.
This general officer, whom the most curious, on that evening, had viewed through the hotel windows, was a man of fifty-six or fifty-seven years of age, whom the better-informed assorted to be the old Marshal Berthier, Prince of Neuchatel, who proceeded the Emperor but by two or three days. He had, on the night of bis arrival, sent couriers in all directions, and ordered, upon Donauwerth, a concentration of troops which, on the third day after, had commenced to operate; so that they heard nothing within and without the town, but drums and trumpets, and saw, coming from the four cardinal points only Bavarian, Wurtemburgian, and French regiments.
Let us say a word upon those two old enemies, who are called France and Austria, and of the circumstances which, having broken the treaty sworn at Presburg between the Emperor Napoleon and the Emperor Francis II., led to all this movement.
The Emperor Napoleon was at war with Spain.
This is how it happened.
The treaty of Amiens which had, in 1803, brought peace with England, had lasted but a year, England having prevailed upon John VI,, King of Portugal, to break his engagement with the Emperor of the French. Napoleon only wrote this one line; signed with his name:
"The House of Braganza has ceased to reign."
John VI., driven from Europe, was forced to trust himself to the waves, cross the Atlantic, and demand shelter in the Portuguese colonies.
Camoens, in his shipwreck upon the coast of Cochin China, had saved his poem, which he upheld with one hand while he swam with the other. John VI., in the tempest which bore him to Rio Janeiro, was compelled to leave his crown behind him. It is true that he found another on his arrival, and that, in exchange for his lost European kingdom, he was proclaimed Emperor of Brazil.
The French armies, which had obtained passage across Spain, occupied Portugal, of which Junot was named governor.
So small a place was Portugal, that they only gave it a governor.
But the Emperor's projects stopped not there.
The treaty of Presburg, imposed upon Austria after the battle of Austerlitz, had assured to Eugene Beauharnais the vice-royalty of Italy; the treaty of Tilsit, imposed on Prussia and Russia after the battle of Friedland, had given to Jerome the kingdom of
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