25 NOVEMBER 1905, Page 23

Concerning Napoleon's affection for his son there is no doubt.

It was the little King of Rome who most easily softened the Emperor's heart. "The Emperor," wrote Marie Louise, "is astonishingly good to him, carrying him about in his arms; he is quite childish about him, and already insists upon giving him food, which, however, generally upsets him." Thus the child was petted and spoiled until he was three years of age, and then his father was forced to abdicate. Shorn of his kingly title, the boy was at last made Duke of Reichstadt by the strangest diploma ever designed by crafty politicians. "According to this document," writes Dr. Wertheimer, "the Duke had no father who was known to the world. In their efforts to suppress the still living Napoleon, the diploma avoids all mention of the Emperor's mime. Neither Marie Louise, nor the Court of Vienna, seem to have been conscious of the disgrace thUs inflicted upon the Prince's mother, nor how deeply injured the Prince would feel himself by this proceeding." At. this time the Court of Vienna did not care how much disgrace it inflicted upon Napoleon's son, and as for Marie Louise, she was content so long as Napoleon remained at a distance, and she was free to carry on her intrigue with Neipperg undisturbed.

The education of the boy was that which his father would most bitterly hare hated. "I would rather see my son strangled," wrote Napoleon to his brother Joseph, "than see him brought up in Vienna as an Austrian Prince." And that is how he was brought up, only with this difference, that he did not enjoy the privilege, granted to other Austrian Princes, of studying the exploits of his father. The first duty of his tutors was to estrange him from France and its memories ; and though the task laid upon them was cruel enough, we cannot blame the execution of it. But, little as the boy knew or understood, he was not easily reconciled to his new home. "Under all his reserve," we are told, "it was evident that one subject, in which he would yield to • The Duke of Reichstadt a Biography eompilea from New Sources of Inform*. ion. Hy Edwin! de Wertheimer. fr-1140 1: John Lane. [21s. net.]