Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
Marie-Louise, daughter of the Emperor Franz of Austria, had rented a villa at Baden, near Vienna, for herself, her retinue, and her son Franz. Franz had been given the title of Duke of Reichstadt by the Austrians as a sop to his feelings when they all but imprisoned him in that country to keep him from arousing the French to follow Napoleon’s son as they had followed Napoleon himself.
Marie-Louise pretended a greater sorrow for her husband’s death than she truly felt; actually she would have been happy enough living again at the Austrian court if it had not been for Franz, whose sorrow was so deep that he took no interest in anything his mother suggested.
Count Metternich was Franz’s official jailer, though such a term was never used. It was he who arranged the police guard, under Count Sedlinsky, to spy on every moye L’Aiglon made. Metternich allowed Franz to ride his horses where he would, but always there was an unseen guard along. Metternich also provided tutors for the lad, but they were warned never to speak Napoleon’s name. Even the boy’s history lessons were given without mention of Napoleon’s exploits.
L’Aiglon was then a frail, blond lad of eighteen. He was not strong, his cough leaving him strength only to ride the horses he loved and to find a way to learn his father’s history. But there were many people in Austria who were willing to back his bid to return as Francois, Emperor of France. The Austrian...
(The entire section is 1287 words.)
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