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Polignac

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Monsieur le Compte de Polignac had been raised to honour by
Bonaparte; but, from some unaccountable motive, betrayed the trust his
patron reposed in him. As soon as Bonaparte discovered the perfidy, he
ordered Polignac to be put under arrest. Next day he was to have been
tried, and in all probability would have been condemned, as his guilt was
undoubted. In the meantime, Madame Polignac solicited and obtained an
audience of the Emperor. "I am sorry, madam, for your sake," said he, "that
your husband has been implicated in an affair which is marked throughout
with such deep ingratitude." "He may not have been so guilty as your
majesty supposes," said the countess. "Do you know your husband's
signature?" asked the Emperor, as he took a letter from his pocket and
presented it to her. Madame de Polignac hastily glanced over the letter,
recognised the writing, and fainted. As soon as she recovered, Bonaparte,
offering her the letter, said, "Take it; it is the only legal evidence
against your husband: there is a fire beside you." Madame de P. eagerly
seized the important document, and in an instant committed it to the
flames. The life of Polignac was saved: his honour it was beyond the power
even of the generosity of an emperor to redeem.





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