his was an odd one, a short story from a series from Alexandre Dumas focused on Celebrated Crimes. I don’t know what the context of this was – unfair crimes against people? Crimes that took place and his detailed storytelling of them? Not sure.
Anyway, for this one, we start high in the windswept expanse of the Gorge of Olliulles where a ragged traveler looks over the endless vista. It is June 18th, 1815, and on the other side of France Napoleon (that very day) is getting crushed at Waterloo.
Two men ride up, marshals of France, and accost the beggar. It is then we realize the man is greater than a simple beggar, that he is Joachim-Napoléon Murat, the deposed King of Naples, evidently installed (largely because of his kinship with the little ruler) then uninstalled and now seeking his crown one more. And the two marshals have sage advice for our young and flamboyant traveler – get out of France. The political winds are changing.
But while Murat hates the idea of leaving France, he has his eye set on reclaiming the crown of Naples. With that in mind, he crosses to Corsica (nearly sinking in the process) to raise a little army and take his city back.
But things do not go well for him. The ships of his invasion fleet are scattered, the last one slipping off with his treasure while he as ashore. And the people in the little seaside town of Pizzo (hurt by his anti-piracy actions) seize him and turn him over to the local authorities. Of course, he’d been given a pardon by the Emperor of Austria, allowing him to settle in obscurity and enjoy a retirement of sorts. But now that he’s chosen the insurrectionist’s road, he’ll be repaid in kind. He is quickly tried by a stacked court and led out to a firing squad. I’ll give him this, I couldn’t have been as cool as he was when looking down the business end of long barrels. That scene alone (evidently plucked from history) made the whole story.
Anyway, it’s a freebie from Project Gutenberg right HERE, yours for the taking.