1938 "Napoleon's Greatest Romance" cont'd
A fortnight later, in the Poniatowski Palace, Warsaw, destiny decreed Marie's meeting with Napoleon as guest of honour. Standing for a moment at the top of a flight of stairs leading into the ballroom, accompanied by officers, he made an impressive entry.
He passed along the line of guests and, prompted by his host's introductions, spoke to each in turn, bowing over a lady's hand here, complimenting some uniformed dignitary there. Marie's eyes took in every detail as he spoke to her husband.
She calmly prepared to partner the Emperor in the quadrille. He continued to dance with her after the measure had finished, thus throwing the other couples into confusion.
"You're attracting attention, Sire!" she protested.
"Well, it's not for the first time. Will you come and see me tomorrow, Countess?"
"Why, no, Sire."
"But you came to see me the other night."
"Not to be seen, Sire. That evening I obeyed an impulse of hero worship. Now I can only feel that impulse from afar."
"Meaning you're disillusioned?"
"No, Sire, only afraid of being so."
"You are discourteous."
mean to be...Please -- I am not accustomed to this -- it is my first
visit to Warsaw."