His Wife's Face In The Case Of His Watch
( Originally Published 1902 )
NAPOLEON III. had such good luck in stealing the throne of France that he concluded to help himself to all the territory he could lay his hands upon. During the anarchy of the civil war in Mexico, foreign subjects were mistreated and England, France and Spain sent a fleet to Mexico to demand satisfaction. England and Spain were satisfied with the treaty made, but Napoleon left his army in the territory, and in 1862 declared war on the government of Juarez and overthrew the republic. A year after, he persuaded Maximilian, Arch-duke of Austria, to act as Emperor of Mexico. Having put one hand on so much American territory, he reached the other out after a part of the United States. But for the timely interference of Albert and Victoria, his arrangement with several nations of Europe, to declare war on the United States, and divide up the territory, would have been carried out. The American Government was not so nearly dead as he thought it was. General Grant told Napoleon's army to get out of Mexico, and it got out, and the Mexican Empire collapsed. Poor Maximilian was captured. When he took the throne, he threatened to shoot any who adhered to the republic, and in many instances he made his threat good. The tables were now turned and it was the people's turn to do some shooting, and they condemned him to die June 19, 1867. As the condemned Emperor stood before a file of Mexican soldiers at Queretaro, he took out his watch, which he would never more need, and pressing a spring revealed in its case a miniature of the lovely Empress Charlotte, which he kissed tenderly. Then, handing the watch to the priest at his side, he said, "Carry this souvenir to my dear wife in Europe, and if she be ever able to understand you, say that my eyes closed with the impression of her image, which I shall carry with me above." When the watch reached her it found her insane from her sorrow, and she was under the impression that she was still Empress of Mexico, and that her husband was away leading a victorious army, and would return to her and his throne. The young adventurer paid for his folly with his life and her reason, but their love for each other was beautiful in the extreme.
Our love for the Saviour should prompt us to keep His picture where the eye will see it most, or better, to keep the original in the locket of the heart.