THE MARECHAL-NIEL ROSE
The Mareohal Nlel In one of the loveHeit roses of Its kind, and In Its name and origin there is one of the hitherto unwritten romances of the Oourt of Franoe m the Second Empire. In 1859, when the French army was sent to help Kir)g Victor Emm»nuel to drive the AusrUns tut of Italy, the Third Army Corps was commanded by General Mel. This officer, as bis name Implies, ctme of one of those Irleh noble families who emigrated to France after the battle of the Boyoe, m 1690, as did the MacMahon'e, the Fi'zjames, and otbera, who are now Irish In nothing *at their names. General Nlel bad commanded and fonght «i h his corps with such eminent ability and distinguished ooarage that, when peace was made, with hit countryman and friend, MtcMahon, be was created a Marshal cf Franoe. It wsb well-nigh antnmn before General Nlel waa able to return tv France. He had been terribly wounded, and Buffered besides from the dreadful fever of the Italian marshes. For months he was between life and death, with only hit surgeoD, who was his constant companion, and a soldier lervant, who proved to be an admirable nurse m his Illness and convalescence.
Ono day a peasant woman brought hfm a whole basket of wild roses from the Oampagne region- General Niel had always been extremely fond of roses, and most of there were new to him, and tbns served to amuse hits, until they were withered. He observed, however, that one partloalsr shoot had not faded and died like the others, but had grown Into a beautiful green plant of perhaps 10 inches In length. When he looked to see why this one had grown and the others faded, he found that a bit of the root had been ont away with tbe flower, whioh was of a palish yellow bue. Scarcely knowing why, Niel determined to keep the shoot ■o curiously preserved. When be returned to Paris he plaoed the yonng shoot with an expert floriculturist, and nrxt spring It bore four of the loveliest buds In the world, of a pale-lemon tinge, A.t that time General Nlel was sent for to receive the highest military rank then known m France, tbe Grand Cross of tbe Legion, and bis commission bb Marshal of France, m presence of three Emperors and all tbe &togß m Europe worth naming. After the solemn ceremony was ended, and he Wore for the time on that day the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, he went to the reception of the Empress — who wat epletidld In her perfection of beauty — and presented to her a curious yellowish roie of perfect form end perfume, bnt different from any she bad ever seen, and told her its story.
" And so you have proved the truth of what the old abbe used to say m his dread fully tedious sermons at Paa, about oastIng the bread on the waters," said the Empress (who, like Qaeen Ellzibeth of blessed memory, " loved * fine man ") to the handsomest and most darlrg, as well bs one of the ablest of the Marshals of the Second Empire, " Dear me, but he was tedious, that good abbe," continued Her Majesty, with the softest look of re'ro•peotlon m her lovely dark eyes "Now, Monsieur le Mareohal," said she, vlvaoloosly, "I ihall christen this rose for
yon." " Do io," said the Franco-frith soldier, bowing very low, bat fliehiog her a glance of pro ad admiration ao warm that It deepened her color a little as they stood alone, for though the great salon of the paleoe wai crowded ao one dared interrupt a tete a tcte, which she herself had allowed, between the EmpreßS and the handsomest general of bis day. i Lightly patting the rose to hor lips, I she taid, '* It Is named the|Marecbal iSiel, | for the soldier sans peur it Hans reproche, as gallant In the salon as he Is on the battle field." This graoloas upeeoh went straight to the great soldier's Irish heart. •• You will we»t It to-n'gh^y your Majesty, will you not, and afterwards give it to me to keep, this happy rose 1" c Monsieur le Mareohal t" said the-Em-press, with great dignity. .. * "I pray your forgiveness," he answered . 11 No, no, I am not »s angry as I ought to be," she replied ; " but—bat people might hear," and with a partblan glance she departed. Four days thereafter Colonel Lawai, then Nlel'o ohief of sttff, but not long since Minister of W»r for the French Republlo, observed his chief take a surreptitious rosebud out of an envelope he bad jast received, and lopk It up m a private drawee — Leslie's "Popular j Monthly."
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2069, 21 February 1889
THE MARECHAL-NIEL ROSE Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2069, 21 February 1889
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