"My enemy! ah, I would advise you! My enemy! That is a trifle strong!" cried Napoleon, advancing as though to strike his younger brother. "You my enemy! I would break you, look, like this box!" And so saying he flung his snuff-box violently on the floor.
In these angry scenes both parties knew that Napoleon's bravado was not altogether honest. For once, Lucien was in earnest; and had his brother left a few other men in France as determined as he and his friend Bernadotte, the First Consul would have defied public opinion less boldly. Joseph, too, although less obstinate than his brothers, was not easily managed. According to Lucien there were further scenes between them, at one of which Joseph burst into such violence that the First Consul took refuge in Josephine's room. These stories contained nothing incredible. The sale of Louisiana was the turning-point in Napoleon's career; no true Frenchman forgave it. A second betrayal of France, it announced to his fellow conspirators that henceforward he alone was to profit by the treason of the 18th Brumaire.
Livingston and Monroe knew nothing of all this; they even depended upon Joseph to help their negotiation. Monroe fell ill and could not act. Over the negotiation of the treaty has always hung a cloud of mystery such as belonged to no other measure of equal importance in American history. No official report showed that the commissioners ever met in formal conference; no protocol of their proceedings, no account