Lucien replied that the intent to alienate any portion whatever of territory belonging to the Republic without the consent of the Chambers was an unconstitutional project. "In a word, the Constitution—"
"Go about your business!" broke in the guardian of the Constitution and of the national territory. Then he quickly and vehemently went on: "Constitution! unconstitutional! republic! national sovereignty!—big words! great phrases! Do you think yourself still in the club of St. Maximin? We are no longer there, mind that! Ah, it becomes you well, Sir Knight of the Constitution, to talk so to me! You had not the same respect for the Chambers on the 18th Brumaire!"
Nothing exasperated Lucien more than any allusion to the part he took in the coup d'état of the 18th Brumaire, when he betrayed the Chamber over which he presided. He commanded himself for the moment; but when Napoleon went on to say with still more contempt, "I laugh at you and your national representation," Lucien answered coldly, "I do not laugh at you, Citizen Consul, but I know well what I think about it."
"Parbleu! said Napoleon, "I am curious to know what you think of me: say it, quick!"
"I think, Citizen Consul, that having given your oath to the Constitution of the 18th Brumaire into my own hands as President of the Council of Five Hundred, seeing you despise it thus, if I were not your brother I would be your enemy."