Napoleon's sister livened up the social life in Elba

The third lady who made Napoleon's 300 days in Elba more pleasant was Paolina Borghese, his sister. To be honest, it wasn't just Napoleon who was cheered up by the pretty Paulette , her ladies in waiting and her dressmakers, their flirting, the fashion, the masquerade, the parties with a touch of Paris she gave in her new court, all added a touch of life to the social life in Elba. She filled the rooms in the Palazzina dei Mulini with flowers, birds in cages and all sorts of trinkets, really meant for Maria Luisa's extravagant tastes, turning it into a "fairytale castle".

The balls organized in the tiny, but beautiful, Vigilanti theatre that Napoleon got built out of a deconsecrated church were unforgettable; even more unforgettable was the party Paolina gave in honour of the high society on the evening before Napoleon's departure:

That evening Napoleon was wearing white trousers and a white waistcoat, black tails with Chantilly lace and a black, cocked hat. Paolina, who that evening was extremely bright and bubbly, noticing his black and white clothes and hinting he had put on weight, is said to have passed the following remark:

-This evening you are more of a penguin than ever.-

Napoleon answered by simply kissing her hand and asking her to do a country dance with him. He had last danced in Warsaw with Maria Walewska, in the chambers of Talleyrand. All the guests murmured in admiration and applauded the royal couple. (p.164)

Only the following day did they understand the reason for so much emotion.

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