The Strange History and Legend of the Moran Moor
Extract Eighteen. Heirlooms, Lost Artifacts
A few weeks after the Coup of Brumaire in early November 1799 the new elected First consul of the French Republic, a previously comparatively unknown general by the name of Napoleon Bonaparte had struck a medal to celebrate one of his most famous victories to date, the battle of the Pyramids that took place on the 21st July 1798. The medal ws awarded to all troops who were present at the battle to include the father of Julien Lasalle-Bargossa, the future General of the grande armee of France Antoine Charles Louis de Lassalle whose heroic cavalry charge against the village of Embabeh paved the way to final overwhelming victory over the Mamaluk forces. Upon Lasalle’s tragic death at the battle of Wagram on the 5th July 1809 the medal which he always wore upon a tricolor ribbon beneath his ornately gilt and fur encrusted hussar jacket and pelisse was recovered by an aid de comp and delivered a few months later to his son whom had recently commenced tutelage with the Marine National to train as a midshipman. Quite naturally the swaggering aid de camps arrival and his transmission of such a momentous piece of military memorabilia caused quite the stir, making the mere ten year old Julien quite the cause celebre for several weeks following. The medal is particularly recognizable having upon it a relief of Bonaparte in the uniform of a general of the directorate standing in front of the great Giza pyramids surrounded by the spoils of victory.
That Lasalle made special such special arrangements to have the medal passed to Julien, whom was after all but a bastard son resulting from his short lived dalliance with a concubine of Murad Bey, perhaps speaks volumes for the special place firstly Julien’s mother Evedne Bargossa and later their joint offspring played in his emotions even after his later marriage to Josephine Berthiers, cuckolded and divorced wife of Marshal Victor Berthiers.
Whilst this long and rather involved tale of a single medallion amidst a casting of several thousand might seem an absurd aside we will now draw the points together to produce an interesting thread of coincidences. During construction of the Moran mansion between 1906 and 1909, in particular the organ well and libraries, several secreted panels were included that allow access to rooms containing items of familial or historical import. The items whilst worthy of study, care and preservation were considered of such political and economic consequence to warrant isolation from the general public’s view. Amongst these exhibits were indigenous blankets, baskets and wampum of unusual design, trade axe heads and detritus dating from the eighteen twenties or thirties and a gilt medallion still bearing the barest trace of a standing figure in front of what appear to be Egyptian pyramids.