“The Emperor received standing upright before the fireplace, in which till very late in the season a roaring fire was kept up; this he was always knocking with the heel of his shoes. His clear eyes, of a blue which changed colour, at times almost black, when he concentrated his attention, at other moments of steely grey, when seized with emotion or anger, so bright then that they seemed like molten metal, fastened attentively on the person who addressed him, whom he heard to the end. He then put some short questions, at times not over courteous if it was a woman. He had not learned the art of talking to ladies, and was not happy in his manner with them: some got angry and answered sharply. He bore them no grudge, and was amused at it. It was very unusual for a woman to leave his salon without carrying away with her, in addition to the favour which she had come to ask, some sharpness of feeling against him who had granted it to her. As to men, some are mentioned who, as the result of an audience, became devoted to him. They were rare.
(…) He did not like to be thanked, and would not allow it even from those most familiar with him, those whom it was his pleasure to load with kindnesses without the trouble of asking for anything. He either sent them away with the gratuity, or he slipped in their hand a scrap of paper, and on that paper a figure - a big figure - of money, to be drawn from Estève.
There was never any familiarity, - he kept to his rank; to show that the audience was finished, in most cases a sign of the head, sometimes a glance at the list on the table, sufficed. He never gave his hand. A century ago shaking hands was a mark of equality, and was scarcely ever used by a superior to an inferior; and as to kissing hands, which the Bourbons re-established, Napoleon thought it a little degrading.”
Napoleon during the audiences, according to Frédéric Masson, Napoleon at Home.