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1 07 697 



A Historical Sketch 

An Intimate Biography 


The Romance of an Emperor 


Translated and adapted from the Journal 
d'une Femme de Cinquante Ans by the 
Marquise de La Tour du Pin 













The Island of Martinique The Tascher Family Fran- 
gois de Beauharnais Madame Renaudin Birth of 
Alexandra de Beauharnais Birth of Josephine A 
Confusion of Dates M. Beauharnais in France 
Death of His Wife Misfortunes of the Taschers 
Childhood of Josephine Her Education Her Ap- 
pearance and Character Alexandre de Beauharnais 
His Early Years His Education Madame Re- 
naudin's Interest in Him * 



Alexandre de Beauharnais Enters the Army Madame 
Renaudin Plans for His Marriage The Marquis 
Writes M. de la Pagerie Josephine Takes Her Sister's 
Place She Arrives in France The Contract Signed 

The Marriage Life in Paris Birth of Eugfcne 

Alexandre Sails for Martinique Birth of Hortense 

Alexandre Repudiates Josephine He Returns to 
France Refuses a Reconciliation A Separation 
Arranged Josephine's Sojourn at the Panthmont 

Residence at Fontainebleau Voyage to Martinique 14 





Beauharnais Elected to the States-General Josephine 
Returns from Martinique Alexandra, President of 
the Assembly Flight of the Royal Fainily End 
of the Constituent Assembly Alexandre Rejoins the 
Army Promoted and Made Commander of the 
Army of the Rhine His Disgraceful Failure His 
Resignation Accepted Jos6phine at Paris and Croissy 
Alexandre at Blois Both Arrested and Confined in 
the Cannes Execution of Alexandre 27 



Paris During the Terror The Fafl of Robespierre Joy 
of the Prisoners Josephine Set Free Her Behavior 
in Prison She Returns to Croissy Her Relations 
with Hoche Her Financial Difficulties Her Banker, 
Emmery Her Love of Luxury Her Intimacy with 
Madame Taffien Their Similar Tastes Thfr&ia 
Abandons Tallien Josephine's New Home She 
Places Her Children in School Paul Bairas His 
Political Prominence His Liaison with JosSphine 
His Court at the Luxembourg 36 



The 13 Vend&niaire The Parisians ' Disarmed- Eugfene 
Reclaims His Father's Sword -| Jos^^dne _J|eets 



General Bonaparte Her Appearance at That Time 

She Writes the General One of His Love Letters 
He Decides on Marriage Josephine's Hesitation 

Her Final Consent The Contract The Civil 
Ceremony Bonaparte Leaves for Italy. /. 48 



Bonaparte en Route for Italy His First Letter to 
Josephine Her Indifference His Second Letter 
Brilliant Opening of the Campaign Bonaparte's 
Proclamation He Writes Jos6phine to Rejoin Hi 
Presentation of the Battle Flags Description of 
Josephine's Appearance Victory of Lodi The Fte 
Given by the Directory 



Bonaparte Enters Milan Josephine's Life at Paris 
She Finally Starts for Italy Her Regret in Leaving 
Arrival at Milan The Palace Serbelloni Her 
Ennui Letter to Madame Renaudin Her Delayed 
Honeymoon End of the Campaign Napoleon's 
Letters The Court of Montebello The Bonaparte 
Family Reunion Jos6phine's Aid to Napoleon's 
Policy The Peace of Campo-Formio -- Bonaparte 
Leaves for Rastadt His Return to Paris 62 





Josephine Returns to Paris The Talleyrand F6te 
Purchase of the H6tel Chantereine Bonaparte's Tour 
of Inspection His Sudden Return Napoleon's 
Fortune He Leaves for Toulon The Fleet Sails 
Josephine at Plombifcres She Buys Malmaison 
Fortunes of the Bonapartes Josephine's Indiscretions 

Napoleon Hears the Reports His Liaison with 
Madame Fourfes 72 



Bonaparte Leaves Egypt He Lands in France JosS- 
phine Fails to Meet Him Their Reconciliation His 
Generous Pardon He Pays Her Debts Her R61e 
in the Coup diktat She Invites Gohier to D6jeuner 

The Two Days of Brumaire Bonaparte, First 
Consul They Move to the Luxembourg 82 



The Luxembourg Important R61e of Josephine Her 
Devotion to Napoleon Secret of Her Power Her 
Royalism -Assistance to the Emigres Importance 
to Napoleon's Policy Marriage of Caroline and 
Murat The Tuileries Lif e There The New Soci- 
ety Visits to Malmaison The CMteau Napoleon 
at BBs Best 88 




The Season of 1800 at Paris Problems of the First Consul 

Success of His Administration His Reception after 
Marengo The "Conspiracy of Marengo" Part 
Taken by Lucien and Joseph The Meeting at Auteuil 

Alliance of Fouche and Talleyrand Joseph in 
Italy Napoleon Answers the Pretender Decision 
to Amend the Constitution Alarm of Josephine 
The "Parallel" Disgrace of Lucien Louis Chosen 

Josephine's Plan , , 96 



Louis Bonaparte His Early Ye&rs Change in His 
Character His Life at Paris He Avoids Marriage 

Hortense de Beauharnais Her Appearance and 
Character Love of Her Mother Pride in Her 
Father Early Dislike of Bonaparte Fancy for 
Duroc The Infernal Machine Narrow Escape of 
Napoleon and Josephine Public Demand for an Heir 

Josephine's Dismay Louis Goes to Spain Jose- 
phine's Visit to Plombifcres Return of Louis His 
Marriage to Hortense 104 



Bonaparte Made Consul for Life He Takes Possession of 
Saint-Cloud His Apartment in the ChUteau Court 



Etiquette Established Trip to Normandie Jos6- 
phine at Forty Her Life at Saint-Cloud A Scene of 
Jealousy at the Tuileries Marriage of Pauline and 
Borghfcse Unfortunate Connection of Lucien J6r6me 
Marries Miss Patterson 114 



Rupture of the Peace of Amiens The Celebrated Scene 
with the English Ambassador The Visit to Belgium 

An Unfortunate Episode at Mortefontaine First 
Suggestions of the Empire Magnificent Reception 
at Brussels The Royalist Conspiracies Cadoudal 
and Pichegru Reach Paris Josephine's Pacific Counsels 

Petty Vanity of Madame Moreau Her Husband's 
Jealousy of Bonaparte Arrest, Trial and Exile of 
Moreau Deaths of Pichegru and Cadoudal The 
Execution of the Due d'Enghien 125 



The Empire Proclaimed The Ceremony at Saint-Cloud 
Josephine Hailed as Empress Dissatisfaction of the 
Bonapartes -T Chagrin of Caroline Napoleon Yields 
Josephine's Attitude Eugfene de Beauharnais 
The Fte of the 14 July Visit to the Banks of the 
Rhine A Letter from Napoleon The Court at 
Mayence Return to Saint-Cloud 139 





Cardinal Fesch Sent to Rome The Pope Consents to Go 
to Paris Astonishment of Madame Mfcre Jos6- 
phine's Triumph Over the Bonapartes Preparations 
for the Ceremony The Pope Arrives at Fontainebleau 
Josephine's Confession The Excitement at Paris 
Isabey's Ingenious Idea Religious Marriage of Napo- 
leon and Josephine The Procession to the Cathedral 

The Ceremony at Notre-Dame Josephine Crowned 
by the Emperor Her Joy A Series of Ftes 
Baptism of Napoleon-Louis 148 



Josephine's Places of Residence Her Apartments at the 
Tuileries Her Frequent Alterations Her Rooms at 
Saint-Cloud Her Daily Routine Her Personal At- 
tendants Her Toilette Her Lingerie and Robes 

Her Lavish Expenditures Her Debts Paid by the. 
Emperor Her Life at the Tuileries 158 



The Journey to Italy Grand Review at Marengo Na- 
poleon's Reconciliation with Jr6me The Coronation at 
Milan The Emperor's Satisfaction Eugfene, Viceroy 
of Italy Jos6phine's Grief Napoleon's Attachment 



to His Wife The Ftes at Genoa Hurried Return 
to France Josephine at Plombifcres The Austerlitz 
Campaign Josephine's Sojourn at Strasbourg Her 
Life There Napoleon's Letters During the Campaign 169 



Josephine Leaves Strasbourg for Munich Napoleon's Let- 
ters from Austerlitz Josephine's Selfishness The 
Emperor Arrives at Munich He Plans Three Family 
Alliances Princesse Augusta of Bavaria Prince Charles 
of Baden Opposition to the Emperor's Projects 
Duroc Presents the Official Demand The Elector 
Finally Obtains His Daughter's Consent Napoleon 
Summons Eugfcne The Young Couple The Marriage 
Its Success Napoleon's Reception at Paris 
Marriage of Prince Charles and Stephanie de Beau- 
harnais 183 



Louis Proclaimed King of Holland Hortense's Unhappy 
Married Life Birth of Napoleon-Charles Louis 
Buys Saint-Leu Birth of Napoleon-Louis Louis 
and Hortense at The Hague Josephine at Mayence 
The Campaign of Jena Napoleon's Letters The 
Emperor at Berlin The Hatzfeld Episode Prussia 
Overwhelmed The Emperor in Poland He Refuses 
to Allow Josephine to Join Him Battle of Pultusk. . . 198 





Napoleon's First Meeting with Marie Walewska Begin- 
ning of Their Long Liaison The Emperor Orders 
Josephine to Return to Paris The Terrible Battle of 
Eylau Napoleon Tries to Minimize His Losses 
Headquarters at Osterode Napoleon's Letter to Joseph 

His Brief Letters to Josephine The Empress Re- 
turns to Paris Her Cordial Welcome Her Loneli- 
ness Birth of Her First Granddaughter Napoleon 
Moves to Finckenstein He Is Joined by Madame 
Walewska The Emperor Dictates Regarding Jos6- 
phine's Friends. . . , 213 



Birth of Napoleon's First Child Death of the Crown- 
Prince of Holland Grief of Hortense Josephine 
Goes to Laeken She is Joined There by Hortense 
Napoleon's Letters to His Wife and Daughter His 
Apparent Indifference Josephine Writes to Hortense 

The Emperor's Letters after Friedland The Peace 
Conferences at Tilsit Napoleon Declines the Queen's 
Rose His Return to Paris 225 



Talleyrand Appointed Vice-Grand-lecteur Fte of the 
Emperor Marriage of J6r6me and Catherine Re- 



turn of Louis and Hortense New Quarrels Louis 
Departs Alone for Holland Napoleon's Power The 
Court Goes to Fontainebleau Napoleon at Thirty- 
eight The Emperor's Program of Entertainment 
Life of Josephine Ennui of the Emperor and His 
Guests The Gazzani Affair Jerdme's Flirtation with 
Stephanie Illness of Hortense She Refuses Any 
Reconciliation with Louis 237 



The Question of Divorce First Seriously Considered Na- 
poleon Asks JosSphine to Take the Initiative She 
Refuses Fouche's Letter to the Empress Napoleon 
Pretends Ignorance He Writes Fouch6 to Cease Med- 
dling Talleyrand's Attitude Fouche Influences 
Public Opinion End of the Ftes Death of Jose- 
phine's Mother Napoleon's Trip to Italy His Inter- 
view with Lucien He Adopts Eugfene His Letters 
to Josephine 249 



Jos6phine's Fear of Divorce Irresolution of the Emperor 
A Remarkable Episode Marriage of Mile, de 
Tascher The Spanish Crisis Abdication of King 
Charles Murat Enters Madrid The Emperor Goes 
to Bayonne His Sojourn at Marrac Letters to the 
Empress at Bordeaux Birth of Louis-Napoleon Joy 
of Napoleon and Josephine Charles Cedes the Spanish 
Crown Joseph Appointed King The Baylen Dis- 
aster Return of the Emperor and Empress 261 





The Erfurt Conference Josephine Left at Paris Napo- 
leon Opens His Heart to Alexander Talleyrand 
Instructed to Begin Negotiations for an Alliance Na- 
poleon's Letters to Josephine He Leaves for Spain 

The Peninusla Campaign Pursuit of the English 
Bad News from Paris The Emperor's Correspondence 

His Return to Paris Scene at the Tuileries The 
Succession Plot Josephine's Revelations She Ac- 
companies Napoleon to Strasbourg The Emperor 
Wounded at Ratisbon His Letters During the Cam- 
paign End of the War Napoleon Leaves for Fon- 
tainebleau 271 



Napoleon Arrives at Fontainebleau He Informs Camba- 
c6rfcs of the Coming Divorce His Cold Reception of 
Josephine She Finds the Door of Communication 
Closed Hesitation of the Emperor Josephine at 
Forty-six Napoleon Breaks the Fatal News The 
Scene of the 30 November A Comic Episode The 
Verdict of History Napoleon's Sincere Regret 
His Interview with Hortense The Final Ftes An 
Unfortunate Contretemps at Grosbois 285 





Eugene Reaches Paris His Difficult Position He Ar- 
ranges a Final Conference Refuses the Crown of 
Italy The Family Council at the Tuileries Address 
of the Emperor Josephine's Touching Reply Eu- 
gene's Address to the Senate Napoleon Leaves for 
the Trianon Josephine's Departure from the Tuileries 

Annulment of the Religious Marriage The Legend 

of Josephine 296 



Dowry of the Empress Napoleon's Liberality Her 
Debts Paid The First Days at Malmaison Napo- 
leon's Visits and Letters Christmas Dinner at Trianon 

Josephine Tires of the Country Her Interest in the 
Austrian Marriage Napoleon Arranges for Her Re- 
turn to Paris Her Arrival at the lys6e Palace l : 306 



Napoleon's Preference for a Russian Alliance The Matter 
Discussed in Conference The Archduchess Marie-Louise 
Favored The Marriage Arranged The New Em- 
press Arrives at Paris Josephine Goes to Malmaison 

The Emperor Gives Her Navarre She Takes Pos- 
session of the Chateau Its Dilapidated Condition 
Josephine's Letter to Hortense The Empress Wor- 



ried Over the Paris Gossip Her Letter to Napoleon 
and His Reply The Emperor Agrees to All Her Plans 

Josephine Returns to Malmaison 319 



Josephine's Court at Malmaison Her Anxiety About 
Hortense A Call from the Emperor Josephine Goes 
to Aix-les-Bains Her Life There A Visit from 
Eugene The Emperor Announces the Abdication of 
Louis Josephine's Narrow Escape from Death Ar- 
rival of Hortense Josephine's Tour of Switzerland 
She Is Upset by the Reports Regarding Marie-Louise 

Advice of Madame de Remusat Josephine's Return 331 



The Monotonous Life at Navarre Josephine's Health 
Improved Visits from Hortense and Eugene Jose- 
phine's Fte-Day News of the Birth of the King of 
Rome Napoleon Again Pays Her Debts She Plans 
for a New CMteau at Malmaison Napoleon Exchanges 
Laeken for the lyse A Winter at Malmaison 
Visit to Milan Sojourns at Aix-les-Bains and Pregny 342 



The Malet Conspiracy What It Revealed Josephine's 
Anxiety Return of the Emperor Josephine and the 
King of Rome Eugfene Commands the Grand Army 



Napoleon's Errors in 1813 Hortense at Aix 
Her Sons at Malmaison Recollections of Napoleon 
the Third A Doting Grandmother Death of Mme. 
de Broc Louis Returns to France Eugene's Fidelity 

Napoleon's Suspicions He Asks Josephine to Write 
Her Son Her Despair She Leaves for Navarre... 353 



Josephine at Navarre Arrival of Hortense The Emperor 
at Fontainebleau The Treaty of the 11 April Pro- 
visions for the Family Josephine Returns to Mal- 
maison Hortense Arrives The Czar Calls Eugene 
Leaves Italy He Is Called to Paris Hortense, 
Duchesse de Saint-Leu Eugene Received by the 
King Josephine's Fears Her Final Illness and Death 

How Napoleon Received the News His Visit to 
Malmaison 364 



Her Connection with Martinique Her Statue at Fort-de- 
France Her Legend Her Claims to Beauty Her 
Intellect Her Prodigality Her Personal Magnetism 

Her Affections Her Desire to Please Her False- 
hoods Her Final Deception Her Succession Fate 
of Her Homes Napoleon's Last Visit to Malmaison 

The Souvenir de Malmaison 375 


INDEX 389 




Josephine Frontispiece 

General Bonaparte 58 

Josephine at Malmaison 78 

Napoleon, First Consul 88 

Chateau of Malmaison 94 

Chateau of Saint-Cloud 114 

Napoleon 154 

Facsimile of Letter of Napoleon 186 

Louis, King of Holland 198 

Queen Hortense 226 

Chateau of Fontainebleau 240 

Fouche, Due d'Otrante 252 

Empress Josephine 288 

Facsimile of Letter of Josephine 334 

Eugene de Beauharnais 356 





The Island of Martinique The Tascher Family Frangois de 
Beauharnais Madame Renaudin Birth of Alexandre de 
Beauharnais Birth of Josephine A Confusion of Dates 
M. Beauharnais in France Death of His Wife Mis- 
fortunes of the Taschers Childhood of Josephine Her 
Education Her Appearance and Character Alexandre de 
Beauharnais His Early Years His Education Madame 
Renaudin's Interest in Him 

ON THE outer rim of the Caribbean Sea, in the 
middle of the chain of the Lesser Antilles, be- 
tween the British possessions of Dominica and 
St. Lucia, lies Martinique, the birthplace of Josephine. 
The island is only forty miles long, by twenty wide, and 
its area of less than four hundred square miles makes it 
about a third the size of the smallest state in the Union. 
A cluster of volcanic mountains in the north, a similar 
group in the south, and a line of lower heights between 
them form the backbone of the island. The deep 
ravines and precipitous escarpments, culminating on the 
north in the massif of Mont-Pele, are reduced in appear- 
ance to gentle undulations by the drapery of the forests. 
The few miles of country between the watershed and 



the sea are traversed by numerous streams, of which 
nearly fourscore are of considerable size, and in the 
rainy season become raging torrents. 

At the southerly end, a lateral range, branching from 
the backbone of the island, forms a blunt peninsula 
bounding on the south the beautiful low-shored bay of 
Fort-de-France, on which is located the city of the same 
name, formerly known as Fort-Royal, the capital of the 
island. On this peninsula, directly across the bay from 
the capital, is the little hamlet of Trois-Ilets, where 
Josephine was born. 

By some authorities, Martinique is said to have been 
discovered by Columbus in 1493, the year of his second 
voyage, but it was not until 1635 that possession was 
taken by the French Compagnie des lies d'Amfriqm. 
During the next hundred years, Martinique had a full 
share of wars. It experienced several revolutions of dif- 
ferent kinds, and was attacked on numerous occasions 
by the British and the Dutch, but always without suc- 
cess. It WJB finally captured, however, by Rodney in 
1762, and was only returned to France, by the Treaty 
of Paris, in the following year, a few days before the 
birth of Josephine. Like Napoleon, therefore, she had 
a narrow escape from not being born under the French 

In 1726, there landed in Martinique a noble of Blois, 
named Gaspard-Joseph Tascher de la Pagerie, who, like 
many others, came to seek his fortune. He belonged to 
an old family which could trace its origin back at least 
to the middle of the fifteenth century. His great-grand- 
father had established himself in Blois in 1650, after 
having sold his seigneurie of la Pagerie, of which, how- 


ever, his descendants continued to use the name. His 
grandfather, retired with the grade of captain of 
cavalry, exhausted his last resources, in 1674, in re- 
cruiting a squadron of the noblesse of Blois. He left 
only one son, Gaspard, who, in spite of his good mar- 
riages, did not succeed in restoring the family fortunes. 
Gaspard left two sons, of whom the younger rose to 
considerable prominence in the Church. The elder, 
named Gaspard- Joseph, after his grandfather, was a 
mauvais sujet. To escape a life of genteel poverty at 
home, he decided to try his fortunes in the New World. 
Little is known of the early years of his life in Marti- 
nique, but four years after his arrival, he presented to 
the Council a request to have his titles registered, in 
order to preserve his rights and privileges as a member 
of the noblesse. On account of the many formalities, 
and the delays in hearing from France, this matter 
dragged along over a period of fifteen years. In the 
meantime, in 1734, he married a young woman of good, 
if not noble, family, who brought him a considerable dot. 
He was not at all successful in his business ventures, 
however, and was finally obliged to take a clerical posi- 
tion. By his marriage, he had five children, two sons 
and three daughters; but we are only interested in the 
elder son, Joseph-Gaspard, and the eldest daughter, 

In 1752, Joseph-Gaspard, who was then seventeen 
years of age, left Martinique to take a position as page 
in the household of the Dauphine, Marie-Josephe of 
Saxony, the mother of the future King Louis the Six- 
teenth. This place had been secured for him by the 
Abbe de Tascher. After passing three years in France, 


he returned to Martinique with a brevet commission as 
sous-lieutenant in the Navy. 

At this time, thirty years after the arrival of Gas- 
pard-Joseph on the island, the family was living in a 
state of abject misery, without money or social position. 

In April 1755, in a period of entire peace between 
the two nations, an English fleet of ten vessels, under 
the command of Admiral Boscawen, captured two 
French battle-ships near the south coast of Newfound- 
land. It soon became evident that plans had been laid 
by the British Government to attack all the French 
colonies. In this emergency the King, Louis the Fif- 
teenth, had need in the Islands of an officer of force and 
intelligence, and on the first of November 1756 he ap- 
pointed Frangois de Beauharnais as governor and 
lieutenant-general of all the French possessions in the 
West Indies. 

The new governor, although only forty-two years of 
age, had a record of twenty-seven years of distinguished 
service in the Navy. Notwithstanding the fact that 
most of this period was passed at Rochefort, his native 
4 place, and that he had seen no active service, he was 
very highly esteemed for the efficiency with which he 
had always discharged the duties of his various posi- 

Monsieur de Beauharnais, (who was not made 
a marquis until eight years later), belonged to a 
a family of the noblesse de la robe, rather than of the 
sword. He was the eldest son of a naval captain, Claude, 
and of a Mile. Hardouineau, whose mother had married 
for her second husband the then Marquis de Beauhar- 
nais* As nephew of one and grandson of the other he 



was later to bear the title and to succeed to the hotel 
in the Rue Thevenot, in Paris, where the marquis died 

in 1749- 

When Francois de Beauharnais landed in Marti- 
nique, as governor, in May 1757, he was accompanied 
by his young wife, whom he had married six years 
before. She was his cousin, and had brought him a 
large dot. He also had a small income of his own which 
he had inherited from a bachelor uncle. They had had 
two sons, of whom only one was then living Frangois, 
born the previous year. / 

What possible point of contact could there be be- 
tween this grand seigneur, arriving as master in Marti- 
nique, rich with his income of 100,000 and his salary of 
150,000 livres, and these Taschers living in misery in 
a corner of the island? 

As above stated, Gaspard- Joseph had three daugh- 
ters, and in some unknown way he was successful in 
obtaining for the eldest, Desiree, a position in the 
household of the governor, as an upper servant or 
demoiselle de compagnie. Once installed in the mansion 
it did not take her long to secure a dominating influence 
over the governor and his wife, and her favor was in 
no way diminished by her marriage to an ordonnance 
officer of M. de Beauharnais, Alexis Renaudin, a young 
man of good family and connections. But it required 
all of the authority of the governor to arrange the 
matter, as the Renaudins objected strongly to the 
match not so much on account of the lack of dot, 
as because of the general discredit of the Taschers. 
Finally, M. Renaudin pre died, and the mother gave 
a reluctant consent. 


After her marriage the power of the young Madame 
Renaudin seemed to increase from day to day. A good 
husband was found for one of her younger sisters, a 
command in the militia for her father, and a place on 
the governor's staff for her brother. 

The administration of M. de Beauharnais proved a 
failure. Charges of such gravity were made against 
him in France that he was recalled from his govern- 
ment, and only saved from disgrace by the influence of 
powerful friends at home. By this time his infatuation 
for Madame Renaudin was so great that he was reluc- 
tant to leave Martinique, and the interesting condition 
of his wife served as an excuse. On the 28 May 1760, 
another son was born, who received the name of Alex- 
andre. Still M. de Beauharnais lingered on the island, 
and it was not until the month of April in the following 
year that he and his wife finally sailed for France, with 
the inseparable Madame Renaudin in their suite. In 
order not to expose the young Alexandre to the hazards 
of the voyage, he was left behind, in charge of Madame 
Tascher mire. 

Before the departure of M. de Beauharnais, he ar- 
ranged yet another marriage for the Tascher family, and 
on the 9 November 1761, Joseph-Gaspard, the former 
page of the Dauphine, led to the altar Mile. Rose- 
Claire des Vergers de Sannois. She was descended from 
the old noblesse of Brie, and belonged to one of the 
most highly considered families in the colony. Rose- 
Claire, who was born in August 1736, had already 
passed her twenty-fifth birthday, and was very glad to 
find a husband. The marriage, which was celebrated 
before the cure of Trois-Ilets, was not honored by the 



presence of any of the dignitaries of the colony. Even 
the father of the groom was not present, for some un- 
known reason. 

From this marriage there was born on the 23 June 

1763, a daughter, who five weeks later received in bap- 
tism the names of Marie-Joseph-Rose: this was Jose- 

During the three following years, Mme. de la Pagerie 
had two more daughters: Desiree, born the n December 

1764, who died at the age of thirteen; and Frangoise, 
bom the 3 September 1766, who died at the age of 

At this point we find a confusion in the records 
which it is not easy to explain. Under date of the 5 
September 1791, there is an entry of the burial of 
Marie- Joseph-Rose. There is also in existence a docu- 
ment of questionable authenticity from which it would 
appear that a demoiselle Tascher gave birth the 17 
March 1786, to a daughter who was adopted by Mme. 
de la Pagerie, and was given a dot of 60,000 francs by 
the Emperor Napoleon twenty-two years later, on the 
occasion of her marriage. In the certificate of baptism 
of this child, the mother may have borrowed the name 
of her sister Josephine, who was certainly in France at 
that date, and the same name quite naturally might 
be used in her burial certificate. In any case, there is 
no possible doubt as to the personality of Marie- 
Joseph-Rose, nor as to the date of her birth. But this 
confusion of names and dates enabled Josephine, when 
she wished to appear younger at the time of her second 
marriage, to claim that she was born in 1766. 

The Treaty of Paris, which ended the struggle be- 



tween England and France, was signed on the 10 Feb- 
ruary 1763, but the news did not reach Martinique 
until the end of the following month. The French fleet, 
charged with taking possession of the island, arrived 
the middle of June, and the white banner of the Bour- 
bons was hoisted once more, just a week before the 
birth of Josephine. 

In the meantime, in France, M. de Beauharnais, 
through the support of powerful friends at Court, had 
succeeded not only in having suppressed the record of 
his unsuccessful administration, but in securing a pen- 
sion of 12,000 livres, the rank of chef d'escadre, and the 
title of marquis. At the same time he also obtained a 
small pension for M. de la Pagerie. 

Madame Renaudin, after passing a short time in a 
convent, openly took up her residence with the marquis, 
both in the city and the country, and his wife, who 
seems for a long time to have been blind to their rela- 
tions, left Paris to live near her mother at Blois. From 
time to time, she made short visits to the city, and it 
was on one of these occasions that she died, in October 

Madame Renaudin was now in full control of the 
situation, and to consolidate her power she began to 
lay plans for the future. 

The pension of 450 livres which M. de la Pagerie had 
obtained from the Court proved very useful when he 
was practically ruined by the great storm of August 
1766, which, combined with an earthquake, devastated 
Martinique, throwing down houses and destroying 
plantations. On the Tascher estate nothing was left 
standing except the sugar refinery, to which the family 


fled for shelter. In this building, altered so as to make 
it habitable, the family continued to live for the next 
twenty-five years. Aubenas visited the place in the mid- 
dle of the last century, when it was not much changed 
since the days of Josephine's childhood. The village 
Trois-Ilets then contained about fifty frame houses, and 
a small church, in which was the family vault of the 
Taschers. The plantation was located about a mile be- 
yond the town, and the description of Aubenas is 

The homestead is situated on a slight eminence, sur- 
rounded by larger hills, only a few steps from the sea, 
although it is out of sight, and even out of hearing. 
From the extent of the buildings still standing, and the 
ruins which the eye can make out, it is possible to 
judge the former importance of the estate, one of the 
largest in this once flourishing quarter of the island. 
The dwelling-house, originally constructed on a large 
scale, has become since the storm of 1766 a simple 
wooden structure. Next comes the sugar-mill with its 
circle of heavy pillars and its huge roof of red tiles of 
native manufacture. A few paces from the mill is the 
refinery, a large building, over forty yards long by 
twenty wide. On looking at the monumental solidity 
of this structure it is possible to understand how it 
withstood the terrible storm. During the years which 
followed, the building was adapted to shelter the 
Tascher family. A low gallery was added on the south- 
ern side, and rooms were* fitted up in the upper part 
until a new dwelling-house could be erected. Built on 
the slope of the hill were the huts of the negroes, and 


round about were the sheds and other buildings used 
in the manufacture of the sugar. 

Amid such surroundings the future empress and 
queen passed the years of her childhood, with no so- 
ciety except that of the slaves, and no culture intel- 
lectual or moral When she was ten years of age she 
was sent to the school of the Dames de la Providence 
at Fort-Royal, where she remained four years. Her 
education was then thought to be complete, and she 
returned to Trois-Ilets. In fact she had received little 
more than a primary-school training, with a few lessons 
in music and dancing. 

At this time Josephine was far from being the 
finished coquette that she became later on. She had a 
good complexion, fine eyes, pretty hands and feet; but 
her face was full, without marked traits, her nose relevS 
and ordinary, her figure heavy and ungraceful. Her 
mind was hardly cultivated, but to the convent she 
owed at least quite an elegant penmanship, with an 
orthography not much worse than that of most of her 
contemporaries. She had a slender voice, and sang to 
the accompaniment of a guitar. In character, she was 
very sweet, submissive to authority, very amiable, al- 
ways ready to do any one a favor; and such she re- 
mained all her life. 

While Josephine was passing her childhood at 
Trois-Ilets, the boy Alexandre de Beauharnais was 
living at Fort-Royal with the elder Madame Tascher. 
It was not until two years after the death of his mother, 
towards the end of the year 1769, that his father ar- 
ranged to have him brought back to France. At that 
time he was over nine years of age. There is a record 


of his baptism, under date of 15 January 1770, on the 
parish registers of the church of Saint-Sulpice at Paris. 
His godmother was the "haute et puissante dame 
Marie-Euphemie-Desiree Tascher de la Pagerie, epouse 
de M. Renaudin, ecuyer, ancien major de Vile de Sainte- 

In order to complete his education, which had been 
much neglected, Alexandre was placed with his brother 
in the College du Plessis, founded by the great Cardinal 
Richelieu, which at that time was the rival of Louis-le- 
Grand at Paris. Later the boys were sent for two years, 
with their tutor Patricol, to the University of Heidel- 
berg to learn the German language. 

In 1774, Frangois entered the army, and Patricol was 
engaged by the Due de La Rochefoucauld as preceptor 
for the two sons of his sister, Rohan-Chabot, and he 
took Alexandre with him. It thus happened that the 
most impressionable years of the boy's life were passed 
in the ducal chateau of Roche-Guyon. 

During all these years Madame Renaudin never lost 
sight of him. She made every effort to secure over the 
son the same influence which she exercised over the 
father. In the plans which she had formed for the 
future, Alexandre held the principal role. The resources 
of the marquis were very limited, and the expenses of 
the household were paid largely from the income of the 
fortune which the boy had inherited from his mother. 
This money Madame Renaudin intended if possible to 
keep in the family. 



Alexandra de Beauharnais Enters the Army Madame Renaudin 
Plans for His Marriage The Marquis Writes M. de la 
Pagerie Josephine Takes Her Sister's Place She Ar- 
rives in France The Contract Signed The Marriage 

Life in Paris Birth of Eugene Alexandre Sails for 
Martinique Birth of Hortense Alexandre Repudiates 
Josephine He Returns to France _ Refuses a Reconcilia- 
tion A Separation Arranged Josephine's Sojourn at the 
Panthemont Residence at Fontainebleau Voyage to 

WHEN Alexandre de Beauharnais was six- 
teen years of age, in December 1776, he 
received through the favor of the Due 
de La Rochefoucauld a commission as sous-lieutenant 
in his regiment of the Sarre-infanterie, At this time he 
abandoned the courtesy title of chevalier, then given to 
the younger sons of noble families, and assumed that of 
vicomte, to which he had no valid claim. Dressed in 
his handsome new uniform of white cloth, with facings 
of silver-gray, the young vicomte proceeded to Rouen, 
where his regiment had just arrived in garrison. Here 
he went through his military exercises, and perfected 
himself in mathematics and horsemanship. At this time 
he was far from thinking of marriage, but he did not 
know the plans of that " high and mighty dame," his 



When he returned home to pass a six months' leave 
of absence, Madame Renaudin played her cards so well 
that Alexandre readily assented to her ideas, in order 
more quickly to enjoy his fortune. On the 23 October 
1777, the marquis wrote the following letter to M. 
de la Pagerie: 

" Each of my children has at present an income of 
forty thousand livres. It is in your power to give me one 
of your daughters to share the fortune of my chevalier. 
The respect and attachment which he has for Madame 
de Renaudin make him ardently desire to be united 
to one of her nieces. I assure you that I only acquiesce 
in his wishes in asking you for the second, whose age 
is the most suitable for him. 

" I deeply regret that your eldest daughter is not a 
few years younger: she certainly would have had the 
preference, for I have formed an equally favorable 
opinion of her; but I must admit that my son, who is 
only seventeen and a half years old, thinks that a young 
lady of fifteen is too nearly of his own age. There are 
occasions when sensible parents are forced to yield to 

As Alexandre, besides the income of 40,000 livres 
from the estate of his mother, had expectations of 
25,000 more, the marquis did not request M. de la 
Pagerie to furnish any dot. He only asked that the 
father make haste to bring his daughter to France; or, 
if he could not come himself, to send her with a trust- 
worthy companion, by a commercial vessel, as "she 
would have a more comfortable and agreeable voyage." 

When this letter of the marquis reached Martinique, 
the second daughter of M. de la Pagerie, Desiree, was 


dead, of a malignant fever, at the age of thirteen; and 
the youngest daughter, Fran^oise, was not yet twelve 
years old. In January, the father writes that, in default 
of the second daughter, he is willing to offer the third, 
but that it would be better to accept the first. He says 
that she (Josephine) has a very fine complexion, and 
very beautiful arms, and that she is very anxious to go 
to Paris. 

Madame Renaudin's plan was that Alexandre should 
marry one of her nieces: she did not care whether it 
was the youngest or the oldest. Therefore, without 
wasting time in vain regrets over the death of Desiree, 
she wrote her brother, in March 1778, "Come with 
one of your girls, or two; whatever you do will be agree- 
able to us. We must have one of your children' 9 

In reply to this letter, M. de la Pagerie wrote, the 
last of June, that his youngest daughter had been ill 
for three months, and was in no condition to travel, and 
that he would bring Josephine. When received, in Sep- 
tember, this information was communicated to Alex- 
andre, who was then stationed with his regiment near 
Brest, and he accepted the substitution with good grace, 
though with little enthusiasm. 

Before M. de la Pagerie could sail, however, France 
and England were again at war, and his departure was 
delayed for more than a year. Finally, in October 1779, 
Madame Renaudin received a letter from her brother, 
announcing that he and his daughter had arrived at 
Brest, after a terrible voyage, and that he was detained 
there by illness. She at once set out with Alexandre to 
join them. 

This was the first encounter between Alexandre and 



Josephine since their childhood days, as she was only 
six years old when he left Martinique. To judge by his 
letters to his father at this time, he was far from en- 
thusiastic over his Creole fiancee. He said that she was 
not as pretty as his father might expect, but that the 
sweetness of her character surpassed anything that had 
been said of her. 

The party of four travelled slowly to Paris, where 
they arrived the middle of November, and joined the 
marquis in his hotel, Rue Thevenot, where he was just 
installed. The banns had already been published three 
times in Martinique in April, and they were now pub- 
lished again in Paris. Madame Renaudin at once 
occupied herself with ordering . the trousseau, for 
which she expended the large sum of twenty thousand 

On the 10 December the contract was signed at the 
hotel of the marquis in the presence of all the male 
members of the family, no ladies being present! Of the 
family of the bride, there was present, aside from M. 
de la Pagerie and his sister, only a very distant cousin. 

As Alexandre had so large an income, the marquis 
did not make any settlement on him at the time of the 
marriage. The dot of the bride was furnished by her 
aunt. Besides the trousseau, already mentioned, 
Madame Renaudin gave her a house at Noisy-le-Grand, 
in the vicinity of Paris, which she had purchased in 
October 1776, for the sum of 33,000 livres, and had 
furnished at a further cost of about 30,000 livres. 
To use the expression commonly employed by ladies in 
those days (and perhaps since), when they did not 
care to state from what source their money was derived, 


On the 10 April 1783 a daughter was born to Jose- 
phine in the new hotel of the marquis, Rue Saint- 
Charles, and was baptized the following day as Hor- 
tense-Eugenie. In the certificate the father is described 
as " Vicomte de Beauharnais, Baron de Beauville, capi- 
taine au regiment de la Sarre, actuellement en Ame- 
rique pour le service du Roi." 

At that time it took at least two months for a letter 
to go from Paris to Martinique, and Alexandre did not 
receive the news before the middle of June. After wait- 
ing three weeks, he wrote Josephine as follows: 

" If I had written you in the first moment of my 
anger, my pen would have burnt the paper . . . ; but for 
more than three weeks I know, at least in part, what 
I wish you to understand. In spite then of the despair 
of my-soul, the rage which suffocates me, I shall know 
how to restrain myself; I shall know how to tell you 
coldly that you are in my eyes the vilest of human be- 
ings; that my stay here has enabled me to learn of the 
abominable life you led here; that I know, in the fullest 
particulars, your intrigue with M. de B., officer of the 

Regiment de la Martinique, also that with M. d'H ; 

I know finally the contents of your letters and I will 
bring with me one of the presents you made ... I do 
not ask you for repentance: you are incapable of it; a 
person who, while making her preparations to depart, 
could receive her lover in her arms, when she knows 
that she is destined for another, has no soul; she is lower 
than all the coqmnes on earth. . . . What can I think 
of this last child, born more than eight months after 
my return from Italy? I am forced to accept it, but I 
swear by the Heaven which enlightens me that it be- 


longs to another, that it is the blood of a stranger which 
flows in its veins. . . . Make your own arrangements 
accordingly; never, never, will I put myself in a position 
to be abused again, and as you are a woman to impose 
on the public if we live under the same roof, have the 
goodness to retire to a convent, as soon as you receive 
my letter; it is my last word, and nothing on earth can 
make me change it. I will go to see you on my arrival in 
Paris, once only: I wish to have a talk with you and 
to give you something." 

It is impossible to read this letter without feeling that 
Alexandre at the time sincerely believed that he had 
been wronged by Josephine both before and after their 
union. During his stay in Martinique, he had begun, 
as usual, to " courir les femmes," and had formed a 
liaison with a young woman who was an enemy of the 
Taschers, jealous of the fine marriage which Madame 
Renaudin had arranged for her niece, and ready to em- 
ploy all means to disturb the peace of the family. It 
was from her that Alexandre obtained the information 
as to Josephine's early love affairs. 

After arranging to meet his mistress in Paris, Alex- 
andre sailed the middle of August, and arrived in 
France six weeks later. He found awaiting him at the 
port letters from his father and Madame Renaudin, 
attempting to bring about a reconciliation. En route 
for Paris he wrote Josephine that he was surprised to 
learn that she was not yet in a convent, and that his 
decision was unalterable. On receiving this letter at 
Noisy, Josephine rushed to Paris, to meet her husband 
on his arrival, but Alexandre did not go to his father's 



Every possible effort was made by the marquis and 
Madame Renaudin to effect a reconciliation, but the 
vicomte remained inflexible. After a month of fruitless 
attempts, Josephine retired, with her aunt, to the Ab- 
baye de Panthemont, Rue de Grenelle, and early in 
December began a formal action for separation. In her 
complaint she sets forth in the greatest detail the exist- 
ence which she has led; the indifference of her husband, 
who in nearly three years of married life has passed 
less than ten months with her. In conclusion she states 
the formal refusal of her husband to resume their life 
in common, and files a copy of the letter quoted above, 
which constitutes her principal grievance against him. 

It is certain that if Alexandre had any proofs of the 
misconduct of Josephine subsequent to their marriage, 
he would not have hesitated at this time to bring them 
forward. The allegation regarding Hortense is dis- 
proved by a simple examination of the dates. As for 
the other charges, fifteen months later he voluntarily 
and explicitly withdrew them. In March 1785, he met 
Josephine in the office of his notary and consented 
formally to a separation. All the provisions of this act 
are greatly to the honor of Josephine, and prove conclu- 
sively that there was no basis for the grave charges 
Alexandre had made when under the spell of an ignoble 

Josephine was to live where she pleased; to receive 
from her husband an allowance of 5000 livres a year; 
to have the custody of Eugene until he was five years 
old; to keep Hortense, for whose maintenance her 
father was to pay 1000 livres quarterly in advance until 
she was seven years old, and 1500 livres after that age. 

CM 3 


Alexandra further agreed to pay all the legal expenses 
of the suit. Such was the end of this famous action, 
from which Josephine carried off all the honors of war. 

The sojourn of Josephine at Panthemont was of 
great advantage to her in every way. The Abbaye was 
like an immense furnished hotel, of the highest respec- 
tability, open only to women of " la premiere distinc- 
tion," and there Josephine for the first time had an 
opportunity of meeting women of her own social rank. 
She was received as the Vicomtesse de Beauharnais, an 
unfortunate, irreproachable young woman, the victim 
of a cruel husband. 

For a woman of the world, Josephine already pos- 
sessed two of the essential requisites: she was a 
coquette and she knew how to lie. In these two respects, 
her husband undoubtedly had a grievance against her. 
And to these two qualities, Josephine adds, by the fac- 
ulty of assimilation which is one of her strongest traits, 
that physical education which in a new society is to place 
her in a class by herself. Little by little a transformation 
is effected in her personality, which changes the heavy 
and awkward Creole into a being delicate and souple, 
a being desirable above all, who knows how to attract 
and to hold. From every point of view this retreat of 
fifteen months was profitable to her. 

On leaving the Panthemont early in 1786 Josephine, 
at twenty-three years of age, found herself free, with 
an income of 9000 livres for the support of Hortense 
and herself. At this time she sold the estate at Noisy, 
and with the proceeds she bought at Fontainebleau 
a little house, where she went to live with her aunt 
and the marquis. They had a few friends in that local- 



ity, and in their society the days passed pleasantly. 
At that time the Court was obliged to practice the 
strictest economy, and for two years the royal hunt 
was abandoned. 

In September 1786, under the terms of the act of 
separation, Eugene was sent to his father, who placed 
him at school. Hortense was brought home from 
Chelles, where she had been for two years with a nurse, 
and was at once inoculated, by orders of the marquis, 
who was a great believer in all innovations. 

Abandoned at twenty-three years by her husband, 
whose liaisons with other women were open and no- 
torious; attractive, passionate, extremely coquette, is 
it probable that Josephine did not have a lover? Sev- 
eral names have been mentioned in this connection, 
but we have no proofs. All we know is that in June 
1788 Josephine suddenly sailed for Martinique, taking 
Hortense with her. None of her biographers has ever 
been able to find a satisfactory explanation of this 
voyage. It has been surmised that it was either for the 
purpose of concealing the results of her imprudence, 
or else was on account of the pressing need of money. 
But, if the latter, was it not easier to await at Fontaine- 
bleau the remittances from her father, who acted as 
ajgent of the marquis, than to go three thousand miles 
in search of them? In default of any documents we are 
reduced to conjectures, and with our knowledge of 
Josephine can only imagine one of two reasons: debts 
or love. The biographers friendly to Josephine attrib- 
ute her journey to the former cause; but it is rather 
strange that her enemies have not seized on the fact 
that Decres, writing by Napoleon's orders in 1807, 



spoke of " the demoiselle of eighteen years, whom 
Madame de la Pagerie has adopted." Had this girl, 
known as Marie-Benaquette Tascher de la Pagerie, 
been really only eighteen years of age at that time, 
she must have been born early in 1789, that is to say 
during this visit of Josephine, and not in March 1786, 
as stated in the document of doubtful authenticity 
already mentioned. Therefore, on the ground of date 
alone, there was no reason why " Marie- Joseph-Rose," 
as stated in the certificate, could not have been the 
mother, instead of Marie-Francoise. Turquan, who is 
always unfriendly to Josephine, does not hesitate to 
insinuate that Josephine had a daughter during this 
visit to Martinique in 1789, six years after her separa- 
tion from her husband, and gives as his authority a 
study of M. Frederic Masson upon Josephine avant 
Bonaparte, published in the Revue de Paris. This girl, 
Marie-Benaquette, was married in March 1808 to the 
private secretary of the captain-general of Martinique, 
a Monsieur Blanchet, and her dot of sixty thousand 
francs was provided by the Emperor, doubtless at the 
request of Josephine. The whole episode is a curious 
one, to say the least. 

Whatever her motive may have been, Josephine was 
in great haste to leave France at the earliest possible 
moment. Finding on her arrival at Havre that the 
government vessel which she had expected to take 
could not sail for two weeks, she engaged passage for 
Hortense and herself on a private ship, and sailed at 

The voyage was pleasant and rapid. Arrived at Mar- 
tinique Josephine went directly to Trois-Ilets, where 


she remained nearly two years. We have no record of 
this visit, but her life must have been very dull. The 
family was very poor, and both her father and her 
sister Frangoise were ill. 

Her father died in November 1790, two months after 
Josephine's departure, and her sister a year later. 



Beauharnais Elected to the States- General Josephine Returns 
from Martinique Alexandre, President of the Assembly 
Flight of the Royal Family End of the Constituent As- 
sembly Alexandre Rejoins the Army Promoted and 
Made Commander of the Army of the Rhine His Dis- 
graceful Failure His Resignation Accepted Josephine 
at Paris and Croissy Alexandre at Blois Both Arrested 
and Confined in the Carmes Execution of Alexandre 

ON the 5 May 1789, the States-General as- 
sembled at Versailles, and Alexandre de Beau- 
harnais was one of the members. He had 
presented himself to the noblesse of Blois as a candidate 
for the place of one of the two deputies to be elected 
by that bailiwick, and was chosen almost unanimously 
through the influence of Lavoisier. This was the 
fermier-general Lavoisier, member of the Academy of 
Sciences. Established only twenty years at Blois, he 
had acquired by his liberality a great popularity. He 
was the real head of the electoral assembly, of which he 
was chosen secretary, and it was he who drafted the 
cahier des doUances. 

This memorandum of grievances, which Alexandre 
was charged to support, was wholly inspired by the 
doctrines of Rousseau, and was the most revolutionary 
of any presented to the King. 

Beauharnais was faithful to his mandate, and on his 
arrival at Versailles he ranged himself with the minority 


of the Noblesse the Forty-seven beside Aiguillon, 
La Fayette, Lally-Tollendal, La Rochefoucauld and the 
Due d'Orleans. 

On the night of the 4 August, when feudal rights 
were abolished, and " every man generously gave away 
what he did not own," Alexandre took a leading part. In 
recognition of his attitude on this occasion, on the 23 
November, after the Assembly had moved to Paris, 
Beauharnais was chosen one of the three secretaries, 
with Aiguillon as president. 

While Alexandre was thus playing one of the princi- 
pal roles in the Constituent Assembly, the island of 
Martinique was in a state of turmoil. There was open 
war between the whites and the blacks. Tascher, the 
uncle of Josephine, who was commandant of the port 
at Fort-Royal, was elected mayor; there was a collision 
at Saint-Pierre between the two parties, and fifteen 
blacks were- killed. The garrison of Fort Bourbon re- 
volted, and Tascher was made a prisoner by the rebels. 
The governor was compelled to evacuate, not only the 
capital, but also the forts which defended it. Complete 
anarchy reigned on the island. 

Josephine was advised by her friends to leave, and 
she sailed for France on the 4 September 1790 on the 
frigate Sensible. Her departure was so hasty that she 
sailed almost without any changes of clothing, and dur- 
ing the voyage was thrown upon the charity of the 
officers of the ship for toilet necessities for herself and 
Hortense. She landed in France early in November, and 
went directly to Paris, where she lodged at the Hotel 
des Asturies, Rue d'Anjou. 

At this time Josephine seems to have made another 


effort to bring about a reconciliation with her husband, 
but without success. Alexandre continued to live at 
the hotel of the Due de La Rochefoucauld, and Jose- 
phine took an apartment in the Rue Saint-Dominique. 

The summer of 1791, Josephine and her children 
were with the marquis and Madame Renaudin at Fon- 
tainebleau. Here she learned of the election of her 
husband as president of the Assembly, on the 18 June. 
Two days later occurred the flight of the royal family 
to Varennes. The announcement was made by Beau- 
harnais, in opening the session of Tuesday the 2 1 June, 
and the Assembly remained in permanent session until 
the afternoon of the following Sunday. During this 
period Alexandre, by force of circumstances, was the 
personage the most en vue in France, the head of all 
authority. The King was suspended, and the President 
of the National Assembly, for the moment, was sover- 
eign. When his son Eugene was seen in the streets of 
Fontainebleau, the people cried: " Voila le Dauphin! " 

It was a strange turn of the wheel of fortune which 
thus brought face to face the Marquis de Bouille, the 
distinguished soldier of the Antilles, the last royal gov- 
ernor, who arranged the flight to Varennes, and this 
Beauharnais, who a few years before had vainly solic- 
ited the favor of being his aide de camp. One had been 
a valiant soldier, whose life had been devoted to his king 
and country: the other had never seen any active serv- 
ice, and his brief existence, up to the present time, 
had been a mixture of scandal and -futility. In this 
encounter, by the irony of fate, it was the veteran who 
lost, and the carpet-knight who won. 

The last of September the Constituent Assembly 


came to an end. As the retiring deputies, by an act of 
rare and imbecile disinterestedness, had declared them- 
selves ineligible for election to the new Legislative As- 
sembly, they were all forced to retire to private life. 
Alexandre set out at once for Loir-et-Cher, where he 
was named member of the administration of the depart- 
ment. At this time he bought some national property in 
the vicinity of Ferte-Beauharnais, of which he seemed 
to consider himself the sole owner since the emigration 
of his brother. But the exercise of his new civil duties 
was brief. Since the 25 August he had been on the 
rolls of the general staff, with the rank of lieutenant- 
colonel, and early in December he received an order to 
join the 2 ist division to which he was attached. 

The former president of the Assembly certainly took 
his time about entering upon his military duties, for 
he remained in the country until the last of January, 
and then came to Paris, where he devoted another 
month to arranging his affairs. At this time he was suc- 
cessful in securing a pension of 10,000 livres for his 
aged father. Finally he set out for the headquarters at 

When hostilities began in April he was attached to 
the Third Corps, commanded by Marechal de Rocham- 
beau in person. He took part in the first operations, and 
personally sent to the Military Committee of the As- 
sembly an account of the rout at Mons. 

For such distinguished services, Alexandre was pro- 
moted the last of May and assigned to the Army of the 
North under Marechal Liickner. He continued to cor- 
respond with the Assembly, to describe the smallest 
skirmishes, and to give his impressions of events. He 


was one of the first to accept the revolution of the 10 
August, and was rewarded on the 7 September by being 
promoted to major-general and named chief of staff of 
the new army in course of formation at Strasbourg. 

The year 1792 came to an end without the Army of 
the Rhine making any forward movement. During the 
first months of the following year, Beauharnais was 
still in Strasbourg, or that vicinity: his name occurs in 
no reports. The 8 March he was promoted to be lieuten- 
ant-general; and on the 13 May, when Custine was 
made commander of the Army of the North, Beauhar- 
nais succeeded him as general-in-chief of the Army of 
the Rhine. 

In June, after the fall of the Girondins, Alexandra 
was summoned to Paris, to succeed Bouchotte as Min- 
ister of War* This nomination displeased the all-power- 
ful Commune of Paris, which denounced Beauharnais 
as an aristocrat, and he wisely declined the appoint- 

By this time the public was beginning to realize that 
General Beauharnais was more fond of writing than of 
acting. Mayence was besieged, and the commander of 
the Army of the Rhine had something more important 
to do than to compose addresses. The last of June he 
finally set his 60,000 men in motion, and advanced on 
the enemy. As usual, he reported in the greatest detail 
the slightest skirmishes, but did nothing to effect the 
relief of Mayence, which after a brave defence was 
forced to capitulate on the 23 July, He then insulted 
the heroic defenders of the city by a proclamation to 
his army, in which he said: " No one could expect a sur- 
render so long as the Republicans had any ammunition 


or bread." At the same time he wrote the Jacobins of 
Strasbourg that the club ought to demand of the Con- 
vention the heads of the traitors of Mayence and send 
them to the King of Prussia! 

He then ordered his army to retreat to the lines of 
Wissembourg, and sent in his resignation, on the ground 
that, as a member of a proscribed caste, it was his duty 
to remove any subject of disquietude from the minds of 
his fellow-citizens. Without any authorization, he left 
his army and went to Strasbourg. It was a grave error 
thus to abandon his post in the face of the enemy, at a 
moment when Custine was on trial, Dillon under ar- 
rest, and all the generals of noble birth subject to 

On the 21 August, his resignation was accepted, in 
terms which for all time must cover his name with op- 
probrium. He was ordered to retire at once to a distance 
of fifty miles from the frontier, to a place of residence 
of which he would inform the Convention. So ended 
the inglorious military career of Alexandre de Beau- 

From October 1791 to September 1793, except for 
visits to her aunt at Fontainebleau, Josephine passed 
all her time in her Paris apartment. Then, on account 
of the new law regarding " suspects,' 7 she found it de- 
sirable to have a domicile outside the city, in order to 
obtain a certificate of civisme (good citizenship). For 
some unknown reason, instead of using Fontainebleau, 
she decided upon Croissy, a village on the Seine about 
ten miles from Versailles. Here she sub-leased a house 
from Madame Hosten, a Creole friend from Sainte- 



Lucie, who lived at Paris in the same hotel, Rue Saint- 
Dominique. She had a daughter of about the same age 
as Hortense, and the mothers had become intimate 
friends. The 26 September 1793, the Citoyenne Beau- 
harnais presented herself at the municipality of Croissy 
to make her declaration, and two days later she was 
joined by her son Eugene, who came from his school 
at Strasbourg. In her declaration there is no mention 
of Hortense, but this was probably only an oversight. 
Mile, de Vergennes, who passed this summer of 1793 
at Croissy, states that it was then that she made the 
acquaintance of Hortense, who was three or four years 
younger than herself. At this time, Josephine, to prove 
her civisme, placed Hortense with her old nurse Marie 
Lanoy at Paris, as an apprentice to learn dress-making, 
and Eugene was articled to one Cochard, a carpenter, 
who was the national agent of the commune of Croissy. 

This attack of civic fever, however, did not prevent 
Josephine from seeking society, and extending her ac- 
quaintance among the residents of Croissy. Among the 
friends she made at this time were: Chanorier, through 
whom she afterwards bought Malmaison; Mile, de 
Vergennes, who as Madame de Remusat was to be her 
dame du palais; and Real, who was to become Council- 
lor of State, commandant of the Legion d'honneur, 
comte of the Empire. 

During the month of January 1794, armed with her 
certificate of civisine, Josephine returned to her apart- 
ment in Paris. 

Leaving Strasbourg so precipitately that he had not 
time to take with him his carriages and horses, Alex- 



andre proceeded directly to his home at Ferte. From 
there he made haste to write the Jacobin Club of Blois 
to announce his early visit. On his first appearance, 
however, he was greeted with insults. He made a spir- 
ited reply, and thought that he had saved the situation. 
Reassured, he leased a small house in the city, and en- 
deavored to gain the good will of his neighbors. At the 
same time he opened correspondence with his wife: in 
the face of their common peril, a kind of intimacy was 
established between them. In the meanwhile he was 
elected mayor of the little commune of Ferte. 

But Alexandre was not to enjoy very long his quiet 
life in the country. On the 2 March 1794, by order of 
the Committee of General Security, he was arrested, 
and conducted to Paris, where, on the 14 March, he was 
confined in the Carmes. On the 19 April, by order of 
the same Committee, Josephine was also arrested, at 
Croissy, taken to Paris, and placed in the same prison. 
The old convent of the church of Saint- Joseph des 
Cannes, its walls still stained with the blood of the Sep- 
tember Massacres, is standing to-day in the Rue Vaugi- 
rard close by the Luxembourg and the Od6on. At that 
time, it was one of the most insanitary prisons of Paris. 
It was cold, damp, dirty; infested with vermin; poorly 
ventilated, and badly lighted. 

However, the society was excellent, although rather 
mixed. Grands seigneurs and grandes dames were min- 
gled promiscuously with domestics and artisans. 

There Josephine was thrown again with her husband, 
and there seems to have been a good understanding 
between them, but nothing more. Alexandre conceived 
a great passion for Delphine de Custine, while Jose- 


phine engaged in a violent flirtation with General 
Hoche, who entered the Carmes at about the same time. 

Every possible effort was made_ by Alexandre and 
Josephine to secure their liberty. Through Eugene and 
Hortense, who were allowed to visit their mother, com- 
munication was kept up with the outside world. Jose- 
phine's surly pug dog, Fortune, which was not noticed 
in the crowd, carried letters placed under her collar. 

The case against Alexandre, however, was too strong 
for him to hope for acquittal: his military career, his 
neglect to relieve Mayence, his desertion of his post, 
made a record hard to defend. On the 22 July, he was 
taken to the Conciergerie. Realizing that it was the end, 
as he passed Madame de Custine, he handed her as a 
farewell present an Arab talisman mounted in a ring 
which he always wore on his finger. 

Alexandre faced death bravely. In those days, 
if few knew how to live, all knew how to die. Without 
trial, without testimony, without pleadings, without 
verdict, he was hurried to the guillotine in a batch of 
fifty-five victims. 

It was the 5 Thermidor. Four days more! 



Paris During the Terror The Fall of Robespierre Joy of the 
Prisoners Josephine Set Free Her Behavior in Prison 
She Returns to Croissy Her Relations with Hoche 
Her Financial Difficulties Her Banker, Emmery Her 
Love of Luxury Her Intimacy with Madame Tallien 
Their Similar Tastes Theresia Abandons Tallien Jose- 
phine's New Home She Places Her Children in School 
Paul Barras His Political Prominence His Liaison with 
Jos6phine His Court at the Luxembourg 

NO words can depict the conditions in Paris dur- 
ing the " Great Terror," which began in March 
1794, and ended with the fall of Robespierre 
on the 27 July. The Law of the Suspects kept the prisons 
packed; the guillotine was constantly employed: the 
whole nation appeared doomed to the scaffold. The final 
seven weeks between the 23 Prairial (n June) and the 
9 Thermidor were horrible. It was nothing more nor less 
than a massacre: in the course of these forty-five days 
1376 heads fell in Paris. " Fear was on every side; draw- 
ing-rooms were empty; wine shops were deserted; the 
very courtesans ceased to go to the Palais-Royal, where 
virtue now reigned supreme. The Convention was well- 
nigh deserted; the deputies had given up sleeping at 

When the head of Robespierre fell under the guil- 
lotine, a mighty shout of joy went up from the one 
hundred thousand beings massed in the Place de la 
Revolution. In the popular estimation, Robespierre had 


been the incarnation of the Terror, therefore his down- 
fall meant the end of the Terror. No such thought had 
been in the minds of Barras and Tallien when they 
struck down the dictator, but they were not slow to 
take advantage of this reaction in public opinion. 

The joy of the populace, however, was nothing in 
comparison with the delight of the reprieved prisoners 
who had been hopelessly awaiting death. The daily roll- 
call had ceased: it was never to be heard again. While 
the tumbrils conveyed to the scaffold the dreaded in- 
struments of the Terror Fouquier and the judges and 
jurymen, the former captives were daily set free. At 
the same time a hundred thousand " suspects " issued 
from their hiding places. Their joy was beyond words: 
" It was as if they had risen from the tomb, or been 
born into life again. 7 ' 

Josephine was one of the first of the prisoners to gain 
her liberty: ten days after the fall of Robespierre, on 
the 19 Thermidor (6 August), she left the Cannes. 
One of her companions in misfortune has drawn a 
sketch of her behavior in prison which is not wholly 
flattering: " She was pusillanimous in the highest 
degree. . . . She passed her time in telling her fortune 
with cards, and in weeping in public, to the great scan- 
dal of her companions. But she was naturally affable, 
and does not this trait make us oblivious to many qual- 
ities which are lacking? Her tournure, her manners, her 
voice above all, had a particular charm; but it must be 
admitted that she was neither magnanimous nor frank; 
the other prisoners pitied her for her lack of courage." 

Nevertheless, Josephine was very popular: "When 
the prisoners heard her name pronounced, they ap- 
plauded furiously." With that grace which never left 
her, " she made her adieux to each one, and left amidst 


the good wishes and blessings of all" It has been stated 
that she owed her prompt liberation to Madame de 
Fontenoy, the future Madame Tallien, " her companion 
in prison/' but Theresia was confined in La Force and 
not at the Cannes. Josephine had other friends, how- 
ever, who were not less powerful: Hoche, who left his 
prison on the 4 August, Real, Barrere, Tallien to 
mention only a few of the names. Tallien himself al- 
ways claimed the honor, and to him Eugene gave the 
credit at a later date. 

But very little is known of the life of Josephine dur- 
ing the twelve months following her release from prison. 
As the seals were still attached to her apartment in the 
Rue Saint-Dominique, she probably passed the autumn 
of 1794 in her house at Croissy. Barras states in his 
Memoires that on leaving the Cannes she became the 
mistress of Hoche. If so, the liaison must have been 
very brief. Hoche was transferred to the Conciergerie 
the middle of May, and was set free only two days be- 
fore Josephine. Twelve days later he was appointed 
general-in-chief of the Army of the Cotes de Cherbourg, 
and left Paris to take up his new command not later 
than the first of September. At this time he seems to 
have been very much in love with his young wife, from 
whom he had been separated almost immediately after 
their marriage in February, by being ordered to the 
Army of Italy, and later by his imprisonment. Admit- 
ting that he carried on a lively flirtation with Josephine 
during the few weeks that they were thrown together 
in the Cannes, it seems much more probable that Hoche 
passed with his bride the short period that he was in 
Paris at this time. 



Futhermore, it is absurd to attempt to draw any con- 
clusions as to this liaison from the fact that Hoche 
gave Eugene a position on his staff. The general had 
been in close relations with Alexandre in the army, and 
these ties had been drawn closer by their confinement 
in the same prison. WKkt then could be more natural, 
than the wish of Hoche to relieve the burden of his 
friend's widow by assuming the responsibility of her 
son? This also is his own explanation of the matter in 
a letter written to the marquis two years later, after the 
second marriage of Josephine. 

There is no doubt, however, that during these twelve 
months Josephine was in great financial difficulties. She 
had on her hands the lease both of her Paris apartment 
and the house at Croissy. Her father had left his affairs 
in great confusion, and the difficulty of getting money 
from Martinique was further increased by the war with 
England. In February 1794 the English had taken pos- 
session of the island, and the Tascher estate was in the 
hands of the enemy. In France the property of her 
husband had been confiscated by the Government. 

The expenses of Josephine's household at this time 
were quite heavy. She had three domestics: the nurse, 
Marie Lanoy; the maid, Agathe Rible; and the valet 
(officieux), Gontier. She not only paid them , no 
wages, however, but even borrowed their little savings. 
Her principal resource was a M. Emmery, a banker at 
Dunkerque, who for many years had had business re- 
lations with the Taschers. 

This Emmery had been colonel of the National 
Guard, deputy to the Legislative Assembly, and mayor 
of Dunkerque. During the Terror he was imprisoned, 



and only a serious illness saved him from the guillotine. 
In the Year Three (1794-5) he was again elected 
mayor, and resumed his commerce with the Antilles. 
For a period of three years he had advanced to Jose- 
phine the funds of which she had need. 

On the first day of January 1795, Josephine writes 
her mother that without the aid of her friend Emmery 
she does not know what would have become of her. She 
urges Madame Tascher to remit to her, either through 
London or Hambourg, all the funds at her disposal, not 
merely the income, but also the capital sum. Her 
mother seems to have done her best, but the remittance 
was only moderate in amount. Josephine then drew on 
her mother a sight draft for one thousand pounds ster- 
ling, writing her at the same time, how important it 
was for her to meet the draft, as the money was due 
to friends who had already advanced it to her. In the 
meantime she succeeded in having the seals removed 
from her apartment, and recovered possession of her 
effects. She also managed to have turned over to her 
the silver and books left by Alexandre in his country 
house, and was paid by the Government the sum of ten 
thousand livres on account of the furniture which had 
been sold. 

From these few details it is possible to judge how 
precarious was the life of Josephine during the greater 
part of this year. But with the small remittances she 
received from Martinique, with money which she bor- 
rowed on every side, with bills which she contracted 
everywhere, she somehow managed to exist; and her 
life was far from being devoid of luxury. She was not a 
woman to walk, and must have a carriage, which she 


hired by the month. She had not yet worked out the 
combination by which she obtained, in June 1795, from 
the Committee of Public Safety, a carriage and two 
horses in exchange for the horses and equipages which 
Alexandre had left with the Army of the Rhine. She was 
fond of flowers, and could not live without them. Her 
toilettes, which were quite modest, included such items 
as a piece of muslin at 500 livres, two pairs of silk 
stockings at 700 livres, and a shawl at 1200 livres. But 
let not the reader be amazed at these figures: a thou- 
sand livres assignats then represented only about fifty- 
three livres in gold. 

At this time Josephine was on very intimate terms 
with Madame Tallien, the most beautiful woman of her 
day. Theresia was the daughter of Francis Cabarrus, 
a famous banker and finance minister of Spain. In 1788, 
at the age of fourteen, she was married to the elderly 
Comte de Fontenoy, a councillor of the Parlement of 
Bordeaux. During the early days of the Revolution, 
her wit and beauty made her a favorite in the salons of 
Paris. Later she attempted with her husband to join 
her father in Spain, but they were arrested at Bordeaux 
as suspects. At that time Tallien was exercising all the 
rigors of the Terror in the department of the Gironde. 
He thus met Theresia, fell in love with her, and released 
Fontenoy on condition that he should apply for a 
divorce. She then became at first the mistress and later 
the wife of the proconsul. After the Reign of Terror, 
and the dictatorship of Robespierre, the woman-hater, 
the new regime found its incarnation in this woman of 
easy morals! It is a curious fact that, after her divorce 
by Tallien in 1802, she married Prince de Chimay, and 


became the mother of a son who espoused Emilie, the 
daughter of Napoleon and the lovely Madame Pellapra. 
She was, so far as known, the only daughter of the 

There were many points of resemblance between 
Josephine and Theresia. Both had the same tastes, the 
same desires, the same love of luxury. Neither of them 
had any moral scruples, and they were both looking 
for some one rich enough to satisfy their caprices 
husband or lover, it mattered little which. Theresia, 
who was only twenty years of age at this time, had the 
advantage over Josephine both of youth and beauty, 
but in grace and charm she could not be compared with 
the fascinating Creole. 

Theresia was not a woman to be satisfied long with 
a man like Tallien. She soon found their " Chaumiere," 
in the Allee des Veuves, too small a theatre for her 
talents. Nothing would satisfy her but the rarest 
flowers, the most exquisite wines, and toilettes which 
did not cost less from the fact that they were most 
diaphanous. From Tallien she passed to Barras, 
who soon turned her over to the rich banker Ouv- 
rard, " tout en conservant les privautes qui lui convien- 

In August 1795, when her affairs were still in the 
same precarious condition, Josephine leased from Julie 
Carreau, the wife of the actor Talma, from whom she 
was separated, a little hotel entre cour et jardin at 
Number 6, Rue Chantereine. This was a short street 
recently laid out from the Faubourg Montmartre to the 
Chaussee-d'Antin. It was lined with the residences of 
files entretenues. The lease was for three years, with 


privilege of two renewals, and the rent was 10,000 
francs in assignats. 

The entrance to the hotel was by a porte-cochere 
through a long corridor, at the end of which was a little 
garden, with two small pavilions which contained the 
stable and carriage-house. In the middle was the house, 
consisting only of a rez-de-chau$see with an attic above 
and cellar below. There were five rooms: an ante- 
chamber, a bedroom, a salon, which also served as a 
dining-room, another small salon, used as a boudoir, 
and a wardrobe. The servants' quarters were in the at- 
tic. Although small, the house demanded quite a staff 
of servants: a porter, a coachman, a chef, and a femme 
de chambre. Josephine at this time set-up her carriage, 
with two horses: the same which she had obtained from 
the Government. 

Before taking possession of her new home Josephine 
had spent a very considerable amount in repairing and 
adding to the furniture of her apartment in Rue Saint- 
Dominique. Nothing, however, was very luxurious. The 
salon was furnished only with a round mahogany 
table, and four chairs covered with black horse-hair. 
On the walls were hung a few prints framed in dark 

It is interesting to note in passing that this short 
street, or rather the locality where it was afterwards 
laid out, was originally known under the name of la 
Victoire. Later the place was called Chantereine on ac- 
count of the frogs which chanted there. After the Cam- 
paign of Italy it was again called Rue de la Victoire in 
honor of Napoleon, and is still known by that name 

Us 3 


At this time, the nurse Marie Lanoy was no longer 
with Josephine, as she had placed Hortense in the new 
school which Madame Campan had just founded at 
Saint-Germain. She also sent for Eugene, whom Hoche 
would have been only too glad to keep on his staff, and 
placed him in quite an expensive institution which had 
just been opened at Saint-Germain under the name of 
the College Irlandais. 

The overthrow of Robespierre on the 9 Thermidor 
was due largely to Barras, and for the next two years 
he was perhaps the most prominent man in France. 
For power in itself he cared but little, but he greatly 
enjoyed the advantages derived from it: the money, the 
luxury, and above all the women. 

Paul Barras was born in Provence in 1755 of a good 
family. In his youth he served as a lieutenant against 
the British in India. In 1 789 he was chosen a member of 
the States-General, and took an active part in the 
storming of the Bastille and the Tuileries. The siege 
of Toulon owed its success largely to his activity and 
energy. After the 9 Thermidor, as president of the Con- 
vention he acted with decision both against the in- 
trigues of the Royalists and the excesses of the Jaco- 
bins. He was brave, he was a gentleman, and with much 
reason he despised the rabble by whom he was sur- 
rounded. As Lefebvre said of Talleyrand: " He was a 
mess of filth in a silk stocking." But unlike Talleyrand 
he had courage, and, when occasion demanded, did not 
hesitate to draw the sword and throw away the scab- 

It was a curious side of the nature of Barras that 
while he associated with the commonest of men, he 


wished to have around him only women of the Ancien 
Regime. He must have, in his intimate relations, grace, 
elegance and distinction. He could not expect to find 
ladies of the highest rank: they had all emigrated or 
died on the scaffold; but he sought those who, to save 
their heads or their fortunes, had compromised them- 
selves with the leaders of the popular party, and who 
with the return of luxury were ready to do anything to 
satisfy their caprices. He had not money enough to 
meet their demands from his own resources, but he 
put them in contact with bankers and contractors whom 
he exploited himself, and whom he permitted them to 
exploit in turn. 

Among this galaxy of pretty women of loose morals 
the bright particular stars were Theresia and Josephine. 
Some one must have paid for the new luxury of Jose- 
phine, and there is little doubt that Barras was at this 
time her lover. He is ungallant enough to say so in his 
Mgmoires, and for once he seems to have told the truth. 
As president of the Convention, member of the Com- 
mittee of General Security, general-in-chief of the Army 
of the Interior, Barras was really more powerful then 
than later as a member of the Directory. In July 1795 
he returned from a mission to the North; on the 13 
Vendemiaire (5 October) he commanded the troops 
of the Convention; on the first of November he became 
a Director; and on the fourth he installed himself at 
the Luxembourg. 

There is a remarkable coincidence between these 
dates and the events in the life of Josephine. On the 17 
August she signed her lease for the Hotel Chantereine; 
the following month she sent her children to school; the 


second of October she moved into her new home; and 
the sixth she gave the orders to furnish luxuriously her 
chambre a coucher. 

By midsummer the liaison was already well estab- 
lished, and during the autumn they met frequently at 
Croissy. "We had Madame de Beauharnais for a 
neighbor," writes Pasquier. " Her house adjoined our 
own. She only came there occasionally, once a week, to 
meet Barras with the many persons who followed in his 
suite. ... As is not rare with Creoles, the house of 
Madame de Beauharnais had an air of luxury while the 
most essential things were lacking. Chicken, game, rare 
fruits, filled the kitchen, while they came to our humble 
abode to borrow the kitchen utensils, plates and glasses 
which they lacked." 

On the 4 November 1 795 the newly elected Directors 
took possession of the Luxembourg, which had been 
assigned them as an official residence. The palace had 
been used as a prison during the Revolution, and all 
of the furniture had mysteriously disappeared. There 
was no one to receive them except the concierge, who 
loaned them for their first meeting a dilapidated table 
and some cane-bottomed chairs. As soon as the salons 
were refurnished and Barras began to hold his " Court," 
Josephine and Theresia were among the first to appear. 
This Court was made up of women of the old noblesse, 
and there reigned, in spite of assertions to the contrary, 
a very good tone: a certain cold reserve, rather than the 
abandon of bad taste. The ladies were nearly all widows, 
and very few husbands were to be seen. 

Besides the Luxembourg, and her house at Croissy, 
Josephine also met Barras at a house which he owned 


or leased at Chaillot, as is shown by a tetter still in 

" The Citoyenne Beauharnais invites the Citoyen 
Real to give her the pleasure of his company for dinner 
chez die (at her home) to-morrow the twenty-fifth: 
the Citoyens Barras and Tallien are to be present." 

This letter is dated the 24 Pluviose An IV (13 Feb- 
ruary 1796) and is written from the residence of Barras 
at Chaillot! 



The 13 Vendemiaire The Parisians Disarmed Eugene Re- 
claims His Father's Sword Josephine Meets General Bona- 
parte Her Appearance at That Time She Writes the 
General One of His Love Letters He Decides on Mar- 
riage Josephine's Hesitation Her Final Consent The 
Contract The Civil Ceremony Bonaparte Leaves for 

IN October 1795 there was a revolt of the Sections 
of Paris against the new Constitution, and above 
all against the new "Law of Two-Thirds/' by 
which the members of the Convention had sought to 
secure the election of two-thirds of their number to the 
new Corps Legislatif. Barras was placed in command 
of the troops of the Convention, and he appointed as 
his aide de camp, or chief of staff, a young artillery 
officer named Napoleon Bonaparte, who had distin- 
guished himself at the siege of Toulon. Bonaparte easily 
put down the uprising, and the Convention showed its 
gratitude: he was named general en second of the Army 
of the Interior, 8 October; promoted general of division, 
1 6 October; and succeeded Barras as general-in-chief 
of the Army of the Interior on the 26 October. 

The day of the insurrection, the 13 Vendemiaire (5 
October), and the following day, Josephine was at 
Fontainebleau, where she had gone to select some fur- 
niture to be sent to her new house in Paris. A week 


after her return she was notified of the order of the 
Committee of Public Safety that all citizens of Paris 
must surrender the arms in their possession. This seems 
to have been a matter of indifference to her, but Eu- 
gene, who was at home, protested warmly against giv- 
ing up his father's sword. The commissioner consented 
to let him keep it if he secured the authorization of the 
general-in-chief . Eugene immediately went to the head- 
quarters of General Bonaparte in the Rue des Capu- 
cines to make his request. The profound emotion which 
he displayed; his name; his pleasant face and man- 
ners; the warmth with which he made his plea all 
touched the general, who gave him permission to keep 
the sabre. 

Naturally the mother of Eugene came to express her 
thanks, as was only polite. Thus chance brought 
together General Bonaparte and the former Vicomtesse 
de Beauharnais. With Napoleon it was a case of love 
at first sight. His heart, his mind, his imagination all 
were taken by storm. She was a lady, a grande dame, 
a ci-devant vicomtesse, the widow of a president of the 
Constituent Assembly, of a general-in-chief of the Army 
of the Rhine. All this meant much to Bonaparte: the 
title, the social position, the noble air with which 
she expressed her gratitude. For the first time the young 
Corsican found himself in the presence of a real lady of 
high society. He was invited to call on her some evening 
when he was free, and the next night he rung at the 
porte-cochere of the little hotel in the Rue Chantereine. 

When Josephine met Napoleon about the middle of 
October 1795, she was already more than thirty-two 
years old a mature age for a Creole. Her hair, which 



was not thick, but fine in quality, was of a dark chestnut 
color. Her complexion was brunette. Her skin was al- 
ready wrinkled, but so covered with powder and rouge 
that the fact was not apparent under a subdued light. 
Her teeth were bad, but no one ever saw them. Her very 
small mouth was never more than slightly opened, in 
a sweet smile which accorded perfectly with the infinite 
softness of her eyes with their long eyelashes, with the 
tender expression of her features, with the touching 
quality of her voice. And with that, "un petit nez 
fringant, leger, mobile, aux narines perpetuellement 
battantes, un nez un peu releve du bout, engageant et 
fripon, qui provoque le desir." 

Her head however could not be mentioned in com- 
parison with her form, so free and so svelte, without a 
sign of embonpoint. She wore no corset, not even a 
brassi&re, to sustain her breast, which was low and flat. 

Lucien writes in his M tmoires that she had very little 
wit, and no trace of what could be called beauty, but 
there were certain Creole characteristics in the pliant un- 
dulations of her figure, which was rather below the 
average height. 

Arnault, in his Souvenirs, says that she had a charm 
which transcended the dazzling beauty of her two 
rivals, Mesdames Tallien and Recamier. 

Madame de Remusat describes her friend in these 
words: "Without being precisely beautiful, her whole 
person was possessed of a peculiar charm. . . . Her 
figure was perfect, every outline well rounded and 
graceful; every motion, easy and elegant. Her taste in 
dress was excellent. . . . Her education had been rather 
neglected, but she knew wherein she was wanting, and 


never betrayed her ignorance. Naturally tactful, she 
found it easy to say agreeable things." 

With all these qualities, the jemme attracted Na- 
poleon at their first meeting, while the dame impressed 
him by her air of dignity, as he put it: " Ce maintien 
calme et noble de Pancienne societe frangaise." 

The first call was quickly followed by another, and 
soon Bonaparte was a daily visitor at the little hotel. 
Events moved rapidly in those days, and two weeks 
after the first visit Napoleon and Josephine were al- 
ready on most intimate terms. On the 28 October she 
writes him: 

You no longer come to see a friend who loves you; you 
have entirely neglected her: you are very wrong, for she is 
tenderly attached to you. 

Come to breakfast with me to-morrow; I must see you 
and talk with you about your interests. 

Good night, my friend, I embrace you. 


Henceforth Napoleon follows Josephine everywhere. 
He accompanies her to, or meets her at, the houses that 
she frequents; he makes the acquaintance of Madame 
Tallien; as soon as the receptions begin at the Luxem- 
bourg he joins her there. 

It is at this time that he writes her one of the first of 
his glowing love letters: 

" I awake full of thoughts of thee. Thy image and the 
intoxicating evening of yesterday have left no repose to 
my senses. Sweet and incomparable Josephine, what 
strange effect do you have upon my heart? If thou art 
displeased, or sad, or uneasy, my soul is overcome with 
grief, and there is no rest for thy friend; but it is en- 


tirely different, when, yielding to the profound senti- 
ment which masters me, I draw from thy lips, thy heart, 
a scorching flame. ... I shall see thee in three hours. In 
the meantime, my dear love (mio dolce amor), a mil- 
lion kisses, but do not give me any, for they set my 
blood on fire." 

On the 21 January, anniversary of the execution of 
" the last king of the French/' Barras gives a large 
dinner. Among those present are Josephine and The- 
resia. Bonaparte's conversation is very animated, and 
he appears to interest the ladies greatly. After dinner 
they retire to one of the private salons, and the general 
sits on a sofa between Theresia and Josephine. The 
liaison seems to be generally recognized. 

It is impossible to state at what date Napoleon con- 
ceived the idea of transforming " en mariage cette 
bonne fortune," but it was probably when his appoint- 
ment to Italy was practically decided upon, and he 
knew that they must soon be separated. 

For her part Josephine hesitated for some weeks. In 
a letter to a friend she admits that she does not love 
Napoleon, but adds that her feeling towards him is one 
of indifference, rather than of dislike. She admires the 
General's courage, the vivacity of his mind, which en- 
ables him to grasp the thoughts of others almost before 
they have been expressed, but she is afraid of his domi- 
neering nature. She is also frightened by the force of his 
passion, which he expresses with an energy which leaves 
no room for doubt of his sincerity. Can she, a woman 
whose youth is past, hope to hold for any length of time 
this violent love which resembles a fit of delirium? Will 
he not later regret having failed to make a more advan- 



tageous marriage, and reproach her with what he has 
done for her? 

Josephine consulted all of her society friends. 
They told her that Bonaparte had genius, and would 
go far; that it was no secret that Carnot intended to 
give him the command of the Army of Italy. Still she 
hesitated: she was nearly thirty- three years of age 
almost an old woman; but what else could she do? She 
knew how uncertain was the attachment of Barras, how 
little trust she could place in him. She was tempted to 
accept this chance, perhaps the last she would ever 
have, and link her fortune to that of this brilliant youth, 
so ardent, and so passionate in his vows of eternal 

This unexpected opportunity, this union with Bona- 
parte, who was to make true for her all and more than 
all that she could ever have dreamed, Josephine was 
far from grasping at first. It was to be months and years 
before she fully realized her good fortune. Even after 
she understood what Napoleon meant to her, she never 
really appreciated the man it was beyond her intel- 
ligence. She was fond of her position as the wife of the 
head of the State, but did she ever love Napoleon for 

On the 24 February Josephine finally made up her 
mind. Only eleven days before, she had done the honors 
of the little house of Barras at Chaillot! 

Nevertheless, she had precautions to take: above all 
to conceal her age, for she did not wish to admit the 
facts to this boy of twenty-six. She placed the matter 
in the hands of her man of confidence, Calmelet, who 
appeared before a notary and certified that " he knew 


Marie- Josephe Tascher, widow of the citizen Beauhar- 
nais; that she was a native of the island of Martinique, 
in the Windward Islands; and that, at this moment, it 
was impossible for him to procure her birth-certificate 
on account of the actual occupation of the island by the 
British." Armed with this declaration, Josephine was 
able to state to the civil officer who performed the mar- 
riage that she was born on the 23 June 1766, while she 
was really born three years before. 

The marriage contract was one of the most remark- 
able ever drawn up in France: no details of the bride's 
property were given; all that she possessed was to be- 
long to the communautb which existed between her and 
the late M. de Beauharnais. For his part, Bonaparte 
did not hesitate to admit his lack of fortune. He stated 
that he had nothing except his wardrobe and his war 
equipment, upon which he placed a merely nominal 

The contract was signed the 8 March 1796, and the 
marriage took place the following day, before a civil 
officer, who graciously gave the groom twenty-eight 
years instead of twenty-six, and the bride twenty-nine 
in place of thirty-two. This mayor, remarks a commen- 
tator, had a mania for tgaliti! The witnesses were 
Lemarrois, an aide de camp of the General, who was a 
minor; the inevitable Calmelet; Tallien and Barras! 
No mention was made of the consent of the parents: 
they had not been consulted. 

Two days later Bonaparte was on his way to Italy, 
leaving his bride alone in the Hotel Chantereine. 
" Heureusement on avait pris des avances sur la lune de 



Bonaparte en Route for Italy His First Letter to Josephine 
Her Indifference His Second Letter Brilliant Opening of 
the Campaign Bonaparte's Proclamation He Writes 
Josephine to Rejoin Him Presentation of the Battle Flags 

Description of Josephine's Appearance Victory of Lodi 

The Fete Given by the Directory 

FROM this time on, the life of Josephine is so 
closely associated with that of Napoleon that it 
is impossible to speak of her without mention- 
ing him. 

Leaving Paris on the n March 1796, forty-eight 
hours after his marriage, Bonaparte set out for Italy, 
accompanied only by his aides de camp, Berthier, 
Duroc, Junot, Marmont and Murat, and his paymaster- 
general Chauvet, who carried with him 48,000 francs 
in gold a small sum for the succor of an army which 
had long been destitute of everything. 

En route Napoleon stopped a night with the father 
of Marmont at Chatillon-sur-Seine. Here he wrote Jose- 
phine, enclosing a power of attorney to enable her to 
collect some money which was due him. 

On. the 14 March, at six o'clock in the evening, from 
the relay station at Chanceaux, he despatched his first 
long letter. He wrote: 

" Every moment carries me further away from you, 
my dearest love, and every instant finds me with less 


force to endure my separation from you. You are the 
constant object of my thoughts, and my imagination is 
exhausted in trying to conceive what you are doing. 
If I think that you are sad, my heart is torn, and my 
grief intensified; if you are gay, playful with your 
friends, I reproach you for having so soon forgotten 
the painful separation of three days. ... As you see, I 
am not easy to satisfy; but, my dear love, it is very 
different if I fear that your health is altered, or that 
you have reasons for grief: then I regret the speed which 
carries me away from my heart. If I am asked if I have 
slept well, before replying I must have a courier to let 
me know that you have had a good night. . . . May my 
good angel, who has always protected me in the midst 
of the greatest dangers, surround and cover you, and 
leave me exposed. . . . Write me, my dearest love, and 
at length, and receive the thousand and one kisses of the 
most devoted and most faithful of lovers.'' 

At this time Josephine was very far from recipro- 
cating the love of her husband. H.^_adored. Jter^ jehile 
she was only moderately touched by his passion. His 
strange, violent character, inspired her with astonish- 
ment, rather than with sympathy. She was in her ele- 
ment in this brilliant, but bizarre society of the Direc- 
tory, which tried to imitate the former splendors of 
Versailles. She enjoyed the opening of the few salons, 
where her grace and amiability caused her to be gen- 
erally admired. She gave but few thoughts to this young 
Republican general, to whom Destiny had united her, 
who seemed to her more of an eccentric than a genius. 

Napoleon turned from his route to pass two days with 
his mother at Marseille and hand her a letter from 



Josephine. His mother was not yet reconciled to his 
marriage, and it was only after a hard struggle, and 
a family council of war, that Madame Letitia was 
finally persuaded to write a very formal and stilted 
letter of congratulation to her new daughter-in-law. 

A week later, the 29 March, Bonaparte arrived at 
Nice, and took command of the Army of Italy. During 
the opening days of this marvellous campaign, which 
was to render his name immortal, Napoleon was not so 
carried away with ambition as to be forgetful of his 
love. Before the first battle, he wrote Josephine from 
Port-Maurice on the 3 April: 

" I have received all your letters, but none of them 
has made such an impression on me as the last. What 
can be your idea, my adorable love, to write me in such 
terms? The sentiments that you express are like fire: 
they consume my poor heart! Do you not think that 
my position is already critical enough without increas- 
ing my regrets and upsetting my spirit? . . . My only 
Josephine, away from you there is no joy; far from 
you, the world is a desert, where I am alone. You have 
taken away from me more than my soul; you are the 
one thought of my life. If I am weary with the burden 
of affairs, if I fear the outcome, if I am disgusted with 
men, if I am ready to curse life, I place my hand upon 
my heart: your portrait beats there; I regard it, and 
love is for me absolute happiness: all is gay except the 
space that I am separated from my love." 

His whole soul in a state of ecstasy over the receipt 
of a few tender lines traced by the adored hand, he con- 
tinues: " By what art have you been able to captivate 
all my faculties, to concentrate in yourself my moral 


existence? To live for Josephine is the whole aim of 
my life! I strive to be near you; I die to approach you. 
Fool! I did not realize that I was separating myself 
from you. How many lands, how many countries lie 
between us, how many days before you read these lines 
which are but feeble expressions of a troubled heart 
where you reign." 

Unfortunately the sunshine of love is never long 
without its clouds, and Bonaparte, who was then in the 
seventh heaven of joy and confidence, was soon to be- 
come suspicious and jealous. Although he did not as 
yet doubt either the love or the fidelity of his wife, at 
times he was overcome with melancholy. But this feel- 
ing was not of long duration. The lover soon was lost 
in the man of action. Victory followed victory with 
amazing rapidity. From the heights of Monte-Zemolo 
the army suddenly saw at its feet the fertile plains of 
Italy, the promised land, with its splendid cities, its 
broad rivers, its cultivated fields. A shout of joy broke 
from the ranks. The young general, pointing to the 
scene of his coming triumphs, cried: " Hannibal scaled 
the Alps; we have turned them! " 

After the armistice of Cherasco, on the 28 April, 
Bonaparte thus summed up in a few ringing words the 
achievements of his army: 

" Soldiers! In two weeks you have gained six vic- 
tories, captured twenty-one flags, fifty cannon, several 
strong places, and have conquered the richest part of 
Piedmont. You have made fifteen thousand prisoners, 
and killed or wounded ten thousand men. Destitute of 
all, you have supplied everything. You have gained 
battles without cannon, crossed rivers without bridges, 



made forced marches without shoes, often bivouacked 
without bread. Only Republican phalanxes are capable 
of deeds so extraordinary. Thanks to you, soldiers! " 

On the 24 April Bonaparte sent his brother Joseph 
and his aide de camp Junot to Paris. Joseph was the 
bearer of a letter to Josephine in which her husband 
strongly urged her to rejoin him in Italy. Junot carried 
the flags captured from the enemy, to be presented to 
the Directory. 

In his Memoires Joseph tells the story of their 
journey. They left in the same post-chaise, and reached 
Paris in five days after their departure from Nice. En 
route they were everywhere received with the greatest 
enthusiasm. At Paris the Directors expressed their 
satisfaction with the army and its commander. 

Murat, who had been sent directly from Cherasco 
with the papers of the armistice, reached Paris before 
Joseph and Junot. Josephine received from the three 
envoys the most circumstantial details of the success of 
her husband. Like Napoleon, she had passed in a few 
days from obscurity to glory. For the first time she 
began to realize that she had not made a mistake in 
marrying the young hero of Vendemiaire. 

The Moniteur of the 10 May 1796 contains a report 
of the formal presentation of the flags to the Directory, 
by Junot, the future Due d'Abrantes. 

In her interesting Memoires Madame d'Abrantes 
speaks of the impression created on this occasion by 
Madame Bonaparte and Madame Tallien who were 
present. " At that time," she says, " Madame Bona- 
parte was still charming, while Madame Tallien was in 
the full ,flower of her beauty." She continues: "One 


may well believe that Junot was not a little proud to 
escort these two charming women when they left at the 
end of the reception. ... He offered his arm to Madame 
Bonaparte, who, as the wife of his general, had 
the .right to the first place, especially on this occa- 
sion; the other arm he gave to Madame Tallien, 
and so descended with them the staircase of the 
Luxembourg." There was an immense crowd outside 
the palace, and the people pushed and crowded to ob- 
tain a better view. There were cheers for General 
Bonaparte, and for his charming wife, who was ac- 
claimed as " Notre-Dame-des-Victoires." 

The poet Arnault, in his Souvenirs d'un sexagdnaire, 
recalls the profound impression made upon him so many 
years before by the loveliness of Josephine on this oc- 
casion. He compares her with her two competitors for 
the sceptre of Venus: Madame Tallien and Madame 
Recamier. " Beside these two rivals," he says, " al- 
though she was not so brilliant or so fresh as they, 
thanks to the regularity of her features, the elegant 
souplesse of her figure, the sweet expression of her 
countenance, she also was beautiful. I can still see them, 
on this perfect May day, as they entered the salon 
where the Directors were to receive the flags. Each of 
them was attired in the toilette the best fitted to show 
off her particular advantages; their heads were crowned 
with the most beautiful flowers: one would have said 
that the three months of springtime had been reunited 
to fete the victory." 

The same day that the flags were presented, the 10 
May, Bonaparte gained the spectacular victory of 
Lodi, which made so vivid an impression on the popular 


imagination. Carrying a banner in his hand, at the 
head of his grenadiers, the young general led the charge 
across the long and narrow bridge upon which the fire 
of the enemy was concentrated. From that time forth, 
his soldiers believed him infallible and irresistible. Five 
days later he made his triumphal entry into Milan. 

The day after the battle of Lodi, Salicetti, the com- 
missioner with the army, wrote the Directory: " Citizen 
Directors, immortal glory to the Army of Italy! Grati- 
tude to the wisely audacious chief who directs it! The 
date of yesterday will be celebrated in the annals of 
history and of war. . . . When the Republican column 
was formed, General Bonaparte rushed along the ranks. 
His presence filled the soldiers with enthusiasm. He was 
received with cries a thousand times repeated of: ' Vive 
la Republique! ? He ordered the drums to beat the 
charge, and the troops, with the rapidity of lightning, 
rushed upon the bridge! " 

To celebrate the new triumphs the Directory organ- 
ized a fete, half patriotic, half mythological, which was 
celebrated on the Champ-de-Mars the 29 May. At ten 
o'clock in the morning a salvo of artillery announced 
the beginning of the ceremonies. The National Guard 
of Paris was present, under arms. Carnot, the president 
of the Directory, delivered the oration, which was in the 
nature of a martial rhapsody. He ended his discourse 
with a glowing tribute to the armies of the Republic and 
their valiant chiefs. 

After the fete the people danced on the Champ-de- 
Mars until nightfall, and a grand dinner was given in 
the evening. 



Bonaparte Enters Milan Josephine's Life at Paris She 
Finally Starts for Italy Her Regret in Leaving Ar- 
rival at Milan The Palace Serbelloni Her Ennui 
Letter to Madame Renaudin Her Delayed Honeymoon 
End of the Campaign Napoleon's Letters The Court 
of Montebello The Bonaparte Family Reunion Jose- 
phine's Aid to Napoleon's Policy The Peace of Campo- 
Formio Bonaparte Leaves for Rastadt His Return to 

ON Sunday the 15 May 1796, Bonaparte made 
his entry into Milan through streets lined by 
the National Guard, commanded by the Due 
de Serbelloni. When the general arrived at the Porta 
Romana the soldiers presented arms. Preceded by a 
large detachment of infantry, and surrounded by his 
guard of cavalry, he proceeded to the archducal palace, 
where he took up his residence. In the evening, there 
was a large dinner given in his honor, followed by a 
brilliant ball. 

But in the midst of his triumphs, Bonaparte was far 
from happy. His adored wife failed to respond to his 
letters praying her to join him in Italy, and he had just 
received news of the proposal of the Directory to divide 
his forces, giving the northern army to Kellermann, 
while he was to be sent with the balance of the troops 
to conquer the southern part of the Peninsula. He im- 


mediately wrote the Directory that he considered it 
most unwise to divide the Army of Italy into two parts, 
and against the best interests of the Republic to have 
two different generals. The majority of the Directory 
accepted his view of the situation and the order was at 
once cancelled. 

Bonaparte found it more difficult, however, to over- 
come the resistance of his wife. Josephine was more 
interested in enjoying at Paris the triumphs of her hus- 
band than in going to join him at Milan. She was per- 
fectly happy in her life at home, and had no desire to 
leave her children and tier friends. She loved the 
theatres, the manners of the Ancien Regime, which were 
beginning to reappear, and the receptions at the Lux- 
embourg, where she was treated like a queen. It cer- 
tainly was not customary, since the beginning of the 
wars of the Republic, to see the wives of the generals 
accompany the armies, and it was too much to demand 
of the Creole nature of Josephine that she should rush 
to Italy at the first call of her husband, and expose 
herself to the fatigues and dangers of a great war. 

But Napoleon could not understand her hesitation. 
He wrote her letter after letter, each one more burning 
and more pressing than the one before. Murat, who car- 
ried to Paris the papers of the armistice, was also the 
bearer of a letter to Josephine urging her to rejoin 
him. This letter, which she did not hesitate to show to 
her friends, was characterized by the most violent pas- 
sion, not entirely free from jealousy. Arnault writes: 
" I can still hear her reading a passage in which her 
husband cries, ' What are you doing? Why do you not 
come to me? If it is a lover who detains you beware of 


the poinard of Othello! ' And Josephine, smiling with 
amusement at his exalted sentiments, says with her 
funny Creole accent, < II est drole, Bonaparte! ' " 

In his Life of Napoleon, Sir Walter Scott writes that 
the correspondence of Bonaparte with Josephine reveals 
the curious character of a man as ardent in love as in 
war: the language of the conqueror who disposed of 
States according to his good pleasure, and beat the most 
celebrated generals of his time, is as enthusiastic as that 
of an Arcadian shepherd. The statements of the great 
English writer are certainly borne out by the tone of 
the long passionate and eloquent letter which Napoleon 
wrote Josephine on the 15 June 1796 from Tortona. 
It was despatched by a special courier, who had orders 
to remain only four hours in Paris, and to bring back 
her answer. Josephine could not resist this final touch- 
ing appeal; and she decided, although with great regret, 
to leave for Italy. 

Her friend Arnault, in his interesting memoirs, gives 
us a curious insight of the feelings of Josephine at this 
time. He says that the love which she inspired in a man 
so extraordinary as Bonaparte evidently flattered her, 
although she took the matter much less seriously than 
he; she was proud to see that he loved her almost as 
much as his glory; she enjoyed this fame which in- 
creased from day to day; but she wished to enjoy it at 
Paris, in the midst of the acclamations which hailed her 
appearance, on the receipt of each new bulletin from 
the Army of Italy. Her chagrin was great when she saw 
that there was no chance for further hesitation. She 
would not have exchanged her little hotel in the Rue 
Chantereine for the palace prepared for her reception at 



Milan in fact, for all the palaces in the world. It was 
from the Luxembourg that she finally set out for Italy, 
after having supped there with a few friends, " Poor 
woman! " says Arnault, " she broke out in tears, and 
sobbed as if she were going to the scaffold. She was go- 
ing to reign! " 

Josephine arrived at Milan the 9 July 1796, escorted 
by her brother-in-law Joseph, by Napoleon's aide de 
camp Junot, and by a young officer on the staff of Gen- 
eral Leclerc, named Hippolyte Charles, whom we shall 
encounter later on in close connection with Josephine. 

Bonaparte, who had not expected so prompt a 
response to his last appeal, was absent on a tour of the 
principal cities of northern Italy. The first day of July 
he paid a visit to the Grand Duke Ferdinand at Flor- 
ence. From there he went to Bologna and Verona, and 
did not reach Milan until the middle of the month. 

What a change in the situation of Bonaparte in the 
four short months since he parted from Josephine at 
Paris! In order not to excite the jealousy of the Direc- 
tory he had abandoned the archducal palace, but was 
lodged in almost regal state in the Serbelloni Palace 
on the Corso Venezia, a few squares behind the cathe- 
dral. The Serbelloni is far handsomer than the Royal 
Palace and perhaps the most beautiful of all the palaces 
of Milan. Since the opening of the campaign in April 
his troops had overrun nearly all of northern Italy. 
Piedmont, delivered from the yoke of Austria, had 
made peace with France, and the remainder of the Im- 
perial army was blockaded at Mantua. He had treated 
as an equal with the King of Sardinia, the Pope, the 
Duke of Modena, and the Grand Duke of Tuscany, all 


of whom owed to his generosity their political existence. 
Genoa and Venice, Rome and Naples, had all with- 
drawn from the coalition. The great cities of northern 
Italy had surrendered their most celebrated works of 
art to enrich the collections of the Louvre. Millions of 
francs had been levied on the different States, part of 
which had supplied his army, while the balance had 
been transmitted to Paris to fill the empty coffers of the 
Directory. What wonder that the name of Bonaparte 
was everywhere acclaimed! 

Josephine passed the summer at Milan, except for 
a short visit to headquarters before the battle of Cas- 
tiglione. Having resumed the siege of Mantua after this 
victory, Napoleon went to Milan where he spent only 
twenty-four hours with his wife before rejoining his 

While Bonaparte was gaining his victories Josephine 
was bored to death in Italy. The feeling of sadness 
which oppressed her is shown in a letter which she wrote 
at this time to her aunt Madame Renaudin, who had 
finally married her old lover the Marquis de Beauhar- 
nais. The Due de Serbelloni who was going to Paris was 
charged with the delivery of this epistle which ran as 

" Monsieur Serbelloni will tell you, my dear aunt, 
of the manner in which I have been received in Italy. 
All the princes have given me fetes, even the Grand 
Duke of Tuscany, the brother of the Emperor. Well, 
I prefer to be a simple private individual in France! 
I do not care for the honors of this country; I am much 
bored. It is true that my health contributes much to 
make me sad; I am often indisposed. If good fortune 

C663 , 


could assure good health, I ought to be well. I have the 
most amiable husband that a woman could hope for. 
I have no chance to desire anything: my wishes are his. 
All day long he is in a position of adoration before me, 
as if I were a divinity. I could not have a better hus- 
band. He often writes my children of whom he is very 
fond. He is sending Hortense by M. Serbelloni a beauti- 
ful enamelled repeating-watch; to Eugene a handsome 
gold watch." 

Comparatively few of the letters of Josephine have 
been preserved for us, and this one is particularly in- 
teresting because it displays more appreciation of her 
husband's devotion than we should expect to find. 

Ten days after the battle of Arcole, on the 2 7 Novem- 
ber, Napoleon returned to Milan, where he expected to 
find Josephine. Great was his surprise and disappoint- 
ment to learn that she had accepted an invitation from 
Genoa to pay a visit to the city. There she was given a 
magnificent reception by the citizens who were favor- 
able to the French. 

On learning of Napoleon's arrival Josephine returned 
at once to Milan, where they spent the month of De- 
cember together at the Serbelloni Palace. It was really 
their " lune de miel," the first time that they had been 
united for more than a few hours since their marriage 
nine months before. 

Lavalette, who had then just been appointed one of 
Bonaparte's aides de camp, gives us in his Memoires 
an interesting picture of this kind of military court. He 
says: " The general-in-chief was then in all the intoxi- 
cation of his marriage. Madame Bonaparte was charm- 
ing, and all the cares of his command, all the tasks of 



the government of Italy, did not prevent her husband 
from fully enjoying his domestic happiness. It was dur- 
ing this short sojourn at Milan that the young painter 
Gros made the first portrait that we have of the gen- 
eral He represents him upon the bridge of Lodi at the 
moment that he seized the flag and called upon the 
troops to follow him. The artist could not obtain time 
for a sitting, so Madame Bonaparte took her husband 
upon her knees, after dejeuner, and kept him there for 
several minutes. I was present at three of these sittings: 
the age of the young couple, the modesty of the painter, 
and his enthusiasm for the hero excuse this familiarity." 

With the beginning of the new year Austria resumed 
hostilities, and Bonaparte left Milan to take command 
of his army. On the 14 January he won the brilliant 
victory of Rivoli, and two days later that of La Favo- 
rita, which settled the fate of Mantua. Without waiting 
to receive the surrender of the fortress, he proceeded to 
Tolentino, where on the 19 February he concluded a 
treaty with the Pope. Two months later, at Leoben, 
he signed the preliminary articles of peace with Austria, 
which marked the end of the great Campaign of Italy. 

During his absence from Josephine, Napoleon as 
usual wrote her nearly every day. Madame de Remusat, 
who is always reluctant to admit that Napoleon was 
ever more controlled by his heart than by his head, is 
neverthless struck by the passion revealed in every line 
of this correspondence. In her Memoir es, she says: " I 
have seen the letters of Napoleon to Madame Bona- 
parte at the time of the first campaign of Italy. . . . 
These letters are very singular: a writing almost illeg- 
ible, a faulty spelling, a style bizarre and confused; but 


withal, a tone so passionate, sentiments so strong, ex- 
pressions so animated and at the same time so poetic, 
a love so apart from all other loves, that there is no 
woman who would not prize having received such 

As Milan is one of the hottest places in Italy, during 
his second summer Napoleon resided at the magnificent 
chateau of Montebello (or Mombello), which is situ- 
ated on the old Como road a few miles from the city. 
It was then a great country villa sitting far back from 
the highroad in a large park with cool shady avenues, 
pretty fountains and all the exquisite loveliness of an 
Italian retreat. From the broad high terrace that ran 
around the front and the sides of the chateau, the Alps 
could be seen on one side and the beautiful spires of the 
Milan cathedral on the other. 

Here most of the Bonaparte family were reunited for 
the first time since they left Corsica four years before. 
Madame Bonaparte came to secure Napoleon's ap- 
proval of the marriage of his eldest sister Elisa to Felix 
Bacciochi, which had been celebrated at Marseille the 
first of May, and to persuade him to furnish a dot. 
Napoleon finally yielded to his mother's wishes, and at 
the same time informed her of a marriage which he had 
arranged between General Leclerc and his sister Pau- 
line. The marriage was celebrated on the 14 June, with 
both civil and religious forms, by the express orders of 
Napoleon, and the civil union of Bacciochi and Elisa 
was blessed by the Church at the same time. 

This family meeting was not prolonged. After a visit 
of two weeks Madame Letitia left for Corsica, accom- 



panied by Elisa and her husband. At the same time 
Joseph set out for Rome, where he had just been made 
minister, taking with him his wife and his youngest sis- 
ter, Caroline. Jerome was sent back to college at Paris, 
and Pauline remained in Italy with Leclerc, who had 
been named chief of staff in the army. 

The three months which Napoleon and Josephine 
passed at Montebello were perhaps the happiest of 
their lives. The Conqueror of Italy lived in regal style, 
surrounded by his military court. The attention of 
Europe was more drawn to this chateau than to all the 
palaces of the emperors and kings. At Milan, as later at 
Paris, Josephine admirably served the interests of her 
husband. By her antecedents, her relations, her char- 
acter, she formed a connecting link between him and the 
old aristocracy: without her, by his own admission 
made later on, he never could have had any natural 
rapport with the old regime. The salon of the former 
Vicomtesse de Beauharnais recalled the traditions of 
the most brilliant circles of the Faubourg Saint-Ger- 
main. Josephine received the noble families of Milan 
with an exquisite grace, and there reigned a kind of 
etiquette which contrasted in a singular manner with 
the democratic air affected by the general. 

On the 1 8 August Napoleon and Josephine made a 
short excursion to Lake Maggiore, accompanied by 
Berthier and Miot. Immediately upon their return they 
set out for Udine where Napoleon was to meet the 
Austrian plenipotentiaries. On the 27 August they ar- 
rived at Passeriano where they took up their residence 
in a chateau still in existence which had formerly be- 
longed to a doge of Venice. It was a fine country resi- 



dence situated upon the left bank of the Tagliamento 
about ten miles from Udine. 

The peace negotiations had dragged along through 
the summer and far into the autumn of 1797 mainly 
owing to the hope of the Emperor that events in France 
might turn to his advantage. The coup d'etat of the 18 
Fructidor (4 September) had destroyed the last hope 
of the Royalists, and Bonaparte's victorious army was 
still in Venetia ready to march on Vienna, so nothing 
remained except to conclude peace. The final treaty 
was signed on the 17 October: it bore the name of the 
Peace of Campo-Formio from a village situated halfway 
between Passeriano and Udine. 

On the second day of November Napoleon and Jose- 
phine were again back at Milan. Leaving his wife there, 
Bonaparte started two weeks later for Rastadt, travel- 
ling by way of Geneva, where he stopped for a day. 
He was accompanied by his aides de camp, Duroc, La- 
vale tte and Marmont; his secretary, Bourrienne, and his 
physician, Yvan. 

On the 25 November Bonaparte reached Rastadt, 
where he remained only long enough to exchange with 
the Austrian plenipotentiaries the ratification of the 
Treaty of Campo-Formio, and then left for Paris. He 
arrived home on the 5 December, and took up his resi- 
dence in the little hotel in the Rue Chantereine, from 
which he had set out twenty-one months before an ob- 
scure man, to which he returned as a celebrity. On the 
29 December, by decree of the department of the Seine, 
the Rue Chantereine was changed in his honor to Rue de 
la Victoire. 




Josephine Returns to Paris The Talleyrand Fete Purchase 
of the Hotel Chantereine Bonaparte's Tour of Inspection 

His Sudden Return Napoleon's Fortune He Leaves 
for Toulon The Fleet Sails Josephine at Plombteres 
She Buys Malmaison Fortunes of the Bonapartes 
Josephine's Indiscretions Napoleon Hears the Reports 

His Liaison with Madame Foures 

JOSEPHINE finally reached Paris upon the second 
day of January. She took nearly six weeks for the 
journey, and did not seem to be in as great haste 
as she claimed in her letters, to leave that tiresome 
Italy, and see her beloved daughter again. After a visit 
to Turin, she crossed Mont-Cenis in terrible weather, 
and stopped severaLdays at Lyon. The fete to Bona- 
parte, planned by Talleyrand, had to be put off from day 
to day, as the general wished his wife to be present. 

Aside from the necessary calls on the Directors and 
ministers, during the month after his return Napoleon 
made only a few appearances in public. On the 10 
December he attended the fete given in his honor by the 
Directors at the Luxembourg. Another evening he was 
present during one act of a play at the Frangais. The 
rest of the time he deliberately stayed at home and re- 
fused to receive the applause of the people which 
greeted him on every appearance. 



The day after the arrival of Josephine it was neces- 
sary for him to issue from his retirement to attend the 
fete arranged by Talleyrand. The Minister of Foreign 
Affairs then occupied the luxurious Hotel Gallifet, in 
the Rue du Bac, which had been splendidly decorated 
for the occasion. At half past ten Bonaparte appeared, 
in civilian costume, accompanied by his wife, who wore 
a Greek tunique, with cameos in her hair. Somewhat 
embarrassed by the ovation he received, Napoleon took 
the arm of Arnault and made the tour of the salons. 
It was during this promenade that Madame de Stael 
forced herself upon his attention, and received, in 
answer to her impertinent questions, the celebrated 
reply which was to make of her his life-long enemy. 

" General," she said, as soon as she had met him, 
" what woman do you love best? " 

" My wife." 

" Naturally; but whom do you esteem most? " 

" That one who is the best housekeeper." 

" Very true; but who do you think is the first among 
women? " 

" Madame, the one who bears the most children." 

There is little wonder that the conceited Madame de 
Stael did not love Napoleon after this brief passage at 

During the supper Bonaparte was seated beside his 
wife, to whom he was most attentive. At one o'clock 
they left the ball. 

On her return from Italy Josephine had settled again 
in her little hotel of the Rue de la Victoire, upon which 
she had ordered extensive alterations made, at a cost of 
over one hundred thousand francs, although at the time 



she still had only a lease. However, on the last day of 
March Bonaparte purchased the property for the sum of 
52,000 francs. The house was soon full to overflowing 
with the many rare paintings and objets d'art which 
Josephine had shipped from Italy. This was the begin- 
ning of the immense collection which later entirely 
jailed her chateau of Malmaison. 

In October, before his return from Italy, Bonaparte 
had been appointed general-in-chief of the Army of 
England. On the 4 February he left Paris for a twelve 
days' tour of inspection of the Channel ports from 
Calais to Ostende. On his return he reported to the 
Directory that the proposed invasion of England was 
a most dangerous and difficult undertaking, and, as an 
alternative plan, suggested an eastern expedition which 
would menace the British trade with the Indies. He 
had little difficulty in obtaining the consent of the Di- 
rectory to the new plan, and on the 4 March the Gov- 
ernment formally approved of the expedition to Egypt. 

All the familiars of Josephine stood in the greatest 
awe of Napoleon, but the moment he was absent the 
house was filled with the friends of the mistress of the 
mansion. As soon as Bonaparte left for his tour of 
the Channel ports, Josephine seems to have renewed her 
intimacy with Barras. There is certainly ground for 
suspicion in the note she hastily scribbled to the secre- 
tary of the Director on the unexpected return of her 
husband: " Bonaparte arrived to-night. I beg you, my 
dear Bottot, to assure Barras of my regret that I cannot 
go to dinner with him. Tell him not to forget me. You 
know better than any one my position." 

It was a notorious fact that most of the generals of 



the Republic had not returned to Paris with empty 
hands, but Bonaparte pretended that he was different 
from the others. Later, at Saint Helena, he claimed 
that on his return from Italy his fortune did not exceed 
three hundred thousand francs, but it seems probable 
that he had nearer three millions. In addition, he had 
his salary of forty thousand francs as general-in-chief , 
and seven thousand francs a month while head of 
the French legation at Rastadt. During his absence in 
the East he left his funds in the hands of Joseph, as a 
common purse for the family, and it is well known that 
the Bonapartes did not suffer for lack of money while 
he was away. It is very possible that in his recollections 
Napoleon omitted a zero from his calculations. 

On the 3 May 1798 Napoleon and Josephine, after 
dining informally with Barras at the Luxembourg, went 
to the Theatre-Frangais to see Talma in Macbeth. That 
evening the Conqueror of Italy was greeted with the 
same enthusiasm as during the first days of his return. 
After the play they went home, and at midnight set 
out for Toulon. Besides Josephine, Napoleon had in 
the carriage with him his secretary, Bourrienne, and his 
aides de camp, Eugene, Duroc and Lavalette. To escape 
the vigilance of the English spies Napoleon had kept 
his plans entirely secret, and even forbade Josephine to 
go to Saint-Germain to say adieu to Hortense. 

Upon their arrival at Toulon, Bonaparte informed 
Josephine for the first time that he did not intend to 
take her with him, as he did not wish to expose her to 
the dangers and fatigues of the voyage, and the severity 
of the climate. In vain she pleaded that the voyage had 
no terrors for her after three trips across the Atlantic, 



and that the heat of Egypt could not affect a Creole. 
To console her, Bonaparte finally promised that, as 
soon as he was well established in Egypt, at the end of 
two months, he would send for her the frigate Pomone, 
under the convoy of which she had made her first voy- 
age from Martinique to France. 

Bonaparte knew that there was no time to be lost 
in setting sail, but the expedition was detained ten days 
by contrary winds. Although he was not then aware of 
the fact, on the second day of May Nelson had been 
detached from the fleet that was blockading Cadiz, to 
go in search of information regarding the preparations 
at Toulon. He arrived off that port on the 17 May, but 
was driven back by an adverse wind, and was not able 
to return until ten days after the departure of the 
French expedition. Never was Fortune more favorable 
to Napoleon! If the French fleet had encountered Nel- 
son at any time during the long voyage of six weeks it 
had not more than one chance in a hundred of escaping 
absolute destruction. 

The adieux of Bonaparte and Josephine were very 
tender. The signal for departure was given, and before 
a strong north-west wind the fleet moved out of the 
port. Bonaparte was on the Orient, a vessel of one hun- 
dred and twenty guns, and from a balcony Josephine 
with a glass followed her husband as long as the ship 
was in sight. 

After the departure of the expedition Josephine did 
not return directly to Paris, but went to Plombieres in 
the Vosges to take the waters. While there she met with 
a serious accident: a wooden balcony, upon which she 
was standing with several friends, gave way under 


them, and she fell fourteen feet to the pavement be- 
low. Fortunately no bones were broken, but she was 
painfully bruised. Hortense was sent for, at the school 
of Madame Campan, and nursed her mother during the 
convalescence. No sovereign was ever better cared for. 
Barras received the bulletins of her health drawn up 
by the resident physicians; all the authorities of the 
department called; musicians, brought from Spinal, 
gave her serenades; her rooms were filled with rare 

At Plombieres she received the first news of the ex- 
pedition, from the capture of Malta to the occupation 
of Cairo. She also learned from Bonaparte's letters that 
she must give up the idea of sailing to rejoin him. The 
fleet of Nelson was in full command of the Mediter- 
ranean, and all the French ports were closed. The frig- 
ate upon which she was to have sailed had been cap- 
tured by an English cruiser in leaving Toulon. 

The last of August Josephine was back in Paris. At 
this time she arranged to purchase the estate of Mal- 
maison. The price is generally stated to have been 
160,000 francs, " paid in part with her dot, and in part 
with the resources of her husband." As a matter of fact 
the deed which was passed before a notary of Paris the 
21 April 1799 shows that the price agreed upon was 
225,000 francs, with 37,500 francs additional for the 
furniture, and over 9000 francs for the recording fee. 
Josephine only paid down in cash the amount of the 
furniture, 37,500 francs, with the avails of " diamonds 
and jewelry belonging to her." The balance was left un- 

From the funds deposited by Napoleon with Joseph 


was drawn the money to pay for the princely estates 
bought about the same time by other members of the 
family. In Italy, Lucien purchased of a Roman princess 
an estate bringing in a revenue of 4000 francs a year; 
at Paris, a hotel corner of the Rues du Mont-Blanc 
and de la Victoire; near Villers-Cotterets, a fine 
chateau, which with the farm of Soucy brought in over 
17,000 francs a year. Joseph also acquired, at Paris, a 
new hotel which cost him at the outset over 100,000 
francs; and, near Senlis, the magnificent estate of 
Mortefontaine, with a vast park and one of the finest 
English gardens in Europe, for which he paid 258,000 
francs. As the place had been much neglected during the 
Revolution, he was obliged to spend in its restoration 
another quarter of a million the first year. Truly, the 
modest three hundred thousand francs brought back 
from Italy by Napoleon went a long way! 

At the same time Josephine had much difficulty in 
obtaining from Joseph the payment of the small allow- 
ance of forty thousand francs fixed by Napoleon, and 
was very indignant over the way in which he disbursed 
her husband's money. With her magnificent jewels, her 
priceless paintings and objets d'art, she was actually 
short of money to meet her current bills. 

In acting as he did, Joseph may have gone beyond his 
brother's orders; but the conduct of Josephine since her 
return from Plombieres had been anything but exem- 
plary. She was again on very intimate terms with Bar- 
ras, and her liaison with Hippolyte Charles, which had 
begun at Milan, was a matter of public notoriety. At 
Malmaisori this young officer ruled almost as lord and 
master. Did Josephine think, like many others, that 




Bonaparte would never return from the Orient, or did 
she imagine that Egypt was so far away that he would 
never hear of her conduct? If so, she was mistaken in 
both suppositions: he was to return, to give her a very 
mauvais quart d'heure, and the reports were to reach 
him in Egypt, through an indiscretion on the part of 
Junot. Both Bourrienne and Madame Junot have given 
us a vivid picture of Napoleon's rage and despair on 
this occasion. He cried: " I would give all the world to 
know that Junot's tale is false, sa much do I love Jose- 
phine. But if she is really guilty, a divorce must sepa- 
rate us forever. I will not submit to be the laughing- 
stock of all the imbeciles of Paris. I will write Joseph 
to have the divorce declared." 

It is absurd to claim, as many historians have done, 
that Napoleon at the time of his marriage was ignorant 
of Josephine's past life. He certainly must have known 
of her relations with Barras, at least; but the past did 
not concern him: all that he asked for was fidelity in 
the future. The nobleness of his character, and his un- 
derstanding of the situation, are clearly shown in the 
letter he wrote her from Milan n June 1796: " Every- 
thing pleased me, even the remembrance of your errors 
and of the afflicting scene which took place two weeks 
before our marriage." His rights over her heart and mind 
only date from the hour that she accepted his love and 
freely gave him her hand: the past no longer counts. 
But from that moment she belongs to him, and if she 
deceives him, all is over. If Josephine had been true to 
him, without doubt Napoleon would liave remained 
faithful in Egypt as he had been in Italy. 

At Cairo the favorite rendez-vous of the officers was 


a garden modelled upon the Tivoli at Paris, which was 
kept by an old school-friend of Bonaparte at Brienne. 
Here Napoleon met a very pretty young woman with 
blond hair, a dazzling complexion, and beautiful teeth. 
Her name was Marguerite-Pauline Bellisle, and she was 
an apprentice to a modiste at Carcassonne when she 
married a young lieutenant in the chasseurs a cheval 
named Foures. In the midst of their honeymoon came 
the command to embark for Egypt, with stringent 
orders that no wives were to accompany the expedition. 
Like several other devoted wives, the young woman 
donned one of her husband's uniforms and sailed on the 
same ship with him. 

Either from virtue or calculation, Madame Foures 
did not yield to the first attack. It required declarations, 
letters, handsome presents. Finally all was arranged. 

The middle of December, Foures received orders to 
leave for France, this time alone, as bearer of letters to 
the Directory. A mansion was hastily furnished, near 
the general's palace, and the young lady installed there. 
Unfortunately for the peace of the new menage the 
vessel upon which Foures took passage was captured 
by the English, who were well informed regarding 
events at Cairo, and were malicious enough to send 
him back to Egypt. He rushed to Cairo, and made a 
scene with his wife, who promptly secured a divorce. 

Napoleon seems to have become very much in love 
with the little Bellisle, or Bellilote as se became 
known, and went so far as to offer to marry her after 
divorcing Josephine, provided she gave him a child. 
"Mais quoi! la petite sotte n'en sait pas avoir," he 
said with humor. When he returned to France he ar- 


ranged to have her follow him, but she in turn was 
captured by the English. When she finally reached 
Paris it was too late. Napoleon was reconciled with 
Josephine, and the coup d'etat of the 1 8 Bmmaire had 
made him master of France. The Consul refused to see 
her, but made her a handsome allowance. She was 
afterwards married again, separated from her husband, 
and lived to the good old age of ninety-two years, dying 
in March 1869 during the last year of the Second Em- 



Bonaparte Leaves Egypt He Lands in France Josephine 
Fails to Meet Him Their Reconciliation His Generous 
Pardon He Pays Her Debts Her Role in the Coup 
d'fitat She Invites Gohier to Dejeuner The Two Days 
of Brumaire Bonaparte, First Consul They Move to 
the Luxembourg 

AT midnight on Thursday the 22 August 1799 
Bonaparte embarked at Alexandria on the 
frigate Muiron, which with three other 
smaller ships set sail at five o'clock in the morning. He 
was accompanied by Murat and Lannes, both recently 
wounded, as well as by Berthier, Bessieres, Duroc, La- 
valette and Marmont. He also took with him Eugene 
de Beauharnais, and his secretary, Bourrienne. 

He had the same good fortune as on his outward 
voyage. The English fleet had gone to Cyprus for re- 
pairs and he slipped out unmolested. Contrary winds 
forced the little fleet to hug the African coast, and they 
only made three hundred miles in twenty days. The 
English ships cruising between Sicily and Cape Bon 
were eluded. Then the wind changed and better prog- 
ress was made. 

After a voyage of forty days Bonaparte entered the 
port of Ajaccio on the first of October. Here he was 
detained for a week by adverse winds. Finally, on the 
7 October, he sailed for France. It was his last visit to 
his native island. 



At noon on the 9 October Napoleon landed at Frejus, 
and at six o'clock started for Paris. His journey was 
one long ovation. At every city through which he passed 
he was received with transports of enthusiasm. After a 
stop of half a day at Lyon, where he attended the 
theatre, at midnight he again set out, travelling in a 
post-chaise at great speed, not stopping by night or day. 
He reached Paris at six o'clock on the morning of the 
1 6 October and went directly to his hotel in the Rue 
de la Victoire, where, as upon his return from Italy, he 
found no one to receive him. 

Josephine was dining at the Luxembourg with 
Gohier, the president of the Directory, when the news 
was received of the unexpected landing of Bonaparte 
at Frejus. She had almost forgotten that he existed, 
and seemed to think that he would never return. But 
there was no time now for hesitation: she immedi- 
ately set out to meet her husband, and tell her story 
before he had a chance to see his brothers. She naturally 
took the usual route by Dijon and Macon, but Napo- 
leon was travelling by way of the Bourbonnais, and she 
did not meet him. On her return to Paris, a few days 
later, Bonaparte locked his door and refused to see her. 
His brothers had taken advantage of her absence to tell 
Napoleon the story of her conduct, and he was fully 
resolved upon a divorce. For a whole day she knocked 
in vain, and cried and sobbed before the closed door. 
Finally, at the suggestion of her maid, she sent for 
Eugene and Hortense, who joined their supplications 
to those of their mother. The door at last was unlocked, 
and Bonaparte appeared with open arms, his eyes wet 
with tears, his face convulsed with the long and ter- 



rible struggle which he had had with his heart. When 
his brothers appeared the next morning they found 
that all had been forgiven and forgotten. 

Notwithstanding all of Josephine's indiscretions Na- 
poleon was wise to abandon the idea of a divorce, which 
would have interfered seriously with his plans. He 
did well to disregard the advice of his family, who had 
always disapproved of his marriage and done their best 
to bring about a rupture. During his absence, in spite 
of his orders to Josephine not to mingle in public affairs, 
she had manoeuvred like a skilled diplomatist, and had 
well prepared the way for his return. Although her 
relations with Barras had now ceased, she was on very 
cordial terms with her former admirer, as well as with 
Gohier, the new president of the Directory. Her salon 
was also frequented by Talleyrand, Fouche, Cambace- 
res, and many others whose support was essential to the 
success of his plans. It is possible that without the as- 
sistance of Josephine, Napoleon might never have be- 
come emperor. 

When Napoleon pardoned Josephine, it was in no 
half-hearted way it was a pardon generous and com- 
plete, an entire wiping out of all her errors. He had the 
remarkable faculty, when his confidence was renewed, 
of no longer remembering: of suppressing in his marvel- 
lous memory all recollections of faults which he did 
not wish to punish. Not only did he forgive his wife, 
but, a virtue even rarer, he disdained to punish her 
guilty accomplices, and never stood in the way of their 
advancement in life. 

He was equally generous in the payment of the 
enormous debts contracted by Josephine during his 


absence. He gave her the money to complete the pur- 
chase of Malmaison, and settled with the decorators 
their account of over a million francs, which, after a 
careful scrutiny of the bills, he reduced by one-half, for 
over-charges and articles not actually furnished. On the 
12 November he also paid over a million francs for the 
national property in the department of the Dyle, which 
she had contracted to purchase. Five years later this 
estate was to furnish the dot for Adele, the natural 
daughter of Alexandre de Beauharnais, when Jose- 
phine arranged her marriage with a Captain Lecomte. 

A husband willing to pardon his wife's infidelity, and 
at the same time pay over two millions of her debts, is 
one not often found, and if Josephine was incapable of 
fully appreciating such generosity, she at any rate, up 
to the time of her divorce, gave no further grounds for 
public scandal. In her own words, she was too much 
afraid of losing " her position." 

During the weeks of preparation for the coup d'etat 
of the 1 8 Brumaire (9 November), Josephine played 
an important role. In spite of all the precautions that 
were taken it was impossible to prevent rumors from 
reaching the ears of the three Directors who were not 
in the plot. Barras received warnings; also Gohier and 
Moulin, but they all ignored the reports. In order to 
,keep Gohier out of the way on the critical day, Bona- 
parte took advantage of his admiration for Jose- 
phine, to have his wife invite the Director to dejeuner. 
At midnight on the 17 Brumaire she wrote a short note, 
and sent it by Eugene to the Luxembourg: 

Will not you and your wife, my dear Gohier, come to 
breakfast with me to-morrow morning at eight o'clock. Do 


not fail, for there are some very interesting matters which 
I would like to talk over with you. Adieu, my dear Gohier. 
Believe me always your sincere friend 


But Gohier was alarmed over an invitation for so 
early an hour in the morning, and remained home, send- 
ing his wife in his place. While the stirring events of 
the morning were taking place, Josephine used all of 
her charm to keep Madame Gohier at her house. The 
wife of the director finally succeeded in making her 
escape; and with some difficulty reached the Luxem- 
bourg, through the streets thronged with spectators 
and encumbered by the movements of the troops. As 
a profound secret, Josephine had informed her visitor 
of the intention of Talleyrand to see Barras and de- 
mand his resignation. This information led Gohier to 
think that only Barras was to be eliminated, and from 
that moment he made no further efforts to oppose the 
plans of the conspirators. So this little plot did not 
entirely fail. 

Late in the evening Bonaparte returned from the 
Tuileries to the Rue de la Victoire, and gave Josephine 
a full account of the events of the day. The night 
passed quietly. Lannes guarded the Tuileries, and 
Moreau, the Luxembourg. The troops occupied all the 
strategic points of the capital. The theatres were 
crowded, as usual. Without, the rain fell in torrents, 
and the streets were practically deserted. 

On Sunday morning, the 19 Brumaire, the air was 
clear and cool, after the storm of the night before. At 
dawn the troops began their march from Paris to Saint- 
Cloud, where the Councils were to meet at midday. 



The " army of generals " gathered at Bonaparte's house 
to receive his final orders. He soon appeared upon the 
steps of the hotel, in his uniform of general, wearing 
the little hat which was already legendary. Entering his 
carriage, with his aides de camp, he set out for Saint- 
Cloud, escorted by a small detachment of cavalry. 

The day was long and tiresome, and for many hours 
the result was in doubt. It finally ended in the dissolu- 
tion of the Directory, and the appointment of three 
temporary Consuls: Bonaparte, Sieyes and Ducos. It 
was after midnight before all the legislative work was 
finished, and the new Consuls took their oath of office. 

" At three in the morning," writes Bourrienne, " I 
accompanied Bonaparte in his carriage to Paris. Ex- 
tremely fatigued after so many trials, and absorbed in 
his reflections, he did not utter a single word during the 
journey. . . . Back in the little house in the Rue de la 
Victoire he kissed Josephine, who was in bed, and told 
her all the incidents of the day. Then he rested for a 
few hours, and woke up in the morning, the master of 
Paris and of France." 

The day following the 19 Brumaire, the n Novem- 
ber by our calendar, was a decadi, or Republican day 
of rest. At ten o'clock in the morning, Bonaparte, 
dressed in civilian costume, left his house, and in a 
carriage, escorted only by six dragoons, proceeded to 
the Luxembourg, to join his two colleagues and set the 
new government in operation. During the course of the 
day Josephine also left the little hotel in the Rue de la 
Victoire, and moved across the Seine. In all but name, 
the " little Creole " was now sovereign of France! 



The Luxembourg Important Role of Josephine Her Devo- 
tion to Napoleon Secret of Her Power Her Royalism 
Assistance to the Emigres Importance to Napoleon's 
Policy Marriage of Caroline and Murat The Tuil- 
eries Life There The New Society Visits to Mal- 
maison The Chateau Napoleon at His Best 

AT the Petit-Luxembourg Napoleon occupied 
the former apartment of Moulin on the 
ground floor, on the right as you enter from 
the Rue Vaugirard. His cabinet was near a private 
staircase which led to the first floor, where Josephine 
was installed in the old quarters of Gohier. The dinner 
was served at five o'clock, and the table was always 
set for twenty persons. Josephine did the honors with 
her usual grace. If Bonaparte was tired, or absorbed, 
and refused to talk, no one felt neglected. Since the 
rude shock which she had received on the return of 
Bonaparte, Josephine had conducted herself with so 
much tact that she had entirely regained her former 
place in his esteem. She was no longer loved with the 
same blind devotion, but she had become a very im- 
portant element in the new Consular Court. By nature 
and by experience she was admirably adapted to serve 
her husband's interests in rallying all parties and all 
factions to the support of the new government. The 



nobles of the old regime who had frequented the hotel 
in the Rue Chantereine, such as Caulaincourt, Just de 
Noailles and Segur, began to encounter in her salon at 
the Luxembourg men of the Revolution like Monge, 
Real and Cambaceres. 

No one was received except upon a written invitation, 
and formal notice was served by Bonaparte that the 
dress, or rather undress, of the ladies who frequented 
the Court of the Directory, would no longer be toler- 
ated. In the Moniteur appeared a report worded as 

" During the month of December past there was a 
large assembly at the Luxembourg. When every one 
was in the reception room, Bonaparte ordered the serv- 
ants to make a large fire. He even repeated this order 
two or three times. When some one made the remark 
that it was impossible to put more wood in the fireplace, 
he said, ' That will do. I wanted a good fire because the 
cold is excessive, and these ladies are nearly nude! " 
Advice to readers: decency is the order of the day; and 
decency in dress would bring in its train decency in 

For their trips to Malmaison, as for every other func- 
tion in life, Josephine has the rare faculty of being 
always ready, and ever submissive to her husband's 
orders. Her hours of rest, of meals, of every kind, are 
arranged so as not to interfere with his work. As soon 
as his task is finished, Josephine is always ready, at any 
hour of day or night, to eat, to go out, to start on a 
journey without previous notice, in a costume which 
becomes her, and is suitable for the occasion. She has 
constantly on her lips the same smile, which always 


seems natural, and never forced; her voice is ever soft 
and soothing, with her pretty Creole accent, which 
pleases the ear, and is like the caressing touch of a 
loving hand. To this man of thirty years, who has never 
known a home, who has always lived in an inn or a tent, 
she gives the delightful experience of a well-ordered 
and luxurious household, a touch of domestic life. 

At this time Josephine has no official role to play: 
she has no recognized place in the State; she is present 
on occasions of ceremony only as a distinguished guest, 
who looks on from window or balcony. She makes a 
point of seeming to exercise no influence over her hus- 
band, except in deeds of good-will. This is the real 
secret of her power, and she knows it. The day that 
she even attempted to direct his actions, her power 
would be lost. Bonaparte would tolerate no Pompadour, 
no Marie-Antoinette at his side. As for the rest, he 
cares little. She can have all the money she wants, to 
pay for her toilettes and her jewels, to settle her old 
debts; but political influence, never! Her indirect 
power, in the form of charity and social duties, receives 
his entire approbation, as it is directed to the same ob- 
ject which he himself is striving to attain. 

In all her sentiments, Josephine is a royalist, both 
from natural inclination and from reasons purely per- 
sonal to herself. She has the most tender attachment 
to the name of the King, and the Ancien Regime. The 
reason is not hard to find. If Bonaparte plays the role 
of Monk and recalls the Bourbons, he will have at least 
the title of due and peer, the dignity of marshal or con- 
stable of France, a great position at Court, and she will 
have the assurance of sharing his fortune and of never 


being repudiated. " Indeed/' remarks one of her his- 
torians, " how, in 1 799, only seven years after the fall 
of the Throne, could Josephine have any other ideas? 
What was there greater in ancient France, after the 
king and no one then thought that he could become 
king, because one does not become king what was 
there greater than due and peer, marechal de France? 
What was there higher than these dignities to which, 
in the most dizzy dream of ambition, a private individ- 
ual could aspire? " 

She does not suspect, she cannot imagine, that this 
new society demands a new form of government, that 
the man who is to accomplish this task has appeared 
on the scene, and that that man is her husband! 

Bonaparte is by no means displeased with the royalist 
sympathies of his wife. He wishes to gain time in his 
negotiations with the rebels in the Vendee, to endeavor 
to rally them to his cause, and enlist them in his armies. 
For this reason he does not wish to break too abruptly 
with the Pretender, who has already made advances to 
him. He knows that the emigres are only too anxious 
to return to France and recover at least a part of their 
property. Josephine is practically the retained advocate 
of the Royalists and the Emigres, and the favors 
which she solicits, and is accorded, one by one, are not 
calculated to excite the alarm of the purchasers of the 
national property, or arouse the wrath of the Jacobins. 
" Little by little this immense social force, lost for the 
France of the Revolution, will flow back from every 
part of Europe towards the France of the Consulate, 
and bring back, with the habits of courtesy and ele- 
gance, administrators for the departments, magistrates 


for the superior courts, diplomats for the legations, 
officers for the troops, causews for the salons, person- 
ages for the Court. . . . Bonaparte feels that the glory 
of the past, represented by illustrious names, is neces- 
sary to the splendor of the future; and to create a 
France worthy of the destiny which he prepares for 
her, he has need of all her children." Without in the 
least suspecting the fact, Josephine thus played a most 
important role in that policy of fusion, which was one 
of the greatest principles of Napoleon's administration, 
and one which specially characterized it. 

On the 20 January 1800, at Mortefontaine was cele- 
brated the marriage, by civil forms only, of Caroline 
Bonaparte and Joachim Murat. According to Madame 
Recamier, Caroline, although not so beautiful as her 
sister Pauline, was very attractive. She strongly pos- 
sessed the Napoleonic type of countenance, and had 
much intelligence, and a strong will. 

Murat, who at that time was only a general of 
division, was the most striking cavalier in the French 
army. Young, handsome, full of life, with his brilliant 
uniforms, on the field of battle or in a review, he at- 
tracted universal attention. 

Napoleon at first was very much opposed to the 
match. When Murat was sent to Paris after the armis- 
tice of Cherasco, he was too attentive to the wife of his 
general-in-chief, and boasted rather indiscreetly of his 
bonne fortune. Later he fell in love with Caroline, dur- 
ing l^r visit to Milan, and was accepted by her. To 
secure the consent of Napoleon, they solicited the good 
offices of Josephine. What better means of convincing 


Bonaparte that ; if Josephine had ever favored Murat's 
suit, all was now over? Josephine warmly espoused his 
cause, with the double object of putting an end to 
Napoleon's suspicions, and of securing in Murat a 
strong ally in her constant struggle against the enmity 
of the Bonapartes. 

On the occasion of her marriage Caroline received 
from her brothers a dot of forty thousand francs, the 
same amount that they had given to Pauline. In addi- 
tion she had a trousseau and presents of the value of 
twelve thousand francs. Nearly all the members of the 
family were present at the ceremony, but no mention 
can be found of the First Consul and his wife. The 
young couple took up their residence in the Hotel de 
Brionne, near the Tuileries, and continued to be on the 
wannest terms of intimacy with Josephine. 

After living for three months at the Luxembourg, on 
the 19 February 1800 Napoleon moved to the Tuileries, 
which became his principal place of residence during the 
Consulate and the Empire. He occupied the suite of 
Louis the Fourteenth on the first floor, facing on the 
Gardens, while Josephine lived below him on the ground 
floor, in the former apartment of Marie-Antoinette. 

As at the Luxembourg, life at the Tuileries at first 
was very simple. It was too soon for the appointment of 
chamberlains and ladies of the palace. On the day of 
the formal entrance of the First Consul to the Tuileries, 
Josephine, who had preceded him in a private carriage, 
was modestly placed in a window of the Pavilion de 
Flore, to view the ceremony. But two days later, when 
Bonaparte received the diplomatic corps, she had all 



of the members presented to her, and held a court which 
recalled that of the queens. 

During the early days, it was not easy to constitute 
a new society at the Tuileries. Bonaparte himself had 
had no experience in the world. Having passed all his 
time in the army, he had but few acquaintances at 
Paris, and found it necessary constantly to call upon his 
colleague Lebrun for information regarding persons 
and things. There would also have been a great outcry 
from the Republicans if he had immediately received the 
personages of the Ancien Regime, the royalists and the 
emigres. These persons, at first, affected to draw a line 
between the First Consul and his wife. While they did 
not mount the steps to the apartment of Bonaparte 
on the first floor, they filled the rooms of the former 
Vicomtesse de Beauharaais on the floor below. Each 
decade, the First Consul gave in the Galerie de Diane 
a grand dinner with two hundred converts. As the Rus- 
sian Princesse Dolgorouki wrote at this time: " It was 
not exactly a Court, but it was no longer a camp." 

As often as he could lay down the cares of office, gen- 
erally three or four times a month, Bonaparte went to 
Malmaison for a day's rest. This estate, purchased by 
Josephine during his absence in Egypt, had become his 
favorite place of recreation. The chateau was situated 
in a fine location, near the village of Rueil, on the left 
bank of the Seine, about nine miles from Paris. The 
building, which has recently been restored and pre- 
sented to the State as a museum of Napoleonic souve- 
nirs, consisted then, as now, of three stories, with a 
plain fagade, and a tile roof. On the ground floor, at 
the left of the large vestibule, were the dining-room, the 





council chamber and the library; in the other wing, 
the billiard-room, the boudoir, the salon of Josephine, 
and the gallery. From the library there was access to the 
garden by a little bridge thrown across the moat which 
runs along this side of the chateau. 

From the billiard-room there was a staircase to the 
first floor. Here, at the right, an antechamber opened 
into Josephine's bedroom, which was oval in form, and 
hung in red. For many years this was their common 
chamber, and here Josephine drew her last breath while 
Napoleon was in exile at Elba. Two other adjoining 
rooms, and a bath-room, completed the private suite. 
In the other wing were the rooms occupied by Hortense 
after her marriage. In the middle there was a long cor- 
ridor, from which opened several small rooms, occupied 
by the aides de camp on duty, or invited guests. 

Malmaison was for Josephine what the Petit-Trianon 
had been for Marie-Antoinette. In her time the grounds 
extended as far as the village of Rueil, and were beauti- 
fully decorated with exotic trees, rare plants, exquisite 
flowers, and small lakes with their white and black 

At Malmaison, Napoleon always appeared at his 
best. The great man relaxed, and threw off his cares; 
he was amiable, familiar, indulgent. He took part in 
the games with the ardor of a youth. He joked, he told 
stories with a spirit which astonished everybody. He 
was an admirable host, affable, spirited, putting all his 
guests at their ease. At that time he had not yet aban- 
doned his republican simplicity, and adopted the tire- 
some and chilling etiquette of the Imperial Court. 




The Season of 1800 at Paris Problems of the First Consul 
Success of His Administration His Reception aftei 
Marengo The "Conspiracy of Marengo " Part Taker 
by Lucien and Joseph The Meeting of Auteuil Alliana 
of Fouche and Talleyrand Joseph in Italy Napoleoi 
Answers the Pretender Decision to Amend the Constitu- 
tionAlarm of Josephine The " Parallel" Disgraa 
of Lucien Louis Chosen Josephine's Plan 

THE winter season of 1800 in Paris was verj 
brilliant. On the 26 January the new Minis- 
ter of the Interior, Lucien Bonaparte, gave 
a grand ball in honor of his sister Caroline and hei 
husband, at the magnificent Hotel Brissac, Rue de 
Crenelle, which he occupied at the time. Dinners anc 
balls, which recalled the fetes of the fermiers-generam 
under the monarchy, were also given by the greai 
bankers of the day. All classes of society took part ir 
the social whirl, and the dance was never so popular 
For a period of ten years the Parisians had been de 
prived of the popular masked balls of the- Opera, anc 
their reopening was one of the features of the Carnival 
But while Paris danced and played the First Consu 
was occupied with very serious problems. The interna 
affairs of France were in very bad shape: the treasury 
was empty; civil war still raged in the Vendee; th< 
soldiers were ill-fed and ill-clad; and the armies wer< 
demoralized from frequent defeats. The foreign situa 



tion was equally discouraging. The English Government 
had declined his pacific overtures, and with Austria it 
was clear that there was no chance of peace except 
through victory. 

During the winter the energy and activity of Bona- 
parte were everywhere in evidence, and the sudden 
resurrection of France at this time is one of the most 
remarkable events in modern history. " Instantly, as 
if by enchantment," writes the English historian, Alison, 
"everything was changed; order reappeared out of 
chaos, talent emerged from obscurity, vigor arose out 
of the elements of weakness. The arsenals were filled, 
the veterans crowded to their eagles, the conscripts 
joyfully repaired to the frontier. La Vendee was paci- 
fied, the exchequer began to overflow. In little more 
than six months after Napoleon's accession, the Aus- 
trians were forced to seek refuge under the cannon of 
Ulm, Italy was regained, unanimity and enthusiasm 
prevailed among the people, and the revived energy of 
the nation was launched into a career of conquest." 

On the 6 May, Bonaparte left Paris for Italy; two 
weeks later he crossed the Grand-Saint-Bernard; on the 
second day of June he entered Milan; on the fourteenth 
he decisively defeated the Austrians at Marengo, and 
at one stroke regained nearly all of the territory in 
northern Italy which had been lost during his absence 
in Egypt. 

On his return to France, Napoleon received a perfect 
ovation at every stage of his journey. When he entered 
Paris the night of the second of July, after an absence 
of less than two months, the enthusiasm was indescrib- 
able. An innumerable crowd gathered in the Tuileries 


Gardens to cheer him, and he expressed his pleasure 
to Bourrienne by saying: " The noise of these accla- 
mations is as sweet to me as the sound of the voice of 
Josephine! " Twenty years later, on the rock of Saint 
Helena, he spoke of this as one of the happiest days of 
his life. 

During Napoleon's absence occurred the so-called 
" Conspiracy of Marengo," the details of which are 
little known. While he was still engaged in putting down 
the civil war at home, and repelling the foreign invaders 
from the frontiers of France, his brothers Joseph and 
Lucien had already begun the struggle for the supreme 
power in the event of his death. The question of hered- 
ity, which was to be the source of his greatest troubles, 
and one of the causes of his final downfall, had al- 
ready been raised, before his supreme power was even 
definitely established. 

As early as the month of February, Lucien was ex- 
changing views with Bernadotte, who, during the Con- 
sulate and the Empire, never lived a day without plot- 
ting to overthrow Napoleon. A month before the 
departure of the First Consul for Italy, in his cabinet at 
the Tuileries, Fouche, regarding Lucien with his ter- 
rible eyes, exclaimed: " I will have the Minister of the 
Interior himself arrested, if I learn that he is conspir- 
ing! " A contemporary who endeavors to find excuses 
for Lucien, and to defend him from the charge of con- 
spiracy, is forced to admit that: "The political im- 
morality, the civil dishonesty of his administration; the 
disgraceful peculations, the insatiable cupidity of the 
agents by whom he was surrounded, did much to injure 
his brother's government." 


Joseph, for his part, acted much more discreetly, but 
he let his brother know that he wished to be designated 
as his successor. Nothing in the new Constitution gave 
this power to the First Consul, who had been elected 
for ten years, and was reeligible. With his childish 
vanity, Joseph could see no reason why he should not 
be as acceptable to the French nation as the conqueror 
of Italy and Egypt, and thought that it only needed a 
word from Napoleon to amend in his favor a Constitu- 
tion adopted by the practically unanimous vote of 
three million citizens! 

In a conversation with the First Consul, the day be- 
fore his departure for Italy, Joseph seems to have raised 
for the first time the question of the Consular heredity, 
and he showed his hand more clearly in a letter written 
on the 24 May. In all Corsicans there is a strong senti- 
ment of the clan, from which Napoleon himself was not 
exempt. Joseph felt that, as the eldest, he was the chief 
of the clan, the head of the family; therefore, it was 
not a favor which he solicited: it was a right which he 

But he did not rely entirely upon the support of 
Napoleon to gain his point. Upon the suggestion of 
his friend Miot, a council was held at Auteuil, at which 
were present nearly all the leading members of the 
former Assemblies. The possibility of the death of 
Bonaparte, and the question of his successor, were dis- 
cussed; but the name of Joseph was not even men- 
tioned. After wavering between La Fayette and Carnot, 
they decided in favor of the " organizer of victory," 
whom Napoleon had recalled from exile and made Min- 
ister of War. 



At this same time an alliance was formed between 
Talleyrand and Fouche, which was to bear its full fruit 
fourteen years later, when these two arch-conspirators 
and under-handed enemies of Napoleon were to pre- 
cipitate his fall and bring back the Bourbons. At this 
time, however, their plans only contemplated the forma- 
tion of a triumvirate, consisting of themselves and one 
accommodating colleague. 

Lucien was not involved in any of these later schemes. 
On the 14 May, he lost his wife; and for at least ten 
days he retired to his country estate, abandoning en- 
tirely the direction of his department. 

In the meantime, Joseph was so anxious to obtain 
an immediate response from his brother that he could 
not remain quietly at Paris, and set out for Italy. When 
he arrived at Milan, the victory of Marengo had set- 
tled the whole question. Napoleon was now the abso- 
lute master of France, and the decision of the matter 
was entirely in his own hands. He was fully informed 
of the plots and counter-plots, but chose to ignore 
them all. The only outcome was that Carnot lost his 

Leaving for Italy in the costume of the Institute, on 
his return Napoleon presides over the Council of State 
in the uniform of general. It is only after Marengo that 
he feels his place secure as head of the State. It was 
not until the 7 September that he finally and definitely 
replied to the proposals of the Pretender: 

" I have received, sir, your letter; I thank you for the 
polite things you say to me. You can not hope to return 
to France; it would be necessary for you to march over 
five hundred thousand dead bodies. Sacrifice your in- 



terests to the repose and happiness of France. History 
will give you credit for your action." 

The " Conspiracy of Marengo " is interesting be- 
cause it marks the first grouping of factions which on 
several occasions were again to come to the front dur- 
ing the Empire; and because it reveals the principal 
weakness of Napoleon's personal regime. These plots 
convinced him of the necessity of providing for the 
Consular succession. The new Constitution, perhaps in- 
tentionally, had left the matter in very vague shape. 
For the first time Napoleon now fully realized the 
necessity of facing this question of heredity, so impor- 
tant to himself, to his brothers, and, above all, to Jose- 

Napoleon, at the age of thirty-one, could not aban- 
don the hope of an heir hence the constant menace 
of divorce for Josephine, who, after four years of mar- 
riage, could hardly expect to bear another child. Her 
hope also of a restoration of the Bourbons had now been 
extinguished by the action of her husband. In this di- 
lemma she naturally sought the support of such former 
Jacobins as Fouche and Real, who were opposed to the 
extension of the powers of the First Consul, and above 
all to the designation of his successor. 

As for Napoleon's brothers, they felt that there could 
be no question of their rights to the succession. One 
would think, as Napoleon once expressed it, that he, 
as the younger brother, had usurped the place and the 
rights of Joseph, as successor to their father the late 
king! They were also so convinced that it was impos- 
sible for Napoleon himself to have any children, that 
they could not conceive of his repudiating Josephine, 


and marrying a younger woman in the hope of having 
an heir. 

Lucien apparently recognized the rights of Joseph, 
as the elder, and was willing to await his turn as heir 
presumptive, especially as his brother had no children. 
The two brothers therefore sought, each in his own way, 
to secure the adoption of the principle of designation, 
after which each one hoped to be chosen. 

With the death of his charming wife, Catherine 
Boyer, who, notwithstanding her common origin, had 
finished by gaining the love of all the family, as well 
as the general esteem of society, Lucien had more and 
more neglected his official duties, and plunged into all 
kinds of dissipation. Napoleon was obliged to call him 
to account, and there were several unpleasant scenes 
between the brothers. 

Matters were finally brought to a head by the publi- 
cation of the famous " Parallel." One morning, towards 
the end of October, Fouche entered the cabinet of the ' 
First Consul and handed him a little pamphlet entitled 
Parallels entre C&sar, Cromwell et Bonaparte. Two 
paragraphs were specially marked, which suggested 
the idea of heredity and pushed the candidacy of the 
brothers of the Consul. 

This brochure, written by Lucien, although he denied 
it, and widely distributed under the frank of the Min- 
ister of the Interior, had caused a great sensation in all 
the departments. Lucien is summoned from his country 
place, Plessis, and there is a violent scene between him 
and Fouche in the presence of the First Consul. Napo- 
leon remains a passive spectator of the discussion. Jose- 
phine enters the room and takes part. She seats herself 


upon Napoleon's knees, and runs her fingers gently 
through his hair and over his face. " I beg you, Bona- 
parte/' she says, " do not make yourself a king. It is 
this wretch Lucien who urges you to it; do not listen 
to him." 

With much regret, Napoleon asked for Lucien's resig- 
nation, and to cover his disgrace sent him as ambassa- 
dor to Madrid, with an enormous salary. 

This exile in disguise of Lucien is not all that 
Josephine gains from the publication of the Parallel 
and the opportune intervention of Fouche. Napoleon 
is now fully convinced of the necessity of adopting the 
principle of the right of designation, but the choice of 
the individual presents many difficulties. He puts aside 
Joseph, a most worthy man, but with no application, 
and no capacity for public affairs. Lucien is now out 
of the question. For a moment he thinks of Eugene de 
Beauharnais, who would have been the best choice of 
all, but decides that he is too young and inexperienced. 
The next day he makes his decision. "It is not neces- 
sary," he says, " to cudgel our brains to find a successor. 
I have found one: it is Louis. He has all of the good 
qualities, and none of the faults of his brothers." 

Josephine was delighted when Napoleon informed 
her of his choice, in which, unconsciously, he may have 
been influenced by his wife. " Louis has an excellent 
heart, a very superior mind," she said. " He loves Bona- 
parte as a lover loves his mistress." 

From that moment her plan was settled: Louis must 
marry Hortense! 




Louis Bonaparte His Early Years Change in His Character 
His Life in Paris He Avoids Marriage Hortense de 
Beauharnais Her Appearance and Character Love of 
Her Mother Pride in Her Father Early Dislike of 
Bonaparte Fancy for Duroc The Infernal Machine 
Narrow Escapes of Napoleon and Josephine Public 
Demand for an Heir Josephine's Dismay Louis Goes 
to Spain Josephine's Visit to Plombieres Return of 
Louis His Marriage to Hortense 

LOUIS BONAPARTE, who was born on the 2 
September 1778, was nine years younger than 
Napoleon, who regarded him very much in the 
light of an adopted son. In February 1791, when Napo- 
leon returned from his home in Corsica to his regiment 
at Auxonne, after an absence of nearly seventeen 
months, he brought with him his favorite younger 
brother. On his meagre pay of one hundred francs a 
month he had undertaken this care in order to relieve to 
some extent the financial difficulties of his widowed 
mother. In his shabby little room, with its sparse 
furniture, there was no place for Louis, and he slept on 
a mattress in an adjoining cabinet. Napoleon himself 
prepared their frugal meals. He gave his brother lessons 
in mathematics and generally supervised his education. 
At a later date he complained of his brother's ingrati- 
tude, and reminded him that for his sake he had de- 
ll 104] 


prived himself even of the necessaries of life. The blind- 
ness of Napoleon to the faults of his brothers and 
sisters is almost the only weak point in his character, as 
it also reveals one of the most attractive sides of his 
heart. He never could do too much for his family, who, 
almost without exception, repaid him with the basest 
ingratitude. They all seemed to think that their good 
fortune was due entirely to their own merits, and not at 
all to the senseless partiality of their great brother. 

In 1795, Napoleon procured for Louis admission to 
the military school at Chalons. At this time he wrote 
in the warmest terms of his brother's fine qualities of 
heart and mind. The following year Louis, who was 
then only eighteen years of age, was one of Napoleon's 
aides de camp in Italy. He was his messmate, his private 
secretary, his man of confidence. At this time Louis was 
splendid company always full of life and spirits. At 
Milan, he contracted a disease which in a short time 
not only affected his health, but seemed to change his 
moral character. For the rest of his life he was a regular 
hypochondriac constantly worrying about his health 
and persuaded that he was doomed to an early death. 

During the Egyptian expedition, Louis again acted 
as, aide de camp to his brother, but was sent back to 
France with despatches some time before the return of 
Napoleon. In January 1800, when only twenty-two 
years of age, he was appointed chief of brigade. He 
then took up his residence in Paris, where he associated 
with men of letters and occupied himself with every- 
thing except his military career. He took no part in the 
Marengo campaign, during which he remained at Paris, 
occupied with his literary pursuits. None of his friends 


seemed to understand the radical change in his char- 
acter. Napoleon thought that a journey might rouse 
him from his melancholy, and proposed a trip to Ger- 
many, which Louis eagerly accepted, " to escape," he 
said later, " the solicitations for his marriage with 

It is impossible, however, for us to believe that Hor- 
tense was so disagreeable, or the plans of Josephine so 
objectionable to him at this time as he tries to make out 
in his Reflections upon the government of Holland, 
drawn up twenty years later. Even if Josephine, as early 
as August 1800, had formed in her secret heart the proj- 
ect which she carried out a year later, she certainly had 
not made any moves which could arouse in Louis the 
apprehension that she had designs upon his independ- 

At that time Hortense was only seventeen years of 
age. She was not very pretty, but was singularly at- 
tractive from the beauty of her form and the grace of 
her movements. Her nose was large and her mouth 
ugly, with her mother's poor teeth, but her blond hair 
and soft violet eyes gave to her face an expression of 
exquisite tenderness: the tout ensemble was one which 
attracted and fascinated everybody. She had been edu- 
cated at the fashionable school of Madame Campan and 
possessed all the accomplishments of a youn lady of 
good family. She sang and danced well, she played the 
harp and the piano, she embroidered, she excelled in 
all the little tasks of the salon, she was quite literary in 
her tastes. She was a fine equestrian, and took a leading 
part in the sports and pastimes of the chateau life. In 
character, she was very sweet and amiable, but became 



very obstinate when she was crossed. Her finest trait 
was her life-long adoration of her mother, which, it 
must be confessed, Josephine had done little to deserve. 

After their return from Martinique, her mother had 
placed her at the age of seven in a convent; when that 
was closed during the Revolution, she was apprenticed 
to a sempstress. Later she was practically abandoned 
for four years by her mother in the school at Saint-Ger- 
main. On the few rare occasions that Josephine visited 
the school she was prodigal in her demonstrations of af- 
fection, with her kisses which cost her so little, for this 
mother was " coquette even with her children." Hor- 
tense regarded her mother as a wonderful being, and 
returned her affection a hundred fold. In her innocence 
she knew nothing of her mother's worldly life, of her 
struggle for existence, of the connections she formed, 
either from taste or necessity. 

She knew that her father was the Vicomte de Beau- 
harnais, a handsome cavalier, who attended the Queen's 
balls, was president of the Constituent Assembly, gen- 
eral-in-chief of the Army of the Rhine, and guillotined 
under the Terror. Her conception of her father's career 
was similar to that which we find in many of the his- 
tories, and equally far from the truth. She was proud 
of her name, one of the finest in France, and also of her 
mother, whom she considered worthy of her father. 

Hortense had therefore been much chagrined when 
her mother married an obscure Republican general, of 
doubtful nobility, who had been absolutely unknown 
before the Revolution. She had only seen him once be- 
fore the marriage, at a dinner given by Barras at the 
Luxembourg in January 1796. Hortense, who was then 


not quite thirteen, had been taken from school for the 
occasion. She was jealous of the attentions to her 
mother of the little general, whose name she did not 
even know. She said: " He talked with great vivacity, 
and seemed only interested in my mother." 

She next saw Bonaparte, for a few days only, on his 
return from Italy, and then again at the painful scene 
in the Rue de la Victoire, when she implored him to 
pardon her mother, without very clearly understanding 
what her mother had done. Under all the circumstances, 
would it not be strange if she had any love for her step- 

Like most young girls, Hortense had a very sentimen- 
tal side to her nature. She wished to marry for love, and 
to find love in her marriage. It has often been said that 
Duroc, the favorite aide de camp of Napoleon, loved 
her, and that she reciprocated his affection. The First 
Consul had thought of him for one of his sisters: he 
certainly would have accepted him for his step-daughter. 
Duroc was a gentleman perhaps not of an illustrious 
family, but of better birth certainly than Bacciochi, 
Leclerc, or Murat But Duroc was sent on a diplomatic 
mission to Berlin, and nothing came of this incipient 
love affair. 

With her usual selfishness, Josephine, in considering 
the partis who presented themselves, never thought of 
the happiness of her daughter, but only of her own per- 
sonal interests. But this was usual in those days. Her 
aunt, Madame Renaudin, certainly had not thought of 
Josephine's happiness when she married her to Alex- 
andre de Beauharnais. 

Even if Josephine had not already made up her mind 


to bring about the marriage of Louis and Hortense, she 
would have been decided by the attempt to assassinate 
the First Consul on Christmas eve 1800. The conspira- 
tors knew that he expected to be present at the Opera 
that evening to hear the new oratorio of The Creation, 
by Haydn, the most popular composer of the day. They 
expected that his carriage would take the usual route 
by the Rue Saint-Nicaise, which is no longer in exis- 
tence. This was a long narrow street bordering the 
Carrousel and running from the Seine to the Rue Saint- 
Honore, where it ended near the Rue Richelieu in which 
the Opera was then situated. In this street an infernal 
machine, installed in a one-horse cart, was placed at 
a point which Bonaparte's carriage would pass, and 
the time that it would take him to come from the Tuil- 
eries was carefully calculated so that the machine would 
explode at the right moment. 

After dinner, Napoleon, who was fatigued from a 
hard day's work, had fallen asleep on a sofa, and was 
with difficulty aroused and persuaded to start by the 
ladies of the Tuileries, Josephine, Caroline and Hor- 
tense, who did not wish to miss the performance. At 
eight o'clock he set out, accompanied by Lannes, Bes- 
sieres and an aide de camp, and followed by a small 
escort of mounted grenadiers. The coachman, who had 
already begun his Christmas celebration, was half- 
drunk, and drove at a furious rate. This fact alone 
saved Bonaparte's life. The carriage passed the infernal 
machine, and had just rounded the corner into the Rue 
Richelieu when the explosion occurred. Lannes and 
Bessieres wished to stop, but Bonaparte ordered the 
coachman to proceed. A minute later he entered the 


loge with his usual calm face, and demanded a copy of 
the libretto. 

The life of Josephine was also saved by an incident 
equally trivial. She was wearing that evening for the first 
time a magnificent Oriental shawl presented to Bona- 
parte by the Sultan. Rapp, the aide de camp on duty, 
who was to escort the ladies, ventured to remark to 
Josephine that she had not arranged the shawl with her 
usual grace. At her request he showed her how the shawl 
was draped by the Egyptian ladies. The party then 
descended the staircase of the Pavilion de Flore, and 
entered their carriage. They traversed the Carrousel, 
and had just turned into the Rue Saint-Nicaise when 
the machine exploded. The windows of the carriage 
were shattered and the arm of Hortense was slightly 
cut by a piece of glass. Rapp descended to see if the 
First Consul had been injured, and the carriage contin- 
ued its way by another street. When the three ladies 
entered the box, Napoleon greeted them with a smile, as 
if nothing unusual had happened. 

The news of this dastardly outrage, in which over fif- 
teen people lost their lives, soon spread through the hall, 
and the oratorio was interrupted while the audience 
arose and frantically applauded the First Consul. A few 
minutes later the party left the Opera and returned to 
the Tuileries, where Bonaparte received the reports of 
the police and the congratulations of his ministers. 

This attempt on Napoleon's life was a terrible shock 
to Josephine: it gave new impetus to the public demand 
for an heir to the First Consul, as necessary to the secu- 
rity of the State; and this for Josephine aroused again 
the dreaded spectre of the divorce. 


This conspiracy, following so closely on that of Arena 
only two months before, which the police had discov- 
ered in time, convinced everybody that it was desirable 
to give the First Consul the right to designate his suc- 
cessor, and thus assure the heredity of the Consulate, 
or at least the continued existence of the government as 
established by him. It was no longer an academic ques- 
tion, to be debated and postponed from time to time, 
but an actual, urgent public necessity, which demanded 
immediate action. Josephine realized that the crisis had 
come, and was more determined than ever to carry out 
her plan for the union of Louis and Hortense. If she her- 
self could not give Napoleon an heir, he might find one 
in her grandchild and his nephew, the son of his favorite 
brother. Although Josephine did not live to see her 
dream come true, all of Napoleon's plans came to 
naught, and it was the son of Louis and Hortense 
who occupied the Imperial throne as Napoleon the 

Louis was already tired of his tour of Germany, and 
asked permission of his brother to return to Paris. No 
sooner was he back than the strange idea possessed him 
of buying a country place, where he went to bury himself 
in midwinter. The house which he purchased was a 
simple rural mansion, in the woods, a league from the 
highway, about midway between Mortefontaine and 
Plessis, the country estates of Joseph and Lucien. 

He had hardly taken possession of his new home, and 
begun some alterations, when he again became uneasy, 
and set out for Bordeaux to rejoin his regiment, which 
at his request had been included in the army of ob- 


servation under the command of Leclerc which was go- 
ing to Portugal. 

In July i So i, Josephine, who had not yet entirely 
abandoned all hope, went again to Plombieres to take 
the waters, which the year before had succeeded so 
well in the case of Madame Joseph that, after seven 
years of marriage, she was just on the point of present- 
ing her husband with their first child. A month later 
Josephine returned to Malmaison to await in vain the 
miraculous effects of her cure. 

At the end of three months Louis was tired of his 
military duties, and asked for a leave of absence. After 
spending several weeks at the baths of Bareges, to cure 
his rheumatism, at the end of September he came to 
Malmaison for a visit. There he fell in love with Hor- 
tense, and finally decided upon the marriage which he 
had previously dreaded. 

There is absolutely no truth in the statements so 
often made by Louis in after years that the marriage 
was forced upon him. Three months elapsed between 
his return and the ceremony. During this period Louis 
showed himself very devoted to Hortense, while she 
seemed resigned to her lot. On the 3 January 1802 the 
contract was signed at the Tuileries in the presence 
of the whole family, and the following day the civil 
marriage took place, followed the same evening by 
a religious ceremony at the hotel in the Rue de la 

The nuptial benediction was pronounced by Cardinal 
Caprara, who- was then negotiating the Concordat with 
the French Government. At the same time Caroline 
and Murat, who had only been united by a civil bond, 


had their marriage blessed by the Church. Josephine 
ardently desired the same privilege, but Napoleon ab- 
solutely refused, either from reasons of public policy or 
in order to keep the way open for a divorce if in the 
future he desired one. 



Bonaparte Made Consul for Life He Takes Possession of 
Saint-Cloud His Apartment in the Chateau Court Eti- 
quette Established Trip to Normandie Josephine at 
Forty Her Life at Saint-Cloud A Scene of Jealousy 
at the Tuileries Marriage of Pauline and Borghese Un- 
fortunate Connection of Lucien Jerome Marries Miss 

ON the second day of August 1802 the Senate 
declared Napoleon Bonaparte Consul for 
Life, with the power to name his successor. 
The decree conveyed to him, in its official terms, the 
expression of " the confidence, the admiration, and the 
love of the French people." In the plebiscite he received 
the votes of over three and a half million Frenchmen, 
with less than nine thousand in the negative. 

At the same time the government gave him as a sum- 
mer residence the royal chateau of Saint-Cloud. This 
palace was built at the edge of a magnificent park, on 
a long terrace overlooking the Seine, with the city of 
Paris at a distance in the background. The main build- 
ing and the two projecting wings framed the court of 
honor; in the rear was a beautiful French garden, 
bordered on one side by an extension of the palace, and 
on the other by an alley shaded by magnificent trees. 
The property, which had previously belonged to private 
parties, was purchased by Louis the Fourteenth and 




presented to his brother the Due d 'Orleans. In 1785, 
Calonne, the prodigal controller of the finances, bought 
the chateau for six million francs, and the King gave it 
to Marie-Antoinette. She made extensive alterations 
in the building, and frequently resided there before the 
Revolution. Her last visit was in the summer of 1 790, 
at which time she had her celebrated interview with 
Mirabeau. During the Revolution all of the furniture 
and hangings disappeared, and the palace had to be 
refurnished for the First Consul. As soon as the work 
was completed, Napoleon moved there, on the 20 Sep- 

At Saint-Cloud, Josephine occupied the apartments 
of Marie-Antoinette in the left wing. The suite of the 
First Consul was on the ground floor in the other wing. 
His cabinet was a large room, with the walls covered 
with books from floor to ceiling. He usually sat on a 
small sofa, placed near the mantel, which was decorated 
with two bronze busts of Scipio and Hannibal. Behind 
the sofa, in the corner of the room, was the desk of his 
secretary, Meneval, who had taken the place of Bour- 
rienne, discharged for dishonesty. Adjoining the cabinet 
was a small salon, where the First Consul received his 
ministers and gave private audiences. In this salon there 
was a fine portrait of Gustavus Adolphus, the favorite 
hero of Napoleon. The only ornament of his bedroom, 
which faced on the garden, was an antique bust of 

From the first, a rigid court etiquette was established 
at Saint-Cloud. Duroc, who was appointed governor of 
the palace, had a table for the officers, the aides de 
camp, and the ladies on duty. The First Consul took 


his meals alone with his wife, but gave formal dinners 
twice a week for important officials of the government. 
The military household was composed of the four gen- 
erals commanding the Consular Guard, Lannes, Bes- 
sieres, Davout and Soult, and the seven aides de camp, 
among whom were Caulaincourt, Rapp and Savary. 
There were four prefects and the same number of ladies 
of the palace, of whom the best known were M. de 
Remusat, and his wife, the author of the celebrated 
memoirs. The usages of the Court of Versailles had been 
copied so closely that there was even a serious idea of 
reviving the custom of powdered hair, but Napoleon 
could not bring himself to this, so hair was worn au 

For the first time since the Revolution, religious prac- 
tices were renewed; the First Consul insisted that on 
Sunday every one should go to Mass, and the Chapel 
at Saint-Cloud recalled that at Versailles. 

The last of October Napoleon and Josephine made 
a fortnight's trip to Normandie. The first day they went 
over the field of battle where Henry the Fourth gained 
the victory of Ivry. Then they passed a week at Rouen, 
where the First Consul visited all of the principal manu- 
factories, and held a review of the National Guard. 
Another week was spent at Havre and Dieppe, inspect- 
ing the ports, the fortifications, and the ships under 
construction. On the evening of the 14 November the 
party was again back at Saint-Cloud. 

The following ten weeks were spent at Saint-Cloud, 
except one day, the first week in December, when the 
First Consul went to the Tuileries to receive the English 
ambassador, Lord Whitworth, who presented his cre- 


dentials. On the 23 January 1803 Napoleon and 
Josephine returned to the Tuileries for the winter. 

In 1803 Josephine was forty years of age. Her beauty 
was somewhat faded, but she was so adroit in the use 
of cosmetics, she dressed with so much taste, that with 
her charm of manner and her air of distinction she could 
still be called a very attractive woman. No sovereign 
was ever more to the manner born. She received so well; 
she possessed in so high a degree the art of saying some- 
thing appropriate and pleasant to every one; she had 
so much tact, and so much presence of mind, that any 
one would have thought she was born on the steps of 
a throne. She was popular with all parties and all fac- 
tions. Fouche, who represented the element of the Rev- 
olution, was her friend, and all the personages of the 
Ancien Regime regarded her as their ally. She had done 
much good in her life, and had never injured anybody; 
even the severest critics of Bonaparte had only words 
of praise for his wife. All classes of society united in 
rendering her homage. She was not only popular, but 
she deserved her popularity. She was so much loved 
and admired that even the most rigid moralists had no 
words of reproach for her past indiscretions. 

No woman ever justified better than Josephine the 
saying that the eyes are the mirror of the soul. Her own, 
of a deep blue color, were almost always half -closed by 
her long eyelids fringed with the most beautiful eye- 
lashes in the world; and her glance was absolutely ir- 
resistible. Another of her great charms was her voice, 
which was soft and musical, with the slightest Creole 
accent. She read well, and loved to read aloud. Napo- 
leon preferred her to all other readers. 


All who knew Josephine unite in speaking of her 
kindness. Madame de Remusat says: "She had a 
remarkable evenness of temper, much good-will, and the 
faculty of forgetting any wrong done her." Constant, 
the valet de chambre of Napoleon, bears the same 
testimony. " Kindness," he writes, " was as inseparable 
from her character, as grace was from her person; gen- 
erous to the point of prodigality, she made every one 
around her happy. No woman was ever more loved by 
those near her, or more deserved to be." 

Without having great intelligence, Josephine pos- 
sessed the most perfect savoir jaire. She always found, 
without searching, the exact word for the occasion, the 
expression which touched and charmed, and this is 
better than esprit, because it comes, not from the head, 
but the heart. She was also a good listener, a trait both 
rare and remarkable. She never forgot a name or a face, 
and on meeting some one whom she had not seen in 
years, could always recall some pleasant incident con- 
nected with him. 

As nearly always happens, Josephine had the defects 
of her qualities: she was generous and charitable to a 
fault, but she was also prodigal to excess. As we shall 
see later, only the revenues of Imperial France could 
ever have sufficed to pay her debts. 

At this time the First Consul and his wife made 
quite a happy household. At Saint-Cloud they always 
occupied the same chamber. About eight o'clock Napo- 
leon arose, and went to his cabinet, where he break- 
fasted alone. Then he began his day's work, which 
generally occupied him until six o'clock, when he went 
for a drive with Josephine. They dined together, and 


he usually remained for a short chat afterwards. Then 
he returned to his cabinet, while Josephine played 
cards, to finish the evening. Between ten and eleven, a 
chamberlain came to announce, " -Madame, the First 
Consul has retired." Josephine immediately dismissed 
her company, and went to rejoin her husband. 

After their return to the Tuileries this year, Napo- 
leon decided to have his own room, separate from his 
wife. In this connection Madame de Remusat recounts 
a scene which constitutes one of the strangest episodes 
in her interesting, but not always trustworthy, memoirs. 
That season a new actress, named Mile. Georges, had 
made her debut. She had very little talent, but great 
beauty, and Napoleon was seduced by her charms. 
Josephine was informed that the young actress, on 
several evenings, had been secretly conducted to a quiet 
apartment in the Chateau. One night Josephine kept 
Madame de Remusat later than usual, and talked of 
her grievances. At one o'clock in the morning, they were 
alone in her salon, and the most complete silence 
reigned over the Tuileries. Suddenly Josephine ex- 
claimed: " I cannot keep' quiet any longer. Mile. 
Georges is certainly upstairs, and I am going to surprise 
them. Follow me; we will go up together." The lady of 
the palace protested, and tried, but in vain, to turn 
Josephine from her purpose. They silently ascended the 
private staircase which led to the suite of Napoleon on 
the first floor. Suddenly they heard a slight noise, and 
stopped in their course. " It may be Roustan, who is 
guarding the door," said Josephine. "The wretch is 
capable of cutting both our throats." Pale with terror, 
at these words Madame de Remusat rushed back to 


the salon, carrying the candle which she held in her 
hand, and leaving Josephine in the dark. She followed, 
after a few minutes, and burst into laughter at the sight 
of her maid's discomposed countenance. After this they 
abandoned their enterprise. 

Before adopting this change in his habitudes Napo- 
leon one day asked Madame de Remusat if she thought 
a husband should yield to the caprices of a wife who 
wished always to share his bed. The lady of the palace 
returned an evasive answer. Bonaparte began to laugh, 
and, pulling her ear, a favorite trick of his when in 
good humor, said: " You are a woman, and you are all 
in league together." 

A recent biographer tells us that there is a pretty pic- 
ture of Josephine at this time, as she appeared at the 
wedding of Napoleon's sister Pauline: " With her short 
sleeves, bare arms, and her hair enclosed in a gilt net, 
she looked like a Greek statue." The first Consul led her 
to a mirror, that he might see her on all sides at once, 
and, kissing her shoulder, said: " Ah, Josephine, I shall 
be jealous. Why are you so beautiful to-day? " It is 
really a pity to destroy so idealistic a picture, but as a 
matter of fact Napoleon was not present at his sister's 

The first day of January 1803, Pauline returned from 
the disastrous expedition to Saint-Domingue, where 
her husband, Leclerc, had succumbed to the unhealthy 
climate. She herself was suffering from a grave malady, 
from which she never entirely recovered. For two 
months after her return to Paris, Pauline lived with 
Joseph at his town house, but in April she purchased 



for four hundred thousand francs the magnificent 
Hotel Charost in the Faubourg-Saint-Honore, a few 
doors from Joseph's Hotel Marbeuf . 

At this same time there arrived in Paris the Prince 
Camillo Borghese, the chief of one of the richest and 
most illustrious Roman families. At a house party at 
Mortefontaine in June he was presented to Pauline. 
By this time the young widow, who was not yet twenty- 
three, had somewhat recovered from her real grief over 
the loss of Leclerc, and was tired of wearing mourning, 
which did not become her style of beauty. She was 
much attracted by the personality of Borghese, but 
perhaps even more by the idea of being a real princesse, 
and taking the pas over her dear sisters Bacciochi and 
Murat, as well as her sisters-in-law, Josephine and 
Hortense. A few days after their first meeting, she 
authorized Joseph to make overtures to the prince. 
The matter was quickly arranged, and on the 2 1 June 
Borghese formally announced to Joseph his desire to 
marry Pauline. He only asked that the proposed al- 
liance should remain a secret until he had time to obtain 
his mother's consent. At the same time Pauline wrote 
the First Consul to ask his approval. The mother of the 
prince was delighted with the alliance, and on the first 
day of August the engagement was announced by the 
Paris journals. On the 23 August the marriage con- 
tract was signed, only by Pauline and Borghese, at the 
Hotel Charost. On the 14 August, and again a week 
later, the banns were published at Mortefontaine. It 
was generally anticipated that the marriage would take 
place on the 28 August, but just then a difficulty arose: 
they had forgotten Leclerc! He had died on the second 


day of November 1802, and the social rules, reestab- 
lished and formally promulgated by the First Consul 
himself, forbade a widow to remarry during a period of 
one year and six weeks after the death of her husband. 
In this dilemma Madame Bonaparte, who was as domi- 
neering and imperious as her great son, took charge of 
affairs, and ordered the marriage to take place. On the 
28 August, or perhaps four days later, the ceremony 
was performed at Mortefontaine by an Italian priest, 
who may have been Cardinal Caprara himself. The ex- 
act date is uncertain, as the certificate was never filed. 

This " marriage of conscience " was known only to 
the mother, and two of the brothers of the bride, Joseph 
and Lucien. Napoleon was so ignorant of the matter 
that on the 25 September he gave Pauline a dinner of 
two hundred converts at the Tuileries, and afterwards 
took her to Saint-Cloud to pass several days with him. 
A month later, the 23 October, he gave another large 
dinner to his sister, to which Borghese was invited. 
Napoleon intended on this occasion to announce for- 
mally the date of the marriage. He was still ignorant of 
the fact that a religious ceremony had taken place, 
without a previous civil contract as required by law. 

The official marriage was finally celebrated at Morte- 
fontaine on the 6 November, but the First Consul was 
not present. He had left for Boulogne three days before, 
to inspect the fleet, and did not return to Saint-Cloud 
until after the middle of the month. This absence was 
intentional: Napoleon was enraged at having been thus 
deceived by his favorite sister, by his mother and his 
brothers, in short, by everybody. 

At the wedding there were present all the members 


of the family except Napoleon, and Lucien, who ten 
days before had secretly contracted another alliance, 
which was to disgrace him with his brother. The wed- 
ding of Pauline was announced by only two lines in the 
official journal: " Madame Leclerc has married Prince 
Borghese; the marriage was celebrated at Mortefon- 
taine." Napoleon pressed the departure of the newly 
married couple, and several days before his return from 
Boulogne they were on their way to Italy. 

The marriage of Pauline had wounded the heart of 
Napoleon, but almost at the same time there occurred 
two other weddings in the family which brought other 
cares; which disturbed the family harmony, and exer- 
cised a decisive influence on the fortunes of two of the 

In May or June 1802, Lucien had met, while on a 
visit in the country, a young woman with whom he 
became desperately enamored. Her name was Alex- 
andrine de Bleschamp, and at the age of nineteen she 
had married a certain Monsieur Jouberthou. Later she 
had been abandoned at Paris, almost without resources, 
when her husband sailed for Saint-Domingue to try and 
retrieve his fortunes. A few months later she met 
Lucien. Affairs moved quickly, and in August Madame 
Jouberthou was installed in Lucien's mansion at Plessis. 
When he returned to Paris she was lodged in a house 
which communicated by a subterranean passage with 
Lucien's hotel in the Rue Saint-Dominique. There, on 
the 23 May 1803, was born a child who was declared 
before the municipality under the name of Jules- 
Laurence-Lucien. This eldest son of Lucien was subse- 
quently legitimized by the marriage of his parents, and 



he was later called Charles after his grandfather. This 
ceremony, however, was not performed until the 23 
October 1803, after Lucien had finally succeeded in ob- 
taining a certificate of the death of Jouberthou at Port- 
au-Prince the 15 June 1802. 

If the affair of Lucien was serious, in the eyes of 
Napoleon that of his youngest brother was worse. In 
February 1802, Jerome sailed with the French fleet for 
the West Indies. Born the 15 November 1784, he was 
then only seventeen years of age. Two months later he 
returned to Paris as bearer of despatches from Leclerc. 
Promoted to the rank of ensign, he sailed again on the 
1 8 September for Martinique. Soon tiring of his naval 
career, Jerome decided to return to France by way of 
New York, and sailed for Virginia on an American pilot 
boat. He landed at Norfolk the 20 July 1803, and a 
week later he was in Washington. During his stay there 
he met at Baltimore a very attractive girl of about his 
own age, named Elizabeth Patterson, the daughter of 
a wealthy merchant, and on the 24 December they were 
married. The charge d'affaires at Washington, Pichon, 
had done everything in his power to prevent the mar- 
riage. He wrote Mr. Patterson and Jerome to point out 
that any marriage contracted without the consent of 
Madame Bonaparte, during her lifetime, under the 
French law would be absolutely null and void. Jerome 
was too much in love to hesitate, and the young lady 
and her father were willing to take a chance. 

When the news reached France, the First Consul sent 
his brother peremptory orders to return, but owing to 
various causes Jerome did not reach Europe until over 
a year later. 



Rupture of the Peace of Amiens The Celebrated Scene with 
the English Ambassador The Visit to Belgium An Un- 
fortunate Episode at Mortefontaine First Suggestions of 
the Empire Magnificent Reception at Brussels The 
Royalist Conspiracies Cadoudal and Pichegru Reach Paris 
Josephine's Pacific Counsels Petty Vanity of Mme. 
Moreau Her Husband's Jealousy of Bonaparte Arrest, 
Trial and Exile of Moreau Deaths of Pichegru and 
Cadoudal The Execution of the Due d'Enghien 

ON the 27 March 1802, the long war between 
England and France had been ended by the 
Treaty of Amiens, which was very popular in 
both countries. Unfortunately the peace was to last 
only a year. On the 13 March 1803 at the Tuileries oc- 
curred the celebrated scene between Bonaparte and the 
English ambassador, which presaged the renewal of 
the struggle. 

Once a month the First Consul was accustomed to 
receive the ambassadors and their wives in Josephine's 
apartment. This audience was always a very ceremo- 
nious affair. The ministers were conducted to a salon, 
and when all were present the First Consul and his wife 
appeared, followed by a prefect and a lady of the 
palace. After the formal presentations had been made, 
Napoleon and Josephine carried on a short conversa- 
tion, and then withdrew. 



On the present occasion, Madame de Remusat 
entered Josephine's room a few minutes before the hour 
fixed for the reception. She found Bonaparte there, 
sitting on the floor, and playing gaily with the baby 
Napoleon, the child of Louis and Hortense, who was 
then only five months old. At the same time he amused 
himself by commenting on the toilettes of the two 
ladies, and giving his advice about their dresses. He 
laughed continuously, and seemed to be in the best pos- 
sible humor. 

In a few minutes he was notified that the ambassa- 
dors had all arrived. Getting up, his whole expression 
suddenly changed; the laughter left his lips, and his 
features became very severe. Exclaiming, " Let us go, 
ladies! " he rushed from the room, and entered the 
salon. Without saluting any one, he walked directly 
to the English minister, and immediately began to 
complain of the measures of his Government. His 
anger seemed to increase from moment to moment, and 
rose to a point which terrified the whole assembly. The 
harshest words, the most violent menaces, issued from 
his trembling lips. No one dared to make a movement, 
and Josephine looked on mute with astonishment. The 
phlegmatic Englishman was so disconcerted that he 
could hardly find a word to reply. 

Leaving the dumfounded ambassador, Bonaparte 
spoke to two of the other ministers, then returned to 
Lord Whitworth, and made a few polite personal re- 
marks. Suddenly his anger seemed to return. " You are 
then decided on war? " he exclaimed; "we have al- 
ready had it for ten years; you wish to have it for ten 
years more; and you force me into it. ... Why these 



armaments? If you arm, I shall arm too. You can per- 
haps destroy France, but intimidate her, never! " At 
this moment his face was red with anger, and he seemed 
in a paroxysm of fury. 

Two months later Lord Whitworth demanded his 
passports, and the long contest was resumed, which 
was only to end on the field of Waterloo. Xapoleon im- 
mediately began his preparations, and as a preliminary 
to the gigantic struggle decided to visit in state the 
northern departments, and in particular the great port 
of Antwerp, " that pistol pointed at the heart of Eng- 

The First Consul decided that the journey should be 
made with the greatest magnificence, and that his wife 
should accompany him, in order to make use of her 
well-known powers of attraction. He had the Crown 
jewels taken out of the safe deposits where they were 
stored, and gave them to Josephine, who, we may be 
sure, was not reluctant to employ them. Two of the 
ladies of the palace, Mesdames de Remusat and Tal- 
houet, were chosen to accompany the party, and the 
First Consul gave each of them thirty thousand francs 
for the expenses of their toilettes. On the 24 June 1803 
they left Saint-Cloud, with a cortege of several car- 
riages, two generals of the Guard, the aides de camp, 
Duroc, and two prefects of the palace, of wham M. de 
Remusat was one. 

The first night was passed at the country home of 
Joseph, Mortefontaine, where nearly the whole Bona- 
parte family was reunited. Here a very unpleasant 
scene occurred. Just before dinner, Joseph notified 
Napoleon that he intended to take in their mother, and 



place her at his right hand, with Josephine at his left. 
The First Consul was offended at this arrangement, 
which put his wife in second place, but Joseph refused 
to yield When the dinner was announced, Napoleon 
gave his arm to Josephine, entered unceremoniously be- 
fore every one, and placed her by his side. The whole 
party was so disarranged that poor meek Madame 
Joseph found herself at the foot of the table, as if she 
did not belong to the family. During the dinner Napo- 
leon occupied himself exclusively with his wife, and 
did not address a word to any one else. 

The second night was passed at Amiens, where the 
First Consul was received with enthusiasm impossible 
to describe. The people detached the horses and drew 
the carriage themselves. Josephine was moved to tears 
by the cries of joy, the garlands of flowers which 
crowned the route, the triumphal arches erected in 
honor of the restorer of France, the benedictions which 
were too general not to have been absolutely spon- 

In several of the cities of Flanders the mayors in 
their addresses ventured to suggest that the First Con- 
sul should replace his precarious title by one more in 
accord with the high destiny to which he was called. 
Bonaparte could hardly conceal his pleasure at these 
words, but interrupted the orator to say in a tone of 
assumed anger that he could not think of changing the 
Republic: like Caesar he rejected the crown which 
nevertheless he was not reluctant to have presented to 

After these receptions the First Consul usually 
mounted his horse, and showed himself to the people, 



who received him with cheers; then he visited the public 
buildings and the manufactories, in his usual hurried 
manner. In the evening he attended the dinner offered 
him, which was the most tiresome part of his day's 
work, for, as he expressed it: "I am not made for 

Everywhere in old France the party was received 
with the same enthusiasm, but in Flanders there was 
not so much warmth. On arriving at Antwerp the First 
Consul showed great interest in this important port, 
and gave orders for the great works which were after- 
wards carried out. 

The entry into Brussels was magnificent. At the gate 
of the city, the First Consul was received by several regi- 
ments of troops; he mounted his horse, and Josephine 
found a superb carriage placed at her disposal. The 
whole city was decorated; the artillery fired salutes; 
all the church bells were rung; the streets were 
thronged by the people; and the July day was perfect. 
During the week there was a succession of fetes. It was 
on one of these occasions that Talleyrand replied in 
a manner so adroit and so flattering to a sudden ques- 
tion of Bonaparte, who demanded how he had made his 
large fortune so quickly. " Nothing easier," replied the 
minister, " I bought government securities on the day 
before the 18 Brumaire, and sold them the day after! " 

From Brussels the party returned by way of Liege 
and Sedan to Saint-Cloud, where they arrived on the n 
August after an absence of seven weeks. Josephine was 
delighted with this trip, during which she left every- 
where recollections of her charm and grace, which were 
never to be effaced. 


This triumphal progress of Bonaparte through the 
northern departments excited to the highest degree the 
rage of the Royalists, and plots were immediately 
formed for his removal. The heads of this conspiracy 
were the Chouan leader, Georges Cadoudal, and the 
former Republican general, Pichegru. Moreau, the 
victor of Hohenlinden, considered by many as the 
second soldier of France, was also gravely impli- 

Not far from Dieppe there is a cliff two hundred and 
fifty feet high: this was the point where Cadoudal en- 
tered France on the night of the 22 August 1803. It 
was a place well known to smugglers, who nightly 
climbed the rock with the aid of a ship cable hung from 
the top. By the same route Pichegru and several other 
conspirators arrived several weeks later. Walking by 
night, and hiding by day, they all eventually arrived at 
Paris, where under different disguises they eluded for 
a long time the vigilance of the police. 

On a dark night in January Pichegru had an inter- 
view with Moreau on the Boulevard de la Madeleine. 
The two generals had not met since the days that on 
the borders of the Rhine they were gloriously fighting 
the battles of France. The meeting was not entirely 
harmonious, and the Comte d'Artois was deceived by 
false reports when he exclaimed with joy: " Now that 
our two generals are in accord I shall soon be back in 
France! " 

During this time Bonaparte was far more nervous 
and uneasy than on the field of battle, where he always 
displayed the greatest calm. He directed the movements 
of the secret police and stimulated their zeal In the 


midst of these hidden perils Josephine showed great 
courage. With her usual kindness of heart, she urged 
her irritated husband not to confound the innocent with 
the guilty, and not to hold the whole royalist party 
responsible for the acts of a few fanatics. Unfortu- 
nately Napoleon did not listen to these wise counsels. 
In the state of excitement to which his nerves had 
been wrought up by the renewal of these infamous 
attempts on his life, he decided on a policy of ven- 
geance which should strike terror to the hearts of his 

At a special meeting of the Council on the night of 
the 14 February the only subject discussed was the 
Cadoudal-Pichegru conspiracy, and orders were issued 
for the immediate arrest of Moreau. 

When a great crime is under investigation in France 
the prosecutor always enjoins upon the agents of jus- 
tice: " Cherckez la femme!" The woman in this case 
was Madame Moreau. Without the jealousy and petty 
vanity of this woman her husband, instead of meeting 
an ignominious death fighting in the ranks of the ene- 
mies of his country, would have become like Davout, 
Massena and Ney, a due and prince, a marechal de 

Moreau had met Bonaparte for the first time after 
his return from Egypt, and the two celebrated generals 
had become quite friendly. On the 18 Brumaire Moreau 
had taken an active part in the coup d'etat. Exactly a 
year later, on the 9 November 1800, he married a Mile. 
Hulot, who had been a companion of Hortense in the 
school of Madame Campan. Josephine had contributed 
much to bring about this match, which she thought 


would be useful to the interests of the First Consul. Ten 
days after the wedding Moreau left Paris to take com- 
mand of the Army of Germany, and on the 3 December 
1800 he gained the brilliant victory of Hohenlinden, 
which led to the Peace of Luneville two months later. 
Shortly after the battle Madame Moreau rejoined her 
husband in Germany, and her pride was increased by 
the sight of the eclat with which he was everywhere 

On their return to Paris, the amour-propre of 
Madame Moreau was wounded on several occasions by 
what she considered to be the incivility or social slights 
of the First Consul. Like Josephine, she was the daugh- 
ter of a Creole, and her mother, who was a sensitive, as 
well as a very vindicative woman, told her that she 
was younger, prettier and better educated than Madame 
Bonaparte; that her husband had commanded as large 
armies, and rendered as brilliant services to the Repub- 
lic as Bonaparte, and that there was no reason why 
General and Madame Moreau should occupy a second 
place in the State. 

There were only too many persons at Paris, both 
republicans and royalists, who were interested in fan- 
ning the flames. The royalists, in particular, paid very 
marked attentions to Madame Moreau, and frequented 
her handsome hotel in the Rue d'Anjou-Saint-Honore. 
Bonaparte was exasperated by the petty social war 
which was waged against himself and his wife. He 
detested the pin-pricks, and feared them more than the 
strokes of a dagger. 

Influenced by his wife, Moreau refused an invitation 
for dinner at the Tuileries, and also declined to accom- 


pany the First Consul to a review. This coldness shortly 
degenerated into declared enmity. The city hotel of the 
general and his handsome country place, Grosbois, soon 
became centres of opposition to the Consular govern- 

When Madame de Remusat arrived at the Tuileries 
one February morning she found Josephine much 
troubled. Napoleon was seated near the fireplace play- 
ing with the little Napoleon. " Do you know what I have 
done? " he said. " I have just given the order to arrest 
Moreau." He continued: " Twenty times have I pre- 
vented him from compromising himself; I have warned 
him that they would embroil us; and he felt that I was 
right. But he is feeble and proud; the women directed 
him: the parties urged him on." Thus speaking, Bona- 
parte arose, went to his wife, took her by the chin, and 
raised her head. " Everybody has not a good wife like 
mine. You are crying, Josephine, but why? Are you 
afraid? " " No," replied she, " but I do not like what 
they will say." Then turning to the lady of the palace, 
Bonaparte continued: " I have no hatred, no desire for 
vengeance; I have deeply reflected before arresting 
Moreau; I could have closed my eyes, and given him 
time to escape, but people would have said that I was 
afraid to put him on trial. I can convince them that he 
is guilty; I am the government; everything will be easily 

At the trial the evidence against Moreau was not 
conclusive. He was condemned to two years in prison, 
but was accorded the permission to retire to America. 
In order to furnish him with funds for his exile, Napo- 
leon purchased his Paris house for 800,000 francs, much 


more than its real value, and presented it to Berna- 
dotte; also his handsome estate of Grosbois, which he 
gave to Berthier. 

Pichegru was finally betrayed by an old companion- 
in-arms, one of his most intimate friends, who came 
to the police and offered to give him up for a hundred 
thousand crowns. On the last day of February he was 
arrested in Paris, and six weeks later was found stran- 
gled in prison. His death has often been charged to 
Napoleon, but without the slightest evidence. 

On the 9 March, Cadoudal was taken at seven o'clock 
in the evening in the Place de POdeon, and was exe- 
cuted the last week in June. 

According to the police reports the conspirators had 
expected the early arrival in France of a prince of the 
royal house. Attention was at first directed to the cliff 
of Seville, near Dieppe, where Cadoudal and Pichegru 
were now known to have entered the country, but the 
watch was in vain. Then the search was turned to the 
banks of the Rhine. It was learned that the young Due 
d'Enghien, the son of the Due de Bourbon, was at 
Ettenheim in the grand-duchy of Baden, just across the 
river. As a youth of twenty he had served twelve years 
before in the army of the Emigres organized by his 
grandfather, the Prince de Conde, for the invasion of 
France. In 1801, after the peace of Luneville, he had 
laid down his arms and taken up his residence in the 
former chateau of Cardinal de Rohan on the right bank 
of the Rhine ten miles from Strasbourg. Here he lived 
the life of a private citizen, in the company of a young 
and charming woman who was devoted to him, the 
Princesse de Rohan. 


An under-officer of the gendarmerie was secretly sent 
in disguise to Ettenheim in search of information. The 
prince at this time had with him an emigre by the name 
of Thumery, which the German servants pronounced 
Thoumeriez, and the spy reported that the French 
traitor Dumouriez was with the Due d'Enghien. This 
information reached Paris on the 10 March 1804, and 
on the same day a servant of Cadoudal deposed that 
a young man, who was treated with the utmost respect, 
on several occasions had been in conference with the 
conspirators at Paris. On the strength of these various 
reports the First Consul jumped to the conclusion that 
the young Bourbon prince was deeply implicated in the 
conspiracy against his life. 

A special meeting of the Council was held at the 
Tuileries at ten o'clock on the evening of the 10 March, 
at which were present the three Consuls, and all the 
ministers. It was decided to issue orders for the imme- 
diate arrest of the Due d'Enghien and the supposed 
General Dumouriez. Caulaincourt was sent with a 
letter to the Grand Duke of Baden, explaining this 
violation of German territory. 

Five days later thirty dragoons and twenty-five gen- 
darmes under the command of Colonel Ordener crossed 
the river at Rheinau, opposite Ettenheim, and sur- 
rounded the chateau just as the day was beginning to 
break. The prince was taken without any resistance, 
and was conducted directly to Strasbourg, where he was 
interned in the citadel. At the end of three days he was 
placed in a postal-chaise and transferred to the chateau 
of Vincennes at Paris where he arrived late on the after- 
noon of the 20 March. 



Let us now see what was taking place at Paris during 
this time. On Passion Sunday, the 18 March, Madame 
de Remusat took up her duties again as a dame du 
palais. Early in the morning she went to the Tuileries 
to be present at the Mass, which at this time was cele- 
brated with much pomp. Afterwards, Josephine held 
an informal reception in the salons, and then descended 
to her own apartment, where she announced that they 
were going to Malmaison to pass the week. Several 
hours later they set out, Bonaparte in one carriage, and 
Josephine with Madame de Remusat in another. Jose- 
phine seemed sad and preoccupied, and had little to say. 
Finally she remarked: "I am going to tell you a great 
secret. This morning Bonaparte informed me that he 
had sent Caulaincourt to the frontier to seize the Due 
d'Enghien. They are going to bring him here." "Ah! 
mon Dieu, madame," cried the lady, " what do they 
intend to do? " " Why, I think they mean to put him 
on trial." 

Josephine went on to say that she had done every- 
thing she could to obtain an assurance from the First 
Consul that the prince should not be condemned, but 
she was afraid that Bonaparte's mind was made up, and 
that the due must die. 

Before dinner the First Consul played chess, and ap- 
peared as calm and serene as usual. After the dinner, at 
which nothing important transpired, he retired to his 
cabinet to work with the police. The two following days 
passed quietly and sadly. Convinced that the fate of the 
prince was decided, Josephine made no further efforts 
to turn her husband from his purpose. 

Tuesday morning Josephine said: " It is all hopeless. 



The Due d'Enghien arrives this evening; he will be 
taken to Vincennes, and tried to-night, Murat is in full 
charge. He is odious in this matter. It is he who is 
urging Bonaparte on. ... Bonaparte has forbidden me 
to say anything more to him on the subject/' In the 
afternoon, the First Consul again played chess, and in- 
sisted on having the little Xapoleon at dinner. He had 
the baby placed in the middle of the table, and was 
much amused to see him upset everything around him. 
After dinner Bonaparte seated himself on the floor, and 
played with the child. Noticing the pallor of "Madame 
de Remusat he asked why she had forgotten to put on 
her rouge, and added with a laugh: " That would never 
happen to you, Josephine! " 

When they came downstairs at eight o'clock the next 
morning Savary was already in the salon. Josephine 
said: " Well, is it done? " " Yes, madame," he replied. 
" He died this morning, and, I must admit, with fine 
courage." He then gave the details, which are now 
well known. 

By many persons, the execution of the Due d'Enghien 
is considered the greatest blot on the fame of Napoleon. 
Talleyrand, with his usual cynicism, said: " It is worse 
than a crime; it is a blunder." Naturally there was a 
cry of indignation from the royalists everywhere. It 
was perfectly legitimate for them to attempt the life 
of the plebeian usurper, but he must not shed a drop 
of the blue blood of the Bourbons! Napoleon himself 
never offered any excuses for his action on this occa- 
sion. Upon the threshold of eternity, in his last testa- 
ment at Saint Helena, he wrote with his own hand: " I 
had the Due d'Enghien arrested and tried because it 

n 137:1 


was necessary for the security, the interest, and the 
honor of the French people, at a time when the Comte 
d'Artois, by his own admission, was maintaining sixty 
assassins at Paris. Under the same circumstances I 
would again do the same." 



The Empire Proclaimed The Ceremony at Saint-Cloud 
Josephine Hailed as Empress Dissatisfaction of the Bona- 
partes Chagrin of Caroline Napol eon Yields Jose- 
phine's Attitude Eugene de Beauharnais The Fete of 
the 14 July Visit to the Banks of the Rhine A Letter 
from Napoleon The Court at Mayence Return to 

THERE is no city in the world where things are 
forgotten so quickly as in Paris, and the im- 
pression made by the death of the Due 
d'Enghien soon passed away. Even with the royalists 
the event caused more sorrow than indignation. The 
First Consul decided to appear in public as usual, 
and soon went with his wife to the Opera, where he 
was greeted with the customary applause. A week after 
the execution, the Senate in an address formally called 
on Bonaparte to guarantee the future by rendering his 
work " as immortal as his glory." 

In the Tribune, on the 28 April a member suggested 
a hereditary empire, and five days later the proposition 
was adopted by the vote of all the members except 
Carnot The Senate disputed the initiative of the 
Tribune in this matter, because six weeks before Fouche 
had made an appeal to that body to establish heredi- 
tary power in the person of Bonaparte as the surest 
means of preserving the benefits of the Revolution* 


At the session of the 18 May the Senate adopted a 
decree worded as follows: 

k * The French people decree the heredity of the Im- 
perial dignity in the descent, direct, natural, legitimate, 
and adopted, of Napoleon Bonaparte; and in the 
descent, direct, natural, and legitimate, of Joseph Bona- 
parte and of Louis Bonaparte.' ? 

Then the Senate adjourned, and proceeded in a body 
to Saint-Cloud to hail the new sovereign, Napoleon i r . 
Xapoleon, in uniform, received them in the magnificent 
Gallery of Apollo where four and a half years before, 
in the early hours of a gloomy November morning, he 
had taken his oath as consul. Now it is a day of splendid 
May sunshine, and Josephine, radiant with joy, is by 
the side of her husband, whose triumph she modestly 

In the name of the Senate, Cambaceres pronounces 
a solemn discourse, which ends with the expression of 
the hope that the decree shall immediately be executed, 
and Napoleon instantly proclaimed as Emperor of the 
French. There is enthusiastic applause in the gallery, 
which is echoed throughout the chateau, and in the 
courts and gardens. The cry of " Vive I'Empereur! " to 
be heard later on so many fields of battle, for the first 
time splits the air. 

Napoleon, arrived at the goal of his ambition, con- 
ceals his pride under an air of outward calm. He is so 
much at ease in his new role of monarch, that one would 
imagine he was born to the purple. 

It is next the turn of the new Empress to receive the 
homage of the Senate. Cambaceres, in his most flowery 
manner, conveys to Josephine the expression of the 


respect and gratitude of the French people for her never 
failing kindness and sympathy in cases of misfortune, 
the living remembrance of which would teach the world 
that, to dry the tears, is the surest way to reign over the 
hearts. Behold therefore the modest and gracious Creole 
elevated to the rank of sovereign! 

In the chorus of acclamations which echoed from 
every part of France there was scarcely a discordant 
note. The people ratified the Napoleonic dynasty by the 
almost unanimous vote of over three and a half millions 
in the affirmative against twenty-five hundred in the 
negative a majority larger than that obtained for 
the Consulate. If supreme power is ever to be based 
upon the foundation of a nation's will, no ruler in 
history ever had a clearer title to his throne than 
Napoleon Bonaparte ! 

In the midst of these scenes of joy, the only persons 
who appear dissatisfied are the members of the new 
imperial family, who ought to be the most delighted, 
and the most astonished at their grandeur. Nothing 
seems sufficiently splendid to meet their extravagant 
desires. When we think of the modest mansion of their 
father at Ajaccio, it is impossible to suppress a smile 
at the pretentions of these new princes and princesses 
of the blood. Of the four brothers of Napoleon, two are 
absent and in disgrace: Lucien, for his marriage with 
Madame Jouberthou; Jerome for having wedded Miss 
Patterson. His mother has espoused the cause of Lucien, 
and followed her son into exile at Rome. Joseph and 
Louis are disappointed because their children, instead 
of themselves, are designated in the line of succession. 
Elisa and Caroline are full of chagrin because they are 


placed in the official scale below their sister-in-law, the 
Empress, and they are plunged in despair because they 
do not yet receive the title of princesse like the wives of 
Joseph and Louis. They certainly must have expected 
that the wife of the Emperor would receive an exalted 
rank, but they did not imagine that Julie and Hortense, 
who were not of the blood, could bear titles which they 
themselves did not have. 

After the reception of the Senate at Saint-Cloud, at 
which Elisa and Caroline were present, the Emperor 
asked them to remain for dinner. As they were about 
to go to the table, Duroc announced the titles which 
should be given to each one, and in particular to the 
wives of the princes. Mesdames Bacciochi and Murat 
appeared astounded at the difference between them- 
selves and their sisters-in-law. Madame Murat, espe- 
cially, found it difficult to conceal her chagrin. About 
six o'clock the Emperor appeared, and began, without 
any appearance of embarrassment, to salute each one 
with his new title. The Empress showed her usual ami- 
ability; Louis appeared satisfied; Madame Joseph, 
resigned to what was expected of her; Madame Louis, 
equally submissive; Eugene de Beauharnais, simple and 
natural, with an air free from all signs of ambition or 
disappointment. It was not the same with the new 
marshal, Murat, but fear of his brother-in-law forced 
him to self-restraint, and he displayed a thoughtful 
reticence. As for Madame Murat, she was in despair, 
and had so little self-control that when she heard the 
Emperor, on several occasions during the dinner, ad- 
dress the Princesse Louis, she could not repress her 
tears; she drank in succession several large glasses of 


water, in the endeavor to recover her composure, but 
the tears continued to fall. 

Her sister, Madame Bacciochi, older, and more mis- 
tress of herself, did not cry; but she was brusque and 
cutting in her manner, and treated the dames du palais 
with marked hauteur. 

After a while the Emperor became annoyed, and in- 
creased the discomforture of his sisters by teasing them 
with indirect banter. On this occasion there were too 
many people present for the matter to go further, but 
the following day at the family dinner, Madame Murat 
broke out in tears and complaints. Napoleon lost his 
temper, and replied very severely. Caroline, who could 
endure no more, fell on the floor in a dead faint. This 
had an immediate effect on Napoleon, who calmed 
down, and agreed to do what they wanted. The next day 
the official paper inserted the following note: " To the 
French princes and princesses is given the title of Im- 
perial Highness: the sisters of the Emperor bear the 
same title! 9 

In the midst of all these family desagr&ments Jose- 
phine maintained her usual amiable serenity. The con- 
duct of his brothers and sisters was in such contrast 
with that of his wife and her children that Napoleon 
could not help being impressed with the difference. 
Except for money, from time to time, to pay her debts, 
Josephine asked nothing. For the rest, she accepted 
whatever it pleased her husband to give her, but with- 
out any appearance of desiring it, and without any pre- 
tention that it was due her. If he gave to others, she 
approved, and never displayed any envy. Her conduct, 
whether calculated or not, was so adroit that every one 



was struck by her disinterestedness, and her husband 
most of all. 

With respect to her children Josephine showed ex- 
actly the same spirit. As Napoleon himself stated later, 
she never asked anything for Eugene; never even 
thanked him for what he did for her son, and never 
showed any particular appreciation of his favors. At 
the debut of the Empire, Napoleon did nothing for 
Eugene, who found himself relegated, by his duties and 
his rank, to the waiting-room the most distant from the 
Emperor's apartment. Eugene seemed to consider this 
entirely natural, and made no complaint. When Napo- 
leon offered him through Josephine the office of Grand 
Chamberlain, Eugene modestly declined, saying in ex- 
cuse that this employment suited neither his tastes nor 
his character, his vocation being entirely military. No 
reply could have better pleased the Emperor, who at 
once increased his allowance from 30,000 to 150,000 
francs, and appointed him colonel-general of the Chas- 
seurs a cheval, which made him a grand officer of the 

The new Empire opened brilliantly; and no one 
seemed to give a thought to the Republic, of which al- 
most the only vestige left was the gold coins that con- 
tinued for several years to bear the anomalous inscrip- 
tion: " Republique Frangaise, Napoleon Empereur." 
The first public appearance of the new sovereigns on 
a formal occasion was at the fete of the 14 July, anni- 
versary of the fall of the Bastille, which this year was 
to be the occasion of the presentation of the crosses of 
the Legion d'honneur. For the first time they traversed 
in a carriage the grande allee of the Tuileries Gardens, 


and proceeded with great pomp to the Hotel des In- 
valides. The ceremony took place in the church, which 
during the Revolution had been made a Temple of 
Mars, and was now again consecrated for religious uses. 
After the Mass, and a discourse by the grand chancellor 
of the Order, the Emperor pronounced the oath, and 
each of the members cried: " Je le jure! ?J Xapoleon 
then called to him Cardinal Caprara, who had nego- 
tiated the Concordat, and who was soon to be of great 
service in deciding the Pope to come to Paris for the 
Coronation. Detaching from his neck the cordon of the 
Legion, the Emperor presented it to the venerable 

On this occasion the Empress had a great personal 
triumph. She wore a robe of pink tulle covered with 
silver stars, with a very decollete corsage, as was then 
the fashion, although the ceremony took place in full 
daylight. Clusters of diamonds crowned her head. Ra- 
diant with happiness, she never appeared to greater 

Four days later the Emperor left Saint-Cloud for 
Boulogne on a general tour of inspection of the Chan- 
nel ports from Calais to Ostende. He left Josephine 
occupied with the preparation of her toilettes for the 
visit which she was soon to make with him to the 
banks of the Rhine. He was to meet her the first of Sep- 
tember at Aix-la-Chapelle, where the Empress was to 
precede him by several weeks for the purpose of taking 
the waters. 

As was his custom, before leaving Saint-Cloud Napo- 
leon dictated in the minutest details the itinerary of the 
journey of the Empress. Everything was worked out 



with the same precision that he would have given to the 
orders for an army corps to arrive at a certain hour on 
the field of battle. He also dictated the replies that 
Josephine was to make to the addresses of welcome that 
she would receive at the different cities through which 
she passed. Every day, before her departure, Josephine 
could be seen, a large page of manuscript in her hand, 
trying to commit these discourses to memory, as a 
school-girl learns her lesson. Fortunately her replies 
were brief, and she soon knew them by heart. 

Josephine's life at Aix was very monotonous. After 
the morning toilette, the Empress went to the thermal 
establishment for a bath. An hour of rest followed, and 
then she dressed for breakfast. In the afternoon she 
usually went out for a drive. Upon her return she again 
changed her robe for dinner. In the evening, unless she ' 
went to the theatre, she retired at an early hour. 

It will be interesting here to read one of the letters 
written at this time by Napoleon to Josephine, if only 
for the purpose of comparing it with the ardent effusions 
he sent her during the Campaign of Italy: 

To the Empress, at Aix-la-Chapette 

CALAIS, 6 August 1804 

Mon amie, I am at Calais since midnight; but expect to 
leave for Dunkerque this evening. I am satisfied with my 
inspection, and in quite good health. I trust that the waters 
will do you as much good as the sight of the camp and the 
sea has done me. Eugene has left for Blois. Hortense is 
well. Louis is at Plombieres. I long to see you. You are 
ever necessary to my happiness. A thousand best wishes. 



After a visit of nine days at Aix, where he arrived on 
the 2 September, Napoleon left with Josephine for 
Cologne. From there they travelled separately to May- 
ence, which they reached on the 20 September. At 
Mayence the sovereigns received the warmest of wel- 
comes. The houses and public buildings were all illumi- 
nated in their honor. The Emperor found himself 
surrounded by a regular court of German princes. Per- 
formances were given by the second company of the 
Theatre-Frangais, which had been summoned from 

On the 12 October the Emperor and Empress were 
once more back at Saint-Cloud. This visit to the banks 
of the Rhine made a great impression on France, and 
indeed on all Europe. No theatrical manager ever had 
a greater talent than Napoleon for what may be called 
the art of the mise en scene. The stage was now set for 
the Coronation, and the curtain was about to rise on one 
of the grandest spectacles the world has ever seen. 



Cardinal Fesch Sent to Rome The Pope Consents to Go to 
Paris Astonishment of Madame Mere Josephine's Tri- 
umph Over the Bonapartes Preparations for the Ceremony 
The Pope Arrives at Fontainebleau Josephine's Con- 
fession The Excitement at Paris Isabey's Ingenious 
Idea Religious Marriage of Napoleon and Josephine 
The Procession to the Cathedral The Ceremony at Notre- 
Dame Josephine Crowned by the Emperor Her Joy 
A Series of Fetes Baptism of Napoleon-Louis 

DURING his absence from Paris the Emperor 
had not lost sight of his plans for the Corona- 
tion, and had sent his uncle Cardinal Fesch 
to Rome as a special ambassador. He was to arrange 
with the Pope to come to Paris to crown the new Charle- 
magne in his capital. If the Holy Father consented, 
Fesch had full powers to arrange with him all the 
details of the ceremony. 

After much hesitation the Pope finally agreed to 
yield to the wishes of the Emperor and go to Paris. This 
unheard-of act of condescension filled the new sover- 
eign with delight. The political consequences to him 
were enormous: on the one hand, it assured his standing 
with the large Catholic population of France, and on 
the other, it legitimized his title in the eyes of the other 
sovereigns of Europe, and put an end to the claims of 
the Bourbons. 


The visit of the Pope to Paris was an event so ex- 
traordinary as to seem to every one almost incredible. 
When the report was first spread abroad, Madame 
Letitia, who was now called Madame Mere, was simply 
astounded at the thought that the Pope, il santissimo 
Padre, should condescend to make the journey to 
Paris to crown her bambino Napoleone as Emperor 
of the French! The good woman could hardly realize 

No one had followed the negotiations with more in- 
terest than Josephine. For her the important question 
was, would she be crowned with the Emperor? This, 
she thought, would mean an assured future, with no 
more worry over the perpetually recurring menace of 
divorce, which empoisoned her entire existence. As she 
had anticipated, the Bonapartes took this occasion to 
renew their efforts to persuade Napoleon to repudiate 
his wife, and this time they might have gained their 
end if they had used more tact. But they went too far 
in their attacks on Josephine, and as usual only suc- 
ceeded in arousing their brother's wrath. In this crisis, 
Josephine displayed so much grief, and at the same 
time so much submission to his wishes, that Napoleon 
could not bring himself to the point of repudiating her. 
" He took Josephine in his arms, and told her effusively 
that he would never have the strength to part with her, 
even though public policy demanded it; then he prom- 
ised her that she should be crowned with him, and 
receive at his side, from the hands of the Pope, the 
divine consecration." Monsieur Thiers, in relating this 
incident, adds that he took it from the manuscript of 
the unpublished memoirs of a reliable person attached 


to the imperial family, who was an eye-witness of the 

The preparations for the Coronation were on a grand 
scale, and nothing was left undone to make the spec- 
tacle imposing, and memorable. The costumes were 
designed by the great painters David and Isabey. The 
crown of the Emperor, modelled upon that of Charle- 
magne, was made by Fonder, the leading jeweller of 
Paris, and was a wonderful work of art. It can still be 
seen in the Gallery of Apollo at the Louvre. 

In order to have the ceremony as perfect as possible, 
there were several " dress-rehearsals " held at Notre- 
Dame. David arranged the groups, and the scenes were 
repeated until each one knew his role perfectly. The 
painter profited by these rehearsals to make the sketches 
for his great painting of the Coronation, afterwards 
ordered by the Emperor, which now hangs in the 
Louvre. When some one said later to David that in his 
painting he had made Josephine absurdly young, he 
replied: " Go and tell her so! " 

For the Coronation two dates had been considered: 
first, the 14 July, anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, 
and second, the 9 November, the day of the 18 Bru- 
maire, when Bonaparte overthrew the Directory. But 
both of these dates were manifestly inappropriate, and 
the delay of the Pope in reaching a decision finally 
caused the day to be set for the first week in December. 

On the second day of November, the Pope, Pius the 
Seventh, then sixty-two years of age, left Rome for his 
long and tiresome journey to Paris. At the same time 
Napoleon was hurrying the work on the chateau of 
Fontainebleau, so that it should be ready to receive the 


Holy Father on his arrival. As if by magic, in less than 
three weeks the palace was redecorated and refurnished, 
with all its former splendor. 

The Pope was expected to arrive on Sunday the 25 
November. To avoid all ceremony, Napoleon, dressed 
in hunting costume, left the palace an hour before noon, 
and directed his horse to the part of the forest by which 
the Pope was to arrive. As soon as his carriage stopped, 
on meeting the Emperor, the Pope descended, and 
Napoleon dismounted. The two illustrious sovereigns 
embraced cordially, and then entered the Emperor's 
carriage, which had been sent to meet them. 

At the door of the palace, the Empress and the 
grand dignitaries of the Court were gathered, to meet 
the Supreme Pontiff. Dressed in a long white soutane, 
which fell around him like the drapery of an antique 
statue, with his face devoid of color, the Pope had a 
most ethereal air. His handsome and noble countenance, 
his sweet expression, his soft but resonant voice, pro- 
duced a strong impression. 

The two sovereigns dined together, and the Pope re- 
tired at an early hour, to rest after the fatigues of so 
long a journey-. The following day Josephine managed 
to have a confidential interview with the Pope, during 
which she confided to him the fact that she and Napo- 
leon were only united by a civil bond. She prayed him 
to use all his influence with the Emperor to have him 
put an end to this situation which was filling her heart 
with remorse! " Rest in peace, my daughter," he said 
on retiring, " that will be arranged." 

On Thursday the Pope made his entry into Paris, 
where he was received with the same honors accorded 


the Emperor. He was lodged at the Tuileries in the 
Pavilion de Flore, which had been prepared specially 
for his reception. He arrived at the palace about eight 
o'clock in the evening, in the same carriage with the 
Emperor. Josephine, who left Fontainebleau in the 
morning, had reached Paris a few hours earlier. 

All Paris was excited over the approach of the great 
day. The hotels were crowded with strangers who had 
come from far and near to be present at the ceremony. 
All the shops were working night and day to have the 
uniforms and the robes ready in time. The ladies were 
to wear ball-dresses, with trains, with a collerette of 
blond lace called cherusque, which, fastened upon the 
two shoulders and rising quite high behind the head, 
recalled the fashions of the time of Catherine de Medi- 
cis. The costumes of the men were also very rich. 

A week before the ceremony the painter Isabey re- 
ceived from the Emperor an order to make seven 
sketches, representing the number of principal scenes 
in the spectacle at the cathedral. To prepare seven such 
designs, each containing over a hundred figures, in the 
short time at his disposal, was manifestly out of the 
question. In this dilemma Isabey conceived the in- 
genious idea of purchasing a hundred dolls and dressing 
them to represent the various personages. These he 
placed iij. a plan in relief of the interior of Notre-Dame, 
and toofc them to the Emperor. Napoleon was much 
amused and also much pleased at this solution of the 
problem, and the miniature stage with the puppets was 
used to instruct the actors as to their rdles in the 

The Pope kept his promise to Josephine, and, on the 


night before the Coronation, Cardinal Fesch, at an altar 
erected in the Emperor's cabinet, performed the 
religious marriage of Napoleon and Josephine. No wit- 
nesses were present, but after the ceremony the cardinal 
gave Josephine a formal certificate of her marriage, 
which she always carefully guarded. 

At last the great day arrived. The second of Decem- 
ber dawned cold and foggy, but the bright sun soon 
dissipated the mists. At an early hour the streets were 
crowded with spectators, and windows along the route 
of the procession rented as high as three hundred francs. 

Before the departure for Notre-Darne the ladies of 
the palace were introduced to the apartment of the 
Empress. Their costumes were very brilliant, but they 
paled before those of the Imperial family. Josephine, 
resplendent with diamonds, her hair dressed in the 
mode of Louis Quatorze, did not appear over twenty- 
five. She wore a robe and court mantle of silver brocade, 
embroidered with golden bees, the Imperial emblem. 
She had a head-band of diamonds, a necklace, earrings, 
and a girdle, of very great value, all of which she wore 
with her accustomed grace. 

The Pope left the Tuileries at nine o'clock in a car- 
riage drawn by eight dapple-grey horses. According to 
Roman usage he was preceded by one of his cameriers, 
mounted upon a mule, and bearing a large cross. This 
unaccustomed sight greatly amused the Parisians. 

The Emperor and Empress started over an hour later. 
Their carriage, which is still preserved in the museum 
of the Grand-Trianon at Versailles, was drawn by eight 
cream-colored horses, covered with brilliant harnesses. 
It was decorated with allegorical paintings on a gold 

C 153 3 


background, and all the panels were of glass, so that the 
sovereigns could be seen from every side. They left the 
Tuileries by way of the Carrousel, and followed the 
Rue Salnt-Honore, as the Rue de Rivoli was not then 
completed. Marshal Murat, at the head of twenty 
squadrons of cavalry, led the way, and eighteen six- 
horse carriages followed, 'with the principal personages 
of the Court. The streets were guarded by a double line 
of infantry, who'kept back the crowds. 

Arrived at the palace of the archbishop, Napoleon 
put on the coronation costume. Over a narrow robe of 
white satin, he wore a heavy mantle of crimson velvet. 
On his head he placed a crown of golden laurels; on 
his neck, the collar of the Legion d'honneur, in 
diamonds; at his side, a sword ornamented with the 
Regent diamond. 

After the High Mass, the Pope blessed the Imperial 
ornaments, and then returned them to the Emperor: the 
ring, which he placed upon his finger; the sword, which 
he replaced in its sheath; the mantle, which was at- 
tached to his shoulders by the chamberlains; then the 
sceptre and the " hand of justice," which he gave to 
the Arch-Treasurer and the Arch-Chancellor. 

The only ornament which remained to be handed to 
the Emperor was the crown. As the Pope was about to 
proceed with this final act of the ceremony, Napoleon 
took from his hands the emblem of supreme power and 
proudly placed it himself upon his head. 

It had been arranged that the train of the mantle of 
the Empress should be borne by the five Imperial prin- 
cesses: Julie and Hortense, the wives of Joseph and 
Louis, and the three sisters of the Emperor, Elisa, 



Pauline and Caroline. It was not without violent pro- 
tests that Napoleon's sisters accepted this " servile " 

When the moment arrived for Josephine to take her 
part in the ceremony, she arose and advanced towards 
the steps of the altar, where the Emperor awaited her. 
All the ladies of the palace arose at the same time, and 
the princesses who formed her "service dTionneur" 
proceeded to perform their duty. The mantle of the 
Empress, of red velvet embroidered with golden bees, 
and lined with ermine, was very heavy, and the role of 
the princesses was far from being merely honorary. 
The three sisters entirely neglected their part and the 
Empress was unable to move forward. The quick eye 
of Napoleon at onde took in the situation, and a few 
sharp words to his sisters quelled the mutiny. 

Arrived before the altar, Josephine knelt, joined her 
hands, and gracefully bowed her form. Napoleon then 
placed upon her head the small closed crown surmounted 
by a cross; he even seemed to take a loving pleasure in 
carefully arranging it upon her hair. Josephine had 
never been so happy, or seemed so charming as on this 
Dccasion. Isabey, who had touched up her features with 
bis painter's art, had removed the traces of time, and 
she looked fifteen years younger than her real age. The 
bead of Josephine in David's well known painting is a 
Faithful representation of her appearance on this day. 

Mile. Avrillon writes in her MSmoires: " Never have 
[ seen upon any countenance an expression of joy, of 
satisfaction, of happiness, which could be compared to 
ihat which animated the face of the Empress: she was 
radiant! The crown placed upon her brow by the hands 


of her august spouse had assured her future, and seemed 
for all time to have ended the rumors of divorce with 
which she had been so often tormented." 

After the ceremony the procession returned to the 
Tuileries by way of the boulevards and the present Rue 
Royale, and entered the palace from the Gardens. The 
day had been long and tiresome, and Napoleon was 
glad to resume his modest uniform of colonel of the 
Chasseurs de la Garde. He dined alone with Josephine, 
whom he begged to retain the diadem which she wore 
so gracefully, and which became her so well. He was in 
excellent humor, and paid his wife a thousand compli- 
ments, saying that she was the most charming empress 
in the world! 

The Coronation was followed by a series of fetes. On 
the 5 December the Emperor distributed to the Army 
the Imperial eagles. The ceremony took place on the 
Champ-de-Mars in the presence of the Empress and all 
the high dignitaries of the Empire. Unfortunately the 
weather was terrible: an icy rain fell in torrents, and 
the field was a sea of mud. Notwithstanding the storm, 
the streets along the route of the procession were 
crowded with spectators. In the evening there was a 
grand banquet, served in the Galerie de Diane at the 
Tuileries. The table of the sovereigns was, placed on a 
magnificent dais: the Empress was seated in the centre, 
with the Emperor at her right, and the Pope at her left. 

Of all the entertainments, the finest was that given 
by the marshals at the Opera on the 7 January 1805. 
The hall was transformed into a magnificent ball-room, 
by a floor built over the parquet on a level with the 
stage. The marshals arrived at eight o'clock, the Em- 


press at ten, and tlie Emperor an hour later. After a 
concert, the ball was opened by Prince Louis, Marshal 
Murat, Eugene de Beauharnais, and Marshal Berthier, 
who danced with the four Imperial princesses. The Em- 
peror twice made the tour of the room, and then retired 
at an early hour. 

The last of the fetes was the baptism on the 24 March 
at Saint-Cloud of Napoleon-Louis, the second son of 
Louis and Hortense. The ceremony was performed by 
the Pope himself, a week before his departure for Rome. 
Josephine had been the god-mother of the older boy, 
but on this occasion Madame Mere was chosen to fill 
the role. Josephine was entirely satisfied, as this bap- 
tism seemed to seal the reconciliation between the two 
families, and assure her future, as well as that of her 

From this date, up to the time of the divorce, there 
were no more solemn baptisms. Napoleon and Jose- 
phine indeed promised to give their names to many 
children, but the Emperor always put off the ceremony, 
which finally took place at Fontainebleau in November 
1810. But on this occasion there was another marraine, 
and the numerous Josephines were presented at the 
font by a' new Empress, who was called Marie-Louise! 



Josephine's Places of Residence Her Apartments at the Tuil- 
eries Her Frequent Alterations Her Rooms at Saint- 
Cloud Her Daily Routine Her Personal Attendants 
Her Toilette Her Lingerie and Robes Her Lavish 
Expenditures Her Debts Paid by the Emperor Her 
Life at the Tuileries 

ABANDONING for a moment the chronolog- 
ical sequence of events, let us endeavor to 
depict Josephine's mode of life during the 
time that her career was linked with the Empire: from 
the 1 8 May 1804, when she was saluted as Empress at 
Saint-Cloud, to the 15 December 1809, when her mar- 
riage was dissolved at the Tuileries. To Frederic Mas- 
son, of the Academie Frangaise, we owe many interest- 
ing details of the existence of the Empress at this 

During these five years and a half, Josephine passed 
less than twelve months in all at the Tuileries; she lived 
thirteen months at Saint-Cloud, eight at Malmaison, 
and four at Fontainebleau. She went twice to Plom- 
bieres and once to Aix-la-Chapelle for the baths; she 
lived six months at Strasbourg and four at Mayence ; 
she visited Germany, Italy and Belgium, the borders 
of the Rhine, and all of the centre and south of France. 
To follow her in her journeys, to trace her itinerary, 



would be both tedious and unprofitable; wherever she 
lived her surroundings were practically the same, and 
the details of her daily life never varied. 

In the endeavor to emancipate himself from a part 
of the slavery to which the sovereigns of France had 
always submitted, Napoleon divided his existence into 
two parts: one, the exterior, which belonged to the 
public; the other, the interior, which was intimate and 
private. The first had for its theatre the State apart- 
ments, the second was passed in the private rooms. But 
for the Empress this division was more apparent than 
real: the two lives were constantly overlapping. 

Now that the Tuileries have been destroyed for fifty 
years, it is difficult to give any clear idea of the apart- 
ments occupied by Josephine, and especially so as she 
was continually changing the arrangement of the rooms. 
The " Appartement d'honneur " of the Empress was en- 
tered from the Carrousel at the corner of the Pavilion 
de Flore. The windows in the salons were so high from 
the floor that a person, when seated, could not see out; 
but Napoleon would allow no alterations made, as it 
would have injured the appearance of the facade of 
the palace. On the other side, the private rooms, which 
faced on the Gardens, were only separated from the 
public sidewalk by a low terrace, and it was possible 
for any passerby to see into the windpws. Again the 
the Emperor refused to have any change made which 
would have deprived the Parisians of the privilege of 
passing through the Gardens. It was not until the days 
of the " people's king/' Louis-Philippe, that the windows 
were cut down, and a part of the Gardens was 



The private apartment of Josephine comprised only 
a library, a bedroom, a dressing-room and bath-room. 
All these rooms, on the ground floor, faced on the 
Gardens, and were the same that Josephine and Hor- 
tense had occupied when they first came to the Tuileries. 
The personal suite of the Emperor, on the first floor, 
was reached by several private staircases, one of which 
ascended from Josephine's bedchamber. These stair- 
ways were so narrow that two persons could not pass. 
The rooms on the Gardens were separated from those 
on the court by a long dark corridor. Above a part of 
Josephine's suite there was a mezzanine floor, or entre- 
sol, in which were located her wardrobes. 

The decorations of her apartment; made at the begin- 
ning of the Consulate, had never pleased Josephine, 
who wished, above all, to have a handsome bedroom. 
Accordingly, when she was absent in Germany in 1806, 
her rooms were entirely redecorated and refurnished by 
Fontaine, in a truly imperial style, at a cost of one 
hundred thousand francs. But Josephine considered the 
work frightful, and a year later gave orders to have it 
all done over, to suit her own taste. In the budget of 
1808, the Emperor allowed a credit of sixty thousand 
francs for this work, but the final cost exceeded a 
quarter of a million. This time the architects, discour- 
aged by so many contradictory orders, decided to follow 
their own ideas. When Josephine returned from 
Bayonne the work was all finished. She was furious be- 
cause her orders had been disregarded: the decorations 
were " heavy and out of style "; the furniture was " too 
plain and too cheap." She went to live at * the Elysee, 
and, with her numerous absences from Paris, never 



again occupied the Tuileries for more than three months 
up to the day of her divorce. At the time of his second 
marriage, therefore, Napoleon did not think it necessary 
to make any great alterations for Marie-Louise in the 
rooms which Josephine had hardly used. 

The arrangement of Josephine's rooms at Saint- 
Cloud was very similar to that at the Tuileries, except 
that they were located on the first floor, and were dec- 
orated in a more modern and more feminine style. Na- 
poleon, who liked everything severe, but handsome, 
was not pleased with the furniture, which he did not 
consider in accord with the majesty of his person and 
his reign. He said that Josephine's apartment was fit 
only for a " fille entretenue." Most of the visitors did 
not agree with this opinion: they considered the rooms 
in good taste, and much pleasanter than those in the 
Tuileries. On the walls were hung many fine paintings 
taken from the Musee Napoleon. In the salon of the 
Empress there was a handsome portrait of Madame 
Mere by Gerard. But what attracted'the most attention 
was a large mirror in one piece, over the mantel: this 
was mounted on a back of solid silver, which disap- 
peared when a spring was pressed, and furnished a fine 
perspective of the park, with the fountains, the vases 
and statues. 

The chamber of Josephine was particularly attrac- 
tive, with the bed, in the form of a small boat, of 
mahogany ornamented with gilded bronze; and mirrors 
on all sides. The bath-room was entirely in marble, with 
painted antique friezes. 

At Saint-Cloud the etiquette was somewhat relaxed, 
and the life more private. It was possible to walk in the 


restricted gardens, and to make extended excursions in 
carriages, through the park and in the neighborhood, 
particularly to Malmaison. 

To give an idea of the tastes and occupations of 
Josephine, we will trace briefly the routine of one day. 
If the Emperor had passed the night in her apartment, 
he rose at eight o'clock, and, at Paris, ascended, or at 
Saint-Cloud, descended to his own rooms: only, at 
Saint-Cloud, there was no private staircase, and he was 
forced to pass through a long corridor to reach the pub- 
lic stairway. 

Then the Empress' women entered and drew the 
curtains. For her first repast, Josephine drank, in bed, a 
cup of infusion or a lemonade. She always wore a night- 
cap of percale or embroidered muslin, trimmed with 
lace. Although she had no end of night-dresses, she usu- 
ally wore a chemise, over which at night she put on a 
camisole. The door was then opened for the entrance of 
her favorite pug dog, Fortune, an ugly mongrel cur. 
This was a successor to the dog of the same name under 
whose collar she concealed her letters at the Cannes in 
1794: that one had been killed at Montebello. 

Never later than nine o'clock, Josephine enters her 
dressing-room, where she always passes at least three 
hours of her day, for she never neglects the mysterious 
rites of her toilette. Under the Empire, Josephine -had 
no less than twelve attendants to care for her person 
and her wardrobe, but the two premieres femmes were 
only there for the etiquette, and had few functions to 
perform beyond drawing their salary of six thousand 
francs. The four femmes de chambre were pretty young 


girls, who after the end of 1805 were called dames 
d'annonce. Two of them were in service every other 
week, and their duty was to announce to the Empress 
the persons who called upon her. Their salary was three 
thousand francs a year. The real attendants of Jose- 
phine were, the garde d'atours, Madame Mallet, and 
the four femmes de garde-robe, of whom one was Mile. 
Avrillon, who, in her Mlmoires, calls herself " premiere 
femme de chambre de I'lmperatrice." These women 
were the ones who entered into the familiarity of the 
Empress, and were most in her confidence. To them 
Josephine intrusted not only her jewels and her robes, 
but also her most secret thoughts. To them she made 
presents of five hundred or a thousand francs at a time, 
gave them dots when they were married, and a pension 
when they retired. While guarding her rank, Josephine 
always treated these attendants with the greatest kind- 
ness and politeness, and naturally she was adored by 

For Josephine, the rites of her toilette were long and 
complicated. She always took a bath every day, which 
was rather unusual at that time. But the most impor- 
tant act was to faire sa fete, to efface the ravages of 
time. In those days it was customary for all society 
women to employ rouge, but Josephine carried it to ex- 
cess: not content with putting a little on her cheeks, 
she covered her entire face with powder and rouge. The 
eye of Napoleon was so accustomed to this excess of 
color that he thought any woman who did not show it 
must be ill: " Go and put on some rouge, Madame," 
he said to one, "you look like a corpse." On the 
other hand, Napoleon could not endure the scent of 


any perfume except a little lavender water or eau de 

The intricate details of her toilette completed, Jose- 
phine dresses for the morning. From her five hundred 
chemises, she selects one of muslin, percale, or batiste, 
embroidered at the bottom, and trimmed at the neck 
and sleeves with Malines or Valenciennes. The plainest 
ones cost a hundred francs, and some of them three 
times that amount. As Josephine changes all her linen 
three times a day, the number of the garments is not 
so extraordinary. 

She almost always wears white silk stockings, costing 
from twenty to seventy francs a pair: no garters, as the 
new silk stockings stay in place. In the morning she puts 
on house shoes of taffetas or satin, at eight francs the 
pair, of which she orders over five hundred a year. She 
usually wears a light corset of lined percale trimmed 
with Valenciennes, for which she pays about forty 
francs. After the corset she puts on a flimsy petticoat 
of percale trimmed with her favorite lace. That is all, 
absolutely all: " Josephine n'a dans sa garde-robe que 
deux pantalons en soie de couleur chair pour monter a 

When Josephine has put on a peignoir, her coiffeur, 
Herbault, is introduced. He is an important personage, 
in embroidered costume, with a sword by his side, and 
receives in salary and gifts eight thousand francs a year. 
But Herbault is only employed on ordinary occasions: 
for days of ceremony there is Duplan, who is paid twelve 
thousand francs, and later, in the time of Marie-Louise, 
receives the magnificent salary of forty-two thousand 
francs. It is impossible to attempt to describe the 



coiffures employed by Josephine, for they varied from 
day to day. Her hair was of a decidedly auburn shade, 
and in color and thickness remained the same to the end 
of her life. 

After these first details, which had consumed much 
time, there was a regular council of war as to the robe, 
the hat and the wrap to be selected. In summer her 
dresses were of muslin, batiste or percale, and she had 
over two hundred to select from; in winter she wore 
cloth or velvet gowns, of which she had no less than six 
or seven hundred in her wardrobe! To wear with these 
costumes there were endless wraps, of every possible 
material, mostly trimmed with the rarest and most 
expensive furs. 

Josephine always wore a hat in the morning, and 
frequently also in the evening. Her choice was limited 
to two hundred and fifty, all different in form, color, 
and trimming! 

Twice a year she went carefully through her ward- 
robe, and gave away a large part of her collection. Most 
of the articles, some of which she had never used, were 
presented to her femmes de chambre; but even Madame 
Mere and the Queens of Naples and Westphalia, did 
not disdain to accept such gifts'. 

In six years Josephine spent for her wardrobe the 
enormous sum of a million and a half, and this did not 
include accounts not settled, or costumes for ceremonies 
like the Coronation, for which the Emperor made her 
a special allowance. In addition, during the same period, 
she spent over five million francs for jewelry. When 
Napoleon, after her divorce, paid up all her debts, her 
total expenditures for the six years reached the enor- 



mous total of 6,647,580 francs, or an average of more 
than a million francs a year! When we consider that the 
Empress had the use of the finest Crown jewels in the 
world, valued at over five millions, it is difficult to un- 
derstand why she made all these purchases for her own 
private collection. Her motive does not seem to have 
been to accumulate a reserve, for use in case of neces- 
sity, but rather a real mania for spending money. Her 
collection, which she left to Hortense, was appraised 
after her death at over four million francs, which was 
probably a third less than the actual value. 

We have at first hand the story of the scene which 
preceded the first payment of her debts in 1806. Jose- 
phine came to the table with tears in her eyes. Napoleon 
leaned over and whispered to her: 

" Well, Madame, you are in debt." 

No reply except a sob. 

" You owe a million." 

"No, Sire, I swear that I only owe six hundred 

" Only that, you say; does that seem to you only a 
bagatelle? " 

He adds a few words of reproach, and she begins to 
sob louder than ever. Then he whispers again: 

" Cornel Josephine, come, my little one, do not cry, 
compose yourself." 

And the debts are paid. 

After she was dressed Josephine received her physi- 
cian. She had a constitution of iron, and was rarely ill, 
but she was a " malade imaginaire," and was always 
taMng medicine. Corvisart, the chief physician of the 


Emperor, generally succeeded in curing her by a pre- 
scription made up of bread pills! 

At eleven o'clock precisely, for she was punctuality 
personified, Josephine entered the Salon Jaune, where 
were introduced the ladies she had invited for dejeuner. 
The menu, which was usually prepared for ten persons, 
comprised a soup, two releves, six entrees, two roasts, 
six entremets, and six dishes of dessert. A bottle of 
Beaune and two bottles of fine Bourgogne were served. 
Coffee was taken at the table, and a half-bottle of 
liqueur was provided. 

Josephine, who ate but little, did the honors with 
.charming courtesy, drawing out her guests to tell her all 
the latest gossip of the city and the Court, which the 
Emperor was always interested in hearing repeated. 
Napoleon usually took a hasty breakfast on a little 
table in his cabinet, but sometimes he came down and 
joined his wife's party. 

After breakfast Josephine returned to the salon. To 
walk in the Gardens was impossible, and the only exer- 
cise she took at Paris was an occasional game of bil- 
liards. She rarely read anything, and never called upon 
her ladies to read for her. But she was fond of conversa- 
tion, and there was always some one with whom to talk. 

At five o'clock Josephine went to her rooms to change 
her toilette for dinner, which was served at the early 
hour of six o'clock. She changed completely, and 
selected an evening gown, which was always very decol- 
lete. In the evening she always wore a great many 

* Her toilette finished, Josephine waits for the prefet 
du palais to announce that the Emperor is ready to go 


to dinner. Sometimes, absorbed in his work, Napoleon 
forgets that he has not dined, and she waits one hour, 
two, occasionlly three or four. She is never impatient, 
and never disturbs Napoleon at his work. She passes the 
time in conversation with her ladies. When the Emperor 
is ready she goes to the room where the dinner is served 
sometimes in her apartment, and sometimes in that 
of Napoleon on the floor above. At Paris they usually 
dined alone, except Sundays, when there was a family 

After dinner Napoleon always went to Josephine's 
salon, where she herself served the coffee. Unless they 
were going out to the theatre, or there was a ball, con- 
cert or spectacle at the Chateau, which happened about 
twice a week, the Emperor remained for a short time, 
and talked with any dignitaries who had called. He then 
returned to his cabinet, and Josephine passed the even- 
ing in conversation, or in a game of backgammon or 
whist, both of which games she played remarkably well. 

Quite often the Emperor, after he had retired for the 
night, sent for her to read to him, as he loved the sound 
of her voice. As soon as he was asleep, she returned to 
her salon, and resumed her game. At midnight all vis- 
itors departed, and Josephine made her toilette for the 
night, which took nearly as long as that of the morning. 
" In this also she was elegant," said the Emperor; " she 
was graceful even in going to 



The Journey to Italy Grand Review at Marengo Napoleon's 
Reconciliation with Jerome The Coronation at Milan 
The Emperor's Satisfaction Eugene, Viceroy of Italy 
Josephine's Grief Napoleon's Attachment to His Wife 
The Fetes at Genoa Hurried Return to France Jose- 
phine at Plombieres The Austerlitz Campaign Jos6- 
phine's Sojourn at Strasbourg Her Life There Napo- 
leon's Letters During the Campaign 

ON the 2 April 1805 Napoleon left Fontaine- 
bleau for Milan, where he was to be crowned 
as King of Italy. He had not intended to take 
Josephine with him, but she pleaded so warmly that he 
finally yielded. The first night was spent at Troyes, and 
the following day the Emperor went alone to Brienne, 
to see the school where he had received his first educa- 
tion. He slept at the chateau, and the following morning, 
without any escort, he visited the old familiar scenes of 
his boyhood. 

Following the usual route via Macon the imperial 
party reached Lyon a week later. In order not to fatigue 
the Empress, Napoleon had arranged to stop every 
night in some city, instead of travelling night and day 
as was his regular habit. The sovereigns usually stayed 
at the prefecture, where they found the dinner ready to 
serve, and the lodgings prepared by the servants sent in 



At Lyon they descended at the palace of the arch- 
bishop, Cardinal Fesch, who had recently been ap- 
pointed to this see. The entire journey from Fontaine- 
bleau had been a triumphal march. The villagers had 
flocked from far and near to line the route and cheer 
their Emperor, with an enthusiasm which at that time 
was as sincere as it was spontaneous. 

It was three hours after noon when the party en- 
tered Lyon, and the entire populace of the second city 
of France had gathered to acclaim the Emperor. Napo- 
leon had done much to increase the prosperity of this 
large silk-manufacturing town, and he was extremely 
popular there. 

After a sojourn of five days, they left for Turin by 
way of Mont-Cems. The fine road over the Alps, con- 
structed by Napoleon, was not yet completed, and, to 
cross the mountains, chaises a porteur were provided for 
the women, and mules for the men. The Pope, who had 
left Fontainebleau two days after the Emperor, was 
still at Turin, where he had stopped for a short rest on 
his way to Rome. As he occupied the palace, the Em- 
peror deferred for several days his entry into the capi- 
tal, and stopped at an old villa of the King of Sardinia 
a few miles from the city. 

Before proceeding to Milan, the party turned aside 
to visit Alessandria. Here, the 5 May, the Emperor 
held a grand review on the field where five years before 
he had gained the great victory of Marengo. He had 
brought from Paris, and wore again on this occasion the 
old and faded uniform, the shapeless hat, and the heavy 
sabre, which recalled so many glorious memories. The 
manoeuvres were directed by Eugene under the orders 



of the Emperor, and Napoleon expressed to Josephine 
his satisfaction with the manner in which her son had 
performed his task. 

On the following day, Napoleon saw Jerome for the 
first time since his brother's marriage. Jerome had ar- 
rived at Lisbon with his wife during the month of April. 
He was allowed to land, but, under orders from the 
Emperor, she was forced to reembark for England. 
Jerome was summoned to meet the Emperor in Italy, 
and travelled there post-haste. After a decisive inter- 
view with Napoleon, he basely agreed to abandon his 
wife and her unborn child, and was again restored to 

On the 8 May the Emperor entered Milan, where his 
welcome was not so spontaneous as in the cities of 
Piedmont. Napoleon was much disappointed at the lack 
of real enthusiasm, and spoke of it to Josephine. His 
coronation as King of Italy took place on the 26 May 
in the cathedral. The weather was perfect, and the city 
was crowded with spectators. The ceremonies were simi- 
lar to those at Notre-Dame, but on a much smaller 
scale. Cardinal Caprara, the Archbishop of Milan, offi- 
ciated. Napoleon himself placed upon his head the cele- 
brated Iron Crown of the ancient kings of Lombardy, 
at the same time using the traditional formula: " God 
gave it me; woe to him who touches it! " Josephine, 
although she bore the title of Queen of Italy, was not 
crowned as at Paris, and was present at the ceremony 
only as a spectator. 

" After our return to the palace," writes Mile. Avril- 
lon, " I was occupied in the room of the Empress when 
the Emperor entered. He was full of glee; he laughed, 


nibbed his hands together, and said with great good 
humor: ' Well, mademoiselle, did you have a good view 
of the ceremony? Did you hear what I said in placing 
the crown upon my head? ' Then he repeated in nearly 
the same tone he had used in the cathedral: Dieu me I'a 
donnee, gare a qui y touehel I replied that nothing had 
escaped me. He was most amiable to me, and I have 
often remarked that when nothing disturbed the Em- 
peror he was very familiar with the persons of his house- 
hold; he spoke to us with a sort of bonhomie, of 
freedom, as if he were our equal. . . . Often he gave us 
a little tap, or pulled our ears: it was a favor which he 
did not accord to everybody; and we could judge of 
the extent of his good humor by the greater or less 
degree of pain that he caused us. ... Very frequently 
he did the same to the Empress when we were dress- 
ing her: he gave her some taps playfully upon the 
shoulders. It was useless for her to cry: Finis done, 
finis done, Bonaparte! he continued as long as the play 
amused him." 

On the 10 June the Emperor announced the appoint- 
ment of Eugene as Viceroy of Italy. This elevation of 
her son, which should have delighted Josephine, was 
only a cause of chagrin. She shed tears at the thought 
of being separated from her child. One day when the 
Emperor found her very sad he said: "You weep, Jose- 
phine: it is not reasonable. Do you cry because you are 
going to be separated from your son? If the absence of 
your children causes you so much grief, judge what I 
myself must endure! The attachment to them which 
you show makes me cruelly feel the misfortune of not 
having any." These words were far from assuaging the 


grief of the Empress: they raised once more the dreaded 
spectre of divorce. Napoleon certainly had no idea of 
increasing her grief, and Josephine could not let him see 
what an interpretation she put upon his speech. " The 
Emperor," says Mile. Avrillon, " was one of the best 
husbands that I have ever known; when the Empress 
was indisposed he passed by her side all the time that 
he could take from his affairs. He always came to her 
before retiring, and very often when he awoke during 
the night, he came himself, or sent his Mameluke 
to have news of Her Majesty. He had for her the most 
tender regard, and it is only true to say that she fully 
returned it. ... Nothing that I say here would seem 
exaggerated if others, like myself, could have witnessed 
the proofs of affection which they both displayed; and 
I am certain that when political reasons forced them to 
separate, all the grief was not on one side." 

On the 10 June the Emperor left Milan for a visit to 
the Austrian frontier and the famous Quadrilateral, the 
scene of so many of his brilliant victories. Three days 
later he held another grand review of his troops on the 
battle-field of Castiglione. Josephine took advantage of 
his absence to make with a few attendants the tour of 
the Italian lakes. She was happy to be free for a few 
days from the irksome etiquette which the presence of 
the. Emperor always imposed. 

On her return to Milan, she dismissed most of her 
suite, who were to leave directly for Paris, and with 
a few attendants proceeded to Bologna, where she re- 
joined the Emperor. In this city the new sovereigns of 
Italy received a very warm greeting, which partially 
atoned for the coldness of the Milanais. On the last day 



of June the party arrived at Genoa, well named the 
Superb, where they had a brilliant reception. During 
the following week there was a succession of magnifi- 
cent fetes to celebrate the incorporation of the ancient 
republic in the French Empire. 

Late on the 6 July a special courier from Paris 
brought to the Emperor the news of the formation of 
the Third Coalition, and at ten o'clock that evening he 
set out for Turin, where he arrived early on the fol- 
lowing morning. He then told the Empress of his inten- 
tion to start the next day post-haste for Paris, leaving 
her to follow him more leisurely. Josephine begged to 
accompany him, and the Emperor finally consented, on 
her promise not to have one of her headaches! 

The party started in three carriages one for the 
Emperor and Empress, another for the grand officers of 
the household, and a third for the service with a 
small escort of cavalry. But after crossing Mont-Cenis, 
the Emperor travelled so rapidly that the other car- 
riages and the escort were left far behind. Napoleon and 
Josephine reached Fontainebleau about ten o'clock on 
the night of the n July, after an absence of exactly 
one hundred days. Four days later the Emperor wrote 
Eugene: " I arrived eighty-five hours after my departure 
from Turin. Nevertheless I lost three hours on Mont- 
Cenis and I stopped constantly on account of the Em- 
press. One or two hours to breakfast and one or two 
hours to dine made me lose eight or ten hours more." 
The express trains via the Mont-Cenis tunnel now make 
the run of about 440 miles in fourteen hours. Allowing 
for the delays of which he speaks, and the longer dis- 
tance by road, the Emperor 'made the trip in about 


seventy hours, at the rate of nearly seven miles an 

The arrival of the Emperor at Fontainebleau was so 
unexpected that there was no one to receive him except 
the concierge of the palace, an old servant named 
Gaillot, who had been his cook in Egypt. " Come, my 
good fellow," said the Emperor, "you must resume 
your old calling; you must get us some supper." Fortu- 
nately Gaillot had in his larder some mutton chops and 
some eggs, and Napoleon and Josephine ate the simple 
repast with a good appetite. 

A week later the Emperor reached Saint-Cloud, while 
the thunder of the cannon of the Invalides announced 
his return to the capital. The same evening, after a call 
on Madame Mere, the sovereigns attended the Opera, 
where they received a warm welcome from the audience. 

On the second day of August the Emperor left Saint- 
Cloud for a month's tour of inspection of the Grand 
Army, which was in cantonments along the Channel, 
prepared for a descent on England. Here, ten days later, 
he received news that Admiral Villeneuve, after an in- 
decisive action with the English fleet off Ferrol, had set 
sail for Cadiz, instead of Brest, as ordered. Losing no 
time in vain regrets over the failure of his well-laid 
plans, Napoleon called Daru to his headquarters at 
Pont-de-Brique at four o'clock in the morning, and 
dictated at one sitting the plan of the Austrian campaign 
as far as Vienna. 

In the meantime Josephine had gone to her favorite 
watering-place, Plombieres, to take the baths. What a 
marvellous change in her fortunes since her earlier visit 
as Madame Bonaparte after the departure of her hus- 



band for Egypt! Then, after her accident, she was 
almost alone, and Hortense was called in haste from* 
Saint-Germain to nurse her mother. Now a company of 
infantry is sent to escort Her Majesty from Nancy to 
Plombieres; there are receptions by authorities civil 
and military, addresses and salutes; triumphal arches 
at the gates of the cities; at Plombieres, illuminations 
and fireworks. She is accompanied by a pref et du palais, 
an ecuyer d'honneur, a dame d'honneur and two dames 
du palais, five femmes de chambre, and a score or more 
of servants. The charges for the post, going and coming, 
amount to nearly forty thousand francs, and the entire 
expenses of the trip total over 134,000 francs. 

By way of diversion, Josephine had her portrait 
painted by a very popular artist named Laurent whom 
she met at Plombieres. For this small full-length por- 
trait, eighteen inches by fifteen, she paid six thousand 
francs. Except for a few excursions in the neighbor- 
hood this was the only occupation of her days. At 
Bondy, on her return, she was greeted by the prefect 
and all the authorities. She survived the addresses, and 
without any escort continued her journey to Malmaison, 
which she reached the last of August. 

On the 24 September, between four and five o'clock 
in the morning, accompanied by Josephine, Napoleon 
left Saint-Cloud to put himself at the head of the Grand 
Army, which exactly four weeks before had begun its 
march from the Channel to the Rhine. The journey of 
315 miles to Strasbourg was made in sixty hours with- 
out any stop. In accompanying the Emperor to Stras- 
bourg, and taking up her residence there, Josephine's 
thought was, " to escape from the Parisian addresses 



which bored her; from the surveillance of her brothers- 
in-law; and from the ennui of the palace of Saint- 
Cloud." She was amused with a new entertainment. 

In the ancient capital of Alsace, Josephine lived in the 
episcopal mansion at the foot of the cathedral It was 
a real palace, completed in 1741, and entirely modern 
in its appointments. Built by the first bishop of the 
house of Rohan, Armand-Gaston, cardinal and grand 
almoner, it had been visited by Louis the Fifteenth in 
1744, and had received Marie-Antoinette on her ar- 
rival in France as Dauphine in 1770. Sold early in the 
Revolution as national property, it had been bought by 
the city and become the seat of the municipal adminis- 
tration. After the foundation of the Empire the city 
had offered the palace to the State as one of the " four 
imperial residences to be established at the four prin- 
cipal points of the Empire." From Boulogne, the Em- 
peror had ordered Duroc to send Fontaine to Stras- 
bourg to put the mansion in order to receive him. In 
less than two weeks the architect cleared out the derks 
and the archives; cleaned, redecorated and refurnished 
the^palace all at a cost not much exceeding two hun- 
dred thousand francs. Furniture was collected from the 
neighboring cities and chateaux; linen, glass and silver 
were sent from Paris. Three days before the Emperor's 
arrival all was ready, even to the carriages and horses 
in the stables. 

The private suite of the Emperor, facing on the court, 
comprised five rooms, while in the rear, fronting on the 
terrace of the HI, were the State apartments, seven 
magnificent salons on the first floor. On the first and 
second floors, there were fourteen small rooms at the 


disposal "of the Empress; the quarters were not very 
commodious, but she was satisfied. 

The Emperor remained only four days at Strasbourg 
and then proceeded to the headquarters of the army. 
The life of Josephine after his departure was one con- 
tinual round of dinners, balls, concerts and spectacles. 
In two months Bausset, the prefect of the palace, paid 
out over two hundred thousand francs for the running 
expenses of the household. As the success of the Em- 
peror became known there were visits from all of the 
South German princes. Josephine received the homage 
rendered her; she missed no ceremony; she remained 
until the end of all the balls she gave, and had a smile 
and a polite word for every one. 

Not content with enjoying all the pleasures of the 
city, Josephine indulged to the limit her mania for 
spending. Everything that was offered, she bought: pic- 
tures, porcelains, plants, living animals all of which 
went to swell her collection at Malmaison. With the 
expenses of the palace, she left over a million francs 
behind her in Strasbourg. 

The story of the campaign of 1805 is told in the 
letters which Napoleon wrote almost daily. From every 
bivouac, from every field of battle, came one of his 
letters not burning and delirious as nine years before, 
but full of tenderness and loving thought. 

To the Empress, at Strasbourg 

ETTLINGEN, 2 October 1805 

I am still here and in good health. The grand manoeuvres 
have begun; the army of Wiirtemberg and Baden is now 
united with mine. I am in a good position, and I love thee. 




I leave to-night. There is nothing new. The Bavarians 
have united with my army. I am well. In a few days I hope 
to have something interesting to tell you. Take care of your- 
self, and believe me ever yours. . . . 



I leave at once to continue my march. You will be five 
or six days without news of me: do not be anxious, for that 
is due to the operations which are about to take place. 
All goes well, and as I had expected. Adieu, mon amie, I 
love and embrace thee. 


On the 6 October the Emperor surveyed the passage 
of the Danube at Donauworth, and passed the night at 
Nordlingen, where on the following day he issued the 
first of the famous bulletins of the Grand Army. He 
remained in this vicinity for four days, directing the 
passage of the river by the troops of Murat, and the 
operations which followed. He reached Augsbourg on 
the night of the tenth, and lodged with the former Elec- 
tor of Tr&ves. 

To the Empress, at Strasbourg 

AUGSBOURG, 10 October 

I have been on the move for a week. The campaign has 
opened favorably. I am very well although it has rained 
nearly every day. 'Events have moved rapidly. I am sending 
to France 4000 prisoners and eight flags, and have fourteen 
cannon taken from the enemy. Adieu, mon amie, I embrace 



Two days later the French Army entered Munich in 
triumph, and the Emperor continued his correspon- 

To the Empress, at Strasbourg 

AUGSBOURG, 12 October 

The Qnemy is lost: everything presages the most fortunate 
campaign, the shortest and the most brilliant that I have 
ever made. I leave in an hour for Burgau. I am well, al- 
though the weather is frightful; I change my clothes twice 
a day. I love and embrace thee. 


On the eve of the capitulation of Ulm, from his head- 
quarters Napoleon sent the good news to Josephine: 

To the Empress, at Strasbourg 

ELCEHNGEN, 18 October 

I have accomplished my purpose: I have destroyed the 
Austrian army by simple marches. I have made 60,000 
prisoners, taken 120 cannon, more than 90 flags, and more 
than 30 generals. I am going to move on the Russians: they 
are lost. I am content with my army. I have lost only 1500 
men, of whom two-thirds are but slightly wounded. Adieu, 
my Josephine. A thousand good wishes for everybody. . . . 


ELCHINGEN, 21 October 

I am quite well, ma bonne amie. I am just starting for 
Augsbourg. Here 33,000 men have laid down their arms. I 
have from 60 to 70,000 prisoners, more than 90 flags, and 
200 cannon. Never such a catastrophe in the annals of war! 
Take care of thyself. I am rather tired out. The weather for 
three days has been fine. ... 



AUGSBOURG, 23 October 

The last two nights have rested me, and I leave to-morrow 
for Munich. ... I long to see thee, but do not count upon 
my sending for thee unless there is an armistice or we go 
into winter quarters. Adieu, mon amie. A thousand 
kisses. . . . 


MTTNTCH, 27 October 

I have your letter, and see with regret that you were 
over-anxious. I have received reports which show all the 
tenderness you feel for me, but you must have more strength 
and confidence. . . . My health is quite good. You must not 
think of crossing the Rhine under two or three weeks. You 
must be gay; enjoy yourself, and hope that we shall see 
each other before the end of the month (Brumaire). . . . 
Adieu, ma bonne amie. A thousand best wishes for Hortense, 
Eugene, and the two Napoleons. . . . 


HAAG (near WELS), 3 November 

I am in the midst of a long march. The weather is very 
cold; the earth covered with a foot of snow, which is rather 
severe. Fortunately we are still in the midst of the forests, 
and there is plenty of wood. I am quite well, and would like 
to hear from you, and know that you are not anxious. . . . 


LINZ, 5 November 

The weather is fine. We are twenty-eight leagues from 
Vienna. ... I long to see you. My health is good. I embrace 


The Emperor of Austria, obliged to flee from his 
capital, had taken refuge at Briinn, where lie joined the 


Czar and his army. On the 13 November Napoleon 
entered Vienna, and took up his residence at Schoen- 

To the Empress, at Strasbourg 

VIENNA, 15 November 

I have been here for two days, and am a little fatigued. I 
have not yet seen the city by day, but have been through it 
at night. Nearly all my troops are across the Danube in 
pursuit of the Russians. Adieu, my Josephine. I will send 
for you as soon as possible. A thousand best wishes. 


The following day the Emperor sent Josephine the 
welcome message that he had made all the arrange- 
ments for her to proceed to Munich. 




Josephine Leaves Strasbourg for Munich Napoleon's Letters 
from Austerlitz Josephine's Selfishness The fimperor 
Arrives at Munich He Plans Three Family Alliances 
Princesse Augusta of Bavaria Prince Charles of Baden 
Opposition to the Emperor's Projects Duroc Presents the 
Official Demand The Elector Finally Obtains His Daugh- 
ter's Consent Napoleon Summons Eug&ne The Young 
Couple The Marriage Its Success Napoleon's Recep- 
tion at Paris Marriage of Prince Charles and Stephanie 
de Beauharnais 

THE letter which Napoleon wrote to Josephine 
from Vienna on the 1 6 November 1805 is 
interesting as showing how, in the midst of an 
arduous campaign, he thought of the smallest details of 
his wife's comfort and pleasure: 

To*tke Empress, at Strasbourg 


* VIENNA, 16 November 1805 

I am writing M. d'Harville that you are to set out for 
Munich, stopping at Baden and Stuttgart. At Stuttgart you 
will give the wedding present to the Princesse Paul. Fifteen 
or twenty thousand francs will be enough to pay: with the 
balance you can make presents at Munich to the daughters 
of the Elector of Bavaria. ... Be kind, but receive all the 
homages: they owe you everything, but you owe them only 
kindness. The Electrice of Wiirtemberg is a daughter of the 



King of England; she is a good woman, and you should 
treat her well, but without affectation. I shall be very glad 
to see you the moment my affairs permit. I am leaving for 
the front. The weather is frightful; it snows all the time. 
For the rest, all goes well. Adieu, ma bonne amie. 


As soon as she received the permission of the Em- 
peror, Josephine made haste to start. At an early hour 
on the 28 November, with her suite, she left Strasbourg 
amidst the cheers of the populace, and the thunders of 
the cannon of the fortress. On her arrival at Carlsruhe 
the same evening, she was received with salvos of artil- 
lery; the chateau was illuminated and the Margrave 
was at the door to welcome her, with his entire Court. 
That evening there was a banquet, followed by a ball. 

Two days later she left for Stuttgart, where she was 
received with the same honors. On the 3 December she 
continued her journey to Munich. All along the route, 
she passed under triumphal arches, and was welcomed 
with salutes. At Ulm, Marshal Augereau, who was in 
command, had arranged a parade, and a splendid fete 
for the evening, but the Empress had overtaxed her 
strength and was obliged to retire with a headache. 

^ Passing through Augsbourg, she finally reach Mu- 
nich, where she found awaiting her, at the gates of the 
city, the Court carriages, celebrated as chefs-d'oeuvre 
of painting and sculpture. From the date of her arrival, 
on the 5 December, until the last day of the month, she 
was alone. The time passed quickly in a succession of 
entertainments of every kind, and Josephine had 
scarcely a moment to herself. 
While the Empress was on her way to Munich, Napo- 


leon had won the great victory of Austerlitz, and 
finished his most brilliant campaign. His affectionate 
interest in Josephine is displayed in the three letters 
which he sent her from the field of battle: 

To the Empress, at Munich 

AUSTERLITZ, 3 December 1805 

I have beaten the Russian and Austrian armies com- 
manded by the two Emperors. I am somewhat fatigued; I 
have bivouacked a week in the open air and the nights have 
been quite cold; to-night I sleep in the chateau of Prince 
Kaunitz. The Russian army is not only defeated but 
destroyed. I embrace thee. 


AUSTERLITZ, 5 December 

I have concluded a truce. The Russians are going back. 
The battle of Austerlitz is the finest that I have ever fought: 
45 flags, more than 150 cannon, the standards of the Rus- 
sian Guard, 20 generals, 30,000 prisoners, more than 20,000 
killed a horrible sight. The Emperor Alexander is in 
despair, and has set out for Russia. I met the Emperor of 
Germany yesterday at my bivouac, and talked with him for 
two hours: we have agreed to make peace quickly. ... I 
am looking forward with great pleasure to the moment that I 
can join thee. Adieu, ma bonne amie. I am quite well, and 
I long to embrace thee. 


AUSTERUTZ, 7 December 

I have concluded an armistice; in a week peace will be 
made. I am anxious to know if you reached Munich in good 
health. . . . Adieu, mon amie, I long to see thee again. 



But Josephine was no more prompt in answering his 
letters than during the Campaign of Italy, and a few 
days later Napoleon wrote again: 

To the Empress, at Munich 

BRUNN, 10 December 

It is a long time since I have received any news of thee. 
Have the fine fetes of Baden, Stuttgart and Munich made 
thee forget the poor soldiers covered with mud, drenched 
with rain and blood? I leave soon for Vienna. We are work- 
ing to conclude peace. ... I long to be near thee. Adieu, mon 


The silence of Josephine still continued, and Napo- 
leon addressed her once more, in a tone of wounded 

VIENNA, 19 December 

Great Empress, Not a letter from you since your de- 
parture from Strasbourg. You have visited Baden, Stuttgart 
and Munich without writing us a word. That is neither kind 
nor affectionate. . . . Deign from the height of your gran- 
deurs to bestow a thought upon your slaves. 


The profound 6goisme of Josephine, and the affec- 
tionate kindness of Napoleon, were never displayed 
more clearly than during this separation of three 
months. While the Emperor was risking his life and Ms 
fortunes on the snow-bound plains of Moravia, Jose- 
phine was amusing herself like a debutante at the bril- 
liant Courts of the South German princes, without a 



thought for any one but herself. By her indifference and 
her infidelities she had long since killed the early pas- 
sionate devotion of her husband, and the day was not 
far distant when reasons of State would force him to 
stifle the feelings of tender affection which still bound 
him to Josephine, and reluctantly decide upon a divorce. 
Finally Josephine finds time to write, and pleads ill- 
ness as the reason for her silence. Napoleon immediately 
replies in a tone of tender solicitude: 

To the Empress, at Munich 


I have just received your letter of the 25 Frimaire (16 
December). I am worried to learn that you are indisposed. 
It is not well to travel a hundred leagues at this season. 
I do not know what I shall do: it all depends on events; I 
have no volition; I await the issue. Remain at Munich. Have 
a good time: it is not difficult amidst such society, and in 
so fine a country. I am myself quite busy. In several days 
I shall have reached a decision. Adieu, mon amie. A thou- 
sand loving thoughts. 


On the last day of December, at one-forty-five in the 
morning, Napoleon entered Munich under a triumphal 
arch. The following day the Elector was proclaimed 
King of Bavaria. The Treaty of Presburg, signed on 
the 26 December, gave to Bavaria, Wiirtemberg and 
Baden considerable increases of territory, also to the 
two electors the title of king, and Napoleon had deter- 
mined that these aggrandizements should be paid for by 
three marriages: that of his step-son Eugene with the 


Princesse Augusta of Bavaria; that of Prince Charles 
of Baden with Josephine's cousin, Stephanie de Beau- 
harnais; and finally that of his brother Jerome with the 
Princesse Catherine of Wiirtemberg. 

Augusta was the only daughter of Maximilian, the 
new King of Bavaria, by his first wife. After her death 
he had married Caroline, the sister of Charles of Baden, 
to whom Augusta was now betrothed. The Wittelsbach 
family, one of the oldest and most distinguished in 
Europe, had ruled in Bavaria for eight centuries. But 
Maximilian had become Elector only a few years before, 
upon the extinction of the senior ruling lines of the fam- 
ily. Belonging to the cadet branch, and having no for- 
tune, in his youth, before the Revolution, he had served 
in the French army, and commanded the Regiment of 
Alsace. The happiest days of his life had been passed in 
France, and he was very French in his sympathies. Dur- 
ing the Austrian war his troops had fought with the 
Grand Army, and the Emperor now repaid his loyalty 
by raising him to the royal dignity. 

The Margrave of Baden, then seventy-seven years 
of age, had lost his only son, and his heir was his grand- 
son, Charles, a youth of twenty-two. One of the sisters 
of this young prince had married Alexander, the Czar 
of Russia, with whom Napoleon was still at war; 
another was the second wife of Maximilian, of whose 
daughter, Augusta, Prince Charles was himself the 
fiance. Here indeed was a matrimonial tangle which it 
required all of the skill of Napoleon to unravel. 

For some time past the Emperor had begun to lay 
plans for alliances with the reigning houses of Europe. 
With no children of his own, three of his brothers al- 


ready married, and Jerome for the moment unavailable, 
he had been obliged to fall back on the family of Jose- 
phine. As early as the month of July 1804 he had 
charged his minister in Bavaria to make inquiries about 
the young daughter of the Elector, and let him know 
if there were any projects for her marriage. At that 
time Napoleon's plans were all in the air, but a year 
later they were definitely fixed. At Boulogne, in Sep- 
tember 1805, he gave instructions to M. de Thiard, one 
of his chamberlains, to proceed to Munich and open 
negotiations. At the very outset Thiard encountered 
the obstacles already mentioned. The Elector, with all 
his French sympathies, could not undertake lightly to 
offend so many powerful dames, among whom the Em- 
peror had few friends. To break alliances already pro- 
jected, in order to conclude one with the " Corsican 
adventurer," was a difficult proposition. Another serious 
obstacle was the attachment which the young Princesse 
Augusta had formed for her fiance. 

Talleyrand, tired of seeing the negotiations drag 
along, and realizing the powerful effect of the Em- 
peror's victories, now ordered Thiard to go directly to 
the Elector, and officially demand the alliance. " The 
Emperor/ 7 he wrote, " has no prince of his name avail- 
able. Young Beauharnais is free. . . . Brother-in-law of 
an imperial prince, uncle of the one who will probably 
be called to the succession, step-son of the reigning 
Emperor, only son of the Empress, there is dignity for 
you! " Then he drives home his argument with the 
words:." It is not necessary for me to analyze the con- 
sequences, and to apply them, in order to be understood 
by the Elector of Bavaria." 



It was not necessary, however, for Thiard to use 
these instructions, as the Elector had already reached 
a decision and sent his minister to see the Emperor at 
Linz, where all the arrangements were made on the 5 

But Napoleon was well aware that it was one thing 
to convince men, and quite another to win women to 
his cause: for this he counted on Josephine. Ten days 
later he sent the Empress instructions to leave her bril- 
liant Court at Strasbourg and proceed to Munich. 

When Josephine reached Munich the first week in 
December, she found the young princesse far from 
ready to carry out the agreements which her father had 
made for her at Linz a month before. In spite of all the 
charms of Josephine, she continued to refuse to break 
her engagement to Charles. Affairs were in this state 
when Duroc arrived from Vienna on the 2 1 December, 
to present the official demand. La his letter to the Elec- 
tor, the Emperor insisted that the arrangements made 
at Linz should be carried out, and expressed his wish " to 
see the marriage celebrated' at the same moment as the 
conclusion of the general peace, which will certainly be 
signed within a fortnight." 

On Christmas day, the eve of the conclusion of the 
treaty at Presburg, the Elector, to avoid a " painful 
explanation," writes his daughter: 

" If there were a glimmer of hope, my dear Augusta, 
that you could ever wed Charles, I should not beg you 
on my knees to give him up; still less should I insist 
that you give your hand to the future King of Italy if 
this crown were not to be guaranteed by the Powers at 
the conclusion of the peace, and if I were not convinced 


of all the good qualities of Prince Eugene, who has 
everything to render you happy. . . . Reflect, dear 
Augusta, that a refusal will make the Emperor as much 
our enemy as he has been until now the friend of our 

" My very dear and tender Father," Augusta replied, 
" I am forced to break the pledge which I have given to 
Prince Charles of Baden: I consent, as much as that 
costs me, if the repose of a dear father and the happi- 
ness of a people depend upon it; but I am not willing 
to give my hand to Prince Eugene if peace is not con- 
cluded and if he is not recognized as King of Italy." 

The Emperor had not yet informed the Viceroy of 
his plans, but Eugene had no doubt been notified by 
his mother, and had raised no objections. The day after 
his arrival at Munich Napoleon had a long talk with 
Augusta, and flattered himself that she was reconciled 
to the marriage. He therefore wrote Eugene that the 
matter was all arranged. Affairs of State urgently de- 
manded the presence of the Emperor at Paris, and he 
wanted to set out as soon as the contract was signed, 
leaving Josephine to represent him at the wedding. But 
three days passed, and nothing was done about the con- 
tract. On the night of the third the Emperor called 
Duroc and told him that the contract must be signed 
at noon the next day, and that it must provide for the 
marriage on the fifteenth. Accordingly the papers were 
signed. At the same time the Emperor wrote Eugene to 
make haste to arrive as soon as possible so as to be 
certain to find him at Munich. Napoleon had learned 
that the Queeii of Bavaria was trying to delay matters, 
with the idea of breaking off the marriage as soon as 

1 19* 3 


he left for Paris. Augusta was doing her part by pre- 
tending a sudden indisposition, but was quickly cured 
when the Emperor sent his personal physician to see 

Napoleon made up his mind that it was necessary 
for him to remain at Munich until after the ceremony. 
In the meantime he left nothing undone to remove the 
petty obstacles to the marriage. He ordered from Paris, 
as a wedding present, magnificent jewels, costing over 
two hundred thousand francs; and directed each of his 
brothers and sisters to send gifts to the value of at least 
fifteen or twenty thousand francs. 

The opposition of the Queen was the most difficult 
thing to overcome, for she had two special grievances: 
the execution of the Due d'Enghien and the breaking of 
the engagement with Prince Charles. Napoleon was as- 
siduous in his attentions to the Queen, and was so de- 
voted that he even aroused the jealousy of Josephine. 
The Queen was not over thirty; she had beautiful eyes, 
a countenance full of life, and a fine figure. What woman 
could resist the attentions of a man as fascinating as 
Napoleon, when he wished to please! 

Meanwhile Eugene had made haste. Leaving Padua 
on the sixth, the day he received the Emperor's letter, 
he crossed the mountains on the eighth, and reached 
Munich two days later. At this time Eugene was twenty- 
four years of age. Without being in any way remark- 
able, his face was pleasing; he was well built, with a 
good figure, of medium height. He excelled in all phys- 
ical exercises, and like his father was a beautiful dancer. 
Kind, frank, simple in his manners, without hauteur, 
he was affable with everybody. He had a sunny dispo- 


sition and was always gay. Napoleon was very fond of 
him and treated him like a son. As soon as he saw 
Eugene, the Emperor ordered him to shave off his 
moustache, which might displease the princesse. 

At the time of her marriage, Augusta was only seven- 
teen. She was tall, well formed, with a sylph-like figure, 
and a countenance in which kindness was mingled with 
dignity. She had received an excellent education, and 
had a good head for affairs, as plainly appears in her 
letter to her father. 

Eugene showed all of his mother's savoir faire in his 
attentions to his future wife, and courted her as warmly 
as if their marriage were not already arranged. The 
fears of the young princesse soon turned to joy, and 
what was to have been a mariage de convenance be- 
came a real love-match. 

The contract was signed on the 13 January in the 
grand gallery of the Royal Palace. The exact terms 
never have become public, as the contract was not 
read as usual, and the copy which Napoleon sent Joseph 
for deposit in the archives of the Empire was afterwards 
withdrawn by order of the Emperor. It is known, how- 
ever, that Napoleon refused absolutely to appoint Eu- 
gene King of Italy, or even to name him as heir to 
the throne except in case of failure of his own " children, 
natural and legitimate." Eugene henceforth was termed 
by the Emperor mon fils, instead of mon cousin; he had 
the qualification of Imperial and Royal Highness; he 
passed the first after the Emperor, before Joseph and 
Louis. In the Imperial Almanac he was called the 
" adopted son of the Emperor." 

After the contract was signed, Maret, the Secre- 

C 193 3 


tary of State, performed the civil marriage, which he 
really was not legally qualified to do. The following 
day, the 14 January 1806, the religious ceremony was 
celebrated in the Royal Chapel. 

Thus Napoleon has forced his entrance into the 
family of European sovereigns, by an alliance with the 
ancient House of Wittelsbach, which claims Charle- 
magne for its founder, and so, through his adopted son, 
becomes related to most of the reigning families. 

This first attempt of Napoleon as a match-maker was 
a great success. Eugene and Augusta lived very happily 
together, and after the fall of the Empire she resisted 
all the entreaties of her family to abandon her husband. 
Their six children all made distinguished marriages. 
Eugene, the eldest son, married the Queen of Portugal, 
and his brother Max espoused a daughter of the Czar 
of Russia. Of the four daughters, Josephine married the 
Crown Prince of Sweden; Eugenie, a Hohenzollern 
prince; Am&ie, the first Emperor of Brazil, Dom 
Pedro; and the youngest daughter, the Count of Wiir- 

A week after the wedding Prince Eugene and his wife 
left Munich for Milan. Napoleon and Josephine were 
already on their way to Paris, where they arrived on 
the night of the 26 January. 

At Paris the news of the victory of Austerlitz had 
been received with transports of joy. Even Madame de 
Remusat, so severe, so implacable for Napoleon, in her 
M^mdres composed after the Restoration, wrote her 
husband on the 1 8 December 1805: "You cannot 
imagine how every head is turned. Every one sings the 



praises of the Emperor. ... I was so wrought up that I 
think, if the Emperor had appeared at that moment, I 
should have thrown myself upon his neck, ready after- 
wards to beg pardon at his feet." 

The prolongation of the Emperor's stay at Munich 
had only served to increase the impatience of the Pari- 
sians, and had well prepared the stage for his return. 
The Bank of France, to celebrate the occasion, resumed 
specie payments. On the 4 February there was a gala 
performance at the Opera. When Napoleon entered 
with Josephine during the second act, the performance 
was interrupted while the whole audience arose and 

Soon after his return to Paris the Emperor carried 
out the second part of his scheme for alliances with the 
royal families of Europe. On the 8 April 1806, in the 
chapel of the Tuileries, was celebrated with great pomp 
the marriage of Charles of Baden and Stephanie de 

Prince Charles, then twenty-three years of age, with- 
out being exactly ugly, had a very plain face; his pink 
and white complexion and his chubby figure gave him 
the appearance of a Dutch doll; and his extreme timid- 
ity contributed an air of awkwardness. But these ap- 
parent defects were only superficial; on better acquaint- 
ance one could appreciate the rare and excellent qual- 
ities of his heart, the refinement of his feelings. He had 
that true spirit of kindness which inspires more affection 
than qualities more brilliant 

Stephanie, who was born in Paris on the 28 August 
1789, was a distant cousin of Josephine's first husband, 
Alexandre de Beauharnais. Abandoned by her father, 



Comte Claude de Beauharnais, when he emigrated at 
the beginning of the Revolution, the child had owed 
her existence to the charity of friends. At the end of 
1804 she was brought to Paris and placed in the school 
of Madame Campan by the express orders of the Em- 
peror, who was indignant at Josephine's treatment of her 
niece a la mode de Bretagne. On his return to Paris after 
the Austerlitz campaign, Napoleon installed the young 
girl in the Tufleries, and soon became very much in- 
terested in her. With her golden hair, her blue eyes, her 
slight form, her free ways, this girl of sixteen greatly 
attracted the Emperor, and especially so because she 
showed not the slightest timidity in his presence. The 
first week in March she was formally adopted by the 
Emperor, who gave her a dot of a million and a half on 
the day of her marriage, besides a magnificent collection 
of jewels, and a trousseau, selected by Josephine, which 
was in excellent taste and of rare elegance. 

This marriage, made under such auspicious circum- 
stances, seemed to promise a happy future, but these 
hopes were disappointed, at least at first. Charles, on 
account of his timidity, failed to win the love of his 
wife, who was too young and too frivolous to appreciate 
his really fine qualities. But, as the old French proverb 
says, tout vient a point <J qui salt attendre (everything 
comes to him who waits). The eyes of Stephanie were 
finally opened, and she came to love her husband very 
dearly. So this union ended, as so many others begin, 
in perfect happiness. Their greatest trial was the loss 
of their two sons, who died soon after birth. Both of 
them still young, Charles and his wife had every reason 
to hope for another son, but it was not to be. In Decem- 



her 1818 Charles died suddenly at the age of thirty- 
five. This made a great change in the position of 
Stephanie. The previous year, Charles had issued a 
pragmatic sanction insuring the succession to the crown 
to the counts of Hochberg, the issue of a morganatic 
marriage between his grandfather, the Grand Duke 
Charles Frederick, and the Countess Hochberg. 

Stephanie won the warm affections of the grand-ducal 
family and of her subjects. Her death in 1860, during 
the Second Empire, was deeply regretted in Baden, as 
well as at Paris, where she was a frequent visitor. Her 
eldest daughter, Louise, married Prince Gustave de 
Wasa, and became the mother of the Queen of Saxony; 
the second, Josephine, married Prince Charles of 
Hohenzollern, and was the mother of the first King of 
Roumania, as well as of that prince who in 1870 was 
the indirect cause of the Franco-German war. Prince 
Louis-Napoleon wanted to marry the youngest daugh- 
ter, but Stephanie thought that her visionary cousin 
was not a good match for her child, so Marie became 
Duchess of Hamilton instead of Empress of the French! 



Louis Proclaimed King of Holland Hortense's Unhappy Mar- 
ried Life Birth of Napoleon-Charles Louis Buys Saint- 
Leu Birth of Napoleon-Louis Louis and Hortense at 
The Hague Josephine at Mayence The Campaign of 
Jena Napoleon's Letters The Emperor at Berlin The 
Hatzf eld Episode Prussia Overwhelmed The Emperor in 
Poland He Refuses to Allow Josephine to Join Him 
Battle of Pultusk 

ON THURSDAY the 5 June 1806 at the Tuile- 
ries Louis Bonaparte was proclaimed King of 
Holland. He seems to have accepted his new 
dignity with much reluctance, not that he felt unequal 
to the position for he believed himself superior to 
any task but because he feared the dominating force 
of his brother. That the Emperor, in sending Louis to 
Holland, intended to make that country in fact a part 
of the Grand Empire, clearly appears in his formal 
address. In effect he said to Louis: " You are first of all 
a Frenchman; you are Constable of the Empire; you 
are the guardian of my strong-places; the interest of 
France commands, you must obey." Louis, in substance, 
replied: " I am a Hollander; the people who acclaim me 
look to me for their happiness." 

If Louis was not fully satisfied, for her part Hortense 
was in despair. She felt that it was almost an act of 




suicide for her to leave Paris to go to this distant coun- 
try, so cold and damp 3 to be shut up with a husband she 

After their marriage in January 1802 Louis and Hor- 
tense had resided in the little hotel loaned them by Na- 
poleon in the Rue de la Victoire. Almost from the first 
day they quarrelled over Josephine, whom Louis dis- 
liked, and whom he wished as far as possible to keep 
separated from her daughter. He soon left Paris and 
was absent for many months. Practically abandoned by 
her husband the second month of her marriage, Hor- 
tense spent most of the spring and summer with Napo- 
leon and Josephine at the Tuileries and Malmaison. 
During the three weeks that her mother went to Plom- 
bieres, Hortense did the honors of the Chateau. The 
situation was rather equivocal, and naturally gave rise 
to scandal. It was at this time that rumors were first 
circulated regarding the relations of Napoleon and Hor- 
tense. That there was no foundation for these reports 
may be stated most positively. Even Bourrienne, who 
cannot be accused of any great good-will towards Napo- 
leon, declares: " I am happy to be able to give the most 
formal and positive denial to the infamous supposition 
that Bonaparte ever had for Hortense any other feel- 
ings than those of a step-father for a step-daughter. 
Authors without belief have attested without proofs not 
only the criminal liaison which they have imagined, but 
they have even gone so far as to say that Bonaparte 
was the father of the eldest son of Hortense- It is a lie, 
an infamous lie! " 

These reports, first put in circulation by the Royal- 
ists, were repeated by members of the Emperor's own 


family, and soon reached his ears. Under the circum- 
stances Napoleon thought it advisable for Hortense to 
have a permanent home of her own. The last of July, 
accordingly, he purchased in the name of Louis and 
Hortense, and presented to them, a fine mansion near 
their temporary residence. Here on the 10 October 1802 
was born their first child, Napoleon-Charles. In re- 
sponse to a formal order from his brother, Louis re- 
turned to Paris just in time to be present on the 
interesting occasion. 

The birth of this child brought about a temporary 
reconciliation between Hortense and her husband, but 
Louis soon became uneasy again and left Paris for an- 
other absence which lasted until September 1803. Then 
for a short time they lived together at Compiegne where 
his brigade was stationed. 

In the spring of 1804 Louis bought a large hotel in 
Rue Cerutti, now Rue Laffitte, a most pretentious, but 
very gloomy house, without a ray of sunlight. At the 
same time he acquired at Saint-Leu, about twelve miles 
from Paris, a very beautiful country estate. For these 
two properties he paid approximately a million francs. 
Hortense spent the summer at Saint-Leu, which is very- 
near MaJmaison. On the 10 October 1804 she returned 
to her Paris house, where on the following day was 
born her second son, Napoleon-Louis. This was the 
child who was baptized with so much pomp by the Pope 
himself at Saint-Cloud just a week before his return to 

During the campaign of Austerlitz, Louis was gover- 
nor of Paris, and displayed so much zeal and activity 
in his new post that he won the enthusiastic approval 



of the Emperor, who always showed for him a strong 
partiality. After his great victory of the 2 December 
1805, Napoleon began to carry out his projects for 
family alliances, and for the formation of a ring of buf- 
fer states surrounding the French Empire. Pursuant to 
this policy he arranged the two marriages spoken of 
above, and now he appointed Louis King of Holland. 

Under the orders of the Emperor, Louis should have 
set out for Holland at once, but upon one pretext or 
another he deferred his departure for a week. On the 18 
June the new King and Queen of Holland arrived at 
The Hague, where they passed the night in the old 
royal villa known as the House in the Wood (Huis ten 
Bosch}, about a mile and a half from the city. Five 
days later they made their solemn entry into the capital, 
escorted only by native troops. 

On the first day of July, Louis wrote the Emperor 
that as soon as his affairs were in good order he should 
leave The Hague for a month or six weeks to visit the 
baths. Exactly a month after his arrival, therefore, he 
set out for Wiesbaden accompanied by Hortense. Not 
satisfied with this course of baths, a month later he pro- 
ceeded to Aix-la-Chapelle. While Prussia was arming, 
and Russia preparing for war, the new King of Holland 
continued conscientiously to take his cure. 

At first Hortense seemed quite contented at The 
Hague. Her vanity was flattered and her imagination 
carried away by the glamour of royalty. In departing 
for Wiesbaden she took with her the little crown-prince, 
who was her favorite child, but left the younger boy in 
Holland. She was on better terms with her husband 
than at any period since their marriage. She was also 


looking forward to going to Paris for the fete of the 
Emperor, when she expected to meet Eugene " only 
to think of it was happiness." 

At daybreak on Thursday the 25 September 1806, ac- 
companied by Josephine, the Emperor left Saint-Cloud 
to put himself at the head of his army. They dined at 
Chalons, and continued their route during the night. At 
two o'clock the next afternoon they reaxed Metz, 
where the Emperor passed six hours in inspecting the 
fortifications. At ten o'clock they resumed their jour- 
ney, and arrived at Mayence on the morning of the 28 

It is not easy to explain why Josephine wanted to 
accompany Napoleon to Mayence and take up her resi- 
dence there during the campaign. The Emperor cer- 
tainly wished her to remain at the capital and fulfill her 
obligations there. Her thought seems to have been to 
keep as near as possible to Napoleon, in the hope that 
he would send for her, as at Strasbourg, as soon as his 
affairs would permit. 

Napoleon remained only four days at Mayence, leav- 
ing on the evening of the first of October. When the 
hour for departure came he embraced Josephine, who 
was in tears, and did not seem able to tear himself away 
from her. With one arm around his wife, he drew Tal- 
leyrand to him with the other, and cried: " It is very 
hard to leave the two persons that you love the most! " 
Then, after once more embracing Josephine very ten- 
derly, he departed. 

Hortense and Stephanie both came to Mayence to 
keep Josephine company. The two cousins were not 



sorry to be separated for a time from their uncongenial 
husbands. As at Strasbourg the previous year, Josephine 
held a miniature court, and received the homage of the 
princes of the Confederation of the Rhine. 

The sadness of Napoleon was not of long duration: 
once more in his element, at the head of his troops, he 
regained his habitual composure. As usual his corre- 
spondence kept Josephine fully informed of his move- 

To the Empress, at Mayence 

BAMBERG, 7 October 1806 

I leave to-night for Cronach. My whole army is on the 
march. All goes well; my health is perfect. I have not yet 
received any letter from you, but have heard from Eugene 
and Hortense. Stephanie must be with you. Her husband, 
who wishes to take part in the campaign, is with me. Adieu, 
a thousand kisses and good health. 


GERA, 2 A.M., 13 October 1806 

My affairs are going well, and everything as I would 
wish. With God's help, in a few days, I think that matters 
will take a very bad turn for the poor King of Prussia, whom 
I pity personally, because he is good. The Queen is at Erfurt 
with him. If she desires to see a battle she will have that 
cruel pleasure. I am in splendid health; I have put on flesh 
since my departure; nevertheless I personally cover twenty 
to twenty-five leagues a day, on horseback, in carriage, in 
every way. I retire at eight and get up up midnight. I often 
think that you are not yet in bed. Ever thine. 



JENA, 3 A.M., 15 October 1806 

I have conducted some fine manoeuvres against the Prus- 
sians. I gained a great victory yesterday. They had 150,000 
men; I have taken 20,000 prisoners, 100 cannon, and some 
flags. I was near to the King of Prussia, and just failed to 
capture him and the Queen. I have been at my bivouac for 
two hours. I am very well. Adieu, mon amie; take care of 
yourself, and love me* If Hortense is at Mayence, kiss her 
for me, also Napoleon and the little one. 


WEIMAR, 5 P.M., 16 October 1806 

Monsieur Talleyrand will have shown you the bulletin: 
in it you will have perceived my success. Everything has 
turned out as I planned: never was an army defeated worse, 
nor more completely destroyed. It only remains for me to 
say that I am well and that the fatigue, the bivouac, the 
night-watches have fattened me. Adieu, ma bonne amie. 
A thousand best wishes to Hortense and to the big M. 

Tout a toi 


POTSDAM, 24 October 1806 

I am here since yesterday, and remain here to-day. I 
continue to be satisfied with my affairs. My health is good; 
the weather very fine. I find Sans-Souci very agreeable. 
Adieu, mon amie. 


At Sans-Souci the Emperor found the chamber of the 
great Frederick in the same condition that he left it at 
the time of his death, and still cared for by one of his 
old servants. On Sunday he visited the Garrison Church, 
where in a vault under the severely plain Lutheran 



pulpit is the marble sarcophagus which contains the 
ashes of the King. He ordered sent to the Hotel des 
Invalides at Paris the sword and hat and sash of the 
great warrior which lay upon his tomb. Departing now 
for the first time from his usual practice, on Monday 
the 27 October Napoleon entered Berlin in triumph 
and took up his residence in the Royal Palace. 

Meanwhile, at Mayence, Josephine was sad and un- 
easy because the Emperor still failed to send for her. 
Napoleon writes: 

To the Empress 9 at Mayence 

BERLIN, i November 1806 

Talleyrand has arrived, mon amie, and tells me that you 
do nothing but cry. What then do you wish? You have your 
daughter, your grandchildren, and good news; these cer- 
tainly should be reasons enough to feel contented and 
happy. The weather here is superb; during the whole cam- 
paign not a single drop of rain has fallen. I am in excellent 
health and all goes well. . . . 


Napoleon, who rightly held Queen Louisa largely 
responsible for the war, and for the disasters which had 
overwhelmed her people, in his bulletins had referred to 
the unfortunate woman in terms which were hardly chiv- 
alrous. Josephine was struck by his lack of delicacy, and 
ventured to reproach him for his references to the 
Queen. This called forth the following reply: 



To the Empress, at Mayence 

BERLIN, 6 November 1806 

I have received your letter in which you seem to be dis- 
pleased because I have spoken disparagingly of women. It 
is true that I detest meddlesome women above everything. 
I am accustomed to women who are kind, sweet and win- 
ning: those are the ones I like. If they have spoiled me, it 
is not my fault but your own. Besides, you will see that I 
have been very good for one who proved herself sweet and 
reasonable. When I showed Madame Hatzfeld her hus- 
band's letter, she said to me with sobs, and great simplicity, 
" It is indeed his handwriting! " When she was reading it 
her accent went to my heart: she troubled me. I said to her: 
" Very well, Madame, throw the letter into the fire; I shall 
no longer have it in my power to punish your husband." She 
burned the letter and seemed very happy. Since then her 
husband is entirely tranquil: two hours later he would have 
been lost. You see then that I like women who are good, 
sweet, and naive, for they are the only ones who resemble 
you. Adieu, mon amie. I am well. 


To explain this episode, it should be stated that 
Prince de Hatzfeld, the Prussian governor of Berlin, 
had been allowed to retain his position upon his prom- 
ise, under oath, that he would attend solely to the safety 
and welfare of the capital. A letter from him had been 
seized, in which he gave information of the positions of 
the French army around Berlin. This, by the laws of 
war, was military treason, and the penalty was death, 
if found guilty by a military commission. 

This short campaign is without parallel even in Na- 
poleon's marvellous career. The pursuit of the defeated 


army by Murat was the most remarkable on record. 
With his cavalry, in three weeks he literally galloped 
from the Saale to the Baltic, sweeping up the remnants 
of the Prussian army and capturing the fortresses as 
he passed. 

To the Empress, at Mayence 

BERLIN, 9 November 1806 

Ma bonne amie, I have good news to tell thee. Magde- 
bourg has surrendered, and the 7 November I captured at 
Lubeck 20,000 men who escaped a week ago. Thus the 
whole army is taken: Prussia has left only 20,000 men, 
beyond the Vistula. Several of my army corps are in Poland. 
I still remain at Berlin. I am quite well. 

Tout a toi 

BERLIN, 16 November 1806 

I have thy letter of the n November. I see with satis- 
faction that my sentiments give thee pleasure. Thou art 
wrong to think that they are flattering: I have spoken of 
thee as I see thee. I am sorry to learn that them art 
bored at Mayence. If the journey were not so long it would 
be possible for thee to come here, for there is no longer 
any enemy: he is beyond the Vistula, 120 leagues from 
here. I will wait to hear what you think of it. I should also 
be very glad to see M. Napoleon. Adieu, ma bonne amie. 
Tout a toi. My affairs will not yet permit me to return to 



In his final letter from Berlin, on the 22 November, 
Napoleon wrote Josephine that he would make up his 
mind in a few days either to send for her or to have 


her return to Paris. Four days later, from Kustrin, he 
told her to be ready to start, and that he would let her 
know in two days if she could come. 

To the Empress, at Mayence 

MESERIXZ, 27 November 1806 

I am going to make a tour in Poland: this is the first 
city. This evening I shall be at Posen, after which I will 
caU you to Berlin, in order that you may arrive the same 
day as myself. My health is good; the weather rather bad: 
it has rained for three days. My affairs go well: the Russians 
are in flight. 


POSEN, 29 November 1806 

I am at Posen, the capital of Great Poland. Cold weather 
has set in. My health is good. I am going to make a little 
trip in Poland. My troops are at the gates of Warsaw. . . . 


POSEN, 2 December 1806 

To-day is the anniversary of Austerlitz. I attended a ball 
in the city. It is raining. I am well. I love and long for thee. 
My troops are at Warsaw. It is not yet cold. All these Polish 
women are like French women, but there is only one woman 
for me. Dost thou know her? I could easily paint her por- 
trait, but I should make it so flattering that you would 
hardly recognize it; nevertheless, to tell the truth, my heart 
would only have kind things to say. The nights are long, 
all alone. 

Tout & toi 



The following day, from the same place, Napoleon 
wrote two long letters, one at noon, and the other at 
six o'clock: 

To the Empress, at Mayence 

POSEN, 3 December 1806 

I am in receipt of your letter of the 26 November, in 
which I note two things: You say that I do not read your 
letters you are entirely wrong. I am vexed with you for 
having such a wrong idea. You tell me that it may have come 
from some dream, and you add that you are not jealous. 
I have observed for a long time that persons who lose their 
temper always claim that they are not mad, that those who 
are afraid often say that they have no fear you are there- 
fore convicted of jealousy: I am delighted! Nevertheless 
you are wrong. Nothing could be further from my thoughts: 
in the wastes of Poland one thinks little of the fair sex. 
Yesterday I gave a ball for the provincial nobility: the 
women are quite pretty, quite luxurious, quite well-dressed, 
even in Parisian style. 

Tout & toi 

POSEN, 3 December 1806 

I have your letter of the 27 November, from which I see 
that your little head is turned. I thought of the verse: Dhir 
de jemme est un feu qui dlvore. You must calm yourself. I 
have written you that I was in Poland, that as soon as winter 
quarters are settled, you can come: you must therefore 
wait several days. The greater one is, the less volition he 
has: he is the slave of events and circumstances. You can 
go to Frankfort and Darmstadt. In a few days I expect to 
send for you, but it is necessary for events to be favorable. 
The warmth of your letter shows me that you pretty women 



have no limitations: what you wish, must be; but I am 
forced to admit that I am the greatest of slaves: my master 
has no bowels of pity, and this master is the course of 
events. Adieu, mon amie; keep well. 

Tout a toi 

The Emperor remained at Posen two weeks longer, 
and during that period he wrote Josephine again four 
times. Her jealousy was far from being calmed by his 
letters, but to show her affection, and her thought of 
him " alone " during the " long nights/' she sent him a 
rug as a present. 

To the Empress, at Mayence 

POSEN, 9 December 1806 

I have your letter of the first, and am glad to see that 
you are happier; also that the Queen of Holland wants to 
come with you. I am late in giving the order, but you must 
still wait several days. Everything goes well. Adieu, mon 
amie. I loye thee and wish to see thee happy. 


POSEN, 10 December 1806 

An officer has brought me a rug from thee. It is a little 
short and narrow, but I thank thee none the less. I am quite 
well. The weather is very changeable. My affairs are going 
quite well. I love thee, and much desire thee. Adieu, mon 
amie. I shall be as happy to send for thee, as thou to come, 
Tout & toL A kiss for Hortense, Stephanie, and Napoleon. 



POSEX, 12 December 1806 

I have received no letters from you, but I know that you 
are well. My health is good; the weather very mild. The 
winter season has not yet begun, but the roads -are bad in 
a country where there are no paved highways. Hortense 
will then come with Napoleon: I am delighted! I am only 
waiting for matters to be in shape for me to have you come. 
I have made peace with Saxony. The Elector becomes King, 
and joins the Confederation. Adieu, my beloved Josephine. 

Tout a toi 

PosEtf, 15 December 1806 

I am leaving for Warsaw, but shall be back in a fortnight: 
I hope then to be able to send for you. However, if my stay 
is prolonged I should be glad to have you return to Paris, 
where your presence is much desired. You know well that 
I am governed by circumstances. My health is very 
good never better. 

Tout a toi 

The Emperor left Posen before daybreak on the 16 
December and arrived at Warsaw at one o'clock on the 
morning of the third day, having made two stops en 
route. Learning that the Russian army was at Pultusk, 
about thirty miles to the north, he at once headed his 
corps in that direction, and started for the front. The 
battle fought on the 26 December proved indecisive. 
The French, under the command of Lannes, were in- 
ferior in numbers, and could make little progress 
against the stubborn resistance of the Russians. The 
weather was frightful, and the roads almost impassable. 
The short day was made even shorter by the premature 



darkness due to the stormy cloudy weather. The Em- 
peror, with his Guard, lost the way, and arrived on the 
field of battle long after the affair was over. In three 
letters to Josephine, Napoleon tells of his arrival at 
Warsaw and the events which followed: 

To the Empress, at Mayence 

WARSAW, 20 December 1806 

I have no news of you. I am well. I have been here two 
days. My affairs go well. The weather is very mild, and even 
a little moist. As yet we have had no frost: the season is like 
October. Adieu, ma bonne amie. I am very anxious to see 
thee; in five or six days I hope to send for thee. 

Tout a toi 

GOLYMJNE, 29 December 1806 

I send you only a line. I am in a miserable barn. I have 
defeated the Russians; I have taken 30 cannon, their bag- 
gage, and 6000 prisoners. The weather is horrible: it rains, 
and we are in mud up to our knees. In two days I shall be 
back at Warsaw, and will write thee. 

Tout k toi 

PULTIJSX, 31 December 1806 

I had a good laugh over your last letters. You have 
formed an idea of the fair ones of Poland which they little 
deserve. ... I received your last letter in a wretched barn, 
where there was nothing but mud and wind, with straw for 
a bed. To-morrow I shall be at Warsaw. I think that all is 
over for this year: the army is going into winter quarters. 

Tout & toi 



Napoleon's First Meeting with Marie Walewska Beginning of 
Their Long Liaison The Emperor Orders Josephine to 
Return to Paris The Terrible Battle of Eylau Napo- 
leon Tries to Minimize His Losses Headquarters at 
Osterode Napoleon's Letter to Joseph His Brief Let- 
ters to Josephine The Empress Returns to Paris Her 
Cordial Welcome Her Loneliness Birth of Her First 
Granddaughter Napoleon Moves to Finckenstein He Is 
Joined by Madame Walewska The Emperor Dictates 
Regarding Josephine's Friends 

ON the first day of the new year, when the Em- 
peror was returning from Pultusk to Warsaw, 
he stopped to change horses at the gate of the 
little city of Bronie. At that time Napoleon was the idol 
of the Poles, who hoped through him to secure their 
independence, and an enthusiastic crowd had gathered 
to welcome the " liberator." Duroc descended from the 
carriage, and with difficulty pushed his way through 
the throng. Some one touched his arm, and he turned 
to look .into the large innocent blue eyes of a young 
girl who seemed almost a child. Her beautiful face, 
fresh as a rose, was flushed with excitement; her figure 
was small, but perfectly proportioned. She was very 
simply dressed, and wore a black hat, with a heavy veil 
which almost concealed her blond hair. As Duroc at a 


glance took in these details, a sweet voice said to him in 
perfect French: " Monsieur, can you not arrange for 
me to speak a moment to the Emperor? " Duroc con- 
ducted her to the door of the carriage, and said to the 
Emperor: " Sire, here is a lady who has braved all of 
the dangers of .the crowd for you." Napoleon bowed and 
started to address her, but she did not allow him to 
finish. Carried away by her enthusiasm she wished him 
a thousand welcomes to her native land, and expressed 
her gratitude for what he had done to free it from the- 
yoke of Russia. 

Napoleon was so struck with her beauty that he 
ordered Duroc to find out the name of the " belle in- 
connue." After many inquiries the marshal learned that 
her name was Marie Walewska. Of an old but ruined 
Polish family, two years before, at the age of sixteen, 
she had married the chief of one of the most illustrious 
houses of Poland, a man seventy years of age, with a 
grandchild nine years older than herself. 

Comte Walewski, who was as intensely patriotic as 
his young wife, was then staying at his town-house in 
Warsaw. The Emperor requested Prince Poniatowski, 
in whose palace he was residing, to give a ball, and 
invite the comte and his wife to be present. The prince 
called in person to extend this invitation. Marie was 
frightened at this special mark of attention, and at 
first refused to accept,, but finally yielded to the en- 
treaties of her husband. 

At the ball the Emperor paid her many compliments, 
and the following day wrote her in terms of warm but 
respectful admiration. He also sent her very handsome 
presents; but she refused to answer his letters or accept 



his gifts. Her coldness only increased the ardor of the 
Emperor, who never yet had met such opposition to 
his desires. Yielding finally to the importunities of all 
around her the chief magistrates of Poland, her fam- 
ily, even her husband Marie accepted a rendez-vous. 
She was made to believe that the fate of her country 
was in her hands, that Heaven had chosen her to be 
the instrument of reestablishing the ancient glory of 

- Up to this time Napoleon's affaires d'amowr had been 
of short duration, but this attachment was to end only 
with his departure for Saint Helena. With the exception 
of Josephine, Marie Walewska was the only great love 
of his life. 

During the winter Napoleon continued to write Jose- 
phine as frequently as before, but a change will be 
noted in the tone of his letters, which must have been 
perceived at once by a woman as jealous and suspicious 
as Josephine: 

To the Empress, at Mayence 

WARSAW, 3 January 1807 

I have received your letter, mon amie. Your grief has 
moved me, but we must submit to circumstances. There are 
too many lands to traverse between Mayence and Warsaw. 
Before writing you to come, you must wait until I am able 
to return to Berlin. Although the defeated enemy is with- 
drawing, there are many matters for me to settle here. I 
am strongly of the opinion that you ought to return to 
Paris, where you are needed. ... I am well, but the weather 
is bad. I dearly love thee. 



WARSAW, 7 January 1807 

Mon amie, I am touched by all that you say to me; but 
the season is cold, the roads are very bad, and hardly safe; 
I cannot consent therefore to expose you to so much fatigue 
and danger. Return to Paris for the winter. Go to the Tuile- 
ries; give receptions, and lead the same life that you usu- 
ally do when I am there. This is my wish. Perhaps I shall 
soon rejoin you there; but you must certainly give up the 
idea of travelling three hundred leagues at this season, 
across a hostile country, upon the rear of the army. Believe 
that it costs me more than you to delay by several weeks the 
happiness of seeing you, but such is the demand of circum- 
stances and the advantage of affairs. Adieu, ma bonne 
amie; be happy, and display character. 


In eight letters which Napoleon wrote during the 
following three weeks there is only a repetition of the 
same words: The weather is too bad, the distances too 
great, and the roads too dangerous for me to consent to 
your making the journey; Paris demands your return, 
to give a little life to the capital; I forbid you to cry, or 
be sad and uneasy; I wish you to be amiable, gay and 
happy; you are very unjust to doubt my love and 

The winter was unusually mild for Poland, but the 
Emperor, whose troops were in winter quarters, did not 
expect the campaign to reopen before spring. In this he 
was doomed to disappointment: at the end of January 
the Russians began a forward movement, and Napoleon 
was forced to leave Warsaw to put himself at the head 
of his army. 

216 3 

To the Empress, at Paris 

WITTEMBERG, noon, i February 1807 

Your letter of the n January from Mayence made me 
laugh. I am to-day forty leagues from Warsaw. The weather 
is cold, but fine. Adieu, mon amie; be happy; show char- 


EYLATT, 3 A AT., 9 February 1807 

We had a great battle yesterday; the victory remained 
with me, but my losses are very heavy. The losses of the 
enemy, which are still greater, do not console me. Neverthe- 
less I am writing these few lines myself, although I am very 
tired, to tell you that I am well, and that I love thee. 


In another letter, written at six o'clock on the night 
of the same day, and in four other letters sent during 
the week following, Napoleon gives further details of the 
battle. Both in his correspondence and in his bulletins 
he tries to minimize his losses, which had been enor- 
mous. He states that he took 40 cannon, 10 flags, 12,000 
prisoners, and only lost 1600 killed, 3-4000 wounded. 
He says nothing of the vicissitudes of this terrible day, 
of this victory which was so nearly a defeat; of the 
terrible suffering of Ms army from cold and hunger; of 
'regiments, and even entire army corps, wiped out; of the 
great personal danger which he had run in the cemetery 
when he was almost captured by the Russian grena- 
diers, and only saved by the valor of his Guard. He does 
not speak of the words wrung from his pale lips as the 
night fell on this field covered with dead and dying: 


" This sight is enough to inspire in princes the love of 
peace and the horror of war! " Well would it have been 
for Napoleon if he had taken these words to heart! 

After the battle the Emperor was too weak to follow 
up the retiring Russians, and was glad to put his troops 
again in winter quarters. He selected Osterode for his 
headquarters and here for weeks he shared all the priva- 
tions of his men. During all this time his only residence 
was a miserable barn, and it was not until he moved to 
the castle of Finckenstein the first of April that his 
quarters became more comfortable. 

Napoleon's letters to Josephine from Osterode were 
cold, brief, commonplace, almost insignificant. He spoke 
of his health, the weather, and ended always with the 
injunction to be gay! A letter to his brother Joseph, 
under date of the first of March, gives a better idea of 
the horrors of this terrible winter campaign: 

To Joseph, at Paris 

The officers of the general staff have not had their clothes 
off in two months, some in four; I myself have gone a fort- 
fiight without removing my boots. We are surrounded with 
snow and mud; without wine or eau-de-vie; with no bread, 
eating only meat and potatoes; making long marches and 
counter-marches; fighting usually with the bayonet, and 
obliged to drag the wounded in sleighs, without cover, over 
a space of fifty leagues. 


In the eleven letters he sent to Josephine from Oste- 
rode, Napoleon says, in substance: 
Endeavor to pass your time agreeably; do not worry. 

c8 3 


I am in a wretched village, where I shall still pass 
considerable time. I have never been in better health. 
I have ordered what you want for Malmaison. Be gay 
and happy: it is my wish. 

I am looking for the spring, which ought to come 
soon. I love thee, and wish to see thee gay and happy. 
They say many foolish things about the battle of Ey- 
lau; the bulletins tell all; the losses are exaggerated 
rather than under-stated. 

I learn that the gossip of your salon in Mayence has 
been renewed: make them stop talking. 

You should not go to a small box in a little theatre. 
That does not accord with your rank: attend only the 
four large theatres and always use the large box. 

To be agreeable to me you must live in all respects 
exactly as you do when I am in Paris. Grandeurs have 
their inconveniences: an empress cannot go to the same 
places as a private individual. 

Your letter grieves me. You must not die; you are in 
excellent health, and you have no reasonable ground 
of chagrin. You should go to Saint-Cloud for the month 
of May, but remain in Paris during April You must 
not think of travelling this summer. I know how 
to do other things than make war, but duty is the first 
consideration. All my life I have sacrificed everything 
tranquillity, self-interest, happiness to my des- 

These fine phrases were far from satisfying Josephine, 
who knew that her Napoleon, in spite of his pre- 
tended Spartan simplicity, sometimes gave himself dis- 

For nearly four months at Mayence Josephine had 


waited in vain for the permission of the Emperor to re- 
join him. Finally, on the 3 January he had expressed his 
wish that she should return to Paris. This desire he re- 
iterates in four other letters, and in more positive form. 
It was his letter of the eighteenth which decided her: 
" If you continue to cry, I shall believe you devoid of 
courage and character. I do not like cowards. An em- 
press should have heart." Nothing remained but to 

The brilliant winter of 1805, after the Coronation, 
had been followed by the two dead seasons of 1806 and 
1807, and a Paris without a Court, without balls, fetes 
or receptions, was very hard on the merchants, who 
complained bitterly. By order of the Emperor, the 
princes of the Empire hrf opened their houses, but this 
did not make up for the absence of the sovereigns. 

Leaving Mayence on the 26 January, the Empress 
Spent the following night at Strasbourg, where a small 
fete had been improvised in her honor. The hall of the 
hotel of the prefecture was brilliantly decorated. After 
a contredanse and a vake, the Empress made the round 
of the room, addressing with her usual gtece and affabil- 
ity a pleasant word to each one of the ladies present. 
At an early hour on the following morning Josephine 
resumed her route, and arrived at the Tuileries at eight 
o'clock on the night of the 31 January. Her return to 
the capital was announced the next day at noon by a 
salvo of artillery fired by the guns of the Invalides. A 
little fatigued by her journey, the Empress did not hold 
a reception until the fif tl^ when all the high officials of 
State called to -render their homage. By Monge, presi- 
dent tlf the Senate, by Fontanes, president of the Corps 



Legislatif , by the president of the Tribunal, the vicar- 
general of Notre-Dame, and the prefet de la Seine, she 
was welcomed in speeches almost as flattering as those 
usually addressed to the Emperor. 

In spite of all this adulation, more or less sincere, 
Josephine was far from happy. She regretted the ab- 
sence of her children, and of her husband; she was 
worried over the dangers which Napoleon was running 
in this distant campaign, and the reports of his liaison 
with the " belle Polonaise." A few days after her return 
she wrote Hortense: 

My journey has been happy, if I may so call it when 
it has separated me so far from the Emperor. I have received 
five letters from him since my departure, I want you to 
write me, especially as you are not now near to console me. 
Let me know how you are, also your husband and children. 
Although I indeed receive more people here flian at May- 
ence, my heart is nevertheless very lonely, and, in writing, 
you will still keep me company. Adieu, my dear daughter. 
I love and embrace you tenderly. - 

During the following month the heart of Josephine 
was rejoiced by the news of the birth at Milan on the 
17 March of a daughter to Augusta and Eugene, who 
was named Josephine by order of the Emperor. This 
was the princesse who twenty years later married the 
son of Bernadotte, Oscar, crown-prince, and later King 
of Sweden. Josephine longed to go to Italy to see her 
first granddaughter in her cradle, but feared to leave 
Paris without the permission of the Emperor. She wrote 
Hortense that Eugene was delighted at the birth of his 
daughter, but complained that he could hardly see her 
" as she slept all the time." 



The first of April the Emperor changed his residence 
to Finckenstein where he occupied a fine chateau built 
by the governor of Frederick the Great. At this time it 
was the property of Comte de Dohna, grand master of 
the household of the King of Prussia, It is still owned 
by the same family, and at a recent date the room oc- 
cupied by Napoleon was carefully preserved in the same 
condition. Here Napoleon was very comfortably in- 
stalled, with his staff and his military family. An apart- 
ment adjoining his own was fitted up for Madame 
.Walewska. She left at Warsaw her aged husband, whom 
she was never to see again, and spent three weeks with 
the Emperor. They took all of their meals alone, and 
were served by Constant, the valet de chambre of Na- 
poleon. When the Emperor was not with her, Marie 
passed her time in reading, or in watching from the 
windows the parades in the court of the chateau, which 
were often commanded by the Emperor in person. She 
had a very sweet, even disposition, was always gay and 
full of life, and Napoleon became more attached to her 
every day. 

During the two months that he lived at Fincken- 
stein, Napoleon as usual wrote Josephine two or three 
times a week: 

To the Empress, at Paris 

FlNCZENSTEIN, 2 April 1807 

I have just moved my headquarters to a fine chateau, 
much like that of Bessieres, where there are many fireplaces. 
This is very pleasant for me, as I often rise during the night, 
and enjoy seeing the fire. My health is perfect. The weather 



is fine, but still cold. The thermometer is at four to five 
degrees. Adieu, mon amie. 

Tout a toi 

During the visit of Marie, the letters of Napoleon 
were even shorter and more commonplace. In them 
there were only a few lines about the weather, the tem- 
perature, the state of his health, and his desire to know 
that she was " gay and contented." Alas! poor Jose- 
phine, her days of happiness were about over. 

After the departure of his inamorata Napoleon's cor- 
respondence once more becomes interesting: 

To the Empress, at Paris 


Mon amie, I have your letter of the 23 April, and am glad 
to see that you are well, also that you still love Malmaison. 
They say that the arch-chancellor (Cambaceres) is in love. 
Is that a joke, or is it true? It amuses me, but you have not 
said a word. I am very well, and the weather is fine at last: 
springtime appears and the leaves begin to push. Adieu, 
mon amie. A thousand loving thoughts. 

Tout a toi 

FINCZENSTEIN, io May 1807 

I have your letter, I do not know what you mean by ladies 
in correspondence with- me. I love only my little Josephine, 
good, boudeuse and capricious, who knows how to quarrel 
gracefully, as she does everything else, for she is always 
amiable except when she is jealous: then she becomes a 
regular little devil. But let us return to these ladies. If I 



must occupy myself with some one among them I assure you 
that I should wish them to be pretty rose-buds. Are those 
of whom you speak in this class? 

I wish you never to dine except with persons who have 
dined with me; that your list should be the same for your 
assemblies; that you never admit at Malmaison, in your 
inner life, ambassadors and strangers. If you act otherwise, 
you will displease me. Finally, do not allow yourself to be 
surrounded by people whom I do not know, and who would 
not come to your house if I were there. Adieu, mon amie. 

Tout & toi 



Birth of Napoleon's First Child Death of the Crown-Prince of 
Holland Grief of Hortense Josephine Goes to Laeken 
She Is Joined There by Hortense Napoleon's Letters to 
His Wife and Daughter His Apparent Indifference 
Josephine Writes to Hortense The Emperor's Letters 
after Friedland The Peace Conferences at Tilsit Na- 
poleon Declines the Queen's Rose His Return to Paris 

ON the fifth of May, a date to be ominous in the 
annals of Napoleon, the little crown-prince of 
Holland died at the age of four years and 
seven months. 

Only a few months before, in her hotel in the Rue de 
la Victoire, at Paris, a certain Mile. Eleonore Denuelle 
had given birth to a male child who received the name 
of Lon. He was the fruit of a short liaison between the 
Emperor and a reader of his sister Caroline. Leon, who 
bore a striking resemblance to his father, but inherited 
none of his talents, was destined to live through four 
Governments of France, and die in poverty at Paris in 
April 1881 under the Third Republic. 

These two events, apparently without any connec- 
tion, were to change the destiny of Napoleon, and to 
have a decisive influence upon the fate of Josephine. 
The heir-presumptive to the imperial throne was dead, 
and for the first time the Emperor was convinced that 



it was possible for him to have a direct heir of his own 
blood. Although the denouement was to be postponed 
for two years and a half, from that time the divorce 
was absolutely certain. 

Napoleon-Charles, the eldest son of Louis and Hor- 
tense, was a child of unusual beauty and intelligence. 
The Emperor, who loved children, was particularly 
fond of his little nephew, whom he fully intended to 
adopt as his heir. He had played with the child, as a 
baby, and had seen him develop with great interest. 
The little Napoleon was sweet, loving, full of life and 
spirits, adored by his mother, and also by his gloomy 
father. In her unhappy married life this boy was the joy 
and the consolation of Hortense, her hope and her pride. 

During the night of the fourth-fifth of May 1807 
the little prince was suddenly attacked by the croup, a 
disease little understood at that time. In the morning he 
was better, and the physicians were hopeful of his re- 
covery. But the trouble returned again during the even- 
ing, and at ten o'clock the child passed away. 

No words can describe the despair of the unfortunate 
mother. Hortense seemed petrified with grief, and they 
were afraid that she would lose her reason. 

Josephine also was overwhelmed with sorrow. She did 
not dare to leave the Empire, to go to The Hague, but 
proceeded at once to the chateau of Laeken, near Brus- 
sels, whence she wrote Hortense: 

To Hortense, at The Hague 

LAEKEN, 10 P.M., 14 May 1807 

My dear child, I have just arrived at the chateau of 
Laeken, where I await you. Come and give me life: your 



presence is necessary, and you also must need to see me, 
and to weep with your mother. I would have liked to go 
further, but my strength failed me, and besides I have not 
had time to notify the Emperor. I have found the courage 
to come thus far, and I hope that you too will be brave 
enough to come to your mother. Adieu, my dear daughter. 
I am overcome with fatigue, but above all with grief* 


The following night, Hortense and Louis arrived, with 
their only remaining child, Napoleon-Louis, who was 
then two years and a half old. Hortense was like a statue 
of despair. She did not shed any tears, and her cold 
calm, her absolute silence, were more alarming than the 
most violent manifestations of grief. When she spoke, 
which was rarely, it was only to talk of him. When ten 
o'clock struck, she turned to one of her ladies, and 
remarked: " It was at this hour that he died." 

A special courier had been sent to announce the 
fatal news to the Emperor* He immediately wrote Jose- 

To the Empress, at Saint-Cloud 

(FINCKENSTEIN), 14 May 1807 

I can conceive all the grief that the death of poor Napo- 
leon has caused you; you can understand the pain that I 
feel. I should like to be near you, in order that you might 
be moderate and reasonable in your grief. You have been 
fortunate enough never to lose a child, but it is one of the 
conditions and penalties attached to our human misery. 
Let me hear that you have been reasonable and that you are 
well! Do you wish to increase my pain? 

Adieu, mon amie. 


227 3 


(FINCKENSTEIN), 16 May 1807 

I have your letter of the 6 May. I see by it already the 
pain that you feel; I fear that you are not responsible and 
that you are too much afflicted by the misfortune which 
has come to us. 

Adieu, mon amie. Tout & toi 


To the Empress, at Laeken 

(FINCKENSTEIN), 2o May 1807 

I am in receipt your letter of the 10 May. I see that 
you have gone to Laeken. I think that you can remain 
there a fortnight: that will please the Belgians, and will 
serve as a distraction for you. 

I have noticed with regret that you are not sensible. 
Grief has its limits which should not be passed. Take 
care of yourself for your friend, and believe me most 
sincerely yours. 


It will be interesting to read here the letter written 
the same day by the Emperor to his step-daughter: 

To the Queen of Holland 


My daughter, all the news that I receive from The Hague 
tells me that you are not reasonable: no matter how legit- 
imate your grief may be, it should have its limits. Do not 
let it affect your health; look for distractions; know that 
life is full of such trials, and may be the source of so 
many misfortunes that death is not the greatest of all. 

Your affectionate father 


In two other letters to Josephine at Laeken, the Em- 
peror writes in much the same vein: 

To the Empress, at Laeken 

24 May 1807 

I have your letter from Laeken. I see with regret that 
you are still full of grief, and that Hortense has not yet 
arrived. She is not reasonable, and does not deserve to be 
loved, because she loved only her children. 

Endeavor to calm yourself, and do not cause me grief. 
For every evil without remedy, we must find some consola- 

Adieu, mon amie. 

Tout 3, toi 


(FDTCXENSTEIN), 26 May 1807 

I am in receipt your letter of the sixteenth. I see with 
pleasure that Hortense has arrived at Laeken. I am annoyed 
at your report of the kind of stupor which she still shows. 
She should have more courage, and control herself. I can- 
not conceive why they want her to go to the baths: she 
would be much more diverted at Paris, and find more con- 
solation. Control yourself; be gay, and take care of yourself. 
My health is very good. 

Adieu, mon amie. I suffer much on account of your grief, 
and regret that I am not with you. 


During a brief visit which he made to Dantzig the 
first of June, the Emperor wrote Josephine, and also 
Hortense at the same time: 



To the Empress, at Malmaison 

(DANTZIG), 2 June 1807 

Mon amie, I have just learned of your arrival at Mal- 
maison. I have no letters from you. I am angry with Hor- 
tense: she has not written me a word. I am grieved with 
all that you tell me of her. How does it happen that you 
have not been able to divert her a little? You cry! I hope 
that you will get yourself under control, in order that I may 
not find you entirely sad. 

I have been at Dantzig for two days. The weather is 
very fine, and I am very well. I think more of you than 
you think of the absent one. 

Adieu, mon amie; a thousand loving thoughts. Send this 
letter to Hortense. 


To the Queen of Holland 

2 June 1807 

My daughter, you have not written me a word, in your 
just and great grief. You have forgotten everything, as if 
you were never in the future to endure other losses. They 
tell me that you no longer care for anything; that you are 
wholly indifferent; I perceive it from your silence. It is 
not well, Hortense! It is not what you promised us. Your 
son was all in all to you. Your mother and I are then of 
no account! If I had been at Malmaison, I should have 
shared your grief; but I should also have wished to have 
you turn to your best friends. Adieu, my child, be gay, 
be resigned. Take care of yourself in order to fulfill all 
your duties. My wife is very sad over your condition: do 
not cause her more grief. 

Your affectionate father 

Two days after the battle of Friedland Napoleon 
again wrote Hortense: 


To the Queen of Holland 

(FRJEDLAXD), 16 June 1807 

My daughter, I have received your letter dated at 
Orleans; your griefs touch me, but I would like to know 
that you had more courage: to live is to suffer, and the 
worthy man strives always to remain master of himself. 
I do not like to see you unjust to the little Napoleon-Louis, 
and to all of your friends. Your mother and I had hoped 
that we were of more account than we seem to be in your 
heart. I gained a great victory the 14 June. I am well, 
and love you dearly. Adieu, my daughter. I embrace you 
with all my heart. 


It must be admitted that Napoleon does not appear 
to advantage in these letters. To a mother stupefied 
with grief, and to a grandmother almost equally 
overwhelmed, he has nothing more consoling to say 
than the injunction to be " gay," and to seek " diver- 
sions." Yet Napoleon dearly loved the little prince, and 
had fully expected to make him his heir. The loss of the 
child must have been a severe blow both to his affec- 
tions and his family pride. The Emperor had in his 
composition much of the stoicism of the American In- 
dian, and under this appearance of nonchalance he may 
have concealed his own deep sorrow. He really had a 
very profound sensibility, and was not so callous as his 
remarks on many occasions would lead one to think. 
To quote his own words: " Man often appears more 
cold and selfish than he really is." At one moment he 
exclaims: " Friendship is but a name! " At another he 
says: " We only feel how much we love when we meet 


again, or during absence." And again: " Love for one's 
children and one's wife are those sweet affections which 
subdue the soul by the heart, and the feelings by ten- 

In his letters to Fouche and Monge, the Emperor 
displayed more feeling. To Fouche on the 18 May he 
wrote: " I have been much afflicted by the misfortune 
which has befallen me. I had hoped for a more brilliant 
destiny for this poor child." To Monge: " I thank you 
for all that you say regarding the death of the poor 
little Napoleon: it was his destiny! " Again to Fouch: 
" The loss of the little Napoleon has caused me much 
grief. I wish that his father and mother had received 
from nature as much courage as myself to know how to 
endure the evils of life; but they are younger and have 
reflected less upon the fragility of earthly ties! " Such 
is his philosophy. He is too much of a fatalist to feel 
any revolt against death. He is always ready; for every 
day, at every moment, he faces it, and the unexpected 
does not disconcert him. Manifestations of grief are for- 
bidden by his calling, by his duty as a commander: he 
had faced death on too many bloody fields to be ap- 
palled by the everlasting night " when deep sleep f alleth 
tm men." 

After a short stay at Laeken, Hortense went with 
Josephine to Malmaison, and a few days later pro- 
ceeded to Cauterets in the Pyrenees to take the baths. 
Her mother wrote her from Saint-Cloud on the 27 May: 

I have often cried since your departure, my dear Hor- 
tense; this separation has been very painful to me. ... I 
have received news of your son: he is at the chfiteau of 
Laeken, in good health, and awaiting the arrival of the 


King. The Emperor has written me again: he participates 
deeply in our grief. I needed this consolation, for I have 
none since your departure. . . . Adieu, my dear daughter; 
take care of yourself for a mother who tenderly loves you. 

On the 4 June Josephine again wrote from Saint- 

Your letter has comforted me very much, my dear 
Hortense. . . . The Emperor has been strongly affected: 
in all his letters he tries to give me courage, but I know 
that he has been much moved by this unfortunate oc- 
currence. The King reached Saint-Leu last night; he has 
let me know that he is coming to see me to-day; he must 
leave the little one with me during his absence. You know 
how much I love this child, and the care that I will take 
of him. It is my wish that the King follow you: it will be 
a consolation for you both to see each other. All the letters 
that I have received from him since you left are full of 
his attachment for you. Your heart is too sensitive not to be 
touched by it. Adieu, my dear girl, take care of your health. 
I embrace you tenderly. 

This letter displays all the goodness and kindness of 
Josephine's nature: she endeavors to soften the re- 
proaches of Napoleon, and to bring Hortense and her 
husband together. A week later she wrote: " Your son 
is in splendid health: he greatly amuses me. He is so 
sweet: I think that he has all the ways of the dear child 
whom we mourn." Josephine knew how to console 
better than the Emperor! 

While Hortense was in the depths of despair, and her 
mother was trying to assuage her grief, the Emperor 
brought to an end this terrible^ campaign of Poland by 


the brilliant victory of Friedland. He tells the story to 
Josephine in his usual concise, graphic style: 

To the Empress, at Saint-Cloud 

FRIEDLAND, 15 June 1807 

Mon amie, I write you only a word, for I am very tired. 
My children have worthily celebrated the anniversary of 

The battle of Friedland will also be celebrated, and 
equally glorious for my people. The whole Russian army 
put to rout: 80 cannon, 30,000 men killed or prisoners; 
25 generals, killed, wounded or taken; the Russian Guard 
crushed it is a worthy sister of Marengo, Austerlitz, 
Jenal The bulletin will tell you the rest. My loss is not 
considerable; I manoeuvred the enemy with success. 

Be reassured and content. 

Adieu, mon amie. NAPOLEON 

FRIEDLAND, 4 P.M., 16 June 1807 

Mon amie, I sent you a courier yesterday with the news 
of the battle of Friedland. Since then I have continued the 
pursuit of the enemy. Kcenigsberg, a city of 80,000 souls, 
is in my power. I have found there many cannon, large 
magazines, and more than 60,000 guns, brought from 

Adieu, mon amie; my health is perfect, although I have 
a slight cold from the rain and the coolness of the bivouac. 
Be content and gay. 

Tout toi 

From Tilsit, on the 19 June, the Emperor sent Jose- 
phine the welcome news that the victory had been 



decisive, and that the campaign was over. A few days 
later he wrote that he had met the Czar Alexander, and 
was very much pleased with him: " He is a very hand- 
some, good and young Emperor, and has more intelli- 
gence than most people think. He is coming to-morrow 
to take up his residence in Tilsit." 

At Tilsit, the Czar and the King of Prussia dined 
every day with the Emperor, as he tells Josephine in his 
correspondence. An hour after her arrival Napoleon 
paid a visit to the Queen of Prussia, who was one of the 
most beautiful and most attractive women of her day. 
When she came to dine with him that evening the Em- 
peror received her with great respect at the door of his 
mansion. But he was firm in his refusal to mitigate at 
her request any of the hard conditions of the peace 
which he imposed on Prussia. At dinner, that night, the 
Queen offered a beautiful rose to Napoleon, saying with 
a gracious smile: " Take it, Sire, but in exchange for 
Magdebourg." This episode is alluded to by the Em- 
peror in the following letter: 

To the Empress, at Saint-Cloud 

(TILSIT), 7 July 1807 

Mon amie, the Queen of Prussia dined with me yesterday. 
I had to refuse to make some concessions to her husband 
which she endeavored to obtain from me. But I have been 
gallant, while adhering to my policy. She is very amiable. 
Later I will give you the details which it would take too 
long to tell .now. When you read this letter peace with 
Prussia and Russia will be concluded, and Jerome recog- 
nized as King of Westphalia with three millions of popula- 
tion. This news for you only. 


Adieu, mon amie; I love thee, and wish to know that 
thou art gay and contented. 


After a last interview with the Czar, at the end of 
which the two sovereigns embraced each other affec- 
tionately, the Emperor went for a short visit to Kcenigs- 
berg. Leaving there at six o'clock on the night of the 13 
July he travelled directly to Dresden, where he arrived 
at five o'clock on the seventeenth. He spent ninety-two 
hours in his carriage, stopping to rest only twice en 
route, and then only for very brief intervals. From 
Dresden he wrote Josephine the last of his letters during 
this campaign: 

To the Empress, at Saint-Cloud 

(DRESDEN), Noon, 18 July 1807 

Mon amie, I arrived at Dresden at .five o'clock last even- 
ing, feeling very well, although I remained a hundred hours 
in my carriage without getting out. I am staying here with 
the King of Saxony, with whom I am well pleased. I have 
therefore covered half the distance to thee. 

It may happen that one of these fine nights I shall fall 
upon thee at Saint-Cloud like a jealous husband: I give 
thee fair warning! 

Adieu, mon amie; it will give me great pleasure to see 

Tout toi 

At six o'clock on the morning of the 2 7 July the Em- 
peror was back at Saint-Cloud, after an absence of over 
ten months. 




Talleyrand Appointed Vice-Grand-filecteur Fete of the Em- 
perorMarriage of Jerome and Catherine Return of 
Louis and Hortense New Quarrels Louis Departs Alone 
for Holland Napoleon's Power The Court Goes to 
Fontainebleau Napoleon at Thirty-eight The Em- 
peror's Program of Entertainment Life of Josephine 
Ennui of the Emperor and His Guests The Gazzani Affair 

Jerome's Flirtation with Stephanie Illness of Hortense 

She Refuses Any Reconciliation with Louis 

THE credit of Talleyrand had never stood so 
high as at this time. He had been of great 
use to the-Emperor in Poland, and had ably 
carried out the negotiations for the Treaty of Tilsit. By 
way of recompense, on the 9 August, the Emperor made 
him vice-grand-elector. This great dignity of the Empire 
gave Talleyrand the right to replace Joseph on all occa- 
sions of ceremony, but at the same time he was forced 
to give up the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, as being 
beneath the dignity of his new rank. The emoluments 
of his new office, added to his salary as grand chamber- 
lain and the revenues of his principality of Benevento, 
gave him an income of half a million francs. At the 
same time his personal fortune was estimated at fully 
six millions. Every treaty that he had concluded had 
brought him enormous gratifications. 



On the 15 August the fete of the Emperor was cele- 
brated with great magnificence. In the morning a Te 
Deum was chanted at Notre-Dame. In the evening 
there was a banquet at the Tuileries, followed by a con- 
cert and a ballet. The salons of the Chateau were filled 
with all the dignitaries of the Empire, in full evening 
dress. The Emperor appeared on the balcony, holding 
the hand of Josephine, and was cheered by an immense 
crowd in the illuminated Gardens below. 

A week later was celebrated the marriage of Jerome 
with the young Princesse Catherine of Wiirtemberg. 
The Pope had firmly refused to grant the Emperor's 
petition for an annulment of the Patterson marriage, 
but the French ecclesiastical authorities proved more 
amenable, and in October 1806 the marriage was de- 
clared null and void. 

Jerome, who was the youngest, and also the most 
worthless of the Bonapartes, had just received from his 
brother the crown of Westphalia. The princesse, who 
was nearly two years older than her husband, was a 
woman of much charm. She was tall and beautiful; 
affable in her manners, and of superior intelligence. 

After a marriage by procuration at Stuttgart, Cath- 
erine came to Paris. She arrived at the Tuileries on the 
21 August; the contract was signed the next day in the 
Galerie de Diane; and was followed on the 23 August 
by the religious ceremony, which was performed in the 
chapel by the Archbishop of Ratisbon, the Prince- 
Primate of the Confederation of the Rhine. Thus was 
carried out the third part of the Emperor's plan for 
alliances with the royal families of Europe. This mar- 
riage also proved quite a happy one. Catherine was 



devoted to Jerome, notwithstanding his many notorious 
infidelities, and refused to abandon him after the fall of 
the Empire. 

At the end of this month the King and Queen of Hol- 
land returned from their visit to the baths in the Pyre- 
nees. Hortense had been joined by Louis at Cauterets 
in June, and they had once more resumed their life in 
common. At the time of their arrival at Saint-Cloud 
they seemed to be on very good terms with each other, 
but still sad over their loss. Hortense was very thin, 
and already suffering from the beginning of her gros- 
sesse. At the baths she had met the secretary of Madame 
Mere, Monsieur Decazes, who had just lost his wife, 
and the fact that they were both in mourning had been 
a bond of sympathy between them. Reports of their in- 
timacy had reached Paris, and Caroline did not hesitate 
to retail the scandal to her brother on his return, even 
going so far as to insinuate that the interesting condi- 
tion of Hortense was due to the handsome young secre- 
tary. It did not take much to revive the suspicions of 
the jealous Louis, and discord once more reigned in the 
royal household. Louis naturally wished to take his 
wife and son with him on his return to Holland, but the 
Empress, alarmed at her daughter's appearance, called 
a consultation of physicians, who unanimously decided 
that it would be dangerous for Hortense in her condi- 
tion to return for the winter to the cold, damp climate 
of the Low Countries. The Emperor therefore ordered 
that Hortense and her son should remain in Paris. Louis 
submitted with apparent reluctance to his brother's 
command and departed alone for The Hague. 

Hortense, who had previously endured without com- 


plaint the unjust suspicions of Louis, was this time 
mortally offended, and conceived a profound hatred 
for her husband. When she found that he had believed 
her capable of an intrigue galante at a moment when 
she was thinking only of death, in the depths of her 
despair over the loss of her favorite child, she resolved 
never to live with him again. 

For the first time in his life the Emperor now decided 
to take a real vacation of eight weeks, and the Court 
was ordered to assemble on the 21 September at Fon- 
tainebleau. This historic chateau was always a favorite 
place of residence for Napoleon, and now that the 
Tuileries and Saint-Cloud have disappeared it is the 
only royal palace with which his name is identified. 

In the autumn of 1807, Napoleon was at the zenith 
of his glory. He never yet had known defeat: at Auster- 
litz, Jena and Friedland he had conquered the three 
greatest nations of the Continent. To the democratic 
days of the earlier period of the Empire had succeeded 
an aristocratic regime. The Emperor posed as a new 
Charlemagne, the chief of a family of sovereigns. To 
him the kings of Bavaria, Wiirtemberg, Holland, Sax- 
ony, Naples and Westphalia owed their royal crowns. 
The reigning princes of the Confederation of the Rhine 
were his vassals. From the Baltic to the Pyrenees, from 
the Channel to the Adriatic, his will was law. 

Accordingly the command had gone forth that the 
Court was to amuse itself at Fontainebleau: pleasure 
was the order of the day. Never before had Europe 
witnessed such a gathering of kings and princes. The 
Emperor and Empress arrived on the 21 September, and 



within a few days there appeared: the Queen of Hol- 
land, the Queen of Naples, the King and Queen of 
Westphalia, the Grand-Duke of Berg (Murat) and his 
wife, Madame Mere, the Princesse Pauline, Prince 
Charles of Baden and his wife, the Prince-Primate, the 
Duke of Wiirzburg, and too many others to mention. 
The Emperor had also commanded the presence of 
Talleyrand, Berthier, Champagny, and Maret; all of 
the grand officers of the imperial household, the min- 
isters of the Kingdom of Italy, and several of the 

This visit of the Court to Fontainebleau is one of the 
most interesting episodes of life under the Empire and 
well deserves a chapter to itself. The Emperor never 
again consecrated so long a period of time solely to 
pleasure, and his Court was never more brilliant. Here 
for the first and last time there was a renewal of the 
life of the Ancien Regime, as it was in the days of the 
Grand Monarque: here came to the surface the same 
interests, passions, intrigues, weaknesses, treacheries 
in a word, it was a real Court! It would require the pen 
of a Saint-Simon faithfully to depict the scene, with all 
its changing lights and shadows, to seize its full spirit, 
and make it live again. It furnishes the theme of one of 
the most interesting stories in the memoirs of Madame 
de Remusat: 

" At this time, Napoleon, oblivious of the past, cer- 
tain of the future, was proceeding with a firm step, 
anticipating no obstacle, or at least certain that he 
could easily overcome any found in his path. It seemed 
to him, it seemed to every one, that he could not fall 
except by an event so unlooked for, so strange, and 


so catastrophic, that a mass of interests in favor of 
order and repose were solemnly engaged in his con- 
servation. In fact, master or ' friend of all the kings 
of the Continent, ally of many by treaties or foreign 
marriages, sure of Europe by the new partitions he 
had made, having upon the most remote frontiers im- 
portant garrisons which insured the execution of his 
will, absolute depository of all the resources of France, 
rich with an immense treasury, in the flower of his 
age, admired, feared, and above all scrupulously 
obeyed, it seemed as though he had overcome all 

Such is the picture which Madame de Remusat draws 
of the Emperor at the age of thirty-eight, in this autumn 
of 1807, and she remarks: 

" Let us suppose that some one, ignorant of the past, 
had suddenly been thrown into Fontainebleau at this 
time, it is certain that, blinded by the magnificence 
displayed in this royal habitation; struck by the air of 
authority of the master, and the obsequious reverence 
of the great personages who surrounded him, this 
stranger would have seen, or thought that he saw, a 
sovereign peaceably seated upon the greatest throne in 
the world, with all the united rights of power and 

As soon as the invited guests arrived at the Chateau 
they were informed of the program drawn up by the 
Emperor for their entertainment. The different evenings 
of the week were to be passed in the apartments of the 
various great personages. One evening the Emperor 
would receive, and there would be music, followed by 
games. Twice a week there was to be a theatrical per- 
il 242 3 


formance; on other nights, balls to be given by the 
Princesses Pauline and Caroline; and finally, an as- 
sembly and play in the rooms of the Empress. The 
princes and ministers, in turn, were to give dinners and 
invite all of the guests in rotation; the grand marshal 
and the lady of honor were to do the same, each having 
a table for twenty-five persons every day; and finally 
there was to be another table for all who were not in- 
vited elsewhere. Even the kings and princes could not 
dine with the Emperor except by special invitation. On 
certain days there was a hunt, which the guests followed 
on horseback, or in very elegant caleches which were 
provided. The Emperor liked the chase more for the 
exercise it gave him than for the thing itself. He often 
abandoned the pursuit of the stag, and wandered 
through the forest, lost in revery. He was a good, but 
very reckless horseman, and always rode small Arabians 
specially trained for his service. 

The Emperor employed his vacation in working as 
usual. He rose at seven o'clock, breakfasted alone, and, 
the days that he did not hunt, remained in his cabinet 
until five or six. The ministers and secretaries came 
from Paris with their despatch-boxes exactly the same 
as though he were at Saint-Cloud He never took ac- 
count of time or distance, either for himself or any one 

While the Emperor was occupied in his cabinet, Jose- 
phine, always elegantly dressed, breakfasted with her 
daughter and her ladies, and later received in her salon 
the visits of the guests at the palace. She never liked 
to be alone, and had no taste for any kind of work. 
At four o'clock the Empress dismissed her callers, and 



went to her room for the rites of the evening toilette, 
always with her an important function. Quite frequently 
during the week the Emperor came for his wife be- 
tween five and six, and they went for a drive together 
before dinner. They dined at six, and afterwards went 
to the entertainment arranged for that evening. 

The great officials who had the privilege of the entree 
could present themselves at the apartment of the Em- 
press. They knocked at the door, were announced by 
the chamberlain on duty, and admitted by command of 
the Emperor. If it were a woman, she took her seat in 
silence; if a man, he remained standing at the side of 
the room. The Emperor promenaded back and forth, 
his hands behind his back, his head bent forward, gen- 
erally absorbed in his thoughts. Occasionally he asked 
a question and received a brief reply. Of real conversa- 
tion, there was none. Every one stood in such awe of the 
Emperor that he feared to make any remarks. At the 
assemblies it was the same. Everybody around the Em- 
peror was bored, and he was equally bored himself. 
One day he said to Talleyrand: " It is a singular thing: 
I have brought together a crowd of people at Fontaine- 
bleau; I have wanted them to be amused; I have ar- 
ranged all their entertainments, yet their faces are aH 
long, and every one has the air of being tired and de- 
pressed." " The trouble is," replied Talleyrand, " that 
you cannot regulate pleasure by the beat of the drum. 
Here, as in the army, you have always the air of saying 
to each one of us, Allons, messieurs et mesdames, en 
avant marche!" 

The Emperor wished two plays given each week, 
which must always be different. In addition to these 



performances, by the Comedie-Francaise, there were 
representations of Italian opera. The plays were always 
tragedies, often Corneille, sometimes Racine, but 
rarely Voltaire, whom Napoleon did not like. The whole 
Court was bored to death by these interminable trag- 
edies, and yawned or dozed. There was never any ap- 
plause, and the play was received in cold silence. The 
Emperor himself either slept, or was buried in thought. 
For the opera, the best Italian singers had been en- 
gaged, at large salaries, but they were listened to 
without a sign of interest. 

The fetes and spectacles were nominally in charge 
of M. de Talleyrand, the grand chamberlain, but the 
real work was done by the first chamberlain, M. de 
Remusat, to whom Talleyrand said one day: " I am 
sorry for you, for you must amuse the unamusable! " 
The dreamy, discontented disposition which the Em- 
peror displayed on all occasions cast a sombre veil over 
all the assemblies and balls at Fontainebleau. 

About eight o'clock the Court in gala costume as- 
sembled in the apartment where the entertainment was 
to be given that evening. While awaiting the arrival of 
Their Majesties there was no conversation. The Em- 
press came first, gracefully traversed the salon, took her 
place, and then, like the others, awaited in silence the 
entry of the Emperor. Finally he came, and took his 
seat beside her. He watched the dancing with a bored 
look, which was not conducive to pleasure, and natu- 
rally no one enjoyed the evening. He soon took his 
departure, and almost immediately the assembly broke 

While the Court was at Fontainebleau the Emperor 

C 245 3 


had an affaire with a beautiful young woman named 
Gazzani. Talleyrand had found her* in Italy, and had 
persuaded the Emperor to give her a place in his house- 
hold as reader for the Empress, while her husband was 
made a receiver general. She was tall, beautifully 
formed, with magnificent dark eyes, and a very attrac- 
tive face. In a Court where there were many lovely 
women, she was generally considered the most beautiful 
of all. She had a very sweet, submissive disposition, 
and yielded to the desires of the Emperor from a kind 
of conviction that it was her duty not to resist him. At 
the same time she displayed the greatest devotion for 
the Empress, who closed her eyes to this little episode. 
As a result, this liaison was of brief duration, and at- 
tracted very little attention. 

Another love affair which caused much talk, but was 
also very brief, was the sudden passion which the new 
King of Westphalia conceived for the charming young 
Duchesse of Baden. Jerome had not even waited until 
his honeymoon was over before beginning a violent flir- 
tation, and Catherine was very jealous. Stephanie, who 
had not yet learned to appreciate her husband, was gay 
and frivolous and naturally coquette. Jerome danced 
with her at all the balls, while Catherine, who had in- 
herited from her father a tendency to corpulence and 
did not dance, was forced to look sadly on. Finally, 
one evening when Jerome had been more than usually 
attentive to Stephanie, Catherine suddenly burst into 
tears, and fell from her chair in a dead faint. The ball 
was interrupted, and she was carried into an adjoining 
salon. The Emperor addressed a few sharp words to his 
brother: Jerome rushed after his wife, threw himself 



on his knees by her side, and with a thousand caresses 
endeavored to restore her to consciousness. A few min- 
utes later the young couple retired to their apartment. 

The following day, Napoleon commanded Josephine 
to have a plain talk with her lively cousin, and bring her 
to reason. Stephanie took the reproof in good part, and 
both of the young people were too much afraid of the 
Emperor to renew what had been after all an innocent 

At this time, the Emperor no longer showed his par- 
tiality for Stephanie. He seemed to have forgotten 
entirely the rules prescribed for her as his adopted 
daughter before her marriage, and only accorded her 
the rank and precedence of a princesse of the Confeder- 
ation of the Rhine, which placed her below the queens 
and the imperial princesses. From that time on, Ste- 
phanie was a model of decorum in her conduct. She 
showed no regret on leaving for Baden with her hus- 
band, and this seems to have been the beginning of 
the perfect accord which afterwards united them. 

In the meantime Hortense was living in the greatest 
possible seclusion, Her health was very delicate, and the 
memory of her lost child was always with her. The Em- 
peror displayed for her much affection and esteem. At 
the bottom of his heart he undoubtedly had more love 
for her than for his brother, but the family spirit was 
too strong for him to take any active part in their 
quarrels. He had consented to her remaining in Paris 
until after her confinement, but he continued to speak 
of her return to Holland. For her part, Hortense was 
equally firm in her determination never to return to this 
bleak country where she had experienced so much 



trouble and sorrow. She said to the Emperor: " My 
reputation is tarnished, my health is lost, I look for 
no more happiness in life; banish me from your Court 
if you wish; shut me up in a convent; I desire neither 
throne nor fortune. Give peace to my mother, distinc- 
tion to Eugene who deserves it, but let me live tranquil 
and alone." 




The Question of Divorce First Seriously Considered Napo- 
leon Asks Josephine to Take the Initiative She Refuses 
Fouche's Letter to the Empress Napoleon Pretends 
Ignorance He Writes FouchS to Cease Meddling Tal- 
leyrand's Attitude Fouche Influences Public Opinion 
End of the Fetes Death of Josephine's Mother Napo- 
leon's Trip to Italy His Interview with Lucien He 
Adopts Eug&ne His Letters to Josephine 

DURING the two months that the Court was at 
Fontainebleau the question of divorce was 
broached seriously for the first time. Talley- 
rand, who was more familiar than any one else with the 
projects of the Emperor, was very quietly working to 
bring the matter about; but he wished, at the same 
time, to have the Emperor make a great alliance, and 
above all to be himself the one to negotiate it. Caroline 
and Murat were also laying their plans to overcome the 
lingering affection which still bound Napoleon to Jose- 
phine, and which alone kept her on the throne. Allied 
with them were Josephine's former friend, Fouche, and 
the Secretary of State, Maret, who was secretly jealous 
of the great and well-deserved European reputation of 
Talleyrand, whom he hoped to supplant in the councils 
of the Emperor. 


As stated above, the death of the little crown-prince 
had made a change in the plans of the Emperor; his 
victories, in increasing his power, had extended his 
ideas of grandeur, and both his vanity and his policy 
dictated an alliance with one of the European royal 
families. At the time of his return from Tilsit there was 
some talk of the daughter of the King of Saxony in this 
connection, but this princesse was at least thirty years 
old, and far from beautiful; her father only reigned by 
the grace of Napoleon, and such an alliance would not 
have increased the prestige of the Emperor. 

The conferences at Tilsit had justly increased the 
pride of Napoleon. The fascination he had exercised 
over the young Czar, the ready assent given to all his 
projects, had produced in his mind the thought of a still 
more intimate alliance. But on his return to Josephine, 
after a separation of ten months, the old ties which so 
firmly bound him to her had been again renewed. 

In speaking one day to the Empress of the quarrels 
of Louis and Hortense, and the delicate health of their 
only remaining child, Napoleon said that some day he 
might perhaps be constrained by the demands of public 
policy to take a wife who could give him an heir. In 
broaching the subject he displayed much emotion. " If 
such a thing comes about, Josephine," he said, " you 
must aid me to make such a sacrifice. I shall count upon 
all your affection for me to take the responsibility for 
this forced separation. You wiU assume the initiative, 
will you not, and, realizing my position, have the cour- 
age to decide yourself upon this rupture? " 

The Empress understood too well the character of her 
husband to fall into this trap, and precipitate by an 



imprudent word the catastrophe which she so much 
dreaded. Therefore, so far from giving him the hope 
that by her action she would assume the odium of such 
a rupture, she assured him that, while she was always 
ready to obey his orders, she never would take the 
initiative. She made this reply in the calm and dignified 
manner which she knew how to assume with Napoleon, 
and which was always effective with him. 

Even in her private intercourse with the Emperor, 
Josephine for some time past had abandoned the old 
familiar tutoiement, and she now said: 

" Sire, you are the master, and you will decide upon 
my fate. When you command me to leave the Tuileries, 
I shall instantly obey; but at least you must order it 
in a positive manner. I arn your wife: I have been 
crowned by you in the presence of the Pope; such hon- 
ors impose the obligation of not resigning them volun- 
tarily. If you divorce me, all France will know that it 
is you who drives me away, and will be ignorant neither 
of my obedience nor my profound grief." 

This form of reply, which was always the same, did 
not offend the Emperor, and often moved him to tears: 
in fact he was torn by many conflicting emotions. On 
the one hand he sincerely felt that State policy de- 
manded an heir to the throne; on the other, he knew 
that Josephine was loved by the people, and he hesi- 
tated to brave public opinion by repudiating her. 

When Josephine confided her doubts and fears to 
Hortense, she was far from finding a sympathetic 
listener. Her daughter's only reply was: " How can one 
regret a throne? " 

Two or three weeks before the end of the visit of the 



Court to Fontainebleau, Fouche arrived one morning 
from Paris. After a long private interview with the Em- 
peror in his cabinet, he was invited to dinner a most 
unusual honor. Towards midnight, when all the guests 
in the chateau had gone to their rooms, M. de Remusat 
was summoned to the apartment of the Empress. He 
found her half-undressed, her hair down, and her face 
discomposed. She dismissed her attendants, and, crying 
that she was lost, shoved into the hands of the chamber- 
lain a long letter signed by Fouche. In this communica- 
tion he began by protesting his former devotion for 
her, and assured her that it was on account of this feel- 
ing that he ventured to face her situation and that of 
the Emperor. He pictured the Emperor as at the zenith 
of his power, sovereign-master of France, but respon- 
sible to that same France for the present, and for the 
future which she. had confided to him. " It is useless to 
try to dissimulate the fact, Madame/' he continued, 
" that the political future of France is compromised by 
the lack of an heir to the Emperor. As Minister of 
Police, I am in a position to know public opinion, and 
I know that there is much disquietude over the matter 
of the succession to such an empire. Figure to yourself, 
Madame, the stability which the throne of His Majesty 
would possess to-day if it were founded upon the ex- 
istence of a son! " 

This advantage was ably developed at length, as 
indeed it might well be. Then he spoke of the conflict 
between the conjugal tenderness of the Emperor and 
his public policy; he foresaw that the Emperor would 
never make up his mind to dictate so grievous a sacri- 
fice; he therefore ventured to advise Her Majesty to 




make herself a courageous effort, and to immolate her- 
self for France. He drew a most pathetic picture of the 
glory that such an action would give her now and in 
the future. The letter ended with the assurance that the 
Emperor was ignorant of this step; that the writer 
feared it would displease him; and the Empress was 
solicited to keep the matter a profound secret. 

It was obvious that Fouche would never have ven- 
tured to write such a letter without the knowledge of 
the Emperor. "What shall I do? " cried Josephine; 
" how shall I meet this storm? " Remusat advised her 
to see the Emperor, either that night or the first thing 
in the morning, ask him to read the letter, and observe 
his face while he did so. Also, to express her indigna- 
tion at this uncalled-for advice, and to reiterate her 
determination never to accept anything but a positive 
command from the Emperor himself. 

Josephine adopted this advice, and, as the hour was 
late, deferred her interview with the Emperor until 
morning. When she showed Napoleon the letter, he pre- 
tended to be very angry. He assured her that he was en- 
tirely ignorant of this step; that Fouche had displayed 
a zeal most uncalled-for; that if the minister had not 
already left for Paris he would have taken him sharply 
to task; that he would punish Fouche if she so desired, 
and even dismiss him from his position in the ministry. 
He was very affectionate with Josephine, but she was 
far from being reassured by his explanation and 

Talleyrand, when informed of this matter, expressed 
the opinion that the letter of Fouche was ridiculous and 
improper, and advised that the Empress should reply, 



in a very dignified tone, to the effect that she did not 
require his services as an intermediary between herself 
and the Emperor. She wrote such a letter, which was 
read and approved by Talleyrand, and then submitted 
to the Emperor, who did not venture to censure it. 

When Fouche returned a few days later, the Em- 
press treated him very coldly, but he did not appear to 
notice her manner. Napoleon said to Josephine: "He 
acted from an excess of zeal: you must not treasure it 
up against him. It is enough that we are determined to 
reject his advice, and that you know well that I cannot 
live without you." 

On the 5 November the Emperor wrote Fouche: 
" For a fortnight past you have made foolish blunders: 
it is time that they came to an end, and that you ceased 
to meddle, directly or indirectly, with a matter which 
does not in any way concern you. Such is my 
wish! " 

The outcome of the whole affair was a temporary 
renewal of the former close relations between Napoleon 
and Josephine. He displayed for her all of his old affec- 
tion, and little by little her fears were dissipated. 

During all this period, the Empress was guided by the 
advice of Talleyrand. When Madame de Remusat ex- 
pressed her surprise at his course, he replied: " There 
is no one here in the palace who should not wish to 
have this woman remain by the side of the Emperor. 
She is kind and good; she has the art of calming him; 
she takes an interest in the affairs of everybody, If we 
see a princesse arrive here, you will see the Emperor 
break with the entire Court, and we shall all be 
crushed." These were wise words and true, and almost 



convince one that Talleyrand at the moment was sin- 

It is not difficult to understand the motives which 
actuated Fouche and Talleyrand in this somewhat in- 
volved affair. Fouche had sufficient perspicacity to 
realize that with the Emperor the question of policy 
would in the end outweigh all other considerations. He 
had therefore joined the party of Caroline, who detested 
all the Beauharnais, and, for personal reasons also, 
wished to see her brother enter the family of some Eu- 
ropean sovereign. Once committed to this undertaking, 
Fouche used without scruples his position as minister of 
police to work up public opinion. He instructed his 
secret agents to discuss in the cafes and other public 
places the necessity of an heir to the Emperor. These 
suggestions were reported by other agents to the minis- 
ter, and by him to the Emperor, who easily became con- 
vinced that the people were more interested in the 
question than was probably the case. 

With his usual shrewdness, Talleyrand took advan- 
tage of the sentiment thus worked up by his rival, to 
turn it to his own personal benefit. At the bottom of his 
heart Talleyrand may not have been in favor of the 
divorce; but if it must be, he wished to bring it about 
in his own time and in his own way, and above all to 
get the credit. The Murat coterie favored strengthen- 
ing the alliance already concluded with Russia by a 
matrimonial connection. But Talleyrand, better in- 
formed regarding foreign relations, knew that the 
mother of the Czar would never consent to give the 
hand of one of her daughters to the " murderer " of the 
Due d'Enghien. Besides, the affair of Spain was about 


to come to the front, and the time was not opportune to 
bring forward the question of divorce. Moved, there- 
fore, both by sentiment and by policy, Talleyrand for 
the time being opposed and check-mated the efforts of 

Finally the fetes at Fontainebleau came to an end, 
much to the delight of every one. When the Emperor 
called for a statement of the expenditures he was sur- 
prised to learn that the total did not exceed 150,000 
francs. The last visit of Louis the Sixteenth had cost 
about two millions. The imperial household, under 
Duroc, the grand-marshal of the palace, was run with 
military discipline and economy. The servants were 
always at their posts and scrupulous in the performance 
of their duties: everything moved like clock-work. No 
detail was overlooked by the marshal, and he reported 
directly to the Emperor, who personally supervised 
and directed the work of the household. 

While the Court was still at Fontainebleau Josephine 
received the news of the death of her mother, who 
passed away on the 2 June 1807, at the age of seventy, 
at her residence in Martinique. Josephine, who dearly 
loved her mother, had done everything possible to per- 
suade her to come to live in France, where she would 
have received a warm welcome. But this venerable 
lady preferred her modest and quiet home to all the 
splendors of the imperial palaces. 

On the 1 6 November the Emperor left Fontainebleau 
for Italy, and Josephine returned to Paris. She would 
have liked to make the trip with him, to see her son 
Eugene and the little granddaughter who bore her 


name, but this time Napoleon absolutely refused his 
consent. He said that he would only be gone two or 
three weeks, that the weather would be very cold, and 
that she had better await his return at the Tuileries. 

On the 20 November the Emperor crossed Mont- 
Cenis in a raging snow storm and reached Turin the 
same evening. The following day he proceeded to 
Milan, where he was welcomed by Eugene. During the 
five days that he passed in the city there were religious 
ceremonies at the cathedral, reviews, and a gala per- 
formance at the Scala. On the 28 November he arrived 
at Venice, where he had with him his brother Joseph, 
King of Naples; his sister Elisa, Princesse de Lucques; 
Prince Eugene, Viceroy of Italy; the King and Queen 
of Bavaria; Murat and Berthier. 

After spending ten days at Venice, the Emperor went 
to Mantua, where on the 13 December he had a long 
interview with his brother Lucien. It will be remem- 
bered that Lucien, in opposition to the wishes of the 
First Consul, had married his mistress, Madame Jou- 
berthou. Napoleon desired him to get a divorce, and 
marry Marie-Louise, daughter of King Charles of 
Spain, and widow of the King of Etruria, but Lucien 
spurned this brilliant alliance. In the spring of 1804, 
-he went into voluntary exile at Rome, where he was 
followed by his mother, who refused to return to Paris 
even for the Coronation. 

During the evening the Emperor sent his secretary, 
Meneval, to find Lucien at the inn where he was stay- 
ing, and conduct him to the palace. Lucien greeted his 
brother very coldly, and with much dignity. After once 
more reproaching Lucien for his marriage, and indulg- 


ing in some threats as to what he would do if his brother 
still refused to meet his wishes, the Emperor made this 
proposition: He would recognize as members of the 
Imperial family the daughters of Lucien by both his 
marriages; he would consider his second marriage as 
legal, but would not recognize his wife as an Imperial 
princesse, or consider as legitimate the son born before 
their marriage. If Lucien would divorce his wife, the 
Emperor would place him in the same position as his 
brothers, in the Imperial family, and would give him a 
throne, probably that of Portugal. He could continue 
to live quietly with Madame Jouberthou, if he wished, 
but she could never participate in the honors of royalty. 

Lucien refused absolutely to divorce his wife, and 
declined to be separated from his children: that was 
his last word. During this long interview, which lasted 
more than six hours, Napoleon exhausted all of his re- 
sources, both in the way of threats and of promises, in 
the effort to frighten or persuade his brother to comply 
with his wishes, but all in vain. At the end of the inter- 
view the brothers parted with much emotion, and Lu- 
cien returned to Rome. 

The next day the Emperor left for Milan, where on 
the 17 December he issued the famous Decree declaring 
the British Isles in a state of blockade both by land and 
by sea. 

On the 20 December, in the grand hall of the Royal 
Palace, Napoleon adopted Eugene as his son, and as 
his presumptive successor to the crown of Italy. At the 
same time he gave to Eugene the title of Prince of 
Venice, and to his daughter that of Princesse de 


On the 24 December the Emperor left Milan for 
Paris, where he arrived on the night of the first day of 
January 1808. During this long absence of nearly seven 
weeks Napoleon only wrote Josephine three short 

To the Empress, at Paris 

MILAN, 25 November 1807 

I have been here, mon amie, for two days. I am very 
glad that I did not bring you; you would have suffered 
terribly in the passage of Mont-Cenis, where a storm de- 
tained me twenty-four hours. 

I found Eugene very well; I am well satisfied with him. 
The princesse is ill; I have been to see her at Monza; she 
has had a jaiisse couche, but is better. 

Adieu, mon amie. 


VENICE, 30 November 1807 

I am in receipt your letter of the 22 November. I have 
been at Venice for two days. The weather is very bad, 
which however has not prevented me from traversing the 
lagoons to see the different forts. 

I am glad to hear that you are enjoying yourself at Paris. 

The King of Bavaria, with his family, also the Princesse 
filisa, are here. 

After the 2 December (anniversary of the Coronation), 
which I shall pass here, I shall be on my way home, and 
very glad to see you. 

Adieu, mon amie. NAPOLEON 

UDINE, n December 1807 

I have received, mon amie, your letter of the 3 December, 
from which I see that you were much pleased with the 


Jardin des Plantes. I am now at the most distant point of 
my trip; it is possible that I shall soon be at Paris, where 
I shall be very glad to see you again. The weather here has 
not yet been very cold,, but is very rainy. I have taken 
advantage of the last moment of the season, for I suppose 
that by Christmas the winter will have set in. 
Adieu, mon amie. 

Tout a toi 




Josephine's Fear of Divorce Irresolution of the Emperor A 
Remarkable Episode Marriage of Mile, de Tascher The 
Spanish Crisis Abdication of King Charles Murat 
Enters Madrid The Emperor Goes to Bayonne His 
Sojourn at Marrac Letters to the Empress at Bordeaux 
Birth of Louis-Napoleon Joy of Napoleon and Jose- 
phine Charles Cedes the Spanish Crown Joseph Ap- 
pointed King The Baylen Disaster Return of the 
Emperor and Empress 

WHEN Napoleon arrived at the Tuileries at 
nine o'clock on the evening of the first day 
of January 1808, Josephine threw herself 
into his arms and tenderly wished him a Happy New 
Year. Since the visit to Fontainebleau the Empress had 
known little peace of mind; she lived in the constant 
apprehension of a renewal of the projects for a divorce. 
She no longer treated Napoleon with the familiarity of 
other days, but addressed him as a sovereign rather 
than as a husband. 

The winter season at Paris was never more brilliant. 
Every evening there were concerts, balls, formal din- 
ners. The Court of the Empress was as well attended as 
formerly: in outward appearances nothing had changed. 
Josephine, who did the honors of the Tuileries with her 
usual grace, was as much admired as ever. The Em- 



peror, still undecided, vacillated between the voice of 
his heart and the demands of State policy. He said to 
Talleyrand: " If I separate from my wife I shall re- 
nounce at once all the charm she brings to my private 
life. I must study the tastes and habits of a new and 
young wife. This one adapts herself in every way and 
knows me perfectly. Finally, I shall repay with ingrati- 
tude all that she has done for me; for me she is a tie 
with many people." 

One evening when there was a reception at the 
Chateau, the Emperor failed to appear, and it was an- 
nounced that he was indisposed. After dining with the 
Emperor as usual at six o'clock, Josephine had gone to 
her room to change her dress for the evening. When she 
was ready for the reception a chamberlain came to tell 
her that the Emperor was ill, and she rushed to his side. 
She found Napoleon in a state of great nervous excite- 
ment. He wept, and pressed her in his arms, without any 
regard for her elegant toilette, crying: " No, my poor 
Josephine, I can never leave thee! " Instead of joining 
her guests, Josephine was compelled to pass the night 
with her husband, and it was not until morning that he 
recovered his equanimity. " What a devil of a man! " 
said Talleyrand in disgust, when the astonished as- 
sembly was curtly dismissed, " what a devil of a man, to 
give way continually to his first impulse, and never to 
know what he wants to do! " 

On the first of February, at the hotel of Queen Hor- 
tense, Rue Cerutti, was celebrated the marriage of 
Prince d'Arenberg and. Mile. Stephanie de Tascher, 
Josephine's cousin and goddaughter, who had been cre- 
ated an Imperial princesse by the Emperor on the 



occasion of the signing of the contract. During the 
Consulate her hand had been asked in marriage by 
General Rapp, one of the favorite aides de camp of 
Napoleon, but Josephine, who retained many of the 
prejudices of the Ancien Regime, refused her consent. 
This Arenberg marriage was not a success; the prin- 
cesse could not endure her husband and refused to 
live with him. At a later date the marriage was annulled 
and she espoused Comte de Guitry. 

In the midst of his domestic preoccupations the 
Emperor had not ceased to follow closely the course 
of events in Spain. The Spanish Bourbons were de- 
scended from a grandson of Louis the Fourteenth, 
Philip of Anjou, who became King of Spain in 1700 
under the title of Philip the Fifth. At the beginning 
of 1808 the royal family of Spain comprised the King, 
Charles the Fourth, a man of sixty; his wife, Marie- 
Louise, who was three years younger, and their son, 
Ferdinand, Prince of the Asturias, a boy of twenty. 
To this interesting group must be added the Queen's 
lover, Godoy, Prince of the Peace. Ferdinand had 
formed a plan of seizing the government, but the plot 
was betrayed to the King, and he was put under arrest. 

Portugal had refused to accept the Berlin Decree 
of Napoleon, prohibiting the importation of English 
goods, and Napoleon had arranged with the Czar at 
Tilsit for the occupation and dismemberment of that 
country. While the above events were happening at 
Madrid, Junot, at the head of a French army of 25,000 
men, had advanced to the gates of Lisbon. Before his 
arrival, the royal family embarked on the fleet and 
sailed for Brazil. 



On the 20 February 1808 the Emperor appointed 
Murat his lieutenant to command the French troops 
in Spain, and a week later he announced to the Court 
of Madrid his intention to annex to the French Empire 
all of Spain north of the Ebro, giving the Spanish 
Crown, by way of compensation, all of Portugal. 
Alarmed at this proposition Charles made preparations 
to flee the country, but the news became known, there 
was a popular uprising, and he abdicated the throne 
in favor of his son. 

In the meantime the French army under Murat was 
advancing on Madrid, and on the 23 March it entered 
the city. Charles now wrote the Emperor .that Ms 
abdication had been forced upon him, and asked to 
be reinstated upon his throne. Ferdinand also presented 
his claims at the same time, and Napoleon invited all 
of the interested parties to meet hftn at Bayonne for a 

On the second day of April the Emperor quietly 
left Saint-Cloud, ostensibly for a visit to the South of 
France. He was not accompanied by Josephine, but 
it was arranged that she was to follow him a few 
days later. Napoleon reached Bordeaux on the fourth, 
and Josephine on the tenth. On the 13 April the Em- 
peror proceeded to Bayonne. Two days after his ar- 
rival he inspected the chateau of Marrac, located about 
a league from the city, which he arranged to purchase 
for his residence. It was only an ordinary country 
mansion, and altogether too small to lodge comfortably 
the Emperor and his suite. 

During his sojourn at Bayonne the Emperor held 
frequent reviews of his troops, passing through on their 



way to Spain, as many as a hundred thousand men 
defiling under his eyes. He went out daily and loved 
the promenades upon the Adour towards Boucau. He 
never announced in advance either the hour or the 
course of these excursions, often changing the direc- 
tion and returning to the chateau from the point where 
he was least expected. Often he directed his steps 
towards a dove-cote in the form of a small tower, which 
was located at the extremity of the outer wall of the 
park. From there he descended to the banks of the 
Nive, and went nearly every day, sometimes on foot, 
and sometimes in a boat, to visit his sister Caroline, 
who was living at Lauga. 

On the 20 April the Emperor received Prince Fer- 
dinand, who arrived that day, and entertained him at 
dinner. Six days later the Prince de la Paix appeared, 
and had a long conference with Napoleon. On the 27 
April Josephine came from Bordeaux. During this fort- 
night the Emperor sent Josephine four letters: 

To the Empress, at Bordeaux 

BAYONNE, 16 April 1808 

I arrived here very well, but somewhat fatigued by the 
route, which is dismal and very poor. 

I am very glad that you remained, for the houses here 
are very small and very bad. 

I am going to-day to a little house in the country, half 
a league from the city. 

Adieu, mon amie; good health. 



17 April 1808 

I have your letter of the 15 April. What you tell me of 
the country landowner gives me pleasure; go sometimes and 
pass the day there. 

I have given orders to add 20,000 francs a month to your 
allowance, during the trip, to date from the first of April. 

I am horribly lodged. In a half-hour I am going to change, 
and take up my residence in a small country house at a 
distance of half a league. The infante Don Carlos, and five 
or six Spanish grandees are here; the Prince of the Asturias 
is twenty leagues away. King Charles and the Queen are 
arriving. I do not know where I shall lodge all these people. 
Everything is still at the inn. My troops in Spain are well. 

It took me a moment to understand your gentillesses ; I 
laughed over your souvenirs. You women certainly have a 

My health is quite good, and I love you very dearly. It 
is my desire that you be very friendly with everybody at 
Bordeaux; my affairs did not permit me to do so personally. 


21 April 1808 

I have your letter of the 19 April. Yesterday I had the 
Prince of the Asturias and his suite to dinner; that gave 
me much trouble. I await Charles the Fourth and the 

My health is good. I am now quite well established in 
the country. 

Adieu, mon amie; I always receive news of you with the 
greatest pleasure. 


BAYONNE, 23 April 1808 

Mon amie, Hortense has a son; this has greatly rejoiced 
me. I am not surprised that you do not speak of it, for 



your letter is dated the twenty-first, and she was confined 
during the night of the twentieth. 

You can set out the twenty-sixth, pass the night at Mont- 
de-Marsan, and arrive here the twenty-seventh. I am ar- 
ranging for you here a small country house beside the one 
which I occupy. My health is good. 

I am looking for Charles the Fourth and his wife. 

Adieu, mon amie. 


The child referred to in the Emperor's last letter 
was Louis-Napoleon, the future Napoleon the Third, 
Emperor of the French. He was born in Paris on the 
20 April 1808 at the town-house of Queen Hortense, 
in Rue Cerutti, and not at the Tuileries, as erroneously 
stated by many historians. By the express orders of 
the Emperor, who sent Hortense a letter of congratula- 
tions, he was called Charles-Louis-Napoleon, in honor 
of his grandfather Bonaparte, his father, and his uncle. 

Josephine's first letter to her daughter, written on 
the 23 April, begins in a jubilant tone: " I am at the 
summit of joy, my dear Hortense. ... I know Na- 
poleon is consoled at not having a sister and that he 
already loves his brother very much. Kiss them both 
for me." 

Two days later she wrote again: " I am just in re- 
ceipt, my dear Hortense, of a letter from the Emperor 
... ; he is perfectly delighted. At the same time he 
summons me to rejoin Mm at Bayonne. You can imag- 
ine, my dear daughter, that it is a great pleasure for 
me not to be away from the Emperor, so I set out 
early to-morrow morning. I am pleased at tlie news I 
receive of your health. I beg you always to take good 


care of yourself, and above all not to receive company 
these first few days. I cannot write you again for two 
or three days, but shall think of you every moment. 
I embrace you. Adieu, my dear Hortense." 

Josephine had the great satisfaction of finding Na- 
poleon in a most loving mood toward her. He spent 
all of his spare time with her and displayed unusual 
signs of good humor. One day, on the beach, unde- 
terred by the presence of the escort, he chased her 
over the sands and pushed her into the water; another 
time, he picked up a shoe which fell off her foot as 
she got into a carriage, and flung it away, in great 
glee over the idea that she would have to go home 
without one. 

On the last day of April the Spanish sovereigns ar- 
rived at the government palace at Bayonne; the Em- 
peror immediately called on them, and that evening 
entertained them at dinner at Marrac. 

On the 5 May, when the Emperor, after dejeuner, 
was riding with Savary, he received the news of the 
uprising at Madrid three days before. He immediately 
galloped to Bayonne, where he had a spirited inter- 
view with Charles and his son. To Ferdinand he said: 
" Prince, up to this moment I have taken no stand in 
the controversy which has brought you here, but the 
blood shed at Madrid ends my irresolution. I shall 
never recognize as King of Spain the person who, by 
ordering the murder of French soldiers, has been the 
first to break the alliance which has so long united our 
two countries. ... I have no ties except with your 
father: I recognize him as King, and will escort him 
to Madrid if he so desires." 



The Prince made no reply, but Charles, with the 
visions of Charles the First and Louis the Sixteenth 
ever troubling his thoughts, had no desire to remount 
his precarious throne. That same evening, by a treaty 
signed for the Emperor by Duroc, and for the King 
by the Prince de la Paix, Charles ceded to Napoleon 
the crown of Spain and of the Indies in exchange for 
the use of the chateau and forest of Compiegne, the 
title in perpetuity to the chateau of Chambord, and a 
civil list of seven millions and a half to be paid by the 
French Government. By another convention, signed on 
the 10 May, Ferdinand also ceded his rights to the 
crown. He was accorded the title in France of Royal 
Highness; received for himself and his descendants 
the chateau of Navarre; and was given an allowance 
of a million francs. Such was the price of the magni- 
ficent heritage of Charles-Quint! 

On the 4 June, by an official act, Napoleon ceded 
to his brother Joseph all of the rights acquired under 
the above treaties. Three days later the new King of 
Spain arrived at Bayonne, and that evening attended 
a grand dinner given by the Emperor at Marrac, at 
which were also present the members of the Grand 
Junta of Spain, who had been summoned by Napoleon 
two weeks before. 

Napoleon had reached the turning point of his 
career. With easy confidence and a light heart he em- 
barked on an enterprise which was to baffle him at 
every stage, to drain his resources, to cost him three 
hundred thousand valuable lives, and to end in abso- 
lute failure. At Saint Helena he said: " It was the 
Spanish ulcer which ruined me! " 



The first week in July the Junta accepted the new 
constitution drawn up for Joseph under Napoleon's 
orders, and a few days later the new king left for 

Napoleon started homeward again in company with 
Josephine. It was arranged that they should travel 
together as far as Toulouse, whence the Emperor was 
to go to Bordeaux, and Josephine to take the waters 
at Bareges. The Emperor reached Bordeaux on the 31 
July, and there he learned, two days later, of the ca- 
pitulation of Dupont at Baylen with an army of 20,000 
men, and the flight of King Joseph from Madrid. It 
was the first serious disaster to the imperial arms, and 
Napoleon was wild with rage at this blow to his 

The Emperor at once realized the necessity of his 
own presence in the Peninsula, but before going there 
he wished to organize a well-equipped army, and also 
to assure himself of the solidarity of his alliance with 
the Czar. This meant a return to Paris, and Josephine 
received orders to abandon her trip to Bareges and 
rejoin the Emperor. 

On his way home the Emperor visited Rochefort 
and La Rochelle, and then in company with Josephine, 
who had rejoined him, he proceeded by way of Tours 
and Blois to Saint-Cloud, where he arrived on the eve 
of his fete. 



The Erfurt Conference Josephine Left at Paris Napoleon 
Opens His Heart to Alexander Talleyrand Instructed to 
Begin Negotiations for an Alliance Napoleon's Letters to 
Josephine He Leaves for Spain The Peninsula Cam- 
paign Pursuit of the English Bad News from Paris 
The Emperor's Correspondence His Return to Paris 
Scene at the Tuileries The Succession Plot Jose- 
phine's Revelations She Accompanies Napoleon to Stras- 
bourg The Emperor Wounded at Ratisbon His Letters 
During the Campaign End of the War Napoleon 
Leaves for Fontainebleau 

THE last year that Josephine was destined to 
wear the imperial crown was for her a period 
of constant anxiety. She knew that the 
divorce was inevitable, and that her days upon the 
throne were numbered. Before the fatal decree was 
passed, however, she had yet many trials to endure. 
From the date that the Emperor left for Erfurt to 
that eventful evening in December 1809, she saw but 
little of her husband, who was absent from France the 
greater part of the time. 

Returning from Bayonne on the 14 August, the Em- 
peror immediately began preparations on a large scale 
to put down the revolt in Spain and restore his brother 
to the throne. For the sake of his own prestige also it 

271 3 


was necessary as soon as possible to repair the damage 
done by the capitulation of General Dupont. He had 
therefore decided to enter Spain himself at the head 
of the Grand Army, the invincible veterans of Auster- 
litz, Jena and Friedland. Before leaving for the Pen- 
insula, however, he wished to feel certain that there 
would be no change in the political situation during his 
absence. Above all he wanted the assurance that his 
new ally, the Czar, was still as favorably disposed to- 
wards him as when they parted at Tilsit the previous 
year. He therefore suggested an interview, and Alex- 
ander accepted. The meeting took place at the little 
German cityi of Erfurt, and lasted from the 27 Sep- 
tember to the 14 October. All of the allies of the Em- 
peror were present: the kings of Bavaria, Wiirtem- 
berg, Saxony and Westphalia; the Prince-Primate, and 
all the princes of the Confederation of the Rhine. The 
actors of the Comedie-Frangaise, summoned from 
Paris, played before a " parterre of kings." 

To her great regret, Josephine was not allowed to 
accompany the Emperor, and she divined that her di- 
vorce would be one of the subjects of discussion. In 
this she was not mistaken. The Czar had two sisters 
of a marriageable age: the grand duchesses Catherine 
and Anne, and Napoleon had thought of the elder as 
a possible wife. At one of their conferences the Em- 
peror broached the subject by saying to Alexander: 

" This life of agitation wearies me. I need rest, and 
look forward to nothing so much as the moment when 
without anxiety I can seek the joys of domestic life, 
which appeals to all my tastes. But this happiness is 
not for me. What domesticity is there without children? 



And can I have any? My wife is ten years older than 
myself. I must ask your pardon. It is perhaps ridic- 
ulous of me to tell you all this, but I am yielding to 
the impulse of my heart which finds pleasure in open- 
ing itself out to you." 

It is perhaps unnecessary to state that Napoleon was 
not yielding to the impulse of his heart, but to the 
calculations of his ambition, or the demands of his 
policy. He was broaching the subject, which he pro- 
posed to have followed up by Talleyrand, whom he 
had brought to Erfurt for that very purpose. He was 
about to commit these delicate negotiations to that 
wily diplomat, who had already made up his mind 
to betray him* 

The evening of that same day the Emperor had a 
long conversation with Talleyrand, regarding the di- 
vorce. As reported by Talleyrand in his Mimoires, he 

" My destiny requires it, and the tranquillity of 
France demands it. I have no successor. Joseph 
amounts to nothing, and he has only daughters. It is 
I who must found the dynasty, and I cannot do so 
without allying myself to a princess who belongs to 
one of the great ruling houses of Europe. The Emperor 
Alexander has sisters: one of them is of suitable age. 
Take the matter up with Romantzoff; tell him that 
as soon as this Spanish affair is settled, I will enter 
into all the Czar's plans for the partition of Turkey. 
You will not lack for other arguments, for I know that 
you are a partisan of the divorce: the Empress Jo- 
sephine is also aware of the fact, I can inform you." 

Talleyrand said in reply that he thought it would be 


better for him to take the matter up directly with the 
Czar, instead of his minister, and Napoleon acquiesced. 
Talleyrand, who well knew the feelings of the mother 
of Alexander, instead of loyally furthering the plans 
of his master, suggested to the Czar a dilatory policy, 
which would thwart the plans of Napoleon, without 
arousing his resentment. The unprincipled minister em- 
braced this opportunity to begin to weave the plot 
which was finally to bring about the fall of the man 
he had always secretly detested. 

During his absence the Emperor sent Josephine only 
three letters, all of them brief and insignificant. In the 
first, written two days after his arrival, he expressed 
his satisfaction with the Czar. In the second, ten days 
later, he says: " I have just hunted on the battle-field 
of Jena. We took breakfast on the spot where I passed 
the night at my bivouac. I attended a ball at Weimar. 
The Emperor Alexander dances; but I, no: forty years 
are forty years! " In his last letter, which bears no 
date, he again speaks of his satisfaction with Alexander, 
and says, " if the Czar were a woman I should be in 
love with him." 

In spite of his great genius Napoleon was the dupe 
of this young Emperor, who, he thought, was his friend. 
From this interview he gained nothing except a breath- 
ing spell during which he could proceed, without danger 
of immediate interruption, to regulate his affairs in 

Between his return from Erfurt, and his departure 
for Spain, Napoleon spent only ten days with Jose- 
phine at Saint-Cloud. During this time their relations 
were somewhat strained. The Emperor appeared em- 



barrassed in the presence of his wife, as though he 
feared that, through some indiscretion, a report of his 
matrimonial projects might have reached her ears; and 
Josephine, who both desired and feared to know the 
truth, did not venture to ask any questions. As usual, 
she wished to accompany the Emperor to the frontier, 
and it was almost by main force that he prevented her 
from entering the carriage which bore him away. 

Leaving Saint-Cloud on the 29 October, the Em- 
peror reached Bayonne on the 3 November; a month 
later he was at the gates of Madrid, and the city capit- 
ulated the following day. During the three weeks 
which he spent at the capital, Napoleon resided at a 
small country mansion, Chamartin, a few miles north 
of the city. He was constantly occupied with plans for 
the upbuilding of the country. He had reinstated his 
brother on the throne, and if there had been time for 
the new institutions to take root, Spain to-day would 
be a far more progressive country. 

In the meantime, an English army under Sir John 
Moore had advanced on Burgos to cut the French line 
of communications, and on the 22 December the Em- 
peror left Madrid with 'his Guard, to meet this new 
offensive. Moore learned of his danger in time and 
beat a hasty retreat. When he was at Astorga, on the 
first day of January 1809, Napoleon received a des- 
patch from his old friend and aide de camp Lavalette, 
telling him of the intrigues of Talleyrand and Fouche 
with Murat and Caroline, and the armament of Aus- 
tria, He turned over the pursuit of the English to Ney 
and Soult, and started for Valladolid. On the 17 Jan- 
uary he set out for Paris, covering the distance of 


thirty leagues from Valladolid to Burgos in the remark- 
able time of six hours, upon his own horses, arranged 
in six relays. The following day he left this country, 
which he alone could have conquered, which he never 
was to see again, and which was destined to ruin his 
Empire. At eight o'clock on the morning of the 23 
January he was back in the Tuileries. 

During his absence of twelve weeks Napoleon sent 
Josephine fourteen letters, some of them brief and in- 
significant. The first five, from Marrac, Tolosa, Vit- 
toria, Burgos, and Arranda, tell only of his progress, 
and the state of his health. After this, his letters are 
longer and more interesting. 

To the Empress, at Paris 

(CHAMARTIN), 7 December 1808 

I am in receipt your letter of the 28 (November). I am 
glad to hear that you are well. . . . My health is good. The 
weather here is like the last half of May at Paris. It is 
warm, and we have no fire, unless the night is cool. 
Madrid is tranquil. All my affairs are going well. 
Adieu, mon amie. 

Tout a toi 

(CHAMARTIN), 10 December 1808 

Mon amie, I have your letter. You tell me that the 
weather is bad at Paris; here we are having the finest in 
the world. Tell me, I pray you, what Hortense means by 
her reforms: they say she is discharging her servants? Has 
any one refused her what she needs? Send me a word on 
the subject; the reforms are not in good taste. 


Adieu, mon amie. ... All here goes very well, and I 
pray you to take good care of yourself. 


(CHAMARTIN), 21 December 1808 

You should have returned to the Tuileries the 12 (Decem- 
ber). I hope that you have been satisfied with your apart- 
ments. . . . 

Adieu, mon amie. I am well: the weather is rainy, and a 
little cold. 


(CHAMARTIN), 22 December 1808 

I leave immediately to manoeuvre the English, who appear 
to have received their reinforcements, and to desire to make 
their swagger (jaire les cranes). The weather is fine; my 
health perfect. Have no anxiety. 


BENEVENTE, 31 December 1808 

Mon amie, I have been in pursuit of the English for 
several days, but they flee in terror. In order not to retard 
their retreat for a half-day, they have basely abandoned 
the wreck of the Romana army. More than one hundred 
baggage-wagons have already been taken. The weather 
is very bad. 

Adieu, mon amie. Bessieres with 10,000 cavalry is at 

Happy New Year to everybody! NAPOLEON 

BENEVENTE, $ January 1809 

Mon amie, I am writing only a line. The English are 
completely routed. I have ordered the Due de Dalmatie 
(Soult) to pursue them vigorously (Vtyee dam les reins). 
I am well. The weather is bad. 

Adieu, mon amie. NAPOLEON 


(VALLODOLID), 8 January 1809 

I have your letters of the 23 and 26 (December). I am 
sorry to hear that you are suffering from your teeth. I have 
been here for two days. The weather is seasonable. The 
English are embarking. I am well. 
Adieu, mon amie. 

I am writing to Hortense. Eugene has a daughter. 

Tout a toi 

(VALLODOLID), 9 January 1809 

Moustache (a courier) has brought me your letter of the 
31 December. I see, my friend, that you are sad, and that 
you are very anxious. Austria will not go to war with me. 
If she does, I have 150,000 men in Germany, as many on 
the Rhine, and 400,000 Germans to meet her. Russia will 
not abandon me. They are mad in Paris; all goes well. 

I shall be in Paris as soon as I think it necessary. I warn 
you to beware of apparitions; one of these fine days at 
two o'clock in the morning. . . . 

But adieu, mon amie; I am well, and ever yours 


On the afternoon of the 23 January, the day of his 
return to Paris, all of the ministers and grand officers 
of the State called at the Tuileries to pay their homage 
to the Emperor. In the presence of this distinguished 
assembly, Napoleon severely rebuked Talleyrand and 
Fouche for the disgraceful intrigue which they had 
carried on during his absence. This reproof was not the 
cause of their hostility to the Emperor, as often stated, 
but it was the signal for the secret war which they 
levied against him from that time on. 



During the Campaign of Poland, in 1807, and again 
during the absence of the Emperor in Spain , the follow- 
ing year, the possibility of his death, and its effect on 
the dynasty, were seriously discussed at Paris. There 
were well-founded rumors of a project to place Murat 
on the throne, in case anything happened to Napoleon, 
Fouche and Talleyrand were in the plot, and the warm- 
est advocate, if not the real instigator of the plan, was 
Napoleon's ambitious sister Caroline. 

In this connection there is a record in the Journal 
of Stanislas Girardin of a conversation which he had 
with Josephine on the last day of February 1809, after 
his return from Spain. The Empress said to him: 

" While you were in Spain there were some curious 
rapprochements; irreconcilable enemies [Fouche and 
Talleyrand] have suddenly become reconciled; men 
who never saw each other have been seen together fre- 
quently. . . . This clique is powerful, and braves us; 
Fouche is its soul. 

" When Murat was given the throne of Naples, all 
the journals under the control of the police sang his 
praises. . . . Fouche said openly that Murat was the 
only successor of the Emperor, the only one who could 
inspire Europe with fear, and the only one who en- 
joyed the confidence of the Army. He wrote a letter to 
the Emperor in which he stated positively that France 
did not want any of his brothers as a successor. For- 
tunately the eyes of Bonaparte are opened since his 
return. The letter of which I speak is in existence: it 
is in the hands of Meneval [the Emperor's secretary]." 

In spite of the assertions of Lanfrey and other his- 



torians, there is little doubt of the existence of this 
plot, but the Austrian menace probably had more 
weight in determining the Emperor to return from 
Spain. Austria thought that the moment was opportune 
to attempt to recover her lost possessions. The Arch- 
duke Charles, who was in command of the army, 
had made a supreme effort to raise a force capable 
of meeting Napoleon, and he had done his work 

Late on the 12 April Napoleon was informed by a 
semaphore message that the Austrian army had crossed 
the Inn and invaded the territory of his ally the King 
of Bavaria. At daybreak the next morning, accom- 
panied by Josephine, he started for Strasbourg, where 
he arrived in forty-eight hours. He left the Empress 
there and immediately crossed the Rhine. 

During the following week, in one of the most bril- 
liant operations of his career, the Emperor won two 
decisive victories, and completely crushed the Austrian 
offensive. Eighteen days later he was once more quar- 
tered in the palace of Schcenbrunn at Vienna. 

On the 23 April, before Ratisbon, Napoleon was 
slightly wounded by a spent bullet which struck him 
in the right heel. This is the only; wound he is ever 
known to have received, except a bayonet thrust in the 
thigh at the siege of Toulon; but at the time of the 
autopsy, after his death at Saint Helena, several scars 
were found on his body. This seems to prove that he 
was hit on other occasions, but was successful in con- 
cealing the fact. 

Josephine remained for several weeks at Strasbourg, 
where she was visited by Hortense and her sons, by 


the Queen of Westphalia and the Grand Duchess of 

The story of the campaign is told in several brief 
letters from the Emperor: 

To the Empress, at Strasbourg 

DOXATTW(RTH, 1 8 April 1809 

I reached here at four o'clock this morning, and am 
leaving. Everything is in motion. There is great activity 
in the military operations. Up to this moment there is no 

ENNS, Noon, 6 May 1809 

I have received your letter. The ball which touched me, 
did not wound me: it hardly grazed the tendon of Achilles. 
My health is very good. You have no need for anxiety. 

SAINT-POLTEN, 9 May 1809 

To-morrow I shall be before Vienna just a month 
from the day that the Austrians crossed the Inn, and broke 
the peace. My health is good, the weather superb, and the 
soldiers very gay. 

VIENNA, 12 May 1809 

I am sending the brother of the Duchesse de Montebello 
to tell you that I am master of Vienna, and that all here is 
well. My health is very good. 

VIENNA, 27 May 1809 

I am sending a page to inform you that Eugene has 
joined me with his entire army; that he has performed 
perfectly the task that I assigned him; that he has almost 
entirely destroyed the force of the enemy which opposed 



EBERSDOKF, 29 May 1809 

I have been here since yesterday; I am stopped by the 
river. The bridge has been burned: I shall cross at mid- 
night. Everything goes as I would desire, that is to say 
very well. The Austrians have been struck by a thunder- 

It would be impossible for any one reading the last 
two letters to imagine that they were written a week 
after the terrible two-days' battle of Aspern-Essling, 
in which Napoleon received one of the worst reverses 
in his career. In his next letter he alludes to a visit of 
Hortense and her sons, without his permission, to the 
baths of Baden; and also to the death of his old com- 
panion-in-arms, Lannes, who was mortally wounded 
just at the end of the battle of Essling. 

To the Empress, at Strasbourg 

(EBERSDORF), 31 May 1809 

I have your letter of the 26. I have written you that 
you may go to Plombieres. I do not care to have you go to 
Baden: you must not leave France. I have ordered the 
two princes to return to France. I have been much afflicted 
by the loss of the Due de Montebello, who died this morn- 
ing. Thus all comes to an end! ! If you can help to console 
his poor wife, do so. 

(VIENNA) 9 June 1809 

I am glad to learn that* you are going to the waters of 
Plombieres; they will do you good. I am well, and the 
weather is very fine. I note with pleasure that Hortense 
and her son are in France. 


SCHCENBRITNX, 1 6 June l8og 

I am sending a page to announce that the 14, anniver- 
sary of Marengo, Eugene gained a battle against the Arch- 
duke John at Raab, in Hungary; that he has taken 3000 
men, several cannon, four flags; and has pursued them very 
far on the road to Bude. 

Early in June, Hortense left her mother to go to 
the baths in the Pyrenees, and Josephine went to Plom- 
bieres. Here she received the news of the great victory 
of Wagram, and of the armistice of Znai'm. On the 13 
July the Emperor was again back at Vienna, where lie 
remained until the final peace was signed on the 14 
October. It is rather remarkable to note that, although 
he had Madame Walewska with him, his brief letters 
are more tender than for several years. In one he says: 
" Good-bye, mon amie, you know my feelings for 
Josephine: they are unchangeable." Two letters writ- 
ten from Vienna in August, and one in September, are 
even more notable. At this time Josephine had gone 
from Plombieres to Malmaison. " I have heard," he 
writes on the 26 August, " that you are fat, fresh, and 
looking very well. I assure you that Vienna is not an 
amusing town. I should much like to be back again in 
Paris." Five days later he says: "I have received no 
letters from you for several days. The pleasures of 
Malmaison, the beautiful hothouses, the fine gardens, 
cause the absent to be forgotten. That is the way with 
you all, they say." Finally, on the 25 September: " I 
have your letter. Do not be too sure. I warn you to 
look after yourself well at night; for one of these 
early ones you will hear a great noise! " 



From Munich on the 21 and 22 October 1809, the 
Emperor sent Josephine the last letters he wrote dur- 
ing the Campaign of Wagram, the last also which she 
was to receive from him before the divorce. 

To the Empress, at Malmaison 

NYMPHENBOURG, near MUNICH, 21 October 1809 

I have been here since yesterday, in good health. I do not 
expect to start to-morrow. I shall stop a day at Stuttgart. 
You will be notified twenty-four hours in advance of my 
arrival at Fontainebleau. It will be a treat for me to see you 
again, and I await the moment with impatience. 
I embrace you. 

Ever yours 

MUNICH, (22 October jSoo.) 

Mon amie, I start in an hour. I shall arrive at Fontaine- 
bleau the 26 or 27; you can go there with some ladies. 





Napoleon Arrives at Fontainebleau He Informs Cambaceres 
of the Coming Divorce His Cold Reception of Josephine 
She Finds the Door of Communication Closed Hesita- 
tion of the Emperor Josephine at Forty-six Napoleon 
Breaks the Fatal News The Scene of the 30 November 
A Comic Episode The Verdict of History Napoleon's 
Sincere Regret His Interview with Hortense The Final 
Fetes An Unfortunate Contretemps at Grosbois 

"\HE Emperor reached Fontainebleau on his re- 
turn from Vienna at nine o'clock on the 
morning of the 26 October. He had travelled 
with such rapidity that he arrived a day sooner than 
he was expected, and found no one to receive him 
except the concierge. To pass away the time he in- 
spected the new apartments in the chateau which he 
had had furnished with great magnificence. 

A little later Cambaceres appeared, in advance of 
the other courtiers. The failure of the Empress to meet 
him, which was in no way her fault, seemed to have 
put Napoleon in very bad humor, and he openly 
declared to the arch-chancellor his fixed intention of 
repudiating Josephine, and espousing either a Russian 
or an Austrian princess. Cambaceres, who was devoted 
to the Empress, ventured some timid and respectful 
remonstrances, but was immediately silenced. 



At this time Napoleon was truly the " spoilt child of 
Fortune." More absolute and more imperious than 
ever, he no longer allowed even a suggestion from his 
family or his ministers: every one obeyed and kept 
silent. In the words of Monsieur Thiers: " His all- 
powerful nature had completely blossomed out, and it 
was to fade away like his fortune, for nothing stands 

Next came Fouche, and the wily Minister of Police 
was not slow to take advantage of the Emperor's feel- 
ing to make an indirect attack on the absent Josephine. 
" There is not one of your marshals," he said, " who 
is not considering how to dispose of your estate if we 
have the misfortune to lose you. It is a case of Alex- 
ander's lieutenants eager for their kingdoms." 

After these conversations with his ministers, the Em- 
peror went to his library and began to write. Late in 
the afternoon he heard the noise of a carriage arriving 
in the court, and rushed down stairs. But it was not 
the Empress, and he returned to his work. 

An hour later Josephine finally arrived. She had 
made all possible haste to come from Saint-Cloud as 
soon as she was informed of the return of the Emperor. 
Seeing that Napoleon did not come to meet her, with 
a heavy heart she mounted the stairway, and entered 
the library, where she found Napoleon seated at his 
writing-table. " Ah! there you are at last," he ex- 
daimed. " You did well to come, for I was about to 
leave for Saint-Cloud." At this brutal welcome, after 
a separation of six months, the eyes of Josephine filled 
with tears, and she swayed as though she were about 
to fall. Napoleon at once relented, took her in his 



arms, and tenderly embraced her. Josephine then went 
to her apartment to change her toilette for dinner. 

An hour and a half later she reappeared, resplendent 
in a new gown which became her marvellously. To 
avoid the embarrassment of a tete-a-tete meal, the Em- 
peror invited two of his ministers, who were working 
with him, to dine with them. Forgetting his bad humor, 
he showed himself quite amiable. 

But the evening was not to end without another rude 
shock to Josephine. On going to her rooms for the 
night she discovered for the first time that, during the 
recent alterations to the chateau, the inner door which 
communicated with the Emperor's suite had been 
closed. This was a significant fact which she did not 
fail to appreciate. She did not dare to ask the Emperor 
for an explanation, but the next morning she ques- 
tioned M. de Bausset, the prefect of the palace. He 
professed his ignorance of the change, and Josephine 
said: " You may be sure that there is some mystery 
attached to it." To a woman of her intelligence, how- 
ever, there was very little mystery about the matter. 
She fully understood that the divorce was now only a 
question of days. Yet when they left Fontainebleau for 
Paris on the 14 November, the Emperor had not 
spoken, and Josephine again began " to hope against 

At Paris there was soon a regular assembly of 
crowned heads. The King of Saxony was already there, 
and a few days later there arrived the kings of Naples, 
Westphalia and Holland, and the princes of the Con- 
federation of the Rhine. Segur, the grand-master of 
ceremonies, had difficulty in finding suitable quarters 



for so many exalted personages, and complained that 
he was troubled by an " embarras de rois." It was 
surely an irony of fate that the imperial Court had 
never been so brilliant and so attractive as when the 
gracious Josephine was about to leave it forever. 

Napoleon, usually so prompt to put his plans into 
execution, did not seem to be able to make up his mind 
to sever finally the tie which bound him to the woman 
who for fourteen years had been associated with his 
destiny, and who recalled the most brilliant days of 
his youth and his glory. M. de Bausset draws this 
sketch of Josephine at the time of the divorce: 

" The Empress was forty-six years old. No woman 
could have more grace of manner and bearing. Her eyes 
were enchanting, her smile full of charm, her voice of 
an extreme softness, her form noble, supple, perfect. 
Her toilette, always elegant and in perfect taste, made 
her appear much younger than she really was. But all 
this was as nothing beside the goodness of her heart. 
Her spirit was amiable; never did she wound the self- 
love of any one, never had she anything disagreeable 
to say. Her disposition was always even and placid. 
Devoted to Napoleon, she communicated to him, with- 
out his perceiving it, her kindness and goodness." 

A still more intimate observer, Mile. Avrillon, gives 
us another view of Josephine at this same time. She 
says: " The Empress, constantly in tears, endeavored to 
hide them from the persons around her; but it did not 
take a very discerning eye to perceive that her happi- 
ness was destroyed forever, for she lived in a state of 
continual agitation. It is really impossible for me to 
say whether she was rendered more unhappy by the 




blow she received than by all the preliminaries of the 
event itself. As, notwithstanding the conviction of her 
future, she still preserved, if not hope, at least a vague 
feeling of uncertainty, every time that a minister or 
a grand dignitary of the Empire came to see her, she 
pressed him with indirect questions, tormented equally 
by the desire to know her fate and the fear to learn 

Finally, on the last day of November, Napoleon 
found the courage to break the fatal news. " What a 
scene for a tragedy! " he said himself, in speaking 
later of the events of that evening at the Tuileries. 

Josephine dined alone with the Emperor in a room 
adjoining his chamber on the first floor. She wore a 
large white hat which partly concealed her face. Not a 
word was spoken, and neither of them touched the 
courses which were placed before them, and then 
silently removed. After dinner they went into the salon 
on the other side of the palace, between the Throne 
Room and the Gallery of Diana. After a moment of 
silence, Napoleon began to speak. He said that the 
safety of the Empire demanded a momentous resolu- 
tion, and that he counted on all of her courage and 
devotion to consent to a step upon which he himself, 
with the greatest reluctance, had decided the dis- 
solution of their marriage. Josephine made no reply. 
She burst into tears, and then fell, apparently in a 
dead faint, upon the floor. 

Greatly agitated, the Emperor opened the door of 
the salon, and called M. de Bausset, who was on duty 
that evening. After closing the door, Napoleon asked 
the prefect if he was strong enough to lift the Empress, 



and carry her by the interior staircase to her apart- 
ment on the ground floor. Bausset, a large, stout man, 
took Josephine in his arms, and followed Napoleon, 
who led the way, holding a candle in his hand. When 
the staircase was reached, Bausset saw that it was too 
narrow for him to descend with such a burden. The 
Emperor thereupon called an attendant, gave him the 
candle, and told him to light the way. Then he relieved 
Bausset of the Empress' legs, allowing him to support 
her body. In this manner, the descent was begun, Na- 
poleon walking backwards and Bausset following, sup- 
porting Josephine with his arms around her waist and 
her head resting on his shoulder. Suddenly he heard 
her voice, whispering to him softly: " Take care! you 
hurt me; you are holding me too tight." 

The descent was finished without other incidents, 
and Josephine, still in a swoon, was placed upon a sofa, 
and her maids called. The Emperor then left her in 
their care, and withdrew from the room, with his 
eyes filled with tears, and every sign of the deepest 
agitation. It would be difficult to believe this little 
episode of the stairway if the story were not related 
by such a devoted servant of the Empress as M. de 

If there is anything certain in this world, it is that 
Napoleon from the first always loved Josephine with a 
devotion which far exceeded her attachment for him, 
and that he continued to love her until his life's end. 
Yet History will never forgive him for finally allowing 
his duty to the Empire to overcome his affections. It 
is easy to condemn his action as heartless, or as dic- 
tated by ambition, but nothing is gained by calling 



names. If it were not for the fantastic connection which 
has been imagined between the fortunes of Napoleon 
and the " guiding star of his life," we should not have 
heard so much in condemnation of his divorce, which 
certainly was dictated by the most powerful reasons 
of State. The case is not altered by the fact that his 
second marriage was a dismal failure; or, as he him- 
self once expressed it, that the Austrian alliance was 
" an abyss covered with flowers." It is a striking in- 
stance of the shortness of human foresight that a step 
taken to assure the safety of the Empire was to be 
the principal cause of its fall. 

In his trouble, after this trying scene with Josephine, 
Napoleon opened up his heart to Bausset. In a voice 
broken by emotion he said: " The interests of France 
and of my dynasty have forced my heart; the divorce 
has become for me a rigorous duty. ... I am all the 
more afflicted by the scene which I have just had with 
Josephine because for three days she must have known 
through Hortense the unfortunate obligation which 
condemns me to seek a separation from her. ... I 
pity her from the bottom of my heart; I thought that 
she had more character, and I was not prepared for 
the manifestation of her grief." After each sentence 
he paused to catch his breath, and displayed every sign 
of the most poignant emotion. 

Then he sent for his personal physician, Corvisart; 
also for Hortense, Fouche, and Cambaceres. Before 
ascending to his own apartment, he went again to see 
Josephine, whom he found calm and more resigned. 
He received the two ministers on their arrival, and 
afterwards had a long talk with Hortense, 


The interview with the Queen was very painful. He 
began in a tone of simulated harshness: 

" My decision is made/' he said. " Neither tears nor 
cries will affect a resolution which has become un- 
avoidable, a resolution absolutely necessary for the 
safety of the Empire." 

" Sire/' replied Hortense, " you will have neither 
tears nor cries. The Empress will not fail to submit 
to your wishes, and to descend from the throne, as she 
mounted it, by your will. Her children, content to re- 
nounce the grandeurs which have not made them 
happy, will willingly consecrate their lives to consoling 
the best and most tender of mothers." 

" That cannot be," cried Napoleon, much moved by 
her words. " Such an action would raise the suspicion 
of a veiled misunderstanding, either on your part to- 
wards me, or on my part towards your mother and 
her family." 

" In our exile," continued Hortense, " we shall never 
forget all that we owe to the Emperor." 

"Ah! you will abandon me? " cried the Emperor, 
bursting into tears. " You, you, to whom I have been 
a father! No, you cannot do that! You will remain 
with me; the future of your children demands it. ... 
No matter how great for us all is this cruel sacrifice, 
it must be carried out with the dignity imposed by 

The Emperor then outlined to Hortense his plans 
for Josephine's future: palaces, chateaux, a magnifi- 
cent income, the first rank after the reigning Empress. 
Everything possible was to be done to dissemble the 
change in her situation which would result from the 


divorce. He then sent Hortense to see her mother and 
try to reconcile her. 

The night which followed was one of the saddest in 
the life of Napoleon. Several times he arose and de- 
scended to inform himself personally of the condition 
of Josephine. He did not sleep at all. 

In the morning, when Mile. Avrillon came, Josephine 
called to her to approach the bed, and told her confi- 
dentially what had occurred. Seeing her air of conster- 
nation, Josephine at once began to excuse the Emperor, 
saying: "He is in despair over our separation; he 
also cried, and assured me that it was the greatest 
sacrifice he could make for France. Yes, I well know 
that he must have an heir for his glory, a child who 
will consolidate his Empire. ... He has told Hor- 
tense that he will always be the same for her and Eu- 
gene, and that he will often come to me in my retreat. 
... He has sworn that he will never compel me to 
leave France. He allows me to live at Malmaison. . . . 
He wishes me always to enjoy a position of considera- 
tion, and that I shall have an adequate income." 

At that time there were no daily papers such as we 
have to-day, all eager for news; but the journals would 
not have ventured to publish the reports even if rumors 
of the coming event had leaked out. The secret seems 
to have been well kept by the few persons who knew 
it, and the Empress appeared as usual at several func- 
tions during the first two weeks of December. At the 
fetes of this trying fortnight Napoleon was in public 
even more attentive to Josephine than usual. 

On the first day of December the Emperor and Em- 
press went to Malmaison where a fete was given in 



honor of the King of Saxony, at which were present 
the kings of Naples, Holland and Wurtemberg, who 
arrived in Paris that day. 

An elaborate program had been arranged, to cele- 
brate the double anniversay of the Coronation and 
the victory of Austerlitz, as well as the conclusion of 
the Treaty of Vienna. The festivals were to be pro- 
longed over several days. On the third, in the morning, 
there was a Te Deum at Notre-Dame; in the after- 
noon, the formal opening of the Corps Legislatif; and 
in the evening, a State dinner at the Tuileries. On the 
fourth, in the morning there was a grand review in 
the court of the Tuileries, and in the evening the Em- 
peror and Empress were present at a fete given at 
the Hotel-de-Ville in honor of the Coronation. For this 
occasion the court of the Hotel-de-Ville had been trans- 
formed into an enormous ball-room. The kings and 
queens danced in the quadrille d'honneur, after which 
the Emperor traversed the room, and addressed a few 
courteous words to many of the ladies present. 

On the seventh, there was a spectacle at the Tuile- 
ries, but this time the Empress did not appear. It was 
given out that she was suffering from a migraine: poor 
Josephine had gone to the limits of her endurance. 
She was also absent from the side of the Emperor, 
when on the eighth he received in the Throne Room 
a deputation of the Corps Legislatif. In his reply to 
the address the Emperor used a phrase which seemed 
to presage the coming event: " We shall always know 
how, my family and myself, to sacrifice even our dear- 
est affections to the interests and the welfare of this 
great nation." 


On the eleventh, Josephine appeared in public with 
Napoleon for the last time, at a fete given at the 
chateau of Grosbois by Marshal Berthier, Prince de 
Neuchatel et de Wagram. This fine residence had be- 
longed before the Revolution to the Comte de Pro- 
vence, and later to Barras and Moreau. The kings and 
princes then in Paris, and a large part of the Court, 
were present. There was a hunt during the day, fol- 
lowed in the evening by a dinner, a spectacle and a 

The evening was marred by a most unfortunate con- 
tretemps. Berthier had arranged to entertain his guests 
with a comedy played by Brunet, one of the most pop- 
ular actors of the day. Brunet, who was entirely ig- 
norant of the coming event, chose from his repertoire 
a very droll little play which turned on the subject of 
divorce. Imagine the embarrassment, the stupefaction 
of poor Berthier, and the feelings of Napoleon and 
Josephine, when the actor announced his intention of 
securing a divorce " pour avoir des ancetres " (to have 
ancestors); followed by a change of mind, with the 
sage remark: " I know what my wife is, I do not 
know what the one I take may be like." 

This scene of comedy, in the drama of divorce, was 
worthy of the pen of a Shakespeare. " Truth is stranger 
than fiction." 




Eugene Reaches Paris His Difficult Position He Arranges 
a Final Conference Refuses the Crown of Italy The 
Family Council at the Tuileries Address of the Emperor 
Josephine's Touching Reply Eugene's Address to the 
Senate Napoleon Leaves for the Trianon Josephine's 
Departure from the Tuileries Annulment of the Religious 
Marriage The Legend of Josephine 

PRINCE EUGENE arrived in Paris on the 8 
December. At the time he left Milan he was 
still ignorant of the reasons for his summons, 
but Hortense, by order of the Emperor, met him at 
Nemours, a few miles south of Fontainebleau, and 
broke the sad news. Josephine had looked forward to 
his arrival, with the hope that he might turn the Em- 
peror from his purpose, even at the last moment; but 
this illusion was soon dissipated. 

The position of Eugene was very difficult. He was 
devoted to his mother, but he owed everything to the 
Emperor. It was not easy to reconcile his feeling of 
filial tenderness, with the respect and the gratitude 
which bound him to Napoleon. At his first interview 
he saw that the divorce was no longer an open ques- 
tion, and that it would be useless for him to raise any 
objections. He demanded the permission of the Em- 
peror to retire to private life, saying that he could no 



longer hold the office of viceroy when his mother had 
ceased to be empress. To which the Emperor replied: 
" Do you not realize how imperious are the reasons 
which force me. to take this step? If Heaven grants me 
the object of my dearest hopes, the son so necessary 
to me, who will take my place by his side when I am 
absent? Who will be to him a father, if I die? Who 
will bring him up? Who will make a man of him? " 

In order to settle the matter definitely, without any 
further delay, Eugene asked the Emperor to consent 
to a meeting with Josephine, where, in his presence, 
they could have a final explanation. Napoleon agreed, 
and the conference was held that same evening. 

The Emperor stated that the divorce was an abso- 
lute necessity for the stability of the Empire. Josephine 
in turn said that this consideration should outweigh 
any others, and that she was ready to make this sacri- 
fice for her country. Then she added, bursting into 
tears: " As soon as we are separated, my children will 
be forgotten. Make Eugene King of Italy." 

Eugene interrupted her with the indignant words: 
" No! I pray you, leave me out of the question. Your 
son does not wish for a crown, which would be the 
price of your separation. If you bow to the wishes of 
the Emperor, it is of you alone that he must think." 
Napoleon was touched. " That is Eugene's true heart," 
he said. " He does well to trust to my affection." 

Friday, the 15 December 1809, was the day chosen 
by the Emperor for the dissolution of his civil marriage. 
The Family Council assembled at nine o'clock in the 
evening at the Tuileries in the salon of the Emperor, 
on the first floor, between the Throne Room and the 

O97 3 


Gallery of Diana. All the members of the family were 
present except Joseph, who was in Spain, Lucien, who 
was still in disgrace, and Elisa, who was expecting a 
child. But Madame Mere, Louis, Jerome and his wife, 
Pauline, Caroline and her husband, Murat, were there, 
together with Eugene and his sister as representatives 
of the Beauharnais. Cambaceres, the arch-chancellor, 
and Regnault, secretary of state, were also present. 

The palace was brilliantly illuminated, as on days 
of fete, and the whole Imperial family was in full Court 
dress. Josephine wore a perfectly plain white robe, with 
no jewels. Although very pale, she seemed calmer than 
either Eugene or Hortense, who were much agitated. 
Around the room were arranged the seats for the mem- 
bers of the family, in due order of precedence: arm- 
chairs for the Emperor, Empress, and Madame Mere; 
chairs for the kings and queens; and stools for the 

When all had taken their places, the Emperor arose, 
and began to read his address: 

" The policy of my monarchy, the interests and the 
needs of my people, which have constantly guided my 
actions, demand that after myself, I leave to children, 
heirs of my love for my people, this throne upon which 
Providence has placed me. Nevertheless, for several 
years past, I have lost the hope. of having children of 
my marriage with my well-loved spouse the Empress 
Josephine. It is this which has led me to sacrifice 
the dearest affection of my heart, to listen only to the 
welfare of the State, and to desire the dissolution of 
our marriage. 

" Arrived at the age of forty years, I .can conceive 



the hope of living long enough to bring up in my spirit 
and my thought the children whom it may please Prov- 
idence to give me. God knows how much such a reso- 
lution has cost my heart; but there is no sacrifice above 
my courage, when it is proved to me that it is for the 
benefit of France." 

The address of the Emperor had been carefully pre- 
pared and written out in advance, but departing now 
from the text he continued: 

" Far from ever having had to complain, I can, on the 
contrary, only rejoice over the affection and tenderness 
of my well-loved spouse. She has graced fifteen years 
of my life, and the memory of this will remain ever 
stamped upon my heart. She was crowned by my hand; 
I desire that she shall keep the rank and title of 
crowned Empress, but above all that she shall never 
doubt my feelings, and that she shall have me always 
as her best and dearest friend/' 

It was now the turn of Josephine to speak. She also 
had modified the terms of the declaration prepared for 
her, which by its excess of adulation would have taken, 
from her lips, a tone of irony. The words which she 
used were well chosen, and apparently her own, as they 
were written in her clear hand upon her usual paper. 
Once more she had given proof of that tact which was 
one of her graces and her charms. But she had only 
read a few sentences when her voice became choked 
with tears, and she handed the paper to Regnault, who 
continued the discourse: 

" With the permission of our august and dear spouse, 
I declare that, since I have no hope of bearing chil- 
dren, who can satisfy the requirements of his policy 

O99 3 


and the interests of France, it is my pleasure to give 
him the greatest proof of attachment and devotion 
which was ever given on earth. I owe all to his bounty; 
it was his hand which crowned me, and seated me on 
this throne. I have received nothing but proofs of af- 
fection and love from the French people. I am recog- 
nizing all this, I believe, in consenting to the dissolution 
of a marriage which is now an obstacle to the welfare 
of France, and deprives her of the good fortune of 
being ruled one day by the descendants of a great man, 
plainly raised up by Providence, to remove the ill- 
effects of a terrible Revolution, and to set up again 
the altar, the throne, and the social order. But the 
dissolution of my marriage will make no change in the 
sentiments of my heart. The Emperor will always have 
in me his best friend. I know how much this act, which 
is made necessary by his policy and by such great in- 
terests, has wounded his heart; but we shall win glory, 
both of us, by the sacrifice which we have made in the 
interests of our country." 

Not only her children, Eugene and Hortense, but 
even the hostile Bonapartes, were moved by these elo- 
quent and touching words. The meeting ended with 
the signature by each member of the Imperial family 
of the document prepared by Cambaceres. The Em- 
peror then conducted Josephine to her apartment, 
where he left her after a tender embrace. 

But the night was not to 'end for Napoleon without 
one more painful scene. He had hardly retired when 
the door opened and Josephine appeared. She threw 
herself into his arms, and Napoleon pressed her to his 
heart, saying: " Come, my good Josephine, be more 



reasonable. Courage, courage, I shall always be thy 

The following day Josephine was to leave the Tuile- 
ries forever. After a sleepless night she was occupied 
from early morning with her preparations for depart- 
ure. Her children were with her, but Eugene was 
obliged to leave her at eleven o'clock for the meeting of 
the Senate, where the decree was to be passed, annull- 
ing the imperial marriage. It was the first appearance 
of the Viceroy in his quality of senator. After taking 
his oath of office, he spoke in support of the resolution 
offered by Comte Regnault, saying: " I think that it 
is my duty, under the present circumstances, to make 
plain the sentiments by which my family is animated. 
My mother, my sister, and myself, we owe everything 
to the Emperor. To us he has ben a real father. At 
all times he will find in us, devoted children, and sub- 
missive subjects. It is important for the welfare of 
France that the founder of this fourth dynasty shall 
grow old surrounded by direct heirs who shall be our 
guarantee, as a pledge of the country's glory. When 
my mother was crowned before the whole nation by 
the hands of her august spouse, she contracted the 
obligation t6 sacrifice all her affections to the interests 
of France. She has filled this first of her duties with 
courage, nobility and dignity." 

Of the eighty-seven senators present, all but seven 
voted in favor of the decree, with four blank bulletins. 
Attention was called to the fact, often forgotten, that 
no less than thirteen of the predecessors of Napoleon 
upon the throne of France had been constrained to 
dissolve their marriage bonds, and among them four 



of the monarchs the most admired and loved by the 
people: Charlemagne, Philip-Augustus, Louis the 
Twelfth, and Henry the Fourth. 

The first act of the program, the annulment of the 
civil marriage, had been carried out, and no obstacle 
had been encountered. All of the actors had filled their 
roles better than any one could have expected. There 
remained the religious marriage to dissolve, a very 
necessary step if the Emperor were to espouse a Cath- 
olic princess. 

While the chamber of the Senate was. still echoing 
with the adulations of the address unanimously voted 
to her by the members, the Empress was leaving the 
Tuileries. It had been arranged that during the course 
of the day Josephine should go to Malmaison, which 
in the future was to be her principal residence, while 
the Emperor was to depart for the Trianon. He was 
to leave first, at four o'clock in the afternoon. When 
his carriage was announced, he took his hat, called to 
his secretary, Meneval, to follow him, and rapidly de- 
scended the private staircase which led to the apart- 
ment of Josephine in the rez-de-chauss6e. On the en- 
trance of the Emperor, Josephine, who was awaiting 
him alone, threw herself into his arms, and Napoleon 
tenderly embraced her. Theft she fainted, and Meneval 
rang for her attendants. As soon as Napoleon saw that 
she was recovering consciousness, to avoid a prolonga- 
tion of the painful scene, he took his departure. En- 
joining upon his secretary not to leave the Empress, 
he passed through the salons on the ground floor to 
the court, and entered his carriage which bore him 
away to Versailles. 



When Josephine perceived that the Emperor had 
left, she seized the hands of M. de Meneval, and ex- 
claimed: " Tell the Emperor not to forget me. Assure 
him of my undying affection. Promise me to send me 
news of him as soon as you arrive at the Trianon, and 
see that he writes me." 

It was now the turn of Josephine to leave. All the 
members of the palace household had gathered in the 
vestibule to salute the Empress as she departed. She 
was loved and regretted by all, and many eyes were 
filled with tears. To her they had always gone in their 
troubles, when there was a favor to ask, or a fault to 
be pardoned. There was not one who did not regard 
the good Empress as a guardian angel. 

For the last time, Josephine enters her carriage at 
the door of the Tuileries, and leaves this abode of ten 
years, where she has spent so many happy days, and 
also endured so many hours of anguish. 

Cambac6res, who had the matter in charge, found 
great and unexpected difficulties in procuring the an- 
nulment of the religious marriage, and a whole month 
passed before the decree was published. The ground 
taken was that the Emperor had been constrained, that 
his consent had been neither Voluntary nor free, and 
that under the circumstances the marriage was null 
and void. The facts could not be disputed, but matri- 
monial cases of sovereigns were by usage reserved for 
the Pope: it was before the Supreme Pontiff that the 
cases of Louis the Twelfth and Henry the Fourth had 
been taken. Now the domains of the Church had been 
annexed to the Empire, and Napoleon had been ex- 



communicated by the Pope, who was at present his 
prisoner. Other means must therefore be sought for the 
dissolution of the marriage. The various steps are re- 
lated in detail by M. Masson, to whom the curious 
reader is referred. Suffice it here to state that on the 
14 January 1810 the Moniteur announced to France 
and to the entire world the rupture of the spiritual 
bond which united His Majesty the Emperor Napoleon 
and Her Majesty the c Empress Josephine. 

For several weeks the divorce was naturally the one 
topic of discussion in Paris. Josephine was an object 
of universal sympathy, and on descending from the 
throne, as if she were already dead, she was accorded 
all the virtues. 

In the Army, the divorce was generally regretted. 
With the soldiers she had long been legendary, and 
many of the officers also attributed to her a beneficent 
effect upon the fortunes of Napoleon. When the hour 
of defeat sounded, during the terrible retreat from 
Moscow, more than one of the old grognards were 
heard to exclaim: " The Little Corporal should never 
have given up la vieille (the old woman) ; she brought 
good fortune to him and to us too." It is doubtful if 
Josephine would have been entirely pleased with this 
compliment if she had overheard it. 

Beugnot, in his M6moires, also speaks of the 
general belief that Josephine brought good luck to her 
husband. " I repeated it, and I even almost believed 
it," he writes, " that Josephine was the good fortune 
of the Emperor, and consequently of France, and that 
if she were ever separated from her husband, she would 
carry that fortune with her." 



Josephine, with her Creole tendency to superstition, 
probably believed it, and certainly tried to make Na- 
poleon believe it. Later on, when overcome by reverses 
and betrayals, he was heard to say: " She was right: 
our separation has brought me misfortune." 




Dowry of the Empress Napoleon's Liberality Her Debts Paid 
The First Days at Malmaison Napoleon's Visits and 
Letters Christmas Dinner at Trianon Josephine Tires 
of the Country Her Interest in the Austrian Marriage 
Napoleon Arranges for Her Return to Paris Her Arrival 
at the Elysee Palace. 

IN fixing the dowry of Josephine the Emperor had 
not been content with the amount of two million 
francs granted her under the Constitution of the 
Empire, from the State Treasury. By decree, he as- 
sured her from the Crown Treasury an additional al- 
lowance of one million francs; by a second decree he 
gave her for life the use of the Palais de TElysee; and 
by a third sovereign act, he renounced in her favor 
all his title and interest in Malmaison. 

By these acts the Emperor had more than redeemed 
his promise to assure her future. In Paris, Josephine 
had for her residence the most sumptuous and the most 
attractive of the imperial palaces, and at the gates of 
the capital a chateau of her own choice, furnished to 
suit her own taste. So far from being a drain on her 
resources, the woods and lands of Malmaison in 1809 
brought in a net revenue which exceeded by fifty per 
cent, the cost of its upkeep. Aside from her magnificent 
allowance of three millions, and her valuable collection 
of jewels, however, Josephine had no private fortune. 


Napoleon knew by experience that the Empress must 
have some debts, and he now demanded a detailed 
statement of the amounts. She was forced to admit 
that these had accumulated since the last previous liq- 
uidation three years before, and now reached a total 
of nearly two millions. After a careful examination of 
the accounts, the amount was reduced by a round 
half million, and the balance was paid by the Emperor 
with, the understanding that one-half the sum should 
be deducted from her allowance for each of the two 
following years. By this arrangement the income of the 
Empress was reduced to a little more than two millions 
for the first two years. Having paid her debts, and 
provided -her with an ample allowance, Napoleon now 
arranged a careful budget for Josephine's expenses in 
the future, but his past experience with her should 
have taught him how useless it was to try to curb her 
mania for spending. 

Josephine arrived at Malmaison after the close of 
the short December day, under a cold, penetrating rain. 
She was accompanied by Eugene and Hortense, who 
did their best to cheer and console their mother in her 
new situation. The disposition shown by some members 
of her household to desert her was checked by the 
Emperor, who gave express orders that they were all 
to continue their services until the end of the year. 

The first day at Malmaison was sad and depressing. 
The rain continued to fall without ceasing. In the 
morning Josephine was constantly in tears provoked 
by the sight of " the places where she had lived so 
long with the Emperor." At an early hour Napoleon 


sent one of his officers from the Trianon in search of 
news. " He tells me/' Napoleon writes, " that since you 
are at Malmaison your courage has failed you. Never- 
theless, the place is full of souvenirs of our affections 
which can never change, at least on my part. I am 
very anxious to see you, but I must be sure that you 
are strong and not weak. I am also a little weak my- 
self, and that pains me much." 

At the Trianon the Emperor was surrounded by 
Pauline and her friends, who did their best to amuse 
him and distract his thoughts. It was impossible to 
walk, or drive, or hunt in the rain. The only recourse 
was a game of cards, of which Napoleon soon tired. 
He ordered his carriage and drove rapidly to the Tuile- 
ries. On his way back in the afternoon he stopped to 
visit Josephine at Malmaison. Between the showers 
they walked in the park together as of old, but he 
only shook her hand when he came and went, and 
did not kiss her. On his return to the Trianon he wrote 

8 P.M. (17) December 1809 

Mon amie, I found you to-day weaker than you should 
have been. You have shown courage, and you must find 
enough to sustain you. You must not allow yourself to 
lapse into a fatal melancholy; you must become content, 
and above all guard your health, which is so precious to 
me. If you are attached to me and if you love me you must 
bear yourself with strength and become happy. You can- 
not doubt my constant and tender friendship, and you little 
know all my regard for' you if you imagine that I can be 
happy if you are not, and contented if you are not tranquil. 
Adieu, mon amie, sleep well, think that I wish it. 



The second day at Malmaison passed in much the 
same way. The rain continued, with a high wind, and 
it was impossible for Josephine to seek distraction by 
walking in the park. Eugene's efforts to cheer her up 
with a forced gaiety were of no avail. After dejeuner 
there were many callers. With every new visitor who 
came to pay his respects, or express his regrets, there 
was a new flood of tears. But in her grief Jos6phine 
displays her usual tact: " Not a word de trop, not a 
harsh complaint, falls from her lips; she is really as 
sweet as an angel." 

At Paris, the reports of her attitude produced an 
excellent effect. Every one pitied her, and admired her 
courage and resignation. 

On the eighteenth the Emperor, in the rain, hunted 
in the forest of Saint-Germain, and sent no less than 
three times to demand news of Josephine. The follow- 
ing day, before departing for the hunt, he sent Savary 
to see the Empress. Not content with writing, and re- 
ceiving her letters, he wished to have the report of a 
person in whom he had entire confidence. On his return 
he found a letter from Josephine, and immediately 
wrote her: . 

7 *.M. (19 December 1809) 

I have your letter, men amie. Savary tells me that you 
are constantly crying. That is not right. I hope that you 
have been able to take a walk to-day. I have sent you some 
of my bag. I will come to see you when you assure me that 
you are reasonable and that your courage has got the upper 
hand. To-morrow I have the ministers here all day. Adieu, 
mon amie. I, too, am melancholy to-day. I want to hear 
that you are satisfied and to learn of your self-possession. 
Sleep well. NAPOLEON 



The following day the Emperor wanted to visit her, 
"but he is very busy, and a little indisposed." The 
weather also is " damp and unhealthy." But during the 
day the sun comes out, and at night he writes again: 
" As the day has been fine, I hope that you have been 
out to see your plants. I have only been out for a 
short time, at three o'clock this afterfioon, to shoot 
some hares." 

Josephine had indeed been out for the first time. 
Madame de Remusat, who had constituted herself 
Josephine's moral and physical director, had persuaded 
the Empress to take some exercise, thinking that a 
little fatigue might repose her mind. As Monsieur 
Masson well remarks: If Josephine had been willing 
to travel for a time, to go to Milan or Rome, she might 
little by little have lessened the pain of her downfall; 
but so near to Paris and the Trianon, at every moment 
the same feelings are renewed: a note or some atten- 
tion from the Emperor, a face familiar at the Tuileries, 
a page, a servant, a soldier, all furnish an occasion 
for a new outbreak. The Emperor himself was largely 
responsible for this state of affairs. Through pity for 
Josephine, also from weakness on his own part, he had 
not commanded her to go away, and in thus prolong- 
ing the agony of the separation he was suffering as 
much as the Empress from being " so near and yet so 
far." Madame de Remusat, taking advantage . of the 
fact that her husband was on duty at Trianon, wrote 
him to " hint to the Emperor that he should write the 
Empress in such a manner as to encourage her; and 
not in the evening, for his letters give her nights of 



anguish; also, to moderate in his letters, his expressions 
of regret and grief." 

The Emperor evidently took this advice in good 
part, for his future letters were more manly. On the 
23 December he wrote: " I should have come to see 
you to-day, but for the arrival of the King of Bavaria. 
I hope to see you to-morrow and to find you gay and 
self-possessed." He visited her as promised, but, al- 
though affectionate and tender in his manner, he did 
not kiss Josephine, and was not alone with her a 

The following day was Christmas, and he invited 
Josephine and Hortense to visit him at Trianon. He 
kept them for dinner, and, according to Eugene, who 
was also present, " he was very good and very amiable 
to her/' and she seemed to feel much better. 

The next morning the Emperor wrote: "I retired 
last night as soon as you left. I want to know that 
you are gay. I will come to see you during the week. 
I have received your letters which I will read in my 
carriage." In fact he was returning to the Tuileries, 
after an absence of ten days, and this was another trial 
for him and for Josephine. The day after his arrival 
he writes: " I was much bored at seeing the Tuileries 
again; this large palace seemed empty to me, and I find 
myself very lonesome in it." The same evening he 
writes again: " I much desire to go to Malmaison, but 
you must be strong and calm." He adds: " / am going 
to dine all alone." 

In other letters written during the last week in De- 
cember the Emperor promises Josephine to come to see 


her " to-morrow." But one day he is retained by the 
Council until eight o'clock, at which hour he dines 
alone. The next day, Sunday, there is a grand review 
of the Old Guard in the court of the Tuileries, and he 
is unable to come " after Mass," as he had proposed. 

Napoleon begins to find Malmaison too far away 
for frequent visits in mid-winter, and wearied of his 
lonely dinners he conceives the idea of having her 
nearer him in Paris. But there is no abode vacant. He 
had given her the Elysee for a town house, but after 
the departure of the King of Saxony, the Murats had 
at once taken possession, on the 17 December. Their 
stay was supposed to be only temporary, but Caroline 
found the palace so comfortable, and was so delighted 
to keep Josephine out, that she planned to prolong her 
occupancy as much as possible, and sent out invitations 
for a masked ball and other entertainments. However, 
the palace was formally promised Josephine for the 
first week in January, and she took good care to have 
the promise renewed by the Emperor when he came, 
although ill, to wish her a Happy New Year. 

But Josephine wished not only to move to the 
Elysee, but to assure her continued occupancy of the 
palace, and she now made a move which has often 
puzzled her biographers. On the first day of January 
1810 she sent an invitation to Madame de Metternich, 
the wife of the former Austrian ambassador, to visit 
her at Malmaison. Much surprised at this summons, 
the lady came on the following day. In the salon she 
found Eugene, who seemed to expect her, and in a few 
minutes Hortense entered. Madame de Metternich was 
almost stupefied when Hortense greeted her with the 


words: "You know, Madame, that we are all Aus- 
trians at heart, but you would never imagine that my 
mother has had the courage to advise the Emperor to 
ask for the hand of your Archduchess." 

Before Madame de Metternich had time to recover 
from her astonishment, Josephine herself appeared. " I 
have a project/' she said, " which occupies me exclu- 
sively, the success of which alone gives me hope that 
the sacrifice I have just made will not be entirely lost. 
This is that the Emperor shall marry your Archduchess. 
I spoke of the matter to him yesterday, and he replied 
that his decision was not yet entirely made; but I am 
certain that it would be if he were sure of being ac- 
cepted by you." 

Madame de Metternich replied that, personally, she 
should regard such an alliance as a great piece of good 
fortune; but, with the thought of Marie-Antoinette in 
her mind, she could not refrain from adding that it 
might be painful for an Austrian archduchess to come 
to reside in France. 

Josephine continued: "We must endeavor to ar- 
range all this. You must make your Emperor see that 
his ruin and that of his country are certain if he does 
not consent, and that it is the only means of preventing 
the Emperor from creating a schism with the Holy 
See." Josephine concluded by saying that the Emperor 
was coming to breakfast with her, and that she would 
again speak to him on the subject. 

At that time Josephine had no connections with the 
Russian Court, and no acquaintance with the Czar 
Alexander, who later was so devoted to her. She felt 
that, on that side, she had nothing to hope and every- 



thing to fear. But her feeling for Austria was entirely 
different. Since the time of her first visit to Italy in 
1796 she had been on very friendly terms with the 
Archduke Ferdinand, the brother of the Emperor. After 
the Peace of Campo-Formio, she had received from the 
Emperor himself handsome presents, in recognition of 
the " friendly feelings which animated her." She had 
always been on confidential terms also with Metter- 
nich. She felt sure, therefore, that her Austrian con- 
nections would never fail her. This is the explanation 
of what would seem otherwise a very strange move on 
her part. 

Metternich, who had recently been recalled to Vi- 
enna, to take the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, wrote his 
wife at Paris, in reply to her communication regarding 
Josephine's project: "This Princesse has recently 
given proofs of a force of character which must greatly 
increase the feeling of veneration with which not only 
France but all Europe has long regarded her." 

In the meantime the Emperor does not fail in his 
attentions to his former wife. Every day that he cannot 
visit her, he sends her a letter. He is interested in all 
her acts; he is rejoiced if she takes a walk or is diverted 
in any way. The first week in January, after a long 
call, the previous day, he writes: 

Sunday, 8 P.M. (7 January 1810) 

It gave me very great pleasure to see you yesterday; I 
realize what a charm your company has for me. I have 
worked to-day with Estve. I have granted 100,000 francs 
for 1810 for the extraordinary expenses of Malmaison. You 
can therefore plant as much as you please; you will employ 



this sum as you wish. I have charged Esteve to remit 
200,000 francs also as soon as the contract for the Julien 
house is closed. I have ordered that your set of rubies be 
settled for as soon as they are appraised by the administra- 
tion, as I do not wish any robbery by the jewelers. All that 
costs me 400,000 francs. 

I have ordered that the million due you from the civil 
list for 1810 shall be held at the disposal of your man of 
affairs, to pay your debts. 

You should find in the armoire at Malmaison 5 to 600,000 
francs; you can take them to pay for your silver and linen. 

I have commanded for you a very handsome set of por- 
celain; they will take your orders, that it may be very fine. 


During the first month that Josephine was at Mal- 
maison the Emperor wrote her every day or two, and 
went to see her several times a week. After that, both 
his letters and his calls became more and more infre- 
quent. He was gradually becoming accustomed to his 
lonely dinners, and his solitary nights. Josephine, for 
her part, was daily getting more and more bored at 
Malmaison, and anxious to return to Paris. She had 
Napoleon's promise, and she did not hesitate to remind 
him of it. On the 28 January he writes: " I have had 
your belongings here arranged, and given orders to take 
everything to the Elysee." Two days later he says: " I 
shall be pleased to know that you are at the Elysee, 
and very happy to see you oftener, for you know how 
much I love you." 

But Josephine began to have her doubts. There were 
rumors of exile, of a prohibition of her residence in 
Paris. She took alarm and sent Eugene to see the Em- 


peror. Napoleon defended himself in two letters, writ- 
ten probably on the 6 and 10 February: 

Tuesday Noon (6 February) 1810 

I learn that you are worried; that is all wrong. You are 
without confidence in me, and are affected by all the re- 
ports which are noised around; this shows your ignorance 
of me, Josephine. I am vexed with you, and if I do not 
learn that you are gay and contented, I shall go and scold 
you well. 

Adieu, mon amie. NAPOLEON 

Saturday 6 P.M (10 February) 1810 

I have told Eugene that you preferred to listen to the 
gossip of a great city rather than what I said to you; that 
people should not be permitted to annoy you with idle tales. 

I have had your effects transported to the filysee. You 
shall come to Paris very soon; but be calm and contented, 
and have entire confidence in me. 


Monsieur Masson, who places the date of this last 
letter a week earlier, says, " the same evening Jose- 
phine was installed [at the Elysee], and the Emperor 
came immediately to see her." But this seems to be an 
error. In the collection of Queen Hortense we find the 
following letter (No. 209): 

To the Empress, at Malmaisbn 

Sunday, 9 o'clock (? n February) 1810 

Mon amie, I was very glad to see you day before yester- 

I hope to go to Malmaison during the week. 



I have had your affairs here arranged and ordered every- 
thing taken to the filys6e-Napoleon. 
I pray you to keep well. 
Adieu, mon amie. 


On Tuesday the 20 February, the Emperor, after 
hunting in the woods of Versailles, attended a fete 
given by Marshal Bessieres at Grignon. From there 
he went to Rambouillet, and returned to Paris at six 
o'clock on the evening of Friday the 23 February. It 
was apparently just prior to this absence that Josephine 
moved to Paris, as will appear from the two following 

To the Empress, at the Elys6e-N apoUon 

ig February 1810 

Mon amie, I have received your letter. I wish to see 
you, but your reflections may be correct. There are perhaps 
some objections to our finding ourselves under the same 
roof during the first year. However, the country place of 
Bessieres is too distant to be able to return; besides, I have 
a slight cold, and am not sure to go there. 

Adieu, mon amie. 


Friday, 6 P.M (23 February) 1810 

Savary has handed me your letter on my arrival; I notice 
with regret that you are sad; I am glad that you saw no 
signs of the fire. 

I had fine weather at Rambouillet. 

Hortense tells me that you had planned to come to dine 



with Bessieres, and return to Paris to sleep. I regret that 
you were not able to carry out your project. 

Adieu, mon amie; be gay; think that this is the way to 
please me. 


In the collection of Queen Hortense the earlier let- 
ters of Napoleon to Josephine, almost without excep- 
tion, are fully dated; but those written after the 
divorce usually give only the day of the week. This 
makes the task of arrangement in many cases very 
difficult. In this instance, however, it is manifest that 
the letter dated "19 February," which the editors 
place last, was written before the departure of the Em- 
peror for Rambouillet, and the letter dated " Friday 
6 P.M." was written after his return. It is also evident 
that Josephine did not move to Paris until after the 
middle of Februarv. 



Napoleon's Preference for a Russian Alliance The Matter Dis- 
cussed in Conference The Archduchess Marie-Louise 
Favored The Marriage Arranged The New Empress 
Arrives at Paris Jos6phine Goes to Malmaison The 
Emperor Gives Her Navarre She Takes Possession of the 
Chateau Its Dilapidated Condition Josephine's Letter 
to Hortense The Empress Worried Over the Paris Gossip 
Her Letter to Napoleon and His JReply The Emperor 
Agrees to All Her Plans Josephine Returns to Malmaison 

FROM the time that the divotce of Josephine 
was first officially discussed, at the Erfurt con- 
ference in the autumn of 1808, Napoleon 's 
preference seems to have been for an alliance with the 
imperial family of Russia. The replies of the Czar to 
the overtures of Talleyrand at that time had been 
equally vague and discreet; but a week after his re- 
turn home his elder sister Catharine had been affianced 
to the heir of the Duchy of Oldenburg. 

During the following year the time of the Emperor 
was taken up with the campaigns in Spain and Austria, 
and the matter remained in abeyance. But his thoughts 
still turned to Russia, and on the 22 November 1809, 
a week before the formal notification to Josephine, he 
instructed Champagny, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
to send a despatch to Caulaincourt, the French am- 


bassador at St. Petersburg, directing him to ask the 
Czar to state frankly whether he would consider favor- 
ably an alliance between the Emperor and his younger 
sister, Anne. 

At that time it took two weeks for a courier to go 
from Paris to Saint Petersburg, and a month later no 
reply had yet been received from Russia. Another 
month passed, and Napoleon's patience was exhausted. 
After Mass, on Sunday the 28 January 1810, the Em- 
peror called a meeting of the principal dignitaries of 
the Empire, to discuss the respective advantages and 
disadvantages of a matrimonial alliance with Austria, 
Russia or Saxony. Prince Eugene, Talleyrand, Cham- 
pagny, Berthier, and Maret declared for the Arch- 
duchess Marie-Louise; Murat and Cambaceres, for the 
Grand Duchess Anne; while only Lebrun favored the 
daughter of the King of Saxony. Napoleon took no 
part in the discussion, and gave no indication of his 

Finally, on the 6 February, a despatch was received 
from Caulaincourt. He stated that he had not yet suc- 
ceeded in obtaining a definite answer from the Czar, 
but added that Anne, who was only fifteen, was not 
yet of an age to marry, and furthermore that she was 
not willing to change her religion. Napoleon hesitated 
no longer. He immediately sent a messenger to inquire 
of the Austrian ambassador, Prince de Schwarzenberg, 
whether the marriage contract with the Archduchess 
Marie-Louise could be signed the next day! 

The contract, which was accordingly signed as pro- 
posed, was an almost exact copy of that of Marie- 
Antoinette, forty years before. The marriage by proc- 



uration was celebrated at Vienna on the n March, 
the Archduke Charles representing the Emperor Na- 
poleon. On the 23 March Marie-Louise crossed the 
Rhine at Strasbourg, and four days later reached 
Compiegne where Napoleon had been awaiting her ar- 
rival for a week. 

The Court left Compiegne on the 30 March and 
arrived at Saint-Cloud the same evening. Here the civil 
marriage was celebrated on Sunday, the first of Aril. 
The religious ceremony was performed in Paris the 
following day by Cardinal Fesch, and took place in 
the Salon Carre of the Louvre, which had been trans- 
formed into a chapel for the occasion. 

In the meantime, Josephine at the Elysee was find- 
ing her life in Paris as monotonous as it had been at 
Malmaison. The capital had never been so gay. Every 
night there were dinners, balls, suppers; but the Em- 
press Josephine was not present. The Emperor at- 
tended the opera, the theatres: he even gave, in the 
former apartments of the Empress at the Tuileries, a 
performance by the troupe of the Th&tre-Feydeau. 
There were balls given by Schwarzenberg, Talleyrand, 
Pauline, Berthier, Cambaceres; but in the midst of all 
these gaieties, Josephine passed her evenings quietly 
at home. 

The Emperor had completely changed his habitudes, 
and seemed to be in training for his life with a young 
wife. In place of the former tragedies, he demanded 
comedies to amuse him. He hunted in the Bois de 
Boulogne, at Saint-Germain, and at Satory. From time 
to time he paid a brief visit to Josephine, but his let- 
ters had almost entirely ceased. In the centre of Paris, 


Josephine felt as though she were marooned on a desert 


After passing only a few weeks at the Elysee, on 
the 9 March Josephine returned to Malmaison. It is 
not definitely known whether she tired of her isolation 
in the capital, or whether she received a delicate hint 
that her absence would be appreciated during the 
coming fetes in honor of the arrival of the new 

The very day that the marriage contract with Marie- 
Louise was signed, the Emperor had taken up the 
matter of finding a suitable country residence for Jose- 
phine: one not too far from Paris, but at the same time 
more distant than Malmaison, which was almost at 
the gates of the city. His choice finally fell on the old 
chateau of Navarre, near Evreux, about seventy miles 
west of Paris. It will be recalled that this property 
had been assigned to the Prince of the Asturias in May 
1808, as a part of the bargain for the Crown of Spain, 
but the agreement had never been carried out,, and the 
following January, by a decree of the Emperor, the 
land of Navarre had been added to the domain of the 

This chateau owed its name to Jeanne of France, 
Queen of Navarre, who about the middle of the four- 
teenth century had erected the building on the site of 
an old manor house. Three hundred years later the 
property was ceded by Louis the Fourteenth to the 
Due de Bouillon in exchange for the sovereignty of 
Sedan, and remained in the possession of that family 
up to the time of the Revolution. By a curious coin- 
cidence, it was one of the cadet members oj this same 


family who built at Paris the hotel which later became 
the palace of the Elysee. During the Revolution the 
property was confiscated, and had later been joined 
to the Crown lands, although the title was far from 
clear. It was also very doubtful whether the Emperor 
had the power now to alienate the property from the 
Crown domain, and present it to a private person. But 
after certain formalities, more or less legal, had been 
complied with, the Emperor directed Maret to prepare 
letters patent erecting the land of Navarre into a 
duchy, and conveyed the title and the revenues to 
Josephine for her life. In a letter to the Empress at 
Malmaison, Napoleon tells her of this gift: 

(PARIS) 12 March 1810 

Mon amie, I hope that you have been satisfied with what 
I have done for Navarre. You will have seen in this act 
a new proof of my desire to be agreeable to you. 

Take possession of Navarre; you might go there the 25 
March to pass the month of April. 

Adieu, mon amie. 


This letter of the Emperor was in effect an order, 
Which admitted of no evasion. The date of her de- 
parture and the length of her exile were both fixed. 
The 19 March, the day of Saint- Joseph, was her fete, 
but it was very quietly celebrated this year. The fol- 
lowing day Eugene was to arrive with his wife, whom 
she had not seen since their marriage at Munich four 
years before. They came to spend a week at Malmai- 
son, and thus Josephine found an excuse to defer her 
departure for a few days longer. She had already stayed 


three days beyond the limit fixed by the Emperor; the 
new Empress was at Compiegne, and expected in Paris 
by the end of the week. It was time to start, and 
Josephine went into her first exile. 

Late in the afternoon of Thursday the 29 March, 
Josephine made her triumphal entry into Evreux. She 
was received by the mayor, the prefect, and the author- 
ities, with a band, of music, and a guard of honor; the 
church bells were rung, and there were salvos of 
artillery. Josephine did not stop in the city, but pro- 
ceeded directly to Navarre, where she arrived at 

The first view of the chateau was very disappoint- 
ing: it was a huge two-storied square block, sur- 
mounted by a dome upon which one of the original 
owners had intended to set up a statue of his uncle, 
the great Turenne. At the side of the chateau stood a 
smaller house. Both alike were dilapidated, draughty, 
and unfurnished, in spite of the fact that for two weeks 
past all of the laborers available at Evreux had worked 
" to make in haste the most necessary repairs." The 
unfinished and uncrowned dome, which gave a ludi- 
crous appearance to the building, was irreverently 
termed the marmite by the Normands of the neigh- 

The rooms were vast and chilly; the windows would 
not dose; the roof leaked, and the chimneys smoked. 
The chateau's situation in a valley, while giving from 
the windows beautiful views of wooded hills in the 
summer, made it very damp for the rest of the year. 
On all sides there were large bodies of water, with cas- 
cades and fountains; and the park was planted with 



magnificent trees, but at the end of March " the leaves 
are rare, and between the water which flows, the water 
which stagnates, and the water which falls, with, for 
companions, these black skeletons, denuded and oozing, 
it would require, to be pleased, a backing of gaiety 
which Josephine did not bring with her." 

A few days after her arrival Josephine wrote Hor- 
tense, who was at Compiegne with the Court: 

NAVARRE, 3 April 1810 

I arrived here in good health, my dear Hortense, although 
somewhat tired from the journey. I was depressed by the 
greeting I received. The inhabitants of fivreux have dis- 
played much enthusiasm over my arrival, but this appear- 
ance of a fete somewhat resembled the compliments of 
condolence. . . . The Emperor is happy; he deserves to be, 
and he will be more and more; this thought is a great 
consolation for me, and the only one which sustains my 
courage. Navarre will become a very fine residence, but it 
demands many repairs and expenditures. Absolutely every- 
thing needs to be done over. The chateau is not habitable. 
The persons whom I have brought with me have each only 
a small room, of which the door and the windows do not 
close. My lodging is also very small and ill-arranged, and 
the woodwork is in bad order. The park is magnificent; 
it is in a large valley between two hills planted with the 
most beautiful trees; but there is too much water, which 
makes the place damp and unhealthy; one should live at 
Navarre during the months of May, June, July, and the 
beginning of August. Then it is the most enchanting spot 
to be found anywhere. At the present season Malmaison 
would be preferable to me. ... My life here is that of 
the country. I go out for a walk or a drive when it does 
not rain; in the evening I have a game of backgammon 
with the Bishop of vreux, who is very agreeable in spite 
of his seventy-five years. The time passes slowly, but it 


will seem shorter to me when you are here. I look for you 
impatiently. Your rooms are ready; they are not handsome; 
you will only camp out; but you know with what tenderness 
you will be received. 

Adieu, my dear daughter, I embrace you. 

If the Emperor asks you for news of me, tell him, what 
is true, that my only occupation is thinking of him. 


In a letter to her husband at Compiegne, written 
early in April, Madame de Remusat says: 

There are many tales here (at Paris) regarding the 
Court and the life you lead there. In general all these inven- 
tions are unkind; they all tend to show the hauteur of the 
manners of the Empress and the brusqueness of her char- 
acter. Then every one recalls the other, and that will make 
her position difficult. They say that she will only be 
Duchesse de Navarre; that she will be relegated to the 
Duchy of Berg; that Malmaison will be bought back from 
her; that our new sovereign has displayed a great aversion 
to seeing her so near, and in support of that assertion they 
cite words clearly invented, for it is impossible that they 
should have been repeated. I await your return to know the 

As Madame de Remusat was a great friend of Jose- 
phine these rumors undoubtedly reached her at Na- 
varre, and increased her anxiety to return to Mal- 
maison. The Emperor had not written her since his 
marriage, and she looked upon his silence as a proof 
of his intention to abandon her entirely. She feared to 
write him direct, but through Eugene asked permission 
to return to Malmaison. The reply being favorable, 
Josephine wrote the letter which follows: 


NAVARRE, 10 April 1810 


I have received through my son the assurance that 
Your Majesty consents to my return to Malmaison, and is 
willing to grant me the advances which I have asked for to 
render the chateau of Navarre habitable. 

This double favor, Sire, goes far to drive away the great 
anxiety, and even fear, inspired by Your Majesty's long 
silence. I was afraid of being banished entirely from your 
remembrance. I see now that I am not. I am therefore less 
unhappy, and even as happy as it is possible for me to be 
henceforward. I shall go to Malmaison at the end of the 
month, since Your Majesty sees no objection to this. . . . 
My plan is to stay there for a very short time; I shall soon 
take my departure to go to the waters. But -during my 
stay at Malmaison Your Majesty may be sure that I shall 
live there as if I were a thousand leagues away from Paris. 
I have made a great sacrifice, Sire, and every day I more 
appreciate its magnitude. This sacrifice, however, shall be 
all it ought to be; it shall be complete on my part. Your 
Majesty shall not be troubled in the midst of your happi- 
ness by any expression of my regrets. . . . 

May I have always a little place in your remembrance, 
and a large place in your esteem and friendship. This will 
soften my grief, without compromising, it seems to me, 
that which is of the highest importance, the happiness of 
Your Majesty. 


This letter does not seem to merit either the severe 
criticism of some of the biographers or the eulogy of 
others. Turquan declares it to be totally lacking in 
dignity, with its irritating reiteration of the sacrifices 
she had made, and its demand for money. On the other 
hand Saint-Amand considers it to be "an eloquent 
and simple expression of a true and noble sentiment, in 


which humility and dignity are perfectly combined "; 
and Masson says: " In truth this letter is a master- 
piece, in which is to be found everything to excite the 
memory of Napoleon, arouse his former affection, and 
awaken his pity." 

The best comment on this letter, however, is to be 
found in the reply of the Emperor: 

21 April 1810 

Mon amie, I am in receipt your letter of the 19 April; 
it is in bad form (d'un mauvais style). I am always the 
same; men like myself never change. I cannot imagine what 
Eugene told you. I have not written you because you have 
not written, and because I wished in every way to be agree- 
able to you. 

I am glad to know that you are going to Malmaison, and 
that you will be contented. I shall be pleased to hear from 
you, and to respond. I shall not say more until you have 
had a chance to compare this letter with your own: after 
that I leave you to decide which is the better friend, you 
or myself. 

Adieu, mon amie; take care of yourself, and be just, both 
to yourself and to me. 


This letter is written with the old familiar tutoie- 
ment, so difficult to render into English, which is em- 
ployed by Napoleon in all his letters to Josephine. We 
think that the reader will agree that her letter showed 
bad form; was unwarranted in its assumptions, and 
that Napoleon, on this, as on many other occasions, 
proved himself the better friend. 

Josephine's reply merits quotation in full: 



NAVARRE (no date) 

A thousand, thousand loving thanks for not having for- 
gotten me. My son has just brought me your letter. With 
what eagerness I read it, and yet I spent plenty of time in 
doing so, for there was not a word of it which did not make 
me weep; but these tears were very sweet! I have got back 
my heart entirely, and it will always be as it is now. Cer- 
tain feelings are life itself, and can only finish with life. 

I should be in despair if my letter of the nineteenth had 
displeased you. I do not remember its exact wording; but 
I know how painful was the feeling which dictated it the 
sorrow of not hearing from you. 

I wrote you at the time of my departure from Malmaison; 
and since then how many times have I not wished to write 
to you! But I knew the reason for your silence, and I 
feared to importune you by a letter. Yours has been a balm 
to me. Be happy, be as happy as you deserve, it is my whole 
heart which speaks to you. You have just given me my 
share of happiness, and a share which I appreciate to the 
full. Nothing to me can be worth so much as a proof of your 

Adieu, mon amie. I thank you as tenderly as I shall 
always love you. 


This letter is very sweet and tender, but somehow 
it does not ring true. Masson says, if it is sincere it 
is maladroit e; but if she is playing a role, knowing 
her partner as she does, is it not adroit in the highest 

In answer to her letter, Napoleon wrote briefly from 
Comptegne on the 28 April, encouraging her to go to 
the waters and assuring her once more of his un- 
changed feelings. He, too, had evidently heard of the 
rumors spoken of by Madame de Remusat, for he said 

329 3 


in his letter: " Do not listen to the babble of Paris; 
they are idle, and far from knowing the truth." In fact 
there was not the slightest foundation for the reports. 

Napoleon showed himself most willing to fall in with 
Josephine's plans for the remainder of the year, and 
the following winter. She wished, to go first to Mal- 
maison, then at the end of May to some watering-place 
for three months. After that she proposed to proceed 
to the South of France, Florence, Rome and Naples; 
to spend the winter with Eugene in Milan, and return 
in the spring to Malmaison and Navarre. 

The Emperor did not offer to meet the expenses of 
the repairs at Navarre, but agreed to advance the six 
hundred thousand francs left, after payment of her 
debts, out of her allowance from the Crown Treasury 
for 1 8 10 and 1811; also that the one hundred thousand 
francs allowed her for extraordinary expenses at Mal- 
maison should be diverted to Navarre. 

The middle of May, Josephine returned to Mal- 
maison, then in all its spring glory. For the first time 
she is able to enjoy her hyacinths and tulips imported 
from Holland, for, as she once complained, " Bona- 
parte always summons me to him just at the moment 
they are in flower." 



Josephine's Court at Malmaison Her Anxiety About Hortense 

A Call from the Emperor Josephine Goes to Aix-les- 
Bains Her Life There A Visit from Eugene The 
Emperor Announces the Abdication of Louis Josephine's 
Narrow Escape from Death Arrival of Hortense Jose- 
phine's Tour of Switzerland She is Upset by the Reports 
Regarding Marie-Louise Advice of Madame de R6musat 

Josephine's Return 

THE last week in April 1810, Napoleon left 
Compiegne with Marie-Louise for a visit of 
five weeks to Belgium. Madame de La Tour 
du Pin, the wife of the French prefect at Brussels at 
that time, has given us in her Recollections a striking 
picture of the young Empress, whom she saw fre- 
quently while the Court was at Laeken. She says that 
Marie-Louise was insignificant, absolutely devoid of 
intelligence, and entirely unworthy of the great man 
whose destiny she shared; that she seemed to make it 
a point to be as disagreeable as possible to every one 
with whom she came in contact. 

The new Empress was no more popular at Paris, 
where Josephine was more and more regretted. During 
the absence of the Emperor, Josephine held a regular 
Court at Malmaison. " The crowd rushed there, all the 
more eager because Their Majesties were at Antwerp, 


and they had no fear of displeasing Marie-Louise." 
The astute courtiers already perceived signs of a re- 
turn to power of the old favorite. The Emperor had 
invited Eugene to accompany him, and during the 
journey had treated him with marked distinction. Jose- 
phine had discreetly revealed to her confidential friends 
that she had received from the Emperor a letter full 
of affection, in which he gave her permission to remain 
at Malmaison, even after the return of the Court to 
Saint-Cloud, and promised to pay her an early visit. 
This letter, which bears no date, runs as follows: 

To the Empress Josephine, at Malmaison 

Mon amie, I am in receipt your letter. Eugene will give 
you news of my trip, and of the Empress. I highly approve 
of your going to the waters, and hope they will do you 

I much desire to see you. If you are at Malmaison at the 
end of the month I will come to see you. I count upon being 
at Saint-Cloud the thirtieth of the month. 

My health is very good; I lack nothing but the knowledge 
that you are contented and well. Let me know the name 
that you would like to assume en route. 

Never doubt the entire sincerity of my affection for you; 
it will endure as long as I live; you would be very unjust 
not to believe it. 


. At this time Josephine was very anxious about her 
daughter. After the stay of the Court at Compiegne, 
the Emperor had ordered Hortense to go to Amster- 
dam to rejoin her husband, with whom she had not 
lived since the birth of Louis-Napoleon two years be- 


fore. Her health was still very bad, and she complied 
with the Emperor's order with great reluctance. The 
letters of Josephine during the month of May all mani- 
fest her great anxiety, and express her desire that 
Hortense should accompany her to the waters, either 
to Aix-la-Chapelle, her first idea, or to Aix-les-Bains, 
in Savoie, where she finally decided to go. The con- 
dition of Hortense finally became so alarming that, at 
the end of May, her husband consented to her going to 

Napoleon's promised visit to Malmaison finally took 
place on the 13 June, twelve days after his return to 
Saint-Cloud. In a letter to her daughter, written the 
following day, Josephine records her joy: 

To Queen Hortense, at Plombieres 

MALMAISON, 14 June 1810 

My dear Hortense, . . . You ask me what I am doing. 
I had an hour of happiness yesterday: the Emperor came 
to see me. His presence made me happy, although it re- 
newed my sorrows. Such emotions one would willingly go 
through often. All the time that he stayed with me I had 
sufficient courage to keep back the tears which I felt were 
ready to flow; but after he was gone I could not keep 
them back and I became very unhappy. He was kind and 
amiable to me as usual, and I hope that he read in my 
heart all the affection and all the devotion for him which 
fills me. 

I spoke to him about your position and he listened to 
me with interest. He thinks that you should not return 
again to Holland, the King not having behaved as he ought 
to have done. . . . The Emperor's advice therefore is that 
you should take the waters for the necessary time and that 



then you should write to your husband that the advice 
of the physicians is that you should live in a warm climate 
for some time, and in consequence you are going to Italy, 
to your brother's; as for your son, he will give orders that 
he is not to leave France. . . . Your son, who is here just 
now, is very well. He is pink and white. 


A few days later, on the 18 June, Josephine set out 
for Aix-les-Bains, travelling under the name of the 
Comtesse d'Arberg, and accompanied only by four 
members of her household. She had chosen this place 
in preference to her old resort, Plombieres, because 
"her health required distraction above all, and she 
hoped to find more of that in a place, which she had 
not yet seen, and whose situation was picturesque," 
also because " the waters are especially renowned for 
the nerves. 3 ' 

The Empress occupied a modest habitation with 
Madame d'Audenarde, and the rest of her attendants 
were lodged in a small adjoining house. A week after 
her arrival she was rejoined by Madame de Remusat. 

At Aix, Josephine led a very simple life. Bathing, ex- 
cursions, reading the latest novels from Paris, dinner 
at eight o'clock, on account of the heat, a little music 
or a game afterwards so passed her days. She had 
arrived before the opening of the season, but as soon 
as her presence was known visitors began to come from 
all of the neighboring towns in France, Switzerland and 
northern Italy. 

On the 10 July she had a short visit from her son, 
who was on his way to Milan. Eugene had recently 
been made by the Empe.ror hereditary Grand-Duke of 



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Frankfort, which was generally assumed to be the end 
of any expectations that he might become King of 
Italy. It was rumored that Napoleon intended to unite 
Italy to the Empire, and that Eugene would cease to 
be his adopted son, when he had a son of his own. 
Josephine feared that he would cease to be Viceroy 
at the same time that Hortense descended from the 
throne of Holland. This event had just been announced 
to her in a letter from the Emperor: 

To the Empress JosdpMne, at Aix 

RAMBOUILLET, 8 July 1810 

Mon amie, I have received your letter of the 3 July. 
You will have seen Eugene, and his presence will have done 
you good. I have learned with pleasure that the waters 
have benefited you. 

The King of Holland has just abdicated the crown, leav- 
ing the regency to the Queen, in accordance with the con- 
stitution. He has departed from Amsterdam, and left the 
Grand-Due de Berg. 

I have united Holland to France; but this act is fortunate 
in that it emancipates the Queen, and this unfortunate girl 
is going to return to Paris with her son, the Grand-Due 
de Berg: ' that will make her entirely happy. 

My health is good. I have come here to hunt for several 
days. I shall see you with pleasure this autumn. Never 
doubt my friendship. I never change. 

Take good care of your health; be gay, and believe in 
the sincerity of my affections. 


Although Josephine, in her letters to Hortense, com- 
plains of her quiet surroundings, and speaks of her 


melancholy, her life at Aix seems to have been quite 
gay. The only incident which produced any excitement 
was a narrow escape which she had from death on a 
visit to the abbey of Hautecombe, when a sudden 
storm on the lake nearly caused her boat to founder. 
This is referred to in a letter from Napoleon at Tri- 
anon: " I have heard with anxiety the danger which 
you ran. For a child of the Isles of the Ocean to perish 
in a lake would be a catastrophe! " 

On her return to Aix from this excursion, which had 
so nearly proved fatal, Josephine found a chamberlain 
of Queen Hortense, who announced her arrival on the 
following day. The meeting of the mother and daughter 
was very affecting. The similarity in their situations 
had produced a new bond of sympathy between them. 
At the time of her arrival, Hortense was ilLboth in body 
and soul, threatened with consumption, and absolutely 
worn out and discouraged. But in spite of all her 
troubles, she was her usual amiable self, and proved a 
great consolation to her mother. It was at this time 
that Hortense was brought into intimate contact with 
Charles de Flahaut, whose social accomplishments had 
made him a great favorite with Josephine. Their in- 
timacy resulted fifteen months later in the birth of the 
future Due de Morny, so well known under the Second 

The visit of Hortense was very short, as she was 
ordered by the Emperor to return to Fontainebleau, 
and rejoin her two sons. She was therefore unable, as 
she wished, to accompany her mother on her tour of 
Switzerland during the months of September and 



Leaving Aix the first of September, Josephine went 
to Secheron, a small village in the suburbs of Geneva. 
She made this her headquarters during the two follow- 
ing months while she visited all the principal points of 
interest in Switzerland. As she was never fond of trav- 
elling, the only explanation of her course at this time 
is the report which had just reached her of the con- 
dition of Marie-Louise. We find the first mention of the 
subject in a letter to her daughter: 

To Queen Hortense, at Aix 

SECHERON, 9 September 1810 

My dear Hortense ... I have not heard from the Em- 
peror, but I thought that I ought to prove to him the inter- 
est which I take in the pregnancy of the Empress. I have 
just written him on the subject. I hope that this step will 
put him at his ease, and that he will be able to speak to 
me about it with a confidence as great as my attachment for 
him. . . . 

Adieu, my dear daughter. I tenderly embrace you. 


As usual, Josephine's -letter to the Emperor is not 
extant, but his reply is given in Queen Hortense's col- 

To the Empress Josephine, at Aix 

SAINT-CLOUD, 14 September 1810 

Mon amie, I am in receipt your letter of the 9 September. 
I am pleased to learn that you are well. The Empress is 
in fact grosse de quatre mois; she is in good health and 
much attached to me. . . . 

Adieu, mon amie; do not doubt my interest in you, and 
my affection for you. NAPOLEON 


This correspondence seems to furnish a sufficient 
explanation of Josephine's restlessness. She now showed 
a great desire to cancel the program which she herself 
had submitted to the Emperor in the spring, and to re- 
turn at once to Malmaison. She evidently wrote Napo- 
leon on the subject, for we have his reply: 

To the Empress Josephine, at Geneva 


I have received your letter. Hortense, whom I have seen, 
will have told you what I think. Go to see your son this 
winter; come back to the waters of Aix next year, or else 
stay at Navarre for the spring. I would advise you to go 
to Navarre at once if I did not fear that you would grow 
weary there. My opinion is that you could only spend the 
winter conveniently at Milan or Navarre, but I do not wish 
in any way to put you out. 

Adieu, mon amie. ... Be contented, and do not lose 
your head. Never doubt my affections. 


Josephine returns to the same subject in two letters 
to her daughter, from Berne, the following month: 

To Queen Hortense, at Fontainebleau 

BERNE, 12 October 1810 

My dear Hortense, . . . Not a word from you in the 
twenty days since our separation. What does your silence 
mean? ... If in three days from now I do not receive 
letters telling me what to do, I shall think that the Emperor 
has not approved the request which I made of him. I shall 
leave for Geneva; . . . from Geneva I shall return to Mai- 



maison; then at least I shall be in France, and if all the 
world deserts me I shall dwell there alone, conscious of 
having sacrificed my happiness to make that of others. . . . 


BERNE, 13 October 1810 

My dear Hdrtense, I am to-day in receipt your letter of 
the fourth. . . , After having reflected well, I shall follow 
the Emperor's first idea and shall establish myself at 
Navarre. It seems to me very unsuitable to go to Italy, 
especially in the winter. If it were for a visit of one or two 
months, I should gladly go to see my son; but to stop there 
longer is impossible. . . . 

All that you tell me of the interest which the Emperor 
still has in me, gives me pleasure. I have made for him the 
greatest of sacrifices: the affections of my heart; I am sure 
that he will not forget me, if he says to himself sometimes 
that another person would never have had the courage to 
make such a sacrifice. ... I would like to receive another 
line from you before arranging my departure for Navarre, 
in order to be sure that the Emperor approves of my passing 
the winter in that place. Speak to me frankly on that 

I confess to you that if I were obliged to remove from 
France for more than a month I should die of grief. At 
Navarre at least I shall have the pleasure of seeing you 
sometimes. . . . JOSEPHINE 

This revelation of the deep affection of Josephine 
for Napoleon, in the confidence of an intimate personal 
letter to her daughter, seems a sufficient answer to 
those writers who have frequently expressed doubts of 
her sincerity. 

Upon her return to Geneva, the 21 October, Jose- 
phine found a note from the Emperor, and at once 
wrote Hortense to announce her final plans: 



To Queen Hortense, at Fontainebleau 

GENEVA, (no date) 1810 

The Emperor has writtten me a very amiable little letter. 
You can judge, my dear Hortense, what pleasure it has 
given me. The Emperor advises me to go to Milan or 
Navarre. I have decided for Navarre. . . . 

You will find me much changed, my dear daughter. The 
past month I have grown quite thin, and I feel that I need 
rest, and above all that the Emperor does not forget 
me. . . . 

Adieu, my dear Hortense, I have just written the Em- 
peror; I advise him that I count upon leaving Geneva 
the first of November, that I shall go to Malmaison for 
twenty-four hours: you will be very kind if you come there 
to make me a little visit. After that I shall go to stay at 
Navarre; let me know if this arrangement suits the 
Emperor. ... 


While she was still at Berne, or soon after her return 
to Geneva, Josephine received a very long letter from 
Madame de Remusat, in which, with many flattering 
phrases, she mingles the advice not to return to Paris. 
The letter bears no date, but was probably written 
early in October 1810. The note of Paul de Remusat, 
in which he assigns the date to the last of 1812, or the 
beginning of 1813, is absurd. This letter is quoted at 
length in the collection of Queen Hortense, and in many 
of the biographies, but it hardly deserves so much space. 

Apparently Josephine had wished to meet Marie- 
Louise, but Madame de Remusat assures her that the 
time has not yet come for such a step. Then follow long 
details to show the jealousy of Marie-Louise. 


Among those whom the writer had seen was Duroc, 
the grand marshal of the palace; from him she gathered 
that Josephine had still further sacrifices to make. 
" May you not find in the course of a rather more pro- 
longed journey pleasures which you do not foresee at 
first? At Milan there awaits you the sweet spectacle 
of a son's merited success. Florence and Rome too would 
gratify your tastes. . . . You would encounter at every 
step in Italy memories which the Emperor would see 
recalled with no vexation, for to him they are connected 
with the epoch of his earliest glories." There is much 
more in the same strain, and it is evidently Napoleon 
who is speaking through the mouth of Duroc. The Em- 
peror, however, was too tenderly disposed towards Jose- 
phine to give her a positive order not to return to 
France, and she was not a woman to take a hint. 

Before leaving Geneva, Josephine purchased the 
chateau of Pregny, on the edge of the lake, facing 
Mont-Blanc, for which she paid nearly two hundred 
thousand francs. After this final extravagance, she set 
out on the first day of November for her stay of 
" twenty-four hours " at Malmaison. Napoleon was still 
at Fontainebleau with Marie-Louise, but his own re- 
turn to the Tuileries was fixed for the 15 November. 
As Josephine was still at Malmaison at that date, the 
Emperor sent Cambaceres to hasten her departure. She 
protested that she could not leave without time to pack 
up, and it was not until the 22 November that she 
actually reached Navarre. 



The Monotonous Life at Navarre Josephine's Health Improved 

Visits from Hortense and Eugene Josephine's Fete- 
Day News of the Birth of the King of Rome Napoleon 
Again Pays Her Debts She Plans for a New Chateau at 
Malmaison Napoleon Exchanges Laeken for the Elys6e 

A Winter at Malmaison Visit to Milan Sojourns at 
Aix-les-Bains and Pregny 

DURING the absence of Josephine the interior 
of the chateau of Navarre had been restored 
as completely as possible, and refurnished 
in a simple manner, so that now it was quite habitable. 
It was still difficult to heat the immense oval salon, 
which occupied the centre of the building: it was 
paved with marble, and lighted only by windows in the 
vestibule, and openings pierced in the lofty dome above. 
But the architect had succeeded in arranging around 
this room a salon, a music-room and a card-room. A 
number of comfortable, if not very luxurious chambers 
had also been partitioned off, for the members of the 
household. By burning an immense quantity of wood 
and coal in the fireplaces, it was now possible to make 
the rooms fairly comfortable. Large sums had also been 
spent on the gardens and hothouses, and Navarre 
prdmised in time to become a second Malmaison. 

The household was much more numerous than be- 
fore: Josephine had brought with her quite a number 


of young girls, as pretty as they were poor, who were 
supposed to possess some talents as musicians. The 
life at the chateau was nevertheless very monotonous. 
Josephine remained in her room until eleven o'clock, 
at which hour the dejeuner was served punctually. 
After this meal, which lasted three-quarters of an hour, 
the young people had music in the salon, while the older 
persons played cards or chess. In the afternoon there 
were promenades through the gardens and park, or 
drives in the forest of Evreux. If the weather was un- 
favorable, the time was passed in reading the latest 
novels, of which a box was received every week from 
Paris. At four o'clock every one was free, and Josephine 
went to her room, where she usually summoned one of 
her old intimates for a confidential chat. 

At six o'clock dinner was served, and there were al- 
ways some invited guests from the city: the prefect, 
thp mayor, and, most frequently, the bishop, Mgr. 
Bourlier. There was only one table, and the service 
was very luxurious. After dinner, there was music, 
cards, and sometimes dancing. Josephine was fond of 
games, and played cards, backgammon, and billiards 
equally well. The evening usually ended at eleven 
o'clock, when every one retired. 

Josephine, whose health had always been good, had 
never been so well; she no longer suffered from. the 
frequent headaches, which were due mainly to the 
irregular hours of the Emperor. She began to grow 
stout and for the first time in her life was obliged to 
wear a corset, in place of the former brassieres. Her 
only trouble was with her eyes, which her physician 
told her was due to her crying so much, " nevertheless," 



she wrote her daughter, " for some time past I only 
weep occasionally." 

The first of the year Hortense finally arrived for her 
long-promised visit, but while Josephine received her 
with transports of joy, it was not the same with the 
other members of the household. The Queen, with all 
her affectation of simplicity, was very rigorous on the 
point of etiquette, and insisted that her chamberlains 
should appear every evening in full uniform, and her 
ladies in decollete gowns. Under the mild regime of 
Josephine every one had become somewhat careless, 
and Court ceremonial had been more honored in the 
breach than the observance. Therefore Hortense was 
generally regarded as a killjoy. 

It was quite different when Eugene came. He had 
always preserved his simple, boyish manners, and was 
only too glad to escape from the tiresome etiquette he 
was obliged to maintain at Milan. He entered heartily 
into the games and pastimes of the young people, and 
was a universal favorite. His trunks were full of pres- 
ents, which he distributed with a lavish hand, and this 
was the only way in which he recalled the fact that he 
was a prince. 

The day of Saint- Joseph fell in March, and on the 
eighteenth " all the personages of the city came in 
carriages to Navarre to salute the Empress and wish 
her a happy fete-day." In the evening there was a 
celebration at the chateau, and Josephine distributed 
presents. The following evening the Empress gave a 
ball in the grand salon, where a parquet floor had been 
laid for dancing, over the marble tiles. 

On the 20 March, to continue the festivities, the 



mayor gave a dinner in honor of the Empress. She sent 
all the members of her household, but remained at home 
herself, as she was expecting news from Paris. In this 
way she missed the first notification of the great event. 
At the moment that the guests came out from dinner, 
at eight o'clock, a despatch was received from Paris 
announcing the birth of the King of Rome. Enthusias- 
tic toasts were drunk, the bells were rung, and the 
cannon fired. 

Josephine, who was anxiously waiting at Navarre, 
heard the sound of the guns and the bells before the 
postmaster could reach her presence. He had been ad- 
vised by the courier on his way to /Cherbourg, had 
hastily donned his uniform, and rushed to the chateau. 
When he communicated the news to Josephine he 
noticed at first a slight frown upon her face; then, re- 
covering her usual gracious manner, she said: " The 
Emperor cannot doubt the lively interest that I take in 
an event which crowns his joy. He knows that I can- 
not separate myself from his destiny, and that his 
happiness will always make me happy." 

The following morning Eugene arrived at Navarre. 
The Emperor had had the delicate thought of sending 
him to tell Josephine all the details of the happy event. 
She immediately sent her felicitations, and on the 22 
March received from the Emperor the following letter, 
sent by one of his pages: 

To the Empress Jos&phine, at Navarre 

PARIS, 22 March 1811 

Mon amie, I have received your letter. I thank you. My 
son is big and healthy. I hope that he will do well. He has 



my chest, my mouth, and my eyes. I hope that he will ful- 
fill his destiny. 

I am always well satisfied with Eugene. He has never 
caused me the slightest sorrow. 


By this tacit comparison of his son and Eug&ne the 
Emperor gave Josephine the greatest consolation in his 
power; by this association of the two names, he prac- 
tically assured her of the continuance of his protection 
and good- will. 

In fact, although his letters had not been so frequent 
of late, Napoleon, when he wrote, had been as tender 
and as cordial as ever, even with a touch of humor. 
Thus, he had written her in reply to her New Year's 
greetings: " They say that there are more women than 
men at Navarre." In a later letter he said: " I am well; 
I hope to have a son: I will let you know at once. . . . 
When you see me, you will find that my regard for you 
has not changed." 

The Emperor was soon to give her a new proof of 
his kindness, in sending her permission to spend the 
springtime at Malmaison, which he knew would give 
her the greatest possible pleasure. The middle of 
April, therefore, we find her with Eugene at Malmaison, 
where she stayed during the whole month of May. 
This visit is passed over in silence by nearly all the 
biographers of Josephine, who state that she remained 
at Navarre until the middle of September. 

About this time Josephine found herself once more 
in serious financial difficulties. In spite of the two mil- 
lions she had received in 1811, she had debts to the 
amount of a million more, and no funds to complete 



her purchase of Pregny, to pay for the repairs at 
Navarre, and meet her current bills. She was compelled 
to apply to the Emperor, who wrote her the following 

To the Empress Josephine 

TRIANON, 25 August 1811 

I have received your letter. I see with pleasure that you 
are in good health. I am at Trianon for several days. I 
expect to go to Comptegne. My health is very good. 

Put your affairs in order; do not spend more than a 
million and a half, and put as much aside every year. That 
will make a reserve of fifteen millions in ten years, for your 
grandchildren: it is nice to be able to give them something 
and to be useful to them. Instead of that I am told that 
you have debts: that would be very bad. Look after your 
affairs, and do not give to everybody who asks it. If you 
desire to please me, let me know that you have a large 
fund. Judge what a poor opinion I shall have of you if I 
know that you are in debt with an income of three millions. 

Adieu, mon amie, take care of your health. 


This letter, No. 227 in the Didot Collection, bears 
the date of 25 August 1813, but this is plainly an error. 
That year Napoleon left Paris the middle of April for 
the campaign in Saxony, and did not return until the 
9 November. On the other hand, he was at the Trianon 
on the 25 August 1811, and that is undoubtedly the 
correct date. 

After a careful inquiry into Josephine's affairs, the 
report made to the Emperor showed that her situation 
was even worse than he expected, and on the 4 Novem- 
ber he sent word to her intendant that he had allowed 



an additional sum of a million francs for her dowry 
that year. 

Two years later, on his return from the disastrous 
campaign of 1813, the Emperor sent at once for Mol- 
lien, the Minister of the Treasury, and, in place of 
many subjects far more important, he took up " the 
finances of the Empress Josephine/' the economies 
which she could and should make. " She can no longer 
count upon me to pay her debts," he said; " I no longer 
have the right to add anything to what I have done for 
her. The fate of her family must not rest only upon my 
head." Then he added in a low tone, as if speaking to 
himself: Je suis mortel et plus qu'un autre. 

When Mollien told him that Josephine had shed tears 
in the course of an interview he had with her, Napo- 
leon exclaimed: " But she must not be allowed to 
weep! " 

Immediately after this conference with Mollien, 
Napoleon wrote Josephine: 

To the Empress Josephine, at Malmaison 

FRIDAY, 8 AJ. (November) 1813 

I am sending to learn how you are, for Hortense has 
told me that you were in bed yesterday. I have been an- 
noyed with you on account of your debts; I do not wish 
you to have any; on the contrary, I hope that you will put 
a million aside each year, to give to your granddaughters 
when they are married. 

However, never doubt my friendship for you, and do not 
worry over this matter. 



Adieu, mon amie, send me word that you are well. They 
tell me that you are getting as fat as a good farmer's wife 
of Normandie. 


As Masson says, after recounting this incident: 
N'est-il pas toujours le meme et elle, toujours 

One would think that this new financial crisis, com- 
ing after so many others, might have made Josephine, 
at least for a time, more reasonable, but such was not 
the case. While she was at Malmaison she sent for her 
old architect, Fontaine, to consult him about her plans 
for Navarre. She wanted to remove the dome, and 
change the chateau into an Italian villa, with a flat roof, 
and a crown of balustrades. 

A month later, she again sends for the architect. This 
time she has another plan: to construct at Malmaison 
a new chateau, with all the modern improvements. As 
this will be very costly, in order to provide the funds, 
" she begs Fontaine to propose to the Emperor, if he 
finds an opportunity, an exchange of the palace of the 
Elysee against its value in money." This project did 
not displease Napoleon, who had often regretted his 
gift of the Elysee to Josephine. There was no privacy at 
the Tuileries, and he had deprived himself of the only 
residence in Paris where he and his family could take a 
little exercise. Josephine could not reside in the city, 
and for both of them it seemed an excellent arrange- 
ment. Napoleon was therefore inclined to welcome the 
proposal, but he did not care to add another million or 
two to the large sums he had already given the Em- 


press. He accordingly made a counter-proposition: an 
exchange of the Elysee for the chateau of Laeken, a 
modern palace, richly furnished, and in perfect order, 
surrounded by a large park, and near an important 
city. He had purchased this property when First Con- 
sul, in April 1804, for about a million francs, and had 
subsequently spent another million in alterations and 
additions. The chateau was considered to be one of the 
finest of the imperial residences, and was always kept 
in perfect order, ready for immediate occupancy. By a 
decree under date of 10 February 1812 the Emperor 
authorized the exchange, but Josephine never visited 
her new residence, even to take possession. 

In September 1811 Josephine returned to Malmaison 
for the winter. The Navarre party, as it was called, 
was now in a flourishing condition, and the Court of 
the Empress Josephine fairly rivalled that of the Em- 
press Marie-Louise. 

In the spring of 1812 she had the pleasure of a 
short visit from Eugene, who had been summoned from 
Milan to receive the orders of the Emperor regarding 
the coming war with Russia. Augusta was expecting 
another baby the last of July, and Eugene persuaded 
his mother to make her long-deferred visit to Milan, 
to be present on that occasion. 

In May she passed several days at Saint-Leu with 
Hortense and her children. But she did not venture to 
start for Italy without the permission of the Emperor. 
From Dantzig on the 8 June he wrote: " I hope that 
the waters will do you good, and I shall be glad to 
see you on my return "; but not a word about Italy. 



Finally, from Gubin on the 20 June he wrote: " I do 
not see anything in the way of your going. to Milan, to 
be with the Vicereine. You had better go there incog- 
nito. You will find it very hot." 

This letter did not reach the Empress until the first 
of July, and then again her departure was deferred 
for two weeks by news of the illness of one of her 
grandchildren at Aix-la-Chapelle. As this did not prove 
serious, Josephine finally set out on the 16 July, and 
reached Milan twelve days later. Her letter to Hor- 
tense is worth quoting: 

To Queen Hortense, at Aix-la-Chapette 

MILAN, 28 July 1812 

I was very tired on my arrival here, my dear Hortense. 
. . . The pleasure of seeing Augusta has revived me. Her 
health is very good and her pregnancy is far advanced. I 
am with her at the Villa Bonaparte; I have Eugene's rooms* 
You can imagine all the pleasure it gave me to make the 
acquaintance of his little family. Your nephew is very- 
strong, an infant Hercules. His sisters are extremely pretty. 
The elder is a beauty; she resembles her mother in the 
height of her forehead. The younger has a lively and clever 
face; she will be very pretty. 

I have received here three letters from Eugene, the last 
under date of the 13 (July); his health is very good; he is 
still in pursuit of the Russians, without overtaking them. 
It is the general hope that the campaign will not be long. 
May this hope be realized! . . . 

You do not speak of your health; I hope that the waters 
have done you good: it is the first prayer of a mother who 
loves you better than herself. 



Only three days after Josephine's arrival there was 
a fourth grandchild, the future Empress Amelie of 
Brazil. " Augusta," writes Josephine the same day, " is 
perfectly well, and her daughter is superb, full of 
strength and health." 

Before she had been at Milan a week, Josephine 
was already uneasy, and anxious to leave for Aix-les- 
Bains. But she prolonged her stay for a month because 
Madame Mere and her brother, Cardinal Fesch, were 
at the waters, and she did not wish to meet them. At 
Aix she found Julie, " good and amiable as usual," with 
her sister, the former Desiree Clary, who was now the 
wife of Bernadotte, the Prince-Royal of Sweden. After 
their departure, at the end of September, she went 
to her chateau of Pregny for a short stay. A few days 
after her arrival she writes to Hortense: " I regret 
that you are not here with me. The weather is very 
fine. The views of the lake and of Mont-Blanc are 
magnificent. It only lacks you at Pregny to appreciate 
with delight the full charm of a quiet life." 

On the 21 October her " quiet life " at Pregny came 
to an end, and Josephine set out for Malmaison, leav- 
ing the good people of Geneva quite content with her 
departure, as " the kind of life which we have led since 
she is here does not agree with our habitudes." 



The Malet Conspiracy What it Revealed Jos6phine's 
Anxiety Return of the Emperor Josephine and the King 
of Rome Eugfene Commands the Grand Army Napo- 
leon's Errors in 1813 Hortense at Aix Her Sons at 
Malmaison Recollections of Napoleon the Third A 
Doting Grandmother Death of Mme. de Broc Louis 
Returns to France Eugene's Fidelity Napoleon's Sus- 
picions He Asks Josephine to Write Her Son Her De- 
spair She Leaves for Navarre 

JOSEPHINE reached Malmaison on her return 
from Switzerland the 25 October, the day after 
the Malet affair. She wrote Eugene that the con- 
sternation had been general, but had not lasted long: 
at the end of several hours, everything was as calm 
as before. The whole plot turned upon the false report 
of the death of the Emperor. Armed with forged 
papers, and supported only by two battalions of the 
Paris garrison, this madman succeeded in gaining pos- 
session of the Post Office and the Treasury, and im- 
prisoning Savary, the minister, and Pasquier, the pre- 
fect of police. He was finally arrested, condemned by 
a military court, and executed. 

The Malet plot for the first time clearly revealed 
to the public the instability of the Empire, which was 
founded only on the glory and the genius of Napoleon, 



In this moment of crisis, when the conspirators shouted, 
" The Emperor is dead! " not a voice was raised to cry: 
"L'Empereur est mort! Vive PEmpereur! " 

When the news reached Napoleon he said: "While 
the Empress was there, the King of Rome, my min- 
isters, and all the great bodies of the State! Is then a 
man everything here? the institutions, the oaths, noth- 
ing! " Yes, a man was everything, and nothing else 

Josephine has often been accused, at this crisis in 
the career of. the Emperor, of being interested only 
in her own selfish affairs, but her letters tell another 
story. She writes from Malmaison to her daughter: 
" You give me new life, my dear Hortense, in assuring 
me that you have read the letters of the Emperor to 
the Empress; she is very amiable to have shown them 
to you. ... I must admit to you that I was very 

We have also the testimony of her attendant, Mile. 
Avrillon: " No words can describe the effect produced 
by the bulletins which announced the terrible disasters 
of Moscow. The profound anxiety which we saw de- 
picted upon the face of the Empress Josephine con- 
tributed above all to make us sad. . . . Seeing her at 
these sad moments, it seemed as if she reproached Fate, 
as if she accused Heaven of having separated them, 
of having withdrawn from Napoleon the safeguard of 
her presence." 

The Parisians had hardly finished reading the ter- 
rible Twenty-ninth Bulletin, when it became known 
that the Emperor was at the Tuileries. In the midst 
of the cares and the work which overwhelmed him, he 



sent Josephine, through Hortense, his tender remem- 
brances. As soon as he could find an opportunity he 
visited Malmaison. Although there is much doubt as 
to the exact date, it seems to have been at this time, 
during the last week in December, that Josephine per- 
suaded him to let her see the little King of Rome. The 
meeting took place at the chateau known as Bagatelle 
in the Bois de Boulogne. The child usually took a drive 
every afternoon in the Bois with his governess, and 
on this occasion the Emperor accompanied them on 
horseback. Josephine drove over from Malmaison and 
met them. This was the only time Josephine ever saw 
the boy, and it is the general opinion that this was 
also her last meeting with Napoleon. 

On New Year's day, Josephine, always a prey to 
superstition, noticed the date- with alarm. " Have you 
remarked," she said, " that the year begins on a Fri- 
day, and that it is Eigbtezn-thirteen! It is a sign of 
great misfortunes." 

On leaving the remnants of the Grand Army, to 
return to Paris, the Emperor had placed Murat in com- 
mand. In a letter to the Emperor from Posen under 
date of the 17 January, Eugene stated that the King 
of Naples had left that morning, in spite of all the 
efforts made fry himself and Berthier to keep him, and 
that he himself had provisionally assumed the com- 
mand, while awaiting the orders of the Emperor. Jose- 
phine was much pleased by the terms in which the 
Moniteur officially announced the change: " The King 
of Naples, being indisposed, has been obliged to give 
up the command of the army, which he has placed in 
the hands of the Viceroy. The latter has more experi- 


ence in administering large affairs, and he has the en- 
tire confidence of the Emperor." 

At the same time, the Emperor sent Eugene the fol- 
lowing letter: 

To the Viceroy Eugene 

PARIS, 22 January 1813 

My son, take the command of the Grand Army. I regret 
that I did not leave it to you at the time of my departure. 
I flatter myself that you would have returned more slowly, 
and that I should not have sustained such immense losses. 
The past misfortunes are beyond remedy. 


Notwithstanding the terrible Russian disaster, Napo- 
leon at the beginning of 1813 was still in a position to 
save his empire. He had 250,000 veteran troops in 
Spain, and 150,000 more in the German fortresses. If 
he had abandoned the hopeless effort to keep Joseph 
on his throne, sent Ferdinand back to Spain, and con- 
centrated all of his forces behind the Elbe, he could 
have met the Russians and Prussians with a seasoned 
army of 400,000 men, with a reserve force nearly as 
large in training in the depots of France; he could 
easily have defeated the Allies, and Austria would 
never have entered the coalition. 

The Emperor left Paris for the front on the 15 April. 
In May he gained two brilliant victories, at Lutzen and 
Bautzen, but they were indecisive because he 'did not 
have the cavalry to follow them up. The first week 
in June he consented to an armistice, which was finally 




extended until the 10 August, when Austria joined the 
Allies. Two weeks later he won at Dresden his last 
great victory, but this too proved indecisive; in Octo- 
ber he was beaten at Leipzig, and forced to withdraw 
behind the Rhine. This was the poorest campaign ever 
conducted by Napoleon, " the weakest in conception, 
the most fertile in blunders, and the most disastrous 
in its results." 

Josephine passed the winter of 1813 very quietly at 
Malmaison. While the Emperor was in Paris, there 
were but few callers, but after his departure in April, 
they began once more to flock to Malmaison. The fine 
weather also made her life more cheerful. In May she 
spent several days with her daughter at Saint-Leu, and 
when Hortense left for Aix-les-Bains in June, she con- 
fided her children to her mother for the period of her 
absence. This was a great joy for Josephine, who was 
a doting grandmother, whatever may have been her 
shortcomings as a mother. 

This sojourn with their grandmother at Malmaison 
made such a profound impression upon the children, 
that Louis, the future Napoleon the Third, who was 
then only five years old, retraced his recollections of 
the visit sixty years later, in some memoirs which have 
remained unpublished. He writes: 

" I can still see the Empress Josephine in her salon, 
on the ground-floor, smothering me with her caresses, 
and already flattering my amour-propre by the atten- 
tion she paid to my sayings. For my grandmother 
spoiled me in the fullest sense of the word, while on 
the contrary my mother, from my earliest infancy, en- 


deavored to repress my faults, and develop my good 

" I remember that, arrived at Malmaison, my 
brother and I were allowed to do as we pleased. The 
Empress, who was passionately fond of her plants and 
her hothouses, permitted us to cut and suck the sugar- 
cane, and she always told us to ask for anything we 
wanted. When she said this one day, on the eve of a 
fete, my brother, who was three years older than my- 
self, and consequently more sentimental, asked for a 
watch with the picture of our mother. But when the 
Empress said to me: ' Louis, ask for what will give 
you the greatest pleasure,' I asked her to let me walk 
in the mud with the little ragamuffins. Let no one 
think that this request was ridiculous, for all the time 
that I remained in France, up to the age of seven 
years, it was one of my greatest griefs to be obliged 
to drive into the city with four or six horses." 

Josephine, who feared to be scolded by Hortense, 
for the way in which she spoiled the children, writes: 
" Do not worry about your sons, for they are entirely 
well. Their color is rose and white; I can assure you 
that they have not had the slightest illness since they 
are here. I am delighted to have them with me; they 
are charming." 

In July, Josephine was shocked to hear of the tragic 
death of Madame de Broc, the most intimate friend of 
Hortense. In visiting with the Queen the cascade 
of Gresy, which Josephine had so much admired two 
years before, she slipped upon a wet plank, and fell 
into the gulf below. She was a sister of the wife of 
Marshal Ney, and a niece of Madame Campan; she 


had been brought up with Hortense, married by her, 
and after the death of her husband had become her 
inseparable friend. Josephine offered to go at once to 
her daughter if her presence and her care could be of 
any use to her, and also sent one of her chamberlains. 
But Hortense did not take advantage of this offer, and 
prolonged her stay at Aix until the middle of August. 
Upon her return she stopped only a day at Malmaison 
and then left with her sons for Dieppe, where she had 
been ordered to take sea baths. The departure of the 
two boys left a great void in the life of Josephine. 
Their visit was almost the only pleasure she had during 
this trying year. 

In November, the Remusats came to dine at Mal- 
maison, and brought the news that Louis had written 
the Emperor, expressing the wish to become reconciled 
with him, and not to be separated from him in his hour 
of misfortune. Josephine, who never treasured up any 
grudges, expressed herself as thinking that this was 
very praiseworthy on the part of Louis. She only feared 
for her daughter " new torments." But Hortense reas- 
sured her on this point. She wrote: " I am not at all 
uneasy; my husband is a good Frenchman; he proves 
it by returning to France at a moment when all Europe 
declares against her. He is a worthy man, and, if our 
characters are not sympathetic, it is because we have 
faults which cannot be reconciled." 

At this moment Eugene also gave proofs of devotion 
which contrasted strongly with the treachery of Murat 
and Bernadotte, who were so closely connected by 
marriage with the Bonapartes, and this served also to 
increase the maternal pride of Josephine. The middle 


of October, Eugene received a letter from his father 
in-law, the King of Bavaria, announcing his adhesioi 
to the coalition, and suggesting an armistice with th< 
Army of Italy. Eugene declined this overture, and ir 
his reply expressed his entire devotion to the Emperor 
Augusta, at the same time, wrote her father in a sim- 
ilar vein, and in a letter to the Emperor stated thai 
nothing in the world would ever cause her or her hus- 
band to forget their duty to him. A month later ar 
aide de camp of the King of Bavaria asked for an 
interview with the Viceroy, and presented a letter con- 
taining a new offer to assure the future of Jiis family, 
Once more Eugene refused, saying: " It is useless to 
deny that the star of the Emperor is beginning to pale, 
but it is all the greater reason for those who have re- 
ceived benefits from him to remain faithful/' 

This attitude of Eugene, plainly approved by his 
wife, could not but fill Josephine and Hortense with 
pride. " Nothing which is good, noble and grand can 
astonish us on the part of our excellent Eugene," 
Augusta wrote to her good mother, " but since yester- 
day I am still more happy and proud to be the wife 
of such a man; and to allow you to share my joy I 
hasten to send you a copy of a letter he wrote me after 
having refused a crown they offered him, if he con- 
sented to be an ingrat, and a coward, in fine, to betray 
the Emperor like the King of Naples." 

Notwithstanding this fine attitude on the part of 
Eugene, the Emperor appears to have conceived some 
doubts of his entire fidelity, which perhaps was nat- 
ural in the midst of so many examples of treason and 
ingratitude. Upon no other basis can we explain the 


letter he wrote to Joseph from Nogent on the 8 Feb- 
ruary 1814: " My brother, have this letter delivered 
personally to the Empress Josephine. I have written 
her in order that she may write to Eugene." Upon 
receipt of this letter, of which the text has been lost, 
Josephine wrote her son: 

To the Viceroy Eug&ne 

MALMAISON, 9 February 1814 

Do not lose an instant, my dear Eugene; no matter what 
the obstacles, redouble your efforts to fulfill the order which 
the Emperor has given you. He has just written me on this 
subject. His intention is that you should retire upon the 
Alps, leaving in Mantua and the (strong) places of Italy 
only the Italian troops. His letter ends with these words: 
France above all! France needs all of her children. Come 
then, my dear son, make haste; never will your zeal have 
better served the Emperor. I can assure you that every 
moment is precious. I know that your wife was arranging 
to leave Milan. Tell me if I can be of service to her. 

Adieu, my dear Eugene, I have only the time to embrace 
you, and to repeat to you to come very quickly. 


At that critical time it took the fastest courier a week 
to go from Paris to Milan, and it was not until the 18 
February that Eugene received at Volta this letter 
from his mother. He seems, quite naturally, to have 
resented this new method of the Emperor, in trans- 
mitting orders to one of his lieutenants through his 
mother, instead of by the Minister of War, or the Chief 
of Staff. The tone, almost of supplication, used by 
Josephine, seemed to imply that the Emperor doubted 
his fidelity. 



There followed a long correspondence between the 
Viceroy and the Emperor, for which we have no space 
here. It is all set forth at length in the Memoires of 
Eugene, to which the reader is referred. Eugene at- 
tempts, but with poor success, to justify his adhesion 
to what he considered to be the letter, if not the spirit, 
of the Emperor's orders. 

In the meantime the Allies were steadily drawing 
nearer to Paris, which was a hotbed of treason. Even 
at Malmaison, although she knew it not, Josephine was 
surrounded by spies and traitors in her own household. 
By decision of the Council of State, and the Emperor's 
own orders, Marie-Louise and the King of Rome were 
on the point of leaving for Blois. Hortense, who had 
been commanded to follow the Court, wrote to her 
mother, announcing the news. Josephine replied: 

To Queen Hortense, at Paris 

MALMAISON, 28 March 1814 

My dear Hortense, I had courage up to the moment I 
received your letter. I cannot think without anguish that I 
am separating myself from you, God knows for how long 
a time. I am following your advice: I shall leave to-morrow 
for Navarre. I have here only a guard of sixteen men, and 
all are wounded. I shall keep them, but really I have no 
need of them. I am so unhappy at being separated from my 
children that I am indifferent to my fate. I am troubled only 
about you. Try to send me news; keep me informed of 
your plans, and tell me where you go. I shall at least try 
to follow you from afar. 

Adieu, my dear daughter: I embrace you tenderly. 




The following morning, which was cold and wet, 
Josephine left Malmaison with her household. As she 
was not sure of finding relays at the posts en route,, 
she took all of her horses and carriages. In cash, she 
had only about fifty thousand francs which she had 
borrowed from Hortense and one or two friends. In a 
wadded petticoat were sewn her most valuable dia- 
monds and pearls, while her jewelry cases were packed 
in the carriages. It was impossible to carry with her 
anything more. 

She travelled slowly, passing the night at Mantes, 
and taking two days for the journey. She was very 
well received at Evreux. The authorities offered her 
a guard of honor at the chateau, for she had left be- 
hind at Malmaison the sixteen wounded soldiers of the 
Imperial Guard. 




Josephine at Navarre Arrival of Hortense The Emperor at 
Fontainebleau The Treaty of the n April Provisions 
for the Family Josephine Returns to Malmaison Hor- 
tense Arrives The Czar Calls Eugene Leaves Italy 
He Is Called to Paris Hortense, Duchesse de Saint-Leu 
Eugene Received by the King Josephine's Fears Her 
Final Illness and Death How Napoleon Received the 
News His Visit to Malmaison 

AT Navarre, Josephine found herself entirely 
out of touch with everything and everybody. 
The day after her arrival she sent her daugh- 
ter the following letter, the last one which we have in 
the collection of Queen Hortense: 

To Queen Hortense (at Chartres) 

NAVARRE, 31 March 1814 

My dear Hortense, ... I cannot tell you how miserable 
I am. In the painful positions in which I have found myself, 
I have had courage: I shall have it to bear the reverses of 
fortune; but I have not sufficient to put up with the ab- 
sence of my children and the uncertainty of their fate. For 
two days I have not ceased to shed tears. Send me news of 
yourself and of your children; if you have any of Eugene 
and of his family let me know. I very much fear that no 
news will come from Paris, as the post from Pajris to 



Evreux is suspended, which has caused many rumors. 
Among other things it is said that the Neuilly bridge has 
been occupied by the enemy. This would be very near to 
Malmaison. . . . 

Adieu, my dear daughter, I await your reply to console 
me. I tenderly embrace you, as well as your children. 


Hardly was this letter written and despatched when 
a courier arrived from Hortense, with the news that 
Paris had capitulated, and that the Emperor was at 
Fontainebleau; then Hortense herself suddenly ap- 
peared, with her children. 

After much hesitation, as to whether to leave Paris 
or to remain, at nine o'clock on the night of the 29 
March, under the threat of Louis to take her children, 
Hortense had decided to set out, and rejoin Marie- 
Louise. She spent the first night at Glatigny, near Ver- 
sailles; the next morning, at an early hour, she went 
to the Trianon; and later, proceeded to Rambouillet. 
There she found her brothers-in-law, Joseph and 
Jerome, and spent the night. The following morning 
she received a courier from Louis bearing a formal 
order from the Regent to rejoin her at Blois. In this 
Hortense saw another instance of her husband's " per- 
secutions." She notified Louis, Marie-Louise, and the 
Emperor, of her refusal to obey; ordered her carriage, 
and started for Navarre. At Maintenon she found an 
escort, and after dark arrived at a chateau belonging 
to a member of her household. At five o'clock the next 
morning, the first of April, she again started out, and, 
ten miles from Navarre, was met by M. de Pourtales 
with some horses sent by her mother. 



During the night of the second-third April a repre- 
sentative of the Due de Bassano arrived as bearer of 
definite news from Fontainebleau. He recounted the 
treason of Marmont, the occupation of Paris, and the 
despair of the Emperor. The scene related by Mile. 
Cochelet is entirely imaginary. No one had then heard 
of any plan to send Napoleon to Elba, and Josephine 
could hardly have exclaimed: " But for his wife, I 
would go to join him in his captivity." 

After this, several days passed without further news. 
On the 7 April Josephine wrote to an old friend., the 
Comtesse Caffarelli: " Our hearts are broken at all 
that is happening, and particularly at the ingratitude 
of the French. The papers are full of the most horrible 
abuse. If you have not read them, do not take the 
trouble, for they will hurt you." 

In the meantime, at Fontainebleau, during these 
days of supreme agony, Napoleon, " with an admirable 
lucidity and an admirable justice," was making what 
may be termed his political testament, and arranging 
the future of his entire family. In the treaty signed on 
the ii April by the ministers of the allied powers, by 
the marshals in the name of the Emperor, and by all 
the members of the provisional government : this 
treaty which was the price of his abdication the 
Beauharnais received the greatest consideration. To the 
princes and princesses of the Imperial family was at- 
tributed a revenue of two millions and a half of francs, 
entirely apart from what property they might possess, 
either real or personal. Of this sum, Louis was allowed 
two hundred thousand francs; Madame, Elisa and 
Pauline, each three hundred thousand; Hortense, four 

r - 


hundred thousand; and Joseph and Jerome each five 
hundred thousand. The allowance of the Empress Jose- 
phine was reduced to a million francs, and she too was 
permitted to retain all of her property. 

By another article it was provided that Prince 
Eugene, Viceroy of Italy, should receive a "suitable 
establishment outside of France." 

The night of the 12 April, Napoleon sought by poison 
the death from which he had escaped on so many fields 
of battle, but in vain. " God does not wish it! " he said, 
and the following morning he in turn signed the treaty. 

That same day the Due de Berry landed at Cher- 
bourg, and en route for Paris he sent one of the gentle- 
men who accompanied him, to Malmaison, " to offer 
to Josephine a guard of honor and to assure her that he 
would be charmed to do everything in his power to be 
agreeable to her, as he had for her as much respect as 
admiration." But Josephine had already left Navarre 
for Malmaison. The 16 April the Journal des Dibats 
stated: " The mother of Prince Eugene has returned 
to Malmaison. 7 ' Josephine was far from being pleased 
with this form of announcement. 

Alexander immediately sent one of his attendants to 
announce his visit for the following day, and promptly 
at one-thirty o'clock he arrived. It was evident that he 
had called to see Hortense rather than her mother, 
but he was full of courtesy and deference for Josephine, 
and gave her all of her titles. After a long call, he left 
just at the moment that Hortense arrived with her 
sons. " She, who was usually so amiable, was hardly 
so with him; she remained cold, very dignified, and 
made no reply to the offers which the Czar made for 

367 3 


herself and her children." As for the Empress Jose- 
phine, " her goodness, her kindness, her frankness, all 
charmed him." 

During the past few weeks Josephine, in her trouble, 
for once had forgotten to order new gowns, but now 
her old desire to please and to charm returned with 
full force, and she commanded a number of summer 
frocks, in batiste and embroidered muslin, such as she 
formerly wore in the " beaux jours " at Malmaison. 

As Josephine had expected, Alexander soon returned, 
but she perceived that the visit was for Hortense, who 
again held herself aloof, and treated him " as one 
should receive the conquerors of her country." This 
resistance, however, only served to increase the desire 
of Alexander to win her, and he redoubled his atten- 

On the 17 April, when he received news of the 
events at Paris, Eugene, who up to that time had held 
the Austrians in check, signed an agreement for a sus- 
pension of hostilities, and took the route for the Alps 
with the French troops in his army. In a final proclama- 
tion, which did not mention the name of the Emperor, 
he made an appeal which can only be considered as a 
personal bid for popular support: "A people, good, 
generous, faithful, has rights upon the remainder of my 
existence, which for ten years past I have consecrated 
to its service. As long as I am permitted to occupy my- 
self with its happiness, which was always the dearest 
concern of my life, I ask for myself no other future." 

At the same time Eugene persuaded the Italian 
troops under his orders, to send a deputation in his 



favor to Paris. But during his absence from Milan, three 
separate factions had developed: one favorable to 
Murat, a second purely Italian, and a third, the strong- 
est and richest, for Austria. There was an emeute at 
the capital, accompanied by pillage, and finally a mas- 

When this news reached Mantua, the army acclaimed 
Eugene as King of Italy, and wished to march on 
Milan, but the Viceroy realized that there was no 
chance against a capital in revolt, and Austria, which 
would send her troops there. " I do not wish," he said, 
" to impose myself upon a country which does not de- 
sire me, . . . adding a civil war with all its accom- 
panying evils. . . . The country refuses my support. It 
is enough." On the 23 April he signed another conven- 
tion with the Austrians in which he surrendered every- 
thing, and departed for Munich with his wife, and her 
baby who was only nine days old. 

Eugene now had little to expect except under the 
provisions of the Treaty of Fontainebleau, and the 
gratitude of Austria, fortified by the support of Alex- 
ander. As soon as Josephine knew that he was at 
Munich, she wrote to urge him to come to Paris, and 
on the 9 May he arrived. 

In the meantime the relations between the Czar and 
Hortense had become more cordial. He was almost a 
daily visitor at Malmaison, and was now on terms 
of intimate friendship with Josephine and her daughter. 
He had offered to procure for the Queen an independ- 
ent position in France, with an adequate revenue; the 
guardianship of her children; and a ducal title, the 
highest that the King could confer. His thought was 


to separate her interests entirely from any dependence 
on the Emperor or his family. The letters patent, dated 
by the King in the eighteenth year of his reign, con- 
ferred the title of Duchesse de Saint-Leu, not on 
Madame Louis Bonaparte, nor on the Queen of Hol- 
land, but on Mademoiselle de Beauharnais! Hortense 
refused to accept this formula. " I think that it is my 
duty," she said, " not to allow people to forget that I 
have been a queen, although I do not make it a point 
of being so called." It was finally arranged that she 
should be designated as Madame de Beauharnais, and 
her susceptibilities were satisfied. 

There is little doubt that Josephine wished to be 
confirmed in her title of Duchesse de Navarre, but she 
refused to sign the letter to the King prepared for her 
by Madame de Remusat. There is reason to think, 
however, that she wrote another, in which she asked 
for Eugene the dignity of constable, the highest mil- 
itary gift in the power of the King to bestow. 

Eugene also had neglected nothing to conciliate the 
Bourbons. On his departure from Munich, he wrote 
the King to announce his visit, for as he said to his 
wife, " I could not think of arriving at Paris, without 
at once presenting myself to him." He had hardly 
reached Malmaison, and embraced his mother and 
sister, before he received a summons to appear at the 

When Eugene was announced, under the title of 
Marquis de Beauharnais, it is reported that the King 
arose from his chair, and advanced to meet him, cor- 
dially extending his hand. He then exclaimed to the 
person who had presented the Viceroy: " Say, His 



Highness Prince Eugene, Monsieur, and add Constable 
of France, if such is his good pleasure! " This report 
rests upon the authority of the editor of the Memoires 
du Prince Eug&ne, and may be true: it is certain 
that the Bourbons did everything in their power to 
detach the Beauharnais from their adhesion to the 

On the 14 May the Czar came informally to dine 
with Hortense, who was now settled at Saint-Leu. 
Josephine was present, but there were no strangers ex- 
cept Caulaincourt and the wife of Marshal Ney. Dur- 
ing the drive in open carriages through the park, the 
Czar was very kind and amiable, and expressed himself 
both to Eugene and Hortense as desirous of doing 
everything in his power to assure their future. 

Josephine had come only upon the urgent request 
of Hortense; she was sad and discouraged. She had 
but little confidence in the promises of the Czar, and 
felt that after his departure the Bourbons would do 
nothing. She realized better than her children how 
little confidence could be placed in royal promises. 
When she read two days later in the official journal 
that the Emperor of Russia had gone to Saint-Leu to 
dirie with " Prince Eugene, his mother and sister," her 
comments were very bitter. There seemed to be a de- 
liberate intention to deny her the position and rank 
which had been accorded her. 

This visit to Saint-Leu was the beginning of Jose- 
phine's illness, which was to terminate fatally exactly 
two weeks later. She took a severe cold, which she re- 
fused to care for, saying that it was nothing. In the 
evening she descended for dinner, clad in one of her 


lightest decollete gowns. After breakfast the following 
morning she returned to Malmaison. 

Monday, the 23 May, the King of Prussia came to 
call at Malmaison, and remained for dinner. He was 
accompanied by his two sons, of whom one was later 
to be known as the Emperor William. The following day 
Josephine had to receive the Russian grand-dukes, 
Nicholas and Michel. These official receptions, these 
visits of ceremony, fatigued her terribly. In the even- 
ing she came to dinner as usual. Later there was a 
dance, and she opened the ball with the Czar; then 
they went into the park, where they promenaded for a 
long time, and she took more cold. 

Wednesday, the 25 May, a small eruption appeared 
all over her body, but principally upon her arms and 
chest. Eugene and Hortense, who were themselves 
both suffering from colds, were vaguely disturbed, but 
far from anticipating a fatal result. He wrote Augusta 
that day: "Our mother has been suffering for two 
days, and this morning she has considerable fever; the 
doctor says that it is only catarrh, but I do not think 
she is at all well." The following night her regular 
physician found her tongue affected and her whole 
head congested, and applied a blister to her neck. 

Friday, the 27 May, Alexander was to have dined 
with Josephine for the last time before leaving for 
London. On his arrival with several other guests, he 
found both Josephine and Eugene ill in bed, and only 
Hortense able to receive the party, who all left early 
except the Czar. 

Saturday, the illness of the Empress became so 
grave that there was a consultation of physicians. 


Eugene wrote his wife that he did not think his mother 
would live through the day. That night Josephine 
begged Hortense, who was nearly worn out, to retire 
and get a little rest. 

Sunday, the 29 May, which was Whit Sunday, it 
was evident that Josephine was dying. Her features 
had sensibly changed, and her respiration was short 
and difficult. Hortense sent for Eugene, and at noon 
Josephine expired in their arms. Just before her death 
the sacraments were administered by the Abbe Ber- 
trand, tutor of Hortense's children, as Josephine's al- 
moner was absent. According to legend, the last delirious 
words of the Empress were: "Napoleon . . . Elba! " 

On Monday the body was embalmed and placed in 
a lead coffin enclosed in oak. The public were now ad- 
mitted to Malmaison, and it is estimated that more 
than twenty thousand people passed before the bier. 

The funeral took place on Thursday, the 2 June, 
when the coffin was taken to the church at Rueil. All 
of the sovereigns present at Paris were represented, 
and there was a large crowd at the church. The mili- 
tary honors were furnished by a detachment of the 
Russian Imperial Guards. 

Josephine's tomb is at the right hand of the choir 
of the church. It is of white marble, with a kneeling 
figure of the Empress in her coronation robes. The 
inscription runs simply: 

' A 



H373 3 


There was nothing mysterious about the death of 
Josephine: no indication, and no suspicion of poison; 
nevertheless there were rumors that such was the cause 
of her death. The autopsy left no doubts as to the 
origin and the progress of the malady: a cold, not 
cared for, and aggravated by her imprudence. 

Two hours after the death of Josephine, in compli- 
ance with sovereign etiquette, Eugene and Hortense 
left Malmaison for Saint-Leu, and were not present 
at the funeral. Although they sent out the usual notices 
of the death of their mother, neither one of them 
seems to have taken the trouble to inform Napoleon 
of the event. He learned the news through a paper 
sent him from Genoa by a valet whom he had sent 
to France, charged with commissions for several per- 
sons, including Josephine herself. " At the news of her 
death," writes an eye-witness, "he appeared pro- 
foundly afflicted; he shut himself up in his room, and 
saw no one except the grand marshal." 

A year later, before leaving Paris for the fatal cam- 
paign of Waterloo, Napoleon wished to visit Malmai- 
son, and was met there by Hortense, who had not had 
the courage to return since the fatal day. For an hour 
he walked with Hortense in the garden, talking only 
of Josephine. Then he visited one by one the different 
rooms, ending with the chamber where Josephine had 
died. Here he remained for a long time alone, and 
came out with his eyes filled with tears. " Poor Jose- 
phine," he said to Hortense, " she may have had her 
faults, but she at least would never have abandoned 




Her Connection with Martinique Her Statue at Fort-de-France 
Her Legend Her Claims to Beauty Her Intellect 
Her Prodigality Her Personal Magnetism Her Affec- 
tions Her Desire to Please Her Falsehoods Her 
Final Deception Her Succession Fate of Her Homes 
Napoleon's Last Visit to Malmaison The Souvenir de 

AS the life of Napoleon will always be asso- 
ciated with the names of three small islands: 
Corsica, Elba, and Saint Helena; so that of 
Josephine will ever be connected with Martinique. 
There is little of interest in the capital city, Fort-de- 
France, apart from the Savane, the large green public 
square, and there the visitor will be attracted mainly 
by the beautiful marble statue of the Empress. " Sea- 
winds have bitten it; tropical rains have streaked it; 
some microscopic growth has darkened the exquisite 
hollow of the throat. And yet such is the human charm 
of the figure that you almost fancy you are gazing at 
a living presence. Perhaps the profile is less artistically 
rea l statuesque to the point of betraying the chisel; 
but when you look straight up into the sweet Creole 
face, you can believe she lives: all the wonderful West 
Indian charm of the woman is there. She is standing 
just in front of the Savane, robed in the fashion of 


the First Empire, with gracious arms and shoulders 
bare: one hand leans upon a medallion bearing the 
eagle profile of Napoleon. . . . Over the violet space 
of summer sea, through the vast splendor of azure 
light, she is looking back to the glace of her birth, 
back to the beautiful drowsy Trois-Ilets and always 
with the same half -dreaming, half -plaintive smile 
unutterably touching." 

The statue so lovingly described by Hearn may be 
said to bear about the same relation to the real woman 
that the Josephine of romance bears to the Josephine 
of history. Since her death a hundred and ten years 
ago, the legend of Josephine has passed through three 
phases. Under the Restoration, it was Josephine the 
protector of the Emigres that all good Royalists were 
called on to lament. The key-note was struck by the 
Archbishop of Tours in his funeral oration: "How 
many unfortunates, condemned, by their fidelity to the 
august family of the Bourbons, to live in exile from 
their fatherland, are beholden to her persistent and 
touching intercession for their restoration to their 
families, and to the country which saw their birth? " 

Under the Second Empire, the writers who wished 
to curry favor with the new Emperor devoted special 
attention to Josephine, and one would almost be led 
to believe that he occupied the throne by right of de- 
scent from his grandmother the Empress Josephine, 
rather than as heir to his uncle the Emperor Napoleon. 
"Josephine was painted as the sorrowful martyr to 
necessities of State. She was the fondly loving wife re- 
pudiated after fourteen years of faithful wedlock." 

Under the Third Republic, the admirers of the Great 


Emperor, less fettered in their views, have gone as far 
in the other direction: they deny to Josephine any 
attachment to Napoleon except that of self-interest, 
and blame him only for not repudiating her sooner. 
As usual, the truth of History lies between these two 

It will always be a moot point how a woman pos- 
sessed of so little intellect, and endowed with no sur- 
passing physical beauty, managed to gain, and retain 
for fourteen years, the love of a man six years her 
junior, and that man Napoleon! 

First, with regard to her beauty: We have innumer- 
able portraits of Josephine, for she loved to be painted, 
and sat to all the celebrated artists of her day: David, 
Gerard, Gros, Isabey, Prud'hon and many others. 
None of these portraits gives the idea of a beautiful 

The written descriptions of her appearance are even 
more unflattering. It is impossible to forget the picture 
of the faded Creole, past her prime, endeavoring to 
hide the ravages of time by an extravagant use of 
powder and rouge; the closed lips which concealed her 
bad teeth; all the artifices to supply the deficiencies of 
nature. But on the other hand we have the admissions 
even of unfriendly observers that her eyes were beau- 
tiful, her smile always charming, her figure slender, 
supple, well-proportioned, needing no corset to support 
it; always clothed in the most perfect taste. To com- 
plete the picture we have the graceful movements of 
her elegant, indolent body, for in the words of Na- 
poleon, " she was graceful even in going to bed "; and 



the harmony of her soft, caressing voice, which could 
soothe and put the Emperor to sleep even when most 
harassed by the cares of State. 

All the memoirs of her time are agreed in stating 
that Josephine had but little intellect, but they are 
almost equally in accord in admitting that she supplied 
the deficiency by her marvellous s avoir faire. Her edu- 
cation had been only rudimentary, and she never in- 
creased her knowledge by reading. There was an 
excellent library at Malmaison, and there was always 
a reader on her staff, chosen more for her beauty than 
for any other qualification, but no one ever heard of 
Josephine opening a book except to read Napoleon to 

Josephine was a great collector, and the chateau of 
Malmaison was a regular museum of valuable paint- 
ings, choice statuary, and rare objets d'art. But there 
is nothing to show that she prized her collection except 
for the value it represented in money. It was only 
another exhibition of her mania for spending. It must 
be admitted, however, that Josephine loved her flowers 
and her plants, and her hothouses and gardens were 
the finest in Europe. 

That Josephine was prodigal in her expenditures of 
money cannot be denied, but altogether too much has 
been made of her debts by Monsieur Masson and other 
recent biographers. The matter has already been quite 
fully covered in these pages, and it is not necessary 
to go into it further here. Napoleon's wrath at the dis- 
covery of her debts, and the terror of Josephine during 
these " scenes," were both largely assumed. It has even 
been said that " Napoleon liked her to be in debt be- 



cause it made her utterly dependent on him " ! It 
must be remembered, however, that, as Napoleon once 
stated: " It is fortunate that the French are to be 
ruled through their vanity." All of the display and the 
etiquette of the Imperial Court were irksome to Na- 
poleon, with his simple tastes, but he endured them 
because it was part of his policy. For the same reason 
he expected Josephine to spend lavishly the handsome 
allowance he gave her, although with his love of order 
he did not wish her to exceed her income. It was all a 
part of his general policy of fostering the industries 
of the country, which has made France what it is to- 
day, the leader in the manufacture of articles of luxury 
and display in every line. 

The secret of Josephine's attraction for Napoleon 
appears to have been that rare quality which, for lack 
of a better term, we may call personal magnetism. 
She was one of those exceptional characters who seem 
to possess the natural gift of attracting others while 
themselves giving little or nothing in return. But to 
win all hearts as she did, Josephine at bottom must 
have possessed a large fund of human sympathy. All 
agree in speaking of her affability; she was " gentle 
and kind, affable and indulgent to all, without respect 
to persons." 

The Josephine of legend is emphatically " la bonne 
Josephine' 9 She could never refuse a request: she was 
always giving lavishly, indiscriminately. It was also 
impossible for her to treasure up grievances against 
any one even the Bonapartes who did so much to 
injure her. With Napoleon's mistresses, she displayed 
the same lack of resentment. She received Madame 



Walewska at Malmaison, and lavished affection upon 
her child. She made Madame Gazzani one of her 
chosen attendants after her divorce. 

Josephine has frequently been accused of loving no 
one but herself, but her letters to her children show 
that she was a very affectionate and demonstrative 
mother, and she was certainly a doting grandmother. 
It seems hardly possible that she was insincere, or that, 
as one writer puts it, "Josephine's affections were a 
vigorous expression of her self-love." 

No one can question the fact of Napoleon's love 
for Josephine, which lasted as long as he lived; and 
certainly after his return from Egypt she was to him a 
model wife. She anticipated his every wish; she never 
kept him waiting; she was always ready to accompany 
him on his journeys; she went cheerfully through the 
most arduous social duties; and exerted herself to con- 
ciliate all whom he wished to win to his interests. 
From Napoleon she extorted the admiring exclamation: 
" I win battles; Josephine wins hearts! " 

In fact Josephine was an enjoleuse: to win, to se- 
duce, by cajoleries, by caresses, by soft words in 
short, to please, was the principal aim of her existence. 
Even where she had no end to gain, where no self- 
interest was involved, she strove to please simply be- 
cause it gave her pleasure. It was to please that she 
embellished her home; that she spent a fortune on 
jewels and toilettes; that she wore herself out with 
visits, receptions, and journeys; that she triumphed 
over her headaches, neglected her colds, and went to 
her death. This explains all: this is the true key to 
her character. 


This also is the explanation of her falsehoods, for 
by the testimony of all her contemporaries, friends and 
foes alike, Josephine was one of the greatest liars who 
ever lived. If she has succeeded in imposing on history, 
it is largely due to the fact that she imposed on Na- 
poleon, which in itself is no small feat! He was con- 
vinced that she loved only him; he represents her as the 
model wife attentive, affectionate, and devoted; he 
thinks she is extravagant, but how elegant and how 
graceful she is! how beautifully she dresses! how she 
excels in everything she does! For him she is the 
perfect woman! 

By a supreme falsehood, and this one posthumous, 
she leaves with her attendants the impression, and 
with Napoleon the conviction, that she dies of love for 
him, overwhelmed by the disasters of France and the 
Empire, in despair because she could not share his 
fate at Elba, and mollify by her loving tenderness the 
rigors of his exile. 

On the day after his return from Elba, in March 
1815, he said to Corvisart at the Tuileries: " You let 
my poor Josephine die! " 

Then he sent for Horau, her regular physician, and 
demanded the fullest details of her death: 

" What was the cause of her illness? " 

" Anxiety . . . chagrin . . ." 

" You say that she was anxious, what was the cause 
of her chagrin? " 

" What had taken place, Sire; the position of Your 

" Ah! then, she spoke of me? " 

" Often, very often." 


" Good woman, good Josephine! She loved me truly, 
did she not? " 

This conviction remained with Napoleon until the 
end of his life, and in speaking of Josephine at Saint 
Helena, he exclaimed: " She was the best woman in 
France! " 

Aside from her two chateaux of Malmaison and 
Pregny, and her fine collection of jewels, Josephine left 
little of value at the time of her death. In the settle- 
ment of her estate, Eugene took Malmaison, and as- 
sumed the payment of her debts, while Hortense re- 
ceived Pregny and her jewels, the share of each of 
her children amounting to about two million francs 
when the estate was finally settled. 

Of all the places closely associated with the life of 
Josephine, only Malmaison remains to-day. During the 
lifetime of Eugene, a large part of the estate was cut 
up and sold in parcels. In June 1829, five years after 
his death, in the final settlement of his estate it was 
found necessary to sell the chateau. After passing 
through several hands, it was bought in 1861 by Na- 
poleon the Third and made a museum of Napoleonic 
souvenirs. During the Franco-Prussian war it was pil- 
laged by the Germans and damaged by fire. Finally 
it was purchased, early in the present century, by a 
Jewish millionaire, who had the generous thought of 
restoring it as nearly as possible to its former condition 
and presenting it to the State as a museum of relics 
of Napoleon and Josephine. 

Pregny, which was taken by Hortense, as her portion 
of the real estate, was sold by her in 1817 for about 


one hundred thousand francs. Nearly all of the furni- 
ture was removed by Hortense, but the buildings re- 
main in the same condition as in the time of Josephine. 
Under the terms of the grant to the Empress, at her 
death Navarre passed to Eugene, and from him to his 
eldest son, Auguste. In 1834 this prince married the 
Queen of Portugal, but died at Lisbon less than four 
months later. He was succeeded as Due de Navarre by 
his brother Maximilian, who married the Grande- 
Duchesse Marie of Russia, daughter of Czar Nicholas. 
On his death in 1852 the title was claimed by his son 
Prince Nicholas, but the French Government refused 
its assent, on the ground that, as a member of the 
imperial family of Russia, he could not swear fidelity 
to the Emperor of the French. It was thus that the 
grandson of Prince Eugene was deprived by his cousin 
Napoleon the Third of the duchy erected by Napoleon 
the First, and by virtue of a clause in the original 
grant which four successive Governments of France 
had neglected to invoke! But long before this date the 
estate of Navarre had been sold by the heirs of Eugene, 
with the permission of the Government, and the pro- 
ceeds, over a million francs, invested in French bonds. 

On the Sunday following the battle of Waterloo, the 
25 June 1815, Napoleon left Paris for the last time, 
and went to Malmaison. Here, before departing for 
his final exile, he spent four days in wandering through 
the chateau and the park, as if in search of the beloved 
shade which in disappearing from his life seemed to 
have taken with it his happiness and his fortune. 

Such, charming and exquisite, she lives in his mem- 


ory, to soften his agony and soothe his exile, and such, 
after the lapse of a hundred years, she still appears in 
the eyes of posterity. 

" In vain/' says Monsieur Masson, " in vain have 
we been compelled to tell the truth about her, to throw 
upon her life the light of History: the legend still pre- 
vails. Her memory will never suffer from what has 
been written even from what has been proven. 

" In the dispersal and quick disappearance of the 
things she loved, there remains only the name of a 
flower: the Souvenir de Malmaison, and thus her 
image, and the emblem of her life, will be one of these 
lovely roses, tender and fragile, bright and nacreous, 
which she loved and named. . . . When for a brief 
moment the rose has given us a vision of its grace, a 
petal loosens and falls, then another, and another, until 
finally it is like a fall of fragrant snow, projecting into 
the warm atmosphere hardly the repressed vibration 
of a sigh; but the fragrance of the withering petals 
long floats on the air, and perfumes the room." 

With this beautiful thought we take our leave of 
Napoleon's charming " little Creole." 


THERE are very few books on Josephine, either in French or in 
Enelish Little is known about her early years, and after her 
SSJe to Napoleon, her career is so identified with that of 
her husband that most of the information regarding her is to be 
found in the numerous biographies, histories and memoirs devoted 
to the life of the Emperor. 

AUBENAS, J. A., Bistoire de I'imptratrice Josephine, Paris, 1858- 
x8 2 vols. An excellent history, written by one who had 
made a careful examination of all the material then avail- 
able both in France and in Martinique, and whom we may 
call 'the official biographer of Josephine. He alone had ac- 
cess to the archives of the Tascher family, and to mm we 
owe most of our knowledge of the first fifteen years of her 

HALL, H. F., Napoleon's Letters to Josephine, (1796-1812). 
Trans. 1903. 

LE NORMAND, M. A., M emoires Mstoriques et secrets de Jose- 
phine, Paris, ifeo. a vols. These so-called mfeimres, 
falsely attributed to Josephine herself, were published four 
years after her death. Napoleon was then in exile; his 
enemies were in power again; and this book was intended as 
a propitiatory offering to royalty. The author was an un- 
principled, unscrupulous woman, Mile. Le Nonnand, who 
was a professional fortune-teller of Paris. The book is as 
untrustworthy as the Memoires of Barras. 

Lettres de Napoleon A Josephine, Paris, 1833- /vols. 
These volumes contain the letters of Napoleon to Josephine 
from 1796 to 1813, also the letters from Josephine to her 
daughter from 1794 to i8 I4 . The publication of this cor- 



respondence was authorized by Queen Hortense, who had 
the letters in her possession. These letters are of extreme 
interest, as they reveal the innermost thoughts of the Em- 
peror, and throw a strong side-light on his character, as 
well as on that of Josephine. 

MASSON, F., Josephine, Paris, 1899-1902. 3 vols. Also Napo- 
Uon et sa famUle. Paris, 1896-1919. 13 vols. Masson was 
the greatest authority upon the history of the Emperor and 
his family. His works are remarkable for the abundance of 
their intimate details and the exactitude of their docu- 

OBER, FREDERICK A., Josephine, Empress of the French, New 
York, 1895. A popular English biography, based on the 
French history of M. Aubenas. The author seems to be 
familiar with Martinique, and gives many intimate details of 
Josephine's early life. 

SAINT-AMAND, IMBERT DE, JosSphme, Paris, 1887. 5 vols. Pub- 
lished under different titles. The author presents Josephine 
in the most favorable light, and at the same time displays 
great admiration for the Emperor. 

SERGEANT, PHILIP W., The Empress Josephine, London, 1908. 
2 vols. The best English biography: well written, accurate, 
and very fair in its treatment both of Josephine and Napo- 

TURQUAN, JOSEPH, L'lmpfratrice Josephine, Paris, 1895-1896. 
2 vols. The first volume, entitled La glnlrale Bonaparte, 
covers the period from Vendemiaire to the end of the Con- 
sulate; the second, the Empire and the years subsequent to 
the divorce. The author makes much of the early scandals in 
Josephine's life, and is very unfair in his presentation of the 



AVRILLON, MLLE., Mlmoires sur la vie privde de Josephine, Paris, 
no date (about 1835). 2 v k- The author, who describes 
herself as " premiere femme de chambre de Pimp&atrice," 
was with Josephine from 1804 to 1814. While possessing no 
great historic value, these memoirs are interesting and read- 

BOURRIENNE, L. A. F. DE, M6moires, Paris, 1829-1831. 10 
vols. Trans. London, 1893. 4 vols. Also new French 
edition, Paris, 1899-1900. 5 vols. A vivid, but untrust- 
worthy picture of Napoleon and Jos6phine. The stories of 
the author's very dose friendship are open to suspicion. 

JUNOT, LAURE (Duchesse d'Abrantes), M&moires, Paris, 1833- 
1834. 18 vols. Trans. Very vivacious, but full of slanders 
and sarcasms in her portrayal of the Emperor and his wife. 
Not trustworthy. 

REMUSAT, MME. DE, Mtmoires, Paris, 1879-1880. 3 vols. Also 
trans. She was a dame du palais of Josephine, and her 
memoirs give a very vivid description of the Consular and 
Imperial Courts. The original manuscript was burnt during 
the Hundred Days, as the author feared that her attacks 
on Napoleon might get her into trouble. The memoirs 
which we have now were written in 1818, and show a desire 
to gain favor with the Royalists. 



Abrantes, Duchesse d', 59 
Alexander, Czar, 235, 367, 369* 37*> 

Anne 2 , Grand Duchess of Russia, 

Arenberg, Mme. d', see Tascher, 


Arnault, author, 60, 63, 04 
Artois, Comte d 1 , 130, 138 
Aubenas, author, n 
Augusta of Bavana, (wife 01 

Eugene), 188, 193, 221, 360 
Avrillon, Mile., author, i55> i7*> 

173, 288, 293, 354 

Bacciochi, Prince Felix, 69 
Bacciochi, Princesse, see Bonaparte, 

Barral, Archbishop, 376 
Barras, director, 44-46, 48 
Bausset, palace prefect, 287-291 
Beauharnais, Alexandra, birth (28 
May 1760), 8; his early 
years, 12; education, 13; Mme. 
Renaudin's interest in him, 13; 
enters the army, 14; pkf *. r 
his marriage, x*: letter of his 

for Martinique (1782), 19; re- 
pudiates Josephine, 20; returns 
to France (1783), 21; refuses 
reconciliation, 22; separation 
arranged (1785), 22; elected to 
States-General (1789), 27; presi- 
dent of the Assembly (i79*;, 29; 
flight of the Royal family, 29; 
retires to the country, 3; re- 
joins the army, 30; commands 
Army of Rhine, 31 J his disgrace- 
ful failure, 32; resigns command, 
32; retires to Blois, 34? arrested 
and imprisoned d794)> 34 J m , s 
execution, 35 J his daughter's 
pride in him, 107 
Beauharnais, Eugene, birth (3 
Sept. 1781), 19; on staff of 

Hoche, 30; in school at Saint- 
Germain, 44; claims his fathers 
sword, 49; intercedes for his 
mother, 83; his treatment by 
the Emperor, 144; a* the Ma- 
rengo review, 170; made Viceroy 
of Italy, 172; marriage to 
Augusta, 192-194; his character 
and appearance, 192; adopted by 
the Emperor, 193* 258; sum- 
moned to Paris (Dec. 1809), 296; 
his difficult position, 296; ar- 
ranges final conference, 297; 
refuses Crown of Italy, 297; his 
address to the Senate, 301; visits 
his mother at Aix, 334; also at 
Navarre, 344 ; b^gs news of 
birth of King of Rome, 345 ;. at 
Paris before Russian campaign, 
35o; given command of Grand 
Army, 356; attitude towards 
Napoleon, 3595 the Emperors 
suspicions (1814), 3^o; letter 
from Josephine, 361 ; leaves Italy, 
368; called to Paris, 369; received 
'by the King, 370; part in Jose- 
phine's estate, 382 

April ju/o/) * . 

by her father, 20; goes to 
Martinique with her mother, 24; 
placed in Mme. Campans 
school, 44; intercedes for her 
mother, 84; plans for her mar- 
riage, 102; her appearance 
and character, 106; love of her 
mother, 107; pride in her father, 
107; early dislike of Napoleon, 
107; fancy for Duroc, 108; 
wounded by infernal machine, 
109; marriage to Louis, 112; 
hostess at Tuileries, 199; births 
of her children, 200; Queen 
of Holland, 201; residence at 
The Hague, 201; visit to May- 
ence, 201; death of Charles, 225; 



her despair, 226; letters from the 
Emperor, 228-231; visit to Cau- 
terets, 239; reconciliation with 
Louis, 239; return to Fontaine- 
bleau, 239; her illness, 239; re- 
fuses to return to Holland, 247; 
birth of Louis-Napoleon (Napo- 
leon III) , 267 ; her interview with 
Napoleon at time of divorce, 
292; abdication of Louis, 335; 
visits her mother at Aix, 336; 
-also at Navarre, 344, 365; at 
Malmaison (1814), 367; receives 
the Czar, 367; created Duchesse 
de Saint-Leu, 370; entertains the 
Czar, 371; at her mother's death- 
bed, 373; part in Josephine's 
estate, 382; at Malmaison with 
Napoleon (1815), 383 

Beauharnais, Stephanie, (Grand 
Duchess of Baden), 195, 197, 
246, 247 

Bonaparte, Caroline, (Mme. Murat), 
92, 112, 142, 155 

Bonaparte, Elisa, (Mme. Baccio- 
chi), 69, 142, 155 

Bonaparte, Jerdme, 124, 171, 238, 246 

Bonaparte, Joseph, 78, 99, 127, 269 

Bonaparte, Letitia, (Mme. Mere), 
69, 149 

Bonaparte, Louis, 103, 104, 105, 
106, in, 112, 198-201 

Bonaparte, Louis-Napoleon, (Napo- 
leon III), 267, 357 

Bonaparte, Lucien, 78, 98, 102-103, 

123, 257 
Bonaparte, Napoleon-Charles, 200, 

Bonaparte, Napoleon-Louis, 157, 

Bonaparte, Pauline, (Mme. Leclerc, 

later Princesse de Borghese), 69, 

120, 155 

Borghese, Prince de, 121 
Bouill, Marquis de, 19, 29 
Bourrienne, secretary, 199 
Broc, Mme. de, 358 

Cadoudal, Georges, 130-134 
Calmelet, 53 

Cambace'res, 140, 285, 303 
Caprara, Cardinal, 112, 14$ 
Carnot, director, 99 
Catherine, of Wurtemberg, (wife of 
Jei6me), 238, 246 

Caulaincourt, 135, 320 
Charles, Hippolyte, 65, 78 
Charles, Grand Duke of Baden, 

188, 195, 196 

Charles, King, (of Spain), 263-269 
Cochelet, Mile., reader to Hor- 

tense, 366 
Corvisart, Dr., 381 

David, painter, 150 

D&melle, Mile., 225 

Dupont, General, 270 

Duroc, grand marshal, 108, 115, 256 

Emmery, merchant, 39 
Enghien, Due d', 134-137 
Eugene, Prince, see Beauharnais 

Ferdinand, Prince, (of Spain), 263- 


Fesch, Cardinal, 148, 153, 321 
Flahaut, Charles de, 336 
Fouche", minister, 100, 102, 139, 

252-254, 278, 286 
Foures, Mme., 80 

Gazzani, Mme., reader to Jos- 

phine, 246, 380 
Georges, Mile., actress, 119 
Girardin, Stanislas, 279 
Gohier, director, 86 

Hatzfeld, Prince, 206 
Hoche, General, 35, 38 
Horau, Dr., 381 
Hortense, see Beauharnais 

Isabey, painter, 152 

Josephine, birth (23 June 1763), 9; 
confusion of dates, 9; childhood, 
12; education, 12; appearance 
and character, 12; she takes her 
sister's place, 16; arrives in 
France, 17; first marriage (19 
Dec. 1779), 18; life in Paris, 18; 
birth of Eugene (3 Sept. 1781), 
19; departure of Alexandre, 19; 
birth of Hortense (10 April 
1783), 20; repudiated by Alex- 
andre, 20; he returns to France, 
21 ; refuses reconciliation, 22; 
separation arranged (1785), 22; 
her sojourn at Panthemont, 23; 
residence at Fontainebleau, 24; 


voyage to Martinique (1788), 
24-26; returns to France (i79), 
28; residence in Paris, 29; house 
at Croissy, 32; imprisoned in 
the Cannes (i794) 34 ; execution 
of Alexandre, 355 she is released, 
37- her behavior in pnson, 37; 
returns to Croissy, 38; relations 
with Hoche, 38; financial straits, 
39-40; her banker Emmery, 39 : 
her love of luxury, 41; intimacy 
with Mme. Tallien, 41; their 
similar tastes, 42; her new home 
Rue Chantereine (Oct. 1795), 42; 
places children in school, 44; 
liaison with Barras, 45-47; dur ' 
ing 13 Vendemiaire, 48; meets 
Bonaparte (15 Oct.), .49J her 
appearance at that time, 50; 
letter to Bonaparte, 51 i her hesi- 
tation about marriage, 52; final 
consent, 53 J marriage to Bona- 
parte (9 March 1796), 54 ; his 
departure for Italy, 54 J his first 
letter, 56; her indifference, 56; 
his second letter, 57; hesitation 
to rejoin him, 59; at presentation 
of battle flags, 60; her life at 
Paris, 63 ; starts for Italy (July) , 
64; regret at leaving, 64; arrival 
at Milan, 65; her ennui there, 66; 
letter to Mme. Renaudin, oo; 
her delayed honeymoon, 67; 
court at Montebello (i797)> 69; 
her aid to Napoleon's policy, 70; 
she returns to Paris (Jan. 1798), 
72- attends Talleyrand fete, 735 
suspicious letter to Barras, 74; 
accompanies Bonaparte to Toulon 
(May), 75J goes to Plombieres, 
76; serious accident, 77; buys 
Malmaison, 77; intrigue with 
Charles, 78; hears of Bonaparte s 
return (Oct. 1799), 83; fails to 
meet him, 83; their reconcilia- 
tion, 84; her debts paid, 84; r61e 
in coup d'etat, 85; moves to 
Luxembourg, 87; life there, 88; 
her important rdle, 90; devotion 
to Napoleon, 90; se cret of ner 
power, 90; her royahsm, 90; 
assistance to emigres, 91; im- 
portance to Napoleon's policy, 
91 ; interest in marriage of Murat, 
92; moves to Tuileries (Feb. 
1800), 93; the new society, 94 J 

visits to Malmaison, 95 5 her fears 
of divorce, 101; the disgrace of 
Lucien, 103; chooses Louis for 
Hortense, 103; the infernal ma- 
chine (Dec.), 109; narrow escape, 
109; dismay over public attitude, 
no; visit to Plombieres, 112; 
marriage of Hortense (Jan. 1802), 
112; trip to Normandie, 116'; 
her appearance at 40* 7> 
her life at Saint-Cloud, 118; 
scene of jealousy at Tuileries, 
119; visit to Belgium, 127; pacific 
counsels to Bonaparte, 131; 
reveals plans regarding Due 
d'Enghien, 136; hailed as Empress 
(18 May 1804), 141; her fine 
attitude, 143; at the fetes of 14 
July, 144; visit to Banks of the 
Rhine, 145; return to Saint- 
Cloud, 147; triumph over the 
Bonapartes, 149; religious mar- 
riage (Dec.), 153; at toe Coro- 
nation, 154-155; her daily life, 
158-168; places of residence, 158; 
frequent changes at Tuileries, 
159, 160; her rooms at Saint- 
Cloud, 161; daily routine, 162; 
personal attendants, 162; her 
toilette, 163; lingerie and robes, 
164; lavish expenditures, 165; 
debts paid by the Emperor, 166; 
life at Tuileries, 167; journey to 
Italy (1805), 169; at Milan coro- 
nation (26 May), 171; gnef over 
elevation of Eugene, 172; her 
husband's attachment, 173; the 
Genoa f&es, 174; return to 
France, 174; visit to Plombieres, 
175; sojourn at Strasbourg, i77J 
Napoleon's letters, 178-182; goes 
to Munich, 184; her selfishness, 
186; at marriage of Eugene (Jan. 
1806), 187-195; return to Paris, 
195; goes to Mayence (1806), 
202; Napoleon's letters, 203-212; 
1806), 187-195; return to Paris, 
220; her cordial welcome, 220; 
her loneliness, 221; birth of 
Eugene's daughter, 221; grief at 
death of Charles (May 1807), 
226; meets Hortense at Laeken, 
226; Napoleon's letters, 228-231; 
return to Paris, 232; letters to 
Hortense, 233; at the Fontaine- 
bleau f&es, 246-247; the divorce 


first proposed, 2495 refuses to 
take initiative, 251; action in 
reply to Fouche's letter 252-2 3; 
deatit of her mother, 256; letters 
during Napoleon's tnp to Italy, 
2597 her fear of divorce, 261; 
a remarkable episode, 262 ; mar- 
riage of her cousin, Mile, de 
Tascher, 262; sojourn at Bayonne 
(1808), 264; joins Napoleon at 
Marrac, 267; 3<>y ,^ e * blrth ! 
Louis-Napoleon (April), 267, 
return to Saint-Cloud, 270; left 
at Paris during Erfurt meeting, 
272; also during Spanish cam- 
paign, 275; letters of the 
Emperor, 276; she reveals the sue- 
cession plot, 279; goes to Stras- 
bourg, 280; Napoleon's letters, 
281-284; meets Emperor at Fon- 
tainebleau (1809), 286; her cold 
reception, 286; her appearance 
at 46, 288; receives announce- 
ment of divorce (30 Nov.), 
289; a pretended swoon, 290; 
the final fetes, 294; arrival 
of Eugene, 296; final conference, 
297; address at the divorce (i5 
Dec.), 299; departure for Mal- 
maison, 303; her legend, 304; her 
dowry, 306; her debts paid, 307? 
first days at Malmaison, 307; 
visits and letters from Emperor, 
308-317; Christmas dinner at 
Trianon, 311; her interest in 
Austrian marriage, 313; goes to 
filysee palace, 31*; returns to 
Malmaison, 322; presented with 
Navarre (1810), 322; its dilapi- 
dated condition, 324; worried 
over Paris gossip, 326; letter to 
Napoleon and his reply, 327- 
328; he agrees to her plans, 329; 
she returns to Malmaison, 330; 
her Court there, 331;. anxiety 
about Hortense, 332; visit from 
the Emperor, 333 ; goes to Aix- 
les-Bains, 334; visit from Eugene, 
334; informed of Louis* abdica- 
tion, 335 ; narrow escape, 33$; 
arrival of Hortense, 336 r tour of 
Switzerland, 3375 upset by re- 
ports regarding Marie-Louise, 
337-339; rejects advice of Mme. 
de R&nusat, 340; returns to 
Malmaison, 341; monotonous life 

at Navarre (1811), 342; her 
health improved, 343; visits from 
her children, 3445 her ffte-day, 
344; news of birth of King of 
Rome (March), 3455 her debts 
paid again, 34$; P&&S new 
chateau at Malmaison, 349; ex- 
changes rysee for Laeken, 349; 
passes winter at Malmaison, 350; 
visit to Milan (1812), 351 J 
sojourns at Aix and Pr6gny, 352 ; 
return to Paris, 352; hears of 
Malet plot, 353J anxiety over 
Moscow disaster, 353; meets King 
of Rome (Dec. 1812), 355; visit 
from Hortense's sons, 357; news 
of death of Mme. de Broc, 358; 
writes Eugene at request of 
Emperor (1814), 361; leaves for 
Navarre, 363; arrival of Hor- 
tense, 365; news of abdication 
(April), 366; returns to Mal- 
maison, 367; receives the Czar, 
367; fears for her children, 371; 
final illness and death (29 May), 
372; her association with Mar- 
tinique, 375J her statue at Fort- 
de-France, 375; her legend, 376; 
her claims to beauty, 377,* per 
intellect, 378; her prodigality, 
378; her magnetism, 379; her 
desire to please, 380; her affec- 
tions, 380; her falsehoods, 381; 
her final deception, 381 ; fate ; of 
her homes, 382; her succession, 
382; her memory, 384 f _ 
Jouberthou, Mme., (wife of Lu- 

cien), 123 
Junot, General, 263 
Junot, Mme,, see Abrantes 

La Rochefoucauld, Due de, 13, *4 

Lavalette, General, 67, 275 

Lavoisier, 27 

Leclerc, General, 69 

Lederc, Mme., see Bonaparte, 


Leon, (son of Napoleon), 225 
Louis-Napoleon, see Bonaparte 
Louis XVin, 100 
Louisa, Queen, 205, 235 

Marie-Louise, Empress, 321, 337i 

Maximilian, King of Bavaria, 188, 




Meneval, secretary, 115, 302 
Metternich, Mme., 312-313 
Metternich, Prince, 314 
Moreau, General, 131-133 
Murat, General, 92, 112, 207, 264 

Napoleon, during 13 Vend&niaire 
(Oct. 1795), 4S; returns sword 
to Eugene, 49; meets Josephine 
(15 Oct.), 49J her letter to him, 
51; his first letter, 51; decides 
on marriage, 52; civil ceremony 
(9 March 1796), 54 J leaves for 
Italy, 54; first letter during cam- 
paign, 56; his victories, 58; 
second proclamation, 58; sends 
for Josephine, 59 J victory of 
Lodi (10 May), 61; enters Milan 
(15 May), 62; his delayed honey- 
moon, 67; end of campaign, 68; 
his letters to Josephine, 68; 
court of Montebello (i797), 69; 
the family reunion (June), 69; 
peace of Campo-Formio (Oct.), 
71; leaves for Rastadt, 71; 
returns to Paris (Dec.), 7*; at 
the Talleyrand fete (2 Jan. 1798), 
73; clash with Mme. de Stael, 
73; buys Hotel Chantereine, 74; 
bis tour of inspection, 74; his 
fortune, 75; leaves for Toulon, 
75; sails for Egypt (19 May), 
76; hears reports of Josephine's 
infidelity, 79; liaison with Mme. 
Foures, 80; leaves Egypt (Aug. 
1799), 82; lands at Fre*jus (9 
Oct.), 83; reaches Paris (16 Oct.), 
83; pardons Josephine, 84; pays 
her debts, 84; during -the coup 
d'&at (9-10 Nov.), 86-87; made 
Consul, 87; moves to Luxem- 
bourg (n Nov.), 87; life there, 
88; marries Caroline to Murat 
(Jan. 1800), 92; moves to 
Tuileries (19 Feb.), 935 life there, 
94; visits to Malmaison, 94; the 
chateau, 95; his affability, 95; 
his problems as First Consul, 96; 
success of his administration, 97; 
reception after Marengo (July), 
97; the "Conspiracy," 98; an- 
swers the Pretender, 100; decision 
to amend Constitution, 101; dis- 
graces Lucien, 103; the infernal 
machine (24 Dec.), 109; public 
demands for an heir, no; made 

Consul for Life (2 Aug. 1802), 
114; takes possession of Saint- 
Cloud, 114; his apartments, 115; 
establishes court etiquette, 115; 
trip to Normandie, 116; absent 
at marriage of Pauline, 120; 
enraged over marriages of Lucien 
and J&rfime, 123-124; celebrated 
scene with British ambassador, 
126; visit to Belgium, 127; 
episode at Mortefontaine, 128; 
first suggestions of the Empire, 
128; reception at Brussels, 129; 
the Royalist conspiracies, 130; 
jealousy of Moreau, 131-132; his 
trial and exile, 133; execution of 
Due d'Enghien (21 March 1804), 
135-138; proclaimed Emperor (18 
May), 139; yields to his family, 
143; his treatment of Eugene, 
144; at the 14 July fetes, 144; 
visit to Channel ports and the 
Rhine, 145; return to Saint- 
Cloud, 147; plans for Coronation, 
148; reception of Pope, 151; 
religious marriage (i Dec. 1804), 
153; ceremony at Notre-Dame, 
(2 Dec.), 154-156; baptism of 
Napoleon-Louis, 157; payment of 
Josephine's debts, 166; journey 
to Italy, 169 ; review at Marengo, 
170; reconciliation with Jerome, 
171; coronation at Milan (26 
May 1805), 171; his satisfaction, 
172; makes Eugene Viceroy of 
Italy, 172; his reproof of Jos6- 
phine, 172; his attachment to 
her, 173; at the Genoa fetes, 174; 
return to France, 174; letters 
during Austerlitz campaign, 178- 
182 ; arrival at Munich (31 Dec.) , 
187; plans for family alliances, 
188; overcomes opposition, 190; 
summons Eugene, 191; marries 
him to Augusta (Jan. 1806), 194; 
reception at Paris, 195; marries 
Stephanie to Charles (April), 
195; makes Louis King of Hol- 
land (5 June), 198; during cam- 
paign of Jena, 202-207; letters 
to Josephine, 203-207; enters 
Berlin, 205; the Hatzfeld episode, 
206; goes to Poland, 208; first 
meeting with Marie Walewska 
(Jan. 1807), 213; beginning of 
their liaison, 215 ; he orders Jose*- 



phine to return to Paris, 215; 
minimizes his losses at Eylau, 
217; quarters at Osterode, 218; 
letter to Joseph, 218; letters to 
Josephine, 219; moves to Finck- 
enstein, 222; joined by Mme. 
Walewska, 222; dictates as to 
Josephine's friends, 223; birth of 
his son Leon, 225; death of his 
nephew Charles (May), 225; his 
apparent indifference, 231; letters 
to Josephine, Hortense and others, 
228-231; letters from Friedland 
and Tilsit, 234; declines rose of 
Queen Louisa, 235; return to 
Paris, 236; makes Talleyrand 
vice-grand-elector, 237; his fete 
(15 August), 238; marries J6r6me 
to Catherine, 238; takes part of 
Hortense against Louis, 239; the 
Court at Fontainebleau, 240- 
248; his grandeur described by 
Mme. de RSmusat, 241; Na- 
poleon's power in 1807, 242; his 
program of entertainment, 242; 
his ennui, 244, affair with Mme. 
Gazzani, 246; reproves Jerdme, 
246; raises question of divorce, 
249; rebukes FouchS for med- 
dling, 254; goes to Italy, 257; 
meets Lucien, 257; adopts 
Eugene, 258; letters to Josephine, 
259; irresolution as to divorce, 
262; a remarkable scene, 262; 
interest in Spanish crisis (1808), 
263; goes to Bayonne (April), 
264; sojourn at Marrac, 265; 
letters to Empress, 265; makes 
Joseph King of Spain (June), 
269; hears of Baylen disaster, 
270; returns to Saint-Cloud 
(Aug.), 270; at the Erfurt con- 
ference (Sept.-Oct.), 271-274; 
opens his heart to Alexander, 
272; instructs Talleyrand to open 
negotiations, 273; letters to 
Josephine, 274; leaves for Spam 
(Nov.), 275; his letters during 
campaign, 276; return to Paris 
(Jan. 1809), 278; scene at 
Tuileries, 278; leaves for Stras- 
bourg, 280* wounded at Ratis- 
bon, 280; letters to the Empress, 
281-284; returns to Fontaine- 
bleau (Oct.), 284; informs Cam- 
baceres of divorce, 285; cold 

C394 3 

reception of Josephine, 286; his 
hesitation, 288; final announce- 
ment of divorce (30 Nov.), 289; 
a comic episode, 290; verdict of 
History, 290; his sincere regret, 
291; interview with Hortense, 
292; the final fetes, 294; contre- 
temps at Grosbois, 295; arrival 
of Eugene, 296; final conference, 
297; address at divorce (15 Dec.), 
298; leaves for Trianon, 302; 
annulment of marriage, 303; 
liberality to Josephine, 306; pays 
her debts, 307; visits to Mal- 
maison, 308-317; Christmas din- 
ner at Trianon, 311; allows Jose- 
phine to return to Paris (1810), 
313; his preference for Russian 
alliance, 319; calls a conference 
(Jan.), 320; marriage arranged 
with Marie-Louise, 320; her 
arrival in Paris (March), 321; 
advises Josephine to leave, 322; 
her formal letter, 327; his cordial 
reply, 328; he agrees to Jose- 
phine's plans, 329; informs her 
of Louis' abdication, 335; writes 
about Marie-Louise, 337; con- 
sents to her return, 340; writes 
of birth of King of Rome (1811), 
345; again pays Josephine's debts, 
346; agrees to exchange Laeken 
for Elysee, 349; comments on 
Malet conspiracy (1812), 354; re- 
turns from Moscow (Dec.), 354; 
last meeting with Josephine 
(Dec.), 355; gives Eugene com- 
mand of Grand Army, 356; his 
errors in campaign of 1813; 357; 
suspicious of Eugene (1814), 360; 
asks Josephine to write him, 360; 
his first abdication (6 April), 366; 
his political testament, 366; news 
of Josephine's death, 374; his last 
visits to Malmaison (1815), 374, 
383; his belief in Josephine, 383 

Napoleon n, King of Rome, 345, 

Napoleon-Charles, see Bonaparte 

Napoleon-Louis, see Bonaparte 

Nelson, Lord, 76 

Patricol, tutor, 13 

Patterson, Miss, (wife of Jer6me), 

124, 171 
Pichegru, 130-134 


Pius VH, Pope, 148-157 
Provence, Comte de, 100 

Rapp, aide de camp, no 

Rmusat, Mme. de, 68, 116, 119, 
126, 133, 194, 241, 310, 326, 340 

Renaudin, Mine., (aunt of Jose- 
phine), 7, 13, 15, 16, 17, 66 

Salicettl, 61 

Savary, minister, 137 

Stael, Mme. de, 73 

Talleyrand, minister, 73, 100, 129, 

i37> 189, 237, 244, 249, 253, 254, 

255, 262, 273, 274, 278 
Tallien, 41 
TaJlien, Mme., 41-42 
Tascher de la Pagerie (family of 

Josephine), 4-5, io-n, 15-16, 25 
Tascher, Stephanie (Mme. d' Aren- 

berg), 262 

Walewska, Marie, 213-224, 283, 380 
Whitworth, Lord, 126