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Napoleon’s Letters to Josephine

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Napoleon’s Letters to Josephine
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Author(s): Henry Foljambe Hall
Date Published: 2010/07
Page Count: 292
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-061-7
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-062-4

The intimate correspondence of history

What needs to be said about the relationship between Napoleon and Josephine that has not become legend? He was a humble Corsican who rose meteorically through the ranks of the armies of Revolutionary France to be become First Consul and then Emperor of the First Empire. She was his lover from the earliest days, swept up in his rising fortunes until she became Empress by his side, only to be cast away in favour of an Austrian princess who could give the Emperor an heir. Yet theirs was never a straightforward or easy relationship. Both took lovers and despite his own infidelities and tolerance, Napoleon felt extreme pangs of jealousy and wrote of them plainly in his correspondence. Napoleon reveals himself to be a man of raging passions both for Josephine and the creation of an Empire worthy of his genius. As one would expect, these letters are barely confined to pillow talk. Here was a soldier at the head of a conquering army that set Europe ablaze. Much of the progress of his campaigns is reported in the most personal detail. Here are those who surrounded the Emperor most closely—the soldiers, the court and the ever troublesome family. Here are the great events of the age from great campaigns, battles and fallen monarchs to assassination attempts. Here are the highs and the lows of two incredible turbulent lives. Essential reading for those fascinated by the Napoleonic age and who wish to listen to the immediate thoughts of the great man to his lover across time on all the issues that touched him closest. Available in soft cover and hard cover with dustjacket.

To Josephine, at Milan.<br>
Marmirolo, July 18, 1796, 2 p.m.<br>
I passed the whole night under arms. I ought to have had Mantua by a plucky and fortunate coup: but the waters of the lake have suddenly fallen, so that the column I had shipped could not land. This evening I shall begin a new attempt, but one that will not give such satisfactory results.<br>
I got a letter from Eugène, which I send you. Please write for me to these charming children of yours, and send them some trinkets. Be sure to tell them that I love them as if they were my own. What is yours or mine is so mixed up in my heart, that there is no difference there.<br>
I am very anxious to know how you are, what you are doing? I have been in the village of Virgil, on the banks of the lake, by the silvery light of the moon, and not a moment without dreaming of Josephine.<br>
The enemy made a general sortie on June 16th; it has killed or wounded two hundred of our men, but lost five hundred of its own in a precipitous retreat.<br>
I am well. I am Josephine’s entirely, and I have no pleasure or happiness except in her society.<br>
Three Neapolitan regiments have arrived at Brescia; they have sundered themselves from the Austrian army, in consequence of the convention I have concluded with M. Pignatelli.<br>
I’ve lost my snuff-box; please choose me another, rather flat-shaped, and write something pretty inside, with your own hair.<br>
A thousand kisses as burning as you are cold. Boundless love, and fidelity up to every proof. Before Joseph starts, I wish to speak to him.<br>
Bonaparte.<br>
No. 4.<br>
To Josephine, at Milan.<br>
Marmirolo, July 19, 1796.<br>
I have been without letters from you for two days. That is at least the thirtieth time today that I have made this observation to myself; you are thinking this particularly wearisome; yet you cannot doubt the tender and unique anxiety with which you inspire me.<br>
We attacked Mantua yesterday. We warmed it up from two batteries with red-hot shot and from mortars. All night long that wretched town has been on fire. The sight was horrible and majestic. We have secured several of the outworks; we open the first parallel tonight. Tomorrow I start for Castiglione with the Staff, and I reckon on sleeping there. I have received a courier from Paris. There were two letters for you; I have read them. But though this action appears to me quite natural, and though you gave me permission to do so the other day, I fear you may be vexed, and that is a great trouble to me. I should have liked to have sealed them up again: fie! that would have been atrocious. If I am to blame, I beg your forgiveness. I swear that it is not because I am jealous; assuredly not. I have too high an opinion of my beloved for that. I should like you to give me full permission to read your letters, then there would be no longer either remorse or apprehension.<br>
Achille has just ridden post from Milan; no letters from my beloved! Adieu, my unique joy. When will you be able to rejoin me? I shall have to fetch you myself from Milan.<br>
A thousand kisses as fiery as my soul, as chaste as yourself.<br>
I have summoned the courier; he tells me that he crossed over to your house, and that you told him you had no commands. Fie! naughty, undutiful, cruel, tyrannous, jolly little monster. You laugh at my threats, at my infatuation; ah, you well know that if I could shut you up in my breast, I would put you in prison there!<br>
Tell me you are cheerful, in good health, and very affectionate.<br>
Bonaparte.