Josephine, “The Empress Josephine” Napoleon’s heart (Part 1)

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The Empress Josephine

by Louise Muhlbach

Part 1 out of 10









I. Introduction
II. The Young Maid
III. The Betrothal
IV. The Young Bonaparte
V. The Unhappy Marriage
VI. Trianon and Marie Antoinette
VII. Lieutenant Napoleon Bonaparte
VIII. A Page from History
IX. Josephine’s Return
X. The Days of the Revolution
XI. The 10th of August and the Letter of Napoleon Bonaparte
XII. The Execution of the Queen
XIII. The Arrest
XIV. In Prison
XV. Deliverance



XVI. Bonaparte in Corsica
XVII. Napoleon Bonaparte before Toulon
XVIII. Bonaparte’s Imprisonment
XIX. The 13th Vendemiaire
XX. The Widow Josephine Beauharnais
XXI. The New Paris
XXII. The First Interview
XXIII. Marriage
XXIV. Bonaparte’s Love-Letters
XXV. Josephine in Italy
XXVI. Bonaparte and Josephine in Milan
XXVII. The Court of Montebello
XXVIII. The Peace of Campo Formio
XXIX. Days of Triumph



XXX. Plombieres and Malmaison
XXXI. The First Faithlessness
XXXII. The 18th Brumaire
XXXIII. The Tuileries
XXXIV. The Infernal Machine
XXXV. The Cashmeres and the Letter
XXXVI. Malmaison
XXXVII. Flowers and Music
XXXVIII. Prelude to the Empire
XXXIX. The Pope in Paris
XL. The Coronation
XLI. Days of Happiness
XLII. Divorce
XLIII. The Divorced
XLIV. Death





“I win the battles, Josephine wins me the hearts.” These words of
Napoleon are the most beautiful epitaph of the Empress Josephine,
the much-loved, the much-regretted, and the much-slandered one. Even while Napoleon won battles, while with lofty pride he placed his
foot on the neck of the conquered, took away from princes their
crowns, and from nations their liberty–while Europe trembling bowed
before him, and despite her admiration cursed him–while hatred
heaved up the hearts of all nations against him–even then none
could refuse admiration to the tender, lovely woman who, with the
gracious smile of goodness, walked at his side; none could refuse
love to the wife of the conqueror, whose countenance of brass
received light and lustre from the beautiful eyes of Josephine, as
Memnon’s statue from the rays of the sun.

She was not beautiful according to those high and exalted rules of
beauty which we admire in the statues of the gods of old, but her
whole being was surrounded with such a charm, goodness, and grace,
that the rules of beauty were forgotten. Josephine’s beauty was
believed in, and the heart was ravished by the spell of such a
gracious, womanly apparition. Goethe’s words, which the Princess
Eleonore utters in reference to Antonio, were not applicable to

“All the gods have with one consent brought gifts to his cradle,
but, alas! the Graces have remained absent, and where the gifts of
these lovely ones fail, though much was given and much received, yet
on such a bosom is no resting-place.”

No, the Graces were not absent from the cradle of Josephine; they,
more than all the other gods, had brought their gifts to Josephine.
They had encircled her with the girdle of gracefulness, they had
imparted to her look, to her smile, to her figure, attraction and
charm, and given her that beauty which is greater and more enduring
than that of youth, namely loveliness, that only real beauty.
Josephine possessed the beauty of grace, and this quality remained
when youth, happiness, and grandeur, had deserted her. This beauty
of grace struck the Emperor Alexander as he came to Malmaison to
salute the dethroned empress. He had entered Paris in triumph, and
laid his foot on the neck of him whom he once had called his friend,
yet before the divorced wife of the dethroned emperor the czar, full
of admiration and respect, bowed his head and made her homage as to
a queen; for, though she was dethroned, on her head shone the crown
in imperishable beauty and glory, the crown of loveliness, of
faithfulness, and of womanhood.

She was not witty in the special sense of a so-called “witty woman.”
She composed no verses, she wrote no philosophical dissertations,
she painted not, she was no politician, she was no practising
artist, but she possessed the deep and fine intuition of all that
which is beautiful and noble: she was the protectress of the arts
and sciences. She knew that disciples were not wanting to the arts,
but that often a Maecenas is needed. She left it to her cousin, the
Countess Fanny Beauharnais, to be called an artist; hers was a
loftier destiny, and she fulfilled that destiny through her whole
life–she was a Maecenas, the protectress of the arts and sciences.

As Hamlet says of his father, “He was a man, take him for all in
all, I shall not look upon his like again;” thus Josephine’s fame
consists not that she was a princess, an empress anointed by the
hands of the pope himself, but that she was a noble and true wife,
loving yet more than she was loved, entirely given up in unswerving
loyalty to him who rejected her; languishing for very sorrow on
account of his misfortune, and dying for very grief as vanished away
the star of his happiness. Thousands in her place, rejected,
forgotten, cast away, as she was–thousands would have rejoiced in
the righteousness of the fate which struck and threw in the dust the
man who, for earthly grandeur, had abandoned the beloved one and
disowned her love. Josephine wept over him, lamented over his
calamities, and had but a wish to be allowed to share them with him.
Josephine died broken-hearted–the misfortunes of her beloved, who
no more loved her, the misfortunes of Napoleon, broke her heart.

She was a woman, “take her for all in all”–a noble, a beautiful
woman, a loving woman, and such as belongs to no peculiar class, to
no peculiar nation, to no peculiar special history; she belongs to
the world, to humanity, to universal history. In the presence of
such an apparition all national hatred is silent, all differences of
political opinion are silent. Like a great, powerful drama drawn
from the universal history of man and represented before our eyes,
so her life passes before us; and surprised, wondering, we gaze on,
indifferent whether the heroine of such a tragedy be Creole, French,
or to what nation she may owe her birth. She belongs to the world,
to history, and if we Germans have no love for the Emperor Napoleon,
the tyrant of the world, the Caesar of brass who bowed the people
down into the dust, and trod under foot their rights and liberties–
if we Germans have no love for the conqueror Napoleon, because he
won so many battles from us, yet this does not debar us from loving
Josephine, who during her lifetime won hearts to Napoleon, and whose
beautiful death for love’s sake filled with tears the eyes of those
whose lips knew but words of hatred and cursing against the emperor.

To write the life of Josephine does not mean to write the life of a
Frenchwoman, the life of the wife of the man who brought over
Germany so much adversity, shame, and suffering, but it means to
write a woman’s life which, as a fated tragedy or like a mighty
picture, rises before our vision. It is to unfold a portion of the
world’s history before our eyes–and the world’s history is there
for our common instruction and progress, for our enlightenment and

I am not afraid, therefore, of being accused of lacking patriotism,
because I have undertaken to write the life of a woman who is not a
German, who was the wife of Germany’s greatest enemy and oppressor.
It is, indeed, a portion of the universal drama which is unfolded in
the life of this woman, and amid so much blood, so much dishonor, so
many tears, so much humiliation, so much pride, arrogance, and
treachery, of this renowned period of the world’s history, shines
forth the figure of Josephine as the bright star of womanhood, of
love, of faithfulness–stars need no birthright, no nationality,
they belong to all lands and nations.



On the 23d of July, 1763, to the Chevalier Tascher de la Pagerie,
ex-lieutenant of the royal troops, a resident of the insignificant
spot of the Trois Islets, on the island of Martinique, was borne by
his young, rich, and beautiful wife, a first child.

The loving parents, the relatives and friends had longed for this
child, but now that it was come, they bade it welcome without joy,
and even over the brow of the young father hung the shadow of a
cloud as he received the intelligence of the birth of his child. For
it was a girl, and not the wished-for boy who was to be the
inheritor of the valuable family-plantation, and the inheritor also
of the ancient and respectable name of Tascher de la Pagerie.

It was, however, useless to murmur against fate. What was
irrevocable had to be accepted, and welcome made to the daughter,
who, instead of the expected heir, would now lay claim to the rights
of primogeniture. As an inheritance reserved for him who had not
come, the daughter received the name which had been destined to the
son. For two hundred years the name of Joseph had been given to the
eldest son of the family of Tascher de la Pagerie, but now that
there was none to whom the Chevalier, Ex-lieutenant Joseph de la
Pagerie could leave his name as a legacy, the family had to be
satisfied to give the name to his daughter, and consequently she
received at baptism the name of Joseph Marie Rosa.

There was, however, one being who gladly and willingly forgave the
fault of her birth, and who consecrated to the daughter the same
love she would have offered to the son. This being was the mother of
the little Joseph Marie Rosa.

“Contrary to all our wishes,” writes she to her husband’s sister,
the beautiful Madame Renaudin, in Paris–“contrary to all our
wishes, God has given me a daughter. My joy is not therefore
diminished, for I look upon my child as a new bond which binds me
still closer to your brother, my dear husband, and to you. Why
should I have such a poor and meagre opinion of the female sex, that
a daughter should not be welcomed by me? I am acquainted with many
persons of our sex who concentrate in themselves as many good
qualities as one would only with difficulty find in the other sex.
Maternal love already blinds me and fosters in me the hope that my
daughter may be like them, and if even I cannot enjoy this
satisfaction, yet I am thankful to my child that by means of her
existence I am gathering so much happiness.”

Indeed, extraordinary joy, since the birth of the child, reigned in
the house of M. Tascher de la Pagerie; joy reigned all over
Martinique, for the long war between France and England was ended,
and a few months before the birth of little Joseph Marie Rosa, the
peace which secured to France the possession of her maritime
colonies had been signed. Martinique, so often attacked, bombarded,
besieged by English ships–Martinique was again the unconditional
property of France, and on the birthday of the little Marie Joseph
Rosa the French fleet entered into the harbor of Port Royal, landed
a French garrison for the island, and brought a new governor in the
person of the Marquis de Fenelon, the nephew of the famous Bishop de

Joyously and quietly passed away the first years of the life of the
little Joseph, or little Josephine, as her kind parents called her.
Only once, in the third year of her life, was Josephine’s infancy
troubled by a fright. A terrible hurricane, such as is known to
exist only in the Antilles, broke over Martinique. The historians of
that period know not how to depict the awful and calamitous events
of this hurricane, which, at the same time, seemed to shake the
whole earth with its convulsions. In Naples, in Sicily, in the
Molucca Islands, volcanoes broke out in fearful eruptions; for three
days the earth trembled in Constantinople. But it was over
Martinique that the hurricane raged in the most appalling manner. In
less than four hours the howling northwest’ wind, accompanied by
forked lightning, rolling thunder, heavy water-spouts, and
tremendous earth-tremblings, had hurled down into fragments all the
houses of the town, all the sugar-plantations, and all the negro
cabins. Here and there the earth opened, flames darted out and
spread round about a horrible vapor of sulphur, which suffocated
human beings. Trees were uprooted, and the sugar and coffee
plantations destroyed. The sea roared and upheaved, sprang from its
bounds, and shivered as mere glass-work barks and even some of the
larger ships lying in the harbor of Port Royal. Five hundred men
perished, and a much larger number were severely wounded. Distress
and poverty were the result of this astounding convulsion of nature.

The estate of M. Tascher de la Pagerie was made desolate. His
residence, his sugar-plantations, were but a heap of ruins and
rubbish, and as a gift of Providence he looked upon the one refuge
left him in his sugar-refinery, which was miraculously spared by the
hurricane. There M. Tascher saved himself, with Josephine and her
younger sister, and there his wife bore him a third child. But
Heaven even now did not fulfil the long-cherished wishes of the
parents, for it was to a daughter that Madame de la Pagerie gave
birth. The parents were, however, weary with murmuring against fate,
which accomplished not their wish; and so to prove to fate that this
daughter was welcome, they named the child born amid the horrors of
this terrific hurricane, Desiree, the Desired.

Peaceful, happy years followed;–peaceful and happy, in the midst of
the family, passed on the years of Josephine’s infancy. She had
every thing which could be procured. Beloved by her parents, by her
two sisters, worshipped by her servants and slaves, she lived amid a
beautiful, splendid, and sublime nature, in the very midst of wealth
and affluence. Her father, casting away all ambition, was satisfied
to cultivate his wide and immense domains, and to remain among his
one hundred and fifty slaves as master and ruler, to whom
unconditional and cheerful obedience was rendered. Her mother sought
and wished for no other happiness than the peaceful quietude of the
household joys. Her husband, her children, her home, constituted the
world where she breathed, in which alone centred her thoughts, her
wishes, and her hopes. To mould her daughters into good housekeepers
and wives, and if possible to secure for them in due time, by means
of a brilliant and advantageous marriage, a happy future–this was
the only ambition of this gentle and virtuous woman.

Above all things, it was necessary to procure to the daughters an
education suited to the claims of high social position, and which
would fit her daughters to act on the world’s stage the part which
their birth, their wealth, and beauty, reserved for them. The tender
mother consented to part with her darling, with her eldest daughter;
and Josephine, not yet twelve years old, was brought, for completing
her education, to the convent of our Lady de la Providence in Port
Royal. There she learned all which in the Antilles was considered
necessary for the education of a lady of rank; there she obtained
that light, superficial, rudimentary instruction, which was then
thought sufficient for a woman; there she was taught to write her
mother tongue with a certain fluency and without too many blunders;
there she was instructed in the use of the needle, to execute
artistic pieces of embroidery; there she learned something in
arithmetic and in music; yea, so as to give to the wealthy daughter
of M. Tascher de la Pagerie a full and complete education, the pious
sisters of the convent consented that twice a week a dancing-master
should come to the convent to give to Josephine lessons in dancing,
the favorite amusement of the Creoles. [Footnote: “Histoire de
l’Imperatrice Josephine,” par Joseph Aubenas. vol. i., p. 36.]

These dancing-lessons completed the education of Josephine, and,
barely fifteen years old, she returned to her parents and sisters as
an accomplished young lady, to perform the honors of the house
alongside of her mother, to learn from her to preside with grace and
ease over a large mansion, and above all things to be a good
mistress, a benefactress, and a protectress to her slaves. Under her
mother’s guidance, Josephine visited the negro cabins to minister
unto the sick, to bring comfort and nourishment to the old and to
the weak, to pray with the dying, to take under her loving
guardianship the new-born babes of the negro women, to instruct in
the catechism the grown-up children, to excite them to industry, to
encourage them through kindness and friendliness, to protect them,
and to be a mediator when for some offence they were condemned to
severe punishment.

It was a wonderfully peaceful and beautiful life that of the young
Josephine, amid a bountiful nature, in that soft, sunny clime which
clothed her whole being with that tender, pleasing grace, that
lovely quietude, that yielding complacency, and at the same time
with that fiery, passionate nature of the Creoles. Ordinarily
dressed only with the “gaule,” a wide, loose garment of white
muslin, falling loosely about the waist, where no belt gathered its
folds, the beautiful head wrapped up in the many-colored madras,
which around the temples was folded up into graceful knots holding
together her chestnut-brown hair–in this dress Josephine would
swing for hours in her hammock made of homespun silk and ornamented
with borders of feathers from the variegated iridescent birds of

Round about her were her young female slaves, watching with their
brilliant dark eyes their young mistress, ever ready to read every
wish upon that dreamy, smiling countenance, and by their swarthy
tinge heightening the soft, tender whiteness of her own complexion.

Then, wearied with the stillness and with her dreams, Josephine
would spring up from the hammock, dart into the house with all the
lightness of the gazelle to enliven the family with her own
joyousness, her merry pleasantry, and accompanied by her guitar to
sing unto them with her lovely youthful voice the songs of the
Creoles. As the glowing sun was at its setting, away she hastened
with her slaves into the garden, directed their labors, and with her
own hands tended her own cherished flowers, which commingled
together in admirable admixture from all climes under the genial
skies of the Antilles. In the evening, the family was gathered
together in the light of the moon, which imparted to the nights the
brightness of day and streamed upon them her soft blue rays, upon
the fragrant terrace, in front of the house, where the faithful
slaves carefully watched the little group close one to another and
guarded their masters from the approaches of poisonous serpents,
that insidious progeny of the night.

On Sundays after Josephine had religiously and faithfully listened
to an early mass, she gladly attended in the evening the
“barraboula” of the negroes, dancing their African dances in the
glare of torches and to the monotonous sound of the tam-tam.

On festivals, she assisted her mother to put all things in order,
and to preside at the great banquets given to relatives and friends,
who afterward were visited in their turn, and then the slaves
carried their masters in hammocks, or else, what was far more
acceptable, the young maidens mounted small Spanish horses, full of
courage and daring, and whose firm, quick step made a ride to Porto
Rico simply a rushing gallop.

Amidst this dreamy, sunny, joyous existence of the young maiden
gleamed one day, as a lightning-flash, a prophetic ray of
Josephine’s future greatness.

This happened one afternoon as she was walking alone and thoughtful
through the plantation. A group of negresses, in the centre of which
was an old and unknown woman, attracted her attention. Josephine
approached. It was an old negro woman from a neighboring plantation,
and she was telling the fortune of the young negro women of M.
Tascher de la Pagerie. No sooner did the old woman cast her eyes on
Josephine than she seemed to shrink into one mass, whilst an
expression of horror and wonder stole over her face. She vehemently
seized the hand of the young maiden, examined it carefully, and then
lifted up her large, astonished eyes with a searching expression to
the face of Josephine.

“You must see something very wonderful in my face and in my hand?”
inquired Josephine, laughing.

“Yes, something very wonderful,” repeated the negro woman, still
intently staring at her.

“Is it a good or a bad fortune which awaits me?”

The old prophetess slowly shook her head.

“Who can tell,” said she, gravely, “what is a good or a bad fortune
for human beings? In your hand I see evil, but in your face
happiness–great, lofty happiness.”

“Well,” cried out Josephine, laughing, “you are cautious, and your
oracle is not very clear.”

The old woman lifted up her eyes to heaven with a strange

“I dare not,” said she, “express myself more clearly.”

“Speak on, whatever the result!” exclaimed Josephine, whose
curiosity was excited by the very diffidence of the fortune-teller.
“Say what you see in my future life. I wish it, I order you to do

“Well, if you order it, I must obey,” said she, with solemnity.
“Listen, then. I read in your countenance that you are called to
high destinies. You will soon be married. But your marriage will not
be a happy one. You will soon be a young widow, and then–”

“Well, and then?” asked Josephine, passionately, as the old woman
hesitated and remained silent.

“Well, and then you will be Queen of France–more than a queen!”
shouted the prophetess, with a loud voice. “You will live glorious,
brilliant days, but at the last misfortune will come and carry you
to your grave in a day of rebellion.”

Afraid of the pictures which her prophetic vision had contemplated
in the future, the old hag forced her way through the circle of
negro women around, and rushed away through the field as fast as her
feet could bear her on.

Josephine, laughing, turned to her astonished women, who had
followed with their eyes the flight of the prophetess, but who now
directed their dark eyes with an expression of awe and bewilderment
to their young mistress, of whom the fortune-teller had said she
would one day be Queen of France. Josephine endeavored to overthrow
the faith of her swarthy servants in the fortune-teller, and, by
pointing to the ridiculous prophecy in reference to herself, and
which predicted an impossible future, she tried to prove to them
what a folly it was to rely on the words of those who made a
profession of foretelling the future.

But against her will the prophetic words of the old woman echoed in
the heart of the young maiden. She could not return home to her
family and talk, laugh, and dance, as she had been accustomed to do
with her sisters. Followed by her slaves, she went into her garden
and sank in a hammock, hung amid the gigantic leaves of a palm-tree,
and, while the negro girls danced and sang round her, the young maid
was dreaming about the future, and her beating heart asked if it
were not possible that the prophecy of the negro woman might one day
be realized.

She, the daughter of M. Tascher de la Pagerie–she a future “Queen
of France! More than a queen!” Oh, it was mere folly to think on
such things, and to busy herself with the ludicrous prophecies of
the old woman.

And Josephine laughed at her own credulity, and the slaves sang and
danced, and against her will the thoughts of the young maiden
returned to the prophecy again and again.

What the old fortune-teller had said, was it so very ridiculous, so
impossible? Could not that prophecy become a reality? Was it, then,
the first time that a daughter of the Island of Martinique had been
exalted to grandeur and lofty honors?

Josephine asked these questions to herself, as dreaming and
thoughtful she swung in the hammock and gazed toward the horizon
upon the sea, which, in its blue depths and brilliancy, hung there
as if heaven had lowered itself down to earth. That sea was a
pathway to France, and already once before had its waves wafted a
daughter of the Island of Martinique to a throne.

Thus ran the thoughts of Josephine. She thought of Franchise
d’Aubigne, and of her wondrous story. A poor wanderer, fleeing from
France to search for happiness beyond the seas in a foreign land, M.
d’Aubigne had landed in Martinique with his young wife. There
Franchise was born, there passed away the first years of her life.
Once, when a child of three years old, she was bitten by a venomous
serpent, and her life was saved only through the devotion of her
black nurse, who sucked alike poison and death from the wound.
Another time, as she was on a voyage with her parents, the vessel
was in danger of being captured by a corsair; and a third time a
powerful whirlwind carried into the waves of the sea the little
Francoise, who was walking on the shore, but a large black dog, her
companion and favorite, sprang after her, seized her dress with its
teeth, and carried the child back to the shore, where sobbing for
joy her mother received her.

Fate had reserved great things for Francoise, and with all manner of
horrors it submitted the child to probation to make of it a strong
and noble woman.

A severer blow came when her father, losing in gambling all the
property which he had gathered in Martinique, died suddenly, leaving
his family in poverty and want. Another blow more severe still came
when on her return to France, whither her mother was going with her,
she lost this last prop of her youth and childhood. Madame d’Aubigne
died, and her body was committed to the waves; and, as a destitute
orphan, Francoise d’Aubigne touched the soil of France.

And what became of the poor orphan of the Creole of Martinique?

She became the wife of a king, and nearly a queen! For Francoise
d’Aubigne, the widow of Scarron, the governess of the children of
Louis XIV, had caused the mother of these children, the beautiful
Madame de Montespan, to be cast away, and she became the friend, the
beloved, the secret spouse of the king: and the lofty Louis, who
could say of himself, “L’etat c’est moi” he, with all the power of
his will, with all his authority, was the humble vassal of Franchise
d’Aubigne, Marquise de Maintenon!

This was the first princess whom Martinique had given to the world!

Was it not possible that the prophecies of the old negro woman could
be realized? could not once more a daughter of the Island of
Martinique be exalted into a princess?

“You will be Queen of France!” the negress had said.

No, it was mere folly to believe in such a ridiculous prophecy. The
throne of France was now occupied. Alongside of her consort, the
good, the well-beloved Louis XVI, the young and beautiful Queen
Marie Antoinette, the daughter of the mighty Empress Maria Theresa,
sat on the throne. She was young, she was beloved throughout France,
and she had already, to the great delight of her husband and of his
people, borne an heir to the throne of France.

The throne of the lilies stood then on firm and sure foundations,
and the prophecies of the old negress belonged only to the kingdom
of fables. [Footnote: This prophecy, nearly as related above, was
told by the Empress Josephine herself to her maids of honor in the
castle of Navarra.–See “Memoires sur l’Imperatrice Josephine, la
Ville, la Cour et les Salons de Paris sous l’Empire, par Madame
Georgette Ducrest.”]



Six months had barely elapsed since Josephine’s return from the
convent when the family Tascher de la Pagerie received from their
relatives in Paris letters which were to be of the greatest
importance for the whole family.

The beautiful Madame de Renaudin, sister of M. Tascher de la
Pagerie, had settled in Paris after having rid herself of an unhappy
marriage with a man, coarse and addicted to gambling, and after
having, through a legal separation, reobtained her freedom. She
lived there in the closest, intimacy with the Marquis de
Beauharnais, who, for many years, at an earlier period, had resided
as governor on the Island of Martinique, and there had bound himself
to the whole family of Tascher de la Pagerie by the ties of a
cordial friendship. His wife, during her residence in Martinique,
had been the most tender friend of Madame de Renaudin, and when the
marchioness bore a second son to her husband, Madame de Renaudin had
stood as godmother, and promised to love and protect the child of
her friend as if she were his mother.

Chance brought on the opportunity of accomplishing this promise and
of fulfilling the oath made to God before the altar. The Marchioness
de Beauharnais returned to France in the year 1763 with her husband
and her two sons, but died there a short time after; and Madame de
Renaudin, true to her oath, hastened to replace the natural
guardian, the mother.

Perhaps she had but followed the dictates of her heart, perhaps
against her will a sentiment of joy had passed over her at the death
of the poor marchioness, for, by this death, one at least of the two
obstacles intervening between Madame de Renaudin and the Marquis de
Beauharnais had been removed. Both married, both of the Catholic
religion, death alone could make their hands free, and confer upon
them the right of joining hands together for all their days.

They loved one another, they had ceased long ago to make a secret of
it; they avowed it to each other and to their dependants, for their
brave, loyal, and noble hearts would not stoop to falsehood and
deception, and they had the courage to acknowledge what their
sentiments were.

Death had then made free the hand of the Marquis de Beauharnais, but
life held yet in bondage the hand of the Baroness de Renaudin.

As long as her husband lived, she could not, though legally divorced
from him, conscientiously think of a second marriage.

But she possessed the courage and the loyalty of true love; she had
seen and experienced enough of the world to despise its judgments,
and with cheerful determination do what in her conscience she held
to be good and right.

Before God’s altar she had promised to the deceased Marchioness de
Beauharnais to be a mother to her son; she loved the child and she
loved the father of this child, and, as she was now free, as she had
no duties which might restrain her footsteps, she followed the voice
of her heart and braved public opinion.

She had purchased not far from Paris, at Noisy-le-Grand, a country
residence, and there passed the summer with the Marquis de
Beauharnais, with his two sons and their tutor.

The marquis owned a superb hotel in Paris, in Thevenot Street, and
there, during winter, he resided with his two sons and the Baroness
de Renaudin, the mother, the guardian of his two orphan sons, the
friend, the confidante, the companion of his quiet life, entirely
devoted to study, to the arts, to the sciences, and to household

Thus the years passed away; the two sons of the Marquis de
Beauharnais had grown up under the care of their maternal friend:
they had been through their collegiate course, had been one year
students at Heidelberg, had returned, had been through the drill of
soldier and officer, a mere form which custom then imposed on young
men of high birth; and the younger son Alexander, the godchild of
the Baroness de Renaudin, had scarcely passed his sixteenth year
when he received his commission as sub-lieutenant.

A year afterward his elder brother married one of his cousins, the
Countess Claude Beauharnais, and the sight of this youthful happy
love excited envy in the heart of the young lieutenant of seventeen
years, and awoke in him a longing for a similar blessedness. Freely
and without reserve he communicated his wishes to his father, begged
of him to choose him a wife, and promised to take readily and
cheerfully as such her whom his father or his sponsor, his second
mother, would select for him.

A few months later reached Martinique the letters which, as already
said, were to be of the utmost importance to the family of M.
Tascher de la Pagerie.

The first of these letters was from the Marquis de Beauharnais, and
addressed to the parents of Josephine, but with a considerate and
delicate tact the marquis had not written the letter with his own
hand, but had dictated it to his son Alexander, so as to prove to
the family of his friend De la Pagerie that the son was in perfect
unison of sentiment with the father, and that the latter only
expressed what the son desired and approved.

“I cannot express,” wrote the marquis, “how much satisfaction I have
in being at this moment able to give you a proof of the inclination
and friendship which I always have had for you. As you will
perceive, this satisfaction is not merely on the surface.

“My two sons,” continues he, “are now enjoying an annual income of
forty thousand livres. It is in your power to give me your daughter
to enjoy this income with my son, the chevalier. The esteem and
affection he feels for Madame de Renaudin makes him passionately
desire to be united with her niece. I can assure you that I am only
gratifying his wishes when I pray you to give me for him your second
daughter, whose age corresponds at best with his. I sincerely wish
that your eldest daughter were a few years younger, for then she
would certainly have had the preference, the more so that she is
described to me under the most advantageous colors. But I confess my
son, who is but seventeen and a half years old, thinks that a young
lady of fifteen is too near him in age. This is one of those cases
in which reasonable and reflecting parents will accommodate
themselves to circumstances.”

M. de Beauharnais adds that his son possesses all the qualities
necessary to make a woman happy. At the same time he declares that,
as regards his future daughter-in-law, he has no claims to a dowry,
for his son already possesses an income of forty thousand livres
from his mother’s legacy, and that after his father’s death he will
inherit besides an annual income of twenty-five thousand livres. He
then entreats M. de la Pagerie, as soon as practicable, to send his
daughter to France, and, if possible, to bring her himself. The
marquis then addresses himself directly to the wife of M. de la
Pagerie, and repeats to her in nearly the same words his proposal,
and endeavors also to excuse to her the choice of the second

“The most flattering things have been told me,” writes he, “of your
eldest daughter, but my son finds her, with her fifteen years, too
old for him. My son is worthy of becoming your son-in-law; Nature
has gifted him with good and fine parts, and his income is
sufficiently large to share it with a wife qualified to render him
happy. Such a one I trust to find in your second daughter; may she
resemble you, madame, and I can no longer doubt of my son’s
happiness! I feel extremely happy to see my long-cherished wishes
satisfied! I can not express to you how great will be my joy to see
riveted forever, by means of this union of our two families, the
inclination and the friendship which have already so long chained us
together. I trust that Mademoiselle de la Pagerie will not refuse
her consent. Allow me to embrace her and already to greet her as my
own beloved daughter.” [Footnote: Aubenas, “Histoire de
l’Imperatrice Josephine,” vol. i., p. 78.]

To this letter was addressed a note from Madame de Renaudin to her
brother and to her sister-in-law. She openly acknowledges that she
it was who desired this union, and who had brought the matter to its
present stage, and she endeavors to meet the objection that it would
appear strange for a young lady to undertake a long journey in
search of a future husband, whilst it would be more expedient that
the bridegroom should make the journey to his bride, to receive her
at the hands of her parents, and bring her with him to a new home.
But this bride of thirteen years must first be trained for her
future destiny; she is not to be in the house of her future father-
in-law, but in the house of Madame de Renaudin, her aunt, and she is
there to receive the completion of her education and that higher
culture which her parents, even with all the necessary means, could
not give her in Martinique.

“We are of opinion,” she writes, “that the young people must see one
another and please each other, before we bring this matter to a
close, for they are both too dear to us to desire to coerce them
against their inclination. Your daughter will find in me a true and
kind mother, and I am sure that she will find the happiness of her
future life in the contemplated union, for the chevalier is well
qualified to make a wife happy. All that I can say of him exhausts
by no means the praise he deserves. He has a pleasant countenance,
an excellent figure, wit, genius, knowledge, and, what is more than
this, all the noble qualities of heart and soul are united in him,
and he must consequently be loved by all who know him.”

Meanwhile, before these letters reached Martinique, chance had
already otherwise decided the fate of Mary, the second daughter of
M. de la Pagerie. With one sentence it had destroyed all the family
schemes. After three days of confinement to a bed of sickness, Mary
had died of a violent fever, and when the letter, in which the
Marquis de Beauharnais asked for her hand, reached her father, she
had been buried three months.

M. Tascher de la Pagerie hastened to announce her death to the
Marquis and to Madame de Renaudin; and to prove to them how much he
also had at heart a union of the two families, he offered to his
son, the chevalier, the hand of his third daughter, the little
twelve-year-old Desiree. Undoubtedly it would have been more
gratifying to him if the choice of the marquis had fallen upon his
eldest daughter, and he makes this known very clearly in his answer
to Madame de Renaudin.

“My eldest daughter,” writes he, “Josephine, who is lately returned
from the convent, and who has often desired me to take her to
France, will, believe me, be somewhat sensitive at the preference
given to her younger sisters. Josephine has a beautiful head,
beautiful eyes and arms, and also a wonderful talent for music.
During her stay in the convent I procured her a guitar-teacher; she
has made the best of the instruction received, and she has a
glorious voice. It is a pity she has not the opportunity of
completing her education in France; and were I to have my wish, I
would bring her to you instead of my other two daughters.”

Meanwhile the Marquis de Beauharnais, as well as his son, found that
the youngest daughter of M. de la Pagerie was too young for their
impatient desire to bring to a favorable issue these important
family concerns, and that the eldest of the daughters ought to have
the preference. The son of the marquis especially pronounced himself
decidedly in favor of Josephine, and father and son, as well as
Madame de Renaudin, turned imploringly to M. Tascher de la Pagerie,
praying that he would bring them his eldest daughter.

Now, for the first time, when the choice of the Beauharnais family
had irrevocably fallen upon Josephine, now for the first time was
this proposed marriage made known to her, and her consent asked.

Josephine, whose young heart was like a blank sheet of paper,
whereon love had as yet written no name, Josephine rejoiced at the
prospect of accomplishing the secret wish of her maiden heart, to go
to Paris–Paris, the burning desire of all Creoles–Paris, after all
the narratives and descriptions, which had been made to Josephine,
rose before the soul of the young maiden as a golden morning dream,
a charming fairy world; and full of gratitude she already loved her
future husband, to whom she owed the happiness of becoming
acquainted with the city of wonders and pleasures.

She therefore acquiesced without regret at being separated from her
parents and from her sister, from the home of all her sweet
reminiscences of youth, and joyously, in August of the year 1779,
she embarked on board the vessel which was to take her with her
father to France.

In the middle of October they both, after a stormy passage, touched
the soil of France and announced to their relatives their safe
arrival. Alexandre de Beauharnais, full of impatient longings to see
his unknown young bride, hastened to Brest to bid her and her father
welcome, and to accompany them to Paris.

The first meeting of the young couple decided their future.
Josephine, smiling and blushing, avowed to her father that she was
willing and ready to marry M. Alexandre Beanharnais; and, the very
first day of his meeting with Josephine, Alexandre wrote to his
father that he was enchanted with the choice made, and that he felt
strongly convinced that, at the side of so charming, sweet, and
lovely a being, he would lead a happy and sunny life.

The love of the children had crowned all the schemes of the parents,
and on the 13th of December, 1779, the marriage of the young couple
took place. On the 13th of December, Mademoiselle Josephine Tascher
de la Pagerie became the Viscountess Josephine de Beauharnais.



In the same year, 1779, in which Josephine de la Pagerie for the
first time left Martinique for Prance, a vessel which had sailed
from Corsica brought to France a boy who, not only as regards
Josephine’s life, but also as regards all Europe, yea, the whole
world, was to be of the highest importance, and who, with the iron
step of fatality, was to walk through Europe to subvert thrones and
raise up new ones; to tread nations in the dust, and to lift up
others from the dust; to break tyranny’s chains in which people
languished, so as to impose upon them his own chains.

This boy was Napoleon Bonaparte, the son of the advocate Charles de

From Ajaccio, the principal town of Corsica, came the ship which
brought to France the boy, his father, and his two elder brothers.
In Ajaccio the family of the Bonapartes had been settled for more
than a century. There also Napoleon had passed the first years of
his life, in the family circle with his parents, and in joyous
amusements with his five brothers and sisters.

His father, Charles de Bonaparte, belonged to one of the noble
families of Corsica, and was one of the most influential men on the
island. His mother, Letitia Ramolina, was well known throughout the
island for her beauty, and the only woman who could have been her
rival, for she was her equal in beauty, youth, and grace, was her
dearest friend, the beautiful Panonia de Comnene, afterward the
mother of the Duchess d’Abrantes.

The beautiful Letitia Ramolina was married to Charles de Bonaparte
the same year that her friend Panonia de Comnene became the wife of
M. de Permont, a high French official in Ajaccio. Corsica was then
the undisputed property of the kingdom of France, and, however proud
the Corsicans were of their island, yet they were satisfied to be
called subjects of France, and to have their beautiful island
considered as a province of France.

Napoleon Bonaparte was the fifth child of his parents, the favorite
of his beautiful mother Letitia, who was the life of the household,
the ruler of the family. She governed the house, she educated the
children; she knew, with the genuine ability of a housekeeper, of a
mother, how to spend with careful frugality the moderate income of
her husband; how to economize, and yet how to give to each what was
needed. As to the father, in the hours of leisure which business,
political debates, and amusements allowed him to give to his home
and family, his children were an agreeable recreation, an
interesting pastime; and when the children, carried away by the
sparkling fire of youth, shouted or cried too loud, the father
endeavored to palliate their misdemeanor, and obtain their pardon
from their mother. Then Letitia’s eyes were fastened with a flaming
glance upon her husband, and, imperatively bidding him leave the
children, she would say: “Let them alone. Their education concerns
you not. I am the one to keep the eyes upon them.”

She trained them up with the severity of a father and with the
tenderness of a mother. Inexorable against every vice of heart and
character, she was lenient and indulgent toward petty offences which
sprang up from the inconsiderateness and spiritedness of youth.
Every tendency to vulgar sentiments, to mean envy or selfishness,
she strove to uproot by galling indignation; but every thing which
was great and lofty, all sentiments of honor, of courage, of large-
heartedness, of generosity, of kindness, she nursed and cherished in
the hearts of her children. It was a glorious sight to contemplate
this young mother when with her beautiful, rosy countenance glowing
with enthusiasm and blessedness, she stood among her children, and
in fiery, expressive manner spoke to the listening group of the
great and brave of old, of the deeds of a Caesar, of a Hannibal;
when she spoke of Brutus, who, though he loved Caesar, yet, greater
than Caesar, and a more exalted Roman in his love for the republic,
sacrificed his love to the fatherland; or when she, with that
burning glow which all Corsicans, the women as well as the men,
cherish for their home and for the historical greatness of their
dear island, told them of the bravery and self-denial even unto
death with which the Corsicans for centuries had fought for the
freedom of their island; how, faithful to the ancient sacred law of
blood, they never let the misdeed pass unpunished; they never feared
the foe, however powerful he might be, but revenged on him the evil
which he had committed against sister or brother, father or mother.

And when Letitia thus spoke to her children in the beautiful and
harmonious language of her country, the eyes of the little Napoleon
were all aflame, his childish countenance suddenly assumed a grave
expression, and on the little body of the child was seen a man’s
head, glowing with power, energy, and pride.

These narratives of his mother, these enthusiastic stories of heroes
of the past, which the boy, with loud-beating heart, with
countenance blanched by mental excitement, gathered from the
beautiful lips of his mother, were the highest pleasure of the
little Napoleon, and often in future years has the emperor amid his
glory thought of those days never to be forgotten, when the child’s
heart and soul hung on his mother’s lips, and listened to her
wondrous stories of heroes.

These narratives of Letitia, this enthusiasm which her glowing
language awoke in the heart of the child, this whole education which
Letitia gave to her children, became the corner-stone of their
future. As a sower, Letitia scattered the seed from which hero and
warrior were to spring forth, and the grain which fell into the
heart of her little Napoleon found a good soil, and grew and
prospered, and became a laurel-tree, which adorned the whole family
of the Bonapartes with the blooming crown of immortality.

Great men are ever much more the sons of their mother than of the
father, while seldom have great men seen their own greatness survive
in their sons. This is a wonderful secret of Nature, which perhaps
cannot be explained, but which cannot be denied.

Goethe was the true son of his talented and noble mother, but he
could leave as a legacy to his son only the fame of a name, and not
his genius. Henry IV., the son of a noble, spiritual and large-
hearted Jeanne de Navarre, could not leave to France, which
worshipped and loved her king, could not leave to his people, a
successor who resembled him, and who would inherit his sharp-
sightedness, his prudence, his courage, and his greatness of soul.
His son and successor was Louis XIII., a king whose misfortune it
was ever to be overruled, ever to be humbled, ever to stand in the
shade of two superior natures, which excited his envy, but which he
was never competent to overcome; ever overshadowed by the past
glories which his father’s fame threw upon him, overshadowed by the
ruler and mentor of his choice, his minister, the Cardinal de
Richelieu, who darkened his whole sad existence.

Napoleon was the son of his mother, the large-hearted and high-
minded Letitia Ramolina. But how distant was the son of the hero,
who, from a poor second lieutenant, had forced his way to the throne
of France! how distant the poor little Duke de Reichstadt from his
great father! Even over the life of this son of an eminent father
weighed a shadow–the shadow of his father’s greatness. Under this
shadow which the column of Vendome cast from Paris to the imperial
city of Vienna, which the steep rock of St. Helena cast even upon
the castle of Schonbrunn, under this shadow died the Duke de
Reichstadt, the unfortunate son of his eminent father.

The little Napoleon was always a shy, reserved, quiet boy. For hours
long he could hide in some obscure corner of the house or of the
garden, and sit there with head bent low and eyes closed, half
asleep and half dreaming; but when he opened his eyes, what a life
in those looks! What animation, what exuberance in his whole being,
when awaking from his childish dreams he mixed again with his
brothers, sisters, and friends!

Letitia’s words and example had penetrated the soul of the child
with the highest emotions of honor and human dignity, and the little
boy of seven years exhibited oftentimes the sentiments of honor,
pride, and obstinacy of a man. Every bodily correction to which he
was submitted made him turn pale and tremble, not from pain but for
shame, filled him with indignation, and was apt to bring on
sickness. In Corsica still prevailed the custom of severe discipline
for children, and in all the classes of the school the rod was
applied as a means of punishment and reformation. To beat one’s wife
was considered in Corsica, as everywhere else, an unpardonable
brutality; but parents as well as teachers whipped children to mould
them into noble, refined, honorable men.

The little Napoleon would not adapt himself to the blessings of this
education, and the mere threats of the rod-switching deprived the
child of his senses and threw him into convulsions. But though the
little Napoleon was gloomy, monosyllabic, and quiet, yet was he from
early childhood the favorite of all who knew him, and he already
wielded over brothers, sisters, and companions, a wonderful

When a boy of four years old, Letitia sent him to a sort of play-
school, where boys and girls amused themselves together and learned
the ABC. The young Napoleon was soon the soul of the little company.
The boys obeyed him, and submitted to his will; the girls trembled
before him, and yet with a smile they pressed toward him merely to
be near him and to have a place at his side. And the four-year child
already practised a tender chivalry. One of his little school-
companions had made an impression on his heart; he honored her with
special favors, sat at her side during the lessons, and when they
left school to return home, the little Napoleon never missed, with
complete gravity of countenance, to offer his arm to his favorite of
five years of age and to accompany her to her home. But the sight of
this gallant, with his diminutive, compact, and broad figure, over
which the large head, with its earnestness of expression, seemed so
incongruous, and which moved on with so much gravity, while the
socks fell from the naked calves over the heels–all this excited
the merriment of the other children; and when, arm-in-arm with his
little schoolmate, he thus moved on, the other urchins in great glee
shouted after him: “Napoleone di mezza calzetta dall’ amore a
Giacominetta!” (“Napoleon in socks is the lover of the little

The boy endured these taunts with the stoic composure of a
philosopher, but never after did he offer his arm to the little
Giacominetta, and never afterward did his socks hang down over his

When from this “mixed school” he passed into a boys’ school, the
little Napoleon distinguished himself above all the other boys by
his ambition, his deep jealousy, his perseverance at learning and
studying, and he soon became the favorite of the Abbe Recco,
[Footnote: Napoleon, in his testament, written at St. Helena, willed
a fixed sum of money to this Professor Recco, in gratitude for the
instruction given him in his youth.] who taught at the royal college
of Ajaccio as professor. A few times every week the worthy professor
would gather his pupils in a large hall, to read them lectures upon
ancient history, and especially upon the history of Rome; and, in
order to give to this hall a worthy and significant ornament, he had
it adorned on either side with two large and costly banners, one of
which had the initials S. P. Q. E., and represented the standard of
ancient Rome; facing it and on the opposite side of the hall was the
standard of Carthage.

Under the shadows of these standards were ranged the seats for the
scholars, and in the vacant centre of the large hall was the
professor’s chair, from which the Abbe Recco dictated to his pupils
the history of the heroic deeds of ancient Rome.

The elder children sat under the larger standard, under the standard
of Rome, and the junior boys immediately opposite, under the
standard of Carthage; and as Napoleon Bonaparte was the youngest
scholar of the institution, he sat near the Carthaginian standard,
whilst his brother Joseph, his senior by five years, had his seat
facing him on the Roman side. Though at the commencement of the
lectures Napoleon’s delight had been great, and though he had
listened with enthusiasm to the history of the struggles, and to the
martial achievements of the ancient Romans, the little Napoleon soon
manifested an unmistaken repugnance to attend these lectures. He
would turn pale, as with his brother he entered the hall, and with
head bowed low, and dark, angry countenance, took his seat. A few
days afterward he declared to his brother Joseph, his lips drawn in
by anguish, that he would no more attend the lectures.

“And why not?” asked Joseph, astonished. “Do you take no interest in
the Roman history? Can you not follow the lecture?”

The little Napoleon darted upon his brother a look of inexpressible
contempt. “I would be a simpleton if the history of heroes did not
interest me,” said he, “and I understand everything the good
Professor Recco says–I understand it so well that I often know
beforehand what his warriors and heroes will do.”

“Well, then, since you have such a lively interest in the history of
the Romans, why will you no more follow the lectures?”

“No, I will not, I cannot,” murmured Napoleon, sadly.

“Tell me, at least, the reason, Napoleon,” said his brother.

The boy looked straight before him, for a long time hesitating and
undecided; then he threw up his head in a very decided manner, and
gazed on his brother with flaming eyes.

“Yes,” cried he, passionately, “I will tell you! I can no longer
endure the shame to sit down under the standard of the conquered and
humiliated Carthaginians. I do not deserve to be so disgraced.”

“But, Napoleon,” said Joseph, laughing, “why trouble yourself about
the standard of the old Carthaginians? One is just as well under it
as under the Roman standard.”

“Is it, then, the same to you under which standard you sit? Do you
not consider it as a great honor to sit under the standard of the
victorious Romans?”

“I look upon the one as being without honor, and upon the other as
being without shame,” said Joseph, smiling.

“If it is so,” cried out the little Napoleon, throwing himself on
his brother’s neck, “if it is for you no great sacrifice, then, I
implore you to save me, to make me happy, for you can do it! Let us
change seats; give me your place under the standard of Rome, and
take my place instead.”

Joseph declared himself ready to do so, and when the two brothers
came next time to the lecture, Napoleon, with uplifted head and
triumphant countenance, took his seat under the standard of
victorious Rome.

But soon the expression of joy faded away from his face, and his
features were overcast, and with a restless, sad look, he repeatedly
turned himself toward his brother Joseph, who sat facing him under
the standard of the conquered race.

Silent and sad he went home with Joseph, and when his mother
questioned him about the cause of his sorrow, he confessed, with
tears in his eyes, that he was a heartless egotist, that he had been
unjust and cruel toward Joseph, that he had cheated his brother of
his place of honor and had seated himself in it.

It required the most earnest assurances of Joseph that he placed no
value whatever on the seat; it required all the persuasiveness and
authority of Letitia to appease the boy, and to prevail upon him to
resume the conquered seat. [Footnote: “Memoires du Roi Joseph,” vol.
i., p.40.]

As the course of instruction which the boys had received in Ajaccio
was not sufficient for the times, and for the capacities of his
sons, their father passed over to France with Joseph and Napoleon,
to take advantage of the favorable resources for a more complete

Napoleon saw the time of departure approach with an apparently
indifferent mind, only his face was somewhat paler, he was still
more monosyllabic and more reserved than before; and his eyes, full
of an indescribable expression of tenderness and admiration,
followed all the movements of his mother, as if to print deeply in
his soul the beloved image, so as to take it with him beyond the
seas, in all its freshness and beauty.

He wept not as he bade her farewell; not a word of sorrow or regret
did he speak, but he embraced his mother with impassioned fondness,
he kissed her hands, her forehead, her large black eyes, he sank
down before her and kissed her feet, then sprang up, and, after
casting upon her whole figure a deep, glowing look, he rushed away
to embark at once, without waiting for brother or father, who were
yet bidding a touching farewell to relatives and friends.

Letitia gazed after her Napoleon with glowing and wide-open eyes;
she wept not, she complained not, but she pressed her two hands on
her heart as if to keep it from breaking asunder, from bleeding to
death; then she called all her children around her, and, folding
them up in her arms, exclaimed: “Join your hands and pray with me
that our little Napoleon may return home to us a noble and great

As soon as they had prosperously landed in France, the father placed
his two sons in the college of Autun, and then travelled farther on
to Paris, there to obtain, through the influence of his patrons and
friends, a place for his daughter Marianne (afterward Elise) in St.
Cyr, an institution for the daughters of noblemen, and also a place
for Napoleon in the military school of Brienne. His efforts were
crowned with success; and whilst Joseph remained at college in
Autun, Napoleon had to part with him and go to Brienne.

When the brothers bade farewell one to another, Joseph wept
bitterly, and his sighs and tears choked the tender words of
farewell which his quivering lips would have uttered.

Napoleon was quiet, and as his eye moistened with a tear, he
endeavored to hide it, and turned aside ashamed of himself and
nearly indignant, for he did not wish the Abbe Simon, one of the
professors of the college, who was present at the parting of the
brothers, to see his unmanly tenderness.

But the Abbe Simon had seen that tear, and when Napoleon was gone he
said to Joseph: “Napoleon has shed but one tear, but that tear
proves his deep sorrow as much as all your tears.” [Footnote:
“Memoires du Roi Joseph,” vol. i., p.26.]

Taciturn and quiet as he had been in Ajaccio, the little Napoleon
was equally so at the military school of Brienne, where he remained
from his eleventh to his sixteenth year. His character had always
something sombre and hidden; his eye seemed turned more inwardly
than outwardly; and his fellowship with his books seemed to procure
him a more pleasant recreation than the company of his schoolmates,
whose childish joys and pleasures he despised or pretended to do so,
because his limited pecuniary resources did not allow him to share
with them pleasures of an expensive nature.

But, though still and reserved, he always was friendly and courteous
to his comrades, grateful for every mark of friendship and kindness,
and always ready to protect the young and feeble against the
overbearing and the strong, censuring with grave authority every
injustice, and with Spartan harshness throwing his contempt into the
very face of him who, according to his standard, had offended
against honor, the lofty spirit and the dignity of a freeman.

It could not fail that soon Napoleon should win over his schoolmates
a marked moral influence; that they would listen to him as if he
were their superior; that they should feel something akin to fear in
presence of the flashing eyes of this little boy of barely fourteen
years, whose pale, expressive countenance, when illumined with
anger, almost seemed to them more terrible than that of the
irritated face of the teacher, and whom they therefore more
willingly and more unconditionally obeyed than the principal of the

One day the latter had forbidden the scholars to go to the fair in a
neighboring locality, because they had lately been guilty of
excesses on a similar occasion; and, so as to be sure that the
scholars would not trespass against his orders, the principal had
the outside gate in the front yard locked.

This last circumstance kindled Napoleon’s anger; he considered it as
an insult that the scholars should be treated as prisoners.

“Had we been ordered in the name of the law to remain here,” cried
he, “then honor itself would have claimed from us to remain, for law
commands obedience to our superiors. But since we are treated as
slaves, who are by main force compelled to submission, then honor
claims from us to prove to our oppressors that we are free beings,
and that we desire to remain such. We are treated as prisoners of
war, kept under lock and bolt, but no one has demanded our word of
honor that we will make no effort to escape this subjection.
Whosoever has a brave heart and a soul full of honor’s love, let him
follow me!”

All the youngsters followed him without hesitation. More submissive
to this pale, small boy of fourteen years, than to the severe,
strong, and exalted principal, none dared oppose him as he stood in
the garden, facing a remote place in the wall, and giving orders to
undermine it, so as to make an outlet. All obeyed the given orders,
all were animated with burning zeal, with cheerful alacrity; and
after an hour of earnest labor the work was done, and the passage
under the wall completed.

The scholars wanted to rush with jubilant cries through the opening,
and gain their freedom outside of the wall, but Napoleon held them

“I will go first,” said he. “I have been your leader throughout this
expedition, now I will be the first to pass out, that upon me may
fall the punishment when we are discovered.”

The young men fell back silently and respectfully, while, proud and
stately as a field-marshal who gives the signal for the battle,
Napoleon passed through their ranks, to be the first from the crowd
to go through the newly-made passage.

It could not fail that the daring of these “prisoners of war” should
be discovered, that the principal should be the very same day
informed that the young men had, notwithstanding his strict orders,
notwithstanding the closed gate, made a way for themselves, and had
visited the prohibited fair, while the principal believed them to be
in the garden.

A strict inquiry took place the next morning. With threatening
tones, the principal ordered the young men to name him who had
guided them to so unheard-of a deed, who had misled them into
disobedience and insubordination. But all were still; none wished to
be a traitor, not even when the principal promised to all full
pardon, full impunity, if they would but name the instigator of
their guilty action.

But as no one spoke, as no one would name him, Napoleon gave himself
up as the culpable one.

“I alone am guilty,” cried he, proudly. “I alone deserve punishment.
These have done only what I commanded them–they have but followed
my orders, nothing more. The guilt and the punishment are mine

The principal, glad to know the guilty one, kept his promise, and,
forgiving the rest, decided to punish only the one who acknowledged
himself to have been the leader.

Napoleon was, therefore, sentenced to the severest and most
degrading punishment known in the institution–to the so-called
“monk’s penalty.” That is to say, the future young soldier, in the
coarse woollen garment of a mendicant friar, was on his knees, to
devour his meal from an earthen vessel in the middle of the dining-
room, while all the other boys were seated at the table.

A deathly pallor overspread the face of the boy when he heard this
sentence. He had been for many days imprisoned in a cell with bread
and water, and he had without a murmur submitted to this correction,
endured already on a former occasion, but this degrading punishment
broke his courage.

Stunned, as it were, and barely conscious, he allowed the costume of
the punishment to be put on, but when he had been led into the
dining-room, where all the scholars were gathered for the noonday
meal, when he was forced upon his knees, he sank down to the ground
with a heavy sigh, and was seized with violent convulsions.

The rector himself, moved with deepest sympathy for the wounded
spirit of the boy, hastened to raise up Napoleon. At the same moment
rushed into the hall one of the teachers of the institution, M.
Patrault, who had just been informed of the execution which was
about to be carried out on Napoleon. With tears in his eyes, he
hastened to Napoleon, and with trembling hands tore from his
shoulders the detestable garment, and broke out at the same time in
loud complaints that his best scholar, his first mathematician, was
to be dishonored and treated in an unworthy manner.

Napoleon, however, was not always the reserved, grave boy who took
no part in the recreations and pleasures of the rest of his young
schoolmates. Whenever these amusements were of a more serious, of a
higher nature, Napoleon gladly and willingly took a part in them.
Now and then in the institution, on festivals, theatrical
representations took place, and on these occasions the citizens of
Brienne were allowed to be present.

But to maintain respectable order, every one who desired to be
present at the representation had to procure a card of admission
signed by the principal. On the day of the exhibition, at the
different doors of the institution, were posted guards who received
the admission cards, and whose strict orders were to let no one pass
in without them. These posts, which were filled by the scholars,
were under the supervision of superior and inferior officers, and
were confided only to the most distinguished and most praiseworthy

One day, Voltaire’s tragedy, “The Death of Caesar,” was exhibited.
Napoleon had the post of honor of a first lieutenant for this
festivity, and with grave earnestness he filled the duties of his

Suddenly at the entrance of the garden arose a loud noise and
vehement recriminations of threatening and abusive voices.

It was Margaret Haute, the porter’s wife, who wanted to come in,
though she had no card of admission. She was well known to all the
students, for at the gate of the institution she had a little stall
of fruits, eggs, milk, and cakes, and all the boys purchased from
her every day, and liked to jest and joke with the pleasant and
obliging woman.

Margaret Haute had therefore considered it of no importance to
procure a card of admission, which thing she considered to be
superfluous for such an important and well-known personage as
herself. The greater was her astonishment and anger when admission
was refused, and she therefore began to clamor loudly, hoping by
this means to attract some of the scholars, who would recognize her
and procure her admittance. Meanwhile the post guardian dared not
act without superior orders, and the inferior officer hastened to
communicate the important event to the first lieutenant, Napoleon de
Bonaparte, and receive his decision.

Napoleon, who ordinarily was kind to the fruit-vender, and gladly
jested with the humorous and coarse woman, listened to the report of
the lieutenant with furrowed brow and dark countenance, and with
severe dignity gave his orders: “Remove that woman, who takes upon
herself to introduce licentiousness into the camp.” [Footnote:
Afterward, when First Consul, Napoleon sent for this woman and her
husband to come to Paris, and he gave them the lucrative position of
porter at the castle of Malmaison, which charge they retained unto
their death.]



While the boy Napoleon de Bonaparte pursued his studies as a student
in Brienne, she, who was one day to share his greatness and his
fame, had already appeared on the world’s stage as the wife of
another. Josephine Tascher de la Pagerie was already received in the
highest society of Paris as the Viscountess de Beauharnais.

Every thing seemed to promise to the young couple a happy, secure
future, free from care. They were both young, wealthy, of good
family, and though the parents had planned this marriage and joined
together the hands of the young couple, yet it was their good
fortune that love should tie and strengthen the bond which mere
expediency had formed.

Yes, they loved one another, these young married people of sixteen
and eighteen. How could it have been otherwise, when they both met
each other with the candid and honest desire to make one another
happy; when each of them had been so well adapted to the other that
their brilliant, good, and beautiful qualities were so prominent
that their eyes were blinded to the possibility of imperfections and
vices which perchance remained in the obscure background of their
virtue and of their amiableness?

Josephine had entered upon her marriage with a pure maiden heart,
and soon this heart glowed with enthusiasm for her young husband,
who in reality was well qualified to excite enthusiasm in a young
maid and instil into her a passionate attachment. Alexandre de
Beauharnais was one of the most brilliant and most beloved
personages at the court of Versailles. His face had all the beauty
of regularity; his figure, marked by a lofty, even if somewhat heavy
form, was tall, well knit, and of wonderful elasticity and energy;
his manners were noble and prepossessing, fine and natural. Even in
a court so distinguished as that of Versailles for many remarkable
chevaliers, the Viscount de Beauharnais was considered as one of the
most lovely and most gifted: even the young Queen Marie Antoinette
honored him with special distinction. She had called him the most
beautiful dancer of Versailles, and consequently it was very natural
that up to the time of his marriage he should be invited to every
court-ball, and there should each time enjoy the pleasure of being
requested to dance with the queen.

This flattering distinction of the Queen Marie Antoinette had
naturally made the young viscount the mark of attention of all these
beautiful, young, and coquettish ladies of Versailles. They used to
say of him, that in the dancing-room he was a zephyr, fluttering
from flower to flower, but at the head of his regiment he was a
Bayard, dreaming only of war and carnage.

It was, therefore, quite natural that so brilliant and so preferred
a cavalier, a young man of so many varied accomplishments, a being
so impassioned, so gallant, should soon become the object of the
most tender and passionate fondness from a young wife, who in her
quiet native land had seen none to compare with him, and who became
for her the ideal of beauty, chivalry, elegance, and whom, in her
devoted and admiring love, she used to call her own Achilles.

Josephine loved her husband; she loved him with all the devotedness
and fire of a creole; she loved him and breathed but for him, and to
be with him seemed to her life’s golden, blessed dream. Added to all
this, came the joys and raptures of a Parisian life–these new,
unknown, diversified pleasures of society, these manifold
distractions and entertainments of the great city. Josephine
abandoned herself to all this with the joy and wantonness of an
innocent, unsuspicious being. With all these glorious things round
about her, she felt as if surrounded by a sea of blessedness and
pleasure, and she plunged into it with the quiet daring of
innocency, which foresees not what breakers and abysses this sea
encloses under the shining surface.

But these breakers were there, and against them was the happiness of
Josephine’s love soon to be dashed to pieces.

She loved her young husband with her whole heart, with all her soul.
But he, the young, the flattered Viscount Alexandre de Beauharnais,
he also loved his young wife, whom the wish and will of his
superiors had placed at his side.

He had not chosen her because he loved her, but only because he had
thought it expedient and advisable to become married, and because
the unknown Mademoiselle de la Pagerie had been offered to him as “a
good settlement.” Perhaps, also, he had contracted this marriage to
get rid all at once of those manifold ties, intrigues, and
attachments which his open, unrestrained life of youth had woven
around him, for his marriage with the young creole had put an end to
many love-intrigues which perchance threatened to be inconvenient
and burdensome.

At first charmed by her foreign, unaccustomed appearance,
transported by her ingenuous grace, her sweet, lovely amiableness
and freshness, he had fully decided to love his young wife, and,
with all the triumphant pride of a lover, he had led Josephine into
society, into the saloons.

But his eye was not blinded by the ravishment of a real and true
love, and in the drawing-room he saw what, in the solitude of the
residence of Noisy, where the young couple had retired for a few
weeks after their marriage, he might never have missed–he saw that
Josephine possessed not the lofty elegance and the exquisite manners
of the ladies of the Parisian saloons. She always was a charming,
artless, graceful young woman, but she lacked the striking
advantages of a real drawing-room lady; she lacked that perfect
self-possession, that pliancy of refinement, that sparkling wit, and
that penetration, which then characterized the ladies of the higher
Parisian society, and which the young viscount had but lately so
fondly and passionately admired in the beautiful and celebrated
Baroness de B.

The viscount saw all these deficiencies of his young wife’s social
education, and this darkened his brow and brought on his cheek the
flush of shame. He was cruel enough to reproach Josephine, in
somewhat harsh and imperious tones, of her lack of higher culture,
and thus the first matrimonial difference clouded the skies of
marriage happiness, which the young unsuspecting wife had believed
would ever be bright with sunshine.

Josephine, however, loved her young husband too fondly not to
cheerfully comply with all his wishes, not to strive to replace what
he reproached her to be lacking.

On a sudden she left the brilliant, enchanting Paris, which had
entranced her with its many joys and its many distractions, and, as
her husband had to be for some time at Blois with his regiment, she
went to Noisy, to her aunt’s residence, so as to labor at her higher
mental culture, at the side of the lovely and intellectual Madame de

Josephine had hitherto, as a simple, sentimental young lady, played
the guitar, and chirped with it, in her fresh but uncultivated
voice, her sweet songs of love. She gave up the guitar, the favorite
instrument of the creoles, and exchanged it for the harp, for which
attainment as well as for the art of singing she procured the best
and ablest masters. Even a dancing-master had to come to Noisy to
give to the young viscountess that perfection of art which would
enable her, without fear, to dance at a ball alongside of the
Viscount de Beauharnais, “the beautiful dancer of Versailles.” With
her aunt she read the works of the writers and poets who were then
praised and loved, and with wonderful predilection she also studied
botany, to which science she ever clung during her life, and which
threw on her existence gleams of joy when the sun of her happiness
had long set.

Josephine, who out of pure love for her husband learned and studied
zealously, communicated to the viscount, in her letters, every
advancement she made in her studies; and she was proud and happy
when he applauded her efforts, and when in his letters he praised
her assiduity and her progress.

But evidently these letters of the viscount contained nothing of
that love and ardor which the young fiery creole longed for from her
husband; they were not the utterances of a young, anxious lover, of
an enthusiastic, worshipping husband; but they were addressed to
Josephine with the quiet, cool benignity of a considerate friend, of
a mentor, of a tutor who knows full well how much above his pupil
soars his own mind, and with what supreme deference this pupil must
look up to him.

“I am delighted,” wrote he once–“delighted at your zeal to acquire
knowledge and culture; this zeal, which we must ever cherish, is
ever the source of purest enjoyments, and possesses the glorious
advantage, when we follow its dictates, of never producing any
grief. If you persevere in the resolution you have taken, if you
continue to labor with unabated zeal at your personal improvement,
be assured that the knowledge you will have acquired will exalt you
highly above all others; and whereas science and modesty will be
combined in you, you will succeed in becoming an accomplished woman.
The talents which you cultivate have their pleasant side, and if you
devote to them a portion of the day, you will unite the agreeable to
the useful.” [Footnote: “Histoire de l’Imperatrice Josephine,” vol.
i., p. 110.]

This is what Alexandre de Beauharnais wanted. His wife, through her
knowledge, was to be highly exalted above all others. She was to
study the sciences, and become what is now called a learned woman,
but what was then termed a philosophical woman.

The ambition of the ardent viscount required that his young wife
should be the rival of his learned, verse-writing aunt, the Baroness
Fanny de Beauharnais; that Josephine, if not the most beautiful and
most intellectual woman of Paris, should be the most accomplished.

But these extravagant expectations did not, unfortunately, coincide
entirely with the tastes and mental tendencies of Josephine. No one
was less qualified than she to be a philosophical woman, and to make
the sciences a serious study. It was far from her ambition to desire
to shine by her knowledge; and the learned and scientific Baroness
de Beauharnais only excited fear and antagonism on account of her
stiff and pretentious pedantry, which seemed to Josephine to have
but little in harmony with a woman’s being.

Josephine loved the sciences and the arts, but she did not wish to
convert herself into their devoted priestess. She wished merely to
adorn herself with their blossoms, to take delight in their
fragrance, and to rejoice in their beauty. With instinctive
sentiment she did not wish to have the grace and youthful freshness
of her womanly appearance marred by knowledge; her heart longed not for the ambition of being called a learned woman; she only wished to be a beloved wife.

But the viscount, instead of recognizing and cherishing the tender
and sacred treasures which reposed in the heart of his young wife,
ridiculed her for her sensitiveness; allowed himself, through
displeasure at her uncultivated mind, to utter unreasonable
reproaches, and to act harshly toward his wife; and her tears were
not calculated to conciliate him or to gain his heart. He treated
Josephine with a sort of contemptuous compassion, with a mocking
superiority, and her young, deeply-wounded soul, intimidated and
bleeding, shrank back into itself. Josephine became taciturn,
embarrassed, and mute, in her husband’s presence; she preferred
being silent, rather than by her conversation, which might not
appear intellectual and piquant enough for the viscount, to annoy
and irritate him.

Confidence and harmony had flown away from the household of the
young couple. From his timid, silent wife, with tears in her eyes
and a mute complaint on her trembling lips, the husband rushed away
into the world, into society, to the boisterous joys of a garrison’s
life, or else to the dangerous, intoxicating amusements which the
refined world of the drawing-rooms offered him.

Scarcely after a two years’ marriage, the young bridegroom was again
the zephyr of the drawing-room; and, breaking asunder the bonds with
which the marriage and the household had bound him, he fluttered
again from flower to flower, was once more the gallant cavalier of
the belles, forgot duty and wife, to pay his attentions and bring
his homage to the ladies of the court.

But this neglect which she now experienced from her husband, this
evident preference for other women, suddenly awoke Josephine from
her painful resignation, from her quiet melancholy. The young,
patient, retreating wife was changed at once into an irritated
lioness, and, amid the refinements of the French polish, with all
its gilded accompaniments, uprose the glowing, impassioned,
threatening creole.

Josephine, wounded both in her vanity and in her love–Josephine
wished not and could not bear, as a passive, silent sufferer, the
neglect of her husband; he had insulted her as a woman, and the
wrath of a woman rose within her. She screened not her jealousy from
her husband; she reproached him for preferring other women to his
wife, for neglecting her for the sake of others, and she required
that to her alone he should do homage, that to her alone he should
consecrate love and allegiance. She wept, she complained, when she
learned that, whilst she was left at home unnoticed, he had been
here and there in the company of other women; she allowed herself to
be so carried away by jealousy as to make violent reproaches against
her husband.

But tears and reproaches are not in the least calculated to bring
back to a wife the heart of a husband, and jealousy recalls not a
husband’s love, when that love has unfolded his pinions and flown
away. It only causes the poor butterfly to feel that marriage had
tied its wings with a thread, and that it constantly recalls him
away, with the severe admonitions of duty, from the beautiful
flowers toward which he desires to fly.

The complaints and reproaches of Josephine, however much they proved
her love, had precisely the contrary effect from what she expected.
Through them she wanted to bring back her husband to her love, but
she repelled him further still; he flew away from her complaints to
the merry society of his friends, male and female, and left
Josephine alone at Noisy to weep over her wretchedness.

Notwithstanding all this, they were both to be again reunited one to
another in a new bond of love and happiness. On the 3d of September,
1781, Josephine presented to her husband a son, the heir of his
name, and for whom the father had already so long craved. Alexandre
came to Noisy to be present at the birth of his child, and with
true, sincere affection he embraced son and mother, and swore
everlasting love and fidelity to both.

But circumstances were stronger than the will of this young man of
twenty-two years. The monotonous life of Noisy, the quietude which
prevailed in the house on account of the young mother, could not
long retain captive the fiery young man. He endured this life of
solitude, of watching at the bedside, of listening to the child’s
cries, for a whole week, and then was drawn away with irresistible
attraction to Paris; the father’s tenderness could no longer
restrain the glowing ardor, the impassioned longings for distraction
in the young man; and the viscount left Noisy to lead once more in
Paris or with his garrison the free, unrestrained dissipations of
his earlier days.

Josephine was comfortless. She had hoped the son would retain the
father, but he left her alone, alone with the child, and with all
the torments of her jealousy.

It is true, he came back now and then to see his son, his little
Eugene, and also to make amends to the young, sick, and suffering
mother, by a few days’ presence, for the many days of absence.

But Josephine, irritated, jealous, too young, too inexperienced to
reflect, Josephine committed the fault of receiving her husband
every time he came, with reproaches and complaints, and of meeting
him with violent scenes of jealousy and of offended dignity. The
viscount himself, so young, so impassioned, had not the patience to
go with calm indifference through the purgatory of such scenes. His
proud heart rebelled against the chains with which marriage would
bind him; he was angry with this woman who dared reproach him; he
was the more vexed that his conscience told him she was unjust
toward him, that he was the innocent one. He returned her complaints
with deriding scorn; he allowed himself to be carried away by her
reproaches to the manifestation of violent anger; and the tempest of
matrimonial discord raged through this house, which at first seemed
to have been built for a temple of peace and happiness.

The parents of the young couple saw with deep, heartfelt concern the
gap deepening between them both, and which every day widened more
and more, and as their warnings and wishes now remained fruitless,
they resolved to try if a long absence might not heal the wounds
which they both had inflicted upon their own hearts. At the request
of his father and of Madame de Renaudin, the viscount undertook a
long journey to Italy, from which he returned only after nearly nine
months’ absence.

What the relatives had hoped from this journey seemed to be
realized. The viscount returned home to his Josephine with a
penitent, tender heart; and Josephine, enchanted with his
tenderness, with the pliant loveliness of his whole being–
Josephine, with a smile of blessedness and with happy dreams of the
future, rested once more on the bosom of the man whom, even in her
angry moods, she had never ceased to love.

But after a few months passed in happiness and harmony, the viscount
was once more obliged to separate himself from his wife, to meet his
regiment, which was now in Verdun. Absence soon broke the slender
threads which had bound together the hearts of husband and wife.
Alexandre abandoned himself to his tendencies to dissipation, and
Josephine to her jealousy. During the frequent visits which the
viscount paid to his wife in Noisy, he was received with tears and
reproaches, which always ended in violent scenes of anger and

Such an existence, full of ever-recurring storms and ceaseless
discord, weighed heavily on the hearts of both husband and wife, and
made them long for an issue from this Labyrinth of an unhappy
marriage. Yet neither of them dreamed of a separation; not only
their son, the little Eugene, kept them from such thoughts, but also
the new hopes which Josephine carried in her bosom would have made
such thoughts appear criminal. It was necessary to endeavor to bear
life as well as one could, and not allow one’s self to be too much
lacerated by its thorns, even if there was no further hope of
gathering its roses.

Alexandre de Beauharnais, even if he lacked the skill of being a
faithful, devoted husband, was a noble and goodnatured man, whose
generous heart wanted to punish himself alone for the error of this
marriage, which weighed so heavily on husband and wife; and, in
order to procure peace to both, he resolved to become an exile, to
tear away pitilessly the attractive ties which society, friends, and
women, had woven around him. If he could not be a good husband, he
might at least be a good soldier; and, whereas his heart could not
adopt the resolution of devoting itself with exclusive affection to
his wife, he resolved to devote himself entirely to that love to
which he had never been disloyal, the love of fame. His ambitious
nature longed for honors and distinction; his restless, youthful
courage craved for action and battle-fields; and, as no opportunity
offered itself on land, Alexandre de Beauharnais decided to search
on the seas for what was denied him on land.

The Marquis de Bouille, governor of Martinique, had just arrived in
France, to propose to the government a new expedition against the
British colonies in the Antilles. Already this fearless and
enterprising man, since he had been in Martinique, with the forces
at his disposal, with the help of the young creoles, and supported
by the squadrons which lay in Port Royal, had conquered Dominique,
Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Christophe, Mievres, and Montserrat, and
now he contemplated an attack upon the rich and important island of
Jamaica, whose conquest he trusted would force the English into

Alexandre de Beauharnais wanted nothing more attractive than to join
this important and daring enterprise of the Marquis de Bouille. With
recommendations from his uncle, the Duke de la Rochefoucauld, the
viscount hastened to the Marquis de Bouille, begged of him instantly
the privilege of serving under him, and offered his services as

The marquis received with kindness a young man so earnestly
recommended, and gave him the hope of fulfilling his wishes. These
hopes were not, however, realized; and the viscount, no longer able
to endure the burden of uncertainty and of domestic discord, decided
to leave France on his own responsibility, to sail for Martinique,
and there to enlist as a simple volunteer, under the orders of the

In September, 1782, he left Noisy for Brest, there to embark for
Martinique. At the hour of departure the love, which for so long had
been hidden under the dark cloud of jealousy and discord, awoke in
all its glow and energy in the hearts of the young couple. With
streaming eyes Josephine embraced her husband, and in the most
touching tones entreated him to remain with her, entreated him not
to tear the father away from the son, who already recognized him and
stretched his little hands toward him, nor from the child yet unborn
in her bosom. Carried away by so much intensity of affection, by
such a fond, all-pardoning love, Alexandre was deeply moved; he
regretted the past, and the decision he had taken to leave his wife
and his family. All the sweet emotions of peace, of home, of
paternal bliss, of married life, overcame him in this hour of
farewell with, resistless power, and in Josephine’s arms he wept
bitter tears of repentance, of love, of farewell.

But these tears, no more than his wife’s regrets, could make him
waver in his determination.

The word of separation had been spoken, and it had to be fulfilled.
Amid the anguish of parting, he felt for himself the necessity of
breaking, by means of a long absence, with the evil practices of the
past, and to make amends for the sad errors of his youth.

He left his home to win in a distant land the happiness which he had
in vain sought at the side of his wife, of his son, and of his
family. Before the ship upon which he was to embark for his journey
weighed anchor, he took a last farewell of his family in a letter
addressed to Madame de Renaudin.

“I have,” said he, “received the letter which tells of your good
wishes for the future, and I have read with the deepest interest the
assurances of your attachment. These assurances would still have
been more flattering to me, could they have convinced me that my
actual course has your approbation, and that you estimate rightly my
determination, and the sacrifice I am making. However, I have on my
side conscience, which applauds me for preferring, to the real,
actual joys of a quiet and pleasurable existence, the prospect, even
if a remote one, of preferment, which may secure me a distinguished
position and a distinction which may be of advantage to my children.
The greater have been my sacrifices, the more commendable it is to
have made them; and if chance only favors my determination, then the
laurels I will win shall make ample amends for all troubles and
hardships, and shall change all my anguish into joy!–Be kind
enough, I pray you, to embrace for me, my father, my wife, and
Eugene!” [Forward: “Histoire de l’Imperatrice Josephine,” vol. i, p.

It is evident that Alexandre de Beauharnais had gone to Martinique
to win fame and to fight for laurels. But chance favored not his
resolves. He had no sooner landed in Martinique, than the news
spread that negotiations had begun between England and France. M. de
Bouille received strict orders to make no attack on Jamaica; and a
few weeks after, on the 20th of January, 1783, the preliminaries of
peace were signed at Versailles. A few months later, peace was
concluded, and all the conquests made by the Marquis de Bouille were
returned to England.

Alexandre de Beauharnais had then come in vain to Martinique. No
fame was to be won–no laurels could be gathered there.

Unfortunately, however, the viscount found another occupation for
his restless heart, for the vague cravings of his affections. He
made the acquaintance there with a young creole, who had been a
widow for the last six months, and who had returned to Martinique
from France to pass there her year’s mourning. But her heart had no
mourning for her deceased husband; it longed for Paris, it craved
for the world and its joys. She was yet, though a few years older
than the viscount, a young woman; she was beautiful–of that
wondrous, enticing beauty peculiar to the creoles; she was an
accomplished mistress in the difficult art of pleasing, and she
formed the design of gaining the heart of the impulsive Viscount
Alexandre de Beauharnais. This design was not undertaken because he
seemed worthy of love, but because she wanted to revenge herself on
the family of Tascher de la Pagerie, which family had been for a
long time at enmity with her own, and had given free and open
expression against the too easy manners and light behavior of the
beautiful widow. She wanted to take vengeance for these insults by
seducing from M. de la Pagerie his own son-in-law, and by enjoying
the triumph of having charmed away the husband from his daughter.

The proverb says, “What woman will, woman can!” and what the
beautiful Madame de Gisard wanted was not so very hard to achieve.
All she wished was to hold complete sway over the heart of a young
man who felt heavily burdened with the fetters of marriage; who, now
that the schemes of ambition had failed, reproached his young wife
that she was the cause of his misfortune; that for her sake he had
exiled himself from home, and sentenced himself to the dulness and
loneliness of a village-life in Martinique. The society of the
beautiful Madame de Gisard brought at least novelty and distraction
to this loneliness; she gave occupation to the heart weary with
connubial storms; she excited his fancy and his desires.

Madame de Gisard knew how to use all these advantages; she wanted to
triumph over the family of De la Pagerie, she wanted to return to
Paris in the company of a young, handsome, and distinguished lover.

It was not enough to win the love of the viscount; she had to drive
him into the resolution of separating from his wife, of accusing her
of unfaithfulness and guilt, so as to have the right of casting her
away, in order that she herself might openly occupy her place.
Madame de Gisard had the requisite talent to carry out her plans,
and to acquire full control over the otherwise rebellious and proud
heart of the young man. She first began to lead him into open
rupture with his father and mother-in-law. Through respect for them,
the viscount had avoided appearing in public with Madame de Gisard,
and betraying the intimacy which existed between them. Madame de
Gisard ridiculed his bashfulness and submissive spirit; she
considered this servility to the head of the family as absurd, and
she drove the viscount by means of scorn and sarcasm to open revolt.

Then, after separating him from his wife’s family, she attacked the
wife herself. With all the cunning and smoothness of a seducing
demon, she encompassed the young man’s heart, and filled it with
mistrust against Josephine. She accused the forsaken one with levity
and unfaithfulness; she filled his heart with jealousy and rancor;
she used all the means of perfidy and calumny of which a woman is
capable, and in which she finds a refuge when her object is to ruin,
and she succeeded completely.

Alexandre de Beauharnais was now entirely hers; he was gathering
against Josephine anger and vengeance; and even when he received the
news that, on the 13th of April, 1783, his young wife had given
birth to a daughter at Noisy, his soul was not moved by soft
emotions, by milder sentiments of reconciliation.

Madame de Gisard had taught him that henceforth he need no more be
on the defensive in reference to the reproaches of Josephine, but
that he now must be the aggressor; that, to justify his own
guiltiness, he must accuse his wife of guilt. She had offered
herself as the price of his reconquered freedom; and the viscount,
overcome with love, anger, and jealousy, was anxious to become
worthy of this price.

He left Martinique and returned to Noisy, not to embrace and bless
his daughter Eugenie Hortense, but to bow down the mother’s head
with the curse of shame. He accused, without listening to any
justification, and, with all the vehemence of misguided passion, he
asked for an immediate separation, an immediate divorce. Vain were
the expostulations, the prayers of his father and of Madame de
Renaudin. Vain were the tears, the assurances of innocence from
Josephine. The tears of an injured woman, the prayers of his
sorrowing relatives, were impotent against the whisperings and the
seducing smiles of the beautiful Madame de Gisard, who had secretly
accompanied him to France, and who had now over him an unconditional

The viscount brought before Parliament a complaint for separation
from his wife, and based it upon the most improbable and most
shameless accusations.

Josephine, who, for two years in loneliness and abandonment, had
awaited the return of her husband; Josephine, who had always hoped,
through the voice of her children, to recall her husband to herself,
saw herself suddenly threatened with a new, unexpected tempest. Two
years of suffering were finally to be rewarded by a scandalous
process, which exposed her person to the idle and malicious tongues
of the Parisians.

She had, however, to submit to fate; she had to bow her head to the
storm, and trust for her justification to the mercy of God and to
the justice of the Parliament. During the time of the process she
withdrew, according to custom, into a convent, and for nearly one
year hid herself with her shame and her anguish in the abbey of
Pantemont, in the street Grenelle, St. Germain. However, she was not
alone; her aunt, Madame de Renaudin, accompanied her, and every day
came the Marquis de Beauharnais, her husband’s father, bringing her
the children, who, during the time of the unfortunate process, were
to remain at Noisy, under the guardianship of their grandfather and
of a worthy governess. The members of her husband’s family rivalled
each other in their manifestations of affection to a woman so much
injured and so incriminated, and openly before the world they
declared themselves against the viscount, who, blinded by passion
and entirely in the chains of this ensnaring woman, was justifying
the innocency of his wife by his own indiscreet demeanor–by the
public exhibition of his passion for Madame de Gisard, and thus
caused the accusations launched against Josephine to recoil upon his
own head.

At last, after one year of debates, of careful considerations and
investigations, of receiving evidence, and of hearing witnesses, the
Parliament pronounced its decision.

Josephine was declared absolutely innocent of the crimes brought
against her, and was entirely acquitted of the accusation of
unfaithfulness. The Parliament pronounced the solemn decree: The
accusation directed against the Viscountess de Beauharnais was
simply a malicious calumny. The innocency of the accused wife was
evident, and consequently the Viscount de Beauharnais was bound to
receive again his wife into his house. However, the viscountess was
permitted and allowed not to share the same residence with her
husband, and to separate herself from him. In this case the viscount
was condemned to pay to his wife an annual pension of ten thousand
francs, and to leave with her mother his daughter Eugenie Hortense,
while he, the father, should provide for the education of the son.

Exonerated from the disgraceful imputation of faithlessness,
Josephine was again free to leave the convent and return to the life
of the world. It was her husband’s family which now prepared for the
poor young woman the most beautiful and most touching triumph. The
father of her, accuser, the Marquis de Beauharnais, as well as his
elder son and wife, the Duke and Duchess de la Rochefoucauld, and
the Baroness Fanny de Beauharnais, came in their state carriages to
the abbey to receive Josephine and lead her back to Paris. They had
been joined by a great number of the most respectable and most noble
ladies of the Parisian aristocracy, all in their state carriages,
and in the splendor of their armorial trappings and liveries, as if
it were to accompany a queen returning home.

Josephine shed tears of blessed joy when quitting her small, sombre
rooms in the abbey. She entered into the reception-room to bid
farewell to the prioress, and there met all these friends and
relatives, who saluted her with looks of deepest tenderness and
sympathy, and embraced her in their arms as one found again, as one
long desired. This hour of triumph indemnified her for the sorrows
and sufferings of the unhappy year which the poor wife of scarcely
twenty years of age, and fleeing from calumny and hatred, liar!
sighed away in the desolate and lonesome convent. She was free, she
was justified; the disgrace was removed from her head; she was again
authorized to be the mother of her children; she saw herself
surrounded by loving parents, by true friends, and yet in her heart
there was a sting. Notwithstanding his cruelty, his harshness,
though he had abandoned and despised her, her heart could not be
forced into hating the husband for whom she had so much wept and
suffered. Her tears had impressed his image yet deeper in her heart.
He was the husband of her first love, the father of her children;
how could Josephine have hated him, how could her heart, so soft and
true, cherish animosity against him?

At the side of her husband’s father, and holding her daughter in her
arms, Josephine entered Paris. Behind them came a long train of
brilliant equipages, of relatives and friends. The passers-by
stopped to see the brilliant procession move before them, and to ask
what it meant. Some had recognized the viscountess, and they told to
others of the sufferings and of the acquittal of the poor young
woman; and the people, easily affected and sympathizing, rejoiced in
the decision of the Parliament, and with shouts and applause
followed the carriage of the young wife.

Emperor Josephine, Napolean’s First wife, Part 3

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King Jerome Bonaparte

At the wedding of Jerome Bonaparte  and Catherine of Wiirtemberg in August, she  had even a new honour, since she was given an  armchair as a right, while Madame Mere was  allowed one only as a favour, and the Queen of  Naples (Julie, wife of Joseph, sent to Naples  in the spring) had none at all . J erome’ s marriage  to the Princess Sophia-Dorothea-Frederika-  Catherine, like his elevation to the throne of the  new kingdom of Westphalia, was one of the  results of the Treaty of Tilsit. The religious  marriage took place on the evening of August 23  in the Gallery of Diana at the Tuileries, the  scene being remarkably gorgeous. Those pre-  sent included besides the Emperor, his wife and  his mother, the Queen of Naples, the Grand  Duchess of Berg (Caroline Murat), the Princess  Stephanie of Baden and her husband. Prince     470 The Empress Josephine   and Princess Borghese, the Prince of Nassau,  and the Prince-Primate of Germany, who  united the young King and Queen. The number  of distinguished strangers present was very  large, and all are said to have been struck by  the hitherto unexampled display of jewellery.  The picture of the wedding in the Versailles  Museum is well known, representing Jerome  and his wife approaching the throne of the  Emperor and Empress. He saluted both pre-  viously to making his reverence to Madame  Mere to ask her consent to the marriage.   During the service a heavy thunderstorm  took place, ruining the illuminations prepared  in the Tuileries gardens. It is recorded that  Josephine said that if Catherine were a believer  in omens she might expect an unhappy fate.  But little attention was paid to such super-  stitions while the festivities in honour of the  new King and Queen occupied the attention of  all. It had been arranged that Jerome and  Catherine should not leave for Westphalia until  November and should spend the intervening  time with Napoleon and Josephine. Early in  September the Imperial party, including in all  forty-four persons, went for ten days to Ram-     A Dull House-party 471   bouillet, which was Uttle more than a hunting-  box, as has been said, and sadly lacked accom-  modation for so many guests. Since we read  that the weather was wet and all had colds,  it is not surprising that visit was not en-  joyed by any one except the Emperor. From  Rambouillet a move was rnade to Fontaine-  bleau, where Hortense, who had come to Paris  from Cauterets at the end of August, joined the  party, now swelled to vast proportions by  arrivals from Paris and from the German  principalities. The stay at Fontainebleau lasted  until the middle of November and was marked  by more display and ceremony than had yet  been seen at the French Court. Napoleon was  desirous of making his Court the most brilliant  in Europe ; but his endeavours did not succeed  in keeping away dulness, for he is reported to  have remarked now : ” It is curious. I gathered  together at Fontainebleau a great number of  people, I wanted them to be amused, I arranged  all their entertainments — and every one has a  weary and melancholy air ! ”   Among those who showed their melancholy  must have been Josephine, for she had ample  reasons, apart from the fact that Napoleon had     472 The Empress Josephine   betrayed distinct signs of at least a passing  fancy for Mme. Gazzani, a beautiful Genoese  whom she had made her reader on the recom-  mendation of Talleyrand. In the first place  news had reached France of the death in June  of her mother. Mme. Tascher de la Pagerie  had lived on at Trois-Ilets to the age of seventy,  always steadfastly refusing to come to France.  It was thus seventeen years since she and  Josephine had last met. It is not known why  she never visited her daughter, but there is  nothing to indicate any estrangement between  them. No public mourning was ordered, which  was rather strange, seeing that the deceased  was the Empress’s mother.   In the second place, the return of Hortense  to Paris had revealed that the reconciliation  between her and Louis had been very brief,  although it had resulted in the anticipation of  a third child. When she and Louis reached  Paris from the Pyrenees, quarrels began at once.  Louis wished her to come with him to Holland.  She refused, alleging that the climate was  dangerous to her health and to that of Napoleon-  Louis, whom she feared to see going the way  of his elder brother. Louis’s jealousy was also     Fouch^’s Intervention 473   said to have been aroused over some stories  which he heard of her conduct at Cauterets  before his arrival. No terms could be arranged,  and Louis went off to The Hague, while Hor-  tense, ill and despondent,^ remained with her  mother, to whom her companionship at this  time can but have been an incentive to sorrow  and tears.   Thirdly, at Fontainebleau Fouche approached  Josephine directly on the subject of a  divorce. This must have been subsequent to  the conversation, if it took place as said by  Mme. de Remusat, between Napoleon and  Josephine as to what would be her attitude  should a divorce become necessary ; for on  leaving Fontainebleau Napoleon proceeded  straight to Italy and remained there over the  end of the year. When the Minister of Police  came to Josephine, rumours of a possible di-  vorce had already turned into common dis-  cussions of the question when Emperor and   1 In her diaxy Hortense wrote : ” From this time onward  I knew that my ills would be without remedy ; I looked on  my life as entirely ruined ; I felt a honor for grandeurs and  the throne ; I often cursed what so many people called my  future ; I felt myself a stranger to all the enjoyments of life,  stripped of all its illusions, almost dead to all that passed  about us.”     474 The Empress Josephine   Empress were not present. A description of  Fouche’s interview with Josephine is given in  a despatch from Prince Metternich, who was a  guest at Fontainebleau, to the Austrian Govern-  ment.   “After a short preamble,” writes the am-  bassador, ” he told her that, since the public  weal, and above all the consolidation of the  existing dj^asty, demanded that the Emperor  should have children, she ought to petition the  Senate to join her in urging on her spouse a  demand for the most painful sacrifice which  his heart could make. The Empress, prepared  for the subject, asked Fouche with the greatest  coolness if the step which he had just taken had  been at the Emperor’s bidding. ‘ No,’ replied  he, ‘ I am speaking to Your Majesty as the  Minister charged with the supervision of affairs  in general, as a private individual, as a subject  to whom his country’s glory is dear.* ‘ I am  not therefore accountable to you,’ interrupted  the Empress. ‘I look on my union with the  Emperor as recorded in the book of destiny.  I will have no explanations except with him and  shall never do except what he may order.’   ” Several days passed before there was a     Various Accounts 475   question of anything between the Imperial  couple, when suddenly the Emperor began again  to share his wife’s room and seized a propitious  moment to ask her the reason of the sadness  which he had observed in her for some time.^  The Empress then told him of her conversation  with Fouche. The Emperor bore witness that  he had never entrusted his Minister with such  a mission. He added that she ought to know  him well enough to be sure that he needed no  intermediary between himself and her. He  made her promise that she would tell him of all  she might hear of the sequel of this affair.”   Josephine had refused to believe Fouche’s  statement that he had acted on his own respon-  sibility. ” Is it not evident,” she asked Laval-  ette, husband of her niece Emilie, ” that Fouche  was sent by the Emperor and that my fate is  decided ? Alas, to leave the throne is little   ‘ Napoleon’s own version of the explanation makes Mme.  de Remusat come to him from Josephine just as he was going  to bed, at one o’clock. “My curiosity was piqued,” he says.  ” I received her. It was indeed a curious matter, for I learnt  that it concerned a repudiation of me by m.y wife. I went  immediately to Josephine and disabused her mind, giving her  an assurance that, if reasons of State should ever determine  me to break our bonds, it was from me that she should receive  the first intelligence.”     47 6 The Empress Josephine   enough to me ! But to lose at the same time  the man to whom I have devoted my fondest  affections — such a sacrifice is beyond my  strength.” Nor did Napoleon’s denial of an  order to Fouche persuade her. She was not  long in receiving from the Minister a letter in  which he put on paper the arguments to which  she had refused to listen a few days before. On  the advice of M. de Remusat, to whom she  showed the letter, she took it to Napoleon and  read it to him. The Emperor, in indignation  real or simulated, offered to deprive Fouche  of his office, and actually wrote to him on Nov-  ember 5, telling him to ” cease meddling,  directly or indirectly, with an affair which could  be no concern of his at all.” For Josephine  he was full of caresses and protestations of his  ignorance of Fouche’ s action ; but she was not  to be convinced, even though the rumours of  divorce temporarily ceased, after the Police  Minister had recognised that he must proceed  more cautiously, unless he were prepared to  lose his post a second time.   The party at Fontainebleau broke up without  anything definite having occurred with regard  to the question of divorce. Napoleon started     An Alleged Flirtation 477   on November 16 for Italy, in connection with  his design to close the Mediterranean against  the English fleet. He refused to take Josephine  with him in spite of her prayers that he should  allow her to accompany him and to see Eugene  with his wife and little daughter, named after  her Josephine. He had, however, good reason  for not taking her. His first letter from Italy,  dated Milan, November 25, 1807, began : “I  have been here, mon amie, for two days. I am  very glad not to have brought you ; you would  have suffered horribly in the crossing of the  Mount Cenis, where a tempest delayed me  twenty-four hours.”   Josephine had been accompanied back to  Paris by Jerome and his bride, who had intended  to leave at once for Westphalia by way of  Wiirtemberg. Delayed by the slight illness of  Catherine they remained until nearly the end  of November before setting out for Stuttgart.  Their departure did not leave Josephine without  plenty of society. Some of the German princes  who had been at Fontainebleau still lingered on,  among them the brother of the Queen of Prussia,  the Prince of Mecklenburg, with whom the  Empress was accused by Court gossip of having     47^ The Empress Josephine   a late flirtation. The affair was harmless  enough, apparently, for Napoleon had taken no  notice of it until he thought it advisable to  silence the malicious tongues at Court by warn-  ing Josephine not to encourage the Prince’s  attentions to her. Information, however, fol-  lowed Napoleon to Italy, probably from Fouche,  that the Prince was continuing his pursuit and  that the Empress had been unwise enough to  include him in a party which she took incognito  to one of the smaller theatres of Paris at which  Napoleon objected to her presence.^ Conse-  quently he wrote to reprimand her rather  severely on her indiscretion. It was not because  he did not wish her to be gay, for he wrote on   • He had already written to her from Osterode on March 17,  1807 : ” You must not go to small boxes at small theatres.  It does not become your rank. You must only go to the four  principal theatres and always to the principal box. Live as  you used to when I was in Paris.” With regard to Josephine’s  affair with this young Prince it may be noted that Mme.  de Remusat (” Memoires,” iii. 257) claims that Josephine said  to her in 18 10, when the Austrian marriage was on foot, that  if she too wished to marry again the Emperor would not look  on the idea with an unfavourable eye. ” He proposed to me  himself, at the time of the divorce, that I should take as husband  the Priilce of Mecklenburg-Schwerin — you remember that  handsome young man who paid me such attentions at  Fontainebleau, and then in Paris at the Tuileries. The  Emperor was jealous about him. The Prince has since written  to him, I believe, to ask for my hand.”     Letters from NapoleOii 479   November 30 from Venice : “It pleases me to   hear that you are amusing yourself in Paris.’*   But he wished her to preserve her dignity. The   suggestion that he was not sorry to be able to   find something to reproach her with seems   unnecessary. It was Napoleon’s wont to keep   as strict an eye as possible, during his absence,   on the doings of all his family. Nor is it likely   that, if he were looking round for pretexts for a   divorce, he would have written to Fouche, as   he did from Venice, complaining that he was   again discussing the question in spite of the   orders which he had received. ” I can only   repeat to you that your duty is to follow my   opinion and not to proceed according to your   whim.” He further wrote on December 6 to   Maret, sapng : ” I observe with pain, from your   reports, that people still continue to discuss   subjects which must distress the Empress and   are unseemly from all points of view.”     CHAPTER XXV   A LOSING FIGHT   THE Emperor had told his wife, when setting  out for Italy, that he would come back  to Paris early in December, but it was January i  when he actually returned. Josephine, how-  ever, had the satisfaction of hearing that Na-  poleon had confirmed her son Eugene as heir  presumptive to the Italian crown and had given  him a new title of the Prince of Venice, while  her granddaughter Josephine was Princess of  Bologna. Divorce seemed no nearer and no  farther than when they parted in the middle of  the previous November. In the midst of the  gaieties — and the opening months of 1808 were  very gay — Talleyrand, Fouche, and others were  constantly urging the Emperor toward the  point when he must part with Josephine. Still  he remained undecided, and unable to disguise  his indecision. One evening, early in March,   480     Napoleon’s Vacillation 4 8 1   to the despair of his advisers, he seemed to turn  back to Josephine with a fresh access of tender-  ness. He had dined with her as usual, and  there was to be a reception afterwards. He  was not feeling well, and when the Empress  came to him he caught her in his arms, crush-  ing her dress, sobbing and crying : ” My poor  Josephine ! No, I can never leave you.” As  he grew worse, Josephine made him promise to  go to bed instead of appearing at the reception,  which he agreed to do if she would come to him  afterwards. They passed a very agitated night.  Napoleon continually repeating that ” they ”  were surrounding him, tormenting him, and  making him unhappy. It was not until morn-  ing that he had recovered his equanimity. As  the Diplomatic Body and other distinguished  foreigners were at the reception, the Emperor’s  absence excited much comment, and no doubt  ” they ” of whom Napoleon muttered knew  all about the scene next morning. ” What a  devil of a man ! ” Talleyrand is reported to  have said in his anger. ^ ” He gives way con-  stantly to his first impulse and doesn’t know  what he wants to do. Let him make up his   1 Mme. de Remusat, ” M6moires,” iii. 312.  VOL. II 10     4^2 The Empress Josephine   mind, and not leave us to be the mere sport of  his words, not knowing really on what footing  we are with him ! ”   Another journey from Paris came opportunely  to distract Napoleon’s thoughts awhile from  the subject of divorce. He was preparing to  make a new throne for his brother Joseph in  Spain, while Naples was to go to Murat. The  quarrels in the Spanish Royal family furnished  a pretext, Ferdinand, Prince of the Asturias,  having fallen out with his father, mother, and  their favourite Godoy. Napoleon sent Murat  with an army to Madrid and summoned Charles  IV. (who had already abdicated) to meet him  at Bayonne — the scene of “the turning-point  in Napoleon’s career,” as a recent critic has  called it. Josephine was left to follow him  from Paris at a few days’ interval, but was to  break her journey at Bordeaux. Here she  stayed a month, making herself affable to all  and distributing presents with a generous hand  — but of course at the Emperor’s command and  at his expense. It was at Bordeaux that news  reached her of the birth of Hortense’s third son,  the child who was destined afterwards to be  known as the Emperor Napoleon III. Her     Birth of LouiS’Napoleon 4^3   letter to Hortense, written on April 23, 1808,  begins in a jubilant tone.   “I am at the summit of joy, my dear Hor-  tense,” she writes. ” The news of your success-  ful delivery was brought me yesterday by M.  de Villeneuve. I could feel my heart beat as  he entered. But I was in hopes that he had  only a happy event to announce, and my pre-  sentiment was not wrong. I have just received  a second letter from the Grand Chancellor, who  assures me that you are doing well, and the  child also. I know that Napoleon is consoled  at not having a sister and that he already loves  his brother very much. Kiss them both for  me.”   Two days later Josephine wrote again from  Bordeaux, saying that the Emperor had ordered  her to join him at Bayonne. ” You can ima-  gine,” she said, ” that it is a great happiness  for me not to be away from the Emperor ; so  I am off to-morrow very early.” Napoleon  awaited her at Marrac, a chateau outside Bay-  onne, where with great difficulty were bestowed  not only the French Court, but also Charles of  Spain and his Queen, Ferdinand, Godoy, and  their followers. With the lack of accommoda-     4^4 The Empress Josephine   tion and the quarrels of the Spanish family, the  visit to Marrac must have been very uncom-  fortable. But Josephine had the satisfaction  of finding Napoleon in a most loving mood  toward her. He spent all his leisure time with  her and exhibited all his usual signs of good-  humour ; as when one day out on the beach,  undeterred by the presence of the escort, he  chased her over the sands and pushed her into  the water, or when, another day, he picked up  her shoes, which dropped off her feet as she  got into her carriage, and flung them away, in  great amusement at the idea that she would  have to go home without any.   When he had, as he thought, settled the affairs  of Spain by forcibly buying out the weak-  kneed Bourbons and establishing a constitu-  tional monarchy, of which Joseph Bonaparte  was to be the head. Napoleon started home-  ward again in the company of Josephine. It  was intended that they should travel together  to Toulouse, whence the Emperor was to go  to Bordeaux and Josephine to the waters of  Bareges. Scarcely had they separated at  Toulouse, however, when an urgent message  followed Josephine from the Emperor, ordering     Political Affairs 485   her to join him again at Bordeaux. News had  reached him of the revolt of Spain against King  Joseph which culminated in the surrounding of  Dupont in the Sierra Morena, the capitulation  of an army of twenty thousand men, and the  flight of Joseph from Madrid. Napoleon saw  the necessity of a personal advance into the  Peninsula. In order to do this he must secure  himself on the eastern frontier, which necessi-  tated a return to Paris. Josephine must forgo  her usual course of waters and accompany him  back to the Tuileries.   Although she was thus brought back to Paris,  it was not intended that Josephine should  play any part in the schemes of her husband.  She was not taken to see the ” parterre of  kings ” which witnessed the meeting of the  Emperor and the Tsar at Erfurt at the end  of September. Her presence at Erfurt was  not desired, seeing that Napoleon not only  purchased there Alexander’s consent to his  subjugation of Spain, but also, according to  Talleyrand, broached the subject of a marriage  with one of Alexander’s sisters. ” This life of  agitation wearies me,” he told the Tsar. ” I  need rest and look forward to nothing so much     486 The Empress Josephine   as the moment when I can without anxiety  seek the joys of domestic lifCj 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 I am. I must ask your  pardon. It is perhaps ridiculous of me to tell  you all this, but I am yielding to the impulse of  my heart which finds pleasure in opening itself  out to you.” On the night of the same day,  Napoleon spoke to Talleyrand at considerable  length on the subject of the divorce, which was  necessary for the peace of France. ” The  dynasty must be founded by me,” he said.  ” I can only found one by allying myself to a  princess belonging to one of the great ruling  families of Europe.” Talleyrand was therefore  to speak to the Russian Foreign Minister on  the subject of a match between Napoleon and  one of the Tsar’s sisters. ” Arguments will  not fail you,” added the Emperor, ” for I know  that you are an advocate of this divorce, and  I warn you that the Empress Josephine thinks  you are, too.”‘   It would not have been at all convenient   ‘ Talleyrand, ” M^moires,” i. 447-8.     Erfurt 487   had Josephine been at Erfurt and had, by  any chance, rumours of Napoleon’s two speeches  reported by Talleyrand come to her ears.  Scenes would have been inevitable ; but her  absence made matters easier. Nor was she  suffered to see much of her husband on his  return from Erfurt. He stopped but a few  days in Paris and left again at the beginning  of November for Spain. Josephine clung in  vain to him as he went, and was with difficulty  prevented from getting into the carriage which  bore him south. There was, however, no  repetition of her success in September 1806,  when she accompanied him to Mayence. On  this occasion he was firm, and no tears could  move him. After Erfurt his indecision may be  said to have vanished, in spite of his quite  genuine sorrow when the time came for putting  his determination into action. Josephine must  be replaced by some one else. His advisers and  circumstances combined to drive him to this  view. Such a student of French history as  Napoleon could not lack a precedent, when  once his mind was made up. In the Third  Dynasty alone he had the cases of Louis VH.,  Philippe II., Louis XII., and Henri IV., who     488 The Empress Josephine   had all repudiated their wives on the ground  of barrenness. It only remained to find the  discarded one’s successor. There was the Grand  Duchess Catherine of Russia, sister of an  Emperor. Dared her brother refuse her to  his ally ? For the present Napoleon could not  wait for an answer to this question, since he  had other matters to look after. He put the  affair in the treacherous hands of Talleyrand  and started for the west.   Napoleon reached Spain in the first week  in November and remained there over the  New Year, when he was called back by a  threat on his eastern frontier against which  he had not guarded. Writing to Josephine on  January g, 1809, in answer to her letter of  December 31, he said : ” I see, mon amie,  that you are melancholy and that your anxiety  is very black. Austria will not make war  against me. If she does, I have 150,000 men  in Germany and as many on the Rhine, and  400,000 Germans to meet her. Russia wiU not  separate from me. They are mad in Paris.  All is going well.” The majority of his letters  on the Spanish campaign are very curt ; but  Ihis one concludes in an affectionate strain :     Conspiracies on Foot 489   ” I shall be back in Paris as soon as I think it  expedient. I warn you to beware of appari-  tions. One fine day, at two in the morning. . , .  But good-bye, my dear. I am well, and am  always yours. — Napoleon.”   In spite of his confident tone. Napoleon  very soon found it expedient to be back in  Paris to meet Austria’s challenge. Matters  were going anything but well in the capital.  There were rumours of a plot to provide for  the event of his death by putting forward as  his successor Murat, now King of Naples after  Joseph’s promotion to Spain. Fouche was in  the conspiracy, and, of course, the ambitious  Caroline, who was a warm supporter, if not  the instigator of her husband’s pretensions.  The same plotters were Josephine’s chief  enemies, however friendly in the past, for  different reasons, both Murat and Fouche had  been to her. She was perfectly aware of their  sentiments. ” You have no notion of the  intrigues being woven against me,” she said  to Girardin, who returned from Spain soon  after the Emperor, and proceeded to tell him  how her foes had concocted a story that it  was intended to pass off as hers a child of     49° The Empress Josephine   the Emperor by another woman. ^ Napoleon’s  irritation at the intrigues no doubt made him  more sympathetic vvdth his wife. But in any  case he had no more time to devote to the  question of divorce now than he had when he  set out for Spain. On April g the Austrians  violated the territory of his ally Bavaria, and  four days later he started for the Rhine.   Once more the Empress accompanied him  to Strasbourg, as in 1805. There he took leave  of her, bidding her make a stay of some length.  Probably this was again in answer to her  request, since the atmosphere of Paris in his  absence was more than ever distasteful to her  now. This second Strasbourg visit was un-  eventful. Only one interesting letter from  Josephine to her daughter belongs to this period.  Hortense had gone in May to take the waters  at Baden, bringing with her both her sons.  She had omitted to ask the Emperor’s consent     1 Girardin, ” Journal,” ii. 320. It may be noted that the  Russian Ambassador at Paris had in the March of the previous  year communicated to St. Petersburg a tale that Napoleon had  threatened Josephine to make her adopt his illegitimate sons  (one by Mme. Walewska, the other by Mile. Denuelle), and  that she had at once consented. There is no corroboration of  Count Tolstoy’s tale.     Hortcnse and the Emperor 491   before leaving France, and he wrote to her,  reprimanding her and ordering her to send the  children to the Empress at once. ” This is  the first time that I have had occasion to be  angry with you,” he wrote, ” but you should  never dispose of my nephews without my per-  mission ; you must know the bad effect which  this produces.” This letter, signed ” Your  affectionate father Napoleon,” he addressed to  her, care of Josephine. The latter writes to  her daughter as follows :   “I send you, dear Hor tense, a letter from  the Emperor to you. I was so troubled at not  getting anything from him that I opened this.  I see with pain that he is upset at your visit  to Baden. I urge you to write to him at once  that you had anticipated his wish and that  your children are with me, that you only had  them with you a few days, to see them and  give them a change of air. . . .”   It must not be supposed Josephine is here  recommending her daughter to deceive the  Emperor, for she says at the end of the letter :  ” Your children have arrived in good health.”  The document is only quoted as another  example of the intense anxiety of Josephine     492 The Empress Josephine   to avoid any possible offence to the Emperor  from her own family.   In early June Josephine went to Plombieres,  her favourite waters, to judge by the number  of visits which she paid to them. Here she  was joined by Hortense, and both together  received news from Napoleon of his successes  at Ebersdorf and Wagram, and of the armistice  of Znaim. It is worthy of note that the  language of Napoleon’s notes of this period,  brief though they still are, is more tender than  for some years. “Good-bye, mon amie,” he  writes on June 19, ” you know my feelings  for Josephine ; they are unchangeable.” Two  letters written from Schonbrunh in August and  one in September, after Josephine had gone  from Plombieres to Malmaison, are still more  remarkable. ” I have heard,” he writes on  August 26, ” 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 already in Paris.” On the 31st  he says : “I have received no letters from  you for several days. The pleasures of Mal-  maison, the beautiful hothouses, the fine gardens  cause the absent to be forgotten. That is the     Marriage Schemes 493   way with you all, they say.” Finally on  September 25 : “I have received your letter.  Don’t be too sure. I warn you to look after  yourself well at nights. For one night very  soon you will hear a great noise.”   Now although Napoleon had not yet formed  any plan to ally himself with an Austrian  Archduchess, he had, on the other hand,  definitely attempted to get the Tsar’s consent to  give him his sister, the Grand Duchess Catherine.  Relying on some vague remarks of Alexander at  Erfurt, he had commissioned Talleyrand and  Caulaincourt to put the matter through for him.  But he had not reckoned with Talleyrand’s  disloyalty nor the hate of the Russian Empress  Dowager, to whom Napoleon was ” the san-  guinary tyrant who governs Europe with his  sceptre of iron.” To save her daughter from  him she was ready to marry Catherine even to  Prince George of Oldenburg, whose ugly spotted  face, mean figure, and stammering speech  were not even counterbalanced by a fortune or  indeed anything but his mere title. In the  Empress Marie, Napoleon met more than his  match. There was no repetition of his victory  over the Queen of Bavaria. The Oldenburg     494 The Empress Josephine   marriage removed Catherine from his grasp  and, the Grand Duchess Anne being too young,  the Russian matrimonial aUiance scheme faded  away. For the present, however, the Emperor  was unprepared for this defeat. HebeUeved in  the power of his influence over Alexander and  in the possibility of winning his sister’s hand.  He had, therefore, no doubt in his mind with  regard to what he must do with Josephine.  Must his letters be read as tokens of his uneasy  conscience toward her ? The story of his return  to France after the peace with Austria shows  how ill at ease he was. He wrote from Munich  on October 21 that he was on the point of  starting and that he would be at Fontainebleau  on the 26th or 27th ; she might meet him with  some of her ladies. He travelled with great  speed, arrived at 9 o’clock on the morning of the  26th, and found no one waiting to receive him  except the Grand Marshal, Duroc. He sent  off a message to Saint-Cloud, where the Empress  was,, and then proceeded to look over some  rearrangements of the rooms at Fontainebleau  which he had ordered by letter while still in  Austria. One of these was, significantly, the  building of a wall which cut off direct com-     A Significant Wall 495   munication between his apartments and the  Empress’s. After inspecting the alterations  Napoleon walked about nervously, continually  pulUng out his watch and exhibiting signs of  bad temper. Still Josephine did not come.  But in her stead arrived the Grand Chancellor  Cambaceres and the Minister of Police, both  of whom began to talk to him about the Imperial  succession and the public anxiety at the want  of an heir. ” There is not a single marshal,”  said Fouche, ” who is not considering how to  dispose of your estate if we have the misfortune  to lose you. It is a case of Alexander’s lieu-  tenants eager for their kingdoms.” Such a  view coincided only too closely with Napoleon’s  own. He dismissed his Ministers and resumed  his impatient wait for the absent Empress.   About 5 o’clock the sound of a carriage  brought him to the door ; but it was only a  messenger to say that the Empress was following.  Napoleon hastened up to his library and began  to write. At six a second carriage arrived.  This time he contented himself with ringing  to ask who had come. The Empress, he was  told. ” Very well ! ” he said, and went on with  his work. Josephine, having inquired when the     49^ The Empress Josephine   Emperor had reached Fontainebleau, hastened  up the stairs and entered the room. Napoleon  looked up and, saying, ” Ah, here you are,  madame ! That is good, for I was about to  start for Saint-Cloud,” pretended to resume  his writing. Still standing near the door, the  Empress, as might be expected, began to weep.  This was the argument which her husband could  not resist. He rose and took her in his arms.  ReconciHation soon followed ; Napoleon apolo-  gised for his severity — and perhaps Josephine  for her delay, which was at least unintentional.  Dinner was served late at Fontainebleau that  night. Josephine was resplendent in a new  dress and a wreath of blue flowers, and Napoleon  contented himself with pointing out that her  toilet had taken an hour and a half. Two more  Ministers had just arrived, and Josephine  avoided the embarrassment of a tete-d-tete meal  by reminding the Emperor that they could not  yet have dined. For the remainder of the  evening he showed himself in a most amiable  mood.   Josephine, however, was not to be deceived  by temporary amiability. There was an air of  constraint during the whole fortnight’s sojourn     Scene for a Tragedy 497   at Fontainebleau. The built-up wall was a  symbol which she did not fail to appreciate.  Bausset, the palace prefect, could give her no  satisfactory account of its construction. ” You  may be sure that there is some mystery attached  to it,” she replied ; but the mystery was not one  which she could not guess. The situation would  have been plain to a woman of much less intelli-  gence than she possessed. !   Paris was fuU of gossip about the divorce  when the Court returned. Nor did Napoleon  avoid the subject. Once more he approached  Josephine in the hope of persuading her to  take the initiative and ask him to sacrifice her  for the good of the dynasty and of France,  Once more she refused. It was not the throne  which she cared about losing, she assured him  through her sobs, but himself. According to  Girardin, he only answered : “Do not try to  move me. I still love you, but in politics it is  a case of head, not heart. I wiU give you five  millions a year and a principality with Rome  as its capital.” ” Do you know,” he added,  ” that this divorce wiU be an event in my life ?  What a scene for a tragedy ! ”   So dramatists have thought since Napoleon’s   VOL. II II     49 8 The Empress Josephine   time. But Napoleon’s remark was not a mere  cynical appreciation of the situation. If there is  anything certain about his actual sentiments, it  is that his words ” I stiU love you ” were true.  He had loved her with a love that at all periods  exceeded her love for him, and that love still  remained, though it no longer obscured his  reason. It is not likely that history will ever  forgive him for allowing reason to overcome his  love to such an extent as to consent to put away  the wife of fourteen years. Nevertheless, his  action was a sacrifice of his affections to his duty  toward the State. It is easy to condemn it as  heartless or as actuated by ambition ; but there  is nothing to be gained, except in economy  of thought, by the use of these labels. But  for the fantastic connection which was imagined  between the ” fortune ” of Napoleon and his  association with Josephine, we should probably  have heard very much less in condemnation of  his repudiation of his wife for reasons of State.  As the certainty of a speedy divorce grew,  Josephine cannot be said to have acted circum-  spectly. Nothing, perhaps, could now have  persuaded the Emperor to modify his plans ;  but attention to his wishes might at least have     Josephine’s Imprudence 499   delayed matters. Josephine, however, famed  for her tact in many things, was in others  singularly tactless. An incident which occurred  between the return from Fontainebleau and the  declaration of the divorce showed how Uttle  she could control her folUes when everything  showed that it was imperative to do so. It is  related by the Duchesse d’Abrantes,^ and the  account is therefore, it is hardly necessary to say,  not unduly kind to Josephine.   Napoleon had arranged a hunt near Fontaine-  bleau, leaving Josephine at the Tuileries. Rain  came on heavily and, sport being poor, he  decided to give up and return to Paris. It was  evening when he got back, and he entered the  Palace unannounced. Going straight up to the  Empress’s apartments, he found her seated at a  table, with a wardrobe-dealer on one side of her  and on the other a young German, who had  spread out before him a pack of cards, from  which he was telling fortunes. Now he had  given strict orders that no wardrobe-dealers or  stray merchants of finery should be allowed  within the Palace ; and the woman now present  was one whom he had already had ejected.   ‘ ” Histoire des Salons de Paris,” iii. 390 &.     500 The Empress Josephine   Fortune-tellers were still more severely banned  by him. This German, who had made a sensa-  tion lately among the foolish ladies of Paris, had  attracted his attention so much as to make him  say to Josephine : ” You have spoken to me  of a certain Hermann. I forbid you to see him  or bring him to the Palace. I have had in-  quiries made about him, and he is a suspicious  character.” Napoleon might have guessed the  result of this command. But the sight of the  two forbidden visitors together moved him to  violent anger.   ” How can you disobey my orders like this ? ”  he cried furiously. ” How is it that you are in  the company of such people ? ”   Totally unprepared for such a scene, Josephine  was at her wits’ end. The dealer fled for refuge  to the window-curtains, while the fortune-  teller paused to think of his best professional  attitude. At last Josephine stammered :   ” It was Madame Letizia who Tecommended  her.”   ” And this man ? What is he doing in the  Empress’s room ? ”   ” She brought him with her.”   Hermann now intervened, expressing his sur-     Forbidden Visitors 501   prise if his life or liberty should be in danger  in the Palace of the Emperor of the French.  Moreover, would it not be better for the Emperor  to consult the Fates rather than defy them ?   Napoleon could scarcely control his voice to  demand : ” Who are you ? And what are you  doing in Paris ? ”   ” You see what I am doing. As for what I  am — how can I say ? Who among us knows  who he is ? ”   With one outraged glance at the three,  Napoleon rushed from the room, banging the  door loudly behind him. Summoning Duroc,  he ordered him to have both visitors turned out  of the Palace at once. Early next morning he  went to the house which Madame Mere occupied  in Paris and asked to see her. With him he took  Duroc . While Napoleon talked with his mother,  the Grand Marshal imparted the news to Mme.  Junot, who was then a lady in attendance on  Madame Mere. According to the memoir-  writer, he said to her :   ” There is a storm in the air. The question  of divorce is more to the front than ever. The  Empress, who has never understood her true  position, lacks even the second sight which     502 The Empress Josephine   comes to the dying at their last hour. … It is  nearly all over,’ ‘ he continued . ‘ ‘ The Emperor’ s  resolution has wavered during these last few  days, but the Empress’s stupidity has ruined  everything. And further, since his return to  Paris, he has received such a large number of  complaints from tradespeople and shopkeepers  to whom the Empress has not paid what she  owes, that he is exasperated.”   Duroc went on to tell the lady-in-waiting the  story of the previous night. Meanwhile the  Emperor was discovering how Josephine had  attempted to deceive him. Mme. Letizia had  already received very early in the morning an  urgent private message from her daughter-in-  law, beseeching her, in case the Emperor should  question her about a certain dealer in clothes,  to say that she had recommended her to the  Palace. The old lady was prepared to do this,  to prevent a quarrel over what seemed a petty  affair. But when Napoleon began to speak of  the suspected German spy she broke down and  betrayed Josephine’s letter. The Emperor left  after an hour’s talk, very pale and with signs  of tears about his eyes. As for Madame Mere,  she took Mme. Junot into her confidence and     Madame Mere 503   said : “I hope that the Emperor will have the  courage this time to take the step which not  only France but all Europe awaits with anxiety.  His divorce is a necessary act.”   The whole story might not be worth repeating  — so common were Josephine’s disobediences of  this sort to her husband’s orders — but for the  fact that the incident about which it centres  had apparently some considerable effect upon  Napoleon’s last waverings in the matter of the  divorce. Josephine could hardly have made a  more unfortunate mistake (in a trivial way)  than by trying to involve Madame Mere in her  deceit. She was not, however, deterred from  appealing again to her mother-in-law, through  the medium of their respective ladies, Mmes.  de Remusat and Junot, to intervene on her  behalf with Napoleon. She would make any  promise which the Emperor might ask of her.  Madame Mere promised to use her influence.  But of course it was too late ; and it was not  for a matter of bringing clothes-dealers and  fortune-tellers into the Tuileries that Napoleon  was putting away his wife. No promise of  amendment of her ways could bring Josephine  a child to inherit the throne of France.     5^4 The Empress Josephine   Little more than two weeks after the return  from Fontainebleau to the Tuileries came the  last great series of ceremonies at which Josephine  was present as Empress. December 2 was the  fifth anniversary of the Coronation at Notre-  Dame. It was also the fourth anniversary of  Austerlitz. There was gathered together in  Paris in readiness to celebrate the day a crowd  of kings, queens, princes, and princesses of  the Imperial family and from the vassal States  of Germany. Napoleon spared no pains to  entertain his visitors with an unceasing series  of fetes. Every one was to be ” gay and  content,” to use his own favourite expression.  Unfortunately neither he nor the Empress was  able to maintain the effort. Thoughts of the  now definitely arranged separation could not  be chased away. The abundant reminiscences  of the Duchesse d’Abrantes again put the scene  before us as she describes the entertainment  at the Tuileries on Thursday, November 30.  All the week the Empress had been unusually  silent. This night the dinner was most mourn-  ful. Her eyes were red with weeping and her  head was lowered in a vain attempt to conceal  them. No one ate or said much. The Emperor     Napoleon on Happiness 505   led the way quickly out of the dining-room,  the Empress and the others following him.  When the coffee had been handed round in the  salon, Josephine summoned up courage to speak  and, beginning to weep again, asked him why  he wished to leave her. ” Are we not happy ? ”  ” Happy ? ” Napoleon answered. ” Happy ?  Why, the lowest clerk of one of my Ministers  is happier than I ! Happy ? Are you mocking  me ? To be happy one does not want to be  tortured by your mad jealousy as I am. Every  time I speak at a reception to a charming or  pretty woman, I am sure to have most terrible  storms in private. Happy ? Yes, I have been.”  Perhaps he would have remained so, he con-  tinued, had not jealousy and anger come to  drive away happiness and peace, until he  listened to the voice of his people asking for a  guarantee for their future and realised that he  was sacrificing great interests to a vain ideal.   “So all is over, then ? ” asked Josephine.   ” I had to secure the happiness of my people,  I repeat. Why did you force me yourself to  see other interests before yours ? Believe me,  I am suffering more than you perhaps, for it  is my hand that is hurting you.”     So6 The Empress Josephine   Then followed the remarkable scene described  by the Palace prefect Bausset, which turns the  whole tragedy of the situation into a comedy.  Bausset was sitting in a chair outside the salon  door, watching the dining-room being cleared  by the servants. Suddenly through the door  came the sound of sobs and piercing cries.  Napoleon came to the door and told him to  come in. The Empress was lying on the floor,  crying out, ” No, I can never survive it ! ” and  lamenting bitterly. ” Are you strong enough,”  asked Napoleon, ” to lift Josephine and to  carry her up the inner staircase to her room  to be attended to ? ” Bausset, a large, stout  man, stooped down and put one arm round  the Empress’s waist, another under her knees.  Napoleon, holding a candle in his hand, went  across to the door leading to the staircase and  opened it. Josephine, apparently in a dead  faint, lay without moving in Bausset’s arms.  When the staircase was reached, the prefect  saw that it was too narrow for him to attempt  to go up it with his burden in her present  position. He must have assistance. Napoleon  therefore called to the watchman who always  sat at his study door, handed him the candle,     A Diplomatic Faint 507   and told him to go on ahead. Then he relieved  Bausset of the Empress’s legs, leaving him to  pass his arms under her armpits and to go up  the stairs backwards. Now Bausset’s sword  got between his legs and almost threw them  all downstairs. Swinging it out of the way,  he struck the Empress accidentally on the  shoulder with the hUt. Suddenly he heard her  voice whispering to him softly : ” Take care,  M. de Bausset, you are hurting me with your  sword; and you are holding me too tight.”  She resumed her faint, while Bausset lifted her  up higher and put his arms again around her  waist, the Emperor still holding on to her  legs. At length the top of the stairs was  reached and Josephine was laid on her bed. A  violent ring at the bell brought her waiting-  women to her. Dr. Corvisart was summoned,  and Hortense. As Napoleon left, he told  Bausset the cause of the trouble. He was very  much agitated, and added, in broken accents :  ” The interests of France and of my dynasty  put a great strain upon my heart. This divorce  has become an absolute duty for me. I am  all the more upset by the scene which Josephine  has made because for three days she must have     f   508 The Empress Josephine   known, through Hortense; the unhappy neces-  sity which condemns me to separation from  her. I pity her with all my soul. I thought  she had more character, and I was not prepared  for the outburst of her grief.”   There seems no reason to reject the words  attributed to Napoleon by Bausset.^ If they  are correctly reported, he can only have an-  nounced his definite decision — that is to say,  that he had fixed a date for publicly announcing  the divorce — at the beginning of the week ;  and he must also have made use of Hortense  as an intermediary, not having the courage  personally to tell his wife. Whether Hortense  (to whom the idea of being freed from her  husband would have been as welcome as it was  terrible to Josephine) was able to persuade her  mother that all hope of a reprieve was vain  does not appear. But Josephine can scarcely  have supposed that any chance remained now  of a change of mind on the part of the Emperor.  The revelation of Bausset casts the gravest  doubt, not on the reality of her grief, however  much she exaggerated it, but certainly on the  possibility of her having been taken by surprise.   » ” Memoires,” ii. 2-8.     Hortense Appealed to 509   After receiving from Corvisart an assurance  that there was nothing seriously amiss with  the Empress, Napoleon had an interview with  Hortense, who declared that she and Eugene  must retire with their mother, though she  promised him never to forget how much she  owed to him. Napoleon was aghast at the  idea and could not restrain his tears. ” What,  desert me ? ” he cried. ” You, my children, to  whom I have acted as a father ? No, no, you  will not do that ! You will remain. Your  children’s lot demands this of you.” At  length his entreaties that she should stay to  help him to console and calm her mother, his  promises of what he would do for Josephine  to make her life happy, prevailed. Before she  left him to go to the Empress, Hortense had  promised that at least’ she would not fulfil her  threat of leaving the Court.     CHAPTER XXVI   THE DIVORCE   THE final scene in the married life of  Napoleon and Josephine was about to  begin. Amid the gaieties which, during the  first ten days of December 1809, marked the  anniversary of the Coronation, the preparations  for the announcement and actual accomplish-  ment of the divorce went on. Josephine  was quite unable to disguise her grief from  her guests, and Napoleon himself was on one  occasion at least visibly affected in public by  her air of utter wretchedness. This was at the  entertainment given by the City of Paris on De-  cember 3. The Empress arrived first, conducted  to the Throne Room of the Hotel de Ville by  the Prefect of the Seine. Her steps were feeble,  her eyes swollen with tears, and her effort to  restrain her feelings was quite obvious. The  Emperor on his entry looked at her anxiously,  and found it necessary to halt a few moments   Sio     Last Days as Empress 511   before he could master his emotion. With  considerable difficulty they both forced them-  selves to go through the task of making them-  selves agreeable to those assembled to meet  them.   Josephine was spared any more such ordeals.  Retiring to her own rooms in the Tuileries, she  left to Madame Mere the duties of hostess for  the few remaining days. It was given out that  she was indisposed, but no one was ignorant  of the real cause of her disappearance from  view. All knew that the very hour of the  divorce was approaching, and that what had  been a matter of common talk for so long was  at last to become fact. The Bonapartes as-  sembled in Paris did not disguise their exulta-  tion, and from their looks in particular Josephine  was glad to escape. Her chief comfort was the  expectation of Eugene’s arrival. Her son’s  protection had never failed her yet. Perhaps  she had some desperate hope that he might  still intervene and prevent the separation from  Napoleon. Eugene reached Paris on Decem-  ber 5, having been met by Hortense on his way  from Italy. He was therefore acquainted with  the facts of the situation and prepared for his     512 The Empress Josephine   interview with the Emperor. He had long  recognised that divorce must come, and had  expressed his conviction to his mother as  recently as a month ago, when, after hearing  from her concerning her conversation with the  Emperor after Fouche’s interference at Fon-  tainebleau, he had written : ” If he [Napoleon]  believes that his happiness and that of France  require him to have children, let him have  no other consideration. He must give you a  sufficient dowry and let you live with your  Italian children. The Emperor can then make  the marriage which his policy and happiness  may demand of him.”   Such being Eugene’s views, he offered no  objections to Napoleon’s resolution now laid  before him, but only insisted that he and his  mother should retire permanently to Italy. As  he had done with Hortense already, Napoleon  protested against the idea of a retirement and  insisted that Josephine’s sacrifice must bring  her honour, not banishment. She should still  be Empress, though not reigning Empress, and  must ever be his best-loved friend. Eugene  finally asked to be present at an interview  between his mother and Napoleon. His request     Eugene and his Mother 513   was granted. The presence of Eugene had an  excellent effect upon Josephine. She was still  weeping, but showed herself dignified and  resigned. The welfare of France was too dear  to her, she said, that she should refuse to yield  to the demand made of her. All she asked  was that her children should not be forgotten.  ” Make Eugene King of Italy,” she begged.  Eugene broke in with the indignant words :  ” Mother, let me be left out of the question.  Your son does not want a crown which would  be, so to speak, the price of your separation.  If. Your Majesty bows to the Emperor’s wishes,  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 affec-  tion.” The scene was over. All had passed  in far better manner than could have been  expected ; but at the Court reception that  evening Josephine made no appearance. She  had not the strength to preserve in public the  brave face which she had put on in the presence  of her husband and her son.   Only a few days more remained before  Josephine’s career as reigning Empress ended.  On December 10 Napoleon received a deputa-   VOL. II 12     SH The Empress Josephine   tion from the Legislative Body at the Tuileries  and informed them that ” he and his family  were ready to sacrifice, for the sake of France,  their dearest affections.” Five days later the  formal civil act of divorce took place. With  regard to the ecclesiastical side, owing to the  fact that the Emperor and Pope Pius VII. were  no longer on good terms — Pius had excommuni-  cated his former friend and was a prisoner at  Savona — there was no question of the help of  His Holiness. There was, however, the sub-  servient Cardinal Fesch, Archbishop of Lyons,  who had performed the secret religious marriage  on the eve of the Coronation ; and there were  the French clergy, who could be coerced, and  were. The details of the civil act were arranged  by the Archchancellor Cambaceres, under the  direction of the Emperor himself. According  to Thiers,^ whose informant was Cajnbaceres  himself. Napoleon showed his determination to  invest the act with ceremonies most affectionate  and most honourable for Josephine. ” He  would have nothing which might look like a  repudiation, and agreed to nothing but a simple  dissolution of the conjugal bond, based on   ‘ ” Consulat et Empire,” xi. ^in^     The Family Council 515   mutual consent, that consent itself being based  on the Empire’s interests. It was agreed that  after a Family Council, at which the Arch-  chancellor should receive the expression of the  wishes of the husband and wife, the decree of  the Senate, solemnly passed, should pronounce  the dissolution of the civil bond, and that by the  same resolution the fortune of Josephine should  receive a magnificent guarantee.”   The Family Council which Napoleon required  to witness the ceremony — not to triumph over  Josephine’s fall, but to honour the great act  of renunciation which she shared, however  much against her will, with him— was as com-  plete as he could make it. Joseph was not  present, being detained in Spain by his king-  dom’s affairs ; and he was on such terms with  his brother at the moment that they hardly  exchanged letters. His wife Julie, however,  was in Paris. Lucien, of course, was still in  disgrace. Elisa was expecting a child, so  that she too was absent. But Madame Mere,  Louis, Jerome and his wife, the Murats, Pauhne,  and Caroline were all present, together with  Eugene and his sister as representatives of  the Beauharnais.     5^6 The Empress Josephine   On the night of December 15 the Arch-  chancellor Cambaceres arrived at the Tuileries,  accompanied by the Secretary of State for  the Imperial Household, Regnauld de Saint-  Jean d’Angely, and found the whole Palace  illuminated as on a fete-day. Within was the  whole Imperial family in full Court dress. At  nine o’clock they were gathered in the Throne  Room, and the door of the Emperor’s room was  opened to receive them. Josephine was dressed  in a perfectly plain white robe with no jewellery,  and though pale she was quite calm ; far  less agitated, in fact, than either Eugene or  Hortense. Round the room were arranged the  seats appointed for the family, in due order  of precedence. The Emperor, Empress, and  Madame Mere had armchairs, the reigning  kings and queens chairs, and the others stools.  All took their places, and the Emperor, turning  to the Archchancellor, began to speak. His  speech had been written for him, but departing  from the text he substituted his own language,  and with emotion spoke of the cost to his heart  of the sacrifice which he was making for the  welfare of France. ” Far from ever having  had to complain,” he added, with more tender-     A Dignified Speech 517   ness than truth, ” 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 for ever stamped on 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.”   The Empress in her turn took up her speech.  Wheth’er she had herself altered the words  which had been prepared for her, cannot be  said ; but the copy from which she read was in  her own handwriting and on the paper which  she was wont to use.^ “With the permission  of our august and dear spouse,” she began, ” I  declare that, since I haye no hope of bearing  children who can satisfy the requirements of  his policy and the interests of France, it is  my pleasure to give him the greatest proof of   » M, Masson, who notes this fact, says (” Josephine  Repudiee,” 80) : ” In the declaration which had been prepared  for her she too had modified the language. . . . The words  which she spoke are apt and noble, and, if it was she who chose  them, once more she gave proof of that tact which was one of  her virtues and one of her charms.”     5i8 The Empress Josephine   attachment and devotion which was ever given  on earth.” But she could read no further.  Sobs choked her voice and she handed the  paper to Regnauld, who finished the speech for  her. ” I owe all to his bounty,” ran the words,  ” it was his hand which crowned me, and,  seated on this throne, I have received nothing  but proofs of affection and love from the French  people. I am recognising 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 sentinaents  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 interests, has wounded his heart ;  but we shall win glory, the two of us, for the  sacrifice which we have made on behalf of our  country.”   Not only Hortense and Eugene (who is said     Divorce Accomplished 519   to have fainted at the end of the ceremony),  but even the assembled Bonapartes exhibited  emotion at Josephine’s surrender of her husband  and her throne. None were sorry when the  Council finished its sitting with the signature  by each member of the report drawn up by  Cambaceres and all were able to disperse to  their lodgings. Josephine was accompanied  from the room by her children, still calmer than  they found it possible to be. But the day was  not to finish without one more painful scene.  The Emperor had retired to his own bedroom  and was already in bed, when suddenly Jose-  phine appeared at the door, silent but bearing  the signs of the profoundest grief. She came  slowly to the bedside, as if walking in her sleep,  but having reached it she fell forward, and,  throwing her arms about Napoleon, gave vent  to bitter laments. The Emperor, by whom  this apparition was quite unexpected, at-  tempted in vain to comfort her, with assurances  of his everlasting friendship and appeals to her  reason and courage. But it was with the  greatest difficulty that he restrained his own  tears and had the strength to send her away  to her own room at the end of an hour. It     520 The Empress Josephine   was her last night at the Tuileries. The ” little  Creole ” was to sleep no more in the bed of  her masters.   Next day it was raining heavily when, at  two o’clock, Josephine’s carriages awaited her in  the courtyard. All her personal belongings had  been taken out from her rooms and placed in  the vehicles. Her parrot and a family of dogs  accompanied her boxes and such furniture as  was to go with her. Only the mistress herself  was wanted to give the train the signal to  start. Josephine still remained in the dis-  mantled rooms, sitting waiting for the Emperor  to bid her farewell. His step was heard on  the private stair ; and, as she rose from her  seat, he entered, followed by Meneval, his  secretary. Their last interview in the Palace  must not be without a witness. Unrestrained,  however, by the presence of a third party, the  weeping woman threw herself upon Napoleon’s  breast and clung there. He kissed her several  times and then, finding she had fainted, put  her into the secretary’s arms and hastened out  of the room to hide his own emotion from any  curious eyes. Josephine, left with M6neval,  began to weep again violently and clasped     Departure from the Tuilcries 521   Meneval by the hands, beseeching him to tell  the Emperor not to forget her and to write  to her from Trianon, where he was to spend  the ten days following her departure from the  Tuileries. The distressed secretary promised  all she asked, and at length Josephine forced  herself to go. She walked out of the rooms  which no longer were hers and into the court-  yard, got into her carriage, and drove away  to Malmaison,     CHAPTER XXVII   THE FIRST YEAR OF SEPARATION   JOSEPHINE’S fortune was to have, by  Napoleon’s desire, ” a magnificent guar-  antee.” The Senate’s Decree coupled with the  announcement of the divorce the settlement  on her of two million francs annually from the  State Treasury. On the same day Napoleon  himself settled on her, from the Crown Treasury,  another million. He further presented to her,,  for the duration of her life, the Elysee Palace,  with its furniture and grounds, and renounced  any rights which he might have over Malmaison,  which was to be entirely at the disposition of  herself and her heirs. With regard to her debts,  of whose continued existence he was well aware,  although he did not know their extent since  he had last attempted to get rid of them, he  no longer proposed to pay them except out  of her own income ; but he assisted her to clear  them off by advancing the money. He insisted   522     A Magnificent Income 523   on a complete list and found they amounted  to nearly one million nine hundred thousand  francs/ while the total number of creditors was  one hundred and twenty. Josephine marked  on the list those who should be paid in full,  and the remainder had their bills cut down  as the Emperor decided. Five hundred thou-  sand francs were knocked off the total, and the  balance of one million four hundred thousand  was paid, on the understanding that seven  hundred thousand francs should be stopped  out of the million coming to her from the Crown  Treasury for each of the next two years. Jose-  phine was therefore solvent again. In order  that she should not lapse into debt the Emperor  included in the duties of his own financial  superintendent the supervision of the Empress’s  budget. The result of this carefully devised  scheme will be seen later.   Josephine retired from her position of reigning  Empress with a magnificent income, no lia-  bilities, and a town and a country house, both  fully furnished and equipped. From his point   1 To be precise 1,898,098 francs, of which 587,411 were due  to jewellers, 290,733 to the dressmaker Leroy, and 121,013 to  one dealer in lace alone (M. Masson, ” Josephine R6pudi6e,”  p. 99).     5^4 The Empress Josephine   of view, Napoleon had fulfilled his promise  of generous treatment, and he was perfectly  sincere in his protestation that he intended  to keep her always as his best and dearest  friend. The question of his financial arrange-  ments must be left to a later chapter. Here  we may concern ourselves with the personal  relations between Emperor and Empress after  the divorce and see how far Napoleon was able  to carry out his wishes.   Josephine was accompanied to Malmaison by  her son and her daughter, who were, according  to the promises which they had given, to help  to Console and calm their mother in her new  situation. The disposition which her Household  showed to desert her service was at once checked  and all were ordered to continue in their duties  until the New Year. The Emperor did not  leave it for others to satisfy him as to her state  after leaving him, for he drove over to Malmaison  on the following day and paid her a visit. They  walked in the park together, as of old, but it  was noticed that he only shook her hand as  he came and went and that he did not kiss her.  He was not quite satisfied with her condition.  On his return to Trianon he wrote to her at     Tears 525   eight o’clock the same evening the letter which  appears in Queen Hortense’s collection.^ ” My  friend/’ he began, ” 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 let yourself lapse into a  fatal melancholy, you must grow content, and  above all look after your health, which is so  precious to me. . . . Sleep well, think to  yourself that this is what I wish,” he said in  conclusion, for the letter was despatched to  reach her before she went to bed.   As might be imagined, Josephine found it  impossible to maintain the ” courage ” which  Napoleon wished to see her display. She  grew worse rather than better. Eugene, writing  to his wife on the day after the arrival at Mal-  maison, says : ” The Empress is well. Her  grief was bitter enough this morning as she  went through the places where she lived so  long with the Emperor, but her courage got  the upper hand, and she is resigned to her new  situation, I firmly believe that she will be  happier and more tranquil,” But when, fol-  lowing the Emperor’s example, visitors began   ‘ ” Letters de Napoleon a Josephine,” No. 95.     526 The Empress Josephine   to hasten to Malmaison to pay their respects,  they found Josephine constantly weeping.  Kings, queens, princes, princesses, and all the  official and social world of Paris came in pil-  grimage to Malmaison, and all alike saw her  in tears. It was very natural, and the visitors  for the most part were moved to sympathy,  both real and politic. But the Emperor, who  never omitted to ask all whether they had  seen the Empress, was troubled by the universal  report. On the 19th, while out shooting, he  sent Savary to see her, and a letter followed  in the evening, answering one of hers which  does not survive :   ” I have your letter, mon 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.  Farewell, mon amie. I, too, am melancholy  to-day. I want to hear

Napoleon on throne

that you are satisfied  and to learn of your self-possession. Sleep well.   ” Napoleon.”     A Christmas Dinner 527   Mme. de Remusat, to whom Josephine con-  fided that ” she often imagined herself dead  and that all that was left was a vague sensation  of existing no longer,” did her best to make her  mistress take walks, also sent through her  husband, who was at Trianon, the very sensible  advice that Napoleon should moderate the  expression of his regret when he wrote to  Josephine, and should rather try to encourage  her. Certainly his mention of his own sorrow  was not likely to lessen hers. However, his  affection prevented him from taking the advice,  as some of his subsequent letters show. He  apparently found it easier to disguise his feelings  when he met Josephine than when he wrote.  On the 24th he paid another visit and again  did not kiss her, while he took care not to get  out of sight of third parties. On Christmas Day  he allowed her to come over to dinner with him  at Trianon, bringing Hortense ; and Eugene,  who was also present, declares him to have been  ” very kind and amiable to her,” so that she  immediately seemed to grow better.   On the following day Napoleon returned to  the Tuileries, while Josephine soon belied  Eugene’s statement, on his own showing.     528 The Empress Josephine   ” Eugene has told me,” wrote Napoleon on the  27th, ” that you were very sad yesterday.  That is not right, mon amie. It is contrary to  what you promised me.” He could not refrain  from adding : “I was much annoyed at seeing  the Tuileries again. The great Palace seemed  very empty to me, and I found myself all alone.”  He was anxious even to bring her back to Paris  at once, but the Elysee had been borrowed to  lodge the Murats, who were not anxious to go  home to Naples yet. Eugene had hopes that  his mother would accompany him to Milan.  She, however, was as eager to be back in Paris  as Napoleon seemed to be that she should come.  In the meantime she continued to receive her  visitors at Malmaison, not less tearful, but  gradually more resigned.   If confirmation of her resignation be required,  it may be found in her next step, which would  be astounding if it were not with the character  of Josephine that we are dealing. On the first  day of 1810, sixteen days after her departure  from the Tuileries, she sent a message to the  wife of the former Austrian Ambassador in  Paris, that she would much like to see her.  Mme. de Metternich arrived at Malmaison next      THE EMPRESS MARIE LOUISE.  From a picture by Priidhon. Plioto by Neurdin Frires.     p. 528.     The Austrian Marriage 529   day, and was greeted by Hortense with the  words : ” You know that we are all Austrians  at heart, but you would never guess that my  mother has had the courage to advise the  Emperor to ask for the hand of your Arch-  duchess.” Josephine came in as her daughter  spoke and at once began : “I have a scheme  which takes up my whole attention and by  whose success alone I hope that the sacrifice  I have just made will not be entirely wasted.  It is that the Emperor should marry your  Archduchess. I spoke of it to him yesterday,  and he told me that his mind was not yet quite  made up ; but I believe that it would be if he  were sure of being accepted by you.”   It was a fact which Josephine was relating to  her visitor. Eugene had already approached on  the subject Prince Schwarzenberg, the present  representative of Austria, with the assurance  of his mother’s consent. When h^d Napoleon  and Josephine come to an agreement upon this  point ? It is not known. As late as Novem-  ber 22 Napoleon, disappointed in his hopes of  the Grand Duchess Catherine of Russia, had  instructed his representative in St. Petersburg,  Caulaincourt, to ask for her sister, the Grand   VOL. II 13     53° The Empress Josephine   Duchess Anne. Being refused her, on account  of her youth, he saw no other Princess so suit-  able as Marie-Louise of Austria. But Jose-  phine’s intervention, in the midst of her in-  consolable grief, might well seem surprising to  others as well as to Mme. de Metternich. Al-  though Josephine loved match-making, this  was assuredly an extraordinary match which  she was now helping to make. It is unfortunate  that there is no clue to show when the idea  first came into her head.   If Napoleon must be married, however, there  were obvious advantages for Josephine in  appearing as his assistant in bringing about this  marriage. She was, if not quite ” an Austrian  at heart,” in Hortense’s words, at least on  friendly terms with the Austrian Imperial family,  especially the Archduke Ferdinand and the  Metternichs. Then Marie-Louise was only  eighteen, and with a young wife, married purely  for State reasons. Napoleon would be likely to  require the aid of her own experience to advise  him. Might she not even expect that he would  be even more glad to have her in Paris after  his second marriage than before, when he still  dreaded the effect which the sight of her might     Favours from Napoleon 531   have upon his courage ? A permanent resi-  dence in Paris, with occasional seasons at Mal-  maison, was the best fate for which she could  hope, and the union which she was advocating  for her late husband seemed to bring this  possibility nearer.   Malmaison, indeed, soon began to pall with-  out the possible distraction of visits to Paris.  Josephine was not yet forty-seven and she did  not feel the charms of the life of a retired dow-  ager. The Emperor continued to write con-  stantly, but his trips to Malmaison were fewer  as the weeks went by. It was in vain that he  wrote how he was making her a present of one  hundred thousand francs for the extraordinary  expenses of her property and that she might  ” plant what she liked,” or promised her other  favours.^ What she wanted and what she  wrote to him about was permission to come to  the Elysee at once. This is plain from his  answers. ” I should hear of your presence at  the Elysee with pleasure,” he wrote on January  30, “and [should be] very glad to see you more  often, for you know how much I love you.”  And again, a few days later : ” I have had your   1 See Queen Hortense’s collection. No. 2qo.     53^ The Empress Josephine   belongings brought to the Elys6e. You will  always be coming to Paris, but be calm and  content, and have complete confidence in me.”  At last the Palace was ready for her at the be-  ginning of February, and she took up her occu-  pation of it at once, while Eugene, satisfied that  his mother had got her way, returned to his  wife at Milan.   The realisation of her wish did not equal  Josephine’s expectations. Napoleon’s first note  to her at the Elysee begins : ” Savary on his  arrival gave me your letter. I am pained to  see that you are melancholy.” ^ Josephine  found that, although she was back in Paris, she  was no longer in its society as before. “It is  perhaps not quite suitable that we should be  under the same roof during the first year,” the  Emperor wrote to her in another letter ; and,  in fact, at all the great festivities, whither even  Hortense might go, there was no place for the  divorced Empress. The Court balls and ex-  cursions were not for her, the theatres were  forbidden if the Royal box was occupied, the  Bois was out of bounds if a hunt was on, the  papers were forbidden to mention her (although   1 See Queea Hortense’s collection. No. 210.     Restricted Freedom 533   they disobeyed) because a new Empress was  soon starting on her way to Paris and the mar-  riage contract had already been signed. The  imagined attractions of the Elysee were all  absent. Exile there was worse than at Mal-  maison, and it can have been with no regret  that after a month Josephine quitted Paris and  returned to her garden.   The Emperor, however, had no intention of  allowing his former wife to be even in the neigh-  bourhood of the capital when Marie-Louise  arrived at the end of March. To soften the  blow he had decided to present Josephine with  a third residence, the old chateau of Navarre,  near Evreux, more than fifty miles across  country from Paris. The original building had  been erected in the fourteenth century by the  Kings of Navarre ; but that which was standing  in 1810 dated only from the end of the seven-  teenth century, and consisted of a huge two-  storied square block, topped by a dome upon  which one of the Comtes d’ Evreux had intended  to set up a statue of his uncle, the great Turenne.^  At its side stood a smaller house. Both alike   1 See a full and amusing description of Navarre in M.  Masson’s ‘‘ Josephine R6pudiee,” 148-50.     534 The Empress Josephine   were dilapidated, draughty, and unfurnished.  Apart from its size, Navarre was a most un-  promising home. But Napoleon purchased the  place on March 8, signed the Letters Patent  assigning to it Josephine and her heirs on the  nth, and ordered at once the repairs necessary  to make it habitable. On the 12th, having  spoken to her previously of his intention of  presenting the chateau to her, he writes :   ” Mon amie, I hope that you will have been  contented with what I have done for Navarre.  You will have seen herein a new proof of my  desire to please you.^ Take possession of  Navarre ; you will be able to go thither on  March 25 to spend the month of April.”   Josephine showed no great anxiety to set out  for Navarre, in spite of the obvious anxiety of  the Emperor that she should leave Malmaison  before Marie-Louise reached Paris. Accounts  of the condition of her new chateau no doubt  influenced her in part, for a letter remains from  her to the Departmental Prefect at Evreux,  speaking of her desire to hire a house near at   * The Letters Patent above mentioned contain a similar  phrase : ” Wishing to give to the Empress Josephine a new  proof of our affection, we have -resolved,” etc.     Navarre 535   hand, from which she might superintend the  repairs. But also Eugene and Augusta were  expected from Milan, in order to assist at the  Imperial wedding. The stay of her daughter-  in-law at Malmaison, commencing on March 20,  furnished Josephine with an excuse for neglect-  ing the date appointed by the Emperor for her  departure. On the 28th she was still at Mal-  maison. That same night Marie-Louise reached  Compiegne, and Josephine started for Navarre,  having risked as far as possible a disobedience of  the order which had been given to her.^   Accompanied by her small Court the sup-  planted Empress arrived at Evreux on March  29. Her Household had diminished since the  divorce. Mme. de la Rochefoucauld had been  among the first to leave her and had been  transferred to the suite of Marie-Louise, as  had Mmes. de Lu9ay, Lauriston, and Talhoufit.  Monseigneur de Rohan, her almoner, had also  gone, and a number of her other ladies and  gentlemen. But Mme. de Remusat remained,  having sided completely with her mistress and   > ” Can we believe,” asks M. Masson (” Josephine Repudiee ”  146) “that such a departure, so much delayed and then sp  precipitate, was voluntary ? ”     53 6 The Empress Josephine   blaming Napoleon severely for his conduct with  regard to the divorce. Mme. d’Arberg, of  German princely descent and attached to Jose-  phine since the Coronation, remained also, and  was now Lady of Honour and Superintendent  of the Household. Others with her were Mme.  Nay, the school friend of Hortense; Mme.  Audenarde, a Creole and mother of the Emperor’s  equerry ; Mmes. Octave de Segur, de Turenne,  and de Viel-Castel ; and Mme. Gazzani, her  reader, Napoleon’s marked admiration for whom  had not lost her Josephine’s favour. Not all  of these were with her yet, and some were soon  to abandon her. But, with newcomers, her  suite was sufficiently imposing when she drove  into Evreux on the morning of her arrival, to  be met by the Prefect and the Mayor, the  National Guard, the townspeople and the local  clergy, all eager to do honour to their new  neighbour on her way to Navarre. She was at  once pleased and pained. ” The inhabitants  have been most attentive,” she wrote to her  daughter ; ” but this display of festivity looked  a little like complimentary condolences.”   Josephine’s first sojourn at Navarre lasted a  little over six weeks, and those weeks were no     The New Abode 537   more pleasant to her than she had anticipated.  The repairs to the house had been hasty and  incomplete. The rooms were vast and chilly,  the windows would not close, the roof leaked,  and the chimneys smoked. The chateau’s  situation in a valley, while giving beautiful  views of wooded hills from the windows in the  summer, made it very damp for the greater  part of the year. In April all was cold and  cheerless. The Household was invaded by a  spirit of revolt. To the desertions of December  1809, were added several others now. The  service of the retired Empress lost all charm for  many who had expected to find the honour  accompanied by pleasure and ease in the neigh-  bourhood of Paris, or even in Paris itself. Mme.  Ney, school friend of Hortense and niece of  Mme. Campan, produced a letter from her hus-  band in Spain, written before the departure to  Navarre, ordering her to go to Paris. Josephine  received the news with dignity and a singular  absence of malice. ” It would have been sweet  to me not to lose you,” she told her. …” But  I know that a woman’s first duty is to her hus-  band. Your obedience is proper, and I accept  your resignation. Believe in my regrets and     53 8 The Empress Josephine   in the friendship which will always attach me  to you. I will tell the Emperor and will do  my best to support your husband’s wish to see  you attached to the Empress.” Mme. de  Turenne, who had not accompanied Josephine  to Navarre, soon followed Mme. Ney’s example.  Among the men the Comte Andre de Beaumont  and the Comte de Montholon found duties  which prevented their immediate presence ;  and the new almoner, Barral, Archbishop of  Tours, was detained in Paris by the marriage  festivities.   Nor was there harmony among those who  were loyal to their mistress. The ladies quar-  relled with Pierlot, the Intendant, whom the  attraction of Court life had taken away from  banking ; and when he brought over vanloads  of furniture to supply the great deficiencies of  the chateau, seized what they wanted before he  could stop them. Jealousy divided the ladies  themselves. A smile more from the Empress  to one of them produced several long faces, says  Mile. Georgette Ducrest, a niece of Mme. de  Genhs, whom Josephine had lately attached to  her suite and who has left a collection of  Memoirs of considerable personal interest.     Life at Navarre 539   Mile. Ducrest herself counted several enemies  through the presentation of a camellia to  her by Josephine.   It cannot be wondered at that a desire to  leave Navarre and return to Malmaison seized  upon the Empress as well as her Household.  The amusements, which consisted chiefly of  drives through the damp country by day and  sleepy games of backgammon with the seventy-  five-year-old Bishop of Evreux at night, could  not distract Josephine’s thoughts from Mal-  maison, which at this distance seemed indeed a  paradise. The Emperor was approached early  in April both about this and about an advance  of money for alterations necessary to ” make  Navarre habitable.” He sent Eugene to say  that he would consent to both, as appears from  Josephine’s letter of April ig, in which she  thanks him.   ” This double favour. Sire,” she continues,  ” goes far to drive away the great anxiety, and  even fear, inspired by Your Majesty’s long  silence. I was afraid of being entirely banished  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 hence-     540 The Empress Josephine   forward. I shall go to Malmaison at the end  of the month, since Your Majesty sees no  objection to this ; but I must tell you, Sire,  that I should not have availed myself so soon  of the hberty which Your Majesty has granted  if the house at Navarre did not call for urgent  repairs, for my health’s sake and for that of  the persons attached to my Household. My  idea is to stay at Malmaison for a very short  time. I shall soon take my departxire 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 more  every day I appreciate its magnitude. This  sacrifice, however, shall be all it ought to be ;  it shaU be complete on my part. Your  Majesty shall not be troubled in the midst  of your happiness by any expression of my  regrets.”   The letter concludes with a request for a proof  both to her and to those about her that she  still retained ” a little place in his memory and a  big place in his esteem and friendship.” Its  tone is not unreasonable^ and it surely does  not merit either the severe criticisms of some of     A Lcttef of Thanks 541   the biographers ^ or the reply of Napoleon, who  wrote from Compiegne on April 21 complaining  of its mauvais style. He added, however, that  he heard with pleasure that she was going to  Malmaison and would be glad to exchange  news. This letter was brought by Eugene,  who divided his time between Navarre and  Compiegne. Josephine’s reply merits quotation  in full :   ” A thousand, thousand loving thanks for not  having forgotten 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 in 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. Certain feelings are  life itself and can only finish with Ufe. I should  have been in despair if my letter of the 19th  had displeased you. I do not remember its  exact wording ; but I know how painful was  the feehng which dictated it — the sorrow of not  hearing from you. I had written to you after   * E.g. M. Turquan (” L’LmpSratrice Josephine,” 228), who  declares the letter to be totally lacking in dignity. M. Masson  calls it a chef d’ceuvre, but questions the sincerity of her next  letter.     542 The Empress Josephine   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 was a bahn 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 appre-  ciate to the full. Nothing to me can be worth  as much as a proof of your remembrance.  Farewell, mon ami. I thank you as tenderly  as I shall always love you.   ” Josephine.”   In answer to this and another letter, which  has not been preserved, Napoleon wrote briefly  from Compiegne on April 28, encouraging her  to go to the waters and protesting his unchanged  feelings toward her. One sentence in the note  calls for attention. ” Do not listen to the babble  of Paris,” he says ; ” they are idle and far from  knowing the truth.” The ” babble ” of which  Napoleon speaks seems to comprehend the  various rumours that were current while he  was at Compiegne, which made out that the  new Empress was jealous of Josephine’s prox-     “The Babble of Paris” 543   imity and that in consequence Malmaison was  to be bought back and Josephine reduced to  Duchess of Navarre or exiled to the Duchy of  Berg — just the kind of rumours which Parisian  idleness might be expected to breed. There  was no foundation for them at all in fact. On  the contrary, Napoleon showed himself most  wiUing to fall in with Josephine’s desire, ex-  pressed through the medium of Eugene, to draw  up a programme of her movements for the  remainder of 1810 and the spring of 1811. She  wished to go first to Malmaison, then at the end  of May to whatever waters might be best ; after  three months to proceed to the South of France,  Rome, Florence, Naples, and Milan ; to spend  the winter with Eugene and Augusta in Milan  and to return in the spring to Malmaison and  Navarre. In order to make Navarre her real  headquarters she must have money, however.  Napoleon agreed to the programme, and with re-  gard to the waters consented that she should even  go to Aix-la-ChapeUe if the doctors should think  that the best place for her, although he preferred  that she should go whither she had not already  been with him — for obvious reasons, seeing how  easy it was to make her tears flow. He would     544 The Empress Josephine   make no present of money for Navarre, but  would authorise the advance of the six hundred  thousand francs left, after payment of her  debts, out of the grants from the Crown Treasury  for 1810 and 1811, and would permit that the  one hundred thousand given for extraordinary  expenses at Malmaison should be diverted to  Navarre. ” I highly approve,” he told Eugene,  ” of her plan of making all her outlay on  Navarre.”   The reason for Josephine’s decision to ” make  all her outlay on Navarre ” is obscure. There  was the opportunity, of course, of indulging in  those schemes of reconstruction in which she  as much as Napoleon himself delighted. And  the place had begun to seem better to her than  at first. ” Residence at Navarre,” she wrote to  Hortense on May 3, ” pleases me much. I  am a stranger here to all intrigues.” Perhaps,  seeing what a creature of caprice she was, we  must assume that she had really taken a fancy  to Navarre, which the departure of the cold  weather rendered more attractive. As she had  written in her letter of April 3, ” one ought to  live at Navarre in the months of May, June,  July, and even the beginning of August; it is     Comparative Content 545   then the most enchanting place that there is.”  This year, however, she did not wish to put the  statement to the test, for in the middle of May  she brought to an end her first stay at Navarre  and returned to Malmaison, then in its spring  glory. Speaking of her double hyacinths and  tulips imported from Holland, she had once  cried : ” It is now two years that I have been  prevented from seeing them in flower. Bona-  parte always summons me to him just at the  moment ! ” In 1810 at least she had her  hyacinths and tulips and all the other delights  which Malmaison could offer. As for ” Bona-  parte,” she was in hopes of seeing him at the  end of the month, in accordance with the promise  written by him while touring with the Empress  Marie-Louise in Northern France and Belgium.     VOL. II 14     CHAPTER XXVIII   THE FIRST YEAR OF SEPARATION (continued)   NAPOLEON’S promised visit to Malmaison  took place on May 13, twelve days  after his return to Paris. Josephine has left,  in a letter written to Hortense next day, the  following record of her feelings :   ” 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 renewed my sorrows. Such emotion  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 fiUs me.”   Josephine’s tears passed away quickly, and  the same evening after the Emperor’s visit she   546     Hortense and Louis 54?   was riotously gay. Part of her cheerfulness  was no doubt due to the fact that she had gained  permission for Hortense to return no more to  Holland. After the visit to Compiegne in the  company of Napoleon and Marie-Louise and so  many of the Imperial family, Hortense had been  ordered, sorely against her will, to proceed to  Amsterdam to rejoin her husband. Her health  was still very bad, and Louis’s conduct was  worse. Josephine’s letters^ of the first half of  May manifest extreme anxiety, and her great  desire is that Hortense shall accompany her  to the waters to which she is going after leaving  Malmaison — Aix-la-Chapelle was her first idea,  which she abandoned later in favour of Aix  in Savoy (Aix-les-Bains). The Queen’s bodily  state grew alarming, and the wretched Louis,  who could live neither with nor without her,  consented that she should leave Amsterdam for  Plombieres at the end of May. Here she was  when she received her mother’s letter of May 14,  which, after describing the feelings aroused  by Napoleon’s visit, goes on :   ” 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     54^ The Empress Josephine   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 doctors 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 after sending this news to Hor-  tense, Josephine set out for Aix-les-Bains.  She had chosen the place for reasons already  explained to her daughter. “My health re-  quires distraction above all, and I hope to find  more of that in a place which I have not yet  seen and whose situation is picturesque. The  waters are especially renowned for the nerves.”  Travelling under the name of the Comtesse  d’Arberg and accompanied only by Mmes. de  Remusat and d’ Audenarde, Mile, de Mackau, MM.   ‘ Of the two sons here mentioned, the first is Napoleon-  Louis, whose health was too delicate to allow him to live in  Holland, and who was accordingly in Paris now. The other,  at Malmaison when the letter was written, was Louis-Napoleon,  called by his doting grandmother ” Oui-Oui.”     Aix’IeS’Bains 549   de Pourtales and de Turpin-Criss^, she reached  Aix before the beginning of the season. Two  small houses were hired, and life was very  simple and quiet at first. As the news of her  arrival spread, however, visitors began to come  from Geneva, Chambery, Grenoble, and Northern  Italy, and a small, unceremonious Court formed  itself, restrained only by her determination to  maintain her incognito. Bathing, excursions,  tapestry-making, and reading aloud of the  latest novels from Paris passed the days peace-  fully. Only one incident produced any ex-  citement, when on a trip by water to the ancient  abbey of Hautecombe a storm nearly wrecked  the boat, causing Napoleon to write from  Trianon : “I heard with grief the danger  which you ran. For an inhabitant of the Isles  of the Ocean to die in a lake would be a  catastrophe ! ”   To judge by the letter which she wrote to  Hortense on July 3, Josephine was ill qontent  with her quiet surroundings at Aix. ” Let me  see you, my dear daughter,” she concludes.  ” Alone, abandoned, far from all my own ones,  and in the midst of strangers, judge how  melancholy I am and what need I have of     55° The Empress Josephine   your presence ! ” This complaint of solitude  and abandonment is scarcely borne out by the  facts. Before Hortense arrived from Plom-  bieres, bringing with her Julie Bonaparte, wife  of Joseph, who had been with her there, other  family visitors had not been lacking. Eugene  and Augusta had been seen on their way back  from France to Milan. Josephine’s young  cousin, Louis Tascher, whose marriage to Am61ie  von der Leyen, daughter of one of the ” medi-  atised ” Princes of the Holy Roman Empire,  had lately been carried through by Napoleon  at Josephine’s request, had come to Aix with  his bride, mourning for the terrible death of  her mother at the Austrian Ambassador’s ball  in Paris. Outside the family circle, there had  been Charles de Flahault, a young man whose  social accomplishments had won him the favour  of Josephine and still more of Hortense, whose  attachment to him unfortunately went so far  as to leave a stain upon her good name. Fla-  hault had preceded the Queen in coming from  Plombieres and was now attached to Josephine’s  suite, bringing with him an air of gaiety which  always appealed to her heart. Other new  friends included Mme. de Souza, formerly the     The Empress’s Circle 551   Comtesse de Flahault, Charles’s mother, who  afterwards brought up and educated Hortense’s  illegitimate son. Josephine was, therefore,  scarcely so desolate as her letter to her daughter  would make out. Still, there can be no doubt  that when joined by Hortense — who, in spite  of her ill-health and a continual propensity  to tears, brought with her to Aix her talent  for inventing social diversions and a decorous  literary and artistic atmosphei^e which might  be expected to surround Mme. Campan’s prize  pupil — Josephine found life more than tolerable  at Aix. Now she was the centre of an admiring  throng, and her Imperial liveries, as she drove  about the place, created a gratifying impression.  Visits to Geneva gave variety to her day, and  she at once startled and pleased the townspeople  with her dresses, her suite, and her affability  to every one. The life of luxurious calm was  one which she would naturally enjoy, and up  to the end of August nothing appeared likely  to disturb it. Early in September, however,  a change occurred. Josephine suddenly set off  to Secheron, a small and dull country place,  and took rooms at an hotel, leaving Hortense  at Aix. The only explanation which we have     55^ The Empress Josephine   of her conduct is in a letter written to her  daughter from Secheron on September 9 in  which occur the words :   ” I have not heard from the Emperor ; but  I thought that I ought to prove to him the  interest which I have in the Empress’s preg-  nancy. I have just written to him on the  subject. I hope that this proceeding 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 to him.”   Josephine’s letter to Napoleon is not extant,  but his reply of September 14, acknowledging  its receipt, is in Queen Hortense’s collection.  The Empress is effectivement grosse de quatre  mois, he says. ” She is in good health and  is much attached to me.” That there was a  connection between Marie-Louise’s condition  and Josephine’s restlessness there can hardly  be a doubt. While France was rejoicing in  the expectation of an heir to Napoleon,^ Jose-  phine was making a tour round the Lake of  Geneva and, after Hortense had left Aix for     1 ” La grossesse de I’lmpSratrice est une joie puhlique, une  esp&rance nouvelle,” writes Mme. de R6musat in the letter men-  tioned on p. 555.     Expectation of an Heir 553   Fontainebleau by the Emperor’s order toward  the end of September, she extended her journey  to Neufchatel and Berne. Her great desire  now was that the Emperor should allow her  to cancel the programme which she herself had  submitted to him through Eugene in April  and to return at once to Malmaison. The  announcement of her successor’s pregnancy,  so far from causing her to wish to leave France,  had precisely the opposite effect. Those who  attribute her action to mere contrariety have  an easy task in explaining why this was so.  For Napoleon’s view was certainly that she  would do well to go to Milan, as originally  arranged. “Go to see your son this winter,”  he wrote to her on October i, ” come back to  the waters at 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 suitably  at Milan or Navarre.” With this we may  compare two letters from Josephine to Hor-  tense, written from Berne on October 12 and  13 respectively :   ” If in three days from now I do not receive     554 The Empress Josephine   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  Malmaison ; there at least I shall be in France,  and, if aU the world deserts me, I shall dwell  there alone, conscious of having sacrificed my  happiness to make that of others.”   ” After having reflected well ” — this is from  the second letter — ” 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 was for a visit  of one or two months, I should gladly go to  see my son ; but to stop there longer is im-  possible. … 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, and it is so great a happiness for  me that I must prefer the place which brings  me nearest to my dear daughter. . . . My dear  Hortense, if I were to go to Italy, I am sure  that several persons attached to me would  send in their resignations. It is very melan-  choly to think of this 1″     Furthisr Sacrifice Needed 555   It is plain from the above letters that while  Napoleon wished his former wife to be in Italy,  or at most not nearer than Navarre, until  Marie-Louise had borne her child, Josephine  entirely rejected the Italian scheme (although  it was originally hers) and accepted Navarre  only if she could not yet obtain Malmaison.  Still more light is thrown on the matter by a  long letter from Mme. de Remusat in Paris  to Josephine in Switzerland, written apparently  in September or early October and included  in Queen Hortense’s collection.^ The writer  says that she has been unable yet to ask from  the Emperor, so much occupied in his own  affairs, the audience which Josephine had  desired her to ask, but has already seen ” sonie  important personages ” ; and the result of her  inquiries and observations is that Josephine’s  sacrifice still requires completion. Josephine  had hoped that the Emperor would be able  to bring about a meeting between her and  Marie-Louise, especially when the latter should     ‘ Letter 220 n. It is undated. M. Masson, from what  slight evidence there is, deduces that Josephine received it  between October i and 15, most probably in the first week  of the month.     55^ The Empress Josephine   be reassured by the expectation of a child  that her position was secure. ” But, madame,”  says Mme. de Remusat, ” if I am not mistaken  in my observations, the time has not come for  such a meeting.” Marie-Louise, in fact, was  jealous, and this feeling could but be increased  if Josephine were to return to Paris. Besides,  what could Josephine do at the time of the  birth of the so much desired child ? What  would the Emperor do, divided between his  duties of the present and his memories of the  past ? She could not be allowed to remain in  Paris. ” Malmaison, even Navarre, would be  too close to the gossip of an idle and often  evil-minded town. Obliged to depart, you  would appear to be leaving by command and  would lose all the honour due to courageous  conduct on your own initiative.”   Among those whom Mme. de Remusat had  seen was Duroc, the Grand Marshal. From  him she gathered that Josephine ought now  to make her last sacrifice and to write to the  Emperor announcing her intention.   ” By removing an embarrassment from which  his affection for you leaves him unable to escape  alone you will acquire new claims on his grati-     Josephine Resists 557   tude. And beside, apart from the reward  which always follows right and reasonable  conduct, may you not, with the amiable char-  acter which always marks you and your aptitude  to please and to make yourself loved, may  you not find in the course of a rather more  prolonged journey pleasures which you do not  foresee at first ? At Milan there awaits you  the sweet spectacle of a son’s merited success.  Flprence and Rome too would gratify your  tastes in a manner which would adorn your  temporary retirement. 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 this strain. Mme.  de Remusat very clearly writes under the in-  spiration of Napoleon, conveyed through Duroc,  and no one could see this more clearly than  Josephine. She, however, had no intention of  being moved by such arguments as were ad-  vanced. She had the advantage in the struggle  with Napoleon now that he was still too tenderly  disposed toward her to give her a positive order  to visit Milan, while she had no hesitation in     55^ The Empress Josephine   acting against his mere wishes. Her end was  gained by a series of steps. She had arranged  in April to spend the winter at Milan. In  September she changed her mind on hearing  of the approaching event at Paris. Napoleon  had already said incautiously in a July letter  that he ” would be glad to see her in the au-  tumn.” Why not then in Paris ? He signified  his wish that she should go to Milan in view  of Marie-Louise’s condition, but did not forbid  Navarre. Seizing at once on Navarre, Josephine  prepared to set out for the place — by way of  Malmaison. She wrote to him saying that she  was leaving Geneva on November i and would  spend twenty-four hours at Malmaison before  settling down at Navarre. He appears to have  offered no objection, although experience should  have taught him that expressions of time  meant little to Josephine.   Before quitting Geneva, whither she had  gone after Berne, she stopped to purchase for  herself the little chateau of Pr^gny, on the  edge of the Lake of Geneva and facing Mont  Blanc. Here we find her stopping two years  later. She paid for the house and furniture  between one hundred and fifty and two hundred     ” Twenty^four Hours” at Malmaison 559   thousand francs, an extravagance which sadly  troubles her biographers.   Josephine started on her return journey, as  she had announced that she would, on Nov-  ember I, and arrived at Malmaison to spend  her ” twenty-four ” hours. Napoleon was still  at Fontainebleau with the Empress Marie-  Louise, which made it easier for the many  malcontents who regretted Josephine as soon  as they became better acquainted with her  successor to flock to Malmaison and pour out  their grievances to ears not likely to be closed  against them. For Josephine, although not  malicious, could hardly help being pleased to  hear what people had to say concerning the  woman who feared so much the possibility of  her presence near the Emperor. She had  been left in no doubt what was the attitude of  Marie-Louise toward her. Had not even Mme.  de Remusat’s inspired letter to her given her  a remarkable instance ? The Emperor one day  (Mme. de Remusat had related, on the authority  of Duroc), walking with Marie-Louise in the  neighbourhood of Malmaison, had offered to  ^ow the place to her in Josephine’s absence.  ” Instantly the Empress’s face was running     560 The Empress Josephine   with tears. She dared not refuse, but the  signs of her grief were so plain that the Emperor  made no attempt to insist.”   There was, indeed, no uncertainty as to the  younger Empress’s jealousy of the old, and  those who wished to torment her had a ready  means of doing so. The date of the following  story is uncertain, but it appears to belong to  the early days of Marie-Louise in France.  Napoleon, entering her room one day suddenly,  saw her examining something which she at once  endeavoured to conceal. Her agitation and the  marks of tears of course attracted his attention.  ” What is the matter, Louise ? ” he asked.  ” What have you got there ? ” He caught  hold of her hand and opening it discovered  a miniature of Josephine. Napoleon’s good  humour turned to wrath. ” Who gave you  that ? ” he demanded. Marie-Louise could find  no words, but threw herself into his arms  sobbing. ” You child ! ” he said. ” What is  the matter ? Why these tears ? Tell me, who  gave you this portrait ? I want to know.”  The more she wept, the more he insisted, and  at last she managed to stammer : “It was not  given to me ; I found it here on the sofa when     Marie^Louise and Josephine 561   I came in.” Although he soothed Marie-  Louise, against whose tears, like Josephine’s,  he was not proof, the Emperor was very angry.  The miniature (which represented Josephine  not as she was, but as she had been) might well  be supposed to have been dropped by him,  which it was doubtless the intention of the  person who had left it in the new Empress’s  room should be imagined to be the case.   There was a very distinct danger that there  should spring up in the Court two hostile  parties, those of Marie-Louise and of Josephine.  The latter’ s stay at Malmaison now threatened  to hasten the growth of the split. The feeling  was spreading from the courtiers to the servants  of the two households. The uniforms of the  two Empresses’ attendants were very similar,  and meetings between the opposing camps in  Paris resulted in quarrels which very soon  came to Napoleon’s ears. The trouble must  be stopped. He wrote to Mme. d’Arberg that  Josephine must leave for Narvarre as she had  promised. His own return to the Tuileries,  with Marie-Louise, was fixed for November 15.  On the 14th, as Josephine was still at Mal-  maison, he sent Cambaceres to her to hasten   VOL. II 15     5^2 The Empress Josephine   her departure. She could not go without  making the proper preparations, she protested,  and promised to leave on the 19th. Unfor-  tunately, her preparations were not quite com-  pleted when the 19th arrived, and it was not  until the 22nd that she actually reached Navarre,  having stretched her ” twenty -four hours ”  into nearly three weeks.     CHAPTER XXIX   JOSEPHINE AND THE KING OF ROME   IN Josephine’s absence of six months, her  architect had striven to make Navarre  at least ” habitable ” and capable of  being warmed if there were only sufficiently  big fires. The wetness of the neighbourhood  could not be overcome. ” You will do well to  leave your children in Paris when you come to  Navarre,” writes Josephine to Hortense in  December. ” It must be damp weather every^  where, but it is much more so here.” The Hfe  at the chateau, therefore, did not differ very  materially now from what it had been when  the first visit had been paid. The general  course of things was very quiet. Josephine  would come down from her room shortly before  breakfast, which was served at eleven o’clock,  with a considerable display alike of plate and of  attendance, two footmen standing behind the  mistress and one behind every one else at   563     564 The^Empress Josephine   table. Josephine was scarcely responsible for  this, since the Emperor insisted that the cere-  monial at Navarre should be kept up on a  high level. In the afternoons walks or drives  were taken when the rain permitted. In the  garden there was little to be seen in the winter  of 1810-11, though it was already beginning  to be a smaU imitation of Malmaison. Indoors,  where Josephine’s taste was principally dis-  played in her toilet (” very refined and elegant,”  says Mile. Ducrest, ” but not usually magni-  ficent “), there was little to be done except  to use the needle and listen to Mme. Gazzani  reading a novel aloud. Dinner, which was on  a much more elaborate scale than breakfast,  was followed by music, or backgammon with  the Bishop of Evreux, or billiards with one of  the gentlemen, or cards, Josephine often amus-  ing herself by fortune-telling with their aid.  Tea and then bed closed the day. ” Peace  sometimes takes the place of happiness,” Mme.  de Remusat had said of the visit to Aix ; and  the same might be said of Navarre.   A certain variety was given by the largeness  of the Household, reinforced by a number of  young girls whom Josephine had attached to     New Year at Navarre 565   herself, either because they could sing or be-  cause they otherwise pleased her. “It is said  at Navarre there are more women than men,”  remarks Napoleon in his letter acknowledging  Josephine’s New Year’s greetings. Stephanie  d’Areiiberg, formerly Tascher, had come to  live with her kinswoman, but was not a very  cheerful companion, for she was subject to  fainting-fits and attacks of nerves. It maybe  gathered from one of Josephine’s letters that  she herself suffered sometimes from nerves ;  or was it only from tears ? Her eyes were  troubling her, she wrote to Hortense. ” My  doctor says that it comes from having cried ;  but for some time past I have only cried oc-  casionally. I hope that the quiet life which  I lead here, far from intrigues and gossip, will  strengthen me, and that my eyes will get well.”  Josephine had hoped to have Hortense with  her over New Year, 1811, but the Queen’s  health was too bad to allow her to leave Paris.  In her absence Navarre was consoled by a  lottery, in which all the prizes were given by  the mistress of the house, and all distributed  with such singular appropriateness that it was  obvious that Josephine had taken the role of     566 The Empress Josephine   chance upon herself ; for the first lot fell to  the almoner, Archbishop Barral, who received  a ruby and brilliant ring (which he hoped the  ladies of the Court would come to kiss more  often than his old ring, he said), and no sub-  sequent mistake was made, unless it were that  Mme. Gazzani’s prize was equal in value to  those of the Palace ladies, in whose eyes the  fact that the lectrice had once attracted Napoleon  was no excuse for putting her on the same level  as themselves. The jealousies at her Court  had not ceased as it grew larger in consequence  of the formation of a clique friendly to Josephine,  because hostile to Marie-Louise — the Navarre  Party, as it came to be called.   The approach of Easter brought a little more  excitement into the calm life at the chateau.  On March 19 Josephine gave a ball to the  people of Evreux, and on the next day there  was a dinner at the Mayor’s, to which she was  invited with her suite. She sent the suite, but  remained at home herself with Mme. d’Arberg.  She was expecting to hear of an event which  made her too anxious to care about a dinner  at Evreux. The time of Marie-Louise’s delivery  she knew was at hand. Napoleon had written     Birth of King of Rome 567   to her : “I hope to have a son. I will let you  know at once.” She had already prepared a  gift for the messenger who should bring the  news ; a diamond pin worth five thousand  francs if the child should be a girl, one worth  twelve thousand if it should be a boy.   Curiously, by absenting herself from the  Mayor’s dinner Josephine received the announce-  ment later than if she had accepted the in-  vitation. The sound of the guns and bells at  Evreux reached her before the postmaster, who  had the news from a courier on his way to  Cherbourg, could reach her presence. According  to the postmaster’s account, when he communi-  cated the intelligence to Josephine he noticed  at first a slight frown upon her face. Then,  recovering her usual gracious manner, she said  to him : ” The Emperor cannot doubt the  lively interest which I take in an event which  crowns his joy. He knows that I cannot  separate myself from his destiny, and that his  happiness will always make me happy.” On  the following morning Eugene arrived from  the Emperor to bring full details. Josephine  sent back her congratulations, and on the 22nd  Napoleon wrote, in his own execrable hand,     568 The Empress Josephine   the note which Queen Hortense’s collection  reproduces in facsimile :   ” 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  mouthj and my eyes. I hope that he will  fulfil his destiny. I am always quite satisfied  with Eugene. He has never caused me the  slightest sorrow.   ” Napoleon.”   Mile. Ducrest relates that Josephine was  intending to give the Imperial page who brought  her the letter the pin of twelve thousand francs  value, but was persuaded by Eugene that to  do so would be to make people think she wished  her munificence to be talked about, and she  therefore gave the present which she had  designed to make in the event of the birth of  a girl. Mile. Ducrest also states that Eugene,  to amuse his mother, gave her a description,  with the appropriate grimaces, of the scene in  Marie-Louise’s ante-chamber on the night pre-  ceding the birth, when Caroline Murat and  Pauline Borghese awaited the event which  was to give so much extra importance to the     A Concession from Napoleon 569   new sister-in-law whom they loved little more  than they had loved her predecessor. The  Bonaparte-Beauharnais feud had practically  ceased since the divorce, followed by Hortense’s  separation from Louis. But it had only ceased  because Josephine and her brothers and sisters-  in-law never met, and there had been no  reconciliation. Josephine, therefore, was still  likely to enjoy hearing of Caroline’s and  Pauline’s discomfiture, for all her pigeon-like  lack of gall.   In his happiness at the advent of his long-  desired son, Napoleon did not forget the wife  who had failed to present him with an heir.  He gave her permission, which she had already  intimated through Mme. de Remusat her wish  to obtain, to leave Navarre and come to Mal-  maison for the spring. She came in April and  returned to Navarre in June to spend her  birthday — her forty-eighth — in a place where  the celebration could not give offence to the  other Empress. The hope of meeting Marie-  Louise had faded away. Napoleon, if he had  ever thought seriously of the idea, had aban-  doned it in the face of the younger woman’s  obvious terror ; and we hear no more of     570 The Empress Josephine   Josephine’s desire to be brought face to face  with her rival.   The people of Evreux, whom Josephine had  quite won by her free-handed charities and the  gift of money for a theatre, felt no restraint  in displaying their gratitude to her. On the  morning of June 23 a band of young girls,  headed by the Mayor’s daughter, arrived at the  chateau and presented to her the good wishes  of the town, together with a bust of herself  under a canopy of flowers. Delighted with  this mark of affection, Josephine kissed the  young spokeswoman, invited the whole company  to breakfast, and distributed gifts among them  all. At night the town was illuminated, but  Josephine, who had grown circumspect, it  appears, would consent to no official fete in her  honour. She spent the evening at home, in  the midst of her own Household, who had  tricked themselves out as peasants for the  occasion and treated her to a poem of adula-  tion set to music, which did not fail to  please.   Navarre, indeed, had its compensations, al-  though it still needed reconstruction according  to its mistress’s ideas. She was contemplating      PRINCE NAPOLEON I.OUIS.  From a picture at Versailles. Plioto by Neurdin Frtres.     P- S70.     *’Oui-Oui” 571   large and expensive alterations when she decided  to leave it at the beginning of September i8iij  and return to Malmaison. Her reasons are  given in a letter to her daughter on the 5th of  the month. ” The approach of autumn,” she  wrote, ” and the great number of invalids in  my Household have made me leave Navarre,  my dear Hortense. I have been at Malmaison  for two days. My health is fairly good, and  to-morrow I shall have the pleasure of em-  bracing your two children.” The charms of  the society of Napoleon-Louis and ” Oui-Oui ”  were irresistible to her, and the erratic move-  ments of Hortense, fond mother as she had  the reputation of being, gave her the oppor-  tunity of enjoying them fully both now and  two years later. The younger boy was un-  doubtedly her darling, although she did no  injustice to the other. ” Everything about  them points to an excellent disposition and a  great love for you. The more I see of them,  the more I love them.” But it was ” Oui-  Oui’ s ” character which especially delighted her,  his sayings which she was always repeating.  The tales of the Emperor Napoleon III. as a  child are well known. One of them perhaps     572 The Empress Josephine   may be quoted here, in his grandmother’s  words :   ” Little Oui-Oui is always gracious and loving  to me. Two days ago, seeing Mme. de Tascher  departing to rejoin her husband at the waters,  he said to Mme. de Boucheporn [his governess] :  ‘ She must love her husband very much then,  as she is leaving grandmamma.’ Do you not  think this charming ? ”   Never do we see Josephine in a more lovable  mood than when she takes her httle grandsons  into the hothouses at Malmaison and gives  them sugar-canes to suck, buys stocks of toys  in preparation for their visit — ” but not sweets ;  be at peace, they shall not have any,” she writes  to Hortense — tells of their pink-and-white com-  plexions and ” not the slightest illness since  they have been here,” or admonishes their  mother : ” Keep yourself for them ; you are  so necessary to them ! ” ^   It is sad to turn from such a picture to that  of Josephine discussing with the ungrateful   ‘ Napoleon III. in his fragmentary recollections of his  infancy, it maybe recalled, says : ” My grandmother spoilt me  in the fullest sense of the word, while, on the contrary, my  mother, from my tenderest years, devoted herself to correcting  my faults and developing my character.”     Disloyal Discussions 573   Bourrienne the misdeeds of Napoleon. The  ex-secretary, though disgraced by the Emperor  for dishonesty, had been so far forgiven as to  be made representative of France at Hamburg.  During visits to Paris he used to call at Mal-  maison, and with Napoleon’s approval, he said.  ” StiUi he might have imagined that in my  conversations with Josephine in private it was  not always praise of him which came from our  lips.” Elsewhere Bourrienne asserts that Jose-  phine told him that the days when Napoleon  came to visit her were days of torture for her,  since he did not spare her feeUngs ! With this  we may contrast the manner in which Josephine  wrote to Hortense about Napoleon’s visits.  But, unfortunately, as she often showed in the  days when she was still reigning Empress, as  well as during the Consulate, she was always  prompt to pour out to her confidants her most  fleeting sentiments, regardless of the impression  which their repetition might have.   The visitors to Malmaison included many  beside the treacherous ex-secretary. The Na-  varre Party was flourishing, and the Empress  Josephine was now courted quite as much as  the Empress Marie-Louise. Her guests at     574 The Empress Josephine   breakfast were wont to number as many as  ten or a dozen, and others continued to come  in the a;ftemoon or to dinner. And not merely  visitors but tradespeople thronged to Malmaison  and helped to distract her mind from her griefs.  Bourrienne says that he once compUmented her  on the happy influence which dress and such  things had over her. ” Well, my dear friend,”  she replied, ” all this ought to be indifferent  to me, but it has become a habit.” She might  have added ” and an occupation,” comments  Bourrienne, for it was no exaggeration to say  that if from Josephine’s life are subtracted the  times spent on toilet and on tears, the length  would have been considerably diminished.^   But if toilet was an occupation to Josephine,  it was also, now as ever, an enormous expense.  When the Emperor had settled all her bills up  to the end of 1809 he provided, as he thought,  against any further lapse into debts. The  spending powers of Josephine and the incom-  petence or dishonesty of the intendants of her  Household had defeated his intention, and the  financial position was growing serious again. ^  But she did not in consequence contemplate   ‘ ” Memoires,” ix. ii. ” See p. 636.     A New Palace 575   any retrenchment. She had come to Malmaison  in September with her head full of the extensive  alterations which she desired at Navarre. At  Malmaison she abandoned the plans for Navarre,  but consulted her architect Fontaine with  regard to the erection of an entirely new chateau  here. There was no money for the purpose ;  but would not Fontaine suggest to the Em-  peror, when a favourable opportunity arose,  that he might buy back from her his gift of  the Elysee Palace ? Fontaine did as he was  asked. Napoleon welcomed the idea of re-  gaining the Elysee, which he had already been  compelled to borrow from Josephine in order  to house his Royal visitors on the occasions of  the wedding of Marie-Louise and the birth of  the King of Rome. He did not, however, see  his way to giving her a sum in cash for it. In-  stead he presented her with the chateau of  Laeken, which she had already visited in May  1807, when she went to meet Hortense after  the death of Napoleon-Charles. Since he had  purchased it in 1804 Napoleon had expended  large sums on Laeken and turned it into a  regular Imperial residence, for which its nearness  to Brussels fitted it well. The house had been     57^ The Empress Josephine   largely rebuilt and the furniture was new and  magnificent. The park which surrounded it  was large, and the gardens had been stocked  for the visit of Marie-Louise in 1811. The  exchange, therefore, was by no means dis-  advantageous to Josephine ; but, since it was  money for which she had asked, not a new  home, she was by no means satisfied with her  bargain. She did not venture to protest.  Napoleon signed the deed making the exchange  in February 1812. Josephine appears never  to have set foot in Laeken since she became its  mistress. Perhaps she was partly influenced  by the complaints in her Household, whose  outcry was loud at the confiscation of their  rooms at the Elysee and who gloomily prophesied  that it was the Emperor’s intention to make  Josephine a prisoner in the Belgian chateau.   The spring of 1812 found Josephine still at  Malmaison. The fatal war with Russia was  imminent and Napoleon was preparing to  leave Paris to put himself at the head of the  Grand Army. Eugene had been summoned  by him from Milan to take part in the cam-  paign and had visited his mother at the end  of April, bringing with him as usual the at-      NAPOLEON II.,  King of Rome, Due de ReichsUdt, etc.   From an engraving- by Weiss.     p. 576.     The Last Interview 577   mosphere of gaiety which always accompanied  him. Napoleon himself, who had not been seen  often at Malmaison of late, had also paid a  visit and consented at last that she should see  the King of Rome.^ In order to disarm Marie-  Louise, it was decided that the meeting should  be of an apparently accidental character. In  the Bois de Boulogne was a small chateau called  the Pavihon of Holland, formerly Bagatelle,  built by the Comte d’Artois in 1783 or 1784.  The young King used to drive but thither daily  with Mme. de Montesquiou, Imperial governess,  and on this occasion Napoleon accompanied  them on horseback. Josephine drove over  from Malmaison, and the meeting took place.   1 The majority of contemporary writers, although they are  vague, seem to place this meeting, which was also the last  interview between Napoleon and Josephine, in the spring of  1812. M. Masson says (” Josephine R6pudiee,” 290 n.) :  ” In the absence of positive information, I am inclined to  favour the winter of 1812 by the fact that there was then a  sort of softening on the part of Marie-Louise ; this is, however,  a mere iflduction.” Napoleon, however, did not return from  Moscow until the third week of December 1812, and he had  little time for domestic afiairs on his return.   M. Turquan, commenting on Josephine’s request to see the  little King, says (” L’Imperatrice Josephine,” 260) : — It  would have been more fitting if she had not approached this  subject, and especially if she had not asked her former husband  to show her the son whom he had by another woman.” Why ?   VOL. II 16     578 The Empress Josephine   On seeing the child, Josephine found it hard  to restrain her tears, as she had promised.  She embraced him desperately, loaded him  with kisses and affectionate words, and could  not cease admiring him, until the Emperor,  seeing that the promise would not hold good,  brought the scene to an end by saying she  should see the child again. According to the  general opinion, Napoleon and Josephine never  saw one another again after this day at  Bagatelle. They parted without a ” curtain.”  It is difficult to see why any of Josephine’s  critics should take her to task for the interest  which she manifested in the son of Napoleon  and Marie-Louise. Of course, to such as refuse  to admit any real love on her part for Napoleon  her request to see the boy must appear inex-  phcable unless prompted by mere curiosity.  But if we believe (as it seems impossible not  to believe) that she did bear, in her later life,  enduring love of a kind toward the man with  whom she had lived so long, her desire to see  his son, the crown of her sacrifice, is surely very  natural. And as regards her outburst of affec-  tion toward him at Bagatelle, it is what we  should expect of a woman who always showed     Josephine and Napoleon’s Sons 579   such delight in the young. If children pleased her,  how should not the child of Napoleon do so ?   As a matter of fact, she not only was ready  to love the King of Rome, but also another  son of the Emperor, the little Walewski who was  born in Poland in May 1810. Marie Walewska  had brought to Paris the fruit of Napoleon’s  infatuation for her and had 5delded to Jose-  phine’s pressing invitations to visit Malmaison  with her boy. The future Count Colonna  Walewski, Minister of Napoleon III., made a  conquest of the soft heart of Josephine, who  had toys for him as for her own grandsons. The  mother, too, was in her good graces and con-  tinued to visit Malmaison down to the time of  its mistress’s death. It was singular, perhaps,  that Josephine should display not only no  resentment but even a liking for the woman  who had, however much against her own will,  robbed her of some of the affection of Napoleon.  But it was at least characteristic of her to  forgive such injuries, for had she not taken into  favour Mme. Duchatel, who had caused her  so much anxiety in 1804, and had she not still  in her service Mme. Gazzani, who had set the  whole Court talking in 1807 ?     CHAPTER XXX   LAST DAYS OF THE EMPIRE   WHILE Napoleon, accompanied by Marie-  Louise, went to Dresden to meet his  vassals before beginning the march into Russia,  Josephine paid a short visit to Hortense and  her two children at Saint-Leu. A letter re-  mains in which she expresses her pleasure at the  time thus spent. It is dated Malmaison, June i,  1812, and begins as foUows :   ” My sweetest task on arriving here, my dear  daughter, is to tell you how enchanted I have  been with my stay at Saint-Leu. I regret not  having known that your departure would be  delayed. I also would have postponed my  return in order to be a longer time with yo\i  and your children. The few days which I  spent with you were for me a season of happiness  and have done me much good. All who come  to see me find that I have never looked better,  and I am not astonished. My health always   580     Josephine and her Grandchildren 581   depends on the impressions I have received,  and all with you were sweet and happy.”   Eugene, she adds, was very anxious that  she should go to spend some weeks at Milan  with his wife. He had, in fact, already asked  her to do so while he was in Paris waiting to  receive instructions concerning his part in the  campaign against Russia. Only Napoleon’s  permission was required, and this came in a letter  dated from Gubin, June 20. After making  the necessary preparations, Josephine was ready  to set out from Malmaison when suddenly  bad news arrived from Aix-la-Chapelle, where  Hortense now was with her children. Napoleon-  Louis had caught scarlatina, and his mother  was much alarmed. Had not a reassuring letter  followed almost immediately, Josephine would  have abandoned her Italian trip. ” It would be  impossible for me to go if the least fear remained  in my mind,” she writes on July 13, and on the  15th : ” I am glad to think that there is no  more ground for fear, and in reliance on this  I will delay my journey no longer. I shall  go to-morrow, the i6th, and perhaps I shall  hear again before I leave.”   Josephine went to meet a new set of grand-     582 The Empress Josephine   children at Milan, where she arrived on the  28th. Her description of the family to Hor-  tense is so graphic that there need be no excuse  for quoting her words :   ” Here I am at last at Milan. 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.”   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, fuU of strength and health.”  On August 4 again she says : ” She is charming,  and, so far from being tired after child-birth,  I find her more beautiful and fresh than I have  ever seen her. Her children are superb ; the  eldest girl, especially, is remarkable.” She     Aix’IeS’Bains 583   was most obviously delighted alike with the  family and the mother, of whose ” tender love  for Eugene she saw constant proofs, which were  a great joy to her.” Her own health, how-  ever, was poor, and she was anxious to visit  Aix-les-Bains before returning to Malmaison.  But for the presence there of Madame Mere,  Pauline, and Cardinal Fesch — the oddly assorted  but mutually loyal trio, the austere old mother,  her beautiful and immoral daughter, and her  scheming priestly half-brother — Josephine  would have left Milan for Aix early in August  instead of remaining until the end of the month.  When she arrived she found Juhe, Queen of  Spain, with whom she was on good terms, and  her sister — once Desiree Clary, the rich Mar-  seilles merchant’s daughter whom Joseph Bona-  parte had so much desired Napoleon to marry,  and who was now, as wife of Bernadotte,  Princess Royal of Sweden. Both were very kind  to her, she says, and after their departure and  the approach of colder weather she left Aix and  paid a visit to her own chateau of Pregny.  ” I regret that you are not here with me,” she  writes to Hortense on October 2, a few days  after her arrival. ‘ The weather is very fine.     5^4 The Empress Josephine   The views of the Lake and of Mont Blanc are  magnificent. It only wants you at Pregny to  appreciate with delight the full charm of a quiet  life.”   In spite of Hortense’s absence, in spite also  of the small comfort and deficient furniture  of the house, Josephine thoroughly enjoyed her  few weeks at Pregny. The Genevans found  her interesting, amusing, distracting, if their  simplicity was rather upset by the manner of  life which she introduced in their midst. She  gave dinners and receptions, refused to see no  one who came to call upon her nor to go any-  where she was invited. If she could not re-  member many who claimed acquaintance with  her, it made no difference ; she had met so  many people in her life that she could well be  excused for lapses of memory. Her costumes  were marvellous. At a baU she appeared in a  lace-flounced and silver-embroidered gown of  pink crepe, cut low so as to show to full advan-  tage her necklet of large pearls worth about  one hundred thousand francs, while across  her forehead, round her neck, and among her  hair, dressed d la Chinoise, ran bands of silver.  Her associates, although they could not imitate     Josephine at Geneva 585   her magnificence, at least spent thought upon  then: toilets. It was the least they could do.  She asked so little of them, except that they  should help her to be amused. She made no  insistence upon her rank of Empress, and  etiquette was banished. She took her pla,ce  at the card-table with the rest, and there was  no hesitation about playing in her presence  blind-man’s buff and the like foolish games  which fifty years later brought unjustly harsh  reproach upon the Monday evening entertain-  ments at the Tuileries under Napoleon III. and  the Empress Eugenie.   On October 21 the ” quiet life ” at Pregjiy  came to an end, and Josephine returned to Mal-  maison, taking with her as a memorial of her  visit to Switzerland a shepherd and shepherdess  to live in the park and look after her Swiss cattle.  She arrived at an exciting time. The madman  Malet had escaped from his asylum and by  means of forged letters from the Senate had  seized Savary, Minister of Pohce. Before he  could be captured with two other conspirators,  he had spread the news that Napoleon had  died in Russia. Josephine, as appears from a  letter to Eugene, reached Paris the day after     586 The Empress Josephine   his arrest. ” If there had been the least danger  for the King of Rome and the Empress,” she  says, ” I do not know if I should have done  right, but very certainly I should have followed  my first impulse and should have gone, with  my daughter, to bear them company.”   The apparition of Josephine at the reigning  Empress’s Court, had she ” followed her first  impulse,” would probably have caused intense  astonishment ; but Hortense at least was  already well known there, having been accepted  by Marie-Louise with more friendliness than  she accorded to any of the Bonaparte family.  ” I feel an unbounded gratitude to her [Marie-  Louise] for the friendship which she shows  you,” says Josephine in an undated letter from  Malmaison to her daughter at this period.   Malet’s attempt was fortunately frustrated  without much difficulty and the mad conspiracy  nipped in the early bud. The report of Napo-  leon’s death, however, had caused a panic which  was much increased by . the knowledge that  treason was about. Still greater would it have  been had any one known, except the traitors  themselves, how widespread was that treason.  Josephine’s own Household, little as she was     Treason 587   aware of it, reeked of it. Her preference for  the people of the old rigime had surrounded  her with former imigrSs and ci-devants, men and  women, many of whom only looked forward  to the restoration of the Bourbons, and among  them, especially among the women, Talleyrand  had his agents, as he had everywhere else.^ All  was steadily preparing for the end which the  arch-plotter had in view, and Napoleon’s pre-  cipitate home-coming to Paris on December 18  was not a moment too soon.   Napoleon’s return after the first campaign  in which he could not conceal a serious defeat,  while it restored confidence to a certain extent,  could not banish doubt. Josephine, always  a prey to irrational superstitions, noted with  alarm the date of New Year’s Day, Friday,  January i, 1813. ” Have you remarked that  the year begins on a Friday and it is i8/j ? ”  she asked. ” It is a sign of great misfortunes.”  Her surroundings were not such as to relieve  her mind of terrors of this kind. With the  Emperor back in Paris, Malmaison ceased to be  the fashionable resort. The real Court again   1 M. Masson, ” Josephine R6pudi6e,” 285 ff., goes into  this matter in detail.     588 The Empress Josephine   took the place which in his absence it was in  danger of losing through Marie-Louise’s failure  to please ; and the older Empress was conse-  quently deserted in comparison with her rival.  It was not allowed by etiquette that any one  should be received by Josephine who had not  first been to the Tuileries. The Duchesse de  Reggio, Oudinot’s second wife, illustrates this  in her account of her first visit to Malmaison  with her husband. ” The graciousness with  which the Empress Josephine received me,”  she says, ” surpassed all my expectations.  After having made me sit by her on her sofa, she  addressed to me the crowd of kind and affection-  ate questions which put heart into a timid  young woman whom one wishes to encourage.  She was holding a spray of white camellia, a  new product of her magnificent hothouses.  She gave it to me with an infinite grace. I  took it, much moved, half-rising from my seat,  and the Marshal, who followed all with his eyes,  told me later that he was satisfied with the way  in which this little scene passed. ‘ Have you  been presented ? ‘ Josephine asked me ; and  I felt that I blushed as I answered, ‘ Yes,  madame.’ ‘ To the Emperor and — the Em-     A Compensation 589   press ? ‘ she went on. And I felt that I  blushed more foolishly still as I answered this  second question with a second * Yes, madame.’  Soon after the Empress rose and went to find  the Marshal, who was engaged in conversation  at the end of the room. She had not seen him  for two years. He complimented her on her  appearance of good health. ‘ Yes,’ she replied  with a sweet, resigned air and a melancholy  smile, ‘ that is my compensation for being no  longer reigning Empress ! ‘ ”   The Emperor’s departure again in April gave  visitors to Malmaison greater freedom, but it  also drew away from Paris all the men who  were to share in his great effort to repair the  disaster of the retreat from Moscow. Josephine’s  chief consolation in this gloomy year was the  prolonged stay with her of Hortense’s two  children. She went to Saint-Leu to fetch them  in May, and they were still with her in August.  Her letters to Hortense, who was spending the  summer at Aix-les-Bains, are full of them and  their endearing ways. But she was not spoiling  them, she hastened to assure their mother.  ” Be quite easy about them. Your instructions  about their diet and their studies are followed     59° The Empress Josephine   exactly. When they have worked well during  the week, I have them to breakfast and dinner  with me on Sunday. What proves that they  are well is that every one finds that they have  grown.” When Hortense returned to take  the children to Dieppe, we may be sure that  Josephine shed many tears at losing them.   In the vast struggle between Napoleon and  all Europe the history of Josephine to a great  extent fades from the view. Mentions of her  are few and the little which survives of her  correspondence is without importance. She  lived on at Malmaison in the midst of her  diminished Court, her flowers and animals —  and her debts. It is singular that the last letter  from Napoleon to Josephine which Queen  Hortense includes in her collection deals with  the subject of her expenditure. The letter was  written at 8 a.m. on some Friday in 1813,  presumably later than Napoleon’s return to  France after Leipzig, and runs :   ” I send to inquire how you are, for Hortense  has told me that you were in bed yesterday.  I was angry with you about your debts. I do not  wish you to have any ; on the contrary, I hope  that you will put by a million every year to     Praise for Louis 591   give to your grandchildren when they marry.  However, never doubt my friendship for you  and give yourself no concern on this point.  Farewell, mon amie. Tell me that you are  well. They say you are getting as stout as a  good farmer’s wife from Normandy.   ” Napoleon.”   In the almost total absence of any corre-  spondence to enlighten us, it is impossible to  say how far Josephine comprehended the mean-  ing of the struggle of 1813 and how its incidents  affected her. A letter remains which she wrote  to Hortense on hearing of Louis Bonaparte  rallying to the Emperor in November. The  Remusats had dined with her at Malmaison,  she teUs, and informed her that Louis had  written to his brother, saying that he asked  nothing better than to be with him at the  moment of his misfortune. To Josephine his  conduct appears very praiseworthy, but Louis’s  return makes her fear fresh tortures for Hortense,  and she is afflicted by the thought. ” Courage,  my dear daughter ; a soul as pure as yours always  in the end triumphs over all.” Hortense in her  reply shows herself forgiving to her husband.     59^ The Empress Josephine   ” He is a good Frenchman,” she says. ” He  proves it by returning to France at a moment  when all Europe declares itself against her.  He is an upright man, and if our characters  could not be sympathetic it is because we had  faults which could not exist together.”   In her November letter Josephine speaks  also of Eugene’s successful retreat before the  Austrian forces. She was destined to feel some  anxiety about Eugene before the end of the  war. The Viceroy of Italy had received over-  tures from his father-in-law, the King of  Bavaria, inviting him, in decently veiled lan-  guage, to betray Napoleon, as Joachim Murat  had already done at Naples, on the under-  standing that his family should be assured an  advantageous position in Italy. Eugene, who  was loyally supported by Augusta, rejected the  suggestion and proudly declared his conviction  (did he feel it ?) that King Maximilian- Joseph  would prefer to see his son-in-law an honourable  nobody than a traitor king. The only dealings  which he would have with the Allies were on  the subject of leaving his wife, who was ex-  pecting another child, at Milan in the event of  his evacuating Italy.     Eugene wrongly Suspected 593   Eugene displayed, in fact, the utmost faith-  fulness to his trust. Unfortunately, as had  always been the case, his intelligence was not  equal to his loyalty, and the indecision which  he showed in command of the Italian troops  caused Napoleon, embittered by the conduct of  Bern ado tte and Murat, and merely knowing  that the Viceroy was in communication with  the enemy, to suspect his step-son of thinking  of his own interests and inclining to make  arrangements with the Allies. He took, there-  fore, a curious step, in view of his usual attitude  toward the interference of women in political  afiairs. Instead of appealing to Eugene directly,  he wrote to Josephine and Hortense asking them  to urge Eugene to carry out his orders. Con-  sequently we find Josephine writing to her son,  under the date of Malmaison, February 9, 1814 :   ” Do not lose an instant, my dear Eugene ;  whatever the obstacles, redouble your efforts  to fulfil the orders given you by the Emperor.  He has just written to me on the subject. His  wish is that you should march toward the Alps,  leaving in Mantua and the Italian fortresses  only the troops belonging to the Kingdom of  Italy. His letter finishes with these words :   VOL. II 17     594 The Empress Josephine   ‘ France before all ! France has need of all  her sons ! ‘ Come then, my dear son, hasten.  Your zeal will never be of more use to the  Emperor. I can assure you that every moment  is precious. I know that yovir wife was pre-  paring to leave Milan. Tell me if I can be of  service to her. Good-bye, my dear Eugene, I  have no more time except to embrace you and  to teU you again to come very quickly.”   Eugene was profoundly hurt. His mother’s  letter had confounded him, he replied, and he  had not thought it would be necessary at this  late stage to give proofs to the Emperor of his  fidelity and devotion. He had received no posi-  tive orders to retire to the Alps, and he had  thought himself within his rights in remaining  in Italy. An animated correspondence fol-  lowed between him and Augusta on the one  hand, and the Emperor on the other,^ in which  the Emperor certainly did not have the best of  it, although he was at pains to put himself right  in their eyes, insisting that what he had desired  was that Augusta’s child should be born in the  midst of her family in France and making no  mention of any doubts about Eugene, On the   1 It is set forth in Eugene’s ” Memoires,” vol. x.     Josephine’s Anxiety 595   contrary, he wrote to the latter : ” I paid you no  compliment [on your reply to the King of  Bavaria] because you only did your duty, and  it is a simple matter.”   If we were to judge by the remains of her  correspondence — which woTild be unfair, seeing  how fragmentary it is — we should imagine  that Josephine was chiefly concerned about  Eugene’s retention of his position in Italy,  whatever else might occur. ” I am con-  vinced that the Emperor will cede Italy,” she  writes to Hortense, ” but, no matter what  happens, our dear Eugene will have won a fine  reputation, and that is the chief thing.” Her  anxiety for her son was natural ; but there were  other things going on around her which might  profitably have employed her attention. As the  AlUes gradually forced their way toward Paris,  the conspiracy, within the city grew stronger  under the direction of Talleyrand, ” assuredly  the greatest enemy of our house,” as Napoleon  wrote to his brother Joseph. And at Malmaison  was one of the ” laboratories of treason,” as  M. Masson says.^ In the collection of former   ^ ” Josephine Repudiee,” 321, where he gives a list of the  traitors in Josephine^s Household. See also ib. 328.     59^ The Empress Josephine   Royalists and aristocrats with whom the mis-  tress had dehghted to surround herself no  feelings of gratitude toward the Empire acted  as a restraint, and Josephine’s dearest friend,  Mme. de Remusat, was among the plotters.  Josephine was ignorant of all that was taking  place, no doubt. But was it not probable that,  if she had been less acutely anxious about the  future of her own immediate family, she might  have been able to supervise the doings of her  Household ?   The approach of war toward the walls of  Paris, however, deprived her of all power of  reflection, and there was no one to advise her  loyally. She thought of going to join the  Emperor, as previously she had thought of  flying to Marie-Louise. But she did not move.  She sat with her ladies at Malmaison, making  bandages for the wounded like the other  Empress’s Court. All visitors from Paris were  eagerly questioned by her, as if she were hkely  to get information of importance from them,  ” She asked inconsequent questions,” say^ Mile.  Ducrest, ” and made no answers to the questions  addressed to her ; her whole mind was de-  ranged and her eyes were wet with tears.”     Malmaison Abandoned 597   The end was now at hand. The Allied Armies  were within a few days of Paris. The Empress  Marie-Louise and the King of Rome, by the  decision of the Council of State and the Em-  peror’s own orders, were on the point of leaving  for Blois. Hortense, who had been ordered to  accompany the Court, wrote to her mother  announcing the news. Josephine’s despairing  reply, sent from Malmaison in March 28, was  as follows :   ” My dear Hortense, I had courage up to the  moment when 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 win 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, to keep me informed of your  plans, and to tell me whither you go. I shall at  least try to follow you from afar. Good-bye,  my dear daughter ; I embrace you tenderly.”   On the following morning, which was wet and     59^ The Empress Josephine   cold, Josephine set out from Malmaison with  her Household and all that she could take with  her from Malmaison. In ready money she had  little over fifty thousand francs, collected from  Hortense and the Duchesse d’Arenberg. In a  wadded petticoat were sewn her most valuable  diamonds and pearls, her jewellery cases were  loaded in her carriage with other objects dear  to her heart. Would she ever see Malmaison  again ? She passed the two days of the journey  in misery. At one point, according to a story  told by the Duchesse d’Abrantes, a servant  caught sight of a few horsemen and cried out,  ” The Cossacks ! ” Josephine opened her  carriage-door, sprang out, and started to run.  Her followers caught her up, and at last, after  swearing to her that there was not a Cossack in  sight, persuaded her to return to her seat.   Another letter to Hortense was written on the  morrow of Josephine’s arrival at Navarre. It  is the last in the Queen’s collection.   ” I cannot tellyou how unhappy I am,” says  Josephine after announcing her arrival. ” I  have had courage in the painful positions in  which I have found myself, I shall have it to  bear the reverses of fortune ; but I have not     A Curious Point 599   sufficient to put up with my children’s absence  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 his family, let me hear.  I very much fear no news will come from Paris,  seeing that the post from Paris to Evreux has  broken down — ^which has led to the circulation  of a lot of news. Among other things, it is  asserted that the Neuilly bridge has been  occupied by the enemy. This would be very  near ta Malmaison. …”   In these last surviving letters of Josephine  there is a curious lack of reference to Napoleon.  They are full of love for her children and her  grandchildren. That of March 31 betrays  anxiety for the fate of Malmaison. Of the  Emperor there is not a word. We hear from  other sources that Josephine had expressed a  wish to go to the Emperor to sustain him (!)  in his hour of trial, but from her letters to  Hortense one would not gather that she felt  any concern for his fate.     CHAPTER XXXI   THE END   SCARCELY had Josephine settled herself  at Navarre with such members of her  Household as did not prefer to remain in Paris  to greet the Allied Armies’ arrival, when a letter  came from Hortense to the effect that Paris had  capit^jMed and that the Emperor was at Fon-  tainebleau. On April i Hortense herself ap-  peared at Navarre. Offended by an order from  the Empress Regent, which reached her at  Rambouillet on March 31, to come with her  children to Blois, the Queen of Holland had  changed her mind and refused to go to Blois.  Marie-Louise’s order had been brought by  Louis Bonaparte’s messenger and had both  hurt Hortense’ s susceptibilities and aroused  her suspicions. She sent back a refusal to obey,  cut herself off from the Court, and started for  her mother’s estate, taking her two sons with  her. At Navarre she found awaiting her a   600     At Navarre 60 1   cold reception from the Household, who never  appreciated the etiquette which always envel-  oped the Queen of Holland ; but from Josephine  a most loving welcome. ” The pleasure of  embracing her daughter and grandchildren,”  writes MUe. Cochelet, who accompanied Hor-  tense, ” was a great consolation to the Empress  Josephine, who was tortured inexpressibly about  the Emperor’s fate.” Hortense’s faithful fol-  lower continues : ” What days were this Satur-  day and Sunday ! All that had been most  brilliant among us at Paris was at Navarre :  the Duchesse de Bassano, who arrived there  with her children and her sisters, on her way to  Alengon ; Mme. MoUien, so fondly attached to  the Queen, who had gone from her own home  to the Empress Marie-Louise and was already  returning from Blois, where she had left her  husband ; Mme. Gazzani, tearful and still  beautiful. And all without a man, without a  notion what to do ! ”   Josephine lodged her daughter in the smaller  chateau, which from April 1810 had been  assigned to her whenever she should be able to  visit Navarre. She herself stopped in the larger  building, waiting for the arrival of tidings which     6oa The Empress Josephine   she knew could only be bad and racking herself  by reading all the newspapers on which she  could lay hands. In her letter to General  Caffarelli’s wife, written on April 7, she says :  ” I reached here on the 30th and the Queen two  days later, with her children. She, too, is ill  and as painfully affected as I am. Our hearts  are broken at all that is happening, and par-  ticularly 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.”   The order of events during the early days of  April 1814 is rather uncertain, the various  accounts conflicting. As far as can be gathered,  the intelligence of the Emperor’s abdication  came with dramatic suddenness. It was night,  and all at Navarre were fast asleep, when the  sound of a carriage and horses was heard coming  up the avenue and approaching the building.  The carriage stopped in the courtyard, and a  few minutes later there was a knock at the  Empress’s door. Josephine rose and hastily  put on a dressing-gown. She found that her  visitor was M. de Maussion, auditor to the  Council of State, who had been sent by the     News of the Abdication 603   Due de Bassano to convey to his Duchess in-  formation of the abdication, and who had  turned aside from his road to inform the Empress.  At first Josephine failed to take in the news, and  could only understand that it was a disaster  of which she was being told. But the Emperor  was alive ? She made the messenger repeat  his assurance that this was so. At last she took  a candle and asked Maussion to come with her  to Queen Hortense, who had already awoken  and was eagerly awaiting them. Maussion  again told his tale, and now Josephine under-  stood that the Empire had fallen, that the  Bourbons were back, and that Napoleon was  going into exile. According to Mile. Cochelet,  the name of Elba was already mentioned. ” I  shall never forget the Empress’s exclamation,”  she writes, ” when M. de Maussion related that  the Emperor was going to the island of Elba.  * Oh, Hortense,’ she cried, bending over her  daughter, ‘ what misery for him, confined to  the island of Elba ! Oh, were it not for his wife,  I would go and shut myself up with him ! ‘  We all were in tears at the sight of the anguish  of the poor woman who had already suffered  so much,” Mile. Cochelet, however, naturally     6o4 The Empress Josephine   pays more attention to the feehngs of her mis-  tress the Queen than to those of Josephine, and  relates how Hortense made up her mind that  she must leave France. ” My mother can stay  in France, since her divorce leaves her free, but  I bear a name which makes residence here  impossible now that the Bourbons are back.”  Her plan was to sell her diamonds and to go to  Martinique to Uve on the estate now belonging  to Josephine at Trois-Ilets. ” It will be a great  sacrifice, of course, to le^ve France, my mother,  and my friends, but there I shall be in peace.  I shall bring up my children well, and that will  be my consolation.” The resolve was heroic,  but for the moment Hortense was fully deter-  mined to put it into execution. We do not  hear how Josephine received the news, nor how  she and her daughter passed the next few days,  except that at the end of a letter affirming her  determination not to go to Malmaison Hortense  says: “My mother combats all my plans and  tells me that she has need of me.” This was  written to Mile. Cochelet, whom she had sent to  Paris to make preparations to accompany her  to Martinique.  On March i6 the ” Journal des Debats ” made     Return to Malmaison 605   the announcement that ” the mother of Prince  Eugene has returned to Malmaison.” ^ It was  true. Mile. Cochelet had found in Paris, es-  pecially among the Russians^ a desire that the  Beauharnais ladies should come back to Mal-  maison at once. Josephine needed no encour-  agement to bring her to her beloved home.  Already she had written to a friend in Paris  suggesting it. But Hortense was still otherwise  minded in spite of the flattering assurance of  Nesselrode to MUe. Cochelet that she had nothing  to fear and that every one was full of affection  for her and her mother and brother. She did  not see how she could desert the Bonapartes  in their evil hour. The greater their misfortune,  she told Mile. Cochelet, the more she wished to  share it with them. Her brother would be  happy, her mother would have her country and  her property ; but she, for her children’s sake,   ‘ This title, as it appeared later, was not satisfactory to  Josephine. When the ” Debats ” spoke of the Tsar dining at  Saint-Leu on May 14 with ” Prince Eugene, his mother and  sister,” she complained : ” Can they not speak of me with  a little more respect ? Must I thus follow after my son ? It  is most unsuitable. I have a name, I was on the throne, I  was crowned and consecrated. The Emperor Alexander has  specially protected me ; as soon as he was master of the  Neuilly bridge he sent me a safeguard to Malmaison. Why  theii call me ‘ the mother of Prince Eugtae ‘ ? ”     6o6 The Empress Josephine   must go into exile. The pressure redoubled.  Constant messages came from Nesselrode, with  promises of a visit from the Tsar Alexander if  only she would go to Malmaison. It was even  intimated that Napoleon himself wished her to  go thither, and that her children’s future, in his  opinion, depended on it. But Hortense was  unconvinced. She set out again for Rambouillet,  where Marie-Louise now was. ” The advice of  the Due de Vicence [who had brought Napoleon’s  alleged message] can be followed by my mother,”  she said. ” She will go to Malmaison, but I  stay ; I have only too good reasons. I cannot  separate my cause from that of my children.”   Josephine, therefore, left Navarre without  her daughter. She had already departed when  a message from the Due de Berry arrived,  offering her an escort to Malmaison and assuring  her that he would be charmed to do all that  might be agreeable for her, having for her ” as  much respect as admiration.” The humiliation  of accepting this offer was spared her, and she  reached Malmaison without a Royalist guard  of honour.   The desire which Alexander of Russia had  expressed, through Nesselrode, of seeing Jose-      ALEXANDER I., EMPEROR OF RUSSIA.  From ail engraving after Wolkoff.     p. 606.     Josephine and the Tsar 607   phine and Hortense in Paris was genuine, as  he lost no time in showing. A message reached  Malmaison on the day of its mistress’s arrival  that the Tsar would pay a call on the morrow.  He came in the afternoon and from the begin-  ning showed the greatest deference. Alexander  was at this time thirty-five years of age and  hardly looked as old, although his golden hair  had begun to recede from his high forehead.  His sky-blue eyes, rather short-sighted, were full  of amiability, and a benevolent smile was  habitual on his lips. His attentive courtesy  to ladies was well known, and when he exerted  himself he could not fail to please. At Mal-  maison he succeeded at once. Josephine fell  under the speU of his kindly personaUty, and  in her turn appeared to make a most favourable  impression. This first call gave the note to  their future intercourse. The same was not  the case with Hortense, who arrived quite un-  expectedly at Malmaison on the day of the  Tsar’s visit. After Josephine’s departure from  Navarre she had gone to Rambouillet, in a fit  of contrition for her disobedience to the Em-  press’s recent order, and had offered her services  to Marie-Louise. But the latter had received     6o8 The Empress Josephine   her with chilly thanks and an air of embarrass-  ment, unable to respond to Hortense’s generous  expressions of loyalty to the fallen cause.  Seeing that she was not wanted at Rambouillet,  and beginning to see that her departure to  Martinique might not be pleasing to Napoleon,  Hortense determined to rejoin her mother. On  her meeting with Alexander, however, she  showed none of Josephine’s friendliness. ” So  amiable ordinarily,” says Mile. Cochelet, ” she  scarcely showed herself so to him. She remained  cold and very dignified, and made no response  to the offers which the Emperor made to her  with regard to her children.”   Alexander, however, was sincere in his pro-  fessions toward mother and daughter, and,  undeterred by Hortense’s first reception of  him, while delighted with Josephine’s ” ami-  ability, kindness, and unconstraint,” asked to  be allowed to call again. Josephine gave her  permission gladly, for which, and for her general  attitude toward Alexander, she has been  severely taken to task by many Bonapartist  writers. In the circumstances in which she  was placed her behaviour was at least excusable.  She was indeed ” the mother of Prince Eugene ”     Inconsistent Critics 609   and of Hortense, as well as the discarded wife  of Napoleon Bonaparte. Eugene’s loyal con-  duct alone, perhaps, would have been sufficient  to induce the Allies to treat him favourably,  and Hortense had, if she chose to accept it,  the sympathy of Europe. Nevertheless, their  mother may be pardoned for her anxiety that  they should come well out of the rearrangement  following the Empire’s fall. Her eagerness  about her own interests, and particularly about  Malmaison, was less admirable. Yet, since her  critics condemn her selfishness on every occasion,  it is somewhat surprising that they should not  now dismiss it as merely natural. She was  undoubtedly fearful lest she might be separated  from the home, the treasures, and the life of  ease which she loved so well. That she shoiild  make what efforts she could to retain them was  all that could be expected of her, unless adver-  sity was to make of her an entirely different  character and turn a pleasure-loving and self-  indulgent woman into a dignified and self-  denying heroine, who, in order to secure for  herself a future of lonely exile (since by no means  would she have been able to accompany the  ex-Emperor to Elba, was ready to refuse all  VOL. II 18     6io The Empress Josephine   terms from the conquerors of France. It is a  blow to Napoleon’s thick-and-thin supporters  that she who had once been his wife should seem  to forget his past generosity to her and her  family ; ^ but is their attitude reasonable ?  Certainly not, on their estimate of her char-  acter.   At the same time, it is true that the world  would have reason to think better of Josephine  had she thought less of her own position at  Malmaison ; had she refrained from complain-  ing, as MUe. Ducrest says that she complained,  that Napoleon neglected to see that she was  paid the pension which he assigned her ; and  had she not desired to write to the Royalist  Government asking for the title of Constable of  France for Eugene, and, perhaps, of Duchesse  de Navarre for herself.   The Tsar Alexander quickly availed himself  of the permission to caU again at Malmaison.   1 This generosity lasted to the end. By the treaty signed at  Fontainebleau (which, as M. Masson says, is really Napoleon’s  will) he assigned to Josephine a pension of a million francs a  vear ; and, out of 2,500,000 assigned by Article 6 to the  Imperial family, 400,000 to Hortense. Joseph and Jerome  were to have 500,000 each ; Madame M6re, Elisa, and Pauline,  300,000 each ; Louis, 200,000 ; and EugSne un itablissement  convenahle hors de France.     Society” at Malmaison 6 1 1   He was followed by the King of Prussia and  his two sons, by other German princes from  Baden, Bavaria, Mecklenburg, and by crowds  of visitors of all nationahties. If the Duchesse  de Reggio is to be believed, even the Comte  d’Artois was seen at Malmaison. The Emperor  of Austria, it was said, felt embarrassed at the  idea of calling ; but Josephine remarked :  ” Why, indeed ? Not at all ! It is not I whom  he has dethroned, but his own daughter.”   On May 9 Eugene arrived in Paris from  Munich, whither he had gone after leaving  Italy, and the Beauharnais family were united  again. They found that Nesselrode’s assur-  ances to Mile. Cochelet about the feeling in  Paris toward them were scarcely exaggerated.  Eugene was well received by the Bourbons,  Hortense was offered and accepted the Duchy  of Saint-Leu, and French visitors, as soon as  they saw that it was the desire of the Court,  went like the rest of the world to Malmaison,  which had never seen so varied and brilliant a  society since 1809. In May 1814 Josephine  might almost have imagined herself Empress  again, did she judge only by the crowds throng-  ing her rooms.     6i2 The Empress Josephine   None who came to the chateau were more  warmly welcomed than Alexander, and none  came more often. Hortense’s coldness had been  overcome by the amiable persistence of his  attentions ; Eugene was persuaded of his strong  support in securing a suitable establishment  for him in Europe ; and Josephine’s liking for  him had only increased since the first day of  their meeting.’ He had become a genuine  friend of the family and could be seen frequently  walking in the park at Malmaison with the  mother on one arm, the daughter on the other.  Might he not also see Saint-Leu ? he asked.  Hortense was delighted. ” Your Majesty must  not expect to see a royal residence,” said  Josephine. ” Saint-Leu is only the simple  home of a woman of the world, and Your  Majesty must be prepared to make every allow-  ance for the modest reception which he will  get.” On this understanding, which in no way  dismayed the Tsar, a man of rather simple  tastes, it was arranged that the visit should be  paid on May 14. From this day dates the fatal  illness of Josephine.   When the 14th arrived, Josephine was already  feeling the effects of a cold, but she declared     Illness and Depression 613   that she never paid attention to such things,  and after the mid-day breakfast she drove out  with the Tsar, Horterise, Eugene, the Due de  Vicence, Mme. Ney, and two other ladies in a  char-d-banc to visit the neighbouring woods of  Montmorency. The weather was dahip, and  Josephine felt worse on her return to the house.  She took an infusion of the orange-flower water  which Napoleon had taught her to use and lay  down until dinner-time. To Mile. Cochelet  she confessed that she was suffering from a  frightful melancholy, which it took her all her  efforts to disguise from her children ; she could  not get rid of the idea that they would never  see fulfilled the promises which were made to  them. ” Must I again see my children wander-  ing and destitute ? ” she asked, ” The idea is  killing me ! ” In spite of her indisposition she  refused to give way, and when dinner was ready  she came down in one of her usual light and  low-cut dresses. Unable to eat, however, she  retired again for a Uttle and only reappeared  after the meal to assist Hortense and Eugene  in entertaining. Hortense sang to the Tsar  some of her own songs, and when he left he  appeared very pleased with his day at Saint-     6i4 The Empress Josephine   Leu. Still depressed by her bodily state,  Josephine sadly remarked that, though Alex-  ander was charming, he was not the only master.  ” My poor children, I am very much afraid that  you will reap nothing but fine words ! ” After  this gloomy prediction she rested in an easy-  chair for some time before she felt well enough  to go up to bed.   On her return to Malmaison next day,  Josephine received a troublesome visit from  her old acquaintance, Mme. de Stael. Th^  Duchesse de Reggio, who called at Malmaison  the same day, remarks that Mme. de Stael’s  visit was ” a good action in itself, if the woman  of genius had not been too anxious to make  capital of it for her studies of the human  heart.” The Duchess waited outside the room  where the meeting took place. ” When the  Empress and Mme. de Stagl appeared, we  noticed the air of great agitation and emotion  in the former. Mme. de Stael crossed the  room rapidly, bowed, and went out.” The  woman of genius had not found this particular  study of the human heart altogether satis-  factory. For when she had gone, Josephine  came up to the Duchess and two other guests,       MADAME DE STAEL.  Fruiii ,in engr^^ing lifter the picture by Mile. M. E. de Godefroy.     p. 614.     A Last Entertainment 615   one of whom was Mme. Walewska, still an  occasional visitor at Malmaison, and said :  ” I have just had a very painful interview.  Would you believe that, among other questions  which Mme. de Stael was pleased to put to  me, she asked if I still loved the Emperor ?  She appeared to wish to analyse my soul in  the presence of this great misfortune. I, who  never ceased to love the Emperor throughout  his happy days … is it likely that to-day I  should grow cold toward him ? ”   Josephine continued ailing, but would not  hear of abandoning her social duties. A week  after the scene described by the Duchesse de  Reggio, she had among her guests to dinner  at Malmaison the King of Prussia, his two  sons, and, according to some, the Russian and  Austrian Emperors as well. She forced her-  self to entertain them in her usual scanty  costume, and next morning was very much  worse. But Alexander and the Grand Dukes  Nicholas and Michael were dining with her  that night, and she not only appeared at the  table, but also at the dance after dinner opened  the ball with the Tsar and walked out with  him in the park. On the 25th she was still     6i6 The Empress Josephine   up and receiving visitors, though not really  fit to do so. She was much upset by seeing in  one of the papers a violent attack on Hortense  in connection with the removal of the body  of little Napoleon-Charles from Notre-Dame  to one of the Paris cemeteries, and her fit of  weeping over this did her considerable harm.  She awoke next day with a fever and attacks  of coughing. Her personal physician ordered  her to stay in bed and put a blister on her  neck. According to Lenoir, who says that he  called at Malmaison that day, she ought to  have been at the Tuileries to be presented to  King Louis. His statement is unsupported,  so that it cannot be said whether she really  had the intention of going to the Court of the  Bourbons as Eugene had already done. Death  at any rate saved her memory from this re-  proach.   Death was approaching rapidly. Alex-  ander was to have dined with Josephine again  on the 27th before leaving Paris for London.  He arrived with a large number of other  guests, including, it was said, the ” English-  man ” who had known Yeyette in Martinique  forty years before. Eugene was ill in bed     Death 617   like his mother, and only Hortense was able  to be present to receive those invited, who all  left early except the Tsar. He had already  displayed his anxiety on the 14th and 24th,  and now sent his own physician to see the  patient. Hortense called in other advice and  there was a consultation of doctors, who declared  Josephine’s condition to be grave. No im-  mediately fatal result, however, was expected,  although the case was stated to be one of  ” putrid fever.” Eugene wrote to his wife  hopefully and spoke of his approaching return  to Munich. On the night of May 28 only a  waiting-woman watched Josephine. In the  morning, Whit Sunday, it was seen that the  end was at hand. Eugene and Hortense came  to the bedroom and it was decided that  the sacraments should be administered. The  almoner, Monseigneur Barral, being absent,  the abbe Bertrand, who was the tutor of Hor-  tense’s children, gave them to the d5dng woman,  ” who received them,” according to the words  of the funeral oration, ” with sentiments of  the greatest piety and most touching resigna-  tion.” At noon she died. According to the  legend, her last dehrious words were ” Napoleon     6i8 The Empress Josephine   . . . Elba ! ” ^ At the end of her collection  of letters of Napoleon and Josephine, Queen  Hortense says simply that Josephine ” died in  the arms of her children on May 29, 1814.”  Mile. Cochelet adds that at the last Josephine  held out her arms to her children and tried to  speak, but not a word could be heard. Hor-  tense fell in a faint upon the floor and was  carried out insensible, while Eugene knelt  down by the bed until his mother died in his  arms a few moments later.   On the day following her death Josephine’s  body was embalmed and placed in a lead cofl&n  enclosed in oak. The beautiful tresses of her hair  had already been cut o£E by Mile. Cochelet to  be given to Hortense. The public were now  admitted to Malmaison, and it was estimated  that more than twenty thousand people visited  the place ; many, no doubt, out of mere  curiosity to see the house and grounds. The  funeral took place on June 2, the coffin being   » Or ” Napoleon . . . Elba . . . Marie-Louise ! ” Edward  Stanley, Bishop of Norwich, it may be noted, who visited  Malmaison soon after Josephine’s death, says that she died  ” sensible to the last ; talked of death, seemed perfectly re-  signed — to use the words of a French lady, who told me many  interesting particulars, sa mort itait tris chr6Uenne ” (” Letters,”  p. 134).      TOMB OF THE EMPRESS JOdEFHINE IN THE CHURCH OF RUEIL.   Photo by Neiirdin Fibres. P- 6i8.     The Funeral 619   taken from Malmaison to the church of Rueil  in a procession in which the chief mourners  were Hortense’s children^ Hortense herself and  Eugene cUnging to the Imperial etiquette which  compelled them to be absent from the servicCj  and remaining at Saint-Leu. Beside the two  little boys there were present of Josephine’s  and her first husband’s families the Comte  Tascher and the Duchesse d’ Arenberg (Stephanie  Tascher), the Marquis and the Comte de Beau-  harnais, and Mme. Lavalette (Emilie Beau-  harnais). The Tsar Alexander was represented  by General Sacken, the other sovereigns by  aides-de-camp, the Prince of Mecklenburg and  the Grand Duke of Baden were present in  person, and a large crowd of aU natibnalities  attended at the church. The military honours  were furnished by a detachment of the Russian  Imperial Guards, although the local National  Guards took part in the procession to Rueil.  The interment took place within the church  itself at the spot now marked by the monument  erected to the memory of their mother by  Eugene and Hortense in 1825.^ The funeral   * Josephine’s tomb is on the right hand of the choir of Rueil.  It is in white marble, the work of Gilet and Dubuc, while the     620 The Empress Josephine   oration by the Archbishop of Tours was not  more interesting nor more generally truthful  than such eulogies are wont to be, but contained  one paragraph which deserves quotation as  showing the attitude which the restored mon-  archy took up toward Napoleon’s former wife.  ” How many unfortunates,” asked Monseigneur  Barral, ” condemned by their fidelity to  the august family of the Bourbons to Uve 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 ? How many  saw opened by her exertions the gates of the  prison which imprudence and, most often,  unjust suspicion had closed upon them ? How  many were rescued from the axe of the law  at the moment when it was about to cut short  their lives ? ” It was Josephine the protector  of the emigres whom all good Royalists were  invited to lament.   Only little more rests to be told — the last   kneeling figure of Josephine is by Cartellier. The inscription  runs simply : ” A Josephine, Eugtoe et Hortense, 1825.”  Hortense’s tomb is in a similar position to the left of the choir  and bears the inscription ” A la Reine Hortense, son fils  Napoleon III,”     Napoleon’s Reproach 621   tribute to Josephine of the man who made her  his wife and his Empress. Strange and heart-  less though such conduct seems, there is no  evidence that any one of his family or hers  sent to Napoleon in Elba any information of the  death of Josephine. The news is said to have  reached him through a copy of a paper for-  warded to him from Genoa by a valet going  to France on an errand from his master. When  he heard what had happened he shut himself  up and would see no one. He forbore from  wearing mourning. Strict as he always was  about etiquette, he would not put on crape  for his divorced wife when he had another  wife living. The opportunity for showing his  respect occurred when, once more in Paris in  March 1815, he sought for details of the death-  scene. ” So you let my poor Josephine die,”  he reproached Corvisart. Of her own doctor  he asked the cause of the fatal illness. ” Sire,”  stammered Horeau, ” anxiety . . . sorrow. …”  ” Do you think so ? What sorrow ? ” ” At  what was happening. Sire — at Your Majesty’s  position.” ” Oh, so she spoke of me ? ”  ” Often, very often.” ” Good woman, good  Josephine ! She loved me truly.” Profoundly     622 The Empress Josephine   touched, the Emperor insisted on hearing all  about her last days and about those who had  been kind to her, particularly the Tsar Alex-  ander. A few days later he paid a short visit  to Malmaison, spending most of the time in  the death-chamber, where he shut himself in  alone and whence he came out with evident  traces of the tears which he had shed.   Napoleon saw Malmaison once again near the  close of the Hundred Days. On the night of  June 24 (only one day later than the fifty-  second anniversary of Josephine’s birthday)  he spoke during dinner at the Elysee to Hor-  tense, who, in spite of her apparent reconciha-  tion with the Bourbons, had returned to her  allegiance when Napoleon escaped from Elba,  and after some coldness on his part had been  restored to his favour. ” I wish to go to  Malmaison,” he said. ” It belongs to you.  Will you give me hospitality there ? ” Hor-  tense readily agreed, and the same evening he  started on his way with her and a small handful  of followers in attendance. Of the few remain-  ing days of his life as a free man Napoleon  was to spend five at Josephine’s Malmaison.   Late in the night of the 24th he wandered     Napoleon at Malmaison 623   about the park, speaking to his companions  of his intended flight to America. On the  morrow and during the following days^ while  waiting to hear the decision of France and of  her conquerors on his fate, he spent long hours  with Hortense and others who still remained  loyal, recalling memories of the past. The  associations of the dead were thick about him.  Standing before a bank of roses in her garden,  he said : ” Poor Josephine ! I cannot ac-  custom myself to living here without her. I  seem always to see her coming along the path  and picking one of these flowers which she  loved so weU. Truly she was the most graceful  woman I have ever seen ! ” ^ On the 29th at  last the decision of the Provisional Government  was to reach Napoleon. He still hoped that  he might be called upon to take up arms again  to hold back the enemy while France negotiated  terms, after which he could retire across the   * The firmness of his conviction on this point is illustrated  by his remarks to Barry O’Meara at Saint-Helena : ” Josephine  was grace personified {la grazia in persona). Everything she  did was with a peculiar grace and delicacy. I never saw her  act inelegantly during the whole time we lived together.”  And again : ” Era la dama la ptil graziosa di Francia. She  was the goddess of the toilet, all the fashions originated with  her ; everything she put on appeared elegant.”     624 The Empress Josephine   Atlantic. He waited in uniform for the return  of General Becker from Paris, while horses were  ready outside to carry him to Paris. Hor-  tense and his brother Joseph were with him.  Becker arrived and announced that the Govern-  ment would have no dealings with him. ” They  still fear me,” said Napoleon to Hortense. ” I  wished to make a last effort for the safety of  France. They would not have it ! ” He went  upstairs, changed his military costume for  civilian clothes, and passed into Josephine’s  room, where he spent some time by himself,  with the doors closed. Then, coming down-  stairs, he said good-bye to Joseph and Hortense,  got into a private carriage, and drove off to-  wards Rochefort,   At Malmaison a memorial was set up, with  the mark of a footprint, a bronze eagle, and the  words, ” The last step of Napoleon leaving for  Rochefort on June 29, 1815, at 4 in the after-  noon.”     y^ Ccv^._^ CLI^^iZ£^~~ A.^C^^«V ilJ/^v>o/v,.-V.J2^ J^^vOA,/V.r-*.»^  *-i> -v-^^aa.^ ^’,^^,g^ Q^CJ-X-<-«-» c5tw<»_ » (/”-‘Y^’^y^ — ^”i-t~ v-a^z-vc^^ij^     Oi^v.^.:^,^ Sjb^^^^ ^^^f^^-^^ ‘^^’     FACSIMILE OF A LETTER FROM JOSEPHINE TO HORTENSE.   p. 624.     CHAPTER XXXII   THE EMPRESS JOSEPHINE   THE story of Josephine has been brought  to an end. It only remains for us to  make a brief review of her principal charac-  teristics, as they appear in the course of the  tale, in order that we may be able to say, if  possible, how it was that she succeeded in  attaining a position in history to which neither  her intellect nor any surpassing physical beauty  gave her claims.   That she had no such claims it would perhaps  be hardly necessary to repeat, except to em-  phasise the strangeness of what time and men’s  love of romance have done for a woman who  for more than thirty out of her fifty-one years  of life was utterly obscure. And first with  regard to her beauty, the practical unanimity  of observers actuated by very different personal  feelings toward her is most striking. The  portraits of her are innumerable, for she had   VOL. II 62s 19     26 T*he Empress Josephine   an inordinate love of being painted, and sat to  Gerard, Isabey, Prudhon, Gros, David, and  many others, while busts and medallions abound.  Few of these portraits give a very pleasing  impression. When we come to the written  descriptions, what we are apt to remember is  the rouged and powdered face, with the close-  lipped smile that concealed the badness of the  teeth behind, and the wonderful elaboration of  the chestnut hair on the top of the head. Not  even in the earliest days of her second marriage  are we allowed to forget that it is a carefully  preserved woman past her prime — for she was  a Creole and over thirty — upon whom we are  looking. The freshness had gone, and artifice  has come in to supply the deficiencies of nature.  But, when this has been said, a high tribute  has to be paid to the result which Josephine  achieved with what remained to her. Her  smile is always charming, in spite of the shut  mouth ; her eyes are beautiful, if not the equal  of her daughter’s ; her nose is delicate, in great  contrast to that of Hortense. It is, however,  her slender, supple, well-proportioned figure,  needing no corset to support it, which enables  her to pose as a beauty. A most perfect self-     Physical Charms 627   training had developed her from the awkward,  rather heavy girl that she was when she left  Martinique into the most graceful woman of  her day, Napoleon’s ” la grazia in persona,”  who was ” graceful even as she went to bed.”  Taught by her own observation, she knew how  to show to its fullest advantage her elegant,  indolent body ; and knew, moreover, how to  dress it in the clothes that became it best, the  soft white muslins and cambrics which looked  so simple, yet at the same time displayed a  marvellous complexity of costly embroidery and  lace. To complete the harmony there was her  caressing Creole voice, so beautiful in tone that  the Palace servants were said to halt in the  passages to listen to it, and that Napoleon,  wishing to express his pleasure at the applause  of his troops and his subjects, could only say  that it was ” as sweet to him as the voice of  his Josephine.”   To give full value to what physical advan-  tages nature had bestowed upon her, Josephine  devoted loving care. It was otherwise with  her mind. Her education remained to the end  of her life much what it had been when Alex-  andre de Beauhamais gave her up in despair     628 The Empress Josephine   and abandoned the training of his wife to  whosoever wished to undertake it. With the  passage of time she became indeed sophisticated,  but not better educated. At Saint-Pierre she  had shown some aptitude for dancing and music ;  not much for the latter after all, it would  appear, for in later life she could do no more  than touch the harp indifferently and, ac-  cording to some, used only to play one tune.  Her long leisure was at no period of her existence  devoted to reading. There was a library at  Malmaison, which served as Napoleon’s study  before the divorce. We never hear of Josephine  herself reading, except to Napoleon in bed.  She had on her staff a reader, who during the  travels after the divorce might entertain her  mistress and the other ladies with the latest  novels and plays from Paris. Readers under  the Empire were chosen more for their beauty  than with a view that they should earn their  salaries by reading. As for Josephine’s artistic  appreciation, what importance is to be attached  to her enormous collection of pictures, her Old  Masters of the Italian and Flemish schools,  her French and Speinish painters of all periods ?  She certainly made a wonderful gallery of     The Collector 629   Malmaison and wrested from Napoleon canvases  which it cost his conscience a pang to give up  to her. ” Although these masterpieces were  in my Palace, under my eyes, in my household,”  he once said, ” it seemed to me as if I had been  robbed, since they ought to have been in the  Museum.” But the mere accumulation of art  treasures proves little with regard to Josephine’s  understanding. She was clearly a collector by  nature. The interior of her chateau, the mere  inventory of her belongings, demonstrate this.  The great hoards of curiosities, antiques,  jewellery, good and bad, and all that made  Malmaison such a remarkable place to look  upon, are witnesses to the multiplicity of her  tastes, but hardly to her taste. There is rather  more than a suspicion, there is practically a  certainty, that she loved to heap up treasures  simply because they were treasures and repre-  sented to her the buying-power of that money  which, from her first moment of independence,  as soon as she escaped from the bondage of her  first marriage, she seemed ready to sacrifice  almost anything to obtain. No sooner had she  met, and conquered the heart of. Napoleon  than money began to pour upon her in a con-     630 The Empress Josephine   tinuous stream ; yet she never had enough,  down to the day of her death, to satisfy her  capacity for spending.   Of this one reproach not even the most  enthusiastic admirers of the Empress Josephine  have made any serious effort to clear her  memory. That, from the time when she es-  caped death in the prison of Les Carmes and  re-entered into society, she hved in the midst of  an ever-increasing oceaii of debts, it would be  useless to deny, and the biographers under the  Second Empire, when the order had gone forth  to glorify the grandmother of Napoleon III.,  evaded the difficulty merely by ignoring the  subject as far as possible or by referring simply  to, her extravagant charities. Later writers,  untrammelled by the desire to please a grand-  son, have Ufted the veil ; and, in particular,  M. Masson in his various works on the life of  Josephine has made most careful researches  into her expenditure, with the result that a  really astounding picture is presented of a  feminine spendthrift. Simple enumerations of  figures would not be very interesting, but some  attempt may be made to give a brief summary.  Napoleon on six occasions insisted on receiving     Perpetual Debt 631   statements of his wife’s debts, tw|ce before  the Empire and four times during it. In 1800  he paid what she admitted that she owed —  according to Bourrienne, 600,000 francs. (This  did not include the debt on Malmaison nor on  some ” national property ” in the canton of  Glabbaix which Josephine had bought but  only begun to pay for ; if we counted this in  the amount paid off in 1800 it would be about  2,000,000 francs.) In 1804 he paid over  700,000 ; in 1806, 650,000 ; in 1807, 39i>ooo ;  in 1809, 60,000 ; and finally, after the divorce,  1,400,000 francs. These six settlements account  for more than 3,800,000 francs. Before paying  the biUs Napoleon was in the habit of revising  them and reducing them, as when in the last  liquidation he struck off 500,000 francs, as al-  ready related. The actual bills presented may  therefore be presumed to have been between  four and five million francs. The principal  item, in fact the only one of importance, was  toilet, including jewellery. Under the Empire  the allowance made for toilet was 360,000 francs  a year until 1809, when it was raised to 450,000.  On M. Masson’s computation, however, Jose-  phine’s expenditure on toilet was 1,100,000     632 The Empress Josephine   francs a year while she was reigning Empress.  Jewellers claimed about half of this, although  Josephine had the right to wear all the Crown  jewels, of which the principal diamond set was  valued at 3,709,583 francs. Her personal  jewellery, exclusive of a quantity of unimportant  stuff, was reckoned at 4,354,255 francs. This  was her greatest passion perhaps ; for even in  her early days as Vicomtesse de Beauharnais  she was said to carry in her pocket the stones  included in her wedding present in order that  she might feel them as she went about. Of  her expenditure on dress something has already  been said in an earlier chapter, where it has  been indicated that an apparent simplicity of  attire was combined with heavy expenditure  on details. A white muslin or cambric dress,  owing to its exquisite embroideries, might cost  her two thousand francs. The size of her  wardrobe was enormous. To mention only  two items, it contained five hundred chemises  and two hundred pairs of silk stockings. In one  month, it was said, she bought thirty-eight  new hats.^ Everything was new. As she   1 M. Masson enumerates one year’s purchase of clothes,  costing more than 320,000 francs : 23 ells of lace, 7 full     Dress Bills 633   bought with the one hand, Josephine gave  away with the other ; and gave away to all  manner of people, from princesses of her own  family, of her husband’s family, or of friendly  States, down to the waiting-women of her  Household. It was her habit to go completely  through her stock of clothes twice during each  year and to renew the greater part of it.   In vain Napoleon tried to limit the Empress’s  spending by ordering all dealers in millinery,  jewellery, and the rest to be kept away from  the Tuileries. They continued to penetrate  into the Palace, behind his back, and his efforts  to limit her custom to the leading firms were  unavailing. After aU, discovery only entailed  a ” scene,” and it is impossible to resist the  thought that Josephine’s terror at scenes  was largely assumed. She never showed the  slightest effort toward reformation after their  occurrence. On each occasion of Napoleon’s  demand for her bills there was a great display  of fear on the part of Josephine. Bourrienne  describes the first in 1800. The First Consul     dresses, i^^obes, 20 cashmere shawls, 73 corsets, 48 pieces of  cloth, 87 hats, 71 pairs of silk stockings, 980 pairs of gloves,  520 pairs of shoes.     634 The Empress Josephine   had ordered his secretary to discover the amount  of the habihties. ” Let her confess all,” he  said. ” I want to have done vvdth it. But  don’t pay without showing me all these rascals’  accounts. They are a pack of thieves.” Bour-  rienne went to Josephine. ” No, no,” she  cried, ” I can’t confess all. It is too much ; I  will say half. He will make a terrible scene.  Oh, I am so afraid ! ” Bourrienne’s arguments  in favour of clearing all off at once were useless.  ” No, it is impossible,” she repeated. ” I  think I owe twelve hundred thousand francs.  I will declare six hundred thousand, that will  be enough for the present. I will pay the rest  out of my savings.” Bonaparte was so violent,  and she could not bear his explosions of wrath !  To appreciate the ” violence ” of Napoleon  we may refer to the scene in 1806. Noticing  that Josephine had been for some time in a  tearful state, the Emperor this time approached  Duroc, asking him to discover what were the  debts which must be the cause of the tears.  Duroc extracted from Josephine that she owed  four hundred thousand francs. ” Oh,” said  Duroc, ” the Emperor thought it was eight  hundred thousand.” ” No, I swear it is not^     Scenes 635   but, if I must tell you, it is six hundred thou-  sand.” ” And you are quite certain this is  all ? ” ” Quite ! ” Duroc announced to his  master the result of his conversation. Waiting  untU dinner-time that night, the Emperor  allowed Josephine to seat herself and then  went up behind her chair and whispered in  her ear : ” So, madame, you have debts ! A  million francs of debts ! ” ” No, sire, I swear  that I have only six hundred thousand francs’  worth.” ” Only ! So that seems a mere trifle  to you ? ” Josephine, who had already begun  to weep at the first word, was now sobbing  loudly. Napoleon walked round to her other  ear and said in it : ” Come, Josephine, my  little one, don’t cry. Cheer up ! ” And the  debts were paid.   When making the final settlement at the time  of the divorce and paying out the fourteen  hundred thousand (in the form of an advance  out of future income, it is true), Napoleon  endeavoured to prevent the possibility of future  insolvency by putting in to superintend the  wardrobe expenditure a certain Mme. Hamelin,  who had been in the household of the Princess  Pauline. There was also appointed to look     6 3^ The Empress Josephine   after the budget in general a male intendant  in the person of M. Pierlot, who was to see  that not more than twelve hundred thousand  francs were spent in the year, of which one  hundred thousand might be spent on toilet —  one-eleventh of Josephine’s average outlay on  this item since she had been Empress ! Can  Napoleon have supposed that the stipulated  sum would not be exceeded ? The result was  as plight have been expected. Josephine’s  promises to save out of her abundant income  went for nothing. She had never done more  than talk of saving at any time in her life. Mme.  Hamelin only encouraged her to spend more  and was dismissed by Napoleon’s orders. Pier-  lot, who had a banking business, neglected it  in order to attend to Josephine’s affairs and  went bankrupt. Their successors could not  keep down the debts. In 1811 Josephine again  owed a million francs, and Napoleon was  writing to her of the necessity of saving a  million and a half a year to leave to her grand-  children. ” Look after your affairs and do not  give to whoever wants to take from you. If you  wish to please me, let me know that you have  a large balance. Think what a bad opinion     A Soft’hearted Tyrant 637   I should have of you if I knew you were in debt  with an income of three miUions.” This he  did know, for in November of the same year  he granted an additional million for Josephine’s  dowry and requested MoUien, Minister of the  Treasury, to see the new intendant, Montlivault,  and to insist upon a regulation of the Empress’s  affairs. After making his report, MoUien was  summoned to Napoleon’s presence to discuss  the economies which had been decided upon.  The Emperor was very firm in his insistence  that Josephine must no longer rely on him to  pay her debts. The fortune of her family  must not depend upon him. ” I am mortal,  more so than other men,” he added in a low  tone. But when Mollien described his inter-  views with the Empress herself and how she  had wept at them. Napoleon cried : ” Oh, but  you should not have made her weep ! ” When  we read this anecdote in Meneval’s Memoirs it  is rather instructive to recall Josephine’s reply  to her friends’ advice to confess all her debts :  ” No, no, /fe will kiU me ! ”   At her death in 1814 Josephine left debts  amounting to nearly three million francs —  2,484,813 actually owed, with another half     638 The Empress Josephine   million promised in dowries and pensions.  Against this M. Masson ^ reckons up the contents  of Malmaison, Navarre, and Pregny as worth  four million at the utmost. In cash there  remained less than 60,000 francs. Legend has  made Josephine die worth very varying sums.  If Barry O’Meara is to be believed. Napoleon  himself said eighteen million francs. Granted  that he ignored the outstanding debts, what  value can he have attached to the real estate,  the three chateaux in France and the Tascher  property at Trois-Ilets, Martinique ? As with  so many of his statements at Saint-Helena,  however, it would be unwise to pay too much  attention to what Napoleon said, with an eye  to posterity, about Josephine’s financial position.  This digression on the subject of her debts has  been rather long, but the matter is of no little  importance in the consideration of Josephine’s  character as a whole ; and her perpetual sus-  pension on the verge of bankruptcy bound her in  a peculiar way to the man who was the source  of her money. Some did not hesitate to say  that Napoleon liked her to be in debt because  it made her utterly dependent on him !   ‘ ” Josephine Rfepudiee,” 385.     Her Intelligence 639   To return-to the subject of Josephine’s mental  equipment, she owed, as we have seen, nothing  to education, for she had none except what  acquaintance with Ufe gave her. Some would  deny her natural intelligence and leave her to  retain her hold over Napoleon entirely by means  of her sensUal attraction. This seems un-  reasonable. Without inteUigence she could  not have kept Napoleon hers so long, with her  charms constantly on the wane, and after he  had several times almost made up his mind to  repudiate her. Without intelligence, too, she  could not have defeated the machinations of  almost the whole of the Bonaparte family,  having herself not a single ally to help her unless  we count her children Eugene and Hortense.  Talleyrand denied her the gift of that untrans-  latable word esprit, saying that she did ” super-  latively well without it ” ; but he could not have  denied her cleverness when she added him to  the list of enemies whom she had beaten.   Whatever it was which enabled her to gain  her victories, it certainly was not moral strength,  as it is hardly necessary to insist. She was not  honest, although her impulsiveness was often  mistaken for sincerity. Reference is not made     640 The Empress Josephine   to single acts of dishonesty, such as the accept-  ance of bribes from Fouche or of the money  which Berthier diverted for her from the funds  intended for the sufferers in the mihtary  hospitals in Italy, or other instances which  almost force one to think that she preferred  underhand means of filling her purse, although  she had the most generous keeper who ever  showered his gold on a fantastically extravagant  woman. But her whole life was permeated by  dissimulation. Napoleon summed up this char-  acteristic tersely when he said : ” Her weapon  is the negative. Her first instinct, her first  word is No ; and this No is not exactly a false-  hood, it is a precaution, a simple act of defence.”  A dissembler from childhood, Josephine has been  called by some of her critics. Certainly from  the moment when she first landed in France up  to the time when she met Napoleon Bonaparte  she had a thorough training in deceit. In  the Revolution it was a necessary aid for the  preservation of life, and the lessons of that  period were never forgotten. It may well have  seemed to her that she could not afford to  forget them when she saw the forces arrayed  against her as Napoleon’s wife. So much     Dissimulation and Diplomacy 641   excuse we must make, that she was a weak  woman, fighting first for her Ufe against the  enemies of all ” aristocrats ” ; and then for  her position against those who hated her for  robbing them of their brother and disdained no  means of doing her harm.   From dissimulation to diplomacy is but a  short step, and Josephine cannot be denied the  possession of considerable diplomatic ability.  To mention two of the chief instances of its  display, it was a stroke of genius, in the great  scene after the return from Egypt, to appeal  to Napoleon’s consideration for her innocent  children ; and the way in which she forced  Napoleon, without any known direct prayer, to  marry her according to the rites of the Church  is no less clever. And how often do not her  tears seem but a form of diplomacy — a very  becoming form, too, in her husband’s opinion ?  All her admirers and many of her enemies have  credited her with tact, and it is obvious that in  many situations she required very great tact  to extricate herself as she did. ” She always  knew the best thing to say or to do at need,”  says Meneval, who was nevertheless without  any illusions as to her superior mind or educa-   VOL. II 20     642 The Empress Josephine   tion. It was ” her exquisite politeness and  her wide acquaintance with society,” according  to him, which prompted her to the right speech  and action.   She was ” gentle and kind, affable and in-  dulgent to all, without respect to persons,” says  the same critic, and every one else agrees with  him as to Josephine’s affability. At no period  in her life did she hedge herself in against those  whose interests or even curiosity brought them  to her. She never, of her own initiative,  insisted on the fact that she was Empress, but  on the contrary was disposed to extend a  friendly welcome to , all comers. She might  have adopted her brother-in-law Jerome’s saying  about kingship, that to him it meant the power  to give. For it must not be supposed that the  whole of her vast expenditure was devoted  to the mere gratification of her senses, that she  spent all her money and incurred all her debts  in surrounding herself with jewels, dresses,  pictures, statues, furniture, flowers, strange  pets, and all the other objects which appealed  to her tastes. She had in her lifetime and left  after her death a great reputation for generosity  and benevolence. As early as 1796 we hear     ” La ^onne Josephine ” 643   the saying : ” She is good to the poor.” The  Josephine of legend is emphatically la bonne  JosSphine, the kind and charitable Empress.  She was indeed always giving, lavishly, in-  discriminately. She could never refuse a re-  quest. Sometimes, through the very multi-  plicity of her promises, she might forget to fulfil.  But no one was ever more accessible to demands.  Money, presents of clothes, pensions to the old,  dowries to girls, toys and sweets to children —  all alike she distributed without a grudging  thought. The great flaw in this generosity is  that it was fortuitous and unreasoning. She  did not go out to look for deserving recipients  of her charity. Her Lady of Honour had forty  thousand francs a year to distribute in alms,  and Josephine took no pains to inquire whether  it was given to those really in want. Similarly  the presents, dowries, and pensions were be-  stowed almost at haphazard on those who  surrounded her or came in contact with her.  Similarly, again, her influence in the State was  used on behalf of those who wrote to her,  especially if they were members of the old  aristocracy, without regard to the petitioners’  real worth. She acquired her reputation for     644 The Empress Josephine   honte, not for active beneficence, so much as  because she had the means of giving without  stint and hated to refuse.   Coupled with the readiness to grant the  requests of all who might invoke her as a friend  was the inability to hate which we have noticed  several times earlier in this book. Lucien  Bonaparte was perhaps the person against whom  she longest cherished hostile thoughts, yet she  interceded even for him, if in vain, on the morning  of her Coronation. Her sisters-in-law she cer-  tainly did not love, but we know of no active  injury done by her to them, while they did many  to her. Against the women who robbed her  of love which she might claim as hers alone she  showed a singular absence of resentment. She  dowered Alexandre de Beauharnais’s illegitimate  daughter by one who had done all tha:t was in  her power to hurt Josephine. She made friends  of the Comtesse Walewska and Mme. Gazzani,  not to mention any others for whom Napoleon  displayed a fancy. She would doubtless have,  been prepared to be a friend to Marie-Louise,  had the younger Empress not been terrified  at the very thought of meeting her.   If she could not hate, she was also accused     Family Affection 645   of being incapable of loving. Leaving aside for  the moment the question of her relations with  Napoleon, we find such a charge unjustified  unless we are prepared to narrow down the  meaning of the word ” love” so as to make it  exclude all selfish feelings. With regard to her  own family, we have already seen that Josephine  was, on the evidence of letters stretching over  a period of thirty years, a demonstratively  affectionate mother. As a grandmother she  was still more fond. Was this all insincere ?  Son, daughter, and her favourite grandson did  not think so. There is some mystery about  her relations with her mother, since Mme.  Tascher de la Pagerie preferred to spend nearly  seventeen years in solitude at Trois-Ilets rather  than come to Paris where her daughter was ;  and her death passed almost unnoticed. But  it would be unjust to draw any conclusions  where we have no evidence as to a quarrel.  To members of the Tascher family in general  Josephine was a good kinswoman. She be-  haved generously to the Beauhamais. Her  first husband certainly had no cause for  complaint, seeing that after his most villain-  ous conduct to her iii life she taught his     646 The Empress Josephine   children to look up to his memory as that of  a noble patriot.   It may be granted that Josephine’s love was  rather of the diffused than of the concentrated  kind, that she loved too many things to love  anything overmuch. Flowers, animals, child-  ren, young and amusing persons, and a host of  inanimate things claimed her regard so strongly  that her heart was another Malmaison in the  incongruous variety of objects for which it  found room. And this perhaps is another way  of saying that Josephine’s affections were a  vigorous expression of her self-love.   We come now to the subject of the bond  between Napoleon and Josephine, through  which it is that she has attracted so much  attention which would not otherwise be hers.  No one has ventixred to question the fact of  Napoleon’s love for his wife, in face of the mar-  vellous letters from Italy and his inability to  sever himself from her for ten years after his  return from Egypt. The revelation of his  infidelities to her, so carefully investigated by  M. Masson in his ” Napoleon et les Femmes,”  fails to shake the belief in that love ; -because,  although it is obvious that his discovery of her     Josephine and Napoleon 647   treachery in the early years of their marriage  made him refuse henceforward to close his  eyes to aU other sensual attractions than those  which she offered him, he never ceased to  cherish above all the Josephine of the rue  Chantereine in 1796. She remained to him  the type of womanhood with whom all other  specimens compared poorly. She was to him  the model of aristocratic good breeding, of  perfect deportment, of proper dress. Did not  even his admiration for rouge — and tears — come  from Josephine ? After the storm which fol-  lowed his return from Egypt, too, she became  to him, though no longer ignorant of her failings,  the pattern of what a wife should be to her  husband. In spite of occasional outbreaks,  whether caused by jealousy or by consciousness  of debts, her temper was wonderfully even. She  never kept him waiting, even on the plea of  requiring time for her toilet. She hastened to  anticipate his wishes and inculcated the same  conduct in her children. She went cheerfully  through the most arduous social duties with a  gracious smile on her face and an appropriate  word in her mouth for all. A lover of idleness  and a wretched traveller, she took long and     648 The Empress Josephine   uncomfortable journeys to meet the princes and  princesses whom he desired to bind to France.  She exerted herself tirelessly to concihate to  Napoleon all whom she could influence at home  or abroad, extorting from him the admiring  exclamation : “I win battles, Josephine wins  me hearts ! ” And, lastly, he believed that she  had grown to love him. Much as the scenes of  “jealousy enraged him at the time, he could not  help but treat them on reflection as a tribute  to himself, and forgive her who resented so much  the attentions which he paid to other women.  So persuaded was he of Josephine’s love that  on one occasion, discussing the question of  divorce, he cried : ” She will not resist, she will  die.” Subsequent events only confirmed his  belief. We have seen the doctor’s stammering  explanation of the cause of Josephine’s death  and heard the exclamation of the Emperor :  ” Good woman, good Josephine ! She loved  me truly.” With this firm conviction he himself  died at Saint-Helena seven years later.   Great pains have been taken to prove both  that he was right and that he was wrong. When  the name of Bonaparte had ceased to be a  byword and Josephine’s ” little Oui-Oui ” had     Her Love for Napoleon 649   grown into Napoleon III., the writers who took  on themselves to rehabilitate the great per-  sonages of the First Empire devoted special  care to the new Emperor’s grandmother, and  Josephine was painted as the sorrowful martyr  to necessities of State. She was the fondly  loving wife repudiated, not without a suspicion  of harshness, after fourteen years of faithful  wedlock. Since the end of the Second Empire  Napoleonic writers have approached the subject  less fettered, and in their admiration for the  great Emperor have gone far in the other  direction, blaming him only for not getting rid  of Josephine earlier, and almost denying her  any attachment to him except that of self-  interest. Justice, as usual, seems to lie between  the extremes. Josephine did grow to love the  man who made her, and perhaps loved him  ultimately with as much love as she was capable  of giving. But on him, as on others, as we have  suggested, she was incapable of concentrating  a great volume of love. That she did not die  of grief at his fate, it is unnecessary to insist.   Although it is possible to say that Josephine’s  love for Napoleon was a growth, it is not pos-  sible to trace that growth otherwise than very     650 The Empress Josephine   vaguely. There may have been a httle passion  in the rue Chantereine, mostly before the  marriage ; but it is not credible that there was  any genuine love when ” Bonaparte ” appeared  to his wife ” a very brave man ” and his letters  ” droll.” Nor during the visit to Italy nor the  few months in France previous to the expedition  to Egypt can any trace of the feeling be seen.  Appreciation of his generosity there undoubtedly  was, and a certain pride in his glory. In 1798-9  even self-interest was not strong enough to  make Josephine pay any attention to the absent  Bonaparte, who after all might never return.  It almost seems strange that Gohier’s advice —  ” Divorce ! ” — was not taken. From the mo-  ment of the return from Egypt, however,  every one recognised that a change had come  about. Hitherto husband and wife had lived  but a very brief while together. Henceforward  Josephine was seldom for long away from  Napoleon’s immediate influence until the cam-  paign against Austria in 1805. And Josephine  in Napoleon’s presence was a very different  woman from Josephine with Napoleon away.^   1 M. Masson has an interesting discussion on the point at  the end of his ” Josfephiae Imperatrice et Reine.” Of the two     The Threat of Divorce 651   She sank under his domination, and as he found  rest in her, so she found strength in him. His  personahty enveloped hers, and there was no  more question of her unfaithfulness to him.  On the contrary, she now began to watch his  conduct with a feeling that was almost the  jealousy of love, and of course discovered that  she was not altogether without reason for  watching. Quarrels and threats of divorce  from him followed, though the threats were  perhaps scarcely serious. Then came the Em-  pire and the great ceremony at Notre-Dame.  Grounds for jealousy still existed, but Josephine,  growing older, learnt to be more complacent.  She must sacrifice something to retain her hold.  Matters became more desperate when little  Napoleon-Charles died in May 1807. No child  could take his place as heir to the Emperor,  who from this time forward began in earnest to  consider the question of repudiation, in order   women in Josephine, he says, the woman she was in the  Emperor’s absence was undoubtedly the true Josephine —  ” the one who entertained the dealers, the waiting-women,  the gardeners ; the woman with debts, the pet animals, and  the chatter ; who lived the life of a mistress most splendidly  kept. But it was the other woman whom the public saw, and  so well did she play her part that they did not see nor trouble  about the other side of her.”     652 The Empress Josephine   that he might have a son of his own. The rest  has been told in Chapters XXIV. and XXV.  Josephine clung the more desperately to her  protector as she saw separation coming, and  persuaded herself and the ordinary observer  that it was true love which Napoleon was  putting away from himself. He believed it,  too, and made the sacrifice with every accom-  paniment which could redound to Josephine’s  credit and advantage. It was therefore with  Napoleon’s full connivance that she was able  to pose as a martyr, while she on her part made  little effort to spare him.   It would be uncharitable to judge harshly a  woman in so desperate a plight as was Jose-  phine’s ; but it must be confessed that even  when her love for her husband was at its highest  point, which we may place in the period when  she saw she must inevitably lose him, it was a  selfish and interested love, which left her free  to discuss his failings and his alleged ” cruelty ”  with any one who was willing to act as confidant.  All the worst and most unjustifiable reports  about Napoleon’s morality, inventions of his  Royalist enemies, gained currency at Court  through]^ Josephine in moments of anger or     Misrcpfesentation of Napoleon 653   despair allowing herself to repeat what some  of her scandal-mongering friends had told her —  in strictest confidence, of course. She spoke at  such times as if she were in delirium ; but un-  happily she was sane, and the wife of him whose  name she befouled. It is a small matter, in  comparison, that she should have made the  remark already recorded to her friend Mme. de  Remusat, at the time of the suggestions of  divorce following the Peace of Tilsit : ” Who  knows of what he is capable and whether he will  resist the temptation to put me out of the  way ? ”   Nevertheless, although Josephine commenced  her life with Napoleon by grossly betraying the  most passionate affection of which actual records  remain in history ; although her own love  which she ultimately developed for him was a  strange compound of fascinated submission to  a dominating will and an eager clinging to the  provider of her riches ; although she robbed him  with his servants and discussed him disloyally  with his enemies ; although to present a really  black picture of his character we need only go  to her recorded utterances about him — in spite  of all this, we must not forget that Napoleon     654 The Empress Josephine   never ceased, to the end of his days, to speak of  the perfect happiness \yhich she had given him  in their life together. If she had been the  most devoted and most virtuous of wives,  could any husband have said more for her ?   If Josephine has imposed on history, it is  plainly because she imposed upon Napoleon,  which in itself perhaps is no small feat. We  cannot take leave more appropriately of one of  the strangest heroines who has ever lived than  with those fond words which Napoleon uttered  in his gratitude to her memory at Saint-Helena :  ” She was the best woman in France ! ”     THE END     INDEX OF PRINCIPAL PERSONS     Abrantds, Duchesse d’, 165 n.,   171, 185, 200, et passim.  Aiguillon, Duchesse d’, loi,   108, 132, 137  Alexander, Tsar of Russia,   48s, 493. 606 seq., 615  Apne, Grandduchess of   Russia, 530  Arberg, Mme. d’. Lady of   Honour to Josephine, 536,   566  Arenberg, Mme. d’, see Tas-   clier, Stephanie  Arnault, A.-V., 120, 128, 164,   ^7S> i8s, 198, 203, 206, 250  Augusta of Bavaria (wife of   Eugtoe Beauhamais), 435,   582, 594  AvriUon, Mile., Reader to   Josephine, 421, 425   Bacciochi, Prince Felix, 195   Bacciochi, Princess, see Bona-  parte, Elisa   Bairal, Archbishop, 538, 566,  620   Barras, Director, iiy seq., 126  seq., 138, 146, 148, 154, 157,  206, 212 seq., 219, 226, 249   Bausset, Palace Prefect, 506     Beauharnais, Alexandre-Fran-  fois-Marie, Vicomte de,  born May 26, 1760, 10 ;  sent home to France, 22 ;  praised by Mme. Renaudin,  33 ; desires to marry Jose-  phine, 40 ; first impressions  of Josephine, 43 ; marriage,  44 ; character, 47, 67, 107 ;  treatment of his wife, 49  seq., 59; goes to Martinique,  60 ; attack on Josephine,  63 ; returns to France, 68 ;  separation from Josephine,  71 ; political career, 84 ;  in military life again, 89 ;  arrested, 90 ; defended by  Josephine, 97 ; reconciled  to her, 10 1 ; last letter to  her, 105 ; execution, 104   Beauhamais, Eugfine-Rose,  born September 3, 1781, 58 ;  as ” Dauphin,” 87 ; appeal  for Josephine, 102 ; on  Hoche’s staff, 119; at  school at Strasbourg, 92 ;  at Saint-Germain, 128, 163 ;  and his father’s sword, 138 ;  first feelings for Napoleon,  151 ; becomes Napoleon’s     6SS     656     Index of Principal Persons     aide-de-camp, 193 ; goes  to Egypt, 216 ; letter to  his mother from Egypt, 231,  290 ; dif&culty with Na-  poleon, 23 s ; assists in re-  conciliation, 242, 24s ; atti-  tude toward his mother,  290 ; made Viceroy of  Italy, 424 ; his marriage  discussed, 434 ; married,  438 ; interview with Na-  poleon and Josephine con-  cerning their divorce, 511;  at the divorce, 519 ; mes-  senger between Napoleon  and Josephine, 539, 541 ;  takes news of birth of King  of Rome, 567 ; in France  before 1812 campaign, 576,  581 ; position in Italy,  592 ; unjust suspicions  against, 593 ; in Paris in  1814, 611 ; at Josephine’s  deathbed, 618  Beauharnais, Hortense-Euge-  nie, born April 10, 1783, 62;  accompanies Josephine to  Martinique, 81 ; return, 84 ;  appeal for Josephine, 102 ;  sent to Mme. Campan’s  school, 128, 163 ; and Jose-  phine’s second marriage,  151 ; intercession for her  mother, 242, 292 ; and  Louis Bonaparte, 282 seq. ;  and Napoleon, 292 ; de-  scribed, 293 ; marries Louis,  299 ; hostess at Tuileries,  312 ; birth of eldest son,  318 ; relations with Louis,     320 ; at Josephine’s Coro-  nation, 406 ; second son’s  birth and baptism, 416 ;  Queen of Holland, 443 ;  loses Napoleon-Charles,  456 ; renewed quarrel with  Louis, 472 ; third son’s  birth, 482 ; reprimanded  by Napoleon, 491 ; at  Josephine’s divorce, 518;  breaks with Louis, 547 ;  intrigue with Flahault, 5 50;  with her mother and chil-  dren at Saint-Leu, 580 ;  relations with Marie-Louise,  586, 600, 606 ; praises her  husband, 592 ; at Navarre,  600 ; desires to leave  France, 604 ; Duchesse de  Saint-Leu, 611 ; entertains  the Tsar, 612 ; at Jose-  phine’s deathbed, 618 ;  with Napoleon at Mal-  maison in 181 5, 622   Beauharnais, Emilie, after-  wards Mme. Lavalette, 216,  26s, 269, 284, 362, 475, 619   Beauharnais, Fanny, Com-  tesse de, 52, 76   Beauharnais, Francois, Mar-  quis de, 7 seq., 2g seq., ys, 150   Beauharnais, Marquise de, 7,   31   Beauharnais, Fran9ois, Vi-  comte de, 7, 52, 95   Beauharnais, Stephanie, after-  wards Princess of Baden,  265,436, 440 seq., 449   Bernadotte, Mme., after-  wards Queen of Sweden, 583     Index of Principal Persons     657     Berthier, Marshal, 261   Bonaparte, Caroline, Mme.  Murat, afterwards Queen  of Naples, 197, 257 seq., 300,  353, 406, 464, 568   Bonaparte, Elisa, afterwards  Princess Bacciochi, 195,  197. ^77. 311. 353. 406,420   Bonaparte, Jerome, after-  wards King of Westphalia,  162, 418, 436, 469, 477   Bonaparte, Joseph, afterwards  King of Spain, 153, 160,162,  176, 197, 221, 230, 238, 248,   303,307.331.353.357. 388,  ‘405, 482, 484  Bonaparte, Julie, wife of Jo-  seph. 247, 353, 406, 469, 550,   S83  Bonaparte, Letizia, Madame  M6re, 153, r6o, 194, 197, 247,  254, 272, 284, 307, 469, SCO,   – 583   Bonaparte, Louis, afterwards  King of Holland, 154, 162,  217, 238, 279, 282 seq., 296,  320, 353, 357. 405, 423. 442,  458,472, 547, 591, 600   Bonaparte, Louis – Napoleon,  third son of Louis and  Hortense, afterwards Napo-  leon III., 482, 548 »., 581   Bonaparte, Lucien, 154, 162,  238, 243, 248, 270 seq., 295,  311, 333, 401, 644   Bonaparte, Napoleon-Charles,  eldest son of Louis and  Hortense, 318, 443, 456   Bonaparte, Napoleon -Louis,  second son of Louis and   VOL. II     Hortense, 416, 460, 548,  571. S8i  Bonaparte, Paulette, after-  wards Mme. Leclerc and  Princess Borghese, 195 seq.,  246, 330 seq., 406, 568,   583  Borghese, Prince Camillo, 331  Bourrienne, 143, 145, 212,215,   232, 261, 297, 573, eic.   Cabarrus, Teresia, see Tallien,   Mme.  Cadoudal, Georges, 237 seq.  Calmelet, honime d’affaires,   103, 113, 148  Cambaceres, Second Consul,   afterwards Arch-Chancellor,   264. 350. 514  Campan, Mme., 128, 151, 163,   210, 294  Caprara, Cardinal, 329, 390,   419, 441  Carnot, Director, 132, 155,   206  Caroline, Queen of Bavaria,   436  Catherine, Princess of Wiir-   temberg, afterwards Queen   of Westphalia, 436, 469,   477  Catherine, Grandduchess of   Russia, 493  Caulaincourt, 137, 341, 345^   493  Charles, Hippoljrte, 184 seq.,   189, 199, 244  Charles, Prince of Baden, 435,   441  Cochelet, Mile., Reader to   21     658     Index of Principal Persons     Queen Hortense, 601, 605,   618  Collot, 240, 245  Compoint, Louise, Josephine’s   maid, 176  Consalvi, Cardinal, 303, 391  Corvisart, Doctor, 507, 621   Denuelle, Mile. Eleonore, mo-  ther of Napoleon’s son  Leon, 463   Duchatel, Mme., 411   Ducrest, Mile. Georgette, 107,  S38, 568   Duroc, Grand Marshal, 215,  244. 397, 36s, SOI, 556   Emmery, Merchant of Dun-   kerque, 121 seq., 163   Enghien, Due d’, 341 seq., 437   ” Englishman,” The, 26, 616   EugSne, Viceroy of Italy, see   Beauharnais, Eugdne-Rose   Fesch, Cardinal, 392, 399, 514,   S83  Flahault, Charles de, 550  Fouche, Minister of Police,   250, 271, 309, 464, 473 ^«?-.   489, 495  Fourds, Mme., 235  Francis, Emperor of Austria,   611, 615  Frederick-William, King of   Prussia, 611, 615  Fr6ron, Stanislas, 196   Gazzani, Mme., Reader to  Josephine, 472, 536, 564,  $66     Georges, MUe., Actress, 323  Girardin, Stanislas, 208, 277,   490  Gohier, Director, 222, 225,   249 seq.  Gohier, Mme., 225, 251   Hoche, General, 102, 116 seq.  HohenzoUern – Sigmaringen,   Princess Amalie of, 88, 92  Hortense, Queen of Holland,   see Beauharnais, Hortense-   Eugfenie  Hosten-Lamotte, Mme., 27,   91. 99   Josephine, Empress, birth  [June 23, 1763], 4, 12 ;  family, 4 seq. ; unfounded  doubts about date of birth,  13 ; early life at Trois-Ilets,  17 ; at school, 22 ; stories  of early love-affairs, 24 ;  gipsy prediction concern-  ing, 28 ; and the Beau-  harnais marriage, 29, 34,  36, 41 ; sketch by her  father, 36, 38 ; leaves Mar-  tinique [September 1779],  42 ; first marriage [De-  cember 13, 1779], 44 ; early  married life, 5 1 seq. ; birth  of Eugdne, 58 ; of Hor-  tense, 62 ; receives letters  from Alexandre de Beau-  harnais, 63, 68 ; separates  from her husband, 71 ;  early letters, 77, 92 ; sudden  departure to Martinique,  79 ; returns to France, 84 ;     Index of Principal Persons     659     in society, 87, 93 ; lier  ” Republicanism,” 95-8 ;  imprisoned in Las Carmes  [April 21, 1794], 100; re-  conciliation with Beau-  hainais, loi ; escape from  execution, 107-8 ; grief  over husband’s death, 107,  III ; released from Les  Carmes [August 6, 1794],  109 ; care for husband’s  memory, 11 3, 645 ; life  after the Terror, 115 seq. ;  alleged association with  Hoche, 116; financia  straits, 120 seq. ; visit to  Hamburg, 124 ; goes to rue  Chantereine, 127 ; intrigue  with Barras, 127 seq., 214 ;  first meeting with Napoleon  [October 14, 1795], 137 ;  letter to Napoleon, 141 ;  second marriage [March 9,  1796], 148 ; doubtful letter  about Napoleon, 149, 155 ;  and the Italian command,  1 54 ; receives letters from  Mme. Bonaparte and  Joseph, 160-2 ; sketched  by Arnault and Duchesse  d’AbrantSs, 165-6 ; treat-  ment of Napoleon’s letters,  168 seq. ; goes to Italy, 176 ;  under fire, 180 ; intrigue  with Hippolyte Charles,  184, 189, 199, 223, 244 ; at  Montebello, 193 ; and the  Bonaparte ladies, ig? seq. ;  return to Paris, 204 ; and  Mme. ,de Stael, 209, 614 ;     a suspicious letter, 213 ;  accompanies Napoleon to  Toulon, 215 ; first visit to  PlombiSres, 218 ; buys  Malmaison, 220 ; unfaith-  ful to Napoleon, 224 seq. ;  hears of Napoleon’s return,  227 ; historic scene at rue  de la Victoire [October  1799]. 241 ; her share in  brumaire, 248 seq. ; moves  to Petit-Luxembourg, 254 ;  and Murat’s marriage, 257 ;  moves to Tuileries, 264 ;  struggle with Lucien Bona-  parte, 270, 306, 310, 333,  401 ; in the rue Nicaise  outrage, 280 ; plans mar-  riage for Hortense, 282 ; the  marriage, 299 ; increasing  state, 302 ; at Notre Dame  in 1802, 304 ; questions of  precedence, 306 ; anxious  about the Life Consulship,  308, 314 ; and the Royalists,  315 ; a grandmother, 319 ;  grows jealous, 322 seq. ;  advice to Hortense about  Napoleon, 327, 384, 491 ;  and the 1804 plot, 337 ;  intercedes for Due d’Eng-  hien, 342 ; addressed as  Empress [May i8, 1804],  351 ; strong position, 358 ;  division of her time, 360  seq. ; Malmaison her home,  369 ; visit to Aix-la-  Chapelle, 379 ; in Germany,  385 ; and the Pope, 389 ;  reveals her secret to Pius,     66o     Index of Principal Persons     396 ; crowned {December  2, 1804], 401 seq. ; accom-  panies Napoleon to Italy,  417 ; sees Eugtoe again,  423-5 ; goes with Napoleon  to Strasbourg, 428 ; at  Carlsruhe, Stuttgart, and  Munich, 432 ; on Eugtae’s  marriage, 434 ; alleged  jealousy of Stephanie Beau-  harnais, 441 ; reluctant to  part with Napoleon, 447 ;  at Mayence, 449 ; hears  about Mme. Walewska, 454 ;  grief over grandson’s death,  456 ; change of attitude  toward Napoleon, 464 ; first  approached about divorce,  464, 473 ; and her mother’s  death, 472, 645 ; and the  Prince of Mecklenburg, 447 ;  Napoleon’s renewed tender-  ness toward, 48 1 , 484 ; in-  trigues against, 489 ; scene  on Napoleon’s return to  Fontainebleau, 495 ; makes  a great mistake, 499 seq. ;  scene described by Bausset,  504 ; retires from public  view, 511 ; and Eugtoe,  513 ; divorced [December  15, 1809], 516; leaves  Tuileries, 520 ; arrange-  ments for her future, 522 ;  helps in Napoleon’s second  marriage, 528 ; isolation,  532 ; presented with Na-  varre, 533 ; reduced house-  hold, 5 36 ; letters to Na-  poleon. 539, 541 ; and the     ” babble of Paris,” 543 ;  proposes a scheme to Na-  poleon, 543; receives him at  Malmaison, 546 ; obtains  Hortense’s freedom, 547 ;  and Napoleon’s expected  heir, 552 ; change of plans,  555 ; Marie Louise’s  jealousy of, 556, 559, 569;  her ” twenty -four hours ”  at Malmaison, 559 ; returns  to Navarre, 563 ; receives  news of birth of King of  Ron;ie, 567 ; at Malmaison  again, 571 ; discusses Na-  poleon with Bourrienne,  573; sees the King of Rome,   577 ; last interview with  Napoleon [? spring or  winter of 1812], 577 «.;  interest in Napoleon’s sons,   578 ; and Mme. Walewska,  579, 612 ; visits Eugene’s  family, 582 ; in Geneva  society, 584 ; returns to  Paris, 585 ; last extant  letter from Napoleon, 590 ;  her letter to Eugene, 593 ;  flies from Malmaison, 597 ;  her apparent neglect of  Napoleon, 599 ; receives  news of his abdication, 602 ;  back at Malmaison, 605 ;  and the Tsar, 607, 612 ;  her position in Paris, 611 ;  falls ill, 612 ; anxiety for  her children, 613 ; last  entertainment, 615 ; death  [May 29, 1814], 617 ; the  legendary and the real     Index of Principal Persons     66i     woman, 3 ; the ” martyr,”  652 ; her education and  abilities, 23, 51, 55, 627,  639 seq. ; the winner of  hearts, 648 ; her looks, 36,  43, 140, 164-5, 194. 208,  268, 377, 625 seq. ; in  politics, 95, 249, 315 ;  venality, 261, 272 ; dis-  simulation, 641 ; her love  for Napoleon, 648 ; for her  children, 78, 92, 287 seq.,  etc. ; for her grandchildren,  461, 571, 589, 645 ; her  debts, 120, 163, 522, 574,  590, 630 seq. ; dress, 364,  574, 584, 627, 632 ; passion  for jewellery, 260 seq., 632 ;  for flowers, 372, 545, 623 ;  expenditure on charity,  642 ; her tears, 107, 175,  200, 203, 218, 241, 281, 311,  326,339.345.425.437.448,  449, 458, 467, 468, 496, 497,  ^04 seq., 510, 518-20, 526,  546. 565. 578. 634, 635, 637   Josephine, Princess of Bolog-  na, daughter of Eugtoe,  480, 582   Jouberthou, Mme., after-  wards Mme. Lucien Bona-  parte, 333   Junot, Marshal, 170, 176, 233,   338  Junot, Mme., see Abrantfis,  Duchesse d’   Lanoy, Marie, Josephine’s   maid, 121, 123, 163  Lavalettc, General, 187, 215     Lavalette, Mme., see Beau-   harnais, Emilie  Lebrun, Third Consul, 264  Leclerc, General, 190, 199,   238  Leclerc, Mme., see Bonaparte,   Paulette  Leon, son of Napoleon, 463  Leyen, Am61ie von der, after-  wards Comtesse Louis  Tascher, 550   Marie-Louise, Empress, 530,   535, 552. 559 seq., 566, 569,   580, 586, 597  Marie, Tsarina of Russia, 493  Marion, Josephine’s nurse, 21  Maximilian-Joseph, King of   Bavaria, 436, 592  Mecklenburg, Prince of, 477,   619  Meneval, 152, 520, etc.  Metternich, Prince, Austrian   Ambassador, 463 w., 474  Metternich, Princess, 528  Moreau, General, 304, 339,   349  Murat, Joachim, afterwards  King of Naples, 168, 171,  176, 197, 201, 24s, 257 seq.,  300, 338, 404, 464, 482, 489   Napoleon, Emperor, first  meeting with Josephine,  137-5 ; at rue Chantereine,  141, 147 ; early letters to  Josephine, 142, 144 ; thinks  of marriage, 143 ; married,  148 ; and Josephine’s chil-  dren, 151, 183, 242 ; his     662     Index of Principal Persons     “cape and sword,” 152;  and his family concerning  Josephine, 153, 160; and  the Italian command, 154  seq. ; letters from Italy, 158,  167, 174, 178, 180, 186,  190 ; receives Josephine in  Italy, 177 ; his first sus-  picions against her, 186,  200 ; at Montebello, 193 ; his  alleged change of attitude  toward Josephine, 201 ; re-  turns to France, 205 ; and  Mme. de Stael, 208 ; starts  for Egypt, 217 ; contem-  plates divorce, 229 ; at Mes-  soudiah springs, 232 ; affair  with Mme. Fourds, 235 ;  lands at Frejus, 237 ; for-  gives Josephine, 243 ; in  hrumaire, 248 seq. ; and  Caroline’s marriage with  Murat, 258 ; and the  heredity question, 274 seg’.,  355 seq. ; degrades Lucien,  276 ; his estimate of Hor-  tense, 292 ; Life Consul,  313 ; and Mile. Georges,  323 ; and Josephine’s  jealousy, 325 ; strange be-  haviour at Brussels, 329 ;  and Paulette’s and Lucien’s  second marriages, 332-3 ;  and the 1804 plot, 338 seq. ;  after Enghien’s death, 346 ;  Emperor, 350; and his  sisters, 353-4 ; schemes for  Coronation, 378 ; at Aix-la-  Chapelle, 383 ; negotia-  tions with Vatican, 390     seq. ; meeting with Pius  VII., 395 ; a Coronation  legend, 400 ; crowned and  consecrated, 403 seq. ; and  Mme Duchatel, 411 ; and  the Italian Coronation, 417  seq. ; starts on Austerlitz  campaign, 428 ; marries  Eugdne to Augusta, 438 ;  treatment of the Beauhar-  nais, 439; makes Louis King  of Holland, 443 ; starts on  Prussian and Polish cam-  paign, 447 ; unfaithful in  Poland, 452 ; and death of  Napoleon-Charles, 458 ; a  father, 463 ; approaches  Josephine concerning di-  vorce, 465, 497 ; renewed  tenderness for her, 481,  484 ; at Erfurt, 485 ; deter-  mines on divorce, 487 ;  letters during Austrian  campaign, 492 ; sudden  return to Fontainebleau,  494 ; scene about a fortune-  teller, 4ggseq. ; scene de-  scribed by Bausset, 505 ;  divorces Josephine, 514  seq. ; parts with her at  Tuileries, 520 ; visits Mal-  maison, 524 ; second  marriage schemes, 529 ;  visits Malmaison after  marriage with Marie-  Louise, 546 ; expects an  heir, 552, 567 ; and Marie-  Louise’s tears, 560 ; letter  to Josephine after birth of  King of Rome, 568 ; last     Index of Principal Persons     663     interview witli her, 577 ;  starts on Moscow cam-  paign, 580 ; returns to  Paris, 587 ; last €xtant  letter to Josephine, 590 ;  suspects EugSne, 593 ; ab-  dication, 602 ; receives news  of Josephine’s death, 621 ;  believes her to have died of  grief, 621, 648 ; last visit  to Malmaison, 622 seq. ; on  Josephine’s grace, 623 ;  settlements of her debts,  631; his “violence,” 634  seq. ; love for Josephine,  646 ; ” She was the best  woman in France,” 654  Napoleon II., King of Rome,   567. 577. 597   Napoleon-Charles, Napoleon-  Louis, and Louis-Napoleon,  see under Beauharnais   Ney, Mme., 536-8, 613   Oldenburg, Prince George of,  493   Patricol, 48, 55   Patterson-Bonaparte, Eliza-  beth, first wife of Jerome,  418, 436   Permon, Laure, see Abrant^s,  Duchesse d’   Permon, Mme., 247, 270   Pierlot, 538, 636   Pius VII., Pope, 389 seq., 395,  403, 415, S14   Provence, Comte de, 316   Raguideau, Notary, 152     Real, 91, 24s   Recamier, Mme., 132, 137,   171  Reggio, Duchesse de (Mme.   Gudinot), 588, 612  R6musat, Mme. de, 158, 223,   269, 307. 322. 339. 475. 527.   535. 555. 595. ^tc.  Renaudin, Alexis, 9, 31, 75  Renaudin, Mme., Josephine’s   aunt, 6 seq., 10, 31, 43, 47,   70, 124, 150, 182  Rewbell, Director, 222, 249  Rochefoucauld, Due de, 48,   84  Rochefoucauld, Duchesse de,   269, 362, 451   Salm-K5rrbourg, Prince of,   88, 100  Segur, Philippe de, 137, 149,   179  Serbelloni, Due de, 177, 182  Stael, Mme. de, 206, 208-9,   614   Talleyrand, 205, 226, 268,   392, 459 w., 481. 485. 493.   587. 595  Tallien, 91, iii, 131, 148,   227  Tallien, Mme., no, 125, 134,   164-5, 171. 173. 227  Tascher de la Pagerie family,   e,seq.  Tascher, Catherine-Desiree,   (Josephine’s sister), 13, 31,   35  Tascher, Gaspard – Joseph,   (grandfather), S     664     Index of Principal Persons     Tascher, Joseph-Gaspard (fa-  ther), 6, II, i6, 35, 59.67, 82   Tascher, Louis, Comte (cousin),  SSO   Tascher, Mme. Gaspard-Jo-  seph (grandmother), 6, 22   Tascher, Mme. joseph-Gas-  pard (mother), 4, 11, 61, 84,  120, 472, 645   Tascher, Marie-Benaquette (il-  legitimate niece), 14, 82   Tascher, Marie-Euphemie-De-  sir^e (aunt), see Renaudin,  Mme.   Tascher, Marie – Fran9oise –  Rose (aunt), 6, 22, 42     Tascher, Marie – Franfoise   (sister), 13, 35, 37, 82  Tascher, Marie-Paule (aunt), 6  Tascher, Robert-Marguerite,   Baron (uncle), 6, 120  Tascher, Stephanie, afterwards   Mme. d’Arenberg (cousin),   444, 565, 619  Tercier, General, 24   Vadier, President of Commit-  tee of Public Safety, 96, 104   Walewska, Comtesse Marie,   452, 454, 579. 612  Walewski, Comte Colonna, son   of Napoleon, 579     Printed hy Hazellt Watson &’ Viney^ Ld., London and Aylesbury^ England,

Emperess Josephine, Napoleon’s First Wife, Part 2


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Full text of “The Empress Josephine : Napoleon’s enchantress


THE   EMPRESS JOSEPHINE By   PHILIP W. SERGEANT   Author of ” The Last Empress of the French,’, etc.     WITH 34 ILLUSTRATIONS

Vol. II     New York  DODD, MEAD & CO.   372 FIFTH AVENUE  1909     PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN     i?\ O^ I     a(^ I        /

















THE year now commencing was one of great  anxiety at its beginning and of great  splendour at its close ; and in both anxiety and  splendour Josephine had her full share. Rumours  of a Royalist conspiracy were rife in the early  days of January. Nor were they without a  very sohd foundation. ” Just imagine/’ wrote  Josephine to her daughter in February, ” Georges  has been in Paris and its neighbourhood since  August ; really it makes one shudder.” Georges,  of course, was the notorious Georges Cadoudal,  the Chouan leader, who had remained in England  during the Peace of Amiens but had returned to  France in the summer of 1803 with a band of  followers sworn to assassinate the First Consul,  The approach of grave danger was not concealed from Napoleon and his Government, and strict  precautions were taken in Paris to meet it. One  of the principal steps was the removal from his  post as Governor of Paris of Junot, who, in spite  of his wife’s unbounded admiration, was in-  capable of holding so important an office. His  successor was Murat, who was allowed to retain  his rank as general and was assigned an addi-  tional sixty thousand francs, a similar sum  being given to his wife Caroline. Thus another  branch of the Bonaparte family was elevated to a  responsible post ; and this time a branch at pre-  sent more favourable to Josephine than the rest.  The strengthening of the Government’s de-  fence took place none too soon. Murat was  nominated on January 15.

Portrait of Empress Josephine with Creole attendant in Pagerie Museum

On the following  day there landed in Normandy a band of exiles  from England, including Pichegru, the two  Polignacs, and Riviere. With the news of their  landing came the report that a high Bourbon  prince was implicated in the plot. The prince  in question was undoubtedly the Comte d’Artois,  brother of the Royalist claimant ; but unhappily,  as will be seen, another and almost certainly  innocent member of the Bourbon family was  suspected;     A Plot against Napoleon 339   The plotters did not remain long in security.  Certain of their number were somehow tracked  down. In the above-quoted letter to Hortense  Josephine relates how ” the man who was to  have been shot and who begged for mercy has  revealed important matters.” The result of  his revelations was the arrest of General Moreau  on the night of February 14-15, an event which  startled all Paris. In rapid succession Pichegru,  Riviere, and the Polignacs were captured, and  finally on March 9 Georges Gadoudal. The  police, under the direction of Savary, had timed  their strokes admirably to surround the whole  gang.   In the Memoirs of Mme. de Remusat we are  given some insight ipto the feelings of Josephine  at this anxious epoch. On the night before  Moreau’ s arrest Napoleon revealed to her his  intention. He was unable to sleep and walked  up and down the room all night. Neither  could Josephine sleep after she had been told,  and the marks of tears were plain upon her  face next morning. Looking at her. Napoleon  took her by the chin, lifted up her head, and  said : ” Now, now ! Not every one has a good  wife as I have. You are weeping, Josephine.     34° The Empress Josephine   Why ? Are you afraid ? ” ” No,” she an-  swered, ” but I don’t hke what people will  say.” ” What do you want ? I feel no hatred,  no desire for revenge. I have reflected long  before having Moreau arrested. I could have  shut my eyes and given him time to escape.  But they would have said I did not dare to  put him on trial.”   Napoleon had reason on his side, touching  the arrest of his would-be assassins. His next  step was one which had the result of blackening  his fame more than any act of his whole hfe.  It is not the place here, however, to discuss  the case of the Due d’Enghien. We are only  concerned in the affair so far as it affected  Josephine. On March i8, which was Passion  Sunday, Napoleon and his wife heard Mass  at the Tuileries and then drove out to Mal-  maison. Here it had been arranged that they  should spend a week — to Josephine’s great  relief, for the high feeling prevailing in Paris  over the arrests caused her considerable alarm. Napoleon went on ahead, only Mme. de Remusat  riding with her in her carriage. So silent was  Josephine that at length her lady-in-waiting  expressed her concern. Josephine looked at     The Due d’Enghicn 341   her for some moments without speaking and  then said : “I am going to tell you a great  secret. Bonaparte told me this morning that  he had sent M. de Caulaincourt across our  frontier to seize the Due d’Enghien.” ” Good  heavens, madame, what are they going to do  with him ? ” “It seems to me he will be put  on his trial.” Mme. de Remusat turned so  pale that Josephine kindly lowered the carriage  window to give her air, fearing she might  faint. ” I have done all I could,” she said,  ” to make Bonaparte promise that the Prince  shall not die. But I very much fear that his  mind is made up.” ” What ! ” exclaimed the  other, ” you think he will put him to death ? ”  ” I am afraid so.” Mme. de Remusat says that  she began to weep and told Josephine how she  dreaded the hatred which such a deed would  cause to break out against Napoleon. As she  listened her mistress herself became more and  more agitated, and when she arrived at Mal-  maison she was in as bad a state of nerves as  her lady. This was but natural, for Josephine  had at least as much regard as Mme. de Remusat  for the Bourbons.   In spite of her trouble, however, Josephine     342 The Empress Josephine   acted with prudence at this moment. She  told Mme. de Remusat to retire to her room,  so that Napoleon might not guess that his  confidence had been betrayed, and she went  to him herself to make an appeal for mercy.  He was unyielding. On the following day  Josephine went out early into the park, where  she directed the transplantation of a tree.  It was a cypress. Mme. de Remusat watched  her throwing a few handfuls of soil upon the  roots when the work was done and exclaimed  how appropriate was such a tree for such a  day. But Josephine, in spite of her gardening,  had not dismissed the unhappy Duke from her  mind. Making another attempt to wring mercy  from Napoleon, she had the courage to force  her way into his presence and reopen the ques-  tion. The scene was not at all to Napoleon’s  taste. ” Go away,” he kept on saying, ” you  are a child, you understand nothing about  political necessities.” At last she abandoned  her attempt. As she withdrew from the room  she cried to him : ” Well, Bonaparte, if you  have your prisoner killed, you will be guillotined  yourself like my first husband ; and this time  I shall bear you] company,” The last words     Josephine’s Intervention 343   betray a personal fear which was perhaps  excusable in the circumstances ; and heroic  self-forgetfulness did not enter into Josephine’s  composition.   The fatal hour was approaching, unknown to  any one at Mahnaison except the First Consul  himself. On the Tuesday evening, when dinner  was over, Napoleon left the table to amuse  himself for a while with Hortense’s infant son,  whom she and Louis had brought with them  to Malmaison. Josephine looked pleased at  this playful humour and glanced at Mme. de  R^musat, as if to indicate that there was still  hope of mercy. Mme. de Remusat, however,  was looking so white that she attracted the  attention of Napoleon, who addressed to her  one of those characteristic speeches of his to  ladies : ” Why haven’t you got any rouge  on ? You are too pale.” She had forgotten  it, she replied. ” What, a woman forget her  rouge ? That will never happen to you, Jose-  phine. There are two things which become  women very well, rouge and tears.” These  were certainly two things to which Josephine  had accustomed her husband. This evening  she plainly met with his approval, for he began     344 The Empress Josephine   to be very demonstrative of his affection to  her — unconventionally so, according to Mme.  de Remusat. Was it because of the remorse  or uneasiness which he felt at disregarding her  appeals on behalf of his prisoner ? After they  had gone to bed, he awoke again at five  o’clock, and turning to her remarked : ” At this  hour the Due d’Enghien has ceased to live.”  Josephine broke out into loud lamentations.  ” Come now, try to sleep,” he said, ” you are  only a child.” ^   On the following day Malmaison was the  centre to which visitors flocked in crowds from  Paris. The first arrival was Savary, fresh  from Vincennes. He had a private interview  with Napoleon and then came out into the  salon. “Is it all over ? ” cried Josephine to  him, her arms falling sadly to her sides. ” Yes,  madame, he died this morning, and with a  fine display of courage, I must admit.” Savary  went on to relate how the soldiers who had  shot him had refused to avail themselves of     1 This also is Mme. de Remusat’s account, presumably ba^ed  upon Josephine’s confidences. It does not agree with the  versions which make the execution of Enghien take place  without a direct command from Napoleon.      NAPOLEON BONAPARTE AT MALMAlSON  From an engraving after the picture by Isabey,     The Due’s Execution 345   pennission to divide the young Duke’s personal  belongings among themselves. As he told the  tale, others began to arrive. Among the first  was Eugene Beauharnais, who apparently had  not yet heard the news. In his Memoirs he  thus describes the scene between Napoleon,  when he came out from his study, and Jose-  phine :   ” My mother was all in tears and uttered  the fiercest reproaches against the First Consul,  who listened to her in silence. She told him  that it was an atrocious deed, from the stain  of which he could never cleanse himself, and that  he had yielded to the treacherous advice of  his enemies, who were delighted to be able to  spoil the history of his life with so horrible a  page. The First Consul withdrew to his study,  and a few minutes later Caulaincourt arrived  from Strasbourg. He was astonished at the  distress of my mother, who hastened to tell  him the cause. At the fatal news Caulaincourt  smote his forehead and tore his hair, crying :  ‘ Oh, why must I have been mixed up in this  disastrous expedition ? ‘ ”   More visitors followed, among them a number  of generals, to whom the execution at Vincennes     348 The Empress Josephine   he was very pale, while Josephine was visibly  trembling. Napoleon looked round at the faces  of the party, says Mme. de Remusat, as if to  inquire how they thought he would be re-  ceived. ” At last he went in, with the air of  a man advancing under the fire of a battery.  He was welcomed as usual, whether because  the sight of him produced its ordinary effect  or because the police had taken their pre-  cautions beforehand.”   And indeed the execution of the Due  d’Enghien seemed to produce no ill effects in  France, however much it revolted the feelings  of Europe. Napoleon himself declared that  his policy had been successful, and he after-  wards wrote : ” From this time onward con-  spiracies ceased.” The “Moniteur” was full  of addresses from the army and the country,  congratulating the First Consul on his happy  escape. It was felt possible to show leniency  to the prisoners arrested in Paris. Cadoudal  was executed, it is true ; but Riviere and the  two Polignacs, though condemned to death,  were pardoned. Josephine’s pleadings were  largely responsible for Armand de PoUgnac’s  reprieve, it was said, for she was a friend of     The Sequel of the Plot 349   his wife. Moreau was sentenced to two years’  imprisonment only and subsequent deporta-  tion. He had not won the battle of Hohen-  linden to no purpose. Pichegru, by strangling  himself in prison, put himself out of the way.  They had all conspired in vain, and those that  lived only saw the coming of the Empire hast-  ened by their plot. On March 27 the Senate,  in the course of a fervent address to the First  Consul, said : ” You have brought us out of  the chaos of the past. You have made us  bless the benefits of the present. Guarantee  for us the future. Great man, complete your  work and make it as immortal as your glory ! ”  Napoleon for the moment made no more de-  cided reply than that he would reflect upon the  matter ; but no one could have had any doubts  as to what the results of his reflection would be.  The great public bodies were in eager com-  petition to hasten his decision. The Tribunate  was first in the field with a proposal of here-  ditary empire at the end of April, and on May 3  the proposal was passed with Carnot, the ex-  Director, alone dissenting. The Council of  State, the Legislative Body, and the Senate  were not far behind ; the last-named on May 18     35<^ The Empress Josephine   put forth a senafus consuUum, proposing to the  people the question whether hereditary Im-  perial dignity should be conferred on ” the  direct, natural, legitimate, and adoptive descen-  dants of Napoleon Bonaparte, and on the  direct, natural, legitimate descendants of Joseph  Bonaparte and Louis Bonaparte.”   Immediately after carrying their resolution,  the Senators made all haste in their carriages  to reach Saint-Cloud, where the First Consul  was at the time residing. They must be the  first to congratulate him on his new rank.  They found him standing in his military uniform  in the Gallery of Apollo, awaiting their arrival,  ” with Josephine at his side. Cambaceres, whose  post as Second Consul was soon to be exchanged  for another of more real dignity if of less ap-  parent power, addressed Napoleon on behalf of  the Senators and at the end of his speech pro-  claimed him ” Emperor of the French.” His  listener had reflected, according to his promise ;  and he now accepted what the Senate offered  him, submitting to the decision of the nation,  the question as to the principle of heredity.  Cambaceres then turned to Josephine and  addressed her in these words :     Empire 351   ” Madame, there remains a very agreeable  duty for the Senate to perform — to offer to  Your Imperial Majesty the tribute of its respect  and the expression of France’s gratitude. Yes,  madame, Fame publishes abroad tidings of the  good which you never cease to do. She teUs  how you, ever accessible to the unfortunate,  only use your influence with the head of the  State to relieve their misery, and how to the  pleasure of conferring an obligation Your  Majesty adds a lovable delicacy which makes  gratitude aU the sweeter and a good action all  the more precious. It is clear from this that the  name of Josephine will always stand for con-  solation and hope, and that, just as the virtues  of Napoleon will always serve as examples to  his successors to instruct them in the art of  governing nations, so the living memory of  your kindness will teach the august sharers  of these successors’ fortunes that the surest  way to reign over hearts is care in the drying  of tears. The Senate congratulates itself on  being the first to greet Your Imperial Majesty,  and he who has the honour to be its spokesman  dares to hope that you wiU deign to reckon him  in the number of your most faithful servants.”     352 The Empress Josephine   Napoleon and Josephine were Emperor and  Empress. Constant writes that every one at  Saint-Cloud this day was drunk with joy. In  the ante-chamber as well as in the salon all  were embracing and congratulating one another  and discussing their hopes and plans. A heavy  storm raged outside, but no one took any notice  of the bad omen. Had any one been affected,  we may be sure that it would have been the  superstitious Josephine. She might well forget,  however, to think of omens from the weather on  a day of such glorious fortune. Nor could her  contentment be lessened by the fact that among  the Bonapartes, who had resented so much her  intrusion into their family, the joy was by no  means as great. Lucien was in disgrace and  exile in Rome ;^ Mme. Letizia was there with him,  resenting Napoleon’s attitude over his brother’s  second marriage ; Pauline (the name Paulette  was no longer dignified enough) was also in Italy,   1 Jerome, like Lucien, was in disgrace, owing to his marriage  with Elizabeth Patterson in December 1803, and, like Lucien  too, was cut out of the succession. But Josephine had less  reason to dislike him than his brothers, and indeed she had  treated him with afiection and indulgence when, in his school-  days, he came to spend some of his vacations in the rue Chan-  tereine. An unsupported rumour made her view him as a  possible husband for Hortense before she thought of Louis.     Family Jealousies 353   not yet forgiven by Napoleon ; and Joseph and  Louis were by no means pleased at the terms  of the Senate’s decree, which made not them-  selves but only their descendants heirs after  Napoleon’s legitimate or adoptive children.   The discontent of the Bonaparte ladies was  very soon shown. On the night of the Senate’s  mission to Saint-Cloud, Napoleon gave a dinner-  party to his family and a number of other  guests. Before they went in to dinner, Duroc,  as Grand Marshal of the Palace, announced to  Joseph and Louis the fact that they were to be  styled henceforward princes and their wives  princesses. The sensation was great, and none  were more afEected by it than EUsa Bacciochi  and Caroline Murat. At 6 o’clock Napoleon  appeared with Josephine and began to use the  new titles at once. The Empress was very  amiable and disguised her elation. But Caroline,  although her husband was now a Marshal of  the Empire, could hardly contain herself. At  table she was observed to be on the verge of tears  at each mention of the Princess JuUe and the  Princess Hortense, and to be constantly taking  long draughts of cold water. Ehsa, who had  become more friendly to Napoleon since Lueien   VOL. II 2     354 The Empress Josephine   had disgusted her by taking to wife the widow  Jouberthou, was more calm than Carohne, but  was very haughty and brusque in her manner  toward the other guests. At length Napoleon  grew irritated at his sisters’ conduct and in-  dulged in many indirect hits at them. The  presence of strangers, however, prevented an  open scene that night.   On the following day a smaller dinner took  place at Saint-Cloud. On this occasion Caroline  broke into complaints, and demanded of Napo-  leon why she and Ehsa should be condemned  to obscurity, while strangers were loaded with  honoTU-s. Napoleon answered harshly, and  suggested that it might be thought he had  ” stolen the inheritance of their late father the  King.” Caroline’s rage overcame her and she  fell on the ground in a faint. Napoleon was  immediately softened and helped to restore her ;  and on the following day, May 20, it was an-  nounced in the ” Moniteur ” that the Emperor’s  three sisters were to be granted the title of  Imperial Highness. Even Pauline, therefore,  was not deprived of the benefits of Caroline’s  protest, and only Lucien and Jerome remained  under a cloud.     The Want of an Heir 355   Josephine had become Empress of the French  without any disagreeable necessity of fighting  for her dignity. There still remained to trouble  her joy the fact that Napoleon wanted an heir.  His assumption of the title of Emperor had  altered the situation. As First Consul he could  not nominate a child as his successor, even if the  power of nomination were put in his hands.  Hence the idea which he entertained of making  Louis his heir. But, with an Emperor on the  throne, the presence of a youthful heir^apparent  to be trained up to succeed his father, real  or adoptive, was the natural thing. The ad-  vantages of an adult successor, such as Louis,  were much less than formerly ; more especially  since Louis had by no means commended him-  self to his brother by his conduct toward  Hortense. Joseph was still less suitable than  Louis, on account of his weakness of character.  Had Eugene only been a Bonaparte instead of  a Beauharnais, his claim would be preferable to  all others ; but the arguments against going  outside the immediate family circle were too  strong to be disregarded.   If the heir were to be a child, where was that  child to be found ? Josephine was now over     356 The Empress Josephine   forty, so that the idea of a son by her to Napoleon  might well be put aside. If she were not to be  diyorced, the child must come from another  Bonaparte. Since Lucien and Jerome had both  by their marriages made themselves impossible  in the eyes of Napoleon, there were only Joseph  and Louis. Joseph had daughters, but no son.  Thus there was but Louis left. In favour of his  infant boy Napoleon-Charles there were several  points, more especially that Napoleon was very  fond of him and that he was Josephine’s grand-  child. Might he not further become the  Emperor’s son by adoption ? This idea occurred  to Napoleon before his own elevation to the  throne. It might have been successfully carried  into practice but for the intervention of Joseph.  It appears that in April 1804 Napoleon took  Josephine with him to call on Louis in his Paris  home. Louis was out when they arrived, and  only returned in time to prevent their going  without seeing him. He was at a loss to guess  the reason of the visit. The First Consul was  very embarrassed and did not enhghten him,  until Josephine, taking him aside, explained to  him that a great scheme was to be communicated  to him and that he must show himself to be a      PRINCE NAPOLEON CHARLES.  From an engraving by F. Paquet.     p. 3S6.     Louis’s Obstinacy 357   man. It was then divulged to him that a law  of inheritance was in preparation whereby the  succession could only pass from Napoleon to  members of the family sixteen years junior to  him. Napoleon-Charles fulfilled the conditions.  Would not the prospect of his son becoming  Emperor one day console Louis for being left out  of the succession himself ? Louis seemed in-  clined to listen to the offer. On the following  day, however, he called upon Joseph. The  latter, who led the opposition in the family in  Lucien’s absence, was indignant at a scheme  which cut him out as well as Louis, and reminded  his younger brother of the stories about Hor-  tense at the time of her marriage. Anyhow,  the child was half a Beauharnais, and probably  he would be taken away from his father to be  educated as heir-apparent. After listening to  his elder’s views, Louis was determined not to  agree to what he was asked, and refused to ” give  up ” his child.   So the matter stood when the Senate came  to announce to Napoleon on May 18 that the  question of hereditary Empire was to be sub-  mitted to a plebiscite of the nation. The  plebiscite was taken, and by it the Imperial     358 The Empress Josephine   dignity was declared hereditary in the direct,  natural, legitimate, and adoptive descent of  Napoleon and in the direct, natural, and legiti-  mate descent of his two brothers. Joseph’s  and Louis’s fears were realised, and they saw  themselves, equally with the offending Lucien  and Jerome, debarred from the succession,  with their only consolations the title of Imperial  Highness and the possibility of one day being  father to the Emperor-designate.   It was certainly Josephine’s day. By a wise  silence, in which she was joined by Eugene and  Hortense, she gained more than the Bonapartes,  whether Joseph or Louis, Caroline or Elisa,  gained by their demands from Napoleon.  Josephine, as M. Masson says,^ asked for nothing,  except occasionally for money — and, strictly  speaking, not for money, whose value she did  not know and which she could not save. She  only asked to be relieved of her debts, because  her creditors worried her. Otherwise she took  whatever her husband pleased to give her, and  showed no jealousy of his generosity to others.  She did, it is true, insist on one thing — her rights  as a wife. The consequence was that Napoleon,  1 ” Napolton ©t sa Famille,” ii. 423.     Josephine’s Gain 359   suspecting her jealousy about him,^ tried to  anticipate her wishes and give her whatever  she might want. He grew less and less ready  to divorce her, in spite of his brothers’ wishes.  Between his submissive, and apparently jealously  fond, wife and his own family, eager to get what  they could from him, he inclined steadily more  toward her side. He was led to protect her  against his own kin and to determine that she  should be elevated with him to whatever  eminence he might attain.   • It was rather a case of knowledge than of suspicion, as we  have seen.     CHAPTER XVIII   THE EMPRESS AT HOME   NOW that the story of Josephine has reached  the point when she is firmly estabhshed  in the position of Empress of the French, it  seems appropriate to devote a little space to the  description of her surroundings — the setting,  as it were, of the scene in which she was the  central figure. In the opening pages of his  ” Josephine, Imperatrice et Reine,” M. Masson  gives an excellent and elaborate analysis of the  Empress’s movements during the five years and  seven months while she was on the throne.  Of aU this time she spent barely twelve months  at the Tuileries and thirteen at Saint-Cloud.  Eight months were passed at Malmaison, three  and a half at Fontainebleau, one at Rambouillet,  These periods were by no means consecutive.  Her sojourns in Paris were divided up into three  months in the winter of 1804-5, two in 1806, two  in 1807, three in 1808, and three twice over in   360      THE EMPRESS JOSEPIIIN’E.  From an engraving after the picture by Franc;ois Gerard/     p. 3S0.     The Setting 36 t   1809. It took seven visits to Saint-Cloud to  make up her thirteen months there, and five to  Rambouillet for the one month there. The rest  of her time was divided between seasons at the  waters of Plombieres and Aix-la-Chapelle, six  months in all at Strasbourg and four at Mayence,  and journeys to various parts of Germany, Italy,  Belgium, and provincial France. In fact, she  was in a never-ending state of movement. Yet,  while she whirled about, the background re-  mained strangely the same. In every palace were  the same heavy gilded chairs placed against the  wall in fixed numbers, the same soHd tables  carrjTing ponderous vases, the same dusky  panels on the walls showing nothing distinguish-  able except the flesh of huge allegorical figures.  There was nothing personal, nothing of the  charm and intimacy of a home in these ” cold  and sumptuous inns wherein, with the change  of a mere initial or an emblem, all their royal  guests might lodge indifferently, whatever their  race or country, their tastes or desires.” ^   Owing to this absence of personal interest, it  does not seem necessary here to pay much  attention to the details of the arrangement of the   • M. Masson, ” Jos6phine, Imp6ratrice et Reine,” 4,     362 The Empress Josephine   Tuileries Palace, which have, moreover, been  so often described, both under the rule of the  two Napoleons and under that of the Bourbons.  In an earlier chapter it has been mentioned that  the Empress occupied the ground floor and  the Emperor the first floor, a private staircase  leading from a wardrobe next his study to her  rooms, which, like his, were divided into two sets,  the appartement d’honneur and the appartement  inferieur. The inner set, in her case, included  her bedroom, dressing-room, boudoir, bath-  room, and library ; while an ante-chamber, three  salons, a dining-room, and a concert-room made  up the other. To look after her person  and her apartments she had a gradually in-  creasing staff. Her Lady of Honour was the  Duchesse de la Rochefoucauld ; her Lady of the  Bedchamber Mme. Lavalette, her own niece ;  her first four Palace Ladies, as already men-  tioned in Chapter XV., Mmes. de Lauriston, de  Lu9ay, de Remusat, and de Talhouet, to whom  there were subsequently added thirteen others ;  and a Reader, whom we never hear of Josephine  using until after she had ceased to be reigning  Empress. Of the male sex, she had a, Grand  Almoner with the aristocratic name of de Rohan;     Palace Life 363   a First and five other Chamberlains, a First  Equerry assisted by two others, and a Secretary.  The inferior staff included two principal and  four assistant femmes de chambre, of whom the  principal received six thousand francs a year  each for nominal work ; four women and a girl  in charge of her wardrobe ; and a number of  valets, ushers, pages, etc.   In the midst of this great household, Jose-  phine’s manner of life varied but little from day  to day. If the Emperor had spent the night  with her, it was his custom to leave her as the  hour of eight approached and to mount by the  private stairs to his own suite. His departure  was followed by the arrival of her waiting-  women, who slept near her bedroom. The  blinds were pulled up, and a glass was brought  her of lemonade or whatever she might want.  Next, admittance was given to the successor of  the lamented Fortun6, who sprang upon the  bed from which he was debarred during Napo-  leon’s presence. At nine o’clock she rose and  commenced in her dressing-room a toilet which  never took less than three hours, it was said.  Everything in connection with her washing,  hair-dressing, and make-up was of the most     364 The Empress Josephine   elaborate description. Powder she used in such  profusion that it was wont to fall all over her  clothes. Rouge she put on all over her cheeks ;  her bills for this in 1808 amounted to more than  3,300 francs. She had this much excuse for  her artificial complexion, that, while she had  naturally a brown skin, she came to Paris at a  time when every one of position powdered ; and  paint, as is well known, was pleasing to Napoleon,  who once remarked to a lady of his Court, ” Go  and put some rouge on, madame ; you look like  a corpse.” In another detail, too, she was  guided by him. He liked no scents except  eau-de-cologne, orange-flower and lavender  waters, and she refrained from employing any  others.   In comparison with the display of her toilet-  table, her dress was of apparent extreme  simplicity. In summer especially she wore  nearly always a white muslin or cambric gown,  while her underclothing was very slight indeed.  But simple as her dresses looked, their cost was  very high and her stock of them enormous. The  muslin or cambric gown was exquisitely em-  broidered, and might cost her anything up to  two thousand francs. Some of the five hundred     Toilet and Ceremony 365   chemises in her wardrobe (she changed them  three times a day) had lace to the value of two  hundred francs,^ The fact that she never  looked overdressed was no proof of her economy,  for few women ever spent so much as she upon  their clothes.   After her lengthy toilet there was httle more  freedom for Josephine in the disposal of her  time at the Tuileries. Within the Palace all  was governed by the strictest etiquette, which  appealed to Napoleon as a necessary condition  in the life of a new sovereign, above all. The  Revolution had put ail on an equal footing ; only  a rigid etiquette could restore the grades with-  out which he could not make his Court what he  wished it to be, the most splendid in Europe.  With the aid of his trusted friend Duroc, who,  as Grand Marshal, ” accomplished miracles,”  according to Napoleon’s own testimony, he  contrived that the Tuileries should be a complete  school of ceremony, where the only unceremoni-  ous person was the master himself.   The Palace of Saint-Cloud had come into the  possession of Napoleon with the bestowal upon   1 M. Masson, in his ‘- Josephine, Imperatrice et Reine,”  treats the subject of her wardrobe in great detail.     366 The Empress Josephine   him of the Life Consulship. In spite of its  distance from the city proper, it was regarded  as a Paris residence, and there was Uttle differ-  ence in manner of Ufe and in etiquette between  Saint-Cloud and the Tuileries. The rooms even  were distributed in much the same way.  Josephine’s apartments here, however, were at  once more modern and more comfortable than  those at the Tuileries. She could give a little  more scope to her own personal taste, but in the  severe judgment of Napoleon the rooms were  more appropriate to a fille entretenue. The  occupations of the day were much the same as  at the Tuileries, and the hours, duties, and society  varied hardly at all. Life, however, was a  little less public, and the environment was more  pleasant. A shorter drive brought residents to  Malmaison and places of interest. The grounds,  too, were much more extensive. There were  two parks attached, making about fifteen  hundred acres in all, the smaller containing a  number of the rare animals in which Josephine  delighted, while the larger sheltered enough  game to give sportsmen occasional occupation.  Thus the monotony which reigned at the  Tuileries was somewhat broken at Saint-Cloud.     Saint’CIoud and Fontainebleau 367   Away from these two Paris palaces life was  not quite so exacting. Fontainebleau was  particularly dear to the Emperor, as combining  the splendours of the old rigime, the pomp of  the new, and the pleasures of the country. He  loved, as did his nephew Napoleon III. after  him, to gather together there brilliant crowds  of French and foreign guests and to arrange for  them an unending programme of entertainment.  Unfortunately, his minute attention to details  usually ended by making his visitors feel rather  like prisoners. The amusements of the Second  Empire were often denounced as frivolous ;  those of the First Empire could not escape the  charge of dulness. The splendidly organised  hunts, dances, and concerts, all attended by a  wealth of uniform never witnessed anywhere  else, produced a feeling of surfeit, and it may be  doubted whether any one ever enjoyed the stay  at Fontainebleau as much as the host himself.  Certainly the hostess did not ; for, though she  had somewhat less ceremony to observe than in  Paris, on the other hand she had not the milliners  and jewellers who helped her to pass some of  her hours so pleasantly there.   Nor did Rambouillet delight her more,     368 The Empress Josephine   charmed as was her husband with the little  Royal residence, hardly more than a hunting-  box, of former days. To him it appealed as a  piece of old France and the scene of the last  days of Francois I. To her it was an extremely  uncomfortable house, with bedrooms in which  one could hardly stir. Their first visit was paid  to it in March 1805, on the way to the Italian  Coronation. Napoleon ordered repairs costing  half a million francs, and spent further sums  later on the furniture and garden. No one  dared say anything to him against it, but  Josephine let others frankly understand that  she ” detested it.” It was the practice there that  after an eleven o’clock breakfast she and the  ladies should set themselves to tapestry -work, in  keeping with the spirit of old France, of course.  The men would start for the hunt at two and  return about eight or nine o’clock. Then the  Emperor would pull out his watch and say, ” I  give you ten minutes to dress, ladies. Those who  are not ready then must eat with the cats.” The  men, for the most part, dined in their hunting-  clothes, for at Rambouillet the simple life re-  placed the ceremony which was not absent  even at Fontainebleau. A very short dinner was     Rambouillet 369   followed by an hour or two of whist or some  other card-game. After some music, the  Emperor went off to bed, while the rest of the  party remained to talk to the Empress. Even  here etiquette compelled the men to stand, so  that by one or two o’clock, when the Empress  retired, their weariness must have been extreme.  On one occasion, in August 1806, when the whole  Court by some miracle had been squeezed into  Rambouillet, we hear of Josephine giving a  rustic ball, with musicians brought down from  Paris ; but this was an extraordinary event.  Generally speaking, the guests must have found  it hard to say whether it was worse to be a man  or a woman at Rambouillet.   It was only at Malmaison, the place of  her own choice, that Josephine really made a  home for herself. Here at least she was in the  midst of all her collected treasures and could  pursue her hobbies with little restraint. Hither  she always preferred to come during the Em-  peror’s absence, although, as we have seen,  between the time when she became Empress and  the day of her divorce she was able to spend no  more than eight months in all at her chateau.  Her association with Malmaison, however, was   VOL. 11 3     37° The Empress Josephine   very much longer than this, since it included  part of the time when Napoleon was in Egypt,  part of his First Consulship, and the bulk of the  four years after the divorce. At first she only  divided control of the place with her husband,  who after the i8 hrumaire was glad, whenever he  had any leisure, to come away from Paris and  spend the hfe of a country gentleman here.  We hear of him, in the first spring after he be-  came Consul, passing a brief while at Malmaison  with Josephine in bourgeois peace, going to bed  early while she sat by his feet and read to him ;  and in the daytime shutting himself up with his  work, while she changed her dresses, received  visitors, strolled in the park, or pretended to  occupy herself with tapestry-work or her harp.  Alterations and repairs of the buildings interested  Napoleon so much that he had already spent  six hundred thousand francs upon them. But  when Saint-Cloud came into his hands he  abandoned his care for Malmaison to Josephine,  who in the July of 1802 got rid of Napoleon’s  architects and installed her own man Lepere.  Henceforward Malmaison was hers alone, and she  devoted to its upkeep and improvement enor-  mous sums, from now onward to the fall of the     Life at Malmaison 37^   Empire, so that Napoleon’s extravagance was  made to look almost like economy. He had  nearly rebuilt the house, and had enlarged the  grounds, originally about seventy-five acres in  extent. Josephine, taking up the task, com-  pleted or reversed the structural alterations,  filled the rooms with her priceless but most  miscellaneous belongings until they became  veritable museums, extended the grounds to  the bounds of the village of Reuil, stocked them  with exotic flowers and rare animals, and  erected in them conservatories and hot-houses on  the grandest scale. Both within and without,  the most extraordinary medley was every-  where to be seen. This was natural enough in  the case of her, furniture and collection of works  of art, since all Europe as well as Egypt had  been called upon to contribute objects, old and  new. In the grounds Josephine, by her con-  stant changes of mind, produced the same  effect. Each new idea necessitated an abandon-  ment of the old, till in the end Malmaison be-  came a garden of surprises with its temples and  obelisks, grottoed saints and classical gods,  lakes and streams, for which the main difficulty  was to find the water.     372 The Empress Josephine   Two of the great extravagances of the mistress  of Malmaison were her crazes for strange  animals and flowers ; and these continued to the  end of her days. Among the birds and beasts  were parrots, black swans, an eagle, a king  vulture, an ostrich, chamois, gazelles, flying  squirrels, kangaroos, a seal, an orang-utan,  quantities of monkeys, a flock of merino sheep,  some dwarf ponies, and a herd of Swiss cattle,  to tend which she imported a Swiss shepherd  and shepherdess, building them a Swiss chalet  in the grounds. On idle afternoons there were  all these animals to be fed, a task which never  wearied her.   Her flower garden was famous all over Europe,  and has left traces of its fame in the names of  several well-known plants. From her earliest  days in France she had looked back with longing  memories to the brilliant blooms of the West  Indies. Paintings of flowers had always deco-  rated her rooms, and the widow Beauharnais’s  bills for cut flowers had been high. As soon as  the opportunity presented itself to gratify her  taste for the more exotic specimens, she seized it  without any more thought of the cost than when  she dealt with her jewellers or miUiners. To     The Flower Garden 373   help her in her schemes she appointed, at a  salary of six thousand francs a year, a certain  Mirbel, whose previous history included deser-  tion from the army as well as interest in botany.  At once expenses began to mount at an enor-  mous rate. One hothouse was built by his  advice at the cost of ninety-eight thousand  francs. The ever-increasing figures attracted  Napoleon’s attention, and in 1805 Josephine  was forced to dispense with Mirbel. In spite of  his early record, however, he raised the name of  French horticulture and was generous in dis-  tributing acclimatised species to amateurs who  asked for them. With his departure Josephine,  although she did not cease to care for her  flowers, devoted more attention and money to  the park rather than the garden of Malmaison.  But she had already estabhshed a reputation as  a lover of flowers which is likely to linger while  her name is remembered.^   1 As early as 18O1 our own Prince Regent forwarded to her  from London some plants which had been captured by English  warships when on their way to her^a tribute to her fame as a  flower-grower. The dedication with which Ventenat, Member  of the Institute, prefaced his book on the Malmaison Garden,  may be considered of interest: “Madame, you have not  considered that the taste for flowers should be a barren study^  You have brought together under your eyes the rarest plants     374 The Empress Josephine   Malmaison, then, was Josephine’s own king-  dom, the otily one among her many residences  where she could hve the hfe which she preferred  to all others — the life of expensive simplicity,  untrammelled by etiquette. At Malmaison,  even when Napoleon was there with her, her pro-  gramme was of her own making. There was her  toilet, with the three or four changes of dress a  day ; her walks in the garden or park, with her  favourite flowers and animals to watch and tend ;  her charities in the neighbourhood, which were  on as extravagant a scale as everything else ;  her harp and her embroidery-frame, which she  rarely touched ; and little more, unless there  were visitors, except her meals and her sleep,  in that curious bedroom which has been re-  constituted now so that it presents to modern  visitors the same appearance as it had in the  lifetime of its occupant.   ” Is not this house,” pertinently asks M.  Masson, ” where, after her divorce, she was to     on French soil. By your care there have even been naturalised  several which had not yet left the deserts of Arabia and the  burning sands of Egypt, and these now, duly classified, present  to our gaze, in the beautiful garden of Malmaison, the sweetest  memorial of your illustrious husband’s conquests and the  most pleasing proof of your studious leisure.”     The Home and its Mistress 375   come to live, run into debt, and die, is it not  Josephine herself, her whole Ufe described, her  caprices recorded in stones, trees, pictures,  statues, and flowers ? Never could one, by  the aid of external things, penetrate farther into  any one’s heart than one can here. It is like  an instantaneous photograph of Josephine as  she actually was. This was her own property,  which cost more than ten million francs and>  with all the curious bric-a-brac which it con-  tained, remained incomplete, contradictory, im-  possible, a memorial of the caprices of a woman  who was kept on the grandest scale ever known.  There, in the midst of immense luxury and her  enormous accumulation of treasures, she led a  bourgeois life, among her flowers, her pet  animals waiting to be fed, the guests who gave  her occasion to change her costume, her small  dinners and her concerts after dinner, her  backgammon and her patience.”     CHAPTER XIX   A ROUND OF VISITS   SIGNS of the new order of things since the  Republic had been merged in the Empire  multiplied rapidly. The anniversary of the  25 messidor (July 14) was the great day of the  year, on which the official eulogium of the Revo-  lution was wont to be pronounced. In 1804  the commemoration was postponed until the  next day, which was a Sunday, and instead of  the usual ceremony there was a new scene  witnessed in the church of the Invalides, which  had been the Temple of Mars during the Revolu-  tion and had but lately resumed its ecclesias-  tical character. The Emperor decided that  there should be a solemn distribution of the  Stars of the Legion of Honour on this day. AU  along the road from the Tuileries to the In-  valides were drawn up two lines of troops on  either side. Josephine drove to the church in  a procession of four carriages, in which rode,   376     Religion Restored 377   beside herself, the Bonaparte princesses and  the of&cers and ladies of her household. The  gallery of the church was assigned to them and  to the members of the Diplomatic Body. In  the midst sat Josephine, dressed in a pink  tulle robe, cut very low and sown with silver  stars, while in her hair were a multitude of  diamond clusters. ” In this fresh and re-  splendent toilette,” writes Mme. de Remusat,  ” her elegant deportment, her charming smile,  and the sweetness of her glance produced such  an effect that I heard a number of people who  were present at the ceremony declare that she  eclipsed all the assembly which surrounded her.”  The Emperor arrived at the Invalides after  his wife and was received at the door by  Monseigneur du Belloy, Cardinal-Archbishop of  Paris, bearing holy water. A throne was erected  for Napoleon on the left hand of the altar, to  which he was conducted by the Archbishop.  Behind him sat all the leading civil and military  dignitaries. In the nave were the members of  the Legion of Honour, and behind the altar seven  hundred old soldiers and the pupils of the Ecole  Poly technique. Mass began, and after the  Gospel the oath of fidelity to the Empire, the     37 8 The Empress Josephine   Emperor, and the laws of the Repubhc was  administered. Napoleon then personally dis-  tributed the decorations of his order, beginning  with Cardinal Caprara, to whom he gave his  own cordon. A Te Deum followed, and the  Emperor and Empress drove back to the  Tuileries in state.   Napoleon had aleady in mind a scheme for a  far greater ceremony, in which Josephine was  destined to play a much larger part than she had  played at any of the previous pixblic shows in  which she had been associated with her husband.  When he first conceived the idea of his own  Consecration, and when he decided that Jose-  phine also should share in this great religious  blessing, we do not know. But it must have  been early in 1804 that his thoughts turned  definitely in this direction. It was a bold step  for a son of the Revolution to call in the Pope  to give his sanction to the ruler who sat in  the place of the Legitimist Bourbons. Pope  Stephen III. had consecrated Pepin, when  asking for his military aid against the Lombards ;  Stephen IV. had consecrated Louis le Debon-  naire ; and Leo III. had crowned Charlemagne  at Romfe itself. But was it consistent with     Napoleon’s Scheme 379   Napoleon’s ” Republicanism ” to ask Pius VII.  to come to France as the two Stephens had done  and to renew an old tradition in favour of a  new dynasty which had no claim on his bene-  volence beyond what the conclusion of the  Concordat had given it ? To persuade his  followers that it was so was the task which he  now set himself, and as usual when he put him-  self to bring them over to his views, relying on  his personal hold upon them, he succeeded.  But when he started for the camp at BoiHogne,  three days after the service at the Invalides,  his mind must have been full of the difficulties  which he was making for himself as well as of  his plans against England.   While maturing his scheme for the joint  Coronation and Consecration and making the  first indirect advances to the Vatican through  his chosen agents, Napoleon decided that  Josephine should spend part of August and  September at Aix-la-Chapelle. There were the  waters for her to take, and beside, he contem-  plated joining her there later for a different pur-  pose of his own. He determined that his wife  should travel in state befitting her new rank.  The party to accompany her numbered in aU     380 The Empress Josephine   about fifty persons, and the scale upon which  the journey was conducted may be gathered  from the fact that the expenses by the way  amounted to twelve thousand francs. Napoleon  himself drew up the route by which Aix was to  be reached ; and not only this, but also gave  instructions as to every detail of the trip. He  even dictated beforehand, it was said, the  answers which Josephine was to make to the  addresses of welcome which would be presented  to her, and she spent her time in the carriage  learning by heart the words which she was to  utter to complimentary prefects and mayors.  She was an Empress now, and weight would be  attached to her language. Therefore Napoleon  preferred that this language should have his  sanction before it proceeded from her lips.   The line of advance toward Aix prescribed  by Napoleon lay through Soissons, Reims,  Sedan, and Liege. No one dared to suggest a  departure from the programme, although an  incident which occurred before they reached  Liege must have tempted the travellers to  disobey. The Emperor had directed them to  drive by a road which was marked upon the  map but was not yet completed in reality. The     An Arduous Journey 381   way was therefore very rough, and in going  uphill the carriages had to be roped together.  Josephine, a poor traveller at the best of times,  was in a state of terror, cr5dng out that she must  get out of the carriage. The absent Emperor’s  orders, however, prevailed and, despite fears and  lamentations, the journey continued. Nightfall  iound the party at a small village, where nothing  could be obtained except mattresses on the floor,  and not even enough of them for ah. It was  indeed with feelings of relief that all finally  saw the houses of Aix and prepared to rest  from their fatigues. A great demonstration  awaited the Empress, who entered the town  between lines of saluting troops and under  triumphal arches. Unhappily the accommoda-  tion provided did not equal the welcome. The  so-called Palace was a ruinous building, and far  too small to meet the calls upon its space. It  became at last necessary to depart from in-  structions, and on the day after her arrival  Josephine moved into the Prefecture, which had  been put at her disposal by its occupants.   Before the arrival of the Emperor the days  at Aix were very quiet. Josephine found the  society of the place insufficient to make her for-     3^2 The Empress Josephine   get that she had come partly to take the waters.  Indeed Corvisart had accompanied her for the  express purpose of superintending her ” cure,”  which shows that not yet had all hope been  abandoned of her bearing a child to Napoleon.  There is a letter from the Emperor, dated  Ostend, August 14, in which he writes :  ” Mon amie, I have not received news from you  for several days. I should, however, have  been very glad to learn of the good effect of  the waters and in what manner you pass your  time.”   The second part of Napoleon’s question might  easily have been answered by Josephine if she  had said that she made the best of the only  possible amusements which were to be had.  There were visits to be paid in the daytime to  the local sights and manufactures, a hunt or  two, walks and picnics ; in the evening, an  indifferent German opera, relieved by a visiting  theatrical company from Paris, a ball given  by Josephine herself, and some parties for whist  or other card-games. A peaceful provincial  existence, indeed, for Josephine ! Perhaps the  most notable event was a visit to the cathedral  to see the rehcs which tradition made a gift to     AiX’Ia’Chapelle 383   Charlemagne from the Empress Irene. These  were kept in an iron chest, hidden by a wall which  was pulled down once in every seven years and  then built up again. Among them was a  small box of silver-gilt, the ability to open which  showed that the opener would be fortunate to  the end of his or her days. It was perhaps  hardly strange, seeing that Josephine’s visit  was expected, that when the box was put into  her hands she had no difficulty in opening it.  The arrival of Napoleon on September 3  made a complete change at Aix. He had gone  from Ostend back to Boulogne, where he had  been contemplating a descent upon England  which he was reluctantly compelled to abandon.  To the dismay of the Empress and her ladies,  he informed them that they must be ready to  accompany him to Mayence to meet the Prince  of Baden and his family. First, however, there  would be a further stay of ten days at Aix,  The envoy of the Emperor Francis was there,  on behalf of his master, to greet Napoleon, and  to present the letters accrediting him to the  French Court. This was Count Cobentzel, well  known previously at the Court of Catherine the  Great. Other nations had also hastened to send     384 The Empress Josephine   their representatives, and up to September 12  there was a constant round of receptions, dinners,  excursions, and other festivities. In particular,  Napoleon was anxious to be seen paying honour  to the reUcs of Charlemagne, whose name it was  useful to recaU at a time when he himself was  asking for one of the privileges of Charlemagne.  Josephine accompanied him to the tomb of the  hero, was shown a ” fragment of the true  Cross ” which he had been wont to carry about  with him, and had the good taste to refuse an  arm which she was offered from among his  remains.   An interesting letter written by Josephine  from Aix to her daughter, whose second child  was to be born in the following November,  is preserved in the collection edited by the latter.  ” The Emperor,” Josephine writes, ” has read  your letter. He seemed to me vexed at not  hearing from you sometimes. He would not  make accusations against your heart, if he knew  it as I do ; but appearances are against you.  Since he may think that you are neglecting  him, do not lose an instant in repairing the  imaginary wrong. Tell him that discretion has  made you not write to him, that your affection     Advice to Hortcnse 385   has suffered under the rule which respect im-  posed upon you ; that, as he has always shown  you a father’s kindness and tenderness, it would  be sweet to you to offer him the homage of your  gratitude. Speak to him also of the hope which  you cherish of seeing me again at the time of  your confinement. I cannot think of being far  from you at that time. Be sure, my dear  Hortense, that nothing shall prevent my coming  to look after you. So speak about it to Bona-  parte, who loves you as his own child, which  adds much to my feelings toward him.”   Both her extreme anxiety to please Napoleon  and her affection for her daughter are well  shown in this letter, one of the most effective  documents in her defence against the charges of  lack of wifely and motherly instincts.   The period allowed for the stay at Aix having  come to an end, Josephine accompanied the  Emperor to Cologne. The journey brought on  an indisposition — the usual migraine — but she  was not allowed therefore to escape the duty of  meeting the Elector of Bavaria and joining in  the festivities, which lasted for four days. On  September 16 she left for Coblentz, where  Napoleon rejoined her next day to be present at   VOL. II 4     386 The Empress Josephine   a ball given in their honour. From Coblentz  they proceeded to MayencCj Napoleon by land  and Josephine along the Rhine on a yacht put  at her disposal by the Prince of Nassau- Weilburg.  At Mayence another round awaited them of  what passes at courts for gaiety, and the severe  etiquette and long hours made Josephine and  the ladies who accompanied her pray for escape  to Paris. The town was full of German princes,  notably those of Baden, Bavaria, and Hesse ;  and the formation of the Confederation of the  Rhine, under Napoleon’s suzerainty, was plainly  foreshadowed. But it may be doubted whether  the political importance of this exacting tour  was appreciated by Josephine and her ladies,  ill-lodged for the most part, tired by their  journeys, and oppressed by a ceremonial to  which they were as yet unaccustomed. It was  not until October 2 that they were released.  On that day, leaving Napoleon to make his way  back more slowly by a different route,  Josephine started for Paris by way of Spire,  Nancy, and Chalons. She had been absent for  two months, during one month of which she had  an excellent opportunity of forming an opinion  of the more arduous part of the life of a     A Lesson Well Learnt 387   sovereign. She learnt her lesson well, and among  the characteristics which helped to persuade  Napoleon that no wife could suit him better  than Josephine was the uncomplaining way  in which she always endured the fatigues of  her station.     CHAPTER XX   THE CORONATION AT NOTRE-DAME   ON his return from the Rhine Napoleon  determined to make known to his inner  Cabinet that he not only wished to have him-  self consecrated and crowned by the Pope,  but also Josephine with him. His three confi-  dants were Joseph Bonaparte, Cambaceres, and  Lebrun. His brother made the strongest ob-  jections to the scheme, and it was with difficulty  that Napoleon restrained himself in face of  Joseph’s attitude. To make matters worse,  after leaving the council Joseph proceeded to  discuss indignantly with his personal friends  the whole project, and particularly the idea that  the Imperial princesses should carry the Em-  press’s train at the Coronation. One of these  friends repeated what he had heard to Fouch6,  remarking that naturally Mme. Joseph, being a  virtuous woman, would find such a duty pain-  ful. Fouche told his friend Josephine, through   388      POPE PIUS VII.  Fromra painting by David at tlie Louvre.     P- 388.     Josephine and Pius VII. 389   whom the remark reached Napoleon. The  Emperor was more hurt than his wife. But,  after all, Joseph had no power to do more than  protest. If the Pope could be persuaded to  come to Paris, the Emperor would be in a  position to dictate ; or so at least it must have  seemed to the latter.   The story of the relations between Josephine  and Pius VII. is a most curious and entertaining  one. They begin in January 1803, when Pius  sent a sub-legate to convey their hats to the  new French cardinals. His Hohness was ob-  viously ignorant of the early history of the First  Consul’s wife. He gave to the sub-legate a  special brief commending him to his ” beloved  daughter in Christ, Victoria Bonaparte ” (dilectce  in Christo filiee VidoricB Bonaparte) ; the mis-  take in the name can hardly have been inten-  tional. A year later, on January 13, 1804,  Josephine wrote to Pius, sending him a rochet  which she had had made for him, and for which,  by the way. Napoleon paid. Her messenger  was her cousin Louis Tascher, who was con-  veying a letter from Napoleon himself to the  Pope. Tascher brought back a letter of thanks  from Pius, who wrote to Josephine again in     39° The Empress Josephine   June — still calling her carissimcB in Christo  filicB nostrcB VidoricB, Gallorum Imperatrici —  begging her to use her influence on her hus-  band for the increase among the French^ and  the protection and preservation, of the Catholic  religion; and he bestowed upon her his apostolic  benediction.   This friendhness of the Pope toward his wife  accorded well with Napoleon’s scheme. In May  1804 he had begun to sound Pius, through the  well-dispQsed Legate Caprara, on the subject of a  journey to Paris to crown him Emperor of the  French. On the day that Caprara wrote to the  Vatican, there was an evening reception in  Josephine’s salon at Saint-Cloud. Here Na-  poleon discoursed with Caprara enthusiastically  on the advantage to rehgion which his glorious  idea promised. Caprara was prepared to do his  utmost to promote relations between Rome and  Paris. But at the Vatican the Papal Secretary  of State, Cardinal Consalvi, had no such reasons  for wishing to be on good terms with Napoleon,  and proved a considerable obstacle in the way of  a settlement, even delaying to send to Caprara  letters accrediting him to the new French  Government until June.     Napoleon and the Vatican 391   The prolonged negotiations concerning the  Pope’s visit to Paris are given very fully in M.  Masson’s volume on ” Le Sacre et le Couronne-  ment de Napoleon,” which should be read by  all who are interested in the history of an  extraordinary intrigue. The advisers of Pius  inaposed conditions with which Napoleon’s re-  cent oath ” to respect and enforce respeqt for the  laws of the Concordat and the liberty of religious  cults ” made it difficult, or rather impossible, to  comply ; and they wished the ceremony to take  place on Christmas Day, which was much later  than Napoleon intended. The Sacred College,  moreover, although they did not put the demand  into writing, cherished hopes of a restoration of  the Legations to Rome. Further difficulties  soon arose. Consalvi wished to dictate the  terms of the formal letter of invitation from  Napoleon to His HoHness. Then Cardinal  Fesch at Rome, as the Emperor’s uncle, did not  want the negotiations to proceed without his  OAvn intervention ; an intervention which hardly  tended at first to hasten the progress of affairs.  He wrote, however, in so unjustifiably sanguine  a strain to Paris that as early as the middle of  June Josephine welcomed Caprara at one of her     39’^ The Empress Josephine   receptions with the words : ” So we are to have  the Holy Father in Paris to consecrate the  Emperor, my husband ! ” The Cardinal Legate  knew better than she how matters actually stood,  and can Uttle have expected at this time that  before six months had passed her words would  be proved true.   The publication of the scheme in France  aroused immediately a strong opposition outside  Roman Catholic circles. It was with difficulty  that Napoleon could make an adequate defence  against the attacks coming from various quarters.  The double task of proving to the Pope that  religion would benefit greatly by his journey to  Paris and of proving to France that the Roman  Church would not benefit at all by that journey,  would have proved too much for most men.  His apology to France for the Consecration  ceremony cannot have sounded very convincing.  The sacre, he said, was ” an invocation of the  heavenly power on behalf of a new djmasty,  an invocation made according to the ordinary  forms of the oldest, most general, and most  popular cult of France.” To succeed at Rome  it needed all the aid of Talleyrand (ex-Bishop of  Autun !), of Fesch, and still more of falsehood.     The Pope Persuaded 393   But success came at last. On September 4  Fesch wrote to Talleyrand that the Pope had  agreed to come. He had taken on himself to  make certain promises (which undoubtedly he  wished, as a churchman, to see Napoleon carry  out) with regard to the concessions to be made  to the Papacy, the ceremonial to be observed  at Paris, and the terms of the formal letter of  invitation. Napoleon, on receiving at Cologne  news that the Pope was prepared to consent,  did not trouble to ask what promises his uncle  had made, but wrote on September 15 a letter  to Pius in which he not only passed over the  subject of concessions, but did not even pay  regard to the ordinary usage of Christian princes  in writing to His Holiness. Moreover, he  despatched the letter to Rome by the hands of  an aide-de-camp, whereas it had been stipulated  that it should be conveyed by two French  bishops. So much was Pius chagrined by the  breach of faith that he seriously contemplated  withdrawing his promise to go to Paris. It  required an adroit mixture of prayers and  menaces from Fesch to persuade him that it was  now too late to withdraw. Pius yielded, and on  November 2 commenced his journey from Rome.     394 The Empress Josephine   It had been designed by Napoleon to have the  combined Coronation and Consecration on the  i8 brumaire, the fifth anniversary of the coup  d’Etat which had made him master of France.  And, although when he left Paris for Boulogne  in the middle of July, all was in a state of uncer-  tainty, he had given orders for preparations to be  commenced at Notre-Dame and in the Pavilion  of Flora at the Tuileries respectively for the  Coronation service and the lodging of the Pope.  When it became certain that, if the Pope came at  all, he could not arrive on the i8 brumaire, it was  given out that the date would be the 5 frimaire  (November 26). Delay was both annoying and  expensive as soon as arrangements had become  definite, and civil, military, and naval repre-  sentatives had begun to crowd into Paris from  the provinces. Every day increased the cost  to the nation. Each National Guard alone,  for instance, who came to Paris received five  francs a day, half of which came from the  Treasury, half from the departmental funds.  It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the un-  fortunate Pius was harassed on his journey  by constant reminders that haste was impera-  tive. Finally he was informed that a post-     Pius in France 395   ponement had been made to the 11 frimaire  (December 2), but that the Coronation would  take place positively on that date, whether he  were in Paris or not.   A hurried and uncomfortable journey brought  the Pope on the 4 frimaire to Fontainebleau,  where a strange comedy took place. Napoleon  was unable to find a suitable French precedent  for the reception of the Holy Father by a  sovereign of France. The meeting must be  accidental, he decided. The Emperor Joseph  IL of Austria had met Pope Pius VL unex-  pectedly when out hunting. Napoleon set out  for Fontainebleau with Josephine and arranged  a hunting party in the forest for the 4 frimaire —  which was Sunday, November 25. At midday  he was at the cross of Saint-Herem, in full  hunting costume, when the Pope’s cavalcade  was observed approaching. The carriage stopped  and, while Napoleon dismounted from his horse,  Pius stepped out in his white robes and white  silk shoes on the muddy ground. The Emperor  of thirty-five years and the Pope of sixty-two  fell into each other’s atms. An Imperial carriage  drove up. Napoleon hastened to take the right-  hand seat, and with the Pope on his left drove     39^ The Empress Josephine   to the chiteau of Fontainebleau. What need  was there to discuss etiquette, when the Emperor  was making it for himself and the rest of the  world ?   A little rest was allowed to the weary Pius at  Fontainebleau. On the Sunda)’- afternoon he  paid short visits to the apartments of the  Emperor and Empress ; but it was not until next  day that the real business began. A dinner  was to take place at the chateau at which, beside  the Pope, Emperor and Empress, there were to  be present Cardinal Fesch, Joseph Bonaparte,  and Eugene Beauharnais. But in the course of  the day a terrible revelation was made ; nothing  less, indeed, than the fact that, in the eyes of  the Church, Napoleon and Josephine had never  been married at all. The blow was tremendous  to His Holiness. To quote the words of M.  Masson : ^   ” That there had been presented to him, as  though she were a legitimate wife. Napoleon’s  concubine, living with him outside the Church’s  laws, in a state of mortal sin ; that he had been  made to address to this woman eulogistic briefs,  in which he had acknowledged her as Empress   1 -‘ Le Sacre et le Couronnement de Napoleon,” 153.     A Terrible Discovery 397   of the French and his dear daughter in Christ,  and in which he commended the Cathohc Church  to her protection — this was enough. But that  it was upon this woman that he was to bestow  the greatest of the sacraments, the triple unction  given with the chrism reserved for bishops, made  of oil and balm, quia per oleum infusio graticB,  per balsamum odor bonce fames designatur — this  passed beyond all bounds.”   It is not surprising to hear that, when the dis-  closure had been made, Pius declii^ed to attend  the concert in the Empress’s room after dinner,  or that he had Napoleon notified that he would  take no part in the Coronation service until he  had received proofs that the Imperial couple had  received the sacrament of marriage. Napoleon  was placed in a difficult position. He could not  now dispense with the Pope’s assistance and  have a purely civil Coronation ceremony, for  that would prove to his Roman Catholic sub-  jects that he had attempted to trick His Holiness  and also advertise the fact that he had never  been married to Josephine, according to their  ideas. Nor could he publicly explain why he had  not yet taken the step in his own case and  Josephine’s which he had considered necessary     39^ The Empress Josephine   in the cases of his sisters and of Louis. There  was no third alternative to yielding to the de-  mand of Pius or throwing him over and entirely  undoing that work of conciliating the Church  to which he had devoted no Uttle labour since  he had established himself as the ruler of France.  He could not hesitate. He agreed to an  ecclesiastical marriage, only reserving the right  of having it performed in secret.   Accordingly, when he drove into Paris with  Pius on November 28, he was under promise  to make Josephine his wife in the eyes of the  Church as she was already in those of the law,  Josephine had returned to Paris a few hours  before him. Imbert de Saint- Amand pictures  her a devout daughter of the Church, rejoicing  in the thought that she was at last to become  Napoleon’s wife in very deed. No doubt  Josephine rejoiced at the idea of the religious  ceremony, but hardly on the grounds alleged  by Saint-Amand, for devotion to the Church  cannot be considered a prominent trait in her  character. The thought which was likely to  bring her joy was that the religious marriage  would be an additional protection to her against  divorce. She was reaping the reward of a wise     Religious Marriage at Last 399   discretion. We never hear at any period of a  plea from her to Napoleon that he should marry  her according to the rites of the Church. But,  when all was in train for the Consecration and  Coronation which Napoleon wished her to share  with him at the hands^of the Pope, she allowed  Pius to know that she was, according to his  views, living in mere concubinage with the  Emperor. Nothing more was necessary. She  had not designed the dramatic situation. She  merely took advantage of it ; and, without  the necessity of an appeal to Napoleon (as far  as we know), she gained all that she wanted.   The promised marriage took place in the  Tuileries chapel on the night of November 30.  Fesch performed the ceremony, and the only  witnesses were Talleyrand and Marshal Berthier.  A profound secrecy was observed ; but the  requirements of Pope Pius were satisfied.   There stiU remained in dispute the question  as to the ceremonial to be adopted for the  Consecration. Neither the ancient French form  nor the Roman Pontifical pleased Napoleon.  A new model, consisting of a mixture of the two,  with additions considered suitable to the tmique  occasion, was drawn up by the Minister of Public     400 The Empress Josephine   Worship, PortaHs, with the assistance of Cam-  baceres, now Grand Chancellor, de Pradt, and  Josephine’s friend S^gur. This was presented to  the Pope, and, although it was designed to mini-  mise as far as possible the subjection of State  to Church, it was substantially accepted. Pius  even agreed to Napoleon’s placing of the crown  upon his own head. As M. Masson satisfactorily  shows, the legend of Napoleon departing from  the agreed form and seizing his crown from  the Pope to put it on his head with his own  hands, although it dates from the time of Thiers  and has been widely accepted, is upset by the  text of the Pope’s prayers in the printed order  of service.   Pius showed himself very accommodating,  especially when we consider that he had obtained  no confirmation of Cardinal Fesch’s verbal pro-  mises on behalf of his nephew ; but on one  point at the very last moment he remained  firm and gained the day. The Emperor desired  that the Te Deum should not be sung until the  end of the whole service, which he intended to  include the administration of the constitutional  oath. Pius, however, on his part, had no  intention of being present at the oath, since     Arrangements for the Ceremony 401   thereby the Emperor swore to respect the hberty  of cults in France. Recognising again the  necessity of a concession, Napoleon consented  that the Te Deum should follow the enthrone-  ment and that the constitutional oath should  not be administered until Mass was finished and  the Pope had withdrawn to a side chapel. The  Pope in his turn made a last concession, absolving  Napoleon from the duty of communicating on  the morning of the Coronation ; and nothing  further remained in dispute.   On the morning of December 2, the appointed  day, the Duchesse d’Abrantes records that she  was one of those who breakfasted with the  Empress. Josephine was agitated but happy.  She spoke of all the amiable things which  Napoleon had said to her already that morning  and how he had tried her crown upon her.  Tears were falUng as she told this. Then she  related how she had begged that Lucien might  be allowed to return to Paris, but in vain.  ” Bonaparte answered me sharply, and I was  obliged to desist. I wished to prove to Lucien  that I can return good for evil. If you have  the chance, let him know,” she asked Mme.  Junot. The story is curious but not improbable.  VOL. II 5     402 The Empress Josephine   Josephine, as Napoleon had once told Lucien,  had no more gall than a pigeon. Truly Lucien  offered her a fine opportunity of returning good  for evil ; no one had ever done her greater  wrong except Alexandre de Beauhamais.   The two Napoleons were masters in the art of  organising public shows, but it may be doubted  whether any of the great occasions under either  Empire^ even including the marriage of Napoleon  III. and the Empress Eugenie nearly fifty  years later, were distinguished by such magni-  ficence as was seen at Notre-Dame and in Paris  generally on December 2, 1804. The celebra-  tions began at six o’clock on the preceding  evening, all the heights in the city being illumin-  ated with Bengal Hghts, while artillery salutes  were fired regularly up to midnight. The pre-  parations for the procession began before  daylight, and the doors of Notre-Dame were open  as early as six for the admission of those who  were to be present at the service. The streets  from the Tuileries to the Cathedral were hned  on either side by a triple row of troops in the  new uniforms which had been given out to them  on the 18 brumaire. At nine o’clock Pope Pius  left his rooms in the PaviUon of Flora and     The Procession to Nbtre’Dame 403   drove to Notre-Dame in a coach drawn by  eight dapple-grey horses, escorted by a squad-  ron of dragoons. The coach itself had been  Josephine’s and had been speeialiy prepared for  the Pope on this occasion. At half-past ten  His Hohness appeared in the Cathedral and  made his way to his throne. The morning was  intensely cold, but the long-suffering Pius  mounted to his seat and sat waiting for mOre  than an hour. In his singularly pale face,  almost as white as his robes, his eyes were closed  and only his mouth could be seen moving in  prayer. During the long wait few signs were  to be seen of the subjection of State to Church  which some of the Emperor’s subjects so  dreaded.   Napoleon and Josephine left the Tuileries  about half-past ten, half an hour later than the  appointed time. Josephine is perhaps not to  be blamed for the delay, for one of her good  points in Napoleon’s eyes was that she never  kept him waiting, however elaborate her toiliet.  The departure from the Palace was announced  by the firing of gums, and all along the route the  crowd was in a great state of excitement. The  ^ze of the procession and the narrowness of the     404 The Empress Josephine   streets, with the troops in front and the dense  masses of sightseers behind, made progress very  slow. But this gave more opportunity to wit-  ness the details of the show as it passed. The  procession was composed of twenty-five carriages  in all, drawn by one hundred and fifty-two  horses, of six regiments of cavalry, and a vast  staff of mounted officers. At the head rode  Murat, Governor of Paris. The carriages of the  masters of the ceremonies, of the great officials,  and of the Imperial princesses preceded the  Emperor, those of the officers and ladies of the  various households followed. In the centre of  aU came the Imperial coach, drawn by eight  dun-coloured horses with white plumes upon  their heads. The coach had so much glass in  its construction that almost the whole of the  interior could be seen. The framework was  heavily gilt and decorated with medallions,  palms, and branches of laurel and ohves, while  on the top was a large model of Charlemagne’s  crown upborne on an altar supported by four  golden eagles. The inside was hned with white  velvet, embroidered with gold, and the ceiling  and sides were adorned with a winged thunder-  bolt, a crowned N, olive and laurel wreaths,     The Dresses 405   stars and swarm of bees, the symbol which  Napoleon had borrowed from the Merovingian  Childeric. The Emperor sat on the right hand,  with Josephine at his left and Joseph and Louis  facing them. Napoleon was in a Spanish  costume of purple velvet, embroidered in gold,  with a mantle to match, and covered with jewels.  His brothers were in white velvet costumes, cut  like his own. Josephine wore a long-sleeved  waistless robe of white satin, sown with gold  bees and embroidered with both gold and silver,  while a profusion of diamonds covered her cor-  sage and the upper parts of the sleeves. A  white velvet mantle, with gold embroidery, hung  from her shoulders, and gold-embroidered white  velvet shoes were on her feet. From the bills,  which were preserved, it appears that her robe  alone cost ten thousand francs, her mantle seven  thousand, and her shoes six hundred and fifty.  But all this was eclipsed by her diadem of four  rows of pearls united by foliage of diamonds,  which cost more than a million.   It was eleven o’clock when the coach reached  the Cathedral. Napoleon and Josephine had  now to clothe themselves afresh. Napoleon put  on a white satin tunic and knee-breeches, with     4o6 The Empress Josephine   a huge purple velvet mantle, embroidered in  gold and lined with ermine ; while on his head  he wore a laurel wreath in gold. Josephine had  another white satin robe, ornamented with gold  fringes, which figure in the bill at ten thousand  francs the robe and over one thousand the  fringes. Her new mantle was no less than  twenty ells in length, purple in colour hke her  husband’s and sown by golden bees. Its em-  broidery had cost sixteen hundred francs, and  its Russian ermine lining ten thousand. In  order that her diamond-decked breast might not  be covered, the mantle was fastened to the left  shoulder only and by a clasp at the waist,  making its weight very awkward to bear.  Five princesses, all in white satin embroidered  with gold and with white plumes and diamonds  in their hair, were deputed to assist her in  the task. These were the three sisters of the  Emperor, Joseph’s wife Juhe, and her own  daughter Hortense. To induce his sisters to  perform this act of service to Josephine had cost  Napoleon many displays of anger, and it was  only after threats of exile from France that they  had consented to hold — they would not ” carry ”  — the train. In compensation, each princess         u     JOSEPHINE.   From n sketch by David for his picture of the Coronation.     p. 406     A Blaze of Colour 407   was allowed to have an officer of her own house-  hold to follow her and uphold her mantle. The  resentment of Josephine’s sisters-in-law was  not appeased, however, according to the rumours  of the day.   The Emperor and Empress advanced from the  vestry at a quarter to twelve, amid a gorgeous  mass of colour, in which the prominent hues  were the violet and gold of the heralds, green  and black of the ushers, green and gold of the  pages, violet and silver of the masters of cere-  monies, blue and gold of the marshals, and the  scarlets, greens, and blues of the officers of  the Imperial Household. The Cardinal Arch-  bishop of Paris, assisted by another cardinal,  came forward to meet them with holy water  and an address of welcome, and as soon as they  had been conducted to their thrones the Pope  arose from his and came down to intone the  ” Veni Creator.”   The whole ceremony at Notre-Dame occupied  nearly three hours, including the administration  of the constitutional oath, during which the  Pope and his suite withdrew. Not only cold  assailed the spectators on this bitter December  day, but also hunger, although hawkers of light     4o8 The Empress Josephine   refreshment were allowed to enter the Cathedral.  But for the music (of which there was so much  that the band-parts comprised more than seven-  teen thousand pages) the greater part of the  congregation could enjoy but little of the service  We quote the words of M. Masson ^ :   ” In accordance with Napoleon’s wishes, the  details of the first part of the ceremony were  only seen ‘ by priests or by men who through  the superiority of their intellect had the faith  of the eighth century.’ So the oath, the an-  ointings, the blessing, and the delivery of the  insignia passed unnoticed. It was with difficulty  that the Emperor was seen when, ascending to  the altar and turning toward the congregation,  he crowned himself ; he disappeared as he came  down the steps and proceeded to crown the  Empress. The advance toward the Grand  Throne for the enthronement produced a sensa-  tion. The Empress mounted the first five  steps and then the weight of the mantle, no  longer upheld by the princesses, who remained  at the foot of the steps, caused her to stumble   1 -‘ Le Sacre et le Couronnement de Napoleon,” 209-10.  Those interested in the order of the service should consult  M. Masson’s book ; and also Imbert de Saint-Amand, ” La  Cour de I’lmp^ratrice Jos6phine,” 66 fi.     A Strange Mishap 409   and almost carried her backwards. She was  obliged to summon all her nerve-force to  straighten herself and continue the ascent.  Had her train-bearers planned this revenge ?  It was believed so. What exculpates them is  that a similar mishap befell the Emperor.  He too stumbled and was seen to make a sHght  movement backward ; but with a vigorous  effort he recovered himself and quickly mounted  the steps.”   The enthronement over, the Pope kissed the  Emperor’s cheek and pronounced the ” Vivat  Imperator in cBternum.” The two orchestras  struck into the music of the Abbe Rose. At  the end of the Mass the Pope retired with his  cardinals and clergy, while Napoleon took the  constitutional oath. A herald then proclaimed  ” The most glorious and august Emperor  Napoleon, Emperor of the French, consecrated  and enthroned.” The Cathedral clergy gathered  about the throne to lead out the Emperor and  Empress. The magnificent ceremony was at  an end, and without a mishap. It was true  that there had been the stumbles on the steps,  Napoleon had yawned once, the Archbishop’s  opening address had been cut short by a sign     4IO The Empress Josephine   from Duroc (plainly inspired by his master),  and as the party left the Cathedral Napoleon  had been seen to thrust his sceptre into Cardinal  Fesch’s back to attract his attention. But  otherwise nothing had marred the dignity of  the occasion.   Josephine, in particular, had acted admirably  and appeared perfect. She had looked more  like twenty-five than forty-one, says Mme.  de Remusat. The Emperor was well pleased  with the day and with her. Dining alone with  her at the Tuileries that night, after they had  driven back with her over the long route chosen  for the return to the Palace, cheered the whole  way by enthusiastic crowds, he had insisted  that she should keep on her head the crown  ” which became her so weU.” Had she not  every reason for satisfaction also ? No one  now could cast any doubt upon her position as  legitimate wife and Empress, and there could  hardly have been in her mind on this day  any lingering fear of a divorce. The combined  Coronation and Consecration was certainly an  extraordinary honour for Josephine, one which  no Queen of France since Marie de Medici had  received ; and not even she at the same time     The Empress’s Tdumph 4 1 1   as her husband. Marie de Medici^ moreover,  had been a possible future Regent, whereas on  Napoleon’s death the regency would not fall  to Josephine. ” To consecrate and crown  Josephine,” says M. Masson, ” was an act of  sentiment and had nothing to do with politics or  with reason.” This act of sentiment was the  supreme witness of Napoleon’s love for his wife.  It was manifested in httle more than a year  after the period when he was supposed to be  growing tired of her, and might well have been  taken to prove the falsity of such suggestions.  It was true that Napoleon did not take  much trouble to conceal any longer that he  had occasional attractions toward other women.  At this very period of the Coronation he cast  his eyes upon a Mme. Duchatel, the pretty young  wife of an old Councillor of State, who had re-  cently joined the Empress’s Household. Jose-  phine suspected infidelity at the time when the  Pope was being received at Fontainebleau, but  thought that it was by Marshal Ney’s wife that  Napoleon’s fancy was caught. She discovered  the truth, according to Mme. de Remusat, by  actually surprising the guilty lady with her  husband at Saint-Cloud. There was a violent     412 The Empress Josephine   scene, where Napoleon, almost on the eve of the  Coronation, if we may believe the memoirists,  angrily revived the talk of divorce. But tears,  and a reconciliation, soon followed, and Jose-  phine did not even dismiss Mme. Duchatel from  her Household. She had begun to recognise  that it would be well to allow the Emperor some  distraction — ” the amusements,” in fact, ” in  which his affection had no part.”     CHAPTER XXI   THE ITALIAN CORONATION   THE Coronation of Napoleon and Josephine  was followed by a series of day and night  festivities in honour of Emperor and Empress,  organised by the public bodies and various  sections of the community — assuredly one of  the most elaborate series of entertainments  known in history. Money was spent by the  million of francs. The cost of the ceremony of  December 2 was only allowed by Napoleon  to have been three millions. In reality it  probably cost ten millions, while enemies of the  Government reckoned the figure at fifty to sixty  millions. And the expense continued long after  the day of the Coronation. On December 3  was the popular fete all over Paris, when the  city became hke a fair with its dancing-halls,  roundabouts, and shows. Food was distributed  free of charge, so that in spite of the cold the  mob was in good spirits. Heralds also went   4’3     4H The Empress Josephine   about scattering commemorative medals, of  which thirteen thousand were struck in gold  and seventy-five thousand in silver. At night  fireworks and illuminations kept sightseers out  in the streets, heedless of the temperature.   The municipality of Paris was among the  foremost to make a display of its loyalty ; and  on such a scale that the debt incurred took  several years to clear off. The entertainment  began with the arrival at the Hotel de Ville of  the Emperor, Empress, and the Princes Joseph  and Louis, in the same coach and in the same  costume as in the procession of December 2.  In the Throne Room Josephine found waiting  for her a silver-gilt toilet set, afterwards valued  at more than fourteen thousand francs, which  the President of the Municipal Council begged  her to accept in a most flattering speech. A  banquet followed in the newly named Hall of  Victories, where Napoleon and Josephine dined  at a table by themselves raised on a platform  above the rest of the guests. A symphony by  Haydn accompanied the dinner, and at its con-  clusion there was a great firework display, one  of the set-pieces representing Napoleon crossing  the Saint-Bernard. At the end of all came a      NAPOLEON IN THE IMPERIAL ROBES.   From an en,:<raviiig; after the picture by F. Giirard.     Festivities in Paris 415   ball, in which seven hundred people took  part.   So the festivities went on, the Marshals of  the Empire, the Senate, and the Legislative  Body all striving to outdo the city of Paris,  while at the Tuileries the Emperor and Empress  played the part of hosts in the manner dear to  Napoleon’s heart. Among their guests was one  who found the gaiety a little excessive ; namely.  Pope Pius VII., who was observed discreetly to  retire when the banquet at the Tuileries on  December 4 gave place to a ballet in which  Mme. Vestris and her companions played before  the assembled company a ” pastoral diversion.”   However, His Holiness did not tire of Paris,  it appeared. He made a stay of four months,  giving audiences, visiting the churches, and  seeing the sights. People began to talk of  Napoleon having asked him to divide his year  between Rome and Paris. But, as a matter  of fact, the prolonged visit was not entirely in  accordance with the wishes of Napoleon, who  may have feared to see his guest becoming too  popular. Pius had another reason for his stay.  Fesch’s rash promises remained unfulfiUed, and  Napoleon showed no signs of being willing to     4^6 The Empress Josephine   fulfil them. Finally, seeing that there was no  prospect of obtaining the restoration of the  Legations to Rome nor of upsetting the liberty  of cults in France, Pius left Paris on April 4,  1805. There was no breach with the Emperor,  however, who did not take leave of the Pope until  they were both in Ttirin, Pius on his way to the  Vatican and Napoleon bound for Milan, where  his Italian Coronation was to take place ; and  as he passed through Parma in early May Pius  sent a brief praying the Emperor to preserve  his attachment for him and to present his  greetings to his ” august spouse.” In the  Milan ceremony he was to play no part.   Before leaving Paris Pope Pius performed an  act very gratifying to Josephine in baptizing,  in the Empress’s apartments at Saint-Cloud,  Napoleon-Louis, second son of Hortense and  Louis Bonaparte. This was the child about  whose birth Josephine manifested her anxiety  at Aix. He was born in November 1804, and  his baptism was delayed in order that it might  be performed on March 27 by the Holy Father,  in the presence of Emperor and Empress, the  two parents, Mme. Letizia Bonaparte, lately  arrived from Italy, and other members of the     A Journey to Italy 417   Imperial family, as well as the most distinguished  personages of the Court.   Pius left the Tuileries, as has been said, on  April 4. Napoleon and Josephine, however,  started for Italy from Fontainebleau several  days before him. On the 2nd they were at  Troyes and on the loth at Lyon, which they  entered after passing under a triumphal arch  erected more than a mUe outside the town.  From Lyon Josephine wrote to her daughter  that unanimous acclamations had greeted the  Emperor everywhere. ” He has won every  heart ; and in the general picture of joy and  affection toward his person it would be difficult  for me to say which town has most distinguished  itself.” She added : ” It is with great joy that  I see the time approaching when I can embrace  Eugene ; but my pleasure will not be complete,  and while meeting one of my children I feel  much sorrow in the separation from another who  is equally dear to me.”   Napoleon had not gone to Italy on a pleasure-  trip. On the contrary, he had some very im-  portant business on hand. He had arranged  to foUow up his Coronation at Paris as Emperor  of the French by another Coronation at Milan   VOL. II 6     41 8 The Empress Josephine   as King of Italy. Josephine accompanied him,  but not in order that she should share his second  coronation. He did not intend to set her beside  him on the throne of Italy, of which she must  be Queen only by courtesy. It is true that at  Milan she was assigned an ItaUan Household,  drawn from the ladies of the best famihes of the  city, and that she was universally spoken of as  the Queen, or Empress and Queen. But she  was not Hkely to mistake the meaning of these  honours when the ceremony of May 26 took  place, as will be seen.   Before proceeding to the Lombard capital,  Napoleon made a short stay in the chateau of  Stupinigi at Turin, whence he wrote to his  mother his cruel letter concerning Elizabeth  Patterson, Jerome’s American wife, and sent  orders to Jerome himself to meet him at Milan.  From Turin he proceeded to Alessandria, and  took the opportunity to give before Josephine,  on the neighbouring battlefield of Marengo,  an actual representation of the fight of five  years ago. To complete the realism he had  brought to him the original uniform and hat  which he had worn at Marengo. On the  following day. May 6, he received the wretched     Milan’s Homage 419   Jerome into his presence and promised him  pardon if he would renounce his wife ; which  Jerome, in effect, did.   On May 8, amid the salutes of artillery.  Napoleon entered Milan with Josephine at his  side. He found waiting to welcome him the  Archbishop of the city, who was none other than  Cardinal Caprara, his ally in the negotiations  with Pius VII. He could calculate, therefore,  through Caprara’ s influence, on a warm re-  ception in Milan above all other Italian towns  and on the co-operation of the Lombard nobility  in gathering together a suitable court. He  hastened to make a good impression by re-  pairing at once with Josephine to the Duomo  and kneeling with her there before the altar.  He did not work in vain, and during the whole  time of his stay at Milan he and Josephine  were overwhelmed with attentions and flattery  from every class of society. If Josephine was  but a courtesy Queen, she received at least  as much homage as if her position were as  official in Italy as in France. On May 25, the  eve of the Coronation, there was a reception  at the Monza Palace to the high Italian  clergy, at which the Archbishop of Bergamo     420 The Empress Josephine   complimented her in the following extravagant  terms :   ” Madame, if Charity were to descend from  heaven to redress the ills of humanity, she  would seek no other lodging than the heart of  a queen adored by her subjects. The feeling  of love, gratitude, and respect which animates  all your subjects is what brings to your feet  all the bishops of the Kingdom of Italy. Happy  as they are in finding in your august spouse the  most sublime elements of glory and genius, and  in you, madame, all that goodness has that is  worthy of adoration, it only remains for them  to offer up prayers for the prosperity of your  reign and to bless Heaven for combining in the  hearts of their sovereigns all that can command  affection and respect for supreme power.”   The Coronation took place in the Cathedral  on the following morning. Josephine accom-  panied her sister-in-law the Princess Elisa  Bacciochi to seats reserved for them on a plat-  form in the choir. She could now apprecijate  the difference between her positions at Notre-  Dame and at the Duomo. There was no holy  water for her on her entry, no throne for her  near the altar, no princesses to hold her train.     Napoleon King of Italy 421   With one page in attendance like Elisa, and  having no precedence over her, she took her  place in the choir, nothing more than a dis-  tinguished spectator of the proceedings/ She  did but watch Napoleon receive from the hands  of the Archbishop of Bologna the sword, mantle,  and ring, and take from the altar himself the  Iron Crown of Lombardy, putting it on his head  and crying ” Dio me I’ha data, guai a chi la  toccherd ” (” God has given it to me, let him  who shall touch it beware ! “). The words  seem to have struck Napoleon pleasantly. In  high good humour the same afternoon, after the  return to the Monza Palace, he repeated them in  French to Mme. Avrillon, Josephine’s reader,  rubbing his hands together as he did so.   The Coronation being over and the herald  having proclaimed ” Napoleon, Emperor of the  French and King of Italy, is crowned and   ‘ M. Masson says, in his ” Josephine Imp6ratrice at Reine,”  that Napoleon, reflecting on the sacre at Paris, regarded that  ceremony as an accident without consequence. Previously  Josephine had no fixed place at political ceremonies ; nor did  she have any such place afterwards. The sacre (he repeats)  was, as it were, an accident and a surprise ; and in future  Josephine had no part in the great national solemnities,  although at the chief family events, baptisms and marriages,  and at the Court ffites, concerts, balls, banquets, etc., she  continued alwaj’s to take the first place.     422 The Empress Josephine   enthroned ; long live the Emperor and King ! ”  a Te Deum was celebrated the same day at  the church of Saint Ambrose, which Josephine  attended with her husband.   All Lombardy was at their feet and only  looking for opportunities to manifest its en-  thusiasm. One small incident may be taken as  tjrpical of the state of affairs generally. There  was an exhibition going on at Brera, which  Napoleon and Josephine went over from Milan  to see. The crush was great, and every one  pressed forward to see the Imperial couple. As  they went up some stairs, an old man of eighty,  in his anxiety to get a view of them from in  front, stumbled and was knocked down by  other spectators. Josephine, who was close to  the old man, hastened forward and helped him  to rise to his feet, while the Emperor came up  and promised to look after him. Naturally  cheers and blessings arose among the onlookers ;  and, naturally too, the story came out a few  days later in the ” Moniteur.” No doubt the  whole affair was entirely genuine and accidental,  as was a somewhat similar occurrence at the  time of the engagement of Mile, de Montijo, after-  wards the Empress Eugenie, to Napoleon III.,     Honour for Eugene 423   which was also duly recorded in the ” Moniteur.”  But both accidents were very conveniehtly  timed, it must be allowed.   Josephine’s chief satisfaction in coming to  Italy was that she was able to see once more  her son Eugene, as she had written to Hortense  from Lyon in April. Napoleon, too, had not  come to Italy entirely without thought of his  step-son. On becoming King of Italy, he felt it  due to his subjects to keep at Milan a properly  accredited representative of himself, some one  more than a mere figurehead, yet one on whom he  could rely not to depart from the policy laid  down by himself. He had already offered the  post to Joseph, had in fact offered to make him  King if he would renounce all right of succession  to the throne of France. But Joseph had  clung to the shadow and refused the substance.  Napoleon had then thought of nominating to  Italy Napoleon-Charles, Louis’s son, reserving  the regency to himself until the child should  be of age, since the idea of Louis himself as  regent did not appeal to him. It would be  necessary for him formally to adopt the child,  however ; and nothing would persuade Louis to  consent to this, although he offered to go to     4^4 The Empress Josephine   Italy himself with his wife and children. In  refusing the Emperor’s proposal, he had alluded  to ” rumours previously current about this  infant,” which so annoyed Napoleon that he  broke off the discussion at once. Overtures  made by Lucien, who would not have despised  the crown of Italy, came to nothing ; for the  condition of reconciliation with his brother  was still that he should put away his wife,  and no bribes could induce Lucien to do this.  Jerome had not yet gained full pardon, so that  all the Bonaparte brothers were now out of the  question. If the Emperor went outside the  circle of his immediate family, whom could he  find better than Eugene Beauharnais ? Eugene  had always shown affection to him and much  more discretion than his own brothers. He was  now twenty-four years of age, had had an  honourable military career, and was a success in  society. He had given no proof of administra-  tive ability, it was true, but then the oppor-  tunity had never been offered to him. At any  rate, Eugene might be given a trial. He was  nominated as Viceroy, without any guarantee  that he might not be replaced, and Was left with  all the superficial appearance of power, while     Tears and Consolation 425   Napoleon retained, for the present at least, the  reality. The high affairs of the kingdom were  conducted through Paris still.   The idea of parting with Eugene after the  time which she had spent in his company in  Milan was painful to Josephine. Mile, Avrillon  teUs a story of Napoleon coming upon her one  day as she wiped away her tears ; not an un-  common sight, but the adoration of Italy might  have been expected to keep her in cheerful  spirits. He divined the cause and said to her :  ” You are crying, Josephine. That is not  sensible of you. You cry because you must be  separated from your son. If the absence of  your children causes you so much grief, guess  what I must feel. The affection which you show  for them makes me feel sorely the unhappiness  of having none myself.” This reminder of the  fact that she had borne him no children can  hardly have consoled Josephine ; but Napoleon’s  consolations were often painful.   The festivities in Italy continued up to the  last day of their stay. After leaving Milan, they  paid visits in succession to a number of towns, in-  cluding those of the celebrated ” Quadrilateral,”  and on June 30 they arrived at Genoa, which     426 The Empress Josephine   at the request of its Doge and his Government  was to be merged into the French Empire. The  city greeted them with a week of entertainments,  of which the most notable was an aquatic fete  in the middle of the harbour, where a temple  and grounds had been constructed upon five  large rafts moored together. Here they were  entertained by music, while fireworks from the  mole and illuminations on land and sea lit up the  scene. At the end the temple was rowed over  bodily to the shore and landed Napoleon and  Josephine at the steps of the Doria Palace.   But the brilliant spectacles and enthusiastic  receptions had lasted long enough. On reaching  Turin from Genoa Napoleon got news from  France which made it necessary to return at  once. Intending to travel at full speed, he pro-  posed to Josephine that she should follow him  at her leisure. She showed a great reluctance  to let him go alone and besought him to take  her with hun. At last he said : ” Well, then,  you won’t have your ordinary migraine ? If  you promise me that, I will take you.” She  promised and, strange to say, kept her promise,  though they travelled in the one carriage, which  did not stop until they reached Fontainebleau     A Sudden Home’coming 427   on July II. They had been absent for one  hundred days, during which time there had  hardly been a break in the round of pomp and  adulation. To furnish a piquant contrast to the  high living of Italy, their home-coming had been  so rapid that no one expected them at Fontaine-  bleau on the evening when they arrived and no  preparations had been made to receive them.  There was not even a meal ready, and the porter  at the chateau, who had been Napoleon’s cook  in Egypt, as it happened, was called upon to  provide his master and mistress with an impro-  vised supper from what food he could lay his  hands upon.     CHAPTER XXII   JOSEPHINE IN GERMANY   THE news which had put so abrupt an end  to the triumphal tour in Italy was that  of the formation of a general European coalition  against France, which called for the immediate  presence in Paris of the Emperor. It was  against Austria that Napoleon determined to  strike the first blow, and at the end of September  he started for the German frontier. Josephine,  who had just spent her usual season at Plom-  bieres, accompanied him as far as Strasbourg,  where he made a four days’ stay ; and when he  went on to take command of the Army in the  field, instead of returning to Paris she continued  still at Strasbourg. The reason for her stay here  is not quite so obvious as the Court historians  would make out. According to them, Jose-  phine’s anxiety to receive news quickly frotn the  scene of war was such that she persuaded  Napoleon to allow her at least to remain near   428     Before Austcrlitz 429   the Rhine, if he could not take her with him.  No letters from her to him exist to show whether  she made this plea alone or urged other reasons  as well. But from his brief notes written to  her during the campaign at Austerlitz, it is evi-  dent that he agreed to allow her to come to  him as soon as possible.^ Naturally, one would  think, her place would have been in Paris during  the Emperor’s absence, if only to stimulate the  life of the capital. Napoleon, however, does not  suggest her return thither. There was some  reason why both he and she thought her presence  there at the moment unnecessary or undesirable.  It appears most likely that the ill-will of the  Bonaparte family was feared, especially after  the assignment of Italy to Eugene instead of  to one of the brothers. Napoleon was under no     ‘ “I should much have wished to see you ; but do not count  on my summoning you except in the event of an armistice  or of winter quarters ” (Augsburg, October 23, 1805). ” The  moment it is possible I will send for you ” (Vienna, November  15). ” I shall be very glad to see you the moment affairs  allow me to do so ” (Vienna, November 16). It may be noted  that Napoleon’s letters of this period, though invariably  affectionate, are indeed very different from those of his first  campaign, for instance. As Imbert da Saint-Amand truly  says (” La Cour de I’lmpdratrice Josephine,” 193), they are  ” the letters of a good husband, calmed by nearly ten years of  married life, but in no way the letters of a lover.”     43° The Empress Josephine   illusions now as to the treatment which his wife  would be likely to reeivce in his absence at the  hand of his own kinsmen and kinswomen. But  doubtless also he allowed himself to be influenced  by appeals from Josephine about her anxiety to  get news from him earlier than she would be  able to if she went back to Paris — appeals partly  genuine and partly cloaking her growing terror  at separation from him who was the source of  all that now made life pleasant to her.   Josephine lived at Strasbourg in the old epis-  copal palace, close to the Cathedral, where once  Marie-Antoinette had resided as dauphine.  Having been converted during the Revolution  into a municipal building, it had been offered  by the town as an Imperial palace when the  Empire began, and had been restored sufliciently  well to make it a more comfortable dwelling  than most of the so-called palaces in the Rhine  neighbourhood at which Josephine occasionally  stopped. Here she spent two months in the  midst of a steadily growing state as the Emperor’s  successes increased. Receptions, balls, concerts,  theatricals, and dinners occupied her evenings  more and more, and visitors hastened to pay  their respects to her, both French, notables on      NAPOLEON.  From n engraving: after the picture by C. Steube.     Conduct to Order 43 1   their way to join the army and German princes  eager to win her favour. Josephine threw  herself wholeheartedly into the task of pleas-  ing Strasbourg and its visitors. The town was  delighted with her. Seldom had it enjoyed so  brilliant a social triumph, and never had its  tradespeople so lavish a purchaser among them.  Napoleon was not there, as in Paris, to keep  jewellers, milliners, and all the other tempters  from the door, and Josephine could without  restraint gratify her inordinate loVe of spending  money. It was with genuine feelings of sorrow  that the Strasbourgers heard of her approaching  departure. On November 16 Napoleon wrote  to her to go to Munich by way of Baden and  Stuttgart. ” You wiU give at Stuttgart,” he  commanded, ” a wedding present to the Princess  Paul. Fifteen to twenty thousand francs will be  sufficient ; the rest will be for presents at  Munich to the daughters of the Electress of  Bavaria.” He prescribed her conduct in  Germany : “Be polite, but receive all the  homage that is offered. Everything is owed to  you, and you owe nothing except politeness.”  Napoleon the director of his wife’s behaviour was  not forgotten in the preparations for Austerlitz.     432 The Empress Josephine   Josephine left Strasbourg on November 28,  escorted by detachments of infantry and cavalry  and sped by artillery salutes and the cheers of  the townspeople. At Rastadt she was met by  the Elector of Baden, an old man of seventy-  six, who had already visited her at Stuttgart.  Before she reached Carlsruhe the Margrave  Louis met her and conducted her under the  triumphal arches erected by the town and past  the hundred-feet high column bearing the  inscription ” JosephincB, Galliarum Augusta.”  Volleys of artillery, peals of bells, and a general  illumination welcomed her entry that evening  into Carlsruhe when the Elector brought her  to the palace prepared for her stay. Similar  scenes awaited her at Stuttgart on the night of  November 30, Wiirtemberg’s ruling family con-  ceding to her in full the homage which Napoleon  had declared to be her due, escorting her to the  Bavarian frontier three days later, and only  taking leave of her after a magnificent luncheon  at the chateau of Geppingen. Her arrival at  Munich on December 5 found her in such a state  of collapse that she was obliged to retire to  bed as soon as she arrived. But, much as the  combination of travelling and constant festivities     Busy Days 433   always fatigued her, there was little time for  rest. It was perhaps therefore excusable, at  Munich at least, that her letters to her husband  were never written. We find him addressing  her from Brunn on December 19 in this playfully  reproachful strain :   ” Great Empress, not a letter fjrom you since  your departure from Strasbourg. You have been  to Baden, Stuttgart, Munich, without writing  a word to us. That is not very amiable nor  loving ! I am still at Brunn. The Russians  have gone ; there is a truce. In a few days I  shall see what I can do. Deign from the height  of your splendour to pay a little attention to  your slaves.   ” Napoleon.”   There was a great deal to be done by Josephine  at Munich. While the electoral family was  lavishing on her aU its attentions, Josephine in  return was distributing a shower of presents  in accordance with Napoleon’s wishes. She  expended over eighty thousand francs on  diamonds, etc., to be given away in Munich. To  the Electress she presented a cashmere shawl ;  an act which must have cost Josephine a pang,   VOL II. 7     434 The Empress Josephine   for it was the first she had ever had. She moved  in a constant stream of gifts, generous and  amiable.   As might be imagined, there was policy  underlying the conduct which Napoleon had  enjoined on his wife. How much foreknow-  ledge Josephine had of this policy may be  gathered from a letter which she wrote to Hor-  tense from Munich. There is no date, but her  solitary stay at the Bavarian capital lasted from  December 5 to December 31, and the letter  appears to belong to the early part of the  visit.   ” Here I am at Munich, my dear Hortense,”  she wrote, ” a little tired but in good health.  I have received your letter and was very  pleased with it ; but I am extremely surprised  at the rumours of which you speak. Surely  if there had been really a question of your  brother’s marriage, you are the first person  whom I would have told. Of course I heard  that the German papers spoke of it, while I was  at Strasbourg. I remember that at that time  everybody believed in this marriage. I found  myself the only one not in the secret. You  know very well, my dear, that the Emperor, who     A Bride for Eugene 435   has never^said a”_^word to me on the subject,  would not marry Eugdrie without my being  informed. However, I accept the public  rumours, I should much like her as a daughter-  in-law. She has a charming character and is as  beautiful as an angel ; she combines a beautiful  face and as beautiful a figure as I know. …”  The rumour of which Josephine spoke was  to the effect that Eugene Beauharnais was to  marry Augusta, daughter of the Elector of  Bavaria. The Princess was already engaged  to Prince Charles of Baden, who was brother of  her father’s second wife. But Napoleon did not  intend to let this obstacle stand in the way of his  wishes (which the rumour accurately represented),  and he had already in mind the scheme which  he soon put into execution with regard to  Prince Charles of Baden. Why Josephine was  kept in the dark and allowed to gather from  popular gossip the match proposed for her son,  we do not know. She was assigned, however,  an important part in bringing the Elector’s  family over to favour the scheme and played  it well, if unconsciously. When the Emperor  came to Munich his wife fell back into a humble  place ; but in her twenty-six days without     43 6 The Empress Josephine   him she paved the way for the success of his  project.   Peace between France and Austria was signed  at Presburg on December 26. The treaty in-  cluded provisions very advantageous to Bavaria,  Wiirtemberg, and Baden, the first two elector-  ates being turned into kingdoms. In return  for his favour, Napoleon required of the recipi-  ents their consent to three marriages — those of  Augusta of Bavaria to Eugene Beauharnais,  of Charles of Baden to Stephanie Beauharnais,  and of Catherine of Wiirtemberg to Jerome  Bonaparte, who was now to receive his reward  for abandoning Ehzabeth Patterson.   It was after midnight of the last day of  1805 and by the light of torches that Napoleon  entered Munich and rejoined the wife whom  he had quitted three months ago. He lost no  time before bringing about the first of his  international weddings. In spite of the efforts  of Josephine, the way was not yet quite clear.  The Elector Maxmilian Joseph, now King of  Bavaria, was wilUng that his daughter should  become Eugene’s wife. But the Electress Caro-  line was not won over, even by Josephine’s  cashmere shawl. The former Baden Princess     The Munich Wedding 437   was attached to her brother and much wished  him to marry her step-daughter. She was not  dazzled by the prospect of the Beauharnais  alHances. Moreover, she had not forgiven Napo-  leon for the execution of the Due d’Enghien,  captured after a scandalous violation of the  territory of Baden. Napoleon laid siege to  her now with such amiable persistency that he  excited Josephine’s jealousy. Caroline was only  thirty years of age and was reputed a charming  woman. But Napoleon had no intention be-  yond gaining her consent to Augusta’s marriage  with Eugene, and in this he succeeded, a,lthough  he considered it advisable to stop in Munich  himself until the wedding should take place  under his own eyes. On January 4 he wrote  summoning Eugene to him. The young Viceroy  arrived six days later, and was the innocent  cause of a curious scene. As soon as he reached  Munich he was seized upon by his step-father.  It was morning, and Josephine was not yet out  of bed. When, however, she learnt that her  son was in the Palace and had not come to see  her first of all, she gave way to a fit of weeping,  which was only stayed when Napoleon came  into her room leading Eugene by the hand.     43 S The Empress Josephine   Coming toward the bed, the Emperor gave  the young man a push forward and said :  ” Here’s your big lout of a son. I am bringing  him to you.” Josephine threw her arms around  Eugene and clasped him to her breast.   On January 14 Eugene married Augusta in  the presence of his step-father, Josephine, and  the Bavarian Royal family. Eugene now  dropped his name of Beauharnais for a more  glorious one. For the first clause of the marri-  age treaty ran as follows : ” His Majesty the  Emperor of the French and King of Italy shall  treat His Imperial Highness the Prince Eugene  as son of France.” And at the civil ceremony  the name of the bridegroom appeared as  ” Eugene-NapoMon de France.” ^   So it was with her position seemingly still  further strengthened that Josephine returned to  Paris with the Emperor in January 1806.  So firmly attached to her was Napoleon, it   ‘ Writing to the Senate two days before the marriage,  Napoleon says : ” We have determined to adopt as our son  the Prince Eugdne, Grand Chancellor of state in our Empire  and Viceroy of our Kingdom of Italy : we have called him,  after ourselves and our natural and legitimate children, to  the throne of Italy … it being understood that in no -case  or circumstance can our adoption authorise either him or his  descendants to make any pretensions to the throne of France.”     The Conqueror’s Return 439   appeared, that not only had he thought it  necessary to have her crowned and consecrated  with him, but he also had made her son his heir  in Italy and was preparing to adopt her niece  and make a princely marriage for her as if she  were in reality his daughter. He was treating  the Beauharnais exactly as though they were  Bonapartes. What greater sign could he give  of his attachment to the wife who had borne  him no children ?   After speeding Eugene and Augusta on their  way to Italy, Napoleon and Josephine left  Munich for Paris by way of Stuttgart and  Carlsruhe. Late on the night of January 26  they were back in the Tuileries. According to  the usual custom they showed themselves as  soon as possible at the Opera. In honour of  the campaign of Austerlitz a gala performance  was given, concluding with a patriotic spectacle  of the return of the victorious army, a ballet  of the nations, in which the peasantry of France  appeared in their local costumes, and a cantata  specially written for the occasion by Esmenard  and the composer Stobelt. The arrival of  Emperor and Empress in the Opera House was  the signal for an extraordinary scene, every     440 The Empress Josephine   one in the audience standing up, cheering, and  waving laurel-branches which had been dis-  tributed in advance. The laurels might be a  pre-arranged effect ; but about the general  spontaneity and the unanimity of the welcome  there could be no doubt. The Republic was  truly at an end, and already its very calendar  had gone when frimaire of the Year XIV. had  ceased abruptly on New Year’s Day of 1806.   The marriage of Stephanie Beauharnais,  which followed so soon after that of her cousin  Eugene, was a proof of the ascendancy of the  Emperor Napoleon in Germany as well as of  his affection for his wife. Stephanie, who was  not quite seventeen, was the grand-daughter  of the well-known Countess Fanny, and had  gone to Mme. Campan’s school like her elder  cousins, Hortense and Emilie. She had a  certain resemblance to Hortense, with her fair  hair, blue eyes, and good figure, and her com-  bination of grace and gaiety. But her father  was only a French senator of no particular  distinction or position. Prince Charles of  Baden, on the other hand, was of a very old  noble family of Germany and had sisters married  to the rulers of Russia, Sweden, and Bavaria.     Stephanie Beauharnais 441   The match might have seemed an extremely  unequal one but for the power of Napoleon  to make princes and princesses with the stroke  of a wand. He was taken with Stephanie (to  the edification of his slanderers, who declared  that Josephine was jealous and had cause to be  so), and determined to act the fairy godfather  to her. The opposition of Prince Charles’s  mother and sister Caroline to the match were  unavaihng. Charles himself consented to receive  Stephanie in the place of the Princess Augusta,  who had been torn away from him ; and his  grandfather of Baden could not afford to  displease his great patron Napoleon. The  necessary transformation of the bride was  accomplished with remarkable speed. On the  Emperor’s return to Paris Stephanie came to  reside at the Tuileries, although her father was  still alive in Paris. On February 17 the mar-  riage contract was signed with Baden. On  March 2 Prince Charles arrived in Paris. On  the 4th the adoption of the girl as the Em-  peror’s daughter, with the name of Stephanie  Napoleon, was made public. On April 8 the  wedding took place in the Tuileries chapel.  Cardinal Caprara conducting the service, Na-     442 The Empress Josephine   poleon giving away the bride, and Josephine,  with a headdress of pearls which cost a milhon  francs, having a throne beside her husband  facing the altar. The scene was the most  brilliant which had yet been witnessed at any  event in the Bonaparte and Beauharnais fami-  lies, with the single exception of the Coronation  at Notre-Dame. A few days later Charles and  Stephanie left for Baden, to the great satisfaction  of Josephine, said the gossips.^   One of Josephine’s satisfactions in returning  to Paris after the German visit had been her  reunion with Hortense, whose companionship,  in spite of what some of the memoir-writers  say, was always a pleasure to her. But she  was not suffered to enjoy this satisfaction long ;  for the Emperor had determined to turn Holland  into a kingdom and to put his brother Louis  at its head. Louis showed no anxiety to go  to reign at The Hague ; the reason was not that  he did not think himself capable of reigning,   ‘ The Duchesse d’Abrantds, who says that she had met few-  women who seemed so pleasing to her as Stephanie at this  period, is by no means so kind to Prince Charles. He had the  sulky air of a chUd put in the corner, she declares, and was a  very disagreeable prince and above all a disagreeable bride-  groom.     King Log 443   but that he feared that the Dutch dimate  would not suit the health which caused him  so much trouble, real or imaginary. Napoleon,  however, would hear of no objections. ” Better  die on a throne than live as a mere French  prince,” he told Louis, and proclaimed him  King on June 5. He seems to have had mis-  givings about his brother’s capacity ; or per-  haps he wished to spur him into proving it.  The story is told that on the day after the  announcement he was sitting in the company  of Hortense and her elder child, now three  years and a half old. He made Napoleon-  Charles repeat to him La Fontaine’s version  of the Frogs and their King Log, and at the  end he laughed heartily, and, pinching her ear  in his well-known way, asked : ” What do you  think of that, Hortense ? ”   Whatever Hortense thought of the applica-  bility of the fable, she was no more delighted  than her husband at the idea of going to Holland.  To her it meant exile from the gaieties of Paris  and from the society of her mother ; and exile,  too, in the company of a most uncongenial  husband, who took no pains to conceal his  mistrust and suspicion of her. Yet resistance     444 The Empress Josephine   was impossible, and in the middle of the month  the new King and Queen, with their two chil-  dren, set out for the Dutch capital. Josephine  was most loth to see them go. A month later  we find her writing from Saint-Cloud to her  daughter :   ” Since your departure I have been con-  stantly ill, melancholy, and unhappy. I have  even been obliged to stay in bed, having had  some attacks of fever. The sickness has quite  gone, but the grief remains. How could I not  suffer from it, being separated from a daughter  like you, loving, sweet, and amiable, the joy of  my life ? . . . How is your husband ? And are  my grand-children well ? Good heavens, how  melancholy I am at not seeing them sometimes !  And your health, my dear Hortense, is it good ?  If ever you are ill, let me know ; I will come  at once to the side of my beloved daughter.”   The remainder of this letter of July 15, which  is longer than most of Josephine’s preserved  in the collection edited by Hortense, is less  gloomy in tone. The Empress gives various  items of family news, including the announce-  ment of her cousin Stephanie Tascher’s engage-  ment to the Prince d’Arenberg — another in-     Another Wedding 445   stance of the way in which the family of Jose-  phine benefited by her marriage to the man  with ” the sword and the cloak,” although it  is true that the Arenberg wedding, which  took place in January 1808, ended unhappily.  Stephanie had struggled against the marriage  and after it refused to live at Brussels with her  husband, against whom she took a great aver-  sion. The Emperor threatened to send her  back to him with gendarmes. ” As you like,  sire,” she replied. ” At least when they see  me arrive like that they will know I came  against my will.” The argument convinced  Napoleon, who made her an allowance to live  upon without her husband.     CHAPTER XXIII   DOMESTIC SORROWS   AFTER the departure of Hortense to The  Hague, Josephine divided her summer  between Saint-Cloud and Maknaison, the latter  place at least solacing her to some extent for  her loss, since there were always her garden, her  flowers, and her pets. Her next surviving  letter to Hortense is written in a much more  cheerful strain than that quoted at the end of  the preceding chapter.   ” I am very happy myself, especially at the  present moment,” she writes, “for I am to go  with the Emperor and I am making my pre-  parations for the journey. I assure you that  this war, if it must take place, causes me no  fear ; the more I am near the Emperor, the less  fear I shall have, and I feel that I should not  live if I stayed here. Another reason for my  joy is at seeing you again at Mayence. The  Emperor bids me tell you that he has just given   446     A Clinging Wife 447   an army of eighty thousand men. to the King of  Holland, and that his command will extend  quite close to Mayence. He thinks that you  may come to stop with me at Mayence. Guess  whether that is good news, my dear Hortense,  for a mother who loves you so fondly. Every  day we shall get news from the Emperor and  your husband : we shall rejoice over it to-  gether. …”   This letter is undated, but it was evidently  written in September 1806. Napoleon was  planning his campaign against Prussia and  Russia. If he promised at first to take Jose-  phine with him into Germany, he appears to  have changed his mind. On September 24 he  announced to her that he was quitting Paris  at once and leaving her behind. She besought  him not to desert her, but received a refusal.  So persistent, however, were her prayers that  at length he gave way and the same night  they started, Josephine having no time to take  more than a single waiting-woman with her,  and leaving orders for part of her Household to  follow her to Mayence.   As before the short war against Austria,  Josephine’s reluctance to allow the Emperor     44 8 The Empress Josephine   to quit her and to remain behind in Paris  without him was painfully apparent. If  jealousy was the chief cause of her conduct,  she was justified in her fears ; for it was in this  campaign that Napoleon was destined to meet  the only woman who proved a serious rival  in his affections to the wife who had so great  a hold over him.   The journey to Mayence was made with great  speed, the only stop being for a few hours at  Metz, and Mayence being reached on September  28. Four days were all the time which the  Emperor could allow for his halt there. At  the last moment the parting proved unwontedly  distressing to both. Napoleon pressed the weep-  ing Josephine to his breast and spoke of his  pain at their separation. Josephine’s grief grew  more and more violent and had such an effect  upon her husband that he too wept, and then  broke down completely, having to take some  of his favourite orange-flower water before he  felt sufficiently well to get into his carriage  and proceed on his way.   Left in the palace at Mayence, Josephine  was soon joined by those of her Household  who had been commanded to share her stay     Forbidden Tears 449   there. Hortense also came to her with her  children from Holland, but does not seem to  have cured her mother of her grief. In a letter  written on October 5 Napoleon says to her :  ” There is no objection to the Princess of Baden  going to Mayence. I do not know why you  weep. You do wrong in making yourself ill.  Hortense is rather pedantic ; she loves to give  advice. She has written to me, I am answering  her. She must be gay and happy. Courage  and gaiety — that is the prescription.”   The Princess of Baden is, of course, the former  Stephanie Beauharnais, who now came to  Mayence. In spite of the presence of both  daughter and niece, Josephine’s tears did not  stop, for on November i Napoleon wrote again :  ” Talleyrand has arrived and tells me that you  do nothing but weep. What do you want ?  You have your daughter, your grand-children,  and good news. These are plenty of reasons  for being content and happy”   Strange to tell, although her letters as usual  do not survive, Josephine appears at this period  to have written more to Napoleon than he  wrote to her. His note of October 23, from  Wittenberg, begins : “I have received several   VOL. II 8     45° The Empress Josephine   letters from you. I am only sending you a line.  None of his communications to her during her  stay at Mayence deserve to be called more than  ” a line ” ; and the passionless, though not  unaffectionate, conciseness which marks nearly  all is more noticeable than in those of the  campaign of 1805.   It is upon -the letters of Napoleon to his wife  that we have chiefly to rely for knowledge as  to how Josephine fared at this time. Out-  wardly her circumstances were very good. She  was in the midst of her best-loved family circle.  She was in constant receipt of excellent tidings  from the seat of war. German princes and  princesses, from Frankfort, Nassau, Saxe-Gotha,  Saxe-Weimar, and Hesse-Darmstadt, were in  constant attendance upon her. At Mayence a  continual series of receptions, dinners, operas,  concerts, etc., occupied her time, and as at  Strasbourg and Munich in the previous year,  she was able to distribute all around her jewellery  and other presents broadcast. But plainly she  was rapidly bored and wished for nothing but  permission to join the Emperor. In his letter  of November* 16 he says : “I am grieved to  think that you grow weary at Mayence. If the     Napoleon’s Letters 45 ^   journey were not so long you could come here,  for the enemy no longer exists or he is beyond  the Vistula.” Six days later he wrote : ” I  shall make up my mind in a few days to summon  you here or to send you to Paris.” In another  four days he seemed on the point of granting  her request. ” I will see in a couple of days if  you may come,” he wrote from Ciistrin. ” You  may hold yourself in readiness.” On the  morrow he spoke of fetching her to meet him  in Berlin. So on to December 20 he continued  to talk about sending for her in a few days’  time. But after this there came a change,  and the alternative of her return to Paris,  mentioned vaguely in his letters of November 22  and December 15, became more precisely for-  mulated in those of January 3, 7, 8, 11, 18 and  23. In the last, written in Warsaw, his  intention was unmistakable. ” It is impossible  for me to let women take a journey like this. . . .  Return to Paris, be gay and content there ;  perhaps I too shall be there soon.”   In addition to her own weariness, the dis-  content of her Household at the long stay in  May ence sorely troubled Josephine. la  Rochefoucauld, her Lady of Honour, in parti-     452 The Empress Josephine   cular, was in open revolt and spoke rebelliously  against her mistress. Josephine’s complaints  to Napoleon brought back from him the advice  to pack the busybodies home. But such worries  were small in comparison with another, which  it is possible to divine from Napoleon’s letters.  It is clear that Josephine by some means  gathered that she had more serious cause  than hitherto for the suspicions which she  nourished with regard to her husband’s faith-  fulness to herself. Her suspicions actually  preceded the event, it would appear, for  Napoleon’s first meeting with his beautiful  Pole is assigned to January i, 1807, whereas  Josephine’s complaints must have begun a  month earlier. He made many efforts to  reassure her. From Posen on December 2 he  wrote : ” All these Polish women are true  Frenchwomen ; but there is only one woman  for me. . . . These nights are long, all alone.”  On December 3 he rallied her on her jealousy,  adding : ” You are wrong ; nothing is farther  from my thoughts, and in the deserts of Poland  one dreams little of the belles.” His note from  Pultusk on December 31 begins : “I laughed  much when I got your last letters. You are     The Belles of Poland 453   imagining ideas about the belles of Great  Poland which they do not deserve.” In the  letter of January 23, 1807, already partly quoted  above, he said : “I laughed at what you told  me about marrying a husband in order to be  with him. I thought, in my ignorance, that  the wife was made for the husband, the husband  for country, family, and glory. Excuse my  ignorance. One is always learning something  from the ladies. Good-bye, mon amie. Believe  me that it costs me much not to send for you.  Say to yourself : ‘ It is a proof how precious  I am to him.’ ”   Soon after this letter from Warsaw was  written Josephine had yielded to the Emperor’s  commands and had left Mayence for Paris.  Stopping for one night at Strasbourg, where  she was warmly welcomed, she reached the  Tuileries on the last day of January. Paris  was badly in need of a reviving influence, for  the combination of the war and the absence of  the Court had produced there a state of stag-  nation which might easily lead to discontent.  The Empress’s return brought about an im-  provement ; but she herself found it difficult  to follow Napoleon’s advice to “be gay and     454 The Empress Josephine   content ” there. According to Mme. de  Remusat, certain Polish ladies, lately come to  Paris, had brought with them news of the  Emperor’s passion for their beautiful young  compatriot Countess Marie Walewska, to whom  Napoleon after two brief meetings in public,  had written : “I saw only you, I admired only  you, I desire only you.” His letter of course  remained private, but the way in which he had  gained his desire was but too weU known.   Suspicion had turned to certainty, and it  was in vain that Napoleon paid unremitting  attention to his correspondence with Josephine.  Brief notes continued to reach her from him  at Eylau, Liebstadt, and Osterode, assuring  her of his constant love for her. From the  last place he wrote on March 15 a letter con-  cluding with the words : ” Put no belief in all  the evil reports which may be circulated.  Never doubt my feelings, and be without the  slightest anxiety.” It is impossible to resist  the conviction that Josephine had mentioned  something of what she had heard through the  Polish ladies spoken of by Mme. de Remusat.  It appears also that she had again urged him  to let her come to him in Poland. For in a     Suspicions Justified 455   letter of March 27 he says : ” You must not  think of travelling this summer. It is im-  possible. You could not rove about inns and  camps. I want, as much as you, to see you  and to live quietly.”   Napoleon, however, was not ” roving about  inns and camps.” Early in April he was, as  he let her know, at the ” very beautiful chateau ”  of Finkenstein, where he had established his  headquarters. He did not tell Josephine that  Mme. Walewska also spent three weeks there,  although he sent several notes to her during  this period. On May 10 he wrote at greater  length, beginning :   ” I have your letter. I do not understand  what you say to me about ladies in correspond-  ence with me. I only love my little Josephine,  kind, pouting, and capricious, who knows how  to quarrel, as she does everything else, grace-  fully ; for she is always amiable, except of  course when she is jealous ; then she becomes  a very devil. But to return to these ladies.  If I were to notice any of them, I should like  them to be rosebuds, and none of them fulfil  that condition.”   It is certain that no such cajoleries on the     45^ The Empress Josephine   part of Napoleon had any effect upon his now  legitimately jealous wife. But an event came  to drive from her head for a while even her  fear and indignation about her Polish rival.  She had been passing the spring between Paris  and Malmaison, her interest in the work in  progress at the latter place proving beneficial  to her health.^ On May 6 she had gone to  Saint-Cloud, when suddenly the news arrived  from Holland that her eldest grandson was  dead. Napoleon-Charles had succumbed to an  attack of croup at The Hague on the night of  May 4-5. Josephine obtained the permission  of the Council of State to leave Paris and set  out on the loth for the north, a temporary  collapse preventing an earlier start. On the  night of the 14th, as soon as she had arrived  at the palace of Laeken, near Brussels, she  wrote to her daughter as follows :   ” I have just reached the chateau of Laeken,  my dear daughter. It is from there that I am  writing, it is there that I am waiting for you.  Come and restore me to life ; your company  is necessary to me, and you ought also to  want to see me and to weep with your mother.   ‘ See her letter to Hortense, March 29, 1807,      PRINCE LOUIS NAPOLEON.  From an engraving by Hall, after a drawing by Stewart.     p. 456.     Death of Hortcnse’s Son 457   I should indeed have Hked to come further ;  but my strength has failed me, and besides, I  have not had time to let the Emperor know.  I have got back heart enough to come as far  as this ; I hope that you will have sufficient  to come and see your mother. Good-bye, my  dear daughter. I am overcome with fatigue  but still more by sorrow.   ” Josephine.”   On the following day Hortense reached  Laeken, accompanied by Louis and her re-  maining child. Her grief was intense. M. de  Remusat, who had accompanied Josephine  from Paris, wrote to his wife a touching account  of it. ” The Queen,” he said, ” has but one  thought, that of the loss which has befallen  her. She speaks only of Mm. Not a tear,  only a cold calm, an almost total silence, except  when she breaks it to wring the hearts of those  who listen to her. If she sees any one whom  she has seen before with her child, she looks  at him with an expression of kindly interest  and says in a hushed voice : ‘ You know he is  dead.’ When she came to her mother, she  said to her : ‘ It is not long since he was here     458 The Empress Josephine   with me ; I sat there with him on my knees.’ . . .  She heard it strike ten, and turned to one of  her ladies. ‘ You know,’ she said, ‘ it was at  ten o’clock he died.’ ”   The blow was very severe for all. Not only  Josephine, Hortense, and Louis were over-  whelmed with grief, but Napoleon also. In  spite of the forcedly reasonable tone of his  letter of May 15, written when the news  reached him, it is easy to see that he was  deeply affected.   ” I can imagine,” he wrote, ” all the pain  which poor Napoleon’s death must cause you :  you can understand the sorrow which I feel. I  wish I were by you to see that you were moderate  and sensible in your grief. You have had the  happiness never to lose a child ; but it is one  of the conditions and sorrows inseparable from  human wretchedness. Let me hear that you  have been reasonable and that you are keeping  weU. Would you add to my sorrow ? ”   A fortnight later he wrote to Josephine again  from Marienbad : ” All the letters from Saint-  Cloud tell me that you are constantly weeping.  This is not right. You must keep well and be  content.” The advice was rather futile to a     A Changed Situation 459   loving grandmother, more especially to one so  easily moved to tears as Josephine ; but, of  course, it was the only advice which Napoleon  could give in the circumstances. He hid his  own grief effectively,^ but he had in hand the  preparations for hurling the Grand Army across  the Vistula, and domestic sorrows must 5aeld  to affairs of war. The death of the nephew of  whom he had always made such a favourite in  reality left a permanent void in his heart, and  there can be no doubt that it had a considerable  effect on his conduct in respect to Josephine.  He had long been willing to adopt Napoleon-  Charles as his own son, in which case he might  have dispensed with a son of his own. But no     1 The story told by Talleyrand, however, and reported by  Mme. de Remusat (” Memoires,” i. i86), of the Emperor’s  callous speech when the news of the child’s death arrived, is  almost grotesquely improbable ; and, besides, Tallejrrand’s  stories are generally under suspicion. Josephine appears to  have had no doubt that Napoleon was sincerely grieved, in  spite of the orders which he sent both to her and to Hortense  to be sensible and even gay (!) ; foir she wrote to Hortense :  ” The Emperor has been deeply affected. In all his letters he  tries to inspire me with courage ; but I know that he suffers  much at this unhappy event ” (letter from Saint-Cloud,  June 4). M. Masson points out that Napoleon wrote to all his  correspondents about his nephew’s death, twenty times to  Josephine, five or six times to Hortense, and also to Joseph,  Jerome, Fouche, and Monge.     460 The Empress Josephine   other child took the dead one’s place, and the  necessity for an heir brought forward once more  the question of divorcing Josephine and marry-  ing a younger woman. Thus it was that,  although she can hardly have suspected it at  the time, Josephine lost more than a beloved  grandchild through the fatal effect of the  Dutch climate on the little boy who died at  The Hague.   After a few mournful days at Laeken, Jose-  phine returned to Paris with Hortense and  Napoleon-Louis, while the King of Holland went  back to his capital. Most of the remainder of  May was spent quietly at Malmaison. At the  end of the month Hortense went, by doctor’s  advice, to take the waters at Cauterets in the  Pyrenees, while Josephine moved to Saint-  Cloud. Napoleon-Louis was temporarily sent  back to Laeken to await his father. But Jose-  phine was desirous of having her grandson with  her at Saint-Cloud and obtained Louis’s consent.  On June 4 she wrote to her daughter at Cau-  terets : ” The King reached Saint-Leu yesterday  night. He has informed me that he is coming  to see me to-day. He will leave me the little  one in his absence. You know how I love the     A Loving Grandmother 461   child and what care I will take of him.” ^ Seven  days later, after the child’s arrival, she writes :  ” Your son is wonderfully well. He amuses  me very much. He is so sweet ; I find he has  all the ways of the poor child whom we mourn.”  In another letter^ although she begins with  melancholy reflections on the child who had  gone — ” We have lost what was most worthy of  being loved ; my tears flow as on the first day ”  — she concludes with the assurance : ” Your  son is wonderfully well, he is charming.” Jose-  phine seemed to give an equal love to all Hor-  tense’s boys, Napoleon-Charles, Napoleon-Louis,  and later Louis-Napoleon, the future Emperor.  Whatever Nature did not make her, it did at  least make her a most affectionate grandmother,   1 Josephine continues : ” I want the King to follow you.  It will be a consolation, dear Hortense, for both of you to meet  again. All the letters which I have received from him since  your departure have been full of his affection for you. Your  heart is too tender not to be touched by it.” Louis and Hortense  were indeed temporarily reconciled after the death of their  first-born ; but unhappily the improved state of affairs did  not last long.     CHAPTER XXIV   FEARS OF DIVORCE REVIVED   WHILE Josephine was at Saint-Cloud en-  joying the company of her surviving  grandson, Napoleon was completing his cam-  paign against the Russians and forcing on the  Tsar Alexander the Treaty of Tilsit. In July  he was preparing to return to France. On the  1 8th he wrote to Josephine from Dresden in a  strain which almost recalls the letters from  Italy. ” I am more than half way on the road  to you,” he says. “It is possible that one of  these fine nights I shall fall upon Saint-Cloud  like a jealous man, I warn you. Good-bye,  mon amie, I shall have great pleasure in seeing  you.” At six o’clock in the morning of July 27  he reached Saint-Cloud, having been absent  nearly a year from the city, which now received  him with the most extravagant expressions of  admiration and devotion. The silence of as-  tonishment, declared the Prefect of the Seine,   462     Napoleon a Father 463   was the only suitable way of manifesting the  country’s feelings ; but neither he nor any one  else restricted himself to silence when there was  an opportunity to speak.   In the opinion of her carefully watching con-  temporaries, the Empress was not one of those  to whom the Emperor’s return brought unmixed  pleasure. Unwilling as she had been to part  with him, she found a considerable alteration  in their relations when he returned.^ The two  principal causes for this were the death of his  possible heir by adoption and the love affair  which had made him unfaithful to her in Poland.  Gossip also said that the birth of a son to a young  lady who had been reader to his sister Caroline  had at last convinced him that it was solely  Josephine’s fault that he had no legitimate heir.  Gossip was right. The child Leon, who had  been born on December 13, 1806, to Mile.  Eleonore Denuelle, had the Emperor for father.  He had met the handsome young girl, a former   • Prince Metternich, the Austrian Ambassador at Paris, in  a despatch quoted later in this chapter says : ” The Emperor,  since his return from the army, preserved toward his wife a  cold and often embarrassed manner. He no longer lived in the  same rooms with her, and to a great extent his daily conduct  took a different turn from what it had always had.”     4^4 The Empress Josephine   pupil of Mme. Campan, at Caroline Murat’s,  had taken a fancy to her, and the rest had been  easy. Josephine, however, as proofs of Napo-  leon’s broken faith accumulated, seemed to  become less able to tax him openly with mis-  conduct. She complained freely to others, and  did not hesitate, in her jealousy, to mention to  her ladies (and even, it was said, her attend-  ants) all the stories reaching her ears which  malice had circulated about her husband. A  certain dread, however, restrained her from  making as many ” scenes ” before him as she  had formerly made. He seemed to have grown  too great a figure, perhaps. It was noticed that  she gradually ceased to speak of him merely  as ” Bonaparte,” as of old. The conqueror of  Austria, Prussia, and Russia could not be called  by a simple surname. He was becoming ” Sire ”  to her as well as to the Court and the nation.  Not at once, but by degrees certainly, the idea  of divorce, which had almost faded away since  the days of the First Consulate, began to grow  definite after Napoleon’s return to France in  1807. Conspiracies were on foot, in which  prominent parts were taken by Caroline and her  husband Murat, as well as by Fouch6, who was     A Hard Request 465   no more a friend to Josephine than his own  interests made it expedient, to persuade the  Emperor of the necessity of taking another wife.  Napoleon could not altogether refuse to recognise  the possibility of having to yield to reasons of  State. According to Mme. de Remusat, he  went so far as to broach the subject to Josephine.  The memoirist professes to report a conversa-  tion which, if it ever took place, she must have  learnt from her mistress. Napoleon was talk-  ing to Josephine one day about the death of  Napoleon-Charles and of the lack of an heir to  the French throne. He went on to speak of  what might be forced upon him thereby, and  appealed to her to come to his assistance, if her  divorce and his marriage to another should be  inevitable: Speaking with emotion he said :  ” If such a thing came to pass, Josephine, it  would be your duty to help me to such a sacri-  fice. I should count upon your friendship to  preserve me from the odium of this forced  separation. You would take the first step,  wouldn’t you ? And, putting yourself in my  place, you would have the courage to decide  yourself upon your retirement ? ”   Whether Napoleon really expected Josephine  VOL. II 9     466 The Empress Josephine   to answer that she woTild do as he wished, we  do not know. He should have appreciated the  desperate tenacity with which she was cUnging  to him, for he had abundant examples of it in  the past two years. Josephine, on her part,  had no intention of assisting in her own down-  fall, ” Sire,” she replied, with a calm which  must have contrasted strangely with her usual  tears, ” you are the master and you will decide  upon my fate. When you order me to leave  the Tuileries I shall obey at once ; but you  certainly must order it positively. I am your  wife ; I have been crowned by you in the pre-  sence of the Pope ; the worth of such honours  is such that one cannot give them up of one’s  free will. If you divorce me, all France must  know that it is you who drive me away, and she  shall not be unaware either of my obedience or  of my profound sorrow.”   The most ardent French admirers of Napoleon  have attacked Josepihine’s attitude as petty and  really devoid of the dignity which she wished  it to have in his eyes ; and they blame her for  forcing him to take a step which revolted his  heart — to divorce her without her consent.  Seeing, however, that to them, for the most     Josephine-s Attitude 467   part, she appears in the light of a worthless  woman, whose influence over their hero is to be  deplored, it is not a little surprising that they  should expect her now to have shown a self-  sacrifice and strength of character which would  hardly be demanded of the ordinary good wife.  Josephine, at the age of forty-four, was asked  to give up the husband with whom she had  lived for eleven years and the throne which she  had shared with him for three in order to see  another woman take her place in the home and  on the throne, while she retired for ever into  isolation and obscurity, however comfortable  they might be made for her. She would hardly  have been human had she not resisted Napo-  leon’s wish ; she surely would not have been the  Josephine of old.   The calm dignity which marked her interview  with Napoleon deserted her when she left his  presence and was able to talk to ready listeners  about the fate with which she was threatened.  Her tears flowed unceasingly, and her unhappy  propensity to bring up whatever remained in  her mind of all the scandal and inventions of  enemies which reached the Court was given  free play. Her ladies and waiting-women heard     468 The Empress Josephine   (not for the first time from her) outrageous  accusations against the Emperor. Nor did she  hesitate to accuse him of sinister designs against  her life, if again we may believe Mme. de R^musat,  her own friend. ” I will never give way to  him,” she cried. ” I shall certainly show myself  his victim. But if I end by causing him too  much annoyance, who knows of what he is  capable, and whether he will resist the tempta-  tion to put me out of the way ? ” Too much  attention, of course, must not be paid to these  outbursts of a naturally unbalanced mind ; but  they must detract considerably from our sym-  pathy with the unfortunate woman.   Josephine’s words reached the Emperor’s ears  and made him less inclined to dismiss the idea  of divorce which hitherto he had always put  aside. The Memoirs of Lucien report a speech  which he is supposed to have made to his brother  in Italy in the winter of 1807 : ” Josephine is  decidedly old, and as she cannot now have any  children she is very melancholy about it and  tiresome. She fears divorce or even worse.  Just imagine, the woman cries every time she  has indigestion, because she says she believes  she has been poisoned by those who want me     Jerome’s Wedding 469   to marry some one else. It is detestable.”  The exact words may be doubtful, but the tenor  of the speech has the appearance of probability.  Napoleon at least would have been justified by  facts in making it.   All this, however, did not take place immedi-  ately after Napoleon’s return from Tilsit. No  outward change occurred in Josephine’s posi-  tion.

19th Century, Empress Josephine, France

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Joséphine de Beauharnais (23 June 1763 – 29 May 1814) was the first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte, and thus the first Empress of the French. Her first husband Alexandre de Beauharnais had been guillotined during the Reign of Terror, and she had been imprisoned in the Carmes prison until her release five days after Alexandre’s execution. (from wikipedia)

Through her daughter, Hortense, she was the maternal grandmother of Napoléon III. Through her son, Eugéne, she was the great-grandmother of later Swedish and Danish kings and queens, as well as the last Queen of Greece. The current reigning houses of Belgium, Norway and Luxembourg also descend from her.


She did not bear Napoleon any children; as a result he divorced her in 1810 to marry Marie-Louise of Austria.

Josèphine was the recipient of numerous love letters written by Napoleon, many of which still exist. Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie was born in Les Trois-Îlets, Martinique to a wealthy 

Portrait of Empress Josephine with Creole attendant in Pagerie Museum

Creole family that owned a sugar plantation. She was a daughter of Joseph-Gaspard Tascher (1735–1790), chevalier, Seigneur de la Pagerie, lieutenant of Troupes de Marine, and his wife, the former Rose-Claire des Vergers de Sannois (1736–1807), whose maternal grandfather, Anthony Brown, was Irish.

The family struggled financially after hurricanes destroyed their estate in 1766. Edmée, Joséphine’s paternal aunt, had been the mistress of François, Vicomte de Beauharnais, a French aristocrat. When François’s health began to fail, Edmée arranged the advantageous marriage of her niece, Catherine-Désirée, to François’s son Alexandre. This marriage would be highly beneficial for the Tascher family, because it would keep the Beauharnais money in their hands; however, twelve-year old Catherine died on 16 October 1777, before leaving Martinique for France. In service to their aunt Edmée’s goals, Catherine was replaced by her older sister, Joséphine.

In October 1779, Joséphine went to France with her father. She married Alexandre on 13 December 1779, in Noisy-le-Grand. Although their marriage was not happy, they had two children: a son, Eugène de Beauharnais (1781–1824), and a daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais (1783–1837), who married Napoléon’s brother Louis Bonaparte in 1802.


On 2 March 1794, during the Reign of Terror, the Comité de Salut public ordered the arrest of her husband. He was jailed in the Carmes prison in Paris. Considering Joséphine as too close to the counter-revolutionary financial circles, the Committee ordered her arrest on 19 April 1794. A warrant of arrest was issued against her on 2 Floréal, year II (21 April 1794), and she was imprisoned in the Carmes prison until 10 Thermidor, year II (28 July 1794). Her husband was accused of having poorly defended Mainz in July 1793, and considered an aristocratic “suspect”, was sentenced to death and guillotined, with his cousin Augustin, on 23 July 1794, on the Place de la Révolution (today’s Place de la Concorde) in Paris. Joséphine was freed five days later, thanks to the fall and execution of Robespierre, which ended the Reign of Terror. On 27 July 1794 (9 Thermidor), Tallien arranged the liberation of Thérèse Cabarrus, and soon after that of Joséphine.

In June 1795, a new law allowed her to recover the possessions of Alexandre.

Meeting Napoleon

Portrait of the Empress Joséphine, by François Gérard

Joséphine de Beauharnais, now a widow, became the mistress of several leading political figures, including Paul François Jean Nicolas Barras. In 1795, she met General Napoléon Bonaparte, six years her junior, and became his mistress. In a letter to her in December, he wrote, “I awake full of you. Your image and the memory of last night’s intoxicating pleasures has left no rest to my senses.” Joséphine was a renowned spendthrift and Barras may have encouraged the relationship with Général Bonaparte in order to get her off his hands.

Joséphine was described as being of average height, svelte, shapely, with silky, chestnut-brown hair, hazel eyes, and a rather sallow complexion. Her nose was small and straight, and her mouth was well-formed; however she kept it closed most of the time so as not to reveal her bad teeth.[1] She was praised for her elegance, style, and low, “silvery”, beautifully-modulated voice.[2]

Prominent in Parisian social circles during the 1790s, Joséphine married the young general Napoleon Bonaparte. The couple divorced in 1809 despite Joséphine’s popularity as empress.

In January 1796, Napoléon Bonaparte proposed to her and they married on 9 March. Until meeting Bonaparte, she was known as Rose, but Bonaparte preferred to call her Joséphine, the name she adopted from then on. Two days after the wedding, Bonaparte left to lead the French army in Italy, and during their separation, sent her many love letters. In February 1797, he wrote: “You to whom nature has given spirit, sweetness, and beauty, you who alone can move and rule my heart, you who know all too well the absolute empire you exercise over it!”[3] Many of his letters are still intact today, while very few of hers have been found; it is not known whether this is due to their having been lost or to their initial scarcity.

In the meantime, Joséphine, left behind in Paris, began an affair in 1796 with a handsome HussarHippolyte Charles lieutenant, .[4] The rumours that reached Bonaparte so infuriated him[5] that his love changed entirely.[5]


Josephine was a great hostess and collected more than 13,000 bottles of wine, her cellar filled with Grands Crus, bordeaux, and other fine wines from around the world.  The Emperor and Empress drank out of elaborate champagne flutes engraved with their initials, J and N.

The empress also kept hundreds of bottles of rum from her native Martinique, which she would serve at dinner parties in punches kept in gilded bowls. (from

“We know from her head chambermaid that Josephine was a ‘very sober woman,'” said Mr Lefebure. “She was partial to very sweet wines including champagne and also rum punches that drew on her Creole origin, but we know she drank it all with moderation – like Napoleon.”

The emperor’s favourites were burgundy and champagne, but he also grew fond of South African wines during his time in exile on Saint Helena, the South Atlantic island where he died in 1821 at age 52 – not far from Cape Town.

Empress and Flowers

Josephine loved flowers and had different species imported from Martinique, as well as gathering together plants from captured ships.  She planted famous, lavish, gardens at Château de Malmaison just outside Paris. Josephine and her ladies were all uniformly dressed in white. The late queen, Marie-Antoinette, had already made the wearing of simple, white muslin fashionable, playing at country maid in her dairy at Versailles. In fact, it was the Creole ladies who brought the fashion of muslin to France

During the Egyptian campaign of 1798, Napoléon Bonaparte started an affair of his own with Pauline Bellisle Foures, the wife of a junior officer who became known as “Napoleon’s Cleopatra.” The relationship between Joséphine and Napoléon was never the same[citation needed] after this. His letters became less loving. No subsequent lovers of Joséphine are recorded, but Napoléon continued to have sexual affairs with other women. In 1804, he said, “Power is my mistress.”[citation needed]

An Empress

Joséphine kneels before Napoléon during his coronation at Notre Dame.

Shortly before their coronation, there was an incident at the Château de Saint-Cloud that nearly sundered the marriage between the two. Joséphine caught Napoléon in the bedroom of her lady-in-waiting, Elisabeth de Vaudey, and Napoléon threatened to divorce her as she had not produced an heir. This was impossible for Joséphine, who was infertile due either to the stresses of her imprisonment during The Terror having triggered menopause, or to injuries she suffered in a fall from a collapsing balcony in 1798.[citation needed] Eventually, however, through the efforts of her daughter Hortense, the two were reconciled.

The coronation ceremony, officiated by Pope Pius VII, took place at Notre Dame de Paris, on 2 December 1804. Following a pre-arranged protocol, Napoléon first crowned himself, then put the crown on Joséphine’s head, proclaiming her empress.

When, after a few years, it became clear she could not have a child, Joséphine agreed to a divorce so the Emperor could remarry in the hope of having an heir. The divorce took place on 10 January 1810. On 11 March, Napoléon married Marie-Louise of Austria by proxy; the formal ceremony took place at the Louvre on 1 April. Napoléon once remarked after marrying Marie-Louise that “he had married a womb.”

Later life and death

Divorce letter to Napoléon

After the divorce, Joséphine lived at the Château de Malmaison, near Paris. She remained on good terms with Napoléon, who once said that the only thing to come between them was her debts.

Joséphine died of pneumonia in Rueil-Malmaison, four days after catching cold during a walk with Czar Alexander in the gardens of Malmaison. She was buried in the nearby church of Saint Pierre-Saint Paul in Rueil. Her daughter Hortense is interred near her.