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Hasten, then, for I tell you beforehand that if you delay I shall be
sick. So great exertion, combined with your absence, is too much.

"Your letters are the joys of my days, and my happy days are not too
many. Junot takes to Paris twenty-two standards. You will come back with
him, will you not? .... Misery without remedy, sorrow without comfort,
unmitigated anguish, will be my portion if it is my misfortune to
see him come back alone, my own adored wife! He will see you, he will
breathe at your shrine, and perhaps you will even grant him the special
and unsurpassed privilege of kissing your cheeks, and I, I will be far,
far away! You will come here, at my side, to my heart, in my arms!
Take wings, come, come! Yet, journey slowly; the road is long, bad,
fatiguing! If your carriage were to upset, if some calamity were to
happen, if the exertion. ... Set out at once, my beloved one, but travel
slowly!

"I have received a letter from Hortense, a very acceptable one indeed.
I am going to answer it. I love her much, and will soon send her the
perfumes she desires. N. B."

But Josephine could not meet at once the ardent wishes of her husband.
She had, on the receipt of his letter, made with Joseph all the
necessary preparations for the journey; but the ailment which had so
long troubled her, broke out, and a violent illness prostrated her.

Bonaparte's suffering and anger at this news were unbounded; a terrible
restlessness and anxiety took possession of him, and, to obtain speedy
and reliable news from Josephine, he sent from Milan to Paris a special
courier, whose only business it was to carry a letter to Josephine.

The general had nothing to communicate to the Directory; it was only
the lover writing to his beloved! What fire, what energy of passion,
penetrated him, is evident from the following letter:

IV. "TORTONA, at noon, the 27th Prairial,

"In the Year IV. of the Republic (15th June, 1796).

"To Josephine: My life is a ceaseless Alpine burden. An oppressive
foreboding prevents me from breathing. I live no more, I have lost more
than life, more than happiness, more than rest! I am without hope. I
send you a courier. He will remain only four hours in Paris, and return
with your answer. Write me only ten lines; they will be some comfort
to me. ... You are sick, you love me, I have troubled you; you are
pregnant, and I cannot see you. This thought bewilders me. I have done
you so much wrong, that I know not how to make amends for it. I found
fault because you remained in Paris, and you were sick! Forgive me, my
beloved. The passion you have inspired in me has taken my reason away; I
cannot find it again. One is never cured of this evil. My contemplations
are so horrible, that it would be a satisfaction to see you; to press
you for two hours to my heart, and then, to die together! Who takes care
of you? I imagine that you have sent for Hortense. I love this child
a thousand times more, when I think she can comfort you somewhat. As
regards myself, there will be no solace, no rest, no hope, before the
courier whom I have sent to you has returned, and you have told me in a
long letter the cause of your illness, and how serious it is. I tell
you beforehand that if it is dangerous I will at once go to Paris.
My presence would be called for by your sickness. I have always been
fortunate. Never has Fate stood against my wishes, and to-day it strikes
me where only wounds are possible. Josephine, how can you delay so long
in writing to me? Your last laconic note is dated the 3d of this month,
and this adds to my sorrow. Yet I have it always in my pocket. Your
portrait and your letters are always under my eyes.

"I am nothing without you. I can scarcely understand how I have lived
without knowing you. Ah, Josephine, if you know my heart, could you
remain without writing from the 29th of May to the 16th of June, and not
travel hither? Have you lent an ear to faithless friends, who wish to
keep you away from me? I am angry with the whole world; I accuse every
one round about you. I had calculated that you would leave on the 5th,
and be at Milan on the 15th.

"Josephine, if you love me, if you believe that all depends on the
recovery of your health, take good care of yourself. I dare not tell you
not to undertake so long a journey - not to travel in the heat, if
you possibly can move. Make small journeys; write to me at every
stopping-place, and send me each time your letters by a courier. ...
Your sickness troubles me by night and by day. Without appetite or
sleep, without regard for friendship, reputation, or country! - you and
you alone! The rest of the world exists no more for me than if it were
sunk into oblivion. I still cling to honor, for you hold to it; to fame,
for it is a joy to you; if it were not for this, I would have abandoned
every thing to hasten to your feet.

"Sometimes, I say to myself: 'I trouble myself without cause, she is
already well, she has left Paris and is on the way, she is perhaps in
Lyons.' ... Fruitless deception! You are in your bed, suffering - more
interesting - more worthy of adoration; you are pale, and your eyes are
more languishing than ever! when you are well again, if one of us is
to be sick, cannot I be the one? for I am stronger, I have more vital
power, and would therefore sooner conquer sickness. Fate is cruel, it
strikes me through you.

"What sometimes comforts me is to know that on fate depends your
sickness, but that it depends on no one to oblige me to outlive you.

"Be careful, my dearly-beloved one, to tell me in your letter that you
are convinced that I love you above all that can be conceived; that
never has it come to me to think of other women; that they are all in my
eyes without grace, beauty, or wit; that you, you entirely, you as I
see you, as you are, can please me and fetter all the powers of my soul;
that you have grasped it in all its immeasurableness; that my heart has
no folds closed from your eyes, no thoughts which belong not to you;
that my energies, arms, mind, every thing in me, is subject to you; that
my spirit lives in your body; that the day when you will be inconstant
or when you will cease to live, will be the day of my death, and that
nature and earth are beautiful to my eyes only because you live in them.
If you do not believe all this, if your soul is not convinced of it,
penetrated with it, then I am deceived in you, then you love me no more.
A magnetic fluid runs between persons who love one another. You know
that I could never see, much less could I endure, a lover: to see him
and to tear his heart would be one and the same thing; and then I might
even lay hands on your sacred person.... no, I would never dare do it,
but I would fly from a world where those I deem the most virtuous have
deceived me.

"But I am certain of your love, and proud of it. Accidents are
probations which keep alive all the energies of our mutual affections.
My adored one, you will give birth to a child resembling his mother;
it will pass many years in your arms. Unfortunate that I am, I would be
satisfied with one day! A thousand kisses on your eyes and lips! ....
adored wife, how mighty is your spell! I am ill on account of your
illness. I have a burning fever. Retain the courier no longer than
six hours; then let him return, that he may bring me a letter from my
sovereign. N. B."

These were the first letters which Josephine received from her loving,
tender husband. They are a splendid monument of affection with which
love adorns the solitary grave of the departed empress; and surely in
the dark hours of her life, the remembrance of these days of happiness,
of these letters so full of passionate ardor, must have alleviated the
bitterness of her grief and given her the consolation that at least she
was once loved as perhaps no other woman on earth can boast! All these
letters of Bonaparte, during the days of his first prosperity, and of
his earnest cravings, Josephine had carefully gathered; they were to be,
amid the precious and costly treasures which the future was to lay at
her feet, the most glorious and most prized, and which she preserved
with sacred loyalty as long as she lived.

This is the reason that, out of all the letters which Bonaparte wrote
to Josephine during long years, not one is lost; that there is no gap in
the correspondence, and that we can with complete certainty, from week
to week and year to year, follow the relations which existed between
them, and that the thermometer can be placed on Bonaparte's heart
to observe how by degrees the heat diminishes, the warmth of passion
disappears into the cool temperature of a quiet friendship, and how it
never sinks to cold indifference, even when Josephine had to yield to
the young and proud daughter of Austria, and give up her place at the
side of the emperor.

Of all the letters of Josephine to Bonaparte, which were now so glowing
that they seemed to devour him with flames of fire and bewildered his
senses, and then so cold and indifferent that they caused the chill of
death to pass over his frame - of all these, not one has been preserved
to posterity. Perhaps the Emperor Napoleon destroyed them; when in the
Tuileries he received Josephine's successor, his second wife, and
when he endeavored to destroy in his own proud heart the memory of the
beautiful, happy past, he there destroyed those letters, that they might
return to dust, even as his own love had returned.




CHAPTER XXV. JOSEPHINE IN ITALY.


Bonaparte's letter, which the courier brought to Josephine, found her
recovered, and ready to follow her husband's call, and go to Milan.
But she was deprived of one precious and joyous hope: the child, which
Bonaparte so much envied because it would pass many years in Josephine's
arms, was never to be born.

In the last days of the month of June Josephine arrived in Milan. Her
whole journey had been one uninterrupted triumph. In Turin, at the court
of the King of Sardinia, she had received the homage of the people as
if she were the wife of a mighty ruler; and wherever she went, she was
received with honors and distinction. To Turin Bonaparte had sent before
him one of his adjutants, General Marmont, afterward Duke de Ragusa, to
convey to her his kindest regards and to accompany her with a military
escort as far as Milan. In the palace de Serbelloni, his residence in
Milan, adorned as for a feast, Bonaparte received her with a countenance
radiant with joy and happy smiles such as seldom brightened his pale,
gloomy features.

But Bonaparte had neither much time nor leisure to devote to his
domestic happiness, to his long-expected reunion with Josephine. Only
three days could the happy lover obtain from the restless commander;
then he had to tear himself away from his sweet repose, to carry
on further the deadly strife which he had begun in Italy against
Austria - which had decided not to give away one foot of Lombardy without
a struggle - and not to submit to the conqueror of Lodi. A new army
was marched into Italy under the command of General Wurmser, the same
against whom, three years before, on the shores of the Rhine, Alexandre
de Beauharnais had fought in vain. At the head of sixty thousand men
Wurmser moved into Italy to relieve Mantua, besieged by the French.

This alarming news awoke Bonaparte out of his dream of love, and neither
Josephine's tears nor prayers could keep him back. He sent couriers to
Paris, to implore from the Directory fresh troops and more money, to
continue the campaign. The Directory answered him with the proposition
to divide the army of Italy into two columns, one of which would act
under the commander-in-chief, General Kellermann, the other under
Bonaparte.

But this proposition, which the jealous Directory made for the sake of
breaking the growing power of Bonaparte, only served to lift him a step
higher in his path to the brilliant career which he alone, in the depths
of his heart, had traced, and the secret of which his closed lips would
reveal to no one.

Bonaparte's answer to this proposition of the Directory was, that if
the power were to be divided, he could only refuse the half of this
division, and would retire entirely from command.

He wrote to Carnot: "It is a matter of indifference to me whether I
carry on the war here or elsewhere. To serve my country, and deserve
from posterity one page of history, is all my ambition! If both I and
Kellermann command in Italy, then all is lost. General Kellermann has
more experience than I, and will carry on the war more ably. But the
matter can only be badly managed if we both command. It is no pleasure
for me to serve with a man whom Europe considers the first general of
the age."

Carnot showed this letter to the Directory, and declared that if
Bonaparte were to be given up, he would himself resign his position of
secretary of war. The Directory was not prepared to accept this twofold
responsibility, and they sacrificed Kellermann to the threats of
Napoleon and Carnot.

General Bonaparte was confirmed in his position of commander-in-chief of
the army in Italy, even for the future, and the conduct of the war was
left in his hands alone.

With this fresh triumph over his enemies at home, Bonaparte marched from
Milan to fight the re-enforced enemy of France in Italy.

On this new war-path, amid dangers and conflicts, the tumults of the
fight, the noise of the camp, the confusion of the bivouac, the young
general did not for one moment forget the wife he so passionately loved.
Nearly every day he wrote to her, and those letters, which were often
written between the dictation of the battle's plan, the dispatches to
the Directory, and the impending conflict, were faithful waymarks, whose
directions it is easy to follow, and thus trace the whole successful
course of the hero of Italy.

To refer here to Bonaparte's letters to Josephine, implies at once the
mention of Bonaparte's deeds and of Josephine's happiness. The first
letter which he wrote after the interview in Milan is from Roverbella,
and it tells her in a few words that he has just now beaten the foe,
and that he is going to Verona. The second is also short and hastily
written, but is full of many delicate assurances of love, and also that
he has met and defeated the foe at Verona. The third letter is from
Marmirolo, and shows that Bonaparte, notwithstanding his constant
changes of position, had taken the precautions that Josephine's letters
should everywhere follow him; for in Marmirolo he received one, and this
tender letter filled him with so much joy, thanks, and longings, that,
in virtue of it, he forgets conquests and triumphs entirely, and is only
the longing, tender lover. He writes:

"MARMIROLO, the 29th Messidor, 9 in the evening" (July 17), 1796.

"I am just now in receipt of your letter, my adored one; it has filled
my heart with joy. I am thankful for the pains you have taken to send me
news about yourself; with your improved health, all will be well; I am
convinced that you have now recovered. I would impress upon you the duty
of riding often; this will be a healthy exercise for you.

"Since I left you I am forever sorrowful. My happiness consists in being
near you. Constantly does my memory renew your kisses, your tears, your
amiable jealousy; and the charms of the incomparable Josephine kindle
incessantly a burning flame within my heart and throughout my senses.
When shall I, free from all disturbance and care, pass all my moments
with you, and have nothing to do but to love, nothing to think of but
the happiness to tell it and prove it to you? I am going to send you
your horse, and I trust you will soon be able to be with me. A few days
ago I thought I loved you, but since I have seen you again, I feel that
I love you a thousand times more. Since I knew you, I worship you more
and more every day; this proves the falsity of La Bruyere's maxim, which
says that love springs up all at once. Every thing in nature has its
growth in different degrees. Ah, I implore you, let me see some of your
faults; be then less beautiful, less graceful, less tender, less good;
especially be never tender, never weep: your tears deprive me of my
reason, and change my blood into fire. Believe me, that it is not in my
power to have a single thought which concerns you not, or an idea which
is not subservient to you.

"Keep very quiet. Recover soon your health. Come to me, that at least
before dying we may say, 'We were happy so many, many days!'

"Millions of kisses even for Fortune, notwithstanding its naughtiness.
[Footnote: Fortune was that little peevish dog which, when Josephine
was in prison, served as love-messenger between her and her children.]
BONAPARTE."

But this letter, full of tenderness and warmth, is not yet enough for
the ardent lover; it does not express sufficiently his longing, his
love. The very next day, from the same quarters of Marmirolo, he writes
something like a postscript to the missive of the previous day. He tells
her that he has made an attack upon Mantua, but that a sudden fall of
the waters of the lake had delayed his troops already embarked, and that
this day he is going to try again in some other way; that the enemy a
few days past had made a sortie and killed a few hundred men, but that
they themselves, with considerable loss, had to retreat rapidly into the
fortress, and that three Neapolitan regiments had entered Brescia. But
between each of these sentences intervene some strong assurance of his
love, some tender or flattering words; and finally, at the end of the
letter, comes the principal object, the cause why it was written. The
tender lover wanted some token from his beloved: it is not enough for
him always to carry her portrait and her letters, he must also have a
lock of her hair. He writes:

"I have lost my snuffbox; I pray you find me another, somewhat more
flat, and pray have something pretty written upon it, with a lock
of your hair. A thousand burning kisses, since you are so cold, love
unbounded, and faithfulness beyond all proof."

Two days afterward he writes again from Marmirolo, at first hastily, a
few words about the war, then he comes to the main point. He has been
guilty, toward Josephine, of a want of politeness, and, with all the
tenderness and humility of a lover, he asks forgiveness. Her pardon and
her constant tardiness in answering his letters, are to him more weighty
matters than all the battles and victories of his restless camp-life,
and therefore he begins at once with a complaint at his separation from
her.

"MARMIROLO, the 1st Thermidor, Year IV. (July 19, 1796.)" For the last
two days I am without letters from you. This remark I have repeated
thirty times; you feel that this for me is sad. You cannot, however,
doubt of the tenderness and undivided solicitude with which you inspire
me."

"We attacked Mantua yesterday. We opened upon it, from two batteries, a
fire of shells and red-hot balls. The whole night the unfortunate city
was burning. The spectacle was terrible and sublime. We have taken
possession of numerous outworks, and we open the trenches to-night.
To-morrow we make our headquarters at Castiglione, and think of passing
* the night there."

"I have received a courier from Paris. He brought two letters for you: I
have read them. Though this action seems to me very simple, as you
gave me permission so to do, yet, I fear, it will annoy you, and that
troubles me exceedingly. I wanted at first to seal them over again; but,
pshaw! that would have been horrible. If I am guilty, I beg your pardon.
I swear to you I did it not through jealousy; no, certainly not; I have
of my adored one too high an opinion to indulge in such a feeling. I
wish you would once for all allow me to read your letters; then I should
not have any twittings of conscience or fear."

"Achilles, the courier, has arrived from Milan; no letter from my adored
one! Farewell, my sole happiness! When will you come, and be with me? I
shall have to fetch you from Milan myself."

"A thousand kisses, burning as my heart, pure as yours!"

"I have sent for the courier; he says he was at your residence, and that
you had nothing to say, nothing to order! Fie! wicked, hateful, cruel
tyrant! - pretty little monster! You laugh at my threats and my madness;
ah, you know very well that if I could shut you up in my heart, I would
keep you there a prisoner."

"Let me know that you are cheerful, right well, and loving!"

"BONAPARTE."

But Josephine seems not to have answered this letter as Napoleon
desired. She knew that it was nothing but unfounded jealousy which had
induced him to read the letters sent to her, and to punish him for this
jealousy she forbade him to read her letters in the future.

But while she reproached him in a jesting manner, and punished him for
this jealousy, she, herself, with all the inconsistency of a lover, fell
into the same fault, and could not hide from him the jealous fears which
the ladies from Brescia, especially the beautiful Madame de Te - - ,
had created within her mind. Bonaparte answered this letter as general,
lover, and husband; he gives an account of his war operations, submits
to her will as a lover, and commands her as a husband to come to him in
Brescia.

"CASTIGLIONE, the 4th Thermidor, Year IV. (July 22, 1796).

"The wants of the army require my presence in these parts; it is
impossible for me to go so far away as Milan; it would require for that
purpose five or six days, and during that time circumstances might arise
which would make my presence here absolutely necessary.

"You assure me that your health is now good; consequently, I pray you
to come to Brescia. At this moment I am sending Murat into the city to
prepare you such a house as you wish.

"I believe that you can very well sleep in Cassano on the 6th, if you
leave Milan late, so as to be in Brescia on the 7th, where the most
tender of lovers awaits you. I am in despair that you can believe, my
dear friend, that my heart can be drawn toward any one but yourself;
it belongs to you by right of conquest, and will be enduring and
ever-lasting. I do not understand why you speak of Madame de Te - - . I
trouble myself no more about her than any other woman in Brescia. Since
it annoys you that I open your letters, the enclosed one will be the
last that I open; your letter did not reach me till after I had opened
this.

"Farewell, my tender one; send me often your news. Break up at once and
come to me, and be happy without disquietude; all is well, and my heart
belongs to you for life.

"Be sure to return to the Adjutant Miollis the box of medallions which,
as he writes, he has given you. There are so many babbling and bad
tongues, that it is necessary to be always on one's guard.

"Health, love, and speedy arrival in Brescia!

"I have in Milan a carriage which is suited for city and country; use it
on your journey. Bring your silver and a few necessary things. Travel by
short stages, and during the cool of the morning and evening, so as not
to weary you too much. The troops need only three days to reach Brescia,
a distance of fourteen miles. I beg of you to pass the night of the 6th
in Cassano; on the 7th I will come to meet you as far as possible.

"Farewell, my Josephine; a thousand tender kisses!

"BONAPARTE."

Josephine gladly obeyed the wishes of her husband, and exactly on the
7th Thermidor (July 25) she entered Brescia. Bonaparte had ridden an
hour's distance to meet her, and, amid the shouts of the population, he
led her in triumph into the house prepared for her reception.

Three days were allowed to the general to enjoy his happiness and
Josephine's presence. On the 28th of July he received the intelligence
that Wurmser was advancing, and that he was in Marmirolo. At once
Bonaparte broke up from Brescia, to meet him and offer battle.

Brescia was no longer a dwelling-place for Josephine now that the enemy
threatened it; she therefore accompanied her husband, and the effeminate
creole, the tender Parisian, accustomed to all the comforts of life,
the lady surrounded by numerous attendants in Milan, saw herself at once
obliged, as the true wife of a soldier, to share with her husband all
the hardships, inconveniences, and dangers of a campaign.

The news of the advance of the Austrians became more and more precise.
No sooner had Bonaparte arrived in Peschiera with his Josephine, than he
learned that Montevaldo was attacked by the enemy. In great haste they
pursued their journey; the next day they reached Verona, but Wurmser
had been equally swift in his movements, and on the heights surrounding



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