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The letter which complains of Josephine's coldness is dated

"MODENA, 26th Vendemiaire of the Year V." (October 17, 1796),

"I was yesterday the whole day on the field. To-day I have kept my bed.
Fever and a violent headache have debarred me from writing to my adored
one; but I have received her letters, I pressed them to my lips and
to my heart, and the anguish of a separation of hundreds of miles
disappeared. At this moment I see you at my side, neither capricious
nor angry, but soft, tender, and wrapped in that goodness which is
exclusively the attribute of my Josephine. It was a dream - judge if
it could drive the fever away. Your letters are as cold as if you were
fifty years old; they seem to have been composed after a marriage of
fifteen years. One can see in them the friendship and sentiments of
the winter of life. Pshaw! Josephine, ... that is very naughty, very
abominable, very treasonable on your part. What more remains to make
me worthy of pity? All is already done! To love me no more! To hate
me! Well, then, let it be so! Every thing humiliates but hatred,
and indifference with its marmoreal pulse, its staring eyes, and its
measured steps. A thousand thousand kisses as tender as my heart! I
am somewhat better. I leave to-morrow. The English are cruising on the
Mediterranean. Corsica is ours. Good news for France and for the army.


Bonaparte had gone to wage the last decisive battle. He writes to her
from Verona a few lines that he has arrived there, and that he is just
going to mount his horse to pursue the march. In this letter, however,
he does not tell Josephine that General Vaubois, with his fugitive
regiments, has been beaten by the Tyrolese, and that, driven from their
mountains, he has arrived in Verona; that Alvinzi occupies the Tyrol and
has pushed on to Brenta and to Etsch. Bonaparte was gathering his troops
to drive away General Alvinzi, who had occupied the heights of Caldiero,
from these important positions, and to take possession of them by main
force. A violent and desperate struggle ensued, and the day ended with
victory on the side of the Austrians. Bonaparte had to return to Verona;
Alvinzi maintained himself on the heights.

To the irritated general, disappointed in his plans and humiliated, his
love becomes his "bete de souffrance," upon which he takes vengeance
for the defeat of Caldiero. Josephine has to endure the flaming wrath of
Bonaparte, in whom now general and lover are fused into one; but in his
expressions of anger the general has no complaints - it is the lover who
murmurs, who reprimands, and is irritated.

On the evening of the 12th November, the day of the defeat of Caldiero,
Bonaparte returned to Verona. The next day he wrote to Josephine:

"VERONA, the 3d Frimaire, Year V." (November 13, 1796)

"I love you no more; on the contrary, I hate you. You are a wicked
creature, very inconsistent, very stupid, very silly. You do not write
to me. You do not love your husband. You know how much pleasure your
letters would afford, and you do not write to him even six lines, which
you can readily scribble out."

"How, then, do you begin the day, madame? What important occupation
takes away your time from writing to your very excellent lover? What new
inclination chokes and thrusts aside the tender, abiding love which you
have promised him? What can this wonderful, this new love be, which lays
claim to all your time, and rules over your days, and hinders you from
occupying yourself with your husband? Josephine, be on your guard; on
some evil night the doors will be burst open and I shall stand before

"In truth, I am restless, my dear one, because I receive no news from
you. Write me at once four pages about those things, which fill my heart
with emotion and pleasure.

"I trust soon to fold you in my arms, and then I will overwhelm you with
a million of kisses burning like the equator."


Whilst Bonaparte was pursuing and engaging with Wurmser and Alvinzi in
bloody hostilities, and writing to Josephine tender and angry letters
of a lover ever jealous, ever dissatisfied and envious, Josephine was
leading in Milan a life full of pleasure and amusement, full of splendor
and triumphs, of receptions and festivities. Every new victory, every
onward movement, was for the inhabitants of Milan, and her proud and
rich nobles, a fresh and welcome occasion to celebrate and glorify the
wife of General Bonaparte, and, through her, the hero who was to take
away from their necks the yoke of the Austrian, and who suspected not
that he was so soon to place upon them another yoke.

Josephine, true to the wishes and commands of Bonaparte, accepted these
festivities and this homage with all the affability and grace which
distinguished her. She had by degrees become familiar with this
ceaseless homage, which at first seemed so wearisome; by degrees she
took delight in this life of pleasure, in the incense of adulation, and
the brilliancies of fame. All the indolence, the dreamy carelessness,
the graceful abandonment of the creole had been again awakened in her.
She cradled herself playfully on the lulling, bright waves of pleasure
as an insect with golden wings, and she smiled complacently at the
stream of encircling festivities.

Bonaparte had told her to use all the arts of a woman to bind the
Milanese and the Lombards to herself and to her husband. With her smiles
she was to continue the conquest begun by Bonaparte's sword.

She could not, therefore, live alone in quiet solitude; she could not
remain in obscurity while her husband was performing his part on the
theatre of war; she could not, by an appearance of gravity, or by a
clouded brow, furnish occasion to the suspicion that there existed doubt
in the future success of her husband, or in his prosperity and victory.

Roses were to crown her brow - a cheerful smile was to beam on her
countenance; with joyous spirit, she was to take part in the festivities
and pleasures - that the Milanese might see with what earnest confidence
she believed in Napoleon's star! But Bonaparte, with all the instinct of
a genuine lover, had read the deepest secret of her soul; he was envious
and jealous, because he felt that Josephine did not belong to him with
her whole heart, her whole being, all her emotions and thoughts. Her
heart, which had received from the past so many scars and wounds,
could not yet have blossomed anew; it had been warmed by the glow of
Bonaparte's love, but it was not yet thoroughly penetrated with that
passion which Bonaparte so painfully missed, so intensely craved.

The earnest, unfettered nature of his love intimidated her, while it
ravished and flattered her vanity; but her heart was not entirely his,
it had yet room for her children, for her friends, for the things of
this world!

Josephine loved Bonaparte with that soft, modest, and retiring
affection, which only by degrees - by the storms of anguish, jealousy,
agony, and the possibility of losing him - was to be fanned into that
vitality and glow which never cooled again in her heart, and which at
last gave her the death-stroke.

She therefore thought she was fulfilling her task when she, while
Bonaparte was fighting with weapons, conquered with smiles, and received
the homage of the conquered only as a tribute which they brought through
her to the warlike genius of her husband.

Meanwhile Bonaparte had taken vengeance for his defeat at Caldiero.
Through a ruse of war, he had decoyed Alvinzi from his safe and
impregnable position into one where he could meet him with his army
anxious for the fray, and give him battle.

The gigantic struggle lasted three days - and the close of the third day
brought to the conqueror, Bonaparte, the laurel-wreath of undying glory,
which, more enduring and dazzling than an imperial crown, surrounded
with a halo the hero's brow long after that crown had fallen from it.

This was the victory of Arcola, which Bonaparte himself decided by
snatching from the flag-bearer the standard of the retreating regiment,
and rushing with it, through a shower of balls, over the bridge of death
and destruction, and, with a voice heard above the thundering cannon,
shouting jubilant to his soldiers - "En avant, mes amis!" And bravely the
soldiers followed him - a brilliant victory was the result.

Elevated by this deed, the grandest and most glorious of his heroic
career, Napoleon returned to Verona on the 19th November. The whole
city - all Lombardy - sang to his praise their inspired hymns, and greeted
with enthusiasm the conqueror of Arcola. He, however, wanted a sweeter
reward; and after obtaining a second victory, on the 23d of November,
by defeating Wurmser near Mantua, he longed to rest and enjoy an hour's
happiness in the arms of his Josephine.

From Verona he wrote to her on the day after the battle of Mantua, on
the 24th of November:

"I hope soon to be in your arms, my beloved one; I love you to madness!
I write by this courier for Paris. All is well. Wurmser was defeated
yesterday under Mantua. Your husband needs nothing but the love of his
Josephine to be happy. BONAPARTE."

But the most terrible doubts hung yet over this love. The letter in
which Napoleon announced his coming had not reached Josephine; and, as
the next day he came to Milan with all the cravings and impatience of a
lover, he did not find Josephine there.

She had not suspected his coming; she had not dreamed that the
commanding officer could stop in his victorious course and give way to
the lover. She thought him far away; and, ever faithful to Bonaparte's
direction to assist him in the conquest of Italy, she had accepted an
invitation from the city of Genoa, which had lately and gladly entered
into alliance with France. The most brilliant festivities welcomed her
in this city of wealth and palaces, and "Genova la superba" gathered
all its magnificence, all the splendor of its glory, to offer, under the
eyes of all Europe, her solemn homage to the wife of the celebrated hero
of Arcola.

While Josephine, with joyous pride was receiving this homage, Bonaparte,
gloomy and murmuring, sat in his cabinet at Milan, and wrote to her:

"MILAN, the 7th Frimaire, Year V.," Three o'clock. afternoon (November
27, 1796).

"I have just arrived in Milan, and rush to your apartments. I have left
every thing to see you, to press you in my arms; .... you are not there!
You are pursuing a circle of festivities through the cities. You go away
from me at my approach; you trouble yourself no more about your dear
Napoleon. A spleen has made you love him; inconstancy renders you

"Accustomed to dangers, I know a remedy against ennui and the troubles
of life. The wretchedness I endure is not to be measured; I am entitled
not to expect it.

"I will wait here until the 9th. Do not trouble yourself. Pursue your
pleasures; happiness is made for you. The whole world is too happy when
it can please you, and your husband alone is very, very unhappy.


But this cry of anguish from this crushed heart did not reach Josephine;
and the courier, who next day came to Milan from Genoa, brought
from Josephine only a letter with numerous commissions for Berthier.
Bonaparte's anger and sorrow knew no bounds, and he at once writes to
her with all the utterances of despair and complaint of a lover, and the
proud wrath of an injured husband:

"MILAN, the 8th Frimaire, Year V., eight o'clock, evening.

"The courier whom Berthier had sent to Milan has just arrived. You have
had no time to write to me; that I can understand very well. In the
midst of pleasures and amusements it would have been too much for you to
make the smallest sacrifice for me. Berthier has shown me the letter you
wrote to him. It is not my purpose to trouble you in your arrangements
or in the festivities which you are enjoying; I am not worth the
trouble; the happiness or the misery of a man you love no longer has not
the right to interest you.

"As regards myself, to love you and you alone, to make you happy, to do
nothing that can wrong you in any way, is the desire and object of my

"Be happy, have nothing to reproach me, trouble not yourself about the
felicity of a man who only breathes in your life, who finds enjoyment
only in your happiness. When I claim from you a love which would
approach mine, I am wrong: how can one expect that a cobweb should weigh
as much as gold? When I sacrifice to you all my wishes, all my thoughts,
all the moments of my life, I merely obey the spell which your charms,
your character, your whole person, exercise over my wretched heart. I
am wrong, for Nature has not endowed me with the power of binding you
to me; but I deserve from Josephine in return at least consideration and
esteem, for I love her unto madness, and love her exclusively.

"Farewell, adorable wife! farewell, my Josephine! May fate pour into my
heart every trouble and every sorrow; but may it send to my Josephine
serene and happy days! Who deserves it more than she? When it is well
understood that she loves me no more, I will garner up into my heart my
deep anguish, and be content to be in many things at least useful and
good to her.

"I open this letter once more to send you a kiss.... ah! Josephine. ...
Josephine! BONAPARTE."

Meanwhile it was not yet well understood that Josephine loved him no
more; for as soon as she knew of Bonaparte's presence in Milan, she
hastened to dispatch him a courier, and to apprise him of her sudden

Bonaparte did not leave Milan on the 9th; he remained there, waiting for
Josephine, to lift her up in his arms from her carriage, and to bear
her into her apartments; to enjoy with her a few happy days of a quiet,
domestic, and mutual love, all to themselves.

His presence with the army, however, soon became a matter of necessity;
for Alvinzi was advancing with considerable re-enforcements, with two
army corps to the relief of Mantua, and Bonaparte, notwithstanding
his pressing remonstrances to the Directory, having received but few
re-enforcements and very little money, had to exert all his powers and
energy to press a few advantages from the superior forces of the enemy.
Everywhere his presence and personal action were needed; and, constantly
busy with war, ever sword in hand, he could not, for long weeks, even
once take pen IN HAND and write to his Josephine. His longings had to
subside before the force of circumstances, which claimed the general's
whole time.

On the 3d of February, 1797, he again finds time to send her a few
lines, to say that he is breaking up and going to Rimini. Then, after
Alvinzi had been again defeated, after the fortress of Mantua had
capitulated, Bonaparte had to break up again and go to Rome, to require
from the pope the reason why he had made common cause with Austria, and
shown himself the enemy of the French republic. In Bologna he lingered a
few days, as Josephine, in compliance with his wishes, had come there to
make amends by her presence for so long a separation.

She remained in Bologna, while Bonaparte advanced toward the city of
the Church. But the gloomy quietude, the constant rumors of war, the
threatening dangers, the intrigues with which she was surrounded, the
hostile exertions of the priests, the want of society, of friendly
faces, every thing had a tendency to make Josephine's residence in
Bologna very disagreeable, and to bring on sadness and nervousness.

In this gloomy state of mind she writes to Bonaparte that she feels
sick, exhausted and helpless; that she is anxious to return to Paris. He
answers her from Ancona:

"The 8th Pluviose, Year V. (February 16, 1797).

"You are sad, you are sick, you write to me no longer, you wish to
return to Paris! Do you no longer love your friend? This thought makes
me very unhappy. My dear friend, life is intolerable to me, since I have
heard of your sadness.

"I send you at once Moscati to take care of you. My health is somewhat
feeble; my cold hangs on. I pray you spare yourself, and love me as much
as I love you, and do write every day. My restlessness is horrible.

"I have given orders to Moscati to accompany you to Ancona, if you will
come. I will write to you and let you know where I am.

"I may perhaps make peace with the pope, and then will soon be with you;
it is the most intense desire of my life.

"I send a hundred kisses. Think not that any thing can equal my love,
unless it be my solicitude for you. Write to me every day yourself, my
dearly-beloved one!


But Josephine, in her depressed state of mind, and her nervous
irritability, did not have the courage to draw nearer the scenes of war,
and she dreaded to face again such dangers as once she had encountered
in Brescia and on her journey to Florence. She had not been able to
overcome the indolence of the Creole so much as to write to Bonaparte.
Fully conscious of his love and pardon, she relied upon them when, in
her reluctance to every exertion, she announced to him, through the
physician Moscati, that she would not come to Ancona, but would wait for
him in Bologna.

This news made a very painful impression upon Bonaparte, and filled him
with sorrow, though it reached him on a day in which he had obtained
a new triumph, a spiritual victory without any shedding of blood. The
pope, frightened at the army detachments approaching Rome, as well as at
the menacing language of the victor of Arcola, signed a peace with the
French republic, and with the general whose sword had bowed into the
dust all the princes of Italy, and freed all the population from their
duties as subjects. Bonaparte announced this to Josephine, and it is
evident how important it was to him that this news should precede even
his love-murmurings and reproaches. His letter was dated

"TOLONTINO, the 1st Ventose, Year V. (February 19,1797).

"Peace with Rome is signed. Bologna, Ferrara, Romagna fall into the
hands of the French republic. The pope has to pay us in a short time
thirty millions, and gives us many precious objects of art.

"I leave to-morrow for Ancona, and then for Rimini, Ravenna, and
Bologna. If your health permits, come over to meet me in Ravenna, but, I
implore you, spare yourself.

"Not a word from your hand! What have I done? To think only of you,
to love but you, to live but for my wife, to enjoy only my beloved's
happiness, does this deserve such a cruel treatment from her? My friend,
I implore you, think of me, and write to me every day. Either you are
sick, or you love me no longer. Do you imagine, then, that my heart is
of marble? Why do you have so little sympathy with my sorrow? You must
have a very poor idea of me! That I cannot believe. You, to whom Nature
has imparted so much understanding, so much amiability, and so much
beauty, you, who alone can rule in my heart, you know, without doubt,
what power you have over me!

"Write to me, think of me, and love me.

"Yours entirely, yours for life,


This is the last letter of Bonaparte to Josephine during his first
Italian campaign - the last at least in the series of letters which
Queen Hortense has made public, as the most beautiful and most glorious
monument to her mother. [Footnote: "Lettres de Napoleon a Josephine et
de Josephine a Napoleon et a sa fille. Londres et Leipzic, 1833."]

We have dwelt upon them because these letters, like sunbeams, throw a
bright light on the new pathway of Josephine's life - because they are an
eloquent and splendid testimony to the love which Josephine had inspired
in her young husband, and also to her amiableness, to her sweetness of
disposition, to her grace, and to all the noble and charming qualities
which procured her so much admiration and affection, and which still
caused her to be loved, sought for and celebrated, when she had to
descend from the height of a throne, and became the deserted, divorced
wife of the man who loved her immeasurably, and who so often had sworn
to her that this love would only end with his life!


On the 18th of April were finally signed, in Leoben, the preliminaries
of peace between Austria and France, and which finally put an end to
this cruel war. Austria was compelled to acknowledge herself defeated,
for even the Archduke Charles, who had pushed forward from the Rhine
with his army to oppose the conqueror of Wurmser and of Alvinzi, had not
been able to arrest Bonaparte in his victorious career.

Bonaparte had publicly declared he would march toward Vienna, and
dictate to the Emperor of Germany, in his very palace, terms of peace.
He was at the point of carrying into execution this bold plan. Since the
battle of Tagliamento, on the 16th of March, the army of the archduke
was broken, and he could no longer prevent Bonaparte from marching with
his army over Laybach and Trieste into Germany. On the 25th of March,
Bonaparte entered into Klagenfurt; and now that he was but forty miles
from the capital, the Austrian court began to tremble at the approach
of this army of sans-culottes who, under the leadership of General
Bonaparte, had been transformed into heroes. She therefore accepted
the propositions of peace made by Bonaparte, and, as already said, its
preliminaries were signed in Leoben.

Now Bonaparte could rest after such constant and bloody work, now he
could again hasten to his Josephine, who was waiting for him in the
palace of Serbelloni. The whole city - all Lombardy - was with her, awaiting him. His journey
from Leoben to Milan was a continuous triumph, which, however, reached
its culminating point at his entrance into the city. Milan had adorned
herself for this day as a bride to receive her hero. From every balcony
waved the united French and Italian standards, costly tapestries
were hanging down, every window was occupied by beautiful women
gayly attired, and who, with large bouquets of flowers and waving
handkerchiefs, greeted the conqueror. All the dignitaries of the city
went to meet him in processional pomp; from every tower sounded the
welcome chimes, and the compact masses of the people in the streets and
on the roofs of the houses filled the air with the jubilant shout: "Long
live the deliverer of Italy! the conqueror of Austria!"

Josephine, surrounded by ladies of the highest aristocracy of Lombardy,
received her husband in the Palace Serbelloni. With radiant smiles, and
yet with tears in her eyes, she received him, her heart swelling with a
lofty joy at this ovation to Bonaparte; and through the glorification
of this victory he appeared to her more beautiful, more worthy of love,
than ever before. On this day of his return from so many battles
and victories her heart gave itself up with all its power, all its
unreservedness and fulness, to this wondrous man who had won so
many important battles, and who bowed before her alone with all the
submissive humility of a conquered man! From this day she loved him with
that warm, strong love which was to end only with her death.

Josephine had good reason to be happy on this day, for it brought her
not only her husband, but also a new source of happiness, her son, her
dear Eugene. Bonaparte had sent for him from Paris, and given him a
commission of second lieutenant in the first regiment of hussars, and
had also appointed him adjutant of the commanding general of the army of
Italy, perhaps as much to give to Josephine a new proof of his affection
as to attach Eugene to his person, for whom he felt the love of a

Near the returned general, Josephine, to her supreme delight, saw her
dear son, from whom she had been separated so long; and Eugene, whom she
had left in Paris a mere boy, presented himself to her in Milan, in his
officer's uniform, as a youth, with countenance beaming with joy and
eyes full of lustre, ready to enter upon fame's pathway, on which his
step-father, so brilliant a model, was walking before him. The maternal
heart of Josephine felt both love and pride at the sight of this young
man, so remarkable for his healthy appearance, and his youthful vigor
and genius, and she thanked Bonaparte with redoubled love for the joyous
surprise which his considerate affection had prepared for her.

Now began for Josephine and Bonaparte happy days, illumined by all the
splendor of festivities, of fealty exhibited, of triumphs realized.
After lingering a few days in Milan, Bonaparte, with his wife, the
whole train of his friends, his adjutants and servants, removed to the
pleasure-castle of Montebello, near Milan.

Here, amid rich natural scenery, in this large, imposing castle, which,

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