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collect together in Malmaison the most beautiful plants and flowers, and
to arrange them in this her little earthly paradise. She enlisted the
most able architects and the most skilful gardeners, and, under their
direction, with the hands of hundreds of workmen, there soon arose one
of the most beautiful hot-houses, wherein all these glories of earth,
splendid flowers, and fruits of distant climes, would find a home!

Josephine herself, with her fine taste and her deep knowledge of botany,
directed all these arrangements and improvements; the builders as well
as the gardeners had to submit their plans for her approbation, and it
was not seldom that her keen, practised eye discovered in them defects
which her ingenuity at once found means to correct.

In Malmaison, Josephine created around her a new world, a quiet paradise
of happiness, where she could dream, with blissful cheerfulness and
with all the youthful energy of her heart, of a peaceful future, of
delightful contentment, in the quiet enjoyment of Nature and of home.

But the old world outside did not cease its own march; it fought its
battles, spun its intrigues, and continued its hostilities. Josephine
could not withdraw herself from this old world; she dared not place the
paradise of Malmaison as a wall of partition between her and the
wild stir and tumult of Paris; she had to rush away from the world of
innocence, from this country-life, into the whirlpool of the agitated,
restless life of Paris.

Bonaparte had made it a duty for her to watch his friends as well as his
foes, and there were then happening in Paris events which appeared to
the wife of General Bonaparte worthy of close observation. His long
absence had diminished the number of his friends, and at the same time
gave strength to and increased his enemies, who were ever busy to
defame and vilify his heroic deeds, and to turn them into a crime; they
represented that the expedition to Egypt, notwithstanding the glorious
exploits of the French army, should have had more striking results, and
the louder they cried out, the more feeble and timid were the voices
of his friends. The latter daily found their position becoming more
precarious, for they were the moderate republicans, the supporters of
the actual order of things, and of the constitution which France had
adopted. Against this constitution arose, with loud cries, two hostile
parties, which increased every day, and assumed toward it a more and
more threatening attitude.

These parties were, on the one hand, the royalists, who saw their hopes
increase every day, because the armies of the European powers, allied
against France, were approaching nearer and nearer the French
frontiers; and, on the other, the republicans of the past, who hoped to
re-establish the old days of the Convention and of the red republic.

Both parties tried to undermine society and the existing authorities;
they organized conspiracies, seditions, and tumults, and were constantly
inventing new intrigues, so as to destroy the government, and set
themselves up in its place.

The royalists trusted to the combined powers of the princes of Europe,
with whom the exiled Bourbons were approaching; and in La Vendee the
guerilla warfare had already begun against the republic.

The red republicans dreamed of re-establishing the guillotine, which was
to restore France to health by delivering her from all the adversaries
of the republic and bring back the glorious days of 1793; they left
nothing untried to excite the people into dissatisfaction and open
rebellion.

Against both parties stood the Directory, who in these days of tumult
and sedition, were themselves feeble and without energy, seeking only to
prolong their existence. They were satisfied to live on day by day, and
shrank from every decided action which might increase the wrath of the
parties or destroy the brilliant present of the mighty directors, in
whose ears the title of "the five monarchs" sounded so sweetly.

In the interior of France, anarchy, with all its horrors and confusion,
prevailed, and, on the frontier, its enemies were taking advantage of
this anarchy to give to the republic its mortal stroke.

Turkey, Russia, the Kings of Sardinia, Naples, and Sweden, were allied
with Austria, England, and Prussia, and they had begun to make immense
preparations. A Russian army, led by Suwarrow, was marching toward
Italy, to the help of Austria - to reconquer Lombardy. The Rastadt
congress, from which a universal peace had been expected, had dissolved,
and the only result was an increased enmity between Germany and
France, the deputies of the latter, as they were returning home, being
shamefully murdered in the open street, immediately before the gates of
Rastadt, at the instigation of the Austrian Count Lehrbach.

The murder of these ambassadors became the signal for the renewal of
war, which was now to be prosecuted with increased bitterness.

At this important, critical moment, when all Europe was buckling on
its armor against France, which so much needed the guidance of her
victorious general - at this moment, Bonaparte was not only away from
Paris, but no news had been received from him for some months. Only
a vague rumor was spread through Paris: "Bonaparte had fallen at the
desperate attack on Acre," and this sufficed to discourage entirely his
friends, and to make his enemies still more audacious and overbearing.

At first Josephine was entirely cast down by the terrible news; but
afterward came the reflection, the doubt, the hope, that all this
might be a rumor spread by his enemies. She hastened to Paris to obtain
information from the Directory, so as to find out if there were any
foundation for the report of Bonaparte's death. But the Directory had
as uncertain news as Josephine herself, and the absence of information
seemed to confirm its truth.

As she came one day to Barras to ask him if there were any news from
the army, she heard him say to Rewbell, one of the five directors: "Here
comes the wife of that hypocrite Bonaparte! If he is not dead to Europe,
he is at least dead to France."

This expression proved to her that Barras himself did not believe in his
death, and gave to Josephine all her energy and presence of mind. She
busied herself in endeavoring to find a clew to this horrible rumor; and
she found that Bonaparte's enemies had spread it, and that only those
to whom his death would be welcome, and his return be objectionable, had
circulated this report.

Her heart again beat with hope; she now felt, in the blissful joy which
penetrated her whole being, that Bonaparte was not dead; that he lived
still; that he would return home, to her great delight and to the terror
of his foes. A cheerful assurance sustained her whole nature. While
all those, who in the days of her happiness had rivalled each other in
assuring her of their friendship and devotedness, the Directory, the
ministers, the majority of the generals, turned away from her, cold and
indifferent; and her few true friends, low-spirited and depressed, bowed
their heads, while her foes and those of Bonaparte scornfully said in
their joy, "Now the new King of Jerusalem and Cyprus has fallen under
the blows of a new savage Omar." While every thing was against her,
Josephine alone was cheerful, and confidingly looked into the future,
for she felt and knew that the future would soon bring back her husband,
her beloved.




CHAPTER XXXI. THE FIRST FAITHLESSNESS.


Josephines prophetic heart had not deceived her. Bonaparte lived! But
his was a life of danger, of constantly renewed battles and hardships - a
life in which he had constantly to guard against not only enemies, but
also against sickness.

Bonaparte had traversed the deserts with his army, visited the pyramids,
conquered Cairo, and, in warmly-contested and fearful combats, had
defeated and subdued the Mussulman. But these numerous victories had
been followed by some defeats, and all his successes were more than
counterbalanced by the fruitless storming of the impregnable Acre, and
the failure to conquer Syria. The English admiral, Sidney Smith, with
his vessels, anchored in the harbor of Acre, protected the besieged,
and constantly provided them with provisions and ammunition, and so
efficiently supported the pacha and his mercenary European soldiers,
that Bonaparte, after two months of fruitless efforts, abandoned the
siege on the 10th of May, 1799, and retreated into Egypt.

This is not, however, the place to recall the stupendous enterprises of
Bonaparte, which remind one of the deeds of the heroes and demi-gods of
ancient Greece, or the nursery tales of extraordinary beings.

His heroic deeds are engraven on history's page: there can be read
the wondrous events of his Egyptian campaign, of his march through
the wilderness, of the capture of Cairo, of his successful battles of
Aboukir and Tabor, which led the heroic General Kleber, forgetting all
rivalry, to embrace Bonaparte, exclaiming: "General Bonaparte, you are
as great as the world, but the world is too small for you!"

There, also, one can read of the cruel massacre of three thousand
captive Mussulmen, of the revolt of Cairo; there are depicted the
blood-stained laurels which Bonaparte won in this expedition, the
original plan of which seems to have been conceived in the brain of one
who was at once a demi-god and an adventurer.

We leave, therefore, to history the exclusive privilege of narrating
Bonaparte's career as a warrior; our task is with something
superior - with his thoughts, feelings, and sufferings, in the days of
his Egyptian campaign. It is not with the soldier, the captain, or his
plans of battle, that we have to do, but with the man, and especially
with the husband of Josephine - the woman who for his sake suffered,
was full of solicitude, contended for him, and struggled with love and
loyalty, while he fought only with sword and cannon.

It is true, Bonaparte also had to suffer, and his anxieties for the
success of his plans did not alone hang heavily on his heart, while with
his army he besieged the impregnable Acre. At this very time his heart
received a deep wound from his friend and confidant Junot, who drove
the sting of jealousy into his sensitive heart. It is the privilege of
friendship to pass by in silence nothing which calumny or ill-will may
imagine or circulate, but truly to make known to our friend every thing
which the public says of him, without regard to the sufferings which
such communications may entail upon his heart. Junot made full use of
this privilege. Bourrienne in his memoirs relates as follows:

"While we were in the vicinity of the springs of Messoudiah, I saw one
day Bonaparte, with his friend Junot, pacing to and fro, as he often
did. I was not very far from them, and I know not why during this
conversation my eyes were fixed on him. The face of the general was
paler than usual, though I knew not the cause. There was a strange
nervousness; his eyes seemed bewildered, and he often struck his head
with his hand.

"After a quarter of an hour, he left Junot and came toward me. I had
noticed his angry, thoughtful expression. I went to meet him, and as I
stood before him, Bonaparte, with a harsh and severe tone, exclaimed:
'You have no affection for me. The women! ... Josephine! ... Had you any
affection for me, you would long ago have given me the information which
Junot has now told me: he is a true friend! Josephine! ... and I am six
hundred miles away! ... You ought to have told me! ... Josephine! ...
so to deceive me! ... You! ... "Woe to you all! I will uproot
that detestable race of seducers and blondins! As regards
her - separation! - yes: divorce, public separation before the eyes
of all! ... I must write! I know every thing! ... It is her fault,
Bourrienne! You ought to have told me.'

"These vehement, broken utterances, the strange expression on his face,
and his excited tone of voice, revealed only too clearly what had been
the subject of the conversation he had had with Junot. I saw that Junot
had been drawn into a fatal indiscretion, and that if he had really
believed that charges could be made against Madame Bonaparte, he had
exaggerated them in an unpardonable manner. My situation was one of
extreme delicacy: I had, however, the good fortune to remain cool, and
as soon as his first excitement had subsided, I began to tell him that
I knew nothing about what Junot had told him; that if even such rumors,
which often were circulated only by slander, had reached me, and if I
had thought it my duty to communicate them to him, I should certainly
not have chosen the moment when he was six hundred miles away from
France to do so. I did not hesitate to tell him how blameworthy Junot's
conduct appeared to me, and how ungenerous it was to accuse a woman
thoughtlessly, when she was not present to justify or to defend herself;
I told him that it was no proof of affection for Junot to add domestic
troubles to the grave anxieties which already overburdened him.
Notwithstanding my observations, to which, however, he listened with
composure, the word 'separation' fell often from his lips, and one must
understand to what a pitch the excitement of his feelings could carry
him, to be able to imagine how Bonaparte appeared during this painful
scene. I did not, however, give up the point; I came back to what I had
said. I reminded him with what carelessness men received and circulated
such reckless stories, suited only to the idle curiosity of gossips, and
unworthy the attention of strong minds. I spoke to him of his fame: 'My
fame?' cried he, 'ah, I know not what I would give if what Junot has
told me is not true - so much do I love this woman ... if Josephine
is guilty, I must be divorced from her forever. ... I will not be
the ridicule of the idle babblers of Paris! I must write to Joseph to
procure this separation.'

"Though he was still much excited, yet he was somewhat more quiet. I
took advantage of a moment's pause to combat this idea of separation
which seemed to overrule him. I called his attention to the
unreasonableness it would be, on such vague and probably false rumors,
to write to his brother. 'If you send a letter,' said I, 'it will
bear the impress of the excitement which has dictated it; as regards
a separation, it will be time, after mature consideration, to speak of
it.'

"These last words made an impression on him which I had not expected so
soon to see; he became perfectly calm, and listened to me as if he
felt the need of receiving words of encouragement, and after this
conversation he never again alluded to the subject. Fourteen days after,
before Acre, he manifested to me the most violent displeasure against
Junot, complained of the sufferings which such indiscreet revelations
had caused him, and which he now considered as purely an invention
of malice. I afterward noticed that he did not forgive Junot this
stupidity. It is easy to understand why Josephine, when she learned from
Napoleon this conduct of Junot, never could feel for him a very warm
interest, or intercede in his favor." [Footnote: Bourrienne, "Memoires,"
vol. ii., p. 212.]

It will be seen that the very sensitive heart of Bonaparte had again
been kindled into jealousy, as it so often had happened before in Italy.
Absence - a momentary separation - was enough to enkindle these flames. We
have seen in the letters which Bonaparte wrote to Josephine during the
Italian campaign, how her silence - the least delay in her answering
his letters - was enough for him to incriminate her, on account of his
jealous affections; how, because she does not constantly write, he
threatens to rush in some night unexpectedly, and with the rage of
jealousy force the doors open, and murder "the young lover of eighteen,
and curse Josephine because he must love her without bounds."

Now he swears to root out this detestable race of seducers and blondins
who have beguiled from him the heart of his Josephine. Full of passion
and jealousy, he believes in the calumnies which Junot, with all the
cruel inconsiderateness of a trusty friend, has whispered to him, and at
once Josephine is guilty! She has had a love-correspondence with Charles
Botot, the blond private secretary of Barras, for Charles Botot comes
sometimes to Malmaison, and has often been seen near Josephine and her
daughter Hortense in her loge! But by degrees comes reflection, and a
fortnight after he believes that malice alone can have invented these
calumnies. This noble conviction, however, was soon to be shaken by the
enemy, for Josephine had enemies quite near Bonaparte, who longed to
draw away from her a husband's heart and to drive him into a divorce.

First of all there were the whole family of Bonaparte, who had seen with
unwillingness Napoleon's marriage, for he was thereby much less under
their influence, and they had wished that he would at all events have
married Desiree Clary, the sister of Joseph's wife, and thus have been
more closely united to the family.

But, while he was in Egypt, another powerful enemy had been added to
these. This was a young and beautiful woman, Madame Foures, the beloved
of the ardent general.

While Bonaparte, with all the madness of jealousy at a mere groundless
calumny, which had come across the sea distorted and magnified,
wished to be divorced from Josephine; while he complained of woman's
faithlessness, frivolity, and inconstancy; while he cursed all women as
coquettes, he himself was guilty of faithlessness. Forgetting his vows
and his protestations of love for his wife, he had abandoned himself to
a new affection without any regard to public opinion, and even made no
secret of his intrigues.

Unfortunate Josephine! The fears she had anticipated and dreaded before
accepting Bonaparte's proffered hand were too soon to be realized. His
heart began to grow cold while her love increased every day with deeper
intensity; he had perchance already read in her amiable countenance the
first signs of age, and he thought it might well be allowed to the young
general not to maintain so strict a fealty to that faithfulness which he
claimed from her.

But Bonaparte still loved Josephine, although he was unfaithful to her.
Surely this new love might well bear the guilt of the credulousness with
which he judged Josephine, and the word of separation might thus easily
come upon his lips, because the newly-loved one, amid the vows of her
affection, might have whispered it in his ear.

Madame Foures had an immense advantage over Josephine; she was barely
twenty years old, was bewitchingly beautiful, was a coquette, and - she
was there in Bonaparte's immediate presence, while the Mediterranean
separated him from Josephine.

Bonaparte abandoned himself to this new love with all his passionate
nature. Not only did the whole army in Egypt know this, but his foes
also became acquainted with it; and Sir Sidney Smith made use of this
fact to attack his enemy in a way little known to the annals of warfare.
Bonaparte had removed from the Egyptian army Madame Foures' injured
husband, who held there the rank of a cavalry officer, by sending him
with a message to the Directory. But the vessel in which he had sailed
for France was captured by the English, and Admiral Sidney Smith
undertook, with all the careless, open manner of an Englishman, to make
him fully acquainted with the relations existing between his wife and
General Bonaparte.

He then gave to M. Foures, who was beside himself with anger and wrath,
and who threatened bloody vengeance, his freedom, and exhibited his
good-will toward him so far as to have him landed near Cairo, where
Bonaparte then was with his beautiful mistress.

Enraged with jealousy, M. Foures rushed to his wife, to make to her the
most violent demonstrations. Perhaps too weak to part with an adored,
beautiful wife, he simply ordered her to return with him to France.

But Madame Foures made resistance. She called her mighty lover to her
help; she claimed a separation; and the war-commissioner Duprat, who
in the army was invested with the functions of a civil magistrate,
pronounced, at the request of Madame Foures and at the order of
Bonaparte, the decree of separation.

Madame Foures was free, but this did not satisfy the secret wishes of
her heart. The most important point was, that Bonaparte should be free
also, that he also should desire to be divorced. Josephine must be
removed from him and thrust aside, so that the beautiful Pauline Foures
might take her place.

No means, either of coquetry, tears, flatteries, or promises of enduring
love, remained untried to induce Bonaparte to take the decisive step.
Sometimes Pauline would pout; sometimes her eyes shed the tears of
repentance over her own faithlessness, and she vowed she would take
refuge in a cloister if Bonaparte would not restore her to honor by
exalting her to the position of being his wife; sometimes she sought by
her cheerful humor, her genial abandonment, to bind him to her, to amuse
him; and sometimes, when dressed as a general, on a fiery horse, and
surrounded by a vast number of adjutants, she would ride up to him and
win by her smiles and flatteries friends, who calumniated Josephine,
and represented to him the necessity of a separation from his inconstant
wife.

But, notwithstanding all the calumnies, and all the deceiving arts of
his beloved, there existed in Bonaparte's heart something which spoke
in favor of the poor, slandered, and forgotten Josephine; and, amid
the exciting pleasures of his new passion, he remembered with longing,
sorrowful heart the charming, gracious woman whom he once had tenderly
loved, and whom he still so loved that he could not sacrifice her to
his beautiful mistress. Still he persevered in showing to the latter the
deepest, most tender, and undivided attention; and when the chances of
war kept him away from her for a long time, when he went to Syria and
left her in Cairo, Bonaparte wrote to her every day the most touching
letters, which were forwarded by a special courier.

This was occurring at the same time that Josephine in Paris was hoping
in vain with painful longing for letters from her husband, and was
watching over his interests with the kindest attention, while his
enemies were spreading news of his death.

Bonaparte had now no time to write to his wife, for the beautiful
Pauline Foures laid claim to the little leisure which remained to the
commanding general, and to her he addressed warm and glowing words of
love, such as while in Italy he had addressed to Josephine when he swore
to her never to love another woman.

Meanwhile Fate rendered fruitless all the efforts of the beautiful
Madame Foures to draw Bonaparte into a separation; Fate came to
Josephine's rescue, and, strange to say, it came in the shape of the
Frankfort Journal.

The victorious battle of Aboukir, which Bonaparte, on the 25th of July,
1799, had with his army won over the enemy, gave occasion to parleying
negotiations between the French commander-in-chief and the English
admiral, Sidney Smith. Bonaparte sent a commissioner on board the
English flag-ship, and Sir Sidney Smith was cunning enough to send
through this commissioner to the French general a few newspapers
recently received from Europe. For ten months the French army and
Bonaparte were without news from France, and this present of the English
admiral was received by Bonaparte and his generals with the deepest joy
and curiosity.

Among these papers was a copy of the Journal de Frankfort of the 10th of
June, 1799. This was the first newspaper which furnished Bonaparte with
news from France for ten long months, and the natural consequence was
that he glanced over it with the most inquisitive impatience. Suddenly
he uttered a cry; the pallor of death overspread his face, and, fixing
his flaming eyes on Bourrienne, who at this moment was alone with
him - "My presentiments have not deceived me," exclaimed Bonaparte.
"Italy is lost! The wretched creatures! All the results of our
victories have vanished! I must go to France at once - this very moment!"
[Footnote: Bourrienne, "Memoires," vol. ii., p. 305.]

This newspaper informed Bonaparte of the late events in France. It told
him that the French Directory had experienced a change, that only one of
them, Barras, had remained in it, and that four new directors - Sieyes,
Grohier, Moulins, and Ducos - were now its members. It told him much
more - that the French army in Italy had suffered the most disastrous
reverses; that all Italy had been reconquered by the combined armies of



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